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Feith-Based Judgement
May 8, 2005 12:50 PM   Subscribe

"Expertise is a very good thing, but it is not the same thing as sound judgment regarding strategy and policy. George W. Bush has more insight, because of his knowledge of human beings and his sense of history, about the motive force, the craving for freedom and participation in self-rule, than do many of the language experts and history experts and culture experts." -- From a fascinating profile of Douglas Feith, undersecretary of Defense, and one of the main architects of the war in Iraq. From the New Yorker.
posted by digaman (64 comments total)

 
Expertise is a very good thing, but it is not the same thing as sound judgment regarding strategy and policy.

Sounds like just the sort of thing the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the Earth might say.
posted by aaronetc at 12:59 PM on May 8, 2005


> "has more insight"

As aaronetc said. This is the usual bollocks used to justify the mutton-headed macho decisions of those who are simply better at playing the games that put people into power.
posted by raygirvan at 1:05 PM on May 8, 2005


i was just about to post that, aaron. : >

... I asked Feith if he would have recommended the invasion of Iraq if he knew then what he knows now.

“The main rationale was not based on intelligence,” Feith said. ...


That's for damn sure. This guy is a joke.
posted by amberglow at 1:06 PM on May 8, 2005


Feith says dryly in the article that he nearly organized a press conference to deny that was actually the stupidest guy on the face of the Earth.
posted by digaman at 1:06 PM on May 8, 2005


Damn, aaronetc beat me to it.

I am getting really tired of this anti-intellectual crap I keep hearing from certain voices on the right. It used to be I could count on that from the fringe Lefties and the religious Righties. But now, it seems to be part and parcel of the mainstream Right voice. Dammit.
posted by teece at 1:08 PM on May 8, 2005


So, did anybody actually read the link? It has the Tommy Franks quote, and discusses it at length.

It's a worthwhile article for seeing just how these people think.

teece: "I am getting really tired of this anti-intellectual crap I keep hearing from certain voices on the right."

Huh? This came at the tail end of a whirlwind tour of Mr. Feith's precious 5000-volume library, completely with ponderous busts of Washington and paintings of Churchill. If he ain't an 'intellectual,' I don't know what is.

The quote is not the article. I think he's full of shit too, but 'anti-intellectual?' Huh?
posted by koeselitz at 1:16 PM on May 8, 2005


If he ain't an 'intellectual,' I don't know what is.

It's obviously the latter.
posted by odinsdream at 1:31 PM on May 8, 2005


That just makes it worse, koeselitz - Feith is an intellectual who will glibly disparage intellect and rationality to defend Bush's "I may not have a lot of book larnin' but I know people" faith-based crap.
posted by nicwolff at 1:32 PM on May 8, 2005


koeselitz, the quote in the FPP is blatantly anti-intellectual. If you don't see that, I don't know what to say.

Feith is telling you that it is OK to ignore people that know vastly more than GWB but disagree with him, because GWB is a man of the people whose got that magical, down-home common sense to make the right choice for the heartland. Garsh.

Feith's position as an intellectual is irrelevant. Indeed, many of the yahoos on the right that push the "don't trust the eggheads" meme are themselves eggheads, which is what makes it really infuriating. It's blatant cynicism.
posted by teece at 1:45 PM on May 8, 2005


The cardinals that tried to nail Galileo's balls to the wall were among the most well-read men on the continent at the time. I don't know if there is more to being an intellectual than having read some books and having a strong view of how the world operates, but there's certainly more than tha needed to make good policy.
posted by allan at 1:51 PM on May 8, 2005


I'll wait till I get next week's New Yorker before reading the whole thing. I've read enough about Feith to know that even intelligent people can be hopelessly corrupt.

The guy used to be an AIPAC lobbyist. Each and every one of the "neocons" have very strong ties to Israel.

This isn't a slam to my Jewish friends, but let's face facts.

If the people who ran our defense department had the kind of ties to, say, Russia that these guys have to Israel, it would amount to the same thing.

A question of loyalty.
posted by rougy at 1:56 PM on May 8, 2005


Clearly, George Bush also knows better how to program a computer or analyse gene structures than any of those educated "experts" who spent years learning their fields.

Yes, I know any monkey can do history - after all, they let me do it. But they still make me do my damn qualifying exams.
posted by jb at 2:05 PM on May 8, 2005


What Allan said above: owning 5,000 books does not make Feith an "intellectual".

It's entirely possible for him to own a lot of books - heck, and even to have read a bunch of them - and still be the Fucking Stupidest Guy On the Face of the Earth.

Feith helped get us into Iraq. QED.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 2:10 PM on May 8, 2005


Feith says dryly in the article that he nearly organized a press conference to deny that was actually the stupidest guy on the face of the Earth.

Feith clearly has a good sense of humor and remembers the time Senator Bill Scott held a press conference to deny allegations made by The New Times magazine that he was the dumbest member of congress.

That said, Feith really is the one responsible for a lot of the stupidities of our Iraq policy.
posted by deanc at 2:11 PM on May 8, 2005


Also, he may own 5,000 books, but some of them appear to be a bit out of date. Burke was an interesting thinker, but not exactly a disciplined historian, sociologist or political scientist. There has been some improvement in these fields since. Next thing I know, he'll be quoting Freud as the up-to-date expert on psychology.

That is assuming he's read them, of course. (I am again proof that having many intellectual books on one's shelf doesn't mean you've read them, even if you've discussed them in class.)
posted by jb at 2:11 PM on May 8, 2005


Confidential to rougy re: Feith's (and, in general, the neo-cons') connection to Israel:

Check out voting tendencies. I recall seeing that 75% of American Jews who voted voted for Kerry. Jews traditionally vote Democrat. Not that there aren't Republican Jews - witness Wolfowitz, Perle, and Feith. But let's try to keep some perspective when generalizing...
posted by fingers_of_fire at 2:23 PM on May 8, 2005


Everything that he says is just intellectualized rationalization of something that is utterly irrational-- his love and support for Israel. It's the white elephant in the room that no one wants to take on directly. If you believe the preservation and defence of Israel is a matter of the gravest personal importance, things start to make sense. Without that, the man is a raving lunatic.
posted by cell divide at 2:27 PM on May 8, 2005


Pile-on! Ailse 36!
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:31 PM on May 8, 2005


Please, can we not make this about Israel? 'Neo-Cons' tend to have 'strong ties to Israel' because most of them are Jewish. It's not some weird conspiracy; it makes some sense. And anybody who's read Theodore Hertzl knows that there's more democratic liberalism than judaism in the zionist movement.
posted by koeselitz at 2:51 PM on May 8, 2005


If he ain't an 'intellectual,' I don't know what is.

The problem with intellectuals is that they usually have their heads buried so far in their books that when someone comes along and acts purely on their instincts, they laud the guy because he's a 'do-er' and lives the life they only read about (see: Hemingway). Kinda like those white kids in Iowa who play gangsta-rap.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:52 PM on May 8, 2005


But let's try to keep some perspective when generalizing

well to reverse the generalizing a little there's liberal-lefty jews and conservative likudnik/Goldwater populations, prolly 75%-25%.

As for the fpp, safe to say that 'Der Führer knows best' Superman romanticism is pretty eyeroll-worthy... let's just get that out of the way.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:56 PM on May 8, 2005


America: expertise is overrated.

Oh, and Burke was extremely attached to the idea that in no way could an atheist be a good citizen. Just because you're an intellectual doesn't mean you have good views. Bad premises have a great deal of staying power.
posted by ontic at 2:58 PM on May 8, 2005


there's more democratic liberalism than judaism in the zionist movement

huh? If you'd restate that as:

'there's more democratic liberalism than zionism in judaism (ie Jewish society)'

I could agree.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:59 PM on May 8, 2005


teece: "koeselitz, the quote in the FPP is blatantly anti-intellectual. If you don't see that, I don't know what to say."

The quote in the FPP says, 'politics is a realm of expertise, just like language and history and culture.' It's the bit I happened to agree with most in the entire article, and, if you'd like, I'll tell you why: because I'm in political science academically, and it's a field almost entirely devoid of cogent thought. People still haven't recovered from Max Weber, they're still talking about 'values' and such. I'm telling you, the experts here are vapid and empty. If political science was actually a success, there would be at least a little peace in the world. You can see the dismal failure of this so-called 'science' all around you.

I don't know if George Bush has a head up on 'political scientists.' He probably does, but that's not saying much. If you're looking for good leaders or good politicians or even good ideas, looking among the 'experts' on this isn't going to help much. On preview, Civil_D expresses this better than I can.
posted by koeselitz at 3:00 PM on May 8, 2005


Heywood: Zionism is a pretty secularist movement. All of the major Zionist thinkers I know of were 'enlightened.' What's more, the Orthodox Rabbis, all of them to a head, so far as I know, opposed the creation of the state of Israel. But once it happened, they supported it, because, after the Holocaust, they knew what the consequences of publicly opposing fellow Jews could be. Zionism was really more inspired by the modern movements toward democracy and by a hope to bring this about in such a way that Jews could benefit as well than by religious Judaism.
posted by koeselitz at 3:05 PM on May 8, 2005


Well, I think I went into the article with a moderately open mind. However, I think it boiled down to Feith's own simple armchair psychologizing, about himself :

What I was hearing from the antiwar movement ... war is not the answer. ... When I took all these nice-sounding ideas and compared it to my own little personal ‘Cogito, ergo sum,’ which was my understanding that my family got wiped out by Hitler, and that all this stuff about working things out—well, talking to Hitler to resolve the problem didn’t make any sense to me. The kind of people who put bumper stickers on their car that declare that ‘war is not the answer,’ are they making a serious comment? What’s the answer to Pearl Harbor? What’s the answer to the Holocaust?”

Interestingly, this seems to be the default answer of the Right on issues of war : "well, you don't really know how the real world works (while I do). You would just appease dictators, but I'm ready to fight them." The part that invariably gets left off the end is "...with your children."

Feith even comments that during the Vietnam War he was doing important reading. Perhaps he was too young, but Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were not. They were ready to get muscular and defend against communist dictators. In Alabama...
posted by Slothrop at 3:41 PM on May 8, 2005


The part that invariably gets left off the end is "...with your children."

That's their biggest sin--they gladly send other people's kids (usually poorer and less-educated) to fight and die for their goals.
posted by amberglow at 3:46 PM on May 8, 2005


owning 5,000 books does not make Feith an "intellectual".

That is assuming he's read them, of course.


"Apes don't read philosophy."

"Yes, they do, Otto. They just don't understand it."

/WandaFilter
posted by gompa at 3:51 PM on May 8, 2005


Pile-on! Ailse 36!

I'm sure Feith can handle it.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:54 PM on May 8, 2005


As a tree-hugging lefty playing devil's advocate, Chomsky also promotes skepticism towards "self-proclaimed experts" (albeit usually those employed by large think tanks, media outlets, corporations, etc.). The gist:
CHOMSKY: Our society is not really based on public participation in decision-making in any significant sense. Rather, it is a system of elite decision and periodic public ratification. Certainly people would like to think there's somebody up there who knows what he's doing. Since we don't participate, we don't control and we don't even think about the questions of crucial importance, we hope somebody is paying attention who has some competence.
posted by themadjuggler at 3:56 PM on May 8, 2005


Hey, I own a few books myself, plus I've got a library card from everywhere I've lived the last five years, but I know bullshit when I hear it, too.
posted by alumshubby at 4:10 PM on May 8, 2005


The suitcase-nuke-equipped elephant in the room of all of these conversations about "getting tough" about the "global war on terrorism" is the question: Is the world safer from terrorist acts after a couple of years of Republican-advocated get-tough, get-real programs?

I sure do wish that my fellow journalists would not only ask that question more often, but factcheck the answers rigorously. It's obviously the gazillion-dollar question, and it's hardly ever asked.
posted by digaman at 4:20 PM on May 8, 2005


Feith is an intellectual elite. He went to Harvard and is privileged in a lot of areas. He would never have obtained his position at the Pentagon without these credentials. It is a rarified world that the vast majority of Americans don't have access to -- it is exactly this "elitism" that Bush and Feith and others are rallying against, riding on the wave of discontentment in this country from people who feel left out and left behind and excluded from the process only for the "elite". It's a brilliant strategy.
posted by stbalbach at 4:22 PM on May 8, 2005


The kind of people who put bumper stickers on their car that declare that ‘war is not the answer,’ are they making a serious comment? What’s the answer to Pearl Harbor? What’s the answer to the Holocaust?

The thing that bugs me is, even if you grant them this point, even if you want to say that the new terrorism is an effective declaration of hostility akin to Pearl Harbor, this still doesn't explain 80% of post-2001 US foreign policy. I mean, we went over to Afghanistan a couple months later where we thought the bad guys were and tried to take care of the problem. It was a hasty operation and apparently it was bungled, but at least it made sense under Feith's putative justification.

But then... Iraq? Based on trumped up or outright false claims about WMDs and terrorism connections? Um... what? Especially now that it's confirmed that Bush and Blair were committed to war long before the President stopped pretending to consider all the alternatives. Some people like the "Zionist conspiracy" theory, some like the "all about oil" flavor, but you really have to posit something beyond "It's Pearl Harbor all over again" to actually justify the Iraq invasion. Damned if I know what it is, and the problem now is that it's such a colossal misadventure that you look like a loon proposing anything grand enough to genuinely explain it all.
posted by rkent at 4:25 PM on May 8, 2005


Re Dubya's "insight" because of his knowledge of human beings and sense of history:

His record would seem to indicate that his knowledge of human beings is limited to (a) appealing to their worst instincts, and (b) bullying them.

And notice the phrase "sense of history." Not "knowledge of history." I strongly suspect that "sense of history" could be replaced by "belief in his own destiny."
posted by bshock at 4:31 PM on May 8, 2005


Is the world safer from terrorist acts after a couple of years of Republican-advocated get-tough, get-real programs? - digaman

Well, the State Dept used to issue an annual report answering this question, but Condi decided not to this year after the data they compiled showed that there were more terrorist incidents in 2004 than in any previous year.
posted by nicwolff at 4:38 PM on May 8, 2005


MadJuggler, Chomsky is promoting an anti-elite agenda, not necessarily an anti-intellectual one. Same as Jane Jacobs said back in the day, the people living in neighborhoods have better ideas about how to make them better than the Mumford-reading planners.
posted by jmgorman at 4:43 PM on May 8, 2005


Wait, was Feith an undergrad at Harvard? Well, that might make him elite, but it definitely doesn't make him intellectual. They are nice kids, the Ivy League undergrads, and many are quite bright, but that is a far cry from being intellectual (a tiny minority, most of whom go to grad school).
posted by jb at 5:05 PM on May 8, 2005


What’s the answer to Pearl Harbor?

Attack New Zealand.

What’s the answer to the Holocaust?

Attack Papau New Guinea.

Because when someone hits you, it doesn't matter if you hit them back, just hit somebody.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:07 PM on May 8, 2005


Anti-intellectual Personality cults, and the kind of people who perpetuate them are never edifying. Fuehrerprinzip - It's a simple search'n'replace....

"It is with pride that we see that one man is kept above all criticism — that is the President.

"The reason is that everyone feels and knows: he was always right and will always be right. The faith of us all is anchored in the uncritical loyalty, in the devotion to the President that does not ask for the wherefore in the individual case, in the tacit performance of his commands. We believe that the President is fulfilling a divine mission to American destiny! This belief is beyond challenge."

"How shall I give expression, my President, to what is in our hearts? How shall I find words for your deeds? Has there ever been a mortal as beloved as you, my President? Was there ever belief as strong as the belief in your mission? God sent you to us for America."

Sometimes the old cheap shots are too good to pass up...
US Undersecretary of Defense Douglas FeithReichskommissar für die Festigung des deutschen Volkstums Heinrich Himmler

posted by meehawl at 5:07 PM on May 8, 2005


they gladly send other people's kids (usually poorer and less-educated) to fight and die for their goals.

You forgot to add "who SIGNED UP for the military" to fight and die for their goals, because once in the military your goals are unimportant.

But that doesn't quite fit with your whole victim persona, now does it?
posted by justgary at 5:15 PM on May 8, 2005


So signing up for something permits people to exploit me at will?
posted by themadjuggler at 5:23 PM on May 8, 2005


The word we're dancing around to describe these kids isn't "intellectual," it's sophist.
posted by Skwirl at 5:33 PM on May 8, 2005


Speaking of Theories of the Motives for the Iraq War, how does this LRB article stand up?
...[snipped]...

The first Gulf War had been a struggle over oil supplies. Saddam was furious that Kuwait and UAE, under US pressure, were producing over quota to keep prices low. His obvious oil-profits motive elicited widespread condemnation in the Arab world and provided a broad multilateral basis for the American military response. What was on offer to the industry in 2003, on the other hand, was unilateral adventurism in the face of a global Muslim insurgency, and the prospect of enraging the most numerous generation of young Arabs and Muslims in history. It risked over 20 per cent of the world’s oil supply, the entire Gulf strategy, the wider set of US interests in the region, the radical destabilisation of the entire Muslim world, the active promotion of the jihadi struggle, and blowback of a wholly unpredictable and uncontainable sort. Why do it?

To answer this question we must return to OPEC and the new oil regime it helped launch. Oil prices declined throughout the 1960s, as the unrelenting search for reserves, new upstream technologies, and fresh infusions of oil from Russia combined to create massive excess capacity. With new actors on the scene, old-style collusion was less and less feasible. Against this backdrop, OPEC’s politicisation of the oil market can be understood not as a threat to the major oil-consuming states, but as a new and more sophisticated convergence of interest between companies, the US government and suppliers. A higher price regime was good for the majors (their profits soared during the 1970s, and their ability to check the power of independents was enhanced), good for Washington (it promised a slowdown in the Japanese and European economies), good for Britain (because of North Sea oil and its majors), and good for the Cold War (since it boosted the US military presence in the Middle East). Sheikh Yamani articulated OPEC’s mission rather well: ‘at all costs to avoid any disastrous clash of interests which would shake the foundations of the whole oil industry’.

...[snipped]...

The establishment of OPEC, and the redistribution of global income that followed, was the key to the rise of the armaments industry – the shift from aid to trade. In 1963, the Middle East accounted for 9.9 per cent of global arms imports; in the decade following 1974, the figure was 36 per cent (roughly $45 billion per year). Almost half was provided by US suppliers. The energy conflicts across the region were both the cause and consequence of oil-fuelled militarisation. The Weapondollar-Petrodollar Coalition, a term coined by Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler in The Global Political Economy of Israel (2002), was sustained by high oil prices and energy conflicts but the arrangement was structurally unstable. Excessively high oil prices encouraged the use of energy alternatives and non-OPEC oil; and militarisation, should conflicts escalate, could compromise at any moment the easy complicity of oil companies with the OPEC countries. Nitzan and Bichler argue that the middle ground was found in an oil price determined by ‘tension without war’, which enabled corporate profitability in the oil industry to stay ahead of all other major manufacturing sectors. But when profits fell into what the industry called a ‘danger zone’, the oilmen turned hawkish and energy conflicts ensued.

...[snipped]...

The invasion of Iraq was about Chevron and Texaco, but it was also about Bechtel, Kellogg, Brown and Root, Chase Manhattan, Enron, Global Crossing, BCCI and DynCorp. ‘Oil, Guns and Money’ is the way Midnight Notes gloss the intersection of work, energy and war in Midnight Oil: Work, Energy, War 1973-92 (1992). But even this characterisation may be too sanitary, occluding the ‘black economy’ with which the likes of Enron and Halliburton are more and more obviously entangled. Drugs, oil theft and money laundering are the main activities in this capitalist ghost world; Russia, Nigeria, Colombia and Mexico the chief way stations. In quantitative terms, these circuits of capital and power are difficult to determine; but they run, almost certainly, to trillions of dollars. To put the matter in a way that does not deny the significance of oil but locates it in a larger capitalist landscape: American empire cannot forgo oil – its control is a geopolitical priority – but strategic and corporate oil interests cannot, in themselves, credibly account for an imperial mission of the sort we have witnessed over the last two years. Rather, what the Iraq adventure represents is less a war for oil than a radical, punitive restructuring of the conditions necessary for expanded profitability – it paves the way, in short, for new rounds of American-led dispossession and capital accumulation. This was a neo-liberal putsch, made in the name of globalisation and free-market democracy. It was intended as the prototype of a new form of military neo-liberalism. Oil was especially visible at this moment of extra-economic imposition because, as it turned out, oil revenues were key to the planning and financing of the military exercise itself, and to the reconstruction of the Iraqi ‘emerging market’.

...[snipped]...

This is the proper frame for understanding what has happened in Iraq. It is only as part of this neo-liberal firmament, in which a dominant capitalist core has begun to find it harder and harder to benefit from ‘consensual’ market expansion or corporate mergers and asset transfers, that the preference for the military option makes sense.

/Makes sure to consume AntiY2karlotine immediately. Also, I hope this is Fair Use. The full article is much longer. Worth a look.
posted by Gyan at 5:52 PM on May 8, 2005


I'm not much of a believer in Godwin, so I appreciate your having run him over with the Nazi bus instead of just nodding in his direction, meehawl.
posted by mek at 6:17 PM on May 8, 2005


I really didn't mean to be misunderstood. I know that there are many American Jews who are not working for "the dark side." Al Franken, Chomsky, Zinn...many others.

What I am saying is that the neocon connections to Israel are not circumstantial based on their religion or race.

The connection is direct.

Karen Kwiatkowski tells the story of a group of Israeli generals who stormed into the Pentagon acting as if they owned the place, and started banging on Feith's door demanding to know who he was talking to.
posted by rougy at 6:58 PM on May 8, 2005


You forgot to add "who SIGNED UP for the military" to fight and die for their goals, because once in the military your goals are unimportant.

But that doesn't quite fit with your whole victim persona, now does it?


Way to support the troops, justgary.
posted by verb at 7:17 PM on May 8, 2005


From the article:
[invading Iraq] was an operation to prevent the next, as it were, 9/11, the next major attack that could kill tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Americans
posted by kirkaracha at 7:19 PM on May 8, 2005


kirkaracha,

I know. Doesn't make much sense, does it?
posted by hackly_fracture at 8:03 PM on May 8, 2005


This is a great example of extracting a quote to provoke a reaction. Other than the fawning for Bush, which is par for the course for someone in his position, what he says holds up within context. Certainly, one so well-endowed with insight, etc. could trump any single subject matter expert.

Bush has been set up as a stranger to doubt so it's odd to see Feith express distrust of certainty. Perhaps because it's simply new to him after Vienna.

His comments about history are interesting as welll. I'm sure that he hears Churchill's words as his visage scowls down at him, "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it."

Lastly, my favorite anti-intellectual quip was from the late Richard J. Daley, "What do experts know?"
posted by john at 8:55 PM on May 8, 2005


He's just playing the system. I'm sure a lot of you smarty smarts would do the same thing in his shoes. Have a heart.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:47 PM on May 8, 2005


Is it worth mentioning 1600 coalition soldiers dead?
posted by telstar at 10:09 PM on May 8, 2005


Why ask rhetorical questions?
posted by Endymion at 10:19 PM on May 8, 2005


Is it worth mentioning 1600 coalition soldiers dead?

Only if it makes you feel more self-righteous.

The link suggests that the period since the elections has the lowest rate of American deaths since the war started. Regardless of where you stand on the war, that's an improvement. We're batting 1.76 per day now, compared to a peak of over 4 per day.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:26 PM on May 8, 2005



posted by quonsar at 10:50 PM on May 8, 2005


YEEEEE HA.......

whoa there little partner,

there're snakes in the grass damn it!
posted by Viomeda at 10:54 PM on May 8, 2005


Ah yes, who cares about the world's well-being, the important thing is less Americans are dying. As a Canadian, I don't take much comfort in your statistics, TDDL.
posted by mek at 1:17 AM on May 9, 2005


Ah yes, who cares about the world's well-being, the important thing is less Americans are dying. As a Canadian, I don't take much comfort in your statistics, TDDL.

Incidentally, it was all coalition forces, not just US.

Even beyond that, I said it was an improvement, smartass. I didn't say it was the beginning of the happy-flowers-and-kites era and that all the world's problems had been solved.

If the site had statistics about other people dying then I would have used them. I know it's hard to accept any sort of positive news whatsoever, but try for once. The site had one point of reference, it was trending positive, I pointed it out. If you want to cheer for more fatalities then by all means do so.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:05 AM on May 9, 2005


Metafilters is full of us, Skwirl.
posted by sophist at 2:34 AM on May 9, 2005


We're batting 1.76 per day now, compared to a peak of over 4 per day.

That's pretty awesome where you turned dead American kids into a sports metaphor.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:25 AM on May 9, 2005


If the site had statistics about other people dying then I would have used them.

The site also tracks Iraqi police and military fatalities. So far this year, 722 Iraqi military and police personnel have been killed (they're "batting" 5.6 per day, which is totally blowing the curve), compared to 1300 total killed before 2005. Since our strategy is to increasingly turn over security responsibilities to the Iraqis, it's not surprising that American fatalities may be going down (although seven US servicemembers were killed over the weekend) and Iraqi fatalities are increasing (110 killed so far this month, compared to 200 killed both last month and the month before).
posted by kirkaracha at 8:11 AM on May 9, 2005


You forgot to add "who SIGNED UP for the military" to fight and die for their goals, because once in the military your goals are unimportant.

!!!!

Yeah, they signed up because they're poor, often poorly educated, and they had no other choice. As someone from the south (which provides most soldiers), most of the people I know in the military right now went there because they had no other option--it was that or a minimum wage job for the rest of their life. This includes my uncle, who fought in the first Gulf War, and several of my friends (some of whom are in the service-for-college-money program, were told they wouldn't see combat, and probably won't be getting out any time soon). The "well they signed up for it" attitude DISGUSTS me. NO ONE deserves to die because they weren't afforded the same opportunities as others. Honestly, fuck you.

And this talk of the president being "in touch" with the people--BULLSHIT. His family has more money and he has had more privilege than most Americans will ever see. In touch with the common man my ass.
posted by scarymonsterrrr at 8:42 AM on May 9, 2005


Oh, and "craving for freedom"? Freedom from what? DUI laws?
posted by scarymonsterrrr at 8:43 AM on May 9, 2005


Interestingly enough, 30% of his 5000 books are from the 'Left Behind' series. The other 70%? Sweet Valley High!
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:25 PM on May 9, 2005


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