December 01, 2005
Boundless Arrogance II
There are thousands of such pictures. On one side, American thugs and murderers committing every possible atrocity against the helpless people of Iraq, without feeling bound by any principles of humanity or even common decency. On the other side, their President, a thug and murderer of long standing, laughing and smirking it all off.
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The grass may seem greener on the other side of the fence. We Canadians like to complain a lot and we're complacent. We leave important and difficult decisions to countries who actually have power like your own. All of these decisions have persons like yourself who don't agree with them. In the US you can at least voice your opinion. If you had done that in the Iraq of 5 years ago you'd dissappear.
Canada seems peaceful & righteous only because we're not players in the game of global politics, just impotent armchair quarterbacks who live a great lifestyle at the teet of our Southern neighbors. If you want to help people in the Middle East then stay where you are & write your congressman.
i like your website... i will comment more.
I resent the fact that you decide to characterize me, and the people who stand beside me, as "thugs and murderers". The men I know are also decent people from towns all across America. We try our best, under very harsh conditions, to do our jobs. We help the people of Iraq on a daily basis, but you never see it on the news because the broadcasters only see fit to print the bad things. We dig wells, and rebuild homes. We provide supplies for schools.
Please be a little more fair when you choose to paint all of us with such a broad brush.
Also, I interpret your comment to imply that there are at least some thugs and murderers among US soldiers. That makes the rest of them thugs and murderers by association.
I think the contention that "the broadcasters only see fit to print the bad things" is too facile. The embedded "journalists" sitting in their hotel rooms in Baghdad have been all too willing, in fact, to regurgitate US military bulletins. But there is such a huge amount of "bad things" that some of it inevitably does leak out anyway.
The fact of their being, on average, 19-year-olds, while unfortunate, is no excuse. A 19-year-old is considered a responsible adult in both the US and Iraq, and can be prosecuted for crimes in both countries.
Progressive Americans must help free the American people’s minds from such amoral slogans as “Support the troops.” Otherwise, the US government will continue to fight such wars far into the future.
'A soldier is by necessity a violent person' - flawed. certainly, a soldier, by definition, performs violent acts, but what you're saying implies that it is their personality that is somehow aberrant and that is not helpful to this argument. By your rational, all soldiers everywhere are violent people just waiting for when the leash is let loose enough for them to go on some kind of blood thirsty rampage. Considering the number of soldiers on the planet in armies decidedly less closely controlled than the American military I would imagine that we'd be up to our necks in blood if your argument had any weight.
There are many, many arguments that you could have put forward as to why the Iraq/Afghanistan occupation is illegal, immoral, oppressive etc, just as there are a few arguments that can be put forward as to why they are necessary, moral and/or liberating however just to shout someone down using the, frankly tedious, language of the screaming protester does not add to the debate and simply serves to widen the gap between two groups of people who need to be working together to achieve peace.
After seeing the number of comments pro-Al and the number against I suspect that this post may not see the light of day. Please prove me wrong.
I am, of course, a fallible human, and hence liable to the use of flawed logic. I don’t, however, see any particularly flawed logic (or anything demeaning) in my reply to Zafrod. If there were some generalizations, they were ones that are accepted as facts or near-facts by the majority of the progressive community. We speak almost in a code, and therefore, for instance, when I put “Support our troops” in quotations marks, other progressives know that I am not quoting anyone in particular.
Non-progressives, who of course prefer to be called conservatives, are free to comment on what is said here, as long as they do so politely. That does not mean, however, that they are being addressed here. In other words, this blog and many others like it are not any kind of attempt to reach out to American conservatives or begin some kind of a dialogue with them. Any hope for a dialogue evaporated once they voted for Dubya for a second time. The purpose here is to raise the morale of other progressives, and to cooperate in developing new tactical and strategic ideas.
Admittedly, my statement that “soldiers are by nature violent” was a generalization, but I don’t think it was far off the mark. Even the most saintly among us have some violence in them. Those who have enough violence in them that they are willing to kill strangers just because they were ordered to do so become soldiers. That is all I meant. To let a hundred thousand such individuals loose on a helpless civilian population, especially a civilian population that the soldiers have been programmed to think of as enemies of the soldiers’ nation, is criminal. In fact, it is nothing less than a crime against humanity.
I speak up for the troops only because I still have some vague recollection of what it was like to be 19. I was barely sentient. I could barely handle the responsibility of getting to class by 9. Forget about keeping a neighborhood in Iraq safe. These kids don't have a choice about where they are or what they do. We can not expect them to be moral philosophers, given their age and their experience. By shifting any of the blame onto them, you are shifting it away from the parties that need to be held accountable, that being the superiors from whence the orders originate.
By the way, I didn't take any offense to your reply, but I do hate to see the troops get picked on. They're easy targets, but we should really avoid taking the easy way out.
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