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Memorial Day

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Another Memorial Day and remind me again what it is we are fighting for?

Y’know, when I was really small, I can recall both my grandfather and my uncle reminiscing about the wars they’d fought. It was easy to see that the experience, even to that very day, had left them with a mix of feelings. Proud yes, but very sad at the loss of friends and others in their fleets and platoons. As they sifted through old dog-eared photos, it was not unusual to see them wipe a tear away. My grandfather and his men fought to rid the world of fascism. Both he and my uncle were, at different times, a part of the Second World War and the Korean War. Of course they justified it all by saying that it was the "price of freedom."

On Memorial Day the family would go to watch the parade and watch the assorted politicians lay wreaths on assorted monuments in front of assorted dignitaries all about the city. All very somber and not just a little heart-wrenching as I thought about those noble men who had given their lives so that I could be safe in my home. Even as a preschooler I felt so indebted to these men who had done this, so that I could grow up in a free world. Though I may not have understood everything I was honoring that day, I did have a vivid picture in my mind of a brave soldier facing down an enemy and shooting him dead. I, like so many, justified this by saying it had to be that way – him or me – cost of peace – I’m surprised my visions didn't have a patriotic soundtrack to accompany them.

Fast forward to the mid '60s. Operation Rolling Thunder and Vietnam. More prices of peace paid there in Vietnam, as well as Cambodia, Iran, Lebanon, Grenada, El Salvador, Panama, Kuwait, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and now again Iraq. Has anyone figured out yet why two million Americans had to take part in ‘Nam? Worse, more than 58,000 Americans and another 304,000 wounded – for what? Did any of those soldiers facing down “the enemy” have a gripe with the enemy? No. They had no quarrel with the people who were trying to kill them. Neither did the enemy for that matter, both sides being victim of patriotic rhetoric trotted out from their governing houses to the media and subsequently a population of listeners. In any of the war footage sent back, did you see the brave politicians fighting in the rice fields of Vietnam? And reported deaths – anyone hear of many higher-up generals dying while in combat there?

Those soldiers were fighting and dying simply because powerful people who would never have to face death in battle told them it was their duty to die. And we all bow our heads and nod sagely. Maybe if they’d been able to see graphically what that ‘price was’. Not a romantic hoopla war movie, but the real deal? Maybe each evening when the news shows the loss of life in Iraq for that day, instead of a fresh young face all decked out in dress uniform, they should be shown a photo of the kid after he was killed. Maybe then people will have a real picture of the price extracted. And realize that real guns shatter people's skulls and leak their brains like seeping, grey pudding, and the bullets rip their insides to shreds and leave them screaming for their Moms.

Those guns kill families and leave children fatherless or motherless, or in all likelihood a longer term injury – having to live with their visions and demons they bring back with them. Not a pretty picture, is it? The truth many times isn't. But then the news would also warn us to turn our heads as the following would be graphically unpalatable for their tender eyes.

So here we are again today, fighting to save lives. Whose? Four years ago we were fed more war mongering fodder and told we had to send our guys back to war again because Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction that posed a direct and immediate threat to the peace and security of our country. Blah, blah. They’re coming to get us again so we have to get them first… blah, blah. Four years later, 3,200 more young Americans are dead, and 30,000 more have been wounded.

We all know, if we’re honest with ourselves that is, that we went to war based on a lie. And now instead of saving more lives, Mr. Bush asks us to be patient; Congress diddles around over non-binding resolutions and it seems once more there will be no end to this. These soldiers in Iraq today are dying for the same reason the men and women in Vietnam did – arrogant government power brokers that are either too ignorant or too cowardly to separate the rhetoric of patriotism from the real essence of patriotism. Why should we really worry about terrorists taking American lives? Our own government is doing a bang-up job of that for us! Our soldiers died because a Hollywood fantasy version of the ‘noble fight’ and it has been trotted out to us by war-mongering leaders.

And on this Memorial Day we again honor those heroes who can’t be a part of it.

I think if we really want to honor our fallen heroes properly, we need to try a little harder to keep any more of them from falling in the first place. We might try to be less gullible and ready to believe rousing oratory when politicians and generals tell us the next war is necessary. We might take a moment to consider that the ones who start these wars for peace are seldom the ones who take part in any of the killing – or any of the dying.

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About This End Up

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    I can’t go to the Mall in Washington,DC without standing for awhile at the Vietnam Memorial and mourning every one of those thousands of lost young men and women–average age 19– whose names are carved there, because of our government’s lies, deceit, hubris, futility and incompetence.

    I guess it’s time to start thinking about the design and location for the Iraq war memorial in memory of so many more young American lives wastefully and carelessly sacrifced by unworthy fools.

  • Baronius

    The problem with Vietnam and Iraq is that we didn’t kill enough of the enemy. They were necessary wars, and we were right to be in them. A victory in Vietnam would have saved SE Asia from murderous communists. Victories in Iraq and Afghanistan are liberating millions. The world has to know that force for evil will be met with force for good. That will result in many deaths, of American soldiers, enemy soldiers, and civilian bystanders.

    Don’t assume that your political opponents are romanticizing war. We’re not.

  • Baronius

    Let me take that a step further: I think that you’re romanticizing peace. Sometimes the “peace” of rape rooms and mass murders is worse than the war that puts a stop to them. You admit as much when you reflect bittersweetly on WWII. Why can’t you see the benefit in subsequent wars?

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    #2&3: We were attacked by the countries we fought against in WWII;they declared war against us.

    Then, we declared war against them as the Constitution mandates. Defending ourselves and legally, too is a hell of a lot different than the crackpot and stupid blundering of Vietnam and Iraq–no front, guerilla-style tactics we’re not well-equiped to face, civilian hostility, no clear measureable ultimate objectives, endless American combat deaths with no end in sight and rivers of money gone.

    And, in opposition to what the majority of our people want us to be doing.

    Defend the results if you can, but first explain exactly how victory in the Middle East is to be recognized and defined, and how long will it take to achieve.

    Oh, and also:tell us how destroying several countries, ruining our economy and our image around the world, and splitting our people is a force for good?

    To all vets:Thanks!

  • methuselah

    Baronius:

    I see you share MY views. Once we determine who the odious enemy is we should HBomb them: glass over their country and put the Fear Of God (OUR God) into them.

    We have 6000 nuke tipped missiles, what are we waiting for?

    What does “war” mean?

  • http://back-to-the-egg.blogspot.com/ Ginger

    Baronius; I am not waxing bittersweet nor portraying peace romantically. I am remembering how the men in my family were left to feel after their tours of duty and passing that fact along. And while I will concede that there has been minuscule benefits for some in the countries you mention, it doesn’t justify the war as a whole. In very short order the balance will be lost altogether.

    Also any attempt by you to compare Vietnam or Iraq with WWII is almost blasphemous, but I already know better than try to explain why that is to you.

    The world has to know that force for evil will be met with force for good.” Who is good and who is evil? It depends on from which side you view it, doesn’t it? And who’s good (as in welfare)? Certainly not ours, and the last time I checked the news, fighting and loss of life were escalating there. Civil war, which is taking a horrendous toll on that region and our coffers here as well. In case you haven’t noticed our cost of war lately, we’re quickly approaching the $430,186,000,000.00 mark and I’ll apologize ahead of time because I know by the time I hit the publish button, it’ll be sadly short of the mark.

    Just take a peek at how much it’s costing you and I to kill our own.

  • Baronius

    “Who is good and who is evil?”

    Is that a joke?

    Killing your own citizens is evil. Bombing Saudi Arabia and Israel is evil. Invading Kuwait and Iran is evil. Shooting at American and British airplanes is evil. Slaughtering Kurds and Marsh Arabs is evil.

    Freeing the Afghanis and Iraqis from horrible dictators is good. Spending a fortune to clean up the mess is good. Staying long enough to make sure that the countries rebound is good. Torturing prisoners in Abu Ghraib is evil; prosecuting your own soldiers for doing it is good.

  • http://back-to-the-egg.blogspot.com/ Ginger

    No joke!

    You’re right – killing your own citizens is evil. Isn’t that what this administration is doing? Maybe not on this very soil, but surely sending them off to be killed for some thankless, unsolvable reason and causing grossly insurmountable debt at home. And that is a fact.

    Facts don’t cease to exist just because you ignore them. If you feel a sense of pride for wasting lives aiding Iraqis and Afghanis who really don’t want you there in the first place, then I really have no more to say. Just remember that nothing learned from history means we’re destined to repeat it and you do remember a time when Saddam Hussein was a good buddy of ours do you not?

    You do remember the time when Washington was trying to cultivate a constructive relationship with Iraq back in the ’80’s. They spent over a decade working on that if you’ll excuse the pun. The Reagan administration gave Saddam roughly $40 billion in aid back then for fighting Iran, and nearly all of it on credit.

    They also sent billions of dollars more to him to keep him from forming a stronger alliance with the Soviets. Saddam’s Iraq became ” the third-largest recipient of US assistance.” Are you going to tell me now that was money well spent too? Where did that get us?

    It got us to where we are today, no wiser but one hell of a lot poorer.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Who is good and who is evil? It depends on from which side you view it, doesn’t it?

    Good and evil are not, or should not be subjective. If we are not purely good, we retain the capacity to become good, or to at least purge ourselves of the tendancy to become like the evil which we fight against.

    As for those who are truly evil and beyond redemption, they are known by the fruits of their evil, by the indiscriminate bombings, targeting of civilians and all of the things which they do which have been condemned by civilized society for centuries.

    While evil is easily identified, merely opposing it does not inherently make one good. Actually being good requires an intent to actively do good, not merely oppose evil.

    But there is also the central issue of intent. If your intent is to do good, but you come up short of that objective, are you still good? Do you get credit for the good you do, even if you don’t do everything you set out to do or potentially could accomplish? Most of us are not evil or good, but we ought to get credit if we are trying to do good, despite our occasional failures.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    “#2&3: We were attacked by the countries we fought against in WWII;they declared war against us.”

    That’s incorrect Lee.

    The Japanese attacked America on dec 7, 1941. America decalred war with Japan the following day. Then 3 days later on Dec 11, 1941 Germany and Italy declared war on America but they never actually attacked America as the Japanese did.

    Just thought I’d clear that up.

  • http://back-to-the-egg.blogspot.com/ Ginger

    Dave, exactly! Good or evil should never be subjective, yet it is for nearly everyone at war because it depends on how we’ve been brought up to think of it. Aside from our family influences, are we led to understand good and evil from the teachings of a priest? A minister, a rabbi? Or a Dalai Lama – a Grand Mufti perhaps?
    You get my point.

    In Iraq, they aren’t all that different in that respect. They are guided by their spiritual leaders to save their lands from Godless infidels. We don’t see ourselves as that, and therefore justify our presence there as having a duty to free the Afghanis and Iraqis from horrible dictators. While they may want that to happen, they don’t want us there doing it for them.
    Yet we still are and it’s exacting a tragic toll on all countries, ours included.

    All mankind have different interpretations of good and evil. Even Saddam himself, when the world was horrified at his acts of terror within his own country, he thought he was being a good and benevolent leader and being politically expedient. His intentions to him, were good intentions. Therefore, defining a failed act of goodness becomes almost impossible to gauge then, doesn’t it?
    You know what they always say about the road to hell.

    I don’t profess to be a strategist, but I think in this instance, you don’t have to be. We knew that when Saddam Hussein fell, there was going to be chaos in that country and there is. There was no-one there who could step in and hold Iraq together, yet we set out to topple him without sound strategy in place.

    As for defining evil, for me some things are straightforward there. People preying on children – evil. There is no intention to do good there at all, or even anything that could be translated as good.

  • http://back-to-the-egg.blogspot.com/ Ginger

    Arch Conservative;
    Aren’t you deliberately nit-picking Lee’s remark? No, there was no physical attack on the US. But a formal declaration of war issued against a nation is an attack. Were we supposed to wait until bombs were raining down before doing anything, or was it wiser to put a defensive plan in place when the ‘attack’ was put on us? The Hague and Geneva Conventions were quite clear on what constitutes an ‘attack’. A declaration of war is considered an attack.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    #10:
    Thanks, Arch. I was trying to encompass the just reasons we entered the war (as you state them) into a single sentence.

  • Arch Conservative

    Ginger considering how nitpicked my comments have been over time I think I am entitled to nitpick others.

    As I read it Lee Richards was insuating that all of the Axis nations had militarily attacked us on our own soil. That of course is wholly inaccurate as only Japan had done so. Also there is no historical evidence that suggests that either Italy or Germany was planning on attacking us in very late 1941….early 1942.

    Futhermore Ginger………..you stated…

    “Were we supposed to wait until bombs were raining down before doing anything, or was it wiser to put a defensive plan in place when the ‘attack’ was put on us?”

    Can’t that argument be used as a justification of today in our fight with the jihadists and the nations that sponsor and harbor them?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    You seem to have completely missed my point, Ginger. I’ll make it simpler.


    All mankind have different interpretations of good and evil.

    And some of them are just wrong. Good is good and evil is evil.

    At the point where the Mullah or the Priest or the Swami or the Politician tells you that the route to heaven requires the murder of innocents, then you’ve embarked on the path of evil. Being endorsed by the establishment doesn’t make evil actions good.

    And before you even go there, remember that ‘murder’ is defined by intent. Accidental deaths of innocents in the process of attacking actual villains aren’t murcer.

    Dave

  • http://back-to-the-egg.blogspot.com/ Ginger

    No, I don’t think so, Dave; no need to simplify for my sake – I gotcha. But in essence you’re arguing my argument.

    “Some of them are wrong.” Who decides this? Once again it all comes back to which way you’re leaning, doesn’t it? In the eyes of many Iraqis you & I are evil. Many in this country look on them the same way. Who’s right? Of course you’re going to say we are. And young Hakim Sabah (fictitious name) is going to vehemently disagree with you & tell you that Allah has told them differently. America, in fact is the evil entity in this conflict.

    Y’know…I hate war. And I’m finding myself spending my whole Memorial Day weekend talking about it. This is not something I want to continue to do.

    I wasn’t brought up a Christian. And that may be something that many people think is awful. But I don’t. I get a chance to ask questions without fearing a bolt of lightning whacking me, or being locked out of a heaven for eternity. I don’t take anothers life in the name of my god no matter how right it seems to me.

    Some of my questions are valid too. Can you answer why, if God is rational & all powerful as is claimed, he hasn’t straightened out just who is right? It’s supposedly among his top priorities to bring about peace on earth, so why then couldn’t he just have spoken to people in a thunderous voice from the sky or given some sign in the clouds that all understood worldwide? Since he’s eternal, he’s certainly had a long time to get that done.

    Even back in the days of Jesus, events could have occurred differently. Instead of appearing only to his followers, the resurrected Christ could have appeared to millions of people, including Pontius Pilate and even Emperor Tiberius and others in Rome. He could have proclaimed the truth before all those people, demonstrating the existence of an afterlife by his own resurrection. He could have made such a definite place for himself in history that it would have enlightened billions of people coming later, & then there’d be no question about the truth or true god today, would there?

    One last note & I really am finished & heading off to a pleasant BBQ! You’re right. Murder is defined by intent. I don’t think I said anywhere that it wasn’t. =)

    Enjoy the remainder of you weekend.

  • Doug Hunter

    “His intentions to him, were good intentions.”

    That’s true of almost everyone. People twist and distort their view to justify their actions regardless of how silly they seem to those outside their world.

    As for the existence of good and evil, I don’t believe those terms have any more meaning than left and right. They’re all relative to our currnet position or deep underlying values.

  • Baronius

    Yet, Ginger, you know the difference between good and evil. You don’t want to acknowledge it, but you do. You have this feeling (more than a feeling) that harming children is wrong. You believe that war and genocide are wrong. For whatever reason, you don’t want to label Saddam’s regime as evil, but you know that it was.

    Why? Is it that you don’t want to judge? But how can we claim to be moral beings if we don’t judge some actions as wrong? It can be unseemly to point out the errors in others, and I understand your reluctance. We need to be diligent in always double-checking ourselves before we offer judgements of anyone else’s actions. And we can’t judge another’s intent. At some point, though, you have to look at the unmarked mass graves across northern Iraq and say that this was evil.

  • Arch Conservative

    I plan on celebrating memorial day evening by watching “letters from Iwo Jima,” a movie depicting part of World War from the viewpoint of our once arch enemies, the Japanese.

    Hey it’s supposed to be a damn fine movie and they make damn fine cars for so many Americans and they’re one of our best allies today so what the heck.

    It’s a comforting thought to think that after the brutalities we visited on each other just 65 – 70 short years ago we are now enjoying such a close and mutually beneficial relationship with one another.

  • http://back-to-the-egg.blogspot.com/ Ginger

    Baronius;
    I’m confused. Or I’ve made you confused. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done that…lol!

    Oh yes, I most certainly do know the difference between good & evil! By using the lessons taught to me as a kid & by fundamentally being a compassionate human being, it’s not hard for me to know which is which. You really don’t have to have religion in your life to teach you those things. If someone is cruel or murderous, then that is evil – they are evil. It doesn’t matter that they feel they’re justified. They have no right to take anothers life.

    And I do think Saddam (the Butcher of Baghdad) and his regime were evil. I still think the Baaths have other ‘Saddam wannabe’s’ waiting for an opportunity to take up where he left off & I fear they are far worse than he was, having now learned from his mistakes. Getting rid of him may have only made room for someone equally ruthless and evil.

    Immediately after Desert Storm I read a book on Saddam & Iraq entitled Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf. While somewhat outdated now (since the execution of Saddam) it still is one of the best and eye-opening accounts of what kind of crisis exists there. If you’re interested Amazon has the book.

    And another book The Reckoning, also goes into the futility of ridding Iraq of Saddam. It too, can be purchased at Amazon.

    I highly recommend both books.

    And Arch Conservative – yes it’s so gratifying that the conflict of all those years ago was left there and we’ve all moved on to share the planet more peaceably. Altho’ our family doesn’t have a Japanese vehicle, just a Lincoln Aviator, a Mach 1 Mustang GT and an 11 year old Escort GT. We sort of stuck with the American stuff. =)

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    “Some of them are wrong.” Who decides this?

    There are objective standards. If your actions kill innocent people or deprive them of their basic rights, then they are wrong.

    Once again it all comes back to which way you’re leaning, doesn’t it? In the eyes of many Iraqis you & I are evil.

    Yes, but that’s subjective and they are wrong by an objective standard.

    Many in this country look on them the same way. Who’s right? Of course you’re going to say we are.

    No, I’m going to say that both are wrong. The average Iraqi and the average American are not evil and have done nothing to violate any objective standard of evil.

    And young Hakim Sabah (fictitious name) is going to vehemently disagree with you & tell you that Allah has told them differently. America, in fact is the evil entity in this conflict.

    Yes, but by the objective standard I’ve outlined he would be wrong, and if he’s basing it on Allah telling him then he has no credibility at all.

    I wasn’t brought up a Christian. And that may be something that many people think is awful. But I don’t. I get a chance to ask questions without fearing a bolt of lightning whacking me, or being locked out of a heaven for eternity. I don’t take anothers life in the name of my god no matter how right it seems to me.

    Um, since there’s no actual god, whether you were a Christian or not, none of those things would happen. And if your god is telling you to violate the basic human rights of others, then he’s a pretty crappy god and you should go shopping for a better one.

    Some of my questions are valid too. Can you answer why, if God is rational & all powerful as is claimed, he hasn’t straightened out just who is right?

    My answer is that it’s because he doesn’t exist. Most would say that it’s because he wants us to sort it out for ourselves. After all, how else can we keep the crowds down on the golf courses in heaven if we just let everyone in?

    It’s supposedly among his top priorities to bring about peace on earth, so why then couldn’t he just have spoken to people in a thunderous voice from the sky or given some sign in the clouds that all understood worldwide? Since he’s eternal, he’s certainly had a long time to get that done.

    I’m not the one to talk to about this. Not at all. But aqain, putting aside the fact that he doesn’t exist, the reason is that he’s not running our lives would be that we’ve been given free will, and that means we’ve got to sink or swim on our own. If he did everything for us, then our existences would be meaningless.

    Ok, enough of this pointless digression.

    One last note & I really am finished & heading off to a pleasant BBQ! You’re right. Murder is defined by intent. I don’t think I said anywhere that it wasn’t. =)

    Well, the key difference between the US and the islamic terrorists of the world is that the US does not intend to kill the innocent while the terrorists specifically go after them as targets of first choice. That’s the difference between just being normal and trying to do good, and being outright evil.

    Dave

  • STM

    Dave, here’s my view: hate the war, love the people who are being sent over to do their government’s bidding. Don’t let it become like Vietnam. I can remember in Australia, when the Vietnam vets came home, quite often they’d come back on a special Qantas flight in the middle of the night, or be flown by the RAAF to an airbase somewhere out of the way so they wouldn’t cop it from the anti-war protesters.

    People used to spit at them and abuse them, and it took them many years before they were game enough to march with the old diggers on Anzac Day (our Memorial Day). I assume the situation was the same in the US, from what I saw on TV back then.

    That would be a travesty if it were to happen again. Governments decide these things, not the soldiers.

  • MCH

    “The problem with Vietnam and Iraq is that we didn’t kill enough of the enemy. They were necessary wars, and we were right to be in them. A victory in Vietnam would have saved SE Asia from murderous communists.”
    – Baronius

    “President Kennedy first began to have doubts about our military effort in Vietnam in 1961 when both General Douglas MacArthur and General Charles de Gaulle warned him that the Asian mainland was no place to be fighting a non-nuclear land war. There was no end to Asian manpower, MacArthur told the President, and even if we poured a million American infantry soldiers into that continent, we would still find ourselves outnumbered on every side.”
    http://www.orwelltoday.com

    I think I’d take the opinion of a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient over someone who’s never served….

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    I think I’d take the opinion of a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient over someone who’s never served….

    Even one with a reputation for making mistakes and who couldn’t take orders?

    From Wikipedia:

    “MacArthur was removed from command by President Harry S Truman in April 1951 for insubordination and failure to follow Presidential directives.

    “While MacArthur was a brilliant commander, this did not preclude him from making some serious blunders. He was also a noted egotist, and this ultimately helped lead to his dismissal.”

    Winning the Congressional Medal of Honor only means the recipient was brave on at least one occasion; it doesn’t bestow infallibility.

  • STM

    The veterans Down Under have reason to remember Macarthur and he’s probably as well-known here as he was in America because he commanded the Australian Army in the latter stages of WWII.

    They all came back from the middle-east in 1942 and 1943, having been commanded by the British and Montgomery, then struck MacArthur and the Americans (our new colonial masters) – both men cast in the same, arrogant mould. The vets here remember MacArthur as a very prickly SOB with an ego that needed its own postcode. One of my old mates (now passed away) who I used to go to the rugby with was in the desert war in Libya and Egypt where he was badly burned in a tank, then came home and became a landing-craft operator in the Pacific. He said, and I quote, “both big-heads, both bastards”.

    Straight from the horse’s mouth.

  • Arch Conservative

    Correct me if I’m wrong but the US military didn’t lose a single engagement in Vietnam..not one during the whole war.

    The reason we lost that war was because we lost the stomache to win it at home and the politicians decided it was time to come home.

    Whether or not you thought it was worth fighting is a separate thing from whether or not it was actually winnable if we stuck it out in the long run is it not MCH?

  • S.T.M

    You can’t be serious, Arch. I guess it depends on what your definition of winning is. Anyway, doesn’t alter the fact that those fighting over there were doing so at the behest of the governments. Like I say, you can hate the war, but I can never understand why people feel the need to hate the people who were sent there to do what they were told – who in any other situation might be the ones putting their lives on the line to save the people who abuse them.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    A military solution was not possible in Vietnam, and is not possible in Irag, for the reasons stated by MCH in #23, as well as all the others so often listed before.

    Not even Bush believes that “stay the course” is the answer any more(nor did Nixon believe it about Vietnam.)

  • Baronius

    Ginger – I’m sorry if I’m harping on a point that you regard as minor, but I think it’s crucial. There are many arguments that can be made against the Iraq War: ideological, strategic, tactical, whatever. You chose to argue that good and evil are subjective. That raises three problems for me.

    (1) It negates any further discussion of the war. It also means that health care, pedophilia, and Mentos are morally equivalent.

    (2) You yourself have argued the opposite position, not just that individual things can be good or evil, but that good and evil are real absolutes. (Note that I haven’t brought Christianity, Islam, or religion in general into the conversation.)

    (3) No one defending the war argues that good and evil are meaningless, at least no one I’ve heard. War opponents often make the argument that good and evil are meaningless. It was one of your first stops when I challenged your article. That really scares me.

  • sr

    Arch#26.Your comment is perfect and truthful. We did not lose one single engagement. American troops are the best in the world, bar none. The dirt bag liberals lost the war for us. To you liberals today, we know who you are and where you are and your time is running out. Your day of reckoning draws near for crimes against America.

  • Dr Dreadful

    It’s a comforting thought to think that after the brutalities we visited on each other just 65 – 70 short years ago we are now enjoying such a close and mutually beneficial relationship with one another.

    Kind of illustrates the point that the actual troops doing the fighting aren’t enemies except in the sense that their leaders tell them they are. Once the war’s over, and those in power feel they’ve proved whatever point it was they felt they had to prove, it’s pretty much back to business as usual.

    So – probably about time the US government stopped sulking over the Bay of Pigs, isn’t it?

  • Dr Dreadful

    I hate war. And I’m finding myself spending my whole Memorial Day weekend talking about it.

    Forgive me, but writing an article about Memorial Day and posting it on May 26th is probably not the soundest approach if you don’t want to spend all Memorial Day weekend talking about it.

    I did like the article though. :-)

  • STM

    SR wrote: “Arch#26.Your comment is perfect and truthful.”

    Lol. You must have been right Arch … even SR’s agreeing with you.

  • sr

    DAMN RIGHT

  • http://back-to-the-egg.blogspot.com/ Ginger

    Baronius;
    I argue that good & evil are subjective?

    I’m afraid you’ve got that a bit wrong. Go back to posts #9 where Dave Nalle made the initial remark. Then go to post #11 where I said [quote]Good or evil should never be subjective, yet it is for nearly everyone at war because it depends on how we’ve been brought up to think of good & evil.

    I personally do not believe it should be, yet it is the argument of war. I will defend that because I’ve heard the arguments.
    And thank you for the omission of religious reasoning. I tend to agree with
    Freud’s remarks about it; “Where questions of religion are concerned, people are guilty of every possible sort of dishonesty and intellectual misdemeanor.”

    That goes back to what I meant about people feeling that could perform all sorts of atrocities in the name of their god(s). And how our upbringing is critical to the way we think. Remove religion from that & you remove the catalyst.

    I’m not trying to stir the ashes here, but imo, the facts are there. All the major religions of the world are guilty of high crimes, including – but certainly not limited to – inhuman cruelty, superstition, fabrication, corruption, sexism, racism, & internal contradictions. It’s those things that lead to & appear in wars. People justify things with the operative word ‘faith’ & those who thoughtlessly toss that word around should have their eyes opened by humans perhaps & be held accountable?

    I did nothing more in my initial post than wish that we didn’t have to look forward to any more loss of life in war. I wanted to share those feelings with others, knowing that (see Freud) I would get comments on the piece.

    What I wasn’t expecting, was that I would be engaging in the follow-up talk & answering to the comments. Please don’t read into that any more than what it is? =) You guys can just mingle amongst yourselves now. LOL!

  • zingzing

    dave: “If your actions kill innocent people or deprive them of their basic rights, then they are wrong.”

    true. but that means all war is wrong. which it pretty much is. on most levels. but whatever.

    as for archie’s idea that we could have won the war if we had just WANTED to… yeah… okay. we didn’t lose the war because we weren’t trained to fight it… we didn’t lose the war because of the terrain and the indistinguishable good guy/bad guy problem… we lost it because of protests 7,000 miles away… yep.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    true. but that means all war is wrong. which it pretty much is. on most levels. but whatever.

    No, Zing. When your war is made against the killers of the innocent in order to stop them from killing the innocent then it is justifiable.

    Dave

  • troll

    so..how do you justify killing the innocent in your war to stop the other guy from killing the innocent – ?

    aggressive war is unacceptable

  • MCH

    “When your war is made against the killers of the innocent in order to stop them from killing the innocent then it is justifiable.”

    But it really isn’t “your war” unless you actually join in the fighting, is it?

  • zingzing

    we kill innocent people, dave, while we try to protect innocent people from getting killed by other people.

    that’s the point, which you seem to miss. no matter how noble our intention may be, we become the problem that we are trying to solve.

  • J.J. Hunsecker

    “When your war is made against the killers of the innocent in order to stop them from killing the innocent then it is justifiable.”

    Sounds just like something Bin Laden would say.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    “Sounds just like something Bin Laden would say.”

    Bin Laden’s a better general than any of the American generals who have faced him over there.

    So were Vo Nguyen Giap and Ho Chih Minh.

    We may have the biggest military force, but it’s not the best.

    And it hasn’t been for a long time.

  • MCH

    “Ho Chi Minh is a son-of-a-bitch;
    He’s got the blue-ball crabs and the seven year itch!!”

  • Dr Dreadful

    And I bet your old drill sergeant’s voice still keeps you awake at night, huh? And not to sing songs at you.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    so..how do you justify killing the innocent in your war to stop the other guy from killing the innocent – ?

    There are several ways. First off, our innocents have more value to us than their innocents do. If that’s too self-serving, you can try as hard as possible no to kill any innocents and keep the accidental deaths to a minimum. And hopefully your bodycount of accidentally killed innocents will be lower than the number of innocents whose lives you save by taking action.

    This stuff should be pretty obvious.

    aggressive war is unacceptable

    Is a war against chronic, psychotic aggressors an aggresive war, or is it by nature a defensive war?

    But it really isn’t “your war” unless you actually join in the fighting, is it?

    Bullshit. It’s my war if it’s done in my name and with my tax money. That being the case, the war in Iraq is YOUR war too, MCH. Deal with it.

    Sounds just like something Bin Laden would say.

    And that sounds like something a moron would say.

    Dave

  • STM

    When MCH says “it isn’t your war”, perhaps he should approach it from this point of view: he, like everyone else, is a potential target. Perhaps he should come down to Bondi Beach and meet my friend Dave, whose only daughter was blown to bits in Bali. She certainly didn’t think it was her war, and nor did he.

    Mass murderers don’t differentiate between innocent 15-year-olds, war supporters, war haters or the in-betweens.

    If you’re in the line of fire, you’re gone. At least the US makes a genuine effort to keep civilian casualties to a minimum, instead of directly targeting them.

    For the same reason, I could never support the IRA’s murderous campaigns, despite my Irish background.

    No-one should give in to psychopaths or their twisted ideologies, no matter how much personal pain that might bring in terms of how you feel about going to war. I say what the US is doing is the lesser of two evils.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Dave sez: Is a war against chronic, psychotic aggressors an aggresive war, or is it by nature a defensive war?

    But exactly how defensive is a war that sends its fighters halfway across the world to attack a place from which the alleged aggressors didn’t even originate?

    It seems to me that America these days is a little too quick a little too often to decide that a “defensive” war is necessary. Among the nations of the “free” world, the USA is by far the most militaristic (even more so than the French, who have a pretty beefy military but whose relative lack of enthusiasm for armed conflict is understandable seeing as they’re crap at it).

    Why, for instance, does America need two national holidays honoring the military when the rest of the world makes do with one? (Actually three, if you count the Fourth of July, which is increasingly becoming another celebration of the troops nowadays.)

    Militarism is everywhere. The US military machine is so huge, powerful and technologically superior that it is capable of defeating any opponent in a pitched battle* without breaking sweat. Members of the armed services are revered almost as saints, even more so than the clergy used to be. ‘Support our troops’ signs, ribbons and bumper stickers adorn countless yards, windows and vehicles. Public figures fall over themselves to assure us that although they may have misgivings about defense policy, they’re not criticizing the troops themselves.

    Heck, even the national anthem is about war.

    Curious, for a country that was born of war but fell over itself, in the founding, to avoid any association with it, refusing to appoint a substantial standing army and sticking to that policy for over a century.

    Just wondering.

    *Note my italics there, before you all start.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    “The US military machine is so huge, powerful and technologically superior that it is capable of defeating any opponent in a pitched battle* without breaking sweat.”

    That’s what we like to think, anyway.

    BUT…

    A pretty dismal record over the last forty years.

    Got our heads handed to us by ragtag bands of Asian and Arab peasants.

  • STM

    Doc wrote: “Even more so than the French, who have a pretty beefy military but whose relative lack of enthusiasm for armed conflict is understandable seeing as they’re crap at it”.

    In a miscue almost as good as that of the record company executive who didn’t sign The Beatles, I give you Napoleon, just prior to the Battle of Trafalgar: “Phfft! The Ingleesh. What are they to me? I will crush them like flies. They are nothing but a nation of shopkeepers … “

  • STM

    And of course, those of us hailing originally from fair (and perfidious) Albion (and surrounds) are not warlike at all, are we Doc?? Not like those dreadful bloody Americans. Everyone knows the British and their kin are a peace-loving people … well, just asking …

    But you know what, you might have something of a point and I have a theory: The United States has had the largest number of German immigrants – even more than South Australia (where most of them changed their surnames in 1914). I believe it may also explain the preponderance of helmets in America’s two national sports.

  • troll

    Dave says – *There are several ways. First off, our innocents have more value to us than their innocents do. If that’s too self-serving, you can try as hard as possible no to kill any innocents and keep the accidental deaths to a minimum. And hopefully your bodycount of accidentally killed innocents will be lower than the number of innocents whose lives you save by taking action.

    This stuff should be pretty obvious.*

    …justifying killing innocents based on some comparison of indeterminate projected body counts is obvious indeed – the obvious machinations of a fevered ‘realist’ mind looking to justify means by their ends

    *Is a war against chronic, psychotic aggressors an aggresive war, or is it by nature a defensive war?*

    that depends – throwing the psychotic’s occupying forces out of an invaded country is defensive while occupying the psychotic’s country to prevent him from acting against one’s interest in some hypothesized future is aggressive

  • MCH

    “And that sounds like something a moron would say.”
    – Dave Nalle, #45

    “I never call people names.”
    – Dave Nalle, ad nausium

  • Dr Dreadful

    #48: Got our heads handed to us by ragtag bands of Asian and Arab peasants.

    But not in pitched battles, Clavos, which is why I put the footnote in there. Any military opponent not commanded by a complete moron knows that it can’t fight the US that way, which is why the Viet Cong, al-Qaeda, the Iraqi insurgency, the Taliban etc have used different approaches.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Doc,

    I understood why you put the footnote in there, and actually you and I probably agree (mostly) on this issue.

    My main point is that “pitched battles,” with a few exceptions, were history after Korea, which is why we’ve lost every significant war we’ve engaged in since then. We essentially lost Korea, too, but we were simply overwhelmed by numbers there.

    In Vietnam, we won all the pitched battles, but still lost the war.

    Our military “leadership” hasn’t learned that lesson yet; a failure made all the more ironic by the fact that we won the Revolutionary War by using the very same tactics that Giap and Bin Laden kicked and are kicking our butts with.

  • MCH

    “And I bet your old drill sergeant’s voice still keeps you awake at night, huh? And not to sing songs at you.”

    Actually, in Navy boot camp he was called the company commander, and ours was a chief. (I thought I’d never forget his name, but it escapes me now. Chief White comes to mind, but I don’t think that’s right)

    Anyway, as a “doggie” Clavos may have had a D.I.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I thought I’d never forget his name

    You probably never knew it. To you, he was just ‘Man In Hat Who Yells At 5 A.M.’.

  • Dr Dreadful

    we won the Revolutionary War by using the very same tactics that Giap and Bin Laden kicked and are kicking our butts with.

    I didn’t know Giap and bin Laden asked the French to bail their asses out. Quite the opposite, I thought! ;-)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Har de har, DD…

  • Dr Dreadful

    I give you Napoleon, just prior to the Battle of Trafalgar: “Phfft! The Ingleesh. What are they to me? I will crush them like flies. They are nothing but a nation of shopkeepers … “

    Napoleon fell victim to a breakdown in communication. His spies erroneously informed him that the admiral in command of the British fleet was not Lord Nelson but Ernie “Twelve-Ton Anchor” Nelson, a peacetime fishmonger turned reluctant naval officer from Bideford, Devon. Ernie owed his commission and his rapid rise through the ranks to his mother’s connection with the First Sea Lord, specifically an incriminating piece of paper, never traced by archivists but which is said to have involved some quite bad but candid poetry. Poor Ernie didn’t know one end of a ship from the other, and junior officers quite frequently reported catching him in his stateroom, poring over charts in an endeavour to calculate whether the distance between his ship’s current position and Portsmouth was too far to row if he sneaked over the side during dog’s watch when no-one was looking. His curious nickname was bestowed on him because of the tendency of any ship he commanded to travel swiftly in a downward direction to the sea bed at the slightest provocation.

    So, given all of this, you can begin to understand Napoleon’s misplaced confidence, and his quite accurate diagnosis of England as a “nation of shopkeepers”.

  • Dr Dreadful

    STM hath writ: those of us hailing originally from fair (and perfidious) Albion (and surrounds) are not warlike at all, are we Doc?? Not like those dreadful bloody Americans. Everyone knows the British and their kin are a peace-loving people …

    Well, yes, it’s true that there have been occasions in the past when Britain hasn’t been Mr Nice Country. But I think we’ve calmed down quite a bit since finally coming to terms with not having an Empire any more. The idea of helping our transatlantic cousins invade Mesopot- I mean Iraq, was dreadfully unpopular, and we’ve never quite forgiven young Anthony for letting us get dragged into it.

  • STM

    “Actually, in Navy boot camp he was called the company commander, and ours was a chief.”

    Our Flight-Sergeant … drill commands delivered at a deafening bellow, sometimes in your earhole.

    “Left, left, left, right, left … GIT-YOUR-BLOODY-ARMS-UP-BOY-YOU-DOPEY-BUGGAH … SWING ‘EM PROPAHLY. THIS AIN’T THE AMERICAN AIRFORCE. DO YOU ‘ERE ME?”

    “Yes, Flight.”

    “WHO ASKED YOU TO TALK. DON’T SPEAK UNLESS YOU’RE SPOKEN TO … left, left, left …” et fu.king cetera.

    Or, spotting a microscopic speck of dust on boots that you’ve turned into mirrors with six hours of spit-and-polish: “YOU DIRTY MAN. THOSE BOOTS ARE FILTHY! YOU ARE A DISGRACE. REPORT TO ME WHEN YOU FALL OUT.”

    He got his comeuppance when a pigeon or a seagull dropped a big one from a great height as he marched us under the Harbour Bridge one evening in rehearsal for the Anzac Day march. Runny white/brown birdshit provides a stark and very fashionable contrast to RAAF dark blue, especially as it drips slowly off the hat onto a lovingly pressed sleeve – even better with an apoplectic red face as a backdrop.

    First time we’d seen him speechless.

  • STM

    “I didn’t know Giap and bin Laden asked the French to bail their asses out. Quite the opposite, I thought! ;-)”

    Eek. This doesn’t bear thinking about, really, but you just know I’m going to anyway :) The traitorous Washington (remember, one man’s freedom fighter is another’s traitor, and under the 1st amendment I have a right to call him a traitor to the Crown) getting into bed with the duplicitous Frenchman Lafayette …

    It does beg the question, though, in relation to this partnership with the French – what was the TRUE motive. Did Washington get off on the reek of garlic breath, and the stench of stale tobacco, three-week-old unwashed socks/undies and bad, cheap aftershave? Did he have true prescience and a future plan for a US motor industry that would build REALLy unreliable cars … or was it rugby? The entertaining unpredictability?

    Was this what really drove him to the French? Or did he have a desire to be constantly disappointed and let down? And as you’ve discovered recently, don’t say we didn’t tell you what the buggers were really like :)