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View Diary: Corpses on the Cover (115 comments)

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  •  Amen (1.87)
    Four dead mercenaries. I should care?
    •  these are human beings (3.87)
      i repeat:  these are human beings.  don't be a sicko.

      this has nothing to do with US policy (which I agree is completely fucked).  

      they are our hired guns, and in that sense not so terribly different from the current US military, which is also a voluntary force.

      also, even if policy were relevant to the question, they were not there to oppress anyone -- they were there to facilitate the transition to democratic rule, which is a GOOD thing.

      Excess of insularity makes a Briton an Imperialist. -- G.B. Shaw

      by markymarx on Thu Apr 01, 2004 at 12:21:22 PM PST

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      •  Given the evidence (2.75)
        They were there to facilitate the transition to capitalism, not democracy. At least that is what the CPA has been effective at doing so far. They've managed to privatize much of the businesses in Iraq. They've managed to shut down a lot of the unions.

        They've not, however, managed to advance the cause of democracy very much.

        •  partly true (none)
          but in their defense, they were pawns in a larger game they didn't design, just as our soldiers have been.

          and they were certainly TOLD they were there to facilitate the transition to democracy.

          also, hopefully, something resembling democracy will eventually emerge in iraq.  if and when it does, it will be counterfactual to claim they didn't help facilitate the transition.

          Excess of insularity makes a Briton an Imperialist. -- G.B. Shaw

          by markymarx on Thu Apr 01, 2004 at 12:50:54 PM PST

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          •  Pawns (none)
            Pawns are soldiers who are obliged to follow their senior officer's orders, and who are also obliged to fulfill their term of service.

            Mercernaries--and security guards--are people who can quit at any time. They have a whole lot more choice about where they go and why they do it.

            •  you have a point (none)
              you have a point but they are pawns in the sense I meant it.  as opposed to politicians or CEOS that are calling the shots in this larger game.  

              And again, I'm not saying they're nice guys. I'm saying nobody deserves to be murdered and have their bodies mutilated and dragged behind a truck.

              i also think some of this discussion depends on how you think about other people's life choices and your own, and how judgemental or self-righteous you are.

              I try to be liberal-minded person and not too self-righteous. I'd rather not be terribly judgemental without knowing more about a person, and what their options were.

              what made someone decide to take up a life of crime, or work for Halliburton, or become a mercenary?  Would you or I have made the same decision if  you or I were in their exact shoes?  

              Again, we're talking about whether we care if someone blows them up and beats their burning corpses with a pipe....not whether we want to have dinner with them or not.

              Excess of insularity makes a Briton an Imperialist. -- G.B. Shaw

              by markymarx on Thu Apr 01, 2004 at 02:45:35 PM PST

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              •  Pawns (4.00)
                I guess, by calling them pawns, I feel like you're absolving them of any implication in empowering the Bush Administration to do what it is doing.

                The US does what it does because millions of people every day act in ways that allow it do those things. Some are almost unnoticeable, like living their American consumer lifestyle with all the trappings without thinking of the consequences of that life. Some of these acts are small, like simply the disavowal of their responsibility to be informed citizens. Some of these acts are larger, like actively supporting the Republicans because it will help you get ahead in your job. Some are much greater--like voting in Congress to give the President the power to wage his adventures, or like working for pay to subdue an occupied people. But all of those acts, together, are what make it possible for the Administration to do things that many of us, on balance, find problematic.

                •  you're right (none)
                  To simplify the differences here, you can either think about these issues moralistically or you can think about them politically.

                  I tend to focus a lot more on thinking about how power operates than on worrying about assigning blame to specific individuals.

                  But that doesn't I don't encourage people to see their own complicity with the world's problems  -- I sure do agree there. That's actually why I think showing the reality of war is so important.

                  However, we shouldn't be self-deluded into imagining that our own more "progressive" points of view occured because we are "better" people.

                  It's more likley that we're liberals because of our upbringings, experiences, opportunities and educations.  

                  So while like you I want people to feel a sense of complicity, I'd want to avoid being too judgemental.  Since I haven't walked in their shoes.

                  Excess of insularity makes a Briton an Imperialist. -- G.B. Shaw

                  by markymarx on Thu Apr 01, 2004 at 03:28:18 PM PST

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      •  mostly right, MM but ... (3.66)
        Don't believe for a second this is about democratic rule. These guys were mercenary thugs working for a proto-fascist US regime.

        Nonetheless, these were human beings who bleed like us, feel pain like us and have people who love them and will grieve. Every loss of human life is a sorrow.

        ---

        Kos ... I am shocked and offended by your comment. If you really don't feel anything, maybe you need to get some help.

        •  agree, disagree (none)
          look I agree with you and KOS on the larger point -- the rise of private armies is a very disturbing phenom. these guys may not have been particularly nice fellers. I'd probably rather hang out with "the rock" than any given mercenary.

          but from a personal perspective, even if they're mercenaries, it doesn't mean they're not true believers just like many of our own soldiers.  so i fail to see a major necessary distinction there, except as it pertains to the policy of hiring such thugs in the first place.  so thugs for sure, but they are not CEOS or politicians -- they are pawns in a larger geopolitcal game.

          and ok sure, the Bush admin. operates like a proto-fascist regime in hiring them (and that's of course not all)

          however, hopefully, with pressure from the world community and the Iraqis themselves, something resembling democracy will eventually emerge in iraq.  the one good thing from all of this stupid shit.

          if and when it does, as I've said, it will be counterfactual to claim even these mercenaries didn't help facilitate the transition to democracy.

          Excess of insularity makes a Briton an Imperialist. -- G.B. Shaw

          by markymarx on Thu Apr 01, 2004 at 02:23:09 PM PST

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          •  the personal & the political (none)
            MM, I'm very impressed by your reasoning in your several postings here.

            Focusing on the powerful, and how to restrain them from evil, is crucial.  As for individuals, it's good to try to persuade the less powerful to avoid harmful actions and decisions, and showing care vs. judgment tends to work better on the personal level.  On the public level, judgment can be more effective.

            Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

            by Civil Sibyl on Thu Apr 01, 2004 at 06:09:51 PM PST

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            •  curious (none)
              just came back to read your post...and first, thanks for the nice comment.   your own addition about judgement on the public level is thought-provoking, I need to give it some thought.

              question:  give me an example of how judgement is more effective on the public level?  

              the only thing I can think of is pretty lame.  I know you don't mean "three strikes and you're out" prison sentencing guidelines, for example, which fail to take into account anything about a person that would give a judge some leeway.

              you mean something more like a shame-culture.  as in ancient greece?  where bad behavior is shunned?

              Excess of insularity makes a Briton an Imperialist. -- G.B. Shaw

              by markymarx on Fri Apr 02, 2004 at 12:39:37 AM PST

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              •  judgmentalism vs. rapport (none)
                No, I wasn't very clear at all, I guess.

                I mean it's effective to be publicly judgmental against public institutions, public officials, corporations, non-profit leaders, etc.  In other words, to publically criticize them and pressure them.  It's especially effective when organized groups diseminate these judgments.  I think it's similar to what you were saying.

                But on the individual level, persuasion works best when we try to establish some rapport, respect, and common ground with the person we seek to influence.  I'm a market researcher and management consultant, usually focused on issues of the environment, HIV, and social responsible business.  Persuading the individual leaders in companies and non-profits to improve their impacts requires mutual understanding and trust.  One of my colleagues played a similar role with Mayor Koch in NYC many years ago.

                I love the many stories in Star Trek: The Next Generation, where they sometimes blast the enemy ship to ship (publically), but where Capt. Janeway tries to find the good in their opponents, establish trust, and work out a mutually beneficial solution wherever possible.

                Boogie with the opponent if ya can, I say -- though some turn out to be iredeemable trolls that have to be blasted "off the island."

                But your mention of shame culture is interesting.  That dynamic can certainly work in a community like dKos, if the person being shamed is someone who wants to be an accepted member, and if it's evident the community supports the shaming, and it's not just a flame fight.

                Hmmm.  This makes me realize that community shaming utilizes elements of both judgment and rapport.

                This is a fruitful conversation.

                Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

                by Civil Sibyl on Fri Apr 02, 2004 at 03:37:25 AM PST

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      •  These are human beings... (none)
        that have chosen to kill, if necessary, for massive wads of cash.  Most mercs are there protecting oil wells and fuel convoys for Halliburton and the rest of the corporate elite.  Fat fuckers in gray suits drinking scotch, smoking cigars and planning the next war for oil.

        To me, mercs aren't much different from the engineers working at Lockheed Martin and Boeing on projects centered around how to kill more people more efficiently.

        Why do we see so much terror in certain regions?  Because fucking arms dealers are making their fucking killing implements available to fucking cretins that believe in a fucking cause enough to kill a bunch of innocents.

        Where are Palestinians getting the bomb making materials for thier suicide attacks?  Where are the IED's in Iraq coming from?  How 'bout the assault weapons and RPG's used in the atttacks in Fallujah?  This shit is manufactured and sold by, among others, American arms manufacturers and American arms dealers.

        Oh, and btw...  who do you think runs these guns, explosives and other death tools?  Fucking mercs.

    •  I care (4.00)
      While I agree the photos should be published, I care very much, and you should too.  The "mercenaries" by and large are Americans who never made much as US soldiers and were given a chance to make more for themselves and their families.

      I care about any and all senseless deaths, and I find your flippant attitude hard to comprehend.

      "No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." -- John Donne

      •  Mercenaries (4.00)
        It should be pointed out that the guy who recently died in Iraq, whose blog was posted on Kos' front page as a heartrending example of how sad the war is, was one of these "volunteers making money off the war."  I don't understand why his death "really hurt" and these four guys' deaths didn't, unless there's some further defining factor I didn't pick up from the media coverage yesterday.

        That said, I'm inclined to think there hasn't been enough "laying of bodies at the doorsteps" as Mathew Brady used to do.

        •  Why (4.00)
          The deaths of these four guys doesn't matter because we want to use them in a lame, misguided attempt to manipulate our enemies. No more. No less. Our hunger for the Perfect Storm has undermined our humanity, and now we're the assholes, too.
          •  exploitation (none)
            Theoria, thanks for getting at something we haven't come out and said yet (call a spade a spade). Having an image that everyone knows is shocking out on the front page is exploitation and it's interesting that both sides will probably try to exploit the image for some sort of gain. This tactic just didn't feel right somehow--I think you've gotten to what's bothering me. Anyway, if exploitation works I guess it's something to use, but let's look at it for what it is.

            Why am I so darn rational?

            by JMS on Thu Apr 01, 2004 at 01:02:36 PM PST

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            •  exploitation (4.00)
              Just printing the image is exploitation?  I don't agree.  It's news.  And yes, of course people are going to bring the images up in a political debate.  It seems to me the other option is to not show these images; thus nobody talks about them and yes, nobody uses them to try and make a point in a debate, and so we all just go merrily on our way and pretend the war isn't really hurting anybody.  I don't think politics is dirty and if the policies of our government are one of the direct causes of what happened in Fallujah then yes, we should all see the pictures and debate where we go from here.  (And no, for the benefit of LGF lurkers and whatnot, I'm not blaming America, I'm saying.. we're in there, we have to decide what we want to accomplish and how we will then get out, and we do have some influence on our government, so let's talk..)

              The right has been pushing this sort of approach on so many issues, it appears to me, and this disturbs me greatly - over and over again you hear them trying to shut down debate over an issue and not be held accountable for their actions by claiming it's sacred, it shouldn't be politicized, which is shorthand for: it shouldn't be discussed.  I've had enough.  I had a couple years of feeling shut out of the national debate because I was suspicious from the start of BushCo's approach to the war on terror, the war in Iraq, and yes, their refusal to talk about who is responsible for 9/11 and how the government failed to prevent it.  Yeah, it's going to make folks uncomfortable to really interrogate these issues but you know, for the sake of our democracy we just might have to push beyond the very narrow bounds of what is deemed acceptable discourse.

              Supporting the establishment of a cabinet-level Department of Civility.

              by daria g on Thu Apr 01, 2004 at 04:01:23 PM PST

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    •  I would give you a -10 if I could. (none)
      That is the most disgusting comment I have ever seen on this blog.

      "Only God, no other kings, let the mighty eagle soar." John Ashcroft

      by sam in new yoik on Fri Apr 02, 2004 at 02:57:40 AM PST

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