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Hadji Girl
June 13, 2006 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Hadji Girl (10.6 MB wmv) Some folks think this is funny. Some don't. What do you think?
posted by taosbat (160 comments total)

 
Cultural sensitivity -- a ploy to win the 'hearts and minds of Iraqi citizens.'
posted by ericb at 1:59 PM on June 13, 2006


I guess young Americans are as insensitive as they were in Vietnam 40 years ago.
posted by A189Nut at 2:03 PM on June 13, 2006


Looks like Bob Roberts got fat.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:06 PM on June 13, 2006


A young american maybe...couple more judging from the audio of laughters. Yet what do one expect when many people preach "enemy" is "subhuman" ? Spread hate, harvest hate.
posted by elpapacito at 2:06 PM on June 13, 2006


soldiers are trained to kill...
posted by kuatto at 2:07 PM on June 13, 2006


Hadji Girl mp3 (3.32 MB) Wait 45 seconds to download.
posted by taosbat at 2:08 PM on June 13, 2006


This, somehow, just make me think of Hardy's Channel Firing:

Just as before you went below;
The world is as it used to be:

All nations striving strong to make
Red war yet redder.

posted by armoured-ant at 2:09 PM on June 13, 2006


Lieutenant Colonel Scott Fazekas, a Marine Corps spokesman: "The video is not reflective of the tremendous sacrifices and dedication demonstrated, on a daily basis, by tens of thousands of marines who have assisted the Iraqi people in gaining their freedom," he said.

Uh huh, so what is?
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:11 PM on June 13, 2006


Hearts and minds
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:15 PM on June 13, 2006


Uh huh, so what is?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
posted by Cyrano at 2:15 PM on June 13, 2006


This is sad in its (attempt at) humor and further proof that you cannot liberate and fight the same group of people simultaneously. So, an affront to both esthetics and logic. Only one if forgivable.

From the comments on the Generalquarters blog:

You should just take your whinning ACLU loving, we’re all victims of the big bad Bush administration, ass to the lilith fair.

Because the reason the occupation of Iraq has been such a disaster in both conception and execution is obviously because Sarah McLachlan and the Indigo Girls plotted in their underground bunker to turn Donald Rumsfeld into an incompetent DefSec.

Going into a foreign country, killing tens of thousands of their civilians in the name of a war on an abstraction, and then referring to all of the populace as "Hadjis" (kind of like walking around an American city and saying "Hey Tyrone," to every black person you meet) is racist, simply put. If you do it while carrying a big gun and being able to call in air strikes, you're bravely serving America.
posted by bardic at 2:17 PM on June 13, 2006


I didn't find this video funny either [NSFW], but hey, why can't you librul pussies just grow a pair of balls and a sense of humor?
posted by bardic at 2:19 PM on June 13, 2006


Wow, someone should do something about the culture that's developing within the ranks before, I dunno, some war crimes get commited or something.
posted by Artw at 2:24 PM on June 13, 2006


You know who also doesn't have a sense of humor? Civilians in Haditha.
posted by bardic at 2:25 PM on June 13, 2006


It's funny. Humor can be generated from several things, but among the most universal is the quality of being incongruous, absurd, ludicrous, or ridiculous, which this is. Team America World Police, which is itself a ludicrous parody of anti-terrorist operations and rhetoric, gets a cross-reference from popular culture and a mashup with a truly absurd situation: young American men with guns, thousands of miles from home, who have been ordered to invade and overthrow the government of another nation in an aggressive war.

Every day those Marines are ordered to go out and wander around the streets, waiting for people to shoot at them or try to blow them up. If they don't do it, they are liable for unlimited punishment, up to and including death by hanging or firing squad. If they do do it, they are liable for unlimited punishment, up to and including death by improvised explosive device. The absurdity in that situation can't be expressed with regular language. Only the most powerful syntaxes available to humans, such as "humor" and "music" can possibly do it justice.

The fact that such humor exists doesn't have anything to do with the absurdity of the original situation. It is the cause; the humor is the effect; not the other way around.

None of those Marines put themselves there. There is one person responsible for them being in Iraq.
posted by jellicle at 2:30 PM on June 13, 2006


Did he slip in anything about how them brown folk always work in 7-11s? That shit is FUNNY because it is TRUE.

Nothing's funnier than the truth.

Durka durk dur dur.
posted by StopMakingSense at 2:35 PM on June 13, 2006


No, it's not funny. Absurdity of life in warfare? Joseph Heller. Tim O'brien. Robert Altman's MASH (the tv show being a pale imitiation, but having moments). It's been done, and done well. I think you're sacrificing your esthetic sensibilities to try and put this on a level with those accomplishments (and IMO, your moral ones as well but granted, that's fuzzier territory.)

This video is down there with an n-word joke.
posted by bardic at 2:37 PM on June 13, 2006


There is one person responsible for them being in Iraq.

You mean: a LOT of people.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:37 PM on June 13, 2006


The fact that there is so much craven laughter and hooting in the background and the lyrics are astonishingly well-received only reinforces that the US troops are in a quagmire. They clearly have lost the confidence of the local population; are vulnerable to attack by the resistance; no longer have a moral compass; and are losing the occupation. Were they doing otherwise, no 'venting' of this kind would be necessary. Ultimately, killers and killing-mongerers on either side will have to live with themselves. I hope they are so traumatized by their own actions that they are beset nightly by nightmares of limbs exploding and savage beheadings for the rest of their lives. What goes 'round, often comes 'round.
posted by Azaadistani at 2:38 PM on June 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


The thing that I find most interesting about this is that it's a fine example of what happens when cheap digital recording and communications technology becomes ubiquitous. Everything has a chance of being recorded and broadcast to the world. This is the first war featuring independent soldier-journalists, really, as unintentional as their journalism may be....
posted by mr_roboto at 2:40 PM on June 13, 2006


None of those Marines put themselves there. There is one person responsible for them being in Iraq.

They were drafted?
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:40 PM on June 13, 2006


”Hadji Girl“ is a ballad about a Marine firefight in Iraq.

In the heat of battle a young girl appears out of nowhere and invites this Marine to meet her family. She is leading him into an ambush but he doesn’t know it. When the two of them arrive at her home, the girl’s father and brother open fire, the Marine hits the ground and the girl is killed by her brother and father’s gunfire - ”threw open the door and I hit the floor ‘cause her brother and father shot her.“ The girl’s father and brother are still intent on killing the Marine so he grabs the girl’s sister and the brother and father then proceed to gun her down also in their haste to kill the Marine.

The Marine then ”locks and loads“ stating he ”blew those little f*ckers to eternity."

So the song is about a young woman luring a Marine into an ambush where she and her sister are killed by her jihadi father and brother, who in turn are killed with great justification by the Marine.

Link [currently borked].
posted by dash_slot- at 2:40 PM on June 13, 2006


This video is down there with an n-word joke.

Those can be funny too. I'd say there are a lot of parallels too. Certain people - black people - get a societal pass to make nigger jokes that white people don't get. Watch Chris Rock, he's funny sometimes.

And Marines in Iraq get a societal pass to make Hadji jokes. Almost exactly the same thing, actually.

Just because Chris Rock jokes about it doesn't mean he thinks it's great that black people get beat up by police. And just because this Corporal jokes about it doesn't mean he thinks it's great that he gets to wander around Baghdad being shot at.
posted by jellicle at 2:58 PM on June 13, 2006


Obviously, humor is contextual. Different groups of people are going to find different things funny.

Indeed, the same group of people might react differently to the same thing in different situations. For example, a group of folks playing poker and drinking will probably make some jokes that will be hilarious in that context but that they would be embarrassed to hear or tell at a PTA meeting.

Of course, some people don't get (or choose to ignore) that basic fact about humor - that there are times that certain jokes are not appropriate. Generally, the worst harm these people do is to burst into a series of Monty Python quotes just as you are putting the moves on the woman of your dreams, thus preventing you from ever losing your virginity. Silliness aside, they mostly bring shame upon themselves.

There was a time that could make a joke that might be perfectly hilarious (albeit entirely offensive) in its context and the worst you'd have to fear is that some incompetent humorist would repeat that joke to you at an inappropriate moment (like in front of your mother or boss). Now, thanks to advances in video technology and the Interweb, you can make a contextually offensively hilarious joke and some moron will put it all over the web where, stripped of its context and in front of a non-friendly audience, it is just offensive as all get out.

While I, personally, find this song to be offensive and insulting (and not especially witty), I propose that, in its original context and for its intended audience, this was effective humor. The person who made the decision to put it on the Interweb for the world to see is, ultimately, the one who ruined the joke.

Something isn't funny because it is moral, right, or even intelligent. Something is funny because, for whatever reason, the audience finds it funny at the time it is said. So, in conclusion, the video is both funny and not funny.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:08 PM on June 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


Race hate is always teh funneh.
posted by Artw at 3:10 PM on June 13, 2006


And Marines in Iraq get a societal pass to make Hadji jokes. Almost exactly the same thing, actually.

From whom? Unfortunately, probably from a lot of Americans, which is both saddening and ultimately self-defeating. We're not over there to kill Iraqis, we're there to (supposedly) democratize them. Do you think Iraqi "society" would approve of this video? I can assure you they don't. Muslim societies outside Iraq? No. Not sure what you're getting at.

Anyways, what would be funny would be video of you walking around an African-American neighborhood telling n-word jokes. And while you're looking for your missing teeth, you could mumble something about cultural relativism.
posted by bardic at 3:11 PM on June 13, 2006


Good timing, fucking murderers.
posted by puke & cry at 3:12 PM on June 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think someone was an a$$hole for putting this on the internet. I'm as liberal as they come, and I hate this frigging war, but I reserve the right for people in extreme circumstances to indulge in morbid humour about it. If you can't joke about your circumstances you are truly doomed.

If this had stayed a private joke among some marines, and the corporals kept to standards of behavior, fine. I know there's a lot of questions after Haditha, and they deserve to be asked, but bored, frightened men blowing off steam is not where you will find your answers.

But now this is up for discussion by the whole world. Oh well, information age, and all that.
posted by lumpenprole at 3:12 PM on June 13, 2006


So you don;t think theres a direct line between this shit and Abu Ghahib, Haditha, that guy that got shot in the head in front of a journalist, etc.?
posted by Artw at 3:16 PM on June 13, 2006


So you don;t think theres a direct line between this shit and Abu Ghahib...

I think the responsibility for all that crap has to rest with commanders. I think people in extreme situations (i.e. war) will always make awful, horrible jokes. It's human nature. Get drunk with some EMT's sometime, they'll tell each other jokes that will make your blood freeze. But that's not because they're awful people, that's because they deal with situations every day that would make most of us piss ourselves and pass out.

I'm saying you want to look for blame for massacres, secret prisons, and civilian loss of life, look to the brass, not the poor schmucks who are getting it from both sides.

This might be in some damn poor taste, but that's war for you. In poor taste....
posted by lumpenprole at 3:24 PM on June 13, 2006


Artw: Of course there is a link, but that is a separate issue from "is it funny or not?" Humor doesn't cause behavior; it reflects it. The humor's relative "funniness" is based on how it is received by its intended audience in context and not on whether all people will find it an appropriate subject for comedy or not.

Now, had the question in taosbat's original post been "is this a reflection of a culture that encourages the dehumanization of an entire race of people" I would be having an entirely different discussion.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:28 PM on June 13, 2006


Speaking of cultural sensitivity, using the word "hadji" as slang is pretty disrespectful. "Hajji" is an honorific for Muslims who have made the Hajj (or pilgrimage to Mecca).
posted by kirkaracha at 3:29 PM on June 13, 2006


Sometimes laughing is only a slightly better substitute for crying... or blowing your own brains out.

Gallows humor. Yeah. It's not meant to be funny to you if your fat ass is plopped in a comfy easy chair 2000 miles away. Deep down I bet it really ain't that funny to those guys either.

And given the context of the ambush story - a regular happening for these guys - I can see why they turn to this sort of thing.

Besides let only those of you who never told a Jon Benet Ramsey joke throw the first stone.
posted by tkchrist at 3:29 PM on June 13, 2006


And Marines in Iraq get a societal pass to make Hadji jokes. Almost exactly the same thing, actually.

Cops get a societal pass to make Nigger jokes!
posted by delmoi at 3:29 PM on June 13, 2006


Joey Michaels writes: Humor doesn't cause behavior; it reflects it.

Huh?
posted by bardic at 3:31 PM on June 13, 2006


The first thing I thought was hey it's Garth Brooks! Then the video crashed, repeatedly. I'll take your word that it was offensive/funny/not funny and etc.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 3:35 PM on June 13, 2006


My vote is for Funny.

This immediately reminded me of The DeadMilkmen. Its in the same vein as thier song Takin' Retards to The Zoo
They've spoken out on war too... In thier classic tune, Beach Party Vietnam. But let us not forget that either way, we're all Veterans of a Fucked Up World.
posted by blaneyphoto at 3:37 PM on June 13, 2006


bardic: Perhaps behavior was the wrong choice of words. Attitude would have worked better.

That being said, I propose that the behavior incited by the Muhammad cartoons is not the attitude that the cartoon was reflecting but a reaction to the attitude that the cartoon was reflecting.

In order for that cartoon to be funny (though I would argue that that was never the point of that particular cartoon) it would have to be viewed in context by its intended audience - presumably like minded Europeans who understood that it was Muhammad in the picture and not some random middle eastern gentleman. Thus, the cartoon (if it is in fact funny) is only funny to people who share the attitude and knowledge of the cartoonist.

When taken out of its original context and viewed by people outside its intended audience, the cartoon was bound to cause a bit of a row. Whether it was the intention of that alleged humorist to stir some shit up or not is an entirely different issue.

Behavior was the wrong choice of words in my previous post.

That being said, the Muhammad cartoon, published for public consumption, was a different beast from a private performance of a song that was (perhaps without the performers knowledge) broadcast wordwide.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:45 PM on June 13, 2006


I agree with Lumpenrole. We make jokes in the medical community that - were they presented in the wrong context - would be horribly inappropriate. These are young people with little life experience that are dealing with a, well, convoluted and screwy situation - at best.
posted by rotifer at 3:51 PM on June 13, 2006


Almost exactly the same thing, actually.

The 'almost exactly' would work if the corporal here was an Iraqi. Duh.

So, no. Not even close.


That said, does this kind of crap really make a difference by now? If I was a conspiracy theorist, I'd almost start to suspect this stuff is given attention only so that some big shot in the army can go to the press to explain that 'this is so totally contrary to our spirit of liberation and cooperation and peacekeeping for which we and our commanders are widely renowned all over the world'. And that's where the comedy is.

I think the responsibility for all that crap has to rest with commanders

Or maybe there are different levels of responsibility, and while torturing prisoners is not the same as ordering torture, and singing a crappy song is not even remotely close to any of those things, it's not like it's all totally, totally unrelated either.

I support the right of anyone soldiers included to bad taste jokes and of anyone else to find them haha funny. Just don't tell me it is not part of a mentality or that that mentality starts and ends there among the laughing audience.
posted by funambulist at 3:53 PM on June 13, 2006


rotifer, being a doctor is not the same thing as being a soldier in a war. It's the opposite, no?
posted by funambulist at 3:57 PM on June 13, 2006


None of those cartoons were the slightest bit funny though.
posted by Artw at 4:05 PM on June 13, 2006


(...except maybe the one that didn't actually feature THE Mohammed)
posted by Artw at 4:05 PM on June 13, 2006


funambulist - and it's not even as if these soliders are in a war. They're in an occupation. Theres differences, like it sometimes not being okay to just shoot people.
posted by Artw at 4:07 PM on June 13, 2006


If the US government paid me to run around and simultaneously democratize, terrorize, kill, and make jokes about "Hadjis," your analogy would hold water tkchrist.

I'm sure the usual voices will come along (as they did on the linked blogs) and say that I'm a typical whiny liberal pussy gutless coward. When the occupation of Iraq ends, inevitably, with a US withdrawal that leads to futher bloodshed, murder and, ironically, an Iranian hegemony for decades throughout the region, it's people like me who will be blamed for the loss (as opposed to the incompetent chickenhawks who actually put this plan, or lack thereof, together. Shades of Vietnam over and over again.).

But beyond the usual standard dichotomy of gaypussycutnrunDem vs. hardtruthybraveRepublican, there's also the quaint, Realpolitikal notion that an occupying force should always act within the sphere of its own self-interest. You should strive to achieve your goals (presumably a quasi-Democracy, an end to the ongoing Civil War) with as little loss of life (American or otherwise) and resources as possible.

Does the amount of steam being blown off by the troops in this video (morale boosting so to speak) in any way mitigate the further damage (Abu Ghraib, Haditha) done to the possibility of ever achieving said goal? Honestly, Marines are bad to the bone, correct? Forgive me if I don't shed any tears for them needing a goddamn "talent night" to make themselves feel better about doing the job my tax dollars are paying them for (against my wishes, but so be it).
posted by bardic at 4:09 PM on June 13, 2006


an Iranian hegemony for decades throughout the region

Wow. Do you really mean that? You think Iran will conquer the entire Middle East?
posted by JekPorkins at 4:15 PM on June 13, 2006


Artw: None of those cartoons were the slightest bit funny though

Not to us at least, but that is not to say that they were not funny to their intended audience at the time they were published.

My point, to be a bit more direct, is that humor is subjective. I am not sure that we English speakers use the word "funny" properly when we state it like it is a fact. "Funny," like "beautiful," is a subjective term entirely based on the ever changing perception of an individual.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:19 PM on June 13, 2006


JekPorkins, feel free to look at a map some time. Iran is pretty big, huh? A Shia theocracy installed in Iraq (and this is the best case scenario for American interests) will be run by men who have either lived in, studied in, or vacation in Iran. Hegemony might be too strong a term by itself, so I'll rephrase--an Iran/Iraq bloc backed by China and Russia that will be the dominant force in the region for the 21st century, rivaled only by Israel in terms of military, and only military, power.
posted by bardic at 4:22 PM on June 13, 2006


Jek you may want to look up the word hegemony.
posted by cell divide at 4:23 PM on June 13, 2006


I didn't care that it wasn't funny. It was a bit crap though.

Perhaps something like this might have been funnier?

Hi Hadji
Hi Ken
You wanna go for a ride in my hummer?
Sure Ken
Jump in!
BAM BAM BAM BAM

I'm a Hadji Girl
In a fatwa world,
Occupation, forces masturbation,
So once they get a sniff,
We can lead them off a cliff,
Sexual frustration,
Ends with annihilation

Come on Hadji, Lets go fatwa...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:23 PM on June 13, 2006


JekPorkins writes "Wow. Do you really mean that? You think Iran will conquer the entire Middle East?"

Hegemony isn't conquest. The past few years have been great for Iran's regional prestige and influence. Its two biggest (real, as opposed to pretend rhetorical) enemies have been wiped off the map and it has sold itself to the public as the great enemy of Israel and the last bastion of Muslim resistance against American imperialism. To that extent, it's definitely gained some credibility as a hegemon. It has a large, young population and a strong, loyal conventional military.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:28 PM on June 13, 2006



posted by moonbiter at 4:32 PM on June 13, 2006


Hegemony isn't conquest

Sure it is. It's not necessarily military or physical conquest, but it is, by definition, conquest.
posted by JekPorkins at 4:35 PM on June 13, 2006


Wrong.
posted by bardic at 4:38 PM on June 13, 2006


From wikipedia:

Hegemony is the dominance of one group over other groups, with or without the threat of force, to the extent that, for instance, the dominant party can dictate the terms of trade to its advantage; more broadly, cultural perspectives become skewed to favor the dominant group. Hegemony controls the ways that ideas become "naturalized" in a process that informs notions of common sense.
posted by cell divide at 4:39 PM on June 13, 2006


Better definition, within the discourse of international relations. (Didn't realize Gramsci gets much of the credit for popularizing the term).
posted by bardic at 4:41 PM on June 13, 2006


OK; fine: let's drop the word "hegemony". Let's just say that Iran's regional influence and prestige are on their way up, and its likelyhood of containment by hostile neighbors is on the way down.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:49 PM on June 13, 2006


You know who also doesn't have a sense of humor? Civilians in Haditha.

Also Hitler.




What?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:49 PM on June 13, 2006


bardic, settle down bud.

First. You can't have it both ways.

If Jon Benet Ramsey/pedophile/child rape jokes are "funny "to you, then soldiers engageing in the same sort of twisted dark banter shouldn't ruffle your feathers as much as it seems too.

A portion of the people these Marines deride and dehumanize ARE trying to kill them, after all. And, like I said, I don't think these guys really think it is all that funny. Not in the way Sienfeld is funny. At least the ones I talked to at the VA don't seem to think it's funny anymore.

Seeing as I doubt your a child rapist and I don't think many people have been blown to bits by contestants in the child pagent circuit Ican't argue you have a NEED to laugh at Jon Benet jokes. But both war and things like child rape are so horrible that we often confront them from a mental tangent related to, but not really, humor.

I don't claim to think it's right or wrong. It simply is the way humans behave in very stressful and horrible conditions.

When confronted with such horror, day to day, people often have no other avenue or they go mad.

Actually I could make a good argument that this kind of sick gallows humor IS a form of mentall illness very much related to traumatic combat stress.
posted by tkchrist at 5:05 PM on June 13, 2006


It's really surprising to see our country help those who wish to create an Islamic superstate.

Perhaps not in the way Bin Laden envisioned, but Bardic is dead on: we're putting the pieces in place for Iran to have a powerful influence, if not outright control, of Iraq. We have no way to confront Iran militarily without starting World War III, or simply destroying our country. Iran is vital to China, China owns the ability to render our currency worthless, and Iran has world-class military technology. They would be a non-trivial opponent without the global political factors involved, and they could hold the entire gulf region hostage.

So we're just giving it to them. We could've done nothing and been wealthier, safer, and in a better strategic position than we're in now.

This video is just another example of the seemingly trivial task of winning hearts and minds that is now being blown in breathtaking fashion, and another shovel full of dirt heaped on the pile of corpses this failure of a military action has spawned.
posted by mullingitover at 5:13 PM on June 13, 2006


Anyways, what would be funny would be video of you walking around an African-American neighborhood telling n-word jokes. And while you're looking for your missing teeth, you could mumble something about cultural relativism.

Could be funny... (NSFW, imbedded .wmv, uses the "n-word.")
posted by Cyrano at 5:16 PM on June 13, 2006


Pedophile/child rape jokes are not funny to me. Go figure.
posted by bardic at 5:17 PM on June 13, 2006


I love the kentucky fried movie. Classic.
posted by puke & cry at 5:19 PM on June 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


Pretty fucking sad.

Yet another blemish on the already poxed face of America.
posted by rougy at 5:35 PM on June 13, 2006


It's really surprising to see our country help those who wish to create an Islamic superstate.

I'm not in the least surprised. I called it in 2002 when it was obvious where Bush was heading with this massive head-fake called "liberating" Iraq. The Bush administration showed no signs of learning from history then, and even less now.

The Iranians couldn't be playing Bush better if he had Stradivari branded on his ass.

Iran has world-class military technology

Eh. Compared to who? Iraq? Sure. What they don't have is precision guidance for thier stand-off systems - they only have radar. Even with the Sunburn missile and a decent airforce they will HAVE to develop nukes if they really want to be imune from the US ability to project air power. Seriously. The US could flatten the place with conventional weapons pretty easily.

It's not Iranian military power that would keep the US at bay. It's the friends they have made. And once they get nukes they won't need friends.
posted by tkchrist at 5:37 PM on June 13, 2006


Pedophile/child rape jokes are not funny to me. Go figure.

Yeah. Me either. Niether was this "Hadgi Girl" song. But I don't go jump'n up and down stomp'n my feet and screaming about it either. You get my point?

I do understand the response. I don't condone it.

It's pretty low on my Outrage Meter. Especially where this war is concerned. There are much bigger fish to fry. And I admonish you all to have a bit more sympathy for these guys, get them home, and get them on our side.
posted by tkchrist at 5:45 PM on June 13, 2006


,i>Not to us at least, but that is not to say that they were not funny to their intended audience at the time they were published.

I would argue that by any objective standard they are not funny and would defy you to find anyone who actually laughed at them.

That's the great tragedy of the cartoons flap: the actual cartoons it produced are complete shit.
posted by Artw at 6:23 PM on June 13, 2006


Hegemony isn't conquest.

Tell it to someone who isn't American.
posted by Artw at 6:24 PM on June 13, 2006


Metafilter: Yet another blemish on the already poxed face of America.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:25 PM on June 13, 2006


If this had stayed a private joke among some marines

Lesson #1 in today's day-and-age -- if you take photographs (see Abu Ghraib) or video (see Norwegian Peace Keepers in Kosovo and U.S. Marines in Iraq) assume that such has the chance of being distributed on the Internet and that the subjects of your photographs, songs and/or videos may not interpret such as humor and may likely be insulted.

There's a place for diplomacy and cultural awareness in the military. As we've seen in numerous instances over the past three-years, the actions of a few can affect world opinion. As a coalition fighter, it's incumbent on 'the indivduual' to recognize the 'bigger picture;' that you (whether American, British, Norwegian or of the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces) and your actions have the potential of being under scrutiny on a global scale. Act accordingly, especially if a video camera is running; a tape recorder is taping or pictures are being taken.
posted by ericb at 6:36 PM on June 13, 2006


It's pretty low on my Outrage Meter.

As it maybe for most Americans.

I'm concerned with how others interpet it -- say in the Middle East and the various Islamic communities in Europe and the States.
posted by ericb at 6:46 PM on June 13, 2006


smedleyman wins.
or should i say, it's a smedleyman hegemony.
posted by lapolla at 6:48 PM on June 13, 2006


proper link - *in the Middle East*
posted by ericb at 6:48 PM on June 13, 2006


[Total aside. Strange. Why won't my hyperlink to the Arab news in both "Middle East" links work? On preview they do, but upon posting to MetaFilter they break. You can follow the link at this Google page. It is the "Marine Glorifies Child Killings," Arab News -- currently 7th. article down.]
posted by ericb at 6:51 PM on June 13, 2006


[Does the link (http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4§on=0&article=83772&d=14&m=6&y=2006) break as a result of the inclusion of this character -- § ?]

Sorry for the derail.
posted by ericb at 6:53 PM on June 13, 2006


It's no "America Fuck Yeah."
posted by fungible at 6:57 PM on June 13, 2006


is this humour? those animals, called americans, making fun of people they killed and still kill, so it's must be humour

FUCK THEM AND ALL THEIR ARROGANCE

each passing day makes me more and more angry about those arrogant bastards FUCK THEM
posted by zouhair at 7:03 PM on June 13, 2006


Not funny or surprising.
posted by hoborg at 7:05 PM on June 13, 2006


If this were the worst of it (aside from the tens of thousands dead in pursuit of tragic foreign policy), I'd be proud. Since this is very likely the least offense to come to light, I'm not too bothered. I can completely understand why one might take offense, though. And it's obviously bad PR. It's all bad.
posted by effwerd at 7:09 PM on June 13, 2006


artw: I would argue that by any objective standard they are not funny and would defy you to find anyone who actually laughed at them.

Well, I would say that there is no objective way of measuring comedy. However, not one to back down from a challenge, I found this site featuring the following comment:
3 Feb 2006 @ 22:45 by terrorist n° 1 @82.146.104.48 : Fuck it
Fuck it !
Just laugh with it ! The cartoons ARE funny;
FUCK ISLAM
FUCK MUSLIMS
FUCK ISLAM
Hey freaky muslims, can you laugh with this ? You fools !!!!
Again, I don't agree with this dude, but he laughed. You owe me a pony.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:12 PM on June 13, 2006


Thanks, all, much to think about...

I'm still of two minds about this. When I was wearing the (olive drab) green, I would surely have thought this was funny. I doubt I'd have given it a second thought.

Now that my son is the one wearing...well, some sort of digitalized camouflage...I'm not so sure.

For one thing, I think he told me they weren't allowed to refer to Iragis as Hadjis after news of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal broke. Yet, two years later, here is a song about Hadjis. I left a voicemail asking my son about that. It may be awhile until I hear back.

The other thing is this part of the song:
So I grabbed her little sister
And I put her in front of me
As the bullets began to fly
Marines aren't supposed to use little girls as human shields.

I rented Team America World Police and I'll let y'all know if watching it helps me feel enlightened.

I thought this video was unambiguously funny.
posted by taosbat at 7:17 PM on June 13, 2006


I hope to live to see America bombed and their people killed as collateral fuck and some guy will sing the "yankee girl" and americans with a sens of humour will laugh at it

FUCKERS
posted by zouhair at 7:26 PM on June 13, 2006


Why do you want to see America bombed? Sure, Ventura Highway is played to death on the classic rock stations, but they were not all that bad.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 7:30 PM on June 13, 2006


What ericb said, kinda. Occupation apologists are quick to paint anyone who criticizes the US military as being namby pamby PC-police members.

But ya know, I have a sinking feeling that for many Americans, on the ocassions when (for lack of a better phrase) a "PC desire" to respect and understand other cultures directly aligns with Bush's (apparent) desire to bring democracy about in a place that's never had it, racist jingoism will trump national military and political interests. And that's stupid. Incredibly fucking stupid, because crap like this gets people, American and otherwise, killed.

As an American, the fact that I could even entertain that sort of cynicism speaks volumes about the state of affairs in my country.
posted by bardic at 7:32 PM on June 13, 2006


This thread is funnier than that song was.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:36 PM on June 13, 2006


weretable and the undead chairs writes "Why do you want to see America bombed? Sure, Ventura Highway is played to death on the classic rock stations, but they were not all that bad."

Maybe he means he wants the see them stoned? Which I think they probably were. Isn't that what "A Horse With No Name" is about?
posted by mr_roboto at 7:36 PM on June 13, 2006


I want to see America bombed because people out there in america, parents let their sons go and kill innocent people all over the world, so I want them to feel how it feels losing an entire family in just one air strike and how it feels when you hear some those fucking killers making laugh at u too and nagging u for not having a sens of fucking humour

as u can read this, it's one of the most peacefull tought of an arab that once loved America, but lot of others will have a lot more hate in their heart, a lot more!
posted by zouhair at 7:41 PM on June 13, 2006


In related news ... world opinion regarding current events:

World Sees US in Iraq Bigger Danger than Iran: Poll
"The world increasingly fears Iran's suspected pursuit of a nuclear bomb but believes the U.S. military in Iraq remains a greater danger to Middle East stability, a survey showed on Tuesday.

As Washington campaigns to highlight the threat it sees from Tehran, the good news for the United States in a Pew Research Center poll of 17,000 people in 15 countries is that publics, particularly in the West, are worrying more about Iran.

The bad news is people worldwide think the U.S. presence in Iraq is an even bigger threat and support in most countries for President George W. Bush's war on terrorism is either flat or falling.

And after some signs anti-Americanism had been abating, in part because of goodwill generated by U.S. aid for victims of a late-2004 tsunami in Asia, favorable opinions of the United States have since fallen back in most countries.

Widespread concern over U.S. detainee treatment in Iraq and places such as Guantanamo, is a key drag on America's overall image, according to the survey.

Bush himself received the lowest marks for international leadership compared with his counterparts in Britain, Germany, France and Russia, and confidence in him has slipped in most countries -- to as low as three percent in Turkey."

[Reuters | June 13, 2006]
posted by ericb at 7:58 PM on June 13, 2006


Joey Michaels - Actually he just commands us to laugh at it - no evidence that he actually found it funny enough to laugh at himself. Plus he's a racist tool who'd probably laugh at a rock if you wrote MUSLIMS ARE SHIT on it.

(FWIW Art Speigelman shares the same opinion of the cartoons, and wrote it up in "Drawing Blood: Outrageous Cartoons and the Art of Outrage". And he's a proper expert and everything)
posted by Artw at 8:10 PM on June 13, 2006


you better watch your mouth zouhair. We've put people in secret prisons for less.
posted by puke & cry at 8:30 PM on June 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


parents let their sons go and kill innocent people all over the world,

As opposed to those parents who just let their sons kill people in Israel?

so I want them to feel how it feels losing an entire family in just one air strike and how it feels when you hear some those fucking killers making laugh at u too and nagging u for not having a sens of fucking humour.

A family? A son? A daughter? WifeHusbandFatherMother?!? On either side of the artificial lines we draw? Someone is still dead. And there's now way in hell I can prove this, but do you think given that the human condition has proven itself to be alarmingly universal, that you wouldn't find similar gallows humor in a room full of men making suicide vests? And I wouldn't fault them for it, either. I'd hate what they're doing, but not how they're coping with the reality of it.

But your response? I'd like to see more death. You know, to make you guys on the other side understand how it feeeels...

That's really how this whole shitstorm started, you know.
posted by Cyrano at 8:46 PM on June 13, 2006


Pedophile/child rape jokes are not funny to me. Go figure.

You don't know what you're missing. For example:
A guy comes home from work early one day to find his girlfriend packing up her things. "What's going on here?" he asks. "I'm leaving you", she responds. "I heard you're a pedophile". "Oooooh, pedophile", says the guy. "Big word for a 7-year-old!"
Hilarious!
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 8:53 PM on June 13, 2006


"Why do you want to see America bombed? Sure, Ventura Highway is played to death on the classic rock stations, but they were not all that bad."

two words - "muskrat love"

as far as those insisting this is just a bunch of marines blowing off steam by telling jokes, just like one would at a poker game ... look ... there's a microphone ... a stage ... and an audience here ... that implies a little more than a couple of guys shooting the bull back and forth doesn't it? ... it implies institutional acceptance

I think someone was an a$$hole for putting this on the internet.

i'm pretty sure whoever put it up liked it and was oblivious to the shitstorm it would start

by the way ... a good part of that melody is stolen from guns and roses' "patience"
posted by pyramid termite at 8:58 PM on June 13, 2006


What a piece of shit.
posted by homunculus at 9:14 PM on June 13, 2006


Metafilter: americans with a sens of humour will laugh at it
posted by Smedleyman at 9:31 PM on June 13, 2006


Puppets! Fuck Yeah!

&, That's really how this whole shitstorm started, you know.
posted by Cyrano

... it implies institutional acceptance
posted by pyramid termite

Nothing's funny. Waiting out on a reply from my son.
posted by taosbat at 9:52 PM on June 13, 2006


Metafilter: Metafilter: americans with a sens of humour will laugh at it
posted by Jenga at 10:04 PM on June 13, 2006


"The video that was posted anonymously is clearly inappropriate and contrary to the high standards expected of all Marines," Fazekas said.

Pardon me if I think that's a bit disingenuous.

But some folks (here as well) must be cloistered virgins. Do they not get out much? Do they not mix with a variety of people in society? Do we not remember the "Run Mr Taliban" Song? The Capitol Steps doing "Shoe Bomb"?

Some people like bad taste humor.

Me I like cadences. Especially when I run.

I like singing:
Through the field he was walkin'
Through my scope I was watchin'
A shot to the head he drops and he's dead
walkin in a sniper wonderland

in the village there's a lady
in her arms there's a baby
I chamber a round the kid hits the ground
walkin in a sniper wonderland

in the village we can set a claymore
set it up to blow at half past twelve
we'll suprise the fuckin commie bastards
and smile while we blow 'em all to hell

later on we'll rape and pillage
while we burn their fuckin village
there's no where to run when we're havin fun
walkin in a sniper wonderland


I do like Rape, pillage and burn. I heard it a bit differently though:

Burn the town and kill the people
Throw some napalm in the square
Do it on a Sunday morning
While the people are at prayer
Throw some candy in the school yard
Watch the kiddies gather 'round
Slap a mag in your M-16
And mow those little fuckers down
We're gonna RAPE (clap) KILL (clap) Pillage and burn! (Repeat ad nauseum)


But that works wonders for morale running in formation past schools, grocery stores, and PTA meetings.


My favorite cadence is a bit more innocuous tho (unless you're a bird).

A yellow bird
with a yellow bill
Was sittin' on
my window sill
I lured him in
with crusts of bread
And then I stomped
*stomp stomp*
his fucking head
The doctor came
and the doctor said
"This little bird
is fucking dead"
The moral of
the story, you see
If you're a bird
Don't fuck with me!

Now, I'm not clear what kind of cadences Lieutenant Colonel Scott Fazekas sung as a young marine, missing out as he did on the vulgarity that salt encrusted drill instructors occasionally let slip, but I suspect it went something like:

"It's one thirty now on the strip
Chairborne daddy gonna take a little trip
Stand up, lock up, shuffle to the door
The club for lunch and home by four
If there's something to decide
Close your door and try to hide
Every time you get a call
You're out playing racquetball
First revise the SOP
Make a change in policy
Ours is not to wonder why
It's written down in the LOI
God forbid we should go to war
All that paperwork would be a bore
Let me stay behind my desk
Anything is better than the leaning rest
Chairborne Ranger, that's what I am
One of a kind, I'm and REMF man"

This kind of lowbrow grab-ass spreads everywhere like the shit it is and gets all over everyone whether they like it or not. I for one could have gone all my life without hearing "Mr.Taliban" or "Bomb Iraq" sung to the Beach Boys tune "Barbara Ann" by civilians eating hot lunches and fucking their wives every night when my own future was quite uncertain.

And none of us have to like it, but when it hits the fan like it seems to have done in this case I think it's a little disingenuous of anyone who, having been once covered with it themselves turns to their neighbor and says "Buddy, you smell like shit."
Because none of our own product always smells like Chanel #5 and a Marine with a guitar in his hand is a Marine that is not shooting or being shot at.

There are worse things.

/My heart and thoughts with your boy taosbat.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:37 PM on June 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


smedleyman, you forgot one

Hitler has only got one ball,
Göring has two but very small,
Himmler has something sim'lar,
But Goebbels has no balls at all.


but i don't think you would have seen it on condenast.com in 1944 where any german could download it on his computer ... and i think that's where the real mistake was made here ... not that soldiers say things like this ... perhaps even not that they get on a stage and perform songs like this, although i think that's giving a little too much official approval to it ... but that the guy in the audience that video'd it (or someone he sent it to), thought it could be shown on the internet without stirring up all sorts of trouble

that was a serious error of judgement

also, i'm puzzled as to how soldiers who are supposed to be "nation building" can help build a nation whose inhabitants they hold in such contempt ... this is the real disingenousness here ... that we are not building a nation but fighting a war ... and yet our leaders seem to do everything they can to gloss over that fact ... we're not fighting a war against iraq but a war on "terror", they say ... we're not occupying iraq, but "building" it ... we are not the allies, but the "coalition of the willing"

bush and his helpers have accustomed the ameican people to a certain level of dishonest language and obscurity ... blunt talk from soldiers tends to spoil the illusion our leaders want us to see ... they want a sanitized view of this war because they're afraid of the reaction if people saw it as it is

this wouldn't matter in a war of national survival ... but it does matter in this one
posted by pyramid termite at 11:16 PM on June 13, 2006


I didn't know what to think about this until I came on the Blue, saw the comments from so many people who have sweated their way through Parris Island and bled their way through several deployments, know exactly where these Marines are coming from, and are in a position to pass judgment like supreme moral authorities ruling from computer chairs.

Of course, I'm sure a small percentage of you haven't been in the Marines and haven't been in Iraq, but you know exactly what it's like, so I trust your outrage is entirely justified, particularly because the Marines hold regular Friday sermons in their mosques mess halls calling for the deaths of every last "Haji girl."

Right on.

Tell these uneducated, poor, gun-toting, hick fuckers who had the nerve to join the military exactly what the fuck is up.

My heart bleeds for CAIR, Ibrahim "Bill Donahue" Hooper and every American Muslim who must be incredibly offended that other Muslims are blowing up their own people and their mosques and distorting their religion Marines are singing songs about them. Word.
posted by Alexandros at 11:44 PM on June 13, 2006


Well Alexandros, there is that whole thing about marines executing civilians. Might want to take that into consideration.
posted by puke & cry at 12:15 AM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Is it racist: yes, and insidiously so, celebrating getting to kill people only defined by their race. If white NYC cops sang the same type of song about meeting a girl's family in harlem and running into an anti-cop ambush, calling the song "Nigger Girl" and making a chorus of minstrel-show slang, this board would be a bit more one-sided, and I doubt we'd be hearing much about "librul pussies." (Not meant to imply that Harlem is a war zone. I'm white, have lived there, and found it very nice, actually. Just meant to put it in racial perspective.)

Is it acceptable: Yes, as all speech is, hateful as it may be. But it's just as much my right to call it bad PR and to call the Corporal on promoting attitudes contrary to their goals.

Is it funny: No. Not to me, at least, but humor is subjective. I was chuckling at the first chorus, when I thought the song was about cultural differences for people who have no business being there in the first place. Then came the gleeful bloodlust, which made the first part a lot less humorous. Still, it might be different if I were there. If every day of your job included the very real possibility of death, at the hands of people who are all the same color, and with whom you are incapable of making a personal connection, Racism would create itself. It would still be just as wrong, but would take an astounding amount of effort to prevent, and survival and sanity would take priority. Again, not right, but the way it is. The war itself isn't right, but I still lean towards cutting these marines some slack...

...because the clip, more than anything, just illustrates the futility of the mission. You can't liberate people you hate, or do much good for people you fear enough to kill. This song certainly isn't Catch-22. Of course it isn't; it lacks time, distance, and most notably, talent. This song is analagous to Yossarian's bunkmate shooting rats in the tent - an innapropriate reaction in a situation that demands ANY action above nothing. But lets not forget that the bigger problem are the Milo's - those profitting while others perish. They're out there, and we know their names as well. Those are the one we should be going after.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:40 AM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


From anecdotal evidence I gather from arab friends and acquaintances (who all are at the pro-western end of the spectrum), I'd say anti-PR stunts like these don't matter anymore - US reputation can't get any lower anyway.
posted by uncle harold at 3:31 AM on June 14, 2006


If every day of your job included the very real possibility of death, at the hands of people who are all the same color, and with whom you are incapable of making a personal connection, Racism would create itself.

Yes, that's even understandable, though it's not so much racism about 'people of the same color', it's an attitude towards all inhabitants of a country you're occupying. I don't give a shit if soldiers aren't making distinctions between terrorists and civilians (and not taking in the fact those terrorists are also killing Iraqi civilians themselves, aren't they?) when making jokes or singing crappy songs and have a laugh to release the tension or something. The problem is when you're not making that distinction when you're killing people yourself, and this has happened, so, this is the context we're talking about.

In the bigger picture, this song is meaningless and getting all up in arms about it is a waste of time. But in that bigger picture, worse things have happened, and people have been making all sorts of similar rationalisations for them, conveniently ignoring that the soldiers are the ones who chose to be there, the civilians didn't.

But lets not forget that the bigger problem are the Milo's - those profitting while others perish. They're out there, and we know their names as well. Those are the one we should be going after.

This is what really bugs me. If you don't have a culture of responsibility at all levels, how can you have responsibility at the top? If it's always about someone else's fault, someone bigger, someone more powerful, and if we always find rationalisations for individual soldiers because they're getting blown up too, they are poor, they are uneducated, blah blah blah, then no one is ever responsible for anything. We've heard the very same crap about Abu Ghraib.

All this talk of being more sympathetic to soldiers because we don't know what it's like - why doesn't that work for the civilians who have nothing to do with the terrorist attacks and didn't enlist in any army either, huh? Those who think the people who don't see the humour here are gutless pussies, why do they then get up in arms and outrage when someone isn't being all sensitive and understanding towards the poor, poor Marines? What kind of double standard is that?
posted by funambulist at 3:46 AM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


i'm not defending anyon ehere, just providing a possibly new viewpoint:

a) when you, your friends, or your compatriots experience a life threatening/altering situation, i have noticed, from personal experience, that you make some prety tasteless jokes in the process of compensating for the stress you just experienced. (i have worked as an EMT, a lab assistant, and an organ donor coordinator... i have a fucked up, nasty sense of humor.)

b) these guys DO experience a lot of hell out there. THEY may not be the murderers out there. not ALL of these guys are douchebags who have been handed heavy ammunition firearms and set loose of the town like rampaging bulls.

i have had friends and family in iraq - during the gulf war and now - and though i have and do not support either war, i have always supported them. so don't play judge and jury on the entire fucking marine corp cuz they made some tasteless/fucked up/racist jokes, puke & cry. its just how THEY might cope.
posted by Doorstop at 5:12 AM on June 14, 2006


From anecdotal evidence I gather from arab friends and acquaintances (who all are at the pro-western end of the spectrum), I'd say anti-PR stunts like these don't matter anymore - US reputation can't get any lower anyway.
posted by at 12:31 PM CET on June 14 [+fave] [!]

@ uncle harold :
I am at the pro-western end of the spectrum

@ Doorstop :
So you can rape someone in fornt of all his family and to cope with it make jokes about it and show the family too

I am sorry to say that, but every marines that died in Irak, deserved to die, they were there to kill and occupy and then kill again

And until americans are not on the street to demonstrate in great number against this policy of systematic war, hate against america and americans will rise and rise
posted by zouhair at 6:27 AM on June 14, 2006


It's a song. It's a funny song. Wipe the froth off your mouth for a second and acknowledge that at least someone over there has a sense of humor.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:41 AM on June 14, 2006


Disgraceful.
posted by wfc123 at 7:58 AM on June 14, 2006


jsavimbi: I found a picture of you and some friends:



Get it?! I'm so funny.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:04 AM on June 14, 2006


I am sorry to say that, but every marines that died in
Irak, deserved to die,


The fact that you say that makes you no different than the redneck that says "fuck it, all these sand niggers are the same! kill em all!" but hey, enjoy your desire for death.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 9:07 AM on June 14, 2006


How does an arab misspell Iraq?
posted by puke & cry at 11:45 AM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Answer: I-R-A-K

Say, that wasn't a very good joke.

(seriously, think about your question for a second.)
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:51 AM on June 14, 2006


(in a lot of other languages it is spelt Irak - mouse over the language links on the left... /anal )
posted by funambulist at 11:59 AM on June 14, 2006


Well I'm not sure it's worth commenting on something post-Godwin, but here's my take.

I bet very few of us on MeFi have been deployed in a hostile occupied territory, hence the lack of empathy for this marine's position.

Take a look at what he is singing about, before you politicize it to death. Here's what I come up with:

(a) He misses sex, or some kind of intimacy with women.

(b) He has no way of communicating with the civilian population.

(c) He doesn't understand the local culture at all, and therefore fears the civilians.

(d) He recognizes that civilians may try to kill him, even those that appear friendly.

(e) He readily admits that he will kill civilians to save his own life, and glorifies that behavior.


I have no idea what a marine's life is like in Iraq, and I doubt many of you do either.

The classic experiment that I always point to is that of Stanley Milgram in which 61% of a random sampling of everyday citizens of the good old USA murder a completely innocent, harmless participant in the other room using electric shocks. The only motivator in the experiment is a Yale professor saying "please continue, you have no choice, you should continue."

Consider the possible motivators in Iraq.

Consider how you would behave in that situation.

Personally I thought the narrative in the marine's song shows very little in the way of evil intentions. He is lured to a gunfight with civilians by a pretty girl who wants to kill him, and he blows everyone away, using their daughter as a human shield. The human shield is not a nice thing to do, but neither is luring a loverboy marine to your brother and father so they can blow him away, or worse. The faux-Arabic is insensitive, but it speaks to the fact that... wait for it... very few of our soldiers speak a word of Arabic.
posted by zekinskia at 12:21 PM on June 14, 2006


The same song could be sung by police officers here in the US. How outraged would people be then? It'd probably be national news.
posted by ...possums at 12:21 PM on June 14, 2006


By the way, equating police officers with occupying forces doesn't work for me.
posted by zekinskia at 12:33 PM on June 14, 2006


artw: touche! I would counter that a group of racist pricks laugh at different things than the sorts of things you and I laugh at. Furthermore, humor experts are not always going to find the same things funny, in so much as they are human and have different likes and dislikes than every other human.

I would throw out Jerry Lewis as a (serious) example. He has a decent comedy pedigree and yet has stated publically that he doesn't find a single female to be funny. As it happens, I am a huge fan of Lucille Ball's comedy and not so much a fan of Jerry Lewis' comedy. None the less, due to his track record, Lewis could be termed a humor expert. Does this make Lewis right?

Yes and no. Yes, because it is, in fact, his opinion that female comedians cannot be funny and, thus, when he says "I don't find them funny" he is telling the truth. No, because many people do find a wide variety of female comedians funny.

Which is just another long winded way of saying that humor is subjective. Anyhow, artw, I have enjoyed debating this with you and respect the fact that I may be 100% wrong in this regard. You rock.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:35 PM on June 14, 2006


That would be a nice argument except for the undeniable fact that Jerry Lewis sucks.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:38 PM on June 14, 2006


pyramid termite - I dunno, I think some folks WANT to stir up some shit. Makes them feel strong. And I don’t know if there’s any ‘official’ kind of sponsorship. One could argue boots are given a facility, uniforms and large swaths of land in which to sing filthy songs. Doesn’t mean there’s some 'official' connection.

“blunt talk from soldiers tends to spoil the illusion our leaders want us to see”

True, what the administration or what officers say to calm Aunt Biddy down has nothing to do with what’s going on.
Folks might be a bit more reticent to go to war if they heard it straight. That’d be a real problem for people who have an interest in such things.


“If white NYC cops sang the same type of song...”
“The same song could be sung by police officers here in the US....” - posted by ...possums


A. I’d have a real problem with cops being trained to kill.
B. - The ‘racism’ only fuels the will to kill. It is not that any marine feels that he is better than someone because they are an arab or black or white or whatever ethnicity - but because they are not a marine. Further, they are not in their company. Further, not in their squad. Further, they are targets.
If we were fighting England there would be songs about the filthy english-speaking creame colored bastards - and American men of English descent would be singing it along with their black, hispanic, etc. etc. marine brothers.
Yes, it’s not-selfism - but it’s nothing like what the klan does.


“Well Alexandros, there is that whole thing about marines executing civilians. Might want to take that into consideration.” - puke & cry


Yeah, I can’t believe how every marine everywhere was involved in that.

Just like it’s all hispanics andafrican americans who kill babies.
(and only liberals have hearts and only conservatives have brains)

“why doesn't that work for the civilians who have nothing to do with the terrorist attacks and didn't enlist in any army either, huh?”

Yeah, why doesn’t it work for them?
I mean, all those marines were given weapons, trained to kill and flown out to a combat zone. I wonder why all those civilians aren’t excused for killing families too (in some cases your own)?


“I am sorry to say that, but every marines that died in Irak, deserved to die, they were there to kill and occupy and then kill again”
- posted by zouhair

So, you’re what, 12? 13?


/Incidentally I’m in the ‘not funny’ tally, if anyone’s counting.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:47 PM on June 14, 2006


zouhair doesn't understand the military.
posted by NationalKato at 1:07 PM on June 14, 2006


Smedleyman, I genuinely don't understand what you are inplying with the 'civilians' and 'killing families' links. It's murder cases, and...? Not every civilian is a terrorist, but everyone can be a murderer?

I was just saying, if we make distinctions between the torture-happy trigger-happy civilian-executing soldiers and the rest, that should obviously apply in double force to civilians who never chose to be there, in the wrong place at the wrong time, in the first place. Duh.

Instead, we have people getting offended that someone is getting offended at the marines for offending the Iraqis. So, whose sensibilities are tenderer here? Surely if Iraqis can take a little offhand joke about maniacally slaughtering hadji girls, then the well-armed and fearless marines can take a little verbal heat too, don't they?
posted by funambulist at 1:42 PM on June 14, 2006


“Surely if Iraqis can take a little offhand joke about maniacally slaughtering hadji girls, then the well-armed and fearless marines can take a little verbal heat too, don't they?” - posted by funambulist

Sure. I’m not among the offended.


“...that should obviously apply in double force to civilians who never chose to be there, in the wrong place at the wrong time, in the first place. Duh.” - - posted by funambulist


I’ve got a bad habit of not placing “posted by ‘X’” when I’m addressing an idea or developing a concept instead of refuting a person’s position.
My mistake. Sorry.

I was addressing the idea - not put forth by you really - that when civilian casualties occur somehow the troops involved are the worst killers in the world yet there are crimes committed by other folks all the time and we do not associate them with any particular class.
E.G. a black man kills someone - we don’t associate all back men with the particulars. An electrician kills someone we don’t denigrate all electricians. Furthermore - said black male/ electrician has less reason to kill anyone than a service member because his profession does not involve killing.

So your argument insofar as the give and take of words go, holds water.

But marines are quite serious about killing pretty much anyone. This just happens to be a joke song about killing.
I find it a bit hypocritical that anyone is offended by this, when every day ricks and boots (recruits) are singing about horrifically slaughtering just about anyone.
It irritates me that the Marine PIO is telling people that the troops aren’t singing about things “ inappropriate and contrary to the high standards expected of all Marines.”
It is also irritating when people miss the forest for the trees.
It is not the song that created the war. This marine didn’t tell anyone to invade Iraq.It has nothing to do with the war. And it is the war that is the real horror.
This is just a symptom.
This is what happens to a persons sense of humor when you train them to kill people for a living.

I do not respect the fact that someone is upset about a song about slaughtering Hadji girls (who in fact first lead them into an ambush, according to the lyrics) as though war should somehow be an antiseptic and politically correct event.

In fact, the uglier it gets, the more I like it. Because that means the ugliness is less sublimated. It means at some point Aunt Biddy who keeps sending part of her social security check to the RNC will notice that people on both sides are missing limbs. That the men coming home (on both sides) are bitter, angry killing machines.

At some point the bullshit - like this song - will reach and reflect the actual level of pain and suffering such that maybe some civilians will actually notice it.

Do you - any of you - honestly think the troops now in harms way would rather be there then switch with you sitting in front of your computer?

I don’t mention the Iraqis because it goes without saying that a person does not want his house bombed or family killed.

He doesn’t want his daughter to become a bitter angry killing machine who hates the enemy so much she will entice him with sex to lure a trooper into her home so he can be killed in an ambush.

That’s what I saw when I saw this.

I saw people like zouhair:
“I am sorry to say that, but every marines that died in Irak, deserved to die, they were there to kill and occupy and then kill again”

He’s the flip side of that coin.

People who argue that it’s somehow the fault of the marines are the same kinds of people who tell beggars to “get a job.”
They just want to feel better about themselves and their life choices.
And maybe the beggar fucked his life up, and drank away his money. And maybe that does make someone who works hard all their life better than he is.

But it doesn’t change the fact that the choice is either to notice the beggar as a symptom of a problem in society (analogue: training men to kill and expending them at will rather than only at dire need) or to feel smug about making the ‘right’ choices in our lives.

Now if the beggar doesn’t eat does he ‘deserve’ to die? He made the choices which put him in a place where he drinks all his money away.
So we can morally judge his life as unfit because of his choices - as zouhair does.
Or we can let our hearts bleed for all the beggars and say that none of them deserve to die and give them our money.

And that opens up all kinds of questions (I’ll drop the ‘beggar’ analogy) do we dismantle the apparatus of war altogether? If so - how? How long will it take? What happens in the meantime i.e. will we be able to defend ourselves? More importantly - what happens to people like zouhair if he still feels people deserve to die? Is he going to put the rifle down or is he going to keep coming after us?

Me, I’d rather duck the ‘deserve’ question and slip the guy a buck so he can eat while I’m trying to change the system.

And that’s what I’m saying. The hang up is on some kind of moral judgement on this instead of seeing it for the symptom of pain that it is.

But funambulist, that didn’t address your point. My above concession does.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:44 PM on June 14, 2006


I didn't read this thread, so this is raw.

At first, I was appalled (sp?), then I gradually found it funny, and now I'm in tears listening it to a fifth time.
The humour's hard/dry but sung with a soft-country-voice. It laughs at soldiers who fall in "love" with locals, it laughs at innocent young guys and those who lack basic Arabic skills. Despite the applause and laughter, the ending's rather bitter-sweet: "Should have know they were fucking with the Marines."
Yet how many were lost the past months? the past years?!?

Forget the PR moves from both side of the fight: forget "hearts and minds" and forget "America's Satan".
This is just Guys having a night out, laughing at something fairly harmless. It's a modern ballade, a funny story put to song, in other words.
posted by ruelle at 4:18 PM on June 14, 2006


I'm amazed that anyone is surprised by this... this is nothing new, soldiers have done this forever... (I'd say that even with stuff like this, modern soldiers are FAR more respectful of civilians than soldiers in previous centuries).

War is never going to be politically correct, you can't have a nice and respectful attitutde towards people and also kill them, it seems to me (but I'm not a soldier, so maybe I'm wrong). If we're going to go to war, we have to accept that we will do bad things to "innocent" people, pretty much inevitable. If we're not willing to accept that we shouldn't go to war (and I was against the war for exactly this reason). The modern idea that we can have a war but be nice and moral and targeted and only hurt "bad guys" is absurd.

The only difference between this and what has happened in every other war is that now everyone has a video camera and these things get posted on the internet. Imagine what we might have seen from WWII or Vietnam or the Civil War if this technology had been around then.

Or what the Romans must have sang about the barbarians they were executing and raping. Good times, I'm sure.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:32 PM on June 14, 2006


It irritates me that the Marine PIO is telling people that the troops aren’t singing about things “ inappropriate and contrary to the high standards expected of all Marines.”

Yeah it irritates me as well, but because it sounds to me as more of the easy 'only a few bad apples' attitude we heard about much more serious stuff than a bad taste joke song.

I was addressing the idea - not put forth by you really - that when civilian casualties occur somehow the troops involved are the worst killers in the world [...] But marines are quite serious about killing pretty much anyone

Eh, so, which one is it? are they trained to kill just about anyone, including civilians, or is it wrong to tar all with the indiscriminate-killing-of-civilians brush? You can't have it both ways.

But perhaps you meant 'killing pretty much anyone that qualifies as enemy' - and that's one big problem of this war...

a song about slaughtering Hadji girls (who in fact first lead them into an ambush, according to the lyrics)

This is interesting though - we're supposed to take the cheerful slaughtering part as a joke, not something this marine actually did, but the part about the girl's ambush as something that happens for real? Do girls in Iraq actually lure 'the marine loverboys' and then get their brothers to kill them?

as though war should somehow be an antiseptic and politically correct event.

Well I sure don't believe war is or should be 'politically correct', but I don't believe 'war is hell' translates to 'anything goes' - the soldiers are also subject to laws and accountable for their actions, which, in other cases than this silly tasteless unfunny joke thing, means the 'we don't know we're not in their shoes' has zero value. (Yet some people have used that excuse all the time even to justify that much worse stuff).

And, sorry, I just don't buy that this is the kind of stuff that exposes the pain and horrors of war behind the hypocrisy of political leaders.

That job of genuinely exposing the reality is done by serious in depth reporting and political action about the damage of war and the victims, whether it's victims of military or terrorists. It's not done by unfunny dark humour.


It is not the song that created the war. This marine didn’t tell anyone to invade Iraq. It has nothing to do with the war. And it is the war that is the real horror.
This is just a symptom.


Yes, but, it it a symptom of war itself, in general, or of certain mentalities about this particular war, mentalities endorsed and exploited by the government and military command? That's the interesting question. I don't think we can duck that with 'war is horror'.


Do you - any of you - honestly think the troops now in harms way would rather be there then switch with you sitting in front of your computer?

I'm just gonna be a broken record and repeat that hey, they're the ones who chose to be there!

For all the political responsibility of this war obviously lying far higher than any individual marines, that's a fact.

And heh, no I don't see any comparison with a beggar - for one thing, people who end up on the street didn't all end up there because of bad choices they consciously made, for another, they're not engaged in any military action... plus, I'm not sure the marines would love being compared to poor drunken bums in the street, would they? Come on.

I remember we had similar discussions before, Smedleyman, and while I don't disagree with some specific points you make, I still have to disagree with the idea soldiers are all just victims of circumstances and powerless pawns in the hands of politicians - this is true only with drafted armies.


And I know that even that choice to serve, like any choice in life, can be affected by so many factors that are beyond one's control - social, economic, cultural, family tradition, etc. - but it's still a fact this is a volunteer army, not a draft. That makes a big, big difference.

Now, I am sorry about any soldier dying or being maimed and I have all the sympathy in the world and I don't wish any of them harm. But, let's not pretend they just woke up one day and found themselves in harm's way against their will, either. It's civilians who deserve *that* extra bit of sympathy.

do we dismantle the apparatus of war altogether? If so - how?

Obviously you can't do that. It'd be insane to call for the dismantling of any army. Armies can be very useful. Every nation larger than Lichtenstein needs one.

Doesn't mean it should be granted full license to do anything and never be criticised because 'we don't know what it's like'.

Again, I don't believe 'war is hell' covers anything a particular army of a particular country does.

This is what happens to a persons sense of humor when you train them to kill people for a living.

Well, in theory, as in, by law, they're supposed to be trained to kill for defense, and the fact defense has been stretched by the US to include pre-emptive bombing countries that did not actually attack the US (and it's not limited to this administration, the Democrats did it too), together with Guantanamo and all that cheerful flaunting of international laws, is something that I cannot see as completely separate from some manifestations of attitudes about war among US soldiers. I also don't seem them as a case of the government and command dictating mentalities top-down only, one-way. I think it's all a loop, population, government, military...

Among the Brits there were those who did awful things too, but, to give just one example, the funny video that went on the internet was soldiers doing a parody of 'Is this the way to Amarillo', not photos of soldiers gloating over corpses or videos of soldiers shooting random cars to a rock soundtrack or videos of soldiers singing songs about killing girls. Why? Is it just beacuse the Brits were cleverer and hid the more compromising stuff? Or could it be because, despite the UK government supporting the war, there is a markedly different attitude to war among the majority of the population at home?
posted by funambulist at 5:22 PM on June 14, 2006


Imagine what we might have seen from WWII

Well I have first hand stories from my grandparents about that, and they were in the situation that Iraqi civilians were under Saddam, and I know it's a completely different war, time, circumstances, etc. etc. not really comparable. But from what I heard, I can't help thinking that compared to today there was also a different breed of soldiers and a different cultural attitude among the population those soldiers came from. So, no, I don't believe it's just the presence of cameras and the idiotic narcissism of putting anything up on the internet.

(And I'm saying this in reference to other things, not this particular song that is almost meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but not quite completely disconnected from that bigger picture.)
posted by funambulist at 5:39 PM on June 14, 2006


Or what the Romans must have sang about the barbarians they were executing and raping

Ok, then, US marines are supposed to be exactly like Romans executing and raping the barbarian hordes.

You must enjoy shooting your own argument in the foot, eh?
posted by funambulist at 5:41 PM on June 14, 2006


WWII was a real war, equating it to Iraq is IMHO pretty fucking silly.
posted by Artw at 6:46 PM on June 14, 2006


Prediction: This singer becomes smash hit on redneck radio, Rush uses Hadji Girl as his new theme song, the marine is asked to sing at the 2008 Republican convention, and eventually becomes a pundit on Fox.
posted by BillyElmore at 7:14 PM on June 14, 2006


WASHINGTON (AFP) (via Yahoo) - A marine corporal has apologized in a newspaper interview published for singing a song glorifying the killing of Iraqi civilians on a video posted on the Internet.

Joshua Belile, 23, who lives in North Carolina after serving in Iraq, told the Jacksonville Daily News that the expletive-laced song was meant to be humorous.

"It's a song that I made up and it was nothing more than something supposed to be funny, based off a catchy line of a movie," Belile said. The line was from the puppet film "Team America: World Police."

"I apologize for any feelings that may have been hurt in the Muslim community. This song was written in good humor and not aimed at any party, foreign or domestic," he said.

The four-minute video titled "Hadji Girl" shows Belile playing an acoustic guitar on stage, wearing an olive green T-shirt with camouflage pants. The public can be heard laughing but is not seen.

"I grabbed her little sister and put her in front of me. As the bullets began to fly, the blood sprayed from between her eyes, and then I laughed maniacally," Belile sang.

"I blew those little (expletive) to eternity. ... They should have known they were (expletive) with the marines."

The video was removed from the Internet video website youtube.com, where it was originally posted.

The largest US Muslim group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), had called for an investigation after drawing attention to the video.

"We welcome Corporal Belile's apology and will leave it to military authorities to determine whether any disciplinary action is warranted," said CAIR executive director Nihad Awad.

"Our intent was never to target an individual marine, but instead to address the larger issue of insensitivity to the suffering of Iraqi civilians," Awad said in a statement.

HADJI GIRL

I was out in the sands of Iraq,
and we were under attack,
and I didn’t know where to go.

Then the first thing that I see
is everybody’s favorite BurgerKing.
So I threw open the door
and I hit the floor.

And suddenly to my suprise,
I looked up and I saw her eyes,
and I knew it was love at first sight.
And she said…

Dirka dirka Muhammed jihad
shurpa shurpa bakala.
Hadji girl I can’t understand what you say.
And she said
Dirka dirka Muhammed jihad
shurpa shurpa bakala.
Hadji girl I love you anyway

And she said that she wanted me to see;
She wanted my to go meet her family
And I, I couldn’t figure out how to say No,
Cause I dont speak Arabic, so…

She took me down an old dirt trail
And we pulled up at the side shanty
And she threw open the door
And I hit the floor…
Cuz her brother and her father shot her.

Dirka dirka Muhammed jihad
shurpa shurpa bakala
They pulled out their AKs so I could see
and they said
Dirka dirka Muhammed jihad
shurpa shurpa bakala
so I grabbed her little sister and put her in front of me.

As the bullets began to fly
the blood sprayed from between her eyes
and then I laughed maniacally.
Then I hid behind the TV
and I locked and loaded my M16,
I blew those little fuckers to eternity.

And I said
Dirka dirka Muhammed jihad
surpa surpa bakala
they shoulda known they were fuckin with a Marine
posted by taosbat at 8:12 PM on June 14, 2006


/My heart and thoughts with your boy taosbat.
posted by Smedleyman

Thank you. I have to translate in my head as I type not to call him "my boy"...or nicknames.
posted by taosbat at 8:37 PM on June 14, 2006


I said 'no real comparison', artw... not least because that was a very just war and the US were welcomed as liberators.

But, if this is not even 'a real war' now, then you are all pretty fucking insane.

If you live in America you should be supporting your soldiers. We follow orders. You have a problem with the administration, fine. If you take out your anger on the soldiers that are dying for their country and following orders, then I say that you don’t deserve the liberty that allows you to be as ignorant as you are!
posted by funambulist at 10:44 PM on June 14, 2006


so I grabbed her little sister and put her in front of me.
As the bullets began to fly
the blood sprayed from between her eyes
and then I laughed maniacally.


Yeah, that's really hilarious. They should perform it on American Idol.
posted by homunculus at 11:17 PM on June 14, 2006


http://www.generalquarters.com/2006/05/23/184/#comment-2033

I did a year out in Iraq. Got 6 bullets in my leg. And I would go back there if they asked me to. Someone has to fight for this country and if it’s not going to be you, than who? We (the Marines) have the right to our freedom of speech so what? Now we can’t sing a song? Even though the song was only made to entertain the Marines and to boost morale? If you’re going to let someone else’s words offend you, then you’re weak minded! What about all the videos they put out beheading Americans? Should Americans run the streets protesting? The only reason Americans should leave that place is so we can nuke them! Then cover them in pigs blood! We had less of a reason when we dropped the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Nahasaki.

Hearts and minds!
posted by jaduncan at 12:29 AM on June 15, 2006


As a veteran of the Armed Forces (Desert Storm), I know what is like to feel the tension that these soldiers are experiencing on a DAILY basis (i.e. which is a hell of a lot more tension than you liberals and moral/ethical pus@*xx are feeling in the comfort of your computer chair right now). If this is how this pariticular marine wishes to express his fustrations of having to exterminate the iraq people one day and help them the next, then so be it.
posted by morlock_1971 at 11:26 AM on June 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Take that, you liberal pussies.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:43 AM on June 15, 2006


Marines are the real pussies, apparently. Should we just pump them full of Xanax before they go on patrol instead of letting them do talent shows?
posted by bardic at 1:16 PM on June 15, 2006


note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand -- not at other members of the site.
posted by taosbat at 2:21 PM on June 15, 2006


which is a hell of a lot more tension than you liberals and moral/ethical pus@*xx are feeling in the comfort of your computer chair right now

And 'fuck you' to any of you Iraquis and Muslims worldwide who are offended by his blowing off steam!
posted by ericb at 2:38 PM on June 15, 2006


We're winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqis, one bullet and one child's life at a time.
posted by augustweed at 7:07 PM on June 15, 2006


Well, I had a big night. I enjoyed the Dixie Chicks web cast and then my son called me back.

He confirmed my recollection that his unit was instructed to not call anyone Hadji (Haji). This instruction seems to have been far less institutionalized than my own instruction, back in the day, not to call Germans 'Rads,' after Konrad Adenauer.

He said that no one paid any attention to the prohibition on the word Hadji. That's what we did in Berlin with the term 'Rad.'

He also pointed out that Hadji is a term of respect when so used. So it was with Rad, although with none of the justification one can drum up for Hadji.

A term which can be either disgraceful or respectful...whose real meaning is essentially them not us. Verboten yet ubiquitous.

Looks like a form of racism to me...in both cases.
posted by taosbat at 9:38 PM on June 15, 2006



funambulist:

"But perhaps you meant 'killing pretty much anyone that qualifies as enemy'
- and that's one big problem of this war"

To quote you: Duh.



"which, in other cases than this silly tasteless unfunny joke thing, means..."

Feel free to keep expanding the issue until you win. I'm talking about this
silly tasteless unfunny joke thing.


"That job of genuinely exposing the reality is done by serious in depth
reporting and political action about the damage of war and the victims,
whether it's victims of military or terrorists."

Yeah, the press is all over that. Can't swing a dead cat without hitting in depth
reporting.


"Yes, but, it it a symptom of war itself, in general, or of certain mentalities
about this particular war, mentalities endorsed and exploited by the
government and military command? That's the interesting question.
I don't think we can duck that with 'war is horror'."

Been to war have you? Studied war? Know someone who's been?
Yes, it's all like that. There's no ducking anything - war IS horrible.
Period. Whatever your mentality was is irrelevent once someone starts shooting
at you trying to kill you.



"I'm just gonna be a broken record and repeat that hey,
they're the ones who chose to be there!"

Yes. They're such idiots for trusting that the people wouldn't send them into
harms way without reason.
So, what happens when a real threat comes?


"But, let's not pretend they just woke up one day and found themselves
in harm's way against their will, either. It's civilians who deserve *that*
extra bit of sympathy."

Here's the problem. I'm not arguing about directing sympathy anywhere. Do civilians
"deserve" more? Maybe. I don't get into deserves much because there isn't much
I can do to balance things like that. Lots of people who are in lousy situations
deserve to be out of them. And lots of people who are fat, dumb, and happy deserve
to be eating shit.

The point is - anyone who signs up does so with a measure of trust for their
government. I garuntee you the last person who wants to go to war is any
(sane of course) service member.
He wants to go to war far far less than you do. Far less than an anti-war protester.
Far less than the politicians who make the decision - why? 'Cause it's his ass.

Do you think they somehow deserve to be in harms way because some
politician somewhere can't be trusted?

Or do you think they somehow deserve it because they wanted to serve their country
and the military happened to be their way of doing it?

You or I may not agree with the way someone else does something, but who the hell
are we to judge?
I don't much like the president. I don't think Bush deserves to be president. Does that
make him fair game? Should I go and kill him because he somehow deserves it?

You're hung up on a moral quandry that I've already conceded to you.



"Well, in theory, as in, by law, they're supposed to be trained to kill for
defense, and the fact defense has been stretched by the US to include..."


Yeah. Well, if you're not going to grant me at least some intellect, why bother
answering me? Do you expect me to disagree with those sentiments?
I will point out though that someone killing in a defensive war is still
killing. Some people still need to be trained in the mindset.

You stated "Armies can be very useful" - so let's assume we're at least singing
in the same choir if not off the same sheet of music.


"Or could it be because, despite the UK government supporting the war,
there is a markedly different attitude to war among the majority of the
population at home?"

My point as well. Americans society wants the duality without acknowleging the other.
We want the "hero" without acknowleging that he killed the 'enemy.' We want
nice clean language in war films where explosions rip bodies open. We want the
enemy demonized in general, but not in particular.
It's schizophrenic, really. We all know what Marines in general do for a living.
We know how they train. We know they sing about killing people. We know that in the
armed forces back to the Spartans virility has been equated with destruction.
We know this particular marine went through all that. And he wrote a goofy song
to entertain his fellows and some asshead put it on the web.

So we get this slice of culture from the viewpoint of one guy and want to turn it
into an indictment of what? All that?

Ok. But we knew all this already. And again - as your own comment suggests - it's
just a symptom.
The attitude of the war at home in the U.S. is indifference mixed with hubris - from both sides.

At best it's sympathy - for the entire situation. The only real villians here are the people who
started the war under false pretenses. At best you could argue that the troops are deluded, but some
people genuinely believe it's the right thing to do.
And as far as I know there is still no proof that the war was started under false pretenses.
I mean smoking gun proof. I've read enough to convince me this is so, but some other
people haven't and indeed, they're subject to 24/7 single source information.
So attacking the problem from the 'troops are evil' angle isn't going to cut any ice.
Enough people are pissed off about this now, maybe it'll change.
Far as I can tell we want the same thing - the end of the war.


I'll ignore the 'beggar = marine comments'. You know what I meant. You knew it was just an analogy.
I'd rather reach some understanding than bicker over that kind of off hand bullshit.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:09 PM on June 15, 2006


"Marines are the real pussies, apparently." -
posted by bardic

Head over to the "Gunny Sack" or some otherwise aptly named jarhead bar and you give it to 'em bardic. We'll be right behind you!
posted by Smedleyman at 10:10 PM on June 15, 2006


"I can't help thinking that compared to today there was also a different breed of soldiers and a different cultural attitude among the population those soldiers came from (re: WWII)." - funambulist

Yeah, see here's the thing.



And um, here's a song from the society that produced that "different breed of soldiers":



Listen to "We're Gonna Have To Slap The Dirty Little Jap" produced by "the greatest generation" here kids!


I could go on - but why. Some folks just aren't listening.

Oh, not ALL wars were like this. The language is SO harsh. Oh, MY grandfather didn't fuck anyone in the ass. Blah blah blah.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:22 PM on June 15, 2006


deserving's got nothing to do with it
posted by taosbat at 10:23 PM on June 15, 2006


(And I'm saying your grandfather probably did fuck someone in the ass in reference to other things, not this particular "Dirty Jap" song that is almost meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but not quite completely disconnected from that bigger picture.)
posted by Smedleyman at 10:24 PM on June 15, 2006


/all "you's" in the general sense for sake of parody
posted by Smedleyman at 10:55 PM on June 15, 2006


Oh, MY grandfather didn't fuck anyone in the ass. Blah blah blah.

Well, if you're not going to grant me at least the courtesy to read... like I said, my family was the Iraqi civilians in that situation, they were not the soldiers, they were the ones getting fucked from both sides, and I was thinking of their and their country's experiences with the Americans, and I only brought that up after someone mentioned WWII. Blah blah!

But thanks for being a jerk about it! And obviously yes, what I meant is that in WWII every single American soldier was a sensitive intellectual who shat flowers and there was no racism back then and things were just perfect and oh, Bush ruined everything.

Nevermind, it was just an impression about how war was seen back then, by both soldiers and populations, but it was a different war and time, duh, so there's no point comparing things. Maybe seeing the different attitudes to war in modern day UK and US is more interesting. And here, I don't think the problem is Americans want the nice clean language instead of seeing the reality of war. It's that putting God and country together on a pedestal high above anything else, and all the patriotism on steroids, the city on the hill, special among nations, etc. etc. that's been abundantly exploited for supporting the last wars so obviously the people who have to sell you a war know which buttons to push. That attitude is very clear in the comments to this silly story too. Mentalities are not something only politicians are responsible for. A society is an organic thing, you can't neatly separate all parts of it. The army is a part of that very same society, it doesn't get special exemption. That's QUITE different from some 'troops are evil' angle you might have imagined I was posting from.
posted by funambulist at 11:42 PM on June 15, 2006


Been to war have you?

Here we go again. Look, to make it clear: the problem I have is with the shift from basic sympathy to a political "then STFU" use of 'not a soldier yourself? then you don't know what it's like, you can't judge anything at all' - because you know, none of you has been President of the US either, so, maybe you should all stop being so unpolite and unsensitive to him too?

NB I was and am writing after reading all those awesome awesome comments at the generalquarters blog. That's what I'm really interested in - not the silly song, but the reactions to it. ie. what I already said in that long, unnecessary, obviously ill-advised comment, others said it better anyway.

Do you think they somehow deserve to be in harms way

I just wrote 'chose'. Not 'deserve'! Nice shift!


So we get this slice of culture from the viewpoint of one guy and want to turn it into an indictment of what? All that?

Oh come on, don't be disingenous now, it's not *this* slice of culture in isolation, the only thing ever to appear in the void. What people are reacting to is *this* slice coupled with the other ones that are not on a silly fun note but sooo much heavier stuff with much bigger political consequences! It's impossible for poeple not to connect those things and not to react in light of those other things. This is not a lone clip from the molvanian army.
posted by funambulist at 11:59 PM on June 15, 2006


bardic - Marines are the real pussies

Smedley - the point here is people like the entertaining "morlock" and his clones at generalquarters.com and the like are acting exactly like the Marines are the real pussies.

It's not only a matter of free speech for the Marines to post something on the internet that's bound to piss off people, it's their guaranteed right to be immune from reactions to it, because it's an insufferable OUTRAGE and a threat to the moral core of the USA to even say a critical word of the Marines, they are doing tough stuff in a very tough situation, and they risk death every day, and you liberal pussies HURT them with your words posted on the internet! so STFU beacuse you hate America anyway!

So it's a matter of freeh speech but only for Marines, and If you take out your anger on the soldiers that are dying for their country and following orders, then I say that you don’t deserve the liberty that allows you to be as ignorant as you are!

Can't you see the fucking irony here?

Again, the comments linked to in the FPP, that's what a lot of people are responding to, and that's what is far more interesting to consider than the clip itself.
posted by funambulist at 12:16 AM on June 16, 2006


"...it was just an impression about how war was seen back then, by both soldiers and populations, but it was a different war and time,"

Argument still holds - war is never 'clean' And 'impressions' of how war was really short dicks some of us who, y'know, actually fought.

"The army is a part of that very same society, it doesn't get special exemption. That's QUITE different from some 'troops are evil' angle you might have imagined I was posting from."

Hmmm....What part of "I agree with you" are you not getting?


"Look, to make it clear: the problem I have is with the shift from basic sympathy to a political "then STFU" use of 'not a soldier yourself? then you don't know what it's like, you can't judge anything at all' - because you know, none of you has been President of the US either, so, maybe you should all stop being so unpolite and unsensitive to him too?"


Well, if you're not going to grant me at least the courtesy to read... - to quote you.

Not what I said. I said - to paraphrase - if you have not been to war, if you have not studied it, then you aren't going to know what it is like - 'it' being war.
None of this "maybe you should" business follows from my position.

Ever been an electrician? Worked as an electrician? Studied the electrician business?

Then yeah, STFU about talking about how an electrician does his job, feels about the new building codes, etc. etc.

It doesn't invalidate anyone's opinion of the electrician's work, especially if the lights short out.

You simply don't have the information that stems from being one. You don't know where the electricians go to eat. What they think about when they jack off or what kind of life they generally lead. Ok?

You can still say "hey, my circuit breaker is screwed up" or whatever.

"But thanks for being a jerk about it!"

My apologies. It's hard to maintain civility when some people assert you're an immoral scumbag or some such for having served.

And that's not directed at you - that's a general statement. Like the grandfather thing.


"I just wrote 'chose'. Not 'deserve'! Nice shift!"

Er....
- "But, let's not pretend they just woke up one day and found themselves in harm's way against their will, either. It's civilians who deserve *that* extra bit of sympathy."

Yeah, what was I thinking. 'Deserve'? Must've pulled that out of my ass.


"it's not *this* slice of culture in isolation, the only thing ever to appear in the void."

Yeah, but it's *this* slice of culture that is the topic at hand.

And you want to keep expanding it - the way I'm reading it, and perhaps I'm wrong - into some kind of social indictment of people as a whole who join the military.

I've agreed that the thing was stupid and the guy, nor the military, should not get special exemption.

I mean what exactly the fuck is it you want?

Which - actually - should be the question?

What do you want to happen to this guy?

Are they supposed to discipline him?

Bearing in mind HE did not put this online.
Bearing in mind HE sang it only to his fellows. Bearing in mind far far far worse songs are sung in boot camp.

(Throwing candy out to schoolchildren so you can cut them down with a battle rifle is not what I'd call sensitive.)

I've conceded your main point.
I've said it wasn't funny.

I just don't think this somehow proves all marines are racist bastards. And I've outlined information from my own experiance to illustrate that point.
You have this idea you're pushing. I'm not even saying it's wrong.

But how can you refute my point that - having myself been through several engagements and studied many many more - wars are filled with really ugly horrible things?

Why is it somehow a British troops/society vs. American troops/society thing?

Indicative of a pattern? Sure. I've gone so far as to call the American mindset on war schitzophrenic. On this war it's it's own special kind of crazy.

But it seems to me we keep going back to this thing being indicative of all American servicemen, which, having been one, and having married outside my own ethnicity, I can't
say jibes with my own experiance.

And somehow I'm wrong about that?

"What people are reacting to is *this* slice coupled with the other ones that are not on a silly fun note but sooo much heavier stuff with much bigger political consequences!"

Which again - I didn't have a problem with. Some of the reactions are off base.
That's it.
It's displaced aggression, and just because someone is 'for peace' doesn't make them immune to it.

I want this war over as much as anyone short of being in that shit myself.
I have friends there. I have family there.
I'm not willing to deride every single person down to buck private as some folks (not saying you have) have been doing as some kind of filthy babykiller to make some kind of political point or to somehow magically shut down the war by doing it to - I don't know, shame people out of serving.

Peace is just an alternative viewpoint. It's one I happen to agree with. I'm just not so certain of every fact I've been exposed to that I think I know better than someone else without having walked a little in their shoes or without recognizing there are alternative points of view. And maybe, just maybe, I'm not right about everything.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:46 AM on June 16, 2006


"Can't you see the fucking irony here?"

Er...yeah.

I didn't take any of that exchange seriously.

I do find it ironic that folks will say things - even given the absence of intimidation - onlike they would never be so impolite to say in person.

/I think sonofsamiam's comment was funnier.

We're none of us perfectly rational actors.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:55 AM on June 16, 2006


/I should say - I also find it ironic. And I couldn't top sonofsamiam's comment so I've got a comical image of bardic - who I presume to be a regular sort of person - jumping up from a heated thread topic, driving to a marine base, going through security, getting a pass, etc. etc. then running into a bar full of salty bastard sergents and yelling "Pussies!" at them.

I dunno, funny to me.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:57 AM on June 16, 2006


I wouldn't go to a bar frequented by military guys, becuase I don't hang out at bars anymore. I drink with them at house parties sometimes, run into friends of mine who're Army or Navy (don't personally know any Marines).

As for Iraqis? I wouldn't tell them a goddamn thing about how to conduct their business. Anyone with a brain, military or not, knows that the objective of killing/capturing the badguys (Saddam) has been accomplished. Nation building? Go at it, tough guys. Many of them made fun of Clinton for trying to do it on a relatively minor scale in Africa and Eastern Europe--why? Because it's a fucking unwinnable situation all around. And yeah, if there's any humor in this video, it kind of acknowledges what a stupid position they're in. But if they're still so keen on this mission of nation building, shouldn't they be acting in their own self interest? And not making videos that will get them shot/blown up/beheaded more often?

Why do Hadji girls (and boys) shoot at them? Hate them? Despise them? Want them to go away forever? Why should I even have to ask that question? People don't like being shat upon, military or otherwise. And there is no mission here any longer, not for Marines at least.

Frankly, they are pussies. They go into a foreign country and tell them how they should live their lives. They do it with top equipment, air- and artillery- strikes, and the notion that killing people makes them like you. That's why the war on terrorism was lost on 9/12/2001.

Here's one to grow on, Smedleyman--go into a coffeeshouse frequented by arabs in NYC or Detroit and tell them how your little crusade is going. Find an ex-pat Iraqi and ask how their dead cousin or niece is doing. Find somene with relatives who used to live in Fallujah--I suspect they're dead. We can compare stories, because frankly, I'm not the one with so much blood on my hands.
posted by bardic at 2:16 AM on June 16, 2006


Argument still holds - war is never 'clean'

And that's still a straw man - who ever said it was ever clean?

Now let me clarify once again I know very well how dumb it is to even bring up WWII in reference to what's going on in Iraq post-saddam. My own response to that may have been also dumb and totally emotional itself, but let's see if it helps to clarify what was implied: I have inherited from a side of the family who experienced those events as civilians the war a genuine sense of admiration and gratitude for the US (& UK and allies but we're talking the US army here) for the liberation from the nazifascists in WWII. Now let's say 99% of that gratitude was obviously due to the specific conditions of that war, living under dictatorship, poverty, deportations, massacres, civil war in which an internal resistance against the regime was already facilitating the welcome feeling towards the US, but maybe, just maybe, at least that 1% is also due to a general positive perception of the US army behaviour towards non-armed civilians.

Am I crazy or stupid for thinking that? Even assuming I'm crazy and stupid, am I allowed this totally emotional reaction of being just a little sad at seeing how low the reputation of the US army has sunk abroad?

Am I totally insane for thinking it's not exclusively to do with the US foreign policy decided from on high by the administration, or the consequences of all due differences between 'regular' war and 'asymmetrical' war with terrorists (it's not like there were no ambushes in WWII, though), and that it might also have something to do with the attitude of soldiers towards civilians? It's not like those things aren't connected anyway.

That's what I meant, so please just forget the crap phrasing of 'different breed of soldiers'. I am still too young to be a nostalgic and the last thing I'd be nostalgic of is fucking WWII!

There, I hope you understand better where I was coming from with that comment. Please make a little effort to not read everything in the worst possible terms. I'm not trying to 'win' an argument, it's just, you know, discussion and clarifying one's point of view, even if it may all be bullshit...
posted by funambulist at 6:18 AM on June 16, 2006


"The army is a part of that very same society, it doesn't get special exemption. That's QUITE different from some 'troops are evil' angle you might have imagined I was posting from."

Hmmm....What part of "I agree with you" are you not getting?


Well, Smedleyman, you don't seem too convinced that I am not saying all the troops are evil racist scum. It's not even actually about racism here.

I realise, you're in the marines yourself I gather, so you kind of take this all personally, but why not try and go beyond that?


We agree on this:

- war is ugly always
- this war was not the most justified war ever /euphemism of the century
- this song is not funny
- in itself it's no big deal though, just a crappy song to let off steam
- the soldier should not be disciplined nor beheaded by crazy jihadis for something so relatively silly
- it wasn't his fault the thing got on the internet, it was the fault of another soldier who posted it and clearly was even more of a dickhead

Now, what you seem to have a problem with is 'expanding' this episode and connecting it to the worse shit that incidentally got the very same 'STFU-you-don't-know-what-it's-like' reactions. AS IF I'm forcing connections about totally unconnected things? as if this song and most of all the reactions to it are not a little shrub in a bigger forest? Come on.

Forget about my particular reaction and whether I'm being fair and making enough distinctions about people in the army - I am just one person, my opinions don't matter - think about all the other reactions you're reading and hearing. Think about people from other countries. Think about people who are not the Marines. Let's extend the 'you don't know what it's like' to everyone.

I'm sure you'll agree that it doesn't really matter what you or I personally think of the bloke who sang the song, it doesn't matter that this episode is so relatively silly and harmless, what matters is the image it conveys, and the image conveyed by the most inane acritical-patriotism-on-steroids reactions to it. It may not be fair! but those impressions still do matter. They also matter on a practical basis to the soldiers themselves.

Another problem you seem to have is with me saying that soldiers have their own individual and collective responsibilities for behaviour that does inevitably contribute to those impressions.

We can all agree in blaming the politicians for putting the soldiers in harm's way without a just cause and without the necessary conditions in that country to facilitate a military intervention, but I do not subscribe to the conclusion that that's where all responsibilities start and end.

I don't want to shame anyone or treat all soldiers as evil scum, I just don't buy this unconditional 'support the troops' bullshit when it's much more than 'have some understanding and sympathy for the peculiarly shitty conditions they're in' but it gets used as a political tool to demand unconditional approval or indifference to anything that the army is doing in Iraq, and, by extension, to the US policies that the army is enforcing and representing, and the political opinions behind those policies, and the support for them among the population and electorate.

You may not be doing this trick, but others definitely are and have been doing so, about much heavier shit than this.

That's the problem I have with that 'don-know-what-its-like-so-stfu'. IT IS very clearly used with the intent to invalidate opinions.

Let's keep in mind none of us knows exactly what it's like to be civilians in Iraq either.

(Ah, and the 'deserve' thing - you'll notice I used the word about deserving extra sympathy, not deserving to be in harm's way or to get killed. So, again, pay attention: soldiers in a volunteer army by definition choose to do a job that puts them in harm's way, whether they can choose where to be deployed or not - so, it's not 'deserve' to die, it's 'don't deserve as much extra sympathy as civilians who didn't choose to be in harm's way in the first place. Ok? I assume we can all agree on that too.)
posted by funambulist at 6:21 AM on June 16, 2006


"What people are reacting to is *this* slice coupled with the other ones that are not on a silly fun note but sooo much heavier stuff with much bigger political consequences!"

Which again - I didn't have a problem with. Some of the reactions are off base.


Yeah, some probably are, but I'd say the STFU reactions are much more politically dangerous than the outraged and disgusted reactions, you know.

I don't believe this videoclip has the power to create new terrorists among the outraged. It takes some sustained brainwashing for that.

But I believe it has the power to reveal among those reacting to it an easier and softer brainwashing of another kind - not lethal to people, but lethal to a democracy.

Peace is only an impossible ideal, but to me this has nothing to do with peace vs. war, it's about attitudes about war, having accepted the existence or war, regardless of whether it's necessary and justified or not. Most of all it's about attitudes towards one's country.
posted by funambulist at 6:38 AM on June 16, 2006



“Here's one to grow on, Smedleyman--go into a coffeeshouse frequented by arabs in NYC or Detroit and tell them how your little crusade is going.” - bardic

The one about trying to hold the Bush administration accountable? Sure, happy to do that.
Is it at all clear that I’m opposed to this war or do you just see “conservative” and make assumptions?

“We can compare stories, because frankly, I'm not the one with so much blood on my hands.” - bardic

Yeah, well, my joke was in poor taste - I said as much. Again, I apologize.


“And that's still a straw man - who ever said it was ever clean?” - funambulist

Um, the pro-war people we agree that are nutty?
The point I was making - absent your argument - about war in general?

What, you expect to win an argument by shouting ‘straw man’ any time someone brings up a tangent point? I was making an observation. It’s only marginally related to what you’re talking about - and as far as I can tell is in agreement with your overall point.

Again - what the hell is it you want from me?

“at least that 1% is also due to a general positive perception of the US army behaviour towards non-armed civilians.”

Ok. Fair point. Those folks were - given that they were in France or something - genuinely liberated.
This war, from it’s initial premise, was flawed and not at all the same. Sure.

“Am I totally insane for thinking it's not exclusively to do with the US foreign policy decided from on high by the administration, or...”

I thought I expressed agreement with that concept. Dunno, perhaps I did it poorly. My mistake.

As for the rest of it - yep, I’ll say it looks bad. Particularly in context with all the other stuff going on, sure.

The best way I can see to support the troops in this is to bring them home.
The crux of the matter is - whatever politically is going on - however people marginalize other’s arguments (e.g the don’t-know-what-its-like-so-stfu) - the fact of the matter is you cannot have any of the troops taking cues from anywhere except the civilian government - supported by the constitution they are sworn to protect.

You or I might be quite sure the war is wrong. We might even KNOW it. But unless we have incontrovertable proof of malfeasance - and further - unless we go about legally rectifying the problem - the troops in the field cannot and should not act of their own violation.
You can disobey an illegal order, but you have to have proof it was illegal. And, indeed, proof of the order.

In that sense - the “you don’t know what it’s like” argument holds. Because it is unlike anything else relatable. Your will is not your own - and can’t be.
God save us all if the military starts making it’s own decisions.
They are tools. Each trooper is a tool.

We can condemn them for that in the sense that Thoreau did (tool of a tool - the state being a tool of man) - but respect that that is the sacrifice they made.

In a sense I agree with the sentiment that “well they signed up for it.” But I honor that initial act of faith. Other considerations are certainly open to criticism. But without knowing why any individual signed up, I can’t condemn or praise.

If someone wants to sign up to kill Ay-rabs, I certainly can’t condone their position.

I myself have been thinking deeply about re-entering the service. I’m very much against this engagement, but I see a huge gaping hole in leadership. I think that if I were there, maybe I could make a difference. Maybe it would be one less squad losing it and killing a family. One less platoon used as cannon fodder. Maybe I can help by leading by example. Maybe I’ll be killed or crushed by the Bush machine, but at least I will have tried.
I’m a man of action, I want to DO something to help. As it is, I think I can do more good at home so I’m working from here.
Unfortunately - as evidenced here, I’m better at fighting than I am at communicating.

But if I were to join under those conditions, I don’t see how that could be condemned as immoral.

“I'd say the STFU reactions are much more politically dangerous than the outraged and disgusted reactions...but lethal to a democracy. ”

Unquestionably. But there is a difference in kind. I feel more empathy for folks who serve and have served. So that’s who I tend to look at.
This does not mean I do not recognize the reactions of the other kind. But there are plenty of folks amply defending that position and I’ve tried not to step on their toes.

“As this the 38th anniversary of my wounding in Vietnam approaches, in many ways I feel my injury in that war has been a blessing in disguise. I have been given the opportunity to move through that dark night of the soul to a new shore, to gain an understanding, a knowledge, an entirely different vision. I now believe that I have suffered for a reason and in many ways I have found that reason in my commitment to peace and nonviolence. We who have witnessed the obscenity of war and experienced its horror and terrible consequences have an obligation to rise above our pain and suffering and turn the tragedy of our lives into a triumph. I have come to believe that there is nothing in the lives of human beings more terrifying than war and nothing more important than for those of us who have experienced it to share its awful truth.

    We must break this cycle of violence and begin to move in a different direction; war is not the answer, violence is not the solution. A more peaceful world is possible.” - Ron Kovic
posted by Smedleyman at 11:46 AM on June 16, 2006


Military loosens conditions on Marines in brig
Fri Jun 16, 2006 10:30pm ET

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The military has loosened the conditions under which it is confining seven Marines and a Navy corpsman as it investigates the fatal shooting of an Iraqi civilian in April, the U.S. Marine Corps said on Friday.

The service members, held in pretrial confinement at the Camp Pendleton brig in California since May 24, had been in "maximum" custody, restrained with handcuffs attached to a leather belt and leg cuffs any time leaving their cells, officials said.

The base said in a statement that has been changed to "medium-in" custody with no such restraints while inside the brig facility. Any time outside the brig, however, they will be restrained with handcuffs attached to a leather belt. They now also will get visits on weekends and holidays and one hour of daily recreation without restraint, the base said.

In the April 26 incident in the town of Hamdania, military criminal investigators are examining whether the Marines and corpsman fatally shot a 52-year-old disabled Iraqi man in the face, then planted a rifle and a shovel next to his body to make it appear he was an insurgent placing a roadside bomb.

Defense lawyers have said they expect the military to file murder and kidnapping charges, and say investigators have threatened them with the death penalty.

The military initially misidentified the town where the shooting took place as Hamandiyah but has since corrected it.

It is a separate case from the November 19 killing of 24 civilians in Haditha in which other Marines are suspected.

---

I think this a glimpse of the deeper context for folks' reactions to this video. It seems logical to me that given such a shameful situation, nothing like Lieutenant Calley's house arrest for My Lai, folks would tend to scrutinize the song in passionate lights. It's hard not to.

---

I myself have been thinking deeply about re-entering the service. I'm very much against this engagement, but I see a huge gaping hole in leadership. I think that if I were there, maybe I could make a difference.
posted by Smedleyman


Yeah, my son said the same damn thing. He was so bummed when he came down on orders for recruiter school. But, orders is orders.

In fact, when he got to the school, he found that a number of his classmates from the 10th MTN were in the same sort of boat as himself. Guys who'd been pulled from the line to do things like be the CO's radio op. Guys who had therefore been pulled out of the line of promotion into deadend jobs because their abilities were needed for the job.

If they were to bump the age up enough, I'd probably go. But they won't kick it up to me.

They'd have to draft young'uns first. That might be a good thing.

So, what's my duty, too old to go? Son in service...
Citizen. That's what I'm stuck with: Organize!

Like vengeance, it's a dish best eaten cold.
posted by taosbat at 9:25 PM on June 16, 2006


Ummm...not to put words Robert's mouth, He said this part:

...I think that if I were there, maybe I could make a difference.
posted by taosbat at 9:53 PM on June 16, 2006


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