Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 30, 2007

In Favor of Killing American Troops

There is a heated discussion in the other thread about an easy to misunderstand statement Alabama made. He is in favor of Iraqis killing Americans. I am too and here is why.

The above headline shows in its existence the importance of the triple digit number. The one hundred is obviously a threshold with some significance. The AP piece has the news of breaking that threshold in the first paragraph. The real number is higher, it comes 18(!) paragraphs behind the lede.

The U.S. weekend deaths raised to at least 104 the number of American troops killed in Iraq so far in April, making it the deadliest month since December, when 112 died.

Before I am getting misunderstood let me assure you, that I wish for everyone to die after a rich life, without pain, in peace and dignity. That is indeed the base of my argument. 

But it would have been terrible had the April number been lower than 100.

The U.S. is in a public discussion about when the last U.S. troops will have to leave Iraq. (The "if" question has already been decided by the Iraqi people. That will not change.)

Different parts of the U.S. public are in various phases of grief about the lost war.

The hard-core believers are still in the denial phase. Moderate Republicans have proceeded to anger. The Democrats are in the bargaining phase. The pro-war left realm is in depression and the anti-war people have long accepted the loss. 

Like with the war on Vietnam, it will take years until a majority will have finished the grieving process and accept the loss. Only after that happened will the last GI leave Iraq. Only then will the Iraqi people be able to find their solution for peace.

Every day during this process people will die violently in Iraq. Everything that can shorten the process, should be welcome. Everything that prolongs the process kills more people than necessary.

The AP headline will shorten the process. Printed millionfold it will push people further along. If only 99 U.S. military personal would have been killed in April, the process would likely take longer.

Meeting the threshold number gives a stronger argument to end the war. That's why I am happy about it.

Do I wish the May number to beat December's 112?

Yes I do. I want to see the headline: "U.S. May deathtoll in Iraq exceeds record"

So I favor Iraqis killing Americans. It saves lifes.

As I am not an Amercian let me add that I'd favor German troops, under the same circumstances, to be killed just alike.

Posted by b on April 30, 2007 at 16:59 UTC | Permalink

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I understand what you mean, Bernhard. I have said to myself over and over again through the past four years that if our casualty numbers would reach the level of Vietnam, then and maybe only then, would Americans make a big push to end the war and bring the troops home. A similar proposal is to bring back the draft in order to get the people to take notice when it is THEIR loved one going off to war.

No one wants to actually see more soldiers die, nor does anyone with any sanity left want to see a reinstatement of the draft. But we all reach a point when we ask ourselves: What is it going to take to STOP THIS WAR?!!! We've protested, we've written letters, we've tried to put antiwar candidates into Congress, we've donated to the various movements. What more can we do?

It seems the only way for it to end is for the war to become so expensive in human life -- American life -- that all Americans will finally rebel against it. It is quite obvious that the deaths of Iraqis are not going to enrage the people here as much as the deaths of Americans. But whoever's death it takes, the object is to get the war ended, and in the long run save so many other lives, both American and Iraqi.

Posted by: Ensley | Apr 30 2007 18:08 utc | 1

kill. kill. kill

The hard-core believers are still in the denial phase. Moderate Republicans have proceeded to anger. The Democrats are in the bargaining phase. The pro-war left realm is in depression and the anti-war people have long accepted the loss.

oh brother. 100 a month is really nothing. we were losing 2g per month in vietnam.

in any case, b, your ideas about what constitutes "iraq" is only, so far as i can tell, a semblance of some martial fantasy pitting the presumed organic solidarity of indigenes against the standard bearers of evil, the americans.

it is extraordinary to me that in the face of overwhelming evidence of history, you cling to the presumption american "imperialism" is the cause of violence in iraq. this is partly true of course, but a careful distinction your illimitable condemnation of the u.s. ejects as a matter of ideological purity.

"kill american troops." you tried that once. didn't work. glad it didn't work out for you. as for iraq, all blood & tears, for you i think and sadly for alabama too, it has come to this: the iraqis will pay for their misery to demonstrate for you an adequate collapse of the perfect abstraction "american empire." i'd imagine by this point you welcome any news reporting the murder of another 100 shia "pilgrims." the price you pay for your evolving sense of justice.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 30 2007 18:25 utc | 2

this is how ridiculous your position is, really. anyone, anything who/that kills american "soldiers" (and, why not "american civies"?) is preferred to the "empire." even psychopathic theocracy is preferred to that vilest murderer barak obama.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 30 2007 18:39 utc | 3

100 a month is really nothing. we were losing 2g per month in vietnam.

I've thought about that. It's explainable by children per family in pre chemical contraception times plus cold war fears. It was more tolerable to lose children in the 60/70s and the war case was superficially(?) more solid.

Iraq is what it is, not was you say.

"kill american troops." you tried that once. didn't work.

How stupid is that? I tried to kill american troops? Sloth, you are deranged aren't you?

Posted by: b | Apr 30 2007 18:43 utc | 4

This is sick. To argue that the way out of this evil mess we created in Iraq is more violence and more death is just sick.

And it is the Iraqis that are TRULY paying the price.

Posted by: Susan | Apr 30 2007 18:43 utc | 5

I am not going to read or post on this blog any more...... it is just too much for me to see people cheering on and taking pleasure in the suffering of others, and to think that suffering is some kind of real solution somehow.

It is just plan wrong to kill anyone or wish that on them. Torture, threatening kids, slandering people - also wrong. And not wrong sometimes, but wrong ALL THE TIME.

Posted by: Susan | Apr 30 2007 18:51 utc | 6

@Susan - it is just too much for me to see people cheering on and taking pleasure in the suffering of others, and to think that suffering is some kind of real solution somehow.

I did neither in my post. I did an analysis as good as I am capible of. I don't cheer or take pleasure in it. I hope for a better solution but the analysis of the facts do not support that.

A real solution? Wish I had one. I wish I could end this in a minute but I can't. It is very, very sad.

It is just plan wrong to kill anyone or wish that on them. Torture, threatening kids, slandering people - also wrong. And not wrong sometimes, but wrong ALL THE TIME.

I totally agree with you on that.

Posted by: b | Apr 30 2007 19:15 utc | 7

It is a damn shame folks can't discuss these things in an adult way. all this pouting and stamping of little feet is annoying.

If you don't agree, say so and why. personal attacks go nowhere.

Posted by: dan of steele | Apr 30 2007 19:34 utc | 8

when americans pay the pricce for their most excellent adventure, when it hits home for real, and when americans can not go shop, or watch some silly feel good movies anymore, when their own lifes are interupted as are those of the iraquis only then will they want to leave. and again not for the miserable soul who has to make a live in the shell of IRAQ, but for their own "petty reasons".

the sad bit is, if iraq would not be the mess it is now, and some sort of victory could be declared they would continue with business as usual. See the last 6 years.

so yes, if you start a war, people die, soldiers too. so sad..........

Posted by: sabine | Apr 30 2007 19:42 utc | 9

Susan, I receive your promise not to read or post on this blog anymore as a censorious act--as an act, finally, of censorship, if only of self-censorship.

I oppose censorship. At the age of thirteen, back in 1952, I joined the ACLU for this very reason. And I quit the ACLU some years later when I thought it softened its positions on censorship. In other words, I did as you are doing now. The act felt right at the time, because I took it as a protest, not as a censorious act. Now I realize that the distinction is a tricky one--the line is hard to draw, and in fact it may not be a line at all, but rather a shifting of climate.

Since you are not going to read this letter, your censorship touches me directly, and in advance, as it were, of my sending it. This does not mean that I cannot write it, think it, and address it to you, and send it over to MoA. Language works that way. It pays heed to censorship, but acts in other ways as well.

Posted by: alabama | Apr 30 2007 19:47 utc | 10

this war will not end until this empire is defeated politically & militarily

& it seems form here - that as this monster is dying -there will be disasters aplenty but our concerns must be with the people in iraq, in the first instance because they are after all, innocent victims

the soldiers of the empire whether they come from seattle, sheffield, warsaw or sydney - are in the first instance perpetrators

the victim is a victim because there was no choice for them & their deaths even in the hundreds of thousands mean little to the people of the west & paradoxically that is a tragedy for the west because it reveals the central truth of all imperial enterprises - they cannot be carried out if the people oppose them

the perpetrator is a perpetrator because they have a choice & at every level they are implicated in the illegal & immoral practices of the occupying army - they are guilty - of the common acts of theft, rape & torture like the monsters of haditha or they are committing crimes of war as written into the nuremburg & geneva conventions

& that is always the absence in my friends slothrops thoughts - the milling dead, the crowding 'others' are always absent, just figure, numbers - they are circles in some threnody of theorems that lack an absolute humanity while at the same time lauding that same humanity in face of the 'enemy'

i understand b well, i think - in this instance what he is calling for is a real end to this war - by any means necessary

perhaps the notion of 'winning' is long gone with the elites & they are politically defeated & there would be some proof to that in the entreaties of certain influential figures within this administration demanding for bush to accept the democrat's timetable

& sloth i am reminded that for some years now you have mirrored the bush administrations conviction that they wer "winning" & you have often suggested here & there & from time to time - like cheney did himself - that the armies of the empire was only being confronted by deadenders, jihadist foreign fighters etc etc etc & all the while what has been staring you in the face is a war of liberation that does not follow your guidelines or mine for that matter

the war of the people of iraq is just - no matter in what way they fight it

the war of the empire is injust - because it was done for greed & political advantage for the long war

it is clear if this is their first step in their long war - they have handed to their 'enemies' - all the proof of their unthinking stupidity

Posted by: r'giap | Apr 30 2007 19:50 utc | 11

Absolutely, Dan.

If anyone thinks that Bush is going to pull the troops out of Iraq -- or even more ludicrously, be impeached -- then they need to take off their rose-colored glasses and view a bit of reality before they spout off into a full-blown tantrum.

If anyone thinks that the front-running candidates of either party have any genuine plans to pull the troops out of Iraq, they also need a bit of a reality check. They are not going to bring the troops home. They are going to find excuse after excuse not to withdraw. And any new president who leaves even one soldier in Iraq to guard our multi-billion dollar embassy is going to use his safety as the reason to send in more soldiers, over and over again.

The only thing that will stop this war is when the American people, all of the American people, say "enough." But that isn't going to happen unless they are stunned into action.

Posted by: Ensley | Apr 30 2007 20:02 utc | 12

& let me add something, perhaps paranthetic

i have read belatedly ian burma's 'murder in amsterdam' - about the assassination of theo van gogh & pim fortuyn - & it is clear that there can be no real dialogue occuring with the muslim communities of europe while their brothers & sisters are being butchered at the behest of the american empire. that is a reality

i've argued it before & i will argue it again - that political isalm represented only a miniscule grouping of these people in any real sense - but our silent witnessing to the genocide of their people will only politicise those who in the first instance would prefer to live in peace

& that is as true in europe as it is in the middle east

while the people are being slaughtered i will instinctively side with them against their perpetrators because in the end it is the only door to a real humanity - a humanity of sentient beings rather than those vomited through the mouths of cnnbbfoxsky

Posted by: r'giap | Apr 30 2007 20:06 utc | 13

& let us put it in very practical terms

it is the criminal cheney-bush junta who are actively killing americans in every sense of that word including the rhetorical

Posted by: r'giap | Apr 30 2007 20:57 utc | 14

The problem with this line of classic slippery slope reasoning, like its cousin on the right that (de)volves into the "kill em all"," glass over the desert" finial solution justification -- is that it also is a zero sum argument. And one that begs its logical conclusion of some sort of action on behalf of the presumed enemy.

I know that when I was in Vietnam I welcomed and identified with all manner of protest back home (hey, I even subscribed to the Berkeley Barb) that was against our governments policy. I also was involved (there) in various and sundry activities that slowed the war machine down, but, that in process, did not endanger my comrades. I also, left Vietnam convinced that a Communist victory was both inevitable and preferable, but I did not become a Communist myself.

The logical conclusion of the argument being floated here, that those anti-war advocates were (or should be) actually prescribing and taking some relish in my eventual death, in that circumstance, is both reprehensible morally and logically. The point zero in the argument, would rather have me, as an anti-war sympathizer in the military, to become an avowed Communist and to commit suicide and fratricide in order to find the full expression of the logic. This is both wishful and fanatical thinking, that would make an example and a hero of>Hasan Akbar. And we can see how much positive effect that event had.

Posted by: anna missed | Apr 30 2007 21:00 utc | 15

Conspicuous US combat casualties reduce the threat of its right-wing extremism to the world. As such they're a sign of the only kind of progress we can hope for at this time. You don't have to like it to acknowledge it. A weakened industrial base will help too, just not as directly. Diplomatic isolation too. Allies and enemies, please help us, undermine this regime. Even if you think the problems inhere in the US itself, humiliation of the shitkicker elite is the necessary next stage of US evolution.

Posted by: r'U.S.Grant | Apr 30 2007 21:03 utc | 16


Thanks for writing this as it helps me clarify my confused feelings about reading the numbers in the headlines. Shock and fury that more lives are wasted and at the same time something inexpressible about the necessity of these triple digit numbers. You are of course completely right in that the numbers matter - 99 is not 100 plus. 99 doesn't get the headline.

As well, your connecting Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's model of grieving to American perspectives on the war is a brilliant stroke - there for the taking, yet I had not thought of this till you pointed it out.

Susan @ 6, I defy you to point to any expression in B's post that communicates "cheering on and taking pleasure in the suffering of others". His was a dispassionate analysis of what it takes to turn the tide in the U.S. against the war. Take a breath and re-read B's post and you will see this.

Ensley @ 12, I agree with you in principle, but "all the American people" will never turn against this war as not all will ever be willing to give up their "American way of life", a life style that depends on what Iraq has under the sand.

Posted by: Hamburger | Apr 30 2007 21:11 utc | 17

anna missed

i do not think that is what is being said - either by b or alabama (tho they are much better articulators of their own opinion)

this war must end

the only way it will end is if the back of the junta that now governs the us has its back broken - their political will, which is also fanatic - has to be liquidated

the best way this can happen is if the american people make it known concretely at every step - they must show their opposition - even if it is only in self interest

i am not expecting the empire to become internationalists in any sense other than exploitation - they have played a principal role in the murder of millions of people all over the world & the american public has only shown the mildest interest but one can live in hope

neither you, i alabama or slothop are in anbar province - it is not i who is holding the gun - even rhetorically tho i must insist on what i have sd before - that the military defeat of the us empire will hinder it in its desire to create carnage elsewhere & to that degree - i want their stalingrads to happen every day as it is already happening

& precisely one can possess a very critical position towards politcal islam in demanding the defeat of the americans for it is axiomatic for me that the decline of political islam will occur only when the american armies are defeated

as far as being a traitor to one's 'people' - i am reminded that kim philby represents the best of humanity & not the worst

Posted by: r'giap | Apr 30 2007 21:14 utc | 18

alabama said:

"What am I espousing? Fratricide? "Friendly fire"? Civil War?

Something of the sort, or so it seems."

Posted by: anna missed | Apr 30 2007 21:31 utc | 19

anna missed

what has the Great Society been, than a constant & never ending Friendly Fire

Posted by: r'giap | Apr 30 2007 21:44 utc | 20


you have been very constant in your position against empires, of this there is no doubt. What you may not consider is the horrific violence that will come with the end of the empire....especially the present US one. It will not go out with a whimper but with killing and destruction on a scale never before seen. There is too much to lose.

what is needed here is a way for the US to win, somehow. we can not lose face and power, that is simply unacceptable. I do not speak for myself but assume this to be the position of those men and women whose fortunes are tied to a favorable (for them) outcome to this business.

someone posted a hint of what this win might be with a reference to the oil companies telling the gummint to lighten up on the hydrocarbon law. what they are saying is not to be too greedy, there is enough for them as well as for a few players in Iraq. that is what eventually must happen and from what I can see is the only possible end to this tragedy.

I think that alabama and b are naive thinking that the loss of american life will change the policy of the US government. our government long ago stopped representing the people and is merely a public relations department of big business. cheney and friends are quite content to carry on fighting until the last one of us is dead. the stakes are that high.

Posted by: dan of steele | Apr 30 2007 21:50 utc | 21

While some may believe that an American defeat in Iraq will yield a humbler 'empire' with greater insight into its flaws and an understanding that unprovoked war against weak 3rd world countries is a loosing game, we will, alas, learn the opposite.

The army was 'too small.' Next time (yes, next time) we will send more troops. We will train them better in counterinsurgency, etc.

Also, let us not forget that liberal media, those backstabbing leftists, those cheese eating French, ungrateful Iraqis, etc...

Next time we will need better control of the media. We will need a stronger patriotic narrative so people will fear to criticize, and a President with the power to knock heads together (i.e. arrest terrorists and their subversive 5th column sympathizers and 'persuade' them to confess and collude with us)

I'm afraid the lessons the U.S. will glean will be those Germany learned post WWI. Large numbers of German casualties back then did not convince the public about the futility of war. The comparatively fractional casualties the U.S. suffers in Iraq will not convince it otherwise.

Do not fall into the trap of thinking lots of death equals success, any more that right wingers think that by killing lots of Iraqis the insurgency will go only got worse.

Posted by: Lysander | Apr 30 2007 22:09 utc | 22

i instinctively feel you are right to the extent that the fall of this particular empire will be very frightening indeed & we are already living in frightening (not interesting) times

dark as i am i do not tend towards the apocalyptic but i have always taken the term "opening the doors of hell", seriouslly

in the middle east & in africa we are witnessing nothing less than genocide & on an unparalleled basis

here in the west we are witnessing the death of culture & language not from the dark forces of 15th century islam but from a very 21st century negligence & contempt of ordinary people, everywhere

today, only the crudest absolutes are articulated by politicians & i would agree with hamburg that what b has posted is in its way, refined

Posted by: r'giap | Apr 30 2007 22:10 utc | 23

cheney and friends are quite content to carry on fighting until the last one of us is dead. the stakes are that high.


susan, i really hope you rethink not visiting anymore. please, i really value your posts.

Posted by: annie | Apr 30 2007 22:12 utc | 24

@ 21--The last paragraph of that post says it all....

Posted by: Ben | Apr 30 2007 22:15 utc | 25

This thread reminds me of some of the more "in your face" chants against the Vietnam War like "Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh."

The world is a small place these days. I can't find it in myself to support the Sunni, Shi, or the US. It's not that I don't support them all equally, though. I don't support the US most of all. Perhaps a subtle difference over hoping the Iraqis will win.

The people/soldiers though are a different matter to some extent. The amount of choice the poor have in a country with third world poverty is debatable. The amount of choice the population has in a fascist state is limited (and the US is now a borderline fascist state). The US is not now, and probably never was a true democracy. Keep that in mind when assessing guilt and innocence.

When it comes to killing - I find myself strongly opposed to the killing of anyone, but I seem to find myself holding the life of an Iraqi in higher esteem than the life of an American soldier.

There are things though that can be done by individuals - small things that don't require much in the way of effort. Consider where you spend your money. If it is convenient, buy non-American. Don't sweat it - but if given the choice shop at a store that is not American, and buy products that are not American.

My parents were boycotting various American products for as long as I have been alive. Iceberg lettuce from California and grapes from California are two that I remember. I have just taken it to the next step.

There are worse countries out there than the US - more violent, more hate filled. When we combine the violence, racism and hate of the United States along with its military power and desire to enforce that hate on others the US becomes the most important member of the evil empire.

It is important not to support the troops as troops.Support them as individuals who do not wish to kill. Anything that helps the troops kill others is wrong.

Posted by: edwin | Apr 30 2007 22:48 utc | 26

realpolitik is a bitch

Posted by: jcairo | Apr 30 2007 22:50 utc | 27

Ensley wrote, just to quote one phrase to encapsulate:

It seems the only way for it to end is for the war to become so expensive in human life -- American life

Yes, yet:

The Iraq war is tremendously expensive in human US life but not evidently so.

On the face of it, battle field deaths have been slashed by 10, by 20, or even more (?), as compared to ww2, Vietnam.

because of :

a) accounting procedures - death at Walter Reed or elsewhere does not equal a field death - a sent home wreck is not counted. The medics, in the field, do a superb job, they rescue and keep many ppl alive until they are shelved elsewhere and die two weeks later or more slowly

b) many soldiers are potential green carders, not listed, accounted for, have no families that can complain, Mexicans in the main. Orphans, convicted prisoners, I reckon, are subject to the same ‘invisibility’

c) ‘contractor’ deaths - well paid volunteers, mercenaries in fact, working for companies under contract with the US Gvmt, not counted as dead on the battlefield

d) the use of depleted uranium, which performs beautifully, but eventually kills not only the enemy but those who use it: it is a long slow, death: the responsibility of the Vet. Admin, years ahead, no counts or predictions are ever made

e) straight out falsification of the counts

f) all the other things we (i) do not see..

All these measures and tricks fulfill one aim only: to reinforce the perception that in terms of US losses it is a minor skirmish, and only a few noble rednecks die, sob sigh, how sad for thier families: but we support the troops.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 30 2007 23:14 utc | 28

Ensley wrote, just to quote one phrase to encapsulate:

It seems the only way for it to end is for the war to become so expensive in human life -- American life

Yes, yet:

The Iraq war is tremendously expensive in human US life but not evidently so.

On the face of it, battle field deaths have been slashed by 10, by 20, or even more (?), as compared to ww2, Vietnam.

because of :

a) accounting procedures - death at Walter Reed or elsewhere does not equal a field death - a sent home wreck is not counted. The medics, in the field, do a superb job, they rescue and keep many ppl alive until they are shelved elsewhere and die two weeks later or more slowly

b) many soldiers are potential green carders, not listed, accounted for, have no families that can complain, Mexicans in the main. Orphans, convicted prisoners, I reckon, are subject to the same ‘invisibility’

c) ‘contractor’ deaths - well paid volunteers, mercenaries in fact, working for companies under contract with the US Gvmt, not counted as dead on the battlefield

d) the use of depleted uranium, which performs beautifully, but eventually kills not only the enemy but those who use it: it is a long slow, death: the responsibility of the Vet. Admin, years ahead, no counts or predictions are ever made

e) straight out falsification of the counts

f) all the other things we (i) do not see..

All these measures and tricks fulfill one aim only: to reinforce the perception that in terms of US losses it is a minor skirmish, and only a few noble rednecks die, sob sigh, how sad for thier families: but we support the troops.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 30 2007 23:16 utc | 29

This short video, entitled “Coming Home from War” where we see Kyle, strong, tall, straight and true, meeting his family, his father...

(child and office safe)> Vid

Tangent. Do click.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 30 2007 23:34 utc | 30

when we see the completely undignified way mr wolfowitz refuses to resign from the world bank & is attempting to hold on to a post that everyone in the world except cheney & bush & the beneficiary of his largesse - the essential truth - that this monster will not go down of its own accord - becomes clearer

Posted by: r'giap | Apr 30 2007 23:45 utc | 31


the obscenity of that little film is mindnumning in its conception & production

& again so very close to the filmlets of joseph goebells in 1944 - where hearth & home were used to hide the catastrophe in the east

in fact in the middle of this film i thought it was in black & white & was in fact nazi newsreel from that epoch tho the father is a little bit swarthily semitic

Posted by: r'giap | Apr 30 2007 23:55 utc | 32


and as a matter of earnest fallacy in your analysis, not a thing can be learned from history, because the matrix of misfortune is always only "america." so, righting some wrongs in history cannot ever be accomplished by america, or any combination of its coalitions, at all. the result of this closed circle of thought you offer as justice, is saddam and apocalyptic loons with nuclear weapons, forever.

if anything can be learned from postcolonial experience it is nothing else is permitted except to prioritize bad solutions for terrible decisions. 40 years ago in algeria, for ex., the solution was degaulle, boumedienne , bouyali. in iraq it is saddam, sadr, global capital. none are good solutions. but for you, apparently, the "people" convene to create a beautiful revolution where you have not, cannot, find beyond your wishful thinking, anyone other than people who murder each other for reasons having little to do w/ "iraq" or "freedom."

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 30 2007 23:58 utc | 33

and in any case, as antifa says, y'all can just forget about the u.s. or europe "leaving." not ever.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 30 2007 23:59 utc | 34

and even tho a diminished virtrue, i'd like to believe it still possible in the west to say we don't choose our wars, we choose our leaders. and even in the collapsing ambit of this hope, it is important to respect the lives of soldiers who suffer the vicissitudes of the general will of the people, it's not the fault of soldiers our leaders are so evil.

Posted by: slothrop | May 1 2007 0:07 utc | 35

In a country with a population of about 300 million, 100+ deaths per month in Iraq are perhaps shocking for a short while due to the "triple digit factor", but that will soon wear off. The personal anguish, tragedy and grief of the wives, husbands, kids, and others who knew and loved the deceased won't affect the political calculation in the White House and the Pentagon.

Even now, it is mainly a few blogs and alternative news and information outlets that seem aware of the scale of destruction and tragedy we are wreaking in Iraq - tragedy in Iraqi and American lives destroyed, shattered, scattered, and in the toll taken on those "only" wounded and injured. The population at large still seems uncomprehending, despite poll numbers claiming over half of some set of the population wants us to get out of Iraq.

To paraphrase Ensley in the first post, what will it take for the masses to shake off the stupor? It does not seem likely that the kind of opposition forces and insurgency(ies) operating in Iraq are likely to ever inflict monthly multiple-hundred American death counts, not for any sustained time. And even if they had that kind of military capacity, wouldn't the American population soon grow numb to the "over 200 deaths in Iraq this
month..." stories, as they already seem numb to the 100s now?

Some kind of dramatic economic shock to the American system would be more likely to get people aroused and mobilized against this war, I think. Perhaps an international boycott of certain industries.

Posted by: Maxcrat | May 1 2007 0:38 utc | 36

I find myself agreeing with all of the arguments b has made, and yet I cannot support his conclusion. I do want the war to end, and I do agree that standard political methods will not succeed, as is evident with the lie of the latest troop funding which pretends to "withdraw the troops" and instead perpetuates the war. And I also agree that too many in the US are complacent and blinded and will not see the moral degradation that they are complicit in.

So I only see a solution in radical non-violent means, perhaps protest/strike that shuts down the economy. We are due for a massive depression, so perhaps this can be leveraged to get the US out of the war purely for selfish reasons --- collapse of our economy and no more funding to produce enough weaponry. But then the PTSD damaged troops could be used to enforce martial law back home. Although this would hurt me personally, it would be far better than the death and destruction that my country is causing around the world.

I look to Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi as inspiration, and do believe that non-violence will be the only way to truly make lasting change. Also, I have the nagging feeling that b's logic might be accurate, but carry a hidden cost in damaging our souls in our support of it.

Posted by: brewster_north | May 1 2007 0:57 utc | 37

I think there's way to much emphasis here put on the role of casualties, being the sole index for loss of support in the war. That greater loss of live = less support for the war. As slothrop notes casualty rates for this war are very low compared to other conflicts of choice, as in Vietnam, or the Russian war in Afghanistan. The three thousand lost in Iraq pale by comparison to the 50+ thousand in Vietnam or the 15+ thousand in Afghanistan, although we are still just short of one half the duration of those two and things could still escalate.

The new Patreaus plan, and the tactical shift away from the "force protection" rule, have already shown that the administration is not especially concerned about, and are willing to absorb escalating casualties. The war in Vietnam went on 5 more years after casualties reached a similar escalation plateau -- and another 30 thousand died needlessly as a result before congress finally pulled the plug.

To most people, casualties of war are an expected symptom of war. In a war of choice (as opposed to WWII type wars), its easy to see this symptom as being more fundamentally connected to how people feel about the war. In WWII, both the Soviet Union and the U.S. accepted in what by comparison, were massive casualties, without any loss of faith in the war itself. Its not at all clear that mounting casualties play any more of a significant role in changing public opinion in a war of choice. Most likely, casualties, like escalating costs, and temporal extension are the symptoms used after the fact to illustrate the larger and overall question of faith in the success of the mission. Mostly, what people point to is the lack of success, ineffective policy, incompetence, deepening involvement, and no end in sight.

Posted by: anna missed | May 1 2007 1:11 utc | 38

You value your discourse about reality more than you value reality, which to me is intellectual decadence.

It's a disease you've caught, and are passing around amongst yourselves, like the plague.

I hope you recover.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | May 1 2007 1:37 utc | 39


again yr analysis hides the facts of what the women of al quaem know perfectly well - "what can we expect from the americans - only destruction"

when you witness the destruction - incidentally something that is always absent from yr missives - the almost total destruction of village & towns & the complete infrastructural breakdown in the cities & the endless cadavers

yr islamophobia which in effect is another form of arabophobia hides the ugliest truth - that for the people (outside of theory) - you do not care - or at least they do not inform yr discourse

i suppose you would call that sentimental, a form of bourgeois humanism on my part but when i witness how these people are fighting the empire - i am in awe of their heroism

i am in awe of their heroism in just surviving, i am in awe of the the way they have had to adapt to the terrible realities of power & i am in awe of how they are fighting back & winning

i am shocked that you always hide the crimes of the empire under the vagaries of a larger history book - that as far as i am concerned has not yet been written

i do not know if in your day yo day life you have relations with arab people but there seems a blinding ignorance as to their reality - whether it is in iraq or elsewhere

i though of you in reading the burama book because like a lot of 'leftists' of certain view - & especially here in france - iraq has been their means of converting - as koestler & orwell did before you - to the holier texts of global power

these leftists like their comrades in arms on the right want i simpler world, a world where absolutes work but there is something unerring in their analysis whether it is burama, glucksmann or yrself - it is articulated in part on a racism so specious - that in another time they would have banished it from their lives

now they are not only living in it - they are constructing it

i am in shock - that people cannot see the heroism of the people of iraq & the clear cowardice of the empire & its protectors - intellectuals & otherwise

& i would suggest 1 million iraquis (lancet, un etc) dead is a number you will not relativise with yr inhuman theology

Posted by: r'giap | May 1 2007 1:42 utc | 40

b, i hope you write another post soon, it is really hard for me opening the site and seeing that title staring out at me.

just saying.

Posted by: annie | May 1 2007 1:42 utc | 41

how these people are fighting the empire - i am in awe of their heroism

this is pure bullshit.

Posted by: slothrop | May 1 2007 1:52 utc | 42

A rising casualty count affects more than just the people at home in the US. It severely impacts the troops themselves, especially in light of the bullshit rationale for going to war in Iraq to begin with. There can't be anything worse than to see your buddy killed right next to you and know that he or she died for absolutely nothing; not for freedom, not to defend your country, not to protect anyone. Absolutely nothing. When my fiance was shipped home in a box from Vietnam less than a month before our wedding, the most painful part I had to deal with was that this man I loved had died for absolutely NOTHING! His Army buddies who had also been caught up by the draft, agreed. I am wondering how long this war in Iraq can continue without a draft. There has to be an end to volunteers eventually as the lies get less and less believable.

Posted by: Ensley | May 1 2007 1:56 utc | 43

& sloth b has added 'today in iraq' & from that you can view some of the empirical data of 'losing' & 'winning'

Posted by: r'giap | May 1 2007 1:59 utc | 44

i'd say a number of our euro comrades here have retreated so deeply into hatred of america--which is at once for them a self-hatred, a nihilism, that all debate about the historic facts of this war is shut off by the hope for destruction, for destruction's sake, because only annihilation is the source of imaginary absolution for the "empire's" sins.

Posted by: slothrop | May 1 2007 2:01 utc | 45

& ensley - i hope that enough people in america can witness the indecency of this war & the reflection of themselves to stop this fucking war

Posted by: r'giap | May 1 2007 2:02 utc | 46

no sloth it is your argument that are stained by nihilism - because it leaves two importan elements out - people & the truth

Posted by: r'giap | May 1 2007 2:04 utc | 47

"i wanna kill all the american soldiers."

you fuckers have lost your marbles. all of them.

but everybody has a bad day.

Posted by: slothrop | May 1 2007 2:05 utc | 48

how these people are fighting the empire - i am in awe of their heroism

this is pure bullshit.

Posted by: slothrop | May 1 2007 2:25 utc | 49

i want american soldiers to stop killing. point

Posted by: r'giap | May 1 2007 2:25 utc | 50

Couldn't have said it better:

"You value your discourse about reality more than you value reality, which to me is intellectual decadence."

In case the mentally challenged cannot understand it, it is much better that the EMPIRE bleeds Green than that any more of the poor fuckers, American and Iraqi alike, bleed anymore red.

And the EMPIRE is going to run out of tolerance for the bleeding of the Green, much sooner than in the parallel universe of Bernhard's macabre scenario.

US is in till February 2008. Nobody can change that. Everybody tried. You can't change what's happening.

I believe enough Green will be spilt between now and then that there doesn't need to be too much more spilling of the red, to accomplish the end.

Just thoughts.

Posted by: Ms. M. | May 1 2007 2:30 utc | 51

Geeez, many of you have come unhinged. lol The premise (B's) was tilted/eschew, and now some like to view their contributions as thoughtful/worldly??

Wishing for more US deaths in order to facilitate a greater unknown is lunacy. Where do we go from here--- that's a good question, BUT hoping for more US casualties makes zero sense.

Posted by: SoandSo | May 1 2007 2:48 utc | 52

It seems to me that people have lost sight of what it is that soldiers actually do... including the soldiers I have spoken with. Many people have implied or stated outright that the only way the course of the neocon folly will be corrected (I don't believe redress is possible) would be for the United States to suffer a "humiliating defeat" in this war. How, then, is it possible to be defeated militarily without casualties? It seems as many anti-war folk as pro-war folk have been deeply impressed by those 1980's G.I. Joe cartoons where shots are incessantly fired and not a single person is ever killed in action. This isn't a cartoon.

Soldiers kill and soldiers die. That is the nature of their job. Full stop. When they kill others, they win. When they are killed in sufficient numbers to necessitate retreat in order to save their remainder, they lose. To suggest that the only way to end the war is with defeat and simultaneously suggest that none of the defeated should perish is falling into the same masturbatory fantasies Rumsfeld and Cheney engaged in when they envisioned rose petal parades for the "liberators".

Does this mean I'm cheerleading the deaths of anyone? No. I didn't want us there in the first place, and was very visible in my protests against the invasion in 2003... but many people cheerleaded, and still are cheerleading, Iraqi deaths. Why is my position viewed as the more abominable? It is because we wallow in antiseptic abstractions regarding the consequences of what we do. I felt badly for the soldiers I have spoken with because my impression has been that they had no idea what it was they had signed up for... now I am coming to believe that having stars in thier eyes is not unique to the young men who sign up to put on a uniform and carry a gun.

Incidentally, has anyone heard from Riverbend? There are more people dying than those whose job descriptions include that distinct possibility.

Posted by: Monolycus | May 1 2007 3:29 utc | 53

I do see a nonviolent alternative that can demonstrate the collective desire for peace. How about gathering 100,000 (or more!) of our friends and relatives and marching on a Fox affiliate in a large city? Take over the station and begin broadcasting. Also, make sure someone in the crowd remembers to bring some whopping big generators, in case the Federales try to shut us down. This would be an unprecedented action, afaik, and would certainly get some attention.

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | May 1 2007 3:47 utc | 54

I find this thread disturbing in a way that I cannot exactly articulate. It makes me feel ashamed of people I respect.

Posted by: fauxreal | May 1 2007 4:04 utc | 55

sociopaths all over the world know us better than we know them. That is why they can have us carrying guns but we ca'nt have them carry butter.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | May 1 2007 4:16 utc | 56

I really wish I hadn't read this. It's "worse than a crime". Roughly speaking the numbers would need to go up an order of magnitude or more in order to have most people actually personally know dead troops. Until then it's all just numbers to most people anyway. So it's both ghoulish and impractical. A more direct result: a dead US soldier means buddies looking for revenge... oh hey, I just discovered the cycle of violence. And as far as Alabama's blanket death sentence, which was not at all in the same vein as this thing, what is there to say, "at the end of that moving appeal to every altruistic sentiment it blazed at you, luminous and terrifying, like a flash of lightning in a serene sky" as billmon quoted.

Posted by: boxcar mike | May 1 2007 5:23 utc | 57

" times like the present one who desires to be impartially just in the expression of his views, moves as among sword-points presented on every side."

--Herman Melville, in the "Supplement" to his Battle-Pieces (1866).

Posted by: alabama | May 1 2007 6:19 utc | 58

Some analysts see Iraq War Eclipsing Vietnam

Posted by: beq | May 1 2007 11:00 utc | 59

I want all US troops out of Iraq today - safe and healthy. I want the troops to realize that the real "blame" for this evil war rests with all Americans who did not stop it (less blame for those who tried). I would like to see all Americans realize the extent of suffering inflicted on the Iraqi people.

that is from susan, towards the end of the flexible foe thread. to me, this is 'in favor'.

there are stark realities about inevitabilities and then there is what is favorable. the favorable end is withdrawl, negotiations, diplomacy.. all those options no matter how far fetched or unlikely.

the last thread was startling enough for me. i was looking forward to being buried and if it continued being spoken in some back chamber. it was w/dread to come back and find it front paged.

it is a brutal, callous, ugly, barbaric thought.
i face the reality of this war a thousand times a day in my mind. nothing compared to the people involved directly. war is ugly.

but i am not 'in favor' of killing anyone. and if that is a contradiction of anything i have said in the past do me the favor of not pointing it out to me as i am not ready to face it. just ignore me. if there is any thread i wish would just go away i would like it to be this one. i hate that title.

favor is a word that has a positive connotation to me. there is nothing positive about death and war.

again, i would like to request another post to push this headline down so i don't have to look at it everytime i open the page. the open thread doesn't bury it. i know not seeing it won't make it go away or won't make the war go away, or make the crime go away, i am becoming revolted by the topic.

i think i will take a break from the site and hope when i come back there will be something else staring out at me from the homepage.

there is a certain sadism in taking a distressing topic that developes at the end of a long thread and carrying it up front. maybe i am just showing my wimpness.

Posted by: annie | May 1 2007 12:28 utc | 60

"do not despair, one of the thieves was saved, do not presume, one of the thieves was damned"

st augustine

Posted by: r'giap | May 1 2007 13:37 utc | 61

"in the valley of the giants where the stars& stripes explode"

"i see pieces of men marching, trying to take heaven by force" bob dylan

do you feel like singing? said camier
not to my knowledge, said mercier
samuel beckett

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 1 2007 13:49 utc | 62


gonna kill those soldiers w/ poetry, eh?

Posted by: slothrop | May 1 2007 16:27 utc | 63


i can forgive you all yr meanderings even when those meanderings do not correspond with reality, (because after all, you are a comrade) but what i cannot forgive is your 'people-less' positions & your complete neglect of their day to day condition - whether it is in iraq, lebanon, afghanistan, you seem to ignore the fantastic work of b real on africa & the practices of empire which even for a scholar is easy enough to see on numerous films available on the internet ( there is a 'dispatches' piece which is available on crooks&liars, for example & there is the site for documentaries that annie linked two a month or two ago)

Posted by: r'giap | May 1 2007 16:51 utc | 64

Maybe this will help:

There's a star spangled banner waving somewhere

In a distant land so many miles away.

Only Uncle Sam's great heros get to go there,

Where, I wish that I could also go some day.

Isn't that special????

Posted by: pb | May 1 2007 16:59 utc | 65

because on a bad day sloth there is only a quantitative difference between you & william kristol

Posted by: r'giap | May 1 2007 17:09 utc | 66

"Through the arts of the conspirators and the perversity of fortune, the most sensitive love of liberty was entrapped into the support of a war whose implied end was the erecting in our advanced century of an Anglo-American empire based upon the systematic degradation of man."

--Herman Melville, in the "Supplement" to his Battle-Pieces (1866)

Posted by: alabama | May 1 2007 17:20 utc | 67

The Japanese Navy went to war with the top admirals convinced that this was a losing fight. Yet they did their duty and went to war anyway. Their vision of certain deaths and defeat did not stop them.

It's probably not the casualties that ended Vietnam. Probably much more clear-headed to say that it was the knowledge on high that the Army was ceasing to be a reliable tool with an effective hierarchy. Probably clearer to say that the human beings at the base of society were ceasing to respect the hierarchy, and this scared the PTB. Probably clearer to say that the war started to stop when the accountants balked.

Political opposition to the war may not be enough to stop wars. As I understand it, the Vietnam War broke the U.S. dollar and forced a new economic system - the one we live in now, with all its power handed over to finance investors. There has been discussion here about the possibility that this war will break Bretton Woods. Perhasp this is where we should be directing our collective attention and wisdom.

Perhasp its is not red deaths that will carry the day against war, but green deaths.

Posted by: citizen | May 1 2007 17:55 utc | 68

judging facts for what they are is one matter, and for the efforts of such people as breal, i'm grateful. another matter is your inability to get it through your fucking head that this war has not much to do w/ the "people" evicting "empire." that is to say, you have a theory, the grand narrative of "american empire" (which in any case is just shitty analysis), which blithely excludes any datum ("120 shia murdered in market" x 120).there's no end to to the integrity of your theory because it is always supported by america=evil. with an obverse rhetoric, it is you who achieves the same effects as any neocon whose boilerplate theory justifies any outcome as an absolute right of western "liberalism." as someone said in the nogle thread, and annamissed here too, such essentialism can vindicate any murder, so long as it serves the end to the fiction of your "empire."

if you want to fight "empire" you should continue to wander through your banlieus and help the negroes who live there learn to be great frenchman.

Posted by: slothrop | May 1 2007 17:57 utc | 69

put another way, you have an interminable problem of empire in your own back yard which is not vestigial, rgiap. and your problem is our problem no murdering of u.s. soldiers will solve.

the largely sunni insurgencvy is "heroic." you're out of your fucking mind.

Posted by: slothrop | May 1 2007 18:06 utc | 70

well, i regret using the word, but what passesd in my mind as the french Other is barthes "negro" in the paris match cover photo saluting the tricolor.

apologies for obtuse reference.

Posted by: slothrop | May 1 2007 18:23 utc | 71


not once, have you interrogated the role of, the practical role capital of the empire in this immoral & illegal war. you have remained siletn about halliburton, about bechtel, about blackwater - you hide constantly from any detaile reference to the actual warprofiteers who are ipso facto - the killers of the soldiers of the empire - because they are there for their profit & interest

not once, have you in the thousands of texts you have written here mention in gross or in detail - the destruction of the people of iraq, of the institutions of iraq, of the infrastructure of iraq - for you the people might as well drown in their own sewage

not onece have i witnessed a discussion you are leading that speaks of any of the destroyed towns, of the completely liquidated cities

you speak of the carnage of the people - as bill kristol does - as if the shia sunni splits fall from the sky - the war is not a context for you - after all - you like many 'people of the left' - saw the war in exactly the same terms as kristol, that is as a 'liberation'

your ignorance of the actual history of iraq astounds me sometimes & your contemporary analysis owes more to the kristol clique than it does to the writer for example who has written on blackwater

but the most tellin absence is the your contemptible absence of people, people & people

if the struggle in iraq was deadenders, jihadist or foreign fighters it would have been over a long long time ago - but you prefer to emphasise the religious as kristol does - to hide the nationalist character of the struggle

i think there is only a minor difference between myself & anna missed for example because he understands the lineaments of a national struggle because he has witnessed

do not try to paint me with the brush that i support - fundamentalism of any kind - islamic or otherwise - i think i am amongst the clearest on my critique of political islam & of how it came into being. you seem to have picked up a name here or there but youseem to know nothing of the thinkers who play a large part in their very real oppossition to the occupation of their country

of their sovereign country, for fucks sake - you seem never capable to utter that - as if exercises of imperial force are necessary in the face of the darker impulses of islam

& that my friend is bullshit & you know it

neither i, nor b nor any other person here has sd that which is obvious - only a military defeat will force the american public to alter their support this criminal administration

& i'm tired that such a well read & cultivated man can drown himself in the finery of white skin privilege

& for yr information my work here amongst people of all kinds is constant & i do it from amongst them & not some room in the academy or in the office of the elysee where you imagine me

Posted by: r'giap | May 1 2007 18:44 utc | 72

What citizen said.

The war will grind to a halt, not because of casualties, but because the mission is understood to be a failure. A failure of the political/corporate class to deliver on the promises. A failure of the military, against laughable odds, to force the presumed enemy into submission. The prospects that these failures have become chronic, and will metastasize into something worse under the above leadership.

Again, the current leadership is illustrating, as we speak, a WILLINGNESS to accept MORE casualties, with the Patreaus plan. They are assuming that the American public will also accept MORE casualties, perhaps MANY, MANY MORE casualties -- as the price for saving face for the above debacle of failure.

There is no need for us to morally capitulate into the same cynical fanaticism as the administration, and demand more casualties, They're already on the way, courtesy of that administration. What people keep their eye on is not the sacrifice, but the prize.

Posted by: anna missed | May 1 2007 18:54 utc | 73

Youse guys are taking this site down a road I really don't wanna see it go. Kill 'em all and let Allah sort 'em out?

I don't wanna see anybody have to die unnesecarily in Iraq, be it at the hands of a dictator, an insurgent, as a collateral casualty or at the hands of a GI with shattered nerves.

The USA has to face the reality that we cannot occupy and control Iraq as easily as we had hoped to, and that the price we have paid so far - a half a trillion dollars, 3,000 dead and 30,000 shattered lives - has been too high and will continue to be too high.

Posted by: ralphieboy | May 1 2007 19:08 utc | 74

If we were to take the president at his word, and agree that to quit Iraq now, would be a disservice to those already sacrificed, its easy to see that from his vantage, sacrifice, doesn't hurt his cause, but rather embellishes it. The more sacrifice, the more reason to continue.

Posted by: anna missed | May 1 2007 19:18 utc | 75

look, i think the point of b's post, as hamburger sd was quite clear - it was not cry of a jihadist nor even the more complicated anti u s imperialism

what it was in part, however was an illustration of how iraq has been transformed into a landscape of liquidation

Posted by: r'giap | May 1 2007 19:21 utc | 76

If I were sentenced to death, and the executioner asked me "Which shall it be? Do you favor death by the firing-squad, or by hanging, or by dismemberment?", I suppose I would answer, "Finally, I favor death by the firing-squad. Yes. I want to die in front of a firing squad".

This is not to say that I want to die, or that I like being shot by firing-squads. It is to merely to say that, faced this choice, and this choice alone, I would favor this way to go.

I mention the point because because some on this thread seem to think that I relish the prospect of dead American soldiers. This is like reading "A Modest Proposal" and thinking that Swift likes to dine on Irish babies. But Swift is saying something else, and I, in my own halting way, am saying something else as well.

Posted by: alabama | May 1 2007 20:07 utc | 77

yes, i think the purpose of the original post has been obscufuated

Posted by: r'giap | May 1 2007 20:11 utc | 78

what it was in part, however was an illustration of how iraq has been transformed

no, the post advocates the murder of american soldiers. b wants to see american soldiers die so he "can take pictures." alabama demands that all american soldiers be killed so defeat is unequivocal. the citations to pop music and melville don't prettify the "wanna kill american soldiers" thesis.

b and rgiap are curmudgeony euros. alabama is a pseudonymous traitor.

Posted by: slothrop | May 1 2007 20:59 utc | 79

Many people want Americans to die and I have some sympathy with that POV.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | May 1 2007 21:01 utc | 80

Do not fear where logic takes you -- for there you will find truth.

Posted by: Pyrrho | May 1 2007 21:15 utc | 81

the purpose of the original post has been obscufuated

Definitly. It's difficult to write about this for anybody and my English is certainly not good enough to express myself in depth here. That may be the reason why the content has been obfuscated.

Another reason could be that it is very difficult for anybody to hope for Iraq to regain its sovereignity and at the same time to hope for no more casualties in this war. A split hard to bridge.

Applying the model I used it also seems that more people are still in denial than I have stated. Maybe the "anti war left" has not accepted the loss and its cost.

It certainly is difficult for me to accept such "costs." I feel constantly literaly paralyzed by seeing all of this happening.

Hamburger @17 - thanks for understanding the framework I was working in, the gist of that post. You seem to have been the only one commenting on it. It certainly needs more discussion but that, as the thread shows, is not an easy one.

Posted by: b | May 1 2007 22:19 utc | 82

you have remained siletn about halliburton, about bechtel, about blackwater

no. these war profiteers are public companies even a french pensioner can invest in. it's a global market, you know. france is no autocthonous paradise of nonexplopitative commodity exchange.

for you the people might as well drown in their own sewage

human tragedy on a grand scale, yes.

you like many 'people of the left' saw the war in exactly the same terms as kristol, that is as a 'liberation'

in part undeniable is the country is no more ruled by saddam and shia are liberated from centuries of oppression. and the kurds for the first time can make their history without having to murder armenians in the bargain

your ignorance of the actual history of iraq

you're high. i'm not an expert, sure. but i know more than most.

but you prefer to emphasise the religious as kristol does - to hide the nationalist character of the struggle

i don't understand why you insist the war is about nat'l liberation. it just isn't. you're so dogmatic about this point. wait a minute. you insist because without imaginary panethnic/interreligious resistence, your eagerness to murder u.s. soldiers wouldn't make any practical sense

do not try to paint me with the brush that i support - fundamentalism of any kind - islamic or otherwise

your persistent misapprehension of the nature of this war can only mean you want to see u.s. soldiers murdered by "fundamentalists"

Posted by: slothrop | May 1 2007 22:54 utc | 83

slothrop your ignorance on this question is so vast & your misinterprettion, your deliberate misinterpretation of what i have posted & yes your obsufacation makes a dialoge purposeless

i am sure we agree on other matters but your blindess on iraq - given voice here in this last post by a reîteration of america's right to 'liquidate' saddam & to 'liberate' shias - makes a communication useless

you have purposefully misinterpreted alabama's original allusive post, you have subverted the actual meaning of b's post & you go on again as you have before that i am uniquely responsible for france's troubled history - so i think it serves no purpose to wack each other over the head

& your clear detestation of details, of an empirical understanding of what is happening - makes furure conversation on this score - without purpose

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 1 2007 23:12 utc | 84

man o man. you're the one who's closing off debate. you don't have a counterfactual proof for the existence of a war of liberation. it's important you finally get this to penetrate your forcefield of hate. here's my facts:

1. kurds fight for kurdistan, period. there goes a third of iraq

2. the south is dominated by badr/sadr and even w/ sadr's schizophrenic claim of preserving iraq, the southern shia want a federalism guaranteeing som autonomy. there goes another third of irtaq.

3. the minority sunni want to preserve traditional hegemony and command the "insurgency" conscripting foreign and religious fanatics to murder americans and shia and everyone else. they're the ones fighting for your idea of "iraq"

these are your facts too, rgiap. i give them to you. don't fuck them up.

Posted by: | May 1 2007 23:35 utc | 85

alabama's original allusive post

oh yeah. it was so subtle, so complex, so swiftian: : "wanna murder all u.s. soldiers"

i know alabama. i know b. they want u.s. soldiers to be murdered. every single one. period.

Posted by: | May 1 2007 23:39 utc | 86


Posted by: slothrop | May 1 2007 23:40 utc | 87

I had meant to be responding to your threadhead, but I realize I didn't show the connections I was making.

Basically, I see your point as being that more U.S. soldiers killed now will mean fewer killed later because the government gets forced by rising citizen disgust to pull the troops. I gather you are even more in favor of the vast number of Iraqi lives that would be saved by an earlier end to the war. Essentially it's a basic Millsian equation:

"More total lives saved if more U.S. soldiers die soon. OK, good."

My reply is that it may not be the deaths that cause wars like this to end. It may be the gold, or - since Vietnam kicked us off the last shreds of the gold - it may be the specter of the dollar losing its ability to function as the world's currency that will end this war. I agree, this is not unrelated to death and the cost of all that death, but the deaths can and will be shrugged off. This country loses 50,000 to traffic deaths every year, and no one is screaming for light rail to stop the carnage. So, no need to torture ourselves with advocating killing. It won't help.

Better to think our way into the fact that something will have to replace Bretton Woods once the U.S. dollar printing press breaks down, that no nation in the future will really be trusted with the kind of printing press once handed over to the U.S. That printing press is the thing that needs to be killed.

Posted by: citizen | May 2 2007 5:10 utc | 88

The rain ...falls upon the just and the unjust alike; a thing which would not happen if I were superintending the rain's affairs. No, I would rain softly and sweetly on the just, but if I caught a sample of the unjust outdoors I would drown him. - Mark Twain, a Biography

Posted by: Copeland | May 2 2007 5:39 utc | 89



and slothrop has finally acquired the troll label she worked toward for so long.

Posted by: dan of steele | May 2 2007 6:18 utc | 90

* I agree with the point about green v. red. And I think this links to slothrop's wider analysis (if I've understood it): that the US Empire of today the money leaves and moves...but Halliburton (headquarters: Not the USA); Blackwater (plenty of brits in there, I think); etc...are part of the movement of global capital. Well, I think that's what he means.

Re: Iraq as a war of National Liberation. It may be that some figures are fighting for just such a cause, but what I'm most reminded of is rememberingiap's comment from long long ago, re: the end of the communists in Iran. They fought the Shah; they died--hunted and executed by the religious. (Did I get that right?) So, r'giap, could I humbly ask you what you are using as evidence that this is a national liberation battle rather than the collapse of one power struggle (Saddam + friends vs. his enemies) which is collapsing and spreading... I don't see how, pace slothrop, the Kurds in the north or the Shia in the south fit into a national liberation model.

Posted by: Argh | May 2 2007 8:18 utc | 91

regardless of which factions are now fighting the occupation and amongst themselves in Iraq, these people were not killing each other prior to the invasion. at least not with the ease the invasion granted.

yes, Saddam was bad and did things to people. nasty, nasty things as the invaders liked to point out and then as a matter of policy, committed themselves. This is better? Of course, it is democracy.

I suppose it is the inhabitants of the arbitrary geographic location called Iraq that are to blame for being manipulated by the occupiers into the current morass

Posted by: jcairo | May 2 2007 15:11 utc | 92

oh, and despite what the links to the comments appear to imply, I'm not in favour of killing anyone

Posted by: jcairo | May 2 2007 15:16 utc | 93

As I understand the questions Bernhard has posed:

Do we take sides in this conflict? If so, what does taking sides mean?

When we say we would like to see the killing of Iraqis stop, what is the logical consequence of this statement?

Posted by: edwin | May 2 2007 16:24 utc | 94

Anna missed at 38 wrote: To most people, casualties of war are an expected symptom of war. In a war of choice (as opposed to WWII type wars), its easy to see this symptom as being more fundamentally connected to how people feel about the war. In WWII, both the Soviet Union and the U.S. accepted in what by comparison, were massive casualties ..


But this Iraq ‘war’ - a corporate take-over with guns and bombs, has no ideology (except for the likes of sloth). There is no existential threat, no risk of great losses or retaliation to the US (WMD, still missing...), no rational military strategy, no clear aim, no plans for definite control, and no identified enemy to defeat, no clear path forward, no order to be re-invented, re-created, re-constructed.

It is, above all, a mixture of genres, resting on corporate strategies and vestiges of older conflicts, with ‘humanitarian’ elements - the new colonialism - thrown in.

A hybrid.

Build clinics and kill insurgents and change the import laws. Set up a puppet ‘democracy’ and gasp when the ‘people’ won’t accept it. Prone negotiation and compromise, the rule of law, and torture arbitrarily. Talk of freedom and set up endless road blocks, barbed wire, snipers. Bomb dodgy places into the ground. (eg. Fallujah.) Be PC about women’s lib and support ‘family courts’, Sharia law. Destroy agriculture and children’s health, as some kind of weird necessity in a new ‘economic’ model. Undermine local authorities, local experts, existing power, organization, and start a cycle of corruption and thug hiring, flash money, mafia type contacts and circuits.

Deprive people of what they need - clean water, food, some electricity - so that they will ‘submit’, and then reel back at the surprise of ‘terrorist’ attacks. Talk of the ‘Iraqi people’, unity and so on, and act suspicious of that or that group, and divide to rule, treating ppl as firstly belonging to ethnic or religious or political / professional groups. Blather on about the freedom of the media, and pay for propaganda articles and implement blanket censorship.

Kill the Unions. Destroy the previous State-run businesses, and don’t replace them.

This is not a war. It is ‘Enron’ with a free rein, on cocaine and crack. (Iraq, with its previous 27 million ppl was a country, not a corporation.)

To that tune, American deaths (as pointed out, not totaled correctly and hidden) seem rather senseless and useless (to the soldiers, military top class themselves, or some I suppose) - it is not the number of deaths but the fact that the overall strategy seems to go nowhere; how can the future be mapped? What is the potential gain for the supposed sacrifice? What is to be done now?

Specially when ‘economic’ conditions in the US don’t seem to improve - prices rise, mortgages are called in, those fantastic jobs are thin on the ground, state aid collapses, the poor become more visible and menacing, service jobs pay less and less.... etc. (Exceptions, like ethanol producers, and defense contractors, exist.)

Posted by: Noirette | May 2 2007 16:46 utc | 95

A hybrid

bravo. but then everything that follows your discovery of the complexity of conflict, are details of a particular "ideology" announcing the u.s. empire has caused the civil war, among other things. that is, you have reduced complexity to a set of tropes proving a viewpoint unassailed by any complexity: america sucks.

you're the prisoner of ideology, noirette, not I.

Posted by: slothrop | May 2 2007 17:03 utc | 96

i suppose i'd be less a troll by this point if i could convince my comrades, at some more shallow depth of inquiry, that the war is justifiable because it removed saddam, liberated arab shia and kurd. the deeper analysis: the neoliberal swindles, the sheer incompetance, the lack of european solidarity and the endlessly contradictory assertion of american power, etc., all these things are a matter for debate. but, noirette even you must agree with me the preferred outcome is end of saddam, liberation of arab shia and kurd?

if you agree, hoping for the murder of u.s. soldiers is pretty fucking vile.

Posted by: slothrop | May 2 2007 17:11 utc | 97

also, i need to be clear, yet again, my critique has never aimed to find agreement with the ideological content serving one kind of justification for the war which we may call "neoliberal." that ideology is doomed. we see it in the chaos of violence each day in iraq.

i am a commited leftist, and my commitment is unchallenged, in fact is strengthened, by this war.

Posted by: slothrop | May 2 2007 17:17 utc | 98

war was not necessary to remove Saddam. He was ready to go

the US was going to invade no matter what

that the war is justifiable because it removed saddam, liberated arab shia and kurd

that shit all happened four years ago. what are we doing now? Saddam is dead along with his sons, the Turks are still attacking the Kurds, the Shia are not allowed to rule their own country even though they are majority and have the PM's chair. The PM can not even stop a wall from being built in his own capital city.

the invasion has not helped the great majority of Iraqis. It has not helped the great majority of US citizens either.

your lust for Iraqi death is remarkable.

Posted by: dan of steele | May 2 2007 17:34 utc | 99

I did say the US manifested a ‘divide to rule strategy’ - perhaps, if one wants to be distant - in a misguided and unseeing way. For example, throwing out the Baathists - teachers (many tens of thousands), functionaries, police, doctors, professors, etc. as if an ‘ideological purge’ (a Nazi hunt!) was necessary or fruitful in this situation. As everyone knows, there was only one party, only one type of card-holder. Most Iraqis were NOT Saddam supporters, as is well known. Being suspicious of Sunnis, as members of the Saddam clan, in favor of Shiites, was also...well a disaster. And so on.

All much like the arrogant top boys in a high school who want to rule the roost, and despise, spit on, and rape, to mention only that, Spics, nerds, teacher’s pets, blacks, commies, libruls, whores from the other side of the tracks, all those ppl who won’t buckle down (the teachers won’t do anything) to the real leaders, the true power.

But that is a charitable interpretation - bullies blinded by hubris...

There is no civil war in Iraq. There is mayhem and violence; there are thugs kidnapping; there are foreign elements playing their own agenda (many); there are multiple interests (the war machine, etc.) There are desperate ppl who loose it... Iraq is the epitome of a failed state, thrown into complete chaos, utterly lawless, inhabited by ppl who are so poor, so sunk down, so exposed, unsafe...

Iraq is a country under ‘illegal’ occupation. USuk (with the complicity and collaboration of the EU and silence on the part of Arab states) have killed roughly a million of them. With another 3 million displaced. Just for starters, as the Brits say.

Yeah, it is all their fault! They are now so uncouth and primitive that it’s a Civil War. No.

Posted by: Noirette | May 2 2007 17:40 utc | 100

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