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“Why I Serve”: A Conversation With A Marine

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Jennifer Milele is a dear friend who I met at networking event. Jennifer's personality, her work ethics, and love of political satire are attributes that I admired instantly. Our friendship grew deeper when I hired her for several graphic jobs. Now we interact several times a week while “working on the paper.” Jennifer is also a night owl like me and has answered her phone at 3:00am to hear me read a blog post. She has weighed in on many blog posts that never made it to print or the Internet over the years.

Our mutual love of politics keeps us constantly discussing the issues that are considered hot topics of the day. The only thing that we talk about more than politics is our children. We spend countless hours discussing the good, the bad, and the ugly of parenting young people in today’s culture. Jennifer has two sons. I have two sons and a daughter. Jennifer’s oldest is a Marine. My friend’s pride in her son’s decision to serve his country is no secret to those of us who know her and to those who meet her for the first time. If you visit her home, there is a Marine flag on the mail box and a Marine sign on the front door. When entering her home, the Marine memorabilia meets her faith. You know right away what her passions in life are: God, family, and country!

Last month, her son, Tyler, was home for a short visit prior to his deployment to Afghanistan. I made up some excuse to drop by. I wanted to tell him in person how proud I was of him serving our country. That visit lead to an interview where he shares about his decision to serve our country as a Marine. Meet Lance Corporal T. Hoffman:

Why did you decide to enlist in the USMC?

To be a part of defending America's freedoms.

Have you always wanted to serve?

Yes.

Where are you stationed?

Camp Lejeune, NC.

Where will you be deployed?

Afghanistan.

What has your greatest experience been so far?

I love being a dog handler.

You got married recently. How has being married affected you?

I have a wife now who I am responsible for and someday hopefully a family. I am fighting for their freedoms as well, so hopefully my children won't have to.

Do you have any fears?

My dog overlooking IEDs and/or getting blown up.

What would you like us to know about being a Marine that many of us would not know?

That freedom is not free, it has a price. It always has and always will. The risk of NOT fighting overseas on the enemy's turf is far greater than going. If we don’t fight them there, we would be fighting them here in our own country and that would put our families and loved ones at greater risk.

Not everyone can be a Marine. How does that make you feel to wear the uniform of a few?

It makes me very proud and honored, especially when I look back now seeing everything I have accomplished up until this point.

How do you feel about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"?

I feel that if you are open about your sexual preferences that would create a lack of bonding within the corps and military as a whole, and as a result would bring division. We cannot be divided within our military because that puts us at greater risk. I don’t want to feel that members of my team may not have my back in a life/death situation. I also feel it diminishes the "image" of the Marine Corps.

How does serving affect your faith?

It makes it harder to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ because the military has become a very secular environment with so many restrictions.

Do you have any last thoughts?

It makes me angry when Americans complain about trivial things and how bad their life is here. We are the greatest and most blessed nation and we take too many things for granted. If Americans had a clue what it was like to live in other parts of the world we would truly realize what a blessed nation we really are. We should be grateful to God for our freedom and liberty.


Wow. He is so young, married, faithful, and serving our country on such a dangerous mission. Reading his words makes me want to throw a ticker tape parade for him just for the hell of it. As Independence Day is fast approaching, his words about freedom are playing over and over in my head. As I was preparing this post for print, I decided to turn off the nightly hate feast that "highlights" everything that is wrong with our country for the remainder of the week. The hate is killing the united in United States of America.

When I think about Jennifer, I get teary-eyed. She is a rock for her family and a dear friend who has counted the cost a thousand times over the last few weeks about her son’s military mission. She has shared her fears, hopes, and dreams for him. In June, I called her as she was preparing for the 12-hour drive back from North Carolina to Tennessee to wish the family a safe trip. She was one proud Momma! After chatting briefly, I said a quick prayer for her son and his dog that will be protecting our country’s interests for the next year. I also prayed for the family. They are serving along beside him.

During our July 4th celebrations, let us take an opportunity to have a real conversation with a military family. They are everywhere in our communities. Ask the families how they and their loved ones are doing. I challenge you to make an after-holiday pledge to keep celebrating our country’s Independence by emailing or penning a letter to an enlisted solider. Long after the ribs and hot dogs are gone, they are still serving our country. Thank God for that! As Lance Corporal Hoffman said, “Freedom is not free.” Have a wonderful Independence Day!

 

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About Genma Holmes

  • pablo

    It is too bad that Corporal T. Hoffman for all of his talk about about patriotism and defending our freedoms, he has forgotten the oath that he took to uphold and defend the constitution. It is very clear in that document that only Congress can declare war, not the executive. The war in Afghanistan is unlawful both within the context of US law, and also international law.

    So I just want to say to the corporal thanks for nothing pal.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    While I can appreciate his service and sacrifice made by him and his family, reading his words makes me want to throw up. He sounds extremely young and naive because I have never heard anyone speak using so many cliches.

    “If we don’t fight them there, we would be fighting them here in our own country”

    Did he not hear about the Ft Hood shooter or the attempted Times Square bomber?

    His position on gays is ridiculous and ignorant.

    “I feel that if you are open about your sexual preferences that would create a lack of bonding within the corps and military as a whole, and as a result would bring division.”

    I would bet the bank that his fellow Marines know he’s straight, or is he not open about his sexual preferences?

    “We cannot be divided within our military because that puts us at greater risk.”

    Wasn’t that argument used by people who didn’t want the military integrated?

    It’s too bad the author didn’t use this opportunity to have “a real conversation” as she requests of readers because of few of these statements should have been challenged and followed up.

  • Dan

    Ironically, the people who didn’t want the military integrated can point to the Ft.Hood shooter as an example of their wisdom as well.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Must be nice to start the 4th of July drinking so early, Dan.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    The comments by pablo (“thanks for nothing pal”) and El Bicho (“reading his words makes me want to throw up”) are churlish, which is to say typical of Blogcritics, where the level of discourse is often personalized and venomous. Even so, I agree with El Bicho that Lance Corporal Hoffman “sounds extremely young and naive.” I’d add that author Genma Holmes sounds equally naive. “Wow,” she gushes. “He is so young, married, faithful, and serving our country on such a dangerous mission. Reading his words makes me want to throw a ticker tape parade for him just for the hell of it.” It seems that neither Genma Holmes, Jennifer Milele nor Lance Corporal Hoffman has the slightest inkling of what he’s letting himself into. I pray that Genma’s question “Do you have any last thoughts?” does not come back to haunt her.

    Apart from that, the most interesting Q&A here is:

    Q. How does serving affect your faith?

    A. It makes it harder to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ because the military has become a very secular environment with so many restrictions.

    What do you mean, “has become”? I didn’t realize the U.S. military was ever anything other than a secular environment. And is Lance Corporal Hoffman suggesting that he’d prefer a military where he could be an effective witness for Jesus Christ? I fear he’s taking the message of “Onward Christian Soldiers” way too literally. The day the United States Marine Corps becomes a vehicle for advancing Christianity is the day our freedoms really are lost.

  • Genma Holmes

    Thanks everyone for your comments. His views are his while on a dangerous mission serving in a foreign country. I respect his service to our country. He is young risking life and limbs walking in front of tanks looking for IEDs. WOW. If that makes me young and naive…then so be it. In the meantime, regardless of a persons views, I am thanking every solider and military family for serving alongside their love one. Happy Fourth.

  • Zedd

    Firstly, I wish this young man safety and a return home with his full mental faculties still intact.

    To the author: I assume, you being this youngster’s mom’s friend that you are at the very least in your forties. I am concerned that you have not pondered on his responses and tried to gain a deeper understanding of what is at play. As a youth, his view of the world is still very shallow. It is appropiate that he should be so low demential. His understanding of the inner workings of governments and politics are highly underdeveloped. That is as it should be. He is a youth. However, I am sincerely confused as to why you thought his responses had any value besides illuminating his naivety, the depraved tendency for the powerful to use those who are not, to give their lives in order to line their pockets. It would have had some meaning if you were discussing the effective manner in which the military brainwashes the young to die for platitudes, etc. You seemed to be highlighting his responses to you as a sort of referendum on this military action and why it should be supported.

    What bondage is so eminent that this young man should loose his life? He serves proudly because he knows very little. I hope he gets the opportunity to age and understand his world better.

  • Zedd

    Genma,

    What makes him young and naive is that he believes he is risking his life for our freedom.

  • pablo

    Alan 5

    Your right Alan its very personal. When someone is engaged in killing other human beings in my name, its very personal.

    The fact is Alan is that the constitution which he swore to uphold is very clear on who has the war making power under our system of government, and it sure as hell aint the executive.

    Perhaps your young soldier friend should take a remedial reading class to understand the document to which he swore to uphold.

    Its very fucking personal Alan.

  • Caitlin Hoffman

    This says no personal attacks are allowed seems like everyone on here is pretty dang shallow how dare you ungrateful ppl insult someone who does defend you and protects you from harm you should read more about whats going on there germ warfare nuclear warfare get a clue you rude ppl MY HUSBAND l.cpl Tyler Hoffman is a wonderful Husband a wonderful son and a wonderful friend and yes he is young but he isnt naive looks like yall are the naive ones and you should come up with better things to do then talk down about an Amazing person YOU DONT KNOW! And those are personal attacks ppl but research whats going on in the government and look up whats going on in Afghanistan get a clue your RUDE ppl! SIncerely Tylers wife!

  • sarah

    All of you that are bashing Tyler are so IGNORANT. It’s pretty ammusing. You obviuosly have NO CLUE how lucky you are. He is one of the 1,000’s that sacrifices his life so that you all can go about your day doing whatever it is that you like. He is NOT naive, he is probably more educated about the military, this war, and everything going on over there than any of you. You’re not over there and you have no clue what’s going on over there. The military did the right thing by going over there and helping. We can’t let these terrorist keep coming over here and attacking us. Instead of coming on here and talking down about Tyler how about you go read some things about what’s going on and educate yourself. You have no consideration to peoples feelings. I hope that all of you find yourself one day realizing how lucky you are because of our military.

  • caitlin hoffman

    And another thing you should think about his FAMILY and when they read this how it would upset them to see how many ppl arent supportive and for the ones commenting about how he loves jesus, you should try that out to, the lord is amazing and the lord is over there protecting him and the lord leads him and he will fear no evil bcuz when someone has the lord they know he will protect them and the military is strict he cant even shoot if he thinks he is in danger he pretty much has to get premission you obviously have no clue what its like over there and no clue how it is to stand up and be a leader i guess you will never know that feeling until your on the frontline making sure you dont get blown up by an I.E.D or shot at you dont have a clue, ill be praying for yall tonight while your sleeping in peace while my husband is being a hero for you God Bless you! and sleep tight :)

  • Irene Wagner

    Caitlin, these things must have been very hard for a wife whose heart is breaking already to hear. Free speech is one of the fundamental rights your husband is willing to serve to protect, though some may disagree with the appropriateness of using this PARTICULAR thread to exercise that right.

    Your husband is going to need your support a LOT. Take care of yourself emotionally and mentally so your husband can feel like you’re OK. Maybe you should stay away from news blogs like this until your reserves of courage are built up again after Tyler’s departure. You will find military wives who share Zedd’s views, and they will help you to deal with them should you come to adopt them.

    I add my prayers for your husband’s safety (and his dog’s!) to your prayers RIGHT now.

  • caitlin hoffman

    Thanks so much for these good comments they mean so much to me and the reason we had the fort hood incedent is bcuz the president this its politically incorrect to assume things but that was wrong bcuz that wasnt assuming he warned ppl but yet the military couldnt do anything bcuz the president is the boss so if you would like to make a comment about that write the dang president the military gets stricter everyday they are limited to doing certain things bcuz of the rules and they dont make the rules so get that correct and yall also have no clue what the military knows about that afghanistan and iraq have tried to do to us on our soil and our military stopped it you wouldnt know about what that is and im not allowed to tell you those things but think b4 u speak and think about all of things they do that they cant tell you and thanks i only got on here bcuz i wanted to see my husbands interview and thank everyone who supports him little did i know id see this but god bless the ppl who support him

  • Jordan Richardson

    I said a quick prayer for her son and his dog that will be protecting our country’s interests for the next year.

    Exactly. Her son and his dog are putting their very lives at risk for the interests of men they’ll never meet. The conflicts America is engaged in today aren’t about “freedom” or “liberty.” Nobody is threatening the American way of life. Nobody is trying to take away “freedom of speech” or “freedom of religion” or any other such things.

    The sooner these delusions fall away, the better.

    And the reason Americans were “attacked” on their soil is because Americans are constantly attacking others in their own countries. What the United States experienced on 9/11 is a fraction of what many parts of the world have experienced on a near-daily basis at the hands of America and America’s client states.

    The next time you ask yourself why this is happening, ask yourself why America is the only country in the world with a military presence on every continent. Ask yourself why Obama is spending more on building expansive military bases in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq while simultaneously saying he’s pulling the troops out. Ask yourself why America is so bound and determined to have “interests” that always require other people groups to be removed from their own territories.

    I don’t “support the troops” because I think that’s a hollow sentiment. I support Caitlin’s husband as a human being and therefore I don’t want him fighting any “war” anywhere. Supporting the troops means granting limp approval to their mission, at least to me, and I can’t grant any approval to sending young men and women off to die for no good reason.

    When it arrives, Happy 4th of July. Sad to say it’ll be yet another year that the delusion will continue and that more men and women from around the world will die for the cause of greed and deception and imperialism.

  • Irene Wagner

    WELL DONE, Jordan! :P
    It’s not my fault, for a change.

  • Zedd

    Gemna,

    I wish you hadn’t pointed the relatives of this young man to this article. Perhaps you weren’t aware of the types of exchanges that take place on these boards.

    Many people on these threads speak openly and frankly and political viewpoints are discussed and torn apart.

    By nature politics is controversial. Perhaps you should have posted this article on another board, if you intended to invite this Marine’s family members.

  • Genma Holmes

    Zedd,

    I have written political posts before, many, but this is a first in this kind of exchange where someone is serving our country is attacked for his views. Of course, I remember my family stories about returning Vietnam vets being spit on and yelled at because it was an unpopular war but seeing the comments is disheartening. To know that his wife and mother read them is not a good feeling either.But then again, it good that we have the freedom to express ourselves and openly disagree on political issues. Thank God I am not in Afghanistan…this exchange would not be possible.

  • Zedd

    Caitlin

    This is a place where people discuss ideas and not necessarily people. I’m sure your husband is a nice guy and it’s clear that you love him. However this is where people discuss politics. No one knows your husband as a person so we will be talking about his views and moreso the writer’s views.

    People come here to discuss and debate ideas. Your husband’s belief that he is protecting our freedom will be picked apart because it was posted on this site. A person who posts an article on this site does so knowing that their post will be picked apart. This is where that is done.

    Many people don’t see our liberties per sa to be in jeopardy by the forces that he is fighting. Some see some recent Supreme Court rulings as more of an attack on our freedoms than the people of Iraq or Afganistan.

    Nothing personal against your hubby. Just opinions. Without them there is no Blogcritics politics section.

    I would arm myself by studying what all of the debate is about so you feel confident in your discussions about this issue.

    Also there is nothing wrong with being young and naive. We all were. Just as you were less knowledgable as a child, you will be more knowledgable as you age. It is as it should be. It’s not a put down.

    I do hope your husband comes back to you, safe and sound with all of his emotional senses in tact and that you both grow old happily together.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Caitlin Hoffman, I apologize if anything I wrote in comment #5 hurt your feelings; that was not my intention. But you underestimate the resentment of people who are forever being told that we must be grateful for someone doing us a favor when, in fact, we don’t consider it a favor and actually disapprove of the damn thing. I’m sure that your husband, Lance Corporal Tyler Hoffman, is a fine young man who believes he’s doing his duty. But he wasn’t drafted. He enlisted voluntarily during wartime. And obviously he supports the endless U.S. war in Afghanistan, which many of his fellow Americans consider vile and unnecessary. So naturally he’s going to be criticized. And it’s a poor defense to claim that he’s only going because his government sent him. It’s plain from Genma Holmes’s interview that Tyler wants to be there.

    I earnestly hope that Lance Corporal Hoffman comes home in one piece, and that he doesn’t kill or injure any Afghans during his deployment there. Meanwhile, ponder Irene Wagner’s (#13) words of wisdom and shepherd your energies. You’re going to need all the strength you can muster.

  • Zedd

    Genma,

    No one was spitting at this young man. I don’t think you understand what the discussion is about.

    I have to wonder just how equipped you are to participate in a real discussion based on your comments.

    I’d like to discuss with you but I don’t think you understand what the commenters are saying enough to dialogue with them in a meaningful way.

  • Genma Holmes

    Zedd,
    No problem. Your comments are yours to make. Telling me that I don’t understand comments or equipped to discuss a post I wrote does not make for a meaningful discussion. did you read where I thanked everyone for their comments? Did you see me attack anyone’s point view or pick apart anyone’s comment? Just in case you missed my intent, I am a mother first. I stated how two moms who love their children are dealing with one mother’s joy and pain knowing her son is on a dangerous mission. You might not like his views but while he is serving, you and I try to discuss “in a meaningful way” his political views. Isn’t this a grand country or what?

  • Dan

    Genma, I agree with Tylers views. I also agree with his mission. I also appreciate his courage at specifically being a marine.

    No one has ever “picked apart” my arguments here. That isn’t what the willfully ignorant are programmed to do. Instead of reenforcing their opinions with logic and substance, they rely on pomposity and ridicule.

    You published a good interview with a interesting, fine young man. thanks.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    What the fuck are we doing in Afghanistan, Dan? Perhaps you would do us all a favor trying to explain that rather than trying to valorize all who are involved in the “mission”?

    No reflection on Tyler of course, and many a young men and women who get their assignment – such are the casualties of war and peace. It’s axiomatic that those who are stuck in a situation will find reasons to defend their actions and circumstances. Your cheering from the sidelines, however, is another matter.

  • Dan

    Why should I do you “all” a favor roger. Tyler explained it well. It is you and “all” who might enlighten me as to why he’s wrong, rather than carp from the sidelines.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I was hoping you were going to be less naive than a twenty-year old. Don’t worry though, I’m not going to make that mistake again.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    No one has ever “picked apart” my arguments here.

    By my last count there are at least four Dans commenting semi-regularly here, but if you’re the Dan I think you are, then, yes, we have – in some depth, and you have reciprocated.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say Tyler’s views are wrong-headed, although they are simplistic. Doubtless they will become somewhat more nuanced as he progresses in his military career – especially if he sees some front-line action.

    Besides, I think Marines are trained to be reticent when asked about their jobs, and there is also a strong ésprit de corps which makes them disinclined to speak of the service in a way that might smack of disloyalty to their comrades.

    So the opinions expressed by Tyler here may not exactly be complete. They do have a certain parroted quality.

  • Dan

    “…if you’re the Dan I think you are, then yes, we have-in some depth…”

    If you define “picked apart” as identifying a logical fallacy, or some argumentative inconsistency, then no, you haven’t. I would have remembered–and been grateful for the gained perspective.

    Descriptors of ridicule such as “simplistic”, “parroted”, “naive”, or lacking “nuance” do nothing to diminish the veracity of Tylers views. Nor are they particularly persuasive when countered with a view of such obvious nuance and carefully considered opinion as:

    “And the reason Americans were “attacked” on their soil is because Americans are constantly attacking others in their own countries. What the United States experienced on 9/11 is a fraction of what many parts of the world have experienced on a near-daily basis at the hands of America and America’s client states.”—Jordan Richardson

  • Zedd

    Genma,

    I am also a mom. My husband was a Marine. I am not sure what that has to do with having a dialogue on the lucidity of this young man’s conclusions. I don’t understand what freedoms he is fighting for, to the extent of possibly loosing his life. No bashing, on spitting. What freedom is at stake here? The Iranians are trying to take our freedom? The Afghans? Who???

    What you and I know is that the young are taken into the military and brainwashed with propaganda so that they eagerly offer their lives for what may or may not be a legitimate cause. If war had to be fought be men over forty, there would be far less wars because few would buy into the rhetoric.

    Dan,

    What logic have you offered us?

  • Zedd

    roger,

    I was thinking over The Social Contract and I think I finally understand how Rousseau believed the “shaping” of the general will would come about. He was saying that myths (myth makers) would serve as a steering mechanism for the people.

    The more I look at American “values”, the more I believe he was on to something. America is steered not just by propaganda but the imagery that has been conjured up, which rivals religious imagery (in it’s sanctity and mysterious power and value). The mythology steers the will of the public.

    On this thread the confusing element is not the young man’s naivety. It is the immense gulf between two lucidly related ideas that are however presented as one clear notion. I am proposing that what Doc, and yourself see as the missing piece is easily filled in if you know the myth.

    I am not sure if I am being clear or not.

    The myths says we are freedom “personified”. I am guessing the evil doers (who want to crush our freedom)are so because they don’t fit the images of good in the myth. The are the wrong religion, wrong language, wrong complexion, wrong clothes, they ride the wrong animals on the wrong terrain, etc). One doesn’t have to think too hard to conclude that fighting them is fighting on behalf of freedom.

  • Dan

    zedd, elements of islamic extremism in Iraq and Afghanistan don’t “take our freedom” only because they’re not capable of doing so. Young men like Tyler and many older men over 40 prevent them from becoming capable.

    The difference between sharia law and what we experience in this country is the extent freedom would be lost. Arguably some freedom has already been lost. The inconvienience of heightened security in airports for example.

    Men like Tyler aren’t “taken into the military” as a result of propaganda “brainwashing”, they volunteer to join, usually with proper counsel from people who are concerned with their well being.

    None eagerly “offer their lives”. Instead they assume a level of risk acceptable to them that enables them to serve a national military cause that they believe to be legitimate and noble.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Very cool insight, Zedd. It is part of the ethos, so of course brainwashing and naivete fall short of the mark.

    Got to think about it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Dan is complaining about his loss of freedom because there are others who want to do him in. Interesting how freedom gets defined here by other people’s presumed intent. Hence the obvious solution – eliminate all those who would interfere with Dan’s lifestyle, keep ‘em all at bay. Or jail ‘em if you must and throw away the key.

    There is of course an obvious solution for people like Dan – to find their own cocoon and stay there. Or getting a gun and start shooting.

  • Dan

    If I sound like I complain about a loss of freedom (as minor as it is so far) it is because I experience a loss of freedom. Nothing to do with “other peoples presumed intent”. Of course one needn’t presume the intent of other people when they so explicitly declare it.

    Those “others” who want to “do me in” also want to do you in. finding a cocoon or getting a gun would be a logical option if not for the valiant efforts of guys like Tyler.

    I suppose your solution would be submission.

  • Zedd

    Interesting how freedom gets defined here by other people’s presumed intent

    A puzzle.

    Dan,

    Hating what we do is not the same as hating freedom. Everything that we do does not represent freedom. Its just what we do (could be nice or mean, good or bad). Opposing America or America’s behvior is not synonymous with opposing freedom.

  • Zedd

    Dan, @35

    So you are not really talking about freedom, you are simply talking about survival. You are saying that these people want to kill you and this young man is going out to keep them from doing so.

    Is this a correction or a retraction from the discussion on freedom?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “I suppose your solution would be submission.”

    Don’t be ridiculous. Of course I believe in self-defense. I just don’t live in fear.

    As for terrorist attacks, they’re trying to do to us what we’re doing to them. The last I’ve heard, we’re on their soil.

  • Clavos

    I wonder how many who enlist in the military in time of war are thrill seeking?

    I knew a few in Nam.

  • caitlin hoffman

    I understand freedom of speech and i know you have the right but i also have a right to defend my husband who cant defend himself right now because he is off helping ppl in Afghanistan and i get that you want to disscus things but ppl should do it more constructive i do take it as a personal attack when ppl say “thanks for nothing pal” and “it makes me wanna throw up” this is a personal attack that had nothing to do with politics especially the throw up part i may not be your Harvard Graduate or have a way with words but i have a heart and so does tyler and his family tyler never signed up to die for anyone and never signed up to kill anyone he signed up to help not to harm tyler called the other day and asked us to send hard candy to give to the afghan children he isnt evil and he wouldnt hurt a fly unless he had to and another thing you may have disagreed with tyler on the “dont ask dont tell” but he most def was NOT bashing on gays its for their safety bcuz everyone in this world isnt good ppl some ppl are evil but he was by no means being disrestpectful but thanks for your apologies and realizing that we do read this to bcuz were proud you may not support this war and i dont have the time to explain everything about this war but even if you dont support the war you should still support the troops God Bless yall and please keep my husband in your prayers sincerly, Mrs.Hoffman!

  • caitlin hoffman

    And also thanks for the ones supporting him and all of the rest of them!

  • pablo

    40 Caitlin

    The war is illegal under both us law and international law, its that simple. Your husband is not defening my freedom, and he is engaged in either assisting others murder other human beings or doing so himself, he has only my contempt.

    He is not defending my freedom in ANY sense of the word, and I suggest again that since he SWORE to uphold and defend the constitution of the united states, that he read it, and abide by it. Only congress can wage war, not the exectutive, this is very clear, if you like I would be glad to cite you the article and clause.

  • STM

    Anyone who thinks this is an illegal war should watch re-runs of innocent people being killed horribly by jets being flown into skyscrapers, and New York firemen running into buildings they knew they might never get out of.

    How quickly we forget. If the Taliban and their mates in al-Qaeda had their way, there wouldn’t be any free speech; not a simplistic notion, but fact.

    If America and its allies pull out now, the way the thought process goes in the arab world and Afghanistan, they’ll be regarded as weak, paper tigers and that will open the door for more atrocities. I know how that thought process around supposed loss of face works … I lived in Iraq as a kid.

    And on Iraq, most Iraqis who survived Saddam and the invasion thought of the US and its allies as liberators; it was the handling of the “peace” by the US that have caused the subsequent problems, not the invasion itself.

    If you think Iraqis weren’t glad to get rid of Saddam Hussein, an Arab version of Stalin with a bit of Adolf Hitler thrown in, think again … they were.

    It all went pear-shaped about the time small-town-America reservist correctional officers were left in charge of Abu Ghraib (one of the most sensitive military jobs of all time) and started posting up their Baghdad holiday snaps for everyone to see. Whoever put them into that job and thought it would be a idea deserves to be strung up by the short and curlies.

    I’m with Caitlin: if we just stand around waving flowers at these lunatics, they’ll just keep doing what they do, only twice as hard.

    No one in their right mind wants that war to continue (or to have to engage in it in the first place), but if engage in a counter-insurgency like this (very different to Vietnam), the only way out is to stay the course.

    It’s a long-term strategy, not a shoot-em-up and let’s get out of here thing.

    As for thrill-seekers, I’m certain they’ll be dispelled of the idea that it’s all a bit of fun the moment someone starts taking potshots at them.

    I’m not sure we should giving the soldiers a hard time here, either, no matter what your view.

    Failures in US foreign policy are one thing; heaping shit on people doing what they’re told is another.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Initially I agreed (comment #5) with El Bicho that Lance Corporal Hoffman “sounds extremely young and naive.” Then Zedd (#7) offered an alternative explanation, faulting author Genma Holmes for ignoring “the effective manner in which the military brainwashes the young to die for platitudes.” Later Zedd (#30) reiterated, “What you and I know is that the young are taken into the military and brainwashed with propaganda so that they eagerly offer their lives for what may or may not be a legitimate cause.”

    This sheds an entirely different light on Lance Corporal Hoffman. Among our armed forces, it’s widely accepted that the USMC is the most gung ho. If any branch engages in brainwashing, it’s most likely the Marines. That doesn’t mean Tyler wasn’t naive when he enlisted, but his present mindset probably goes way beyond naiveté. Add to that his avowed Christian missionary zeal, and we’ve got a regular Manchurian Candidate on our hands.

    Equally interesting is the contagious nature of Tyler’s brainwashing, which has plainly infected his bride. In comment #10, Caitlin Hoffman advises: “you should read more about whats going on there germ warfare nuclear warfare get a clue you rude ppl.” In #14, she offers: “the reason we had the fort hood incedent is bcuz the president this [thinks] its politically incorrect to assume things. but that was wrong bcuz that wasnt assuming. he [the shooter] warned ppl but yet the military couldnt do anything bcuz the president is the boss.” She added: “yall also have no clue what the military knows about that afghanistan and iraq have tried to do to us on our soil and our military stopped it. you wouldnt know about what that is and im not allowed to tell you those things.”

    Holy cover-up, Batman. Germ warfare! Nuclear warfare! President Obama responsible for the Fort Hood massacre! Afghans and Iraqis trying to attack us on our own soil and our military stopped it! And why has the media (including Fox) reported none of this bunker-busting news? “im not allowed to tell you those things.”

    What she is allowed to tell us is that (comment #40) “tyler never signed up to die for anyone and never signed up to kill anyone. he signed up to help not to harm.” This is clearly a cover story. After all, the Marine Corps is not the Peace Corps. But, as Caitlin says, “i dont have the time to explain everything about this war. but even if you dont support the war you should still support the troops.”

    I’ve never understood that distinction. We heard it during Vietnam, and its’ been revived for every harebrained conflict since. It’s become such a cliché that nobody questions it. But, damn it, the troops are the war. In the ’60s, there was a famous antiwar poster that said, “What If They Gave a War and Nobody Came?” The answer is obvious. There would be no war.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    They’re doing a real job on the American people, especially the young. Most of them are barely out of high school and we’re making toy soldiers out of them.

    Zedd is right. We don’t only have the Christian Right to contend with; misguided patriotism is the religion of the rest.

    Heck of a way to celebrate the Independence Day by a nation of dumb fucks.

  • Clavos

    As for thrill-seekers, I’m certain they’ll be dispelled of the idea that it’s all a bit of fun the moment someone starts taking potshots at them.

    You missed my point, Stan. I was talking about those who are in it for the opportunities to kill without legal consequence.

    They exist. In greater numbers than the DoD cares to admit.

  • STM

    Serious, Clav? I know there are psychos but I’d have thought in small numbers.

    Did you encounter that kind of “thrill-seeker”???

  • STM

    You’re up early BTW. Midsummer over there and nice and warm down on the water?

  • Clavos

    Yep. In the final stages of prep for a two week cruise in the Berry Islands of the Bahamas, departing Tuesday morning at about 4 AM.

  • STM

    Sounds pretty good to me.

    I can’t get over the idea that someone is just hopping on a boat and going to … the Bahamas.

    I know it’s just a hop, skip and a jump from Miami, but it does sound pretty exotic when you’re stuck down here in the South Pacific :)

  • STM

    I just had a look on the map too. Looks like it could be a lot of fun.

  • caitlin hoffman

    ok you know i shouldnt have said it was the presidents fault its others fault to but i was very aggravated at the time and spoke irrational i apologize for makin judgement but i can assure you im not brainwashed, there is alot of things that go on here and over there that i cant speak of and tyler was 18 when he joined so of course he was young but he believe he was helping he isnt a thrill seeker and you may not know him but he wouldnt kill a person if he didnt have to and not everybody over there kills ppl there are bad ppl over there but there are also good ppl tyler is there protecting the good ppl from the bad, there is a man who serves them tea in afghanistan bcuz he supports the troops and wants to thank them for protecting him and his family the good ppl over there love them, and he isnt killing innocent ppl and he hasnt killed anyone so far he is protecting ppl over there and im not saying i agree or disagree with the war but i know tyler is helping ppl and i support him and im proud of him our govt llikes to worry about protecting others and i believer thats what were doing over there now and he does fight the bad guys so you dont have to but could you for a min think about if this was your son or your husband or your grandchild or nephew or brother bcuz you would wanna defend your family member im not here to argue or call names and i shouldnt have called you rude and ingrateful but i was very upset at the time you have to understand how upsetting it was to see all bad comments and no good ones but now that i see some ppl put great comments it makes me feel alot better and for the ppl who are critizing the way ppl talk saying its not your its your’re what is the point in that i thought this was political that doesnt sound very political to me mabey you dont support tyler or the troops and thats sad but tyler isnt here to please everyone and he could never do that if he tried the point im getting at is think about others before you speak and also tyler

  • caitlin hoffman

    doesnt control what ppl do over here he didnt let the radicals and jihad over here to shoot ppl so who did? it wasnt him and the point he is over there for it to try and keep the bad guys over there and not letting them come to america and kill and they cant control everyone its impossible

  • Zedd

    caitlin,

    Most of what everyone is saying to you is, the situation is a lot more complicated. We are not the good guys and everyone we are fighting are not bad guys.

    Also, it would be difficult to get people to want to give their lives if you tell them that they are fighting for murky reasons with an enemy that may have every reason to hate us, in a complex, ancient and desolate country that has caused one great nation after another to crumble; where the enemy is virtually impossible to reach by modern means. No one would be so eager to fight. What happens is that they are told that they are fighting for our freedom. That is nice and tidy (good guys vs bad guys), something that all Americans understand.

  • Zedd

    Clavos @39

    I am sure some are. They are barely out of boyhood. They just left their cul de sacs and reveling with their buds, their greatest adventures being out running the cops in their mustangs and beating the monster in a video game. They know very little about anything and are looking for something bigger than themselves.

    Some are angry, some have nowhere to go and off course the most frightening are those that are simply emotionally unstable and are looking for a violent outlet.

    Isolate these young men and talk to them about honor and glory, freedom and right and you end up with killing machines. Socrates says they are a necessity.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Somehow it always gets back to Socrates. The original brainwasher.

  • Zedd

    Funny!!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Descriptors of ridicule such as “simplistic”, “parroted”, “naive”, or lacking “nuance” do nothing to diminish the veracity of Tylers views.

    Dan, I’m sure Tyler’s views are absolutely genuine, and I did not intend any ridicule by my use of the phrases “parroted” and “lacking nuance” – I was simply calling it as I saw it.

    As far as Jordan’s opinion goes, it at least offers a concrete theory as to why America is a terrorist target. You’re surely not suggesting that 9/11 happened for no reason whatsoever? Why do you think it happened – they were bored and it was something to do?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Bringing 9/11 into this discussion, as Dr Dreadful (#57) just did, is redolent of Godwin’s Law, which I will now restate as Alan’s Law: “As an online discussion of the War in Afghanistan grows longer, the probability of justification involving 9/11 approaches 1.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but of the 19 al-Qaeda terrorists who hijacked four commercial airliners that fateful day, 15 were Saudis, 2 hailed from the UAR, one was Lebanese, and ringleader Mohamed Atta was Egyptian. Overall responsibility for the attack was immediately affixed to al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden (another Saudi) and Ayman al-Zawahiri (another Egyptian). None of these 21 villains was Afghani.

    However, since al-Qaeda enjoyed the Taliban’s protection in making Afghanistan its base of operations, a U.S.-led coalition launched Operation Enduring Freedom 26 days after 9/11. Airstrikes instantly destroyed al-Qaeda training camps and otherwise disrupted their safe haven. Invading coalition armies soon forced al-Qaeda to seek refuge in mountain caves, and quickly ousted the Taliban as well. Three months after 9/11, the last cave complex was overrun, and al-Qaeda leadership slipped away into tribal areas of Pakistan.

    In the ensuing years, the Taliban has reemerged, although not as the national government and minus ties to al-Qaeda. U.S. military intelligence estimates that fewer than 100 al-Qaeda fighters remain in Afghanistan.

    Nevertheless, Operation Enduring Freedom is now 8½ years old and ought to be renamed Operation Enduring Warfare. When President George W. Bush warned five days after 9/11, “This crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while,” he wasn’t kidding.

    The bottom line is that our War in Afghanistan ceased long ago to have anything to do with 9/11.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “Correct me if I’m wrong”

    You’re wrong about Dreadful bringing 9/11 into the discussion. I know your busy naming things after yourself but if you look he was responding to Dan who was responding to Jordan.

    Maybe Alan’s Law should be “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of someone not properly identifying what has taken place approaches.”

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    caitlin, it would be helpful if you used periods and paragraph breaks. Your word blobs are difficult to read.

    I am guessing you are even younger than he from what I can make out. No doubt he is proud to have a wife who supports and defends his so completely. I hope he and all our forces there return safely from that mess.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    El Bicho (#59), you are such a sourpuss. But tell me, how did you get from comment #2 (“reading his words makes me want to throw up”) to #60 (“I hope he and all our forces there return safely from that mess”) in the space of two days? Evidently the emetic of Tyler’s words had such a tonic effect that you can now stomach the thought of his safe return, which you failed to mention in comment #2.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Alan, you appear once again to be suffering from Alan’s Law, though your reinforce of it proves it is now properly defined.

    Why would being put off by his statements, which I still am, somehow negate my hope that he returns home safely? I failed to mention the sun in Comment #2. Does that mean it doesn’t exist as well?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Bringing 9/11 into this discussion, as Dr Dreadful (#57) just did, is redolent of Godwin’s Law

    What?!???

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Honestly, El Bicho, a simple apology to Mrs. Hoffman for your cruelty in comment #2 would suffice. Squirming around and playing word games about how you “failed to mention the sun” is beneath even the marginal dignity of Blogcritics.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Odd that you would find the comment cruel now, which it wasn’t, after previously agreeing with part of it. I am sure it has nothing to do with my pointing out the flaws in your comments.

    Also, I wasn’t aware you couldn’t take the playful teasing of #59. Does sitting on your high horse make you more sensitive?

  • http://genmaspeaks.blogspot.com/2010/07/conversation-with-marine.html Genma Holmes

    Happy Fourth of July. We have many men and women from all backgrounds who are serving in the military. Thank you!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Assuming that he’s still unscathed, this must be a happy 4th of July for Lance Corporal Hoffman. In the interview, he complained that serving “makes it harder to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ because the military has become a very secular environment with so many restrictions.” His loyal wife Caitlin expanded this point in comment #12, saying “the military is strict he cant even shoot if he thinks he is in danger he pretty much has to get permission.” In comment #14, she added, “the military gets stricter everyday they are limited to doing certain things bcuz of the rules and they dont make the rules so get that correct.”

    Now comes news that General David Petraeus, taking command of coalition forces in Afghanistan, pledged today at NATO headquarters in Kabul to review the rules under which our soldiers fight, “to determine where refinements might be needed.” In a memo to his troops, Petraeus wrote, “Protecting those we are here to help nonetheless does require killing, capturing or turning the insurgents. We will not shrink from that.”

    This suggests that Lance Corporal Hoffman will soon be able to shoot people if he thinks he is in danger without getting permission, making it easier to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ. No doubt Tyler and Caitlin, and their champion Genma Holmes, will be pleased by this development, but to me it seems like a step in the wrong direction. Relaxing the chain of command can only result in more death all around, not less.

    This July 4th makes me sad and angry at the way in which the military has hijacked our celebration of national independence, which was won through a war of incredible hardship fought by civilians on their homeland, not professional soldiers overseas, in order to free us from a foreign-controlled and unrepresentative government. And here we are, 234 years later, waging permanent wars far from home in order to prop up (you guessed it) foreign-controlled and unrepresentative governments. The American revolutionists wouldn’t recognize the country we have become, and probably wouldn’t even want to live here.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You said it, Alan. And don’t forget, Petraeus has blessings from the White House.

  • Genma Holmes

    Alan,
    Thanks for reading this over and over and over and over. Your responses look longer than my original post. I have another one I am posting about those who suffer sadness on the 4th for various reasons. I am going to champion you to make sure it gets maximum exposure. You are spending so much time on here analyzing a solider who serves, I hope you got a chance to enjoy the fireworks…oh, wait, you probably thought the fireworks going off was someone trying to hijack you and carry up off to a foreign country.

  • Dan

    “This suggests that Lance Corporal Hoffman will soon be able to shoot people if he thinks he is in danger without getting permission, making it easier to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ”—Alan Kurtz

    In this comment Alan conflates restrictions placed on US marines on the free exercise of their Christian faith with rules of combative engagement with the enemy that are thought to be too restrictive.

    Alan is either unable to recognize fundamental distinctions or he is being intentionally dishonest. Either way, the prudent thing would be to consider his view accordingly.

    Dr. D #57, Others using those terms were calling it as they see it as well. My only observation was that that type of critisism has no substance.

    That 9-11 didn’t happen without provocation is obvious. To examine the totality of historical provocation and response and then conclude that they’re bad and we’re good is the point of contention.

    In that respect, Jordans “concrete theory” is no more complex or nuanced than Tylers.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Welcome to the Crusades experience, another holy war.

    Onward, Christian soldiers!”

    That’s the essence of Dan’s “argument.”

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    To examine the totality of historical provocation and response and then conclude that they’re bad and we’re good is the point of contention.

    In that respect, Jordans “concrete theory” is no more complex or nuanced than Tylers.

    I beg to differ. Tyler’s “theory” is not a theory at all. Jordan’s has nuance because he empathises with the other side and goes beyond the meme of “us good, them bad”.

    I would hope that Cpl. Hoffman does as well: you can’t be an effective warrior without knowing something of how your enemy thinks.

    But he is only doing his duty by supplying such cliché non-answers as “freedom isn’t free” and “if we don’t fight them over there, we’ll have to fight them here”. A Marine isn’t supposed to offer his own opinion to an outsider. I’m not offended by this interview, as some commenters were. I would have expected nothing else.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t think Dan is capable of nuance. But then again, nuance is a dirty word as far as conservatives are concerned.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Alan is either unable to recognize fundamental distinctions or he is being intentionally dishonest.”

    Alan’s writings may be satirical at times, but intellectual dishonesty has never been his fault.

    You’re confusing intellectual honesty with bluntness.

    No question that rednecks are “intellectually honest.” But there is nothing intellectual about their views.

  • Dan

    The essence of your argument, roger, seems to be placing inappropriate quotation marks around incoherent references to historical conquests and lyrical refrain.

    Is it your goal to be the most frequent contributor to the comments section regardless of whether your overall contribution is cheapened by a void of substantive interaction.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m no longer the most frequent contributor to BC pages, Dan. And one major reason I don’t care for this distinction is having to deal with the likes of you.

    And BTW, my characterization of your thinking processes is spot on. There is no substantive interaction, in fact, any kind of interaction, between you and me.

    Consequently, my postings referencing you are only for the benefit of all and sundry. They’ve got nothing to do with any kind of dialog between us.

  • Dan

    So Jordans “theory” is us bad, them good. Empathising with the other side is both simplistic and stupid from a self preservationist point of view.

    Tylers theory is ‘if we don’t fight them there, we fight them here’, which is not only a more nuanced theory, but almost inescapably true. ‘Freedom isn’t free’ became cliche’ the way all truisms become cliche': from repeatedly being proven over the course of history.

    If we wanted to continue our comparison of simplistic naivete’ in competing theories, we could include Alans comment in #43:
    “What If They Gave a War and Nobody Came?” The answer is obvious. There would be no war.”

  • Dan

    Roger, I don’t think your comments are beneficial to either “all” or “sundry”. I also don’t think they are beneficial to your image as any sort of reasoned, objective thinker.

    You are certainly welcome to continue, substantive or not. The contrast is illuminating.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Funny you should say that, Dan, the contrast is illuminating. You are a caricature, Dan, as much of a caricature as any character in the comic books. Perhaps I’m going too far diminishing another human being so, but I’m doing it for your benefit, not mine.

    All of your views are from the left field; hasn’t anyone told you so? There’s got to be a reason, and you should consider it.

  • Dan

    I don’t feel diminished. Maybe you should try something else.

    Not that I’m not appreciative of your selfless concern for my benefit.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Good you don’t, Dan. I was referring to my own remarks.

    And they’re neither selfless nor altruistic. Just want to bring you into the fold.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Genma Holmes (#69), you’re right: my comments in sum are longer than your article. But one of the themes of this thread is the distinction between naiveté and nuance. Your article, being naive, can naturally be shorter than my comments, which are by comparison nuanced. As Zedd (#53) pointed out sympathetically to Caitlin, “Most of what everyone is saying to you is, the situation is a lot more complicated. We are not the good guys and everyone we are fighting are not bad guys.” Discussing something complicated, Genma, requires more words than your simplistic article.

    As for your sarcasm towards me personally, I can understand why you’re getting testy. Tell me, Genma: Do you now regret turning Tyler and Caitlin into public figures? Of all the self-serving naiveté shown in your writing (both article and comments), your unwise decision to “out” these private individuals is the most damaging. Surely it would’ve been better not to expose them to comments such as pablo’s (“thanks for nothing pal”) and El Bicho’s (“reading his words makes me want to throw up”). Through your naiveté, your have hurt these two youngsters far more than you’ve helped them.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Odd that you find the comments cruel yet continue to repeat them. If you honestly feel they are, why are you willfully attempting to hurt Tyler and Caitlin? Sounds like you are the worst offender of all

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    So Jordans “theory” is us bad, them good.

    The value judgement is yours, Dan, not Jordan’s.

    Empathising with the other side is both simplistic and stupid from a self preservationist point of view.

    You seem to be confusing empathy with sympathy.

    Tylers theory is ‘if we don’t fight them there, we fight them here’, which is not only a more nuanced theory, but almost inescapably true.

    It may be that if we hadn’t been fighting them there, we wouldn’t have had to fight them at all. It depends how far back in history you want to go and whose version of it you feel has more validity.

  • Dan

    “The value judgement is yours, Dan, not Jordan’s.”

    More correctly, it is my assessment of Jordans value judgement. My value judgment is concurrent with Tylers, which you have assessed as ‘us good, them bad’.

    “It depends how far back in history you want to go and whose version of it you feel has more validity.”

    Precisely the point I’ve been making. Is it your intent to co-opt my argument and turn it back on me, or is there some distinction you’re arguing that I’m not aware of?

    My opinion is that to suggest moral equivalence between the US and the barbaric elements of Islamic extremism, historic or comtemporary, is an insane exercise in perverse equivocation. I’ve never encountered any argument that is accurate or specific that isn’t also absurd.

  • Zedd

    Dan,

    I think what everyone is trying to tell you is you need to go a tad bit deeper. Your pat answers seem to lack depth. I don’t think that you realize just how generous people are being by continuing to dialogue with you. Its like a parent who engages with a teenager, nudging the kid along hoping their stupidity will evolve into some version of lucidity through dialogue, even though right now the conversation is annoyingly base and an insult to ones intelligence.

  • Doug Hunter

    Congratulations Dan, you’ve drawn the faux paternal condescension from multiple posters (it’s transparent and silly but it makes them feel smart I think). That seems to be Roger’s bread and butter, but you’ve added a couple more notches to the old belt as well… I don’t know that I’ve ever got a talking down to like that from Zedd. A boy can always dream though…

  • Dan

    Zedd, I don’t think your analysis is accurate. It is I who have brought “depth” to this thread. Along the way I’ve also demonstrated some of the shallow thinking and disingenuousness that is typical of the leftist liberal mindset that seems pervasive here at BC.

    I admit that I don’t do it out of “generosity”. I’m somewhat of a gadfly, and I enjoy rattling cages. Still, it’s easy for me to be civil, since I know that it is natural you’d be resentful at being unable to counter with substantive refutation.

    So I guess I accept your snarky patronizing comment as further validation for my views stated here. thank you

  • Mrs.Hoffman

    I just like to thank you Dan for your support me and all of the family appreciate it i wont be commenting to any of the negative comments anymore i get nowhere with ppl who will never understand but for all of yall who think their just killing innocent human beings i have a book for your to read… No Atheists in Foxholes author Chaplain Patrick McLaughlin.CDR, USN mabey that will help you realize and understand whats going on in Iraq and Afghanistan and No i wont be putting periods in my paragraphs because im not here to speak the way you want me to im here for my husband i could careless what you think about my typing im a texter not a typer lol or should i put Laugh out Loud for you to understand what that means ;) but why dont you take a look at that book instead of sitting in your mother’s basement in your underwear staring at the computer all day just to critizize ppl and that statement wasnt for everyone who is commenting just a couple but anyway, God Bless you all my prayers are with you all whether you support or dont support my husband!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    My opinion is that to suggest moral equivalence between the US and the barbaric elements of Islamic extremism, historic or comtemporary, is an insane exercise in perverse equivocation. I’ve never encountered any argument that is accurate or specific that isn’t also absurd.

    I can assure you that the al-Qaeda fighter who is hoping that Cpl. Hoffman’s dog does not detect the IED he planted by the roadside believes absolutely that he has the moral high ground.

    I suspect that his thought process, in coming to such a conclusion, went through roughly as many steps as Cpl. Hoffman’s did in coming to his.

    I’m not saying that he’s right, mind you. All I’m suggesting is that it might be beneficial, from a broader strategic perspective, to look into how the AQ fighter arrived at his point of view.

    Know thy enemy, and all that.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Doug Hunter and Hypothetical Dan:

    Shoot, if I ever thought of thinking myself smarter by comparison with either of you, I would have quit long time ago and rest on my laurels.

    Ultimately, Zedd is right. You deserve nothing better than condescension; in fact, even condescension is wasted on you.

    And you can quote me on that.

  • Irene Wagner

    Mrs.Hoffman…As a Christian, I wonder what you might one day wonder…With a sharp eye out for “Rolling Stone” reporters, your husband might wonder out loud with other Christian marines whom he really trusts…how it is…that they were encouraged by their pastors and radio preachers to volunteer to serve God and Country, and then, they find that the military environment is one where it is difficult, as Tyler puts it, “to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ.”

    I’m a Christian, and I’ve become very disillusioned with the way Christians (including preachers!) have been duped by politicians. Take Senator McCain for example, saying during ONE election that he disapproved of Rev. Jerry Falwell, and then in ANOTHER election, welcoming the support of Rev. John Hagee.

    This is from World, a Christian magazine: Afghan Christians who already live in fear and worship underground became overnight targets: Authorities drew up a list of NGOs, local, and foreign Christians to be investigated, and searched homes in Kabul for signs of Christian activity. …No statement from the White House, U.S. or NATO leaders in Kabul. No coverage from news outlets with full-time correspondents in Afghanistan. Washington Examiner editorial page editor Mark Tapscott picked up a WORLD story on their plight and contacted the State Department: No comment…Who did speak up? A group of 150 Afghan exiles living in New Delhi…”We do not know how the whole world and especially the global church is silent,” they wrote, “while thousands of their brothers and sisters are in pain, facing life danger . . .”…As Tapscott put it, are we in Afghanistan to defend Kabul’s right to kill Christian converts?

    I’m not all about destroying marine morale, though. Your husband is over there, and he believes he was sent by God. Who am I to say? He asks you to send hard candy that he can pass out to Afghan children. I have serious reservations about the war in general, but I’m all for this (as long as toothbrushes go, too…) Who knows? Maybe his main mission, in God’s eyes, to be in Afghanistan, is to show kindness to a specific Afghan kid who has not known it (some of them have, some of them haven’t)…not in the name of the all-benevolent U.S. military, but just as human being to human being. Maybe that child will grow up…even if he grows up enforcing Afghan’s sharia law…to show kindness, even in THAT environment. This is Moab to Ruth, but maybe you can keep it in mind, when you pray for your husband: Ruth 2:12

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Irene Wagner (#92), there has been a wide range of commentary on this thread, from unapologetically cruel to wholeheartedly supportive of Lance Corporal Hoffman, with a diverse sampling from pro to con between. However, I think we can all applaud Tyler’s kindness towards Afghan children. And I personally commend your own sympathetic comments addressed to Mrs. Hoffman; you’ve managed to convey words of wisdom without becoming preachy, which is a tough act to follow. Nevertheless, the blurred context of your latest post bothers me.

    As I noted in an earlier comment, the Marine Corps is not the Peace Corps. If Tyler wanted to travel overseas to help impoverished kids, he should’ve joined the latter, not the former. Alternatively, there are plenty of Christian charities with similar missions that would’ve welcomed him with open arms into their missionary endeavors.

    But he is serving in a combat zone as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, one of whose traditional nicknames is “Fighting Leathernecks.” They’ve never been known as the Kindly Candymen. They are recruited, intensely trained, and fully equipped to kill, not to distribute sweets. In acknowledging Tyler’s personal kindness, we ought not to lose sight of his military mission.

    Not being religious, I had to Google your reference to Ruth 2:12. There are various renderings, but the New Living Translation seems to capture the gist: “May the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.” This too bothers me, Irene. To what extent is Tyler in Afghanistan striving to earn brownie points with God? And to what extent are you counseling Caitlin to likewise earn her own brownie points? None of this would be any of my business if we, the American taxpayers, were not footing the bill for such foolishness. But we are and, even worse, it’s being done in our name, the United States of America, as if we collectively approve. Which we most definitely do not.

  • Mrs.hoffman

    I dont think irene was trying to get brownie points i think she genuily cares for me and my husband its ok to state your opinion but you need to do it more mature and respectfully like irene has done she’s obviously more respectful then alot of ppl on here i appreciate you irene and dont let other ppls comments put you down and by NO MEANS is tyler trying to get brownie points from god there is no such thing as brownie points with god thats not how our lord works i feel sorry for all of you that keep making comments about how tyler is a murdered i hope that one day your children join the military mabey that will change your mind and also tyler is NOT trained to kill he is trained for self defense their protecting us by keeping even more radicals from coming over here and also the big deal in afghanistan right now is protecting the afghan ppl their defending their freedom so that they might worship the lord without getting blown up defending them so that they can have their own opinions and be able to say whats on their mind without them getting beat to death by the radicals they are defending them so that mabey one day woman can have rights over there so before you pass judgement on “the war” they are not killing ppl to kill ppl america are the niced guys trying to help others right now and as they try to help and protect all the good afghan ppl the enemy comes and trys to kill them im sry but if i was there helping ppl and someone came and tried to kill me and the ppl who i called my friends i wouldnt feel a bit sorry for me defending them and you should wanna protect your family and friends as well nut obviously you dont care that much about your friends and family anyway like i said why dont you go read that book i told you about and mabey that will help you understand ill be praying for all of you again tonight sincerly Mrs. Hoffman

  • Zedd

    Dan,

    You are precious. I was a bit harsh, but I’m sorry, it’s sorta true. Bless!! We are not really debating methodology or strategy are we?

    What the commentary is about is this narrow definition of things- good vs evil. We are simply baffled at this tiny, locked-in and yet emphatic view of the world, history, politics and human social evolution. I don’t know if you noticed that our responses have highlighted the complexities of what is at hand. They have been suggestions that things may be much more complicated; that there are no hard and fast rules/labels in this matter. Discussions of good guys vs bad guys and freedom lovers vs haters of freedom seems a tad shallow Dan. They just do.

  • Irene Wagner

    Tis’ complex for sure, Zedd! I think Dan–is Dan the Hypothetical a moniker you chose, Dan, or did Roger choose it for you–please get a more distinctive user name–I think Dan could do more conversational give and take —fodder for making ALL our arguments more robust AND nuanced–if he got more encouragement to do that. It’s not just about ‘besting’ one another in arguments here, it’s about human conversation–as respectable as good old-fashioned quill and ink correspondence–that can change minds, or at least influence the bearers of opposite p.o.v.’s to hear one another out, so that they may engage in similar future conversations in other contexts more intelligently, and perhaps, more charitably and effectively.

    That’s encouragement you provided, Zedd, for Dan and all of us, for ALL debates, in your #95. Pure Black and White is boring, and only exists in Crayola-land. :)

  • Irene Wagner

    Alan, it’s less about getting brownie points, and more about…the difference between NOT being simpatico with the conductor and the rest of the orchestra, and making a crappy– rather than an inspired–contribution to the performance of Beethoven’s Fifth.

    I am working on a response providing the clarifications Alan Kurtz requested. They’re good questions, but all this brownie talk has made further conversation impossible until reinforcements are brought in. Lookin’ for dat Kindly Candyman. Oo-rah! LOL

    Meanwhile, Caitlin, could you have a look-see at the World article I linked to (click on the blue word that says World to open that window) and tell me what you think? I read Ruth 2:12 earlier today and thought “this is totally for Caitlin.” :)

  • Mrs.Hoffman

    lol well thanks Irene ill look at it when i get on the computer next bcuz things dont pull up very good on my phone for some reason but i respect all of yalls comments some of its just a tad bit ridiculous and sounds like someone younger then me wrote it not you irene but just little comments as to makes me wanna throw up brownie points just stuff like that is uncalled for lol but i have learned to laugh about some of them the only one i didnt laugh about is that my husband is a murderer bcuz he hasnt killed anyone and he wouldnt kill anyone unless he had to and that was a very un called for comment but to each their own opinion but i understand some of the views about disliking “the war” but i do believe that my husband is trying to help the good afghan ppl i wish that all of yall could meet tyler you would absolutely love him he warms up a room when he walks in his is really shy at first but once you get to know him he would be the bestfriend to anyone but also if this marine from maine looks at this blog again thanks so much for calling to thank tyler and telling him you were proud not only is that going make tyler smile when i talk to him next but it really gets me thru the day and im so thankful for that god bless you and now you know that your thankfulness did get around to the family of Tyler

  • Zedd

    Mrs Hoffman,

    Its great that you support your hubby.

    What we know because we have lived long enough, is that we (the US)are not always the nice guys. Us saying we are good or stand for what is right does not make that so. We know that we don’t always go to war for the right reasons. We know that soldiers are never told the “real” reasonn that they are fighting for. They are always told that it is for democracy or freedom. This is what we KNOW. Just as you know the historical events that have taken place in your lifetime.

    You know that every home hasn’t always had a computer (your kids will think that is odd). You know that at some point having a Black person as President was something most people thought wouldn’t happen for a long time (your kids will think that is weird). You saw touch screen technology for hand held devices become standard (your kids will most likely be talking or thinking commands to their devices and the key board will be a strange instrument to communicate with a computer through). Time is an amazing thing. You will know the dangers of off shore drilling and poor lending practices. You just will, because it happened in your lifetime. So we just know that wars are much more complicated and that soldiers including really patriotic Marines are not told the complicated reasons that place them in harms way.

    Also, as you age, don’t look at people that disagree with you as being against you. They are your best teachers. Figure out what we are talking about so you can have a stronger discussion with us.

    Stay strong

  • Zedd

    I’m confused about the candy, kids and the Word discussion. I’m guessing because all of those things are good, just mentioning them means something?? No comprende.

    I did however get Irene’s comment about how we don’t know what the purpose for this young man being in Afghanistan is (fate-wise or butterfly effect-wise). But I don’t guess that freedom rendering is part of it.

  • jax

    I have a co-worker who was in Afghanistan. The only reason she was there is because college was not a choice for her! She thought that the best chance she had for a future was to work for the USA for a while!I am glad that she wasn’t killed!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Mrs. Hoffman (#94), you write, “I feel sorry for all of you that keep making comments about how Tyler is a murderer.” In fact, among the preceding 102 comments, only one (#41) referred to your husband as a murderer. There have been a few other references to “killing,” including two of my own, and Zedd (#54) wrote, “Isolate these young men and talk to them about honor and glory, freedom and right and you end up with killing machines.” But killing in combat is technically not murder. I remind you that General David Petraeus, taking command of coalition forces in Afghanistan, declared on July 4: “Protecting those we are here to help nonetheless does require killing, capturing or turning the insurgents. We will not shrink from that.” Your refusal to acknowledge that Marines are trained killers is denial, pure and simple.

  • Irene Wagner

    Zedd/#100 – Caitlin’s husband is the Kid/Candy connection (#39-tyler called the other day and asked us to send hard candy to give to the afghan children..)

    The Word discussion? Well gosh, u no me :D OH! You might have meant WORLD discussion. WORLD hyperlinks to an article in a Christian magazine (exceedingly conservative in most other respects) that discusses how the U.S. support for Karzai is NOT a good deal for the Afghan Christians.

    Maybe I should have asked Genma Holmes, the author, to have a look-see at that article.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Irene Wagner (#103), everyone–not just Genma and Caitlin–should read that “WORLD” article you linked to. It’s an eye-opener.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Your refusal to acknowledge that Marines are trained killers is denial, pure and simple.

    Indeed. The entire point of military conflict is overtaking the “enemy” by force and that means taking lives. This may not create murderers, but it does create killers. Perhaps you’re not making the crucial distinction, Mrs. Hoffman.

    Empathising with the other side is both simplistic and stupid from a self preservationist point of view.

    Empathy may be a lot of things, Dan, but it is hardly simplistic. You might not see value in the ability to perceive and perhaps even feel the feelings and emotions of other human beings, but I assure you that billions of us do. Even many of your so-called enemies have the ability to empathize with you and yours.

    I’d suggest your callous dismissal of the concept is a huge component to your general attitude as reflected in various discussions around here. Simply put, your refusal to “walk a mile in their shoes” leads you to view the world, as mentioned, in black and white terms. The good guys wear the white hats, the bad guys wear the black ones, and all’s well so long as we remember that people are formulas and not complex beings.

    I refuse, absolutely, to see the world your way. Hell, even Jack Bauer would have trouble seeing the world your way. And when 24 offers more sensitivity to global issues than you do, you’ve got problems.

  • Irene Wagner

    Alan, getting back to your questions to me. Mark (erstwhile Troll) and I had a similar misunderstanding once. I made a remark about “medics” and “warriors” working, in ways neither one might appreciate or understand, to fight a common enemy. Mark thought I was talking about some sort of organized propaganda goody-drop with one hand, waterboarding with the other. I wasn’t.

    I passed along Ruth 2:12 to Caitlin, and indirectly to Tyler because.. he may be having…second thoughts at some point, feeling betrayed by the John Hagee-esque “recruitment sermons”—and the God who allowed them to happen. I could imagine myself tending toward nihilism. Inappropriate projection, maybe. It doesn’t matter, really. What I meant by passing Ruth 2:12 along to Caitlin should apply even if the Hoffmans remain gung-ho.

    I don’t think Tyler’s C.O. told him to write home and ask his wife to send candy to pass out to the civilians. That impulse came from Tyler. Whatever other impulses/reflexes he may be called upon by the army to act on, I wanted to encourage him to act on the impulses that come from his own heart, also. I was praying that God would bless those.

  • Irene Wagner

    Did I say army. Mea culpa! MARINES I meant.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Irene Wagner (#106), for a Marine in combat, acting on what you call “the impulses that come from his own heart” can be fatal. For you to encourage Lance Corporal Hoffman to act on such impulses shows that your own heart is bigger than your understanding of warfare.

  • Jordan Richardson

    your own heart is bigger than your understanding of warfare.

    I should hope so.

  • Irene Wagner

    A medic’s job is to bind wounds, or do preventative medicine, or even to do corrective surgery on the warriors…but not to emasculate. I see your point.

    Clarifying again: Warriors can have huge heart–courage–in battle. That same heart can be big enough to be on the look-put for people who need kindness in “down-time.”

    I don’t understand “warrior.” I flatter myself–maybe to an extent a lot of us do–by claiming the “medic” title, claiming to be all about peace. But if bombs started dropping all around me, would I be asking….why isn’t anybody DOING something about this? Rhetorical question, and one that–arguably–has little to do with the war we’re discussing currently.

  • Irene Wagner

    Look-put should be look-out. And no military pun intended, but “I’m fatigued” Gotta sign off.

  • Zedd

    Ireine #103

    I understood where the conversation stemmed from but was more perplexed by the use of evocative imagery as an attempt to change the severity of the impact of this war.

    We love symbols and imagery. It’s like a sick addiction. We are talking about whether we are delivering or sustaining FREEDOM with these wars and all of a sudden we veer to kids, candy and the Bible. Its really frustrating. This addiction to feel good ideas and inability to deal with who we are and how we impact REAL people not Not evil doers or freedom haters. is much too encompassing.

  • Zedd

    @ 112 Sorry Irene

  • mrs.hoffman

    Irene your right they help warrors but they also help afghans who have been injured by the enemy’s fire and bombs and americans arent the only ones who are fighting israel is helping bcuz they want to prevent the enemy from hurting their ppl and your right not everyone mentiones that tyler was a murderer i was actually talkin about the statement in general and irene your also right the marines didnt make him get candy he is a nice person he decided to ask for them hiself im not arguing because this ir ridiculous im just stating the facts

  • http://takeitorleaveit.tupepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I am convinced Irene is dead-wrong about her assessment of Dan. Give and take is not what’s needed here – it’s been tried time and time again, to no avail. What’s needed is a good woodshed trashing.

    He makes it a point to spew outrageous opinions for the sole purpose of attracting attention. Consequently, just like with any child who puts up temper tantrums to get their way, the proper remedy is either butt spanking or restricting them to their room.

    Since I have no means of taking him to the woodshed, I opt for the latter.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I’ve been reading this thread and I find really insightful perspective in what some people said. Jordan and Zedd particularly .

    If any branch engages in brainwashing, it’s most likely the Marines.

    From where I sit, it starts way before the marines or the armed forces. It starts the minute we begin to comprehend the world. Maybe I should take the time to write about that. But, in case I don’t, here’s a post I made about it last year: Say Yes to Peace.

  • Irene Wagner

    Zedd, I haven’t felt the need to make the Hoffmans symbols of anything — good or evil. They’re human beings–whose comments I read COMPLETELY before engaging them in conversation, by the way.

    I posted the WORLD link…three times…to HIGHLIGHT the severity of the impact of the war, not to diminish it.

    No worries about the “Ireine” spelling, Zedd. Reine means Queen in French. Queen Irene. :)

  • Irene Wagner

    Nothing’s BLACK and WHITE, most of us are agreeing on that. So, why is it so easy for us to see subtleties in ISSUES without being able to do the same in our assessments of the character of individual HUMAN BEINGS?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Issues aren’t discussed in a vacuum but contextually, with real-life persons. And that’s the added complication which ofttimes calls for treating the respondents below the diginity they would normally deserve. Whatever works!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Issues aren’t discussed in a vacuum but contextually, with real-life persons. And that’s the added complication which ofttimes calls for treating the respondents below the diginity they would normally deserve. Whatever works!

  • Irene Wagner

    @120 Exactly the same argument those who advocate torture would use.

    In the long run, treating people below the dignity they would normally deserve is a plan that’s bound to backfire.

  • Irene Wagner

    I suppose #120 will actually be #119 when/if your repeated comment is deleted.

    What works, Roger, is finding common ground, (hence an article from WORLD magazine rather than from DEMOCRATIC UNDERGROUND, for example.)

    And continuing the BLACK and WHITE theme…we ALL sometimes tend to ride into discussions like these with our WHITE hats. Anyone who dares to disagree is the ENEMY, with no contribution, however meager, to our own understanding to make, a BLACK-hatted foe to humiliate, intimidate into silence.

    Not playing anymore, Roger.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    And that’s the problem in a nutshell. White and black don’t work all that often. A white hat will soon get dirty, and a black one just makes you look grumpy.

    Grey works much better. Or beige.

  • John Wilson

    “No Atheists in Foxholes” is trite and demonstrably false. My atheist father spent WW1 in the trenches of Europe, my brothers spent WW2 in the south pacific fighting hand to hand and island to island. Amidst all the death and horror none of them saw anything to persuade them to god-worship.

  • Zedd

    Irene,

    On the symbols: I was talking about introducing children, candy and the Bible. Those are the symbols that I was referring to.

    On the black and white discussion: I am not comfortable with us walking away from this discussion believing that there is a middle ground. The tendency treat every position as something to be considered and thusly assume that the truth is somewhere in the middle, is part of the problem. Some things are just plain stupid. Somethings are just nonexistent. Some things are just an aberration. Saying that they are is not an opinion it is simply an observation of reality.

    Yes this war and everything about it is complex, so is most human interaction. However the position that we are there to preserve freedom does not require a meeting in the middle. It is absurd. Now, is “absurd” black or white? Doesn’t matter. It is what it is.

  • Zedd

    roger,

    What dignity do you think human beings deserve?

    For the most part, I believe we all deserve to be engaged with. If I am talking about food, I would like to be engaged on that subject. If I become specific and talk about Indian food, lets talk about curry and rotti, biriyani (sp), tandaloo et al. However if I inject tortellini and wanton soup into the discussion, then you have the right to know that I don’t quite know Indian food and thus engage with me as one who doesn’t. I no longer deserve your respect as a person who knows Indian cuisine very well.

    To be continued…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Cindy (#116), thanks for the link to your blog of June 14, 2009, Say Yes to Peace. “The only way to stop war,” you wrote, “is to stop participating in it. … It’s only when the soldier refuses that war will cease, when those at the bottom say–‘no more soldiers.’ … It is up to each individual soldier to lay down arms.”

    In my comment #43 to this thread, I recalled a famous antiwar poster from the ’60s: “What If They Gave a War and Nobody Came?” To which I added, “The answer is obvious. There would be no war.”

    So essentially you and I are saying the same thing, although I was thinking along the lines of enlistees such as Lance Corporal Hoffman refusing to join up in the first place, and you call for active duty personnel to lay down their arms (a far more difficult decision). Unfortunately, the probability is virtually zero that either the “don’t join” or “lay down your arms” approach will ever catch on. As you observe in comment #116, pro-military indoctrination “starts way before the marines or the armed forces. It starts the minute we begin to comprehend the world.”

    Well, maybe not that early. But we do give girls dolls to play with to orient them towards motherhood. And we give boys toy guns to prep ‘em for the commission of violence. By the time 18-year-old boys enter their local recruiter’s office, they’re more than ready to sign on the dotted line.

    Realistically, then, what’s to be done? Perhaps moms and dads patronizing Toys “R” Us should be urged to buy something other than guns for their budding male offspring. The media might be encouraged to stop glorifying war and glamorizing warriors. Schools could emphasize the human toll among civilians as well as combatants exacted by military action. And, God help us, even Christian churches could at long last live up to their avowed principles and condemn war wherever it rears its ugly head. But I for one am not holding my breath until any of this happens.

    Finally, I wish you’d clarify something from “Say Yes to Peace” that troubles me. “Being a soldier means only one thing,” you wrote. “You will be engaged in the justified murder of other people.” This seems unduly harsh, Cindy. “Murder” is a loaded word, to say the least. And does “justified” mean morally justified as in self-defense, or falsely justified as in rationalized and propagandized? Either way, it’s neither fair nor accurate to call soldiers murderers.

  • Mrs.hoffman

    John”

    Obviously you havent read “No Atheist in Foxholes” because you have no clue whats its about its explaining why were over ther eand what you dont see on the news and all the things soldiers or marines have done for the good ppl over there and yes it has prayers in it as well but you should pick it up and read it before you “think” you know what your talking about and irene i read the world i was confused near the end though but thanks for letting me read that and thanks for sharing and ive come to the conclusion that everyone on here who has all negative things to say evidently doesnt believe in god im sorry about that but i hope you come to find the lord one day and if a soldier or a marine has god in his or her heart before they go over there god will get them thru all the horrors and deaths they might have to face like i said im not hear to argue and i know im not the smartest one on here and i dont really care but do some research about things before you act like your the smartest person in the world

  • JLyn

    I have a question for Zedd, Clavos, Roger, Alan, Pablo, and whoever else, I can’t keep up. Where does your hatred for America come from. Where you taught it from childhood, did you learn it in college/universities, from the 60’s? just curious.

    JLyn

  • JLyn

    Cindy,
    If the United States of America never participated in a war, do you honestly think, we would be where we are now? Seriously!

    Also, if someone initiates war, just don’t fight back and there won’t be a war? Is that what you are saying?

    Please!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    JLyn (#129), sorry you can’t keep up. Fact is, I love America but hate war. Nobody taught me about such things. I looked around, thought about what I saw, and came to my own conclusions. And incidentally, it’s mentally sloppy of you to lump together five individuals from this thread, each of whom expresses an individual point of view. Personally, I’m pleased to be associated with Zedd and Roger, but would like to distance myself from Clavos and categorically reject everything that Pablo has written here.

  • Zedd

    Cont.

    I deserve to be treated like a person who doesn’t know that they don’t know enough about Indian food. It’s perfectly alright to tell me that I am wrong and wonton soup is not an Indian food. If I insist that it is and take you to be attacking me personally for trying to correct me, it is at that point I believe that I loose my respectability. Not that my humanity or value as a human being is lessened but my knuckle headedness and dismissing of wisdom makes me loose cool points, or respectability.

    The idea that insistent ignorance is respectable is confusing if not dangerous to society.

  • Zedd

    JLyn,

    Bless. Where did you read that anyone on this thread hates America?

    Help me to understand. Could you give examples of what lead you to that conclusion?

  • JLyn

    Alan,
    I just figured that would be easiest to aak that question once and let people respond accordingly. Thank you for clarifying. I started reading the comments from the beginning since the article was first posted. I’m just now getting around to commenting. I just appears that so many are too quick to bash America without even having the knowledge of what our history is and at what cost we got to be the greatest nation. Not saying that’s true of you…

  • JLyn

    oh hey Zedd, ok let me go back and look, there are so many now. That’s just an overall
    impression I get sometimes…

    con’t

  • JLyn

    Zedd

    your comment:
    I am sincerely confused as to why you (Genma) thought his responses had any value besides illuminating his naivety, the depraved tendency for the powerful to use those who are not, to give their lives in order to line their pockets. It would have had some meaning if you were discussing the effective manner in which the military brainwashes the young to die for platitudes, etc. You seemed to be highlighting his responses to you as a sort of referendum on this military action and why it should be supported.

    What bondage is so eminent that this young man should loose his life? He serves proudly because he knows very little. I hope he gets the opportunity to age and understand his world better.

    Ok–
    the comment about Tyler’s youthfulness and why the author thought his comments had any value and how the military “brainwashes” the young.

    Wasn’t the point of the article to show the views of one typical young marine (as the majority are) and how he personally felt about certain things from a military standpoint and to have a military focus on the weekend of the 4th? Which I believe she accomplished what she set out to do?

  • JLyn

    con’t to Zedd

    your comment:
    Many people don’t see our liberties per sa to be in jeopardy by the forces that he is fighting. Some see some recent Supreme Court rulings as more of an attack on our freedoms than the people of Iraq or Afganistan.

    ok — this is one comment that I got a somewhat impression of bashing America or perhaps to some degree as anti-American. I can appreciate reading different views and opinions, but hard to believe how some people can’t see that our liberties are at stake and that terrorists are a big threat to us. Not sure which Supreme Court ruling you were referring to, pehaps you could enlightening me on that and why it’s a bigger threat than terrorism.

  • JLyn

    con’t to Zedd

    your comment:
    I don’t understand what freedoms he is fighting for, to the extent of possibly loosing his life. No bashing, on spitting. What freedom is at stake here? The Iranians are trying to take our freedom? The Afghans? Who???

    What you and I know is that the young are taken into the military and brainwashed with propaganda so that they eagerly offer their lives for what may or may not be a legitimate cause. If war had to be fought be men over forty, there would be far less wars because few would buy into the rhetoric.

    ok — another anti-American impression I got was you’re not understanding what freedoms Tyler is fighting for to the extent of possibly loosing his life, especially since your husband was/is a Marine. The fact is the Iranians, Afghans and many others ARE trying to take our freedoms because what they believe is that Israel and America are the Big Satan and Little Satan and they want to wipe us off the face of the earth. If that isn’t wanting to take our freedoms away, I don’t know what is. I know I know, there are radicals, then there are regular “innocent” civilians. Yes of course as there are everywhere. But aren’t they most muslims that believe and live Islam? Which I believe refers to us as infidels.

    I guess it would be helpful if you could explain what you mean when you say “brainwashing” with propaganda. Exactly how does the military go about doing that, are the recruits robots, are they hooked up to a machine and shocked with propaganda embedded into their brains? Please enlightening me.

    As far as the older men, I don’t think they would be physically able as a majority, there is a reason they want the younger ones, I would think it has more to do with their physical strength and endurance, plus they are trainable, not to be brainwashed or to buy into “rhetoric”, but trained how to defend their country, yes as in fighting because they have a love for country. Would you admit, that such a thing exists?

  • JLyn

    con’t Zedd

    your comment:
    The myths says we are freedom “personified”. I am guessing the evil doers (who want to crush our freedom)are so because they don’t fit the images of good in the myth. The are the wrong religion, wrong language, wrong complexion, wrong clothes, they ride the wrong animals on the wrong terrain, etc). One doesn’t have to think too hard to conclude that fighting them is fighting on behalf of freedom.

    ok — hum! this one might be over my head.

    your comment:
    Hating what we do is not the same as hating freedom. Everything that we do does not represent freedom. Its just what we do (could be nice or mean, good or bad). Opposing America or America’s behvior is not synonymous with opposing freedom.

    ok — this was another perhaps anti-American impression. Do you hate everything America does or just things pertaining to war? Opposing America, it’s behavior, is NOT the same as opposing freedom, if America stands for freedom? hum, not sure what to ask here…

  • JLyn

    con’t Zedd

    your comment:
    We are not the good guys and everyone we are fighting are not bad guys.

    ok — another anti-American impression, because you point blank said “we are not the good guys” (as in none of us are good) but yet you said that the enemy is not ALL bad (leaving room to say some are good). If we are not good, then how can any of them be? Why do give them slack, but not us?

    I agree that they are not all bad, as in “innocent” civilians, of course they aren’t. But I can say that Tyler is good, he is not the enemy here.

    I guess I’m saying your comment didn’t seem fair and typical of bashing America. Perhaps you didn’t mean it that way.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    JLyn, this endless litany of undigested quotes presumably from Zedd’s comments, together with your poorly organized responses, is getting tiresome. Can’t you just pick one or two of Zedd’s comments that illustrate her alleged anti-Americanism, and then make your point (whatever the hell that is)?

  • JLyn

    con’t Zedd

    your comment:
    Also, it would be difficult to get people to want to give their lives if you tell them that they are fighting for murky reasons with an enemy that may have every reason to hate us, in a complex, ancient and desolate country that has caused one great nation after another to crumble; where the enemy is virtually impossible to reach by modern means. No one would be so eager to fight. What happens is that they are told that they are fighting for our freedom. That is nice and tidy (good guys vs bad guys), something that all Americans understand.

    ok — here is a good example of an anti-American impression. If you don’t understand the intent of why were are fighting in Afghanistan / Iraq, I can see why you would refer to the reasons as “murky”. Isn’t that an opinon? The intent and objective is very clear if you understand the full context of “why”.

    The enemey has every reason to hate us? But we don’t have every reason to hate them? Why do you feel they have a right to hate us? We have made mistakes, of course, and I don’t agree with everything this country has done, it has made some bad decisions especially over the pass several decades. But this does not take away from the fact that we are the greatest nation that has ever existed because of what we stand for and our constitution.

    We have caused other nations to crumble? How? Out of meaness or we’re just bad? Or what? What war did we start? Maybe that’s a loaded question. Did we start WWI, WWII, Korean, Vietnam? Would I be right to assume you think we started the Iraq War and Afghan War because we deserved what happened on 911? I’m sure you already know I don’t believe this, but from your comments about the USA, it just seems to me, that would be your views. If I’m wrong on that, forgive me, and please correct me.

    It’s always the USA that comes to the aid of other countries to bring food and medicine and yes weapons, so that defenseless people can defend themselves. We are the good guys and history has proven so. If you can disprove that with facts, not opinons, please do so.

    It’s always been good guys vs bad guys, that’s nothing new, if there are bad guys then someone has to fight them to protect the good and innocent, would you not agree with that? If someone breaks into your home, would you not have the right to defend yourself and your family? If someone robbed a store clerk, would that clerk not have the right to protect himself and his property? You know where I’m going with this as in if American is attacked, do we not have the right to defend ourselves? Maybe that’s another loaded question as well, especially if you believe that we were not attacked on 911, but deserved it.

    The military recruits are not “told” that they are fighting for their country’s freedoms when they volunteer to sign up. They have brains of their own, no once they get in, they don’t agree with every rule and every proceedure and many get frustrated how the administrative part is run, but still bottomline, when it’s time to defend your country, you don’t have to be “told” it’s for freedom.

  • JLyn

    ok Alan, sorry, she just asked me to refer back to her comments, as to what was bashing America and/or anti-America and that’s all I was doing. I’ll wait to hear from her before posting anymore more of her comments. I think I got my point across anyway, that she also, along with others came across this way.

  • Irene Wagner

    Zedd’s snub of Mac’n’Cheese while she promotes the pasta of foreigners (#126). Case closed.

    Sorry, JLyn, for interrupting. You asked good questions. You and Zedd (who has given up more for America than a lot of us ladies have) have a lot to talk about.

  • JLyn

    thanks Irene, I am curious of her comments especially since her husband was in the Marines. I would like to know her better and understand where she is coming from.

  • STM

    I can’t believe all the bizarre and what I consider completely ridiculous comments on here suggesting the US or the West in general have no reason to carry this fight to the Taliban and other islamic fundamentalists.

    Are you serious?

    Just in case you’ve forgotten, watch some re-runs of 9/11 to see thousands of American civilians losing their lives. Then add the 80 dead Aussies and the others from all over the world blown to bits in the 2002 Bali bombing, then the 7/7 London victims (52 dead, 700 injured) in the 2005 public transport blasts on the Underground and bus system (nice soft targets there, all of them, to a committed attacker – and unlike the US and its allies, certainly no attempt to avoid civilian casualties).

    If you add into the mix the Madrid rail bombing, the shocking attacks in Mumbai, where Americans and Britons were deliberately targeted, the blasts in Delhi and other places in Asia like Jakarta, and the recent Moscow subway bombing in Moscow, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out these attacks aren’t just aimed at Americans but western non-muslims in general.

    Why? They think we’re decadent and un-islamic because we don’t believe what they believe. That is the basis of their anger – period. It’s also directed at people of their own faith who aren’t islamic enough, in their books.

    Don’t the peaceniks get it? As the above casualty lists show, and the public statements from virtually every fundamentalist islamic leader anywhere, we ARE actually all fighting for our lives and our way of life against lunatics wearing teatowels on their heads whose last known address is a cave and whose avowed aim is to take us back to the Middle Ages … unless they can kill all of us decadent westerners first.

    Because of course, islamic fundamentalists are huge on human rights … and even better on women’s rights.

    There might be some naivity in terms of how people are expressing the involvivment of the US here, but it’s essentially 100 per cent right. George Bush might have given the war on terror a stupid name, but there actually is a real war that needs to be fought on a whole lot of levels, not just military.

    And yes, all the attacks listed above – and the many others I have not listed – ARE all related.

  • Irene Wagner

    You’ve listed a lot of terrorist acts against civilians that happened SINCE U.S. forces were sent into Afghanistan, STM. So…how successful has the GWOT been so far?

    How long will it need to continue until it is successful? We stop bombing, “the towelheads” will stop respecting us. They’re respecting us now? The terrorist attacks will become MORE frequent if we admit that Afghan is a bust and move out? Or will there just be fewer IED casualties, and fewer Afghan civilian deaths?

    Banging hand gets bloody. Brick wall remains immovable. …but there actually is a real war that needs to be fought on a whole lot of levels, not just military. Now you’re talking!

  • Mrs.Hoffman

    I think that if you hate America so much i wouldnt mind helping you move :) and we can even ship you and your things to afghanistan so you could get a taste of that fine living with no freedoms!

  • JLyn

    there is no way to completely avoid civilians deaths in war, it’s just a part of it. we can make all the efforts we can, but it does happen. Especially when the Taliban embeds itself within the communities and houses of the innocent civilians.

    it will be successful when the Taliban is defeated. Maybe 5 years, maybe 1,000 years, but it’s because of the brave that have gone before us to defeat dictators, communist regimes and so forth over the past, but had the brave not stepped up, where would we be now? Same situation in Afghan, if the brave don’t step up to the plate, they will never be defeated.

    If we pull out, the Taliban will gain strength and power and become more of a threat, we cannot afford to pull out. All the ones who have died would be in vain.

    Brick walls can be knocked down.

    Bottomline is, the Taliban is evil and you cannot negociate and / or reason with them, that’s why they must be defeated and destroyed, because one this is for sure, they are out to defeat and destroy us.

  • STM

    Islamic fundamentalism is just another hateful ideology.

    It belongs in the garbage bin of history, along with all its nasty friends of recent history.

    Let’s start with the religious fundamentalism of absolutist France and Spain, in their attempt to destroy England’s democratic tradition in the 16th century.

    Then there was Napoleon’s attempt to keep all of continental Europe under the heel of his post-revolutionary French boot (not to mention the revolution itself, which was an officially-stamped bloodletting of unprecedented scale).

    Prussian militarism (and German imperialism without thje benefit of genuine modern democracy to act as a counter-balance), the real cause of WWI.

    Hitler’s Germany and the holocaust. ‘Nuff said there.

    Extremely brutal and racist Japanese imperailism.

    Stalinism … a very nasty and bastardised form of communism (which isn’t that great either).

    Saddam Hussein’s 35-year Baathist nightmare in Iraq.

    To list but a few.

    It’s also worth noting that the US decision to bury its head in the sand between World Wars I and II probably contributed hugely to the rise of Naziism in Germany, and at the very least to Hitler’s boldness in his military expansion, not least because the US came to be regarded as a paper tiger.

    What, so some things aren’t worth standing up for?

    Like Free speech, democracy and rule of law?

    Sorry, don’t buy it, no matter how unpalatable I find it.

    If it weren’t for the US and the British Empire/Commonwealth, much of the world would be speaking French, German, Russian or Japanese now instead of English.

    I know which tradition I’d prefer, hands down.

  • STM

    And Zedd, let’s not forget South Africa’s akrikaner apartheid regime. You of all people, and with your background, should have an understanding of why people need to stand up against certain things.

    I guess if your view is that the US is solely driven by an imperialist agenda (I don’t, even if there’s some truth to it), then I suppose there’s not much point arguing the toss on this.

    But still … I know how lucky I am to have grown up in a country like Australia (with all its imperfections) instead of, say, Hendrick Voerword’s South Africa, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq or Stalin’s Russia.

    I don’t know about you, but I feel like I wake up every day and need to pinch myself just to make sure it’s real. I have no illusions at all about how lucky I am to be in this country.

    You are lucky to have grown up in the US, too; it’s not that different to where I am.

    There is NO comparison between the democratic systems of government you and I live under and those other places mentioned.

    And if it hadn’t been for my father’s and grandfather’s generations, it might not even exist.

    Sadly, just wanting a peaceful world is no guarantee of it remaining so.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Spoken like a true patriot, Stan.

    The only problem is that it reveals a rather simplistic view of things. You say that you feel lucky to be living where you are, which is certainly a sentiment I share.

    There is a point to defending the interests of the nations we live in and defending our “freedoms,” but the world’s current conflicts share little with the major World Wars or some of the other conflicts you list.

    Let’s not forget, too, the roles the British and American agendas had to play in some of those conflicts you listed. The Hussein regime in Iraq stands as a stark example, with American interests using him when it suited them and condemning him when he was no longer useful. They didn’t invade Iraq to remove his evil from power; they allowed it to happen first and invaded when it was clear that new opportunities to attack a crippled country – a useless one, too, except for its rich resources as you know – arose out of the sand.

    American use of vile, evil agendas around the world is well-documented, Stan. I truly hope you don’t buy the moral imperative here, that America is interested in stopping Islamic fundamentalism on moral grounds and because those whackos threaten your “way of life.” It’s just not the case and history proves it.

    It becomes harder and harder to turn a blind eye away from the American imperial agenda and, in light of this continuous Middle Eastern conflict that has bubbled and boiled for ages, it’s harder and harder to imagine THIS as American moral muscle at work.

    It’s easy, however, to paint “those over there” as enemies and as threats to our existence. It’s easy to lump this conflict, with its imaginary enemies and broad, neverending terminology, with the World Wars that our fathers and grandfathers may have participated it. But it’s just not the same. It isn’t the same philosophically, ideologically, or actually.

    These men and women aren’t dying for any useful cause, Stan, and that rightly has people upset. It has people pissed off because the invisible hands of power demand blood. It’s not any cause that threatens our freedoms or our ways of life. 9/11 remains a symbol to drive the fear and insistence of “loss,” but history dictates that it was an incredibly isolated incident that had no reasoned, actual follow-up worthy of historical note.

    It’s argued that the reason 9/11 didn’t happen again is because America took the fight overseas, but is that really true? Or did fundamentalism rise with American invasions around the world like anti-American sentiment rose in South America during the Reagan years?

    It’s easy to suggest that the United States and her client states are our guardians, protecting us with their giant hands while we sleep at night. But the truth isn’t a fairy tale and it’s time to wake the hell up.

  • Irene Wagner

    There are terrorists cells embedded in the United States, too. Saudi Arabia? WALLOWING in terrorists. Why are civilian deaths to get rid of terrorists in Afghanistan considered unavoidable, whereas, in Saudi Arabia, or the U.S., they are considered unacceptable?

    I’m not recommending a wider “acceptable” umbrella, but rather, a reassessment of the “they’re evil, we’re selfless” national character assessment. Some of those Taliban ARE evil men. And some of them aren’t. Same with our side.

    And you know what they say the root of all evil is. I wonder if EVIL MEN ON BOTH SIDES get together once in awhile, have some Couvoisier, chuckle about what the pawns are doing tonight, tally up their profits. Afghanistan. “When we’ve been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days, to sing….” La la. La la. la la la. La la. That’s not mockery. It’s 99% sadness, 1 % hope.

    Maybe the Japanese lithium-miners will bring peace to Afghanistan.There’s a happy thought. Good night.

  • STM

    I agree with some of what you write Jordan, and I also understand that the American agenda is flawed.

    Neverthless, I disagree that islamic fundamentalism doesn’t belong in the same category as all the other hateful ideologies. The stated aim is the destruction of the West (and anyone else who doesn’t subscribe to their twisted world view).

    It does belong in the dustbin of history, because it is a hateful and nasty ideology.

    There are people in this country, which goes out of its way not to discriminate against muslims (and rightly), arguing that our government is anti-islamic. They belong to a well-known fundamentalist group who’d also like to see Sharia law introduced.

    One of the reasons it cites for Australia being anti-islamic is that it was engaged in a war with Germany’s ally Turkey from 1915-1918. I kid you not.

    This is not a new kind of argument, either.

    As for Saddam … I lived in Iraq as a kid. Yes, I know the British and Americans have had their fingers in the pie of Iraq for the best part of 100 years, and yes, a lot of it’s about oil – but removing the Baathists from power isn’t something that is likely to lead to a lot of grief.

    Also, if oil was the only thing the Americans were worried about in Iraq, they’d simply have bought it.

    But yes, I will agree that US foreign is often flawed and self-serving. Arabs say: “You better be nice to America or they’ll bring you democracy”.

    It’s the old story, though … just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they don’t actually hate you.

    And they really are fighting a real war.

  • Jordan Richardson

    It’s important to identify that there are a number of strands of fundamentalism when it comes to the religion of Islam. The West continues to be willfully ignorant of the belief and of much of Middle Eastern culture, so that doesn’t help matters of progress in the least. It’s a part of the world that Americans claim to have little in common with, yet there are common values everywhere as you know.

    There are special interests groups everywhere, all of them demanding certain allowances based on certain fragments of history. Canada, too, has Muslims proposing Sharia Law. We also have radical strands of Sikhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and so on. And you do too.

    if oil was the only thing the Americans were worried about in Iraq, they’d simply have bought it.

    Buying oil and having control of oil and associated resources and properties are two different things. Consider for a moment that oil industry executives and consultants, like Iraqi-born Falah Aljibury, were heavily involved in Iraq War planning under George W. Bush. It’s no accident that Aljibury served as Reagan’s doorway to Saddam when that relationship was developing its conveniences.

    Philip Carroll, former Shell CEO, was put in charge of Iraq’s oil production one month into the invasion. A month in! So concerned with controlling the oil resources were the Americans that they appointed a former Shell boss to the post a month into the damn “war.”

    Consider, too, the BILLIONS of undiscovered oil reserves and sources in Iraq. When Bush invaded, Iraq had 115 million barrels that they knew of, five times the total in America. That doesn’t include the undiscovered sources. Iraqi oil is largely light crude oil, too, which means it doesn’t need much by way of production in order to turn it out on markets for trillions of dollars internationally.

    With Iraq having nationalized the industry int he 1970s, selling off such a vast amount of resources was just not going to happen. And selling control of those resources? Out of the question.

    removing the Baathists from power isn’t something that is likely to lead to a lot of grief

    Depends. I’m certain that the imprisonment of every able fighting-age male in certain villages is beyond the cruelty even Saddam imposed. I’m also certain, however, that many pockets of the country are enjoying “better lives.” It’s all relative.

  • STM

    Yeah, they made mistakes in the administration of the peace.

    They might have done better to ask the Brits for a bit of advice on that. But of course, they didn’t.

    Abu Ghraib, and their dealings with ordinary Iraqis, was the point of no return. Prior to that, the coalition had been welcomed as liberators. Genuinely.

    And I do believe that whoever thought it a good idea to give a bunch of small-town military police reservists from the mid-west one of the most sensitive tasks in modern history probably should be remembered as the person who made it all go pear-shaped. It was a job – the only job, really – for a professional, full-timer Military Police.

    20/20 hindsight’s a great thing, though.

    This, of course, partly stems from America’s self-imposed isolationism.

    However, you’ll never convince me that removing Saddam in the first place was a bad decision.

    Just for the record, I don’y consider waging war on Saddam as part of the war on terror.

    Afghanistan, however, is a different matter. As is the conduct of that conflict.

    There’s no oil in Afghanistan, either.

  • Jordan Richardson

    you’ll never convince me that removing Saddam in the first place was a bad decision.

    I’m not suggesting that. I’m speaking to the intention of the American-led invasion of Iraq. I’m saying that Saddam’s removal (to be replaced by presumably US-friendly leadership in some form of disabled “democracy” whenever the Americans get around to it) wasn’t the “main mission” of the invasion.

    There’s no oil in Afghanistan, either.

    But there is the small matter of the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline. Since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan to apparently “find bin Laden,” the Pipeline was revived as a project with solid American support.

    Ann Jacobsen, the US ambassador to Turkmenistan at the time (Turkmenistan is one of the three signature countries on the Pipeline’s deal, the other two being Afghanistan and Pakistan), said that it was “quite possible” that American companies will join on the Pipeline. This was in 2005.

    This article speaks to some of these issues and offers more specifics about the relationship between big oil, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.

    The problem is that the southern section of the Pipeline US oil companies want in on is still in Taliban controlled territory, so getting them out of there is in the interests of many.

    Not mentioned in the article (I don’t think so anyway) is that access to the Pipeline allows Americans to get cheap Central Asian oil exports without relying on the Russian trade routes.

    The whole Pipeline project, incidentally, is being funded by the Asian Development Bank. And if you ask the poor in Asia if this “development” bank is on their sides, I’m betting you get a resounding “No!” Hell, you can even look up reports by Oxfam Australia that will tell you just how much disregard the Development Bank has for rural communities throughout the region. Couple that with the situation in Afghanistan and there’s no question that the funding will be there so long as there’s people to be displaced.

    None of this is to suggest that Afghanistan isn’t about its original target, of course, but even that conflict has incredible complications (and benefits to US oil magnates) that go far beyond the realm of simply catching a few bad guys.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Prior to that, the coalition had been welcomed as liberators. Genuinely.

    Correct, although I often wonder how they were able to trot out so many Iraqi children with so many American flags so suddenly. Anyways…

    I think the problem comes when you start forgetting that it’s all well and good to be liberated from something as long as the new ground is actually preferable. When it’s a case of “out of the frying pan, into the prison cell,” it’s hard to imagine that the jubilation that greeted American troops before they opened their mouths to speak was really all that important.

    Imagine an alien space craft landing here and smiling and greeting us with flashing, glorious lights. Sure, everything’s great until they blow us all to hell. That moment of clarity or celebration or euphoria should NEVER be mistaken for lasting goodness.

  • Zedd

    STM,

    I’m not sure why you directed your comments at me. This discussion for me has been about the comments that that young man is fighting to preserve freedom; that things are much more complicated than that.

    I never said that they US should not have gone to Afghanistan. I have said from the beginning of the wars that that is where they should have started.

    Right now, it looks as though its become a huge mess. A change in strategy should be put in place which involves building relationships with the Taliban… educating their leaders and YES indoctrinating them on the ways of more developed/stratified societies. Its a risk but could also pay off. Turkey could play a huge role in this.

  • Zedd

    Irene

    Darn it you caught me with the MacNcheez, foiled again!!! Muwahahaha

  • Zedd

    JLyn,

    I don’t think you understand what is going on. You got it very wrong. Bless though. If you’d like to know why I say so, please ask. If you are not interested, we will just walk away. I wont explain because I don’t think you are in the mind frame to comprehend.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond though.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “The idea that insistent ignorance is respectable is confusing if not dangerous to society.”

    Exactly, Zedd. And Irene is besides her senses when she claims you can find a common ground with everyone. Utter nonsense.

    It’s God’s work, and I’m not God. Don’t have that kind of patience.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    beside her senses . . .

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Alan,

    So essentially you and I are saying the same thing…

    Yes.

    Unfortunately, the probability is virtually zero that either the “don’t join” or “lay down your arms” approach will ever catch on.

    Unfortunately, so far it hasn’t. In fact, quite the opposite, we seem to have become a war culture. War is normal. However, we will change or we will perish, eventually. Maybe more lessons are needed.

    Realistically, then, what’s to be done? Perhaps moms and dads patronizing Toys “R” Us should be urged to buy something other than guns for their budding male offspring.

    Maybe males could question, altogether, what masculinity is and who has decided that for them. I am not sure how that would become popular. Perhaps when men become angry at the roles that have been forced on them. When they see their indoctrination for the psychological prison that it is, maybe they may reject the standard model of maleness.

    I greatly prefer children to adults, simply because they are pre- or peri-indoctrination. I prefer to leave children free to make their own choices. I support child and teen rebellion against cultural norms. That, to me, is the only way I see change as possible. At least, so far.

    The media might be encouraged to stop glorifying war and glamorizing warriors. Schools could emphasize the human toll among civilians as well as combatants exacted by military action. And, God help us, even Christian churches could at long last live up to their avowed principles and condemn war wherever it rears its ugly head. But I for one am not holding my breath until any of this happens.

    All of these institutions are part of cultural indoctrination and they support and promote a war culture. Here is something you may find useful. It’s called Media Education Foundation. That post shows only a few of the many videos they have that both reveal and challenge media indoctrination.

    This seems unduly harsh, Cindy. “Murder” is a loaded word, to say the least…does “justified” mean morally justified as in self-defense, or falsely justified as in rationalized and propagandized?

    It means falsely justified.

    Either way, it’s neither fair nor accurate to call soldiers murderers.

    Alan, you are familiar, I am sure, with how language is changed to soften things? You may recall some of George Carlin’s material. Murder is an accurate word for what happens when you drop bombs on living human beings. To soften that is something I find is part of the problem. We do that for one reason that I can see. That reason is so that a soldier does not have to confront the reality of what he is doing. So he can go on justifying it and not feel bad.

    My uncle was 17-18 in Vietnam. He was a poor kid from Newark who became a Marine. The drawing straws over killing the baby that I asked Glenn about, in your other thread, was something that actually happened to him. He is very wounded from being called a murderer. I would never call him a murderer. But, in truth, he has murdered.

    I don’t think it was helpful to call GIs murderers. I don’t support that approach. Some approach that leads to self-realization might be best. But, I think that the pedulum having swung back the other way, the reaction to that mistake of blaming the enlisted men, is also wrong. That reaction is the denial that killing other people is murder. I use the word murder, not the word murderer.

    Indoctrination is powerful because it deals with our self image and our relationship with our social group. War and violence propaganda work specifically by turning off the conscience in such a way as to allow the person to deny wrongdoing and escape guilt. That is combined with strong messages about what being a man means and about bravery and defending freedom and heroism. And it is reinforced by groupthink. All this works on the psyche of the unwitting and vulnerable. I see soldiers then, generally, as victims themselves.

    I have watched and read the stories of many objectors. They themselves have realized this. It is often finally seeing through the propaganda and indoctrination and the recognition of murder that gave them the courage to resist all of that. Who am I to tell people who have actually been in war that they are wrong about what they have come to realize? And is trying to soften the reality not part of how the war culture is permitted to continue?

  • Irene Wagner

    Roger, go find someone else to not find common ground with. I’m busy.

  • JLyn

    Jordan,

    your comment:
    It’s argued that the reason 9/11 didn’t happen again is because America took the fight overseas, but is that really true?

    Honestly, what do you think would have happened had we not responded overseas and just did nothing? What would have been their next move?

    your comment:
    Consider, too, the BILLIONS of undiscovered oil reserves and sources in Iraq. When Bush invaded, Iraq…

    ok let me guess, you think Bush invaded Iraq?!? Well, isn’t it true that Saddam was funneling money to train the terrorists? Of course it is. Isn’t it also true that WMD existed? Of course it is, but why weren’t they found? Obviously he sent them to Syria, we have satellite video of all the 18 wheelers heading to Syria just prior to the “invasion”. He had to be removed from power, had he not, God only knows what would have happened, including, I believe, Iran would have “invaded” and taken control of the oil and we can only image what would have happened them. Thank God, Bush had the “balls” to do what he knew, had to be done.

    your comment:
    Imagine an alien space craft landing here and smiling and greeting us with flashing, glorious lights. Sure, everything’s great until they blow us all to hell.

    Aren’t you saying that we blew the hell out of Iraqis?, which we did, but the intended enemy, no innocents were the targets as you seem to suggest. Americans don’t target innocent civilians.

  • JLyn

    Irene

    your comment:
    Some of those Taliban ARE evil men. And some of them aren’t. Same with our side.

    The Taliban has an agenda that IS evil and must be destroyed. Obviously the Afghan civilians aren’t evil because they don’t subscribe to the Taliban belief, but are threatened by them as well. But those that do subscribe to the evil agenda of the Taliban puts them in the evil category, which makes them enemy targets, they put theirselves in that situation.

    You think some Americans are evil? we are not evil because we don’t have evil agendas. We have bad and corrupt people, but evil? not so. The two cannot be compared. Like an apple and an orange.

  • JLyn

    STM

    your comment:
    Just for the record, I don’t consider waging war on Saddam as part of the war on terror.

    I agree with everything you said in most part I suppose, from what I understand of it. But just curious about this statement and what your response is to my comment to Jordan in the paragraph starting with “ok, let me guess…”

  • JLyn

    Zedd

    your comment:
    Right now, it looks as though its become a huge mess. A change in strategy should be put in place which involves building relationships with the Taliban.

    As I’ve said before to Irene, the Taliban are evil, you cannot and must not “try” and build relations with evil. The people, however, yes, completely, which isn’t that the strategy “hearts and minds”? That’s intended for the people, not the Taliban.

    your comment:
    I don’t think you understand what is going on. You got it very wrong. Bless though. If you’d like to know why I say so, please ask.

    ok, I’m asking, let me have it.

  • JLyn

    must go out, will check replies when I return

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    130

    JLyn,

    I am going out for the day. I will reply sometime tonight. Have a good one.

  • Irene Wagner

    OK Lynn, I’ll give REALLY quick answers to the two questions you had for me in #167. Then I have to run.
    Q1: Yes. Q2: Yes.

    Common ground: There is such a thing as an evil man.

    Point of contention #1: “Some vs. none” of them live in America.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Only responded to your oversimplification, Irene. If you don’t like it, you can drop it.

  • JLyn

    hey I’m back, haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. ok, this is not Facebook, I know.

    Irene, I completely agree that “today” with our current situation in this country, that “yes” there are evil men that live amongst us. When I was referring to “America”, I’m referring to over the course of history, as in our founding fathers, leaders, patriots, warriors, etc…

    However, over the course of the past several decades, maybe since the 40’s / 50’s / 60’s up until now, more so than any other time in our history, yes, I believe that evil men live within our society. There are far too many special interest groups linked to Islam and Communism that have evil “agendas” and they will stop at nothing in order to carry them out. But over the course of time, I believe we as “Americans” have allowed this to happen, we have turned a blind eye, too fat and happy, too complacent, too busy to care, too politically correct for fear of offending somebody, etc… and finally “Americans” are slowly seeming to wake up to what’s going on and wondering how all this happened and why we have some of the laws we do that protect the special interest and radical groups instead of the average American citizen.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    JLyn, there are plenty of evil people in America who have nothing to do with communism or radical Islam.

    Many of them are in politics. A few make no more than a perfunctory effort to conceal their odiousness.

  • Deano

    ok let me guess, you think Bush invaded Iraq?!? Well, isn’t it true that Saddam was funneling money to train the terrorists? Of course it is.

    Actually it isn’t. After much exhaustive (and repeated) investigation, there has been no substantive evidence found that Saddam’s Iraq regime funneled any money or resources towards support Al Qaeda. The Iraqi support to terrorism primarily went to Hezbollah and various Palistinian groups, few of which had any focus or concern with the US, being mainly devoted to an anti-Israeli stance. Saddam and his regime had no involvement with Al Qaeda or 9/11.

    Isn’t it also true that WMD existed? Of course it is, but why weren’t they found? Obviously he sent them to Syria, we have satellite video of all the 18 wheelers heading to Syria just prior to the “invasion”.

    This is also an unproven and unsubstantiated claim. No effective or significant stockpiles of WMD have been found since the invasion (neither has clear evidence that it was all “exported” to Syria) and much documented evidence was uncovered that supported the conclusion the Iraq actually did comply with the restrictions imposed on it after the first Gulf War and destroyed its WMD. It should be noted that Iraq did have WMD (mainly chemical weapons) that it had used in the past against Iran and against the Kurds, and Saddam went out of his way to obfuscate the situation regarding WMD to maintain and burnish his own standing in the Islamic world – he wanted his neighbors to see him standing up as a defender against the US and Israel and to think he had substantial WMD.

    It is fairly clear that US intelligence had a good assessment of what a paper tiger the Iraqi WMD was but that for political reasons, those views were sidelined and every other possible indicator of the positive existance of WMD was seized upon and expanded as a justification for the war.

    He had to be removed from power, had he not, God only knows what would have happened, including, I believe, Iran would have “invaded” and taken control of the oil and we can only image what would have happened them. Thank God, Bush had the “balls” to do what he knew, had to be done.

    While it is largely unarguable that Saddam was a vicious, sadistic thug whose passing should be unmourned, you can’t really argue that destabilizing his regime did anything for global stability or to reduce terrorism. Any reduction in Iraq funding or support to terrorism (in this case Hezbollah/PLO) was more than compensated for by the increase in recruitment, funding and support for radical Islamist agendas that the US invasion engendered across the islamic world. It certainly hasn’t contributed to stability and it has come at the price of many lives and much treasure.

    I do not think an Iranian “invasion” would have been a likely occurence (or for that matter a successful one). Pretending that Bush alleviated or prevented some imaginary cataclysm by invading Iraq is a touch delusional.

  • JLyn

    Dr Dreadful

    well perhaps, like who are you referring to? The ones I’m referring to are in politics and / or lobbying, or linked to politics in some way or another

  • JLyn

    Deano

    so many different stories came out then and afterwards as well, I guess my views are more conservative believing Iraq was justified. Sure he had some misinformation and what not, but still I believe he acted in the best interest of our nation. It wasn’t perfect, but the right thing to do.

  • pablo

    129 131

    Jlyn,

    The few comments that I have made on this thread were confined to my opposition to waging war unlawfully, as required by Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution.

    How you are able to infer that I am anti american by stating the obvious is beyond me. All public servants including those in the armed forces take an oath to uplhold and defend the constitution. Thus far not a single person has had the audacity to challenge my statement, other than to cast deragatory remarks my way.

    I will say it again in other words, I have only CONTEMPT for those that swear to uphold the constitution then flagrantly ignore it.

    Alan 131

    Thanks for your remark regarding me, I must be doing something right! The only thing that I find more repugnant than a Dave Nalle sort of republican, is a naive, overbearing, uninformed person such as yourself, thanks again. :)

  • JLyn

    pablo

    could be because I don’t believe that Bush violated the constitution nor did Congress at that time. Many read the Constitution to say one thing and others read it another way. Look at the separation between church and state, that’s not in there, that was manipulated from a simple letter.

    Talk about not swearing by and upholding the Constitution, let’s talk about this administration and the current Congress. Everything they have done since “o” has been in office has violated the Constitution. The problem with that? He doesn’t care, Congress doesn’t care and now the DOJ doesn’t care, that’s why they are getting away with it because there is no one to challenge them, except the American people, to whom they are not listening. “o” said, did he not, that he was going to change the Constitution among other things which he is succeeding in doing.

  • pablo

    Jlyn

    I assume that you can read and comprehend plain english. If you can, how is it possible for you to believe as you do regarding who has the power to wage war under the constitution? It is crystal clear, and black and white.

    You will get no argument from me regarding Barry Sotero. To add insult to injury President Sotero’s bio includes time at Harvard Law School studying and teaching constitutional law! I far prefer a wolf to a wolf in sheep’s clothing, Bush being the wolf and Barry wearing sheep’s clothing.
    At least you know the wolf is out to get you, while the the other is pretending to be your friend. Barry aint no friend of mine.

  • Zedd

    JLyn,

    You are badly informed. It’s almost cruel to dialogue with you because I’ll HAVE to be condescending or down play what I consider to be basic knowledge and awareness in order to keep from making you feel bad.

    I hate to say it but you are out of your league. Not just with me but with all of the people that you have been “debating” with. You don’t even understand what the discussion is about. Your responses are really shallow and don’t touch at the essence of what we are discussing.

    I could pat you on the head and keep chatting with you while rolling my eyes but that would be elitist. I know for a fact that you ARE capable of conversing with depth and lucidity, so I am telling you that RIGHT NOW, you sound dumb (although you are not). You just lack exposure and adequate information. You are arguing emotionally… doing a tit for tat sorta thing. That only works when you are arguing with people who care or are equally inapt on the relevant points in the discussion.

  • doug m

    What on earth is in the water that makes the gungho pro-american crowd so woefully ignorant? Is it something the russians cooked up?

    If mrs. hoffman has a high school education, her parents should sue the school district if this is the way the poor girl “communicates”, and jlyn doesn’t let any facts, like the ones Deano points out, get in the way of what he/she feels is right.

    It’s like a new Dark Ages is descending upon the planet. At least I won’t have to suffer much more it. One good thing about old age

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    JLyn,

    We can start with John Edwards and Steve Poizner (who recently ran for but thankfully did not win the California GOP nomination for governor). I suppose everybody can think of a few politicians who send a horrible crawly sensation down their spine. But by no stretch of the imagination can one credibly claim that either of the two aforementioned (ahem) gentlemen is associated with Islam or communism.

    As far as the power to declare war is concerned, Pablo is absolutely right that it is specifically Congress’s. The president is supposed to carry out the wishes of Congress, not the other way round. Although much of the US Constitution is subject to interpretation and debate, this particular delegated power is emphatically not one of them.

    In recent times, however, this bit of the Constitution has been routinely circumvented, so that the military nowadays never finds itself ‘at war’ but instead undertaking ‘police actions’, ‘peacekeeping missions’ or whatever the buzz phrase du jour happens to be. President Bush absolutely violated the Constitution by deploying troops to Afghanistan and Iraq without obtaining a formal declaration of war – but in this he acted no differently than any of his predecessors since the end of World War II.

    You seem to be under a similar misapprehension regarding the Establishment Clause. ‘Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’ means exactly that: the United States is not allowed to have an official religion of any kind; neither is it allowed to interfere in anyone’s private religious practices. It’s pretty plain language, and shouldn’t be construed to mean something different just because it doesn’t use the specific phrase ‘separation of church and state’.

  • pablo

    Dread,

    Circumvented is a very nice and deceitful way of saying unlawful.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Pablo, it’s technically lawful, but only because Congress has never had the guts to call the president (whoever it has happened to be at the time) on his actions and charge him with breaking the law by going to war behind their backs.

    Sadly, formal declarations of war nowadays are seen as a terribly old-fashioned and cumbersome way of going about things, and not just in the US either.

  • pablo

    Dread,

    You might want to become acquainted with the difference between lawful and legal, and while your at it you might want to also become acquainted with the phrase “color of law”. Obviously you are not aware of the difference.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Cindy (#164), thanks for your thoughtful and detailed responses. I must take issue with one point, though. “Murder,” you write, “is an accurate word for what happens when you drop bombs on living human beings. To soften that is something I find is part of the problem. We do that for one reason that I can see. That reason is so that a soldier does not have to confront the reality of what he is doing. So he can go on justifying it and not feel bad.”

    Of course you’re right, but it doesn’t stop with soldiers. It also extends to their families, as shown by the contributions to this thread of Caitlin, wife of Lance Corporal Hoffman. (Remember him? He’s the subject of Genma Holmes’ article to which this thread is attached, but our commentary has strayed so far afield that Tyler hasn’t even been mentioned in the most recent 47 posts.)

    Indeed, the euphemism “killing” instead of “murder” comforts our entire society, including decision-makers at the highest levels who send our boys off to slaughter.

    However, in spite of recognizing this, you resort to the same softening yourself in describing your uncle, who is “very wounded from being called a murderer. I would never call him a murderer. But, in truth, he has murdered. … I use the word murder, not the word murderer.”

    Cindy, you’re making a semantic distinction without a shred of difference. It’s like saying someone who molests children is not a child molester. Ridiculous! If your uncle has murdered, then he’s a murderer.

    Personally, I reject the word entirely in this context. If murder is “an accurate word for what happens when you drop bombs on living human beings,” then Colonel Paul Tibbets Jr., pilot of the U.S. Army Air Force plane that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima during World War II, killing upwards of 66,000 men (mostly civilians), women and children, must be deemed a mass murderer. And if Col. Tibbets was a mass murderer, what term is left to adequately describe Hitler?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Gosh, pablo (#179), you consider me more repugnant than Dave Nalle! It’s a wonder that God continues to let me suck air.

  • Jordan Richardson

    what do you think would have happened had we not responded overseas and just did nothing?

    I think your reasoning here is wrongheaded, with all due respect. You’re talking about a response to 9/11, but 9/11 was a response in and of itself. It sounds simplistic, but it the attacks on American soil really were parts of a vicious cycle and symbols of a rejection of American foreign policy. They happened for a reason, JLyn, and those reasons are worth examining if we really are committed to causes of peace in this world.

    isn’t it true that Saddam was funneling money to train the terrorists?

    No, as has already been answered. It’s probably more true that the “terrorists” were “trained” via American resources and avenues. We’re pretty much certain that bin Laden received CIA training back when the Americans were backing the mujahedeen against the Soviets.

    The point is to say that issues of training and funding are complicated. There’s often so much money floating around out there that it’s almost impossible to draw direct links to “terrorists” and their suppliers. It’s almost flatly irrelevant to discuss it, as the training and arming of “terrorists” remains an issue of money over ideology.

    Obviously he sent them to Syria

    I think you misunderstand the meaning of the word “obviously.”

    Aren’t you saying that we blew the hell out of Iraqis?, which we did, but the intended enemy, no innocents were the targets as you seem to suggest.

    No, that wasn’t the point of what I said. I’m asserting that the sense of euphoria and majesty felt over apparent “liberation” only lasted so long for Iraqis.

    There’s no “official policy” for Americans to attack “innocents,” but it does find its way into action plans from time to time. One example is the predator drones roving the Afghanistan/Pakistan border currently. These weapons have targeted and killed hundreds of civilians. I’d offer more examples throughout history of this, but my pasta sauce is boiling over…

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    That’s right, Alan, there is no difference semantically, but there is one psychologically. My 17-18 yo uncle was a child who was brainwashed into thinking he was doing something good. He didn’t consider that what he was doing COULD be murder. So, he did not intend to murder anyone. But he did. So, yes he is a murderer. So is anyone else who arms themselves and kills other people, regardless of who claims to give them authority to do so.

    But as I said, I don’t use murderer, I use murder. And I do it out of some understanding that the intent is not necessarily murder, though the end result certainly is murder. And that needs to be made clear. So that the person who commits it understands what he has done or what he may be about to do.

    You can’t stop murder before it happens if it isn’t murder. You can avoid calling people murderers who may actually never have intended to do harm. So semantics aside, it’s not helpful as an approach.

    Alan, I don’t see that state sanctioned killing is somehow more legitimate than non-state sanctioned killing.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    130 – JLyn

    Cindy,
    If the United States of America never participated in a war, do you honestly think, we would be where we are now?

    You mean would we still be a bunch of mentally ill folks who are on the brink of destroying the world?

    Seriously!

    Seriously. I’m not sure what world you see, but as the sign says, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

    Also, if someone initiates war, just don’t fight back and there won’t be a war? Is that what you are saying?

    Is that what I appear to be saying? That sounds like a pretty silly thing to say.

  • Zedd

    JLyn,

    You do realize that 10million people are buried at the bottom of the sea because of the slave trade that helped shape our nation. You do know that slavery was EVIL really really EVIL. Not just a tad or a bit or bad or a lot bad. It was EVIL. As short as our nation’s history is, slavery existed for over centuries. Our founding fathers had slaves while writing about, declaring it, proclaiming and preaching about liberty. That was a little before 1940. In other words, for half of our history, we bought and sold human beings like cattle, while SAYING we are for ….. FREEDOM.

    You do nknow the KKK were an accepted institution for a large part of our last century. They decided who would or could run for office in many parts of our country until LBJ got fed up (1960’s). You know that there are millions who still hold their beliefs. They are not muslim extremists or communists. They are Christians and perhaps your neighbors.

    Please burst that bubble that you live in. It cant be healthy. Step out and experience real freedom.

  • JLyn

    Geez, I step out for a bit, oh my…..

    #182
    Zedd,

    Thank you for your honestly, I was wondering how I come across because I’m sure it’s no secret, I’m not a blogger. WHAT? YOU’RE KIDDING!

    I do more reading than commenting. I actually do more texting myself, so posting comments on a thread is really new for me. Replying and conversing with such Intellectuals at such a deep level. I agree, I’m out of my league. I guess Facebook is more my pace.

    And yes slavery is evil!

    Ok you can pat me on the head now :)

    Dr Dreadful
    I don’t think Edwards is an evil person, I think the power went to his head and took over, which he allowed to happen. And I can’t stand him, however, evil? Not so sure.

    Oh and the NEW Black Panther Party is EVIL as well. Guess that’s another thread.

    Alan,
    Thanks for the reminder about the focus of this thread, Tyler hasn’t been mentioned, wow you actually went back and counted how long it’s been.

    Just a question, if American and its history is so bad, why do people still live here, why not find a “better” country to live in?

    ok two, and why is it that the world is always trying to flee to America if its so bad, we can’t keep people out.

    I’ve thought about moving recently, the way this country is heading, but where? There really is nowhere else to go, Australia maybe… ugh

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Pablo, I’m actually not arguing against you on this point, but I did follow your suggestion – perhaps you had viewed this page? Point taken as to the distinction.

    Why modern states don’t bother with formal declarations of war any more is an interesting topic. It’s probably got a lot to do with the speed at which modern warfare and politics happens.

    The convention dates back to an era when the way these things tended to get started was that an enemy force would rumble up to your city laden to the gills with iron armour, cannonballs, heavy horses and sundry other unwieldy objects, set up camp and send a herald up to your gates with a note saying that they’d quite like to have a war if you didn’t mind awfully and could spare the time.

    Modern warfare isn’t waged with quite that much courtesy.

  • Zedd

    JLyn,

    The more you engage, the more comfortable you will be about duking it out with smart folk like Alan,roger, Cindy and the rest. You will anticipate what holes they will punch out of your argument, and state things that you feel are less refutable. You will learn a lot as well. Your views will be sharpened and more nuanced.

    Believe it or not people move to other countries as well. There are people clambering to get into Italy, Spain to Turkey, to Singapore, South Africa, the UK and many many more nations. These countries have many issues related to immigration too. Your vantage point and our endless self promotion keeps us from being aware of what is going on in the rest of the world.

    To answer your question a little better – its like your family. There are issues that really bug you about individual family members, the family dynamics in general and the leaders (your parents). Some of these things are REALLY painful. Acknowledging that they exist doesn’t mean you no longer want to be a part of your family or that you HATE your family. It just means you are clear minded. Its really healthy and smart to be aware of your reality. Same thing about critiquing this nation. Also, America does a great job at promoting itself. They run the most “ads” so people want to come. Ask just about any imigrant. They will tell you that they imagined the US to be much more than it is, prior to coming. That is not a put down. Just true. Again its not to say that its not an wonderful place.

  • JLyn

    Zedd

    you make a good point, I just consider myself a true patriot and think it’s sad that the majority put themselves and their own agendas above the love of country and what’s best for it. I miss that American “spirit” of old, “I’m proud to be an American…”. I hate that the American flag seems to have little or no meaning today. I miss the unity, “One Nation Under God…”. I hate that we as a nation have turned our backs on God. Ok now I’m depressed.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    At the risk of getting back on topic, I submit the following. During Thursday’s Defense Dept. briefing, CNN’s Barbara Starr (my favorite Pentagon reporter) asked Secretary Gates about his July 2 memo tightening the military’s rules of engagement with the news media in the aftermath of Gen. McChrystal’s Rolling Stone fiasco. The memo requires Pentagon officials and military brass to notify DOD’s public affairs office “prior to interviews or any other means of media and public engagement with possible national or international implications.”

    “Could you explain,” asked Starr, “do troops and commanders and people in the United States military give up–I’m quite serious–their right of free speech? Does any public engagement they have, which is what your words say, now have to be screened? What rights of free speech does a person in the United States military have?”

    Gates handed the question off to Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who spent 250 words sidestepping the issue.

    Starr persisted. “Admiral Mullen, are you in fact saying that a trooper in the field, before he emails, has a telephone conversation, posts something on his Facebook page, Twitters, has any public engagement with the media, it must be cleared by this building?” After briefly again evading the issue, Mullen changed the subject.

    During this futile exchange, I was thinking of Lance Corporal Hoffman. Under the new rules, would he have been granted permission to be interviewed by Genma Holmes for publication? And considering the divisive commentary on this thread, what are the odds the Pentagon will approve any such future articles destined for Blogcritics?

  • Mrs hoffman

    Oh my goodness yall have given me a very good laugh , and Doug M wow very mature you should GO BACK to highschool because obviously you havent grown up and put your big boy pants on instead you have to make stupid ridiculous comments having nothing to do with politics dont you have a job or something its pathetic you have to get on here and make fun of me its rather hilarious actually and you should ask why wasnt i taught any manners? or mabey you were but your were to stubborn to learn any manners get a life dude how old are you again? like 40 or something lol its about time you grown up if you have been paying attention to the comments this is about POLITICS not calling ppl names or tryin to make yourself feel better by insulting them and all of this message is for doug! Thanks the High School Educated wife and also School after Highschool which i have already graduated from! its nice to have a career at the age of 19 i bet you didnt have that because now im 22 and have been doing a career for a few years now so why dont you think before you make dumb comments to make you feel better Thanks Doug and go ahead and try to make yourself feel better by acting like a child again sincerely MRS. HOFFMAN

  • JLyn

    Alan,

    great point, I don’t think he would have been approved prior to, or would have been told what to say.

    disgrace!

  • Dan

    A lot of comments under the bridge since I stepped out. lets examine some:

    “I can assure you that the al-Qaeda fighter who is hoping that Cpl. Hoffman’s dog does not detect the IED he planted by the roadside believes absolutely that he has the moral high ground.”—Dr. D #90

    I agree here, but probably, he also believes he is in good moral standing sawing off the heads of homosexuals and stoning women to death.

    “I suspect that his thought process, in coming to such a conclusion, went through roughly as many steps as Cpl. Hoffman’s did in coming to his”—Dr. D

    With a literacy rate of 19% in a brutal fundamentalist society, it’s unlikely Ackmed has been exposed factually to the historical benevolence of the USA. On the other hand if Cpl. Hoffman was schooled near any sort of multicultural population center in the US, he’s probably already been exposed to radical leftist anti-American hogwash, and the moral equivalence argument you espouse, and rightly rejected it.

    “That’s encouragement you provided, Zedd, for Dan and all of us, for ALL debates, in your #95. Pure Black and White is boring, and only exists in Crayola-land. :)”—Irene #96

    Surely Irene, you can recognize the childish condescension, and totally unearned sense of hautiness in zedds “encouragement”. There’s something black and white. Boring too. Not that zedd doesn’t have some good qualities to her writing. Her imagery to describe her biases is artistic. (young men from cul-de-sacs fleeing cops in their mustangs)

    Nuance is overrated. Too often it’s used as a weasel word to promote some 180 degree departure from truth and reason. Nuance is really only a shading, often not worthy of mention.

    “I’d suggest your callous dismissal of the concept” (empathising with al-Quada terrorists) “is a huge component to your general attitude as reflected in various discussions around here. Simply put, your refusal to “walk a mile in their shoes” leads you to view the world, as mentioned, in black and white terms. The good guys wear the white hats, the bad guys wear the black ones, and all’s well so long as we remember that people are formulas and not complex beings.”

    Sometimes I can empathise with terrorists. Tim McVeigh for instance. In that case the government did do something wrong that led to the horrible burning deaths of 80 people over half of which were children. But it was the right thing to capture and kill him, just as it is the right thing to kill deadly fundamentalist zealots in Afghanistan who’s mental state is so alien as to deny empathy.

    “But we do give girls dolls to play with to orient them towards motherhood. And we give boys toy guns to prep ‘em for the commission of violence. By the time 18-year-old boys enter their local recruiter’s office, they’re more than ready to sign on the dotted line.”—Alan Kurtz

    Boys will find sticks to fire imaginary bullets at each other. Girls will dress a puppy or kitten in baby clothes.

    Maybe the best thing that can be done is to encourage a society that doesn’t allow for people to be parasites. Encourage small government, free markets, and individual freedom and libery. Prosperous people rarely war on each other.

    “It’s always the USA that comes to the aid of other countries to bring food and medicine and yes weapons, so that defenseless people can defend themselves. We are the good guys and history has proven so.”—JLyn

    This is undoubtedly true. No people are near perfect. Overall though, the rest of the world does not deserve the peace and security our men have died for.

    I do fear though that the policy in afghanistan isn’t good for us. Obama didn’t ramp up the war there based on sound strategic objectives. He did it because he was trapped in his own rhetorical game of bashing the more carefully calculated, eventually successful war Bush waged in Iraq. Obama needed to back a war, but the Democrats made such a traitorous exhibition in hoping Bush would lose in Iraq, that they couldn’t back out when things turned around.

    Yes, Bush invaded Afghanistan soon after 9/11. In the first couple of months he wiped out the Taliban, and killed hundreds of al-Quada fighters, and arranged for democratic elections.

    But Bush could see that Afghanistan with it’s primitive peasants and warlords wasn’t as good a prospect for nation building as Iraq’s more modern, young, educated, and somewhat pro western populace was.

    Michael Steel was correct. It is Obama’s war in Afghanistan. And he is ill prepared to mimic Bush’s success in Iraq. A community agitator doesn’t make as good a commander in chief as a jet fighter pilot.

    I intended to get further along than I have. Maybe I’ll check back later.

  • Irene Wagner

    I cannot bring myself to speak ill of Zedd, Dan. She should rename herself Alpha. And you, as well, should get a more descriptive screen name, as I have counseled before.

  • Queen Irene

    Now I can say whatever I want about the war in comments, and enlist, too.

    Dan, Irene didn’t say any of the rest of that anti-war stuff you attributed to her in your comment. That’d be Jordan Richardson, I think.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Dan,

    It’s worth noting that you view nuance as overrated and that you mention that it’s a “term” used to distract from “truth and reason.”

    The problem is that you have been speaking primarily in ideological terms and a little refinement and variation would play right into your hands. To assume you’re arguing for “truth and reason” would be incorrect; you’re arguing your views and they are far from founded in “truth and reason.” You, like most of us, discard “truth and reason” when it’s inconvenient and you distill the discussion to, as I said, the ideological terms you understand. That’s completely normal, it’s how we make sense of the world.

    You use nuance when you say can empathize with some of the “terrorists,” like McVeigh. Ironically, you note that you find some value in his actions because they were somewhat justified by a cause. The cause in McVeigh’s case is government actions that wound up causing the deaths of innocent people.

    Do you not think it possible that “terrorists” are just like your McVeigh? Do you not think that those “terrorists” are also choosing to act in response to atrocities? That they are “justified by a cause?” Naw, of course not. They’re from the wrong part of the world and, what’s worse, they’re the wrong fucking colour.

    Prosperous people rarely war on each other.

    Hilarious. I hope you meant this as a joke because it’ll save me quite a bit of time in listing countless historical examples.

    Maybe the best thing that can be done is to encourage a society that doesn’t allow for people to be parasites.

    Interesting that you don’t suggest that the “best thing” to do is to encourage a society to “take care of the least of these” or “practice compassion” or “feed the hungry” or “take care of the sick.” It speaks volumes to your worldview when you suggest that the Great Fix in all of this would be to “discourage parasites.”

    Your view of the impoverished and the poor sickens me, especially when held alongside your view of the wealthy and prosperous (“They never war on each other, by golly!”).

    I wonder, Dan, how “prosperous” are you to so shamefully disregard the majority of human beings on this planet? The majority of US are not and will never be “prosperous” but we will always strive for peace. The majority of US will never reach the insane levels of wealth held by 1% of the world’s “citizens.” The majority of US will never invade another country for oil or water or fucking bananas.

    And yet it is the majority of US that die for these “causes,” wrapped in flags and ideological bullshit shoved down our throats by rich, fat politicians and arrogant, devious shills with cash to burn and rights, like healthcare and clean water, to deny to this planet’s most vulnerable on the pretext that this planet’s most vulnerable are, as you’d have us all believe, just too fucking lazy and parasitic to do it for themselves.

  • Queen Irene

    Ohhhh yes. The Waco Seige of 1993. In that case the government did do something wrong that led to the horrible burning deaths of 80 people over half of which were children.—Dan

    This “government” of which you speak, Dan, yes, did a very “wrong thing” at Waco. What subsequent changes did “the government” go through to get itself back on track, so that it was capable of doing the “right things” again?

    But it was the right thing to capture and kill him, just as it is the right thing to kill deadly fundamentalist zealots in Afghanistan who’s mental state is so alien as to deny empathy.

    The Seige of Waco wasn’t a hiccup, Dan. It was a symptom of something deeply wrong that might not yet be corrected. I’m not advocating we go all Timothy-McVeigh on “the government,”…but…I’m just not so sure it deserves the pass you seem to be giving it.

    Early 90’s. Lotta bad stuff going down around that time. Ruby Ridge… hmmm.

  • Queen Irene

    We the People is “the governemnt.” It is the right and duty of a U.S. citizen to examine VERY critically those actions that are done in the name of the United States of America.

  • STM

    JLyn,

    To answer your question,

    I think the US and Britain knew that Saddam had very likely dismantled his WMDs, but the intelligence reports are all they had and that gave them an excuse to invade.

    Neverthless, there is no doubt that even very nasty people like al-Qaeda didn’t want to have anything to do with him.

    Pan-arab Baathists are secular, despite Saddam’s pretensions to being a good Muslim when it suited him, and believe very different things to islamic fundamentalists.

    Western intelligence services found that Iraq had no hand in the terror attacks on the US.

    However, when you talk about evil men, Saddam and his cronies were right up there with Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot.

    In fact, the Iraqi regime bastardised Baathism and turned it into an Arab version of Stalinism.

    Saddam’s record of atrocities against his own people, his paranoia and his sabre-rattling against the US and Britain, even made him unpopular with some of the more hard-line Arab leaders. The moderate ones rightly despised him.

    There is no doubt he was a very destabilising force in the mid-east and a dangerous man who’d inflicted terrible things on his own people and his neighbours.

    But he wasn’t plotting terror attacks on the West, as far as anyone knows, so in my view, the attack on Iraq and the “war on terror” are two completely different things.

    Ironically, given what happened after the invasion, Iraqis actually considered the coalition troops as liberators.

    I think the “peace” in Iraq was handled very badly, especially in regard to the Shia/sunni divide, which left a power vacuum perfect for opportunism among Saddam’s supporters – who were able to paint the US as an occupying power rather than a liberating force. Because of its actions – or lack thereof to be more specific – after the 2003 invasion, the US must share some of the blame.

    The US was damned in a way by geography; the area they were responsible for after the invasion had a large sunni population. Historically, going back to the dismantling of the Ottoman empire and the creation of modern Iraq at the end of WWI, the sunni were the ruling elite and also made up the officer class during British occupation and after the British left. Politically, sunni muslims held all the cards in Iraq, with the odd notable exception. Saddam and most of his government were sunni from an area north of Baghdad. The sunni, who were in the US zone afterthe victory, had the most to lose with Saddam gone and reacted accordingly (witness Fallujah).

    In the south after the 2003 invasion, the British had an easier time – for a while – because the population was mainly shia muslim and they’d had centuries of being held down by sunni rulers, from the Turks right through to Saddam, so they came to see the British initially and for a longer time as a stabilising force (with a few exceptions).

    But even the British, who have more experience of “softly, softly” occupation tactics (divide and rule?) given their colonial empire, came unstuck after Abu Ghraib, because many of the prisoners held by the US there were shia and many were not guilty of anything. Iraqi shia just became furious with the occupiers generally, which opened the floodgates to islamic fundamentalists.

    The bungling of Abu Ghraib was a terrible failing, as was the decision to guard the oil ministry after the 2003 victory, but not the sacred treasures of Iraq housed and then looted from Baghdad’s museums.

    Iraqis also felt somewhat aggrieved by America’s reluctance (or inability) to restore the power and water supplies that had been destroyed during the invasion. Daurah power station supplied most of the Baghdad region and had been levelled.

    Most experts agree, however, that the biggest failing was the disarming of the Iraqi army and police, most of whom would have been sympathetic to the US.

    That led to a complete breakdown in law and order and worse … literally millions of unchecked firearms and munitions floating around that eventually came to be turned on the coalition.

    But it’s still not and never has been part of Bush’s “war on terror”. The two are separate.

    Yet for the most part, Iraqis hated Saddam and his 35-year reign of torture and terror and were glad to witness the demise of him and his cronies.

    And of course, once the radicals started killing indiscriminately in Iraq, targetting schools and market places, buses, etc, then the US got the blame because the Iraqis who were being targeted by the fundamentalists felt the US had brought the problem upon them.

    It’s all very well for people to say, “We brought thjem democracy”, but democracy is nothing if doesn’t have the safeguards attached to it the way you and I experience it in our respective countries. If people were telling me I had democract, but every time I left the house there was a chance someone would blow up me or my family, I wouldn’t be too happy either … so that’s the other side of the coin from the ordinary, moderate Iraqi’s perspective.

    I lived there for a while as a kid and have contact with Iraqis, although my knowledge of this is less than complete – but I hope it paints a slightly more accurate picture than what you might already have heard.

    Cheers.

  • STM

    JLyn: “Australia maybe… ugh”.

    Paradise in the South Pacific/Indian Ocean, robust democracy, with a healthy mistrust and dislike of authority (including politicians who get too out of hand), a standard of living that is higher than that of the United States, no recession, and no real fallout from the GFC.

    Nowhere’s perfect, but you could do a lot worse … trust me.

  • JLyn

    sorry Zedd, can’t resist, guess I’ll just have to sound dumb.

    #201 Dan:
    Boys will find sticks to fire imaginary bullets at each other. Girls will dress a puppy or kitten in baby clothes.

    That’s right because it’s in the DNA, that’s the way God made us. The male is the provider and protecter and warrior, the female is the nurturer and the backbone of the family. Even though the feminists tried to change that, it’s unchangable.

    #201 Dan:
    I do fear though that the policy in afghanistan isn’t good for us. Obama didn’t ramp up the war there based on sound strategic objectives. He did it because he was trapped. Michael Steel was correct. It is Obama’s war in Afghanistan.

    Agreed, I really hope Petraeus eases those restrictions to better protect our soldiers rather than the people. Yes, the innocents should be protected by every effort, but not at the expense of the lives of our soldiers. They should have the rights to carry out their mission without fear of getting in trouble or being sued or whatever.

    Obama was trapped and is the ONLY reason he sent those 30,000 troops, even though it wasn’t what McChrystal wanted, also of the 30,000, wasn’t only 10,000 of those combat troops? What I heard.

    And Yes, I think Michael Steele had valid point he was making but the media spun it.

    #204 Jordan:
    Do you not think it possible that “terrorists” are just like your McVeigh? Do you not think that those “terrorists” are also choosing to act in response to atrocities? That they are “justified by a cause?” Naw, of course not. They’re from the wrong part of the world and, what’s worse, they’re the wrong fucking colour.

    Come on now with the “race” stuff, the people are NOT the ones that attacked us, but the “terrorists”, they are our target, regardless of color and where they live in the world. They also are NOT just like McVeigh. McVeigh made a bad choice and carried it out. Terrorists are raise that way, they don’t know any different, that’s what they’re taught. Talk about “brainwashing”. The two cannot be compared.

    As far as Dan empathising, I don’t believe he was justifying or condoning their actions, correct me Dan, but is it more because we are a compassionate people and try to see things from all sides objectively? Something along those lines, that probably sounds dumb.

    #204 Jordan:
    I wonder, Dan, how “prosperous” are you to so shamefully disregard the majority of human beings on this planet? The majority of US are not and will never be “prosperous” but we will always strive for peace. The majority of US will never reach the insane levels of wealth held by 1% of the world’s “citizens.” The majority of US will never invade another country for oil or water or fucking bananas.

    Jordan [edited], “prosperity” is not all about money. Money is only one slice of the prosperity pie. We are the most prosperous nation on the earth, (even though we are losing that now, sadly). I know why, but won’t go there unless someone asks, guess that’s another thread. Of course we strive for peace, because we or no one is perfect. There is bad and evil in the world, complete peace cannot “prosper” as long as evil exists, “true peace” is in the heart anyway and only comes from “ONE SOURCE”. I won’t go there either unless someone asks.

    Prosperity also starts within the heart and goes from there, like I said, money is only one slice and wealth and money are two different things. Society considers wealth as money, but it’s different. I am not “money” rich, but am very “wealthy” and “blessed”. Do I have all the pieces of the prosperity pie? No, but I know the ingredients. The first ingredient is “Love”. But I guess that’s another thread as well. I’m getting off the subject, sorry. I have a soapbox too.

    #206 Irene:
    We the People”, sadly is no longer the government. We the People” are closely examining the actions of the this government, but unfortunately, this government is not listening. If the “People” don’t choose make a major change in November, regretfully, we will continue to have “We the Government of the People”.

    #207 STM:
    WOW! you know your history. I like reading yours and Dan’s comments. Sorry, I like the others too, helps me see and consider the opposing views, even though don’t really agree. I have many friends still from many years and we have completely different views on politics and religion and whatnot, but, we are still friends.

    God Bless you all

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    45 – I keep coming back to think about this point you made, Clav. I never really thought about it quite that way. You know, like premeditated desire. I always thought that there must just be some aggressive compulsion, some compulsion that isn’t really acknowledged consciously. Thanks for pointing that out.

    I think this idea needs to be explored. Because, police also get away with murder. When they murder, they have no reasonable motive. Therefore, they are seen as automatically innocent or the victim of some horrible mistake or tragedy. Voicing the motive they may have as simple ‘thrill’ in the heat of the moment, is anathema. But based on what I see sometimes it strikes me as plainly so.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    On the other hand if Cpl. Hoffman was schooled near any sort of multicultural population center in the US, he’s probably already been exposed to radical leftist anti-American hogwash

    Funny how I get the feeling that your definition of ‘radical leftist anti-American hogwash’ includes anything that doesn’t conform to the conservative narrative.

    and the moral equivalence argument you espouse

    Once again, I am not making a moral equivalence argument. Jordan, perhaps, is, and I should address such charges to him if I were you. My argument is simply that it might be helpful to understand something of where the enemy is coming from, both in order to gain an advantage in the current conflict and potentially to avoid future conflicts.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Paradise in the South Pacific/Indian Ocean…

    JLyn, I’ll second that. Been to Australia twice, and love the place. I can absolutely assure you that it’s everything Stan (STM) describes. Trust us on this. :-)

    Clearly, though, you haven’t travelled much. If you had, you’d realise that there are many places you could live quite happily if you don’t mind putting up with about the same level of minor annoyances you already put up with in the US. Europe, for instance, or Canada, or Brazil, or somewhere in the South Pacific…

    There’s one example right here on this discussion board. Pablo, who dropped in briefly yesterday, decided long ago that he was fed up with America and now lives a blissful (as far as I can tell) existence in the Philippines.

  • JLyn

    Dr D

    I’ve heard good things about New Zealand, anybody lived there?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Just one more thing, JLyn, which would help the rest of us when reading your comments. (I’m also one of the comments editors for the site, and it would help me out as well…!)

    When you’re quoting another commenter in order to respond to them, it’s standard practice on Blogcritics to use HTML to italicize the other person’s words, so as to distinguish them from your response. If you don’t know how to do this, it’s quite simple: you put angled brackets around the letter i at the start of what you want to italicize, and then another set of angled brackets around /i to close the quote.

    You can also use basic HTML to put text in bold and also to embed a link to another web page into your comment.

    Here’s a link to a basic HTML tutorial. Not all HTML works in the Blogcritics comments space, but this should help you to make your comments more reader-friendly!

    If you’re still not comfortable with using HTML, at least put the other commenter’s words in quotation marks so that we can distinguish between the original comment and your response.

    Thanks JLyn.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I haven’t made it to New Zealand yet, JLyn, but I can tell you that the standard of living there is comparable to the US or Australia. Culturally, it’s less americanized than Australia, which makes it more like Britain.

    It’s subtropical in the north and temperate in the south, with a large alpine region in the middle. You could roughly compare it to the west coast of North America from, say, northern Mexico to the Canadian border.

    Stan would be able to tell you more.

  • JLyn

    Dr D

    thanks for the helpful commenting tips. I did notice that on others, but honestly I wondered how to do it. I’m going to try it.

  • JLyn

    hey I did it!, cool, does this make me a real blogger now, lol, NOT. Just kidding.

    thanks Dr D

  • JLyn

    oops how did my own comment get in italics, sorry guys

  • JLyn

    oh no, now my user name is italics too, what did I do and how can I undo?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com roger nowosielski

    “What on earth is in the water that makes the gungho pro-american crowd so woefully ignorant?”

    Limited horizon, doug m. I guess they’ve never seen Platoon, or The Casualties of War, or The Killing Fields. They all think war is glorious.

  • Cindy

    Or the beach scene from Saving Private Ryan.

  • Irene Wagner

    Checking to see if Cindy closed her italics.

  • Irene Wagner

    Some gung-ho Americans having experienced actual combat, are still gung-ho pro- Americans, just not necessarily gung-ho about all American wars anymore.

    Gung-ho actually means “Work Together, Work in Harmony.”

    I like that way of thinking of gung-ho pro-American.

    (Jlyn – Jordan Richardson messed up his italics earlier on this same thread–happens to all of us.)

  • JLyn

    haha ya’ll are funny, if this text is normal, I think I’ll take his suggestion and use quotation marks.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    What have I created…?

    ;-)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    The only thing you forgot to do, JLyn, was to put a / in front of the i in your closing tags.

  • JLyn

    #225
    “What have I created…?”

    a wanna-be blog monster, how’s the quotations

  • Queen Irene

    JLyn, (you’re not listening to this, Dr. D) pretty much, practice makes perfect. Like, what you could do, is you could go over to one of those articles in the Books or Culture section that doesn’t have any comments, you know?

    And…read the article first, so you’re comments aren’t irrelevant…but strike up a conversation, and try to put a couple of words of italics in every comment. You can bold things, too, by using b instead of i.

    Kinda like doing doughnuts in an empty parking lot.

    Glad to have had the time to give you more than a quick answer, JLyn, which is all I had the other morning. Bye 4 now.

    Wow, the more I’m reading about the Marines :New Zealand: Gung-ho connection, the more intrigued I get. Well I’m off.

  • JLyn

    oops #226, I can’t even get the numbers right

  • Dan

    Irene #202, I wouldn’t want you should speak ill of anyone. Just an opinion. I’ll probably keep the simple name. Although someone suggested “dogmatic dan” once.

    Jordan #204: “…You, like most of us, discard “truth and reason” when it’s inconvenient…”

    Seriously Jordan? I’m not holding you to this admission if what it sounds like isn’t what was meant. But truth and reason is what I strive for. Not to say my perception is better than anyone elses, but what logic is there in abandoning truth for ideology.

    The reference to Tim Mcveigh was in response to your accusation that I’m incapable of empathy for terrorists, and therefore doomed to black and white simplicity. But I thought of one. So you’ll need to re-assess.

    It’s not concerning that I don’t empathize with fundamentalist zealots eager to kill and die in the service of their asshole god. They’ve made a bad choice, but only so long as guys like Tyler are willing to take it to them.

    Try this: Prosperous engaged people in representative democracies, with standard American Constitutional types of freedoms and rights that aren’t in conflict with each other, are less likely to war on each other. Less hilarious? It’s more of what was meant by “prosperous people”.

    It’s prejudicial assumption to think “impoverished and the poor” when I say “parasitic”.

    Queen Irene #205, Studied Waco? impressive. I guess you’ve seen the documentary then. I’m not sure how to come down on it. Two of the most disturbing things were J Reno’s late and unsupported child molesting charge, and, The ATF running their (battle?) flag up the pole like a conquering army while the bodies smoldered.

    Dr. Dreadful #211, Sorry, I didn’t get it. Agree with the argument you were making.

  • Zedd

    JLyn

    Your tenacity is inspiring. Do the world a favor and keep blogging.

  • JLyn

    #231 Zedd
    “Your tenacity is inspiring. Do the world a favor and keep blogging.”

    Oh shucks! Thanks for not telling me to get lost.

    #228 Irene
    “go over to one of those articles in the Books or Culture section that doesn’t have any comments, you know?”

    haha that’s funny, I just might try it.

  • Queen Irene

    Just so you know JLyn, I wasn’t making fun of you in #228.

    Oh, hi, Zedd.

  • Queen Irene

    LOL they’d probably be thrilled to get the comments, JLyn.

    OK, Dogmatic Dan, then, about the Seige of Waco…

  • Queen Irene

    …I do remember the Seige of Waco story well because I followed the story on the news as it was happening. There was such a build-up of tension for days and days as the ATF agents waited for orders outside the complex. A person following the story wanted it to end….and was ashamed for wanting the whole dang thing to be finished when the ATF acted.
    CHILDREN BURNED ALIVE! Right here in America.

    The ATF has been involved in many questionable “acquisition” expeditions since then.

    So yeah, I think keeping a sharp eye out on the undertakings of the federal government is a thoroughly patriotic thing to do.

  • STM

    JLyn: “I’ve heard good things about New Zealand.”

    Some bastard must have been lying to you then :)

    Actually, it IS a good place, and I love the Kiwis because they’re our good neighbours (it’s a bit like the US and Canada) and awesome people – but Australia is only three hours’ flying time away, and it’s better IMO. Doc’s right, N.Z. is more like a little version of Britain in the South Pacific, although it’s become more Americanised I suppose in recent years with the inexorable march of American culture since the 1940s.

    Australia is a bit different, more like a cross between Britain and America (and really, if you wanted to emulate something, those two places would be top of my list for most things). Hopefully, we got the good bits of both in Australia and tossed out the rubbish bits.

    Of course, as an Aussie I’m completely biased. Put it down to a competitive spirit.

    I love it when we play NZ and South Africa at rugby, though … it’s the best, fastest and toughest standard of rugby you’ll see anywhere, and it’s right here on our doorsteps. The Tri Nations season is coming up … can’t wait.

    Especially if we beat NZ.

  • JLyn

    #233 Irene
    “Just so you know JLyn, I wasn’t making fun of you in #228.”

    #234 Irene
    “LOL they’d probably be thrilled to get the comments, JLyn.

  • JLyn

    uh oh, all my comments did show up, gosh, I was saying Irene, I didn’t think you were making fun of me, I did take the suttle hint to practice somewhere else though. lol

    And that I did leave a real comment on the book site for her because I do really have a rescue dog.

    STM – thanks for the country updates, good to know just incase, you never know.

    Ya’ll are great, I feel like I have new friends,lol.

    I do feel like I’ve turn this thread into a Facebook wall though, sorry about that.

    Back to the issues?

  • Queen Irene

    Glad you had fun, JLyn! I think you have the hang of it.

    Since I know you are one of the few people on here who would care about such things, I made a mistake and wrote Moab instead of Boaz in comment #92. When Caitlin and Tyler come to mind, so will Ruth 2:12.

    Finally, about the war in Afghanistan, I don’t know how I could put it to you any more clearly than… get ready for it, JLyn… it’s an HTML HYPERLINK to a letter from a former marine captain who was serving as the U.S. Envoy in Afghanistan .

  • JLyn

    #239 Irene
    Wow! don’t know how to respond to that letter. That was emotional.

    I can kindof see your point as initially, we went into Afghan to find Bin Laden and over the course of time, the focus has been lost, leaving Americans as well as our Armed Forces to be wonder why we really are there now, given the time. And question why we are loosing the lives of our men and women over there, and for what?

    Gosh, I don’t know. I saw the report just now that more of our US soldiers have died. My heart jumps up into my throat because I too, have a son over there and it breaks my heart.

    Maybe the fear of pulling out would mean that the lives already lost would be in vain? Maybe the fear would be to admit defeat? Can we afford to pull out? What would happen. The fear of not knowing?

    Geez, I don’t want my son over there, I have fears that he will never come home alive. But he was 18 when he enlisted, I have to support him and be proud of him. He has one year left to serve then he will be out. He just wants a normal life and I pray he gets to have it.

    I know it’s a different situation than Iraq and the strategy is different, one I feel is unfair to our military on the front lines. Honestly, this is going to sound primitive, but I don’t know why we don’t go in there and just blast them away, I don’t mean the innocents of course and I know the problem with that is the Taliban places themselves in and among the people, because they know we won’t blast them away.

    Gosh, I don’t know the answers, I just want my son and his friends he joined with from high school to come home safely and to always believe that their job and mission was for some good and successful.

    Zedd, you’re right, I speak from emotions.

  • John Wilson

    JLyn:

    I welcome your enthusiasm and I can see you’re refining your ideas and theories with research and thoughtfulness. All of these issues are difficult, and one of the problems is propagandists who flood the channel with received dogma.

    I’ll respond to your comments with my thoughts. Please keep in mind that “IMO” attaches to all this. I’m not trying to attack you or demolish your comments.

    “I can kindof see your point as initially, we went into Afghan to find Bin Laden and over the course of time, the focus has been lost, …”

    Yes. I like to think that GWB intended to simply arrest OBL and when the Afghan Taliban refused he simply elbowed his way into Afghanistan regardless. But then he made a mistake and tried to do it on the cheap by hiring warlords to arrest OBL instead of using US troops, and that resulted in OBL escaping, possibly through collusion. IMO, to cover his embarrassment GWB chose to demonize the Taliban (not a hard task, they’re a villainous lot) and attack THEM thinking it would be easier to vanquish a semi-state agency than the slippery Al Queda. But, not being a military genius (or even military competent, some would say) GWB was wrong, again.

    I think that GWBs support staff was utterly irresponsible in not reigning in his eagerness. They cheered us into this quagmire. GWB, after all, is just one man, but a whole chorus of self-seeking sycophants arose around him to drown out opposition with scorn, derision and plots. For example, General Eric Shinseki said that it would take several hundred thousand troops for occupation, and that experienced capable soldier was driven out by Wolfowitz, a man of no discernible strategic talent or military experience.

    The peanut gallery of parasitic hangers-on around GWB cheered Shinsekis departure.

    “Gosh, I don’t know. I saw the report just now that more of our US soldiers have died. My heart jumps up into my throat because I too, have a son over there and it breaks my heart.”

    I hope you are spared any of the many possible forms of anguish.

    “Maybe the fear of pulling out would mean that the lives already lost would be in vain? Maybe the fear would be to admit defeat? Can we afford to pull out? What would happen. The fear of not knowing?”

    All phanthoms. Boogeymen contrived to keep us feeding the war machine. Created by amateur psychologists who are unable to predict those things but skilled enough to frighten and manipulate people now.

    “Geez, I don’t want my son over there, I have fears that he will never come home alive. But he was 18 when he enlisted, I have to support him and be proud of him.”

    That’s the key. Support. Love. The primitive requirements of any parent.

    “I know it’s a different situation than Iraq and the strategy is different, one I feel is unfair to our military on the front lines. Honestly, this is going to sound primitive, but I don’t know why we don’t go in there and just blast them away,…”

    But you can see why this won’t work.

    “Gosh, I don’t know the answers, I just want my son and his friends he joined with from high school to come home safely and to always believe that their job and mission was for some good and successful.”

    Just hope he comes home safely. Forget the ‘good and successful’ part, that is forfeit.

    “Zedd, you’re right, I speak from emotions.”

    We all do, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Most of us have emotionally developed ideas that we promote with a patina of logic and reason to lend it force. But at bottom we are emotional creatures, otherwise we’d live like ants or bees. The important thing is to use reason, logic and material fact to improve our concepts and even change our ideas as necessary. As the combination of reason and emotion dictate.

  • JLyn

    #241 John
    “Yes. I like to think that GWB intended to simply arrest OBL and when the Afghan Taliban refused he simply elbowed his way into Afghanistan regardless.”

    Well perhaps, not sure he had a choice to pull out at that point and just rely on the Afghan people to turn him over, don’t think that would have worked.

    “But then he made a mistake and tried to do it on the cheap by hiring warlords to arrest OBL instead of using US troops, and that resulted in OBL escaping, possibly through collusion.”

    Hum, opportunities were missed for sure as long as you’re not excusing the fact the GWB was not the only one to miss out on the chance to capture him, don’t forget about ole Billy. At least GWB tried.

    “All phanthoms. Boogeymen contrived to keep us feeding the war machine. Created by amateur psychologists who are unable to predict those things but skilled enough to frighten and manipulate people now.”

    I think too many amateur non-military ‘analyst/psychologists/lawyers/politicians’, whoever, who think they have all the answers have been allowed to have too much say in the Generals’ strategies and have ‘infected’ their abilities to make their own decisions regarding what’s best for our troops and overall missions.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    239 Queen Irene,

    Thank you for posting that letter. That is a confirmation of what the women of Afghanistan have been attempting to convey. Women in Afghanistan have no power and are being damaged by the US backing of oppressive, misogynist, fundamentalists.

    RAWA Representative Challenges U.S. Narrative:

    ” ‘I want to focus on the eight years of occupation by the United States and NATO countries,” said the RAWA Foreign Committee representative. “Unfortunately, the West’s impression that Afghanistan has been liberated by the United States, that Afghanistan is a free country, that we are enjoying freedom and democracy to our country is untrue,’ said Zoya.

    ‘Yes, Afghanistan is free for the warlords. Afghanistan is free for drug lords. Afghanistan is free for rapists to rape children and women. Afghanistan is free for United States troops to kill our civilians, our children, our women, day by day in so-called mistakes,’ said Zoya.”

    Maybe RAWA and its allies would have a better shot at power if the occupation wasn’t shoveling billions of dollars to the most reactionary elements in society:

    “RAWA sees the U.S. occupation entrenching a regime stuffed to the gills with fundamentalists, reactionaries, misogynists, criminals, and warlords. As the group says on its website:

    The US “War on terrorism” removed the Taliban regime in October 2001, but it has not removed religious fundamentalism which is the main cause of all our miseries. In fact, by reinstalling the warlords in power in Afghanistan, the US administration is replacing one fundamentalist regime with another. The US government and Mr. Karzai mostly rely on Northern Alliance criminal leaders who are as brutal and misogynist as the Taliban.

    RAWA believes that freedom and democracy can’t be donated; it is the duty of the people of a country to fight and achieve these values. Under the US-supported government, the sworn enemies of human rights, democracy and secularism have gripped their claws over our country and attempt to restore their religious fascism on our people.”

  • Ron The Dog

    I would just like to say to all those serving “thankyou” for the thankless task you are carrying out.
    I served in the military (name tells you what I did)if it wasn’t for all those who volentered, there would be Conscription, so all those judgemental people who haven’t served, take a step back and think first.

  • Debbie Fisher

    The good thing is that he risk his own life for our freedom.