How to drive a Humvee in traffic in Baghdad.
January 27, 2007 1:10 AM   Subscribe

How not to drive a Humvee in traffic in Baghdad.
posted by loquacious (159 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I read somewhere that they do this to protect themselves from getting ambushed. If they got caught in a traffic jam it would be bad news bears for them.
posted by hafetysazard at 1:15 AM on January 27, 2007


...but they are still pricks for ramming people.
posted by hafetysazard at 1:19 AM on January 27, 2007


There's a thing called a horn. In my experience, it's a little more polite and a good bit more effective than purposely crashing into other cars at low speeds.

...granted, I don't live in either Baghdad or Los Angeles, so I'm not really worried about people shooting at me.
posted by Target Practice at 1:19 AM on January 27, 2007


Oh wait, they are using the horn.

Although really, it sounds more like they just jury-rigged it to never shut off.
posted by Target Practice at 1:21 AM on January 27, 2007


...continued to accelerate even as a kid ran across the road...
posted by Target Practice at 1:22 AM on January 27, 2007


I'm going to use that if I ever get pulled over... it was either keep moving or be ambushed, Officer... ambushed! That said, those pedestrians didn't act like that was the first Humvee, erm, navigating Baghdad traffic.
posted by chudder at 1:32 AM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


True, chudder. Same thing with the cars; they pretty much all went over to the side of the road after getting hit.

Though that could be because they wanted to swap insurance information.
posted by Target Practice at 1:34 AM on January 27, 2007


Winning hearts and minds.

Seriously, the fact that our soldiers have to ram the car in front of them to prevent getting blown up by insurgents pretty much says we've lost this war.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:35 AM on January 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


Posted by the same guy on YouTube: Soldiers on a helicopter spying on a couple having sex in Sadr City (SFW)

Good to see they're keeping busy. I can sure see why we need 20,000+ more troops in Iraq. We need a whole collection of these videos for a DVD compilation.
posted by Target Practice at 1:40 AM on January 27, 2007


We can't really make any conclusions here, can we? They could be on the way to the site of an ambush to provide backup or something. I'd ram the guy in front of me if I knew there were people attacking my friends or something.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:48 AM on January 27, 2007


It really is time to start using
#
or
U=
posted by The Deej at 1:50 AM on January 27, 2007


I suppose it's possible, but in that case, wouldn't we hear some radio chatter or something?

The only speech we hear in the whole video is the driver (or maybe one of the passengers) remarking about a guy picking his nose.
posted by Target Practice at 1:52 AM on January 27, 2007


We can't really make any conclusions here, can we?

Sure we can. Ever play the old EA title 7 Cities of Gold?

Part of the game was where you can freely wander around native cities, but if you're careless and bump into the natives they go pop and disappear. Do that too much and the natives start fighting back, and word spreads to other town that the invaders are a bunch of a-holes.

See the parallel here?
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:54 AM on January 27, 2007


What is that big yellow floating key that goes past at about 1:30? Power-up?
posted by chrismear at 2:27 AM on January 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


Not too surprising, I suppose. A friend of mine spent a year in Afghanistan as part of the coalition forces and said that his drivers would often force cars off the road if they did anything that even hinted at a risk - they'd then compensate the drivers for any damage later on.
posted by greycap at 2:34 AM on January 27, 2007


I have a feeling nobody's being compensated here...
posted by skammer at 2:44 AM on January 27, 2007


Wow, makes me have a lot more sympathy towards the people getting steamrollered by the occupation. I'd be pretty pissed off too if some foreign invader rammed my car and I couldn't do a damn thing about it.

I do love the whole accelerate towards the pedestrians bit as well. That was a lovely touch.
posted by Talanvor at 2:48 AM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Lucky none of those cars' trunks was loaded with explosives.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:59 AM on January 27, 2007


Interesting comments. What do you think a police officer in America would do if you didn't move out of their way? Probably tap your bumper.

Like hafetysazard, I would guess that the guys in the humvee were trying to keep moving to avoid drawing attack. It didn't really look like the pedestrians or the vehicles in front of them were in much danger.

All in all, this seems pretty tame to me, given the location and all the other idiocy happening there. Sure, it's high-handed, but I suspect almost anyone would rather be a jerk than incite an attack that could leave us and most of the people around us -- including civilians -- dead.
posted by Kikkoman at 3:12 AM on January 27, 2007


I'm pretty certain that the drivers of domestic Hummers fantasize driving like this all the time. If they could get the roof-mounted .50-Caliber option, you'd see a lot of this at home.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:13 AM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Don't like my driving? Call 1-800-US-ARMY
posted by Bravocharlie at 3:55 AM on January 27, 2007 [8 favorites]


I see, so it's not arrogance it's defensive driving. What happens if another Humvee is coming the other way?
posted by kingzog at 3:56 AM on January 27, 2007


It's surreal to watch, certainly, but I'm not seeing the problem.

If I were one of the people in the cars they tap or a pedestrian around them, I would certainly rather get tapped or have to hustle than be that close to a Humvee that gets ambushed.

Given the options, gently tapping people to get their attention seems like the least evil choice.
posted by sparkletone at 4:07 AM on January 27, 2007


Pity about the several hundred in car damage. Did you see those trunks getting crumpled? Oh well, sucks to be them, huh?

Plus, if it was just a "gentle tap" why do they slow down enough so they could actually stop, and then accelerate into the cars? Hell, they could have done much less damage just coasting into them rather than laying on the gas.
posted by Talanvor at 4:17 AM on January 27, 2007


Also I would point out police in America don't use Hummers, so they actually would hit your bumper. Those weren't bumpers absorbing the impact there, the Hummer's just too damn high for that sort of thing against those smaller sedans.

Really makes me want to get a trailer hitch for my truck now, though.
posted by Talanvor at 4:19 AM on January 27, 2007


This would have been great if the video ended with Iraqi insurgents blowing up the humvee.
posted by sic at 4:43 AM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


This would have been great if the video ended with Iraqi insurgents blowing up the humvee.

I honestly expected the video to end with them causing more than minor damage to some poor bastard's car.
posted by sparkletone at 4:58 AM on January 27, 2007


Hey, this is every rush-hour traffic warrior's dream. Gonna be hard for these Humvee heros to come back stateside and have to, you know, wait. Sit in traffic. Like some Iraqi schmuck.

And maybe there was also some asshole dangling a bottle of water from the back window and some kids racing along on foot behind hoping to be the lucky recipient of that legendary Yankee generosity?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:06 AM on January 27, 2007


Jeez people. That's an obviously American military monstrosity driving down the road, honking its horn and dinging cars that don't get out of the way. Flat out obnoxious, but a jittery necessity. Are you guys telling me you would wait patiently for locals who never looked in the rear-view? You're some sort of cross between Miss Manners and Jackass?
posted by toma at 5:06 AM on January 27, 2007


They shouldn't be out there cruising if they have to drive like that in order to not get killed. Staying home would win them more hearts and minds... including their own.
posted by FidelDonson at 5:09 AM on January 27, 2007


The guy standing in front of the the tanks in tianamen square = good.


The guy standing in front of the humvee picking his nose = bad.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:17 AM on January 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


This video is an amazing example of American's need for special treatment and how much the world is willing to provide it, if they'll just, you know, grow the fuck up...
posted by CautionToTheWind at 5:21 AM on January 27, 2007


They shouldn't be out there cruising if they have to drive like that in order to not get killed. Staying home would win them more hearts and minds... including their own.

Eh...wha? So, none of this spastic patrolling, gotcha.

And when Iraqi reality goes from wretched to anarchy, don't you think the world might stare at the occupiers, already suspect for the 100,000 or so slaughtered, and say "Have you no shame?"
posted by toma at 5:31 AM on January 27, 2007


Um, aren't they already toma?
posted by Talanvor at 5:31 AM on January 27, 2007


Hell yes, and rightfully so. And it could get much, much worse. This abyss is so deep that it defeats description.
posted by toma at 5:40 AM on January 27, 2007


I guess I find myself in the camp of not seeing the problem. It is a war zone, the drivers are making lots of noise to alert people to get out of their way, and they're not being gratuitous about bumping other cars - there's a couple of instances where they can see that the car in front can't get out of the way, and on those occasions they hang back. The nudging seems reserved for cars that can't take a hint.

They're obviously in a hurry, and I doubt that it's due to a pressing need to pick up some groceries. Eventually they resort to driving on the wrong side of the road, where traffic is lighter and oncoming cars seem to be better placed to notice a humvee bearing down on them.

Pedestrians? The pedestrians are running across a busy road. Surely they would share some culpability in the event of a collision?

This just isn't worth getting uptight about.
posted by Ritchie at 5:41 AM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


do we train our humvee drivers by having them play GTA?
posted by localhuman at 5:51 AM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I guess I find myself in the camp of not seeing the problem. It is a war zone

you say that as if these soldiers in a humvee just innocently stumbled into a war zone one fine day ... no, we invaded their country, which was and is their home and not just a "war zone"

They're obviously in a hurry, and I doubt that it's due to a pressing need to pick up some groceries.

it's because they don't have control of the ground, period ... and if you don't have control of the ground, then as an occupying force, you've lost

This just isn't worth getting uptight about.

of course not ... it's not YOUR country that's been invaded or YOUR car that's being bumped to the side of the road, so YOU can just sit in your comfy chair in front of the computer and proclaim it doesn't matter
posted by pyramid termite at 6:06 AM on January 27, 2007 [9 favorites]


Are they shifting with a stick?
Is that practical in a combat zone?
posted by squidfartz at 6:16 AM on January 27, 2007


too bad they drove off so fast, because there were a lot of Iraqis eager to greet them as liberators
posted by matteo at 6:16 AM on January 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


Somebody send this shit to Jack Thompson

This behavior is obviously influenced by Simpsons Road Rage
posted by wigu at 6:17 AM on January 27, 2007


Hey, pyramid termite, uh...

Well put.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:19 AM on January 27, 2007


of course not ... it's not YOUR country that's been invaded or YOUR car that's being bumped to the side of the road, so YOU can just sit in your comfy chair in front of the computer and proclaim it doesn't matter

Well, despite the snark that is basically correct... given that the mission is failing so comprehensively, who gives a toss about some dented fenders? I mean, how many bombs went off in Baghdad today?
posted by Ritchie at 6:24 AM on January 27, 2007


Ah blaming the common soldier in a humvee for continuing the war -- brilliant!

Granted I've never been to Baghdad but did those streets look like common U.S. city traffic? Have you ever tried to drive in a major congested foreign city like Athens? People nudge each other all the time and you have to fight for your spot in traffic. I'm not a proponent of the war in any way but lost war or not, how do you blame soldiers for their need to keep moving in heavy congestion?

Maybe you should write your local congressman and suggest that they form a teddy bear drive at your local VFW. Then these soldiers can lash them to their bumpers to soften the hint.
posted by guruguy9 at 6:43 AM on January 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


pyramid termite: you say that as if these soldiers in a humvee just innocently stumbled into a war zone one fine day ... no, we invaded their country, which was and is their home and not just a "war zone"

I don't see how individual soldiers have much of a choice about whether they go to Iraq, short of ending up court-martialled. It's hardly fair to hold every single soldier responsible for American foreign policy.

If I were driving a Humvee through Iraq I'd spend more time thinking about getting myself and my passengers to the destination in one piece than pondering the legality of the war. Nudging the cars in front (who clearly could move over if they wanted to) is not something I'd lose sleep over.
posted by matthewr at 6:47 AM on January 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


Not losing sleep over things like this is why you're losing the war
posted by A189Nut at 6:55 AM on January 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


We can't really make any conclusions here, can we?

Sure we can. If you refuse to, well, that says something about you.

This just isn't worth getting uptight about.

[and many similar comments]

You people amaze me. Right, foreigners are just little blobs like in a video game, and it's hilarious if you watch them scurrying or getting their cars hit from behind. You can't seem to make the leap of imagination that would enable you to envision someone doing that to you; like good TV-trained Americans, all you can do is parrot the talking points. "They're in danger! Hey, they were probably going to rescue a comrade, like in that war movie I saw! Support our troops!" And you, and those guys in the Humvee, wonder "why they hate us."

pyramid termite: Well said.
posted by languagehat at 6:57 AM on January 27, 2007 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not saying hitting cars is a great way to win friends and influence people, but it's not an egregious sin either (and would be avoidable if the cars in front moved over). I agree with what guruguy said: I'm not a proponent of the war in any way but lost war or not, how do you blame soldiers for their need to keep moving in heavy congestion?
posted by matthewr at 6:59 AM on January 27, 2007


I don't see how individual soldiers have much of a choice about whether they go to Iraq, short of ending up court-martialled. It's hardly fair to hold every single soldier responsible for American foreign policy.

"I was only following orders."

I don't intend to belittle the common soldier, but if I was in a volunteer army as a volunteer and I didn't agree with the war or find it just, I would strongly feel that it would be my duty to humankind to desert my post, court martial or brig-time be damned.

Throwing up your hands and saying "I don't have a choice" due to money, fear of prosecution or whatever is, frankly, cowardice and an inability to accept the global consequences of one's own actions and choices - and damn unsoldierly.

"What about honor and loyalty and the chain of command?" someone more pro-military than I would argue.

If the chain of command is corrupt all the way to the top, is loyalty deserved? Should the orders not be questioned?

They should, and questioning authority is something that should be standard material in learning to operate peaceable on planet Earth.


We won't eliminate wars as an acceptable dialog in our planetary culture until we reign in our misplaced senses of honor and duty to country - until Nationalism fades away from the glowing fever-pitch it has been for so long - until people grow and realize that only in the rarest, most extenuating circumstances is an unhindered, unquestioning chain of command a fine, good thing, and that at any other time it is a construct of terror, misused power and abuse - for by design it can have no other function.


The medium is the message, people. If your only tool is a hammer, shit is going to get banged up.
posted by loquacious at 7:04 AM on January 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


peaceable = peacably
posted by loquacious at 7:06 AM on January 27, 2007


All I can think of is Bump n' Jump.

Is that wrong?
posted by Muddler at 7:08 AM on January 27, 2007


To all those saying it's fine to be bumped by a humvee, I guess you won't mind being bumped yourself by the police, fire, or ambulance in your hometown? Oh you do?!
posted by FieldingGoodney at 7:12 AM on January 27, 2007


languagehat, I'm ready to concede that I'm stupid, ignorant, and all the rest. I'm all of those things and more. But I don't recall ever saying, or even thinking, that the video was 'hilarious', let alone all the other implications you made. I politely request you take that back, and if you don't, well... I'm just going to get over it, because my hurt feelings are something else which really doesn't matter much.

When one's country is occupied, one's life is in constant danger from being ended viloently, and one has probably already lost family and friends to fire friendly and otherwise, I suspect one does not start loving the occupiers for being polite drivers.

I'm willing to be influenced otherwise, but so far all that is on display in this thread is people enjoying their own outrage.

On preview: FieldingGoodney, if an emergency vehicle rear-ends me for not getting out of their way when they have lights and sirens on, I'd be a fool to say I didn't have it coming.
posted by Ritchie at 7:16 AM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


So much feted fecal oration, where to begin? Have you ever driven over there? No, well the just watch the video and say, hmmm… that seems strange. Save your postulations for things which you may have actually experienced and have something upon which to reference or base your opinions. If you have driven over there then you know there is a certain requirement to let go of your predefined ideas of normal. Once you have accomplished that then you can begin to assimilate, function and yes, pontificate.

Culturally speaking most of the things you see in this video are probably more offensive to you because you wouldn’t cross the street unless the little guy says go. You live in a world where someone cutting in line is the greatest moral offence you are likely to experience any time soon. It is what it is. When was the last time some guy walked out in front of your car picking his nose? Do you laugh, scream, or just say WTF? If you live in S.F. you are excluded from this question.

Notice the demeanor of the guys in the vehicle. They are navigating traffic; they need to be somewhere other than where they are. No one is lighting off a 50 cal. to clear the road, it is just business as usual. The guy in front of this vehicle will not move until he is given a bump. Flashing headlights will get you shit on this street. Bumping is actually a form of respect; not moving until bumped is a mild form of protest and resistance to the occupation, as is every good citizen’s duty. I know, that one may be hard for you to grasp. We may have military superiority, but they still set cultural playing field. It is called home field advantage. Oh, and sic I hope you die in a fiery death, have a nice day.
posted by MapGuy at 7:17 AM on January 27, 2007 [6 favorites]


languagehat: You can't seem to make the leap of imagination that would enable you to envision someone doing that to you

Can you honestly say that if you were risking your life driving through Baghdad you would be more concerned about 'doing as you would be done to' than staying alive?

loquacious, the "I was only following orders" argument seems spurious to me in this case. Of course soldiers have a duty to disobey illegal orders. But they don't have a right to disobey orders that happen to conflict with their personal morality. As for the argument that the war in Iraq is illegal so soldiers should refuse to fight, I don't know enough about international law to have an informed opinion, but the bottom line is that no court in Britain or American is going to accept that. I think a recent court case in Britain concluded that a soldier who worked to implement an illegal foreign policy would not be committing a crime anyway (although government ministers could be committing a crime). (I could be wrong about, it happened a while ago).
posted by matthewr at 7:19 AM on January 27, 2007


Democracy or else.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:25 AM on January 27, 2007


You people amaze me. Right, foreigners are just little blobs like in a video game, and it's hilarious if you watch them scurrying or getting their cars hit from behind.

I can tell you one thing: the average soldier deployed in Iraq doesn't "wonder why they hate us" -- they, unlike you, are in constant daily contact with citizens on the streets of Iraq's cities. They know full well the sources of Iraqi anger and offense; sometimes a soldier doesn't care, most of the time they do care because it gets in the way of doing their jobs.

Bumping people with your humvee is rude. Well, no shit. The fact that they're doing it should tell you one of two things: either they're a bunch of idiot kids abusing the citizenry, or they're making the decision to piss people off because it's the lesser of two evils. The latter is all too common nowadays, so unless you have evidence for the former your indignation is misplaced.

Watching this video, the only thing I can feel is sadness. It represents (in spirit if not in kind) the majority of our everyday contacts with Iraqis, and underlines the fact that Sunni militias and foreign insurgents have been successful in framing those contacts in terms of occupiers and subjects.
posted by xthlc at 7:28 AM on January 27, 2007


The medium is the message, people. If your only tool is a hammer, shit is going to get banged up.

Exactly (and brilliantly said). The take-away message from this is not "OMG troops drive bad" or "dude tehy have to becuz otherwise theyll get shot at," it's "if this is how troops have to drive in Baghdad, they shouldn't be over there."

Ritchie: I wasn't saying that you in particular, or everybody who made comments like that, thought it was hilarious (and that word was basically for rhetorical effect anyway: substitute "cool" or "boring" or whatever might apply). I'm saying that anybody who doesn't see a problem here—whose reaction is "hey, getting bumped isn't so bad, what's the big deal?"—is exhibiting a failure of imagination similar to the one that got us into this mess in the first place. All you can see is the obvious "Hey, they have to get somewhere and they don't want to get blown up and all they're doing is bumping people, it's not like they're blowing them away or something"; you can't picture to yourself what life is like for the people of Baghdad, who are so inured to the terror and violence and asshole behavior on the part of anyone with a gun that they just amble across the street and pick their nose, and when the Humvee bumps them they meekly pull aside. That's not a sign that everything's cool, that's a sign that the place has gone so far down the tubes it will take many years to pull itself back to some semblance of civilization, and sadly, it will have to do that pretty much on its own, because now that we've totally fucked it up we're going to get out and not look back. Another shiny object will dazzle and distract us, and if anyone brings up suffering Iraqis, the response will be "Hey, those losers can't handle democracy."
posted by languagehat at 7:29 AM on January 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think a recent court case in Britain concluded that a soldier who worked to implement an illegal foreign policy would not be committing a crime anyway

My Google-fu is letting me down here, I can't find a copy of what the judge said. It was definately interesting though, and worth reading.

posted by matthewr at 7:34 AM on January 27, 2007


the average soldier deployed in Iraq doesn't "wonder why they hate us" -- they, unlike you, are in constant daily contact with citizens on the streets of Iraq's cities. They know full well the sources of Iraqi anger

Oh, bullshit. The average soldier in Iraq has as little contact with Iraqis as possible, for both good (self-preservation) and bad (contempt) reasons. They know far less about the sources of Iraqi anger than anyone over here who gets their news from something other than TV.

The fact that they're doing it should tell you one of two things: either they're a bunch of idiot kids abusing the citizenry, or they're making the decision to piss people off because it's the lesser of two evils.


Doesn't matter which. The point is they shouldn't be doing it, which means they shouldn't be over there.

the fact that Sunni militias and foreign insurgents have been successful in framing those contacts in terms of occupiers and subjects.

Right, it couldn't possibly be that that's the natural way to look at your country being occupied by a bunch of trigger-happy soldiers; no, everything would be hunky dory if it weren't for those meddling agitators. You go right on believing that.
posted by languagehat at 7:34 AM on January 27, 2007


On preview: FieldingGoodney, if an emergency vehicle rear-ends me for not getting out of their way when they have lights and sirens on, I'd be a fool to say I didn't have it coming.

....as opposed to just cruising up behind you and bumping you.....

From what I saw of the video, the cars that got bumped either had no time to move out of the way or simply could not at the time. It's not even clear if it's an emergency situation or just simply these guys joking around in a very arrogant way.
posted by FieldingGoodney at 7:44 AM on January 27, 2007


languagehat, thanks for clarifying. It's to my detriment that I'm a bit of a literalist, and it's not unusual for me to miss the point.

And it is as a literalist that I expressed my original sentiment. When I see these soldiers bumping other cars out of the way, it's just some soldiers bumping other cars out of the way. On the streets of Melbourne that would seem like a big deal. In Baghdad I can imagine that things happen every day which are thousands of times worse.

If I understand you correctly, you are arguing that this event is symptomatic of a larger reality, that it serves as an abstract for the wider issues of occupation.

I'm not sure if I can go that far - I suppose that's the failure of imagination you're referring to - although I agree that the occupation is fucked up, and has been since inception.
posted by Ritchie at 7:48 AM on January 27, 2007


I don't intend to belittle the common soldier, but if I was in a volunteer army as a volunteer and I didn't agree with the war or find it just, I would strongly feel that it would be my duty to humankind to desert my post, court martial or brig-time be damned.

No. You don't want a military that decides which wars it wants to fight (and that's the fantasy, isn't it? That they'll have a war and no one will show up?) A military that decides which wars it wants to fight is a military that might one day decide to start a war on its own.
posted by Cyrano at 7:57 AM on January 27, 2007


Save your postulations for things which you may have actually experienced and have something upon which to reference or base your opinions.

By that logic the populace should never judge the conduct of the military.
posted by srboisvert at 8:00 AM on January 27, 2007


The point is they shouldn't be doing it, which means they shouldn't be over there.

That makes no sense.

By that logic the populace should never judge the conduct of the military.

I read the comment more as: don't make conclusions based on a couple minutes of internet video. But, whatever.
posted by Cyrano at 8:06 AM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Save your postulations for things which you may have actually experienced and have something upon which to reference or base your opinions.

why should we? ... bush got us into this mess and he didn't have any experience of war or anything real to base his opinions on

Culturally speaking most of the things you see in this video are probably more offensive to you because you wouldn’t cross the street unless the little guy says go.

you don't get out much, do you?

You live in a world where someone cutting in line is the greatest moral offence you are likely to experience any time soon.

no, one of the greatest moral offenses i've seen in the last few years is the way our american flags seem all to be stuck at half-mast for a good part of the time

Notice the demeanor of the guys in the vehicle.

we can't see their faces ... and come to think of it, we don't know if they're soldiers or contractors do we?

They are navigating traffic; they need to be somewhere other than where they are.

they sure do ... try the u s of a

Oh, and sic I hope you die in a fiery death, have a nice day.

feh
posted by pyramid termite at 8:09 AM on January 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


No. You don't want a military that decides which wars it wants to fight (and that's the fantasy, isn't it? That they'll have a war and no one will show up?) A military that decides which wars it wants to fight is a military that might one day decide to start a war on its own.

Well put, and an extremely important point. A rogue army is a very dangerous one, as history has shown us over and over.

It is indeed idealistic.

What I hope for is that people - and soldiers are people, human beings - learn to embrace their intrinsic humanism and learn to make more empathic decisions in both long and short terms, and on both small and large scales - and to see their own roles and effects upon not only themselves but the world around them, and make decisions upon that mindset with gentle strength and conviction.

*pauses for the laughing to die down*

I've touched on this a few times. The hardest thing to do in conflict and strife is often the most gentle and sometimes self-sacrificing path. It's not a new message, but one we would do well to learn and embrace.

And as much as I decry all war and violence in conflict resolution, and as much as I dislike humans using the xenophobic excuses of nationalism to wage wars, there's a very arguable difference between deciding to walk away from a war of aggression on foreign soil than it is to walk away from a defensive war on one's own "home" soil.
posted by loquacious at 8:16 AM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Of course in Iraq the Americans who run into your car are the nice ones. There are others.

A brutal, degrading, and predictable consequence of a (criminal) war in which stopping or slowing down can be a death sentence.
posted by washburn at 8:24 AM on January 27, 2007


To all those saying it's fine to be bumped by a humvee, I guess you won't mind being bumped yourself by the police, fire, or ambulance in your hometown? Oh you do?!

If I have failed to get over, having seen them in my rear view mirror, I feel I get whatever's coming to me. However, I don't think that situation is necessarily analagous to what's shown in this video. These guys don't seem to be, you know, cops, firemen or an ambulance.

I repeat: The YouTube poster specifically states that they drive that way to limit the risk of attacks. If my choices are 1) getting bumped by a Humvee driven by armed foreigners and 2) sitting next to those armed foreigners in heavy traffic in a place where people are likely to shoot at and/or try to blow them up... I'll take #1.

This seems like an awfully minor thing to be this upset about given the big picture. If soldiers suddenly stopped driving super agressively, I really don't think that would change a damn thing over there. The problems are larger, and the solutions more costly and complex on any number of levels.

To languagehat: I love you, man, but equating people who aren't really, really offended by this with mindless, Fox News-watching, flag-waving dolts is deeply silly. Sure, scratched bumpers, and a few dings suck, but not finding this behavior an unconscionable act of barbarism... Well. I'd rather save my outrage for instances of real degredation and abuse (like, say, all the people we're torturing!).

Having to drive like this is a sign of how messed up things are. As such it is worthy of discussion, but I do think we've got bigger fish to fry both in Baghdad, and here at home. I'd rather get worked up over those things than over these guys and their Hummer.

If we get the troops out of Iraq, they won't be driving agressively on the streets of Baghdad anymore, no?
posted by sparkletone at 8:28 AM on January 27, 2007


srboisvert: not so The populace is welcome to familiarize themselves with the UCMJ and thereupon base its opinion on the conduct of the military, in as much as they have access to the facts. As for driving in Baghdad, you gotta try it to really have a grasp of what you are seeing. The other point is that cultural differences have something to do with this as well. What I see here is a skein of people taking something that they have difficulty relating to and applying their normal behavioral expectations. You see what you want to see, based on your expectations. Those expectations are predisposed to the clichés of media, your experiences and what you want to believe or expect to have reinforced. That’s all.

Pyra: demeanor is not just visual representation of a visage, try listening.

And yeah actually I do “get out” a bit.

As for sic I only wish for you what you wish for others.

"feh"

Would that be the Flood Estimation Handbook you are referring to? Are you hoping sic drowns, cuz that’s ok too. I am sure sic is a fine fellow but wishing someone gets blown up and being disappointed they don’t is just a little, well… sic.
Oh, it was Yid for "that's just wrong." Right, my point exactly. I just don't know how to kick the insults in Yid. But thanks, I'll add that one to my bag.
posted by MapGuy at 8:31 AM on January 27, 2007


And to be honest excluding the S.F. ers from the nose picking question wasn't fair either. I should have said Marin. My bad
posted by MapGuy at 8:38 AM on January 27, 2007


Maybe they drive like that because of things like this.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Yco1deXOzN8

Ps, Is there a guide on what tagging is used for comments? I've looked around, but I haven't found one. The common tags from other sites aren't working.
posted by jon_public at 8:39 AM on January 27, 2007


Pyra: demeanor is not just visual representation of a visage, try listening.

given your ability to determine peoples' demeanor from ONE spoken comment about nose picking, next thing you'll tell me is the nose picker was really hiding weapons of mass destruction in there
posted by pyramid termite at 8:47 AM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


there's a very arguable difference between deciding to walk away from a war of aggression on foreign soil than it is to walk away from a defensive war on one's own "home" soil.

Agreed. But there will never be enough who walk away to make it stop. And every person who walks away leaves someone over there, who isn't coming home soon, with one more job to do or one less person to do a job. And most of them don't want to be that guy/gal.

What I hope for is that people - and soldiers are people, human beings - learn to embrace their intrinsic humanism and learn to make more empathic decisions in both long and short terms, and on both small and large scales - and to see their own roles and effects upon not only themselves but the world around them, and make decisions upon that mindset with gentle strength and conviction.

I was coming up with my own religion last night. No, seriously. It has only one commandment:

Don't Be A Dick.

Which is pretty much what you said, only more eloquently.

I just can't figure out what to call it. Dontbeadickanity? Dontbeadickhism? Dontbeadickstrianism?

I'm so confused.
posted by Cyrano at 8:48 AM on January 27, 2007


Ps, Is there a guide on what tagging is used for comments? I've looked around, but I haven't found one. The common tags from other sites aren't working.

Standard HTML. <a href="http://URLhere.com">linktext here</a>
posted by loquacious at 8:49 AM on January 27, 2007


If it's an emergency situation, why aren't these vehicles equipped with sirens???? I'm just askin' . . . .

This war is a clusterfuck for all involved.
posted by birdhaus at 8:52 AM on January 27, 2007


pmid: it is the lack of words, and there were several comments made in the veh. that gives an overall picture of demeanor. Compare this with others where everyone in the vehicle is going apeshit.
And no. I don't know if the guy has WMD, unless flicking buggers is considered bio terrorism. It probably would be here; if you did it at a cop. But I read if he eats it it will improve his ability to fight the flu. But that is just ewe.
posted by MapGuy at 8:53 AM on January 27, 2007


Oh, bullshit. The average soldier in Iraq has as little contact with Iraqis as possible, for both good (self-preservation) and bad (contempt) reasons. They know far less about the sources of Iraqi anger than anyone over here who gets their news from something other than TV.

Jesus Christ, languagehat, are you really telling me that Daily Kos tells you everything you need to know about dealing with everyday realities on the streets of Baghdad? That YOU know more about what Iraqis think than somebody who talks to them every day, or sees the dirty looks that get thrown at them, or at least listens to a mission briefing that's based on good intel? Sounds like you're the one engaging in faith-based foreign policy.

Right, it couldn't possibly be that that's the natural way to look at your country being occupied by a bunch of trigger-happy soldiers; no, everything would be hunky dory if it weren't for those meddling agitators. You go right on believing that.

One, Iraqis don't have a country any more. They think of themselves as Sunni, or one of a dozen Shia factions, or in terms of their neighborhood. There is no unified noble uprising against American imperialist aggressors; they're spending more time killing each other than they are on us.

Sure, our soldiers are dying from ambushes, snipers, and IEDs. But the most unflinching barbarity I saw over there was reserved for Iraqis, by Iraqis. Insurgents would attack fuel lines going into the city, creating a gas shortage for civilians, and then rig booby traps around gas cans placed on street corners. Drive-by shootings of Shiite schoolchildren, so that parents would be afraid to send their kids to school and the schools would be shut down. Does that fucking SOUND like Massachusetts Minutemen, or whatever ridiculous noble fantasy you've got swimming around in your head?

Two, someone is shooting at us, and it sure as hell isn't the majority of Iraqis. Most of the people that we caught shooting us early on were either Saudi, Syrian, or Sunni militias. Nowadays the Shiite militias are shooting at us too, but that only started because we got in the way of their killing Sunnis. Sunnis throughout the middle east are horrified at the prospect of a majority Shiite Arab state; at both the government and the private level, they are channeling money, arms, and advisors into Iraq to make sure that no legitimate Iraqi government can establish itself. They want another Sunni strongman in power, or at least to keep the region in a perpetual state of low-grade civil war.

Now we're cracking down on the Mahdi Army, the most violent Shiite militia, because they basically won out over Sistani's more moderate faction and have been visiting even more brutality upon Sunnis. They're the faction that Iran has been backing, for both strategic and political reasons (Sistani was a major critic of Khomeni and the Iranian revolution). This is NOT a popular uprising -- this a proxy war being fought by regional powers in the vacuum created by the fall of Saddam and our mismanagement of the resulting occupation.

I don't get this from TV. I get this from my own experience in Baghdad, from spending a lot of time reading books on the war, from talking to my friends who are still in touch over there, and from carefully following the news with a critical eye. I am the last person in the world to cheerlead this invasion, but the kind of ignorant narrative you're perpetuating here is every bit as foolish as the horseshit Bush used to get us into this terrible situation.

The only way we're ever going to extract ourselves from Iraq, in a way that doesn't make things worse, is to leave a real Iraqi government (i.e. one that federalizes power between the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites) instead of just another strongman. That's probably impossible, but believing that Iraqis will happily all just get along and settle down as soon as the evil Americans leave isn't even remotely realistic.
posted by xthlc at 8:58 AM on January 27, 2007 [8 favorites]


Agreed. But there will never be enough who walk away to make it stop.Actually, that's one of the big reasons Viet Nam was finally stopped. Enough "walked away" that the war could no longer be fought.
posted by birdhaus at 8:58 AM on January 27, 2007


Baghdad governor's hq raided by militants disguised as American security personnel. Kidnap and kill four US soldiers

It looks like there was a little cover-up going on here... embarrassing. This war is the definition of the word debacle.
posted by crowman at 8:58 AM on January 27, 2007


I won't say that that this kind of behavior is why we're losing the war; I'd say it's the reverse, the attitude befits those actively losing a war. But more vitally, this attitude displayed by representatives of an arrogant ignorant exploitative culture (i'm being liberal with the word culture) is why the US will continue to slide in the eyes of the world. Anyone travelling outside the us will soon realize how much the world hates our nation. All the "great and moral" bs we allegedly stood for is gone. On with the long pathetic decline.
posted by sarcasman at 9:09 AM on January 27, 2007


I was coming up with my own religion last night. No, seriously. It has only one commandment: Don't Be A Dick.

I have to say - all things considered - starting a religion is a pretty dick move. QED.
posted by loquacious at 9:11 AM on January 27, 2007


The only way we're ever going to extract ourselves from Iraq, in a way that doesn't make things worse, is to leave a real Iraqi government (i.e. one that federalizes power between the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites) instead of just another strongman. That's probably impossible, but believing that Iraqis will happily all just get along and settle down as soon as the evil Americans leave isn't even remotely realistic.



Well, right now the strongman is Moqtada Al-Sadr. And he's more likely to share power with the Iranians than the Sunnis and Kurds. The exact opposite of what the US goals would be. Cluster f**k.
posted by crowman at 9:12 AM on January 27, 2007


Oh, and if you want to get twisted, try this.
posted by MapGuy at 9:16 AM on January 27, 2007


Posted by the same guy on YouTube: Soldiers on a helicopter spying on a couple having sex in Sadr City (SFW)

You really think something like that would happen in Sadr City? The video is really old, older then the war in Iraq, that's for sure.
posted by delmoi at 9:20 AM on January 27, 2007


That is so messed up, but to be honest how can you blame them for driving that aggressively, what would you do if your bosses were not only a self serving liars and also deeply stupid, but showed such little regard for you life.

It fucking pisses me off that now it's about "not failing" or "America will face dire consequnces". Of course asswipes, you should've thought about that from the beginning. You dicks in the white house created this untenable shithouse. Except this isn't some spoiled rich kid who totals his dads Porsche, this is some spoiled rich kid who has totaled a country and brought massive death and suffering and now it's up to everyone else to "make sure this (he) doesn't fail", so he's going to send in 21,500 more Americans to be beautiful targets for the Shia, Sunni and Al Queda militants, to shoot rockets at and blow up.

This war is about to get crazy sick, now that the Shia militants aren't being ass kissed by Maliki anymore (why was he allowed to play favorites at all and only now he's realized that there are Shia death squads?? As the kids around the way are find of say: Nigger pleeze....). That guy is a walking dead man. He will be assassinated guaranteed by Sadr or some rogue Shia or Sunni or Al Queday death squad. Remember what was being chanted when Saddam was hanged? It was Moktada! Moktada! Moktada! This tells me that he's Sadr's puppet, but now he's making noises like he's Bushes buddy but he's either playing him (Bush) still, which means a LOT more dead Americans and no progress in securing the country or like I said he's a dead man in which case there's a power vacuum that will be filled by Sadr and so it's a lose lose situation for this nation (as most things are when Bush and Co. put their Midas touch of shit on anything.


I'm sure assholes in that humvee are seriously doubting their mission and fearing for their lives (what halfway conscious soldier wouldn't be), so I can't blame them for the way they are driving. I would do the same thing. Anyone of those cars could be packed with explosives and as people have already mentioned, if they get stuck in traffic and boxed in they're sitting ducks.

But look at how this looks to the Iraqi people, why should they respect their govt. or the rule of law when this is the example they see, and why should the civilized world respect this country when it's soldiers display that type of behavior...

/~
posted by Skygazer at 9:23 AM on January 27, 2007


Can you honestly say that if you were risking your life driving through Baghdad you would be more concerned about 'doing as you would be done to' than staying alive?

Of course I'd be more concerned about staying alive. That's just one reason I'm not over there.

If I understand you correctly, you are arguing that this event is symptomatic of a larger reality, that it serves as an abstract for the wider issues of occupation


Exactly, and well put. Once again: it's not what happens in the video that's appalling, it's what it says about what life is like in Baghdad now for both locals and invaders. The locals have a good reason to be there. The invaders, not so much.

What I hope for is that people - and soldiers are people, human beings - learn to embrace their intrinsic humanism and learn to make more empathic decisions in both long and short terms, and on both small and large scales - and to see their own roles and effects upon not only themselves but the world around them, and make decisions upon that mindset with gentle strength and conviction.

You and me both, my friend. If I didn't believe that was ultimately possible, I wouldn't be an anarchist.

Jesus Christ, languagehat, are you really telling me that Daily Kos tells you everything you need to know about dealing with everyday realities on the streets of Baghdad? That YOU know more about what Iraqis think than somebody who talks to them every day


No, of course not; I don't even read Daily Kos. But I read a lot about what's going on over there, and I've read a lot about Iraqi history and culture (equally important if you want to understand what's going on), and I'm pretty sure I have a better grasp of the situation than the average U.S. soldier over there. Note the word "average."

I get this from my own experience in Baghdad, from spending a lot of time reading books on the war, from talking to my friends who are still in touch over there, and from carefully following the news with a critical eye


That's great, and you're clearly well informed and thoughtful. Are you seriously claiming that you are average in this respect, that if I went over there and talked with U.S. troops at random, I'd come across a lot who were as well informed and thoughtful? If so, I'm going to have a hard time believing you. Look, I'm not one of the "hate the troops" contingent here on MeFi; my father and uncles served, my brother served, I have no antagonism towards soldiers as such (though I think their profession is one that we should all work towards eliminating). But I think it's very difficult for U.S. soldiers dropped in some foreign land about which they knew virtually nothing beforehand and in which they live in isolation on bases and interact with locals mainly as potential threats to their lives to achieve the sort of awareness you have. I know it happens; I have a friend who served over there and learned several dialects of Arabic, along with reading everything he could find about the history and culture. But please don't try to tell me you and he are representative, OK?
posted by languagehat at 9:34 AM on January 27, 2007


I'm sure assholes in that humvee are seriously doubting their mission and fearing for their lives (what halfway conscious soldier wouldn't be), so I can't blame them for the way they are driving. I would do the same thing. Anyone of those cars could be packed with explosives and as people have already mentioned, if they get stuck in traffic and boxed in they're sitting ducks.

But look at how this looks to the Iraqi people, why should they respect their govt. or the rule of law when this is the example they see, and why should the civilized world respect this country when it's soldiers display that type of behavior...


Exactly, to both parts.
posted by languagehat at 9:35 AM on January 27, 2007


The only way we're ever going to extract ourselves from Iraq, in a way that doesn't make things worse, is to leave a real Iraqi government (i.e. one that federalizes power between the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites) instead of just another strongman. That's probably impossible, but believing that Iraqis will happily all just get along and settle down as soon as the evil Americans leave isn't even remotely realistic.

if it's impossible, then we're just wasting our time ... it's quite likely that instead of stabilizing the middle east we have started what will likely be the muslim version of the 30 years' war, due to our total ignorance of what was going on there

we need to leave ... there is nothing we can do to stop this ... yes, history will record that we fucked up and there were terrible consequences after we left ... we're just going to have to suck it up

hell, we can't even stop them from killing each other while we're there
posted by pyramid termite at 9:38 AM on January 27, 2007


xthlc says: Watching this video, the only thing I can feel is sadness. It represents (in spirit if not in kind) the majority of our everyday contacts with Iraqis, and underlines the fact that Sunni militias and foreign insurgents have been successful in framing those contacts in terms of occupiers and subjects.

Bullshit. We did that all by ourselves. See: Abu Ghraib.
posted by Malor at 9:39 AM on January 27, 2007


Try that shit in Philadelphia and you'll see what an ambush is really all about.
posted by three blind mice at 9:40 AM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


You were saying about demeanor...
posted by MapGuy at 9:52 AM on January 27, 2007


Bumping is actually a form of respect;

I do not envy you the number of hoops you needed to jump through to reach that conclusion.
posted by maryh at 10:39 AM on January 27, 2007


Ask Ali G he will explain it to ya... Respect.
Now if they were setting off airbags, that would be dis-respect. But would make IFHV.
It is a cultural machismo exchange, not unlike bumping fists, shoulders, or heads. It is a sub textual sociological acknowledgement of existence and resistance.
posted by MapGuy at 10:52 AM on January 27, 2007


"The populace is welcome to familiarize themselves with the UCMJ and thereupon base its opinion on the conduct of the military, in as much as they have access to the facts."

Sorry, I just thought we needed to read this again.
Almost poetic, is it not, in as much?
posted by signal at 10:55 AM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


...but they are still pricks for ramming people.

Yeah. They should shoot them instead.
posted by tkchrist at 11:00 AM on January 27, 2007


There's gotta be a few Pintos in Baghdad.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:03 AM on January 27, 2007


Signal: Do you know the guys from Juice?
Wether tis better,
to pie or mefi,
that is the question.
posted by MapGuy at 11:07 AM on January 27, 2007


Mapguy: It is a cultural machismo exchange, not unlike bumping fists, shoulders, or heads. It is a sub textual sociological acknowledgement of existence and resistance.

Uh..yeah, except the guys bumping into your shitty 2 yr old Toyota are driving a heavily armored 10 ton humvee outfitted with a machine gun and 2 or 3 American soldiers with enough firepower to kill you and your family and anyone with a 50 yard radius a couple of dozen times. Yeah...respect Bo-ooy. Let me tell you about Respect, it comes from a neutral place of understanding and a belief in who you are and what the other person is. This is not the case in Iraq. And that is an extreme understatment. What we have in that video is Fear from all sides.
posted by Skygazer at 11:07 AM on January 27, 2007


20 year old..
posted by Skygazer at 11:08 AM on January 27, 2007


MapGuy: "Oh, and sic I hope you die in a fiery death, have a nice day."

Have you considered getting therapy for your misdirected rage? Perhaps you're simply not aware that wishing people a painful death is not usual behavior.


MapGuy: "Oh, it was Yid for "that's just wrong." Right, my point exactly. I just don't know how to kick the insults in Yid. But thanks, I'll add that one to my bag."

Perhaps you are also unaware that "Yid" is a racist term of abuse? Flagged as "abusive".


Generally, you should also note that such means of expression aren't particularly good for getting your point across -- in fact, I'm not even sure which side of the argument you are on as my eye was instantly drawn to the abuse.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:14 AM on January 27, 2007


sky: Why you gotta be talkin smak bout haj's ride? So ask yourself why not move out of the way when horns blare, and lights flash (headlights). And don't give me any bullshit about not having any place to pull over. Again to drive there and live to laugh about it is sublime. Sure, I will buy your case for respect if you show me a neutral place, without sociological pre or missconception and/or stigma.

20 year old.. yeah about 20 years ago.
Geezer..
posted by MapGuy at 11:17 AM on January 27, 2007


And let me add: I'm completely against the war and I don't even buy into this "I'm against the war and support the troops" jive (without the troops, there would be no war -- they bear their share of the responsibility for this mess, too...)

However, I don't see that the people driving have any choice other than to do as they are doing. I agree that it's good evidence that they shouldn't be there -- but I don't see this video as particularly bad, nor are the drivers being particularly abusive given the time and place that they're in.

Of course, they shouldn't be there. But once they are there, this is what happens.

I'm sure the other drivers have more important things to worry about too -- they're probably just as happy not to be stuck in traffic beside a Hummer == target for IEDs.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:22 AM on January 27, 2007


lupus: It was a response to sic’s disappointment that the hmvee wasn't blown up at the end.

Yid is racist? OK sorry, though I am not sure I follow how that is, in any event it was not intended as a racial slur. Yiddish it is. I thought I was abbreviating.

I am not on any particular side but do like to keep the conversation interesting, moving along and not necessarily one sided.
posted by MapGuy at 11:25 AM on January 27, 2007


Ask Ali G he will explain it to ya... Respect.
Now if they were setting off airbags, that would be dis-respect. But would make IFHV.
It is a cultural machismo exchange, not unlike bumping fists, shoulders, or heads. It is a sub textual sociological acknowledgement of existence and resistance.


Yeah! It's like when we "high-fived" thier country back in 2003, and they "ump-bumped" us back, and we did that "titty-twist" thing, and there was the dogpile, and it's been all "Yo, bro"s and "muh man"s ever since. Man, everything is so clear with the frat glasses on!
posted by maryh at 11:32 AM on January 27, 2007


Yid: there's a specific explanation of the word at the bottom of the page.

I've generally only heard it used as a slur. Occasionally, I've heard a Jew use the term trying to be funny and everyone else at the table cringes.

(BTW, I ain't Jewish: I just don't believe words like that make for reasonable discourse.)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:34 AM on January 27, 2007


And to further clarify I thought it was ok to wish death by fire when someone dissagrees with an opinion on MeFi, as stated by God here as long as you wished them a nice day, or Merry Christmas (oh shit), I mean Happy Holidays.
posted by MapGuy at 11:37 AM on January 27, 2007


That's a really interesting clip. Thanks for linking to it!

It's surreal that the driver is leaning on the horn the entire time and coming right up behind people, and nine out of ten of them don't get out of the way until they get tapped.

(I skipped the middle section of comments because I can only read so much "I ONLY CRY FOR THE VIETNAMESE" before my eyes glaze over. I probably missed many people explaining the excellent historical reasons why Baghdad drivers ignore constantly-honking enormous military vehicles in their rearview. Sorry.)
posted by thehmsbeagle at 11:41 AM on January 27, 2007


lupus sorry to offend, seriously. I am in the Zappa camp, in that words are just words. Uhm….speaking of, maryh: I think some of your language is reasonable discourse divergent.
Who you callin’ Frat boy?
posted by MapGuy at 11:45 AM on January 27, 2007


thehmsbeagle; sorry you didn't miss a thing.
posted by MapGuy at 11:47 AM on January 27, 2007


Hey BTW, has anyone seen "The Battle of Algiers"? Great filick! Then watch "Black Hawk Down" in the same day? Whoa! head rush. I am re-reading Target America- Terrorism in the U.S. Today. A perky little novel.
posted by MapGuy at 11:54 AM on January 27, 2007


Spoiler: The French Surrender.
posted by MapGuy at 11:55 AM on January 27, 2007


Having no wish to become embroiled in this debate, I can't help wondering why that first car was running its windshield wipers on a clear day. Seems exceptionally coincidental that he'd just be washing his windows.
posted by rolypolyman at 11:58 AM on January 27, 2007


roly: Damn water wasters.
Clears the dust, it is very fine, no water needed. IMHO.
Oh, come on bring your burgers we're brolin'. It's a MeFi picnic, cook out, Bagdahd style.
posted by MapGuy at 12:02 PM on January 27, 2007


I'm not sure what else these guys are supposed to do. If I were over there and needed to get from one place to another quickly (either to do battle or because I might be shot) I would be putting the pedal to the medal as well.

On the other hand, I have seen so many videos at this point of soldiers cheering on Sunni versus Shia fighting or taunting kids with water bottles that I'm half inclined to believe the soldiers are bumping other cars just for the hell of it.
posted by xammerboy at 12:02 PM on January 27, 2007


You know what, I think we've been duped. I think this is a viral for the new Hummer. I mean those are all Hybreds right? If you look close that nose picking guy was on a Segway.
posted by MapGuy at 12:09 PM on January 27, 2007


Culturally speaking most of the things you see in this video are probably more offensive to you because you wouldn’t cross the street unless the little guy says go. You live in a world where someone cutting in line is the greatest moral offence you are likely to experience any time soon. It is what it is.

No one is lighting off a 50 cal. to clear the road, it is just business as usual. The guy in front of this vehicle will not move until he is given a bump. Flashing headlights will get you shit on this street. Bumping is actually a form of respect; not moving until bumped is a mild form of protest and resistance to the occupation, as is every good citizen’s duty. I know, that one may be hard for you to grasp. We may have military superiority, but they still set cultural playing field. It is called home field advantage. Oh, and sic I hope you die in a fiery death, have a nice day.

It is a cultural machismo exchange, not unlike bumping fists, shoulders, or heads. It is a sub textual sociological acknowledgement of existence and resistance.
posted by prostyle at 12:16 PM on January 27, 2007


A lot of dumb comments in this thread.

The video is fascinating, because it illustrates something incredibly clearly. What it illustrates is this: "Day to day, the behavior of the American forces is making their presence in Iraq intolerable to locals, and thus inciting them to take up arms against the occupying troops."

You might say, "That behavior is reasonable. They fear being ambushed." You are correct. For men in fear of their lives, anything they can do to reduce that risk to themselves is, by definition, reasonable. From that point of view, the American soldiers are behaving reasonably.

That doesn't change the main point at all though. From the point of view of the locals, Americans are assholes who drive up behind them, ram their cars, honk continuously, killed their cousin, drive the wrong way around a traffic circle, drive in oncoming traffic, kick down the doors of their houses, etc. From the point of view of the locals, the Americans are inflicting new grievances every single day, on every single person in Baghdad. BULLSHIT that those people are going to be paid for damage to their cars. ("Sir, I see your car is damaged, but do you have any proof that our troops did it?")

There is only so much shit that a group of people will take before they rebel.

One of those people that got rammed in that video is going to go home, grab an AK-47, and join the Iraqi resistance.

Iraq has 25,000,000 citizens. The U.S. has about 60-70,000 combat troops (men who carry guns every day, whose main job is to shoot other men) in Iraq.

All the indications are that the number of Iraqis actively resisting the occupation is on a steady increase. That is, for any time t,

(initial size of resistance) - (casualties) - (resistance fighters who drop out) + (new resistance recruits) > (initial size of resistance)

This is not an equation which can lead to anything other than a retreat for the occupying forces.
posted by jellicle at 12:22 PM on January 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure what else these guys are supposed to do. If I were over there and needed to get from one place to another quickly (either to do battle or because I might be shot) I would be putting the pedal to the medal as well.

You haven't been following this discussion, have you? Try to contribute something new or interesting. And you might want to read jellicle's comment and respond, hopefully thoughtfully.
posted by languagehat at 12:26 PM on January 27, 2007


Christ! Languagehat, loquacious, mapguy, pyramid termite &c, you people will argue about anything. There is no way to tell anything from this clip. Here are the conclusions you can possibly draw:

A. They are driving this way because they are assholes. This means it has nothing to do with the war, other than the fact that among our soldiers there are assholes. Surprise!

B. They are driving this way because they are on their way to a goddamn ambush, or giving backup to a besieged platoon, or something. In this case it STILL has nothing to do with the greater causes of the war and so on, only with the fact that these people need to get across the city as fast as possible.

C. They are driving this way because they have orders to, to avoid attacks in a city they have little control over, driving a big, easy target. Now this has something to do with the war, it means it's not safe in Baghdad for our troops. Wow.

And we don't know which one it is! So stop making so many assumptions and arguing about them!

Someone mentioned how it was a mark of respect to bump someone's bumper - well, I wouldn't go that far, but if you've ever seen traffic in Baghdad I'm sure you'd change your ideas about what is and isn't acceptable driving behavior. I know my brother has told me that it's like this in Mumbai sometimes. Not that it exonerates these soldiers, but I doubt someone's going to join the insurgency because they got dinged on their fender - that is the kind of thing that happens every day there.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:28 PM on January 27, 2007


BlackLeo: Isn't that why we paid our $5, to argue? What the hell would we do if we just all got along. That would be like... ewe... that's just wrong. I am tagging you for common sense, you will be reported. Can't say I dissagree with you though, and that makes me sad.
posted by MapGuy at 12:36 PM on January 27, 2007


If anything ever makes me start supporting this war, it's going to be reading MetaFilter.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 1:08 PM on January 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


That would be like... ewe...

Yeah. If we can't argue, why baa-ther at all? The soldiers have to ram people out of shear terror!

A derail into sheep-pun territory is just what this thread needs right now.
posted by sparkletone at 1:22 PM on January 27, 2007


Well, I paid my $5 to make some posts.
I don't really understand your comment here. Did you flag me? Who will I be reported to, and by whom or what? Why does agreeing with me make you sad? Your comment is a curious mystery to me!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:33 PM on January 27, 2007


Dag, I give up.
posted by MapGuy at 1:37 PM on January 27, 2007


Someone mentioned how it was a mark of respect to bump someone's bumper - well, I wouldn't go that far, but if you've ever seen traffic in Baghdad I'm sure you'd change your ideas about what is and isn't acceptable driving behavior. I know my brother has told me that it's like this in Mumbai sometimes.

Yup, and in Cairo.
posted by kid ichorous at 1:39 PM on January 27, 2007


Jesus Christ, Mapguy. You've commented eleventy billion times in this thread! You're making yourself look like a dick. Up your meds.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:42 PM on January 27, 2007


"I'd ram the guy in front of me if I knew there were people attacking my friends or something."

Sure, and if you were a foreign invader doing this on my streets I'd pull you out of the car and shoot you in the head.
posted by 2sheets at 2:08 PM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Doonesbury, last April:
* Monday
* Tuesday
* Wednesday
* Thursday
* Friday
posted by dhartung at 2:17 PM on January 27, 2007


Hey BTW, has anyone seen "The Battle of Algiers"?

Yes, fantastic film. I recommend it to all, particularly to those who follow occupations like Iraq/Palestine/etc.
posted by rollbiz at 2:21 PM on January 27, 2007


I've said it before and I'll say it again. In war, in this kind of war with decentralized stateless fighters/insurgents/rebels you only have a limited number of ways to end the conflict. You either kill everyone possible (genocide), you negotiate, or you withdrawal.
We aren't going to do number 1, we seem awfully unable to do number 2, so there is not much left, its just a matter of time before we leave.
The reasons we lost are inherent in this video and in jellicle's comment regarding it. I can't fault those specfic drivers, but the system they are in is one large feedback loop, they act aggressive to protect themselves, but that makes the overall situation worse. It is awfully hard to stop violence with more violence.
It is a strange point in history where a hybrid of older scale type fighting is the best way to counter global scale fighting. (this is what my Master's paper is about this semester)
posted by edgeways at 2:23 PM on January 27, 2007


So stop making so many assumptions and arguing about them!

funny, in the car today thinking about this comment stream I had this exact same division of possibilities. . .

But as we bleeding-heart lefties are trying to get thru to you pointy-headed people, it doesn't matter why exactly these particular soldiers were doing what they were doing.

Why can't you see that it's not much exaggeration to claim that every Iraqi we politely bump off the road like they were doing -- even if they were on their way to save a hospital full of Iraqi babies -- is one more guy that is either going to fight us or aid in the resistance?
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:36 PM on January 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Up your meds"

Up yours, too.

Sorry, it was a bit of low-hanging fruit.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:01 PM on January 27, 2007


Only one person has mentioned the big floating yellow power up key that goes past at exactly 1:30. This is a PS3 game you fucking morons!
posted by snoktruix at 4:26 PM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Up your meds"

Up yours, too.

Sorry, it was a bit of low-hanging fruit.


You're not so gravity-defying yourself.
posted by loquacious at 4:29 PM on January 27, 2007


Well put, Heywood Mogroot.
Does anyone remember this thread? A lot of us here have some pretty strong opinions about aggressive drivers. Try imagining that Slurpee-hurling suburbanite driving a huge armed Hummer and belonging to a force that's been occupying your country. I don't think Iraqis are such alien creatures that they would find that sort of thing "respectful," and given the other stresses of living in Baghdad, I could see where those 'taps' could strain the goodwill of even the most supportive locals.
posted by maryh at 4:38 PM on January 27, 2007


There is no way to tell anything from this clip. Here are the conclusions you can possibly draw:

D. they're driving in the wrong fucking country and people are getting pissed about it
posted by pyramid termite at 4:54 PM on January 27, 2007


Just another reason why commuting in Baghdad is really tough.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:41 PM on January 27, 2007


Why to giant gold keys float above Iraqi streets? Is it something Muslim?
posted by oxford blue at 6:07 PM on January 27, 2007


*do
posted by oxford blue at 6:08 PM on January 27, 2007


"Why to giant gold keys float above Iraqi streets? Is it something Muslim?"

Close. Prince of Persia.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:25 PM on January 27, 2007


I dont see an issue, they are not shooting at people, or running people over. They have a job to do, they are the police, and when they are honking and you see a humvee, pull over and let them through.

Its basically a police action, and the humvee's are the cop cars.
posted by IronWolve at 7:02 PM on January 27, 2007


I dont see an issue, they are not shooting at people, or running people over. They have a job to do

Somebody else who hasn't bothered to read the thread and thinks he's making a new and interesting point.
posted by languagehat at 7:06 PM on January 27, 2007


"There is no way to tell anything from this clip. Here are the conclusions you can possibly draw:"

"D. they're driving in the wrong fucking country and people are getting pissed about it"


Okay lemme see if I understand the argument here in a nutshell.

There are people there who might shoot at us, so we have to drive like assholes.

We drive like assholes, which encourages people there to want to shoot at us.

The US military presence there is supposed to make the Iraqi civilian populous feel safer, right? Is that not the illusion we're supposed to be perpetuating?

*beep*

*beep*

*bump*

This ain't how you do it. EOA
posted by ZachsMind at 7:10 PM on January 27, 2007


Relax, citizen. It's just life imitating art.
posted by oncogenesis at 7:40 PM on January 27, 2007


I can't help but think that the Hummer was in front of a convoy like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxz-iPgg8zs&eurl=
posted by grimcity at 8:32 PM on January 27, 2007


A friend the other day explained to me she's spoken with black people who admit to personally driving in the fast lane of highways at or just below 55mph. They tell her it's their way of getting back at The Man. Well that's not quite how she put it at first. I was like, "how can you just assume only black people do it?" And that's when she told me she was talking to black people who admitted it. Still, I don't believe only black people do that. Anyone who thinks the people driving on the same road with them are enemies, or at the very least not friends, they might do that.

Rather passive aggressive, but GrimCity's youtube link kinda reminded me of that. Passive aggression doesn't know racial bias, just like guns don't kill people.

In my experience, on the streets of Texas, I've only witnessed personally one time when motorists shot at each other. If that was more of a daily thing, and not just once every couple decades or so, I'd probably drive like an asshole too.

Still don't make it right. I don't care if you're a 'citizen' or whatever.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:58 PM on January 27, 2007


A couple of language queries, MapGuy:-

Yid is racist? OK sorry, though I am not sure I follow how that is, in any event it was not intended as a racial slur. Yiddish it is. I thought I was abbreviating.

Do you also abbreviate Pakistani and Japanese?

Ask Ali G he will explain it to ya... Respect.

It's actually respeck.
posted by FieldingGoodney at 9:07 PM on January 27, 2007


After watching this video i FINALLY believe that the endless hrs of GTA3 have a negative effect on us. Here's how anyone would drive if every other moving object on the screen was an NPC. Hey, no cop stars!
posted by damehex at 11:33 PM on January 27, 2007


Wow. Early this afternoon the video had 1,210 views. Now it has 26,204 views. I wonder if the media will be picking this one up soon.
posted by rolypolyman at 11:53 PM on January 27, 2007


The first thing I thought of while watching the video was “Bumper cars” Iraqi Freedom style.

Seriously, if you can’t win hearts and minds by slightly nudging and grazing the cars in front of and next to you, then how do you expect to win this war on terror?
It’s not like they rammed anyone. And no one got hurt, right? So who cares? Except maybe for the guys on the other side of that windshield, thinking—Christ these guys are fucking assholes.
posted by hadjiboy at 4:09 AM on January 28, 2007


If anything ever makes me start supporting this war, it's going to be reading MetaFilter.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 5:08 PM AST on January 27


Well, if a bunch of people commenting on a video is all it takes to make you support the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people, lets just say I hope you have hidden depths, somewhere.
posted by signal at 4:54 AM on January 28, 2007


I personally prefer to be called a sheeny over a Yid, but, if that option is not available, I'll take Yid over Heeb or Kike.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:28 AM on January 28, 2007


I switched to GPS because I had trouble working with MapGuy.
posted by Kwine at 8:39 AM on January 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is a fantastic illustration of the principle that a lot of asshole behavior is rooted in insecurity.
posted by NortonDC at 7:03 PM on January 28, 2007


I was kind of interested not in the driving but that its one of the first times I've seen anything of Bagdad itself. So much of the coverage of Iraq focuses either on battle lines or combat positions or collateral fallout which would be unusual wherever one would see them. Kind of neat to see a "normal" view of the city. Unforunate that it wasn't under perhaps better conditions.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 8:53 AM on January 29, 2007


Wow, and we wonder why they hate us.

Wait, no we don't... we know exactly why they hate us.

We're over here in our desk chairs talking about how it's just peachy that our military vehicles are smashing into civilian vehicles, driving all over the road, and ignoring every traffic law and courtesy imaginable, so they can get somewhere in a hurry and kill some more Iraqis.

Oh yeah, there's no cognitive dissonance required to accept this situation as "fine", none at all...
posted by tehloki at 11:46 AM on January 29, 2007


More YouTube: Shia Iraqi soldier beat Sunnis as US trainers watch
posted by homunculus at 2:01 PM on January 29, 2007


I still wish the humvee was blown up in the end. Ah well, next time.


Wolverines!
posted by sic at 10:45 AM on January 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


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