Graduated in May, dead in February.
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Posted by Tucker Bolton (+3831) 15 years ago
It's been a while since I've ticked off the conservative right and I don't know why this one touched me but I've got to get it off my chest.

A young man, eighteen, no more than a boy, from Montana died in Iraq yesterday. He graduated last May. That was nine months ago. What were you doing nine months after graduation? You probably thought you knew what you believed in but is it the same today? Did he die protecting our shores from WMD? Did he die in an effort to bring democracy to another country? What would he have been, a criminal, business leader, poet? We will never know.

I was lucky. I lived through my experience. I got to ask the tough questions. Why were we in Vietnam. Was Vietnam a better place when I left? Was I a better person for having been there. I could ramble on but choose not.

The big question for me, today, is why aren't we, the people that are not putting young mens lives on the line asking these questions, out loud and often, to the greedy, political, corporate puppets that are sending them to the slaughter. We are in the middle of a bloody, civil war, predicated on manufactured information, politics and greed.

I just can't help it. I feel obligated to wonder who this young man might have been and how he would affect someones life. This issue seems bigger to me than the outcome of the Super Bowl or who could spend the most on a commercial that will only serve to raise consumers prices even higher.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9424) 15 years ago
Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori

http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/owen1.html
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
As I've mentioned before, I often wonder where our Country comes up with these men and women who serve the nation . . . they certainly don't step forward because of the rewards we give them in return for this service, do they?

Matthew T. Zeimer, of Glendive (along the other 15 or so Montanans) and the 3,000 or so other Americans who died in Iraq and Afghanistan no doubt deserve more than we've given them . . . as do their families. As do the thousands of Americans who've been wounded in these wars (and their families). As will the men and women who will come home and comprise this generation's veterans.

I think that We owe it to them (and to ourselves) to try and repay this debt - and not just by pressuring our elected officials to adequately fund Veterans services, but also at a personal, person-to-person level.

Tucker wants to know why we aren't asking the hard questions about this war . . .

Good point Man . . . good point.

There's seems to be a lot of factors at play.

For one, aside from those serving in the military and their families and loved ones . . . how has being involved in this war affected the average American?

Well, so far . . . it's not had much impact at all on the average, non-service family.

No one has asked the American people to make much of a sacrifice or contribution to the war effort. Perhaps this war isn't "big" enough to justify rationing, war bond rallies, scrap drives, victory gardens and all of that. But has the "right" thing been done by shielding us from the war? Rather than ask the American people to do their part, the costs of the war have been hidden and to an extent minimized in their presentation to the public.

And let's face it, the circumstances surrounding our entry into the war in Iraq now make it darned hard, darned uncomfortable, for us as individuals and as a Nation to ask these questions.

First of all, prior to 911 we had allowed ourselves to grow damned complacent . . . we let ourselves believe that we wouldn't be attacked, that we couldn't be attacked. We believed that because we were the most powerful nation in the world, we were safe. And on the morning of 911 we learned otherwise . . . and it knocked us for loop, scared the pants off a lot of us. And that fear drove a whole of the decisions that brought us to the point we are today.

We allowed this fear to stifle discussion and debate . . . We (and by we I mean everyone, elected officials, the media, those in the private sector who drive public debate, & etc.) didn't want to be made to appear unpatriotic. We feared that we might be labeled as not being supportive of our troops.

And now it is darned hard to ask the questions that need to be asked.

In partisan, political terms, it's hard to question why we are in Iraq. If we ask these questions and decide a mistake was made, then whole lot of politicians, elected officials and their supporters (Republicans and Democrats alike) are going to have to admit that they were wrong. And because our Nation has grown so politically polarized in the past couple decades . . . admitting these mistakes seems impossible to many.

And somehow, many of us lost sight of what democracy is. It's definitely not something we should ask our men and women in the military to defend overseas and then stifle it at home. It's definitely not something that can be imposed at the point of a gun on other peoples. It's not something that is always going to be a mirror image of what we have at home.

So, some of it comes down to being scared by 911. . . some to politics . . . some to not having the gumption to admit to the possibility that we were wrong.

But I think a great part of what has kept us from asking the hard questions comes back to that feared of being labeled unpatriotic . . . of not supporting our troops . . . of not being loyal to a president in time of war. It comes down to allowing ourselves to be manipulated.

Theodore Roosevelt addressed this concern, while questioning the Wilson administration's policies during World War I. And I think he pretty much laid it to rest when he said, "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

We have called on those serving in the military to do their duty and they have done so with honor and courage. Now it is time that We do our duty. We have to ask these questions. We have to an open and honest public debate on what this war is about. And this debate has to move beyond partisan politics, jingoistic nationalism, and fear mongering. We have to be prepared to (perhaps) admit that a terrible mistake has been made . . . a mistake that is beyond our power to rectify.

We need to discuss it, because if we've made a mistake, then it's criminal to let it continue simply because We (all of us, citizens and leaders alike) would lose face by admitting it.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15285) 15 years ago
Perhaps you are right. Maybe we would be better off defending ourselves after the pirates invade downtown America. Perhaps our civilization deserves to be wiped off the map by truck bombs. If we are going to surrender lets get it over with. Bring the troops home in the next two weeks. Freedom is not worth the price being paid.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (edited 2/6/2007).]
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
Richard,

As a rule, I don't set much store by what Op-Ed writers have to say, but your remarks remind me of something William Pfaff had to say (quite) sometime back in The Observer - it struck enough of a chord that I bookmarked it.

"This Futile Fundamentalism - Champions Of Islamic Revolution Are Fooling Themselves; They Have Nothing To Offer Contemporary Muslims"
By William Pfaff
THE OBSERVER
October 17, 2004
http://observer.guardian....50,00.html
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Posted by Kacey (+3157) 15 years ago
Tucker, you're right. To our senators and congressmen, I am tired of hearing about just resolutions. It's time to stop this. Mr. Bonine, I usually ignore your comments on this site, but this time I am not going to. What you wrote was rude and wrong. There has yet to be any evidence that the loss of one life in this "war" has been validated by any true purpose. We have a president who planned the war years before he was even elected who is now playing out his dream with real people!
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Posted by Tucker Bolton (+3831) 15 years ago
The Shrub does not now, nor has he ever had a plan or desire for a peaceful resolution to this unending, insufferable conflict.

"Pirates invade downtown America" Whaaaa?? Yellow Peril, Commie threat, I suppose that's OK as long as we live in fear. It makes us easier to manipulate. The machine is out of control and it is time we grab the steering wheel to avoid one hell of a crash. If you are not upset, you are not paying attention.

Hal, thank you for posting Matthews name. I was attempting to keep this generic just to vent my frustration. We should know him. We should know them all. I remember friends that didn't return. Perhaps it isn't personal enough. I don't know. What I do know is I have had enough and with the passing of Molly Ivans, I hope that many voices will replace hers.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
>> Hal, thank you for posting Matthews name. I was attempting to keep this generic just to vent my frustration. We should know him.

Yes . . . whatever our politics or our take on this war, the last thing we should do is lose sight of that.

A good thread Man - we need to discuss this . . . and yes, sometimes we need to vent about it. But it needs to be out in the open and subject to discussion.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15285) 15 years ago
"What you wrote was rude and wrong. There has yet to be any evidence that the loss of one life in this "war" has been validated by any true purpose. We have a president who planned the war years before he was even elected who is now playing out his dream with real people!"

Really! You talk as though Bush is the dumbest guy on the face of the earth and yet you give "credit" for planing the war years before he was even elected". In order to make all of that happen he would have to be pretty bright. You don't get to have it both ways.

What I said may be rude to some. Some are offended by truth. But I am VERY confident that I am not wrong.


[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (edited 2/6/2007).]
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Posted by Stone (+1594) 15 years ago
Not one single hi-jacker of the 9-11 planes was from Iraq.

By pulling out of Iraq is the Domino theory of the Muslim hoards going to come crashing down on our heads?
Lets send Dick and Rick over to Iraq so they can throw apple pies at the heathens and give them an old fashioned baptism. If the USA and Chevrolet can't save them maybe an old fashioned come to Jesus beating will do.

Oh, ya Chevy's are not made in America anymore. What is the world coming to everybody should want democracy and Christianity even if we have to behead them to get it done. Go Haliburton.
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Posted by jessiker (+289) 15 years ago
You know, usually I do go about staying out of these things, these battles of righteous and evil, or whatever this is truly about, but this one really hits home.

When my husband I moved to Glendive, Matt was one of the first people we met, and he and his family became dear friends of ours. He went overseas knowing he could die, but believing in a greater cause, as have so many before him. He was an amazing person who, at only 18, had touched lives far and wide. I admire his courage, and his dedication to his country, but I just don't understand it.

What is it that we are even fighting for? How many lives do we need to lose before we quit putting our nose where it doesn't belong? Iraq had nothing to do with the terrorist acts on 9/11 - not a thing. What's more is, there are so many other countries out there going through things similar to what Iraq was going through when Bush decided to put us in the middle of their problems, but he didn't see fit to jump into their political problems because they didn't have anything he wanted. This war on Iraq, and we all know it whether we admit it or not, is about oil, and it's just pathetic. Yes, losing the lives of so many innocent people on September 11th was a horrible *horrible* tragidy, but how does that make the members of Al Qaida any worse than our own president, who sends our youth - like Matt - to be slaughtered? Where is the proof that any of this has done any good?!?!

It has been ridiculous, the number of lives lost over silly material things and resources. When is it going to be time that they quit talking about making a change and do it? When is it going to be the time that everyone who sits back and objects to the war STANDS UP AND DOES SOMETHING? There is nothing, no justifiable reason, for us to lose one life over nothing, let alone thousands. The most any other country involved in this "war" in Iraq has lost is in the low hundreds. What makes us the world's defenders? What in this entire war has justified the loss of one innocent life?

It is absurd to think that anyone would believe that this war is justified, and that the lives of so many people are a fair expense. I'm sorry, but there is nothing righteous, there is nothing wonderful, about our intervening uninvited into another country's problems. Maybe those of you that think that this is an acceptable thing, that this is just the way things should be, need to spend some time over there, regardless of time that you've spent in the past wherever. Maybe you need to send your friends, your loved ones, your children or grandchildren, and when their time comes to be killed, maybe your vision on all of this will be cleared, and you won't be a victim of media, and you'll think for yourselves. Maybe - just maybe - you could stand up with the rest of the country who beleives this war is wrong, and do something about it.

I respect Matt, and the fact that he gave his life "for his country." He did what he believed was right, what he believed would make a difference. His life was not equivalent to a gallon of gasoline, or even the peace in a country that should have been left well enough alone. We aren't their defenders. His life was worth much more than that, and it's about time people wake up and do something.

And in response to the comment about him planning the war, I'm not sure where that came from - he just threw us in the middle of a battle we didn't belong in. Just how many people that truly mattered to you have *you* lost in Iraq?

[This message has been edited by jessiker (edited 2/7/2007).]
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15285) 15 years ago
"Not one single hi-jacker of the 9-11 planes was from Iraq."

Pirates usually don't have national origin but Iraq was actively providing safe haven and training facilities for them. Yes, we have got bogged down in Iraq and distracted from the main mission. Only more Patton and less patten leather will change the situation.
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Posted by Bob L. (+5105) 15 years ago
Pirates usually don't have national origin but Iraq was actively providing safe haven and training facilities for them. Yes, we have got bogged down in Iraq and distracted from the main mission.

------------------------------------

And so were a lot of other nations, to a MUCH larger degree. We attacked none of these nations.

The main mission is finding the pirates? Should not the Navy be more involved?
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Posted by Tucker Bolton (+3831) 15 years ago
Richard said: "Really! You talk as though Bush is the dumbest guy on the face of the earth and yet you give "credit" for planing the war years before he was even elected". In order to make all of that happen he would have to be pretty bright. You don't get to have it both ways."


Perhaps not the dumbest but right up there in the stratosphere inhabited by the terminally dumb. The hands up the bum of the puppet knew he was dumb enough to manipulate. I mean, really, have you seen him off script? It's not funny anymore. It's just embarrassing.

I am sure of one of one thing. He was dumb enough to be led around by his by his nose, by a bunch of greedy, power hungry, megalomaniacs.
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Posted by David Schott (+17910) 15 years ago
>>I am sure of one of one thing. He was dumb enough to be led around by his by his nose, by a bunch of greedy, power hungry, megalomaniacs.<<

Tucker, you're starting to write like George W. talks.
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Posted by Tucker Bolton (+3831) 15 years ago
OOPS!
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Posted by Bridgier (+9424) 15 years ago
When time comes Richard, will you encourage your children to join the military?
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 15 years ago
Oh come on. This was a lame argument when Micheal Moore was harassing congressmen with it and it's still a lame argument. Any good parent would encourage their kids to do what they wanted to do and what they felt was best for them, not try to get them to choose a career based on their father's personal political ideology. Nothing but a weak attempt to bully people into saying something that can later be spun as hypocrisy if they say no, or callous disregard for their children if they say yes.



[This message has been edited by Levi Forman (edited 2/7/2007).]
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15285) 15 years ago
If you think I am opinionated, you should listen to my middle son. If my kids want to join the military I will certainly support their decision.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
Well . . . here I am after slamming George Will just last week, resorting to posting links to articles by such notorious punditcrats as Bacevich and Hulsman. I will offer in my defense that I'm not presenting their opinions as being fact-based, they are, in truth, nothing more nor less than Op-Ed pieces


"Going for Broke"
By Andrew J. Bacevich
January 29, 2007
THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE
http://www.amconmag.com/2...cover.html

"The Myth of an al Qaeda Takeover of Iraq"
by Ted Galen Carpenter
THE CATO INSTITUTE
January 31, 2007
http://www.cato.org/pub_d...ub_id=7353

"Fighting over who lost Iraq"
By Andrew J. Bacevich
LA TIMES
November 7, 2006
http://www.latimes.com/ne...-rightrail

"America's World Role Has to be Realistic and Moral"
By Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman
COALITION FOR A REALISTIC FOREIGN POLICY
October 17, 2006
http://www.realisticforei..._world.php

[This message has been edited by Hal Neumann (edited 2/7/2007).]
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Posted by Bridgier (+9424) 15 years ago
A lame argument? Why so? There are many people who will define the current situation as a "clash of civilizations", or "the greatest threat to our western way of life" or similar overblown rhetoric - why then is it out of bounds to ask if they are willing to spend blood and treasure from their own vaults, instead of simply advocating that someone else "defend their freedoms" Freedom fries taste best when boiled in someone else's oil?

An even better question for those of prime fighting age who pound the keys as hard as they pound their breasts is this: why haven't you enlisted? http://operationyellowele...gspot.com/
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 15 years ago
It's a lame argument because it is irrelevant to the discussion. It doesn't address what he said at all. It's like me saying "if you support environmentalism, why haven't you given all your money to Greenpeace and moved into an endangered redwood tree? And if you're not willing to do that or you haven't done it already, then your opinion doesn't mean anything. Nonsense. It ignores all logic and turns the argument into a personal thing, pretty much insuring that nothing intelligent will be said from there on out.

For the record, I'm not trying to champion the war here, just saying that is a counterproductive and lame argument. Not that the discussions in this forum have ever been rational or thoughtful at all on either side, so I don't know why I chose now to object to it.
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Posted by Tucker Bolton (+3831) 15 years ago
Levi, that is a great point. Why don't we all at least attempt to keep the posts salient, and respectful.

I have really enjoyed the response to this thread. For the biggest part, replies have been sensitive and thought provoking. It is not about if we agree or not but rather raising questions and provoking thought.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9424) 15 years ago
I never said that if you're not willing to send either yourself or your child off to die you should just STFU - but if by your actions you say that you would prefer someone else make all these sacrifices for your convienience, then that is something that should be brought up.

Mr. Bolton asked earlier how this war was affecting the average american and I have to agree with his conclusion - it's not. We are not being asked to sacrifice, we are not being mobilized as a nation, the only thing demanded is that we fear brown people and let the government throw anybody it wants into a hole.

But it's this attitude that allows for people to call for more war on the one hand, and hope at the same time that it's someone else's kid in the crosshairs.

You seem to think I'm just trying to catch Mr. Bonine in some sort of thought experiment but that's not accurate. If you are not willing to pass your beliefs on to your children, then why bother believing them? If you believe that military service is a good thing, why wouldn't you teach your children that? If you believe that this is the defining conflict of your life, then why wouldn't you encourage your children to do their part?
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Posted by John Morford (+352) 15 years ago
If you believe that this is the defining conflict of your life, then why wouldn't you encourage your children to do their part?

That's exactly the mind set of the people that we are fighting against over there.

[This message has been edited by John Morford (edited 2/8/2007).]
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Posted by Lorenz (+10) 15 years ago
I was reading this and had to put my two cents in. I've been a guardsman for about three years now. I joined when I was 17. I'm not a democrat nor republican. I go with which ever I feel is the best decision at that point in time. I don't think we should high tail it outta Iraq. Too many of my buddies have died over there already. I believe their death would be in vain. Yes I hate the war, but I'm going to support my brothers and sisters in every way possible.

The soldier who died in Iraq knew what the price may be... his life. All of us soldiers know that we may die over there. Some ask "why give your life up for a false war?" We as soldiers try not to think like that. We are there and fighting for our lives. When is war justified? When it's on our doorstep? When the threat is possible? I don't know the answer to those questions because it's someone's opinion.

I saw someone asked, "would you allow your children to join the military?" My opinion... I would encourage them if they wanted to. Without men and women like the one who lost his life in Iraq... who is there to protect us?

To the soldier who lost his life in Iraq... I salute you!
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Posted by Kacey (+3157) 15 years ago
I fail to understand how more innocent veterans getting killed keeps those who died from dying in vain. Perhaps you can explain. It makes no sense to me to have more die.
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Posted by Lorenz (+10) 15 years ago
You're missing the point. We know the price of joining the military. I don't know if you've been in the military or not. Either way, I'm not trying to insult your point of view. You wanted an answer so I'm providing one.

When war comes... we're ready. No matter if people believe it's a false war or not. We go and we serve. I'm not argueing about this war because if we did... it could go on for 100 years. People are still argueing over Vietnam. What I am trying to get across is the proudness us soldiers have and that we know the price. Yes it's sad that a 18 year old man had to die, but I bet you he was damn proud to serve his country regardless being in Iraq or not.

I know this probably won't change your point of view and it's not ment to. It's so provide another view. America is based on different views and I wouldn't have it any other way. I enjoy a good discussion every now and again.
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Posted by Stone (+1594) 15 years ago
Lorenz, well spoken and I respect your opinion and I thank you and your buddies for there service. Thank you.
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Posted by Kacey (+3157) 15 years ago
Still dealing with the effects of the Viet Nam war, I feel sorry for all of those who think that getting home alive means you're going to be ok. They will NEVER be the same. Their families, their relationships, etc. I still find no justification for destroying so many people's lives.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15285) 15 years ago
So Kacy, given your thought, how do you suggest we deal/protect people from those who want to kill us, as happen during 911?
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15285) 15 years ago
I hate trackpads

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (edited 2/8/2007).]
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Posted by Kacey (+3157) 15 years ago
Well, I would suggest focusing on those people who actually attacked us. As far as the evidence now goes, that was not Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi people that are dying in droves since we invaded their country.
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Posted by Kacey (+3157) 15 years ago
By the way, I would feel way more secure if we actually had enough military still in our own country to protect it, instead of the majority being halfway around the world.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 15 years ago
Protect it from what? There are a lot more US soldiers in the US than there are in Iraq,and I can't say I've heard about any armies massing on our borders that we could send our military to fight.
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Posted by deer_slayer (+485) 15 years ago
Ooopps...I thought this was the Anna Nichole Smith thread.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
I hesitated to post these comments as I did not want it to appear that I was aiming them at any single individual who has commented in this thread. There are such deep felt and sincere opinions being expressed here . . . the last thing I want to do is to appear to be putting anyone down for what they've said. As much as anything, my comments are in response to the debate taking place across the nation as they are to what has been said here.


But first, I'm hoping I did not make a mistake in mentioning Matthew Zeimer by name. In retrospect, I think Tucker was correct and the discussion should have been left at the generic level.

My intention in mentioning Matthew by name was to pay honor to him and to his family. I hope so very much that my decision to mention his name will not be construed as an attempt to use his death as a tool to prove any point I have to make. If it should appear that this has been the case, I offer my sincerest apologies.


Moving on. . . .


I guess I'm troubled at the idea of tying honor, service, and sacrifice to any particular war or cause. Service members' personal honor and the debt we owe them for their service should have nothing to do with Iraq itself (or any other specific action). They have chosen to serve their country, and we must honor them for that alone.

To say that (if this war proves to end in ways that we hope it will not) means that our people have served and sacrificed in vain troubles me.

Linking their sacrifices to choices (good or bad, right or wrong) that have been made (and will continue to be made) by our elected leaders and by the American people at large, has the potential to do a terrible injustice to our service members.

If this war does conclude in ways that we hope it will not - the fault, the blame, the discredit should not and must notbe laid at the feet of those who served their County in this conflict. I very strongly feel that we must never even hint at the notion that the nature of their service and sacrifice (and that of their families and loved ones) is dependent upon OUR choices in starting and waging this war.

I wish I could articulate this is a clearer manner . . . I just know that whatever happens: No one serves or sacrifices in vain who serves with honor.


Moving on. . . .


I also find it troubling that some in our country suggest that we are disloyal to our service members to even discuss the course and conduct of the war. That once troops are committed to harm's way, we have no choice but to continue down the same path. In my mind, that way of thinking would make it possible for unscrupulous leaders to use our military as hostages in the pursuit of flawed foreign policies. If we accept this premise, then all it takes is the placing one service member in harm's way to lock us into a mistaken course of action.

I don't know that any of this is currently the case . . . but I do know that without discussion, dialog, and inquiry into these matters, we've no way to aviod or rectify mistakes . . . and the true mistake (if this were the case) would not be for what might unfold in Iraq, but for the damage that would be done to America and to our democratic traditions.


Moving on. . . .


There seems to be an assumption on the part of many (on both sides of the debate) that the U.S. is going to be the sole arbiter of the outcome of the war in Iraq. That the U.S. and only the U.S. will determine what is to come.

This is not just an "American" war . . . nor just an American and Iraqi war . . . there are regional and global concerns that are at play as well. The longer we ignore this, the harder it will be to acheive a solution that we can live with.



Moving on. . . .


I am at a loss as to how to answer those in our country who cannot move beyond the fear inspired by 911. I only know that our nation's history has shown time and time again that we achieve great things when we rely on those qualities that make us a great nation and that we do poorly when we let fear drive us.


And finally. . . .


It is interesting to see how this thread is a microcosm of the debate taking place across the nation at the moment . . . is shows how challenging it's going to be to reach a consensus on the matter (if that is possible). It shows how potentially destructive this can be to our country . . . the emotional components of this debate are so powerful; it could be that we are not going to achieve consensus - that events will spin out control beyond and that we will find ourselves little able to influence, let alone, control them.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 15 years ago
Nice Post Hal,

Linking their sacrifices to choices (good or bad, right or wrong) that have been made (and will continue to be made) by our elected leaders and by the American people at large, has the potential to do a terrible injustice to our service members.

100% agreed. Well said.


I am at a loss as to how to answer those in our country who cannot move beyond the fear inspired by 911. I only know that our nation's history has shown time and time again that we achieve great things when we rely on those qualities that make us a great nation and that we do poorly when we let fear drive us.

I agree with this as well, but if you are suggesting that as the reason people support the war in Iraq, while it may be true for some, it's very simplistic.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
What I would suggest Levi is that this fear is not helpful in conducting any rational discussion of the foreign policy and national security concerns that we are facing.

Yes, we have things to fear - but we should not allow our enemies to use that fear to manipulate us . . . that is after all one of the greatest weapons in the terrorists' arsenal. Nor should we allow demagogues (of any political persuasion) to manipulate us through the rhetoric of fear.

There is a world of difference between healthy, cautionary fear and unreasoning fear.

Heeding and giving credence to fear-mongers and prayer-mat-prophets among us, only weakens us and aids our enemies.
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Posted by Russell Bonine (+244) 15 years ago
We really need to keep perspective in this whole situation. I think that perhaps most people have lost sight of the fact that Iraq is not THE war on terror but just one of the battles. If you look at this from the big picture point of view Iraq, as the second battlefield, made the most sense. We needed a place to gain a foothold in this region of the world because bigger battles are ahead of us (Iran). We had previous experience in Iraq and it was well mapped out. Also the regime of Iraq did have a connection to terrorism.

One of the many problems was the speed of which this battle could be finished was underestimated. The awesome show of force of the first 100 hours of the strike in Iraq really misled people to believe that this was somehow going to be short. I think that this disillusion has been and still is being propagated on many different fronts. We have to remain patient. Brain surgery to remove a tumor is a tricky and time-consuming feat. Extracting the tumor of ideology that is inherent to those of terrorists is no less of a feat.

We would be foolish to think that somehow terrorism is behind us. We must remain patient, vigilant and supportive of all those who are engaged in protecting and serving us to remain free.


Pacifism is not good for peace. It leads to fat wolves and lots of dead sheep.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9424) 15 years ago
"If you look at this from the big picture point of view Iraq, as the second battlefield, made the most sense. We needed a place to gain a foothold in this region of the world because bigger battles are ahead of us (Iran)."

s/Iraq/Nicaragua/g;
s/Iran/Soviet Union/g;

Wasn't Groundhog's Day last week?
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10018) 15 years ago
Wow, that's got to be the first post to MilesCity.com containing regular expression -- and made as a point to a political discussion no less.
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Posted by Mimi (+44) 15 years ago
If this war does conclude in ways that we hope it will not - the fault, the blame, the discredit should not and must notbe laid at the feet of those who served their County in this conflict.

Sorry, but you're too late. Military personnel recently home from Iraq were spit in the face by anti-war protestors at a rally in Washington; attended by Shaun Penn, Hanoi Jane etc.

Thank you for serving Lorenz, and I hope nothing like the above ever happens to you. Yes, Kacey, there are Vietnam vets still dealing with issues from that war. But the above reason was a lot of it. They were not supported at home or in the field ("requesting permission to return fire at the guy who's shooting at me Sir") But there are also thousand of Vietnam vets who are out there living perfectly normal productive lives...not much for Hollywood to go on. Good thing our fathers and grandfathers didn't have this same attitude or we'd all be speaking German right now. And Germany "hadn't done a thing to us".

Unfornutately, the main stream media only broadcasts the worst of the worst. 80% of the rest of Iraq is stable and now living in freedom. 40 million people have been liberated, how many did we find in mass graves over there? and how many terrorist training camps did we find and destroy?

And I wonder... how many of you Bush bashers stood up and did any Clinton bashing when our men/women in uniform were dying in Haiti, Croatia, on the Cole, or in Kobar towers? Or their bodies were being drug around the streets in Somalia? Did you yell loudly then? The planning for 9/11 happined during Clinton's watch. His, "head in the sand" foreign policy did nothing but embolden the terrorists. During his administration our active duty forces were cut in half and so wasn't our intelligence network. It's no wonder he didn't have a clue what was going on right under his nose. And now the dems are threatening to cut off the funding....how typical.

Perhaps the problem is the terminology that we use. Lets start calling it a "humanitarian mission". And it's "ethnic cleansing" not a civil war. Does that sound better? We certainly can't leave with all that "ethnic cleansing" going on!! (Oh, ya, that helps me feel better now).

By the way, the military plane that was used by the former Speaker of the House isn't good enough for Pelosi, she wants one with a bedroom, multimedia room and 62 coach seats....crew if 16 (active duty military). Every time she flies round trip to California it's going to cost you and I $300,000.....but she doesn't want to fund the military; except of course for her new plane
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Posted by Bob L. (+5105) 15 years ago
Mimi = Rick K.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15285) 15 years ago
"I am at a loss as to how to answer those in our country who cannot move beyond the fear inspired by 911. I only know that our nation's history has shown time and time again that we achieve great things when we rely on those qualities that make us a great nation and that we do poorly when we let fear drive us."

It isn't necessarily "fear inspired by 911". I would like to move beyond said fear, but there are several facts that I would have to ignore in order to do so.

All one has to do is look in places like Indonesia, Ethiopia, and several other countries to see how the radical Islamic pirates have invaded those places. They are in control of those places. The riots in France last year were largely the result of radical Islam. There have been more Christians martyred in the 20th-21st centuries than in all other centuries combined since Christ. Once again this was done largely by radical Islam. The current leader of Iran has repeatedly promised to wipe the US off of the face of the earth.

It is hard to view all of these threats to our security and not wonder if we shouldn't do something about the world situation. We are the only country in the world that has the capability to deal with such threats.

If we don't learn from history and the events in other countries we should expect to suffer the same consequences. It seems to me that with 9/11 they declared war on us.

As much as I would like to move beyond the fear I am at a lost to answer those who don't see the things I see as threats. It is so much easier to become bogged down in partisan rhetoric and name calling than to have a sane discussion about our fears.


[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (edited 2/9/2007).]
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Posted by Matt Schmitz (+90) 15 years ago
Russell said "We would be foolish to think that somehow terrorism is behind us" Thats the problem Russell. We have now set precedent. After any terrorist attack, we are now obligated to attack another innocent country? We all know Saddam was no choir boy, but we have killed countless thousands of innocent people, in our rush to spread democracy around the world. Terrorism will never be behind us. But you can bet that tens of thousands of americans soldiers are sure to die if we don't at least begin to have a dialogue with those who despise us. Either we kill em all, or someday we may need to ask them why they despise us. Couple things Mimi. Be careful using the term "dems" when the obvious abbreviation for the other side is "cons" It's democrats, or liberals, not "dems" or "libs" And Pelosi NEVER asked for a larger plane. The speaker is third in line for the presidency, and security, not the speaker, determined that a larger plane, that would allow the speaker to travel to her home state without stopping, would be safer. You may have been listening to Hannity and Limbaugh too much. You just regurgitated every line they have been spewing forever. Push the kool-aid away.
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Posted by J. Dyba (+1348) 15 years ago
Mimi,

"Statement of the House Sergeant at Arms

As the Sergeant at Arms, I have the responsibility to ensure the security of the members of the House of Representatives, to include the Speaker of the House. The Speaker requires additional precautions due to her responsibilities as the leader of the House and her Constitutional position as second in the line of succession to the presidency.

In a post 9/11 threat environment, it is reasonable and prudent to provide military aircraft to the Speaker for official travel between Washington and her district. The practice began with Speaker Hastert and I have recommended that it continue with Speaker Pelosi. The fact that Speaker Pelosi lives in California compelled me to request an aircraft that is capable of making non-stop flights for security purposes, unless such an aircraft is unavailable. This will ensure communications capabilities and also enhance security. I made the recommendation to use military aircraft based upon the need to provide necessary levels of security for ranking national leaders, such as the Speaker. I regret that an issue that is exclusively considered and decided in a security context has evolved into a political issue. "

This is the gentleman who determined what plane Pelosi would be using. He was installed in his current position by the 1995 Congress and re-elected by the Republican Congress. The old Speaker of the House, a Republican, enjoyed the same treatment. He however did not live in California so he didn't require a plane that could fly as far non-stop.

Ignorance is bliss but come on now. All those rubber facts you spit out about Iraq are untrue as well. You need to seriously educate yourself above and beyond the political hacks on TV. Dem or Rep. Have some pride and think for yourself.
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Posted by Mimi (+44) 15 years ago
Sorry, you obviously missed the point!
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Posted by Mimi (+44) 15 years ago
We don't get Limbaugh here Matt
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4461) 15 years ago
I tried to stay out of it, but since people accuse me of posting even when I don't, I guess I've really got nothing to lose.

But first, I'm hoping I did not make a mistake in mentioning Matthew Zeimer by name. In retrospect, I think Tucker was correct and the discussion should have been left at the generic level.

The only reason it's a mistake is because it highlights the flawed logic behind this whole "support the troops, hate the war" dance. The liberal talking points on the war have remained largely unchanged for 3 years now. But this brave soldier heard all the antiwar arguments, and he joined anyway, knowing full well where he was probably going. It's obviously more likely than not that he didn't agree with your point of view. Would you really use his death in service to try to discredit what he probably believed?

We keep hearing over and over again that if you don't drop everything and join up, you have no business speaking on the war. Like has been pointed out, this is the logical equivalent of only really being pro-choice if you sign up for at least one abortion. Or only really supporting embryonic stem-cell research if you're busily creating and farming your own embryos for science.

but if by your actions you say that you would prefer someone else make all these sacrifices for your convienience, then that is something that should be brought up.

I wonder how many embryonic stem cell supporters live so closely to their beliefs? Otherwise I guess we'd have to say it's only ok for them if it's somebody else's embryos making all the sacrifices.

Back to the point... apparently you can only speak to the war if you're willing to pay the price. What this thread perfectly highlights is how disingenuous that arguement is. We've been in Iraq for 4 years now. Most of the guys going over there have either had an opportunity to leave the service, or joined probably knowing where they were going. They heard your arguments, and they're going on regardless. And reenlistment to this day is well ahead of schedule (and much higher than normal reenlistment was pre-9/11.) So enough with the "support the troops" stuff.

Most of them think they're fighting the war on terror. Who are you to tell them otherwise?

Our wonderful press propagandizes against their efforts, and a recent survey showed that about half of Democrats don't even want them to win in Iraq anymore. (You have to doubt whether these folks ever wanted us to succeed in the first place. It would be bad for their politics)

I'll leave the topic alone now, leaving it with the words of another soldier who was KIA, but who also didn't agree with your world view either. I guess you would have told him he was wrong too.

http://blog.myspace.com/i...5d382087ML
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Posted by Mimi (+44) 15 years ago
Be careful using the term "dems" when the obvious abbreviation for the other side is "cons" It's democrats, or liberals, not "dems" or "libs"

Oh, my.......You really [b]are[/i] an elitist aren't you! Please pardon my PC incorrectness
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Posted by jessiker (+289) 15 years ago
The only reason it's a mistake is because it highlights the flawed logic behind this whole "support the troops, hate the war" dance. The liberal talking points on the war have remained largely unchanged for 3 years now. But this brave soldier heard all the antiwar arguments, and he joined anyway, knowing full well where he was probably going. It's obviously more likely than not that he didn't agree with your point of view. Would you really use his death in service to try to discredit what he probably believed?

Rick, I personally knew Matt. He was a friend of mine, and I had talked with him about his joining the Army shortly before he left. He never indicated he was advocating for or against the war in Iraq, at least when in conversation with my husband or myself. He was dedicated to his country, and he was dedicated to the people he was protecting. There are plenty of soldiers even in Iraq right now who don't agree with the war, and we can't assume one way or the other without even meeting these people where their beliefs lie. He was very brave, especially to join in the face of adversity. He was a bright, wonderful young man, and he loved everyone.

However, I don't agree with you thinking that the logic behind "Support the Troops, Hate the War," is flawed. There is no reason we shouldn't support our troops - they are individuals, they don't necessarily agree with why they are there, but they are doing their job, and they are, if nothing else, a representation of the beliefs our country was founded on. I cannot think of one fathomable reason not to support our troops, abroad or otherwise. However, I do not support our war, and I do not agree with it one bit. I think that there are much more productive places our troops should be, making a positive difference in the lives of people who want and need our help. Obviously, if they're killing our troops as soon as they get there, they don't want us in Iraq, and they aren't a threat to our safety or freedom, so we need to be elsewhere, to both preserve the lives of our soldiers, and to improve the lives of others.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
Mimi wrote >>Sorry, but you're too late. Military personnel recently home from Iraq were spit in the face by anti-war protestors at a rally in Washington; attended by Shaun Penn, Hanoi Jane etc.

Most of what I see taking place is despicable, vile crap such as this.

"Church To Picket Soldier's Funeral"
BILLING GAZETTE
February 11,2007
http://www.billingsgazett...church.txt
"GLENDIVE - Members of the Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka, Kan., plan to picket a Glendive soldier's funeral. . . ."

more news on these cretins here:
http://news.google.com/ne...tnG=Search

Mimi, is this acceptable because it's done in pursuit of one of the cornerstones of the Social Conservatives' agenda? Or should their loathsome behavior be condemned as well? Or am I subjecting you to some unfair PC correctness litmus test for asking?

You can learn about their brand of social conservatism and how they support our military and their families here:
http://www.godhatesfags.com/
http://www.godhatesamerica.com/
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Posted by Kacey (+3157) 15 years ago
Seems there must be a way to help this family during such a difficult time. Those people are cretins and need to be kept away. Bloodsuckers at their worst. Glendive isn't that big. Road construction? Detours? Perhaps through Ekalaka? Montanans are resourceful. Time to use that gift.
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Posted by Jay (+279) 15 years ago
How about a bundel of metal baseball bats. May as well put them to some use.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
Aside from testing our acceptance of free speech issues and the Bill of Rights, the only good thing that I've saw come of Westboro's actions is that it has brought together some very diverse groups in an attempt to shield military families from its slimy tactics. I've saw groups and organizations as diverse as the Patriot Guard Riders and Montana Human Rights Network offer their support to families who've been targeted by Westboro. (This I find a tiny bit encouraging . . . once in a while it seems that we can remember that we are Americans first)

http://www.patriotguard.org/
http://www.mhrn.org/

I like also to once again (as I did in another thread), encourage people who might be solicited by Westboro for donations to look closely into this "church" and see if it is deserving of your support before it giving it money.
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Posted by T4TX (+39) 15 years ago
I was lucky. I lived through my experience. I got to ask the tough questions. Why were we in Vietnam. Was Vietnam a better place when I left? Was I a better person for having been there.


Some things in life and history take a lot longer to fully play out than the immediate present. The United States opposed communist expansion wherever it could, and over the course of about 75 years communism finally imploded as an ideology hostile to the interests of the U.S. Vietnam didn't end on a high note, but then how much did Vietnam contribute to the Berlin wall coming down in the late 1980's?

I am not sure just what our mission is over there, except to plant the seeds of freedom, which President Bush sees as our best weapon to combat totalitarian governments that are friendly to terrorists. I think the president is a big picture guy, one who sees many years down the road, and I have a feeling his vision for the middle east is right. One ting I do know is freedom has always worked everywhere it is tried. I don't know of any government that chose to return to toalitarianism as experimenting with freedom.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 15 years ago
As the self-appointed thread referee, Nancy Pelosi's airplane and those Westboro Baptist nut-cases have absolutely nothing to do with this discussion.
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Posted by Bob L. (+5105) 15 years ago
OOOOOOOOOH

THREAD POLICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
Levi, I'm gonna have to see your badge and some identification on this one
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Posted by Tucker Bolton (+3831) 15 years ago
Pride in joining the service doesn't always mean a lasting pride in participation. My father who spent the last eleven months of WW2 in a Stalag Luft, (he was shot down over Nurenburg) tried his best to disuade me from joining the military but I was proud to go. I was, like so many young men, 6'2" and bullet proof.

I do believe that Matthew was proud and I do think his family was and is proud of him. They should be, he was their child. Had he lived long enough to refuse a second enlistment and made an educated and heartfelt decision not to return, I should hope they would still be proud of him.

People can and do change. I voted for Richard Nixon..... gulp!..twice. Social conscience, political leanings, religion and personal morality can and do change. Some would make the argument that it is just human nature and that the current situation will not change and you nor I can make a difference. That is only a true statement for those who find it easier to accept that philosophy rather than speak out and try to make a difference and bring about change.

To everyone that has participated so far, Thank you. This has been a most enlightening dialog and I hope that it will continue.

Dear Slayer, pull that tongue out of your cheek. You know as well as I that all we need do is stare at the blue, glowing box to satisfy that hunger for truth, justice and the American way as regards Anna Nichole Smith.
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Posted by Chad (+1761) 15 years ago
Really? Nixon? Twice? Oh, my. You poor, poor man. It has taken you a long time to come to your senses, hasn't it.

The closest I came to that was having a late night snack of roast beef, sourdough french bread and strawberries with President Ford. We both had a glass of milk with our snack. I was still far to young to vote at the time.

[This message has been edited by Chad (edited 2/12/2007).]
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Posted by Betty Emilsson (+72) 15 years ago
Before we went to war, there was plenty of evidence that the intelligence was being manipulated. There were a lot of people, Tucker included, that opposed going to war. Information coming out now shows there was more than a "shred of evidence". Writers like Seymore Hersch in the New Yorker wrote about the phoney intelligence even before Senators Lieberman and Clinton voted to give war powers to Bush. The much despised Michael Moore that no one gave heed to turned out to be a prophet.
I put a sign in my window saying: " Let us pray for peace." The plan was to take it take it down when we won the peace. It is still there. I find no joy in the fact the this administration failed. I wish Bush had been right and we had a reason to be there. The young people who have died serving their country deserved to be honored. But the people who sent them there, deserve to be condemned.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4461) 15 years ago
Yes, yes, mooohahahaha.

Bush was so deeply involved in the phony intelligence on the Iraq-Al Qaeda link, that he had ABC produce news reports on the connection before he was even president, in 1999. He knew he would be President two years later, and he was already masterminding 9/11 in the Texas governor's mansion, so it all falls together.

Mooohahahahaha.

http://link.brightcove.co...d494852750

Press Play
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Posted by Mimi (+44) 15 years ago
It's about as acceptable as the protestors who spit in the faces of soldiers because it's done in the pursuit of one of the cornerstones of the Liberals' agenda Hal.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9424) 15 years ago
Who's spitting in whose face?

http://www.cnn.com/2007/P...budget.ap/
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Posted by Shu (+1792) 15 years ago
Getting back to the original subject, I'm sure you all know by now that the protesters from Westboro Baptist Church never showed-up at the funeral yesterday, THANK GOD...that would not have done anyone any good at all. I'm relieved that the family and community there were left to peacefully mourn the death of Private Zeimer.
Also, it appears that the Pastor presiding over the funeral, Father Ponessa, did a very admirable job at the service. Fr. Ponessa was one of my high school teachers awhile back and I admire his abilities in a situation such as this. Here's more about the funeral for those who haven't already seen it:
http://www.billingsgazett...dier_g.txt
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Posted by Mimi (+44) 15 years ago
The Anti-war protesters spat in the face of an Iraq War Vet Bridger.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,248706,00.html
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4461) 15 years ago
Who's spitting in whose face?

Wow, it says there that Bush has raised VA funding by 83% in 6 years. Clinton only managed 32% in his whole 8 years in office.

You're right, Clinton really could have done better for our Veterans.
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Posted by Mimi (+44) 15 years ago
There is also another increase planned for his 2008 budget as well.


http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Feb12/0,4670,BushBudgetVeterans,00.html
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Posted by Bridgier (+9424) 15 years ago
It all comes back to Clinton, doesn't it? Why are you all so fascinated by the Clenis?

The point I was trying to make was that the government doesn't even seem to be taking their war very seriously, except as an excuse to snoop and pry.

The budget has been increased under Bush true - but so has the demand for services. Has the funding been increased fast enough to handle the load that Our Beloved Leader's war has created? Signs seem to point to no: http://www.boston.com/new...rine_dies/

Mimi - anecdotal evidence is evidence of an anecdote, no more no less. You believe that anti-war protesters spit in soldier's faces, so when a soldier says he was spit on, you are inclined to believe him.

Spit wipes off. PTSD doesn't.
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Posted by Bob L. (+5105) 15 years ago
Like a soldier wouldn't beat ten kinds of dog crap out of a weenie anti-war protester that spat on him. Please.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
Re: anecdotal evidence is evidence of an anecdote, no more no less.

Excellent point Bridgier.

There are quite a few examples of unsubstantiated allegations / urban myths (whatever you choose to call it) regarding this to be found on the Net. I've spent a couple hours going through various news archives trying to find evidence to support Mimi's allegations, but so far I've struck out with the search.

I'm running short on time to devote to this, perhaps Mimi can find us a couple news items to prove her point.

Myself, I'd find it more credible if they were actual news items, not blog entries, not letters to the editor, not examples of undocumented anecdotes, but hard news accounts similar to those we see about those staunch social conservatives at the Westboro church.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 15 years ago
Once again rather than discussing the topic of the thread, we're debating some jerk who may or may not have gotten a little slobber on someone who may or may not be a returning soldier. Totally irrelevant to the discussion and until soldier-spitting is some sort of mandated activity by someone and not just an impulse action by some individual jackass, totally irrelevant in general.

Once again I'm whining about what is pretty much SOP on this board, and not adding much relevant content myself either, but part of the reason I haven't posted much opinion is I'm having trouble getting what I think straight in my head, in part because the only discussion I hear of the issue, either on the boards or in the media or the halls of congress, is a bunch of partisan sniping with little to no rational discussion.
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Posted by Matt Schmitz (+90) 15 years ago
I have a dollar that says Mimi is about to reference Sean Hannity as a news source. The same guy that has used the "National Enquirer" as a source to slam Ted Kennedy. Any port in a storm is the usual M O over at the Fix News Channel. Justify bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior. The problem isn't so much that though. The problem is that people actually believe that garbage, as if it were gospel. Not that "Air America" was any better. Garbage from any source still smells like garbage.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
>>I have a dollar that says Mimi is about to reference Sean Hannity as a news source. . . .

I don't know, guess we'll have to wait and see.

Myself, I'm not yet prepared to say that Mimi's stories are fiction. It could be that it has happened once or twice. There are some fanatical, disturbed, even ill, people in this country who align themselves with all sides on every issue. I thought this was an especially relevant observation along those lines:
"Many certifiably insane people blend into our midst because so many of us are acting crazy."
--Rev. Joseph Ponessa

http://www.billingsgazett...25-bye.txt

Anyway, based on the research I did trying to prove Mimi correct, I'm going to stand by the once or twice qualifier - and until I see evidence otherwise, I'm not going to accept that there is some vast left-wing, liberal spitting conspiracy underway.



I also think that Bob has a good point: "Like a soldier wouldn't beat ten kinds of dog crap out of a weenie anti-war protester that spat on him. Please."

I'll take that a step farther, like 9 out 10 bystanders whatever their party / ideological persuasion would stand by and watch that happen without intervening? Take a look at the comments to this Billings Gazette article, they're not much different the comments you see across the county. Americans of all stripes are pretty darned protective of service members and their families right now:
http://www.billingsgazett...t#comments



Personally, I think if this spatting-thing was as common as Mimi tried to make it out to be, it would be covered by the mainstream press . . . it would be too big a story not garner headline coverage. I wasn't able to find a single reference to back up her claims, let along evidence that it was something widespread and systemic (as her tone and manner indicated that it was).



>>I have a dollar that says Mimi is about to reference Sean Hannity as a news source. . . .

Again, I don't know and won't know until she shows us her evidence. I'm really hoping that if she is unable to find her evidence she won't try to use the "liberal media" excuse that some on the right like to fall back. But, if she does, 15 minutes of research into who owns the print and broadcast media in this country and another 15 minutes spent researching editorial policies in the media is enough to dispel that old crock.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4461) 15 years ago
Congratulations Bridgier!!!

You've won this year's speed award for self-contradiction.

Has the funding been increased fast enough to handle the load that Our Beloved Leader's war has created? Signs seem to point to no: http://www.boston.com/new...rine_dies/
(Article Title: Told to Wait, A Marine Dies)

Mimi - anecdotal evidence is evidence of an anecdote, no more no less.


The complete construction and deconstruction of your own argument in 3 sentences and one URL.

Most Impressive

By the way, I think you guys need to get your story straight going into '08.

http://blog.johnedwards.c...t_unthread

Presidential candidates pointing to the VA as a good model for socializing medicine? How do you plan to reconcile that with the "evidence" of collapse you offered earlier?

I'm guessing there'll be some sort of compromise where everything the VA does well will be because of some benevolent liberal, while every veteran that dies on the VA's watch will be made the Shrub's personal responsibility.

The one thing I think I can make perfectly clear though:

Socialized Medicine = Waiting Lists

If you think one guy dying from lack of care is big news, you really need to read more about the Canadian and British healthcare systems.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9424) 15 years ago
So... you're pretty much admitting you didn't actually read the article?

Here's another one: http://www.realcities.com...636341.htm
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Posted by Tucker Bolton (+3831) 15 years ago
I was actually hoping to find out what everyone thought or how they felt (yea, yea, I know, "touchy feely") when I started this thread, not who's propaganda they were reading.

I wish, just once, we could converse without it turning into a black and white, pissing contest. Perhaps the "human nature" factor does rear its ugly head more often than I want to believe.
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Posted by Sam (+75) 15 years ago
That's quite a statement since you purposely started the pissing contest with the first sentence of your first post.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4461) 15 years ago
I read the article front to back. It's an anecdotal piece. Throwing in a line where some guy says the VA isn't doing enough, or another line that states the obvious... there are more war vets coming home than there used to be, doesn't make a 5 page story about one soldier's suicide non-anecdotal.

That said, I made no case that the VA provided or provides exemplary psychiatric care, or that your anecdote was flawed. I'm just saying that you yourself used an anecdote at exactly the same time you slammed someone else for doing so.

As I said, Socialized Medicine = Waiting Lists. The VA is no exception.

http://www.cbsnews.com/st...cmp=EM8705

http://observer.guardian....31,00.html

I'm just curious how someone can rail against the natural consequence of those waiting lists, yet advocate for the type of system that guarantees them.

[This message has been edited by Rick Kuchynka (edited 2/16/2007).]
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Posted by Bridgier (+9424) 15 years ago
More anecdotes that don't mean squat - http://www.washingtonpost...01172.html

Now, i don't mean to sound cranky, but, here I am, practically a communist, and when I point out that the VA is seriously fscked, all I get from the true patriots is some bs about socialized medicine, and how Clinton should have fixed it before Bush broke it - or something to that effect.

I'll admit to being partisian, but not in the way Mr. Foreman intends. Whatever position the War Party takes, I will take the opposite, because they've been wrong far more often then they've been right. Please note that I didn't say anything there about Republicans or Democrats, so whatever strawman you build will require different materials for construction.

What particularly galls me however, is the lack of responsiblity the War Party is willing to take for their mistakes and failures - and the failure of the VA system is the prime example of this. Go down to your local homeless shelter and ask how many of the people there are veterans. It's not pretty - but that's how we care for our heroes.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 15 years ago
I don't see how that is not in the way I intend? but whatever.

I didn't say you were partisan, I said your arguments were. Every time one of these discussions comes up all we see from you are wisecracks about the Republicans or links to something mostly irrelevant that makes them look bad. Also, there's no 'e' in Forman. :P
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Posted by Bridgier (+9424) 15 years ago
Sorry, that was the "other" Foreman family wasn't it - as the kids say, my bad.

But anyways, I guess I'm at a loss as to what it is you want us to discuss on a thread about the war and how it affects people.

We can't ask people who cheerlead the war if they're going to send their kids when the time comes, dicussing funding for the VA is "irrelevant", and calling it the Republican's war (even though they spent years using it as a club against every democrat other than Joe Lieberman) is just so "partisian".

I will admit however, that the yellow elephant link was probably uncalled for.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 15 years ago
The questions Tucker asked in the original post that no one (admittedly myself included) has even made a pretense of answering before commencing to flog their favorite whipping boys. Namely why are we there? what are we accomplishing? or failing to accomplish? What are the pros and cons of the current action in the "war on terror" and why it is or isn't "worth it" for US soldiers to be dying in Iraq? What are the consequences of staying, and what are the consequences of leaving?

I don't see anyone giving any real thought to the situation at all, just a lot of people who "know" that it's right or wrong, black and white, mostly based on what their political stance was before the issue was ever raised, and that those that don't agree are a bunch of scumbags. Yes the funding of the VA is "irrelevant" to this question. It's not irrelevant, but it has nothing to do with what Tucker tried to make the thread about.

[This message has been edited by Levi Forman (edited 2/19/2007).]
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 15 years ago
I have to take back that "nobody" answered the original question, Hal and jessiker made a pretty good post each before we started circling the bowl.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15285) 15 years ago
I believe the reason the original question was not answered is because it comes from a faulty premise. It is a point of view that ignores the reality of the dangerous times in which we live.

Again, I don't understand how one can observe all of the places in the world where the religious pirates of radical Islam have come to power and not be concerned about that not happening here in the US. Especially, since they have publicly stated their intention is to wipe us off the map. Why would we willingly ignore such warnings? What am I missing?

Getting bogged down in partisan "donkey -vs- elephant" rhetoric is not going to answer the question.
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Posted by Matt Schmitz (+90) 15 years ago
I'm not sure that anyone is ignoring any warnings. But is the answer to blow em off the map? Anyone that see's the world from a different point of view, believing that we are evil, should die in a rainstorm of bombs? When they pose an actual VERIFIABLE threat to Americans, on American soil, then turn em into glass. But killing everyone that spits up some anti-american sentiment, when in reality the majority of them couldn't harm you or I, makes us no different than the haters themselves. They want us dead, because of what we believe. So we believe that we should kill them first? Sounds like the third grade playground to me. If we believe that we are the worlds last remaining super power, then maybe we should act like it, instead of being the bully on that playground.
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Posted by Russell Bonine (+244) 15 years ago
when in reality the majority of them couldn't harm you or I,

I am sure Matt that you are familiar with the concept of suicide bombers getting aboard a bus and pressing the button.


They want us dead, because of what we believe.

This is not true. They want us dead because of what they believe.
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Posted by J. Dyba (+1348) 15 years ago
Russell,

Have you been in the middle east and had normal conversations with normal people from these regions?

[This message has been edited by J. Dyba (edited 2/20/2007).]
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15285) 15 years ago
Hmmm... I smell another moral equivalency argument along the lines of: "if you have an R in your name and you haven't been to burger night at Bob's Big Boy in downtown Baghdad ", then you are not qualified to comment.

Frankly, the religious pirates of radical Islam just have to get us arguing among ourselves and we will implode.
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Posted by Tammy (+79) 15 years ago
I'm with you Matt!!!
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Posted by J. Dyba (+1348) 15 years ago
More like the average, educated Muslim just wants to be left alone. We fear some of their insane screwball leaders just like they fear ours.

Ours just happen to have more money and firepower.
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Posted by Matt Schmitz (+90) 15 years ago
Quite familiar with the concept of suicide bombers Russell. And if that happens just one time in this country, and we can PROVE that another nation trained, harbored and paid the maniacs responsible for that action, then pick a small town in that country, and turn it into lovely glass bobbles. They will get the message. As far as them believing we are evil, or us believing they are evil, I really don't see what the difference is. When I was a wee lad, I was taught to talk about differences, not kill anybody that believes I think differently from them. This "war" on terror, in it's current form, can NEVER end. There will always be people that abhore our lifestyle. We are a people of excess. That is never going to sit well with most of the under-developed world. We, as a nation, need to get over it. This "war" in Iraq has set us back perhaps 50 years in our global relationships. Relationships that we can't live without. Just because the French, approx 80% of them, don't believe in "our war" we are willing to ruin the relationship that we have enjoyed with them for decades. Interesting how the French government actually listens to the majority of there people isn't it? Refreshing thought that one.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 15 years ago
They don't hate us because we're a "people of excess" they hate us because we're not Muslim and because we support Israel's existence as a country. They are not just sitting around complaining about us, they are planning global domination and eradication of all infidels. The fact that they don't have the power to do this doesn't mean that they can't do a lot of damage (see 9/11), and I don't think ignoring them is the way to go. Have you read anything about what Afghanistan was like under the Taliban? Beatings for women who dressed incorrectly or talked to loud, people being stoned to death at halftime of a soccer match for adultery, it would make your jaw drop. These radical fundamentalists (only a small minority of Arabs) would make the world that way if they could.

Your idea of proving some government tie and then randomly killing a few thousand civilians to punish that government makes no sense whatsoever. There is no government that we are fighting, or if there is they are only a part of a larger entity. The fact that we can't tie a foreign government to these people doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything about them. What makes this whole situation so difficult is that we are fighting an idea and a belief, not an army, and that is not easy to do. That said, we can't just "try not to make them mad" because it's not our actions they hate (well maybe they hate those too) but our way of life.

Doing nothing was the plan pre-9/11 and obviously that didn't work out so well. What we're doing now isn't working out so well either, but I don't know what the answer is and neither do you.
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Posted by Matt Schmitz (+90) 15 years ago
What we are doing now isn't working out so well? Thanks for making my point. You did it with 1 simple sentence.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4461) 15 years ago
Quite familiar with the concept of suicide bombers Russell. And if that happens just one time in this country, and we can PROVE that another nation trained, harbored and paid the maniacs responsible for that action, then pick a small town in that country, and turn it into lovely glass bobbles.

No problemo:

http://www.usatoday.com/n...-wtc_x.htm

I think the difficulty of this whole discussion is that it's irrelevant to solving the problem. Determining whose fault it is that we are where we are does nothing to determine where we're going. I've said time and time again I could understand people's anger as we headed into this war. I didn't and don't share that anger, but I could understand it.

But at this point the consequence of leaving Iraq in its current state is unfathomable. I can't understand anyone being willing to live with possibly hundreds of thousands dying in the bloody aftermath in the name of saving a comparitively (and historically) small number of American soldiers.

http://siadapp.dior.whs.m...Rates1.pdf

Do we really think we can give the figurative Pilate handwash on our way out the door and still be better off for it?
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Posted by Bruce Helland (+596) 15 years ago
Again Rick; another intonation without an answer. So what would you have us do; get involved in every bar fight? Rick, what do we gain from staying and involving more troops?
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15285) 15 years ago
"what do we gain from staying and involving more troops?"

Freedom from the tyranny of the religious pirates of radical Islam who want to kill us all.

What really makes no sense is to say we should pull the troops in 6 months. If we are going to leave, (and I don't think we should, I think we ought be sending more than the proposed 21,000) then let's leave and have everybody home by the end of the month.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 15 years ago
What we are doing now isn't working out so well? Thanks for making my point. You did it with 1 simple sentence.

That was your point? Pretty obvious isn't it? Even George Bush would tell you that. What I was saying is that nobody has a better idea, and your certainly didn't make any sense at all.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 15 years ago
Rick, what do we gain from staying and involving more troops?

We are trying to see some positive effect. If we pull out now, we have officially failed at trying to introduce freedom and democracy in the middle east, not to mention installing a country that is friendly to the US. A lot of those soldiers died in vain, and the radical Islamists will claim victory. Now maybe that is inevitable, but if there's a chance we could come out of this with a little bit of success it would certainly be a good thing and not just for GWB's reputation.

I think the real reason for going to Iraq was to create a free country to be an example to the people in the middle east of what is possible. Seeing a free, democratic country so close to them would make a lot of people look twice. After all, Iraq would still be Muslim and the "evil infidels" propaganda would not work on them. We saw a glimpse of it when the elections were held in Iraq. People in many middle eastern countries saw that and said "why can't we do that here?". The fact of the matter is that the majority of middle easterners are being oppressed by these power hungry clerics who use religion to control people. If we could demonstrate that a country could be free and democratic as well as Muslim, it would probably resonate throughout the middle east and maybe cause other countries to follow suit.

The clerics are not giving up without a fight however, and they can still use the fact that most people there don't have a high regard for the US and don't trust Americans. On top of that, the idea of freedom and self-government is very foreign in the middle east, and their entire history is based on using violent domination rather than letting the people choose their leaders as we do in the western world. On top of that we have made many mistakes in the execution of all of this, and foreign terrorists sneaking into the country to do nothing but cause havoc and play natural enemies against each other to make sure that this is not successful haven't helped either. We went in without a good enough understanding of what would happen with Saddam gone. I don't think anyone in our government expected the Iraqis to immediately start killing each other when Saddam was gone. Fundamental misunderstanding of the culture.

It may be impossible to salvage at this point, and maybe it was naive to even try, but if there is a chance to salvage something and come out of this mess with something positive, it would sure make the sacrifice of those that have died there already easier to swallow.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9424) 15 years ago
"I think the real reason for going to Iraq was to create a free country to be an example to the people in the middle east of what is possible."

Part of the problem in the middle east, is that the west has spent many, many years doing the exact opposite of this, and then wondering why everyone is just so damned pissy over there.

The history of Iran is a good example of this - a popularly elected government overthrown and replaced with the repressive regime of the shah because it was better for business.

There are plenty of other examples of authoritarian governments that stay in power because the west wants it that way - Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, Saudia Arabia, etc.

The idea that they hate because that's just what Muslims do is simplistic and ahistorical, but it sure seems to be popular.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
>> If we pull out now, we have officially failed at trying to introduce freedom and democracy in the middle east

I don't know it that was the reason we went to Iraq or not. If it was, it would have been good to have clued the American people into that at the onset. And yes, I'm sure the revisionists who keep trying to rewrite the history of the past few years will tell me I'm wrong, and that I imagined all those other reasons that have been floated out by the administration over the past few years

But let's pretend that we were treated honestly . . . let's say that this is war to bring democracy to the region. If that's the case, a few questions come to mind:

What are the preconditions for democracy taking root in a given country (let alone an entire, diverse region)? Are there cultural, political, social conditions, & etc., that must be present before this can happen? Can peoples with little or no democratic traditions make such a transition without first creating a foundation to build upon? Does there need to be an understanding on the part of the people who are the targets of democratization of what democracy is, before they can be accepting of it?

Can a people whose political awareness still focuses on tribal, clan, and familial power structures embrace a democratic form of government without first educating themselves and building a cultural framework for this change that fits their unique circumstances? Can a people whose identity is so keyed into religious, ethnic, and tribal definitions accept the pluralism that is essential for democratic government, without first developing new paradigms of self and communal identification?

In the absence of a internal, cultural framework that is understanding of what democracy is, can democracy be imposed by external powers?

Can democracy be imposed at the point of a gun?

Can an outside power that is (rightly or wrongly / incorrectly or correctly) perceived as pursuing its own agenda have the credibility to impose this democracy?

Is it reasonable to expect that all democracies will be mirror images of our own? Is it reasonable to expect to nation-build a state that will follow in our footsteps - or is it reasonable to expect that the people themselves will have some say in this? Is there a credibility gap when the democratizing power refused to recognize other democratically elected governments in the region?

Is it reasonable for power to expect to be viewed in a credible light as the bringer of democracy when that power impeded / impedes democratic actions/growth in other nations in the same region? If the bringer of democracy acts to destabilize other nascent democracies in the region and to stabilize and support non-democracies what effect does that have?

Grumble . . . Grumble . . . Grumble

Cripes I sound like an old curmudgeon

But before I lose it and go off the deep end - I want to say that I do firmly belief that democratic forms of government are good things . . . they are to be encouraged . . . the Middle East, Central and Western Asia would benefit from this (as would all regions and all peoples).

But I also firmly believe that democratic values and traditions are learned - they are not imposed.


[This message has been edited by Hal Neumann (edited 2/22/2007).]
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 15 years ago
The idea that they hate because that's just what Muslims do is simplistic and ahistorical, but it sure seems to be popular.

I am certainly not trying to claim that our middle-eastern policy over the last few decades has been great, but Muslims (middle eastern people really, although most of them are Muslim) have a very long history of hating everyone, including their fellow Muslims from different tribes, not just Americans. Ahistorical? I don't think so. Do Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds all want to kill each other in Iraq because of American foreign policy?

Can democracy be imposed at the point of a gun?

I don't know. I can't really think of a historical example of it succeeding or failing although I'm sure there is one. We successfully installed a democratic government in Japan after WWII, but they had been moving in that direction before we got there. The Arab world is a whole other kettle of fish but democracy has taken hold in Turkey and Indonesia, so I don't think it's necessarily impossible at all.

I don't know if it was the main goal for going into Iraq, and it was certainly sold on the idea that Iraq and Hussein were a threat to America, but in my eyes it is the best result we could hope for, and it may not be possible, but IMO it's a good reason to not give up if there's any chance of success. I think the amount of energy that has been expended by Al Queda and (apparently) the governments of Iran and Syria to ensure it's failure are a pretty good sign that it would have a positive effect.

[This message has been edited by Levi Forman (edited 2/22/2007).]
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
>>We successfully installed a democratic government in Japan after WWII, but they had been moving in that direction before we got there. The Arab world is a whole other kettle of fish but democracy has taken hold in Turkey and Indonesia, so I don't think it's necessarily impossible at all.

I wish we have taken a serious look at how democracy was introduced to Japan and Korea in the years following WWII before we screwed things up so badly in Iraq. Both those nations are great examples of successful nation-building (re-building) and of instilling democratic traditions and systems of government. Whether or not they are models that would/could apply in the Arab world at large or Iraq in the specific, I can't say - it's too bad that it's too late now to try them out and see if a proven model would have worked.

I'm amazed at the many successful models from WWII (and its aftermath) that this administration did (and continues to) ignore. For a group of people with backgrounds in history / political science / public policy - a group who likes to tout themselves as the successors to the "Greatest Generation" - these people have shown a great deal of ignorance on how that generation succeeded. Heck these people are even ignoring the examples and models from the Cold War on how to successfully wage a war of ideas - and some of them played pretty important roles in the later phase of the Cold War.

Not to get on your case Levi, but let's don't confuse Muslim nations with Arab nations - that's a mistake that can only lead to more of the same problems we are trying to deal with now in the Middle East and the Islamic World. Neither Turkey nor Indonesia are Arab.

There are many cultural and historical differences that distinguish Arab nations/Peoples/cultures from other Muslim nations/Peoples/cultures. Just as there are of course differences between individual Arab nations/entities.

I understand the point you were making, but many people don't make those distinctions (sadly, some of those people are policy makers and implementers). We'll only cause more problems for ourselves if we ignore these realities and conduct ourselves as though Arabs, Turks, Pakistanis, Malays, & etc are all one in the same.

I'm also curious why you didn't cite examples of the Arab democracies that are struggling to make a go of it?
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 15 years ago
Not to get on your case Levi, but let's don't confuse Muslim nations with Arab nations

Good point.

I'm also curious why you didn't cite examples of the Arab democracies that are struggling to make a go of it?

Mostly due to lack of knowledge about them hehe. I am under the impression though, that although there are elections, the ruling party never seems to lose them if you get what I'm saying. If there is an example of a real functioning Arab democracy I would be interested to read about it though.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
>>I am under the impression though, that although there are elections, the ruling party never seems to lose them if you get what I'm saying. If there is an example of a real functioning Arab democracy I would be interested to read about it though.

Ah . . . "real functioning." Well in that case why did you mention Turkey and Indonesia earlier? Even if they were Arab, they not meet your standards. Real and functioning is tar baby alright - that why I asked about the Arab democracies "struggling" to make a go of it

Anyway, this all goes back to the questions I posed earlier, especially the ones about the preconditions for democracy taking root in a given country - the cultural, political, social foundations that need to be established in order for democracies to work.

I think there are three or four Arab nations that are struggling to establish those conditions and build those traditions. None of them are likely yet to meet the "real functioning" criteria, but in each of them a bottom to top tradition is being laid.

A goodly share of the Lebanese people seem to be committed to democracy. Their own government has some problems with it, their neighbors have problems with it, the U.S has problems with it, but I'd say Lebanon qualifies a struggling democracy. Yes of course they've a long way to go to meet US standards, but I suspect this is how democracy will take root in the region. It will happen from the bottom up as a democracy-based political culture takes root and grows.

A goodly share of the Palestinian people also seem to want a democratic government. They've held elections every bit as successful and the much touted election held in Iraq. The one thing, just about the only thing that the Palestinians have going for them is the diversity of experience they've had. During the Palestinian Diaspora they've lived under just about every system of government in existence - many of those who've returned to Palestine have come from countries that had democratic governments and they appreciative of that - perhaps in the years to come, that experience will help them to grow their own version of a democratic government.

Algeria is still building foundations too - they had mixed success at it. But then so has their former colonial occupier - after all when was the last attempted coup staged in France?

Egypt is a single party state that holds elections (pretty much on what was until recently the model in Turkey) - I don't know that I would yet classify it as a struggling democracy. But I'd say that they are building a tradition and laying the ground work what might someday become a democracy-based political culture that

As we've seen in Palestine and Lebanon, some folks in this country (and elsewhere) aren't too happy with the results of these democratic elections - some folks get upset when the people have their say and vote the wrong people into power But I suspect that's the way it works when you give folks the vote. It makes you wonder what might happen in Iraq if they continue to hold elections . . . who might come to power there?

Good discussion Levi.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 15 years ago
It makes you wonder what might happen in Iraq if they continue to hold elections . . . who might come to power there?

It will interesting (or maybe terrifying would be a better word :P) to see hehe. Thanks for the info, very interesting.

[This message has been edited by Levi Forman (edited 2/22/2007).]
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
>>It makes you wonder what might happen in Iraq if they continue to hold elections . . . who might come to power there?
>>>It will interesting (or maybe terrifying would be a better word :P) to see hehe.


Yes it will be interesting.

Where is Nguyen Cao Ky when we need him?

There's a great quote attributed to Ky, likely it's apocryphal, but it's good. Going into the into the 1967 Vietnamese elections, Ky, a candidate for the presidency, let it be known that if a civilian won he would instigate a coup. Because as General Ky explained "in a democratic country you have the right to disagree with the views of others."

I wonder if Nouri al-Maliki reads much history. . .
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Posted by Jon Bonine (+168) 15 years ago
Thank you Hal and Levi for carrying on a decent conversation that was worth reading.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
Jeez . . . it took me forever to find this again. I read it some years back - I remembered the meat of the article, but couldn't remember the title, authors, publication or date

"Islam's Democratic Essence"
By John O. Voll and John L. Esposito
MIDDLE EAST QUARTERLY
September 1994, Volume I: Number 3
http://www.meforum.org/article/151
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3710) 15 years ago
Hmm, not exactly light reading but a good article, that shows a little hope. The problem is that the fact that it's coming from us alone is a pretty good argument against it to a lot of people in that area. The whole vicegerency idea makes a secular democratic government, which is an important part of western style democracy very unlikely. It sounds like the whole idea of separation of church and state is practically blasphemy to a Muslim. Definitely not a simple problem at all.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10198) 15 years ago
>>Hmm, not exactly light reading but a good article, that shows a little hope.

Yes, I don't think it is hopeless . . . but there sure is a learning curve at play in the equation. It seems to me that it's also as much a matter of understanding and accepting pluralism as it is one of understanding and accepting democratic structures and/or theories of secular government.

It seems to me that the preconditions for democracy in the region hang on some fundamental premises taking root at the bottom rungs of society. The man in the street is going to have to be educated/sold on the idea, otherwise he's just a tool to be used.

"Is Democracy In The Middle East A Pipedream?"
By Fawaz Gerges
YALEGLOBAL (Yale Center for the Study of Globalization)
April 25, 2005
http://yaleglobal.yale.ed...le?id=5622

"Easing Into Islamic Democracy"
By Jane Lampman
THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
May 29, 2003
http://www.csmonitor.com/...-lire.html
= = = = = = = = = =


>>The problem is that the fact that it's coming from us alone is a pretty good argument against it to a lot of people in that area.

We shouldn't forget that the roots of this distrust and hatred of the US (on the part of some in the Muslim world) long predates our presence in the region. If you look at Osama the Arab's rhetoric it is as much anti-Frankish as it is anti-American. No doubt we've earned our enemies in the region, but we've also inherited baggage going back for centuries. This historical perspective is sometimes hard for us to grasp - but we sure should be aware of how it impacts on our policy goals and moves in the region.

"The Roots Of Muslim Rage -Why So Many Muslims Deeply Resent The West, And Why Their Bitterness Will Not Easily Be Mollified"
by Bernard Lewis
THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY
September 1990
http://www.travelbrochure...m_rage.htm

"Roots Of Rage: Militant Islam In Central Asia"
By Edward W. Walker, UC, Berkeley
From "Central Asia and Russia: Responses to the `War on Terrorism'", a panel discussion held at the University of California, Berkeley on October 29, 2001, Sponsored by the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies; the Berkeley Program in Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies; the Caucasus and Central Asia Program; and the Institute of International Studies at UC Berkeley.
http://socrates.berkeley....1-1029.pdf
= = = = = = = = = =


I thought this was kind of interesting:

"The Occupation Of Japan As An Exercise In "Regime Change": Reflections After Fifty Years By A Participant"
By Hans Baerwald
JAPAN POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE, Occasional Paper No. 29, February 2003
http://www.jpri.org/publi.../op29.html
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Posted by Tucker Bolton (+3831) 15 years ago
"It's been a while since I've ticked off the conservative right and I don't know why this one touched me but I've got to get it off my chest."

I apologize for the tone I set with my opening statement. This has been the most thought provoking, intelligent discourse that I have been privileged to read (including the links) on MC.com.

Sam, I would have liked to seen more from you than your one, hit and run post. Not really constructive.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4461) 15 years ago
I'm amazed at the many successful models from WWII (and its aftermath) that this administration did (and continues to) ignore.

Come on Hal, let's be real. The model from World War II was to kill a few hundred thousand civilians on our way in, just to show em' we meant business. It made perfectly clear what the alternative to compliance was. We didn't even turn formal control of the Japanese government back to Japan until 1951, 10 years after the war began. Then we maintained a strong troop presence in their territory for... well, forever. We still haven't left, even 60 years later. A far cry from those who were clamoring for complete withdrawal from Iraq after only a couple of years.

Simply put, they knew who won the war, and they knew we weren't going anywhere until we got what we wanted. I'd love to hear what lessons the "No Blood For Oil" crowd can take from this history.

But now, if it's not fast, cheap, painless and bloodless (on both sides) it's considered a complete disaster.

[This message has been edited by Rick Kuchynka (edited 3/5/2007).]
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Posted by Bridgier (+9424) 15 years ago
Well, there are some pretty substansive differences between WWII and Iraq that led the the differences in casualties inflicted and received.

For starters, both Japan and Germany were fielding large numbers of troops that participated in large set battles which could be placed into a definite strategic context. Since the initial days of the Iraq invasion, there have been very few battles of this type. Instead, we have IEDs and snipers functioning in an environment where it is impossible to differentiate between friends and foes. Given that there are fewer people actually shooting at us, it's not surprising that casualties are lower - but the nature of the attacks causes them to have a greater impact than bottom-line numbers would indicate.

However, your initial statement was that the WWII model involved killing a few hundred thousand civilians just to show them that we mean business. According to the Iraq Body Count website http://www.iraqbodycount.org/, we are only off by one order of magnitude from that goal. As we have at least two more years before we leave Iraq, I'm sure we'll be able to come close enough for government work.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15285) 15 years ago
Not to change the subject of this thread... I find it ironic that those who are opposed to preemptive action against the religious pirates of radical Islam (who have repeatedly stated they intend to wipe us off the map) are the same crowd who want to take preemptive action against "global warming", even though there is more evidence that there was/still are WMD's than evidence man has initiated significant climate change.
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Posted by Bob L. (+5105) 15 years ago
Religious pirates? ARRRRRRR?!?!?!?!?!
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4461) 15 years ago
Again, let's look at the history versus the feel-good utopian-war standard of today. When I mentioned several hundred thousand WWII casualties, I was referring to civilians that were intentionally targeted by the US and allies simply to make our statement of military supremacy.

My point is that none in the antiwar crowd today would dare suggest such draconian tactics, yet they blame others for not "following the model"

If you tried to come up with an equivalent number of civilians who've been intentionally targeted in Iraq, it would most likely be right next to zero.

The two steps that let you arrive at the (even still comparitively low) numbers that IraqBodyCount arrived at, are first, to add in all the collateral war dead (those killed but not really intentionally) as if they were completely our fault. That's fine if you want to use that standard, but using the same standard in WWII would easily get you into the 2-3 million dead range.

The second step, which is where you completely lose me, is in IraqBodyCount (and yourself) counting casualties caused by our enemies as if they were our responsibility. This standard, applied to WWII, would get us into the tens of millions killed. All I can say is it's a good thing FDR and his loyal opposition had a broader sense of history.

I know, you'll argue that those Iraqis wouldn't be dead if we hadn't invaded, so it's our fault. But you're wrong. Consider that Saddam averaged a higher death rate over his 30 year "peaceful" reign than we do during this time of "war" And I already pointed out that far more American soldiers used to die in military accidents in the 1970's and 80's then die now in this "civil war."

But maybe Saddam's centralized, state-sponsored murder toll is considered more morally defensible in certain circles.
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supporter
Posted by Bridgier (+9424) 15 years ago
" I was referring to civilians that were intentionally targeted by the US and allies simply to make our statement of military supremacy."

My apologies, I misunderstood your post. I was trying to give it a more charitable reading, but I stand corrected.



[This message has been edited by Bridgier (edited 3/6/2007).]
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4461) 15 years ago
I'm having a hard time seeing what you mean by "charitable"
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Posted by Bridgier (+9424) 15 years ago
I assumed that you were counting collateral damage towards your total casualties, I didn't think you were intending to say that the Allies intentionally targetted civilians as a strategic choice. Your candor in this matter is refreshing, as most people aren't willing to admit that, yes, we have committed war crimes as a policy in the past.

The rest of your points are the usual straw man rubbish however - everyone in the "anti-war crowd" that I know of thought that the whole invasion of Iraq was a bad idea that would end in disaster.

Comparing the occupation of Germany & Japan to the occupation of Iraq is silly - on the one hand we were fighting state entitites that signed peace treaties and were willing to shoulder the burden of maintaining order once hostilities had ended, on the other we are fighting an insurgency that has tacit support of some parts of the Iraqi government. I would agree with you that the historical models that we need to examine are not Japan and Germany - they are Algeria and Beruit.

I think you are trying to say that America isn't willing to make the hard choices that are necessary to win a war of this nature, and from your tone I'm assuming that you feel that this is a weakness.
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Posted by Jon Bonine (+168) 15 years ago
I know I posted this on its own thread, but I'll put it here too.

What of the model of the reconstruction of the American South following the civil war? I realize that it might not be a complete match, but what could we learn from that reconstruction project that might be applicable to Iraq? (It might be a case of what not to do also...)
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Posted by Sharon O'Connor McDaniel (+10) 15 years ago
Good Morning Gentlemen and Ladies;

The war in Iraq is a Spillover from the Persian Gulf. I served in the Persian Gulf which was tame compared to what are current Armed Forces are performing in Iraq, Afghanstan and the whole Middle East. The young man that died believed in supporting his country or that is what I understand from those who knew him. The middle east is a powder keg. Like myself and many others that have served in that region, I would rather be over there fighting then have it on our own soil. The belief system of the Islamic Faith is that all Infindels are to be wiped out. That we are a disease that has been allowed to infect there society.

I will give you an insight of what the lifestyle is for women and you can think of your mothers, daughter, and wives, and then ask yourselves. Where would you want this war fought here or there.

In Afghanastan women were being executed for so-called infidelity against there husbands. They believe that women choose the sex of the children, that women are responsible for there behavior and women are executed because men do not want to take responsibilty for what we know in the US as basic biology. These women would be taken to a stadium where they would wait in line and be executed. Once that was accomplished the husband would go out and go shopping for a new wife or concubine.

Many of you wonder about all these missing young girls and boys. In the middle east a young woman that has blonde hair and blue eyes and a virgin will be sold on the black market from anywhere of $50,000.00 to $500,000.00. I know this because I worked as a Military Police Investigator and seen what occurs.

The men are also allowed to practise homosexual activities until they reach their 30th birthday and then they must take a wife.

Now, not all persons of Middle East nationality practise this, but enough do. While there I observed Air Foce Security Police Officers trying to do bodily harm to some of the Arabic Soldiers that they were forced to work with, for them making sexual passes at them while on duty. These were men not women.

So, you ask why are we there? Saddam Hussein was definately a force to be reckoned with when he was alive. He bombed the Kurds using Chemical WarFare. He experimented on them and those he felt would oppose him. He killed off half of his own family because he felt that they would try to overthrow him.

Osama Bin Ladden has been on the watch list since the 70's.

Many of the leaders would love to see the Western Cultures Destroyed.
While I served over in the Middle East I was asked if all the women of the USA were like Joan Collins on Dynasty? I told the young man that was a TV Show not real life. Many Arabs think that America is corrupt and has no moral's. ie President Clinton and the Monica Lewinski Scandal, prime example.

The Middle East is very entrenched in their Muslim relgion and we will never convert them to any of the Western Belief's systems.

As far as President Bush is concerned, personally he should tell Nato to kiss his behind go in and turn the Special Forces Loose and let them do what they are good at.

As far as Weapons of Mass Destruction, Does using Mustard Gas, and other types of Biological Weapons on the Kurds send you a message. It does me.

The Middle East cannot compare to Vietnam, World War I and II, and the Korean War or the Bay of Pigs. This is a war that an enemy wants to destroy the Western Civilation any way they can and they will use any means they can to do it. So ask yourself do you want the war here or do you want it there. What many of you do not understand that 911 was a wake up call to let you know these people will do what ever they can to bring the Western Civilation Down.

They have declared a JiHad.

Thank you for your time.
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