May 27th, 2006

Memorial Day: freedom isn’t free

[This is a repost from last Memorial Day.]

Austin Bay delivered this Memorial Day speech in Texas a few days ago, at the request of a group called “Tejanos in Action.” Reading the speech, and speculating on what many of my liberal or leftist friends would think of it (and, knowing it’s always dangerous to speak for others, I’m writing this with the caveat that I could be wrong about their reactions), I came to the conclusion that I don’t think they would understand his speech in the way it was meant. To them, it would sound like mere platitudes and cliches.

I am virtually certain that all of my friends feel sorrow at the death of young men and women in the military–they are not cold-hearted, far from it. But I think they see them as victims, not as people who freely chose to do this, knowing that the possible cost might be their very lives. And yes, I know that not all in the military, especially those in the Guard, thought all of this through when they signed up. But I believe that the majority of those in the military were well aware of the risks when they enlisted.

I don’t think most of my friends can conceive of a person making such a choice of his/her own free will. And of course it is difficult to comprehend; that kind of courage is not ordinary, and will never be ordinary. I think my friends look on military volunteers of today as being either bloodthirsty warmongers (the minority), or poverty-stricken and brainwashed cannon fodder who have no idea what they’re getting into (the majority). Someone such as Lance Corporal Perez, of whom Austin Bay speaks, a young man who served in the Marines and was killed in Iraq, would probably be seen as the quintessential victim of Bush, Rumsfeld, et. al., because of his Hispanic heritage.

I think my friends would certainly understand this part of Bay’s speech:

Military service is hard service. Everyone who’s ever worn the uniform knows that. It is a special burden, particularly in a free society.

The idea of hardship is one with which they would agree, and the idea of burden. But not the sad necessity of it, expressed in this part of the speech:

In some ways it is the hardest job as well as the most necessary job. It is the job of the soldier that makes our liberty possible, and it is our liberty that makes everything else possible.

Many, if not most, of my friends live in a dreamworld where such things can be avoided, if only we listened to and revered the UN, Europe, and Jimmy Carter. There is no problem that can’t be solved with love, understanding, and talk. Perhaps I’m exaggerating, but not by a whole lot, I’m afraid. Would that they were correct, and that human nature worked this way!

I was watching the news the other day–I think it was MSNBC, but I’m not certain. They had a feature on a young Hispanic man who had been killed in Iraq. I don’t think he was the same young man of whom Bay spoke, Lance Corporal Perez, but it’s possible that he might have been, because this man had also been nineteen years old when he died, as I recall. The news showed wonderful photos of a handsome and smiling young man who looked nearly like a kid (well, he wasn’t so far away from having been one, was he?), and an interview with his father.

The father’s courage and dignity were almost unbearably moving. It seems the young man was not a citizen, but he’d signed up anyway. The father showed some sort of memorial statuette of the twin towers that he owned, and he pointed to it and said that the son had been greatly affected by 9/11, and determined to join and serve. The father said he’d asked his son, if he had to join up, why couldn’t he be something like a cook? But the son had said no; he felt he needed to do more than that. Then the father went over to an American flag he had on his wall, and put his finger on one of the red stripes, and said something like this (only far more eloquently), “When I see this red stripe, it symbolizes the blood of my son and all the others who died so that we could be free–because freedom isn’t free.”

Heartbreaking and well said, on this Memorial Day.

58 Responses to “Memorial Day: freedom isn’t free”

  1. confusedforeigner Says:

    Anti-war folks I’ve met assume that because I disagree with them, I must only listen to Limbaugh or Fox, but the fact is that I never listen to Fox or Limbaugh, and NPR is my main radio channel (though its bias is fairly grating at times). I’ve got five feet of Chomsky/progressive/leftist literature in my library and I’ve read most of it.

    That heartens me somewhat. There is a tendency though here to see ‘anti-war folks’ as all having the same political/economic bent. Witness ymar’s incredible statemment of my position on free trade.

    I don’t get the time to read much from Chomsky and I often thought his stuff bordered on the ‘conspiracy theory’ side of the ledger. His positions on the influence of corporate America in US foreign and trade policy though are depressingly accurate in my view. The rhetoric from Washington regarding ‘free trade’ and the reality of trade policy are poles apart.

    The notion amongst the conservatives that the US champions free trade and the rest of us are against it is a constant source of amazement. I should also state that the EU is just as bad and possibly worse in terms of barriers to free trade, they just don’t push the rhetoric.

    This is not an altruistic statement on my part either. I am directly affected by US trade barriers, agricultural subsidies and preferential treatment for US companies. I can cope easily enough though, it effects the 3rd world in a far more devastating way.

    I wonder what the public of the US would think if they were fully aware of what the likes of Monsanto get up to, and how trade policy is manipulated to suit the interests of narrow corporate concerns.

  2. Jack Trainor Says:

    Most people don’t want an unbiased channel, they just want to know about the bias ahead of time….

    I’m not sure what most people want, but I figured out a long time ago, especially from reading Hunter S Thompson, that perfectly objective reporting is an illusion. So I do like knowing biases up front and being able to take that into consideration. I like to get information from a breadth of sources.

    Anti-war folks I’ve met assume that because I disagree with them, I must only listen to Limbaugh or Fox, but the fact is that I never listen to Fox or Limbaugh, and NPR is my main radio channel (though its bias is fairly grating at times). I’ve got five feet of Chomsky/progressive/leftist literature in my library and I’ve read most of it.

  3. Ymarsakar Says:

    Most people don’t want an unbiased channel, they just want to know about the bias ahead of time and not hear about it from their friends. Thus deception is always in the form of those who say they are objective, when they really aren’t.

  4. confusedforeigner Says:

    Ywazeedroppedonhisheadatbirth said…
    If you read Davids Mediencritik blog, German’ys media is probably the most anti-american, inspite of what we did for them in WWII

    I nearly blew coffee out my nose when I read that. Hilarious.

    Boat loads indeed. :-)

  5. confusedforeigner Says:

    Jack Trainor said….
    I have a good friend in Dublin who says that Irish and European media are even more biased than in the US. Europeans, he says, haven’t a clue about what’s happening in Iraq.

    Can I ask what media you consider to be unbiased?

    The notion that the worlds media, which is largely owned by conservative leaning plutocrats is a leftist propaganda conspiracy is bewildering to say the least.

    Is FOX a good unbiased news service in your opinion?

  6. Ymarsakar Says:

    If you read Davids Mediencritik blog, German’ys media is probably the most anti-american, inspite of what we did for them in WWII. This is validated by the polls. More percentage of the people in France and Britain favor Americans than does Germany itself. That itself says boat loads.

  7. Jack Trainor Says:

    The bottom line is awash in red here. The economy, life expectancy, infrastructure and even the political outlook for Iraq are worse now than under Saddam.

    Then one might wonder at Iraqi polls indicating that 44% rate the country as good and 69% expecting the country to get even better.

    I consider the notion that the Iraqis are worse off now than under Hussein absurd and explainable by the relentlessly negative slant of Western reporting.

    I have a good friend in Dublin who says that Irish and European media are even more biased than in the US. Europeans, he says, haven’t a clue about what’s happening in Iraq.

  8. Jack Trainor Says:

    This surprises you does it? This is what you trot out in the defense of your countries actions? Saddam Hussein was a bad man, and the people of Iraq are glad he’s gone?

    It’s deeper than that. The people of Iraq hated Hussein’s regime so much that they said it was right for their country to be invaded.

    That’s rare. I can think of few historical examples where the majority of citizens, even in a dictatorship, wished their own country to be invaded.

    As horrific as Nazi Germany or Stalin’s USSR were, I don’t think it was true in those cases. Cambodia under Pol Pot and perhaps North Korea are the only other recent examples I can come up with.

    And it does surprise most anti-war folks when I mention those polls to them. They weren’t aware of those polls. They take it for granted that it is they who have the interests of the Iraqi people at heart.

    It confuses the anti-war folks that to learn that the Iraqis resented the “peace” demonstrations intended to stop the war, which would ultimately keep Hussein and his psychopathic sons in power.

  9. bmcworldcitizen Says:

    American occupation is the best thing a nation can get.

    Progress … you are calling it an occupation, I’ll take what little I can get:-)

    Here is a real American (the ideal, not the arbitrary geographic boundaries) patriot Gawd Bless ‘em. Maybe it’ll rub off on you? Here’s hoping.

    http://www.crooksandliars.com/2006/05/30.html#a8501

  10. Ymarsakar Says:

    American occupation is the best thing a nation can get.

  11. bmcworldcitizen Says:

    –Iraq is freed from a vicious dictator

    Yes it is. However, I’m an outcomes based guy. I don’t care how wonderful you think the business plan is, we need to see the bottom line. It’s no good telling me we are making a profit on wingnuts, when gizmos, gadgets and bobblegooks are all making a loss and draining the company dry.

    The bottom line is awash in red here. The economy, life expectancy, infrastructure and even the political outlook for Iraq are worse now than under Saddam. Dear God, that is some trick … worse than under an aging bloodthirsty tyrant.

    Almost as bad is the melt down in the reputation of the US, now further tarnished by horrifying revelations about war crimes. More to add to a fairly lengthy list.

    I personally don’t think that that this means anything about America, or the American people as such. When you put 130,000 heavily armed men in amongst a civilian populace that largely dislikes them, and frequently tries to kill them, this is the shit that happens. How do I know? Because this is the shit that always happens. Empirical evidence, the scientific method? Used to be something right wing Americans were in favour of … oh well.

    Sensible people know this, and that is why we protest against war. War should be a last resort, an absolute in extremis last resort, not a preferred choice.

    Too little too late:-( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5032214.stm

    Congratulations are not in order.

  12. bmcworldcitizen Says:

    Plus in poll after poll, all ignored by those who opposed the war and prefer to excoriate the US, the majority of Iraqis have gone on record that the coalition of the willing was indeed right to free them from Hussein’s tyranny.

    This surprises you does it? This is what you trot out in the defense of your countries actions? Saddam Hussein was a bad man, and the people of Iraq are glad he’s gone?

    Luckily, I’m not as easily impressed by the blindingly obvious.

  13. Jack Trainor Says:

    That polls show 8 of 10 Iraqis want the coalition of the whimsical to leave?

    bmc — As I recall there was nothing whimsical about the coalition’s decision. Thousands of real men and women died on account of that decision and as a result–even if you disagree with the war–Iraq is freed from a vicious dictator. This is not the topic to make light of such sacrifices.

    Of course, that may not make sense to you being from Ireland — a country that sat out World War II and let another coalition of the whimsical also led by the United States and England to fight against fascism. Fortunately thousands of Irish nonetheless fought that good fight, but not under the flag of Ireland.

    Plus in poll after poll, all ignored by those who opposed the war and prefer to excoriate the US, the majority of Iraqis have gone on record that the coalition of the willing was indeed right to free them from Hussein’s tyranny.

  14. neoneoconned Says:

    I suppose you are right Alex but it does leave things dangerously vague. It reminds me of the old Greek Philosophical debate about when a number of grains of wheat becomes a heap.

    If you have 5 grains of wheat is that a heap? No because it is only five. You then add one at a time and keep repeating the question. At what number of grains does it become a heap? There is no answer as it is entirely subjective.

    We are going the other way round. At what stage will we have reduced the number of “terrorists” to such an extent that it no longer constitutes a war?

    Or, as I would argue, at what stage have we provoked even greater terrorist activity and created more terorists that we declare the policy a failure?

    The whole thing is very open ended.
    At least with the nazis it was a clear us v them type of event.

    I would argue that if youare going to fight a war it is a good idea to have very clear mission objectives. If only to be fair to the troops who have to do the job. One of my key objections to this war is it is so open ended.

  15. Ymarsakar Says:

    daddyx:

    And Ymar, my old Platoon Sergeant had that Japanese saying hanging on a plaque the office of our TO&E room.

    He made us NCO’s read it out loud when he tasked us with the difficult assignments.

    It is good to know that the military is still as cosmopolitan, wise, and pragmatic about different useful beliefs as all that I’ve witnessed and heard. That, if anything, will give us victory.

  16. Ymarsakar Says:

    The people of Iraq are traumatized. Just as we put guardians over adolescents and people who can’t take care of themselves, thus we do for Iraq. It is sad that the social workers barge in and question the children, putting them under undue stress, just so they can salve their on guilt.

  17. Dale St. Clair Says:

    That polls show 8 of 10 Iraqis want the coalition of the whimsical to leave?

    Polls have become simply another political tool and are usually biased. One poll asked the Iraqis if they wanted the US to leave Iraq and obtained a majority in the affirmative. Another just after asked if they wanted the US to leave now. Most did not. Amazing how one little word changes poll results. In addition there is the translation problem.

  18. douglas Says:

    neoneoconned said…
    sorry haven’t read most of the above as it is the usual stuff. Just out of curiosity did some of you al fin etc take victory to mean the defeat of Islam? Because it will never happen. That is not ‘defeatist’ talk it is just a message from the real world.

    Not that I’m saying we need to ‘defeat Islam’, but to say it will (could) never happen is a bit ignorant of history. I’m sure there were those who said the Roman Empire (or whichever other empire you prefer) would last forever, that they could never be defeated by ‘barbarians’…and yet…

    Islam will not be defeated by us, but it may commit suicide, as empires and civilizations, no matter how great, sometimes do.

  19. douglas Says:

    BMC, you quoted Franklin here:
    “All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones. In my opinion, there never was a good war or a bad peace. When will mankind be convinced and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration?, ~Benjamin Franklin

    I’d take his opinion over yours any day:-)”

    What was your point? Are you trying to hold up Franklin as a pacifist? The man was a member of the elite class of Americans that initiated an armed rebellion against the crown- not much of a pacifist.

    Perhaps I can help you understand. Franklin was very, very good at stating the obvious wisdoms very eloquently. “Haste makes waste” and “Lost time is never found again”. Of course, they also might appear to be contradictory-so the wisdom isn’t in the sayings, but in their application at the appropriate time. Franklin was also highly pragmatic- a realist, perhaps even a pessimist- so he would say that ‘war bad-peace good’ quote because it is true, but would make war because it was necessary, because there might be bigger things than a good peace.

    Here are a couple of other Franklin quotes for you:

    “He that lives upon hope will die fasting.”

    “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.”

    And my advice- stay away from bumper stickers and one-line quotes, and particularly stringing together disparate quotes without proper notation of the edit.

  20. Ymarsakar Says:

    Alex would benefit from a quantum machine as well, since he recognizes the problem of hindsight and the virtue of those who did what they did without hindsight.

    I see hindsight akin to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Except replacing location with space-time. Or maybe it was already space-time, *shrugs*.

  21. Alex Says:

    ok then Alex the analogy is a bit odd but i getthe idea. So how do we judge when this victory is arrived at?

    To continue with the imperfect Nazi analogy: Nazism still exists in the world. There are neo-Nazis in many places stirring up trouble, marching, intimidating people, beating them up, and occasionally killing them. And yet, Nazism is no longer a terror that threatens the world. It is a fringe activity, a pale shadow of the mortal menace it once was. It has been defeated, not absolutely, but in all the ways that count. If Islamic extremism could be reduced to such a state, I would call that victory.

    And under what conditions do we say that we are making things worse. If we could agree on either of these the whole debate may be a little more purposeful.

    Ah, but that’s the problem. The question of whether we are making it better or worse hinges on the question of how history might have proceeded had we not done X, Y, and Z, or had we instead done A, B, and C. And this we can never know. Our point of comparison is a counter-factual alternate history, which invites people who are against the war to imagine some sort of bloodless negotiated peace, and those who support the war to imagine emboldened terrorists carrying out ever more deadly attacks. We can tell stories, but we simply can’t know with certainty if we’ve made it better or worse. Hence, the issue divides us.

  22. neoneoconned Says:

    ok then Alex the analogy is a bit odd but i getthe idea. So how do we judge when this victory is arrived at? And under what conditions do we say that we are making things worse. If we could agree on either of these the whole debate may be a little more purposeful.

  23. bmcworldcitizen Says:

    just of that particularly murderous radical strain of Islam to which, still, only a small fraction of Muslims adhere.

    Bravo!!! We are on the same page. Hopefully the bombing, invasion and occupation have rooted out that small fraction.

    What that you say? It’s made it worse?

    That these ungrateful wretches have no sense of the sacrifice that America is making to liberate them? They just keep on harping on and on about Achmed, or Ishmael or some other dead relative?

    That they have no sense history, of the pivotal part they are playing in a great mans elevation to immortality?

    That polls show 8 of 10 Iraqis want the coalition of the whimsical to leave?

    What on earth could be causing such bizarre behaviour?

  24. Alex Says:

    conned,

    I would guess I speak for almost everyone when I say no, we are not speaking of (or desiring in any way) the “defeat” of Islam itself, just of that particularly murderous radical strain of Islam to which, still, only a small fraction of Muslims adhere.

    This is an imperfect analogy, but it’s a little like saying one would like to see the defeat of Nazism, but not the defeat of the German people themselves.

  25. neoneoconned Says:

    sorry haven’t read most of the above as it is the usual stuff. Just out of curiosity did some of you al fin etc take victory to mean the defeat of Islam? Because it will never happen. That is not ‘defeatist’ talk it is just a message from the real world.

  26. Ymarsakar Says:

    The inability to believe or even consider, that what the “other side” says is their true beliefs is a big problem for the Left. Because it tends to seep into characterizing everyone as producing propaganda, not worth paying attention to. Even those they sympathize with as US victims, Iran, is affected because they don’t actually really believe what Iranians say. They don’t believe it if they say good things about America nor do they believe it if they say threatening and bad things like wiping people and nations off the map.

    It is a curious inability to handle fanaticism, true belief, and religious zealotry. Because to deny the true believer as a true believer, is to grossly underestimate the fury of fanaticism and the inhumane strength of psychotic or fervent beliefs.

    A mad man has the strength of 5 men, because he believes. David Blaine can do super-human stunts and demonstrations because he believes that this is what he has to do, nothing else.

    Armies and war, destruction and bombs, those things shouldn’t scare people. And it didn’t scare me on 9/11. What scared me was the knowledge that there are people in this world that believe so fervently in something that they are willing to kill, and yes die, for them.

    That fake liberal arts public education thing made me expect that people would be living in moderation and tolerance in the 21st century, under the wise guidance of photogenic Al Gore rather than the rather crass and bumbling Bush (2000 elections).

    Well, that’s how the cookie crumbles.

  27. bmcworldcitizen Says:

    In short, when a critical mass of opinion is reached, the spankings will begin and will continue until the behavior stops.

    Spankings eh? Very Gestapo indeed:-) You’ve still got it!!!

    It’s so authentic, you can almost imagine a real person holding such aberrant views. You can practically smell the leather, and hear the crack of the riding whip against the jodhpurs. You sir, are an artist:-)

  28. Senescent Wasp Says:

    Nowhere did did I say “spartan state to counter sedition”. Read it again oh ye of tiny intellect and poor reading skills.

    bmcworldcitizen, I call bull shit and Godwins Law on your reference to the odius Nazi’s that you and your ilk seem to love so much.

    More and more Americans are losing patience with obstructionism and defeatism and eventually they will be heard and the laws on sedition, criminal syndicalism and conspiracy will be dusted off and applied. In extremis, the Internal Security Act and several other statutes are also available.

    In short, when a critical mass of opinion is reached, the spankings will begin and will continue until the behavior stops.

    There was no studied agonizing, it is heartfelt. If you had not been spending the last few years with your hands over your ears while singing, “La, la, la, I can’t hear you.” you might have picked that up.

  29. bmcworldcitizen Says:

    Senescent Wasp, that was brilliant. ROTFL.

    You have channelled the spirit of the loyal jackbooted uebermensch to near Colbert like perfection. Kudos:-)

    I loved the irony of reverting to a “spartan state to counter sedition” bit, that was especially hilarious. Plus the studied agony of indecision about destroying the republic to save it, priceless.

    Defeatists, Wreckers, Sedition and Spartan even … fantastic. If you’d only used the terms “Total War” or “Sub human islamic scum”, it would have been absolutlely perfect.

  30. daddyx Says:

    the defeatists are causing the US to take on more pro-active, warlike, and Spartan like actions that will eventually end in both the defeat of the Islamic JIhad as well as the imprisonment of the defeatists?
    That is always a possibility.

    The leftists cries for a near utopian “perfection” in everything we do, and the very nervous nature of our politicos to be cast in a dim light due to their own populist natures could cause this to occur.

    As for Memorial Day, we raised a few glasses for the fallen and active duty members of our family, like we do every year.

    And Ymar, my old Platoon Sergeant had that Japanese saying hanging on a plaque the office of our TO&E room.

    He made us NCO’s read it out loud when he tasked us with the difficult assignments.

  31. Ymarsakar Says:

    Is Wasp saying that the defeatists are causing the US to take on more pro-active, warlike, and Spartan like actions that will eventually end in both the defeat of the Islamic JIhad as well as the imprisonment of the defeatists?

  32. observer Says:

    Wasp, you make your case. But I submit that the ‘seditious wreckers’ will indeed turn to malicious violence. Bush has always seen the traitorous aspects of our ‘peace loving’ domestic Leftists. Perhaps one aspect for his refusal to engage their MSM lies. These America-haters were born in the violence and destruction of the 60′s. Rioting and bombing come natural. They have not shed their skins. How easy for Al Qaeda–Hugo ‘Short Brain’ Chavez–or some other thug/terrorist to use them

  33. Senescent Wasp Says:

    A very nice post Neo and Colonel Bay’s speech was wonderful. I am not surprised that the defeatists and wreckers are having their innings and I can see this thread descending to the invective that so characterizes their form of “debate”. Having lost their ability to frame and marginalize their opponents and, indeed, finding themselves marginalized that’s all they have left, trying to cow, frighten and cause their opponents to leave the field in disgust.

    I take a somewhat longer view. In not too many years, unless the left wreckers have their way, people like Neo will have had enough and voters will make it clear that it is time to more finely tune the laws on sedition of word and deed. I sill not welcome the Spartan State that we will have to become to overcome the threat of Islamo-fascisms but I will fully understand it and will know that internal sedition will have made it necessary, so unlike WW II where the American people were able to pull together and the defeatists were themselves cowed by social pressure in at least gaining some measure of self control.

    Because, in the final analysis, it is about power and American’s willingness to let their elected government exercise that power on their behalf. I don’t think the defeatists fully recognize that they are smoking in the dynamite shed either, because once government has power it is loath to give it up and getting back to to our prebellum state will be problematic at best. When we have given a decent number of the Islamofascists the peace of the grave and have our foot firmly on the necks of the others it would be difficult to imagine going back to internal democracy and freedom.

    Seditious defeatists, of course, will never take the responsibility for this and will see it as simply the working out of the “historical imperative” and the inevitable end state of anything that is not socialism. I can only imagine the dialogs as they are interned for both their safety and the safety of the United States, acceptance of responsibility for the consequences of their actions is not high on their agendas. The only bright spot I can see is that, given their disdain for actually fighting for anything, we will probably not see “revolutionary uprisings” of the masses, rhetoric notwithstanding.

    There is always the chance that they will gain enough levers of power themselves sometime in the future and be able to “throw themselves into the machinery of the repressive State” right here “in the belly of the beast” and the United States will cease to exist.

    I know that there are many people asking themselves “What is to be done?” (No apologies to Lenin) but as de Touqueville pointed out, the greatness of the American people is “self interest, rightly understood.” I try very hard not to smirk over the what will be the inevitable reaction of the defeatists. But, it is hard.

  34. Ryan Says:

    Steve -

    That’s two posts so far. No screaming yet, but already I see hyperventilation. Total meltdown can’t be far away.

  35. Ymarsakar Says:

    Nyo doesn’t mention the fact that the Japanese were more fanatical than the Islamics. And we beat their asses flat.

    And without having to obliterate them for all eternity, at that. Now a warlike nation with an expansionist policy has become a rich nation concerned with robotics, anime, and privatizing their postal systems rather than gearing up armament systems. The US does that for them, so that they can focus most of their resources on robotics and reconstructing their economy, which they did.


    You cannot claim that you do not know this. Yet you persist, in the teeth of the evidence, to keep on doing the same foolish thing. That makes you, temporarily at least, the bad guy, and perhaps a little crazy.

    It is the mark of a true believer to continue on against outrageous odds, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Those who have given up, have already lost.

    Again and again we tell people there are no heaps of bodies stacked like corkwood because the US has held a very tight rein on the US Marines. And yet they still do not believe us.

    I’ve been writing a blog post about the weapons systems of the United States, primarily mechanical and technological, but perhaps ending with a human dimension.

    The thing is, the United States has the power to obliterate half the world without using nuclear weapons, yet because of how our representative democracy is structured, the US Marines are forbidden from doing so by the limitations of civilian control. Whether you believe that is bad or good, doesn’t change the fact that half the world would lay in rubble had the US military unleashed the full power of their weaponry.

    You can go to my blog to read about some of the advanced weapons systems in development , including the ones actually used in field.

    The military believes as I do. Dropping a bunch of cluster bombs over a general area in order to get a soft kill is violence unleashed without control. It would be better if you could control and pinpoint that violence, than just have a lot of bombs to drop on places.

    Thus, the development of precision munitions as well as pilots piloting UAVs, which are hundreds if not thousands of miles away.

    When the army has more control over what targets it can hit, the army becomes more violent not less violent. To the rest of us, however, the amount of violence is orders of magnitude lower than WWII. The reason for this is because the violence is focused and directed, so that hordes of bodies don’t crop up on television screens. What we see as a lack of violence, is due to the fact that we are not the targets, the terroists are. To the terroists, the violence of a precision guided bomb or a .50 caliber bullet shredding their main man without warning, is Very Violent.

    And yet, the idea of technology has never frightened any criminal, terroist, or enemy of the United States. It is the minds and bodies behind those weapons, the human beings, that frighten the enemy. For Al Qaeda can do nothing to stop the true believers in the US military from hunting them down and killing them, they cannot negotiate, they cannot plead for their lives, and they cannot bribe non-bribable US Marines and Rangers.

    The only one, I say the only one, that can stop the US Marines from killing every insurgent and terroist is the civilian authority controlling the military. Perhaps such a thing as “Military Intelligence”, the jokes to the contrary aside.

  36. nyomythus Says:

    “conned”

    so what the hell is a complete victory and when is this mess ever going to stop?

    We were asking ourselves the same thing concerning the Japanese after WW2. Many people were disdainful of the idea of introducing democracy to those backwards people — they weren’t worthy of anything good. Some people think the same thing about Iraqis. I think they are as worth as I am. Give it some time. Islam compared to Japanese Feudalism is different, but the oppression is the same – think of the young men, the women, the children – not all of them are losers. Don’t you think they want a future for themselves, where their mothers are honored, where their children can grow up, have relationships, and be productive people in their own country – or any where in the free world? Just forget about your smug little ideology and think out side of your own selfish needs – try it for a year, but really but your heart in it, we’ll be support.

  37. al fin Says:

    Freedom is not free. How true that is. Life itself is not free. Those of us who have helplessly watched young children struggling for their last breath understand this.

    There are those who struggle against the natural state of nihilism, death, and decay, and there are those who say “why bother if it’s going to be controversial? If you can’t get a consensus, let it go.” They will never understand.

    We come into the world alone, learn to know our selves alone, and throw ourselves into the trajectory of life alone. We brush against others for varying numbers of heartbeats, but then we pass on alone. All of that is common to each human.

    What is different is the choices each one makes–for conformity or for principle. For enlightenment or for comfort and lack of controversy. For growth or for decay.

  38. neoneoconned Says:

    this link will give you an idea of why neo is going to be reposting this article for some time.

    George W Bush “We will never accept anything less than complete victory”

    so what the hell is a complete victory and when is this mess ever going to stop?

  39. bmcworldcitizen Says:

    All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones. In my opinion, there never was a good war or a bad peace. When will mankind be convinced and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration?, ~Benjamin Franklin

    I’d take his opinion over yours any day:-)

    only we listened to and revered the UN, Europe, and Jimmy Carter.”

    This a smear because no one wants to be revered, but we do insist on being heard. We think you are wrong this particular instance, and you are in the minority.

    You cannot claim that you do not know this. Yet you persist, in the teeth of the evidence, to keep on doing the same foolish thing. That makes you, temporarily at least, the bad guy, and perhaps a little crazy.

    This is upsetting no doubt, but the evidence is hardly in dispute.

    That you think you are the good guy despite the truth of all of the above, simply makes you a vigiliante with delusions of grandeur. This is not an improvement.

    Weeping children, and anguished relatives on your “side” leave you moved. Yet, a heap of bodies on the other “side” is cynically dismissed. That makes you an amoral psycopath, and someone who, strictly speaking, should be locked up for the good of the global community.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopath

    No doubt there are many on the other “side” who exhibit a similar pathology. I feel the exact same way about them.

  40. douglas Says:

    Neo:“Many, if not most, of my friends live in a dreamworld where such things can be avoided, if only we listened to and revered the UN, Europe, and Jimmy Carter.”

    Steve J:“Nice job of smearing your friends. Did you show any them this post?”

    If they like the UN, Europe and Carter (and unfortunately, many do) would they consider that comment a smear? Would they consider it a smear that Neo might think it’s wishful thinking? Why?

  41. Steve J. Says:

    Many, if not most, of my friends live in a dreamworld where such things can be avoided, if only we listened to and revered the UN, Europe, and Jimmy Carter.

    Nice job of smearing your friends. Did you show any them this post?

  42. Annie Says:

    The speech was beautiful – thank you for providing the link. By the way – I am a fifty something woman living in New England who has also been converted by 9/11. You are not alone.

  43. Ymarsakar Says:

    Bush should have kept saying it every week for the last 4 years.

  44. confusedforeigner Says:

    At 6:52 PM, May 27, 2006, Ymarsakar said…
    Bring it on.

    I see Bush just apologized for saying that.

  45. Ymarsakar Says:

    It’s people who want to put women under the block for not doing what the men commanded, that is killing American men and women in the military.

  46. neoneoconned Says:

    if you had not noticed it is the iraq mess that is getting these young people killed.

  47. Ymarsakar Says:

    Try and leave the Iraq debate somewhere else.

  48. Ymarsakar Says:

    Bring it on. If the terroists wanna die and have relatives, they’re free to join the party.

  49. gcotharn Says:

    Can we not, on Memorial Day weekend, gratefully honor the men and women who have devoted themselves to preserving our freedoms? Maybe some of them joined for more pragmatic reasons than “to preserve our freedoms”. However, by their service, they were devoting themselves just as surely to that cause. Even if we do not personally see freedom being preserved, can we not, on this weekend, respectfully honor their devotion to duty?

  50. neoneoconned Says:

    and then there is also this kind of mess that is inevitable in a war and only serves to make things even worse…..i am really starting to depress myself today.

  51. neoneoconned Says:

    ok douglas i take your point. I would argue that there are a range of groups who are fighting against america some who are despicable some not so. I would imagine that many Iraqis find it easy to see America as the enemy because “they” invaded “our” country. Surely that is not so hard to imagine as a reasonable thing for an Iraqi to feel.

    Also in Afghanistan the taliban watch the reintroduction of poppies everywhere and hate the non-muslim american invaders even more. I despise the taliban and pretty much everything they stand for. But many of the actions of america and her allies just make the situation worse. The willingness to use force simply pushes many on the other side to greater extremes.

    As a policy all this violence simply does not work. Iraq and Afghanistan are getting worse. The situation of the Palestinians is dire and looks to get even worse.

    And neo will be reposting this same thing for years to come.

    …oh and if you invade Iranit will be an even bigger mess. more flags for brave menwhose lives are not being taken seriously by an overly aggressive us government.

  52. douglas Says:

    “Like it or not the situation is more complex than a pure america fighting evil. It really is.”

    thanks for the enlightenment. Of course it is. But we strive to be as ‘pure’ (your word, not mine) as possible, and to be as selective as possible to destroy only evil… but of course it’s an imperfect world.

  53. douglas Says:

    “and guess what. Some of the thousand you kill will have relatives and they might want revenge.”

    Was that NOT true with Germans and Japanese in WWII? If not, isn’t that a significant condemnation of our current enemies culture, rather than of our strategy? Seems to me it just makes the argument that we must engage and destroy them more powerful (and that’s not even my approach).

  54. douglas Says:

    “i imagine there are very brave young people and sad eyed fathers on the other side…only you would criticise them for brainwashing their children and sending them to die…”

    Which other side are we talking about? The Taliban in Afghanistan? No, I wouldn’t feel particularly sorry for them, any more than I’d have felt sorry for the parent of an Imperial Japanese soldier at Nanking, who got killed. Perhaps you meant the fathers of al Qaeda members? For instance the Father of Mohammed Atta? Sorry, still no sympathy. Oh, you meant the insurgency in Iraq? They, ultimately being Saddam loyalists who miss the ‘good old days’ of baathist power and privilege are about one step removed from the families of Nazi party members in the closing days of WWII. Sorry, no sympathy there either. I also ask no sympathy from our enemies, mainly because I know they will give none.

    I wouldn’t criticize them for brainwashing their children and sending them to die- I’d critcize them for sending them to kill innocent civilians and children deliberately.

    Interesting how you choose to give moral equvalence to our enemies and us… perhaps you’d care to explain how you justify that?

  55. neoneoconned Says:

    ok yrmdwnkr has gone back to totally crazy mode

    The New Black Panthers are true believers in white racism. Meaning they will do everything to white people that they believe was done to their forefathers, except they will do it now. Compared to American deaths, since I’m also a true believer, I tend to believe that we will return the favor of terroists a thousand fold. Everone they kill, we kill 1,000 of them in return

    and guess what. Some of the thousand you kill will have relatives and they might want revenge.

    and what is this weird thing you got going about white people?

    and while i am not qualified to comment on the quality of poetry it has a simplistic view of the “long war” mess. Like it or not the situation is more complex than a pure america fighting evil. It really is.

  56. douglas Says:

    At the risk of sounding corny, and getting attacked, here’s a tribute poem I wrote last year. It’s got a rather simple structure, but maybe that fits, as a march in music is simple in structure…

    A Warriors Flag

    Men of virtue, always true
    Resonate in a field of blue
    With courage reaching far and wide
    Alights from the sky in stars of white
    But we know why the stripes are red
    As we shed a tear and honor our dead

    Made with care and thread and needle
    It snaps out to show our people
    Echoes of heroes, past and present
    There, our proudly waving pennant
    Our founding fathers, the men in blue
    A greatest generation- born anew

    As enemies rise to threaten our peace
    We look for someone to face the beast
    One band is always sure and steady
    They step forward, arms at the ready
    Our warriors shall heed the call-
    To duty, to honor, to serve for all

    And when that flag is folded tight
    We know a man has left the fight
    That small triangle, a nations sorrow
    Has moved us toward a brighter tomorrow
    We cannot know the families pain
    The sacrifice, the pride, the rain
    Of tears, but let us say out loud
    Of our fallen, we are most proud.

  57. Ymarsakar Says:

    Freedom is bought by the blood of patriots and maintained by the vigilance of freed men.

    Or as Marine people tend to say, “Peace through Superior firepower”.

    A lot of people who go into the military and sign up for the most gruesome and elite organizations (Like Ranger, COmmando, and Sniper training) are A type personalities. They have strong beliefs, they HATE losing, they have a very strong confidence in themselves and their beliefs, and in essence they are either true believers (like the patriotic non-citizen Neo refered to) or simply people who do this to benefit themselves in terms of a personal challenge.

    Or both as the case may be. To a liberal, “losing” just means there was a “misunderstanding”. To a warrior, to someone who lives by the sword and dies by the sword, “losing” means you committed a fatal mistake, which if you lived to tell about it, you should rectify immediately or ASAP.

    This is why fake liberals keep doing and believing as they do, and they don’t change. Because it is not a matter of life and death for them, so their brains are not concentrated by the thought of being hanged as they say.

    People like David Blaine and other A type personalities (stuntdevils and adrenaline junkies) feel the Most Alive when they are near death, when they are challenging their personal limits (their genkai) and raising them.

    Because the military is the epitomy of human competition, with the stakes being literally life and death, the amount of personal satisfaction, pride, and self-improvement in the military is MANY orders greater than in any comparable civilian role in society.

    For college tenured professors who don’t even compete in a free market for jobs, the idea of risking your life to bust your genkai is more foreign than Japanese philosophy. Death is lighter than a feather, while duty is heavier than mountains. Leftist professors Can. Not. Understand. That.

    The Marines have these traditions. Semper Fidelis, always faithful, even through death. That is why Marines don’t leave Marines behind. That is why they bring back their dead.

    You can’t get this sort of challenge by “simulations” in civilan life. You just can’t. And for people who are so ambitious, who belong to the top 1% of the human genome in which prides success and results, the military in wartime looks more important than a job in the civilian sector.

    It is as if all those people on the APprentice grew up in a war zone and learned to use a weapon to kill instead of learning how to read the stock market, at a young age. They are young, which means not only do their patriotism and true beliefs factor in, but their genetical instincts to expand and do new things as well.

    you have to think how many deaths you are willing to accept in this very controversial war..

    The New Black Panthers are true believers in white racism. Meaning they will do everything to white people that they believe was done to their forefathers, except they will do it now. Compared to American deaths, since I’m also a true believer, I tend to believe that we will return the favor of terroists a thousand fold. Everone they kill, we kill 1,000 of them in return.

    The thin veneer of civilization covers a lot of this stuff up, as well as military discipline as it imposes the control of willpower over the instincts of the animal side to inflict more damage than taken. But there is literally nothing that can stop a true believer from joining the military to inflict the same damage on the enemy, that was inflicted to them, their family, or their country.

    It depends. The father on a vendetta is as much a true believer in the righteousness of his cause as the American patriot fighting for Uncle Same in the trenches. Which is also the same as the true believer when he blows up his airplane inside a building.

    The reason why I criticize the jihadist suicide bombers, is because they are NOT true believers. Not on the same caliber that people like me are. There is literally no flaws in my belief that America is the greatest nation on earth and that anyone who tries to get rid of America, needs to be obliterated for the good of humanity.

    A Palestinian has not been introduced to other viewpoints. He just blows himself up, end of story. He doesn’t use his brains. He doesn’t craft strategy or anything else. They aren’t true believers, they are just cannon fodder. And a autistic child is as good a cannon fodder as the smartest brainwashed Palestinian. Which is why the terroists do use autistic children as suicide bombers.

    No, the true believers are too smart for that kind of stupidity. If they truly believe in their jihad and what not, then they will try and do their best to achieve. They may believe the Virgins are there for them, but they may also believe that they won’t get those virgins unless they use their intelligence and hurt the enemy (Ami 9/11) as much as possible.

    Thus Bin Laden refusing to blow himself up is not so much hypocritical, as it is an example of how much a true believer he really is. The smarter a person is, the more solid is his true belief, which you may call fanaticism and zealousness.

    Religious zealots are always a nasty lot. But you haven’t seen nothing yet compared to a true patriot.

  58. neoneoconned Says:

    very sad and moving….of course i do not see this as the defense of freedom…you have to think how many deaths you are willing to accept in this very controversial war..i imagine there are very brave young people and sad eyed fathers on the other side…only you would criticise them for brainwashing their children and sending them to die…

    all very depressing

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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