No doubt war crimes should be accounted for, but who would be held responsible for the crimes? Solely the Soldiers that perpetrated the crimes or would it include the entire chain of command?
Yes, Soldiers do awful things in war and actually perpetrate the crimes, but everybody from the top down is responsible for creating an environment which allowed these crimes to happen. Would these Soldiers have been the monsters that they turned into if they had not been exposed to multiple combat deployments?
I personally did one year in Iraq as an Infantry Platoon Leader in 2004. In school I never once had detention for a behavioral issue. I was the band / music geek, I was a total nerd by any other measure (with the exception that I worked out a lot), and I never had my first taste of alcohol until I was in college. However, when exposed to combat at the level that I saw in Iraq in 2004, everything about me changed. War, murdering people, and losing Soldiers under your direct command and whom youve really gotten to know on a level of intimacy that spouses never experience does a hell of a number on you.
Towards the end of my deployment I became numb to the killing. It didnt bother me anymore to deal with the dead, the dying, and the wounded. My total psyche changed. When I went on patrol, I began to actual yearn for combat and got excited about. I had no intention of returning home alive and just about nothing bothered me.
All of that was result of just a single combat deployment for me. War completely turned me into a murdering monster. I certainly was nothing like that before I was sent to fight in a war that I even thought was complete bullshit in 2003 during the buildup. Just imagine the change that happens to the kids that we as a nation send to kill for multiple year-long deployments? Culpability goes all the way up the chain of command and sits right in the lap of everybody who ever supported these wars and who allowed them to happen. Whats incredible to me is that when a video of Soldiers urinating on the bodies of the enemy that they murdered emerges, public outrage ensues. Most likely, the people who are outraged by this never experienced a year in a combat zone as an Infantryman and actually been in many firefights themselves. You dont kill people that you like and respect. Getting comfortable with combat and murder sent to perpetrate means that you have to hate the people youre fighting against. Otherwise, youd never be able to pull the trigger over and over again - just like the American public sent you to do. The only reason my platoon and I didnt urinate on those we killed was because the thought to do so never crossed our minds.
Yes, the guys who perpetrated these war crimes are responsible, but so is the chain of command and the American public that supported these wars.
As a result of my exposure to a war, combat, and murder, I have been ravaged by guilt and shame for what I did. PTSD has been destroying my life in slow motion since I got out of the Army in 2007. Ive lost two great careers, my ability to work, a large piece of my ability to function in public places, Ive lost any friends I ever had, my marriage has been destroyed, people and my own family view me as a Murder-Suicide threat, the ability to ever get close to people (my ex-wife would use pieces of my military service against me and even call me a killer and a coward), Ive struggled with alcoholism, and I struggle to not attempt suicide on a daily basis despite the fact that I attend counseling almost daily. My oldest daughter has a host of issues as a result of my PTSD, suicide attempts, multiple psychiatric hospitalizations that happen like clockwork on yearly basis, and the nightmares and screaming that happen nightly. Im very concerned about my oldest daughter and what my PTSD has done to her. For years my 10-year-old daughter has been dealing with nightmares and constant thoughts of her own about dying in horrible ways and of me murdering people. A kid shouldnt have to deal with that. Would any of that be the case if bush hadnt had more than 80% of the American people behind him when the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan started?
My oldest daughter was 5 when she stepped out of her bedroom and stumbled on to my ex-wife screaming at me and calling me a murderer and using my military service to destroy me in an argument. As a result of my exs constant berating me for years with my military service, I grabbed a razor and slashed my wrists multiple times and sprayed my blood into my exs face - totally covering her in my blood. I then walked around the house and covered everything with blood and ranted about the war to my ex-wife as she called the cops - thats when my daughter stepped out of her room right into what was going on. The only regrets I have about that incident was that my daughter saw parts of it, I didnt die as a result, I actually listened to my wife and didnt keep a gun in the house and that I hadnt done it years earlier. Would any of this have happened if I wasnt sent to Iraq to murder?
Though I lament the killing that I did, at the same time I have become comfortable with it and miss it terribly. Would that have happened if I never was exposed to war?
I attend all sorts of groups and counseling that is filled with guys just like me. We all have had multiple suicide attempts, deal with the guilt, memories, and nightmares that play over and over again in heads and never stop, then at the same time, even more than a decade later, we yearn to return to the combat. Who and what turned us into what we are? If we hadnt been exposed to war by the American public, would we have turned into the monsters we are? Keep in mind that bushs approval rating at the beginning of the war was over 80%, so a vast majority of people were in favor of sending us to murder Iraqis and Arabs.
Yes, send the ICC to investigate war crimes, but everybody from the Soldiers who perpetrated the crimes to their complete chain of command up to the President and the American people that supported these wars need to be held accountable for these crimes. Its not just the lowest guys on the totem pole who made these crimes happen. Over 80% of the American public and their bloodlust, their desire to murder Arabs and Iraqis, and their subsequent demand that those of us who served in the military endure multiple combat deployments that destroyed us Soldiers mentally and spiritually are completely culpable too.
In the end, who will pay for these crimes? It will be poor kids that the American public turned into soulless killers. People like me join the military with the intention of making the world a better place only to be betrayed by America, sent to fight bullshit wars on Americas behalf, completely destroyed mentally and spiritually by the bloodlust of America, then we return to people who say thank you for your service while at the same time they think ...but your PTSD scares us. Well, we wouldnt be what we turned into if it wasnt for the wars that we were sent to fight by America.
Profile InformationMember since: Wed Aug 15, 2012, 01:17 PM
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