Friday, January 30, 2015

The Atrocities of War

[This is a re-post of a blog from March 16, 2012. I have not seen American Sniper, I have only heard the discussions and seen a few clips from the movie. All of that reminded me of Bob Dylan's song, "Clean-cu Kid," which is included on the post along with some of my comments about war and the impact it has on those who fight our wars.]


They took a clean-cut kid
And they made a killer out of him
That's what they did.

                            ~ Bob Dylan


The news this week of the massacre of Afghani families by an American soldier was came as yet another highlight of the horrors of war. For over ten years the U.S. has attempted to wage war while hiding the dark consequences from its citizens. That tone was set in the early days when the Bush administration declared that the call to war was an utmost endeavor to preserve freedom and democracy, but we should not worry our little heads, we should just go shopping.

I side with the Quakers’ stance that war is not the answer. This latest atrocity is but one example of why I am not in favor of armed conflict. It is impossible to wage war without unleashing mayhem, madness, and atrocity. It is indeed an atrocity that Afghani citizens were attacked and slain in their homes in the dead of night. It is also an atrocity that the young soldier accused of the massacre suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2010, yet was patched up, dusted off and sent back in to fight another day.

It is also an atrocity that politicians living in luxury and ease take advantage of the idealistic patriotism of our youth by calling them to fight for freedom when they may in fact just be fighting to preserve the economic interests of the elite.

It is an atrocity that politicians living in luxury and ease can take advantage of young men and women who see military service as the best way out of their economically depressed neighborhoods.

It is an atrocity that we have a system in which wounded military personnel are quickly treated and sent back repeatedly into military action because that’s just what needs to be done with our smaller, leaner volunteer forces.

It is an atrocity that hard-working, honest, salt-of-the-earth families bear unspeakable losses when their sons and daughters are killed or permanently wounded in body, mind, and spirit while politicians speak of war in such a cavalier manner.

It is an atrocity that we have more and more wounded soldiers returning who suffer from physical injuries or PTSD and have insufficient support from the government that sent them out to fight.

There can be no war without atrocity. Even the victors of war bear the scars of war into the next generation. This is why war should never be considered lightly.  

                                                                                                                  Charles Kinnaird





Clean-Cut Kid
By Bob Dylan
(From the album, Empire Burlesque)

Everybody's asking why he couldn't adjust
Adjust to what, a dream that bust ?

They took a clean-cut kid
And they made a killer out of him
That's what they did.

They said what's up is down, they said what isn't is
They put ideas in his head that he thought were his.

They took a clean-cut kid
But they made a killer out of him
That's what they did.

He was on the baseball team, he was in the marching band
When he was ten years old he had a watermelon stand.

He was a clean-cut kid
And they made a killer out of him
That's what they did.

They said, "Listen boy, you're just a pup"
They sent him to a napalm health spa to shape up.

They gave him dope to smoke, drinks and pills
A jeep to drive, blood to spill.

They said "Congratulations, you got what it takes"
They sent him back into the race without any brakes.

They took a clean-cut kid
But they made a killer out of him
That's what they did.

He bought the American dream but it put him in doubt
Only game he could play was Russian roulette.

He drank Coca-Cola, he was eating Wonder Bread
He ate Burger Kings, he was well fed.

He went to Hollywood to see Peter O'Toole
He stole a Rolls Royce and drove in a swimming pool.

They took a clean-cut kid
But they made a killer out of him
That's what they did.

He could've sold insurance, owned a restaurant or bar
He could've been an accountant or a tennis star.

He was wearing boxing gloves, took a dive one day
Off the Golden Gate Bridge into China Bay.

His mama walks the floor, his daddy weeps and moans
They gotta sleep together in a home they don't own.

They took a clean-cut kid
And they made a killer out of him
That's what they did.

Everybody's asking why he didn't adjust
All he ever wanted was somebody to trust.

They took his head and turned it inside out
He never did know what it was all about.

He had a steady job, he joined the choir
He never did plan to walk the high wire.

They took a clean-cut kid
And they made a killer out of him
That's what they did.


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