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Mixed Messages

Even as a private in the United States Marine Corps, I began to question the reasons that compel my country to send its young men, including myself, to risk life and limb in a needless conflict.

In October 3, 2007, I asked of these mixed messages:

Why do we expect trained killers, like myself, to enforce peace with the barrel of a gun pointed at those we claim to be fighting for?

The monster that is Saddam Hussein, the product of our interventionist policies, has been toppled and captured. Yet we insist in “staying the course.” How much longer?

It is troubling: that nearly four years later I find myself still asking these questions of not only Iraq, but Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and now Libya as well (not to mention our covert wars in over 120 countries);

That I am asking these questions under a Nobel Peace Prize-winning president who promised to end the war in Iraq;

That we are extending our presence in a “pacified Iraq” nearly a year after the war “ended” there;

That we are “withdrawing” from Afghanistan with an increase in troops;

That we are liberating Libya with bombs and leading the deposal of its dictator without ever being at war with them;

That our interventionist actions in Libya, which so mirrors that of our actions in Iran half a century ago, is being touted as a success and a new era of foreign policy;

And that we are providing material support to the very same Islamists we are fighting against in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When confronted with these contradictions, it would be a mistake to conclude (as I did) that the message had been rendered obscure. That the lofty rhetoric of peace and liberty were merely lost in war’s misguidance. It is now clear that the message was never mixed, but had always been a travesty of the bloodstained truth: we must suffer perpetual war.

(Photo: Mixed Messages by Jayel Aheram)