Friday, February 22, 2008

'I Love the Army But I Can't Be Quiet Anymore'

A growing number of active duty soldiers at Fort Hood are speaking out against the seemingly endless war in Iraq and have started their own chapter of IVAW, Iraq Veterans Against the War, a growing national veterans' movement, whose website is

This war has already lasted longer than World War II and has cost almost as much in terms of real dollars, and will definitely surpass that amount at some point. That is hard to believe, that the sinkhole of Iraq could cost more than defeating both the Japanese Empire and the Third Reich, two real and powerful threats with real armies, navies and air forces, and millions of men to fill their ranks. But two things in particular are different now. One is that the war is heavily "privatized", that is, left exposed to all the predations of corporate greed and corruption, which has been monumental. The other factor is that in WWII we were fighting real, tangible entities. In Iraq, we are fighting an archetype, which scatters with the sunrays and moonbeams daily. The archetypal terrorist is here, there, everywhere, phantomlike, possessed of magical powers and the quintessential embodiment of evil.

Not that we aren't killing a lot of people, but they are largely the Devil du Jour, one day a Sunni fighter when we are against Sunnis, the next day a Shiite when we are against Shiites, and sometimes we're against both at the same time. Then there is al Qaeda in Iraq, with which label we often tar whomever we're feeling hostile to that week, because that is the ultimate demonization tag, making it easier to rationalize killing whomever. But they don't seem to want to go away either, al Qaeda in Iraq, even though we keep announcing that we've decapitated the leadership.

On the collective subconscious level, we are fighting demons in our own heads.

When the smoke and dust from bombs has settled and the blood has dried, far from being able to say that this has brought us a step closer to "Tokyo" or "Berlin", we often find that, shit, we just bombed someone's house and turned another family, community or village against us, a few more young or old men swearing blood vengeance against us, for you see an archetype comes out of our heads, and is projected onto flesh and blood people who bear no resemblence to our mental concept of them and naturally resent being shot at, tortured, pillaged or raped. So they fight back, actively, passively, covertly, whatever. A violent occupation by nature sows the seeds of its own undoing over time.

After a half a trillion dollars spent, at least, on what was supposed to be a low-cost cakewalk, with hundreds of thousands dead, this should be obvious, but it isn't to a large section of the population and ruling class in America who perceive reality in terms of ideology, archetypes and collective egotism, "us against them" to the end of time.

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