Democrats & Liberals Archives

Journalists and Generals

Journalists and other commentators are sometimes dismissively referred to as “armchair generals”. It would be more accurate to refer to generals as “armchair journalists”. According to Reporters Without Borders, 61 journalists have been killed in the Iraq War. No coalition generals have suffered the same fate. (Donald Rumsfeld, needless to say, is not in much danger either.) That is by itself a good thing, of course, but it should make us question our easy assumptions about who is in the thick of the action and who is sitting on the sidelines.

Posted by Woody Mena at April 23, 2006 10:33 AM
Comments
Comment #142465

This war in itself, Is a very big change from any previous, never before has there been such wide spread open access to the media. With so much competition in the media, I am sure amny see it as a stepping stone, if they can get the big story in the war, perhaps they can get a good promotion.

All thru history though the generals have been in the rear since the end of the warrior king era. After working all the way thru the ranks or buying ones station. it would be a waste of time , resources and knowledge to have them lead the charge.. In the early days theor orders were directed by flag bearers , then the bugle, then the radio, now they can get full motion video from the front. But as its always been generals make policy and basic plans, where the low end brass in the mud make the command decisions and make or brake the battles.

Posted by: RHancheck at April 23, 2006 11:10 AM
Comment #142466

Woody

The term “journalist”is an open-ended word without defination.

By that I mean this:Ther is no formal requirement to that title,yet it still offers blanket protection to alle who use it.

No formal training required,no test,no liscencing
requirement,no background check,nothing.

For example:Heraldo Riveraa drawing diagams in the sand..is he a journalist?How about that New York Times reporter who later became the story herself?Can a journalist who reports on an event also use that privilegde to then off her/his view?Are they in fact “journalists”? Or commentators?

How about you and I?I post perhaps 75 comments a week on various blogs…am I a journalist?Or are you with this post?

The line between journalists and commentators is too blurred now to differentiate,and journalists (a lot of them anyway)have poisoned the well in the name of freedom of speech(think:every rag at the check-out counter of your local supermarket)

Journalist should objectively report the news and commentators should comment on the news,and never the two shall meet.Never happen though.. becasue that’s the honest thing to do,and most journalist never let honesty get in the way of facts.

For every honest reporter,there are 100 dishonest “journalists”

Posted by: sicilianeagle at April 23, 2006 11:16 AM
Comment #142467

RHanchek,

I 90% agree that generals should not be in front (they shouldn’t isolate themselves from bad news, either). My point is simply that embedded journalists have almost as much claim to being in the center of the action as the grunts, and more of a claim than the flag-level officers.

Posted by: Woody Mena at April 23, 2006 11:22 AM
Comment #142472

I remember seeing somewhere that the military considers the loss of 100 privates as “light” casualties, while the loss of one general officer is considered “heavy” casualties.

It’s been a long time ago and my memory is getting blurry, but it was something like that.

My other point is that journalists are there voluntarily, while the military are under orders to be there.

Any loss of life is a tragedy, but journalists who go into a combat zone know the risks they are taking or, at least, they should know.

I think there is some validity to Rhancheck’s comment that journalists go into harms way in order to further their careers.

The Vietnam War made many otherwise obscure reporters household names.

Posted by: vietnam_vet at April 23, 2006 12:25 PM
Comment #142474

The imbedding of journalists in war zones is a residue of the illegal actions committed by American soldiers and the American intelligence community in the Viet Nam war. Do you suppose Lt. Calley would have ordered his subordintates to open fire on a village of innocent civilians if Dan Rather had been slogging through the jungles with the troops?

Posted by: Thom Houts at April 23, 2006 12:32 PM
Comment #142479

Thom Houts

In every war this nation has fought, American military members have comitted illegal actions. Yet it is the veterans of the Vietnam War that are always singled out by the anti-war crowd.

It’s no wonder that so many Vietnam War veterans are stil so bitter and feel so betrayed by their country more than 30 years later.

But, your comment does not change my premise that journalists are not forced to go.

If a member of the military refuses to go, they are subject to courts martial, dishonorable discharge or imprisonment.

Posted by: vietnam_vet at April 23, 2006 1:06 PM
Comment #142481

I listened to the U.S. death toll today. Over 2300. I began to wonder if Bush is a double agent for Saudi Arabia’s Bin Laden. He apparently has decided the best policy is to double the death toll from the World Trade Center.

Posted by: gergle at April 23, 2006 1:09 PM
Comment #142484

Embedding is a good idea. It helps journalists understand the military and helps moderate the military in extreme cases as Thom mentions.

Sicilian Eagle is right to question the definition of journalist. If a journalist “embedded” with terrorists gets killed by a coalition bomb, I don’t see how that is our problem. How many of those journalists killed were embedded with U.S. or Coalition forces?

Posted by: Jack at April 23, 2006 1:14 PM
Comment #142490

Vietnam_vet, great points. Thank You.

The death of Journalists is regrettable. The death of Generals would be regrettable. Death is regrettable.

The journalists attacked by American troops is something that I think is new here and should be investigated.

In the fog of war attrocity is easy. War is not a game, it is killing as a means of projecting power. It is always tragic. I don’t believe there have been uninformed generals as a rule. Deluded and misguided generals is usually the problem.

Posted by: gergle at April 23, 2006 1:40 PM
Comment #142491

vietnam_vet

Thank you for your service.Vietnam vets have always been my heros.

Journalists during that ere did much to poison American public opinion.

By ‘71,guys like Kerry and the Vietnam Vets Agains the War were getting more press than the heros losing their lives fighting for democracy.

Back then it was “hip” to be against the war,and journalist,who tend to flock like ducks,were the first to report being “groovy”.Sometimes too much information is counter-productive..especially when that information is biased.

Check out today’s NT Times on the web.The Iraq story on the new government is on page 2!

That story should have been the major piece everywhere today.

But,peace as an end game doesn’t sell…body counts..blood and gore and sex do.

As far as the generals,especially retired ones….let’s talk creditentials first…where they against the Iraq war plans initially?Do they have a politicial agenda?Who are they working for now?A liberal think tank?What?

If we scratch the surface,often we don’t like what we see……or read…

Posted by: sicilianeagle at April 23, 2006 1:46 PM
Comment #142496

I wonder if the world would be a better place if ONLY generals were at the front.

Posted by: BillS at April 23, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #142498

“It would be more accurate to refer to generals as “armchair journalists”.”

I think the whole point of embedding journalists with the military came out of the misguided notion that the war would be so easy the American people needed to see a reality show on their TV screens.Hence catchy phrases like “shock and awe”.When things started going south it was quickly realised that it wasnt such a good idea after all and reports coming out of the field were heavily censored.
Its common knowledge that a lot of reporters who are supposedly embedded are hiding behind the walls of the green zone ,relying heavily on much maligned stations like Al jazeera to rehash most of the stories we see on the evening news.
That is why I have more respect for independent operators like Jill Caroll who have more guts than say Geraldo Rivera.The fact that she went out to gather a story by herself without the comforts of security afforded by an embedment gives me cause to think that there are still reporters with balls out there.
This are the guys the Bush people are targeting when they say the media is all about bad news at the expense of say a school opening.A school opening is a good thing but it should not be front page news at the expense of a massive bombing that kills 10 Iraqi civians.

Posted by: john doe at April 23, 2006 2:07 PM
Comment #142503

Just to be certain I was not misunderstod, I support the idea of journalists being imbedded within military units engaged in combat.

But only as long as they are objective in their reporting and not trying to promote a personal agenda.

And I believe that, with a few exceptions, such journalists in Iraq have done an admirable job.

And I certainly don’t condone members of the American military acting like barbarians. Such people should be punished to the full extent of the law.

By the same token, the actions of a very few shouldn’t be used to tarnish the honor and sacrifice of all.

That was the problem in Vietnam. The press used incidents like the My Lai massacre to paint all of us as baby killers.

And it was such irresponsible reporting that led to the hatred of the war to be transferred to the warriors.

I just don’t want to see history repeat itself.

Posted by: vietnam_vet at April 23, 2006 2:31 PM
Comment #142504

Sometimes priorities are just misplaced.

There was an article in Today’s WP about the funeral for Virginia peace activist recently murdered by terrorists in Iraq. The group loudly forgave those who killed the man (as they can given their religion) One guy says that it means he “won’t hold those who did those wrongs in the position of wrongdoing.” The group then marched to the White House to protest against President Bush. Kind of implies that they hold Bush in the position of wrongdoing, while they forgive the guys who actually murdered their friend.

Pacifism is a valid point of view (old single or widowed women seem to get a lot of satisfaction out of it), but only if you apply it uniformly.

Jouralists who report on Iraq sometimes suffer a similar one sidedness. As John Doe says, the bomb that kills 10 civilians might be bigger news, but don’t leave out the part that almost all the civlilian deaths are now the result of insurgent attacks.

Posted by: Jack at April 23, 2006 2:32 PM
Comment #142510

Jack,

I think the media usuallly makes it quite clear when the insurgents are responsible, even in brief report. The usual formulation I hear is “X people were killed in Baghdad today by a roadside bomb.” I think people realize that the US military doesn’t use suicide bombers and IEDs.

For what it is worth, I don’t think reporting these facts necessarily helps either side. One person can hear about an insurgent attack and think that Iraq is a quagmire and we should leave. Another person thinks it just shows how it is vital to win. If the media didn’t report these attacks, they would be accused of sympathizing with the insurgents. Since they report them, they get accused of negativity.

Posted by: Woody Mena at April 23, 2006 3:12 PM
Comment #142519

vietnam vet

I agree with your statements about always mentioning negatives about Vietnam.

Instead of the generals, how about the admirals at Guadalcanal, a battle with probably the most massive MASSIVE MASSIVE friendly fire casualties in the history of warfare, because the admirals would not believe that the new technology of RADAR actually worked, and insisted on closing with the Japanese fleet as though they were in Nelson’s time or John Paul Jones.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 23, 2006 4:05 PM
Comment #142523

eagle-

I agree with you about the role of journalists(?) in Viet Nam. They did a great disservice to our troops, although they might have done a great service for the country.

However, the military command and the civilains involved(LBJ,McNamara,etc)did very llittle to bring honor to the USA. Lying about the Tonkin Gulf incident, inflated body counts, and other instances of official misconduct certainly did not help our war effort. I was in my teens and 20’s during the thick of the fighting and I can remember being a very loud, determined hawk for a long time. But, when I saw that we really had no intention of really winning the war, that our main purpose seemed to be nothing, I went to the other side quickly. I never have and never will say anything bad about Viet Nam vets. They did a dirty, nasty, unimaginably ferocious job as best they could with the tools they were given. It just wasn’t enough.

Yes, there were some bad apples, no doubt. And, we did things in that war that were reprehensible, just as we have in every war, and, just maybe embedded journalists would have prevented My Lai and other incidents.

But, the danger of the embedded journalist is that they can become to attached to the group and lose their sense of fairness and balance. having been a journalist and having known many good reporters, both print and electronic, I know that no journalist is objective. That is asking too much. But, they have a responsibility to their audience to be fair and balanced. I know Fox News likes to paint itself as fair and balanced, but it’s not. In fact, I don’t believe there is such a thing as a fair and balanced news outlet.

Posted by: John Back at April 23, 2006 4:26 PM
Comment #142543


Did you see “The Gangs of New York”? Violent to say the least. Could it be true? I was very much suprised when I realized the rebellion against the draft would come into play. I’m sure much of the movie was fiction and the names have been changed to protect the innocent. I didn’t realize the navy was involved. It is a movie with a value to education, drama accepted.

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 23, 2006 6:22 PM
Comment #142545

John

I agree that objective may be the wrong word in this context.

Fair is probably a better word and that means reporting the good news AND the bad.

Journalists have personal beliefs and opinions about the the issuws they are covering. And sometimes, those beliefs and opinions find their way into their reporting.

That doesn’t make them bad reporters, just human. But a good editor can help them stay on target, so to speak.

And yes, Fox News, like every other media outlet, has a point of view and it is reflected in their coverage of the news.

That’s whdy it is vital that we, as citizens, get our news from a variety of sources so that we can make better decisions about where WE stand on the issues.

The same goes when it comes to voting for our elected officials. If we don’t take the time to find out where they stand on the important
issues that affect our lives, we can’t xpect to make smart decisions in the polling booth.

Posted by: vietnam_vet at April 23, 2006 6:26 PM
Comment #142544

I didn’t realize it lasted 4 days either.

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 23, 2006 6:26 PM
Comment #142546

It is all so kewl you’re promoting FOX News. Thank you and God Bless You All.

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 23, 2006 6:29 PM
Comment #142549

Weary Willie

I don’t know if promoting is the right word, but you’re welcome! And thank you. I need all the blessings I can muster.

Posted by: vietnam_vet at April 23, 2006 6:42 PM
Comment #142551

I saw a personal ad on a webpage for a man who was inflicted with a condition that makes him a spectical. He’s looking for a soul-mate. I read his personal ad and I knew he wouldn’t have any problem finding his soul-mate.
He had the courage to step out and say “hey”. Folks like that don’t need sympathy or help or government.

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 23, 2006 6:53 PM
Comment #142552

>>By ‘71, guys like Kerry and the Vietnam Vets Against the War were getting more press than the heros losing their lives fighting for democracy.

se,

Please get off the soap box…when the military goes to war in support of a lie, i.e., Tonkin, WMD, etc, it is NOT ‘fighting for democracy’, it is fighting for a lie. There is a difference, and although you don’t want to believe it, Kerry was in the thick of things in Nam, as was I. Don’t get off on Rove’s Swift-Boaters, they lied just like Johnson and McNamara.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 23, 2006 7:06 PM
Comment #142553

And, Cheney/Bush and Rummey…

Posted by: Marysdude at April 23, 2006 7:08 PM
Comment #142555

By ‘71,guys like Kerry and the Vietnam Vets Agains the War were getting more press than the heros losing their lives fighting for democracy.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at April 23, 2006 01:46 PM

Interesting slant eagle. I was in Vietnam in February this year. One of their museums in named the American War Crimes Museum. Ho Chi Minh has entered the pantheon of international independence heroes. What I saw was a country that had been decimated without any democratic mandate, at least from those upon whom it was inflicted. It is well recognised that Ho was more a nationalist than a communist, and the Vietnamese were as entitled to their independence as any other people. The US chose a paradigm as Vietnam being a frontier on the struggle against communism, and to impose its’ own hegemony over that country. To no purpose ultimately.

I like to think that the resistance to that war which the peace movement espoused, was driven by the dawning realisation amongst Americans that the war was unwinnable; that a people who fought with the courage,conviction, intelligence and determination of the Vietnamese could not be defeated. Further, that the only return for America from continuing the war would be most lost lives, limbs and treasure. You speak of heroes losing their lives fighting for democracy. No doubt there were many young men fighting in that war idealistically believing they were fighting for democracy; that does not necessarily mean that their efforts were advancing the cause of democracy.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 23, 2006 7:17 PM
Comment #142559

Remember when Schwartscoff said he was flimflamed into letting the iraq government use helecopters?

A general did that. Not a president. How can this president be so incompetent? ! Anyone I know who is called “Stupid” and “Incompetent” would never come close to the presidency.

So why is it every time a Republican Candidate becomes President his administration is mired in contravercy?

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 23, 2006 7:35 PM
Comment #142561

Reagan was the “Teflon President” because “nothing would stick”.

That’s because the media was throwing crap like monkies all through his presidency. The only chink in the Reagan armor was George H.W. Bush. He walked into a political trap.

Posted by: Weary Willlie at April 23, 2006 7:40 PM
Comment #142563

another war that we picked up after the french F>UP. and lost. eisenhower said no to sending troops there, the democrats said yes.

Posted by: jim c at April 23, 2006 7:44 PM
Comment #142564

Warning! Hollywood does not do history. It does entertainment. Read a book on the subject raher than watch a movie for historical accuracy. Don’t confuse infotainment with news or history.

Posted by: gergle at April 23, 2006 7:48 PM
Comment #142565

Amendment XXVII [Compensation of Members of Congress (1992)] No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 23, 2006 7:48 PM
Comment #142567

When I was in elementary school we had presentation in the gym that had a pro and anti vietnam war person talking about the war. The pro guy made a point of demeaning Vietnam culture by emphasing that peeing in the street and walking in front of traffic were norms. It was those guys that made vietnam vets look bad.

I never heard the main stream press portray vietnam vets as baby killers. I never felt that way. I heard some radicals say that. I heard some gung ho types talk about killing gooks. Most people I knew simply didn’t want to go get killed to save something they didn’t understand in a jungle far away.

When I was in college several SDS type groups talked about illegal bombing in Cambodia. I asked them why should I believe them when Nixon said he wasn’t. It turned out they were right.

Posted by: gergle at April 23, 2006 7:57 PM
Comment #142572

When a nation is attacked, as happened on 9/11, that nation has every right to respond with violence. We did that, and rightly so. The miltary was sent to Afghanistan to hunt down ben Ladin, and to scortch the Taliban Regime that supported him. It was a just and noble cause, and those fighting could justifiably say they were fighting for democracy (our democracy).

Would someone please tell me why I should not protest our presence in Iraq? Can someone please tell me why those military fighting in Iraq can say they are fighting for democracy? Did the leader of that nation ask for our assistance in formulating a democratic government in Iraq? Did the people of Iraq conduct a revolution against the leader of that country and solicit our assistance in overthrowing that leader and helping to formulate a democratic form of government?

Without believable answers to those questions, I cannot support the war, I cannot support the President who lied to get us there, and I do not believe our military is fighting for democracy.

Coward…traitor…hysterical democrat? Calling me stupid, childish names will not change a damned thing. I’ve done MY time in service. I’ve been shot at and had morter rounds as incoming. I’ve driven over mined roadways. Why should your name calling effect they way I think or my opinion on this rediculous fiasco in Iraq?

Posted by: Marysdude at April 23, 2006 8:20 PM
Comment #142585

FYI…

I should point out that very few of the Mainstream Media actually send their employees into Iraq. When they do it is always the embedded kind.

To get the “Man on the Street” reports, the major media rely on Freelance Reporters and Local Iraqis to get the story. These Freelance Reporters are almost always on their own and are paid well below the regular employees of the major presses.

It seems to me that most of those who criticize these brave reporters are related to the idiots who called Vietman Vets names so long ago.

Don’t be an ass. Walk in thier shoes for a while.

Posted by: Aldous at April 23, 2006 9:52 PM
Comment #142589

Marysdude,
We’ve been at war since 1980 when Iran made a formal declaration of war against us. The terror network that has grown to be a worldwide scourge has engaged in acts of war that went largely unanswered ever since. The failure of the US to prosecute the war and Clinton’s assistance to the jihadists in Yugoslavia made them bold enough to pull off 9/11. The war in Iraq isn’t a stand alone war unrelated to the war against the terrorists. It is one engagement in the larger war. I believe it is a strategic blunder unrivalled in modern history. We were lead there by people who have no sense of history and an unrealistic view of the world.
People don’t like to hear this, but we are in a world war. This is a clash of civilisations not seen in a thousand years. Our enemy counts time over centuries and has a very long memory. They will never give up, no matter the cost. Their goal is nothing less than the complete desruction of western civilisation and the subjugation of its people under sharia law.
Bush has said repeatedly that we went to Iraq to enforce UN resolutions as part of a “global democratic revolution”. I see that as reason enough to oppose the Iraq war.

Posted by: traveller at April 23, 2006 10:15 PM
Comment #142590

traveller:

I would say we’ve been at war since the 1960’s when the CIA overthrew a democratically elected Iranian President in favor of a brutal Dictator Shah.

Sheesh… talk about revisionist history

Posted by: Aldous at April 23, 2006 10:23 PM
Comment #142598

>>Can someone please tell me why those military fighting in Iraq can say they are fighting for democracy?
Did the leader of that nation ask for our assistance in formulating a democratic government in Iraq?
Did the people of Iraq conduct a revolution against the leader of that country and solicit our assistance in overthrowing that leader and helping to formulate a democratic form of government?

Posted by: Marysdude at April 23, 2006 11:10 PM
Comment #142604

aldous,
The Iranian government didn’t declare war against us in the 60’s. That didn’t happen until the Shah was overthrown in 1980.
The terror network, of which Iran is a central figure, has been growing since at least the 70’s. Aided by our leaders (including your beloved Bill Clinton) they are now strong enough and bold enough to scare ordinary Americans into surrendering their freedom for security.

Posted by: traveller at April 23, 2006 11:44 PM
Comment #142606

traveller:

So the overthrow of the Shah in the 1980’s had nothing to do with us, eh? I suppose a corrupt and ruthless Dictator the CIA installed after removing a democratically elected President had absolutely no influence on how those 1980 Iranians percieved the US of A.

Ah yes… but then again… 1940 Japan never did declare war on the US before Pearl Harbor. We declared war on them!!! Bad USA!!!

Posted by: Aldous at April 24, 2006 12:00 AM
Comment #142608

actually the SHAH ie mohammad reza pahlavi, monarchy was abolished in january 16 1979 by a revolution by ayatollah khomeini. who btw was living in france for 14 years before the revolution. then the famous iran hostage affair for 444 days. btw all of this happened under president carter.the hostages were set free minutes after president Reagan was inaugurated.

Posted by: jim c at April 24, 2006 12:28 AM
Comment #142610

btw mr carter did fly to meet the hostages, on his own dime! he might not have been the greatest president but he was one of the most honest….

Posted by: jim c at April 24, 2006 12:34 AM
Comment #142611

I’m more interested in the CIA installing the Shah than the 1980 Revolution.

The problem with Americans is that to few bother with Cause and Effect logic anymore.

Cause: CIA installing brutal Dictator thru force
Effect: Pissed off Iranians


btw… did anyone else notice traveller not disputing the CIA actions and his ignoring of it?

Posted by: Aldous at April 24, 2006 12:43 AM
Comment #142612

aldous,
Please try to make sense occasionally.
I didn’t say anything about WHY the Iranians declared war on us, only that they DID declare war.

jim c,
I grew up not far from the Carters. My great uncle had business dealings with them. He hated their guts. He said Jimmy and Jody Powell were the most corrupt men he’d ever seen.

Posted by: traveller at April 24, 2006 12:51 AM
Comment #142614

aldous,
The CIA’s actions in Iran are well documented. I haven’t ignored it, it’s beside the point.
We are where we are. Nothing will change the past and we have to deal with reality as it exists. The reality is that we are faced with an implacable enemy that will destroy us if they can. The why of it doesn’t matter at this point in history.

Posted by: traveller at April 24, 2006 1:00 AM
Comment #142615

traveller:

Heh. I didn’t say anything about WHY the United States declared war on Japan, only that they DID declare war.


Witholding valuable background data is the oldest form of duplicity. You’re original statement is deceptive in that you made it appear the Iranians attacked and hated the United States without provocation. As is your statement about the genocide of Muslims in Yugoslavia. “Clash of Civilisations”, my behind!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Aldous at April 24, 2006 1:07 AM
Comment #142616

Weary willie, Reagan was senile. He was a prop. JIm Baker was president.

Posted by: gergle at April 24, 2006 1:30 AM
Comment #142618

traveller:

“The why of it doesn’t matter at this point in history.”

If history doesn’t matter then why did you bring up the “Iran declared War in 1980” line? Convenient you cutoff the history lesson at the 1980 mark since it made your “Clash of Civilisations” argument look rational. Ofcourse, had you gone back to 1960 your little debate would have looked pretty ludicrous, wouldn’t it?

Posted by: Aldous at April 24, 2006 1:34 AM
Comment #142619

gergle, clinton had a double. in real life he was a wanna be porn star.he did not quite measure up

Posted by: jim c at April 24, 2006 1:49 AM
Comment #142623

Jim C, Bush is the antichrist. Make sure you worship him in your pentagram tonight.

Posted by: gergle at April 24, 2006 2:11 AM
Comment #142624

If you don’t believe Reagan was senile, read Don Regans book.

Posted by: gergle at April 24, 2006 2:13 AM
Comment #142636

History cerainly matters when the same people are doing the same thing.


Was’nt it under Reagan’s CIA that Bin ladan and company recieved training and arms. Sometimes I think those guys are more trouble than they are worth. But then again I could’nt tell you because their budget is a secret.
I kind of felt sorry for that stupid kid that converted to Islam and went off to join the Talaban. One week he was serving with a bunch Reagan called,”Heros of democracy”and “Freedom fighters”. The next week he was an enemy combatant. Geeeez

Hard to believe anyone could call the US stepping in to stop genocide aiding terrorism. One of my dissapointments with the Clinton administration is that we did not intervene earlier and stop the massacre at Sebrinica.
When he ordered the bombing of terrorist training camps instead of support from the Republicans he was accused of “wag the dog.” Now that had to have emboldened Bin Ladan. Way to go guys.

To the hysterical notion that we are in an titanic clash of civilizations ,I can only quote Herbert,”Fear is the mind killer…”


To stay on thread I would like to quote another famous journalist.Take it as you will but I asure you he was biased.

When you’re wounded and left on Afganistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out yer brains
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier….

R. Kipling


Posted by: BillS at April 24, 2006 3:50 AM
Comment #142640

vietnam_vet:

My other point is that journalists are there voluntarily, while the military are under orders to be there.

So who’s braver?

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 24, 2006 4:18 AM
Comment #142648

I cited the most publicized instance of atrocity committed in Viet Nam, and the republican knee jerks… instantly I am one of the mythical antagonizers of Viet Nam vets. For the record, as a teenager, at time protesting American involvement there, my father was a master gunnery sergeant in the USMC serving there. I admire my father more than any other man I know and then, as now, respected the men and women who served WITH HONOR in Viet Nam. But irrefutable history PROVES that there were some who served dishonorably there.

I used the term “mythical antagonizers” of Viet Nam vets because to the best of my first hand knowledge, very few of the most liberal era pacifists made such generalizations about Viet Nam vets. Again, from first hand experience, I am aware of some red neck illiterates sitting in bars drunkenly bragging about slaughtering “gooks” and raping “slopes” and it should surprise NO ONE that we who opposed the war got in their faces about it only to hear them whine about patriotism and agent orange.

But getting back to the war in Iraq, does it surprise anyone that the most notorious and publicized incidence of atrocity in THIS war, the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghrahib, happened in the one place that there were no imbedded journalists?

Posted by: Thom Houts at April 24, 2006 6:25 AM
Comment #142652

aldous,
My argument is rational.
When someone has declared the desire to kill you and takes steps to do so, the reason becomes irrelevant.

Posted by: traveller at April 24, 2006 7:41 AM
Comment #142655

Thom Houts:

The incidents at Abu Gerab were blown out to proportion for political gain. If these incidents are indeed representativie of the worst behavior of American troops, then America has no need to hang her head.

The actions of the guards was wrong, but when they were discovered, the wrongdoers were punished and firm guidelines were implemented to prevent reoccurances. No country can be held to zero tolerance. Misdeeds will occur in any operation on this scale and it is more realistic to judge America by its response to unjust actions.

Furthermore, while embarressment and humiliation aren’t nice, it is ridiculous to hold these minor incidents up as evidence of moral bankruptcy in the military.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 24, 2006 9:02 AM
Comment #142656

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/23/washington/23military.html

Posted by: Scott Higgs at April 24, 2006 9:32 AM
Comment #142671

BillS,
Clinton’s bombing of Yugoslavia was done largely in support of the KLA, an Islamist narco-terrorist group closely allied with al-Qaida. Given that Clinton dithered and blathered and did nothing for several years and then started bombing just as one of his scandals was coming to a head, it certainly looked like he was wagging the dog.
The notion that we are in a clash of civilisations is far from hysterical. It’s based on a cold assessment of the history and actions of the jihadists. From my perspective there is no fear. There is only the willingness to do what’s necessary to ensure the survival of western civilisation.

Posted by: traveller at April 24, 2006 11:36 AM
Comment #142677

Oh heavens. We have finally been found out. Clinton and the rest of us western secular liberals secretly long for Sharia law. OK,Who told?
Thankfully it is too late now. Saladeen is comming! The sky is falling..the sky is falling!

Posted by: BillS at April 24, 2006 12:36 PM
Comment #142680

The libs guru UBL is now asking his followers to go to the sudan to fight americans.Even usama knows he is losing in iraq and afganistan.The plan is to put a new face on the war on terrorism.He understands if americans have to watch young blacks being murdered every day the liberal media and the liberal democrats will put the blame on bush.Usama can depend on his comrads the liberals to help win the war in the sudan.To make a long story short liberals are the biggest threat to this country.If they fought half as hard for their country as they fight against their country this war would be over.All of you armchair generals can chew on this for a while.

Posted by: saying at April 24, 2006 12:48 PM
Comment #142684

Willie:

“Amendment XXVII [Compensation of Members of Congress (1992)] No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!”

It means that, say, Congress passes a pay raise for itself today. Constitutionally, that raise cannot go into effect until the new Congress begins in January 2007.

saying:

This liberal proudly served in the Army from 1992-2000. I was a 91-B, a medic. Thankfully, I was never called upon to serve in combat, but of course it was always a possibility.

How about yourself?

Posted by: Arr-squared at April 24, 2006 1:17 PM
Comment #142685

ARR-SQUARED you sir are the exception thank you for your service.

Posted by: saying at April 24, 2006 1:24 PM
Comment #142691

saying:

I neither need nor want your thanks. I do, however, very much want to hear about your service.

If you never bothered to put on the uniform, then I want to call you out publicly as a chickenhawk and a coward. Many liberals (and moderates, libertarians, and conservatives, of course!) have and will continue to fight for this great country of ours, and if you simply sit back and sling mud, sir, well, we can all see the depths of your brave patriotism.

Maybe I AM the “biggest threat to this country,” if your poisonous and cowardly views are “the country.” Luckily for both of us, though, they aren’t.

Posted by: Arr-squared at April 24, 2006 1:50 PM
Comment #142694

“The incidents at Abu Gerab were blown out to proportion for political gain. If these incidents are indeed representativie of the worst behavior of American troops, then America has no need to hang her head.”

In my opinion, everything about this war in Iraq gives reason for America to hang her head — but the vast majority of that comes not from our troops, but from our current government “leadership”.
The incidents at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are indeed a reason for American shame, because up until now, such incidents of torture and murder had always been viewed as unfortunate overeactions due to a soldier’s brutal mental state during wartime, and as such, have been condemned for being against American principles of right and wrong.
Now, though there is so much evidence that such things were ordered by the top of the chain of command, this either being ignored and dismissed, or is actually being defended as justified because we were attacked by terrorists on 9/11. Somehow “new rules” of (inhumane) behavior are now believed to be acceptable by a certain percentage of our people. This is something that I find completely illogical, as well as shameful, and disgraceful.

However, torture and murder of captive prisoners was actually not the worst behavior committed during this war. The very worst is that, despite our claim of fighting this war on behalf of the Iraqi people, we used white phosphorus as a chemical weapon, irregardless of the fact that many innocent civilians would also die an excruciatingly painful and horrible death as a result. And, just like the torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, this too, was ordered by the top of our governments chain of command, and was denied and lied about, until proof emerged that it actually had been ordered by our Neocon “leaders”.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 24, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #142696

ARR-SQUARED I was drafted in 1972 never seen action because libberal thinking americams like you and john kerry thought it would be a good time to cut and run.And i dont thank you for your service i was trying to be kind.IM sure you joined for the education and benifits which is cool but dont try to put your self in the same catigory as real americans who want to protect the u.s.a. On a scale of 1 to 10 your patriotism is still below 0!You are just another arm chair general who is generally wrong.

Posted by: saying at April 24, 2006 2:29 PM
Comment #142697

Adrienne You have been sipping too much wild irish rose again.

Posted by: saying at April 24, 2006 2:34 PM
Comment #142702

Arr-squared,

And i dont thank you for your service i was trying to be kind…. On a scale of 1 to 10 your patriotism is still below 0!
I think you hit the nail on the head, or perhaps just hit a nerve. Either way, saying’s true colors are showing here.

Saying,

Please continue speaking…you’re creating more liberals with every syllable.

Posted by: Charles Wager at April 24, 2006 2:51 PM
Comment #142703

“Adrienne You have been sipping too much wild irish rose again.”

And you sir, have obviously been quaffing vast amounts of GOP Kool Aid, and getting all your news from rose-colored rightwingers.
Here is what was heard in America about White Phosphorus being used as a weapon:
Denial.
And here is what was subsequently heard by the rest of the world:
Admission of Guilt.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 24, 2006 2:54 PM
Comment #142708

gergle, posted on april 24, at 2.13 am.( JIM C. bush is the antichrist make sure you worship him in your pentagram tonight) we were having a conversation about Clinton and Reagan remember? i read on another post you said you were a Atheist. that’s cool, i know many of them . if you assert there is no god, why do you assert there is a satan? interesting. i have never heard this from a true atheist before.

Posted by: jim c at April 24, 2006 3:24 PM
Comment #142712

saying:

Sorry, I didn’t realize that my voluntary service counted for less than your involuntary service under penalty of jail.

But you’re right about 1 thing - if I hadn’t served, I wouldn’t have been able to afford college - just like far too many of my friends and former comrades there now.

Posted by: Arr-squared at April 24, 2006 3:34 PM
Comment #142713

arrsquared your comrads that are there today keep signing up to go back to fight.Again these are true heros.You just dont see the differance.

Posted by: saying at April 24, 2006 3:43 PM
Comment #142714

charles wager Keep dreaming alice one day you will make it to wonderland!!!!

Posted by: saying at April 24, 2006 3:47 PM
Comment #142717

BillS,
I know that telling an unpleasant truth about a lefty demigod strikes a nerve, but really, that was childish. Can you formulate a rational rebuttal?

Posted by: traveller at April 24, 2006 3:56 PM
Comment #142724

saying,

Keep dreaming alice one day you will make it to wonderland!!!!
Or perhaps, Mad Hatter, I should just swallow the same Red pill you took and I’ll get there much faster!

Posted by: Charles Wager at April 24, 2006 4:47 PM
Comment #142803

Traveler
I will apoligize for my sarcasm. As for your dispargement of one of our greatest presidents,shame on you. What you called dithering and blathering others would call gathering allies and planning an exit stradegy.You state the campaign benefited the Al Quida linked KLA. You have again let your pavlovian zeal to attack any thing Clinton did confuse you about historical sequence. If you recall the Kosovo campaign occured before 9/11. Al Quida was a potential threat,but only a potential threat. He lacked precience as did Reagan when he armed and trained same.Judgeing by your paranoid view of all things Muslum do you really believe the genocide was a good thing? Maybe the US should have helped in the ethinic cleansing? You have disparged one of the noblest efforts in the history of the US military and spit in the faces of the brave men and women who served there.Again,shame on you.


I would like to respectfully offer this as a rebuttal to traveler and and others sharing his dangerious and toxic world view. I say dangerious because of its potential to become self-fulfilling.

We are indeed in a collosal struggle but it is not between civilizations. It is for civilization. The battle lines ignore national and regional boundaries,religions and cultures. This battle is not new. In fact it is very very old. On one side are the perpetrators of 9/11,the rape of Nanking, the massacre at wounded knee, the torture chambers of Bagdad, the carpet bombing of Hanoi,the Gulag,Dachau….The list is long and disheartening.But on the other side are the billions of quiet heros. Those that work hard to take care of their families but still take time to care for their nieghbors. Those that have given their all to stop injustice. Those who have adopted unwanted children.The wealthy who have realized that beyond what they need for sustenence their wealth is only a vehicle to help others. Those with the courage to pull back from the brink of hatred and fear and have been granted the wisdom to understand that the Golden Rule is not some piece of wishful thinking, but a survival tool given to us by God.
Dispite many,many failures we also have our victories,the transition of South Africa, the Fall of the Berlin Wall,the Civil rights successes in the US, the bloodless coup in the Philippines,the abolition of slavery and on. The list of victories seems small compared with the enormous amount of evil but when one looks at the small victories,the acts of charity,tolerence and courage that happen every day all over the world among all peoples there is reason to take heart. Good will triump over evil. Peace will prevail over war and hatred.

Posted by: BillS at April 24, 2006 9:17 PM
Comment #142864

Adrienne:

Your links regarding the use of phosphorus munitions do not support your assertion that the US used unfair or inhumane tactics. The use of phosphorus is an accepted military practice and was used in Vietnam to allow more precise targeting of conventional munitions and to flush out enemy combatants into the field of fire. Civilian casualties from this practice are unfortunate, but inevitable when the enemy uses the civilian population as a shield. I my opinion the use of civilians as shields is the more draconian practice and I think the responsibility for unintended casualties lays squarely on combatants who choose this tactic.

If we wish to defeat the enemy in Iraq, we must kill or capture the insurgent forces who are using the civilians as pawns. The other tactics available to accomplish this purpose, such as siege warfare, destruction of the structures used as concealment through an air campaign, or house to house searches for the enemy, also have downsides and in my opinion they would be more distructive and less effective.

It comes down to whether you want to win or not. In my opinion, the US blinked in the campaign at Fallujah and erred on the side of underkill rather than overkill. War is not pretty, but if you are waging war, victory must be the primary goal, not public relations.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 25, 2006 1:24 AM
Comment #142869

So burning women and children is a “public relations “problem not a moral problem?

Posted by: BillS at April 25, 2006 2:31 AM
Comment #142875

BillS:

What part of the nuts and bolts of warfare is morally attractive? Warfare, by its nature, is measured around a body count. Because of that fact some feel that war is always wrong. Most people feel that war and the inevitable loss of life and limb is sometimes justified and sometimes not. Justifying war was not the purpose of my comment.

My point is that in any war, innocents are killed, maimed, orphaned, crippled, economically devasted, and emotionally scarred. This is unavoidable unless the battles can be held in locations isolated from the noncombatents. As I pointed out, our enemy is using civilians as shields, thereby making a conscious decision to increase their tactical advantage by increasing the danger to the noncombatents in the area with the goal of hindering our forces from mounting an effective, decisive attack. By fighting without benefit of uniforms or insignia, they further increase the danger to noncombatents. This is reprehensible and is prohibited by the commonly accepted international codes of conduct for war.

Therefore, the enemy is attempting to increase their chance of victory through the callous use of civilians. They don’t care if civilians are injured or killed. They don’t care if civilian dwellings, businesses and property are destroyed. All they care about is winning. Civilian casualties and damage are potential leverage to reduce the effectiveness of our forces, nothing more or nothing less. If civilian presence prevents us from attacking them, they win. If we attack and civilians are impacted, they protray us as unfeeling murderers in the world press and they win.

Given these options, we must either accept the possibility of some collateral damage or pick up our marbles and go home. Why don’t we do that? Simple, even in Fallujah a stronghold of support for Saddam, not all civilians welcome the insurgents and reject the idea that they can be used as pawns, dead or alive, to further the enemies cause. If we yield to this gruesome threat presented by the insurgent’s tactics, the civilians who are not sympathetic to the insurgents are powerless to eject this violent and uncaring military force from their town. Also, Fallujah is not the only town with a stake in this conflict. If the insurgents are allowed to use Fallujah and other Saddam strongholds,as bases of operation, then the nation of Iraq will be unable to rid itself of these gunmen who seek to control Iraq as an outpost for terrorism in the entire region.

Once again, this comes down to the question of whether we want to win this war or not.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 25, 2006 3:21 AM
Comment #142885

>>Once again, this comes down to the question of whether we want to win this war or not.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 25, 2006 03:21 AM

gkn,

A bully never WANTS to lose. And, this stupidity in Iraq has never been a war. The ‘war on terror’ is and has been in Afghanistan. The stupidity in Iraq has always been as winnable as the ‘war on drugs’…even if we ‘win’, we lose.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 25, 2006 6:15 AM
Comment #142889

Arr-Squared:

Maybe I AM the “biggest threat to this country,” if your poisonous and cowardly views are “the country.” Luckily for both of us, though, they aren’t.

You are a True American Patriot. One who realises that “America” is not a Place, nor a Flag, but an Ideal.

One who recognises that this nation is only great so long as Freedom, Dissent, and Personal Liberty are cherished and defended.

And you went into a specialty to Save Life. In fields of horror, the nightmare landscape of an Unnecessary War.

I commend you, and praise you. Remember this: people do not become Good because they are Liberals, they become Liberals because they are Good.

Thank you for your service.


“Good”KingNed: so, if the WP is used only for Indirect Fire Targetting, where does the “Bake” come into the Cute And Funny Phrase: “Shake And Bake?”

Hmmmmm…?

Wassamatta - Truth got yer tongue?


Adrienne: 10/10, as usual.

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 25, 2006 7:08 AM
Comment #142960

king ned,
Your last two posts thoroughly disgust me. Clearly there is nothing I could possibly say to you that could make a difference. Therefore, I feel it would be pointless to reply.

BillS:
“So burning women and children is a “public relations “problem not a moral problem?”

Exactly.

Marysdude:
“this stupidity in Iraq has never been a war. The ‘war on terror’ is and has been in Afghanistan. The stupidity in Iraq has always been as winnable as the ‘war on drugs’…even if we ‘win’, we lose.”

Indeed. But we’ll never convince certain people of this. Years from now they’ll most likely be exactly like those who still want to claim that Vietnam wasn’t a collosally huge mistake and another unwinnable quagmire for this country. And just as they’ll defend the brutal and insane use of WP in Iraq, there are those who still claim that there was nothing wrong with the US deciding to indescriminately bomb entire villages of human beings with Napalm.

Betty:
“Adrienne: 10/10, as usual.”

Thank you, ma’am!

Posted by: Adrienne at April 25, 2006 12:05 PM
Comment #142968

Adrienne, Marysdude, Betty

Bur you don’t have a problem with the insurgents using civilian shields. Interesting.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 25, 2006 12:40 PM
Comment #142989

goodkingned,

Bur you don’t have a problem with the insurgents using civilian shields. Interesting.
I’m trying to follow you, but I can’t find where Adrienne, Marysdude, or Betty said anything in defense of the insurgents’ methods. I hate to think I could have read all their posts and missed such radical language, but I suppose it’s possible… Could you please help me out by quoting what they said?

Posted by: Charles Wager at April 25, 2006 1:09 PM
Comment #143019

king ned:
“Bur you don’t have a problem with the insurgents using civilian shields.”

Of course I do. Such tactics in warfare are as brutal and insane as using WP or Napalm in order to secure a victory — whether large or small.
I just don’t think that America should ever have to abandon our own principles, morality or sense of honor by becoming as evil and brutal as any of our enemies can be in order to defeat them.
In fact, if we do so, we have already lost our wars before they even begin, because we will have let our enemies define and subvert our behavior, and all our previous concepts of right and wrong.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 25, 2006 1:58 PM
Comment #143095

>>Bur you don’t have a problem with the insurgents using civilian shields. Interesting.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 25, 2006 12:40 PM

Discussing these issues with you is like talking to a post…if the United States is in a war, we should use any means necessary to come out on top, even napalm, nukes, or bio/chems. The United States is NOT in a war. Therefore, we should NOT use any means to come out on top, i.e., no WP, no nukes, no bio/chems.

We are in pursuit of ben Ladin in Afghanistan, and NOT in a war WITH Afghanistan. We are in a ‘stupidity’ in Iraq, and NOT in a war WITH Iraq.

Are you saying that if the NARCOS are after a Meth Lab in your neighborhood, they should burn down your house to get the do-baddys?

Posted by: Marysdude at April 25, 2006 5:23 PM
Comment #143099

Charles:

In my post, I tried to illustrate that the use of phosphorus served to flush out enemy combatents who hide amoung civilians allowing our forces to kill or capture them without resorting to arial attacks which would result in greater collatoral damage or relatively ineffective house to house searches which would increase the danger to our troops. I further stated that we are forced to fight in civilian areas because our enemy chooses to hide amoung civilians and doesn’t display insignia or uniforms which identify them as enemy soldiers.

Given the tactics of the enemy, we have limited choices. Retreat or flush them out using the most targeted attacks possible. I reject the option of retreat because abandoning civilians to insurgent forces will result in the persecution and death of those Iraqis who want to see democracy suceed in their country.

No Charles, they did not directly state that they supported masked gunman, but by suggesting that we don’t push hard to root out the hidden enemy, they tacitly lend support to the insurgents’ tactics.

Adrienne:

You know my opinion. Perhaps you would like to suggest other options to defeat an embedded hidden force. Please acknowlege what costs in US and Iraqi security forces you find acceptable in order to implement your tactics.

I don’t dispute that there is room for differing opinions regarding the conduct of warfare, but unless alternate plans are examined honestly for feasibility and costs they can’t be debated.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 25, 2006 5:37 PM
Comment #143120

goodkingned,

No Charles, they did not directly state that they supported masked gunman, but by suggesting that we don’t push hard to root out the hidden enemy, they tacitly lend support to the insurgents’ tactics.
I see… So you’re basically saying (to use an analogy) that if someone states “I don’t like apples!” it directly follows that they must love oranges? ;-)

Posted by: Charles Wager at April 25, 2006 6:44 PM
Comment #143121

gkn,

Do you have any idea what effect a White Phospherous grenade, rocket or morter round has in a crowd? If there is no better way to separate the do-baddies from the innocents, I vote for leaving the innocents to their own devices. That way at least they have a chance.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 25, 2006 6:50 PM
Comment #143136

goodkinged
“what part og the nuts and bolts of war is morally atractive”

That is probably the closest I can get you to asmit what we are doing is immoral. My parents taught me that when you find yourself doing something immoral,stop dpoing it. There is sometimes a price for that but it is always less of a price than continuing.
If the real battle,the end game , is to win the hearts and minds of the Iragis may I suggest burning their families to death or worse could be conterproductive. Good recruitment strategy for Al Quida. Wouldn’t you pick up a rifle or even a suicide bomb if it was your family?

Posted by: BillS at April 25, 2006 8:50 PM
Comment #143184

Good people:

Adrienne’s own link indicated that the weapons were not used indiscriminately without regard to civilian safety. From the info provided, there is not even a suggestion that anything was fired into crowds. Standard military usage of incindiaries in a developed area is to flush out enemy combatents by targeting buildings or cover believed to house enemy combatents. The most common justifications for targeting specific sites are enemy fire from that site or field intelligence indicating that the site is being used by insurgents.

Adrienne’s link provided no details of the WP use of resulting civilian casualties. I will not leap to the conclusion that US forces fired WP into the crowds after the Friday services or into the packed market at midday (both prime targets for the terrorists). I would also like to point out that there was a lengthy buildup prior to the engagement at Fallujah. During the week prior to our previously announced attack, a significant number of citizens evacuated the city.

Not an ideal situation, but what would you do to eliminate the growing stronghold? If Fallujah is allowed to fester, then what do you do if terrorist forces repeat the manuveuver in another city? At some point, one must either smash the terrorist strongholds or quit the field.

BillS: At what point do you fight hard or leave?

Marysdude: Would you leave the unprotected civilians at the mercy of the terrorists in Fallujah? What about all the innocents when in our retreat from effective engagement we abandon Iraq entirely? Do you really belief that the Iraqis can will their battle for self-determination without some cost in lives?

I understand that if you are uncertain that self-determination is a good and feasible thing in Iraq then the morality of a hard fight is a difficult question. My statements are premised on my belief that in the long run Iraq will benefit from the successful establishment of a elected government. Without a strong government, oil-rich Iraq will always be tempting target for destabilizing agents. The establishment of decisive Iraqi control over their fate and their territory is my paramount concern.

Again, I ask does anyone have a feasible alternative method to combating enemy forces concealed amoung civilians? The only responses I have received thus far have only rejected this method, without offering any other methods. I can only assume that you have no alternative strategies in mind.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 26, 2006 2:20 AM
Comment #143188

Are you saying that if the NARCOS are after a Meth Lab in your neighborhood, they should burn down your house to get the do-baddys?
- Posted by: Marysdude at April 25, 2006 05:23 PM

What an irrelevant comment! The meth lab situation is not at all analogous to the assault on Fallujah.

However, this is what I would do in the scenario you propose:

If there was a meth lab in my neighborhood, it is unlikely that anarchy would be so widespread that the police would be unable to secure the site without resorting to firebombs (which incidentally are terrible option for a combustable meth lab).

Posted by: goodkingned at April 26, 2006 3:22 AM
Comment #143234

BillS,
I strongly disagree that Clinton was one of our best presidents. In fact, he was one of our worst. He’s what we in the South call white trash.
The truth about the KLA and al Qaida and their connection to each other was well known to US intelligence at the time.
Critism of our leaders and their policies is not the same as disparaging the military personnel who carried out their orders. I’ve nothing to be ashamed of.
You speak of a struggle for civilization but not between civilizations. Who do you think we’re struggling against? It isn’t some abstract idea, it’s real people. The atrocities you cite were committed by real people, not abstract ideas.
You seem to think that history has ended. It hasn’t. Civilizations will continue to rise and fall.Civilizations will continue to destroy one another. If we don’t fight for ours it will fall.

Marysdude,
We are most definitely in a war. The old paradigm of set piece battles between uniformed troops within the boundaries of a single country is no longer valid. We are facing an enemy with no allegiance to any country and that respects no boundaries, not even moral ones. While it is true that we are not in a war “with” Iraq and Afghanistan, we are in a war “in” Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other places. Most of the battles of this war will never be seen because they will be fought by intelligence agents.
Fighting under the dictum “winning by any means necessary” would make us as evil as our enemy. We should be guided by the Christian principle of just war.

Posted by: traveller at April 26, 2006 10:58 AM
Comment #143271

ned:
“Adrienne’s own link indicated that the weapons were not used indiscriminately without regard to civilian safety.”

If they didn’t feel they had anything to be ashamed of, there should have been no need to first deny the allegations by claiming it was being used only as an incendiary, then later be forced to admit (but only in the foreign press) that they had used WP as a weapon. And this only after photographs and an entire documentary on the subject from the Italians had proved that they were using WP indiscriminately without regard for civilian safety.
But never mind, just go right ahead and keep trying to denying the new moral bankruptcy and brutality in evidence and/or try to justify the unjustifiable to yourself.

“Adrienne’s link provided no details of the WP use of resulting civilian casualties. I will not leap to the conclusion that US forces fired WP into the crowds”

They didn’t need to fire it into crowds — WP spreads like a cloud everywhere, burning and killing everything in its path.
If you actually do want more details of what happened, you can download an exerpt of the Italian documentary and read an interview transcript where a US soldier talks about how WP was used in Fallujah on this webpage:
U.S. Broadcast Exclusive - “Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre” on the U.S. Use of Napalm-Like White Phosphorus Bombs

Posted by: Adrienne at April 26, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #143342
… by suggesting that we don’t push hard to root out the hidden enemy, they tacitly lend support to the insurgents’ tactics …

I’m going to take a wee Vacation here… I’m going to use that Insulting Quote from you (that, and the fact that your Message is indistinguishable from your Character…) as my licence to say:

You are a crazy little evil nutter. Crazy crazy crazy crazy wee little nut-nut-nutty (extra-nutty) ee-e-e-e-e-vil nut-nut-nut-nutter. And - you smell bad and your mother dresses you funny.

There. I’ve said it and I’m not ashamed of it. WatchBlog Block Warden: please feel free to rough me up for having done so.

God I feel better! :oD


P.S.: You never answered my Factual Question (before you accused me of supporting Al Qaida): if the WP is used only for Indirect Fire Targetting, where does the “Bake” come into the Military’s own Cute And Funny Phrase: “Shake And Bake?”

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 26, 2006 6:36 PM
Comment #143454

Adrienne: I looked at your link to Democracy Now. After wading through the anti-war talking points, I decided to find other less biased sources.

This is what Globalsecurity.org has to say about the use of WP in Fallujah:

… The Battle of Fallujah was conducted from 8 to 20 November 2004 with the last fire mission on 17 November. The battle was fought by an Army, Marine and Iraqi force of about 15,000 under the I Marine Expeditionary Force (IMEF). US forces found WP to be useful in the Battle of Fallujah. “WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired “shake and bake” missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out. … We used improved WP for screening missions when HC smoke would have been more effective and saved our WP for lethal missions.”

White phosphorus is not banned by any treaty to which the United States is a signatory. Smokes and obscurants comprise a category of materials that are not used militarily as direct chemical agents. The United States retains its ability to employ incendiaries to hold high-priority military targets at risk in a manner consistent with the principle of proportionality that governs the use of all weapons under existing law. The use of white phosphorus or fuel air explosives are not prohibited or restricted by Protocol II of the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention (CCWC), the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects. …

Here’s another source from a selfdescribed progressive source with military knowledge, ArmchairGeneralist. I suggest that you visit this site to read their perspective on this weapon.

And, again, I ask does anyone have an alternative to hard warfare to defeat concealed insurgents? This is the third time that I hav asked this and I have yet to get a response.

I continually see tear stained posts from anti-war commenters about the rising US body count. Yet we are there and our troops will continue to fight to defeat the enemy. The US losses will be much greater if we don’t fight to win.

And, again, I ask does anyone have an alternative to hard warfare to defeat concealed insurgents? Please discuss what increases in US losses are entailed in your suggestion. This is the third time that I hav asked this and I have yet to get a response.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 27, 2006 10:04 AM
Comment #143611

Adrienne:

And, again, I ask does anyone have an alternative to hard warfare to defeat concealed insurgents? Please discuss what increases in US losses are entailed in your suggestion. This is the fourth time that I have asked this and I have yet to get a response

Posted by: goodkingned at April 27, 2006 3:57 PM
Comment #143641

“And, again, I ask does anyone have an alternative to hard warfare to defeat concealed insurgents?”

I’ve got one. We could refrain from starting illegal wars of aggression and occupation that create insurgent guerrilla warfare. Instead, we should restrict ourselves to waging war only on those who actually attack us (like Bin Laden and Al Qaeda).

Posted by: Adrienne at April 27, 2006 4:59 PM
Comment #143648

Adrienne:

Nice try, but in the absence of a time machine, what would you suggest to defeat embedded insurgents? Given the situation in Dafur, it is likely that the US will have to face a situation with terrorists using civilians as shields again. And again. And again.

Do you advocate ceasing opposition to terrorists holding civilian populations hostage? It’s your right to advocate withdrawing from those sorts of conflicts, but you should recognize that withdrawal has a human cost also.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 27, 2006 5:07 PM
Comment #143655

Thick as a brick…

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 27, 2006 5:30 PM
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