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The High Cost of Living
March 21, 2003 8:11 PM   Subscribe

And then the fallen. "I want President Bush to get a good look at this, really good look here," his father, Michael, said, holding up a picture of the dead marine. "This is the only son I had, only son." More.
posted by The Jesse Helms (114 comments total)

 
I feel sorry for this father. And I feel anger and disgust at the media people who don't have the decency to avoid disseminating such stories.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:16 PM on March 21, 2003


And his son volunteered to join the Marines.

In war, people die. And every single man and woman in the Marines is someone's son or daughter. As is every man in the Iraqi army.

My condolences to this man and his family and my utter and complete contempt for the media crew who would gleefully chase after a story like this.

JB
posted by JB71 at 8:20 PM on March 21, 2003


My condolences to this man and his family and my utter and complete contempt for the media crew who would gleefully chase after a story like this.

My sympathy goes to the soldier's family, and a death should not be simply treated as a political footbal, but I don't know that reports of deaths shouldn't be covered, nor do I see a lot of glee in the story. In a way, we're lucky that the number of deaths will be small, because they will be that much more likely to remain people in our minds rather than becoming statistics.

In war, people die. And every single man and woman in the Marines is someone's son or daughter. As is every man in the Iraqi army.

And outside the marines or Iraqi army, too. It's a good thing to remember each day.
posted by namespan at 8:42 PM on March 21, 2003


I saw the report on TV. I do not find the media contemptible for showing a father's grief. Rather, I find the constant drumbeats, the hoopla, the marvelling over military systems, and the general glorification of warfare to be the real obscenity.

NBC also carried an interview of a killed serviceman's mother. It brought tears to my eyes. And it made me think, isn't sorrow over the dead (ours and theirs) a response more appropriate than "Wow! Gee! Didya see that?" We Americans--despite the 9/11 massacre-- are becoming seduced with the powerful, bloodless images of killing. It is important to the maintenance of our collective humanity that we occasionally share the feeling of profound grief which is the true face of warfare.

I say let's televise less Pow! Zap! BooooM! and more:
-- cries of the agonized
--bloodied dismembered bodies
--bitter forgotten Vets

For those who haven't read it, I recommend Mark Twain's "The War Prayer"
posted by ahimsakid at 8:42 PM on March 21, 2003


I have a brother who is a Marine. What would be decent about surpressing this story? These people did join of their own free will, but I do not think any of them expected that their lives would be wasted on a venture that does not serve American interests. How exactly is America gaining from this war? There is nothing there that is worth a single American life.
posted by thirteen at 8:44 PM on March 21, 2003


"...quit his accounting job to join the Marines because he yearned to fly and do something more meaningful..."

Yes. What JB said.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:45 PM on March 21, 2003


> utter and complete contempt for the media crew who would gleefully chase after a story like this.

Damn you media, stop ruining our war. No analysis about the US and Iraq in the 80s. Stop mentioning sanctions. Stop asking where the WMDs are. Sheez. Oh that's right, you guys aren't do that at all.

Just keep the teevee full of foreigners telling us how much they love America in broken english.

Dead soldiers? Who cares. We need more 3D graphics of Stealth Bombers, countdown clocks, and if possible monkey butlers.

Up with suppression down with information!
posted by skallas at 8:49 PM on March 21, 2003


ahimsakid, your post reminds me of this (oh man I don't believe I'm geeking out like this) star trek episode I saw when I was a kid.
You realize what you have done?
Yes, I do.
I've given you back the horrors of war.
The Vendikans now assume that you've broken your agreement
and you're preparing to wage real war with real weapons.
They'll do the same,
only the next attack they launch
will do more than count up numbers in a computer.
They'll destroy cities, devastate your planet.
You'll want to retaliate.
If I were you, I'd start making bombs.
Yes, Councilman, you have a real war on your hands.
You can either wage it with real weapons,
or you might consider an alternative--
Put an end to it.
Make peace.
posted by skallas at 8:57 PM on March 21, 2003




Ten-year-old Kenneth Waters-Bey salutes as he holds
a picture of his father Staff Sgt. Kendall Damon Waters-Bey
Friday, March 21, 2003, in Baltimore.

Staff Sgt. Waters-Bey was one of four U.S. Marines killed
in a CH-46E helicopter crash in Kuwait on Thursday.
posted by Dunvegan at 9:03 PM on March 21, 2003


do you also condemn the relatives of the casualties who call press conferences, grant interviews, and talk to the press? People grieve in different ways. Some want to talk, some don't. Some even -- gasp! -- want to tell the press and remember their lost one at the same time, like the quote in the FPP above.
posted by Vidiot at 9:10 PM on March 21, 2003


my theory is that if all these men and women said NO to dictator Bush, means no, we are not going to the war (arrest us if you want, but fight the war with your own hands), we are not gonna fight our lives, they all could be working and living among us right this second, if all the people of this world said to their leaders no we are not fighting no matter what, I believe Bush, Rummy and rest of the gang will never ever ever put their own feet into Irak and ask Saddam to fight with them because they are not stupid to do something like that.

Real heros don't fight and destroy, real heros spread love and peace
posted by bureaustyle at 9:37 PM on March 21, 2003


Real heros don't fight and destroy, real heros spread love and peace

...and throw up for peace. Spare me.

In a perfect world your little fantasy would be great. Sadly, this isn't it.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 9:56 PM on March 21, 2003


I remember watching the war coverage on tv today and as Baghdad burned in the background the commentator said this will increase support for the war against within the US; he meant as people see such spectacular displays of our strength compared to thiers they will be convinced of a quick "victory" without much human loss on our side......

this triggered a chain of thoughts in my mind; and the most basic thought that comes to my mind is that somehow during this whole process it is assumed that American life is much more expensive than that of the Iraqis. I wanna know how many people who support this war would still support it if Iraq had the capabilities to strike back with air raids on American soil....
posted by nish01 at 9:58 PM on March 21, 2003


...and throw up for peace. Spare me.

In a perfect world your little fantasy would be great. Sadly, this isn't it.


If the very mention of love and peace make you vomit, I doubt that any concept you might hold of "a perfect world" is one worth aspiring to.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:03 PM on March 21, 2003


The problem with the war against Iraq is highly one of an asymetric population (and it will stay that way in all future wars against the countries of the "axis of evil"). While in the Iraq 4.63 children are born/woman (2002 est.), the USA "only" has 2.07 children born/woman (2002 est.). My point: American parents will be more protective over their only or first born child and their mourning will be "louder" (not more just, mind you) than the mourning of the Iraqi parents who can lose one or two childs and still be able to raise one or two children in the future.
posted by zerofoks at 10:06 PM on March 21, 2003


ParisParamus -- "I feel anger and disgust at the media people who don't have the decency to avoid disseminating such stories."

and what about the webloggers who further disseminate such stories? Are we all helping the enemy by posting such stories? Should all the deaths be ignored?
posted by DBAPaul at 10:10 PM on March 21, 2003


zerofoks, why don't you get the cart in front of the horse and then get back to us. Not to crap on your amazing theory.
posted by yerfatma at 10:14 PM on March 21, 2003


My son is eighteen. He plans a career in the Air Force.

He looked at me today while they were rebroadcasting the words of the grieving mom and told me I'd better not be like that if he gets killed. He was, pardon the expression, dead serious.
posted by konolia at 10:15 PM on March 21, 2003


Bureaustyle, I'd like to know what you would say to these women.
posted by konolia at 10:26 PM on March 21, 2003


yerfatma: What is your problem? I am stating facts and giving a reasonable theory on the problems of the wars fought in the future which will still need to be fought by human soldiers, and the countries of the "axis of evil" have more young, unemployed men they can waste against the enemy than the west has. There is no ideology or anything in this as you would like to make it look like.

I would like you to prove me wrong or at least articulate your own theory and not just come up with silly metaphors without meaning nor contextual constructivism.

By the way: I am german, and if you watched TV about the protests against the war in Europe, you may realize that I am not exactly in any kind of position to fuel any kind of violence, ideology or whatever.
posted by zerofoks at 10:37 PM on March 21, 2003


You can watch Kendall Waters-Bey's father making his statement here.
posted by mediareport at 10:38 PM on March 21, 2003


Hey, it's sad, but that was part of his job. He trained for service.......and died in service. Regardless of the morality of this "war", he knew what he was doing and he could die doing it.
posted by ericdano at 10:43 PM on March 21, 2003


Real heroes don't fight and destroy, real heroes spread love and peace

Sometimes, in order to spread love and peace, real heroes must fight (and destroy). It really depends on the fight. In this fight, we should wait and see if the end of the Hussain regime will bring democracy to the Iraqi people, stability to the region, and leave the control of oil to the Iraqi people (through their democratically elected representatives).

Only then the true purpose of this war will be known. And only then will we find out if we were the real heroes.

posted by Rastafari at 10:48 PM on March 21, 2003


Honestly, the journalism in this piece was atrocious, bordering on obscene.

three marines knocked on her parents' door in this small patriotic town 65 miles south of Chicago

who quit his accounting job to join the Marines because he yearned to fly and do something more meaningful

The Stars and Stripes are painted on the town's water tower. The marquee advertising ice for 25 cents at the liquor store is wrapped in red, white and blue bunting. Even the little Clip & Curl has a "Support Our Troops" bumper sticker in the window.


Is this the New York Times I'm reading, or Ethan Fucking Frome??

Whether the takeaway was in favor of the left or the right is irrelevant. This "human interest" story is a disgrace to anyone who considers him or herself a serious journalist. The writer of the article should surrender his/her degree and look for a job in screenwriting.
posted by psmealey at 11:11 PM on March 21, 2003


Blaming the media is wrong--they throw meat not to cows but wolves. There is an appetite for these stories, otherwise no one would push a mike into the face of a grieving father. Consider, too, that some parents want to tell the world their grief. Being on TV is a higher order of reality than real life--that grieving father might expect that TV moment.

What strikes me is, how with dramatically lower casualties of our later wars, war has become an impersonal video game not only for the public at home but even many of our own soldiers. The difference between our casualties in the last Gulf War and those of the Iraqis is so enormous,
In the Gulf War, the United States suffered 148 killed in action, 458 wounded, 121 killed in nonhostile actions and 11 female combat deaths

In June 1991 the U.S. estimated that more than 100,000 Iraqi soldiers died and 300,000 were wounded. Many human rights groups claimed a much higher numbers of Iraqi killed in action.
that it is obscene. Our attention to our few dead seems obsessive and narcissistic. Is one American life really worth 10,000 Iraqi lives?

When we suffer casualties, they are so low that we know the dead as individuals. Or at least we know stories about them. Those dead Iraqis amount to a pyramid of skulls, always off premise, hidden, unseen, something from which we turn our heads.

But what if we had to watch every death equally, in detail and close up?

During The War, World War 1 for my grandparents, World War 2 for my parents but Vietnam for me, we saw some of the facts on the battlefield, even saw American boys die, but the dead were too many to become national stories, replaced by daily reports on the local news.

Since Viet Nam, our casualties have fallen to hundreds per war. Our casualties. Like a kidnapped blonde girl, a soldier's death is a national story always. The Army, which thinks the The War was lost in American living rooms, has moved all killing offscreen, turned war into an FX spectacle--wow, so that's what it really looks like when things blow up...--and painted themselves into a corner, and us with them.
I am convinced that if executions were made public, the torture and violence would be unmasked, and we would be shamed into abolishing executions.

Sister Helen Prejean
Dead Man Walking
I wonder if this would be true if we broadcast the facts of war unfiltered. Would the sight of carnage and atrocity stop war or would we become Spaniards at a bullfight, entranced by an ancient and artistic ritual of animal sacrifice, a distant grandchild of Roman games, where the slaughter of animals and men was entertainment. Would we be teens at a slasher movie-- Nightmare on Elm Street: The Real World--or would we lose our enthusiasm for war?

There is this uncanny we think in regards to sanctioned state violence, there is ritual, derived ultimately from sacrifical ritual, embedded unconciously and collectively, a ritual of killing. But to participate in this ritual, one must remain unconscious, entranced.

I remember the news coverage in VietNam, which gave us a watered down glimpse of the horror and chaos of war, and even sometimes put a face on the enemy. The present is worse, I think. We see talking heads talking Tom Clancy about fighter planes, tanks, bombs and missiles, watch the fireworks of bombing Belgrade or Baghad from afar, look at animations. Until 9/11 we see war in our own land--it was always ashow broadcast from another. God forbid we see it again. But let's not turn away from what we do. I think we dishonor our dead, our enemies' dead and ourselves not to wake up and look at what really happens in war.
posted by y2karl at 11:15 PM on March 21, 2003


y2karl,

Eloquently put. Thank you.
posted by psmealey at 11:25 PM on March 21, 2003


...I'd like to know what you would say to these women.

I'd suggest they read this.
posted by larry_darrell at 11:37 PM on March 21, 2003


Well, it should have been, Not until 9/11, did we see war on our own land--it was always a show broadcast from afar,
rather than
Until 9/11 we see war in our own land--it was always ashow broadcast from another., to be sure.
posted by y2karl at 11:42 PM on March 21, 2003


zerofoks, it might comfort you to know that you're not alone with your vulgar thoughts. A few years ago, General Westmoreland, head of US forces in Vietnam, wisely and infamously observed that "Orientals attach less value to life than Westerners."

It was a stupid idea then, and it's still stupid today. (That's the great thing about stupidity, it lasts through the ages.)

At any rate, the idea that Iraqi families are somehow less affected by deaths in their family, or will cry less than their American counterparts because they have a "spare," is offensive and stupid.
posted by Ljubljana at 11:56 PM on March 21, 2003


Do we have any sort of Iraqi body count yet? In particular, how are the civilians holding up?

From the bits of reading I've done, the [koff] "collateral damage" hasn't been too terrible.

I am still appalled that killing bystanders is so blithely accepted, and it still disgusts me that people can kill people. But if I turn off my brain and accept that this war action is the only way to solve the problem, I can see that so far, so good. I can almost understand how someone could feel this is a "good" war.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:38 AM on March 22, 2003


That man I saw today, speaking of his only son, now dead, seemed to be the only person I've seen since this war started that actually looked and sounded like a real person.

I'll see him over and over, whether they ever show it again on TV or not.
posted by dglynn at 1:36 AM on March 22, 2003


At any rate, the idea that Iraqi families are somehow less affected by deaths in their family, or will cry less than their American counterparts because they have a "spare," is offensive and stupid.

I didn't say they would "cry less" (only cry "louder" and that was meant in a media-contextualized way and not in an actual audio-contextualized way), but I want you to prove me wrong when I say that the loss of an only child is more affecting to wealthy western parents than it is to poor third world parents and not just jump at me with phrases like "vulgar thoughts" or anything. And why it is stupid I still have to get explained.

Of course the death of a child affects a parent, I never denied that and I never will. But there is a factual reason why families with just one or two children will probably be less willingly to be indoctrinated to send their children into suicidal missions in war which is exactly what every Iraqi regiment is doing right now which doesn't surrender to the US forces.

Iraqi families are poor, like most families under fascist regimes are where the population has a high birth / mother ratio. As much as every family loves their children, these factual conditions make it more likely for the parents (and the children, too) to give their life for a higher cause and be rewarded in heaven or with cheques for martyrdom afterwards. You may regard me as a cynic for pointing that out, but I just throw back that accusation if you want to ignore these facts and rather call me "vulgar" and "stupid" without backing your opinions up with any argument whatsoever.
posted by zerofoks at 2:12 AM on March 22, 2003


y2karl: That quote from the movie is indirectly citing Albert Camus' famous essay "reflexions on the guilliotine" (sp?), a wonderful and briliantly written piece against the death penalty from the 50s which I recommend to anyone, be they pro- or against the "death penalty".
posted by zerofoks at 2:16 AM on March 22, 2003


less willingly to be indoctrinated

Make that "less likely to get".
posted by zerofoks at 2:19 AM on March 22, 2003


Well said Y2karl.
posted by crasspastor at 3:21 AM on March 22, 2003


I want you to prove me wrong when I say that the loss of an only child is more affecting to wealthy western parents than it is to poor third world parents

I can't do that because it's a nonsensical statement. And since it was your crackpot theory to begin with, I would suggest that the burden of proof is on you.

But I do know this: Grief can't be quanitifed. How could it be? In tears wept per second? Regrets per minute?

I also know that generalizations about one ethnic or economic group "valuing" life less than another is the stuff nightmares are made of. Taken to its logical conclusion, you get this: If they don't care about their lives so much, why should we? It's essentially an attempt to degrade a group's humanity. By suggesting that they feel less pain, or don't grieve as loudly, or don't value life as much, you suggest they are closer to animals than people.

That was a line of reasoning popular among Germans a few decades ago when they were wiping out Slavs and Jews, who they assumed didn't value their lives too much to begin with. (In fact, the Germans -- methodical as they are -- actually set up an exhange rate for German lives vs. other lives. I don't recall the exact number, but one German officer traded for roughly an entire Czech village.)
posted by Ljubljana at 3:54 AM on March 22, 2003


And since it was your crackpot theory to begin with, I would suggest that the burden of proof is on you.

I gave you plenty of arguments for "my theory". You just chose to ignore them, but that's not my problem.

Grief can't be quanitifed. How could it be?

If not a priori, at least a posteriori by the rea life reactions of those who suffered the loss. A mother at 40 in the west who cannot give birth to a child anymore will be left with a future without a child, a mother at 40 in an axis of evil country (or one with equal poverty issues) will have one child less to feed (which is insanely difficult in the first place), be left with two or three other children to care for and foster and more money to do so.

Something which you obviously want to deny by emotionalizing an issue which certainly doesn't need more emotionalizing, as this is exactly the kind of fuel which lets the war machinery start in the first place.

And I am not making up the economic rates in which life is measured on this planet. Your imbecile try to compare me to the nazis is a poor attempt of avoiding the questions at hand: how to cope with the disaster which world population politics has left this planet which will have 12 billion people by 2020. And you can try to come up with ethics and show me how my "logical" conclusion, I would care less about "their lifes". 1) You don't know anything about me. I care for all human lifes equally, with a few exceptions (those that I actually know and love) 2) You have to be able to afford ethics.

Just stating vague ethical (like your attempt of making me look like I compared Iraqis to animals - which I do not, I think all humans are animals to begin with) won't solve a damn thing. Stating the facts about the poor state of the world is a start to a concept which could.
posted by zerofoks at 4:31 AM on March 22, 2003


argh. too anxious.

rea life
-> real life

vague ethical
-> vague ethical issues
posted by zerofoks at 4:33 AM on March 22, 2003


For those people opposed to the war, for ideological reasons, and despite what the conservative side believes, those ideological reasons are very valid; for those who have sons, daughters, close personal friends, fighting the fight that G.W. sent them to fight; they worry about their family members. And perhaps, they think that if they show what was lost... put a face to the loss, perhaps the US will hedge back their bets of American soliders giving their lives so Dick Cheney can get his grubby paws on some oil and G.W. can make sure he is the father of American Imperialism. So that they can grieve, and show what we have lost; maybe then the family down the street won't lose their loved one in a pointless war either.
posted by benjh at 4:34 AM on March 22, 2003


As y2karl hinted, the press works from well-worn and effective templates. This one seems plucked directly from soft-focus 'Olympic hero' coverage. It doesn't translate well.
posted by riviera at 4:40 AM on March 22, 2003


But if I turn off my brain and accept that this war action is the only way to solve the problem, I can see that so far, so good.

a lot of people have turned off their brains.
posted by kv at 5:08 AM on March 22, 2003


zerofoks: In my opinion you could be right. And you could be wrong.

Without any references to a society's cultural value system, no definition of a child's own value in that specific society can be accurate. This might be the reason why your theory is misinterpreted. Your birth rate reference could be considered a fact in itself, but hardly sufficient substance when defining value. Birth rate should rather be considered an indicator of a society's cultural values in the aspect of reproduction. You were, however, vaguely aiming in the right direction when mentioning a higher cause.

In very, very short terms:
Children are regarded as a blessing of God in most societies. In Muslim societies, including not only the Middle East but also African and other Asian countries, this "blessing" has a deeper meaning than it has in our Western world. A child ensures a family's survival, the growth of society, and constitutes the meaning of life. A child does not solely belong to her parents but rather, in more than one sense, God and society. In our Western cultures a child belongs solely to the family. Harshly put - it's a possession, a beloved item. Without going any further, I assume you can come to your own conclusions.

I don't want to say you're right or wrong, but I do not agree that "birth rate" plus "poverty" plus "willingness-to-send-child-to-war" equals "less loss".

I wouldn't argue over loss in the first place.
posted by psychomedia at 5:18 AM on March 22, 2003


a mother at 40 in an axis of evil country (or one with equal poverty issues) will have one child less to feed (which is insanely difficult in the first place), be left with two or three other children to care for and foster and more money to do so.

She will also have one less child to support her in her old age -- what's the point? I don't understand what you're driving at. The Axis mother will find some condolence in the death of her child because she doesn't have to feed it anymore? When the children of western mothers die, do the mothers console themselves with the fact that at least they'll have a bit more extra cash lying around? ("Well, little Johnny's dead, but at least I don't have to pay for those damn braces!") I submit to you this simple idea: mothers all over the world grieve at the loss of their children, regardless of how many they have or how rich they are. It's a universal human value.

Your imbecile try to compare me to the nazis is a poor attempt of avoiding the questions at hand

Sorry about that. Anyone who puts their location down as the "Fourth Reich" must surely be sensitive about Nazi-related issues. But, to be honest, I wasn't calling you a fascist, nor do I hold you for one. I just wanted to show that making blanket judgments about how a group feels is often a stairway to more dangerous things, especially when you try to argue that one group values life less than another.

As an interesting sidenote: Wealthy countries generally have higher suicide rates than developing countries. (source) In fact, Axis-of-Evil-member Iran has a lower suicide rate than most of Europe. From this I could conclude that Iranians value their lives more -- more than westerners do. But I won't, because these generalizations essentially mean nothing and don't lead anywhere.

On preview: what psychomedia said.
posted by Ljubljana at 5:23 AM on March 22, 2003


And I feel anger and disgust at the media people who don't have the decency to avoid disseminating such stories.

I don't remember you complaining about the extensive, patriotic media coverage of the sorrow of 9-11 victims relatives
If you actually did, please provide link
posted by matteo at 5:38 AM on March 22, 2003


Everyone, regardless of whether you think this war is a good idea or not, should see what happens during it. In the last Gulf War we weren't shown pictures of the carnage that our bombs left in their wake. We should face head on the grief and horrifying images that the press and the government doesn't want us to see.
posted by bas67 at 5:40 AM on March 22, 2003


CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are,
not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of
plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.

She will also have one less child to support her in her old age -- what's the point?

The children most of the time cannot support her parents - as the only jobs they get in these countries are mostly badly paid - if there are any jobs at all for them.

Again - I am not promoting any ethics here. I am pointing out the economic facts - which are most of the times conditions which make life nothing more but a shrapnel for martyrdom.

Some more points which found my "crackpot theory":

Age structure of Iraq:

0-14 years: 41.1% (male 5,003,755; female 4,849,238)
15-64 years: 55.9% (male 6,794,265; female 6,624,662)
65 years and over: 3% (male 341,520; female 388,376) (2002 est.)

Age structure of the USA:

0-14 years: 21% (male 30,116,782; female 28,765,183)
15-64 years: 66.4% (male 92,391,120; female 93,986,468)
65 years and over: 12.6% (male 14,748,522; female 20,554,414) (2002 est.)

Now, how much do the young men (which are in a much higher ratio in the Iraq than in the US) earn for a living? How many of them do actually have a job? I know social conditions aren't the best in the US either, but they have an unemployment rate of about 5%. My guess is that it is much higher in the Iraq. Young men without money or present conditions which could lead to a future with money lead to the ethics which don't value the present life too much.

btw: I see myself as a citizen of the fourth reich, because that is, IMHO, what post-WW2 Germany is ascending to become. Not that I am happy with that or anything.
posted by zerofoks at 5:52 AM on March 22, 2003


Since we're spouting racist half-baked theories, here's my contribution (actually more of a hypothetical than a theory):

If a German mother loses a child, and the average German mother kisses her child once a day, does that mean her grief will be less than....say, the average Italian mother who kisses her child seven times a day?
posted by Devils Slide at 6:32 AM on March 22, 2003


If "racist" is aimed at me, I would like you to back it up.
This internet obviously invites people to just arbitrarily sling shit at people who they wouldn't dare tell the same moronic stuff to their faces.

I wasn't at all making a point on how much personal grief or loss should or could be measured. I was making a point on how much life is generally valued in different kind of cultural and economically contexts. What's so fuckin' racist about that, smartass?

Of course, if you were aiming your shit @ somebody else, I am sorry. Go on making a fool out of yourself.
posted by zerofoks at 6:41 AM on March 22, 2003


zerofoks - I wasn't around for the bulk of this disagreement. Accusations of racism are easily flung, can stick like wet tar, and can be as hard to erase. You've been tarred with the "So you say life is cheap over there?" brush. But I am not clear that this is what you intended to say.

I decided to annotate and expand on your statement, in my own fashion - for it is rooted certainly in some empirical realities. So - Please indulge me.

"While in the Iraq 4.63 children are born/woman (2002 est.), the USA "only" has 2.07 children born/woman (2002 est.) [ and if Iraq were to become more affluent, and if Iraqi health care, nutrition, and access to clean water improved, Iraqi parents would bear fewer children. There is a proven statistical correlation between these aforementioned variables and family size. Parents seek to ensure that at least a few children will survive, and so they must bear a few extra as a statistical hedge. It is impossible to say if this means that Iraqi parents with many offspring love any one child less than do American parents with few offspring. But I do suspect that the emotional blow - the loss of a child - is less devastating to parents who have other, surviving, children. Yet, does this lessen the tragedy? ] My point: American parents will be more protective over their only or first born child [ You are probably correct in this assertion, in that humans, and parents, have limited time and energy. Iraqi parents with many children must divide their slender resources and their energy, time, and love amongst those many. American parents can concentrate their abundant resources and child rearing energies on their few offspring. ] and their mourning will be "louder" (not more just, mind you) than the mourning of the Iraqi parents..." [ The mourning of American parents will certainly be louder to Americans, for the US media will give those mourning parents a very, very large megaphone with which to broadcast their sorrow. The Iraqi parents do not have such a megaphone, although I suspect that they can be heard to an extent on a few media venues, such as Al Jazeera]

Nonetheless, life is never cheap.
posted by troutfishing at 7:18 AM on March 22, 2003


zerofoks-

You are a worthless bigot.
posted by the fire you left me at 7:31 AM on March 22, 2003


"In this fight, we should wait and see if the end of the Hussain (sic) regime will bring democracy to the Iraqi people, stability to the region, and leave the control of oil to the Iraqi people."

In other words, we should blindly support our government and wait to see what the ends are, even if the means don't justify them.

Anything else wouldn't be supporting our soldiers -- it would slip blindly into the realm of democracy, and we know what our military thinks of that.

Quote from U. S. Army Training Manual No. 2000-25

"Democracy, n.:
A government of the masses.

Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of direct expression. Results in mobocracy. Attitude toward property is communistic... negating property rights. Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it is based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences. Result is demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, chaos."

posted by insomnia_lj at 7:35 AM on March 22, 2003


psmealey and riviera, I'm not sure what your objection to the story is?

The writer is trying to create a sense of place. She is trying to place the people she is writing about in a sociological context. She is trying to make real for her readers a place very different from the one they live in, which for very many is NYC itself, and for most is some urban, politically liberal, comfortably upper-middle-class stronghold where there's nothing as plebeian as a water tower in sight, certainly not one with a flag on it.

There's a lot of America which isn't like New York City. For many of Jodi Wilgoren's readers, a town like St. Anne, Ill., is as alien as some place in the Congo.

It may not be brilliant writing, but it's competent newspaper prose, which does what it intends to do.

I am convinced that if executions were made public, the torture and violence would be unmasked, and we would be shamed into abolishing executions.

Sister Prejean, take a good long look at konolia's link (you know, the one which everyone else in the thread is carefully averting their eyes from). Executions are public as hell in Iraq, and they sure aren't being abolished.

y2karl: Is one American life really worth 10,000 Iraqi lives?

Apparently Saddam Hussein thinks so, as he's the one who made the trade. Think that would have happened in a democracy? Me neither. We haven't fought many democracies lately, have we? Doesn't that suggest to you that the problem isn't us, it's a messianic dictator? And that such troublesome questions and issues as you mention wouldn't have any meaning if Iraq were a democracy? And they'll keep coming up as long as it isn't?

P.S. The correct answers are no, no, yes, yes, yes. Just being helpful.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 7:45 AM on March 22, 2003


For those who haven't clicked my link, four Iraqi women describe the true horrors of Saddam's regime from inside experience. Guess what THEIR view of this war is?

Just sayin'.

(thanks, Slithy_Tove.)
posted by konolia at 8:07 AM on March 22, 2003


insomnia_lj - Where did you get THAT amazing quote - from a current US Army training manual? (!)
posted by troutfishing at 8:34 AM on March 22, 2003


Guess what THEIR view of this war is?
What does their view matter as it pertains to US armed forces lives being lost? Does the US suddenly have permission to roll troops anywhere something bad is happening? This war has not been justified in any way that is acceptable, and yet it is happening.
posted by thirteen at 8:58 AM on March 22, 2003


the fire you left me: What do you want me to do? Look up "bigot" at Webster and then post it here to show you that you are wrong? Or just post a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger telling you STFU? What is this? FARK?

and if Iraq were to become more affluent, and if Iraqi health care, nutrition, and access to clean water improved, Iraqi parents would bear fewer children. There is a proven statistical correlation between these aforementioned variables and family size.

While you are correct that there is a correlation, your interpretation isn't really correct:
If Iraqi parents didn't live under undemocratic conditions with no property rights installed (another factor might be the stance on abortion and birth control - but I don't know Saddam's point of view here), they could chose their own fate and style of life, would slowly and in a dynamic process, ammount some money for themselves and bear lesser children (at first), then improve their environmental and personal conditions so far that the free chose for children would be a reasonable option once again.

So, the cost of children and the wish for children kind of influence each other dynamically in free democracies. Where fascist regimes or religious doctrines are working on harsh population policies, the mass will not benefit in the end.
posted by zerofoks at 9:16 AM on March 22, 2003


psmealey and riviera, I'm not sure what your objection to the story is?

It's not an objection so much as a stylistic observation. American fact-based media has certain noticeable forms that differ from British ones, which you can see by watching the juxtaposed BBC World News with its ABC version on late-night television here. The 'In Search Of America' thing that Peter Jennings introduces, for instance, has that 'Metropolitan view of small-town America which manages to be simultaneously condescending and embracing of its subject' perspective, as with:

The Stars and Stripes are painted on the town's water tower. The marquee advertising ice for 25 cents at the liquor store is wrapped in red, white and blue bunting. Even the little Clip & Curl has a "Support Our Troops" bumper sticker in the window.

This may be factual -- I don't deny it. But it's also soft-focus journalism.

I suppose what's slightly interesting is the way that stories like this reflect on the extent to which American culture is, as it's claimed to be, built around the cultivation of individual talents and the pursuit of individual goals -- the 'Olympic hero' thing I mentioned. The armed forces, after all, recognise individual talent, but also in a context which by necessity constrains individual expression and beliefs through strict hierarchy, the rule of order, and an oath of allegiance that entails entering a world of very different constitutional freedoms.

Admiring those who fight for you, especially for individual valour that may not come from orders, goes back as far as civilisation (that would be in Iraq, of course, by some irony) but there's a curious balancing act that goes in in the American press coverage of soldiers. Are they to be presented in a format that makes you think of sports stars, or as members of a closely-knit and like-minded community? And this piece seems caught between the two.
posted by riviera at 9:16 AM on March 22, 2003


Nonetheless, life is never cheap.

I second that. We should do all which is in our power to ammount enough to preserve it.
posted by zerofoks at 9:17 AM on March 22, 2003


insomnia_lj :

Sure the army is no institution democratic in itself. What's so surprising about that? But I am sure US military officals know damn well where their paycheques come from, other than, say Pakistani or Turkish military. And thus, they will probably do what they get told from the president. Which is something working democracies ought to be able to somehow control, or not?
posted by zerofoks at 9:23 AM on March 22, 2003


If the very mention of love and peace make you vomit, I doubt that any concept you might hold of "a perfect world" is one worth aspiring to.

Not my doing, but a group of those promoting 'love and peace'.

Read the news.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 9:25 AM on March 22, 2003


Zerofoks, getting back to the very, very strange point you were for some reason trying to make:

I didn't say they would "cry less" (only cry "louder" and that was meant in a media-contextualized way and not in an actual audio-contextualized way),

That makes zero sense: how many media outlets does Iraq have vs. the U.S., and what kind of news to they spend their time reporting? When an American child is lost, a hundred reporters descend on the parents. When an Iraqi child is lost, they don't have those kinds of news sources and what few they do are probably covering the ongoing bombings. This has absolutely nothing to do with the birth rate per mother, and your correlation is bizarre and irrelevant.

but I want you to prove me wrong when I say that the loss of an only child is more affecting to wealthy western parents than it is to poor third world parents and not just jump at me with phrases like "vulgar thoughts" or anything. And why it is stupid I still have to get explained.

The burden of proof is on the person making the claim. When someone claims that the Earth was seeded with life by purple squid from the Lesser Magellanic Cloud, I don't have to scrounge for proof they're wrong. I know of no reason to quantify grieving by birth rate, nor any reason why I would want one, and think the attempt to make such a case is as creepy and bizzare as it is pointless and academic.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:30 AM on March 22, 2003


FWIW zerofoks, I don't think you're bigoted or racist. I still think your theory is upside down: birth ratios are higher in poorer countries because children are more likely to die before they reach adulthood. I don't think it's a conscious decision; it simply happens. My suggestion was that your theory was flawed because it was based on the idea people in poorer countries were wildy uncaring about their children because there are so many of the damn things about. We might test this by polling mothers in rich and poor countries about Michael Jackson dangling his baby from a balcony.

To everyone on this site who's so happy to tell someone they're a bigot or a racist: zerofoks's identified himself as German. Instead of thinking, "Duh, Nazi," maybe your first reaction in the future could be, "Wow, that's a damn sight better than I could express myself in German. Maybe something's lost in translation." I don't think people should be given a free pass on message boards because you can't know their background and what they're really thinking, but I think too many people get deep satisfaction from tarring other people with ugly labels.
posted by yerfatma at 9:36 AM on March 22, 2003


That makes zero sense: how many media outlets does Iraq have vs. the U.S., and what kind of news to they spend their time reporting?

Both governments are letting the propaganda rain on their population 24/7. How is that not a media outlet? And in the US the media is even "free", so my point stands and is valid.

As for your arbitrary adjectives:

creepy - yes, but that's the state of the world. welcome to it.

bizarre - depends on your point of view, i guess.

irrelevant - not at all.

academic - oh, yes. thank you.
posted by zerofoks at 9:43 AM on March 22, 2003


FWIW zerofoks, I don't think you're bigoted or racist. I still think your theory is upside down: birth ratios are higher in poorer countries because children are more likely to die before they reach adulthood. I don't think it's a conscious decision; it simply happens. My suggestion was that your theory was flawed because it was based on the idea people in poorer countries were wildy uncaring about their children because there are so many of the damn things about. We might test this by polling mothers in rich and poor countries about Michael Jackson dangling his baby from a balcony.

But why are children are more likely to die? Because parents are unable to care for them. And the root of that? Not a concious decision, I admit. More or less the constant suppression by a ruthless regime which by its fascist nature doesn't care about its people at all.

And I didn't say that people in poorer countries were "wildly uncaring about their children". But what should they do with them if they cannot care for them? Let them starve to death? Practice euthanasia on them? Send them into sweatshops (probably all gone due to trade sanctions of the last decade)?
Or send them into the army, hoping that Saddam's promises of a bright future after occupying Kuwait or Iran or Saudia Arabia will come true?
posted by zerofoks at 9:49 AM on March 22, 2003


Where did you get THAT amazing quote - from a current US Army training manual? (!)

According to numerous sources, the definition comes from the U.S. Army manual in use from 1928-1932.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:01 AM on March 22, 2003


Kirkaracha, Insomnia_LJ and Troutfishing:

Old news - I know - but I've been digging on the following...

Army Manual 2000-25
Many of you have seen the reprint of this document. If you have, it's worth reading again. If you have not, it is worth reading, studying, and reciting to your friends, family, and neighbors. It is copied from Training Manual No. 2000-25 that was published by the then War Department, Washington, D.C., November 30, 1928.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Official Definition of DEMOCRACY

NOTE

Here are four (4) facsimile section reproductions taken from a 156 page book officially compiled and issued by the U.S. War Department, November 30,1928, setting forth exact and truthful definitions of a Democracy and of a Republic, explaining the difference between both. These definitions were published by the authority of the United States Government and must be accepted as authentic in any court of proper jurisdiction. These precise and scholarly definitions of a Democracy and a Republic were carefully considered as a proper guide for U.S. soldiers and U.S. citizens by the Chief of Staff of the United States Army. Such definition stake precedence over any "definition" that may be found in the present commercial dictionaries which have suffered periodical "modification" to please "the powers in office. Shortly after the "bank holiday" in the thirties, hush-hush orders from the White House suddenly demanded that all copies of this book be withdrawn from the Government Printing Office and the Army posts, to be suppressed and destroyed without explanation. This was the beginning of the complete red control of the Government from within, not from without.
I'm going to go out on a limb here. I think this is a bogus quote or manual - or at the very least being taken out of context.

Why?

Well, the series number (2000-25) doesn't match up at all with current army nomenclature for manuals, or the progressive nomenclature they've used since before WW2. For example, they used a designator (like TM for Training Manual) then a series number (like 9 for vehicles, 10 for quartermaster, 11 for technical equipment) then a manual number for the particular piece of equipment or procedure. I'm doubtful that 2000 would be used in 1928 as a series number.

Second, the above reference is citing this manual as proof from 1928 that this was "... the beginning of the complete red control of the Government from within, not from without." was written in the (supposed) 50's.

So, as a guess, this COULD be a bogus thing fabricated in the '50s as part of the anti-communist movements, an old chain letter thing that's still active today. What I was able to find on it on the web gave me the impression it's been circulating a long time, and has the status of urban legend.
I sure wouldn't bank on it being authentic, or indicative of current policy. I could be wrong - but I've got serious doubts about it.

JB
posted by JB71 at 10:05 AM on March 22, 2003


Because parents are unable to care for them

By whose standards? Do you mean they can't take their kids to Johns Hopkins when they're sick? Any parent who does everything in their power to take care of their child is caring for them. It's not a relative thing (ignoring extreme cases like a mentally handicapped parent); a good parent is a good parent whether they're in a hovel or a penthouse.

I think you're arguing something different from what I'm hearing. It sounds like you're suggesting the US has put Iraqi parents in an unwinnable situation where rearing their children for military service against the US is the best they can do. I'll agree the US, through war and sanctions, has made life tougher for Iraqis. Everything else is untenable IMHO.
posted by yerfatma at 10:19 AM on March 22, 2003


a good parent is a good parent whether they're in a hovel or a penthouse.

That is not the question at hand, the question is how likely it is for a population which is mostly poor and supressed to care for their children, i.e. keep them alive and provide them with chances for a good and stable future. I am not saying that it is the parents' fault if they fail at this. It is Saddam's. Or maybe the US' for empowering him in the first place. But that is another question alltogether.
I am just saying that parents can strive to love their children as much as they want but the harsh realities in the Iraq are making most people there think and react more realistic and less idealistic - which is cynical to mention, yes. But to overlook it is dangerously irresponsible if you really want to get involved in the actual politics.

*If* you take a stance which solely justifies the means with the ends they are producing, the war will probably solve the problem at hand: Saddam.
posted by zerofoks at 10:28 AM on March 22, 2003


Possibly relevant to something in this thread, a letter from Mali:

'If mother will not even take rent money from 32-year-old Wat, because "he is another woman's child", you may well imagine that she finds it hard to understand why George Bush and Tony Blair allow Iraqi children to starve to death or die from lack of healthcare.'
posted by asok at 10:41 AM on March 22, 2003


zerofok - "So, the cost of children and the wish for children kind of influence each other dynamically in free democracies" - I can't argue with that statement. Everything - all the world, really, is a complex of dynamical relationships. However (as far as I'm aware) the correlation between access to basic health care, decent nutrition and clean water and women's access to education and birth (I forgot to mention the last two) holds in both dictatorial regimes and in democratic states - such as the Indian State of Kerala (a case study, really, in the factors which really influence fertility - see Frances Lappe').

By the way (seconding yerfatma), your command of English is better than many on Metafilter. I'd say that you were attacked because of 1) the abstract nature of your statements (easy to misinterpret) and 2) people are agitated due to the war.
posted by troutfishing at 11:04 AM on March 22, 2003


0-foks: do you have kids?
posted by adampsyche at 11:06 AM on March 22, 2003


troutfishing:

I do not claim to have the answers. I know some things, for instance that the chance for liberty has to be given before it can be realized. Saddam has to be removed, and the Iraqi people are clearly uncapable to do that on their own. Property rights have to be installed. All lovers of peace should engage into trade the new capitalist democracy of Iraq which maybe will be constituted. Political observants should not cease, not even after many years and many other wars to come, to cover up corruption and political crimes (which will occur) and let the world, specifically those responsible, know about that (in Serbia, for instance, Germany has very poorly neglected this out of economic self interest).

Thanks for your comment on my English. I am not really good at reacting to compliments, so I'll just leave it at that. Heh.

adampsyche: No, but if given the chance to support a child until it can support itself (and the courage to put one into this pretty fucked up world), I would really like to give it a try.
posted by zerofoks at 11:20 AM on March 22, 2003


To the people who support this stinking, illegal, immoral little war....look at the faces of those dead Americans and reap the fucking whirlwind. Their blood is on your hands.

These young Americans (and who knows how many Iraqis) died to support your spoiled, selfish, xenophobic, banal worldview. There will be a reckoning.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:34 AM on March 22, 2003


aaaaargh....

into trade the new capitalist democracy
-> into trade with the new capitalist democracy
posted by zerofoks at 11:36 AM on March 22, 2003


To the people who support this stinking, illegal, immoral little war....look at the faces of those dead Americans and reap the fucking whirlwind. Their blood is on your hands.

For being a compassionate person f&m. Maybe let the disease have some peace. Some folks have loved over there, will not burden my hands with my loved one's blood. Your statement comes off as you want people to live their lives in the past. We all mistakes but have some compassion for folk's future lives.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:52 AM on March 22, 2003


I'd like to know how many are for or against the war.

Tell me, are you really for the war - like, do you feel the urge to join up and go get yourself a stringer full of Iraqi ears; are you so for it that you'd march your son and/or daughter right down to the recruiter's office and sign 'em up - are you that for it? Or are you one of those that are for the war but only if someone else's son, daughter, mother, father, brother or sister will go fight the battle for you? Or are you against the war?

Just wondering.....
posted by LowDog at 12:11 PM on March 22, 2003


LowDog, fold_and_mutilate and thomcatspike: While I think your views are worth to be discussed, I think it would be kinda derailing this thread even more (which I admit being guilty about, too) and posting them here is just about as productive as posting them in any other of the many Iraq FPPs. I suggest you post another FPP, providing some interesting links to start off discussion.
posted by zerofoks at 12:16 PM on March 22, 2003


let the disease have some wish they were just diseased, could still save their life, should have been...


let the deceased
posted by thomcatspike at 12:19 PM on March 22, 2003


the rhetoric seems to be getting a little harsh here and
I'm not seeing any interesting links
posted by y2karl at 12:22 PM on March 22, 2003


Some very interesting links ...
posted by zerofoks at 12:35 PM on March 22, 2003


y2karl yours was better shedding some light to the thread.[saw it coming, yet still bit, my bad, damn hooks hurt] \!!!/
posted by thomcatspike at 12:42 PM on March 22, 2003


What does their view matter as it pertains to US armed forces lives being lost? Does the US suddenly have permission to roll troops anywhere something bad is happening? This war has not been justified in any way that is acceptable, and yet it is happening.

Well, in any way acceptable to the French, anyway. That point is rather debatable.* But my main purpose in posting the link was to point out that there are Iraqis who do find this war more than acceptable, and that they deserve to be heard just as much as anyone else.

I do know that constantly giving Saddam chance after chance after chance is bad policy and bad precedent. I could wish we could have found another way to deal with this, of course.


*during or at the end of this conflict we should know whether or not the Bush administration is correct regarding Saddam's possession of weapons of mass destruction. That will determine my own opinion of what is happening. That said, I have a higher regard for George W.s character than most on this board, which inclines me to believe this war was necessary on our account as well as for the Iraqi people.
posted by konolia at 12:42 PM on March 22, 2003


What (parts of) the US military thinks about the demographic time bomb in the middle east.
posted by zerofoks at 12:48 PM on March 22, 2003


foldy, you need to get a handle on that hate of yours. If you don't, it will consume you. You won't enjoy the experience, and neither will anyone else.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 12:49 PM on March 22, 2003


Another riff on my usual theme.

A group of American anti-war demonstrators who came to Iraq with Japanese human shield volunteers made it across the border today with 14 hours of uncensored video, all shot without Iraqi government minders present. Kenneth Joseph, a young American pastor with the Assyrian Church of the East, told UPI the trip "had shocked me back to reality." Some of the Iraqis he interviewed on camera "told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler. He and his sons are sick sadists. Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill, such as people put in a huge shredder for plastic products, feet first so they could hear their screams as bodies got chewed up from foot to head."
posted by konolia at 12:53 PM on March 22, 2003


I guess it is kind of a futile attempt to speak out against derailing threads which have anything to do with the Iraq... :/
posted by zerofoks at 12:58 PM on March 22, 2003


However I must respond to Slithy_Tove's collection of Logical Fallacies.

Apparently Saddam Hussein thinks so, as he's the one who made the trade.

Bogus. Saddam did not consciously choose to have us kill 100,000 Iraqis. He invaded Kuwait thinking he could get away with it. He made a miscalculation, and then rope-a-doped much as he was doing this time.

We are responsible for our military policy. Massive aerial bombardment is our policy and our responsibility. The Highway of Death is on our tab.

Think that would have happened in a democracy?

Two words: Falklands War.

Me neither.

*Slithy_Tove pats self on back*

We haven't fought many democracies lately, have we?

Serbia comes to mind. Now, democracies can do evil acts, can't they?

Doesn't that suggest to you that the problem isn't us, it's a messianic dictator?

Since your argument is false, no.

And that such troublesome questions and issues as you mention wouldn't have any meaning if Iraq were a democracy?

And if Iraq becomes a true democracy rather than a puppet client state like Afghanistan, it could become an outside possibility we could find ourselves in a war with Iraq. An Arab state may not see the world as we do. Like the Israel-Palestine conflict, for instance. Iraq could be involved in a future war with Israel and end up being bombed by us again as we live up to our security obligations. Of course, that will be World War III. Which may have already started.

And they'll keep coming up as long as it isn't.

*swell of patriotic music*

*Slithy_Tove pins medal on chest*

My comment was not about the current Iraq war specifically and yet you chose to base your piece of emotionalistic irrational propaganda upon one taken-out-of-context sentence I wrote.

People have a hard time dealing with the disproportionate casualty figures in any of our post-World War II wars. Blaming it on the other side is always the easy way to avoid any responsibility on our part.

One can forward arguments attempting to justify the carpet bombing of Iraqi conscript soldiers or the mass plowing under of frontline Iraqi troops in the first Gulf War--notice we are not doing it in this war? Has a lesson been learned?--but blaming our military choices on Saddam is stinkin' thinkin'.

Or was Hitler responsible for the fire bombing of Dresden, or on the larger scale, the Allies' mass bombing of civilians in World War II?

Just being logical. You know, it never hurts to present a credible argument if you are going to be so self-congratulatory in the process. It's watching a basketball player running seven steps without dribbling and then slam dunk into a basket one foot off the floor.
posted by y2karl at 1:10 PM on March 22, 2003


like watching, that is.
posted by y2karl at 1:11 PM on March 22, 2003


Well, in any way acceptable to the French, anyway.
I can hear the chortle, but last time I checked I was an American citizen, and it is my money being spent, and my family on the line. I am saying that Iraqi citizen do not get a say in foreign policy and that it does not matter that some of them may want us there. What makes you think they deserve to be heard in a debate about Americans being put in harms way?

You are now in a position where you are hoping that Saddam had these particular weapons so that the crime situation going on is not magnified even further. The end does not justify anything, and the only lesson anyone is going to get out of this is that they better go nuclear as soon as possible if they do not want the US rolling in anytime they feel like fabricating a situation. North Korea may end up being the real winner.

There has been no attempt to explain this war, and you have not eve attempted to answer the question.

I am not sure what you are hoping for in referencing the UN? Do you support the organization or not? The governments position has been erratic. Myself, I do not like it and would like to withdraw. Still, if you are for it, then how is acting against the groups wishes appropriate? If you do not like it, then what does it matter if Saddam defies it? The US ignores it all the time..
posted by thirteen at 1:29 PM on March 22, 2003


last time I checked I was an American citizen, and it is my money being spent, and my family on the line. I am saying that Iraqi citizen do not get a say in foreign policy and that it does not matter that some of them may want us there. What makes you think they deserve to be heard in a debate about Americans being put in harms way?

Because I would rather hear what THEY say about it than what some non-Iraqis are claiming to say FOR them.
posted by konolia at 1:55 PM on March 22, 2003


I for one would wait to see this so called president liberate a country without oil reserves before I would "trust his character." Perhaps he would have been a little more worthy of trust if he had chosen a less "profitable" liberation as his first mission.
posted by SweetIceT at 2:13 PM on March 22, 2003


And what is it people are saying for them? And again, what does it have to do with this particular discussion. If the terrified Iraqis told us to jump off a bridge yada yada?
posted by thirteen at 2:21 PM on March 22, 2003


Oh-I missed the part where we take over all the oil fields for ourselves (/heavy sarcasm)

Fine. Obviously you all would be happy to see every single Iraqian man shredded and every Iraqian woman raped and killed, just as long as we stay out of it. (/more heavy sarcasm)

Look, this situation is complicated as Hades. There are way more positions than simply for war/against war, and I am still working my way through them. I am not 100% for this war, but I don't think the USA is evil incarnate for what it is doing in Iraq either.
posted by konolia at 3:11 PM on March 22, 2003


No the USA is not evil incarnate....but the current administration is! If it were not for the dirty underhanded dealings of some of them years ago, we would't be in the mess we are today.
posted by SweetIceT at 3:47 PM on March 22, 2003


Your sarcasm is not needed and misleading. No one here has any animosity toward the people of Iraq (not even the people who can dismiss the inevitable civilian causalities I suspect). The question is why do Americans have to die to change that situation. That would not be a classic liberal position, which Republicans pay lip service to constantly.

The situation is complicated, which is why simple invasion is inappropriate. And there are many positions available, but only one is moral towards the citizens of the states. It is wrong to spend the life of a single US soldier, and the money of every taxpayer (many of whom are opposed) on an action that is based on a guess, and which will not reduce, which can credibly increase the threat of terrorism on US soil. Saddam is a bad man, but this is not the responsibility of the United States. You may not be 100% for the war, but you are apologizing for it left and right.
Ask why, and ask it all the time.
posted by thirteen at 3:54 PM on March 22, 2003


Here's a tip: the administration's rationale for invading is Weapons of Mass Destruction. If a case, pathetic and flimsy as it is, could not be made for Saddam possessing WMD, there would be no invasion. All this handwringing about human rights is bunk--we would never invade on the grounds he was performing atrocities on his own people if he did not ambitions in developing nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. All this you are turning a blind eye to atrocities is bullshit.

I do think Saddam is a bad bad man and that arguments for military action--as a last resort--to depose him purely on reasons of bad government have moral force. If a credible case could be made--clear and present danger--I could get behind it. I did not march in the streets against the first Gulf War. With credible evidence, if we were told upfront and in full detail what it will cost, how many troops we will be stationing in Iraq and for how long and if it were done right--under international law, with an international consensus like George Herbert Walker Bush assembled for the the Gulf War--I could get behind it. I repeat: I did not march in the streets against the first Gulf War.

But look how this invasion was decided upon--U.S. Decision On Iraq Has Puzzling Past--within the administration and note that there was no Congressional debate about this invasion. This is not the way a democracy makes policy.

The whole exercise with the UN was a patent charade--we were always going to invade--during the process of which we managed to damage our relationships with NATO, the UN and scare the world to death in the process. Note how it has polarized this country to a degree I haven't seen since Vietnam.

I'm sorry, but the government's rationale for invasion is WMD. If you are concerned about atrocities, remember this Clinton hating administration was ready to bail out on Bosnia and Kosovo. You can't cherry pick human rights violations for a fig leaf with that track record..

I could support assassination, destabilization via intrusive troop supported arms inspections, even a military operation to depose Saddam--but not this way.

When a liberal, influential and heretofore sympathetic Iman who expressed solidarity with us after 9/11 now calls for a jihad of Just War against us, when the children of secular elites of Egypt riot in the streets of Cairo, when citizens of our ally Kuwait roll two grenades in one of our command tents, when this increases--not decreases--the chance for another 9/11 and when North Korea and Iran will now become nuclear states for sure: this war has put us into more, not less, danger.

All this sobbing about the plight of the poor Iraqi people might be believable if any of you can produce any credible expression of concern for Iraqi human rights made here before the administration started using this rationale. Otherwise, that dog won't hunt.

Again, I can see an invasion to depose Saddam but not this invasion, even if we "win": War on Terror, people, not War For More Terror On Us.
posted by y2karl at 5:05 PM on March 22, 2003


what y2karl said
posted by SweetIceT at 5:38 PM on March 22, 2003


It's my understanding that it's illegal for us (meaning the USA) to send operatives over to assassinate anyone. Does anyone know for sure if that's the case?
posted by konolia at 7:48 PM on March 22, 2003


It's my understanding that it's illegal for us (meaning the USA) to send operatives over to assassinate anyone. Does anyone know for sure if that's the case?

Clinton signed an executive order OK'ing busting a cap in Osama's ass, who is not a head of state, but come on--we have the mandate of international law and the Security Council to be in Iraq according to GW and His Bungle Boys--and outside of the Brits, Ozzies and the coalition of the bribed, bullied and armtwisted, no other country buys that one.

You'd think you could put an exectuive fatwa on Saddam's ass just as easily. Hell, I put a fatwa on his ass, OK? And I'll put one on anyone else you want, just show me the money.
posted by y2karl at 8:39 PM on March 22, 2003


y2karl: Bogus. Saddam did not consciously choose to have us kill 100,000 Iraqis.

I'm sure he didn't calculate it out, and I'm sure he didn't plan to be soundly defeated. But he must have known that in going up against the allies, he was going to take a lot more casualties than they were. He thought he could win anyway. He was wrong.

Two words: Falklands War.

Two more words: military junta. Argentina was not a democracy at the time it seized the Falklands. It was a military dictatorship, led by General Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri (who died just this last January).

Serbia comes to mind. Now, democracies can do evil acts, can't they?

Serbia was not a democracy at the time of the Balkan wars. Slobodan Milosevic came to power in a putsch in 1987. He overturned election results in 1996. No, no one would deny that democracies can do evil acts. My point is that it is rare, verging on unheard of, for democracies to go to war against each other.

The more democracies, the fewer wars.

My comment was not about the current Iraq war specifically and yet you chose to base your piece of emotionalistic irrational propaganda upon one taken-out-of-context sentence I wrote.

Read it again. Though I only quoted one line, I was addressing the overall concerns of your post. The answer the the problems you raise is: less conflict between nations. And the way to get to that point is: more democracies.

Oh, and 'emotionalistic'? Uh, look around you. Observe the screaming and spitting and feces-flinging. I may be the least 'emotionalistic' person on this whole &%$#@ webboard.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:23 PM on March 22, 2003


*raises Vulcan eyebrow in bemusement*
posted by y2karl at 10:52 PM on March 22, 2003


but dang you're right on the Falklands & Serbia: both became democracies later. sorta. I stand behind my Iraq democracy not seeing eye to eye on Israel comment, however.That's a no brainer. I'm happy to see him go and I'm sure we'll all be sickened by the revelations, but not happy how it was done. To make enemies of all Islam--Pakistan, India, Indonesia, all of asia's muslims, put Jordan and Egypt on the ropes, antagonize the world and polarize the country, too... What were they thinking?

The Iraqis will be happy now but how about after a couple of years occupation? Apart from that, I don't see this being anything but a big al Queda recruiting drive.

And try this thought experiment: China becomes a democracy. Think they'll give up their nukes and be our buddies? I doubt it--especially now.
posted by y2karl at 11:03 PM on March 22, 2003


Quick on the uptake, aren't you Zerofoks? Yes, I'm calling you racist.

"I was making a point on how much life is generally valued in different kind of cultural and economically contexts. What's so fuckin' racist about that, smartass?"

It just so happens that according to your theory, "axis of evil" (btw let's call it "axis of diversion" from now on) parents are more likely to write off a child because he is one of four children as opposed to one of two children. You suggest that a parent performs a perverted subconscious arithmetic in their head in which the life of their child is weighed against the financial benefits they will reap if he is killed. Oh, and it just so happens that households from developed countries have fewer children and their children's lives are more precious to them so they're more human/caring/civilized by default. Are you a mother? I doubt it. I would wager that the vast majority of mothers --no matter where they're from -- don't think of their children as a replenishable commodity. Parental love is unconditional, and unconditional love, by definition, is not influenced by the parents' interests. Your facile theory ignores the myriad of factors that influence a country's decision to go to war (or keep fighting a war) and clings desperately to one predictor. For your information, leaders and ruling parties wage and orchestrate wars, not the parents of soldiers. They just dupe their constituents into going along with it. If anything, the general population of a totalitarian regime such as Iraq have no say in the decision to go to war (we in the West have no such excuse).

"Iraqi families are poor, like most families under fascist regimes are where the population has a high birth / mother ratio. As much as every family loves their children, these factual conditions make it more likely for the parents (and the children, too) to give their life for a higher cause and be rewarded in heaven or with cheques for martyrdom afterwards."

Don't get Iraqis and Palestinians mixed up. Iraq is secular, and the $25,000 checks Saddam sent out went to the families of Palestinians. There have been no Iraqi "martyrs". Furthermore, Palestinian suicide bombings (which needless to say are abhorrent) are motivated much more by political/ideological reasons rather than religious ones. Islam is just so ingrained in the Arab world that everything ties into it in one way or another. To say the Palestinians' motivation for carrying out attacks against Israel is to go to heaven or reap a cash reward is to ignore their legitimate qualms against Israel and reduce their desire for freedom and a homeland to the selfish childish acts of a naive barbaric people. Just so there's no confusion, let me reiterate that I am just as disgusted by the attacks on the Israeli population as I am by the brutal treatment of Palestinians by Israel....but that's another can of worms.

"If not a priori, at least a posteriori by the rea life reactions of those who suffered the loss. A mother at 40 in the west who cannot give birth to a child anymore will be left with a future without a child, a mother at 40 in an axis of evil country (or one with equal poverty issues) will have one child less to feed (which is insanely difficult in the first place), be left with two or three other children to care for and foster and more money to do so."

What the hell have you been smoking? "One less child to feed"? You don't see the blatant fucking racism in that statement? If the offspring is a soldier who is conscripted, he is an adult who more than likely is not dependent on his parents for sustenance. Or is it that you meant the offspring is still a child so the parents are still feeding him/her? How will the child get killed? More than likely in an errant bombing. Meaning the family's house gets hit -- probably with the parents in it, as well as the children --so there's no guarantee they'd survive the blast either.

"The children most of the time cannot support her parents - as the only jobs they get in these countries are mostly badly paid - if there are any jobs at all for them."

What do you know about the family dynamic in "these countries"? I don't know what your experience of "these countries" is, and how you came to acquire it, but I can tell you that elderly parents are not routinely "sent out on the ice" in Iraq and Iran. No matter how humble your abode, how meager your food supplies, how dismal your prospects, your elderly parents are not abandoned.

You're advocating an us and them mentality, couched in a dubious "theory" that ignores the many complex factors that lead to war, and then you squeal like a stuck pig when people fail to embrace your brilliant idea and call you on the racism that is at the core of it.
posted by Devils Slide at 11:50 PM on March 22, 2003


Dunvegan:

Staff Sgt. Waters-Bey was one of four U.S. Marines killed
in a CH-46E helicopter crash in Kuwait on Thursday.


I've come into this way too late, and don't want to read 102 posts, but I would have responded to you right away if I had seen it at the time. This response to your comment is exactly the way I feel about the FPP, but the fact you included an image right where everyone can see it makes the response more immediate and easily understandable.

This man died in Kuwait. I doubt these reports... how military vehicles always seem to inexplicably crash during a conflict. These vehicles are used every day, and supposedly designed for harsh conditions, yet they just fall to the ground during a conflict. Maybe the media is under-reporting training accidents or lying about the cause of casualties, but...

It's a little frickin' early to go saluting dead soldiers. At this point, the man was more likely to have died during routine training. He's lucky to have made it this far, at this point. When 300 soldiers die, you can start pissing and moaning.

Bear in mind, I am all for pissing and moaning. I am just offended when "anti-war" appears to be a vocation. This kind of pissing and moaning only strengthens the resolve/argument of the warmongers.
posted by son_of_minya at 12:07 AM on March 23, 2003


You suggest that a parent performs a perverted subconscious arithmetic in their head in which the life of their child is weighed against the financial benefits they will reap if he is killed.

Perverted only in your own little fluffy world. Very real and very harsh in the realities these people live in.
You have to admit that I am right on this point: If a parent cannot guarantee all 4 of her children a stable future (or any future at all), he will be relieved to go back to supporting just 3 if one dies. I am not saying that this is somehow comforting the emotional pain. But the economical "benefit" (a word I never used, it is fitting nonetheless if you regard that the benefit is indirectly as the parents goes back to a state it has been in already) is as concrete and real as these words I type into my computer and not some kind of fluffy unconditional love with which alone you bloody moron will not be able to feed one single mouth.

Parental love is unconditional, and unconditional love, by definition, is not influenced by the parents' interests.

Ideological BS. If anything plays into the love of parents for their children IT IS THEIR INTEREST, be it genetical, social, economically or even sexual. There is no such thing as a transcendental form of love every parent feels for it child, and to assume such a thing is highly irresponsible.

Oh, and it just so happens that households from developed countries have fewer children and their children's lives are more precious to them so they're more human/caring/civilized by default.

Stop putting words and phrases in my mouths I never used, cretin. I never said they would be more civilized because of that. Matter of fact, when defending their children, they can get pretty uncivilized. And my point is still valid: Yes, because the child western parents got is mostly their only child (USA having some different figures, you are slightly reproducing while Germany, for instance, is slowly dying out) they are more vicious in defending them and more "caring" about them (not to mention being more able to care for them, as one or two children simply cost less than three or four, no matter where you live).

"One less child to feed"? You don't see the blatant fucking racism in that statement?

No, I don't. I only see your irrational view of the world in which parents love all their children the same and are able to feed and support them, no matter how many of them there are.

For your information, leaders and ruling parties wage and orchestrate wars, not the parents of soldiers.

I didn't say anything else, you moron. It is pretty ovious through your whole pretty little rant (which I will not redeem being worth of a reply if you continue idiotic phrases like "what the hell have you been smoking" in the future) that you didn't take your time to even read through the whole thread.

There have been no Iraqi "martyrs".

Call them martyrs for the state, cause the soldiers fighting against the superpower USA will be nothing else.

You're advocating an us and them mentality,

Sorry to wake you up, but "us" and "they" exist. 1st world and 3rd world are realities that have to be dealt with. That doesn't mean to make the other one the enemy. But the differences have to be regarded if conditions need to be understood. Which you obviously have no interest in.

and then you squeal like a stuck pig when people fail to embrace your brilliant idea and call you on the racism that is at the core of it.

I still have to be told why I am racist.
posted by zerofoks at 1:33 AM on March 23, 2003


Slithy_Tove, y2karl: Slobodan Miloseviç was in fact the democratically elected president of Serbia. So, in fact, the NATO did wage war against a democracy here.
posted by zerofoks at 1:38 AM on March 23, 2003


I don't know about that, zerofoks. The article says that Slobodan Miloseviç's election in 1990 was free but not fair (Miloseviç had complete control of the media), although he probably would have won anyway; but that the 1992 election 'was neither free nor fair' but doesn't give details. We already know the 1996 election result wasn't valid.

The presence of elections does not mean a country is democratic. Saddam Hussein recently staged an election, and got 100% of the vote. Communist countries regularly held 'elections', with equally predictable results. No one would claim that Iraq or the Communist bloc were democracies. I'm sticking by my assertion that Serbia under Miloseviç was not a democracy in any meaningful sense at the time of the UN actions against it.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 2:31 AM on March 23, 2003


The presence of elections does not mean a country is democratic.

Sure. But is it really worth to discuss this issue here? I am afraid by all the shit flinging monkeys who rush into every Iraq thread these days, it would just end up in a huge argument about how Bush wasn't elected justly etc blah blah blah...
posted by zerofoks at 2:54 AM on March 23, 2003


zerofoks, if I recall correctly you said you are not a parent yet.
Trust me, that is a paradigm shift like no other. Most if not all mothers and fathers -worldwide-would DIE for their children, without giving it a second thought-that is how strong the love for our children is-most likely wired into our very DNA.

Now if you want to argue that many Americans may have the attitude that nothing should ever happen to one of us simply because we are American-well, that theory I can get behind. Shameful but true.
posted by konolia at 9:35 AM on March 23, 2003


Trust me, that is a paradigm shift like no other.
most likely wired into our very DNA.

And I say when we talk genetics here, the passing on of (half of) your own DNA to the next generation is a) a heavy burden when you have only one child and are already past the age to bear new ones, as this will be your last chance to pass on genes, or b) a heavy burden when you have more children than you can provide existence and future for.
a) is going to produce a vicious behaviour of irrational protectiveness at times of danger, e.g. war. b) is going to to produce a heavy economic impact on a family, and, if this is a standard in a whole larger cultural area, to the economic impact of the whole area which in consequence will be a factor of social unrest, a ground for war and terrorism. When a) and b) interact, the aforementioned asymetric populations are fighting against each other.
posted by zerofoks at 9:48 AM on March 23, 2003


If a parent cannot guarantee all 4 of her children a stable future (or any future at all), he will be relieved to go back to supporting just 3 if one dies.

Yes, that's why so many parents slaughter their last-born in an attempt to stabilize their future.

You are a racist fuckwit.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:31 AM on March 23, 2003


Yes, that's why so many parents slaughter their last-born in an attempt to stabilize their future.

Show me ONE single paragraph in which I concluded or implied that! Until you do (which can't), I simply redeem you an idiot. Because that's what you are.

by the way, for all the smartasses here:
Main Entry: rac·ism
Pronunciation: 'rA-"si-z&m also -"shi-
Function: noun
Date: 1936
1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2 : racial prejudice or discrimination

Now show me where any of my arguments do have ANYTHING to do with race, you bloody morons quick with words but slow with thoughts!
posted by zerofoks at 11:55 AM on March 23, 2003


And if you think that anything like race determines cultural and economic background (which you have to do to call me a racist), you are the real racist, making race something that matters!
posted by zerofoks at 12:07 PM on March 23, 2003


Or rather: making race something which determines culture and economics.

*sigh*

At least this thread was good enough to filter out the idiots from the crowd.
posted by zerofoks at 12:08 PM on March 23, 2003


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