June 18, 2004


An interesting letter from a Major in the Marine Corps Reserve:

The analogy is simple. For years, you have watched the same large, violent man come home every night, and you have listened to his yelling and the crying and the screams of children and the noise of breaking glass, and you have always known that he was beating his wife and his children. Everyone on the block has known it. You ask, cajole, threaten and beg him to stop, on behalf of the rest of the neighborhood. Nothing works. After listening to it for 13 years, you finally gather up the biggest, meanest guys you can find, you go over to his house, and you kick the door down. You punch him in the face and drag him away. The house is a mess, the family poor and abused — but now there is hope. You did the right thing.

Posted by: Sarah at 02:34 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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1 Ah, if life were only that simple. I'll pass most of the flawed bits about a neighborhood (a better comparison would be a ghetto), the absence what happened before those 13 years (we helped the asshole beat up his neighbor asshole), that on behalf of the rest of the neighborhood thing (no, the rest of the neighborhood wasn't waiting for a vigilante), the fact that you entered his house because of the children (coz you really made up some shit about having a gun he wasn't supposed to have), the fact that nothing happened in those 13 years (while what we really did was stopping the milkman from bringing dairy and throwing rocks through the windows if he decided to step somewhere in his house were we decided he couldn't be. And once in a while we entered the house to look for the gun he said he threw away, again and again finding nothing) but will just adjust the final sentence. After messing up the house - and incidentally kicking one of the children in the head (hey, war is hell) leaving him with permanent brain damage, we stay there, calling up some friends to 'repair the damage', who then go through the asshole's valuables. One of the children believes (rightly or wrongly) you've been their long enough and decides to stand up to you, so you decide to kill this child and lock his sister up in the closet. You say to yourself, "You did the right thing", not understanding what you have become.

Posted by: Sander at June 18, 2004 06:41 AM (9v8mw)

2 P.S. I understand that my analogy is only marginally more apt, since it still misses quite a bit of nuances, but after finetuning it again and again and again you'll just end up with the current situation in Iraq. I guess I'm trying to say: Iraq is way beyond simple analogies.

Posted by: Sander at June 18, 2004 07:00 AM (9v8mw)

3 I think it would be more appropriate to say that his deranged friend who lives next door comes over and starts picking fights with everyone trying to clean up, but hey, believe whatever you want at this point.

Posted by: CD at June 18, 2004 09:50 PM (f97u+)

4 And I think that we're missing the fact that the battered wife, when left to her own devices, may also be a child abuser. Also, of course, by going in there with your tough guys (instead of calling the cops), you were actually trespassing in his house, and when the cops do come, they will send you to jail-- except that you have far more firepower than the cops, and you're also an off-duty police officer yourself (in fact, you're the deputy chief of police). There, I think the analogy's pretty simple and correct now. Although, we're probably missing something.

Posted by: syrup at June 18, 2004 10:38 PM (r+eQ4)

5 Did everyone forget the rest of the letter? To focus on the analogy of a child beating father is to purposely ignore the rest of the letter that asserts that all the soldiers believe they did the right thing. I guess our soldiers were wrong for helping free people from the concentration camps. History keeps repeating itself. Tyrants kill under the guise of ideology: Hitler--Nazism, Stalin--Communism, Saddam--Islam: all with one goal to control its people and brainwash them to believe in order for them to survive under the tyrants rule.

Posted by: Moor at June 19, 2004 12:40 PM (xvwyL)

6 Sarah, I wonder what you and your previous readership feel about the folks that comment on your blog now? Fortunatly for all of us (those who disagree with most of the things you say, but in a respectful manner included) the embarrasingly adolescent posters have left. But here we are, the people who never knew that you existed a week ago, reading the positions that you put forward and commenting on them. Does it enrich the experience of this little experiment you are having? Is there resentment? I hope that it helps us all to understand the other side. I for one (and I believe that you would be surprised that I am not alone) support our military, wholeheartedly supported Afganistan, but am opposed to the war in Iraq and the current administration. I offer this story about our "Friend" Saudi Arabia as a small hint of the hypocrisy in the statements supporting the war in Iraq: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1874471.stm via "The Religious Policeman": http://muttawa.blogspot.com/

Posted by: tenmilekyle at June 19, 2004 01:45 PM (p1NOk)

7 The analogy is fatally flawed. What's omitted is that for a period of nearly two decades we knew this 'violent man' was beating his wife and abusing his family. We not only knew it and tolerated it--we sometimes gave the 'violent man' help and assistance in brutalizing his family. And, on occasion, when other people spoke out against the violence--we provided cover for the 'violent man' or actively denied the 'violent man' was doing anything untoward.

Posted by: Jadegold at June 19, 2004 03:44 PM (YVlbU)

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