Posted by: Lister | March 21, 2009

1 shot 2 kills

This is from Haaretz, a respected Israeli newspaper. Even so, it’s tough to believe.

Ishot2kills
A T-shirt printed at the request of an IDF soldier in the sniper unit reading ‘I shot two kills.’

 

From the article:

Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children’s graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques – these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty.

[…] In many cases, the content is submitted for approval to one of the unit’s commanders. The latter, however, do not always have control over what gets printed, because the artwork is a private initiative of soldiers that they never hear about. Drawings or slogans previously banned in certain units have been approved for distribution elsewhere. For example, shirts declaring, “We won’t chill ’til we confirm the kill” were banned in the past (the IDF claims that the practice doesn’t exist), yet the Haruv battalion printed some last year.

The slogan “Let every Arab mother know that her son’s fate is in my hands!” had previously been banned for use on another infantry unit’s shirt. A Givati soldier said this week, however, that at the end of last year, his platoon printed up dozens of shirts, fleece jackets and pants bearing this slogan.

“It has a drawing depicting a soldier as the Angel of Death, next to a gun and an Arab town,” he explains. “The text was very powerful. The funniest part was that when our soldier came to get the shirts, the man who printed them was an Arab, and the soldier felt so bad that he told the girl at the counter to bring them to him.”

[…] G., a soldier in an elite unit who has done a snipers course, explained that, “it’s a type of bonding process, and also it’s well known that anyone who is a sniper is messed up in the head. Our shirts have a lot of double entendres, for example: ‘Bad people with good aims.’ Every group that finishes a course puts out stuff like that.”

[…] Of the shirt depicting a bull’s-eye on a pregnant woman, he said: “There are people who think it’s not right, and I think so as well, but it doesn’t really mean anything. I mean it’s not like someone is gonna go and shoot a pregnant woman.”

[…] A shirt printed after Operation Cast Lead in Gaza for Battalion 890 of the Paratroops depicts a King Kong-like soldier in a city under attack. The slogan is unambiguous: “If you believe it can be fixed, then believe it can be destroyed!”

[…] “Before I drew the shirt I had some misgivings, because I wanted it to be like King Kong, but not too monstrous. The one holding the mosque – I wanted him to have a more normal-looking face, so it wouldn’t look like an anti-Semitic cartoon. Some of the people who saw it told me, ‘Is that what you’ve got to show for the IDF? That it destroys homes?’ I can understand people who look at this from outside and see it that way, but I was in Gaza and they kept emphasizing that the object of the operation was to wreak destruction on the infrastructure, so that the price the Palestinians and the leadership pay will make them realize that it isn’t worth it for them to go on shooting. So that’s the idea of ‘we’re coming to destroy’ in the drawing.”
[…] The IDF Spokesman’s Office comments on the phenomenon: “Military regulations do not apply to civilian clothing, including shirts produced at the end of basic training and various courses. The designs are printed at the soldiers’ private initiative, and on civilian shirts. The examples raised by Haaretz are not in keeping with the values of the IDF spirit, not representative of IDF life, and are in poor taste. Humor of this kind deserves every condemnation and excoriation. The IDF intends to take action for the immediate eradication of this phenomenon. To this end, it is emphasizing to commanding officers that it is appropriate, among other things, to take discretionary and disciplinary measures against those involved in acts of this sort.”

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Responses

  1. Reuters:

    Israel’s military said on Wednesday it had banned soldiers from making and wearing t-shirts encouraging violence against Palestinians.

    […] A spokesman for the military called the shirts “simply tasteless”, and said the armed forces’ chief educational officer had instructed commanders to ensure soldiers did not create or wear the items and to discipline those who disobeyed.

  2. Haaretz:

    Commenting on the inquiry at the time, the IDF spokesperson’s office said that “military orders do not refer to civilian clothing, including shirts printed at the end of various training courses. The shirts are printed at the personal initiative of the soldiers, and are not army property,” the statement read.

    However, Shermeister’s letter, titled “The boundaries of humor,” appears to indicate that the chief education officer disagrees. “Some would say the printing of the shirts is a local matter, done at the personal initiative and often at the private expense of the soldiers with the aim of bonding through humor,” he writes. “[However,] printing shirts for IDF soldiers, even if not initiated by the commander, is not a private action. It is an action carried out in the context of military service and should match the values of the IDF.”

    […] “We do not teach hatred for our enemy, and we must not mock or belittle the lives of a pregnant woman or a small child,” Shermeister said.


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