The Universal Soldier
By M. Devlin Cooper
He's five foot-two, and he's six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He's all of thirty-one, and he's only seventeen,
Been a soldier for a thousand years.
He's a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn't kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.
And he's fighting for Canada,
He's fighting for France,
He's fighting for the USA,
And he's fighting for the Russians,
And he's fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we'll put an end to war this way.
And he's fighting for Democracy,
He's fighting for the Reds,
He says it's for the peace of all.
He's the one who must decide,
Who's to live and who's to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.
But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau?
Without him, Caesar would have stood alone,
He's the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on.
He's the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can't you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war.
--Lyrics by Buffy St. Marie; Song popularized by Donovan
I consider myself a pacifist. In a matter of minutes, you probably will not. It is time for my rant. Why? Because the only other thing that I can even think of doing right now is driving to the George Mason Memorial and crying. Hours ago, two US soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mosul, Iraq, after teenagers pummeled them with bricks. I can think of only a few worse ways to die. I am enraged to say the least.
In all fairness, let me disclose my bias. My father was an Army officer and a Green Beret. I grew up around family friends like Allen, a former Green Beret who was a POW in Vietnam, speaks several languages, and would still willingly die in the name of “freedom” (at least as he and I understand it). I grew up around mottos like, “Kill ‘em all, and let God sort ‘em out." And while I worked for a libertarian organization this summer in Auburn, I went to Fort Benning with my parents, and I enjoyed it.
America has become entrenched in Iraq. I am not weighing in on whether or not we should have gone originally. Such a question is moot and irrelevant now. We are there; that is all that matters now regardless of what fucking assholes like Howard Dean say. We are there, and American soldiers are dying. Maybe you don’t agree with our foreign policy; maybe you think it evil that Americans are dying in Iraq. But wake up; it’s happening. We are there, and we apparently aren’t leaving for some time. Whether you support the war or not, people my age, people who I grew up around, are fighting and dying in that goddamn dessert. One of two people in this world that I consider as a brother has been there and may go back there, and he may, in the end of all things, God forbid, die there.
I am filled with rage at this point. I don’t know what we are doing in Iraq, but I know one thing. I don’t like reading about Americans being dragged through the streets. A couple of years ago, a black man in Texas was, and the Democrats rose up in opposition; I doubt that we will see the same now. Sure, some Democrats will bitch, but they won’t want to take names and kick ass, which is what they wanted in Texas.
Last fall, I took an economics of legal foundations class with Walter Williams. He spoke of comparative advantages and the benefits of free trade. He also spoke of the potential of war in Iraq. His comment was that Iraq is labor rich while America is labor scarce and technology rich, and as a result, he hoped that if we went to war with Iraq that we’d paint that whole goddamned desert a bright neon green like Las Vegas, but a lot more toxic.
I’d like to say Amen Professor Williams. I’m tired of Americans dying in Iraq. That doesn’t mean we should stop fighting for their freedom, but fuck, it does mean that I’d like to pull our troops out so that I can watch that whole fucking desert glow from radiation.
I’m all about liberty, and I’m not a big proponent of government since I consider myself an anarcho-capitalist. However, I do believe that there’s a difference between those who embrace liberty and those who reject it outright. That’s not to say that America embraces liberty; I don’t believe that at all. But many in this world, especially many in the Middle East, not only reject liberty but truly hate it! Maybe this isn’t a legitimate reason to bomb them off the face of the fucking Earth, but who can’t deal with some more beachfront property!
De Oppresso Liber.
Libertarian Jackass comment: I, too, am deeply saddened by the events in Iraq. Why do Americans mourn the deaths of space shuttle astronauts and then look the other way as American soldiers are dragged through the streets? I am passionately anti-war and an avowed pacifist, but fully in support of defending the lives of American soldiers. Get them out of Iraq!
After viewing the news of the soldiers' deaths on television, my mother expressed sentiments quite similar to Devlin's. She said: "Libertarian Jackass, they are killing our boys because we aren't in their killing enough of them." I'm sure millions of Americans identify with this barbaric viewpoint. But, a turn to violence, death and destruction is one further step toward the destruction of civilization. Answer me this: who sent those boys to die? Why aren't we doing more to stand up to the criminal policies these kids died implementing? Late at night, when I'm all alone in the dark, when life seems so lonely and short, the grief caused by the thought of humans dying for such futile, pointless reasons is overwhelming. But, ladies and gentlemen, it is precisely for this reason that the principled, unwavering, uncompromising pursuit of the free society must continue. . .