A U.S. soldier takes issue with a “false and cowardly article spreading foolish nonsense” that I wrote a few years ago.
I call him a soldier because he describes himself in these terms: “I have been on 3 deployments, am a Reservist, been on Active duty before.”
The unnamed article of mine he describes as: “Your 2009 article on Christian Man Why they should NOT join the military.”
His comments are in a word, dumb; and in two words, really dumb.
Yet, the soldier’s comments surprised me. Most of the time that I receive dumb, rambling, grammatically challenged comments like his it is not from someone in the military. In spite of all the negative things I write about the military, most of the e-mails I receive from veterans and active-duty military personnel are favorable to my anti-war, anti-empire viewpoint. And especially from those men who were drafted and/or duped into going to Vietnam. It is usually armchair warriors, red-state fascists, warvangelicals, reich-wing nationalists, bloodthirsty conservatives, war-crazed Republicans, and God and country Christian bumpkins who have never been in the military themselves that write me the dumb, rambling, grammatically challenged e-mails, many of which are rambling, a number of which are filthy, many of which are incoherent, some of which are vile, and a few of which threaten to do me bodily harm. This soldier who just wrote to me is an embarrassment to everyone in the military. If these are the kind of people that are supposedly defending our freedoms, then we are in trouble.
I have selected seven of this soldier’s statements for comment because, with one exception, they express opinions—erroneous and dangerous opinions that reek of rotten baloney—that still linger in some circles even after the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan. I will not subject this soldier to ridicule that would certainly overflow his inbox if I gave out his name and e-mail address.
Here are the seven items (please excuse his grammar):
1. You know Mr. Vance it is examples such as your’s that prove time in and again WHY the service of our brave man and women that do wear that uniform and serve our country for you to have the very freedom to spew the ridiculous, mis-informed, downright false, bigoted, anti-military/anti-american rhetoric.
2. SO what do you propose? Allow terrorists and extremists to fly planes into building and send them a fruit and cheese basket with a THANK YOU card?? Sure that will work out just fine.
3. FREEDOM IS NOT FREE my friend, it is bought and paid for with the blood of brave women and men that die for it and as for the coward that you quoted that he did not think for himself, that won the medal of honor that is either something he/you made up or he is a coward.
4. Don’t be cowardly and rattle off about something you know nothing about first-hand because you have not served. If you TALK THE TALK you should have WALKED THE WALK to have first hand knowledge not just “cherry-picking” as you so choose to do.
5. If everyone had your opinion during World War II we would be speaking German right now!!!
6. I serve so you have the right to even say what you have as many others that have served and bravely fought for our very FREEDOMS.
7. My Bible does not say God will condemn them for killing if they are in a War.
And here are my brief comments.
1. U.S. military personnel are not brave and neither do they serve the country. Yes, I know that sounds shocking, disrespectable, and ungrateful, but I stand by every word. Members of the military may serve the government, they may serve the president, they may serve themselves, but they certainly don’t serve the country. How does traveling thousands of miles away and fighting against people that were no threat to the United States and never harmed an American until his country was invaded and occupied serve the country? And how can anything done in an unjust and immoral war be considered an act of bravery? We don’t call members of the Mafia brave for protecting those in their own “family” while they murder members of other “families.”
2. What do I propose? How about a foreign policy of peace, neutrality, and nonintervention so terrorists and extremists don’t want to fly planes into buildings? How about trading fruit and cheese baskets with them instead of meddling in their countries? That would certainly cut down on blowback. Fruit, cheese baskets, and thank you cards would have been just fine compared to how the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan have worked out. Why don’t you ask the widows and orphans of U.S. servicemen if they had rather that we sent fruit, cheese baskets, and thank you cards instead of launch two senseless wars that unnecessarily killed their husbands and fathers?
3. The “coward” that I “made up” was Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler (1881-1940). The one who at the time of his death was the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. The one who received the Medal of Honor twice. The one who wrote War Is a Racket. The one who proposed an “Amendment for Peace.” The namesake of the USS Butler. The namesake of Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler. Some coward.
4. Without fail, I get this every time I write something about war or the military. The idea is that I couldn’t possibly know anything about the military because I have never “served.” Thank God I have never been in the military. I have never destroyed a country’s industry and infrastructure that was no threat to the United States, fought an unjust war of aggression, or forty-five other things that I mentioned in my article “No, I Have Never Been in the Military.”
5. This is one of the lamest justifications for the U.S. military and its unjust wars that has ever been uttered. First of all, what happened in World War II has absolutely no bearing on whether Americans should join the military now. As I have pointed out, since World War II, the U.S. military has functioned as the president’s personal attack force ready to obey his latest command to bomb, invade, occupy, and otherwise bring death and destruction to any country he deems necessary. And second, this soldier would have us believe, first of all, that Germany, which couldn’t cross the English Channel and conquer England, could have crossed the Atlantic Ocean and conquered America; and second, that Germany, which conquered France and didn’t force the French to speak German, would have conquered America and forced Americans to speak German. It was our ally in World War II—Russia under the murderous Stalin—that is known in history for trying to make the people it conquered speak another language.
6. No one is serving in the military to protect my right to say what I have. No one in the military fought in Iraq or Afghanistan for “our very freedoms.” The latter presupposes that there are countries in the world that are trying to take away our freedoms. What freedoms might that be? It is the U.S. government that has been steadily eroding our freedoms since the ink on the Constitution was dry. It is the U.S. government that we need to be concerned about, not some foreign “enemy.” The former presupposes, not only that there are people in the world who want to infringe upon my right to say what I have, but also that there are people in the world who even care enough about what I say to try to stop me from saying it. Again, it is the U.S. government that we need to be concerned about. After all, it is the U.S. government that is listening to and reading everything that Americans say and write. There is no bigger lie ever uttered than “the troops are defending our freedoms.” The troops are standing by while our freedoms are being taken away. Don’t take my word for it. Listen to VMI grad and former Army reservist Jacob Hornberger in “The Troops Don’t Defend Our Freedoms” and “An Open Letter to the Troops: You’re Not Defending Our Freedoms.”
7. This is a dangerous statement if not qualified in some way. It effectively means that in war anything goes, and anything goes in war. But if this is a true statement then Japanese, German, and Italian troops that killed Americans during World War II will suffer no condemnation from God. Therefore, who are we to condemn them? They were just following orders when they killed Americans. Why don’t we posthumously give them medals for bravery? Why don’t we build memorials to them? They are, after all, heroes. And if killing gets a free pass, then what about lesser crimes like rape, mutilation, and torture? How could rapists, mutilators, and torturers possible be condemned for doing something less severe than taking life? Unless, of course, this soldier believes that this lack of condemnation only applies to American soldiers.
I did not write all of this in reply to my soldier critic. My reply was simply this: “I hope you are planning to go to Syria and kill for the military you love so much.” I thought that would be the end of our exchange.
I was wrong:
You cowardly little twit, your foolishness shows you have no spine whatsoever. Our military keeps fools that babble like you safe, you unappreciative fool. I think you see what has happened in Syria, your opinion is we should simply sit idly by and allow people to be massacred. You are far more twisted than what I first thought possible. So what were we supposed to do when the British were here? Cower and let them take over? Silly little man.
This was followed by two more mocking e-mails.
I guess this soldier thinks that if you repeat the lie enough times that the military keeps us safe so we can do thus and so, then it will miraculously become true. And as for Syria, people have been massacred there for the last two years. Why all of a sudden now should the United States intervene? Why is it that a few hundred or a few thousand killed by gas is considered so much worse than 100,000 people killed by bullets? This soldier’s statement about the British being here is a first for me: justifying current U.S. foreign military interventions because Americans fought the British in the Revolutionary War.
Are U.S. soldiers really this dumb? Let’s hope not. Soldiers this dumb are dangerous. They are the ones who will gladly make widows and orphans on demand for the state—in the name of fighting terrorism and defending our freedoms, of course. Let’s hope they are not as dangerous as they are dumb.