A perspective on soldiers "that may not be agreeable to many people."


thinking hard

The Los Angeles Times Calendar section prints letters every Sunday in their actual hands-on, papery newspaper, the one I get every morning. Unfortunately, they do not post them online. So, no link for you (apologies to Seinfeld's "soup Nazi")!

However, I will transcribe one controversial letter that was worthy of note. It's a tough one to read, partly because of the many painful truths it lays bare, and partly because our instincts (and the media) tell us to "support our troops" no matter how we may feel about war, necessary or unnecessary, legitimate of fraudulent. Most of us do support the individuals, just not necessarily what they are often sent to do on our behalf. This letter prods us to analyze more deeply the people who wear the uniform.

Additionally, the author advances the "nobody sign up as soldiers" notion which would leave us to wonder how we would defend ourselves as a nation. But still, his points are as clear as they are compelling.

Agree or disagree, this one makes you think:

Jake Tapper offers that "we, as a society, in no small way caused this pain and inflicted these scars" [For Soldiers, a Postwar Battle Within," Oct. 6]. As moving and empathetic and noble as these sentiments are, his article fails, as with most articles of this genre, to consider a different, darker, hush-hush perspective of soldiers:

Regardless of why they volunteered for the military, they were of an age and maturity to know what they were getting themselves into, they had the same access as anyone else in this society as to why we went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they certainly had access to other soldiers who had come home in less than mint condition to know that was was indeed "hell" and not just about cowboys and Indians.

In other words, dare I say that these soldiers have no one to blame but themselves? That all they are, are pawns of a government controlled by corporate greed and dealers of weapons of mass destruction (and further attested to by their negative treatment by the government that used them after they came home), and they bought into it because of their failure to use common critical thinking skills? Or because, under the guise and lies of patriotism, they just wanted to kick somebody's ass because they're young and aggressive and didn't know how else to channel their emotions in a more constructive way?

Of course I espouse a perspective that may not be agreeable to many people and many may think of me as heartless, but this is the truth as I see it, and somebody's got to state it.

In other words, if nobody signed up as soldiers, then maybe there wouldn't be any war and our society would begin to transform itself for the better.

Hewitt Morris

Fullerton, CA