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  •  He never said they were "cowards" (12+ / 0-)

    He said it was obscene to compare the two seriously.

    •  Why is that? (26+ / 0-)

      If you don't have weapons superiority, you have to use the tactics that work.  If the Iraqis were occupying the U.S. with the aid of American collaborators, you would see American suicide bombers too.  And I bet they would have bibles in their hands.

      With all his noble still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin--Darwin

      by MadScientist on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 10:09:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I understand what you're saying (9+ / 0-)

        But you need to rethink that.

        you have to use the tactics that work

        Hamas isn't in Iraq. Hamas is blowing up cafe's and markets in Israel/Palestine.

        Not only do i think that suicide bombing of civilian targets doesn't work because it harms your cause, but I think that it's not a legitimate military tactic.

        Civilians are off limits. Period.  

        •  Civilians are off limits? (29+ / 0-)

          Tell that to the people of Iraq.

          How many of them have died?

          What did Cheney call them, "collateral damage"?

          •  Hamas not Iraq (7+ / 0-)

            That is like saying that Iraq = Al Quieda

            Hamas kills children with intent.  

            Please keep your terrorists and insurgents straight.  Otherwise you make a very Bushie logical error.

            That being said, there is always a distinction between the intentional killing of children towards a political end and the deaths of the unintended.  If you cannot process that you are being intellectually dishonest.

            •  "deaths of the unintended"?? (40+ / 0-)

              I don't think SHOCK AND AWE was unintended at all.  It was very deliberate.  It killed only civilians, not a single member of Saddam's cabinet or leadership.

              So, it was intentional and it was deliberate and it killed a lot of children.  Just like some Hamas fighters.  

              I am a pacifist - I don't believe in using violence at all.  I don't see a way out of occupation for the Palestians or Iraqis however.


              by dancewater on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 10:57:37 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You guys don't understand the laws of war (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                The point of the laws of war is very simple - keep civilians as out of the conflict as possible while not trying to establish rules that no reasonable soldier will accept.

                Therefore, there are two simple principles:

                1. You will target civilians
                2. You will not hide behind civilians or pretend to be a civilian while fighting

                Note the first point - and the word "target".  There's nothing about not killing civilians, even intentionally.  For example, you are allowed to blow up a schoolbus full of kids if an enemy soldier has hitched a ride on it.  This is a concession to reality - no combatant is realistically going to allow his enemies to fire at him with impunity from behind human shields no matter what pretty laws we try to establish.

                Note the second point now.  This is supposed to prohibit the enemy from hitching the ride on that school bus.  That is what really protects thost kids.

                The United States and Israel by and large obey these two rules.  Our enemies - Hamas, Fatah, Al Qaeda, the Iraqi insurgents - by and large do not.

                For example, the Hamas suicide bomber in the photograph almost certainly dressed as a civilian when she made her attack.  That means that Israeli soldiers need to treat any civilian as a potential combatant, endangering all civilians who come into contact with them.  That is why her actions and those of her superiors were illegal and immoral.  That is also why there is no comparison with the two US soldiers in the picture next to hers.

                •  That is unadulterated bullshit (9+ / 0-)

                  by your standard, American soldiers in the Revolutionary War were illegal and immoral because the refused to fight in formation and used cover to shoot at the Brits.  Weaker forces always employ whatever advantages they can, regardless of the "rules".  Jeebus.

                  "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon

                  by trashablanca on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 10:06:54 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Speaking as a three star general's son... (8+ / 0-)

                  ...who served 12 years myself and who knows fully the rules of war, if you blew-up a school bus full of kids as given in your scenario, you wouldn't have to worry about any court martial, I would personally light you up myself.

                  "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

                  by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 10:16:27 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Depends on the circumstances... (0+ / 0-)

                    How many kids is Osama Bin Laden worth?  How many will he kill in the future if he isn't caught?

                    What about guys like whoever planned the Eid suicide bomb attack in Pakistan last week?  That guy just killed more than a busload of kids.  If we killed a busload to take him out would we be saving more in the long run?

                    •  If I need to explain that to you... (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Jesterfox, RAZE

             amount of words in all the languages of the world will suffice to make you understand. Like John Edwards and many others(including myself) have said, "You can't defeat an idea with military force". Every time we kill one of them we engender enough hatred towards America, so much so, that they don't need a recruitment poster. One look at these will make them join-up to fight us:

                      Does that answer your question?

                      "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

                      by ImpeachKingBushII on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 04:04:06 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Not at all. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        Waving the bloody flag is always fun, but in actuality pictures of injured children and guys on boxes with hoods over their heads is not what drives this conflict.  

                        After all, there is far more to show on the other side.  For example, this is what it looks like when people really target civilians:

                        If this conflict was about atrocities against Muslims then the global jihad would be focused on China, Russia, Serbia, India, the remaining Baathists, and the Taliban.

                        Finally, John Edwards's and your claims have been amply disproven by history.  You can defeat ideas with military force.  Good examples are the Mau Mau's, the Khmer Rouge, the Albigensians, and the Communists during the Malaysian Emergency.

                •  Wow, (4+ / 0-)

                  that makes it better then.


                  Don't make me use my "special nerd powers" on you.

                  by SeattleLiberal on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 10:18:01 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You are welcome to dislike the Laws of War (0+ / 0-)

                    however I have yet to hear any reasonable suggestions for alternatives.

                    So far, suggestions seem to boil down to:

                    1. Anyone who prosecutes a war that kills civilians is guilty in proportion to the number of civilians killed.

                      This will not be accepted by any belligerant and actually incents the killing of civilians since it means that an attacker who shoots at his enemies from behind human shields and thereby gets his enemies to shoot back and kill some of them not only achieves a tactical advantage but also provokes them into comitting war crimes, thereby gaining a propaganda victory.

                    2. Anyone who I consider a semi-OK underdog is allowed to kill civilians but the big guys who are doing things I don't like aren't.

                      Again, you aren't going to get belligerants to agree to asymmetrical rules based on who you like.  A war crime is a war crime no matter who commits it, so almost the entire Palestinian struggle against Israel has been carried out as a national criminal enterprise.  Like it or not.

                    Like them or not, the current rules of war have done a pretty good job of keeping civilians out of the crossfire.  The places where they have failed are the ones where for political reasons people violate them with impunity.

                    If we really want to protect civilians we should look at how to really penalize war crimes.  For example, how about the international community telling the Palestinians that every time they commit a war crime the Israelis get one new free settlement that the entire international community will support as a permanent extension of Israel?

                    •  Ummm (0+ / 0-)

                      Perhaps a typo on your part?

                      1- You will target civilians

                      Don't make me use my "special nerd powers" on you.

                      by SeattleLiberal on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 05:45:27 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Er... Uhmm... yes... (0+ / 0-)

                        Although I suppose I could say I was giving instructions to the Iraqi Resistance, the Palestinians, and the Taliban.

                        •  First of all (0+ / 0-)

                          you seem to be under the mistaken assumption that I am anti-military. I'm not.

                          I never served, but I have many friends that have, and still are, one just got back from Iraq and one is leaving soon, another was there for the first Gulf War and the beginning of this one. Luckily, they have all made it with no injuries so far.

                          I get that there are rules and decisions are made that are far, far from ideal. I understand that.

                          I am not anti-military, but I am anti-Iraq war. We shouldn't have gone there.

                          I think many people that reacted to this diary are missing the point. I understand that.

                          There IS, without a doubt, an attempt from certain religious groups to make our soldiers "Christian soldiers" and the proselytizing makes some of us nervous--and for good reason. That is what this should have been about and the unfortunate choice of photos made it about something else.

                          Don't make me use my "special nerd powers" on you.

                          by SeattleLiberal on Tue Dec 25, 2007 at 09:41:24 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Does not follow... (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm not sure where I came off saying you are anti-military.  I've reviewed the upstream part of this thread and haven't seen anything... perhaps another comment?

                            Anyway, I certainly agree that I don't want our military to be fighting holy wars - I'm not a Christian, among other things.  However, Troutfishing is a moron.

                            We have a First Amendment in this country that protects religion, even if we disagree with it and that includes proselytizing.

                            We have a military that is well over 90% Christian and if we try to interfere with the free exercise of that religion in the military we will both damage our military and provoke a counterreaction that would probably be a lot worse than anything that exists today... think about how Christianity has thrived under persecution.

                            In order to provide proper service to its members the military must provide religious services to its members (ie. chaplains) and for obvious reasons those religious services are going to come from religious groups that believe in Just War and that the majority of US military actions are Just Wars rather than religious groups that believe that all war is murder.

                            And you know what?  Those beliefs - what Troutfishing describes as a "theology of war" are perfectly legitimate, protected by the First Amendment, and exactly the kind of religious education that the Pentagon should be making sure soldiers have access to if they wish.

                            Finally, Troutfishing objects to the fact that "a base PX sells "The Politically Incorrect Guide To Islam alongside copies of the "Soldier's Bible""

                            What's wrong with that?  Are they supposed to censor one or both of these books?  What are Troutfishing's views on what books PXs should be allowed to sell?  IS it anything coherent beyond "Nothing I don't like!"?

                            If you want to make the military less fundamentalist and more inclusive the solution is obvious... eliminate the barriers to recruitment in liberal areas.  Shove ROTC down Harvard's throat, stomp on Berkeley when they try to interfere with military recruitment, and generally make sure the military gets more members from the Blue States.

                •  If like Israel you have the firepower (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Lefty Coaster, Orpheus

                  you can treat an entire country as though it was a school bus with an enemy soldier on it. That's what Israel did at the end of last year's Lebanon war, when they carpeted southern Lebanon with cluster bombs in the last two days of the conflict.

                  Israel has always targeted civilians when it considered it necessary to accomplish its aims. That's a recurring motif in Israeli history.  Look at the Lebanese war - Israel killed about 40 Lebanese civilians for every Israeli civilian that died.

                  Having said that, the Hamas/Islamic Jihad use of suicide bombers against civilians has been a disastrous tactic that worsened an already brutal situation.

                  •  Now this is just nonsense (0+ / 0-)

                    Israel has always targeted civilians when it considered it necessary to accomplish its aims.

                    You would need to give me a particular example of when Israel has considered targeting civilians necessary, but I can't think of any off the top of my head.

                    That's a recurring motif in Israeli history.  Look at the Lebanese war - Israel killed about 40 Lebanese civilians for every Israeli civilian that died.

                    And that's the essential mendacity at the heart of your argument.

                    The ratio of civilians to civilians killed has nothing to do with who is targetting civilians.

                    For example, Soldier 1 is shooting at civilians and misses them all and Soldier 2 is shooting at Soldier 1 with a grenade launcher and kills a crowd of civilians around Soldier 1 who is targeting civilians?

                    Obviously, Soldier 1 even though Soldier 2 kills far more of them.

                    There is no obligation under the laws of war to kill fewer civilians than your enemy does.

                    There is an obligation not to deliberately target civilians.  Totally different.

                    This is deliberate - if the obligation was to kill as few civilians as possible then this would incent soldiers fighting lawful belligerents to hide behind civilians, which is the exact opposite of the objective of the laws of war.

                •  Your Two Principles (0+ / 0-)

                  Therefore, there are two simple principles:

                    1. You will target civilians

                    2. You will not hide behind civilians or pretend to be a civilian while fighting

                  OK, so we obey #2, but #1 went out the window with aerial bombing.

                  And I know that's not a pleasant topic, but people in places like Afghanistan are really really pissed off about the collateral damage associated air strikes.

                  The Arab news services always show those bomb fragments with the American labels. You'd be surprised how well those survive a blast, sometimes forcing us to acknowledge that we have deployed specific weapons in an area.

                  •  Not at all... (0+ / 0-)

                    Aerial bombing can target civilians but it certainly doesn't have to.

                    If you are dropping bombs where you think military targets exist you are not targetting civilians even if civilians surround the target.

                    Again, this is deliberate - the objective of the laws of war is to keep civilians out of the way of belligerants, not to incent belligerants to use them as human shields.

            •  I can process that - but I still do not agree (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              object16, kyril, GoracleFan

              with you. Dancewater's comment sheds more light. Please read it closely.

            •  The distinction is purely rhetorical. (16+ / 0-)

              When a cruise missile is sent into a restaurant, or a market, "collateral damage" is a given. When cluster bombs are detonated in populated places, "collateral damage" has to be figured into the equation.

              So, while civilians aren't technically the targets, their deaths are guaranteed along with the official targets. We justify it by lying to ourselves that we don't intentionally kill civilians, but if you or I were on the receiving end, it wouldn't make any difference whether the bombers had only the "best intentions".

              If life's the best teacher, I'm in all the best schools.

              by Executive Odor on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 02:06:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Intent. Nobody believes that BushCo (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cecrops Tangaroa, labradog, Matisyahu

            intends to kill civilians.  There's no profit there.

        •  Except of course when America kills civilians, (5+ / 0-)

          in which case it is collateral damage.  An unintended consequence of a righteous and justified killing?  If you believe that makes it tolerable and different you probably don't have any business on this site except maybe to be quiet, read, and possibly learn something.

          It isn't a matter of "intent" it is a matter of necessary consequences.

          "An entire credulous nation believed in Santa Claus, but Santa Claus was really the gasman." Gunter Grass

          by rrheard on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 02:12:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Whoa. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cecrops Tangaroa

            If you believe that makes it tolerable and different you probably don't have any business on this site except maybe to be quiet, read, and possibly learn something.

            Excuse me?

            I think you need a serious readjustment.  I don't know how you could possibly be so obtuse.  If you really think that the soldiers in Iraq are morally equivalent to suicide bombers that explicitely target civialians, then you're an idiot and I'm done with this argument.

      •  But, they already have Bibles in their hand (4+ / 0-)

        That is the tragic part: maybe we would be resorting to suicide bombers if we were occupied, but, we aren't occupied and Iraq never invaded. We started the war. We invaded with Bibles in our hands, but we didn't even attack the countries that fostered the terrorism in the first place. Why is that?

    •  And he is right. (6+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      taylormattd, Ranting Roland, mnc, wxlr, chike, Libertaria
      Hidden by:

      This diary is shit and I say that as someone who lost a family member to a roadside bomb in Iraq.
      You make me sick troutfishing and you can go to hell.
      To equate the two is ridiculous.
      Say it to the soldier and say it to the bomber.
      Guess which one will kill you?
      Hint: It's NOT the GI.

      I have rarely been as enraged at another person as I am right now.

      Makes me want to puke that my 20 year old nephew honestly thought he was protecting scum like you.

      TR all you want, you got some bad karma coming your way.

      •  AJsMom, I am sorry you see the diary (10+ / 0-)

        that way. I read it as a cautionary tale of what might happen if we continue to allow some within the military to continue to mix religious right with military might.

        I think it says in the first few paragraphs that this is a potential vision of Christmas future.

        I realize I may be reading this completely wrong. I certainly didn't have the impression that the diarist was implying that the two pictures were equivalent.

        The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

        by vox humana on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 03:18:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It is obscene (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      object16, second gen, kyril, Orpheus

      not to realize just how similar the two are.

      Like communism and fascism before it, fundamentlism will not rest until it is thoroughly discredited or the entire world is under its yoke.

      by Guinho on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 05:48:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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