Much has been made of Sergeant Bales’ 2010 Facebook post from Iraq, where he wrote,
Overseas is boring this trip, pretty dumb. Giving money to Hagi [sic; should be ‘hajji’] instead of bullets don’t seem right.
As others have been quick to clarify, this kind of derogatory talk is common among U.S. servicemen and women, and in my case at least, I was first introduced to it at boot camp, where recruits were regularly spurred on to “kill a hajji.”
Even at Officer Candidate School and the The Basic School, where counterinsurgency theory is actually taught to the officer class as something more than a check in the box, such sentiments reared their ugly heads among candidates and young lieutenants, as well as numerous NCO instructors. And the language and worldview only thickens after entry-level training. Once the boots see a deployment, whatever idealistic residue they brought with them into country is stripped away. Especially after they serve a month with a ragtag bunch of complacent Afghan soldiers, or more poignantly, after they witness a friend lose a limb or depart into seven pieces, and then return to base to find their ANA counterparts passing around a joint or a syringe.
Read More | “Sergeant Bales and the Cultural Contradictions of Late Imperialism” | Lyle Jeremy Rubin | My River City Blues