April 13, 2010 by The Mormon Worker
This is an interview from Democracy Now! with Josh Stieber, a former member of Bravo Company 2-16, the company involved in the 2007 US helicopter shooting in Baghdad, the video of which was leaked recently by Wikileaks. He left the military as a conscientious objector last year and is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
He does a good job of putting the shooting into context, indicating that the soldiers did exactly what they had been trained/taught to do. So while these soldiers bear responsibility for what they did, more importantly, they are merely products of the military system and the mind set that they are essentially forced to adopt while in the military.
He discourages labeling these few soldiers as bad guys or murderers or worse, and rather encourages looking at them as regular people whose actions are the natural consequence of the military system on the one hand, and of the fact that they were put into that position by those civilians and high military officials who planned the invasion and occupation of Iraq. So the military system and those who planned the war should be the main target of criticism.
It is important to treat soldiers with respect and with dignity, rather than vilify them, while showing moral support and solidarity for those that quit the military and/or refuse orders to commit the atrocities their superiors encourage/condition them to commit.