When Soldiers Become Murderers

Sunday, March 28, 2010
Posted in category War

The February 22, 2010 issue of Time magazine includes this article: “The Threat From Within. Some soldiers become murderers. The military needs to figure out how to stop them.”

After that headline, the article does not dare raise the question of who trained them to murder. Not a single comment about what those soldiers are doing overseas, and how murdering for the state makes them “soldiers,” not murderers. As usual, the media recognizes murder, when committed by those who are given orders to murder, to be justified and permissable. Outside of the military, it’s a crime. From the article:

In late 2005, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division took control of a stretch of land just south of Baghdad that had come to be known as the Triangle of Death. Experiencing some form of combat nearly every day, suffering from a high casualty rate and enduring chronic breakdowns in leadership, one of the battalion’s platoons — 1st Platoon, Bravo Company — fell into a tailspin of poor discipline, substance abuse and brutality. In March 2006, four 1st Platoon soldiers — Specialist Paul Cortez, Specialist James Barker, Private First Class Jesse Spielman and Private First Class Steven Green — perpetrated one of the most heinous war crimes known to have been committed by U.S. forces during the Iraq War: the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the cold-blooded murders of her, her parents and her 6-year-old sister.

This event is known as the Mahmudiyah killings. It wasn’t just a rape – it was a brutal gang rape. After the rape, Green shot the girl on the head and set her body on fire. Steve Green had already raped the girl in a solo act prior to this killing event. Green had an imperfect past prior to enlisting in the Army, and like many young men with no focus or direction, he pursued the only option he had – the military. Infantry training.

But Green was not a troublemaker, criminal, or otherwise. The media would like you to believe that he was formed and shaped as a killer before he joined the military, for then they don’t have to address the question of why soldiers become murderers. According to Wikipedia, when he joined the Army, he was “granted a moral character waiver for prior alcohol and other drug related offenses that might have otherwise disqualified him.” A moral character waiver? Indeed, because they knew this unfocused young firebrand would make a great killing soldier.

In his apology to the family of the victims, Green said this: “I see now that war is intrinsically evil, because killing is intrinsically evil. And, I am sorry I ever had anything to do with either.” That’s the one thing that Green got right. My apologies for the link to Huffington Post, but Robert Koehler had some good words to say about this event:

To my mind, such locked-in know-nothingism, such refusal to make obvious connections, makes the mainstream U.S. media fully complicit in the conspiracy to evade, indeed, shatter the whole concept of, responsibility for the consequences of our wars of conquest and occupation.

These wars, or the fomenting of the precondition that makes them possible — the dehumanization of whole nationalities — are in and of themselves the problem: They are the disease. Green’s crimes, and all the other propaganda embarrassments for which low-ranking scapegoats have been publicly chastised, are the symptoms. How many symptoms do we need before we dare address the underlying condition, which infects all of us?

…The context also includes the training that our troops, including Steven Green, received before deployment: e.g., hours of bayonet training (“Kill! Kill!”) which has zero combat usefulness in the war on terror, but serves to desensitize the troops and inculcate a monstrous contempt for the people whose country they will occupy.

“We did not send a rapist and murderer to Iraq,” said Patty Ruth, Steven Green’s aunt.

Patty Ruth, of course he wasn’t a rapist and killer. I’m sure the guy you sent to Iraq was just a casual mischief-maker, and a confused kid with no plans, focus, or passion for what he wanted to do and be. The military took advantage of this because it needs kids that are suited to being collectivized and desensitized so that they will blindly follow orders without reservation.

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12 Responses to When Soldiers Become Murderers

  1. cousin lucky says:

    March 28th, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I am 65 years old, so I will probably not live to see it but our country seems Hellbent on making everyone else on this planet our enemies!! A country that has the most porous borders in the world should not be about making everybody hate us. We should also not be about raising violent idiots as a national policy.

    The Government Of This Country Is Just ” Stuck On Stupid “!!
    You Betcha!!!!

  2. Michael says:

    March 28th, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Just wait. Those “kids that are suited to being collectivized and desensitized so that they will blindly follow orders without reservation” will be ordered to maintain what will surely be a fleeting sense of civilization once the bottom drops out of this economy. Can anybody fathom a social, economic and political train wreck that’s 10 orders of magnitude greater than Katrina?

    The Mahmudiyah murders are indicative of the ills associated with an interventionist foreign policy. None of this happens with a foreign policy justly shaped around a foreign policy of non-interventionism, peace and trade.

  3. Jeannie Queenie says:

    March 29th, 2010 at 12:31 am

    This Times article proves yet again, how media can push a PC view just like the military did in the case of Hasan. The Times focuses on Hasan, the muslim soldier who took the lives of many at Fort Hood. If a definition of war is that of the ultimate degree of social insanity, then we can see that Hasan had double training in insanity. It is a given that military and religion are both collectivistic and controlling forces which binds one “to blindly follow orders without reservation.” For Hasan, he chose religion and Allah’s orders. Hasan had harangued doctors and
    staff about what the Quran taught about non-believers going to hell, being scalded, beheaded, etc. To better undersand Hasan’s deadly actions, listen to this explosive NPR video.
    Forward the audio to 1:50 and listen through 3:05 for the most relevant comments. Then draw your own conclusions.

    You needn’t be a rocket scientist to know the man soon to be deployed to Afghanistan was expected to kill other muslims once there.
    Clearly he did not want to go, nor did he want to kill his own, but rather the infidel, meaning fellow american soldiers. The signs had been there for quite a while, but the great old american PC game prevailed. Clearly Hasan’s loyalties were elsewhere, but then there have been other muslims in the american service who figured the same. For their stories, see–


    We should also be discussing not just why soldiers go beserk and kill others, but why the suicide rate is 35% pre-deployment, as well as 35% post deployment, far more than any other wars Americans have fought…this is equally, or moreso, worthy of seeking answers, but that is another chapter for another day.

  4. Shannon says:

    March 29th, 2010 at 2:15 am

    My advice to young folks who are without direction: Go seek out college career counseling, join a church, start a new hobby, a paperclip collection, organize the sock drawer but whatever you do, DON’T join the military!!!!!

  5. liberranter says:

    March 29th, 2010 at 11:55 am

    During my years on active duty, I crossed paths several times with misfits or antisocial types who were hellbent on getting into the Navy SEALS or some other special forces unit because they were itching “to see some REAL action.” Invariably, these individuals wound up getting discharged before their term of service was over, often other than honorably, due to lack of adaptability to military life, behavioral/psychiatric problems, substance abuse, some combination thereof, or some other extenuating factor (as a senior non-commissioned officer, I personally made sure on several occasions that these discharges were processed).

    The fact is that such extreme cases were relatively few and far between at that time, a very tiny percentage of the overall population of the armed forces. Today, even casual observation of those in uniform, whom I encounter on a fairly frequent basis. leaves me with a feeling of nausea. Having largely abandoned recruiting standards in order to meet their cannon fodder quotas, the armed services are now home to the same maladjusted, semi-literate, antisocial Gen-Y’ers that you meet in cities, suburbs, community colleges, and at entry-level jobs in workplaces anywhere else in the nation, refugees from broken homes, broken public schools. and parental abandonment, creatures left largely to fend for themselves in their formative years. But the difference between what you find in the civilian world and what you find in the military is, as this thread points out, that far from serving as an institutional check on anti-social behavior (an area in which civilian institutions are admittedly sorely lacking), the military encourages, fosters, molds, and channels such behavior to its own ends, always with tragic results. After all, soldiers don’t stay soldiers forever, and what is ingrained into them as desired behavior has a way of remaining a permanent part of their psyches long after they separate service, if not permanently.

    Remember the stereotype of the emotionally crippled Vietnam Vet that became such a popular media image beginning in the early 1980s? Stand by: that stereotype on steroids is going be the Iraqghanistan Vet, and in much greater numbers than we imagine!

  6. Jeannie Queenie says:

    March 29th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Shannon, you have that right. I have a son who joined the Air Force pre gulf war I. He was given the vaccines that have turned out to screw up so many of our troops. For the last 20 years, my son has had to deal with chronic bone and joint pain, peripheral neuropathy, on seizure meds for years, has short term memory problems and three years ago had, god knows how many testicular tumors removed both internally and externally. He is an incredibly handsome and highly intelligent man but his life has been altered bigtime. Of course, the doctors told him years ago that he should never father any children. Many returning troops from gulf war I came home and fathered severely disabled and deformed babies..and the govt still ignores them..sickening.
    I am not sure I would recommend any kid joining a church as you say above, for the recent crap healthcare bill was endorsed by the Catholic Church reported in the National Catholic Reporter. All to often churches are on the same page with govt and they
    both believe that ‘loving your neighbor’ equates to ‘let’s all be miserable together and share YOUR wealth with the rest of us! Otherwise known as commies!

  7. liberranter says:

    March 29th, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    And by the way, as a post-script to my previous submission:

    Am I the only one who continues to be amazed at the fact that the same people who so publicly remonstrate against violent and obscene video games (large numbers of these people being the same ones whose butts warm the pews every Sunday morning of those ecclesio-fascist corporations called “churches”, in which empty lip service is paid to the life and teachings of the Man who was the very antithesis of such violence) are the same people who can’t get enough of that very same violence, praising the creatures who commit it, as long as it’s “our troops” doing it and when it’s done in the name of “freedom” or “national defense?”

  8. Shannon says:

    March 31st, 2010 at 4:09 am

    Jeannie, I am very sorry for what your son has endured. In the name of “freedom” many have become enslaved by the military complex. The Gulf War Syndrome is frightening, like a DES type of human experiment, who knows what people will discover in years ahead. What you said about what happens in many churches is what I have felt for a long time. There are some good communities out there, but there is the collectivism. I am not catholic, and I don’t bash but I sure as heck won’t get affiliated. The abuse scandals, all of it is sickening. There is a lot of allegiance to the state, seen in many denominations. I attended a baptist service once where they did a slideshow with a photo of the president, as if they wanted us all to worship him and not God!!! Insane, is it not?

  9. Iluvatar says:

    March 31st, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    @liberranter: No, you’re not alone.

    “ecclesio-fascist corporations called “churches”” Wow! I am going to have to remember that one.

    When I stopped being a catholic as a teenager it was for spiritually adolescent reasons (immature reasons). It seemed so false/non-genuine to be so nice for an hour out of the week and a jerk for the remainder. Also, club membership gave me the creeps (still does).

    I still jokingly say that I am a recovering ex-Catholic.

    But by the time I was 20, I knew I was an alien in my own space & time.

    On rare occasions, that makes me feel lonely. But more often than not, it gives me comfort. B/c this PC society is I-N-S-A-N-E.

  10. Iluvatar says:

    March 31st, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ cousin: “A country that has the most porous borders in the world”

    Now isn’t that strange? The forefathers of our nation intended to grant certain powers (at least Jefferson did, Hamilton was as statist as they come – the federalist papers were his prized piece of fiction) to the federal gov.

    The most common characteristic of those granted powers was that they were items that were beyond what the states could do by themselves.

    And numero uno on that list was the defense of our nation from invaders. What about 9/11 did we not understand?

    When it costs $26K to launch a differential GPS cruise missile from a trawler 200 miles offshore and it can successfully target the White House, it sure seems like defense hasn’t done its job?

    As a matter of fact, it seems like it has done everything else BUT its job…

  11. Michael says:

    March 31st, 2010 at 1:30 pm


    I’ve made the same connection. It’s a paradox. I guess they don’t mind the cognitive dissonance. Check out the Laurence Vance archive at LewRockwell.com: http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance-arch.html.

  12. Shannon says:

    April 1st, 2010 at 2:13 am

    Liberrantar, that was incredible. (((((standing ovation)))))

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