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Feeding The Insurgency: Public relations and The War That Cannot Be Won
May 24, 2005 9:23 AM   Subscribe

An examination of Iraqi public opinion data and interviews suggests that coalition military activity may be substantially contributing to Iraqi discontent and opposition. A 'vicious circle' is indicated, whereby actions to curtail the insurgency feed the insurgency. Public discontent is the water in which the insurgents swim. Polls show that a large majority of Iraqis have little faith in coalition troops and view them as occupiers, not liberators. There is significant support for attacks on foreign troops and a large majority of Iraqis want them to leave within a year.
Vicious Circle: The Dynamics of Occupation and Resistance in Iraq. For example--Marine-led offensive killed friends and foreign fighters, Iraqi leaders say. So, Is the US Recruiting for the Insurgency? See also Guantánamo Comes to Define U.S. to Muslims. Consider, too, The rising economic cost of the Iraq war--a war, which is, according to more than one, A War That Cannot Be Won ...
posted by y2karl (87 comments total)

 
the BBC is reporting another eight US soldiers killed today.

so what's that make it? 1644+8 leaves 58,202 +1 (a friend died last week from the cancer he got from agent orange) - 1652 = 56,551 soldiers to go.
posted by three blind mice at 9:36 AM on May 24, 2005


Get your own weblog already.
posted by kjh at 9:46 AM on May 24, 2005


One of the readings in this months Harpers was the affidavit of one of the prisoners released from Guantanamo. It's scary stuff, though I imagine all too typical. (Someone has transcribed some of the article.)

On Preview: Yeah! Shut the fuck up already y2karl. Heaven forbid people actually think about the things the US is up to.
posted by chunking express at 9:49 AM on May 24, 2005


Bush was asked about the increasing deaths, American and civilian, yesterday. His response? It's proof that the US is advancing democracy.

So let's hope these casualty numbers continue to rise. . . .
posted by bardic at 9:51 AM on May 24, 2005


Someone should ask bush what he thinks would be evidence that the insurgency is not geting weaker/losing.
posted by delmoi at 9:59 AM on May 24, 2005


mr. president what would be evidence that the insurgency is not geting weaker/losing?

"Free people will set the course of history."

"America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people."

"Our greatest responsibility is the active defense of the American people."

"The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."

"I believe the most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people."


et cetera, ad nausea.
posted by three blind mice at 10:09 AM on May 24, 2005


Get your own weblog already.

How about you get your own blog?
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:09 AM on May 24, 2005


Is the US recruiting for the insurgency?

Very much so. And another irony is, the US is competing with itself for the most skilled recruits.

There is an estimated 60 to 90 thousand mercenaries in Iraq; mostly ex-servicemen who get 5 times the pay of regular soldiers.
posted by drakepool at 10:12 AM on May 24, 2005


First rule when you find you're digging yourself into a hole:
Stop digging.
As I said here in MeFi long ago, there is absolutely nothing positive that can be done by the continued US military presence in Iraq, it can only get worse.
Any opportunity was wasted long ago and they never come back around.
No mulligans for the Chimperor in Iraq.

Get your own weblog already.
posted by kjh at 12:46 PM EST

Piss off.
posted by nofundy at 10:26 AM on May 24, 2005


y2karl has linked to Mises Blog. Strange bedfellows there...
posted by Kwantsar at 10:26 AM on May 24, 2005


a friend died last week from the cancer he got from agent orange

And this has to do with Iraq how, exactly? I'm sorry about your loss, but why are you adding it to your Iraq body count?

That said, the links between Agent Orange and cancer are tenuous at best, making it impossible to know that the cancer he died of was caused by Agent Orange. Plenty of people get cancer for no reason. It sucks, but it's a fact of life. Blaming it on Agent Orange shows a fundamental mis-understanding of statistics. If exposure to X causes an incresaed liklihood of Y, that doesn't mean that every case of Y is caused by X.

American Cancer Society fact sheet on Agent Orange.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:08 AM on May 24, 2005


So let's hope these casualty numbers continue to rise. . . .
posted by bardic at 9:51 AM PST on May 24 [!]


You are a sick fuck if you are hoping for an increase in casualties to prove a political point. I don't care if you support or oppose the war, actively hoping that more people die is disgusting.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:11 AM on May 24, 2005


We're so fucked in Iraq - and one read of this piece from Fred Kaplan in Slate last week pretty much sums up why:

It's generally accepted these days that merely killing insurgents creates more insurgents and that a peaceful settlement will come about, if at all, only after a political settlement.

And yet, here comes the U.S. military, roaring across the western deserts, strafing and shelling anyone with a gun and everything all around him. In short, Operation Matador was a double-whammy of old thinking: kaboom, kaboom, kaboom—and in a way that alienated precisely the people we should be assuring.

posted by kgasmart at 11:13 AM on May 24, 2005


Fuckin' Newsweek!
posted by kirkaracha at 11:16 AM on May 24, 2005


So let's hope these casualty numbers continue to rise. . . .
posted by bardic at 11:51 AM CST on May 24 [!]


Awww, the left on metafilter. A beautiful thing, really.
posted by justgary at 11:21 AM on May 24, 2005


It was sarcasm. Christ.
posted by Cyrano at 11:24 AM on May 24, 2005


It was sarcasm. Christ.
posted by Cyrano at 1:24 PM CST on May 24 [!]


As was mine. Pay attention.
posted by justgary at 11:29 AM on May 24, 2005


Actually I think the point was that the Pres-o-dent took the ever increasing causalties to be an indicator of "freedom on the march", or some such shit.
posted by kableh at 11:29 AM on May 24, 2005


actively hoping that more people die

Hoping is several degrees better than causing it to happen. It arguably has no effect whatsoever. Here's to mental freedom.

I'm going to spend the next several minutes hoping to get laid later on today, win the lottery, and I may also hope that the sky will turn mauve, just for kicks.
posted by nervousfritz at 11:30 AM on May 24, 2005


a friend died last week from the cancer he got from agent orange

And this has to do with Iraq how, exactly? I'm sorry about your loss, but why are you adding it to your Iraq body count?


I believe he was adding it to the body count from the Vietnam war. He had been obliquely comparing the deaths from both conflicts.
posted by gwint at 11:31 AM on May 24, 2005


Dear Devil Dancing Etc.,
My own capacity for disgust (a.k.a., abhorrent to one's given cultural standards) was long ago exhausted by the current American administration. Unlike you, however, my spiffy inboard (Mark Twain-installed) Irony Detection Device™ has not been disabled, and thus I interpreted Bardic's rueful comment as an attempt at gallows humor, and perhaps a commentary on the insensibility of the polis.

But actually, I think a hair-trigger desire to huffily leap on whatever High Horse of Righteous Indignation is currently tethered in the stable of your tiny wit was the true motivating factor for your unconvincing and impotent rage. "Sick fuck," indeed.
posted by Haruspex at 11:33 AM on May 24, 2005


I think a hair-trigger desire to huffily leap on whatever High Horse of Righteous Indignation is currently tethered in the stable of your tiny wit was the true motivating factor for your unconvincing and impotent rage.

If we look past the poorly mixed metaphors (a trigger to leap on my horse? is my horse also named Trigger?) and unneeded personal attacks, it's clear that the comment was ambiguous. If he claims that it was meant in irony then I'll accept that and retract my comment. But that is by no means clear from the post.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:40 AM on May 24, 2005


bardic Bush was asked about the increasing deaths, American and civilian, yesterday. His response? It's proof that the US is advancing democracy.

So let's hope these casualty numbers continue to rise. . . .


tddl You are a sick fuck if you are hoping for an increase in casualties to prove a political point. I don't care if you support or oppose the war, actively hoping that more people die is disgusting.

tddl - we know you are smarter than that - don't act like you dont understand bardic's point.
posted by longbaugh at 11:44 AM on May 24, 2005


...on the other hand justgary plainly isn't smart enough to get it so I shall just ignore him...
posted by longbaugh at 11:46 AM on May 24, 2005


Gosh, Tiddles, what are metaphors for, if not for mixing? The blue curaçao of Mefi sweetens and conceals all blends. And if "sick fuck" is not an unneeded personal attack, and perhaps an even subtly ambiguous one, please do find some steel-toed kickboxer with poor impulse control to try that particular epithet on. Report back, should you survive, and tell us what you have learned.
posted by Haruspex at 11:52 AM on May 24, 2005


If we look past the poorly mixed metaphors (a trigger to leap on my horse? is my horse also named Trigger?) and unneeded personal attacks, it's clear that the comment was ambiguous. If he claims that it was meant in irony then I'll accept that and retract my comment. But that is by no means clear from the post.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:40 PM EST on May 24 [!]


Ahhh, one of my favorite devices: bringing up an issue by claiming to not bring it up. Since when do mixed metaphors negate an argument?
posted by trey at 11:53 AM on May 24, 2005


Yeah, adjust your meters.

A 'vicious circle' is indicated, whereby actions to curtail the insurgency feed the insurgency.

I mean, haven't people been saying this for years now? It's the whole point of the "US out of Iraq now" movement, right? What's it going to take to make a change in policy?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:06 PM on May 24, 2005


me: a friend died last week from the cancer he got from agent orange

And this has to do with Iraq how, exactly? I'm sorry about your loss, but why are you adding it to your Iraq body count?

well the devildancedlightly, if you followed the links you would have seen that i added my friend to the vietnam body count - just because he wasn't KIA doesn't mean he didn't die as a result of his service. btw, the va hospital in seattle treated his cancer as a war injury - and he was very pleased with the treatment he received - many thans to the staff.

my point was that it took america 58,000+ dead soldiers before she wised up and came home from southeast asia. in iraq, america is not even at the end of the beginning.
posted by three blind mice at 12:08 PM on May 24, 2005


Since when do mixed metaphors negate an argument?

They don't, that was the whole "looking past" bit. I was just commenting on the funny image of having a trigger to jump on a horse.

I accept that the comment was meant ironically and I retract my comment. I thought that I made it pretty clear.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:22 PM on May 24, 2005


Hey y2karl, will you quit that mouse-over crap, or at least cut way down? It gets in the way of a good post.
posted by davy at 12:28 PM on May 24, 2005


The US military should've pulled out right after the elections: "See? Democracy is victorious! We can go home now!"
posted by alumshubby at 12:38 PM on May 24, 2005


You are a sick fuck if you are hoping for an increase in casualties to prove a political point. I don't care if you support or oppose the war, actively hoping that more people die is disgusting.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:11 PM EST


Exactly the sentiment I felt when I heard Bush effectively saying such crap! Bush really is a sick fuck for saying that and it appears tiddles totally agrees. Wonders never cease.
posted by nofundy at 12:42 PM on May 24, 2005


Good news from Iraq, part 25:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110006724

In case you're part of the ultraviolence crowd, the "security successes" are the lengthy list on the bottom of the pages. And pages, and pages, and pages.

Quagmire. Right. So's southern California.
posted by kablam at 12:45 PM on May 24, 2005


The U.S. military's plan to pacify Iraq has run into trouble in a place where it urgently needs to succeed. U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad agree that Al Anbar province — the vast desert badlands stretching west from the cities of Fallouja and Ramadi to the lawless region abutting the Syrian border — remains the epicenter of the country's deadly insurgency. Yet U.S. troops and military officials in the embattled province said in recent interviews that they have neither enough combat power nor enough Iraqi military support to mount an effective counterinsurgency against an increasingly sophisticated enemy. "You can't get all the Marines and train them on a single objective, because usually the objective is bigger than you are," said Maj. Mark Lister, a senior Marine air officer in Al Anbar province. "Basically, we've got all the toys, but not enough boys."

Insurgents Flourish in Iraq's Wild West
posted by y2karl at 12:55 PM on May 24, 2005


I felt when I heard Bush effectively saying such crap

Do you have a link to a transcript?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:01 PM on May 24, 2005


...Over the past several months, Pentagon officials have maintained that the Iraqi forces are steadily improving and growing in numbers -- and the top brass has talked up the prospect of drawing down U.S. troops in significant numbers by this summer, after handing off much of the responsibility for securing the country to the Iraqis. But the last month's eruption of insurgent violence has underscored the weaknesses of the nascent security forces and cast into doubt Pentagon plans to bring U.S. troops home. U.S. generals themselves warned late last week that America's involvement in Iraq "could still fail."

Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top American officer in the Middle East, pointed in particular to the Iraqi police forces, who he said lack 'sophistication, chain of command, [and] cohesion of leadership," and are susceptible to corruption and intimidation. 'I don't know how much I would say time-wise they're behind, but they are behind,' he said, according to the Associated Press. Some outside military experts -- as well as numerous U.S. soldiers who've worked side by side with the Iraqis, and with whom I patrolled in Iraq between January and May of this year -- don't foresee handing over responsibility to the Iraqis anytime soon.


Down and out with Iraqi forces
posted by y2karl at 1:01 PM on May 24, 2005


So your googlefu is broken when it involves something critical of Dear Leader tiddles? No problem, let me handle it for you.

Aack! What do you know, it's at whitehouse.gov! Who would have thought a transcript of Bush would be there?
I'll even clip the relevant excerpt for you:
Q: And if I may ask you, Mr. President, as you know, the casualties of Iraq is again high today -- 50 more people dying. Do you think that insurgence is getting harder now to defeat militarily? Thank you.

PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I don't think so. I think they're being defeated. And that's why they continue to fight.


I didn't realize willful ignorance and active avoidance of dissonance challenging material ran so deeply in some.
posted by nofundy at 1:17 PM on May 24, 2005


karl: If you clicked the link to the very NYT article the US General is quoted from, you'll read one sentence later:
"It's much more likely to succeed, but it could still fail."

"I think it's going to succeed in the long run, even if it takes years, many years," he said. On a personal note, he added that he, like many American soldiers, had spent long periods of duty related to Iraq, and he said: "We believe in the mission that we've got. We believe in it because we're in it, and if we let go of the insurgency and take our foot off its throat, then this country could fail and go back into civil war and chaos."
Any war could succeed or fail during its critical phases, and most officers are be frank enough to admit that. The way the media seizes on soundbytes like the one you quoted, though, almost borders on schadenfreude. I guess that stuff's juicier than the list kablam provided, though.

Speaking of sources, I'm still curious about this one.
posted by dhoyt at 1:18 PM on May 24, 2005


So, according to (the aptly-named?) Kablam's logic, we are to assume that any proffered critique is not to be met with specific refutation or constructive, antithetical response, but a gesture towards something else dire, however utterly unrelated?

Iraq=So. Cal.?

And an avowedly partisan blogger (writing for an avowedly partisan newspaper) dribbling forth heart-warming if noncontexualized narrative bits of what 100s of billions of unmanaged dollars will bring to a hapless population (Iraqi-style American Idol, anyone?) somehow justifies naked and deceitful imperialism, inciteful aggression, increasing infant mortality, dead American troops and, well, an Iraqi-styled American Idol?

Hey, Tiddles, listen closely, because here's some irony: "Makes perfect sense to me!"
posted by Haruspex at 1:25 PM on May 24, 2005


kablam,

Interesting. Wondered if such a compendium existed. Thanks.

I don't think it persuades, though.
posted by hackly_fracture at 1:27 PM on May 24, 2005


Another great post Karl. Off topic, why didn't you do a birthday post for Dylan? I was hoping you would do something for that but this is very insightful stuff.
posted by wheelieman at 1:31 PM on May 24, 2005


Speaking of sources, I'm still curious about this one.

Well, as noted in the other thread,clicking on the Harper's link and then clicking on View Source is your friend for avoiding stupid questions:

Since the Newsweek story broke, many other cases of Koran desecration over the last two years have emerged. Apparently, in addition to putting the Koran in the toilet, guards have urinated on it, trampled on it, put it in a urine bucket, and allowed a dog to carry Islam's holiest book in its mouth.[http://afr.com/articles/2005/05/23/1116700620197.html " class="outlink" mlns:f="http://ftrain.com/">Financial Review][http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/17/AR2005051701315.html " class="outlink" xmlns:f="http://ftrain.com/">Washington Post]

Harpers has been around for a long time--I rather doubt that they make stuff up.
posted by y2karl at 1:37 PM on May 24, 2005


Q: And if I may ask you, Mr. President, as you know, the casualties of Iraq is again high today -- 50 more people dying. Do you think that insurgence is getting harder now to defeat militarily? Thank you.

PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I don't think so. I think they're being defeated. And that's why they continue to fight.


You're telling me that this is supposedly the President hoping for more casualties? You quoted the right part of the transcript, right?

Umm, I hate to tell you, but the "no" responds to "do you think they're getting harder to defeat?" The rest is describing the situation as the President sees it -- if the insurgents were winning they wouldn't need to fight anymore since they'd be in control. The President may be right or wrong about who is winning, but to claim that this is "wishing for more casualties" is laugable.

Acknowledging that there are costs to fighting the insurgents is not the same as wishing that the costs were greater. Nor is it saying that progress is measured by the number of deaths. It's simply acknowledging that there are costs, and giving an explanation for what's going on.

It simply says NOTHING even RELATED to hoping for more casualties. To make it say that is beyond twisting words and and allowing your ideological bias to control what you see and read.

Nofundy, I hate to say it, but you've become exactly what you hate. You claim to be against fundamentalist christians, but you yourself have become a fundamentalist of sorts in the process. (Wikipedia definition: "characterized by a sense of embattled alienation in the midst of the surrounding culture... the belief that one's ... texts are infallible and historically accurate, despite contradiction of these claims"). It's scary the distortions you make.

Hey, Tiddles, listen closely, because here's some irony: "Makes perfect sense to me!"

Yeah yeah yeah. Where's the sarcasm tag again? I was wrong, I admit it, let's move on.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:37 PM on May 24, 2005


Well, as noted in the other thread,clicking on the Harper's link and then clicking on View Source is your friend for avoiding stupid questions:


Uh, fuck you and your "stupid questions", karl. You linked to a passage which didn't appear to have visible sources, and it's not "stupid" to wonder why. I didn't doubt the Atlantic's credibility, I wondered why the format obscured the sources.
posted by dhoyt at 1:46 PM on May 24, 2005


I have been saying for, geeze, four years now? (ever since we invaded Afghanistan, but I got LOUD when the wardrums started beating for Iraq).... we're using the wrong tool. I will keep repeating it... perhaps, someday, the correct meme will replace the bad one.

Armies do two things: they break things and kill people. Our armed forces are the best in the history of the world at doing these things. I daresay we can smash any target we can identify and kill any human anywhere on the globe if we choose. But that is all armies are good at.

Armies are NOT good at catching terrorists, because they can't determine who the targets are until it's too late. And, even after the fact, they are very bad at identifying the correct target and taking the correct action. They tend to overreact and punish populations instead of seeking out and punishing individuals through detective work. They have all that firepower just sitting there, itching to be used, and they use it.

The result is exactly like attacking a field of fire ants with army boots. No matter how many boots you supply, and no matter how much stomping takes place, the ants keep coming back. You can't kill an ant nest with boots, although the stomping part feels great. You can't kill nests of terrorists with armies, although the bombing part lets the leadership feel all macho and stuff.

To kill ants, you have to go after the queen, by coopting the colony ants to do the work for you; the most common method is to get them to take poison to their queen. With nests of terrorists, we have to convince their friends and families and loved ones that they are doing the right thing by turning them in to authorities. The ordinary people need to be on our side. In Iraq, they most emphatically are not.

The REAL war we were facing wasn't, as many people have said, about guns and bombs. It was a war of ideas. We needed to convince the Muslims that our way of life was really better. And the way we needed to do that was with police and courts and RIGHTS. We had to show them that no matter how much we might hate and dislike someone, we would respect their rights and give them a fair trial. We had to demonstrate to the friends and families of terrorists that the sons and husbands they loved would be treated humanely and would receive real justice.

Instead, we defined ourselves through Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Those two places are the definition of the Bush Presidency, and they are the definition of the United States to most of the Muslim world. That legacy is going to kill tens of thousands of people, and you have G.W. Bush's monumental stupidity to thank.

What Iraqi with two brain cells to rub together would turn in ANYONE they cared about even REMOTELY to the Coalition authorities? I'll tell you something, if I knew someone I ratted out would be given the Guantanamo treatment, I wouldn't squeal for half the money in the world. No matter how repellent I thought the terrorists were, if I were an Iraqi on the ground, I'd figure my psychopathic friend Abdul and his loony terrorist buddies weren't any more dangerous than the US forces... and it's extremely unlikely that I'd turn them in. Hell, if I did, I know I'd probably get tortured myself as an accessory... "why didn't you turn them in before?"

The Iraq war is lost. We lost at Abu Ghraib. It's just a matter of how many more body bags we want to fill before pulling our boys home.
posted by Malor at 1:52 PM on May 24, 2005


Uh, fuck you and your "stupid questions", karl...

Sigh.

MeFi; or, The Thread That Cannot Be Won.


posted by Haruspex at 1:52 PM on May 24, 2005


I didn't doubt the Atlantic's credibility, I wondered why the format obscured the sources.

Even if it was the Atlantic Index, Mr. Reads Closely... Not ! , well, quonsar's maxim View Source Is Your Friend would still occur to some inquiring minds.
posted by y2karl at 2:11 PM on May 24, 2005


I naively assumed the sources could be pointed out without your acting like a condescending douchebag. Yes, View Source is Your Friend, poindexter, but so is linking directly the article you're referencing.
posted by dhoyt at 2:29 PM on May 24, 2005


if the insurgents were winning they wouldn't need to fight anymore since they'd be in control.

Oh good grief. You do know the difference between "winning" and "won", yes? Or is it that your belief that if the President thinks we're winning, we don't need to fight anymore?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 3:29 PM on May 24, 2005


Jeepers. Dhoyt, I'd consider you (due to your futile & incessant name-calling attacks) kin to the aforementioned fire ant, but one must allow that even the scorned Solenopsis invicta doesn't snivel.

Or, perhaps on second thought: stomp stomp stomp.
posted by Haruspex at 3:41 PM on May 24, 2005


Oh good grief. You do know the difference between "winning" and "won", yes? Or is it that your belief that if the President thinks we're winning, we don't need to fight anymore?

I said that's what HE (ie, the President) thinks. It's entirely besides the point. The point is not whether we're winning or losing. I specifically said that it was besides the point who is winning and losing ("The President may be right or wrong about who is winning").

The point is that nofundy made the claim that the quote proved that the President was hoping for more casualties. All I was doing was showing how ridiculous that claim was. The statement might be wrong, but it sure as hell doesn't show that the President is somehow hoping for more deaths.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 3:52 PM on May 24, 2005


In order to not sound like a total douchebag, suddenly she's 'an asset to the community'?

I naively assumed the sources could be pointed out without your acting like a condescending douchebag.


Ah, the intimate freshness of The Vagina Monologues...
posted by y2karl at 4:36 PM on May 24, 2005


Um, hey, everbody, bardic was being SARCASTIC when he said "let's hope these casualty numbers continue to rise". His point, as far as I can tell, was that the answer Bush gave to to a question on casualties almost sounds like Bush is saying that each (American?) casualty brings Iraq that much closer to being a democracy, so [SARCASM COMING] since bringing Iraq to democracy is a good thing then *of course* more American troops should be sacrificed. Picture an editorial cartoon: Democracy as a gold ring hanging way up high, and Bush piling American bodies up so the Iraqis can climb up to reach it. Get it now? This is not to say that bardic is not a sick fuck, I don't know him/her well enough to now whether s/he's any kind of fuck at all, but Metafilter is clearly full of a bunch of STUPID somethings.

As far as whether bardic correctly understood Bush's response to that question, or whether bardic or anybody thinks Bush even understood the question, I don't know and I don't care. I will say that I don't think Bush is really hoping for more casualties, US or otherwise; instead I think the subject leaves him cold. Whether US or Iraqi, they're not his relatives and friends, after all.

As for whether the US is winning or losing, I hope for everybody's sake we're losing. We were lied into that war in the first place, and we were told that all we really had to do is overthrow Saddam -- so our job's been done for over two years now, right? The sooner the US bugs out the sooner the dirty war is over with; the alternative is clearly a perpetual occupation, like the Romans' over Egypt, which would be WRONG.
posted by davy at 4:51 PM on May 24, 2005


Allow me a moment in this flagrant flamenco, Señor Diablo que Baila — regardless of what the President says, it is what he does (but does not say!) which has thus caused (pointless) torment, horror and death.

It is apparent that, since the President will not change his course, the results will not change. Since we ourselves cannot change his actions, or demand full accountability for his claims, only he, of all of us, retains the privilege of real hope. None for ourselves, you see — just a sort of furtive wishing.

I'm hardly suggesting a dialogic sort of conclusive syllogism here, but possibly you might now begin to understand why some feel that the President "hopes" for more deaths. And why expressing that observation — drenched in contempt as it often is — remains, as long as the President persists in doing as he is doing and saying, accurate as an observation. Meaningless but almost always true; it is a metaphor, if you will. Metaphors invite a mixed response.

(Although, I must myself confess to occasionally speculating on what the President wants, what he really really wants. Perhaps George longs to see his God, the God of his fathers, in the form of a vast, tender, and infinitely forgiving pretzel.)
posted by Haruspex at 5:01 PM on May 24, 2005


First off, I am a sick fuck.

Second, I'm almost tempted to join Al-Qaeda just out of spite due to number...

Three, for fuck's sake I was being ironic.

Do I think Bush is an idiot? Yes. Do I think he wants more deaths? No. My irony-lance was poked in the general direction of the fact that when things are at their worst, Bush and co. don't even have the simple humility to say, "Hey, we fucked up. We'll try to do better." I wouldn't believe Rumsfeld or Rice if they spoke this way, but as someone who never took a foreign relations class nor an Islamic culture class, it would make US intentions look marginally better (I do like Baudrillard). In a world where military decisions were just that, as opposed to being based on Rove, polls, and politics, our leaders might jump to the obvious conclusions that, first off, without more troops (which we don't have) we can't secure the country, and without a modicum of security we can't have a democracy. The occasional car- or suicide- bombing? The Iraqis proved in the first election they could stomach and brave a fair amount of chaos. But now? Just look at the numbers--we're not talking about handfuls of dead civilians, we're talking scores, every fucking day.

Does Bush understand this? No, I don't think so, because he's friends with Jesus. But he's really a non-factor. His people know this situation is lost and gone, but they don't have the scruples to fess up to the American people (myself included), and perhaps more importantly, the soldiers who are dying at worst and at best forced into situations of, e.g., Well, they didn't stop and they might have been a family going to a wedding but we blew the hell out of them anyways, His camera looked like an AK, etc. I don't blame them, I blame the people who put them into this clusterfuck of an occupation.

This has gone on too long, but I've been stewing all day about the Tillman incident. Well, not the incident, but the fact that the White House and Pentagon decided to use his death for a momentary boost to Bush's poll ratings. And if you don't think this is the reason why, you're either a moron or on the ddl mailing list or both.
posted by bardic at 5:17 PM on May 24, 2005


Three, for fuck's sake I was being ironic.

Yeah, hey, still my bad. I get it.

Do I think he wants more deaths? No

I know that YOU don't.

I was only objecting to nofundy claming that the President's speech somehow proved that he wanted more casualties ("when I heard Bush effectively saying such crap"). That's all.

you're either a moron or on the ddl mailing list or both

I didn't know that I've been elevated to having my own mailing list. If anybody wants to hear independent thought instead of the Republican party line or the liberal pack mentality you can sign up here. If you've ever been called a moron on MeFi then you're welcome.

That said, I welcome your civil and respectful dialogue, bardic. Sorry again for getting you wrong earlier (even if I was right about the "sick fuck" for the wrong reasons).
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 5:50 PM on May 24, 2005


"Chimperor "
*snicker*

"we're using the wrong tool - et.al."
Dead on Malor.

Listen everyone bardic was being sarcastic.
What the hell's wrong with you thedevildancedlightly,
don’t you read the posts? Can't you understand sarcasm? Why don’t you apologize or something? At the very least retract your comment. It's so obvious he was being sarcastic, there is no need to run bardic into the ground over and over for it. Just admit it and we'll move on and adjust your sarcasm filter. I mean get a clue thedevildancedlightly, the comment was sarcasm, you don't have to beat a dead horse. Just get over it. It's sarcasm, why can't you understand that?
(I'd wittily link to the previously posted sarcasm post, but my work computer won't let me - also it's just a generalized comment on how it reads, I get caught by time delays in posts too.)

"PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I don't think so. I think they're being defeated. And that's why they continue to fight."
I'll take pissing on your head and telling you it's raining for $500 Alex.

To reiterate: Malor - that was dead balls on.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:51 PM on May 24, 2005


I don't know that Bush is clueless. I think he's....well, stupid, yeah. But I think what he MEANS is that the 'insurgents' are forced to fight because they have no other legitimate means to influence the direction of their country.
It's a perfectly reasonable thing for a person with a political viewpoint to say, er, rather, mean to say.

That said I happen to think it's an elitist thing to mean and yet fail horribly to say dispite years spent at one of the most prestegious schools in the country. It's a rationale based on privilege (by that I mean 'private law' and exclusion not merely being an inarticulate fool who would not otherwise be able to compete were his family not rich conniving bastards).
The 'insurgents' are indeed men without a country. The very term used to define them makes them so. Therefore they are utterly incapable of taking a hand in the reasonable governance of the country, they are in fact being defeated and will continue to be as long as we can absorb the casualties (we can - given a lack of resistance at home) and force them to fight to have their perspectives addressed despite the frat-boy cornholing patronage old-money perspective Bush brings with him to the table.
So, if we marginalized the 'insurgents' the way, say, little 13 year old girls tease a social undesirable into having an eating disorder, we can continue to force them to fight, which keeps them socially undesirable.

So in a sense, the chimp is right.
There are two sides to every vicious circle.
I obviosly happen not to agree with him as to what the better course is.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:07 PM on May 24, 2005


Did I mention my work computer prevents me from spell checkin'?
posted by Smedleyman at 6:08 PM on May 24, 2005


Meanwhile, let's not forget another wonderful fruit of the American occupation: over 20,000 civilians killed.

Bravo. Pages. And pages. And pages.... of names of the dead.

Uh, fuck you and your "stupid questions", karl.
I naively assumed the sources could be pointed out without your acting like a condescending douchebag. Yes, View Source is Your Friend, poindexter, but so is linking directly the article you're referencing.

Ah, yes: the quintessential dhoyt - neverendingly, childishly bringing MetaFilter right down to his level.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 6:13 PM on May 24, 2005


we're using the wrong tool.

"This is a political war, and it calls for the utmost discrimination in killing," he told Halberstam, as recounted in William Prochnau's "Once Upon a Distant War." "The best weapon for killing is a knife, but I'm afraid we can't do it that way. The next best is a rifle. The worst is an airplane, and after that the worst is artillery. You have to know who you are killing." John Paul Vann, the only guy who could have saved SVN, perhaps, had he not died in a helicopter crash near Pleiku in June 1973.

props to everyone responding to tddl, dhoyt, and any other admin apologist asshat on this thread, I'm just skipping their posts now and catching the rebuttals
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:51 PM on May 24, 2005


(1972, not 1973, and I wish the asshat apologists could grok the whole thing what Malor said, since that is basically the beginning and ending of wisdom about our Iraq adventure).

I posted this earlier this month but it bears repeating:

"Vietnam presumably taught us that the United States could not serve as the world's policeman; it should also have taught us the dangers of trying to be the world's midwife to democracy when the birth is scheduled to take place under conditions of guerrilla war". -- Jeane Kirkpatrick, 1979
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:01 PM on May 24, 2005


props to everyone responding to tddl, dhoyt, and any other admin apologist asshat on this thread... I'm just skipping their posts

Way to assume what people said and attack them in the same sentence. It's a great sign of an open mind and a willignness to listen. Very classy. Reflects highly on you as an individual AND your political beliefs.

If you had taken the time to read my posts you'll find that I refuted an incorrect factual assertion and nothing more. Heck, I even apologized to another poster for mis-reading something he said. But, hey, if correcting the facts is "apologizing for the administration" then I'm sorry that I don't live in your fantasy world where all the facts fit your ideology.

The real troll here is you.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 7:09 PM on May 24, 2005


Fuck you tddl, administration whore! Take your red-state nonsense back to LGF, your not welcome here.
posted by BushIsForEating at 7:26 PM on May 24, 2005


Way to assume what people said and attack them in the same sentence. It's a great sign of an open mind and a willignness to listen. Very classy. Reflects highly on you as an individual AND your political beliefs.

lemme guess, you're an INTJ.

that I refuted an incorrect factual assertion

agent orange? jury's still out on that.

"A related effort was the CDC Selected Cancers Study, a study conducted in 8 cancer registries that provided data on non-Hodgkin lymphoma, sarcomas, and other cancers. In both of these studies, the number of veterans with heavy exposure to Agent Orange was too small to draw firm conclusions."

"Soft tissue sarcomas have also been linked to dioxin exposure in a study of over 5,000 chemical manufacturing workers in the United States, in some other workplace studies, and in some studies of environmental exposures."

"While the VA and Ranch Hand studies did not show an excess of prostate cancer, the Australian veterans study did show an excess, with 212 cases observed and 147 expected."

Somehow,

"Overall, the evidence of an association between Agent Orange and prostate cancer is not strong."

becomes "tenuous at best" in your world.

I even apologized to another poster for mis-reading something

that's when I tuned you out. Only a very very stupid person, or a very dishonest person, either way someone I have zero interest in engaging in debate, would misread that as you did.

I'm sorry that I don't live in your fantasy world where all the facts fit your ideology.

Unfortunately, the facts of Iraq are fighting my ideology fine.
Me, on usenet, before the invasion:

Interlocutor:

> I see it more of a repeat of the victory in 1991, unless one argued that
> it will be even easier because Iraq has much less military power now
> than then.

Me:

Sure, we'll bomb the same crap we bombed in 1991, secure the same empty desert we secured in 1991. What follows will be the "interesting" bit. I think chances are reasonable that Baghdad will go over to our side without too much hubbub, fwiw.

But just like on one level we were winning the Vietnam war in 1969, the parallels are that we are pursuing a tactical-offensive within a strategic-defensive policy.



My facts are fine. How are yours holding up, tddl?
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:09 PM on May 24, 2005


BushIsForEating: I hope that $5 for your little campaign was worth it.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:12 PM on May 24, 2005


BushIsForEating: I hope that $5 for your little campaign was worth it.

Hey, Im still here and Im going to be for a long time. Are you defending tddl now or something?
posted by BushIsForEating at 8:16 PM on May 24, 2005


LGF head assplodes.
posted by bardic at 8:20 PM on May 24, 2005


kjh rites "Get your own weblog already."

Ahs ugrees wif kjh, dis heah Iraq isshue ain't hardly relivint to nahbidy but y2karl, so's it shud jus' be on his persinal blog.
posted by orthogonality at 8:26 PM on May 24, 2005


lemme guess, you're an INTJ

What is this, armchair psychology night? Lemme guess, you're wrong. And way to attack the messenger, yet again.

Somehow, "Overall, the evidence of an association between Agent Orange and prostate cancer is not strong." becomes "tenuous at best" in your world.

The very quote you present to "refute" my statement says that the evidence is NOT strong. "Not strong" means "weak". "Weak" is a rough synonym for "tenuous." Are the terms identical? No. But they're close enough that it's a reasonble statement to make.

Even looking past that, there is simply no way to know if a given cancer was caused by exposure to a given agent. Even if Agent Orange increased the risk of cancer by 50% (which it doesn't according to the best data available), that means that 2/3 of all cancers in people who were exposed to Agent Orange would still be of natural origin -- ie, they would have happened even without exposure. Right now our knowledge of how cancer works does not allow us to determine which factors led to a particular tumor.

So, in fact, it is a mis-statement to attribute a particular cancer to Agent Orange in spite of the "not strong" evidence that there even is a link, and despite the fact that there is no way to pin a particular cancer on a particular cause. You have to disprove both of those elements for you to be right.

My facts are fine. How are yours holding up, tddl? [link to statistics about Iraq]

Umm, nowhere in this thread did I defend the war in Iraq, AT ALL. Way to construct a strawman and knock it down. Great work there.

If you took the time to read carefully you'll see that I corrected a ridiculous statement by nofundy claiming that Bush had openly said that he wanted more casualties. But nowhere in the thread did I defend the war. Sorry to disappoint. Maybe you can find a new strawman somewhere else.

either way someone I have zero interest in engaging in debate

Then why did you bother to give a shout-out to people who you thought were doing your dirty work? Is it too much for you to walk into a room and not insult somebody? If you didn't want to engage then why did you feel the need to attack?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 8:29 PM on May 24, 2005


dittles, do what you can to refrain from being a joke.

I know it's hard work. Some therapy. Some geometry classes. At least PP and dios don't care about opinion, but you've got this harddon for liberal approval.

Can we sit down and watch Team America together? I'll pay NetFlix and for the pizza. [SEMIIRONIC]

Fuck yeah?
posted by bardic at 8:38 PM on May 24, 2005


But they're close enough that it's a reasonble statement to make.

More from your own cite:

Institute of Medicine: Associations Between Agent Orange and Cancer

Sufficient evidence of an association

Soft tissue sarcoma
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)
Hodgkin disease
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

Limited/suggestive evidence of an association

Respiratory cancers (lung, trachea, bronchus, larynx)
Prostate cancer
Multiple myeloma

You have to disprove both of those elements for you to be right.

Your earlier:

Blaming it on Agent Orange shows a fundamental mis-understanding of statistics

is refuted by the government treating these cancers in the veteran population.

thread did I defend the war in Iraq

you do often enough here for me to not really care to read your silly posts.

Way to construct a strawman and knock it down

No straw required. You attacked my worldview:

"I'm sorry that I don't live in your fantasy world where all the facts fit your ideology"

which obligated me to defend it by pointing out that the defenders of this admin have no great track record of being right about anything.

I corrected a ridiculous statement by nofundy claiming that Bush had openly said that he wanted more casualties

nofundy: "I heard Bush effectively saying such crap" (emphasis mine).

nofundy was pointing out that the same thinking that you jumped on originally underlies Bush own words wrt our intervention in Iraq.

If you didn't want to engage then why did you feel the need to attack?

Cuz it's fun trolling the trolls, and derailing the derailers.

You're less of a waste of electrons than dhoyt and dios, so I'm sure we'll continue debating here in the future; if & when you make a supportable point you won't see me avoiding it.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:42 PM on May 24, 2005


dittles

The nicknames get worse and worse.

you've got this harddon for liberal approval

I think that MeFi is a community and we should treat each other as part of one. On other threads I've questioned other people who were acting in ways that didn't live up to a community standard. If you want to think that somebody's opinions are full of shit that's fine with me. If you think that my opinions are full of shit that's fine. Please, take them apart and have a field day. I'll defend them because I think they're right, but I welcome criticism of my opinions.

But as a community there is no reason for people to personally attack each other just because they hold different beliefs. It's succumbing to the worst parts of the Internet and turning MeFi into Fark slowly but surely. It's a pet peeve of mine when people can't seperate attacking the message (totally legit) and attacking the messenger (childish). The anonymity of the Internet encourages it, but that doesn't mean that we can't try and slow it and act like we're an actual community.

Fuck yeah?

I think we can all agree: Fuck yeah!
posted by BushIsForEating at 8:43 PM on May 24, 2005


Style, baby, style. Wish I could say you had some.
posted by bardic at 8:46 PM on May 24, 2005


MeTa on my roomate... above comment (BushIsForEating) is mine, he's banninated from ever using my computer again and not logging out (screensaver password does wonders), probably banned from MeFi for being a jerk in general.

Just figured I'd make it official. Gonna go back to kicking his butt now.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 8:51 PM on May 24, 2005


I think that MeFi is a community and we should treat each other as part of one.

It's more like a big family with lots of sibling rivalry.

"Me against my brother; my brother and I against our cousin; our cousin and us against the world." Something like that. I expect we'll close ranks if Metafilter gets hacked by East Korea.

So tddl, do you mean that the comments under your ID in this thread were really your roommate posting under your name?
posted by davy at 8:56 PM on May 24, 2005


So tddl, do you mean that the comments under your ID in this thread were really your roommate posting under your name?

The very last comment under "BushIsForEating" (this one) is in fact mine. The other ones ("take it to LGF") are all Jeff, who is about to get the banhammer. As mentioned in the MeTa we fuck with each other in real life, didn't realize that he'd logged in on my computer until I posted.

Sorry again to the community for this. His butt is being kicked severely right now.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 8:59 PM on May 24, 2005


Here's my response to the metatalk since it is closed now:

He used it to post on MeFi after I walked away, I guess at 8:30

So your assertion is that you got up to leave your computer after your 8:29PM post; then your roommate changed the login on your machine, and typed, previewed, and posted the following in (charitably) under two minutes:

Hey, sorry everyone, got a little too excited. Ill tone it down, promise. 'pologize to everyone. Go ahead and delete those comments if you want.

You do understand how this sorta stretches credulity, right? I would hate to think such a valued member of the metafilter community as you would engage in such childish antics, which is why I do give you the benefit of the doubt here.

There is also a similar pattern on the 22nd for BushIsForEating's first post to mf, but the gap is a bit longer:

BushIsForEating at 1:08 PM PST on May 22
thedevildancedlightly at 1:13 PM PST on May 22
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:25 PM on May 24, 2005


Heywood - take it to the MeTa.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:39 PM on May 24, 2005


Whoops, sorry, didn't see that Matt actually had closed it.

I definitely understand your concern. I think the common factor is that my computer is more likely to be on and available when I'm around. With a sample size of 2 it's hard to tell much of anything.

Come to the next MeFi meetup in the Bay Area and I'd be happy to have a beer with you and discuss.

Honestly, why would I waste $5 to get called a troll more often then I am already? I think that should pretty much answer the question.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:41 PM on May 24, 2005


Also, given that I post ALL THE TIME (to the point that a lot of people complain about it, sorry!), is it suprising that somebody else posted within half an hour?

Drop me an email if you want to chat - dt (at) domainsource (dot) net - but let's take the derail off this page.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:48 PM on May 24, 2005


but let's take the derail off this page

taken back to mt as requested :)
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:01 PM on May 24, 2005


Can we get back to the every-which-way political massacre now? I'm almost drunk enough to say something RUDE!
posted by davy at 11:02 PM on May 24, 2005


Can we get back to the every-which-way political massacre now? I'm almost drunk enough to say something RUDE!

Sorry, did you hear the one about the Qu'ran and the toilet?

Nevermind, it' s a shitty joke.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:20 PM on May 24, 2005


I think that MeFi is a community

Oh, come on! It's not quite as bad as that.
posted by TimothyMason at 11:25 PM on May 24, 2005


dittles, you should quit while you are far, far behind.
posted by bardic at 5:39 AM on May 25, 2005


Nofundy, I hate to say it, but you've become exactly what you hate. You claim to be against fundamentalist christians, but you yourself have become a fundamentalist of sorts in the process.

Yeah, ain't it great? I have levels of sarcasm embedded. Hope it doesn't overwhelm you.

Bardic used sarcasm directed at something stupid Bush said. I confirmed that Bush said it. To tiddles view that makes me bad and wrong. Keep on defendin' the Chimperor dude, you're doing great!
posted by nofundy at 6:02 AM on May 26, 2005


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