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Response to hschulein (Original post)

Wed Jan 21, 2015, 08:20 PM

6. I have a different point of view

This is in response to Mike Malloy's comments on Chris Kyle.

My years in the Army were during peacetime, but they still gave perspective. I have serious problems with the "just following orders" rationale not being a proper defense in all cases. Soldiers are trained to follow orders. Soldiers are often decorated for following orders. Soldiers are ofter given a court martial for not following. While in basic training, I saw a short film about war crimes and how an order to commit one is itself illegal and the soldier is has an obligation to disobey. Of course, the war crime dramatized was a redneck infantry lieutenant ordering that civilians be used as human shields and later that prisoners be executed because the captain wants a body count of at least three. It was a pretty cut and dried case of a war crime with no ambiguity whatsoever. It was all simple, neat and well-packaged. As drama, it was artless.

The reality, I suspect, is quite different. The same people to urge enlistees to "use your chain of command" also warn them that "shit rolls downhill." Too many troops I served with were afraid of authority, even of officers they thought were lunatics or idiots. If a soldier gets a questionable order in combat, my bet is that he will carry it out, no matter distasteful he finds it or how clearly illegal it is. He also knows if he disobeys, there will be repercussions directed his way. He knows his comrades in arms will be discouraged from giving witness against and that there will be a likelihood that up the chain of command, the accused officer's fellow officers will give him the benefit of the doubt against an enlistee.

I like to think I would have refused such an order, but in the heat of performing a live combat mission I cannot be sure how I would have acted.

I can't be accused of being "right wing-ized." I'd make an awfully bad wingnut.

Nor can I be accused of not being among those who tried to stop the war in Iraq before it started. I marched in the late winter/early spring to 2003. One day I was part of the largest anti-war demonstration ever seen in Sacramento. The next day I was part of over a quarter million marchers who jammed Market Street in San Francisco all the way from the Embarcadero to City Hall. Even counting my three years in the Army, March to stop the invasion of Iraq and my other anti-war activities at that time was the best service I ever gave my country.

Chris Kyle does not sound like an admirable person. If it weren't for joining the Navy, he sounds like someone who might have become a serial killer. One of my best friends has a son who served in Iraq. His Marine unit was in Fallujah. One night he was on guard duty. A suspicious looking approached the compound entrance. The young man told him stop. He told him to stop in Arablic. He picked up the language because he had positive interactions with the locals, unlike Chris Kyle. The man did not stop and the young Marine had to shoot and kill. It bothers him to this day. It bothers him even though, as it turns out, the man was, in fact, wearing a suicide bomb.

It's hard for me to think of Chris Kyle as a hero. He is the worst of America, a racist who goes overseas and enjoys murdering foreigners in their own country in order for US oil company tycoons to expropriate that country's natural wealth and isn't bothered by it.

As for my friend's son, he is a hero.

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Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
hschulein Jan 2015 OP
braddy Jan 2015 #1
another_liberal Jan 2015 #2
braddy Jan 2015 #3
RoccoR5955 Jan 2015 #4
braddy Jan 2015 #8
another_liberal Jan 2015 #5
braddy Jan 2015 #9
another_liberal Jan 2015 #10
braddy Jan 2015 #12
another_liberal Jan 2015 #14
wildbilln864 Jan 2015 #15
LineReply I have a different point of view
Jack Rabbit Jan 2015 #6
braddy Jan 2015 #7
Jack Rabbit Jan 2015 #11
braddy Jan 2015 #13
Jack Rabbit Jan 2015 #16
braddy Jan 2015 #17
Jack Rabbit Jan 2015 #18
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