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Nate Terani: One Veteran's War on Islamophobia
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Recently, I was asked a question about Kill Anything That Moves, my history of civilian suffering during the Vietnam War. An interviewer wanted to know how I responded to veterans who took offense at the (supposed) implication that every American who served in Vietnam committed atrocities.

I think I softly snorted and slowly shook my head.

Already two books behind me, Kill Anything That Moves might as well have been written by someone else in another lifetime. In some sense, it was.

It takes effort for me to dredge up the faded memories of that work, a Kodachrome-hued swirl of hundreds of interviews on two continents over the course of a decade. But this particular question was easy enough to answer. Almost all the Americans I interviewed had seen combat, but most American veterans of the war hadn’t. Many had little or no real opportunity to commit war crimes. Case closed.

But that question caused me to recall a host of related queries that churned around the book. Questions by skeptics, atrocity-deniers, fair-minded interviewers attempting to play devil’s advocate. A favorite was whether the book was “anti-veteran.” That, too, was a head-shaker for me.

“How could that be?” I would respond. After all, the book owed its genesis to veterans. Veterans were key sources for it. Veterans provided the evidence. Veterans provided the quotes. Veterans even supplied the title. The book was, to a great extent, the history of the war as described to me by veterans. The story I told was their story. How could that in any way be anti-veteran?

Many of the vets I spoke with viewed their truth-telling as a form of patriotism, of continuing service to country. Nate Terani’s inaugural TomDispatch essay follows in the same American tradition. His eyes were opened to the abuse of military power while living in Iran as a boy. Later he would join the U.S. Navy and wear the stars and stripes with particular pride. September 11th and all that came after — notably the demonization of his Muslim faith in his homeland — imbued him with a new mission, one he now views as no less sacred than his military service.

From Smedley Butler to Andrew Bacevich, Daniel Ellsberg to Chelsea Manning, Vietnam Veterans Against the War to Iraq Veterans Against the War, the U.S. armed forces have produced a steady stream of truth-tellers and whistleblowers, men and women willing to serve their country in profound ways during trying times. There’s no bronze star for activism, no Navy Cross for unpopular or contrarian opinions, no Purple Heart for the hard knocks involved in speaking out against war crimes or Islamophobia or laying bare information vital to the American public. Veterans who dare to do so have sometimes walked a cold, lonely road far from the warm glow enjoyed by summer soldiers and sunshine patriots. Those who do so exhibit a special form of courage that may even exceed the bravery of the battlefield, the courage to stand tall and make oneself a target, a courage deserving (with a nod to Thomas Paine) of the love and thanks of man and woman.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military 
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  1. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    How naive was this boy?

    The USA takes semi-functional men like Gustav Hasford, uses them in the war racket, and then throws 99% of them away.

    The happy 1% get to join defense contractors and rake in big bucks.

    If you’re not making big bucks off the war racket, you’re just another product.

    Smedley Butler explained all of this years ago. Read War is a Racket.

  2. Rehmat says:

    Nate Terani can even learn from Israeli propaganda newspaper The Jew York Times about Donald Trump’s problem with Muslims.

    Trump’s teacher on Muslims and Islam happens to be the Crypto Jew Frank Gaffney, founder of Israel advocacy group, ‘The Center for Security Policy’.

    Frank Gaffney is also a columnist at Jewish-owned Washington Post. On August 20, Brian Tashman (Jewish) claimed at the Right Wing Watch, saying anti-Muslim activist and conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney was joining other Zio-conservatives in blasting the Southern Poverty Law Center. Gaffney claimed that SPLC is “in the service of people who are really the perpetrators of the worst of the anti-Semitism and hatemongering” by opposing anti-Muslim hate groups. Dumbo Gaffney didn’t realize that both organizations are controlled by Zionist Jews……

  3. Whenever I mention American war crimes, some claim this is crazy leftist propaganda. I tell them to read the US Army’s official history that documents hundreds of cases in Vietnam, and can be read on-line:

    • Replies: @Kyle a
  4. 22pp22 says:

    1). To anyone who lives in Europe, Islamophobia is rational.

    2). It takes no courage at all to speak out against it.

  5. Kyle a says:
    @Carlton Meyer

    Whilst ignoring the war crimes of every other country that has participated in the endeavor . Perhaps you should expand your library. the claims of crazy leftist propaganda would be an accurate title or someone like yourself who has never even held a rifle or served any a branch of the military.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
    , @Anon
  6. @Kyle a

    They fired two Americans in Afghanistan for stopping the rape of young boys an Afghan officer tied to the bed. Afghanistan Army regulars and officers can rape the children in the neighborhood and Americans are ordered to look the other way. Oh, that plants the future seeds of love for Americans. Oh, God dammit. I just committed a thought crime against Muslims that love to rape young children because:Islamophobia.

    Islam needs to, but cannot, clean up a lot of shit before anyone preaches against “Islamophobia” to a right-thinking man. In the meantime, I celebrate the ruins from Libya to Yemen. The Hell with them all. I’m not afraid of em, I just want to be rid of them.

    • Replies: @Talha
  7. Talha says:
    @Jim Christian

    In the meantime, I celebrate the ruins from Libya to Yemen.


    right-thinking man

    LOL!!! Right-thinking men celebrate unnecessary death and destruction???


  8. Indeed I do, I celebrate the deaths of those that celebrate the destruction of my own. Gives you butt-hurt, doesn’t it, Muslim? You a-holes hate it when those you would have as victims push back, don’t you? You folks can shoot up a theater or two, blow up a bus, kill here, kill there, but for real killing, for real revenge in the millions, all that needs be looked at is the Middle-East from Libya to Yemen. And spare me the “Jews did it to enrich the contractors-and-Israel” meme. However the towers got wrecked, Muslims celebrated and are paying for it to this day. And who cares? Pity my Muslim President brings you camel drivers here, though. Perhaps, as you breed like rats and grow in numbers however, you will eliminate feminism, a plus.

    • Replies: @Talha
    , @El Sheikh
  9. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Kyle a

    regarding the


    I regret to say that the link does not work for me. The main website appears to be up, but the HTML/books directory always times out for me. This may be a network issue.

    Regarding the allegation that “someone like yourself who has never even held a rifle or served any a branch of the military,” IIRC, Carlton Meyer, once served in the USMC. However, that fact is not directly relevant to the logical or factual claims in anyone’s arguments. Regardless of our military records (or lack thereof), I remain interested in the logical arguments.

    Let us not personalize the issue, ladies and gentlemen, let us argue in the abstract, as rigorously as possible.

  10. Talha says:
    @Jim Christian

    Hey JC,

    Wow!!! I guess Iraq (2003), Libya and Syria are push-back – ummm, for what exactly?

    I guess you believe in collective punishment – how civilized. That’s OK, Daesh does too; that’s why they are clearing out ancient Christian communities because some ‘crusaders’ decided to destroy Iraq – you guys should exchange notes.

    And who cares?

    Tho One Who will ask you why you celebrated and advocated the death and destruction of innocent women and children. You can give Him the same answers you gave me; maybe they’ll have more traction with Him.

    You have any kids, JC – or is this all theory to you?


  11. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Terani is a whiner, latching onto any insults he’s had launched his way throughout his life. He notes the ugly murder of three Muslims by a deranged person. Yet not one word for the millions of people subjected to genocide and enslaved by Muslims throughout the bloody history of Islam. Not one Muslim will apologize for their misdeeds and crimes against others; in fact they are proud of it. He left the Orient and entered the western world. He should leave that Oriental culture behind and adjust to his new surroundings. We have a different culture here and don’t want this alien culture pushed upon us. A little reading up on Muhammad shows what a monstrous robber and murderer he was on a grand scale. What sort of a ‘religion’ is it that would consider something like that a ‘prophet’? Terani has a chance here to ditch that garbage and free himself. Instead he wants to cling to it and stick it in our faces. No thanks.
    So he was in the navy, so what? Are we supposed to kiss his rear end for all eternity because of it? This entitles him to lecture everybody else on what being an American is really all about as though he’s the ticket-holder?

    • Replies: @El Sheikh
  12. I think the term Islamophobia gets a bad rap. It is indeed rational to have a bit of phobia toward an alien culture turning up in great numbers in your midst.

    What these people should be on the look out for is Islamomisia, which is outright hostility toward Islam and its adherents.

    • Replies: @Talha
    , @Bill Jones
  13. Svigor says:

    If you’re not committing “war crimes” against an enemy like the Vietnamese insurgency, you’re not doing it right. They were pretty vile.

    They fired two Americans in Afghanistan for stopping the rape of young boys an Afghan officer tied to the bed. Afghanistan Army regulars and officers can rape the children in the neighborhood and Americans are ordered to look the other way. Oh, that plants the future seeds of love for Americans. Oh, God dammit. I just committed a thought crime against Muslims that love to rape young children because:Islamophobia.

    I wonder how many of the war crimes Turse catalogs (what’s the book on Vietnamese insurgency’s war crimes? I bet they make far better reading) were in revenge for Vietnamese insurgent war crimes. You see a few heads on poles, that’s bound to change your outlook and methods.

    Same goes for the goat-fuckers. A vile lot.

    Yes, the Vietnamese should run Vietnam. Yes, the Afghans should run Afghanistan. Still a vile lot.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  14. Talha says:
    @The Alarmist

    Hey The Alarmist,

    You make a very good point. Even as a Muslim, I can understand some people’s anxiety with Islam and Muslim presence among them. If one looks at history, one finds the following:
    1) Islam still takes itself very seriously, the other religions have basically (within the last few centuries) been marginalized by (post)modernity which states religion that is a kind of hobby or it doesn’t really matter at all
    2) Given enough time (sometimes centuries) – practically anywhere Islam ends up, a society eventually becomes more and more Muslim which is naturally reflected in the culture, social norms, legal framework
    3) Western societies are at dismal birth rates, which only exacerbates the anxiety

    Given all this and the fact that a good number of Muslims are presenting themselves as liabilities to their host countries; chronic dependency on welfare in certain sectors, sexual predatory behavior, etc. – concern is warranted. All of this should be up for public discussion with full transparency.

    What I can’t stand is people who try to lie about either history, Islamic doctrine, or use false statistics to try to make their case. In my experience, this usually (but not exclusively) comes from the “I’m with Israel” sector. I don’t know if I would term this ‘Islamophobia’, but I would definitely term it deceitful and underhanded.


  15. El Sheikh says:
    @Jim Christian

    and spare me the “Jews did it to enrich the contractors-and-Israel” meme.

    I don’t recall that particular meme, but it’s not even questionable that the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans, who stove-piped false intelligence to Bush, needlessly embroiling America in Iraq and sowing the seeds of Middle Eastern havoc far and wide, was run by a self-named “cabal” of zionists, most of whom had openly declared their intent to destabilize every regime proximate to Israel in the ’96 “Clean Break” proposal.

    Furthermore, Israelis ~ with whom you appear to have no problem ~ high-fived each other while the towers burned.

    You obviously have a pretty big chip on your shoulder to be frothing at the mouth as you do. Clearly, your experience with muslims is limited.

  16. El Sheikh says:

    Terani is a whiner

    Physician, heal thyself.

  17. @The Alarmist

    By definition, a phobia is an “irrational fear”

    Phobia definition, a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.

    It’s a bit hard to have a rationale for the irrational.

    The real issue is the gross misuse of the word phobia usually by the left.

  18. @Svigor

    What a murderous piece of shite you are.

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