OK, This Is New
Has something like this ever happened before?
By "something" I mean an anti-war op-ed in a major newspaper written by active duty military personnel. Not retired generals or soldiers whose enlistments are over. Active duty soldiers — not just soldiers, either, but NCOs! And with the 82nd Airborne to boot.
Buddhika Jayamaha is an Army specialist. Wesley D. Smith is a sergeant. Jeremy Roebuck is a sergeant. Omar Mora is a sergeant. Edward Sandmeier is a sergeant. Yance T. Gray is a staff sergeant. Jeremy A. Murphy is a staff sergeant.
To the best of my knowledge, it’s unprecendented for people in their position to publicly be saying stuff like this:
Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. When the primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are likely to be killed, we can hardly feel smug as we hand out care packages…
In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.
Fred Kaplan at Slate thinks it’s unprecedented too (and asks an important question: are these soldiers facing reprisals by the Army for taking their doubts public?). Whatever it is, it’s pretty startling.