Well this is probably another can of worms I'm about to open, but personally I do think militaries, generally speaking, are a necessary evil. The good/evil perspective lies on which side of the fence you happen to be on. For instance when you watch the movie 'Hotel Rwanda' (based on actual events), most people will view the Hutu as one of the most evil militia's to ever walk the earth. However, if you were Hutu, the genocide would seem completely justified. A 'payback' if you will for the 200,000 Hutu's slaughtered by the Tutsi army in Burundi in 1972.
Of course that wasn't the first conflict between the two groups, their bloodshed dates back hundreds of years. The point though is that any military can be percieved as 'evil' by one group of people, while another group would back their general objective, as it suits their agenda. I served in the US AirForce during operation Desert Shield/Storm. And while I am one of the most non-prejudice people you will ever meet, the propaganda that they soaked us in, the 'hate-machine' that we were subject to brainwashed all of us. I had such little respect for the Iraqi people as a whole, that I would have had no problems killing any man, woman or child that I would have come across had I been on the front lines. They really do a fantastic job of turning soldiers into blood thirsty animals capable of doing things that normal people would never do.
And of course this is a necessity. In order to be sucessful in war, you need your soldiers to be ready to obey any command they are given. Think about it, if you were to pull a young man out of his economics class in college, point to a heavily fortified bunker sitting on top of a hill and say, "I need you to charge that machine gun nest", he would look at you and say, "fuck you, that's insane"!!! And of course he would be right, it is insane. But that's what soldiers are trained to do, things that ordinary citizens would consider 'insane'. Point to the same bunker and tell a US Marine to "charge that machine gun nest", and he'd be running towards imminent death before you got the last part of the sentence out of your mouth. Is that because US Marine's are crazy? Well some would say yes, but moreover, it's because they are trained to do things without question. Obey without taking into consideration morals, danger, concequences or anything else... just simply obey. It's no easy feat, but they accomplish it, and our military has proven to be one of the most effective militaries in the history of warfare. You don't want to know what goes on in any of our skirmishes on the front line. War is hell, there's nothing glamorous about it what-so-ever. And one of the side-effects of all the brainwashing that goes into creating a soldier is that when you wind a person up that tight and unleash them upon the enemy, sometimes they take things even further than you had intended. US soldiers have been found guilty of raping women... killing children... doing many of the same things they depicted the Hutu soldiers of doing in 'Hotel Rwanda'. If you've seen the movie 'In the Valley of Elah' (a story that closely follows the events that led to the killing of Richard T. Davis by his fellow soldiers), it gives an insight into the mind of soldiers who've been subjected to the hate-machine for so long, that human life in general means nothing to them, and neither does taking it. When a soldier can do something like that to his own commerade, imagine what he could do to the enemy whom he has even less respect for. That was one of the saddest movies I've ever seen, and when I Googled Richard T. Davis and found out about the true story, I was even more appauled. Nobody wants to think our brave soldiers are capable of doing such horrible, dispicable acts... but unfortunately some are. And it only takes one bad seed like that to give an entire group of people a bad name. Therefore it should come as no surprise that many of our enemies consider us 'evil'.
But I don't blame the people who put on that uniform to serve and protect their country. I don't think anyone joins the military so that they can rape women and kill children. It is an honorable thing to put your life on the line for your country. The intention is good when you enlist, the outcome of all that training, all the propaganda, all that hate they pump into you can have effects you never would have thought they could have on you. I can remember watching 'wing-tapes' in the pilots lounge on base. These pilots would come back from the war with video's from the airplane/helicopter they flew and play them for us. One video I remember very well was taken from an Apache helicopter that had snuck up on an Iraqi bunker in the middle of the night, created some sort of diversion to get the attention of the sleeping soldiers inside, and as they ran out of the bunker he opened fire on them with his M230 Chain Gun. It was so violent, their bodies were literally being cut in half. Arms, legs, heads... they were flying all over the place.
And I was LAUGHING!!!
We all were, we were laughing, cheering, clapping... the only sadness we felt was that we weren't able to kill those guys ourselves. Looking back it was so disgusting the way we acted, the way we felt, the hatred that flowed out of our mouths on a daily basis. Those men were just like us, serving their country. They had families too... mothers, fathers, children, people who loved them. It was certainly nothing to laugh about, and I regret the way I reacted to the footage I witnessed.
I'm sure many of the Hutu soldiers who've aged 16 years now since the 1994 rebel attacks probably look back and regret some of the things they did or witnessed. When you're in that brainwashed state of mind you are capable of doing things you'd never imagine you could do. Things that haunt you when you come back to the real world and put things in better perspective. Many soldiers have problems later on in life because of war. It's not only the friends that they lost or the carnage that they witnessed. It's also regret from the things they did. Things that they thought at the time was 'justified' because the enemy was 'evil' and deserved what they got. But like Clint Eastwood said in 'Unforgiven'..... "we all got it comin kid". In the end we are all humans, just with different agenda's.
I'm just greatful I wasn't over there with a gun. Or I might have a lot more to regret than laughing at a bloody video.