May 30, 2004
To quote a commenter on LGF:
Overkill was passed one month ago, we are now in absolute terminal freefall.
May 28, 2004
However, I do find one line to be worth comment:
I would like to honor all the women and men who refuse to fight any battle that is not their own, whether it's for oil, power, money, government or greed.
We should never fight battles that are not our own. White men should not have fought to abolish slavery. Men should not have sided with women to get the vote. Americans should not have stopped the Nazis from taking all of Europe. If we all mind our own business and leave people alone, then peace will reign over our planet.
Maybe it looks that way in Eugene. I doubt the Kurdish parents who named their sons Dick Cheney and George Bush agree.
First from Carla:
The U.S. government, by the people, for the people, is authorized only to act on behalf of U.S. citizens--not on behalf of any other. As a servant of the people--not a *ruler*--the federal government should only act in Americans' interests. No matter what, even if florian (or anyone else) thinks that an American human life is equivalent to any other, the U.S. government *must* not--is not permitted to--and therefore must always value the lives of Americans more than the lives of any others.
That reminds me of the inane comment from the Beastie Boy who was mad that President Bush puts Americans ahead of people in other countries. That's his job as the American President! What would you rather he did, MCA?
And from Bunker:
People in this country share something with me that those in other countries don't. People who want to denigrate that opinion need only ask themselves (honestly) whom do they cheer for in Olympic events.
Shared values. Common ground. As I read this I was thinking about the love-it-or-leave-it idea. I guess I just can't understand Americans who value other countries over their own. If citizens of other countries are more valuable to you, and if you feel you have more common ground with them, then go live with them. For all the moaning about the "rich cultural heritage" and the lack of hegemony in other places, I don't see the mass emigration. (I imagine this is a matter of the ideal vs. the real: it's one thing to ideally value the 35-hour work week and six weeks of paid vacation that France has, but it's a whole different story to really move there, find a job, and pay their taxes.) I think it's perfectly natural to value your own compatriots more than anyone else in the world, and I find it puzzling when someone else doesn't.
If you don't prefer your compatriots, get new ones.
May 27, 2004
I'd like to respond to a few things he said, and then be done with it. He's free to come and watch this "cheerleader" if he wants, but I won't continue to waste my time trying to grasp his point of view.
You say you care about the US military, but I dont think so.
Are we talking about the same Sarah here? Anyone who reads this blog knows that I care more for soldiers -- both the individuals themselves and the higher idea of "the soldier" -- than anyone else I know. I love them all, unconditionally. Florian lost me here, but I kept reading anyway.
You think you do, but there is something else underneath it. If you did, you wouldnt trash our soldiers by calling them turncoats when they decide it is their duty to tell the truth about the war. You would listen to them, the Zinnis, the Ritters, the Tagubas, the Masseys. Instead you disgrace the service of generals, of men and women who put their safety and security at risk by listening to their conscience.
Florian lists four soldiers I should listen to who are doing their "duty to tell the truth about the war". Maybe Florian would do well to listen to some other soldiers doing their duty: Bowser, Miller, Walsh, and others. Or soldiers who are also trying to tell the truth, like Connable, Wiggles, or Sutton and Darby? Or the Iraqis who are trying to make their voices heard: Alaa, Ali, or Sam. Why do you not consider anything that these writers say as "truth", Florian?
You say you dont remember the Cold War, but I do, and there is a kind of a Stalinism in your ability to immediately cut down fellow soldiers and colleagues who stray from the party line.
Soldiers have a right to disagree with the politics of a war. There were a handful of soldiers in my class who disagreed with our presence in Iraq, and there are some in my husband's battalion who disagree as well. No one is going "Stalin" on them. However, they have agreed to abide by certain Army Values, and although the Loyalty Value does call for a soldier to reject an illegal order, it does not allow them to openly criticize their superiors and make their own decisions about how American foreign policy should be enacted. Whether or not you agree with the hierarchy system, Florian, those in charge pass the orders down for things to happen. The military would be useless if anyone at any level were allowed to let personal decisions and emotional responses dictate behavior. That's just the way it is. If you want to call me Stalin for thinking that the military as an organization is more important than your four individuals' opinions, then go ahead and call me Stalin.
You say you care about Israel, but I dont think so. If you did, you would honor the never again spirit in the actions of these soldiers. They understand the lesson of the Holocaust -- that soldiers and civilians must never blindly follow immoral orders or support immoral policies. Staff Sgt. Massey told his CO he felt they were committing genocide --murdering civilians, desecrating bodies. His CO called him a wimp. You probably would too.
The lesson of the Holocaust. How about the lesson of those countries in the world who let Hitler build and build until he was powerful enough to kill all those people? How about the lesson Bill Whittle gave us this week, that 30 or 40 soldiers could have prevented WWII? If the French had stood up to Hitler's rumbling, the Holocaust could have been avoided. How's that lesson grab you? Don't boil WWII down to "soldiers and civilians must never blindly follow immoral orders or support immoral policies"; the lesson I take is that one pre-emptive effort can prevent millions of deaths.
Why do I read your site?
Partly fascination. At your site people call others conspiracy theorists and nutcases even though they themselves believed in the nutty Saddam Behind 9-11, Ready To Use WMD conspiracy theory. At your site I see the pathology of a woman who uses the word vaginitis to mean cowardice, who says the life of a child holding a US passport is worth more than one who doesnt.
No one here has said that Saddam was behind 9/11. Many of us believe that Iraq provided money and backing for terrorism, but no one has said Saddam was involved in 9/11. You made that up, and I don't appreciate it.
Since I'm a woman, would you be more comfortable if I wrote about how the female soldiers at Abu Ghraib should have been above the males? Would that fit with your worldview better than how I really write, where I'm comfortable enough with my gender to use the appropriate slurs for a wuss?
And you twisted my words around with the child v. child thing: I said that an American life is worth more than any other nationality's life, no matter if it's a woman or child. I don't see that as pathology, just honesty.
Partly to monitor the war cheerleaders websites, the collapse of the war effort in the drop off of comments, the doublethink. To read the open diary of a war cheerleader and see the effect of, for instance, the torture policy revelation -- in your case, spontaneous crying and a recourse to Ben Gay and puppies. Then after a few days the return to the denial mode -- the just a few idiots did it argument.
I don't see any "collapse of the war effort", so I don't know what you mean by that. And I did react horribly to what these errant soldiers did at Abu Ghraib; no amount of puppies or Ben Gay will make me justify their actions. (Nice dig there though. Way to mock my personal life. My grandma died last fall too; wanna make fun of that?) Nobody is in denial mode here; the morons are being court martialed and dealt with, and everyone I know wants to see that happen.
Partly info: The great links you disagree with -- the vet turning old war posters into antiwar posters, the thoughtful antiwar writers. Strangely, you dont target extremists -- maybe because you dont see yourself as one -- but reasonable dissidence, and then I learn about them too. Thanks.
Um, see the problem is that there never was any vet making anti-war posters; there was a man pretending to be a vet to get attention. Micah Wright was never in the military, so for you to say that I provided you a link to a reasonable dissident is absurd.
No, I wouldnt dream of making you switch over to the other side -- as your admitted black-and-white worldview sees it. I do check if any light can crack through it. (By the way, a black-and-white worldview is something you share with radical Islam. They say we become what we hate.)
Well, if we become what we hate, then I'm either 1) a carrot 2) a dirty George Foreman grill or 3) a troll who spends his time mocking bloggers instead of creating his own blog and taking what he dishes out.
MORE TO GROK:
More above about compatriots.
May 26, 2004
I didn't think this article could get any weirder than Tim's introduction, but it sure does. Apparently there are women out there who think that a good way to get their politics across is to write it on their underpants and flash people.
The Eves are plotting a racy panty performance for Sept. 1 featuring 100 women dressed in white trench coats and their signature matching panties. "At 3 p.m.," the Axis Web site advertises, "Eves will perform a group flashing in order to create a media spectacle and send a political postcard: We will not tolerate lies and cover-ups!"
This cannot be for real. There cannot be people in this world who honestly think that political discourse written on your underwear is a form of activism. Surely they can't take themselves seriously. Right?
Tasha, who is 33, was presiding over a late-night panty powwow with Zazel and Elizabeth. As Elizabeth perched on Tasha's couch, Zazel sprawled on the floor in a cream-colored body suit and lavender "Lick Bush" thong. "I think sometimes verbal discourse is insufficient as a mode of expression," Tasha said, as if she were delivering a lecture for her fellowship at a prominent New York university. "There's something raw and wonderful and gratifying about the more gestural expression of the flash. By putting on these bold, outrageous displays, we want to inspire others to also be bold."
You are doing absolutely nothing for the state of world affairs by exposing anti-Bush underpants. Grow up, you weirdos.
I believe that the insurgents are a small percentage of the population and that the average Iraqi just stays inside with the door locked and avoids getting killed. One of the things I keep expecting to see is an uprising of regular fed-up Iraqis. À la Superman II, when the Krypton criminals pin Superman behind the bus and the people of Metropolis, thinking he's dead, grab whatever they can find and say, "Let's get 'em." Or like in The Three Amigos, where the regular townsfolk defend their city against the bullies. I don't think I should hold my breath.
We have a history of rising up; it's the foundation of our country. From the days of Don't Tread On Me to the modern-day anthem "We're Not Gonna Take It", we Americans don't sit by and let things happen to us. I keep projecting that value onto Iraqis. It's easy to forget that they've spent decades living in fear and that they may not be rising up any time soon.
I know there are plenty of Iraqis who are joining the coalition military and police force. I applaud them and know they're doing the right thing. But I still keep waiting in the back of my mind to see a group of average Iraqis take to the streets and say "Let's get 'em."
May 25, 2004
I didn't really live through the Cold War. I mean, I did, but not in the way my parents did. I vaguely remember the Wall coming down, but it didn't really mean that much to me as a 12 year old. However, I do remember the era's movies. Superman IV. War Games. Rocky IV. I distinctly remember seeing these movies, and I remember feeling scared about the bad guys and cheering for the good guys.
We don't have movies like that anymore.
Lileks recently wrote that he'd like to see them make a movie about 9/11. I would too, but it'll never happen.
I think people would like these stories to be told, but we cant have war movies anymore unless its an old war, or one that happened in some place with an oversupply of consonants. Its not that Hollywood is unpatriotic or wishes America to lose; theyd bristle at the charge. But they want Bush to lose first and foremost, and after that well see what happens. To make a movie about The War admits that there is a war, and sometimes I think a third of the country rejects this notion out of hand. Were only at war because Bush made us go to war! or were only at war because we dont let Interpol handle it! or some such delusion. I swear: there are people who see the conflict in such narrow terms that if Bush on 9/11 had announced he was forcing Israel back to pre-67 borders, and the hijackers had heard the news in the cockpit, they would have hit the autopilot and let the planes resume their original course.
So what happens in Rocky IV? The Soviets challenge the Americans to a boxing match, and Apollo takes the bait. In the press conference, the reporters boo the Soviets for claiming they could beat Apollo Creed. Let me repeat that: the reporters boo the Soviets. Apollo dies, Rocky trains (and gets more muscle than humanly possible), and the arena is filled with Drago supporters for the big fight. Rocky holds his own, and suddenly the Soviets are cheering for Rocky. Rocky breaks Drago, and then he takes the mic and tells the Soviets they can change and the crowd goes wild.
Propaganda? Of course so. But it's a plot we all wanted to see at the time.
Our movies were optimistic. We thought we were the good guys and we wrote movies where the bad guys wanted to be us in the end. The Soviets cheer Rocky. He said he learned to like them and maybe they could learn to like him, and the crowd went wild. And when Rocky shook his American flag (which apparently is a no-no in 2004) the Soviets cheered and the Politboro stood up and clapped.
Look, I know it's just a movie, but movies influence our thinking. I strongly believe that those who fought back against the terrorists on Flight 93 would never have done so if they hadn't been raised on movies like Passenger 57 and Air Force One. What will our kids be raised on if they never see movies about the brave folks on 9/11 or the courageous soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan? We need a made-for-TV movie about Pat Tillman, not Jessica Lynch. Don't give us the victim-hero; give us the hero-hero. If our kids grow up on Fahrenheit 9/11 and the movie about Richard Clarke's book, we'll be in deep trouble in twenty years.
We made Cold War movies during the Cold War, but I don't think we'll see one War on Terrorism movie anytime soon. I think that's a travesty.
MORE TO GROK:
Ironically, the same conservatives who believe that no decent American can sympathize with the other side during a war also generally believe that our troops in Iraq deserve the support of the Iraqis because we liberated them from an evil regime. Yet, following their logic, patriotic Iraqis would have had to support a homegrown tyrant over foreign occupation.
That is true, and I need to keep that in mind whenever I can't understand why many Iraqis are not overjoyed that we're there. I also found the corresponding Instapundit post -- perhaps the longest string of words Reynolds has ever uttered -- to be equally interesting:
I'm not a "my country, right or wrong," guy. But I do think that if patriotism means anything it means giving one's own country the benefit of the doubt -- of which, in the case of this war, there's not really much need for -- and that the people I was discussing in that post are doing quite the opposite and adopting a "my country -- of course it's wrong" attitude. To root for your own country's defeat is to separate yourself from its polity, to declare it not worth saving or preserving, to declare the lives of its soldiers less important than your own principles. It's not always wrong, but it's a very a drastic step, as drastic as deciding to mount a revolution, really, and yet it's often taken by superficial people for superficial -- and, as in this case, tawdry and self-serving -- reasons. [emphasis mine]
I completely agree with the Instapundit here. Many people these days don't seem to ever give the US the benefit of the doubt, and I have little patience for people who root against the US. But the phrase in bold particularly struck me: Isn't that what we all do? On both sides? On the one, we have the loonies on the Left who don't care how many lives we have to waste as long as Bush is no longer president:
The only way to get rid of this slime bag WASP-Mafia, oil barron ridden cartel of a government, this assault on Americans and anything one could laughingly call "a democracy", relies heavily on what a shit hole Iraq turns into. They need to die so that we can be free. Soldiers usually did that directly--i.e., fight those invading and harming a country. This time they need to die in defense of a lie from a lying adminstration to show these ignorant, dumb Americans that Bush is incompetent. They need to die so that Americans get rid of this deadly scum.
On the other hand, you have people like me who think that no matter how many soldiers we lose and how many memorial services we have to have here on post, we need to persevere and set things right in the Middle East. So, in some sense, we both feel that our principles outweigh the soldiers' lives.
Trust me, I think there's a whopping difference between the two, but in a way the soldiers are being used by both sides. In a way. I'm not sure if I like that thought.
May 20, 2004
May 15, 2004
The purpose of this website was for me to find a way to try to understand the world we live in. I never said I was good at it. I don't think I really grok anything at all, but I know what I believe in and stand for. And, yes, it's pretty black-and-white, us-vs-them. I do think that there are certain situations where grey area is not acceptable, and I don't think I want to compromise on those areas.
I didn't start this blog to argue with people; in fact, one of the reasons I started it was so I could avoid arguing with real people in my life when I began to notice I disagreed with them on just about everything. I started it as a place for me to think out loud and work through my own confusion about the world. But this week it's gotten me in some arguments. Some of them I got myself into, and others I was dragged into unwillingly. I don't want to be in any of them, to be honest. I don't want to argue with people; it just distracts me from my own quest for grokking.
The majority of the time we're not going to change each others' minds. It's funny that we even try. I didn't have to read both Den Beste and Daily Kos back in 2002 to figure out which side I was on; I already knew from the first day I entered the blogosphere. However, within that common ground, I am open to exploring new things that I haven't considered before. I have been thinking a lot about Donald Sensing's post on crossing the line. I still don't know what I think about that, and I have been trying to grok it for two days. However, no one is ever going to make a dent in my beliefs that 1) the war was justified 2) Americans are not evil/stupid/imperialistic or 3) there are clear-cut good guys and bad guys in this world. I have some beliefs that no amount of discussion will ever change, and there are some people I will never be able to convince with my beliefs.
All of a sudden, I don't even feel like caring anymore. I need to look at the puppy for a while.
May 14, 2004
Perhaps Nick is our era's Pearl Harbor.
Nick's family is extremely distraught (understandable) but blaming his death on the Bush administration (doesn't compute). I started thinking about what I would say if it had been my husband, if my husband were Nick Berg.
I would urge every American to watch the video. If I had to watch someone rip my husband's head off, then everyone should. I would tell Americans that the people who did this commit these sorts of acts every day and that it is our way of life that they hate. That they will never stop until we're all dead or enslaved, as Amritas reminded me. I would tell the public that the only way this will end is if we kill them before they kill us. I would urge Americans to remain steadfast in their resolve and to support our military and administration as they bring not only those five masked men but all terrorists to justice.
Perhaps the legacy Nick Berg's death will leave is that it will be the straw that broke the American camel's back. September 11 was supposed to be that straw, but we all tucked our American flags away shortly thereafter and went back to regular life. Those burned bodies hanging from the bridge in Fallujah were also supposed to be a straw, but somehow they only elicited a "screw 'em". Perhaps now, in light of the attention the media has paid to Abu Ghraib, the sleeping giant will awake as Americans start to notice that, as an Instapundit reader quoted, "Why is it that the media can show over and over again pictures that could make Arabs hate Americans, but refuse to show pictures that could make Americans hate Arabs?"
Nick Berg will not have died in vain if his death strengthens our resolve to win this damn war on terror.
MORE TO GROK:
But after reading this post and all the comments at One Hand Clapping, I start to get nervous that there's a line that, once we cross it, we can never go back. I haven't get decided how I feel about that, but I'll write about it when I grok it.
May 12, 2004
My head was already spinning, and now it's even worse. But I don't want to feel better. I don't want to forget; I want to revel in my anger and hatred. I'm drunk on rage and booze tonight.
I tried reading the Arabic text from the video tonight. I swear it would make no sense even if I were sober.
we tell you to know that the coffins will arrive to you one coffin after another, as your people are slaughtered in this way.........
Oh yeah? Bring it, asshole. My husband and his M1A1 disagree.
At first I couldn't decide if I wanted to see it. I had butterflies in my stomach and my heart was pounding throughout the whole seven minutes. It happened exactly as Charles described, and it was very difficult to watch.
Another wife asked me why on earth I had watched the video. I struggled to find the right words to explain to her why I wanted to -- needed to -- see it. The right word came to me later.
I watched the video so I wouldn't forget what we're fighting for. I watched it so I wouldn't get distracted by Abu Ghraib or 9/11 hearings or anything else that is preventing the American public from seeing the simple dichotomy between good guys and bad guys. I watched it so I could put a face on my enemy, so I could watch his heinous deeds firsthand, and so I would not forget what my husband is risking his life to prevent.
I watched it so I could stoke my anger. It worked.
May 05, 2004
The Philadelphia Constitutional Convention included one of the most amazing concentrations of fine minds to ever collect in one place, names like Franklin and Jefferson and Hamilton and Madison. They changed history.
What on earth would we do if we needed to have a Constitutional Convention today?
I know you can't really make what-ifs like that, but seriously, who do we have? Is there any politician we trust the way we trust the Founding Fathers? Who would you want to write the document that will govern us for over 300 years? My vote is on Den Beste, CavX, and VDH...but honestly, who's heard of them? The general public would react to them the way the Clevlanders reacted in Major League ("who are these f-in' guys?")
If we had a Constitutional Convention today, it would have to be properly multicultural and include representatives from all walks of life. Nothing would get done. There would be no Constitution.
MORE TO GROK:
To the newcomers, thanks for coming over and trying to grok. I dashed this crap off right before work, not knowing that a denbestelanche was around the corner. Oh well. If I'd known, I would've talked at greater length about the junk that would've gone into a convention today (e.g. an affirmative-action staffing of the delegates, a nanny attitude, and, as commenters have pointed out, a document the size of the EU Constitution). That's what I would've said; instead you got a reference to Major League. Sheesh.
May 04, 2004
I woke up when my alarm went off at 0615 and said forget it. Still tired, I went back to bed until 0730 and dreamt that I was blogging. Somehow I made my links into little jack-o-lanterns. Whatever.
What a way to start off the morning. I'm afraid to head over to LGF.
MORE TO GROK:
My fears were confirmed. Sudan gets a seat on the UN Human Rights Commission.
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