People routinely refer to our troops in Iraq as heroes. What is heroism in an unjust war?
Charley Gibson of Good Morning America, as so many news people do, referred to our troops in Iraq as heroes. I flinch when I hear that. Can we give blanket praise to all who are fighting in this unjust war? Some have probably performed heroic deeds. Others have committed crimes against the Iraqi people, and have done it with the blessing of the U.S. government.
The following letter was sent to Good Morning America today, Wednesday, December 15, 2004:
”Charley, what is a hero? Is an armed robber a hero because he carries a gun into a dangerous situation? Were the Columbine killers heroes? They must have known that they would be shot doing what they were going to do.
”Our troops in Iraq may be heroes when they perform heroic deeds such as protecting their fellow soldiers, at the risk of their own lives. But, Charley, you can’t paint this as a heroic war. This is a war of aggression in which tens of thousands of Iraqis have died. It is an unjust war driven by the lies of the Bush administration that lied to us about weapons of mass destruction, ties to Al Qaeda, ties to 9/11, yellow cake, aluminum tubes, etc. They even lied to us about the mass graves.
Charley, are you aware that many of the mass graves were filled by U.S. troops driving bull dozers during the first Gulf war as they buried Iraqi troops that were slaughtered “In the Kill Box.” By the way, you need to see that documentary. It shows how Iraqis were slaughtered in the desert of Iraq. The intention of our generals was to totally kill 15,000 troops in each of dozens of kill boxes, areas on a map of Iraq that were estimated to have 15,000 Iraqi troops. There was no plan to take prisoners; Charley, it was intentional slaughter by the first Bush administration.”
So, getting back to my question; what is a hero? What is heroism? The heroes of the Vietnam War were the ones who fled to Canada, an action that I didn’t approve of at the time. I now realize that they were right and the troops who went to Vietnam were victims, not heroes of a government that started an unjustified war against an Asian country that was no threat to us. Now our “heroes” are killing thousands of innocent men, women and children in another unjust war. Some of our heroes will be prosecuted for deliberately killing civilians and wounded Iraqis. Some will kill and get away with it because no one will tell about what they have done.
Many American troops are committing suicide in Iraq. We don’t get statistics on that. Have you wondered why? Could it be because of things they have seen and done, things that were opposed to their basic moral values? Many are coming home with mental disorders that will haunt and cripple them for the rest of their lives. They may have killed innocent civilians and soldiers who really didn’t have to die, and wouldn’t have died if the Bush administration had not started this unjust war, based on lies and on the fear of another 9/11 attack.
Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 but the American people were sold the idea that he had. The news media did a poor job of informing the public of the truth. A lot of that blame belongs to Good Morning America, a program that played into the hands of the Bush administration. Dianne has been selling this war ever since before it started. I got so angry at her that I refused to watch the show for a very long time. She did seem to “get it” when she interviewed George W. Bush about WMDs. When Bush changed his story to “plans to produce WMD, and he couldn’t see a difference, I thought the light of insight finally was turned on in her pretty blond head. Now I don’t think so. There must be something in that blond rinse that turns off the thought processes.
Is ABC, and are the other networks so intimidated by this administration that it and they fear presenting the truth to the American people? Don’t you realize that if you would present the facts in the face of administration threats, you and the network would be real heroes? Ones who would be brave enough to stand up to the Bush administration and the FCC and say, “Look, we are in the news business, not the propaganda business, and we are going to do our jobs. That would be real heroism.
I read all of the comments that readers had made, and would like to thank those who wrote to comment. The last writer to comment was a fellow who was critical of my observations:
In his mind, any soldier who serves in the military and is sent to fight in a foreign land is a hero.
He was of the opinion that those of us who disagree with him, should move out of the U.S. into some third world country that is less free than the United States. Well, of course, I disagree with him that serving in a war, no matter whether that war is a justified conflict or not, makes a person a hero.
Are there heroes who are or who have fought in Iraq? No doubt there are. There are those who have sacrificed their lives and limbs for their comrades in arms. There are those who have risked their own lives for others in this conflict. There are those who have exposed the abuses of Abu Ghraib. There are those who exposed their comrades who have committed terrible crimes against the Iraqi people. There are those who have refused to go to Iraq and have faced military courts martial. There have been returning troops who have attended peace demonstrations and exposed themselves to military sanctions. All of these are truly heroes. But, do we consider those who go, perhaps against their will, to fight in this unjust war to be heroes? Do we consider those who have lost their lives, suffered brain damage, and lost limbs to roadside bombs to be heroes? No, they are victims of the lies told by the Bush administration in order to justify this stupid war.
According to my critic, fighting for your country, regardless of the cause, is heroic. No doubt, the Iraqi soldiers who sacrificed their lives to resist our invasion were heroes. In his mind, the German soldiers who fought in WWII were heroes. According to him, the Roman soldiers who fought wars of conquest were heroes (even though they may been forced to fight in the Roman Legions).