About That Wikileaks Video

I missed commenting on this at the time it was released but I have been thinking about it a lot. Nearly everyone I talked to who watched it expressed shock at its brutality. While I can’t argue that it is not horrific, I really don’t know what we expected to be happening in Baghdad. In the midst of a pointless, prolonged war of occupation on two fronts, you send the same young people into battle over and over, train them to shoot at things, and that is what they will do. Wikileaks was right in exposing the story but I think letting this one incident shock you is a little naive. If you think the scenes of testosterone-and-anxiety-fueled mayhem and destruction in that video are disgusting then we should end it, period or do everything we can to try. The situation we’re in is untenable and this is surely the tip of the iceberg. It still pains me to think that America let this happen to herself.

These soldiers shouldn’t be castigated for their obvious passion for shooting people. That is only a symptom. The disease is an unlawful war that is going to tarnish our history (again) for many years to come. I wish there were some way to find every person who appeared in rallies in 2003, screaming for war, and ask them how they feel about it now. Actually, I’d start with Bill Kristol, but I already know what his response would be: blow up Iran. I have always maintained that Afghanistan and Pakistan were the legitimate war made more onerous by being ignored in favor of Iraq. If we must fight wars, then we should have a goddamn good reason. When you don’t, rattled young kids spray groups of people with gunfire from a helicopter all the time.

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