Saturday, May 07, 2011

'The Army is full of a bunch of scumbags'

From Harper's magazine, here's a revealing Facebook chat between Christopher Winfield (C.W.) and his son, Adam (A.W.), after the latter witnessed members of his Army platoon in Afghanistan stage the murder of an innocent Afghan civilian:
A.W.: Did you not understand what I just told you what people did in my platoon?

C.W.: Murder.

A.W.: Yeah, an innocent dude. They planned and went through with it. I knew about it. Didn’t believe they were going to do it. Then it happened. Pretty much the whole platoon knows about it. It’s OK with all of them pretty much. Except me. I want to do something about it. The only problem is I don’t feel safe here telling anyone. The guy who did it is the golden boy in the company who can never do anything wrong and it’s my word against theirs.

C.W.: Was it an Afghan they killed?

A.W.: Yes. Some innocent guy about my age just farming. They made it look like the guy threw a grenade at them and mowed him down. I was on the Stryker and wasn’t on the ground when it took place. But I know they did it because they told me. Everyone pretty much knows it was staged. If I say anything it’s my word against everyone. There’s no one in this platoon that agrees this was wrong. They all don’t care.
A.W.: I was going to keep my mouth shut but they fucked with the wrong guy this time. I’ve about had it with this Army. Last night I was so mad I almost quit altogether and told them I refuse to go on missions with them but they would really get me in trouble then.
C.W.: Four months left. You will make it through. We will work on this problem too.
A.W.: Well, if you talk to anyone on my behalf I have proof that they are planning another one in the form of an AK-47 they want to drop on a guy.
C.W.: How many are involved?
A.W.: Well, it was two guys who did it, actually killed the dude. But the whole platoon knew about it for the most part. I think our platoon leader doesn’t know and maybe like two dudes. Everyone just wants to kill people at any cost. They don’t care. The Army is full of a bunch of scumbags I realized.
Just a few bad apples is all. And remember: if you don't think "our" troops are "the good guys," you're a very naughty liberal.


  1. Looks like Harpers got the arrest date wrong.

    After reading Christopher Winfield's account of his trying to alert someone in the US, it enlightens me to the use of "chain of command".

    In the US Armed Forces, proper use of the chain of command is stressed. This includes informing your immediate superior. Sidestepping that is a big no-no.

    Seems like a good way to keep the kill teams in tact.

  2. Osama's been dead a few days now. Instead of stopping there, the administration is now launching missiles at this Anwar al-Awlaki dude. I keep seeing him referred to as "American-born". (According to Wikipedia he's a dual American and Yemeni citizen.)

    So the chain of command, from the president on down, would seem to be indicating that it's open season on everyone-- Afghan, American, armed, unarmed, guilty, innocent...

    Just following orders.

  3. Anonymous6:50 PM

    Sometimes I really wonder if we would be better off with a conscript military again. My neighbor (a Korean War vet) once told me that, with a draft, you get a much better sampling of people.

    While there will always be bad soldiers and good soldiers, perhaps with a draft you might not have to rely so much on people who, (to be frank) may not have many other options in life. My neighbor said that when he was in the service, the army tended to have more “quality” people.

    Furthermore, a conscript army helps to prevent the creation of a dangerous gulf between a passive citizenry and a warrior caste. People will feel that they have more at stake when the country goes to war, and won't just sit back and cheer on “the Troops” as if it were a sporting event.

    I think one could argue that the conscript military of the Vietnam War era had a major impact on the peace movement.

    Perhaps it is time to bring back the citizen army?

    1. Anonymous6:50 PM

      Yeah, people who don't want to be there will handle war soooooo much better...

  4. Ending the empire of bases, bringing the troops home from around the world, and enacting Smedley Butler's proposed amendment limiting the use of USG forces outside USG territory would be a great way to prevent the harms that have prompted this conversation—and without enslaving anyone.

  5. Anonymous12:46 AM

    Yup, I watched a Spc. run a guy off the road in Iraq, just for fun. The guy's vehicle rolled, and his 16 year old son died. I spent 15 months in Iraq, and I can tell you this, the US Army is FULL of the bottom of the barrel of the US population. I spent 8 years in the Army, met 1000's of guys, and most of them would have been in jail if the Army hadn't taken them. The least educated, least intelligent, lowest class Americans I've ever met. Decided not to re-enlist for a 3rd term just because I could no longer deal with being surrounded by the scum of American society.

    1. Anonymous6:51 PM

      The truth is you're probably 300 pounds and couldn't hack it.

  6. Anonymous9:57 AM

    I agree...I was in the nasty guard in UT and went awol as I could not tolorate the stupid jerks in it. Cant trust anyone. Lousy equipment, leadership. Thank GOD I was kicked out.

    1. Anonymous6:53 PM

      Yeah, thank God...for your nation, the Army, and your fellow troops. Couldn't handle having to wake up on time each day could you?

  7. Anonymous10:09 AM

    'The Army is full of a bunch of scumbags'

    Hey, you've got the space, so why not use double quotation marks? Be more loud and proud -- be all you can be. But remember, every group contains scumbags -- even the crowd claiming to be journalists has a few.

  8. I know I always rely on one or two anecdotal stories to paint a whole group of individuals as all the same.

    I'm sure there is a word for that, right on the tip of my tongue..,,Oh, yeah, Bigot.