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July 7, 2003 9:46 AM   Subscribe

U.S. troops looted and vandalized Iraqi airport. More rape and pillage from British troops. Is this standard fare for tired troops?
posted by the fire you left me (53 comments total)

 
I believe that the answer to your question is yes. Soldiers are put under stress that the average person could never imagine, and then given a world where in certain situations they are judge, jury, and executioner. This is one of the many costs of war, and it swings both ways-- when these men return home they will bear the costs of their actions.
posted by cell divide at 10:15 AM on July 7, 2003


I'm gonna barf.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:21 AM on July 7, 2003


In Britain at least, locals know not to go near the squaddie pubs in barracks towns like Aldershot and Colchester. I don't think it's any surprise British squaddies are capable of such things while on duty.
posted by salmacis at 10:23 AM on July 7, 2003


That "rape" link timed out for me. What's the news story - are British troops raping Iraqi women??
posted by jonson at 10:24 AM on July 7, 2003


The Rape story is in Kenya, Jonson.

As is the Pillage link.

I can't tell if it was intentional or not, but the way the FPP reads is that all of this is happening in Iraq. If unintentional, it's unclear, if intentional, it's disingenuous.

The "Standard" link is to two civillians killed during a guerilla gunfight. I'm not sure how that supports this point?

The "Fare" link is to an op-ed calling for a cessation of hostilities (And I'm sure that the American and British troops will be happy to do that as soon as they stop getting shot at and ambushed while trying to buy a soda)

The Tired Troops link says that yes, the troops are tired and want to go home.

How does any of that support your point that an incident of "vandalizing" the airport and looting it is anything other than an isolated incident for which the perpetrators will be punished and likely have to pay restitution?
posted by swerdloff at 10:32 AM on July 7, 2003


Rule of thumb: posts that link every single goddamned word in an entire sentence tend to fall on the side of pushing an agenda more than wanting to encourage good discussion.

Not that I'm helping.
posted by jragon at 10:40 AM on July 7, 2003


U.S. troops looted and vandalized Iraqi airport.

OK, they might've taken out a plane here and there, but at least they didn't take the "W" off of any computer keyboards.
posted by soyjoy at 10:43 AM on July 7, 2003


This isn't surprising, but it is sickening. A few veterans were trading bragging rights at the gym I used to go to. Their stories were disgusting and included rape and mutilation. I realize that some of it was most likely exaggeration but I also realize there was at least a kernel of truth beneath it all. I don't know that it's standard fare, but it doesn't take many active participants along side the many who won't rat out a fellow soldier even though they're committing felonies.
posted by substrate at 10:46 AM on July 7, 2003


Mis-behaviour (read murder, rape, pillaging) of troops is seldom treated with the seriousness it requires by the 'higher-ups', IMHO.
The systematic dehumanisation of troops, not to mention the enemy, could be seen as a cause for this complete breakdown of social norms.
All is not fair in love and war.
swerdloff, I believe the fire you left me posed a question, if that is to whom you are addressing the last sentence of your post.
posted by asok at 10:53 AM on July 7, 2003


The Rape story is in Kenya, Jonson.

And it happened 19 years ago. Not that that makes it any better, but I'm a little confused why the fire you left me included two links about British soldiers in Africa, when the post was ostensibly about the current situation in Iraq. In any case, higher-ups in the military do indeed prosecute cases like this with severity (see the rape allegations in Okinawa, Vietnam, et al).

...posts that link every single goddamned word in an entire sentence tend to fall on the side of pushing an agenda...

Uh, was there ever any doubt?
posted by dhoyt at 10:56 AM on July 7, 2003


To the victor goes the spoils - the Iraqis knew the risk when they started stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.

Oh, wait...
posted by spazzm at 11:20 AM on July 7, 2003


The rape story is ongoing, including rapes perpetrated since 1972.
'Martyn Day, a UK lawyer, is now confident the women could win a civil case in the British courts with the new evidence.'
'the rapes against Masai women continued right up until a training stint in November 1999 to March 2000'

One thing to note about this might be that after a meeting with chiefs in 1983, the army did nothing to investigate the rape claims.
posted by asok at 11:36 AM on July 7, 2003


Still has nothing to do with US performance in Iraq, which was, ostensibly, what the FPP was talking about, if it's read on its face.
posted by swerdloff at 12:14 PM on July 7, 2003


...posts that link every single goddamned word in an entire sentence tend to fall on the side of pushing an agenda...

posted by jragon at 10:40 AM PST on July 7

Uh, was there ever any doubt?
posted by dhoyt at 10:56 AM PST on July 7


Yeah, I'm with dhoyt. What kind of agenda-pusher would link almost every single goddamned word in an entire sentence on a front page post? You know, as in:

"Euphoria in Baghdad • In scenes reminiscent of the Cold War's final days, citizens are filling the streets, throwing flowers, tearing down monuments of Saddam Hussein and any reminders of his long, brutal regime...."

You know....to push an agenda and all (Uh, was there ever any doubt?) You'd sure hate to see that same fellow later hypocritically complain about agenda pushing and multiple links in response to a post that upset his own little worldview. Ick.

~wink~

The thread topic is obviously about "troops" and their behavior, whether the invaders of Iraq or elsewhere. But how odd that some of the usual apologists are primed and strangely focused and all knee-jerk defensive and all regarding atrocity and Our "Brave" Toops in Iraq. Funny, that.

And historically, you gotta just love the way some of Our Lawbreaking, Murdering "Brave" Troops get ultimately "punished". Guess that's just another way to "Support Our Troops", eh?

Deterrent -- you betcha.

(And I'm sure that the American and British troops will be happy to do that as soon as they stop getting shot at and ambushed while trying to buy a soda).

Gosh, it's so hard to imagine American "troops" being shot at by people of a particular nation when Our Troops haven't done anything nefarious and shoot-worthy.... like maybe preemptively invading that sovereign nation based on the lies of American leaders. I mean, sure, they're merely innocently buying sodas over there and not destroying the infrastructure and killing civilians and serving as an occupying power or anything, right?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:18 PM on July 7, 2003


I personally read the post as being about war crimes in general, not specific to Iraq, but using it as the latest and most recent example. Perhaps he could have included references to Japan in WWII and Germany in WWI to add a better historical dimension.
posted by cell divide at 12:23 PM on July 7, 2003


Geez foldy!

Next thing you know someone will declare you to be shrill, just like that darn Krugman fellow.
How dare you point out there may be another side to the debate!
Are you an anti-McCarthyite or something equally devious?
And don't forget, support the Boy King = supporting our poor tired, underpaid and often targeted troops!
posted by nofundy at 12:28 PM on July 7, 2003


Still has nothing to do with US performance in Iraq
Just saw footage inside the airport, not what I expected, the architect too. The ceilings reminded me of Frank Lloyd Wright. The airport should open this month for service.
Been watching C-span, Rebuilding Iraq.

serving as an occupying power or anything, right?

They are the only true police force whom can't be extorted, unfortunately, sad but true. This is because the tribes house the cops & the thieves. If a citizen stops a thief and then is recognized, their family becomes targets of kidnappings and extortion. Iraqi police are quitting because of this. Be surprised if the unrest is solely caused by Iraqis.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:39 PM on July 7, 2003


No one need declare foldy shrill, it would be as declaring water wet.
posted by jonson at 12:39 PM on July 7, 2003


Shrill or not, he zinged dhoyt right good. I expect this thread will be as flame filled as the one that ensued from that now unreachable thread. Teletubbies to to the warm up circle!
posted by y2karl at 1:18 PM on July 7, 2003


Wait, which thread is that?
posted by jonson at 1:21 PM on July 7, 2003


Or rather, which thread was that, since you're right, it's unreachable...
posted by jonson at 1:22 PM on July 7, 2003


The post is on his user page and quoted in its entirety above, and, to give dhoyt his due, he wasn't trying to troll, intending a pile on or starting a flamefest. He intended to be marking a historical moment. It seem's hard to believe but that's what he meant and I, for one, take him at his word. It's still a legit smack down from f&m, given the comment dhoyt made above.
posted by y2karl at 1:46 PM on July 7, 2003


Interesting, I don't feel "zinged" in the slightest.

There is no comparison to posting a bunch of pics from a phenomenon occuring right at that moment and a post compiling unrelated war atrocities in a sentence construction deliberately intended to mislead. Reading it again I don't think there's a whiff of "agenda" in what I posted. In fact, I remember taking particular care in writing it with hopes it wouldn't turn into the flamefest it did.

Do soldiers during wartime lose their critical faculties and commit atrocities? Has this happened for thousands of years? To soldiers from nearly every country in the world? In fact, to many not involved in war but who have suffered something equally as traumatic? None of that makes it right, of course, but really--what is there to discuss? War is terrible, the atrocities that happen during war are also terrible. I mean, is anyone really going to defend rape or vandalism in this discussion?

If we're covering atrocities during wartime why not a broad-brush FPP about the Holocaust during WWII. Surely we haven't milked that topic dry, have we?

Amazing you went through the trouble to copy-paste my entire post, HTML and all, into your comments, Keith, or that you consistently have leisure time to stalk me from thread to thread. Pretty disturbing behavior from someone in a profession as compassionate as yours.

(I certainly would've emailed you these comments directly, but, well, you know)
posted by dhoyt at 1:51 PM on July 7, 2003


Pretty disturbing behavior from someone in a profession as compassionate as yours.

dhoyt, are you threatening f&m with your coy references (name, job) to his real world identity? Cause I'm no fan of his, but that's not kosher!
posted by jonson at 1:59 PM on July 7, 2003


zing or no zing your post + your comment taken together say something about a particular type of poster here than I could write here. Negativity rules, I suppose.
posted by n9 at 2:03 PM on July 7, 2003


ach! "... say more about..." is what I meant to type. sorry.
posted by n9 at 2:04 PM on July 7, 2003


Repeatedly bringing into the discussion the occupations/lives of users such as ParisParamus or Bluetrain = acceptable

Same for foldy, who has shit on nearly every user at MeFi, offered up his personal info in MeTa and begged users to contact him "day or night", yet never provided an email address by which to respond = not kosher
posted by dhoyt at 2:06 PM on July 7, 2003


think about it dhoyt: I once got into an argument with an unnamed user here who subscribed me to a bunch of porno spam and then took time out to email me and let me know what he had done. That is why some people will not post their addresses. Posting a mailing address is the only real alternative when people have the ability to ruin a perfectly good email addy (in my case one that I had used since 1993.)
posted by n9 at 2:16 PM on July 7, 2003


I dunno. To me, not posting an email addy (even a harmless Yahoo address) is indicative of someone's unwillingness to listen to other viewpoints or bother with an actual point-to-point conversation. If anyone else reflects this attitude on MeFi, it would be fold_and_mutilate.

Jonson: my intention was not to "threaten" foldy, as you said, but to ask him why/how he invested so much time stalking my comments. This is hardly the first time he's dug into my comments archive and looked for some scrap of hypocrisy. As I said, I would have preferred to have email him, but that's not an option.
posted by dhoyt at 2:21 PM on July 7, 2003


Just remember that there's a chance he spends time stalking your comments because he's a little mentally unbalanced, so the less interaction you can seek out with him, the better :-)
posted by jonson at 2:28 PM on July 7, 2003


fellas...back on topic, or take it to meta!
posted by clever sheep at 2:38 PM on July 7, 2003


To me, not posting an email addy (even a harmless Yahoo address) is indicative of someone's unwillingness to listen to other viewpoints or bother with an actual point-to-point conversation

I keep mine off because I teach at one of the universities in the area, and would prefer to be able to say what I want without some irate student complaining to a dean that I used the f-word (no, a dean wouldn't do anything about it, but it's always better to say under their radar with that sort of thing, and yes, I've known people who were denounced for weirder stuff). It doesn't need to be perfect, just enough so that even if someone guesses correctly I can plausibly claim that it ain't me.

I could post a harmless yahoo account, but I'd never check it, so what would the point of that be?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:45 PM on July 7, 2003


Back to the trolling, I would like to say that I agree with Dhoyt that all this behavior is perfectly reasonable. Why expect good behavior from a bunch of hired killers?
posted by Hildago at 4:43 PM on July 7, 2003


Sure, Hildago. What I meant to say all along is that the atrocities were "perfectly reasonable". Uh huh.

And with that shallow, myopic bit of trollery, I'd say the thread's about dead.
posted by dhoyt at 5:29 PM on July 7, 2003


Reading it again I don't think there's a whiff of "agenda" in what I posted.

Substitute bias or tilt for agenda and I would strongly disagree.

Jonson: my intention was not to "threaten" foldy, as you said, but to ask him why/how he invested so much time stalking my comments.

Well, for a fact, dhoyt, I have felt the same way about you--not that you linked my comments or replicated my posts so much as it seemed to me that you were my own personal self appointed little truth squad time after time. It's all a matter of perception--I went back to check after a few of your shots at me and it didn't seem at all so clear in retrospect.

Were you stalking me or were you sensitized to me personally--that y2karl! he's so full of shit here, I'm gonna call him out for it--I couldn't tell the difference. Here you say f&M is stalking you but have you shown evidence? No. You've said so. Could you prove it to an outsider? I really doubt it. Your impression is that f&m is stalking you. But is he? Or is he particularly annoyed by your tone?

My impression of Faze, for instance, has been that he feels impelled to refute my posts or comments praising this or that writer, artist or singer from time to time by making an ad hominem attack on the person in question. But I'm not at all sure after looking back at the record of our interactions. All I know is he has pushed my buttons at times--that's not the same as stalking in my book.

f&m makes outrageous statements that continually push buttons but his ad hominem remarks have amounted to calling other people hypocrites. The way he's piled on everytime he makes one of his fingernails-on-the-right-wing blackboard remarks, it's like open season on the devil incarnate. People take him so seriously that they have to personally attack him any time he makes a comment. And that's ok with people--we have rules and then we have rules for f&m. Ad hominems towards him are unexceptionable.

I can't fathom his point sometimes--surely it's not to persuade, is it? He is so harsh and speaks from such a point of moral superiority that it's no wonder people get upset. But how much of that is from what he said and how much is that from what other people said about him?

Calling people stalkers or questioning their mental health--or quoting other people accusation's when you have a beef with someone--are ad hominems by extension. One accuses a person of something that can't be conclusively proven to a disinterested bystander and says it over and over, quotes someone else saying it--why that's the same as true.

And rest assured, if you ever have a difference with anyone, if you ever let anyone get to you enough that you get in long term flame exchanges or if you ever take a shot at anyone--someone will bring it up forever afterwards and throw it in your face. hama7 has been my target in the past, for example, but that ended sometime ago--now we exchange cordial and apolitical emails on topics of mutual interest. Not that it matters to the next person who'll bring up something I said to him months and years after the fact. Trashing other people, trashing people for trashing other people ad infinitum--it's all part of the community building process here.

I'm thinking now that anyone here, with enough perspective, can be seen as an actual human being and, cut some slack. Except jonson, of course--a troublemaker who can actually be proud of a user page like that has got to be one sick sociopathic motherfucker.
posted by y2karl at 8:44 PM on July 7, 2003


I'd say the thread's about dead.

Gee, I wonder how that happened.

Really, dhoyt, you can make all the moral equivalence claims you want, but I gotta know, what's with this first-name stuff? How do you justify it? There's no purpose to that that I can see other than to say "nyah nyah nyah" and be a "bad boy" by putting one toe over the line. It doesn't become you, and it doesn't help the thread.

However, to return to the topic itself and address your original comment, it is always worthwhile, and in fact essential, to discuss the atrocities of a war that's in progress, and to be able to put them in the context of other wartime atrocities. Waving away the discussion with "shit happens" is myopic: Even if this war were not an illegal elective one fought for an ever-shifting stated purpose, the crucial question of "is it worth it?" must be asked, and asked again as additional facts emerge, and can only be realistically answered if we have all the pros and cons on the table. We got the pros right up front (brilliant media strategy, I admit) but now we're slowly starting to wake up to the big con.
posted by soyjoy at 8:55 PM on July 7, 2003


anyone here ... can be seen as an actual human being ... except jonson, of course--a troublemaker ... one sick sociopathic motherfucker.

He's right, you know... I AM a troublemaker ;-) And congrats, y2karl, you have proven once and for all that you are no grudge holder! I cede to you the higher moral ground, sir...
posted by jonson at 9:12 PM on July 7, 2003


After your hogging it so long today, I demand you sterilize it with some handi-wipes first. I don't want any jonson revenge cooties.
posted by y2karl at 9:37 PM on July 7, 2003


And this rumor that you must get the last word in, where the hell does that come from?
posted by jonson at 9:43 PM on July 7, 2003


And this rumor that you must get the last word in, where the hell does that come from?

Lately? From some narcissistic thread moderator presenting acute symptoms of this very same disorder, ironically enough.
posted by y2karl at 10:00 PM on July 7, 2003


Awwww, jonson & y2karl... that is acute.
posted by soyjoy at 10:19 PM on July 7, 2003


And with that shallow, myopic bit of trollery, I'd say the thread's about dead.

What's shallow and myopic? Saying the military are hired killers?
posted by Hildago at 10:44 PM on July 7, 2003


but I gotta know, what's with this first-name stuff? How do you justify it...

I can't entirely justify it. I lost my temper due to foldy's insufferable presence here and inability to hold a "real" conversation--post, riposte and so on. A simple concept, really.

Instead his MO is to swoop down into a thread, sour the whole affair and then disappear smugly in a puff of smoke. As I said before, I would have emailed him, but, indicative of his cowardly nature, he refuses to provide an email address. Frankly I don't feel a lot of shame for standing up to him time and again--but I have crossed the line by bringing personal details into the conversation, and I apologize for that.

y2karl: I still don't understand your definition of the "zingings" and "smack-downs" issued by foldy_and_mutilate. A cursory glance at my FPP archive (linked by foldy) reveals posts about sex culture, music and theatre--a pretty tame form of "agenda pushing", if you ask me! Sorry, but I feel pretty secure in my posting record. Calling someone a hypocrite for one post is a "zing" these days? I heard better snaps on the middle school playground.

Hildago: What's shallow and myopic? Saying the military are hired killers?

No, the fact that you took my comments and boiled them down into your own inane misinterpretation (that I find the military atrocities "perfectly reasonable"). What rubbish. It was positively O'Rellyian in its spin, and I don't appreciate it.
posted by dhoyt at 11:15 PM on July 7, 2003


(PS: Karl & Jonson, are you guys play-fighting or actually fighting? It's honestly kind of hard to tell sometimes...)
posted by dhoyt at 11:19 PM on July 7, 2003


Play-fighting - I don't do anything without a grain of salt. y2Karl's right, actually fighting is just lame & counter productive.
posted by jonson at 11:27 PM on July 7, 2003


I was talking about the post from hell, dhoyt. I looked at your other posts, too, and it is pretty much as you describe. As for your question, apparently, I have a series of hate filled grudges and one of them is against you. Feel the wrath of my vitriolic basilisk stare.
*laser beams dhoyt into pile of ash ala The War Of Worlds by George Pal.*
posted by y2karl at 11:51 PM on July 7, 2003


**divides into a million specks, flutters to the ground covered in the detritus of Karl's loathing**
posted by dhoyt at 7:05 AM on July 8, 2003


Might I suggest Spam Gourmet for those who are afraid of posting their actual e-mail address ?

This way you won't have to create a separate Yahoo account and you'll know who's spamming you.
posted by Masi at 8:22 AM on July 8, 2003


No, the fact that you took my comments and boiled them down into your own inane misinterpretation (that I find the military atrocities "perfectly reasonable"). What rubbish. It was positively O'Rellyian in its spin, and I don't appreciate it.

So you don't find them reasonable? You find them irrational and believe they ultimately reflect poorly on our country? You don't agree with my defense of the soldiers? What do you have against Bill O'Reilly?
posted by Hildago at 3:06 PM on July 8, 2003


dhoyt 'his MO is to swoop down into a thread, sour the whole affair and then disappear smugly in a puff of smoke.'

And your MO is to fill a thread with metatalk material about yourself, ignoring the topic and boring the rest of us.

'I lost my temper due to foldy's insufferable presence here'

Oh that's alright then. Your inability to deal civilly other members of this community who have a different perspective to yours of course gives you carte-blanche to insult and use personal information that is in no way pertintent to the topic. Your behaviour is a disgrace to this community, IMHO. Apologising after the fact is welcome, have you apologised to Keith personally? However, the preview button could be your friend, along with delete. Try using them.

If f_n_m's cry of hypocracy had not jangled a nerve, why the flamable reply?

Is it possible that f_n_m has not read anything worthy of replying to so far in this thread that you have hijacked?

Why not get back on topic by replying to Hildago's and soyjoy's questions?

You know, hold a 'real' conversation within the guidelines of this community, a simple concept really.

/metatalk
Now what can I do to cheer myself up?
Metafilter would be a less colourful place without f_n_m, or dhoyt.

posted by asok at 5:00 AM on July 9, 2003


In the interests of not standing on some (possibly hyper-sensitive) toes, that last bit should have gone:
Metafilter would be a less colourful place without the comments of f_n_m, or dhoyt.
Embrace diversity.
posted by asok at 5:05 AM on July 9, 2003


And people who can't spell hypocrisy correctly ; )
posted by asok at 5:27 AM on July 9, 2003


If it's used to refer to the US government in practice, rather than in theory, "hypocracy" is a perfectly cromulent word.
posted by soyjoy at 7:48 AM on July 9, 2003


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