A few words
We sent him to Iraq
I am distinctly unimpressed by people who deliver lectures to people who served in Iraq and call them killers, and wonder why they didn't desert.
If you live in the other America, Wal Mart and Stuckeys and the 7 line, the one where you don't have a college fund or stability, you have a few options. The smart ones get into college, the lucky get good jobs, but for a lot of young men, Germany or the USS Lincoln seems like a good bet. That America doesn't have a lot of options, and the fact is, a few years in the service is a good deal, points on civil service exams, some travel, a chance to grow up, money for college.
Unless you live in that America, you have no idea what people choose to do. People choose to make their lives better, and frankly, the parents want them to grow up away from the local losers.
That America is one most people live in. And to sit there and say "why didn't you desert or why did you enlist" is to be ignorant of how most people live. The military, until Iraq, was the best deal many of them could get. Even with the shit pay and hassles. The people who walked away served their time in Iraq. Then, they had enough.
Most people do not get to choose between Harvard and Yale. Most people are lucky to go to college, and if you are not lucky, you still have to work, right? In a country where college is essential for a career. Who's going to help you without a trust fund or rich relatives?
Iraqis don't have much better choices. There are no jobs, no way to work. The Mahdi Army guys come around and they have money, people respect them, and they get things. Of course, you might get killed in the process, but you can get killed going to the store.
They didn't wake up wanting to kill Americans any more than Americans wanted to kill them. But when you have to eat, you choose sides, and working with the Americans not only pays less, it might get you killed. So you join up and from there, it's about the same. You plant mines and kill Americans, the Americans try to stop you.
So you're spending your day watching and waiting and hoping you don't get killed or kill anyone.
America's war is immoral, and we all let it happen. The ethnic cleansing of Sunnis is immoral, but it's what you have to do in the Mahdi Army.
Comparisons to the Nazis is dumb. The Nazis wanted to enslave people and control the world. Bush didn't want to do that.
This is our colonial war. Colonial wars are ugly things for all concerned. We need to blame the people who start them and not the people forced to fight them.
posted by Steve @ 1:13:00 AM