What happened in the final days of the Gulf War?
September 5, 2002 1:35 PM   Subscribe

What happened in the final days of the Gulf War? "The Battle of Rumaila was closely reviewed at the war's end by an analyst for the C.I.A., who confirmed that the Iraqi losses were great. The toll included at least a hundred tanks from the Hammurabi division. "It's like eating an artichoke," one colonel had said of combat.... 'Once you start, you can't stop.' One of the destroyed vehicles was a bus, which had been hit by a rocket. The precise number of its occupants who were injured or killed is not known, but they included civilians and children. One of the first Americans at the scene was Lieutenant Charles W. Gameros, Jr., a Scout platoon leader, who called in a Medevac team for the victims. At the time, he was "frustrated" by what he saw as needless deaths, Gameros recalled in an interview. 'Now I look at it sadly,' he said. Unresisting Iraqis had been slain all morning, but the deaths of the children troubled many soldiers."

What's happening in "the final days" of the war in Afghanistan? What will be happening in the upcoming war in Iraq?
posted by fold_and_mutilate (100 comments total)

 
(whoa, I thought I was reading two posts)
posted by insomnyuk at 1:39 PM on September 5, 2002


John Brasfield had brought a small, inexpensive tape recorder to the Gulf and, while handling the radios on Lieutenant ALlen's Humvee, routinely taped transmissions. He would ship some of the tapes home, he thought, and give his wife a glimpse of war. His tape recorder was running as Allen's Humvee sped away from the prisoners, and from the bullets from the Bradleys' machine guns....

"The lead company behind us is tearing up all those vehicles," someone tells battalion headquarters as the recording begins. "I hope they understand what a Humvee looks Like," he adds, referring to the indiscriminate firing in the direction of the Scouts.

A moment later, a Scout reports on the platoon radio net, "Twenty-five mikemike blowing approximately five hundred metres behind me with my ass end showing." He's telling Lieutenant Allen that machine-gun fire is trailing his Humvee. "You're not supposed to be in that area," Alien responds.

"There's no one shooting at them," another Scout says on the platoon net, referring to the Bradleys. "Why'd they have to shoot?"

Allen reports on Ware's battalion net, "There's shooting, but there's no one there" -- no combatants -- "to shoot at." Ware answers, "I understand," and then asks a series of operational questions about maps.

Later, Manchester asks Allen, "Sir, what element is firing behind us?"

Allen: "I have no fucking idea."

An unidentified Scout asks, "Why are we shooting at these people when they are not shooting at us?"

Brasfield: "They want to surrender.... Fucking armored vehicles [the Bradleys]. They don't have to blow them apart."

Sporadic firing continues. Someone asks Allen, "Why don't you tell them, sir, that they are willing to surrender. Tell 'em that." Someone else says, amid the noise,"It's murder."


On "Patriot Day"...on "Veterans Day"...let us remember some of the other things our military does in our name, before we ask them to act yet again.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:40 PM on September 5, 2002


Why is it that now whenever I read one of your posts, all I can think of is Postroad?
posted by eas98 at 1:40 PM on September 5, 2002


I've never had an artichoke, but if I ever do try one, I will be sure to remember that some colonel said that I wouldn't be able to stop.
posted by adampsyche at 1:40 PM on September 5, 2002


Dude, artichokes are good! You should definitely try and have one. It turns out that you can, in fact, stop. When you run out of artichoke, for example, would be a good place to stop.
posted by jonson at 1:43 PM on September 5, 2002


Also, don't forget to pause to take out the "choke," the fluff of baby nettles that sits on top of the heart. You really don't want to eat those.
posted by me3dia at 1:45 PM on September 5, 2002


Thanks for the link F&M. I've heard similar stories, but they were all told in a manner that made me think of Rambo III. Did you ever see that one? It sucked.
posted by ColdChef at 1:48 PM on September 5, 2002


will fold and mutilate be getting his own blog in the final days of the war in afghanistan?
posted by moz at 1:51 PM on September 5, 2002


On "Patriot Day"...on "Veterans Day"...let us remember some of the other things our military does in our name, before we ask them to act yet again.

Thanks fold_and_mutilate for letting me share with the folks about my lil bro who is in the Navy and how he spends some of his time in port in a foreign land. He donates his time to doing volunteer work while dressed in civilian clothes, tax free off the clock, compliments of the US Navy.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:51 PM on September 5, 2002


You know, the Village People sang "In The Navy."

A classic for any age.
posted by ebarker at 1:53 PM on September 5, 2002


But I like artichokes!
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:56 PM on September 5, 2002


Why can't you stop eating an artichoke? I once drink a glass of beer and couldn't stop, but that was only because some asshole had hacked up a big gremmer into it and it was all like one long string of beery sputum...
posted by RokkitNite at 1:58 PM on September 5, 2002


I wish people would get over their reflexive dismissal of f&m. I too used to get mad at him (and occasionally still do), but I got over it once I realized that for all his overblown rhetoric he's basically a good guy trying to make important points (some, in my opinion, valid, some not, but none on the level of "have you seen this movie? what did you think?"). He's even toned down the rhetoric lately, and in this particular post there's nothing at all to object to. He's trying to get people to realize what's likely to happen if we go to war in Iraq, based on recent precedent, and think about whether it's worth it. Can we talk about that rather than artichokes?

For my part, I couldn't make it all the way through the piece on Afghanistan (guess I'm not as hardened as I thought), but it sure increased my distaste for the idea of more war.
posted by languagehat at 1:59 PM on September 5, 2002


f&m. I respect your opinion and all and you can post some fantastic links but i always wonder - How do you get out of bed in the morning? Do you ever smile? When was the last time you decided, 'Hey, I'm just going to take it easy today and watch Friends.'

People aren't perfect. The world isn't perfect. Shit happens. Sometimes you just gotta say, in the immortal words of the The Dude, 'fuck it'.
posted by poopy at 2:00 PM on September 5, 2002


and in this particular post there's nothing at all to object to...

Actually, I think posting an article from the May 2000 New Yorker is a bit beyond the intent of this site.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:05 PM on September 5, 2002


The most recent wars, I suspect, are not much different from many wars that took place at an earlier time (this century), and the tales of atrocities that later become public often were fairly well known by a number of people when they took place. Does this mean that war is bad? Of course. Does this mean that we (the U.S.) will not engage in any sort of military action in the future? No. Let's see. How many people (civilians) killed on 9/11? And of course: just because someone is bad does not mean you turn around and become bad too. Right. Just let them know you will turn the other cheek and not retaliate.
posted by Postroad at 2:05 PM on September 5, 2002


Yeah, languagehat, this de-railing movement against f&m is not sitting well with me. Yes, s/he suffers from what I call "the Leftist branding problem," with phrases resonating straight from the Worker's World Party. Boo hoo.

The New Yorker link from cryptome is excellent, and it would be a stretch to mock Newsweek's cover "The War Crimes of Afghanistan." Reputable publications, reputable discussion?

And shit happens? Oh okay. I'll keep that in mind next time I think.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 2:09 PM on September 5, 2002


War always causes atrocity, war is an atrocity. There are times when circumstances do not permit peaceful resolutions to the threats a nation may face. Is Iraq such a threat? Are they threatening enough that it is now required to kill as many people as possible in the name of defending them. The people the US will be killing will be soldiers (ours and theirs) civilians (even the women and the children) and any one anywhere who stands in the way of victory. Meanwhile US citizens are detained and silenced without trial, phones are tapped, photos snapped, and activism of any kind not permitted by Bush will be stamped out. Our international allies will no longer trust us, and many will make trade more difficult and push up the price of doing business for us all. Is Iraq that much of a threat?
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:09 PM on September 5, 2002


The Hersh article is really good (and not something everyone's seen online). It provides interesting context for the newsweek article, which is good too. Regardless of political views, this is a model news post IMO. Thanks, f&m.
posted by liam at 2:10 PM on September 5, 2002


Why do so many of you not want to even listen?

If you can imagine someone who takes very seriously the concept of non-violence (say like Gandhi, or other peaceniks), do you think that sarcasm (" Why is it that now whenever I read one of your posts, all I can think of is Postroad?"), artichokes and asides about '80's bands will deter him?

Take him on at his own game: with links, argument and reason.

Otherwise... the terrorists will have won.

Tanks foldy, keep on being the grit in the oyster.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:11 PM on September 5, 2002


Here's Seymour Hersh's New Yorker article about the final days of the Gulf War, specifically about the role played by General (former drug czar) Barry McCaffrey.
posted by Dr. Boom at 2:12 PM on September 5, 2002


and, what talkingtitfer said. (",)
posted by dash_slot- at 2:12 PM on September 5, 2002


I mean: are they threatening enough that it is now required to kill as many people as possible in the name of defending the US?
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:13 PM on September 5, 2002


On second thought, I should probably read the fucking post first before contributing.
posted by Dr. Boom at 2:13 PM on September 5, 2002


Please, don't compare this with f & m:

"Does this mean that war is bad? Of course. Does this mean that we (the U.S.) will not engage in any sort of military action in the future? No. Let's see. How many people (civilians) killed on 9/11?"

Show us the links, Postie.
What is the bloody link!??!
posted by dash_slot- at 2:17 PM on September 5, 2002


I'm with languagehat here. A lot of people seem to object more to the fact that f&m makes them consistently feel guilty for holding the political beliefs they do, than to the content of what he's posting.

If you are consistently feeling guilty because of your beliefs/government, then maybe it's time to change one or the other? Just blowing off any facts you don't like is the act of someone who has stopped searching for truth.

Speaking for myself, at least, that last category isn't one I'm comfortable with falling into. If your nation doing the right thing meant you would have to give up your SUV, live in a house worth $50,000 less, or an apartment that cost $250/month less - would you?
posted by Ryvar at 2:18 PM on September 5, 2002


I thought this was a pretty interesting article when it first appeared, in part because it's ultimately not very clear what happened. The main thing I took away from it was a sense of a need for greater journalistic presence/oversight in warfare (which is a critique of Gulf War policy in its own right).
This link is so stale that I blogged it (meaning I still had an active blog) the first time around, but that doesn't mean it's not a worthwhile read. Give f+m a break on this one.
posted by tingley at 2:20 PM on September 5, 2002


And shit happens? Oh okay. I'll keep that in mind next time I think.

I'm not trying to belittle the article at all. Actually, I thought it was a sad yet great link and things like this shouldn't be ignored. I also think that slaughterhouses are despicable but I continue to eat meat. When I watch predators devour their prey on Animal Planet my stomach curdles. Shit, I get all choked up watching Jerry Mcquire.

I don't know. What's the answer? Everyone here has their own opinions on how to save the world and live in peace. I wish it were possible but it ain't. But we're the only species who gives a shit. I take that as a blessing AND a curse.
posted by poopy at 2:24 PM on September 5, 2002


National security considerations aside, if this is what happened when the Iraqis were offering no resistance and had even negotiated a ceasefire, imagine the number of civilian casualties there would have been had our forces been ordered to march on Baghdad.
posted by gsteff at 2:27 PM on September 5, 2002


the links could also be pointing to the reason the US objects to the World Court and is looking through loopholes to find itself an exemption. We want to fight our wars without international oversite, and it seems, without a clearly defined reason.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:28 PM on September 5, 2002


If you are consistently feeling guilty because of your beliefs/government, then maybe it's time to change one or the other?

Actually, his posts make me wonder how anybody could think that these things are NOT happening. It also makes me wonder why people think not attacking Iraq is going to make things "better" in this region. There are going to be deaths and atrocities in either case: attacking or not attacking. It is whether or not those deaths are in the process of increasing the personal liberties of the people of that region or removing them even moreso than they have already that is the question. I choose the former.
posted by RevGreg at 2:34 PM on September 5, 2002


Lets see, in the last couple of days, I've been told on Mefi that I run the country, and that the American military murders for me. These facts might come in handy the next time that butthead down the street lets his dog go on my lawn.

Lets get some perspective, folks, about this "model news post". A) its not news. Anybody who cares (here's a surprise, I do) has already encountered this information. Its not like its been hidden, covered up, or glossed. B) Its agenda driven, with no realistic objective, the same as all of foldy's posts. Surprise...I don't run the country and the military doesn't work for me. Hell, I don't even seem to be able to fairly elect a president anymore. So whats left, revolution? Who knows. But I do know. Long times ago, I challenged our little grain of sand as to whether or not s/he actually communicates with his elected officials (ya see, I do). F_and_m never responded to that, but continuiosly calls us to action ... how? As I said, this is objectiveless, except for the shit-stirring. Defend fold_and_mutilate's right to post and have a voice. There's no problem with that. But I'm gonna puke if one more person thanks him for old news as if it has a point other than sucking up to his "enlightened" ego.

A lot of people seem to object more to the fact that f&m makes them consistently feel guilty for holding the political beliefs they do, than to the content of what he's posting.


On review, this is one of the silliest assumptive statements I've read in months. Maybe people object to foldy's need to exploit tragedy as insult to those who disagree with him? Think about it.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:37 PM on September 5, 2002


Food is a blessing, slaughterhouses are a curse. there is some sort of balance being attempted when one kills an animal in order to eat (please please do not get the veggie-police on me here, if your a vegetarian just read Quorn instead of Meat and Fungus instead of Animal.) When a nation fights a war there must be a reason, otherwise war is just very organized murder. Are we defending our survival in Iraq? War is not a blessing and slaughter is a curse. Why are we willing to invade Iraq? To what moral end?

Rev Greg: this war in Iraq will only increase the freedom of the Bush administration to creat war and conflict. The Iraqi people will not be any better off when bombs are dropping then they are now.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:38 PM on September 5, 2002


This war in Iraq will only increase the freedom of the Bush administration to creat war and conflict.

I'm no apologizer for Dubya, but before 9/11 (and during the campaign) Bush took a relatively isolationist stance. Less war, less conflict. These were the people that opposed Kosovo. I don't yet agree with an invasion, but fear that the administration will wantonly attack other threatening nations is not among my concerns.
posted by gsteff at 2:45 PM on September 5, 2002


War is hell.
posted by spilon at 2:47 PM on September 5, 2002


but fear that the administration will wantonly attack other threatening nations is not among my concerns.


It is amongst Iran's concerns, and N Koreas, however.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:49 PM on September 5, 2002


elwoodwiles: Why are we willing to invade Iraq? To what moral end? -
- for the greater good of western economies!! thats why (almost) all wars are fought. Supply chains, economic alliances, untapped raw materials, keeping the global system ticking over...

yeah? am I wrong?

Then they should show me the evidence that means we must take lives, adult or child, innocent or implicated, uniformed or not, now or soon.

Am I supposed to trust the Bush Administration on such a huge question? Who's gullible now?
posted by dash_slot- at 2:52 PM on September 5, 2002


Actually, I think posting an article from the May 2000 New Yorker is a bit beyond the intent of this site.

Funny, I can't think of a better time to review and reflect on the mistakes of the last U.S. war on Iraq:

The good intentions of U.S. military planners were questioned only intermittently--once after U.S. stealth fighter-bombers obliterated the Amiriya bomb shelter in Baghdad on February 13, killing 600-1,000 civilians. White House officials and some military briefers in Washington scrambled either to condemn Hussein for placing civilians "in harm's way" or to insist that the facility was, in fact, a military command center. On the other hand, Lt. Gen. Thomas Kelly and others acknowledged that a mistake had been made. "We are going to examine our consciences very closely to determine if we can't do something in the future to preclude that," Kelly said.

That's from September of 1991; hope that's ok. :P

languagehat: I wish people would get over their reflexive dismissal of f&m.

S/he brought it on hirself with inflammatory, unnecessary editorializing in posts like hir last one. This one's better simply because we're not being told how to think about the links. Up until the last question, anyway.
posted by mediareport at 2:52 PM on September 5, 2002


Take him on at his own game: with links, argument and reason.

Otherwise... the terrorists will have won.

I think one of Bin Laden's stated objectives is to 'derail the threads of the infidel until they degenerate... [into] petty name-calling and tit-for-tat battles on who has the moral highground.'
Having said that, it's probably only polite to ignore threads that bore you, rather than posting facetious off-topic comments. (like this one ^_^)
posted by RokkitNite at 2:53 PM on September 5, 2002


I was in the 10th grade when most of the US troops were pulled out. There was a girl in one of my classes who's stepdad had recently returned. Apparently after the Iraqi's had hightailed out of Kuwait and were subsequently obliterated by Allied airpower, the boys had some downtime to snap a few photos before packing up. Well. . .

She brought the bundle of photographs to school. I'm not making this up. In them were dead Iraqis which *certain* US Marines had propped up, put cigarettes in their dried mouths and placed each others arms and hands in atrocious positions. Not to mention the neat-O closeups of severed hands, heads, arms etc, this these *certain* Marines were kind enough to include in their send-off photo essay.

That's war foks! And goddamnit, doesn't it sound wonderful?
posted by crasspastor at 2:59 PM on September 5, 2002


I read this article when it first appeared and do think its again rather timely considering we are getting our war on all over creation. The negative reactions to this and to f&m's other seemingly modest posts is puzzling. Seems like he's become a bit of a straw dog.

Someday these and so-many-other chickens may come home to roost for all the flag-flyers, armchair hawks and realpolitik poseurs... I hope I'm living in another country when they do.
posted by mantid at 3:02 PM on September 5, 2002


That's war foks! And goddamnit, doesn't it sound wonderful?

Yes, war sucks. Let me be as blunt as a spoon here:

CAN YOU STOP IT? If so, how?

(Just so that nobody gets their jollies by painting me a hawk, I've already argued in other threads why a war on Iraq is a stupid idea. Just answer the question.)
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:03 PM on September 5, 2002


Metafilter: Just answer the question.
posted by gsteff at 3:04 PM on September 5, 2002


Yes, war sucks. Let me be as blunt as a spoon here:

CAN YOU STOP IT? If so, how?


By not invading Iraq?

What do I win?
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:06 PM on September 5, 2002


(clears throat)

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty--

(Whisk)
posted by crasspastor at 3:07 PM on September 5, 2002


Kafkaesque, I'm glad to hear that you will not invade Iraq. I will sleep better every night knowing that my friend, Kafkaesque, is not killing Iraqis. Please be assured that I will not invade Iraq either. I will stay home, and make Jambalaya. I will not kill the minions of Hussein, I will not bomb ancient artifacts, I will not waste women and children in the name of Dubya.

No prize for you, smartass ;-)
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:10 PM on September 5, 2002


Isn't letting your elected officials (or the possibly unelected one) know that you do not support the invasion of Iraq something you can do about it? Isn't expressing your disgust for the atrocities the US committed in the last Gulf War something you can do about it?

At least send a postcard.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:24 PM on September 5, 2002


Hey, yeah, that's something! Now why didn't I think about that?
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:26 PM on September 5, 2002


i've always thought the penultimate last words in dostoevsky's dream of a ridiculous man were fairly prescient, "If only everyone wants it, it can be arranged at once." (followed of course by the distressingly pervy, "And I tracked down that little girl . . . and I shall go on and on!" :)

like it's either that or nothing short of a nuke in every back yard, next to the grill :) don't tread on me!
posted by kliuless at 3:28 PM on September 5, 2002


Wulfy, I know it's simplistic, and it won't change anything, but at least it's something.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:34 PM on September 5, 2002


dash_slot: your right. The reason for wars are largely economic. But in even in an economic context I don't see any reasons to spend billions of dollars to topple a dictator. The costs of invading and then occupying Iraq could easily wipe out any economic benefit . The politics around oil could turn against us, OPEC just might take offense to us invading a country in the middle east, so might Saudi Arabia. If we want cheap oil can't we try buying less and depress it's price? Let the market decide? No, we'll just invade. Think of it as a huge subsidy to oil and defense companies.

And what is regime change anyway?
W: People of Iraq! Meet your new glorious leader: Joe!
Iraqi people: Hail Joe, leader of all dominion given him by America! Yea!
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:35 PM on September 5, 2002


this war in Iraq will only increase the freedom of the Bush administration to creat war and conflict. The Iraqi people will not be any better off when bombs are dropping then they are now.

I guess I need to ask you elwoodwiles exactly what the hell that means? A full-scale war with Iraq isn't going to change the ability of the President a damned bit - it's always been there. And you're absolutely right, the Iraqi people will not be better off WHILE the bombs are dropping. When the bombs are done dropping, they will at least have a CHANCE to make things better - a chance they will not have if the bombs do not drop. I guess you feel that maintaining the sitzkreig there that has existed for ten years and has accomplished absolutely nothing is a better option?
posted by RevGreg at 3:39 PM on September 5, 2002


Yes, war sucks. Let me be as blunt as a spoon here:

CAN YOU STOP IT? If so, how?


I should think that talking about it with a large number of people, rather than trying to stifle said discussion, would be a good start.
posted by rushmc at 3:44 PM on September 5, 2002


I will stay home, and make Jambalaya.

Red or brown?
posted by chuq at 3:45 PM on September 5, 2002


In light of the US administration's refusal to 'sign up' to an International Court, it would seem appropriate for them to issue a statement on what it consider's appropriate (legal) behaviour in times of war. If members of the British forces were found to have commited war crimes, I would hope that they would be punished fully.
posted by daveg at 3:50 PM on September 5, 2002


Thinking that you can't change anything is the first step to not changing anything.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:50 PM on September 5, 2002


Rev greg: Man, I cannot find this link, but i'm looking. There was an article in, I believe, Newsweek talking about how the Kurds have achieved great autonomy from Saddam and have benefit greatly from the no fly zone. If Saddam was to be toppled, the Kurdish are politically unwilling to give up their chance at nationhood. The Turkish government is also concerned about the Kurds uprising in Turkey as well. If there is a war in Iraq, Kurdistan is going to be wiped off the map by either Saddam, Turkey, or the US (as a favor for Turkey.) Iraqi society is very fractured amongst tribal lines and only Saddam has managed to keep them together. If Saddam is removed, only another dictator will be able to prevent civil war. As we can take an example of Afghanistan: The warlords are in control, not Kabul. Are Afghanis any better off? All I see in the press is about shaving beards and getting make-overs. Bombs are still dropping.
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:56 PM on September 5, 2002


Was this it, elwood?
posted by gsteff at 4:01 PM on September 5, 2002


I should think that talking about it with a large number of people, rather than trying to stifle said discussion, would be a good start.

mmm, good point. and thanks for the links f&m
posted by jacobsee at 4:09 PM on September 5, 2002


Kafkaesque- Wulfy, I know it's simplistic, and it won't change anything, but at least it's something.

I know; as I've indicated, I've already done that. Has Foldy? Enquiring minds want to know...

rushmc - I should think that talking about it with a large number of people, rather than trying to stifle said discussion, would be a good start.

Been there, done that, continuing to do so. I questioned f_and_m's motives, not the message. If you wish to find those who want him silenced, seek elsewhere.

Thinking that you can't change anything is the first step to not changing anything.

I asked a question, I didn't draw a conclusion. Do you have an answer? Foldy doesn't seem to; but then he never does, does he? Besides, you might be wanting to talk to elwoodwiles about hopeless causes.

chuq - Red or brown?

Red, of course. Creole is so much more interesting than down home Cajun. Besides, I grow the tomatoes.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:09 PM on September 5, 2002


and thanks for the links f&m

jacobsee, you're clueless and I'm puking.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:17 PM on September 5, 2002


gsteff: No that wasn't it, but thank you - it's the same point. The link I was looking for is here. The balance of power between nations and ethnic groups all throughout the middle east are shaky at best. I fear the the US will disrupt the slowly developing movements that are trying to change Iraq (and Iran and other nations of the evil axis) from within. Some of Saddams harshest actions against the Kurds occured after we helped the Kuwaiti's after the Gulf War. And as F+m indicated, the Afghni warlords are being just as harsh after we "helped" the afghni people.
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:20 PM on September 5, 2002


Iraqi society is very fractured amongst tribal lines and only Saddam has managed to keep them together.

"Keep it together!" That's pretty funny. You mean play faction off against faction in order to keep them all too weak to fight him so that he can control them all? Tell me, how many countries that still harbor conditions under which "tribal" allegences are seen as stronger than any other form of order are NOT currently experiencing some sort of internal conflict or civil war? How many of them currently are ruled by a dictatorial regime? How many have or have had in the past occurances of near genocidal activities by the government? Iraq fits all of these catagories. I'm sorry if do not see the "stability" of Saddam's rule as a good thing. The continued stability of his government only leads to him aligning more and more like-minded individuals and governments with himself, with the end means more or what he already has brought to the region. War, famine and death - in the name of advancing his agendas.

This is not a 100-hour war like the Gulf War was, this is a long-term engagement on MANY levels and not just militarily. The Gulf War accomplished a VERY limited agenda, the removal of Saddam's forces from Kuwait. What needs to be done is to gain control of area to change the very fundamental beliefs that are being taught there and to eliminate the cycle of violence and tribal warfare which "talking" and limited intercession has not been able to alter one bit over hundreds of years. Yeah, it's not a glorious task or a desirable one - but it is the only way to provide hope for the future of these people. Talking has failed and will continue to fail...to ignore that is to ignore the entire history of the area.
posted by RevGreg at 4:21 PM on September 5, 2002


"that f&m makes them consistently feel guilty for holding the political beliefs they do, than to the content of what he's posting."

That guy doesn't make people feel guilty. He makes them laugh.
posted by godlesscapitalist at 4:31 PM on September 5, 2002


Saddam's stability is not a good thing, it's a dangerous thing. The Bushies seem to think they can just remove Saddam and insert someone of thier choosing and everything will be hunky-dorey. But it's not going to happen. There are to many interested parties that want power to let the US just elect a leader for them.

What needs to be done is to gain control of area to change the very fundamental beliefs that are being taught there and to eliminate the cycle of violence and tribal warfare

so step 1) Invade and occupy Iraq
2) reprogram the Iraqi people to 'think different'

a democracy is born.
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:34 PM on September 5, 2002


so step 1) Invade and occupy Iraq
2) reprogram the Iraqi people to 'think different'

a democracy is born.


And so an Empire is born. Picture, if you will, GWBush taking the crown from an arch-bishop to place on his own head, as liberator and highest of the most high. Then picture him unable to bow to see into Napolean Bonapart's grave. NO, NO, No...We don't need to gain control of anything. We can't eliminate any cycle of violence if its directed at US. RevGreg, how can you support your position? Do you have any evidence that we can change the cultural history of the Iraqis or any country in the middle east?

Please notice that this has nothing to do with the original "America is bad" post. Haul my ass to MetaTalk, if you wish.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:49 PM on September 5, 2002


The costs of invading and then occupying Iraq could easily wipe out any economic benefit ...
well, capitalism is all about transferring money from your pocket into mine, right?

So, any economic transaction can enrich one over another (hopefully, me over you)

If that can be underwritten by government - which, again, is you and me (if either of us pay taxes) - all well & good.

What happens to Johnny Foreigner, or even Johnny Trailertrash, is of no import to me. Did I effect an economic transfer into my pocket? Yes? Good. I've lost interest now.

(On preview: godlesscapitalist, I WANT YOUR NAME!)
posted by dash_slot- at 5:11 PM on September 5, 2002


I'm not trolling - I think some folk really do think and act like that.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:12 PM on September 5, 2002


Get your own weblog, fuckw-

Oh. Wait. I said that already. Apologies.
posted by evanizer at 5:16 PM on September 5, 2002


evanizer, lets roll! (I actually do agree with you.)
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:33 PM on September 5, 2002


It's important how we talk to people -- particularly when we're talking about war and peace, don't you think? I know it's no comparison between the actions of governments, but I think the way we speak to each other should resemble the world-level models we support.

To wit: there's a difference between saying "I am frustrated with your illogical assertions such as x" or "I am really really mad at you for x reason" and acting out, namecalling, belittling, and dismissing. These actions further no discussion, and betray the logic and true emotion of both a conversation and a principle.

Pardon me for continuing the meta- and off-topic in this thread.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 5:48 PM on September 5, 2002


dash_slot, you may enjoy this:

"No reason exists for war except the sudden profits of the men who run the munitions racket." -- George Seldes

The judge enforcing the obsolete law
The banker making the loan for the war,
The expert designing the long-range gun,
To exterminate everyone under the sun,
Would like to get out but can only mutter; -
"What can I do? It's my bread and butter."
- W. H. Auden

"The hidden hand of the Market will never work without a hidden fist - McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell-Douglas ... "- Thomas Friedman, NYT Magazine, 1999

And finally, a truly scary quote from one of the 20th century's greatest fascists:

"...the government of the world must be entrusted to satisfied nations, the rich men dwelling at peace in their habitations." - Winston Churchill
posted by Nicolae Carpathia at 5:57 PM on September 5, 2002


Evanizer: get your own weblog where you can say, "Get your own weblog, fuckwit," fuckwit.

I strongly believe we should now procede to meta this out into infinity, then the circle will be complete and we can cry and hug and declare jihad upon our mothers.
posted by Ryvar at 6:00 PM on September 5, 2002


To wit: there's a difference between saying "I am frustrated with your illogical assertions such as x" or "I am really really mad at you for x reason" and acting out, namecalling, belittling, and dismissing. These actions further no discussion, and betray the logic and true emotion of both a conversation and a principle.

Preach it, RJ!
posted by rushmc at 6:11 PM on September 5, 2002


Actually Ryvar, check out www.evanizer.com/journal/ I'm sure it'll be updated soon (",) - and you can look around the wonderful world of evan while you're there....

and I promise you, Ev, as soon as i can figure out a few technical conoundrums, i will come to the bloggin' ball!!
posted by dash_slot- at 6:25 PM on September 5, 2002


Thanks, Nicolae (nice to see you) - great quotes, tho' "one of the worlds greatest fascists..."?

Extreme right wing parliamentarian, yeh; opportunist, yeh; inspirational wartime leader, yeh; Winnie was more than once voted out of office - by definition, not a fascist.

To paraphrase the old warhorse, he was "an alcoholic, wrapped in a depression, inside an egotist"
posted by dash_slot- at 6:34 PM on September 5, 2002


Dash_slot: Oh, no need to point out which way the handbasket goes, I'm well aware. I just figured I was as tired of Ev posting similar snips to everyone as she was of reading their posts, and reached a mildly amusing (if obvious) snip of my own.

That F&M is one of the primary reasons I read MeFi doesn't help, but putting that aside - shouting at someone 'your words should be silenced' is, to my mind, the only speech that should in fact be silenced. If that sounds like viral anti-censorship, so be it.
posted by Ryvar at 6:57 PM on September 5, 2002


sorry, should have been (s)he
posted by Ryvar at 6:59 PM on September 5, 2002


Ryvar, nice misdirected dodge. Your words ought to mean something other than that people who disagree with your hero are just "fealing guilty". Isn't that the unsupportable bullshit you tried to spread? Care to support your assumption? Didn't think so, just 'cause I know you can't. Yes, I'm laughing at you. Pisses you off, doesn't it? You really are a minion of f_and_m aren't you?

Since his point is ego gratification (prove otherwise, I dare you), foldy really should get his own weblog. And apologist like you, are hypocritically calling for the silence of evanizer? I laugh...
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:35 PM on September 5, 2002


Crasspastor, when I was in college I was doing some research and came across some photos similar to the ones you saw of Americans posing Iraqis' dead bodies. Except the photos I found were of Americans posing Japanese dead bodies. Do folks here think that means World War II was unjustified? Fer goshsakes, read the Iliad. It is evidence that terrible treatment of dead enemy combatants is an ancient phenomenon. It's a fact of war. It's not a good reason to be against a specific war.
posted by Holden at 7:49 PM on September 5, 2002


jacobsee, you're clueless and I'm puking.

Care to support your assumption? Didn't think so, just 'cause I know you can't. Yes, I'm laughing at you. Pisses you off, doesn't it?

Wulfgar, you really get off on making the put downs. What a contribution you've made to this place tonight, ' oh mighty nordic warrior of the keyboard.' Conan the Disdainful.--the rhinemaidens are a-tremble at your manly typing... I can see the Frazetta painting now...
posted by y2karl at 7:59 PM on September 5, 2002


You accuse me of putdown, yet you don't argue, you ridicule. hypocrisy, hmmm? A clue, I want people to prove me wrong, just 'cause I learn from it. And you?
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:10 PM on September 5, 2002


y2karl, on a little introspection, I understand where you are coming from. If you feel strongly about it then please take it to MetaTalk, and we'll discuss it there. Otherwise, we've said what needs to be said...
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:20 PM on September 5, 2002


Uh, Wulfgar (and anyone else thinking along those lines), I'm not calling for the silence of evanizer. I'm calling for the silence of evanizer's calls for others to be silenced. In fact, I'm pretty much calling for all calls for silencing to be silenced everywhere and anywhere they occur. It's sort of a mission in life. If it seems recursive or paradoxical, that's intentional.

As for the feeling guilty, that's my gut reaction, and I never advanced it as FACT. Perhaps you should reread my post, Sir JumpsDownThroatsALot:
A lot of people seem to object more to the fact that f&m makes them consistently feel guilty for holding the political beliefs they do, than to the content of what he's posting.
Why did I judge it that way, though? I'm watching the vehemence of the responses from Evanizer, MidasMulligan, Paris, and on and on - and I see the same kind of kneejerk 'shut up you conspiracy theorist/rabble rouser/leftist prick' over and over again with no real justification other than the sting that my own not-yet-dead right-wing beliefs still get every time I read F&M. Unlike those persons, I like being exposed to arguments I haven't encountered before.

The one thing I don't appreciate is people trying to shut up those arguments, or any arguments. Especially if they're abusive about it.

As for you laughing at me - why should it piss me off? You're text on a screen to me. The degree to which the spirit of your text embraces censorship is the exact degree of my emotional reaction to anything you have to say and not an iota more, sorry. I've watched trolls come and go for the past thirteen years of my life - do you really think yet another more angry grocery-bagger who somehow thinks he can prove something over the Internet is going to affect me? Stupidity is in infinite supply here and everywhere and I won't gain anything by fighting it or getting upset about it.
posted by Ryvar at 8:47 PM on September 5, 2002


Crasspastor, when I was in college I was doing some research and came across some photos similar to the ones you saw of Americans posing Iraqis' dead bodies. Except the photos I found were of Americans posing Japanese dead bodies.

It's a fact of war. It's not a good reason to be against a specific war.

There's a Japanese priest who's made it his life's work to collect Japanese soldiers' skulls collected by American GIs as war trophies. How often do you think that American GIs collected German skulls in World War II? I never heard of any. Why is that? Help me out here...

But the rules of war cannot be applied selectively. There is no real moral justification for the pain and destruction of combat if it is not to defend the rule of law.

And what's your feeling on those lines there from the Newsweek article?
posted by y2karl at 8:47 PM on September 5, 2002


As for the feeling guilty, that's my gut reaction, and I never advanced it as FACT.

Uhh, yeah, you did:

A lot of people seem to object more to the fact that f&m makes them consistently feel guilty for holding the political beliefs they do, than to the content of what he's posting.


Where does that claim come from, if you don't believe it as fact? (Thats called "begging the question"; accepting as fact the "given" premiss from which a question or statement finds its foundation.) Using the word "seem" is simply hiding behind what you accept as given. There are many reasons to disrespect, disbelieve and/or disengage with f_and_m that have nothing to do with "guilt".

As to your disrespect of me; you get the point, but hide from it like a frightened child. I'm not a grocery bagger, or a troll, and you're not that wise. If you think I'm trying to "censor" anybody (your ruse) then please prove it. You claim that no "grocery-bagger" over the internet is going to affect you, yet f_and_m does with smoke and mirrors. If you haven't encountered the story of the "highway of death" before than your ignorance is your enemy. not me; and f_and_m is playing you like a trump card. I don't want f&m to shut up; I want people to realize that they are being manipulated as easily as Bush.com is manipulating another crowd. That's a harsh thing to admit, and I don't care if you admit it to me. Just don't try and convince me that foldy has some secret knowledge, something I have missed. I will laugh at you for saying so, and I will do so justly.
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:09 PM on September 5, 2002


*shrugs* Ok.
If that's the level of discourse you'd prefer, then permit me to respond by holding up a W with my fingers.
posted by Ryvar at 10:29 PM on September 5, 2002


If war is a fact. So then it is that I will plummet to my death should I jump off my balcony. Either outcome I do not like. Facts are facts, but some are certainly worth avoiding.

Nothwithstanding, the cruelty and stress that beget one another in wartime on and off the battlefield (or the arena of laser guided battle). Madness is a fact as well. It is also a fact that most of us were brought up to play nice. The hatred that must be steeped into us to be in support of war is brainwash. A war on a grand scale is the sum of its insane parts. Men, women and children losing control of their bowels, vicious reptilian reactions etcetera. The very brain that engages in these things is also perfectly capable of art, introspection and compassion. War turns us into a dog cornered in a cage being poked with a hundred sticks. Mammals are mammals. As an animal who can say "fuck war" and "fuck being poked at with sticks when I'm scared". Well then, let's get it over with. Fuck war! Let the elite fuckers that send us civiliandroids into it burn in hell. "Our war" will be when we turn them on their heads so that we can go about our lives and our children theirs, safe from corporatist terror.
posted by crasspastor at 10:31 PM on September 5, 2002


*shrugs in kind* What level? You can't even make a statement that doesn't involve derision? Implication doesn't equal truth. Spell it out, bwana ... or don't. Either way, my point stands as is.

On review: crasspastor, well said, and oh my god, why now?
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:45 PM on September 5, 2002


Unlike those persons, I like being exposed to arguments I haven't encountered before.

I like being exposed to non-stupid arguments I haven't encountered before. There are plenty of lefties who have made arguments that have swayed me -- six years ago, I was a Harry Browne supporter, and now I think maybe a universal single-payer healthcare system isn't actually a bad idea, or at least not as bad an idea as I once thought it was.

However, you don't convince me you're right by saying "You know deep in your heart of hearts that you really agree with me, you just won't admit it," as F&M did in almost so many words in a recent thread. Or by any of the other annoying rhetorical stunts he pulls on a regular basis. No, that just pisses me off and the more pissed off I get, the less I'm inclined to keep digging through the shit to find the pearls of wisdom.

I commend those of you who can still pay attention to F&M on your superhuman patience. I bet you make great parents. Me, I come to MetaFilter to escape juvenile behavior.
posted by kindall at 11:37 PM on September 5, 2002


(clears thoat)

How deep is your heart?
Is your heart as deep as my heart?
I really want to know.

Cos we're livin in a world so cruel--
(splat)
posted by crasspastor at 11:49 PM on September 5, 2002


Kindall - since you seem capable of discussion without resorting to juvenile abuse, I'll dive back into this increasingly MeTa thread. My point wasn't that deep in my heart of hearts I agree with you. I'm currently a practicing leftist, heh. However, that's a recent identity change after many long years of being a foolish young evangelical ultra-right winger (not to imply I am necessarily less foolish now) - which means while I tend to agree with F&M, it 'stings' to read the majority of his posts for hopefully obvious reasons.

It also means that there are many aspects (and central memes, sorry) of leftist thought that I've yet to encounter, and while many of F&M's links have context issues or practical issues (and dhartung does an excellent job highlighting and underscoring these) that remain unresolved, those few that are true, and for those that are 'mostly incorrect' the parts that remain true - are both frightening and terribly interesting to an individual of my rudimentary but developing political composition. While I appreciate the commentary from both sides that dominates MeFi, the overt reactionary and vehement denials and personal attacks stemming from those opposite F&M on the ideological gradient help make his case for him. I recently mentioned to Miguel Cardoso on the epitaph thread that I wanted 'Truth before happiness' on my grave. If that means putting up with my initial negative reaction to each F&M post as well as the sea of trolls that follow said, then so be it.
posted by Ryvar at 12:12 AM on September 6, 2002


The story that foldy quotes here can be heard, in John Brasfield's own words, as part of this excellent This American Life episode (Jan 11 2002) (realaudio).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:32 AM on September 6, 2002


And so an Empire is born. Picture, if you will, GWBush taking the crown from an arch-bishop to place on his own head, as liberator and highest of the most high.

What sort of justification is there for this bullshit? You mean an empire like the one we obtained after the unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan?

RevGreg, how can you support your position? Do you have any evidence that we can change the cultural history of the Iraqis or any country in the middle east?

Who said we needed to change their history? Their cultural history has been perverted and hijacked by their leaders and used to destroy their lives. 1500 years ago they had one of the most progressive societies on the face of the planet, one that accepted peoples of all religions and races to live under their rule. Now they are among the least tolerant societies in the world where their leaders horde the wealth of the entire country while many of their people live under conditions which have not appreciably changed in many ways for hundreds of years. Japan was much the same at the time of WWII and the Nazis were trying to create such a society - yet change was effected on those cultures. It's not only possible, it is essential for the security of ALL of the nations in that region.
posted by RevGreg at 1:17 AM on September 6, 2002


I like this thread. I woke up, read the articles and comments, and broke my barely week old moratorium on commenting or posting. It started as a bunch of people trying to derail the thread, myself included, but then turned into a somewhat thoughtful discussion. Toward the end it turned into another exercise in digression. It reads like everyone is trying to avoid Godwin's law or something, baiting one another or something. There's trolling, and then there are people daring to be trolled. What fun! Anyhoo, it's ten hours later and I'm quite drunk. I just had to come back and see what I missed! Anyhoo,
Name a country that hasn't had it's history perverted and hijacked? Name a country that had it's elections made an international mockery by a dictatorial regime? Name a country to have had in the past occurances of near genocidal activities by the government? America fits all these categories. Perhaps a superior moral power should invade us and end our cycle of violence. This war isn't going to be about morality, it's about who has the power, who is sending a check and who is getting one. I will not invade Iraq, but France should watch it's back.

shit. I think I trolled.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:39 AM on September 6, 2002


You're text on a screen to me -- the new tagline!

Wulfgar!: If you don't hear how repellent your comments sound, I guess there's no point my trying to get you to. But you're producing in me the same effect f&m produces on you: I have no desire to hear your message. You say, "crasspastor, well said"; why not try to say it well yourself?

To the "war is hell, we know that already, move on" contingent: Have you seen combat, or read honest accounts of it with enough imaginative sympathy to get some sense of what it must be like? Have you been in a place destroyed by war, or read accounts of it with imaginative sympathy? Most of the people I know who can answer "yes" to any of those questions are not so eager to sign on to the "yeah, let's roll!" brigade.
posted by languagehat at 7:39 AM on September 6, 2002


languagehat, you continue to accept without question the same rediculous assumptions that set me and others off. Saying "war is hell, we know that, move on", does not equal being part of the "lets roll" brigade.
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:05 AM on September 6, 2002


All this sounds to me more like a fight for the ideological take-over of Metafilter than a realistic discussion contained within the existential limitations of the participants.

Aside of the conceptual sound bites of Bushies, orthodox leftists, neo-conservatives, pacifists, whoremonger, etc. etc., I miss the human element simply admitting fear, confusion, ignorance, looking for a solution.

For myself, one who has lived through fascism and communism, wars, revolutions and crimes; one who lives in the US by choice and destiny; I am existentially interested and concerned and involved in the future of my environment, understanding at the same time how everything that happens on earth effects it.

I am against war, poverty, injustice, and dictatorships.

On the subject of Iraq, I know that Saddam has developed chemical and biological weapons, because he used them in his war against Iran and against the Kurd civilian population, killing thousands of them. This also makes it clear that he is capable and willing to use such weapons. His refusal to allow inspectors, and his rhetoric suggests to me that he is on a warpath and that he wants to win his war at all cost. No matter how rational, peaceloving, and full of goodwill I may be, his agenda threatens my health, well being, and life, as well as others'.

The arguments seem to go in the way of stopping him by war, or letting him go on and see what happens.

Are there any better ideas around?
posted by semmi at 9:08 AM on September 6, 2002


whoremonger

I meant warmongers.
posted by semmi at 1:08 PM on September 6, 2002


Have you been in a place destroyed by war, or read accounts of it with imaginative sympathy? Most of the people I know who can answer "yes" to any of those questions are not so eager to sign on to the "yeah, let's roll!" brigade.

I can answer yes to all but having been in a combat situation with my closest analog being that I have seen first hand what a gunshot wound to the head looks like (victim lived for two days with a "tunnel" through his brain that I actually looked through while we were transporting him.) The problem I have with the non-intervention stance is that Saddam's entire goal for his country is conquest oriented. Currently, his goal is nuclear capability which will place him in a situation where conventional military manuvers will be more tolerated due to the threat of nuclear strike. If Saddam had been in possession of nuclear arms before, Kuwait would still be his and I would bet that Qatar and many others would have fallen. Nuclear capability removes MANY options for controlling his megalomania - it simply is NOT an option to sit back and wait for it to happen. No matter how limited you may think his chances are, any chance is reason enough given his history.
posted by RevGreg at 6:43 AM on September 7, 2002


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