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15 November 2006 @ 01:42 pm
US soldier pleads guilty to raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killing her and her family  

Dear world,

I am as angry as you. Most Americans aren't like this, but the media doesn't spend much time on ordinary, good people these days, if they ever did.

There are bad apples everywhere. I hope you will turn your anger on the bad apples in your country, while we figure out what best to do with ours.

I am ashamed that anyone from my country would do this, just as I am ashamed that any other human being could do this from any country, anywhere. In the sense that I am a member of this species, I am sorry.


p.s. My friends, please feel free to remind me that I'm surrounded by people who love and cherish their friends, their families and even strangers - I sometimes want the article about the ordinary, good people and now is one of those times... I will in the meantime remind myself of my friends who have volunteered at rape crisis centers, battered women's shelters, those who have stopped the cycle of violence in their own families and say: THANK YOU. You're hard work and emotional toil MATTERS, and sets things right, day by day, family by family.
Current Mood: tired of being pissed off
The VFR Chickthevfrchick on November 15th, 2006 10:08 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I just read about this 5 mins ago and it made my stomach churn. You are most definitely surrounded by people who love and cherish friends, family and strangers. Remember what fun we seven had Sunday night at dinner!
Kburgunder on November 15th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
Yes! Like so! Ordinary, good days with ordinary, good friends, damn it.
Sarah: Glaringsarmonster on November 15th, 2006 11:24 pm (UTC)
Sarah: officesarmonster on November 15th, 2006 11:37 pm (UTC)
Scratch the "the"...but follow the link all the same.

In other news, I've offered the newly Autonomous nation of Bougainville a website to promote tourism, which they've been trying to encourage.

I'll lend you Coconut Revolution ...If I ever get it(I ordered it a month ago).
They shut down a mine that was destroying the environment, the island was cut off from all supplies and yet somehow they had fuel for their trucks, and a little electricity, and these natives were able to fend off the Austrailian, New Zeland, And Paupua New Guinea troops.

After our next big job I plan on heading over there to see these amazing people.
Kburgunder on November 16th, 2006 01:23 am (UTC)
Yep, the chocolate news is good news. In fact, I have a frozen Trader Joe's truffle in my freezer calling my name RIGHT NOW.
Kburgunder on November 16th, 2006 01:23 am (UTC)
(not that the other news isn't good news, I just haven't finished reading everything else yet) ;)
Kburgunder on November 16th, 2006 01:27 am (UTC)
Kburgunder on November 16th, 2006 01:28 am (UTC)
(if so, wikipedia geo editors should be ashamed at the lack of info)
(also, I just found wikitravel.org last night - might be a good place to add some more info for Bougainville tourism?)
Sarah: Nerdsarmonster on November 16th, 2006 04:29 am (UTC)
Wikitravel?! Damnit, another distraction.
I added a little. Can't wait to get there so I can do this right.
I'll be sending a fax to their minister of tourism as soon as I figure out how to phrase my offer(A NZ journalist gave me his contact info). I already e-mailed another guy working for him and haven't heard back, but I don't think he's the one making decisions. The people of Papua New Guinea have been very helpful and friendly, I didn;t think they would be since the conflict, but WOW.

This brought tears to my eyes, it looks so awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jywerara80Q <---Have seven minutes of vacation.
Sarahsarmonster on November 16th, 2006 01:59 am (UTC)
I've been seriously considering updating that.

Try this: http://www.unpo.org/member_profile.php?id=11
Kburgunder on November 16th, 2006 01:24 am (UTC)
p.s. Thank you :>
floiterfloiter on November 16th, 2006 12:18 am (UTC)
There are good and bad people from all nations, all walks of life. No-one with half a brain would expect all Americans to be perfect. When there are about 300M of you, its natural there are going to be a fair number of "unsavory" characters. Unfortunately, at the present time, the military are in the spotlight, and are probably a natural home for people who like power and control over others. Add in the training that they need to be able to actually kill on demand (which I assume dehumanises others), and its easy to see how things can get out of hand and result in things like this.

Of course, that doesn't excuse this, either for the people on trial, or for their superiors, who must have failed in their selection, monitoring and control over these people. But at the same time, how difficult is that comtrol to achieve, in what amounts to a warzone?

When things like this happen, the measure is of how well you deal with it. And a public trial, with no special treatment is probably the best that you can do. Though thats small consolation to the people in Iraq, who will probably see and hear little or nothing of any such trial, as they are being held thousands of mile away ...
Lawstlawst on November 16th, 2006 01:58 am (UTC)
Actually, no, the military is not full of cold hearted killers who will do it on command. Being a solder is not about having power and control over others. It's about protecting this country and protecting others who cannot help themselves. Protect and serve. Being a soldier is about being in service to YOU, the voter, the person who ultimately has control over the paycheck. Soldiers who are too willing to kill are put out of the service because they are a danger not just to civilians but also to the people in their units. It does attract it's fair share of people like that, but most are screened out. Those who make it through have it trained out of them...most do anyway. Also, combat can break a person in ways that ~no one~ can predict, all of them bad. A soldier may be the most stable person in the world until they're put through a 6 to 12 month stint in hell. The guys who did this horrible thing are the 1 percenters and the ones who were probably unstable to begin with and who were tipped well over the edge by being in a bad situation.

The dehumanization comes in when a person has been in combat so much that they turn to any sort of thing they can to protect themselves. The less table ones take it too far. It's not just a trait of soldiers, but of people in general which comes in the form of racism, sexism, etc. Combat brings out the extreme form of that. I had to deal with it on my own team and on several occassions the "No Slurs" rule was enforced violently. I threw a guy over the hood of my truck and shoved my pistol in his face to remind him that it was unacceptable to call the people we were there to help, the Somalians, "Skinnys". In Iraq, the lowest level of it is calling them "ragheads". Sadly, it is sometimes necessary in order to get a job done that, quite frankly, few soldiers every truely want to do. It's the ones who look at everyone in the dehumanised light, not just the "enemy" that go too far. Trust me, it would be far better to sit out 4 years doing nothing to collect college money at the end than to live forever with what combat does to a person.

As a former soldier, I want to see all involved hang. Literally. Not just for the girl and her family, but for the danger they put their fellow soldiers in and for the bloody stain they put on America.
nplusmnplusm on November 16th, 2006 05:11 pm (UTC)
actually no
Being a soldier is being a person. Let's keep in mind, most people in the military...do it for the money.
Lawstlawst on November 16th, 2006 07:00 pm (UTC)
Re: actually no
For the money! You have got to be joking! So I guess you're assuming that everyone who joins must be dirt poor. Sorry, no. The majority are from middle class back grounds and many I worked with had not just highschool but also some college...and they weren't officers. Not everyone who has a degree automatically becomes an officers, they just get bumped up the enlisted ranks a little higher when they join. A person can earn a better wage working for McDonald's and they're less likely to get shot at. If you stick around McDonald's long enough they'll even send you to school. The majority of soldiers are paid at below the poverty level, privates up through sergeant. After that it's barely above the poverty line. It does get better as they rise in the ranks, but no one's going to make high double digits even if they make it to sergent major and very few officers ever make it to general. Officers don't get much better until they make major. This is all AFTER the housing a cost of living allotments. Soldiers who go into a war zone do get combat pay, when I was in it was an extra $100 a month. Oh yeah, rolling in the cash there! I was rich! That extra bill, that's what I joined for, to get paid squat for putting my life on the line. Oh, and then there's the disability pay. Lots of money there. That's what every person who joins is going for, to be broken, physically and or mentally, so they can mooch off the taxpayers for the rest of their lives.

You may not believe this country is worth putting your life on the line for, but soldiers do. The pay alone isn't enough to sustain any person without that conviction. Maybe you ought to go volunteer at the VA and actually talk to some vets about why they joined instead of making your ignorant assumptions.
nplusmnplusm on November 16th, 2006 07:43 pm (UTC)
Re: actually no
No, I suppose I talked out of turn. Let's say there are a variety of reasons, ranging from patriotism to power to money. I can only speak of my experience, but in my graduating class, over half joined the military. These were not noble men who spent their high school days protecting people and serving their communities. They spent their high schools beating up people they felt were different than themselves, getting drunk, and, on two occassions, getting arrested for vandalism. Three had children and joined the military as the easiest way to support them. These people thrived on giving abuse to those weaker than they, and anybody different in a way that didn't mesh with their upbringing. I was fortunate to be on the baseball team, and my semi-jock status sheilded me from the possibility that my membership in the Latin club might incur some tripping in tha halls or pushing of my face into the lunch tray with the witty foil of "fag" to accompany it. These people all joined the military, and when they spoke in the locker room of the military, they never said "to serve my country" that I recall. I do recall long and loving descriptions of weapons and blowing things up. I also recall a particular mention of "fucking up the arabs" during Bush the first's incursion into Iraq.

Let me tell you something...I DO give my life for this country! I am educated and work long hours for no extra pay (as I'm exempt) which in turn bolsters the economic power of our country. If you don't think our economic power has any clout, that it's only our guns and bombs, you are wrong. I've never been on unemployment, never been on welfare, don't get any governmental assistance, and pay my taxes on time. It's not always pleasant, and sometimes I have not known when I would have enough money to pay rent and food bills (luckily, that is no longer a problem). Don't you think for a moment I don't serve my country, simply because I don't carry a gun or march into battle. The working class of this country serves to keep this country great...it was the working class that won the cold war, not the military. Maybe I'm not in direct threat of my life every day (though when all I could afford was residence in west Philly, it was touch and go sometimes), but neither do the soldiers. Most of the time, soldiers aren't risking their lives, they aren't in a fire fight. Over the last 15 years (that being the time I've been working for a living) what percentage did the average soldier have his life on the line? No, I'm sorry, don't pull some bullshit about me not fighting for my country, not living for my country. Though I know I'll never get any medals for it, I'll never get any recognition for it, and I'll never get the de facto "hero" title for it. I serve this country!

You automatically assume I haven't talked to ex-military personnel...I have. I play a lot of poker, and let me tell you, the poker tables are FULL of ex-military people. I have often asked them why they joined. The most common reason I've heard..."I wanted to get out of *insert town*".

Never once have they said "I joined to serve my country".
(Deleted comment)
nplusmnplusm on November 16th, 2006 07:49 pm (UTC)
Re: actually no
does it matter?

Why does an adult work for a Gas Station?

The money isn't good, but it's still "for the money". The theory that the money has to be good for an action to be done for it is ridiculous.

How many people join the military because there is no industry in their hometown and they don't have a way to make a decent living for their family any other way?

How many people join the military to pay for college?

Think of the appeal for a high school student, who finds themselves with little prospects after graduation, possibly with a kid on the way. Think what the military offers. Training (paid), guaranteed employment, benefits for the family, almost a 100% acceptance rate for high school graduates. All this, but when it comes to why...much better to say "to serve my country".
Lawstlawst on November 16th, 2006 08:52 pm (UTC)
Re: actually no
Well, it sounds like you got the whole cross section of people in the military right there in your school. Oh, and thank you for serving and all your sacrifice.

What would you say if someone told you they joined to serve their country? Would you believe them? Yes, I joined to get out of town too. It was one of a few options I had to get out. I could have also packed up a bag and hitch hiked my way to somewhere else in the country. I also could have moved back in with my parents and gotten a real job making more money. People do that too. BTW, I never said or suggested you didn't serve your country, but please don't tell me of the sacrifices you've made when people like me have had to support a family on soldiers pay which included food stamps, WIC and a second job when I was around to actually hold one down.

Lots of people join the military to pay for college, but they have to live under a rock to assume they'll not see combat. There's going to be a point at which every soldier in the military, especially the Army and Marines, will see combat. Suggesting that the only reason someone has to make that career choice is the money is ludicrous! Again, a full time job at McDonald's pays better and has better benefits. Then there are those who re-up in spite of the poor pay and potential dangers. I suppose that's for the money too, even after they have the training to go out into the civilian job market?

I saw a lot of people who went in to "fuck up arabs" and very few who came out the other end with that still on their minds. Thoughts of revenge can't sustain a person for long in the service and won't get them to reinlist. Most vets will give you a launrdy list of reasons they joined, few I know will list service as chief among them, but it's still there. The money isn't good enough to justify the potential damage one might face. Those who re-inlist do so knowing what htey might face and how small the paycheck is. They don't do it for medals, they don't do it to be heroes, they don't do it for the recognition.

You can't speak from experience because the only experience you have is that narrow view of what you saw in highschool. You haven't had to work side by side with soldiers. You haven't spent time in a barracks or in the field. You haven't had to be sent away from your family not knowing if you'll ever see them again or struggle to feed them when you could be holding down a better job for more pay. Lucky you. So how is it that you seem to think you know what it's all about? From watching the news? From observing a small cross-section of guys from your school? War movies? Talking to some vets who I know won't tell you the whole story because you won't get it? You have no clue because you haven't lived it. Not all the reading in the world can give a person any idea of what it's about.