January 2, 2009

A Soldier's Story

At 17, Chantelle Bateman was a military recruiter’s dream. After high school, Bateman spent one semester at Howard University in Washington. Her passion for the military life remained strong, so much so that she left Howard in 2003 to enlist in the Marine Corps Reserves for a six-year hitch. At 18, she couldn’t have been happier.

No more. In August 2004, Cpl. Bateman was ordered to Iraq. For seven months she worked as a supply clerk at an installation south of Baghdad. It was enough time to mature and realize that she wasn’t serving her country, she was serving those who run her country -- leaders who ginned up a useless war based on deceptions, leaders who sanctioned torture, leaders who did little to protect female soldiers from sexual harassment, leaders who cared little for military families when parents were cycled back to Iraq for two, three or four tours, leaders who ignored the needs of soldiers who returned home with psychological scars, leaders who said nothing about reparations to Iraqi citizens.

Colman McCarthy, a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter, tells the story.
McCarthy teaches peace studies at several colleges and high schools in the Washington area.