The use of the term "baby killer" in both my e-mail to Air Force Academy Cadet Robert Kurpiel, that led to a suspension due to my political beliefs and "anti-military" pacifism, and on this blog has not been applied indiscriminately to all military personnel. The use of the term in the e-mail of 2002 stated: "You and your aggressive baby-killing tactics of collateral damage." I did not personalise the term but referred to tactics of the military in which babies and other civilians, for that matter, are killed and dismissed as "collateral damage."
Babies were killed at Haditha and for a fact elsewhere in country. Babies were killed in Vietnam at My Lai and elsewhere. That is undisputed fact and I will stake my reputation on it. While it is important that one does not stereotype egregious, murderous, illicit behaviour as universal practice, it is also equally essential that we not glorify those who wear the uniform of the United States military. We see them as protectors of freedom. They are not. We see them as America's finest. I won't deny some are of high character but the finest of America can be found in many areas of life such as nursing, volunteer work, assisting those in need and yes those who oppose war and violence.
I cannot accept that military service is a noble calling. I will not and cannot be forced to state that. Again without condemning all who serve, their training is to kill and break things. What they do is horrible; the victims are in the millions even since World War II. Those of us here in America have an obligation to defend those who die in a firefight, who are killed when a 500 lb bomb is dropped on a home; who are maimed and burned when white phosphorus is deployed such as in Falluja; and the use of napalm or cluster bombs which are also weapons of mass destruction. The military does evil things and we should construe our All Volunteer Force at best as a necessary evil. A world without them would be better than a world with them recognising that disarmament must evolve multilaterally; yet it must emerge or we will be destroyed in war.
Americans need to understand that the military does horrible things to people who are no threat to us and who have done nothing wrong. Haditha is the tip of the iceberg and I am pretty sure punishment will be restricted to enlisted men and that few if any senior officers above the rank of lieutenant will ever see the inside of a prison cell. We need a world in which militaries are a thing of the past in which nations can behave civilly and in accordance with international comity. It is a reflection of the relatively limited progress human civilisation has made over the centuries that great powers still persist, that they identify their status with the capacity to deliver overwhelming firepower and that soldiering is a virtue. It is not. It must eventually be removed and construed as an icon of a part of human history that preceded international love and understanding. The U.S. apparently has no vision, strategic plan or even a desire to transform the nation-state system in a manner in which decency and irenic alternatives to war are validated and treasured.
It is shameful and disgraceful to be an American citizen and each day witness a government that has nothing positive to contribute to global culture and progress. Americans certainly make wonderful contributions but their government is mired in egotism, xenophobia and an arrogance that is almost criminal in its posture of deceit and immorality.
Postscript: Please recall when Secretary of State Madeleine Albright appeared on 60 Minutes (May 10, 1996) she was asked about the 500,000 Iraqi babies and children that were killed due to the sanctions imposed on Iraq following the Gulf War of 1990-1991. Without even contesting the number of dead, she defended the action by saying: "We think the price is worth it." Recently she has been on a book tour and promoting it on national media. Is there no shame in this country over baby-killing?!!!