You know that Rolling Stone article that got General McChrystal fired? I was interested in the attitude of some of the soldiers interviewed.
The quotes that grabbed my attention:
One soldier shows me the list of new regulations the platoon was given. “Patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourselves with lethal force,” the laminated card reads. For a soldier who has traveled halfway around the world to fight, that’s like telling a cop he should only patrol in areas where he knows he won’t have to make arrests. “Does that make any fucking sense?” asks Pfc. Jared Pautsch. “We should just drop a fucking bomb on this place. You sit and ask yourself: What are we doing here?”
“Fuck, when I came over here and heard that McChrystal was in charge, I thought we would get our fucking gun on,” says [Staff Sgt. Kennith] Hicks, who has served three tours of combat.
I get that soldiers in combat zone feel very insecure about their safety, for a good and obvious reason. I get that seeing a friend be killed by “the enemy” is extremely emotional and difficult and creates feelings of revenge.
But we are still talking about human beings, whose country we are intruding upon. How hard is it to refrain from murder? When civilians are killed, I define that as murder. Why? Because it can be avoided. And should be avoided at all costs. We shouldn’t be occupying any countries at all, but since reality is that we are, our motto must be “first, do no harm.” Otherwise we need to get the fuck out.