This article in "Tom Dispatch" will give you just the slightest taste of what's going on with our special operations forces. And I can tell you, although you might be shocked by its revelations, the truth of matter is far worse. It's SOF's business to be secretive, and if they are being queried about what they do, they will not tell the truth. Period. So you can take the numbers in this piece with a grain of salt. They are higher. I was in SOCOM after 9/11. I witnessed the vast infusion of money and troops that followed. And I felt the surge of excitement and blood-lust through the place when all of a sudden a numerous, cunning, omnipresent, always-dangerous and ruthless enemy--Muslim terrorists--was out there to stalk and kill for the foreseeable future. The so-called "war on terror" was the best thing since flush toilets as far as SOCOM was concerned. I thought it was ludicrous, but mine was a distinctly minority opinion.
I worked for these people, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) with its thousands of special operations forces (SOF). For a long time, 13 years. Talk about a square peg in a round hole! That's what I was. For deep down, way deep--because to be open about what I really thought would have been insane, under the circumstances--I really despised what was going on around me there, and the tiny part I played in advancing the mission of the organization. Although I take great pains and am prompt to declare that the individuals I met and worked with were for the most part upstanding, outstanding, honorable, dedicated people. And they were smart people, too. SOF is the cream of the crop. But I thought they were in the grip of mass delusion. But for very few I met there, they were all flaming flag-waving "patriots," which is to say they didn't question the foreign policy of the country, they didn't question any of the missions they were given, or the cost of what they were doing, or the secrecy in which everything was cloaked, the blood-curdling mystique which they embraced. They were (naturally) knee-jerk Republicans of the most conservative kind. Me, with my shaggy hair, decidedly un-SOF-like physique, and Democratic politics . . . well, I was looked upon as some sort of curio. I thought of myself as a token liberal that was allowed to inhabit their headquarters dwelling, sort of like you allow stray dog or cat to hang around. I was not sorry to leave there. I don't miss it.