Daily Wisdom

February 24, 2007

Interview With A Soldier In Iraq

Jim over at Thinking-Right.com has an interesting interview with an American soldier in Iraq. Here are some excerpts...

Q. Tell me about some good things that are happening there… hospitals, schools, Iraqi troops, etc.

A. There are hundreds of missions going on EVERYDAY that you all back home do not hear about. It does not meet the media agenda I guess. We have teams here that specialize in rebuilding Iraq, and they carry out tons of projects to better this place. They are repairing sewer systems, building wells, building schools, even repairing the roads in this country. The truth is that there are hundreds of them going on everyday in this country without the media attention reserved for the “blood and guts” coverage. We have even started women’s schools for the advancement of the women in this country, which is a far cry from the treatment of women throughout the Middle East...

Q. Do you feel the security situation is improving?

A. YES. Problem for you all is that they will never report it back there in the states. For instance, I saw a press conference from General Casey, the MNF-I Commander, in regards to the provinces here. Iraq basically has 19 “states” compared to our 50, except they call them provinces. That said, in terms of security 14 are considered “green”, 3 are “amber” and 2 are still “red”. Instead of telling the American public that story (I believe it is called the truth) the reporters they send over here sit in their cozy hotel in the IZ in Baghdad and only report the doom and gloom from the footage they buy from local reporters...

Why is it that Hollywood stars will rush to support the end of genocide in Africa with 200,000 deaths, when Saddam systemically committed genocide on his own people for over 2 decades, more than 2 million lives lost and the only time a Hollywood star came here was to protect Saddam’s reign?

Q. What can the American public do to help you… to support both the troops and the mission?

A. The American soldiers are growing VERY disenfranchised with the American media and the impact it is having on the American people’s view of this war. The media is not telling the truth about this war, they are not telling what is going on over here...

I met a man here that was a LT Colonel pilot under Saddam, and he made $75 a month. Now, he makes $15 dollars a day selling Iraqi gifts, and he has employed his son to work for him, also making $15 dollars a day. Their family income went up 12 fold in the new Iraq. Imagine a minimum wage family that makes a combined income of $40,000 a year suddenly making $480,000 a year. Iraq’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the world and the guys with street side markets in Baghdad say they earn 30 times what they were ALLOWED to make under Saddam...

Yet, no one wants to show the positives of Iraq. No one wants to tell both sides of this story. Instead of going out and telling the true tale here, the reporters want to sit in the green zone and live off the footage they buy from the local reporters (with no means of authenticating the coverage). We’re not asking for much, just be fair and tell both sides of the reality of Iraq...

War is never an easy endeavor. To win, it takes commitment, and if you are TRULY “for the troops” then you cannot be against the war. If you are “for the troops” then what people need to say is “get the job done, then come home” rather than trash the efforts we are sweating and bleeding for over here. See the positives in bringing freedom to a decimated people and creating a democracy in the middle east...

If the American public just loved this nation HALF as much as the American soldier we’d be so much better off- where are all those flags we saw flying after 9/11??

Q. Tell me about the attitude of Iraqi’s towards our troops (do they want us there… do they want us to stay).

A. I don’t interact with them daily. So, let’s look at this issue in purely numerical terms. Iraq is a country of 24 million people. If they TRULY wanted us to not be here, we wouldn’t be. If only 5% of Iraqi’s took up arms against us, that would be an army of 1.2 million people, and we’d be running for Kuwait!

So, imagine if the people of Iraq truly “didn’t” want us here. This is their country and when they are ready, we’ll be gone and they’ll be running it. In the meantime, they want what every other person wants- they want security, food on their plate and a chance to better themselves and their families...

They want to be able to do their jobs without masked gunman taking them hostage, or long American convoys driving by that they have to pull over for. They want what we all want- normalcy...

Q. What are your thoughts on keeping troops in Iraq?

A. If you pay someone to side your house, and half way through the project they come into some problems that are going to cost more money and time on your house. Do you quit the job, fire the crew and curse the job they did and especially the decision to side the house in the first place? And if you do that, do you expect your house to get better after the half job is done? No...

Q. What are your thoughts on the call for an immediate pull out? And what would the effects be on the troops?

A. To quit in Iraq now, will make every life lost part of something less. There are patriotic Americans who have given a loved one towards this cause, and they want to know it was for something important, something real and something honorable...

If we leave Iraq, Iran, Syria and Al Qaeda will undermine everything we have done. Iran will mobilize the Shiites and Al Qaeda the Sunni’s. The country will fall into complete rebellion as both groups fight to gain control of one of the world’s largest oil reserves. We will be forced to watch on our nightly news as the violence (which we think is bad right now) in Iraq is compounded by the complete loss of all morality into large scale genocide. What will happen in Iraq if we pull out now will be genocide the modern world has never seen. What we stand for as Americans could be lost forever if we pull out...

Read the whole interview HERE.

20 Comments:

At 2/24/2007 2:36 PM , Anonymous Barb said...

What a fine young Hero. It is strange that each time I hear a report of a Military member ,actually in Iraq ,the story is so similar. They are really out there doing and defending and building ,while the Media play politics. The only thing about this interview I don't agree with ,is (God Forbid ) if we leave,the media will show the carnage that results. They won't . Once we leave the media ,will be long gone,and the only news out of there will be Al-jazeera.
We only found out later of the terrible atrocities in Vietnam and Cambodia after we pulled out.

 
At 2/25/2007 12:36 AM , Anonymous Elroy said...

For starters, I qoute

'Saddam systemically committed genocide on his own people for over 2 decades, more than 2 million lives lost and the only time a Hollywood star came here was to protect Saddam’s reign?'

And Rummy. Don't forget Rummy. He was staunch defender of Saddam too, don't forget. But tell me how do you account for the above figure? 2 million? How and where?

With regard bad news/good news, reconstruction etc, context is everything.
Read this: http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/06/21/014655.php

The US must leave, they will leave but they can't leave. This is the conundrum the US has created
for itself. Or maybe the whole idea was not to ever leave anyway; this certainly explains the behavior of the WH concerning the whole matter, wouldn't you say?

The US now finds itself backing the very people it wished to deter from winning, the Shiites O what a tangled web we weave!

And with regards to Cambodia, I guess it's a shame that the USA backed Pol Pot so heavily. But that was the Democrat's fault, huh? It must of been. Wasn't it? Surely you can a find a way of making it their fault? C'mon, try harder!

But wherever one looks at trouble in the world one sees the wash up of either colonialism, WW1, US interference or a combination of all three

Yup, the Christian, civilised, capitalist democracies sure have a lot to be proud of.

Cheers

Elroy

 
At 2/25/2007 2:44 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Elroy,
You are absolutely despicable! It's bad enough that you make fun of me and my friends who are "grown-ups". [I'm almost 55 and many of those who frequent this site range from their 40's through their 70's.] But to come down on a soldier in Iraq, who (on average) is probably in his early 20's, is simply mean.

But let me clarify this "young Hero's" remarks (as Barb referred to him). The soldier is absolutely correct when he says that Saddam committed genocide against "his own people" (the Kurds) for over 2 decades. Saddam was also pretty brutal against "his own people" (the Shi'ites).

But let's talk about the 2 million number for a moment. Saddam Hussein invaded Iran and the long and protracted war which followed resulted in the combined deaths of 1.7 million Iraqis and Iranians. On top of this, the mass graves found in Iraq contained upwards of 400,000 bodies. See HERE for more details. On top of that, Saddam's Anfal campaign against the Kurds killed as many as 182,000 people that didn't make it into the mass graves. (See HERE).

If you add those numbers together, you get something on the order of 2.3 million deaths directly attributable to Saddam Hussein. And that's just a quick count. For more info on Saddam's Human Rights violations go HERE.

The US must leave (Iraq)...
Says who? The Iraqis? BS! We don't NEED to leave. And we have not been asked to leave. It's the damn left wing media that says we "MUST leave". Apparently you've bought into their propaganda "hook, line and sinker". You're nothing more than a manipulated "dummy" spouting the talking points of the left-wing, socialist, nay... the Communist ventriloquists.

Yup, the Christian, civilised, capitalist democracies sure have a lot to be proud of.

You're damned right we have a lot to be proud of. We freed Europe from German agression during WW1.
We freed Europe again from the fascists in WW2. We also freed Japan, the Pacific, and China from fascism in WW2 (only to have China revert to "Communist fascism"). We freed South Korea from Communism which today prospers by comparison to starving North Korea. We freed Eastern Europe from the clutches of Communism. We freed Kuwait from the clutches of Saddam. We freed Afghanistan from the Taliban. We freed Iraq from Saddam Hussein.

"Yup, the Christian, civilised, capitalist democracies sure have a lot to be proud of". Amen brother.

Cheers!

 
At 2/25/2007 6:30 PM , Blogger Beerme said...

Hawkeye®,

You go, boy!

 
At 2/25/2007 9:09 PM , Anonymous Purplehaze said...

...and lets not forget, you created the Mujaheedan in AFghanistan, you literally gave rise to Saddam Hussein and his band by supporting him when times were ripe, you fed Paul Pot, you played rockabilly with Batista the dictator (lets see how well you know you're history...), the list goes on. You freed the Japanese by dropping 2 atomic bombs on their sorry arses! Hooray for freedom! Great America, great!

Throwing stones from glass houses......

 
At 2/25/2007 9:18 PM , Anonymous Purplehaze said...

Just remember, mearly every "third world" nation of today was once part of the colonial empire...and as Elroy says, the countries with the most trouble seem to have had a history of colonialism, and the leaching tentacles of America.

Democrappy at its very best.

 
At 2/25/2007 10:20 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Purplehaze,
Don't throw stones if you live in a glass house.

Blah, blah, blah! Talk is cheap. Action and results are something else. I've never seen anything accomplished by talking about what might have been. If you don't do anything... you won't make any mistakes. If you attempt to do something right... you are bound to make some mistakes sooner or later.

So, OK... we've made some mistakes. But we've accomplished some REALLY GOOD things too. You can talk trash all you want about our liberating millions of people, and what it took to get the job done... but what have YOU done for the world? What has fascism done for the world? What has communism done for the world?

We've made mistakes, but the Japanese don't hate us for it. We've made mistakes, but the Germans don't hate us for it. The Filippinos don't hate us. The Afghanis don't hate us. Not even the Iraqis hate us.

And if Bin Laden hates us... SO WHAT?? Bin Laden can go sit on a stick for all I care! Screw him!

Cheers...

 
At 2/26/2007 2:03 AM , Anonymous Elroy said...

No, I’m not despicable; I just disagree with you. What’s up? Can’t take it?

Hawkeye, it just so happens that I’m a ‘grown-up’ too, and I’m not ‘coming down’ on anyone. Did I give your soldier a hard time? No. I merely asked you, not him, you, to explain those figures.

The Iraq/Iran War was indeed a bloody business, but they have been at each other for quite a while now, since the start of recorded history in fact (Ouch, that Saddam! How dare he travel through time!). However, it’s a shame that the war that you are concerned about was sponsored by the west, particularly the US. Poppy Bush, Rummy, all the rest; they were feeding Saddam all the toys he needed. They encouraged him, they let him do what he wanted; basically, Saddam fought the Iranians on behalf of the US, a proxy army (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._support_for_Iraq_during_the_Iran-Iraq_war ) for a brief overview. Do you honestly contend that there is no blood on the hands of USA?

People die in wars. If the US had not so actively interfered (there’s that US interference thang) in the Iraq/Iran war there might have been a lower death toll; in fact, there may have not been much of a war at all. However, you may have noticed (or maybe not) that between half and three-quarters of a million Iraqis have died since the current debacle started, which means that Saddam’s average annual death toll, 115,000 per, is currently being exceeded in post-Saddam Iraq with a figure of 163,000. Way to go, guys! Show that Saddam how to really kill!

As for the Kurds, where did Saddam materials to make the gas? And also bear in mind that, as far as Saddam was concerned, the Kurds were not ‘his own people’. They were a separate cultural, ethnic, and religious entity who unfortunately got lumped in with greater Iraq by the British some eighty years ago (Uh oh! First world war and post-colonialism alert!) and who have been striving for independence ever since, not that anyone noticed, except the Turks, who also gave the Kurds a damn good gassing for their trouble.

Furthermore, they were aligned with Iran and, as the USA gasses it enemies, so did Iraq, with US approval, I don’t condone it – I don’t condone any warfare whatsoever – but there are perspectives to this issue than run deeper than those debated by Bill and Sean. War has two sides, and it is possible to understand one’s adversary’s motives without agreeing with them.

Furthermore, I don’t know whether this counts as genocide as such. He ‘committed’ genocide? As far as I know, there are still more than a few Kurds roaming around, so maybe Saddam attempted genocide. But did he really try to methodically obliterate every single Kurd? He could have, easily, but he didn’t. And as for genocide of the Shiites? Boy, there’s a big job! And again, his efforts were less than successful.

Look, Saddam was a murdering bastard, no doubt about it, but being a murdering bastard has never been much of a hurdle to enjoying the favorable attentions of the US, and this bothers me; why can conservatives never acknowledge the handiwork of the USA’s elected and appointed officials in the support of the world’s great murdering bastards?

And when was it exactly that the citizens of America became so worried about the welfare of Iraqis? It seems to me that conservatives preferred method of dealing with would be, to quote one of leading lights and spokespeople, to ‘invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.’ So much for conservative ‘compassion’.

The US must leave if the Iraqis are to eventually achieve a stable society. It cannot happen with the US there; it’s too late. Any chance the US had of establishing it’s supposed wish of an Iraq democracy was demolished by one Paul Bremmer, and there will not be another one. No government that has the USA’s approval will be trusted; the only way for Iraq to be at peace is for a leader to emerge that can unite them, and to unite them they must be united against a third force, and who do you think that is going to be? The Russians? Venezuela? No, it will be the Americans,
the ones viewed as the oppressors, but even such a leader as this is not yet on the horizon. However, right now the Sunnis are fighting back against the occupying forces and the Shiites, but as the US doesn’t want the Shiites to take over either, the US can’t leave.

Unless, as you state, you don’t NEED to leave. You could stay there for, ooh, at least the next thirty years, long enough to enforce the new oil contracts being foisted on Iraq’s unsuspecting public. Which I suspect is the USA’s true agenda. But you will leave. Eventually. The Romans left the Middle East eventually. And so will the US.

This isn’t propaganda, Hawkeye, this is common sense. The only one I see spouting talking points and buying ‘hook, line and sinker’ into preconceived doctrines is you. Tell me, how do YOU see being played out? And not just vague platitudes about ‘victory’, the definition of which is still to be identified by the Right, but what you really see being the upshot of this war and how it will happen.
I am no dummy, sir, and would ask you respectfully to refrain from the ad hominem attacks; they demean us both and show that you are losing the debate.

History is a very interesting thing. Scratch the surface of the myths we are told and all sorts of nasty secrets come to light. Did the US free Europe from German aggression? Or was it protecting its investments? A significant amount of the US population wanted to enter the war on the side of the Germans!

Did the US free Europe ‘again’ from the Fascists? That would have been hard seeing as fascism didn’t’ exist during WW1, but anyway. Some might argue it was the Russians that saved Europe from the Nazis, and the Nazis themselves, and that the US was far too busy with the Japanese. Still, what the US did do is, after flogging all manner of stuff to both sides (take a bow: Ford, GM, GE, SO, IBM among others), make Europe safe for US investment while establishing markets and military bases. It’s the economy, stupid! The US literally demolished Japan and remade it in their own image, but freed China? That’s a long bow, buddy! I don’t suppose the Chinese had anything to do with it? Ungrateful bastards!

Did the US ‘free’ South Korea? If the US and the USSR had not decided to split the Korean peninsula between them, without ever consulting the Koreans, this war might not have been necessary, But one can’t just have people deciding what they want for themselves, can one? Hell, they might have elected some lefties and that would NEVER do! No, best to install an illegitimate puppet regime (like most of the USA’s buddies, Syngman Rhee was something of despot) and work on taking the Commies out later. The whole thing was recipe for disaster, but after shoring up their man in Seoul, the yanks just, well, saw red and went for broke. Oops! How’s that domino theory working out for y’all?

The US, and the rest of the world I might add, defended Kuwait from the US’s erstwhile pal Saddam, but only after the US gave him the green light to go into Kuwait in intially. Actually, Saddam had reasons to take Kuwait, but that’s another story. Afghanistan has yet to be ‘freed’ from the Taliban (another of the USA’s great innovations), in case you haven’t noticed, and some say the Iraqis ain’t feeing too free.

The truth is, for all their posturing, the US has never gone into war from purely altruistic motives; there has always been a financial angle from which they at least thought they might gain, and Iraq is no different.

Through war, colonialism and the drive to expand markets, the forces of the civilized Christian capitalist democracies have done untold damage that we are still dealing with. Why is that reality so hard for you to accept? The truth will set you free.

And yes, talk is cheap but ‘action’ is expensive. It costs untold in money, blood and freedom. Best to talk first (and last). We in the ‘reality-based community’ call it ‘diplomacy’. And no, things are not achieved by talking about ‘what might have been’ so best you know what you are doing before you do it. Isn’t that right, Mr. Bush?

I don’t know if crushing a sovereign state is a mistake; dialing a wrong number is a mistake, killing upward of 655,000 civilians and bombing a society out of existence is a monumental catastrophe. Dropping two nuclear bombs on civilians is no idle mishap either. ‘Oops!’ doesn’t quite cut it. So maybe when y’all make these ‘mistakes’ y’all should try to make sure that hundreds of thousands of people don’t die horrible deaths as a result. Just a thought.

So yes, you’ve made some mistakes. Care to elaborate? Give a comprehensive list of when and where? Really, I’m very interested to know what you might think is a failure of US foreign policy, so how about it?

We’re not ‘talking trash’ about your ‘liberating millions of people’ but it must be asked, how many wanted to be ‘liberated’? And ‘liberated’ US style? Once done ‘liberating’, the US makes sure it gets its pound of flesh.

What has fascism done for world? Not much. Very little. Don’t like it. What has communism done for the world? We don’t know, its never been tried.

The Japanese that hated you for obliterating X amount of their fellow citizens are dead but hey, along with the Germans, who did quite well out of WW2 in the end, industry must go on. You’d hardly know that the Germans started it.

The Filipinos that fought the Spanish in the Spanish – American War, the ones that thought the Americans were liberators, died wretchedly at the hands of their ‘liberators’; the Americans tortured and killed over 300,000 of them. Do they hate the USA? No. They’re dead too.

I’m sure there are plenty of Afghans that are mighty peeved that the USA a) created the Taliban and most especially b) bombed them back to the Neolithic era trying to get rid of the Taliban and I KNOW that there are one or two Iraqis with something to say about the situation. Gee, if you really don’t know why some people in the word have a grudge against the US then I suggest you broaden your reading list.

Bin Laden, however, rather likes you. You have removed your bases from Saudi Arabia, one of his pet wishes, and given radical Islam a profile he couldn’t have dreamed of. If he exists. Which he doesn’t (best ask the CIA about his current status). Iran, on the other hand, must love you guys! You’ve given it Iraq! Unless the Sunnis get back in, in which case the whole thing really would have been a colossal waste of effort, but very cheering for ol’ Osama…

Cheers

Elroy

 
At 2/26/2007 7:01 AM , Blogger MargeinMI said...

whatever. sigh

Love the interview, Hawkeye! Wish it was on the evening news.

 
At 2/26/2007 10:11 AM , Anonymous Hankmeister said...

Jim,

You mean out of the thousands of American soldiers serving in the Iraqi theater, like the lamestream media you couldn't find at least ten soldiers who blame Bush and refer to the war as an illegal and ill-advised exercise in Presidential adventurism and publish it here? Sheesh!

 
At 2/26/2007 10:17 AM , Anonymous Hankmeister said...

We can account for the two million figure, elroy my boy, the same way the John Hopkins "survey" accounted for over 650,000 Iraqi civilians being killed as a result of American action since March of 2003. That's over 450 Iraqi civilians being "documented" to have been killed each and every day of the Iraq war even though the liberal lamestream media itself can only acount for something like 25-30 a day even now.

The ongoing Iraq conflict isn't a failure of American foreign policy but rather the utter failure of Islam to live up to its self-proclaimed tag of being a religion of peace. Virtually every civilian killed is a result of ongoing ISLAMIC sectarianism ... the same kind of murderous sectarianism which is at work among Palestinians or any other Islamic thugocracy which names Allah as their God. It's not good enough the Muslim fundamentalist wants to murder infidels, they have to murder one another in the name of their Koran and prophet.

 
At 2/26/2007 10:26 AM , Anonymous Hankmeister said...

You know elroy/bravo39/neverthink, let me repeat the observation I made over at Scrappleface a week ago.

You're nothing but a warped lamestream media tool. You're the kind of person who can read the ingredients off a bubblegum wrapper and then think he's found the answer to the mysteries of the universe.

Not a single orginal thought in all your wretched bloviations at this site. You're like a dog returning to his own vomit. While good men and women are dying on foreign battlefields in the cause of liberty, how do you keep from slitting your wrists when you look at yourself in a mirror in the morning you pathetic and worthless troll?

 
At 2/26/2007 1:00 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Elroy,
For someone as clever and as knowledgable as yourself, I'm surprised to hear you say that communism has "never been tried".

YOU are obviously the one who needs to review your reading list. Communism has been tried dozens of times... and has always failed miserably. It was even tried right here in the United States. Click HERE to read more.

Alright, you're not a "dummy"... you're a "puppet" in the hands of the communist ventriloquists. And I suggest that YOU are the one who is re-writing history with your Marxist interpretations, conspiracy theories, and intimate knowledge of what Osama bin Laden likes or doesn't like.

Cheers.

 
At 2/27/2007 2:55 PM , Anonymous Purplehaze said...

Mr. Hawkeye, I bet you think that China and the former Soviet Union are Communist/ex-communist countries? If you think Communist/Marxist principles have been applied, then you obviously have little or no knowledge of such theory. Have you ever read any Marx and Engels?

 
At 2/27/2007 9:57 PM , Anonymous Elroy said...

Y’all moan that the MSM only publish stories about soldiers that dislike the war, but I make two points on that score: One is that I hear plenty of troops that back the war, so I really think that argument is invalid, and the other point is that, when the media find people that disagree with the official line, surely it is their job to report this? Isn’t this what having a free press is all about? To question everything? If they were to merely parrot what the WH dictates, surely this would be totalitarianism? A dictatorship by definition?

Hankmeister…

If you account for the ‘two million [dead] figure…the same way the John Hopkins "survey" accounted for over 650,000 Iraqi civilians being killed as a result of American action since March of 2003’ then you must accept the result of the John Hopkins survey. Or, conversely, you must reject the 2 million figure. They are either both right or both wrong. You can’t have it both ways. Which is it to be?

The ongoing Iraq conflict is a complete failure of American foreign policy. It was bad enough creating the power vacuum in the first place, but by disbanding the beauracracy, the police and the army, the US guaranteed a complete breakdown of society. The warnings that civil war would ensue were being sounded long and loud way before 2003, but the WH would not listen, and now the displaced Sunnis are fighting back.

The irony is that the US is now starting to back the Sunni radicals, the ones who blow up most GIs, including Al Qaeda, as a bulwark against the Shiites, the ones they say they are liberating! Wow! If this is not a failed foreign policy I’d hate to see a successful one.

For the majority of Muslims, Islam IS a religion of peace, but the actions of the US has helped radicalize countless thousands. I’m sure that a Christian country would turn nasty if a Muslim entity came and smashed its social structures and hardware, and seeing as a lot of fundamentalist Christians are gun owners who preach ‘self-defence’, how long before they turn their guns on the atheists? Or ‘liberals’? Or Catholics?

My point is that without the police, who are basically an army employed to enforce property rights, people will start doing what they want to do; some will fulfill their needs by accessing the material possessions otherwise out of their reach (That’s why Anarchists argue that capitalism is chaos, because without that army it is unworkable. Their system, they say, eradicates the need for such an army, but that is a discussion for another day).

When this occurred in Iraq Rusted condoned it, saying that ‘freedom is messy’ or somesuch, (therefore impying that peoples with a strong law enforcement culture are not free), but is it really such a stretch to imagine that people, particularly oppressed ones, would not extend this logic to eradicating those they deem unworthy? It is not that hard for otherwise civilized people to cross into the realm of ‘evil’ given the right circumstances; the Bosnian/Serbian/Kosovo debacle of the ‘90s shows that quite normal men are capable of indescribable cruelty when pushed and relieved of societal mores, taboos and sanctions, a phenomenon also demonstrated by the plight of African boy soldiers.

If you break the legs of a table it will fall down and no longer act like a table; likewise, if you dismantle a society as comprehensively as Iraq has been, it will no longer function as a society. The upshot of Bremmer’s vandalism is that the educated middle class, the teachers, doctors, officers, administration has either left, or is trying to leave and so, quite frankly, is everyone else. 1.8 million have left so far and the neighbouring countries are starting to close their borders. Where are they going to go? The refugees are living wherever they can, in rubbish tips, wherever. This is not a result of sectarian violence; this is a result of the US invasion and occupation. Pure and simple.

Y’know, I like to debate these issues and I try to do it in a civilized and mature fashion, but it’s too much for the Hankmeister. I’m really quite disappointed in you Hank, I thought you might be made of sterner stuff, but I obviously overestimated your ability to hold a rational discussion. I often get this sort of response from Right-wingers blowing a fuse, but the amusing thing is they are always accusing me of doing it! Talk about reaction formation!

Now, Hank’s meltdown is interesting for a number of reasons. He says that I do not have a ‘single original thought’, yet in the same post tells me that this is an ‘observation’ that he made at another blog, one which I have never even visited, so that means that he’s not being terribly inventive either.

Furthermore, seeing as how the MSM is owned by a total of six corporations not renowned for their Marxist philosophy I find it hard to understand how I can be both a ‘warped media tool’, and, according to Hawkeye, a ‘puppet in the hands of the communist ventriloquists’ but there you go. Such are the slings and arrows I must face.
Y’know what, Hank? I don’t actually spend any time at all reading the ‘ingredients off a bubblegum wrapper’, so maybe you could enlighten me as to their contents? It’s an, er, interesting analogy I’ll admit, but seriously I have to wonder what is wrong with you. All this ‘You’re the kind of person.’ blather is just sad. Is that all you have? Really?

What is your point? This sort of nonsense is beneath you. All it does it hand me victory (you know about victory do you not?) on a platter. To mix my metaphors, it is a slam-dunk and game, set and match to Elroy! Maybe you are oh so eloquently attempting to infer that I believe everything I see on the TV or read on the internets, but being as I spend most of my allotted time watching Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity and browsing site like this I can be fairly safe in assuring you that you are wrong.

Actually, what I do is read from a variety of sources and weigh them up according to who wrote them, and how verifiable and trustworthy those sources are. What is their agenda? Who pays them? Then I cross reference that information until a clearer picture emerges and I can decide what my position is or is not. Is that OK? How else do you suggest I go about it?

It’s all very well to claim that I have no ‘original thought’, but truly that is a vapid, if not thoroughly unoriginal, thought itself. It’s a cop out. Typical of those that cannot mount an intellectual argument to support their position Hank shoots the messenger, which begs the question, since when did ‘original thought’ become a prerequisite for engaging in political debate?

If it is, then Hank and Hawkeye have no business posting here, or indeed anywhere. All I read from them is what I see on FOX News, regurgitated talking points. It may be a tad harsh, but these two seems to be in lock step with Tony Snow and the White House, and that’s fine if that’s what they want, but these thoughts can hardly be called ‘original’.

And what constitutes ‘original thought’ anyway? Conservatives might be able to invent ‘facts’ as it suits them, but as we here in the ‘reality-based community’ like to stick with what we know to be verifiable to and interpret, extrapolate if you will, from there, bound by the circumstances of history.

So I haven’t invented anything; if that means I haven’t had an ‘original thought’ then I’m guilty as charged. I could come up an ‘original thought’ on, let’s say, Iraq, and suggest that the whole place be cleaned out and handed over to China; God knows they need the space, and as they’re buying up all the world’s oil anyway why not cut out the middle man? Now, that’s not very practical I’ll grant you, but it’s different! Or, if you prefer, original.

Furthermore, unless I read the views of every commentator on every subject in every country of every political persuasion, how do I know that what might have occurred to me, my independent ‘original thought’ has not occurred to someone else? It’s a bit hard to apply intellectual copyright to an analysis of political history or policy in a medium that changes by the second.

So I get my information from a variety of sources on the Left and Right, but being something of a cynic I ask: Cui Bono? Who benefits?
Now, it’s true that this approach is not exactly novel – term is attributed to Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla, Roman consul and censor in 125 BC – but hey, if it’s good enough for the Romans, who am I to argue? I’m a sucker for the classics and, as conservatives; you should be pleased that I use such traditional methods of inquiry. How do you form your opinions?

It is absurd to argue that political discourse must be dependent on a degree of innovation, difference, originality or whatever. Political parties are founded on a common cause, a shared world view; do you really mean to say that if someone holds a position I am to be derided for not having an ‘original thought’ if I happen to agree with them? If that notion had any currency then nothing in government would ever be decided, and your precious Tom Delay would have had a very hard time applying his ‘hammer’ to wayward Republican representatives who failed to tow the arty line.

Not that being innovative in policy formation and historical analysis isn’t vital for governments, and not that progressive liberals aren’t dismissed as barking mad by regressive conservatives when they do come up with new ideas, but the important thing is to be able to mount a credible defense for the position one has taken and I can assure you that I can. However, the evidence that you have cultivated this faculty is somewhat scant, hence you resort to the netherworld of personal insults.

So come on, fight! Once again I exhort you to discuss the issues. Take your ‘warped’, your ‘lamestream media tool’, your ‘wretched bloviations’ your charming ‘dog returning to his own vomit’, your ‘pathetic and worthless troll’ and post them to Ann Coulter, who I believe needs some new material. Unless, of course, that’s where you got them in the first place. Don’t tell me I’m wrong, Hank, any Joe can do that, tell me WHY I’m wrong. Develop some critical thinking. Take the Elroy Challenge! If you can.

(Residents of Arizona be warned: Critical thinking may be against state regulations. Republican majority leader of the Arizona State Senate, Thayer Verschoor, intoduced a bill to "discipline, fine or fire educators for speaking about elections, legislation, judicial action or 'a social, political or culture issue that is a matter of partisan controversy’. Can’t have that, huh?)

Hawkeye, I’m afraid Mr. Haze has a point. Have you ever read Marx and Engels? I mean, I‘ve suffered though enough Hayek, Rand and Strauss to last several lifetimes in order to fathom the neoconservative mindset, and the upshot is that I understand what you stand for – I just don’t agree. I think your assumptions are wrong and that you are doing untold damage to the world. However, I come to that opinion from an educated and informed point of view. Can we say the same about your critique of communism?

Y’see, I like to have a vague idea of what I’m talking about. If I’m in error, show me where and if I agree then I’ll gladly say so. For instance, I perused the link to the Pilgrims (from such an unbiased website too; Free Republic? Oh dear. Would you ever consider Democratic Underground a legitimate source? Never mind. I’ll continue) that you supplied as rebuttal to efficacy of Communism, but I also discovered from the Plymouth Rock Foundation (http://www.plymrock.org/who_were_the_pilgrims.htm) that the Pilgrims were unwilling ‘communists’ at best.

They did not want to grow their crops in common, for whatever their reasons, but were forced to by their backers. Yup, it was the pilgrims’ investors that inflicted this onerous condition because it suited said suppliers of capital to do so. Maybe this reluctance is why the first crops failed, and who knows? Did the subsequent crops do better because they got better at it? Did the Native Americans show them a thing or two? Was the weather was better? There are a multitude of factors that can influence the success of a crop – ask any farmer – so to hold the Pilgrims’ system of economic organization solely responsible for the failure of their harvest is, frankly, laughable, though no less that I should expect from Free Republic. The Freepers’ case is selective. It is spin. It is disingenuous. It does not bear scrutiny.

Anyway, some societies have thrived for thousands of years practicing what now might be construed as ‘communism’; for example, until European occupation elements of the aboriginal people of Australia had no concept of private property and they did fine for, oh, 40,000 years or more, and as I have pointed out before a form of Stalinism is flourishing as we speak.

I’ve said this before, so at the risk of repeating myself, and because it was so completely ignored, I’ll say it again. There is, right now, in the USA, a community of over 1 million people, which has a command economy, a rigid hierarchy, and well-paid ruling elite which offers a limited form that social mobility and, in return for complete loyalty, it offers cradle-to-grave care with education, child care, job training, health care, housing and what-all else. Membership is nominally voluntary but at times people are forced to join against their will where some say their individuality is crushed like a beetle in order to brainwash them into total allegiance to the state. You may have heard of it. It’s called the US military.

Contentious? Yes. Original? I’ve not heard anyone else say it.

But I’ve got to ask, what is it to the USA if some far-flung nation wished to experiment with its method of income distribution? What’s the threat? If the USA had not spent the last fifty-odd years knocking off left-wing leaders around the world and organising global trade restrictions with counties that had the temerity to stand up to Washington then maybe the results could have been different, but no. The US drives these countries into poverty and thus into the arms of the it’s enemies, and then blames them for it, but a little tolerance and respect for democracy and the will o’ the people from the WH and the
World could have been, and still could be, a happier place.

Hawkeye, I assure you that no-one is my ventriloquist; can I say the same for you? Furthermore, I haven’t ‘re-written history’. I may have made an interpretation that you disagree with, but so what? Tell me WHY you disagree! And conspiracy theories? Where? And as for Osama, well, it’s fairly obvious that his movement has done quite well out of the War On Terror™. Disagree? TELL ME WHY you disagree!

What keeps me, Hank, from slitting my wrists when I look at myself in a mirror in the morning, as you so charmingly put, is the fight to save the good men and women who are dying on foreign battlefields in the cause of oil profits.

Care to respond?

Cheers

Elroy

 
At 2/27/2007 11:30 PM , Anonymous Purplehazee said...

Elroy, I don't usually praise people that i tend to agree with, but at the same time, I can't help but commend the effort you make to rationalize with some of these guys. Especially the ones that can't refute the facts and reasoning, but rather, attempt to bring down the messenger.

We had set up a site, called "Commiesutra" not because we worshipped the manifesto as the bible of truth, but because we knew that it would invite people to spew their misconceptions and ill-informed pseudo-knowledge about communist principles (just as hawkeye had done here!). So I can relate to your frustrations about rationalizing with some neo-conservatives.

 
At 2/27/2007 11:52 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Purplehaze,
Nope. I didn't say that. And don't presume to bet you know what I think.

I know that Communist Russia and China are not perfect examples of communism. They are good examples of what communism on a grand scale must ultimately become... dictatorships.

Whether the power resides in a single person or in a Central Committee, it makes no difference. It is still a dictatorship.

Communism on a large scale must ultimately resort to brute force to enforce its precepts, because those living under this form of society have no incentive to do anything extra.

In a true communist society, there is no advantage to being stronger, smarter, faster or better than the next guy... because you will be treated equally to the slug standing next to you.

When all incentive for advancement based on merit is removed, no one advances. All are reduced to the lowest common denominator. Eventually the system will collapse. The system (and the misery) can only be prolonged by enforcement.

If you checked my link, you will notice that the Pilgrims practiced a near-perfect version of communism... and it was clearly determined to be a failure within 3 years.

The form of communism the Pilgrims practised was based on the New Testament model of the early Christian Church (which was also a failure, by the way). In Acts Chapter 2 we read...

44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Sounds idyllic doesn't it? That's exactly why the Pilgrims decided to try it. Unfortunately, they forgot about what ultimately happened to the first Christian community in Jerusalem.

The first sign of a problem begins to show up in Acts Chapter 6...

1 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists murmured against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.

Well, that storm blew over pretty quickly, but trouble was still ahead. As a result of what one prophet described as a "world-wide famine", the Jerusalem community is suddenly in need of help from other Christian communities. In Acts Chapter 11 we read...

27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world; and this took place in the days of Claudius. 29 And the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brethren who lived in Judea; 30 and they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.

Now, I find it quite interesting that there was a "great famine over all the world", yet only the Jewish Christians in Judea seemed to need help. Why was it that the capitalist-Hellenist-Gentile Christians from "all over the world" seemed to have enough money to "send relief" to the communist Jewish Christians in Jerusalem? I don't know, perhaps it had something to do with the difference in their economic models?

Cheers.

 
At 2/27/2007 11:55 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Elroy,
If I was Hankmeister, I wouldn't waste my time on your bloviations. Get "pithy" man... get "pithy".

Cheers.

 
At 3/05/2007 1:21 AM , Anonymous elroy said...

I herby self-censor my comments for being excessively long-winded, self-serving, patronizing, impudent, Communistic, trollist, for using valuable bandwidth, offending the sensibilities (and occasionally the digestion) of other "Viewers", for leading to excessive wear on scroll wheels, possibly causing cause drowsiness while operating machinery, generally trashing the appearance of the Comment section and attempting to argue against every single sentence or word of a posting (or previous comment) for fear my contribution will be considered a grievous violation of this new policy and punishable by vaporization into the cyber ether. It’s a shame really, ‘cause it was coming along so well; however, I know it’s hard for you when I land such knockout blows, so best to keep your heads firmly buried, huh?

See, that’s what happens. People become afraid to publish their views when they are afraid that they and their views are going to abused, ignored or vaporized, and where that becomes a problem is when it goes on not only in the MSM but also in the military, and the upper reaches of politics. And it does. The MSM does not have a liberal bias; if the MSM was truly free to write what it wanted the world would be a better place. Remember, the only thing with a liberal bias is reality.

Cheers

Elroy

 
At 3/06/2007 4:14 AM , Anonymous elroy said...

So this is justice conservative style, huh? I can be accused (and don’t pretend these ‘rules’ aren’t aimed at me) of being excessively long-winded, self-serving, patronizing and impudent, a Communist, a troll, of using valuable bandwidth, of offending the sensibilities (and occasionally the digestion) of other "Viewers", for leading to excessive wear on scroll wheels, possibly causing cause drowsiness while operating machinery, of generally trashing the appearance of the Comment section and attempting to argue against every single sentence or word of a posting (or previous comment) and threatened with having my contribution considered a grievous violation of this new policy and punishable by vaporization into the cyber ether with no recourse? That figures.

Gee, that free speech and democratic exchange of ideas so cherished by your beloved founding fathers is pretty annoying, isn’t it? What was it George II said? ‘There should be limits on freedom!’ Hey, he got them too! PATRIOT Act anyone?

I keep posting my reply because rules, my friend, are meant to be broken, especially arbitrary ones inflicted by petty dictators like you are fast becoming. Rights come with responsibilities, Hawkeye, and you either you accept your responsibility to allow me to defend myself or risk becoming another sad little conservative blog wedged up a stagnant cyber-backwater and preaching to the choir, or you could show you have the courage of your convictions and prove that you really do believe in freedom.

On Righting America you said you would take me on anytime. Well, how about it? Ready to fight fair? Or can a conservative only win an argument against the Left with a roll of duct tape? Shutting down dissent does your noble cause a grave disservice and makes you appear like those you supposedly despise. Don’t fall into the trap.

Cheers

Elroy

PS And your last comment was pretty patronizing, breaking #3 of your own code of ethics. Shame, Hawkeye, shame.

 

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