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April is the cruelest month
March 31, 2004 9:16 AM   Subscribe

A mob attacked a group of foreign contractors, shooting four people to death, burning their two vehicles, dragging their bodies through the streets and hanging the charred corpses from a bridge. Another day in the American occupation of Iraq.
posted by the fire you left me (134 comments total)

 
this is not a great post
posted by y2karl at 9:31 AM on March 31, 2004


An Associated Press report said one of the contractors was a woman and at least one an American.
Heard the United Nations told Iraq; better policing or no elections.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:32 AM on March 31, 2004


Does it matter if they drag the bodies through the street, and we don't? The Geneva Convention only applies to people who sign it, so what's the problem? Does the fact that Christian Nations have restrained their fundamentalists more successfully testify to their greater humanity or describe their reasons for greater economic success, military power, and development of social justice?
posted by ewkpates at 9:34 AM on March 31, 2004


I just think that the whole thing is sad. After decades of Saddam and now American occupation, there is no hope, no empathy, and no compassion left in Iraq. These are core problems that we won't fix anytime soon.
posted by trbrts at 9:39 AM on March 31, 2004


"And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust."
posted by clavdivs at 9:44 AM on March 31, 2004


I looked at the pictures on Drudge. I feel sick. Fuck.
posted by Quartermass at 9:46 AM on March 31, 2004


AP video here.
posted by the fire you left me at 9:47 AM on March 31, 2004


Does the fact that Christian Nations have restrained their fundamentalists more successfully testify to their greater humanity or describe their reasons for greater economic success, military power, and development of social justice?

I don't know, but I'm starting to feel the urge to start playing by the "Islamic Rules" and start showing the thugs in the Sunni triangle that we're not pussies.

Mind you, I'm not proud of that urge, but I'm admitting it just the same.
posted by darren at 9:57 AM on March 31, 2004


I can't help wondering about the interplay of photographers and rioters. It seems like everyone in the photos is facing the camera. Maybe my is just drawn to the faces that are visible; either way, I'm not going through the photos again to check.

I hope they round up every single person in those photos though.
posted by coelecanth at 10:01 AM on March 31, 2004


If foreign companies would hire Iraqis to do the work, this wouldn't happen. I'm not surprised at this at all, and don't forget that all the foreign companies and workers are seen as part of the occupation.
posted by amberglow at 10:02 AM on March 31, 2004


Yeah, Americans do this kind of thing to Canadians all the time.

I have a friend who says that the Middle East should be turned into a glass factory, by which he means that there are no solutions to their insanity, and that we should bomb them until the sand fuses into glass. He says this in an impartial, uninvolved way.

My friend and darren are both wrong. Civilization deals with criminals by putting them in prison. We have to catch them, and put them in prison if we can. One at a time. Forever. Or we loose our own civilization.
posted by ewkpates at 10:05 AM on March 31, 2004


Or better yet, empty their oil reserves and put Saddam back in power when they're dry. I mean, since they miss him so much. It's better than what those savages deserve.
posted by keswick at 10:12 AM on March 31, 2004


If foreign companies would hire Iraqis to do the work, this wouldn't happen.

Come on Amberglow, that's just crazy. You're saying that otherwise law abiding, everyday Iraqis, because their jobs are going to foreign workers, burn those foreigners to death and hang them from bridges?
posted by gwint at 10:20 AM on March 31, 2004


Yes, keswick, because the best way to punish criminals is actually to punish everyone in a country so you can be sure you got the right ones.

I hope they round up every single person in those photos though.

I have long felt that cheering in the street for causes that I don't like should be an arrestable offence.
Being a scumbag isn't arrestable yet in the US, why should it be in Iraq? So much for freedom of speech.
posted by biffa at 10:21 AM on March 31, 2004


Amberglow: did you just blame foreign companies for causing a crowd of barbarians to murder and dismember four innocent people?
posted by techgnollogic at 10:27 AM on March 31, 2004


Concerning the 1st link: We will all hear about this all too much.

Concerning the 2nd & 3rd links: A Daniel Pipes link from 1991 about not saving the Kurds after the Gulf War and a page from the State Department about excavating mass graves--dating from 1991 and before, by the way--make no sense at all. What is their relationship with the attack on the American led mercenaries in Falluja today ?

Apart the fact that bodies have been desecrated and caught on tape, the post is without a point and will not produce any worthwhile commentary--as is being so amply demonstrated thus far.
posted by y2karl at 10:28 AM on March 31, 2004


If foreign companies would hire Iraqis to do the work, this wouldn't happen.

---
Come on Amberglow, that's just crazy. You're saying that otherwise law abiding, everyday Iraqis, because their jobs are going to foreign workers, burn those foreigners to death and hang them from bridges?
---
Gwint, I don't think it's their jobs their worried about so much. I think what Amberglow was getting at is that American citizens there, doing civilian work, that could otherwise be done by Iraqi's probably should be done by Iraqi's. It would minimize the amount of people dying because an Iraqi is less likely to kill another Iraqi because he/she is mad at the coalition forces.
posted by jasenlee at 10:35 AM on March 31, 2004


biffa, I'm reasonably sure desecrating human remains -- at a crime scene, if you will -- is felony everywhere. If they were doing it in New York City on an episode of "Homicide" (probably the last unfilmed "Homicide" premise, btw) it would be an arrestable offense. At least one of the people in the photos is attired the way the attackers were described to be. It's entirely reasonable to assume that the people burning, poking and hanging the victims' bodies might know SOMETHING about the attackers.

But just so we're clear, I think they've earned a beating, and I heartily endorse them getting one.
posted by coelecanth at 10:39 AM on March 31, 2004


the post is without a point and will not produce any worthwhile commentary

Your qualms with this post do not sound terribly different than the "Newsfilter" epithet that I frequently use, and which you frequently consider ridiculous. What gives? Why is this post different than all the others?
posted by dhoyt at 10:41 AM on March 31, 2004


I think this is an important story for americans to know about; we're supposed to hand over the reins of Iraq in just a couple months, and it's still chaos there.
posted by mathowie at 10:41 AM on March 31, 2004


Meet the new Mogadishu, same as the old Mogadishu. Only this time, we can't pack up and leave the intractable mess.
posted by letitrain at 10:45 AM on March 31, 2004


...It would minimize the amount of people dying because an Iraqi is less likely to kill another Iraqi because he/she is mad at the coalition forces.

jasonlee: I wish this were true, but it doesn't appear to be. The new Iraqi police force has been bombed relentlessly in the last few months. It seems unlikely that all of the violence directed at Iraqi civil servants as well as civilians can be blamed on "foreign terrorists"-- in other words, yes, sadly, Iraqis are killing other Iraqis.
posted by gwint at 10:48 AM on March 31, 2004


The photos are absolutely disgusting, and the disfiguring of bodies and general dehumanization of the "other" (on the part of those few Fallujans, to be perfectly clear) smack of the psychological undertones of the worst contexts for ethnic violence. That level of hate and inhumanity probably travels pretty well, and will be just great in Iraq Civil War '05.

mathowie: don't let seth hear you say that. he'll tell mathowie.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:48 AM on March 31, 2004


Boy it sure does make it alot harder to want to help people that treat the dead in such a shameful manner.

Iraq is going to be a death hole for the US for a very, very long time. There's no way that the Iraqi people will regain control of their country anytime soon. What's the point of letting someone take the steering wheel when you've already gone over the cliff edge?
posted by fenriq at 10:49 AM on March 31, 2004


Its not that bad everywhere in Iraq, just where the people who were best treated by Saddam at the cost of others live.
posted by ewkpates at 10:50 AM on March 31, 2004


coelecanth: It must be that the photos in the links that you're seeing are different from the ones I'm seeing, which don't appear to have any dead bodies in at all.
posted by biffa at 11:00 AM on March 31, 2004


Does the fact that Christian Nations have restrained their fundamentalists more successfully testify to their greater humanity

I'd give more credit to the influence of secular humanism restraining Christianity than Christianity restraining itself.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:02 AM on March 31, 2004


The televised scenes of people in Baghdad and elsewhere celebrating their freedom belie any early commentary that Iraqis were ambivalent or opposed to the coalition's liberation of their country, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said on April 11 [,2003].

"The images of thousands of cheering Iraqis, celebrating and embracing coalition forces, are being broadcast throughout the world, including the Arab world," Rumsfeld said in an opening statement. "Possibly for the first time, Arab people are seeing the people of Iraq waving American flags and thanking the men and women in uniform for risking their lives to free them from tyranny. I think it's important that that message be seen, for America is a friend of Arab people."

-- Defense Department briefing, April 11, 2003
Civic Pride in Iraq's Capital

The CPA, responding to a Baghdad City Council request, is allocating $10 million to brighten the city's public parks, squares and playgrounds. The funding will provide lighting in the capital's outdoor public places, new murals, sculptures, and landscaping. Revitalization of Baghdad's public areas shows civic pride and is another example of the Iraqis' faith in their future.

-- Iraqi Fact of the Day, March 30, 2004
posted by kirkaracha at 11:07 AM on March 31, 2004


Yeah, maybe. I was looking at the Washington Post's photos, to which I will not link. They're very graphic, btw.
posted by coelecanth at 11:08 AM on March 31, 2004


I don't know, but I'm starting to feel the urge to start playing by the "Islamic Rules" and start showing the thugs in the Sunni triangle that we're not pussies.

That's so wonderful. So very intelligent. So very humane. The use of American violence in Iraq has so obviously created a less violent state in Iraq, and the Middle East. It's all part of Bush's brilliant "Roadmap", don't you know.

Reap the fucking whirlwind.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:09 AM on March 31, 2004


Come on Amberglow, that's just crazy. You're saying that otherwise law abiding, everyday Iraqis, because their jobs are going to foreign workers, burn those foreigners to death and hang them from bridges?
Amberglow: did you just blame foreign companies for causing a crowd of barbarians to murder and dismember four innocent people?

I think I did. Their reaction is very very extreme, to put it mildly--but what would you do if some other country invaded here, and fired all of us or bombed our workplaces and homes, and took over all the biggest companies and the govt, and brought in foreign workers? I know i'd be very pissed. We are foreign invaders and occupiers there--the foreign contractors are an extension of that, doing work that those people used to do.

Why aren't those people that did this employed? Why aren't more Iraqi men employed? Don't tell me there's no motive for this at all, because there is.
posted by amberglow at 11:10 AM on March 31, 2004


Their reaction is very very extreme, to put it mildly--but what would you do...

Amberglow: I'm sure it's not your intention, but you're coming awfully close to sympathizing with a group of people who just committed the horrendous murders of four innocent men, followed by the desecration, mutilation and hanging of their corpses.
posted by dhoyt at 11:20 AM on March 31, 2004


Iraq needs a Ghandi. This violence is appalling, but there don't seem to be many Iraqi apologists coming out of the woodwork. I find the lack of a non-blood thirsty voice in Iraq more appalling than the violence.
posted by fatbobsmith at 11:25 AM on March 31, 2004


darren, isn't that the same instinct that is causing this in the first place. I don't doubt that it would come to boil in any self-respecting person who has to watch an occupying force abuse thier family members and their economy. With all respect to the dead, this seems like more of the same - chickens coming home to roost.
posted by jmgorman at 11:26 AM on March 31, 2004


amberglow: you left out the part where the foreign invading forces removed a murderous, evil dictator from power.

btw, does this mean i can go on a kill-crazy rampage at HP for shipping all those jobs overseas? w00h00!
posted by keswick at 11:28 AM on March 31, 2004


Why is this post different than all the others?

It was posted in heat and haste--it could have been better written and better linked. Topic aside, it is a crappy construction. Ignatius J. Reilly's comments are not, by the way.

Civilians is not an apt description for corporate paramilitary auxiliaries. This sort of scene is exactly why the administration has been hell bent on privatizing security details in Iraq. Were those GI's being hung from bridges, this would be a much much bigger deal. But as they are private contractors performing in a military role, there's some wiggle room for the Bungle Boys.
posted by y2karl at 11:32 AM on March 31, 2004


Why aren't those people that did this employed? Why aren't more Iraqi men employed?

Amberglow, where does it say anything about the employment status of the rioters? Which one of them mentioned jobs?
posted by coelecanth at 11:33 AM on March 31, 2004


Or better yet, empty their oil reserves and put Saddam back in power when they're dry. I mean, since they miss him so much. It's better than what those savages deserve.

What makes you think that's not what's happening now? Sure his name won't be Saddam Hussein, it might be Chalabi or Sadr or who knows... but the game was afoot from the start.

And what about the thousands of Iraqis whose bodies weren't even whole enough after the smart bombs to be drug through the streets? Were their deaths any better because they weren't televised and because they died in pursuit of professed nobel goals? Is it not a noble goal to remove occupiers from a country?

I love it when people who supported war (killing, dismemberment, torture, destruction) now start talking about 'the savages' killing people. Every war in the history of the world has been fought over resources, were you really so naive to think that this one was about 'freedom'? Let alone 'Iraqi Freedom'? These people want their resources, the Americans wanted the resources, the French wanted the resources, the Russians wanted the resources. They all went about it a different way... you reap what you sow, and intentions are so very important in life. I'm sure these people were will killed and mutilated were innocent-- but the people who sent them there, the people who created this situation, and the people who ended up killing them, are not.
posted by chaz at 11:36 AM on March 31, 2004


Also a bit of clarification to the post, it appears that insurgents launched the attack, not a mob. The mob just did the mutilation and celebration.

I feel so sorry for the families who have to see those pictures, and hear about what happened to their relatives in every news story in the country, and hear people politicizing it. I didn't mean to do that in my post, but I do blame the killers, the mob, and the people who launched the war in such a fucked-up way, destroying all chances from the very start of making a better future in Iraq.
posted by chaz at 11:40 AM on March 31, 2004


For the record, you assuming fuck, I was against the war from the start and I never bought the Shrub's lies.

So tell me Chaz, was McVeigh noble for striking a blow against a government he felt unjust? How many innocents died that day? Were Atta and his cronies noble for striking a blow against an unjust government? Where do you draw the line?
posted by keswick at 11:42 AM on March 31, 2004


I sympathize with their situation, not with their actions--there's a big difference. I know I would be totally sabotaging and making trouble if i was in their shoes--and doing whatever I could to get my country back, and to feed and clothe my family. I wouldn't kill and maim and burn, but that's me.
posted by amberglow at 11:43 AM on March 31, 2004


Iraq needs a Ghandi.

Islam needs a Ghandi. But they'd probably shoot him, too.

By the way, not that this isn't absurdly obvious, but this sort of crap never happened under Saddam. "The world is a better place without him," huh? Says who? Countries like Iraq need strong authoritarian, secular despots. Not American GI's constrained by public backlash at negative media coverage.

I'm waiting for some GI to finally say "I've had enough of this crap" and go on a muderous rampage. It's going to happen.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:47 AM on March 31, 2004


I think this is an important story for americans to know about; we're supposed to hand over the reins of Iraq in just a couple months, and it's still chaos there.


Grab your popcorn, it is going to be quite a show.
posted by a3matrix at 11:52 AM on March 31, 2004


"Finally his last claim that states are not able anymore to guarantee the life and property of its citizens is correct but does not automatically imply that Leviathan is dying. It is true, the provision of security, which since Hobbes has been recognized as the most important function of the state, is greatly challenged by terrorists and other forms of organized violence. The growing tendency to hire private security guards may undermine the credibility of police forces. However, privatisation of security, provided that it works, however, does not automatically undermine the vitality of the state. Citizens may be willing to tolerate the nation-state as long as it does not intervene too much in their affairs and as long as other organizations execute the tasks that were originally done by the state. It seems that Van Creveld is much better in explaining the rise of the state than in predicting its decline."
posted by clavdivs at 11:53 AM on March 31, 2004


it appears that insurgents launched the attack

An insurgent is "a person who rises in revolt against civil authority or an established government." It'd be more accurate to say the people who launched the attack were resistance fighters: "An underground organization engaged in a struggle for national liberation in a country under military or totalitarian occupation."
posted by kirkaracha at 12:01 PM on March 31, 2004


keswick there is no need to resort to personal attacks. Anyway, I only directed one comment towards you, the rest was for everyone. In any case, I asked a question, is it noble to remove occupiers from your own country... that would not apply to McVeigh, Atta, or anything else even remotely like that. If Iraq had taken over America, and McVeigh had bombed the new Iraqi federal building, it would still be morally wrong, but I think the perspective gets switched around a little, doesn't it?

The UN charter amendments, the Geneva Convention, and many international law experts say to some degree or another that occupied people have the right to resist occupation. Is it noble for Iraqis to resist occupation? I don't know-- I don't think it's very smart, because the Americans, for all the faults of the genesis of the invasion, are offering a better deal then any current Iraqi power structure. But I still think that when you go into a sitation with the worst of intentions (
posted by chaz at 12:05 PM on March 31, 2004


Google News: Iraq special forces private security

These former soldiers will not make it--conveniently for the adminstration--on to American casualty lists.
posted by y2karl at 12:06 PM on March 31, 2004


It has to be clear that soldiers intending to kill other soldiers as part of a war is not the same as soldiers killing women and children in order to demoralize the enemy. Further, it should also be clear that freedom fighters are not the same as terrorists, and that using land mines on civilians is not the same as using smart bombs on terrorist thugs.

If we lump all killing into one category, then we'd be big huge vegetarians, now wouldn't we?
posted by ewkpates at 12:07 PM on March 31, 2004


So let's hear your definition of "terrorist thugs" and "freedom fighters". If someone attacks a soldier in Iraq, is he a freedom fighter or a terrorist thug? If he attempts to blow up Paul Bremer and instead blows up a group of innocent Iraqis, what is he? If someone who was part of the Iraqi government was targetted, and instead 17 men, women and children were bombed instead, because the intelligence was not good, and was known to not be very good, who is the terrorist?

If one country invades another under false pretenses with the clear goal of taking that country's resources and using it as a massive military base for future operations, in the process killing thousands of civilians and removing a brutal despot from power, should that country expect grattitude, fear, hate, or a mixture of all three from the invaded country?

If a country has a long and exceptionally bloody anti-colonial past, should we be surprised that it's not easy to invade and conquer?
posted by chaz at 12:15 PM on March 31, 2004


I find the lack of a non-blood thirsty voice in Iraq more appalling than the violence.

While I understand what you're saying, I think this might in part be due to having much of the information on Iraq filtered through the western news media. Unfortunately, talking with peaceful citizens is nowhere near as 'sexy' as publishing photos of people desecrating dead bodies. For what it's worth, the vast majority of of individual Iraqis I've met online appear to be both mistrusting of the US forces and aghast at some of the violent acts their fellow countrymen are committing.
posted by jess at 12:21 PM on March 31, 2004


Jobs in Iraq
posted by mildred-pitt at 12:27 PM on March 31, 2004


Memory Bank: "Indeed it has been reported that besieged Iraqi president Saddam Hussein passed out copies of the 'Black Hawk Down' video for his commanders to study so they could replicate its success."

Just thought I'd mention, in case anybody else remembered this blurb.
posted by kablam at 12:31 PM on March 31, 2004


jess: You mean to say, if there were a large, non-manipulated (by which I mean, not created out of nothing by the U.S., or by groups receiving the large part of their funding from the quote-unquote coalition) non-violent movement for change in Iraq, that it wouldn't be covered? Struggle makes for good pictures, yes, but non-violent movements tend to get involved in struggles for power, which sometimes leads to violence against those participating.

The "peaceful" people who sit on the sidelines and wring their hands of course aren't covered, because they're not in motion, aren't organized, aren't doing anything to change the status quo in at least any noticeable way. The Civil Rights Movement, by contrast, received plenty of coverage in the U.S., after a time. The Tiananmen Square protests received plenty of coverage before things turned violent. Etc., etc.
posted by raysmj at 12:38 PM on March 31, 2004


"The first duty of any social entity is to protect the lives of it's members. Either modern states cope with low-intensity conflict, or else they will disappear; suspicion grows, however, that they are damned if they do and damned if they don't. War being among the most imitative of all human activities, the very process of combating low-intensity conflict will cause both sides to become alike, unless it can be brought to a quick end. Extensive conflict of this nature will cause existing distinctions between government, armed forces, and people to break down. National sovernties are already being undermined by organizations that refuse to recognize the state's monopoly over armed violence. Armies will be replaced by police-like security forces on the one hand and bands of ruffians on the other, not that the difference is always clear today. National frontiers, that at present constitute perhaps single obstacle to combating low-intensity conflict, may be obliterated or else become meaningless as rival organizations chase each other across them. As frontiers go, so will territorial states. All of which to say that the tail wags the dog by as much as the dog wags the tail. To the extant that war is indeed the continuation of politics, radical shifts in war will inevitably be followed by important changes in politics.
As the old war convention fades away, a new one will no doubt take it's place-the waging of war without such convention being in principle impossible. The coming convention's function will be the same as it has always been:namely, to define just who is allowed to kill whom, for what ends, under what circumstances, and by what means.
....Future ages may well shudder with horror as they remember us"

-van Creveld, 'The Transformation of War'
posted by clavdivs at 12:51 PM on March 31, 2004


Fucking psychopaths.
posted by homunculus at 1:10 PM on March 31, 2004


> Reap the fucking whirlwind.

Well, things are certainly no worse than they were before the invasion. When you're dealing with lunatic naked savages with chicken bones stuck through their noses, as the occupation forces patently are in this and other instances, it's actually quite a bit better if the naked savages have targets that are armed and can shoot back than it was when they were targeting unarmed civilians who could be eliminated and buried on the QT.
posted by jfuller at 1:22 PM on March 31, 2004


These former soldiers will not make it--conveniently for the adminstration--on to American casualty lists.

so, by your first google link, British ex-SF solders will not be included in the american list?
i was unaware they where on our lists in first place. i thought the british had thier own list.

these lists are confusing.
posted by clavdivs at 1:40 PM on March 31, 2004


Stop it, chaz. You're making far too much sense. And this war/occupation/rescue isn't about sense.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:50 PM on March 31, 2004


Reading this, and seeing the pictures, I am reminded about all the talk about "hearts and minds" at the onset of occupation. Our government tried to convince us that it was only a matter of time before peace was achieved in Iraq and the insurgents and Saddam loyalists were eliminated. We'd win the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people, and the rest would go smoothly.

All I can think now is... how long? How long???
posted by VulcanMike at 2:03 PM on March 31, 2004


These are the same people who supported the Palestinians for years. Why would anyone expect them to act any differently? Why is it suddenly a super tragedy when Iraqis do it to American contractors, but not when Palestinians did it to Americans from the Fulbright program? Why is it more noteworthy. Americans go in to help. Barbarians (and I do not use that word loosely) kill them, swarm them, and string their bodies up.

What I've seen from most people on MeFi is that they support, openly and with great pride, the Palestinian people who do this daily to Israelis, and have done this to Americans who go in there, and are now (the mefites) starting to support the Iraqis, who may start doing this daily. Fine. Line up with them.

You come out on this site regularly (you generic, not you specifically) supporting the Palestinian "right of resistance" and "right of return" and that they're the "poor oppressed" and "evil Israel" well - same situation, different "occupation." Why are any of you surprised? Because the Americans killed were trying to help? That's never stopped the Palestinians from murdering anyone.

And the linkage, before people here start pointing fingers that I'm lumping disparate ethnic groups together, is that the Iraqi government, who would go on to become the "Ba'athist resistance," supported the Palestinians almost as much as some of you in here do. And the Ba'athist resistance is made up at least partly of the Palestinians who were given refuge in Iraq. Like Abu Nidal's minions. Why you'd expect different results is beyond me. Why you'd root for either one, who are anti-democratic, anti-woman, anti-gay, and anti-you-as-a-westerner is well beyond my comprehension as well. It is us vs. them and we didn't define it that way.

But then, I believe that freedom of speech is important, women aren't chattel, freedom of religion is important, the freedom from the knock at the door in the middle of the night is important, and that those things are worth defending, and worth spreading. So for me, it's a no-brainer.

The minute Jews can buy property in Palestine without being murdered, the Germans, French, Belgians, and other assorted European sophisticates give the Jews the "right of return" with full reparations, and Saddam pays reparations to the families of those he and his minions slaughtered is the minute I start supporting them. Until that time, count me on the side of civilization.

Glenn Reynolds has the right idea for Fallujah. With this attack, all civil aid to the city should stop. It's not collective punishment because it's not an entitlement. Until such a time as those who committed the crimes are served up to Bremer.

Also - how convenient that a Reuters camera crew was right there for the Iraqis to play to. Not saying that the two things are linked, but it wouldn't be the first time that Reuters set things up for maximum effect in Iraq.
posted by swerdloff at 2:09 PM on March 31, 2004


All I can think now is... how long? How long???

I think it's going to be a while.
posted by homunculus at 2:09 PM on March 31, 2004


these lists are confusing.

Funny, the text for that first link reads Exhausted American and British special forces troopers...

Logic would suggest that the casualty lists for neither country will be aincreased by the deaths of paramilitary troops. It is not confusing at all.

*Unless, of course, you are all hot and bothered to make yourself right in a pathetic pretend sort of way via a phony hair splitting petty grammatical--and consider the source!--point.


But, from the first links, here's a heads up:

One of those senior noncommissioned officers who chose to leave the Army for a private security job in Baghdad, Iraq, paused for a few moments on Monday to describe his decision, but requested that his name be withheld.

After enlisting just over two decades ago, he received airborne, Ranger and Special Forces training. At the completion of 20 years of service, he received an offer to go to Iraq to guard public officials and help train local Iraqis to do the same.

"It wasn't that I minded the op-tempo or the deployments, that's why I joined," he said about the pace of operations. "But after putting in my time, I had this chance to make three times the money, and some of the guys are making even more than that."

Seasoned enlisted troops and officers have always offered skills that make them attractive to civilian employers, including defense contractors, security companies and military consulting firms. Military personnel experts are cautioning that longer and more frequent deployments are threatening the ability of all the armed services to retain many of their best and brightest troops.

Experienced Special Operations forces have always represented the cream of the crop. The demand for their talents has grown steadily since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks...

And any complaints from these troops about their jobs has top officials worried. "We can never compete dollar-for-dollar with outside firms," said Command Chief Master Sgt. Robert Martens Jr. of the Air Force, the senior enlisted adviser to Brown. "We compete on job satisfaction."


There's the downside of privatization--career professional soldiers leaving the ranks. That can not be good for the armed services, especially if it is true if the number of Special Forces they call 'trigger pullers' is more in the vein of 10,000 .

Green Berets and other special forces receive 18 months' training in combat and survival skills, including airborne and amphibious warfare, and are also required to learn at least one foreign language. They may apply only after six to eight years in the military. Army Rangers are also counted as special forces, specialising in seizing airfields and ports.

That is a lot of time and money to be spending selecting and training these men to have them resigning their commissions to become soldiers of fortune.
posted by y2karl at 2:18 PM on March 31, 2004


Americans go in to help. Barbarians (and I do not use that word loosely) kill them, swarm them, and string their bodies up.

They didn't "go in to help" in Iraq. They went in to remake the middle east as they saw fit, using bogus WMD claims as a justification.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:22 PM on March 31, 2004


Google News: Iraq special forces private security

These former soldiers will not make it--conveniently for the adminstration--on to American casualty lists.
posted by y2karl at 12:06 PM PST on March 31


convenient logic.
or is this a case of implied logic concerning the
"adminstration"

i find very little that is "petty" concerning this issue. You do as stated 15 minutes after the post was made.

this is not a great post
posted by y2karl at 9:31 AM PST on March 31

posted by clavdivs at 2:33 PM on March 31, 2004


swerdloff, when america starts moving millions of its citizens into Iraq onto land taken during the war, creates 'american-only' roads, neighborhoods, and streets, and generally takes the position that Iraq is not for Iraqis, but for God's New Chosen People, Americans, only, then I would be a lot more sympathetic to the Iraqi Resistance.

When America starts talking about moving all Iraqis into Iran or Saudi Arabia to clear the land for 'our people', when Americans start making it illegal to join organizations that oppose occupation, even peacefully, then I will change my mind. Or perhaps when the Israelis start building something in Palestine and making plans to leave, instead of destroying everything and making plans to stay forever, I will change my mind about that situation. Or maybe if the American occupation gets bloodier and bloodier, more oppressive and more oppressive year after year for 35 years...

It is you who has the problem-- "on the side of civilization" give me a break. You're on the side of oppression, on the side of "Jewish Only" land and roads, on the side of slow-motion ethnic cleansing, on the side of destroying livlihoods rather than creating them. You are on the side of detention without charge, colonization, theft of water, land, and resources.

You are the one who can't tell two different occupations apart. But seriously, once America starts trying to pretend that Iraqis do not exist, and that they have no right to live in their own land, and when there is a tax break to move me and thousands of other Americans into an American suburb in the middle of Najaf, let me know about that.
posted by chaz at 2:38 PM on March 31, 2004


I find very little that is ''petty'' concerning this post.

Well, pin another medal on your chest then and count pipsqueak coup. You are so right again!
posted by y2karl at 2:48 PM on March 31, 2004


ooh, I wrote post for issue--be sure to bring that up, too, Brigadier Spellcheck!
posted by y2karl at 2:49 PM on March 31, 2004


> They didn't "go in to help" in Iraq. They went in to remake the middle east as
> they saw fit, using bogus WMD claims as a justification.

A distinction without a difference. If the middle east were remade as I see fit it would certainly be helped--massively improved, in fact. They should pray that it happens.
posted by jfuller at 2:53 PM on March 31, 2004


If the middle east were remade as I see fit it would certainly be helped--massively improved, in fact.

I'm sure a lot of foreigners feel the same way about the United States. What gives them or you the right to act on what they or you see fit?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 3:02 PM on March 31, 2004


I don't understand, Chaz - which part of what I say weren't you clear about?

That the Iraqis are now using Palestinian tactics? Or that the Iraqis supported the Palestinians and I'm not surprised? After all, the Iraqis involved are just "resisting" "foreign occupation" just like the Palestinians are. Even if they're killing contractors who are there to make infrastructure repairs. What you're saying is that the difference is one of degree (Israelis settle permanently, American soldiers are there temporarily) not kind. And my response is that supporting Palestinians supports just this kind of "resistance" to any degree of "occupation."

Armitage Shanks - What gives anyone the right to impose their will on anyone else - force. Duh. Only question is - which group would you like to see being forceful? Because radical islamists believe in their heart of hearts that America should follow sharia, and we believe in our heart of hearts that gays shouldn't be killed, women who are raped shouldn't be stoned to death, and just being a Jew shouldn't carry a death sentence. Who decides? The more powerful side. It has been ever thus, and won't change, so long as one side has Jihadis and the other side doesn't want to be overrun.
posted by swerdloff at 3:12 PM on March 31, 2004


amberglow: you left out the part where the foreign invading forces removed a murderous, evil dictator from power.

why do you care if these people were ruled by a dictator, if they are merely (in your words) savages?
posted by mcsweetie at 3:19 PM on March 31, 2004


Swerdloff, If you think the difference between 'theft' and 'stewardship' (or the difference between a couple of years and for all eternity, or the difference between building a democracy and destroying a people) is a difference of degree, I guess there really is no point in arguing. But perhaps I am misunderstanding you:

Do you think that resisting occupation is not a right of occupied people? Or do you just disagree with the tactics which seem to be similar (killing of non-military personnel) between the two situations?
posted by chaz at 3:23 PM on March 31, 2004


It has been ever thus, and won't change, so long as one side has Jihadis and the other side doesn't want to be overrun.

We aren't in danger of being overrun by Iraqis. We were in even less danger from Iraqi "Jihadis" when it was ruled by an essentially secular dictator. And as you pointed out, there's no particular moral basis for our actions there; we just have bigger guns. And there weren't any WMDs. So why are we there again?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 3:28 PM on March 31, 2004


I was disgusted by the sheer joy and elation expressed in the faces of the celebrating Iraqis in those photos. Then I realized that the look on my face wouldn't be entirely dissimilar, if it was their charred corpes hanging from a bridge rail

So this is how people begin to hate....
posted by pemulis at 3:48 PM on March 31, 2004


amberglow: you left out the part where the foreign invading forces removed a murderous, evil dictator from power.
Show me how Chalabi's going to be any better than Saddam was.
posted by amberglow at 3:51 PM on March 31, 2004


amberglow that is pretty ridiculous, Saddam was in a class reserved for the upper echelon of pychpathic dictators. It's obscene to compare him to almost anyone... I don't think you strengthen your case with that comparison. It may be that Chalabi or whoever ends up running Iraq is no Washington, but the Saddam comparison is not so sweet... especially since there's no way to disprove it cause the dude isn't in office yet!
posted by chaz at 4:02 PM on March 31, 2004


Saddam was in a class reserved for the upper echelon of pychpathic dictators. It's obscene to compare him to almost anyone...
Sorry--he wasn't--at all. Try Hitler and Pol Pot for the upper echelon, then add more people far worse than Saddam, including folks like Idi Amin and Baby Doc and Papa Doc, then maybe in the minor leagues, you'd find him, below them.

Chalabi's been proven to be a lying, cheating criminal--you tell me why he gets to run Iraq.
posted by amberglow at 4:27 PM on March 31, 2004


Show me how Chalabi's going to be any better than Saddam was.
better? it comes down to better.
umm, Chalabi did not kill over a hundred thousand people.
that good enough for you.
perhaps saddam had better taste concerning wine and decor is that what you mean?
Chalabi did not gas people.
Chaz said almost anybody. I believe that almost covers the list you have complied.
but your backpeddling, placing your empathy to a bunch of thugs. Thats ok, it is your right. and trust me Chalabi is a small fry whom has no chance of ruling anything but his own paycheck. That issue is moot IMO.

Well, pin another medal on your chest then and count pipsqueak coup

please write a coherant sentence next time.

then count pipsqeak coup.

i have had some bad grammar but this is just your anger karl.
ooh, I wrote post for issue

But as they are private contractors performing in a military role, there's some wiggle room for the Bungle Boys.
what are the bungle boys?

and if your mocking me you picked the wrong huckleberry.

try reading the passages i posted here and see how it is relevant to todays events. nevermind, i doubt you could wade through such an postion.

Do you think that resisting occupation is not a right of occupied people?

this is a loaded question, yes if the occupiers are killing them enmasse or property being taken without compensation or consequences for thefts. If the occupiers give the people no rights and see no other way. remember only a small portion of french joined the resistance, the rest just went along with the occupation and even joined the occupiers.

Perhaps seth is right, nothing can actually be discussed concerning political threads.
posted by clavdivs at 4:32 PM on March 31, 2004


There's no shortage of dictators
Read that. Should we invade them all?
posted by amberglow at 4:48 PM on March 31, 2004


The dictator list was published after Saddam was removed from power, or he'd fall somewhere in the top 5, easily. FYI, last year, he was number 3.
posted by David Dark at 5:08 PM on March 31, 2004


Should we invade them all?

No way! It's all so complicated, what with so many dictators and everything. Let's play dead instead.
posted by shoos at 5:18 PM on March 31, 2004


oh, so just the ones with oil? (that we're not benefitting at all from?)
posted by amberglow at 5:34 PM on March 31, 2004


Maybe I put too much stock into the pyschological element... Amin and Baby Doc may have killed more people, but the Saddamification of Iraq, the multitudes of secret police, the absolute fear instilled in the population, the reduction of an entire country to one man, the 2 major wars launched, the massive environmental destruction... anyway it's kind of a pointless argument, but I still think you weaken your case by comparing Saddam and Chalabi, or pretty much anyone.
posted by chaz at 5:40 PM on March 31, 2004


No way! None of 'em!
posted by shoos at 5:51 PM on March 31, 2004


Counting Coup

It was purr-fectly grammatical, as any fool would know. Pipsqueak was used as an adjective.
posted by y2karl at 5:58 PM on March 31, 2004


Chalabi is following in Saddam's footsteps--don't forget what a pal to us Saddam was all thru the 80s, like Chalabi is now. (And that we totally ignored the things Saddam did to his people when he was useful to us.)

I'd rather not wait and see what horrendous shit Chalabi does to Iraqis (and it'll come, believe me). He has possession of all the Iraqi intelligence in the country. Just because you get rid of one bad guy doesn't make what comes next any better.
posted by amberglow at 5:58 PM on March 31, 2004


the multitudes of secret police, the absolute fear instilled in the population

How else do you keep insurgents in line? Ask them nicely to stop blowing things up? I guess I've gotta be the first to say this: Saddam did a great job keeping Iraq under control. The world was a much better place with him in power.

And I'm not celebrating the 1st early, either. I am completely serious.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:59 PM on March 31, 2004


Sorry--he wasn't--at all. Try Hitler and Pol Pot for the upper echelon, then add more people far worse than Saddam, including folks like Idi Amin and Baby Doc and Papa Doc, then maybe in the minor leagues, you'd find him, below them.

Arguing about qualitative differences between psychopathic dictators. amberglow, you're way too smart to picking fly shit out of pepper like that.
posted by jonmc at 6:03 PM on March 31, 2004


amberglow is some cold-hearted bitch. First defending the thugs in Falluja as disgruntled laid-off workers, mutilating engineers as therapy for unemployment, and now lobbying for the continued brutality of established dictatorships worldwide. (since oil prices don't drop, anyway!)

Civil, the savages can learn to behave in a civilized manner. Democracy takes time, but eventually the Iraqis will become fat, complacent couch potatoes arguing whether the Sunni or Shia administration is more corrupt and which they should vote for in the next election, just like the rest of the free world.
posted by David Dark at 6:11 PM on March 31, 2004


Arguing about qualitative differences between psychopathic dictators. amberglow, you're way too smart to picking fly shit out of pepper like that.
I'm cranky today, and I'm just tired of this shit about how horrendously evil Saddam was--there's horrendously evil people all over, doing worse shit than Saddam, and if he was so evil, why were we his friend back when? It's no justification for invading and occupying Iraq, and what happened today is going to happen more and more.

It's really as if no one ever saw Red Dawn in the 80s.
posted by amberglow at 6:19 PM on March 31, 2004


I saw Red Dawn.
posted by fatbobsmith at 6:33 PM on March 31, 2004


Democracy takes time, but eventually the Iraqis will become fat, complacent couch potatoes arguing whether the Sunni or Shia administration is more corrupt and which they should vote for in the next election, just like the rest of the free world.

In your fucking dreams. The INC, er, IGC does not want the UN to monitor elections anymore: UN Excluded from Overseeing Elections "The attempt by the INC to marginalize Brahimi and the United Nations reflects Chalabi's fear that he would not be able to win a fair, UN-supervised election. One fears he plans on vote-buying and other corrupt acts to be elected or appointed to a high Iraqi governing post, possibly as Prime Minister. Although the al-Hayat story says that the IGC wants to limit the UN role, if one looks carefully this move seems to be coming mainly from Chalabi and his people."

We are quite likely watching an emerging civil war.
posted by y2karl at 6:38 PM on March 31, 2004


First, I will link to the pictures in question, and ask why no major news service had the guts to provide us the full video. This is the closest I've seen. Has the US government leaned on them that much? Who are they to decide?

Secondly, the people celebrating the death of the Americans were not all murderers and shouldn't be treated as such. Those people were killed by RPGs, and clearly not all the people in the video were wielding RPGs.

There was a poll recently, saying that a (small) majority of Iraqis think that life is better after Saddam. However, 20% also said that they support resistance operations against the coalition forces. What we see here is what that statistic means in real life.

Many of the people of Fallujah are angry. They feel that the US are engaging in cultural warfare with them, and doing so in harsh, culturally insensitive ways. They do body searches on their women, arrest their men, close off their roads, and have put many of them out of work, out of favor, or out of power. Many of them probably hate Saddam too, but they also hate the Americans... and there *IS* no getting rid of them.

The Bush administration says that things are as simple as rounding up the bad guys. Not so. Twenty percent of the Iraqi population equates to roughly as many Arabs as there are in Israel and Palestine combined... and they all want to resist the occupation. What's more, short of genocide, they aren't going anywhere. These are people who have a strong cultural history of vendetta. Do you honestly believe that they can *ALL* be bribed and placated?

The truth of the matter is that as long as the US stays there, there will be violence. Things aren't getting notably safer -- infact, this month had the most US casualties since the war except for the month that coincided with Ramadan.

I imagine that during the Vietnam War, there must've been several Vietnamese Americans who made the same arguments, saying that most South Vietnamese are pro-US, or that if the US left, they would leave good people to die.

Both arguments, of course, were true. That said, Vietnam was still a bad, wasteful war for America to fight.

After the French left Vietnam, there was a period of about three years when there was a ceasefire. At the end of that time, the US-backed South Vietnamese government was supposed to have elections. The problem was, Ho Chi Minh would have won those elections.

And the problem in Iraq is that whoever Sistani supports will win elections.

Now, I'm not saying that Iraq is Vietnam, or that the US will reneg on letting the Iraqis eventually get the vote. What I am saying is that by staying in Iraq, the US will hemmorrage money and manpower, and piss people off until there's no room in the Iraqi political landscape for anyone but the extremists. The UN would suffer casualties in Iraq too, but they would be fewer, and the burden would be spread more evenly.

I fear that sooner or later, the delicate balance of power will tip too much to one side -- either through democracy or totalitarianism -- and there's going to be a reckoning in Iraq. Bigtime. All it would take is a single well-placed bullet to throw Iraq into civil war. If and when that happens, a handful of dead contractors is going to seem like the cocktail olive before the banquet.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:34 PM on March 31, 2004


amber, I saw that list was in Parade magazine a few weeks ago.
I had a good laugh at Swaziland on the list. Did I ever mention my 6th grade teacher was married to a diplomat from Swaziland...yes, I asked the man an embarrising question when he came to visit the class, yes i was placed in front of the blackboard.

I will not be disrespectful to guests
I will not be disrespectful to guests
I will not be disrespectful to guests

497 more times. Worth every chalk mark.


Counting Coup

It was purr-fectly grammatical, as any fool would know. Pipsqueak was used as an adjective.



it is COUTING COUP you, you.....
mr. man.

wait, the link you gave says couting coup. wulfgar said...

that is good karl, now that i understand it. (seems troop 212 made a spelling error from your link)

After the French left Vietnam, there was a period of about three years when there was a ceasefire. At the end of that time, the US-backed South Vietnamese government was supposed to have elections. The problem was, Ho Chi Minh would have won those elections.

take another look
posted by clavdivs at 8:08 PM on March 31, 2004


".....American soldiers are there temporarily" - Where did I read, just in the past few days, that the US is planning for the construction of a number of permanent military bases in Iraq?
posted by troutfishing at 8:36 PM on March 31, 2004


We are quite likely watching an emerging civil war.

It's definitely possible. The craziest thing about this whole mess is that when I said a year ago that Chalabi was on his way to beign the next Iraqi dictator, people thought I was crazy. Can't we fucking extradict and hang the guy?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:25 PM on March 31, 2004


Painting the entire nation as "savages." Sheeeyit.

If they are savage, then they need a dictator in control. Savage people would have to be ruled with an iron fist. This means Saddam was the right man for the job.

But obviously the Iraqis are no savages. They have universities pumping out doctors and engineers, they have industries, there's lots of great architecture and construction. These are not the hallmarks of a savage nation.

It looks like the people who are calling Iraqis savages must be cretinously ignorant.

Iraq is an invaded nation. Little wonder there's some nasty shit going down against vulnerable foreigners. Same thing would happen here were the tables turned.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:43 PM on March 31, 2004


Does the fact that Christian Nations have restrained their fundamentalists more successfully testify to their greater humanity or describe their reasons for greater economic success, military power, and development of social justice?

As has been pointed out often here, Christian Americans were committing even more bestial acts upon other Christian--not to mention Jewish--Americans less than a century ago. Savagery is not that far beneath the veneer. It's just that now we have video, cameras and satellites. An atrocity--caught on tape, as they say--in the morning is on every front page and TV news program by afternoon. That is new. Savagery isn't.
posted by y2karl at 10:08 PM on March 31, 2004


Some (many?) of you justify their actions using politics. As we've seen many times, we probably won't get far debating the politics of this. But tell me this -- doesn't the sheer savagery, the horror of it all shock you any? These were, after all, civilians. How can this be characterized as anything other than vile and reprehensible? How can it be justifiable?

If anything is clear from this tragedy, it is the immense cultural gap between "here" and "there." Some try to explain away the violence in the region (be it in Baghdad or the West Bank) as the result of agression on the part of "the Great Satan" and his Israeli lapdogs. But mere fact that such incredible viciousness can be inspired in everyday people, including women and children, suggests otherwise. These seem to be the Dark Ages of sorts for that region of the world and the religion of Islam (certain individuals here may misrepresent this as "rabid" anti-Arabic or anti-Muslim sentiment, which it is emphatically not -- but hey, me saying something like this has never stopped you before). Europe and Christianity took their sweet time recovering from its Dark Ages, and yet we are trying to do in years what once took centuries. This, I feel, is one of the central issues in the Iraqi war. It is an argument against it, for America was truly unprepared to take on a task so difficult and succeed to the end. It is an argument for it, for in today's small world isolationism is hard to accomplish (especially for a superpower), and a volatile region where a vast number of people hate you is, believe it or not, a security threat.

Aside: Swerdloff, by the way, has made some excellent points. Just as some others have done an excellent job of distorting and twisting what he said into a cliched contrarian diatribe.
posted by Krrrlson at 10:20 PM on March 31, 2004


We are quite likely watching an emerging civil war.

Emerging? This civil war has been going on for ages; it was only briefly interrupted by a couple of decades of relative stability when that guy with the moustache was in power. Now he's gone, they're all back at each other's throats, oh, and throw in some real bastards coming in to stir shit up (read: the guys we should have been looking for). Just fucking great.

If Bush and the "Vulcans" had been serious about planting a democracy in the Middle East, they could have tried what's worked in every other war-torn nation, namely, throwing money at them. Raise their standards of living, the education of the kids, and maybe in a generation or two you can start to see some real progress. But that would take a lot longer than 4 years. And try selling that to the gun-happy, hate-mongering Average Joe American. "Say, I know they just killed 3,000 of our people, but we really need to raise your taxes and send them some cash. Mmm-kay? Even though you're probably going to get laid off in a month."

Democracy takes time, but eventually the Iraqis will become fat, complacent couch potatoes

I agree that democracy can eventually come to these regions, but when I say it will take some time, I'm talking about a couple hundred years. While the Middle East was advanced as hell in the 13th century, it's unfortunately been stuck their for the past 800 years. It took the Europeans another couple hundred years to get to their level, but what really created the civilization that we know and love wasn't the Enlightenment, it was the Reformation. Islam has never had a reformation, never turned their back on their religious leaders and gods and embraced reason, and all those nice things that leads to (modern representative democracy, freedom of speech & religion, etc., etc.)

But with the Infadel in their backyards, the move away from secularism has been profound. The few voices of moderation and reason that haven't been killed are branded "sympathizers." This is the kind of situation you have in Algeria, where one of the most dangerous professions is a teacher.

What really pisses me off is that we had a truly golden opportunity to change all of this. After 9/11, the Islamic world actually felt sorry for us. Yes, there were plenty of happy campers in Afghanistan and probably Israel, but for the most part, the attacks were seen as unmitigated and cowardly. We'll probably never again get a chance at peace so easily.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:45 PM on March 31, 2004


I don't know if I agree with every word of all that but about the last sentence
--emphatically yes.
posted by y2karl at 11:20 PM on March 31, 2004




I saw your link the first time you posted it y2karl. I looked at the site, and it was truly horrifying.

I fail to see how it refutes what I said, it that is your intent. While the specter of what happened still haunts America, its progress towards a more civilized society is undeniable. And it took a long time to get where it is today.

Many areas of the Middle East remain far, far behind.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:45 PM on March 31, 2004


I fail to see how it refutes what I said, it that is your intent. While the specter of what happened still haunts America, its progress towards a more civilized society is undeniable.

I'm not karl, but I take some issue with your statement as it is written, but would totally agree if you said "liberal (constitutional) democracy" instead of "more civilized" society. I just can't get behind the idea that this is about culture. People who pray on little rugs and eat falafel can't have a civil discourse restrained by the rule of law? Sounds fishy. Democracy--anywhere in the world, is about putting aside your particular people's particular nonsense in the interest of rationality (either out of interest for the common good, or out of the virtuous pursuit of self-interest, depoending on which way you butter your bread, I guess), which is about building a very concrete and real society, or set of institutions. Focus on the more ephemeral notion of democracy meshing or not meshing within a particular culture has been a fatal flaw in the Western perspective toward the "Orient" since colonialism. Bah!

What we need to solve the US' problems with the entire Muslim world is a new Iran-Contra-like slushfund that secretly funnels money to underground offices of Old Mayonnaise Face's Open Society Foundation and then, ultimately, funds the rise of pluralist civil society. Wes;ey Clark can be behind the whole thing, and he can lie about it to Congress, and then he can get a right-wing radio show.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:27 AM on April 1, 2004


And it took a long time to get where it is today.

Oh?

Matthew Shepard.

Donald Byrd.

As long as we are judging a whole culture by the acts of some individuals, there are some recent and ongoing examples...
posted by y2karl at 10:53 AM on April 1, 2004


And try selling that to the gun-happy, hate-mongering Average Joe American. "Say, I know they just killed 3,000 of our people, but we really need to raise your taxes and send them some cash. Mmm-kay? Even though you're probably going to get laid off in a month."

Plenty of people here on metafilter did try to sell that stance. And quite frankly, that would've been my response. And it would've been the correct one.

*polishes gun, mongers hate*
posted by jonmc at 10:57 AM on April 1, 2004


the ongoing above was in reference to a deleted reference to our passive tolerance for--and ability to laugh when entertainers crack jokes on TV about it--prison rape...

We are so civilized.
posted by y2karl at 11:01 AM on April 1, 2004


Oh?

Matthew Shepard.

Donald Byrd.



And in both those cases the acts were condemned by the overwhelming majority of the population and the perpetrators were swiftly and severely punished.

In the middle east, the opposite is true.
posted by jonmc at 11:11 AM on April 1, 2004


If a member of the community is killed without just cause in the Middle East, the reaction is the same as it is here, more or less. Calls for justice, anger, tears, condemnation by the community.

If an occupation soldier or mercenary or contractor is killed, the reactions tend to be a bit more complicated.
posted by chaz at 11:35 AM on April 1, 2004


This bit of obvious deludedness sums it up for me: I'm sure a lot of foreigners feel the same way about the United States [that it should be remade]. What gives them or you the right to act on what they or you see fit? -Armitage Shanks

Read the Declaration of Independence again and again and again. People have the right to self determine. Fundamental rights must be respected. ANY DEMOCRACY HAS THE RIGHT TO INVADE ANY NONDEMOCRACY IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT. Otherwise, hey, no government is better than any other. There are no heroes, no villains, there is no better way of life than any other, there is no progress, and no virtue.

Excellent.
posted by ewkpates at 11:36 AM on April 1, 2004


If a member of the community is killed without just cause in the Middle East, the reaction is the same as it is here, more or less.

are you trying to tell me there's any kind of justification for this kind of barbarism?

NTM, things like suicide bombings, hijackings and the like go on quite a bit more often in the middle east, and they are often applauded and the perpetrators considered heroes. Even by some westerners.
posted by jonmc at 11:43 AM on April 1, 2004


"take another look"

No, you take a look. You appear to be unaware of the Geneva Accords, and how the US and South Vietnamese government broke the deal and told the UN to screw off, robbing the Vietnamese of their right to elect their own leader, thereby bringing about the Vietnam War.

I would like to hope we aren't so blind as to repeat similar mistakes, but the fact remains that the US is not a truely democratizing force in Iraq. We don't want Sistani and his followers to control the country, even though they are the majority party. Just the other day, Chalabi and his supporters told the UN to keep out of the Iraqi election process, thereby furthering his political aspirations. Iraqis hate Chalabi though -- to them, he is everything that is wrong with the US occupation.

No, Iraq isn't Vietnam. Totally different country. Totally different in size, terrain, and the level of resistance. That said, we do seem intent on making it into "Vietnam lite", and don't seem to have learned many of the lessons of that war. It's a year later and we now have 600 dead US soldiers, over 3000 wounded, a disproportionate number of them being amputees... not to mention all those who were sent home with PTSD and psychological trauma.

Congrats... we've made it through the first year of the occupation of Iraq. Only four more years of occupation (and presumably another thousand more US casualties and a thousand more dollars per taxpayer) left to go before we can extracate our country from this mess.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:46 AM on April 1, 2004


you're missing the point completely, jonmc. How can you think I am trying to provide justification for any act of barbarity? Those are all acts in the context of a war... you are comparing it to the deaths of byrd and shepard, and I am telling you that in the Middle East, when people from the community are murdered, people grieve and ask for justice just like here. The two types of deaths are apples and oranges.

And just like here, when people die or kill as part of a war, the reaction is more complicated. Think about the atrocities committed during Viet Nam. Some people demanded justice, others wrote it off as part of war.

suicide bombings, hijackings and the like go on quite a bit more often in the middle east, and they are often applauded

Now you're talking about something completely different, what does that have to do with Shepard and Byrd?
posted by chaz at 11:51 AM on April 1, 2004


Now you're talking about something completely different, what does that have to do with Shepard and Byrd?

I'm not the person who made the original analogy, y2karl was, but look at tit this way, those who killed Byrd and Shepherd saw themselves as self-appointed warriors ridding their world of evil interlopers destroying their nation. From the looks of things, so did the people who killed these contractors. I condemn it from Byrd and Shepherd's killers and I condemn this as well.


Think about the atrocities committed during Viet Nam. Some people demanded justice, others wrote it off as part of war.

Deliberate brutal killing of non-combatants is never justified. It's barbaric when William Calley does it My Lai and barbaric here as well. People who want to contort into something else have some kind of agenda political or otehrwise.
posted by jonmc at 12:51 PM on April 1, 2004


> We are so civilized.

People of a certain philosophy have been working for decades to remove the restraint part of being civilized, and now they have their reward. Remember "If it feels good, do it?" Well, blowing up ragheads feels real good to a lot of folks.
posted by jfuller at 2:01 PM on April 1, 2004


I'm not the person who made the original analogy, y2karl was

Yeah, but you're the one who said that people in the Middle East don't want the killers punished and don't express outrage over the deaths. My point was that in a similar type of killing (intra-community outside a warzone) the reaction there is the same as here. Humanity.

those who killed Byrd and Shepherd saw themselves as self-appointed warriors ridding their world of evil interlopers destroying their nation.

ok, but we're dealing in reality here and the reality is that homosexuals did not invade America, while Americans did invade Iraq... wow that has the potential for about 1,000 dirty jokes so maybe it's best if we just drop it! But here's something to consider from al jazeera:

Residents of the Iraqi capital expressed shock, disgust and shame over the gruesome scenes.

Iraqis condemned the deaths in
Falluja a day earlier

"Mutilating a body is haram (banned under Islam). It is
unacceptable for Muslims, Christians and Jews alike. This is what the Quran (Islam's holy book) teaches us," said Khalaf, a resident of Baghdad.

Iraqi journalist Khalil al-Azzawi was outraged by what happened and dismayed that the scenes were beamed on televisions across the world.

"Television networks will exploit these ugly images in order to
portray Iraqis as criminals. But that is not the reality. Iraqis are peace loving people who wish to live in harmony with all the countries of the world," he added.

posted by chaz at 2:31 PM on April 1, 2004


People of a certain philosophy have been working for decades to remove the restraint part of being civilized, and now they have their reward. Remember "If it feels good, do it?" Well, blowing up ragheads feels real good to a lot of folks.

So... the failures of the focus of our Iraq policy should be blamed on... hippies? Nice talking point. Is it a Scaife, or has the spring line of Murdochs already come out?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:34 PM on April 1, 2004


Actually I blame Aimee Allen.
posted by jfuller at 3:02 PM on April 1, 2004


Ignatius -- civilization, to me, *is* learning to live rationally and realizing that peaceful coexistence is in everyone's best interest.

Perhaps I should have chosen a better word than culture. The situation in the Middle East has nothing to do with rugs and falafel eating (well, maybe it does for some). It has to do with the social morals, values and worldviews of the people there, which today seem to be most influenced by loud, violent fundamentalists.
posted by Krrrlson at 5:39 PM on April 1, 2004


Unlike the settlers on the West Bank?
posted by y2karl at 7:15 PM on April 1, 2004


After the French left Vietnam, there was a period of about three years when there was a ceasefire. At the end of that time, the US-backed South Vietnamese government was supposed to have elections. The problem was, Ho Chi Minh would have won those elections.

After the French left Vietnam

October 5 (54') - The last French troops leave Hanoi.

there was a period of about three years when there was a ceasefire

January 3 (57)- The International Control Commission declares that neither North Vietnam nor South Vietnam has carried out the Geneva Agreements

At the end of that time, the US-backed South Vietnamese government was supposed to have elections.

October (55') Ngo Dinh Diem proclaims Vietnam a republic with himself as president.

October 11 - The Viet Minh formally assume control over North Vietnam.

but...July 20 - South Vietnam refuses to take part in the all-Vietnam elections called for by the Geneva Agreements, charging that free elections are impossible in the Communist North.

but... October, 1945
"We want America's moral support. We ask for nothing else" "Why doesn't the United States gives us moral support". An OSS reports an extraordinary statement attributed to Ho Chi Minh. The OSS quoted Ho as saying,"although he formerly favored Communist ideals, he now realized that such ideals were impracticable for his country, and that his policy now was one of republican nationalism". It would be some 10,000 days later before the American public would learn of this."

then-

"November - Ho attempts a compromise with the French by dissolving the Indochinese Communist Party.
December - France provoke war with the DRV and re-install Bao Dai over a central government
1946
March 6 - France recognizes the Democratic Republic of Vietnam as a free state within the Indochinese Federation and French Union. French - Vietnam Agreement signed.
June 1 - French High Commissioner for Indochina, Admiral d'Argenlieu, proclaims Cochinchina China an autonomous republic, in fact, a French puppet state.
July 6. Viet Minh and French meet in Paris for negotiations. Talks break down.
August 27. French President De Gaulle declares, " France is a great power. Without the overseas territories which she would be in danger of no longer being one". French policy was now clear.
October 15 - French forces attempt to reassert their authority in Haiphong and to prevent military supplies from reaching the Viet Minh.
November 20. Fighting breaks out between French and Viet Minh at Haiphong."

so, the Accords split vietnam, right?

In connection with the statement in the declaration concerning free elections in Viet-Nam my Government wishes to make clear its position which it has expressed in a declaration made in Washington on June 29, 1954, as follows:

In the case of nations now divided against their will, we shall continue to seek to achieve unity through free elections supervised by the United Nations to insure that they are conducted fairly.

July 20 (55') - South Vietnam refuses to take part in the all-Vietnam elections called for by the Geneva Agreements, charging that free elections are impossible in the Communist North.

well, seems like someone did not like all those popular communists, in Cambodia, Laos.

I said take another look, my point being that this was a French problem and we inherited it.

June (57') The last French training missions leave South Vietnam.

heck we loved Ho until the french needed to maintain her colonies, a france that collaborated with the Axis concerning rule of vietnam. Deals where made, then broken by both sides. But you cut to 1954, then the elections and this led to the"vietnam war"

you seem to unaware of the complex and long war the vietnamese have fought and concentrating on the U.S. involvement as some analogy to the current situation in Iraq.

Iraqis hate Chalabi though -- to them, he is everything that is wrong with the US occupation.

this, I agree with with verve.
posted by clavdivs at 7:51 PM on April 1, 2004


Yes, karl, unlike the settlers on the West Bank, who are in turn unlike other Israelis. But congratulations on bringing them up and lumping them into one group with suicide bombers.

Your snide holier-than-thou one-liners are always refreshing. And usually meaningless.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:54 PM on April 1, 2004


But congratulations on bringing them up and lumping them into one group with suicide bombers.

Congratulate yourself on that one, since no suicide bombers were mentioned in either your comment or mine.

I was thinking more along the lines of Here lies the saint, Dr. Baruch Kappel Goldstein, blessed be the memory of the righteous and holy man, may the Lord avenge his blood, who devoted his soul to the Jews, Jewish religion and Jewish land. His hands are innocent and his heart is pure. He was killed as a martyr of God on the 14th of Adar, Purim, in the year 5754, however. You will agree he was a religous extremist--which is the connotative meaning of fundamentalist nowadays.

The situation in the Middle East has nothing to do with rugs and falafel eating (well, maybe it does for some). It has to do with the social morals, values and worldviews of the people there, which today seem to be most influenced by loud, violent fundamentalists.

unlike the settlers on the West Bank, who are in turn unlike other Israelis.

Funny, how you can instatnly make distinctions for Israelis but not Arabs. Arabs can only be painted in a broad brush.
posted by y2karl at 9:57 PM on April 1, 2004


Also - how convenient that a Reuters camera crew was right there for the Iraqis to play to. Not saying that the two things are linked, but it wouldn't be the first time that Reuters set things up for maximum effect in Iraq.

Oh, for fuck's sake. Stop drinking the right-wing koolaid. Reuters and the AP were there. Because Reuters and the AP are the only agencies brave enough to keep people in Fallujah. And if they weren't there, no news would get out of town. Given the mortality rate of journalists compared to troops, I'd say they deserve a little more respect than that.

The BBC, CNN etc aren't going near the place. And for some reason, Fox News hasn't found a crew with the balls to cover it either.
posted by riviera at 10:03 PM on April 1, 2004


From Juan Cole: Deaths of Americans in Fallujah: In revenge for Sharon's Murder of Sheikh Yassin?

There is increasing evidence that the brutal attack on the American security guards in Fallujah, and the desecration of their bodies, was the work of Islamists seeking vengeance for the Israeli murder of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Leaflets found at the scene said the operation was in the name of Yassin. al-Hayat reports in its Friday edition that responsibility for the attack has been taken by a group called Phalanges of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. The group said the deaths were a "gift to the Palestinian people."
posted by y2karl at 8:57 AM on April 2, 2004


Actually karl, my post clearly mentioned violent fundamentalists. I would think suicide bombers would fit in that category, wouldn't they? Wait, I forgot -- they're just righteous freedom fighters. Oops.

The fact that I said "are influenced" rather than "are" represents a distinction of sorts, no? Then again, I forgot how easily you can defeat my arguments by ascribing to me thoughts I never expressed.

Oh, and congratulations, you found an Israeli lunatic too! Well done! So what's the score now, one to several hundred?
posted by Krrrlson at 9:35 AM on April 2, 2004


Funny, how you can instantly make distinctions for Israelis but not Arabs. Arabs can only be painted in a broad brush.

funny how you answer some questions and then wail and moan or ignore others.

try reading the passages i posted here and see how it is relevant to todays events. nevermind, i doubt you could wade through such an position.

"The first duty of any social entity is to protect the lives of it's members. Either modern states cope with low-intensity conflict, or else they will disappear; suspicion grows, however, that they are damned if they do and damned if they don't. War being among the most imitative of all human activities, the very process of combating low-intensity conflict will cause both sides to become alike, unless it can be brought to a quick end. Extensive conflict of this nature will cause existing distinctions between government, armed forces, and people to break down. National sovereignties are already being undermined by organizations that refuse to recognize the state's monopoly over armed violence. Armies will be replaced by police-like security forces on the one hand and bands of ruffians on the other, not that the difference is always clear today. National frontiers, that at present constitute perhaps single obstacle to combating low-intensity conflict, may be obliterated or else become meaningless as rival organizations chase each other across them. As frontiers go, so will territorial states. All of which to say that the tail wags the dog by as much as the dog wags the tail. To the extant that war is indeed the continuation of politics, radical shifts in war will inevitably be followed by important changes in politics.
As the old war convention fades away, a new one will no doubt take it's place-the waging of war without such convention being in principle impossible. The coming convention's function will be the same as it has always been:namely, to define just who is allowed to kill whom, for what ends, under what circumstances, and by what means.
....Future ages may well shudder with horror as they remember us"

-van Creveld, 'The Transformation of War'
posted by clavdivs at 12:51 PM PST on March 31

go ahead and tackle that one karl....no?
I don't think you can.

"The worthy man, by being enlightened, enlightens others. Today men, being bewildered, attempt to enlighten others"

-Mencius
posted by clavdivs at 9:46 AM on April 2, 2004


wow, Juan Cole deduced all that from leaflets found at the scene and someone phoning in to a newspaper and all this from his office in Ann Arbor. Nice observation Juan. Peter Jennings repoted it was an attack led by former Saddam loyalists. hmmmm.

thank you Mr. Cole. Thank you very much.
...'thats the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me'...
{does albert finney dance}

...opps, sorry to DERAIL this thread



posted by clavdivs at 10:12 AM on April 2, 2004


wow, Juan Cole deduced all that from leaflets found at the scene and someone phoning in to a newspaper and all this from his office in Ann Arbor. Nice observation Juan.

He reads the Arabic press, clavdivs. How do you know there were no correspondents from Al Hyat or the rest of the Arab press on the scene in Fallujah?

Actually karl, my post clearly mentioned violent fundamentalists.

Way up the line.

I would think suicide bombers would fit in that category, wouldn't they?

We're not mind readers, nor are we memorizing every word you write. My comment was a reaction to that one comment where you accused me of equating suicide bombers with settlers. I wasn't. Simple as that.

Wait, I forgot -- they're just righteous freedom fighters. Oops.

And why is not the last sentence another example of putting words in my mouth? I never said that. But for a fact, suicide bombers are righteous freedom fighters--in their own minds. I'm sure the terrorists who blew up the King David Hotel in 1946 and assassinated Count Bernadotte in 1948 were freedom fighters in their own mind, too.

No one here is pro-suicide bomber. Some of us can understand their motivation, however, while not applauding their means. What is so hard to understand about that?

As the old war convention fades away, a new one will no doubt take it's place-the waging of war without such convention being in principle impossible. The coming convention's function will be the same as it has always been:namely, to define just who is allowed to kill whom, for what ends, under what circumstances, and by what means.
....Future ages may well shudder with horror as they remember us"


There's a passage in Huizinga's Homo Ludens about two eaarly Greek city states who had a war fought under mutually agreed rules of how long the spears and swords could be. It would seem like rules of warfare only work between roughly equal foes.

Suicide bombers are a weapon overwhelming military superiority can't effectively fight. That's an observation--not a moral position. You know, if the Israelis could make the rules on what weapons were allowed for the Palestinians--there would be no suicide bombers and the conflict would be settled, thanks to their overwhelming military superiority.

There would be no violence anywhere if the overwhemingly militarily powerful side could make and enforce the rules of warfare for the overwhemingly weak side in any given conflict. For the time being, it seems like the choice comes down to kill, drive out or imprison all the desperate weak people when occupying their land or alleviate their desperation by giving them some power and control over their own lives where they live. But what do I know?
posted by y2karl at 2:17 PM on April 2, 2004


If you don't remember what I wrote, why presume to comment on it? The two posts were in clear succession. There's a reason why they're displayed here for all to read. And is that the royal "we?"

And now, since I don't even see what exactly you disagree with, if anything, consider me out of this thread. You're welcome to the last word, though I probably won't read it.
posted by Krrrlson at 3:53 PM on April 2, 2004


We all could read each other more closely, try to follow each other's thoughts more fairly, acknowledge our errors and try to avoid making gratuitous insults, I will agree with that.
posted by y2karl at 4:11 PM on April 2, 2004


oops, make that We all could stand to
posted by y2karl at 4:12 PM on April 2, 2004


Peter Jennings said the authorities have found that the attacks were committed by locals and some "foreign arabs" seems they had some gasoline in place for anyone whom they want to MASSACRE ready to go. They have suspects names. No doubt they had some ready made leaflets to go along with those RPG's.
posted by clavdivs at 4:46 PM on April 2, 2004




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