Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 09, 2007

When People Die, "We're winning"

While being totally against the U.S. war on Iraq, I still feel some empathy for the troops being send there. Having been a soldier myself, it is painful to see them wasted for no cause. It is outrages to see some hurt because they are led by fundamentalist officers.

In today's Washington Post, David Finkel writes about such a case:

Everything in the Army is supposed to have a task and a purpose, and this simple mission was no different. The task was to get 27 soldiers from Point A to Point B, from their neighborhood combat outpost to an Army base four miles away. The purpose was to attend a memorial service for one of their fellow soldiers, who had died eight days earlier while attempting to make the very same trip.

The platoon is supposed to do counter-insurgency work by caring for the security of Iraqi civilians. But it is ordered  to take a dangerous trip to attend a memorial service.

Who is behind this?

On the early morning trip from A to B that platoon gets ambushed and hit by two IED's, RPG and gun fire. With helicopter support, they fight it off and escape. After two hours of mixed walking, driving and fighting they somehow all make it to the base camp with only minor injuries. In the evening of that day, they hold the memorial service.

Their mission had been a success.

Which meant that soon they would be on their next one: getting from Point B back to Point A.

The platoon and its company commander waste a whole day and make two very dangerous trips to remember someone who will not come back anyway. Who might have ordered such a stupid mission?

Earlier in the piece the reporter explains the dangerous surrounding and gives us a hint:

One explanation for such a surge in attacks: "We're winning. They wouldn't be fighting if we weren't winning. They wouldn't have a reason to," said Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich, the battalion commander. "It's a measure of effectiveness."

That is of course a braindead statement in itself. But it is not surprising as  Lt. Col. Kauzlarich has a record of being an kool-aid filled outer wingnut fundamentalist.

Three years ago he was involved in the coverup of the fractice that killed former football professional Pat Tillman in Afghanistan.

As ESPN reported:

Kauzlarich, now 40, was the Ranger regiment executive officer in Afghanistan, who played a role in writing the recommendation for Tillman's posthumous Silver Star. And finally, with his fingerprints already all over many of the hot-button issues, including the question of who ordered the platoon to be split as it dragged a disabled Humvee through the mountains, Kauzlarich conducted the first official Army investigation into Tillman's death.
In his interview with, Kauzlarich also said he was not driven to identify Tillman's killer. "You know what? I don't think it really matters," Kauzlarich said.

Tillman was just another soldier under his command. It doesn't really matter to Kauzlarich how that guy died.

Asked about the grief of Pat Tillman's parents:

Kauzlarich, now a battalion commanding officer at Fort Riley in Kansas, further suggested the Tillman family's unhappiness with the findings of past investigations might be because of the absence of a Christian faith in their lives.

In an interview with, Kauzlarich said: "When you die, I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right? Well, if you are an atheist and you don't believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt. So for their son to die for nothing, and now he is no more — that is pretty hard to get your head around that. So I don't know how an atheist thinks. I can only imagine that that would be pretty tough."

But for a Christian nut like Kauzlarich, risking the soldiers life by ordering them to take part in a memorial service while neglecting their basic task is obviously fine.

Why should he care? He just knows that any of those who get blown up and die achieve a better life. Isn't that reason enough to die for?

Kauzlarich makes sure his soldiers get a good chance to reach that state of better life by taking on a dangerous mission that doesn't make sense at all.

Because if they die, it only shows that "We're winning."

Posted by b on July 9, 2007 at 10:40 UTC | Permalink


Kauzlarich was going pretty easy on Pat Tillman and his family: every good Christian knows that Pat is rotting in Hell.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jul 9 2007 10:55 utc | 1

Good post, mate. I'm against this war (and the potential next, nuclear, one on Iran) so much so that my wife and I actually moved out of the country because of it. I don't blame the soldiers, though. Reading that Post story, you gotta feel for the poor ground-pounders, walking the gauntlet, having EFPs go off in their faces, struggling to stay alive. Doesn't sound like a war the U.S. is winning. They should have that Kauzlarich SOB walking point, or driving ahead in a Humvee, if he's so sure things are going so well.

Posted by: Bukko in Australia | Jul 9 2007 11:36 utc | 2

Kauzlarich. Another way to say worm dirt.

Posted by: beq | Jul 9 2007 11:50 utc | 3

So how do douchebags like Kauzlarich reconcile their "Christianity" with their participation in the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in this filthy war for oil and Middle East domination?

Posted by: ran | Jul 9 2007 15:06 utc | 4

by having faith in a polarity that unquestionably assumes the good kauzlarich & his christinist brethren are fighting evil in the world

Posted by: b real | Jul 9 2007 15:31 utc | 5

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., suggested in an oversight hearing to military officials on April 25, 2007, that Colonel Kauzlarich's remarks should be punished as conduct unbecoming of an officer. The military has yet to take disciplinary action against Kauzlarich.
Wikipedia: Ralph Kauzlarich

Posted by: b | Jul 9 2007 15:59 utc | 6


After looking at ran's question in post #4, I too have a question. First, if a known, habitual liar tells you he is an honest man, would you describe him as an honest man in your writings? For example, I try not to describe the GOP Party as conservative unless I use "highlighting quotes". I think it is ridiculous to describe this man as a Christian, a man who obviously has so little consideration of others. Of course, maybe the idea that this jerk has drunk so much kool-aid that he actually thinks he is doing the Iraqi's some big favor by participating in massive bombings and indiscriminate killings. But that is getting harder and harder to swallow for anyone, with or without kool-aid. Likewise, it is similarly disheartening to hear those on "conservative" talk radio describe Muslims as simply those who wish the death of Christians and Jews.

The fact is, whether from kool-aid or drinking baptismal water, this jerk Kauzlarich is no Mother Teresa.

Posted by: Rick | Jul 9 2007 16:07 utc | 7

yea b real, I suppose when you're on a holy crusade to rid the world of evil-doers (and liberate our oil from beneath their sand), the ten commandments are relegated to "quaint" status as Gonzo or his ghost-writers in the OVP would put it.

Posted by: ran | Jul 9 2007 16:24 utc | 8

"When you die, I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right?

By that 'logic,' anyone would be justified in killing as many 'Christians' as possible, since, in essence, you are doing them the favor of sending them off to a better life. One might begin with Kauzlarich himself, who, as a True Believer™, should be grateful and happy for the opportunity of going to a 'better place.'

Sheesh! x-tianity and critical thinking appear to be mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Bob M. | Jul 9 2007 16:36 utc | 9

I need to qualify that I am not a theologian but am curious about lots of things and that includes organized religion. Rick saying that Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich is not a Christian is true in a purist and narrow way. Of course it is true that Jesus Christ, who gives his name to the movement, taught non-violence and forgiveness. He even gathered such a large following that he had to be put down.

However, half of the Bible is dedicated to his father known as God or Allah or the one whose name cannot be said. Lots of soldiers and wannabes can strongly identify with God, he kicked serious ass. He could wipe out entire populations with biological weapons, turn living humans into pillars of salt, and generally cause a lot of discomfort to anyone who crossed him. A real man’s God.

Jesus is probably a bit embarrassing to those types, kind of like the weird uncle who keeps his house just a little too neat. But since Christianity is the dominant religion in the US and Europe, those guys have to go with the flow. You do see a lot of admiration for Israel from these guys as they can appreciate having just the old eye for an eye and tooth for tooth way of doing things without getting caught up in the turn the other cheek nonsense.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jul 9 2007 17:51 utc | 10

I wonder why the WaPo didn't make the same connection (kauslarich)that you did, because as you have shown us b, thats the real, and far more interesting & important story. They should fire Finkel and hire you.

Posted by: anna missed | Jul 9 2007 17:59 utc | 11

Anyone can feel for the the poor sap soldiers in Iraq, they are ppl after all, and living a very unpleasant life. Cannon fodder, it used to be called.

Dominated, on the ground, by the contractor / supervisor class. Taking over a country, killing much of its populace while fighting a phantom, or undertaking positive ‘public’ but misguided actions - to control energy and sell off any assets worth anything at all, is not exactly their job.

Fighting poor Iraqis cowering in their homes, small towns, etc. must depressing to many, though of course Rambo behavior, rape, rapine, - jewels, souvenirs, trophies - and previously currency exchange-, flash killings, or big ones, with bombs destroying the landscape, gut wrenching orgasmic enjoyable domination, American exceptionalism, the buddy love circuit, etc. keeps them going.

Low men on the pole, so they have to justify themselves, tighten up. Being cheap guns for the corps is not cool.

The short life of José Antonio Guiterrez

has obtained surprisingly excellent reviews.> description

He was the first US soldier killed in Iraq, a street kid from Guatemala. I will go see.

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 9 2007 18:56 utc | 12

it is ridiculous to describe this man as a Christian, a man who obviously has so little consideration of others

I agree.

There are such idiots in any religion - Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, whatever - I can certainly find you cases of crazies that justify their personal derangement with some "holy" reason within whatever religion.

But Kauzlarich argues on "Christian" ground so I call him on those.

Any real Christian who is trying to live the sermon on the mount, in my view the only moraly relevant legacy Christianity has, knows that Kauzlarich is outside of any moral stand at all.

He is a "kool-aid filled outer wingnut fundamentalist" - what "religion" he claims as justification for being that is irrelevant. There are idiots within any religious/philosophic framework.

Posted by: b | Jul 9 2007 19:06 utc | 13

@anna missed

I wonder why the WaPo didn't make the same connection (kauslarich)that you did, because as you have shown us b, thats the real, and far more interesting & important story. They should fire Finkel and hire you.

I agree, but I am not cheap enough (or sheep enough - somehow that sounds alike anyway)

Well, why didn't they make the connection? Ask the editors.

Indeed, I think the writer knows and uses the rediculous memorial run and the quote to emphazise just that. But if he stucks out the head to much he might get silenced ...

I recently reread some features and columns in German papers between 1933 and 1945. They are structured just like the WaPo piece. Often you can tell how the writers know what really is behind the issue and talk and how they write about heroic engagements while letting the truth creep in between the lines and by factual acount redicluing the persons they quote.

Fear of censorship and professional death sentence kept them away from calling it as it was/is.

Posted by: b | Jul 9 2007 19:22 utc | 14

b is correct. News is censored in the USA; but, the base motive is to avoid harming the profits of the multi-national owners. Is the German press honest about the futility of NATO pacifying Afghanistan with a few thousand Christian soldiers?

The volunteer army has one big advantage; it is self selecting. The only volunteers are the nut cases, true believers and the truly naive; black enlistment is down significantly. After the third tour of Russian Roulette only the true believers are left. It is all for nothing. Without the Draft there will never be enough boots on the ground to pacify the Middle East.

The real question is will the money managers and big oil intervene and reign in the Bush Administration so the world survives the next 18 months without a nuclear war....

Posted by: Jim S | Jul 9 2007 20:56 utc | 15

when I read about the death of Americans in Iraq, I have these strange moments of unaccountable bliss....

Where, oh where, are they coming from? I mean, I'm not an Iraqi, or a Muslim, or anything like that, so I guess I have to be a Christian... Come to think of it, I was born, baptized and raised in a Christian country.... But this glee, all these strange moments of unaccountable bliss at the news of Americans dying in Iraq--we know, we truly know, do we not?, that this is hardly the Christian way to think or feel....

Quite the contrary: American Christians feel their own strange moments of unaccountable bliss when watching (or hearing about) the massacre of Iraqi men, women and children--of Muslims and such.... And for these American Christians, such moments are hardly "unaccountable"! These massacres are the work of the Lord's Elect, and so their bliss is never tainted by confusion....

Should I start getting used to their "Election"?....

Posted by: alabama | Jul 9 2007 23:41 utc | 16

Damn Bama, (“we all did the best that we could do”- LnySky)

You’ve hit a deep felt sense/feeling/emotion that probably infuses most all of we under this lunar glow. I do not agree with your interpretation/expression of your sense. Don’t know if I’ll be able to articulate further but I’ll try. Have a little space tonight.

Posted by: Juannie | Jul 10 2007 0:17 utc | 17

I can picture Kauzlarich two years ago sitting in the officers quarters, polishing his golden cross pentant, listening to Cheney's "last throes" speech and nodding in agreement. Nothing to worry about, we're almost done here and home by christmas, Jesus will make sure of that.

As much as I understand the sorrow about our soldiers dying needlessly, no tears from me for any soldier KIA in Iraq. With their decision to sign up with the military, in other words their expressed willingness to learn how to kill fellow humans as effectively as possible, their implied readiness to leave brains and hearts at the barracks gate (I am sorry to say B), soldiers forfeit the entitlement to sympathy when KIA on foreign soil for no other reason than a decent pay cheque, owing it to the squad and/or family honor. If you don’t want to be part of it, don’t be!! At least the soldier had a choice and a protective jacket, the many thousands of now dead Iraqis who died at their hands did have neither.

As Chief Justice Jackson pointed out in Nuremberg 1945

...And we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into a trial of the causes of the war, for our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy...."

Soldiers fighting in Iraq are perpetrators of a massive war crime, and as such can't really expect a great deal of pity. May their God sort them out. Not that I wish for their deaths, and as harsh as it may sound, but if it happens, they surely had it coming.

Posted by: Juan M | Jul 10 2007 0:26 utc | 18

In reference to #9, I would think that any religion at all, by definition, would crumble under the harsh lights of logic and critical thinking.

Why don't Christians have their children murdered immediately after baptism? I would think guaranteeing a permanent place in heaven for your offspring would be worth any hardship. Oh, that's right -- they don't buy what they're selling, either. Crumble.

The kibosh on killing as a commandment would mean any Christian combat soldier is not only risking their "immortal soul", but not, by definition, a "good Christian" at all. Their bible doesn't allow individuals the freedom to pick and choose which parts they wish to follow. Yet the different sects differentiate themselves by just that. Crumble, crumble.

Or is that grumble? So much misery and death in this world, all because of religion. The gods should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by: Pyrrho | Jul 10 2007 3:31 utc | 19

speaking of (deaf, dumb & blind) missionaries...

stars and stripes: AFRICOM struggles to improve image of U.S.

GARMISCH, Germany — Improving the United States’ image in Africa was a prime topic as 80 people gathered Monday to discuss plans for the new U.S. Africa Command.

The command is scheduled to launch, at least partially, in October, when it would begin coordinating its military efforts on the continent.

“We need to get that right on the first day,” said Rear Adm. Robert Moeller, director of the AFRICOM Transition Team.

To underline the image issue, press clippings from throughout Africa were projected onto two big screens in a room for all those at the two-day conference to read.

“AFRICOM does not bode well for the continent. U.S. military installations on African territory would mortgage away sovereignty. Botswana should stay clear,” read one editorial.

“AFRICOM is exactly the opposite of what we need,” read another editorial, this one from Kenya.

Since the command promises to be a tough sell in many parts of the continent, image reconstruction promised to be a main issue at the two-day conference and beyond.

“The world is watching,” warned one attendee.

The command believes it is about to do good things: train soldiers to be effective and law-respecting, organize medical missions to help people be healthier, and dovetail efforts with other do-gooders to create win-win situations.
They asked how to avoid coming off as the 800-pound gorilla to the people of Africa and the world.

“We’re doing something right, but we don’t know what it is,” said C.D. Smith, from the Defense Department’s African Center for Strategic Studies. “We have not been able to capture that, and we need to be able to do that.”

“How will Africans themselves look at this?” asked another.

It was noted that of the 80 attendees, only one was born and raised in Africa.


Posted by: b real | Jul 10 2007 4:36 utc | 20

“We’re doing something right, but we don’t know what it is,” said C.D. Smith, from the Defense Department’s African Center for Strategic Studies. “We have not been able to capture that, and we need to be able to do that.”

there's a quote for the ages. how do we convince the darkies that this shit sandwich is actually delicious?

thanks b real.

Posted by: ran | Jul 10 2007 5:49 utc | 21

The command believes it is about to do good things: train soldiers to be effective and law-respecting, organize medical missions to help people be healthier, and dovetail efforts with other do-gooders to create win-win situations.

another risible howler. a country that conducts its lawless "counterterrorism" judging/jurying/executioning in Somalia via missiles fired from offshore has the fucking unmitigated hypocrisy to even mouth the word "law-abiding"?

Posted by: ran | Jul 10 2007 6:04 utc | 22

@Juan M - 18 - I'm with you - you will want read my piece on this a while ago and the shitstorm it caused :-)

In Favor of Killing American Troops

Posted by: b | Jul 10 2007 6:32 utc | 23

Juannie Dear Heart--post # 18--when you say that you don't "agree" with my "interpretation/expression of my sense," are you saying that you wish I didn't express it at all?

I hope not! For this is the only bar on the net--the only such bar that I know of, anyway--where such expressions are truly welcome, and also open to challenge (by me, by you, by everyone). We know this, and are very, very grateful to Bernhard for keeping the bar open.

Let's just say that I'm a very vain person, a WASP American male, who has to accept the responsibility that comes with being thoroughly identified (by myself, by everyone) with the people waging this war. I accept the identification--just as I did (and continue to do) with those of us who waged the war in Viet Nam. A part of me, whether I care to admit it or not, is on the ground with those troops. Common sense precludes my arguing against this wounding, this dreadful, fact.

So where to go with this rather dissonant fact (and a fact is what it is)?

My own answer, at the moment, is this: let it lead me, or let it lead my thoughts, to the place where reality makes itself known. Great writers have given us great exemplars in order to follow these things: Shakespeare, for example, gave us Othello, MacBeth, Claudius, and even Cornwall, not to mention Goneril and Regan, and who knows whom else besides... All these monsters are us (and also him--and he makes this very clear). They are not to be imitated, of course--merely recognized, and recognized affirmatively (that's me! Or, to put it more sociably, that's us!)

At this point in the game, if we let our thoughts proceed, our involvement becomes much more interesting than a mere crime (for which there is always the easy, and boring, solution of judgment and punishment, if only by our own stricken consciences).

A better perspective is always the one that asks: how do we get there in the first place?

Melville's (and not only Melville's) answer to that question--namely that all creatures, humans included, are cannibals--has the virtue of simplicity, and also happens to ring true. So let's just allow for a moment that we're cannibals....

If so, then what, or who, have we eaten lately? And have we eaten our meals well?

As Christians, we have been taught (by Christ himself, no less) to feast on his very own body (however "symbolically" we do this). For me and at this time, such is the meaning of his "sacrifice"--of any sacrifice.

What, then, is the best possible way to "eat" our victims in Iraq, along with the people we've sent there to kill them? How best to take them into our own bodies, and make their losses our own? For this is the one, the only, way of knowing what we've been doing all along (which is to "eat" our fellow man). Only the recognition, the acceptance, of this fact--call it a "hard knowledge" if you prefer--can enable us to grieve for what we do, and proceed to do it a little less wantonly (for we can never stop being cannibals, creatures that we are).

Are these thoughts unwelcome? Of course they are! But the only alternative, alas, is to prevaricate, and to point to everyone else--Bush, Cheney, the neocons, the hawks, the oil merchants--as the only people who carry on in this fashion.

This is false, and a dead end. For if we refuse to recognize our own "gains" at this feast--and it is indeed a feast, and all of us sit at that table--then we have no chance to end it. We will continue to feast forever, stupidly, and without the grace of understanding what we do.

This was Luther's idea of hell, and Luther was absolutely right.

Posted by: alabama | Jul 10 2007 8:13 utc | 24

*He just knows that any of those who get blown up and die achieve a better life. Isn't that reason enough to die for?"
I'm Osama Binladin and I approve this message.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Jul 10 2007 8:37 utc | 25

Weird piece from USAToady on>Attacks on Supply Lines Triple. The jest of which is attacks from a year ago numbered 281 to 869 in the last year.
Interesting also is the number of convoys over the same period have gone from 15 per day to 20-30 per day, and a distinction is made between "military" convoys, which the U.S. military protects, and all the others (?) which are protected and serviced by contractor interests.
The article does not distinguish what % of total convoys are either, or what % is being attacked - military or Iraqi government protected by contractors. But it does imply that the military, presumably because the attacks are up 3 fold, is interested in taking over all convoy security.
A couple of observations would conclude that a big part of the cost escalation in Iraq is due to a doubling of convoys run by the contractors and their increasing security risks, and that the dreaded nightmare of cutting off the supply lines is beginning to materialize.

Posted by: anna missed | Jul 10 2007 8:44 utc | 26

There are such idiots in any religion - Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, whatever - I can certainly find you cases of crazies that justify their personal derangement with some "holy" reason within whatever religion.

b, ............. a perfect vindication of Atheism.

Posted by: Parviz | Jul 10 2007 11:16 utc | 27

"That bastard the American Minister of Defense Rumsfeld, and I won't say shamelessly, because they don't know what shame means. These are criminals. The whole word can hear the warning sirens. This criminal sitting in the White House is a pathetic criminal and his Defense Minister deserves to be beaten. These criminals lie to the world because they are criminals by nature and conditioning. They consider this a military site! Shame on you! You will forever be shamed! You have ruined the reputation of the American people in the most terrible way! Shame on you! And we will destroy you!"

Posted by: Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf | Jul 10 2007 11:46 utc | 28

alabama #24

No, I’m not at all saying that I wish you hadn’t expressed your # 16. What you said tweaked me in some way and I welcome that. So I did give it a lot of thought and tried to write some of my thoughts around it as follows:

My feeling is closer to despair. Part of me says yeah, ‘the first ever global mafia are getting their empire asses kicked and it's a good thing for the future of humanity on this planet'. But another part of me, a significant part, sent time in the empire's legions, truly believing what my minister, teachers, parents, etc, etc drilled into me from birth, and in my youthful naivety thought was helping defend a noble cause, our righteous way of life.

I talk almost daily with friends in the American Legion over a beer, and my friends in the reserve who are only temporarily back in fortress America, and I know that their devotion is dedicated to the same spirit as mine albeit less informed. I remember that a lifelong culture of falsehoods will never be settled over a beer and I honor their spirit and despair the consequences. I don't not only not want to see my friend die, I don't want to see anyone die for the causes of the crime families inhabiting and directing the world's highest echelons of power.

I feel quite helpless and a lot of despair. I don't know if I will feel bliss as these heinous criminals are brought to ultimate justice, worldly or otherworldly. I think I'll feel a sense of failure as an elder in our culture that has acquiesced this degree of cultural degeneration.

I will feel satisfaction when their types of regimes are obsoleted from the human condition but I will also feel despair, again, for the souls of these mal-adapted human fools still stamping their feet and shouting in the dark as five year old's, to frighten off the bogeyman that mainly exist in their own minds.

I'm a pk, Anglican/Episcopalian. We immigrated to the Episcopal side of the border when I was 11.

Good feelings in the face of mayhem is not what the Historical or Biblical Jesus taught. Christian dogma originated from the edicts of the elites in Rome. The rest has been the pre-Freudian PR campaigns up until the true PR efficacy of today. It has been the dominator mentality that has been mainly controlling our knowledge and values since our transition from Mesolithic times. We have been so distorted neurologically that we diverge so strongly from our true and enlightened nature that our emotions rattle us from within a bizarro upside down universe. Thus we can feel naught but the opposite of our soul feelings when reacting in today's world.

I don't like (but I do appreciate you expressing it) that you lump all "American Christians" into an "unaccountable bliss [ful]" state when hearing of the mayhem. I think there is a sheeple reaction and many are afraid to not disguise their true feelings when surrounded by the herd. I was an atheist even before I knew there was such a word when I was in total fear of being found out as I thought I was the only one in the world to think this and would be totally ostracized (didn't know that word either. I was about 8 or 9).

I think that more and more sheeple are beginning to glimpse their dominated status on all levels and are looking for alternatives. That's why this bar and these discussions are so important. Someone else out there besides the choir is beginning to get it and it is beginning to defuse outward from them. Symbioses is the driving force of evolution. Not dog eat dog Darwinistic competition.

Posted by: Juannie | Jul 10 2007 11:47 utc | 29

But we are bringing them closer to our American ideal of the Second Amendment - not just the right, but the duty to bear arms: Iraq 'n' Roll

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jul 10 2007 12:06 utc | 30

@anna missed - 26
But it does imply that the military, presumably because the attacks are up 3 fold, is interested in taking over all convoy security.

??? - The article you point to says exactly the opposite:

The military is considering using private contractors to offer security for military supply convoys in Iraq, said Lt. Col. Reinhard Koenig, an operations officer for the Gulf Region Division. U.S. troops now do that job.

Posted by: b | Jul 10 2007 12:47 utc | 31

@Parviz - 27 - b, ............. a perfect vindication of Atheism.

There are atheist "wingnuts" too I think - instead of something religious, they make up some tribal, social or personal cause to justified feeling "wounded" and for "revenge" ...

Posted by: b | Jul 10 2007 13:13 utc | 32

If one rejects religious “fundamentalism” as many here do (and by contrast, many others of many different religions/faiths/sects do also), it is faulty reasoning to then use “fundamentalism” to prove or disprove a belief, or any thing else for that matter. Who then is the “fundamentalist”? Of course, on the other hand, however faulty or circular a logical process maybe, it is never totally worthless. And likewise for those who hone such skills: Christopher Hitchens is not totally worthless, he can always be used as a bad example; or to clarify Parvis’ phrase, ”… a perfect vindication of religious virtue”.

Personally, the somewhat political term “fundamentalist” is another term I try to avoid. After all, people of different religions, including (but not limited to) Christians, Muslims and Jews, all pray to the same God. And all religions, whether from East or West, share similar values - primary is harmony with one’s self, harmony with one’s neighbor and harmony with the natural world around us. Is not that the very essence of fundamentalism?

In Christian religions, as in others, it is most fundamental to love one’s neighbor. The story of the Sermon on the Mount is perhaps the closest one can get to the roots and fundamentals of this particular religious faith. In that respect, I am a fundamentalist.

A word taken literally, a word written by man from some religious text, and a word instead of a truth is a poor excuse for what should be fundamental. But simple minds and hardened hearts make it so. I think Dan of Steele made a good point and would just add that “turning the other cheek” is probably nonsense to many of any persuasion. However, such lack of virtue appears most glaring among what is described as “Christian Fundamentalists”, especially when one looks at such things like the death penalty or the “justification” of torture. It is simply hard for me to understand. From Laura Ingraham in the morning, to Rush Limbaugh in the afternoon, to Shawn Hannity at night, millions in the U.S. hear the same words found in the title to this thread: When People Die, “We’re winning” .

Posted by: Rick | Jul 10 2007 14:46 utc | 33

I believe that it is impossible to end hatred with hatred.
--Mahatma Gandhi, 23 November 1924

In struggling for human dignity the oppressed people of the world must not allow themselves to become bitter or indulge in hate campaigns. To retaliate with hate and bitterness would do nothing but intensify the hate in the world. Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can be done only by projecting the ethics of love to the center of our lives.
----Martin Luther King, Jr.

World peace through nonviolent means is neither absurd nor unattainable. All other methods have failed. Thus we must begin anew. Nonviolence is a good starting point. Those of us who believe in this method can be voices of reason, sanity, and understanding amid the voices of violence, hatred, and emotion. We can very well set a mood of peace out of which a system of peace can be built.
----Martin Luther King, Jr., December 1964

Yes, Alabama, you have freedom of speech, but your words are somewhat facile to me. Shakespeare not only made Regan and Goneril, he also made Cordelia. Tho evil is fascinating in its workings outside of society, isnt' the release of this tension from viewing evil the triumph of the good? I find it hard to believe that Shakespeare's audiences would have been satisfied if Cordelia were put to death by her sisters and then eaten for dinner.

Thousands of years before Jesus the Jews substituted goats for human sacrifice -- but of course the old belief that one assumes the power of another by eating their heart or brain hasn't been out of practice for that long .... tho recently it only occurred on the battlefield in the battles between certain, but not all, indigenous populations and the settlers...and the native americans did not win by this practice. In civil society, of course, such practice is considered an abomination -- Jeffrey Dahmer didn't last too long in prision before he was exterminated.

I do not understand this frisson you experience from death. To justify such a position by claiming all Americans delight in the deaths of others is a lie. Not all Americans feel the way you do. Rather, you align yourself with those who feel like you do by your statement. You take your thought experiment and then claim it is fact. That's a clever maneuver, but one that denies higher brain functions. So, you would have us deny those functions-- the ones that also created human civilization? Because nature for the most part takes the most efficient route -- the higher brain is built upon the lower brain -- no need to remake the apparatus for breathing and heartbeat... but the higher brain exists for a purpose as well.

Your claim that the only alternative is to lie sets up a false dichtomy that allows you to argue from a position of hatred...but not toward those who put the troops in Iraq (troops that were brainwashed by Fox and lied to by their commanders.) The troops generally come from the poor and/or immigrants to this place. Why do you excuse the powerful but delight in the murder of the subservient?

I do not agree that your statements are hard knowledge. Psychology is soft knowledge - soft science - and as far as Freud - he was wrong about the aborigines, and even those working within his framework, such as Nancy Chodorow, have established more rational understandings of females, for instance-- we are not castrated males -- Freud, operating out of a misogynistic, imperialist culture, could not begin to fathom others, it seems. I only want a penis when it is attached to a man, not to myself. I like my femaleness, my biology. What hubris could have invented such an idea? Male hubris, of course, built upon privilege.

And just as Freud made claims that are not universally true, perhaps your claim is also untrue. Those who have been become the icons of the way to humanity in modern times did not think that our lizard brains are all humans have to use to find ways to function (or to withdraw from Iraq, and to admit truths.)

I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love.
----Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957

Posted by: fauxreal | Jul 10 2007 15:40 utc | 34

We have been doing this thing for the past four hundred years, and we'll do it as long as we exist.

Of course there's a deep, and intrisically Christian, resistance to the way we do things, but the way we do things is also entirely "Christian"--the work of the self-anointed and self-perpetuating "Elect," the ones who own things, and run things, and enslave or kill as it suits their sense of mission.

Or, to put it another way, can anyone point to a single year over the past four centuries in which the Elect among us have not been actively engaged in killing or enslaving the rest?

I ask for still less than a year: just a month, or a week, or a day....

Posted by: alabama | Jul 10 2007 15:43 utc | 35

sorry about the deviation but I never understood why people hunt for sport

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jul 10 2007 15:55 utc | 36

ralphieboy, your 30 link doesn't work..

Posted by: annie | Jul 10 2007 16:11 utc | 37

well, I doubt the whole world has been at peace anywhere at one time. The Iroquois did have The Great Binding Law (law of peace) that brought six nations together to build peace, and others joined them.

This peace was only between these nations, tho. Rule of law,'s a start. The league of nations was supposed to develop the same idea, but obviously it hasn't succeeded.

one factor that points to possibility, tho, is that W. Europe had the death penalty for centuries and now it doesn't. Enough minds were changed to changed this behavior.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jul 10 2007 17:04 utc | 38

@anna missed - 26 - convoys

You will know the convoy/road situation is completly fucked up when they will use planes to deliver water.

Oh, they do ...

Posted by: b | Jul 10 2007 17:40 utc | 39


I said it was a "weird" article, mostly because it was so disjointed. Early in the piece it says:

"Guarding convoys is one part of the work in Iraq done by private companies, jobs that were once done by the military. Private firms also protect diplomats and staff checkpoints at U.S. military facilities."

Then at the end of the piece it says:

"The military is considering using private contractors to offer security for military supply convoys in Iraq, said Lt. Col. Reinhard Koenig, an operations officer for the Gulf Region Division. U.S. troops now do that job."

I thought the piece worth passing on, in spite of its poor quality, because its the first reporting on convoy attacks (going up).

Posted by: anna missed | Jul 10 2007 17:52 utc | 40

any particular group of peeps might generally agree on whats legal, whats moral, whats proper, whats fair, whats right/wrong. These are commonly shared feelings or opinions. Unlike the empathic dimension which is a likewise critical component in our un-ending search for truth. The empathic dimension is non-portable to the best of my knowledge. So if we are not trying to port it, it becomes invisible and strangely unaccountable.

which is why one or two in a party of dozens might feel uncomfortble watching their home football team beat up on the opposition by 65-3 while everyone else jubilates

religions, particularly highly organized religions seem to be focused only on portable dimensions.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jul 10 2007 17:59 utc | 41

The comments to this entry are closed.