I’m sorry if this sounds a bit heartless, but for gods sake, they are soldiers. Harden up!
This has been a pet peeve of mine for quite a while now. While I may totally disagree with the principles behind the current situation in Iraq, and the process through which the current quagmire has developed, I still believe in the generalised requirement for armies, soldiers and warfare. So the reaction of the western press to occupying forces being shot at totally amazes me. One soldier gets his ear scratched by a bullet (yes, yes I know soldiers have been maimed and killed, but the same applies) and suddenly it’s “Oh my god, blood! Quick, call off the war!! Bring our boys home!”
Why do we not have the same front page when an Iraqi convenience store owner is blown to pieces? Or a mother and child shot? They didn’t sign a form that requires them to go where and when they are told, and to take up arms against whoever they are told to. The soldiers, to put it bluntly, did.
Again, don’t think for a minute that I’m saying “they had it coming to them”, or “dumbass soldiers for following orders”. Maybe if the army’s sign-up form had a clause allowing the soldier right of refusal, we’d have a different situation whereby a “soldiers’ collective” could decide whether they should do what they are told (of course this would never work…)? I’m guessing that in that hypothetical situation, they still would have gone to help rebuild in Iraq. All the more reason to not cry foul when the shit starts to hit the fan. Everyone knew this would happen, and it is disingenuous of the press to plaster a single mortar round on a banner headline, while relegating several Baghdad car bombs to the ‘World’ section.
We live in a very different time, but I’d honestly hate to imagine the outcome of something like D-day or Gallipoli given the current press coverage. Would we instead have had many more soldiers dying because of the current ‘leave no man behind’ trend? If I was a soldier, I know I’d be much more of the ‘get the hell out of dodge, and clean up afterwards’ mindset. Then again, maybe those responsible for Dresden or the firebombing of Tokyo would have thought twice if they knew they’d be scrutinised as closely as the Abu Ghraib bastards? Where’s the perspective in that comparison eh?