Generation Gone to Hell and Back

“This is not who we are,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says after seeing pictures of U.S. soldiers defiling enemy bodies in Afghanistan.

True, but isn’t it what young Americans are in danger of becoming after a dirty, murky, endless war with nothing to show for it when they come home but coarsened sensitivity to human life and cases of post-traumatic stress disorder?

As headlines savor a few horny Secret Servicemen in South America, misbehavior by American troops keeps mounting in Afghanistan with little public reaction. The President insists those responsible will be “held accountable,” but no one in authority will go beyond the few-bad-apples explanation.

Last month, a Staff Sergeant was whisked out of the country after, apparently with no provocation, killing 16 civilians, including nine children and three women, in small villages in Kandahar. He will be tried in Kansas, not where the murders took place.

This follows pictures of U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of dead Afghan fighters and a barn fire of Qurans by soldiers at an airbase, each incident followed by profuse American apologies that fail to quell the anger of local “allies.”

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Author: ROBERT STEIN

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8 Comments

  1. Even German Nazis under Hitler were not this crude. They simply executed people then burnt the bodies. Americans like to play with the dead bodies afterwards. Weird.

  2. wp

    Well, there were all those rumors of experimentation on live bodies…

    The “a few bad apples” excuse has been in place ever since abu ghraib. I will vote for President Obama once again, but if the chance for tying up all the loose ends of war crimes committed, domestic and foreign, doesn’t happen under his second administration, there is no hope for it ever being done – at least in my lifetime.

    It is curious that all these types of war crimes, that are committed in all wars, never came to light until Vietnam. I suppose it is the difference in reporting standards.

  3. Misbehavior is “mounting” because of one incident two years ago and one incident this year?

    “Nothing to show” for their efforts? Except helping a fledgling democracy start growing (in two steps forward one step back fashion), increasing education for women and minorities, an economy that’s been slowly but steadily growing for a decade? Yeah right.

    The biggest cause of problems for our troops in Afghanistan are those who endlessly beat the drum of defeatism and who act as if every misbehavior by any one of them is reflective of how most of them behave and what most of them do. And who suggest that the best thing we could do is abandon the Afghan people, stabbing them in the back and breaking our promises to them AGAIN.

  4. WP

    Sorry, but comparing the U.S. military to the Nazis (Holocaust and all) is obscene and offensive.

    You ignore one huge and important difference:

    What the Nazis did was approved by and commanded from the highest levels. The heinous acts of a few American soldiers — no matter how frequently repeated –are the heinous acts of a few soldiers. Period.

  5. “Isn’t it past time to admit the true price of pouring American blood and treasure into an enterprise guaranteed to end badly, even as we play Russian roulette with Iran and North Korea?” – Robert Stein

    Long past time. We’ve been wasting blood, treasure, and souls since 9-11 with very questionable results given the all sacrifices made. Stupid.

  6. “Even German Nazis under Hitler were not this crude”

    You are very much mistaken there. German soldiers were much much worse. You should hear some of the stories of what they did to Russian flamethrower guys. Remember the massacre in the Warsaw Ghetto? They hung babies on flagpoles. There are countless other stories as well. Our soldiers have some bad apples, but our army doesn’t come anywhere near to the level of atrocity committed by the Wehrmacht.

    Also excellent point above that many of the atrocities were part of standard policy and orders that came down from on high.

  7. There are approximately 1.5 million men and women serving our country honorably and well.

    (There are about half as many in the reserves)

    Let’s say than one thousand of them — probably a huge over-estimate — have performed the heinous, dastardly, criminal acts we have been hearing about. That is less than one tenth of one percent.

    All of them have been investigated and dealt with by the UCMJ. Many of them are or will be serving sentences in prison.

    There are 311 million people in the U.S.

    More than two million of them are serving time in jail for crimes committed — many as heinous or more heinous than those committed by members of our military.

    You do the math.

    Because of the “few” bad civilian apples, I am not going to go hysterical and say that a whole generation of Americans has gone to hell.

    But, yes, I am going to keep telling the stories of the Medal of Honor recipients, of those heroic young men and women who have given up life and limb in Iraq and who continue to do so in Afghanistan, of those courageous combat medics, of …

    I’ll let someone else tell — sometimes shamefully exaggerate — the other stories.

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