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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 11:19 pm:   

Since when is it okay to target for assasination the political leadership of the country that you are at war with? Isn't that sort of "against the rules of war?"

Droppoing bombs in the middle of a crowded Baghdad suburb because Saddam "might" be there is assasination, pure and simple. This after Condola Rice went on TV and said that "getting Hussain isn't that important." I'm sure the half dozen dead Iraqi civillians that happened to be next door sure appreciate dying for something that "isn't that important."

Not that this is any crazier than the "predator" missle attack in Yeman 6 months or so back, where the U.S. governemnet knowingly and purposefully assasitnated a U.S. citzen. So much for innocent until proven guilty, and a right to a trial of your peers.

U.S.A today, and several other sources have reported that 12 months ago, Bush stuck his head into a meeting between U.S. Senators and Condola Rice and shouted "Fuck Hussain. We're getting him!" Bush must still have a hard one for "getting him", despite what Rice says on TV.

I sure would hate to see someboy use our own tactics against The United States. We'd be stuck with Dick Cheney. Bush is deluded, and things God is talkin in his ear. Cheney is just plain evil. At this point, I'm not sure who would be worse.

-jl
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Darko
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 07:58 am:   

No, it's not against the rules of war so long as the political leader is also part of the military leadership. This is true in the United States, where the President is also the Commander-in-Chief. And of course it's also true in Iraq. Now targeting, say, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development might be another matter, but in Iraq the analogous fellow probably comes to cabinet meetings wearing a military uniform and carrying a handgun.



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Brendan
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 09:17 am:   

What about assassinating Arab reporters? I feel pretty sure that Al Jazeera was targeted. That is the third time the US has bombed them!

I dont know much about the rules of war (are there any rules?), but I do think government sponsored assassination is ugly. And as Jeremy pointed out, we dont know if Sadaam was killed or not, but most certainly civilians were - so even as assassination goes it was a brutal and clumsy way to do it.

Brendan
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Bob
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 11:58 am:   

Er...you are aware this is a war, right? Killing Hussein would likely foreshorten the conflict and save thousands of lives. It's that simple.
And as far as Al Jazeera goes, their facilities double as military command and control stations, viable targets.
As for Condoleeza Rice's statements, null and void. This administration has a real facility with using the inordinate news coverage of the war to their benefit.
Oh, and the whole "Fuck Hussein!" thing? Just how the Hell did these reporters make it into a meeting between the National Security Adviser and a group of U.S. Senators? I find that less than likely, considering the closed door nature of Rice's duties.
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Brendan
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 12:06 pm:   

I dont think the Palestine Hotel was doubling as a military command and control station. There were tons of reporters there and none of them saw any military activity. The roof was covered with news cameras. I never even heard the US administration make that claim.

Brendan
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Bob
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 01:07 pm:   

Actually, you're absolutely correct, there were no Iraqi military in that building. But several reporters said shots were coming from the two adjacent buildings at the time of the attack, and several more said they'd seen Iraqi military staging in those buildings just hours before.
There's a term, often way overused by the media, 'Fog of War'. Simply put, chain of command breaks down, individual actions alter the landscape of battle, and mistakes happen when the bullets fly. Because of the intense nature of urban combat, this kind of mishap is more common, as each unit must make snap decisions that ultimately make the difference between life and death. The human mind is only wired for so much activity, and then reason tends to give way to instinct. I have a feeling that's exactly what happened. Shots were fired at that tank, and they returned fire to where they thought the hostilities originated. If they'd stopped to cogitate, as it seems you would have them do, they would be dead. In war, people die, and it's not always the people with guns in their hands and murder in their hearts that do the bleeding.
This is the second time you've insinuated American servicemen intentionally fired upon non-combatants, Brendan. The first time being the tragic mistake of immolating a bus full of Syrian refugees, and now this. You've said more than once you support the troops over there, and you believe them to be honest men and women just trying to carry out their duties. Perhaps you should reevaluate the dichotomy of your positions and jettison the stance that doesn't agree with your true feelings.
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Brendan
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 01:49 pm:   

Did I say I support the troops? I don't remember ever saying that. I support them in the sense I support all human beings, but no, I do not support them in their capacity as soldiers. I certainly wish them no harm, but I don't have any special sympathy for American servicemen over soldiers of any other army in the world. That might sound shocking since I know you are a vet. I am sorry about that - but I am just being honest. I have been opposed to this war from the beginning and I still feel the same way. I don’t really understand the idea of being opposed to a war but supportive of the people that are fighting it. I am not even sure what is intended when people say ‘supportive’ in this situation.

I really don’t know who is an honest man or woman. But if someone’s ‘duty’ is to kill someone – then I have to call into question that duty. After all, it is just a word.

As far as the American military intentionally targeting Al Jazeera, yes I believe they did. Their hotel was bombed in Basra and it their office was bombed in Baghdad. Their office was also bombed in Afghanistan. That is just too many times for it to be so many mistakes.

Actually, from my understanding, the Al Jazeera reporter was struck by a bomb (an air attack) and it is a different incident than the one at the Palestine hotel.

I am not saying that all these things are intentional. The Syrian bus for instance was probably incompetence.


Kindest Regards,

Brendan
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Brendan
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 01:56 pm:   

To be more exact - it was a missile that hit the Al Jazeera office in downtown Baghdad.

Brendan
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Bob
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 01:36 am:   

Brendan: No, you didn't shock me, I could see in you the inability to countenance the idea that your freedom and relative safety, not to mention your higher standard of living and your right to decry the actions of your betters, has and always will depend on the sacrifice a relative few brave men and women have made in battle. The fact is, Brendan, the American soldiers who are advancing on Baghdad, combing its streets for the last pockets of resistance, searching for any trace of Saddam Hussein, those people are better than you because they can see that there is something larger than themselves. Something worth dying for. I doubt you've ever encountered anything that you couldn't demean and dismiss with your smug platitudes and indiscriminate cynicism, and that makes you the lesser human.
Whatever issue I take with the upper political leadership of this country, one article of faith I'll forever hold to is the grandeur implicit in a young man or woman willing to lock eyes on the Colors and say, "I swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America from enemies both foreign and domestic."
That's a majesty you'll never know, Brendan, because to give yourself so thoroughly to the needs of your countrymen would be to admit you aren't the center of the universe, and I don't think you could ever forfeit that particular illusion.
You didn't shock me, you've angered and disgusted me. I'm done here.
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 02:22 am:   

Okay, this discussion has turned unnecessarily ugly, but I have a couple of things I'd like to add.

The idea that freedom "has and will always" be bought with blood (much less on the battlefield) is simply not true. Sure, it happened in the past, but that doesn't make it valid for you to generalise like you did. For example, Portugal threw down a vicious fascist regime no more than 29 years ago in a bloodless revolution. Even before that, in 1910, Portugal abolished monarchy in similar fashion.

The sadly ironic thing is, for a country so bent on fighting for freedom, many Americans don't seem to be paying much attention to what Ashcroft & friends are doing right in their faces . . .

Best,
Luís
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Brendan
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 06:28 am:   

Bob – I am sorry you feel the need to express yourself towards me in that way. I don’t have anything else to add.

Regards,

Brendan
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 05:24 pm:   

Most human beings, probably, have people for whom they would die; loved ones whose lives we value more than our own - perhaps because we could not bear to live without them.
I have no strong opinion about the willingness to die for a larger cause; for a nation, for a revolution, for a religion, for a belief. But I cannot help thinking of the many Germans in WWII who died for Hitler and the Fatherland, and of the Japanese kamikazes; and, indeed, of Palestinian suicide bombers. Of course, all of these people were not merely dying; they were killing at the same time. And that, for me, is where I wonder about the value of the soldier's death. He doesn't only die for the thing he believes to be greater than him; he kills for it.
To die for the sake of others is surely an act of supreme generosity. To kill for the sake of others - others of one's own kind - is, I think, a completely normal thing for human beings to do. If I had the choice between killing a stranger or seeing one of my loved ones die, I imagine I would kill the stranger. But I certainly wouldn't think of it as a moral choice; it would simply be a matter of what I wanted. So I wonder what kind of love is it that only extends to one's own kind, one's own country? Is it really very noble or virtuous? I don't think it is. And I also don't think it has to be. One can be grateful to the soldier who, in the midst of his business of killing, dies; one can certainly be grateful that he was willing to risk his life for love of his own kind, especially if his own kind were under serious threat. But I'm not sure one needs to see him as a better or nobler being than the person whose love for others is so extensive that in all but the most personal circumstances it prohibits him from killing anyone at all.
My grandfather was a WWII vet. When I was a child, he told me there was nothing noble about fighting. He said war was just a bloody waste of life. He lost nearly all the friends he'd grown up with. He didn't see their deaths as noble; he saw them, very simply, as terribly sad.
This is not to say that I don't respect your viewpoint, Bob; only that this was the view I was given, from a man who had been there, and it has always seemed a valid one to me.
I'm Australian, and Australians have often fought overseas in other people's wars. In the old days, it was for love of the British Empire. A lot of young Australian and New Zealand men died to no purpose at Gallipoli, either because they were true patriots who believed in the greatness and majesty of the empire, or because they were innocents who wanted an adventure. The spirit in which they conducted themselves was by all accounts noble, and it is chiefly this for which we remember them today; for their comradeship towards each other, above all. It was not in their willingness to die for that now-defunct empire that their nobility dwelled, but in their lives as they lived them before death came. This is how we remember them, and I hope their ghosts are not displeased. But, looking back, the British Empire seems a rather unworthy thing to have died for, and their deaths truly nothing but a waste.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 04:59 pm:   

Bob,
If a war is fought and won with propaganda... Do you think it would be outside of the realm of possibility for high ranking American officials to distribute "faulty" intelligence that could lead to the bombing of "unfriendly" media outlets such as Al Jazeera?

Is it POSSIBLE? I don't think Brendon was suggesting that the grunts in the field decided that they should kill "bad" reporters. I think Brendon was suggesting that it was in the realm of possibility that the current administration, which has repeatedly shown a callus disregard for human life, would be willing to pursue the above policy in order to further its propaganda war.

As for attacking Brendon for not believing in something bigger than himself... I've said this to you before... this country was founded by people who questioned and overthrew an unjust government.

Brendon's decision to hold his government accountable for its actions is just as patriotic as was your Millitary service. To dismiss his deeply felt moral beliefs as "mindless platitudes" is vicious and small minded.

Driving around in an SUV that gets horrible gas mileage and makes this country more dependant on foreign oil is sticking your head in the sand and being selfish.

Having no empathy for the pain and suffering of other people (regardless of who's "side" they are on) is being self centered. Blaming civilian victims of war for their death and suffering is akin to blaming a rape victim for being raped, and just as ugly.

Any citizen who blindly believes lies because its easier than thinking for him/herself... THEY are the ones who are "lesser citizens." to paraphrase your terminology.

To my mind, Brendon has demonstrated that he is exactly the opposite of what you characterized him as. But, this is America, and (so far) we have the right to respectfully disagree with one another.

Thank you, KJ, for your simple, poignant post. Would that I were half as eloquent as you...

-JL
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 05:07 pm:   

As to the "fuck Hussein" comment. Has Rice, or Bush, or anybody in the administration denied it?

Is it outside the realm of possibility that the Senators themselves (or their staff) related this anecdote to reporters? The briefing by Rice may have been classified, but a random shout from the doorway could reasonably be considered to NOT be classified.

Do you find it hard to believe that someone may talk about it? Or hard to believe that Bush would say it? Just wondering which direction your cynicism was coming from.
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Bob
Posted on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 12:11 am:   

Brendan: Perhaps I owe you an apology. Perhaps I allowed my passions to run too high, to attribute too much malice to your words. Perhaps you deserve better from me, and perhaps, in the future, I'll better control my anger.
You spoke of supporting both sides of the conflict equally, and I doubt you could have understood that to say that was analogous, in my mind, to saying you support the men who have been doing their damndest to kill my little sister for the past several weeks. Not only my sister, who I have an inordinate affection for, but several fine young men and women besides her who are just doing their what they think best for their country as are you.
So, I apologize. I hope you can forgive my hasty and unjustified attack.
That said, I must add that nearly all the posts I made in these discussions were misconstrued, and I can't but help believe that at least some of the time it was intentional. My frustration doesn't excuse my ad hominem attack upon Brendan, but I assure you it didn't help me reign in my temper.
Either way, I guess I'll bow out of the discussion as Luis did, with the knowledge that I'm just a bit too hot-tempered for these sorts of arguments.

All best,
Bob
P.S. Ms. Bishop -- Nicely spoken. I wish you'd taken part a bit earlier in the game.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 02:10 am:   

Bob, if you happen to still be looking at this thread:

I guess I didn't take part earlier because it has taken me this long to work out my thoughts and feelings. While I have always been against this war, I hadn't really felt qualified to say anything very much. Whenever I started to write something, I'd get terribly upset and start crying all over the keyboard. I am just feeling sad about the whole human race, and I wish we could find a better way to conduct ourselves :-(
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Brendan
Posted on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 02:45 am:   

Bob – Apologies accepted. Thanks. I would comment further, but I am sort of hesitant to, because I am afraid it might inadvertantly lead to further argument and neither of us need that. In any case, take care and I wish both you and your sister well.

KJ and Jeremy – Thanks for your comments. Both very much appreciated.

Regards,

Brendan
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Bob
Posted on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 01:22 pm:   

KJ: I think it's always been like this, just usually a bit less obvious and in our face. I'm sorry it tears you up so much, but watch those waterworks -- Bob Sheckley is writing in long hand right now because he spilled a glass of water in his laptop....
Brendan: You're a good man, perhaps better than I, as I tend to hold on to my grudges. If you ever make it to Portland -- the Oregon one -- look me up and I'll buy you a beer or seven and we can discuss topics nobody ever argues about, like sports or religion. That was a joke. I promise. Well, the beers weren't.
Oi.

All best,
Bob
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Brendan
Posted on Sunday, April 13, 2003 - 02:54 am:   

Thanks Bob. Likewise, if you are in Switzerland (where I live, though I am an American) I will buy you a wine or beer or something.

Sometimes with these message boards – because in a sense we are dealing on a close basis with people we don’t know – we all tend to react towards each other in a way we might not if we were face to face. The internet is funny that way.

Discussing things we don’t agree about is not really a bad thing though, because if people only talked about uncontentious things they would have a warped view of the world – thinking that their opinions are universally shared by all. That happens a lot because we tend to spend our time with friends and such whose points of view are similar to our own, and so we never get to hear the other points of view. Or at least that has been my experience.


Regards,

Brendan
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Monday, April 14, 2003 - 12:32 pm:   

Bob,

Yes, unfortunately, it does always seem to have been like this. And to women, it has always been obvious and in our faces. Because 'it', I'm afraid, is the male habit of violence.
By no means all men are violent, of course; and there are certainly violent women. But the overwhelming amount of aggressive, bullying, tyrannical, over-competitive behaviour in this world comes from men. I'm sick to death of seeing it, and no doubt civilised men are sick of seeing it too.
What I am bewailing is not just this war, but violence itself.
I wonder if you guys understand how marvellous it is for me, as a woman, to see you end the argument and post messages of conciliation.

To end on a lighter note, I once spilt orange juice on my keyboard. Sticky, very sticky...



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Brendan
Posted on Monday, April 14, 2003 - 01:13 pm:   

Good KJ, I am glad you are happy! Now if we can only get some of the world leaders who are barking at each other to offer each other beers . . .

Brendan
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Monday, April 14, 2003 - 01:36 pm:   

Beer, yes, indeed! Or just have a game of football. Or football and beer.

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Ellen
Posted on Monday, April 14, 2003 - 02:22 pm:   

I killed my first laptop by spilling iced tea on it. I never put liquids anywhere NEAR my current laptop (which is what I use all the time).
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Bob
Posted on Monday, April 14, 2003 - 02:39 pm:   

KJ:

quote:

"I wonder if you guys understand how marvellous it is for me, as a woman, to see you end the argument and post messages of conciliation."



That's only because you didn't see Brendan sneak a trip over from Switzerland and beat the crap out of me while everyone else was reading Ellen's posts in the other thread....
Sheckley update: He got a desktop. Yeeay Bob!
Ellen: Me too! I spilled iced tea on my brand new keyboard last summer. I didn't learn a thing; there's a giant glass of water next to my keyboard right now.

All best,
Bob
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steph
Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 03:55 pm:   

KJ - Violence isn't an exclusively male domain- however much we'd like to wish that 51% of the population have the calm of budhhas and talk through all their problems- it just ain't so...

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