Sue, I think we agree that the US is trying to do too much in the world.
The US is not the world police force. Vietnam made me very isolationist. When you get involved in other countries, you often get burned.
I'm all for pulling out of Korea, Germany and a dozen other places where the work is finished and we've hung around for way too long.
Craig - I agree. Absolutely no reason for us to have as many forces as we have in Europe.
Yes, we all recognize our agreeing on something for what is - an unnatural act.
And punishment for all agreeing parties is warranted and just.
One hour of Virtual RACK TIME for Sue, Will, & Craig
The reader can supply her own images. Mine are kind of frightening.
"With Iraq, the problem of dealing with the insurgents is going to be a very long term one, since you don't beat an insurgency militarily, you defeat it by bringing bits and pieces of their base to the bargaining table and getting them involved democratically. When the remaining fanatics are isolated enough - i.e., the moderates rule - then the fanatics can be dealt with criminally. But you need the rule of law, not a thuggery."
Craig - I agree. But it will not be easy.
The major mistake the US has made in this entire affair is the disbanding of the Iraqi Army. The one thing the Iraqi Army did well was suppress their own people. By doing away with the Army we created a tough military class who went from powerful and rich and in control to poor and out of work and pissed off. I think that you can think of some of the bombings and problems as a Union action - the old Saddam Army views the new recruits as Scabs, and hopes to destabilize the new government and get back into power and get their jobs back.
If we had simply remobilized part of the old Iraqi Army and Police Force there would have been social control from day one. The bad officers could have been weeded out over time. Very stupid on the part of the US.
It is done, however, and the new Iraqi government is in charge and we must go forward with the current process. They and we need to get the Iraqi cops and Army up to speed and in control ASAP, with the US getting out soon. The US people have little patience, and lots of Arabs will not be happy until we are out of their turf.
Hopefully the grand strategy will work. Democracy will take root and spread in the Middle East and reduce the number of Thug governments and Thug Terrorists. Hopefully.
There is some cause for optimism. Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq have all had elections. Syria pulled out of Lebanon. Kaddafi in Libya is not a good guy (after having killed lots of Americans in terrorist attacks), Saddam is gone, and Syria is now cautious.
But there is unfotunately still much blood to be shed in the middle east and elsewhere, and some of it American.
Sue, Will and Craig -
Fighting for Peace is like screwing for virginity. (written on a bathroom wall of The Bayou,Baton Rouge, LO) sending along this witty thought apropos of your discussion...do you still all agree?
It is a cute one liner.
Our bathroom Philosopher has written a true line.
Peace is usually preferable to war.
And you can always choose peace over war.
We could have chosen not to fight in WW II, and been peacefully taken over by the Nazi's & Tojo. Would not have been pleasant, but we could have avoided the fight and had peace.
Ditto the Cold War. We could have rolled over and avoided the long cold war with its occasional hot wars by surrendering. Would not have been nice living under a Communist dictatorship, but would have been peaceful - at least no war and nuclear destruction - although the real Gulags and purges would not have been pleasant. Better Red Than Dead. Bet most of us on this web page would have done some time in the Gulag, and some would likely been shot or learned to parrot the party line. But we would have had peace.
Ditto the War (or Non War if you prefer) on Terror. We did not have to fight back. Just "turn the other cheek", which is a very Christian thing to do. Do nothing, just roll with the punches and hope they don't hit you again. Recognize that not very many people get killed, and that you are unlikely to be personally attacked. Stay off the sky line, stay out of the big cities, avoid crowds, and be peaceful and virtous. Or convert to Islam, and start acting right.
So, our Bathroom Philosopher is correct.
We are not fighting for peace, which is like screwing for virginity, but rather for our freedom and safety, and the freedom and safety of other nations.
Just like Superman, for "Truth, Justice, and the American Way"
TERRORISM ALERT IN FRANCE
The AP and UPI reported that the French government announced yesterday that it had raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide".
The only two higher levels in France are, "Surrender" and "Collaborate". The raise was precipitated by a recent fire which destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively disabling their military.
The Empire of the United States in a decline.
And Craig, let's not forget those nations who the United States aided and abetted in their efforts to cleanse some of these named and unnamed country s ills. The United States has a closet full of skeletons too Craig...and much the public is yet unaware of.
Let's pray that the next super power will not follow suit by establishing PEACE KEEPING bases in most, if not all countries in the world....that' means right here on our soil.
I suggest to you that The Empire of the United States is also in a decline and from within. Look to the Far East. That's where the next superior superpower is being nurtured.
Every nation that has been the most powerful eventually declines. The Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Spanish, British, French, etc etc had their time at the top for a while, and then for a variety of reasons gave way to younger, more vibrant powers.
Our time will surely also come. And China and / or Japan appears to be the most likely country to take our mantle.
It will likely be 20 to 50 years, though, before we are deposed as the world's most powerful country. China has a long way to go, and thankfully Japan has become a very peaceful democracy. And China, despite a horrible history, is evolving into a successful "capitalist roader" regime, with vibrant free enterprise hobbled by a geriatric political system.
But all the America haters that long for the day when America is deposed should think twice. Professor R. J. Rummel of the U of Hawaii on his web page at
has documented the worst mass murderer nations. *He uses the term "democide*", which he defines as the murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder. This definition excludes soldiers killing each other in combat or accidentally killing civilians when in accordance with the Geneva Convention.
Here are the 10 worst nations in the 20th century, with the numbers murdered rounded to the nearest million, up to 1987 (Rwanda, the Congo, Iran, and Iraq were trying hard to make the top 10 during the past 15 years, but we don't have a more recent count, and some of the top 10 (Vietnam, China) are likely slowly adding to their totals.
Note China made the top 3 different times
Communist regimes were the top 6 out of 10 times.
Also note that the charming regimes of Cambodia and Vietnam made the list. They are small countries, but they tried very hard.
Kudos to the "Ho Ho Ho Chi Min, NLF is sure to win" crowd. They can be proud of their success.
In support of your view, perhaps it would be a good idea if you sent your son, or daughter to the 'hotbed' areas in order to secure your view. Germany, Japan and to a limited extent S. Korea were world wars. How do we justify the other areas we supposedly 'protect'? Lastly, if this country truly had 'The World's' best interest at heart, how come we haven't done 'Our Thing' by coming to the aid of Cambodia, the Sudan, the Congo and so forth?
It's one thing to view and nutshell the outside world in terms of friend, or foe, but what I find particularly annoying is the recent and steadily increasing (within the past 5 years) mindset of the 'Them and Us' categorization---liberals vs conservatives. We've always had a two party system. This is nothing new and suffice it to say, neither one is perfect, hence....imperfect people...imperfect world. There is enough blame to go around in both camps. Further, as much as I appreciate the freedoms (increasingly limiting as they are) we are fortunate to experience here in the West, the Democratic system of government is not without its corruption and sometimes narrowminded perspectives.
I am neither conservative, nor liberal. Both terms are limiting in skope. It's bad enought our high school years were pervasive with a 'them' and 'us' mentality.
Susan,I am not a liberal or a conservative either. This is why it is so easy to see the liberal bias of most media's of the world and clearly see the Rush Limbaugh's of the world. It is very easy to take the stance that we should all be more caring and that killing people is wrong. This is ignoring evil as the poor Jewish people did when Hitler rounded them up and slaughtered them. They didn't fight back. The radical Muslims (not all Muslims) would do the same thing if given a chance. They are evil. I fear people who refuse to see evil, they reject the concept of evil in the fear that they might have to judge someone. Judging someone as evil means you have to face the problem of removing them, dealing with them, yes even killing them. It is easier to deny the existence of the evil than it is to deal with it. Simplistic solutions, such as rejecting all violence, are seductive to undeveloped minds and altruistic religious people. It is disordered reasoning held out as some highly enlightened thinking. While I admire Dr. King, and Ghandi their strategy would have never worked with Hitler or the radical Muslims. Their philosophies do work in an ordered society, evil is not ordered. People fanatically espousing these tenants to others have chosen to close their mind to evil. The regression from true enlightenment to the illusion of nonviolent insight, in a sense is embracing evil, allowing it to rule you. Evil is not tolerant, you cannot reason with it. These people believe that saying someone is evil is prejudiced thinking.
We must teach them not to be evil they will understand. In trying to be kind, unselfish, nonjudgmental one allows evil to become more powerful. One has to fight for good just as evil fights for evil. To do otherwise would be to accept evil, to tolerate it among us. In a sense to accept death over life because evil will kill you if given a chance.
Yes, we are the police of the world and as all police forces fighting crimes against humanity we make mistakes. It is entirely unfair that we are not getting more support from Europe and others in our efforts. One cannot naively assume we have anywhere near the same corruption as most other governments of the world. There are a few others that have as little corruption as the US but not many. Most are wildly more corrupt than our government.
These are incredibly gray times, it is very difficult, if not impossible to find the true meaning of things. Both the right and the left have taken the easy way out. One does not have to think, worry, fret over the situation if one takes one of these positions.
As far as my children are concerned, we have a voluntary military today. It is their choice whether to enlist or not. I have a deep respect for our sons and daughters serving in our military.
Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to "govern" the producers & decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America. They crept in after the Wild West was tame & created a business of trying to get MORE for nothing.
Craig, Militant Middle-Aged Moderate replies
No picking on liberals, Will. It is not fair or balanced.
Craig, you radical militant moderates always frost me.
Personally, I am a moderately schizoid conservative libertarian liberal, myself, strident, yet oh-so centrist, with a mildly nutty aftertaste.
What conservative biased crapp.
*smile* Yeah, but don't blame Craig, Sue. He's a fair and balanced militant muddle-aged moderate. :-) He's the pushup czar.
The thing Will posted, though, was too moronic to comment on. I think Will deserves FAR more than 5 pushups.
Forget the 5 pushups, how about 5 minutes on the Rack?
Eeeeuuuuuwwwwww! Do you have whips and spurs, too, little girl?
Militant Middle-Aged Moderate replies:
Torture? Sue, that is a little harsh, even for a Conservative male who probably deserves it.
It is true, however, that the gentle and fair sex have had a reputation as cruel torturers. The famous Kipling poem about the British war in Afghanistan in the 19th century goes something like this:
When you are wounded and left on Afghanistan’s Plains
And the women come out to cut up what remains
Just pick up your rifle and blow out your brains
And go to your grave like a soldier
Just think what you could have done to Will back then. Progress ruins everything.
And Will, on sober reflection, you and Sue can have 5 minutes of Rack Time. Conjures up an interesting image, don’t you think?
Craig and Will, you two make me laugh....seriously. I'm told, the only torturing I'm capable of is with my cooking. Hey, God gave me many talents....cooking isn't one of them.
At the next reunion, remind me to give you each a box of my 'killer' oatmeal cookies!
Remember, whoever wins, is the President.
Accept whoever wins with grace, and limit your rancor.
Or else, many 1,000's of pushups.
All those guilty of rude comments, 50 pushups.
All right, we are all too old to do 50 pushups. Pushups until you can't do any more. (Not very many in my case).
Reasonable people can disagree reasonably.
Unreasonable people attack the man, and not his argument.
Email discussions are interesting. In many ways we are more frank and hostile then in an actual conversation.
For the guys, at lease, we don't usually get so rude in face to face communication since the other guy might clock you. All though we are probably too old for that also.
So, be nice. Or else more pushups.
Dear Militant Middle-Aged Moderate,
The Republicans say they're "pro-life", yet they seem to derive a certain visceral orgasmic pleasure from war and capital punishment and dog-eat-dog capitalism. I'm so CONFUSED! Should I do the right....errr, left....errr, proper thing and become a "liberal"?
How do YOU deal with such apparent hypocrisy, MMM?
Hopelessly confused in the Heartland
Life is difficult. Issues are confusing. There are thoughtful people on both the left and the right. And then there are screaming lunatics on both fringes, as well. And there are goofy moderates, also.
You could join a monastery, and live a life of quiet contemplation, chanting and praying and humming and bowing and scraping. I am thinking about this course of action. Perhaps we could find one together, pursue and find the answers, and then go into the Guru business, teaching others the way, the truth, and the light.
This looks like an excellent monastery. They are Hindu, so I think sex is ok. Looks like a bunch of old guys like us. And it is in Hawaii. SUCH A DEAL!!!
I'm interested in learning WHY you think it's our (USA) business to stick Its nose in everywhere in the world? We have our own do'do's to clean up in the USA, without having to go running off to pooper scoop everywhere else on this planet.
We don't see the French or German's landing on our shores, teaching us a lesson or two, on how to fairly treat every nationality "
Well, we have not seen the French on our shores since the French and Indian Wars, in Illinois yet, and the Hessians in the Revolution and German U Boats in WW II.
But I am not fond of wars. Wars suck, and should be avoided whenever possible. But sometimes you have to fight. Reasonable people can debate about whether we should have fought any wars, or some wars.
Which wars would you have fought, and which ones would you have ducked?
WW II? Let Hitler and Tojo reach their destiny?
The BIG FRACAS with Communism? Let Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot reach their destiny?
The War with the Terrorists? Let them reach their destiny?
Soldiers, like police officers, have always been primarily tools of the ruling class.
I wish someone could cite me an example of a war, since World War II, where American soldiers were actually or fundamentally fighting for Freedom.
Craig, Tool of the Ruling Class responds
John, there you go again. My theory is that you were missing my missives, and knew I would respond. And so to please you I will reply.
Reasonable people can always disagree reasonably. I think most of the wars we fought were for many complex reasons.
War is bad, and undesirable. To be avoided if possible. Motivations for fighting wars are usually complex, and are fought for a variety of reasons. Most of the wars we fought had many confusing motives, but a major one was safeguarding our homeland - the land of the free. Always has been, always will be. It is a legitimate motive.
We almost always state and many of us believe that our wars are partly for the freedom of the people we were assisting, at least in theory. And I believe in fact.
WW II - The Nazi's, Italian Fascists, and Japanese were pretty bad guys. Glad they did not win. Pleased that you agree. Our parents fought well. We fought for a lot of reasons, to keep our freedom and safety, and freed a lot of other people.
"THE BIG FRACAS" – The Cold War - Struggle against Communism - Long Struggle of the west against the east. The “mostly free, capitalist west” against the “mostly non free communist east.” A lot of people think that the millions and millions and millions of people that the Communist east enslaved and murdered made them less than desirable. And then of course a lot of other people thought that Communism was a fine thing, that they were just misunderstood, and if we all just sat around singing Kumbaya everything would be alright, and any way as long as number one was not inconvenienced it was ok.
There were numerous cold and hot conflicts in the BIG FRACAS.
Korea - The Communist North Korea decided to take over South Korea. The United Nations fought that one to keep the south independent of the north. North Korea was and is a gulag, killed numerous people, starved many people, and continues to do so. Terrible place. The South is a pretty nice and pretty free country, in large part because of the brave soldiers who fought there.
We fought that one in part for freedom, and succeeded.
Taiwan - Numerous tussles with Communist China - Cold War. Kept Taiwan free. Taiwan is a prosperous and relatively free democracy. The PRC was a gulag, killing and enslaving many millions.
We fought that one in part for freedom, and part to keep our country safe and free.
Numerous shadowy struggles all over the world, eastern Europe, Central and South America, Indonesia, Cuba, etc. The Communist strategy was to destabilize and then take over the government. The strategy was very successful in many places - Eastern Europe, China, Cuba, southeast Asia. Other countries in South and Central America and Africa flirted with Communism.
We fought these shadowy wars in part for freedom, and part to keep our country safe.
Southeast Asia Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos - "Our War". “The Baby Boomer War” Communist North Vietnam was a very bad country. A gulag. Numerous people voted with their feet to leave. Millions more died in the killing fields. We know more about what happened in Cambodia after we left since the old guys were deposed and their deeds revealed. The same very bad SOB's are in charge of Vietnam, so old lefties can still believe that the Communists were freedom fighters. Laos and Cambodia were poor countries, who went very bad when the Communists took over.
We fought the Vietnam War in part for freedom and safety for the citizens of South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Unfortunately we did not prevail. You ought to visit Southeast Asia some time. See how nice the communist regimes are to their own people. See the Killing Fields memorials. See the locals get checked and frisked every mile or two by the ever present and huge military. Then visit Taiwan or Korea or Malaysia or some other similar but free place. A vast difference.
Iraq 1 & 2. First one was to throw the aggressor Saddam out of Kuwait. Mostly our kids wars. We succeeded, with extensive international support – even the French, making Kuwait free and safe.
Second one was to get Saddam out, and free the Iraqi people. No help from the UN or France or Germany or Russia on this one. They oppose the war for moral concerns, arguing that Saddam was bad, but after all he only invaded other countries and gassed people and murdered people because he was misunderstood. Perhaps the 22 billion oil for food scandal had just a little to do with their moral stance.
The world is a better place without Saddam. He is right up there with Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot.
Iraq is a long way from being a good place yet. The jury is still out on that one. I think that most of us hope that it will become a free and good country, although we may disagree on whether that is worth the
I dislike war. It is to be avoided where possible. They are extremely divisive, very expensive, and tough on the kids who fight the wars and their families.
Sometimes they are necessary. And sometimes they accomplish good things, like the freedom and safety for western Europe after WW II, free and safe Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia. And sometimes they do not work out - Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, China, Tibet.
Of course, many people think my analysis is wrong. They think the wars were for oil, or so the defense industry could sell weapons, or because we love war, are neocolonialists, fascists, war mongers, thieves. No doubt some limited truth to some of that.
One point I would make is that the pointed end of the military spear are the 18 to 25 year olds. They do most of the fighting and dying. Most are not very political. They are now our kids. Mostly they have not even voted yet. They join the military for a variety of reasons, including a desire to serve their country, keep the country safe and free, prove themselves, be a hero, get money for college, get a job, learn a trade, etc. They are the best of our kids, willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of their country. They are not the ones to blame if we get into a bad war.
If we get into a bad war for bad motives, don’t blame them. Blame the voters.
Blame ourselves. Blame the Ruling Class and their tools.
We are after all the ruling class in this country. We have been part of that ruling class since we became voters. And we elect the leaders and tools of the ruling class.
And we have made some mistakes.
Since we are the ruling class, and have made mistakes,
Virtual Reality Pushups for everyone.
Militant Middle Aged Moderate
I DO in fact appreciate your missives, Craig, though of course I didn't know whether you'd respond. Though I don't entirely agree with your analysis, I'm gonna give you the last word because it's an extremely thoughtful reply. There's plenty in it that I DO agree with. Thank you.
I'll jump in here now that Craig got the heavy lifting done in scholarly fashion.
It seems that you, Sue, are inferring we shouldn't be in Iraq, and I disagree with that. The Muslim terrorists stuck their nose in our business to the tune of 3,000 lives in one day. And they have made it clear they we must either become enslaved to their way of thinking or they will kill us all (if they could). THAT's why we are in a war right now, and I don't understand why people can't grasp that.
George Bush decided that the best way to fight terrorism was to go after governments that sponsor/harbor terrorists. You can disagree with his decision, but that is what is happening. The Taliban in Afghanistan was first, Saddam Hussein was next, and I imagine that any other government foolish enough to think they can pull that kind of crap might get their
asses handed to them.
Bullies need to be stood up to or they will keep bullying. The terrorists bully everyone in their country, so they think they can get away with it world wide. George Bush has decided we the best approach is to stand up to them, fight them on their turf so they can't come over here and force you,
Sue, to wear a burkha or be stoned to death.
As an aside, when in the Army, my last job was in the Command Operations Center in Alaska, preparing war plans. I hated it. Absolutely the worst job I ever had. But I did learn many interesting things about the strategy of defending our country. One was that the Atlantic and Pacific oceans were our best defense. They can keep the fighting from coming here, and that is part of W's strategy. Keep the fighting over there. I agree with that, too.
The War with the Terrorists? Let them reach their destiny?
Dear Will...my Bush Admin. supporter friend,
Yes, I am opposed to this war in Iraq, but was not initially. It's helpful to have an Intelligence Agency uncovering THE TRUTH, especially during critical times...such as the one in which we currently find ourselves. You, I and the world is now well aware of the fact that Sadam H. had no concealed WMD's, nor was he a supporter of the Shiite extremists, nor an advocated of Bin Laden's terrorist network. For him to have supported these extremists, would have meant that he would have lost control (and we know he had control issues) of the very elements which supported his meglomania dictatorship. If there were 20 fanatic extremists in Iraq during Sadam's rule Will and Craig, there are 100 times that now. So the premise that Sadam had WMD's and supported Islamic factions, is nothing more than a Grim's fairy fale guys. Sadam was a bad man and will not be missed, but then again, so are the Mullahs ruling Iran, the lobotomied ruler of N. Korea, the Saudi princes ruling S. Arabia, the current ruler of Syria, and possibly adding a new member to that LONG list is Mr. Putin in Russia (another discussion). We sleep in their beds, just as we had slept in Sadam's not so long ago. Establishing that these rulers are corrupted and tyrants, that does NOT give us the right to amass an army at their borders, invade and then occupy...under our terms. Bullying is applicable to them and US! History has shown that this country has stuck its noses into many areas it shouldn't have...and I'm not referring to WWI and WWII.
With the 50's conflict in Korea, we could have very well armed, trained and supplied S. Korea with the means to defend itself from the aggressor. It was not necessary for us to have troops occupying their soil.....even to this day.
I won't even begin to address the tragic absurdity with our presence in Vietnam. Contrary to some people's thinking, might does not make right. It's one thing to take action in defending one's country, just as we had invading Afghanistan.
Intelligence had proven that Osama was responsible for 9-11 and that he was training and hiding out in Afghanistan. There were NO terrorist training camps in Iraq!!! A more logical approach would have been to look to Saudi Arabia as the safe harbor for all terrorists, what with Osama's influential and wealthy family residing there. But you and I know, that there are specific Texan and other Administration friends who play kissie face with many members of the Saudi family.
I will not support any war where the premise to fight and murder is founded on lies and half truths. We are not bringing these people our brand of freedom, but rather a bastardized generic version. That in and of itself is a criminal act. Shame on our elected officials and shame on us, for not holding our elected officials to a higher standard than we hold ourselves.
Sue said "We are not bringing these people our brand of freedom, but rather a bastardized generic version."
Will replies. I think it's better than what they had. They have to learn to walk before they run. And at least the US is setting up new regimes in a democratic fashion rather than installing dictators.
You still don't address the issue of what you would do to defend yourself in the face of the Muslim extremists goal of trying to rule or kill everyone, everywhere. Or will you turn the other cheek inside your burka?
"It's hard for me to imagine that you actually believe that propaganda that you posted over on the other forum, though. Soldiers, like police officers, have always been primarily tools of the ruling class. I wish someone could cite me an example of a war, since World War II, where American soldiers were actually or fundamentally fighting for Freedom."
That wasn't propaganda, JW, that was sentiment. Regardless of how soldiers, police officers, firemen, teachers, reporters or just about anyone else may be manipulated by "the powers" -- I ACTUALLY BELIEVE that most of them, particularly soldiers, ACTUALLY BELIEVE they are doing their job, which is guarding someone's freedom(s). For their good intentions, I thank them and pray for them and their families.
The war itself (which officially ended how many months ago?disgusts me, and I am sick watching the news day after day. I can separate the two emotions, however, and I can feel both of them without having to know how my sentiment figures in the total scheme of history.
Three of our Chicago Marine Reserves died in Iraq this week. A tragic loss.
November 9, 2004
DOD Identifies Marine Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of Marines who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Cpl. Nathaniel T. Hammond, 24, of Tulsa, Okla.
Lance Cpl. Shane K. O’Donnell, 24, of DeForest, Wisc.
Both Marines died Nov. 8 as a result of enemy action in Babil Province, Iraq. They were assigned to the Marine Corps Reserve’s 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Chicago, Ill.
Lance Cpl. Branden P. Ramey, 22, of Boone, Ill., died Nov. 8 as a result of enemy action in Babil Province, Iraq. He was assigned to the Marine Corps Reserve’s 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Chicago, Ill.