Thursday, August 19, 2004

More from Dwayne

You'll remember a couple of days ago I posted a letter from a soldier in the Middle East that was sent to Danny Schechter at Media Channel. Mr. Schechter is also a filmmaker and author.

Well it turns out Dwayne has more to say and it's eye-opening to say the least. For purposes of context, I am going to post the entire text from the Media Channel blog:

What's it like for men in uniform? Little or the media coverage looks into this. That's why I invited Dwayne (who has given me his last name - though I decide to withhold it), the soldier who courageously wrote to us to tell us a little bit more about life in the Army of One. He writes:

I must begin with what I hope is a worthy submission somewhat off topic. I am a little upset by the fact that my comments were immediately believed to be some type of intentional governmental ambush, simply because I admitted that I am a soldier and the nature of my comments.
Understand this, simply because I am an enlisted soldier in the US military and do not posses a Bachelor's in anything that I, we (soldiers), do not ponder issues of politics with depth and intelligence. Make no mistake, we do. Many of us are articulate and can structure a sentence to some degree of "respectability"; we also know how to use a dictionary for the spellings that elude us.

Now having said that, I hope these comments are not mistaken for extremely petty anger on my part. I did not attempt to encourage, or engage, Mr. Schechter in any illegal activity. Also, I did not attempt to solicit any personal or sensitive information regarding him or his activities; I simply submitted my personal comments to him and I stated the reason why: "the ironic fact that I obtained EMBEDDED from my base library and am currently working my way through a damn good and informative book." Furthermore, I am the one that is waiting for the FBI's axe to drop on my neck because of the comments I submitted using their website terrorist tipline.

Late April, 2004:

As always, it's extremely early in the morning and we have already had an intense physical training session and are now crammed into a classroom, fighting off fatigue and nervousness. Today's task, we are about to learn, and practice, the important skills of ESCAPE & EVASION. For reasons I still do not understand, our briefing will conclude with a lecture by the Regimental chaplain, Captain "Y." For the moment, we quickly use grease pencils to scribble important training information on our laminated maps, code names for roads, final destination points and anything else we believe is relevant and can be used to our advantage; when the soldiers who will play the role of our enemy pursers catch us their treatment will be.... realistic.

Soon the Chaplain's assistant, Specialist "Z", enters the class. He comes bearing gifts of chocolate bars, bananas, apples and bottled water. Without question, we will need the energy and hydration they provide and these treats are quickly snatched up; goodies that a soldier can acquire without pulling money from our pockets always creates a frenzy.

Enter the Chaplain:

After a brief introduction, the chaplain proceeds to ask a few questions about faith, who believes (in God) and who does not. He also asks if the prospect of being a soldier, and possibly having to kill another human, is causing anyone a moral conflict. If so, the chaplain wants those who may be suffering a crisis of conscience to be comforted by the knowledge that "the Ten Commandments (God) does not say that killing is wrong, but that thou shall not murder." Yes, he said that, this representative of a God, a religion, supposedly of peace, love, kindness and generosity preaches that killing for a military goal is okay. To be honest, I was not shocked, but I do remember thinking about how people outside of the military would find the chaplains words of compassion extremely interesting. I furiously focused on my Snicker's bar and assorted goodies to prevent myself from responding and literally biting my tongue. I guess that's the true meaning of "praise the Lord and pass the ammunition."
My emphasis.

I'm no religious expert but in the 10 Commandments for the Cathoilc, Hebrew & Protestant faiths it's pretty clear that Thou Shalt Not Kill means just that.

Unless you're protecting the oil ministry.

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