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A Look Into the Mind of One Soldier

chicago dyke's picture

I occasionally read military bloggers, and I just noticed one that a troll left over at the Crack Den. Silly person that I am, I invited the author to come by and chat with us. I think a review of his blog is worthwhile, because it reminds us that not everyone in the military is tired of shedding Iraqi and American blood in Chimpy's desert adventure. The Marching Camp. Here's a sample:

The Palestinians are savages. They are incapable of self-government because their entire culture is diseased. If the Palestinians ever achieve anything of value, it will be because the terrorist organizations that the Arab dictatorships set up and the World accepted as their "spokesmen" and "leaders" are finally crushed. Personally, I hope that the Palestinians continue to burn, blow up, shoot, and hurl each other off buildings until there is nothing left.

I don't want to say that this makes me despair, but it does come close. My understanding is that the war has slowly and surely ruined our military in many ways, and peopling it with those who endorse genocide is merely one. I'm really struggling to understand how such a person could be reached, and if it is in fact even possible.

Cynically, I believe that many of this stripe in the military have come to understand that unstinting loyalty to the Bush party means a lifetime of wingnut welfare after service, and this is the reason they continue to serve willingly and happily in what is an obvious military disaster. We'll see if Decurion is brave enough to come by here and explain to me if I'm wrong.

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leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

Can't tell about this guy; he may have that wingnut welfare gleam in his eye.

But I don't think the majority of the serving military have these right-wing tailored extreme views.

Yes, I think that probably a majority of them, not a large majority do support the mission, and fear an ending that feels like defeat to them. That's depressing enough for me.

Take a look at this piece by Spencer Ackerman; I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on it.

How interestingly different in tone is this one from the comment you left on my blog. . .

First, you have to understand one thing. I don't advocate genocide. The Palestinians seems bent on doing it to themselves. I simply suggest that we, what's the Progressive buzzphrase? Respect their unique and valuable culture and let them kill each other off.

Second, do actually try reading a selection of my posts, rather than cherry-picking.

If you genuinely wish to know why I am committed to winning in Iraq, please try the following posts:

http://castrorum.blogspot.com/2007/07/wh...
http://castrorum.blogspot.com/2007/05/di...
http://castrorum.blogspot.com/2007/05/is...
http://castrorum.blogspot.com/2007/05/ne...
http://castrorum.blogspot.com/2007/04/ir...
http://castrorum.blogspot.com/2007/03/un...
http://castrorum.blogspot.com/2007/03/im...
http://castrorum.blogspot.com/2007/02/li...
http://castrorum.blogspot.com/2007/01/mo...
http://castrorum.blogspot.com/2007/01/li...
http://castrorum.blogspot.com/2007/01/du...

Third, I joined the Army during the Clinton era.

Fourth, military pensions have little or nothing to do with which political party is in power. They date back to the first years of American history, and are highly unlikely to be substantially messed with regardless of what loon gets elected. Among other reasons, at least a few people in Congress still have enough historical acumen to realize why the Republic became the Principate. I leave that as an exercise for the reader.

All you need do is check his facts to see if his point is unpleasant, but valid.

Ya see... Decurion and others like him (myself included) deal in cold hard facts. Not wishful thinking or emotional hand wringing.

BTW, Decurion certainly has unstinting loyalty to some things. Perhaps he will delineate them for you, but I doubt you'll find Bush or any political party listed by name.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I'd like that seven minutes I spent over at The Marching Camp back, please.

Ruth's picture
Submitted by Ruth on

So please, understand that those who have been brutalized are going to be here, needing lots of help. They are victims, too.

A former soldier from Vietnam wanders around the streets here, with that distress syndrome, he was a classmate of mine in the fifth grade. so many are never going to be the same again. We need to give them sympathy, and we need to help them get out.
Ruth

scarshapedstar's picture
Submitted by scarshapedstar on

Ya see… Decurion and others like him (myself included) deal in cold hard facts. Not wishful thinking or emotional hand wringing.

Thank God for steely-eyed Objectivist rocket-men. They tell us the truth: everyone living in Palestine, even the youngest child, is a bloodthirsty killer / beast-thing (it's genetic, y'see) and to kill them is to do their mothers and the world a favor. We're just to sissified to handle it.

But I still believe
And I will rise up with fists!!

It's handy to put words in other's mouths and ignore what was actually said. Mental masturbation at it's best.

Oh well, it was worth a shot (no pun intended) to see if dialog was possible.

Moving on. BTW, read some history, and not the Wikipedia version.

They tell us the truth: everyone living in Palestine, even the youngest child, is a bloodthirsty killer / beast-thing (it’s genetic, y’see) and to kill them is to do their mothers and the world a favor. We’re just to sissified to handle it.

What exactly do you think that Farfour the Mouse is teaching? It's not their 'ta, za, ayns'.

From where I sit, Palestine has the following problems:

1. The people are stuck in the chieftain/vassal mindset of governance. They will NEVER get out of their problems while they stick with this sense of following. Arafat's compound, the rampant corruption of PA figures making money off their own people's plight and in fact in power because there is a running conflict. There was no benefit for Arafat to bury the hatchet entirely. He had everything to loose by having the conflict end and palestine to actually start running a normal democratic government.

2. As long as they endorse groups like Hamas they will have problems as a people. To use a very good benchmark for history, Germany and Germans elected their leader. He got 7.5 Million of them killed for his policies. They chose their leader, they lost in the end. They made a fateful choice early on in the 30s. Hamas has similar colors for the

3. As long as they continually do things like try to blow up Israelis and pronounce death to israel as their overriding goal, they'll never find peace. Teaching their children, that the best thing they can do is to die as a martyr while killing jews [and christians], then your statement is in fact TRUE. Our grandparents weren't afraid to kill legions of 'children' in Germany or in Japan.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Er...I hate to break this news to you, but Decurion is a lot more tolerant and patient now than he was before he served two combat tours in Iraq. If he says the Palestinian culture is beyond repair, you could perhaps entertain the remote possibility that he might be right. Or he could be wrong--if you have evidence to the contrary, haul it out and let's see it. Palestine is admittedly not an area that I'm greatly interested in, so I could well have missed something. I'd have said that if a culture indoctrinates their grade school kids to commit suicidal terrorism against a peaceful neighbor, that culture doesn't have much to recommend it.

I don't want the Palestinians to exterminate themselves, but it's not obvious how they're going to avoid it except by radically changing their culture. At this point, it seems likely that they're going to change their culture by the rather drastic method of "those who are willing to fight, kill each other; those who aren't willing, emigrate or die."

As a point of clarification: please don't call the Iraq adventure a "military disaster", as doing so simply undermines your credibililty. Well, more accurately, it undermines your credibiility with people who know something about warfare. I can't think of a non-snarky way to say "it may increase your credibility among those who would rather see their faction win even if that means the country as a whole loses".

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

Fat lot of good real manliness will do when the real hunter seeker androids start being mass produced and introduced into the War on Terra by all the industrial powers in about 15 years or so.

Machines fighting war for fuel for the machines. Coming soon to a Future Combat theater near you. I'll let the tough guys show their macho to a 'borg with microwave weapon set on "nacho".

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I guess the message is that because of what the Palastine people have faced, they have become worthless unchangable human beings, forever to breed true. If that is possible, lets look at what is happening in this country. We are lucky that 70% of us have taken the time to understand why we don't want to become a nations like Palastine and Iraq, but want to return to what we were before the Bush regime began corrupting our freedoms. My best friend, a military type, tried the military approach with me, he knowing so much more than I about these things. Now he no longer tries, because if he does he has to argue with reality. Now he just admits that he believes the way he does because he "trusts" George Bush. My views of him have changed; I would never have thought with his intellect he would be so influenced by partianship. But I have hope, remembering he felt the same way about Nixon long after Nixon was brought down, but eventually saw the light.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I am no kind of coward, I am jimbo.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

do come back, so we can get a taste of what the libertarian military are indoctrinating themselves on.

Perhaps it might help you understand the problem the Palestinians have to realize that the Occupied Territories are the core of the Isreali fundamentalist expansion, not the boundaries of it. Your dislike of the Middle East is something you've been conditioned into. The bell rings, and you salivate.

Muslims appear to be "exterminating themselves" because the slickest mind control experts in the world are right in the middle of it playing all sides against each other. We have a saying here: Chaos is the plan. Whoever is the last man standing gets the oil. Not you, of course. Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton. Or whoever the Carlyle Group subcontracts the Imperial State out to when the last man is standing.

Muslims fundamentalists are no better or worse than Christian or Jewish fundamentalists and no more or less bloody-handed.

Not that "they" don't hate you.

"They" being the very people who are using you to create a war for their own enrichment. They, meaning your real owners wouldn't let you or me eat at their table, or enter their mansions through the front door. Inappropriate, you know.

Land of the Brave and you're one of the Free, huh? I think you probably believe that. Your belief only confirms your conditioning. Your belief dignifies your words, but doesn't make them correct in the slightest.

Your belief, even at the price of being tired of your President, is essential for what the people who really own things have in store for the next 50 years or so as fossil fuels dwindle to nothing and energy becomes a commodity only the Right sort of people can afford to have.

Not you. Not me. Not real liberals. Not real conservatives. Only the new feudal lords of the Empire that once was a Republic.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

i am not being duplicitous, i am asking you to engage me/us. i sincerely want to have a conversation with you, so long as it is civil (and i think we can both agree on what that is.) let's agree to disagree, until we can agree, on something, if never everything.

i will come back to this, it's late and i've been out so i don't want to strain this fresh conversation with the burden of my softened mind. but i do, really and truly, thank you for being willing to take one small step towards the direction of working out these issues. you matter. i matter. our readers matter. if i can say one thing i hope you will hear, let me say this:

no one "people" is ever beyond redemption. (are you a christian? do you understand this idea?) even yours. even palestinians. you may not see it, but we are all "nothing" to those who have created these disparities between us. what matters is that we can have a free, truly free, exchange of ideas. i am giving you that chance, as much as i can, here at my blog. i'll do so at yours if you invite me. i am not afraid. and i love humanity. i hope you can say the same.

...more later. it's late, and a day at the waterpark with the nephew has left me a little tired. i hope you can forgive me for that.

Decurion's picture
Submitted by Decurion on

I do believe that for the most part, Joe Palestinian--on an individual level--has some value. But let's face it, anyone in the Gaza Strip who isn't dedicated to blowing up his neighbor is doing his level best to get the hell out of Dodge City.

Palestinians as a people/society/culture, when given unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as they demanded, proceeded to elect competing terrorist organizations into their Parliment, set up rocket launchers to shoot at Israeli towns, and now are holding a civil war. Obviously they aren't ready to govern themselves.

Part of that is the brain drain mentioned above--the best and brightest of them have, for the past two generation, come to the US or Europe to do something useful with their lives. Some of them and their descendants go to my church, and they are largely perfectly normal, reasonable people who no longer understand the mindset of the Middle East any more than I can.

Another part of it is the fact that the Palestinians were not permitted to settle into any other Arab state as anything more than refugees (unlike the Jews expelled from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq, who were integrated into Israeli society quickly). These refugee camps were maintained by the 'frontline' Arab states as manpower pools for recruitment of terrorists, and the only leadership that grew out of them were terrorists. Terrorists do not, as a rule, have the capability to provide a positive set of ideas or make constructive progress. By way of counter-example, the majority of America's founding fathers were farmers, plantation owners, merchants, lawyers, and other businessmen. Hamas, Hizbollah, and Fatah are all run by professional gunmen. You can do anything with a bayonet but sit upon it, as someone once observed.

So as I said, if the Palestinians seem determined to kill each other off, I vote we let them do it. Hopefully there will be someone left when the dust settles.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

[Note: This was written by "laserlight" but he/she forgot to close the italics tag on the quote, making everything below it, including future comments, italic. I went in to fix this but had to put my own name in as "author." No other changes were made to laserlight's post.]

Chicago Dyke said:
"no one “people” is ever beyond redemption. (are you a christian? do you understand this idea?)"

Decurion is an Orthodox Christian (and probably knows more theology than I do); I'm a Protestant. My views aren't necessarily the same as his. With that caveat in mind:
Certainly it's true that no one person is beyond redemption. But redemption, scripturally, is always described as "dying to self" and "becoming a new creature"--it's a radical, transformative change.
If we postulate that redemption also applies to nations, it follows that redemption of a nation involves a radical change in culture. So if you're saying "No one people is beyond redemption, as long as they're willing to change their culture so much that you might not recognize the new as being related to the old", then I would agree with you. If on the other hand you're thinking they can somehow be redeemed without making that radical change, then I'm afraid I have to disagree with you.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

CD said:
thank you for coming by, decurion. and friends....i am asking you to engage me/us. i sincerely want to have a conversation with you, so long as it is civil (and i think we can both agree on what that is.) let’s agree to disagree, until we can agree, on something, if never everything.

Thanks for inviting us, Chicago. The thread is veering off course (and apologies, I probably shouldn't have posted my most recent comment), so I'm bowing out. If you, CD, wish to email me on this or other topics, feel free--perhaps we'll find ourselves agreeing in places we don't expect.
regards and Godspeed,
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Laserlight

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

Third, I joined the Army during the Clinton era.

Fourth, military pensions have little or nothing to do with which political party is in power.

signing up and taking the oath: clinton days- me too. ask me about the joke i told in boot camp about the clinton, during that first week.

and: i spoke not of military pensions. i know of those, very, very well. my grandfather ran a VA enterprise of great wealth and power, and when i was a pre-teen and teen, i worked with him in it. hint: it wasn't his pension that made him a millionaire. also, what did my SS tell us, during one silly company gathering? "they are waiting for you, even if you don't get re-upped." she was speaking of: corporate jobs. high paying, politically connected, jobs and opportunities. for those of us who were rejected at the three year point. you should know what i mean, if you're the real deal.

i was in OCS at Quantico, perhaps it was different from your experience. short version: i'd be rich, powerful and perhaps even happy now, if i'd only been able to overcome the fact that my company was led by an 1) apologist for pederasts (one of the leaders of our company, proven in court by a jury of his peers, on his own daughter, four years old) and 2) too honest for my own good. don't take my word for it, take the word of the last Gunney i spoke with as a person in uniform. i was told, and i still believe, that unless i could sacrifice the values that the Corps was founded upon, i would never be a good officer. it's of note that i got kicked out, while my bunkmate, daughter of a general, white and fat and slow, probably commands a company of marines in iraq today. most likely getting them killed, while she still obliviously mainfests the definition of "unsat" and is an arrogant detail-challenged fool who couldn't keep her locker together in bootcamp let alone send out a patrol that didn't get killed by her ignorance.

you must be able to tell what choice i made, if you're truly hard core. and i am sorrowful, because i wanted so much to be like the preceeding generations in my family. how i mourn that it could not be so. because i do believe in the nobility of the soul, and i mourn its loss, even in you, decurion. truly. your service is noted, and i want you to understand: i don't think it was wasted...not at least, by you. but your leaders? come with me down the path which shows how they have not only used you, but spit on you with a contempt that would raise you to bloodlust, as it has in me.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

Decurion,
It looks like your military is very different than mine.

I post over at the same place as Chicago Dyke.

I wonder if you realize how much respect those of us -- and yes, I'm a veteran; and service is a tradition in my family, too -- have for you, and for the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guards?

It isn't that we don't want to hear what you have to say, or that we don't want you to survive your deployment, and return safe to your home, family, friends and neighbors.

We may not agree with you; but we will defend your right to speak your piece, hold your belief, stake your claim; and from the heart of the diversity that is our community, we reach one accord: we each regret the risk you must face, and we each beseech our own higher power for your safe return from this war.

You're not targets, to us -- although we may be to you. You're not ciphers, dehumanized "other", or the outright enemy. You're part of our family, one among our friends and neighbors. We know what you do, and what you put up with, for the sake of the flag you salute, the uniform you wear, and the honor with which you conduct yourself -- which brings honor to the uniform, the service, the flag, and the nation.

But we cannot let our acknowledgment of your skills, your experience, your point of view, your worth, your humanity, your soldierliness, blind us to the nature of the leadership that sends you, and so many others just like you, into harm's way and lies to you just as much as to us about why.

If you find what I have written uncivil, you are welcome to delete it. I will post this identical comment in the thread at corrente, and you can ask for its deletion there, as well.

"We are killers. But today, we choose not to kill." Capt. James T. Kirk

"No rendirse, muchachos!" William Barrett Travis, 1836

hobson's picture
Submitted by hobson on

I saw a film some years ago where a man whom I think was Israeli set up a meeting between a group of Palestian and Israeli youngsters, pre teens as I remember.

There was one kid who was like the leader of the pack in the Palestinian group. At first, he didn't like the idea. He said to one of the other boys that maybe they would meet the person who had killed his little brother while he was tending sheep. The other boy pointed out that the two boys they were supposed to meet weren't old enough to have served yet. So the first boy pointed out that maybe their father or cousin had been his brother's killer. Despite all this, the Palestinians agreed to meet the Israelis.

The Israelis were two brother's It was enormously complicated just to arrange to have them drive into the occupied territories to meet the other children. But it happened. The Palestinians took them around but told them not to speak Jewish to each other because it might be dangerous. They went back to the Palestinian house, ate, played games and seemed to be on the verge of becoming friends.

Then the guy who made the film said it was time to talk issues. They had a spirited conversation. But both sides had been surprised. The Israelis thought all Palestinians were Hamasniks. The Palestinians didn't know Israeli kids could be just like them.

The boy who had been so against meeting the Israelis became anxious to remain in contact and almost desperate to broaden their friendship. He called them on the phone a lot. But as one of the Israeli boys said, they were busy with things like football and didn't have time to pursue the relationship.

Some time later, the film maker did a followup on the kids. The Israelis had gone into the army. The Palestinians has become bitter against Israelis once again. One girl in the group had decided to become a suicide bomber.

These children were not brutes. The one boy was, as I said, almost desperate to become friends with the Israelis. If their culture distorted them, certainly their culture was distorted by 40 years of occupation and rule by another country, not a peaceful country either.

Our hostess declares she doesn't regard the 'service' of "Decurion" and others to be 'wasted.'
Mebbe, mebbe not.
I, too, am a veteran (USAF, '64-'68). I hold that all the lives so profligately spent in "my" war WERE wasted, that the 80k USer troops who died in it DID die in vain. I hold, too, that the 3500 USer troops killed (so far) in Iraq may have died in the uniform of their country, but they were killed in the interests of the oiligarchs, and pollutocrats, the fascists, and the corpoRat cabalists who cared not a whit whether they lived or died...
They did NOT perish for their 'country,' but for the vanity, greed, and power of the PNAC and a 'permanent Republican majority.'
That was NEVER worth the blood, the pain, or the life of a single citizen.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

right?" in the case of every conflict in which the US has been a part since WWII, my answer is "no. those lives were wasted, and those deaths could've been avoided." a military can do many, many things that have nothing to do with killing, believe it or not. i look to the germans since WWII for a good example (not perfect, but good).

at the same time, i feel more and more inclined towards the idea that in this country, we must have another civil war. i don't want that to happen, but as time passes and the crimes of our oligarchic masters increase in scope and in terms of how evil they are, i find "peaceful" solutions less and less likely, and effective even were they tried. i want to be wrong, for although i have not seen combat, i have experienced enough physical violence and terrorism to know the cost of such upheaval. i guess i'll have to keep thinking about solutions, and listening to all of you, even the blogger who is the subject of this post.

Oddly, I rather stronger agree. The 'cold' civil war we are engaged in maybe of sufficient concern across the spectrum to invite thoughts of moving toward violence.

The ballot box has done little to assuage the social dichotomy.

Childish pseudo-violence as practiced by Black Bloc and other anarchist groups will have to be supplanted by something more earnest.

However, there is the old 'Chinese' curse. "May you get what you wish for" to factor in.

Submitted by lambert on

is what other cultures he (?) regards as being as diseased as the Palestinian culture, and whether he anticipates using his military skills in those contexts....

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

do you prefer the term casualty, or the term loss?

Because it is unrealistic to pretend that no harm is done, and no lasting damage results, no matter how dedicated the professional soldier, when soldiers are put into harm's way.

Decurion's picture
Submitted by Decurion on

You know, I have to ask, when someone has the effrontry to lecture me on "harm" and "lasting damage" precisely how many widows and orphans she knows personally?

How many memorial services have you attended?

It is the height of arrogance and stupidity to lecture a two-time combat veteran who has also sent his wife to combat on the cost of armed conflict.

Click on the link I gave you. Read the article. Take a few minutes, and think it over, then try again.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

Widows and orphans, no. Bereaved parents and siblings, yes -- the survivors of classmates of both my sons, and parents of two brothers who died in Iraq just over a year apart -- and the second one, the Army said, was a suicide, not a "combat-related casualty". This doesn't count my neighbor who has been stationed in Guantanamo for one year and Iraq for another and has orders back to Iraq. I daily pray his wife and kids aren't turned into a widow and orphans while he's gone.

Veterans from World War II, Viet Nam, and the first Gulf War? Yes. I know them. I know their wives and children and grandchildren; some of them are my in-laws, nieces and nephews.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

no one “people” is ever beyond redemption. (are you a christian? do you understand this idea?)

Anyone *can* be redeemed. However, in order to be redeemed, you must seek redemption and turn from your former ways.

For example, people make jokes about Confession and about the absolution of sin, yet don't understand it.

If I go to my priest and confess to the sin of...adultery, and I am absolved, it is implied that I will go out and commit that sin no more and, more importantly that I am truly repentant of my sinning.

Just saying "Ooops, Father...I fell into bed with someone who isn't my husband again!" and his speaking a few words over me does NOTHING.

Redemption has be wanted by the redeemed. Until the Palestinians want that redemption (to use a very inaccurate term) we can do nothing but try and care for those who escape the madness that has plagued that people.

Decurion's picture
Submitted by Decurion on

Asked and answered. If you don't like my answer, rebut it. But asking the question over and over does nothing but annoy me.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

On 12 September 1968, my best friend from when we were five died in Vietnam. He enlisted in the face of being drafted so he could select training as a corpsman, trying to do something positive in the midst of all that meaningless horror.

On his last day he spent the afternoon humping three wounded and one dead to a medivac LZ, a hundred meters up a hill in 90 degrees and 90% humidity while under fire. Back at base later that day he keeled over, blew out an aneurism, and died. He lived and died a hero, and a victim, in a pointless, wrong and horrible war.

Sp5 Kenneth Wedman was purely professional and extraordinarily brave. He was a good and true friend, the finest man I have ever known, and forty years on I still miss him so. That he was a victim of petty political manipulation does not in any way diminish who he was, as a person or as a soldier.

Don’t know who you think you are, Decurion, but here’s a news flash: nobody appointed you captain of the thought police. You may disagree, but you don’t get to tell other people how to express themselves. Ruth is a lady and deserves to be treated as one, with respect; please in future try to comport yourself as though you were a gentleman.

Submitted by lambert on

Dictionary.com:

victim. Noun
1. a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency: a victim of an automobile accident.

Check. The language is perfectly neutral: "Victim of an IED."

2. a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency: a victim of misplaced confidence; the victim of a swindler; a victim of an optical illusion.

Check, especially "victim of a swindler." Again, the language is perfectly neutral: "The American people, and the troops, were the victims of the disinformation campaign waged by the Bush administration to bring on the Iraq War."

3. a person or animal sacrificed or regarded as sacrificed: war victims.
4.a living creature sacrificed in religious rites.

Can't speak to the last two, since I'm not religious.

And, in a system where there's civilian control of the military, and if democracy and the Constitution mean anything at all, a civilian has both the right, and the privilege to speak out with whatever words are needed to convey the idea that the administration has used, abused, and misused the (professional) military. If the connotation that offends is "victim" is "victimology," et cetera, that's not my intent, and I don't believe anyone else's.

P.S. I read the post. I see the argument you're making, and to me it looks like staying in Iraq forever. It's not worth it to stay there forever to "not lose," whatever that might mean. Humans are not always rational actors, and IIRC one place they are not rational is in refusing to cut their losses on a project when the sunk costs invested in it are significant. There's no reason for one more person to die in a war that was the wrong war to begin with, is doing the very reverse of protecting our freedoms, and is diverting our attention from the real enemies who need to be fought--and may even be making them stronger.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Decurion's picture
Submitted by Decurion on

I do get to tell people not to patronize me. It's one of the wonderful things about freedom of expression.

I get to say, "You know, that way of expressing yourself is immensely offensive and I'd be thrilled if you didn't do it."

Note that, unlike many of the leftists I've run into, I expressed myself politely. I said 'please' and referred to refraining from that particular mode of expression as a 'huge favor.' I haven't received anything close to that level of courtesy here, but I am continuing to be civil.

Your definition of hero and mine are slightly incongruent. Frankly, if you honestly believe someone is fighting for an immoral cause, you cannot in the same breath call them a hero. It just doesn't work that way. I wouldn't call a Japanese soldier on Iwo a "hero" either because of the fundamental immorality of his cause. I can respect him as a tough Soldier and tactically and technically proficient, but I cannot say "hero".

Also note that one of the problems I have with trying to paint me with the victim brush is that I chose this profession with no coercion and no possibility that I could be forced into it involuntarily. I have re-enlisted twice because I love the work. You can praise me as defender of your country or you can condemn me as a willing tool of imperialism, but you cannot pat me on the head and pretend I am either ignorant or confused and just a 'victim'.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

comforts you.

But this:
I am not saying, however, that anyone who doesn't support finishing the job in Iraq supports the terrorists. No one who was raised in America and remains mentally stable (and not a Muslim, but I repeat myself) could support folks who cut off other people's heads for kicks. The terrorists are horrible bastards, and not even Murtha and other collaborators really, deep down, think they are really cool people. doesn't augur well for your objectivity.

You think of yourself as a professional soldier.
Good for you.
You come off as a mercenary in service of prejudice.
Not so good, for anybody.

Call me arrogant if you wish. It's a pot and kettle thing.

Decurion's picture
Submitted by Decurion on

I am biased. Biased heavily. I'm rather in favor of us winning, them not winning, and America not resembling the Middle East in any way.

I don't pretend to be objective. Your grandfather probably wasn't objective about Nazis in 1943 either.

Submitted by lambert on

Surely a tragic hero is possible? A good man can, for whatever good reasons, end up fighting on the side of evil. If that were not so, civil wars would not leave such lasting wounds.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Submitted by lambert on

Is Clausewitz really the strategic thinker who is best fitted to illuminate our current situation?

Why? Are there not others?

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Decurion's picture
Submitted by Decurion on

Because I happen to know Clausewitz and like Clausewitz, and I think his observations remain true. Are you actually going to rebut my use of Clausewitz?

That's like asking why Shakespeare is still taught in high school. Yes, there have been playwrights who wrote since he did. But he did it so well that an understanding of Shakespeare is necessary to understand those who came after him.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

You can not "win" without genocide.

The game being played is combat until Cheney & Company controls all the oil. In Iraq. In Iran, if we let him. And eventually Saudi Arabia, if he can.

In fact, there's all that Russian oil and the people RedRum sfeld regarded as our inevitable enemy, China.

Hey Decurion, good luck when you "professional soldiers" have to take on half the human race. You know, the half that already has all the liens on the American financial industry. You just might find your checks start bouncing.

Woops, no problem... you'll just fight for the other side, then, right? 'Cause you're a professional.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

Submitted by lambert on

Leave aside that now we're recruiting from Saddam's Sunni base. To oversimplify, I'm sure:

I see in 2006 an article that says Anbar's not so good.

I see an article in 2007 that says Anbar's doing better because we're funding the Sunnis and giving them weapons, and that as a result the province is calm.

First, I'm radically skeptical of the second article, because the propaganda from the higherups is really getting thick these days, and Burns (along with Gordon) are part of that. Disinformation is part of war, I would think, even or perhaps especially in the heimat, as the Times ombudsman points out, ironically in the very same issue as the article you cite. So, I'm afraid that as evidence, an article from Judy Miller's former workplace can have very little weight with someone who's followed the stories.

Second, I don't see this as proof of winning by your definition of "Iraqis governing themselves." Surely it's equally possible that by backing the Sunnis, we're going to end up splitting Iraq between Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds?

Third, is there any reason to believe that this is anything more than temporary? (Bringing us back, again, to the issue of "forever." I say, "What happens when the surge rolls back? It can't continue forever, absent a draft." You say (asssuming I'm right on absent...) "It will continue until our Sunni clients have control of..." I says "And how long will that be?" And so on...

Finally, suppose for a moment that the success stories aren't planted disinformation, that the success is really due to changed tactics by our military, and that the success will be lasting (for some definition of lasting): Why did it take us so long to get the point where we could do the right thing, and have the people who did the wrong thing been held accountable, through some sort of "lessons learned" proceess? Because if that hasn't happened, it looks to me like there are systemic problems that will prevent success, yet will leave us there forever (the worst of all possible outcomes).

NOTE None of the "tinfoil hat" stuff on disinformation, please. I can't imagine that you haven't heard of the White House Iraq Group, but if you haven't, study up.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

“Never, never refer to a professional Soldier as a victim.

Ever.”

Threatening tone, belligerent, nasty, ungentlemanly. Note especially the tag-on single word imperative, unacceptable in polite conversation, especially to a lady. You, sir, are no sort of a gentleman, and lack both common decency and honor.

We no doubt differ in our definition of hero. What my friend did, saving the lives and recovering the bodies of his comrades in the face of great danger to himself, all the while aware that the war itself was pointless, is to me a far greater heroic act than if it had come from someone who blindly believed the lies about keeping the world safe for democracy.

Your whole previous comment “Yawn” was telling other people what they cannot say and how little you think of the opinions of others; sad and desperate behavior. The people here are not your enemies, and you have no reason to treat them with such contempt.

I did take the trouble to read several selections from your blog. You are an angry, frightened man, and I am sorry that you and your family have been put through enough to make you the way you are. Please get some help.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Bringiton quoted Decurion [“Never, never refer to a professional Soldier as a victim.
Ever.”] and then said:

Threatening tone, belligerent, nasty, ungentlemanly.

Bringiton...you're projecting. Without nonverbal cues, you can't tell from the text whether Decurion was hostile, exasperated, amused, didactic, smug, weary, or anything else.

Note especially the tag-on single word imperative, unacceptable in polite conversation

You're making up your own rules here as to what's socially acceptable--which is fine, but don't expect other people to operate by your personal rules. And an imperative is a verb, a command. The "ever" isn't a command, it's just additional emphasis.

You, sir, are no sort of a gentleman, and lack both common decency and honor

You, sir or ma'am, are insulting someone based entirely on your own predispositions and misconceptions.

(By the way, just to be clear: the tone you should be imagining for me above is NOT a ringing voice suitable for "pistols at dawn, sirrah!"--more like "tiredly pointing out errors of fact.")

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Any of you guys arrayed against Decurion ever hear of ad hominem?!? Sheesh. Logic is a really valuable tool to use.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

I don't think he's an outright merc, yet.

But this statement of his:
I don’t pretend to be objective. Your grandfather probably wasn’t objective about Nazis in 1943 either.

juxtaposes rather oddly with his calling me arrogant, in light of the assumption it reveals about my family history.

I didn't have Prescott Bush for my granddad; neither of my grandfathers owned financial empires or family estates in Connecticut/Massachusetts. My grandfathers had dry land farms in West Texas. They didn't raise their sons to be bankers, insurance agents, stockbrokers or CIA men or Congressmembers; their boys went from jobs with the WPA and CCC off to war -- or, in the case of the ones who didn't pass their induction physicals in 1942, into shipyards and aircraft factories. They came home to jobs on farms or ranches, in factories or on the railroads, with the Post Office or the County Extension service. Their grandchildren, my generation -- didn't grow up to be President or governor, either -- we made something worthwhile of ourselves. Teachers, ranchers, mechanics, welders, nurses, a Merchant Marine officer -- but none of either generation became lawyers or politicians, and although many of us served in uniform, none of us was a "professional soldier."

None of us is a 'victim' in the classic 'poor me' sense, either; but all of us have seen bad things and survived losses, and if that makes us arrogant, so be it.

Life's not a zero-sum game, and adopting the attitude that any important endeavor in life must be a zero sum game is accepting defeat before you start.

Know Clausewitz? Um, no. Read him, yes. But I don't claim personal knowledge of a soldier who died before the War Between the States. He did say one thing that stuck in my mind -- wars are fought by people.

Maybe it's necessary to make people angry and frightened so they'll participate in war.

Decurion's picture
Submitted by Decurion on

I happen to view the Anbar articles far more favorably because I spent 8 months of my last tour in Ramadi.

Kind of gives me a better perspective on what happens in that province than the New York Times ombudsman has.

Decurion's picture
Submitted by Decurion on

I doubt there was a single American citizen--or citizen of many other countries in the world--objective on the subject of Nazis in 1943. If you had a grandparent alive in 1943, he or she almost certainly was not terribly objective on the subject. Even Ghandi put his 2 cents in on the subject of Hitler.

If I am mistaken by that much about your age, I apologize.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

But when someone spouts a lot of illogical crap, refuses to listen to kind people who try to point out the fallacies is his premises, and then threatens them, I stop being polite. My ad gets a little hominem.

Apologies to anyone who was insulted. But I am dead serious. This war will go on as long as we let our Imperial High Command conduct it. To think otherwise is to ignore all the evidence.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

But when someone spouts a lot of illogical crap, refuses to listen to kind people who try to point out the fallacies is his premises, and then threatens them, I stop being polite. My ad gets a little hominem.

Ah. I see. Ad hominem ceases to be a logical fallacy if the person you are attacking doesn't agree with you. That makes perfect sense.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

You're right about how long the war will go on...so long as it's allowed to. That Imperial High Command needs to go, ASAP.

Decurion's picture
Submitted by Decurion on

Threat? Who's hurling about threats? I could no more threaten someone whose name and physical location I do not know (and have no particular urge to learn) than I could flap my arms and fly to France.

If stating something firmly is now a "threat" in your universe, it is just another piece of evidence for your dislocation from what the rest of us call reality.

At any rate, I'm done. Haven't seen any serious attempt at communication coming from my honorable opposition, and it's not looking likely any time before the heat death of the universe. Froth away, but don't expect any more reaction from me.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Seriously; rage, contempt, rudeness and incoherency are hallmarks of untreated PTSD.

Get some help.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

You have said you will not post at Corrente again. I am sorry to hear that, for the last couple of days have proven your conversation invigorating. Please reconsider. Yes, we're "True Believers," but this is our religion: "... one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

-- The Other Sarah

Submitted by lambert on

1. First, you quote the Times. I refute the Times. Then you quote your own personal authority. Well... That and a dime will get you a cup of coffee, since, if that was the most authority, why not go with your strongest argument first? Clausewitz would not approve ...

2. I ask, "Surely it’s equally possible that by backing the Sunnis, we’re going to end up splitting Iraq between Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds?" No answer , so I assume the answer is Yes.

3. I ask, "Is there any reason to believe that this is anything more than temporary?" No answer, so I assume the answer is No.

4. I ask (and to me, this is the most important point, since it speaks directly to the health of the military as an institution):

Why did it take us so long to get the point where we could do the right thing, and have the people who did the wrong thing been held accountable, through some sort of “lessons learned” proceess? Because if that hasn’t happened, it looks to me like there are systemic problems that will prevent success.

No answer, so I assume the problems are systemic, and will prevent "success."

It doesn't matter if you're committed to "winning" if you can't win, does it?

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

erm, thanks everyone, for the discussion. now give me a few hours to read all these posts and links. don't ever say amurkins aren't a verbal people.

Submitted by lambert on

Making, and refuting, the ad hominem attack is good, clean, earthy sport, what?

You work with the tools to hand...

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

So, when I call a professional a professional, I admittedly do cease to adhere to a logical argument.

In fact, I am making a diagnostic statement of my assessment of the profession I am confronted with.

In fact, when I perceive someone has left the framework of reason and has cloaked themselves in bloodyhanded self righteousness, I simply return the favor.

In fact, when you "liberate" a people from their own country, destroy their history, and pillage their resources, no amount of self serving rationalization make you logical.

In fact, our founding fathers recognized the inherent rights of a people to their own life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without the help of a lot of sanctimonious "professional" help.

Such a response is not based in logic. The response is decidedly ad hominem, however. As our gracious host says, you use what you have to end the discussion when logic has ended. Godwin's Law falls apart when a real authoritarian has entered the room.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

Submitted by lambert on

I kinda thought the whole redemption thing applied only to persons, and not to abstract entities like cultures.

Seems to me that by anthropomorphizing cultures, we're one step away from the idea that a culture is like a family, with a strong father at the head, which is the pernicious ideology that seems to blight all wingerdom....

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I believe it was Chicago Dyke who brought up the idea of redemption for the Palestinian nation. I'm not convinced that nations can be redeemed, as I'd say that "redemption" has a permanence about it which doesn't apply to nations. On the other hand, you could argue that the Old Testament is the story of the redemption of the Jewish people; and there's the example of Ninvah's repentance at the time of Jonah--although that turned out to be temporary.

dr sardonicus's picture
Submitted by dr sardonicus on

Looks like the Marching Camp folks decided they're not playing anymore; Decurion has decided what he thinks of us.

I think you can find passages that can be used to justify the anthromorphization of cultures scattered through the Old Testament, though I have neither the time nor inclination to track down chapter and verse.

We'll just have to settle for this insight from one of Decurion's commenters, a chap named Chris:

The whole argument comes down to this: are the definitions of 'good' and 'evil' subjective or objective? Those who hold the subjective POV think that Bush is EVIL to a greater or lesser extent. Those who hold that those terms have objective meanings believe that Saddam was Evil and what we are doing in the total GWOT is somewhere between 'appropriate for the world's only superpower' and 'righteousness personified'. (Boldface mine.)

There really is no middle ground as far as I can see. The terms are either objective or subjective. From this fundamental epistomology, all political and social POV's will flow.

How one arrives at a falsifiable, testable universal definition of evil is beyond me. I do know that any definition of good and evil based upon the Christian Scriptures doesn't mean jack to a billion Chinese who don't know Jesus Christ from Jesus Alou. Manichaeism has been rejected by all the world's religions, yet seems to be enjoying a comeback dressed up in the garb of fundamentalist Christianity.

...for the rest of us

Submitted by lambert on

See this exchange with VastLeft, especially my comment on M. Scott Peck's People of the Lie. You will find some heuristics there, at least.

I don't think anyone who looks seriously at history could conclude that evil is not real, or that doing evil is not a constant risk for all of us, or ... that evil (like good) arises in nature and is selected for....

Funny. I thought I seriously engaged Decurion's points. Yet my arguments remain unanswered. I wonder why?

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

hobson's picture
Submitted by hobson on

The film I was talking about earlier is called "Promises." You can find it here
If you see it, you would not think like Decurion about Palestinians.

I would also add that a soldier in the field is not necessarily in the best position to judge what is happening in a war. Nor to make sweeping judgments about over 4 million people.

War is not just about being willing to die for your country but being willing to kill for your country. And who you are willing to kill. It's obviously easier to do that if you see the people you are fighting as nothing but brutes. Maybe with a draft, you would get more people who want better justifications from their government for killing people.

Submitted by lambert on

in legislation that Bush signed and so, presumably, blessed with his authority. But the Iraqis aren't meeting Bush and Congress's standard, or Decurion's:

"Congress expanded on Bush's benchmarks, writing 18 goals into law as part of the war-funding measure it passed in the spring.

"In addition to the elections, legislation and security measures Bush outlined in January, Congress added demands that the Iraqi government complete a revision of its constitution and enact a law on de-Baathification and additional laws on militia disarmament, regional boundaries and other issues."

Instead, "the administration will report that Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar province are turning against the group al-Qaeda in Iraq in growing numbers; that sectarian killings were down in June; and that Iraqi political leaders managed last month to agree on a unified response to the bombing of a major religious shrine, officials said. . . .

"But anything short of progress on the original benchmarks is unlikely to appease the growing ranks of disaffected Republican lawmakers who are urging Bush to develop a new strategy."

Which is why, of course, we're moving the goalposts.

Winning is indeed better than losing. But losing and moving on is better than hanging on, losing some more, and looking really, really stupid, which is what we're doing now. So, as we've been told incessantly since Bush stole election 2000 with the connivance of the Republicans on what is now the Bush Court, "get over it." Your guy shat the bed. Deal.

NOTE Too bad Chimpy shat the bed we all have to sleep in, instead of just his own nest, but c'est la guerre.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

dr sardonicus's picture
Submitted by dr sardonicus on

Fine analysis, Lambert; your quotation from Peck definitely provides added insight. That's something you should expand upon and bring back to the front page someday, if you wish.

An omnipotent God that allows evil to happen is not a stretch for me. If one accepts that God is all-knowing and all-powerful, and the creator of all that is in the universe, how does He get a pass on the creation of evil? That question is the source of all sorts of theological tap-dancing over the centuries, with the fundamentalists having concluded that God exists in many more dimensions than the human mind can perceive, and what appears to our limited human perspective to be evil is actually part of a greater plan, a good that only God has the ability to fully comprehend and influence.

...for the rest of us

Submitted by lambert on

I mean, come on. What "greater plan" justifies Auschwitz? Or any of the many other human massacres.

Same with death (and birth, but especially death). If you're lucky, choking to death as the fluid rises in your lungs? What kind of loving God lets that happen? Fine, in the great scheme of things the flesh is trivial, and, as Fat Tony says, "death id no big deal," if you believe that. (Though the tendency of Our Betters to let les autres handle the "no big deal" stuff is rawther noticeable.)

So what kind of parent treats suffering like that as a sign of love? Well, Mullah Dobson, of course, but he's... well, just a Christianist loon.

There's plenty of purpose in life. It's only that the posited Christianist God's purposes are, at best, inscrutable, and at worst screamingly double-binding.

As soon as you think of good and evil both arising in nature because they both were selected for, the screaming contradictions disappear. And you can choose to be good...

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I am not getting into the overall discussion here but on the subject of "redemption" in Biblical or other historical terms let us recall that the rule was "as goes the King so goes the nation." Trying to stay away from examples liable to stir up strong emotions, I will cite only two:

(1)Henry 8th decides to split from the Catholic church over the divorce thing and the history books phrase it as "England became a Protestant nation." All of "England" most certainly did nothing of the sort and such a statement says nothing about the inner beliefs of individual Englishmen and -women.

(2)The "Emperor Constantine had a vision and the Roman Empire converted to Christianity." This is even more of a hoo-hah claim. The vast majority of residents in lands claimed by the Empire continued the polytheistic beliefs they had always had.

Which system I always thought made a lot more sense anyway. I mean, under paganism of that sort you go directly to the God or Goddess who specialized in the sort of help you needed. Crops giving you problems (perhaps an infestation of fusarium wilt, or powdery mildew even)? A prayer and small sacrifice to Ceres.

This either solved the problem and a small libation of gratitude was given or it did not clear up and you understood Ceres was pissed at you. This caused you to reconsider either your crop practices or your piety, and by the time you had those straightened out it was probably a new growing season anyway, plus you had improved your spiritual level a couple of notches.

Switch to a "monotheistic" system and what have you got? First you have to forget all the deities whose names you worked so hard to memorize as a kid. Altars must be disassembled, sacred groves cut down, statuary and other holy objects discarded at much expense. Get caught with a statue of even the most minor deity (Cardea, Household goddess of door hinges comes to mind) and those Christian priests just had no sense of humor about the matter.

Then you have to learn a whole 'nother set of names anyway because what you really had was just a different sort of specialists in the form of saints.

But anyway, the "Roman empire was redeemed when Constantine converted" is clearly a crock and I suspect the same could be said of any nation. WTF does the almighty creator of the farthest star give a shit about some arbitrary line on a map anyway?

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Interesting to me that a "live by the sword, die by the sword" zealot can't be converted to 'peace' through well thought peace-speak. W-woud say, "that kind only unduhstands one thing, ann that izzzz WAR!" Let's go on and on about mental masturbation on that one o.k. mr. warmonger.

Obviously, he is as poor at science as he is at war......(loved the ridiculous comment about the death of the universe).

What I really liked about the discussion was the interjection of religion by the "soldier girrrl" poster who screams from the back of the bus to be heard, not by her reserved tone or before and after silence, but through the use of "Redemption as a Necessity" as her meme.
Guess what! We don't (homo sapiens) all fall in line when you utter that horse-hockey!
I don't want or need "Redemption" from anyone's 'father' and my dad was a member of the 101st so he and I are MARCHING INTO HELL DAMMIT!!!

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

(Pun intended.) The dominant institutional value of monotheism is in its utility as a means to shore up the power of a government, to establish unquestioning belief that a sole-source authoritarian regime is the natural order of human existence. One God, one ruler, one belief system, get in line or die.

Polytheism admits to multiple viewpoints, all the gods and goddesses continually contesting with one another, and what sort of example is it for the common folk when even the smallest god has inherent unalienable powers with which to challenge those who are greater? Can’t have that when you’re building an empire based on fear and greed rather than sound management practices, thus Constantine’s embrace of Christianity (recognizing the contribution of Saul/Paul’s restructuring it as a hierarchical quasi-military organization) and Henry's use to pull a cloak of plausible respectability over both his serial adultery and the crown's seizure of church property to refill his empty coffers and bribe the nobility.

Paulist Christianity and Islam are natural partners of civil authoritarianism and militaristic imperialism. Not the only ones, mind you, but they fit like hand and glove, or rather, fist and sword. The scariest hymn from my childhood has always been “Onward Christian Soldiers,” both for the message itself and for the way it stirs even the most resistant psyche to want to march on off to do battle with whomever is designated as Evil.

We could use a healthy dose of skeptical agnosticism in our political leadership, if for no other reason than as a return to the Founder’s Original Intent.

Submitted by lambert on

It is true that electronic communication is a notoriously narrow channel through which to convey tone... So it's entirely possible that bringiton saw what they saw, and Decurion said what they said.

Still, I too caught a whiff of a demand for deference... Though perhaps I'm projecting.

(The left is no monolith. I know a good deal of my rage at the Bush administration is that they sent good patriotic people to die for a bad cause.)

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

(The left is no monolith. I know a good deal of my rage at the Bush administration is that they sent good patriotic people to die for a bad cause.)

A bad cause? Really? Setting aside the tinfoil hat points, how was it a bad cause?

A country has under the control of a genocidal dictator. In many ways it was comparable Bosnia under Milosivich(sp?). In any case, it was a horrible place to live.

Now, are you outraged that we wen't in there and got rid of Saddam or are you, as I am, outraged at being lied to and the lack of leadership?

I find it somewhat hypocritical to decry an unjust cause in Iraq and have supported the war in Bosnia or a future conflict in Darfur. I guess I differntiate between the means with which a war is fought and the cause for which those participating fight.

Another question I often find myself asking: Would I be as angry about Iraq if no Americans were killed?

Submitted by lambert on

Daniel, you present one of the many shifting rationales or rationalizations for the war as if it had been the only one from the beginning. Of course it wasn't, as you must know, so I can't imagine why you write what you write.

Over time, I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that the purpose of the war is:

1. Permanent bases in Iraq

2. Either for the oil, or as a footprint if the Saudis implode, or both

3. Profit for mercenaries and the politically wired.

4. Privatization of the military and intelligence.

5. Massive theft ($8.6 billion lost).

6. And, as always with Bush, aggrandizement of executive power, so that all of the above are easier to do, again and again and again (especially #5).

I really do not have time to re-litigate all of this with you, or to attempt to talk you out of your extremely well-worn shibboleths.

And that's not even the tinfoil hat stuff. Go do some reading, and get back to us. I'd suggest Imperial Life in the Emerald City, since this is, after all, a straightforward imperial venture.

Re Bosnia: If Bush and his loyalists had the sense god gave a goose, they would have played saving Muslims from a massacre for all it was worth in good will in the Arab world. But n-o-o-o, the Clenis got a blowjob, so anything he did was wrong. Now, of course, the notion of goodwill toward the US anywhere in the world, not just the Arab world, is nonsense. Your guy shat the bed. Deal.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Thank you for addressing this matter, and allowing me the opportunity to further clarify my intentions as well as expand my commentary on the unacceptable behavior of Decurion.

Even a cursory examination of Decurion’s writing exposes a consistent attitude of hostility, contempt and nastiness towards those he arbitrarily assesses as unredeemable, as well as towards those who disagree with his positions. He displayed the same attitudes throughout his exchanges in this blog as well as in his concurrent commentary on his own site. The fellow is consistent, if nothing else. Assuming his message to Ruth was singularly motivated by any other emotion flies in the face of all available evidence to the contrary.

Had he left things with the first sentence I would have let it slide. Everyone has moments. The period-return-space-imperative is what pushed it over the line of acceptable civil behavior, in my view. Because accuracy is important, just for the record here it is again, exactly as he wrote it;

“Do Me A Huge Favor, Please, Ruth.

Submitted by Decurion on Sun, 2007-07-08 19:29.

Never, never refer to a professional Soldier as a victim.

Ever.”

Say it to yourself out loud. Use the tones you suggest. See if hostile and rude aren’t far and away the best fit.

As to whether or not the one word sentence “Ever.” is, in this context, an imperative, I can only recommend that you consult a better quality dictionary, http://www.wordreference.com/definition/..., as well as a more sophisticated authority on grammar http://www.arts.uottawa.ca/writcent/hype....

The one word sentence “Ever.” is not declarative, interrogative, rhetorical or exclamatory. That leaves the only other type of sentence: imperative - “An imperative sentence gives a direct command to someone….”

In my view, and everything I write is my view unless I provide an alternative attribution, the use of an imperative towards a lady is in and of itself rude, hostile, nasty, dishonorable and ungentlemanly. Your standards of permissible conduct may be at variance. Out here in the West, a gentleman does not allow an uncouth bully to insult a lady in this fashion. We correct the blackguard and expect him to make amends. Any gentleman, any man of honor, would immediately make an apology to the lady for his behavior, whether or not he felt the accusation of impropriety was justified.

A gentleman would never allow even a whiff of unseemly behavior to go unrepentant. Instead of apologizing, Decurion argued that he did not intend to be threatening, in fact was incapable of being so by virtue of distance and the use of written rather than verbal assault. Such an argument, that a threat can only be delivered direct, in person, and verbally, is literally incredible; that anyone could genuinely make such a statement defies belief. Taking him at his word that he had no intent to threaten, however, leaves unanswered my charges that his writing was belligerent, nasty ungentlemanly and dishonorable. I shall let his silence on those accusations speak for him as eloquently as anything I might say here.

Decurion was rude to a lady. I find that unacceptable, blog or otherwise. This is my standard for civility, and I will stand by it. Further, I do not accept your claim that such a standard is uniquely my own - if she is available, ask your mother. You, and Decurion, may choose to set a lower standard for yourselves, but that does not preclude me from voicing my own and demanding that a rudimentary standard of honor and respectability be observed. If either of you choose to be uncouth, or to support uncouth behavior, so be it. You are free in this setting to represent yourselves as you see fit, at what ever level of dishonor and ungentlemanliness you deem suitable for yourselves.

Decurion, everyone knows you’re still reading this thread. You owe Ruth an apology. Man up, say you’re sorry. And please, please, get some professional help. The nightmares aren’t going to stop until you do.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Hmmm her very first word anbout him was "troll" which seems to me to be an insult, and therefore, fair game. No lady there, that one. Even her moniker, "chicago dyke" screams it.

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Bringiton said:
Say it to yourself out loud. Use the tones you suggest. See if hostile and rude aren’t far and away the best fit.

Actually, I did say it out loud, several times in various tones, as an acting exercise. It fits just as well as any of those possibilities I listed. If you disagree, well, you're certainly entitled to your opinion. My own opinion is that you're projecting your hostility onto him.

The one word sentence “Ever.” is not declarative, interrogative, rhetorical or exclamatory. That leaves the only other type of sentence: imperative

Please think about what you're saying. "Ever" isn't a verb, so it can't possibly be a command ("go ever yourself!"), therefore it can't be imperative. The one word "ever" is not a complete sentence at all. It's a fragment. If you insist on categorizing it as a sentence, I'd suggest it comes closer to "exclamatory".

leaves unanswered my charges that his writing was belligerent, nasty ungentlemanly and dishonorable.

It's possible that he feels that you're being belligerent and nasty yourself. That's certainly my impression of you, in any event--and I'm not saying that to be insulting, I'm saying it as feedback. You may intend to be the soul of courtesy, but it's just not coming across that way to me. YMMV.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

Americans, and many more Iraqis, have been killed so a few could play a game of hegemony over the world's energy.

It is the professed goal of these men to establish a Dominion. A new feudal order. And the curious thing is that if you look at the professed aims of the Christian Dominionists or the Wahhabi Saudis they are very similar indeed.

The Aristocrats of every culture, American, Saudi, Russian, Irani, and Chinese are all playing variants of this game. There are energy alternatives and not just the conventional biofuels, either. They are not being developed, and will not be until the last dollar can be squeezed from people willing to buy fossil fuels.

As oil is used to produce new hydraulic empires, the kinds of social structures that have favored aristocracies throughout history re-emerge.

Only when conditions emerged that broke the monopoly of the resource did these empires crumble. Therefore, expect no great initiatives to produce inexpensive workable energy alternatives. Not as long as there is a blank check for endless war.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

my humblest thanks. Not since I was a serving airman have I heard the ideals of honor and courtesy so defended.

I had grown up on my uncles' and cousins' tales of the Army, and on Sergeant Carter and Gomer Pyle, Rat Patrol, etc. I was astonished by the exquisite courtesy displayed by United States Air Force senior noncommissioned and commissioned officers (alas, often second lieutenants were no better at it than we pickle-suited recruits) to not merely their equals or seniors in rank and experience, but the emphasis on honor displayed when dealing with those in their command. At the time I thought this an anomaly, peculiar to my chosen service; and it made me proud. I know now that, among the best of Navy, Marine, Coast Guard, and Army units, the same code of honor and courtesy applies; the most memorable display of that courtesy occurred when a young E-5 took it upon himself to browbeat a female E-2 for what he considered to be 'clumsiness and lack of intelligence'. I witnessed the most incredible dressing down I have ever heard when our NCOIC (an E-9 with 27 years' service at the time) stepped into the room amid this scene.

He did not raise his voice; he did not resort to vulgarity or coarse language. He did not use physical force; but at the end of the thirty seconds he spent on that newly-christened staff sergeant, that man looked as if he'd been beaten. His apology to the private -- a student in a class he was teaching -- was as clumsy and unintelligent-sounding as could be, but he clearly meant it.

I heard my NCOIC's voice again, reading your words describing Decurion's behavior here. I was transported back 29 years in time, and reminded that the world is not completely in the grip of the uncouth.

Thank you.

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that little exposition was entirely my pleasure to craft. Glad you enjoyed it.

i feel more and more inclined towards the idea that in this country, we must have another civil war. i don’t want that to happen, but as time passes and the crimes of our oligarchic masters increase in scope and in terms of how evil they are

First of all, I can't fathom the thought process that declares all wars since WWII to be evil and then advocates war as a solution to civil dissatisfaction. That type of illogic makes me question the sanity of the speaker.

But more importantly, the comments to this post refer to oligarchs and corporate masters, as if the people speaking have no power against these evil boogy men. Do you buy goods and services from Corporate America? How about Corporate Europe? Corporate Asia? When you buy their goods and services, you are the problem just as much as you seem to think Bush is.

How do you think these oligarchs "control" world events. It certainly isn't with pixie dust and good vibes. They spend money to create an economic environment more suitable to making more money. They get the money from you, the consumer who buys their goods. And before you point out that you only buy organic dish soap from company that supports environmental causes, realize that that company is doing the same thing as Haliburton or any other company you'd prefer to demonize, taking your money and spending it make more money.

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Go back and read CD's comments and for goodness sake, educate yourself so that you don't continue this lack of depth regarding written information.

She doesn't indicate wars after II are evil, those are your words.
She indicates that they weren't right and are a waste. She also indicates that although no one wants war (and she says, she doesn't) it may be inevitable here in the U.S.A.

I owne and operate several companies, an LLC, a C-corp, an S-corp.....
For you to say, "the same thing Haliburton or any other company ..." simply shows your lack of exposure to businesses.

We don't get no-bid contracts at any of my companies. There are quite a number of Dow Industrial and Blue-chip Fortune 100s that don't either, because their CEO isn't the V.P. of the country. We (small to mediaum size businesses without connections) compete for a place to survive.

Haliburton is a puppetmaster and you (the taxpayer) are their puppet.
As you mentioned above, you have no power but these are not boogey men, rather real men/women in a position to kill thousands if not millions of other real men/women in a Malthusian wet dream that has become a paradigm that you love to hold in front of your eyes and jeer at "libruls" or "inteelectuals".

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Getsen,

What I really liked about the discussion was the interjection of religion by the “soldier girrrl” poster who screams from the back of the bus to be heard, not by her reserved tone or before and after silence, but through the use of “Redemption as a Necessity” as her meme.

I did not, repeat, did not bring up the concept of redemption. I first found the quote I italicized in a response by Chicago Dyke. She asked whether Decurion, as a Christian, believed in the idea that no one is beyond redemption. I simply added my thoughts on the matter. I'm sorry that my attempt to frame what I said in a reasonable way so offended you.

Guess what! We don’t (homo sapiens) all fall in line when you utter that horse-hockey!
I don’t want or need “Redemption” from anyone’s ’father’ and my dad was a member of the 101st so he and I are MARCHING INTO HELL DAMMIT!!!

As I mentioned, redemption cannot be forced. I would no more expect you to fall in line than I would fall in line with your beliefs.

And the only thing I have to say to your father being a member of the 101st Airborne (AASLT) is "Air Assault! (I was at Ft. Campbell for four years. The Screaming Eagles have a special place in my heart.)

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

Troll isn't an insult. It's a description.
And you're right -- CD's not a "lady". Neither am I.
Both of us are veterans, though, and I suspect you'd best remember that.

Now if you want to take issue with a moniker -- look in the mirror.

Submitted by lambert on

Let's play fill in the blank:

The people are stuck in the chieftain/vassal mindset of governance. They will NEVER get out of their problems while they stick with this sense of following. [1] _________ , the rampant corruption of [2] ______________ making money off their own people’s plight and in fact in power because there is a running conflict. There was no benefit for [3] _______ to bury the hatchet entirely. He had everything to lose by having the [4] _______ end and [5] ________ to actually start running a normal democratic government.

[1] The destruction of the Constitution

[2] Republican cronies and contractors

[3] Bush

[4] Iraq war

[5] the United States.

Every authoritarian regime is infected with the same brands of cheesiness and corruption, and the criminal Bush regime is no different.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

His handle, john_of_arabia, mumbles it unintelligibly.

Palestine and Palestinians have problems because, basically, they have had done to them by Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and mostly, the United States, what the United States did to the native Americans.

Who didn't exactly get along as their society was smashed either.

Get rid of the oil profit incentive for Endless War, and peace would break out in Palestine, as the Empires took their ambitions elsewhere.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

"My own opinion is that you’re projecting your hostility onto him."
"It’s possible that he feels that you’re being belligerent and nasty yourself. That’s certainly my impression of you, in any event—and I’m not saying that to be insulting, I’m saying it as feedback. You may intend to be the soul of courtesy, but it’s just not coming across that way to me. YMMV.
Thus spake Laserlight."

Don't get schooled hanging 'round The Marching Camp and Instapundit's place much, do you, Laserlight?

Wallowing in arrogance makes you read into things.
Wallowing in anger makes you say regrettable things.
Wallowing in ignorance makes you pick unwinnable fights.
I'm just sayin'.

And where's the apology Decurion owes Chicago Dyke?

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OK, I will try really, really hard to not snicker. But seriously? My friend the big-shot psychologist nearly fell off his chair.

So John; (May I call you - John? Good.) Let me walk you through this slowly.

Assume you’re talking about the exchange between me and Decurion and his compatriot Lighthouse over what constitutes acceptable treatment of a lady. (If that’s not what you’re on about, well, then, pay attention anyway; you might learn something.)

1a) Decurion was rude to a lot of people here, but the one that ticked me off and compelled me into a comment thread I had vowed to avoid was when he was threatening to Ruth. Got that? I chastised him for his treatment of RUTH, not Chicago Dyke.

1b) The person who called him a troll was Kelly B, not Chicago Dyke.

1c) Chicago Dyke is the one who invited Decurion into her home here at Corrente for a discussion, and who remained determinedly decent and polite and hospitable regardless of the depth of Decurion’s churlishness.

1d) Next time try reading for content, save yourself a lot of embarrassment. Take notes if you have to.

2) Ruth, Chicago Dyke, Sarah and all of the women here at Corrente are ladies, every one of them, any protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

3) Anyone worthy of the term gentleman recognizes that all women are ladies, and deserve to be treated as such. No true gentleman would ever suggest otherwise. Treating every woman as a lady is, in fact, the single most defining characteristic of gentlemanliness.

Any questions so far?

Re-read, if you need to.

Take your time, I’ll wait.

Fabulous. Here we go again:

4) Any man who is rude to a lady (See #3) is not a gentleman. It doesn’t matter what the lady does, or says, or how she behaves, or what you think of her. If you are a gentleman, you are never, ever rude to a lady. No exceptions.

5) If a man is rude to a lady, he must apologize in order to reclaim his standing as a gentleman. If he does not apologize, immediately and sincerely, then he is not a gentleman but a scoundrel, a blackguard and a mountebank, and dishonors himself. Those who defend his scurrilous behavior are equally despicable, and together they are deserving of universal condemnation by the whole of decent society.

John, those are the rules here in 21st Century Western Civilization. If you can’t abide by them, perhaps you should go join the Taliban where you’ll be more comfortable.

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Don’t run off, Laserlight, just when you were losing the argument. But to be sure, you’ll lurk back to see what else gets said, just like Decurion. (You left tracks at your site, Decurion, quoting posts made after you said you were leaving. Sloppy, sloppy!)

Laserlight, you say the comments had wandered off topic. What was the topic of this post? Character (“The Palestinians are savages.” – Decurion. The character of a people as a whole cannot be anything other than a summation of their character as individuals; individual character is thus a fair topic of conversation.) bounded by only one requirement: civility (…a conversation with you, so long as it is civil….” – Chicago Dyke). Later on, the related question of redemption was raised, in both collective and individual contexts.

Decurion was not civil to Ruth. He was rude, and ungentlemanly. It is a flaw in his character. He was offered the opportunity to seek redemption. He declined. My commentary, and your subsequent interjection, was decidedly on topic; just not the framing of character he, or you, had in mind.

You wrote that “Ever.” is somehow not a sentence. You are wrong. It is capitalized, and has a period at the end. That makes it a sentence, fragmentary or not. You suggest that it might be exclamatory, but this is not possible; for it to be exclamatory, it would have to finish with an exclamation point! Lighthouse, many students did not receive adequate instruction in grammar during their schooling. It isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Since you obviously didn’t review the site I previously suggested, or didn’t understand it, here’s one you might find more approachable: http://www.brainpop.com/english/grammar/... . Get back to me with an acknowledgement when you have a grasp of the types of sentences employed in English grammar, and are able to distinguish between them.

You wrote in reference to the text of Decurion’s insult to Ruth: “Actually, I did say it out loud, several times in various tones, as an acting exercise. It fits just as well as any of those possibilities I listed.” Your suggested options were: “…hostile, exasperated, amused, didactic, smug, weary….” Your claim of auditory similitude beggars belief. Expression of Decurion’s words with all of those emotions could only sound equivalent if the speaker employed a monotone. Otherwise, just not possible. Get someone else to read them to you from those emotional perspectives. If you have a still-immature teenager available as a reader, you should be able to hear what I mean. If you still can’t perceive the differences, get a hearing test.

You wrote: “It’s possible that he feels that you’re being belligerent and nasty yourself.” To be clear, what I intended to convey was outrage and condemnation. If it came across as belligerent, well, unintended but I can live with it. Decurion was rude to a lady. What I said to him, I said man-to-man. Are you now claiming that he feels strong enough to be inappropriate with a lady, but just folds up and runs away when confronted on his unacceptable behavior by a man? And on top of that, now you have to come over to stand up for him? Yeow, you’re the one being insulting to Decurion, far more than me. Unless, of course, you’re accurate……..

You wrote: “You may intend to be the soul of courtesy, but it’s just not coming across that way to me.” Let’s review. In my first comment, I wrote “Ruth is a lady and deserves to be treated as one, with respect; please in future try to comport yourself as though you were a gentleman.” That sounds reasonably courteous to me, especially considering the crass behavior being addressed. When Decurion responded “Yawn” I did indeed shift my tone and content, to a more explicit level.

On reflection, I will disclose that Decurion’s concurrent dismissal of my friend’s sacrifice of his life in Vietnam as somehow being less than heroic, when in fact he died as a consequence of saving the lives of his wounded fellow soldiers, seriously ticked me off and it could well be that this emotion may have spilled over just a touch. On yet further reflection, I forgive myself for that small lapse. In truth, I held back from saying what I honestly felt, but why do that? Let’s share openly; I say that anyone who would denigrate the nature of any soldier’s sacrifice on the field of battle is utterly beneath contempt.

Whether Decurion can be considered a man of honor after he has unapologetically insulted a lady and disparaged the honorable death of an American soldier, a good, brave and decent man, I leave up to him, and to you.

No, no, I won’t, I can’t: Shame on you, Decurion, and on those who argue in support of your behavior. Shame, shame, shame, shame.

We don’t get no-bid contracts at any of my companies.

Well, that's probably because you are logistically incapable of handling the demands of the job. Do you know how many companies in the world are capable of handling the logistics of the War in Iraq? At last count it was 2 or 3. One of those being a subsidiary of Haliburton that was spun off and is now competing with them.

Who is Halliburton going to compete with? Not any medium to small business, they aren't up to the task.

I have plenty of exposure to business, just because you don't like my comments doesn't mean you can blow them off. Business isn't some magical mystery or a conspiracy against the common man. How many corporations are in existance to not make money? Not many that I have ever encountered. Even non-profits are out to make money, they just reinvest 100% of the profits into the business. How many of them will survive not making money for an extended period of time? Likely none. A quick survey of the major discounters of the last several decades should be sufficient proof.

As far as CD's comments about war go, she said that no war since WWII is "right" and then goes on to refer to the "evil" oligarchs. I don't think I am over-reaching to simplify that into a statement that wars since WWII are evil. Its a semantics game which is largely uninteresting and avoids the addressing the substance of my comment.

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I've re-read all the comments on the thread (again) and while I see where your anger could come from regarding Decurion's comment about your friend lost in Vietnam, I honestly don't think he was disparaging his service. He said that your definitions of heroes are different and opines that one can't hold the Vietnam war to be illegal or immoral, and yet, call those who fought in it heroes.

Your friend's actions are indeed heroic. I've seen medics rise to great heights doing their jobs, and continue to work on wounded long after they should have been hunkered down for cover. I've seen medics ask themselves over and over what they could have done to save someone, to give them better treatment.

Actions can be heroic, and yet, the person not a hero. If you believe the action your friend was fighting in to be so wrong, how can he be a hero?

As for deriding the sacrifices made, where is your outrage at these comments? (After all, if one is a hero for serving in a war that is considered a mistake, then soldiers today must be heroes. Or is it only those who die on the battlefield, caring for wounded? I realize my tone sounds really snarky, but I don't mean it that way. I can't figure out a better phrasing.)

From konopelli/wggrd on Sun, 2007-07-08 14:55.

I, too, am a veteran (USAF, ’64-’68). I hold that all the lives so profligately spent in “my” war WERE wasted, that the 80k USer troops who died in it DID die in vain. I hold, too, that the 3500 USer troops killed (so far) in Iraq may have died in the uniform of their country, but they were killed in the interests of the oiligarchs, and pollutocrats, the fascists, and the corpoRat cabalists who cared not a whit whether they lived or died…
They did NOT perish for their ’country,’ but for the vanity, greed, and power of the PNAC and a ’permanent Republican majority.’
That was NEVER worth the blood, the pain, or the life of a single citizen.

A partial quote from chicago dyke:

because i do believe in the nobility of the soul, and i mourn its loss, even in you, decurion. truly. your service is noted, and i want you to understand: i don’t think it was wasted…not at least, by you. but your leaders? come with me down the path which shows how they have not only used you, but spit on you with a contempt that would raise you to bloodlust, as it has in me.

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should have been explicitly addressed to Bringiton, and it's not. My apologies.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

What could be more heroic than sacrificing your self for others who are in need? Does the cause of their need matter? Are health care workers who roam the worst streets unarmed at night to reach out and help drug addicts and prostitutes somehow not heroic because drug addiction and streetwalking are dishonorable activities?

It can happen that a person is a hero in their own actions and still be a victim of external circumstances. It’s called tragedy. Plenty of examples in literature and life. Recognizing that duality does not in any way diminish the hero, or their heroism. I have no outrage for what Konopelli and Chicago Dyke wrote because they incorporate that nuance. Neither they nor I disparage the troops for serving in Vietnam or Korea or Iraq, or anywhere else. I am humbled and grateful for their courage and their sacrifice. It is the political leadership, and their disastrous, callous, disgusting manipulation that I condemn. Don’t have much patience for their apologists, either.

Hope that makes it clearer.