The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
The media has decided that Iraq is no longer interesting which I think is pretty sad. Sure they paid it some lip service the yesterday but today it was right back to sex scandals, overturned school buses and wacky weather. So Tam's comment really doesn't make much sense to me.
Speaking of media and the war, watched In The Valley of Elah the other night. As I suspected, it was not a "hit piece" on America but a film which asks a very essential question: speaking on a mental and emotional level, what is Iraq doing to our soldiers?
What does any war do to soldiers, Mark? I'm not sure what the point of a movie like Elah is, but since I have zero interest in seeing it, maybe you can explain.
I'm also curious what you think of this review.
Wait, let me guess: The Chimpy McHitlerburton Imperial War For Oil is turning our good boys into monstrous killing machines with damaged psyches? Did I get that one right, little Markie One-Note?
Tam, no actually you didn't. I would humbly recommend a review of what ingroup bias means. And if you are such a big supporter of the troops, have you ever asked yourself what four or five tours do to a person? Some longer than WWII?
Sarah, a profound question. I think it depends on the war. WWII was quite possibly the most horrible thing ever seen on this planet and yet it had to be fought. Vietnam? No. Iraq? Definitely not. I think it says a lot that the Bush administration expected 3-5 thousand cases of PTSD and ended up with 10 times that much. There isn't a clear cut enemy, a clear cut objective, or sound reasoning behind much of what goes on there. Couple that with the fact that you have a large portion of the country's population that don't want us there.
As far as the review goes, I think he missed the point of the film, which is was how even the most moral and honorable men (tommy lee's son) when placed in a world of moral ambiguity can...well....change.
I call bull. There is no such thing as "a world of moral ambiguity." Even war has its rules.
Granted, they are often broken, but there is nothing ambiguous about it.
In cases of true "moral ambiguity," all that means is that the observed moral standard was misspecified in the first place. There is always a right choice, and that choice is by definition moral.
Here is one to make you gag.
C'mon Lt., 4000 dead is no picnic, but if you've studied even the tiniest bit of military history it is hardly "too great to grasp". That an officer of our armed forces would publish this opinion is advertising that we have no will to fight - not for anything. I am suddenly reminded of the Oxford Pledge.
... even the most moral and honorable men (tommy lee's son) when placed in a world of moral ambiguity can...well....change.
Change how? What happens?
"Even war has its rules."
Normally, I would agree but I think that the people that are running this one for us broke them a long time ago. Maybe they thought since our enemies (undefined as they are) behave like animals that we should as well.
Juris, well written column. I would respect and take this person's word over...say...Dick Cheney's any day.
Sara, well, that's a long answer. If you don't want to watch the film, perhaps seeking out a vet who has been to Iraq and asking them. Maybe you could volunteer at the local VA to play cards or something with some of the troops who have PTSD. I've done that a couple of times. It's tough but you'll probably get the answer to your questions. They do like to talk about what they went through.
People doo love round numbers. One of my favorite Simpsons gags was the fact that they did a "137th Episode Spectacular" special.
Normally, I would agree but I think that the people that are running this one for us broke them a long time ago.
You have just conceded my point. You presuppose the existence of moral rules of war which can be broken.
I don't fault you too much for using the vapid phrase "world of moral ambiguity," because of its great currency in the circles with which you most likely associate; it's easy to soak up bad language when you aren't careful. But it speaks ill of those who use the term deliberately.
I consider the phrase an indication of either lazy thinking, preening self-indulgence, faux sophistication, or an attempt to excuse one's own shortcomings by denying the possibility of acting better.
Well, I agree with you Mastiff. The point of the film, though, was made in front of the backdrop of moral ambiguity.
So the film presupposes a condition which is merely assumed to exist for artistic effect, in order to make its point?
And we're supposed to take it not just seriously, but more seriously than reality?
...She said, in tones lacking surprise.
Tam, no actually you didn't. I would humbly recommend a review of what ingroup bias means. And if you are such a big supporter of the troops, have you ever asked yourself what four or five tours do to a person?
Oh, and I forgot:
Are our NATO allies in Afghanistan tortured by the corrosive effects of moral ambiguity, or is it only the guys in Cheney's illegal Iraqi war for oil?
Juris, well written column. I would respect and take this person's word over...say...Dick Cheney's any day.
Well I'm not comparing his word to DC's and I refuse to play your game. I am simply talking about reading military history. There have been single BATTLES with more than 4000 deaths on a single day* - let alone a war stretched over 5 years (and, unfortunately, still going). In fact, any student of military history would note that over 5+ years time - 4000 deaths is incomprehensively low not high.
If you need an incomprenhisiblly HIGH number of deaths, try Verdun, where over 1 million men on BOTH sides died in that fruitless battle.
*E.g., the Brits lost over 19000 dead (possibly more then 4000 OFFICERS) on the FIRST DAY in the Battle of the Somme.
"very specops crowd. Either that or some aviation assets"
Yes and yes. Bear in mind, that I am speaking of BOTH Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't know if I should say what unit they are in...
"I know a lot of servicemen and women, and I mean a lot"
Well, how do you think they are doing, mentally and emotionally?
"Are our NATO allies in Afghanistan tortured by the corrosive effects of moral ambiguity, or is it only the guys in Cheney's illegal Iraqi war for oil?"
Yes and largely due to the fact that Afghanistan has been neglected. The situation there could have been solved long ago if Bush Co hadn't had its eye on Iraq. It's gotten worse due to this failed policy and as a result, the troops have suffered.
Afghanistan and Pakistan are where the people that attacked us on 9-11 are hold up so we.....let them reconstitute and pose a threat again? Sounds very morally ambiguous to me..
"ny student of military history would note that over 5+ years time - 4000 deaths is incomprehensively low not high."
I agree. But when the 4000 deaths are a result of a failed strategy...a strategy that has not actually gone after the enemy that attacked us on 9-11...it seems like an abuse of lives to me.
See, that's where we differ. I consider killing anyone in need of killing to be a positive. If we have a past history with the particular person in need of killing, that would be a bonus.
You don't seem to understand a major facet of the terrorist world. Everyone is connected to everyone else. FARC collaborates with Hizbullah collaborates with the IRA collaborates with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam collaborates with al-Qaida.
(Many of these links were built by the KGB, incidentally, as part of their strategy for getting around the whole Kenneth Waltz bipolar-world stability thing.)
To say that killing a given terrorist is a distraction from the war, just because he's the wrong terrorist, is a little like saying that attacking Vichy French colonies in Africa was a distraction from the war against Hitler. /Godwin
By the way, that word you keep using"failed"I do not think it means what you think it means.
For something to fail, all possibilities to the contrary must be foreclosed upon. Even granting your premise, the correct word would be "failing".
'By the way, that word you keep using"failed"I do not think it means what you think it means.'
There seems to be a lot of words Mark uses that he doesn't understand.
If you don't want to watch the film, perhaps seeking out a vet who has been to Iraq and asking them.
My sister's husband returned this summer from his third tour in Iraq. He was in combat in Fallujah when the really crappy stuff was going on. He has the typical symptoms of PTSD, but he manages to function (with a wife and three kids, you don't have much choice but to function). He told us at length about his experiences there and showed us lots of photos. Some of the stereotypes are true, but a lot aren't. When we asked him to compare his experiences with the perception presented in movies and the media, he laughed.
Maybe you could volunteer at the local VA to play cards or something with some of the troops who have PTSD.
Well, in terms of seeing what PTSD can do to someone, I know first-hand. My husband is former SF (Finland) and did a gruesome tour in Bosnia with the Croatian Army. Talk about a world of moral ambiguity. He was wounded twice and saw the worst stuff you can possibly imagine. It didn't make him or his buddies go off the deep end or make them do immoral things. He had major depression, developed a hair-trigger temper, and was a bit paranoid for a while. Standard PTSD. In the last few years he's returned to 90% capacity, is fairly happy and productive, and this is probably as good as it will get. That's just the reality of the sacrifice these people make, Mark, and they do it willingly. Why you would want to hammer into someone on top of all this that their sacrifice was pointless, I don't know.
I could see the point of a movie like this, maybe, if there was a draft. But these people are re-upping, most of them are dedicated, motivated, and want to be there.
Oops, or is that supposed to be hare-trigger. I can never get that right.
It's "hair trigger". You got it right the first time.
That is, unless his bursts of temper are warm and fuzzy. ;)
Ever met a hare? Unlike domesticated rabbits, they're mean bastards with a perfectly functional "fight" as an option after "flight".
There's a reason they became a folkloric emblem of instability...
Tim: "I warned you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you knew, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little bunny, isn't it?"
King Arthur: "Well, we'll not risk another frontal assault. That rabbit's dynamite!"
I think we need to invent a corollary to Godwin's Law, something about the inevitability of having Monty Python quoted at you as the discussion goes on.
Finely chopped snake?
"That's just the reality of the sacrifice these people make, Mark, and they do it willingly. Why you would want to hammer into someone on top of all this that their sacrifice was pointless, I don't know."
Sarah, that's the trap, though. The people who support this war have basically said if you don't support the war in Iraq, then you don't support the troops. It makes me sick to my stomach, pretty much on a daily basis, that this is the lie that is put out there by some people. Many people, myself included, think that if these people put themselves in harm's way for us then we need to honor that by doing it only when it is in necessary (Afghanistan) and not when it is not necessary or when it is for other reasons (Iraq)
When I talk to they guys I know that are there, they want to know if I support THEM. They could give two shits about Bush or Cheney. They need my emotional support and they have it.
And in the end, all they really care about is bringing the person to the left of them and the person to the right of them home in one piece....
I'm fuzzy on the concept of how you can support a soldier by actively opposing what he's doing. What exactly constitutes "emotional support" to you?
Simple enough, Sarah. Simply let him know how concerned you are for his impending loss of all moral perspective and general sanity, which was obviously due to the military unreasonably sending him off to a war of all things, and not the result of any principled choice he might have made.
Consider that at least most of the left is no longer attacking military members as "baby killers". That constitutes some improvement.
And though it pains me to agree with Markadelphia, I have no problem supporting the troops and opposing the action in Iraq. That was a stupid neocon over-reach, and it isn't the neocons paying the price.
Having a War on Terror is just like it's predecessor Wars on Poverty, Inflation and Drugs - we abuse the language of war while power accretes to an ever more imperial presidency.
"What exactly constitutes "emotional support" to you?"
Well, sending them care packages, telling them stories about their friends or family via email, offering them a shoulder to cry on when they get home. I took one of my friends to Chicago for a Cubs game when he got home because he said he always wanted to go. When we got there, we had to sit in the back so no one was behind us. It freaked him out too much. Since getting back from Iraq, he has decided how horrible of a mistake it was for our country to go and sincerely regrets supporting President Bush. He's not the only one...
My friend's son is heading to Iraq next week...third trip there after two trips to Afghanistan. He's not the same person anymore and I don't know how effective he is going to be in the field...he is special ops...there is no one else to turn to, though...he has to go. Since when did "supporting the troops" mean ignoring what the commanders on the ground are saying about our forces mental and emotional state?
I'm ambivalent about the war in Iraq. But I also believe that once we've committed ourselves to an action, we have to follow through. So in that sense I support the war, even though I think it's possible juris is right that it was a neo-con overreach. Time will tell. But your position on this still confuses me. Are you making a case that troops' suffering is bad only because it is for a misguided war? In other words, would you have withdrawn your support for a "just" war (e.g. WWII) over concerns for the emotional health of the troops?
Your claim about your friend's son is counter to my husband's experiences in the SF. It was a calling to the men in his unit. They treated it like a job, and they were totally apolitical about it. You even made a claim further up in the discussion that it's about the man next to you. Well, is it or isn't it? Your friend's son's job is to do what the government mandates, not to question it. Not that I could ever do what these men do in a million years, and it's not a poor reflection on this young man to say it, but it sounds like he may not be suited to what he's doing.
Going back to the Elah movie, I still don't see the point. I want to know what you think its goal is. What do you think the people involved hoped to accomplish as a result of making this movie?
Juris: I agree it's completely possible to support the troops without supporting a specific action. The reason for my tone was the context- a movie that presupposes that war itself makes soldiers insane. If you buy into that line of thinking and support withdrawal out of concern for the troops' "emotional health", then that's a profoundly patronizing way to "support" the troops.
"If you buy into that line of thinking and support withdrawal out of concern for the troops' "emotional health", then that's a profoundly patronizing way to "support" the troops."
Indeed. Defending anything has a cost, and if that cost is the only consideration, then no defense could ever be justified. Follow it to its logical end, and you'd end up leaving a thorn in your finger to fester and cause gangrene because it would hurt to pull it out. Not that it would hurt too much, mind you, but that it would hurt at all.
Children usually outgrow that point of view. It's rare that one sees it in an adult.
War, particularly combat, is a complex business for the human psyche. I didn't serve, but my brothers are both Viet Nam vets - one on an aircraft carrier, and the other on the ground (2 tours) with special forces (and saw plenty of combat). Their post-war opinions of the effort was the next time Uncle Sam wants my service he can look me up in Canada. No soldier is obliged to blindly support his govt when his govt is being blindly stupid.
I have to add that there is nothing that pisses off my oldest brother (ground/combat) more than the "every VN vet is a ticking time bomb"; although the vets who blame the war for all of their life's subsequent failures runs a pretty close second.
No soldier is obliged to blindly support his govt when his govt is being blindly stupid.
Funnily enough, Milton Friedman said something similar a few decades ago, and soon after that the military went all-volunteer. You might have heard about it?
The war has lasted long enough that almost every soldier who joined beforehand has had a chance to end his service. For all practical purposes, everyone in the military now has had the choice in full knowledge of what it meant.
The war has lasted long enough that almost every soldier who joined beforehand has had a chance to end his service.
Depends on if he got "stop-lossed" or not.
I also believe there is a pending court-martial for a soldier who refused to return to Iraq for a 3rd tour.
You're also really stretching it if you consider the Guardsmen who have been sucked in, for more than a single tour. Then again, there's all the more reason for a state to organize a non-NG militia.
I hope you will answer my questions at some point.
Meanwhile, KdT has a quick "review" of Elah this morning, along with some comments as to why none of the Iraq-themed movies are doing well. You ought to read it.
"once we've committed ourselves to an action, we have to follow through."
But what is that goal? It seems very ill defined and changes on a daily basis. There are also economic factors that our current leadership are being less than honest about....
"Are you making a case that troops' suffering is bad only because it is for a misguided war?"
No, I think there would be suffering anyway but in the case of WWII they could at least say...we had no choice. And the goal was pretty clear: we were fighting for the freedom of the world. In the case of Afghanistan, we are fighting to eliminate a threat to our home soil. There was a choice in the case of Iraq and there is still is a choice on how to try to stop those who would use terror as a tactic. As many in the military have said, they are but one tool to be used and the last one at that.
"What do you think the people involved hoped to accomplish as a result of making this movie?"
I think the point was to show the human side of our soldiers and what happens when we go to war. The film ends with the notion that we have no hope of saving ourselves. It's quite depressing, actually. I'm not sure if I agree but I do think that the American people are kept woefully in the dark about what Iraq is doing to our troops and that's why, ultimately, I like the film.
Juris, completely agree with your points, especially your last one.
Sarah, I hope I answered your questions to your satisfaction. If not, let me know and I will elaborate. As to KdT's comments, I think Iraq films aren't doing well because, to put it simply, people don't care about Iraq anymore. They have their video games, big TVs and Cheetos and are quite happy, thank you very much. Why should they give a shit?
And the reivew of Ellah? Well, let's see...this quote...
"we were treated to a piece of drivel about Army troops becoming psychopathic killers just because they saw bad things in Iraq."
and this quote...
"If the movie’s director, scriptwriters and producers had been in the room with me, I would have beaten them all to death with a chair, and put their heads on pikes along the interstate."
are kind of ironic when you put them together, don't you think?
I also find this comment interesting...
"As I watched the whiny little prick taking shit from his girlfriend about going back..."
Reading Mr Du Toit's bio, I noticed that he has not served in the military . How can he, then, speak with any authority as to how our soldiers ought to behave?
"But what is that goal?"
That's easy. To defend the duly elected and legal government of Iraq until they can take over their own defense.
There are subordinate and related goals, but this is the One That Matters. Once that goal has been accomplished, I don't see any reason for us to stay. And if you check with other conservatives, mostas in more than 90%would probably agree.
"The film ends with the notion that we have no hope of saving ourselves."
Which is why the film is complete and utter bullshit.
There is no doubt that war is horrible. There is also no doubt that some people are irrevocably damaged beyond redemption by the experience. The problem with blatant propaganda like this is that it's only a very small minority of soldiers who are so damaged that they cannot function.
If the "every soldier becomes a psychopath" meme of Elah was actually true, then our country would not have survived the return of millions of our soldiers in World War II, nevermind the wide swath of destruction which would have been caused by soldiers returning from subsequent wars.
As for Kim's anger at the writers and producers of Elah, why not? Bald, blatant propaganda lies on the grand scale of Joseph Goebbels requires an equally strong response.
"Reading Mr Du Toit's bio, I noticed that he has not served in the military . How can he, then, speak with any authority as to how our soldiers ought to behave?"
I know a thing or two about Mr. du Toit's biography. You're wrong about his experience. You're also wrong about your bullshit "chickenhawk authority" claim too. But I'm just going to focus on Kim's biography for now.
Just to make sure of what you actually read, I decided to look at what he had posted as his biography. I could not find a link on his site to a biography. That makes me wonder what you did read. How about a link?
As for Kim's military service, he was a conscript in the South African army from 1977-1979 and he did see combat. (See here for a little more detail.)
"The problem with blatant propaganda like this is that it's only a very small minority of soldiers who are so damaged that they cannot function."
Couple this link with the fact that, on average, five US soldiers a day have tried to kill themselves in 2007, up from less than one a day before the war began. These are figures from the Army itself. I think you are going to have to define "not function" as well. Have you seen the film? The message is not that every soldier becomes a psychopath.
"Bald, blatant propaganda lies on the grand scale of Joseph Goebbels"
So, it's a lie now to talk about soldiers that are troubled? Please, Ed, the only Goebbels like propaganda out there is coming from Bush Co and supporters.
The bio link I read was here
Alright, I see from your link he served in the South African military and saw combat. I still don't see where that gives him any kind of authority to talk about US troops and what they have gone through in Iraq. His comments are woefully insensitive and in the case of this one..
"we undertake warfare only as a final resort; or, as in the case of the last fifty-odd years, when we employ our vast military might to help other people breathe the same air of freedom which we, as Americans, are so fortunate to breathe every single day of our lives."
"Here, we are talking about a country which has, at its root, the most benevolent and benign governmental structure of any nation yet to grace this Earth."
I couldn't let this one pass me by either. It would be nice if we were actually like this but, sadly, we are not. We may have been close to this at one time but the last forty years or so have been the complete opposite of what he is describing here.
Oh, but wait. That's right. I forgot. To think this makes me a traitor, right? If I even question the goodness and the wholesomeness that is America, I should have my "head put on a pike on the side of the road?"
I'm still in stomach pains from laughing about those of you who think that liberals are the fascists...
I still don't see where that gives him any kind of authority to talk about US troops and what they have gone through in Iraq.
Based on your stated criteria, I don't see where you do, then.
It would be nice if we were actually like this but, sadly, we are not. We may have been close to this at one time but the last forty years or so have been the complete opposite of what he is describing here.
So you date the time at which we stopped being "the most benevolent and benign government" to the Tet Offensive?
I'm still in stomach pains from laughing about those of you who think that liberals are the ONLY fascists...
There, fixed it for you.
"Compassionate Conservatives" have the same impulses.
Neither of which describes duToit. Note that Kim doesn't want government to put people's heads on spikes - he wants to do it himself. ;)
"So, it's a lie now to talk about soldiers that are troubled?"
No. It's a lie to say that all or even most soldiers are troubled.
It appears to be time for yet another quote from Mark Twain:
"If you don't read the newspapers, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you are misinformed."
The relevance here is that the news media report about soldiers who are troubled, but not about soldiers coming through in fine shape, as such isn't "news". Simply playing echo to "the news" is hardly being informed, now is it?
Hmm, interesting that you bring that up DJ...
Maybe you might want to tell Becky Hall that hearing the story of her son is "misinformation."
This is what struck me from that piece:
But it didn’t take long for support of the Iraq war to fade. When Mr. Huether, 40, came home from a yearlong deployment to South Korea in the spring of 2004, he noticed that the community had become more skeptical, describing Iraqis as squanderers of freedom or outright killers. Even members of his family began to question whether the war could be won.
Of course not! Not with the constant drumbeat of defeat! disaster! quagmire! coming non-stop and essentially without counter from the media - much like the piece that excerpt is taken from itself.
The media prides itself on being the clergy of the State, handing down their received wisdom - in this case, the war in Iraq was WRONG!!!! - and doing everything in its collective power to convince Joe and Jane Sixpack of the evil of our ways.
I'm sorry for Mrs. Hall's loss. However hers is not the only one like it from every war ever fought in history.
But boy, doesn't it make good copy?
I wonder if they'll make a movie out of it!
DJ: "The relevance here is that the news media report about soldiers who are troubled, but not about soldiers coming through in fine shape,"
That's the theory. So how about we test it? Oh wait, Markadelphia just did!
Markadelphia: "http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/3...r=1& oref=slogin"
Yep, he proved the theory alright. Listing a major 4 page article focusing a soldier who came back with a problem, and no article at all about soldiers coming back fine, or even becoming leaders or heros in their communities.
Is anyone else here as unsurprised as I am?
Yeah, Ed, I am. Is that surprising?
A steady drumbeat of "Ain't nuthin' wrong" wouldn't sell newspapers, and so wouldn't sell advertising. More to the point here, it would be just as misuninformative (a new word, ya think?) as is a steady drumbeat of the opposite. What is needed is perspective, and we have to look for that ourselves because we won't get it any other way. But to refuse to admit to understanding the persective view is rather bizarre, isn't it?
I love this caption from today's FARK:
"Cost of Iraq War to date: $517 billion. Number of U.S. lives lost: 4010. Shiite cleric saying "Please stop fighting" and seeing it work: Priceless"
Pardon me while I consider Bismarck on the Balkans; and Pomeranian grenadiers were not even the most esteemed soldiers under the command of the old Prussian.
As to just how priceless Sadr's action is - you should consider that in opposing him we are in league with the Iranian supported Iraqi Shiites.
I am not a follower of the old maxim, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." I am simply pleased when my enemy is brought to bay. Now we'll see if he stays that way.
"Not with the constant drumbeat of defeat! disaster! quagmire! coming non-stop and essentially without counter from the media"
Ah yes, it's the media's fault. That's why the situation in Iraq is so bad...good lord, Kevin, what is going to take for you to wake up and see what is going on!!!?
And also...constant drumbeat? The media hasn't talked about Iraq in months..and it hasn't been because of a lack of bad news coming from there.
Iraq is FUBAR because our current leadership have a childish understanding of the region and don't really care if they do because they really only have one goal in mind...the same one they have had from day one. It's really not all that difficult, folks. A group of people in the defense industry and the oil industry decided that Iraq represented a lot of opportunity. They helped get some like minded people elected to our government who, in turn, helped them seize that opportunity. They dressed it up in a patriotic dog and pony show, effectively inspiring hate of anyone or any institution who questions what they do (comments above offered as shining examples), and now they even more money to fuck even more people over. Some of these same people have relocated their corporate headquarters to the Middle East so they can overseer their ill gotten booty more closely. How special!
Why is that so difficult for some of you to grasp? Talk about cognitive dissonance...
"Is anyone else here as unsurprised as I am?"
Is there anyone else who is as surprised at your complete lack of sensitivity? Or Kevin's? Or DJ's?
What I find to be unbelievably amazing is how much the three of you pride yourselves on being people who seek out knowledge and the truth from a variety of sources and yet you willingly turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to anything that is remotely not supportive of the Iraq conflict. The question you should ask yourselves is why is that exactly?
A group of people in the defense industry and the oil industry decided that Iraq represented a lot of opportunity.
Markadelphia, you should really be careful about accusing others of being naive when you post this kind of stuff.
Capitalists understand that it would have been much cheaper (and hence more profitable) to BUY rather than invade and occupy a country to acquire those resources. Arguing that KBR, etc. drives the entire DoD is the tail wagging the dog.
Neocons are former liberals, and carry with them the hubris that they can remake human-nature and society in an image of their choosing. Shooting at them is much more likely to wound yourself than a libertarian.
Markadelphia, we're never going to see eye-to-eye on this, so these will be my last words to you on the topic of the war (he says foolishly):
The media was relentlessly negative from the opening shot of the war until "the Surge" appeared to be working. Only then did they shut the fuck up.
And also...constant drumbeat? The media hasn't talked about Iraq in months..and it hasn't been because of a lack of bad news coming from there.
Oh no? By their own admission, that's precisely why they slowed (nearly stopped) covering the war. Good news isn't news. It doesn't sell.
You said it yourself: "The media hasn't talked about Iraq in months." Not until we hit 4,000 casualties and the violence picked up again.
Talk about cognitive dissonance...
Pot? Meet kettle.
If the media during WWII covered the military and the administration the way ours does now, we'd have all believed the war was completely lost from the very beginning. The Pacific Theater? QUAGMIRE! Invasion of Africa? Africa didn't attack us, Japan did! The slaughter of Kasserine Pass? The invasion of Guadalcanal? The truly horrific losses of the Eighth Air Force in daylight bombing? Need I go on?
A group of people in the defense industry and the oil industry decided that Iraq represented a lot of opportunity.
Ah, I see. It's not all about OILLLLLLLLL!!! - it's about OILLLLLLLLL!!! and the military-industrial complex! Surely there was absolutely no thought given to, say, national security or world-wide Islamic fundamentalism! No, that would be too complex for Chimpy McHitlerBurton!
Here's a clue, Markadelphia: No one - NO ONE goes to war for one reason or even two - excepting religious fanatics. I note that you are not accusing Bush & Co. of Crusading.
Iraq was FUBAR before we got there. The ENTIRE MIDDLE EAST IS FUBAR. It's a completely dysfunctional area that is ONLY important because it sits on top of the worlds largest source of easily accessible energy. You're damned tootin' it's about oil - it's about access to a strategic source of energy we cannot live without.
But it's about a lot more than just that, and rich American industrialist and their Pentagon enablers who want to see if their neat and expensive toys really work. The wealth that energy represents allows governments to do things they could not contemplate were they not cash-rich. Add to that they are stuck with an eighth-century political system masquerading as a religion, and the world - THE WHOLE WORLD - has a major problem on its hands.
A problem NO ONE seems willing to face.
Well, Chimpy decided we needed to face it. I think he was right. You don't.
What I find to be unbelievably amazing is the proportion of the American population that sees things at a sixth-grade level. I shouldn't, though. I'm a product of the public education system. I saw what it did to the overwhelming majority of my peers.
And I'm not surprised at all that you are among its enablers.
"I'm a product of the public education system. I saw what it did to the overwhelming majority of my peers."
I am so pleased that I don't have any children in the current gubmint ejakashun system. Seeing what it would try to do to them would make my head go all 'splodey.
What would be a mantra for such a school system today? "Anger trumps analysis" perhaps?
Two of my brothers just got back from Iraq, one Air Force, one Army.
Both of them are doing fine. My Army brother did, saw and was in some hairy stuff. Oddly, he's not killing babies and drinking their blood while chanting 'Oil! Oil! Oil!'.
Elah is a pile of steaming puke, and anyone that swallows that bile as being anywhere near representative of our troops is a moron.
And notice, Marky, Kim du Toit was offering to stick heads on a pike by himself, and not make the government do it. Not fascist. Your understanding of the English language is pitiful, and almost as weak as your ability to reason, and right in line with your understanding of history, economics and government.
Your ability to rationalize is superb. Thank goodness post modernism claptrap rewards such 'skills', otherwise a man of your mental acumen would be forced into making an honest living.
Markadelphia is a teacher. He's filling the heads of defenseless children with this crap too. At the very least, he is wholly unable to teach his students even a smidgen of how to use logic. As demonstrated here, he doesn't know the first things about logical forms. Even worse, when logical fallacies are pointed out, complete with links to thorough definitions of the fallacy and why they are not logical, he usually immediately reuses the fallacy as if it was valid reasoning.
If it weren't for the fact that children were involved, I wouldn't care that he seems to love his own filth. The fact that he is teaching the impressionable kids "facts" that aren't facts and "logic" that isn't logic terrifies, annoys and angers me to no end.
My dad is a public school teacher, one of the few men left in the profession and one of the very few conservatives. He recommends that you not let your children anywhere near a public school. Homeschool them.
Kevin and the others did a fine job addressing most of your points, so I'll just address one last thing before I pack it in, too:
I think Iraq films aren't doing well because, to put it simply, people don't care about Iraq anymore. They have their video games, big TVs and Cheetos and are quite happy, thank you very much. Why should they give a shit?
Liberals have this penchant for regarding themselves as the only ones who care. This attitude is terribly uncharitable towards other Americans, and appears to be based on nothing more than your own prejudices. It's simply not true.
First, notice that all of the tanking films are negative: anti-American, anti-troops, anti-war. How do you know that Americans aren't simply rejecting the anti- message? What if there were pro- movies, and they were doing well? I think that would prove you wrong.
Libertas has done a thorough job covering the anti- movie phenomenon, and they point out that one movie that has adopted a decidedly pro stance on the War on Terror is doing well at the box-office, both here and overseas. They describe it as a moderate hit, despite the fact that it's (critically speaking) not a very good movie. Libertas has posted extensively on this topic, but this particular post more or less says it all.
Sadly, I am acquainted with his profession, as well as his constant and dedicated violation of all Socratic forms of logic. And the less said of Stoic propositional logic, the better.
'The fact that he is teaching the impressionable kids "facts" that aren't facts and "logic" that isn't logic terrifies, annoys and angers me to no end.'
I have reached a point where I hold him in utter contempt and pity him.
His blinkered response is merely par for the course with him.
His side == Pure Good while Rethuglicans et al. == Unadulterated Evil and all narratives must be rationalized into that mold. And he is darn good at rationalizing.
... while Rethuglicans et al. == Unadulterated Evil ...
or == Totally Ignorant and Stupid.
Another liberal penchant is to consider their side as the only one with smarts and an informed perspective.
Well, Russ, you are probably right. Mark is starting to challenge my perception of my own sanity, in that I keep engaging him expecting different results. Not that it hasn't been interesting.
"Not that it hasn't been interesting."
So is diarrhea. It will hold your attention, but it's not something that one should seek out intentionally.
I just saw your post about the passing of your grandfather. I'm sorry to hear that you lost someone you loved so much. I still remember when I lost my grandfather many years ago. It's always painful and you will never forget him. You have my condolences.
I do find it ironic that you speak (write) so highly of him when you've been pushing the idea that war always irrevocably damages all soldiers, which should include your grandfather. Apparently it did no such thing in his case, and if he was anything like my grandfather, he became stronger in the process of overcoming the pain and fear of war.
Thanks, Ed. Yes, he did become stronger as a result of his experience. He lived a long life, I think, because nothing really seemed to bother him. He saw horrors in WWII that I can't even begin to imagine. He shared many stories with me that he did not share with my mom and her sisters (and asked me not to tell them) and I think the horrible things that happened to him made him not really sweat the small stuff in life.
I think his generation had something special that they were able to rise to the task, mentally and emotionally, in a much bigger way than more recent generations. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that they HAD to fight for civilization. Things were also clearer as to who our enemy was.Today, it is muddy and the reasons for us being in Iraq are muddy and I think that contributes to the mental and emotional anguish our troops feel. Thanks for the kind words, Ed....now let's take a look at some of the mean ones :)
"He's filling the heads of defenseless children with this crap too."
"he is wholly unable to teach his students even a smidgen of how to use logic"
"f it weren't for the fact that children were involved, I wouldn't care that he seems to love his own filth"
""facts" that aren't facts and "logic" that isn't logic terrifies, annoys and angers me to no end."
Actually, the one who seems to have problems with facts and logic are you, Ed, as well as others who post here. I think part of the reason why you get so angry at me is that you know that there is a lot of truth to what I say about Iraq. At this point, it is only a matter of time before more things come out about Iraq and then what will you do? Continue to ignore reality?
As far as the students go at my school, I think you'll find that they are anything but sheep. They ask me tough questions and most assuredly have their own points of view. You should probably know that over the years we have had several guest speakers that have the opinions of many that post here, including yours. To say that the students challenged their "facts" and "logic" is...well...quite an understatement. Wished you could have been there...it was quite lively!
"How do you know that Americans aren't simply rejecting the anti- message? What if there were pro- movies, and they were doing well? I think that would prove you wrong."
The movie about Daniel Pearl didn't do all that well, which is too bad because it was great. Stop-Loss got a bad review from this group...
They aren't exactly right wing!
"that has adopted a decidedly pro stance on the War on Terror"
Sarah, the war against "terror" and the war in Iraq have nothing to do with each other. That is a lie put forth by the Bush administration to justify the invasion. I have always been, as have the people I support like Barack Obama, been in favor of our actions in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The right likes to create a vision of the left that is just plain wrong. Unlike the Bush administration and supporters, I would like to actually fight the people that attacked us and take away their ability to attack us again.
"His side == Pure Good while Rethuglicans et al. == Unadulterated Evil and all narratives must be rationalized into that mold."
No, just the Republicans that have run the party the last eight years. And I don't have much love for Democrats who have let it happen either...due to their complete lack of sack.
"I have reached a point where I hold him in utter contempt and pity him."
Well, I pity you, Russell. When it comes to Iraq, your belief system is so ground in stone that you will never accept any reality but the one in which you feel most comfortable.
I would urge you, again, to take a look at who attacked us on 9-11, where they are now, and what exactly we are doing about it. These are facts and if you accept them, then there is nothing logical at all about Iraq.
Actually, the one who seems to have problems with facts and logic are you, Ed, as well as others who post here.
Trust me dude, it really is you and not them.
Sarah, the war against "terror" and the war in Iraq have nothing to do with each other.
And that, my young Jedi, is why you fail...
So, Sarah, just how much do you value your sanity? And, do you expect to benefit by losing it?
DJ, that is just screaming for the HST quote about sex, drugs and insanity.
Actually, Kevin, the reason why WE are failing is because we are not using the military where we should be using the military and we are using it where we should not be...and ignoring all of the other tools we have to combat those who would use terror as a tactic.
Of course, this doesn't surprise me at all because our current leadership and supporters, simply put, aren't intelligent enough to use those other tools. They lack the intellect, mainly due to a narrow minded ideology, which is ironic because that's the same problem Al Qaeda suffers from as well.
DJ -- I do value my sanity. That's why I'm through arguing with Mark, at least until I see some evidence that he's opening his mind to other ways of thinking.
Markadelphia: "Actually, the one who seems to have problems with facts and logic are you, Ed,"
Really? Do you remember the last I posted a link to a page describing a logical fallacy? It was in a series of comments about Jonah Goldberg's book. Even before you posted, I predicted that you would use the genetic fallacy to argue against what he had to say. As it turns out I was partially wrong. You did use the genetic fallacy (it's wrong because he's a right winger) and the ad hominem fallacy (theorizing about his motives for making such a "false" claim) instead of using actual logical and reasoned arguments directly against the arguments he made. Of course, your favorite logical fallacy is the faulty appeal to authority, like you just did in the troother thread.
In fact, I have ignored dozens and dozens of such fallacies in your posts merely because I simply don't have the kind of free time necessary to point out every time you use a logical fallacy. That would be a full time (40+ hours a week) job. As it is, I keep pointing you to references about what these fallacies are, but you just keep tossing them out as if they mean something without actually learning that they are to be avoided. For a teacher, you seem to have zero ability to actually learn.
Markadelphia: "there is nothing logical at all about Iraq."
Okay, simple questions time.
Did Saddam Hussein invade Kuwait?
Did he agree to certain conditions when he surrendered?
Did he violate those conditions?
Was he routinely shooting at our aircraft?
Did he have WMD's at one time?
Was part of the conditions of surrender/cease fire that he had to destroy those WMD's and prove to the U.N. that he had done so?
Did he abide by those conditions?
Did the U.N. warn Saddam numerous times that he was in violation of the cease fire conditions?
Did everyone other than President Bush (that means Democrats, the U.N., other countries, etc.) claim that Saddam had WMD's?
Did Saddam routinely torture and kill large numbers of Iraqi citizens?
Is Al Qaeda fighting in Iraq today?
The answers to these questions should be obvious. Remember, it's fine for you have your own opinions, but not your own "facts."
"DJ -- I do value my sanity."
Ah, sanity. It wasn't a trick question, as I already knew the answer. I just wanted to see it in writing.
Yeah, I know. too much free time, right?
Ed, your questions are terribly narrow minded. I have no problem answering them but it will be a pointless endeavor because you won't accept the way I will answer them, you will cry foul, pout, and whine because you don't like things that don't fit into the Iraq canon.
I've been down the path of thought that going into Iraq was a good idea. I was terribly wrong and awfully narrow minded and naive for believing what our leadership told us. It is a really hard thing to come to a place where you have to admit that the country you love and believe in has been committing unneccesary error after horrible offense. Which makes this statement from Sarah..
"at least until I see some evidence that he's opening his mind to other ways of thinking."
....really sad and ironic. Ed (and Sarah), here's a challenge for you. Since you have no respect for my opinion, go find someone with 30 years of military experience who is AGAINST the Iraq War. Ask him or her your questions, Ed. See what kind of response you get. Sarah, ask him or her why their minds aren't open to being in favor of Iraq.
That's one of the big reasons I came to the conclusions I did.
Conclusions? You don't have the mental rigor to understand premises, logical arguments, or any way to tell anecdote from data.
I've worked through the arguments on both sides. The anti-war side has based most of their 'arguments' on not much more than faulty premises and slogans. The few legitimate problems have been address by the pro side, e.g not enough troops on the ground, not engaging the Iraqis enough, etc. etc.
But your 'thinking' can be summed up as things you like are true, things you don't like aren't true. I've seen you do it over and over again. Scientific data you don't like is dismissed, the craziest nonsense that you do like you swallow hook, line and sinker.
Not many here respect you simply because you are a sharp fellow with no way of using reason, and no way of learning. I can only speak for myself but I don't have any respect you because you hold different views, that doesn't matter, but you can't defend anything without rationalization and the constant run around you do. And you don't understand your own rationalization process. There is no 'there' there.
Enough, I can't add anymore on this topic now.
But I do offer condolences to your family for your loss.
Markadelphia: "your questions are terribly narrow minded."
Of course they're narrow minded!! I was not asking your opinion, or for your analysis. I was asking what you think the facts are. As such, facts are inherently "narrow minded." You either have a particular fact right, or you do not. Furthermore, there are far more ways to get a fact wrong than to get it right. Now that's narrow!
For example, we should be able to agree on the fact that 2+2=4. How many ways can we get the fact wrong? Mathmaticians tell us that there are an infinite number of numbers. Therefore there are an infinite minus one number of wrong answers, and there is only one right answer. Are you going to reject that single answer because it's "narrow minded?"
Markadelphia: "it will be a pointless endeavor because you won't accept the way I will answer them"
Which says to me that you are unable to give accurate answers to even the most basic and easily established facts about Iraq. In other words, you're trying to make up your own facts!
This is why I'm convinced that you have absolutely no ability to use logic or reason. Facts are the starting point for all reasoning. Let me say this again because it's so important: Facts are the starting point for all reasoning. Without a reference to facts, any argument or reasoning is nothing more than building castles in the sky with no foundation. While it may be solid in other ways and even pretty, it has no relationship to reality and is thoroughly meaningless.
This is why no one here respects you teacher. You ignore the most basic rule of logic by refusing to use facts in making your arguments. In other words, you're just making shit up.
Markadelphia: "I've been down the path of thought that going into Iraq was a good idea. I was terribly wrong"
That's actually the opposite of me. I was not certain that going to Iraq in the first place was a good idea. I thought the reasons were accurate, but I was not sure that they were sufficient. However, once that decision was made and the debate over go/no go became water under the bridge, we wound up with a duty to the good people of Iraq to finish the job. Just wrecking the place then moving on to leave the innocent citizens of Iraq in even worse shape than before the invasion is simply wrong. Period.
Markadelphia: "go find someone with 30 years of military experience who is AGAINST the Iraq War"
There's that faulty appeal to authority fallacy again. You cannot get an accurate view of the facts or accurate analysis without checking with all those with thorough knowledge of the situation and the experience to understand it. (Why, oh why can't you get it through your thick skull that fallacies should never be used?)
Discerning the truth in conflicting statements then requires the use of the tools of reason, such as Occam's Razor, checking multiple sources to establish which statements of fact are accurate and which are not (which also plays into the reliability of those making the statements), looking for internal consistency/inconsistency and giving weight to testimony based on the established reliability of those testifying. (For example, one known liar will always be outweighed by several people known to consistently tell the truth.)