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It's a dog's life in today's army.
January 3, 2005 9:05 AM   Subscribe

A dog's (or cat's) life. It's very common in Iraq for soldiers to adopt local dogs and cats as mascots, such as "PFC Conner". Unfortunately, there are new policies in place to kill local dogs and cats for health reasons. Often, even mascots are destroyed, damaging morale in the process. Military Mascots is a small organization that is helping to bring mascots back to the U.S. for safety, but this can cost over $1000 per mascot for shots, boarding, fees, and the plane ride back home. It's their hope to save dozens of mascots before they are killed, but Military Mascots may be running out of time.
posted by insomnia_lj (74 comments total)

 
Military Mascots is a small organization that is helping to bring mascots back to the U.S. for safety, but this can cost over $1000 per mascot for shots, boarding, fees, and the plane ride back home.

OMG, that is just SICK. Spend the money on the damn HUMAN BEINGS in distress in Iraq, please!!
posted by rushmc at 9:07 AM on January 3, 2005


Spend the money on the damn HUMAN BEINGS in distress

If US Citizens are willing to enrich Taiwan and Chineese businessmen who make magnetic things that look like ribbons VS getting tax increases through Congress to actaully support troops via money, why are you at all shocked that doggies and kitties get $$$$?

If DU and the other toxins of war made humans covered with hair like a dog or cat, perhaps that would make more money aviable.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:20 AM on January 3, 2005


I have to agree with rushmc on this one. It's one of those "this is the least of your problems" kind of feelings... I'm not exactly proud of that, but I can't help but think there are better things to fund in this type of situation.
posted by odinsdream at 9:20 AM on January 3, 2005


In both instances (rushmc plea, insomnia plea) I guess the money will be stolen.

So maybe the best solution is to hire somebody ( a vet, a team of doctors) and send them directly to iraq (assuming somebody is insane enough to accept the job) to do both 1) veterinary job, curing thousand on place instead of shipping thousands ..much more expensive 2) medic job , curing population who I guess is in dire need of medical expertise, as every place with a war going on I guess ?

As for donation...my personal experience has always been disappointing, but that doesn't imply every distance donations is stolen.
posted by elpapacito at 9:24 AM on January 3, 2005


"Spend the money on the damn HUMAN BEINGS in distress in Iraq, please!!"

But there are already billions of dollars for humanitarian aid in Iraq our government isn't even spending... it's hard to give out food and humanitarian aid in Iraq and still keep your head on your shoulders.

The big difference between the Iraqis and these mascots is that we *know* we can help the mascots.

If you want to (further...) destroy unit morale in Iraq, tell them that they have to decide who will shoot Sparky.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:24 AM on January 3, 2005


Interesting post.
posted by orange clock at 9:24 AM on January 3, 2005


Well, it was mentioned that killing the mascots damages morale, and in a war zone that can lead to poor performance and possibly even deaths.

In a very indirect way, this is about the humans.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:29 AM on January 3, 2005


Perhaps we should do the small things we can, in a situation we should not have been in to start with, rather than wring our hands and gnash our teeth over the things we cannot influence or accomplish? Where would you propose we spend our US$1,000 instead, to achieve some positive effect in Iraq? What organization, what effort, is trustworthy enough that we'd have some relatively secure feeling that the money was actually being spent in Iraq, in a useful and/or meaningful way? Perhaps I should run down to Sam's Club and buy 300 or so magnetic ribbons and place them all over the rear liftgate of my Dodge Grand Caravan?
posted by JollyWanker at 9:33 AM on January 3, 2005


JollyWanker: Though I haven't personally looked into it, isn't there the issue of body armor for troops? I've heard plenty about groups moving to collect armor from their local police stations, or even buying it on ebay, and then mailing it over to soldiers they personally know.

It seems disingenious to pretend that there's nothing better to do with $1,000 than buy a plane ticket for Sparky or Rufus. Had I $1,000 to spend on Iraq, I would definitely not be spending it in this way; that's my personal take on it.
posted by odinsdream at 9:38 AM on January 3, 2005


Basically, this is a small, efficient organization that takes a burden off of the soldiers. These soldiers are often able to pool together to pay the cost of sending mascots back themselves, but the *REALLY* hard part is handling all the other things that need to be done when you're thousands of miles from home, don't know who to talk to about getting an animal back home, through customs, impounding, shots, spay/neutering, kenneling, etc.

Basically, the soldiers don't have to try to hunt down food for the animal, they don't have to try to arrange a thousand things back home when they're *already* limited as to how much they can call or use the internet, and they don't have to feel like they're leaving the animal to die.

So, yes... it directly helps soldiers by addressing needs that the DoD would never take on themselves.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:43 AM on January 3, 2005


And shouldn't take on themselves.
posted by agregoli at 9:56 AM on January 3, 2005


With thousands of people homeless or in poverty in the US alone, I fail to see how this donation is in any way justifiable. There are many more dire situations going on at home & around the world, and this seems like a colossal "easy way out" of not addressing problems happening in our own neighborhoods in the interest of focusing on a more morally uncomplicated issue. Ugh.
posted by soviet sleepover at 10:02 AM on January 3, 2005


How 'bout sponsoring a child, family or even an entire village in any area of the world where things aren't quite as wunnerful as in Fat Dog Heaven, USA?

Y'know for $2000 you can build an entire water system for an Eritrean village. And I reckon some of the local pooches could get a drink off that.

With the recent Asian tsunami as background this whole scheme seems even sicker than it normally would.
posted by i_cola at 10:05 AM on January 3, 2005


My knee jerk reaction is that of rushmc, but hey it's not my $$$. If people want to spend it in wacky, different, dumb, ect. ways, that's on them. It reflects each person's priorities.
posted by MrMulan at 10:08 AM on January 3, 2005


This is supporting the troops by ensuring the well-being of someone they love. I don't have a problem with that.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:16 AM on January 3, 2005


This is supporting the troops by ensuring the well-being of someone they love. I don't have a problem with that.

Indeed. I know that the completely unconditional love of an animal can be the best thing for anyone, from a hurt five year old to these guys out in the sand. If people can help to save these guys some guilt for having to leave their furred friends behind, then I say do it. It's not a lot different than giving money to making a "shoebox" for a soldier, IMHO.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:32 AM on January 3, 2005


well golly gee, it's a good thing we're saving all those animals...
posted by poipill at 10:38 AM on January 3, 2005


Helping the animals is helping the soldiers in Iraq. The psychological morale boost that comes from domestic animals is well-documented, and probably even more beneficial to soldiers in Iraq who are lonely and wanting a sense of "normalcy" and "home." I am not saying that we don't need to spend more on armored Humvees and safety equipment for soldiers. I am saying that having an animal mascot to rally around probably provides immense psychological benefits to the troops involved, with positive consequences for overall troop psychological health and morale in an environment where Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and soldier suicides hover at disturbing levels.
posted by Sidthecat at 11:12 AM on January 3, 2005


I have this bizarre image in my head now of some kind of Fall-of-Saigon chopper lift, bodies of Iraqi children strewn across the street, mothers weeping as they cradle their limbless children in the smoking shells of bombed-out buildings, as a break forms in the crowd pleading for escape- the sound of gun butts smashing teeth and foreheads as a platoon of marines fights its way past the starving crowd to reach the Huey, three baby mutts nestled in a hand-woven satchel lifted from the charred rubble of what was a school 48 hours earlier, a third-grader's blood still ruining the fabric, the Lieutenant thrusting it in the hands of the pilot, desperate to leave before Reno in the back snaps and starts machine-gunning the approaching civilians, and delivering the final statement of a world gone mad: "The puppies! For the love of god, take care of our puppies!"
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:12 AM on January 3, 2005


I think it's interesting seeing the debate on this, if only because it does show complex it is ethically. I'd be the first to say that we should've saved all the money to begin with by not going to Iraq. That would've saved enough to fully fund anti-hunger efforts worldwide for six years...

But pets are very important in the same way that human emotions are important. If we devalue the lives of animals, then we devalue ourselves.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:15 AM on January 3, 2005


Just another example of American ignorance.

"If we save the little doggies and kitties, our boys and girls over there will be happier!"

No, our men and women out in the field, while they like the animals [else they wouldn't have adopted them] they'd really rather you poured your pennies into getting THEM home.
posted by kamylyon at 11:17 AM on January 3, 2005


"our men and women out in the field, while they like the animals [else they wouldn't have adopted them] they'd really rather you poured your pennies into getting THEM home."

As much as some would like to go home, I'm not entirely sure I agree with you. Not without their mascot.

I found out about Military Mascots because two soldiers I know were raising funds to save their mascot, PFC Conner. They were incredibly happy to get the help, and they made their financial goal just the other day. PFC Conner will be going to the U.S. soon.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:26 AM on January 3, 2005


odinsdream: It seems disingenious to pretend that there's nothing better to do with $1,000 than buy a plane ticket for Sparky or Rufus. Had I $1,000 to spend on Iraq, I would definitely not be spending it in this way; that's my personal take on it.

Yes, it would be disingenuous, wouldn't it? As disingenuous as implying that I had suggested that, which I did not. What I thought I did imply - but will state here explicitly, since we seem to be operating on a lower order around here these days - was that funds, ostensibly intended for "humanitarian relief" or "to aid our boys behind the lines" or what have you - have been diverted or disappeared since before we even invaded Iraq. From the UN food scam, to the machinations of Halliburton, to the legendary ineptitude of the American government to oversee anything more complicated than the ribbon cutting at a new Wal-Mart, you would be an utter idiot to believe that donations you were sending to any generalized "body armor" or "comfort and relief" or "missionary work" was going anywhere near what you believe to be the intended recipients. Something like the referenced effort, which seems to very specific and very targeted, would be much easier to audit and, besides, you'd actually be helping one of the few living things within a thousand miles of Baghdad that could even begin to legitimately claim "innocence" in this hideous mess.

You have a thousand dollars to throw away on some feel-good-but-do-nothing "donation"? By all means, do so. I'll stand behind my initial assessment that if I had a thousand dollars to spend and if I could find anything even remotely worthwhile about assisting with the sickening efforts in Iraq - neither of which are true - I'd consider saving these mascot dogs. There's a government spending tens of billions of dollars to "protect" the military personnel who volunteered to be there and to "free" the poor little brown camel jockeys who ain't done been brought nigh to Jeebus yet. Given the choice, the only creatures for whom I have any compassion left - and who could actually use my help - are those mascot dogs.
posted by JollyWanker at 11:32 AM on January 3, 2005


It seems to me that for any charitable contribution you make to any cause, one could argue that there is a more worthy cause. Why not just take the generosity of others at face value, rather than criticize it for not being good enough for you?
posted by me & my monkey at 11:45 AM on January 3, 2005


With thousands of people homeless or in poverty in the US alone, I fail to see how this donation is in any way justifiable.

You are absolutely right. Everyone with a pet, please kill it now. Donate all the money you would have spent on vet bills and food to a worthy cause. This plan will definitely make the world a better place. Thank you for your support.
posted by jester69 at 11:48 AM on January 3, 2005


Perhaps the problem is in the belief that shooting a dog causes an American soldier more emotional distress than shooting an Iraqi man, woman or child. The country didn't send them over there to acquire PETS. There are plenty of those here in shelters that they can adopt if they wish.
posted by rushmc at 11:51 AM on January 3, 2005


I have to agree with the posters that say spend the money on human beings; spend it on them directly and NOT NECESSARILY in Iraq. How many homeless people, could use a good meal right now in YOUR hometown?

I love animals but I care more about people.
posted by sic at 11:52 AM on January 3, 2005


It seems to me that for any charitable contribution you make to any cause, one could argue that there is a more worthy cause.

Yes, that's relevant. By all means, since it's HARD to make sure that the citizens of the country we invaded have adequate food, water, and medical care, let's just use our resources to wash all their ducks and put silk bouquets in all their homes instead! How good that will make us feel about ourselves!

Never mind all the funerals...we don't attend those anyway.
posted by rushmc at 11:54 AM on January 3, 2005


Jester69, this is a charity decision; adopting a pet isn't the same as deciding to give money to one charity or another.
posted by sic at 11:55 AM on January 3, 2005


Yes, that's relevant. By all means, since it's HARD to make sure that the citizens of the country we invaded have adequate food, water, and medical care, let's just use our resources to wash all their ducks and put silk bouquets in all their homes instead! How good that will make us feel about ourselves!

Never mind all the funerals...we don't attend those anyway.


Obviously, you have already donated all of your own excess wealth to the worthy cause of the Iraqi peoples' well being, right? But if you've done that, what about all the unfortunate people in Indonesia and Sri Lanka? Aren't they at least as worthy right now?

Or maybe, just maybe, you're just another self-righteous smartass. I just don't have enough information right now to be sure either way.

Jester69, this is a charity decision; adopting a pet isn't the same as deciding to give money to one charity or another.

Sure it is. Every decision you make about how you allocate your resources is, in this way, a moral decision. When you go to the movies, you can't donate that money to someone else. When you live at a level above bare subsistence, you use resources that could have saved another's life.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:33 PM on January 3, 2005


If I had a thousand dollars to donate, I'd probably send it to some sort of alternative energy research program... but, I'm loath to excoriate people for their choice of charity unless it's really ludicrous or in fact evil. I don't think Iraq has the kinds of problems charities can ultimately do much for. What am I to go for, the fund for reconciling Shi'ite, Sunni, and Kurdish interests? So I don't mind this even though I don't think it's a wonderful idea.
posted by furiousthought at 12:49 PM on January 3, 2005


You're wasting money posting on an internet message board when those funds could be going to CANCER RESEARCH! zOMG!

Every decision you make about how you allocate your resources is, in this way, a moral decision. When you go to the movies, you can't donate that money to someone else. When you live at a level above bare subsistence, you use resources that could have saved another's life.

Quoted for truth.

So everyone bitching should not be doing anything other than surviving. All excess goes to the greater good. And that means no more "frivilous" science, arts, etc.
posted by yupislyr at 1:05 PM on January 3, 2005


I love animals but I care more about people.

Caring about people means understanding their wants and needs, not just doing what you think is best. If I were in Iraq, the peace of mind of knowing my dog was well taken care of would be one of the kindest gifts you could give me. If I got attached to a service animal, I'd want to make sure it got home OK, and you'd be giving me a great gift by helping with that. There is a difference between 'just an animal' and an animal that someone loves. Not everyone will form that kind of a bond with an animal; empathy is understanding those who do, even if you don't.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:07 PM on January 3, 2005


I think some of you might be hung up on the idea that people want to help these animals instead of or by excluding the people of Iraq, rather than wanting to help them in addition to.
posted by Cyrano at 1:12 PM on January 3, 2005


Wolfdog, I'm totally with you here. These aren't random animals, these are animals that soldiers have adopted and have formed a bond with. If it was me of course I'd want to make sure my dog was safe and well taken care of. I think this is a wonderful cause.

Where I work, our department took donations for care packages for soldiers in a unit based out of Illinois that is currently in Iraq. We sent eight gigantic boxes full of stuff. Among the things in those boxes were candy, Slim Jims, and cigarettes. Now, I am pretty sure the reaction they had when they got the stuff was not "OH NO these ignorant people sent candy and slim jims and cigarettes. HOW DARE THEY. Don't they know we need organic health food?" Nope. They were pretty darn grateful...again, things to boost morale.
posted by SisterHavana at 1:43 PM on January 3, 2005


Being a lifelong pet owner, I understand your point Wolfdog, but what I'm trying to say is that, if I had $1000 to dedicate to charity, saving a soldier in Iraq's pet would be pretty low on the list of things to spend it on. But, as others have pointed out, this is a personal decision and not something I consider "evil" but rather (again, in my opinion) bordering on frivolous, because I have different priorites. . .

Important: I am not particuarly concerned (nor totally unconcerned) with the morale of American soldiers in Iraq.
posted by sic at 1:48 PM on January 3, 2005


So everyone bitching should not be doing anything other than surviving. All excess goes to the greater good. And that means no more "frivilous" science, arts, etc.

Well, it was more like a reduxio ad absurdum. It takes money to have a pet, and it takes money to fly a pet back from Iraq. If there are other causes so much more deserving that spending money on animals for companionship is "in no way justifiable," then all money spent on non essential animals is morally wrong.

Almost all in western societies have discretionary income, I am sure this includes those here that find helping these soldiers with their pets ridiculous. It is a bit hypocritical to say pet ownership or helping people with their pets is a waste, while you spend money on going out to eat, fancy clothes, a new car, etc.

In the end, almost everything is more deserving than what most people spend 90% of their money on. The only moral thing to do is eat rice & give the rest to charity. Other than that, we all find our own compromises between our moral compass and our human wants and needs.

On preview:
Sic, if you got rid of your pet, you would have an extra $500-1000 a year or so to give to a charity. One that would likely be, objectively, more deserving than your companion.
posted by jester69 at 1:51 PM on January 3, 2005


Sic, fair enough.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:02 PM on January 3, 2005


Look, the American people have democratically affirmed that we want our soldiers in Iraq, killing and widowing and orphaning Iraqi human beings. No-one voted to kill cats and dogs; that wasn't even discussed, and I'm pretty sure we're against it. Our government is pretty much out of cash (we've been borrowing from Social Security revenues, but now that we've admitted we don't plan on paying those back things are going to get kind of tight) and if some people want to donate some money to help our troops steal the Iraqi's cats and dogs too that's fine with me.
posted by nicwolff at 2:02 PM on January 3, 2005


Sic, if you got rid of your pet, you would have an extra $500-1000 a year or so to give to a charity. One that would likely be, objectively, more deserving than your companion.

Yes, but not subjectively more deserving.
posted by sic at 2:10 PM on January 3, 2005


Then could someone please post a chart showing the hierarchy of which charities are more deserving than others so I'll know just how guilty I should feel if I decided to send these folks money?
posted by Cyrano at 2:16 PM on January 3, 2005


I guess the problem I have with the argument of getting rid of my pet is that it can be taken to an absurd extreme, such as that lunatic who was donating all of his organs one by one to help others (or to slowly get around the Christian prohibition on suicide). To keep the discussion on a practical level I think that maybe we should consider charity what people would give in their circumstances. I already spend x amount of euros on my pets, on my internet connection, my books, food, etc. so that is not money I'm going to spend on charity. I should think that the money that I do allocate to charity would always be better spent directly on people in need. But I accept that the morale of American soldiers is very important to some people so I can see them spending their money on such a charity.
posted by sic at 2:18 PM on January 3, 2005


nicwolff: Dang it, you convinced me ;-)
posted by i_cola at 2:28 PM on January 3, 2005


Wow, quite a lot of vehement comments about how it's just terrible to be spending any money on these animals while people are suffering. Of course we can then move down the fun line of who deserves that money the most; soldiers in Iraq, Iraqi's, tsunami victims, starving children, etc etc. Hell, using that logic we should all give up our computers, cars and whatnot so that every cent can be given away.

Saying this is immoral is trying to force other people to share your beliefs on what's important. Personally I don't give a fuck about human beings and if I was rich I'd donate to this. However, I think 1000.00 could go farther at the local animal shelter, but I won't piss and moan at anyone who chooses to send money to this cause, even if the morale angle is shaky at best.
posted by Vaska at 2:38 PM on January 3, 2005


Obviously, you have already donated all of your own excess wealth to the worthy cause of the Iraqi peoples' well being, right?

Distinguishing between proposed uses for money has nothing to do with giving or not giving money of your own. It's a separate analysis.

I'm loath to excoriate people for their choice of charity unless it's really ludicrous or in fact evil.

Yes, that's what we're talking about here...the totally ludicrous and possibly, in fact, evil.
posted by rushmc at 2:52 PM on January 3, 2005


There is a difference between 'just an animal' and an animal that someone loves.

Strangely enough, the human beings in Iraq are loved, too...
posted by rushmc at 2:54 PM on January 3, 2005


lol nicwolff

Saying this is immoral is trying to force other people to share your beliefs on what's important.

Yes, I would prefer to live in a world with the shared value that men, women and children were more important than pets. So sue me.
posted by rushmc at 2:58 PM on January 3, 2005


Distinguishing between proposed uses for money has nothing to do with giving or not giving money of your own. It's a separate analysis.

Really? That's very convenient for you. Of course, it's easy for you to bitch about the misplaced generosity of others, but less easy for you to put your money where your mouth is.

Yes, that's what we're talking about here...the totally ludicrous and possibly, in fact, evil.

The only thing ludicrous and evil here is your willingness to so easily condemn the charity of others. Better that they not give at all, I suppose.

Yes, I would prefer to live in a world with the shared value that men, women and children were more important than pets.

Is it as simple as that to you? Aren't there any other moral demarcations you'd like to draw? Obviously, there's got to be an order of validity for all charitable donations. Some men, women and children are certainly more deserving of charity than others. Could you please provide the list which meets your approval?

The simple fact is, lots of things depend on charity. Some of these things are arguably less important than others, but you're mistaken if you think that there's a fixed sum of charitable donations that could be allocated any which way. People donate to the causes that touch them. Some people are interested in animal welfare, others are interested in helping the homeless, others are interested in supporting the arts, etc. We should encourage charity in all its forms, rather than ridiculing charitable causes which we feel are less important than others. Any activity which diminishes the suffering of others, no matter how small, is worthy of support.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:21 PM on January 3, 2005


Rushmc : Claiming this is evil is a bit much. It's money to rescue an animal, not bullets or bombs for soldiers or to build death camps or distribute hate material. And the line 'Strangely enough, the human beings in Iraq are loved, too...' is melodramatic. Me & My Monkey nailed it on the head about all money distribution being a moral decision after you're done with pure survival needs, and your morals are simply different from others. Evidently this has touched one hell of a nerve with you, but it's a pretty harmless charity to be pissed at. Now if someone asked for donations to the Kissinger Peace Library...
posted by Vaska at 3:28 PM on January 3, 2005


it's easy for you to bitch about the misplaced generosity of others, but less easy for you to put your money where your mouth is.

You're making unwarranted assumptions.

Obviously, there's got to be an order of validity for all charitable donations. Some men, women and children are certainly more deserving of charity than others.

Stop playing dumb. We're not talking about a debate over whether it's better to give to the Salvation Army or the Good Will, but about whether it's morally supportable to pay to bring a dog home from Iraq while people are homeless and starving and disease-ridden there as a direct result of our actions.

your morals are simply different from others

I guess they are. But I have no problem condemning anyone who would value a dog's life over a human's. It's an easy call.
posted by rushmc at 5:58 PM on January 3, 2005


Fabulous that judgement comes so easily, isn't it? If these soldiers are pooling some of their own money to save these animals, if they have put effort into it, maybe feeling that saving this one living being, even if it is an animal, is an act of kindness that they can control, and it makes them feel better, I'm all for it. I wasn't for the war and I think it's about as immoral as you can get, but I understand the simple human need to care for something, and if these guys have chosen cats and dogs, well, fine. I don't see a single thing wrong with their asking for help in saving their mascots. This isn't about valuing a dog's live over a human's -- it's about valuing these particular humans' genuine attachment to thier mascots, and helping them bring their friends home.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:12 PM on January 3, 2005


My brother found a dog when he was in Iraq (he's home and out of the army...missed the stop gap by a few DAYS and now has pts and can't carry a weapon)

He named his dog crackhead because she was nuts. But she made him feel better while he was there. He gave her to a Guard unit when he left.

I always wondered what happened to crackhead.
posted by gminks at 6:32 PM on January 3, 2005


The above posts talking about killing your pets & donating the money otherwise spent on them to charity intrigue me.

The hard, rights-based, individualist view on property breaks down in the creation and operation of a state, which are inherently coercive acts, and in the dubious origins of property rights. Some income redistribution and coercion may in fact be allowed to allow any state at all to function, but they are merely evils to be tolerated.

The hard utilitarian left wing, though, would hold our individual lives worthless. Every use of resources that could go to help others in dire need should ideally go. That means, as another said, no frivolities, no luxuries, and no pets. Such activities may in fact be allowed to motivate people to work and produce, but they are merely evils to be tolerated.

These are the two reductio ad absurdums, but how do you arrive at a principled middle ground?
posted by shivohum at 6:44 PM on January 3, 2005


"Well, we've cancelled your rotation home, and stop-termed your scheduled retirement from the armed forces. We've issued you a poorly-armored vehicle, and the lowest grade of body armor, and abandoned to the insurgents a half a million tons of really good high explosives. We've cut your danger pay and the veteran's benefits you might have hoped you'd get when we eventually let you go home. We've absolved ourselves of any responsibility for any war crimes you commit, even those we've authorized. And then we've sent you into hostile cities full of fearful civilians to root out and kill their brothers and fathers and childhood friends."

"Wow, that all sucks. But at least I can find some expression of my tenacious humanity in my love for this simple, trusting animal, who has no understanding of nations, religions, or races and returns my affection more faithfully than any man or woman, judging not my sins, lightening my heart's terrible burdens and letting me believe that there is some reason to --"

BANG. "It was dirty."
posted by nicwolff at 6:55 PM on January 3, 2005


You're making unwarranted assumptions.

And what assumptions am I making that aren't true? Do you deny that you're criticisizing the generosity of others? Do you also deny that you haven't given every penny of your surplus income to the most worthy charitable cause? Because those are the only two assumptions I'm making. I feel pretty safe in making both of those assumptions.

We're not talking about a debate over whether it's better to give to the Salvation Army or the Good Will, but about whether it's morally supportable to pay to bring a dog home from Iraq while people are homeless and starving and disease-ridden there as a direct result of our actions.

Whose actions, exactly? I don't remember invading Iraq, or supporting the invasion of Iraq, or agreeing with it, or voting for anyone responsible for it. I'm against it, if for no other reason than this selfish one: I have friends in the service whose lives I value more than the future of Iraq. And the plain fact is, you're arguing that because other charitable causes are more worthy than this, people should give to those instead. People are homeless and starving and disease-ridden all over the world, but does it then follow that no one should give to any charities other than those that directly deal with these problems?

Obviously, you also agree that the ASPCA should be immediately abolished, and people who donate to it are morally negligent for giving to it instead of helping the homeless, right?

But I have no problem condemning anyone who would value a dog's life over a human's. It's an easy call.

I suspect that the world would be a better place for humans if we spent less time condemning each other for things that aren't any of our business. But at least your moral surety provides a striking example to those who also believe in their own moral superiority over everyone else.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:23 PM on January 3, 2005


It is a small man who would defend a worm at the cost of another man. You have earned my contempt.
posted by rushmc at 9:40 PM on January 3, 2005


On one hand, this one charity doesn't necessarily offend me, as I know it's more than likely one of plenty of charity organizations centered around Iraq, the soldiers, etc.

However, concerning this thread, I'm going to have to agree with rushmc. The whole "I have no concern for human beings, look how cold and unconcerned I am but oo I wuv cute wittle puppies n kitties" is fodder for a 14 y/o girl's blog.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:32 PM on January 3, 2005


I guess they are. But I have no problem condemning anyone who would value a dog's life over a human's. It's an easy call.

When it comes down to it, I'd rather you be gone from this world than my dog. Not that I wish you were dead, but, honestly, my dog's life is more important to me than your life is. If I absolutely had to make a choice, sorry, but you'd lose.

Anyway, condemn away, then, but don't expect people to take your high and mighty act so seriously. They are busy trying to do what they feel is important to help, rather than trying to condemn anyone for helping in other ways.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:46 AM on January 4, 2005


You have earned my contempt.

As if that meant anything ...

Really.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:49 AM on January 4, 2005


"You have earned my contempt."

But rushmc, your arguments show contempt for the soldiers in question... and aren't they humans too?!

Pets have a distinct psychological effect on the happiness and wellbeing of humans, and their happiness and wellbeing is important, and will make it more likely that our soldiers will mentally "survive" the experience which is Iraq without any negative effects.

You'd rather Americans not help other Americans -- unless their hungry Americans, that is -- and would rather that money be spent in a Borg-like fashion -- rip out everything human/inessential and allocate the resources to feed the collective. Human emotions are irrelevant.

Where was this outrage when the soldiers were sent unnecessary turkeys for Thanksgiving?

You can try as much as you would like, but you would be hardpressed in life to seperate humans from their emotions. Pets are part of our culture, and like our culture, it follows us around, even in wartime. Get rid of that supporting culture and you're left with humans who have far less to live for.

Your arguments just go to show that any idea that you (or the US military) proposes which fails to take human psychology into account just won't work.
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:12 AM on January 4, 2005


It is a small man who would defend a worm at the cost of another man. You have earned my contempt.

I'm not sure whether this is addressed to me or not. It's the first mention of worms within the thread. However, if I have earned your contempt, I will treasure it as I would treasure the contempt of any other self-righteous man. It is more valuable to me than gold.

However, concerning this thread, I'm going to have to agree with rushmc. The whole "I have no concern for human beings, look how cold and unconcerned I am but oo I wuv cute wittle puppies n kitties" is fodder for a 14 y/o girl's blog.

What gave you the impression that people who donate to this charity don't care about human beings?

In my own experience, the people who donate to animal welfare causes tend to also donate to other causes, and tend to be more concerned about the social welfare of their fellow humans than the average person is. Meanwhile, there are plenty of people not donating to anything at all. So why bother criticizing the existence of this charity? How does its existence make the world a worse place?
posted by me & my monkey at 8:15 AM on January 4, 2005


Where do you think these animals came from? Presumably, they used to belong to Iraqis who have been forced from their homes or killed.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:29 AM on January 4, 2005


Or maybe they're strays - it's not as if the US has a monopoly on those. Besides, helping animals displaced by war is not condoning that war. It's simply stitching what wounds one can, where one can.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:35 AM on January 4, 2005


Pets have a distinct psychological effect on the happiness and wellbeing of humans

So do many other things that are probably not appropriate in a war zone.
posted by rushmc at 8:40 AM on January 4, 2005


sonofsamiam, my brother's dog was a stray. He kept her because he missed home, and his dog. He wanted to bring her home so badly.

I wish this organization would have existed last year. I would have taken her until he got home.
posted by gminks at 12:40 PM on January 4, 2005


Wow... Rush is a fucking dickhead.... I mean, I know dickhead, being one myself, but jeez man, you are a ginormous ass...
posted by Debaser626 at 12:32 PM on January 18, 2005


I would like to thank those of you that supported me. I brought up this subject in my journal if you'd like to hear my entire rant on the subject. Until then, here's this:

On behalf of myself and my SSgt, the ones who loved Connor the most...

"OMG, that is just SICK. Spend the money on the damn HUMAN BEINGS in distress in Iraq, please!!"
"With thousands of people homeless or in poverty in the US alone, I fail to see how this donation is in any way justifiable."
"My knee jerk reaction is that of rushmc, but hey it's not my $$$. If people want to spend it in wacky, different, dumb, ect. ways, that's on them. It reflects each person's priorities."
"The whole "I have no concern for human beings, look how cold and unconcerned I am but oo I wuv cute wittle puppies n kitties" is fodder for a 14 y/o girl's blog."


Hey shit for brains, keep your comments to yourself. I don't invade your life and comment on your daily mundane stupid shit because frankly I don't care and it does not impede my quality of life. We ARE spending the money on human beings in distress in Iraq. You know what the thank you is? They try to kill us. It's people like you sitting on your fat ass, eating ring dings and ho ho's making comments from behind a computer screen that wouldn't know anything about that. Let me ask you how much have YOU have donated to the American OR Iraqi causes in the past year. I can also answer for you, NOTHING. So keep your uneducated, ignorant comments to yourself. She was a dog, one that gave us joy and love and who was loved in return. THAT was the point. To save something from this God forsaken country. To find some good in it all. Someone as STUPID as you wouldn't and couldn't see that very simple but valid point. Pick up a rifle and a pack, sign the dotted line and serve your country. Then you can speak to me, you puke piece of trash, otherwise if you don't have anything nice to say about something that doesn't affect you in the slightest, SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH!

An extremely angry Staff Sergeant of Marines.
posted by itsacountry at 6:16 AM on January 19, 2005


Wow, that gave me a chuckle this morning.

The good old "if you don't agree with me, shut up" defense.
posted by agregoli at 7:02 AM on January 19, 2005


Ah, see now I see it as, "I'm risking my life so you can have your sorry opinion, what are you doing with your life?"

Glad you had a nice laugh though.
posted by itsacountry at 8:36 AM on January 19, 2005


I'm having a great life! Thanks!

It's not really so black and white, you know. And yes, you're right, I DO have a right to dissent. I don't need to shut up just because you made the choice to join the military.
posted by agregoli at 9:13 AM on January 19, 2005


So how is it again that a charity that does no direct soliciting, supporting a cause you can either choose to ignore or not, creating no financial burden on yourself promote any sort of dissent?

Seems obvious to me that the statement isn't a general "Put up or shut up"; rather it's saying, "how can you possibly understand the value of this service, since you're not willing to make the sacrifice yourself?"

I don't care about your opinion on the war, I don't care who you voted for. I don't care if you have a yellow sticker on your car, or if you drive a gas-guzzling luxury vehicle. I'm not fighting in this war for your approval. I'm not fighting it for Rummy, and I'm not fighting it for the Iraqis. Even though she was killed by the inanity of the system, the idea was to take her home, get her out of this hole of a life, and make both her and my life better.

Maybe if you'd read the entire quote instead of allowing your insecurities to lead you to a kneejerk reaction, we'd all be better off.
posted by itsacountry at 2:29 AM on January 20, 2005


Uh, I DID read the entire post.

"How can you possibly understand the value of this service, since you're not willing to make the sacrifice yourself?"

That doesn't even make sense. I understand that value of it. Do I think it's a lesser concern? Yes. If people want to put their money towards it, great. But do I think it's a little sad people are trying to save dogs instead of people? Yes.

Why wouldn't someone who isn't in the military be able to understand this is important to you and other soldiers? I get it. I don't need to join up and go to war to get that.

Your previous statement of "otherwise if you don't have anything nice to say about something that doesn't affect you in the slightest, SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH!" is what I was commenting on. People are perfectly allowed to comment on this, especially in a discussion forum. It's not about who can be the "nicest." We're all entitled to voice our opinions. No shutting of mouths needed. The sooner you realize that, the sooner discourse can actually happen.
posted by agregoli at 7:35 AM on January 20, 2005


On behalf of SSgt:

If you did read the entire post then you would shut your mouth. Out of respect. You’re not over here and yes you would have to be here to understand. Your small mindedness can’t even grasp that fact. It is a lesser concern to save animals over people of course, but that was never debatable. I explained that the issue was over a dog and that we are trying to save people over here. They show their gratitude by destroying human life. My issues were over comments that were made by morons that know nothing of the situation. Yourself included. Yea so you didn’t join the military, that’s your problem not mine. You’re perfectly allowed to comment on what ever you want. I protect that right, and I’m extremely sorry that I may die over here for such an ignorant person as you that have no regard for the slightest feeling another human in distress might have. I’m going to take something from you, no RIP it from you, one of the most precious things you cherish in a world where you have nothing. Then I’m going to have my associates comment on how ridiculous it was for you to cherish that one thing and defend the fact that they could say it. It would break you. I’m done with this conversation. I have to deal with retardation on a daily basis and I am not going to subject myself to your moronic renditions.
posted by itsacountry at 8:40 AM on January 20, 2005


Laughing again.

I did read the entire post. I will not shut my mouth. Why am I lacking in respect for voicing an opinion? That's ridiculous. Once again you guys are misunderstanding a different opinion as being taboo, or being unacceptable. So I have a different opinion than you - so what? Why does that threaten you?

I think it's awfully small-minded of you not to consider anyone else's viewpoint as valid, just because we're not over there or in the military. You don't have authority over which opinions are acceptable.

You are sorry you might die to protect me? (I have problems with that all over that are not worth getting into) You are only interested in protecting Americans that agree with you and your limited worldview? THAT'S messed up.

When did I ever say it was ridiculous for you to care about these dogs? Geez. Read MY posts, why don't you. Stop attributing everything said in the thread to me. I never even said ANYTHING in this thread except responding to you and that the military shouldn't be responsible for saving dogs that are taken in as mascots. What the heck are you yelling at me for?

Chill out, would you, and save the anger for people who deserve it (like Bush, for putting you where you are now).
posted by agregoli at 9:19 AM on January 20, 2005


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