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The sabers are rattled.

Politicians make pointless speeches tinged with false bravado.

The Generals talk of the power and the glory.

Jingoism takes center stage.

The soldiers are cheered as knight of old.

Medals are minted, then awarded, the propaganda rolls on.

Then the realities roll in day after day.

We restrict our own liberties in the name of our own security.

We imprison without trial and question.

The body count rises.

We commit and then justify torture.

The wars grind on.

We dehumanize the results of our actions in terms of collateral damage.

We feign shock when humanity breaks down.

Just some bad apples we will say.

Then continue planning the next escapade.

Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 11:15 PM PT: I also recommend this diary

Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 11:51 PM PT: There is also this article by Robert Fisk

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar. No glory nor honor, just carnage. (28+ / 0-)

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 11:10:15 PM PST

  •  I dunno, it's a pretty sweet card game. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 11:29:32 PM PST

    •  I'm more worried when video games become (6+ / 0-)

      reality; predator drones.

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 11:31:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  oh my gosh (0+ / 0-)

        from your comment I searched "anthropomorphic playing cards" and came up with some pretty random stuff.

        I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

        by James Allen on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 11:42:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  watching a report on drones, it gave glowing (5+ / 0-)

        report of how drones saved lives vs boots on the ground.  Now our air force is advanced enough against what indigenous forces they face that shootdowns are almost unheard of with helicopters being the most vulnerable and fixed wing aircraft being the most invulnerable.  It appears equipment failure is more of a threat these days than a shoot-down.

        Given that, from other sources, I have read that drone attacks end up with 5 to 1 to 10 to 1 civilian casualties to bad guys taken out. 8800 Afghan civilians killed is a conservative estimate:

        In listening to the report, I was struck by the commentators' insistence that drones save lives which may point to one problem with Americans' perception of drones. While they do save American lives, the average Yemeni or Iraqi or Somali or Afghan or Pakistani is likely to be impressed by this aspect of drones' operation given the apparently high "oops" factor involved in remote battle ground involvement when compared to "boots on the ground"

        •  life-saving death machines (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          enhydra lutris, snoopydawg

          fuck yeah

          As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

          by mightymouse on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 06:04:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Only American lives count. The rest is collateral. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Imagine the American media actually encouraging its audience to empathize with the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese/ Laotian/ Iraqi/ Lybian mothers who lost their children due to American engagement "for democracy and freedom" (i.e. for oil and empire)...

          In order to be able to wage wars, the American people must forget there's humans on the other side...once the enemy is thoroughly de-humanized, it's easy to maintain that

          drones saved lives vs boots on the ground

          "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

          by aufklaerer on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 06:07:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  yet a few days ago, I was involved in discussion (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            on Kos regarding if the Taliban really represents a threat to the US and if so, how much of a threat and if that threat were sufficient to warrant our reaction.  Interesting phenomenon was that the discussion devolved into a discussion on what bad guys the Taliban are (no argument there) and that was the reason we should oppose them (however no word on those of our friends who also have very messy human rights records and why we support them).  I guess after this many years and as many diaries as there have been published here and articles published elsewhere, it is disappointing to see the assumption made on Kos that the US automatically occupies the moral high ground in such conflicts (though it would seem the US should occupy the moral high ground in any conflicts, if any, in which it engages)    

            •  It's not easy to accept your country as aggressor. (0+ / 0-)

              Too many want to be, need to be 'proud' of their country, 'love' their country etc.

              I have learned to always expect the worst from my own country and leave behind any notions of pride and love for my land (and to not be afraid to say it out loud), but then again, I'm German. It's rather easy for Germans to be post-nationalist and critical of their country, because it's just impossible to love Germany or be proud of it...if you're raised an anti-fascist, that is.

              "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

              by aufklaerer on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 07:24:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Germany is a very unique example because (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                postwar, the culture was structured so as to be anti Fascist.  Also, Germany has a history of extreme nationalism to a point, not too surprising given the relative youth of Germany as a nation, not formed until the Napoleonic era of various principalities and then dominated by Prussia, defeating France in the Franco/Prussian War and then suffering defeat in WWI with the deposition of the Kaiser and the resultant chaos of the 20s and 30s.

                Following WWII, there is the total disavowal of fascism as well as the rehabilitation of various German pols in the ensuing years.  Just as an observation it appears the de-Nazification worked better in Germany itself than it did in Austria.  Perhaps a nation has to experience the extreme negative effects of nationalism before it can move to a post nationalism stage.  As an aside, I have been impressed by German COIN programs over the world in comparison to US COIN programs      

                •  You can say that again: (0+ / 0-)
                  it appears the de-Nazification worked better in Germany itself than it did in Austria

                  They claim Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for them (although Salzburg was German when Mozart lived) but, at the same time, Hitler was all of a sudden a German, and Austria was Germany's first victim...

                  As an aside from me, I'd say de-Nazifikation in Germany worked better because the Soviet-controlled East German regime hunted Nazis down rather mercilessly, setting a much higher standard in Germany than in Austria, or Japan, or anywhere else. After the war, there were more high-profile Nazis in the Pentagon than in East Germany...

                  "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

                  by aufklaerer on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 07:57:30 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  The Taliban (0+ / 0-)

              gave comfort to a group that launched an attack on the US.  They effectively declared war.  We had broad international support for the invasion of Afgahnistan (note the obvious difference with Iraq).

              Our leaving is inevitable - whether the people in Afghanistan will be better off when we leave I have no idea.  

              The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

              by fladem on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 09:03:43 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  they rented space to bin Laden but had little (0+ / 0-)

                love for the "arabs" as they termed them.  With this sort of logic, since Mexico supports drug gangs which engage in repeated attacks on American soil and who represent a threat to the stability of the country, we should attack Mexico immediately.
                I suggest for a very modest amount of swag, the Afghans would have presented bin Laden to us with a bow on since he had been cut off from his family fortune and his welcome was beginning to wear thin before 9/11.  Bin Laden looked on the Afghans with scorn as their fundamentalism differed from his Wahhabism and they were very aware of his POV

    •  Sweeter band. (0+ / 0-)

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 06:55:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very well put LaFem. The only thing I could add (8+ / 0-)

    would be why, but that should be evident by now.  
    It's never about three Marines.  

  •  When people start getting killed (7+ / 0-)

    it's a sure sign that someone has fucked up.  This holds true not only in armed conflict, but life in general as well.

    You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

    by Johnny Q on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 11:33:39 PM PST

  •  Sometimes wars do have to be waged, as when (3+ / 0-)

    a country is the object of aggression.

    But wars of choice, unnecessary wars waged as an optional means of foreign policy, are crimes against humanity, by the standards we ourselves established some sixty years ago in Nuremberg.

    As such they do no honor to a country, but represent its shameful regression to barbarism.

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 01:05:44 AM PST

    •  wars of necessity seem to be very rare (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris

      and we have to remember that, from the Japanese perspective, Pearl Harbor was justified due to economic warfare waged by the US.  Every few years, it seems a Japanese pol makes the error of openly stating this POV but the shrines to  Japanese war criminals continue to be maintained without any problem.  So even defensive wars can be a matter of debate from the combatants' POV

      •  that is the problem (0+ / 0-)

        with economic imperialism,  greed is universal,   US greed was thwarting Japanese greed and that justified killing millions, invading the object countries where the greed of both  was  in opposition and devastating the objects of greed more than either of the major protagonists.

        The greediest among most of the major countries realized that this was self-defeating, they now own and control a relatively small number of multinational corporations that exploit almost everyone and hire the US military machine both public and private to fight most of the resource  wars in places that don't threaten the corporate infrastructure.

  •  Wash, Rinse, Repeat as needed. (0+ / 0-)
  •  I think Mark Twain's "The War Prayer"... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler, Sean X, AnnieR, jm214

    ...should be mandatory reading for absolutely everyone everywhere.  It's short, but powerful.

  •  The 99% should go on strike and refuse to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, AnnieR, jm214

    fight the wars of the 1%/capitalist class.

    "The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out”. - George Carlin

    by Funkygal on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 03:37:11 AM PST

    •  Something like that HAS happened ... (0+ / 0-)

      99% of the 99% may admire Our Brave Boys and Girls, but would not, themselves serve,  or encourage their own children to do so.

      But the 1% saw that coming after Vietnam, which is why we have the All-Volunteer, All- Professional Army -- the Troops "protecting us", who so many of us feel we must always Support.

  •  Erich Fromm on nationalism/patriotism : (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, jm214
    "Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity.

    Patriotism' is its cult. It should hardly be necessary to say that by 'patriotism', I mean that attitude which puts the own nation above humanity, above the principles of truth and justice; not the loving interest in one's own nation, which is the concern with the nation's spiritual as much as with its material welfare - never with its power over other nations.

    Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love, love for one's country which is not part of one's love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship."

    Nationalism is incest. Ouch.


    "The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out”. - George Carlin

    by Funkygal on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 03:43:24 AM PST

  •  "War is Kind" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnnieR, jm214, carver

    This is a wonderful poem by Crane.  Each stanza tells the truth about war (killing, poverty, etc.) and is bordered with the incessant chant, "War is Kind"   I taught it every semester at Univ. of N. Florida; my students rarely understood the irony/satire.  Read it!  Peace.  J

    Old Hippies Never Give Up!

    by ravenrdr on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 03:58:57 AM PST

  •  peace now (0+ / 0-)

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 04:19:05 AM PST

  •  Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et decoroum est" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jm214, ranger995

    from World War I. The particulars have changed (i.e., use of gas), but the message remains the same.

    Dulce et Decorum est

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep.  Many had lost their boots,
    But limped on, blood-shod.  All went lame, all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

    Gas!  GAS!  Quick, boys! --  An ecstasy of fumbling
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
    And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime. --
    Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

    In all my dreams before my helpless sight
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

    If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
    Bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, --
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie:  Dulce et decorum est
    Pro patria mori.

    I fear I am not in my perfect mind. King Lear

    by ursoklevar on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 05:55:05 AM PST

    •  It's a good poem, but unfortunately as (0+ / 0-)

      weird as this sounds, it adds to the mystique of war that somehow romanticizes it.

      I don't get it, there have been a million cautionary tales like this one, but generation after generation of gun-ho young men keep hoping they get to experience it, only to come to its meaning the hard way.

      "... the Professional Left, that is simultaneously totally irrelevant and ruining everything" (Glenn Greenwald)

      by ranger995 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 09:36:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  War.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, erush1345, LaFeminista

    Even Robert E. Lee had strong feelings on war..

    "It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. "  This from the man who was part of the war that saw the greatest loss of Americans, ever. Every other war put together does not have the casualties we had during the Civil War.

  •  Depends. If it's defensive, nothing wrong with it. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Too bad the simple nounverb "war" hides such (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a huge array of behaviors and transactions behind the seductive mask of "Call of Duty" excitement. Ask a dozen GIs or Jarheads or Air Force or Navy enlisted men what they actually do or did during most of their "service to their country." Part of mine was being sent to an on-post officers-only golf course, where I was sent out onto the driving range to pick up balls

    One thing a lot of people gloss over is that war is so darn much FUN. Whether it's the Band of Brothers thing, or the excitement of pulling off an ambush or now "lighting up" with a Hellfire and a "Hawhawhaw, dead fucking Taliban!" a family out for an evening stroll, or doing black market sales to the Wogs, or juicing up on various recreational drugs, or eating a Big Mac in Bagram or ordering a big old Lieutenant Scheisskopf parade or suckering young men AND WOMEN into joining up for all the complex reasons that they do, it's just a lot of fun, and people have been enjoying it (when they "win," that elastic notion) since Village A, and Village B in the next valley, faced each other in lines with spears and clubs and rocks. Thise Marines pissing on dead Wogs are doing something "wrong," but nothing even close to the worst that humans do to each other in "war." Just scan Youtube for all the "Hellfire strike" and "sniper kills" videos.

    It's likely a waste of time to try to oppose the MIC -- there's too much money, too many "careers," too much inertia to the whole Milo Minderbinder "Catch-22" enterprise. Remember that last character? The guy who lined up US warplanes to bomb US troops for "cost plus 10 percent," which was "good for the Syndicate" in which "everybody has a share?"

    “Pakistan’s civilian and military wings of government are furious with each other and with the US military.”

    A whole lot of reality in one little sentence.

    I guess it’s ok with a lot of people that “the military” should be added (as it has, de facto and sub rosa, in the Land of the Freeeeeee and the Home of the Braaaave, while visions of Constitutional Republic danced in our heads) as a “wing of government.” So as in areas all across the planet, “the military” ends up being part of the Kleptocracy, jealous of any attempt, by the ordinary schmucks who create the wealth that makes their parasitic and predatory fiefdoms possible, to rein them in. Egypt, Syria, maybe Iran, Libya, et bloody cetera. Pakistan. Notagainistan. The United States.

    “The military,” across the planet, has an organizing principle ("MORE!"), a seductive monopoly on the tools of force and power-projection, and a hierarchy that can be filled with like-minded, ambitious, greedy racketeers, able to practice the protection racket, take over civilian productive parts and sectors of the economy, share ideas on how to keep any “democratic” (or even “republican”) aspirations in check. What it (and I mark myself down for using a personification in lieu of what otherwise would have to be a treatise, to cover all the parts of the reality) ain’t got is a prayer of an idea on how to “govern,” as opposed to “rule’ or “dictate,” in any way that is durable, sustainable, decent, and that spans generations, without trying to force all the sans-uniformes into ranks and files.

    At some point, the tapeworm’s success means the death of the host.

    Query: Is there any way for ordinary people to de-worm themselves, to free themselves from the infestation, renounce the jingoism and tribalism that feeds the feedback that keeps the racketeers in business, and figure out something better to do with a quarter and ever more of all the world’s wealth that is sucked up by “the military?”

    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

    by jm214 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 08:29:59 AM PST

  •  A wonderful emotional statement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I respect and admire LaFeminista. I follow her (an assumption based on name!) posts, and find tremendous insight in them. I would like to point out that LaFeminista has posted a poem; it is art.

    It is not an analysis or a theory; it is not an explanation of a position (except in a most roundabout way). It is most definitely not a position for logical debate. It is not meant to define policy or factual bullet points.

    It is art. It will evoke emotions, and appeal to the nonrational side of human nature. It may inspire and motivate, but it is not meant to directly inform.

    I can disagree with various logical points about what I think that she is trying to convey, while still very much agreeing with and appreciating the sentiment of what she is trying to convey.

    My first reaction was to rebut what I saw as logical issues with her premise, then I back-tracked and realized I was about to answer an emotional statement with a logical one. That would do no I just appreciated the emotional statement for what it was. I think that many of us make this kind of mistake without ever realizing it.

    Less "WAAAAH!", more progress.

    by IndyGlenn on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 09:43:53 AM PST

  •  Thank you for this post. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As a vet who loves and salutes his brothers and sisters who have defended our country, I wish to acknowledge you for this perceptive post.

    It is always those who are farthest away from where the "caps are bustin", who support unnecessary wars that never needed to be fought.  

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Ghandi

    by Randolph the red nosed reindeer on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 04:03:24 PM PST

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