Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 25, 2006

Atrios Wanks

Joel Stein had this commentary in yesterday Los Angeles Times.

He speaks of "Warriors and wusses" and why he does not support the troops:

But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.

Liberal blogger Steve Gilliard doesn´t agree and wants to throw a parade. Atrios gives Stein his "Wanker of the Day" award.

Bring on the parades. If our military rank and file have been betrayed by their civilian leadership they deserve our respect doubly.

Both are wrong and Stein is right.

The U.S. military is hardly a defense force. Neither is it a peacekeeping or rebuilding institution. As is obvious from history, Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force are instruments to force U.S. special interests on others.

This is also a voluntary military. People who join it sign a contract they don´t have to sign. There is nobody threatening to kill them if they refrain. There is no reason to applaud anyone who joins a company that is known for crimes in the first place.

Even less so, when they go into an illegal war. If soldiers get betrayed by being ordered to do so, it is their human duty to decline to fulfill that order. They do not only have a right to do this, but an obligation. Illegal orders are not to follow.

The judgment of the Nuremberg trials says:

The Charter specifically provides in Article 8:

"The fact that the Defendant acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior shall not free him from responsibility, but may be considered in mitigation of punishment."

The provisions of this article are in conformity with the law of all nations. That a soldier was ordered to kill or torture in violation of the international law of war has never been recognized as a defense to such acts of brutality, though, as the Charter here provides, the order may be urged in mitigation of the punishment. The true test, which is found in varying degrees in the criminal law of most nations, is not the existence of the order, but whether moral choice was in fact possible.

This does not mean that I condemn each soldier for not resisting and not going to jail. There is a lot of pressure and manipulation once you are in and it is at least difficult to fight this.

But to support the troops in this war and to ask for parades is simply enabling the next imperial adventure and the brutal death of more men, women and children.

The only support one should give them is to get them out.

Posted by b on January 25, 2006 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

Comments

right on, b! i recall reading one thread where gilliard said something to the effect that fragging never really happened in the american war in vietnam. next thing, he & atrios will be telling us that the only reason we have freedom of speech in the usa is b/c of the efforts of those in the military. i say if you support the troops (and what a cold, mechanical term), sign up today.

i don't typically read the conservative press, but i did find this commentary prescient, Walking Wounded

Posted by: b real | Jan 25, 2006 11:14:47 AM | 1

far out. i read atrio's post last night and thought he was dead wrong wrong wrong. thanks for highlighting b.

Posted by: annie | Jan 25, 2006 11:45:42 AM | 2

Good to know I'm drinking at the right bar.

Robert Jensen, in his excellent book "Citizens of the Empire", has a chapter devoted to this topic, as part of a larger treatment of polical rhetoric. Well recommended for those who feel compelled to argue with the heathens.

Great Article, b real. Those AmCons are like a very delicious, but half-baked, cake.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 25, 2006 11:57:02 AM | 3

Another construct I often use when arguing is "Support the Troops to do WHAT....?" Then take it from there.

If people want to be honest that they support American troops to kill everyone else in the world, for any reason, then I have to respect them for their honesty.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 25, 2006 12:04:32 PM | 4

My sympathy certainly goes out to the National Guard who, in my long memory, have never left US soil, never were expected to, and were purely a defensive force. They were on call mostly for natural or manmade disasters, and in return, got a small paycheck and put in a few days here and there. I am still stunned to find them on the other side of the world fighting in an illegal war. True, they could have refused, but I believe their fear of what the govt can do to them, their families and their careers is less than what the Iraqis can do to them.

Posted by: Ensley | Jan 25, 2006 12:14:29 PM | 5

Fragging never happened in Vietnam? Dad witnessed it during WW2. War IS the atrocity

Posted by: gmac | Jan 25, 2006 12:19:32 PM | 6

i should clarify my earlier remark - gilliard didn't deny that fragging happened, but argued that "In the majority of Vietnam-era cases, crime or petty revenge motivated fragging, not bad leadership". sure thing, steve.

Posted by: b real | Jan 25, 2006 12:33:41 PM | 7

Joel Stein in a Reuters interview on the reaction to his piece.

Posted by: b | Jan 25, 2006 12:41:17 PM | 8

No troops, no war. You support the troops, you support the war. So why, Atrios, do you support the war? And you, Steve Gilliard, why do you support the war? Feel free to share your convictions on the subject--this is a friendly forum, after all!-- but before you do, be sure you've figured out what they really are, expressing, as clearly as possible, your own deepest understanding of where your own most urgent interests really lie. No, you haven't done it yet, and it's not an easy thing to do. Most Americans haven't done it yet; most Democrats certainly haven't done it, and ambitious Democrats will never go near it at all.

Posted by: alabama | Jan 25, 2006 1:18:11 PM | 9

I think this is the money paragraph:

But blaming the president is a little too easy. The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they're following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying. An army of people ignoring their morality, by the way, is also Jack Abramoff's pet name for the House of Representatives.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 25, 2006 1:18:26 PM | 10

This is the payoff line in Stein, and absolutely correct:


Blindly lending support to our soldiers, I fear, will keep them overseas longer by giving soft acquiescence to the hawks who sent them there — and who might one day want to send them somewhere else. Trust me, a guy who thought 50.7% was a mandate isn't going to pick up on the subtleties of a parade for just service in an unjust war. He's going to be looking for funnel cake.


I saw Stein's scenario play out last fall.

A Guard infantry battalion which I had served in in the 70s was returning after a year in Afghanistan. They flew into Bragg and were bussed back to their local armory here. There was a litlle welcome home planned at the armory, and I thought I would drop by. Also, I knew a couple of the guys.


Went down to the local supermarket that morning and ran into part of the self-appointed vehicle escort for the busses, just back from Bragg--Bush-Cheney stickers all over them.

Forgot about going to the armory.

Posted by: FlashHarry | Jan 25, 2006 2:45:08 PM | 11

Well said B. While I appreciate that young amerikans suffer an incredible amount of cultural distortions, known elsewhere as brain washing, at some point people have to ask themselves where their responsibility for their actions begins and 'but they told me to' ends.

That opinion doesn't deal with the simple facts that by 'supporting the troops', opponents of this needless slaughter are in effect making it even more difficult for dissenters within the military to express themselves.

What is supporting the troops?

As far as I can see it is telling young invaders of a sovereign nation that despite the fact they have chosen to make killing a career, and times back home may be tough, they come from a society where privation is the exception rather than the rule yet their lives and actions are way more important than the citizens of this foreign nation.

Forget that the citizens have already been suffering dreadful privation for 10 years and who have never been offered a choice about any of this at any stage.

It's OK to take a potshot at a carload of family who have made the mistake of thinking that it is OK to drive down the road.

Potshot be damned. Put a bazooka though the thing if that's what you need to feel good about yourself, god and country today.

Please ignore that in a culture as old as the mesopotamian one it is unlikely that many would pick the box marked 'murder, rape, torture and robbery, if they were offered a choice.

Consider this. Despite BushCo's efforts to enslave the middle-aged weekend warrior type; the USuk cannon-fodder is chiefly comprised of young people who may think they are adults, but reason tells us are probably still as naive as their younger brothers and sisters 'back home'.

Those who are not yet fully mature are far more susceptible to pressure from those around them. In many cases that is what got them into this mess in the first place.

That given, if the whole of US society is telling them to 'hang in there', that even though what they are doing is unmitigated evil, that their best solution is to tough it out until they come home, then what possible support does that give the kids that have had enough and who feel they are not going to stand for it anymore?

As I said earlier in another thread, there have been recent changes to the military code of justice to allow executions to be performed anywhere, not just at Leavenworth.

The 'amendments to the regs' will also speed up 'due process' so the state doesn't have to jump so many hurdles to commit institutionalised murder.

Maybe these have been pushed through because the elite can feel the rumblings of dissent within the military now.

I'm not saying we should encourage young people to do some sort of lemming like rush to execution.

But if enough soldiers feel that they have the support of people within their community, to just say no, then it is more likely that sufficient of them will do so.

Sufficient? Sufficient is whatever number of grunts prepared to stand together and resist, that will be large enough to prevent the boss murderers from having them all rounded up and shot.

I actually have a problem with the thinking that says the National Guard have copped the rough end of the pineapple.

Even if they have never been deployed overseas before, they have been used time and time again within the US to bust heads along with strikes (Bisbee), to protect the elite's wealth at the expense of ordinary people (LA riots) and tend to be comprised of those who imagine they can benefit by being at the man's beck and call, even if it means hurting their compatriots.

If I remember correctly the Abu Ghraib scapegoats were national guardsmen who worked as 'screws' or prison guards in the real world.

Without getting into a long discussion about the efficacy of incarcerating the poor to keep them out of everyone else's line of sight, I reckon that whatever the justification, it takes a special sort of person to make a career outta depriving others of their liberty.

So whether you can empathise with the invaders of Iraq or not; a pat on the back and a word about how 'they're doing a great job under difficult circumstances' won't help the invader/s.

It will merely serve to further confuse people who are already demonstrably too immature or pathological to understand what an ethical decision is, much less how to make one.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 25, 2006 3:45:13 PM | 12

@flash harry I didn't see your reference to your National Guards service until after I had posted.

I'm trying very hard not to piss off fellow MoA contributors nowadays but never seem to miss a chance to put my foot in it.

I hope that you will notice that I did preface my remarks with 'tend to be' rather than, 'are all' or some even more definitive generalisation.

I appreciate just how weasely that attempt at self justification may sound but I would rather come across as a mealy mouth than tar you with the same brush as the abu ghraib patsys.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 25, 2006 5:12:53 PM | 13

Debs, I don't where you live and what your personal experience is with the National Guard, but down here in hurricane land, we love them and are damn grateful that they chose to serve.

Posted by: Ensley | Jan 25, 2006 5:25:11 PM | 14

@Ensley

Lighten up on Debs. He nuanced his comments, and he's allowed his perceptions to the same degree everyone else is. He is from New Zealand and whatever personal experience he has or has not had with US military is irrelevant.

The discussion here is not about the National Guard doing the job it was set up to do (such as the domestic relief efforts you allude to), but rather being lauded for doing a job that should not have been done. Let's focus rather than dogpile, okay?

Posted by: Monolycus | Jan 25, 2006 5:37:01 PM | 15

Monolycus, who appointed you the thought police here? I can disagree with any comments made by other posters, no matter where the poster lives. Why should I have to sit silently while they describe all the evils they 'believe' have been done IN AMERICA by OUR National Guard, while having no first-hand knowledge and cherry-picking the news for nasty deeds. If the National Guard's fine behavior during disasters here is irrelvant (and Iraq is nothing but a disaster zone as well), than so are Deb's comments. Hers were not applicable to the intent of the original discussion either; who cares how they handled the LA riots.

I find it amazing how people believe everything they read.

Posted by: Ensley | Jan 25, 2006 6:21:58 PM | 16

Why do we gringos keep paying taxes to the criminals that run this country? I agree with Stein about the military, but what about those of us who continue to support Bush's wars with our tax money. http://www.warresisters.org/wtr_menu.htm>See here

Posted by: Iowan | Jan 25, 2006 6:27:40 PM | 17

Excuse me, I meant 'his' as it relates to Debs is Dead.

Posted by: Ensley | Jan 25, 2006 6:29:28 PM | 18

Thanks all for keeping the discussion on track.

My piece and the comments are in no way an attack on a military dedicated to defend its homeland. The U.S. national guard has been such a force in the past.

In my time of duty (2 years plus some years in reserve, 1LT) the task of the German army was to do exactly that. But even then at three occasions I did deny to follow illegal order. Two workplace security issues involving weapons and an order to go to a church service. It probably did cost me a promotion, but I didn´t care.

I wonder why there have been so little objectors when the National Guard was send of to Iraq. But then, with the public in such an frenzy of "supporting the troops" who would object?

I am quite sure I would have done so, but milage of other may vary.


Posted by: b | Jan 25, 2006 6:33:15 PM | 19

I expected a higher level of discourse than a tantrum about how my request not to derail an argument makes me the "thought police".

You're right, of course, that you are allowed to hold whatever opinions you like about the contributors here, as am I. More in deference to my own sensibilities and conceptions about what constitutes a productive debate, I won't elaborate on the opinion I have most recently formed. Derail away.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jan 25, 2006 6:45:54 PM | 20

b, the reason why they didn't object is that for the most part, these are older men and women who already have established careers and families of their own. They are not kids looking for a college education nor are they gung-ho murderers looking for an excuse to kill 'legally.' For the most part, they are lawyers, bank managers, air/conditioning contractors, teachers, truck drivers, engineers, firemen, some are even legislators in their home city and state governments. They have a lot to lose if it is found they have refused to serve. Not only will the govt come down on them and cause them numerous expensive legal headaches, but they will be shunned by the ignorant war supporters of their community. While the guy down the block may be a confirmed asshole and Bush-supporting warmonger, he is still a customer for your business or he is a coworker you have to get along with. Unless you have some links to the military community here, I don't think many realize how much damage would be incurred if you didn't deploy as ordered. All you can do then is keep your head down and try to come out of it as clean in conscience as you can. One of my neighbors said at his 'bon voyage' party, and I paraphrase, "Oh God, please don't let me hurt any innocent people by accident. I don't want to harm anybody." This guy is 40 years old, is a civil engineer, has a wife and three kids, a mortgage and aging parents. He's not some crazed murderer; he just joined to help out in emergencies, stay in shape, collect a little extra money, and never expected to be sent into this ... I get so angry and heartbroken over this war that I sometimes can't find an adjective to describe it.

When I was with the antiwar movement during Vietnam, I thought that that was the worst that could be. But the sheer arrogance and murderous intent of this neocon bunch and their almost subhuman supporters is beyond belief.

And Mono, again, I take issue with your self-impossed duties of keeping threads in line the way YOU think they should be. If you don't think it is applicable, scroll down. Your whining is not productive either.

Posted by: Ensley | Jan 25, 2006 7:01:13 PM | 21

@All:

Very good thoughts,but with some misconceptions.

@B:
The primary role of the Army and Air National Guard and Army and Air Force Reserve is protection against EXTERNAL THREATS. Same with Naval and Marine Corps Reserve. These guys went because they raised their paw and signed the paper.

Because of their curious "state" organizational status, Guard components can be used by governors in natural disasters, when they are not doing federal work(Iraq, etc.)

@Einsley:

The average age of that battalion coming back from Afghanistan I referenced was probably about 26, perhaps 4 years or a little older, on average, than the "actives".

@Debs:

No problema. The last atrocity I remember that the Guard perpetrated was Kent State, May 1970.

Posted by: FlashHarry | Jan 25, 2006 7:54:02 PM | 22

The primary role of the Army and Air National Guard and Army and Air Force Reserve is protection against EXTERNAL THREATS. Same with Naval and Marine Corps Reserve. These guys went because they raised their paw and signed the paper.

Sure, but somehow the National Guard was supposed to be for threats FROM extern to the U.S. and is now used on threats external to the U.S. Even if they signed the paper, there are things above such individual contracts.

Posted by: b | Jan 25, 2006 8:01:41 PM | 23

All you can do then is keep your head down and try to come out of it as clean in conscience as you can.

Ah, it may be easy for me to say, but I'll say it anyway. This is a cop-out. Understandable, predictable, but a cop-out all the same. He can't claim to be a man of conscience if he knows he shouldn't be there but he is. There are very few who can claim this. Nothing ever changes and nothing ever will

He's the http://www.creative-native.com/lyrics/univelyr.htm”>universal soldier and he
really is to blame
His orders come from far away no more
They come from him, and you, and me
and brothers can't you see
this is not the way we put an end to war.

Oh well, I used to like Donovan, and there was a time when I wasn’t so cynical.

Posted by: DM | Jan 25, 2006 8:07:08 PM | 24

Corrected URL for the words to the song, for those of you like me who are old enough to remember Donovan.

Posted by: DM | Jan 25, 2006 8:12:45 PM | 25

.. and the credit for the song belongs here

Posted by: DM | Jan 25, 2006 8:29:42 PM | 26

Oh, I remember.

Posted by: beq | Jan 25, 2006 8:29:56 PM | 27

I have friends my age with children (teens-20s) who are in the US National Guard.

They haven't been sent abroad and that's always the first thing I ask -- because my friends care about their kids and so do I. That comes before politics. I don't want to see my friends mourn a dead son and I don't want to see the sons return with blank stares or racist ideas or any other damage that comes from going to war.

I am reminded of Chris Hedges, author of War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, the war correspondent who gave up on the whole thing because it fucks you up.

He was interviewed on Democracy Now!, here's a link.

The problem is an ivory tower one, and Debs, I'm sure you have done your bit to educate soldiers about the mistake they have made in joining up. Bernhard, as an educated man you faced less of a risk, I think, in your military service.

Should we support our troops? Best slogan I know, "Support our troops. Bring them home now!"

Posted by: jonku | Jan 25, 2006 8:48:14 PM | 28

Not many of us with families are willing to give up our homes, jobs and life savings to fight our deployment. It's easy to say when you don't have that choice personally. But really, would you be willing to put your family in the street, or would you just go over and try to keep clean? Put yourself in their shoes; you have a spouse, children, a job, a business, maybe some savings. Are you going to toss all that out just to go to jail? Lawyers run from $300 to $500 an hour in most areas, and one specializing in this area would probably be even more.

I remember when Muhammad Ali went to prison rather than be inducted into the military. The uproar and threats from both fans and foes were amazing! It ruined his boxing career. Of course, he had plenty of money to return to when his sentence was finished. Being part of the post-WWII mentality, I found it rather cowardly at that time (hell, even Elvis went into the army), but as the antiwar movement progressed, I came to admire how much he was willing to sacrifice for his own conscience. But the average guardsman and his/her family does not have buckets of money.

Living in a military town, the guardsmen I am familiar with are just about all in the 35+ age range, some over 50. To a man (and one woman), they don't want to go. They have no desire whatsoever to leave their families and go overseas to kill people. If they were given any choice at all short of destroying their families' lives, they wouldn't go. I cannot just turn my back on these decent people and condemn them along with the rest. All they ever expected to be doing was filling sandbags when the Mississippi flooded, hauling in water and food after hurricanes, fighting brush fires in Oklahoma and Idaho, keeping us safe from foreign invasion, and occasionally stopping riots, etc. Never a thought that they could be used as pawns by the powermongers in Washington.

As for the rest of the military, I just want them home -- PTSD and all. We'll deal with it, hopefully better than we did after Vietnam. That's the level of my support.

Posted by: Ensley | Jan 25, 2006 9:33:34 PM | 29

I remember walking through the streets of Dublin, Ireland, about 25 years ago after a rare snow storm. All the soldiers were out cleaning the streets. Everyone was goin' up and having a bit of a chat with the lads. I recall how sad I felt that, as an American who refused to kill others, I was deprived of that sense of national service.

***********************

It should be pointed out that well over 5000 soldiers have left, often without harsh repercussions, because the gov't does not want to give COs any publicity. It is possible to leave.

*********************

Ensley, your story is heart rending, and perhaps, all too common. Yet anyone who enlists in the NG from now on will not have that excuse. Caveat Emptor: Your government views you as a killing widget. It is not a health club. If you want a part time job, be a greeter at Walmart. That is all a nation that shops at Walmart deserves. You can no longer help out your buddy who owns the local **** store, because it done closed down when Walmart opened. If you want benefits, you'll have to organize for them, because those in power took 'em all away. If you want to help out in emergencies, become an activist for universal healthcare, because that will help more emergencies than anything one person can do.

Americans will do anything, but organize for redress. They have been brainwashed to believe that only commies cry to their government. Well, its past time that the average American grew up and realized how his government is screwing him and his community to pad the pockets of the rich with reverse welfare. Sure he's a good American, but he's an ignorant American; and in these days when "you are either with Bush or against him", ignorance is very dangerous.

Most of our soldiers, marines and NG over in Iraq are country people; country people descended from frontier stock. Good hearty people who prized independence, self-sufficiency, and ingenuity. The flip side is that they often distrusted government. Yet the same people who don't believe that government can help with healthcare, or safe and gainful employment, suddenly believe that some good is going to come from whoring for said government in a pretty boy uniform! Go figure.

These are not dumb people. Most of them can break down a car into nuts, bolts, and washers, and reassemble it with their eyes closed, while puffing a Winston and munching a Moon Pie. Most of them can build a house from scratch, including plumbing and electric. Things very few city boys can do. But they are ignorant.

We are all ignorant for that matter. And our education system works hard to keep us that way. I remember having to memorize the dates that every explorer first came to America and where he landed and what he was famous for. I was crying with boredom. I've mentioned it before, but the Buddhists have a prayer in which they say "We must think deeply about the ways and means by which this has come to us," before using or consuming something. And frontier people knew that lesson well. But in just two or more generations, we now live in a world where everything is a "product" from somewhere else. Like children, we can't wait long enough to rip the shiny wrapper off. We are no longer makers and builders; we are consumers. Why should we not be taught where every one of our vital metals, minerals, agricultural products and foodstocks comes from; how it is produced, the labor conditions and the environmental effects; what coercive conditions are necesary for its production at that price, what our rate of consumption is , and how much we have left. That would be an education and it might turn us from consumers to appreciaters. People might learn how interconnected and fragile our world is. People might learn how much we depend upon others; others who we do not even respect as human now.

Of course the more pathological of us would only use this as knowledge to oppress others even more. But that's OK. At least it would be honest and cognizant of the consequences.

But no, this could never happen. They've got us believing that this is too complicated for us "simple folk" to grasp. They've got us so dumbed down that we can barely wait for the stores to open in the morning so we can shop some more.

And because we don't know the basics that I have outlined above--a simple one-semester course in high school, it would be--they can continue to confuse us and obsfuscate us, like a bull in a ring. What are foreign affairs, but bargaining over the rules of trade of the above mentioned resources? But they have us believing that we can't understand foreign affairs; that it is too complicated for anyone without extensive education. Shit. I had a girlfriend last year who had a graduate degree (her second) from the Fletcher School of Foreign Affairs (for me it was a domestic affair) at Tufts University, one of the top three elite institutions dedicated to training our diplomats, and she didn't know jack. Wasn't taught to be critical of the media. Didn't know her history, didn't know 1/10 of what the average alchie in this gin joint knows, but she could go on and on about how she actually participated in War Games and how exciting it was. I asked her what good came from gaming over how we could invade Iraq, and she grew silent; she hadn't been taught that.

Alright, enough of the rant. What I'm leading up to is this: The single greatest propaganda acheivement of our state--single, absolute, sine qua non--is being able to get people to kill other people without knowing why they are doing it. And we're not talking some tin foil hat secret mind control program here, no Manchurian Candidate, no, not at all. We're talking the power of a spiffy uniform, and some basic indoctrination, and the hieratic power of the military in this society, all cheered on by some dumb fucks, who are your friends and relatives supporting the troops, while also not having a clue why you are killing other people.

Its all true. There have been many published studies and interviews with soldiers in Iraq, and most of them don't have a clue what is going on in Iraq, much less the world. But because our President says so, or some general says so, or their commanding officer says so, they are prepared to go out there and shoot the living daylights out of any human soul they see.

Think of this. Take the military, and your feelings for your country out of this, and what do you think it would take you, how much training would you have to undergo to willfully kill other human beings that you don't even know. Really. Take a minute and think about this. And think of the fear and alienation and doubt and guilt involved, which would then haunt you for the rest of your life.

This is a major propaganda achievement, a singular achievement. Indeed, it is the single achievment necessary for the perpetuation of empire. It is not unique to humans. I've been to cock fights. But most species are smarter than this.

And it comes so easily. We can't effect what some grunt's CO says. We can't, with any alacrity at least, affect who our president is, and what he says. But the third part of the equation we can affect. And that is supporting our troops. The sooner we take away what a psychologist might call "peer approval and support", the sooner we can cut one leg off this stool of murder, and slow down the killing machine. We are all, in some small way, complicit in this madness, and we can, all, do our part to slow it down.

Yes, returning vets deserve medical care, and they deserve counseling, and help reintegrating with society. And they even deserve our love. But they don't, in any shape or form, deserve our approbation for their actions. We must cut that cord and the sooner the better. Do not support the troops. Never support troops. If they are going to do what they are going to do, then they must do it because they believe wholeheartedly in it, not because of our approval. And if we can, instead of dumbly supporting them, plant a seed of doubt in their minds, so that when they are alone with nothing but their conscience and their finger upon the trigger, and another human being in their sights; if this still small voice of doubt is allowed to arise, then we can save a life. What more can we do?

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 25, 2006 9:41:18 PM | 30

@ensley-
Lawyers and counselors in this field want to help. Some work pro bono. Legal fees are not an excuse. http://www.objector.org/

Correction: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER is by Buffy Sainte-Marie

I wrote "Universal Soldier" in the basement of The Purple Onion coffee house in Toronto in the early sixties. It's about individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all. Donovan had a hit with it in 1965.

He's five feet two and he's six feet four
He fights with missiles and with spears
He's all of 31 and he's only 17
He's been a soldier for a thousand years

He's a Catholic, a Hindu, an atheist, a Jain,
a Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew
and he knows he shouldn't kill
and he knows he always will
kill you for me my friend and me for you

And he's fighting for Canada,
he's fighting for France,
he's fighting for the USA,
and he's fighting for the Russians
and he's fighting for Japan,
and he thinks we'll put an end to war this way

And he's fighting for Democracy
and fighting for the Reds
He says it's for the peace of all
He's the one who must decide
who's to live and who's to die
and he never sees the writing on the walls

But without him how would Hitler have
condemned him at Dachau
Without him Caesar would have stood alone
He's the one who gives his body
as a weapon to a war
and without him all this killing can't go on

He's the universal soldier and he
really is to blame
His orders come from far away no more
They come from him, and you, and me
and brothers can't you see
this is not the way we put an end to war.


Posted by: Malooga | Jan 25, 2006 9:55:59 PM | 31

well said malooga. prophet, indeed :)

Posted by: b real | Jan 25, 2006 11:23:20 PM | 32

Malooga, you should apply for that op-ed job at the LATimes right away, as your post puts to shame Joel Steins self defeating, glib, little screed-ette hands down. But I suppose the LATimes mandates it be so, in order to cut 'em of at the pass potential of "support the troops" that might be seen in the light of day that for which it is -- tribal language, used in its full exceptionalist and exploitive potential.

He (Stein) throws a few perfunctory darts at the issue, the hypocracy of the magnetic-ribbon people, the guilt, and the "soft acquiescence" to the hawks who sent them there. All of which, even in their somewhat deleted form, are true, but in the same sense -- his point in the argument is compromised by the same tokenism he dishes out. No parades for returning vets, because the traffic would be insufferable? The wussiest position the pacifists could take? Really? Sounds just like what a volvo driving liberal elitist snob might say -- Or, in other words -- Sir, might I tee up for you, the next rhetorical device from the left coast, so you may drive it outta the goddamn park?

Which I suppose is the main point of the piece, being as it is a kind of first inkling of not supporting the troops parley into the mainstream media as a set-up. Nothing like you might suggest Malooga, a deconstruction and exemplification of the many characteristics and techniques used to convince people to "kill other people while not knowing why they are doing it". No, we can't have the sheeple tire from their eternal neologistic stair climber to heaven workout and see a simpler solution, a solution consistant in values and morals generic, when unburdened to power, as an ethic of empathy and aulturism -- as a natural social and civic state of being.

And as a nod to Ensleys lamment, in that there are ways of resistance (and this is the cajun in me talkin) that can be commensurate with your ethics and culture that are not necessarily contengent on a sanctified place on the moral register. Use your imagination, death by a million anoynomus cuts, draw them out, find their contradictions, see their weakness, explore the role they give you, "play" the role, make them wish you never showed up, and most importantly, make them wish they were you -- while you were doing it.

Posted by: anna missed | Jan 26, 2006 3:11:29 AM | 33

@anna missed-

I actually liked Stein's piece, but it was his tone that disturbed me. Having grown up and spent 14 years of my adult life in NYC among "avant-garde" artists, I am very sensitive to that fluffy, supercilious, I'm above this stuff, doesn't concern me, kind of tone. Its what they call ironic distancing, and it sucks when talking about something that we care about like deliberately killing other human beings who don't deserve to be killed. If you need to distance yourself from killing with humor, then you don't really care about it.

Use your imagination, death by a million anoynomus cuts, draw them out, find their contradictions, see their weakness, explore the role they give you, "play" the role, make them wish you never showed up...

Yes, very well put. Since our government chooses to ignore our needs while padding their own pockets, there is always a way in to anybody but the very rich and spoilt--like Bush--who like, and profit from, the current social order. It might be their inability to care for a parent, it might be their fear of ecological catastrophe, it might be an unexpected illness, or a plant closing, but there is always a way to get in to someone and sow the seeds of doubt that the system is really working in a way that is beneficial to the long term interests of people. I find Mark Zepezauer's slim book, which I linked to above, to be my best weapon with those that have bought the conservative mantras of "less gov't."

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 26, 2006 11:14:00 AM | 34

I had to read Stein twice to get his message. First time I saw red with his flippant approach.

Then read Alabama's post about thought, read it again, and it made very good sense.


There's something to be said for distancing oneself a bit from things that you can't change all by yourself. AA has a short prayer about it.


Just a thought.


Posted by: FlashHarry | Jan 26, 2006 12:30:50 PM | 35

I'll drink to that. (Sorry for the flippancy...)

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 26, 2006 12:45:41 PM | 36

Never drink before 5 PM there, Malooga.


But it must be 5 PM somewhere in the world, come to think of it.

Posted by: FlashHarry | Jan 26, 2006 1:03:35 PM | 37

Sanity returning in the UK?
This offers some hope on this subject

Link

Posted by: John | Jan 26, 2006 1:39:10 PM | 38

wow, this thread has picked up steam. malooga and anna missed once again knocking the ball out of the court.

right before christmas our family found out my sisters son has signed up for the marines. my sister is devastated.when it is so close to home, so personal , it is hard not to place blame and she is blaming herself. a little part of me is blaming her too, and i know that's wrong. my sister broke a family tradition of having children late in life. eli spent too many mornings w/a mom hungover, too many unplanned sleepovers at the babysitters or neighbors. at 13 when his older bother moved out at 18 eli chose to go live w/his dads closeknit hispanic family, his grandfather, a marine, became his mentor. my sister was free to live her destructive life w/out the burden of motherhood. my family has tormented for years around the drama in my sisters life and this latest developement feels like chickens coming home to roost.

there is a huge dread hanging over us all.
my sister has always been jealous of me in a million different ways. she knows how i feel about the war. my family is anti war but they think about it for a minute every month...or so. i wish at moments like this i could write like anna missed. i wish i could say, i wish i even understood the layers of pain and fear this stirs inside. and my sister, oh my god i cannot imagine the fear.

he will be entering in march. my family was looking to me to talk to him, knowing how informed i am (compared to them). i tried. he doesn't care about any muslims or arabs he tells me. he would have no problem killing them if they tried to harm a marine. he says he is going to protect the marines. i tried sending him material until it just got bounced back. there is nothing to change his mind. he wants to shine in the eyes of his
grandfather.

the weakest link in my siblings, this wildcard sister of mine, living in her fragile universe, worrying my mother at every turn, what will happen to our family if her son dies. it took at least a decade to recoup from my other sisters death.

i am rambling. of course i love him , but i do not support him, not at all.
very hard to hit post

Posted by: annie | Jan 26, 2006 2:01:38 PM | 39

You know what folks? I am sick to death of the left wing picking up the right wing's false dichotomies and running with them. Whether it is equating religion and authoritarianism or the troops and the Iraq War, the right wing sets the trap of defining terms and ya'll just fall right into it.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 26, 2006 2:16:37 PM | 40

@annie - thanks!

Posted by: b | Jan 26, 2006 2:20:26 PM | 41

@gylangirl - any specific? Sorry I don´t get that rant in regard to this thread but would like to as I agree with your general sentiment.

Posted by: b | Jan 26, 2006 2:31:37 PM | 42

I wish I could offer comfort to you annie, my nephew has just finished training as a Navy SEAL. He will most likely kill someone in an institutionalised "hit". Great guy, just married and has new baby. what made him do this I do not know.

we are a nation of warriors it seems, Klingons all.

there is nothing you can do about this, your nephew like mine is an adult and can make his own decisions. If destiny decides he has to take a bullet then you just have to accept that. You can't and shouldn't try to protect everyone. People have to be able to take care of themselves and fail at it if that is what is in the cards.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 26, 2006 2:31:50 PM | 43

@John - The UK military as any other should form a labour union like the Algemene Federatie van Militair Personeel in Netherland.

It is hard to screw a military that is powerful (in a labor sense) enough to go on strike and have picket lines.

Posted by: b | Jan 26, 2006 2:40:22 PM | 44

@b,

If Support the troops = support the war
Then if you oppose the war, show it by opposing the troops.

False dichotomy. Joel Stein stepped right into it and so did certain barflies upthread.

Fact is, the chickenhawks who started the war actually oppose the troops.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 26, 2006 4:13:18 PM | 45

Then if you oppose the war, show it by opposing the troops.

Not necessarily in my view. Some troops might have become troops for totally other tasks and reason. They may get abused but be catched in a circle they can not esacpe without some very significant sacrifice.

With the U.S. national guard this might be a case for a lot of these folks and I am not willing to condemn anyone without more specific knowledge.

I do not oppose any self-defense or catastrophy relief force though the bounder to an aggressive imperial force is not a hard one. It is not black or white in my view.

I would oppose anyone signing on now like in the case annie cited. But I am not willing to condem the folks who signed up for serving domestic needs before this lunacy started.

I may be wrong and/or biased her. If so please help me to see some light.

Posted by: b | Jan 26, 2006 4:30:04 PM | 46

the chickenhawks who started the war actually oppose the troops

???
define oppose, b/c this above stmt doesn't make a lick of sense, semantics-wise

in my dictionary to oppose something means to react against; to fight; to resist

one can clearly make the case, to paraphrase stan goff, that the chickenhawks care about as much for the people who make up the military as tyson does about chickens, but you'll fail to make the case that they opppose them.

as for the larger issue, the one of framing, regarding the usage of the military term troops - does troop actually refer to an individual, or a unit of individuals? it seems to me that there is a general misunderstanding of what the word means among much of the populace, which allows people to think that supporting their troops means to support their brothers & sisters in the service. from there, it's just degrees/layers of cognitive dissonance & sloganeering that shield & reinforce them from critical thinking.

Posted by: b real | Jan 26, 2006 4:51:29 PM | 47

@b real:

Good points. It's all about framing. Troop simply means 1 soldier; troops means more than one.

The little yellow magnetic strip -"Support the troops"- is a fine piece of framing.

The chicken hawk leadership of this country would say that when you put one of these things on your car you are saying you "Support the Mission"-- that is, Troops =mission.


Not for me, but then I'm still trying to figure out "God Bless America" and "America Bless God". Fortunately,I don't see much of that crap anymore.

Posted by: FlashHarry | Jan 26, 2006 5:26:56 PM | 48

oh let's play semantics to avoid admitting having stepped in it with that idiot Stein.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 26, 2006 5:44:18 PM | 49

I'll throw my increasingly unpopular tuppence in here...

I can't fault Stein's ironic distance as others have because, unlike the contributors to this small blog, he was addressing a national audience about a very touchy issue (and not preaching to a largely sympathetic choir as we do here). This is not dissimilar to the response Bill Maher received when he made some fairly obvious observations about the hypocrisy of Americans and subsequently lost his job over it. Maher was a nationally recognised figure who could use his notoriety to bounce back from this; Stein is and can not. If Stein were being entirely direct, the best he could hope to achieve would be to generate a lot of angry letters calling for the termination of his livelihood. Not only would most people be too affronted to listen to his actual message (and spitefully resist it), but he would lose the opportunity to give voice to that (or any) message in the future. Can't fault him for not wanting to lose his efficacy.

In order to make a point that runs counter to another's deeply-held (albeit erroneous) beliefs, one sometimes has to approach the issue a little sideways. You don't change people's opinions by standing in front of them like a roadblock and levelling accusations; this only produces opposition, defensiveness, resentment and the perpetuation of whatever opinions or behaviours you found to be destructive. If you are serious about changing opinions and behaviours, you sidle up next to someone and talk with (not at) them. Humour is a good thing to employ here, and that's what I think Stein was doing with his "ironic distance".

I understand the urgency many of us feel (people are dying and suffering, for Christ sake!) and the resistance we have to indirect methodology, but how different is this from the "urgency" the other side cultivated in response to the WMD snipe hunt or the cessation of the regime of a "ruthless dictator"? Unfortunately, urgency and common sense seem to be mutually exclusive, so I'll view any effort to set things aright, no matter how incremental, as a good thing.

As for the actual issue, I disagree with the idea that not supporting the troops means necessarily opposing them. As above, explicit opposition would only increase specific resistance and we would be cursing another generation of Americans with embittered stories about how "they spit on me and called me babykiller when I got back!" Those stories (as largely fictionalised as they were) went a long way towards romanticising the plight of the Vietnam veteran for males my age and turning off many of us to antiwar sympathies. Simply, they made Vienam protesters seem spoiled, petulant and naïve and nobody in my generation wanted to be associated with that kind of thing.

But I think that this need to oppose is also the product of a false dichotomy. The opposite of support is not opposition, it is neglect. It is strange, but support for a cause gives the so-called "warrior class" motive to fight and kill. So does opposition to a cause. Apathy, on the other hand, causes the "warrior class" to crumble and atrophy. How else to explain the popularity Bush the Younger enjoyed with veterans in 2003 even as he passed record breaking cuts to their benefits? His antagonism to the military in the form of neglect ran counter to the flag-waving, greatest-generation, hero-worshipping speeches he was giving them.

So I agree with Stein that the elimination of parades would be a damned good start to cutting through the jingoism. As we've seen, the "warrior class" will bear incredible hardships (decreased pay, increased troop rotations) as long as they get a pat on the back in the form of a national holiday... or as long as they have ungrateful hippies to oppose. But what happens when we no longer engage in pathological hero worship? What happens when the occupation of "soldier" carries no more prestige than "gas station attendant" (an extremely hazardous job, especially in some inner cities) or any other work where a citizen is trying to provide for their families? The "warrior" would then have to actually consider their career path. Why did they choose the military over an occupation in nursing? Wasn't there more money in the field of accounting? Stripped of the silly glorification of "heroes", enlistment doesn't make much sense unless one really, really, wants the opportunity to kill someone else. There are too many civilian jobs that aid people and support the infrastructure for the argument that "the military protects our freedoms" to gain any ground (ie; we don't need someone protecting our highways from foreign invaders if there are no personnel to build and maintain those highways in the first place).

So the way I see it, just as "supporting" and "opposing" the troops leads to the same militarism, there are two ways to undermine that mindset. Either eliminate the parades for military "heroes", or dilute the hero worship by throwing parades for every profession. I'll sit through the traffic jams on National Toll Booth Attendants Day if it means that people will consider less sociopathic careers in the long run.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jan 26, 2006 5:52:19 PM | 50

the right has used the spitting image during the vietnam era to futher along this idea of 'supporting our troops' i agree w/ monolycus it's bogus , lived thru the era and never witnessed it but perhaps i'm wrong. if anyone has any direct knowledge or recollection of such an event i'd be curious to hear about it. yet, the myth of the spit is now entrenched in our minds and the collective minds of most americans, certainly i have heard kids speak of it who weren't there. we were not so hip to the lie/spin then. the backlash of the spit is 'support our troops'. so even if people think the war is wrong nonsupport is the big no no.
that was my impression of why gylangirl accused us of swallowing the farce.

i had a long conversation over drinks w/a young woman (19,daughter of friend) in the military . i started talking about iran up next pnac etc, she was totally clueless. she really didn't know whether we should be in iraq and didn't like the war (who likes war) but ask me "but you support the troops don't you?" i said, well, i not really. i mean i support them coming home, but we all ultimately have to be morally responsible for our choices in life and we are occupiers. i don't feel any worse about an american death than i do of an iraqi. then, she made the strangest face and ask me kinda quietly in an almost childish way," you mean you think its wrong morally? "
i took a pregnant pause, gave her a really heart to heart look and said, 'uh....yeah.'

Posted by: annie | Jan 26, 2006 7:01:51 PM | 51

Thank you Annie.

Only stepped in spit.

With all the hullaballu about it, thought it might have been something else.

Posted by: FlashHarry | Jan 26, 2006 7:37:30 PM | 52

I don't think the troops necessarily expect any parades. That's as much a myth as the spittle.

They expect an honorable mission, an honest competent CO, loyal comrades, a backup system of proper armor and equipment, reasonable rotations, decent compensation, decent healthcare and dependent support, and accountability when these things are denied. For this they are willing to die for each other and for the country.

Supporting the troops right now means bringing them home right now because, whether all the troops know it or not, the Defense Department has demonstrated that it has no intention of meeting any of these expectations.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 26, 2006 9:50:09 PM | 53

@GG

That's what I was saying too.

We have no disagreements in any way.

Take care.

Posted by: FlashHarry | Jan 26, 2006 10:09:18 PM | 54

National Toll Booth Attendants Day? Thousands of surly, bored automatons marching out of step to the tune of Take This Job and Shove It while an impatient crowd on the way to somewhere else hurls quarters at them. I love it. Whether I agree with you or not, your tuppence is always welcome with me, Monolycus.

As for Stein, my opinion is tempered by my experience interviewing Vietnam vets for disability benefits in the 70's and 80's. Lots of disturbed people who saw - and sometimes did - horrible things to other people and couldn't live with it later. Drugs were common with them. Night sweats, shaking, psychotic episodes. Most of these people were drafted, but not all. Say all you want about choice, morality, etc. but most young people are not that fully developed. (See annie's 19 year old above.) Several of those I interviewed told me of despicable things they had done - murdering kids, elderly, etc. They were 18 - 20 then. One day, they were screwing around in High School and six months later they were killing commies in the jungle for America's freedom. And Vietnamese freedom, too, of course. Taken from their child's world and plunked down in Hell with no transition, no perspective and no elders to guide them. Then returned to the "real" world which was unaware and not the least bit interested in what they went through. Just deal with it, kid. How many of us would have made all the right choices going from that A to that B? I'm not so sure I would have and - while I salute any of you who are 100% certain you would have - cannot judge anyone else who failed such a test. (I feel differently about older people who should have had enough experience to know better.) For that reason, whatever his motives, I deplore Steins' comments. We have enough judgemental people pointing fingers and fucking up the planet as it is. I'll support reparations to Iraq, but I'll also support the troops after they come home. The country - that's us - let them down. For a glimpse of what Iraq vets might feel in the future, check this.

I got chills reading about annie's 19 year old. God help her; her elders - not you annie - have failed her.

Posted by: lonesomeG | Jan 26, 2006 10:38:18 PM | 55

Sort of ironic, this spitting thing should come up. The guy I'm working for today is a pretty hardcore libertarian, and not having much to do, engauged me all day in political talk while I worked. It came up in conversation the I was a VN vet, and in a curious bit of melodrama, he launched into this formal apology (to me) about how badly the vets were treated: "I'm really really sorry you had to go through that, that those protestors spit on you and stuff. And the government was just about as bad in not treating all you guys with that PTS. I can understand people not wanting to help drug addicts and welfare cheats, but you guys were working for all us americans and should have been treated with more honor".

Funny (almost), when you experience such a well encapsulated and internalized chunk of talking point bullshit manifest itself, plop, right there in your presence. And since he explained he was only 10 or 11 when this happened, it became obvious (to me) that the guy had included the spitting myth to his accumulation of other right-wing urban myth complaints and blames holding america down.

I do'nt know who starts this shit, and maybe a returning vet got spit on somewhere somplace, but I've never heard any reliable account of any such an event. My own personal experience never even ellicited so much as a nasty stare, let alone a put down or physical confrontation -- far from it, and most of my friends and acquaintances were the hippy types you'd expect this to come from.

Most likely these myths are like empty containers to be filled with victimization and blame. We lost the war because defilment of honor and sacrifice were permitted to run rampent and destroyed, as a nation, our will power. And this is what the guy(above) was apologizing for so emphatically (he even told his wife, "Honey, I already apologized"), that he, who being such an anti-socialist libertarian individualist me,me,me kinda guy has actually been moved, to apologize for the failure of our social culture (the spitters) to recognize, honor, and make-up for the social contribution (of military sacrifice) for our collective social survival. Oh what an admission, such a compressed and concentrated outpouring of concern for humanity -- dutifully carried forth in a moment of its own glorification, by that most antithetical messenger of self-ishness.

Now we're talkin reeeeeal sacrifice.

Posted by: anna missed | Jan 26, 2006 11:20:27 PM | 56

You might, like me, wonder a little what 19 year old girls are doing in the military. Maybe an onslaught of stuff like this is part of the reason.

Posted by: DM | Jan 27, 2006 1:13:56 AM | 57

annie,

LonesomeG's post is right on the money as far as I'm concerned. And while there's been plenty of discussion here (at MoA) on the existential reality and responsability involved in becoming a solder, the reality is that your sisters son is no doubt, and not unlike his peers, unaware of such notions. Somehow even in the best of moral up-bringings this notion of violating the most basic of human interactions -- the taking of anothers life -- is givin a moral pass and legality under the umbrella of the nations security. And as LonesomeG implicitly points out the manishboy mentality of football field proving grounds of emerging maturity is especially preyed upon by the military seeking to hasten the transisition well beyond already established boundrys into the field of life and real death diminsons. It is a boundry that young men flirt with in their dare and dare not natural exploration of such boundrys that are exploited with an added and extraordinary lure of very high authority approval. Not unlike garden variety vicious cycles of domestic abuse, those in particular need of such authority approval are often most succeptable to manipulation that can and often does, shatter what boundrys the person has managed to establish. On the subliminal level, the military thrives, encourages, and ultimatly honors such behavior as a prime motivation in accomplishing its mission. As of late, this dynamic is coupled with the familial instinct of the buddy system, whereby the most militant behaviour also is representative of security. The thing is, is that those entering the military have no idea that this process will ensue -- that their boundrys, or their parameters of behaviour, which act to define omes very identity, are about to be re-defined well beyond their identity. Which in my view, are the precursors of post traumatic stress syndrome -- the loss of self (and world) identity, the loss of the limitations that define ones ethical and moral position in the world. And when such boundrys are violated in the real physical world by acts and facts in the world, there is no going back, you are no longer the former self, as you once knew it. So of course, in light of all this we get the remiedal tribal language of honor, sacrifice, and now support the troops, which is a sanctification that has the dual purpose of enabling and shielding the effects of such a transformation. The best advice I could give your sisters son, now that he has already joined the marines is to hold tight to the best that he might have already made of himself, and to not let the worst that he might think of himself find expression in the service of what he may not -- for the rest of his natural life -- be not be totally aware of. For he will carry within himself that elusive existential truth of responsability for ones own actions -- weather you know it or not.

Posted by: anna missed | Jan 27, 2006 5:28:32 AM | 58

Beautiful. Thank you all. I had friends who were drafted and some who ran to Canada and one did his time in prison. I was at that age during Vietnam when all my friends worried about their lottery number and staying in school as long as possible. I don't ever ever remember any resentment against any of them personally for how they dealt with the situation. My brother got drafted and my mother, who was working for a retired general was so upset that a desk job was found for him on this side. None of his buddies who got shipped out ever resented that. When I first heard of the spitting I just refused to believe it. It didn't make sense. Protests weren't against soldiers.

Posted by: beq | Jan 27, 2006 10:36:28 AM | 59

People who ‘support the troops’ don’t do much except stay quiet, stick stickers on their car, ribbons on their homes, have BBQ, go to the mall, and pay lip service to Bush who is a ‘good president’, morally admirable, etc. They do mild versions of group think in their splendid mansions, or more ribald outspoken ones in the trailers. Then they go off to their daily business. Shaking their heads about gas prices. About Tommy maimed for life. The families of troops, they experience something different.

Heroes, Heroes, All.

People who don’t support the troops stay quiet, or make arguments about the troops themselves not being to blame (de facto draft), etc. Some may distribute fliers, go to speeches, demos (60’s stuff), write to senators. A few do as much as they can. Then they go off to accomplish their days, driving kids about, recycling bottles, wringing their hands about the future, or being optimistic about it - Hillary C. will make a great Pres. They do their group think, existential angst around the lovely new fireplace, shaking their heads over the price of natural gas, the dearth of easy to find qualified jobs.

Right thinkers, Right thinkers, All.

Not that Europe is any better ... Just, the US as the military big shot bully and the leader lends itself to stereotyping.

It is the normalisation of war. One is for or against - that or that aspect - according to this or that strategic calculation, those principles, or that morality, in function of personal situation, group adherence, etc ... much like in CH people are for or against genetically modified foods, a passionate topic which drags all kinds of issues along with it. It is a personal choice!

That is what I saw when I was in the US at Xmas. ‘Ordinary’ people (white, upper to lower, citizens..)

this stuck in my head, phone conv.:

Oh that is so cool - awesome - you - yes like - Wow - He’s even been in Iraq - truly awesome - I love his eyes

A propaganda feat (Malooga), a false dichotomy (gylangirl), and more.

Posted by: Noisette | Jan 27, 2006 11:49:26 AM | 60

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