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Friendly fire.

By ruderod in News
Thu May 26, 2005 at 04:07:44 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)

A tale of a modern day soldier, killed in action. A hero to some, a enemy soldier to others, some words about the death of Pat Tillman.

On the 22nd of April, 2004, Pat Tillman was fatally shot in Afghanistan. However, it was not until this year, long after a widely televised funeral in May 2004 at which Senator John McCain spoke, that the White House revealed the truth: Private Tillman was the victim of friendly fire. Among those deceived about the soldier's death was his own brother, also a soldier, who arrived on the scene only a short time after the shooting. Several thousand mourners gathered at Tillman's May 3, 2004 memorial service, listening to the speakers call upon all Americans to "be worthy of the sacrifices made on our behalf."
"Tillman died trying to save fellow members of the 75th Ranger Regiment caught in a crush of enemy fire," the Arizona Republican quoted a fellow soldier addressing the crowd. Tillman, said his friend and comrade-at-arms, had told his fellow soldiers "to seize the tactical high ground from the enemy" to draw enemy fire away from another U.S. platoon trapped in an ambush.

"He directly saved their lives with those moves. Pat sacrificed his life so that others could live." It was, as the Washington Post wrote, a "storybook personal narrative". The patriotic raving blasted across the media on hundreds of newspapers and newscasts.

It was also a lie.

As the truth began to seep into the press, people read that the honored soldier was not a victim from supposed enemy gunfire. It was partly true, Private Tillman died from gunfire, but not like most people where led to believe. He died from an accidental hail of friendly-fire. The Washington Post now reports that Pentagon and White House officials knew the truth "within days" after his April 22, 2004 shooting by fellow Army Rangers but "decided not to inform Tillman's family or the public until weeks after".

It gets worse. So desperate were the military brass to carry off their propaganda coup that they lied to Tillman's brother, a fellow soldier who arrived on the scene shortly after the incident, about how he died. A gifted athlete, Pat left his football career to serve along side his brother in arms. His noble gesture, leaving the fields of football for the fields of battle, cost him his life. In the end, his service to his country will be remembered by his bravery, but also the lies his government made about his death.

Writing in an army report, Brigadier General Gary Jones admits that the official cover-up even included "the destruction of evidence". Did the Army burn Tillman's Ranger uniform and body armor to hide the fact that he had died in a hail of American bullets? Why burn the body armor and clothes? A routine procedure in a combat zone?
It doesn't really matter, friendly-fire is a part of war. What matters is the government of the United States covered up the true events to score points with the public. A few more points, just like the winning field goal kick. In the game of propaganda, every point matters. We are the unsuspecting patrons of the propaganda game, paying our tickets with our taxes, allowing the government to wage an unpopular war.

"We didn't want the world finding out what actually happened," one soldier told Jones. The pass blocked, again no more points in this quarter for team "Truth". Team "Lies" again has the ball.

We shouldn't blame the White House and the Pentagon for producing lies, now should we? It is one thing I am beginning to believe they do well.

News story from Washingtonpost.


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Should events during wartime be disclosed, even if it means polarizing people for or against the war?
o Yes 78%
o No, national security and the safety of our troops is more important than the truth. 2%
o Yes, as long as it helps the war effort against terrorism. 0%
o No, the history of war can be disclosed after the battles are done. 8%
o Yes and no. 9%

Votes: 111
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o News story from Washingtonpost.
o Also by ruderod

Display: Sort:
Friendly fire. | 201 comments (181 topical, 20 editorial, 0 hidden)
Are you disparaging the heroism... (1.00 / 18) (#1)
by givemegmail111 on Tue May 24, 2005 at 12:05:44 AM EST

of our brave men and women fighting overseas? Why not just scream "Heil Allah" and be done with it.

McDonalds: i'm lovin' it
Start your day tastefully with a Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddle, only at McDonalds.
Rusty fix my sig, dammit!
LOLOLOL!!!!111!!eleven!! (2.33 / 3) (#2)
by Resonant on Tue May 24, 2005 at 12:11:39 AM EST

Quick, lets generalize with rhetoric!

If you are not with us, you are against us!

"I answer, 'This is _quantitative_ religious studies.'" - glor
[ Parent ]
YHBT. HAND. (none / 0) (#4)
by Kasreyn on Tue May 24, 2005 at 12:45:19 AM EST

"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
the only thing worse than bad propaganda (1.00 / 12) (#5)
by circletimessquare on Tue May 24, 2005 at 01:37:58 AM EST

is bad propaganda from the other direction

do you honestly believe your blindly partisan take is better than their blindly partisan take?

all hail the propaganda fest

people die, partisan morons from the right and the left try to use it to their gain

death is a tragedy, of iraqis, of afghanis, and americans

but what you, and the partisan morons in your mirror image do, is belittle it

i believe the right cares about tillman's death about as far as they can twist it

and i believe the left cares about dead iraqis and afghanis about as far as they can twist it

why can't iraqis and americans and afghanis kill the gasbag minions on the right and the left in their ranks first in their own country?

and spare all of the level-headed americans and iraqis and afghanis the hot air

welcome to our polarized times

reason takes a nap, loud ass motherfucking gas bag propagandizers like THE AUTHOR OF THIS PIECE prevail

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Yeah, because lies and the truth are the same! (2.75 / 4) (#7)
by Russell Dovey on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:18:27 AM EST


"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

here's a pretty graph for you (1.50 / 6) (#11)
by circletimessquare on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:38:25 AM EST

partisan right wing assholes: here you find lies
beleaguered impartial moderates: here you find truth
partisan left wing assholes: here you find lies

the mirror image of idiocy is not intelligence, it's just more idiocy

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

It's a lovely theory, cts. (2.33 / 3) (#14)
by Russell Dovey on Tue May 24, 2005 at 07:33:57 AM EST

But it doesn't hold up in this case.

The guy was shot by his own side. A tragedy, but these things happen in war. However, his own side then lied about it, to the extent of destroying evidence. What the "partisan left wing assholes" are now doing is asking: Why the fuck did the army/government lie?

One thing I'd like to see the article cover: Was there an internal investigation into the man's death, to see if it should have been avoidable? Or was the death covered up before that could take place? Obviously whatever investigation there was wasn't public or accountable.

Look, I don't want to score political points off what was in all likelihood an accident. But the fact remains that the military lied about it to cover their own ass, and that in my opinion was a terrible idea, even if they wised up later.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

there are two types of propagandizers (1.28 / 7) (#17)
by circletimessquare on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:34:42 AM EST

evil ones and dumb ones

the evil ones know they are manipulating the truth

the dumb ones are just so blind to the idea of balance and perspective and context and scale and intent

these concepts forever elude them

ideas like most everyone means well, they just don't communicate their intentions well in a tense environment lacking trust

no, how silly

the truth of course is that [the left/ the right] is a vast bastion of evil hellbent on destroying all that is good in the world!

so you go on with your bad self, mr. blind propagandized partisan fool, don't let my silly words of the truth of moderation in ideology stop you, heaven forbid!

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

so (none / 0) (#28)
by mpalczew on Tue May 24, 2005 at 02:02:45 PM EST

So what you are saying is that calling out someones bald faced lie is a partisan attack?!  Lying shouldn't be the norm and lyers should get called on it.  Perhaps I'm an idealist though.  Yes both sides lie.  Both sides should have it pointed out.  It's not

> the truth of course is that [the left/ the right] is a vast bastion of evil hellbent on destroying all that is good in the world!

aren't you the one who is always going on about how humans are generally good.  I just see these people not as wanting destroy, but rather quite misguided.  
-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]

bald faced lie? (1.00 / 10) (#39)
by circletimessquare on Tue May 24, 2005 at 07:35:15 PM EST

the TRUTH is that the man died in the service of his country

it is a tragedy

that you point your finger at the army and shake it, accusing them of twisting the truth in order to serve an agenda means shit

mainly because a truly moderate observer is only concerned with the TRUTH: his death is a tragedy, the circumstances and details mean shit

but no! your WORDS about your jumping up and down and being red face about it reveals your agenda, reveals you to be just as much a partisan asshole as the real and/ or imagined manipulators on the right

fuck them

and fuck you!

we need less partisan assholes


you belittle the mans' death just as much as any master manipulators of the right

they don't really care about his death





welcome to our new reality: a bunch of fucking assholes with an agenda bicker over the meaning of the death of a man as far as they can use it for their own fucking bullshit agenda

and completely lose sight of his death, and the death of iraqis, and the death of iraqis death



fucking assholes

the extremes: al qaeda, right wing crusaders, left wing morons: they are calling too many shots, their loud assed brain dead bullshit shouts out all reason









The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

by mpalczew on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:00:02 PM EST

> the circumstances and details mean shit

If they really don't mean shit then why make shit up instead of just not releasing the details?

Why in your opinion did they lie?

You've gone of the deep end. Type-2?

-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]

Going off the deep end... (none / 1) (#49)
by tonedevil on Wed May 25, 2005 at 01:42:34 AM EST

is just part of the act.

[ Parent ]
Any chance of (2.00 / 2) (#15)
by DJNW on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:13:00 AM EST

having that diagram etched onto a spade? There's any number of stuck-up-their-own-arse pol-sci folks round here could do with a thump and an instructional disagram literally impressed upon them.

[ Parent ]
i wholeheartedly support it (1.00 / 4) (#16)
by circletimessquare on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:30:47 AM EST

public branding (not wimpy tattooing) on the forehead, of aboveforementioned graph, in society at large for assholes form the left and the right who prove to be hopelessly and loudly partisan to the detriment of society and the withering of the peace of the commons

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
You're a paranoid freak. [nt] (none / 1) (#69)
by vera on Wed May 25, 2005 at 02:14:18 PM EST

[ Parent ]
how am i paranoid? (nt) (none / 1) (#76)
by circletimessquare on Wed May 25, 2005 at 08:14:50 PM EST

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
BWAHAHAHAHA (none / 0) (#81)
by vera on Wed May 25, 2005 at 09:52:45 PM EST

Left wing?  Right wing?

Get over your oversimplified perspective on human thought and make some effort towards analyzing it.

[ Parent ]

huh? (none / 1) (#86)
by circletimessquare on Wed May 25, 2005 at 10:37:51 PM EST

i am for homosexual marriage and marijuana legalization, but i am also for the iraq invasion

ideology isn't one line, left and right, like you indicate,
it's multidimensional

now this is all very interesting, but so far you've accused me of being paranoid and being unable to appreciate ideological nuance

but i really don't understand anything that you're saying to me except that you want to insult me for no reason

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Be serious for once. [nt] (none / 0) (#91)
by vera on Thu May 26, 2005 at 12:35:45 AM EST

[ Parent ]
ok.. i'm being serious right now... (1.11 / 9) (#92)
by circletimessquare on Thu May 26, 2005 at 01:16:30 AM EST

no i'm not

suck my dick or fuck off

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Very true (2.66 / 3) (#8)
by NaCh0 on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:20:46 AM EST

We should expect our government to perform at a higher standard than the New York Times, CBS, Newsweek, and the rest of the media.

K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
Damned straight nt (none / 0) (#56)
by curien on Wed May 25, 2005 at 06:33:35 AM EST

This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]
Humour and/or satire (2.00 / 2) (#12)
by stuaart on Tue May 24, 2005 at 04:14:35 AM EST

Warning: make sure you don't add any humour or satire into this piece otherwise kurons will simply think you really believe what you are saying with all your heart. I put this inability to detect satire down to an innate trait of North American culture (and let's face it, many kurons are USian). Even when satire is fairly obvious or clearly humourous, k5ers will still tend to believe you are being serious.

Linkwhore: [Hidden stories.] Baldrtainment: Corporate concubines and Baldrson: An Introspective

The first casualty of war is truth /nt (2.85 / 7) (#13)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Tue May 24, 2005 at 07:13:26 AM EST

"What's next, sigging a k5er quote about sigging someone on k5?"

single-paragraph articles (2.66 / 3) (#18)
by wiredog on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:47:35 AM EST

The Washington Post had a multi-page article last fall on Tilman.

The M16 doesn't fire armor piercing rounds, the 5.56 mm round doesn't have enough power for it. The smallest armor piercing round is the .50 cal. and that isn't carried by Rangers due to its weight.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

M16 *can* fire AP rounds (none / 1) (#52)
by evilmeow on Wed May 25, 2005 at 02:54:43 AM EST

M16 rifles do have AP rounds
"[O]ne thing is certain: people are certifiably historically myopic"

[ Parent ]
For suitably loose definitions of (none / 1) (#62)
by wiredog on Wed May 25, 2005 at 08:27:30 AM EST


Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Oh please... (3.00 / 2) (#162)
by JonesBoy on Fri May 27, 2005 at 03:11:36 PM EST

You can get AP in 5.56, 7.62, .45... virtually any calibre.   Small calibre, high velocity weapons are actually very good at defeating armor than large, heavy, slower counterparts.   KE=0.5mv^2.  Velocity, small cross sections, and mass are your friends.   2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Do you call 1/2 inch of steel plate a loose definition of "armor"?   The 5.56 rounds will penetrate that at 100yds.   Sure, the .50 can do better, but that is a gun designed for hitting hardened targets like armored vehicles.   The M16 was made for hitting the soft and squishy things like humans.   The M998 is nothing to sneeze at, and will penetrate anything worn on a person as well as lightly armored vehicles and aircraft.
Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]

Any rifle round is armor piercing... (none / 0) (#178)
by Gregoyle on Sun May 29, 2005 at 12:27:08 PM EST

First, no one carries .50 cals. The barrel itself is about the same weight as most other machine guns. They mount them on vehicles. This includes Ranger Regiment.

Second, all rifle rounds will penetrate body armor. It's true that only a .50 cal would easily penetrate the plate at the front and back of American armor, but the sides and shoulders are just plain kevlar.

Third, why does everyone assume "friendly fire" was from Americans? It was freaking Afghans, which is why the whole element returned fire and tried to maneuver on them. They just didn't realize until very late in the game that it was Afghans who were on *our* side, and that they had made a mistake.

He's more machine now than man, twisted and evil.
[ Parent ]

Canadian Army snipers carry .50 cal (none / 1) (#182)
by Gallowglass on Mon May 30, 2005 at 11:33:25 AM EST

At least, part of the time.

"Normally armed with the C3 A1 sniper rifle, the Battle Group's snipers primarily used the .50 cal Long Range Sniper Weapon (LRSW) because of Afghanistan's terrain." First subheading on this Canadian Forces website

Some discussion on this page which mentions that the PPCLI snipers in Afghanistan hit targets at a range of 2,430 meters (about 2,657 yards) using the McMillan Tac-50 .50 cal sniper rifles.

Not the regular grunt's tool, but it really is light enough to carry.

On another note . . .

You wrote, "why does everyone assume "friendly fire" was from Americans?" Possibly because of stories like this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and . . . Oh why go on.

I've had a number of veterans tell me that when they heard Americans are on the flank, the proper response is to dig deeper. You guys have a terrible reputation for friendly fire. In some cases, it's a screw up in command, as for example the current war. British troops didn't have the cute electronic gimmicks to self-identify themselves as friendly to US pilots. The bodged up solution was to mount a special reflector to Brit vehicles which would show up clearly to US fighter pilots. Didn't work, because nobody thought to tell the pilots about this identification scheme.

An earlier example was told me by my deceased uncle who told me of his Canadian destroyer being shelled by an American destroyer during D-day.

Sorry, but you guys just have this rep.

[ Parent ]

Wrong! US has man portable 50 (none / 0) (#192)
by JonesBoy on Thu Jun 02, 2005 at 05:05:58 PM EST



The Barrett .50 is a man portable sniper rifle, intended for hitting equipment, but also effective against personnel.

Its big.  Its heavy (but not too bad).  It looks badass.   Its the sexiest gun ever made.
Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]

white house responsibility (2.75 / 4) (#19)
by karb on Tue May 24, 2005 at 10:00:11 AM EST

Between the military and the executive branch, I believe there are about 3 million people who 'work for' George W. Bush.

Obviously, some mistakes and unpopular decisions these people make are the results of bad direction from the white house.

However, I just don't understand how you can claim the White House was 'lying' about this. There's no evidence that they knew what was going on, nor that they recommended to withold the news about the actual cause of Tillman's death.
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?

Fine, then (2.75 / 4) (#57)
by curien on Wed May 25, 2005 at 06:38:25 AM EST

Hold the folks who are responsible accountable. Anything less is tacit approval.

This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]
Truth is overrated (2.50 / 12) (#20)
by SocratesGhost on Tue May 24, 2005 at 10:58:56 AM EST

I'm going to get modded to oblivion for this one but I'm going to agree with Obi-Wan on this: Truth depends on your point of view.

Publicly, Pat Tillman sacrificed himself. Privately, the Army told the family the truth. The benefit: Pat's brother who was also a soldier may have avoided despair and doubt that could have led to his own death and the death of others.

Public knowledge of a single friendly fire incident has little probative value. Our decisions for or against war ought not to be swayed by it. However, since Pat was a celebrity, his death in this manner might have swayed opinion about it. If we can be swayed by Pat's friendly fire death, we ought to be swayed by any friendly fire casualty but we are not. This hypocrisy can have real effects in a war so it must be managed. In other words: we could expect the public to overreact to the truth. There is evidence everywhere for why we should mistrust the public's responsible handling of facts. For example, even though Wendy's has been exonerated on the finger in the chili incident, it's stock price and sales are still less than just prior to that incident. People are worse than sheep.

That the Army didn't tell me the truth doesn't matter because the manner of his death doesn't matter. The fact of his death, however, does matter and this the army reported.

Mind you, the discovery of this lie may have an impact on the voting public above and beyond the effects of the incident. But it should not. The public's right to know information about the conduct of a war ought to be limited as any public information about operations can be used by the enemy. Even the associated news story indicates how it is possible to create enough confusion on the battlefield to lead us to shoot at our own troops. If you demand a right to know operations on the off-chance that it may have a benefit in determining your reaction to the war, it has just as much of an off-chance to benefit the enemy.

The only thing we should take away from this is that war is messy and the army should endeavor to improve its performance. Who doesn't know that already, though?

If you think the country lied about Tillman and deserves rebuke, then this article does the same: "He never got the chance to choose between bravery and cowardice." Since he had already served in Iraq before the incident in Afghanistan, it's clear he did have a chance.

I mourn the loss of Pat Tillman. He made a choice few of us would make to support his country. His death is a tragedy.

I drank what?

lies (none / 1) (#21)
by ruderod on Tue May 24, 2005 at 11:23:15 AM EST

I think the value of the article is that we are led to believe things that are lies. This happens during wartime and peacetime. As you mentioned, we are told things to manage information, manage the truth, manage the lies so that one TEAM can win. This is a slippery slope, and one can easily fall down into complete loss of integrity when it comes to handling information. This leads to other problems. It has the opposite effect as people lose faith in the the team because someone is as they say, treating them like mushrooms. That is, feeding you shit and keeping you in the dark. I think that as you say, we shouldn't be swayed one way or the other, is incorrect. The non-disclosure or falsification of war events is what may continue a war that is unwinnable. It may continue a war that is partly genocide. If news events are covered up about friendly-fire, why not cover up the news about the accidental(?) bombing of the hospital, or the embassy? Or the gas chambers?

[ Parent ]
There is a reason (none / 1) (#22)
by SocratesGhost on Tue May 24, 2005 at 11:36:42 AM EST

why "slippery slope" arguments are considered logical fallacies. The death of Pat Tillman doesn't make this an unwinnable war. It is not an event of genocide. There was no breach of the Geneva Convention. In other words, the event doesn't warrant full disclosure and the manner of his death has little impact on how the war should be conducted.

Mind you, I'm not advocating that the army should have full control over the facts and that breaches of international treaties or humanitarian issues should be covered up. On this particular issue, though, I don't have a problem in not knowing the full details because it doesn't really affect me. The people that it did affect were told about it. If the army was so desperate to cover it up--as you say--they would have taken greater measures than to release the information to the family.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
well (none / 1) (#23)
by ruderod on Tue May 24, 2005 at 11:54:00 AM EST

His manner of death may not have affected you, but it DID AFFECT others. I think the manner of his death is important also because most people don't read statistics. I think detail is important sometimes. The disclosure of truth here would have been better for the war. Instead, the lie has sparked controversy and a lack of support for our government and the war. How he died and why is important because he wanted to make a difference, and he did. People who make a difference are heroes. But he did NOT die from the enemy. People go to war mostly to fight an enemy, not for the resources, or the things they need to feed their children. Pat died because of an accident. He did not DIE from a heroic action against an enemy, though you could say he was a hero in prior battles.

[ Parent ]
platitudes, platitudes, platitudes (none / 0) (#24)
by SocratesGhost on Tue May 24, 2005 at 12:45:03 PM EST

and not a single thought anywhere in that statement of yours.

His manner of death may not have affected you, but it DID AFFECT others.
And the army informed the family. To the rest of us, it did the equivalent of saying that we don't look fat in this dress.

I think the manner of his death is important also because most people don't read statistics.
Why is this important? What does statistics have to do with it?

I think detail is important sometimes. The disclosure of truth here would have been better for the war.

Instead, the lie has sparked controversy and a lack of support for our government and the war.
Somewhat true, but as I've argued it ought not to. Information about combat operations necessarily requires some restriction on how the information is presented. If the government can meet its obligation to the family but avoid telling its enemies, good for them.

How he died and why is important because he wanted to make a difference, and he did. People who make a difference are heroes.
Does any of this follow? The clause after "because" should explain the clause before it. His heroism is not really at issue as he already demonstrated it simply by enlisting but also by his performance in Iraq.

But he did NOT die from the enemy. People go to war mostly to fight an enemy, not for the resources, or the things they need to feed their children. Pat died because of an accident.
Every death on the field of battle exists because the enemy required the soldiers to be there. From a certain point of view, the enemy causes all casualties. This particular action was a very unfortunate consequence of war and in no way reflects on Pat's performance or the reasons for the war. The only thing you can say is that it reflects on how the war is conducted. Now, if the army had dismissed the incident, didn't investigate, didn't charge the soldiers involved, and didn't tell the family, I would have concerns. The only thing they didn't do was tell the public. Altogether, the army's conduct in this incident was in all other respects appropriate. Does it really matter if they keep it secret as long as they do the right things and as long as we have sufficient oversight to determine they do the right things? Public knowledge is unnecessary for just conduct--contrary to that old adage about justice needing to be seen to be done.

He did not DIE from a heroic action against an enemy, though you could say he was a hero in prior battles.
As I've said, it depends on your point of view. Until war is perfect, there will be friendly fire. Since he was helping to fight the enemy, and as long as his participation was unblemished, we can say that he was fighting heroically. You are emphasizing how he died entirely at the expense of how he lived. I rather suspect that your outrage has less to do with the proper respect given to Pat than the war in general and is part of the reason you make hyperbolic appeals about genocides which really have little place in this conversation.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
again (none / 0) (#29)
by ruderod on Tue May 24, 2005 at 02:49:58 PM EST

I agree that sometimes public knowledge is not needed. http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2005/5/23/15739/0556 An example is here, one guys actions didn't need to be made public that he went and got some drugs. But I mean, really, I don't think his family was told the truth in the beginning. Would you be ok if that happened to you? Someone you care about dies in a war and they tell you it was heroism? If this is ok, I think they should put that in the contract you sign when you join the military. "If you are to die in a field of battle, the exact nature of your death may be forever kept secret. The US government has no right to tell anyone, including family members, why or how your service term ended prematurely."

[ Parent ]
actually, that clause is in the contract /nt (none / 0) (#30)
by SocratesGhost on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:17:36 PM EST

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Can't say I know differently, but... (none / 0) (#71)
by tonedevil on Wed May 25, 2005 at 03:46:32 PM EST

your clever one liner does not convince me.

[ Parent ]
And from another point of view... (2.75 / 4) (#96)
by 87C751 on Thu May 26, 2005 at 07:26:47 AM EST

From a certain point of view, the enemy causes all casualties.
Alternatively, one could say the aggressor causes all casualties. Of course, the definition of both "aggressor" and "enemy" depend on the affiliation of the observer. Recall that in any given conflict between "right" and "wrong", both sides of the conflict believe themselves to be "right". Otherwise, there would not be a conflict. But there is no objective standard of "rightness". Only differences of opinion.

Unfortunately, history shows a prediliction toward killing those who disagree with a given opinion.

My ranting place.
[ Parent ]

Didn't die from heroic action against nme? (none / 0) (#150)
by Russell Dovey on Fri May 27, 2005 at 06:04:22 AM EST

Actually, I think he may have. I don't want to equate actual soldiering with gaming at all, but have you ever played Counter-Strike with friendly fire turned on? It is quite common for a member of the team to rush out into a hail of his own side's bullets in order to do more damage to the opposing side.

Tillman may have been knowingly exposing himself to friendly fire in order to save friendly lives.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Thank you for caring (none / 0) (#26)
by Ptyx on Tue May 24, 2005 at 01:41:07 PM EST

"I don't have a problem in not knowing the full details because it doesn't really affect me."

Thank you, but I'd rather choose to decide what affects me and what doesn't myself, rather than having someone else decide about what is good for me.

I don't have a problem in not knowing the details either (as you said, friendly fire does happen) - but I have one with not beeing able to know them if I want to.

And I'm pretty sure officers all over the world would do a better job if they had access to this kind of information (how can you even know you need to work on a problem if you don't know the problem happens).

-- "On voudrais parfois être cannibale, moins pour le plaisir de dévorer tel ou tel que pour celui de le vomir... " Cioran
[ Parent ]

Slippery slope (2.50 / 4) (#25)
by Ptyx on Tue May 24, 2005 at 01:26:23 PM EST

Why should one be tempted to hide the truth?

Because a large part of the population has been "protected" from it for so long that it can no longer face it without overreacting.

I doubt this is a sound long term solution.

I can understand that disinformation is tempting when you're in charge and want to avoid political suicide.

But I have a hard time figuring out why someone with voting power, someone whith no privileged access to the facts, would actually encourage government-level disinformation or retention of information in the name of the common good.

Unless - obviously - basing your votes on facts you can't trust and don't have a chance to verify is enough to satisfy your democratic conscience.

-- "On voudrais parfois être cannibale, moins pour le plaisir de dévorer tel ou tel que pour celui de le vomir... " Cioran
[ Parent ]

I've already said why (2.50 / 2) (#31)
by SocratesGhost on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:20:34 PM EST

I know that people cannot handle information. A person can. People cannot. This is why crowd behavior is so much more different than the psychology of any of the individuals involved in it. Your argument is not dissimilar to asking, "Why put restrictions on group affiliation in the name of the common good?"

Now, go back and replace the word "group" with "gang" and you'll see why. As a result, I believe in responsibly disseminating information for the most informed reactions of the citizenry. Let me explain.

Part of the problem of democracy on a population the size of the U.S. is that people cannot divorce their own circumstances from the best interests of the country. As a result, people will vote down anything that costs them money, vote up anything that brings them benefits, and complain that their politicians don't know what they're doing. This is why we have Republicans who want to give permanent tax cuts and fight wars in two countries, and we have Democrats who want to tax the wealthiest into oblivion so that everyone can have lifetime welfare. Democracy tends to work much better on smaller scales such as the Massachusetts town halls or the Swiss cantons. In those conditions, the interests of the individual is much more closely tied to his neighbor and calls to "Tax the Rich" and "End the Welfare State" won't be ardent because you're talking about "Tax Fred" and "End Steve's Welfare".

In the US, public opinion behaves like a crowd and crowd behavior calls for different tactics than reasoned discourse and polite conversation.

As a result, in all matters military where the fire of patriotism meets the steamy rhetoric of the protester and passions are fully aroused, the government has a responsibility to disclose information in a way that doesn't encourage people to behave irrationally. Especially since it is a military operation, the prevailing assumption should be secrecy (loose lips sinks ships) and then public dissemination of information should be weighed according to necessity.

Why should they report Pat Tillman's death? Because his family needs to know, he was a celebrity, and the loss of a son of this country should be mourned by all. Why should we report the manner of Pat Tillman's death? I simply cannot figure out why except to provide closure to the family. Now, does an obligation to the family turn into an obligation to the public? There, I would say no, particularly in the case of a friendly fire situation. We ought to be seeing friendly fire for what it is: a mistake that occurs all too frequently in combat. But, when we hear that Pat Tillman, a celebrity, was caught in a friendly fire incident it would be the only topic for a week on the news, leading the public to believe that friendly fire every death is a friendly fire casualty. For a week, a friendly-fire casualty would be at the top of the news column1. I don't think people should get the impression that war is safe, but neither should they get the impression that the military is sloppier in this war than in others, eroding troop confidence and public morale needlessly.

So, I don't mind in friendly-fire circumstances if particulars are withheld from the people. The people will take the information and behave irresponsibly such as making it an issue about the type of ammunition involved which has nothing to do with the event or would use it to further grind their axe about the war, forgetting that the grist for their wheel is the blood of a soldier.

1just like the summer of the shark a few years back when the media reported every shark story and public perception thought sharks were in a feeding frenzy. Sharks weren't. There were actually fewer shark attacks that year than previous. The media made it an issue.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
worst mixed metaphor ever /nt (none / 0) (#32)
by SocratesGhost on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:37:06 PM EST

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
I can't agree with you (none / 1) (#36)
by Ptyx on Tue May 24, 2005 at 04:53:52 PM EST

Because you assume that there is no way to fight propaganda.

The media wants to make headlines and take advantage about a single friendly fire incident? No problem, publish the full and complete statistics about friendly fire.

I'm sure you can find examples where this method is not applicable. But they are rare, and the trust build by a "disclose everything except when justified" policy can easily balance those few occasions when you can't explain a decision.

Crowd reactions are dangerous when they reflect the reactions of the dumb and selfish - how could it be otherwise when the not so dumb part of the crowd has now way to separate the facts from the propaganda? How can anyone tell a lie from a truth when you don't have access to the facts?

The original article is a particularly good example - some people overreact, others minimize the event, but we can't be sure of anything because we have no data to rely on. What comes out? People overreacting one way or another.
-- "On voudrais parfois être cannibale, moins pour le plaisir de dévorer tel ou tel que pour celui de le vomir... " Cioran
[ Parent ]

not even talking about propaganda (2.50 / 2) (#37)
by SocratesGhost on Tue May 24, 2005 at 05:56:47 PM EST

I can respect that you don't agree. I hardly expect to win people over.

But I'm not talking about propaganda since I think that people can be given all the facts and still arrive at the wrong conclusions even in the absence of propaganda. Further, once information gets processed through the public consciousness and media they take on a momentum of their own that is disproportionate to its relevance. This can happen without any influence on the facts. Propaganda may actually solve the problems of accurate reporting.

As one of several related examples, people argue that Congress is disproportionately white. This, however, may not be any more of a consequence than simply whites are a majority in almost every congressional district. Since each district contains a bigger population of white candidates from which to draw than of other races, simple voting behavior encourages an all-white Congress. It is interesting that I don't even have to invoke racist explanations for this phenomena. Even if it is, there are ways to change this: gerrymandering. Gerrymandering reflects (among other things) a method for improving a citizen's democratic representation. Gerrymandering is also, at its heart, undemocratic.

The same is true, I would argue, of the electoral college. The interests of rural states (and the important agricultural and resource interests they represent) are already weakly represented. Proportional voting means to diminish the importance of agriculture in society in favor of the more populous states of California, New York, and Texas. Further, it's interesting to note that 50% of the population lives in only 20% of states. Now, I would suppose that Hawaiians can rightly claim that the interests of New Yorkers are not the same. However, in direct election, the interests of Hawaiians can be safely ignored as inconsequential to both candidates. Reapportioning voting power is a way of improving the integrity of the various Democratic interests and making certain that every interest has the greatest opportunity of expressing its desires in spite of the seeming incongruity with an undemocratic electoral college.

Even in a more banal example, sports often encourages a series of competitions to determine the best team instead of leaving it up to sports writers or a single contest. Is the best team in a baseball World Series the one who blows the other team out in one single game or is it the team that can win most consistently? One would think that, in a reasonable world, a single game would suffice but until recently the experience of the Boston Red Sox led some past sports writers to claim that even seven games is not enough to reach a consensus on the best team.

And let us not forget that the purpose of governance is simply to provide a method for resolving social issues. Truth is simply employed to provide a social resolution and where harmful ought to be curtailed. As a result, I'm a big believer in methods of reporting that encourages people to focus on issues rationally even if it involves some tailoring of the facts so that people get a sense of the situation without the entanglements that arrives with some of the emotional details. Now that I know that Pat Tillman died that way, I cannot find an intellectual reason why the details of his death are relevant for public discourse. A claim of "I'd like to know anyway" isn't a justification.

Also, don't take this the wrong way since I know you're no fool, but you should look up studies on crowd psychology. Too many reasonable people have been caught up in incidents that they would ordinarily have taken no part in so your claim of crowds only reflecting the dumb and selfish isn't exactly accurate. A somewhat more chilling example is Milgram's famous experiment. Like I said, people are worse than sheep. If anything, being in a crowd demonstrates our collective stupidity.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Electorial college == disagree (piss-poor subject) (none / 0) (#42)
by Aurochs on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:18:24 PM EST

The same is true, I would argue, of the electoral college. The interests of rural states (and the important agricultural and resource interests they represent) are already weakly represented. Proportional voting means to diminish the importance of agriculture in society in favor of the more populous states of California, New York, and Texas. Further, it's interesting to note that 50% of the population lives in only 20% of states. Now, I would suppose that Hawaiians can rightly claim that the interests of New Yorkers are not the same. However, in direct election, the interests of Hawaiians can be safely ignored as inconsequential to both candidates. Reapportioning voting power is a way of improving the integrity of the various Democratic interests and making certain that every interest has the greatest opportunity of expressing its desires in spite of the seeming incongruity with an undemocratic electoral college.
The electorial college was created specifically to prevent a completely direct democracy. The founding fathers held the exact same views about crowd behavior as you do. They wanted to prevent mob rule.

As I recall, the original workings of the Presidential electorial system were as follows: the state governors appoint a number of electors based on the number of Representatives the state has in the House plus the number of Senators the state has (two). The electors then vote on the President and the Vice President. They can vote however they want - the popular vote might have nothing to do with who gets elected. It was hoped that this method would keep the masses from being stupid and electing some jackass without a clue to the Presidency (no GWB jokes please), while still retaining a republican form of government. The small group of electors won't be easily swayed by groupthink, but at the same time, a single corrupt elector won't throw off the whole system (hopefully).

[ Parent ]
poor salesmanship, perhaps (3.00 / 2) (#43)
by SocratesGhost on Tue May 24, 2005 at 11:25:36 PM EST

But the fact is that it works.

The goal of government isn't to be a perfect democracy but to be a perfect government. If it includes elements of democracy to appease the citizenry, these governments tend to function somewhat successfully today but it's difficult to say since the world's oldest democracy is barely 200 years old (and some would argue that it's in trouble) while something like the Spartan constitution which had two kings lasted for 800 years and the Roman empire lasted even longer. It may yet turn out that the Democratic experiment fails more spectacularly than they did. For example, these governments failed through a complex mix of external and internal forces, while democracy may be vulnerable to a permanent global failure through overexploitation of resources. This possibility is very real because democratically derived policy often represents the short sighted interests of the voters.

On this view, representing the interests of the citizens is mostly a means to encouraging the citizens to accept the winner of an election. This is why the founding father's were less interested in staying true to democracy or any other particular type of government. It is relatively recently that we find people who dogmatically defend democracy and open society when to do so would be both unique in the course of human society and where consequences can easily invite insurmountable difficulties for governance.

For example, most countries that elect a strong president descend into either real or de facto dictatorships such as Uganda, Iraq, Panama during Noriega, etc. America is a rare exception in this. While this would recommend a parliamentary style of government, this style bypasses democratic principles even more than an electoral college which they openly deride. Similarly, a country without military secrecy is only repeating the failure of the Romans who armed their enemies and trained them in their own tactics.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
what? (none / 1) (#67)
by pHatidic on Wed May 25, 2005 at 11:31:22 AM EST

It is interesting that I don't even have to invoke racist explanations for this phenomena.

How is whites voting for whites and blacks voting for blacks not a racist phenomena? Because if everyone voted for the best person, then the races would be represented proportionately, if all races were equal. Not saying racism is all bad, just saying that your logic doesn't add up for saying that there is no racism.

[ Parent ]

statistically speaking (none / 0) (#114)
by SocratesGhost on Thu May 26, 2005 at 11:51:02 AM EST

Because the scale of our elected officials is so much smaller than the population at large (a little less than 2:1,000,000), the effect is not unlike increasing the contrast of a black and white television set: increase it far enough and the screen will turn either all black or all white. It is not the case where a screen that is 70% white and 30% black has a proportionate chance for the single outcome at the end but instead creates a bias for the majority. Considering that most candidates are screened at least twice before the actual election (usually through lower office and then through primaries and caucuses) the effect is to create a candidate who looks most like the norm.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
It was his job. /nt (none / 1) (#27)
by wre on Tue May 24, 2005 at 01:50:19 PM EST

[ Parent ]
I would agree (none / 0) (#38)
by whazat on Tue May 24, 2005 at 07:17:39 PM EST

If the Army was better at keeping things hidden. As such they have turned a small negative publicity incident into a much larger one. I really wish I didn't have to agree, but hey the world isn't a nice place.

[ Parent ]
You're so cynical (3.00 / 5) (#58)
by curien on Wed May 25, 2005 at 06:47:20 AM EST

The government should be held to a higher standard than individuals. But the great tragedy here really is the individuals, not the public at large. I'm refering to those soldiers who sacrificed their integrity with this cover up.

In the Air Force, we have three core values: integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. The other services have a similar stance on integrity. Those individuals involved in the lie destroyed themselves and everything they believe in. They might not realize it, but they did.

Surely, though, the military doesn't expect complete integrity, right? I mean, what if we lie to protect classified information -- that's ok, right? Wrong! It is explicitly part of your training in how to handle classified data that you are never to lie in an attempt to protect it.

From a military member's point of view, integrity is paramount. That a single individual -- let alone scores, as is likely in this case -- lost theirs stands in direct opposition to what Pat Tillman died for.

And THAT, Soc, is the greater tragedy.

This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]

there are greater standards (none / 1) (#75)
by circletimessquare on Wed May 25, 2005 at 08:13:46 PM EST

then there are impossible standards

i have no problem with greater standards

the problem is that if you ever listen to those who are howling the loudest about the behavior of the government, you find in them an understanding of how a government should act or what it should be accountable for that breaks the boundaries of common sense, human nature, and the laws of physics

in other words, the loudest critics of governmental behavior are using standards that are founded in the critics own inability to understand reality than in finding a better way to a better government

therefore, you can devise a simple rule: those who howl and complain about the us government the loudest should be flat out ignored: they are crackpots

the level headed critics with the genuine gripes are the quieter ones: listen to them, they will improve our government

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

individual standards vs. social standards (2.33 / 3) (#80)
by SocratesGhost on Wed May 25, 2005 at 09:38:16 PM EST

As part of your military duty, you may be called upon to end someone's life. Yet, we would not call you a murderer because you were acting under orders and under the direction of the government. It is against the interests of society for individuals to make the decision to end another's life but it is in the best interests of society for a mechanism to exist in which it can order the end of life. A soldier may kill someone but this does not make him a murderer.

Similarly, a person doesn't face a loss of integrity when directed to mislead or withhold information from the public. Such a person may tell falsehoods and retain his own integrity. This implies a standard for dissemination of sensitive information but given the rarity of a case like this (a celebrity killed by friendly fire) and our inability to anticipate all circumstances, I'm willing to grant the military some leeway in the handling of these situations. Like I've said, as long as there is oversight and as long as they do everything else correctly, I'm less concerned if they tell me the truth or not.

While I can respect a desire to hold governments to a higher standard, I cannot agree. The standards by which a human cell lives do not seamlessly apply to that of the body in general. If one cell destroys a neighbor cell, we call this cancer but when the human body destroys its cell, it's called medicine. Governments cannot be held to individual morality; we may hold them to a different standard but not a more stringent one. We can demand more from our government employees (high integrity) but only to the degree that it recognizes the necessary amorality of government(the benefits of secrecy and deception). This may imply a distrust of government but I would argue for a change in perspective like if I were to take you from your house because of some perceived wrongdoing and throw you into my basement; it's kidnapping. When a government does it, it's justice. There's so many examples, I could spend all day doing it.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
You need to read the book (2.33 / 3) (#68)
by pHatidic on Wed May 25, 2005 at 11:45:22 AM EST

The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki.

Also, Wendy's stock should be lower than it was before the finger incident, because they lost a lot of money because of it. Furthermore, people know that it could easily happen again in the next few months (which it already has) as people pull copycat stunts, so they are right to be suspicious. Unless of course you are purely speculating on the stock, in which case logic doesn't matter much anyway.

Also, I think your logic in general is seriously flawed here. No single incident should affect our judgement about the war, so by your logic it would then be ok to lie about every single incident, since no one of these will should affect us. However, when aggregated, a completely deceptive picture certainly would affect us.

[ Parent ]

Now that the truth is out (none / 0) (#82)
by SocratesGhost on Wed May 25, 2005 at 10:04:42 PM EST

We know that what happened at Wendy's never happened in the first place. Even though you say it could happen again, it never happened once. Why then are sales still down at Wendy's but not at other fast food restaurants?

Stock price follows revenues (usually) and so investors (particularly institutional investment companies like mutual funds and money managers) appraise this lower than before because they anticipate that the public will stay away all because of a false accusation.

All that you're doing is explaining why we go "Baaaa!"

Also, I would ask you to read carefully everything that I've written. A single incident can affect our judgment even though its report is false (as in Wendys sales performance) and even though there is nothing out of the ordinary occurring (as in the Summer of the Shark). Our judgment is frequently affected by details that ought to have no influence on our conclusions. Further, I only extended my acceptance of deception to a case of a celebrity death caused by friendly fire. I'd grant it to potentially other cases (and I'll repeat my criteria: as long as there is oversight and as long as the right actions are still performed), but this is far from a universal approval to deceive.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Once you give me permission... (none / 1) (#94)
by tonedevil on Thu May 26, 2005 at 04:55:28 AM EST

to decive you, for any reason, then I may decieve you at my will. Regardless of the conditions that you may place.

[ Parent ]
How absurd (none / 0) (#108)
by SocratesGhost on Thu May 26, 2005 at 10:56:55 AM EST

We give the government permission to incarcerate its citizens so that means that it can incarcerate anyone at will? We give the government permission to execute capital offenders so it can execute anyone at will? We give the government permission to fine people for speeding so it can fine anyone at will?

I'm sorry, your platitudes don't really hold up to even cursory scrutiny. I've made an argument for controlled and limited deception, you should actually read it instead of jerking your knee.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
When you set up a system of deception... (none / 1) (#111)
by tonedevil on Thu May 26, 2005 at 11:34:24 AM EST

do you have any idea who wields the power in the relationship? Deceiver or deceived? You, as deceived, have significantly reduced your ability to verify when smoke is being blown up your ass. The identification of the proper time to lie is in the hands of the liar. I understand where you are trying to go with your line of reasoning, but I do not believe that it is possible to control or limit deception, unless you are doing the deceiving.

[ Parent ]
not really (none / 0) (#116)
by SocratesGhost on Thu May 26, 2005 at 12:13:34 PM EST

Now that we gave legislative power to Congress, can they legislate anything that they want? Congress could vote that each seat is a hereditary title and the public would simply have to hope that the courts do not side with them. We trust that the instruments of the government provide a sufficient check upon its own excesses whether performed through the judicial review, presidential veto, or Congressional oversight and purse string control.

The identification of the proper time to lie, as I've said elsewhere, implies standards that ought to be already determined or can be reviewed by other government entities. Implicit in all of this is that the government cannot lie to itself and that the government is still required to take the correct action.

You seem to think that the ability to classify information means that all information may be classified. The reality is that we already have standards by which information may be suppressed (military operations, first amendment standards of clear and present danger, etc.) and I am just arguing along an extension of those lines. In this particular case, full disclosure of the truth would provide no benefit to the society at large except to induce a type of mass hysteria, needlessly eroding troop confidence and morale. This is, in a way, a scale which balances the best interests of the society against the probative interests of the society.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Substantially different (2.66 / 3) (#123)
by tonedevil on Thu May 26, 2005 at 01:38:23 PM EST

Classifying is not lying, you say you are fine with being lied to, if you do not I apologize for misunderstanding you. You are trying to use the idea of Congressional power as equivalent to lying; we give Congress sweeping power and trust to them not to F us to badly. Therefore you can tell the g Whoa, I am answering way the wrong thing here, where you and I lose each other is where you are comfortable allowing the massaging of information, by the "Government", for the benefit of society. I am thinking you may have a hard time with my position as well. In that I believe that transparency should be the rule and the suppression of information about the dealings of their government extremely narrowed, public hysteria be damned. If the only argument for suppressing some piece of information is that it may cause a panic, well then the verdict of those 4 officers in Semi Valley could, it might be argued should, have been kept hidden.

I am really for transparency in government, even military, every deception allows for more deception. Should Congress vote that their seats are hereditary it would be done out in the open thus, theoretically, it could be publicly opposed. That is not to mention that it would have to pass muster with the executive branch before it would be looked at by the judicial. Which branch of government is it that has oversight of lying? This deception is most likely going to occur in military or "Homeland Security" settings. What system of checks and balances are going to be in place? And because it is deception and is therefore inherently deceptive how are the overseers going to know they need to oversee?

[ Parent ]

more nuanced than that (none / 1) (#127)
by SocratesGhost on Thu May 26, 2005 at 04:02:44 PM EST

First of all, I should point out that I'm a critic of democratic systems and arguments for transparency are only valid under the assumption that democracy is the best type of government. That takes us far off topic, but let's just say that the conditions that make transparency valuable to successful governance is debatable. Yet, since we're in a democratic system, my argument tries to balance the use of democracy against the best interest of nations.

My argument would not include secrecy in the matter of the L.A. officers. The results from that case has strong probative value while a particular friendly fire incident has significantly weaker probative value.

This is, after all, why we desire such things as freedom of speech and freedom of information, because the transmission of information helps us to make political and life choices. However, when the probative value of a piece of information (that is, the value information has in supporting political or life choices) is so slight but the unwarranted dangers attendant to it are so great, then I think it more prudent to err on the side of caution.

For example, we have laws which protect the accuser's identity in a rape trial. With today's scope of information retrieval, a person who makes a rape accusation will undergo the unwarranted hardship of universal public scrutiny even though the issue--only for the secret deliberations of a jury to determine, mind you--really is "did this occur or not." By your arguments, even the slight probative value of her name ought to be made available simply to satisfy the concerns of transparency when to do so has often been shown to be injurious to the innocent victims and is often a reason they do not come forward. My formulation of balancing probative value versus social necessity sides with the victim while I suspect yours must necessarily expose her to additional stigmas and pains through no fault of her own.

I think that we are concerned about two different things: I am concerned that the government be able to perform most capably while your concern is with a direct empowerment of voters. The problems with empowerment I can best describe as bringing a keg of beer to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous on the justification that a person's ability to restrain himself is less important than having the choice to do so. The metaphor is apt: I have given a number of examples of how the public overreacts to new knowledge (and you provided one more). The only counter-example provided here is a book that discusses the relatively limited conditions under which crowds are intelligent while simultaneously recognizing that crowds frequently do not satisfy these conditions.

I should amend part of my argument because you would have one compelling point: transparency does have value in validating the proper action of democracies. As a result, I would recommend that all information be made gradually available as the conditions for causing public overreaction passes.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
You want the truth.. (2.50 / 4) (#126)
by Kwil on Thu May 26, 2005 at 03:44:26 PM EST

..you can't handle the truth.

Of course, the question you gloss over is why is the military deciding what I can and can't handle?

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze

[ Parent ]
Your argument is compelling. (3.00 / 2) (#149)
by Russell Dovey on Fri May 27, 2005 at 05:58:34 AM EST

I even agree to some extent that reporting the truth about a event in battle can benefit the enemy as well as inform the public. Therefore, it can be ethical to withhold the truth in such cases.

However, that's not what happened here. The army didn't just hide the fact that Tillman died of friendly fire, they made shit up.

Also, I assume you can agree with me that if a coverup extends to hiding evidence of actual misconduct in a friendly fire or similar incident, then there should be no coverup at all.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Democracy is overrated (3.00 / 2) (#173)
by svampa on Sat May 28, 2005 at 03:13:53 PM EST

What you are telling is that most people can't stand truth, so little lies are good.

Perhaps you are right, but accept the final consecuences of such philosphy. Democracy is overrated, people are est ruled by an elite, they can't decide by themselves what's good or bad.

By the way, problably west democracies are ruled by such premise.

[ Parent ]
Is there any chance the soldiers are covering up (2.00 / 9) (#33)
by Sesquipundalian on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:41:49 PM EST

a murder?

You know; someone in Tillman's unit can't stand him because he's a smug f*cking S.O.B. and they used the firefight as an oppourtunity to kill him? I mean, it's not like soldiers have a problem with killing people that they dislike, and they did destroy the evidence.

Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
Blue on blue (none / 1) (#65)
by nebbish on Wed May 25, 2005 at 10:04:49 AM EST

I think that's what it's called?

I've been reading a book about Vietnam, and the casual killings of US soldiers by US soldiers was a real eye opener.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Your story sucks. (1.62 / 8) (#34)
by t1ber on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:42:46 PM EST

First off, it's a battlezone, not an episode of CSI. Battlezones are confusing, loud, nasty places. I wholly believe that the AAR listed him as being killed by enemy fire. And you know what? Without any sources to persuade me otherwise, I'm going to believe the guys who were there. Go cite some material to back up your point. Finally: Why even bring this up? This could illustrate a good point, but without sources, it's just boo-hoo, someone died, listen to my pussy liberal everything is a conspiracy rant on K5. He's dead, Afganistan is doing better, and it's a war. People die in wars. Is this sad? Yes. People in that line of duty -- a volunteer army -- understand that risk. Why try to drag his corpse through the mud?

And she said...
Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
Hadji girl I can't understand what you're saying.

sources (none / 0) (#35)
by ruderod on Tue May 24, 2005 at 04:28:59 PM EST

it is good to not believe everything you read. Kudos. What is the AAR anyway? Drag his corpse through the mud? Sorry, but re-read the story. I mention that 1. He is honorable and noble to join the battle. 2. He deserves better than to have his death fictionalized. War makes for dead people, this is true. But when I hear of war, I like my news of the non-fiction variety myself. There are multiple sources by the way. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A37679-2004Dec5.html http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7736248/

[ Parent ]
tip for the kuro5hin anti-American crowd: (3.00 / 2) (#63)
by regeya on Wed May 25, 2005 at 09:41:12 AM EST

I realize that you see American journalism as propaganda (nevermind that there's a fair amount of anti-war sentiment in mass-media in America, just ignore that, it was all in your imagination, move along and keep bitching about mass media in America) it's also true that, just because other sources a.) conflict with what you see as propaganda and b.) agree with your viewpoint, that doesn't necessarily make the other sources right either.

I realize that it's hard to believe that like-minded people might lie, but there are examples from both sides of this (minor compared to the war) conflict.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

non-notable, copyvio, self-advertising (1.42 / 7) (#46)
by mostes on Wed May 25, 2005 at 12:30:42 AM EST

I don't understand why people care when soldiers die. They signed up for it after all.

Soldiers are like dishwashers; do we cry when those stop working? Nay, we just get new ones, better ones.

Oh and, the government lying to you? Shock! Never heard that one before.

"soldiers are just like dishwashers" (3.00 / 2) (#47)
by maynard on Wed May 25, 2005 at 12:53:16 AM EST

Hmmmm... just like dishwashers. Well, soldiers scrub dishes at the behest of their superiors; dishwasers clean dishes at the click of a button. Soldiers crawl their sorry asses through mud and guck, dishwashers - almost - clean caked on food and guck. Soldiers spray bullets about to kill the enemy (or each other as the case may be); dishwashers jet spray water at high pressure to clean - uh - dishes. Usually (as the case may be).  

Yeah. I see what you mean. Soldiers are just like dishwashers! --M

Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

lol (none / 0) (#50)
by pHatidic on Wed May 25, 2005 at 02:21:04 AM EST

this isn't wikipedia

[ Parent ]
Propaganda is good. (2.00 / 3) (#54)
by Prince Andrei on Wed May 25, 2005 at 04:17:03 AM EST

The real tragedy here is had he not died then surely he would have killed a few terrorists, or at least that's what the army would have called them in its report. The point is, considering the dangers it runs in these times of international intrigue, occasionally the public needs to molt like a lizard the facts and settle its body politic into armor-plated legend. Let us be frank: war is messy but democracy, if it is to survive, must defend itself. If you have become accustomed to throwing your vote in the wishing well democracy that makes dreams come true no matter what the reality, you know what I'm talking about.

To the success of our hopeless task!

Always remember: (none / 1) (#55)
by jobi on Wed May 25, 2005 at 05:09:48 AM EST

Friendly fire isn't.

"[Y]ou can lecture me on bad language when you learn to use a fucking apostrophe."
What I'd like to see (2.88 / 9) (#64)
by nebbish on Wed May 25, 2005 at 10:02:07 AM EST

Is an article about a dead Iraqi.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee

There are no dead Iraqis (2.71 / 14) (#66)
by rusty on Wed May 25, 2005 at 10:40:46 AM EST

There are only permanently liberated Iraqis.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
sarcasm about cheerful lies is insightful (none / 1) (#77)
by circletimessquare on Wed May 25, 2005 at 08:17:21 PM EST

sarcasm about depressing truths is not

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Sorry (none / 0) (#78)
by rusty on Wed May 25, 2005 at 09:10:44 PM EST

I've been feeling rather grim towards my government lately. I'll try to keep it to myself.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
you don't have to keep it to yourself (2.00 / 2) (#84)
by circletimessquare on Wed May 25, 2005 at 10:19:01 PM EST

but that particular bit of grimness above is something you are supplying

that is, no one is really thinking along the terms your sarcasm indicates

our current government sucks, but we have to remove the morons on the basis of their own stupidity, not on the basis of perceived evil

don't give them more credit than they are due

they are stupid, not evil

betray your faith in your government all you want, but don't betray your faith in basic human nature, then you lose, not them

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I disagree (3.00 / 2) (#87)
by rusty on Wed May 25, 2005 at 10:54:36 PM EST

See above for more detail, but I no longer think they are stupid, not evil. That's what I did think, during the 2000 election and pretty much right up until the end of "major combat operations" in Iraq.

Now I think they are stupid, incompetent, venal, self-serving, and yes, evil. The evil comes from the combination of their own stupidity and the stupidity and complacency of a majority of the American people to put them in positions of power.

Some people are born evil, and some have it thrust upon them. I think this case is the latter. Or to put it another way, you can be both stupid and evil. They're not mutually exclusive.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

well then there is no hope (none / 1) (#88)
by circletimessquare on Wed May 25, 2005 at 11:37:50 PM EST

the idea is to look at people and see where they make mistakes and say "now see that, is wrong, you should fix that"

but if we go down your path and say "now see, that is wrong, and it's because you're EEEEEEEEVIL!" then i think it is 100 more years of neocons in the white house for us


because in politics people don't care if you're right, they care if you're positive

if you think that the motivations in the white house are evil, then your problem is not with the neocons in the white house, nor with the "dumb american sheeple"

you have a problem with human nature itself

and therefore, your attitude has no probative value to solve any problems, unless your aim is to somehow alter human nature itself

no, snap out of your funk

to the left in the usa i say: adapt to reality, pull yourself out of your gloom, and lead the american people, don't berate them

because to fall into your attitude, as many do, is the best way to ensure that neocons run the white house for decades

do you really want that?

then go slam your head against the bathroom wall a few times, say "damnit! fuck it all!" and then come out with a big beautiful prozac smile and lead the usa

the right seems to know that all too well

by being positive, assuming the best of people

that's not unwise, that's having faith in your fellow man

and the left seems to be losing that, and therefore, the ability to lead their fellow man

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Nature. (none / 1) (#101)
by Znork on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:34:05 AM EST

"you have a problem with human nature itself"

Having a problem with sociopaths does not mean you have a problem with human nature.

It just means that the checks on the mental balances of the government arent quite working.

[ Parent ]

total bullshit (none / 1) (#125)
by circletimessquare on Thu May 26, 2005 at 03:04:52 PM EST

you are calling behavior that everyone does, including yourself but you are too blind to admit it, as "sociopaths"

i can write 8 pages about that, but if some simple lessons about human nature escape you, they escape you, end of story

i'm not going to waste my time reeducating you about some simple lessons about basic universal human psychology that most people learn in kindergarten innately

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I know I know (none / 0) (#171)
by Znork on Sat May 28, 2005 at 06:07:51 AM EST

You're a troll, always has been, always will be. Apologies on the feeding.

[ Parent ]
Great evil (none / 1) (#112)
by Anonymous Hiro on Thu May 26, 2005 at 11:41:56 AM EST

A ruler's/leader's responsibility is great.

A great evil is committed when people in charge put otherwise decent/average people in situations where they would likely behave in an evil manner or even become evil - e.g. because they are not suitable for the task or do not have the necessary support. I see this happening in Iraq.

I mean when you put soldiers not trained for policing work in charge of policing stuff, guess what happens? Doh.

Then there's the two checkpoints system (Iraqi checkpoint followed by US checkpoint soon after) has probably caused the innocent deaths of many Iraqis and a lot of bad will and hatred. Iraqis zooming off from an Iraqi checkpoint tend to get shot at by US soldiers in the US checkpoint. Go look it up. It's so screwed up, it's unbelievable that it's just normal stupidity/incompetence.

It's incompetence up to a certain point. After that it starts to become evil.

In wars, even if the soldiers don't want to kill, they are put in situations where they have to kill in order to keep their friends or themselves alive. This is done on purpose, otherwise why should a decent person go kill a stranger? You build up a team. You put them in a dangerous situation, you tell them to kill.

It may be a necessary evil (such is our imperfect world), but one should NEVER do such things lightly. Not for selfish gain. Not on a whim. Not based on some half-baked excuse like "WMD, because that's what we could all agree on".

[ Parent ]

A comic concurs. (none / 0) (#193)
by OzJuggler on Sat Jun 04, 2005 at 11:42:57 AM EST

Ted Rall 2005/04/09/

"And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.
[ Parent ]

They're evil AND stupid. (none / 0) (#157)
by Russell Dovey on Fri May 27, 2005 at 09:50:00 AM EST

The US government just does not have the best of intentions.

Sorry, but it's obvious to the world.

And by the way, a lot of people think like rusty on this point.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Hey Rusty - What do you think about the War now? (3.00 / 3) (#79)
by sien on Wed May 25, 2005 at 09:14:23 PM EST

Many moons ago, before there was a war, you were one of the people who was for the Iraq War, on the basis that you thought that is was going to be quick and painless and the WMDs may well have been around.

How do you feel now? I'm not trolling, I'm really curious, because you seem to be someone who was honestly for the war. Have you written up your opinion recently someplace? It'd make an interesting read to see what you think about it all.

[ Parent ]

I have not written it up (2.87 / 24) (#83)
by rusty on Wed May 25, 2005 at 10:06:45 PM EST

But I can summarize it pretty quick: I am furious. I am furious for two major reasons:

1. We were lied to. Ruthlessly, constantly, shamelessly, and by people who before the war I still thought were better than that. Like Colin Powell, who turned out to be just another slimy bagman for the PNAC. Maybe I didn't like Bush, and maybe I didn't like most of the people in that administration, but I was still unwilling to beleive that they would all just cook up this crock of shit to get what they wanted.

It has turned out that that's exactly what they did do, and when they're all taking turns sucking Hitler's cock in hell, I will laugh and cheer and hope that's the best thing that eternity has in store for them.

2. The war and occupation have been prosecuted in just about the most incompetent way they possibly could have been, and not only has no one been held accountable for the utter waste of life and treasure, those responsible have been praised and promoted. I always said that I believed winning the war, in the traditional sense of simply toppling Sddam, would be by far the easiest part, and so it was. But it's dumbfounding that apparently none of the shitheads in charge ever considered that very point. The war was "won" with the bare minimum of troops necessary to win it, and since then (that is, since about 90 days into this quagmire) not one goddamn thing has been done right.

Don Rumsfeld had a big hard-on to prove that the United States of America could fight and win conflicts, more or less by ourselves, with drastically reduced forces and equipment. And by God, he proved that alright. But he also proved that once combat was over, his plan was to call in the Tooth Fairy and Chuck E. Cheese to handle the occupation.

Between March 21st, 2003 and May 1st 2003 we had 173 dead US and UK soldiers. Ok, it's combat. For toppling a government, that's not so bad.

Since May 1st, 2003 we've had 1656 dead coalition soldiers. Those I charge to Rummy's account. 173 dead in combat followed by almost an order of magnitude more for an occupation that has dragged on for over two more years? An occupation that still has produced only the faintest glimmer of a working government? An occupation that still, after two years, can't even get the power back on? That's a colossal fuckup.

Honestly, being lied to sucks but I understand, from a pragmatic point of view, that sometimes it's impossible for the government to really tell us the truth. Whether this was one of those times I doubt, but whatever. I think I'm actually more angry that this was done so incompetently. If you're going to lie us into an unnecessary war for whatever jingoistic/economic reason, at the very least is it too much to ask that you don't make the US military look like a bunch of Keystone Kop assclowns doing it? If some lazy punk kid sitting around in front of his computer on some godforsaken island in Maine can say "Gee whiz, it sure looks like the occupation and reconstruction will really be the hard part here," is it too much to ask that somone in the hallowed halls of power could have thought of that?

Deceit I can understand. Maybe I can't forgive it, but it's a viable strategy to get what you want. And not all of the results of this mess have been negative. In theory, an Iraq without Saddam's goons in charge would be a better place, if someone was in charge. If it weren't for this war, would there be elections in Egypt? Would the whole Lebanon thing have happened? Maybe, maybe not. Much as it galls me to ever agree with that sniggering monkey in the White House, a functioning democratic Iraq would be a good thing.

But the kind of incompetence that costs thousands of lives is unforgivable, no matter what the motivations (which, let's be honest, were not the least bit pure anyway) or the results. The Bush gang could cure cancer and AIDS and give every American a million dollars and a pony and I'd still think they were some of the worst people this nation has ever produced, and some of the most shameful examples of all that is sick and evil in our national character.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Interesting (3.00 / 3) (#89)
by sien on Wed May 25, 2005 at 11:40:44 PM EST

Really, people like you who were part of the 20% or so who have changed from supporting the war mildly to opposing it are probably the most interesting group.

People who opposed the war initially are hardly likely to have changed their opinion.

A few questions come to mind. What about the media? There were quite a few people who said the whole thing was a bad idea and based on false premises, like Scott Ritter. Do you think the media decided to go along, and if so why?

Also, there is the question of what to do now and if withdrawal is an option.

Anyway, if you do get time, y'know, with all that vast time away from raising a kid and doing the tech stuff for some successful political website, well, a lot of people would probably be interested in reading your thoughts now.

[ Parent ]

Credibility (2.50 / 4) (#156)
by duffbeer703 on Fri May 27, 2005 at 08:45:58 AM EST

The people speaking out at that time lacked credibility. They were either anti-Bush nuts who'd protest Bush taking a dump in the morning if given the opportunity or people with real character flaws like Mr. Ritter.

The anti-war people were annoying to the point that most people ignored them. This isn't 1968 -- nobody gives a shit about overhyped marches and bored college kids trying to get laid at a protest vigil

The media went along because wars attract eyeballs and sell ads. The mass media has never opposed a conflict. If they were against Vietnam, it was only because the chaos in the streets in the US was more compelling than jungle fighting 9,000 miles away.

"If it bleeds, it leads"

[ Parent ]

No credibility The rest of the world (none / 1) (#176)
by sien on Sun May 29, 2005 at 07:10:35 AM EST

So the rest of the world, excluding the US and maybe Israel, where there was distinct and definite popular opposition to the war have no credibility.

[ Parent ]
Not a relevant one (3.00 / 2) (#181)
by duffbeer703 on Sun May 29, 2005 at 11:32:07 PM EST

The US news is US-centric except for the tiny number of people who watch BBC or Newsworld.

People see the losers hanging out at bus stops and government buildings every Wednesday waving signs and shouting anti-war slogans. That's the face of the anti-war movement -- aging hippies, quakers and a few student-types.

Meanwhile you have entire "educational" TV networks blasting "the army is cool" propaganda 24/7 and huge numbers of people who feel that we have the right to rule the world.

[ Parent ]

On Colin Powell (3.00 / 4) (#90)
by khallow on Wed May 25, 2005 at 11:49:38 PM EST

My take is that he probably remains the only major player in that administration with an ethical bone in their body. It looks to me like he got played for a fool. He's on record as having to fight to get the data he got for the UN presentation. You say that makes him another "slimy bagman" for the team. Maybe so. Still, I'd like you to point out any cabinet member in the past twenty years with more integrity than Mr. Powell. I think he's just a good, honest man who got in the way of the Bush war machine. IMHO, he tried to make things right, and I respect him for that.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

integrity (none / 0) (#113)
by samu on Thu May 26, 2005 at 11:47:31 AM EST

maybe I have rose coloured glasses... was Madeline Allbright pretty good as Secretary of State?

[ Parent ]
hmmm, pretty good I think (nt) (none / 0) (#124)
by khallow on Thu May 26, 2005 at 02:17:35 PM EST

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Your rose colored glasses are on (3.00 / 3) (#154)
by duffbeer703 on Fri May 27, 2005 at 08:34:24 AM EST

Remember Kosovo? How about Rwanda?

She was also a hawk with regard to Iraq.

[ Parent ]

Integrity? (none / 0) (#160)
by rusty on Fri May 27, 2005 at 11:46:38 AM EST

I don't know. I suppose in twenty years, when some things are declassified and everyone's written their memoirs we'll have a better idea.

It seems, though, that Powell was either a yes-man or a fool. I instinctively give him enough credit not to simply have been ignorant that what he was saying was a crock. But you're right, it's entirely possible that he was just a fool and really didn't know any better.

A rock has plenty of integrity, but you wouldn't want it to be a cabinet member either.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

I never agreed with the war to start with (2.33 / 3) (#93)
by jd on Thu May 26, 2005 at 03:29:31 AM EST

But largely because I'd already figured that we'd been taken for a ride. Your reasoning for your anger is extremely close to my own, so I think it is fair to say I agree with you.

I have three big problems with the Iraq war:

  1. If there had been WMDs, or even if this had been really believed, why not send in commandos? This is exactly the sort of work they're trained for. Take out the enemy installations in secret. Indeed, as Saddam could hardly have filed a complaint with the UN that someone had just blown up an Anthrax truck, it would have been absolutely impervious to political repercussions.
  2. It would have been trivial to do highly surgical strikes at infrastructure that would have immobilized Iraq's forces and deprived them of resources. The US could then just sit and wait, with no risk of anybody - on either side - dying from war.
  3. Once the war had been won, it was vital that US forces be kept OUT of cities. The Germans learned that one in places like Stalingrad. Narrow streets and numerous buildings give the advantage to snipers and assailants, over tanks and armoured vehicles. Urban warfare is no place for mechanized infantry or other mechanized divisions.

[ Parent ]
on the first point (none / 0) (#128)
by SocratesGhost on Thu May 26, 2005 at 04:19:30 PM EST

You're right, commandos can get in, but how would we get them (and the evidence) out? After the Republican guard swarmed their position and replaced bottles of anthrax with broken bottles of vaccines, how much of a bargaining position would we have?

Mind you, this assumes there were WMDs, but assuming they found some, this would be a likely outcome.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
This is based on the First Gulf War (2.00 / 2) (#166)
by jd on Fri May 27, 2005 at 08:12:14 PM EST

The SAS were able to get into a military airfield, put it out of action, and escape in an Iraqi helicopter they stole from the airfield. (The SAS are show-offs in that regard - they HAVE to leave in a helicopter, no matter what. I swear that if they'd been on the Titanic when it was sinking, they'd have insisted on helicopters to pull them off.)

All in all, getting the commandos out probably would not have posed that big of a problem, given that kind of history.

The evidence is another matter. Here, I am working on the theory that no evidence would actually be needed - that there would evolve a conspiracy of silence on both sides. Saddam wouldn't risk raising a stink, as he wouldn't know who knew what and wouldn't want to risk too much, and the allies wouldn't want to kick up a storm in case Saddam did do the kind of switch you mentioned.

Both sides would come to an unspoken agreement to say nothing, that the West wouldn't harass Saddam publicly over WMD programs, but that Saddam would have to agree in return to not harass the West if it blew things up that Saddam wasn't supposed to have.

Saddam would probably have agreed to something like that. It would have been his best hope of ever rebuilding a WMD program, it would have been a great face-saving manoever on his part, as he wouldn't need to publicly admit to WMDs OR to having these secret inspections OR to any "mishaps" that occurred.

The West would have been better off agreeing to something like this, as it would have been far cheaper than a full-scale war, would have cost far fewer lives on all sides, would have avoided 100% of the civilian casualties, would have been good covert propoganda for their intelligence networks, and would have largely kept WMDs out of the whole of the Middle East. (Very likely, Iran's nuclear program has inherited some of Iraq's know-how, as well as Pakistan's, and they were almost certainly inspired as a means of deterring Iraq in the first place.)

Publicly, nothing would be said, nothing would be discussed. It would have appeared to have been a Mexican stand-off. That would have avoided all kinds of political repercussions which have arisen out of the war, along with the suffering that is still going on.

Very likely, this kind of a public stand-off/secret war could have evolved, to put pressure on Saddam and other Middle Eastern countries to improve on the human rights front. Nobody would want to risk the war spilling into public view, and all sides could have found ways to use reform to keep the conflict out of view.

This assumes Saddam would want to play along, of course. What if he hadn't? Well, admitting that he no longer controlled 99% of his own country would have damaged his credibility somewhat. Also, as he wouldn't know how many enemy troops there were in the area, or where they were, he would literally be putting his neck on the line. That seems un-Saddamlike to me, but if he did, he'd be forced to virtually rip his own military machine to shreds in case it had been infiltrated, thus eliminating him as a problem at his own hands.

That's the key thing that you've got to remember when dealing with paranoids - their own paranoia can be used as a blunt instrument against them. In World War II, psyops were routinely used against Adolf Hitler, by playing on his paranoia. It was one such operation that diverted most of his forces to the south, allowing a virtually unopposed landing on the Normandy beaches.

By using such ops on Saddam Hussein, and by waging an entirely "secret war", it would have been possible for the West to achieve most of its objectives relatively quickly and painlessly AND have Saddam believe the same for himself.

[ Parent ]

still problematic (none / 0) (#190)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jun 01, 2005 at 11:04:29 AM EST

I think you underestimate the ability of the army to stealthily remove toxic and dangerous materials. This isn't something that can be done in 20-45 minutes. Blowing up an airfield is one thing, securing anthrax (as well as the attendant proof that it is Iraqi made) is another. It would take a hazmat team some time to secure everything and one scud missile would end the entire operation.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
You may flip flop yet again. (none / 0) (#95)
by vhold on Thu May 26, 2005 at 05:30:10 AM EST

What if it does turn out that even though it was sold to the public on a lie, it turns out to be for a better good in the long run?

I've seen more then a few very vocal people who were totally against it before the invasion now start to wonder..  what if the ends do justify the means?  They've gotten back on the fence so to speak.  This is kind of where I am right now.

For many generations guys like me have basically said 'Time will tell.'  We're typically silent in these debates because.. well.. we are conflicted and don't feel right committing to some prediction and the whole slew of beliefs or sometimes dogma that go with it.

If I were a politician, and had to say something definitive in order to not sound totally wishy washy and ineffectual... well..  That's why I couldn't be a politician.

[ Parent ]

Long enough... (2.85 / 7) (#99)
by Znork on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:24:06 AM EST

Wait long enough and you will in all likelyhood find a point in time where things are better than they were at an arbitrary bad point in time, so as long as you dont define a specific end at a specific point in time you can always justify the means.

Of course, then you're ignoring the probability that Aziz would have found Jesus and impaled Saddam on a flagpole by himself, leading the cheering Iraqi people to a land of honey and manna, and going on the spread the word of love and compassion around the mideast, so doing nothing would have turned out to be for an even better good in the long run, which you've now prevented.

Or maybe not. But you get the point. In the long run there is no real ends to use for justification, there is only previous history and predictions. And when you're tailoring your interpretation of reality to fit your delusions of grandeur as much as the PNAC crowd has been doing you cannot make accurate predictions, which means you bear the absolute responsibility for the means without the excuse of an ends of your making.

[ Parent ]

This is wrong-headed. (2.60 / 5) (#100)
by skyknight on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:31:55 AM EST

I've said it previously, and I'll say it again... The outcome of a decision has no bearing on the correctness of having made it. You make decisions with uncertainty, calculating the odds and taking the course of action that has the highest estimated utility. You can make the right decision, have things turn out badly, and still it was the right decision. You can make the wrong decision, have things turn out well, and still it was the wrong decision. If you bet on a poker hand foolishly, but win anyway, you're still an idiot. If you drive recklessly, nearly run someone over in a crosswalk, but get lucky and avoid killing someone because they jump out of the way at the last second, you're still an asshole guilty of negligence and recklessness.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Ends never justify means (2.75 / 8) (#102)
by rusty on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:55:08 AM EST

I don't really believe that the ends can ever justify the means, if the means are wrong. Partly this is philosophical -- I don't think you truly can achieve good by doing evil -- and partly it's practical. What you reap is what you sow.

All of which is by way of saying I do hope Iraq turns out to be a functioning democracy, and serves as a light of freedom to the rest of the region's people. That would be the best possible outcome here. But the fact will remain that this was a war prosecuted under false premises and in the least competent imaginable manner. If some good comes of it, it does not excuse those responsible.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Least competent imaginable manner.. (none / 1) (#105)
by vhold on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:40:17 AM EST

You can't really believe it has been executed in the 'least competent imaginable manner' do you?  Showing up with a nuclear bomb and then blowing ourselves up with it would be somewhat vastly more incompetent.

I only mention this because such hyperbole annoys me.  Considering that it's much easier to imagine ways for it to be worse, I'd say that the way things are going are actually pretty far from 'least competent imaginable.'

Public figures who say things like that almost always eventually backtrack in the most asinine ways.  "Oh I don't mean that our boys in Iraq aren't doing a good job, I just mean that the .. non boys.. who are controlling them, they are the ones doing a bad job, yeah, at some level that is somewhere between private and president, vaguely.. somewhere.. everybody above that point sucks, whoever they are, they won't even be able to respond to me because nobody even knows who I'm talking about or any specifics of what I'm exactly saying is going poorly."

As for your main point about not being able to achieve good through evil, basically I'm just trying to say that my personal sticky point is in even labeling the initial act of invasion as good or evil.  Basically imagine the american civil war, how would you sell that one, what were the long term effects, and now nearly 150 years later, it's still difficult to put a black and white label on it of good or evil.  The combination of the motives and the results leads up to a giant gray goo in my mind.

[ Parent ]

"Imaginable" (3.00 / 5) (#109)
by rusty on Thu May 26, 2005 at 10:57:26 AM EST

The key word there is imaginable. Perhaps I could have substituted "plausible" there for better clarity. But I was assuming that given a certain standard of competence necessary to get yourself put in charge of the world's most powerful military, there's a range of imaginable competence in running an invasion and occupation. I'd say our boys in the administration have come down squarely on the incompetent end of that spectrum.

And the people who are doing a lousy job:

  • The President, for not demanding much better post-invasion planning and execution and for not holding anyone accountable that it wasn't done or even admitting it wasn't done
  • Donald Rumsfeld, for not performing much better post-invasion planning and execution
  • Wolfowitz, et al, who would have been the people under Rumsfeld doing the planning, and who were the people cherry-picking the incorrect intelligence that defrauded the American people into this thing
What's going poorly is that we're occupying a country that, for the most part, doesn't want us there. We failed to maintain any kind of transitional order because we sent too few of the wrong people (combat soldiers) to do a job they're not suited to do (that of an occupying authority). The soldiers appear to be doing the best they can, from the limited knowlege I have of what's actually going on and from my knowlege of what the soldiers I know personally would do. But they're screwed coming and going.

On ends and means -- the Civil war is a pretty interesting example. The South was nominally standing up for a principle that I wholeheartedly agree with. The union's victory there has led directly to the situation we have today, where one Federal government takes whatever powers it wants with no regard whatsoever to the enormous differences between the states and what the constitution actually says (which is that they expressly don't have any powers not specifically enumerated).

But the South was standing up for the right principles for all the wrong reasons. Did the end of maintaining the rights of the states justify the means of slavery? I don't think so. And pursuing that course ended up nullifying the very principle they were fighting for.

I don't generally see things as black and white, good and evil, and do take any blanket statements in that direction as generalizations. But it's awfully hard to live without some principles as guideposts, and principles tend to take black and white forms. So, in general, I don't think the ends justify the means. Or, to put it differently, if you find yourself resorting to the claim that some end will justify means that you're advocating, you better re-think what you're doing.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

That leaves me with one nagging question.. (none / 0) (#117)
by vhold on Thu May 26, 2005 at 12:15:03 PM EST

Good post, only one part really sticks out to me as off...

"What's going poorly is that we're occupying a country that, for the most part, doesn't want us there."

This begs quite a few other questions in my mind.

It's easy to say they don't want us there, in the same way it's easy to say that nobody really wants to pay taxes.  Should we then just stop paying them?  Obviously there are some important pieces missing from that reasoning.  

Of course a foreign military occupation is uncomfortable, nobody wants that in their country.  But does that mean they want us to leave?  Does that mean they would rather have Saddam still?

More importantly, how do you know how they actually feel?  How do you know that a majority really wants us out of there?  Based on the fact that an insurgency exists?

Here is all I could find that actually seems to have polled Iraqis on anything recently:

From defenselink

"Recent polling data shows that fully two-thirds of Iraqis believe their country is headed in the right direction, Saboon said. While a poll in January showed only 11 percent of Sunni Muslims in Iraq shared that view, that percentage has since grown to 40, he said."

I wish I could find the actual poll here to get more information, but if we were screwing it up to the maximum that is feasible, wouldn't things just keep getting worse?

While I admit that the source here is obviously interested in presenting the situation in a positive light, if the opposite were in fact true and a majority thought it was getting worse, wouldn't the media be -all- over that?  I really don't understand why Iraqis themselves have such an insignificant voice in our media in regards to.. Iraq.

[ Parent ]

The media (2.66 / 6) (#121)
by localroger on Thu May 26, 2005 at 01:02:57 PM EST

if the opposite were in fact true and a majority thought it was getting worse, wouldn't the media be -all- over that?

Why? Whatever gives you the idea that the media would be all over anything like that? The media have gone out of their way to present things in the most favorable light for the Administration. They've censored the images of returning coffins and body bags, and have hardly peeped about the practice of bringing the dead back in the middle of the night without fanfare. They whistled softly and tapdanced around the undeniable fact that an amateur journalist and gay prostitute was allowed into the White House press corps to provide softball questions on cue (and, presumably, other services). Right now Newsweek is prostrating itself and begging forgiveness for, as it turns out, correctly reporting a story which did not in fact lead to riots and deaths abroad, which riots and deaths even if they did occur because of the story would certainly not be Newsweek's fault for correctly reporting the story, but the shitheads at Guantanamo Bay for flushing other peoples' holy texts down the commode.

If it wasn't for the Internet and particularly our ability to peruse foreign news sources, we'd really have no fucking idea what is going on over there. As it is we still don't know a lot, but what we do know is discouraging as hell.

And as for the Iraqis, here are two views which we know of because Iraq has a few bloggers. Raed, who disliked Saddam as much as anybody, asked us to stay and "not let the crazy mullahs kill me" because he is gay. And Riverbend just wants the water turned back on. While it's too late for them to go back I suspect Saddam is looking better and better to the average Iraqi as days go by.

But I suppose that couldn't possibly be true because, after all, our lapdog sycophantic media would be all over it, right?

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]

meanwhile (none / 1) (#129)
by SocratesGhost on Thu May 26, 2005 at 04:41:26 PM EST

someone like Ted Koppel weekly reads off the names of the war dead. Seeing coffins merely panders to emotions while listing the dead gives the public the same exact information. I guess the difference is this: perhaps the media presents news less emotionally and this creates an appearance of bias to you?

For that matter, why is it important to point out that an amateur journalist was a gay prostitute? Does this affect his ability to report the facts or is it more likely the case that you're trying to provoke a distracting emotional reaction?

Meanwhile, you're forgiving Newsweek for bad journalism. Even though the story was true, Newsweek didn't verify the facts up to any professional standard. This is akin to saying, "I got the math wrong but the answer right. I am therefore a responsible mathematician and you can trust me if you hire me." No. Their retraction was necessary to restore public confidence in them as a worthwhile source for news.

Be cynical if you like but your examples (and their presentation) don't really support your points very well.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Blah blah blah (3.00 / 3) (#132)
by localroger on Thu May 26, 2005 at 05:09:06 PM EST

Seeing coffins merely panders to emotions

Once upon a time we honored our war dead. That is an emotion. We did not slink back with their bodies at 3:00 AM so that nobody could document their arrival.

For that matter, why is it important to point out that an amateur journalist was a gay prostitute?

How, in what possible alternate universe, could it not be important that a GAY!!! PROSTITUTE!!! was being allowed within feet of the President, bypassing levels of security that have kept actual professional journalists out of the room for months, with the obvious collusion of a bunch of people who spend half their time pandering to religious nut jobs who hate few people on Earth more than gays and prostitutes? HOW IS THAT *POSSIBLY* NOT NEWS?

Meanwhile, you're forgiving Newsweek for bad journalism.

This is simply not true. Their information came from a proven source and was multiply vetted to others, all of whom were in a position to complain about the Koran angle and none of whom objected to it. This is an example of "You said I got the math wrong but I actually did it right, you just weren't aware that step 4 does follow from step 3 according to Thoerem X. Now I want full credit for the damn answer." Except what Newsweek said was "I actually did it right, but go ahead and mark it wrong anyway. In fact you should give me an F for the test and for the semester and fail all my classmates while you're at it."

I would be a lot less cynical if my leaders didn't spend so much time lying to my face, robbing me blind, and killing random strangers in my name.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]

Have we stopped? (1.50 / 2) (#137)
by SocratesGhost on Thu May 26, 2005 at 07:14:18 PM EST

I could have sworn that the families are still notified in the traditional way, the funerals still occur, and the names of the dead are presented in the due course of the news cycle. Every morning I wake up to NPR--you know, the one partially funded through our government--as they indicate the deaths overseas. Your ghoulish quibble about caskets says more about your perception of respect than the reality of how the matter is treated through the media and by the military. Are you seriously suggesting either that the public is not responsibly informed about these matters or that the proper respect isn't being given to soldiers? The evidence suggest otherwise.

Regarding Gannon, we're getting off target. The charges of it being treated unimportantly are untrue since a search for "Jeff Gannon Gay" turn up only about 141,000 Google references and the first page of links even lists a report from the Washington Post which in turn discusses his interview on CNN. From that article: "But, she added, 'bloggers are wrong to bring that into the mix of things of why he shouldn't be a White House correspondent. Aren't we bloggers in favor of a lower bar of access, not a higher one?'"


I'm not sure what the point of your outrage is. The fact that he's a White House plant seems more material to me than how he moonlights but the web population disagrees. Only 50,900 results returned for "Jeff Gannon Plant". Still, MSN and the San Francisco Gate covered this angle. Oh well, relevance always surrenders to titillation.

The point of the other poster is that if its news, someone in the media will fill the void of silence on an issue. Your post doesn't really respond accurately to that because your evidence of media kowtowing is belied by evidence against it.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Blah blah blah blah (2.80 / 5) (#139)
by localroger on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:27:07 PM EST

Your ghoulish quibble about caskets

What is ghoulish is sneaking the bodies into the country in the middle of the night like some kind of dirty contraband so as to prevent "objectionable" photographs. If you are ashamed of the consequences of a thing you've done, the response is to not do such things, not to sweep the consequences under a rug. Has Bush even attended a funeral yet?

And yes, after the Gannon story swept the blogosphere like the raging fire that it should have been, a few news outlets belatedly realized what asses they'd been played for and deigned to mention that there might possibly be something a little off about Mr. Guckert's credentialing process. Oddly, I can't imagine the Clinton administration getting such a free pass for allowing such a thing to happen.

My point is that the American media have been miserably failing to fill the void on issues that are of interest to vast numbers of people -- as the timeline of the Gannon/Guckert story coverage more than amply proves.

There are many other examples; those are just the ones I spun off the top of my head. While Koppel does bother to read the names of American dead, does he bother to even mention estimates of the numbers of Iraqi dead? The entire WMD hunt was a now multiply proven fraud, where are the 36-point headlines this deserves? Why do the media regularly clean up Bush's "Bushisms" to make him appear more articulate and competent than he clearly is? Why does nobody report on the Potemkin Town Halls where loyalty oaths are required and people are ejected because they were spotted in a car with a Democratic bumper sticker or talking to someone wearing a Kerry T-shirt? Why did they obediently parrot the Tillman fairy tale when the real story was within reach for months? Why are fascist buttlickers like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly given all the airtime they want while the few reasonable leftists allowed on-air are made to share the stage with frothing rabid lunatics, with an assumed pretense that it is reasonable to draw an average between them? Why is a popular show like Crossfire banished to 4:00 PM Siberia pursuant to being outright cancelled?

You can come up with reasonable sounding answers to all of those things, but what is damning is the consistency and pervasiveness of the bias. One or two things like this might be "respect" or a mistake. The pattern is that the media is owned by rich people who are close to the cabal that has taken over the Republican party, and while they keep their asses covered with plausible excuses they pressure all of their employees, including reporters, to consistently favor their own interests.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]

You do realize, of course (none / 1) (#142)
by SocratesGhost on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:50:32 PM EST

That this policy about how American bodies are returned was set before Bush was in the White House and long before the events that triggered the war? From what I gather, the Pentagon wanted to permit families to make the choice of whether their dead son's coffin become the target of a media circus, all the while treating them with the greatest respect and transporting them at all hours of the day and night (there are photos of Americans arriving during the day contrary to your statements). This is also why the media must stay beyond a certain radius at funerals unless the families want otherwise. Perhaps we shouldn't be so insensitive about demanding to see the corpus delicti?

I'm going to leave it at that since my original post was six times as long trying to address each of your larger points but I eventually decided to simply emphasize this one point to show the size of the axe you are grinding.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
I think you just have a thing for coffins (2.66 / 3) (#143)
by localroger on Thu May 26, 2005 at 11:17:05 PM EST

Really, the sneaking of bodies into the country in the dead of the night was a big issue in blogland (just like the Guckert story) six months before the snoozing lapdog media woke up. Maybe now they do sometimes fly them in in the day; the story's broke, the dog don't hunt any more. In the day when that dog hunted, it got a lot of exercise. In 2002 and 2003 a lot of the loudest complaints came from the families and friends themselves.

Believe what you want; you have obviously made up your mind (just as you will say I have made up mine). In the end it will be the hidden cameras and unshredded documents that bring truth into the light. And so far, every time those things have come up, it has been the blogs and the foreign press that have exposed them. Every. Single. Time. To this day serious stories that would have toppled Clinton are simply ignored by the US media. Gannon/Guckert may get 10 ex 9 hits on Google but I can guarantee that less than 10% of the population has ever heard his name. And that is a crime. Watergate was a piss behind the woodshed compared to any of this, and the media are too busy schmoozing and wanking with the perpetrators to do what we rightly think of as their job.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]

Crossfire? (none / 0) (#145)
by rusty on Fri May 27, 2005 at 02:43:42 AM EST

Yoiks. I'm right there with you on most things, but Crossfire was not a popular show (its ratings have been in the can for years), and being cancelled was probably the best thing they could have done with it. Crossfire was a piece of crap.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Last couple of seasons (none / 0) (#152)
by localroger on Fri May 27, 2005 at 08:11:19 AM EST

Before they moved to the 4PM time slot Crossfire's ratings were going up. Much of the reason for that is that you might actually hear Carville say some of the things real liberals actually think, instead of the centrists passed off as liberals on most of the other media. Anyway, we couldn't have too much of that, could we? Snoozefests like Imus are given enough slack to float in the stratosphere, but as soon as Crossfire began to get slightly interesting it was off to 4PM, a time when most of their viewers are at work or driving home.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]
re: crossfire (the political hacks...) (none / 0) (#183)
by kpaul on Mon May 30, 2005 at 04:35:04 PM EST

have you seen this one?

jon stewart is dead on and called them out on live tv.

2014 Halloween Costumes
[ Parent ]

Yes (none / 0) (#184)
by localroger on Mon May 30, 2005 at 09:06:14 PM EST

Stewart was brilliant, but you must also admit that Stewart got on their show and was allowed to speak his mind. Where else could he have done that?

I think Stewart was so upset precisely because Crossfire was the one bastion of hope where the liberal ideas actually did have a chance to be aired. And yes, they were compressed into the artificial fistfight format, but let's at least admit that was better than nothing, even if we should call them out that they could have been doing better.

PS I am starting to understand a little what Jon felt like the next morning myself.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]

heh. (none / 0) (#185)
by kpaul on Mon May 30, 2005 at 09:11:52 PM EST

i don't think they were expecting what they got, but it did surprise me they didn't just end the segment. especially after stewart called him a dick.

has your mind changed at all? that is, has your opinion changed on anything since reading all the comments? it's trite to say it, but you generated some discussion, which was good.

2014 Halloween Costumes
[ Parent ]

Watched it twice... (3.00 / 2) (#186)
by vhold on Tue May 31, 2005 at 05:50:18 AM EST

just now, never seen it before..

I think overall they couldn't just end it because they'd lose all integrity.  Stewart has ratings, he has a voice, and he'd also have a tape, or be able to get one.

I gotta admit, as cheesy at it sounds, I'm not sure I ever felt so on board with a voice as I did during that discussion.  I really felt like he was making a true emotional and logical plea in exactly the same way I feel about partisanship.  I can't think of any stronger message I wish I could give people then that.  

I just wish he was able to properly articulate why crossfire wasn't a true debate forum.. argh.  He didn't seem able to give a real argument there, which was a real shame because it's the core issue of the entire problem.

He faltered on the 'tough questions' problem, when the real problem is that in a real debate you have to address the actual points the other person makes and not just roll away from them like you're breaking away to the hoop to dunk a 2 pointer for the inevitable audience cheer.

The very way they kept trying to change the subject on him was the perfect example of what he was trying to get at!  I think what impressed me the most is that a few times he dealt with it very well, but I really wish he was able to use that in a more meta fashion as opposed to just defeating it at the spot...

[ Parent ]

That was badly-put (none / 0) (#144)
by rusty on Fri May 27, 2005 at 02:37:40 AM EST

You're right. I don't really know if they want us there or not, or if the question even makes much sense.

I guess what I was trying to express was that an occupation is a very different thing than an invasion. Occupying forces are going to be resented, almost no matter what the situation, so it seems a particularly bad idea to have the troops that did the invasion also doing the occupation. If there had been any international support, the occupation would be when NATO or the UN came in to present a face of law and order that wasn't the same face that had been bombing the crap out of your country and blowing shit up for the last three months.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Polls? Please (none / 0) (#155)
by duffbeer703 on Fri May 27, 2005 at 08:39:11 AM EST

I actually think that the war will have a positive impact in the long run.

But giving any credence to polls conducted over there is utterly dumb. Do you honestly think that Gallup or whomever is actually conducting a scientific poll in a warzone?

They probally quizzed three Iraqi decended people in Detriot.

[ Parent ]

The entire country a warzone? (none / 1) (#163)
by vhold on Fri May 27, 2005 at 03:32:53 PM EST

While Iraq is a lot more dangerous then America, it is not a giant raging warzone.

Here is a another poll taken in Iraq in 2004

"The USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll of 3,444 Iraqis, the largest and most comprehensive poll in Iraq since last year's invasion, was administered by the Pan Arab Research Center of Dubai.

Interviews were conducted between March 22 and April 2, with the exception of the governate of Sulaymaniya where interviews ran through April 9. All interviews were conducted in person in the respondent's home, with an average interview length of 70 minutes. The cooperation rate - the percentage of those contacted who agreed to be interviewed - was 98%."

It's a fairly interesting poll, they actually specifically ask questions like 'Do you think the invasion has done more harm then good?', 'Do you see the coalition forces as occupiers or liberators?' and 'Thinking about any hardships you might have suffered since the US/British invasion, do you personally think that ousting Saddam Hussein was worth it or not?'

I also didn't know the difference in opinion between Sunnis and Kurds was -that- profound.  The Kurds must've been seriously boned under Saddam, and considering thats 15%-20% of the population that's pretty scary to think about.

Also worthy of note is look at Iraqi opinions of Bush vs Saddam.

[ Parent ]

I doubt that Iraqi freedom will = freedom (none / 1) (#138)
by livus on Thu May 26, 2005 at 07:22:04 PM EST

your point about reaping what you sow kinda implies that what will be reaped is more likely to be a compliant puppet state set up to further and support US interests, rather than a free democratic country. And yes you will then be lied to about this.

You can't give a foriegn country freedom through force and deceit. And I really doubt that anyone is seriously trying to.

HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Maybe (3.00 / 2) (#146)
by rusty on Fri May 27, 2005 at 02:49:41 AM EST

What's developing so far seems to mainly be a muddle. In a way, that's kind of encouraging. It's tough to set up a compliant puppet muddle. On the other hand, a muddle where no one really understands who's in charge is easy pickings for a would-be dictator who can get the water back on.

Anyway, I don't think you can create democracy at gunpoint either. But on the other hand, democracy has tended to break out on its own in places that get just a little bit of a sense that they can do it for themselves. So maybe in time we'll have that in Iraq. Or maybe they'll decide that a little bit of peace and security is worth putting up with that new guy in military garb...

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

yeah, maybe (none / 0) (#168)
by livus on Fri May 27, 2005 at 09:48:33 PM EST

that's an optimistic way of looking at it anyway, and I think I'll share your optimism.

HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Don't lie yourself (none / 1) (#174)
by svampa on Sat May 28, 2005 at 03:53:50 PM EST

Ends are oil.

They made a mistake. They thought it would be like Southamerica, you remove a dictator and put another dictator. But it hasn't been so bad.

They have the oil. They have troops in such strategic zone of the world. USA public opinion support them, not too much, but enough. They have won.

A puppet state would be better, and they are still working on in. But as long as the oil keeps flowing, and bad news from Iraq keep lingering, it's good enough.

All of which is by way of saying I do hope Iraq turns out to be a functioning democracy,

That has never been in their minds. In fact, that would be an disaster. What a people ask to their decmocractic government is to keep after their interests. In this case, they are opposite to USA interests: "Iraq must control its own oil, and get as money as posible from it".

Whenever you think about Iraq troops etc. Think about the real ends: Oil.

[ Parent ]
Except (none / 1) (#175)
by rusty on Sat May 28, 2005 at 03:56:12 PM EST

The oil isn't flowing. How does that affect your theory?

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
2.1 millions barrels/day. (none / 0) (#177)
by svampa on Sun May 29, 2005 at 07:20:12 AM EST

2004 - a mean 1.85 millions barrels/day
2005 - a mean of 2,1 millions barrels/day (until 3/31/2005)

They hope to reach:

2.9 millons at the end of 2005.
3.5 end of 2006
4.0 end of 2007

Data from Institute for Analisis of the Global Security.

But IMF thinks that it's too optimistic for a long shot. There are continuous attacks against t oil drills and pipelines etc.

77 since the offical end of war until end of 2003
246 during 2004
38 since 1/1/2005 until 3/31/2005

IMF thinks that Iraq won't reach 3.5 millons barrels/day until 2009.

In the middle of 2004 a group of reporters asked the governor of Kirkuk to visit the oil drills. The governor (a Kurd) allowed them to visit them. But USA troops stop the reporters, no matter how much they claimed that has permission from governor. They never could see the oil drills. Conclusion: The governor of Kirkuk has no authority over the oil of kirkuk.

In fact, oil is protected against any claim of foreing countries. Bush said

There are documents that prove that 8 months before war, USA gov knew that there were not WMD not any danger. Then what was the reason for war?

Nobody has shown any evidence that it was for a reason or for another. Which theory you choose is a matter of taste.

My taste tells me that I can't find any signs that it had to do with democracy, but public speaches. But a find a lot of signs about oil. A lot of quotatons of oil masters, Halliburton, etc.

What's your theory of the reasons for war?

[ Parent ]
Oil, partly (none / 1) (#179)
by rusty on Sun May 29, 2005 at 02:05:52 PM EST

I don't discount oil as a reason. I just don't really buy that this was as simple as a resource-grab. The idea that we went in there in order just to seize control of Iraq's oil supplies seems too simplistic. If we knew there were no WMDs, and we wanted Iraq's oil, wouldn't it have been a whole lot easier to just declare that Saddam has been neutralized and open up trade again? These people are, first and foremost, businessmen, and there were plenty of perfectly non-destructive businesslike options for getting our hands on that oil.

I think the motivation was more long-term than that. I think the planners had visions of a stable US military base smack in the middle of the Arab world. I think they also wanted to send a message to the other countries in the region, especially Iran, Syria, and Saudi, that this was some kind of new bellicose United States that wasn't going to stand for any more of their crap. And Iraq was clearly the weakest target and the one that the surrounding nations could most easily avert their eyes from if we did invade it. It was a balancing act between kicking some ass while not provoking a full-scale regional conflict, so we picked the retarded kid that no one really liked anyway to beat up on.

And yeah, if we could get our hands on some of that oil, that'd be good too. And in theory, full-scale Iraqi oil production would greatly weaken the position of our frienemies in Saudi Arabia. So it doesn't even matter that much whether the Iraqi oil is being sold to us or to Europe. Its presence in the world market is the important thing.

So oil is at the heart of just about all US interest in the region, yes. I mean, if there weren't oil there we wouldn't give a damn what they did to each other. But the standard formula "war for oil" I think is so vastly oversimplified as to be basically irrelevant. Every war in the Gulf region is going to be a war for oil. What's interesting is what the more proximate motivations and plans might have been.

And on that front, this war has also been a dismal failure, incidentally. 4 million barrels a day by 2007 is pathetic. Saudi is around 10 million barrels a day. And even that target looks increasingly unlikely. If the goals above were in fact the goals of the ringleaders of this circus, they'd almost certainly have achieved them quicker by just waiting for Saddam to die or lose power, or by loosening trade restrictions and buying him off.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Interesting contradiction. (none / 1) (#187)
by vhold on Tue May 31, 2005 at 06:12:33 AM EST

Great post, but I have to wonder, you're focused on the long term for the most part, but then say something 2 years away may make it a 'dismal failure'.

There is a mall across the street from where I live being built that won't be entirely finished until mid 2008 probably, and it's actually progressing quite fast.  The awkward construction period where existing businesses are being inconvienced will be long forgotten only months after the mall is complete and the business starts pouring in.  As bad as the parking is now, as dusty as everything is, and as loud as the piledrivers are, in the 15 years I've lived in this area, I've never seen so many businesses move in the surrounding area in such a short period.

Basically I'm just agreeing with your first points, that the long term effects are probably going to utterly dominate the short term ones.

Even freakier is that if oil production lags behind, that oil is basically staying in the ground, if it gets full blown years from now, imagine how much more valuable it will be in terms of a commodity by then.  I'm not saying thats a good thing for everybody... but as a strategy for those that control it?  Yikes.

[ Parent ]

Really? (none / 1) (#98)
by skyknight on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:23:10 AM EST

I was only kidding when I said I didn't really need a million dollars and a pony. Can I actually have them?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Sure (none / 0) (#115)
by bml on Thu May 26, 2005 at 12:12:11 PM EST

The government can easilly give every American 1M$. After all, they print the money, don't they?

... the only consequence would be a 50,000% inflation rate.

The Internet is vast, and contains many people. This is the way of things. -- Russell Dovey
[ Parent ]

The trick here, of course... (none / 1) (#118)
by skyknight on Thu May 26, 2005 at 12:16:29 PM EST

would be to borrow and spend $1M before the disbursement, and then repay the loan with the cheap money.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Blech (none / 0) (#158)
by Magnetic North on Fri May 27, 2005 at 09:56:26 AM EST

You're "furious" because they've made you look like a fool. On and on you rant about the finer points of "politics" while you probably never have contemplated the amount of suffering your mindless support of your masters have caused. People like you disgust me.

But really, you shouldn't take it too hard, you'll most likely be made a fool of again and again until the day you die.

[ Parent ]
Incompetent? Y'really think so, eh? (none / 0) (#189)
by Arvedui on Wed Jun 01, 2005 at 03:03:20 AM EST

2. The war and occupation have been prosecuted in just about the most incompetent way they possibly could have been, and not only has no one been held accountable for the utter waste of life and treasure, those responsible have been praised and promoted.
Of course, this statement assumes a few things. It assumes, first and foremost, that a peaceful, stable, well-functioning (probably) federal mid-east liberal democracy in place of dictatorial Iraq was ever actually a goal. It also assumes that the Straussian (people keep forgetting that bit!) chicken-hawks who are presently running things actually care about the lives of the enlisted pawns they're moving around the geopolitical chess-board, and that casualties on either side actually matter to them beyond whatever political fallout they might cause if insufficiently spun or otherwise dealt with.

I'd suggest that neither of these assumptions are correct, and that there is simply not the slightest chance that the (by any standard measure) highly intelligent men who are running the administration actually believed a word of the "we'll be greeted with flower-petals and honey-cakes" nonsense they spread about so successfully. Personally, I think they were aiming for chaos the whole time. As the parade of justifications for war should illustrate, they put out for mass-consumption whatever they thought would sell, and when each one collapsed, they just came up with something else until they found one that held up for long enough. Now you're upset that you were lied to, but remember that in Plato's perfect Republic, the Philosopher-Kings lied to the masses too, to get the Great Unwashed to go along with what the supremely enlightened rulers knew all along to be the best course. Of course, the PK's had better things to do than waste their time trying to reason with and convince the ignorant majority to understand why they needed to shut up and follow orders, so they came up with a Noble Lie to manufacture some consent and speed things along, perhaps throwing in some bread and circuses (Big Macs and Superbowls?) to keep them happy and distracted. Walter Lippmann had some similar suggestions, of course. It's all for the greater good! And it's all out there for the reading. (They were probably just writing as hobbyists, though... I'm sure they never intended anybody to actually take their advice!)

But the kind of incompetence that costs thousands of lives is unforgivable
Come at it from their angle. Consider it an investment of (what will probably eventually total) several thousand (American) lives (plus of course the scores of thousands of towel-heads, but who can be bothered to keep track over there anyway?) which will see the fragmentation of the Iraqi state into its component ethnic enclaves, each of which can be turned into a nice little dependency which the US will never vacate, ensuring local/regional US dominance and contributing to its ongoing global hegemony (which is, of course, better than any forseeable alternative, isn't it?), not to mention securing a nice supply of oil for years to come as well as providing some nice leverage over Iran and dangerously-rising-star China. All for the cost of a few thousand under-educated grunts who've probably never even HEARD of Plato and an irrelevant sum of brown people we can't be bothered to care about! You don't call that a bargain at twice the price??

You know, it's especially ironic that the Straussians are presently using the Republican Party to set their dreams in motion. I just noticed that bit myself.

[ Parent ]

Dead Iraqis in the media (none / 0) (#194)
by termv on Sat Jun 11, 2005 at 03:06:59 PM EST

CNN story about an Iraqi family fired upon by US tanks

It's the usual they didn't stop at the checkpoint (quickly enough?) story... Stories about dead Iraqis aren't something you see every day in the mainstream US media.

[ Parent ]

-1: Poorly Researched (1.14 / 7) (#85)
by t1ber on Wed May 25, 2005 at 10:32:10 PM EST

Alright, if the whole point of this is to show media bias, slander, and lies, then the Pat Soapbox isn't the place to do this. Vote this down, and go read http://www.radiobs.net/mediaslander/ for a real taste of media coverup, lies, and plain lazy fact checking. In my other comment, the author asks me what an AAR is (After Action Review) which tells me this is poorly researched, intentionally or not. As far as making the US Military look bad, this adds a political angle not even worth your time since everyone will become embroiled over the death of the soldier rather then an actual article on deception in the media. You also may want to investigate Saddam's television network (Al Jazeera, which has been doing better recently I might add) and Saddam's government broadcasts regarding the American invasion. Bias is not something uniquely American.

And she said...
Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
Hadji girl I can't understand what you're saying.

Sure... (none / 0) (#97)
by danro on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:19:53 AM EST

Loose definition of armor?

Yeah, I guess "anything a person can wear and still be able to walk", can be considered rather fuzzy, if you are going to be anal about it...

Anyway, he dropped the "scary AP" angle during editing, and the piece is much better for it.

Obligatory reminder link (1.33 / 3) (#103)
by localroger on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:59:30 AM EST

So which is worse, the way Ted Rall pissed on Tillman, or the way the Army itself pissed on him?

Rall's strip may have been disrespectful, but at least it was honest.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer

Rall. (nt) (none / 1) (#135)
by Skywise on Thu May 26, 2005 at 06:37:09 PM EST

[ Parent ]
mod_flagwaving_plusplus installed okay. (1.57 / 7) (#104)
by OzJuggler on Thu May 26, 2005 at 09:14:27 AM EST

There's no reasonable explantion for how crap like this makes the front page.

There are umpteen reasons why this solider died, and the patriots don't want to hear any of them. No, again flag-waving and saluting the cock of america is the order of the day in kuro5hin. A multitude of decisions and co-incidences led to this death, and somehow the important take home message is that governments lie to their citizens about ongoing invasions? Does anyone over the age of twelve not know that already?

When we get better people in kuro5hin, we'll get better articles. I owe idiotic subscribers less than nothing if their idea of "giving back" is filling the edit queue with drivel like this article. And this from a disposable single-shot account too. Most votes are from a bot network, obviously.

"And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.

People still trust the gov't (none / 1) (#119)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Thu May 26, 2005 at 12:21:31 PM EST

All of the "flagwavers" are still supporting the government, and seem to believe everything that comes out fo the administration, so I think you're a bit off with your "twelve-year-old" estimate.

The reason this particular lie is of interest is that Tilman was considered a hero for giving up a football career to serve his country.  He was a recruiting tool.

And when their recruiting tool - when their "best example" of a recruit - was shot in the back, the Pentagon showed exactly how much he was worth to them.  They lied to his family and his friends, and his brother who served alongside him.  They lied to his fans.  And now anyone who had thought to follow his example knows their treatment will be no better - and likely worse.

[ Parent ]

Want something better on the front page (none / 0) (#141)
by monkeymind on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:42:26 PM EST

The write it smartass, we are all waiting for your show stopping contributions.

I believe in Karma. That means I can do bad things to people and assume the deserve it.
[ Parent ]

If you tell the truth .. (3.00 / 4) (#106)
by shm on Thu May 26, 2005 at 10:17:47 AM EST

.. you don't have to remember anything.
-- Mark Twain.

I wonder what he would have to say today - "You don't need to tell the truth because no one will remember anything anyway?"

Lying Is More Friendly Fire (3.00 / 2) (#107)
by EXTomar on Thu May 26, 2005 at 10:31:54 AM EST

Lying to the public about this event in turn is more friendly fire. It is always uncomfortable to admit friendly fire incidents but covering them up especially about semi-famous individuals does very few any good.

This lesson seems to be contstantly lost on people: as much as people hate uncofortable topics they hate finding out they've been lied too much more. Whoever made the call on the coverup clearly wasn't weighing the options or was counting on the truth never being discovered.

Oh well...the cynic in me thinks that most will forget this incident by the end of the year anwyay. Too bad because forgetting this event will lead to more PR friendly fire.

Other possibility (none / 0) (#153)
by Razitshakra on Fri May 27, 2005 at 08:12:18 AM EST

Maybe lying made sense because the one responsible for it counted on not getting found out anyway. Who knows how often coverups succeed?

Lets ride / You and I / In the midnight ambulance
- The Northern Territories
[ Parent ]
And alll the hype... (none / 0) (#110)
by erdna on Thu May 26, 2005 at 11:10:38 AM EST

You seem to forget all the media hype surrounding the story. Live TV broadcast of the funeral etc. That may all have been staged in order to distract from torturing US Sodiers in Irak. See my entry at PolitWatch.

PolitWatch tells the truth! At least we try.

Learn to spell. (none / 0) (#120)
by Saeed al Sahaf on Thu May 26, 2005 at 12:31:05 PM EST

If you learn to spell, people might take you more seriously.

[ Parent ]
I rock (none / 0) (#165)
by trav on Fri May 27, 2005 at 04:17:42 PM EST

But then he would not be as 3dgy.

[ Parent ]
FriendlyFire (none / 0) (#122)
by crford on Thu May 26, 2005 at 01:10:33 PM EST


Fog Of War (none / 0) (#131)
by n8f8 on Thu May 26, 2005 at 05:02:55 PM EST

This is what they mean by the fog of war. My cousin who was in the Marines when they invaded Iraq the first time said the only prople to die in his unit were from friendly fire. Shit happens. Fuckstick cowards who never bother to serve take advantage of any mistake and make it worse.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
huh? (3.00 / 2) (#133)
by ruderod on Thu May 26, 2005 at 06:19:57 PM EST

who is the cowards you are talking about?  I posted the story and I have served in the armed forces for six years.

You are saying this "mistake" is made worse by what, by someone reporting it (myself) that someone else (the Pentagon) lied about the friendly fire?  

[ Parent ]

Reporting? (none / 0) (#159)
by n8f8 on Fri May 27, 2005 at 10:04:52 AM EST

You have an odd definition of "reporting":

We shouldn't blame the White House and the Pentagon for producing lies, now should we? It is one thing I am beginning to believe they do well.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]

Sadly this didn't get added... (2.66 / 3) (#134)
by t1ber on Thu May 26, 2005 at 06:31:04 PM EST

This may have been too little too late, but I suggested that instead of citing a possibly weak single-source (like Newsweek and it's retraction of the Koran story), I suggested he cite Media Slander instead. MediaSlander is a good site for finding things the media has been lax on reporting, misrepresented (intentionally or not) and generally was outright wrong on.

As for specific criticisms to the article, burning the armor and uniform is standard operating procedure, and does not constitute a coverup, especially in light of the paragraph:
Soldiers reported they burned the evidence because "we knew at the time, based on taking the pictures and walking around it it was a fratricide. . . . We knew in our hearts what had happened, and we weren't going to lie about it. So we weren't thinking about proof or anything."
I don't see any coverup here.

I think it's much more likely that army command had a corpse on their hands, assumed that it was a death due to enemy fire (why assume otherwise?) and did what they do in every other situation a soldier dies in. It's not a failure of command here or some big conspiracy, this whole article makes mountains out of mole hills for the paranoid. If anything, Army Command should be commended for coming clean about the story and admitting that mistakes were made.

If the angle is truely that the media makes mistakes, this article misses the mark. If the article is about a US Coverup, it sounds like paranoid ranting.

And she said...
Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
Hadji girl I can't understand what you're saying.

Assuming makes an ass out of you... (none / 0) (#191)
by reidbold on Thu Jun 02, 2005 at 02:03:47 PM EST

assumed that it was a death due to enemy fire (why assume otherwise?)
Assuming something about the death of one of their members just plain lazy and irresponsible. I would expect better from one of the largest militaries around.

[ Parent ]
Another "football" player dead... (1.00 / 6) (#136)
by Gluke on Thu May 26, 2005 at 07:09:44 PM EST

Who gives a fuck? Certainly not I.

It sounds like your funeral (3.00 / 4) (#140)
by monkeymind on Thu May 26, 2005 at 08:39:25 PM EST

Will have them packed in the isles as well.

I believe in Karma. That means I can do bad things to people and assume the deserve it.
[ Parent ]

News Flash (none / 1) (#147)
by der on Fri May 27, 2005 at 02:52:08 AM EST

When you go to war: People Die.

Huh (none / 0) (#188)
by C Montgomery Burns on Wed Jun 01, 2005 at 01:18:07 AM EST

I'm glad you cleared that up for us.  I don't know what all of us would have done without you to point out the amazingly obvious.
Intelligent design
[ Parent ]
Well. (1.75 / 4) (#148)
by V on Fri May 27, 2005 at 03:58:35 AM EST

If you fall in a fight you didn't pick you deserve to die like a dog.

They were not in control of their fate, who gives a shit?

What my fans are saying:
"That, and the fact that V is a total, utter scumbag." VZAMaZ.
"well look up little troll" cts.
"I think you're a worthless little cuntmonkey but you made me lol, so I sigged you." re
"goodness gracious you're an idiot" mariahkillschickens

well, fucking die already, you serve no purpose (none / 0) (#200)
by bustermojo on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 12:22:04 AM EST

please go away. shoot yourself already.

[ Parent ]
Hi fire, nice to meet you (1.71 / 7) (#151)
by fhotg on Fri May 27, 2005 at 06:05:21 AM EST

1. you go to war in a foreign country - you deserve to die. You're there for killing others no ?

2. Who shot him doesn't matter at all. In his last moment he shit himself, cried for mama and wasn't at all concerned about who exactly pulled the trigger.

3.Anyone killed in Afghanistan has a good chance to be killed by someone recruited, armed and trained by Americans or their allies. Friendly fire or not. Does it really matter whether the killer wears a turban or not ?
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

You know (none / 0) (#161)
by JohnLamar on Fri May 27, 2005 at 02:38:00 PM EST

Some people are going to be outraged by your comment...

Even as someone that fully "supports the troops" I think you are dead on. It's war, and war is hell. It is sad that people lied, but they did it for nothing. What world do we live in when we can't accept a soldier's death?

Do people think we sent our boys to go play patty-cake? (Is that how you spell Patty Cake?) I guess it hurts when you realize it isn't just a tv show. The lies go to prove how wrong the whole lot of operations are.

The worst thing you've ever seen
[ Parent ]

admittedly (none / 0) (#172)
by fhotg on Sat May 28, 2005 at 12:45:57 PM EST

writing from a hardcore pacifist point of view has some trollishness to it. But in essence, it's my conviction. Whether this war is good, necessary etc is all open for discussion.

What pisses me off so much is that everyone arguing about that seems to be totally ignorant about the brutal disgusting and antihuman nature of war which can only be really understood by people who survived combat action and somehow managed to deal with their traumatas.

Its exactly that simple truth about what it means to have to kill children and civilians, see your comrade dying with a large part of his brain blown off or desperately trying to stuff his inner organs back into his body that is a primary task to hide from the populace by the means of propaganda. Propaganda is an essential part of war and has always been, even though today we employ PR professionals to do it.

"The first casualty when war comes is truth." (Sen. Hiram Johnson, 1917) and that was true already in 333 BCE.

The victims are not only the Iraquis in this case, but also the Americans from the lower classes who don't have the means to see through the propaganda and sign up just to climb the social ladder.

And if the propagada gets an NFL player into it it's hard not to be cynical. How stupid or hypocritical is it to get outraged about propaganda (which naturally includes lies about friendly fire incidents) but otherwise support that necessary and good war and our troops ?
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]

Guitars for the girls -- Champagne for young (none / 1) (#199)
by bustermojo on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 12:19:20 AM EST

With a monacher like that, you deserve to shit yourself and probably do cry "mama" when you come---all alone, by yourself, in your stall at the local pub because to say "when you come" means another peson actually has sex with you. You mean to tell me you'd comment on a passing life--a meaniningful, real, human life--and say it doesn't matter? Instead of Guitars for the girls -- Champagne for young, try medication. You need it. Man, you people waste my time pointing out how urbane, stupid, superficial, dumb, ignorant, pompous, lacking in any moral fiber that any religin would have claimed any responsibility for creating whether it's hindu, wickan or baptist, is your mind. You suck as a human being because you're so vapidly obsessed with yourself. We are talking about people here--a person, a husband, a son, a friend, a brother. And after that, it ties to the other thousands of others like him. Maybe you should think that he sacrificed something so great for an idea so great that it takes more than your mind to ponder it.....think so? I think not. Risk something more than a posting on a web site. You should speak with more respect of a man who at least believed in something enough to get out and do it. What a moron you are?

[ Parent ]
Pity (1.50 / 4) (#164)
by czolgosz on Fri May 27, 2005 at 03:35:16 PM EST

It's a shame the poor SOB died. Doesn't matter much where the bullet came from or if is later revealed that he really fell into a slit trench and drowned in shit. It's still a futile death.

It's also a shame that he was so poorly endowed with critical faculties that he thought he was defending his country instead of being used as a pawn in a war of aggression based on nothing but greed, lust for power and lies.

He was a sucker. But that doesn't mean it was all his fault. The cynical scum who exploit the naivety of suckers like Tillman should be held accountable. His blood is on their hands. So is that of every American casualty and every Iraqi civilian. Justice will only be done when we end the war and those who got us in are imprisoned. Their Nuremberg will come. If it doesn't, or if it is delayed, there's the real pity.

Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
Not exactly (none / 1) (#170)
by The Real Lord Kano on Fri May 27, 2005 at 10:56:23 PM EST

It's also a shame that he was so poorly endowed with critical faculties that he thought he was defending his country instead of being used as a pawn in a war of aggression based on nothing but greed, lust for power and lies.

He died in Afghanistan, that conflict is about striking fear into the hearts of everyone who would oppose the fiat of an American president.

Afghanistan indicated that they had Osama and that they'd turn him over if the US would present to them some evidence of his guilt.

Had this exact same response come from any European nation, the US would have provided the proof, gotten the bad guy and been done with it.

So is that of every American casualty and every Iraqi civilian.

The Iraq war has nothing to do with Tillman's death.


[ Parent ]

Oops (none / 0) (#180)
by czolgosz on Sun May 29, 2005 at 07:03:25 PM EST

The Iraq war has nothing to do with Tillman's death.
Indeed. Never post when multitasking, that's the lesson I've learned from this.

Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
[ Parent ]
Sucker THIS!!! (none / 0) (#195)
by EminemsRevenge on Wed Jun 22, 2005 at 08:15:03 PM EST

Pat Tillman was like many of the whiteboys I grew up with...some of whom perished as firemen and cops on Septemer 11th. Unlike all the chickenhawks who call up Rush Limbaugh and that kind of scum daily, Tillman fought for what he believed in, and "friendly fire" is an unfortunate result of war. Should the Pentagon have lied? At the time it made perfect sense, because Amerikkka was in need of a hero...in retrospect, they should have kept up the lie!
Keep on rocking for a free world---
[ Parent ]
Sucker (none / 0) (#197)
by bustermojo on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 12:09:27 AM EST

The only revenge of Eminem is his music. Stick to that. Your sweeping judgments of others' actions and politics is damning. Stick to the trailer park. You're white. You're angry. You haven't contributed shit to society or the discourse on this war. See? Attacking people personally is unfair, unproductive and simply a moron's tactic to win a debate. You suck and you don't know shit. Pick on a live person--not a dead hero.

[ Parent ]
Sucker (none / 0) (#198)
by bustermojo on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 12:10:14 AM EST

The only revenge of Eminem is his music. Stick to that. Your sweeping judgments of others' actions and politics is damning. Stick to the trailer park. You're white. You're angry. You haven't contributed shit to society or the discourse on this war. See? Attacking people personally is unfair, unproductive and simply a moron's tactic to win a debate. You suck and you don't know shit. Pick on a live person--not a dead hero.

[ Parent ]
Pity to be Pitied (none / 0) (#196)
by bustermojo on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 12:01:25 AM EST

What the fuck are you doing to better anything on this planet other than impressing yourself with mewing, spewing, arrogant monologues? Pity yourself. You don't call another human being an SOB. If you have respect for yourself then have respect for others. Your lack of it disgusts me and that is the thing to be pitied.

[ Parent ]
reporting: define spell & use it in a sentence (none / 0) (#201)
by bustermojo on Wed Aug 10, 2005 at 12:32:54 AM EST

Good point. Let's not be biased.

Friendly fire. | 201 comments (181 topical, 20 editorial, 0 hidden)
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