Tuesday, May 11, 2004


Letter to Eric Alterman

Name: David Scott
Hometown: Westfield, MA
I know this is probably a horrible and perhaps nearly incomprehensible thing to say, but I am happy that these prison murders, rapes and abuses have finally been shown to the American people, and make no mistake, given a choice this administration would never have allowed the country to see these terrible things.

As a disabled Vietnam veteran and as someone whose existence has been defined by war, there are things happening in Iraq that have a very sick and familiar feel, only this is a much more secret war. In Vietnam it was all there on the T.V. every night, the carnage and senseless killing that is a part of every war. In this war it is all a secret, as if there really were no killings no grotesquely wounded as if the 700 or so dead or the thousands wounded were just numbers with no names attached no real lives to account for and it is unpatriot and nearly criminal to merely mention those that have fallen.

It is we, the wretched refuse, the poor people, and it has always been the poor who fight wars, who are ultimately made more poor, more disenchanted once they return home to V.A. hospitals with the worst health care system in the country and veterans benefits that require nothing less than shameless begging.

It is always us against them. The rich ,the privileged, that have never been in a war, have never been wounded or had friends die who have never seen rows and rows of blasted bone and mutilated flesh in veterans hospitals, those like Bush or Cheney who posture and blather about things like patriotism and sacrifice, have no concept of the ugliness, the stupidity or the real shock and awe of suddenly being hit and down and the bleeding out into the ground of a foreign country far away. It is always us, it is never them.

And it only comes to you later by painful degrees if you have survived with the rest of the wretched wounded in a slow sickening epiphany, that this is no John Wayne movie or Iwo Jima battle but a senseless murdering for reasons that are more and more unclear.

To all those who make these decisions about war, who seem suddenly appalled like our President and the rest of the rich who run this country, or the outraged officers who always serve in the rear, to all those faux warrior architects, or political pundits who have no idea what it is like to be thousands of miles away with a rifle in a foreign country where the enemy does not wear uniforms and there are no real fronts. Where life is cheap and always at risk, these pictures, these rapes, these tortures, these murders are what happen in such places. And they happen in every war. It is the ugly nature of the thing that I thought we had learned 30 years ago.

David Scott USMC RET