For God and Country

We all know that the vigilante calling himself Fury of Solace is ex-U.S. military.  With no major attacks by the masked maniac since the Mason Tower bombing, and more than a year of silence on the Solace front, we’d hoped against hope that the Iraqi war vet had learned his lesson and moved on.  But his recent resurgence on social networking sites like twitter promises that some terrifying new threat is brewing.  And I take absolutely no comfort in being right about this, but I saw this coming.  Here’s a reprint of a New York Post article I wrote two years ago about the inherent dangers of reintegrating superpowered soldiers into a peacetime society.  And even though the man behind the Fury of Solace mask has no powers himself, the argument still holds…

“For God and Country”

By Starla Carter

This article appeared in the August 17th, 2010 edition of The New York Star.

America, do you know where your combat troops are?  I, for one, do not.  I prefer to leave those considerations to our military brass.  However, as of August 31, I do know where our combat troops won’t be… in Iraq.

Following through with a policy declaration from his earliest days in office, the President intends to follow through with his plan to withdraw the remaining combat troops from Iraq and cease all combat missions within the country by the end of August.  A military presence will remain in country, through 2011 at least, but the suggestion is that United States military action in Iraq is coming to a close.

Not mentioned in all this discussion, however, are the elite special forces known colloquially as ‘human bunker busters.’  These, of course, are the supposedly top-secret commandos trained by our armed forces to undergo solo missions that would be far too dangerous for standard military divisions, a rather brazen attempt to justify the slogan ‘an Army of one.’  Though no U.S. military personnel have publicly admitted that the bunker buster program exist, we have received dozens of off-the-record reports from members of our armed forces that they are very real.

And rumors about that these so-called bunker busters are actually superhumans in the employ of the U.S. government.  Each branch of the military openly acknowledges the use of elite commando units, trained for the most rigorous battle scenarios and to withstand the most extreme forms of torture.  However, amateur videos have been popping up across the Middle Eastern theater, from Baghdad to Kabul, of individuals bearing no country’s colors, taking out insurgent bases and enemy combatants, displaying feats seemingly impossible for the average human.  Though it is difficult to ascertain the veracity of many of these videos, the powers displayed range from super-strength to flight to telekinesis.

If the U.S. government has indeed begun utilizing super-powered military mercenaries, then they have a lot of explaining to do.  If the military is conducting this program unbeknownst to our government, then we have a great deal of praying to do.  But even looking past the problems associated with sending human weapons of mass destruction into enemy territory in the name of Uncle Sam, let’s stop and look at the toll this takes on our own men and women in the service.

Many of our rank and file soldiers join the military because they have few other options.  Beyond simply serving their country, joining the Army, Navy, Marines, or Air Force affords these young men and women a chance to earn a paycheck and make a life for themselves.  But if the human bunker busters prove to be far more efficient (not to mention more cost effective) than a full-fledged standing army, then how many men and women will lose their jobs as the need for soldiers shrinks?

Even more alarming is what becomes of the bunker busters once their time in the service has passed.  As it stands, our men and women in uniform face immeasurable challenges upon their reintegration into society.  Anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, a lack of medical and psychological support; the life of a returning soldier is something most of us cannot even imagine.  Now imagine how much harder this kind of reintegration would be for a highly trained bunker buster.

Best case scenario, if the bunker busters are merely exquisitely trained men with no more powers than you or I, then upon their return home they will have to deal with the carefully-cultivated aggression, paranoia, and distrust that would have served them so well acting as lone warriors operating alone in the dark deep in enemy territory.  And that’s one hell of a best case.

If these bunker busters do have superhuman powers, what happens when they attempt to reintegrate into a powerless society?  What happens when the brutally potent powers that they displayed unchecked in wartime conditions inevitably spill over into their civilian lives.  What happens when a bunker buster is not provided the psychological support he or she needs to keep from falling into the depths of mental disorder?  And what happens when one of them finally decides that it is time to take matters into their own hands, all alone, just like they were trained?  If you ask me, the bunker buster program is nothing but a vigilante training ground.

Will the use of bunker busters to maintain the fragile peace in Iraq help save the lives of our military personnel over there?  Absolutely.  But in the long run, their very existence may cost more American lives than it saves.


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