Soldiers’ Regrets

Check out this video from the BBC, via Information Clearing House, about the 130 mile march of antiwar Iraq veterans from Mobile, Alabama to St. Bernard’s Parish in New Orleans, Louisiana:

We’re Sorry: Former US soldiers on the personal cost of war in Iraq.

It begins with a young man explaining how isolated he feels since returning home, and his stress over seeing his best friend killed and accidentally running down a child with his truck.

Then we see a view of the rag-tag group of marchers on their way. The men are very excited to see an al Jazeera camera crew. They want desperately to explain to the Arab world that,

“[W]e are not against them. Yes, we may have had to shoot at them when they were shooting at us in some cases, but the thing is, we were sent there to do this job – because it was our job. And we didn’t like doing it. We did what we had to do to survive. And we know it was wrong. And we’re sorry. We’re sorry about that.”

Some more memorable quotes:

“An IED goes off, and you just zap any farmer near you.”

“You get so into it.”

“When I first got there, you could basically kill anybody you want. If you see anybody out here at night, shoot ’em. Just drop [plant] a shovel [i.e. evidence of an IED].”

And I really can’t emphasise this part enough: Collectivism kills. Especially its racist version:

“That’s why they call them Hajis. You have to desensitize yourself to it. They’re not people, they’re animals. … Hajis, hajis. They beat it into your head. These aren’t people.”

(“Haji” is an honorific for Muslims, a term of respect for someone who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca.)

“Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam.”

“I’m usually at home all day taking sleeping pills.

I am terribly sorry, but it doesn’t look to me like the Straussians’ project of using warfare to make a man out of everybody has worked out much better than those to scare the Muslim world into submission/create a democracy, “secure” oil wealth or keep Israel safe. Instead we have a group of guys who left here just fine and came back in shattered pieces.

And for what? Nothing.

Update: The Guardian: “If You Start Looking at Them as Humans, Then How Are You Gonna Kill Them?