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A discussion on the senseless violence in iraq in the good soldiers

In its ranks were a number of military veterans.

Review: The Good Soldiers, by David Finkel

They are, unsurprisingly, an increasing presence in the anti-war movement: The war in Iraq was not a blunder or a mistake. They had many different ideas on how to deal with Tony Blair, the establishment, the special relationship with America — the whole legal, moral and political abomination that is the Iraq war and its aftermath.

Most of them, when asked, did share one position very firmly. It has been expressed to me again and again in a single word: In Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere, we were betrayed. In my experience this feeling is also present among soldiers and veterans who are not overtly political. That is what you feel when you are a soldier in a war you do not believe in or have come to see as a sham.

It is right that Iraq will dominate the headlines for some time to come, but it is not the only war we have fought or are fighting. I was a true believer. I wanted to be a soldier from a young age because a life in the forces offered everything a working-class kid could want. A route out of poverty, a sense of meaning, a tribe.

The services appeared to have all the trappings of a better life in pursuit of a nobler world — for me and for others.

Iraq veterans around the world reflect: 'the best and worst time of my life'

I loved the army. I loved my regiment, my squadron and my troop. I loved the life the military offered me and wanted to stay for ever. But that desire, indoctrinated into me, could not square with the reality of the wars Britain was fighting.

  • Amidst the chaos of the Shia militias and Sunni insurgency, he developed a taste for authoritarianism;
  • The support we receive from Combat Stress as patient and carer has been invaluable, it's sad that such a valuable resource has to rely on donations and has no government funding;
  • We didn't have armies of counsellors to look after either me or the family left behind;
  • One section of the army he reserved particular disdain for was a group of officers from the poor tribes of Tikrit and its surrounding area.

It is like being all dressed up with nowhere to go. We were ready to die but had nothing worth dying for.

I fought in an unjust war. Let me tell you what that feels like

Though die we did, and in the hundreds. My war gets a better press than Iraq, for no good reason that I can see. It cost the lives of more than twice as many UK soldiers as Iraq and was enormously damaging both to my own country and the one we invaded and occupied. I see now more clearly than ever that my comrades and I were — to a greater or lesser extent depending on our jobs — hired muscle for great power.

As a sagacious Vietnam veteran once told me of his time in south-east Asia: Many of my comrades who went to Iraq had similarly jarring experiences, which were all the more horrific for them, as true believers themselves.

The Good Soldiers

This tribe we had enlisted in was not, it turned out, a force for good or liberation or anything of that kind. Others do not come to that realisation in an overt way.

  1. I cannot say that I personally made the country better or worse for the Iraqis. Politicians like to take pictures with us, but very few actually care about anything but enhancing their talking points.
  2. I served on submarines and my brother is in the Royal Artillery.
  3. However, when you have children seeing their parents shot in front of them or a huge suicide attack with body parts strewn all over the place, any normal human being would become psychologically disturbed. L, Dundee, UK I work with the Northern Ireland Veterans association, an organisation who exist specifically to support the veterans and families of those that served during the conflict in Northern Ireland.
  4. I know his personality is not his fault, although I doubt I can ever completely forgive him for how mean he was to my mother and to me when I was growing up.

Instead they internalise their war. They try, and mostly fail, to shut the door on it. Some contend with the reality of having been a soldier in a wasteful, unnecessary war. They become embittered and twisted because they are determined to cling to the idea their war was worth it — if they lost friends or were wounded they cling even harder.

A historian of war once theorised that in those cases, where the determination to maintain that your war was right and justified even in the face of the facts, you become a kind of expression of imperialism — as warped and contradictory as, for example, the Iraq war.

The path that led to ISIS: A history of violence in Iraq

If you are serving at the time you come to the realisation that your apparently heroic role in the world is a lie, so you face a choice. If you resist you may will face the full might of the military crashing down on you. This is part of the legacy of Iraq and Afghanistan, which, owing to the prevailing hero culture of the military, risks being missed.

An alienated soldiery is a dangerous thing in these unsettled times.

  1. They are convinced they are defending something someone else told them. Perhaps if this horror and its after effects were more widely acknowledged, fewer people would choose to take part in pointless, destructive wars.
  2. No soldier comes back home feeling good after killing someone.
  3. Military coups galore In 1933 King Faisal I died on a trip to Switzerland in rather fishy circumstances and his son Ghazi took the throne at the age of just 21. Perhaps if this horror and its after effects were more widely acknowledged, fewer people would choose to take part in pointless, destructive wars.
  4. Anon, UK I volunteered in 2003 to go to Iraq and help with the post-war reconstruction effort. During that time, you will have to worry about every aspect of living as a civilian, from gas to water to food etc...
  5. Six months living in holes in the ground that he had to dig out everyday, listening to artillery shells going off and explosions all around him.

But, as angry veterans are drawn toward the radical end of politics, it remains to be seen whom it is dangerous for. My hope is that their discontent is directed at the status quo that sent us to die in the deserts.