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We support the troops! No numbers, please
December 29, 2005 12:42 AM   Subscribe

Honoring the fallen is bad for business. Magnetic yellow "ribbons" on the SUV, good! Actual numbers, double-plus ungood!
posted by orthogonality (107 comments total)

 
Well, when the bussness is military recruiting.
posted by delmoi at 12:50 AM on December 29, 2005


That article was all fine and dandy until I got to this sentence:

"Mr. Cameron, meanwhile, says he has been asked to make copies of his sign (which he had made for $100 at a local sign company) and is thinking of marketing them." (emphasis mine)

So while he'll happily remember his poor, poor fallen brothers & sisters, he won't shy away from making a buck off 'em, either?
(I know it doesn't say what he'll do with the money, he might donate it to vets or other charities, but still. Meh.)
posted by slater at 1:19 AM on December 29, 2005


Well, while Mr. Cameron's sign isn't necessarily taking a position, it's definitely a case of guilt by association. Most pro-war people generally go with the yellow ribbon or "support our troops" stickers while the anti-war crowd uses death tolls, dollar figures, etc.

Kudos to all of those in the story for keeping their debate civil, anyways.
posted by b_thinky at 1:22 AM on December 29, 2005


Yes, I rather liked the civility part, although I would have worded this FPP a little more civily.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:37 AM on December 29, 2005


I know it doesn't say what he'll do with the money, he might donate it to vets or other charities, but still.

It doesn't say that he plans to sell them at a profit. Simply that he's been inundated with requests and so is contemplating meeting that need.

Given that the guy is volunteering his time for free in a political cause, I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that he'd regard this as another thing he'd be doing as a political gesture, rather than as a profit making enterprise -- but even if that weren't the case, if a wounded vietnam vet can't profit from something like this, then who can? Who produces all of those goddam yellow ribbons and is the marketing of those somehow different?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:40 AM on December 29, 2005


An offering of cookies by Mr. Cameron was not accepted, Sergeant Capan said, but Sergeant Capan insisted that relations on the street remained polite nonetheless.

You know, I just don't see how things could possibly be polite or civil if he's going to turn down cookies. Why would anybody refuse cookies, unless they thought they were poisoned or something? It just doesn't make sense. I mean, c'mon, cookies!
posted by jedicus at 1:47 AM on December 29, 2005


Yes, I rather liked the civility part, although I would have worded this FPP a little more civily.

The article as written (down the middle) wouldn't push the poster's viewpoint, so a little spinning is the result.

The recruiters should ignore the guy. They'll only bring him attention, and they'd get more respect by simply letting him speak his mind (which is what they should do).

Besides, I doubt the fact that soldiers die in war will be news to the majority of potential recruits.
posted by justgary at 1:48 AM on December 29, 2005


Thanks for this post. If nothing else, it helped me to explore the "Parents: The Anti-Drug" site advertised on the sidebar. Did you know that a teenager that drinks at age 15 has a 40% of having an alchol dependancy in later life? What the hell does that prove about marijuana? And did you know that smoking makes it more likely that you will have sex? Good God no, not sex!
posted by Acey at 2:37 AM on December 29, 2005


Sorry to derail like this, but if you are interested, read the equivalent British drug site and compare to the US one at Talk to Frank.com. It's very interesting and much, much better in my opinion.
posted by Acey at 2:42 AM on December 29, 2005


The people who are upset by the sign are either trying to hide--and lie about--the grim reality of the war, or they're in hardcore denial of its consequences. The sign is simply a tally sheet, so I'm puzzled by those who find it offensive or upsetting. Don't like those numbers? Then maybe you shouldn't be supporting what's causing them to rise.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:45 AM on December 29, 2005


The saying "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce" springs to mind when I read about Vietnam and Gulf war veterans.
posted by Acey at 2:53 AM on December 29, 2005


And did you know that smoking makes it more likely that you will have sex? Good God no, not sex!

Hummm, anyone got a light?
posted by mek at 3:30 AM on December 29, 2005


If Mr. Cameron can make a couple bucks making new signs, then that is not a bad thing. Perhaps those of you raising objections don't understand what "Duluth, Minnesota" actually means. Think rust belt, on ice, but too far away to be part of the belt.
posted by Goofyy at 3:37 AM on December 29, 2005


read the equivalent British drug site and compare to the US one at Talk to Frank.com

Which should be congratulated for being the first ever government-sponsored drug information project that doesn't cite 1930's slang like mary jane, boo and muggles as being commonly used names for cannabis products.

New Labour, New DrugSlang...

/derail
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:55 AM on December 29, 2005


The sign should certainly stay, and if the recruiters find it so inappropriate, they are in the wrong line of work and/or shouldn't be working in the line in the United States.

Me wonders, however, if the NYT, as it has done so many times, just this year, has distorted the recruiters' take on the sign, and dramatically overstated their objection to it.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:10 AM on December 29, 2005


Me wonders how you could have read that story and seen it as a "dramitically overstating" anything.

"The sign, put up by a former soldier, has stirred intense, though always polite, debate in this city along the edge of Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota."

From the direct quotes in the article, this thesis seems well supported. And the final line of the story, the kicker is another direct quote from the recruiter:

"We're going to move on," he said. "We're soldiers."

How in thw world could this story have been more even-handed?
posted by Cassford at 4:57 AM on December 29, 2005


An offering of cookies by Mr. Cameron was not accepted
Yup, if the guy is anti-war his cookies are obviously full of drugs.
posted by Joeforking at 5:23 AM on December 29, 2005


The saying "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce" springs to mind when I read about Vietnam and Gulf war veterans.

Excuse me? Could you elaborate on what exactly is farcical about Gulf War veterans? Their wounds, traumas, and lack of government support aren't serious enough for you?
posted by languagehat at 5:42 AM on December 29, 2005


So while he'll happily remember his poor, poor fallen brothers & sisters, he won't shy away from making a buck off 'em, either?

Of course he won't. He's American. I trundled down to NYC in Dec 2001 to pay my respects and give a bit of my money to the local economy. When I visited Ground Zero it was a real challenge getting by all the folks selling 9/11 t-shirts, ball caps, WTC snow globes and prints.

This is ingrained in your culture and reflected in the government Americans have chosen as their representatives: save our troops, but profit first.

There is no need to feign indignation. Not even for a moment.
posted by furtive at 5:45 AM on December 29, 2005


The bottom line is we do need to be reminded daily what this war is costing us.
posted by cedar key at 5:45 AM on December 29, 2005


It is impossible to know if a story is evenhanded from the story itself, and if you don't realize that, you're not reading "the news" critically. For all we know, the recruiter complaints about the tally board may have been emphasized.

I'm not saying the story is slanted; just that I wonder based on other things the Times has done recently (that out of context piece about the "if I die letter from the soldier comes to mind), it's a concern. Just as the Times running anti-NSA pieces on the eve of a Patriot Act renewal vote are fishy.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:47 AM on December 29, 2005


"The sign, put up by a former soldier, has stirred intense, though always polite, debate in this city along the edge of Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota."

I am originally from Duluth where most interactions are polite and often intense. Learning that behavior did not serve me well when I moved to the west coast where one does not get points for politeness.
posted by leftcoastbob at 5:52 AM on December 29, 2005


"The bottom line is we do need to be reminded daily what this war is costing us."

And how it is benefiting us by injecting democratic, anti-fascist ideas into a very fascist sphere.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:56 AM on December 29, 2005


Me wonders, however, if the NYT, as it has done so many times, just this year, has distorted the recruiters' take on the sign, and dramatically overstated their objection to it.

begin rant --- On national issues, I find myself getting more and more sensitive to direct/indirect charges of the so called "liberal media." As posters have indicated in passages following this one, the story provided perspectives from both sides. These days, it seems that whenever a story presents an angle that is not the coservative blather, it is the fault of the "liberal media." Folks, I have been searching for the "liberal media," ever since the unelection of Mr. Bush, and it's only been in the last six months that the media has gone out of its conservative mode into one that is more balanced. -- end rant

War is terrible. Period. So often, especially in this one, we are told to go about our daily lives. We need to know what the sacrifice is.
posted by barrista at 6:15 AM on December 29, 2005


The bottom line is we do need to be reminded daily what this war is costing us.

Yes. Yes you do.
posted by Hildegarde at 6:15 AM on December 29, 2005


And how it is benefiting us by injecting democratic, anti-fascist ideas into a very fascist sphere.

But Paris, W's people work so hard at keeping those ideas out of his sphere, we hardly see any benefit.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:17 AM on December 29, 2005


PP has just referred to action by the Bush administration as "democratic, anti fascist", thereby proving he is likely deaf and blind. I think we need to be nicer to him (PP, not Bush. Bush we need to run out of town on a rail after we tar and feather him.)

Army recruiters will use any means necessary (Army vet here who was told by a recruiter to lie to get into the service) to meet the quota, anyone who is reminding these kids that there is a bit more at stake before they sign on the dotted line is doing a good thing.

And, for those of you that want to derail this about his making a profit, there was no mention in the article that he was going to sell them, so why go off in that direction.

End the war now and bring those kids home.
posted by HuronBob at 6:20 AM on December 29, 2005




I'm not saying the story is slanted;...

No, you're just playing Devil's Advocate. Right? So you've played it, and you won't mind if we play devil's advocate on your positions:

"Me wonders*, however, if ParisParamus, as he has done so many times, just this year, has distorted the NYT's take on the story, and dramatically overstated the effect of their supposed liberal bias."

--
*[rather a qonsarestque formulation, that...getting surprisingly facile in his language lately, Paris is....]

posted by lodurr at 6:31 AM on December 29, 2005


The purpose of the yellow ribbon is precisely to avoid numbers -- to simultaneously personalise (in the sense of appealing personally to the emotions of the viewer) and abstract the concept of service in war.

So it's not surprising that casualty numbers and the yellow ribbon, when combined, result in cognitive dissonance. In fact, I'd have been surprised to find otherwise.
posted by lodurr at 6:34 AM on December 29, 2005


No, keep OUR troops there and finish stabilizing Iraq, whether it takes another three, five or 25 years.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:58 AM on December 29, 2005


Paris, are you of an age to serve? Have any kids yet who could go? I'm just wondering how firmly you believe in the mission.
posted by alumshubby at 7:01 AM on December 29, 2005


Your troops, Paris? Sign up, why don'tcha?
posted by odinsdream at 7:07 AM on December 29, 2005


"stabilizing Iraq"..you have to be shitting me! Iraq now ranks with the poorest nations in the world, with a rate of starvation of children that is appalling.

If we hadn't destabilized it to begin with this wouldn't be the case.

Paris, as implied by alumshubby, when you've got your sorry ass over there I'll listen to your opinion, until then it is just crap to be flushed.
posted by HuronBob at 7:09 AM on December 29, 2005


prostyle, thanks for the link. I don't think I'd ever seen any of these ribbon magnets for sale anywhere, and from time to time I'd wondered where the heck they came from in such profusion (about every third vehicle in mid-Ohio seems to have at least one). Evidently I don't shop in the right stores.

(Would consider buying a MetaFilter car magnet, though...)
posted by alumshubby at 7:15 AM on December 29, 2005


Thankfully, no one but a few twits considers volunteering for the military a predicate for supporting the war in Iraq. By that logic, no one should have the right to vote unless they are an active member of the military--correct?

I'm just happy such views aren't taken seriously in the real world.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:25 AM on December 29, 2005


Nothing says sincere concern and heartfelt loss for the people who paid the ultimate sacrifice like a pathetically shrill partisan MeFi post.

Someone should make a MetaTalk post regarding that is the exact wrong way to make and frame a post.
1. Take the shrill fark-ish editorializing sentence.
2. Add to it a only single link to a New York Times article that is not newsworthy on its own and which doesn't even support the single shrill editorialized sentence.
3. Add to it a page title with a similar tenor.

There you have a perfectly poor axe-grinding shitty post. A good example of everything that is wrong about some posters here at Metafilter.
posted by dios at 7:26 AM on December 29, 2005


The recruiters should take a moment and pause at that sign each day and salute it. Thereby honoring their fallen comrades.
Asking to have it moved is akin to an attempt to suppress the facts.
posted by a3matrix at 7:30 AM on December 29, 2005




>>The bottom line is we do need to be reminded daily what this war is costing us.

That's such a modern idea isn't it? If the first gulf war was helped defined by 24 CNN news then this one is defined by 24 hour Reuters and AP articles all over the net along with articles on how people use this information.

As far as the ethics of selling such a thing goes, well, I don't think the magnetic bumper stickers are 100% charity. I don't think they're even 1% charity.

antimagnet.com why do you hate america?
posted by skallas at 7:39 AM on December 29, 2005


I'm just happy such views aren't taken seriously in the real world.

Ironically, they are taken rather seriously in places like Paramus, New Jersey. Why don't you go out and start spouting your partisan rhetoric in the local bars -- just to see what happens?
posted by solipse at 7:40 AM on December 29, 2005


Thankfully, no one but a few twits considers volunteering for the military a predicate for supporting the war in Iraq. By that logic, no one should have the right to vote unless they are an active member of the military--correct?

Takes one to know one, I suppose. But to answer your query, no, not correct, other than by your own peculiar brand of logic. Still, based on other things you've posted here in the blue, I seriously doubt you'd have sufficient courage of your convictions to risk your own well-being.

By the way, how are you coming with that initiative of yours to impeach the Commander in Chief for lying about WMD?
posted by alumshubby at 7:46 AM on December 29, 2005


I'm sure anyone who's been so very upset about Darfur has stood in the doorway of a home in Sudan with a weapon to protect the family inside from the janjaweed.
posted by Captaintripps at 7:56 AM on December 29, 2005


Once again, Dios is attacking Metafilter's users. When will it end?
posted by Rothko at 7:56 AM on December 29, 2005


There you have a perfectly poor axe-grinding shitty post. A good example of everything that is wrong about some posters here at Metafilter. -- Dios.

Dios, no offense by you are by far one of (or just) the most, erm, 'controversial' posters here. How is it that you feel you can dictate what is and is not appropriate for metafilter? Don't you think you'd be "voted off the island" in a heartbeat? FWIW, I thought the post sucked too, and I'm surprised it stuck around, but don't you see at least a tiny bit of absurdity in proclaiming absolutely what's good and bad for metafilter?
posted by delmoi at 7:57 AM on December 29, 2005


... and yet again, it's all about ParisParamus.

BTW, solipse: It's neither paris nor paramus....

Delmoi: Don't you think you'd be "voted off the island" in a heartbeat?

That smacks of libertarian authoritarianism, son.
posted by lodurr at 7:59 AM on December 29, 2005


That smacks of libertarian authoritarianism, son.

*laughs* Who invented that ridiculous term?
posted by Rothko at 8:01 AM on December 29, 2005


The funny thing is that neither the FPP nor the article are pro/anti war in Iraq. It's about how some are not comfortable with the actual statistics and how this can make it more difficult to recruite soldiers. But that won't stop ParisParamus or Dios from supporting the agression, never mind that there are other alternatives that have the similar effect, but without the same number of deaths.
posted by furtive at 8:04 AM on December 29, 2005


Rothko, surely you jest...
posted by lodurr at 8:05 AM on December 29, 2005


Wow, a PPdios bifecta.
posted by bardic at 8:06 AM on December 29, 2005


Kind of amazing, wot? Maybe they'll cancel each other out.
posted by lodurr at 8:10 AM on December 29, 2005


That smacks of libertarian authoritarianism, son.

What are you talking about? That's democracy! One man, one vote and all.

*laughs* Who invented that ridiculous term?

All the damn authoritarian "libertarians" running around sucking the administration's dick, like Glenn Reynolds.
posted by delmoi at 8:14 AM on December 29, 2005



And somehow, once again, we are off-topic and discussing the posting habits of specific Meta-members. What a waste of blue-time.

So, I am originally from this region of the world - 70 miles from Duluth that is. So I went to the home town paper and pulled this article.

The Duluth News Tribune also posted when this was to be discussed at a variety of other media outlets. Perhaps they're archived if folks want to watch/listen further.
posted by fluffycreature at 8:16 AM on December 29, 2005


What I find interesting about this story is the idea that listing the numbers of dead soldiers is somehow dishonoring troops:

"It was upsetting to veterans who don't look at their friends and colleagues killed as numbers on a list," he said.

Instead, the suggestion is made by the recruiters that it would be better to list the living:

Sergeant Capan said he wondered why, if Mr. Cameron was truly trying to send a "pro-veterans" message, he had not instead posted a sign listing how many soldiers had returned home from Iraq safely


There is definitely a message from the current administration and other Iraq War supporters that mentioning, photographing, or speaking for the dead soldiers is unpatriotic. If evidence of dead soldiers is embarrassing what does that say about the war itself?

I am reminded of the gold stars that families were given to put in their windows that signaled the loss of a son or husband in WWII. In that war it became a source of pride to have made "the greatest sacrifice." If we can no longer find honor in dead soldiers-- if their very numbers have become a shameful secret-- then it should be crystal clear to everyone that we are not engaged in an honorable war.

If I had the money, I would erect the biggest billboard I could find in every large city in the United States, one that updated in real time the numbers of the fallen dead. This administration has done everything it can to keep the war out of the public eye. It is time to be reminded of the very real consequences of this war.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:26 AM on December 29, 2005


but don't you see at least a tiny bit of absurdity in proclaiming absolutely what's good and bad for metafilter?

I don't think he's done that at all. One should always read "in my opinion" or "my opinion is that..." into pretty much everything everyone posts, unless they state explicitly "this is fact" or cite an uncontroversial authority.
posted by solid-one-love at 8:33 AM on December 29, 2005


PP, what people are saying is that the body count matters. They are asking if the Iraq clusterfuck is worth 2,000 deaths and 15,000 casualties. So far.

You assert that it is, and other folks are pointing out that you have nothing at risk. You're saying that other people's kids should go die for your cause.

If you really believe in that cause, then you should have your ass, or the ass of a son or daughter, out there on the front line yourself.

if you don't, you're a chickenhawk, and your opinion is unimportant noise.
posted by Malor at 8:34 AM on December 29, 2005


From fluffycreature's link: Staff Sgt. Travis Lund, a recruiter who served in Iraq as a radio repairman, said he doesn't have a problem with Cameron getting his message out about veterans, but still doesn't like the sign, which reduces his comrades who have given their lives in Iraq to just numbers.

Bullshit. If Cameron put on a real protest like 2,000 pairs of empty boots or a montage of the faces of those killed in the occupation, then the courts would have been brought in already.

The numbers of those killed and maimed and crippled for life should be a mandatory part of the recruiting literature. And the fact that veterans' benefits are routinely cut, especially under Bush II.

(Facts and information, why do you hate America?)
posted by bardic at 8:34 AM on December 29, 2005


I'd almost leave my home in Minneapolis to go up to Duluth to check this out, but, Jesus, you think it's cold in the Twin Cities …
posted by maxsparber at 8:35 AM on December 29, 2005


The market for Christian-related bumper stickers and other items -- a key market for Magnet America -- is estimated at $4 billion a year.

That's a terrible estimate! Considering there were 235,331,382 vehicles in the USA as of 2001, that's equals $16.99 of Christian-related bumper stickers per vehicle!
posted by furtive at 8:37 AM on December 29, 2005


I am reminded of the gold stars that families were given to put in their windows that signaled the loss of a son or husband in WWII. In that war it became a source of pride to have made "the greatest sacrifice." If we can no longer find honor in dead soldiers-- if their very numbers have become a shameful secret-- then it should be crystal clear to everyone that we are not engaged in an honorable war.

Well said.
posted by furtive at 8:40 AM on December 29, 2005


Secret Life of Gravy,

I don't see how your evidence supports your conclusion.

You state that the story presents the idea that the list is "somehow dishonoring troops", and you match that with the much abused argument that the President's message that "speaking for the dead soldiers is unpatriotic."

Yet, here is the quote from the story:

"It was upsetting to veterans who don't look at their friends and colleagues killed as numbers on a list," he said.

And earlier "It is disheartening."

How you get "dishonoring" or "unpatriotic" from "upsetting." Indeed, the whole point of the tote board is to be upsetting to people who read it. But where was it argued it dishonors them? Where was it argued that it is unpatriotic?

The views of the recruiters aren't surprising and they don't fit into the greater war of stupidity words regarding whether Democrats or Republicans support the troops more. And that is the problem with the post, as I mentioned earlier. A shrill retreading of a stupid argument is trying to be forced through a single article which doesn't have anything to do with the stupid argument that the poster wants to have.

This is a bad post.

And I'll leave this thread to the same little prats who would rather insult me than agree that it is bad or defend the post.
posted by dios at 8:40 AM on December 29, 2005


From fluffycreature's first link:

Staff Sgt. Travis Lund, a recruiter who served in Iraq as a radio repairman, said he doesn't have a problem with Cameron getting his message out about veterans, but still doesn't like the sign, which reduces his comrades who have given their lives in Iraq to just numbers.
"It just makes us all a statistic," Lund said as he finished up the paperwork on a new recruit.


That is a bit disingenuous. If Cameron was able to post a sign with a picture of each fallen soldier instead would it make Lund happier? I think not. For army recruiting purposes I think keeping the dead as mere statistics would be to their advantage. It would be much worse for the recruiters if each dead soldier was portrayed as a flesh-and-blood, fully realized human being with families and backgrounds and aspirations. Much like in the Olympics when we are given mini-biographies of the athletes making it easier for us to identify with them.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:41 AM on December 29, 2005


Coward.
posted by bardic at 8:47 AM on December 29, 2005


Thanks, lodurr. Now you just revealed that ParisParamus lives in MY neighborhood, and not far across the Hudson as I would prefer. Although... I doubly-recommend that PP spout his rhetoric in the local bars after learning that fact; the people around here would toss his partisan backside right into the Gowanus Canal.
posted by solipse at 8:55 AM on December 29, 2005


It's upsetting to see the numbers of the dead (because then they're just numbers), and it's equally upsetting hearing the names of those KIA spoken on Nightline for some reason.

Frankly one walks away with the idea that war is fine on ideological grounds, but those who support the war tend to have a tough time accepting its real-world implications. And yet others have no problem whatsoever supporting a war as long as others are making all the sacrifices.
posted by clevershark at 9:07 AM on December 29, 2005


The recruiters would really hate the display in the Rayburn building maintained by this man! Obviously he's an America hating liberal, yes? Who else but that would have a giant display in our nation's Congressional building with pictures of each and every fallen angel?

Sic 'em Defenders of Dubya!! He's your Freedom Fries man!
posted by nofundy at 9:12 AM on December 29, 2005


prostyle: "Who produces all of those goddam yellow ribbons and is the marketing of those somehow different?"

Right.

So, the magnet costs pennies to make, sells for five bucks a pop, isn't produced by any veteran and none of the profits go to any charity, despite shipping some 500,000 a week?

And we're whining about a vet contemplating selling a couple of signs?

Give me a break.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:13 AM on December 29, 2005


furtive: "The market for Christian-related bumper stickers and other items -- a key market for Magnet America -- is estimated at $4 billion a year.

That's a terrible estimate! Considering there were 235,331,382 vehicles in the USA as of 2001, that's equals $16.99 of Christian-related bumper stickers per vehicle!
"


Surely that depends on what the other items are? The other items here could be yellow-ribbon adorned Christian Militia rocket launchers....
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:22 AM on December 29, 2005


furtive: That's a terrible estimate! Considering there were 235,331,382 vehicles in the USA as of 2001, that's equals $16.99 of Christian-related bumper stickers per vehicle!
Only if you forget about the "other items". Also, a lot of these things end up on refrigerators and microwave ovens and the locking covers of cube bookshelves. And don't forget about inventory: When you buy these things in a store, they're on a rack with a ton of others just like it. (Still a terrible estimate, of course, but probably not as terrible as you make it sound, or in the same way.)
posted by lodurr at 9:28 AM on December 29, 2005


If you really believe in that cause, then you should have your ass, or the ass of a son or daughter, out there on the front line yourself.

if you don't, you're a chickenhawk, and your opinion is unimportant noise.


OK, this really bugs me. Every time I see this kind of crap I wince. I'm not in favor of the war in Iraq. I thought it was a big mistake when it started, and I think it's a big mistake now, although I'm probably a little more optimistic about the final outcome than most here. I'm ex-military myself, and many of my friends have served in Iraq.

But to say that if I held a different opinion, that opinion would be "unimportant noise" unless I joined the military myself, right now, to back it up is pretty odious, unless you really believe that any military action ever taken (including humanitarian missions) is completely wrong.

Oh, and by the way, I don't think you can enlist your kids against their will.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:35 AM on December 29, 2005


"PP, what people are saying is that the body count matters. They are asking if the Iraq clusterfuck is worth 2,000 deaths and 15,000 casualties. So far."


I agree, and said nothing to the contrary, really; just the we have to be on the lookout for the New York Times running editorials on the first page, and all other pages.

I would be in favor of a casualty counter in Times Square, and in every town square. But I think the effect would only be to strengthen our resolve about the importance of the War.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:37 AM on December 29, 2005


... the effect would only be to strengthen our resolve ...

Of course nothing like this can ever be properly considered in isolation. It's certainly true that you could generate a propaganda bubble that would make casualties a source of inspiration. But I don't see how that could happen in America c. 2006. We're just not that stupid, despite constant hand-wringing to the contrary.

Of course, yes, we're pretty stupid sometimes. But we're not that stupid.
posted by lodurr at 9:39 AM on December 29, 2005


fluffycreature writes "And somehow, once again, we are off-topic and discussing the posting habits of specific Meta-members. What a waste of blue-time."

Thanks for the links. NPR should have an audio in about 2½ hours:

War Tally Protest a Sign of Divided Nation

[u]Audio for this story will be available at approx. 3:00 p.m. ET[/u]

Day to Day, December 29, 2005 · A disagreement over a sign in a shop front in Duluth, Minn., is an example of divided national opinions on the war in Iraq. Farai Chideya talks with Scott Cameron, a Vietnam veteran who put up a sign tallying the number of dead and injured military personnel in Iraq, and Sgt. Gary Capan, an Army recruiter who works next door to Cameron and wants the sign removed.
posted by taosbat at 9:40 AM on December 29, 2005


dead veterans: why do they hate our freedom?
posted by quonsar at 9:52 AM on December 29, 2005


I live in Duluth currently, and yes the tone is polite and intense, except on a local right leaning blog, but that hardly counts as it is frequently edited to remove oppositional views. Minnesota "nice" tends to prevail, despite there being quite a diverse section of view points in town. Incidentally Duluth has, nationally, consistently been near the top, if not the top, in voter turnout % during elections.

Of course our mayor just got busted for drunk driving... keeps you humble.

Cold in Duluth? Yes normally, but this week it has been in the 30s, friggen heat wave.
posted by edgeways at 10:08 AM on December 29, 2005


Decent post. Interesting. Army recruiters would rather not have incoming rickys thinking about how they could wind up on that board obviously.
One of the fav. recruiter lines is “You get out of it what you put in to it.”
Clearly, that doesn’t apply if you buy the farm. It’s a sacrifice.
It’s tough to find a guy who has developed the level of moral reasoning to accept that sacrifice, not only at a young age, but untrained.
Still, I think it’s a good reminder what we’re paying. Too many people at home haven’t had to give a second thought about what we’re losing in this war, whether you’re for it or against it.

“In truth, neither side agrees on what precisely the sign is saying. Each sees its message through its own prism.”

Assloads of truth right there.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:15 AM on December 29, 2005


at the top in the last election, edgeways, at least according to Duke Skorich the other day. He proposed in the same broadcast (talking to Kelly, the candidate whose office this sign adorns) that there ought to be a competition amongst states, and the one with the highest voter turnout gets to have the first primary. not too bad an idea.

as someone who's been arrested in the vestibule of that very recruiting center, ostensibly for "blocking the sidewalk" (dismissed last week for no probable cause), i'd say very clearly to Paris Paramus et. al. that this is not an exaggeration of the recruiters' sentiments. they don't take kindly to people reading the names of the fallen (Iraqi and USian) outside their doorway either.

i feel badly for the recruiters, mainly because they have the choice of producing more cannon fodder or be returned to the meat grinder themselves. a devil's bargain, if you ask me. reminding them of the consequences of their actions cannot make the morning smoke taste very good. but that doesn't mean the facts shouldn't be reiterated, over and over.
posted by RedEmma at 11:19 AM on December 29, 2005


I felt the same way me & my monkey. I think we should be sending our troops in to assist the AU in ending the genocide in Darfur, but I don't want to go myself as I am not a trained soldier. If we had no standing army, would I consider going if the country called me to? Sure. But we do have a standing army.

I know it feels good to call supporters of the war in Iraq chickenhawks, but it really doesn't help. The problem isn't that their mouths are writing checks their butts can't cash. It is that they were wrong about the likely outcome of this attack on Iraq, that they continue to be wrong, and -- in the name of our defense -- they have killed at least 40,000 people and wounded many, many more.
posted by Cassford at 11:26 AM on December 29, 2005


me & my monkey, I hear you. But as somebody who got drafted and sent to Vietnam so W and people like him could stay home, I also have no patience for those who want to send my kids off to get shot at, unless they are willing to risk something of theirs. Those who defend the war as being "worth it" only get me to respect their opinion if they themselves know just how shitty war is, for everyone involved. W doesn't, nor do Cheney, nor Wolfowitz, nor Rumsfield. They are, in fact, chicken hawks.

And while you may not be able to force your kids to enlist, please remember that the government is fully capable of doing it, should they see the need. I am not making any predictions about that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:28 AM on December 29, 2005


By that logic, no one should have the right to vote unless they are an active member of the military--correct?

I personally do not find too distasteful the idea that one must participate in the military or civic service to earn the vote, a la some of Mr Heinlein's books. I wouldn't cross the street to promote the idea, but I don't wince at the concept, flawed as it is.
posted by phearlez at 11:36 AM on December 29, 2005


Yes, it's an interesting idea. But it would have mind boggling economic impacts on the US if we ever implemented a robust and useful national service requirement.
posted by lodurr at 11:45 AM on December 29, 2005



And how it is benefiting us by injecting democratic, anti-fascist ideas into a very fascist sphere.


Unfortunately, they appear to have missed the vein.
posted by srboisvert at 12:09 PM on December 29, 2005


"This is for the veterans," he said. "And the way I understand it, this is what we're over there fighting for in the first place — for my right to put a sign right there."
(Emphasis mine.) Just wanted to repeat that part. And I'm glad to see that candidate-for-governor Kelley respects this too, even though he has a right to control what messages are put on his campaign office's windows.

I can certainly see the recruiters' point that listing people as numbers makes them seem less human. And in support of that, I think it'd be great to include the names of the dead and wounded — maybe just the most recent, so they could be big enough to read — and a bit of personalizing information, like their hometown or hobby or blog url or something. Include tallies of people who have been released from service in other ways, too, if you can get that information. Perhaps the recruiters next door could help provide it.
posted by hattifattener at 12:20 PM on December 29, 2005


the recruiters' point that listing people as numbers makes them seem less human
Unlike, say, cutting their hair off, making them all dress alike, march in unison, and shout the same responses. Oh, and killing them - that's kind of dehumanizing, if you ask me.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:50 PM on December 29, 2005


And how it is benefiting us by injecting democratic, anti-fascist ideas into a very fascist sphere.

Yes, there's absolutely nothing more democratic and anti-fascist than the strongest nation on earth bombing the piss out of a much smaller and weaker nation that posed no threat to it, then sending in an army to occupy that nation indefinitely.
posted by wadefranklin at 12:51 PM on December 29, 2005


Don't you read history? The only way to make a democracy is to impose it by force on another nation, especially if you're a president who fears and despises the democratic process (with its necessary transparency, informed electorate, robust investigative press, and uncontested electoral process) at home.

Oh, shit. Wait.
posted by maxsparber at 1:06 PM on December 29, 2005


"Yes, there's absolutely nothing more democratic and anti-fascist than the strongest nation on earth bombing the piss out of a much smaller and weaker nation that posed no threat to it, then sending in an army to occupy that nation indefinitely."

It's clearly a net positive in the case of Iraq. It was the dovetailing of interests. Sorry, mister, it was a justified, visionary idea, and it's working.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:37 PM on December 29, 2005


Net positive for whom?
posted by lodurr at 2:39 PM on December 29, 2005


For the US and Iraqis. Also, for Michael Moore, who I've been told has made a larger profit on F9/11 than Haliburton has (still trying to check the source on that because it sounds too sweet to be true, but the one source I have is usually impeccable.)
posted by ParisParamus at 2:54 PM on December 29, 2005


(than Haliburton has on Iraq)
posted by ParisParamus at 2:55 PM on December 29, 2005



We interrupt this conversation for a serivce message

Not supporting war or not shutting up about war may elicit a lot of attacks on your person : many times the tatic employed is that of "shooting the messenger" and it's done when attacking the argument or the opinion is more difficult then suggesting there's something wrong with the messenger (not being patriotic, being too much patriotic, being a liberal or a republican).

Please return to your ordinary diatribe.
posted by elpapacito at 3:23 PM on December 29, 2005


Staff Sgt. Gary J. Capan, the station's commander, said. "Everyone knows that people are dying in Iraq, but to walk past this on the way to work every day is too much."

Yeah, it would be better if we all go about our daily lives without thinking about people dying in the war.

Especially if it's your job to recruit new soldiers for the war. You sure as hell wouldn't want to have to think about dying soldiers EVERY DAY. That's too much.
posted by sacrilicious at 3:25 PM on December 29, 2005


Michael Moore, who I've been told has made a larger profit on F9/11 than Haliburton has



I'm no stock guru, and I'm not about to go doing too much research to debunk this and obviously there are factors beyond Iraq, but roughly:

Shares Outstanding: 512.84M
Market Cap Before Iraq marketing "product rollout" @ $9/share = 4.62B
Market Cap today @ 61.44/share = 31.51B

That's almost $27 BILLION in value created for shareholders (and their KBR unit received no-bid contracts in Iraq, subsequently staved off bankruptcy, imagine that.)

Who says imperialism doesn't pay?

Michael Moore could never dream of that kind of money. F911 made roughly $240M between the box office and DVD/VHS sales.

PP, as usual, completely full of it.
posted by edverb at 3:39 PM on December 29, 2005


[net positive] For the US and Iraqis.

Yes, I know, but: Who in the US, and which Iraqis?

It hasn't been a net benefit for anyone I know; I'm sure it's been a net benefit for Halliburton/KBR and that whole defense-con network (Blackwater, DynCorp, CSC, etc.) -- not to mention oil comapnies and small shops that make Humvee up-armor kits and mental-health counselors specialising in PTSD. So I guess that's all good. And as for Iraqis... well, I guess it's been good politically for the Badr Brigade and the Mahdi Army and the Kurds. Of course, the electricity is hardly ever on and kerosene and gas are so costly that they consume most of a man's monthly pay, and you could be shot or blown up at any time, and the police force is even more corrupt than it was before, but, you know, they're free. So I guess that's all good, too.

Anyway, thanks for answering.
posted by lodurr at 6:01 PM on December 29, 2005


One should wonder whether you-know-who will feel the same way once Iraq turns into another Iran-style Islamic Republic. Then again there's a certain history of former pronouncements now no longer deemed relevant at play here.
posted by clevershark at 6:09 PM on December 29, 2005


Hey geniuses, the division/subsidiary of Haliburton involved in Iraq is what I and referring to. Said company has a 2.7% cap on profits, and my understanding is that Haliburton is trying to sell it because its so unprofitable.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:16 PM on December 29, 2005


I actually got an e-mail from Mark Simone, the WABC radio personality who first quoted the stat. I had asked him where he got it from. WABC is definitely of the "Rush Limbaugh persuasion, but Mr. Simone is very good and accurate with facts. Here's the short e-mail:

On Dec 29, 2005, at 8:20 PM, MarkSimoneWABC@aol.com wrote:

Thanks. The Haliburton and Moore statistics are all a matter of public record and can easily be researched.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:19 PM on December 29, 2005


That would be dumb, dumb, dumb. Why would you sell something that's driving up your share prices?

Get with the 21st century, man: It's all about the share price.

And getting a lock on future contracts. That, too.
posted by lodurr at 6:21 PM on December 29, 2005


OK, I did some research, and can't find anything, at least so far, to suppot Simone's contention, so I am withdrawing it as baseless.

On the other hand, I do think Halliburton's employees should be saluted for undertaking some very, very dangerous noble work at a low profit margin.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:29 PM on December 29, 2005


By the way, if you isolate the Kellog....subsidiary that's at work in Iraq, there's much less profit. in addition, there are precious few companies that have the ability to do what Kellogg Brown Root does. They seem to do a great job.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:34 PM on December 29, 2005


Yeah. Saluted with a prison sentence.
posted by maxsparber at 6:34 PM on December 29, 2005


Yeah, saluted with freshman-year-of-college incisiveness.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:51 PM on December 29, 2005


Saluted with reactionary running dog drivel.

I can go all night.
posted by maxsparber at 7:24 PM on December 29, 2005


Yes, if we eliminate every division of Halliburton except its least profitable one, there's a way to make any saying true!

That must be what Mark Twain was talking about when he said that there were "lies, damned lies, and statistics."
posted by clevershark at 12:47 AM on December 30, 2005


KBR and their ilk are enablers. They're there to do whatever they're paid to do, and it's not their business to care about whether the situation was ethically created.

Praising KBR employees for doing a good job is a bit like praising scabs for keeping production at near-normal levels during a strike. Praising the companies is a bit like praising the USPS for Lance Armstrong's performance in those first four Tour de France wins.
posted by lodurr at 4:12 AM on December 30, 2005


Paris, don't you find it significant that someone you think "is very good and accurate with facts" won't give you any sources, and that you can't find any yourself? It's good and appropriate that you withdraw the allegation as baseless, but does it not also raise some doubt about the guy's accuracy in general?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:23 AM on December 30, 2005


And I'll leave this thread to the same little prats who would rather insult me than agree that it is bad or defend the post.
posted by dios at 11:40 AM EST on December 29 [!]

Hard to take you seriously about the rules when you don't take your bullshit to MetaTalk.
posted by juiceCake at 8:06 AM on January 1, 2006


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