imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Soldiering is for others

by Taki Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 6:04 AM

And who is to do it? Certainly not the neoconservatives. They use such terms as moral clarity and the need to project our power — but it is to be done with someone else’s body. A conversation I had with a budding neocon reveals their version of moral clarity. Who was included when he said ‘we’. He looked at me as if I were a bit dense and said, ‘We, the United States.’ ‘Does that mean you?’ I asked. ‘No,’ he replied, ‘the guys in the army.'

All Quiet on the Western Front was written in 1929 and became an instant best-seller; in Germany alone more than 3 million copies were sold within 18 months. Hollywood made a film of it the following year and it won an Oscar for Best Picture. I read it during the closing days of the second world war, my great uncle, a German scholar, helping me along. I saw the film in 1949 and never forgot the haunting scene when the hero, Paul Baumer, kills a Frenchman who had randomly jumped into his foxhole in no-man’s-land. Baumer bayonets him in the throat, after which he watches the man die slowly, gurgling blood. Overcome by guilt, the German comforts the Frenchman and, after the latter’s death, he finds photographs of his loved ones tucked inside his uniform. In other words, the enemy is just like us.

‘Last Sunday I went on strike and nobody noticed.’

Don McCullin echoed the haunting scenario when he photographed a dead Viet Cong soldier in Hue in 1968, his plundered belongings lying beside him, a picture of his pretty sweetheart facing his dead eyes. I remember the photo only too well. It shook me like no other. The evil, or so we thought, VC also had feelings, and took pictures of their loved ones into combat just like the rest of us. Both the film and Don’s photograph were in black and white, adding great dramatic effect.

I’ve just been given the McCullin book, and an Erich Maria Remarque biography by Hilton Tims for my birthday, both books confirming my recent anti-war feelings about old men sending young ones to die. Here’s a United States Marine, Roger McGrath, writing in Chronicles magazine (best American monthly by far) about war:

And who is to do it? Certainly not the neoconservatives. They use such terms as moral clarity and the need to project our power — but it is to be done with someone else’s body. A conversation I had with a budding neocon reveals their version of moral clarity. Who was included when he said ‘we’. He looked at me as if I were a bit dense and said, ‘We, the United States.’ ‘Does that mean you?’ I asked. ‘No,’ he replied, ‘the guys in the army.’

McGrath goes on to ask the neocon whether our boys should be put in harm’s way for interests that have nothing to do with the defence of the United States. ‘Are you willing to do what you call the right thing with your own body?’ asks the Marine. ‘Those guys are volunteers — they chose to do it. I’m just finishing my degree and have a good job lined up.’

Need I say more? The neocon is not a soldier and does not plan to become one. Soldiering is for others. In a republic, it is the job of citizens. In an empire, it is imperial forces who do the fighting. Another Marine, Major-General Smedley Butler, twice decorated with the Medal of Honour, making him one of only two Marines in history to win the greatest battlefield decoration twice, had this to say about war: ‘War is just a racket...I believe in adequate defence of our coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes here, then we’ll fight. I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. I would only fight for the defence of our homes and for the Bill of Rights.’

Hear, hear! I remember landing in Tel Aviv in 1973. The Yom Kippur war had just begun and I was covering it for a Greek newspaper and National Review. I had to file two stories a day from the Golan front where vicious fighting was raging. The Syrians gave a good account of themselves, as did the Egyptians on the Sinai side. But they did not take care of their dead soldiers. Unlike the Israelis who picked up their dead, the Arabs left them to rot in the desert. I saw hundreds of young bodies lying around, and imagined their fat masters back in Damascus and Cairo covered in medals and sipping sweet coffee.

After Hue in 1972, where the expected battle never took place — American air strikes by B-52s caught the invading Giap army in the open (I can still remember the stink of dead human flesh) — and the Yom Kippur war, I decided war was not such a good thing after all. All Quiet on the Western Front attests to a common humanity transcending nation, race, and religion. Erich Maria Remarque became a pacifist because he had fought the war in the trenches. The neocons never have and do not plan to, and do not deserve the right to send anyone to die except themselves.
Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 12 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Forgot the URL Abra Cadaver Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 6:06 AM
"War is an ugly thing... nonanarchist Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 6:54 AM
OneEyedMan KPC Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 7:42 AM
Wassa matter, Chicken Boy? nonanarchist Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 1:52 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 1:56 PM
Ass kicked? nonanarchist Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 2:20 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 2:25 PM
You really are... nonanarchist Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 2:27 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 3:18 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2003 at 3:19 PM
"reality challenged" nonanarchist Thursday, Sep. 04, 2003 at 11:43 AM
Today Baghdad, Tomorrow Stockholm Ffutal Friday, Sep. 05, 2003 at 3:10 AM

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens A06 2:15PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy