The Real News Network has this series of interviews that was done starting on May 12, 2010. Now that Bradley Manning is getting to explain why he did what he did, this is a must see series for right now.
It is the best explanation that I have seen of what it is like to learn to be a soldier.
The first segment is this video below:
Josh Stieber, a member of the army company that came upon the Iraqis murdered by the US helicopter crew, discusses the Wikileaks video and army training that makes killing civilians acceptable
- The Video that Bradley Manning says Pushed Him to Upload to Wikileaks
- Training makes killing civilians acceptable Pt2
- Training makes killing civilians acceptable Pt3
- Training makes killing civilians acceptable Pt4
My training in the Army in 1967 during the Viet Nam War Era is completely consistent with what Josh Stieber says in these interviews. Part of the difference between what Stieber went through and what I went through is that I was a lot older when I went through basic and advanced infantry training than what Josh was. I did not have nearly the difficulty that Josh did in understanding what was going on with the training I was being given. I understood that the racism and dehumanizing of the enemy was probably a necessary part of preparing me to be a good soldier and to survive my tour of duty. However, since I could understand what the training was trying to do and I had to reject what it was trying to teach me about the enemy, I knew that I would probably not survive being in combat.
I was lucky in that I already had finished college and had a degree in Electrical Engineering. I managed to get an assignment as an engineer at Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the rest of my tour of duty after training. The closest I came to combat was when our company commander at the arsenal volunteered our services to the local police to quell the riots after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. Fortunately, the local police had the good sense to decline the offer.
If I have the time someday, I might explain why I have a sense of pride in the fact that I was threatened with the charge of mutiny punishable by death while I was in Philadelphia. I sometimes have nightmares of being drafted again into the Army at my current age, whatever age that might be at the time of the nightmare. I keep saying, “Look at my record. Are you sure you really want me back?”