Florian responded to my question
, and I managed to glean a couple more things about him (still don't know the sex though; I'm going with male for argument's sake). He's old enough to remember the Cold War, American enough to call them "our" soldiers, and his moral compass
is skewed enough to compare me to Stalin.
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 donÂ’t 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 wouldnÂ’t trash our soldiers by calling them Â“turncoatsÂ” 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 donÂ’t 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 donÂ’t think so. If you did, you would honor the Â“never againÂ” 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 Â“conspiracy theoristsÂ” and Â“nutcasesÂ” even though they themselves believed in the nutty Â“Saddam Behind 9-11, Ready To Use WMDÂ” conspiracy theory. At your site I see the pathology of a woman who uses the word Â“vaginitisÂ” to mean cowardice, who says the life of a child holding a US passport is worth more than one who doesnÂ’t.
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 cheerleadersÂ’ 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 Â“just a few idiots did itÂ” 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 donÂ’t target extremists -- maybe because you donÂ’t 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 wouldnÂ’t dream of making you Â“switch over to the other sideÂ” -- 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.
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still don't know the sex though
Never heard of a woman called Florian, fwiw.
Posted by: Name at May 27, 2004 01:02 PM (+I2J4)
I think you handled that well.
I read sites from both sides of the issues. I listen to NPR in the morning and Sean Hannity on the way home. I find clear thinking more prevalent on sites to the right of center. I don't always agree, but there is at least a logical thought process involved.
We will not know all there is regarding Iraq for many years to come. Florian has an opinion, and will scratch to find substance to support that opinion. Unfortunately, all that he brings to the table is the opinion of others. That is the prime error in argument of those on the left. Opinion is not fact. They cannot abandon this misuse because all their arguments then fail.
Instead, they will ask why you don't believe these opinions rather than explaining why these views are valid.
Just the facts, ma'am.
Posted by: Mike at May 27, 2004 01:37 PM (cFRpq)
Nice job, Sarah.
"I said that an American life is worth more than any other nationality's life..."
Even more than that: 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.
Posted by: Carla at May 27, 2004 06:18 PM (r5M6F)
"the U.S. government ... must always value the lives of Americans more than the lives of any others."
You just "proved" that the Bush regime* is "racist," "nationalist," and that ultimate of evils, SELFISH. Bring on the UN. Iraq doesn't need conquest, er, occupation - WE do. Perhaps Sudan** can teach the United Satans a lesson or two about human rights. We've got it all wrong. We always do. Forgive us, o world.
*Let's not call it a government since Bush wasn't elected by 100% of the voters like Saddam was:
You gotta love the caption: "Voting day brought many public displays of patriotism." Can't beat the BBC.
Posted by: Amritas at May 28, 2004 01:05 AM (tJj3/)
I find it completely sad that florian continues to read your blog when he/she really has just latched on to someone with whom he/she totally disagrees with and chooses to tear your blog apart at every opportunity. I respect a person's opinion, whether I agree with that opinion or not. However, I believe florian is somewhat crossing the line when he "attacks" you the way he does. When I come across people like florian, I often wonder how they grew up, if they were nurtured enough, disregarded, dismissed or unloved. I bet he's a very lonely person who just takes the wrong approach to be noticed.
Sarah, you've handled the situation well; now it's time to move on.
Posted by: Nancy at May 28, 2004 01:51 AM (boDJK)
NICE fisk Sarah. Now ignore the troll.
By the way, there's nothing like 'puppy' love when you're sad and lonely! There's just something about unconditional love that gives the warm fuzzies, and we all can use some of that!
Hang in there!
Posted by: MargeinMI at May 28, 2004 09:23 AM (itenU)
I, like you (I believe--correct me if I'm wrong), hold selfishness as a virtue.
I think the important thing to remember is that florian is not "tearing [Sarah's] blog apart," s/he's just providing a little bit of an annoyance. Of course Sarah has the right to respond in whatever way she wishes--I think she did good--but, florian's arguments don't really stand up to scrutiny. So, even if they're a pain in the neck, they don't affect the integrity of Sarah's blog, which is as strong as ever.
Posted by: Carla at May 28, 2004 02:45 PM (r5M6F)
A bit late to the party. Florian is a boy's name (Romanian). If he remembers the Cold War--he either lived in Communist Ro, or knows people who did. As such, him mentioning Stalinism and you in the same sentence is highly suspect (unless, of course, you happen to be a ruthless dictator-ess, who killed a few million people).
Posted by: ema at May 29, 2004 02:17 AM (MRYUc)
Ok, I will respond and move on too. Sorry about its length in advance, but it won't happen (ever) again.
I sometimes think this blog is secretly run by an antiwar person, aiming to discredit the war cheerleaders by portraying a seemingly benign war supporter who suddenly blurts inhuman things or obvious falsehoods, like the leading post today about moderate Muslims not denouncing the extremist Islamic violence (they are all over the place. Check CAIR).
What is a Â“trollÂ”? Apparently someone who disagrees too strongly. It is funny to watch bloggers huddle with their ideological mates, talking to themselves, then freak when strong dissent comes along.
And call it an Â“attackÂ“. You link to and slam people. But when someone responds he is an attacking Â“trollÂ”? According to you, the rules of the game are that the dissenter must be
-----Â“creating his own blog and taking what he dishes outÂ”
-which I donÂ’t understand. I am taking it, with your and othersÂ’ responses.
And I am not interested in having a blog. I see it as a product of the reality-TV generation: a self-obsessive, narcissistic urge to display your private life to a vicarious world. Yet founded on insecurity, so when someone makes an obvious observation (the US torture policy revelations>crying jags/puppy>denial continuum) on what you have revealed, you say
-----Â“Nice dig there though. Way to mock my personal life. My grandma died last fall too; wanna make fun of that?Â”
I never mocked or made fun; I showed you what you had written in your own blog. (You asked me why I read it. Maybe you should ask yourself why you write it.)
More specifically, your responses are logically skewed and continue the, yes, denial.
On the torture policy and Â“just a few idiots did itÂ“:
You say you are not in denial about the use of torture as US policy and to prove it you say--
Â“the morons are being court martialed and dealt with, and everyone I know wants to see that happenÂ”
--which is the Â“just a few idiots did itÂ” argument all over again.
Unless by the responsible to tried and jailed you mean Gen. Miller and those in the White House who Â“loosenedÂ” the restrictions on torture after 9/11? The use of torture has been overt US policy in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay since 9/11 and a covert US practice and export since long before. The photos have just made people face it.
On your dishonoring soldiers and dissenters:
Yes, there IS more inherent value in the words of a dissenter who puts his or her career and security on the line than in the words of those mouthing the convenient platitudes of the power structure. That is why we donÂ‘t disgrace the service of the Gen. Butlers and Scott Ritters by dismissing their testimony as Â“personal decisions and emotional responsesÂ” and calling them Â“turncoatsÂ” (you should apologize. I really canÂ‘t believe you would disgrace Gen.Taguba, who simply conducted an investigation as was his duty.)
You say I cite only four soldiers as if their number affected the weight of the point, but I cited only four so I wouldnÂ’t cram verbiage into your space (as I am surely doing now). There have been and are more every day, as every truth teller gives courage to the next one. Most recently, US military lawyers representing inmates at Gitmo are strongly and publicly denouncing the entire apparatus as a lie.
On your authorities:
You say I should listen to the ones you cite. But of course you can cite dozens of representatives of ruling power and its party line, that is what the party line is all about, and is what you call Truth. 20o-odd years ago, you would have been citing Tory authorities on the need to combat the terrorism of the Boston Tea Partiers and their radical leader Washington and I would have been citing King GeorgeÂ’s tyranny. And if you had been born in Russia just a couple decades ago you would have been supporting the liberation of Czechoslovakia, and slamming the dissenters pointing out human rights violations and gulags.
On Stalinism and the party line:
You said I called you Stalin, when I said your thinking was reminiscent of Stalinism. Either you are ignorant of the Cold War (despite studying Rocky movies) or you intentionally twisted my words. Stalinism is a way of thought, involving conformity with a party line and a swift rejection of dissent even from loyal colleagues, in order to forward expansionistic regimes. Sound familiar?
You say your mindset is based on
-----------Â“thinking that the military as an organization is more important than your four individuals' opinionsÂ”
But it is not a conflict between Â“four individual opinionsÂ” and the military as an organization, but a conflict between unpleasant facts from voices WITHIN the military versus the lies of an rogue superpower bent on taking over other countries. The Mai Lai Massacre started out as a few individual people exposing horrible facts (Â“opinionsÂ” in your world view). The Gulf of Tonkin was the massive lie used to start up the Vietnam war; there were whistleblowers then that we should have listened to, and there are some now. Fortunately modern technology is getting their story to us faster and easier.
On Saddam and 9-11:
So you donÂ’t believe Saddam supported and 9/11, and never did? Which other of the White HouseÂ’s lying excuses to invade donÂ’t you believe in? SaddamÂ’s WMD and support for Al Queda? Are you saying Saddam supported terrorism but not Al Queda? Or did support Al Queda but not 9/11? Or what? And yet with
------------Â“the lesson of those countries in the world who let Hitler build and build until he was powerful enough to kill all those peopleÂ”
you still compare Saddam to Hitler, and allege a military buildup, now that it has been proven that SaddamÂ’s army was a shell (as the quick invasion proved) and the WMD were a lie (both of which RitterÂ‘s Â“opinionÂ“ told us). Incredible.
On Pathologies and passports:
I did not twist your words, but I did offer an image that shows your inhumane views on human life: Two children, one has an American passport and one doesnÂ‘t. You say the one on the left has more worth. How is it twisting when you plainly state it
-----------Â“an American life is worth more than any other nationality's life, no matter if it's a woman or childÂ”
right after? I had hoped you would take the chance to rephrase this, with its obvious echoes of Ruwanda and Auschwitz. Pretty sick that you donÂ’t.
Speaking of obvious, you are a woman who uses femininity, Â“vaginitisÂ”, to equal weakness, cowardice. Calling Dr. Freud.
---------------Â“I don't see that as pathology, just honesty.Â”
That you are being honest doesnÂ’t cancel out it being pathological.
Speaking of being honest, I have often felt guilty in reading your blog, like rubbernecking at an car accident. So this is the last hurrah, sorry it is so long.
BTW the crack about becoming a carrot was funny. Have a good war!
Posted by: florian at May 30, 2004 01:26 PM (JM3Wb)
Posted by: Sarah at May 30, 2004 05:31 PM (96F2D)
Posted by: John at May 30, 2004 09:53 PM (crTpS)
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