When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again

I want to talk about something I read over at The Angry Black Woman.  She got it from this website, which I don’t know anything about.  I googled a phrase from the transcript and found this post at Huffingtonpost.com explaining that there was a youtube video purporting to be an interview with a soldier who’d been a guard at Abu Ghraib and, I guess, this is the transcript from it.  The Army is investigating to see if it’s real.


I want to say up front that I hope against hope that this is a hoax.


In the transcript, the interviewer asks the alleged guard what the most fun thing they did at Abu Ghraib was:



What was the most fun things?


The most fun thing, umm….definitely the women.


Yeah? They had chick insurgents, man?


No, they didn’t have chick insurgents.


***


Something goes down, they just grab everyone around, you know, fuck em. I mean, you gonna have 35 trials? No, you know. People are like, “Oh they’re innocent.” You know what, I don’t give a fuck. As far as I’m concerned, they’re all guilty. You know what? They should have kicked Saddam out themselves. Instead, we’re there doing the fucking job. We’re losing guys…..


***


Were those people in the World Trade Center guilty? No. Fuck them. They fucked us, so now we’re fucking them. Fuck them, dude, anyone with a fucking rag on their head is fair game.


***


….girl, she was probably like 15 years old. Yeah, she was hot dude. The body on that girl, yeah, really tight. You know, hadn’t been touched yet. She was fucking prime. So….


***


One of the guys started pimping her out for 50 bucks a shot. I think at the end of the day, you know, he’d made like 500 bucks before she hung herself.


Really?


Yeah.


She hung herself? How’s come she hung herself?


I don’t know. She wasn’t happy.


***


In their culture, it’s really shunned upon if you get raped. I guess she would have been stoned to death anyways by her people, you know. It’s fucked up.


She was fucked anyway, I guess. In more ways than one.


America, if this is real, I hope the Army hunts down ever person involved and puts them in prison for a long, long time.  Repeatedly raping a fifteen year old girl until she kills herself and talking about that like it illustrates some fun time?


What do you say in the face of that?


It makes my blood run cold.


But here is my question for you, America:  How the fuck do we bring these folks home?


Do you want to live next door to a guy who thinks a young girl being sold to his buddies and raped repeatedly is funny? Do you want him on your police force?  In your fire department?  Providing security at your schools?  Drinking at the bar with you?  What if you’re his wife?


I am probably naive, but I believe that, when we ask young men and women to go to war for us, we make a sacred agreement with them.  We say, go and do this thing that we, under ordinary circumstances cannot do.  Go and put yourself in these extraordinary circumstances and do these things that, if you live through them, will take an enormous toll on you, psychically and spiritually, and when you come home, we will take care of you, to whatever extent that you need it.



The Other Reverent never talked about Viet Nam.  He never marched in Veteran’s Day parades or got a kick out of watching war movies.  He never had a dog.


That always seemed weird to me, when I was growing up, because he clearly loved dogs.


Once he answered our questions.


“What did you do in Viet Nam?”


“I was in a K-9 unit.  I was a guard.”


“Did you kill people?”


“I don’t know.  It was dark.  I shot at them.”


“Was it cool?”


“No.”


***


When I was young, I was always struck by the attitude of the Viet Nam vets.  You’d go to parades and you’d see the World War I vets, and even then there were only a handful, riding in cars or on a float or sometimes, carrying the flag at the beginning of the parade.  And then the World War II vets and the Korean vets would come by, wearing their uniforms, if they could still fit in them, standing proud, marching with purpose.  And everyone would clap and cheer.


And then the Viet Nam vets would come by, with their black flag and their leather jackets or their vests with the POW MIA patch across the shoulders and a few of them might be in standard issue uniforms, but most of them were in some kind of post-duty dress–boots and camouflage pants, but t-shirts.  Or jackets, but jeans.  And they didn’t march in step, but they walked together.


And those were all men we knew.  Our fathers and our uncles and the men who lifted us up on their shoulders and gave us rides home from school.  The men who pitched in to raise barns and raise money. 


And there was always this long silence when they walked by, as if, even ten, fifteen, years later, we didn’t know if we should clap or not.  And they always looked like they didn’t know if they wanted us to clap or not.


The looks on their faces, almost invariably, said, “God damn it, America, I love you, but fuck you.”


***


I think our execution of this war has suffered because our leaders should have served in Viet Nam and didn’t.  I believe that with all my heart, that if our leadership understood the human cost, and how it costs and costs, the war would have been executed differently, if at all.


***


There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.–Sun Tzu


***


Few parents send their children off to war expecting them to learn to find raping and torturing people they know aren’t guilty of anything except being in the wrong place at the wrong time funny.  I can’t imagine that many kids head off to boot camp thinking, “I’m going to end up doing things that will make the people back home afraid of me.”


***


We owed them our loyalty, as Americans, and we gave it. But they owed us ­sound judgment, clear thinking, concern for our welfare, a guarantee that the threat to our country was equal to the price we might be called upon to pay in defending it. –Jim Webb


***


I can’t help but feel there are two costs–the costs the soldiers must pay, with their lives, with body parts left in the sand, with their sanity; there’s a steep price they pay in order to be able to do what’s required of them; and there’s the cost to us, when they come home to us, and they’ve learned how to do things good people can’t do and stay good.  You can’t think it’s funny to rape a fifteen year old girl repeatedly until she’d rather kill herself than endure any more and still be a good person; you just can’t.


Maybe you can be reformed, but not if no one ever steps in and makes that happen.


It’s trite but it’s true that, when you fight a monster, you run the risk of becoming a monster as well.  That’s not even Sun Tzu; that’s just horror movie 101.


Is the threat we face in Iraq worth it?  Worth even one of our sons turning into the kind of man who finds that girl’s rape and death funny?


It’s hard for me to feel that it is.


That’s why I hope this is a hoax.

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If I Only Had Four Highly Trained Cheetahs…

If I had four highly trained cheetahs, I would train them to run down and tear apart any number of people at the park.  For fun, check to see if you’re on the list.


You’re probably going to be mauled to death by a cheetah if…


–you run on the horse trails, which are clearly marked “No running.”


–you have your dog off leash and you don’t leash them up when you see me coming in my bright yellow coat.


–you have more than one dog and can’t control any of them.


–you dare look at me like I’m ruining your park going experience by bringing my dog there, who, I might point out, is on a leash.


–you drive 45 through the park on your way to the golf course.


–you let your children drive very tiny motorized toys around the park and don’t stay with them.


Let’s just make a rule.  If it’s something that requires you to regularly think about its poop, it should be firmly attached to you in some way when you are at the park.  There are cars and other park goers and, soon enough, killer cheetahs, so let’s use some common sense out there folks.

The Baby Shower

Yesterday was Sarcastro’s baby shower and as much as I want to talk about it, and I will here in a second, I must just say that JJ just melts my heart.  If some of you grown-ass men would show half the enthusiasm and even a quarter of the unabashed delightful smile he gives me whenever he sees me, that would be awesome.


I mean, I’ve come to terms with the fact that y’all are never going to send me naked pictures of you that I can put up here at Tiny Cat Pants for all the straight women and gay men* to enjoy (though I’m still of the opinion that, if it’s possible to get Knuck or Smiley drunk enough, they might be game).  But at the least, let’s see some more regular unabashed smiling like seeing me has made your whole day.


Just at least consider it.  After all, it’d be fun to past scruffy-mugged smiles here as well.


Anyway, Sarcastro’s baby shower was good fun.  I told Mack and Kate O that they were on my list of people I’m determined to have coffee with because I only ever see them at these get-togethers and we never get enough time to talk one-on-one and the hints I get about them make me want to hear more (Mack, for instance, went through a period in his life where he felt that even the rules of a biker gang [which I believe are just ‘Don’t fuck with anyone else’s bike, old lady, or drug money and don’t beat up babies’] were too strict for him).


It was fun, too, because since it was on a Saturday afternoon, there were a shit-ton of kids running around all being loud and giggly.  Lynnster, WordPress Goddess, was there and I didn’t get as much of a chance to talk to her as I wanted, but I was really struck by how familiar she looked.  Lynnster, did you think I looked familiar?  I just wondered if we’d run into each other before.


Sarcastro seems very excited about the whole infant thing, which is good, because it’s too late for him to back out now.  He was very cute, opening all the presents.  I think I’m all for co-ed kid-friendly showers.  We didn’t play any games.  We ate some delicious cake and in one room, they were talking about the Bible; in another room they were talking about kids; and in the third room, we were talking about sex and porn.  Shut off from us heathens were the kids in a fourth room.


Good fun.


 


 


 


*Shout out to TV in New York!