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Nov. 4th blog post by Sandor at the Zoo

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Nov. 4th blog post by Sandor at the Zoo

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This is a damn good read folks. If you haven't checked out the Blogs we have on our Home page I strongly recommend you do so at some point. I happen to be quite fond of "The Zoo.""Who Fights?" A couple weeks ago an old college friend asked me a question in the comment thread of this post. Though I doubt he meant to be accusatory, he was, more or less, calling me a chickenhawk (someone who is not in the military but is willing to commit troops to battle). War supporters are used to this; if I had a dollar for every chickenhawk accusation leveled at me over the past three years I'd be able to take both my buddy and his wonderful fiance out for a nice dinner and plenty of drinks ... and like me, they have fairly expensive tastes in that regard.Now, I use the inclusive "we" when writing about America's fight against terror: We have to smash Al Qaeda, we have to end Saddam's tyranny, we have to bring secular democracy to Arabia. I also use lots of personal and possessive pronouns: My country, our war, they won't take me without a fight, etc... Some people see this as a problem; after all, it's unlikely that I'll actually do any fighting. The most I can claim is that I pay my taxes, give $50 or $75 a month to charities like Spirit of America and Operation Gratitude, and try to support our troops with my nominally readable prose. Is that enough? Does that make it my fight? Or am I just doing those things to clear my conscience, allowing me to live fat and happy here at home while someone else does the fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq?The answers, as best I can see them, are no, yes, and I don't think so.First of all, we civilians shouldn't kid ourselves: Nothing we do or give can ever match the sacrifice of the soldier. It's great that we pay our taxes, and vote for people who will see to it that the money is spent on giving our troops the best possible equipment and training. It's wonderful that we donate to charities that make our soldier's lives a little more comfortable and their jobs a little easier. I'm happy when I see "usmc.mil" and "airforce.gov" among my visitors, and I sincerely hope that what they read here makes them feel appreciated. But none of that amounts to dry @#%$ when compared to someone who actually puts on that uniform, picks up their weapon, and says, essentially, "Anyone who wants to hurt an American tonight is going to have to come through me first." What civilians like me do is, at best, responsible and kind and supportive. What soldiers do is courageous. What I can say for myself
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Re: Nov. 4th blog post by Sandor at the Zoo

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To me, this piece is fascinating, disturbing, alien, romantic and just a little trite.Is this mentality common in America?I know that Sandor is a fairly smart guy, but this piece just blows me away. For mixed reasons. Let us agree, there is no one single reality. Not upon this stage, not in this world, all is in the mind... imagination is the only truth. Because it cannot be contradicted except by other imaginations - Richard MathesonThere are no conclusive indications by which waking life can be distinguished from sleep - Rene Descartes
Tim Nonzero

Re: Nov. 4th blog post by Sandor at the Zoo

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Please see my 'the Phantom Menace' thread for further relevance to the point I'm making.
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Chickenhawks

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DefinitionChickenhawk - n. - A person enthusiastic about war, provided someone else fights it; particularly when that enthusiasm is undimmed by personal experience with war; most emphatically when that lack of experience came in spite of ample opportunity in that person's youth.Some individuals may qualify more for their political associations than for any demonstrated personal tendency towards bellicosity. Some women may be included for exceptional bellicosity. PoliticiansGeorge W. BushDick CheneyJohn AshcroftRonald ReaganJoe LiebermanJeb BushTom DeLayNewt GingrichTrent LottPhil GrammPat BuchananDan QuayleRichard ArmeyRudolf GiulianiJack KempMitch McConnellBill ClintonLamar AlexanderBob BarrDennis HastertDon Nickles Mitt RomneyBob DornanVin WeberRudy GiulianiJohn EnglerWilliam BennettPolicymakersRichard PerleElliott AbramsPaul WolfowitzHenry KissingerAntonin Scalia Clarence ThomasKarl RoveMedia VIPsRush LimbaughGeorge WillPaul HarveyBrit HumeAlan KeyesWilliam KristolBill O'ReillySean HannityWolf BlitzerMichael MedvedMichael SavagePaul GigotSteve ForbesThomas L. FriedmanEntertainersJohn WayneSylvester StalloneSteven SpielbergTom ClancyFrank SinatraPreachersJerry FalwellPat RobertsonBillie Graham
Niall001
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Re: Chickenhawks

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You know, a few years ago, on another board, some guy was telling everyone just how great and brave American soldiers were. He told us how much better they were than all of us, because they went out there and fought for Freedom.A girl on that board asked him if he'd ever seen an American soldier get a blow job from a 9 year old child prostitute. She had. She asked him if he'd ever seen a bunch of marines kick the crap out of a street vendor when he asked them to pay for food, because she had.People who join the military, in general, they're not superheros. They're not people who want to spread freedom, justice, peace and democracy all over the world. They're just people. They join because they want a wage, a career, a pension. They aren't any better or worse than civilians.Look at Abu Gharib. Those soldiers weren't monsters. What they did was terrible, but they only did what many of you would have done in the same situation. But there are monsters who join the military. There are people who join because they hate. There are people who join because they want to kill. There are bastards in the military who would jump at the opportunity to rape and murder the inhuman enemy.But they are rare. They are as rare as the people who join to protect their country. They are as rare as those who join the army because they want to make the world a better place.And perhaps, that is a good thing.Using Sandor as an example, the U.S. was attacked. 3000 people died. So what does he do? He wants to join the military. He wants to protect America from the thugs and theocrats who want to destroy his friends and family.So what happens to the friends and country-men of the 12000-100,000 people who were killed in Iraq? They want to protect their country as well. So like all good patriots, they wander off to their local militia and sign on the line. They're off to fight evil. They're off to liberate their country from thugs and imperialists who want to destroy them. Let us agree, there is no one single reality. Not upon this stage, not in this world, all is in the mind... imagination is the only truth. Because it cannot be contradicted except by other imaginations - Richard MathesonThere are no conclusive indications by which waking life can be distinguished from sleep - Rene DescartesEdited by: Niall001 at: 11/8/04 1:59 pm
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Re: Chickenhawks

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NiallGreat post.Chris "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandella
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Racket

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The fundamental flaw in Sandor's reasoning involves a crucial inability to confess to the crimes committed by his nation- more specifically, to accept that US Foreign Policy is not geared to protect democracy abroad or enhance human rights around the world. Soldiers, like so many of our other precious resources, are employed across the planet to secure markets, undermine democracies, defeat alternative economic visions, and ensure a seamless US military presence and influence on every continent. These men and women are sacrificed to the lusts and appetites of a few terribly powerful and wealthy men- addicted to their positions of dominance and control.Noble narratives are produced to hide all of this terrifying disaster, and protect the fragile consciences of American citizens who might not support these wars if they actually knew the reasons for sending their sons and daughters off to die, and destroy the lives of others.Sandor has written yet another take on this noble narrative. Words to soothe a restless conscience, and shame a dissenting critique into quiet aquiescence....servile acceptance that our government knows what's right, they wouldn't lie to us, and we as Americans would never purposefully harm anybody.All of our mistakes, what few they are, are unintentional. It is simply not in our National character to commit war crimes or wage an unjust war. History weeps and bleeds, more Soldiers are sent to kill and be killed, and Sandor composes tales to keep the machine running. Here's an excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC. Quote:War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses. I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag. I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket. There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism. It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service. I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.
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Re: Racket

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Let us agree, there is no one single reality. Not upon this stage, not in this world, all is in the mind... imagination is the only truth. Because it cannot be contradicted except by other imaginations - Richard MathesonThere are no conclusive indications by which waking life can be distinguished from sleep - Rene DescartesEdited by: Niall001 at: 11/9/04 8:53 am
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The enemy

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www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/S...08,00.htmlIn the front yard of a half-built house in Falluja, a dozen fighters sat in a semicircle. With Kalashnikovs in their laps and copies of the Qur'an in their hands, they stared at us suspiciously. The silence was punctuated by the sound of mortar shelling. With each explosion, the fighters would cry, "Allahu Akbar". Eventually, the mujahideen started talking: "Who are you?" "What do you do?" "Why the big cameras?" But mostly they were interested only in converting us to Islam. They were still describing the pains I would go through in hell when another fighter, a short thin teenager, appeared. He was still dressed in his white pyjamas and rubbed his eyes as he listened to the conversation. "What are you doing?" he asked one of the fighters. "We are preaching to them about Islam," said the fighter. "Why? They are not Muslims?" "No." The young man looked with puzzlement at the other fighter and said: "But then, why don't we kill them?" "We can't do that now. They are in a state of truce with us," the fighter said. The fighters belonged to Tawhid and Jihad, the group that has claimed responsibility for most of the violence sweeping Iraq. Eradicating these men is one of the prime objectives of the US offensive on Falluja. At first sight, they all looked and behaved the same; young men in trainers and tracksuits preaching Islam. As time passed, they became more relaxed and open about who they were and why they were there. It became apparent that they were an odd bunch of people from different places and with different dreams. There were two kinds of mujahideen bound together in a marriage of convenience. One kind, Arab fighters from the new generation of the jihad diaspora, were teachers, workers and students from across the Arab world feeling oppressed and alienated by the west; they came to Iraq with dreams of martyrdom. The other kind, Iraqi fighters from Falluja, were fighting the army that occupied their country. They were five Saudis - or the people of the peninsula, as they called themselves - three Tunisians and one Yemeni. The rest were Iraqis. Most of the time, when they weren't reading or praying, they spoke about death, not fearfully, but in happy anticipation. They talked about how martyrs would not feel pain and about how many virgins they would get in heaven. I asked one of them, a young teacher from Saudi Arabia, why he was there. He started reading the verses in the Qur'an that urge Muslims to commit jihad. He read about the importance of martyrdom. After 20 minutes, he directed me to another fighter, an older man with a beard and a soft voice who said his name was Abu Ossama from Tunisia. "We are here for one of two things - victory or martyrdom, and both are great," he said. "The most important thing is our religion, not Falluja and not the occupation. If the American solders came to me and converted to Islam, I won't fight them. We are here not because we want to liberate Iraq, we are here to fight the infidels and to make victorious the name of Islam." He continued to explain his jihad theories: "They call us terrorists because we resist them. If defending the truth is terrorism, then we are terrorists." Suddenly, there was a heavy burst of gunfire. The young Saudi teacher ran to fetch a machine gun. With ammunition belts wrapped around his neck, he and a young Tunisian carrying a rocket-propelled grenade launcher ran outside. The Saudi reached a trench. Opening his Qur'an, he read for a while and then pointed his machine gun at the horizon, trying to release the safety catch. He fiddled with the gun for a few minutes, then turned to me: "Do you know how to make these things work?" Abu Yassir, a short, heavy-built, middle-aged Iraqi with a grey beard, was the "amir", or commander, of this group. He was a more experienced fighter and looked after the others. When it was time to break their fast, the men poured food into a big tray and, exchanging jokes, scooped rice with their fingers. I had to keep reminding myself that these people blow up civilians every day in Iraq. After the food, the amir told his story. He was a retired military officer and ran a business making electric generators. He was happy to see the back of Saddam Hussein and to get rid of the Ba'athist regime. But, he said, "as the time passed by and as the occupation became more visible, more patriotic feelings grew bigger and bigger. Every time I saw the Americans patrolling our streets I became more humiliated." He described how locals from Falluja and other places started to organise themselves into small cells and to attack the Americans. "We just wanted them to leave our cities. In the beginning I had a 'job' every month, setting IEDs [improvised explosive devices] or firing mortars, and would go back to my work most of the time. But then I realised I can't do any thing but jihad as long as the Americans occupied my country." He closed his workshop, sold his business and used the money to sponsor the group of fighters. "The world is convinced that we people of Falluja are happy to kill the innocents, that's not true, even when we execute collaborators and people working for the Americans, I feel sad for them and sometimes cry, but this is a war." We slept in one of the many empty houses, but every few moments we heard the sound of an explosion. Suddenly, there was a huge blast. We ran outside. The fighters were already in the street, shouting "Allahu Akbar" every time they heard explosions, believing it would divert the missiles away. We walked in the darkness until we reached a mosque, were we spent the night listening to the heavy bombing and the shrapnel hitting the walls. The next day, the mujahideen left the house where they had stayed for the last few days, believing they had been spotted by the Americans. There they took their final fighting positions and designated one of them, a young Iraqi, as the unit's martyr - a fighter whose task is to explode himself next to the Americans. The amir told me: "All we want is the Americans to leave, and then everything will be fine, the Kurds will stop talking about seceding from Iraq, the Shias will stop talking about settling scores with Sunnis and each province will elect a council and these councils will elect a president. "That is the election we see democratic, not an American one." But, he said: "We are besieged here now. It is a great emotional victory, but bad strategy. It is very easy now for the Americans to come and kill us all." Let us agree, there is no one single reality. Not upon this stage, not in this world, all is in the mind... imagination is the only truth. Because it cannot be contradicted except by other imaginations - Richard MathesonThere are no conclusive indications by which waking life can be distinguished from sleep - Rene Descartes
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