Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Local "Heroes"

Two days after learning that a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier murdered 16 Afghan civilians, we have a report that another JBLM soldier--a lieutenant colonel, no less--was arrested after threatening to bomb the Washington state capitol building here in Olympia and hire a hit man to kill his wife. I want to think things can't get worse but with this clusterfuck of a war I'd be a fool to think that.

Most soldiers don't do this shit but the string of "isolated incidents" seems to be getting awfully long. I'm beginning to think that the US Army is breaking down. Certainly the parade of traumatized vets I see at Coffee Strong would seem to suggest that.

Forty years ago, the US ended the draft in favor of a volunteer military because military leaders saw that an unpopular and seemingly endless war lead to a pretty much complete breakdown of Army discipline. That breakdown was fully evident during my year in Vietnam. They thought a volunteer professional Army would be immune.

Ten years of pointless war in Iraq and Afghanistan shows how wrong they were. This time the breakdown is not so much rebellion as it is sheer inability of human beings to cylce in and out of a meat grinder. The Coffee Strong statement says it all:
In 10 years of war, JBLM has produced a Kill Team, suicide epidemic, denials of PTSD treatment, denials of human rights in the Brig, spousal abuse and a waterboarded daughter, murders of civilians (including a park ranger), increased sex crimes, substance abuse, DUIs, police shootings of GIs, police violence toward protesters, differential treatment of GIs, and much more. These abuses are not because of a few bad apples, but because of the base’s systematic dehumanization of soldiers and civilians, both in occupied countries and at home.

Here in the south Puget Sound area we get to see the war's aftermath up close.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home