RANGER AGAINST WAR: Letter to Mr. Junger <

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Letter to Mr. Junger

{Yesterday we were pleased to meet director Sebastian Junger at a local screening in the 2013 Veterans Film Festival of his most recent film, Which Way is the Front Line From Here?, an homage to war documantarian Tim Hetherington, his friend and co-director of the award-winning film, Restrepo.

Below is Ranger's open letter to Mr. Junger; I will post my impressions following. --L.}

Dear Mr, Junger,

Since military matters intersect with political considerations, I wish to clarify my comment yesterday that most documentaries and military coverage discusses the "how" of our wars, but seldom the "why".

Let's start with my war. As I write this I am wearing underwear made in Communist Vietnam, and we are happy with this arrangement. In that war, U.S. Special Forces fought and died protecting the populace from Communist forces. After the battles, the U.S. usually pulled up stakes and the deaths were meaningless. Examples abound, but Lang Vei and Hamburger Hill come to mind. 58,000 of us are still dead.

In Oct '83, 240+ died the Beirut bombing and we pulled up our skirts and left the AO. We did the same after the Day of the Rangers in Mogadishu.

We fought Gulf War I and Kuwait is STILL not a democratic nation. We fought in Iraq an the WOT and what was accomplished of long-term significance or of benefit to the American people?

All those killed are still dead and the wounded are still suffering. For what? Now to Restrepo.

The fights in Korengal, Waygul, Wanat, et. al. were not militarily logical nor did we introduce democracy or anything of value to the Afghan people, nor did America benefit in any appreciable manner. The entire WOT was an emotional response to a senseless act of violence. As such, the U.S. reacted and relied on violence, as did those attacking us. What did the killing in Afghanistan accomplish?

The film festival is a wonderful idea and your work is ideal for such a venue, but it cannot be a venture carried out by wrapping ourselves in the flag and pretending that our violence is somehow different from their violence. We older soldiers must ask, "Why"?

Why is a democratic humanistic-based philosophy so degraded that our policy is to always rely on military power even when there are no meaningful military objectives attainable.

Therein lies the rub.

--Jim H.

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Blogger Brooklyn Red Leg said...

Why is a democratic humanistic-based philosophy so degraded that our policy is to always rely on military power even when there are no meaningful military objectives attainable.

I know we do not share the same political philosophy (myself being an unapologetic Free Market Anarchist), though we actually share many of the same concerns. I would argue that this is the core problem WITH Democracy. It is rooted in the notion that Might Makes Right because its the imposition of the will of the Majority upon a Minority (but likely only part of the actual Minority). As such, it is easy for the Majority to be manipulated to
do what is, in any rational and objective measure, evil. And when I say 'the Majority', I should clarify that its 'the Majority of voters' which is almost always an actual minority of people in a specific geographic region (whether The Franchise is limited or unlimited).

When you start from the standpoint that only you (or people like you) know what is good/moral for everyone else, its rather easy to do things 'for the greater good'. The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions and there is no greater intention (in my personal view) than thinking only you know what is best for someone's life and that imposing your will upon them will do anything but cause resentment and/or incite retaliation. One cannot wield The Ring of Power without becoming hopelessly corrupt and evil (yes, I know, total nerd moment, but even Tolkien recognized that over Gandalf the One Ring would wield an even greater power since it would tempt him through the guise of altruism).

As horrible a fact as it is to contemplate, one need only go back and look at the 2000 campaign of George W. Bush where talked about having a humble foreign policy, no nation building and the fact that other nations have to develop at their OWN pace and that the best way to help is to be a shining example (shocking when you look at it with 20/20 hindsight).

Of course we will always frakk up any nation we set to 'bombing to democracy' since we are merely projecting our own problems (and the attendant evils we have) onto other peoples.

And I'll wrap this because I'm now rambling....

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 4:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

thanks for your input.

Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 8:49:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Paul Warfield said...

Hi Jim,

Your contributions are much appreciated. I would, however, change this:

"The entire WOT was an emotional response to a senseless act of violence"

to read: "seemingly senseless act of violence." To the perpetrators, their enablers, and many people around the world, it was far from being senseless.

Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 5:19:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Hot damb i got me anuther editor.
Your point is well taken.

Friday, November 15, 2013 at 1:36:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I would add, not only were the acts sensible to those behind them, they were fabulously successful.

So, no -- neither senseless nor impotent. However, one may certainly ask about the nihilistic quotient of suicide bombing.

Friday, November 15, 2013 at 8:31:00 PM GMT-5  

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