Sunday, May 28, 2006

War Makes Criminals

One must always be wary of comparisons to the Nazi atrocities. But I got a chill when I read the recent remarks of U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Michael Hagee . He was commenting on the slaughter of unarmed Iraqi civilians by his own troops. Reading his words, I couldn’t help but remember a 1943 speech by Heinrich Himmler , head of the SS.

This is what Himmler said 63 years ago: “Most of you must know what it means when one hundred corpses are lying side by side, or 500 or 1,000. To have stuck it out and at the same time — apart from exceptions caused by human weakness — to have remained decent fellows, that is what has made us hard.”

This is what Hagee said the other day: “When engaged in combat, particularly in the kind of counterinsurgency operations we’re involved in now, we have to be doubly on guard. Many of our Marines have been involved in life or death combat or have witnessed the loss of their fellow Marines, and the effects of these events can be numbing. There is the risk of becoming indifferent to the loss of a human life, as well as bringing dishonor upon ourselves.”

— Gregory Flannery


  • I happened to helicopter low over the village of My Lai in Vietnam as a 1stLt Marine infantry, a little more than a year after the massacre. I still recall my sense of shame and outrage.

    Gregory Flannery, you have perfect timing proclaiming "War Makes Criminals" on Memorial Day weekend, but I'm with you in admitting the truth.

    If one thinks on it, how could it be otherwise? War is not the answer. Never was. Never will be.

    By Anonymous david gallaher, at 7:40 PM  

  • War only breeds more violence. Short term goals are accomplished, but what do we win in the long run?

    By Anonymous Natasha, at 10:36 AM  

  • A Tree of Hope

    My brother is building a tree,
    he wants the world to see,
    the cost of war on every leaf,
    and leafs keep multiplying,
    two more American dead,
    on Memorial Day.

    It makes me think,
    why is war never a memory,
    only the living dying for what,
    hurt that brings only more hurt,
    then walls are built,
    and we bury our young,
    stupid are we, humans beings,
    a coalition of mistakes to be made.

    I knew a man that my brother loved,
    he had no legs… only stumps,
    and he wheeled around in a chair,
    on the Southside of Chicago,
    and I would see him now and again,
    paha-ing round a corner or bend,
    or in line at the store behind 84th street,
    I never said much to him or him to me,
    but I do remember him laughing once,
    at a little sister's party,
    laughing so free and hearty,
    at my brother that’s building that tree,
    and I think of every single leaf,
    and I wonder if there will be one for him,
    one that should hold no name and last,
    for it holds the name of those,
    of those who died before this war ever came,
    and those who die here and now in this war,
    and after this war ever came to be,
    my brother’s building a tree,
    one for all the world to see.

    That is what the tree means to me.

    Taken from: Finding Bellarmine...


    By Anonymous Peter Deane, at 12:42 PM  

  • I happened to catch a piece of morning deejay commentary on my way to work. Granted, it was 97.3 - not exactly high-brow political discussion, but I literally trembled at their dangerously one-sided take on this issue. They thought it in poor taste to so much as investigate soldiers' misuse of power in wartime (I personally don't want dust-settled mentality to rob offenders of the punishment they deserve - I say what better time than the present?). The radio personalities are also afraid that "these types of witch hunts" cause soldiers to hesitate before they shoot. Imagine that - a given choice to kill or not to kill. That's a luxury not afforded to unarmed civilians. I'm at a loss.

    By Blogger Hannah, at 2:22 PM  

  • All along, I've had this quote on top of my stack of papers here by the keypad:
    "... war, though it kills many men, makes many more men evil."--Fritz Medicus

    By Anonymous david gallaher, at 9:16 PM  

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