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Here is an email I received in response to one of my essays.

Murderers? : Kaytee Shelburn : : 2007-06-16

First off I’m not even sure where to begin. I think the only thing I agree with you on, is that the war is in awful thing. The images you show are horrific and upsetting as they should be.

However, how dare you say that soldiers are to blame!!

After WWII (World War II) at Nuremberg, we held all the Nazis responsible. We did not excuse them just because they were following orders. We did not excuse them even if they would have been shot for refusing to kill. American soldiers are under no such compulsion. They were not even drafted. They kill purely out of free will. They are motivated by sadism, not external compulsion. They are thus far more responsible for their actions than any Nazi soldier ever was.

Calling them murderers, what the hell is wrong with you!!?? My brothers I suppose are two of the murderers as you so lovingly call them. One has served 3 tours in Iraq and is now in Germany. My little brother, only 23 years old was killed in Iraq.

On what grounds then do your condone your brother indulging in war and killing? Why is it ok for him but not others. Why was it ok for him to kill, but not for others to defend themselves against him. I explain why I call him a war criminal in my war criminals essay. I explain why I call him a terrorist is my essay on the definition of terrorism. Your brother killed people for a living. That makes him a hit man, a murderer, undeserving of any honour. He does not have the excuse of self defense. He was in Iraq to kill to plunder oil and natural resources for the USA. That make him worse than any Mafia hitmen since American soldiers, your brother included, kill primarily children whereas hitmen prey mostly on fellow criminals.

So my question is then on what grounds is your brother not a murderer? Murderers have brothers and sisters just like anyone else. Just because one is your brother himself killed in the process of his mayhem in no way excuses him. Mother and sisters always come to the defence of even the most heinous serial killer. You are no exception. Your heart is ruling your head.

he was shot by those lovely Iraqis, that you don’t seem to called murderers anywhere.

The Iraqis are not murderers when they kill Americans. They are righteously defending their country against unprovoked invaders. Of course, they are murderers when they engage in sectarian killing.

I hope and pray to God that you never have to go to your brothers funeral. I was 3 months pregnant when he died. My baby will never know her uncle. Believe it or not he died protecting YOU!!!

Blithering nonsense. Iraq is not and never was any threat to the USA or Canada. The USA attacked Iraq unprovoked. Iraq has no WMDs (Weapon of Mass Destructions). It has no weapons. All the tanks and planes etc. were all destroyed at the end of the Gulf War. It was unable to even hit a single plane in over a decade of US sanction bombings prior to the Iraq war that killed 1 to 2 million Iraqis. What do they fight with now — home-made bombs, Drano! They have no planes or missiles or submarines. It is an illegal war of aggression on America’s part to seize econtrol of Iraq’s oil. You brother fought to slake his bloodlust, not to protect me.

God Bless you and your family and may you never have to suffer the pain that this war has caused some of us.

Your brother’s death is to a small degree your own fault. You took no action to discourage your brother from indulging in his sadistic impulses. You did no reasearch on the bogosity of the Iraq war and use that research to convince your brother to abstain. Your brother ruined dozens of innocent lives in Iraq. It is a Good Thing™ someone stopped his rampage. You don’t give a thought to his victims, do you?, just about yourself. Your self-centred attitude is the root of most of the evil in the world. Your pain is some natural justice punishment for your callous disregard for the hell your brother was making of other people’s lives.

Obviously your emotional bonds won’t let you see that your brother was a serial killer and the world is better off with his demise. But your affection does not change the truth of what your brother did. This is a harsh rebuke, but you are the one who first rebuked me for not treating your brother has a hero. Go see the movie Mr. Brooks. It might help you understand your bother and how he could appear to be such a kind friendly person with a very dark hidden side than you have never seen.

It would be nice if your brother died a hero, if his death were a sacrifice for a noble cause. It might make the loss easier to bear. However, wishing does not make it so. He was not a hero. He was a hitman/serial killer/mercenary for big oil who got his just deserts. Spend a day thinking about the lives he destroyed or shattered, rather than seeing only your personal loss. Recall that most of the victims of the Iraq war are civilians and most of those are children. What if he had butchered your children? Would not your feelings be a little more mixed?

You and millions of American are prompted by grief to lie and mythologise about the fallen soldiers to give their death meaning. The attraction of this glory justifies the death of even more soldiers which ironically sweeps even more naïve and only mildly sadistic young men to their doom.

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