[lit-ideas] Re: Willie Pete's Role Reversal

  • From: "Andreas Ramos" <andreas@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 11:53:03 -0800

From: <Eternitytime1@xxxxxxx>

Before it completely goes there, I will also again wonder how you say that
these soldiers have not talked about their experiences?

The Library of Congress & the Smithsonian Folk Life Center started a  few
years ago a project called The Veterans History Project. It was actually  begun
because so many of our WWI and WWII veterans (and those who had helped on  the
Homefront) were dying so fast and there were not really any satisfactory  oral
history projects done to save their memories/thoughts/experiences.
But, if war is simply an extension of politics (who said that?), then is  the
root problem more of a political one?

Yes, it's a general political and social problem.

The vast majority of Americans (and Americans in particular) have no awareness of war or the military. They do not personally know what war is.

The USA is one of the very few countries without complusory military service. Only 5% of Americans are in the military. The draft ended in the early 70s (that's 30+ years ago). The vast majority of Americans under the age of 40 have not dealt with military life. Americans support wars... without any idea what war is.

This is in strong contrast to the Europeans, Russians, Chinese, and other Asian countries. Within living memory, their entire society experienced war in their own cities and neighborhoods. Americans have no idea what that is like.

The neocons (none of whom has ever been in the military) have promoted a glorious image of war and got the US public to support the Iraq War. This happened with help from several items: the Pentagon touted "surgical warfare" and "technological warfare" which "precisely targeted" the "bad guys". How nice.

The media went along with this and admired how technical and clean the war could be. Americans could wage a clean, beneficial war.

The American public is shielded from the actual nature of war: one group destroys another. The winner stomps on the loser's home turf. War is male: the men rape the loser's women. Loot, rape, kill. This was war for the Babylonians, the Romans, and now. War will never change.

In addition, I imagine that in many places it does not occur to the people
who state 'all the military' is wearing speedos and running around like maniacs
(that is my term from what was said) to go sit at some of the VFW places and
chat with some of our military who have served in wars or elsewhere.

When I was at university in Germany, I worked summers on US military bases. Due to my student visa, it was the only place I could work. I worked as a researcher for companies that did studies on the military: the quality of training, and so on. We interviewed soldiers and officers, both US and NATO.

I spent all day on the base and got to know many of the soldiers. I spent many evenings with the soldiers as well. What goes on in a military base: well, it ain't Sunday school. I've never seen a movie that comes close. The amount of hard drinking is staggering. The soldiers are bored and they drink. The intense eagerness for war is a rush in the blood. The soldiers are trained to kill without doubts, without second thoughts. Kill. Kill. Kill. And no account of military life is complete without the bordellos. These aren't shy boys. A tank crew all shares the same woman. And the fights. It was like some kind of John Wayne saloon fight, to see over a hundred soldiers in a drunken brawl.

I have friends who were Gray Wolves. I have friends who were mercenaries in Africa. The stuff they did was unbelievable. They don't tell it to brag.

Some of you know: I'm from Colombia. I was born in 1955, in the middle of one of the worst civil wars in history. The Colombian Violencia was extremely brutal. Colombia has been in a state of civil war for over 50 years now, as it evolved through Marxists revolutionaries, billionaire drug lords, ultra-right paramilitaries, mercenaries, and so on. I have extensive family relations in Colombia. I constantly hear about kidnappings and extortion. Americans have no idea what it's like to live constantly armed, constantly prepared for violent assault.

Is all of this in the Library of Congress' histories of war? Do the VFWs tell these stories, when their wives and kids and neighbors are there?

The US media continues to shield the US public from the reality of war. American moms will not accept that "their son" is doing that. Americans think that their soldiers are noble knights who rescue damsels and surgically target only Bad Guys, and when it's all over, the knights come home and continue as good men. Only Americans believe that. Every other country knows different, because they've seen what soldiers do.

I'm looking forward to seeing Jarhead. A number of soldiers are saying that it's an accurate movie of their experiences.

Some will say that war is war and the US should win wars, otherwise we just surrender. Nonsense. We live in a globalized technological world. War isn't necessary. Europe, Russia, China, Japan, and South America are moving into the 21st century of a globalized economy, interwoven and at peace.

It's only a few failed areas that still have wars. And the neocons and their followers want to wallow in those places in order to prove their manhood by letting others die for them.


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