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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.

About Genma Holmes

  • 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.