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Analysis posted Dec 08 2006, 11:03 PM Category: Commentary Source: Philip Martin Print

A Young Marine Speaks Out

By Philip Martin

I'm sick and tired of this patriotic, nationalistic and fascist crap. I stood through a memorial service today for a young Marine that was killed in Iraq back in April. During this memorial a number of people spoke about the guy and about his sacrifice for the country. How do you justify 'sacrificing' your life for a war which is not only illegal, but is being prosecuted to the extent where the only thing keeping us there is one man's power, and his ego. A recent Marine Corps intelligence report that was leaked said that the war in the al-Anbar province is unwinnable. It said that there was nothing we could do to win the hearts and minds, or the military operations in that area. So I wonder, why are we still there? Democracy is not forced upon people at gunpoint. It's the result of forward thinking individuals who take the initiative and risks to give their fellow countrymen a better way of life.

When I joined I took an oath. In that oath I swore to protect the Constitution of the United States. I didn't swear to build democracies in countries on the other side of the world under the guise of "national security." I didn't join the military to be part of an Orwellian ("1984") war machine that is in an obligatory war against whoever the state deems the enemy to be so that the populace can be controlled and riled up in a pro-nationalistic frenzy to support any new and oppressive law that will be the key to destroying the enemy. Example given the Patriot Act. So aptly named, and totally against all that the constitution stands for. President Bush used the reactionary nature of our society to bring our country together and to infuse into the national psyche a need to give up their little-used rights in the hope to make our nation a little safer. The same scare tactics he used to win elections. He drones on and on about how America and the world would be a less safe place if we weren't killing Iraqis, and that we'd have to fight the terrorists at home if we weren't abroad. In our modern day emotive society this strategy (or strategery?) works, or had worked, up until last month's elections.

My point in this; to show that America was never nationalistic. If anything they were Statalistic (giving their allegiance to the state of their residence). This is shown in the fact that the founders created states with fully capable and independent governments and not provinces that were just a division of the federal government. These men believed that America was a place where imperialistic values would be non-existent. Where the people trying to make their lives better by working hard, thinking, inventing and using the free market would tie up so much of normal life that imperialistic colonization and the fighting of wars thousands of miles away for interests that are not our own would be avoided. They believed this expansion of power could be left to the European nations, the England, France and Spain of their time. However this recent, and current influx of nationalistic feeling has created an environment where giving up your rights, going to a foreign country to fight a people who did not ask for us to be there, nor did their leader do anything to warrant us being there, and dying would be considered honorable and heroic. I don't believe it anymore. I don't believe it's right for any American to go along with it anymore. Yes I know that we in the military are bound by the UCMJ and somehow don't fall under the Constitution (the very thing we're suppose to be defending) but sooner or later there is a decision that every American soldier, marine, airmen and seamen makes to allow themselves to be sent to a war that is against every fiber this country was founded on. I know that when April rolls around I will be thinking long and hard on that decision. Even though we in the military are just doing as we're told we still have the moral and ethical obligation to choose to do as we're told, or to say, "No, that isn't right." I believe that if more troopers like me and the professional military, the officers and commanders, start standing up and saying that they won't let themselves or their troops go to this illegal war people will start standing up and realizing what the heck is going on over there.

The sad fact of the matter is that we are not fighting terrorists in Iraq. We are fighting the Iraqi people who feel like a conquered and occupied people. Personally I have a hard time believing that if I was an Iraqi that I wouldn't be doing everything in my power to kill and maim as many Americans as possible. I know that the vast majority of Americans would not be happy with the Canadian government, or any other foreign government, liberating us from the clutches of George W. Bush, even though a large number of us would like that, and forcing us to accept their system of government. Would not millions of Americans rise up and fight back? Would you not rise up to protect and defend your house and your neighborhood if someone invaded your country? But we send thousands of troops to a foreign country to do just that. How is it moral to fight a people who are just trying to defend their homes and families? I think next time I go to Iraq perhaps I should wear a bright red coat and carry a Brown Bess instead of my digitalized utilities and M16.

Notice I never once used the word homeland in any of this. I have a secondary point I want to bring up now. Never once was the term homeland ever used to describe the country of America until Mr. Bush began the department of homeland security after the 9/11 attacks. Taking a 20th century history class will teach us that the most notable countries in the last century that referred to their country in this way were Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Hitler used the term fatherland to drum up support, nationalistic support, for his growing war machine. He used the nationalism he created in the minds of the Germans to justify the sacrifice of their livelihood to build the war machine to get back their power from the oppressive restrictions the English and French had put on them at Versailles. This is the same feeling that has been virulently infecting the American psyche in the last hundred years. This is the same feeling that consoles a mother after her son is killed in an attempt to prosecute an aggressor's war 10,000 miles away. It's also known as Patriotism these days, but I say, "No more." No more nationalistic inanity, no more passing it off as patriotism. Patriotism is learning, and educating oneself to understand what their country really stands for.

I heard a lot during the memorial service about how the dead Marine did so much good for others and how his helping others was like a little microcosm of America helping because we have the power to do so. Well if we have the power to help people why aren't we helping in Darfur where hundreds of thousands of people have died in the last 10 years. Saddam was convicted and sentenced to death for killing 143 Shiites who conspired to assassinate him. (I know all you "patriotic" Americans would be calling for the heads of anyone who conspired to assassinate supreme leader Bush). And yet we spend upwards of 1 trillion dollars and nearing 3,000 lives to help these Iraqis when they don't even want us there. Not to mention we don't have the legal justification to be there. I guess we should wait around for the omnipotent W Bush to decide who we should use our superpowerdom to help next. It's about time to throw him and the rest of the fascists out. Moreover it's about time to start educating Americans about their past and history, and letting them know that imperialistic leaders are not what the founders of this great country wanted.

Philip Martin [send him mail] has been a Marine for 2 years. He is in the infantry (a "grunt"), and spent 7 months in the al-Anbar province of Iraq. He went on more than 180 combat patrols in and outside of the city of Fallujah, where he was hit with 2 IEDs (luckily never injured) and was involved in a number of firefights. He is currently stationed in Twentynine Palms, CA, and due to return to Iraq for a second deployment in April 2007. He is 21-years-old.

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Comments 1 - 20 of 24 Add Comment Page of 2 >

Posted: Dec 09 2006, 12:57 PM

5992 quote : "Would you not rise up to protect and defend your house and your neighborhood if someone invaded your country?"

That is exactly what people of Iraq are doing, nobody is paying them to defend their country! All Americans soldiers in Iraq are fighting for money, you are all mere mercenaries!

Never fight a war unless the supreme commander of the Armed forces "the president" is not fighting in front of you, not giving commands standing behind you!

Simple rule of life never obey a command from someone standing behind you! A person who stands behind you and orders you to fight is simply using you. A person standing behind you is not a "leader" he is a "follower"!

Posted: Dec 09 2006, 1:14 PM

207200 You sound very angry. We still have Sponge Bob, reality tv, Play Station and I pods to keep us happy. There are also lots of new medications for truth seeker disorders. We Armericans just want to be happy. We don't want any problems. There are so many bad guys out there who want to harm us and our children because they hate our freedom so, please, take all my liberties and keep Walmart open 24-7.

Posted: Dec 09 2006, 2:17 PM

66192 Wow bro . . . I know it took some nuts to not only say what you said, but even more to put it in writing . . . Good luck.

Oh and in response to the first comment:

"Never fight a war unless the supreme commander of the Armed forces "the president" is not fighting in front of you, not giving commands standing behind you! "

BS, we have a civilian leadership for a reason. Unless you want a military based government. . .

Posted: Dec 09 2006, 6:26 PM

24196 Mr. Martin, it is heartening and astonishing to read a Marine proving with his words why Marines are indeed legendary for their balls. Agreed with every word, and I hope you are heard on the highest level. Thank you for saying everything that needed to be said, particularly by a young man in your position.

Posted: Dec 09 2006, 7:37 PM

6858 re: Civilian government

The anonymous poster of 66.192.XXX.XXX does raise a good point in that our country does have a civilian government. In that civilian government, however, there are military leaders whose job it is to carry out the military actions that the civilian government deems necessary. So perhaps it is these military leaders who should, in the anonymous poster's of 59.92.XXX.XXX opinion, should be fighting in the front. Whether or not you agree with the poster, it is a fact that these leaders are most definitely *not* leading from the front.

Posted: Dec 09 2006, 11:25 PM

216209 Guess your comments will not get you promoted any time soon. However I congratulate you on your guts to tell it like it is. You have to blame Rumselfd for a lot of the problems encountered right now - what a jerk. No one tells the truth anymore. Especially our politicians - ours no better than yours. Do have to say that Bush is the most stupid of them all. Can't string a sentence together without em! ah! eh!!!!

Posted: Dec 10 2006, 1:27 AM

15420 Did they find WOMD yet? NO

The army should go on strike tell Bush to fight his own dirty war.

I mean seriously people you think anyone cares if you get killed? life still goes on in the suberbs, your just a memory or a name on a plaque.

Posted: Dec 10 2006, 1:49 AM

65114 Very well written. You have some serious cojones, brother. If those in power had paid half as much attention in History and Government classes as you did, we wouldn't be in this mess.

Posted: Dec 10 2006, 2:42 AM

213131 I can only congratulate you for your courage.
What you have said is NOT ONLY important for American people,
but much more for all people in the Middle East to understand that Americans are not all fscists, that western civilization is not a fake ideology intended only to justify the unjustifiable.
There are human values.
There are people in the 4 corners in the world who are ready to defend them, .... including in the West, which is a fact that many people in the East are not in a mood to believe in.
Navy Man

Posted: Dec 10 2006, 2:51 AM

19882 Hoorah Soldier!!

Posted: Dec 10 2006, 3:35 AM

2481 Philip,

My dear friend, (please allow me to use this term even though we do not know each other) your courage, honesty and straightforwardness are indeed outstanding and should represent a monument of virtue for those spineless and/or scared so much so that they can not, or will not, articulate their disagreement with the 'games' this Nero is playing with the American nation as well as with the rest of the world.

One day you will become a great man (that is if you will be careful watching your back because maniacs and idiots are always on the lookout for people not sharing their distorted views!! remember; 'You are either with US, or against US!) and I can only hope I will live to see you achieving the greatness you deserve.

Please remember for the rest of your life that an idiot's knife is always sharper than its mind; therefore, protect yourself at all times not only from the perceived foe but also from some of the perceived friends!

Wish you, and all those sacrificing their lives in an effort to achieve a maniac's goals and objectives, all the very best, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Ohh, and most importantly a very long life!

Keep fighting the real threat of the American society; G. W. B. (the enemy within!)

Posted: Dec 10 2006, 3:42 AM

152163 Before getting too emotionally wrapped up into what you currently may think you believe, you may want to visit and rethink your position. Even if the US got involved with radical Islam prematurely and/or by accident, the events are already set into motion and most folks don't recognize its significance - yet. Thanks for having served, something that each and every American should be expected to do (2 year hitch in military or community service followed by 2 weeks annual service til aged 55).

Posted: Dec 10 2006, 4:52 AM

24182 This is George Bush war. One man's ego.

Posted: Dec 10 2006, 6:14 AM

24161 Fantastic article, damn well written!
Navy Wife, Korean Co

Posted: Dec 10 2006, 6:47 AM

66161 Young man, you have guts, and the truth is as some of us knew when this fiasco started by the Pres. We have been Bushed Whacked, and I stated it when this all started, and everyone said, we must follow our leader - where to hell and back?

A generation of young people are being sacrificed today as were their grandfathers in the most obominable conflict - the Korean Mess.

I am a Navy Brat, and Navy wife, went thru those two WARS, no matter what we named them, and and even then I was totally against going to fight another conflict we had no business in, and you will hear about the conflict within - well that conflict still rages today, and we in the Midwest are sucked in by Patrotism, or what we persieve it to be.

We in Ohio have no clue what the hell is going on in the world, and we are worried about Home Security? That too is the biggest joke I have ever witnessed, and how do I know, I am one of them, but no longer.

Bravery of mind, courage of acts, and standing up for one's truth will set you free - and where did we hear that before?

Siempre Fi

RTM - Cincinnati, Ohio


Posted: Dec 10 2006, 10:11 AM

6491 I was a young Marine in Viet Nam. I too wondered why we were there. Many of my friends lost their lives and to this day I wonder why. But, I love this country and would stand up again if needed. Semper Fi

Posted: Dec 10 2006, 10:16 AM

6882 I Guess there\'s some hope left in the people of the United States, and to see that some of us ae waking up, and not falling for the trickery and deceit of the social elite any more. We all know why we are there in Iraq, it has nothing to do with democracy, it has to do with greed, and wealth. Bush is the dumb puppet of a greater power which controls our government from secret. It is a situation so complex, and secretive that none of what the American People seek will ever fully come to fruition. We are all being \"bamboozled\" and will need to either stand up, maybe even revolt, or worse yet lose every right that our forefathers intended us to have. The young man that wrote this very informative from the front lines article, deserves praise and support, for he is truly courageous. It would be cowardice not to support him, as only a moron would not be able to comprehend and see the truth in all that he has shared with us.
Proudly Retired Mili

Posted: Dec 10 2006, 12:02 PM

71226 Dear Sir:
You sir should get out of the military ASAP...Why did you join ???
The only reason you can because brave men gave their LIVES
to allow you that privilege. A prime example of our men giving their lives for others, is South Korea...Where do you think they would be today if it wasn't for our proud citizens sacrifices...Not to mention Western Europe...Or the rest of the world for that mater !!! We also saved China but didn't impose our form of government on them...The USA just wants everyone to have the right to vent...Just like you do.
But at 21 you wouldn't know of worldly things...Please leave the military and GROW UP ( With all the advantages of FREEDOM )!!!

Posted: Dec 10 2006, 12:05 PM

68151 On November the 11th there was Remembrance Day in Canada. A Day where "the sacrifice" that many young men (and these days women) have made in the name of.... Well, whatever seem political opportune were made.

In the case of Canada it is "Vimy Ridge" or "World War II" that is "fondly" remembered.

But I guess what many people do not remember is that Remembrance Day (or Veterans Day in the US) is an invention that only exists since World War I.

Up until World War I there was no "remembering" the common soldier. They followed the call of their leader into war, and if they came back, great, if not, though. If a General or Officer was killed (who were mostly of noble birth) a state funeral was usually common, monuments were being built.

But with the meat grinder of World War I and the advent of mass media (and photography) instead of "noble" wars something else had to be found that could mobilize the masses.

In a way one could say the good old days were better (read, pre World War I) when the Governments didn't had to lie, they just decided to go to war, and as it were mainly Monarchies nobody really had a say in it. Off they went to war, some came back, some came partially back and a lot didn't come back at all, but that was just life.

But in the early 20th century the political climate started to change, "democracy" started to pour in and the majority of people started to feel they should have some kind of say in things.

It is in that way sort of interesting to note that it seems to be mainly the Commonwealth States that have a form of Remembrance Day every year, having grown up in Germany I look at this still a bit in awe, because Germany does not mourn it's war dead.

This of course is in part due to World War II and the Nazi Regime, the idea to mourn those who helped an "evil" (it's in quotes, because what is evil is usually defined by history, not humans) Government to slaughter people should not be remembered, hence we would consider maybe going to war again.

And this is where I have to wonder if Remembrance Day (and the like) are actually dangerous, they condition people to think of war as something noble, where easily the "support our troops or shut up" mentality kicks in.
War is a continuation of politics by other means.
Was coined by von Clausewitz in his book "On War". Yet, Remembrance Day et. al. never seem to bring up politics. It is always about "heroics" about the implication that we should aspire to the same sacrifices without questioning, after all to question those sacrifices is "cheapening" the death of these men and women.

But is it really? The modern line of reasoning for "Why we Fight" the current wars is to bring "Freedom and Democracy" to those who don't have it. But at the same time at home we should just should up and get in line?

Maybe, instead of remembering the dead, we should remember those who sent them to their deaths, in a lot of cases for the wrong reasons. Obviously throughout history our perception on these conflicts has changed, there is an "established canon" in societies mind that makes their sacrifices noble, but by pointing out that they were just cogs in the machine of power, do we really do them a disservice? Or aren't we doing that these holidays are supposed to do: "Never Again!" Preventing more young people dying for the power hunger of a few old men?
It takes good people to do nothing for bad things to happen.

Posted: Dec 10 2006, 12:49 PM

72150 Phillip,

Ignore your detractors. Your piece is well thought out, well written, and took courage to publish.

I was against this invasion from the beginning, and continue to be. However, I support our troops 100%, and spend a lot of time and money sending them supplies (it seems a pity that handi-wipes, razors, deodorant, and decent toilet paper weren't factored into the massive funding requested of Congress) and correspondence. A surprising number of the troops share views similar to yours, but they none-the-less recognize their oath and lay their lives on the line every day.

The best of luck and safety to you upon your return to Iraq. Hopefully, we will eventually find a way to extract ourselves from what will no doubt be a multi-generational mess which President Bush has created.

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