Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Deserter's Tale

Smoking Chimp reviews a book by former US soldier Joshua Key, who deserted from the army and ran away to Canada because of the things he did and saw in Iraq. His application for refugee status in Canada has been rejected and he faces deportation to the US. In his book, he says:

“My own moral judgment was disintegrating under the pressure of being a soldier, feeling vulnerable, and having no clear enemy to kill in Iraq. We were encouraged to beat up on the enemy; given the absence of any clearly understood enemy, we picked our fights with civilians who were powerless to resist. We knew that we would not have to account for our actions.”

“... the American military had betrayed the values of my country. We had become a force for evil, and I could not escape the fact that I was part of the machine.”

“How would I react if foreigners invaded the United States and did just a tenth of the things that we had done to the Iraqi people? I would be right up there with the rebels and insurgents, using every bit of my cleverness to blow up the occupiers.”

(Quoted here.)

It's easy to forget that bad things happen in wartime not just because bad people go to war, but because war makes even good people turn bad.

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