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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
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.