04/01/15 In The Canteen 01

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  1. “Did you die?”
    “Did you have a sidekick?”
    “I bet you got to schtup an enemy spy!”

  2. I feel that way quite a bit talking to pure civilians. They have no comprehension, no point of reference. Just Call to Duty on X-Box or whatever. And they watched the “Mother of All Briefings” and a couple of movies.

    Yeah, you kill people. It’s war. You try not to kill the wrong people and try to keep from being killed. You protect your buddy’s flank and he protects yours. War is scary, smelly and LOUD. See enough of it and you develop gallows humor. Civilians mistake that for a war crime or blood lust or something else they don’t understand but think they do. Really, it’s a way to keep from going insane.

    War is not a sane occupation. It is good it is so terrible, else we grow to like it too much.

  3. I hope these two are more clueless than the average civilian – I mean, straight out asking someone “Did you snap?”…..well, it’s sort of inviting them to snap again – possibly your neck.

    but from what they said last strip, he seems to spend a lot of time frowning and muttering. Now I’m wondering if he’s that fixated on Foxglove, or who all else is out there doing things he’s muttering about.

  4. I think he’s concerned that the quiet life he wanted is about to go to hell.

  5. I just finished watching “Fury”, with Brad Pitt and a number of other A-list stars. Glad I didn’t watch it in the theater. It’s a very disturbing movie, and I gather from the reactions of the WW2 vets they had gathered to provide insight to the actors, it’s fairly accurate.

    The film takes a tank team that is part of the invasion of Germany in 1945. They’ve been together since North Africa and survived in an environment where 2 out of 3 tanks (and their operators) were killed by the superior German tanks. Suddenly, due to a death on the team, they get some 18-yo newbie with 6 weeks of training thrown in the mix.

    It takes some time, but you finally realize that the old-timers are not just being a$$-h*les to the newbie. They are just humans who have witnessed far too much inhumanity. You go from watching the tank commander forcing the newbie to execute a Nazi prisoner who has surrendered, to seeing telephone pole after pole with women and young children hung from them with the notice that these people didn’t support the army of the Fatherland.

  6. @Mouse: Yes, many civilians are that clueless and tactless. I’ve been asked how many civilians and babies I’ve killed, if I liked killing, if I ever snapped, and even worse things. And that was AFTER 9/11.

    @MUZHIK: You’re stuck with the friends you brought with you, but you don’t make any new friends in a combat zone because it hurts too bad when they’re killed or maimed. My uncle was with Patton from Normandy until the end of the war. He was one of the first few Americans into Buchenwald. What he saw there haunted him for the rest of his life. His unit did not take a single SS prisoner for the rest of the war. After what they saw, they shot every SS man on sight, under any circumstances. Wounded, surrendering or fighting. Made no difference.

    Modern day Nazi apologists like to forget the death camps and the telephone poles you mentioned.

  7. @war pig: So … can you give an example of gallows humor that civilians would mistake for a war crime?

  8. @Muzhik One Desert Storm veteran who was with the first of the allied forces to roll into Kuwait (after allowing a Kuwaiti token force to go first for the look of the thing) told me he saw pregnant women hung from lamp posts with their bellies sliced open. A “parting gift” from the retreating Iraqi army. Talk to the people who were there, in Desert Storm and in the second phase since 2003. You’ll find out all kinds of things the media and our government has kept mum about. If they’d just tell the truth there wouldn’t be an Islamic terrorist problem because there likely would be very few Islamists left to be terrorists. WW2 was the last “honest” war. Who the bad actors were was known and it was known what needed to be done to stop them. Complete defeat then ‘sit on them’ until they learned to behave and participate in civilization rather than constantly attempting to take over all around them to put the world under their boots. Now look what’s happening, the barbarians are burning the Library again and civilization can’t be bothered to stop them.

  9. Robert A. Heinlein put civilians like this into his “Starship Troopers” book. I am glad I’ve never run into people like this; altho I can’t say my time as a USAF radar operator in the states really made me much more familiar with what you speak of.

  10. re: civilians misinterpreting gallows humor
    Q: “Have you ever killed civilians?”
    A(1): “Not intentionally…”
    A(2): “If I haven’t, I wouldn’t say I have, and if I have, I wouldn’t admit it, that being a war crime.”
    A(3): “I hope not, but sometimes, you just can’t tell…”

    A civilian will immediately interpret all of these as “yes”, that being their expectation. “How could you *not* know?” Well, there is no color-coded text floating above their heads to indicate true affiliation…

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