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« Hunter S. Thompson Is Dead & Gone | Main | ABC's Nightline Pays Some Respect To Bloggers »

March 06, 2005

Comments

Susan

Your wrote:

"Put me in that position and I would open fire on anything that came within a few hundred yards of me. I would take no risk on my safety, or that of my friends. Eat lead and die you scumbags would be my motto. Fear would practically replace any philosophy that drives me now. Raw fear could make me do almost anything, right or wrong."

And you wrote:

"Liberals will now paint the American troops as bloodthirsty devils,"


So, you are a dreaded Liberal?

Susan

"I wonder what Eason Jordan would say about all of this."


Well, we will never know because somebody shut him up, didn't they? I'm sure Jordan got the last laugh though.... a retirement with mega bucks!


Susan

By the way, I do not agree with you that our troops are "blood-thirsty devils".

But then, I'm not a liberal. I'm a progressive. I know the Bush administration is responsible for this war, and they are responsible for each and every death from this war. They are the blood-thirsty devils.

Seems like you would be quite the blood-thirsty devil yourself, if you weren't a keyboard warrior... well, wait, maybe you are.....

nah, just lacking in basic decency is my quess.

Off the Record

I think it's safe to assume from the duration and frequency of Susan's responses that she can't hold a thought for more than 30 seconds.

Off the Record

"I wonder what Eason Jordan would say about all of this."


Well, we will never know because somebody shut him up, didn't they? I'm sure Jordan got the last laugh though.... a retirement with mega bucks!

-------------------------------------------------

This was meant to be a rhetorical question SusieQ. In reality, no one gives a fuck what Eason Jordan thinks. As for his "mega bucks", what a capitalist you turned out to be.

Off the Record

And one more thing...oh never mind.

Jacob

I love that conservatives have moved from fearmongering to fear justification. You ask how anyone in such a position would manage to not shoot everything? The first answer to your question is that the soldiers have received battlefield training and it is incumbent upon any soldier authorized to use lethal force that he or she show extreme discretion in the application of that force. If we are not training our soldiers to handle that situation then we have one of two options. Either we should better fund the basic training, instead of spending all of our money on new toys with bigger booms. Alternately we should check the training levels of our forces before deploying them into the current nightmare scenario. For good measure we should also spend a little money doing exploratory research to find out if we will spark an insurgency when we bomb another country into the Stone Age. If the first is not an option, then perhaps we should not engage in wars until we can ensure our soldiers will not kill innocent civilians that have just recently been liberated.

You also say:
"This indicates that you mean to do no harm. If you come charging in, those in the tent may open fire on you - you are the Enemy. This is a Law of the Desert, and a tested Law of Survival. From this mindset, is there a guilty party here?"

The answer to your question (and I don't particularly care if it is rhetorical or not) is yes. There is a guilty party. Unfortunately for those who wish to justify this crime, we live in a society of laws. That society of laws has extended to international rules of engagement and international considerations. When you give your coordinates to Americans bombing a town, you expect to not be killed. When an officer of another army is at the airport to greet a released prisoner and the country of that prisoner has warned the other army that civilians are approaching, then you do not expect to be shot. The soldiers who attacked this woman are to be held accountable for that. And the culture that has led to the death of an unbelievable number of journalists (not the mention the easily interpreted warnings by the Pentagon that non-embeds are endangering themselves by not submitting to American protection and bias) is at fault. Perhaps they were not targeting the woman. But perhaps they were. Either way we need to find out the truth without adulteration from keyboard warriors such as yourself.

Furthermore, why is it that the laws of the desert protect and justify American soldiers, but are completely unapplied to insurgents and the people of Iraq? Imagine if instead of a single vehicle coming toward a checkpoint, it were a large portion of America's force. Would they not be wise to fire at it? Imagine if instead of coming to a Bedouin's tent on a camel, you showed up with an ideology completely antithetical to that Bedouin's ideology? And then you tore down his tent, took his valuables and left him under the ministrations of your lackeys. Were the Iraqis not justified in living under the Laws of the Desert when they formed resistance? If you answer that they were not, then why are our soldiers?

The simple truth of the matter is that something rotten has taken root in Iraq. Fortunately, the rottenness is not the Iraqi determination to be a self-governed people. Of course the question of what creed will govern them will more than likely to be a question whose answer is written in blood. The smell of rot, however, is eminating from those that are milking the nation and the American taxpayer for millions, if not billions of dollars. These are the people who have referred to the media as the "fourth front" in referrence to the Fourth Estate. These are the people who have allowed cronyism to be the only requisite for management of an entire country. These are the people who have told journalists that if they do not embed themselves within the military, then they are placing themselves in danger. We should be careful that the nascent democracy in Iraq doesn't model itself too closely after its "liberator". Otherwise we may have to invade again in 10 years.

And just for further thought- imagine the following: if a Democrat were in the Oval Office currently, would you be as forgiving of this incident? I believe you know it is a lie if you answer that question affirmatively.

Rumpuscat

"Is there a guilty party here?" In Bedouin's tent perhaps not, if for no other reason than we have no information about it. The application of Bedouin's Laws of the Desert to the troops in Iraq is at best a non sequitur, and at worst a deliberate machination. It implies that the war, the insurgents, the soldiers--the entire situation--sprung from the ground fully-formed. That no one started it, and that these people have found themselves mired in an endless war via slight of hand.

That's obviously not the case. There were decision-makers that took us into this war, who provided--or didn't--for troop training, who failed to understand how the Iraqi people might react or how to manage an occupied and hostile country. This war had planners and salespeople. It was their short-sightedness, ill-intention, poor planning, greed, hubris, or a combination that created this situation.

It could well be that this shooting was the result of poor communication between the Italians and the Americans, or a failure in the chain-of-command that lead down to the troops that fired on the car, or poor decisions made by the driver of the car. That does not mean there is no guilty party, Law of the Desert or no.

Susan

Apparently, this didn't happen at a "checkpoint" at all.

And this type of random killing of innocents is happening day in and day out to the Iraqi people. It is sickening. The Bush administration is bringing these people the freedom of the grave and the democracy of death.

The Iraqis did not petition the US and ask to be "freed".

God help the Iraqi people.

Off the Record

Can all of you white American liberals stop speaking on behalf of the "Iraqi people" (a British construct that lumps at least three major world civilizations into one non-cohesive artificiality). It's condescending and racist. You don't know anything about the "Iraqi people", or how "they" think or feel about this war, and it is highly patronizing and presumptuous of you to insert "them" into your simplistic and provincial agendas. I'm sure that the Shia, Kurd, and Sunni peoples are quite capable of thinking and speaking for themselves, without your assistance. The world is a very complicated place, and it takes a lot more than your subconscious intellectual colonialism to fully grasp it's intricacies.

P.S. I can't think of anything more insulting and demeaning to the "Iraqi people" than praying for them. It's bad enough that you're imposing your bogus liberal politics on these people, but now you have the audacity to burden them with your religious baggage as well. Sad.

rony

Jacob asks "Were the Iraqis not justified in living under the Laws of the Desert when they formed resistance? If you answer that they were not, then why are our soldiers?"

This is a great question, and I think one of the root issues. The U.S. is exporting "democracy" at gunpoint to Iraq, and what does that mean? The first step (invading Iraq) was not a democractic expression of freedom or surge for liberation (like the U.S. in 1776) by the Iraqis. The U.S. wants Iraq to have a democractic outlook out of American interests. This model, smash a country into democracy, in some sense, did work in Germany and Japan, where the Allies in WWII destroyed all resistance and broke the back of fascism. The U.S. and its Allies did not care about the aspirations of the Germans or the Japanese - it wanted to bomb those aspirations away and killed millions in doing so. In retrospect, that philosophy did seem to work. Bush has a similar mindset in Iraq.

The idea of the Laws of the Desert is to indicate that over there, in Iraq and in the Middle East, the systems, the mindset, and the culture are unique and distinct from the U.S. and the Western world. Can they really be forced into a Western mold?

If American troops sometimes shoot out of fear, out of a primal need to survive and return home, what can one say about a native Iraqi who reacts the same way? What would we do if our hometown was invaded? Would you feel liberated or attacked?

I place a lot of weight on individual responsibility, but I believe that a massive burden lies on the U.S. leadership, especially Bush.

Can any leader sleep easy at night in a comfortable bed knowing that you have placed young people in harm's way, and caused the death of many on all sides?

There are many ways to justify why the U.S. is in Iraq, but here is a test: can one really sleep at night on the soft pillow of a clear conscience? Does Bush?

War is hell, war is messy, but does it mean that anything goes? At the end of the day, if democracy, in some form, does take root in Iraq, does that wash away what has happened?

Does the old WWII model of destroying a country, killing many, and then molding them into a friendly economic trading partner - does this work, or should it have a place in the 21st century? Is there a better way, and what is it?


-R


Off the Record

"The U.S. is exporting "democracy" at gunpoint to Iraq, and what does that mean?"

It doesn't mean anything. You just like hearing yourself say it.

"(invading Iraq) was not a democratic expression of freedom or surge for liberation (like the U.S. in 1776)"

You think that not wanting to pay taxes on tea and stamps was a "surge for liberation"?

"The U.S. wants Iraq to have a democratic outlook out of American interests."

It either that or the wacky idea that all people should be free.

"The U.S. and its Allies did not care about the aspirations of the Germans or the Japanese"

By this of course you mean the extermination of the Jewish people, the rape of Nanking, the enslavement of Korea, the invasion of Poland, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and other such lofty goals. Yeah, you're right the U.S. really should have been more considerate of German and Japanese feelings regarding these sensitive "cultural issues".

"it wanted to bomb those aspirations away and killed millions in doing so."

Your numbers are provably false.

"over there, in Iraq and in the Middle East, the systems, the mindset, and the culture are unique and distinct from the U.S. and the Western world"

Spoken like a true racist. Last time I checked human beings are human beings, but I guess the "Iraqis" are a special freedom shunning breed that only you seem to understand.

"what can one say about a native Iraqi who reacts the same way? What would we do if our hometown was invaded? Would you feel liberated or attacked?"

Well you can't say anything about it convincingly. You aren't an "Iraqi". I doubt that you know any "Iraqis". You haven't surveyed or quoted any "Iraqis", and I haven't read a single comment that suggests that you or any of your fellow lefties has seriously researched or understands the subject of Iraq and it's peoples. I challenge you Rony, Susan, and Jacob, to stop talking out your respective asses and start making thoughtful comments about the Kurds of Mosul, the Shia of Najaf, the Sunni of Baghdad, otherwise I'll just assume that "Iraqi" is your white racist term for the "noble savages" of Greater Arabia. Berbers are not Bedouins. Bedouins are not Kurds. Kurds are not Hashemites. Hashemites are not Syrians. Syrians are not Saudis. Saudis are not Persians. Persians are not Arab Shia, and "Iraq" is a series of lines that a British diplomat drew on a map at the Versailles Conference. Until you start discussing these various peoples and cultures seriously and discerningly your comments will have no absolutely no credibility in my eyes.

"Does the old WWII model of destroying a country, killing many, and then molding them into a friendly economic trading partner - does this work, or should it have a place in the 21st century?"

This is the most cynical and pathetic thing I have ever read. You can be anti-war without being an asshole, but this totally crossed the line.

Ten years from now when Iraq is celebrating it's annual Independence Day, I wonder what historians will make of your comments. Hopefully they'll forgive their myopic stupidity, and write them off as typical melodramatic early 21st century leftist groupthink.

I have found your opinions of late to be very naive, uninformed, and ideologically slanted. What happened to your independent streak?


Susan


"For a soldier on the ground I can not believe that it ever really is about politics - it is about what is happening at that moment, who is coming at me now, and what I must do next. There is You, and there is the Other. If the Other is no Friend, shoot."

So how on earth can a soldier have this approach and expect to see the occupied country end up wanting the system of government that the occupying soldier's country proposes?

I really think our military is better trained than this. At least most of them.


Susan

"P.S. I can't think of anything more insulting and demeaning to the "Iraqi people" than praying for them. It's bad enough that you're imposing your bogus liberal politics on these people, but now you have the audacity to burden them with your religious baggage as well. Sad."

Funny thing, my Iraqi friends have asked me to pray for them. I guess I should spend my time praying that Americans are less stupid someday.

I am not a liberal. Today's American liberals are wanta-be conservatives, and the conservatives are total idiots. I am a progressive. As a progressive, I think the Iraqi people should decide what form of politics they want for themselves, and no one should impose any political decisions on them.


"Can all of you white American liberals stop speaking on behalf of the "Iraqi people" (a British construct that lumps at least three major world civilizations into one non-cohesive artificiality)."

Here's some information for you: Shias and Sunnis are often within the same family or same tribe. So calling them seperate "world civilizations" would be similar to calling American Catholics and American Baptists seperate "world civilizations".

Jacob

"I wonder now if American troops in Iraq, as they adapt to the Iraqi desert environment with all of its dangers, have learned, directly or through experience, the Bedouin Laws of Survival In The Desert. Morally neutral (from a Western perspective), primitive in their directness aimed at enhancing one's survival, these Laws live comfortably in the fog." - from the original post.

I find it rather interesting that a fellow that would characterize Iraq as this land of primitive, "morally neutral (from a Western perspective)" people who ride a camel up to neighboring tents would have the audacity to level the charge of racism against anyone.

"P.S. I can't think of anything more insulting and demeaning to the "Iraqi people" than praying for them. It's bad enough that you're imposing your bogus liberal politics on these people, but now you have the audacity to burden them with your religious baggage as well. Sad." -- from original post


And why is it demeaning for me and my fellow to pray for the Iraqi people? I ask God for peace to all people every night. Hundreds of thousands of Christians do the same thing every night. Is my prayer demeaning because it is not Christian? Or because I don't ask my God to impose his religion upon the people of the country? You be the judge. And please, while doing so, try to live up to your own rhetoric. :)

rony

Jacob -

A correction. I do not believe that I ever charged anyone with racism. I'm not racist, and believe that it is wrong to be a racist.

I think an anonymous reader/poster thinks I'm racist because I expressed the idea that there are cultures unique and distinct from the Western world. Having a different culture seems to be ok to me, and not a racial thing.

-R

Off the Record

Jacob, I think you’re a little mixed up. In your last comment, your first quote was from Rony’s original post, and, I agree, it's derogatory and racist. The second quote that appeared in your last comment was from my post, and I think you misunderstood that as well. The point that I was making is this, it’s very impolite to stick your religion in other peoples faces. I’m sure that Muslims like hearing Christian prayers about as much as Jews like hearing “Jesus loves you”. As for me, I'm an atheist, not a Christian, and it saddens me think that so many people still cling to the superstitions of the past.

Off the Record

Susan, I think you’re confusing religion and ethnicity. The three world civilizations that I was referring to were :

1. The Arabic tribes of Southeastern Iraq that were historically and culturally influenced by the Persians/Iranians. They are members of the Shiite sect, and are often simply referred to as “the Shiites”, but this is about as imprecise as referring to the Irish Catholics of Boston as “the Catholics”.
2. The Kurds of Northern Iraq, an autonomous people that are ethnically related to the Persians, most of which are Sunni Muslims.
3. The Arabs of Western Iraq, that are historically and culturally related to the Jordanians, and their Hashemite monarchy, though the Iraqi Hashemite monarchy is long since gone. They are members of the Sunni sect, and are usually referred to as “the Sunnis”, but once again this religious label doesn’t make much sense given the fact that the Kurds are also Sunnis, as are the Jordanians, the Turks, etc..

It’s not the Sunni and Shiite labels that demarcate these three different ethnic groups, it’s their regional histories, in much the same way that Northern Ireland isn’t divided between Catholics and Protestants, it’s divided between Irish Catholics and English Protestants.

As for the semantical difference between “liberal” and “progressive”, two things should be noted :

1. Technically the Progressive Party was founded by Theodore Roosevelt in the early part of the 20th Century. To avoid confusion I’d pick a different name for your splinter group.
2. If I may paraphrase Shakespeare, “a trash can by any other name..”

Dawn

The ever-changing story of Guiliana Sgrena does impact her credibility in a negative way.

airraid81

First off, the US only shot at those bitches because they were heading toward a checkpoint, and they wouldn't stop even with US warnings. That could have easily been a suicide bomber.

Secondly, the US did not enforce democracy on the Iraqis without their consent. The Iraqis embraced democracy just like anyone would. There's a reason why over 60% turned out at the polls even with terrorist threats. The US doesn't get that much without violence. There is nothing wrong with taking out an opresive dictator who raped and killed his own people and replacing him with democracy.

Finally, there haven't been many deaths. Less than 2000. This is a war people! Of course there are going to be some deaths! There are less deaths on average each month than the amount of murders per month in Detroit.

If you disagree, (Well, then you must be pretty fucked up.) send your hatemail to airraid706@yahoo.com or airraid81@fantasyoutlaws.zzn.com

Check out http://websitex.tk for more of my views.

Damien Hansen-Devaux

Hello from the frog-eaters country (coming in peace, please don't shoot...)

A little complement about the "military natural tendency to shoot anything that moves" thing.

My wife once taught english to some french soldiers, here in Lyon, France. That was during the Abou Graïb affair, and when things went mad in Ivory Coast (10 to 50 civilians killed by franch army). So the conversation went on these subjects, and here's a report of what they said:

Even for experimented soldiers (Kosovo, ex-Yougoslavia, Rwanda), these kind of events are impossible to avoid. Imagine the stress of being in a dismentled country, surrounded by people who hate what you represent, and that you know that some of the people with you have been killed by them. Now, imagine that you are the one who have a gun. There's one chance out of two that you will use it, not because you think it's right, but because you are scared. You might even be violent against prisonners for the same reasons.

That's exactly why it is important to avoid wars (remember : it's soldiers who say this!). Because clean, "chirurgical" war does not exist. There will always be "collateral damages". Bombs sometimes miss their targets, and soldiers sometimes miss their minds... And no training can prepare you to it.

In these soldier's opinion, this war in Iraq should have been back by as many countries as possible (they were clearly against Chirac on this point), in order to prevent too many young unexperimented people in the troops, and also to provide a multilateral chain of command (ok, they were kind of dreamy people...). Because, with all the respect due to the US army, sending troops directly from high school to battlefield, it susks, doesn't it ? And telling them that bombs are intelligent (I heard that 42 bombs missed their target the first day of war, in Bagdad) is not the kind of usefull lie to tell people who will soon have to manage a hard conflict with locals...

So this kind of incident is not surprising at all. I'm a little upset by the "blood - thirsty americans" stuff : they are just teenagers (in my opinion, we remain teenagers until 25) in a big video game where they could risk their lifes!

And that's one of the reasons it might be important to send them back home. If you allow me a little joe, I would like to avoid 20 years of "Vietnam syndroma" movies...

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