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Children vs. Soliders in Iraq.
April 8, 2003 4:07 AM   Subscribe

Children vs. Soliders in Iraq. "I think they thought we wouldn't shoot kids. But we showed them we don't care. We are going to do what we have to do to stay alive and keep ourselves safe."
posted by skallas (154 comments total)

 
Why couldn't this guy have shot above or near the children? Is one RPG worth the lives of two non-combatants? It seems everything that moves is a "legitimate target" in Iraq right now.

Still no WMD or Saddam/Osama connections. I don't think the US can really stoop much lower than this.
posted by skallas at 4:14 AM on April 8, 2003


Also, a 12 year old pays a dear price for liberation.

If the argument is that sending children to pick up weapons is cowardly, then what of dropping mass ordinance on populated urban centers?
posted by skallas at 4:20 AM on April 8, 2003


"She was askin' for it, man, wearin' that short little miniskirt."

I don't expect this thread will survive, at least not without nastiness all 'round. Bad things happen in war, is all I have to say. That's what war is - blowing shit up and killing people, no matter how high-minded the intentions might be of those who cry havoc (and in this particular war I'm not certain by a long stretch of the sincerity of the good intentions expressed).

Can shooting a child as a combatant be a war crime, even if that child is inarguably a combatant? I don't know the answer to that one. An interesting question, particularly when America unilaterally announced last year that it would no longer be bound by its signature on the treaty to establish an internation criminal court, perhaps anticipating situations exactly like this.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:43 AM on April 8, 2003


If this isn't a war crime, then how about using cluster bombs in rural areas.

At the very least I'm forced to agree with the author that the face of this war is a very big lie. Its hard to walk from the TV that gets the European news with some real gritty war reporting and then going to sit in front of the other TV with CNN with its battle graphics, nationalist optimisim, and smiling generals promising everything but the moon.
posted by skallas at 4:47 AM on April 8, 2003


Still no WMD or Saddam/Osama connections. I don't think the US can really stoop much lower than this.

Oh God ... this thread is DOA. You want WMD and connections? Here ya go ... terrorist training camp in Iraq, missiles equipped with mustard gas, and mustard gas and cyanide found in the Euphrates River.

And yes, I know that the nerve gas was really pesticide. Now someone kill this thread please and put it out of its misery.
posted by marcusb at 4:58 AM on April 8, 2003


Why couldn't this guy have shot above or near the children?

I don't know. The article is not as clear as I'd like, just as nothing reported is entirely clear right now, but I don't know how age-discriminatory I could be if faced with a loaded RPG launcher.
posted by grabbingsand at 4:59 AM on April 8, 2003


"It's not about killing people. It's about accomplishing a mission...

...and yet, so many are dieing.
posted by LouReedsSon at 5:00 AM on April 8, 2003


Why couldn't this guy have shot above or near the children? Is one RPG worth the lives of two non-combatants? It seems everything that moves is a "legitimate target" in Iraq right now.

There is so much wrong with that statement I really don't know where to start.
posted by ed\26h at 5:03 AM on April 8, 2003


marcusb, debunked stories and speculation does not 9/11 related terrorism make. If the US had real evidence Bush himself would be announcing it from the mountaintops.
posted by skallas at 5:05 AM on April 8, 2003


But then again, it might have just been a grenade-round from an RPG... which takes away the major threat, but still leaves you with loose and live ordinance in the (albeit small) hands of someone who might decide to run into your troops.

Like I said... I just don't know.
posted by grabbingsand at 5:06 AM on April 8, 2003


>but I don't know how age-discriminatory I could be if faced with a loaded RPG launcher.

The article makes it clear that these children were not armed, but where going to bring the RPG launcher back to their handlers.
posted by skallas at 5:07 AM on April 8, 2003


I'm sure many of the killed children are civilians. But you cannot ignore the fact that Saddam has been training children to fight as his Lion Cubs. This increases the risk of soldiers in civilian areas.

Seattle Times

google Saddam's Cubs for more informatiob
posted by dreamling at 5:12 AM on April 8, 2003


The article makes it clear that these children were not armed, but where going to bring the RPG launcher back to their handlers.

How's that then?
posted by ed\26h at 5:13 AM on April 8, 2003


"But others are apparently being used as fighters or more often as scouts and weapons collectors. U.S. officers and soldiers say that turns them into legitimate targets."

Im sure the situation is open to interpretation, but if it is common for 10 year olds to start shooting at Americans Im sure we would have heard about it by now.
posted by skallas at 5:17 AM on April 8, 2003




Yeah, and I'm sure that exactly what the troops in question were thinking right in the heat of the moment.

"They're more often scouts"
posted by ed\26h at 5:22 AM on April 8, 2003


This is war, if someone reaches for a weapon you've been trying to neutralize, they become the next target. I don't care who you are it's never wise to reach for a weapon in front of people who have just disarmed it.

They don't get the benefit of knowing what the motive is, they only have moments to make a decision that might save their life and the life of the soldiers working near them.

It's a terrible choice to be forced to make.
posted by dreamling at 5:30 AM on April 8, 2003


Sorry, but it sounds like he did what he had to do. The kid may not have been armed but that RPG launcher was an imminent threat to the soldier. The child's father would have made no hesitation against using it against this soldier, whether he spared the life of his child or not. I'm sorry that this child had to die, but the blame lies with those that are exploiting these children in an attempt to take advantage of a perceived weakness in the Coalition soldiers.

I'm against this war, but I'm also against every person who protests blindly. We've lost. All that you're accomplishing is enabling right wing sycophants to label people who view this war as a failure as Iraqi sympathizers. This war is going on as scheduled. Deal with it. Now set your sights on making damned sure that the President makes good on his word to free the Iraqis and Afghanis and provide meaningful aid to them.
posted by substrate at 5:35 AM on April 8, 2003


From a boxcutter slicing up a stewardess to this. Amazing, simply amazing.
posted by mischief at 5:37 AM on April 8, 2003


The morality of the war aside, it's extremely easy to criticize split second life-or-death decisions from the comfort of your easy chair, isn't it folks?
posted by jonmc at 5:37 AM on April 8, 2003


Can shooting a child as a combatant be a war crime, even if that child is inarguably a combatant?

these soldiers are going to grow up and get out of the military one day. they'll want to put down roots, start families. and everytime one looks at his own child he is going to see him/her through a gunsight. right now, they're too young, too full of gung-ho bullshit, too plucked-from-all-that-is-familiar-and-dumped-into-a-nightmare-existence to have figured this out. but they will. they will.
posted by quonsar at 5:38 AM on April 8, 2003


"There is so much wrong with that statement I really don't know where to start"

Start here: US heavy-handedness baffles British

"You want WMD and connections? "

Yes, but not of the "potential", "plausible" and "maybe" kind.
posted by magullo at 5:40 AM on April 8, 2003


Not shooting a child in this situation now will only lead to more children in this situation later.
posted by techgnollogic at 5:41 AM on April 8, 2003


Also, The chick was in the way
posted by magullo at 5:42 AM on April 8, 2003


"Not shooting a child in this situation now will only lead to more children in this situation later."

Wishful since kids are cheapo, mate.
posted by magullo at 5:43 AM on April 8, 2003


Magallo: Yes, US heavy-handedness has baffled the British. Therefore these troops can't have been in danger.

Phew. Almost missed that bit of logic.
posted by ed\26h at 5:44 AM on April 8, 2003


I don't mean that there won't be children in this situation later no matter what. There will be. But allowing them safe passage in assisting combatants means they're a new successful tactic to be employed more in the future against us.
posted by techgnollogic at 5:45 AM on April 8, 2003


The soldier did what he had to do. Would you have preferred that he just stand there and die?

Oh sorry, I forgot who I was talking to.
posted by Beholder at 5:51 AM on April 8, 2003


The pyschological scars of war are deeper and more enduring than the physical injuries.
Would I have done the same in this situation? Probably, yes.
Would I have suffered for that decision the rest of my life? Most definitely.
War stinks like that. It's not "patriotic" or "heroic" to kill people, it's just sad. Bluster and bravado will only conceal the scars, it can never heal the damage.

"In times of peace sons bury their fathers, in times of war fathers bury their sons." - name the author (paraphrased)
posted by nofundy at 5:55 AM on April 8, 2003


I'm sorry that this child had to die, but the blame lies with those that are exploiting these children in an attempt to take advantage of a perceived weakness in the Coalition soldiers.
and
I don't mean that there won't be children in this situation later no matter what. There will be. But allowing them safe passage in assisting combatants means they're a new successful tactic to be employed more in the future against us.

During the German occupation of Greece it was not uncommon for kids to assist the resistance fighters in both urban and rural areas. Even the Nazis had trouble shooting children.

The soldier did what he had to do. Would you have preferred that he just stand there and die?

So you deem his life more important than that of the child's?

Remind me again why is it that these american soldiers are better than Saddam's troops?
posted by talos at 6:03 AM on April 8, 2003


"Would you have preferred that he just stand there and die?"

I would prefer for him to get the hell out ASAP. Better yet, to never have been there.

"Yes, US heavy-handedness has baffled the British. Therefore these troops can't have been in danger."

Thats right, let's bring in cheapo patriotism to cover up the logical gaps.
posted by magullo at 6:07 AM on April 8, 2003


So you deem his life more important than that of the child's?

Now you are catching on. See, there is hope yet.
posted by a3matrix at 6:11 AM on April 8, 2003


So you deem his life more important than that of the child's?

Beholder didn't deem this... the soldier himself did, and rightfully so.

talos, are you condemning someone for choosing themselves over an enemy combatant (child or not)? Are you not clear on how war works?
posted by techgnollogic at 6:11 AM on April 8, 2003


So you deem his life more important than that of the child's?

I'm sure the soldier finds his life quite important. And worth defending.
posted by PenDevil at 6:12 AM on April 8, 2003


magullo: Thats right, let's bring in cheapo patriotism to cover up the logical gaps

Can you please explain what you meant by this?
posted by ed\26h at 6:14 AM on April 8, 2003


Sending a child out under fire to get weapons to continue the fight.

Damn.

My little boy's almost five. Even if he were ten I could no more send him out into a firefight, trusting to the other side's moral sense to not shoot him while he picked up a weapon to bring back - than I could slice his throat myself.

At the same time, if I were being shot at and saw a 10-year old run out, pick up a grenade or rifle - would I be able to shoot him? Even if I knew that the weapon he had could kill me or someone else?

It's a damn tough call.

But you'll notice what it said about how the US troops were perceived...

"The US won't fire on children - so it's safe to send them out to get weapons."

Which puts the US troops in a tough ethical quandry. Fire on kids? Or not? Either way - there's no winners.

JB
posted by JB71 at 6:15 AM on April 8, 2003


How can a child of a country that is being "liberated" be considered an "enemy combatant"?

Who is the U.S. liberating again?

Additionally, the child was not an inmediate deadly threat to the soldier. He was picking up ammo from dead bodies - Let's reframe the arguments pro shooting him in that particular situation, whuich happens to mach reality and not the scene taking place in the feverish mind of some posters.
posted by magullo at 6:16 AM on April 8, 2003


Wow. I've never been in combat and I'm willing to bet than most of the rest of you haven't either. I've known several people who have and they basically describe the situation as almost complete chaos where you don't have the luxury of having byzantine debates about moral fine points. Some of you must've been the same folks who made the vietnam vets feel so welcome when they returned.

I agree that the whole situation would be better if the soldier was back in his barracks in Fayetteville and the kids were safe at home and saddam was peacefully removed from power and osama bin laden was in custody and george bush was out of office. It would also be great if I could spend the evening in a jacuzzi with Janeane Garofalo and Alyson Hannigan and then sprout wings and fly to spain. But you know what?? It ain't gonna happen. And all the self-congratulatory moralizing in the world isn't gonna change that.
posted by jonmc at 6:22 AM on April 8, 2003


How can a child of a country that is being "liberated" be considered an "enemy combatant"?

When they start picking up RPGs to potentially fire at you, I imagine.

A rocket propelled grenade (RPG) is a man-portable, shoulder-launched weapon capable of firing an explosive device longer distances than an otherwise unassisted soldier could throw. It differs from a Antitank Rocket Launcher in that its design purpose is broader than the narrowly defined antitank role, and it is somewhat less effective in that role than a more specialized weapon.

So don't give me that ammo b/s.
posted by ed\26h at 6:23 AM on April 8, 2003


It would also be great if I could spend the evening in a jacuzzi with Janeane Garofalo

Ewwwww....gross!!!!
posted by Durwood at 6:24 AM on April 8, 2003


...but the blame lies with those that are exploiting these children...

The blame lies with those invad... oops... liberating.
posted by LouReedsSon at 6:25 AM on April 8, 2003


"Is one RPG worth the lives of two non-combatants?"

The child at the time was a combatant, wasn't he?

Also, this reminds me of a spec ops story I read where a Navy SEAL team released a child, only to have him report back to his elders and suffer casualties.

"The Army is a broadsword, not a scalpel."
posted by antoine_bugleboy at 6:25 AM on April 8, 2003


techgnollogic: Beholder made that claim by asking: Would you have preferred that he just stand there and die?. So I respond: Me, certainly. I think that a child in his own country has more of a right to life than an invading soldier. Also please note [on preview: as magullo said] that the child was not an immediate threat to the soldier.
I am perfectly clear on how war works. That's why I'm against this one.
But see if you can keep track of how many instances of British soldiers doing what that GI did are reported...
posted by talos at 6:30 AM on April 8, 2003


Ask yourself what you would do in that situation and how effective it would be...easy to sit back and be critical and go beyond that to make a statement about American involvement in the war. But get existential: you are a soldier. A kid is reaching for a lethal weapon. Not many days before, a pregnant woman was used for a suicide mission and killed two of your colleagues. Now Act...how?
posted by Postroad at 6:32 AM on April 8, 2003


Also please note [as magullo said] that the child was not an immediate threat to the soldier.

Yes, he was. See above.
posted by ed\26h at 6:32 AM on April 8, 2003


"I would prefer for him to get the hell out ASAP. Better yet, to never have been there." --Magullo

It wasn't the soldiers choice to be in a conflict that you disagree with. It's also not his job to run away during conflict.

In the process of his job he has to make decisions like this one that I would never want to make. He has been trained to be part of the war machine, the soldier is a weapon.
posted by dreamling at 6:33 AM on April 8, 2003


techgnollogic: Beholder made that claim by asking: Would you have preferred that he just stand there and die?. So I respond: Me, certainly.

Well, glad to know you've appointed yourself god.
posted by jonmc at 6:33 AM on April 8, 2003



posted by vbfg at 6:37 AM on April 8, 2003


jonmc, nothing in that article implied he was stationed in Fayetteville (Ft. Bragg.)

And I looked the guy up in the phone book here, and he's not in it.
posted by konolia at 6:37 AM on April 8, 2003


If a child was just reloading his AK instead of aiming it directly at you, magullo, you probably wouldn't call him an immediate threat then, either.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:38 AM on April 8, 2003


magullo, If you want the Iraqis to win and you support saddam's regime, stop beating around the bush and say so.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:39 AM on April 8, 2003


konolia, I was speaking hypothetically of any military town and Fayetteville was the first that came to mind. No offense intended.
posted by jonmc at 6:40 AM on April 8, 2003


"So don't give me that ammo b/s."

Geez, you can quote from the wikipedia?

Here is what you missed (the next paragraph right after your quote, BTW):

"An RPG is composed of two major parts, the launcher and the grenade"

While American RPG launchers are throaway units, Russian launchers (probably used by the Iraqis, but I'm on a limb here) are reloadable. Thus, we still don't know what the kid was picking up. Not to mention the time needed to actually point it at something and fire.

"this reminds me of a spec ops story I read where a Navy SEAL team released a child, only to have him report back to his elders and suffer casualties."

Did you hear the one about three pigs and a wolf?

"If a child was just reloading his AK instead of aiming it directly at you, magullo"

Let me put it this way: if my country had just opted out of the IC and several other international legal bodies which put me and every other citizen above and beyiond the rest of the earth's inhabitants, I would shoot at anything in sight and feel awesome about it. Happy now?
posted by magullo at 6:47 AM on April 8, 2003


Don't worry, sport, my country will save you from fascism the next time, too.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:50 AM on April 8, 2003


It wasn't the soldiers choice to be in a conflict that you disagree with.

Bullshit. American soldiers are paid professionals who volenteered for service. Nobody is that naive to think this couldn't be an option while they are being promised the world by their recruiter. Or are they?
posted by LouReedsSon at 6:50 AM on April 8, 2003


Thus, we still don't know what the kid was picking up. - magullo

He was picking up ammo from dead bodies. - magullo
posted by ed\26h at 6:53 AM on April 8, 2003


Don't worry, sport, my country will save you from fascism the next time, too.

That's really desperate. Pack up your toys and go home.
posted by Summer at 7:00 AM on April 8, 2003


I distrust quotes like that ("we don't care") that look so cold on the page, but might be so much more understandable in the moment, given fear/anger/exhaustion.

Still, it's interesting how often the "thoughtful cultured Brits vs dumb ham-fisted Yanks" theme has appeared in war reporting this time (see also techgnollogic).
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:01 AM on April 8, 2003


in a jacuzzi with Janeane Garofalo

Yipe! Is that heaven or hell?

Wait..... don't answer that.
posted by hama7 at 7:01 AM on April 8, 2003


He criticizes the US for opting out of "international" bodies that expressly violate civil liberties and I'm out of line for ringing the European Fascism bell?
posted by techgnollogic at 7:04 AM on April 8, 2003


Excuse me for condescending, but how many world wars will it take?
posted by techgnollogic at 7:08 AM on April 8, 2003


Of course, it's the soldier's fault, for actually trying to keep himself alive.

Of course, it's NOT the fault of the Iraqi people, who apparently have the mentality that allows them to even send a child into harm's way.

Riiiiight...

Get a life people. You are all lucky to be living in such a safe, secure, free country. And this country did not get so safe, secure, and free by being a bunch of pussies.

Go smoke another joint.
posted by eas98 at 7:09 AM on April 8, 2003


When I travel overseas in the future, any time in the foreseeable future, I'm going to be so glad that I don't speak English with an American accent.
posted by chrisgregory at 7:09 AM on April 8, 2003


ed\26h Nice of you to point out my inconsistencies while failing to address yours

RPG = Rocket Propelled Grenade. Up until very recently, I did not know the "RPG" term included the launcher. This is why I said he was picking ammo. As it turns out, we indeed do not know what he was picking up.

Why did you call my ammo theory BS while omitting the parts of the definition that might contradict your point? Do you have any other info or are you just crusing on cheapo patriotism served by the American admin?

"He criticizes the US for opting out of "international" bodies that expressly violate civil liberties "

Like the liberty to commit crimes against humanity, which is the type of crimes that the IC prosecutes?

"I'm out of line for ringing the European Fascism bell?"

Let me put in to you in no unclear terms: The US had no problems with fascism in WWII until Pearl Harbor. That is, until it was attacked by it. The morality of the regime was never an issue until it was made an issue.
posted by magullo at 7:10 AM on April 8, 2003


So you deem his life more important than that of the child's?

Remind me again why is it that these american soldiers are better than Saddam's troops?
Talos, I didn't make that argument at all. These soldiers shouldn't be there, but while they're there they have a responsibility to come back alive. Maybe the responsibility is only to themselves, maybe it's to a girlfriend, a wife or kids.

The Iraqi soldiers also have a similar responsibility to survive. This means that they will be firing on Coalition forces, though the most realistic means of self preservation is surrender at this point.

In purely hypothetical terms I do not value my life more than yours. In a purely hypothetical situation if I had to blow your brains out to preserve my own life I'd do it. I'd feel remorse later but at least I'd be around to feel it.
posted by substrate at 7:11 AM on April 8, 2003


Would anybody be shocked if this story was about a soldier who killed an Iraqi adult who was gathering weapons? I doubt it. Why? Because that's the kind of thing you would probably expect to get shot for doing in a war zone. Some Iraqis are making the decision to use children for this and other decidedly military tasks like scouting. I can't believe some of you seem to be overlooking that just to get your antiwar on. If the U.S. Army started using 10 year olds the same way you'd shit eggrolls.
posted by Cyrano at 7:14 AM on April 8, 2003


The US had no problems with fascism in WWII until Pearl Harbor. That is, until it was attacked by it. The morality of the regime was never an issue until it was made an issue.

Can a government not condemn a foreign regime without going to war against it immediately?
posted by techgnollogic at 7:16 AM on April 8, 2003


Get a life people. You are all lucky to be living in such a safe, secure, free country. And this country did not get so safe, secure, and free by being a bunch of pussies.

So we guarentee our safety by compromising others. How nice.
posted by LouReedsSon at 7:19 AM on April 8, 2003


Up until very recently, I did not know the "RPG" term included the launcher

Fair enough. you didn't seem to say that, so I didn't know.

Why did you call my ammo theory BS while omitting the parts of the definition that might contradict your point?

I only read the summary. But I'd still contest that the rest of the description supports your theory in any definable way.

Do you have any other info or are you just crusing on cheapo patriotism served by the American admin

I still don't really know what you mean by that. You said something similar about my post "Yes, US heavy-handedness has baffled the British. Therefore these troops can't have been in danger". I asked you to explain there but you never did.
posted by ed\26h at 7:20 AM on April 8, 2003


Actually, the US DID have problems with Fascism in Europe. The League of Nations was about as effective as the UN in dealing with it, though. Italy's invasion of Ethopia comes to mind....

Of course, we were a bit concerned with our OWN problems at the time, like the Depression. The other side of the world was the other side of the world. Please forgive the US for not being proactive...

J.
posted by JB71 at 7:23 AM on April 8, 2003


He criticizes the US for opting out of "international" bodies that expressly violate civil liberties and I'm out of line for ringing the European Fascism bell?

Right, you've lost me. What has the fact that Magullo is from a small country that was invaded by its fascist neighbour during WWII got to do with anything?
posted by Summer at 7:24 AM on April 8, 2003


Wishful since kids are cheapo, mate.
Don't worry; they'll make more. ;-P
posted by mischief at 7:27 AM on April 8, 2003


ed\26h - Troops can be in danger and still be unnecessarily heavy-handed - that is what my point boils down to.

"Can a government not condemn a foreign regime without going to war against it immediately?"

Indeed, but unfortunately for your argument's sake, you were talking about "saving Europe from fascism", not regime condemnation.
posted by magullo at 7:28 AM on April 8, 2003


You said the United States had no problem with fascism until Pearl Harbor, which is unmistakably false.

you were talking about "saving Europe from fascism"

Obviously, we still aren't done.
posted by techgnollogic at 7:31 AM on April 8, 2003


What the fuck is that supposed to mean?
posted by Grangousier at 7:42 AM on April 8, 2003


"You said the United States had no problem with fascism until Pearl Harbor, which is unmistakably false."

How so?
posted by magullo at 7:45 AM on April 8, 2003


jonmc: I answered a question that was directed to everybody- I admit I didn't give a very meaningful answer.
substrate: I see what you are saying now. I misunderstood your original point.
ed\26h: You yourself said that he could potentially, turn the RPG launcher at him. The kid hadn't picked it up yet: When a young Iraqi boy stooped to pick up a rocket propelled grenade off the body of a dead paramilitary, U.S. Army Private Nick Boggs made a tough call.
Postroad: But get existential: you are a soldier. A kid is reaching for a lethal weapon. I know it ain't simple. I might have shot at the kid. But being a soldier isn't simple. Especially when you send someone to fight in a densely populated area, I expect that he/she will be trained to react better then I or you would. My position is that if I'm ever called by my government to go to war against anyone that is not actively invading my country, or has declared war against my country, I won't go.
Cyrano: If the U.S. Army started using 10 year olds the same way you'd shit eggrolls. If the USA was invaded by a foreign country you bet that the US army would be using 10 year olds. I repeat: so did the anti-nazi resistance in SE Europe.
JB71: No, the USA had very few problems with either Mussolini or Hitler until 1938.
posted by talos at 7:52 AM on April 8, 2003


magullo: learn about lend-lease and the Atlantic Charter. Both antedated Pearl Harbor.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 7:54 AM on April 8, 2003


talos: I said he could potentially fire it.

By the time you've waited to see what he wants it for there's a very good chance that you may die.
posted by ed\26h at 8:06 AM on April 8, 2003


Grangousier: It means Europe continues to fail to rid itself of fascism.

magullo: Go read FDR's State of the Union address, delivered on January 6, 1941. Then come back and try to tell me that the United States had no qualm until Pearl Harbor.
posted by techgnollogic at 8:12 AM on April 8, 2003


can someone tell me why it matters if it was a child? when the fuck did children become more important and more valuable than anyone else? so, as soon as your kid gets in the phone book, nobody is going to care if he picks up a grenade and some soldier decides to shoot him because he doesn't want to get exploded?

confusions about what he was picking up, aside, of course.
posted by angry modem at 8:22 AM on April 8, 2003


...and hama7 and durwood , Janeane may be somewhat addled in certain respects but she is an absolutely stunning woman. But I imagine you have some criticism of her because you all are physically perfect yourselves.

Oh, and can we get rid of that picture please? It's not only against policy, it's also unfunny and insulting.
posted by jonmc at 8:23 AM on April 8, 2003


It means Europe continues to fail to rid itself of fascism.

Nope. Still doesn't make any sense. Explain.
posted by Grangousier at 8:27 AM on April 8, 2003


The US first bankrolled the Third Reich (wasn't there a Bush involved in that?) only to have to fight it a bit later. Yawn. Happens just about every time Americans make new friends abroad (Noriega, Saddam, Osama, etc.).
posted by magullo at 8:28 AM on April 8, 2003


Remind me again why is it that these american soldiers are better than Saddam's troops?

Remind me again how many 10 year olds the US is using as human shields for it's soldiers?
posted by MidasMulligan at 8:38 AM on April 8, 2003


"Remind me again how many 10 year olds the US is using as human shields for it's soldiers?"

Remind me who is invading who and (despite Saddam being "dangerous") what is the balance of forces at play.
posted by magullo at 8:44 AM on April 8, 2003


Magullo, exactly:
When Adolf Hitler's financiers, the Thyssen family, formed a joint venture, Union Banking Corporation to manage Thyssen family investments in America, they needed an up-and-coming youngster to run the new firm, and Prescott Bush was made Managing Director. The later congressional report described Union Bank as an "interlocking trust" with the German Steel Trust responsible for supplying the German Military...
MidasMulligan, as I said above: If the USA was invaded by a foreign country you bet that the US army would be using 10 year olds. I repeat: so did the anti-nazi resistance in SE Europe.
posted by talos at 8:46 AM on April 8, 2003


Go read FDR's State of the Union address, delivered on January 6, 1941. Then come back and try to tell me that the United States had no qualm until Pearl Harbor.

FDR really really really wanted to be in WWII, The American people overwhelmingly did not. FDR is not exactly the best reference for taking the pulse of the country at the time.
posted by thirteen at 8:56 AM on April 8, 2003


To clarify: Obviously the USA played a central and crucial role in the fight against the nazis. It's just that the American extreme right (the current administrations political, and literal, grandparents) and the business establishment were initially quite pro-fascist before the war started.
posted by talos at 8:59 AM on April 8, 2003


The US first bankrolled the Third Reich (wasn't there a Bush involved in that?) only to have to fight it a bit later. Yawn. Happens just about every time Americans make new friends abroad (Noriega, Saddam, Osama, etc.).

Uh, okay, sorry. 'Bankrolled the Third Reich'? Your grasp of history is so weak that it beggars any attempt even to describe it. I shouldn't have made the effort to correct an error which is obviously just a tiny part of an immense body of mis-knowledge. Won't happen again.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:00 AM on April 8, 2003


I've made up my mind, my friends.
I'll do it—kill my children now, without delay,
and flee this land. I must not hesitate.
That will hand them over to someone else,
to be slaughtered by a less loving hand.


--Medea, by Euripides, c. 431 BC

A little historical perspective, perhaps?
posted by LimePi at 9:14 AM on April 8, 2003


I've made up my mind, my friends.
I'll do it?kill my children now, without delay,
and flee this land. I must not hesitate.
That will hand them over to someone else,
to be slaughtered by a less loving hand.


--Medea, by Euripides, c. 431 BC

A little historical perspective, perhaps?
posted by LimePi at 9:15 AM on April 8, 2003


talos: either the kid is a legitimate target as an enemy combatant defending his homeland from invading forces or he isn't. Either way, nobody on either side gets time-outs to collect ammunition.
posted by techgnollogic at 9:15 AM on April 8, 2003


gah, double post! Sorry (friggin' Safari cache).
posted by LimePi at 9:16 AM on April 8, 2003


Immediately usable weapon, one which the child could there and then fire at American troops then no question, the kid was shot in self-defence.

Ammo or the launcher on its own then it's a bit more difficult. This was not an immediate threat to Private Boggs. Shooting the kid becomes an irreversible traumatic decision to prevent a possible threat. Theoretically therefore Boggs, his comrades and the kid could all have survived without infanticide or that RPG being used on US troops. Theoretically.

The likelihood of that child picking the weapon up in all innocence, with no intention of either firing at American troops or giving it to someone else to fire is miniscule. For a soldier in battle it's a possibility that doesn't even exist. If you believe killing in self-defence or in defence of others is justified then you cannot condemn this soldier for shooting that kid.

Rather, you should condemn him for voluntarily joining an institution which requires him to undermine his status as a moral being with the freedom act according to his own conscience.

Or maybe you should condemn his government for starting an unjustified (?) war. Don't condemn him for instinctive (and retrospectively justifiable) self-defence.
posted by pots at 9:36 AM on April 8, 2003


'Bankrolled the Third Reich'? Your grasp of history is so weak that it beggars any attempt even to describe it.

So maybe "bankrolled" was the wrong word - but are you doubting that there were substantial links between U.S. business interests and the Nazis, and that this might have played a role in us staying out of WWII for as long as we did, despite Churchill's desperation to get us into it and FDR's feeling that we should?

Let's not kid ourselves - we hate fascism when hating it intersects with our other national interests. We've learned to love it in many instances.
posted by kgasmart at 9:43 AM on April 8, 2003


i'd say liberating [yeah, weighted language, i'm trying to be optimistic] troops need to have access to non-lethal weaponry on some sort. One guy in your squad that shoots beanbags and bullets, who hits the trigger mechanism of enemy weapons with some sticky foam if they are just laying around.

i wouldn't have fired until a weapon was being raised, but that is really really easy to type and think sitting here in my office, like, who wouldn't?

hoping for that gun someday that you can set to 'stun'.
posted by th3ph17 at 9:49 AM on April 8, 2003


So we guarentee our safety by compromising others. How nice.

Welcome to the real world. Sometimes, difficult and miserable choices have to be made.

It's is clear that the unconventional war is doing exactly what those who are using it want... forcing US soldiers to make difficult choices to stay alive and allowing their detractors to get bent out of shape. Skip for a moment that the US forces have incurred tremendous risk to avoid killing as many civilians as possible - because most people who are against this war will skip it anyway.

Looking at only this situation.

That RPG had to be knocked out. It was a threat to the lives of the US forces and may well have been able to kill several of them. Depriving it of ammunition is a fine way to accomplish that goal.

The actions of this child were absolutely going to bring that RPG back into play, and back into the battle. He was a combatant. The person who made him a combatant was the person who sent him out after that RPG round. It wasn't the US soldier.

Does it suck? yeah. Did it have to happen? Looks like it did. If you are going to use children in combat, they are going to die.

I think the differences here are endemic to the worldviews in the discussion as a whole.

I think that a child ferrying ammunition to a weapon that will be used against me IS a threat worthy of action. thers don't think that an RPG is a threat until it is loaded and pointed at them.

Kind of like the reasons for war as a whole... some folks want to wait till it's loaded, aimed and the safety is off. I don;t have any problem with shooting you before you get that far once you have declaired your intention to harm me.
posted by soulhuntre at 9:50 AM on April 8, 2003


All of you spouting statements about American support for Nazi Germany and other similar tripe, what do you want?!

On the on hand, you criticize the US for taking a hard line on places like Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya, and Cuba, saying that economic sanctions and restrictions only hurt the people, not the government, that peace comes through trade, that if only we tried to work peacefully with these people everything would be better.

On the other, you constantly use examples of the US dong just that, trading with illegitimate governments, as examples of US ill-intentions.

Which is it? Make a decision. Get some principles, stick by them.

Note: this comment cannot be specifically directed at anyone in this thread. Rather it is a general statement of concern about a line of reasoning I have noticed repeatedly here.
posted by pjgulliver at 9:52 AM on April 8, 2003


Some information on Scouting and Cadets in England during the first World War.

The Scouts Defence Corps

"Baden-Powell, in the Headquarters Gazette of November 1914, announced his new scheme for Scouts between the age of 16 and 17 years of age. The Corps would be ready, should invasion occur, to do whatever was necessary. (Baden-Powell had, throughout the previous decade, warned the army of the dangers of a German Invasion, even predicting the naval bombardments of the North East Coast.) "
posted by Stuart_R at 9:54 AM on April 8, 2003


"FDR really really really wanted to be in WWII, The American people overwhelmingly did not. FDR is not exactly the best reference for taking the pulse of the country at the time."

One of the reasons we are not a pure "real time" democracy is that the population as a whole is not always capable of making the decisiosn that are needed.

FDR was right. The US needed to get involved to end that threat... the populationw as wrong and would have allowed the US to delay until it was much much too late if not for the incident at Pearl.
posted by soulhuntre at 9:58 AM on April 8, 2003


Well I'd have to say I side with the hawks here - this is a part of war.
And remember, hawks, this is a part of what you demanded in the months leading up to the invasion. This is what you screamed for, warning us that the decision not to do this is the decision to wait for chemical death. This was the only solution, so drink it up, relish the taste of children becoming the next generation of terrorists, and the satisfaction of knowing that you'll kill any kid that needs to be killed for you to feel safe. That is what you asked for - you knew what you were asking for right? Right.
posted by holycola at 10:06 AM on April 8, 2003


Yup.
posted by techgnollogic at 10:14 AM on April 8, 2003


This has been an ugly thread on an ugly subject. I know I have spoken in anger: jonmc is right, I don't get to say who lives and who dies, it's idiotic, I apologize for speaking too fast. I have seen these past days too many bits and pieces of childrens' bodies on TV to take such stories calmly.
So let me take a deep breath here and focus on what is really disturbing here:
1. Frightening machismo: I think they thought we wouldn't shoot kids. But we showed them we don't care. This guy doesn't really care that he shot a civilian (even more so a kid). That's not a normal reflex folks. It takes years of hard work to dehumanize you to such an extent that you can bragg about not caring if you kill people. I doubt that there is even one person in this discussion who could ever again sleep soundly after a similar incident.
2. The realisation that this whole cover story of liberation is now officially a fiction: There can be no doubt in anyone's mind that the troops see the civilian population as the enemy. You can't win hearts and minds by killing kids. Would you forgive the army that killed your son/daughter/spouse? Neither would I.

A final question: if this was a story about the actions and reactions of one of Saddam's soldiers in Kuwait 12 years ago, how many of private Boggs' supporters here, would be rushing to defend private "Hassan" of the Iraqi army that had just shot a 10 year old kid in self defence? Do you even imagine that he would have earned such a balanced story in Reuters? That his Lieutenant would have a chance of defending him and condemning the Kuwaitis that put him in harms way?
posted by talos at 10:15 AM on April 8, 2003


He didn't shoot a civilian, he shot the enemy.

How can you say it takes years of hard work to dehumanize someone to that extent when the guy's only been in the army for 18 months? Answer: he isn't dehumanized, he shot the enemy, a child, and it haunts him.

The troops see civilian combatants as the enemy, because civilian combatants are the enemy.
posted by techgnollogic at 10:22 AM on April 8, 2003


FDR was right.
I do not know if I have ever agreed with anything less. FDR led the country into a bloodbath against their wishes. If that is leadership we could have done without it.

FDR pushed to make something like Pearl happen, and he is responsible for every dead American of the war. There is nothing honorable about that twisted little polio incubator.

One of the reasons we are not a pure "real time" democracy is that the population as a whole is not always capable of making the decision that are needed.
I suppose it is always a drag when you have to ask the people who are going to do the dying before you send them into the meat grinder. Besides, making war subject to a popular vote would probably result in an unacceptable small number of wars going on.

Fight war not wars.
posted by thirteen at 10:23 AM on April 8, 2003


Talos, I, and I believe many others, would whole-heartedly dispute both of your points above.
posted by pjgulliver at 10:24 AM on April 8, 2003


techgnollogic, I hate (read="love") to invoke what one might argue are credentials of obscure relevance, but as a former sergeant in the US Army, you embarrass me.

Go Google how many Russians died in the (honorable, IMO) struggle to defeat National Socialist Germany, and then reconsider your obnoxious bromides regarding us Yanks saving Yurp from fascism.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:24 AM on April 8, 2003


This guy doesn't really care that he shot a civilian.

Talos: I think, or more accurately I hope, saying, "I don't care" in a situation like that is just the best way to say, "I can't care right now." I've seen a lot of interviews with WWII combat vets and many of them mentioned how emotionally detached they had to make themselves at the time but you can still hear the pain in their voices decades later.
posted by Cyrano at 10:28 AM on April 8, 2003


We should look to the Israelis. They've set a helpful example for us in so many things since 911: airline security, defense against biological attacks, killing children and living with it...
posted by scarabic at 10:29 AM on April 8, 2003


I didn't say we did it alone, adam.
posted by techgnollogic at 10:38 AM on April 8, 2003


Soulhuntre, let me save you some keystrokes:

This isn't WWII
Bush isn't FDR
The Iraqis aren't the death-camp Jews

Your talk about how 'hard choices need to be made' makes me laugh. You show a lot of solidarity with those who make them by sitting here soaking up the gravity of the situation through white text on a field of blue.

Quite sanitized, MeFi... A goodly place where the spineless can rationalize the atrocious.

BTW: How's your hunt for a soul coming?
posted by scarabic at 10:42 AM on April 8, 2003


jonmc is right, I don't get to say who lives and who dies, it's idiotic,

True, but I did put it too harshly, especially since I usually respect your contributions here talos, even when i don't agree. Sorry 'bout that.
posted by jonmc at 10:52 AM on April 8, 2003


Bush isn't FDR
They are remarkably similar I think. They both have similar ideas about reshaping the government (not to the same intended ends obviously), suspending civil rights, stacking the courts, and sending Americans off to die. Bush's bodycount might not be as high, but they are fellows for sure.
posted by thirteen at 11:02 AM on April 8, 2003


Gray's conclusions match those of psychologists Jonathan Shay, author of "Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character", and Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, author of "On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society". Both Shay and Grossman have worked extensively with American combat veterans. Their research reveals that the lasting psychological damage suffered by some veterans (such as debilitating post-traumatic stress) is most often the result of experiences that are not simply violent, but which involve what Shay calls the "betrayal of 'what's right.'" Veterans who believe that they were directly or indirectly party to immoral or dishonorable behavior (perpetrated by themselves, their comrades, or their commanders) have the hardest time reclaiming their lives after the war is over.
posted by homunculus at 11:03 AM on April 8, 2003


This is so far past Godwin's Law it's not even funny.
posted by Samsonov14 at 11:05 AM on April 8, 2003


If that was a launcher and not a grenade, the really interesting thing is that this soldier's actions perfectly mirrored his commander-in-chief's -- he initiated a deadly attack because of a reasonable belief of potential harm to himself.

Cyrano nailed it. God help that boy, and all the other coalition troops, in years to come as they think about what they were forced to do over there. Worth recalling that that suicide rate among Vietnam vets, who encountered similar tactics, was about a third higher than the norm.
posted by luser at 11:09 AM on April 8, 2003


No harm done jonmc, quite the contrary... I needed to calm down.
Cyrano: I hope so too. We'll see if a pattern emerges. Hopefully it won't.
posted by talos at 11:12 AM on April 8, 2003


The US military does a good job of making heartless killers(just remember the monsters being created do come back home, just ask OKC)
posted by joemeek at 11:15 AM on April 8, 2003


Way up the thread before its deep Godwinization, talos threw out one factoid that nobody else seemed to pick up on but which I consider quite telling:

During the German occupation of Greece it was not uncommon for kids to assist the resistance fighters in both urban and rural areas. Even the Nazis had trouble shooting children.

If accurate, those were the GOOD GUYS turning children into "combatants", right? (Good thing he wasn't talking about the WWII French Resistance, those post-surrender-monkeys) Now, let's get some serious historians to analyze whether the Nazis had MORE trouble shooting children than the current crop of American Liberators.

Also, I'd appreciate if one of you who are collecting data on Saddam's inhumanity could provide me with a CONFIRMED incident of children of that age group successfully killing any U.S. soldiers.
posted by wendell at 11:31 AM on April 8, 2003


No Iraqis are having much success killing coalition soldiers. You think that means we should ease up on the threat assessments?

"Sir, he's shooting at me but his aim is shit."

"Hold your fire, son, he's not dangerous."

I don't think so.
posted by techgnollogic at 11:36 AM on April 8, 2003





Kind of like the reasons for war as a whole... some folks want to wait till it's loaded, aimed and the safety is off. I don;t have any problem with shooting you before you get that far once you have declaired your intention to harm me.
posted by soulhuntre at 9:50 AM PST on April 8

In other words North Korea should load a few nukes into containers and ship them to LA, NY, Seattle, Houston, etc. for detonation. The US has been pretty up front in threatening them, what with the whole "Axis of Evil" and "You're either with us or against us" talk. And the USA has already acted against one member. You'd have no problem with NK preemptively defending themselves?
posted by Mitheral at 11:50 AM on April 8, 2003


Kind of like how we "threatened" North Korea with hundreds of tons of food and fuel oil while they lied and said they'd discontinue their Nuclear program?
posted by techgnollogic at 11:58 AM on April 8, 2003


Boy, this conversation turned to crap.
My vote: Antiwar, but they did what they had to.
posted by Espoo2 at 11:59 AM on April 8, 2003


Don't miss mr_crash_davis' link. There's good news too.
More than 100 children held in a prison celebrated their freedom as US marines rolled into northeast Baghdad amid chaotic scenes which saw civilians loot weapons from an army compound, a US officer said.

Around 150 children spilled out of the jail after the gates were opened as a US military Humvee vehicle approached, Lieutenant Colonel Fred Padilla told an AFP correspondent travelling with the Marines 5th Regiment.

"Hundreds of kids were swarming us and kissing us," Padilla said.

"There were parents running up, so happy to have their kids back."

"The children had been imprisoned because they had not joined the youth branch of the Baath party," he alleged. "Some of these kids had been in there for five years."
posted by homunculus at 12:08 PM on April 8, 2003


I'm actually appalled, personally, by the US use of bombing "kill zones":

"Ibrahim and his 17-year-old cousin, Jalal, left home to have lunch with Abdullah, a friend who owned the neighboring farm. They were torn apart by a U.S. bomb because they were outside, walking, and a kill box had been superimposed over their home.
posted by troutfishing at 12:09 PM on April 8, 2003


wendell: Whether a soldier gets dead because a kid shoots a gun at him or he gets dead because a kid ran up to his position and pointed him out to a gunner who then fired on the soldier's position, he's just as dead.

This same kind of thing happened in Somalia. The Iraqis are taking advantage of a perceived Coalition "weakness" by putting children who they know most soldiers will be reluctant to shoot in roles that should be filled by sliders. Of course, then you get the kind of tragedy we're discussing here. At some point the Coalition soldiers, who probably feel like the Iraqis broke the rules first by sending the kids out there in the first place, are going to adopt a "the gloves are now off" mentality. So now you have dead kids and forever scarred adults where there didn't have to be either one.

I see how some valid comparisons can be made to WWII resistance fighters, but my feeling is that war is pretty shitty to begin with and putting children into the line of fire because you think it might give you a tactical edge makes it shittier than it has to be.
posted by Cyrano at 12:29 PM on April 8, 2003


"filled by sliders"???

oops...
posted by Cyrano at 12:29 PM on April 8, 2003


At some point the Coalition soldiers, who probably feel like the Iraqis broke the rules first by sending the kids out there in the first place, are going to adopt a "the gloves are now off" mentality. So now you have dead kids and forever scarred adults where there didn't have to be either one.

I am reminded of Waco.
posted by thirteen at 12:51 PM on April 8, 2003


Good point.

I'm not defending "the gloves are off" mentality, mind you, I just think it's a natural reaction considering what's happening.
posted by Cyrano at 12:58 PM on April 8, 2003


All of you spouting statements about American support for Nazi Germany and other similar tripe, what do you want?!

All right, pj, I'll bite.

What I want is a foreign policy that says if fascist states that oppress their citizens are bad, they are always bad, in every instance - no matter whether the neighbor is worse.

What I want is a nation in which the people who pride themselves on saving others from that oppression always believe such oppression requires similar intervention.

I want, in other words, consistency. Barring that, I'll take less cynicism for 100, Alex.

For more than a decade, we've known Hussein used chemical weapons - we're just getting our dander up about it now? Saddam's been in power for more than two decades - we're just deciding his brand of fascism warrants military intervention now?

What I want is an argument where these red herrings are dropped and we agree that in fact Saddam's particular brand of fascism has little to do with why we went marching in there - though the bulk of the public seems to believe it is the only reason.

And for the record, if the kid looked like he was about to shoot me, I'd have shot him first. And then felt lousy about it the rest of my life.
posted by kgasmart at 1:12 PM on April 8, 2003


My brother is a Marine, and is over in Iraq right now. I do not want him killing, and I also want him to come home alive and unchanged. I do not doubt it is the natural reaction to shoot at anything that moves when you are in fear for your life, even if you have every advantage over your mate. Our soldiers are reacting in very human ways, even if there are inhuman results. Beyond a refusal to serve, which is a pretty determined option. They are not responsible for the mess that they are in, and they are not the hypocrites who are running the war. The president is responsible for the death of every civilian and soldier on both sides.

The most troubling thing about the war is that they just decided to have it. It was such an easy thing to accomplish. Bush could have done it on Sept 12, or a year from today. I am boggling that a war that can be held at leisure needs to be held at all. And all at once every cent I will ever pay in taxes is gone in a second (or it would be if Clinton had not wasted my lifetimes worth of taxes on the asprin factory).

I have no doubt the US will win. I am actually surprised that it is not over yet. But it is hardly a great military victory. If this war is worth killing kids to the President, I wonder what the stake will be if a real military challenged the states.
posted by thirteen at 1:18 PM on April 8, 2003


"To clarify: I do NOT support ax murder. I do, however, support ax murderers. They're just doing their job.

Conversely, I tend to lean toward the support of grandmothering, if it's done for ingenuous causes, but I can't stand the notion of grandmothers per se. Smell funny, tend to drop dead. But being the secular humanist that I might be, I do hope that all grandmothers are brought home quickly and safely, having done (and having had done back to them) as little of the actual grandmothering that they're paid to be doing. And that's all I am going to say about that. I'm sure Adrien Brody agrees."

No real direct point to do with this thread, but I wanted to say it somewhere.
posted by Slimemonster at 2:00 PM on April 8, 2003


I've had it with this thread and I've had it with this subject.

It seems that the only thing that will make the rest of the world happy is if the entire US population kills itself. But then who will your whipping boy be?

We are demonized because we aren't perfect-meanwhile a lot of nasty dictatorships are allowed to either get away with murder or get their little hands slapped.

I don't want kids shot. I don't want our soldiers in harm's way. But I am so tired of all the bitching, bitching, bitching I read on this site-you see, the US is good enough to clean up the rest of the world's crap, but then everybody else lines up to crap on us.

Now I think I'd better lie down with a cool cloth and an aspirin.
posted by konolia at 2:27 PM on April 8, 2003


"It blows my mind that they can put their children into that kind of situation."

Yup. It's those damn Iraqi's that made you pull the trigger. In feminist philosophy we call this "blaming the victim."
posted by iamck at 2:36 PM on April 8, 2003


Konolia: You are talking like the world forced the states to act and then critiqued the US for it. Do you believe this? Nobody wants the US cleaning up this situation, and playing the bully and the victim at the same time is as bizarre as it is disturbing.

If you really do not want soldier in harms way, then you would not support having them in harms way. If that were the case, you would not find nearly so much bile directed at them or the US.

I hope the aspirin cools the fever.
posted by thirteen at 2:51 PM on April 8, 2003


konolia-- personally I do not mind being held to a higher standard. I can take it, it's a sign of respect. If you can't handle being judged by higher standards than anyone else, then maybe you don't believe that we have the ability to live up to the highest standards. I think we do.
posted by cell divide at 3:32 PM on April 8, 2003


i have a question. i'm really confused about this:

are u.s. soldiers superhumanly noble angels of mercy, light and goodness, far better than the rest of us, as bush and many pro-war people keep intimating; or are they just like the rest of us, reacting the same as we would in shitty situations?

i'd prefer that the latter was the case. i don't think that would excuse shootings like this one, but i think i'd understand things better. as it is, with the american media reminding me that we're the good guys -- which makes everything we do, by definition, good -- i can't help but wonder what kind of world we live in if the people who are supposed to be better than i are doing things that i find reprehensible.

in other words, what hope do i have for myself if the people who are more deserving of praise than any other group on the planet right now --- again, according to pres. bush and others -- are doing things like this?

long story short (too late for that, probably), i hope this incident and the similar ones that are sure to follow cause the war-cheerleaders to tone down the rhetoric about how god-like the troops are, and makes the people who go around mindlessly saying "support our troops!" think about what they mean when they say that. i pray daily to whatever supernatural entity is out there and has an interest in the situation that as many soldiers as possible on all sides of the conflict return to their families as soon as possible.

i do not support the idea of the young men and women on the front lines losing bits of their soul so REMF like bush and cheney can pontificate about nobility and goodness, while checking the polls and running for re-election.
posted by lord_wolf at 3:43 PM on April 8, 2003


Maybe I am just sick sick sick of the Bush bashing and the American bashing, etc. etc. It certainly hasn't been limited to this war. If we wanted to be the biggest bastards on the planet, we could have done it years ago. I don't think we are any better or worse than anybody else, but I do think that the very mention of Bush/Cheney or of the USA in general seems to bring out the height of bitchdom. So many seem to always impute the worst motives on anything we do. I am to the point that I wish we WOULD take every last one of our marbles-and dollars-home.

so REMF like bush and cheney can pontificate about nobility and goodness, while checking the polls and running for re-election

I think I can safely say that whether you agree with him or not, Bush does what he does out of principle and not out of looking for votes. If he were a wind-sniffing votedog I can assure you he'd have done a few things differently.
posted by konolia at 4:04 PM on April 8, 2003


Konolia, currently, the US is snuggled up to Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ismail Khan in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Kenya--all known human rights abusers. Some of these ties have strengthened under Bush. We know Hussein’s regime has amputated limbs of its opponents—what is being done about the many amputations in Sierra Leone? What about ethnic cleansing and oppression in Burma?

You’re right, we shouldn’t hold the US to standards of perfection. But we should certainly be skeptical about the claim that the US is a disinterested defender of justice and human rights. My apologies for being totally off-topic; this has certainly been a rambling thread. I agree with jonmc.
posted by win_k at 4:15 PM on April 8, 2003


I don't think we are any better or worse than anybody else, but I do think that the very mention of Bush/Cheney or of the USA in general seems to bring out the height of bitchdom.

Don't you think that being the richest, most powerful country in the world, while broadcasting an air of moral superiority gives us at least a little bit of a reason to hold ourselves to a higher standard than everyone else? I don't think it's fair for a nation that has spent over 200 years talking about how great a philosophy it has on individual liberty and which has more resources than the rest of the world combined to whine when our motives or methods are questioned just because we're doing better than China or Cuba on human rights. Shouldn't we be doing a whole hell of a lot better, just as a minimal standard? We've got to hold ourselves more accountable to the world than we hold others--we are obligated to do that much at least, not just because of our wealth, but because of our rhetoric.
posted by daveadams at 4:19 PM on April 8, 2003


If he were a wind-sniffing votedog I can assure you he'd have done a few things differently.

Really? Tell me, how could the 2002 elections have gone much better for the GOP? What uncompromising stances did Bush take that hurt some GOP candidates? You sound like you have some ideas where that's the case, so don't just tease us. Let's hear them, I'm certainly curious.
posted by daveadams at 4:21 PM on April 8, 2003




You sound like you have some ideas where that's the case, so don't just tease us. Let's hear them, I'm certainly curious

I'm not talking about hanging chads. I am talking about his ability to make a decision and stick to it without wetting a finger and sticking it up in the air every minute. So if you don't like what he's done this administration, vote him out. But at least you will know what you are voting against.
posted by konolia at 4:44 PM on April 8, 2003


Really freakin' late in the thread, but here it goes anyway.

I've been against this action from day one, but as a vet of the first go 'round in the Gulf I maintain that I can support the soldiers in the arena without supporting the cause for which they are fighting. It's been really hard to come up with an instantiation of this belief that I could point to until this thread.

Everything I've said and done to keep the US out of Iraq has come to naught. There is no way I can justify the US invasion to the world. I can, however, justify the killing of a child in the course of battle as this scenario has played out. Should that soldier have been there? Should the child have been sent to gather weapons? No and no. Is it a defensible action to shoot the child as he reached for an RPG? Yes. It is a horrible decision to have to make. Could it have been made differently? Yes. This is one of those hypotheticals they throw out in Ethics 101 course discussions because either position can be defended.

However, I will support the soldiers who are on the ground in cases like this. I will trust in their judgment. To do otherwise is to perform the sort of second guessing that led to decades of rancor between those who where there and those who protested the involvement in Vietnam.

See it can be done. I can 'support the troops' and protest the cause in a considered and consistent manner. Put that hairy dog up ya, jingoist bastards!

~~[[[8^)
posted by Fezboy! at 6:24 PM on April 8, 2003


How fuct is all that? Apparently though, it seems the Thai government really wants to rid their land of drugs, unlike the US who says they want to combat the problem, but instead continue to profit from it.

WMD, Iraqi liberation, "Let's not forget, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad." To name a few.
posted by LouReedsSon at 7:05 PM on April 8, 2003


oops...

I'm not talking about hanging chads. I am talking about his ability to make a decision and stick to it without wetting a finger and sticking it up in the air every minute

was responding to that. Sorry.
posted by LouReedsSon at 7:09 PM on April 8, 2003


Actually I doubt the Thai government is totally serious re the drug trade. Lots of corruption in that government. But I do love Thailand. I'd go back in a second. Maybe I could even go a day or two without hearing about Bush.
posted by konolia at 7:16 PM on April 8, 2003


You know, anyone sounding off in this thread, or elsewhere, about "doing what they had to do" who has not actually served under arms is the worst sort of posturing poseur.

soulhuntre, techgnologic, and the rest of you who think you're adopting a "realist's" toughmindedness: you have no clue what you are talking about.

I will be the first to admit (reminding myself of the poor butterbar in Aliens that my only experience with shots fired in anger is simulated - but grant me, if you will, that the US Army has gotten pretty good at evoking the total environment of warfare.

So from this limited vantage point I can assure you that, yes, combat is unbelievably chaotic, and von Clausewitz's "fog of war" a real and immediate factor - but. But the body and mind adapt, the training takes over as it is meant to, the combat skills per se become autonomous - leaving the intellectual and moral faculties intact and free to make decisions.

Special operations would not be possible otherwise. The training and culture of operators is predicated on the assumption of goal-seeking autonomy, not on some robotic, Nurembergian adherence to orders. You are *supposed to think*, to consider, to evaluate and choose; you're just expected to do it quickly and not to go all Hamletesque when you're taking rounds.

I will not judge the actors in the situation under discussion because, simply, I was not there. I do believe that a nation that puts its children in situations like these (i.e., both the US and Iraq) has already failed, morally.

As for joemeek's The US military does a good job of making heartless killers: so does every professional military on the planet, hoss. Ease off on that reflexive US-hatred and you'll see the larger point: this is a repellent, obsolescent practice that has nothing to do with maintaining order on an interconnected globe.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:19 PM on April 8, 2003


I'm always baffled at how people can rationalize the killing of a child. Gives me real hope for humanity.

The fact remains: This child, and many others like him, is now dead. If it wasn't for the invasion, he'd be alive.

And don't give me the "liberation" party line - I'm pretty sure this child would rather be alive than "liberated".
posted by spazzm at 8:47 PM on April 8, 2003


Well, here's my two bits--I'm with jonmc:

...and hama7 and durwood , Janeane may be somewhat addled in certain respects but she is an absolutely stunning woman. But I imagine you have some criticism of her because you all are physically perfect yourselves.

She's cute as a bug--take off those Elite Republican ThoughtGuards and get a clue. As for the topic at hand--won't go near it.
posted by y2karl at 1:01 AM on April 9, 2003


Konolia, thanks for the prosthesis link. I'm glad there are individuals out there who are trying to help victims of war and oppression, and I'm sure Mr. Holder is not alone. At the same time, my point was about the US government's limited interest in mitigating human rights abuses. An article about a private citizen's ideals and efforts does nothing to illustrate that the government consistently behaves the same.
posted by win_k at 10:22 AM on April 9, 2003


Just a quick note: Chaz Holder died last year. I knew him personally. He was an incredible human being-and he did what he did being a triple amputee himself.

And slightly off topic-anyone else see the Iraqis pulling the head of the destroyed Saddam statue down the street-with a couple of them astride it?
posted by konolia at 10:48 AM on April 9, 2003


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