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nealasher
Posted on Tuesday, July 05, 2005 - 12:35 am:   

When it’s all over and the clear-up and policing bills start coming due, I guess the anticapitalists and anarchists will head back to mummy and daddy’s home in Surrey before returning to uni, or to the dole office. Same crowd really who were hurling rocks at council offices during the poll tax protest: those who haven’t anything better to do, like work for a living.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, July 05, 2005 - 10:41 am:   

I wonder if they'll burn a McDonalds down, or a Starbucks? That always seems to be a popular past time at these functions.

Someone showed me pictures of protestors here stateside with signs that read:

We'll Support Our Troops When They Shoot Their Officers

And they can't figure out why they have trouble with people. Even people who were against the war (my father, a Vietnam vet for one) can't stand them.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalpsace.com
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nealasher
Posted on Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - 12:54 am:   

Interesting you should say that, just half an hour ago on the breakfast news a picture of a Burger King utterly trashed. They hate capitalism, yet live fat free lives precisely because they live in capitalist countries. Perhaps the authorities should react like the non-capitalist (though swiftly changing) countries and tarmac the road with them using tanks? Our police I feel are too restrained - if they have bricks thrown at them they should have every right to throw them back. Anyway, the people doing this are not protesting about the war, capitalism or anything like that, they are just arseholes looking for an excuse to go on a rampage.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - 07:57 am:   

While I don't always agree with what I see capitalists doing (or Liberals for that matter) I don't see the sense in using this particular tactic of dissent. In the end, everytime a batch of protestors damages property, it alienates anyone who might be inclined to listen to and support their agenda.

I've tried to make that point before with people, but I usually get drowned out in a lot of "Your impeding my First Amendment rights," and "other forms of protest are not effective."

More than a few people have told me that protests are really just social functions/excuses to party. I sometimes wonder if there is some truth to that.

Neal, you've got to feel like your the turd in the punchbowl over there in Britain with your particular political view. That can't be fun, though it seems that British SF writers are a great deal more civil about political discussions than others.

A little factoid about Burger King. Every major U.S. Army installation has one on post. Retired General Norman Schwarzkopf, during his tenure as 24th Infantry Division commander at Fort Stewart, got the first Burger King on his post back in the mid eighties.

I don't eat there much anymore, but then I don't run two to eight miles a day anymore either.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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nealasher
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 01:20 am:   

‘Turd in a punchbowl’ Sweet. I think I’d prefer something like ‘rose in the toilet’, but I get your meaning. Not so bad in Essex where most people graft for a living and want to get on – the liberal leftists tend to keep their heads down here. Mainly my views go down like a pork chop in a synagogue with some of those of the same stripe on certain message boards I visit.

Even Saint Bob describes these protesters as losers. Not that I put much credence in his views when on breakfast television he once said that health and education naturally lead to less currupt politicians rising in those countries. Where was Mugabe educated, was it Oxford or Cambridge?

http://freespace.virgin.net/n.asher
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Fillintheblanks
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 03:45 am:   

I think turd in a punchbowl is spot on...for both of you.

Pork chop in a synagogue's not bad either.

Since you're indulging in metaphor, permit me to suggest:

Like a pair of chimps toasting one another with their own feces.

Like a couple of dogs sniffing each other's ass.

Like two characters in a Beckett play attempting to pass for intellectuals.

Like a brace of idiots aping a political discussion they've seen on the telly...

Oh, wait! I don't suppose that last is really a metaphor, now is it?

And Mr. Murphy, that was such a nostalgic bit about Gen Schwarzkopf and Burger King...Let me tell you, a tear sprang to my eye. Were you there, pray tell? Do you happen to know where he shat out said Whopper? History needs your input.

Cheers!
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nealasher
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 04:45 am:   

See what I mean?

Others taking advantage now eyes are focused on Britain with the G8 thing. Six bombs just gone off in London. Perhaps the wanker who just posted above would like to turn his incisive intellect onto that and give us the benefit of his wisdom?
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 06:38 am:   

No but I'll say something, Neal. Stupid fucking terrorists. As far as I know most people I know of are okay.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 06:59 am:   

No, actually getting a Whopper at Camp Casey, Korea was one of the highlights of my year. Kimchi gives me heartburn and there is only so much Yakimandu and Ramen a man can eat.

Neal, I went to college with people like Fillintheblanks. It is old hat by now.

Per the bombings, I figure the G-8 protestors will be upset that their thunder was stolen.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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nealasher
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 07:31 am:   

Jay, glad to hear that. I made a query to Macmillan, since one of the blasts was at King's Cross and that bus ... shit, Peter could have been on it. Haven't heard anything yet.

Steven, nothing more about ftb - not worth the effort. What are Yakimandu and Ramen?
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JV
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 07:54 am:   

I've heard all of the Pan Mac people are okay.

JV
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JV
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 07:54 am:   

Unconfirmed, of course.
JV
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ClaireWeaver
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 07:57 am:   

The Pan Mac team are all ok, I spoke to them earlier.

- Claire
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JV
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 07:59 am:   

http://claire_weaver.livejournal.com/

Right--I forgot you'd said that on your blog. Good!

JeffV
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 08:13 am:   

The following Londoners I know are ok:
Kim Newman
Paul McAuley and Georgina, his girlfriend
M. John Harrison
Pat Cadigan and family
Roz Kaveney
Jo Fletcher
Mic Cheetham
Judith Clute
John Clute is in the US
Farrah M is in the US
Graham Sleight was taking a plane out this morning from Heathrow--we all think he left the underground system before the bombs went off
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 08:19 am:   

I can add okays for Darren Nash (though he was around the corner from the bus, so is a bit shaken up), Simon Kavangh and Mic Cheetham, Mark Roberts
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jeffV
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 08:20 am:   

Stephen Jones lives in London, right?
JV
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 08:21 am:   

Yeah, out a bit though.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 09:20 am:   

Has anyone heard from Geoff Ryman? I heard the bus blew up around the corner from where he lives.


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TimA
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 09:35 am:   

Anything from China Mieville?
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Minz
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 09:39 am:   

Add:
Simon Spanton
Simon Taylor
Stef Bierwerth
Peter Lavery &
Tim Holman to the "safe" list.

Also, Peter Olson released a statement that mentions that all of RH UK folks are safely accounted for.
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ClaireWeaver
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 10:12 am:   

I've emailed China but no word yet. Will let you know.

- Claire
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 10:53 am:   

China's fine.
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ClaireWeaver
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 10:57 am:   

Phew!
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TimA
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 11:01 am:   

Glad to hear.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 11:19 am:   

I've got one, possibly two professors from grad school who might be in the UK. One goes to the UK every summer to escape the Missouri heat. The other is on sabbactical. I don't know if they are in London or not. Hopefully if they are, they are okay.

Yakimandu is ground pork with seaweed wrapped in the kind of dough they use for crab rangoon. It is deep fried and served with fries, shrimp (well, the shrimp are microscopic, lots of breading) or onion rings. You could also get your soft drink in the old glass pop top bottles. This place in Tongduchon, little hole in the wall shop not much bigger than some one garages, served the stuff not far from the tailor's shops, knock off Nike shoe stores and of course, the bars.

Ramen noodles, well, they're thin noodles. Here in the states, you can get them in beef, chicken, other flavors. The Koreans had their own flavors and liked to put a slice of cheese on them.

Yakimandu does not make for good leftovers. Eat while hot with salt and ketchup.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Hal Duncan
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 11:59 am:   

Neal, man, I don't know whether to post this or not. Part of me says no. Part of me says yes. At the end of the day it's the "See what I mean?" post that's gnawing at me to the point I have to pull you up on it. Not that I agree with the G8 folk... but if you're going to crowbar in the bombs in London I think it cuts both ways.

To quote Coppolla's Rumblefish… another glorious battle for the kingdom, eh? Bombs in London, anti-globalists at Gleneagles, and "our boys" in Baghdad or Basra. And political threads where people suggest we "tarmac the road with [protestors] using tanks". And what's at the heart of it all?

Cant and rhetoric.

I have little time myself for privileged phonies playing political rebel, but with the sneering innuendo ("mummy and daddy"), sweeping generalisations ("people doing this are not protesting") and reverse snobbery("home in Surrey... uni... dole office") this is plain old-fashioned shit-slinging, so what kinda response do you expect? I can't say I think rioting is a genius PR move, to put it mildly, and sure there's a big whack of the anti-globalist protesters who are more interested in belonging to a cause than in what cause they belong to, I dare say. But if you mouth off about the counterproductive pointlessness of aggressive, in-yer-face protest with statements about how the authorities should "tarmac the road with them using tanks", well, that's really just the verbal equivalent of "Come and 'ave a go if ye think yer 'ard enough!", of kicking sand in someone's face, drawing a line in the sandpit and daring any other kiddiwink to step across it. So you were trolling for "wankers" like Fillintheblanks with that statement, spoiling for a fight.

Extrapolate:

Yeah, I say we bulldoze 'em, mate, the spongin gypo arseholes -- we should fuckin kick their fuckin 'eads in. Send in the tanks and wipe the fuckin floor with them, the wankers! Yeah, I tell you mate; the Chinese in Tianenmen Square had the right idea. Or Westminster against the Red Clydesiders. Or the death squads in South America. That's the way to treat these fuckin worse-than-worthless, parasitic scum Bullet in the head. Wotcha got to say to that, eh? Wotcha gonna do about it? Eh? Eh?

What I'm gonna do is have a cigarette, I think, and say, Fuck that shit. Fuck it all, on all sides, all that blinkered, blustering, braggardly, blackhearted bravado and bullshit.

For fuck's sake don't try and exploit the London blasts to justify your case here, to turn them into a rhetorical pot shot at a "wanker", having just proposed that we "tarmac the road with [protestors] using tanks". Geeza break. Isn't the real fucking problem with the anti-globalist movement exactly the same as with Islamic extremists, with neoCon policy-makers and every shite-spouting, bollocks-spewing, fascist crap artist under the sun...that they're blinkered by their loyalty to some ideology, religion, race, nationality or goddamn inner-city street-gang turf, blinkered to the extent that they can happily cut themselves off from empathy for the enemy.

Tarmac the road with them using tanks. Blow them up on the buses.

Sorry for ranting here, but it's cant and rhetoric, and it's exactly the same cheap and nasty cant and rhetoric these bastards use against us. We deserve it, so they say. We're the people they'd like to tarmac the streets with. I call them bastards because they want to tarmac the streets with us. Ah, crap. As I say, I was in two minds about posting this because I don't want to stoke the flames on a thread that's a thousand times more beneficial as a run-down of who's OK than as a slanging match, and I've no intention of defending the "Smash The State" ideologues and their brick-chucking followers. But this is a thread about how counter-productive violence is, so I've got to call you on that "tarmac the roads" remark if you're going to crowbar the blasts in London into a "why we should despise these scum" argument. I don't care whether it comes from Bushfeld and Bliar or Tarquin the Trotskyite, from Shariah law or Straussian agitprop, whether it's "blow up the infidel" or "drive over the protestor"; people taking empathy-bypasses and getting hot-to-trot at the thought of stomping opposition to their righteous beliefs is way more of a concern, surely, than poser-politicos with placards. People with no respect for the property of their "enemy": pains in the ass. People with no respect for the lives of their "enemy": a whole nother scale of problem. Accusing the former of complicity with the latter after tacitly aligning yourself with the latter is disingenuous to say the least.

Apologies to one and all. It's just that this lack of empathy for the "enemy" -- whoever the fuck that "enemy" happens to be, whether you're a left-wing or right-wing wing-nut or wing-ding -- just fucking sums up the fucking problems of the fucking world right now for me.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 12:09 pm:   

Very well said, Al....
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 12:47 pm:   

Umm, someone want to explain to me why it is that protestors (or at least some elements of the protest community) use bricks, firebombs, bags full of human fecal material, etc, etc?

It seems to me (when I divorce myself from my own personal feelings about protestors in general) that the ONLY reason the protestors destroy property, throw distasteful and possibly deadly objects at law enforcement is to provoke a violent response, which in turn generates media attention for their message, which in turn (in theory) generates sympathy for their cause which eventually results in political support leading to the ousting of the offending political order.

Thing is, the average citizen MAY fully agree with the agenda and message of the protestor but most of them have day jobs, own their own property, are in law enforcement or the military themselves, etc, etc. While they may disagree with the political situation, they do not see the logic in destorying property or provoking the authorities to the point where they need to use ever increasing levels of force to restore order.

As my dad, a Nam vet, a full on Democrat (voted for Kerry) said about protestors, "Protestors don't help anyone," and "at Kent State, they should have used hand grenades."

I suggest (it won't be heard, especially hear but I'll will try) that perhaps the Community of Dissent should sit down, review their tactics and try to come up with something that does not result in lost business, damaged property, multiple injuries and the like.

And Neal is right about one thing. In other countries, they silence dissent with tanks (see China).

If violence is not the solution, and our tormentors are not willing to listen, what is the solution?

I don't think anyone here honestly believes that a full pull out from every Islamic country on the planet by Western political, commercial and military concerns is going to solve our common security problem. I don't think the West's sudden conversion over to some enlightened form of Social Utopia is going to solve our security problem either.

Our terrorist opponent is stuck around about 700 A.D., if that. He understands only one thing.

Death.

We should give him his fill, and then some.

Or we can just sit around like lambs in a slaughter pen. Some on the Left seem content to do that.

I'm not. Especially since I work in a skyscraper myself.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 01:17 pm:   

Geoff Ryman is ok.
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 02:46 pm:   

Ah good.
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 02:55 pm:   

Ah good.
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AT
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 04:11 pm:   

Hal, you said what needed to be said, and said it perfectly.
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JV
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 08:07 pm:   

Stephen:

Re this:

"Our terrorist opponent is stuck around about 700 A.D., if that. He understands only one thing. Death."

It's that retarded, out-dated, and incorrect mentality that dooms us to never understand, and thus out-think our enemy.

JeffV
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 08:24 pm:   

Actually, Jeff, I think it may predate 700 AD. It sounds like a script edit from Gladiator.
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AT
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 08:41 pm:   

"Our terrorist opponents" are very much a part of our time. They are not only a product of globalisation, but are pro-globalisation, and experts at using its most modern tools. They use modern communication and propaganda in ways that are far more effective than, say, the US government or the British National Health Service's PR department. And the more that nations react to them in reactionary ways, the more they win. As for understanding only death, they, on the contrary, have a philosophy remarkably similar to many fundamentalists of other religions, including those of the US. Kill those who disagree, and destroy democracy, as it is not God's Law. And as for these attacks in London, we don't know yet whether suicide is part of the technique, but whether it is or not, it is foolish in the extreme to belittle people willing to die for their whatever. Better to think about why.
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AT
Posted on Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 08:56 pm:   

ps to that. That "understanding only death" charge could be lobbed at the IRA and ETA, yet it hasn't been. Their terrorism has been rewarded by a generally pusillanimous response by governnments, and both thuggishly maintained and democratically gained power.
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Bob K.
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2005 - 12:11 am:   

Right on to Hal. It was so good, I read it twice.
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Graham Sleight
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2005 - 04:26 am:   

A late response to Ellen's post, but yes, I'm fine - got off the underground at Heathrow at around 8.50 yesterday, and am now safely in Boston for Readercon. Very glad that everyone seems unharmed.

GS
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Hal Duncan
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2005 - 09:16 am:   

... explain to me why it is that protestors... use bricks... etc?

Because those protestors are not protesting; they're rioting. Why are they rioting?

It seems to me... that the ONLY reason the protestors destroy property, throw... objects at law enforcement is to provoke a violent response, which in turn generates media attention for their message, which in turn (in theory) generates sympathy for their cause which eventually results in political support leading to the ousting of the offending political order.

I don't think so. I see two reasons. One: rioting is the last resort of the discontent; if you're discontent, first you try to use your own political power (voting, engaging in mainstream politics); if that power is ineffective (or perceived as ineffective) because the system is unrepresentative -- the largest minority maintain a degree of control that's not comensurate with their share of the vote -- then you turn to protest as a way to a) unite the majority of minorities on the ground they share in opposition to the dominant mindset, b) attempt to directly influence essentially populist politicians by *demonstrating* public opinion, c) attempt to directly influence public opinion by raising awareness of an issue, making that issue matter to people, and thus reformulating the general moral code of the populace (the Civil Rights movement is a good example of how this worked, in forcing middle-class white folks to face up to and reject racism); if progress is minimal or non-existent (or perceived as minimal or non-existent) because the dominant mindset is implacably hostile to that moral agenda and uses (or seems to use) the executive power it wields to thwart the movement with every means possible, both overt and covert -- police, army, National Guard in the US, intelligence operatives as infiltrators, possibly even agent provocateurs -- then sooner or later, the only recourse left may be to fight for your rights. A good example of this is the Stonewall Riots: the criminal / sinful nature of homosexuality gave the enforcers of authority a mandate to take punitive and preventative action, to exert pressure on individuals and the community in general; that unswerving emnity fuels resentment; eventually the inevitable happens, one or other side goes too far, and in the case of Stonewall a raid becomes a riot.

Riots kick off differently in different places. A peaceful protest can turn into a riot. In the absence of any coherent protest movement, perhaps in response to a particular incident, a community (Brixton or Bradford, LA or Watts) will just blow up, the mob taking to the streets. Problem is people seem now to be cynical about protest, despairing of their own disenfranchisement, seeing conventional organised protest as utterly futile. Actually, I'm not sure it hasn't always been that way -- look at the history, the mythology, of the Mob in London. I think rioting comes more easily to people than non-violent protest. Many people are willing to take up violence as a first solution rather than as a last resort. You're an (ex)army guy, right? So you surely don't believe that "violence never solves anything". Most people, I suspect, don't either. At the end of the day, many people aren't even willing to engage with the "enemy" because the battle lines were drawn long ago, and it's Us against Them. We are Us and they are Them and never the twain shall meet, except on the fields of combat. We shall fight Them on the beaches, in the trenches, on the football terraces, in the streets of Jerusalem or London. The Spanish Civil War, for me, illustrates every facet, every permutation, positive and negative, brutal and noble, of political conflict -- fascist, communist, anarchist, socialist, democrat, monarchist, internationalist, terrorist, even pacifist in the shape of stretcher-bearers and the volunteers of the Ambulance Corps. Now we have anti-globalists who think of themselves in terms not unlike, I suspect, the soldiers of the International Brigades. Whether they are right or wrong is irrelevant; they believe they are fighting a global, corporate form of "fascism", a minority opinion so firmly entrenched, and which has so thoroughly perverted the orthodox routes to power, that rioting -- in the harnessed, targeted, specific form of Direct Action -- is the only viable option. I disagree, but I understand entirely the logic of that argument.

Another glorious battle for the kingdom, as I say.

See, this also feeds into the second reason for rioting -- it's tribal. Pure and simple. Forget the moral agenda. Forget the cause. All that matters is the alliegance and the violence. And this is where I challenge the motivations of some of the G8 protestors. I don't doubt that many are zealously commited to the cause, firm believers in the moral necessity of their actions, but I think it's all too easy to see the flaws of the zealot in some of them -- immaturity, naivety, wilful ignorance, blind dogmatism, and that driving sense of common purpose, of fraternity, the brothers-in-arms spirit, the esprit-de-corps that makes the battle a bonding ritual, a manhood ritual, a proof of one's value to one's adopted community. Again, I would think you'd understand this as a soldier -- the unjaded idealism, the sense of duty and honour, and the pride in your branch of the forces, your regiment, your unit. It's not always a flaw, perhaps, but I don't think it's a huge leap of logic to see how that warrior ethic, divorced from the disciplining, rigid, hierarchical structures of modern-day armed forces, and arising spontaneously from sub-cultures rather than as an official, executive power-structure in society, is at the heart of every kid throwing a molotov in Palestine, throwing a brick at Gleneagles, throwing a grenade wherever.

As my dad, a Nam vet, a full on Democrat (voted for Kerry) said about protestors, "Protestors don't help anyone," and "at Kent State, they should have used hand grenades."

And by that logic, the protestors "should" have thrown them back, because when the minority opinion sanctions killing without compunction any who dissent, any who openly protest, then you have fascism, you have a police state, you have a minority opinion which is willing to kill simply to silence, to enforce its control of the majority. That's not democracy; it's a dictatorship. Is that the future the Right wants, has basically always wanted, beneath the rhetoric of honour? Not even just capital punishment but summary execution without trial? Are we talking a Project For The New American Reich? Come on. Get with the times. Death squads are just so last century.

I suggest (it won't be heard, especially hear but I'll will try) that perhaps the Community of Dissent should sit down, review their tactics and try to come up with something that does not result in lost business, damaged property, multiple injuries and the like.

I concur.

Shock horror! Holy Fuckin Moley! A simple sensible suggestion, shorn of exterminationist bluster, and it gets agreement. See! It works, this civilsed discussion malarky. We're in agreement. And not a hand grenade in sight.

And Neal is right about one thing. In other countries, they silence dissent with tanks (see China).

Fuck China. See Scotland, mate. Bloody Friday. January 31st, 1919. George Square in Glasgow. The Red Clydesiders. 60,000 shipyard-workers and electric workers, men of steel and fire, largely veterans of WW1 who'd come back to poverty and degradation in a Glasgow filling up with Irish immigrants. And so they went on strike for shorter working hours so there'd be more jobs to go round. They were led to believe concessions would be made and so they marched into George Square before the Council Building. It was a setup, mounted police waiting in the sidestreets until the Riot Act was read out and then charging in with batons. The next day the tanks were sent in.

One of the Clydesiders who was there, and who was later to fight in the Spanish Civil War, Wullie Gallagher, stood on a platform at a rally once with my dad, still fighting poverty and social inequality and the exterminationists who always want to send in the tanks or throw hand grenades or just shoot to kill, say. Bloody Friday in Scotland, Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland, if we work at it maybe we can have a Bloody Saturday, Bloody Tuesday, Bloody Everyday every bloody day of the bloody week in your country, my country, every fucking country in the world. Result! That's what I call spreading democracy!

If violence is not the solution, and our tormentors are not willing to listen, what is the solution?

I don't think anyone here honestly believes that a full pull out from every Islamic country on the planet by Western political, commercial and military concerns is going to solve our common security problem. I don't think the West's sudden conversion over to some enlightened form of Social Utopia is going to solve our security problem either.


No, I agree. But then I don't think anyone here would talk in such ludicrously absolute terms -- total disengagement and isolation, and instant eradication of injustice. We didn't suddenly, when the Quakers made a big fuss, just turn the ships around overnight and take all the slaves back to Africa. But step by step, person by person, opnions changed, and country after country turned against slavery, outlawed it, fought it, until the slaves in America eventually got emancipated and the world, I think most people would agree, is a better place for that. Slavery still exists but not in such a wholesale -- literally fucking wholesale -- form.

So what exactly is the problem here? We gotta nail the problem before we can even start to look for a solution, right?

The transformation of the Great Game, in the 20th century, into a 2-man chess-match between the US and the USSR, with the rest of the world as board, and dictators and terrorists as the pieces, is what got us into this situation. Defusing the mess that's resulted may well take political and economic investment -- perhaps even military -- but instead of legitimate investment we have invasion, economic exploitation, political manipulation and military occupation, all to safeguard our sacred right to conspicuous consumption. They're basically right, in one respect: we are Babylon, the Whore riding the Beast. We are the latter-day merchant city-states of Tyre and Sidon and Byblos, cities of decadence and luxury, liberty and libido. Me, I'm a goddamn man of Sodom, so I have no truck with the Wrath of God Brigade, but insane and bloodthirsty as they are, the converts come to them because they can point at our corruption. Just as the corrupt Westernisation of the Shah was a prime catalyst of his overthrow in favour of the Ayatollah, so right now the moderate, progressive candidate in Iran just lost to a hardliner, a radical Islamist more opposed to the US, but more imporantly, more focused on social equality than the moderate, who courted the wealthy and privileged. Iran was making progress, gradual inch-by-inch progress, towards real democracy. But how do you sell democracy to the masses when it's just empty rhetoric in the mouth of someone carrying a flag and a gun? How do you win the fucking hearts and minds of those who look at the West and just see city-states of powerful merchants -- the burgermeisters, the bourgeousie -- carving out the assets of society between them and keeping the poor happy with bread and circuses? Sidon, Byblos and Tyre. New York and London.

Discontent >> Dissent >> Protest >> Direct Action >> Rioting >> Terrorism

How do you get the discontent on your side rather than sympathetic to the terrorists? Offer all the carrots in the world to their crooked leaders as a sweetener, and then sell them the sticks to use on their own population? Been there, done that, didn't work very well. So how do you persuade the masses that the carrot is not just for the crooks at the top and that the good thing about democracy is it only uses the stick when absolutely necessary? How do you demonstrate the virutes of liberal democracy. Jesus... Where to begin? Not letting Macchiavellian mindfuckers like the Straussian neoCons run your country would go a long way towards the West not being perceived as Satan Incarnate, I'd think. These guys manufacture threats as a matter of philosophy, for crying out loud. Forget about getting the troops out of Iraq. Get Halliburton out. Get the settlers out of Palestine. Give the UN some balls and teeth. Expand the powers of the International Court of Human Rights. Jail fuckers like Pinochet when we've got the chance. Hell, we might even have a moral leg to stand on, to justify intervention, regime change, if we at least act with consistency when it comes to the next Darfur / Iraq situation. If we act with legitimacy. If we act with an ounce of fucking integrity.

Our terrorist opponent is stuck around about 700 A.D., if that. He understands only one thing... Death

*sigh*

What Jeff said.

The terrorists are a miniscule proportion, the most extreme of the extreme. It's the ones who understand poverty and wealth and power and lies, who understand how we have royally shafted them and how powerless they are against us, who therefore understand the extremists, who support them just a little, who shelter them maybe, and who may or may not eventually become them -- those are the people you have to affect. Stop them from seeing you as the *enemy*, deal with the causes of discontent, and you cut off that support, that shelter. You cut off the supply lines of the terrorists. Starve them of the ideological justification. No corruption as fuel, no hatred to feed them on, no reinforcements, no new recruits, and sooner or later no bloody terrorists.
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nealasher
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2005 - 12:26 pm:   

Just a few points: when you read that ‘tarmac the road with them’ comment you either had your irony switch turned off or have forgotten what happened in China – the statement being a reminder that it is precisely the kind of society they protest against that allows them to protest.

The reply from the ‘wanker’ was neither Cant nor rhetoric, but abuse. I replied in kind because I'd just read that after hearing about London.

‘So you were trolling for "wankers" like Fillintheblanks with that statement, spoiling for a fight.’ And why is this a problem to you? Maybe today I didn’t want to sit back, have a cigarette and ignore it all.

Rhetorically exploiting the bomb blasts to have a go at the protesters … I correctly wrote, ‘Others taking advantage now eyes are focused on Britain with the G8 thing. Six bombs just gone off in London.’ My additional, ‘Perhaps the wanker who just posted above would like to turn his incisive intellect onto that and give us the benefit of his wisdom?’ was quite simply a challenge: debate, don’t abuse.

You seem pretty good at the cant and rhetoric yourself, though could do with a lesson or two in precis. Enjoy your party, Hal.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2005 - 12:29 pm:   

Hal, I'm printing your post so I can read it, after having skimmed it. I can't say that I'll fully agree with it in the end, but just from what I've seen, it looks a lot more rational that what I normally get.

They used tanks, tear gas and cavalry on the Bonus Marchers of WW-I circa 1930's here in the U.S., fyi.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Anon
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2005 - 05:18 pm:   


quote:

The terrorists are a miniscule proportion, the most extreme of the extreme. It's the ones who understand poverty and wealth and power and lies, who understand how we have royally shafted them and how powerless they are against us, who therefore understand the extremists, who support them just a little, who shelter them maybe, and who may or may not eventually become them -- those are the people you have to affect. Stop them from seeing you as the *enemy*, deal with the causes of discontent, and you cut off that support, that shelter. You cut off the supply lines of the terrorists. Starve them of the ideological justification. No corruption as fuel, no hatred to feed them on, no reinforcements, no new recruits, and sooner or later no bloody terrorists.




That just deserved to be repeated.



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Dunmore
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2005 - 05:30 pm:   

Nah, the fact of the matter is that Hal has just about summarised what the most of us really actually feel.

There was nothing cant and rhetoric about what he had to say. Nothing at all.

No point in arguing about the details. Hal just summed it up perfectly.
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Dunmore
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2005 - 05:35 pm:   

And I forgot to say:

Well said Hal!

Tonight I drink a drink in your honour.
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Dunmore
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2005 - 06:28 pm:   

Neal, you say: "the statement being a reminder that it is precisely the kind of society they protest against that allows them to protest."

But does it? Really? Perhaps up to a point.

Yes, I know what you're saying and it's true, but:

Our governments are more subtle, but they are equally, if not more so, ruthless.

THese riots at the G8 conferences are staged managed, obviously, to make the public think that ALL the protesters, in the end, are spoiling for a fight, to draw attention to the (pretend) anarachists, to make sure the police are in the right place at the right time, with just enough force to kick off a scene.

The real protest (against poverty in Africa ) numbered hundreds of thousands. The G8 "riots" in Edinburgh were barely hundreds (600 maybe?). But which group got the more coverage? I live abroad and saw bugger all of the 225,000 people marching for peace and for relieving poverty. The next day it was almost 24hrs newscoverage of a bunch of people that I think even I could have brushed aside with a mere wave of my fist.

But... meanwhile... as far as Mr and Mrs Sitting at Home Watching Pish on the Box are concerned, they've been made sure to think it's one and the same thing. Protesters = Anarchist Scum.

You know the tactic. It was used at the poll tax riots. Just enough niggle by the police to kick things off and -- wham! You have the propaganda war falling right into your lap.

Police do the same thing everywhere. Media support them, just being there at the right place at the right time.

What! I hear you all cry. Conspiracy theorist!

Give me a break. Is anyone so naive to think that our governments don't perfect these things to a tee?

Stage management. Almost beautiful in its execution. The Italians fucked up, typically, but that's understandable given that the Italian police ARE just a hired bunch of facist thugs. For them it was kind of what was expected to shoot some helpless neophyte in the head and run over his head in the Landrover, not once but twice, just to make sure.

And, well, it makes you wonder, just a little, who in actual fact was responsbile for these atrocities in London.

Yes, indeed, it makes you wonder. Like I say, stage managed. And needless to say at the expense of the lives of innocent people.

Governments? Terrorists? Same thing. They don't belong on the same level as the rest of us.
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AT
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2005 - 09:23 pm:   

A ramble. In a way, we are like a bunch of goldfish in a bowl, talking about how our greed in eating all of our goldfish food is starving the dogs of the world. There is a bit of conceit here that is part of what the 'rest of the world' gets pissed off about. Hal, you say:
"The transformation of the Great Game, in the 20th century, into a 2-man chess-match between the US and the USSR, with the rest of the world as board, and dictators and terrorists as the pieces, is what got us into this situation..."
That's part of the problem, but only part, as there is more than one problem and more than one kind of terrorist, as well as more than one reason for violence.
I highly recommend Naguib Mahfouz's Cairo Trilogy, originally published in 1956. This talks about Egypt in the 1920s, and is an excellent picture of the rise of the Brotherhood. The Muslim world has been going though its own internal stresses since well before the Cold War, and is going through so much sectarian stress within itself (take Pakistan, for example)now that continually thinking that the West is the be-all of all core problems and by that token, solutions, is, I think, both egocentric, and unobservant.

Next, the west as a magnet for hate is,I think, less due to faults of the west than our heavy-handed hypocrisy (particularly the Anglo counties)--people hate hypocritical cant more than they do policies, which they don't always hate as much as one might think. An example: the totally backarsed attitude toward trade that both the EU and the US has been no worse for a little tailors in say, Zambia, than the feel-good-giving of your old clothes to the poor of the world. It's put them out of business.

The progression that you draw, Hal, I also disagree with:
"Discontent >> Dissent >> Protest >> Direct Action >> Rioting >> Terrorism"

In my own experience, I have never actually met anyone who was constructively oriented, ever go through this progression, nor do I think, if you work backwards, can you find people who did go through this road to the end. Terrorism is in itself, a different consciousness, because it is unspecific in its killing end. Many terrorists have come from the middle class, or higher. Which means that if one looks at terrorism as a social choice, it could lead one to the conclusion that terrorism is a pathology that is given respectibility by being elevated to a political level when the motivation isn't societal change, but the societal harm for personal reasons, and a massive sense of egocentricity. Sometimes the terrorism is dressed up in ideology, but often, even that is pretty thin. To many people attracted to terrorism, it is--a thrill, and there have been times in history that it has been more or less attractive as this thrill.

But on to the main reason that I think our talk is in many ways, off the track of where the world is today, and is headed. The UN is dead, I think, and not because of the West, or the all-powerful US. It is true that this Bush administration killed even the whiff left of what the Statue of Liberty supposedly stood for in the world's eyes. But the West wasn't the cause of the UN making "never again" a joke in Darfur. China did. The new Rome is China, and the US and Europe first made it that, and now China is making sure of it. Whah? China hasn't talked aid to Africa. It's made deals. see Zimbabwe's Sokwanele (Enough is Enough) article, "On becoming a Chinese colony"
http://sokwanele.com/articles/sokwanele/onbecomingachinesecolony_21june2005.html
and Lindsay Hilsum's report just the other day for Independent News:
"As the G-8 leaders debate increasing aid to Africa this week, Lindsay Hilsum of Independent Television News examines the impact of Chinese investment in Sierra Leone and Sudan."
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/asia/july-dec05/china_7-05.html
Latin America is going the same way. All the way with China, which isn't surprising.

The new alliances in the world make a mockery of the G8. Britain still thinks it is important. The US thinks that it is, yet it has not only moved its manufacturing abroad, but undermined any moral ground that gave it any strength at all, so much that it is more a source of jokes abroad when it speaks, then fear (as it has been used to being respected for). As for the EU, it is so eager to sell arms to China, that it is laughable, too, if one can laugh at such a stance. The west stands now for nothing, it seems. But China stands for business. And if it is willing to make deals with leaders, who the fuck's going to stop it? And who is undermining it? No one. Internally, it crushes all dissent, and externally, it is more liked than the US because it doesn't preach, and because it doesn't talk free trade and just give barriers and forced market penetration.

But where was this ramble leading? Perhaps nowhere constructive. Perhaps to say that religious terrorists are a fad, I think. And they will pass, as other fads have. And perhaps to say that I think that we face far more serious challenges to our world--a world in which a large undemocratic state has learned well that bully tactics work, and that there is no such thing as a standard of ethics being upheld in the world at large.

A world in which small countries have learned that one form of good income (to the rulers, at least) is to sell their UN and other international treaty organisation votes. A world that is making new alliances between small and less powerful states, and whose people know that the west is only really enriching their corrupt leaders, whatever the 'aid'. And in this world, their own confidence is growing even in their complaints. They increasongly don't even mention the west, as they are increasingly struggling with the lack of decent leadership in their own societies. (Of course it would help if they weren't able to buy crowd control arms made by the West, but then they also buy them from the non-West, too, where citizens aren't scrupling all over the place.)

By the way, the Sydney Morning Herald has a big ad in its pages from one of its poshest jewellers, for uncut rubies from Burma. Our government states that Australia has 'very little' business in Burma, but the Australian govenment has helped the Burmese government with its mining.

I should probably apologise for this disjointed mess.

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AT
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2005 - 09:41 pm:   

Of course, as you stated, Hal: Israel is intrinsic to the Islamic terrorist having any sympathy at all. Israel (with a history known throughout the Muslim world as including elevating a terrorist to national leader)is still a well-gusher of unjustness and hypocrisy, and its policies are set to be for the future, as it fulfills its lebensraum plan. Here's a great column from the current issue of El Ahram that I wish everyone could read.
"We are no longer able to see the sun set"
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2005/750/focus.htm
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Annoyed
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2005 - 11:27 pm:   

Yeah, AT is absolutely right. When a terrorist attack kills people in London, it's a horrible crime. When it happens in Israel, it's justified becuase, well, it's a "well-gusher of unjustness and hypocrisy".

I wish we could all read El Ahram. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to the secret tunnels - you know, the ones we secretly use to control the world banks? You can read about it in the Secret Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I'm sure AT could lend you a copy.

On second thoughts: I blame the Zionist government of Britain. At least, that's what the press officer for the secret Al-Qaeda in Europe group said, and I believe him. I mean, SOMEONE has to write those press releases...

Tony Blair, the well-known Zionist... I hear he's going to make aliyah and live on a kibbutz when he retires.

Sigh...
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AT
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 12:54 am:   

I didn't say terrorism was justified, 'annoyed', ANYWHERE, did I? In fact, I said the opposite. I have the same point of view about the actions of the Israeli government as many Israelis do, and in particular, the Nobel-nominated Israeli group Courage to Refuse, which I recommend to you.
http://www.seruv.org.il/defaulteng.asp

Their original refuseniks' letter goes, in part,
"# We, combat officers and soldiers who have served the State of Israel ... and were issued commands and directives that had nothing to do with the security of our country, and that had the sole purpose of perpetuating our control over the Palestinian people. We, whose eyes have seen the bloody toll this Occupation exacts from both sides.

# We, who sensed how the commands issued to us in the Territories, destroy all the values we had absorbed while growing up in this country.

# We, who understand now that the price of Occupation is the loss of IDF’s human character and the corruption of the entire Israeli society."

Along with them and other Jews around the world, I take it as my responsibility to speak up about what is wrong as well as to help foment change for the better in the world (whenever I can be constructive) because, as Hal pointed out, tribalism is one of the forces that is not doing the world any good at all.

I recommend a couple of books, by the way. Albert Hourani's "A History of the Arab Peoples", Faber and Faber, 1991
and
James Adams' "The Financing of Terror", New English Library (Hodder and Stoughton), 1986

one of the quotes in the blurbs for this second book says: "Too many journalists are respectful and too many ordinary men and women do not want to be bothered to help put terrorists down; so millions are threatened by self-perpetuating cliques." - The Economist

and I'll quote a little piece from the Introduction: "No matter how revolting the methods used by terrorists, some part of the announced reasons for a group's existence - the wrongs they proclaim they will right - will evoke sympathy. However, any admission that even the smallest part of the terrorists' cause may be justified can be seen as weakness... It surely makes sense for democratic governments to take the initiative against international terrorism. However, this has traditionally brought with it the repression of civil liberties which democratic societies tend to revere. In addition, draconian laws can in turn give ammunition to the terrorist who portrays the State as an oppressive machine which is the enemy of the people."

It is, of course, a cliche that 'one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter', but it is also, still true. The further away the terrorist is from one's home, the more of a freedom fighter he can seem to be, too, as one person who lived amongst people who had to suffer the Zapatistas taught me once.
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AT
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 01:50 am:   

Sorry for the self-righteousness in that last post. I admit I was also annoyed. I don't know where 'annoyed' gets the idea that "You can read about it in the Secret Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I'm sure AT could lend you a copy." I suggest that it comes from the same sense that criticizing Israeli policy comes from. So I'll suggest this article, too.
"The Three Monkeys of Israeli Media" by Eve Sabbagh
http://www.palestinereport.org/article.php?article=798

and my apologies to all the rest of you if I've gone overboard in bringing up this topic, which to me is a part of what should be discussed. There is a nation being stolen right now. And this theft will make the world only a more dangerous place, as far as I can see.
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AT
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 02:27 am:   

Sorry, but my bile's up. So one more thing, 'annoyed'. I could have said that you said, "I believe there is no place for two people in our country. Palestinians are like lice. You have to take them out like lice."
But I didn't. Because you didn't say it, at least as far as I know, though Israel's tourism minister (ironically nicknamed 'Mahatma Ghandi') did.
And Darkness Covered the Land by Robert Friedman, The Nation
http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml%3Fi=20011224&s=friedman
And yeah, he was assassinated afterwards. If I remember correctly, a Prime Minister of Israel was also assassinated for being a 'peacenik', and his assassin is a hero to some. You? I wouldn't assume, so it is just as wrong for you to assume anything, and especially vile to have said what you did. I won't lower myself to self-justifying by elaborating more about myself, but I will say that you didn't even read what I wrote, you were so eager to smear. I said "Here's a great column from the current issue of El Ahram that I wish everyone could read." So what offended you in that article? The mindset that finds a Protocols of Zion believer in that is or in anything that I said, is, frankly, irresponsible (euphemistically speaking).

Apologies to the rest of you. I'll shut up now. I've taken up too much space here already
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AT
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 05:03 am:   

but a woops that I must fix. I said "...terrorism is a pathology that is given respectibility... " when I meant to say "pathological state that is given respectability". But with my cutting and changing here and there, there are many places in my postings that you could 'sic' on, so sic away if you've a mind to.
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StephenB
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 06:29 am:   

My biggest concern about what will come out of this, is another war. They want people angry and afraid. And if people are angry or afriad enough, they'll support a war.

Because of that, this strikes me as stupid of the terrorists, because that act will only help Bush and Blair's agenda.
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Anonymous
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 09:53 am:   

As things are now, the agenda of fanatical terrorists worries me much more.

Oh yeah, let's give policy advice to terrorists! They'll really appreciate your strategic points. And while we're at it, why not point out targets for Al-Qaeda that will fit OUR political agendas?

Pull your head out, Stephen.
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StephenB
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 11:28 am:   

You're the one with your head in the sand.

I'm done. I don't have time for you.
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Dunmore
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 01:31 pm:   

"As things are now, the agenda of fanatical terrorists worries me much more." -- Anonymous.

I see the agenda of fanatical terrorists as no more fanatical than what Bush, Blair, Berlusconi etc., are doing.

In fact, I can (while despising what they are doing) actually understand WHY the terrorists are doing what they are doing.

It's what B, B and B are doing that dumfounds me, along with everyone else.

When have they ever EXPLAINED their agenda? What IS their agenda? A war against terrorism? Scuse me, but there can be no such thing. Blair, above all, should know that (as, meanwhile, he continues NEGOCIATIONS with the IRA, against whom even the might of Britain, if it is a might, is utterly powerless to fight a "war" against--because YOU CANNOT DEFEAT TERROSISM. The only way to do that is to wipe out entire populations. The only way to do that is through genocide. And I'm speaking, purely, from a militarily tactical point of view).

Fuck off, anonymous, with your powder puff, superficial, anonymous pish.

I have a lot of respect for what Neal Asher and even the Bold Sir S. F. Murphy were saying above, even though it's many planets away from the way I think. But I can understand their feelings, and think that probably a part of that feeling is lingering around somewhere in all of us.

But your cynical clap-trap, picking on a very fair and genuine concern by Stephen B., is henceforth obliterated out of the argument.

My advice is to go and re-read this thread, paying particular attention to the expertise of Hal D. and Anna T., with additional attention to the reaction of Neal, which is very justified under the circumstances.
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Dummore
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 02:44 pm:   

By the way, Stephen B., I thought this--

"And if people are angry or afriad enough, they'll support a war."

--was an excellent point. Well said.

And to add, I would say:

The baser emotions are often the best, but sometimes it's best if we overcome them.

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Liz Williams
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 04:12 pm:   

>The baser emotions are often the best, but sometimes it's best if we overcome them.

Too high a price. I'm not afraid - I'm going up to London on Monday, on the tube as usual. I'm bloody angry, but I'm not going to be manipulated into thinking that more war is a good thing. More of the same? No thanks.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 04:19 pm:   

>We'll Support Our Troops When They Shoot Their Officers

>And they can't figure out why they have trouble with people. Even people who were against the war (my father, a Vietnam vet for one) can't stand them.

Mmmm. My dad fought throughout the Mediterranean theatre, ending up at Monte Cassino. Most of my uncles ended up in POW camps in the Far East.

I don't think dad would have gone as far as shooting his officers, but he certainly considers them to have been idiots who got many more people killed than necessary. His view of the British army - in those days - is largely one of contempt.

I wasn't there. I didn't see that amount of carnage. But I have picked up those attitudes from him. I'm cynical about the forces. As you may have gathered.
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AT
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 05:43 pm:   

Dunmore, I second your second of Stephen's statement:
"And if people are angry or afraid enough, they'll support a war."

and second the second part of yours:

"The baser emotions are often the best, but sometimes it's best if we overcome them."

The kind of journalism that appeals to baser emotions has wet dreams over being able to start a war. The possibly bogus but nevertheless accurate in style quote from William Randolph Hearst - "You furnish the pictures. I'll furnish the war" was the template for the current "fair and balanced" journalism today. Though once the war started, it is interesting how it dropped it as a subject since it hasn't been a rah-rah success.

In political campaigns, the Tories' latest is a particularly trenchant example of this base-emotion appeal. I love the "Turn Your Back to Basics" site of toryscum.com http://www.toryscum.com/2005/04/09/taking-streets-part-2/
in which the posters "Are you thinking what we're thinking?" have been altered.

That campaign was masterminded by the man who was behind two successful campaigns for the current Prime Minister of Australia. The first appealed to fear and selfishness. The second appealed to greed.

Karl Rove needs no introduction.

Baser emotions stink as social forces, since though love is base, too, it is not as powerful as the negative emotions.

So back to a few of our other problems that I think we do face, and they're not small ones. I see them as part of the whole. Failing nation-states. The Philippines is in gradual melt-down now, but the whole Pacific and Indian Ocean region is in bad straits, as just one region), the rise of corruption - the latest Transparency International report said that corruption has actually risen in Africa, and certainly it is not the only region. The current US White House is the Warren Harding administration of the 21th century,

see, for example: http://www.americanpresident.org/history/warrenharding/

Russia is so corrupt that Putin looks clean, and the EU is going corrupt in the very mechanism of its vast bureaucracy, as K-Street lobbyists establish themselves in Brussels, without the transparency of the US.

Russia is a wildcard in world affairs, too. The new chumminess with China is a multi-polar statement, and the precursor to China putting in big money to develop the resources sector. No matter what happens with Russia, I don't think that its stance is going to be particularly constructive in terms of world peace, nor in terms of stopping terrorism. Rather, I think it will be a source of it.

Europe is now telling Turkey that it can sit in the back of the bus, maybe.

Then there are the -stans. Sigh.

India and the US have now just made some sort of military alliance, but the US is not getting some sort of suck-up ally that the US may think India will be. India is full of its own growing sense of self-worth, too, and though it sees China as a threat, the US has gained more from India in these past years than India has gained from the US, and the Indians know this.


Then, the little matter of nuclear weapons. Leaving out the threat we face of rogue groups getting any, we do have the real problems of the seeming inevitability of North Korea and Iran being newbies in the club of haves. With Iran, Russia is raring to sell the Iranians what they need (for $800 million - peanuts, but oil and peanuts is the Russian economy now). Partly because of Israel, being part of the nuclear club is a widespread wish in Iran, as a self-determination and national pride issue, made more so by the stance of the US. Europe has acted comatose about this in the past, and now it's probably too late to stop anything, though the crazies in the US have been itching for war there, egged on by the Israelis,
(see "McGovern on the Iranian and Israeli Nuclear Programs" and "Attacking Iran: I know it sounds crazy, but..." by Tom McGovern, Tom Dispatch
http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=2230
I think that now this is being seen as impossible in Washington, because the forces are too stretched to bring it off, not because it is crazy.

As for North Korea, the South Korean government has a new way to keep the nut in power, in power. It is now developing a manufacturing zone there. And it has been propping him up with money for some time. I think that China, far from being worried about NK being a nuclear state, the leadership of China is complacent, thinking that 1)nothing will be pointed south.
2)a nuclear NK is a threat to the US and possibly the rest of the world, which is good, as it is a distraction.

Well, I guess that with this diatribe, I am trying to say that, while the attack in London was despicable, as terrorist attacks always are, it was political. The higher the importance it has in people's minds, the more effect it has. Europe has learned to live with other terrorist organisations, and perhaps there is a lesson in that.

Nevertheless, policies that lead to the real situation we have now where Islamic extremists groups have no problems recruiting, but the US does, need to be looked at, not to assuage those anti-societal groups, but to see what is in policies that just might be swaying an otherwise peaceful person to give a murderer succour or sympathy.

And if that last para provokes another rejoinder from 'annoyed', then I would say in response, Expand your mind, 'annoyed'. Reeeeaaaaad widely! Now your mind would not be able to get through the eye of a very small needle, as it would be terrified of the vastness.

Finally, one body that I think is very good is the Institute for War and Peace Reporting
http://www.iwpr.net/home_index_new.html
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Lawrence A
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 02:39 am:   

AT, is that Anna Tambour?
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AT
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 04:04 am:   

Yes, Lawrence. I thought it was simpler now, with several Annas on this board, to go by just AT, hoping that doesn't bother anyone. If you find it annoying to have to think out 'who is that?', I'll use my whole name.
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al duncan
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 01:00 pm:   

Neal:

Sorry, my irony circuit was on overload; I did get the "if they had their anti-capitalist state, they wouldn't bloody like it" sentiment, but within the context -- followed by a question of whether we should allow police to use more force -- I was reading an underlying "someone should teach them a bloody lesson; then see what they think". That uppity protesters should be given very short thrift. The "kill em all and let God sort it out" thing just makes me feel like banging my head against a brick wall while I mutter to myself "does anyone believe in reasoned discourse?" over and over and over again. Hell, though, I would've happily left you and Fillintheblanks to throw rotten tomatos at each other if it wasn't for the London remarks... the bit I read as "cant and rhetoric".

why is this a problem to you?... You seem pretty good at the cant and rhetoric yourself

I can't say I'm immune to it, but I think it's counter-productive in exactly the same way rioting is. I'm certainly not averse to the odd bit of rhetorical technique if it's got reason under it, I admit; it's the cant really -- when anger and contempt, frustration and finger-pointing take the form of blanket condemnations and emotional manipulation -- that I take issue with. To me the referencing of the London bombs read more as button-pushing than anything else, an attempt to co-opt an automatic reaction of unreasoned outrage to justify contempt for the G8 protestors. We'd probably disagree over whether the protestors had any real effect here in weakening security in the capital, but that's not what I take issue with anyway. It's the irony of invoking an act of terror perpetrated by zealots to validate an attitude that "we're too bloody tolerant" which overloaded my irony circuits. Left wing or right wing, the more entrenched and dogmatic and intolerant we are in our own attitudes, the more we just kick off at this or that target of hate on grounds that we see as self-evident but which others see as entirely spurious, the more we become the unwitting enforcers of our own ideologies, villains who see ourselves as victims. That's the bloody irony of it, as I see it.

Anyhoo, I'll stop carping on about it now. Hopefully that was fairly cant-free.

Steven:

There are some of us liberal leftist types who're happy to engage in debate and listen to opposing views. We sure as hell won't see eye to eye but that's what a discussion is about. I actually think the practicalities of the global issues would be well served by debate that kicked away the partisan battle-lines and asked the difficult questions -- like "if violence won't work, what will?", or even "isn't violence the only option here?". A rightist's interventionism is a leftist's internationalism. A rightist's isolationism is a leftist's anti-imperialism. It's not simply about cowards and bullies, as the left-right divide often seems to come down to, when the accusations start to fly. Different ethics lead one person to sign up and fight for the freedom of Belgium in WW1, another to go to jail as a "conchie" speaking out for pacifism, another to reconcile those as a stretcher-bearer, another to simply sign up for King & Country, another to be driven by the pride and glory, blood and honour.

Anna:

...there is more than one problem and more than one kind of terrorist... continually thinking that the West is the be-all of all core problems and by that token, solutions, is, I think, both egocentric, and unobservant.

You're right, of course; I was being highly simplistic and focusing in on the area of the problem that relates directly to the West, (as I see it, anway) -- the political, economic and military fall-out from the Great Game. I have to say, I'm not convinced the impact of Soviet or US foreign policies as regards the Shah of Iran, Afghanistan, Hussein, Saudi Arabia and so on are as negligable as your goldfish metaphor paints it -- Israel being one big-ass Case In Point. So that seems to me to be at least a problem that it's largely on us to fix.

The rise of radical fundamentalism and sectarianism aside from that has got to be, I agree, a huge chunk of the problem too. Maybe a bigger one, and very probably one that isn't going to be helped by Western liberals and / or conservatives thinking there's a magic paternalistic solution to it all. I'd be interested to read Mahfouz. The BBC's Politics of Fear doc did an interesting job of tracing the growth of Islamic extremism from the 50s on, but didn't go so far back; and the early decades of the 20th Century seem to me to be the critical juncture, where the old Empires sustained by Trade and Industry (and I'd include the Ottoman Empire here, I think) basically imploded and the Modern Era began -- not just in Europe but as a global phenomena.

I wonder if the "global tribalism" of radical Islam isn't just one example of a widespread shift towards internationalism over the 20th Century, resulting from a general loss of faith in the "weak and decadent" rulers -- the Kaisers and Sheikhs and Tsars and Shahs (and Presidents and Prime Ministers?) -- and the "scheming merchants" whose pockets they're in. Communism, Fascism, Islamism, Zionism and Christian Fundamentalism all seem to speak the same language -- and it was nailed on the head for me, recently, by the words of a Jewish Settler in Gaza. Interviewed on a current affairs programme, he said basically "this is the Zealots against the Hellenes" -- i.e. true believers against the corrupt, decadent culture of weak kings with wicked priests and merchant power-brokers behind the scenes.

Moscow with the Tsar, Rasputin and the Duma. Weimar Berlin with the Kaiser already gone, and "International Jewry" seen as the pernicious string-pullers. Tehran under the Shah, partying in Persopolis with not a single Iranian guest. Israel with Sharon as Antiochus, "persecuting the faithful" -- as the settlers see it, at least. That's partly what I was trying to get at in comparing New York or London to Sidon, Byblos and Tyre -- the mythology of the Evil Empire, the City as Whore. I should clarify that a whole lot of that righteous ire at the "corruption" of the West is, to my mind, a bizarre monomania. Once you've abstracted your ideology into One True Book -- Torah, Bible, Koran, Das Kapital, Mein Kampf, The Thoughts of Chairman Mao or the Ayatollah Khomeini -- the mercantile culture that tolerates heresy and apostasy, heathens and humanists simply because it makes life -- shock horror -- more enjoyable, why, that's a culture which has clearly succumbed to the temptations of the flesh, isn't it? Babylon the Mighty. Sodom and Gommorah. That seems to me to be a recognisable feature of the zealot pathology.

In that respect, again, I was probably being simplistic in placing terrorism as an extreme form of dissent. In the same way rioting doesn't necessarily develop out of protest but might well kick off in the unthinking violence of those who see protest as ineffective and have never really engaged in it, terrorism doesn't necessarily develop out of rioting and street fights but might well come from the calculated brutality of those who see even conventional guerilla warfare as ineffective and have never really engaged in it. I do think there's an overlap between the rioter and the guerilla, and between the guerilla and the terrorist, but, I wasn't positing a sort of slippery slope of despair, a path that leads the dissentor to acts of terrorism. Or at least I wasn't trying to. What I would say is I think widespread discontent fosters dissent which leads to protest. And that when you get to the point where peaceful protest is already abandoned for direct action, rioting and running street battles, you sure as hell have a support network for those who'll take the guerilla warfare approach and see civilians as enemy combatants.

Anyway, I do think the pathological aspect is a good point. What is it that motivates the terrorist? Is it all just thrill-seeking? I don't know. A lot of that but a lot more, I think. The good zealots do seem to get their rocks off on being a soldier for Allah, or Jehovah, or Christ, or a United Ireland, or blah blah fucking blah. But in Psyche 101 terms, I'd suggest it's a sort of narcissistic rage. You get to kill people and feel proud of it. They deserve it and must be slaughtered. The ideology and the pathology justify each other, self-righteous pride blostering conviction; blind dogma feeding egotistic wrath. I'm not sure the ideology and the pathology are actually distinct.

With that in mind, I'm also not so sure religious terrorism is a fad. This type of zealot activist seems pretty widespread throughout the 20th Century -- from anarchists firebombing churches in pre-Franco Spain, to the Night of Broken Glass, to the KKK, to the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo -- and long before it, from the Black Hundreds of Russia to the pogroms and the Inquisition, right back to the original zealots (and the sicarii and so on). I'm wary of dismissing religious terrorists, not because I think terrorism is a terrible threat in and of itself, but because it's a big flashing warning sign that says "here be zealots". Sure they're of piddling importance in the Big Picture, they may well not survive the changing times and the best "fuck you" to them is to refuse to fear them. Fifty-odd dead? It's not something to be forgotten, glossed-over, but neither is it the awful threat to our very way of life they want it to be.

But there is a real threat in the cycle of violence that such actions can kick off, when you start getting mosques fire-bombed and the BNP gaining political capital and young, middle-class British Muslims getting regarded with open suspicion and outright hate. Then the ideologues on both sides can ramp up the tension, ramp up the cant and rhetoric, and the whole fucking merry-go-round speeds up until you can't get off. Hell, with everyone up on their own ideological high-horse, going round and round in circles, and all the fireworks and all, why would they want to when they can all join in the fun?

And it's yet another glorious battle for the kingdom.

With China as the shape of things to come while we chuck molotovs at each other? I think that's another topic but the new Player 2 in the Great Game is a serious contender, absolutely, looking all-set to wipe the board with the West and with a nasty hybrid of ruthlessly eploitative capitalism and ruthlessly dictatorial totalitarianism that would be all too appealing to any right-thinking opportunistic follower of Leo Strauss. I'm just more focused on the "zealot" thing at the moment. I guess what I'm pushing at is it's not just a war that anger and fear can make people support. It can make them support anyone who comes along and offers them a nice safe target to throw firebombs at, so they can get their kicks out of venting that anger, and a band of loyal brothers, so they can feel a little less afraid as they all beat the shit out of the "paki". Maybe I'm way too cynical about our capacity to drop the civilisation malarkey, pull on the jackboots or Doc Martens, and start stamping on people's faces forever but I'd rather err on the side of pacifist paranoid than assume we won't just repeat the mistakes of the 20th Century all over again. Warfare for the "freedom of small nations". Internment without trial. Hatred and fear of immigrants. Ideological nut-jobs out to save the world through glorious revolution -- sorry, jihad. Thugs out on the streets ready to welcome the Jews -- sorry, asylum-seekers -- with smashed windows and fire-bombs. What year is it again? Cause I sure as hell hope nobody turned the calendar back to 1915 without telling me.
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Dunmore
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 05:06 pm:   

As an aside: the kind of carnage that we've been facing up to this week: well, it happens on a weekly basis in Iraq. This is the latest:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4668721.stm

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Dunmore
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 05:15 pm:   

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think violence IS the answer.

Imagine if we were all there, with all the pretend anarchists, brushing aside the police with a deftly delivered upper cut or two, then steaming ahead because our numbers are so insuperable, then kicking the shit out of the whole G8 congregation.

What joy.
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Dunmore
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 05:41 pm:   

This is more accurate:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Iraq.html?hp&ex=1121054400&en=a b510ef4f7e30a9f&ei=5094&partner=homepage
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 06:12 pm:   

Liz wrote: I don't think dad would have gone as far as shooting his officers, but he certainly considers them to have been idiots who got many more people killed than necessary. His view of the British army - in those days - is largely one of contempt.

Hal, I've not forgotten you. Some points I agree with, others I don't. I'll post those views tomorrow.

Liz, God knows I served under some first rate idiots during the Gulf War. We had three sergeants and a corporal (why is there always a corporal in these stories?) who used to say:

"I can shoot you for disrespecting an NCO in a combat zone. Did you know that?"

Umm, no, they can't. They can charge you under the UCMJ (and who is going to waste time with that when 500K men are getting ready to go to what everyone was predicting would be our impending doom?) but they can't shoot you.

It finally took the entire communications platoon's worth of E-4 and belows to surround one of the worst offenders and say:

"If you ever shoot one of us, you'll be dead before you hit the ground."

Needless to say, the crap ended.

But that wasn't a political problem. That was a leadership problem. I didn't get to vote for the idiot that was my sergeant. Shooting him would not have been a political protest (personally, I didn't give a shit about the Iraqis or the Kuwaitis one way or the other circa 1991, it was just part of the contract), it was a matter of making sure I came back with my shield, not on it.

I think that the last thing anyone would want is an Army full of hardened combat veterans to start popping their officers. History shows that when this happens, they usually come home and the government falls, followed by a long period of bloodshed (see Russian Civil War after the fall of the Czar).

Besides, it is sedition, which while protesting is legal, sedition isn't. Especially under UCMJ.
You can smirk, make silly comments about the Sergeant being an idiot, raise your eyebrow, fart while they are talking (my personal favorite) and the worst it could possibly get you is some extra duty for fifteen days, a chunk of your pay confiscated (in the desert, where was I going to spend it?) and that is it.

Sedition, on the other hand, can definitely get you shot.

Civilians make the decisions (no matter how incredibly fucked up those decisions are and American Political Leaders both Left and Right have made some whoppers since 1991).

The soldier's job is to implement those decisions. You get to vote, write your congressman, and maybe apply for CO status, but that is about it.

Liz, part of the difference in view, I think has to do with our respective histories. Great Britain did not go through Vietnam with their protest movement. They did not have this period through the seventies and eighties where they treated their veteran population like lepers. The British, when they criticize the current war, near as I can tell, do not even hint at taking it out on their soldiers.

In the United States, on the other hand, the protest community has to climb over the baggage of their past actions during the Vietnam War (which they often try to write off as a myth, there is even a book on it), their own utter contempt for any soldier who does not repent (ie someone like Joe Haldeman, who I read and respect, is okay, because he is antiwar, but someone who isn't antiwar isn't) and the fact that they think the solution to war is to purge teaching any military history from the classroom.

That last one has always baffled me. How can you avoid something if you don't understand it or your understanding comes from some slantwise stereotypes? I don't like antiwar protestors, but as Hal points out, I can see what is driving them, understand why they do what they do (understand does not equal agree with) and so forth.

In any event, telling a soldier to shoot his officer because he doesn't agree with a war isn't terribly helpful and it only strengthens the resolve of just about everyone who isn't in the Choir to continue doing what you want them to stop doing.

Hal Duncan wrote: There are some of us liberal leftist types who're happy to engage in debate and listen to opposing views. We sure as hell won't see eye to eye but that's what a discussion is about.

You must be living in Britain, Hal. The American variety (see some of the other posts) would just as soon see people like me shot.

Per the hand grenade comment, I'm illustrating a sentiment. I'm obviously not going about the country shooting, tossing grenades or doing anything else violent to protestors (no matter how much a part of me would dearly enjoy every minute of doing so). If I were, I'd be in jail, probably waiting to ride the chair.

My previous post is somewhat colored by my previous experiences here at Nightshades. I don't expect people to agree, understand, or even like me.

But per the protest thing, or for that matter anything to do with why Liberals continue to be out of power in this country, I've got fifteen years of experience telling them, "Umm, this thing that your doing isn't winning people over and here is why," usually followed by, "Shut up, you right wing fucktard."

I got the right wing business before I quit voting for Liberals, mainly because someone proud of their military service had to be a Republican, right?

Right?

I'll respond to your other points tomorrow, Hal. I'm at work using their computer (I don't have ISP at home lest I'd never get any damned SF writing done) and I need to leave sooner rather than later.

Thus, later.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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AT
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 06:23 pm:   

Al, I agree with everything you say here, and in particular, your concern with religious fanaticism. Yes, it and its outcomes have been with us throughout history. In my own family, I remember clearly a conversation in which the family tree was taken apart in terms of which relative died in which camp. But then that is only some of them. Others escaped pogroms earlier, and yet one escaped a fate as a rabbi in a revered line. He was fiercely non-tribal, viewing people for how they live as part of the family of man, which means everyone. But the 'family of man' idea is out of vogue now, I am very sorry to say.
(see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brisk_yeshivas)

Now is a time when I think that religion is the great identifier and group-joining-force in much of the world, to my huge dismay and disgust. It is partly a by-product of the failure of the nation-state concept to identify with and partly the result of the alienation from the nation-state's propaganda of 'if they didn't vote the way we wanted them to, they didn't understand. We have to put it a different way, or take away their vote.' In Asia, the rise of evangelical Christianity is huge (to illustrate this, I went to an international conference on democracy a few years ago, and the Korean fellow there only wanted to talk about his newfound bond with Christ. He thought that we all would be wanting to talk about that, too. Democracy? Boring! And it'll always be corrupt...). Evangelist Christianity is a wave of a force in Latin America, too, especially since the last pope made it clear that he loved dictators, not social reform. Bush-style Christianity is one of the forces in Africa that is making the fight against AIDS so difficult (and more US 'aid' will only help that point of view to be reinforced, to the death of more innocents). In India, the influx of Christian missionaries is becoming quite an issue, especially since mass conversions have become an issue. If you can escape your lowest-of-the-low caste by saying you believe in Christ, that old joke comes to mind.
Q:Your money or your life?
A:Wait. Let me consider.

And we all know about the spread of the Saudi-financed version of regressive Islam, complete with school equipment packages that include hijabs for young girls. Which brings to mind another organisation: Women Living Under Muslim Laws
http://www.wluml.org/english/index.shtml
They recently produced an excellent document that is quite relevant to our conversation now:
WARNING SIGNS OF FUNDAMENTALISMS
http://www.wluml.org/english/pubsfulltxt.shtml?cmd[87]=i-87-98541

But as for the pious vs the decadent argument, I think that that just doesn't wash when it comes to the actions of extremists, as they are mixed up in the very decadence that they supposedly abhor, from the teleministers with non-p penchants to corrupt ultra-orthodox Jews, to the top clerics in Iran, to the very terrorists who went to a strip show and most likely didn't drink lemonade the night before they pulled off their 9/11 act of righteousness.

In Israel, for instance, the corruption of the ultra-orthodox Shas party led to its leader having to step aside. Corruption is a major issue in Israel. In some ways, ultra-orthodox sects have actually used their connections to engage in criminal activities, and the Jewish 'community leaders' have rarely spoken out. Certainly in Australia they have not, though some of the most prominent Jews and Jewish leaders in this country are crooks, I am sad to say. One Lubavitch Jew here who was involved in a multi-million-dollar international fraud pleaded successfully here a few years ago, I was horrified to see, against a jail sentence because in jail he couldn't eat kosher food. The Jewish community was silent, though what did they expect as a result? This article is milder than it might have been.
http://www.radioislam.org/crime/launder/jail.htm

But rabbi Greg Marx of Congregation Beth Or (in Pennsylvania) isn't shy, though if he weren't a Jewish rabbi, he would be accused of the very things I was accused of here. I think this sermon of his is excellent.
'Lack of Ethics'
http://bethor.org/articles/yk2002.html

By the way, this being-part-the-tribe shit to show my creds is another part of the hypocrisy. I have a Palestinian friend who reminded me about the nature of the constant talk disparaging Palestinians. 'Hey, THAT'S anti-Semitic,' he said. 'I'm a Semite.' He's right. And he added, 'Are you?' The meaning has been twisted.
http://encyclopedia.laborlawtalk.com/Semite

But this is the norm:
Dean Condemns 'Anti-Semitic Literature'
WASHINGTON -- A handful of people at Democratic National Headquarters distributed material critical of Israel during a public forum questioning the Bush ...

Until we can separate criticism of Israel from this blackmail charge of anti-Semitism for everything from FREE PALESTINE to SEND THEM TO THE GAS CHAMBERS, then we will never be able to get to the nub of solving anything there. And you are so right, Al. We DO have to be part of the solution there, particularly the 'we' that is the US. One of the tragedies of the 'settlers' (great euphemism) movement is how it has taken Nazi ideas and anti-Semitic propaganda and used it themselves. There was a show last year, of Israeli soldiers' photos. The NY Times wrote about it, I was happy to see, but it was not taken up as a story.
'Many of the pictures show settler graffiti calling for blood and revenge, another says "Palestinians to the gas chambers." '
see http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=3388

The sterling Tikkun.org
http://www.tikkun.org/
also holds a light to practice vs. cant, and works vociferously for a just peace in the Middle East, yet there is still so much more organised power by the likes of 'annoyed', that I despair for serious steps taken to change policy where it needs to be. Sharon's salami tactics work, and time is on his side. He recently spoke to AIPAC in Washington where he got a rousing cheer for assuring them that his plan is for 'contiguous settlement'- which means an end to any chance of a Palestinian state. The fact that this was not covered at all in the press is part of the problem of Americans' ignorance, as they partner a country that is getting away with what most Americans would be disgusted to know, if they only knew.
see 'No Negotiation: Sharon reveals his plan for the West Bank'
http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2173/P80/

But if people know, what about criticizing?

In Australia a couple of years ago, our national broadcaster had a story about the an 'anti-Semitic act' against a synagogue in Sydney. The actual act? A spray-painted graffito on the outside wall: 'Free Palestine'. But shortly afterwards, when Hannan Ashrawi was invited to Australia to accept a peace prize, she was vilified by the whole Jewish apparatus as a terrorist.
I highly recommend this Dec '04 open letter to Chirac and Blair, written by her and Shulamit Aloni,Former Israeli minister of education and leader of the Meretz party, calling for for the application of effective international pressure on Israel, in order to put an end to the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people by Israel.
http://www.petitions.medicks.net/

When it comes to Islam, the hypocrisy of piety vs decadence is something that has long produced sniggers, as the pious are often the most decadent. Mahfouz wrote about this in that excellent trilogy. It is, by the way, in print now.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0385264704/104-1671409-6977568?v=g lance

In Iran, it is an issue, too, as the clerics have gone the way of the priests in Europe who lived it up beyond the monastery walls. This article by Nazila Fathi is somewhat funny.
In Iran, chic clothes become 'religious duty'
http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/06/07/news/cleric.php

So where has this ramble taken me? I hope not past the end of your patience.
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AT
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 06:30 pm:   

I should have said more accurately, Al that I also agree with your point about violently anti-religious acts, such as pogroms. Sometimes they have been stirred by religion, and sometimes not. The pogroms in Russia were essentially tsarist and secular, though the church was a cheerleader, while the sectarian violence in India, for example is religious-based.
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AT
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 07:30 pm:   

Steven, you said: "My previous post is somewhat colored by my previous experiences here at Nightshades. I don't expect people to agree, understand, or even like me.

But per the protest thing, or for that matter anything to do with why Liberals continue to be out of power in this country, I've got fifteen years of experience telling them, "Umm, this thing that your doing isn't winning people over and here is why," usually followed by, "Shut up, you right wing fucktard." '

Hey, Steven, I have a lot of respect for any rightwing fucktard who tries, in what he thinks is enemy territory, to say what he thinks in an attempt to carry on a thinking-person's debate. And so I have a lot of respect for you. I think, also, that you have a lot of truth in what you say, too, particularly when you bring up points about why the left is so out-of-favour. And if anyone thinks Dean is doing the Democrats any good, I'd call that person a leftwing fucktard. He sounded like he'd been snacking on magic mushrooms in his recent interview on Newshour.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/jan-june05/dean_6-22.html

But back to terrorism. I will ask you and everyone else here a question: Why is the terrorism of Timothy McVeigh and his friends not discussed in the US?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_McVeigh
Is it discounted as terrorism not worth considering?
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AT
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 01:20 am:   

A few more thoughts - and I hope I'm not annoying you all by posting too much here. You have stimulated me, and I can't stop thinking.

Where does free speech and asylum-granting come into this, particularly when we can think of places like the Finsbury Park mosque?
see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finsbury_Park_mosque

A superbly thought-provoking column from last week's Sydney Morning Herald:
'Believe in the right to insult the faithful'
http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/believe-in-the-right-to-insult-the-faithful/2 005/07/03/1120329322701.html?oneclick=true

In Australia, we have a milder version of the extremist elements that preached in London for years (what's happening now, by the way?) - our grand mufti, though who made him that is as much a mystery to me as who makes many 'community leaders' community leaders. Most people don't participate in the annointing, and though many Muslims in Australia despise this mufti for the slimebag he really is, he is still in the position, and still foments against Australia and the west. Although I think that this source is itself, extreme, the article about the mufti is essentially, true.
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=12226


Many women's groups have complained that in sensitivity that western governments (many, though not all) have toward religious tolerance, extremist forms of Islam are being state-fostered, or turned a blind eye to. Canadians have been shocked to find sharia law being seriously contemplated, for marriage disputes, no less.
'Can tolerant Canada tolerate sharia?'
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0810/p01s03-woam.html

The one western country that is seriously grappling with the issues of religion and society, and the rise of fundamentalism, is France. It is going in the opposite direction that the US is, which is possibly why the US reaction to the headscarf issue was so stupid.

The French stance of laïcité, separation of church and state - is strong, and is one of the strengths of what actually works well in their society. But the problem of non-integration of the large population of mostly North African Muslims, is, indeed, an explosive problem. This series of articles and linked sites show some of the issues of integration and multiculturalism that France and Europe are facing now.
http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/index/sujet/laicite

One of the no-win situation fixes that France faces is that most Muslims in France are moderate, and not even interested in attending mosque. Yet the religious clerics are imported, and mostly conservative to downright anti-Western extremist. This article gives a picture.
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6804109/site/newsweek/

So far, the French government has had to recognise and support as 'community leaders' these types, to the exclusion of the great majority. So in the headscarf issue, for instance, a small minority who want them made it look like they were the majority. And with headscarves as with many issues that can be unsafe for the disagreer to show disagreement, we have what a Turkish diplomat I know calls 'insidious coercion.'

So how do we have a tolerant society, and a mutually-respectful one? We do need to understand the danger that we face by allowing elements to foment for violence against that society, but where do we draw the lines? And what do we do about our speech when it is coming from the mouths of the powerful - religious leaders, elected leaders, government officials. After all, many Muslims really do think that the US is waging a crusade. Bush might have slipped once, but not the second time he used it. And there is a strong Christian fundamentalist element with a lot of predudice tolerated, and fostered (?), in Iraq.
'Is Bush's War on Evildoers a Holy Crusade?'
http://irregulartimes.com/holywarriorbush.html

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Liz
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 01:33 am:   

Steven: thanks for your post. I think we do have a different attitude to the military over here - I've never heard of anyone taking out their protest on an actual soldier, but conversely we don't tend to have quite such a gung ho attitude to the Forces as the US seems to; they're doing a job, which they entered voluntarily, and that's more or less it.

Certainly I can't see anyone taking out their views on the current situation in Iraq on any military personnel. Although in my home town, this would be a bad idea anyway because the home of the SAS is so close (Hereford)! ;-)

WWII was somewhat different because there were so many conscripts (dad included), although there were plenty of snide remarks about 'dirty soldiers' when he got back to London, he found. But there will always be idiots as well....

AT; the question of the Finsbury Park Mosque has been vexing Britain since 2001, not least a large section of the Islamic community who have raised serious questions about its business practices.

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Dunmore
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 09:44 am:   

I feel ridiculous butting in with my uninformed commentary, and don't wish to detract from the very engaging, and very educational, stuff above.

So forgive me, but...

S.F. Murphy! It depresses me to read your comments because of the fact that you are, it seems, an (ex-)military man. Like I said before, I certainly respect your feelings, but come on! Surely to God you, above all, can see the folly of this war in Iraq, the war against terrorism, etc etc. These "campaigns" are hideous disasters that CANNOT be resolved militarily.

History has taught us all of this stuff already, and so on, but I was amazed by the invasion of Iraq first and foremost because it was/is a military blunder on an unprecedented scale. It was/is an act of desperation on the part of our governments, or that's how it seems from a purely military point of view.

Surely you, of all people, must understand that?

Whoever this war against terror is being fought against--you know what? They're actually winning. That was proved on Thursday in London. The terrosists, when provoked, when they have the excuse to let loose, will always have the upper hand. That's why terrorism, from a military point of view, is so effective. IN terms of warfare, it's unbeatable.

Already we see that this war against terror has patently failed. If it hadn't, there'd have been no bombs in London last week.
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Dunmore
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 11:11 am:   

PS: Is it just my imagination or have the recent resurgences in Afghanistan and Iraq got something to do with the resurgence of violence demonstrated against the west via London last week?

Seems like "the enemy" have regrouped. And, boy oh boy, they seem to have regrouped rather well.

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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 04:25 pm:   

Liz, I don't know that people in the Armed Forces overall are gung ho. I was never what my leaders would consider gung ho. I was always a part of the work smarter, not harder school of doing things.

Which didn't make me very popular.

Hal, I see your points per the protestors but again as I said to Liz, I get the impression you are living in the UK. Here in the States, many of us take a very dim view of them based upon the community's actions during Vietnam. But I understand your points on the protest front.

I do not agree with them. I have a lot of problems with the Democrats but I don't go down to the local Democratic Party HQ and throw bricks through the windows, set it on fire, spray paint slogans on it. I do not go load Ryder trucks up with fertilizer and blow the sides off of Federal buildings because I have a problem with the Democrats.

I go and I vote and if I lose I bide my time and wait until I can vote again.

As for the United Nations and the International Criminal Court, first, I have as much faith in those institutions as I do in Halliburton (yes, by all means lets get Halliburton out of Iraq, agreed).

Dunmore wrote: S.F. Murphy! It depresses me to read your comments because of the fact that you are, it seems, an (ex-)military man. Like I said before, I certainly respect your feelings, but come on! Surely to God you, above all, can see the folly of this war in Iraq, the war against terrorism, etc etc. These "campaigns" are hideous disasters that CANNOT be resolved militarily.

We've had fifty years worth of ignoring terrorism, just enduring it as it were, since the formation of Israel in 1947. Each incident garners a higher butcher bill and we did nothing. The so called Law Enforcement model for dealing with the problem didn't put an end to terrorism and it certainly didn't do anything to get rouge states in line.

So you'll forgive me if I don't see any reason why we shouldn't have utilized robust military force after 09-11-01. I certainly have my criticism of how we've handled it. In 2003 I said publically that I didn't think we were taking enough forces into Iraq and we've made some pretty bad decisions since April 2003. In Afghanistan, we've made the mistake of providing the terrorists the luxury of bouncing back across the border to Pakistan.

There is a view out there that seems to think that if only you could end poverty and inequity that the terrorism pool would dry up. I would argue that humans will kill their fellow humans over something else, if not lack of money.

And last I checked, the terrorists oppose us because our cultural norms undermine their vision of religion dominance over their society. The terrorists are hardly lacking for money, God knows, since the Saudis provide a fair share of it.

In any event, Dunmore, I don't agree that Iraq was a blunder. If there was a blunder, it was in not finishing Saddam back in 1991 when we had 500K worth of troops there.

The lesson this combat veteran and historian draws from what I see is that the longer you put off dealing with a security threat, the more it is going to cost you in bodies, wounded, blood and treasure.

Somewhere between the trigger pulling idiots (the Republicans) and the pussified spineless morons (the Democrats) there is a multispectrum broad strategy that, if it encompassed military, economic, and humanitarian efforts, probably could defeat the terrorist threat.

But I lose patience with those who think we should turn the clock back to 09-10-01 just as I lose patience with those who think the military can do it all.

BTW, this "the military can do it all" theme has been a constant problem since long before 09-11-01. Just look at a decade jammed full of those peacekeeping missions. The Armed Forces were already worn pretty slick before 09-11-01.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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AT
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 08:58 pm:   

Another book recommendation: 'An Anatomy of Terror: A History of Terrorism' by Andrew Sinclair, 2003, Macmillan
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0333989775/103-5840323-7477420?v=g lance

I think this book is not only relevant to this discussion, but is an important and deeply fascinating history regardless, with added thoughts on the future.

The chapter 'The Problem of Palestine' sets out to show this problem clearly, completely, and to many people, surprisingly. But the book as a whole is much more than that, and should, I think, be considered a standard reference for the subject of terrorism in general, including that by the state.

As for your support of the robot program, Steven, I disagree strongly with you. A nation that is unwilling for its own to die in war is a nation that should bloody well not be in war. The thing about war is that it is only when there are real people willing to die for a cause is that cause able to be supportable morally, because dying for a cause in war means killing. The problem with the relationship between the military and the US civilian population in general today is that the proportion of the population serving is so low that the nation can just spend its time worrying about what colour to paint their walls. When that happens, wars of fortune are the inevitable result, the fortune being that the biggest impact that many Americans are feeling now is that they are getting jobs in the 'defense' industry, which is booming. As far as those serving, they are being screwed, as they are forced to serve and then again serve their country beyond their contracted commitment, while the rest of the country could really care less. Another thing about robots: only human soldiers can talk about what war is, and they need to. Civilians have a horrid propensity for actually liking wars. That's why Bush picked as one of his places to speak during his campaign: a tank factory. And why body-bag pics are banned. AND why the trend in wars now is to restrict the access of the press, or just shoot them by 'accident'. The American public saw Viet Nam. They are not seeing Iraq.

There is little enough real information about what goes on at the 'front'. This sanitisation of war is another step in the direction of the ability of a nation to act with complete control in terms of information getting out.

for further information, see for example:
The US Navy's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle site
uav.navair.navy.mil/

and Machine Brain Fighting Robots: Military Robots
http://www.machinebrain.com/Fighting_Robots/Military_Robots/

Liz, a question for you, about al Gerbouzi and his asylum. Do you know if there is any review going on about him and others who've been sentenced in absentia? What is the attitude of the British government to those sentenced in other countries, and the crimes that they are sentenced for? Is there any coordination / cooperation with other such as Morocco--in which there has been asylum granted for a person convicted or wanted, instead of extradition as a response--in intelligence re terrorism? And do you know what criteria the immigration department uses to determine, for example, that these Zimbabweans should be sent back,
http://www.newzimbabwe.com/pages/asylumbrit33.12849.html
in contrast to, say al Gerbouzi, or has everything tightened up irrespective of the nation and situation of the asylum wisher? These questions are stumping me, and I can't find the answers to them simply by reading what I can find.
http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/holnus/003200507091815.htm
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 06:54 am:   

Huh? Who mentioned robots? I don't think I mentioned robots? In fact, over at Asimov's more than once I think I've outlined a number of problems with the idea that you can replace a frontline grunt with an unmanned ground combat vehicle.

AT wrote: A nation that is unwilling for its own to die in war is a nation that should bloody well not be in war.

Agreed. I've made that point before, not just concerning Iraq, but also concerning Operations Other Than War, which are so popular among the Left in the United States. Yet I don't see any of them running off to the recruiting stations nor did I see any of them sign up during the Clinton Era.

AT wrote: That's why Bush picked as one of his places to speak during his campaign: a tank factory.

Let's talk about the tank factory. I'm glad this came up.

If my memory serves correctly, most defense contractors are Unionized, well paid and have excellent benefits. By the default, Union workers are supposed to be Democrats, right?

Regardless of whether they are Dems or Republicans, they are highly paid workers who put a lot of money back into their local economy.

Two important points for my bringing this up.

The first is that any politician, Liberal or Conservative, who represents that tank factory is going to do everything in their power to ensure that they keep building tanks at that facility. An employed worker means a happy voter who keeps you in office. That is pure, raw, right down there politics.

The second is this irritating point that comes up concerning U.S. Defense spending. We spend more than everyone else, right?

Every wonder how much a Chinese Tank Factory worker makes?

Something to think about.

An additional item to consider is that a number of the workers in any defense plant are usually veterans themselves. They take considerable pride in crafting something that is designed to keep the user alive, as in the case of the Abrams Main Battle Tank. The Insurgents still haven't quite found the magic formula to killing Abrams crewmembers on a reliable basis.

For the record, the brief rundown on my military experience. Just so everyone is up to date.

1989 - 1993, U.S. Army, I was trained (God help me) as a Radio Teletype Operator and assigned to 1st Battalion 5th Field Artillery Regiment (HHB 1/5 FA is the short hand). During the Gulf War, I spent most of my time on the perimeter. We didn't use our rig because of it's AM transmitter, which our Division Commander feared would give away our position.

During four days of the ground war, I saw the artillery prep first hand (never forget that) as well as the aftermath.

I spent my final year of active duty in Korea where I was retrained in Mobile Subscriber Equipment (the military version of cellphones). It was not a pleasant year, Tailhook had spread out from the Navy into all of the Armed Forces and I had the misfortune of being in a witch hunt prone battalion.

I left active duty during the Drawdown to go to college on the G.I. bill with the aim of returning via ROTC as an officer. I also entered the National Guard as an Infantryman (better training there than I got on active duty).

And it all came to an end when my Clinical Depression was diagnosed. Which, for those wondering, still bars me from military service, or I'd have signed back up by now.

For those wondering. I'm no snake eater, airborne ranger, special ops whatever. I'm just a veteran lucky enough not to have earned a purple heart.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 07:05 am:   

I have to admit, after reading through this thread, and yet another reprise of Murphy's personal history, I'm beginning to feel some solidarity with fillintheblanks. His comments, mercifully brief, may have been undervalued.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 07:25 am:   

See what I mean, Hal and AT.

Oh well. Everyone has people who don't care for them. I'll be sure to save my hankie tonight for the tears that come from the lack of Lucius Shepard's personal approval. Sniff.

Hah.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 07:30 am:   

Telll us the story about the radio teletype again, won't ya, Stevie....

:-)
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 07:38 am:   

AT asked: Why is the terrorism of Timothy McVeigh and his friends not discussed in the US?

Umm, I work private security and I'll be honest, AT, we talk about Timmy all the time. The one thing we can't defend against at the street level is another bombing like Timothy McVeigh's. I don't even have jurisdiction past the building sidewalk. If the vehicle is on the street next to the building and it is loaded with fertilizer, it is too late.

I wonder if, on the Far Right Militia side, they didn't see the virulent reaction that people had to that event and their reaction was to go deep underground.

But I worry about that type of attack all the time. More so than a plane attack (though the Downtown Airport is loaded with corporate jets, is lightly guarded and just a river away from us).

Bugs me that he and that Washington sniper were Gulf War vets. As if Vets didn't have a bad enough rep in the U.S. already, most of it unfounded.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 07:43 am:   

Nothing to tell, Lucius. It was a piece of shit and it didn't work. We used the Radio Teletype Rig's shelter to carry the Communication Platoon's ammo supply.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https://atiam.train.army.mil/soldierPorta l/atia/adlsc/view/public/4797-1/fm/24-24/pg2-3.gif&imgrefurl=https://atiam.train .army.mil/soldierPortal/atia/adlsc/view/public/4797-1/fm/24-24/2424ch2.htm&h=400 &w=560&sz=19&tbnid=m_69LkagI_wJ:&tbnh=93&tbnw=131&hl=en&start=1&prev=/images%3Fq %3DAN/UGC-74A%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D

All you ever wanted to forget about the damned things. Read up, Lucius.

I think, having read the intro to Gardner Dozois' Morning Child, that machine uses the same type of continous feed, yellow paper.

Tell us about how you warmed a typewriter during Vietnam, Lucius.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 07:54 am:   

As you know, I don't relish speaking about my experiences, Steven. But please, continue to enthrall us with your non-combatant tales.

This puzzles me from a previous post of yours:.

"Or we can just sit around like lambs in a slaughter pen. Some on the Left seem content to do that.

I'm not. Especially since I work in a skyscraper myself."

Does this mean, while working in said skyscraper, you're constantly taking evasive action?

Serpentine, serpentine... :-)

Or are you actually doing something other than polluting message boards with your long repetitive and oft-cretinous posts?

I don't see how you have the time, frankly.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 09:59 am:   

Lucius said: As you know, I don't relish speaking about my experiences, Steven.

Probably because they are as fictional as your fiction efforts, Lucius. Or certainly embelished to a high degree.

Lucius pondered: I don't see how you have the time, frankly.

Uh, Jesus, go look at your section of the net and ponder time, postings and net pollution for me. I type fast (they teach teletype operators that, as well as how to shoot, dig foxholes, all of that other stuff).

As for the security work, someone has to keep a Mark One eyeball on things. God knows most civilians are not doing that (can't pry them off those bloody cellphones).

In any case, Lucuis, the time spent posting is probably about an hour a day, usually while I'm reliving stationary officers or, as I'm typing this right now, while I'm eating lunch.

And it is usually better spent elsewhere on the net, as opposed to here. Neal Asher's G-8 thread caught my interest and I thought I'd hang out.

Having said all of that, I can see we are about to slide off into the abyss. For those that were so hospitable, if not agreeable, thank you. We'll have to do it again sometime.

Sure does bug me that I don't have Lucius' undying admiration though. I almost feel like I want to cry right now.

Not.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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al duncan
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 10:01 am:   

Steven:I go and I vote and if I lose I bide my time and wait until I can vote again.

Same here. I don't like the ruthlessly faux-moralistic branding strategies of international companies -- the whole American Family Values(TM) of Coke co-opting Christmas, MacDonalds coming with movie toys -- because they're clearly designed to sucker parents into letting these companies brainwash their kids. But I don't smash up MacDonalds. I'd like to. Hell, sometimes I think I should. But I don't.

Part of my point here, though, is about the available means to, as yer protestor might put it, "fight the power". You or I (assuming enough like-minded folks agree) can vote out the politicians we think are dangerous, devious or dumb (well, we can try); but Boards of Directors don't run for election with their strategies as campaign platforms. Buy shares, vote out one board and the next will most likely be just as happy to market Fanta as a healthy alternative to baby milk. Or manufacture their garments in Chinese "economic zones". So with those orthodox means not available when it comes to Big Business, you get the protest vote (Green), the protest pound (Fair Trade), the protest march and all other sorts of protest right up to the extremes of Direct Action. Me, I've gone on marches. I think non-violent action like stopping traffic can be justified (in terms of me own personal ethics), but being a "bit of a nuisance" is about as extreme as I'd be willing to go unless the BNP start smashing my neighbours' windows, the Boys Brigade switch to black shirts and the government reacts by cracking down on immigration.

Anyway, I'm unconvinced either way as to the productive or counter-productive nature of walking along a road or sitting down on it in front of a car. But, it's at least an attempt to do something other than "just sit around like lambs in a slaughter pen", expecting a first-past-the-post democracy not to royally fuck it up for all of us with their mad half-arsed schemes. Like Iraq for instance.

A nation that is unwilling for its own to die in war is a nation that should bloody well not be in war.

Exactly. In the case of Iraq, I think the mismatch of bluster (too much) and balls (too little) on the part of Bushfeld Inc was dismally predictable. The extrapolated pros and cons of the key, solid, practical, attainable-in-the-short-term objective -- removing Saddam Hussein -- were treated as factors in one big risk assessment (with the figures fudged to make them add up, I'd say). The absolutely necessary follow-through of those two more-difficult-but-perhaps-attainable-in-the-long-term objectives -- sweeping the country afterwards for hidden WMD and rogue Baathists -- seemed to me to be a clear impossibility. Why? Maintaining public support for the war required minimising casualties by minimising ground troops to a level too low to carry out those two secondary tasks. Too many troops = too many casualties for the voters to swallow. Too few troops = failure to stabilise post-Saddam Iraq.

Failure to stabilise post-Saddam Iraq = whole heap of shit.

I always felt the Bushfeld approach was basically bad business practice, a dodgy risk assessment which overstated and understated potential risks and benefits left, right and centre. In fact, given the Straussian philosophy of the NeoCons and the publicly stated aims of PNAC it seems likely to me there were two -- one overstating the increased risk of WMD due to inaction, and understating the increased threat of terrorism due to action, the other coolly and calculatedly weighing up the benefits of a friendly, democratic regime in control of Iraq's oil reserves against the cost of military action both domestically and abroad. Even the latter evaluation, I think was deeply self-deluding, bad business practice.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 10:15 am:   

Well, Steven...good riddance. We slid off into the abyss a long time ago when you announced your preference for lots of carnage on the war thread, an attitude redolent of someone who's never seen a shot fired in anger. The insecurity attendant upon your constantly referencing your military service testifies further to this. You've learned, for the sake of self-preservation, to strirke a more reasonable pose, but you're still the same asshole you ever were when tossing threats around. Don't you worry about my board. I get my work done and still have time for politics.

Cheers....
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 10:26 am:   

Lucius wrote: We slid off into the abyss a long time ago when you announced your preference for lots of carnage on the war thread, an attitude redolent of someone who's never seen a shot fired in anger.

I've seen first hand what artillery can do to the human body, from the outgoing end to passing through the impact zone.

A 155 shell is not kind to human flesh, especially if it makes its home in a T-72 tank.

S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 10:41 am:   

Whatever....

the things you've seen, the things you've done...

The horror...

You speak of these things with an absolute lack of authenticity, but that may be more testimony to your writing ability...

Have it your way. You're a liar or a war lover, and that makes you a sick bastard either way...

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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 03:13 pm:   

LOL. To be told that I'm a sick bastard by a man who indulges in watching two grown men beat the piss out of each other in a ring that smacks of the Roman Gladitorial period is rich.

As for the authenticity, well, when you say, "I don't like talking about my experiences," you remind me of those fraud vets we've got around here who claim to be in Special Ops or whatever. When you challenge them on their info their response is:

"Can't tell you, classified."

Per the writing ability, fortunately for me, your opinion on that score is not one that I have to waste any time trying to satisfy. :-)

Go take some Paxil, Lucius.

And as I said before, if you'd quit picking on people in wheelchairs, you wouldn't get threats.

And mine aren't threats.

They are promises.

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AT
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 03:26 pm:   

Iron me, Steven--on high. I deserved to be crisped. You didn't say anything about robots. Not a word. My brain went kerfluey, and flipping through these posts again, I fluffed you line "So you'll forgive me if I don't see any reason why we shouldn't have utilized robust military force" to (red-face here, but you can imagine).

My sincere apologies. I have a bee in my bonnet about this non-human offensive stuff that is the growing present, and future of armaments and 'armies', and your line fed right into that. Just proves that the mind willing to look for something will find it whether it's there or not.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 03:45 pm:   

You must peeking in on my topic, murphy. Sure, I like combat sports, no problem with that; but I just don't relish war stories and I'm suspicious of those who do.

For my part, I'm doing a non-fiction book of my experiences -- in a writerly context, they make sense to me. But they're not the sort of thing I care to toss off in a bar. Leave to that to folks like you, for whom war was a peak experience...if at all.

No, you don't have to satisfy my opinion. Whose opinion have you satisifed recently?

Promises, huh? Now you're showing your true colors,




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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 07:42 pm:   

Anna, if you like, we could discuss your robot topic, perhaps on another thread (lest it get jammed up in the Mah Balls Is Biggah Than Yo Balls BS).

Lucius, one has to scroll past your section to get to Liz Williams or some of the other interesting people past you.

Actually reading what is on your thread though, that is another matter. Filed under, "Waste of Time."

Whose opinion have you satisifed recently?

:-) Wouldn't you like to know?

Now you're showing your true colors

You're getting senile, Lucius. I made myself crystal clear a couple of years back when you were picking on Thomas R.

I just don't relish war stories and I'm suspicious of those who do.

Six years of military life simply can't be shoved off into a box and I'm not going to. Especially since, regardless of the positives or negatives of my experience overall, I tend to be proud of my service.

You don't like it, tough.

You don't like the war stories? Fine. I'm not forcing you to read them.

You are suspicious of those who like war stories? Fine. Different strokes for different folks. I think that is why your mil stories always read like freeze dried, preachified bullshit to me.

In any case, you spent every war you've mentioned warming a typewriter of one sort or another. You've got very little room, if any, to sneer down your nose at anyone.

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AT
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 07:59 pm:   

You're on, Steven. Military technology has been a deep interest of mine for many years. I'm posting a thread in my section immediately. Be my guest.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 08:46 pm:   

Of course what's on my topic is a waste of tiime. That's what I do here. Waste time. The odd thing is that you don't consider what you do a waste of time. It would be rather an endearing quality if you weren't such a fucktard.

The way you ignore logic and things said, and only react to what serves your interest, it's amazingly canny for someone so clearly in need of a girlfriend or just a friend. Someone who has no sense of himself, who perceives himself in a mirror made of pill bottles. Anyway, I didn't pick on Thomas. I fought with him. I didn't like him worth a shit, but I didn't treat him like a cripple---you did., by patronizing him, by pretending to be his big buddy. I've been waiting for you to show up on my doorstep for two years...well, I didn't really expect you. Just more gas. I don't like your war stories because they're always told to promote some portion of your right wing agenda. You're not proud...not precisely. Pride doesn't incorporate the pathology you obviously have going on. War was your big moment, the last time you felt like a real boy. I think the action you saw was all in your mind, and you want it back again even though it was unreal. Trouble is, you couldn't pass the mental.

Thank god!

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Bob K.
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 11:14 pm:   

To be fair up front, I've got to hand it to you, Steven, for having the guts to put your name to your work here, unlike the creatures who style themselves "anonymous" in defense of your principles. But damn, man, you're stuck. Give up the warrior persona already. I don't fault you for not getting a purple heart, but it seems to me you missed an opportunity during your stint in the sand, because if you'd picked up some Arabic and a little of the culture, the military would be begging to have you back. (Not that I think anyone with your fixation on war should go back.)

And what are you doing killing time here? The way you followed up Duncan's nearly unimpeachable first post with that hash about "the protest community," a conveniently dismissive tag that includes everyone from Gandhi to casual vandals outside a WTO meeting was beneath you. You're not an idiot (hand down, Lucius). So what's with the knee-jerk politicizing? And what's with taking the bait from Lucius? You ACTUALLY recounted the teletype story.

And while what Fillintheblanks did was mean, and posting anonymously is weak, you gotta admit that was hilarious. You guys put yourselves out to be stung. It's a sign of just how extended you were that you couldn't recover gracefully from it. And no, it wasn't Lucius; there weren’t any typos in his post and Lucius responds on this board while his eyes and half of his brain are engaged watching TV. That's still a formidable half. (Oh yeah, and he told me it wasn't.)

I just got back from a run, during which I happened to think about your plight as an overeducated security guard with a need for something real in his life. I though maybe you could study medicine, but I've got a sibling who's a doctor, and I don't think most of it would suit you. Then it hit me. You should be a paramedic. It would be intense, you could use it in your writing, it would suit your past training, and it would force you to get real. The first time you assist with a difficult pregnancy or save some guy who's got his intestines hanging out of a car wreck, you'll give up any regret over not drinking heathen blood out of skulls.

My family and its close friends have included some real warriors, Steven, guys who got shrapnel in their asses in the South Pacific in WWII and in Vietnam, and NONE of them talked tough about it. And from that and the bit of reading I've done I've picked up a few eternal verities about the institution of war. It's a bad deal. Always. Sometimes it has to be fought, and sometimes men do themselves proud in it and then do themselves prouder by putting it quietly behind them, but dulce et decorum est and all that shit? Give it up.
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Bob K.
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 11:28 pm:   

To pre-empt a comment, I forgot that you said that depression kept you from going back to the military, and I didn't mean to imply they didn't want you back, just that from your posts it appears you didn't learn much about the people you were sent out there to help.
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Liz
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 02:34 am:   

> Liz, a question for you, about al Gerbouzi and his asylum. Do you know if there is any review going on about him and others who've been sentenced in absentia? What is the attitude of the British government to those sentenced in other countries, and the crimes that they are sentenced for?

To be honest, I really don't know what's happening with the al Gerbouzi case. Generally, the attitude is that if the country in which people have been sentenced possesses the death penalty, and they're likely to get that, then we won't send them back.

This leaves us with problem cases like that of Abu Hamza at the Finsbury Park Mosque, a real charmer with a hook for a hand who openly preaches against the British state. We can't deport him (IIRC he's wanted in Egypt for murder) because Egypt has the death penalty. At the moment, I think he's under arrest.

There have been a number of cases in which Britain has been reluctant/refused to have US citizens extradited because of the death penalty issue (personally, she said illiberally, you're welcome to 'em, but I don't determine international extradition policies! ;-) )

AFAIK, it's done on a case by case basis. I'm not at all au fait with what's happening with Zimbabwean asylum seekers although there has been a campaign on their behalf in one of the national newspapers.

Sorry not to be more helpful on this!
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AT
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 04:39 am:   

Thanks, Liz. Your answers were quite helpful.
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The facts speak for themselves
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 04:41 am:   

The invasion of Iraq, which is the direct cause of stuff like this --

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4678207.stm

-- patently was and is a military blunder.

Or maybe you're right, Steven. Maybe the correct term we're looking for is war crime.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 06:30 am:   

Terrorists are babykillers.

Repeat it after me, folks.

They purposely selected a target populated by a bunch of kids, drove a car bomb into the middle of it and detonated it.

U.S. Forces generally try very hard not to get kids killed. They do not select, engage and terminate children at will.

If we did, the country would be depopulated in short order.

This incident certainly is a crime. But I don't think you can hang it around the shoulders of the U.S. Army, no matter how you try to spin it.

Bob, per your point. I think vets being manfully silent is part of why it is there is a stereotype problem with vets in mainstream American culture.

Besides. I'm a product of the ninities. Share your feelings and all that crap.

Live with it.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 07:26 am:   

Steven:

I love this sliding scale we use. "Well, the terrorists are doing worse stuff than we are. So, what we're doing is justifiable or okay."

No. That's bullshit. What terrorists do does not justify what we do. Otherwise, we're just the upscale version of the terrorists. And this blanket term "terrorist" is stupid, too. There are different factions and different aims and each individual may have a different reason for making that choice. The point being that we have to understand why and how a terrorist is created. Instead of falling back on jingoist propaganda bullshit that only serves to strengthen the enemy by making the enemy less and less distinct. By the time we have reduced them to caracature and stereotype, we have at best a fuzzy glimpse from the corner of our eye.

This country is being destroyed by jingoism, shoddy thinking, Emotion in place of Fact, and a core inability to be accountable for our actions.

JeffV
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 07:41 am:   

JeffV: Your country was already destroyed a long time ago in my mind.
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 08:08 am:   

About Murphy: He's not worth it. He's playing with you guys, not showing how he's really like. Lucius sees that. When I first started coming to this board and Asimovs last year, right off the bat, me and Murphy have had some pretty heated confrontations. And in them, the truth has come out. In one thread, when he was going on like a broken record about what he'd do to anyone he ever saw burning an American flag and how he'd gladly watch someone kill the protester without steping in, another soldier basically came in and said anyone who equates the flag so literally as their country, who gets so rabid, is basically a nut bag. Other soldiers laugh at guys like that. The only brotherhood or fellowship he's had was in the military. He's a patriotic, reactionary American, who supports authoritarianism and likes to talk like a big man on message boards. It's actually kind of sad and I almost feel bad saying this.

Murphy, let's get real here. Drop the act and wake up. Maybe there still is hope for you... but you're going to have to open all of your eyes and drop the flag. Because, in reality, you're hiding behind a piece of cloth that represents not freedom or liberty or any of that bullshit. It represents your governement, which's corrupt and murderous. Is that how you really want to be? What you want to support?

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Bob K.
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 08:09 am:   

Murphy: >Bob, per your point. I think vets being manfully silent is part of why it is there is a stereotype problem with vets in mainstream American culture.

So you're working through your war trauma here?

Jeff: >And this blanket term "terrorist" is stupid, too.

And so is the term "War on Terror," as were all the other "Wars on..." The public debate has been framed all wrong, and the Democrats in power have let it happen.

>This country is being destroyed by jingoism, shoddy thinking, Emotion in place of Fact, and a core inability to be accountable for our actions.

Right, all that and greed. But every country is susceptible to this condition. It just takes leaders who are cynically willing to manipulate people's fears, or who are weak and fearful themselves.






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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 08:25 am:   

Better watch out, Stephen B, or else Murphy will threaten you.

Actually, if anyone's interested in checking out the background of this, go to the War topic and look ar the thread, an American werewo....president in London.

Bob, anytime we can have a good War On.., it downsize war to a product. Hell, they might as well sell the sucker on QVC.

Jeff, I don't think facts are enough at this point. The culture's so brainwashed, you have to counteract that shit and you have to do some selling of your own. Now how you see the truth is a problem...it''s just not as attractive as a good lie.
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al duncan
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 08:31 am:   

It looks to me like the terrorists saw a PR exercise as a golden opportunity here... and the kids were an intrinsic part of that. Note that this took place at the opening of a water treatment plant. You don't need a celebration to flick a switch but the Coalition forces desparately need the support of the Iraqi people now. So someone -- up the chain of command, maybe? I'd have expected someone at ground level to have doubts about security here -- someone decides to demonstrate the progress they're making to the Iraqi people by making a bit of a song and dance about it all. Have a big ceremony, invite the locals, hand out candy to the kids... basically show that we bring fresh water and sugary treats, necessities and luxuries. The whole thing just screams "obvious target", surely.

One depressing thing about this story is that it's a perfect example of how the battle for the "hearts and minds" is being lost by the Coalition. The terrorists took a photo-opportunity and handed it back with its head on a platter.
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Minz
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 09:35 am:   

So who's writing the short story:
they might as well sell the sucker [War on...] on QVC

I'm thinking Wag the Tail meets ebay, with good ol' US of A auctioning off a War On ____ to the highest bidder in order to try and fight it's growing debt. (Or maybe agrees to start a War On ___ as a way to pay off its debtor, as part of a smoky backroom deal, Wag the Tail meets the Sopranos--that one might be a little too real to work. "Insert Halliburton here".)

Sill, story ideas, free of charge...
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 09:37 am:   

Bob, Lucius--I agree with both of you.

JeffV
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Dunmore
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 03:24 pm:   

SF Murphy--"U.S. Forces generally try very hard not to get kids killed"

Generally? Doesn't exactly inspire me with confidence.

Don't you mean that they'll do absolutely anything in their power to avoid getting kids killed?

I trust in the hope that that's what they do, but the issue is not with US soldiers.

Everyone knew that these kind of eventualities would result from the invasion of Iraq, which is the most shockingly irresponsible military act I've seen in my lifetime.

The people who ordered this invasion were and are the willing perpetrators of a domino effect of massacres which has culminated in today's example to end all examples.

They are the institutional equivalent of the so-called masterminds who initiate terrorist attacks while not actually participating in these attacks directly.

And, anyway, I seem to remember quite a few instances of kids being killed during the initial invasion, due to various bungled operations.

Although that wasn't baby killing, it was just an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of freeing the Iraqi people, blah blah blah rhetoric blah

And even while there was certainly no degree of deliberation on the part of US forces, there certainly was on the part of the government. They deliberately sanctioned the invasion, fully aware of the toll it would take on civilian life (and, of course, underestimating it).

Maybe it was down to stupidity rather than intent. So, nah, they can't be babykillers, can they?
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AT
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 04:03 pm:   

Minz, re ebay, what comes up with a google:
"Military Technology
Great deals on Military Technology
Shop on eBay and Save!
www.eBay.com "

Bob, you said "every country is susceptible to this condition. It just takes leaders who are cynically willing to manipulate people's fears, or who are weak and fearful themselves."

Blaming the leaders is an old out that we need to get out of, as a war-to-be is a lead balloon without enough hot air from the 'masses' to keep it up. In the case of the US, a dead-on-arrival Congress helped, and a criminally complicit press. But really, it is people that make war possible. 'The People'. There were thousands who bought the Iraq-terror link and even the insanity of 9/11 being mixed up with Saddam, and signed up to defend their country before the fight blah blah blah.

The non-desk-wallahed military in the US was horrified and very vociferous against this second Iraq adventure. But the public and the Walter-Mitty-militarists in charge of decisions led people to believe (and maybe they believed, too, unbelievably) that this war would really be another cool Nintendo bash like the first gulf funshow, with a finale of the Roses in Paris jaunt.

It couldn't have been a war if there hadn't been that crucial combination of support and disinterest from the public that warmongers depend upon.

And as for terrorists, and extremists in any form of extremity their minds inhabit, I have never found anything as perfectly succinct as this statement of yesterday.

"I don't feel your pain," he said. "I don't have any sympathy for you. I can't feel for you because I think you're a non-believer."
http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article298788.ece

Whether it is the common transmogrification of people into animals that need to be exterminated - "Stinking animals. They ought to drop the bomb right there, kill 'em all right now...,"
http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=39959
unbelievers, heathens, or "battling Satan"
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3199212.stm

It adds up to the same thing.
Dehumanise others, but to do that, one must be dehumanised. (Part of every nation's basic combat training)
The perfect psychopathological state.

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Bob K.
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 09:51 pm:   

>Blaming the leaders is an old out that we need to get out of, as a war-to-be is a lead balloon without enough hot air from the 'masses' to keep it up.

In the last twenty-five years, the rich have waged an accelerating war on the lower classes in this country. What was it corporations paid as a percentage of total tax revenue in 1980? Somewhere more than 20%. Now it's about 7%. Reagan kicked out low-income housing, sending millions of people into the streets. It's all great to talk about rousing the masses, AT, but the masses in this country are too damn busy making a buck for their masters to get involved in politics. Forty-million-plus of us can't afford to go to the doctor. That's why we don't even vote. A few people of conscience at the top might make a difference, or maybe not. With the War on Terror, they've finally sold us on a convenient distraction that can go on forever.

If you don't blame the leaders, who're you going to blame? The "apathetic proles"? It's not apathy; it's basic survival. The single mother who can't afford to raise her own kids gets a raise, and then what? She takes college courses in economics and history, starts listening to NPR? No, she spends more time with her kid, like she should. Then she gets another leg up, and then what? She buys some health insurance for herself so she can finally get that overdue root canal. I don't think you appreciate how it works over here, AT.

We gotta keep the pressure at the top.

Bob



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Nonnymouse
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 06:48 am:   

"But really, it is people that make war possible. 'The People'. There were thousands who bought the Iraq-terror link and even the insanity of 9/11 being mixed up with Saddam, and signed up to defend their country before the fight blah blah blah."

That's pretty simplistic.

People bought the Iraq-terrorism link because they were fed lies directly by their leaders and they have no way to verify the facts even if they were suspicious. Besides, they were hurting from 9/11 and fear is the great motivator to accept authoritarianism. "The people" are just where the powers-that-be want them--working their butts off just to make ends meet so they can pay for their kid's cancer operation or stave off eviction. Even the ones not in danger of eviction or with health insurance have to trust their leaders to tell the truth and not go into war unnecessarily. There is little they can do except write letters and protest in between elections. Sadly, that trust is misplaced.

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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 07:06 am:   

I guess what you CAN do is rebel against it all, expose it all, and lead by example. Stand up for what's right. Stay true to yourself. Blah blah.:-)

It's true. The system is very good at forcing people to conform and get in line. Obviously through the media, but it goes beyond that. Most people are just trying to get by and make a living. But we can show kids that they don't have to play the corporate game all their lives. They can follow their own paths. It's just hard to see that sometime. Most guys just want to get a good paying job and land a cute girlfriend or wife. The easiest and most obvious way to do that, is working your way up in tha ranks of some corporation or business. Climbing the ladder often involves steping on other people's heads on the way up. Kids need people they can look up to, who tell them that that's a shitty way to go. That they don't have to screw people over and be entirely selfish to be successful. Guys like Lucius are rare and we need more of them. Most people as they get older become more conservative and complacent, conforming to the establishment because that's what most people do. They say that that's part of growing up. Bullshit. It's part of joining the machine and loosing your youthful ideals. How many radicals do you find who are over 40? Not many, but the ones who are, are usually pretty cool fucking guys. Me and a really good friend made a pact that we'll stay that way...

To me capitalism is as bad as communism. I think we can find a balance between individual freedom and expression and community and collective wellbeing.
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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 07:36 am:   

And I'm not saying I'm down on all business. Look at Night Shades as an example. A couple guys making quality products out of love. That's one of the areas where things were better in the old days. Quality craftsmanship from the heart...

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