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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 03:18 pm:   

Over at a military website I frequent, Soldiers for the Truth, they are trying to learn more about attempts by the Department of the Army to shut down the private e-mail accounts of those deployed to Iraq.

Someone is trying really hard to ensure I put a write in candidate on my Presidential ballot this year.

Does anyone one, anywhere, know anything about this?

As fucked up as the Army snail mail system is (I could tell stories about how bad it was during Desert Storm) I think this is an atrocity to cut off one of the few morale boosting tools currently available to most soldiers merely to prevent the leaking of additional photos from the prison abuse scandal (which should be made public, en mass, ASAP so we can get it dealt with).

Anyway, contact info can be found at this site.

http://sftt.org/

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Brendan
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 10:40 pm:   

Well, if I was in Iraq I would consider e-mail a godsend. The only other way you can have quick contact with family is through expensive phone calls.

I think the leadership doesn't understand that they need to fix the problems, not try and hide them.
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richard
Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 03:50 am:   

No, the leadership aren't interested in fixing anything, because as far as they're concerned, it ain't broke.

So a bunch of young Americans are dying on the other side of the world for a cause that was doomed and wrong headed before it even got underway - who gives a shit about them? Plenty more where they came from, as long as we can strangle and starve media attention to the facts. Hiding the realities IS fixing the problem for men like Bush and his corporate pals - eg number the nth - if you're American, looks like you'll have to go abroad if you want to see Michael Moore's new documentary.
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Chris Dodson
Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:15 am:   

There's no love lost between me and the Bush administration, but you can't blame them for "censoring" Michael Moore. That's totally a Disney thing, and they have the right to distribute or not distribute anything they want to. As far as I'm concerned, that's a non-issue.

Chris Dodson
Journal: The Passion of the Chris
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:19 am:   

Folks, politicians in this country, regardless of all their flag waving, visits to veterans hospitals and military installations, have NEVER given a flying fuck about the American Soldier. Ever.

Neither side has been shy in slashing the VA Budget. Neither side has been shy in screwing around with any part of the DOD budget that didn't directly affect their district. And neither side cares about those body bags unless it is their side that looks bad.

Both sides of the political elite have long held the view that we are just dumb hick, trailer trash, ignorant cannon fodder too stupid or malformed for any other useful function (God knows, I got an earfull of that crap when I was in college). The Liberals get mad about the Defense and VA budgets because it draws money away from their pet programs and the Conservatives get mad about the same budgets because they have to pay higher taxes for them.

So, I'm at the "plague on both their houses," point right now.

As for e-mail, having dealt with the broken down snail mail system during the Gulf War (there are reports that it is much worse today) I can say that e-mail would most certainly be a God send.

And satphone calls are horribly expensive. I probably spent five hundred dollars during Desert Storm on such calls. While I was in Korea, I probably spent another two thousand. E-mail does make life easier.

See, the problem I see is this.

Liberals trust in Government to do things right.
Conservatives trust in Corporations.

I don't trust either of them. I've been screwed, blued and tattooed by both of them.

As for Michael Moore's doc, I could give a shit less. I've had my fair share of projects shot down (fortunately not in the pro SF market YET) due to ideological bias. I wish I could find it in me to shed a tear, but all I got to say to him is, "Welcome to the Party, Pal."

Wish I had better choices than three kooks for president from three extremes this fall.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Brendan
Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 12:32 pm:   

Personally I will vote for Kerry. Not that I particularly like him, but I REALLY do not want Bush in office.
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richard
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 07:14 am:   

Chris - if you believe that the Moore debacle is purely a Disney thing, then you're naive. Christ, Eisner came out and SAID he didn't want to upset little bro Jeb - if that's what he's prepared to admit, what else is there under the covers? One of the major dangers of this administration IS the extent of mutual handjobbing between the political and corporate arenas - and the bare faced lack of shame at it, which is why Moore's film is vitally important. I'm not shedding tears for him, he's a big boy, he can look after himself - I'm shedding tears for the implications of the move, which are that freedom of speech in the US is being systematically flushed down the pan

Steve - I'm not an expert on the VA, but my understanding is that the Republican side of the house have been responsible for far more savaging of budgets than the Democrats. And you're absolutely right, the truth is nobody in politics *really* gives a shit about soldiers, they *are* just cannon fodder - which suggests a rather obvious strategy for said young men and women - *don't buy into the bullshit rhetoric about Good and Evil and don't go fight their wars for them!*. Unfortunately, this kind of awareness doesn't seem to surface in the average US "grunt" (and please understand that is NOT intended as an insult to these men and women) until during or after the event. I've seen a number of interviews with young American soldiers, in which they've said things like "I'm looking forward to getting into action in Iraq, so we can get some payback for 9/11" With that level of political perception - and for that matter naive enthusiasm for combat - , it's perhaps not surprising that they get fucked over so much. it isn't right, it's not even okay, it's desperately sickening, but (perhaps from a cynical European perspective) it's hard to be very surprised.

And Brendan's right - however much all choices may disgust you in this election, this is damage limitation, pure and simple - get Bush out!!!
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 02:47 pm:   

Richard,

I think your view of why soldiers sign up is rather simplistic (as well as the systemic problems veterans have to deal with). Combat veterans have been getting screwed by politicians since the Stone Age. More than few wars during the Roman Republic and Empire were fought concerning promises made to soldiers that were not fulfilled (like forty acres and a mule, money, and that sort of thing).

Some sign up because they want to get their rocks off shooting someone. I'd say they are the definite and distinict minority.

Some are there because as much as they dislike their political leadership (on both sides) they do believe it is a noble choice to serve as a soldier.

Some are there because they want the college benefits. (not really a good enough reason to get shot at on it's own if you ask me).

Some are there because there are pension benefits (a better reason, but not by much).

Some are there because the public education system failed them completely (which is why Kerry and the Democrats will NOT be getting my vote, I have a very sharp, sizeable axe to grind with the Public Education Establishment on that score).

Many of them are there for a combination of reasons that I listed above.

I was talking to one of my grad school professors during lunch today (a British expat) about the way soldiers are treated in the United States. In addition to the cited contempt of both political parties (I had a friend who lost his job at the VA during one of Al Gore's cost cutting crusades) there is the bipolar attitude toward the people who sign up.

Basically you get two views.

1. The soldier is the patron saint of American Democracy (I never bought this view and it is patently dangerous).

2. The soldier is a subhuman, knuckle dragging, fairly stupid monster who, if it weren't for the military, wouldn't have a job at all. The View of the Left I've found, to be frank.

The average American grunt is a professional soldier who, by virtue of their indoctirnation, is supposed to be inherently Nonpolitical (this is to prevent coup de tats). In fact, political discussions in active duty units is patently verbotten and considered to be in bad taste. You vote your vote and keep your opinion to yourself.

Toss in the fact that most American soldiers are generally going to vote for the politicians who are trying to make sure their pay keeps pace with inflation, upgrades their barracks and makes sure they get decent weapons. More often than not, whether anyone likes it or not, the Republicans have a better record (though not by much) on this score.

Finally, the Army is still very aware of the Ghost of Vietnam and now Somalia. Most of the rank and file have the feeling that if they cut and run again they will simply be fighting the same people later on down the road.

If I vote for one of the three candidates, it will be for Bush. Or it will be a write in.

But I'm not going to vote for some repentant fraud from the East Coast who can't even get his service record straight. And I'm not going to vote for some Green Party Kook.

Besides, putting Kerry in office does not ensure that the "damage" done by Bush will be corrected, mitigated, or brought to a halt. If Kerry's record is any indication, he'll cut the Defense Budget by Half and bring us back to being The Planetary Bitch of the United Nations. We'll spend more of our limited military power holding the hand of the Europeans, wiping their asses and helping them breathe while they clean up Bosnia and Kosovo (which should NEVER have been OUR problem).

S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com

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S. Hamm
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 05:48 pm:   

SFM,

In the next-to-last paragraph you say "But I'm not going to vote for some repentant fraud from the East Coast who can't even get his service record straight." Yet in the paragraph before that one, you say that if you vote at all, it will be for a candidate who fits that description exactly.

Please enlighten.
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Brendan
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 11:25 pm:   

One fact is clear: the US military has been more heavily damaged under Bush than it ever has been before. Also, even though Bush is spending tons on National Defence, hardly any of this is going to the soldiers. 99.9 percent of it is going to defence contractors. And that money is being spent uselessly, since the policies of the US at this moment make all Americans less safe than ever.
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richard
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 06:54 am:   

Steve - I'm confused. You provide a thought-through, coherent analysis of the issues and problems facing US military personnel - and then segue into knee-jerk cracker bullshit like this:

>>he'll cut the Defense Budget by Half and bring us back to being The Planetary Bitch of the United Nations. We'll spend more of our limited military power holding the hand of the Europeans, wiping their asses and helping them breathe while they clean up Bosnia and Kosovo (which should NEVER have been OUR problem)<<

Think about it, man. Do you *really* believe the UN,(when it can ever get its collective act together) has the slightest ability to dictate how the world's only hyperpower behaves? They can't even make you pay your bills (US contributions to the UN are in arrears and have been for years). And do you really believe that the size of the US *army* is going to make any difference. Look at 9/11 - thousands of US citizens murdered and all by a bunch of middle class civilians in stolen aeroplanes.

You're buying into exactly the bullshit I was talking about earlier - Bush stands there, salutes the fucking flag and cracks off a few about how the Greatest Demahcracy in the Free Wurrrld is in danger from the Forces of Evil, and for some incomprehensible reason, you believe him. It's bizarre, because you're obviously too intelligent and too educated for this shit.

In depressing point of fact, it's exactly America's military misadventures around the globe that have led to this state of affairs in the first place. And this isn't just me rapping here - your own military and intelligence experts told the Bush administration going into Iraq would be counterproductive, that in all likelihood it would lead to a bog-down and an increased danger of terrorist attack elsewhere. Bush and co didn't listen because they didn't give a shit - they were going to have this war and nothing but nothing was going to stop them. Meanwhile, bombs continue to explode around the world and no-one appears able to do anything to stop it.

The only way you prevent terrorism is by removing the root causes that promote it - poverty, inequality and injustice. As long as US military might is used to perpetuate exactly those things, all for the sake of a fast global buck, no-one's going to sleep easy. And unfortunately, places like Bosnia (and Palestine, and Chechnya and so on) ARE your problem (and ours too) - this is a very small planet, and what happens in one small corner of the world very rapidly affects everybody else. 9/11 was an object lesson in exactly that kind of interconnectivity.

I don't know enough about Kerry to judge well what his impact will be, but it's a safe bet he won't be as catastrophic as Bush. When a coalition of American billionaires are screaming to *give back* the tax cuts they've received, when men like George Soros are prepared to spend millions to get a change of President, you've got to accept that this isn't some pinko/commie/UN/evil foreigner/Euro-wimp plot to steal American Liberty and hamstring the Godfearing Land of the Free. This is the crunch, this is the real thing - if you vote Bush you're essentially agreeing to flush your own country down the toilet (and, unfortunately for people like me, the rest of the planet too).

So please don't.
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JV
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 07:45 am:   

Yeah--what Richard said. Exactly.

I have to think anyone who votes for Bush this time around either knows he's incompetent and evil and working against the interests of most people--and doesn't care. Or is so ignorant or so lacking in basic humanity that he or she actually wants Bush in power to continue the excelerated push toward fascism in this country.

I mean, you almost have to be retarded to vote for Bush this time. And I wouldn't have said that about Bush senior or Reagan, because no matter how jaded some people are about the importance of who is in power, at least those two goons had a modicum of decency at times.

JeffV
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R.Wilder
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 11:17 am:   

"But I'm not going to vote for some repentant fraud from the East Coast who can't even get his service record straight."

So what do you think about George W. Bush's service record? Or Dick "I had other priorities" Cheney? How about the two most hectoring hawks in the administration or associated with the Iraqi invasion: Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle.

Seems to me that Kerry, for all of his cronyisms and flipflops, beats those guys for military service.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 12:43 pm:   

The reason many people are going to vote for Bush is not because they're malicious, they're just butt-stupid, drowning in media-speak. Listen to Murphy. Except for his "I know the soldier" shit," he shoud sign himself Murphy Fair and Balanced. He's preaching the Fox News party line. A great many people in this country--indeed, in this culture--think Free Will is a movie. They believe what they hear over and over and over again.

As to the soldier's plight, the boxer/soldier just back from Iraq i mentioned on another thread told me something else I forgot to post. When he got to Iraq they had no desert camo; they were given green fatigues which made them stand out real good against the desert on the way into Bagdad. He lost four men the first two days to snipers and blames that on the fatigues. Also, on the way in and during the first couple of months they were in Iraq, they were getting three MREs a day, but when the providing was switched over to Haliburton, they were getting on the average one MRE every two days.

By the way, there's a Canadian film going round the festival circuit I urge everyone to see -- called The Corporation. Its thesis is that the coporation becomes an entity and that entity is pathological. A treatement is prescribed. It's very clever and insightful, and though it's not directly associated with the war, seeing it sparked in me a lot of interesting thoughts regarding the corporation of the USA.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 12:51 pm:   

Richard,

I don't think the UN can make us do much of anything unless we have a President who wears kneepads to the General Assembly like Clinton used to. During the 1990's, we spent a fair amount of our meager combat power running off to one shithole after another trying to seperate backward savages who are too stupid to quit killing themselves long enough to build a society.

1. Somalia
2. Haiti (which turned to shit again recently)
3. Bosnia (and we are still there even though Clinton said it would only be for "one year").
4. Kosovo (and we are still there as well).

Thing is this, Richard. It wouldn't be so bad helping out the rest of the planet with our military, but during all four of the above operations, our "allies" did nothing but bitch and moan about tactics, where to strike, when to do something, etc, etc, etc, and on top of all that, we contributed the bulk of the combat power.

That, my friend, is what pisses me off about the bulk of the United Nations membership. They come crying to us when they want their own problems dealt with (as they did throughout the 1990's) and Clinton (inspite of a campaign pledge to concentrate on "domestic issues" which is why I voted for that sorry son of a bitch in 1992 against the advice of nearly every soldier I knew at the time) was more than willing to spread our forces out on missions that, to be perfectly frank, weren't our problem.

Christ, Serbia never attacked us. Never even posed a threat or even thought about it (the current antiwar argument per Iraq runs something similar). Yet we bombed them not once, but twice and no one talks about "collateral damage" from that war. There is no "Serbian War Body Count" indicator to be found.

I don't buy into the "black helicopter" theory concerning the U.N., but I do believe that most nations see the United States as a resource to be exploited. Which is fine in a real politik sort of way. One just has to make sure we don't put a clown in office who thinks we should be their Bitch.

Richard wrote: The only way you prevent terrorism is by removing the root causes that promote it - poverty, inequality and injustice.

I always find this argument rather interesting and hopelessly Marxist in it's origins. It places total blame for the problems cited upon the United States by simply default of our current status as a superpower. It doesn't bother to address the real cultural issues in impoverished, oppressive states like Iran, North Korea (we are keeping North Korea impoverished is really pretty funny, when you consider how they run things over there) etc. It doesn't address the complicity of other governments in the First World in maintaining the current status quo or their own interests in profit making (i.e., the French and the Germans and the materials they've sold to Iraq and other states).

Is the U.S. part of the problem? Sure we are. My advice is that if you are from a European country, you might want to look in the mirror. We aren't sole cause.

Finally, even if the United States was somehow blasted off the face of the Earth tomorrow by some alien race, I suspect that almost every problem currently extant in the War on Terror would continue to exist. We aren't the sole cause.

The Europeans in particular, if they really want things to be different on the planet, out to get off of their hypocritical high horses, build a capability to project their own military power across the planet (so they don't keep coming to us crying for help) and step up to do some heavy lifting.

Besides, when the bulk of the current problems were created a hundred plus years ago, the United States was a third rate power. As I recall, it was the Europeans who chopped up the maps into the ethnic nightmares that exist today. Maybe they ought to go clean it up themselves. We can always pull our forces home from everywhere and let you all fend for yourselves.

Which is exactly what we should have done after the Cold War.

S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com

P.S. And why can't I have a knee jerk emotional reaction after a thoughtful paragraph or two? Is that priviledge reserved only for Left Wing Established Published Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers? Shit, God help us all if that is the case.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 01:06 pm:   

R. Wilder,

You want me to be honest about service records? I don't think much of any of them.

Cheney skipped out, we all know that. I don't think highly of him for it. I never have.

Bush went into the Air National Guard. Okay, well flying F-102 Delta Darts is not exactly a safe way to high from imminent danger. Maybe if he had ended up in a Public Affairs Detachment like Gore did for his five month tour in Vietnam (Gore's daddy got him that slot and got him home after only five months) I might feel a little different.

Kerry didn't even get five months, but four. And while Kerry's record is a bit more impressive than most, what erases that in my mind is not the fact that he protested the war (a lot of vets did that) but that he used his protest activities to smear the reputations of every servicemember during that war and since who DID NOT commit any of the so called atrocities that he won't talk about today.

In other words, Kerry is one of those "repentant" veterans that I like to talk about from time to time. He cries when he talks about the war and what he did and how horrible he feels and blah, and on. If he was drafted, I'd have some measure of sympathy for him.

But Kerry "volunteered" not once but twice. He volunteered to join the Navy and he volunteered for Vietnam.

Then he came home and helped the Left build the stereotype of the knuckle dragging, dope smoking, ear necklace wearing, babykilling monster that I spent most of college answering for (and I didn't come within a mile of a baby during the ground war).

So, they are all slimy bastards. But even if the war wasn't going on. Even if 09-11-01 didn't occur. Even if everything turns out to be a complete and total disaster, the Democratic Candidate will still NOT receive my vote and here is the reason.

"We should support our educators without question," this is quote from Kerry's website on his education policy.

Bullshit. I think Ron Paige was right on target when he said the NEA was a terrorist organization. I've suffered through, deal with and fought with a number of terminally ignorant, incompetent teachers during my public school experience. They are little weapons of mass destruction in and of themselves and the NEA protects them militantly.

These are the same public school teachers who said I was fit for "burger flipping and ditch digging." Surprise, I have a Bachelors and a Masters in History today but according to them, I'm dumber than a warm bucket of shit (Jeff Ford said something to that effect recently as well, I believe).

So, even setting the foreign policy and defense issues aside, the Dems still wouldn't get my vote. A write in might (and the chances of that are dropping with each additional keystroke on this thread).

So, I'm a retard, according to JV. Fine. Fuck him. I put my nuts on the line for six years in uniform and do it daily in downtown KCMO high rises. I'll vote my vote as I see fit.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 01:13 pm:   

I'm glad Lucius dropped by.

A perfect example of the literary stereotype of the fucked up soldier can be found in A Walk in the Park. We have a soldier getting high on "ocular mist" and everything. Cut straight from the worst of Vietnam.

As for the green cammies, that is nothing new. More than a few divisions have deployed in Operation Desert Storm and the current war with green cammies, vehicles, equipment, etc. Most U.S. Troopers are wearing forest green cammie IBA armor without the desert covers.

Really concerned? Write your congressman about it (or for the Brits, your MP, though I understand the Brits will probably leave after June 30th so it won't be an issue).

As for drowning in media speak, well, gee, I suspect I'm not the only one spouting a particular party line around here. Wouldn't want to name names.

Guess no one here gives a shit about the e-mail issue. I sort of suspected.

S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com


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Thomas R
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 02:01 pm:   

Christ, Serbia never attacked us. Never even posed a threat or even thought about it (the current antiwar argument per Iraq runs something similar)

TR: I understand your view here, but will admit I don't agree. Serbia posed potential problems for allies. Some Albanian Kosovars went to Italy even and the Italians seem rather unhappy about that. Also they wereinvolved in ethnic cleansing. The Bosnian situation is now much improved. Why we got involved in that and ignored Rwanda I'm not sure, except that we feel Africans are inherently hopeless people. Europeans on the other hand are "civilized" so them doing that was "shocking." (Georgia still has purges of religious minorities and Russia has its problems so how "shocking" Europeans doing that is in itself debatable)

The only problem I had with the Balkans was that European forces should have dealt with it more and done so earlier. The US should have come in afterwards or only if needed.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 02:19 pm:   

<<<I'm glad Lucius dropped by.

A perfect example of the literary stereotype of the fucked up soldier can be found in A Walk in the Park. We have a soldier getting high on "ocular mist" and everything. Cut straight from the worst of Vietnam.>>>

What would you know about it, Radio Typist?

I know marines who say I got it right, including some there now. I guess they didn't have your vast epertise...

You wanna-be asshole...
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Thomas R
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 02:23 pm:   

Man you even insult people when they try to praise you. That's either admirably consistent or just idiotic. However this

You wanna-be asshole...

TR: I guess makes some sense. As you're the real McCoy on that I guess wannabes would offend you.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 02:29 pm:   

I should clarify that last line. I've known a lot of men who've been under fire and I can't recall one who pulled up their service as a credential with any frequence. Just you...and you talk about nothing. I think you're solid BS, man. You don't sound like a real combat vet. You sound like one of these assholes who was sitting around typing while other people were doing the fighting and now it's become this pathological obsession. Maybe you even believe, now, that you were some kind of hero, but I see through you, pal. You're just a fucking freak with a hard-on for violence you never engaged in. It's a pretty common pathology, but I've never seen it so pathetlcally embodied.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 02:43 pm:   

Thomas, you need a time-out. Your dialog, never astute to begin with, has been reduced to the I'm rubber, you're glue level. Time to recharge and take a breath.

And oh yeah, Radio Typist, your comment that addressing poverty and such is a Marxist notion is one the stupidest things I've ever heard you say...and that makes it hall of fame stupid. So the American way would be to let poverty simmer? Jesus.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 04:56 pm:   

somalia = daddy bushes lameduck present to clinton...

"Recent problems in Haiti" are the result of Bush Cheney meddling with the Haitian economy, and outfitting merceneries to oust "Clinton's boy".

Every other thing SF murphy says is equally mis-informed. Please ignore this troll who can only froth at the mouth and blame clinton for every ill in the world

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richard
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 05:00 pm:   

Steve,

>>I do believe that most nations see the United States as a resource to be exploited<<

Then you need to get out more. Sadly, the bulk of the world sees the US as a dangerously out of control thug with the manners and morals of a sulking adolescent. It's an image that the current President and associated administration is doing absolutely nothing to change.

>> places total blame for the problems cited upon the United States by simply default of our current status as a superpower.<<

No, I place (some of) the blame for the current state of global politics on America's long and illustrious record of stomping little countries or empowering bloody-handed dictators to do it for them whenever the politics of said countries looked like getting unfavourable for US trading interests: Greece, Iran, Cuba, Guatemala, The Philipines, Chile, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Iraq, El Salvador, Vietnam, Cambodia, Panama, Honduras, need we go on. (Oh yeah and toppling the Australian government once too).

>> My advice is that if you are from a European country, you might want to look in the mirror. We aren't sole cause.<<

Right, most European countries have had a hand in fucking up the globe both during the colonial period and after, my own nation most gloriously included. But you know the difference, Steve? The difference is I see that, and I won't be voting for a right wing nut when the British elections roll around. I'll be voting, as the Spanish people just did, for someone (anyone) who might make the present mess better. I'll be voting for someone who understands the extent to which we've become a global community and need to work towards a supra-national form of law and order. In short I'll be voting for someone who's living in the 21st century, not some fucked up re-run of a John Wayne movie.

I'd advise you to do the same - while you still can.

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Thomas R
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 05:25 pm:   

Lucius I wasn't aiming for anything as "eloquent" as your analogy involving me and the gerbil. I was just making a lame show of support for someone I generally like okay. Nevertheless I indeed plan on spending a good deal of time away from here.
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R.Wilder
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 05:33 pm:   

"Please ignore this troll who can only froth at the mouth and blame clinton for every ill in the world."

Steven's not a troll. He's here to be engaged, jousted and pounded; here to enjoy the kerosene combustionables. Flowering moments of pissed off pixils.



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jlassen
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 05:51 pm:   

sfmurphy is who I was reffering to as a troll.. out of order posts suck. sorry.
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JV
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 06:04 pm:   

Yeah, I think there is something wrong with you, SF. Sorry. I've really tried to appreciate your position, but it just isn't possible any more.

Jeff
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Thomas R
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 06:22 pm:   

The only way you prevent terrorism is by removing the root causes that promote it - poverty, inequality and injustice.

TR: Except that this is incorrect. The Basques are not poor even by Spanish standards, they have regional autonomy, and the Spanish can/do vote out Right-wing governments as we know. Yet the ETA exists. For that matter Saudi Arabia is not poor and the terrorists organizations there aren't even claiming to be freedom fighters or socialists. I sincerely doubt the theocrats want real equality in SA. Iran has a very high economic inequality rating, maybe as high as theirs.

Nevertheless I mostly came to agree SFM should leave for awhile. The concensus reality is that he and I are trolls then I suppose that's true for the reality here. History can not be forgotten or forgiven. Anyway SFM there are better places to go and things to do than be a "troll" here.

Anyway bye forever I hope! (I may return if people I like are being treated too unjustly, but probably just to remind them to leave this place)
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 06:46 pm:   

And so, head held high, plucky Thomas R arrows away to fight injustice wherever he may find it...but if one of his little friends should fall or cry out, if a wrong should go unrighted, he'll be back...

Good fucking Christ!
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Brendan
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 11:11 pm:   

Murphy said: "The Europeans in particular, if they really want things to be different on the planet, out to get off of their hypocritical high horses, build a capability to project their own military power across the planet (so they don't keep coming to us crying for help).."

That is funny. It seems to me that the US has been crying for Europes help for a while now.
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richard
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 03:36 am:   

Thomas - on a point of information, since you seem amenable to reason in a way that Steve isn't - let's clarify what I meant by my comment:

Sure, Basque separatists have absolutely nothing to bitch and moan about NOW. Words cannot express my disgust for them and their current actions - BUT what we see happening now with ETA is the stored up chickens of the Franco era coming home to roost. I lived in Spain for four years, and I've spoken to fervent supporters of ETA, many of them too young to have even been alive when Franco was around. They invariably begin their justifications with phrases like "you don't know what my grandparents suffered at the hands of Franco's Guardia Civil...." The fact of course that the whole of the rest of Spain suffered too and that that was then, this is now escapes them completely - but that's how human beings work. Every time you invade a country or suppress an ethnic group, you're not just creating conditions for a here and now terrorist response, you're laying up generations of stupidity and bloodshed to come.

The point is that poverty and injustice are a breeding ground for the resentment and fury that fuels a terrorist movement. If the Middle East were a garden of middle class opportunity and prosperity for all, then the fundamentalist mullahs (who also disgust me beyond coherent expression) would have a very hard time recruiting anyone for suicide missions. Fundamentalism and political extremism can't take root unless there are grievances to answer - and any student of recent history will tell you that US foreign policy (and that of Western Europe, yes, lest I'm accused again of bias) has always been and continues to be a major source of injustice in the developing world.
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Tribeless
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 03:21 am:   

mmm. Richard wrote:

"The point is that poverty and injustice are a breeding ground for the resentment and fury that fuels a terrorist movement. If the Middle East were a garden of middle class opportunity and prosperity for all, then the fundamentalist mullahs (who also disgust me beyond coherent expression) would have a very hard time recruiting anyone for suicide missions."

Given this, Richard, how do you explain the fact that the 'average' suicide bomber is normally well educated, and from a well off family?

The real problem is the 'turn off your brain', don't think for yourself, life hating, freedom hating mysticism which is Islam. The world will be a much better place once mankind has outgrown mysticism and tribelism of all sorts. In the meantime, however, those of us who love freedom believe in the sad fact that it has a price, and must sometimes be defended vigourously.

Don't get me wrong, I don't like Bush and his particular form of mysticism (Red Neck Christianity), however, I suspect the Left would abnegate the freedoms of the West (at least what little we have left), and hand us over hog-tied to the evil doers which are terrorists. Heavens, we mustn't offend anybody from other cultures, must we, even if those cultures are cruel, barbaric, and belong to the dark ages.
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richard
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 05:12 am:   

>>Given this, Richard, how do you explain the fact that the 'average' suicide bomber is normally well educated, and from a well off family?<<

Oh man, only a libertarian could ask that! (Hello there mate :-) ). What about fellow feeling, man? The fact that you personally have a comfortable middle class life-style surely doesn't preclude sympathy for the suffering of others, does it? And given enough short-sightedness, there's no reason that sympathy shouldn't distil into rage and hatred for the (perceived) oppressors, is there? Look at the Baader Meinhoff and the Italian Red Brigades - largely staffed by the children of the affluent middle classes. Basically, they realised that not everyone had access to their lovely lifestyle, couldn't cope and went ballistic as a result. In fact, revolution of any sort is largely a middle class triggered affair. Even legitimate "people's uprisings" like Russia c. 1917 and Cuba c. 1958 had educated middle class leaders. Che, the classic template for revolutionary profile came from a middle class Argentinian background and was training to be a doctor. Castro was a lawyer. Lenin, a man of letters. And so on.

And that's without even considering that under repressive regimes, being middle class and affluent is no guarantee of human rights or social justice - look at what happened to the middle class intelligentsia in Chile and Argentina.

Yes, of course Islam (and pretty much any other religion including the Marxist matrix) is a powerful tool for dehumanising "soldiers" and demonising "the enemy". But first you have to have an enemy to demonise, and for that people need to feel threatened and aggrieved. ANY Palestinian living in the middle east is going to have personal experience of the humiliation the state of Israel visits upon his/her people, because Israeli policing policies are non-specific. By definition if you live in the same house as an intifada activist, you run the risk of waking up under a bulldozer one morning. If you live in the same *town* you run the risk of being shot dead in the street by soldiers, blown up by helicopter gunships or taken for detention, interrogation and torture on no evidence at all - that's like the FBI going to the Washington sniper's neighbourhood and demolishing the block he lived in plus shooting or arresting anyone related to him ad holding the arrestees without trial or access to a lawyer for months at a time. It isn't exactly justice in action, is it? And with an extended family system like the one that operates in all Arab culture, it's a safe bet that *everyone* will know someone who's been murdered or brutalised.

There's a similar non-specific element to to US military action - work in an African aspirin factory and you could get yours because....well, good question: WHY? US bombing has accounted for a cataclysmic number of civilian casualties over the last fifty years, most of them not even openly acknowledged. If you know this - and knowledge is one of the things the middle classes are good at - maybe you aren't going to *need* to be fooled by some psychotic mullah before you take murderous action. Timothy McVeigh certainly didn't.

Here's the thing - there's this immensely wealthy and economically successful country called Canada just north of the US. It has trading interests around the world. It's people are secular and westernised (therefore to be despised by fundamentalists of every stripe). Canada has suffered approximately no terrorist outrages at all. Ask yourself why that is.
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richard
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 05:27 am:   

Oops, forgot this bit:

>>Heavens, we mustn't offend anybody from other cultures, must we, even if those cultures are cruel, barbaric, and belong to the dark ages.<<

Yeah, I'm pretty sickened by this tendency from the left-liberal establishment too. I think I first woke up to it when a bunch of previously intelligent seeming Labour politicians more or less endorsed the fatwa on Salman Rushdie. Sure, we have to be wary of cultures that threaten the ideals of liberal democracy - but bombing and slaughtering the people who belong to those cultures isn't the best way of making them see the light. "There - now your children are dead and crippled, you can see how superior our way of life is to yours! Enjoy!" Shaky logic, no? Until people at grassroots in the developing world start to see genuine evidence for an enlightened western political stance, it's hard to blame them for buying into idiocies like fundamentalist Islam or Christianity.
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R.Wilder
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 06:04 am:   

"...those of us who love freedom believe in the sad fact that it has a price, and must sometimes be defended vigourously."

"...and hand us over hog-tied to the evil doers which are terrorists."

You need to lose the Bush-speak, Tribeless. You've got some valid points but by throwing in Bush's buzzwords "freedom" and "evil doers" you risk an eye-glaze manuever.





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Brendan
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 09:51 am:   

Yeah, a lot of Buzzwords there Tribeless.

"evil doers". Yeah, sure. Only good guys say that.
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Tribeless
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 02:02 pm:   

Yo Richard :-) Good points .... (thinking). (Of course you realise my answer to poverty is laissez faire capitalism, not socialism and welfare ... yadda yadda yadda).

R.Wilder: BS. I made very plain I depise religious nutters such as Bush as much as the Castro sycophants. 'Freedom' a buzzword? Maybe, but what's your point? You don't think freedom important? For me its the only thing which is important. What is the alternative position you're advocating? Imprisonment by whom and for what purpose?

Those who hate freedom are evil doers.

Note from my position this makes Bush an evil doer, as he has done more harm to individual freedom and liberty than any US President for a long time (I suspect) vis a vis The Patriot Act.
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Tribeless
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 02:04 pm:   

Oh, the above is signed by Tribeless: Good Guy
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Tribeless
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 03:00 pm:   

R.Wilder: just re-read your post. Sorry, my initial post was a bit of a low blow. But hopefully you get my point. 'Freedom' is all; I don't care whether its a buzzword or not.
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R.Wilder
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 03:04 pm:   

Tribeless: My point is that a phrase like "Those who hate freedom are evil doers" is an overly simplistic statement that ultimately means nothing. Freedom? Are you talking about the U.S.? Wow, if I'm truly Free does that mean I don't have to pay taxes? Do I have to renew my auto insurance? How about my homeowner's insurance? Can I stop mowing my lawn and still keep the city off my back? Can I drive as fast as I want to on my way home tonight? Can I huff down on some Filipino Scarlet during a mescaline
evening? May I take a long walk around town in my birthday suit? FREEDOM!!

I bristle at FREEDOM and FREE thrown around because I've heard Bush (and other politicians) say, too many times, "They (the terrorists) hate us because we're free." Huh? Say what? "They hate freedom..." Ohhhh, that's why those fucks flew into the World Trade Center. Because of all that FREEDOM we're enjoying here in the good 'ole U.S. of A.

Using terms like Freedom and Evil doers reduces discussion to a one-dimensional level. It does not help to understand the systemic reasons people do evil things.

"'Freedom' a buzzword? Maybe, but what's your point? You don't think freedom important? For me its the only thing which is important. What is the alternative position you're advocating?"

I'm advocating a strong vocabulary. I'm against pollution of the language, where "Project Sunshine" means you napalm the suckers.




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R.Wilder
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 03:27 pm:   

No low-blow, Tribeless.
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Bob K.
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 05:09 pm:   

>Of course you realise my answer to poverty is laissez faire capitalism...

So your answer to poverty is go all the way with it? There ain't no "laissez faire" capitalism, if by that you mean a healthy atmosphere of competition with no government intervention. The two simply do not co-exist. It's a fantasy and a lie.

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