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‘Death and After in Iraq’

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Posted on Mar 21, 2011
AP / Cpl. Daniel J. Redding

An ambulance loaded with injured troops. The less fortunate—those who die—end up in the care of fellow servicemen and -women who have to carry out gruesome work while struggling to hold on to their own sanity.

By Chris Hedges

A reading of this piece by classically trained actor and Truthdig contributor Eunice Wong aired on Truthdig Radio and can be found here.

* * *

Jess Goodell enlisted in the Marines immediately after she graduated from high school in 2001. She volunteered three years later to serve in the Marine Corps’ first officially declared Mortuary Affairs unit, at Camp Al Taqaddum in Iraq. Her job, for eight months, was to collect and catalog the bodies and personal effects of dead Marines. She put the remains of young Marines in body bags and placed the bags in metal boxes. Before being shipped to Dover Air Force Base, the boxes were stored, often for days, in a refrigerated unit known as a “reefer.” The work she did was called “processing.”

“We went through everything,” she said when I reached her by phone in Buffalo, N.Y., where she is about to become a student in a Ph.D. program in counseling at the University of Buffalo. “We would get everything that the body had on it when the Marine died. Everyone had a copy of The Rules of Engagement in their left breast pocket. You found notes that people had written to each other. You found lists. Lists were common, the things they wanted to do when they got home or food they wanted to eat. The most difficult was pictures. Everyone had a picture of their wife or their kids or their family. And then you had the younger kids who might be 18 years old and they had prom pictures or pictures next to what I imagine were their first cars. Everyone had a spoon in their flak jacket. There were pens and trash and wrappers and MRE food. All of it would get sent back [to the Marines’ homes].

“We all had the idea that at any point this could be us on the table,” she said. “I think Marines thought that we went over there to die. And so people wrote letters saying ‘If I die I want you to know I love you.’ ‘I want my car to go to my younger brother.’ Things like that. They carried those letters on their bodies. We had a Marine that we processed and going through his wallet he had a picture of a sonogram of a fetus his wife had sent him. And a lot of Marines had tattooed their vital information under an armpit. It was called a meat tag.”

The unit processed about half a dozen suicides. The suicide notes, she said, almost always cited hazing. Women, she said, were constantly harassed, especially sexually, but it often did not match the systematic punishment and humiliation meted out to men who were deemed to be inadequate Marines. She said that Marines who were overweight or unable to do the physical training were subjected to withering verbal and physical abuse. They were called “fat nasties” and “shit bags.” The harassed Marines would be assigned to other individual Marines and become their slaves. They would be sent on punishing runs in which many of them vomited. They would be forced to bear-crawl—walk on all fours—the length of a football field and back. This would be followed by sets of monkey fuckers—bending down, grabbing the ankles, crouching down like a baseball catcher and then standing up again—followed by a series of other exercises that went on until the Marines collapsed.

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“They make these Marines do what they call ‘bitch’ work,” Goodell said. “They are assigned to be someone else’s ‘bitch’ for the day. We had a guy in our platoon, not in Iraq but in California, and he was overweight. He was on remedial PT, which meant he went to extra physical training. When he came to work he was rotated. One day he was with this corporal or this sergeant. One day he was sent to me. I had him for an hour. I remember sending him outside and making him carry things. It was very common for them to dig a hole and fill it back up with sand or carry sandbags up to the top of a hill and then carry them down again.”

The unit was sent to collect the bodies of the Marines who killed themselves, usually by putting rifles under their chins and pulling the trigger.

“We had a Marine who was in a port-a-john when he blew his face off,” she said. “We had another Marine who shot himself through the neck. Often they would do it in the corner of a bunker or an abandoned building. We had a couple that did it in port-a-johns. We had to go in and peel and pull off chunks of flesh and brain tissue that had sprayed the walls. Those were the most frustrating bodies to get. On those bodies we were also on cleanup crew. It was gross. We sent the suicide notes home with the bodies.

“We had the paperwork to do fingerprinting, but we started getting bodies in which there weren’t any hands or we would get bodies that were just meat,” said Goodell, who in May will publish a memoir called “Shade It Black: Death and After in Iraq.” The book title refers to the form that required those in the mortuary unit to shade in black the body parts that were missing from a corpse. “Very quickly it became irrelevant to have a fingerprinting page to fill out. By the time we would get a body it might have been a while and rigor mortis had already set in. Their hands were usually clenched as if they were still holding their rifle. We could not unbend the fingers easily.”


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By Jason Pacifico, March 24, 2011 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

What happened to the intial title of this article: “The Body Baggers of Iraq” why was it changed??? was it per commentary on souls, “wallking w/ Freud,” suicides and not “killing moms, dads and their 2.3 kids,”  and “not walking with Freud,” but walking to into the IUD intsead?

Censorship and the new “Corpoarte State” media (are the Government and progressives) are synonymous? Oh, I sure you saying it doesn’t count if we were bought by Rochefeller! (Gods). The Nazi were saying the same (of Rothschilds), ask your’ve mentor Noam Chomsky on “I am Enlightened” class (no too…) but not Jason Pacifico

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By Jason Pacifico, March 24, 2011 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

What happened to the intial title of this article: The Body Baggers of Iraq…” why was it changed??? was it per commentary on souls, “wallking w/ Freud,” suicides and not “killing moms, dads and their 2.3 kids,”  and “not walking with Freud,” but walking to into the IUD intsead?

Censorship and the new “Corpoarte State” media (are the Government and progressives) are synonymous.
Oh, I sure you saying it doesn’t count if we were bought by Rochefeller! (Gods). The Nazi were saying the same (of Rothschilds), ask your’ve mentor Noam Chomsky on “I am Enlightened” class but not Jason Pacifico

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By marriea, March 24, 2011 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

Sometime I view our military as I view the leaders of our ‘homegrown’ gangbangers and thugs. When I hear folks talking or raging about the actions of people in other countries, I have to wonder ‘what’s the difference’?
Our prapaganda machine is no different,  in fact second to none in programing our soldiers and the public.
We like to put a brave stamp on it, ‘fighting and dying for our country’, but its Bull shits. Really it’s worst than bullshit. Many of these guys, not all, go into the military painted with all these glorified images of pride, but once one’s signature is on the dotted line, your goose is cooked.
You have signed up to be a govermental whore, only with monetary benefits for signing up.
It’s no wonder that the ones who come back in body bags and a sealed coffin have guards. It’s standard procedure, so that relatives won’t have to see what their country is really all about.
And yes indeed, in the final analysis, we are all just a piece of meat. In the case of the people the author described, just plain ordinary road kill.

In the case of Iraq, we were wrong to go there. In Afghanistan, considering that bin Laden is an American operative, why are we there? for the poopy fields. Libya, because what we got caught up in the moment and got carried away with the little guy fighting the big guy and tossing them out?
I think maybe it’s time Ghadafy was overthrown, and perhaps our involement is to level the playing field. But, as a friend mentioned those folks are fighting a tribal war. Indeed that’s the same thing that’s happening in Afghanistan. Considering that Ghadafy is a madman, one of ours incidently, and he would definately pass that madness on to one of his sons and that he would kill all of those who oppose him, yes even though they are like countrymen,  there’s that part of me rooting for the little guy and welcome leveling that playing field. But there’s that other side that says that in countries like that, the end of a ‘leader’ truly has to come from within, Caesar style,  then we shouldn’t interfere.

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By larvadog, March 24, 2011 at 10:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There are just wars and unjust wars. Moral wars and immoral wars. Wars fought against invaders and oppressors can be thought of as “good” in the sense that it is better to fight them than succumb to them. Perhaps a war is best thought of as “good” when it is brought to you, not sought after.

But what of wars fought for others? Wars fought for the weak, who require our assistance to deliver them from the invader or the oppressor? What of those wars?

What of wars of “national interest”? When is it ok to fight a war when there is no imminent threat? Can a nation’s interest be so linked to its security that it justifies military action even if it is not being threatened with attack? Is it justifiable to go to war in support of allies who are threatened?

War is not as black and white as some would have us believe.

For the soldier, sailor, airman, or marine, though, the cause doesn’t matter. It is their lot to fight. Any war, just or unjust, moral or immoral, must be persevered, day to day. Some good must be found, some personal reason for doing what they do, some way to make the unendurable endurable.

It will always be so. We can argue over the details, but in the end we need people like Jess Gooddell. People who are ready to do what our government tells them to do. People who are willing to kill and die for whatever reason we give them. You know it’s true. They are the reason we are here today. Every one of us in the United States, whether we like it or not, enjoy the freedom and liberty fought and died for by people just like Jess. God bless them all.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 24, 2011 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

Thanks, RenZo.

I get tired of people condemning the victims.

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By fearnotruth, March 24, 2011 at 3:29 am Link to this comment

RE: I hope it dawns on some of you that Obama is an extension of Bush,

not sure who you’re addressing here on the TD blog—how many comments have you actually
read?

so-called ‘righties’ (i.e. “he’s a socialist who’s finally been educated in the ways of the world and so
he wisely bombs Libya, just as Reagan did”) notwithstanding…

views range from “he sold us out” to “he was hand-picked, groomed and installed to run left cover
for the globalist hegemonic agenda” - that would be the same agenda for which Bush Jr. was
installed and set up (via the 9/11 coup d’etat) to launch the global war of terror

i.e the heart and soul of the war of aggression to fail all self-determinant nation states standing
between the global finance oligarchical hegemons and their much-needed, precious, dwindling
mineral resources

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By Psychobabbler, March 24, 2011 at 1:45 am Link to this comment

I have never served in the military, but I have been surrounded by enough of it to know how people are pulled into it.

To say that they are drawn to it by blood lust is not based on reality.

I think it is worth considering that in America (maybe not where you live) most people are required to either stick to a script or be excluded by there community. That is a very powerful influence on a young man and lady.

If wanting to get money for college is such an atrocity, then lets just condemn all of us instead of getting bullish with hurt people.

If you were to say that people should be discouraged from joining than that would be a very solution based and helpful suggestion David.

Veterans experience homelessness disproportionately compared to the rest of us, and I think you might be smoking crack sir.

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By Litl Bludot, March 24, 2011 at 12:00 am Link to this comment

I hope it dawns on some of you that Obama is an extension of Bush, that he is more devious, more amoral, and is committing more war crimes, more domestic crimes.

Both Hedges and Nader have said that he is amoral and a con man.

So, this is not Bush’s war any longer, it is the corporate fascists disaster capitalist war, fronted by the current power pimp in office, Obama.

I know it’s difficult for Democrats to understand this, much less have the morality to reject him. Nevertheless, it’s a fact.

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By RenZo, March 23, 2011 at 11:46 pm Link to this comment

@ Inherit The Wind, March 24 at 1:58 am
“Tell that to the 5000 dead and 30,000 horribly (wounded) young Americans and their families who suffered in Bush’s war.”

I am content to say I agree, at least this once, with your eloquent and true statement. Thank you.
(but I don’t know where that quote you reacted to comes from).

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By Inherit The Wind, March 23, 2011 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment

More self-serving bullshit.

If they feel they are in danger—and they are not of course—because US policy is to kill a thousand innocent Iraqis if it will save one US thug—hidden behind their high tech push-button killing machines while they slaughter truly brave men and women fighting for their freedom against the oppression of the US thugs—but if the chickenshits ever really felt in danger then they could simply refuse the pay and quit murdering people.

They do it for the money.  Period.
***************

Tell that to the 5000 dead and 30,000 horribly young Americans and their families who suffered in Bush’s war.

You are no different than the neo-con assholes who pushed for the Iraq war but never served and made damn sure THEIR kids didn’t serve.

Yeah people join the military for money.  Money to pay the rent, to support their families, to send their kid brothers and sisters to school, to get credit money to pay for college.

It’s really easy to sneer at them when YOU have a job and money, but they don’t.  Nobody “HATES” money as much as someone who doesn’t need it.

You are no different than the TeaBaggers who claim people are unemployed because they are just too f***in’ lazy to get off their fat asses and get a job.

No different.  As cold-hearted, close-minded, and factually delinquent and deficient.

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By Drew Sullivan, March 23, 2011 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment

This woman has never made the claim that people should be grateful to her for torturing and murdering Iraqis, in fact quite the contrary. And when she said her job was a necessary one she was speaking from behind the lens a woman in the marines’ mortuary division in Iraq. Certainly she is not claiming that America belongs in Iraq, and one never gets the impression that she is attempting to justify her actions. This is a woman who is trying to come to terms with her sins. By revealing to us her own personal truth she is taking responsibility for her own role in the atrocities. She does not mention dead Iraqis because if you recall her role was to come in and clean up the dead marines, not dead Iraqis. All we can ask of her is her own truth, and if she never cleaned up the bodies of dead Iraqis how can she possibly describe their position? What we can take from her perspective is the fact that nobody wins in war, it is ugly on both sides and it is not as black and white as you seem to think.

Do you truly believe that every single person who goes to war does so for money, or simply to satisfy their own malevolent urges? If that is the case then we are truly doomed as a species, and if that were the case there would not be so many veterans below the poverty line. Soldiers fighting for the U.S. Armed forces make very little money, and when they come back to America they are marginalized both economically and socially. Additionally, if every last soldier is a war monger then why would the military spend as much as they do on advertising and massive propaganda campaigns? Why wouldn’t they just call to arms every insane psychotic individual that has ever wanted to kill another human being? If every soldier fit your description they would surely have no trouble rallying a massive force of killing machines at little to no cost.

Nobody here believes that this country belongs in Iraq. We have here a woman speaking out against the war by painting for us a picture of her own horrifying experience in vivid detail. What more can we ask of her? Just what do you want DavidByron? Would you ask that she remain silent?

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By DavidByron, March 23, 2011 at 7:30 pm Link to this comment

I don’t see anyone here apart from me saying war debased her.  I see plenty of people saying she is a “beautiful soul” or whatever.  She herself stated that her job as a marine (ie mass murder) was a necessary one and that people should be grateful for her torturing and murdering Iraqis.

Progressives promote war by telling young people that they will be heroes (or “victims” for the women I guess) if they murder people for money.

You are the people who keep the myths and lies about war going by calling thugs heroes.  I have never seen an article by hedges that talked about the real victims of the Iraq war, but I have seen plenty praising the bloody handed killers and pretending they are heroes for acting like fiends.

You say the youth are lied to?  Well you’re the ones doing the lying.

But of course these adults are not so stupid as you pretend nor are their peers who refuse to take the kings shilling so immoral as you pretend.  Everyone knows killing is wrong and these young adults are no different.  Not one of them would have the slightest doubt about the morality of another country sending soldiers to America and doing what the US does in Iraq.  In fact for most Iraq is about revenge for 9-11 not “helping Iraqis”—what an absurd and obvious lie that is.  but regardless of other motivation the real motivation is money.  Paid thugs.  killer’s for hire.

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By RayLan, March 23, 2011 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

DavidByron
“But progressives have no human compassion for the real victims of war at all. “
Chris Hedges is showing compassion for all those involved, including the soldiers. They are victims in their youth, impressionability and circumstance, buying into the nationalistic propaganda about sainted American exceptionalism. Chris has previously written at length about the Iraqi victims. This article is about how war debases rather than enobles the recruits. That message comes in loud and clear. All the mythology about American Greatness and Democracy Promotion evaporates like poison gas in the realities of violence.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, March 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Please, if lying is the issue lets talk about Obama’s lies, Bush’s lies.

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By Jason Pacifico, March 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

On war in Iraq, Afghanistan-Pakistan, did you see the photos on the AFGHANISTAN ‘Kill Team’ Photos Published By Der Spiegel in committing “atrocities”—UNBELIEBABLY they are made-up w/ live actors playing corpses. This is an induction to war even though it portrays US forces as seemly evil to a phony CIA war of a made-up enemy in al Qaeda. 9/11 and WMD was the pretext when the Government (NSA, FBI, CIA) of the United States bombed the WTC. See: “9/11 Thermite Controlled Demolition” by Guns and Butter radio.  Also a must on the CIA is al Qaeda:  “AMERICA’S “WAR ON TERRORISM” by Michel Chossudovsky.
 
  Chossudovski uncovers a military-intelligence ploy behind the September 11 attacks, and the cover-up and complicity of key members of the Bush Administration. 9/11, the author narrates was as a pretext for the invasion and illegal occupation of Iraq, the militarisation of justice and law enforcement and the repeal of democracy. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalisation is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

  Finally Chossudovski concludes Washington’s agenda consists in extending the frontiers of the American Empire: the COOP Pipelines, Trans Capsian Sea Pipeline (which would link to the South Caucasus Pipeline or Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline and the planned Nabucco Pipeline: Turkey-Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria pipeline)to facilitate complete U.S. corporate control, while installing within America the institutions of the Homeland Security State

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By Jason Pacifico, March 23, 2011 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

On war in Iraq, Afghanistan -Pakistan, did you see the photos on the AFGHANISTAN   ‘Kill Team’ Photos Published By Der Spiegel in committing “atrocities,” UNBELIEBABLY they are made-up w/ live actors playing corpses. This is an induction to war even though it portrays US forces as seemly evil to a phony CIA war of a made-up enemy in al Qaeda. 9/11 and WMD was the pretext when the Government (NSA, FBI, CIA) of the United States bombed the WTC. See: “9/11 Thermite Controlled Demolition” by Guns and Butter radio.  Also a must on the CIA is al Qaeda:  “AMERICA’S “WAR ON TERRORISM” by Michel Chossudovsky.
 
  Chossudovski uncovers a military-intelligence ploy behind the September 11 attacks, and the cover-up and complicity of key members of the Bush Administration. 9/11, the author narrates, was as a pretext for the invasion and illegal occupation of Iraq, the militarisation of justice and law enforcement and the repeal of democracy. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalisation is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

  Finally Chossudovski concludes Washington’s agenda consists in extending the frontiers of the American Empire—the COOP Pipelines, Trans Capsian Sea Pipeline (which would link to the South Caucasus Pipeline or Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline and the planned Nabucco Pipeline: Turkey-Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria pipeline)to facilitate complete U.S. corporate control, while installing within America the institutions of the HOMELAND SECURITY STATE

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By Jim Pharo, March 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

God bless Chris Hedges.  This story points to the utter inhumanity of war-making. 
I doubt there’s much chance to change many minds, but at least we can fight
nobly—and who knows, the future is not yet writ.

If I was a teacher of high schoolers or above, we’d read Chris’ columns every
week.  I’m so grateful there’s someone who can give people like Jesse a voice.

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By DavidByron, March 23, 2011 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

Provbing how blind and deaf so-called “progressives” are to the misery and torture their heroes hand out in Iraq, the title of this piece over at Alternet is:

“Can You Face the True Consequences of War? The Horrors of Bagging Soldiers’ Bodies in Iraq”

If she’d wanted to face the true consequences of war she’d be talking about the Iraqi victims.  But progressives have no human compassion for the real victims of war at all.  They are completely invisible to progressives, just as they were completely invisible to this thug in the story.

Indeed she only alludes to the Iraqis when she brags that the marines do the dirty jobs that have to be done—- someone has to commit genocide for you pussies she says.  Two million Iraqis won’t just murder, torture and rape themselves.  A million Iraqi children won’t burn themselves to death.

Maybe she’s right and you chickenshit Progressives really do want to kill all those people—with the usual deniability of course.  That would make sense considering what a hero you make of the killers.

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By DavidByron, March 23, 2011 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

What do you say to the real victims then?  To the people brutally tortured by this “beautiful soul”?  What do you say to the father who sees his daughter’s skin burned off her?  “Oh don’t complain because the people doing it are so wonderful”

Those Iraqis are so fucking ungrateful for us going over there and murdering them aren’t they?

The Progressive cult of war and the cult of killing makes it so that so-called progressives must worship bloody handed killers.

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By DavidByron, March 23, 2011 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

She’s flogging a book.  Aren’t their laws against profiting from crime?  Well that’s what she’s doing.

“Indeed there is nothing “self-serving” about reliving these horrifying experiences that have scarred and haunted your life ....”

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By DavidByron, March 23, 2011 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

I’m pretty sure I would be able to avoid the temptation to murder people for money and call it “patriotism”, thanks.  In fact I am pretty sure it wouldn’t be a temptation at all because its disgusting, evil, shameless and evil.

But, hey, keep on insulting the working class.  Keeping on saying the working class are so devoid of human compassion that they can’t help brutally murdering and raping foreigners.

Inherit The Wind:
“Most of the enlisted in the military aren’t middle to upper middle class—they are the children of working-class or even under-class folk.  They hope to make their lives and their family lives better by “serving their country.”

They are pawns but they are braver pawns than the POS posters who castigate them here.  It’s so easy to sit in your bedroom, or office, in your comfortable chair, and demand a standard of behavior of 18-24 year-olds that YOU would never be able to maintain!”


Plenty of young men and women—yes even those POS working class underlings you seem to think have no morals at all—do take the moral stand against the state and against killing for money.  What do you say to them?  “Suckers”?


“The young woman isn’t lying.  Even Hedges knows that soldiers who must face the horrors of war don’t end up doing it for their nation, or for God, or for Mom and Apple pie.  They do it for each other, their fellow soldiers, just to survive.  “Yossarian’s sole aim when he went up was to come back down again.” “


More self-serving bullshit.

If they feel they are in danger—and they are not of course—because US policy is to kill a thousand innocent Iraqis if it will save one US thug—hidden behind their high tech push-button killing machines while they slaughter truly brave men and women fighting for their freedom against the oppression of the US thugs—but if the chickenshits ever really felt in danger then they could simply refuse the pay and quit murdering people.

They do it for the money.  Period.

I’d sooner have compassion for a mafia hitman.  At least they dont torture and rape their victims and high five each other and take “souvenirs”.  And they don’t pretend to be some sort of “hero” or “victim”.

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By BetsyRuss, March 23, 2011 at 11:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Join the anti-war march in NYC April 9.

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By Drew Sullivan, March 23, 2011 at 2:15 am Link to this comment

I think we all owe our gratitude to you Jessica for sharing your experiences with us. Indeed there is nothing “self-serving” about reliving these horrifying experiences that have scarred and haunted your life with the hope that we might achieve some broader understanding. Your incredibly vivid depictions of your experiences will undoubtedly illuminate for many the true nature of war.

We live under a government that invests hundreds of millions of dollars every year into maintaining the production and grooming of “army dreamers”. Sure we are taught when we are children that it is wrong to kill, but our notions of exactly what it means to kill remain somewhat abstract throughout our lives. Additionally, we are constantly subjected to images of death and valor on the battlefield, to the extent that we become somewhat desensitized to the killing. The military targets young people from many different backgrounds, from the patriotic, to the poor, to the confused and misguided. It ensnares all of its victims in the same way, through lies and propaganda. Once ensnared you are further desensitized until you become a machine, fighting not for valor or patriotism, but for the sole purpose of carrying out the will of those in power. In the midst of the chaos you are stripped of your soul and your humanity.

Your words have helped to further expose the true face of war and of the American military machine. For your words you will be accused of being a murderer, a “hired thug”, a traitor, etc., but never forget what you truly are, a beautiful soul. What you have done required courage beyond which many of us cannot understand. Don’t let yourself become marginalized, you have tremendous support and we are grateful beyond words to you for sharing your experiences with us. Thank you.

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By TAO Walker, March 22, 2011 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

Yet more evidence, along with the “intervention” (Sure sounds ‘therapeutic,’ doesn’t it?) in Libya, as if any is still needed, of the utter bankruptcy of the DEAD END “dominance”-paradigm, and of all those “self”-styled VIPs who “manage” its “global” looting and enforcement apparatus.  The entire house-of-cards erected (by Human hands) to effect the purposes of the retro-viral tormenting entity generating this hellishly virulent strain of the “civilization” disease, is now in a state of cascading systemic failure….while its propaganda machinery grinds 24/7 to keep “your huddled masses” believing the carefully CONstructed illusion that it’s only a series of isolated incidents, completely unconnected and all “under-CONtrol.”

Our People have been here now through several outbreaks of this disease in The Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth.  We know how it behaves (and how things go with its co-opted Human ‘vector’) when it enters its inevitable terminal stage.  That’s where it is again, Sisters and Brothers, and the immediate prognosis (for those who’ve bet their half-life on it’s staying sufficiently intact for theirown"self” to get away without having to suffer the natural CONsequences of willful ignorance and stubborn folly) is grim.

People talk all the time these days about “connecting the dots.”  Maybe so few actually do it, though, because the ‘picture’ it makes is just too terrible for your average “individual” to bear.  Us surviving Free Wild Peoples are able to look right at it every Good Day, and not be totally demoralized and psycho-emotionally destroyed by what we see, because we do so All together, in the Living Human Form that is The Tiyoshpaye Way.

Those among our currently captive Human relations who can get-over their “self,” and come together as Natural Persons in aid of our Mother Earth and All Our Relations and each other, could help to actually bring such awful things (as those described in this Chris Hedges article) to a quicker and less-destructive DEAD END than they’re dead-certainly coming to anyhow.

HokaHey!

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By Inherit The Wind, March 22, 2011 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

What self-serving POS posters we have here, who don’t even have Chris Hedges’s compassion to see the soldiers as the victims they are.

Most of the enlisted in the military aren’t middle to upper middle class—they are the children of working-class or even under-class folk.  They hope to make their lives and their family lives better by “serving their country.”

They are pawns but they are braver pawns than the POS posters who castigate them here.  It’s so easy to sit in your bedroom, or office, in your comfortable chair, and demand a standard of behavior of 18-24 year-olds that YOU would never be able to maintain!

The young woman isn’t lying.  Even Hedges knows that soldiers who must face the horrors of war don’t end up doing it for their nation, or for God, or for Mom and Apple pie.  They do it for each other, their fellow soldiers, just to survive.  “Yossarian’s sole aim when he went up was to come back down again.”

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By sallysense, March 22, 2011 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment

paradox of deeds…


loyal young lie moments from… those fighting steps to death…
under names instilled within their brains… to have them ‘be their best’...
they looked ahead from days now dead… insurance sold to youth…
invincible their young eyes saw… till blood men showed them truth…
how different front lines change the mind… from boot camps stamping ‘follow me’...
when seeing skies through other eyes… becomes a lie in infantry…
surviving skills put to the test… in battles on his soul…
whip the dread of ‘kill the rest’... which made the soldier whole…
lessons wrought when preachers taught… those kids their golden rule…
sneak outside from where they hide… like questions meant to fool…
down-sized arrows pierce inside… and hit the bull’s-eye knot…
as leaking veins collapse in pain… leaving open wounds to rot…
what’s left tides over soldier’s time… treading water on a wave…
in seas of big shots’ apathy… for finding ways to save…
false towers built by self-made power… crumble neath their spell…
of ‘right is might’ by some men’s light… held in that height from hell…
tales tell them… ‘do it well… as those before you did’...
while memories of old sympathies… emerge from where they hid…
the enemy’s sight of family ties… gets beaten up by second-thoughts…
as faces lose the human race… when saving grace is the guy who lost…
blood lines to what’s left behind… back in someone’s home…
let the despair of not being there… drip on dying bones…
the war within the soldier’s core… strips life from broken seed…
what they go through… for who knows who… is the paradox of deeds!...

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By DavidByron, March 22, 2011 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

doublestandards wrote:
“I can’t agree with the people here who criticize these soldiers for enlisting in the first place. Young people especially are subjected to intense propaganda about the nobility of America’s role in the world.  This young woman said she did not know a single soldier who did not think that he or she was there to help the people of Iraq.”

Yes; she lied.  She lied a lot in that piece, to deny her guilt in the genocide.  The question is will you help her to lie?  You say that young people are lied to about war but you are the one lying to them as this woman is lying when you refuse to call the soldiers what they are—hired thugs—murderers in the coldest blood.

American soldiers know their job is to help murder people. 

Help the Iraqis?  And would any of those soldiers say that they would welcome that same sort of “help” from any foreign country into America?

The law sets the age at which a child can understand that killing is wrong at a very young age.  Certainly all these soldiers—adults—knew it.  They all knew what they would call it if an other country tried to do to America what they did to Iraq.

She’s a liar who has yet to come to terms with her guilt in committing genocide.

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By DavidByron, March 22, 2011 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

A self-serving piece by someone who helped to kill millions of innocent Iraqis.  There’s no real indication of the horrific crime she helped to commit.  Throughout the piece it is as if she were the real victim not the people she came to murder en masse.

““Every single Marine I know goes to Iraq to help,” she said. “While I was there that is what I thought. That is why I volunteered. I thought I was going to help the Iraqis.”

Bullshit.

Basic training has you yelling “KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL” but she was under the impression the marines were social workers?  There’s an almost complete denial of reality and guilt in this article.  Reading it you might think that US marines were indeed social workers not thugs who murder for the money.  You might think 1000 times more marines died than Iraqis instead of the other way around.

No surprise of course as Progressives, including Hedges, tend to glorify war and the thugs that do the killing.  The thugs are either victims or heroes.  As a woman this author fits easily in the former classification.

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By Star Thrower, March 22, 2011 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

Americans like technicolor horror. They’re entertained by it everyday on the History Channel, Military Channel, and these demented programs such as Wildest Police Videos, When Vacations Attack, etc. The cool, mind numbing medium of television is not going to help people learn how to think or have compassion, or question authority. Of course there are some good networks like Free Speech TV, Link TV, and C-Span where you can see people like Chris Hedges, but most people don’t watch that stuff. They didn’t buy a 73 inch TV to listen to intellectual nerds. Violence is more fun. It’s better to turn off the boob tube and teach your kids how to think critically about the world around them. This way when they’re approached by a military recruiter, they can tell the chump to buzz off.

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By tedmurphy41, March 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

This article should be introduced to the American public in fliers placed in their daily newspapers and to be narrated, on a daily basis, on your television and radio channels.
It would be an ideal way to help wean those Americans, who see war in terms of glory and patriotism, away from such murderous adventures that their young men and women have to prosecute, whilst using the name of democracy to justify it, when it should really be exposed, in full technicolour horror, to highlight it as a truly disgusting waste of human life.

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By tedmurphy41, March 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

This article should be introduced to the American public in fliers placed in their daily newspapers and to be narrated, on a daily basis, on your television and radio channels.
It would be an ideal way to help wean those Americans, who see war in terms of glory and patriotism, away from such muderous adventures that their young men and women have to prosecute, whilst using the name of democracy to justify it, when it should really be exposed in full technicolour horror, in highlighting it as a truly disgusting waste of human life.

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By RayLan, March 22, 2011 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

War has been the constant shadow partner of so-called Civilization. But for Americans, violence is a daily diet - it’s the way we entertain ourselves with reality tv, violent sports and movies. And we are literally carnivorous. We have allowed Agribusiness to serve up violence in the horrible mistreatment of factory-farmed food animals. We are no different than the Romans who loved to watch slaves and Christians torn to pieces in the Coliseum by hungry lions. Our appetite for blood sports is mostly quenched of course, by constant war. Unfortunately the fodder for this feeding are the young, innocent and easily brainwashed in believing the noble lies about Freedom and Military Liberation, anointed no less by God Himself.
This pathological vision is so inbred to our everyday culture that we have grown insensitive and fallen into the sleep of complacent denial. As soon as Reality and Truth impinge on our comfortable illusion - I hear whining about ‘negativity’ and inaction in a self-righteous moralistic tone.
As though the messenger needs a solution to carnage to justify reporting it.

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By gregorylkruse, March 22, 2011 at 10:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When the United States government was commandeered by the neo-cons to invade Iraq, my sister-in-law was thrilled by the idea of young heroes going off to protect the homeland from those Muslims in the middle east.  I called them “losers”, and I was villified for it.  There is no way to call the troops “winners”, since the only people who win wars are those who profit from them, such as the multi-national corporations and other war profiteers.  (Shot manufacturers in Iowa sold to the North and the South during the Civil War.) Nowadays governments are controlled by corporations, not the other way around.  In Iraq, they got their oil contracts on good terms, and the troops got nothing but death, injury, and damage.

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By truedigger3, March 22, 2011 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

Re: By queenofit, March 22 at 1:25 am


queenofit wrote:
“Senseless wars that keep the economy going, and oil that keeps cars running, air conditioning our high rises, and so much of…..”
—————————————————————————

queenofit,

You don’t need a war to keep the economy going. Instead of using the productive capacity of the country in building weapons that only used for spreading death and destruction or stay unused until it is replaced by more “up to date weaponry”, that productive capacity can be used in building bridges, schools and roads etc etc. It can be used in building mass transit, more efficient cars, homes, home appliances, medical research and medical instruments etc.. etc….!
You don’t need to destroy a country and then occupy it to take its oil.  Oil can be bought, and its continuous flow can be guaranteed through global arrangements, as it has been for a long time!.

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By Caute, March 22, 2011 at 8:32 am Link to this comment

It is ludicrous to separate war from the general
baseness, with few and rare exceptions, of Mankind.
Here war is spoken about as if it’s something
special, unique, like a sudden disease that has
broken out amongst humans. As if we can ‘solve’ war without addressing its real cause. War is only the
extension of the general nastiness, meanness and
greed that characterizes the human—the only
brute that must manufacture his weapons. A low-
level ‘war’ is underway in so-called ‘society’ at all times. This one is
rude, another a bully, we have a thief and the hopelessly mean-spirited. A fine collection!

Why are they not openly killing each other all the
time? Because for now they have some food, beds and
roofs and can carry on their business of genetic
replication. But let these ‘creature comforts’ fall
away and you shall quickly see the real essence of
this poorly-developed ape to which the name ‘Man’ has
been given.

When one considers, as the German sage noted, ‘how
sordid, how stupid and selfish the vast majority of
men are we shall be surprised by nothing.’ What are
all laws but a buffer against the boundless
iniquities of Man? This is why the ancient Buddhists,
who, with their wisdom and gentleness can scarcely be
considered human, understood and believed that all
humans ideally mature into hermits.

There is no surprise in that men constantly wage war
for ‘this world is the battleground of tormented,
agonized beings who devour each other for survival.’
What did Jesus do when he looked around? He wept, and
the wise, kind man, so rare, will always, as the
ancient Latins were wont to say, spend ‘nulla dies
sine lacryma,’ not a day without a tear. No, the
shock is that we ever had a Spinoza, a Eugene Debs or
a Schweitzer emerge from the rabble, this herd of
country bumpkins.

Let us take the ‘confirmed optimist,’ who believes this is ‘the best of all possible worlds’ on a tour. Let us take him across the battlefields, along to the torture chambers and the places of executions, through the prisons and into the asylums—all these dark abodes normally hidden from view. Our optimist would reel in horror. Surely to be an optimist one must be a greenhorn in the ways of the world.

‘Dulce bellum inexpertis’ said the Ancients, ‘war is sweet to those who have no experience of it.’

After more than thirty years as a combat cameraman I
have slung my camera up for good. Seeing 400 bodies
rotted and fused into a single lump in a Bosnian pit
was quite enough, and I urge all to follow the great
Voltaire’s advice not to take this life seriously,
but concentrate on ‘cultivating your garden’ instead.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 22, 2011 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

1 year, 8 months, 29 days…

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By wildwest4me, March 22, 2011 at 1:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Response to doublestandards/glasshouses:
Good point and a very sad reality. But what about their parents and grandparents? Haven’t they been around long enough to know the truth? Don’t you think they should take some responsibility in educating their children/grandchildren about the realities of war. Shut out the progaganda. Hand them the works of the authors you mentioned. Let them read stories such as this one. Enlighten them early in life about the real reasons for most wars and do everything possible to keep them from enlisting. For me, there is no point in reserving my criticism for those who are responsible for wars. It is obvious that those who are blinded by power, ambition and/or greed will never listen, especially if its our children who will eagerly do their dirty work. Our best defense is to educate our children and let them see that there are far better options in life when it comes to choosing a noble cause.

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By YOUmissedTHEmark, March 22, 2011 at 1:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Localhere you are naive.  Let me guess with a name like that you must be a firefighter or public servant.  Nobody made you do that right?  Run into a burning building….serve.  I cry foul.  IT IS A CALLING THAT IS BEYOND ALL REASON and human. It is a calling that is deeply moving and spiritual.  WE sometimes have NO choice when we choose to serve.

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By Edward, March 22, 2011 at 1:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

reading all these comments makes me want to cry for our human condition on this glorious globe. many seem to get it! but most just don’t care or are simply stupid. i know that the media keeps them in the dark and they are just worried about how to make ends meet. having said that i agree that they are responsible to root out the truth. the worlds “moneyed elite” are using us as if we were only barn yard animals. sadly many young people fall for the lie of defending our freedom only to help empire.

these latest wars were justified by 911 which was simply a high theater of lies. the heinousness of that callow act will dog this country until the perpetrators are exposed and appropriately punished and we make amends to the world. sadly when i try to talk about it to many of my friends they dismiss me as a nut case “conspiracy theorists”. if one puts any effort into trying to determine the truth he or she comes away with a stench fowl enough to cause one to puke.

if we don’t wise up soon we could all go down from the insanity. perhaps we could be reminded of a quote by a blind deaf woman of years ago.

Congress is not preparing to defend the people of the United States. It is planning to protect the capital of American speculators and investors…. Incidentally this preparation will benefit the manufacturers of munitions and war machines…. Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought! Strike against manufacturing shrapnel and gas bombs and all other tools of murder! Strike against preparedness that means death and misery to millions of human beings! Be not dumb, obedient slaves in an army of destruction! Be heroes in an army of construction!

-Helen Keller at Carnegie Hall January 5, 1916

and as someone already noted the song from Buffy St Marie the “universal soldier” is in some small way a co-conspirator though unwitting.

in the end i still cry for the unfortunate soldiers who are detailed to “process” the dead and send the bodies home.

the contempt that i feel for the slime that takes advantage of their bravery and naivety will remain with me to my dying day and beyond if there is a beyond.

human sickness is so profound the we can barely stand to look at it but those who do become well.

justice is spawned in individual hearts and i hope that yours is beating strong for what is right.

peace

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By c.hanna, March 22, 2011 at 1:02 am Link to this comment

You know, this coming book, or even this article should be sent to each congressman. With pictures.

This is what THEY don’t want anyone to see. They just want to keep feeding the public the hollywood version of war.

And soon there will be a military morgue unit set up for Libya. It is nothing but bull crap when THEY say they are NOT planning on another occupation of yet another ME - Mediterranean country.

Rick Rozoff has some good information on the build up to Libya at his site:
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/libya-obamas-latest-africoms-first-natos-african-war/

It’s all a part of the North African union or Mediterranean Union that has been in the works by NATO for some time.

These people lie so much that they don’t even try to conceal the lying anymore. They have gotten away with it for so long.

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By Chandler, March 22, 2011 at 1:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I read all this and I think how so many are always so eager to send other people’s children into war when they ducked and dodged serving due to connections to high office.  The human misery inflicted is grotesque, macabre and inhumane.

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By SteveL, March 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm Link to this comment

War reduces the value of life to zero.  Disturbing but much needed story.  Hope
anyone thinking of joining the military reads it first.  To the warmongers of the
world just wait your time will come.

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By Aarky, March 21, 2011 at 10:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Only a couple posters suggested that the politicians and the flag waving idiots who are so RAH RAH to go out and waste people in other countries be forced to read this article. I would be down right cruel and suggest they be required to inhale the terrible stench of a dead body or the almost sickly sweet stench of the body that has been rotting in the jungle for a month. Too many of these people are willing to send someone elses kid’s along with all the patriotic BS.

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By queenofit, March 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

War is good for the economy. We all know that. Right? Oil is what keeps us comfortable over here in the US, we all know that. Right? Oil is as repugnant as slavery was, but we are unable to discontinue using it, we all know that. Right? Senseless wars that keep the economy going, and oil that keeps cars running, air conditioning our high rises, and so much of what our lives demand today, all magically provided by an oil/war based economy. We all feed at this trough. I do.

We have arrived, we live large and puke when we see ourselves. It is the American Dream and it is starting to not seem so bright. We all know that, right?

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, March 21, 2011 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I can’t agree with the people here who criticize these soldiers for enlisting in the first place. Young people especially are subjected to intense propaganda about the nobility of America’s role in the world.  This young woman said she did not know a single soldier who did not think that he or she was there to help the people of Iraq.  I think of Pat Tillman who enlisted because he thought it was his duty to help in such a noble cause.  Many of these kids are only 18, 19, or 20 years old.  It would be unusual at that age to know the truth about American foreign policy.  When I was that age I thought that the US was the embodiment of all virtue in the world and when I discovered the work of people like Noam Chomsky, Michael Parenti, and Howard Zinn it was a tremendous shock.  I think it is awfully smug to criticize these kids for doing what they thought was right and good.  We ought to reserve our criticism for those responsible for these wars.

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By frecklefever, March 21, 2011 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment

PICASSO PAINTED A MURAL TITLED WAR AND PEACE AND A PAINTING TITLED MASSACRE IN
KOREA….AND THE FAMOUS GUERNICA….ALL ARE STIRRING IMAGES OF THE REALITIES OF
WAR…BUT WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT……IS PICASSO MADE A PERSONAL COMMITMENT TO STAY
IN OCCUPIED PARIS..AND RISNK ARREST DAILY AND STILL HAD THE COURAGE TO PAINT…WHAT
THE NAZIS CONSIDERED DEGENERATE ART…WE CAN OPPOSE WAR IN DAILY ACTS THAT SEEM
FUTILE…BUT THE CUMULATIVE EFFECT CAN EVENTUALLY TILT THE EARTH..

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By LocalHero, March 21, 2011 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

What a horrific story but I have to dispute this statement by the traumatized young lady, “Our platoon was to the Marines what the Marines are to much of America: We did things that had to be done but that no one wanted to know about,..”

That is absolutely NOT true. These things (enlisting, fighting, soldiering) do NOT have to be done. The next time the PTB start a war, don’t go.

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By chris, March 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Our platoon was to the Marines what the Marines are to much of America: We did things that had to be done but that no one wanted to know about.”

This is the common logic of the masses i refuse to accept. try as you might, i will not accept it. the things the military does do not have to be done. as soon as you accept their presumption, the got ya where they want you. guess what: F-U - i don’t accept it.

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By Litl Bludot, March 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment

NADER DEMANDS IMPEACHMENT OF OBAMA AS WAR CRIMINAL

“Many legal experts know that Obama is committing war crimes and should be impeached, veterans for peace want us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama committing worse crimes than Bush in Afghanistan “innocents are being slaughters, using state secrets,  CIA engaging in illegal surveillance “running wild”, “if Bush should have been impeached, Obama should be impeached”

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/3/18/daniel_ellsberg_joins_peace_activists_risking

At this time, the longer citizens wait to stop the corporate fascism takeover of the US, as described by Chris Hedges, who you people seem to follow, the less chance there is going to be to keep the planet from being destroyed by disaster capitalism, as described by Naomi Klein.  Google it, if you’re ignorant of what is happening to your country and the world by “monetized minds” the term used by Ralph Nader, the only guy that I can see that has dedicated his life to citizens of this country, has the brilliance and organizational skills, the decades of experience fighting corruption, the incredible knowledge base required to lead the effort to end the corporate fascist takeover.  The longer you people believe that Obama is a moral human being, the less chance we and all life on this planet have of making it to the next century without living in war ravaged, desolated,radioactive, toxic, ugly, lifeless world.  Please people, realize Obama is a fake, a frenemy, he will not even listen to you, he is a tool of the corporate fascists.

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By Leefeller, March 21, 2011 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

Gordy,

Using animal analogies to describe human heinous actions is an insult to natures natural balance of animals, which far as I know includes the wolf!

I prefer to us insects analogies, like the cockroach which seems more appropriate but, if one needs to really use an animal, vermin such as the rat to describe the lobbyists running the halls of congress works nicely.

Sarha Palin, promoted shooting wolves from the air, need I say more?

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By norman harman, March 21, 2011 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I couldn’t read this without weeping. This is the story of my friend Kent.

Kent served this kind of duty in the jungles of Vietnam, he worked in a
refrigerated truck deep in a clearing in the jungle where the choppers would
bring the bodies to him. His job was the same as Ms. Goodell, sorting and
piecing them together for shipment back to the states.

I first knew Kent as an organic farmer in West Virginia. We were both vets from
the same era but I’d never been to ‘nam. He never talked much about his time
there but it was obvious he carried some horrific memories around all of the
time.

Once, after knowing him for ten years, we were sitting on his porch smoking a
joint, and I was talking about my army days. He looked at me with tears
running down his face and told me his story. It sounded much like Ms. Goodell’s
but the part that stuck with me for years was his description of the blood
running down the inside walls and from the ceiling of the refrigerated truck.

The humidity was so high and the bodies were so hot when they first reached
his site, the blood and sweat would evaporate and then condense on the cold
inside of the truck. He told me “the guys used to call it the blood rain.”

Kent came back from the war a hollowed-out man. He worked hard on his farm
from 4:30 in the morning until dark. To most people he appeared to be a hard
and tough man but if you knew him well, and looked closely, you could see how
sensitive and vulnerable he was. He had a difficult time with adversity.

In 2005, more than 35 years after his time in ‘nam, he had a minor run-in with
the police over some marijuana in his car. He went to pieces. We talked on the
phone 3 or 4 times a week for months while I tried to convince him it was
nothing - he had a clean record, was a Vietnam Vet, owned his own business,
had dozens of character references - “two years probation,” I told him.

I failed, he just kept breaking down. Five months after his arrest, he hung
himself. The war had stolen his guts, his inner reserves, his ability to cope. It
had stolen his heart and his soul, and finally, his life.

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By zonadude, March 21, 2011 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

Watch your language people! I am not at war. My friends and family are not at war. Take the ME and the US out of your vocabulary when speaking or writing of the INSANITY this United States of Terror has become. The only connection I have to the murder and mayhem exported from MY nation is the tax dollars stolen from my hard work, and used to bank roll the terrorism visited upon any land that needs to be liberated, and protected for ” our vital interests”. My only other connection to the perpetual war on terror is my boyhood and now adult best male friend’s son driving a supply truck in Afghanistan, rollin’ the dice with every heartbeat,
breath, and tick of each second that passes. Don’t say WE my friends, unless you choose to co-own this madness with the demons, and mass murderers counting their money and shoring up their relentless hunger for control and domination of this, OUR world. It is THEY, not WE that own this devilry. Remember your Bible. “In the beginning was the WORD. And the word became flesh”. Words become reality. If there is a God, I must implore him-How did it come to this? Now come the tears.

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By fearnotruth, March 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

The Global War Of Terror is perhaps the most heinously suicidal endeavor of our
modern epoch - I encourage artists in every genre to expose the cognescenti and
intelligencia to its horrors - e.g. http://tinyurl.com/4bz4ygm

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By Gordy, March 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

Large, strong wolves who play the role of ‘pack enforcer’ and back up the leader are rewarded with more and better food, grooming and status.  And they are amoral animals.  We have found a way to create powerful enforcers who are treated as badly as society’s curs.  Our society is not amoral, it is immoral - rotten. 

But a problem contains the seeds of its own solution: we hear about horrors like this, thanks in part to writers like Chris, and we collectively yearn for morality, meaningfulness and justice to be restored.  I tend to the belief that if humans can survive long enough it will come to a point where history will have to pass through a sea-change and throw off nihilism and brutality.  Even the worst human wants to think of himself as the good-guy; as history unfolds in disaster after disaster, the old ways look more and more shoddy and deceitful, the old political cliches sound more hollow.  We will have to face ourselves eventually.

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By chuckwagoncharlie, March 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I recall during Viet Nam a comment I read supposedly stated by LBJ,“Viet Nam was a little War that was good for the Economy .” Nothing has changed. If we look at the body counts of Iraq, Afgan and now Lybia the price paid is real cheap to those receiving the monetary blessings from the Wars.
At some point in time the bodies being buried will be so large the Politicians will need repalcement on the front lines and by then your daughters will be drafted to continue the carnage.

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By wildwest4me, March 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And men and women continue to enlist!?! Think by now these people would know better. They all signed up, so now they need to live with their decision. People need to do their homework before they jump into the military fray. All of us are responsible for our choices. Remember, it’s difficult to have a war if no one shows up. And please don’t whine about lack of other opportunities. Life is what you make it.

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By Star Thrower, March 21, 2011 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have nothing but admiration for the brave soldiers performing the unspeakably difficult job of gathering the body parts of their fallen comrades. Those in power who have put them in this pitiful position deserve nothing but contempt. The same goes for the callused marines who ostracise or harass their compassionate comrades.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 21, 2011 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

note to ahab: those technical glitches, you left out the e on your ihatethemarinecorps.com link, thus it does not work.

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By anotherplayaguy, March 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

Lisa Simeone wrote:

“This country has lost its soul.  This country has
lost its
soul, and most of the population is just fine with
that. 
These crimes are being committed in our names, yet
all
over the country, millions of people go blithely
along,
pretending they oppose war, pretending they favor
peace, mouthing all the correct liberal pieties at
cocktail
parties yet continuing to defend this president and
refusing to do anything.  And the press is just as
complicit as the so-called citizens.”

Well said.  My only quibble is with the assumption
that America ever had a soul.  From before the
beginning we have been a murderous, ravening
marauding people.  Washington called the United
States “a nascent empire” and was okay with the
imperialism.  We’ve never stopped since then, never
looked back.

The peace movement is a joke, of course, playing
the powers that be’s game.

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By ahab, March 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

I think an important thing to keep in mind with this article is this: Jess Goodell
isn’t an isolated stories. There still are plenty of “Jess Goodells” in Iraq and
Afghanistan today. They’re still going through what she’s been through. The war
will never end for them either.

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By ahab, March 21, 2011 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

Wow, Chris, another excellent article. As usual, bluntly depressing and in your
face. The truth is ugly and you show it!

This article touched me on a personal level as well. I was in the Marine Corps
from July 2005 - November 2009 and went to Iraq twice with an infantry
battalion. This article brought up a lot of bad memories that I still haven’t
properly dealt with. I don’t know how Jess Goodell and her unit could handle
seeing that type of stuff on a daily basis. Lately the only way I have been able to
deal with it is by doing what I can do to make things right (even though that’s
not possible). I’ve been doing working with peace activist groups and also run a
website called http://www.ihatethemarincorps.com. I invite all Marines to come to my
site and anonymously express their grievances with the MC. I am sure that I
have dozens if not hundreds of accounts of hazing similar to what is described
in Chris’ article.

Keep up the good work.

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By Matt, March 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Not just the United States but the whole world is corrupt. It’s a New World Order global government that has taken over and they are going to bomb and kill ever last country that doesn’t submit to their world dictatorship.

This is why these western countries push multi-culturalism so much, they want us all playing by the same rules of the world’s elite masters. They don’t want anyone having their own sovereign nation.

Death and destruction awaits all those who refuse to submit to this fascists New World Order. You either kill for the elite or you be killed by the elite.

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By Leefeller, March 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

I see little difference between humans and animals, except animals are not supposed to have compassion, while humans avoid compassion.

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By gerard, March 21, 2011 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

Love saves people.
Beauty saves people.
Art saves people.
Understanding saves people.
Hope for the future saves people.
Healing action saves people.

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By prisnersdilema, March 21, 2011 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

Every action no matter how small has it’s effect. Every thought, every feeling ever word.

You cannot hurt others with out hurting yourself in the process. Trying to block it out or
to suppress it, only makes you more unreal. Until delusion, becomes madness, then
pyschosis.

Don’t listen to me keep lying to yourself about what we are becoming here.

If Jesus, Buddha, and all of them could not get you to listen, then how could you listen
to your own conscience?

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By sallysense, March 21, 2011 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

a soldier’s last breath…


a soldier’s last breath boards life’s central express…
with a ticket for good-bye to folks he loved best…
in some boxcar of messages heading back home…
his shares a dark corner with stowed-away bones…

he’s hoping they’ll know the sad truth of that glory…
those alive left behind can’t quite tell the whole story…
to live and define how much time short term meant…
won’t cover lost blood once it’s turned permanent…

in the mist-chilling shadow of a roadkill gone cold…
some warmth left from memory inherits long holds…
bequeathing strong light through the will to survive…
it leaves vivid reminders to bring into view and revive…

shall the loss of his presence be enough to withstand?...
falsehood’s soothing excuses from the halls of command?...
and can the strength he’s been buried with dig up each lie!...
that’s given bogus men reasons to let decent men die!?!...

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By SarcastiCanuck, March 21, 2011 at 11:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Chris for another article of pure,unvarnished truth.To understand the horrors of war,may make it more avoidable in the future….I doubt it though since mankind seems to enjoy killing each other.

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By Queenie, March 21, 2011 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

We are all cannon fodder to the M.I.C. No one on the planet is untouched in some way by constant war. Some more than others.

Impeach Obama.

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By reality1, March 21, 2011 at 10:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Very, very useful article.  Hard to read, but a must read.  Mis-use of language
by our leaders is the first thing we must undo.  We are not at war.  We are
engaged in multiple, illegal occupations of foreign countries, bringing with us
in our ridiculous claim for “democracy” untold suffering to millions.  Way to go,
Amerika.

We also need to take back the “warrior” word that the gov propaganda machine
started using around the turn of the millenium.  Soldiers are not warriors. 
Warriors think and act for themselves using discernment (try reading “The Book
of the Five Rings”, which any martial artist knows well).  Soldiers just do as they
are told - allow themselves to be used as “bitches.”  “Sir, yessir,” is not the
language of a warrior.  The only warrior heroes in this whole affair are the ones
sitting in the brig for refusing to lend their hearts, minds and bodies to
Amerika’s terrorist attacks on other countries and their people.

Time for soldiers to wake up and get off the trance addiction train of money
and entitlements to justify their participation in violence overseas.  Yes, those
re-upping bonuses are quite attractive, aren’t they?  So’s that free education
and all that cheap food at the commissary.  A more appropriate picture of
today’s soldiers are mindless uniformed folks chasing dollars falling from the
skies.  There’s no “heroism” going on here, only empty humans buying into the
grotesque disease of profiting from killing others.

Western medicine and psychology/psychiatry is all about treating symptoms. 
Let’s try eradicating the cause of those symptoms.  No reason to treat PTSD if
we stop illegally invading other countries in the first place.

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By Lisa Simeone, March 21, 2011 at 10:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This country has lost its soul.  This country has lost its
soul, and most of the population is just fine with that. 
These crimes are being committed in our names, yet all
over the country, millions of people go blithely along,
pretending they oppose war, pretending they favor
peace, mouthing all the correct liberal pieties at cocktail
parties yet continuing to defend this president and
refusing to do anything.  And the press is just as
complicit as the so-called citizens.

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By hmk, March 21, 2011 at 10:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The Universal Soldier” perseveres, right up to the last day of human existence.  Sorry, but the greatest blame falls on the shoulders of those who let themselves become, as Buffy Ste Marie’s song says, “weapons of the war.” The elites, who do see what it’s all about, will keep on sending the rest of us to do their dirty work just as long as we refuse to see them for what they are.  One can feel sympathy for the soldiers, but not empathy.  Empathy must be reserved for the truly innocent.

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By km0591, March 21, 2011 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

This article, as well as Jess Goodell’s books should be required reading before placing a yellow ribbon on a car, as well as for all the people, media heads, and politicians who perpetually salve their consciences with supposed good intentions with their vapid “support the troops” bromides. 

War is death, meat, stink, despair.  Support that.

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By elisalouisa, March 21, 2011 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Be careful crossing streets Jess Goodell, such revelations do not bode well with the power-that-be. The elite have put much effort into making certain the seductive call to war is heeded by the young and unemployed.
Thank you Chris Hedges for putting your talent as a writer to good use in this revealing column.

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By surfnow, March 21, 2011 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

And these psychotic killers we so proudly call ” Brave Marines” communicate only one message to the nameless many they maim and kill ,and that is that ” We, Amerika,are the real terrorists.”

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By lasmog, March 21, 2011 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

Yet another American crusade against an evil Arab; Osama, Saddam and now Gaddafi. Each invasion is sold to us with the promise that once we remove one evil man, a grateful Muslim nation will embrace us as liberators. If only life and war were that simple.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 21, 2011 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

sorry about thier technical glitch, to access the article, simply click on Robert Fisk on the Independents’s homepage.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 21, 2011 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

sorry about the broken link:

http://www.independent.co.uk/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-remember-the civilian-victims-of-past-allied-bombing-campaigns-2247757.html

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By thebeerdoctor, March 21, 2011 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Serving the government is not the same thing as serving the country. Sacrificial lies seek out to diminish, if not totally destroy, future generations. Using the convenient labels of “civilians” and “enemy combatants”, attempts to disguise the reality of what is actually being embraced, which is the destruction of humanity. The liars lie continually, until eventually the truth becomes completely unknown. The human spirit is extinguished when filth and degradation are embraced as patriotic virtues. There is nothing quite like honoring the dishonorable. Countless $billions are spent to maintain war’s false validity.

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By drunkfoulmouthfilthybeast, March 21, 2011 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

NOW! THAT’S A JOB FOR OUR REPUBICON FRIENDS!!!!!!!!! Make Bitch McConnell point man.

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By brianrouth, March 21, 2011 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

as Chomsky stated about the meaningless slogan ‘support our troops’
http://soundcloud.com/brianrouth/empty-slogan

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By dsmith, March 21, 2011 at 7:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And you want see one second of this horror on the nightly news. You will see Bill Kristol saying we should now send our troops into Libya and Joe Lieberman and the AIPAC crowd will scream for a war with Iran. All the while their children are sleeping between two nice, crisp sheets with no fear of them being killed in a senseless war.

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By DarthMiffy, March 21, 2011 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

I wish this story was carried on every news source possible.

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By Fat Freddy, March 21, 2011 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

Yes, war is Hell…and here we are, starting yet another war. An unprovoked attack on another sovereign nation. The US and EU are trying to “politically engineer” a region for “stability”. Because past attempts to create “stability” have worked out so well. “Stability” has been used as an excuse for not just political engineering, but social and economic engineering, as well.

“Stability”.

Patriotism [Stability] is the last resort of a scoundrel.

I guess Hedges wrote this article before the bombing of Libya started.

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By balkas, March 21, 2011 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

in the name of american god, infallible constitution-governance everything is
justified.  everything is worthwhile. sacrifices must be made in name of personal,
national, and religious supremacism. tnx

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By Inherit The Wind, March 21, 2011 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

How do you decide when you and your nation must endure such horror? 
How can a leader set off such horror based on lies and the desire for “revenge” and to meet a political necessity?
Does not the same criminal responsibility for forcing a people, be they a tribe or a nation, to face such horror unnecessarily rest on ANY leader, not just US and Western ones?
Why has it all be nothing but lip-service to end these ancient Roman-era practices of hazing?

And why have we so abandoned the young people who offered up their lives?

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By thebeerdoctor, March 21, 2011 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

1 year, 9 months…

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By kerryrose, March 21, 2011 at 5:16 am Link to this comment

Last night I watched news images of the bombing of Libya.  It was a flashback to the bombing of Baghdad years ago.  The same sanitary killing.  One channel admitted to 60 dead civilians (stressing that it was unconfirmed by the US), but none of the other channels mentioned civilian deaths at all.

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