June 03, 2006

Iraq is Not a Video Game

The top coalition operational commander in Iraq has directed his subordinate commanders to conduct training in "core warrior values" for all coalition forces, highlighting the importance of adhering to legal, moral and ethical standards on the battlefield, military officials here announced today.

American Forces Press Service BAGHDAD, June 1, 2006

I can't help wonder whether this kind of training is too late, and too little. American men and women in Iraq are exposed on a daily basis to life-threatening situations. Every Iraqi they look at is someone who might want to kill them. Every car driving by them, at them, or near them is potentially filled with explosives. Every corner they turn in their vehicles represents a possible IED trap.

The American flag waving, grateful Iraqi does not exist (other than as a dream in Donald Rumsfeld's head). Hatred, resentment, and outright opposition are the order of the day. Can any of us imagine how incredibly scary it must be to run a checkpoint, or go on patrol, or drive in a convoy? Can any of us not imagine having our fingers on the trigger ready to blow away anything or anyone that might threaten us? How would we react if a friend was killed standing right next to us and we were so fearful and on edge that we wanted to respond right then and there? For those readers (I presume, mostly male) who have played a personal shooter video game I think you know what I mean.

I am not defending any possible criminal behavior by American troops. I am trying to understand it. Our government has created this nightmare scenario for our American men and women by its foolhardy war. I hold it responsible for placing American men and women in circumstances they should not have to be in.

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