POWs

 
 24 Mar 2003 @ 8:04 AM 

I know how the military will react to the POW issues in Iraq – greater resolve, less mercy, more firepower.

How does the average civilian feel though? Will the faces of our servicemembers, scared and confused on international television, make them more sure that war is just, or will it make them waver? I can see it either way. If you see these men, who are obviously out of their depth as POWs, who have recently watched their compatriots executed in the streets, who know that Iraq cares not one whit for the Geneva Convention, do you (as a viewer at home) feel that we really are doing the right thing? Does it make it more clear who is the bad guy and who is the good guy? Or, does it make you queasy and make you want to give in to any demands Iraq may make, just to get our soldiers back safely?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Mar 2003 @ 08:04 AM

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Responses to this post » (7 Total)

 
  1. Kit says:

    I tend to have the same response as the military. Even if I did not support the war, once we were *in* one, I’d want to use the maximum force that would accomplish the objectives to get in, get done, and get out as quickly as possible. Pulling out just because we sustain casualties would be incredibly dumb – it would only strengthen the resolve of any country we were fighting in the future to be as inhumane with our troops as possible.

  2. AndySocial says:

    That’s a good point. Akin to negotiating with hostage-takers, I suppose. If we beat the US prisoners, they’ll give up.

    The mindset of most of the intelligent people I knew in the military (as opposed to the unintelligent) was that we should avoid wars whenever possible, and commit to winning quickly and cleanly when that was not possible.

    I really find it interesting that the news services uniformly referred to the ambush of our Marines as “heavy casualties” when less than a dozen men were killed. Any death is a tragedy, but why are 10 Americans “heavy casualties” when a couple hundred Iraqis aren’t?

  3. lysa says:

    I look at the capture of American POWs as a reminder to Americans that this IS in fact a war, not some noble endeavor to free oppressed people, which I was starting to hear more and more people spout. (Guess Bush’s media brainwashing campaign was working, huh?) Regardless of what Bush, or anyone else, wants to name this, it is a war, and in war, both sides do whatever they have to to win. There are ALWAYS casualties, and there are POWs, and there are ambushes, and there are even sometimes guys on the inside who are willing to take out their own troops. This is war folks…it ain’t pretty, it ain’t glamorous, it ain’t tidy. It’s ugly, it’s messy, it’s horrifying, it’s hideous. Anyone who wants to cheerfully support Bush….that poor boy from Kansas is what you get. Or has EVERYONE forgotten Vietnam, again?

    I don’t think we should be there. I think this war may well be a mistake. Especially as CNN keeps reporting that none of the weapons we expected to find have been found at all. However….since we’re there, and there’s no going back now…I hope our boys make this all worth it…I hope they have a clean, decisive victory, with as few casualties as possible. I hope they kick Saddam’s ass back to the stone age. I hope the people of Iraq, once freed, treat that freedom with respect for the men who gave it to them.

  4. AndySocial says:

    Of course this is a war, but why is a war not also capable of being a means to free oppressed people? Do you know of some way to free oppressed people from a tyrannical government that would somehow avoid armed conflict? Neat trick, that.

  5. lysa says:

    You missed my point….all of a sudden lately, I’m hearing people around me talk about how we’re “saving those poor oppressed people”. They stopped, briefly, calling it a war, and started calling it a “campaign for freedom.” Those same people then started having hysterics over the POW’s and the executions. It’s like they forgot it was actually a war. I’m not by ANY means saying you can’t take out a tyranny without some heavy violence, I’m saying everyone forgot what was REALLY going down in Iraq. The boy from Kansas went on tv unwillingly and reminded them.

  6. AndySocial says:

    Americans in recent decades are remarkably risk-averse when it comes to military campaigns. According to any reasonable measure of military and social change, the 1992 Somali mission was moving along very successfully until the setbacks which resulted in the movie Blackhawk Down. Yet, we pulled out immediately, because some American soldiers got killed in combat. Well, that’s what soldiers get paid to do! As the war comes into our living rooms, we come to realize that war is a lot nastier than we’d like to believe. We hope that we kill nobody, just destroy enough empty buildings until the bad guys capitulate. It rarely works that way, if ever.

    So, my question remains, what did the POW situation do to your attitudes toward the war? Are you now more resolute in your opposition, wishing we would pull out and give up? Or, are you feeling that we have made a commitment and we should ride it out until the end, making the best of the situation?

  7. lysa says:

    My feelings are thus: I don’t think we should be there, and I think what Bush is doing is wrong. HOWEVER…since we’re there, I feel we must do things right. We must pursue it to this thing’s bitter end. We need to make our actions there WORTH the sacrifices of those boys and all the men and women who’ve died. For me anyhow, it has nothing to do with the POW’s and the executions. I expected crap like that. I expected the combat casualties. I am after all, the daughter of a Vietnam Vet, and I’ve never forgotten the truth of war: war is hell. But, these events do steel my already set resolve that WE HAVE TO DO THIS ONE RIGHT. There’s no backing out now, or the rest of the world will never respect us again.

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