I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is okay to be immoral in any way.Immediately, of course, this brings to mind the classic bit out of Alice's Restaurant...
I went over to the sargent, said, "Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I'm sittin' here on the bench, I mean I'm sittin here on the Group W benchSure. Moral turpitude will get you out of military service in Pace's army...or will it?
'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough join the army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after bein' a litterbug." He looked at me and said, "Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send you fingerprints off to Washington."
After all, we wouldn't want, say, gang members to enlist, would we?:
(05/03/06 - FAYETTEVILLE) - An unlikely place has become the new battleground for American gangs. Gang leaders want their members to sign up for military duty so they can learn urban combat tactics.Or maybe members of the Klan or Aryan Nation?:
July 7, 2006 -- Under pressure to meet wartime manpower goals, the U.S. military has relaxed standards designed to weed out racist extremists. Large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the armed forces.After all, nothing inspires a people to gather together in democratic convention under the auspices of an occupying force like walking past a sign calling you a "towelhead".
Department of Defense investigators estimate thousands of soldiers in the Army alone are involved in extremist or gang activity. "We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," said one investigator. "That's a problem."
Not that I have any problem with gang members or prisoners fighting in wars. It sounds like it would be a pretty good idea, so long as there was careful supervision, say the kind you'd get in a real war, with two armies and guns and bullets and bombs. Why not let them sacrifice and win back some of the freedoms they so willingly (and in many cases, unwillingly) let go of?
But to suddenly claim there's some moral standard for fighting an illegal and immoral war against a people that did nothing to us, to remove a leader who was no threat at all to us, and in fact may have been stabilizing a region that is clearly in danger of falling into genocidal ethnic cleansing (and you thought him killing his own people was brutal...just wait), is ludicrous at best, and cynical at worst.
Especially when the hodgepodge we've thrown at Iraq is made up of the loose ends and detritus of the great American military, four years into the conflict that made no sense to begin with. Here's your immorality, general:
The U.S. military is sending troops with serious psychological problems into Iraq and is keeping soldiers in combat even after superiors have been alerted to suicide warnings and other signs of mental illness, a Courant investigation has found."Support the troops," huh? You just know the same folks who are waving the biggest flags and brooking no dissent will be the first to turn their backs on these guys when they come home, labelling them criminals and crazies, just like what happened after Vietnam, when honest veterans, looking to find help for themselves and their fellow soldiers and sailors, were belittled, marginalized and then denigrated...."swift boated," if you will. People like John Kerry, and Ron Kovic, people who saw an injustice being done to ordinary citizens and spoke out.
Despite a congressional order that the military assess the mental health of all deploying troops, fewer than 1 in 300 service members see a mental health professional before shipping out.
Once at war, some unstable troops are kept on the front lines while on potent antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, with little or no counseling or medical monitoring.
And some troops who developed post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq are being sent back to the war zone, increasing the risk to their mental health.
No, these Iraqi soldiers will be the first to be marginalized by the Karl Roves of the world. After all, how much more use to Rove can they be, once they're back from fighting the war he was too scared to strap on a rifle and stand a post for?
And they'll blame us "liberals"...
(hat tip to MissC for the Courant story)
snarkasm, snarcasm, snarky