How Many More?

As I ponder the reports that the military covered up an intentional attack on civilians by U.S. forces (and somewhat similar allegations out of Afghanistan) I keep coming back to the same question.

How many more?

How many more times will find ourselves scrambling to justify the unjustifiable? How many more times will we let fear blur the line between right and wrong, humane and inhumane?

How many of our own basic principles, like justice and fair play, will we toss aside? How many more times will our leaders express outrage (or simply profess to be "troubled") while quietly burying any possibility of meaningful action to punish wrongdoing or correct the flaws that allowed the offense in the first place?

(Read on for more ponderables and a quick review of previous Debates relating to the questions posed above.)


The United States ignored the Geneva Conventions and effectively sanctioned prisoner abuse. Some may quibble over definitions -- torture? coercive interrogation? -- but the reports and photographs tell the story. The U.S. government has also taken to imprisoning people for years without charge, in some cases without access to any legal counsel whatsoever.
Congress functions (barely) under what some describe as a system of legalized bribery, in which moneyed interests buy legislative support with campaign contributions and material favors. Though entrusted with the power to reform this crooked system, members of Congress have instead opted for relatively toothless lobbying reform.
The administration based its case for pre-emptive war on the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, while also creating the impression among the American people that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. The former turned out to be wildly off the mark; the latter was dishonest at best.
Our president authorized the wiretapping of American citizens without a warrant. This sets a precedent that the executive need not establish cause before eavesdropping on Americans. Without a judicial check, abuse is almost inevitable -- by this administration or a subsequent one. The recent revelations of widespread call tracking don't exactly ease the mind.

How much liberty are we willing to sacrifice for safety? When we make such concessions, how should we weigh just how much real security will be gained in exchange? Is it acceptable for our rights to be sacrificed in the name of safety, but without our knowledge?

How many more troubling precedents will be set through our own inaction? How many more assaults on our rights and freedoms will we tolerate?

How many more times will government officials unabashedly claim extraordinary powers, unchallenged by a complacent (if increasingly suspicious) public?

What do you think, Debaters? Are we safer today thanks to the Iraq war? Has 'coercive interrogation' made us more secure? Are we better off as a nation -- and as individuals -- when a few top officials can order government surveillance of American citizens?

If your answer to these questions is no, where do we go from here? If your answer is yes, will you still feel the same way when the other party is in power?

(I know, that's a lot of questions. But incidents like this always raise more questions than answers.)

By Emily Messner |  June 1, 2006; 12:17 PM ET  | Category:  National Politics
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Dear Ms. Messner:

I was reading your comments regarding the interrogation of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, and the Moran Letter, as well the Field Interrogation Manual.

One of the problems is adjusting and responding to a changing landscape. While it is easy to speak of the past, and use Moran's tactics as an example, such examples do not always hold true in today's environment.

Although the Japanese (during WWII) did have Kamikaze ("Divine Wind") pilots, and people who were willing to commit suicide in an act of war, there is a significant difference that you gloss over in your appraisal of the tactics used in Iraq.

What few acts of suicide bombers (in aircraft) ocurred, ocurred during the course of actual, properly uniformed, open combat between legitimate units of the two combatant countries. Suicide bombers dived on American ships, while in the act of "Legitimate" combat.

The Japanese valued life as we do, unlike the Islamic radicals of today - No Japanese suicide attacks were performed against civilians...

The radical Islamic elements who are willing to kill anyone associated with, or considered to be "Infidels", make no distinction as to is, or is not a legitimate target of their actions.

While Moran's methods are applicable in many instances, they are equally not applicable where the subject of interrogation does not hold or believe in the same sanctity of life or moral patterns of belief - as we do!

Yes, In most instances, Moran's and Scharffs methods are preferable, and do work... Over time!!! And "Time" is the key element here.

If you want to fight for more "Humane" treatment of prisoners, please use an example where something "Cruel or inhumane" was actually done.... the Abu Ghraib incidents are NOT such a case.

Was Lindy England a Moron? Absolutely! And so were many of the prison guards at Abu Ghraib. Prosecute them for conduct unbecoming a member of the US Military.

Does their action rise to the level of cruel and inhumane? Not in your lifetime!!!

It would be nice if we could have a more peaceful and serene world, or we could all be "nice" to one another, but it is childish naivete' to think that that is a possibility when we are dealing with a group of people who have little regard or respect for human life - or who slaughter their own family members (Saddam Hussein), or who feel that they have the "God-Given Right" to insist that all must submit to Allah, or face terrorist acts or death!

The "Abuse" conducted at Abu Ghraib by Lindy England was wrong, simply because it was not productive, and it was against regulations.... NOT Because it was somehow cruel or inhumane. Degrading? Sure, a little, and your point is?

You may say, "Oh that would be terrible", but for those captured terorists from whom we need information quickly, bind them, stitch them into the carcasses of pigs, drag them out into the Sun, and inform that that is how and where they will die... and then wait! Oops, no 70 "vestal virgins" await those who perish wrapped in the skin of a pig!

I am sorry, but the politically correct version of how to conduct war against an Islamic terrorist movement is simply a load of crap.

Richard T. Haight


Posted by: Richard T. Haight | June 1, 2006 03:27 PM

Haight,
I'm sorry, but it's people like you that hurt America the most. You are willing to destroy the values that this country was founded on, all because your government says it 'might' make you more 'secure.' You only list Abu Ghraib, but as time goes on, more and more cases are coming to light. The German man held and tortured is one such claim recently, while claims of abuse at Gitmo are another. Meanwhile, the administration does everything it can to coverup or hide possible abuse, by denying access to prisoners, denying trials, and potentially outsourcing prisons.

The idea is that "we are better than them." That's the argument that has given us strength from the beginning of the conflict, allowing us to claim moral superiority to rally behind. Regardless of your claim that "they have little respect for human life," you cannot resort to inhumane or torturous methods without compromising both yourself and your country.

You may be willing to destroy America. I most certainly am not. If this truly is a 'culture of life,' start acting like it.

Posted by: Freedom | June 1, 2006 03:50 PM

We are certainly safer now than we were 5 and even 10 years ago. We've ousted a tyrant who was bent on our destruction, we've sent another one running with his tail between his legs, and all the promises of future terrorist attacks on American soil have either been foiled (thanks to our extremely wonderful surveillance policies) or unfulfilled. We have successfully turned the focus of the terrorists to the Middle East rather than the streets of NYC or LA. At the same time we are building relationships that will insure our future in the region to be a bright one.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | June 1, 2006 05:05 PM

Alex Ham Claims:
"We are certainly safer now than we were 5 and even 10 years ago. We've ousted a tyrant who was bent on our destruction, we've sent another one running with his tail between his legs, and all the promises of future terrorist attacks on American soil have either been foiled (thanks to our extremely wonderful surveillance policies) or unfulfilled. We have successfully turned the focus of the terrorists to the Middle East rather than the streets of NYC or LA. At the same time we are building relationships that will insure our future in the region to be a bright one."

Alex, see this Rock? This rock here stops terrorists attacks. I'll sell it to you for 100k. I've also got one that stops the bird flu if you are interested...
I love claims like this. You get one,maybe two major terrorist attacks/broadcast attempts in the US every few years. And because one hasn't happened in the last 4 years, obviously that means US policies are working superbly and one will *never* happen.

And by what justification do you say we are safer than 10 years ago? I'm curious as to the evidence you have to clarify that statement.

This leader you mention that we ousted was living in a crippled country. The claims of WMDs proved to be obviously false and the entire justification for war was changed while in conflict. Doesn't really seem to have too much evidence showing that he was bent on our destruction, especially after US government deceptions of a link to 9/11 were proved undeniably false.

Posted by: Geb | June 1, 2006 05:30 PM

Oh Alex, you have descended from an amusing talking point junkie to a laughingstock. Do you seriously think any sane person is buying this?

We did not eviscerate al Qaeda. OBL is still alive, and now we have created a terrorist spewing machine for Zarquawi and the other parts of the multi-headed hydra that we allowed al Qaeda to morph into by not finishing the job in Afghanistan. OBL knows the Crusades took hundreds of years. He's in this for the long haul, and four years is but a drop in the bucket. So far all we've done is make his movement stronger by our idiotic strategy and mostly by our refusal to correct our strategic errors.

We did not disassemble the Taliban. We pulled our troops out of AFghanistan to go to Iraq, we left only enough to secure the major cities, allowing the Taliban to regroup and gradually take over the rural parts of the country again. Now we will be engaged in a Russian style fight against an enemy fully armed and holed up in caves. As a result our army will be tied up and kept from the ligitimate readiness we need to face threats in the rest of the world.

We are not safer with North Korea and Iran responding to the Bush swagger by rushing to get a seat at the grown-ups table. After all, we don't invade nuclear powers, even when, like Pakistan, they harbor OBL and the Taliban and don't allow our troops in to get the job done.

It does not matter whether our children die on the streets of NY or the middle east. They are still dead. The most pathetic part is that they are dying to defend freedom, while we are rolling over and giving those very freedoms away in the name of "security".

Posted by: patriot1957 | June 1, 2006 06:04 PM

Mr. Haight

Let's me and your son have a littel fun this weekend. I'll tie him to the bedposts and put electrodes on his testicles and give them a little tingle. Well, a big tingle. He didn't want kids anyway. Then I'll ram a hot poker up his arse. If he dies from our fun, its not my fault you volunteered him for it.

That might upset his mom and his family and make them hate me and vow revenge on me? Get a clue. Its not like I did anything cruel or unusual to him. They have no right to seek revenge on me. It was all in good fun.

Hey, this would be a great way to make new friends. Who ever would want revenge or wish death on me?

Posted by: pig in a poke | June 1, 2006 07:57 PM

My whole &*$$$###$#@! post was wiped out by the stupid censor nanny. Emily, I took the time to answer each rhetorical question you had.

All gone.

I'm soured on this thread...I will not bother to take the time to reconstruct what I wrote.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 1, 2006 08:26 PM

pig in a poke -

Your fantasy threats to kidnap & mutilate another poster's son are incredibly inappropriate.

Little big-mouthed cowards like you would never say that to another father or mother in real life, because the best you could hope for is the mob would just leave you beaten into a coma.

Hope Ms. Messner bans you. Preferably with your ISP address published for interested parties who would love to know your life's story.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 1, 2006 08:41 PM

Emily, it's fine to read your passion, particularly if it cuts out PC-style language. But since there's too much here to respond to all at once, here's just a small start.

The nature of war must be taken into account. Once you're in one, a political decision, it's irreversible. The true professional warriors know this, and that's why they almost universally advocate no war until there is virtually no alternative.

Committing very young adult men to extended periods of combat in remote and dirty places will have predictable results. They earnestly want to do their duty even though they don't get to see the big picture, and they also want to stay alive along with their buddies. In the field, a lot of their higher level thinking has to shut down and replaced with "black bean" responses, otherwise they will greatly reduce their chance of personal and team survival. Compounding the stress, they are now being put in these dangerous positions often without the close presence of some accountable official leadership, IMO.

If the Iraqi people want to have their own country with representative government, then it ought to be obvious to them that they must display some courage, and cannot harbor and protect non-uniformed insurgents (therefore not entitled to Geneva Conventions handing) who are dedicated to killing uniformed military trying to install social order.

There is very little in the experiences of ordinary civilian life to use as a measure to judge individual men, or the idea of applied justice, when conducting war. Warfare is a specialized discipline of its own, and street and journalistic opinions usually don't add much value or insight. Now is a time to be listening to those who know the rules and the facts in the circumstance of war, and to understand what to expect when a war is launched.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 1, 2006 08:44 PM

Chris Ford wrote:
Your fantasy threats to kidnap & mutilate another poster's son are incredibly inappropriate.

Ford, apparently you didn't read Haight's post that I was responding to. He said it wasn't cruel or inhumane to do these things. In fact his exact words were: "Does their action rise to the level of cruel and inhumane? Not in your lifetime!!!"

So you see, what you are calling kidnap and mutilation is simply not so to everyone. And if its not cruel and inhumane, then we are free to engage in it and the victims would be out of line if they, like you, wanted retailation.

Of course, it is our children who will suffer the retaliation, not Mr. Haight's. I dare say it is HE who would change his mind right quick if the retaliation was directed against HIS children.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | June 1, 2006 09:03 PM

sorry, I used my partner's handle by mistake.

Posted by: pig in a poke | June 1, 2006 09:04 PM

Alex Ham, On The Plantation, and Richard T. Haight are a bunch of conservative idiots that blindly defend Bush no matter what. Notice how they all tow the same line. People like them put party before country, as is obvious in their fraudulent answers to Emily's rhetorical question. It's a bunch of Republican lies and B.S. that completely turns a blind eye to all the incompetency of the Bush administration. America would be better off without the spoonfed idiots of the Republican right.
The answer to Emily's questions is that things are going to change come November. Americans are going to vote for a Congress that will hold Bush and his cohorts in check. That won't change the current state of things completely, but it will be the beginning of the end for the way things currently are.

Posted by: ErrinF | June 1, 2006 09:09 PM

outed a tyrant...


yes, clearly George W. Bush has been outed, so we are clearly safer than we were 5 years ago...


as for Saddam Hussein, well he wasn't much danger to us anyway.


it was those friggin Saudis and United Arab Emirates guys, trained by the CIA that tried to fry our bacon....


I'm glad we're in Iraq to take their oil away from them because


clearly the name of gawd is not Al ah..


it's yahweh right?


I love it when really stupid people step up to the plate....

Geo H. W. Bush sent April Glaspie to Iraq to indicate to Saddam that it would be okay with us if he used violence against Kuwiat to settle a border dispute,


that way,


we could come roaring in with a ploy called "Desert Storm," capture the country and put it into stasis using an embargo so that we could


pluck it when the time was ripe...


we needed a gimmick though, and that gimmick was a rallying cry,


like the one that got us Cuba, Manilla, Puerto Rico and some other land...


"Remember the Maine," that's it...


want to play roast the aholes?

.

Posted by: well, this is interesting... | June 1, 2006 09:25 PM

oh, and what your congress and useless president doesn't want you to know,

what isn't being talked about, is this:

that we are not at war.


what we (your congress and current administration, commanding your children) ARE DOING,

quite simply is, occupying a foreign country, with the intent of using it for the purposes of a few of the wealthy....and not for the interests of either countries citizens.


the occupation of this foriegn country, is to defraud the Iraqi people of their oil, in the name of

making a few people in the international(s) and the United States communities, _richer_, that doesn't seem nice to me and

it seems to be making all of the Iraqi people angry....not just some of them.


the fact that the US soldiers have been fed the story that their home country was attacked by Iraqi's...when it isn't true....makes them victims too.

it is a story perpatrated by the current administrations propaganda machine, run by this administration and the sitting congress.

which additionally, has foisted that same story on the world AND THE UNITED STATES CITIZENS...in order to persuade them to loot Iraq.....with gawd on their side...


only the presidents gawd smells a teen y bit of sulfur...and sports a pointy tail...that gawd encourages him to use homophobia, and misleading propaganda to get his way,

"and you shall know them by their werks,"


the United States soldiers, being good people, believe that story that the United States was attacked by Iraq, when it clearly was not, and the United States soldiers have been persuaded by the rhetoric to see the Iraqi people, in general, as their _enemy_ and that is DEEPLY disturbing....

and deeply polarizing.


two naive groups fighting each other...each thinking that they are in the right....that they are heros...


the soldiers don't know that they are seen as thieves and liars

I don't like to write this well, so don't expect it all of the time, it's boring to me.

.

Posted by: what your congress and president doesn't want you to know | June 1, 2006 09:33 PM

the most dangerous part of the president is the part of him

that doesn't fear being held responsible for his actions....he has no moral compass...


he has no friggin clue.


because he's been protected his whole life from being taken to task for his actions...


help him to grow up, and dickless, and rummy too....


make it so.


if we weren't a bunch of gutless cowards,


our leaders and congress would be in jail.

.


I vote for taking their properties away and letting them fend for themselves,


just consider their jobs permanently outsourced....with no hope for a rehire...let them live on their reputations once we sell their properties...


letting them understand what it means to live like the rest of us by giving them that experience....


no way out, having to deal with laws that others voted into action...


let them reap what they would have you reap from their actions...theives liars and heartless people.


liquidate 'em...
..."thei r properties of course," for that is the most precious part of life to them.

Posted by: I think we're fighting the wrong people. | June 1, 2006 09:39 PM

Errin F, I used to think you were just a wishful thinker. Now I am praying you are a visionary.

It would appear the Repub strategy for 2006 will be -
1. it doesn't matter that we didn't get OBL dead or alive, or that he has spawned enough successors to ensure al Qaeda's health and survival no matter what happens to him now, or that we ourselves have become the first strike, torturing, human rights violating nation we taught our children to hate, or that four years after 9-11 our ports and borders are like seives. All that matters is that our plan must be working because we haven't been attacked again.....yet, therefore. and
2. The gay marriage will come to a vote, forcing people to be on the record before the election, then will come up in the statehouses and force those legislators to put their vote on the record, thus giving them a campaign issue to villify the democrats and rinos on.

The question is, is "What's the matter with Kansas" still the matter? Are people finally smart enough to see Swiftboating for what it is so that it smears the mudlinger and not the target? Or will a vote against the gay marriage amendment be the kiss of death?

Posted by: patriot 1957 | June 1, 2006 10:39 PM

Pig in a poke -

There is a problem with identifying with "enemy rights" so much that you become indistinguishable from an outright enemy sympathizer in the rhetoric you use. That you are the "significant other" of "patriot" 1957 makes sense. He also has great difficulty in believing a foe is not morally equivalent to us, and should not bbe treated differently than an innocent American citizen.

Thus you find killing a totally innocent American no different than killing an Islamoid 9/11 planner.

Regardless of all that, your fantasy threats of child kidnapping and mutilation against another poster joining the debate are beyond despicable.
========================

On the Plantation raises the distinctions quite well:

"If the Iraqi people want to have their own country with representative government, then it ought to be obvious to them that they must display some courage, and cannot harbor and protect non-uniformed insurgents (therefore not entitled to Geneva Conventions handing) who are dedicated to killing uniformed military trying to install social order.

There is very little in the experiences of ordinary civilian life to use as a measure to judge individual men, or the idea of applied justice, when conducting war."

Indeed! Before you even start on blaming young American patriots for all the problems, you have to start with for what is the Left, unpleasant facts:

1. The Marines were not the assaulters, but the targets of a neighborhood of infidel haters - everyone of which knew of the IED, when it would be set off to kill infidel Americans. If a neighborhood harbors and supports unlawful combatants and other Iraqi Sunnis feel it is their due - the last people who should give them a pass on that are the American citizenry observing our soldiers being killed by Geneva Convention violators. Some limited number of US military have broken discipline in reacting to the constant Geneva violators....but as with "pig in a poke", they risk being seen as enemy supporters if the only criticize Americans reacting to those who daily violate the rules of war, not the chronic violators themselves.
2. In WWII, any Nazi town stronghold that surrendered, then did sneak attacks on British, American, or Soviet soldiers was simply flattened by artillery or bombers - all men women and children therein equally targeted and dispatched without regret. And no ACLU or Leftist protest because either their relatives were being fed into the ovens or they approved of whatever Uncle Joe said was necessary.
3. People clueless about war = lacking any education in this very sophisticated, critical, and frequent societal behavior = are amazed it seems, that war is different than the only life they have been "educated" on - peacetime civilian life.

a. That an enemy can kill military OR civilian Americans at a bona fide wartime target and NOT face criminal trial? Noooo! That can't be!!
b. That we can kill an armed or unarmed retreating enemy in battle without ACLU lawyers arguing their case and a judge deciding? Egads! That is horrible!
c. That the fools who drafted Geneva actually say that the fault for dead civilians is with the attacking force hiding within a civilian neighborhood doing the ambush, not those actually killing the civilians the unlawful combatants use as shields as they do counterfire deemed of military necessity? Oh, the humanity!
d. That folks like 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed really DON'T have a right as unlawful combatants to "lawyer up". By being unlawful combatants, to gain tactical advantage, they willingly (no matter what their and their "rights sympathizers" demands are, they have foregone their rights under Geneva to be treated as an honorable POW.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 1, 2006 10:41 PM

the soldiers think that they are fighting an enemy force...


that is what they have been sold by the current administration and sitting congress...


and the Iraqi civilians think that the soldiers represent an occupying foreign government that is not acting in their best interests...


the soldiers have been sold that story by this administration and sitting congress...that their country was attacked...the US has not been attacked by Iraq...perhaps by their own people or those supported in a clandestine action, yes.


the Iraqi citizens are being attacked by a foreign power interested in acquiring control over thier oil rights, and the influence related to that....


there are no kind, good hearts leading us.

they are stale, hateful and disingenuous people worthy of an internment of several years followed by a liquidation of their properties and a swift execution by being tied living into weighted sacks and dropped into the ocean whilst playing "On top of Old Smokie,"


we're in Iraq because,

because they're sitting on top of the second largest oil reserves in the world>.


M . O . N . E . Y .


what are you going to do with your share, bury your son?

.

that is what your congress and president doesn't want you to know.


the worst thing about this war is that..


it isn't one, it's an economic intervention by the monied using the United States Military and the DOD is complicit


because after the Soviet Union collapsed they had to justify their existence...

what they have done is created a terrorist threat, that wasn't there initially, but at the rate we're creating disaffection in the world....


we actually might be in danger,


although the fact that 12 TO 20 MILLION ILLEGAL FRIGGIN ALIENS have managed to


walk across the border in broad daylight waving roman candles with signs on them that say, "arrest me,"


maybe we're not in that much danger...

.

Posted by: the worst thing about this war is that.. | June 1, 2006 10:59 PM

it's amazing what the truth can do all by it's lonesome...


Killing devils right and left, let my size 12 find it's way up some satanic a-ss tonight...

.

Posted by: I write pretty well don't you think? | June 1, 2006 11:14 PM

Lets talk about this: "There is a problem with identifying with "enemy rights" so much that you become indistinguishable from an outright enemy sympathizer in the rhetoric you use"

and this:
"If the Iraqi people want to have their own country with representative government, then it ought to be obvious to them ... and cannot harbor and protect non-uniformed insurgents ...who are dedicated to killing uniformed military trying to install social order.

Well, I guess we first need to define "enemy". My enemy was and is al Qaeda. Osama BinLaden has no rights, may his sould burn in hell. My enemy was not the almost 6,000 innocent Iraqi men, women and children killed in the rain of American bombs in the first two weeks of the Iraqi invasion. My enemy is the foreign fighters in Iraq. My enemy is not the common Iraqi citizen who no longer knows who his real enemy is.

I am astounded at the naivete that the Sunnis should lie down and take whatever the Shia dish out for them in the name of national "unity". National unity is a completely foreign concept to them. The melting pot is a foreign concept to them. Sunni's are faced with a choice, throw in their lot with the US developed government which has already shown it will under-represent their interests, or throw in their lot with those who promise not to let the Shia have their way with them. What reason have we given them to trust us except our word, and how much does our word mean in the world now? If the US wants the Sunni's to believe that they are better off casting their lot with us, we need to do a better job than Abu Ghraib (of which the Red Cross estimated 70-90% were innocent victims), or a new government in which they are notably under-represented.

No, harboring saboteurs is not civilized behavior. Except when the saboteur is your blood or on your side. Do you not understand the expression that blood is thicker than water? In this case the saboteurs are blood. Throw in sufficient suspicion about which side will provide the best oucome for their interests, and you have a disaster in the making.

But as much sympathy as I have for the Sunnis, I have even more for the soldiers in Haditha. We saw exactly this same phenomenon in Korea and Vietnam - a population that eventually wasn't sure which side was their real enemy and who protected their own blood saboteurs. In Korea if a kid sniper got your buddy and then ran and hid in the village, your unit would line up the villagers and start shooting them until they gave up the saboteur. That's what happens when you send a bunch of scared witless kids into a place where neither they nor the local populace really know who or where the enemy is. Of course the soldiers at Haditha shouldn't have done what they did. But if they are going to hang, then the people who sent them there under false pretenses with no clue what the hell they were doing and no clue how to prosecute this war should hang with them for putting them into that kind of spot to begin with.

I have no sympathy for my enemies, al Qaeda,and for foreign fighters in Iraq. But I also have no use for an administration who invaded a foreign country under false pretenses, had absolutely no cultural clue about what the hell they were up against, botched the peacekeeping, tortured and abused the populace (including mostly innocent victims), set them up to be trampled under the iron fist of a hated majority, and then calls ME an enemy sympathizer against persons not members of al Qaeda, not involved in 9-11, and having legitimate reasons to be not sure who their enemy is.


Posted by: pig in a poke | June 2, 2006 12:02 AM

"If the Iraqi people want to have their own country with representative government, then it ought to be obvious to them ... and cannot harbor and protect non-uniformed insurgents ...who are dedicated to killing uniformed military trying to install social order.

ON the plantation, here is the crux of our problem.
1. Will the Sunni's really "have their own country" when they will really be a permanent minority in a Shia country?
2. Will they really have representative government? Anyone with access to the US news for the past 5 or 6 years has had a great view of the tyrrany of the majority. And so far the shia are under-represented in the new government by about 50% of the representation they should have.
3. Why would it be obvious to them that they should roll over and accept an externally imposed social order that is stacked against them, where they will be a tyrranized minority.

It is the total failure of our leaders to grasp that they are not a melting pot nor are they a unified people that got us into this mess to begin with.

Who can the Sunnis trust to help them look out for their best interests? The US? What exactly is our word worth right now? Blood is thicker than water.

Do you know who Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is? He is a Shia hard liner who has been a vocal advocate for an Shiite Islamic state. He has advocated for anti-Sunni policies? Please explain to me why the Sunni should trust him and play nice to become a minority part of an artificially cobbled together nation with him at the helm?

Our soldiers should not be dying at the hands of Sunni saboteurs. But the Sunnis should not feel they need to protect saboteurs to ensure the future of their people. The person to blame for Haditha is George Bush, and Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld and the rest of the neocon gang that couldn't shoot straight, not the US Marines or the Sunni people.

WE can't leave, and staying seems to only be making it worse. But we need to begin to develop some sort of understanding about what leaving a tyrranized Sunni minority will do to the region before we call the Sunni's "enemies".

Posted by: pig in a poke | June 2, 2006 12:53 AM

you mean the rumour of a violent military power that is out to get us that has been foisted on the American Public


by a PNAC inspired agenda?


do you mean the false flag perpatrators,


the CIA/HAYDEN/CHEYNEY/RUMSFELD/NEGROPONTE/NSA


you know the DOD, monied cabal that wants to have war for life so they don't have to worry about the future....


you mean the people that served alongside George H.W. Bush with the cia/mafia/bayofpigs fiasco, which became the Nixon watergate fiasco?


and how did we get into Iraq?

oh yeah, April Glaspie talking to Saddam Hussein while we let the Kurds burn in hell after Desert Storm....women, children freezing without food on the border between Iraq and Turkey after we said we'd support them if they helped us in the invasion of Iraq?


so we could gain control of a region and assist our friends


THE FRIGGIN SAUDIS AND UAE who risked their lives flying planes into the world trade center for us so we could have a rallying cry that was cool....


remember 9/11....so many died....right,


like about 1/4 of the number that died in firearms related crimes that year...


kiss my a-ss


what a load of crap.

.

Posted by: Al Quaeda... | June 2, 2006 01:57 AM

that are charging your elderly
and disabled....

$30/friggin dollars a month per person for the right to defraud them, reducing their ability to pay for their medicine by paying for the invasion from the General Fund...which is where all Social Security related payments come from.


while giving people making over $200,000 a year tax breaks as they send your job to friggin India.

and hire Jose' to work construction instead of college students.

the same people that foisted and a false flag attack on you in order to participate,

with their allies


in an opportunistic invasion of another country that happens to have a lot of oil underneath their primitive feet....


kiss my a-ss.

.

Posted by: the enemies of the country are the ones | June 2, 2006 02:05 AM

pig in a poke wrote:

"Please explain to me why the Sunni should trust . . ."
___________

Without constitutional checks and balances, I don't trust representative government, nor do I trust minority factions in control of key sections of government. No reason to. And I'm talking about the USA, and all levels of government, local, state, and federal.

Institutionalized checks and balances, and fundamental protection of rights (life, liberty, property) inculcated at the individual level, are the real protections.

The flaws and incompletions in this immature representative government in Iraq are precisely the reason a U.S. military presence, a custodian if you will, seems essential to solidify an orderly and consentual form of self government in Iraq. It probably takes a generation to do.

Now is the result going to be worth the price we are paying? I doubt it, but future history will be the evaluator of this.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 2, 2006 07:04 AM


BREAKING NEWS!!!

For uncensored news please bookmark:
www.onlinejournal.com
www.wsws.org
www.takingaim.info
otherside123.blogspot.com

http://www.infowars.com/articles/ww3/iran_mcgovern_war_set_june_july.htm

Former CIA Analyst Says Iran Strike Set For June Or July
McGovern: Staged terror attacks across Europe, US "probable" in order to justify invasion

Paul Joseph Watson/Prison Planet.com | June 1 2006

Former CIA analyst and Presidential advisor Ray McGovern, fresh from his heated public confrontation with Donald Rumsfeld, fears that staged terror attacks across Europe and the US are probable in order to justify the Bush administration's plan to launch a military strike against Iran, which he thinks will take place in June or July.

Appearing on The Alex Jones Show, McGovern was asked about the timetable for war in Iran and said that behind the diplomatic smokescreen, the final chess pieces were being moved into position.

"There is already one carrier task force there in the Gulf, two are steaming toward it at the last report I have at least - they will all be there in another week or so."

"The propaganda has been laid, the aircraft carriers are in place, it doesn't take much to fly the bombers out of British and US bases - cruse missiles are at the ready, Israel is egging us on," said McGovern.

McGovern said Iran's likely response to a US air strike would be threefold - mobilizing worldwide terrorist cells that would make Al-Qaeda look like a girls netball team - utilizing its cruise missile arsenal to attack US ships and sending fighters into Iraq to attack US forces.

"The Iranians can easily send three divisions of revolutionary guard troops right over....the long border with Iraq," said McGovern, stating that the local Sunni population of Iraq would welcome such an invasion.

The turmoil caused by such an action would lead the US to tap its so-called 'mini-nuke' arsenal said McGovern, opening a new Pandora's box of chaos.

McGovern highlighted President Bush's all time record low approval ratings as a reason for launching an attack on Iran to again whip up false patriotic fervour.

"I can see Karl Rove saying, 'look what you need to do is become a war president again, get us involved with something pretty big here and then strut around and say you can't vote for a bunch of Democrats to pull the rug out from under me while there's a war going on'."

McGovern drew a comparison with the concillatory cold war stance of Russia and JFK's decision to respond in a similar manner, and the Iranian President's letter which was immediately dismissed by the Bush administration. JFK's approach saved the US from potential nuclear anihalation while Bush's actions put the US in severe danger as Russia and China give ominous mixed signals on what their response to a US strike on Iran will be.

McGovern lambasted Bush's inner circle as uniformly lacking any real military experience and characterized them as a cabal already hell-bent on war.

McGovern entertained the notion that western governments and intelligence hierarchies could potentially stage terror attacks in Europe and the US either before or after an invasion of Iran.

"That's altogether possible," said McGovern.

"I would say even probable because they need some proximate cause, some casus belli to justify really unleashing things on Iran....I would put very little past this crew - their record of dissembling and disingenuousness is unparalleled."

McGovern said that Rove, Cheney and Rumsfeld, fearing impeachment and Enron-style criminal proceedings, are urging President Bush to launch a war in order to create a climate unconducive to lengthy investigations and impeachment proceedings.

Asked to cite specifically when we should expect to see an attack launched, McGovern said, "I think we all agree that an attack is likely before the election and we all agree that it has to do largely with the election - as for timing I see a likelihood that it could come as early as late June or early July, most of my colleagues predict August, September, maybe an October surprise even."

"My thinking is that for it to be October that would be so crass and so transparent that even this crowd would shy away from making it so obvious," said McGovern.

McGovern is set to appear along with a host of other respected and credible whistleblowers at the American Scholars Symposium at the end of this month.

Click here to listen to a clip of the interview with Ray McGovern. Prison Planet.tv members can listen to the entirety of this interview. If you are not a subscriber please consider the great benefits of becoming an exclusive member by clicking here.

Posted by: CHE | June 2, 2006 07:40 AM

I sympathize with all our soldiers and my thoughts are with them.

And I'm willing to wait for all the evidence to come to light before making a hard judgement on the Haditha incident.

However IF the reports are true (which I'll reserve judgement for now) then these analogies are incomplete or inappropriate.

A five year old is not a soldier with knowledge bout IEDs. And even if they had knowledge about IEDs then the worst way to supplant information from them is to shoot them in the head/back. So is this a retaliatory hit? A message hit? What is the strategic importance of killing a kid?

These kinds of atrocities were commonplace in WW2. Many things were different. I completely understand the logic of a Russian officer who shoots battlefield deserters on the spot. That's a necessary evil in an existential conflict.

Should it turn out that some Marines killed villagers in Haditha we have to ask; is this a necessary evil? More importantly, is this an existential conflict?

Of course Iraq is not an existential conflict for us as a nation. I believe that's beyond doubt at this point, given that WMD never surfaced.

And I'm having a hard time understanding why Haditha was a "necessary" wartime evil. If the worst reports are true then it feels more like a retaliatory hit, or just what a group of young men far away in a strange land felt they needed to do to survive.

I can't personally fault those Marines because they made their decision with the relevant information. And they certainly *are* in an existential conflict. But as a society we are not, and as a society we have a perfectly legitimate right to impose standards and practices on the people we send to fight. This might not always be fair to those brave men and women in uniform, but we expect such a sacrifice daily.

Regardless of what I personally believe, I think it's obvious that the United States, as a society, has zero patience for shooting children. If we accept that our soldiers must engage in such retaliatory murders to survive then we should ask whether the juice is worth the squeeze.

I don't see how that can be possible. In a societal battle for survival much is permissible. Some portions of Iraqi society find themselves in an existential conflict and their will to win supercedes their will to maintain standards and practices. The United States is not in a battle for survival with insurgents. Standards and practices are going to be enforced despite the cost.

Posted by: Will | June 2, 2006 10:44 AM

As I said in another debate, a lot of the problem stems from the fact that among the things the US did not prepare for was the idea that this would become an urban combat situation. (Military people please chime in and tell me if I'm wrong): Urban combat is COMPLETELY unlike the scripted war that GDubya dreamed up: The Normandy Invasion without the aftermath of going from small town to small town to push out the bad guys. I am fairly certain I remember Admin talking heads saying "Oh no, it will never become an urban combat situation." Before Iraq was invaded. If only wishing made it so.

I will not defend the men who shot civilians but should we REALLY be surprised when a bunch of people who have been lied to over and over find themselves in a situation that they were not trained for, were told could not happen (and how many would like to get out but cannot because of some Pentagon jiggery-pokery with their discharges?) do dreadful things? And what about the higher-ups who tried to sweep the bodies under the rug? That disgusts me more. I can imagine being scared into a rampage, I cannot imagine hearing about a rampage and thinking it would be a good idea to lie about it. Of course, when you are more concerned about your public image than actually getting anything done, I guess the cover up doesn't come as a surprise either.
Whatever punishment the people who pulled the triggers receive, their superiors should receive at least as much if not more.
To answer your question, as long as we have leaders who wouldn't recognize reality if it ran up their pants leg, who put image first, second, third and leave substance off the list, the US will continue to be a country that finds itself the focus of international outrage and disgust.

Posted by: NIW | June 2, 2006 10:57 AM

Hmmm...so much opinion from so FEW who have served in combat.

Where to start...

First, the soldiers who serve in an environment where the predominant TACTIC is NOT to stand up and go toe-to-toe with us and to use uncoventional means to close with and destroy THEIR enemy are put into a situation that is very difficult to navigate. That is a fact.

It is indeed very hard to control one's emotions when your buddy is lying in a pool of blood, dead. However, it is exactly the discipline to remain level-headed in such a situation that is the essence of our training as PROFESSIONAL soldiers. No, it's not easy. Yes, the emotions of anger and revenge are understandable...but what took place, if what is being presented in now THREE cases is true, it is illegal and should be punished.

Like it or not we have created a PROFESSIONAL military that operates under the laws of land warfare that have been established not only via the Geneva Conventions but also through the laws of this country, the UCMJ as well as our agreements with the "host" countries within which we operate. The rules make fighting a counter-insurgency very difficult and EXTREMELY challenging both mentally and emotionally to the common soldier.

The PROFESSIONAL soldier is not generally trained to conduct counter-insurgency warfare. They are trained to acquire, close with, and kill the enemy. When mounting an assault, it's clear how to clear a room or building; how to maneuver and take a town or objective. It's very black and white. This is NOT what counter-insurgency is about.

Counter-insurgency is a lot like police work and it takes special training to inculcate the nuances of fighting an effective counter-insurgency. This is why we have placed our soldiers in a situation for which they are NOT adequately trained or employed. This is a LEADERSHIP failure as one of the pillars of leadership is to employ your forces in accordance with their capabilities; this is CLEARLY not what has taken place since the end of the initial assault in Iraq.

So, we have placed soldiers into situations that basically CREATE an environment that will challenge their PERSONAL ability to maintain control in an emotionally charged, violent situation. While this mitigates the reasoning behind their actions, it does NOT exonerate them from their inability to control their own emotions and act in accordance with rules, regulations and traditions we ALL signed up to uphold and honor.

Therefore, if you are angry that these men should be brought to justice because they were placed in an impossible situation, blame the person or people who but them in that situation. I suggest you start with the Commander-In-Chief.

However, because we ARE fighting a counter-insurgency, it is imperative that we operate on several dimensions of which actual direct action is only one. Countering a motivated, funded and armed insurgency is extremely difficult and complex and using tools (combat troops) that are not suited to the tasks only makes the problem harder.

The fault for ALL of the attrocities of this war that come from our hands should be SQUARELY placed on our civilian and high-ranking military leadership. The civilians should be blamed for the arrogance and lack of foresight and planning and the general officers for their unwillingness to put the welfare of the troops ahead of their next promotions; promotions they would only get if they just allowed the civilians to continue to give them a mission that is unwinnable.

The TRUTH of this matter is that if the soldiers involved in the incidents being reported on in the press are responsible for illegal actions, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. As a professional soldier of the USA I adhere to a higher standard of conduct then anyone else. We do not always live up to those standards, but we should not make excuses for doing so. Being angry, scared, tired, frustrated, injured or just nuts, while REASONS, are NOT EXCUSES for illegal actions.

Furthermore, when fighting a counter-insurgency, it is imperative that you demonstrate conduct that wins the "hearts & minds" of those in the middle. Everytime you kill a civilian, even when uncontrollable, you create another potential insurgent. When you outright execute innocent civilians, you have created an enemy that has a real reason to want to kill you. That is detrimental to the mission.

So, because the nature of this war is what it is, we should not be SURPRISED by such things, but we should NOT look the other way either. We should demonstrate through our moral standings and our adherence to the rule of law that we ARE the BETTER alternative. If we cannot do that, if we take the lazy way out, if we take the emotionally soothing way out, then we are offering merely a replacement for what they already have.

Our leadership has placed our soldiers in an almost impossible situation given our approach to the mission and the amount of resources we are POLITICALLY willing to apply. I can tell you as a soldier that THIS SUCKS! And yet, we drive on, because that is what we signed up to do. BUT, it does not exonerate us with respect to actions which are CLEARLY outside the bounds of the law and our integrity as professional soldiers.

Choosing the warrior path is indeed a profound decision as you will almost invariably be asked to put your life on the line in situations like these where YOUR welfare is low on the list of priorities and the connection between defending your country is pretty damn tenuous.

So, please STOP trying to make excuses for these soldiers. And, for God's sake, please start holding our leaders accountable for creating the situation that puts these soldiers in a position to make such horrible choices.

IF the facts of the case demonstrate that the soldiers involved in these incidences violated laws, then let them be punished appropriately.

BUT, do not indict the entire military for such actions...including the cover-ups. Officers and Senior NCOs try to take care of their troops (it's a leadership principle), but in TRYING to do so, they ALSO make bad decisions and should be held accountable. The truth is that knowledge of such events IS detrimental to our mission...but ignoring them does not keep the truth of our actions from effecting us in the end.

The people on the ground SAW what took place. That alone will work against us, regardless of whether it comes to light or not. Furthermore, the truth of such actions will almost ALWAYS come out, making cover-ups almost doomed from the beginning. And, once the cat is out of the bag, we must seize the opportunity to demonstrate our moral and lawful superiority by bringing justice to the situation. If we choose to try and defend our actions, which are clearly outside the boundaries of accepted behavior, then we become hypocrites at best, and tyrants at worst.

Accept the fact that we have made unbelievable mistakes in our prosecution of this "war on terror". These mistakes start at the top and will go down to the lowliest private. Our mission to secure ourselves, as noble as it is, cannot be allowed to blind us from our incompentent prosecution of the mission.

NO ONE doubts the need to provide security, but plent of people have RATIONAL doubts about HOW we are going about it.

Please stop watching war movies and reading war novels and thinking you know what it is to be a professional soldier in the modern world. War is not glorious, war is not honorable, war is an attrocity to be avoided at all costs. Actions by soldiers can indeed be glorious, heroic, honorable and emotional...but do NOT confuse the two.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 2, 2006 11:15 AM

First off, hearing that Ford's first post has been destroyed because of his normal offensive nature has completely made my day. My coworkers think Im absolutely insane for bursting out in laughter and for this Ford, I thank you.

I must also thank you for again causing me to laugh. You are offensive as can be Ford and your own posts apparently get you censored, by your own admission. Meanwhile, you call for the banning of someone who hypothetically suggests applying the same torture claimed to be used on potentially innocent people to be applied to someone's child to examine the feelings and emotions that would cause. Hillarious.

That said Ford, please do not attempt to distort the issue. You state:
"Thus you find killing a totally innocent American no different than killing an Islamoid 9/11 planner."

Ok, who said anything specifically about ONLY 9/11 planners? How about the children gunned down in retaliation? A German man taken and tortured due to a case of mistaken identity? The US denying trials and denying international groups to examine captives health and well being? These people, by definition, have not been proven guilty. Sure, many of them probably are due to the circumstances in which they were caught or brought in. But all? The case with the German man suggests that this is not necessarily true.

You go on to state:
" If a neighborhood harbors and supports unlawful combatants and other Iraqi Sunnis feel it is their due - the last people who should give them a pass on that are the American citizenry observing our soldiers being killed by Geneva Convention violators. "

So you're saying we should be ok with soldiers killing a little girl? Shooting her in the head? So, by that analogy, Saddam being on trial for ordering the death of a village after a 'trial' should not sensationalize the murders of the children of the village? You're ok with that?

The rest of your post is simply 'more of the same.' It's a rant on how Lefties are ruining the world, picking and choosing information as you see fit. I'm sure your analogy on the Left not protesting the bombing of towns has nothing to do with differences in communication technology. I'm sure you are correct when implying that people and groups cannot change over the course of 60 years. Sure demographics of the right and left have changed drastically, but I'm sure that party idealogies can never, ever change.

You are a sad, sad man Ford, and I truly feel sorry for you. Like Haight, you are ruining this country. We went into this claiming to be the better country. We went into this saying Saddam's random killings, torture and policies were something that had to be changed. And what happens? We commit the same acts. As much as you want your S&M and feelings of superiority, you can't have them. Why? Because people like you justified this by saying that those acts are exactly what we were going to stop. And we haven't.

Posted by: Freedom | June 2, 2006 11:30 AM

As for torture...

First off, it DOES NOT WORK!!!

Ask ANY PROFESSIONAL intelligence officer and interrogator and they will tell you that under extreme duress, human beings will say whatever it takes to get you to stop. Hell, police can get confessions by people who didn't even commit crimes - and THAT is without using physical torture!

Secondly, even if you get information from such actions, the validity of the information is suspect to begin with. First, it is coming from a single source (yellow cake anyone?) and second that source, at the time when the information is obtained, is UNVERIFIED by other intelligence information. This makes it VERY dangerous to act; you are basically going off half-cocked.

If the information is red-herring, then you will have allocated FINITE resources to a mission that will limit our ability to pro/react to a REAL threat. Oops.

In intelligence, where conflicting and unclear information is the rule NOT the exception, it is IMPERATIVE that bona fides for both the source AND the information are varified BEFORE you take action. One need only look at our forray into Iraq on SUSPECT/CHERRY-PICKED intelligence to realize the overwhelming DETRIMENTAL consequences of ACTING on sketchy intelligence.

GOOD intelligence operations take time to implement and to operate - that is the nature of the beast. The idiotic straw man of the "ticking time bomb" scenario is nothing more than a deflection intended to make others look the other way when we torture people.

Even if Jack Bauer were on the case, you cannot trust the information enough to move effectively without unlimited resources. In the MOVIES, characters like Jack just KNOW the person has finally divulged the truth...but that is not real life.

It takes an incredibly well trained and experienced interrogator to verify the veracity of an asset. And, even then, we get suckered.

So, stop watching 24 and James Bond movies and join the real world. Torture is approach of a lazy incompetent. The "ticking time bomb" wouldn't be a problem if you were doing INTEL right to begin with; it would never get to that.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 2, 2006 11:34 AM

Atrocities happen in every military conflict. How many of you are old enough to remember Lt. Calley and Mi Lai? We (Brainless idiots in power) sent National Guard and Reserve units to fight where the Regular military should be fighting. We sent weekend warriors to fight as regulars. These people weren't combat ready. They have been there some for 3 or 4 tours already. The military feeds them amphetamines like candy so they can continue to fight. These kids are nothing more than shell shocked, sleep deprived zombies. They've been brainwashed through their military training to follow orders, basically without question. Unless you've been through it you have no right to judge. Something snapped in their mind to push them from being human to releasing their animal instincts, I saw it happen to a couple of my buddies, you don't even know them any more. From your nice cozy couch you can say what they did was wrong, and yes I have to agree, morally it was, but, at that time they didn't know what was right or what was wrong, and I can attest to this. You see guerilla warfare which the V.C. used against us isn't black or white. The VC used to send little kids, running up to some poor GI who was giving out candy bars, with a couple of granades strapped to their bodies, pins pulled, so the kid blew up along with the GI. The VC also use to kidnap a young kids mother and threaten to kill her unless a 10 or 11 year-old kid agreed to throw a satchel charge into a crowded bar full of american GI's. This is the same tactics the insurgents in Iraq are useing. If you really want to blame someone for these atrocities, blame this administration, our yellow bellied rubber stamp congress, and the Neocons running the Defense Department.

Posted by: Lab Rat | June 2, 2006 11:51 AM

keep it coming...

thanks.

.

Posted by: nice stuff... | June 2, 2006 12:32 PM

fate schifo

Posted by: Mauro f. | June 2, 2006 12:40 PM

With respect, there's a whole lot of difference between what you describe as "the military covered up an intentional attack on civilians by U.S. forces" and a unit commander trying to protect his troops from themselves. Objectively, if what is alleged actually occurred, there is no excuse for it. In a Volunteer military, those who choose the profession of arms must do so conscious of all its attendant risks and obligations. That said, a good commander loves his troops like sons, and more than a few parents will try to protect their children even when those children have done wrong. What I am saying is that it was error, but a very human error, not some deep dark military conspiracy.

Posted by: Mike Deal | June 2, 2006 12:52 PM

THIS is what a WARRIOR who cares more about his troops then his next promotion says. THIS is the result of PROFESSIONAL development of soldiers.

-----

http://tinyurl.com/mxwcc

Cadet Bush at West Point: Screw That Chin In, Beanhead!
by James Ryan

Mister Bush, you deserve a good reaming for your performance at the United States Military Academy graduation on Saturday. Post around to my room for some character guidance.

Come in, wackhead. Slam up against that wall! Suck up that capacious gut! Shoulders back! Pop up that puny chest! Fingers along the seams of your trousers! You want to be our big buddy, Mister? What's that? I can't hear you... Sound off, dumbsmack! Yes, you say? Yes, what? That's an incomplete statement, beanhead. Tack a "sir" at the end. That's better.

So you think you can be our big buddy by spouting some cadet slang in a speech? One hour here at Hudson High, and you're falling out, acting like an upper classman. That's pathetic behavior, Mister Bush. This is one place where you have to earn privileges, Mister! You got that? You think all we care about up here is war? From your speech one would think so. You must love yakking about IEDs, convoy operations, and running checkpoints. There is so much more going on up here, mister, and you make us out to be cannon fodder. So run your feeble neck in another notch for that.

You must be corrected about this place, West Point. It's not a "tin school." That's just a joke, and not one for either you or Rumsfeld to crack wise about. West Point is supposed to develop military leadership to provide expertise in the increasingly complex world of geopolitics. Rumsfeld's wishful thinking and arrogance swept all that away. His (and your) tragically flawed, ego-driven ideology trumped empirical, professional judgment and leadership. Over a score of generals walked rather than bow their necks under the deceitful yoke of Rumsfeld. And then you ended up with the likes of Tommy "We Don't Do Body Counts" Franks. But now he IS counting bodies... those of our own troops. "What we're talking about is neither 2,400, 24,000 or 240,000 lives," the dismissive Franks said at a recent NRA bash, adding paradoxically, "It (terrorism) doesn't have anything to do with politics." Does this make you feel proud, Mister Bush? To have people like this develop policies for the United States of America? When you get back to DC, you tell Rumsfeld to drive around to our room and we'll explain a few things to him too.

We pay attention to everything up here at West Point, Mister Bush. Even the fact that you told the same joke about giving cadets amnesty that you told four years ago. You should be more respectful of West Point, Mister Bush. That seems to be a pattern in your behavior, smackhead. Telling the same stories over and over. And you throw around the names of old grads like Eisenhower and Bradley, using them to somehow justify what you and your big buddies in DC have done to the world. What do you know about Eisenhower or Bradley? You might get away with that stuff in the oval office, but not up here. Not at West Point. You got that, wack? You got that loud and clear, beansmack? Good. Retain same.

The Long Gray Line spans the generations, mister. Its spirit fills the geographic, intellectual, and moral space that is West Point. The old grads are always there. - Mister Bush, you want to buy this place? No? Well stop gawking! Keep those slimy eyeballs straight ahead. Pick a spot on the opposite wall and examine it! - You never said anything about what those old grads said. You just got the cadets' attention by saying the words, Eisenhower and Bradley, but then that was the idea, wasn't it? Then you launched into how President Truman did this, that, and the other thing. You even pulled a Winston Churchill with your "...never back down...never give in...never accept anything less than a complete victory" routine. It reminded many of us of that "mission accomplished" crud that you blabbed off the coast of San Diego a few years ago. Just who are you, Mister Bush? Makes cadets wonder whether there's anything inside that fine civilian suit of yours? You read me, Mister Bush?

Do you remember what you said here at the Academy four years ago? About pre-emptive action? Do you know what Dwight Eisenhower said about that much earlier? Don't hem and haw, Mister Bush. Here at West Point there are only three answers for smacks like you... Yes sir. No sir. No excuse sir. Remember that! And remember this! Eisenhower said, "When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war." And his fellow classmate from the class of 1915, the class the stars fell on, Omar Bradley was even clearer. "Wars can be prevented just as surely as they can be provoked," he said, "and we who fail to prevent them must share the guilt for the dead."

You feel like sharing any of that responsibility, any of that guilt, Mister Bush? Your decision, your deceit-filled decision, to attack Iraq has cost tens of thousands of lives. What do you have to say about that? It seems to us that you have to watch your language, Mister Bush. I mean you still maintain that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and that he was somehow responsible for 9/11. Your evasions and quibbling and lies have cost the world dearly. Cram your neck in, Mister Bush. And you implied as much again in your speech at West Point:

"On September the 11th, 2001, we saw that the problems originating in a failed and oppressive state 7,000 miles away could bring murder and destruction to our country."
Which country might that have been, Mister Bush? No specification followed. Rack your neck in further for another gross deception!

Four years ago, you were introduced to the graduating class of 2002 as "a man who exemplifies the West Point motto of Duty, Honor, Country." That now revolts some graduates of West Point. At West Point, we uphold the Cadet Honor Code... a cadet will not lie cheat or steal or tolerate those who do. Mister Bush, it seems to us that you and your ilk have done exactly the opposite. (Keep that chin firmly in!) And you are still, cooking up war stories, unalloyed of truth, further proving, if such was now necessary, that lying, even under your combat imaginings, jeopardizes the lives of fighting men and women. And Saturday you told the graduating cadets that "the war began on my watch but it's going to end on yours." Perhaps you would like to correct that statement? Perhaps consider adding what is now widely known, that the assault on Iraq began premised on lies. That it is illegal. That these lies have severely dissipated the capability, morale, and reputation of United States military forces, and the United States of America. And that the young men and women of West Point in this year's graduating class may also be soon at risk for crimes against the Geneva Convention. And that you don't give a damn for anything we just said. Would you like to make a statement, Mister Bush?

Urp!*

*("Urp" is (or was) cadet oral slang directed at first-year cadets (plebes) and stands for "RP" an acronym for the command, "Respond promptly." )

James Ryan graduated from West Point in 1962. He is cofounder of West Point Graduates Against The War.

Posted by: | June 2, 2006 12:59 PM

Mike,

We are in violent agreement. Indeed, there is NO excuse for what took place if it is true. I think I made that clear. One can realize from the outside such things, but we cannot discount the perceptions and emotions of those on the ground. They are REASONS not EXCUSES.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 2, 2006 01:02 PM

Will - "These kinds of atrocities were commonplace in WW2. Many things were different. I completely understand the logic of a Russian officer who shoots battlefield deserters on the spot. That's a necessary evil in an existential conflict."

The Soviets, Brits, and Americans would also, as a necessary evil - routinely burn and blast as many men, women, and children as possible as needed to enforce their Will and secure the submission of the populace - in a town that refused to surrender or reneged on surrender.

In Okinawa and Saipan, Jap families were given a spare Arisaka rifle, a few grenades and told to hold out in caves and cliffside redoubts, try killing Americans, and not surrender. After a few tries to talk them out, Americans were not generally willing to die to save some enemy women and children - so the artillery, flamethrowers, and TNT sachel charges were used to take 'em all out, in accordance with Geneva rules.

An ambush is similarly existential. There is nothing wrong with killing men, women, and children as long as it is of existential military necessity, and not in cold blood.

The phrase "killing in cold blood" is important, as well as the Geneva concept of "proportionality". In an ambush, Americans fighting for their lives are allowed to:

1. Kill any civilians that refuse to obey commands to freeze and obey orders.
2. Pour automatic fire and grenades into any house they are receiving fire from, little girls in the window watching the evil infidels being bombed and shot at nonwithstanding.
3. Shoot right into a crowd of jihad supporters where a gunman is firing from. Or decide to drop a bomb or fire rockets, artillery shells right into a house our guys are taking hostile fire from - even knowing that little Jihadis and women are inside.
4. In house to house fighting, where Arabs decide to shoot at our soldiers despite their own women and children being in the homes - to accept that some "non-fighter civilians" will be killed by grenades and automatic weapons fire.

But proportionality means you cannot use a B-52 to carpet bomb a neighborhood these days when the option of precision munitions exist to hold down civilian casualties. Nor are you permitted to execute Islamoid fighters, let alone members of their supporting families and neighbors if no threat exists and the killing is in cold blood.

The worst action of Haditha may be the killing of 4 men in one house because it appears they followed orders and the Marines were under no threat as they took the time to separate the men from the women and children.

=============================
But have no doubt that if the bombing and automatic fire the Islamoids put on the Americans had been successful, the same women and children would have been out cheering and mutilating our soldiers corpses as they have done in other attacks in Haditha and Fallujah.
=============================
Yeah, Freedom, I've heard enough from you over the last few months to be pretty confident you are a traitor rooting for the enemy. The posting censor actually got me when I was complaining about the botched postwar and how the Bushies and DOD utterly f-u-c-k-e-d up de-Ba'athification and dealing with Islamoid strongholds by letting Al Jazeera dominate the propaganda battle....a circumstance that no doubt will gladden your seditious little heart.

======================
Afghan Vet - " The people on the ground SAW what took place. That alone will work against us, regardless of whether it comes to light or not."

The people on the ground were all Sunni Muslims who are sanctioned in Jihad to lie as an act blessed by Allah if it helps defeat the enemy. (Taqqiyah) Afghan Vet may continue to be an enemy rights sympathizer. Arabs lie like rugs. I will continue to believe American soldiers over the claims of the enemy...

Afghan Vet continues his misleading MANTRA:

- "As for torture...
First off, it DOES NOT WORK!!!
Ask ANY PROFESSIONAL intelligence officer and interrogator and they will tell you that under extreme duress, human beings will say whatever it takes to get you to stop."

Military organizations adapt what works and rapidly shed failed experiments. Using pigs and cows as calvalry, no doubt tried, failed it's one-time shot. Shooting broken glass from cannons was tried, it failed, and was not emulated by others. A few times Armies were tried with no officer corps or distinct chain-of-command.

But what equipment works and what tactics work are used globally. And continuously, from time of discovery, few exceptions, throughout history until something better comes along. Present day military strategists learn from long-dead Tacitus, Clausewitz, LeMay, Sun Tsu, Bolivar, Nelson...and so on.

Among the things that every military force from the dawn of organized warfare has used and never shed, is coercive interrogation of captured enemy. Which is that broad area that goes from denying foe the privilege to "lawyer up and stay silent if they feel like it" - all the way to standing up captured soldiers and slitting their throats until someone talks about what their forces are planning...The US version of coercive interogation, though it drives Leftists and ACLU lawyers into hysteria, is hardly real torture. It uses depravation, duress, and discomfort that is certainly far beyond what is allowed against criminal suspects. But combatants are not criminals per se..

That coercive interrogation works, despite Afghan Vet's ersatz veneer of "military expertise" denying it is effective, is obvious just by looking at present militaries and militaries of the past. They all do it.

And the interrogations can go pretty fast if you have a few combatants from the same unit or group captured...because then you can crosscheck. Some enemy can be good liars, and deceive even a good interrogator adept at picking up signs of lying. But the lies are unique to the individual past whatever broad cover story the enemy may give....but the truth will be the same from several soldiers and the truth can be used in feedback to the lying combatant(s) to try another time with the interrogators...until the truth comes out. It flabbergasts enemy rights lovers, but unlawful enemy combatants have no right to clam up or have a lawyer "lawyer them up".

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 2, 2006 03:47 PM

Ms. Messner,

Your raise the issue of the social contract with your first set of questions. Indeed, how mucn liberty should we sacrifice for safety? The contractual theorists, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and others argued that the contract that exists is for the benefit of all but that the civil rights it confers are neither natural nor permanent. Rather, the contract itself is the means toward and end. Some would argue that it is only legitimate to the extent that it meets the general interest. when problems arise in a democratic state, we renotiate to change the terms, using democratic methods to define, debate and arrive at legislated solutions. It's a messy process but allows the "will of the people" to be heard. If safety and personal peace are what is demanded as being in the general interest, we will elect the leaders we want (or deserve). All well and good for ourselves, but by what contract do we operate when the "tyranny' is not in our own nation state?

Your next set of questions concern the issue of "setting troublesome precedents" that may "assault our rights and freedoms". It can be argued that rights come from agreeing to the social contract; in other words, rights are privileges to be earned and are not "natural". Within the nation state, those who do not choose to fulfill their own contractual obligations by committing crimes risk losing some or their rights, and the rest of the society can be expected to protect itself against their actions. But what of citizens of foreign nations or "rogue" nations who do not choose to cooperate in the best interests of the larger community of nations? Does the government of any nation state have the "right" to use "coercive interrogation", suspend access to legal representation, use secret prisons? By what international body has the U.S. been given such authority? the current administration has taken upon itself the "right" to intervene in the affairs of other sovereign nations with or without the "consent" of the U.N. or the local community of surrounding nation states. The ineffectiveness of the U.N. at preventing conflict and terrorism is dazzling. Given that abysmal record, how does an independent state make decisions which affect it's own security? How DO we want our government to respond? Can we afford the time to debate policy when meanwhile inaction leaves us vulnerable? Perhaps the current actions, directed primarily at perceived threats from individuals or rogue states right or wrong has purchased the time we need to arrive at a coherent policy.

To be a citizen of any nation state is to accept the responsibility for following its rules and accepting the consequences for violating them. Those who accept responsibility to the state are comfortable (in general) with laws that punish wrongdoers, because they do not wish to be harmed themselves. But what is the nation state to do with foreign nationals or nations who wish it's citizens harm and are willing to suspend all rules save that of the ends justifying the means? In the social contract, some rights are defined in terms of the negative obligations they impose on society. Widespread surveillance of phone transactions may be necessary to identify potential threats. If our security institutions failed to identify a threat in advance because the citizens are unwilling to agree to at least some forms of surveillance as part of the social contract, who will be held culpable when the next attack comes along that might have been prevented?

It may very well be that the precedents being set now will eventually lead to loss of freedom. It may be that the citizens will willingly sacrifice more freedoms to secure peace and safety. In either case, John Locke suggests that if the social contract leads to tyranny, revolt is a "right".

Posted by: | June 2, 2006 04:02 PM

And Chris so easily conflates TORTURE with COERCIVE INTERROGATION. Please, we not all stupid.

Again, no one says you cannot interrogate thoroughly, only you make that distinction because it makes it easier for your to make your point...which is based on SPECULATION...NOT EXPERIENCE.

Killing prisoners by beating them to death, sexually assaulting them and handing them over to others who's idea of coercive interrogation leaves a lot to be desired is TORTURE, not interrogation. Get a clue.

But let's address the basis of your argument...if you are a follower of the Islamic Faith, you are the enemy and there-designated, can be killed for so much as breathing. So, in your mind, a little girl who has ZERO control over her actions, and frankly her belief system, is fair game for a bullet between the eyes.

Ahhh...your fear and hate is impressive.

Of course, such blatent generalizations and black and white thinking is necessary for one of your ilk to rationalize such hate and violence. Funny how you cannot apply that same thinking from the other side of the fence.

Those that have attacked us and continue to do so believe JUST AS STRONGLY as you that they are right. Also, just like you, they generalize their issues with the West into issues on all westerners. Funny how similar you two seem to be. Of course, that is what you get with such faith-based thinking.

See, you fall under the pathetic impression that if we simply draw a clear line between US and THEM we can go about an ass-whipping that will make them bow to our wishes because you BELIEVE, falsely...but what's new, that we have the upper hand militarily and economically. Ahh...the follies of empires.

We cannot even conduct a reasonable counter-insurgency in a small country where we initially had control...what makes you think we can take on a BILLION+ in an all out war without destroying ourselves in the process?

Yeah...you probably do. But then again...it wouldn't be you or any of the Chicken-Hawk Young Republicans doing the fighting.

It must be especially frightening to live in your world of paranoid, fear of anything not like you. You are indeed interesting to observe.

Again, ANYTIME you want to compare resume with this "ersatz" veteran, meet me at the Capitol Hill bar of your choice and I will buy you a beer and we can talk about it.


Posted by: AfghanVet | June 2, 2006 04:06 PM

Chris Ford-

Months ago we had our discussion on torture so I guess we will just have to agree to disagree (neither one of us budged).

What I will say is that your evidence of success from longevity in usage argument doesn't particularly compel me. There are plenty of historically prevalent military practices that prove themeslves effective under certain circumstances but not others. Uniforms, for instance.

If torture is used the onus is on the torturer to produce evidence of successful information gathering and necessity. This is the only reasonable means of enforcing accountability in behavior. Abu Ghraib is beneath contempt not solely because it was "tooooooorture" but because it was an utterly disastrous event with no clear purpose. The only way to prevent torture for the sake of torture is to outlaw the behavior and penalize those responsible.

Colonel West "tortured" too but, from my understanding, was merely demoted. This was because his behavior likely saved lives and was somewhat justified. Abu Grhaib was not. We'll let the military courts sort out justifiable vs. non-justifiable torture... AFTER the fact. As a nation we should still publicly condemn torture and insist against its practice.

My opinion.

Posted by: Will | June 2, 2006 04:11 PM

I can't stop thinking about cRummy's "You go to war..." comment.

If this is indeed the army we have folks at the Pgon need to sit down...YESTERDAY and figure out what the heck has gone wrong. (And no, I don't think soldiers are blood thirsty goons so please spare me the "Waaah! You hate soldiers!" tantrum.)

Some people seem to think mentioning past war crimes some how makes the attrocity du jour just one of those things. "C'est la guerre, non?"
Bollocks. Knowing it happened before makes it twice (or three or four or five times) as bad when it happens again. When I look at homo sapiens inability to learn from past mistakes I wonder how we got as far as printing presses, much less CPUs.

Posted by: NIW | June 2, 2006 04:16 PM

Ensign Furd: Ayre little jihadists in their windows!

Commodore Kotza: Where where? Existential threat?

Ensign Furd: In their bedroom windows sire. Directing enema fighters below it seems.

Commodore Kotza: I see. The five year old girl. In her nighties! The nerve of these lying rugs!

Ensign Furd: What to do sire? Should I call for suppressing fire? From the fleet?

Commodore Kotza: Let's wait. I'd like to see what she's capable of?
This is serious. Five year olds taking up jihad!

Ensign Furd: See see. She's pointing to the street. Whom she's talking to? The six year old next door?

Commodore Kotza: They are clearly coordinating. Look there's another in her window. Seven maybe?

Ensign Furd: What they doing sire?

Commodore Kotza: Setting up ambush. No doubt.

Ensign Furd: Should I call the fleet? We need C-130 gunships sire!

Commodore Kotza: Fleet don't control them. Besides we don't need them Air Force boys. Just get some Warthogs!

Ensign Furd: Ayre ayre sire.........
Fleet wanna know if we are taking fire first sire.

Commodore Kotza: These damn fleet heads! What do they need. For us to take fire first?

Ensign Furd: There's more sire.

Commodore Kotza: What else?

Ensign Furd: It's from home sire.

Commodore Kotza: From home?

Ensign Furd: It's Mrs. Kotza sire. Your son was kicked out for taking a swiss army knife to school sire.

Commodore Kotza: Kicked out? For taking a swiss army knife to school? They can't do that! That fascist principal! My son, he's only twelve. He's just a boy! A wonderful boy.

Ensign Furd: They say he's a potential terrorist threat sire. Zero tolerance sire! What to tell fleet sire?

Commodore Kotza: Tell the fleet we not taking fire. Cancel the Warthogs.

Ensign Furd: What about Mrs Kotza sire? What should they tell her?

Commodore Kotza: Tell her she's got to take care of little Dickie herself. I have my own kid problems here.

Ensign Furd: Ayre ayre sire.

Commodore Kotza: No can that. Don't need Laura to think I'm fooling round here.

Ensign Furd: Wise move sire.

Commodore Kotza: Let's just get out of here. Fifteen degree to starboard.

Ensign Furd: Starboard ho!

Posted by: Little menaces! | June 2, 2006 04:59 PM

LM,

Perfect!

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 2, 2006 05:08 PM

Ford writes:
"Yeah, Freedom, I've heard enough from you over the last few months to be pretty confident you are a traitor rooting for the enemy. The posting censor actually got me when I was complaining about the botched postwar and how the Bushies and DOD utterly f-u-c-k-e-d up de-Ba'athification and dealing with Islamoid strongholds by letting Al Jazeera dominate the propaganda battle....a circumstance that no doubt will gladden your seditious little heart"

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Thank you Ford, for showing that you have no arguement. Because what does someone with no argument do? They start pulling the traitor card, the race card, the hitler card, or whatever else they can to make it seem like they have some substance behind them when in fact they don't. And whatever happened to your accusations that ErrinF was a marxist because she would attack people and not their positions? That seems to be all you can do to me anymore Ford. You're sounding like a broken record. It's all 'more of the same.' I'm sorry that I stand for this countries ideals while you only stand for its bastardization.

So can you actually prove that I'm a traitor? I don't recall any particularly seditious speech on my part. I do, however, recall you calling for attacks on liberal cities/states to teach us lefties a lesson and stating that America should forget its ideals and become as bad as the enemy. But hey, maybe you and I have different ideas of what a traitor is?

Posted by: Freedom | June 2, 2006 06:00 PM

A Drudge link reports that an Army Sgt. Cardona was sentenced to 90 days hard labor and reduction in rank for "allowing his dog to bark in the face of a kneeling detainee."

Come on people! I got a couple of weeks of military "training" in resisting interrogation, along with about a month's training in escape and evasion training including imprisonment, isolation, various deprivations, and physical and psychological stresses simulating what we know has happened to U.S. military captured by enemies of the past. I really appreciated the opportunity. It could have saved my life and mental integrity. It so happens, it works correctly and strengthens the service member.

This barking dog crap is pretty low level even compared to training situations. I am quite sure that competent Al-Q instructors are laughing at us now.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 2, 2006 06:32 PM

On the Plantation - I'm not sure of your meaning. That it was a frivolous charge because they had to find something to pin on an underling to keep the eye off the top brass?

It smells like a plea deal to me. It's likely all they had on security footage that didn't involve he said/she said. Beg down to a lesser charge, and keep the dirty laundry out of the public view.

Now it looks like all the perps are appropriately "punished", while the real perps, Rummy, Cheney and the gang are scot free

Posted by: pig in a poke | June 2, 2006 07:30 PM

AfghanVet, Will and others who weigh in along that line of thought are correct when it comes to this issue.

The West Point piece by James Ryan was brilliant.

Chris Ford. What is up with you, man? You have a very good brain and you communicate your thoughts clearly. But it's like you ain't got a heart, or something.

For the sake of this post, I'll cop to being a "Lefty" (the reason I do this is that I'm going to disagree with you, and I wanted to beat you to the punch). Anyway, I'm a "Lefty", so that's out of the way.

The reason us "Lefties" didn't want the war in the first place is because terrible, immoral things happen during wars, and there was no good reason for this one (let's not rehash the whole reason we went to war issue - as it turns out, it wasn't such a bright idea). This was a war of choice. It is also a war of bravado, jingoism, and faux daring-do (okay, so I'm a "French Lefty"). If you're going to launch a war of choice, you'd better have a damn good reason. You'd better be pure of heart and motivated by the highest ideals (honesty comes to mind) - lest you put your soldiers and your nation in moral jeopardy. War is not a petty thing.

Innocent people (not Islamoids, Chris) get killed in wars. This is not a risk of war, it's a fact of war. Now it's children - again (didn't we see this movie before?). With that big brain of yours, didn't you see this coming?

Which brings us to the quiz portion of our program:

Do you have kids?
Have you ever held a baby?
Have you ever fed a baby?
Have you ever changed a diaper?
Have you ever known a toddler who smiled when he recognized you?

In what kind of horrible, godless situation, if any, could you imagine yourself shooting a child in the head?

That situation is where supporters of this war have put our soldiers.

Bonus round:

Are you of appropriate age to serve in the military? (This is not a rhetorical question - it's a serious question I'd like answered. You don't have to state your age, just tell me if you're eligible. I have a sneaking suspicion you are.)

If yes: When are you joinin' up?

If you are of age, and do not plan to join up, please stop supporting this atrocity of a foreign policy so that no one else has to do your dirty work.

Regardless of the outcome(s) of the soon-to-be investigations into this matter and the predictable spin cycle, our reputation will not overcome this failure(s) of national/cultural morality.

We are all responsible.

Posted by: smafdy | June 2, 2006 08:12 PM

We are all responsible.

Smarfdy, I couldn't agree more.

Here is the thing. Think of it from their viewpoint. These rednecked Archie Bunker types like Chris Ford think that your touching rocking a baby image means that that when the Islamoid soldiers come a knocking at your door, you'll line up politely against the wall to be shot, after first putting a flower in the barrel of their AK 47.

When I read stories of revolutions or saw the man vs tank in Tienneman square I used to wonder where that kind of courage came from. Sadly, I'm finding out. Loving America means being willing to face attack for my freedom, whether that attack is from al Qaeda or the neocons. I am too old for the army, but I will fight the Chris Fords of the world for my freedoms in any way I have to. He calls you America hater, but there is a much worse name for people like him who would just roll over and give up the freedoms our forefathers fought and died for.

AMerica has had plenty of opportunities to wage elective war. There many who thought we should have attacked the Soviet Union at the end of WWII and gotten it over with - you've heard Eisenhower's response to the idea of elective war. JFK could have easily torched off war with the USSR, who was, after all, building WMD pointed at us and our allies. REagan could have just sent in soldiers in bulldozers to "tear down this wall". I would imagine that the Chris Fords of their generation thought each of them an America hating pansy for failing to do so.

But we didn't get to be a superpower by expending our capital on elective wars.

Now we have a real problem brewing in Iran. They want a seat at the grownups table, where they will be safe from us. And the letter sent to Bush smacks of an adolescent mindset without the full maturity to grasp consequences. But even if I though war was the right answer, there is no way I'd allow this gang of bumbling incompetents to prosecute it.

So its deja vu all over again in Iran. Cheney has apparently been shamed in to pretending to try diplomacy, but when he sabotages the effort what will this nation do? Stand for another disastrous war folly, or take to the streets? I say lets impeach the SOB as soon as possibel and put someone in the WH that we have an ounce of trust for. And that would be?????

Posted by: patriot1957 | June 2, 2006 08:51 PM

The nature of the (Ho, HO!) "Debate" on the war in Eraq has long ceased to be based either on what is happening there or on its relevance to a future American nation. It must be clear to those of us who can still identify a fact and reach a reasonable conclusion from an assemblage of facts that those who profess to base their objections to the war on ethical grounds are simply not familiar with the nature of life, and the absolute rejection of humanity demonstrated by insurgents in Iraq.
I doubt that our current generation of do-gooders will see or understand reality until the insurgents and their infidel-hating friends come to cut their throats. A rather sad prognosis for a once-proud and respectable nation.
It is a pity that this "debate" is actually pointless. Demographic data published in this issue of the WP indicates clearly that I am addressing a North Mexico audience, rather than an American one; consequently, I have no faith in the ability of the (Once Upon a Time American) readership to form valid opinions oor to reach valid conclusions - valid, that is in terms of "American" interests.
Would the real Americans please stand up so that I can chew over the Good Old Days with them? The rest may continue to chant their "Not in My Name!" mantra until the knives arrive....

Posted by: Rick CLARKE | June 2, 2006 11:04 PM

Rick CLARKE:

You've helped make my point - we're still proud, but we're no longer respectable. Thanks to and for the lack of moral fortitude and bravery demonstrated by the likes of you.

You wanna talk "humanity"? You want to talk about the "humanity" of the Iraqi insurgents? Look in the mirror. What you'll find is an just as inhuman. Let's not forget who attacked whom, and for what reasons. (Hint: There was no reason. Only lies.) That fact, in and of itself is an absolute rejection of humanity, morals, ethics, history, national identity, and cultural creed.

(Interesting note: to almost any person in the world, seeing a foreign invader occupying their "homeland" is enough to send them into a suicidal rage. as I told Chris Ford: If you have a brain and some sense of history and/or human nature, you had to know this going in. And we call them "insugents". They're patriots to their own country and/or their own culture.)

"Unitl the knives arrive"? That's fantasy. Get a grip on reality, man. Wake up! When do you think the Iraqi (or any other ME/Islamic hoards) will show up here, and how, pray tell, will they get here? Yes there will be terrorism, both foreign and domestic, but waves of invaders hell bent on our distruction? not likely.

The Mexico comment is a Straw man and a red herring. I happen to believe in restricting immigration down to very small numbers, but I don't believe that there is any link between the number of Mexican illegals and our choice to invade Iraq.

Being that you are such a proud, red-blooded, barrel-chested, big-balled American, I must assume that you call yourself a Christian. Have you ever read the bible, or do you remake "God" in your own image every time the going gets rough? Jesus commanded his followers to love their enemies and to turn the other cheek. Maybe he was just full of it. More likely, he was right, and you're just full of it. (By the way, I'm an atheist, but I do know firm moral ground when I'm standing on it).

You ask for a "reasonable conclusion" and "regognition of facts", yet the conclusion you have arrived at is less than reasonable and relies on supporting lies. Care to state your facts and apply logic to your argument? You can't do it, because your "facts" don't exist, and logic quickly reveals a faulty premise.

You wrote: "those who profess to base their objections to the war on ethical grounds are simply not familiar with the nature of life...". Go ahead, Mr. Clarke - tell everyone about the nature of life. Tell us how killing innocent people - especially small children - is related to the nature of life.

The nature of life is to procreate and watch our children grow up healthy and happy, and to protect them at the cost of our own lives, should theirs be endangered. It is human nature, after a child or family member has been murdred, is to seek revenge. Thus begins the downward spiral.

I'll grant your claim that you are an American, as that can mean anything (I assume you were born here). On the other hand, you cannot, as a true American, deny that distinction to others simply beacuse they disagree with you (how un-American that would be).

"... current generation of do-gooders..." Funny, but I was taught that Americans and Christians were, by nature, "do gooders". Maybe I was asleep when we had the civics lesson about abandoning our values to prove how much we stand behind them.

Your lack if intellectual honesty and moral fortitude is appalling.

Seems you're part of the problem.

Posted by: smafdy | June 3, 2006 08:45 AM

"..those who profess to base their objections to the war on ethical grounds are simply not familiar with the nature of life, and the absolute rejection of humanity demonstrated by insurgents in Iraq."

What exactly is the nature of life then? That we must kill or be killed? In that case I guess I should shoot my boyfriend in the head (and any other man I see) because the number of people killed by terrorists in the US (or the world) is MINISCULE when compared to the number of women killed by men. Is that what you're suggesting? No, of course not because YOU'RE the good guy, eh? Sure.

Rejection of humanity demonstrated by etc.? Why, you could easily substitute any number of groups for insurgents in Iraq. Europeans (against Native Americans), American or South African Whites (against non-whites) Germans (against Jews and other Non-Aryans), Men (against women), straight people (against gay people), Christians (against...um...every one at some point or another). So what? Does that mean that when ever we see someone killing people we must rush in and slaughter them? Better get busy then, there are a whole lot of people on the planet who need a bullet to the brain. Some of us will need to shoot ourselves, I will trust you to do the honorable thing.

You might also take a moment to check your dictionary (as might Shrub etc). One definition of an insurgent is: A person who revolts against civil authority or an established government.

Holy smokes. Do you know what this means M. Clarke? The United States of America was founded by a bunch of INSURGENTS. Curse you George Washington, you bloody REBEL! The Boston Tea Party, The entire American Revolution was an act of INSURGENCY. Oh the angst. Quick, let's all go spit on the graves of our founding fathers! Come back England, we're sorry!

It also raises the question of how they could have been insurgents before there was an established government to insurge against. I feel rather funny calling them insurgents in reference to the invading forces. Admit it, if you woke up one day and found one of the walls of your house had been blown off you would be a tad cranky too. But calling them "People shooting and blowing people up for a number of reasons including the fact that we came to their country and shot and blew people up," doesn't sound as sexy. Because it isn't as simple as Good Guy vs. Bad Guy. Bush would have us believe that any one waving a gun who doesn't have his permission to wave a gun is a Bad Guy. Nope. Some of these people are just violent and are taking advantage of a chaotic situation to get their kicks. Some do want Hussein back in power (too bad). And SOME are just plain pissed because suddenly the lights don't work, the toilet doesn't flush and there are a lot of people who don't or can barely speak the language running about shouting and waving guns. How would YOU react to that? How would you feel when you discovered the whole reason your country is suddenly playing host to a lot of armed people was based on a tissue of poorly woven lies? I think even the mildest mannered person might heave a brick or two. But in the simple world of Shrub the brick thrower is BAD because he or she isn't following the script. ("You're supposed to grovel on the ground out of gratitude, not get angry because your house is a smoking ruin and your family is now collateral damage!") I guess there is no pleasing some people.

The whole "Knives" thing increases my certainty that some people have a limited vocabulary, cannot formulate original ideas and so commincate by rote language with just one or two words changed. It sounds EXACTLY like someone screaming about the Red Menace when I was a youngster. And let's not forget the [fill in the blank with given group] Menaces: Black, Catholic, Jewish, Chinese, gay... YAWN. If the US had fallen to each menace identified by the paranoid sector of society the country would be rather empty, no?

I also note you seem rather smug about this. As if you are just WAITING to say "Told ya so," to the bleeding heart lefties. We won't be able to hear you because we'll all be dead, but I wonder what makes you think YOU'LL be safe? Do you check under your bed for blood thirsty terrorists each night?

Finally, I must address your Mexican comment to point out how tedious the whole "America is MINE!" debate is to those of us who wonder what life would be like if our ancestors had pushed the funny looking people who didn't speak the language back out into the ocean when they first arrived. It is like listening to a bunch of brigands arguing over the spoils of their dirty work. This country is (or, if you are right, WAS) predominantly European because for many years people did not stick at trickery, lies, theft, murder and even biological warfare (pox-infected blankets anyone?) to get land from other humans who, because they weren't such big bstrds, are now largely confined to the parts of the country that the biggest bstrds don't have any use for. But that's OK I guess, because rejection of humanity doesn't count if somebody has something you want.

smafdy, thanks for the intentional laughs. M. Clarke, thanks for the unintentional ones.

Posted by: NIW | June 3, 2006 10:43 AM

Smafdy -

Already did my bit and contributed to the killing of Iraqi enemy, in the Gulf War, where the Iraqis generally fought us according to the rules of war. Because they did, we were able to keep civilian casualties down - a communications center was an exception - but only because Iraqis thought it was so secure and unbombable it was a great place to stick 200 civilians in for the night.

Though the UN sanctions killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, Iraq DID launch Scuds against Israeli civilian targets, and Saddam butchered several hundred thousand Shia civilians that revolted - by and large, the US was "clean" by the inane rules that hold a rabid civilian backer of Saddam "pure and exempt from effects of war", whose death the Left would wail about...Whereas an Iraqi civilian involuntarily drafted and in uniform has his life somehow magically become utterly dispensible in the view of Lefties. (The Vietnam Era pacifist morality that -civilians=good&precious, soldier=evil&lower valued life -- equations).

Most of the soldiers we wasted in the Gulf War were just everyday draftees whose lives we as soldiers then considered no less in value than Iraqi civilians. (Though our mission was to defeat them and that was eagerly done) Not the true Saddamites drawn from fanatic Sunni neighborhoods of Baghdad or the cities of Ramadi, Fallujah, Haditha, Tikrit.

The worst and most ruthless Sunnis were in the Republican Guard or more frequently...in civilian positions as fedayheen, Muquabarat (secret police), regular police, prison staffs, the judiciary, civilian death squads that reported to Tikriti head or who were of the Tikriti tribe.

Unlike the Gulf War, the enemy in the insurgency has not separated from the civilian population, has not distinguished themselves from non-fighters by uniform, and not fought in a way that shows any regard for the lives and safety of non-combatants. The enemy has targeted and killed over 30,000 civilians since major hostilities with the uniformed Iraqi elements ended. Mainly by bombs at civilian centers and by cold blooded executions of unarmed people. And killed over 2600 non-Iraqi forces.

"In what kind of horrible, godless situation, if any, could you imagine yourself shooting a child in the head?
That situation is where supporters of this war have put our soldiers."

No, you ignore Geneva, Hague and the wisdom of past warriors that crafted covenents governing warfare.

They recognized that the onus, almost the entire onus of civilian casualties - is on those that violate conventions of war by fighting in the midst of and in cover of civilian populations and who seek out and kill civilians as easier prey than an armed foe.

That is NOT an onus you can place on Americans, supporters of this war or not.

The onus is on the Islamoids, Ba'athists, sectarian death squads. And their cheerful civilian supporters that endorse tactics that violate Hague and Geneva.

" In what kind of horrible, godless situation, if any, could you imagine yourself shooting a child in the head?
That situation is where supporters of this war have put our soldiers."

My nephew killed a whole family in Ramadi. Car ran a checkpoint. Man, woman, 2 kids. 200 rounds from a Humvee-mounted Squad Automatic Weapon. Miraculously, a 3rd kid lived. Even more miraculously, the two 160mm Soviet howizer rounds and jugs of gasoline piled in with the passengers did not go off. Nephew got a commendation for saving the lives of 7 Ameicans and an Iraqi cop.

And as the story he tells goes, the man driving was not the husband, but brother of the woman, and the husband claimed the brother did it without his permission and wanted both the brother's body so HIS tribe could desecrate it for trespassing on the husbands prerogatives - and American compensation for killing his wife and children.

It's that kind of war the Sunni Arabs are waging.

Not us.

There are times when we do kill non-combatants and there are times when the Sunnis get away with killing Americans without drawing fire back as they fire on us because they use non-combatants as shields that we worry about hitting, and handing the enemy good NY Times or Al Jazeera propaganda. And we suffer deaths by IEDs knowing that the large part of the civilian population watched the IED be emplaced, act as scouts to alert the triggerman to get ready, and hope they can get in and loot and multilate American corpses if the Sunni fighters are successful.

Nevertheless, we frequently will kill kids as a necessity to save our own soldiers, or take out a major enemy target. An Al Qaeda leader is tracked to a house full of a dozen fighters and various civilians - even little babies? Too bad for the civilians hanging with the enemy fighters. Their choice as a 1,000 lb bomb gets dropped. Only Lefties buy into the idea that our own troops lives are of so little value in relation to an enemy fighter's "civilian" wives, kids, and relatives that we should NEVER kill them to save American lives. Only Lefties would argue that if it came down to choosing between the life of a child Jihadi and an American soldier, they would choose "the child" because the American is a volunteer ready to die, while "the child" is "innocent" and of higher human value.

Other Lefties think the life of an Iraqi enemy is inherently worth more than an American because the American is a white oppressor male, or a lackey American female, black, or brown doing the bidding of white oppressor males...

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 3, 2006 11:28 AM

An Al Qaeda leader is tracked to a house full of a dozen fighters and various civilians - even little babies? Too bad for the civilians hanging with the enemy fighters. Their choice as a 1,000 lb bomb gets dropped.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 3, 2006 11:28 AM


Yeah. And I'm sure that how OBL and the nineteen terrorists viewed things on 9/11 too. The Zionists owned and worked in the twin towers. The Pentagon was chockfull of infidel soldiers. Too bad for the civilians and little babies hanging with the enemy fighters. Their choice as a 1,000 ton airliner converted into bomb gets dropped on them....

Or how Zarqawi and his terrorists view things in Iraq. The marketplace is chockful of American soldiers and police recruits. Too bad for the people out shopping for food who drag their kids along with them. Their choice as a car ful of 120 mm unexploded shells smash into them...

CF and his ilk have degenerated into the very same people they so openly despise.

Posted by: Minister of Information | June 3, 2006 01:50 PM

"Minister" is just another Hate-America type ignorant of the Geneva Conventions and laws of war, but determined to establish "moral equivalency" between Americans and the enemy.

9/11 attacks were by unlawful combatants directly targeting civilians. Whose Islamoid brothers reject obeying any law of war.

Attacks by our uniformed soldiers on enemy strongholds are sanctioned under both Geneva and Hague Conventions. It is the enemy's fault if they endanger their own families by insisting they remain at their side during war.

It seems so simple to read up on, Minister. Why are you still so ignorant of Geneva and Hague rules of warfare?

17 Islamoids similar to the 9/11 hijackers arrested in Canada today, 5 of them "children". Their goal was to attack infidels all over the Toronto area using powerful fertilizer bombs. The "innocent children?' No different than the 10s of thousands of 8-12 year olds Iran used to clear minefields 20 years ago, the Corps of child soldiers Iran has today, the estimated 13,000 Sunni Iraqi children trained as "Saddam's Lion Cubs" in 3-week military/terror camps.
Islamoids simply have different values.

"Minister" and folks like "Freedom" are so committed to defending "enemy rights" and bashing their own country that what they say becomes indistinguishable from what an enemy sympathizer or outright enemy ally would say.

Indeed, much of Ayman al-Zawahiri's recent speeches were lifted right from folks like "Minister", liberal Democrats, British Left's own speeches. And what "Minister" "Freedom" and other Hate-America types say is inspired by what comes right off the lips of the Islamoids.

Which is why the next time we are hit hard by the Islamoids, it would be preferable if American deaths and casualties were limited to the heaviest concentrations of America-haters, Islamoid defenders and justifiers. And likely, given Islamoid targets. The beauty with those people is they don't care if they kill bootlicking infidel Lefty apologists for them or conservative infidels wishing to defeat them - the main thing is just to kill infidels - preferably Jews if possible..

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 3, 2006 03:01 PM

Hey Patriot 1957,

It's the simpletons like Ford who have this hatred beat into their heads since they were little. If they took the time to look at things from another angle they might find that what they beleive, what has been drilled into their left side of the bell curve brains is wrong. Let me spell it out so even the simpletons like Ford can understand it!

The United States, illegally invaded a sovergein nation (Iraq). There was no justification for that invasion, and as more proof becomes available, I'm positive that Bush & Freinds along with Tony Blair cooked the intelligence will be proven. Bush with the help of the DOJ said that torture was legal because anyone captured was not considered a POW and therefore had no protections under the Geneva Convention.

Because the USA carries such a big stick no-one dares challenge what we do for fear of the ramifications. We dictate human rights and that we won't tolerate there abuses, unless we are the ones doing the abuse. If Bush were the leader of some little 2 bit country, Him and his followers would have already been brought before the world court in the Netherlands and tried for the crimes they have purportrated against humanity.

One more thing if you look at this through the eyes of an Iraqi, I can tell you one thing, that I too would be fighting against the invaders of my country. Seeing my country and my way of life have been in existance for over 4000 years, but the invaders of my country have only had their type of government in existance for only slightly longer than 300 years. I have invaders rounding up my family & friends and putting them in prison because someone of a different religon tells the invaders that these people fight the invaders when the truth be told they have not. These invaders torture my family & friends, sexually humiliate them. They bomb my neighbors house and kill half his family. They come and raid my house in the middle of the night, kick my door down, with rifles pointed at my wife and children threatening to shoot them. We no longer have electricity, clean water, or schools to send my children to because the invaders bombed them. I know that if I was the one on the receiving end of all this, I would be trying to kill as many of the invaders as I could.

Posted by: Lab Rat | June 3, 2006 03:18 PM

Chris:

Thanks for serving. I'm happy to have been wrong in my assumption.

You missed my point.

That your nephew had to kill civilians to protect himself and his unit is tragic. That his being put in the position (or predicament) of having to do so is even more tragic (what's the end-game? What's the REASON he had to kill these people?). That he received a commendation for his actions is understandable on many levels. I apply something similar to the legal concept of contributory negligence here. If we put troops in harm's way without a scintlla of moral justification, and our troops must then defend themselves against those we have attacked (we, after all, are the aggressors in their country), it's kind of difficult to claim self-defense or any other justification for civilian casualties. This war did not have to happen, it was prosecuted on the basis of lies, and it is a tragedy on every level.

Bottom line: why was your nephew put into a situation where he was compelled to commit the damnable act of killing a whole family in Ramadi? U.S. interests? Defense of his homeland?

Everybody and their brother spinning this thing as being necessary then and positive now should have (and I'm sure did) know that very bad things would happen if we were the aggressors in a war of choice. You're not a fool - you had to know this would happen. The only other possibility is the the nincompoops in the BA and their minions actually drank enough Kool-Aid to believe their own spin. I'm not buying that excuse. Plausible cause is not probable cause. As I said in an earlier post: If you are going to enter into a war of choice, you'd better be pure of heart and motivated by the highest ideals (honesty comes to mind) - lest you put your soldiers and your nation in moral jeopardy.

I knew a Viet Nam vet who was a good friend and a very sad person. I once asked him, over a beer, why he got so gloomy when he drank. He responded that he had been raised Catholic, had gone to Viet Nam where he had killed civilians, and that the killings had always bothered him (at least 15 years after had bee there). When I asked if he had ever had counseling about the sadness this had caused him, he said that he had visited therapists and gotten counseling from the Catholic Church (who had even given him a certificate saying that he wasn't guilty of any moral lapse as his killing had taken place in defense of his country). He said that none of these things helped him because the people were still dead, that he knew at the time he had killed them that what he was doing was against his religious beliefs, and that all of the reassurances to the contrary only served to diminish his respect for his church and psychotherapists.

As for the first Gulf war, any number of motives can be found for that shooting match, too. Things to consider:

1. Our cultivation of Saddam as our good buddy by providing the weapons, financing, and political support he needed to fully ripen into the thug and threat to the region that he became. Again - we contributed to the problem, and we bear a great deal of responsibility for it.

2. Iraq, even with our support, couldn't whip a bunch of Iranian teenagers armed with bandannas and sticks, much less pose a valid threat to truth, justice, and the American way.

3. Why do we care (or why did we care at that time) who sits on the oil in the ME? Kuwait should have defended itself, or should be kept by it's larger brother. All we should have been concerned with at that time was how much a barrel of crude would cost, no matter who was sitting on it.

4. If unchecked by the Coalition at that time, Saddam's plans for the expansion of Iraq into other Arab countries would have been foiled by his neighbors. Iran, Turkey, the Saudis, Syria, and Jordan all hated him. He would have been attacked on every front (see, point 2, above).

5. It was the control of oil.

The U.S. should never wage a war in which we are not directly attacked or threatened with imminent attack (credible threats only, no made-up BS - we're on the honor system, here). In those cases where we go to war, our goal should be the assimilation of the conquered culture and it's admission into our Union. Forced Americanization. 7-11s, hip-hop, Elvis, Bigfoot, The Dukes of Hazard, American Idol, Jews, Blacks, the Irish, the Italians, dollars, the 4th of July, NASCAR, NFL, MLB, seats in the Senate and House, the Bill of Rights, toilet paper, credit card debt, education, cheeseburgers, barbecue, personal hygiene products, and a nice white star added to the blue field to represent your inclusion in the group. Knowing our end game would pretty much keep anyone from attacking us.

Posted by: smafdy | June 3, 2006 03:28 PM

It's interesting to see how fundamentalists like CF hide behind lofty (lefty?) ideal like Geneva convention and The Hague when it suits their purpose. It's even more interesting to put them along side Muslim fundamentalists who hide behind their prophet and virgins. Both look and smell remarkably alike. Both are willing to sanction killings of babies to push their twisted agendas. What, you mean the babies make the wrong choice by being there? Oh no it's their parents who make the choice for them by putting them in harm's way. It's the parents' choice and right!

Oops but we don't mean a mother have the choice to abort her unborn baby. That's WRONG!

By the way if you like the Hague so much, you wouldn't mind subjecting US soldiers to their war crime tribunals too? Oh no those Euroweenies!

Sanctimonious self righteous fundamentalists, same everywhere. Send them all to the moon.

To the moon Chrissy. To the moon. Your share of virgins await you.

Posted by: Minister of Information | June 3, 2006 03:30 PM

If this Iraq war goes on much longer then even Gore Vidal's outlandish "perpetual war" thesis gets a new chance to stand up. The real thing to worry about is that the election cycle locks us in for at least two years.

We'll know with the 2008 elections whether the American people regard this as a justified national war or primarily an oligarchic enterprise. With the war's long and unforeseen duration, the initially/presumptively causative links to events of 9/11 get more and more remote. There does not seem to any military conflict remotely comparable in American history until one goes back to the Spanish-American War ("Remember the Maine") which ended quickly and in decisive victory. It's like driving home at night, but only half way there, and suffering severe sleep deprivation.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 3, 2006 05:49 PM

Lab Rat - "The United States, illegally invaded a sovergein nation (Iraq)"

That's just Lefty weenie-speak. Nary a peep came from those bozos about us warring on, invading Serbia and Bosnia without the sacred "Mother May I???" from Kofi's Krowd. Now many in their ranks are demanding the US go to war in Darfur. Basically because the idiots think military action to save 3rd Worlders is "humanitarian", while actions to safeguard Americans is "illegal" unless our great buddies Russia, France, and China let us...

Labrat - "One more thing if you look at this through the eyes of an Iraqi, I can tell you one thing, that I too would be fighting against the invaders of my country. Seeing my country and my way of life have been in existance for over 4000 years, but the invaders of my country have only had their type of government in existance for only slightly longer than 300 years."

If the Iraqis were looking at it with your eyes and intellect, they'd be stupider than they already are.

And Lefties love to denigrate America as a newcomer unsophisticate, which lacks the knowledge and sophistication of the great people of millenia-long civilizations like err...the French, Egyptians, Indus River Pakis...some even toss the NIgerians in as having a longer and thus better run at "world comprehension". Lefties love to apologize..."back when our stupd white forefathers were swing from trees...Your Noble People were doing astronomy!/making laws!/etc/etc"...Which ignores that America is part and parcel of an 8,000 year old Western Civ that assimilates the best of other civilization as individual parts of Western Civ rise and fall. The Japanese and some other Asian countries have adapted this as the single greatest feature of our Western way - embracing change, picking the best, and adapting....just as we are using Asian elements now...they are wholesale taking the best beliefs, laws, tech, art and synthesizing as we do.

Most Muslims are not. They live in a static, stultified civilization incapable so far of Reformation since they locked into stasis back in the 1200's.

" I know that if I was the one on the receiving end of all this, I would be trying to kill as many of the invaders as I could."

All Saddam had to do was comply with the UN Resolutions and stop lying about having WMD to his people, and by proxy to the world. No war, no invasion! He didn't. So he got invaded, again..

All the Sunnis had to do was accept that they would no longer get more than their fair share of the bounty of Iraq. But they didn't, and began killing us, and the non-Sunnis - again. Now we are the only thing between them and the Kurd and Shia militias is us - who don't really hold we have much of an obligation to risk our lives for our killers so they won't be killed and cleansed in turn. The Shia and Kurds are waiting to see if a unified Iraq fails, so they can pounce on the Sunnis with none of the restrictions the US is under.

As for "Muslim rage" beginning with invasion and only invasion ---Muslims don't need to be invaded to have an excuse to kill infidels, or other Muslim groups they hate, for that matter. For 1200 years, they were the aggressors. Now with Western and Asian Civ dramatically passing them - they are the passive-aggressors, still violent and stultified, but expert at playing the victim and blaming their failures and aggression on others.

One can only imagine how you'd feel if you projected how you'd feel if you were a Nazi and foreign armies had reached the Vaterland.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 3, 2006 06:16 PM

I had a boyfriend like Richard CLARKE once, many years ago when I was young and stupid. If he pinned you down to tickle you, and you resisted, he only pinned harder. Eventually when you got hurt and angry with him, he would tell you it was your fault for resisting him. If you hadn't resisted him, you wouldn't have gotten hurt.

The Richard CLARKE and Chris Fords of the world truly believe it is OK to invade another country under false pretenses, and them declare open season on them for resisting.

Lets see, these guys think its OK to engage in first strike invasions under false pretenses, - against everything we've ever been told America stood for, declare the Geneva conventions not applicable and torture civilians - the vast majority of them declared by the Red Cross to be innocent bystanders, hide behind that same eschewed Geneva conventions to declare open season on those resisting our invasion and occupation of their country, and toss aside the very constitutional freedoms that generations fought and died for simply because they are afraid of the people we pissed off with our bullying behavior. When you point the finger at us and call us America haters, three fingers point right back at you.

I am not afraid to die for my freedom, why are you?

Posted by: Constitution | June 3, 2006 07:29 PM

Constitution wrote:

". . . hide behind that same eschewed Geneva conventions to declare open season on those resisting our invasion and occupation of their country . . ."
_______________

Why is it so hard for people who never served in uniform and therefore were never covered by the Geneva Conventions to understand the limitations of it? The treaty only concerns identifiable uniformed military personnel.

Now, if the emerging government-based defense forces in uniform in Iraq want to run us out, then they get the protections of the Geneva Conventions. However, should that scenario occur, we probably would be all too happy to acknowledge that they are standing up for something, applaud them, and use it as a fine rationale and opportunity to quit and leave.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 3, 2006 07:59 PM

"Because the USA carries such a big stick no-one dares challenge what we do for fear of the ramifications."

Thanks to this administration our big stick is starting to look like a twig. This administration has demonstrated to all Chris Ford's "Islamoids" that:
1. If you blow us up and kill thousands of innocent Americans, we will let you go and allow your organization to re-organize and grow. In fact, we'll even build a recruiting machine for you.
2. The American army can indeed deliver Shock and Awe and kill ten thousand or so innocent civilians. BFD. In the context of the overall war they are expendable, because in the long run all it takes is a few thousand Davids armed with IED's to tie up Goliath in knots.

This is criminal mismanagement.

Smarfdy
" Kuwait should have defended itself, or should be kept by it's larger brother"

Actually, I think GH Bush's good friends in Saudi Arabia asked us to get involved. Kuwait's a pretty small country. It was the second unheeded piece of writing on the wall that we ought to do something about our oil dependency.

Posted by: Constitution | June 3, 2006 10:08 PM


Constitution wrote:

". . . hide behind that same eschewed Geneva conventions to declare open season on those resisting our invasion and occupation of their country . . ."

On the Plantation - That nature of a blog likes this sometimes alters the context - I think the context was not clear by the time you read this. It was a response to Chris Ford whose earlier posts stated that the Geneva Conventions did not apply in Iraq because we were not at war with a legitimate state, but then later said the Geneva Conventions gave the soldiers in Haditha permission to direct fire into a house that they took fire from, even if it would endager civilians in that house.

My issue is with people who want it both ways. Since the Haditha incident did not (presumably) involve US troops fighting a uniformed identifiable enemy,do you agree with Ford's statement that the Geneva Convention does not apply in Iraq, or with his statement that the Geneva Conventions applied in Iraq?

We're not children. People die in war. And over time, it would appear that civilians are increasingly more likely to die in war than soldiers.

But Ford and friends continue in their effort to blur the issues. No one here is seriously saying that our soldiers have no right to defend themselves. If a house is a danger to our troops it may require taking such house out to protect them. But lobbing a grenade into a home harboring a sniper/bomber that might inflict collateral damage on a 1 year old is different ethically, morally and legally from a bullet in the head at close range into a 1 year old. The preliminary reports at Haditha reported the death were at "close range", a fact that Ford and friends conveniently forget.

There is no convention that covers shooting a 1 year old at close range. But I will not condemn the soldier who did it (if he did) until I have walked a mile in his shoes. But I would gladly string up by the thumbs the people who sent said soldier into that situation on a fool's errand under false pretenses and then botched the management so badly that our boys felt this was the best choice available to them.

Posted by: Constitution | June 4, 2006 12:12 AM

Constitution wrote:

"[CF] said the Geneva Conventions gave the soldiers in Haditha permission to direct fire into a house that they took fire from . . ."

" . . . do you agree with Ford's statement that the Geneva Convention does not apply in Iraq, or with his statement that the Geneva Conventions applied in Iraq?"
____________

Nothing I know about GC says that it applies or does not apply to geographical places or sites (excepting sanctuaries like hospitals, POW camps, etc.). The main portion has to do with the recriprocal treatment of belligerent foes who are in uniform, especially their treatment when captured. This includes private militia who are identifiable. So, yes, GC accords do apply to Iraq in the above conditions.

As to their application to firing into a position from which fire is received, presumably from some concealed position with a building, certainly U.S. forces (or even non-uniformed contractors) can fire back. The question of appropriate degrees of force would follow military discipline, but that is not necessarily a GC issue to my knowledge unless someone can instruct us otherwise.

However, I think the present claims of abuses have to do with entering a structure from which shooting occurred, and where the U.S. forces discovered apparently unarmed civilians including children who did not have a clear role, and who had effectively ceased to resist even if some might have been directly involved. The Marines might have believed any of these people had supported other insurgents in some fashion if nothing more than passively so by not revealing observed activities in setting up IEDs. Of course, that storyline is purely hypothetical on my part as influenced by media hints. If that was the essence of the situation then killing was not justified but detention and questioning presumably would have been. Consequently the public speculation suggests to us that criminal charges are likely to follow.

My sentiment would be that there must strong charges against the officers who either were not present to provide supervision, or to the senior officers who were too weak to provide training and clear commands in anticipation of those situations. I view this situation as a failure of leadership more than a criminal impulse on the part of the enlisted troops.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 4, 2006 07:08 AM

"Constitution" - It only takes about an hour to read and understand the Geneva Conventions. You should, because you are shockingly ignorant of how they apply to uniformed soldiers, unlawful combatants, and contracting Parties agreeing to mutually abide by Geneva Rules.

You are also ignorant of the Hague Conventions of 1899, 1907 and later revisions...somehow confusing it with the Hague Court for war crimes, which was set up in 1995 and is not in any way related to the Hague Conventions.

You might wish to add those to your reading lists as well. And read on why nations can blow the Euroweenies off when some prosecutor somewhere in EU-land says he wants Fidel Castro, Rumsfeld, Saddam Hussein, or George Soros to stand trial for "crimes against humanity" (all four were sought). Or why Belgium was given a reality check when they said their humanitarian laws had no borders and the whole planet was under their legal authority...(Hey Belgium! Remember when just Germany found you an impediment? Squish! Squish! Now shut up and make chocolate!). France's chocolate poodle did realize they bit off more than they could chew, and rescinded their idealistic "we control the world by our moral authority!" laws.

Constitution: " In the context of the overall war they are expendable, because in the long run all it takes is a few thousand Davids armed with IED's to tie up Goliath in knots."

You don't have a clue.

IEDs DO bleed the American Army and force Bush to blow many more billions, but they can never do more than inflict "light" casualties. Light being under 100 deaths in an average month in Iraq, whereas in a real war fought - Russians took over 1 million deaths a month, and the US 2,000 a month in Vietnam.

If we wanted to, we could legally get far harsher and harder on the Sunnis to cut down IED use. Make their lives absolutely miserable. Cut off electricity, phone service, shut down their schools and other services by stopping pay, ban them from any road travel other than medical or food ration transport. It's been done in other wars. Of course the Sunnis would seethe and hate even more than they seethe and hate now...but the reason we have been so "light on them" given what we could do, is we don't want Iraq to end up a nation split in 3 parts with the Kurds and Shia eagerly waiting for the green light to kill and cleanse the Sunnis out.

Plantation - "The question of appropriate degrees of force would follow military discipline, but that is not necessarily a GC issue to my knowledge unless someone can instruct us otherwise."

Geneva DOES contain language of proportionality of response using force. It is kept very general, but it is central to Geneva as a primary agreed to mechanism between signatories to protect civilian populations. I think you could imagine the limits - it's what makes commonsense - outside the idiots of the pacifist movement and Left would want - actions that are limited to hold down civilian casualties not to ZERO, but to As Low As Reasonably Achievable - given the obvious fact (but to the usual suspects) that the lives of our own soldiers are considered by us to have greater value than the lives of our enemies and their supporters..

Constitution - "But I would gladly string up by the thumbs the people who sent said soldier into that situation on a fool's errand under false pretenses and then botched the management so badly that our boys felt this was the best choice available to them."

That is the response of the infantile Far Left and Far Right when they advocate reprisals be taken on leaders they (Surprise! Surprise! They just happen to politically hate...).

"Constitution's" game would be that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld deserve to be tried for "MURDER!" in "ultimate responsibility" of Haditha, similar to how nuts in the Right wanted Bill Clinton, Janet Reno, George Tenet, Hillary, and Tom Daschle tried for "MURDER!" for partial birth abortion, mistakenly bombing the Chinese Embassy, Waco, etc.

If Constitution was serious about reprisals on leaders, she could also advocate the totalitarian approach applied by the Red Terror, Nazis, Jap occupiers...

That the leaders of a town or village be held accountable for any acts of insurgency.

So if Constitution wishes to arrest American leaders and criminalize them for any action of subordinates - are we to assume that Constitution supports the arrest and trial of the village elders of any Sunni town where a suicide bombing or IED happens?

Somehow, I doubt it....


Posted by: Chris Ford | June 4, 2006 02:13 PM

I have to give you credit Ford for your uncanny ability to change the subject.

Whether or not I understand the wording of the Geneva Conventions to your satisfaction is irrelevant to my complaints. You can't have it both ways. Either the Geneva Conventions apply in Iraq or they don't. If they apply to our soldiers in Haditha, then they apply to our imprisonment and abuse of thousands of innocent civilians in Abu Ghraib.

I understand this is hard for you to grasp, but "who cares, they're all terrorists" isn't a strategy fit for the United States of America when we find out that, gee, up to 80% of the people in Abu Ghraib were not terrorists, and that infant victims of Haditha were shot at "close range".

"That is the response of the infantile Far Left and Far Right when they advocate reprisals be taken on leaders"
Where does that put you Ford, in the center? ROFLMAO

"You don't have a clue."
No, YOU don't. Your answer to my assertion that a few with IED's had tied shock and awe up in knots actually agreed with me. We either sit back and watch them pick off our troops a few at a time, or we inflame the situation into what could become a regional or even world war, to what end? Wasting huge resources and troops just to prove we can, weakening us for the next trouble spot in the world? Meanwhile the ringleaders of the insurgency sit secure away from the fray laughing while we kill a populace they consider expendable collateral damage.

If you're going to conduct elective wars, you can't be criminally incompetent.

Posted by: Constitution | June 4, 2006 04:50 PM

Constitution wrote:

"Either the Geneva Conventions apply in Iraq or they don't. If they apply to our soldiers in Haditha, then they apply to our imprisonment and abuse of thousands of innocent civilians in Abu Ghraib."
______________

Last comment from me to you on the subject: Guilty or innocent, the Geneva Conventions have nothing to do with protections for non-uniformed combatants.

If you want to make your own fantastic rules for international warfare, no one is stopping you. Sell it as a computer game. However, it has no relevance to the real rules.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 4, 2006 05:54 PM

Poor "Constitution", having not read the Geneva Conventions, simply doesn't have a clue, Plantation.

As you suggest, he is making up his own "fantasy" version of Geneva where it says what he imagines it should say based on how he "feels".

I'm done with the idiot, too.

It is rare that person says that they don't understand something, yet it should apply as they see it...

A failure of cognitive thinking.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 4, 2006 08:28 PM

Christo Turd is such a crackpot, spouting his sociopath interpretation of some international convention that he now holds holy.

Everything he claims justified by his swiss cheese convention can be used by Saddam himself to justify murdering Kurds and Shiites back when he was in power, i.e., Kurds and Shiites were unlawful insurgents, Republican Guards were uniformed soldiers legally waging war on illegal combatants hiding among their own civilians. Kurdish babies died because their mothers chose to hang around their fighters, etc., etc.

What a sociopathic crackpot. So much self absorbed knowledge, so little wisdom and sense of humanity. Give Saddam a call barrister Turd. He can use a blood thirsty comrade like you on his defense team.

Posted by: Minister of Congenital Convetioneering | June 5, 2006 01:45 AM

And for you idiots who claim the GC don't apply to non uniformed combatants, talk to anyone who has been captured by the enemies.

One of the reasons you want to treat their people with some dignity and humanity whether they wear uniforms or not is because you hope and expect they to treat your own people the same way when captured. There are tens of thousands of private contractors acting as non uniformed security personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan who could be viewed as non uniformed combatants by the other side. Otherwise the insurgents/terrorists who killed and mutilated those four private armed guards in Fallujah a while back can claim legal justification or at the very least no applicable jurisdiction for their actions.

Such arm chair bs from guys who in all likelihood have never been caught in harm's way, who can only look at things one way. Like lots of things in REAL life it takes two to tango mates. Now whether the other side will dance is another issue all toghether. But if you gonna goes to the dance you better be prepare to follow the beats first.

Posted by: Minister for Idiotas | June 5, 2006 02:12 AM

Emily wrote:
___________________________________________
As I ponder the reports that the military covered up an intentional attack on civilians by U.S. forces (and somewhat similar allegations out of Afghanistan) I keep coming back to the same question.
How many more?
How many more times will find ourselves scrambling to justify the unjustifiable? How many more times will we let fear blur the line between right and wrong, humane and inhumane?
_______________________________________________

There will be more; there have been more we don't know about. It is an ugly side of war, of human nature given the circumstances of war. It reflects poorly on the state of discipline and leadership in our combat forces. Not all that surprising given the lengths of their tours. Its what happens when little girls are designated "unlawful enemy combatants". They get shot in the back of the head before they can slit the throat of the big good-looking Marine standing over them. Not to pick on Marines in particular. They get the dirtiest of dirty assignments day in and day out, and the Army is no better behaved performing similar duties. As I recall it was an Army grunt that shot that helpless wounded prisoner on tape last fall in the Falluja battle, equally as brutal and inexcusable as this seems to be; but they found a way not to charge him.

I'm sorry, but fear has no part in this. By no account were the dead women and children a threat to those who shot them, or most, if not all, of the men either. Now you might feel that living with the constant fear of roadside bombs justifies a murderous rampage against women and children, but I don't. If the reports are accurate, no explanation scrambling is necessary or desirable. It was unjustifiable and the only issue is why the platoon leader and company commander did not take immediate action immediately following the event. Something more than a few bad apple grunts is wrong here.
__________________________________________
How many of our own basic principles, like justice and fair play, will we toss aside? How many more times will our leaders express outrage (or simply profess to be "troubled") while quietly burying any possibility of meaningful action to punish wrongdoing or correct the flaws that allowed the offense in the first place?
___________________________________________

The better question is which of our basic principles haven't we already tossed aside? The sad truth is that our leaders are representative of us. We do elect them, and scarcely ever on the basis of their principles. I would be hard pressed to find a difference between the Democratic and Republican Party's on the basis of the principles of justice and fair play; I don't think either actually ranks high on their list of concerns; not compared with the objectives of winning and exercising power.

___________________________________
How much liberty are we willing to sacrifice for safety? When we make such concessions, how should we weigh just how much real security will be gained in exchange? Is it acceptable for our rights to be sacrificed in the name of safety, but without our knowledge?
How many more troubling precedents will be set through our own inaction? How many more assaults on our rights and freedoms will we tolerate?
How many more times will government officials unabashedly claim extraordinary powers, unchallenged by a complacent (if increasingly suspicious) public?
What do you think, Debaters? Are we safer today thanks to the Iraq war? Has 'coercive interrogation' made us more secure? Are we better off as a nation -- and as individuals -- when a few top officials can order government surveillance of American citizens?
If your answer to these questions is no, where do we go from here? If your answer is yes, will you still feel the same way when the other party is in power?

Rhetorical questions all, I suppose. The difficult problem that I have is that nothing said by our leaders and representatives can be believed. It may be true, or it may not. You just don't know. It has reached the point where even something said which is also credible, may not be true. Misrepresentation has become an intrinsic and essential element of daily political debate.

Chris, I sympathize with your plight. The facts do not appear to be with you on this one so you must argue the law, which is not with you in this case either, so you are left to put the Iraqis on trial in place of these marines. In reality, I'm you find this particular marine behavior leaves as bitter a taste in your mouth as it does in mine. Other people may do these kinds of things; American soldiers just don't.... ever. Or so we would like to believe.

SMAFDY......you were downright eloquent on the issue and got right to the ugly points.

It needs to be said that this (and Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and other situations) is not reflective of the majority of our combat forces. I would like to say "vast majority", but I'm just not that sure anymore. Therein lies the strategic problem, the chipping away, the erosion, of unquestioned home support for the troops. Murtha was right, it will be sooner, not later.

In the ways that matter, this has turned into another Vietnam. We are trying to race from the "counter-insurgency" phase into the "Vietnamization" (Iraqization) phase. By most metrics we and the Iraqis are losing the race. It is simply not happening fast enough, more like pushing a peanut along the ground with your nose.

It will, of course, be absolutely fascinating to see what the Democrats will do should they take control of one or both branches of Congress this fall. Will they pull the plug on money for the war (as they did to Nixon) or will they "stay the course"? Will they finally find a common coherent position on the war or will they continue to play dodge ball?

Our military, indeed our nation, is unsuited to the tasks of occupation and/or counter-insurgency. We do not have the skills, the sensitivity, the experience, or culture to undertake such operations. Our military in particular is designed for one purpose, to close with and destroy opposing military forces. At that, there is none better in the world. One of these days you would think we will learn to take these truths into account in formulating foreign policy. Hope springs eternal...


Posted by: Cayambe | June 5, 2006 02:46 AM

Minister for Idiotas wrote:

"Such arm chair bs from guys who in all likelihood have never been caught in harm's way, . . ."
____________

One reason I remember GC so distinctly is a procedure used when I served. When deployed on harzardous missions in some place where the possibility of capture was evident, one was required to sanitize their personal possessions including leaving behind their photo military ID issued to a member of the armed forces, and in its place to take a simple laminated Geneva Conventions card that had no photo and that provided only name and service number as I best recall along with a very brief printed statement that the holder was protected by the terms of the GC. The GC had some real definitive meaning then, and no one looking to it was ever confused to think that it provided rules to protect you if you were out of uniform and in the wrong place, especially if you were detained or captured out of uniform.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 5, 2006 06:34 AM

Hey Ford What Weapons of Mass Destruction? Last check I don't beleive anyone has found any. I know all the reports I read that not even one was found. In fact the latest I heard was Saddam was not even capable of making any.

Posted by: Lab Rat | June 5, 2006 10:15 AM

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 5, 2006 12:18 PM

Plantation - My military ID also stated I was a member of the United States Armed Forces entitled to Geneva Convention Protections provided I met other conditions as specified in the 1949 Act. Which we were trained on.
=============================

"Minister" - I know like "Constitution" you WISH there was a Geneva Convention for unlawful enemy combatants fighting outside of uniform, violating rules of war, operating outside any chain of command - so that if we were obligated to be NICE to them and treat them as honorable POWs, they'd consider being NICE to our non-combatants......BUT.....

1. There isn't such a law.
2. Despite that, it is far better to be a prisoner of the US, even an Arab nation, than Islamofascists. At least we take prisoners and they get general humane treatment. They don't take prisoners except for execution ceremonies or ransom.
========================================
Lab Rat - so Saddam self-destructively lied so as to fool his own generals, and the Russian, Jordanian, Iranian, US, French, British, Israeli, Turkish, German, Saudi intelligence services about WMD.
What's your point?
Do you favor a "lessons learned" position that if we read on an Internet Chat room that prominant Yemeni terrorists claim they are cooking up anthrax in a remote village, find they are buying equipment, have ringed the village with Islamoid fighters - that we or the Yemenis shouldn't go in using force on the premise they MIGHT be lying?

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 5, 2006 01:09 PM

Chris Ford wrote:

"Plantation - My military ID also stated I was a member of the United States Armed Forces entitled to Geneva Convention Protections provided I met other conditions as specified in the 1949 Act. Which we were trained on."

_________

I was in the USAF also. I don't remember any of the verbage on the U.S. Armed Forces ID, but I know it provided too much personal information about the airman to let it be used in certain situations. For example, date of birth, blood type, enlisted or officer, issue date, expiration date, and maybe some other bits of data that the potentially detained or captured service member might not want to have on display. Consequently, there was a replacement GC card used in lieu of the military ID (which was left behind) when the situation demanded it.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 5, 2006 01:18 PM

Umm. Forgive me for being too simplistic but how about "Shooting people who are clearly no threat to you is wrong"?
The US is, I am constantly told, a culture or life, morals, values (and no sex between two adults of the same gender EVER). How do we get from that to "It might be OK to shoot a kid who has his hands above his head?"
Only by a lot of fancy footwork.
I realize you have to allow soldiers in combat conditions to do their jobs otherwise their only choice is to get killed. However, too much latitude leads one from engaging an enemy to unecessary collateral damage (urg), to plain old murder.

Another thought I had. I said in another post that I could not judge soldiers who might have gone on a rampage because I've never been a combat situation. Well. I changed my mind and here's an extreme example of why: I think abusing children is vile. If I read a story about a child being abused or neglected, my stomach churns. I could not sit on a jury for a child abuse case because I know I could not make an un-biased decision. I judge these people and find them unspeakably evil. And yet, I have never had the urge to molest or abuse a child or been in a situation where I might want to. Why then is it so easy for me to say a child abuser is one of the most despicable forms of human being on the planet?
Because that's what people do. It's what animals do. We make judgements. Safe, unsafe. Good, bad. Like, dislike. Sometimes it gets out of control and we burn crosses and such but the core impulse (to evaluate good and bad) keeps the species going.
And here is another reason (sorry if I seem to contradict myself in one post). I thought about it some more and I realized I felt uncomfortable pitying the soldiers. It seems rather inappropriate for an out-of-shape middle-ager who has never worn combat boots (even as a fashion statement) to say "You poor things, it must have been DREADFUL for you." No, it seems down right INSULTING and I wouldn't dare say it to a soldier's face. I know a lot of people in the military and they have described their training. I KNOW that a day or two of it would leave me deader than a stuffed trout. I could not do it. And even if I did some how drag myself through the training how would I fare out among the expolosions and bullets and death? Nuh-uh. I surrender, I wet my pants, I lay down and curl up in a little sobbing ball.
So on the one hand I have to say to myself when think of soldiers - These guys can take it. They can take the training. They can take the noise and the fear and the uncertainty of combat, but they CAN'T take responsibility for their actions.
Say what?
Certainly, if soldiers are under so much mental strain they snap and run amok, they need to be evaluated and treated (and NOT returned to combat until they are better). But at the end of the day, unless it can be shown they did not understand the repercussions of their actions, they did it and knew they were doing it and saying "Oh those poor boys were frightened out of their wits," is a slap in the face that doesn't do them any favors. They're adults. We tell them they're the best this nation has to offer. But at the same time we have to be careful that we don't blame them when they do something wrong?
How rude is that?

Posted by: NIW | June 5, 2006 01:21 PM

NIW wrote:

"Forgive me for being too simplistic but how about "Shooting people who are clearly no threat to you is wrong"?"

_________

UCMJ. Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 5, 2006 01:27 PM

"Stories, like Haditha, rarely find their way into the evening news. That would interrupt the optimistic flow of jingoism and cheery predictions that dominate the mainstream storyline. No one in the media would be brazen enough to suggest that the war was entirely motivated by self-interest, or that, the calls for "democratization" and "liberation" are merely intended to divert the public's attention from the daily record of slaughter. That would be a career-ending move, for sure."

"The basic function of the media never changes. It's a top-down corporate institution designed to provide a business-friendly world view and enhance the profits of its investors. They're paid to transform a vicious colonial war into a "noble cause" and defend the indiscriminate killing of civilians as the highest expression of patriotism. Haditha is the logical extension of that system."

"Voltaire said, "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities". Haditha proves that Voltaire was right. He wisely anticipated the role of media in the modern era. It is the pitch-man for atrocities that are thinly-veiled as acts of self-sacrifice and humanity. Voltaire never could have imagined that the cynical manipulation of perceptions could have evolved into an entire industry. In fact, media is more like an army than an industry; a band of mercenaries who are used to carry out information-warfare against their own people."

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13510.htm

-----

FEAR...is what drives you Chris. Terrorists, freedom fighters, insurgents and the like world over have been cooking up stuff since warfare began. Jesus was an insurgent. We killed indians with blankets infected with Small Pox. The Israelis took back "their" homeland via terrorist tactics.

FEAR is a terrible thing. We kill more people by handguns in a year then we lost on 9/11. We have killed more innocent Iraqis then we lost on 9/11. How much killing is enough for you?

We CANNOT kick everyone's ass...ask some Crusaders about that. We certainly cannot do it alone. We certainly cannot operate in the world if we piss everyone off. Hell, we can't even find the ONE guy RESPONSIBLE for the attack on this country.

How is it the Canadians can stop the largest conspiracy since 9/11 without a Patriot Act and not have secretly arrested hundreds?

Again, it's NOT about WHETHER to defend ourselves...but HOW. Your methods, at least the ones you SEEM to support, are crude and the result of a lazy lack of intellect. War is NOT the answer; especially an inept prosecution of war.

Indeed, there will be times when DIRECT ACTION will be necessary, but half-cocked invasions based on lies and cherry-picked intelligence works AGAINST our abilities to prosecute such actions when we REALLY need to.

No one gets to pick how they die? Why do you fear death so much? Would you trade your life for subjugation and control?


Posted by: AfghanVet | June 5, 2006 01:30 PM

On the plantation wrote:
===========================================
"This barking dog crap is pretty low level even compared to training situations. I am quite sure that competent Al-Q instructors are laughing at us now."
===========================================

Laughing at what, the photos that showed what happened to a prisoner who was bit, and was being sutured by a non-medic to boot?

That's more than just a dog growling, that's actual physical harm -- if not the dog, the guard playing corpsman.

We're a nation of Laws and since we don't live in an anarchy, the rules state prisoners are to treated fairly and decently. Once folks renege on our obligations they spit not only on the very laws that make a civil society, they spit on the Constitution as well. For those Marines not only tainted the USMC, they, again, tainted the very image of the USA and that vulnerable document they sworn to protect.

No service person nor service comes before our country and it's obligations. Period. If found guilty, string them up as common thugs. The USA doesn't need renegades as service people.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 5, 2006 01:45 PM

OtP, I this the one you had in mind?

899. ART. 99. MISBEHAVIOR BEFORE THE ENEMY

Or did you mean plain old Murder/Manslaughter?

Here is a link for those who are wondering, it actually makes for interesting reading. (Or perhaps I am just a geek.)

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ucmj.htm

Posted by: NiW | June 5, 2006 02:12 PM

"Army Manual to Skip Geneva Detainee Rule
The Pentagon's move to omit a ban on prisoner humiliation from the basic guide to soldier conduct faces strong State Dept. opposition.
By Julian E. Barnes, Times Staff Writer
June 5, 2006


WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards."

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-torture5jun05,1,2103289.story?coll=la-headlines-nation

-----

Hey, if the GC doesn't speak to what we do...then why leave it out?

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 5, 2006 02:14 PM

Cayambe - "Chris, I sympathize with your plight. The facts do not appear to be with you on this one so you must argue the law, which is not with you in this case either, so you are left to put the Iraqis on trial in place of these marines."

Nobody's perfect. But in typical fashion, the media and the usual suspect activist groups have tried making the actions of a few an indictment of all. Same thing as with cops. A violent criminal gang causes chaos in a city, murdering many, inc. a few police. Then an incident happens where cops are not perfect and blast a gang member and his girlfriend and her 2-year old kid in a car thinking there was a threat and the next thing you know every criminal rights and race advocacy group known to man comes out insisting that the cops, the police chief, the mayor, the governor, and the President should all be put on trial.

They know that since they scream loudest, they have more "power" than the defenders - except fortunately for the police, they have organized defenders and due process protections. But some cities are now so aggressively "anti-cop" that they have difficulty attracting and retaining good police. Just as the thugs and their defenders hope for.

The Marines are not perfect. Military historians point out incidents in any war.

But I see it just like with the cops - despite people that rountinely chant "I support the troops" - they don't. Just as many urban dwellers and activists see police as the #1 enemy, their compatriots "loathe" the military. They hate them and the USA, and the usual strategy to demoralize our service personnel is to either cast them as stupid, hapless victims - or as depraved criminals - in the hopes of discouraging others from serving our country.

Slightly more sophisticated than spitting on soldiers and calling them baby-killers, but wishing for the same results...crippling our military. Hurting recruiting and morale - so America is forced to obey the ultimate wisdom of the NGOs, ACLU, and UN more often...

I write defending them because I readily pick up the near-salivating glee of the Hate-America crowd at the prospects of more soldier-bashing and Bush-bashing. I also write knowing that some of America's toughest jobs depend on split second decisions that we wish were always right but in fact, given human nature, inevitable that the wrong call will be made from time to time. If we try to criminalize those in those tough, frequently indispensable jobs - convince them that their fellow citizens support the various crusaders gunning for them - we will drive the better people out to seek safer employment options and leave the people in who make such incidents even more likely.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 5, 2006 02:20 PM

SandyK wrote:

"Laughing at what . . ."

__________

I provided the story source. Look for yourself; there are no stories or images of sutured faces in this court-martial conviction.

The laughter of the instructors for our foes surrounds the discovery and confirmation that the harshness they can bring to training would far exceed what would occur in the actual dreaded capture of any of their students. Understanding this, they realize that they (ie. the terrorist instructors) are achieving their major professional training objective: Making sure nothing their a student encounters in real situations is a surprise or any worse than simulations in training.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 5, 2006 02:41 PM

Chris Wrote:

"But in typical fashion, the media and the usual suspect activist groups have tried making the actions of a few an indictment of all. Same thing as with cops."

And, in a fit of irony that does justice to BushCO...Chris proceeds to engage in EXACTLY that! How about all those Islamoids?

Chris, it's only YOU who cannot seem to draw the distinction between the behavior of 99% of the soldiers and the 1% who have committed crimes. Instead of condemning the FEW who engage in criminal conduct, you run to their protection on the backs of the 99% who seem to function within the constraints our laws set for them.

By NOT calling them out, you INDICT the entire military by trying to rationalize and justify actions that are CLEARLY outside the norms of our PROFESSIONAL military. I will not accept soldiers in MY military that cannot conduct themselves in a REASONABLE fashion. I WILL have compassion for them as they are indeed placed in a situation that asks a great deal from their integrity and sense of justice, but that does not mean I condone their actions or will look the other way.

Blind FAITH in the face of evidence suggesting a horrible crime is not LOVE or SUPPORT...it's foolishness and stupidity. A mother can love a son that murders, but that does not mean she supports his actions.

We are not talking about ACCIDENTLY killing civilians in a crossfire. I can assure you that many a soldier have nightmares about having to fire upon a speeding car and the like only to realize that a CHILD what involved. They were RIGHT in their response, perhaps, but that changes nothing. That CHILD had no CHOICE.

What we are talking about is calculated murder. If YOU cannot draw the distinction, it's YOU that has the problem.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 5, 2006 02:54 PM

On the plantation,

You think barking was the intention? You think physical torture is the only kind of torture? You think the actual physical blow is the most damaging blow? Let's see. You, yes you plantie, all your ignorant life having been brainwashed sex and women are the devil's work, find yourself stripped naked with your genitals hanging out there for all the world to see, getting roughed up and humiliated by some female infidel soldier from West Virginia, a pit bull lunges at you...

Imagine yourself in that situation buddy. Imagine your manhood...

The guy who come up with and sanction that get the Oscar for best diabolical investigation technique.

Deliverance on the Tigris?

Posted by: M | June 5, 2006 04:50 PM

U.S. News & World Report
June 12, 2006

Bush Knows His History

By Michael Barone

Two weeks ago, I pointed out that we live in something close to the best of times, with record worldwide economic growth and at a low point in armed conflict in the world. Yet Americans are in a sour mood, a mood that may be explained by the lack of a sense of history. The military struggle in Iraq (2,473 U.S. military deaths) is spoken of in as dire terms as Vietnam (58,219), Korea (54,246) or World War II (405,399). We bemoan the cruel injustice of $3 a gallon for gas in a country where three quarters of people classified as poor have air conditioning and microwave ovens. We complain about a tide of immigration that is, per U.S. resident, running at one third the rate of 99 years ago.

George W. Bush has a better sense of history. Speaking May 27 at the commencement ceremony at West Point--above the Hudson River where revolutionary Americans threw a chain across the water to block British ships--Bush noted that he was speaking to the first class to enter the academy after the September 11 attacks. And he put the challenge these cadets willingly undertook in perspective by looking back at the challenges America faced at the start of the Cold War 60 years ago.

"In the early years of that struggle," Bush noted, "freedom's victory was not obvious or assured." In 1946, Harry Truman accompanied Winston Churchill as he delivered his Iron Curtain speech; in 1947, Communists threatened Greece and Turkey; in 1948, Czechoslovakia fell, France and Italy seemed headed the same way and Berlin was blockaded by the Soviets, who exploded a nuclear weapon the next year; in 1950, North Korea attacked South Korea. "All of this took place in just the first five years following World War II," Bush noted. "Fortunately, we had a president named Harry Truman, who recognized the threat, took bold action to confront it, and laid the foundation for freedom's victory in the Cold War."

Bold action: The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan in 1947, the Berlin airlift in 1948, the NATO Treaty in 1949, the Korean war in 1950. None of these was uncontroversial, and none was perfectly executed. And this was only the beginning. It took 40 years--many of them filled with angry controversy--to win the Cold War.

The struggles against Soviet communism and Islamofascist terrorists are of course not identical. But there are similarities. "Like the Cold War, we are fighting the followers of a murderous ideology that despises freedom, crushes all dissent, has territorial ambitions, and pursues totalitarian aims," Bush said. "And like the Cold War, they're seeking weapons of mass murder that would allow them to deliver catastrophic destruction to our country."

Misreading Truman. The New Republic's Peter Beinart argues that Bush, unlike Truman, has shown no respect for international institutions. But the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan were unilateral American initiatives, and Truman used the United Nations to respond in Korea only because the Soviets were then boycotting the Security Council. Otherwise he would have gone to war, as Bill Clinton did in Kosovo, without U.N. approval. Bush did try to use the U.N. on Iraq but was blocked by France and Russia, both stuffed with profits from the corrupt U.N. Oil for Food program. But as Bush pointed out, we have worked with 90-plus nations and NATO in Afghanistan and with 70-plus nations on the Proliferation Security Initiative. We're working with allies to halt Iran's nuclear program.

"We can't have lasting peace unless we work actively and vigorously to bring about conditions of freedom and justice in the world," Harry Truman told the West Point class of 1952. Which is what we're trying to do today--in Iraq and the broader Middle East, in Afghanistan, even Africa.

Reports of Bush's West Point speech noted that Truman had low job ratings--lower than Bush's, in fact. But does that matter now? Bush, as Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis has written, has changed American foreign policy more than any president since Truman, and like Truman acted on the long view. "The war began on my watch," Bush told the class of 2006, "but it's going to end on your watch." Truman might have made the same point, accurately as it turned out, to the class of 1952. We're lucky we had then, and have now, a president who takes bold action and braves vitriolic criticism to defend our civilization against those who would destroy it.

Posted by: Truth Bringer | June 5, 2006 05:08 PM

Washington Post
June 5, 2006
Pg. 15

And Now For Some Good News

By Peter Wehner

By now Americans know the litany: The nation is engaged in a difficult and costly war in Iraq; Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon; gas prices are high; the costs of reconstructing the Gulf Coast region are huge; illegal immigration is a major problem -- and more.

These issues are real and pressing. But they aren't the whole story -- and they ought not color the lens through which we see all other events. We hear a great deal about the problems we face. We hear hardly anything about the encouraging developments. Off-key as it may sound in the current environment, a strong case can be made that in a number of areas there are positive trends and considerable progress. Perhaps the place to begin is with an empirical assessment of where we are.

Social Indicators: We are witnessing a remarkable cultural renewal in America. Violent crime rates remain at the lowest levels in the history of the Bureau of Justice Statistics' survey (which started in 1973). We are experiencing the sharpest decline in teen crime in modern history. Property crimes are near the lowest levels in the history of the federal survey. Welfare caseloads have declined almost 60 percent since 1996. Both the abortion rate and ratio are at the lowest levels we have seen in the 30-year period these data have been tracked. African American and Hispanic fourth-graders posted the highest reading and math scores in the history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test. The use of illegal drugs by teens has dropped 19 percent since 2001, while the use of hallucinogens such as LSD and ecstasy has declined by more than half.

The teen birth rate has fallen for a dozen consecutive years. The percentage of high school students who reported having had sex is significantly lower than in the early 1990s. The divorce rate has fallen steadily for over a decade. And teen smoking has dropped by almost 50 percent since the late '90s.

There are areas of concern, to be sure. Births to unmarried women are at an all-time high, and in many respects our popular culture remains a cesspool. But context is important. Between 1960 and the mid-'90s virtually every social indicator got worse -- and in many cases staggeringly worse. Then things began to turn around, almost as if a cultural virus created its own antibodies.

The Economy : The American economy is the strongest in the world and growing faster than that of any other major industrialized country. It grew at an annual rate of 5.3 percent in the first quarter -- the fastest growth in 2 1/2 years. It has added more than 5.3 million jobs since the summer of 2003, and employment is near an all-time high. The unemployment rate (4.6 percent) is well below the average for each of the past four decades. Mortgage rates remain near historical lows, homeownership remains near a record high, and sales of new and existing homes reached record levels in 2005. Real disposable personal income has risen almost 13 percent since President Bush took office; and core inflation rose just 2.3 percent over the past 12 months. The Dow Jones industrial average has risen from under 7300 in 2002 to above 11,000 for most of this year. Tax revenues are at an all-time high -- and so is total household net worth.

National Security : Perhaps no nation has ever been as dominant as the United States is today -- and we are using our military power to promote great purposes. As a reference point, it's worth recalling that the 1930s and early-'40s were regarded by many as the twilight of freedom. Democratic societies were threatened both internally (by a depression) and externally (by Nazism and fascism). There were only a dozen or so democracies on the planet.

Today we are witnessing one of the swiftest advances of freedom in history. In the past four years more than 110 million people have joined the ranks of the free -- and for the first time freedom is taking root in the Middle East. Once ruled by cruel dictatorships, the people of Afghanistan and Iraq are now governed by constitutions and are participating in national elections. The governments of the two countries once provided safe haven to terrorists; now they are engaged in a mortal struggle against them. This struggle is longer and harder than any of us would wish, but by any standard or precedent of history, Afghanistan and Iraq have made remarkable political progress.

Kuwait's parliament has granted full political rights to women. Arab intellectuals are pushing for a rapid acceleration of democratic reform. After almost 30 years, Syrian troops left Lebanon in response to the Cedar Revolution. And Libya has abandoned its program of weapons of mass destruction. The biggest nuclear-smuggling ring in history, run by Pakistan's A.Q. Khan, is being rolled up. The government of Pakistan has cast its lot with us against al-Qaeda.

Islamic terrorists have been denied sanctuaries, their networks are being broken up, their leaders are being incapacitated and they are on the run. Our homeland has not been attacked since Sept. 11, 2001. And we have set aside decades of mistrust to put relations with India, the world's most populous democracy, on a new and fruitful path.

This account does not mean that everything is going smoothly. Every day we are reminded that hardships are real. Grave threats persist. Missteps have been made along the way. And more can always be done. But we are witnessing significant progress on many different fronts, and there are authentic grounds for optimism.

The Sept. 11 attacks, two wars, a recession and the worst natural disaster in our history have been turbulent and draining events. History-shaping periods often are -- and so, not surprisingly, the nation is unsettled. Yet the United States is a deeply resilient and hopeful country. The trajectory of events is in our favor -- and with the passage of time, all this will become clear enough.

Posted by: Truth Bringer | June 5, 2006 05:15 PM

No Aghan Vet - YOU were a potential military problem - and I am as grateful they got rid of you as I am that Sgt Hassan and John Mohammed are no longer in.

Nor do you "Get" that Islamoids, Islamofascists, Wahabbis, Salafists or whatever term du jour describes those Muslims who want to kill infidels represent descriptors that DO NOT encompass ALL MUSLIMS. They are a subset. Not only 1%. A substantial subset, but not a majority.

But most people have moved on past the insincere Feel-Good crap people like you spout about "the vast majority of Muslims are wonderful people just aching for some good infidels to move in to their lands".

" I will not accept soldiers in MY military that cannot conduct themselves in a REASONABLE fashion."

What a load of crap. They got rid of you and many others that grew into malcontents. Every military outfit has losers, troublemakers, and people whose judgment might fail under high pressure. Plus damned if you do, damned if you don't situations that ensnare even the best.

Every military outfit. Your puffery about how YOU feel nonwithstanding.

That is why we have the UCMJ and why it is used a lot.

That is WHY I WANT TO SEE THE EVIDENCE before I PILLORY ANY MARINE or join Afghan Vet's lynch mob. And I WON'T join the chorus that seeks to CRIMINALIZE our guys for EACH nad EVERY mistake they make in war.

Much of Murtha's "in cold blood" allegations rest on the word the enemy insurgents in Haditha. Which is a town of daily executions of moderate Muslims and Shia travelers, and where the CHILDREN, the precious children, are trained as military scouts and grenade throwers. (The Ba'athists maintained a robust program to train and use children as combatants, in a manner similar to the Hitler Youth. 8 to 10,000 were military-trained as "Saddam's Lion Cubs". Insurgents have kept this child military-training tradition going.

A link to what Haditha looks like from the inside, the goings on of executions - as of Aug 22, 2005.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1553969,00.html

Chidren supposedly helped out in other executions, other sources say. Guarding prisoners, dragging bodies away, distributing DVDs of the daily executions to other Sunni kids as entertainment.

A few days after the Guardian got in, 21 Shiite fishermen were taken off their boats and shot in Haditha. Some media grabbed the picture and ran it as evidence of "Marine Atrocities" after Murtha's speech against the Marines.

War involves mistake after mistake on both sides that sometimes means the needless loss of soldiers or the slaughter of civilians. This cannot be under the same system as civilian law, despite the wishes of those ingorant of the pressures and snap decisions made to wish it were so.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 5, 2006 05:52 PM

Truth Bringer,

Shouldn't you sign your posts pino'che instead? To balance out che's posts? Order and harmony and balance are important even in the blogworld.

Posted by: Truth Dinker | June 5, 2006 05:54 PM

M wrote:

"Imagine yourself in that situation buddy."
____________

Putting aside the sadistic images you felt compelled to describe, there is one kernel of truth within your post. A lot of interrogation does rely upon leveraging the imagination of the subject. That practice is comparatively humane put beside what happens if you are not fortunate enough to be handled by American interrogators.

Radical, suicidal enemy combatants don't need a boost from sideline posters to suggest methods of inflicting physical or mental harm on innocent others. They shamelessly publish their studio material on a global basis, and are proud of it.

Better to further freak-out the imagination of any captured enemy combatant than to harm the skin of one GI. Muslim or Christain or Jew or Hindu, we are all ultimately responsible for our own mental hygiene.

Now, I must pause a while, and imagine a world without people addicted to hate.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 5, 2006 05:57 PM

you mean the rumour of a violent military power that is out to get us that has been foisted on the American Public


by a PNAC inspired agenda? a falsehood foisted on the American public by a complicit Democratic and Republican congress....if you look at McCain, you know he was in the inside of this deal...


yes, you were going to "war," opportunistic invasion, before this president was elected....did Gore really lose?

or did the nation?

would he have been this bad?


would he have been positing gay marriage as the reason the country was failing?


as he tried to sneak estate tax ban through the congress?


is gay marriage just a "look over here,?"


is he pandering to the demagoguery vote?

is he creating hatred?


give it back to him, arrest him, and terminate his ability to do this again...ever, this lifetime or his descendants...


speaking of perpatrators,


do you mean the false flag perpatrators,


the CIA/HAYDEN/CHEYNEY/RUMSFELD/NEGROPONTE/NSA


you know the DOD, monied cabal that wants to have war for life so they don't have to worry about the future....


you mean the people that served alongside George H.W. Bush with the cia/mafia/bayofpigs fiasco, which became the Nixon watergate fiasco?


and how did we get into Iraq?


oh yeah, April Glaspie talking to Saddam Hussein while we let the Kurds burn in hell after Desert Storm....women, children freezing without food on the border between Iraq and Turkey after we said we'd support them if they helped us in the invasion of Iraq?


so we could gain control of a region and assist our friends


THE FRIGGIN SAUDIS AND UAE who risked their lives flying planes into the world trade center for us so we could have a rallying cry that was cool....


remember 9/11....so many died....right,


like about 1/4 of the number that died in firearms related crimes that year...


kiss my a-ss


what a load of crap.

.

Posted by:

Posted by: Al Quaeda... | June 5, 2006 06:16 PM

M wrote:

" . . . all your ignorant life having been brainwashed . . ."
__________

So, the gist of what you posted is that the psychological disabilities of the foe should not be touched. Not quite sure from your post why, perhaps because you think it's unfair or cruel.

Mentally able or disabled, there's a real simple way, with high probability of success, not to experience a rough time in prison or under interrogation. Just don't attack uniformed military or innocent civilians. That's not asking a whole lot. This is sort of basic, but sometimes it doesn't hurt to state the obvious.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 5, 2006 06:25 PM

Much of Murtha's "in cold blood" allegations rest on the word (of) the enemy insurgents in Haditha.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 5, 2006 05:52 PM

Just go to show what an ignorant, pompous and yet naive nobody this guy is. Read the Post's article on Sunday and learn to figure the unstated facts from there sonny!

Murtha IS the Marines's protector and patron saint in Congress. A three star law and order "Army" general ordered the probe into Haditha, the Marines were so concerned when that happened they rushed to Congress (before Rumsfeld could even put a gag order in to maintain control of the damage!) in order to get in the first word in case the Army's invetigators will do worse to their reputation. Murtha is no peacenik, nor insurgents' apologist, he's the guy generals, Marine generals in particular, come to cry to in private when they cannot bellyache in public or in front of their civilian bosses. Get that? Whatever Murtha says in public it's 99.999% he got it from the Marines brass behind closed door not from the word of Iraqi insurgents or their sympathizers.

The reason Murtha is out against the war so vocally and publicly is because he has concluded based on what the military brass told him in private that the Iraq war is lost and to stay any longer will only do more and more damage to the Army and his beloved Marines. He worries about the the threat to the military's existence after Iraq, not the commander in chief's political reputation that comes with a defeat.

We'll will see if he is right or wrong in that conclusion. But to imply Murtha is a dupe of Iraqi insurgents' propaganda is idiotic and so loopy it signals the mind of an unsophisticated knave.

Posted by: Minister of Information and Swiss Convention | June 5, 2006 06:31 PM

Minister of Information . . . wrote:

"He [Murtha] worries about the the threat to the military's existence after Iraq . . ."
____________

Personally I do not question the honorable motivations of Senator Murtha. Sometimes he is a little incoherent, which most of us can identify with, because he is so devoted and does not have constant supporting resources to shine his image. Definitely he is someone to listen to, but he needs assistance from people of equal caliber.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 5, 2006 06:42 PM

ah plantie,

But it turned out the guy they sprang the dog on was just some common criminal or some poor fool caught up in the miliary's need for immediate results to satisfy the political bosses back home, no? He even turned up on TV later on bemoaning his misfortune.

Besides even Bush finally admitted Abu Ghraib was the biggest mistake of the war so far... So what did all that torture accomplish? To destroy the reputation of the US and to help recruit home grown terrorists even in supposely peace loving and neutral - as far as Iraq goes - place like Canada?

Posted by: M | June 5, 2006 06:45 PM

take a few obviously corrupt congress people and make an example of them,


say, "this could happen to you,"


destruction so deep they can't recover from it.....no nest eggs, no properties exempt, seize and destroy....


reduce them to the plight of the common man....


let them go to emergency rooms for healthcare, if they can find a way to get their after thier cars have been taken and their medical abilities reduced by $30 a month when they only bring in a thousand to live on through SSI


let _them_ find out what it's like to go to a homeless shelter because their friggin jobs got outsourced, and they lost their home, their marriage and one of the kids killed themselves because they got caught up in the emotional firestorm of two parents in meltdown...


let them taste hell.

Posted by: let them taste hell. | June 5, 2006 07:06 PM

you want to argue points or actually have effect?

I suggest you focus on the demagogurey involved in reissuing


homophobia as something that the common man needs to support....

this from a guy that appears in a movie holding the hands of Arab princes...as he beams at the camera...

he's not homophobic,

he just likes to use it...

do the world some good and take the trash out...

address that.

.punks.

.

Posted by: whatever... | June 5, 2006 07:12 PM

Chris:

The point:

It's not the individual Marines that apparently did the killing in Haditha who are guilty of the crimes. At this point, I assume a horrendous crime has been committed - I'd be fooling myself to think otherwise.

It's not the our military, in toto, that is guilty. Although being less than straight-up about events does imply a cover-up, and that is somewhat damning for those involved, what with honour and all being what it is. (You can bet the Iraqi's in the neighborhood in Haditha know exactly what happened.)

The guilt for these murders lies squarely on the shoulders of the American people. You and me, via our representative government. The one we elected. Twice. They might be criminals, they might be bufoons, they might be both. But we elected them. Twice. This war is a war of choice. we chose to start it, and we chose and continue to choose to continue it. This war is a disgrace because it can be nothing more and nothing less. This war is bad and it will only get worse as we continue. That is the truth of the matter, because that is all it can be.This war is a national dishonor.

Some people ate the lie (they knew it was a lie, but they ate it anyway - after all, what's the worse that could happen?), and supported, and still support this war (it truly is a fiasco).

Some people refused to bite, and are still urging their fellow citizens wolfing this crap down to stop and think about what they're eating.

What bugs me, is that I'm the second kind of person, but I'm guilty by association.

Again - you had to know what would happen when we started a war. Now, we're all reponsible.

Posted by: smafdy | June 5, 2006 07:13 PM

On the plantation,

Ask yourself this question: would you like some K-9 troops to barge into your home at 2am in the morning, then declare you have zero rights? Then they sic their German Shepard on you just to see you pee down your leg (that's after they force you to strip, masturbate and wear your underwear over your head)?

What these troops are doing over in Iraq is what will be returning to the States. The same mindset, the same "gotcha clauses" and the same non-accountability. Think some sh*ts and grins 3hr session is going to undo 4+ years of hardcore training? Think these troops can just turn what they learned off like a switch?

Hardly.

I don't want any of those troops on our soil until they've been deprogrammed. Washed, pressed, deprogrammed and check by psychiatrists. Because if ***1*** US citizen is maimed or killed by some young stupid punks, you can bet Ted Kennedy and crew will mothball all the services. If you warhawks don't consider anything else (you know morals/ethics?) consider Kennedy's claws on the military budget.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 5, 2006 08:00 PM

spits on their shoes...


dincha hear what I said punks?


they're about to do it again?


all you can do is drink beer and commiserate....what use are you?

.

Posted by: he walks in and pauses for reflection... | June 5, 2006 08:15 PM

M wrote:

"So what did all that torture accomplish?"
__________

Torture does not achieve any significant objective advantage in any circumstances; the exception being the terrorist wishing to inflict fear on amplified numbers of people, and to accomplish this their tortures need to be publicly known. Crushing individuals is just a waste. It has never a part of the rational mind to claim that torture did or does help strategic success in a military campaign.

Interrogation, including interrogation with induced stresses and degrees of deprivation, is not torture. But interrogation is another elusive endeavor to analyze, and is best understood by studying its history and biographical cases. Generally, with the degraded value of information over time, very little actionable information can be extracted, and that very often it is unreliable. Interrogation needs to be done quickly if it has much potential at all. Of course, voluntary cooperation is ideal, and here ample rewards rather than punishment for the foe are in order.

For anyone who seriously studies the history of interrogation, the odd thing is that the purpose of it so very often is not about getting information per se. It's about affecting the thinking of the subject. Why state institutions throughoutout history have invested considerable resources, at times of peace as well as war, with such little actual yield being possible, except to change some individuals' thinking while under control, is a whole other subject.

Torture in war in unproductive, and even highly counterproductive. That's why GC bans it. Indeed, the prison abuses in Iraq may actually have been a sophisticated sabotage. But a barking dog on a leash is not torture; perhaps people need to remember Saddam's methods to define torture.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 5, 2006 08:38 PM

SandyK,

Your home invasion fantasy is disturbing. I'm not going to be attacking anyone, and I don't do drugs, so if it does happen without provocation, it will definitely be a different world than I want to live in.

As to your deprogramming demands for returning troups, this reflects a very low opinion of the capacity for independent thought amongst our fellow citizens now serving.

We ought to be grateful that we have a military disciplined to follow a chain of command. That's the essential protection when they are back home. Any policy differences we have as citizens go to a much higher level than these good souls taking on a tough and dangerous assignment. Let's hope they get home quickly and are warmly welcomed back to integrated places in our communities.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 5, 2006 08:49 PM

That would be Major AfghanVet to you Chris...prior service enlisted and veteran of a year-long tour in 2003...and I am still in. Funny how once your idiocy is made clear, you attack me personally. Maybe we should discuss my 13 years working for another part of the government. One where I probably walked past you once or twice.

Of course, we have already covered your own personal and control issues here before.

You CLAIM you want to see the evidence, but what then after you have? What excuses will you make? I suggest, again, that we meet and compare EERs and OERs to see who's career in the military is worth talking about.

Here is what I think your major problem is...you cannot reconcile that you put your FAITH and confidence in a President and administration that is clearly incompetent. You cannot even argue around your own BS anymore.

Feel free to attack me all you want. I am confident in my contributions to this country from both the military and intel perspective, so I don't seek your approval. However, a beer awaits you anytime you wished to compare notes.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 5, 2006 09:46 PM

Smarfdy - "It's not the individual Marines that apparently did the killing in Haditha who are guilty of the crimes. At this point, I assume a horrendous crime has been committed - I'd be fooling myself to think otherwise."

Funny how much support there is for going after US soldiers for alledged crimes, but virtually no demand to prosecute the unlawful enemy combatants in Iraq or the terrorists we have at GITMO. Instead, its all about "enemy rights", their need for free lawyers, how "comfortable" we can make them with proper food, lodging, and entertainment until their "unjust and illegal imprisonment" ends so they can be returned to action.

Smarfdy - "It's not the our military, in toto, that is guilty......The guilt for these murders lies squarely on the shoulders of the American people. You and me, via our representative government."

If you believe in collective guilt, then maybe you follow Al Qaeda logic. Bin Laden and Islamoids in Iraq maintain that because America is a democracy, every man woman and child is a valid target, since the "offenses against Islam" are from a collective will. Whereas acts of Islamist slaughter cannot be avenged on the general population, they claim, because responsibility only rests with the Holy Warriors following the commands of the Koran to kill all offending infidels.

Down with Binnie's logic, Smarfdy?

Or do you believe that if collective guilt for murder is with all Americans, then we should reciprocate and lay the murders of 9/11 and the deaths of Americans in Iraq collectively on all Muslims?

No? How about "all Saudis" for 9/11? How about "every person in Haditha that knew of bombs emplaced to kill Americans"? How about every man, woman, and child in Haditha that endorsed or participated in the executions of the hundreds of moderate Muslims and Shiite travelers who were snagged on the roads outside Haditha or in town and brought to the beheading site?

Smarfdy -"(You can bet the Iraqi's in the neighborhood in Haditha know exactly what happened.)"

They sure did. Every man, woman, and child in that neighborhood at least knew that IED was going to go off and kill Americans, even if they were personally not involved in the IED placement or the ambush attack following the bomb intended to wipe out the reamaining Marines.

And while not every man, woman, and child knew who the Al Qaeda fighters and locals were who waylaid then killed hundreds of unwary Shiite travelers in a years time and 30 or so Americans...most did.
==================================
Afghan Vet - I can say your head-hunting attitude about your fellow soldiers screwing up in minor or significant ways in the heat of battle would not be popular in any military unit I am familiar with. I'm not ready to lynch the Marines.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 5, 2006 10:59 PM

On the plantation wrote:
===========================================
"Your home invasion fantasy is disturbing. I'm not going to be attacking anyone, and I don't do drugs, so if it does happen without provocation, it will definitely be a different world than I want to live in."
===========================================

This is what separates Traditional conservatives and Neo-Cons: we don't believe in a very strong federal military just for that very reason (and the Founders made darn sure the Militia would check the power of national troops, as the Founders envisioned). Give folks too much power and they'll abuse it, especially if they're trained to kill outright as the objective. Washington and other commanders of the Revolutionary war knew their history, let alone seen what a King could do to make citizens miserable with occupying troops.

[A lot of history in the Revolutionary war which the Bush Administration is repeating again; perhaps because Commie Neo-Cons don't like to read real history, just the Maoist red book version, instead].

#1 rule in combat arms is to IDENTIFY their target(s) BEFORE shooting. This time it shows even this very basic rule has been supplanted IN FIELD by NCOs and those under them, when operational command should NEVER be handed over to Staff sergeants and below (especially since they don't have enough experience to know jack about policy decisions -- they're not privy to seeing the whole plan, just their individual orders).

That the public (especially ex-service and current service folks excusing illegal actions [the guys aren't even tried yet, but they're excusing the behavior] is yet another nail in the coffin for this Republic). For these troops with this exact same mindset will be returning to our shores, and if they can easily write-off XYZ as some "insurgent" they have too much power and people backing them to do unjust, uncivil and illegal actions.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 6, 2006 03:57 AM

Chris Ford writes:
===========================================
"Funny how much support there is for going after US soldiers for alledged crimes, but virtually no demand to prosecute the unlawful enemy combatants in Iraq or the terrorists we have at GITMO. Instead, its all about "enemy rights", their need for free lawyers, how "comfortable" we can make them with proper food, lodging, and entertainment until their "unjust and illegal imprisonment" ends so they can be returned to action."
===========================================

It's those protections that saves the US citizens from abuse of power. For if we can't treat our enemies like we treat ourselves that opens the doors to different levels of ACCOUNTABILITY.

The Founders put into place protections that prevent the national military to become too powerful, since they knew, first hand, what a King could order and the misery it caused the citizenship (like forcing the housing of troops in their own homes; the soldiers were governed by the Kings orders and not the laws of the nations, etc.). That any soldier, who's sworn to protect the Constitution that guarantees those very rights would sanction such illegal and uncivil behavior is THE atrocity.

It doesn't matter who the enemy maybe, there's rules of warfare and if they don't abeit by it it doesn't mean we throw them away, either (that's like giving up the drug laws since too many folks are abusing illicit drugs, because it's just easier to bed with law breakers instead).

When My Lai occured the government/military launched an after-incident investigation (where Peck wrote about in his now famous book, "People of the Lie") that went into detail on the mentality involved to reduced people into objects and the "group think" mentality and it's extent, top down. Thirty years later we're STILL repeating the same errors because any investigation of the troops will be a whitewash/Break Morant affair (another whole war incident that calvary soldiers killed civilians and insurgents).

A military has but 2 purposes:
1. To defend our country, it's interests and Constituion.
2. To repel invaders both foreign and domestic.

Currently they're not doing (1) as they're excusing illegal behavior and condoning it, top down. (2) they'll bring back to this soil to put a clamp down on domestic protesting.

The Iraq war has every pinmark of Vietnam in it, from the growing discontent with our reasons for being there (and repeating it's history), to now, even murdering unarmed civilians (since in the racist lingo -- "they all look alike" is the prevalent excuse).

No, Chris we differ not only on the purpose of military, the role of it, and obeying not only the Law, rules of warfare, even the "warrior code" (another thing violated). I don't want any of those types of soldiers in the ranks, period. They're a disgrace to the uniform, their service and, most importantly, the country.

SandyK

Posted by: | June 6, 2006 04:13 AM

I'm jumping into this topic late, but I'll air my opinion anyway, for what its worth.

To me, this topic is allabout our credibility and integrity as a nation. What does the USA really stand for. The words on 200+ year old pieces of paper are meaningless if we don't continue to live up to them in the way we conduct our national affairs, especially under duress. Our voting record, as a people in our elections, as well as our representatives in Congress tell a lot about what our nation is all about. YThe actions of our President and his administration tell a lot about our nation.

Any time our laws and the interpretation of those laws diverges from our stated set of national values, there is a big problem. The idea of sanctioned torture by the U.S. is anathama to our values as a nation. If rejecting torture, whether it works or not, makes us more vulnerable, then I believe we need to make a conscious decision to accept that and plan accordingly.

Posted by: DK | June 6, 2006 07:30 AM

Chris Said: Afghan Vet - I can say your head-hunting attitude about your fellow soldiers screwing up in minor or significant ways in the heat of battle would not be popular in any military unit I am familiar with. I'm not ready to lynch the Marines.

-----

Again, it's YOU who have simplified my statements to..."lynching THE marines". I'm not looking to lynch The Marines, just those that have comitted attrocities...ones that basically have been admitted to. YOU need to conflate the two in order to justify your idignation at those who can actually draw a distinction between individual acts and the organization from which those individuals come.

Perhaps it's because that is EXACTLY the tactic that has been used by the Right for two decades to demonize anyone who doesn't think like they do.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 6, 2006 09:46 AM

Chris,

I never said to go after the soldiers - my post said just the opposite.

Honorable behavior is honorable in and of itself. It is exactly because we are not Al Queda that we should behave differently. We should demonstrate a higher moral standard.

"...unlawful enemy combatants in Iraq..." Don't you get it? We went to war on them. We chose to. based on a lie (not a lie we were told, a lie we participated in). We occupy their country. We don't have a moral defense. We don't really have a legal defense. "Unlawful", in this sense, is a semantic device at best.

Al Queda - not Iraq - attacked us on 9-11. We attacked Iraq. This is old news. You may attribute an "Al Queda logic" to anyone you want (certainly all ME Muslims and anyone else who disagrees with you, including me), but that;s only an opinion. The truth is, that if we had been truly conservative, we wouldn't be there. If we weren't there, our soldiers wouuld not (as alleged) shot children. Sure the sectarian violence would rage, and they could kill each other as we looked on, horrified at their barbarism, and sought diplomatic resolution of their social/cultural/religious problem. No moral dilemma for us, there.

Finally, you seem to imply that since every man, woman, and child in the neighborhood knew of the IED, that the resulting apparent executions without trial of innocent children is somehow justified.

Now I know exactly how this kind of thing happens.

Glad you're not there.

Posted by: smafdy | June 6, 2006 10:40 AM

The U.S. should never wage a war in which we are not directly attacked or threatened with imminent attack (credible threats only, no made-up BS - we're on the honor system, here)...
Posted by: smafdy | June 3, 2006 03:28 PM

I like this policy formulation. You have a gift for cutting to the chase with just a few words. It does seem a bit odd, coming as it does from a self-identified "Leftie". It was not really so long ago, within my lifetime, that this very policy was an essential pillar of a truly Conservative Republican. It is a perfect illustration of how utterly meaningless political labels have become.

You need to pay attention to this dear Emily. It speaks to you, as well as those skewered by artful and historically informed rhetorical questions. Has Darfur attacked us or threatened to? Has East Timor? Should we gather unto ourselves the responsibility of stopping civil wars and protecting the innocent everywhere? Is this not the same well-intentioned path that led to "Black Hawk Down"? Did we not follow this path to lift the weight of tyranny from Iraqi backs? Would you have this nation-state follow YOUR good heart into more war?

Chris makes a perfectly valid point. He is not about to condemn marines absent a trial of actual facts and charges. Actually, I'm not either; but I can't keep myself from dreading what those are likely going to be and how all will be tarred with it. It is unfair, but its going to happen. Its going to be hard for anyone in Kilo Company to claim pride of unit.

There is certainly a lot of nonsense going on in the "support the troops" charade, beginning with the scroll of names, dates, and pictures of the week's "Fallen Heroes" following the network newscasts. It makes me wonder just what the word "hero" means. If you are killed or die in action are you then by dint of that, a hero? I don't think so. Dying is not heroic. That is not what a soldier is supposed to do; he is supposed to kill the other guy first. You are a hero when you do something of great value in circumstances beyond normal expectations. You may die in the process, or not; death is irrelevant to the qualities you brought to the process. In war, death is normally just plain ugly, coming as it so often does, for no apparent rhyme or reason ... wholly random and arbitrary ... to heroes and cowards alike. Real heroes are not usually known beyond their units. Anointment by the media or government bureaucracy, well, lets just say it often serves the purposes of those organizations.

I don't take responsibility for killing those innocents in Haditha last November, nor should we as a nation. But we damn sure are responsible for delivering justice to them.

On the other hand, the current conditions in which we find ourselves in Iraq, the mission we have asked our military to accomplish, are choices we made as a nation and must take responsibility for as a nation, to include those of us who opposed the course we took. It is entirely supportive of our troops to once again raise the issue of what policy should we, as a nation, follow in committing them to combat. You think not? Whatcha goonna do with Iran folks?


Posted by: Cayambe | June 6, 2006 05:07 PM

Cayambe wrote:
===========================================
"If you are killed or die in action are you then by dint of that, a hero? I don't think so."
===========================================

Finally someone else who doesn't think just donning the uniform = hero.

A hero is someone who'd run into the Twin Towers minutes before the collapse to save a life.

A hero is the guy/gal who takes a bullet to save another life.

A hero is the person who'd dive into a rive to rescue another (especially during winter to rescue a person who fell through the ice).

A hero is the individual who'll climb 10 stories in a raging infernal to rescue another (added heroism when injured).

Heroism implies an **actual** act of bravery in total disregard to personal safety. Anything else cheapens the word and those who truly sacrificed or willing to sacrifice themselves for others.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 6, 2006 07:02 PM

Afghan Vet - "FEAR...is what drives you Chris."

Great job, Faux Vet. First use the Marxist tactic of speaking to motive, then use psychobabble to analyze your own conjecture of others for the inner meaning of the conjecture. Serious Leftists have abandoned that tactic for almost 20 years - knowing combining Marx, Marcuse, and Jung makes them appear madcow goofy.

SandyK - " For if we can't treat our enemies like we treat ourselves that opens the doors to different levels of ACCOUNTABILITY."

A deranged view. We DO wish to treat the enemy differently than we treat ourselves!

That somehow, the process of extending all our rights to the enemy and reasoning with them - after 1st of course apologizing for all the root causes and transgressions that make such a noble people chop our heads off - will of course make them love us and desist from conquest and butchery.

Groups of SandyKs went out to meet the Huns, the Islamic Hordes, the Mongols, the Nazis under such logic.

They were swiftly turned into heaps of maggot-riddled meat.

==========================
Smarfdy - "Al Queda - not Iraq - attacked us on 9-11. " After 5 years, one would think even the slow to grasp reality would know that there isn't one single radical Muslim organization, Al Qaeda, topped by a single, a la James Bond, "Mr Evil". Americans have had 4 attacks by Al Qaeda, and some 85 attacks by other Islamoid groups. There are 80+ Islamoid groups actively committed to terror that have killed 3 million infidels and moderate Muslims since the 80s.

The war is not with Al Qaeda, but with radical Islam. The war is not with any Muslim nation, but those supporting radical Islamist groups. The war is not with every Muslim group or Mosque - just those supporting the extremists out to butcher others.
=====================
Smarfdy - "Finally, you seem to imply that since every man, woman, and child in the neighborhood knew of the IED, that the resulting apparent executions without trial of innocent children is somehow justified."

Throughout most human history, a city solidly in the enemy camp - still - after surrender, and betraying surrender through attempting to kill conquering soldiers by stealth met collective punishment, up to total destruction of the city.

Or just made everyone a target by being seen as totalitarian believers in "everyone from the elderly to the child in Hitler Youth, Everyone - is a trained fighter."

That leads - in repercussions, defended by the best minds of the time - to the blasting and incineration of the Hamburgs and Hiroshimas.

Militant Arab groups are pretty consistent these days in training children to be war fighters. And women. Which has led to them suffering casualties, obviously.


Posted by: Chris Ford | June 6, 2006 08:20 PM

SandyK wrote:
________________________________
A military has but 2 purposes:
1. To defend our country, it's interests and Constituion.
2. To repel invaders both foreign and domestic.

Currently they're not doing (1) as they're excusing illegal behavior and condoning it, top down. (2) they'll bring back to this soil to put a clamp down on domestic protesting.

============================

I do not agree with your formulation. I cannot accept that it is the purpose of our military to defend or assert each and every one of our national interests. Indeed, it is the very breadth of your specification that got us into Iraq in the first place and keeps us there.

Just because something is in the nation's interest does not, by itself, entitle us to take military action to secure it. Apart from the matter of entitlement, neither has it proven to be wise. When we have followed Smafdy's formulation, we have invariably won. It is when we have not that we have lost.

Posted by: Cayambe | June 7, 2006 12:35 AM

Cayambe,

If you don't think that Iraq could be justified, what's your position on WWII (that is BEFORE Pearl Harbor, and Roosevelt's clandestine arming of Britain, and the Flying Tiger squadrons before 1941, too)? Going back further into history, the Boxer Rebellion; the Cuba incident; the War of 1846?

The US has always had it's own interests at the time, and will always continue to do so, because pacifiness brought the world Chamberlains with their "Peace in our time" fantasies.

We have a military for a reason, and it's not to use them for only humanitarian missions, and for guard duty -- they're trained to kill, and it's been that way worldwide for thousands of years when any State employed a military.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 7, 2006 03:31 AM

Chris Ford wrote:
===========================================
SandyK - " For if we can't treat our enemies like we treat ourselves that opens the doors to different levels of ACCOUNTABILITY."

A deranged view. We DO wish to treat the enemy differently than we treat ourselves!
===========================================

Stop and rethink your reply, Chris, as it's illogical. The dichotomy is striking.

Do you want to be treated like that? Or are you another Chamberlain/Hitler who rests snug as a bug in your bed knowing "good government" would never condone such BS on it's own citizens (how the Nazi lovers loved Chamberlain; and how Hitler made pie in the sky speeches that swooed Germans into a stupor of false hope)?

You only get back what is taken from you, and if it's hate and crime, you'll just get it back in return. Public policy should NEVER bring forth hate and crime, as it'll just be returned wholesale (nevermind destroy the image of USA worldwide, which we must depend on, as no country is a literal island and so far removed from civilization to not need the help and benefits of their neighboring countries).

SandyK

Posted by: | June 7, 2006 03:41 AM

Chris Ford wrote:
===========================================
Groups of SandyKs went out to meet the Huns, the Islamic Hordes, the Mongols, the Nazis under such logic.

They were swiftly turned into heaps of maggot-riddled meat.
===========================================

Actually my ancestors were Vikings and Samurai, Chris. No pacifism there, but a good warrior also knows how to pick the right battles to fight, not just goto fight anytime and anywhere because they can (or a dictator ordered it).

See what the USA got when Perry forced Japan to open it's doors under the gun? See what Britain got with it's colonism, too? By forcing a country to comply to the wants of another, resentment and attitudes of the invaders develope causing war.

The Samurai protected their own turf and brought the rival fighting to a close. The Vikings plungered and were slaughtered since those who killed other nationals caused resentment, and were crushed by their sheer destroy Earth approach.

Thank God you're in no leadership position, Chris, because you'd drag the USA down into the gutter for a situational episode. Then will beg, cry, conjole the nations afterwards to be accepted back into civilization after becoming their enemy. Making the rest of the world think, "Hmmmm, if they can get away with it..."

Hate begets hate, and the world doesn't need another Israel/Palestine 2000 year war out of sheer stupidity of an "eye for an eye" revenge.

SandyK

Posted by: | June 7, 2006 03:51 AM

Ford Wrote: Great job, Faux Vet. First use the Marxist tactic of speaking to motive, then use psychobabble to analyze your own conjecture of others for the inner meaning of the conjecture. Serious Leftists have abandoned that tactic for almost 20 years - knowing combining Marx, Marcuse, and Jung makes them appear madcow goofy.

-----

I will simply ignore your personal attack on my service as it has become (YAWN) quite predictable.

As for your paragragh of meaniningless words, I refer you to this:

"Just as we seldom question the content of potato chips while enjoying their pleasurable taste, recipients of empty language are usually distracted from examining the content of what they are hearing. Dominators use empty language to conceal faulty generalizations; to ridicule viable alternatives; to attribute negative motivations to others, thus making them appear contemptible; and to rename and "reframe" opposing viewpoints."

"...like many dominant personality types, uses dependency-creating language. He employs language of contempt and intimidation to shame others into submission and desperate admiration."

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/130534_focusecond13.html

Chris, I don't get it. WHAT are you so angry about? Are you angry that you are now part of about 30% of America who still thinks this war in Iraq is worthwhile? Has it occured to you that just MAYBE this has been a catastrophic mistake that has made us worse off in the long run?

You accuse me of such rediculous stuff when it comes to combating terrorism and the global counter-insurgency and yet between the two of us, I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who's life was put on the line to actually engage in combat. That doesn't mean you didn't serve or contribute, but I'm pretty sure you did it safely behind a desk and a monitor full of overhead pictures. And, that's ok.

But, you consistently simplify anything anyone says about HOW we are fighting with WHETHER we should fight, and that's just poor thinking. NO ONE here thinks we shouldn't address the problem of a growing, religiously inspired, global insurgency that uses terrorist tactics to engage the enemy (Stage III). But, MANY if not MOST have a BIG problem with HOW we are doing that...even soldiers like me.

So, if you want to discuss the HOW instead of the WHETHER, then let's go to it. But, since you cannot seem to draw the distinction and get past such empty language and bigoted rhetoric, I'm sure we'll just spend our time pointing out the logical and emotional fallacies of your posts.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 7, 2006 10:04 AM

Perhaps Karl Rove's Bible? Catch-22

-----

What right did they have?"

"Catch-22."

"What?" Yossarian froze in his tracks with fear and alarm and felt hiw while body begin to tingle. "What did you say?"

"Catch-22," the old woman repeated, rocking her head up and down. "Catch-22. Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Yossarian shouted at her in bewildered, furious protest. "How did you know it was Catch-22? Who the hell told you it was Catch-22?"

. . . .

"Didn't they show it to you?" Yossarian demanded, stamping about in ager and distress. "Didn't you even make them read it?"

"They don't have to show us Catch-22," the old woman answered. "The law says they don't have to."

"What law says they don't have to?"

"Catch-22."

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 7, 2006 02:06 PM

New York, N.Y. - Vanity Fair writer Craig Unger interviews nine former intelligence and military officials who have served in the C.I.A., the State Department, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Pentagon, all of whom say, on the record, that they believe the Niger documents were part of a campaign to deliberately mislead the American public. Some of the officials refer to the Niger documents as "a disinformation campaign," "black propaganda," or "a classic psy-ops campaign."

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2006/06/15_monkeys_in_a.html

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 7, 2006 02:09 PM

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 7, 2006 02:16 PM

Before Chris can stick his foot in his mouth I will state that killing Al Zarqawi is an UNQUALIFIED success. SOCOM, the A of NoVa and CAG should ALL be praised for what was an exceptional counter-insurgency strike. The amount of time, patience and tradecraft that must have been used demonstrates the outstanding ability of our military to conduct COIN operations when given a clear mission.

Al Z was one man who will, as Senator Biden said, take his seat in a special spot reserved for him in hell.

Again, a great success for our military and our efforts in Iraq.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 8, 2006 09:18 AM

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Posted by: insurance auto | June 8, 2006 11:35 PM

Calling Chris Ford: interested parties are awaiting your reply. Can't be that a nuclear plant needed decontamination right at this moment, either. Come out, come out where ever you are... :)

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 9, 2006 08:55 AM

Breaking News: al-Zawahri was alive when found. Repeat he was found alive.

Even though 1,000lbs of high explosives ravaged the home he was supposely housed. Even though an Israeli helicopter missile (of less poundage and destruction) when deployed into a larger building produces only body parts.

Oh, boy..........

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 9, 2006 09:37 AM

"On the Nature of Wars"

Yes, wars kill. Wars are terrible. In fact, the only thing worse than war is capitulation to an immoral or cruel enemy.
The emergence of a population of Americans (and a great many more Europeans) for whom Peace - at any price - is the only acceptable goal, may well indicate the moral death of the only nation on Earth with the capability to destroy the evil that is the current form of Terrorism.
That peace-loving English prime minister, Neville ("Peace in Our Time!") Chamberlain, found out the hard way that dictators and brutality do not sit at home for long: they want you too.
Where would these Peaceniks prefer that the next 9/11 should occur? The Zarqawis of this world did not respect the rights of other Arab (or non-Arab)nations to peace
or neutrality, just as Hitler had no respect for the neutrality of the Danes, Swedes or Norwegians.
Like it or not, you are a target with or without the intention to defend yourself.

Posted by: Rick Clarke | June 9, 2006 11:24 PM

Emily,

Could you load the questions just a little more perhaps?

"How many of our own basic principles, like justice and fair play, will we toss aside?"

"How many more assaults on our rights and freedoms will we tolerate?"

"How many more times will find ourselves scrambling to justify the unjustifiable?"

Uh, okay, I hope they aren't paying you for this. (You should also cite John Kerry for borrowing his talking points.)

Can you name one conservative who has tried to "justify the unjustifiable" (I assume you are referring to Haditha)? All anyone has said is lets wait until all the facts are out before we reach a verdict on these young men. If they intentionally targeted innocent Iraqi civilians they will (and should) wind up in Fort Leavenworth. Zacarias Moussaoui was at least given due process before he was declared guilty.

Democrats can't figure out how they have lost control of both Houses of Congress and the Courts, and have won three Presidential elections in the last 42 years. Would you like a hint?

The American people don't view the United States as "the problem," and they don't trust liberal utopianists leading American in a Hobbesian world.

The party of FDR and Truman has become the party of Jimmy Carter in a cardigan sweater.

Posted by: Jon M | June 13, 2006 02:47 PM

Emily,

All I have to say is it ain't the war we wanted, but it's the war we got. I don't recall President Bush forcing Bin laden and his crazies to blow up buildings in America. And if you really believe are troops are the mad dogs some in the so-called "media" make them out to be--please, get on a plane and go to Iraq, or Afghanistan, or any other of a dozen countries where American military personnel are doing a tremendously difficult job under trying circumstances--with pride and honor. Don't use incidents to try and stir trouble for the whole. Let's be frank here too: those who were "tortured" at Abu Ghraib, and possibly Gitmo, and even maybe in Haditha (which I doubt)--don't you think they had it better than those who died in the towers or on Flight 93? Wake up and smell the coffee before you find yourself wearing a burhka and veil and worshipping Allah in a segregated mosque.

Posted by: Mike Ruzza | June 14, 2006 09:29 AM

Great subject--let me point out very quickly in answer to the first comment by Mr. Haight. The United States has a long history of terror tacticts--from the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians often unprovoked by the U.S. Army during the Indian campaigns, to the war in the Phillipines, to bombing of German civilian areas, to the Atomic bomb blasts (that deliberately targeted civilians that were done to terrorize the populations), to the free-fire zones in Vietnam to the "shock and awe" (why don't we call it what it was-terrorism). The United States isn't alone in using these tactics they have been used throughout history. Was is a very nasty business and all sides play are brutalized by it. This is increasingly true in this country. The United States, like the Jihadists is not bound by any moral boundaries in conducting war--we, who are responsible for probably 200,000 deaths in Iraq have no standing to say our opponents don't respect human life.

Posted by: Chris Cosmos | June 15, 2006 09:44 AM

THE DEVIL AIN'T IN THE DETAIL ANY LONGER...

Never mind the silly details , get a hold on the bigger picture, boys and gals.

Surely, no one believes that it's all about Zarqawi, Saddam, Osama or even Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice or Blair. They are all short stories in the annals of our vicious history - some under the head despots, some under autocrats and the rest under "simply stupid". Since columnists, reporters and editors of the day seem to digest history pretty good, how come their memory fails to reflect on the American follies of the past five decades in their assertion that whatever is good for America ought to be good for the rest of the world. Remember Shah of Iran, Hostage Crisis, American weaponization of Saddam and Osama for short term oil shortages of the day and a bit of good old-fashioned revenge. And add all that ignominy to the more recent, woefully-unintelligible and willfully-obnoxious Neocon logic - you have what America has asked for. A mess Americans can't get out, not even with tail between the legs, never mind honorably.

Losing a few friends in any argument is understandable, but losing all of them bacausr of one big, fat Boo-Boo is a new experience even for Americans. When they can't holiday outside their homeland - not that it is all that secure as the administratio would have you believe - without fear of open abuse, and when reporters are forced to learn Feench to pass themselves as "Not-American" in foreign lands - isn't it time to look in the mirror and check for signs of fast-spreading depravation?

Hopefully, one day Americans can think past local elections, domestic politics, and all the chicanery associated with such silly events, in which the world outside - some six billion of them including 1.3 billion Muslims - has no interest. That is when they would wake up to the shocking reality that the world isn't an easily-dispensable,unnecessary appendage to America and that they are a small set of simpletons in the eyes of greater civilizations that exist around them.

Ask anyone So-Not-American what the most dreadful virus is between AIDS, SARS, and NEOCONS. You will be surprised at the unanimity of opinion - shock and awe you say Rummy?

It is indeed a long rough road from super-boob to super-power. But the nation, the people that is, must start walking now, to get there in some repairable shape.

Posted by: Rajesh Iyer | June 15, 2006 02:40 PM

I think in this situation in Iraq, all justification by the US has been lost in their callous inability to control this environment without constant civilian casualities. It is these casualties that is causing the tension right now between America and the Iraqi's.
"Arab's are desperately looking for democracy, and there is real dynamism to the movement now," says political scientist Amr Hamzawy, a senior associate with the Washington based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "They are fed up with their ruling elites and they've lost trust with government and their leaders."
But ironically, Hamzawy says, the West, particularly the US, has supported autocratic leaders who violently suppress democratic movements.
"Traditional American support for the regions's autocrats has created a very negative image among the American masses. The way that Western countries have reacted to Hamas' election victory, and America's support for the Saudi regime and President Hosni, Mubarak in Egypt, as well as the invasion of Iraq, explains why there is so much anti-American feeling in the region."

Charles Pena author of Winning the Un-War: A New Strategy for the War on Terrorism, and senior fellow with the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy.
" We have to examine how our own policies are contributing to the Muslim terrorist threat," he says. " Part of the problem is using the term "War". If we are going to use military force to define the means by which everything is accomplished, war will be both endless and unwinnable."
The more people who are killed by American forces, Pena adds, " The more hatred there will be. There are more people like Zarqawi who should be legitimally attacked, although his death causes ripples. But the problem is when you bomb a house in Kanadahar and kill 17 innocent civilians, or hit innocent civilians in Iraq."
America needs a debate on how foreign policy affects terrorism.

Posted by: SpeakoutforDemocracy | June 20, 2006 10:21 AM

I'll just provide a few links to some useful sources in this post.

Emily Messner asked "How much liberty are we willing to sacrifice for safety? When we make such concessions, how should we weigh just how much real security will be gained in exchange?"

This link is to an overnight but still valid poll by the post on this issue, trend analysis is also provided. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/12/AR2006051200375.html

As to the question of whether we are better off than we were 5 or ten years ago, one might view this documentary not released in the US. It presents the thesis that Al Quada didn't exist in any form until the US gave it credit for 9/11 and that sleeper cells are primarily fiction. Liberal viewpoint but still historically interesting. The video is called "the power of nightmares."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a87mlD5wTE4&search=power%20of%20nightmares

It seems as though regardless of its virtue, public sentiment is behind warrentless wiretaps and other aggressive investigative methods to combat terrorism. I believe that as there is more power concentrated in the executive we can expect greater intrusions on civil liberties. A consequence of the secrecy of these programs is the gaurantee of corruption and abuse, though Americans won't know about it and therefore won't act upon it.

Posted by: Scott Clement | June 22, 2006 05:27 PM

Emily, You clearly don't get it. War by its very definition is an obscenity to cililization. All actions pursuiant to war are obscene. That our soldiers would sooner or later commit some form or atrocity was inevitable. It is part and parcel of a war. I would not hold the soldiers responsible for events like Haditha or even Mai Lai other then to dishonably discharge them from the service. When you place soldiers in between sides of a cival war this will inevitably happen. The trick is not to place our soldiers in these situations. The real questionsa re not the behavior of our soldiers. What will the US get out this war? Will Iraq ever be a asn ally? Will Iraq fight with us against Al Qaeda? The answers to these questions shold be obvious. Iraq will never stand with the US and Isreal on issues in the middle east. Iraq is rife with what Daniel Goldhagen labeled Eliminationist Anti-Semitism. It is virualant and violent anti-semitism. Iraq will be just like every single country in the middle east, rife with Al Qaeda sympthizers stemming from the above anti-semitism. Leaving us with the final question of what will we get out of this war. A nation of anti-semites who elect anti-semites to govern themselves. What a bright shining democratic future we have to look forward to having created in Iraq.

Posted by: kchses | June 22, 2006 06:08 PM

Kchses wrote:
===========================================
"The real questionsa re not the behavior of our soldiers."
===========================================

Actually anyone's behavior is in question when murder is involved. No whitewashing, no weasle words -- killing innocents is a crime, both religiously and ethically.

What separates the USA from that horde is we're a nation of laws and we SHOULD ALWAYS abeit by them. Otherwise it makes a mockery of our very country, let it's people.

It's very easy to dip into the "getting even" gambit, but "getting even" is what in the end? It goes nowhere with us gaining nothing in the exchange except equal measure.

I thought the USA was about winning a war (by playing by the rules and outsmarting the foxes), not playing patty cake and making up new rules to only level the playing field (which revenge killings are in the end).

The USA is better than that, and it's citizens should demand nothing less, as we pay a prime dollar for kids to play with their hardware.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 22, 2006 07:38 PM

Dear Sandy,

Murder is a legal term. Where killing in a war turns into murder has always been a very tricky question and almost never clear, especially during a cival war. Picking out those who are truly innocent from those who are legit targets is extemely difficult. No one should be surprised that our soldiers have killed innocent poeple. It was as certain as the sun rising and setting. It is a product of our soldiers being somewhere they shouldn't be in the first place. The people responsible are the ones who sent them to the wrong place.

Posted by: kchses | June 23, 2006 11:58 AM

Actually who's responsible is the one who pulled the trigger, conspired to produce false reports and even planted evidence.

Service people know they can ignore illegal orders. The irony is it's a Article 15 hearing to do so, but a $1500 fine and demotion is a lot easier to live with than facing 10+ years under hard labor, or the death penalty.

Folks best learn about the fate of Breaker Morant as an example of what can happen to troops who get a wink and nod of whole warfare from their superiors, only to face the piper and cold shoulder when the war is closing to tidy up the diplomatic ends (which appears what's happening now, since the military is going back to incidences from ago to address grievances, just as the war is winding down in Iraq).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 23, 2006 12:53 PM

When George was "selected" the first time, I cried - I knew right then that we were going to go to war. The ones that had gotten him into power just needed to find an excuse that the American public and Congress would buy. 9/11 gave it to them. I think all the reasons for the war in Iraq we've been spoon-fed are all smokescreens. My theory: George wanted to one-up his Daddy, who didn't "finish" the job in the first Gulf War (hasn't he been trying to do that his whole life?). Then Saddam had an entrance to one of his palaces tiled with the likeness of GHWB so that he and anyone else could walk over him every time they used that entrance - BIG insult in that culture, meaning you're lower than the crap on the bottom of my shoes. Of course, George took that one to heart too, and it gave him all the more reason to want get Sadddam. So when the neo-cons decided it was the right time to make their move to take over our government, they found the perfect shill in George. They pumped up his ego enough to make him believe it was God's will for him to be president yadayadayada... He was either dumb enough not see through it, or he wanted to show up his Daddy and get at Saddam so badly that he didn't care. No matter, the neo-cons got us into this mess, and they don't care about getting us out of it because it's giving them all the ways and means of ripping up the Consitution while Congress and the American public sit by and whimper or even cheer them on!

Posted by: therealreasons | June 23, 2006 03:32 PM

In comment to 'on the plantation,' I can agree that war is hell which is the short winded explanation of what you said. There is a problem with your justification of the whole thing. First, the Creeps who led us here and want us 'to stay the course,' are the same guys who, with a fist full of money, dodged the draft in the last fray. They gleefully like to play war from Washington, but they no taste for it up close and personal. Second, all wars have a life of their own, they spiral in a varity of directions, depending on leadership and this one is definitely heading for hell in a hurry. I have, from the little information that I have gleened from news articles and from some Marines recently returned, get the impression that our leaders are not telling us the whole truth about the mistreatment of prisoners. They can't have it both ways; either they, the leaders, set the rules for prisoner abuse or our troops are out of control. Either way, the blame rest with poor leadership from the very top down.
I don't know if you have any real combat experience or not, but three and four tours to this hell hole, tell me that you find this acceptable, good planning, and the route to victory. What ever victory is this week in Washington.

Posted by: Been there and back | June 24, 2006 12:58 PM

How many more times? Simply, while there is no penalty for Bush on a personal level, the mistakes and transgressions will continue unabated. He is a man without sense or moral compass beyond his own persoanl gain. And that of his cronies of course.

Posted by: DonInChelsea | June 27, 2006 06:37 AM

Dear SandyK,

In the real world where you are being shot at, explosives waiting at you around the corner and death at your elbow 24/7, things are rarely so clear. After the shooting stops and the panic starts that someone will accuse you of killing the wrong person you sometimes make the wrong decisions. Those decisions people should be held responsible for and a courts martial and dishonorable discharge seems appropriate to me.

Posted by: kchses | June 27, 2006 12:57 PM

As soon as excusing accountability begins abuses follow. A cop that cops such junk when confronted by thugs day in and day out for *20 years* doesn't get much sympathy from the public, and neither should some troops who'll be out of theater in only 3 years or less (compared to that cop who works the beat as a career).

No, accountability, be it on the battlefield or on the street needs to be equal. Otherwise citizens can pull the same junk and anarchy rules, as everyone is special and excused from obeying the Law.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 27, 2006 05:27 PM

Are we safer today thanks to the Iraq war? Has 'coercive interrogation' made us more secure? Are we better off as a nation -- and as individuals -- when a few top officials can order government surveillance of American citizens?

I don't think we're any less safe, but Iraq under Hussein never put us in harm's way.

Difficult to tell if coercive interrogation has improved our security or not. While the administration touts its necessity they have yet to provide compelling evidence showing it's saved us from attack.

We're definitely not better off having the administration unilaterally making security decisions. Other than Cheney not liking having to answer to congress I don't see any real gain in not partnering with both the judicial and legislative branches.

I think it's time we do a bottom up review of our entire government and focus on how to reel in spending, followed by how to take care of health care and retirement. With regards to the war we need to have an open debate about the two realistic choices available to us, restart the war and go after the Sunnis or tell the Maliki government "later" and let them deal with the Sunnis.

The war on radical Islam needs to be rethought and if unemployment is a major reason people follow radical Islam we need to make sure a country's citizens, not the NGOs, get our tax dollars.

Like a lot of Americans I trusted my government to do the right thing. I had my doubts about the intelligence, but I thought it was more about splitting hairs only to find out it was as extreme as one side not just cherry picking but slanting the intelligence to state as fact capabilities and intentions that were simply untrue.

Unless the Democrats win big or Republicans see the light and become completely disgusted with their party's leadership we're not going to see any huge changes in the next two years.

Posted by: Robert | July 1, 2006 08:36 AM

How many more? How much more?

Good questions, but you won't get any answers from the political gangsters that now occupy the White House.

What you will get between now and November is blatant fear-mongering, creative uses of the root word of "terror" and more than an occasional reference back to "9-11."

That's the Republican campaign of choice: appealing to our fears, seeing the world as evil, giving us a government of carelessness and criminality.

I have had enough.

Posted by: Latent Liberal | July 1, 2006 08:39 AM

An article in this paper; 30th June. The title "Troops Facing Murder Probe". It is alleged that 4 members of the US armed forces, while on active duty, raped an Iraqi woman, killed her and 3 members of her family, and burnt down the house they were in. The US military response has been quick and decisive - they have taken the guns away from the 3 troopers they could find. But, after a week for the Army to digest and investigate the allegations, no charges have been brought. But the army is investigating.
Imagine the implausible; that in some US town a house was burned down, and on investigation it was found that one of the occupants had been raped, and the other 3 killed before the fire started. And imagine that also there was strong evidence that four members of a foreign army stationed in that town were responsible for the rape, murders and fire. We could understand the immediate reaction of many locals that they would want to lynch the bastards. Hopefully, instead of that, these suspects (who, after all, have not been proven guilty of the offences) would be arrested by the police and kept in custody awaiting trial. What would NOT happen, because it would really piss the whole nation off, is that these troops would be sent back to be dealt with by their military commanders.
What is wrong here?;
1. The title of the article - murder PROBE? These are people who (as well as being members of the army) are accused of committing some of the worst crimes imaginable. They are accused of murder and rape, and should be treated like any other person suspected of such things - not as if they have simply broken army rules.
2. The US military is investigating the crime; at every level (from the bottom end, where we only know about this because a couple of fellow troopers broke the rule that "you don't tell on your mates) through the ranks ("my boys would not behave like that"), to the top command who cannot cope with bad media coverage.
These troopers are suspected (with good reason, it seems) of committing atrocious crimes in Iraq. Ideally they would be tried by a criminal court in Iraq. Perhaps Iraq is not capable of giving them a fair trial (and what does THAT say?); so it must be sorted by someone else - but NOT the US military, nor the US courts, because both will be swayed by their self interest. Plenty of other countries would be happy to offer a fair trial.
Of course the military can also try their troops for disobeying army rules, but that's another matter.
This case, and the many other similar cases recently, make most of us viewers suspect we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

Posted by: AnarKick | July 1, 2006 11:04 AM

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, Chris Ford is sour on this thread.

Brilliant posts by James Ryan and Afghan Vet.
As a member of the military still on active duty they penned my thoughts exactly.

Posted by: Robert | July 1, 2006 04:07 PM

anarkick wrote :"Imagine the implausible; that in some US town a house was burned down, and on investigation it was found that one of the occupants had been raped,..."

the analogy is nonsense at best, imagine a city where a thug ruled and wiped out families at will. Where women and children were gassed,imagine a city where the minority oppressed and killed the majority, imagine really hard and realize how everyone in the world watched and did nothing.

Posted by: drew | July 1, 2006 11:45 PM

Alberto "Abu Ghraib" Gonzalez has confirmed administration efforts to protect civilian and military stafff from prosecution for war crimes which they undertook after being assured by their superiors, including the A.G., that the actions were OK. I kind of support that--you can't expect a 20-year-old kid to second guess the Sec. of Defense, the A.G., and the Pres & VP. So, OK, amnesty for the foot soldiers.

But what about the folks--Gonzalez, Rumsfeld, Rice, Cheney, Bush and their immediate reports--who crafted the policies?

Read the War Crimes Act of 1996 (18 U.S.C. 2441) if you want an idea of the possible penalties, "Whoever...commits a war crime, in any of the cricumstances described in subsection (b) shall be fined under this title [18 U.S.C. 2441] or imprisoned for like or any term of years, or both , and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death."

That's what the stakes are, friends. Given that 100+ prisoners have died in U.S. custody as a direct result of administration policies not to follow the law of war, the president and his cabinet have a lot to fret about.

Posted by: Sage Thrasher | August 3, 2006 02:07 PM

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-vietnam6aug06,0,6350517.story?coll=la-home-headlines This Story in the LA TIMES could have been written today about our actions in Iraq.
We are doomed to repeat our mistakes until we admit to them and hold the real criminals accountable.

Posted by: Tony | August 6, 2006 07:44 AM

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