Marines = Murderers?

27.02.07

Categorie: Air, Iraq, Politics |

(Make sure you check out the addendum above.)

U.S. troops are bloodthirsty murderers? Well, one or two, for sure. But all fighter pilots too? That’s what one former Pentagon official would have us believe.

My arch-nemesis Winslow Wheeler from the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Defense Information is circulating an email from former military analyst Chuck Spinney that all but accuses one Marine Corps F/A-18 pilot of homicide based on the officer’s expressed enthusiasm for flying close air support in western Iraq. Wheeler calls Spinney’s comments “much needed and unvarnished perspective.” I call them unfair.

But you can decide for yourself. First, the Marine’s letter, excerpted minus all the proper names, unit identifiers and profanity:

God, I do love killing these bastards. …

The other day, [names omitted] got three nice passes with the gun and rockets on some Muj in a little town called Karma, which is just northwest of Fallujah. I firmly believe they are implants from the “big city.” Looked as though they were in the process of trying to attack the Iraqi police headquarters. I wonder why the insurgents would be attacking the Iraqi police. CNN says the [police] are ineffective. Funny, the “ineffective” [police] stood their ground and called in three strikes. Only one confirmed kill.

This is the ranting of a depraved mind, Spinney says:

Here is a “warrior” who brags about killing for killing’s sake, but the people he kills are just spots on the ground that disappear in clouds of explosions. He describes the joy of war at a distance and sees nothing of its horrors. You won’t find any descriptions of blood, broken limbs, trauma or destruction in this email. You won’t even find reference to his own feelings of menace or fear — not to mention their noble counterweights courage and esprit — just braggadocio on the subject of killing. Of course, his targets are all insurgents: no sense of any human capacity for doubt on that point. … Hopefully, the man who wrote this ghastly thing is an aberration and not at all representative of the men and women in our military.

Look, last year I was embedded with Marine fighter pilots in western Iraq. And they were, to a [wo]man, professional, well-spoken and incredibly brave — and not at all the brutes that Spinney contends. They do not, as Spinney implies, drop bombs on innocents. All close air support missions involve rigorous checks to ensure that only combatants get bombed. Yes, “collateral damage” happens, but it’s rare and never intentional. Our Marine pilots do not kill indiscriminately. And if they take any pleasure in killing, it’s because in doing so they save the lives of Marines on the ground. And they believe, rightly, that the people they kill probably need to die, for our sakes and for the sake of a better world.

So back off, Spinney.

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29 Responses to “Marines = Murderers?”

  1. J. says:

    I’m surprised at Spinney’s outburst. I would have thought that as an AF guy, he’d at least understand the emotion of a fighter pilot doing a CAS mission. I’ve enjoyed Spinney’s views on Pentagon finances – maybe he should stick with his area of expertise.

  2. Mors De Contactus(death on impact) says:

    spinney is pathetic!!! I’m a grunt, we get paid to kill and we do a damn good job. America has kept Marines around for that fact, and not because we look incredibly good in our dress blues. Semper Fi — Do or Die

  3. BWJones says:

    There is a reason that all Marines go through the same basic training and it is precisely outlined in this example. A pilot performing close support *should* know in addition to the logistics of calling in close air support, what forces on the ground are going through.

    Spinney’s perspective is entirely academic (not necessarily a bad thing), but he should refrain from criticizing what he does not understand and stick to analyzing Pentagon budgets.

  4. Peacenik says:

    “Yes, ‘collateral damage’ happens, but it’s rare and never intentional.”

    So the estimated 655,000 Iraqi civilians killed in this illegal war of aggression were almost all deliberately targeted insurgents? The figure hardly supports your contention that such deaths are “rare”. Coalition troops in Iraq may be brave and even heroic at times, but they are ALL war criminals.

  5. MKivioja says:

    Soldier who kills is a killer, just like any other killer. But murderer they propably are not. Murderer has a plan to kill an individual. The soldier who presses the trigger or detonates a roadside bomb is just a killer.
    Defining a killer as a soldier just means that a faction or country the soldier is killing for, has legitimized the killing for it’s interests.
    I’m a programmer, I love to kill bugs in programs that are ordered to me. I’m proud of what I do, and I sometimes brag about my “kills” for my family. The marine pilot is a soldier, he/she loves to kill people his/her faction orders.
    Why is it bad that the pro-killer feels comfortable in the work area he/she has selected. Why he/she should not tell his/her love ones his happiness and proudness of the work he/she does. Wouldn’t it be quite unprofessional to say after every bomb dropping and seeing limbs flying in the air, that “oh, shit…I hope I didn’t hurt them….oh man….this feels so bad to spay them with bullets!”. Killer is a killer. Good killer enjoys his handywork.

  6. somegirl says:

    dude, did you totally flunk the reading comprehension section of your SAT’s??? nowhere does spinney say that all fighter pilots/military personnel are murderers. he doesn’t even use the word. he just questions the delight in killing, something i don’t even know if murderers experience.

    i read right here on your page, negating your specious argument, spinney’s words:

    “Hopefully, the man who wrote this ghastly thing is an aberration and not at all representative of the men and women in our military.”

    and MKivioja – there’s a difference between a computer bug and a human being, a point that the video game generation doesn’t quite grasp.

  7. scott says:

    It should be pointed out that each and every US servicemember who has reported for duty in Iraq and worn the uniform under arms there is a war criminal and an enemy of the human race. Each and every one has disobeyed their orders and violently broken the law. Each and every one of them is incompetent as soldiers. Each and every one of them is a disgrace to our nation. We should support these troops only insofar as we support their right to a fair trial after they have been brought home from Iraq in prison jumpsuits and manacles, disarmed and dishonored. If they’re not going to come home that way, it would be better if they didn’t come home at all. Furthermore, the USMC has repeatedly demonstrated that it is a criminal gang which must be disbanded for the good of the human race.

  8. Peter says:

    When are we going to wake up and pull the plug on a system that creates these Frankensteins that we call “our boys in uniform”? Pathetic mercenaries who eventually loose all sense of ethics, morals or decency.

  9. Steve Fortuna says:

    Your rant against Spinney selectively omits several details and takes others out of context. For example, here is another excerpt from the same letter Spinney commented on:

    “The fellas from 121 started showing up the other day. It’s starting to sink in… I’ll have to go home, the opportunities to kill these fuckers is rapidly coming to an end. Like a hobby I’ll never get to practice again. It’s not a great war, but it’s the only one we’ve got. God, I do love killing these bastards. … Morale is high, the Marines can smell the barn. It’s hard to keep them focused. I still have 20 days of kill these motherfuckers, so I don’t wanna take even one day off.” — Excerpt from the same letter from same unnamed Marine F/A -18 pilot referenced by Spinney.

    Killing as a hobby? Half a trillion dollars of taxpaper money goes annually to pay for this man’s gruesome hobby, and I for one am sick of it. You can hear the love of power, his pride in his ability to kill efficiently. Dealing death indiscriminately from the air, he doesn’t see his victims, who for all he knows could be ants. Wonder how many turned out to be kids the age of his own, or women like his wife or mother? Most probably this ethically numbed and traumatized individual will have a ‘power withdrawal’ when he gets back home. He will be quick to dehumanize others, use force to get his way, become argumentative or depressed when he doesn’t experience the endorphin-rush of combat. Don’t be surprised that when he’s back in the world that he’ll wind up dead or in jail within 2 years. It’s happening to thousands of vets across this land and is a tragic byproduct of war. I have no doubt this same guy was moral, disciplined and honor bound to do his duty when he joined the corps. But the glee in which he now seeks to slaughter diminshes us all, and makes our society colder and more dangerous. Is THIS the freedom you are sacrificing your blood for? Is THIS what our founding fathers hoped to achieve? I hope this pilot, and thousands of others traumatized by this war, get the help and counselling they need to return to a peaceful coexistence. They just dismissed the general in charge of Walter Reed. Hopefully a few more heads will roll and the money we’re spending on 500 lb bombs can be diverted to emotional and physical therapy for those who our nation has sent into harm’s way.

  10. Peggy says:

    There is some intense mistake or intentional deception going on here! Spinney’s quote seems accurate, but what he was responding to when he wrote his quote is very different than what you supplied. If you knew this and did it intentionally, shame on you for lying to incite more hate and lack of understanding. If you didn’t know this, then I wonder how it happened. The statement Spinney responded to is the following, which can be viewed at http://www.alternet.org/story/48601 :
    “The fellas from 121 started showing up the other day. It’s starting to sink in… I’ll have to go home, the opportunities to kill these fuckers is rapidly coming to an end. Like a hobby I’ll never get to practice again. It’s not a great war, but it’s the only one we’ve got. God, I do love killing these bastards. … Morale is high, the Marines can smell the barn. It’s hard to keep them focused. I still have 20 days of kill these motherfuckers, so I don’t wanna take even one day off. ” — letter home from an unnamed Marine F/A -18 pilot in Iraq.

    A much more understandable response, no???? What on earth is your game? I hope you respond with some accountability.

  11. Jay Miller says:

    Don’t know if the marine quote is authentic. Do know I heard a soldier back from Iraq the other day talking to a buddy on his cell phone and asking how many Hadji ears he had cut off. I was in the army and you meet all kinds of people – good and bad in the military. There are a higher percentage of psychopathic killers in the military though. That’s one reason I don’t like war – it legalizes and even rewards sicko’s.

  12. joe says:

    anyone who justifies what they are doing in iraq is a whore and g.w.bush is the pimp. fuck you

  13. [...] I searched the internet to see if anyone had anything to say about Spinney’s commentary. There were only a few sites that mentioned it, but in this one he is predictably blasted by soldiers who viewed his comments as a betrayal. [...]

  14. John Donohue says:

    This is probably somewhere in the middle. Are there good, well-behaved soldiers and officers, yes. But judging from photos, and leaked military fighter pilot tapes there is also the worst of types, this means that as the United States thinks it can enslave and sub-judgate this proud nation they will become the very terrorists they assume to fight. That is the killing joke of it all, and as a nation we are more and more isolated like drunks alone ina bar, vicious, unstable, ready to attack real and imagined threats. I am sure this is going over most every soldiers head reading this but rest assured as soon as the Imperial United States attacks the nation soveirgn of Iran, the Nemisis will appear and even the most advanced technology won’t budge the force of world revulsion already brimming at the gates of the decadent, self-satisfied, self-righteous Empire which was once a country I was proud to call my own.

  15. USAF Member says:

    Hey Scott,

    Who’s going to make sure I’m “brought home from Iraq in prison jumpsuits and manacles, disarmed and dishonored?” Are you going to do it, Scotty? What if I don’t go? Are you going to try and force me? I imagine not a lot of service members are going to voluntarily go in shackles to your Leftist Al-Gore kangaroo court. I guess you’ll need to fight us, and maybe even kill some of us. You can’t do it alone and unarmed. You’ll need weapons and other lefties to join you. You’ll need a military! I know you’d join. Now ask yourself, why are you willing to join a military that seeks to kill and imprison your fellow countrymen, but not a military who will overthrown Saddam Hussein and your true enemies?

    Scotty, you are not a pacifist. You are simply anti-American. You don’t mind blood being spilled, as long at it belongs to your countrymen. I am sad that our nation spawned traitors like you.

  16. Matthew says:

    usaf member: i am not a pacifist. i am not just anti-american, though that’s how it comes out quite often. i am anti-hegemon. i feel no sympathy for an american mercenary who dies during an invasion. i would not have shed a tear for a british soldier who died in india, nor for a french soldier who was killed in algeria. i cheer each time an i.e.d. goes off. you can be sad all you want that your nation spawned traitors like us. i am equally sad that neanderthals like you still roam the earth. your logic is cute – the kind of thing a fourth-grader or soldier would find appealling. i would have no problem putting a bullet right between your eyes. fascists deserve to die, right alongside the suicide bombers and other terrorists. you’re all the same. all moron tough guys who mindlessly follow orders regardless of their legality or morality. let’s toast another bad year in iraq…

  17. [...] Here are the complete, unedited versions of the anonymous Marine pilot’s and Chuck Spinney’s messages that I excerpted in the post below. [...]

  18. Danny Deever says:

    USAF Member:

    Nice Colonel Jessup “we live in a world that has walls” moment. Again, you work for the CiC, who works for “Us”, whoever that “Us” is…remember that. If it is for a POTUS who wants to be tough on the military for any legitimate transgressions, what the hell are you going to do?

    You could always quit, if that were the case, except due to current shortages, you’d be deployed for the 8th or so time.

    Scott: Are you saying the whole organization is a criminal enterprise? Rather broad brush you’re painting with, don’t you think?

  19. Victor says:

    I completely agree with Spinney. Only a blood thirsty son of a bitch would enjoy killing innocent civilians sleeping in their home. And the person who wrote Spine’s rebuttal is another coward piece of shit.

  20. MKivioja says:

    To somegirl…
    Didi YOU fail your SAT’s ? Do you know what is so called ‘irony’ ? However, was it a news to you that people are killed in wars ? Was it a news to you that there has always been and there will always be wars on this planet. Your aggressive comment is a proof for that.

    somegirl:”…and MKivioja – there’s a difference between a computer bug and a human being, a point that the video game generation doesn’t quite grasp.”

  21. MKivioja says:

    Also ‘somegirl’…to help you understand my point, I will make it simple here:
    I made a _selection_ to be a programmer. ==
    I made a _selection_ not to be a pro-killer.
    I tried to point out, that when people are in uniforms, they , and audience through media will forget, that killings they make, are killings (taking away human lives). The fact that Bush or someone else has ordered the person to kill, doesn’t take away the fact that the one that pulls the trigger or detonates a bomb, is a killer. No matter how fancy tool he/she is using or how cool he/she looks in uniform. The selection to be a killer or not, is in our own hands.

  22. huey says:

    “whats so good about peace love and understanding” sings keb moe. it takes more courage to maintain these princibles than it does to destroy life from a remote location. americans suffer from a national stockholm syndrome driven by the avarous and greed of unbridled corporatism. this sickness is exported as cultual narcism spearhede with the blind obedience to the transnational babbits for their sociopathic addiction to power and lets face reality, the love of killing. after all their is this neo-con beleif that over population allows for the culling of populations, especially when they are projected as the “other”. bad guys always cast a white shadow.

  23. [...] I searched the internet to see if anyone had anything to say about Spinney’s commentary. There were only a few sites that mentioned it, but in this one he is predictably blasted by soldiers who viewed his comments as a betrayal…. [...]

  24. morsdecontactus says:

    “Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” — George Orwell

  25. Jarrett says:

    Scott there’s 1 problem with ur theory if u were to bring home evey armed service member and put them in jail good luck they will easily take over the US cause who’s going to fight them not themselves. So your an idiot and also without a armed service group how do we plan on defending our nation well be takin over in less than 24 hours with your plan the armed services save you everyday of your life basically. So I don’t know what your trying to say cause you don’t understand you join by yourself and go into war with your brothers the enemy is nothing but a fly in my eyes they deserve to die. Does that make me a future killer. Should I be thrown in jail? Should I be prosocuted now? For my future service to our country. Answer my question no don’t even answer cause you now know your wrong so what is the point your opinion no longer means anything to me

  26. Jarrett says:

    Matthew,
    you do know that’s what hitler basically was don’t you hitler wanted all Africans in Africa if not they should be killed which means you deserve be kicked out of America for your infidelity which will also means you move country which means if you died there you wouldn’t care cause
    you think you deserve to die if your there which means you are another non thinking idiot infidel which deserves to be shown what all the Marines go through if you still think they deserve to die still I’ll accept it but by saying all soliders logic is like 4th graders that means your saying 4th graders deverve to die also I know how to kill you 10 differnent ways in hand to hand combat from marine Corp training and I’m not a marine but they are fighting and dying every day for ungrateful lil bitches like you who deserve
    to be killed you ungrateful bitch they go through intense training for the people of their country which means all people that think they deserve to die should be killed no hesitation I would kick your ass in real life if I saw you on the street but I would not kill you because you are apart of my country but you should not treat veterans with such an ungrateful attitude. My grandfather was in Vietnam the 173rd airborne 1965 he was a sgt he they took on over 1000 enemies and won the 173rd airborne was an elite trained group of army soliders i may be a ruthless killer who dosent care if the enemy dies but if they attack us I will fight killing as many as I can defending my nation which includes you so I may die while they invade my country but I will kill as many as I can and may die but my life is a small sacrifice to kill as many of them as I can so I will join the USMC everyone calls me stupid but don’t realize if I die I died for my country and I will be the proudest I’ve ever been laying on my death bed

  27. Jake says:

    The ingnorance that most of you have shown saddens me. In a country where basically NOTHING is produced, how can you blame the person starving on the street for wanting to feed their family. I know a few people myself who have gone into the armed services for that very reason.

    I wish that i could say that i am a man of god but i know for me to say that would be a lie, because i am so far from true understanding. BUT i do know that god forgives. Knowing this, I REFUSE TO KILL. This is the only way for any you to help. If anything we all deserve a second chance and a world where murder is not a concern.

    BUT TO STOP THE KILLING YOU MUST NOT ,YOURSELF, KILL OTHERS. this only makes sense.

    There are people working within our own government and within our (free markets) that are a much greater threat to our lives, and they don’t use violence, they use money.

  28. Jake says:

    “Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” — George Orwell.

    BULLSHIT. THE GOVERNMENT OF THIS WORLD CONTROL US BY FEAR OF OUR ENEMIES. you really think that a country could invade another and ever gain complete control? If China invaded us it wouldnt matter how much of our government they eliminated. THIS WOULD STILL NOT BE THEIR LAND. they would use their every last resorce trying, but it could not happen unless they killed us all.

    If this is truely a Kill or Be Killed world, (which it is not) Ill take my chances.

  29. Jake says:

    One more thing. Some studies on our nations major seaports report that as little as 5% of shipping crates coming into this country are inspected. If one million crates come into port on a Monday, as many as 950,000 crates have come in uninspected. Now say a figure as amazing and impossible as 50% of incoming crates are inspected, you’re still looking at 500,000 uninspected crates that could hold any amount of WMD’s OR EMP’s OR Anthrax or whatever. TELL ME HOW THE AMOUNT OF TROOPS WE HAVE STATIONED ALL AROUND THE GLOBE MAKES OUR COUNTRY ANY SAFER.

    A HIJACKED AIR PLANE MADE IT TO THE PENTAGON FOR CHRISTS SAKE. YOU CANNOT STOP THE INEVITABLE AND YOU CANNOT LIVE IN FEAR OF IT.

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