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Author Topic: Thoughts on a visit to West point
Snaggy

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Icon 3 posted May 05, 2004 22:25      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I received this from a friend of mine, and I thought more people should read it...

-Snaggy

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I spent the entire day yesterday at West Point. Out of politeness to my gracious host I did not bring up the subject of Iraq while there.

I met some of the finest college kids I have ever known. They were very young and very upstanding. I saw senior projects that deserved acclaim, and research projects also. I met many outstanding faculty members. Every one of them seemed like a friend I know who attended West Point and whom I respect more than almost any other individual. I have made hundreds of appearances, and this has become the most memorable of all, for the quality of the people there.


At one point, my [main] human host tried to get me to have a drink and rest in some private place. I did not need any privacy, but he was persistent that it would be better. Eventually we went into a quiet area. Guardedly at first, he opened up his thoughts that very wrong things were being done in and regarding Iraq. He expressed that leaders of our country were saying things that were total bullshit and not close to what was needed by even the soldiers over there, for the sake of politics. He expressed a view that what was happening was very wrong and that Rumsfeld was the main reason. He reiterated many of the well known points in the article below. I was surprised that in the bowels of the military, the truth is seen and accepted.

I, as a guest of West Point, politely pointed out that I was respectful of them and that it was their duty to follow orders and that they were not to blame if the actions were wrong. He responded that they DID teach the cadets to think about what's right and what's wrong. I was very struck by this. It was striking to hear such good talk from such respectful people in this country.


If he was saying these things, surely many around him are as well. I had a rush of sadness, and tears, because I had met so many fine young people there who did not have aggressive, assertive, macho attitudes as fit the stereotype we formulate of West Point cadets. They were more respectful and trustable than almost any young people whom I have ever met. I was honored to be able to talk with them and watch exercises with them and sit with them in the mess. It saddened me that many of them would be in Iraq after the school year is over.

Not a single person this good, not even one, should die for a pack of lies.

Posts: 8162 | From: Canada | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Drazgal
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Icon 1 posted May 06, 2004 04:14      Profile for Drazgal   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Snaggy:
I, as a guest of West Point, politely pointed out that I was respectful of them and that it was their duty to follow orders and that they were not to blame if the actions were wrong.

Ive been thinking about this sort of thing recently. Many people on a different forum who are millitary or ex millitary seem to have the view that their duty is to follow the orders of the millitary/government that commands the millitary. Where as Ive been thinking that a soilders duty should be to the country first and the millitary second.

Granted I don't know what oaths they are asked to swear so I may be off the mark here. Also in an actual firefight reacting to orders without question is probably the best way to avoid getting yourself and your squadmates killed.

However orders from above are not an excuse for the individual. Though I think it goes further than that.

Many just blame Bush and Blair for this war, possible some other high ranking officials. Should soliders be blamed for not refusing to go to a war that would not be in their countries best interests? Should the population be blamed aswell for not doing enough to stop us from going to war? How far should blame be taken, even if you did attend the peace marches, could there have been more to do? Can a solider be blamed for following the order to go to war, if not then can they be blamed for the actions in the war?

No real point I suppose, plus the blame is alittle pointless now compared to the issue of how to resolve the conflict with the least loss of life for all sides.

Posts: 154 | From: Dundee, United Kingdom | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Callipygous
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
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Icon 1 posted May 06, 2004 05:50      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Curiously Drazgal, the governments who command these armies do not look kindly on soldiers following these sound moral precepts. They call them deserters. The only limits are those imposed internationally, where "just obeying orders" is no defence for an accusation of war crimes. But you must see that it wouldn't be a very effective army if you had to convince everyone in it of the political and moral case for what you propose before deploying them.

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

Posts: 2922 | From: Brighton - UK | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Flashfire
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Icon 1 posted May 06, 2004 11:25      Profile for Flashfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thank you, Snaggy, for sharing such a thought-provoking and well-written essay. I'm so glad someone was finally able to provide a counter to the "if you don't support the war, you don't support the troops" argument.

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"No silicon heaven? That's absurd!
Where would all the calculators go?"
--Kryten, Red Dwarf
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My Web Comic: NSTA: Semper Vigilantis

Posts: 368 | From: State of Denial | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cap'n Vic

Member # 1477

Icon 2 posted May 06, 2004 11:44      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Flashfire:
Thank you, Snaggy, for sharing such a thought-provoking and well-written essay. I'm so glad someone was finally able to provide a counter to the "if you don't support the war, you don't support the troops" argument.

'cept these troops of course.
Posts: 5471 | From: One of the drones from sector 7G | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted May 06, 2004 15:56      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Cap'n Vic:
quote:
Originally posted by Flashfire:
Thank you, Snaggy, for sharing such a thought-provoking and well-written essay. I'm so glad someone was finally able to provide a counter to the "if you don't support the war, you don't support the troops" argument.

'cept these troops of course.
And they're just the photos that can be published.
We're not likely to ever see the photo of the CIA interrogator raping a teenage Iraqi boy, child-pornography laws and all that.

I'm stll waiting for them to publish these pictures [evil]

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

Posts: 10701 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Cap'n Vic

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Icon 1 posted May 06, 2004 16:13      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Even scarier:

These 'soldiers' thought it was cool enough to take pictures of these sick events and even mug for the camera like they were sitting down for Christmas dinner in front of a big ol' turkey. It is like it is acceptable within their culture. Imagine the stuff that these soldiers are afraid to take pictures of.

I remember back in GW-1 when CNN showed press briefings with Norman Schwartkoff. He was showing video of smart bombs being lobbed into buildings. The General was cracking jokes and the press was snickering like school girls. I was watching thinking: Um, you do realize people are getting killed down there?

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(!) (T) = 8-D

Posts: 5471 | From: One of the drones from sector 7G | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
GMx

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Icon 1 posted May 06, 2004 16:15      Profile for GMx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Maybe they should rename the prison Porky's.
Posts: 5855 | From: S-4, Area 51 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted May 06, 2004 17:07      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Cap'n Vic:
Even scarier:

These 'soldiers' thought it was cool enough to take pictures of these sick events and even mug for the camera like they were sitting down for Christmas dinner in front of a big ol' turkey. It is like it is acceptable within their culture. Imagine the stuff that these soldiers are afraid to take pictures of.

Not just that, but someone made a compilation CD and it was being handed around freely, sort of a 'Gulf War Gag Reel'. These people clearly had no fear of ever being called to account for their actions, which is what you'd expect if the orders came from much higher up.

/me notes with interest that while the Reservist in charge of the whole prison system has been relieved of her duties, the Military Intelligence (pardon the oxymoron) officer in charge of interrogation at the prison has not.

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

Posts: 10701 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
littlefish
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Icon 1 posted May 07, 2004 13:58      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm disgustd by the punishment too. These people are getting dishonorable discharges. They should be in prison.
Posts: 2421 | From: That London | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted May 07, 2004 16:20      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by littlefish:
I'm disgustd by the punishment too. These people are getting dishonorable discharges. They should be in prison.

Well, technically, they already were in prison.
In fact, by committing torture and murder, they got thrown out of prison.

In some alternate universe, that all makes sense.

--------------------
If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

Posts: 10701 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged


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