Friday, December 10, 2004

Disobeying an order

The case of US Army Reserve 343rd Quartermaster Company
They weren’t cowards as some try to paint them — William Manchester wrote that he did the same thing in the Marines during World War II, namely, as a practical battlefield decision disobeying an order from a new sergeant or officer when he and the other combat veterans knew the mission would fail and the men in the unit would get killed. In Goodbye, Darkness he describes such a superior ordering the Marines to go ‘over the top’ (proving, explains Manchester, that he didn’t know what he was talking about — World War I soldiers did that, not island-fighting Marines), ended up going up himself and promptly and literally getting ripped to shreds by machine-gun fire.

Still I understand why the Army did what it did in order to maintain its internal discipline — in theory the men are supposed to follow orders without question, even if that means certainly getting killed.

GI admits to killing wounded 16-year-old Iraqi

This just sucks
An Army reservist who checked himself into a civilian psychiatric hospital after being turned away from a military clinic should be court-martialed for being absent without leave, according to an Army report.

Amaral recommended in his Nov. 5 report that Goodrum be court-martialed for being AWOL while in the civilian psychiatric facility; for failing to obey an order that he return to Fort Knox or follow the necessary medical leave procedures; and for fraternizing with his sergeant, a woman, while in Iraq.
That rule makes perfect sense from the military POV and exists so officers like Goodrum can impartially send people on missions knowing they’ll get killed. Of course putting girls in combat and aboard warships, then being surprised that ‘fraternization’ goes on, sounds stupid: as Luther wrote (to give him his due) it’s like putting fire and straw together and not expecting smoke!

An example proving that last point: on the front in Iraq, Lynndie England (cue Otto the bus-driver: ‘You used to be a dude, right? I won’t tell anyone!’) got pregnant.

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