This may be old news by the time I’ve posted; Jamie McIntyre writes on CNN.com that an unnamed-“military officer close to the inquiry” investigating the killing of an Iraqi man by U.S. Marines states that the Marines may have committed “premeditated (murder).” Article Here. Hashim Ibrahim Awad was allegedly pulled from his house in Hamdaniya on April 26 and shot by the Marines, who then left the body with an AK-47 and shovel nearby to make it appear that the man was engaged in insurgent activity.
“They went after someone, not necessarily this person, but they set out to get someone,” the officer told CNN, referring to the Marines now under investigation,” the article states.
Now, Progressives and Liberals are often accused of flip-floppery and indecisiveness. But I reckon we all can agree that excesses like this are to be expected in war, and that actions such as this are inexcusable. And as a Liberal, I understand that the average Marine fighting in Iraq is around 20 years of age and had never been outside of North America pre-deployment.
Our kids– they are indeed kids– have no end in sight, no clear mission besides staying alive, and no positive and appropriate (to the dominant paradigm of American culture) way to deal with the stress and uncertainty of this unjust war. They have no connection to Iraq, no understanding of the country’s cultural norms, customs, or language. They fight against an enemy that (in general appearance at least) is undifferentiated from the local civilian populace.
Many of them enlisted years after 9/11, yet they have been led to believe even at this late date that Saddam was involved– if not ultimately culpable– for the horror of that day.
I sit here looking at the large map of Ireland that hangs on my wall. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Derry and Belfast, Omagh and Strabane. Centuries of sectarian strife have killed more civilians than operatives, probably by factors of many thousands to one. Undoubtedly, untold numbers of one tribe have been killed by the other out of feelings of impotentce, boredom, the desire to appear ‘hard’ and anything other than helpless. I’d bet heavily that almost all the players in both tribes grew up poor, had very little chance of higher education and even less prospects for work that would let them utilize their abilities for the good of all their neighbors.
The adolescents we annoint with oil are sent into situations that cannot be comprehended or adequately explained or understood. The desire for revenge bubbles through all of us at some time or another; fantasies of retribution can be a healthy part of working through trauma.
But our kids on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan haven’t a moment free to let down their guard either physically or emotionally. They have no time to grieve for friends lost, childhoods lost, ideals lost. Some of them will drink too much, some will get into stupid, meaningless fights with comrades, some will suck a gun barrel, and some will kill their shame by proxy, rendered as an unlucky still-life, civilian with shovel and AK-47.