the good we’re doing

There’s a forward going around right now with the following story about a man named John Gebhart, who is serving in Iraq:

John Gebhardt’s wife, Mindy, said that this little girl’s entire family was executed. The insurgents intended to execute the little girl also, and shot her in the head…but they failed to kill her. She was cared for in John’s hospital and is healing up, but continues to cry and moan. The nurses said John is the only one who seems to calm her down, so John has spent the last four nights holding her while they both slept in that chair. The girl is coming along with her healing.

He is a real Star of the war, and represents what America is trying to do.

This, my friends, is worth sharing with the WORLD! Go for it!!

You’ll never see things like this in the news. Please keep this going. Nothing will happen if you don’t, but the American public needs to see pictures like this and needs to realize that what we’re doing over there is making a difference. Even if it is just one little girl at a time.

James Gates U. S. Navy

And, you know, it’s a nice little story, complete with a picture of Gebhart asleep in a chair, the wounded little girl in his arms, during one of his nighttime vigils. But, for heaven’s sake, this little girl wouldn’t be recovering from a bullet wound to the skull were there not insurgents in Iraq. And there would not be insurgents in Iraq if we weren’t there.

You’re not supposed to say you’re frustrated with soldiers. You’re never supposed to say you’re frustrated with soldiers.  But, fuck it. I am frustrated to fuck with the soldier who can write about something like this and use it as an example of how “what we’re doing over there is making a difference.”

It sure as fuck is. But it’s not the difference he thinks it is.


7 responses to “the good we’re doing

  1. Oh, Jess, you know you’re supporting the terrorists with that kind of talk!

  2. Whoa! Sounds like you’re more amped up than ever. I’ll let you know when the next D.C. protest is and when they have another in New York. I am sure there are many more coming.

  3. I just read this on Cary Tennis’s column at

    “It is beyond the pale to criticize our soldiers.

    At this moment, having uttered those words “our soldiers,” it is customary to insert a pious disclaimer, pledging the highest respect for our men and women in uniform. Why? Why have we become a society in which any mention of our soldiers must include an honorific? What has changed about our country that we must now explicitly state our highest respect for the individual men and women in uniform any time we mention them? Has anyone noticed that the obligatory inclusion of an honorific has chilling historical and cultural echoes? ”

    So there you go. I completely agree with you Jess.

  4. hmm, well. I can certainly see your point. It’s hard to know when enough is enough or too much, in this case. I get these emails a lot, especially from family. The pictures enclosed are unbelievably shocking and would pull on most peoples heart strings…yet, a discussion for
    dismantling this war never seems to surface. It can be difficult, for myself especially, to know how to feel. Can one support the soldiers without supporting this unbelievable farce of a war? In most circles, it seems unlikely.

    You may have already read this book… WAR is a Force that Gives us Meaning, by Chris Hedges

    it’s absolutely amazing and frightening. It altered any noble ideas I may have harbored about war. “The plague of nationalism” is an incredible chapter. You should read it if you haven’t…it changed me.

    “When our own nation is at war with any other, we detest them under the character of cruel, perfidious, unjust and violent: But always esteem our-selves and allies equitable, moderate, and merciful. If the general of our enemies be successful, ’tis with difficulty we allow him the figure and character of a man. He is a sorcerer: …He is bloody-minded, and takes a pleasure in death and destruction. But if success be on our side, our commander has all the opposite good qualities, and is a pattern of virtue, as well as courage and conduct. His treachery we call policy: His cruelty is an evil inseparable from war. In short, every one of his faults we either endeavour to extenuate, or dignify it with the name of that virtue, which approaches it. “

  5. Well, I think there are a lot of different ways to “support” soldiers, and that the biggest one is the one we as a country refuse to do: Question soldiers who do not question the war. To not question them when they attest to all of the good our military forces have done in Iraq is to do them a double disservice by both insulting their intelligence and letting them sacrifice their lives against our better judgment because it isn’t “politically correct” to challenge them.

    Unquestioning, unqualified, yellow-ribbon wagging “supporting” of our troops is detrimental to our country. There are soldiers who serve and also openly question the war. If we’re going to go bestowing honorifics on members of our armed forces, these are the ones upon which we should be bestowing them.

  6. Do all soldiers deserve respect automatically? What about Lindsey England and her ilk? Sure, we can blame the behavior on the mental and physical conditions her and her cohorts faced, but what are the chances that the Lindsey England’s out there joined up in order to be able to act like that?

    The only reason we include the automatic honorific is because of the fucked up assholes who spun ‘Against the War’ (as in ‘For Peace’) into ‘Soldier Hater’. Before that it was pretty much assumed that to attack the policy was not attacking the troops. Pretty brilliant of them really, because we’ve wasted so much time since then stumbling over ourselves to make sure to not only not insult the troops, but to praise them indiscriminately.


  7. Lindsey England and her buddies. Or this guy, and his pack of friends who were later also charged:

    This isn’t all soldiers, and I don’t think it’s ‘most’ of them, either. But do we as a nation really think these are isolated incidences?

    Maybe they would be, if we as a nation treated soldiers as human beings subject to the same notions of “right” and “wrong” as we do everyone else. When folks start getting treated like gods, I reckon they’re more likely to do whatever the hell they want.

    (Couple that with the gross dehumanization of the Iraqi people by US leadership, and, really, what else did we expect?)

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