Contrasting views on the war in Iraq from Russ Vaughn, 2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, and Chris Hedges, a reporter for the New York Times for two decades and author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.
First, Vaughn in a poem he sent to someone I know:
You media pansies may squeal and may squirm,
But a fighting man knows that the way to confirm
That some jihadist bastard is truly dead,
Is a brain-tappin' round fired into his head.
To hell with some wienie with his journalist degree
Safe away from the combat, tryin' to tell me
I should check him for breathing, examine his eyes.
Nope, I'm punchin' his ticket to Muj paradise.
To hell with you wimps from your Ivy League schools,
Sittin' far from the war tellin' me about rules.
And preaching to me your wrong-headed contention
That I should observe the Geneva Convention,
Which doesn't apply to a terrorist scum
So evil and cruel their own people run from,
Cold-blooded killers who love to behead,
Shove that mother' Geneva, I'm leaving em dead.
You slick talkingheads may preach, preen and prattle,
But you're damn well not here in the thick of the battle.
It's chaotic, confusing. It all comes at you fast,
So it's Muj checking out because I'm going to last.
Yeah, I'll last through this fight and send his ass away
To his fat ugly virgins while I'm still in play.
If you journalist wienies think that's cold, cruel and crass,
Then pucker up sweeties. Kiss a fighting man's ass.
Then an extract from Hedges review of Generation Kill by Evan Wright and The Fall of Baghdad by Jon Lee Anderson (New York Review, 16 Dec - full review herehttp://www.nybooks.com/articles/17630):
The vanquished know the essence of war—death. They grasp that war is necrophilia. They see that war is a state of almost pure sin with its goals of hatred and destruction. They know how war fosters alienation, leads inevitably to nihilism, and is a turning away from the sanctity and preservation of life. All other narratives about war too easily fall prey to the allure and seductiveness of violence, as well as the attraction of the godlike power that comes with the license to kill with impunity.
But the words of the vanquished come later, sometimes long after the war, when grown men and women unpack the suffering they endured as children, what it was like to see their mother or father killed or taken away, or what it was like to lose their homes, their community, their security, and be discarded as human refuse. But by then few listen. The truth about war comes out, but usually too late. We are assured by the war-makers that these stories have no bearing on the glorious violent enterprise the nation is about to inaugurate. And, lapping up the myth of war and its sense of empowerment, we prefer not to look.
...There are moments when war's face appears to...voyeurs and killers, perhaps from the back seat of a car where a small child, her brains oozing out of her head, lies dying, but mostly it remains hidden. And the books on the war in Iraq have to be viewed, through no fault of the reporters, as lacking the sweep and depth that will come one day, perhaps years from now, when a small Iraqi boy or girl reaches adulthood and unfolds for us the sad and tragic story of the invasion and bloody occupation of their nation.