Didn't like this article very much -- lots of words, very little content, which may be thoughtcatalog's specialty -- but I thought some of you might have things to say about it. [EDIT: I was right!] Does hubski have any veterans?


I had a worldview very similar to the author's when I first exited the service. Who the fuck were these college kids who knew nothing about the world? I'd meet people in my classes who had never left the city they were born in, save for maybe a vacation with the parents to an all - inclusive resort in Cancun. I'd hear them complain about such petty shit and it would drive me up the wall - how can a person like this be in the same place I am? What good is the stuff they're learning going to do with such a limited worldview (because mine was so complete because I went to iraq...)? When I was 19 I was nervous about my Chinook flight from Bagdad international airport to the intermediary fob before going to my patrol base. When you were 19 you were nervous about the next semester. I made the same mistake the author made and applied naive kid stereotype to a diverse group of people. But I got over it and I suspect that sometime in the near future the author will regret writing that article.

The only takeaway I got from it was something I'm still working out for myself, which is the foray many veterans took into the darker side of human nature. It's one thing to be the victim of malice and sadism and a whole other to grab the reins and enjoy doing it. I'd never dreamed of intentionally hurting people for the fun of it, but over there I was a demigod. I punched children, shot a lot of dogs, burned small mammals, spit on detainees, out my rifle barrel in their mouths while they were blindfolded and laughed to their face about it.

I perfected a tone of voice and intonation in order to make them think the rumors about what Americans do to detainees were true. I never let them sleep. I knew most of them were likely innocent. They were blindfolded before we put them in the humvee and stayed so for up to a week.

Usually this all begins with a raid. "Raiding," aside from its practical definition, means we can destroy everything they own. This meant cutting open their mattresses and pillows to find whatever, rolling their tvs down the stairs, throwing everything they owned onto the floor, just generally making sure their lives and everything they owned would be fucked for a good while.

After we had the detainee in the humvee it was free reign. The gunner did his best to knee him in his face and stomp on his balls and feet. The roads were bumpy so our rifle butts ended up in his ribs. Etc etc. I enjoyed all of it, which is weird for me to say. And let me assure you it wasn't a feeling limited to myself, because most of my platoon mates disliked the limits of what we could get away with. Many people have done much worse.

I don't know if anyone cares about any of that, or if my Catholic-esque confession was necessary to make my point. But I was a "normal" teenager who would've had a life experience similar to the college kids the author pretends he's not complaining about, because of my choice (it's constantly necessary to emphasize it was my choice when talking about veteran stuff otherwise people will tell me about the choice I chose to make) I learned about what the kind of darkness every person is capable of if the circumstances are right, first hand, because I was that. I don't think it makes a dichotomy of gen y so much as it has made a dichotomy of every veteran/civilian generation from every war. In college you don't have abject power over the entire populace of a country, as least in the face to face kind of way.

Other than that, the differences between military life and civilian life aren't really worth writing about. The danger isn't really that affecting. I get more scared riding passenger on the freeway with a bad driver than I ever did overseas. Everyone experiences loss. Everything is subjective and relative to that subjectivity. I don't know.

This article isn't good and I don't think this comment is either.

Wrote on my phone sorry for mistakes.

posted by flagamuffin: 1915 days ago