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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 10:50 am:   

Reading this article about attacks on the US supply lines in Iraq (http://www.salon.com/news/wire/2004/04/12/iraqi_gumen/index.html) brought me back to my undergraduate days in college, where I took a Poly-sci class called “War, Theory & Practice", in which classic Guerrilla tactics(and counterinsurgency tactics) were studied as part of the curriculum.

It is a shame that no one in the current Bush regime took this class. The kinds of reprisals going on in Fallujah are exactly the thing that an occupying power should NOT be doing. Likewise, shutting down newspapers, etc. Anybody have any thoughts on a more effective way to handle a counterinsurgency operation in Iraq?

Also, it seems that the Republican dominated Pentagon is "out-sourcing" and privatizing its special operations soldiers, in addition to its more-well publicized supply privatization. Every time you hear the phrase “civilian-contractor” in the context of Iraq, please insert “Mercenary”, and you will have a better idea of what is going on. This seems like it’s a way of handling political liabilities at home, rather then the crisis on the ground in Iraq. Any thoughts on the introduction of Private Mercenaries into the US military force mix on the ground in Iraq?

I’m filled with such a terrible sadness and anger, at my government, and its citizenry for allowing this atrocity to occur. Emotionally, it is overwhelming at times. This post is an attempt to step back and look at things from a dispassionate, purely strategic perspective. Can’t say that its working very well.
:-( nevermind.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 11:30 am:   

Okay, Jeremy and I don't agree on much (if anything). Don't care for each other much, either, truth be told.

That said, I'm more than a little concerned about these "private security contractors," we are seeing. They've apparently been a factor at least since the First Gulf War (the one I went to, really wish we had finished that job).

Along with providing security for the CPA and corporate groups, these companies also provide security for the news media and NGO's presently working in Iraq, as well as other countries. So, the tale is not entirely negative (unless one likes reading about idealistic aid workers getting shot up, which I don't).

On the tactics end of it, a commander has a number of bad choices.

1. Do nothing and appear weak.
2. Burn the town down (this is how Federal Forces finally broke Missouri Partisan Rangers during the American Civil War, though they burned down most of Western Missouri).
3. Methodically cordon off, lay siege to, and search a town grid by grid, which leads to casualties.

The first option encourages your enemy.
The second option enrages your enemy.
The third option encourages and enrages your enemy while increasing your political liability at home.

The supply convoys have long been vulnerable to attack. One of the pre-Iraq myths that infests the U.S. Army (and still does) is that only the major combat arms components will see combat (meaning the Infantry/Armor/Artillery branches). Our society and the Army sell this notion that if you are in the combat support or combat service support branches that your job is a nine to five type deal that comes with a uniform.

Thus, most soldiers in these branches do not concentrate as much on being tactically proficient, nor do their commanders (see the ambush of the 507th). They do not know React to Ambush Drills, aren't proficient with their weapons, the list of problems is endless.

After serving in a combat unit during the Gulf War, then getting sent to a Signal Battalion, I saw the difference. Part of the trouble in Iraq can certainly be chalked up to politics (an argument I'm not going to get into).

But some of the problems are endemic to the current cultural structure of the United States Army. It is excerbated by a decade long reduction in overall strength (blame for that can be spread on both parties and started even before the Gulf War).

Just some thoughts. Take them or leave them.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Brendan
Posted on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 12:17 pm:   

I have been thinking a lot lately about the mercenary factor, and it is obviously something that US citizens are laregely unaware of. The four who were killed in Falluja were not civilians. That does not make their fate less disgusting, but it should effect people's attitudes some.

As far as battling "the insurgency", it seems to me the worst way to do it is to harm innocent civilians. And in Falluja many innocents have died. So this naturally breeds more enemies. The best way to battle these people is by offering them some kind of alternative that is attractive, namely a tangible stake in the future Iraq. The mass deBathization the administration promoted was a huge mistake. It turned many thousands of Iraqis (many with significant military experience) against the US. We should have included these people in the future government - one reason being that they represent a decent part of the population - another being that they happen to be the ones with funds, connections and skills to carry on a long term guerilla war.

It is not too late to remedy the situation, but if the administration does not act soon, it will be.
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Brendan
Posted on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 12:38 pm:   

What I said was of course about the Sunnis. For the followers of Al Sadr, the answer, I think, is:

Give them jobs.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 12:44 pm:   

Well, keep in mind that the deBathization program was somewhat driven by previous historical models (see Nazi Germany). In fact, General Patton got into a lot of trouble for keeping ex-Nazis in his administration when he was military governor of Bavaria. That historical lesson wasn't lost on current Army commanders (who tend to have a love/hate relationship toward Gen. Patton).

I also don't think anyone is trying to kill civilians, but some of the problems we face are similar to those faced in Somalia. We have insurgents using women and children as cover to shield their movements, as well as assist in resupply and pointing out targets. The Marines, for their part, have been using snipers to negate this to a certain degree, but this works only when you have clear shots (for a good book on Marine Snipers, might want to read Anthony Swafford's Jarhead).

Another mistake I believe everyone was trying to avoid was the one that cost us popular support in Vietnam. That mistake was supporting a religious minority (in this case, the Catholics) as they oppressed the Buddhist population. We chose, instead, to back the Kurds and Shittes respectively.

Not a perfect solution, but probably the best one considering the fact that no one expected the governmental infrastructure to melt away like it did a year ago.

For my two cents (and if one digs around over at Asimov's I said this a year ago) my primary concern about the entire operation is that we did not have enough troops available for OIF and for reserves in case something else flared up (i.e. like we have right now).

Then again, my one concern was hardly unique. Army leaders have been complaining since the mid 1990's that we didn't have enough active duty forces to handle even the peacekeeping missions we had. It is one reason I found worries about invading other countries after Iraq to be rather laughable. We don't have anyone to send.

One big mistake that most Army commanders do admit to was disbanding the Iraqi Army after the end of the war. Not only did this allow a lot of people to bleed off into the populace (with the military experience Brendan has mentioned) but it deprived them of a paycheck, place to sleep, three squares a day, etc.

One seriously problem is that the insurgents are receiving significant support from Syria and Iran. All of our political moves will avail us not if we don't find a way to clamp down on this support.

At any rate, I wish we had done the job right back in 1991. One reason I supported the war (still support it) is that I was disgusted with the way we encouraged the Shittes to rebel against Saddam, then stop short of actually helping them. I feel (still feel) like we owe it to those we let down in 1991 to give them their country back, preferably without either a dictator or some religious nut in charge of it.

Well, I'm not terribly impressed with plans by either candidate for president on dealing with the situation either.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Brendan
Posted on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 01:20 pm:   

Just out of curiousity S.F. - at what point would you not support the war in Iraq?

Basically I mean: at what point would you say: This is not going to work, and nothing we are doing is making it work, and it is too late to make it work.

Or could anything push you to that conclusion, i.e. loss of lives, number of wounded, size of insurgency, etc.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 04:23 pm:   

Brendan, my point of view on it is pretty simple.

Our enemies, we have a few, have this belief that our nation (the United States) is essentially a nation of cowards. They say it in their own letters to each other. It is a belief other nations have had about us since Vietnam. It was a driving concern for both the Saudis and Kuwaitis during the prep before the First Gulf War (read Powell and Schwarzkopf's books).

We cut and run, we'll validate that belief (again). It is what the powers in that part of the world count on.

I suppose you are asking for a "Butcher Bill" as they used to call it during the Civil War. I could give you one of my contradictory answers that I think most soldiers might give you.

One Life is too many, and not enough.

I could tell you that by comparison to other wars, the seven hundred we've lost is hardly a blip on the radar screen (which makes me seem like a cold, cruel, murderous son of a bitch).

But here is what I will tell you.

When the majority of the Armed Forces currently present in Iraq vote with their feet (either by leaving at the end of their enlistments, or by simply sitting down and refusing to take action) is probably when I'll sit down and reassess my support.

As for cost in lives, no matter the war, it is always too high. I've seen everything a war can do short of actually taking a life and mine was a cake walk compared to the present war.

In the end though, I think it was inevitable, this particular war. I think it has been inevitable since Saddam was not overthrown in 1991. In fact, it may have been inevitable since August 2, 1990.

We can't run. We've got to stand our ground (and realize that the enemy is fighting for our hearts and minds here stateside just as we are fighting for theirs in Iraq).

And one last thing.

We've got to hope that the Iraqi Governing Council can step up to the plate and lead. If they can't, then the entire situation is going to go tits up and history will damn us for the entire endeavor.

Not much of an answer, I suppose.

If it makes you feel any better, everytime I hear about a KIA or WIA, I keep thinking, "That should be me."

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 06:23 pm:   

Brendan,

Maybe this op-ed that Andy Rooney wrote will help answer your question, concerning my support.

http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20040412/1057793.asp

Now I'm going to have to think about it.

Good article by the way. Always like what Andy Rooney has to say, even if I don't always agree with him.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 08:00 pm:   

Brendan said:
For the followers of Al Sadr, the answer, I think, is:

Give them jobs.
That's one devious, cold-blooded strategy. Getting them to take the jobs we would give them, though, that'd be the hard part. Once they do, though, they're dead meat. And the beauty of it is, it would be their fellow-countrymen killing them, not us.
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Brendan
Posted on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 10:48 pm:   

Sardonicus - That is only true if the jobs you offer are things that are obviously connected to the occupational forces. But if money is put into the Iraqi infrastructure (building schools, mosques etc.) and Iraqi contractors are used, I don't think it would be a problem.

Part of the reason for all this aggression is that the money we have been putting into Iraq, has for the most part been going to our own companies (Kellog Brown and Root) and to schemers like Chelabi (sp?).

If the money was instead filtered through local mosques or people who are actually respected by the Iraqi people, the problem you mention would not exist - at least not to a dangerous level.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 07:08 am:   

Brendan has a fair charge on exactly where the money is going. It does seem rather ignorant to spend $100K on just one security contractor (I've heard that is what some of them are getting) when you could field either five grunts or employ at least a hundred Iraqis.

Personally, I'd employ them as street sweepers. If they are out there sweeping the streets clear of debris, there will be less trash to hide IED's under. I would make sure that I have a non intrusive scout sniper team watching these details (not to shoot them per se, but to gather intelligence on who is placing IEDs and where they get them at).

I'm a little leery, though, with handing the money to the mosques. It seems we have tried that before with regimes like the Taliban and have gotten less than desireable results for our money. We also did that with the Afghan fighters opposed to the Soviets and now we sit around wondering where all of our money (and Stingers) went.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 08:52 am:   

Brendan said:
Sardonicus - That is only true if the jobs you offer are things that are obviously connected to the occupational forces. But if money is put into the Iraqi infrastructure (building schools, mosques etc.) and Iraqi contractors are used, I don't think it would be a problem.
The Russians aren't "obviously connected to the occupation forces", but they seem to think it's a problem anyway. They're pulling out 800 people who are -- or now I should say were -- supervising the building of a new power plant, one they had a contract to build since 20 years ago or so. That's infrastructure, isn't it? Other countries are pulling their people out too. Any Iraqis they hired are out of a job.

And the Iraqi construction workers in Baghdad -- the folks who've been hired to do exactly the sort of jobs you describe -- seem to think it's a problem. About a third of them aren't showing up for work. Apparently they think their jobs might be hazardous to their health.

I don't know exactly what you mean by "Iraqi contractors". There are plenty of Iraqi sub-sub contractors available, and they're being hired for specific jobs. But as far as general planning of reconstruction is concerned, well -- we broke Iraq, we bought it, and at least for the time being, we're in charge. And as long as we are in charge, any work on "infrastructure" will be done "for the Americans" as far as the locals are concerned.

As to Sadr and his "Mahdi's Army", they seem to jobs already -- in demolition. I assume you know what they did to the village of Kawlia about a month ago.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 09:11 am:   

Got a guy deployed with the Missouri National Guard from work who came home on leave a few months back. He is with an Engineer unit and handles some of the bidding.

At first, he'd be handing bids to American contractors at these ridiculous rates. Before long, he got in contact with the Iraqi Subcontractors and found out what their bid was (way less usually, done faster, more efficiently).

In future projects, he made sure the Iraqi subcontractor got the bid and cut out the American middleman. Frankly, I don't blame him. Won over a fair number of Iraqis that way (whether they have stayed "won over" is anyone's guess since we do not have regular contact with him).

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Brendan
Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 11:03 am:   

Sardonicus - What I was talking about was a general response to Jeremy's first question. Obviously for any of these ideas to be implemented one needs time, and there is no time. My replies are hypothetical. They would work if there were leaders in place to make them work, but I don't believe there are.

No Iraqi contractors? That is not true. The Iraqis are perfectly capable of doing any sort of construction that is necessary without outside help. A contractor can be a guy and his ten cousins. It does not have to be a large corporation.

The construction workers you are talking about are people who are hired by the US. All workers etc would need to be hired by Iraqis.

I am simply putting forward ideas anyhow, and am not here to argue. I did not and do not support the war - but that does not mean I cannot hypothosize about how to better the situation.

The truth is that the people in Iraq, just like those everywhere, want to have happy and dignified lives. If they had that right now there would not be the fighting.

And you? What is your answer to Jeremy's original question?
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Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 01:37 pm:   

Brendan said:
The construction workers you are talking about are people who are hired by the US. All workers etc would need to be hired by Iraqis.
In that case, to whom was your imperative "give them jobs" addressed?
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Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 02:07 pm:   

Jeremy Lassen asked:
Anybody have any thoughts on a more effective way to handle a counterinsurgency operation in Iraq?
Not at this point. One can only hope the Marines in Falluja and our other forces elsewhere can slug it out with the Baathists and Sadr's people without killing too many civilians. Perhaps Sadr et al can be convinced that if their strategy is to take on the US military, they aren't going to win, and some sort of modus vivendi has to be worked out. And that not too many folks will be too enraged at us for the arrangement to work.

But at this point, we're in a hell of a fix. Counterinsurgency operations in foreign countries are not going to endear us to the locals. But cutting and running would only insure that disastrous results ensue immediately, so it would appear that getting tough is the lesser of two evils.

The real pity is, our own State Department had done studies and written reports before we went in, saying that we had better secure facilities and have enough boots on the ground to prevent looting as soon as we'd crushed Saddam's army, or there'd be real trouble later on.

Rudyard Kipling was a racist and an imperialist to be sure. But he was also a lot more realistic about what to expect from the locals than Bush, Perle, Wolfowitz etc. Read his ode to imperialism "The White Man's Burden", which he wrote in 1899 to exhort the United States to take over the Philippines. You'll see that, if the Bushies had read their Kipling, they never would have expected our forces to be greeted as "liberators", with flowers and sweets.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 09:16 pm:   

Interesting overview of PMFs in Iraq and elsewhere.

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/04/15/warriors/index.html
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Bob K
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 12:12 am:   

Yeah, way interesting. Disturbing that private firms are placed in charge of vital logistics, both for the civilian infrastructure and the coalition troops. It's bad enough that Halliburton gets no-bid contracts for rebuilding and that it charges the military for meals it didn't deliver, but I didn't appreciate how its logistics contracts put the soldiers in jeopardy. They could legally cut and run anytime; their foreign workers running food service and supply convoys could strike or bail out.

Then there's the mercenary, soldier-of-fortune set. That's just what I'd want if I were being "liberated" -- a bunch of mercs running around my country. DynCorp's a good example of the kind of liberator material we need over there, but I guess they're having a stern sitdown with their managers about raping the locals and _filming_ it, so, yeah, I feel better.

Ain't laissez-faire capitalism great!
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Brendan
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 12:26 am:   

Well, so far it seems that the general lines of logic here are:

1) Get tough.
2) Try and concilliate the Iraqis.

and (though no one has said it, it is still clearly an option)

3) Leave Iraq.

It seems that opinions here go for 1. But my choice would be 2. or 3.

If the US has no better strategy than the one currently being implemented, than 3. because as far as I can see what has been going on in the past two weeks has been counter productive.

As far as the PMF's go, these people should clearly not be there. I am curious how much more they get paid than actual soldiers. I imagine significantly more.
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Bob
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 12:33 am:   

>I am curious how much more they get paid than actual soldiers. I imagine significantly more.

Way more according to the article.
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Brendan
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 02:16 am:   

I did not read the whole thing...It said you needed to see an advertisement, and I did not want to :-(
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Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 09:08 am:   

Brendan said:
and (though no one has said it, it is still clearly an option)

3) Leave Iraq.
Apparently you don't understand the phrase "cutting and running", so I will explain that it means "leave Iraq now, under fire". As I indicated before, disastrous consequences would ensue immediately. These would include not only all the consequences of appearing weak and untrustworthy, but also the consequences of leaving a power vacuum in Iraq. The place would descend into civil war and chaos as the Baathists, the Shiites, and the Kurds all went for eachother's throats. Just what we need, another failed state -- only one with navigable waterways and ports, vast oil resources, and neighbors just itching to make trouble for us.

Like it or not, we broke Iraq, so we have the responsibility of fixing it. If we can't do the job, we better find someone who can -- and is willing to stay till it is done -- before we leave. But if we -- the US -- aren't willing to stay, who will be? Not the UN -- we've seen them cut and run already, and that was with the US military still there.

Let's hope some sort of Iraqi government can be cobbled together by July. Only it ain't gonna be the US doing the cobbling. Nobody'd go for an Iraqi government stamped "Made in the USA". Meanwhile, though, the US military is the only thing standing between Iraq and total anarchy.
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Brendan
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 12:55 pm:   

Hey Sardonicus, how about using your real name? It is hard having a debate with someone using an alias - at least I assume it is an alias?

As for "cut and run", I do know what the phrase means - no need to be patronizing.

As for someone else joining to help the US out, I dont know who you have in mind. As you pointed out, the UN will not touch it. . . . Unless the US relinquishes some authority, that is. As for NATO, they have a total of 80,000 troops at their disposal. At least 70,000 of those are already spoken for (Kosovo, Afghanistan, etc.), so the max they could ever contribute would be 10,000. Probably the number is less though.

As I said, if the current administration continues to handle things the way it has, that is the best alternative, because if things keep going like this the US will end up cutting and running eventually - only with many more coffins.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 05:46 pm:   

Sardonicous,
Its very convenient to sell a war on false pretenses and them claim "oops... well... we can't really LEAVE now can we?" That attitude of "we broke it, we fix it" only encourages policy makers to lie, in order to get troops on the ground and break things, without any fear that the troops will actually be brought home when the lies are revealed.

There is also the "hole" theory. If you are digging yourself into a hole, STOP DIGGING. You say "cut and run", I say "stop digging".

I assure you that the Syrians, the Iranians, and the Saudi's would be happy to step in and "Fix" what we broke, as long as it meant that the inevitable strong man that is in power is in no position to attack them. And whatever strong man we put in place would be happy to continue selling oil to western firms, if it meant money to keep his regime from falling.

Since most of America (population and government) doesn’t give a shit about Humanitarian issues (can you say Rowanda? I knew you could), citing the poor helpless, defenseless Iraqi’s who need us there to protect them from the “bad men” that will inevitably appear upon our departure is just so much purile bullshit. That rhetoric is simply a way to justify the neocon goals of the war – a permanent base for a substantial US military presence. Go read the policy papers for the Project For a New American Century. They all involve setting up a puppet regime --eerrr I mean bring democracy to Iraq, and using it as a base for force projection throughout the region.

You may not be aware that the US has agreed to pull all of its troops out of Saudi... NO MORE TROOPS on the Arbian peninsula (you remember… the reason Al Queda is soo pissed at us in the first place?). Iraq is the new home for all that middle east force projection. If we leave, we have no place to base the troops, which is the REAL reason the Bush regime, and probably any incoming democratic regime will never agree to pull the troops out.

Take your happy horse-shit platitudes and tough-guy-bullshit and peddle it to the rubes. People are being slaughtered for some very specific reasons… and “freedom” and “democracy” and “humanitarian aid” are not on the menu.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 05:53 pm:   

Dr. Sardonicus says "These would include not only all the consequences of appearing weak and untrustworthy"

I'm sorry, but I can't let this one go. What do you think we look like now? Untrustworthy sums it all up. WE LIED about weapons of mass destruction. We LIED about links to Al Queda. The US has PROVEN beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is untrustworthy. Our allies can't trust us, and certainly no one in the Arab/Muslim world trusts us.

And I think the overly committed nature of our forces, as well as the extremely poor planning of this operation have done a pretty good job of showing just how weak we really are. Shit. Afghanistan showed that. Taliban and Al Quida are popping up all over after we supposedly defeated them.

I once again refer to the hole theory. STOP DIGGING!
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Thomas R
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 08:58 pm:   

Since most of America (population and government) doesn’t give a shit about Humanitarian issues (can you say Rowanda? I knew you could)

Thomas R: I don't know can you spell Rwanda? Apparently not. Even the old spelling was not what you put up, but Ruanda.

I feel proud I've avoided you people for months now, but Rwanda is one that really struck me at the time and still does. No question that the US did not care. We cared when Europeans in Bosnia received a fraction of the ethnic cleansing of Rwanda, but we saw Rwanda as "another Somalia." I was only seventeen at the time, but I did make sure to vote against Clinton when I had the option.

However there is also no question that almost no one cared. The Belgians pulled out first after a few of their men died. After leaving they asked the US to pull out so they could "save face." Something the US was more than willing to do after the unpopular efforts in Somalia. It went as the Hutu extremists predicted. They frightened the world community and won. The UN had little interest in getting embroiled in what seemed a hopeless African civil war. Even when the US and UN changed their mind none of the 80 countries asked gave troops.

Yet you focus absurdly on one nation, maintaining the narrow vision you can't seem to shake. The messages of Rwanda was about how the world should care, and not give up on people so fast. Yet you use it to justify giving up on Iraqis almost as soon as you can. Even the UN option you seem not really enthusiastic about.

So the band plays on, people die, and the international community still does little for the worst humanitarian disasters of our day. Not just the ones I mentioned either. Can you say Nepal? Can you say Uzbekistan? Can you say Colombia? How about Zimbabwe, Myanmar, North Korea, Angola, Cuba(yes Cuba, I'll link to the relevant Human Rights Watch documents if need be), etc. Do you know who Gnassignbe Eyadema is? How about Ne Win's "Burmese Path to Socialism" and the dire consequences. Still if it's not about US, or not enough so, it's not about us. And so it goes.

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Brendan
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 10:38 pm:   

Thomas - Beginning a post by referring to others as "you people" is hardly conducive to a civil discourse . . . so if someone now jumps on you . . . well . . .
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Thomas R
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 10:53 pm:   

I know. I did in large part mean my time in this little region of Nightshades was unpleasant for everyone. A situation that I certainly had some responsibility for. So I do feel glad I avoided this topic, and more than a little ashamed I returned. Hopefully in the future I'll have better sense.

As for jumping on me, do whatever you need to do. I probably deserved it in part as my tone was more strident than I wished.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 11:32 pm:   

No Thomas. I did not "focus on one nation" by referring to America's non-intervention in Rwanda. I used a historic example to demonstrate that armed intervention for humanitarian purposes was something that most of the American hawks and pro-war necon whacko's(and the general population at large) actively opposed when the OTHER party was in power. They didn't care about humanitarian crisises then, and the only reason they care now is because there is OIL in Iraq. Crocodile tears about the humanitarian crisis if we were to leave Iraq are just that... empty and hollow excuses to justify a failed foreign policy, greedy war profiteering, and a misplaced quest for revenge.

Per usual, you miss the point, dissemble, attack people, and then back off and apologize when called upon it. Go crawl back under the rock that you've been hiding under. My tolerance for fuck-witted idiots like yourself diminishes with every US Soldier that comes home in a body bag... and for every Iraq child that dies, or end up an orphan. Bush, and people like you who support him are doing a great job of creating a whole new generation of terrorists that will be willing to kill and die for some "payback".


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Bob K
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 11:39 pm:   

>Yet you use it to justify giving up on Iraqis almost as soon as you can.

Thomas,

Hmm, I didn't think he was using it that way. I read that he was pointing out how we're being hypocrites. And we are. We should have helped in Rwanda and East Timor and so on. So suddenly we've found our moral center? It isn't that we shouldn't do any good, but that our interests are so in conflict that we can't, not the way we're doing this, not the way we'll have to keep doing this if we stay and maintain any significant interests in Iraq. We will stay, though, because of the oil. Other rationalizations will be put forth, but let's get real.

The rest of your post I essentially find no fault with (Nepal, though?).




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Bob
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 11:40 pm:   

Whoops, sorry, Jeremy. X-post. I didn't read your post first, honest.
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Chris Dodson
Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 11:45 pm:   

Brendan, how come you're so willing to dismiss Thomas R.'s entire post because of his "you people" comment, but you don't say a word about sentences like this, from Jeremy Lassen:

"Take your happy horse-shit platitudes and tough-guy-bullshit and peddle it to the rubes."

Don't you think it's a little hypocritical to single out the trash talk of only those who disagree with you?

Chris Dodson
Journal: The Passion of the Chris
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Bob K
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 01:12 am:   

Chris D,

You know, you've got a point, but let's look at motivations here. How and why do people post? Sardonicus shows a measure of sense, but he hides behind a pseudonym, so he's really just using the forum for personality practice. Thomas affects reasonableness and contrition but is really incapable of subversive thoughts. He seems to post for the visceral monkey thrill of tag-the-tiger-and-run. S.F. Murphy is crying for help. He's depressed! He's got an ego crisis, and he's got to work it out in public.

Me, right now I'm in a pathetic attention-seeking phase, and I'm bored and avoiding work, and since I feel strongly that we have elected one of the dumbest, most mean-spirited, most psychologically primitive leaders in the history of the world to the presidency, I'm seeking the reassurance of people who seem to be both smart and agreeable. I could go out and try to convert people through patient, calm discussion, but that's _serious_ work.

You, well, you haven't given us much to go on, except that you're passive aggressive. Why don't you explain yourself? What's your trauma?
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Thomas R
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 01:16 am:   

Bob: I think you have a valid point. I may have misread him. It just seemed like the post I was responding too was kind of hostile in and of itself. It seemed to indicate even people who wish this to be humanitarian are linked to these supposed neocon conspiracies.

As for Nepal there's the civil war going on there. After the royal family was slaughtered the new Royalists were unpopular or incompetent. Leading to a civil war where royalists slaughtered Maoists and vice versa. The king I think recently imprisoned some protesters and had the legislature dissolved. The BBC I think mentioned it. There's also some ethnic tensions and discriminations. Not that I'd want intervention, the US is overstretched as is, but it's still a cause for concern. In least for aid and perhaps negotiation.

As for Jeremy I was too abrasive to him. I misread what he said and drew unfair conclusions. I implied he cared less about sufferings the US is not involved in, which is cruel and probably unfair.

Coming here is always a mistake for me, likely including this time, so Jeremy called me on that mistake. He also rightly got angry with unfair statements I made. So he vented what he needed to vent. The "content" of that venting doesn't really matter to me and I doubt it should matter to anyone. What matters is he hopefully feels better and I learned something.

Or in less "passive aggressive" lingo, he doesn't like me and I don't like him. That's life, and hopefully we'll both move on.
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Thomas R
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 01:21 am:   

Eek you posted again Bob, I was responding to the earlier. Well today was an impulse post, hence it was a bad idea. When I have better sense I avoid this place like the plague. This place was the site of the most thoroughly unpleasant discussion I ever had. (I thought nothing could top the 9-11 discussion at SFF.Net where they called me "an appeaser to terrorists" for supporting a Palestinian state, but I was quite wrong)

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Bob K.
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 01:25 am:   

Thomas, don't be sorry. Be consistent. Drop the horseshit. Just tell Jeremy that you've thought it over and you agree with him and you foreswear your weaselly right-wing ways. You've got it in you, buddy. Make the conversion, right now. No more sin, no more self-recrimination. Hallelujah!
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Chris Dodson
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 01:48 am:   

Bob says: "You know, you've got a point, but let's look at motivations here. How and why do people post? Sardonicus shows a measure of sense, but he hides behind a pseudonym, so he's really just using the forum for personality practice. Thomas affects reasonableness and contrition but is really incapable of subversive thoughts. He seems to post for the visceral monkey thrill of tag-the-tiger-and-run. S.F. Murphy is crying for help. He's depressed! He's got an ego crisis, and he's got to work it out in public."

Aw, come on, let's be realistic. You're not a mind reader. There's no way you can psychoanalyze anybody by reading a few of their posts on a message board. There are plenty of better reasons for using a pseudonym than "personality practice", especially when you're on a subject that pisses as many people off as this one does.

And where do you get that Murphy is "crying for help?" I can't recall a single thing he's said that suggests that.

And me? Passive agressive? Perish the thought!

Bastard. :-)

Chris Dodson
Journal: The Passion of the Chris
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Thomas R
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 01:52 am:   

As you know Bob, that isn't going to happen. Just because I'm willing to admit I may have been too harsh to him, doesn't change the fact I would never agree with him. Plus most of the self recrimination I feel is about coming here and talking to any of you at all. Finally you guys are terrible evangelists:-)
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Chris Dodson
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 01:53 am:   

Oh, and my trauma is pretty much the same as yours -- bored and can't sleep. *shrug*

Chris Dodson
Journal: The Passion of the Chris
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Chris Dodson
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 02:05 am:   

Oh, one more thing: My own position is that I was totally against this war in the beginning, but I do believe that since we did start it, we have to finish it; otherwise, we're completely fucked. Whereas, if we stay, we're only about two-thirds of the way fucked.

'Cause it is a lose-lose situation. If we pull out now, everyone will hate us because we're a bunch of weak-willed pussies. On the other hand, if we stay, everyone hates us because we're trying to impose our will on the rest of the world. Me, I'll take option number two. It'll at least keep us safer in the short run.

But we're still fucked either way, so it doesn't really matter.

Chris Dodson
Journal: The Passion of the Chris
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Brendan
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 02:19 am:   

Chris - The reason I said this to Thomas, is that he has repeatedly posted on these forums, and then complained when he was attacked and complained about people not being civil. So I was just pointing out, that if he wants people to be civil, he needs to maintain a high level of civility himself.

Jeremy on the other hand has never presented himself in that light.

Also, Jeremy might have hard words, but he never patronizes people or acts like we are from sort of different levels of existence.

Basically my comment has to do with a whole history on this "war" forum, and not just this thread.
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Brendan
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 02:42 am:   

Here is a good NYT article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/16/opinion/16KRUG.html

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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 09:29 am:   

LOL, I just read Bobby's comment. It is true that I am depressed and perhaps (Murphy adopts a melodramatic, sarcastic pose) I am just a little boy crying out for help (sniffles).

But fortunately, just as the world does not revolve around my opinion, it doesn't revolve around Bob's opinion either. :-)

Didn't take long for a pure military discussion to descend into a political (polarized) discussion. I'm not terribly surprised. Fortunately, I have a life outside of the internet (job, school, writing, working out, chasing women, drinking beer) and so what little time I do spend on the net I husband very carefully.

Which kinda leads to a feeling of, "Why am I wasting my time arguing with these people again? It is not as if they really give a shit what I think."

Jeremy started an interesting discussion on guerrila warfare. I don't get along with or agree with him on much, but I figured I'd toss my two cents in. Maybe actually get past the antagonism.

No such luck, it would appear. Sigh.

Fortunately, there are other, more interesting topics around here to discuss.

Oh, speaking of "false pretenses" I do remember very clearly an American President once saying, "Our troops will be there only for one year."

Of course, that President wasn't refering to Iraq.

He was talking about Bosnia, and we are STILL THERE.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Bob K.
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 09:53 am:   

>he never patronizes people or acts like we are from sort of different levels of existence.

Or matronizes them, either.

Am I mind reader? No, I work from the evidence. I didn't say Murphy was asking for help. He's crying for help, but not from us. He says he thinks he should be among the killed or wounded in action. Seems like a cry for help to me. Anyway, I'm not picking on him.

The rest of what I said is true on the face of it...

Thomas, you went and did it _again_. You returneth like a dog to its vomit. You're probably reading this post right now. Aren't you? Aren't you? (Apologies to Carly Simon.)

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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 11:15 am:   

Bob, what I said isn't that difficult to understand. I'll spell it out.

I supported the war, still support it even though I would have done things different if I was President (fortunately, I have no desire to run, so you all are spared).

I have this internal argument that goes back and forth within me. It is simple to understand as well.

"I wish I were there."

I don't wish I were there because I mastrubate to Guns and Ammo and feeling a need to indulge in violence. I wish I was there because I feel like I didn't finish the job the first time back in 1991. Some of those soldiers are over there dying for a cause they don't believe in, while I'm sitting here, with my iced tea, a clean shower, three squares a day, and the opportunity to chase tail safe and sound.

I feel like I should take at least one soldier's place. I suspect if we had finished the job in 1991, I might be in a body bag, as opposed to posting here and giving you migraines (so, I don't have a death wish, either).

"Glad I'm here," is the other half of the argument. I figure that is self explanatory.

So this, "I wish I was there/Glad I'm here," argument is pretty constant. Add in the fact that I feel that if one supports a war, they ought to be willing to put their nuts on the chopping block.

I'm willing, but the Army isn't (no matter how desperate they may seem for soldiers, they don't want people with clinical depression running around).

Now, if anyone knows how to speed up the NARA's efforts to locate a copy of my NGB-22 and find that is says either "Honorable/General/Medical" then maybe we can see about the nuts on the chopping block part.

And while you may or may not be picking on me (frankly, so what if you are?) you definitely seem to be picking on Thomas.

S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 11:53 am:   

Murphy,

You didn't finish the job in '91? What...you didn't get your typing speed up to a hundred and fifty words per minute? Dude, you've seen Rambo too many times. "Sir, can we win this time?" Jesus Christ! Do you have any clue how Stallone-esque you sound? Get a better script, man. This is just pathetic. If you really want to take the place of a soldier and not just make arf arf noises on the internet, hey, here's an idea -- sign up with one of those merc groups and that way you can do God's work and make a few bucks at the same time. Otherwise, quit spewing your quasi-macho bullshit and go chase some tail...or is that just another dream you're having? And if it really gets you down that you're not taking fire, pretend you're on R&R and that soon you'll be heading back to the front and the smell of battlesmoke and the screams of the dying and all that good shit that makes your blood pound...or else lose yourself in a game of Quake and pretend the demons are Hajis.

Thomas R, man, you're like a gerbil who smells his ass after he's taken a shit and is so confused he thinks he's having sex and keeps running back to smell his crap. You starting to make Murphy look profound.

I wish I had time to stay and play, but I got better to do, unfortunately.

Ciao.
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Bob
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 11:59 am:   

Huh. Things are getting a little weepy here.
As a vet of Gulf, part one, I sure as hell don't wish I was over there again, and I'm not particularly enamored of being zipped up in a latex bag. I feel we accomplished exactly what we set out to do, back then. The mission was limited, operationally and politically.
As far as this particular war goes, I was against it from the beginning, it's exactly what we shouldn't have done, and the mess we're in now is a direct reflection of all that even the most intellectually challenged neocon could have predicted. However I did argue that, since war was obviously inevitable, given the political climate, we needed to find ways to support the hapless troops our government was shipping out. Some of those troops being family, my sister and a cousin, played into that stance significantly, I'm sure. Now my brother is patrolling the streets of Baghdad, and the likelihood of losing him is even greater than during the actual "war". And yet I say that there's no way we can pull out of Iraq without making things even worse that we already have. Leaving a power vacuum in that country would almost certainly guarantee the rise of an extremist fundamentalist Islamic regime, and it would also validate the idea that terrorism and not diplomacy is the most effective approach to swaying nations. Let's all keep a close watch on Spain, shall we? Anytime anybody wants something from the Spanish government, from now on, they'll probably just blow something up to prove that they're serious.
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George Owell
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 12:02 pm:   

Murphy, I wish you were President. ANYBODY BUT BUSH.
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Bob K.
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 12:16 pm:   

Murphy, think about where you are. You are on a board run by veterans and populated by writers -- two groups that collectively have a lot of experience with both combat and depression. You know, I honestly don't wish you ill, but you frustrate me. If you want help or advice from those of us who've been to the bottom of depression and come back out, just ask for it and stop flogging yourself. And, Thomas -- I kind of like his little history lessons, but the self-recrimination has reached the level of self-abuse.

Take care,
Bob

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Bob Urell
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 12:36 pm:   

I'd forgotten that I'm not the only Bob here, anymore.
Writers get depressed? All of 'em? When'd that start?
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Bob K.
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 12:46 pm:   

>I'd forgotten that I'm not the only Bob here, anymore. Writers get depressed? All of 'em? When'd that start?

All of 'em? No, no more than all the posters are veterans. You don't think depression is well-represented among the writers here?
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Bob Urell
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 02:32 pm:   

Sorry Bob. I should have put up one of those smiley things, but then I'd have to throttle myself. I was joking. I'm a veteran AND a writer, and I'm well associated with depression. And apparently dementia....
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Bob K.
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 03:08 pm:   

Bob #1, I like the sentiment about the smileys! And I appreciate your last post. Best to your family over there. I'm not a veteran, but I've been clinically depressed and lost both friends and family to depression. And, Murph, I'm no counselor, but if you're looking for another perspective, feel free to drop me a line. I promise not to tease you.

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