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  •  You think the United States is heavy-handed? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, Han Shot First

    "All politics is local" is an inadequate statement. All politics is personal - one human being to another.

    by Troubadour on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 10:32:49 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  That is a serious question? (10+ / 0-)

      Of course the USA is heavy handed. See Iraq for an example.

      Ohio progressives: support Jennifer Brunner for Senate!

      by ppl can fly on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 10:36:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Use any example you like. (23+ / 0-)

        There's no rational baseline of comparison that supports your claim, even if I accepted your premise that the invasion and occupation of Iraq were actions of the United States rather than a separate government occupying it at the time (which I don't).  

        The invasion of Chechnya was, from top to bottom, barely shy of genocidal.  Even placing the two in the same league is a level of ignorant recklessness I'm not sure I know how to respond to.  But going beyond the two cases, you have no rational baseline of comparison.

        The United States is not "heavy-handed."  We've proven that repeatedly throughout history, just as Russia has repeatedly proven the opposite throughout history, and reckless critics of the United States have repeatedly proven their unlimited capacity for equating night and day.  Don't tell me that explicit orders to exterminate villages and wipe out towns are morally equivalent to civilian casualties and refugee flight.

        "All politics is local" is an inadequate statement. All politics is personal - one human being to another.

        by Troubadour on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 10:47:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You nailed it... (52+ / 0-)

          reckless critics of the United States have repeatedly proven their unlimited capacity for equating night and day.

          I'm an Iraq vet. Did two tours, 04-05 and 08-09. During both tours, the understanding of most of the officers in command -- Republican, Independent or otherwise -- was that we were there to establish a stable, representative government and hand Iraq back to it's people. Now I read that the shi'ite coalition favored by Iran's theocratic junta are furiously fending off defeat to a secular challener. Just like Ahmedinejad last summer, it looks like they're trying to steal it.

          That's hardly an ideal situation, but it would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. After the disaster that resulted from the neo-con policies of 2002-04, we have worked hard to salvage something from the mess Rumsfeld and company created. Do the critics care? Of course not. We are imperialist baby killers who have been defeated and should live out our lives in terrible shame.

          I'm getting out now, and looking forward to new challenges as a civilian... college and all that. But looking back I feel alot of pride of what I've done. Yes, pride. I never mistreated any Iraqi civilians and never witnessed another US solider do so. I know it happened, but it was rare, and ROE violaters were routinely court-martialed. The angry left types so often found in these threads refuse to hear that. We are evil imperial opressors and that's that. I am really getting sick of their bullshit.

          Criticism of US foreign policy is fair and often valid, it's always healthy to ask tough questions and condemn corruption. But reckless criticism is something else entirely. It is motivated by fear, paranoia and even hate. This type of slander is anything but constructive. It's way past time to call it for what it is. Bullshit.

          This is a big fucking deal.

          by Han Shot First on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 11:05:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you for that insight. (13+ / 0-)

            While I myself must stipulate that I regard the invasion of Iraq as a war of aggression, and that I think soldiers should have refused orders to deploy as per the legal basis cited by Lt. Ehren Watada in his own refusal (a soldier whom I think deserves a medal), I do recognize that most troops and actions in the war were conducted impeccably in comparison to any other war in history.  

            It is that which demonstrates the basic decency of the American people, and which makes the horrors that did occur in their name - the lies leading up to the war, the propaganda, the torture, etc. - so much more egregious.  Even the Bush regime didn't manage to push the war into the level of hell they wished, however much they tried - even their servile, irresponsible Pentagon leaders would have refused if they'd been ordered to do anything like what the Russians did in Chechnya as SOP.

            Change yourself, and you have already changed the world.

            by Troubadour on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 11:27:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Of that there is no doubt. (24+ / 0-)

              My understanding is that the neo-con inner circle wished to install a puppet regime in Iraq, but they planned and executed their intent with the competence and efficiency as they did with most of their projects... and so they failed miserably. They apparently trusted Ahmed Chalibi to help them in this, just to give an idea at how inept and uninformed they were.

              The Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal never intended that there be elections, but there was a major shi'ite uprising in the spring of 2004, hundreds of our soldiers were killed and, for several weeks, our supply lines in Southern Iraq were cut leaving some remote FOBs dangerously low on fuel and ammunition. The uprising ended when Bush promised national elections within a year. A few weeks later, some of the more responsible leaders in the Pentagon leaked photos from Abu Ghraib to the Washignton Post and encouraged that they be published. Others pleaded with GOP leaders to remove Rumsfeld. Although Rumsfled hung on for two more years, he was at least weakened by these actions, there's no telling how many lives were ultimately spared because of these behind-the-scene actions by senior leadership.

              I vehemently disagree with your opinion that we should have refused our orders. That was not possible. They were lawful orders, in every respect. The President said that Saddam Hussien's regime posed a threat to US security. Congress then confirmed that assertion, and gave it's blessing to his plans to remove Saddam from power and allocated funds for this purpose. I am aware of no legal challenges to this which were upheld by any federal court at any level. How could any soldier argue that these orders were illegal when the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches of the US Government said otherwise? It would be the same as if I were to smoke weed and then try to argue our drug laws are unfair and based on false assumptions. I would be completely right, but the law is what the government says it is. Period. There were no legal grounds for refusing orders, in my mind. So, most of us, did the best we could.

              I would encourage you to watch this video, General John Batiste was in Iraq around the same time I did my first tour there... it's long but informative. There was alot of stuff going on away from the spotlight usually reserved for Micheal Jackson, Bubble boys and tickle fights that had went a long way toward shaping the future of Iraq and US involvement there toward something other than the intractable nightmare scenario many feared would result from this reckless policy. Whatever our differences of opinion may end up being on this mattter, I greatly appreciate the fairness of your comment's and you willingness to examine the issue from all sides and to avoid the lazy arguments of binary thinking. I am grateful for the respect I so often get from the US public, irrespective of ideology or political persuasion, and hope I did enough to warrant that respect.

              Again, I urge you you watch this video and reconsider your opinion of our senior leadership.

              This is a big fucking deal.

              by Han Shot First on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 12:20:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree with your assessment of (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Han Shot First

                the Inner Circle's intentions - they were intending to make Iraq an imperial possession (not of the US, but of their own private empire existing beyond the limits of the US Constitution; I'm writing a book that will explain this).

                However plausible and understandable your arguments are for the legality of the orders, they are at best rationalizations that I would like to believe to give people the benefit of the doubt who clearly had no malicious intent, but I cannot accept them.

                The United States of America had not been attacked by Iraq, beyond shooting at planes over No-Fly Zones that we had unilaterally imposed outside the confines of the Gulf War cease-fire.  No ally of the United States had been attacked by Iraq, nor indeed any other country since that cease-fire.  Not only was there no threat of imminent attack, as required by international law to validate preemption, the Bush regime explicitly admitted that the threat was not imminent and argued that imminence wasn't a necessary criteria.  The UN refused to endorse it, despite its own sanctions being the alleged legal basis of the invasion, and the American people were divided on it.

                The soldiers should have refused, the officers should have resigned rather than carry out their orders, and if enough had done so, the war would never have happened and well over a million people who are now dead would still be alive.  Well over a trillion dollars would still exist in the US economy, and the United States would not have to still be climbing out of this deep well of international suspicion and hatred.  

                I can't seriously blame anyone beneath high officer rank for not refusing - that kind of courage is rarer even than courage in battle - but America needed its soldiers to be citizens first, and they failed in that respect.  Which is to say, we failed in that respect, because soldiers come from the citizenry and reflect who we are as a people.  Again, I cannot blame the troops, because ordinary people can only go by what they hear and what their social environment guides them to do.  

                But I cannot excuse the high officers for failing to resign: They are supposed to be learned, educated people with a knowledge and appreciation for the traditions and philosophy of this country, and to uphold them as they uphold our Constitution and our security.  They should have resigned in droves in 2003 rather than execute orders to invade and occupy Iraq, but so far as I can tell, there were virtually none (if not literally none).  Their failure is shameful.  An absolute disgrace, and I believe they share in legal culpability with the Bush regime for the invasion as per the standards established at Nuremberg.  

                There is a line in a movie about Sophie Scholl - the German girl executed by the Nazis for opposing their war and racism - that pertains to this.  Through a series of provocative questions, her interrogator has gotten her to confess to handing out anti-Nazi leaflets, and provoked her into an incriminating political debate.  He insists that everything the Nazi regime has done has been in full accordance with the laws of Germany, and asks her what else there is to guide a person but law?  "Conscience," is her answer.

                General John Batiste sounds like a very conscientious and professional person, and I would definitely acquit him if the charge were being evil, but the most conscientious general to participate in a war of naked aggression can expect nothing better than to be pitied for his crippled moral compass.  Erwin Rommel was a fine soldier, a gentleman, and a man of high ethics who disobeyed all orders to commit war crimes, but he chose to serve monsters.  He chose.

                I can appreciate - at least intellectually - how difficult it is for any person to buck their environment and take a stand alone, and that it must be vastly more difficult for a soldier for whom solidarity is everything.  But that doesn't change the facts: Everyone is responsible for their decisions to the degree their knowledge and intelligence allows.

                Were I a war crimes judge, I can't say how I would deal with a general like John Batiste, but whatever the result, I would still thank him for his service.  He did his best.  But sometimes one's best isn't good enough, and honor requires acknowledging that and accepting the consequences.  The few who did resign rather than participate in the Iraq War deserve Presidential Medals of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medals.  I would say they deserve Medals of Honor if that distinction were not explicitly limited to valor in combat.

                That so few did refuse - in fact, other than Watada, I have never heard of a single one - is a stain that will live on this country forever.  Not a German-sized stain, but a stain nonetheless.

                Change yourself, and you have already changed the world.

                by Troubadour on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 01:34:37 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I completely disagree. (4+ / 0-)

                  But that is the nature of politics, isn't it? The law is the law. If the officials of all three branches of the United States government, duly elected or appointed in accordance with the United States Constitution, instruct the armed forces to carry out their a policy... that is a lawful order.

                  It is important to understand that many officers refused to violate the Geneva Conventions, even as Rumsfeld attempted to twist their arms into doing so. My understanding is that the neo-cons had to bring in contracters or use CIA agents in order to carry out their torture program. The uniformed military wouldn't do it. This is why investigations into Abu Ghraib only yeilded convictions against rogue enlisted soldiers. No one in their chain of command actually ordered them to do what they did. I may be wrong about this, but I gather they got the idea from contracters they worked with, and largely acted on their own initiative.

                  By your logic, every B-17, B-22 and B-29 commander (to include George McGovern) is guilty of war crimes for participating in strategic bombing of Germany and Japan. I believe hindsight has shown that the policy of "Total War" was unneccesary and ineefective from a military standpoint, and inconsistent with the Geneva Conventions. This of course makes FDR a war criminal also. Without any doubt, Truman would qualify as a war criminal for the clearly unneccesary use of nuclear weapons against Japan, even after the Imperial Navy had been destroyed and Okinawa had been occupied, leaving Japan incapable of threatening US territory. The crew of the Enola Gay would also be culpable, as well as anyone who knew of the Manhattan Project.

                  But it's just not that simple. The fact is that as much as it sucks that out leaders refused to listen to the people who knew the invasion of Iraq was a horrible idea, and that the rationale for it was fabricated from false assumptions, conspiracy theories and deliberate lies... that doesn't make them criminals, just really bad leaders. I believe that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, along with a few others, are culpable for war crimes. But George W. Bush is probably just a really bad President, and most (with some exceptions) of the senior leadership were doing the best they could reasonably have been expected to do, especially when one considers the legal standard of proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I would also disagree with your assessment of Rommel, just on the grounds that he risked and ultimately lost his life in an attempt to remove Hitler from power, hardly the actions of an accomplice.

                  I think this is just the terrible cost of the flaws inherent in human nature and by extension our various systems of government. To be clear, I am not saying that President Bush is innocent in the sense that he commited no crimes, I mean only that a good lawyer could easily defend him with a combined defense of executive privledge, national security needs, states secrets and plausible deniability. I don't think he could be convicted in an actual trial. Good luck with your book, anyway. It was an interesting discussion. Much better than wasting my time with the angry ragers.

                  This is a big fucking deal.

                  by Han Shot First on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 02:19:16 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for that post. However... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dejavu, soms, CKendall

            I do think the person was referring to the Shock and Awe campaign and invasion of Iraq as retaliation for 9/11 as being heavy-handed.

            I think that should be interpreted as heavy-handed given they had nothing to do with 9/11.

            The only way I can really relate to my everyday issues is there was an instance where my house was vandalized. There are some sketchy neighbors who have caused problems in the neighborhood on multiple occasions. I thought it was them, but I had no proof. As much as I wanted to retaliate I knew it wasn't right and I didn't know for sure it was them.

            Well, I'm glad I didn't because it turned out it wasn't even them anyways.

            But if I had given them the ultimatum to leave the neighborhood, or I would force them to leave that would be pretty heavy-handed, especially since they didn't do it. Then, what if I had, and they didn't leave, and I kicked in their door, beat them up and set the house on fire that would be really heavy-handed.

            My point is I don't think people take issue with the troops, except some few bad apples. They take issue with the decision to invade Iraq, and when put in context I think it could be seen as heavy-handed. No, it is not like what other country's forces have done, not close. But we do react in disproportionate ways with disproportionate force.

            I'm not saying nothing positive can be salvaged from the mistake, but it was a mistake and we had no business invading that country. That isn't your fault though, and it sounds like you were trying to do your job honorably regardless of the why, where and what that put you in the situation to need to do it.

            Fox News and WWE: Because delusional people need news and sports also. -5.12/-5.28

            by gimmeshelter on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 04:45:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Invading Iraq... (0+ / 0-)

              was one of the most reckless acts in US military history, on a par with the attempted invasion of Canada during The War of 1812 and the escalation of US involvement in Vietnam circa 1964.

              It didn't have to go as badly as it did, but had these gone down differently that wouldn't have made it any less of a reckless act. It would have just made us luckier.

              This is a big fucking deal.

              by Han Shot First on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 05:53:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you for your service (0+ / 0-)

            It is deeply appreciated.  Also, as the mother in law of an active service member, thank you for sharing your first hand perspective of what our soldiers are truly about.  

            You are my brother, my sister. (Duty calls; good men answer. May it ever be so. (blue aardvark, DKos, 1.14.10))

            by RoCali on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 06:43:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  We have killed more innocents around the world (0+ / 0-)

            in the name of freedom than either of us could even imagine

          •  yes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            callmecassandra

            as an Iraqi, I do believe you should live your life in shame.

            You want to be commended for what you've done in Iraq? Laughable. Really. I mean, I'm fairly certain that Iraqis would disagree with your characterization, but what does it matter? You're proud of yourself, you're proud of your awful mission, and you're defending soldiers who routinely and in widespread fashion killed Iraqis.

            I have no respect for you, your mission, or your bullshit, which is the thickest here.

        •  Right-wing jingoist bullshit (16+ / 0-)

          The United States is not "heavy-handed."  We've proven that repeatedly throughout history

          We've proven the opposite. Iraq was just the most recent example. More than 500,000 children died from the sanctions, and at least that many from the invasion.

          You should ask the parents of those dead Iraqi kids how much they care about moral equivalence. Just tell them we didn't intentionally do it, so it's not a problem. I'm sure they will be convinced.

          Ohio progressives: support Jennifer Brunner for Senate!

          by ppl can fly on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 11:09:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why don't you just stop your raving? (5+ / 0-)

            The things you're saying are reflexive, ignorant, and embarrassingly devoid of historical understanding.

            We've proven the opposite.

            Compared to whom?

            More than 500,000 children died from the sanctions

            So now trade sanctions are "heavy-handed"?  Be honest - you're just floundering for excuses to shore up an indefensible position.

            and at least that many from the invasion.

            Not according to any source I've seen.  The vast majority of Iraqi casualties were a result of internecine violence and deprivation following the invasion - disasters the Bush regime leadership was still culpable for incurring, but hardly equivalent to actively ordering the deaths of that many people.

            You should ask the parents of those dead Iraqi kids how much they care about moral equivalence.

            I'm sure plenty of them are rational enough that they do care about the difference between reality and rage-driven fantasy.  You, however, have no excuse to be so indifferent to the distinction.

            Change yourself, and you have already changed the world.

            by Troubadour on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 11:34:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  More flag waving (12+ / 0-)

              We are heavy handed compared to whom? Every powerful country has been involved in mass murder. Fuck them all. I don't like US foreign policy and I don't like Russian foreign policy either. Neither is better than the other. Both have murdered plenty enough people to be called "heavy handed."

              You keep going on about moral equivalence. What difference does it make to a dead person if they were intentionally killed by Russians, or killed by Iraqi death squads unleashed by the USA? The end result is the same. Real world results are more important than intent.

              Ohio progressives: support Jennifer Brunner for Senate!

              by ppl can fly on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 11:48:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Iraq dead (12+ / 0-)

              The Johns Hopkins study was up to 1.2 million dead, and that was years ago. The British Government in a secret memo judged the metrics of that study "Robust," that is to say very sound. The Iraq war was a crime, and I believe if you commit a crime all the consequences that result from that crime, including deaths, are charged, quite rightly,to you. The Russians in Chechnya were,as you say,just short of genocidal," but over the last 70 years the deaths from US policies would dwarf Russian or Soviet crimes.Much better to have been a dissident in eastern Europe, for example, than say, central or South America for instance. In the former you were imprisoned, the latter, killed. Genocide in Guatemala, or just shy of it if you prefer, took 200,000 Indian lives. El Salvador was another butcher's shop. The moral equivalence argument is hardly an "indefensible position" unless the world began a year ago.

              •  The Johns Hopkins study (0+ / 0-)

                was deaths from all causes stemming from the invasion and occupation.  I.e., if a battle took place that severed a sewer line and nobody repaired it, causing residents to rely on a shitty, bacteria-infested well instead, and people died from drinking that water, those would be included.  

                I would not compare that to Russian troops linine up and executing all the males in a village, randomly tossing hand grenades into every house they pass a "mop up" operation, and not even bothering to enter a city until it had been reduced to ashes.

                Furthermore, I really don't think you understood the post you're responding to.  You restate things I had just said as if you were disagreeing with me.

                Change yourself, and you have already changed the world.

                by Troubadour on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 12:25:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Oh, so if you kill lots of people (4+ / 0-)

                  but didn't mean to, it's totally different. I mean, it's not like you accept the consequences of going to war, no matter what.

                  Besides, what you describe sounds a lot like Vietnam, only we did our mass murdering with airplanes and napalm.

                  “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

                  by Jyrinx on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 12:31:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  All the world is evil except you. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Han Shot First

                    Thank you for your moral guidance, Mahatma Jyrinx.  Your hate-filled, rage-driven rhetoric has surely saved lives.

                    Change yourself, and you have already changed the world.

                    by Troubadour on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 01:39:16 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Hate? Rage? Where? (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      valadon, ppl can fly

                      I'm just describing the truth.

                      (I'd love to hear your defense of the conduct of Vietnam.)

                      “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

                      by Jyrinx on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 01:59:23 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You're not describing the truth (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        wonderful world

                        you're railing in lieu of an argument and trying to change the subject.

                        The fact is we have had some incredibly delusional, Bizarro World commentary from people who seem to have trouble dealing with the complexities of moral judgment in the real world.

                        The Russian army after the 19th century has never risen to the moral standards of the worst atrocities ever committed by the United States Armed Forces.  If you were to put a Russian soldier who served in Chechnya into Iraq under US command during the worst of the violence, he would have considered himself on vacation and his American superiors as a bunch of bleeding-heart ponces for not just massacring every Iraqi who looked at them cross-eyed.

                        We called it the My Lai Massacre.  The Russian Army would have called it Tuesday Afternoon.  There's your truth.  If you can't deal with the idea that the universe is not divided into Gandhis and Hitlers, and that war is morally murky, then perhaps you should just stay away from the subject altogether because you're not contributing any deep thoughts or meaningful insights on the topic.

                        Change yourself, and you have already changed the world.

                        by Troubadour on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 02:36:14 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Fine. Forget the massacre. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Arza

                          What about the bombings of villages? Was the Russians' sin the throwing of grenades by hand? Does the use of an airplane make it okay?

                          Of course war is morally murky. That's why they are generally to be avoided except as an absolute last resort.

                          “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

                          by Jyrinx on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 03:52:12 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  (BTW, the massacre *was* just another day (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Arza

                          until Sy Hersh dug it up. Who the fuck knows what we've done a better job of covering up?)

                          “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

                          by Jyrinx on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 03:54:24 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  well, uh, yeah (0+ / 0-)

                    intentions do in fact matter, go to a trial, see if intent is necessary for punishment (hint in 99 percent of the cases, it is, including murder).

                •  I responded to this (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wonderful world

                  So now trade sanctions are "heavy-handed"?  Be honest - you're just floundering for excuses to shore up an indefensible position.

                •  Supposing that what you say about Russian methods (0+ / 0-)

                  is true: how many victims there were of these particular methods and how many of the general privation/wartime conditions? Methinks you're artificially exaggerating Russian atrocities and minimizing the American ones (Vietnam etc.).

                  So where's all the outrage against anti-atheist bigotry?

                  by skeptiq on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 02:44:24 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  If they are tossing grenades into every house (0+ / 0-)

                  It's not random. Also that's how a house is cleared. Grenade first then walk in and shoot anything that moves.

                  the intelligence community is no longer geared towards telling the president what they think the president wants to hear

                  by Salo on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 05:43:21 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Whether or not it's comparable to... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...anything the Russians do, your characterization of the Johns-Hopkins study, while technically accurate, distorts its actual findings:

                  Key points of the study include:

                  • Estimated 654,965 additional deaths in Iraq between March 2003 and July 2006

                  • Majority of the additional deaths (91.8 percent) caused by violence

                  I refuse to accept "no can do" as a proper slogan for progressives.

                  by Meteor Blades on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 03:38:55 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Even if I accept your assertion... (0+ / 0-)

                the US does not equal Russia.

                The US is much more powerful than Russia, and will naturally have more of an effect on other nation's, for good or for bad, than a smaller less powerful nation.

                It would pop your brain to know that people in Africa love not just the US, but George W. Bush. People in Darfur name their sons after him.

                You make blanket statements, and miss the many layers of complexity that is the world we live in.

                This is a big fucking deal.

                by Han Shot First on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 01:41:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Stalin (0+ / 0-)

                killed more people by himself through war and famine then we did as a nation over the entirety of time since he took over the Soviet Union long ago.

            •  Your arguments in favor of the invasion and (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ppl can fly

              occupation of Iraq and the slaughter of its citizens sound an awful lot like your arguments in favor of the continued brutal occupation of Afghanistan.

              My first choice is a strong consumer agency My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.~E. Warren

              by JesseCW on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 01:07:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And I disagree... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MBNYC, Troubadour, FreeLancer

                with your argument that my mom should be eaten by cannibals.

                What sort of monster would advocate such things?

                This is a big fucking deal.

                by Han Shot First on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 01:35:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Your comment is lie compounded on lie. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MBNYC

                I have been opposed to the Iraq War since the beginning, and your characterization of our NATO presence in Afghanistan due to 9/11 and with the full consent of the UN-recognized government as a "brutal occupation" is mendacious in the extreme.  You should be ashamed of yourself for that mindless, hate-driven, sick fantasy-world comment.  This is the reality-based community, and lies are fucking immoral regardless of whatever humanitarian agenda you think justifies them.

                Change yourself, and you have already changed the world.

                by Troubadour on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 01:47:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Your post if very funny. (0+ / 0-)

                  "brutal occupation" is mendacious in the extreme.

                  It is not an occupation?
                  The occupation is not secured through brute force?

                  Brute force being people with guns....

                  I guess calling it a violent war would also be mendacious in your view.

                  Meteor Blades seems to do an outstanding job of community moderation despite the abject failure to be perfect.

                  by catilinus on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 03:53:21 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Really. "Shock and awe" is not heavy-handed? (8+ / 0-)

            And use of the term "heavy-handed" is now hide-rateable on Daily Kos?

            And anyone who criticizes U.S. war policies or empire-building here is a "blame America firster" now, just as right-wing talk radio has always claimed?

            Amazing, just amazing.

            The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

            by lotlizard on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 02:16:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Most amoral, thoughtless post today. (0+ / 0-)

            Aerial phots show that Grozny was so destroyed that nobody could tell where the buildings ONCE WERE.  The only clues were tank treads in the dust.

            Calling a decision to impose sanctions equivalent to THAT has to be the most amoral and unprincipled crock of shit served up on a long time.  And, of course, it simply encourages countries to bomb rather than try sanctions....them being the same to people like you.

        •  i have lived in 3 different countries (26+ / 0-)

          that have been bumfucked by the good old usa...

          i lived in panama in the 90's not too long after bush's assault on panama city (operation just cause [you're black])in which the americans burned down an entire neighborhood full of poor panamanians...pentagon estimates of fatalities ran to 500+ - ramsey clark said 4,000

          i now live in laos, where american secret bombing campaigns against a supposed ally wreaked untold death and destruction for years - a legacy that remains today in the unexploded ordinance that is still killing and maiming lao people

          i also live in nicaragua...we were a little more subtle there - we mostly hired mercenaries to do our killing

          speaking of subtle, who can forget the delicate whisper of hiroshima and nagasaki?

          The United States is not "heavy-handed."  We've proven that repeatedly throughout history

          have a rethink, pal

          yes, i have accepted burt bacharach as my personal savior

          by memofromturner on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 11:37:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Apples and oranges (0+ / 0-)

            speaking of subtle, who can forget the delicate whisper of hiroshima and nagasaki?

            I don't think it's fair to compare American action in Laos, Nicaragua or Panama to the use of atomic weapons in Japan.  One can debate Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but the key distinction is that those took place in a formally declared war.

            •  i'm not comparing them (0+ / 0-)

              i'm making a list of heavy handed actions by the US...dropping not one but two nuclear weapons on civilians qualifies, "formally declared war" or not

              yes, i have accepted burt bacharach as my personal savior

              by memofromturner on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 04:17:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Conventional weapons would have been better? (0+ / 0-)

                I think you'd have a better argument with incendiary bombing of Tokyo.  Unless you have some thoughts on how fewer civilians would have been killed in a more conventional assault on the Japanese homeland?  Keep in mind that somewhere between 50,000 and 150,000 civilians died in the Battle of Okinawa - approximately 1/4 of the population.

        •  The families of 1 million dead Iraqis (6+ / 0-)

          likely disagree with your view.

          My first choice is a strong consumer agency My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.~E. Warren

          by JesseCW on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 01:04:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ever hear of Falujah? (4+ / 0-)

          Repent. The end is extremely f*cking nigh.--28 days later

          by voroki on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 03:18:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Bad argument to take up .. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour, Han Shot First

        I know it wasn't even your original comment that sparked this but REALLY not a good choice of comments to rise to the defense of.

        As Troubadour appropriately pointed out, the false equivalency you are trying to defend is outrageous and replete with baseless and irresponsibly hyperbolic assertions.  That's all I will say, but I would advise you quietly back out of this debate, it ain't going to turn out pretty for you.

      •  I Am "Shocked And Awed" That You Would (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, sortalikenathan

        post that!

        Well, mostly, awed.

        You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can always be honest.

        by mattman on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 11:08:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We try not to kill civilians, though. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Heiuan, terrypinder, MBNYC, FreeLancer

        Russia just doesn't give a shit.

    •  oh id have to disagree with you troubadour (10+ / 0-)

      there are some similarities. more than either the russians or americans would like to admit. both v large countries, with the big country attitude( we are right other people are wrong) both highly prideful about their nations, usually for less than stellar reasons. both societies heavily fixated on gaining material wealth... i could go on... i work for a russian company here in europe. as a consultant. there are def comparisions betwen russian personalities and american, that are created by the respective cultures...

      Welcome to the empire. now run away if you can... life is not a dress rehearsal

      by johnfire on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 11:24:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not to dismiss your observations (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wonderful world

        but I think the connections you're seeing are superficial, and don't really speak to the underlying character of a society.  

        There are many forms of pride, but one can divide them into narcissistic - I am proud to be ___ because that's who I am - and instrumental (I am proud to be ____ because _____ achieved this, or upholds this set of virtues, etc.)  The two tend to be inversely proportional.  People with reasons to be proud of their heritage don't seek pride in identity, but in adding to those reasons.  

        American narcissists exist, but ethnic narcissism is not the sole abode of national pride in this country, or even the main one.  We value things that are either ignored or discouraged in other countries, and that superficial appearances of petty materialism really don't take into account.  

        Even where greed occurs, it's radically different - American greed is not materialistic, but capitalistic: The point is to profit for the sake of profit, not because you care about money or seek power.  This is a pernicious meme, to be sure, but radically different from the Old World ethos that still dominates in Russia and Arab states: The ethos of possession.  

        Russia may no longer be Communist, but it certainly isn't capitalist - it's more feudal, like what Texas would be without the rest of the United States restraining it.  The point of business in Russia is power, which is why most of it occurs in things that can be tangibly controlled rather than abstract financial realms.

        We are very much children of Britain in this respect, and Russia a child of Eurasia.  I also disagree that we care about being a "big country" - American standards don't work like that.  We were born as virtually defenseless colonies arrayed against the mightiest empire the world had ever known, and those initial conditions have stayed a part of our character.

        Change yourself, and you have already changed the world.

        by Troubadour on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 12:18:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Meteor Blades

          "Even where greed occurs, it's radically different - American greed is not materialistic, but capitalistic: The point is to profit for the sake of profit, not because you care about money or seek power. This is a pernicious meme, to be sure, but radically different from the Old World ethos that still dominates in Russia and Arab states: The ethos of possession."

          It is clearly necessary in your framework of argument to draw distinctions between the Russians and us, but you are clearly going to far. Your statement that we seek "profit for the sake of profit" and "not because [we] care about money" does not make an ounce of sense. You are essentially arguing that we Americans seek gains that are abstract, or in your words, "things that can be tangibly controlled rather than abstract financial [objects]," but are stocks really different from money? The status of being the sole superpower different from power?

          And of course, the statement that we do not seek possession isn't true. Remember what was Bush's favorite maxim? "Ownership society". You would be hard-pressed to argue that Americans do not agree with the phrase "ownership society". Do you think Bush meant owning things that are not physical? What does he mean if he was not implying stocks, money, and land?

          If there are ways to distinguish Russians from us, this isn't it.

          •  I'm afraid if you're going to use GW Bush (0+ / 0-)

            as the standard by which American civilization is judged, then we can't come to any level of consensus in a nontrivial amount of time.  That is just too far off the plane of observed reality from my perspective.

            Change yourself, and you have already changed the world.

            by Troubadour on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 04:00:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  ask the people of fallujah n/t (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard, OnlyZuul, JesseCW, ppl can fly

      surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

      by wu ming on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 11:58:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're not as familiar with US history (0+ / 0-)

      as you think you are.

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