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The Julian Assange Saga

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Don’t minimize for a minute the gravity of Julian Assange’s crime associated with the WikiLeaks disclosures. Whereas an ordinary criminal – a tax evader, a bank fraudster,  a child molester, even a Mafia chieftain or the head of a Colombian drug cartel – might seek and eventually find refuge from the long arm of the law in Switzerland or the Cayman Islands, provided of course they had the right kind of connections, clout, and wherewithal, no such luck awaits poor Mr. Assange, I’m afraid.

We’ve long learned since 9/11 there is no greater crime against humanity than a crime against the state, no matter how benevolent or rogue the state. It’s as if all modern states, totalitarian or democratic, consider it the greatest affront whenever even one if them is singled out as the chief perpetrator of duplicitous, behind-the-scenes stately dealings; a collective guilt syndrome, I suppose. Which is why one must view Mr. Assange’s recent request for political asylum in Ecuador as an act of desperation. If we overlook the irony for the moment, hell, even Iran or North Korea would be certain to deny the request, and they’re ideological enemies.

Let’s face it, in the eyes of today’s world powers, great or small, Mr. Assange had committed an unpardonable sin: for in attacking the institution of the state, even the most hated and the most resented of all states, he had attacked them all. Julian Assange, my friends, is a doomed man.

It’s not exactly as though an equitable solution could not be found. For one thing, the Swedish authorities could well consent to interrogate Mr. Assange on British soil without necessarily compromising the integrity or the outcome of the investigation; with the proviso, of course, that once the results were to be found less than satisfactory, he’d face immediate deportation on yet-to-be specified charges. Or barring that, he could have been granted safe passage to Sweden, safe from the threat of extradition, that is.

I find it highly significant that neither the UK nor Sweden has opted for the obvious resolution of the conflict. Which suggests that the eventual demise of Julian Assange has for the most part a symbolic value, serving as it were an object lesson to all would-be perpetrators and purveyors of anti-state ideology. Sweden is a small potato in the larger scheme of things, so one shouldn’t expect it to be standing up to the long arm of Rome. But the UK?

John le Carré had it right in Absolute Friends when he spoke of Tony Blair as a toy poodle to George W. Bush. Which goes to show that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Now it’s Mr. Cameron who is kowtowing to Mr. Obama.

If there be a nation-state that could grant Mr. Assange full immunity from prosecution, it’s France. France has a long-standing tradition of bucking the trends, be they in publishing, sexual or social mores, political or religious persecution, what have you. It’s one of the first nation-states to have taken colonialism seriously, to have experienced a sense of collective guilt along with having felt necessary to make the necessary amends. Besides, it’s a nation-state that still counts.

I’d consider it a welcome development if Mr. Hollande were to grant Mr. Assange full immunity, but I know I’m dreaming. The Euro talks on the future of Spain and Greece don’t inspire much confidence; if anything, they reveal a pathological dependence on the global banking system, so there is still a long way to go before the states of Europe free themselves from the international financial stronghold and interests.

Meanwhile, I keep my fingers crossed.

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About Roger Nowosielski

  • Glenn Contrarian

    To all –

    It’s time we took this discussion to a different thread. I’ll submit an article to the Culture section on Monday and we can discuss it there. And here’s a heads-up to those who are supporting the “rape culture” claims – get your numbers ready.

  • Cindy, as you may have gathered, I am one of life’s optimists and even in these current difficult times I still think things are gradually getting better.

    Granted, progress can seem difficult to detect at times but when I step back from the daily grind and look at things on a longer time scale, I still remain convinced that we are on an upward trajectory.

    Yes, women are becoming more aggressive but my view is that this is part of a long overdue correction to the very wrong position women have been placed in over many years.

    There is a long way to go in that process, particularly in those parts of the world that are gripped far too strongly by faithism and other cultural abuses.

    That balancing process may well not be even close to completion in our lifetimes but I trust in humanity to get it right as we grow as a species. We’ve only been around a very short time on an evolutionary scale and still have much to do and learn.

  • Glenn, your ability to protect yourself from reality by constructing the false world your mentality inhabits is as impressive, albeit in a tragic way, as it is hilarious.

    In your latest babbling, #57, you manage to combine two complete pieces of inaccurate bullshit with yet another of your favourite tactics, the totally irrelevant quotation, whilst simultaneously ignoring everything that was said to you.

    This is the hallmark of the faithist mentality and an offence against every notion of discourse and reason.

    The only positive in this will be if, in the absence of a on topic and coherent argument, you do actually hold to your promise not to respond again, although knowing the pedantry and condescension that are such a key part of how you present here and your blow hard nature, I’ll be just a little surprised if you can do even that.

    For the record. I am absolutely arguing with you as you present yourself here, you are just incapable of recognising yourself because reality and your self image are so out of alignment.

    You aren’t capable of assessing how well I know myself and you certainly aren’t capable of humility, as your constant pompous, condescending lectures and self-justifying assertions on these threads demonstrate with your every visit.

    You are far too full of your self and way too sure of what is what to have any intellectual humility and far too proud of what you see as your achievements, beliefs and philosophies to have any personal humility.

    Now please excuse me, I have to go clean up the vomit I puked up when first reading that offensive drivel you posted above. That exercise will at least have some point to it…

  • Igor

    Sounds like an episode from young Mitt Romneys life.

    Oh well, boys will be boys, as they say.

  • I believe you also pointed out Glenn, that you did not experience combat. And I think at somepoint I also pointed out that I have intimate relationships with people who have. Also, one of my best friends had a career out of Japan as a navy boiler operator. He died, before his father, in his early 40s from all the heavy metal that entered his body from doing that job. He had no extra compensation.

    I saw photographic evidence of behavior he partook in that I was embarrassed to even be offered. The group sexual rituals performed among sailors were culture shock to me and I guess he took them for such normal occurrences, having been a part of that culture so long, that he didn’t realize this. He just handed me the photos with a bunch of others with no sense or thought that they would be anything out of the ordinary to me.

    So, why should I trust your view (I have never even met you) over my uncle or a lifetime friend since teenhood? Particularly when evidence to the contrary keeps being exposed. Here is the Democracy Now interview and discussion with the filmaker of The Invisible War.

    And here is an article on yet more military rape and violent perversion.

    But military rape is not only a women’s issue. According to the Veterans Affairs Office, 37% of the sexual trauma cases reported last year were men. “Men are even more isolated than women following rape,” Bhagwati says. “Because it has an even bigger social stigma.”

    Rick Tringale says he was gang raped in his dormitory during the first few weeks of training. Link to this video

    Rick Tringale is one of few men to speak about what happened to him. He was 18 years old and in his first few weeks of training, he says, when he woke up in his bunk in the middle of the night thinking that it was raining. Someone was urinating on him.

    “As I came to consciousness, I realised that I was being held down with a blanket and then I was beaten.” Tringale, 43, says his life changed for ever following a brutal gang rape, that led to him going AWOL from the army, and subsequently becoming homeless.

    “Next thing I remember is being dragged down the hallway. There was a lot of blood, a lot of pain, I was crying and I remember trying to run away, but I was dragged to the latrine, and hit a whole lot more. I remember the white tiles splattered with blood and seeing familiar faces and they were all hitting me. More guys were crowding into the bathroom too, and they’re yelling, ‘Kill him, kill him, kill him.’ ”

    Tringale believes he was either knocked unconscious or what happened next was too horrible for his memory to recall. All he remembers is waking up in his bunk the next day, with his platoon dormitory empty. He says his face was a mess, his nose broken, his whole body beaten and he had been raped. He made it to the emergency department, but in the middle of the examination by the doctor, who was initially sympathetic, the phone rang. “The doctor was talking to someone, and looking at me. Then, when he came off the phone, he said: ‘You’re a phoney, your company says you shouldn’t be here, and you’re fine.’ He sent me away. I became a different person after that. Everybody in the squad platoon knew what had happened–there was no way anyone could have missed it.”

    This happened to a 17 year old boy. This is how a culture grows and co-opts people. This was not simply an arbitrary group of ‘bad apples’. Interestingly, for the ‘bad apple’ theory–even the examining doctor turned into a ‘bad apple’.

    I am sure you have felt cultural pressure to behave certain ways, adopt certain attitudes and behaviors–or risk being an outcast and potentially be targeted as a victim. The institutions in our ‘civilized’ world, often ‘require’ the joining of cultures that resemble Lord of the Flies.

  • Igor

    Even female contractors are unsafe:


    Fluor employee victim of brutal rape at FOB Shank in Afghanistan in Critical Condition in Germany

    Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 25, 2011

    Update: Fluor states that the rape victim did not die but is in critical condition in Germany.

    This post has been edited to correct errors in the original that reported the victim had died in Germany of her injuries.-Yes, sometimes I get it wrong too. Ms Sparky-July 26, 2011

    Cross Posted from MsSparky July 25, 2011

    I’ve just learned there’s been a brutal rape at FOB Shank in Afghanistan. The victim was reportedly a female Fluor employee from the Macedonia region.

    I’m not certain of the date, but the attack occurred between July 17-22. She was reportedly found unconscious and was medi-vac’d to Bagram Air Field (BAF) and then to Germany where it has been reported, she died of her injuries.

    This crime has apparently got the entire FOB locked down. Hopefully, they’ll find the person(s) who committed this heinous crime and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.

    This is but another on the long list of tragic rapes and murders in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    As soon as I get more information on this sad tragedy I will update the post.

    My most heartfelt condolences to the friends, family and co-workers of this victim.

  • Igor

    There’s a virtual flood of reports of Military rape:

    How to Rectify Our Military’s Culture of Rape?

    Cord Jefferson
    Senior Editor

    February 16, 2011 • 9:15 am PST

    Seventeen litigants on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, charging that the United States has allowed a dangerous rape culture to persist within our armed forces. As details emerge about the violent assault on CBS News’ Lara Logan in Egypt, the fact is that violence against American women overseas is something that often hits rather close to home.

    The suit, filed by 15 women and two men, details many specific instances of assault in all branches of the military, though two of the most egregious are jaw-dropping:

    Kori Cioca, the lead plaintiff, said she was constantly harassed by her Coast Guard supervisor. After she made a mistake during a knot-tying quiz, he called her a “stupid fucking female, who didn’t belong in the military” and then spit in her face. After complaining to her superior, the abuse escalated to stalking, sexual harassment, and ultimately rape in December, 2005. Despite an admission from her rapist, commanders told Cioca if she pressed charges she would be court-martialed for lying and later faced retaliation.

    Rebekah Havrilla was an Army sergeant serving in Afghanistan in 2006 when she was sexually harassed by a supervisor and later raped by another soldier. …

    Military rape

    Though the suit holds both Gates and Rumsfeld at fault, it takes particular aim at the latter, alleging that, while desperate to fill the ranks at the start of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, he granted “moral waivers” to recruits convicted of domestic or sexual crimes. With a military freshly full of sexually predatory criminals, sex crimes in the armed forces leapt by 24 percent in 2005, the year before Rumsfeld resigned.

    For his part, Gates has refused to create a centralized database of sexual assaults in the military, thus leading to “a steady and dramatic increase” in the violence. Indeed, rapes and sexual assaults in Afghanistan and Iraq jumped 25 percent in 2007, and they’ve been climbing ever since.

  • Glenn, I’m not saying you’re wrong necessarily, just that you haven’t shown us why you’re right.

    At the moment, you’re asking us to accept your premise based on your supposed insider knowledge – but why should we place your authority over that of the woman who tells a reporter or a documentary filmmaker that she was raped while in the military and that rape is endemic and the evidence systematically suppressed?

    On the basis solely of those claims, both of you are essentially just saying, “I was there: take it from me.”

    My own twopence worth: on balance, I suspect the sexual assault and non-reporting rates in the military – if one takes into account the higher male-to-female ratio compared to the civilian population – are close to the general average. They might be slightly higher, considering the sometimes misguided group loyalty culture and some of the personality types who are attracted to military service, but probably not by much.

    The difference is that Cindy, the makers of The Invisible War, and others who have reported on this issue have made their case; you haven’t.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And for Igor and Cindy –

    As I pointed out to Doc, between all of us, only I have lived in both the military and civilian world. You’re both making claims that don’t even come close to the reality of life in the military and are summarily dismissing the word of someone who (unlike yourselves) has been there and done that.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    I’ll take that metaphorical slap-session as deserved. But between you, Cindy, Igor, and myself, there’s only one of us who has experience in both the civilian and military worlds. Listening to Igor and Cindy describe just how terrible the military is, is sorta like any of us listening to someone from China describe the tyranny of the West, how we’re nowhere near as free as China, when that person has zero experience outside the borders of China. We sit back and hear the Chinese person tell us how bad we have it and how we are terrible examples of humanity…and all the while we are looking at that guy, wondering how he can make such clearly false assumptions about the West. After all, we live here and he never has.

    So it is with listening to Igor and Cindy. They’re so wrapped up in their mutual echo chamber that they cannot conceive that life in the military is not even close to what they think…and it’s as if they feel that since I lived the life and have the experience, I am somehow not qualified to speak on the matter!

  • Cindy


    I suspect it’s more a matter of biology than of government.

    There is a reason you suspect that. It has been taught to you by the dominating culture because it suits and benefits the perpetuation of the dominating culture.

    I have already remarked that not all men are aggressive. We all have seen non-violent, non-aggressive males. There are entire cultures where men are not aggressive. Read about the !Kung people for example. How, then, can it be biology?

    This culture prides itself in competition and toughness. It teaches this to male children (and increasingly to females). How then can you make a fair claim that it is biology? Where is your control group? (ie men not raised in a culture of aggression and tough guy status). I recommend you see Tough Guise. (you can view it free at the link)

  • That looks like a really good movie, Cindy.

    Not sure it will get theatre time where I’m at (San Diego is a Navy town), but I do get Sundance Channel on my cable. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

  • Cindy

    How true, Igor.

    And considering how many female military personnel are assaulted or bullied by their supposed comrades, I can only imagine how many girls and women civilians, with even less of a voice (if that is possible) than the female US military soldiers are assaulted. I doubt that the pathology of rape mentality stops with just the women on your base.

  • Igor, it’s very wrong to make assumptions about the military when one has little or no experience therein.

    I’m not impressed by your appeal to authority, Glenn. Solely on the basis of your experience in naval law enforcement, you expect us to accept at face value your assertion that sex crimes happen less often in the military than in the civilian world, but you provide nothing to back it up other than your own opinion: no statistics, no case studies, no research, nothing but “from what I’ve seen”.

    By definition (since unreported rapes don’t appear in crime statistics), your claim that there’s far less underreporting in the military is unsupportable.

    Have you heard of any comparable programs in the civilian or corporate world?

    Yes. Many police departments handle rape cases in precisely the way you describe. Police in the US might have been slower off the mark, but in the UK protocols like them have been in place since the 1980s.

    And how did your SAVI develop that approach? Did you invent it, or was it adapted from procedures used in civilian law enforcement?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    BTW, the SAVI team’s job was to do whatever was necessary to provide physical and psychological comfort to the victim. We provided the rape kits, got them immediate medical attention, made sure they had the opportunity to clean themselves (but only after all evidence was collected), got them loose-fitting, comfortable clothing, and kept them in safe areas with other female sailors who were trained to help and comfort them. Have you heard of any comparable programs in the civilian or corporate world?

    No, I didn’t think so.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    FYI, I was one of the founding members of the SAVI – Sexual Assault Victim Intervention – team on board the USS Abraham Lincoln. I did several years of military law enforcement, and I do have a real clue concerning this matter. I’m here to tell you that while sexual assault does happen in the military as it does in every other walk of life without exception, IMO it happens LESS often than in most other professions. The big difference is that inside the military, rape or sexual assault is not nearly so underreported as it is in the civilian world.

    Are there rapes in the military. Of course. Do many go unreported? Yes. Are there cases where the woman gets blamed and railroaded? Surely. But for all these questions, from what I’ve seen the levels of injustice are greater outside the military. Your claim that “it happens to a very large percentage of female soldiers” is utterly and completely false, and based on nothing more than your ignorance of and lack of experience in the military, and your reliance on the echo chamber that tells you what you want to hear about the military.

    Igor, it’s very wrong to make assumptions about the military when one has little or no experience therein. As I told Cindy, do not blame the military – we are but a tool. Blame the leaders who tell us where to go and what to do with what we were trained to do.

  • Igor


    I advise against accepting Glenns invitation to join the military. Chances are you would soon be raped and then denounced by the chain of command, perhaps court-martialed. It happens to a very large percentage of female soldiers.

  • Since we create gender roles and social reality, we can as easily create a peaceful culture as a dominating war hawking one. I think you realize that there are many men who wouldn’t hurt a fly, join a war, even get in a fight. It is not, therefore, ‘natural’ behavior of men to be aggressive–it is something they can learn if the social reality they are born into dictates toughness as an important aspect of their gender role and it is associated with status.

    All true, Cindy – but you have to be mindful of the difference between what the individual male or female does and what people do when banded together in groups.

    I used to see this in microcosm riding home from high school on public transport. There was always some gang of boys (and occasionally girls) acting like thugs: showing off, shouting, shoving, fighting, bullying, vandalizing. Yet as soon as most of the group had got off the bus and there was just one boy left, suddenly there he would sit, as good as gold and quiet as a mouse – the same kid who two minutes previously had been cursing like a sailor at the top of his lungs and graffitiing the windows.

    And I think to some extent war is a natural expression of human behaviour. Most social animals that have a predatory component to their biology fight other groups of their species for resources and territory.

    The difference is that most territorial animals don’t fight to kill – just to get rid of. Scaring your opponents away requires less effort (and personal risk) than savaging them to death. On the other hand, once humans developed the ability to conceive of the future, they quickly realized that killing their enemies guaranteed that they wouldn’t come back. Hence: war.

    But you’re right: it is that same aptitude for abstract concepts that can facilitate our escape from the cycle of war and aggression.

  • Cindy


    I think I am in agreement with everything you said there. Women are participants in the entire process. And are also capable of any imaginable brutality.

    I have no doubt no doubt more women will become more aggressive as ‘equality’ continues to be understood in terms of participation in and gaining status within the culture of domination as opposed to what I support–equality for women based on a complete change of culture.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    You’re not arguing with me at all. You’re arguing with your perception of me, and since you subconsciously control that perception, there is absolutely no way that the ‘real me’ could convince of you anything.

    So you go on ahead – I’ll give you the last word (I won’t give any further replies to you in this thread) but I’ll leave you with this: Sun Tzu said “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”

    Chris, you don’t know yourself. To truly know oneself requires humility. Not even necessarily humility before others, but at least humility to oneself concerning one’s own shortcomings. I suggest you go get a cuppa, go sit on a park bench for a few days, and experience the humanity that goes by.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    I don’t disagree with anything you said in #54 – in fact, when it comes to the evil that men do (and the worst crimes are almost always committed by men), I strongly agree with you. But I suspect it’s more a matter of biology than of government. History shows the world is becoming ever more liberal as the centuries pass, and hopefully we’ll get to that day when women truly are seen as equal to men.

  • Glenn, you DIDN’T give a detailed argument, you just think you did. All you did was describe what YOU think would have happened. I blame your faithism for this flawed mentality. Get off the monorail!

    you DID ignore everything I said though and, like all magical thinkers, keep right on trying to frame the argument in one particular way, the way that is designed to give you the best chance of “winning” the debate.

    Just because you have been responsible for people DOESN’T mean you’re any good at it. You have also been “thinking” all your life and you’re terrible at that.

    Yes, I have insulted you, but then again, every thing I said, unlike your fantasies, is true and based on your own behaviour for all to see.

    Please don’t ever get in a giant paper bag, you’ll never, ever, get out of it!

    Oh, one last thing, I don’t care what you think about me; as with almost everything else you think, it is shallow, pre-programmed and, more often than not, simply inaccurate.

    You are the classic stopped clock, Glenn, the tragedy is that you think you are keeping good time and twice a day you get proven right.

    Cindy, whilst I agree with your #54 in general terms, women aren’t entirely blameless in human history and can often be just as bloodthirsty as men.

    Let’s not forget that men are just specialised forms of women, not the other way round as those faithist fables would have us believe.

    As your creations, you have to take some responsibility for what we do…

  • Glenn,

    Wars will happen – they are a fact of human existence.

    Our’s is the history of patriarchy–which is the root of the sickness* I spoke about. It has created this social reality. So, no I don’t ignore the history of domination. I just see it for what it is–an unecessary choice, replicated over time until it looks like it isn’t a choice. Or until people, like yourself, believe it is not.

    I really prefer if we could change the word ‘human’ history to ‘macho’ history. The impetus of women, historically, was to give without the requirement of receiving from the recipient, as in breastfeeding. Children would not flourish if women were compelled to demand a tit for tat exchange. This behavior is also history.

    Since we create gender roles and social reality, we can as easily create a peaceful culture as a dominating war hawking one. I think you realize that there are many men who wouldn’t hurt a fly, join a war, even get in a fight. It is not, therefore, ‘natural’ behavior of men to be aggressive–it is something they can learn if the social reality they are born into dictates toughness as an important aspect of their gender role and it is associated with status.

    Human history could as easily have been based on matriarchal tendencies as on patriarchal domination. It still can. But only when people like yourself see and choose it and stop defending the status quo.

    *war, aggression, rape, objectification of self and other, manipulation for gain, greed, violence, sexual abuse of children, the teaching of children to hate their bodies, wage slavery, poverty amidst bounty, the failure to care for our fellow humans, the fact of starvation, the fact of the languising elderly, abuse of animals, destruction of the natural environment, hubris and conceit, the teaching of children to perpetuate and repliocate all of this.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Um, Chris –

    Do you realize you have not provided a single argument to refute the detailed argument I gave? All you’ve done is essentially said “You’re wrong!” but never even attempted to provide a reason why you believe I’m wrong. I’ve provided you plenty of opportunity, but you will not step up to show why you believe that I’m wrong.

    You say I’m a terrible amateur psychologist – I don’t think I ever claimed to be such, but I will say that after being responsible for people 24/7 for much of my career, one does learn a bit about people. Of course, since you apparently haven’t been through that kind of experience, you’ll almost certainly dismiss that as all stuff and nonsense.

    Chris, look back at our discussion in this thread, at how many times you’ve directly insulted me. I’ve said some things about you, but nothing that I said was framed as an insult. So you insult me right and left, and I insult you not at all…and I’m the bad person here?

    What’s really sad is that you probably don’t see what something like that says about you.

  • Glenn: Of course it seems like that to you; that way you don’t have to try and deal with the possibility that you are full of it and yourself.

    I don’t dislike you as we have not met; but I do dislike your posts because they are both shallow and conceited, which is a particularly ugly and unpleasant combination.

    What you don’t appear to get is that what you describe as the only outcome is in fact just one of a range of possible outcomes, but you are so sure of your own particular current view as to be able to see that there could be others.

    At least you are consistent; when you were on the political right you were sure you were right; now you are on the left you are also sure you are right; once you belonged to one religion and believed in it and now have another that you buy into. See a pattern there at all?

    Another major error you make is that you have persuaded yourself that you are fair minded and not dogmatic; your oft repeated mantra is “when someone shows me my error, I refuse to allow my pride to prevent me from admitting when I am wrong” but that is not actually true.

    The fact that you may have done it once does not mean that you consistently do that and you are far too sure about things that are in reality only what YOU believe to be the case rather than actual facts.

    You are the worst kind of “thinker”, one that believes they are open minded and objective whilst actually being deeply subjective. Let’s see you own up to that one if you ever want to be taken seriously.

    Finally, I have said “I don’t know” many times about many things and have no problem with that because it is by not knowing we find out things, whereas you only ever tell us what (you think) is what and are far too busy transmitting your views to ever learn anything.

    You’re also a terrible amateur psychologist and keep projecting your inaccurate guesses onto me despite copious evidence to the contrary that you could see if you weren’t so wrapped up in your current dogmas.

    As most faithists do, you need to believe in things and that prevents you from actually asking the good questions and makes you believe what you believe far too much. It is belief that is the enemy and you are its victim…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Really? Seems to me that someone here might be projecting their own feelings on someone he doesn’t like.

    Let’s look back at your argument:

    To take just one example, you say “what would have happened in WWII if we hadn’t had a military?” The only possible answer to that is that nobody has the slightest idea; it certainly doesn’t justify or support your position.

    You’re obviously implying that no one could have possibly known what would have happened if America had never entered the war. Your proposition is in and of itself lacking in logic, for it presupposes that the factors involved were insufficient to come to any reliable set of possible conclusions.

    Your error lay in that we do have a certain set of factors, and that the interplay of those factors could have had only one of two possible macroscopic outcomes: in the titanic struggle between Germany and the Soviet Union, there would be only one “winner”, and the other would be utterly crushed. Either the Germans would conquer Russia, or the Soviets would march into Berlin. There is no other reasonable set of possible outcomes with or without the entry of America into the war…and without America’s entry into the war, there is no way, absolutely NO WAY that England and the nations of the Commonwealth could have successfully invaded the continent on their own…and the winner of the war on the Eastern Front would have had their way on the continent.

    What of the above do you not get?

    Or, more likely, you see the logic, but you refuse to allow yourself to accept it. Why? Because you’ve got it into your brain that Thou Shalt Never Agree With Glenn no matter how wrong you are.

    Chris, I’ve been wrong before many times on matters minor and major – but the difference between you and me is that when someone shows me my error, I refuse to allow my pride to prevent me from admitting when I am wrong. This is what I have done from the start of my time on BC. If you want, I can easily link to an article where I did exactly that.

    You, on the other hand, are allowing your pride to keep you from admitting when the other guy is right. One wonders if that’s why I’ve yet to see you compliment the ones who disagree with you, or admit that they’re right about anything at all. Of course, the obvious alternative is that you’re always right about everything….

  • Glenn, I take it that it is your predilection for magical thinking that leads you to make up all this hilarious stuff you come out with.

    What I feel for most of your posts here is a certain contempt because they are so lazy, smug, self satisfied and lack any real thought. In other words you are simply shallow and superficial.

    Superficiality is a frequent companion to that other fatal flaw known as egocentricity and unfortunately you are no exception to that sad phenomenon.

    I don’t have to show any arguments at all to rebut your entirely theoretical supposition; in fact I’d recommend you put it where all suppositories go…

    As you like quotes so much, here’s one for you from Albert Einstein: “the desire to be acknowledged as better, stronger, or more intelligent than a fellow being or fellow scholar easily leads to an excessively egoistic psychological adjustment, which may become injurious for the individual and for the community”.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Talk about “all sound and fury, signifying nothing”!

    Chris, you showed your ignorance concerning WWII, and after I gave you specific and detailed reasons illustrating your ignorance on the matter, you still stick by your claim without referencing the least bit of honest study concerning WWII.

    Tell you what, Chris – why don’t you show us all ANY reasonable scenario where without American military intervention, Western Europe could have avoided being under either Nazi or Communist rule after the conclusion of WWII…for I say there is no feasible, viable, or reasonable scenario thereof.

    Can you do that? If you can present such a reasonable scenario, then I might take your criticism more seriously. If not, then you’re simply proving my point concerning the entire matter, and that when it comes to military history, you’re proving Alexander Pope’s observation:

    A little learning is a dangerous thing;
    drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
    there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    and drinking largely sobers us again.

  • Glenn, the only shortcomings exposed here are yours.

    We don’t live in a linear predictable world but one full of random events and surprises. That’s because the world is an organic and chaotic system, not the result of some master plan as you appear to believe. It is also why your are so completely wrong in your presumptions and that in fact the only honest answer is we could not ever know what would have happened. Clearly you are far too arrogant and presumptuous to be able to accept that humble fact.

    My breath is taken away by the arrogance and conceit you consistently flaunt before us whilst simultaneously, if probably unwittingly, parading your shallow understanding of practically every topic that ever comes up.

    Your signal to noise ratio is one of the lowest I have ever encountered, which is doubly regrettable because of the sheer volume of your output. Here, try arranging these words in the correct order: hard blow. Hopefully you’ll get that right at least…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    We pretty much know the answer to your question because there was very little military in the US when Japan and Germany both declared war on us in 1941. Our Pacific fleet was destroyed at Pearl Harbor and our standing army was small. The nation was pacifistic, and even pro-Hitler.

    REALLY? Igor, I’ve come to respect your depth of knowledge and your insight on a lot of issues, but on this one you dropped the ball.

    FYI, our military buildup began in July 1940, almost eighteen months before Pearl Harbor…and FDR had secretly begun a submarine building program in 1937 for the express purpose of blockading Japan if the need arose. We didn’t have a huge army, but such has never been our greatest or most important military asset, has it? At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, we had the second-largest navy in the world (England’s was larger). And if you’ll recall, our victory at Midway something like six months later didn’t come with brand-new ships, but with the carriers that we already had. The Japanese admiral Yamamoto was almost precisely right when he said that if Japan attacked America, they’d be able to run wild for about six months before American industry began to turn the tide.

    So it is quite wrong to say we had “very little military” when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor – we had begun a large military building program eighteen months prior and ours was the second-largest (and thanks to our carriers we had the strongest) navy in the world at the time…and it is not for nothing that America has been more than once referred to as an island nation.

    NOW, it is agreed that much of the nation was pacifistic, and there were quite a few influential people who were pro-Hitler prior to WWII, but pro-German and pacifistic sentiment dropped like a rock after the fall of Paris in June of 1940, so it is quite erroneous to say that on the eve of the attack on Pearl Harbor that “the nation was pacifistic, and even pro-Hitler”.

    And the proof? Notice that the timing of FDR’s big military buildup came a little over two weeks after France surrendered to Germany.

    THAT, friend Igor, is history.

    On the other hand, in 2001 when we had a HUGE military operation in place we got attacked successfully by 19 suicidal maniacs. Thus proving that all that military was ineffective against attack.

    And probably very few military historians were really surprised. That was a classic terrorist attack, and no military force has ever been 100% effective against terrorists. The attack on 9/11 was different from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 only in that three of the four 9/11 attacks succeeded.

    No military can reliably stop terrorist attacks – that’s like trying to use a baseball bat to put out a fire – it simply doesn’t work, and that’s not what a baseball bat is used for anyway, is it? That’s why it is fallacious to blame the military for a failure to stop terrorist attacks. What stops terrorist attacks are a strong intelligence community, effective law enforcement, and good communications between the two.

    What the military is crucial for is NOT for terrorism, but to stop military actions by other nations that present a clear and present danger to one’s own nation…and that’s what our military (currently) does without equal. So don’t make the mistake of using 9/11 as an excuse to claim our military is of no use, for by doing so, you’re only exposing shortcomings in your understanding about the purpose of a nation’s military.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    To take just one example, you say “what would have happened in WWII if we hadn’t had a military?” The only possible answer to that is that nobody has the slightest idea; it certainly doesn’t justify or support your position.

    You really haven’t read much history, have you? Oh, you might think you have, but if so, then you didn’t take its lessons to heart. As for myself, I’ve studied history – and particularly military history with an emphasis on WWII – since I was a child.

    FYI, Germany still would have lost if America had never entered the war, for it’s well understood now that even if the Nazis had properly prepared their troops for the legendary Russian winter (they didn’t), prepared for the differences in the width of the rail gauges between Germany and the Soviet Union (they didn’t), and allowed the generals to do their duty without micromanagement from Hitler (which he most certainly did), the Soviet Union was too vast, its resources simply too great for Germany to conquer…and Stalin would never have settled for peace. If America had never entered the war, then it would have been the Soviet Union that would have “freed” France and Italy, for there would have been no way for England to do that by herself. The only non-Soviet nations that would have been left in Western Europe would have been England, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Portugal, and (probably) Switzerland. Now given the vast productive potential of Europe, and what the Soviets were willing to do to preserve their hegemony in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, are you really so naive to think that they would not have continued on to dominate the remainder of Europe one way or another?

    Now let’s pretend for a moment that against all odds, Germany still defeated the Soviets. That would mean that even if America had entered the war, the Germans would have been able to bring scores of divisions back from the Eastern Front, and no invasion by the Allies would have stood a ghost of a chance. Festung Europa would have been an effectively impregnable reality.

    The war was won or lost on the Eastern Front and nowhere else. We know that now – the ground forces engaged by either side on the Eastern Front were gigantic, far greater than anything England and America were able to muster on the Western Front. The benefit of America’s entry into the war was that the Allies were able to take advantage of the fact that the great majority of Germany’s forces were on the Eastern Front. We were thus able to invade Sicily, Italy, and then France, and as a result, at the end of the war, West Germany existed, and France, Italy, and most of the rest of Europe outside of the Communist Bloc continued to be (relatively) democratic nations.

    Okay? Without America, almost all of continental Europe – and probably eventually even England – would have been under either the Nazi or the Communist heel or a puppet thereof. That much is a near certainty. Tell you what – look up John Keegan, perhaps the foremost military historian of today, and let him describe it to you. That, or read Churchill’s history of WWII, so that you can see how very close a matter England’s survival really was until America joined in the Battle of the Atlantic.

    Nor has the US military only ever been used as a “positive” force; it has been engaged in more than one war of oppression.

    I never said otherwise. In fact, if you’ll check, you’ll see that I said in so many words that when we have wise presidents, our military is used only when it is necessary and right, and that we’ve had a few not-so-wise presidents who’ve used the military at the wrong time at the wrong place for the wrong reason.

    Similarly, the Soviet Union could not have expanded “wherever they could”, which would have been logistically impossible.

    Perhaps you should look up the word “could” in the dictionary – I used that word for a reason, Chris. I did NOT say that the Soviets would have expanded wherever they wanted to – I said wherever they could, for logistics determines what any nation or military force can and cannot do. I used the right word. I suggest you get control of what seems to be a knee-jerk “everything Glenn says must somehow be wrong” reaction.

  • Igor

    @40-Glenn: We pretty much know the answer to your question because there was very little military in the US when Japan and Germany both declared war on us in 1941.

    Our Pacific fleet was destroyed at Pearl Harbor and our standing army was small. The nation was pacifistic, and even pro-Hitler.

    That’s history.

    On the other hand, in 2001 when we had a HUGE military operation in place we got attacked successfully by 19 suicidal maniacs. Thus proving that all that military was ineffective against attack.

    That’s history, too.

    And after 10 years of struggle we still can’t solve the problem with military.

    Glenn said:
    It’s not our culture that showed me the need for the military – it’s history. Tell me – what would have happened in WWII if we hadn’t had a military, hm?

  • roger nowosielski

    Thanks, Dreadful. A praise from you does mean a lot.

    Perhaps I’m acquiring a habit of not rushing with them things because I’ve necessarily slowed down.

  • And BTW, Roger, my compliments on a very good article. Hard-hitting, to the point and uncharacteristically succinct!

  • The proper way to view the military is as a job, albeit a potentially very dangerous one, which is how the general public in my native UK tends to look at it. We honour our armed forces for what they do, but we do so in a dignified way, without fawning over them. We also save it for a single day of the year: Remembrance Sunday, in November (plus accompanying ceremonies which may or may not happen on the same day). For the rest of the year, we just let them get on with their jobs.

    Where it gets unhealthy is when you start regarding members of the armed services as saints, which is the tendency here in the US. As I’ve remarked before, a person only has to sign on the dotted line at the recruitment office and he or she is automatically a hero. The perks for current or former service members (store discounts, free meals at restaurants, cut-price haircuts, insurance discounts, better seats at sporting events etc) are almost endless. You can’t walk down the street without seeing a sign in a shop window urging you to “honor our military” or a bumper sticker bragging about how the vehicle owner’s son/daughter/husband/wife is a [insert rank/specialty here] in the [insert service branch here]. You can’t watch the TV news for five minutes without seeing an item about how noble, brave and great American service members are (and that’s been the case since before the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq).

    Such is the worship of those who join the military that it can feel rather insulting to those of us who do other jobs: as if our work has no value. If we say anything, we’re scolded with the dubious claim that we wouldn’t even be able to do what we do or say what we’ve just said if it weren’t for the brave boys and girls in uniform.

    (Sometimes certain civilian services, such as police, nurses and firefighters, are included in the ranks of the brave, but always, it seems, as an afterthought: “Oh, of course. Those guys are heroes too – we haven’t forgotten them.”)

    I can’t argue with Cindy’s assessment of American culture as sick, but I think that excessive reverence for the military is a symptom, rather than the disease itself. Nevertheless, when a country feels that it needs not one, but three national holidays acknowledging the contributions of the armed forces, one can’t help but feel it’s got its priorities skewed a bit.

  • Glenn, I don’t agree with either Cindy or your perspective but your arguments are not at all convincing.

    To take just one example, you say “what would have happened in WWII if we hadn’t had a military?” The only possible answer to that is that nobody has the slightest idea; it certainly doesn’t justify or support your position.

    Nor has the US military only ever been used as a “positive” force; it has been engaged in more than one war of oppression.

    Similarly, the Soviet Union could not have expanded “wherever they could”, which would have been logistically impossible.

    There have been many years of peaceful co-existence for humanity and, although I’ve not done the research, I’d not be surprised that there have been many 20 year periods that have seen less war than the last 20 have seen.

    Although it is nice to see you and Cindy agree on something, I would also disagree with both of you when you assert our culture is sick.

    Although there are outlier low points and those low points tend to be quite extreme, in my view things are looking up on a social cultural level.

    Indeed, far from it being our civil cultures that are unwell, I think it is US and UK governments that are clearly far from healthy. That has been true since at least the Reagan/Thatcher era, possibly longer, and has certainly deteriorated post 9/11. That is a totally non political party reliant trait as well, so don’t go thinking that leftish parties are significantly better than those on the right…

    As to the need for a military, I think there is a case to be made for a military posture based around national defence, but that is a far cry from the “police the world” and “get your retaliation in first” position Western military powers are currently occupying.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    It’s not our culture that showed me the need for the military – it’s history. Tell me – what would have happened in WWII if we hadn’t had a military, hm? And do you think the Cold War that followed was a joke, that the Soviet Union would not have tried to aggressively expand wherever they could if only we’d not have had a military?

    Cindy, that’s not American culture, that’s human history. In fact, if you’ll look at all of human history relative to population, the past twenty-odd years since the fall of the Soviet Union have been more peaceful than any generation in all recorded history. Wars will happen – they are a fact of human existence. I’m sorry that you don’t like to hear that, but thats what the record shows.

    When it comes to our culture being sick, Cindy, why do you think I sent my youngest son overseas to finish high school, and both my sons overseas to attend college? Let me tell you, it gets your attention as a parent when your kid comes home from school telling you that in a small, relatively well-to-do (and mostly conservative due to the significant military presence) town in western Washington, that he knew at least ten kids who brought guns to school every day, and how when he visited his friend and they started smoking marijuana, the kids mother finds out, gets excited, and joins them with a crack pipe? Our culture IS sick, and there are better places to live.

    BUT that does not at all mean that we don’t need a military. What we NEED, Cindy, are leaders who realize that the military is a tool, and are wise enough to know that the military is a tool that is best used rarely but very effectively. Unfortunately, over the years we’ve developed a nation of chicken-hawks who fawn all over the military.

    We agree on some things, Cindy. I’ve never said differently. But don’t go saying we don’t need a military, for to say that is to ignore all human history.

  • Our entire culture is sick, Glenn. The military is but a super-concentrated version of what is wrong with us in general. And what is wrong with us always can be reduced to desires for power over others. That is the root of pathology.

  • As I stated, it’s not the individual people, it’s the culture. Take any people and put them in a pathological culture and you get pathology. I live in the same culture as you. I was trained, just like you, to take for granted the need for military.

    You often like to talk about how others do not look at ‘the facts’. Facts are often merely the bits of information we attend to. Thus, you will not go and immerse yourself in examination of another point of view for yourself. Instead, you will blindly bat away anything that looks like disagreement with your bias. Consider what you are doing now when you later criticize others for not examining ‘the facts’.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And one more thing, Cindy –

    If you joined the military, you’d find one thing for sure – that it’s full of people who are really not so different from yourself. Oh, they’ll be of different colors and nationalities and faiths and whatever, but they’re not so different from yourself…and that would be the beginning of the melting away of your prejudices.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    So what ONE soldier – or even a dozen, or even a hundred soldiers did, you’re willing to condemn ALL?

    And oh, wow, you bartended for generals – ONCE – and that makes you enough of an expert to be able to broad-brush your judgment over all the military.

    Cindy, you haven’t a clue. Not a single freaking clue. You’re there in your imaginary ivory castle looking at all that the military does wrong, with nary a consideration for what we’ve done RIGHT…and if you had the understanding that you think you do, then you’d know that the military is a tool – repeat, a tool – that does what the government tells it to do…

    …and when we’ve got a commander in chief that uses the military for the right things – like we did in WWI, WWII, Korea, Grenada, and Bosnia – then we get good results. When the C-in-C uses the military for the wrong things, we get bad results. The military is a TOOL, Cindy, and nothing more. If you want to blame someone, blame the ones who tell the military what to do.

    It’s as if you’ve got this paradigm that once people join the military, they’re somehow brainwashed into some Orwellian alternate reality…and if YOU will remember, it was my experience in my military career that got me (and a lot of others from the South that I can easily recall) to reject racism, to respect people for who they were and what they could do, rather than to judge them by their color, religion, and where they came from. YES, there are bad people in the military, but for every hundred that’s bad, there’s thousands that are good.

    But it’s not the thousands you hear about, is it? All YOU hear is about the dirty laundry, the crap that fits your personal paradigm, that comforts you within the echo chamber of hatred for everything that isn’t officially Cindy-approved.

    I pity you for your lack of exposure to the REAL world, the world beyond the shores of North America. I pity you for not having the opportunity to see people who are deeply grateful for the presence of the U.S. military – as are most of the people in South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and certainly Taiwan. Unlike you, I’ve been to most of these places and I’ve come to know and respect the people there. You’ll also find that most of eastern Europe is deeply grateful for our presence, too – they’ve got a bear living nearby that they can’t handle by themselves.

    Yeah, bad people in the military have done a lot of bad things…but the far, far greater number of GOOD people in the military are doing good things each and every day – but they’re the ones you don’t hear about, the ones that don’t make popular cover stories in magazines and newspapers. And yeah, we DO keep the peace in eastern Europe and in east Asia…and most of the residents of those nations know it and are doggone glad we’re there.

    No, Cindy, your ONE experience was no experience, just like spending ONE night on the streets doesn’t give a person the ability to judge all the homeless in America. If you want a real clue, then go join the military, stick it out for four years, and THEN you can speak with some measure of experience. Until then, all you’re doing is showing your almost-total ignorance of the subject.

  • Oh and you may have heard me mention the time I bartended for the convention of West Point Generals. They were scumbags. Everyone of them. They believed in a culture where they were gods and everyone else existed on a hierarchy below them ending in civilians. I heard their conversations, their ideas, their bragging and narcissism.

    They behaved as if they had deep insecurities. I wouldn’t trust them to make decisions based on much other than boosting their own egos or enriching their own wallets. They were one and all very fucked up people.

  • Glenn,

    Hmmm, are you going on record saying that it’s okay for the US military to murder innocent people? Unleash its rapists on fellow soldiers and foreign women and children? Turn its back on its own vets and make up fake syndromes to cheat them out of getting any medical help at all for war inflicted injuries?

    Can you compare what happened to this child–, “‘I didn’t think of Iraqis as humans,” says U.S. soldier who raped 14-year-old girl before killing her and her family'”, to some IMAGINED danger to a person who actually enlisted in a position they knew was dangerous?

    Men and women shouldn’t join the military. That is the best way for them to avoid risking their lives. If you don’t want to get hurt–don’t join a violent gang of thugs. Ask yourself instead–what part of joining in a war to kill people who never harmed you makes you some kind of hero or defender of your country? Don’t be a pawn. Don’t believe the rhetoric.

    (One last tip: If the words “light ’em up” could ever pass your lips when looking through a gun sight at another human being–you have already lost your soul.)

  • roger nowosielski

    Sorry to hear ’bout Jet. Will email.

    As to you being in those parts, I won’t mind at all about being “pestered.”

  • Good luck on the move, Rog. If I find myself up your way, I’ll pester you to meet for a beverage or two.

    Don’t know if you heard from Jet, but he’s in real bad shape. Couple of weeks ago, his knee gave out and he broke both arms and wrists and shattered left elbow. He’s in a facility awaiting surgery. He’s had the worst run of luck with his health.

    and now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Are you going on record that none of the 260,000 diplomatic cables could have brought harm to anyone not deserving of imprisonment and torture?

    And while we’re at it, are you going on record that if more men and women in our military die because of how our enemies use the information made public by Manning, that such is perfectly justified by the things that America has done wrong?

    And while we’re at it, Cindy, exactly how much time have you spent overseas?

  • 9-11 was not a war nor an attack by any government or representatives of any government. It should not have been treated as an act of war.

    There are folks in other countries who are dead, imprisoned, raped, tortured, and can’t speak because of what the US has done. They just don’t happen to be people you are interested in. They’re not on ‘your team.’ And therefore they are not privileged or worthy in your book. So, fuck ’em.

  • roger nowosielski

    Well, nearby. Oakland-SF area, so it’s only twenty some miles from Redwood City, where he resides.

    But I found out, the hard way, that internet personages, if there be any, are not too keen on being visited in person.

    One only wonders whether they’ve got anything to hide.

  • what part of CA are you moving to, Rog? Up north near Kurtz or in the south near me and Dr D?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Rog –

    I’ll be happy to shoot you a copy as soon as I get the ISBN in the first week of August. No offense, but I’ve been working on this for over a decade, and I cannot allow myself to take chances with it no matter how much I trust someone.

    I’ve heard it said that writing a book is like giving birth, and I must admit I’m almost as paranoid about where my book goes as I was about my youngest son in the weeks and months after he was born.

    But I’ll say this much about it – while my thematic elements have much in common with other books, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever heard of another book with the kind of plot that I have. I’m hoping the reader will see it as radically different as William Gibson’s Neuromancer was when it was published.

  • roger nowosielski

    By all means, do so. I’d like to see it beforehand, however, before it gets published.

  • roger nowosielski

    One shouldn’t be grateful for being able to speak freely, regardless of the conditions in other parts of the world.

    It’s natural human right.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    I’m not Cindy, but I do wish you luck. I think you’ll do a lot better there even given the rotten economy. As for ourselves, we often discuss moving to Oxnard – the area’s very nice and has a lot to recommend it.

    Good luck, Rog.

    P.S. As soon as the cover art is done, my book will be e-published in August, and in the acknowledgments I credit you, Clavos, and Dave for the criticisms you all gave me that helped me to be come a better writer. When I have it printed later this year, I’d like to send you a signed copy.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Not once did anyone representing any other country every do any of those things to me or anyone else in the US

    No? Remember 9/11?

    Cindy, I’m not at all excusing what America has done wrong – you should know better than that! BUT by releasing 260,000 diplomatic cables Manning HAD to have put innocent people at risk, people who were doing a job. It is incredibly fallacious to think that all those people were bad or that all their jobs were evil.

    Manning was a low-level nobody in the intel community, and as such, even had he personally read each and every one of those 260,000 diplomatic cables, he CANNOT have known whether the information in this or that cable would lead to agents and informants (innocent and not-so-innocent) being exposed and put at serious risk of jail or execution.

    What he did was irresponsible in the extreme. He’s wasted his life, but chances are very high that his actions led to the imprisonment or executions of others. Whatever his motivation may have been, and wherever your sympathies may lie, we cannot wish away the fact that his actions almost certainly put a lot of innocent (and not-so-innocent) people at very real risk.

    And Cindy – you can decry the U.S. all you want, but just bear in mind that what you’re doing here with impunity would get you imprisoned in reeducation camps in several other nations. To be sure, there’s better nations, better places to live…but there’s many more where speaking out against the government places at risk the speaker and the speaker’s family.

    I’m not saying to not speak out against the U.S. or what our government does. I’m only saying that you should be grateful that you can do so with impunity.

  • roger nowosielski

    Moving back to CA, Cindy, early July.

    Wish me luck.

  • The wars are not about defending your country.

    You claim that Bradley surely must have injured someone. You do this in the face of a video showing the US military murdering innocent people.

    I believe people are good. Unfortunately there are evil institutions. If you are a person who wants to do good, I urge you to question your presumptions about those institutions. I don’t see that you have done that. I hope some day you will. For now though, what you are saying sound like self-righteous privilege is speaking.

    Over the years the US military has destroyed lives, murdered, raped, and pillaged, attacked the poor and suffering, created ghettos and destroyed livelihoods–turning women and girls into prostitutes, installed dictators and functioned to oust democratically elected leaders.

    Not once did anyone representing any other country every do any of those things to me or anyone else in the US. Your claim of self-defense seems like piece of unquestioned indoctrination that is valuable in protecting military power.

    I think its other countries that should have the right to protect themselves–from the US.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Maybe you’ve got no use or inclination to defend the country of your birth – but that’s you, and not me.

    And I guess maybe that would explain why you see no problem at all with some kid – for that’s what he was – exposing TWO HUNDRED SIXTY THOUSAND DIPLOMATIC CABLES and putting the lives of informants and agents in jeopardy.

    Cindy, I don’t know where you got the idea that all government is bad or that all intelligence agents are evil and only intent on doing harm – it’s not and they’re not. The vast majority of the time, government workers are good people trying to do a good job, and the vast majority of the time, intelligence agents are good people trying to do a good job. Granted, sometimes they’re not good people, and sometimes they’re good people who are being used by bad people in the administration…

    …but most of the time, they ARE good people. That’s a lesson that you would do well to learn, that most people really are good people, regardless of where they work. It’s just the few bad apples (especially in positions of power) that make the rest look bad.

    Now I know that probably doesn’t fit your personal paradigm, but that’s reality…and by releasing TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY THOUSAND DIPLOMATIC CABLES, Manning HAD to have put people at risk.

    But if you’re going to continue down this road of blindly believing that everything having to do with intelligence operations is all bad and does nothing to benefit America, then there’s nothing I can do for you – for if that’s the case, then you’ve chosen to be every bit as self-delusional as the old white men who are glued to Fox News every day.

  • should be “I [made] to”

  • I don’t think I’d be inclined (or required by anyone I’d respect) to keep a good faith oath I to what turned out to be the devil.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Manning’s own “assessment” of the military matters not at all. Why? Included in the TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY THOUSAND DIPLOMATIC CABLES that he sent to Wikileaks was classified information concerning seemingly routine information. It is all but certain that such a huge amount of intel would have included info that would have seemed routine to you and me, but would have allowed people who don’t like the U.S. to identify and eliminate U.S. agents or informants.

    In other words, Manning almost certainly got some very valuable people killed. We’ll likely never know, for such is the nature of the intelligence world (I held a secret clearance for several years, and for some time after I retired from the Navy).

    260,000 diplomatic cables, Cindy. Do you really think he read through each and every one of them to see if they were worthy of public attention? Do you? What manning did was download documents willy-nilly without regard to what most of them held. Sure, he knew what some of them were, but all 260,000? No. No freaking way.

    He was a not-so-stupid kid who did a really, truly stupid thing that almost certainly got people killed and sure as heck did harm to our national security. Whatever Manning’s “assessment” of our military was makes not one whit of difference.

    Cindy, we swear an oath for a reason…and if we break that oath, we’d better have a doggone good reason. He broke that oath TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY THOUSAND TIMES…and even if one or two or a hundred or a hundred thousand of those diplomatic cables were worthy of public media attention, that makes ZERO excuse for releasing the tens of thousands of other diplomatic cables.

    Bradley Manning will rot in prison for many years to come…and he has to do so – he MUST do so, for the intelligence community that did so much to win WWII and the Cold War for the West depends on our military service members to keep their solemn oaths.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    You’ll hear no argument from me about the follies of macho idiocy. Problem is, half of humanity is made up of men, most of whom have at least some degree of macho idiocy. As long as there are men, there’s going to be macho idiocy…and wars.

    My point stands.

  • One must have very, very good reason to break a solemn oath.

    Maybe Bradley manning doesn’t agree with your own assessment of the military and what it is about after what he uncovered. He seems to have had different experiences than you. You may wish to give him credit for that. You may wish to acknowledge that there are things you haven’t had any experience with–and therefore you might see you likely make a poor judge when plugging those events into your presumed model.

  • and btw humanity doesn’t start wars, macho idiots do

  • war is a fact of humanity

    hubris is a fact of macho idiocy

  • Glenn:

    1) One of us doesn’t know what a liberal is and that person isn’t me.

    As usual in your conceited way you assign qualities to yourself that can only be assigned to you by others. I don’t think of you as liberal so to me you will never be regardless of how you think of your self.

    2) Quoting an irrelevant cliché is neither liberal or helpful. Why exactly are you trotting out this trite response that has no bearing on what I wrote?

    3) Again, don’t really see where you are going with this tangential remark but I don’t understand your assertion that “intelligence won us WWII and the Cold War”; sure, it played a part but it didn’t win the war.

    Similarly, nobody, least of all me, was talking about war, as a fact of humanity or otherwise. As you appear to be talking to yourself and certainly aren’t responding to what I actually wrote, I think it is best just to let you get on with your odd mental masturbation by yourself.

    You are far too full of yourself and far too certain of things for my liking; these are qualities which are the antithesis of liberalism and intelligent enquiry.

    What you appear to be is just another aged old blow hard that has persuaded their self that they know what is what. As is almost always the case, you are mistaken…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    1 – Apparently, you don’t know the definition of ‘liberal’.

    2 – A cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    3 – Intelligence won us WWII and the Cold War…and whether you like it or not, war is a fact of humanity. Although corruption has been a part of US and UK government since we existed – anyone with half a mind about history knows that! – if it weren’t for the US and the UK, we might all be singing the Internationale now.

    Or do you somehow think the Cold War was a joke?

    So that’s your choice, Chris – you can either protect the governments that give you significant freedom (as the US and the British Commonwealth certainly do) or you can go pretend that all governments are just as corrupt. Which do you choose, Chris?

    Note – while I may decry the American way of life, and while I may state time and again how life can be better elsewhere and that as a whole, and while America’s done a great deal that is not just wrong, but flat out evil, and while Americans are quite ignorant about the rest of the world, don’t go pretending that the US and the UK are so very bad…because you’re only showing your ignorance of life in Russia and China and most other places that are not part of the community of First World nations.

  • Glenn, couldn’t disagree more.

    1. You’re not a liberal.
    2. I don’t think I am all knowing; I am all doubting!
    3. Revealing the secrets of corrupt governments isn’t treason and consecutive US and, indeed, UK governments have been corrupt for the best part of two generations now.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    On Bradley Manning, I’ve thought long and hard about what’s right or wrong with this case.

    On the one hand I can easily understand why people are so angry with the government and the military for keeping him confined – and let me assure you that his confinement is much tougher than normal prison. Remember, I am a bleeding-heart liberal, dead-set against the death penalty, the drug war, mandatory sentencing for non-violent crimes, and for-profit prisons. AND while no one here (including the supposedly all- knowing Christopher Rose) knows whether those rape charges are true or false (and I trust Sweden’s courts more than our own), I strongly support Julian Assange’s efforts when it comes to Wikileaks.

    But on the other hand, Manning did not pick out specific egregious actions by the military and the government to expose – instead, he uploaded a huge treasure trove of information, much of which was – to someone in Manning’s position and level of training and education – frankly innocuous in nature…but may very well have exposed intel that he cannot have known about, and placed in jeopardy intelligence operations to which he was never privy (just as Valerie Plame’s exposure by Cheney and company also exposed a whole raft of informants and operatives stateside and overseas…many of whom “disappeared” – THAT, sirs, was high treason!).

    Manning swore an oath and he willfully violated that oath. That, and he uploaded not one or two or three egregious acts by the government that needed to be exposed, but many, many more that were NOT egregious acts, but had been (for reasons NOT known to Manning) classified.

    One must have very, very good reason to break a solemn oath. If he had chosen even ONE egregious act by the government to speak up about – as did the ones who spoke up about My Lai and Tailhook and Abu Ghirab – then he could have been held up as a courageous hero. But he did NOT do that. He used the “shotgun approach” and sent reams of intel essentially hoping that some would something would stick, but did not identify any one particular item that was truly worthy of attention.

    So…no. I feel bad for the kid because his life is wasted, done, finis. Whatever his intent may have been, he willfully violated his solemn oath without sufficient cause to do so. He will therefore be prosecuted and punished as an example to all the intelligence community. Anyone who has a clue on the vital importance of keeping intel secure knows that this is how it will be, how it MUST be – for having the right snippet of intel at the right time is the most important, the most powerful weapon of all.

    Bradley Manning can rot in prison. Indeed, this bleeding-heart liberal states that Manning must must rot in prison so that others in the intel community can learn from his mistake.

  • STM, that is so naive as to be verging on the gullible.

    If I asked you to walk the plank and assured you that you wouldn’t get pushed and fall into the shark infested waters below, would you do it?

    The USA can easily request his extradition to face charges there. They have already done it several times recently to British citizens and our pathetically weak government just let them, despite the “evidence” being sketchy at best.

    Government is supposed to protect we the people, not itself, and the USA, along with many other countries seems to have forgotten that.

  • STM

    Nice piece Rog.

    Here’s the truth though for all the commentators: Assange is not being prosecuted for anything except two alleged rapes in Sweden. The only extradition request has been from Sweden to Britain and they relate only to those criminal charges. I suspect that if the US tried to extradite from Britain or Sweden on any other charges, the process might take a decade given the detailed brief of evidence that would have to be prepared. I doubt the British would ever have extradited him to the US for leaking. The Swedes, don’t know for sure on that. But maybe not given their political bent. So far, no other charges have been laid in relation to anything, even if there’s been a bit of sabre rattling (and a complete lack of interest by his home country, Australia, except in relation to the criminal charges for which they have offered the normal consular help).

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Let’s not forget the American hero, Bradley Manning, imprisoned for shedding light on the sins of the state.

  • Igor

    Yes, France is the best chance for Assange. They have a history of accomodating mavericks (much more than the USA, which has forfeited freedom in favor of feudalistic conformity).

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ana –

    Mr. O’s current faux-Left positioning

    That’s be funny if it weren’t so true.

  • roger nowosielski

    A couple of links:

    (1) “Julian Assange’s artful dodge.”

    (2) segment Amy Goodman show, June 20

    (3) an interview, Reuters

  • I would think that if the U.S. leadership intended to kill Assange they would have done it by now; they certainly would not have been inhibited by notions of legality and due process. The alternative to assassination would be some kind of show trial which would not be to the advantage of Mr. O’s current faux-Left positioning, so I don’t expect that to happen, at least not before the election.

  • No doubt govts are nervous as the sharing of info becomes increasingly easier and technology advances. Interesting the way Assange’s story ties in with Manning and his trial.