Q: What is the 6th Commandment?
This weekend I watched a documentary DVD, The Ground Truth. The DVD is a collection of interviews with former soldiers, sailors and marines who were active recently in Iraq. Here is what I learned from watching the DVD.
- Killing another human being is hard thing for a person to do.
- One of the goals of Basic Training is to overcome the human safeguard not to kill.
- Basic Training is so good at overcoming the safeguard not to kill that by the time an enlisted man or woman gets to Iraq, he or she wants to kill. Sort of like the dynamic of practicing the piano a lot. By concert time, you want to play; you really, really, really want to play.
- The current opposing combatants in Iraq are not uniformed soldiers, but civilians with guns.
- There are a lot of guns in Iraq.
- Iraq is one big combat zone in which soldiers, sailors and marines live on the edge, considering any and every Iraqi that they encounter to be life threatening.
- Our military is killing a lot of civilians. Some are combatants. Many are not. This number includes a lot of women and children.
- Most times killing civilians is a response to a perceived threat. Incidents of recreational killing, killing for fun, have been reported.
- Many American soldiers, sailors and marines are coming back from Iraq physically and emotionally broken. Body armor technology has improved dramatically. Wounds that would have been fatal in the Viet Nam era now result in the loss of a hand, arm, leg or eye. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is rampant.
- Suicide among in country and returning military personnel as well as Iraq era veterans is on the rise.
But, more troubling is that the stupidity of our foreign policy is practically guaranteeing future violence on American soil. These people are not stupid or docile. They too are People of The Book. They know all about an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
Imagine what the people who live in Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Palestine think after watching footage on Al Jazeera or YouTube of American troops killing civilians. Imagine watching the footage every night. Just as America wants revenge for 9/11, they will want revenge for Iraq. Don't doubt it for a moment.
Our government has done a horrible, horrible thing in Iraq and a horrible, horrible thing to the American men and women in uniform. Our military volunteers were sold a bill of goods that advertised an opportunity for experience, service and a few bucks for college. In return they were delivered a baited and switched package that brainwashed the sons and daughters of America into that which they most despised--invading killers.
And in turn, our nation is now viewed as that which we most despise.
I am beginning to lose sleep. I hope that our leadership is too.