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

  • Most of these soldiers were signed up by recruiters, who are professional soldiers assigned specifically to the task and highly trained to make the military mission sound glamorous, adventurous, and patriotic, to hype the benefits that will accrue to persons who have served in the military, and to minimize the risks and dangers of serving.

    So, did they really "know what they were getting into?" For the most part, no, they most certainly did not. I will guarantee that not one single one of them knew about the "stop loss" policy.

  • Ahhh! I'm so bad at those! Thanks!

  • The Webcast Guru

    YMMV= Your Mileage May Vary...:)
    Thanks for the article. I do appreciate it.

  • What does YMMV mean please?

    Yes, appreciated. That's why I called the letter controversial, and the author referred to it as "disagreeable."

    Your response was one reason I posted it. I was fascinated by the entire "take" and wondered how people would respond. Thanks for yours.

  • The Webcast Guru

    This response is to the writer of the letter, not to the diarist.

    I recently completed a course which focused on the Holocaust.

    One of the most signicant (and most often occurring) statements of the victims of that tragedy had to do with the expected reality versus the realized facts.

    If the writer is a multi-tour active duty solder or veteran, then the writer gets a pass for overemotional BS. If the writer is NOT a multi (or even single) tour solder or veteran, the writer is doing a malicious mis-service to everyone ever to wear the uniform of the United States military.

    Yes, there is direct correlation between the two topics, and they both are extremely relevant to the issues the writer brings forward. There is absolutely NO way to anticipate or understand beforehand what being in a combat zone is going to be like. Got it? It's not a different reality. It is a different universe. If you haven't traveled its roads, you don't much get to critique the journey. If you have, you would NEVER say such things...at all. You would know that such delusional infantile drivel is nothing more than a blatant attempt to render irrelevant the sufferings of others, in ways you will never hope to possibly understand. The likelihood is great that you know no one who has traveled such a road--at all!

    Such a journey is not possible to be shown via Travelogue. Writing about such an experience is only tangential, inconsequential fluff. A witness, or survivor of such travail is one you can literally tell from a distance. They have been to a place not designed for human habitation, specifically. We aren't supposed to be there in the first place. There are different physical, emotional, spiritual, health and environmental laws in such a place, and the difference is too wide a gap to breach. Period. ANd, I would dare to add, there is no hero of such a journey that I have EVER met who enjoyed it, or relished the thought of a return to it. To then artificially presume to speak for them in such a manner as to indicate that they are, in fact the cause of the journey being taken is obscene in some glaringly unspeakable degrees. Period.