Thursday, March 06, 2008

Of Dogs, Marines and Cliffs

NOTE: Unlike most stuff here this one isn’t light. You don't have to read this one. You will also notice, Gentle Reader, that I did not include a link to the video. I won’t post it here. If you must see it do a Clusty or a Google search for; “Dog, Marine and Cliff” follow the link.

I’m not convinced that the video of the marine throwing the puppy off the side of a “cliff” is real yet although the Marine Corp’s quick response in saying, “that’s not what marines do” unfortunately appears to lend credence to it actually having happened. If this was a hoax it was staged well (save for the puppy sounding a little less than real to these –never have thrown a puppy off of a cliff- ears). So, what if it’s real?

There’s this stupid old joke…

Q) How many Viet Nam vets does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A) YOU wouldn’t know, man… you weren’t there.

Dumb old joke – yes. But the answer proclaims the weight of the situation. The human animal is capable of anything. We like to forget this about ourselves. Whether Iraq, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Guyana, wherever; under the stress of survival in a war zone where it’s perfectly natural to be shot at by and return fire on groups of children, to understand that one wrong step through a tripwire will be yours or your companies last, to see the physical remains of the carnage that walks hand and hand with you every moment of every day of your time there; the all too real torture rooms, the mass graves, the piles of decaying corpses, the mutilations, the raping, the disfigurement, the genocide, the “insert barbaric atrocity here.” Under the right circumstances, we are capable of anything.

I have never been in war. I wouldn’t know. I wasn’t there. But I can read, type and watch the evening news. I’ve known people touched by war. I met a man with a number tattooed on his arm that was put there by the Nazis while he was imprisoned in Poland. His job was to stuff bodies into ovens. My father was in the Korean War and my father-in-law was in Viet Nam. My father-in-law rarely talked about his experiences and when he did it was never in any great detail. “You do things in war that you are not proud of. Things that you would never do anywhere else.” He said.

My father-in-law knew the inhumanity of war. To what extent I’ll never know. I never felt comfortable asking him about it. The puppy thrower(s) know it too. Such behavior is a symptom of a more insidious cancer. I’m not defending them – I pity them and by pitying them I pity us all.

Here’re two much better blogs than this one you might find interesting: and They are both by the same guy, Camillo “Mac” Bica. It is real good stuff on PTSD and worth the read.

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