Digby comments on the current flap at The New Republic and in the rightwing blogs about a soldier in Iraq who has provided some reality about life and conduct in our troops.
It isn’t shocking in the least that otherwise decent people could lose that decency during wartime and it certainly doesn’t surprise you that those who already have a light grip on conscience (or sanity) would behave in ways that would make us recoil in horror in our everyday lives. That is not a judgment about soldiers in general. Each one is his own agent and is responsible for his own actions. War doesn’t render morality inoperative. But it does challenge it and in the case of wars that are themselves immoral it challenges it severely.
I hear so much from the right about how they love the troops. But they don’t seem to love the actual human beings who wear the uniform, they love those little GI Joe dolls they played with as children which they could dress up in little costumes and contort into pretzels for their fun and amusement. If they loved the actual troops they wouldn’t require them to be like two dimensional John Waynes, withholding their real experiences and feelings for fear that a virtual armchair lynch mob would come after them.
Thank God Joseph Heller and James Jones and Erich Maria Remarque and countless others aren’t trying to write their books today. They’d be burned as heretics by a bunch of nasty boys and girls who have fetishized “the troops” into a strange form of Boy Band eroticism — that empty, nonthreatening form of masculinity the tweens use to bridge the scary gap between puberty and adolescence. Private Peter Pan reporting for duty.
The real men for them are the civilians on 24 torturing suspected terrorists for an hour each week, keeping the lil’est tough guys safe from harm with hard sadism and easy answers. That’s where this wingnut war is really being fought. With popcorn.
WAR IS FUCKING HELL.