I think there is a problem with defending any act as based purely in loyalty. I do understand that there are 'good' things being done in Iraq, and that killing is not the primary ojective. (Although I must admit I think it's a cop out to talk about building schools when you just got through blowing them up.) However, your loyalty to an ideal is being demonstrated by perpetrating the opposite on a whole nation. Freedom includes the right to be tyrranized. Most people here in the US exercise that right on a daily basis through their consumption of propaganda, consumerism, and impossible sick dreams. Just because someone gives you an order doesn't mean you have to take it. Your decisions are always your own, regardless of their consequences, and so regardless of your loyalty, I still think you are complicit. I don't want you to have to be there, and I definitely do not ascribe the same level of responsibility to anyone in your position, but I still believe you are making a choice. You have decided to be on the payroll of a corporate military, and that was your choice, that was your freedom, but I don't know how well you count it since you have signed it over to another person.
I am glad for my freedom, but I also understand one thing—it's not just a political thing. So, when a foreign political/military force comes tromping through my hometown claiming the Bush regime is tyrranical, do you think whether I agree with them is going to matter to me? I believe my right to exercise my own decision making as to how I respond to my political situation is just as important. Having an outside force do it for me is insulting and frightening. I would rather die in a terrorist camp in my own country, perpetrated upon me by my own people than have someone else come in with their on the sly financial goals to attempt to give me my freedom, while they steal from my brother and call me an insurgent for wanting my country back.
I grant you that my statement about soldiers was a generalization, an overreaction to a very disturbing occurance. I do not think there is a lack of humanity amongst you, and I think most of you have very good intentions. However, at the moment you are as tyrranized as the people you are oppressing, and I believe there needs to be a rebuilding of ideals and a takedown of beuracracy if you are to be able to do what you really signed on for. You are acting as a tool, and I would like to see you acting on your own free will, and not at the behest of a play for power and money, which I think is disgusting and sick.
What would happen if soldiers voted on a plan of action instead of taking orders? I admit, it would be chaotic, and there would probably be contingencies of those who would just start blowing stuff up and killing people. Others would probably turn to aiding the people around them, building civic structures, aiding the sick, etc. But, if your goals are altruistic, why not join another group, with more attuned goals? Why support the military complex instead of aid groups? Is it the pay?
Regarding home, I think that is one of the worst thing about this whole situation. We have all our organized support forces somewhere else. Instead of being ready for an actual emergency, you are all off creating an emergency in another land. What if military personnel were here in the US commandeering food crops that were about to be burned to maintain wheat prices? Perhaps you could be teaching people to read or mentoring children who need just a little more support. And, while it may be true that there is need for that kind of support in Iraq, and that wishing for perfection at home doesn't mean we are in the most dire need of it, it still should be considered. Who are you taking your orders from, and why? Are they leading you down the road you want to follow, and if not, perhaps you should do a little trailblazing...
I must be off now, but I'd be glad to hear your thoughts/response further.