Frontlines, "Company of Soldiers"

Discussion in 'World Events' started by Jagger, Feb 26, 2005.

  1. Jagger Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    315
    I just watched the Frontline special, "A Company of Soldiers". It is an amazing documentary of a month spent with a squad of soldiers in Iraq during the month of November.

    It can be watched online here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/company/view/

    As I watched the program, I felt I had entered a surreal world. The young GI's were able to create this fantasy of rationalized reality. They were the good guys no matter what they did. Somehow they seemed to forget, they invaded the country. They were the ones wearing rayban sunglasses as they bragged about running people off the road, shot at anyone too close to them, killed innocent civilians, shot up vehicles, threatened and bullied anyone as they wanted.

    The military lingo was Orwellian as they labeled opposition as anti-iraqi forces instead of anti-american forces. And they couldn't understand how anyone could be so cowardly as to destroy a Bagdad Christian Church, as their fellow soldiers were leveling mosques in Falluja.

    The narrowmindedness was astounding. The soldiers couldn't comprehend they would react just as the insurgents, if Iraqis invaded the US. One soldier wanted payback for his killed buddy. He didn't seem to realize that maybe Iraqis were killing them because the US invaded Iraq and have killed tens of thousand of Iraqis. No matter what the soldiers did, they were the good guys. It was absolutely surreal.

    Sadly, one of the most powerful moments is when a soldier shoots and kills a dog. The anguish of the dog's owner is understandable by any human being. To their credit, many of the other soldiers were also disgusted.

    At the rate we are creating enemies in Iraq, it is impossible to win. This is another Vietnam-or Algeria.

    I can't blame too much on ignorant, 20-something year old soldiers. They are too young to think critically or questioningly. They are an unthinking product of their society just following orders. They try to make sense of nonsense-as one dies here and another is maimed there. However if you know any local neocons, you know-those individuals with tailored brown shirts deep in their closets and blood on their souls, thank them for America's next Vietnam.

    So my point? Someone tell me why I am wrong???? Why isn't Iraq another Vietnam? After watching this documentary, I see the same elements in place.

    Explain to me why and how we will win, instead of lose, after watching the alienation of the populace shown in this Frontline documentary?
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2005
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  3. Crimson_Scribe Thespian Registered Senior Member

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    Well, a couple things:

    - Vietnam was a nation literally divided into two, and the Americans showed up in the middle of another war.
    - The Vietnamese believed that they were fighting for independance.
    - Religion wasn't much of a factor in Vietnam (save Tet), whereas Islam will always be a political factor in the Middle East (read Albert Hondouri's A History of the Arab People).

    Little personal note: I've always said that young men shouldn't get a hold of guns. When i was living in Indonesia, i was held up by a couple of trigger-happy jackasses in the Indonesian military. There's absolutly nothing worse than an angry guy pointing a guy at you screaming in a language you don't understand. I do admire the American military, but i sure feel for the Iraqis.
     
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  5. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    I think our situation in Iraq is very similar to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. We may have a better outcome in Iraq than the Soviets did in Afghanistan. And we may not. Time will tell.

    Meanwhile, Osama is still a free man. Saudi funded Madrassas all over the ME continue to graduate indoctrinated fanatics. The future looks very grim to me. But I'm not a stockholder in any military industries. If I stood to profit from Pentagon contracts, the future would be looking very bright indeed.
     
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  7. Raven Registered Senior Member

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    302
    First I think they ought to give that guy a new dog. Then they should disarm that soldier and sic a schultzhund dog on him and allow it to bite him for a while because he would certainly deserve it. Obviously these people are very immature and trigger happy. That is to be expected though when you have the equivalent of Czar Peter the third in the white house playing army men, moving his little soldiers around with little care to their lives or the lives of the opposition. In truth WW1 was the last honorable war. No war since then has gone without unnecassary viiolence to civilians. There is also no more honor bacause it doesn't take much thought and you can't keep it between the two military forces. Now you can press a button and indescriminately wipe out a whole city. War has no honor anymore therefore those that fight it, though they should use dignity, have none because they blindly do what they are told.
     
  8. swam Registered Senior Member

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    40
    Reading this thread was heart breaking, war seen as a game, life not being treasured,
    anxiety, paranoia growing on both sides. US hasn't won the war on terror, nor helped Iraqis find freedom, nor reached democracy yet, what you have won is the "right" to take oil

    whoever leads the country will do it in a fascist manner, money, oil and army being more important then lives
     
  9. Clockwood You Forgot Poland Registered Senior Member

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    4,467
    In the Koran, animals are animate piles of meat. Dogs are traditionally seen as unclean in many arab regions and the Hadith (the collection of sayings of Muhammad's closest followers that forms the spine of Islamic law) considers them wicked beasts. You are mandated to kill any that snaps at you.

    Oh and by the way: Saddam Hussein was known as a boy for torturing and killing dogs with a heated steel bar.
     
  10. Crimson_Scribe Thespian Registered Senior Member

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    214
    This isn't a game of who hurt the dogs first. Just knock it off.
     
  11. Clockwood You Forgot Poland Registered Senior Member

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    4,467
    They use the Koran to justify their actions, so I see no reason why I can't do the same... at least to prove a point.
     
  12. Jagger Registered Senior Member

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    315
    I suppose you use the bible literally to direct and justify your every action as well??

    Or would such a blanket assumption based on the fact that you live in a Christian nation be a little presumptious--not to mention stupid?
     
  13. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    53,966
    You can think what you want about the war, but these soldiers are brave enough to risk their lives for their country, and it's an enormously difficult and scary job, why shouldn't they see the people trying to kill them as the enemy? Why shouldn't they protect themselves? Mistakes are made in war, its chaos and confusion, no one can make perfect decisions every time in such a situation. They also made friends with some Iraqis. It's not their fault that it was a bad decision to go there, but now we can't just leave the country alone until a new government is established.

    We don't have to win in Iraq, we just have to keep order until the Iraqis can do it themselves.
     
  14. Jagger Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    315
    However if you know any local neocons, you know-those individuals with tailored brown shirts deep in their closets and blood on their souls, thank them for America's next Vietnam.

    I don't blame the soldiers too much. They are just kids and most don't have any choice about being over there. Of course, some of them are really ugly types. But they would be ugly whether they were in or out of the army.

    I do blame the neocons and their sofa warrier supporters.
     
  15. Crimson_Scribe Thespian Registered Senior Member

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    In his book On Guerrilla Wafare, Mao states that all troops need political training. Of course, he means propaganda, but i think he's on to something. Better education makes a better soldier. Of course, then they'd question the war in the first place . . .
     
  16. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    4,969
    but those who were more convinced about the war would fight harder and risk their lives to win it, not just call an airstrike on an entire block if you get hit by a stray friendly bullet
     
  17. Crimson_Scribe Thespian Registered Senior Member

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    214
    Exactly. And they'll think about the civilians before, say, shooting up dogs or cars. If they understood Arab culture and values, they'd help themselves out a lot.
     
  18. SpyMoose Secret double agent deer Registered Senior Member

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    I find it interesting that when I watch the news I don't see turbins, beards and burka in Iraq. Clockwood, you are a victim of our administrations attempt to paint the Iraq invasion as part of the war on terror. The Iraqi people lived under a secular regime, and they were quite prosperous compared to many of their ME neighbors. These were people who were intelligent, and well capable of loving a dog no matter what the Qumran said about it. I don't suppose you would feel the same way if an Iraqi shot your dog and then quoted a verse from the bible that supports his right to do so? Perhaps something about beasts being here for man to rule over or some such bull.

    If you haven’t got the critical capacity to realize that the Iraqi people are not the same as, certain cave dwelling fanatics then you really aught not comment on threads about the war.
     
  19. Clockwood You Forgot Poland Registered Senior Member

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    If my dog was barking and snapping at a soldier, I would feel guilty. It would have been my stupidity that had the dog there when there was a soldier right there. It would have been by stupidity that had made me not train the dog to sit and stay on command and be nice around strangers.

    I would expect anyone with a gun to shoot a dog that jumps at and snarls at them. This could be a local cop, an American soldier, or anyone.
     
  20. Jagger Registered Senior Member

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    315
    The dog was shot in broad daylight. The dog wasn't near anyone. The dog was just barking. Even some of the other soldiers were disgusted. It is right there on film. You see the dog getting shot and there isn't anyone near the dog. How can you defend that action???

    But obviously, some people, just like the soldiers on the film, can defend and rationalize anything, from murder, to theft, to shooting a dog in cold blood.

    That is what is so weird about Bush, the neocons and their supporters. They can do no wrong. Whatever they do, is their victim's fault.

    Regular everyday murderers and thieves often blame their victims. But murderers and theives are often psychopaths too.
     
  21. SpyMoose Secret double agent deer Registered Senior Member

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    Intelectual dishonesty, or cognitave dissonance? Dosn't that always seem to be the question when dealing with the right?

    http://www.apa.org/books/4318830s.html
     
  22. Stokes Pennwalt Nuke them from orbit. Registered Senior Member

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    As is the narrowmindedness in your horrible abortion of a post.

    I watched it last week, and while I love Frontline anyway (it is the only show I schedule into my week to ensure I catch it) this episode simply blew my socks off. It was amazing, and as good if not better than their recount of the early parts of the war (the offensive campaign). If any of you have not yet seen it, please go watch it right this minute.

    Here's the rub. I draw a completely different conclusion than you. The soldiers documented therein are a fair sample of the United States military as a whole - young, motivated, with noble intent, in a tough situation. They don't care about the war, the politics, the corruption, the bad decisions made in the halls of government, the sanctimonious protesters who have no idea what their job entails. The soldiers are there to do a job; nothing more. And it's a dirty job. Probably the dirtiest in the world. Yet they will answer the call, they will pick up the mantle, and they will do their nation's bidding not because they want to fight or want to kill (do not believe the war movies; no soldier wants to kill) but because they are bound by their ties to their brothers in arms and would never think of abandoning them on the field of battle.

    It is both hilarious and disgusting that you can have such an arrogant and cavalier attitude toward their behavior from the comfort of your computer chair, and your horribly flawed perception only underscores your ignorance on this subject. This is something I do not expect you to understand, and no amount of further explanation on my part will educate you. The only way to truly appreciate what these young men are enduring is for you to serve in the military yourself. To experience the sacrifice, the hardship, the joy, the cameraderie, the honor, the terror and the sorrow that conflate into a typhoon of emotion that permeates your mind during battle. These are emotions so powerful that they transcend words, and in all my years I have never been able to fully articulate what it is like to serve in a combat unit to anybody who has never been there. Until you do, you have nothing to stand on. Sit your ass down in the cheap seats and stick to things you possess a modicum of authority over, because posts like this make you look rather silly.

    You have a lot to learn.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2005
  23. SpyMoose Secret double agent deer Registered Senior Member

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    Please realize that this is true of every organized military in the world. Saying that they are loyal to their nation or their combat unit is not a statement of their morality. I wish to avoid Godwin’s law. Every nation with an organized military has had such men, regardless of the morality of the nations actions.

    If all it takes to make a war moral is a national food like apple pie, a waving flag, and your buddy next to you (in a purely platonic capacity) then what shouldn't our army do? You owe jagger an apology for insulting him and then completely dodging the issue at hand.
     

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