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War and Degeneracy

On Monday, March 5, the website Wikileaks released a video depicting a US Army Apache helicopter in Baghdad opening fire on a group of civilians, killing 12, and wounding two children. Dated from 2007, it goes far beyond the conventional rules of engagement, veering into thug-like violence. The most disturbing aspect of this video is that there are many more to be found in the public domain of the internet, along with numerous news reports documenting the moral decline of our US military, with soldiers developing a gross disregard for those foreign peoples whom they are supposed to be “liberating”—they more and more resemble already notorious private armies like Blackwater USA. The video reveals a dark psychology to this war, and it can be little surprise that Wikileaks has been deemed to represent an “informational security threat to US Army” by the US Army Counter Intelligence Center; the site has even come under censorship in countries such as Australia, Germany, and China.

The video reveals a process of dehumanization—US citizens are placed in an alien region of violence and disorder for long and often repeated periods of time. Reports of the Army lowering its standards of recruitment in order to fill ranks, along with reports of the Army hiring citizens with criminal records (“moral waivers”), are signs of a degenerating military institution. The US Army is not alone to blame; as a collective society, we have a degenerate mass-culture which serves mindless entertainment and virtual reality, generously laden with violent and sexual themes, while offering a bare minimum of any functional values. “Wars” like those spreading in the Mideast offer the perfect venue for releasing repressed aggressive emotion, which, if videos like those of soldiers throwing a puppy of a cliff are any indication, manifest in juvenile sadism at best, mass murder at worse. We have over a million dead Iraqis that we know of on our consciences. The simulated video games where killing indiscriminately is an acceptable form of activity may very well have planted a seed bearing wicked fruit.

As our troops are conditioned to play the role of “storm troopers” in third world police states, they come back to US society to fill the ranks of police officers and other positions of authority (there’s even a federal bill which would work to facilitate this process, known as the “Troops to Cops Program” through the Department of Justice). As more citizens become fed up with the blatant incompetence, corruption, and hypocrisy in government and begin taking to the streets, they may very well be confronted by law enforcement agents all to ready to disregard the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and even basic human value systems in order to neutralize “enemy combatants”; most likely dressed in riot gear and in command of weaponry unknown to the average citizen, they will not be working in the public interest.

To avoid such grim scenarios and prevent their chance reality, citizens on the “Left” need to wake up from Democrat-land, and citizens on the “Right” need to start showing the same rancor about police state legislation like the Patriot Act as they do about the healthcare bill. We need to begin coming together behind simple value systems that everyone can understand, along with the grit to live out the ideals. More so than anything we need to see war for what it is: a racket. No matter what government “wins” a war, it is always the people who pay, both economically and spiritually.

Joshua Curry-Bascome, Dunkirk

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