Marine General’s Idea of Fun
‘ “Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. … It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling.” He added, “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.” ‘
T.E. Lawrence, “Lawrence of Arabia,” was tortured and almost driven mad when he realized he got a thrill from shooting a man dead. His sadistic pleasure in killing Ottoman troops in Syria seems to have been wrought up with his rape by an Ottoman officer who thought him a Circassian Jordanian rather than a British secret agent. At one point he writes in Seven Pillars of Wisdom about how beautiful the dead Ottoman soldiers looked in the moonlight, lined up straight, after a battle.
One of the reasons that the Neoconservatives are wrong that unilateral war can be used for good, for spreading democracy, is that war brings out the worst in human beings, making some of them sadists and racists. Sometimes it is necessary to fight a war to defend oneself. An elective war is always a mistake. It twists one’s own society, and someone else’s as well.
Just as few priests are pedophiles, few soldiers are sadists. Mattis has brought dishonor on the US Marine Corps with his words. Killing is never appropriately called “fun.” I think he should resign.
I’m on the road and haven’t seen how the Arab satellite television channels are covering this one. But it isn’t hard to imagine. The US military was popular in Iraq in spring of 2003. It isn’t any more. Attitudes like those of Mattis are part of the reason for the change.