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I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose.
May 28, 2007 7:14 AM   Subscribe

Memorial Day orators will say that a G.I.'s life is priceless. Don't believe it. I know what value the U.S. government assigns to a soldier's life: I've been handed the check. It's roughly what the Yankees will pay Roger Clemens per inning once he starts pitching next month.
posted by geos (126 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Beautifully written.

I was surprised that no one posted a thread this week about the Democrats caving on the supplemental bill (or what Kos calls the Capitulation Bill.) I would've loved to hear some community venting.
posted by fungible at 7:28 AM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fantastic essay by a great historian (said it before: read his stuff!).

no one posted a thread this week about the Democrats caving on the supplemental bill
posted by ao4047 at 7:39 AM on May 28, 2007


oops - meant to add, I was so pissed I couldn't think straight to post something of detail and context
posted by ao4047 at 7:39 AM on May 28, 2007


1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10. . .
posted by EarBucket at 7:44 AM on May 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


"I found myself pondering my responsibility for his death."

This is an attitude that has always annoyed me and it is essentially why terrorism works in this global society. If someone else puts a gun to your loved one's head, and then gives you an ultimatum, if you choose not to participate, or do the opposite of the action that the man with the gun tells you to do, you are NOT responsible for your loved one's death. The man who pulled the trigger is responsible. You could stand there and dance a jig, and you're still not responsible.

This concept of the terrorist saying, "you MADE me do this," and society buying into that crap, is as absurd as someone committing a sin and then claiming that the Devil made him do it. No, the Devil had nothing to do with it. "Don't be hatin' dah playa. Hate dah game." The players make the game happen. So hate the players all you want, and don't give in to their demands, no matter what the cost.

This man shouldn't feel responsible for his son's death, just because he opposed the war. This man didn't like seeing a gun pointed at his son's head. That sounds perfectly reasonable and sensible to me.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:47 AM on May 28, 2007 [12 favorites]


I always knew Roger was a jerk.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:54 AM on May 28, 2007


Fox News slandering of Andrew Bacevich will begin right after the break.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:11 AM on May 28, 2007


So how much will the Yankees pay Roger Clemens per inning once he starts pitching next month?
posted by fish tick at 8:11 AM on May 28, 2007


This man shouldn't feel responsible for his son's death, just because he opposed the war.

I don't think he's saying that he actually feels responsible; he just pondered his responsibility, and decided that he had done his duty as a citizen by opposing the war. He's pretty convinced that the Bushies, their supporters, and even the Dems who play the money game are responsible. But then he circles around and says he did nothing, which seems a rather abrupt conclusion. I disagree. He did what he could, but the system isn't designed to be influenced by his actions. I can't agree that that's "nothing," but I can understand why he might feel that way.
posted by goatdog at 8:12 AM on May 28, 2007


So how much will the Yankees pay Roger Clemens per inning once he starts pitching next month?

Roughly $140,000.

($28m contract, prorated for time lost. Assuming he pitches at a 200 inning pace for whatever portion of the season he participates in.)
posted by shadow vector at 8:25 AM on May 28, 2007


So how much will the Yankees pay Roger Clemens per inning once he starts pitching next month?

According to this article, Clemens will make $1M per game. There are 12 innings per game, ergo the Fed cut him a check for something just a bit above $83k.
posted by vhsiv at 8:36 AM on May 28, 2007


12 innings per game?
posted by PhatLobley at 8:38 AM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


More about/from Andrew Bacevich:

" It’s time for Americans to recognize that the enterprise that some neoconservatives refer to as World War IV is unwinnable in a strictly military sense. Indeed, it’s past time to re-examine the post-Cold War assumption that military power provides the preferred antidote to any and all complaints that we have with the world beyond our borders."
- from "The Islamic Way of War" (2006)

"What's An Iraqi Life Worth?" (2006)

"The Normalization of War" (2005) (an excerpt from his book, The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced By War)

Bio at Boston University

NPR Commentary, May 19, 2007

NPR Interview with Andrew Bacevich, May 22, 2007
posted by grabbingsand at 9:07 AM on May 28, 2007


There are 12 innings per game
Must be that "Aussie Rules" baseball.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:10 AM on May 28, 2007


Americans have opened nearly 1,000 new graves to bury U.S. troops killed in Iraq since Memorial Day a year ago. The figure is telling - and expected to rise in coming months. ...

... “In 2003, 2004, 100 percent of the soldiers wanted to be here, to fight this war,” said Sgt. First Class David Moore, a self-described “conservative Texas Republican” and platoon sergeant who strongly advocates an American withdrawal. “Now, 95 percent of my platoon agrees with me.” ...

On Trust and Betrayal

Every Dead Soldier Prop Is Real


.
posted by amberglow at 9:17 AM on May 28, 2007


The gummint paid an average $2.1M to the families of the 9/11 victims.

A GI's family gets a "death gratuity" and whatever the servicemen's group life insurance pays out. (you select in $50k increments - $50k being compulsory) .

So yeah, whatever they pay Roger for three outs. Because he has to feed his family.
posted by jsavimbi at 9:20 AM on May 28, 2007


GoatDog: "I don't think he's saying that he actually feels responsible; he just pondered his responsibility, and decided that he had done his duty as a citizen by opposing the war."

Ah. Allow me to rephrase. The two jerks who sent him letters saying he should feel responsible for his son's death because he opposes the war are the kinda people who should be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

People shouldn't try to make parents feel responsible for the death of their children, unless said parents were caught red handed with motive, no alibi, the weapon in their hands, and a signed confession. Even then, it's bad form to rub it in their faces.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:28 AM on May 28, 2007


.
posted by wuwei at 9:34 AM on May 28, 2007


Is it not interesting that, in response to those who would bring up the issue of blowback, certain people will claim that the terrorists "hate our freedom" and that is why they attack us. They hate us, and they would not be appeased if we just left the region. They would continue to wage war with us anyway.

Some of these same people then say that anti-war speech is encouraging the terrorists and "emboldening the enemy". That's funny, I thought that they didn't need any encouragement, that they would fight us regardless of what we did. Isn't that the justification for a preemptive war?
posted by cotterpin at 9:35 AM on May 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


Zach, we all bear some responsibility for what our government does in our names, whether it's past actions (like only supporting Israel at the expense of democracy elsewhere, or propping up dictators until they're no longer convenient, or cutting all aid off to the Palestinians because they voted a "bad" party (Hamas) to power in actual democratic elections, etc)--our taxes pay for everything, good and bad. It is all done in our names--all the actions, all the lies, all the good and the bad--and all of the deaths remembered and still ongoing on this day.
posted by amberglow at 9:36 AM on May 28, 2007


"After the pain of loss in Iraq, families are dealt a second blow..."
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:40 AM on May 28, 2007


fungible, I was thinking about the lack of FPPs on that topic too -- Lord knows the blogosphere was full of commentary about the no-timetable-after-all bill. That's what we get for not making Congress sufficiently Democrat-heavy last fall.

I dunno; I might think of a good angle for an FPP yet, unless somebody beats me to it.
posted by pax digita at 9:45 AM on May 28, 2007


I always find this sort of thing fascinating and depressing. Where the concept of worth is put to the test.

The lives your family are priceless, now here is a check for one of them.
posted by quin at 9:59 AM on May 28, 2007


Arlington West
posted by amberglow at 10:03 AM on May 28, 2007


we all bear some responsibility for what our government does in our names

Just as much responsibility as we bear for what terrorists do when we don't cave to their demands. These actions are theirs, not ours, especially if they go directly counter to what we, the people, want.
posted by oaf at 10:08 AM on May 28, 2007


That's what we get for not making Congress sufficiently Democrat-heavy last fall.

80 senators voted for the $96 billion spending bill, HR 2206, and sent it to Bush for his signature. The vote in the House was 280-142. A lot of those senators and representatives voting "yes" were Democrats, or the bill would not have made it to Bush's desk.

I fail to see how a more Democrat-heavy Congress would have realistically or substantially changed those vote totals, especially the total in the Senate.

The problem isn't that there weren't enough Democrats in Congress, it's that there weren't enough Democrats in Congress willing to vote "no."

As Bacevich writes, it's the Democrats' war now as much as it is Bush's war.
posted by blucevalo at 10:45 AM on May 28, 2007


we all bear some responsibility for what our government does in our names

Or would if what our government did had anything to do with the public wants.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:46 AM on May 28, 2007


For fungible, Two Glenn Greenwald posts:

The complete myth driving our Iraq "Debate" (political theater based on a canard about "defunding")

The risks of staying (Howard Dean was right: We heard only one side of the argument about invading; we're probably not leaving Iraq anytime soon because the hawks want to buy Iran next, and we're hearing only one side of that argument, too)
posted by pax digita at 10:47 AM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


As Bacevich writes, it's the Democrats' war now as much as it is Bush's war.

Arguably, it has been since day one.
posted by psmealey at 10:55 AM on May 28, 2007


I was surprised that no one posted a thread this week about the Democrats caving on the supplemental bill (or what Kos calls the Capitulation Bill.) I would've loved to hear some community venting.

Disgraceful. But it's good that it is perfectly clear, well before the election, that the Democrats cannot be trusted. A thorough critique of the Left is required before there can be any hope of containing the Right. I would urge everyone to ignore the establishment blandishments about the primacy of uniting against "those evil conservatives." Do vote Democrat, but never relent on the criticism they deserve.
posted by No Robots at 11:00 AM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


we all bear some responsibility for what our government does in our names

Just as much responsibility as we bear for what terrorists do when we don't cave to their demands. These actions are theirs, not ours, especially if they go directly counter to what we, the people, want.


I suppose that makes sense, but only if "we, the People" have exhausted every opportunity to make our needs and wants known to the government. No doubt there are plenty of people here on MeFi who write their congresspeople and volunteer for campaigns, but as a nation where not even half the voting public ever turns out, Americans are not really bothering to hold up their end of the democracy deal.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:00 AM on May 28, 2007


The problem isn't that there weren't enough Democrats in Congress, it's that there weren't enough Democrats in Congress willing to vote "no."

This is true, but it is also true that part of the problem is the lack of enough democratic votes to beat back a presidential veto. That left the democrats without a real way to say "no" and so the natural tendency of politicians to compromise came into play.

I'm not saying it's right, or that I agree with it; just that that is what I think has happened.
posted by mmahaffie at 11:07 AM on May 28, 2007


Maybe Bacevich now feels that his emphasis was wrong -- that he spent his energy trying to convince the government and the people of America that the war is wrong, when he should have just tried to convince his son. God, how awful. Could there be a regret worse than this?
posted by Methylviolet at 11:07 AM on May 28, 2007


I tend to think of statistics involving people in terms of the small Kansas town I grew up in, and visited again a couple of years ago, or, for big numbers, of baseball stadiums full of people. That's because I knew most of the people in that Kansas town of 2627 people at one point. And I've seen 47,605 people gathered together in a warm summer evening, to watch a ball game, and eat some hot dogs.

So, last year, when U.S. dead (and I use that word, because "casualties" covers, in my mind dead and wounded) passed the number of people in the town I grew up in, it was easy for me to internalize that number. I imagined Main Street (Route 56) empty at noon. No teachers in the 3 story junior high school building; no kids in the elementary classrooms. The gas stations at both ends of town quiet, and closed up, with "No gas today." signs, like they had in the late '70s. No cars parked at the bank, and nobody having coffee in the Town Cafe, or picking up prescriptions at the drugstore. No mail at the Post Office, and the hardware store closed for good.

This year, I have to imagine my hometown still empty, and the smaller town 9 miles up the road deserted, too. The one where my best friend from the Unified School District lived. I think of its feed store without any trucks parked at the loading docks, and its barber shop empty, and the blinds dropped, never to be raised. And I think of even the funereal homes in both towns shuttered, and their doors locked, for the first time in the 57 years I've been on the planet.

But to understand the cost in Iraqi dead, I have to mentally switch to baseball parks. Have to open the gates, and take all the tickets, and watch the box seats fill, and then the grandstands, and finally the bleachers, so that I can really imagine them all gone, and the seats all empty. I do this with ballparks, not football stadiums, because ballparks are, well, parks. They stand the quiet of emptiness better. And now, I have to fill and empty 12 or 13 or 14 ballparks (depending on whose conservative estimates I believe), with faceless Iraqi civilians, to imagine their costs.

How many innings worth of lives is that?
posted by paulsc at 11:11 AM on May 28, 2007 [18 favorites]


amberglow: "Zach, we all bear some responsibility for what our government does in our names"

See??? Right there! That's exactly what I'm talking about. As long as you believe in that LIE, we will continue to be held captive by the bullies of this world who think might makes right.

They will continue holding guns to the heads of innocents and tricking us into thinking it's our fault. Why? Cuz it works, that's why. Cuz we fall for the trap every time.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:16 AM on May 28, 2007


The gummint paid an average $2.1M to the families of the 9/11 victims.

There was an interesting post about this, way back - The 9/11 Victims Fund. I still have a copy of the amazing Kenneth Feinberg lecture that sp dinsmoor shared - "The September 11 Victim Compensation Fund: Lessons Learned". If anyone is interested, drop me an email.

It sure says a lot about economics and humanity..
posted by Chuckles at 11:18 AM on May 28, 2007


"The problem isn't that there weren't enough Democrats in Congress, it's that there weren't enough Democrats in Congress willing to vote no."

The problem is not the number of Democrats in congress or the number of Republicans in the White House or the number of Jehosofats in the Supreme Court.

It's the lack of number of men and women in civil service who actually serve civilians, rather than their own selfish interests, or those of special groups.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:24 AM on May 28, 2007


GIs in Iraq Are No Longer True Believers
"...on his third deployment in Iraq, [Staff Sergeant David Safstrom]is no longer a believer in the mission. The pivotal moment came, he says, this past February when soldiers killed a man setting a roadside bomb. When they searched the bomber's body, they found identification showing him to be a sergeant in the Iraqi Army.

' I thought, "What are we doing here? Why are we still here?"' said Safstrom, a member of Delta Company of the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. 'We're helping guys that are trying to kill us. We help them in the day. They turn around at night and try to kill us.'

His views are echoed by most of his fellow soldiers in Delta Company, renowned for its aggressiveness.

...'In 2003, 2004, 100 percent of the soldiers wanted to be here, to fight this war,' said Sergeant First Class David Moore, a self-described 'conservative Texas Republican' and platoon sergeant who strongly advocates an American withdrawal. 'Now, 95 percent of my platoon agrees with me.'

...in Safstrom's view, the American presence is futile. 'If we stayed here for 5, even 10 more years, the day we leave here these guys will go crazy,' he said. 'It would go straight into a civil war. That's how it feels, like we're putting a Band-Aid on this country until we leave here.'"
posted by ericb at 11:42 AM on May 28, 2007


Paul Krugman | New York Times Select:
The truth is that the nightmare of the Bush years won’t really be over until politicians are convinced that voters will punish, not reward, Bush-style fear-mongering. And that hasn’t happened yet.

Here’s the way it ought to be: When Rudy Giuliani says that Iran, which had nothing to do with 9/11, is part of a “movement” that “has already displayed more aggressive tendencies by coming here and killing us,” he should be treated as a lunatic.

When Mitt Romney says that a coalition of “Shia and Sunni and Hezbollah and Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda” wants to “bring down the West,” he should be ridiculed for his ignorance.

And when John McCain says that Osama, who isn’t in Iraq, will “follow us home” if we leave, he should be laughed at.

But they aren’t, at least not yet. And until belligerent, uninformed posturing starts being treated with the contempt it deserves, men who know nothing of the cost of war will keep sending other people’s children to graves at Arlington.
posted by ericb at 11:44 AM on May 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


See??? Right there! That's exactly what I'm talking about. As long as you believe in that LIE, we will continue to be held captive by the bullies of this world who think might makes right.

They will continue holding guns to the heads of innocents and tricking us into thinking it's our fault. Why? Cuz it works, that's why. Cuz we fall for the trap every time.


No. Not at all--it's our responsibility to speak and stop bullies and horrors too. It's our responsibility to always vote--which most young people don't do at all--and it's our responsibility to force our officials to act responsibly. They work for us and in our names. We bear responsibility for everything and have to act upon it. What our government does in our names is not something you can disavow or disassociate yourself, whether you might want to or not.

Your attitude actually ensures that all bullies act freely, instead of being punished or stopped, as a matter of fact. We can't stop terror from happening all over the world, but we can stop our officials (who work for us whose salaries we pay, etc) from creating new terrorists daily. It's not easy, but it's the only place we can actually have an effect.
posted by amberglow at 12:03 PM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


No. Not at all--it's our responsibility to speak and stop bullies and horrors too. It's our responsibility to always vote--which most young people don't do at all--and it's our responsibility to force our officials to act responsibly

I completely agree in principle, but in practice this position seems more and more futile to me all the time. I remember 2002-3, we protested, wrote letters, made phone calls, bought air time to try to find another solution in Iraq and none of it worked, none of it was heeded. Little of it even got media coverage. And the whole thing has unravelled pretty much as was predicted, with the media crying crocodile tears asking "how could this have happened?".

Then in a year, or 10 years, we'll be attacked again, either on the same scale as 9/11 or greater, and there will be more reprisals because hawkish pols will insist that "the people demand it", and shame anyone in congress with dovish sentiments into voting for more destruction and killing. And on and on it goes.

I find it tremendously difficult to accept responsibilty for the actions taken by my government when I'm doing everything in my power to try to get the powers that be to take the right course, and no one's listening, no one's being held accountable.
posted by psmealey at 12:21 PM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Today, somewhat more than other days, I wonder if W really gets it. I wonder if he's started to be horrified that things didn't work out the way he'd hoped, and now all he knows to do is stick to the script, or if he makes the sanctimonious noises he does because he's so thoroughly insulated from reality that he thinks Iraq is going to work out all right -- we just gotta be patient and believe.

What the hell really goes on inside that skull?
posted by pax digita at 12:49 PM on May 28, 2007


I completely agree in principle, but in practice this position seems more and more futile to me all the time. I remember 2002-3, we protested, wrote letters, made phone calls, bought air time to try to find another solution in Iraq and none of it worked...

psmealey


I know that my son did his best to serve our country. Through my own opposition to a profoundly misguided war, I thought I was doing the same. In fact, while he was giving his all, I was doing nothing. In this way, I failed him.

Andrew J. Bacevich

posted by taosbat at 1:03 PM on May 28, 2007


fine, taosbat, amberglow, voting, writing representatives, protesting, making phone calls, buying airtime is "nothing"

what do you suggest people do?
posted by pyramid termite at 1:11 PM on May 28, 2007


A thorough critique of the Left is required before there can be any hope of containing the Right.

And that's the trap of the two party system: damned if you do and damned if you don't.
posted by three blind mice at 1:25 PM on May 28, 2007


My apologies to anyone who this offends, but those to blame for war and all its horrors (especially any war occurring in the latter part of this century) are none other than the soldiers who volunteer to fight them. As soon as people take ultimate responsibility for each of their actions you might see war become obsolete.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:30 PM on May 28, 2007


It's not nothing at all. What we need to do is put up primary challengers to all who would continue this war forever, to not vote for people who will do the same, to make sure all politicians and the media know that the majority of Americans want this stopped--and it's a growing number, and to agitate and continue working to stop it all. Our responsibilities don't end because some actions didn't work in the past. Our responsibilities don't end because Congress caved. Make them afraid of losing their jobs like our soldiers and way way too many Iraqis lose their lives.
And reward the ones who did vote against this cave-in, and put more pressure on Congress to stop the insane lunatics in the White House. And don't pay for any paper or magazine or watch any tv channel that repeats their lies without factchecking or continues to paint everyone against the war as some small "loony left" faction and stuff. Download instead of watching Fox--Don't give them ratings--the money from Simpsons ads subsidizes all the bs at Fox News. Read overseas newspapers, and blogs, instead of the warmongers at WaPo. Don't shop at companies that donate to the GOP. Tell them why you're not. ...
posted by amberglow at 1:31 PM on May 28, 2007


read news from McClatchy which was right prewar and ever since, for instance, instead of the WaPo or NYT. Buy Blue. Money talks.
posted by amberglow at 1:39 PM on May 28, 2007


the soldiers who volunteer to fight them

You expect too much from young indoctrinated testosterone-poisoned men, Burhanistan.
posted by tgyg at 1:47 PM on May 28, 2007


Do everything, then bury your child by LT Andrew J. Bacevich and my son, Robert, & you will understand futility.
posted by taosbat at 2:05 PM on May 28, 2007


If you're alive to fight, there's hope. If you can still vote, there's hope. If you can still talk and act, there's hope.
posted by amberglow at 2:08 PM on May 28, 2007


What the hell really goes on inside that skull [of George Bush]?

Heh, heh ... look at that baldpate on Cheney...heh, heh...at least I got all of my hairs. Heh, heh...I want a drink. I want a drink. Shit. Can't have one right now. Me would lurve a pretzel. Mmmmm....pretzel. What are all these flashing lights? Looks like a 'cumputer to me. Err...what's this? Hmmm. Err...what do they have me doing today? A speech? Memory Day -- or, sum'thin.' Hmmm....gotta get my earpiece in, so that that asshole Turd Blossom can prompt my every werd (or, is it spelled 'word? Shit can't remember). Hrrr...hrrr...I'd rather be up on my speed boat in Kennebunkport, but shitza ... gotta pretend I care about those dead mutherfuckin' soldiers. Damn glad I escaped the draft. Thanks Daddio...cheers...this one's for you.
posted by ericb at 2:18 PM on May 28, 2007


Hope: ash floating on the wind.
posted by taosbat at 2:24 PM on May 28, 2007


I celebrated my Memorial Day by firing off a tirade e-mail to Madame Speaker Pelosi expressing my disgust at their capitulation on war funding.

I made it clear that, although I am the definition of a yellow-dog Democrat, I will not hesitate to jump ship if they don't grow a pair and do what the public is begging them to do.

I love this country, but it is clear that our system is rotten to the core. Money talks and, apparently, bullshit runs for office. Obama and Clinton both voted against the "compromise" - but not before waiting until most the votes were in so they could see which way the wind was blowing. My ass shows more leadership skills than these clowns.

I urge everyone to innundate their representatives with e-mails threatening (promising) to take their jobs away if they don't get with the program. I can think of no more fitting way to honor our troops.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:52 PM on May 28, 2007


Meanwhile, Cindy Sheehan announced today she is stepping away as the "face" of the peace movement. What in the world is wrong with us?

I have invested everything I have into trying to bring peace with justice to a country that wants neither. If an individual wants both, then normally he/she is not willing to do more than walk in a protest march or sit behind his/her computer criticizing others. I have spent every available cent I got from the money a "grateful" country gave me when they killed my son and every penny that I have received in speaking or book fees since then. I have sacrificed a 29 year marriage and have traveled for extended periods of time away from Casey’s brother and sisters and my health has suffered and my hospital bills from last summer (when I almost died) are in collection because I have used all my energy trying to stop this country from slaughtering innocent human beings. I have been called every despicable name that small minds can think of and have had my life threatened many times.

The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think. I have tried every since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful. Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most.

posted by waitingtoderail at 2:53 PM on May 28, 2007


and on that note:

.
posted by pax digita at 2:56 PM on May 28, 2007


I am the definition of a yellow-dog Democrat

You vote Democrat because you're bitter about the Civil War/Reconstruction?
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:14 PM on May 28, 2007


You vote Democrat because you're bitter about the Civil War/Reconstruction?

Wrong reason, right result. Generally, I would vote for a yellow dog before I'd vote for a Republican, though.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:21 PM on May 28, 2007


Do everything, then bury your child by LT Andrew J. Bacevich and my son, Robert, & you will understand futility.

I certainly do not want to disrespect your pain and grief, Taosbat, nor that of anyone else who has been caused suffering by this needless war, but because I have not personally been effected by it, does not mean that I do not grieve as well for the fallen individuals, their families and for our great (self-inflictedly) wounded nation.

I have acted and will continue to act in any way that I can, as paltry as those efforts might be, to try to ensure that this kind of thing never happens again. Even if it doesn't amount to a row of shit. Exactly what our "victory" last November amounted to on Capitol Hill this week.

As for Obama or Hillary, screw 'em. Why would they bring about any real change? ONLY IF he continues to walk it as he talks it, the only person I can really see supporting for president is Al Gore.
posted by psmealey at 3:25 PM on May 28, 2007


I think that Mr Gore will not try again. 2000 was enough.

It's a crooked game.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:52 PM on May 28, 2007


ONLY IF he continues to walk it as he talks it, the only person I can really see supporting for president is Al Gore.

Yup. I mean, if I were, you know, American, and all.
posted by No Robots at 3:53 PM on May 28, 2007


I certainly do not want to disrespect your pain and grief, Taosbat, nor that of anyone else who has been caused suffering by this needless war, but because I have not personally been effected by it, does not mean that I do not grieve as well for the fallen individuals, their families and for our great (self-inflictedly) wounded nation.

psmealey, I didn't mean to deny your feelings in any way. My intent was just the opposite.

First, I tried to show how similar your statement was to the elder Bacevich's. Next, I replied to pyramid termite. Then I replied to amberglow.

I'm sorry I wasn't more clear.
posted by taosbat at 4:25 PM on May 28, 2007


I understand, taosbat. And thank you very much for taking the time to explain.
posted by psmealey at 4:27 PM on May 28, 2007


I failed my boy and that hurts the most.
posted by taosbat at 5:19 PM on May 28, 2007


I've been thinking a lot about Bacevich (and other parents -- taosbat and Sheehan, to name two) today.

I feel stirrings of dread.

Next month my son turns 12. That's six years to go before he can raise his right hand without his mother or me having to give written permission. Six more years, and this thing's been going on for four already.

Pax Junior is lively, quick-witted and funny; he loves karate and shoot-'em-up videogames, thinks firearms are cool as hell, is somewhat estranged from me emotionally (thanks for the assist, Mrs. Pax), and have damned little influence on him -- little enough that I'd have, I realize, if we slept under the same roof (adolescence makes dads stupid in their sons' eyes), and we haven't for three years now. He won't listen to me and he won't talk to me. I bet I can guess what he'll want to do when he's old enough.

I see no reason to think the next Administration is going to shut this crap down in January 2009; none of the front runners is exactly rabidly antiwar or seems likely to clean house. Meanwhile the saber-rattling at Iran hasn't abated, Pelosi and Co. tipped their collective hand this week, and there's no end to a War on Abstract Nouns that can be easily sold to a populace hungry for patriotic identity -- it's about empire and probably fundamentally about making sure we have as much oil as we can get in the teeth of India and China competing for it.

Time to watch Tora! Tora! Tora! again, then put on Britten's War Requiem nice and loud.
posted by pax digita at 5:32 PM on May 28, 2007


Meanwhile the saber-rattling at Iran hasn't abated,

Which reminds me of this: God help us all: The No. 2 book on Amazon right now is a "Christian" plea for attacking Iran

There's plenty to do just educating people about all sorts of things--even basic things.
posted by amberglow at 6:43 PM on May 28, 2007


The No. 2 book on Amazon right now is a "Christian" plea for attacking Iran

It will give the Business a splendid new start. You will see.
posted by homunculus at 7:51 PM on May 28, 2007


Six Memorial Day Speeches By George W. Bush

I use that word, because 'casualties' covers, in my mind dead and wounded.

That's the correct usage. There have been 29,643 American casualties in Iraq.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:03 PM on May 28, 2007


pyramid termite asks:

what do you suggest people do?

Without wanting to sound like I approve of the idea, at some point "armed revolution" has to appear on the list. There are those that would argue the Second Amendment specifically authorises just such a thing.

Seriously though, why do all the forms of resistance have to stop at the boundary that delineates a good little consumer unit? It's clear that the science of modern dictatorship has developed countermeasures against the established civilised forms of democratic disapproval; whether overt or otherwise, it sounds like there's a call for new tactics on the other side.
posted by nonlocal at 1:45 AM on May 29, 2007


Seriously though, why do all the forms of resistance have to stop at the boundary that delineates a good little consumer unit?
Because most people don't want to be arrested or labeled "terrorists", probably. Act local, do small things that have an impact, always vote, always speak out, always counteract those who would keep us in Iraq forever no matter how many die, etc--and always remember that the vast majority of Americans want us out and are with you.

Humor and mockery are great too. ...The truth is that the nightmare of the Bush years won’t really be over until politicians are convinced that voters will punish, not reward, Bush-style fear-mongering. And that hasn’t happened yet.
Here’s the way it ought to be: When Rudy Giuliani says that Iran, which had nothing to do with 9/11, is part of a “movement” that “has already displayed more aggressive tendencies by coming here and killing us,” he should be treated as a lunatic.
When Mitt Romney says that a coalition of “Shia and Sunni and Hezbollah and Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda” wants to “bring down the West,” he should be ridiculed for his ignorance.
And when John McCain says that Osama, who isn’t in Iraq, will “follow us home” if we leave, he should be laughed at. ...

posted by amberglow at 7:42 AM on May 29, 2007


Dems Wimp Out on Bush & Prewar Intelligence
posted by homunculus at 10:16 AM on May 29, 2007


My apologies to anyone who this offends, but those to blame for war and all its horrors (especially any war occurring in the latter part of this century) are none other than the soldiers who volunteer to fight them. As soon as people take ultimate responsibility for each of their actions you might see war become obsolete.

Just another person who wants the military to do something they don't want to.
posted by Snyder at 11:47 AM on May 29, 2007


Just another person who wants the military to do something they don't want to.
posted by Snyder


Care to qualify that statement?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:48 AM on May 29, 2007


You want them to risk their lives, go to jail, destroy their careers and livelihoods. Be the change you want to see.
posted by Snyder at 11:54 AM on May 29, 2007


Be the change I want to see? Well, I didn't join the military even though I was called several times a week by recruiters who had my ASVAB test scores. It's a culture of death that doesn't need to be embraced or rationalized.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:57 AM on May 29, 2007


How nice for you to be so privileged, or to have some different values than many serving members of the military. I'm sure there's nothing unrealistic about expecting that they throw themselves upon their swords in order to make a statement in a way you approve.
posted by Snyder at 12:01 PM on May 29, 2007


Yep, it is pretty damn nice, thanks. Keep on with the beehive mind and see where it gets ya.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:03 PM on May 29, 2007


The beehive mind? You mean, the mind that thinks that an equivalent to "If we all held hands and sang 'Kumbaya,' there would be no war?" Yes, I'm sure that if everyone agreed with you in every way, we would have no war, but it's about as realistic as wishing magic faeries to come down and turn all weapons into flowers. It's an easy way to absolve yourself of responsibility of the war while placing it on the people who suffer from it.
posted by Snyder at 12:12 PM on May 29, 2007


Yes, it was easy. I just said it freely and didn't need someone to go overseas and blow things up so I could say it.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:13 PM on May 29, 2007


Yes, I imagine it was easy. Easier then actually responding to my posts. Have fun with your smugness.
posted by Snyder at 12:21 PM on May 29, 2007


Dude, how can I respond to you in a real way when you derive faeries and kumbaya from me making a statement about taking responsibility for one's actions.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:38 PM on May 29, 2007


I tried responding to you and all you have are glib one-liners. Great, you think the military shouldn't exist, and that every troop in it (and not you) is responsible for it's existence, and that they all should all go home and war would never happen again. That's all a bunch of fantasy. It's self-serving, your view of the military is comical, and it's less nuanced then a Bush speech. Are you gonna say something more than cliche? Or are you the kind of person who throws fruit at servicepeople? Because you seem about as reflective and thoughtful as them.
posted by Snyder at 12:54 PM on May 29, 2007


Thanks for your invective and your careless projection. I'm not really fond of pissing contests, so please go have a nice day.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:08 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, just what I suspected. Not a real thought, with justification and self-reflection, but a few glib phrases about "responsibility" and "culture of death." Just another elitist who could waste time posting one-liners about their wonderfulness, and then get pissy and accuses other people of "pissing contests" when someone tries to: A) Criticize/Find out the thought process behind your post which blames the victims and expects them to make incredible sacrifices they would not do themselves, (you know, going to jail for not following orders, does it need to be spelled out for you?) and then B) And then calls you on actually not having a thought process behind it.

I'm not the one who made the "beehive mind" comment, but it seems to me I actually made an attempt to justify my comments (as you requested.)
posted by Snyder at 1:23 PM on May 29, 2007


last word.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:24 PM on May 29, 2007


Outstanding piece.

That “anti-war speech is encouraging the enemy” crap - boy I’d love to know where/when those kinds of critics served. If anything encourages “the enemy” it’s low enlistment numbers. Of course, I don’t know that anything does encourage “the enemy.” Once that enemy is designated an enemy they’re pretty much going to fight you if you’re fighting them. Or making war by other means.
+ what amberglow sed


And not to get involved in another “the troops should” thing here, but - an individual is responsible for their decisions up to and until they enlist. Once they do, they cannot choose what war to fight otherwise there is no civilian control over the military.
As it is, a whole lot of people are choosing not to serve their country right now. Which is just fine by me given what’s going on. I agree with that decision and I wouldn’t join now. But not everyone who’s enlisting supports the war. The only reason I’d entertain the notion is to support the people in the field now - my brothers and sisters in arms, not the current foreign policy effort which I completely oppose. But it’s not an invalid reason to join. I know people in harm’s way and it’s very hard not to want to be there with them. You think you can perhaps make a difference or at the very least keep them from harm.

I think Bacevich is entirely right in saying opposing the war and fighting in it is both doing one’s duty.
But there is no question who has - and who should always have the leadership role - the civilian population.
You can’t expect military personnel to do something for you without accepting that they might do something not, so much, for you. And seeing as how they have all the guns, I’d like them on as short and tight leash as possible.
As it is, (IMHO) the system needs changing and there needs to be more public oversight and offical accountability for war making.

Seems obvious to me. So it’s hard for me to believe that while some people are dying, and other men are sacrificing their time and fortunes and in a very real sense (given the acrimonius and vicious nature of public debate) their sacred honor - anyone could argue in favor of inaction.

It’s not a matter of whether the cause can be won. It’s the struggle that defines us. And in a very real sense, although today it’s Bacevich and his son, tomorrow it’s you or me and someone we love.

It’s easy to say someone else should: “X”
But we only have control over what we do and how we define ourselves. A large part of the work is indeed simply finding a solution, something that works to effect change. That it isn’t easy is no excuse.
Hell, we should all thank God we have such an obvious target with the errors in the system so manifest.
It’s not like you can’t find the problem right now. Just a matter of making the decision to be involved. After that it’s just work.
And really, what the hell else are you going to do that’s a better use of your time?
I mean, either you prepare and champion a cause you think is worth working for, or, really, you don’t.
And this how much you do is all ego. Doesn’t mean a damn thing. I don’t know that anyone wants the role of hero anyway. Seems like a lousy job.
And even the greatest heros - Ghandi, etc. - are all supported by hundreds of thousands of sacrifices by nameless individuals. Not only do people stand on the shoulders of giants, but the giants themselves are supported by the works of the masses. Us. Doing stuff. Little stuff, every day. Eventually it will turn the tide. It always has - and because these aren’t vague transcendental forces at work here, but the real acts of real people, action against them always will work.
And it’s a worthwhile undertaking, because again, today it’s me, tomorrow it’s you.

Or, y’know, you could watch more t.v. and keep blaming someone else and asserting you have no control over anything.


(all “you’s” are generally speaking)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:39 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


An important point about fighting wrongs in our system--and given our system:... The truth is that if you want to have a say in what goes on in government, you have to do it through party politics. And another truth is that there’s not going to be a viable, national third party in my lifetime. Maybe there’ll be one in yours if you are very young, but in any event bolting to a third party is no remedy to our current problems. The practical reality is that our only hope of effecting a progressive agenda in the U.S. in the foreseeable future is to take the Dems into hand and mold it into a party that responds to us.

It’s not about our supporting the Democrats; it’s about training the Democrats to support us.
...

posted by amberglow at 4:06 PM on May 29, 2007


Not only do people stand on the shoulders of giants, but the giants themselves are supported by the works of the masses. Us. Doing stuff. Little stuff, every day. Eventually it will turn the tide. It always has - and because these aren’t vague transcendental forces at work here, but the real acts of real people, action against them always will work.
And it’s a worthwhile undertaking, because again, today it’s me, tomorrow it’s you.


Totally.
posted by amberglow at 4:09 PM on May 29, 2007


quoted on my user page, and something i always try to keep in mind: ...But you know how it all works, how the small actions add up. And you now see how you can start to stack them up differently. The helpful suggestion upward, not made. The confidential memo leaked downward, or out. The book recommended to an inquiring student. No longer on the curriculum, but you might find it interesting - a different angle. The conversational concessions withdrawn. The conventional civility dropped. The hard stare back, the harder line held. The slack not cut. Elsewhere, the warmer smile. The word of encouragement. The grant approved. The link forwarded. The cartoon tacked up. The dues paid. The paper bought, the extra coin passed, the minute spent in friendly chat before you hurry for the train. The firm nod to your own kid's tentative query.
There are more of you than you know. You're in deep in the system, in its fouled blood, in its creaking bones, in its edgy nerves. In its schools and universities, its bureaucracies and businesses, its studios and offices, its factories and homes. You're under its skin. The midnight fathers. The summer of love mothers. Thousands of you, tens of thousands, in Britain alone. You have the numbers. You know the drill. ...

posted by amberglow at 4:17 PM on May 29, 2007


Cindy Sheehan today on the radio: ...Sheehan's tone then becomes stronger and more positive as she looks to the future, making it clear that she is not giving up activism. She says, "We're gonna see what other direction we can come at it, because obviously the direction that we're going has stopped being effective. ... We're gonna close up the factory, we're gonna retool, and we're gonna see how we can come at this problem from a different angle." ...
posted by amberglow at 4:20 PM on May 29, 2007


...It's an easy way to absolve yourself of responsibility of the war while placing it on the people who suffer from it.
posted by Snyder

Yes, it was easy. I just said it freely and didn't need someone to go overseas and blow things up so I could say it...
posted by Burhanistan

posted by taosbat at 6:45 PM on May 29, 2007


Say, didn’t someone write some sort of declaration at some point against the king of england? And compose some stuff about free speech and such?
I remember there was some sort of altercation that followed.


Nifty link(s) there amberglow
posted by Smedleyman at 7:58 PM on May 29, 2007


Say, didn’t someone write some sort of declaration at some point against the king of england? And compose some stuff about free speech and such?
I remember there was some sort of altercation that followed.


Well, you might be thinking of the first ten ammendments to the Constitution, which were ratified well after the Declaration of Independence submitted to King George.

I think it's obvious that my point, while perhaps smug and slightly offputtingly delivered, was that "free speech" as such simply comes spontaneously from within. It's a really cheap lie for people to insist that it comes from war. A case could be made that certain wars may have in fact helped to secure a relatively safe environment for "free speech" to be expressed without reprisals, but all the same in no way do I think war can be considered a cause of "free speech"

This coveted right those in the USA uphold and deify is something that people use to justify killing and manipulate others into more killing. In other countries another kind of fundamental or basic aspect of that culture is also skewed and twisted to justify sending their young to the slaughter.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:08 PM on May 29, 2007


Say, didn’t someone write some sort of declaration...

Shallowness is fundamental to intellectual & moral dishonesty.
posted by taosbat at 8:12 PM on May 29, 2007


Shallowness is fundamental to intellectual & moral dishonesty:


I think it's obvious that my point, while perhaps smug and slightly offputtingly delivered, was that "free speech" as such simply comes spontaneously from within. It's a really cheap lie for people to insist that it comes from war. A case could be made that certain wars may have in fact helped to secure a relatively safe environment for "free speech" to be expressed without reprisals, but all the same in no way do I think war can be considered a cause of "free speech"

posted by taosbat at 8:25 PM on May 29, 2007


Free speech is still ours (in a more limited way than before, tragically), and it must be exercised and defended always. That's usually not done with wars--most especially with wars of choice like Iraq. Not one soldier now in Iraq or Afghanistan is fighting for our rights as American citizens. Not one soldier is fighting to preserve and defend our US Constitution. Osama was not interested in invading the US nor in changing our laws--he only wanted our actions to change--getting us out of Saudi Arabia, not helping Israel, and weakened by getting caught up in a fight over there (which he thought would be Afghanistan)--Bush gave him everything he wanted in scores. Only our own can destroy and remove and restrict our rights, as we have seen these past few years.

Not for one second were any of our rights in danger, except from this administration, and those people they listen to and reward. We've now lost many rights--not because of Osama or anyone elsewhere who "hated our freedom", but solely because of Bush and a compliant Congress and failed media.
posted by amberglow at 9:09 PM on May 29, 2007


... In America, the hawkish side almost always wins the security debate, no matter how crazy their arguments. ...

And given that reality (and it is one, sadly), and the certainty that Iraq will continue until either the oil law gets passed, or they finally force us out entirely sometime after Bush is out of office and a hopefully Democratic president is in, the fight has to shift. It's clear that no one now in Congress will lay their career on the line to stop it, even tho many of their careers are on the line because of it--especially the GOP members.
posted by amberglow at 9:42 PM on May 29, 2007


... In America, the hawkish side almost always wins the security debate, no matter how crazy their arguments. ...

That's only a recent phenomenon. Historically, the opposite has been true. Both Wilson and FDR got elected for "keeping us out of war", and (ironically, given Vietnam) LBJ got elected by being less hawkish than Goldwater. I wonder if Iraq will have the effect of returning the US to it's quasi isolationist (Monroe Doctrine notwithstanding) non-interventionist roots.
posted by psmealey at 5:31 AM on May 30, 2007


Nixon ran on ending the war too, in 68--he didn't.

I think since WW2 ended, we've overwhelmingly erred on the side of hawkishness whether we had a Dem or a Repub as president. From big fights to little ones, we've more and more turned to military options (along with the usual more covert installing of puppets and propping up of dictators and heavily funding those we consider "friends" at the time, etc).

As long as military options remain the most visible way to show action/power/strength on the world stage (as opposed to diplomacy, which we've never really been that good at in my lifetime and which is way too quiet and invisible and wimpy for most Americans), we're doomed to using our military way too much.
posted by amberglow at 9:39 AM on May 30, 2007


People on all sides really don't honor (or even remember or talk about) the historic achievements of Egypt/Israel peace talks and agreements, or the Oslo Accords, or any summit at all (unless it's violent), etc.--they remember the video-game graphics of Gulf War bombings and stuff, and our entire culture has really canonized all WW2 soldiers and battles, etc.
posted by amberglow at 9:46 AM on May 30, 2007


“"free speech" as such simply comes spontaneously from within. It's a really cheap lie for people to insist that it comes from war.”

Your efforts to speculate on my comments are admirable. But wrong. Free speech may come without war, but it’s impossible without sacrifice. That includes efforts of peace, but all these things are efforts.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:06 PM on May 30, 2007


Really, you missed the point that speech comes from the mouth (or fingertips as the case may be). A few wars in the past have gone to secure the environment that purports to nurture and protect the rights of those who say things, but that isn't the same as being the cause. I also think you misread who my statements were aimed at. And you neglected to point out that you were in error about the Declaration of Independence vs. the Bill of Rights. But aloha, all the same.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:10 PM on May 30, 2007


I also think you misread who my statements were aimed at.
posted by taosbat at 2:39 PM on May 30, 2007


Meanwhile: 50 years in Iraq: President George W. Bush would like to see a lengthy U.S. troop presence in Iraq like the one in South Korea to provide stability but not in a frontline combat role, the White House said on Wednesday.

The United States has had thousands of U.S. troops in South Korea to guard against a North Korean invasion for 50 years.

posted by amberglow at 5:37 PM on May 30, 2007


Today’s presidential TV spot is a Nixon ad from 1968. Change “Vietnam” to “Iraq” and the script could be repeated verbatim by the 2008 Democratic nominee:
posted by amberglow at 6:59 PM on May 30, 2007


My apologies to anyone who this offends, but those to blame for war and all its horrors (especially any war occurring in the latter part of this century) are none other than the soldiers who volunteer to fight them. As soon as people take ultimate responsibility for each of their actions you might see war become obsolete.
posted by Burhanistan


Hai! Burhanistan!

I place punk in your subconcious: you realize it.
posted by taosbat at 10:11 PM on May 30, 2007


taosbat: pardon? I'm a bit unclear as to why you keep reposting my comments (usually right under the original posts) but haven't asked about until your last comment. So, you're placing something in my subconscious or you're saying I have that quality preexisting? Help me out here. Because if it is the latter, then, duh, no kidding. If it is the former then I'm sorry, you don't have that power since I make daily subconsciousness purges of all foreign elements.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:15 PM on May 30, 2007


You cannot save yourself with the glib, Burhanistan. You came into this thread to slander the dead and pump yourself up. You have served your purpose.
posted by taosbat at 10:27 PM on May 30, 2007


taosbat: perception is reality with most people so I won't argue with you. Maybe state your points more clearly next time. Peace.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:33 PM on May 30, 2007


Peace be upon you.
posted by taosbat at 10:36 PM on May 30, 2007


So many Fort Lewis soldiers are being killed in Iraq the Army base will no longer hold individual memorial services.

Starting next month Fort Lewis says it will hold one memorial a month for all the dead soldiers. ...

posted by amberglow at 6:35 PM on May 31, 2007


Memorial Day orators will say that a G.I.'s life is priceless. Don't believe it. I know what value the U.S. government assigns to a soldier's life...
posted by geos

So many Fort Lewis soldiers are being killed in Iraq the Army base will no longer hold individual memorial services...
posted by amberglow


Memorials are a bummer. Strykers cost a lot of money.

I was an army brat through the Vietnam war. When a friend's father gets killed or disgraced... They walk around for a short while with their grief, then they disappear: they've gone to whatever familial home there is.

And that's it. You just carry on.
posted by taosbat at 10:02 PM on May 31, 2007


Turf war brews over sale of Sheehan's Camp Casey...
posted by taosbat at 11:32 PM on June 1, 2007


Now Fort Drum is doing the same -- Fort Drum Changing to Monthly Memorial Services
posted by amberglow at 8:35 AM on June 3, 2007


I don't beat my head against the wall, because that causes a headache, and I don't like headaches. Yet until now I've voted in elections because I thought it was doing something constructive. I see now, that is not the case. It's a waste of my time. Banging my head against a wall would do more for politics than getting out and voting would.

In other words: none.

Writing to one's congressman, or voting, or doing any of the other 'volunteer' things that proponents for the status quo are saying we should continue doing, has less validity and value to the political system than posting to this thread.

In other words: none.

If you still believe otherwise, that's precisely what the powers-that-be want you to believe. Every single clear-minded citizen could write in Mickey Mouse if they wanted. The final tally is 'counted' in ways that make the election process an ineffective and obsolete dog and pony show.

Ninety percent of the potential voters in America choose not to vote because of this. It's not the other way around.

I used to believe like you Amber. Then I woke up. Feel free to hit the snooze alarm as many times as you'd like. It's already too late anyway.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:10 PM on June 3, 2007


I thought about the memorials at Lewis & Drum, amberglow.

...a Fort Drum spokesman says the change is due more to scheduling than an increase in combat deaths...

The scheduling is only an issue b/c of the increased frequency of combat deaths.

I talked to my mom (30 years an army wife) about it & this probably does make it easier for the affected spouses of deployed soldiers to plan for the bad. The families have to plan for that: it's required and there are classes & the filling of forms.

Now the soldiers and their families will have a schedule...

The sad thing is that these deaths have a schedule...

It's not the first time humans have warred for empire but my family, who warred at Bunker Hill, Valley Forge, Bloody Kansas...we thought we were doing something else.

But we weren't. My mom & I cried.
posted by taosbat at 10:19 PM on June 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


I used to believe like you Amber. Then I woke up. Feel free to hit the snooze alarm as many times as you'd like. It's already too late anyway.

There are few separate issues here, Zachsmind. The first one is statistical. Does my vote matter? Does it count? Does one vote out of a hundred fifty million or so count, especially when there is a fair risk it might be discounted due to technical reasons or other shenanigans?

The second is moral or philosophical. If you recuse yourself from the process, you have only yourself to blame for the negative outcomes. Or from a Kantian perspective, what if everyone else did as you did, in effect, what if everyone opted out? What then, would we have? A wholly unelected elite making decisions for a people who are completely unenfranchised. You may argue that this is what we have already, but ask yourself this: if no one's vote counts, why would the GOP go to such lengths to throw the red meat of fear and bigotry tol its base to increase turnout on the one hand, and resort to underhanded techniques like caging and push-polls to suppress turnout on the other?

Statistically, you can back up your perspective quite neatly, but morally, you don't have a leg to stand on.
posted by psmealey at 4:14 AM on June 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


taos, it seems like they'll be some macabre graduation ceremony each month or something--appalling.
posted by amberglow at 9:19 AM on June 4, 2007


One could view it that way, amberglow. I'm sure the participants will experience it as something terrible and sacred.

Did you see We Were Soldiers? For me, that movie was all about Madeleine Stowe's character, Mrs. Moore, taking command of the most awful duty.

The participants will be mothers like Mrs. Moore and my mom, kids like my sister and me, an honor guard and such. The core of the ritual is well-known to all: flags are folded; wives receive them; taps and volleys.

I think the scheduling will likely help the participants develop a local sort of 'personality' for the ritual and that will help all the families, not just the ones in mourning, come together and imbue themselves with something as meaningful and comforting as can be.
posted by taosbat at 11:11 AM on June 4, 2007


I hope so, taos.
posted by amberglow at 12:54 PM on June 5, 2007


I think it has to be better than what's been going on for the families at Ft. Drum, amberglow.

The 10th Mountain Division has been split between Afghanistan and Iraq since we invaded Iraq. The bulk of the division has been committed to Afghanistan. While the raw numbers of KIA in Afghanistan have been lower at least until lately, the percentages were higher than in Iraq.

When Robert's brigade was in Baghdad for the 2004 - 2005 cycle they lost fewer than 10 soldiers.

This cycle, a lot more are dying. al-Qaeda in Iraq has claimed the massacre of a 10th MTN patrol. Spec. Alex R. Jimenez and Pvt. Byron W. Fouty remain listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown. Pfc. Joseph J. Anzack Jr. is coming home.

I can try to imagine what it's like for the kids in school. It was one thing when the first few soldiers were lost, like an echo of the battlefield. Someone's father died and, as in my experience, they walked around for a short while in their deepest grief and disappeared: gone to some familial home. So you knew it could happen.

So those battlefield echoes grow & grow in waves of blasts. As it is for the soldiers who lose their comrades on the battlefield, increasingly it is so for their children who no longer see their friends on the playground: Daddy's still walking and so am I. The others are gone.

Imagine dealing with that day by day: K - 12. Imagine that it's not a single battle, but a cycle. I'm glad I'm not one one of those kids. I thought I had some raw shit...

It looks like they made a place.
posted by taosbat at 4:28 PM on June 5, 2007


I can't stand any of this--i fought and yelled before, and now we'll be there forever. It's the most wrong thing since i've been aware--since i was a kid during Vietnam....more wrong than Watergate, more than Iran/Contra, more than all of it---it's just all wrong since the Supreme Ct made Bush the Pres.
posted by amberglow at 8:00 PM on June 5, 2007


...It's the most wrong thing since i've been aware...

yup
posted by taosbat at 11:10 PM on June 5, 2007


Sheehan's protest site in Crawford to be peace memorial
posted by taosbat at 11:00 AM on June 9, 2007


Veterans of the Iraq war, including heroic Army Cpl. Frank Sandoval, are dying here in America too.
posted by homunculus at 7:26 PM on June 24, 2007


'Most severely wounded' soldier endures: blind, quadriplegic, struggling to breathe
posted by homunculus at 7:28 PM on June 24, 2007


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