...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

June 27, 2005

A Major's View

Doug Tennapel interviewed United States Air Force Major Steven A. Givler, who served during both Iraq wars as an intelligence officer.

Some highlights:

As far as ethics and rules of engagement are concerned, we take greater pains than any military in the world to safeguard civilian life. We actually incur a good deal of risk in order to avoid hurting people or damaging property. People don’t realize what a change this is from how war has been waged throughout history. Civilian populations have always born the brunt of war, and suffered from the after effects. Look at WWII.

To destroy a single factory in Germany we might have had to destroy the entire city surrounding it, just because of the inaccuracy of our weapons. In Japan, we had to destroy even more because of Japan’s decentralized industries. In Iraq though, I stood on a bridge that had been destroyed with a single laser-guided bomb. The mosque next to the bridge was completely unscathed. We could have carpeted the entire area with a B-52 full of dumb bombs from a safe altitude, but instead we sent in a fighter that risked surface to air fire just so we could be precise and spare any unnecessary damage. This in spite of the fact that our enemy makes no distinction between military and civilian, and has time and time again, used mosques and churches for military purposes such as fighting positions or places for hiding weapons caches.

. . .

When I see those 'war is not the answer' bumper stickers, I always wonder 'what was the question?' Because maybe we’re talking different questions. Certainly, if the question is 'What do you do about a group of men who believe in slavery, who are completely dedicated to killing every one of us, and who cannot be negotiated with,' the war is definitely the answer.

People with those bumper stickers remind me of people who think meat comes from a grocery store. They have completely forgotten that something had to die in order for them to eat, and before it found its way to that sterile Styrofoam tray, that steak went through a very messy process. They have forgotten too, that our founding fathers said that occasionally the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots. It amazes me that they seem unaware that, were it not for war, their bumper stickers, if they were allowed to have them, would be printed in German, or Japanese, or Russian. War, and our success at it, is precisely what has earned them the freedom to be so naïve.

Unfortunately, the world is an imperfect place. Evil exists. Some people are so given over to it that there is nothing else that can be done with them other than to kill them. I know this is difficult for some people to believe. I wish I could show them what I’ve seen, like the Brothel Palace, outside of Baghdad, where Saddam and his friends imprisoned women they kidnapped off the streets. Or maybe I could introduce them to Iraqis who were forced to watch their family members fed feet-first (to prolong the suffering) through plastic shredders. Maybe that would change their minds, but probably not. That’s alright. I’ve been there. I know that 5 million Iraqis owe their freedom to a war fought for them by Americans. I know that for them, war has definitely been the answer.

Posted by annika, Jun. 27, 2005 |
Rubric: On The Blogosphere


My favorite quote:

"People with those bumper stickers remind me of people who think meat comes from a grocery store. They have completely forgotten that something had to die in order for them to eat, and before it found its way to that sterile Styrofoam tray, that steak went through a very messy process."

Rock on, Major.

Posted by: reagan80 on Jun. 27, 2005

Wonderful post. Spread this one around the whole blogosphere.


Posted by: Mark on Jun. 27, 2005

Certainly there is truth in what this air force pogue has to say, BUTT-Monkey, one thing that civilians don't understand about the military is that the differences between the services, and the specialties within, which have survived over a decade of androgenization to emerge in wartime as starkly pragmatic. The Air Force has had almost no casualties, while the Marine Corps has borne a disproportionate share in the war in Iraq. Ground combat is an entirely different animal than dropping a bomb on a bridge. Ask those shitheads in Fallujah what we didn't shoot. If we made a mistake in this war, it was in being too careful, and not bloody enough. God bless Curtis Lemay, he understood.

Posted by: Casca on Jun. 27, 2005

amazingly deep comments. i wish i could see a brainscan of you people. it's amazing how deftly you deflect and obfuscate, answering questions that were never asked and changing the answers when it suits you. do you really believe all liberals don't know the costs of war? i tune out the dopey democrats who say we should pull out - we're there, so we have to finish the job, clearly. but when someone asks how we can improve the safety of our forces, or whether we should even TALK about a plan for getting out eventually, you all act as if the questioner is a terrorist sympathizer. that's called ignoring the question, which is a clear sign of weakness and, recently, desperation. i know to you rightwingers nixon was a liberal, so maybe this won't help - but the stuff i hear every day about questioning the leader being akin to helping the enemy has been copied verbatim from nixon+vietnam. desperate. i don't believe you're all stupid or crazy, so i wonder why you're hanging onto it so aggressively.

everyone knows that war is bad, and i hope even you fringers can answer the simple question "would you rather have war or not war?" correctly.

the meat analogy is telling - if you look close, you might say the author is suggesting that we look at the causes, justifications, and planning that led to this war. but you don't like to do that. it's much easier to just spit the party line.

Posted by: eric on Jun. 30, 2005