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Mar 11 2012

Bring them home, end the villainy

Now some of our troops are committing murder. Unsanctioned murder, that is, unlike the usual stuff.

A U.S. servicemember left his base in southern Afghanistan on Sunday and allegedly went on a shooting spree that killed 16 civilians, plunging U.S-Afghan relations into a fresh crisis.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai called the act an "assassination" and demanded an explanation from the United States. U.S. officials, who have not confirmed details of the incident, issued immediate apologies.

Can we just shut the whole mess down now?

87 comments

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  1. 1
    michaeld

    Smoooooooooooth…

  2. 2
    Marcus Ranum

    It’s as if someone was thinking “what could I possibly do to make the situation WORSE? OH! I know!”

    Recipe for Disaster: Take young people, dehumanize a faceless enemy, give them lots of amphetamines to keep them awake, then add constant stress and occasional bombardment.

  3. 3
    Cuttlefish

    How long until the GOP candidates denounce the “immediate apologies” as a sign of weakness?

  4. 4
    Part-Time Insomniac

    I agree. Bring them home, before they are broken and warped beyond any hope of healing.

  5. 5
    Bronze Dog

    We need more psychological/psychiatric help for our soldiers, and this could be a good example of why, if my other suspicions don’t pan out.

  6. 6
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    But we are told repeatedly that members of the US military are all heroes. How could this have happened?

    Marcus, what you said is just a tab bit simplistic. If that were the case, there would be more mass murderers emerging out from these conflicts. While it cannot be proved, it is likely that this murderer could have done such an act under other circumstances. Just that the chaos of war gave him his “reason”.

    As it stands, I do not know which disturbs me more, this mass murder of the US policy of drone strikes.

    (Apologies for my scatter shot approach.)

  7. 7
    Marcus Ranum

    @janine – Marcus, what you said is just a tab bit simplistic. If that were the case, there would be more mass murderers emerging out from these conflicts.

    There have been more mass murders, such as the “kill squad” Yes, I was simplifying things. My inclination would be to simplify the whole thing as one big case of mass murder, but I do think it’s a bit more complicated than that.

  8. 8
    Rich Woods

    I used to support the involvement in Afghanistan, when it had some hope of ending the obscenities imposed on the Afghan people by the Taliban. The Iraq debacle took our collective attention away and weakened our military effort against the Taliban, and even now the situation seems to deteriorate further day by day.

    I don’t think we can do much good there, not now. It’s time to leave, even though the humanist in me says that doing so will put some people at risk. Afghans need to find a solution which works for them, even if we don’t particularly like it.

  9. 9
    raven

    It looks like the beginning of the end.

    Recently, a lot of our own supposed allies have been shooting Americans. Especially after the Koran burning episode.

    They don’t want us there.
    We aren’t accomplishing much if anything.
    The British never succeeded, the Soviet Untion didn’t get anywhere, why is there any reason to think we will get anywhere?

    Why bother?

    This doesn’t mean that Afghanistan will ever be anything but a source of sickness for the rest of the world. But it is what it is. The world has always been a chaotic place full of constantly shifting dangerous threats. Way it goes, we just have to keep dealing with it.

  10. 10
    Trebuchet

    Rich Woods: Right. We could and should have been out of Afghanistan by 2004, but the neocons were so much more interested in Iraq that it was ignored. Why aren’t Buch, Cheney, and Rumsfeld in jail?

  11. 11
    raven

    Heroin production in Afghanistan has RISEN 61% | Mail Online
    w ww.dailymail.co.uk/…/Heroin-production-Afghanistan-RISEN-61.h…

    17 Feb 2012 – Afghan drug war debacle: Blair said smashing opium trade was a major reason to invade but 10 years on heroin production is up from 185 tons …

    After 10 years of war, Afghanistan at least has developed one high value export.

    Heroin. IIRC, they are the largest exporter of heroin in the world.

    Explain again, what have we accomplished there?

  12. 12
    a3kr0n

    Our troops have been murdering people over there by the tens of thousands for over ten years now. That’s why I refuse to vote for a Democrat, of a Republican. I will not vote for murder.
    Ever.

  13. 13
    nemothederv

    Why couldn’t he just wait until he got back to the states where going off on a shooting spree happens all the time? We would have already forgotten it by now.

  14. 14
    dcg1

    This is addressed to PZ. Why do you make such a fuss about one US serviceman murdering 13 Afghan civilians? It’s small beer.

    The US military encouraged the Kurdish people to rise up against Saddam Hussein during Gulf War 1 and then instantly withdrew their support and allowing him to massacre tens of thousands of kurds.

    You’ve made no fuss (as far as I know) about the 100’000 to 1,000,000(estimates vary) Innocent Iraqi civilians killed by the US military during Gulf War 2.

    You’ve made no fuss about those nice folks over at the USAF who transport torture victims on rendition flights? and have indiscriminately bombed and strafed Afghan civilians(just as they did in the vietnam war)

    You should change the title of your post to “End the villainy put homicidal psychopaths in Prison”

    I take full responsibility for my own actions. I’m an atheist and skeptic. I see noreason to bomb,murder and torture my fellow human beings,just because my government tells me to.

    The “I was only obeying orders defence” rather lost its legitimacy after Nuremberg.

  15. 15
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Why aren’t Buch, Cheney, and Rumsfeld in jail?

    To paraphrase Nixon; if a president does it, it is not illegal.

    Or ask Eric Holder? Oh, wait, he is defending and expanding their policies.

  16. 16
    M can help you with that.

    It’s been 39 years since the novel and 25 years since the movie, but apparently the U.S. government still can’t hire enough people familiar with The Princess Bride to recognize when they’re falling in to the single most famous of the classic blunders.

  17. 17
    chigau (違う)

    iocane powder?

  18. 18
    Daniel Fincke

    It’s been 39 years since the novel and 25 years since the movie, but apparently the U.S. government still can’t hire enough people familiar with The Princess Bride to recognize when they’re falling in to the single most famous of the classic blunders.

    You know it never crossed my mind that that joke was actually written in 1973 in the book (assuming it is in the book), during the Vietnam War. Gives it a much sharper edge taken that way.

  19. 19
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Why the fuck did I read the comments?

    Trebuchet: “Why aren’t Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld in jail?” Because Obama wants us all to “move forward.” Seeking justice would be “remaining stuck in the past,” apparently.

    Nice parallel with survivors of sexual violence who are berated when they refuse to forgive.

  20. 20
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Or one can look at both Napoleon’s and Hitler’s invasion of Russia. (Alright, Eurasian, but still disasters.)

  21. 21
    A. R

    It’s fairly clear that we aren’t doing anything beneficial there anymore with a massive boots on the ground presence. Our “allies” have been shooting our soldiers because some idiot burned their magical storybook, and now one of our soldiers managed to do this. That particular part of the planet hasn’t been controllable since the time of Alexander the Great.

  22. 22
    nms

    dcg1

    You’ve made no fuss (as far as I know)

    Yup, there’s your problem.

  23. 23
    'Tis Himself

    During the 19th Century the British army tried to conquer Afghanistan and failed. During the 1970s the Soviet army tried to conquer Afghanistan and failed. Why does the US army think they’ll be any more successful?

  24. 24
    humanape

    President Obama, who has never been in combat, thinks he has to keep wasting money and lives in Afghanistan until after the election, or else he will be criticized by Romney, who has never been in combat. Two cowardly politicians = one never ending worthless war.

    Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of getting out now, and it doesn’t matter if they are conservative or liberal.

    This is a Letter to the Editor in the July 5, 2011 Wall Street Journal:

    There Is No Clear Definition of Victory in Afghanistan

    Bret Stephens’s “The Coming Afghan Debacle” (Global View, June 28) is reminiscent of the Vietnam era in that he suggests we should stay because we might appear weak in leaving. I disagree.

    There is no clear definition of victory in Afghanistan. Does it mean disarming the Taliban? Defeating al Qaeda? Ensuring that Afghanistan is not a safe haven for terrorists? None of these things are achievable given current troop levels and our waning national resolve. Victory will be something we pull out of a hat and name as such. Given that, why don’t we take the death of Osama bin Laden as a logical end point for our military commitments in the region? It’s as clear and measurable a definition of victory as anything we’re going to achieve.

    Should our actions be perceived as weakness on the international stage, I ask which countries would consider themselves to have shown greater commitment in the war on terror, or which nations that sponsor terrorism weren’t fearfully impressed at the ability of the U.S. to kill bin Laden.

    If we plan to stay on, I challenge my government to do this: Articulate a clear definition of victory in Afghanistan, the method by which you will achieve this victory and a compelling case for why this victory is worth the cost in blood and treasure that will have to be paid in a very personal way by our families. If you can’t do that, it’s time to come home. That’s not weakness; it’s common sense.

    Benjamin A. Fromuth
    Colorado Springs, Colo.

  25. 25
    paulburnett

    The perpetrator is a hero and a military genius – he figured out a way to get the US kicked out of Afghanistan and end the war.

  26. 26
    joed

    Reuters News Service is standing by its claim that there was more than one u s soldier involved and there was an attempt to burn the victims. This is probably the u s trying to fan the flames more and more.
    the u s doesn’t want peace. the u s wants chaos and death and destruction. the u s is getting what it wants. too late for amerikan people–they are doomed too!
    and try to stay away from all Associated Press news–it is pure propaganda.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/11/us-afghanistan-civilians-idUSBRE82A02V20120311

    “There were conflicting reports of how many shooters were involved, with U.S. officials asserting that a lone soldier was responsible, in contrast to witnesses’ accounts that several U.S. soldiers were present.

    The incident was one of the worst of its kind since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

    The U.S. Embassy in Kabul said anti-U.S. reprisals were possible following the killings, just as the Koran burning incident a few weeks earlier had touched off widespread anti-Western protests in which at least 30 people died.

    Neighbors and relatives of the dead said they had seen a group of U.S. soldiers arrive at their village in Kandahar’s Panjwayi district at about 2 a.m., enter homes and open fire.

    An Afghan man who said his children were killed in the shooting spree accused soldiers of later burning the bodies.”

  27. 27
    nemothederv

    @23 tis himself

    Cuz were Americans dang it!

  28. 28
    doncates

    I’m afraid that might be difficult. It appears that Afghanistan has a significant amount of minable rare earth elements. will our corporate masters allow us to leave.
    (belated Happy Birthday; I’m still exactly 10 yrs older than you)

  29. 29
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Part-Time Insomniac @4:

    I agree. Bring them home, before they are broken and warped beyond any hope of healing.

    I think we’re quite a bit past that point. My best friend served two tours of duty in Iraq, working on missile defense. When he came back to the states, he got involved in drug use (which he said was quite prevalent in the military) and had recurring nightmares. I would often hear him in his room having nightmares at night. For all that I was closer to him than nearly all his family members, he spoke very little about his time in the military (except to say that he saw and did things that still shook him). He occasionally made comments that the military didn’t prepare him (or any of his buddies) for re-entry to civilian life, or any kind of continual post traumatic stress counseling. Sadly, he passed away in January 2010.
    The kicker is that he was gay, and the only reason he joined the military was to get away from his abusive father who once told him that he’d shoot any of his kids if they said they were gay.
    It was a testament to his strength of character that despite all that crap, he was able to develop and maintain strong bonds with many people (he was working as a manager at a local movie theater when he passed away; when word got around his workplace, everyone wanted to attend the services; he was so respected that employees from several other locations came to work at his store so that all the his coworkers could go to the funeral services). I never did learn much about his time in the military (I never pushed him; always figuring that if/when he wanted to open up about it, he would), but it was clear that he was seriously scarred by his time serving his country.
    As an aside, this was the worst tragedy of my life, and I remember thinking for months on end that I wished I could believe in an afterlife, just so my buddy would be in a good place. Despite really wanting to believe, I couldn’t make myself.

  30. 30
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    dcg1:

    Why do you make such a fuss about one US serviceman murdering 13 Afghan civilians? It’s small beer.

    It takes balls to tell someone else how they should prioritize their sense of morality. And its frightening when someone dismisses cold blooded murder because the body count isn’t high enough.

    You’ve made no fuss (as far as I know) about the 100’000 to 1,000,000(estimates vary) Innocent Iraqi civilians killed by the US military during Gulf War 2.

    You’ve made no fuss about those nice folks over at the USAF who transport torture victims on rendition flights? and have indiscriminately bombed and strafed Afghan civilians(just as they did in the vietnam war)

    Wow, you must have spent a long time reading every single blog post PZ has written over the years. Obviously you *must* have, if you’re going to make statements about “you’ve made no fuss…”
    I love watching desensitization at work. Just because one military soldier killed several people…it’s no big deal. It’s only when lots of soldiers kill lots of civilians that it’s a tragedy.

  31. 31
    llewelly

    This is addressed to PZ. Why do you make such a fuss about one US serviceman murdering 13 Afghan civilians? It’s small beer.

    I guess it would be too much trouble for you to read What PZ has actually written about the wars america has engaged in. Plenty more can be found by google.

  32. 32
    petzl20

    “Bring them home, end the villainy” is the lede I’d expect from an organization like International A.N.S.W.E.R.

    Nothing beats G. W. Bush-style simplistic reasoning than the correlative simplistic reasoning from the other side.

  33. 33
    chigau (違う)

    petzl20
    We’ve got lumps of it round the back.

  34. 34
    left0ver1under

    Marcus Ranum #2 -

    Don’t forget, keep them in a war zone far longer than is considered “healthy”. Stop loss? If you want to stop soldiers losing their minds, bring them home before they are screwed up mentally.

    Now it’s probably too late. Just wait until the soldiers return to the US and start domestic violence in their home and in the street. I wouldn’t be shocked to hear dozens or hundreds of those who were in Iraq and Afghanistan being charged or shot, and then the US military and government absolving themselves of responsibility.

  35. 35
    John Morales

    petzl20, first, it ain’t a lede, but a plea (or, as I suspect you meant to indicate, a slogan); second, troops that aren’t occupying some place can hardly perform atrocities in that place, can they?

    (It may be simplistic, but it’s actually true, so that you cannot dispute it and must resort to vacuous meta-objections)

  36. 36
    John Morales

    left0ver1under,

    Now it’s probably too late. Just wait until the soldiers return to the US and start domestic violence in their home and in the street.

    America coped with its Vietnam vets, and it can cope with these too.

    (No draft this time, though — libertarians would claim damaged soldiers have only themselves to blame)

  37. 37
    chigau (違う)

    America also coped with WWII and WWI veterans.

  38. 38
    uzza

    SUPPORT THE TROOPS!

  39. 39
    Olav

    I read the Afghans are calling for the public execution of the murderer(s). I am very much against the death penalty, but I understand the emotion. At the very least there should be a public trial in an Afghan court.

  40. 40
    TimKO,,.,,

    Hawks have a way of denying the reality of war.
    Proponents of Iraq/Afghanistan never added in the 20 years of PTSD-type domestic health expenditures, retraining, etc.

    Wars are never win/lose.
    Modern wars cost trilions.

  41. 41
    JeffreyD

    >SUPPORT THE TROOPS!

    Yes, and the best way is to bring them home as fast as possible. War is demeaning and dehumanizing. Keeping people in combat as long as some of these women and men have served* can only result in more incidents of this type, both abroad and at home. Exposure to combat conditions tends to make troops see the world in black and white/us and them terms. It will only get worse.**

    You want to support our troops? Then I repeat, bring them home.

    *The so called Greatest Generation of Americans that fought WWII spent no where near as long under combat conditions as our current armed forces. I believe that longest any US division served in combat in WWII was somewhere under 300 days and very few soldiers experienced combat the entire time their unit was under fire. Most served much shorter periods of time. Starting in Vietnam, American troops were exposed to year long bouts of exposure in a combat zone. It is not just the combat that strains the mind, time in a combat zone and expecting a bullet, bomb or rocket is just as damaging. The combat in WWII was on an intense nature, often more so than serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. However, time served under combat stress is cumulative and many of our troops have now done up to three tours of duty. Time to bring them home.

    **So, what have decades of combat done to the Afghani people? What is the effect on them? We cannot not truly understand how badly their psyches have been damaged.

    Need coffee, but posting even the above disjointed bit because it touched a nerve this morning.

  42. 42
    Olav

    Rachel Maddow promotes her book and it is about war, or villainy as PZ puts it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9xoM7TMiTA

  43. 43
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    Nothing beats G. W. Bush-style simplistic reasoning than the correlative simplistic reasoning from the other side.

    Well, the important thing is that you’ve found a way to feel superior to both.

  44. 44
    truthspeaker

    ‘Tis Himself, OM says:
    11 March 2012 at 5:08 pm

    During the 19th Century the British army tried to conquer Afghanistan and failed. During the 1970s the Soviet army tried to conquer Afghanistan and failed. Why does the US army think they’ll be any more successful?

    Because this is a completely different situation. Great Britain and the Soviet Union wanted territory for their empires. The US is there to bring stability and democracy; we’re they’re to help them.

    That was sarcasm, but there are American politicians who would say that with a straight face, and some of them might even believe it.

  45. 45
    thomasbloom

    Are you sure we even want them back? Sorry, they are a bunch of people groomed to wage war and trained in every sort of violence. They were lied to about their mission, and will resent it when they learn a bit of the truth. Vietnam deja vieu.

    Of course they will be welcome back, there are even some tentative parades planned. (Wow, a parade, seems like it was all worth while). I just hope there are a legion of mental health workers in the VA.

    Assange was criticized for labeling this sort of thing “collateral murder”. How will the PTB label this?

  46. 46
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    I threw up in my mouth a bit when I read #45. Of course we want them back! They are our friends and neighbors, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers. They are humans. Yes, life back here is a difficult adjustment after being over there a while, but for the most part they do just fine. And when they don’t, it’s our duty to try to see that they have the resources to help. And you do realize that on an individual basis, they HAVE been back? I don’t think any one soldier has actually been over there for 10 years straight. Tours are usually 1-3 yrs (iirc), then they come home for a bit, then go back. The reality they’d be coping with is that of not going back again.

  47. 47
    WharGarbl

    That was sarcasm, but there are American politicians who would say that with a straight face, and some of them might even believe it.

    Be nice to America, or we will bring democracy to your country.
    (I think that was a bumper sticker or something).

  48. 48
    A. R

    All I can say is that we need to actively avoid what happened when the troops were brought back from Vietnam, that is, overt public maltreatment and hatred of returning troops due to war-weariness, and the (justified) hatred of the war. That, along with PTSD was one of the most damaging effects of the war on soldiers.

  49. 49
    Olav

    A.R:

    All I can say is that we need to actively avoid what happened when the troops were brought back from Vietnam, that is, overt public maltreatment and hatred of returning troops due to war-weariness,

    Wasn’t it also because the public had seen, on TV, some of the atrocities that US soldiers committed in Vietnam?

    TV coverage of wars was a new thing then, and the censorship did not have as tight a grip as it has now on the images that got out to the public.

  50. 50
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Tony: “I think we’re quite a bit past that point.”

    Agreed. And I am so sorry about your friend. He deserved much better. (I wonder if his father realizes that he helped drive his own son to his death?)

    A friend of mine lost a leg to an IED in Afghanistan two years ago. He’s doing okay, all things considered. Another friend’s son came back a few months ago and is falling apart from PTSD.

    Morales, we had a much more robust safety net during the Vietnam era than we do today.

    Thomas Bloom: Fuck you. They’re Americans. Many of them joined up because they had no other economic choices. They’ve been through hell. Most of them have committed no war crimes. Many of them are getting screwed over by the VA. You’re not “above” them — you had better choices in life, you classist piece of shit.

  51. 51
    A. R

    Olav: Firstly, it is important to remember that in war, atrocity is never one-sided. Yes, it was, in part due to those images. Of course, we now know that many of those actions were due to PTSD and other forms of combat fatigue (much, I suspect, like the current incident). Unfortunately, the blame was spread by people like #45 onto all soldiers, and the result was a traumatized generation returning home to a place that did not want them, and actively hated them.

  52. 52
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    A.R:

    Firstly, it is important to remember that in war, atrocity is never one-sided.

    Horseshit. Unless you’d like to imply that Abeer Qasim Hamza somehow provoked her own rape and murder?

  53. 53
    A. R

    Ms. Daisy Cutter: I am not referring to specific incidents, but the entire war in context. Of course Abeer Qasim Hamza did not provoke her own rape and murder, and to suggest that I said that is to attack a strawman.

  54. 54
    WharGarbl

    @Ms. Daisy Cutter
    #52
    To be fair, I believe A.R. meant that it is rare (I won’t say never) that atrocities are only committed by one side. Not that victims of an atrocities committed one themselves.

  55. 55
    thomasbloom

    @ Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform:

    “Thomas Bloom: Fuck you. They’re Americans. Many of them joined up because they had no other economic choices. They’ve been through hell. Most of them have committed no war crimes. Many of them are getting screwed over by the VA. You’re not “above” them — you had better choices in life, you classist piece of shit”.

    Every combatant in every war had no other economic choice, and went through hell. Idiot. I also said “of course they will be welcome back”. Fuck you.

    What is a ‘classist piece of shit’? I was conscripted in the Vietnam war, (I did not serve). What did you do?

    My point is how will the lack of understanding by people such as yourself affect the next stupid war? How are we going to care for these guys when we don’t have 3 trillion dollars to do it? (Stiglitz).

  56. 56
    jamessweet

    There were no signs of protests Monday and it was unclear what the response would be to Sunday’s deadly spree. It may not be as dramatic as after the Quran burnings since the desecration of the Muslim holy book is viewed as one of the worst sins in Islam.

    Aaaaahhhhhh………

    Just sad. :(

  57. 57
    Olav

    A.R:

    Olav: Firstly, it is important to remember that in war, atrocity is never one-sided.

    Yes, but the American public at the time (of the Vietnam war) had somehow expected their own soldiers to be better than that. Of course, as it turned out, that was an unjustified expectation.

    A.R:

    Of course, we now know that many of those actions were due to PTSD and other forms of combat fatigue (much, I suspect, like the current incident).

    I am not saying there are no mitigating circumstances in many cases, but war crimes are still war crimes.

  58. 58
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Thomas Bloom:

    Every combatant in every war had no other economic choice, and went through hell. Idiot.

    I wrote “many,” you flickering two-watt bulb, not “all.” You even quoted me saying that.

    I also said “of course they will be welcome back”.

    Oh, excuse me, it was a little hard to distinguish that from sarcasm, given how contemptuous you are of their welfare.

    I was conscripted in the Vietnam war, (I did not serve). What did you do?

    Played with blocks and dolls in nursery school.

    My point is how will the lack of understanding by people such as yourself affect the next stupid war?

    Are you saying that one cannot oppose a certain war without demonizing all of its troops? If you are, I don’t think I’m the one lacking understanding.

  59. 59
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    A.R:

    Ms. Daisy Cutter: I am not referring to specific incidents, but the entire war in context.

    Okay. However, you also implied, as Olav says, that PTSD excuses war crimes. I interpreted the remark about atrocity in the same light.

  60. 60
    Ing

    Olav: Firstly, it is important to remember that in war, atrocity is never one-sided.

    Yeah did you see what they were wearing?

    To be fair, I believe A.R. meant that it is rare (I won’t say never) that atrocities are only committed by one side. Not that victims of an atrocities committed one themselves.

    Doesn’t matter. he is saying that (INSERT ETHNIC, POLITICAL, RELIGIOUS, GROUP HERE) doing one thing excuses someone to do equal or greater horror to completely unrelated group of (INSERT ETHNIC, POLITICAL, RELIGIOUS, GROUP HERE). That idea itself is an endorsement that “they all are alike”

  61. 61
    Ing

    Ms. Daisy Cutter: I am not referring to specific incidents, but the entire war in context.,

    So what? So fucking what?

  62. 62
    WharGarbl

    @Ing
    #60

    Doesn’t matter. he is saying that (INSERT ETHNIC, POLITICAL, RELIGIOUS, GROUP HERE) doing one thing excuses someone to do equal or greater horror to completely unrelated group of (INSERT ETHNIC, POLITICAL, RELIGIOUS, GROUP HERE). That idea itself is an endorsement that “they all are alike”

    Hm… did not see the context that it was in response to.

    Quick tangential question, would it be acceptable if it says related group instead of unrelated group (the bolded part, specifically)?

  63. 63
    thomasbloom

    Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform

    You said:

    “Are you saying that one cannot oppose a certain war without demonizing all of its troops? If you are, I don’t think I’m the one lacking understanding.”

    You expressed opposition to some war? Where? That is the problem, you don’t oppose war, you just ‘support the troops’. How very convenient and laudably patriotic of you. And how callow.

    I support people (and all non human animals). ‘Troops’ are just a subset.

  64. 64
    left0ver1under

    FilthyHuman #47 –

    “Be nice to America, or we will bring democracy to your country.”

    Bring? When the US “intervenes” in other countries, it’s usually to remove or prevent democracy. For reference:

    - Iran in 1953
    - Cuba
    - Nicaragua
    - Chile
    - Greece
    - Argentina
    - Venezuela
    - Indonesia
    - The Phillipines
    - Italy
    - El Salvador
    - Paraguay
    - Bolivia
    - Haiti

    Among others. The US was even involved in tampering with England’s democracy, the CIA bugging the Labour government and passing it on to the Tories. I wouldn’t be surprised if the dirty tricks employed in the last Canadian election were taught to the conservatives by the CIA or the republicans.

  65. 65
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    You expressed opposition to some war? Where? That is the problem, you don’t oppose war, you just ‘support the troops’.

    How the fuck do you know what I support and do not support, cupcake? Maybe you could scroll up and look at the comment I left at #19, from which you could infer certain positions of mine.

    I support people (and all non human animals).

    Oh, jesus, another ARA. Awesome. I think I need to pick up a steak at the supermarket tonight.

    ‘Troops’ are just a subset.

    Your initial comment in this thread didn’t evince much support for that “subset.”

  66. 66
    WharGarbl

    @left0ver1under
    #64

    Bring? When the US “intervenes” in other countries, it’s usually to remove or prevent democracy.

    It was a joke that whenever US claim they’re bringing democracy to another country, it generally ended far worse for said country than, say, having a nuke dropped on them.

  67. 67
    thomasbloom

    @Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform

    #19 is a bit tangential to the issue, don’t you think? I can’t see how it relates at all. You claim I am an ARA based on what?. You need help. Good luck.

  68. 68
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit, is it, Thomas?

  69. 69
    Ing

    Quick tangential question, would it be acceptable if it says related group instead of unrelated group (the bolded part, specifically)?

    1) An atrocity is by definition something that is disproportionate in just about any situation. So on that level no.

    2) It would be slightly less atrocious if say in response to a raid by Clan A if you retaliated Clan A instead of attacking random Clan B because they’re in your eyes the same ethnicity and you can’t be bothered to tell them apart.

    3) From 2 that sort of goes on the individual level. If Person X of Clan A hurts you it’s probably absurd and just evil of you to attack Peron Y and Z from Clan A.

    The whole point of that is saying that to avenge an atrocity you should hurt SOMEONE, it doesn’t matter who it is as long as it’s someone who is not you and looks close enough to the person that hurt you.

  70. 70
    A. R

    Ok, I was gon for awhile playing with fruit flies.

    I’ll address comments point by point:

    1. I did not ever say (or at least mean to say) that atrocity justified reciprocation. I was simply saying that we cannot portray one side as the oppressed victims in every situation, and the other as the violent oppressors (of course, the balance can be very lopsided).
    2. Nor did say or mean to say that PTSD justified atrocity, merely that it was the precipitating factor. I highly doubt that any sane person would commit the actions that the individual(s) in question did.

    Ing: There is quite a bit of a difference between individual actions and the balance of atrocity in a war. The actions of many Allied soldiers in WWII were horrid, but rare. However, the actions of, for example, the Japanese were by no means rare. There is a difference between the actions of individuals, and the actions of the group as a whole.

  71. 71
    Ing

    I was simply saying that we cannot portray one side as the oppressed victims in every situation, and the other as the violent oppressors (of course, the balance can be very lopsided).

    What did the Roma do to the Germans then?

    The actions of many Allied soldiers in WWII were horrid, but rare. However, the actions of, for example, the Japanese were by no means rare. </blockquote

    Excuse me? Dresden? Hiroshima? Nagasaki? Interment Camps?

    There is quite a bit of a difference between individual actions and the balance of atrocity in a war.

    No there really isn’t. Each action is itself done by individuals. A past atrocity does not justify a new one. Pretending that this is a “few bad apples” problem is incredibly disingenuous. The problem itself is that we valued the lives of these people so much that we thought it was an ethical no brainer to bring war to their door step.

  72. 72
    Ing

    I highly doubt that any sane person would commit the actions that the individual(s) in question did

    Look for the ROllingstone article on a rogue thrill kill squad we had in Afgan.

    Or any fucking sociology text for that matter. We armed people, created a culture for them that was antagonistic to a civilian population and let them loose with no clear mission objective. Our culture’s demonization of Arab people is very much akin to the Japanese dehumanization of their occupied main land.

  73. 73
    A. R

    Ing: I’m talking about combatants, please stop throwing around straw.

  74. 74
    A. R

    Ing again: Are you saying that those people are psychologically normal? I sure as hell don’t consider that fucking normal.

  75. 75
    Ing

    Are you saying that those people are psychologically normal? I sure as hell don’t consider that fucking normal.

    Because you haven’t been put in a situation where an authority has given you permission to act and immersed you in a culture of demonizing someone. People are shockingly willing to torture a stranger when they’re given permission to do so, if they think the moral weight of the decision has been taken off of them.

    I’m talking about combatants, please stop throwing around straw.

    I fail to see why that is a valuable distinction to make.

  76. 76
    A. R

    I suppose I’ll elaborate

    1. Systemic slaughter of civilians is not even remotely like the situation we are discussing here. (Germans vs. Roma)
    2. The Internment camps were indeed an atrocity, but those people were, again, mostly Americans, thus a comparison to the actions of the Nazis is closer to the truth, but still pretty far off, considering the conditions in both situations. The actions against the Chinese by the IJA were violent actions that involved systemic rape and murder.
    3. Dresden does not compare remotely to the Battle of Britain (the fire bombings of Tokyo would have been a better choice, Ing)
    4. The atomic attacks are still justifiably debated, so to enter them as war crimes is questionable at best.
    5. Excuse me? Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald, Belsen, the Filipinos, Malays, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Indonesians and Burmese victimized by the IJA? My list is longer.

  77. 77
    A. R

    Oops, missed #75. Perhaps, but is that still a psychologically normal state? Or is it one influenced by stress, peer pressure, and, as you said, training to kill?

  78. 78
  79. 79
    Ing

    If someone by default is psychologically abnormal the second they do something wrong it’s a meaningless distinction.

    Excuse me? Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald, Belsen, the Filipinos, Malays, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Indonesians and Burmese victimized by the IJA? My list is longer.

    I fail to see what any point you’re trying to make is. You’re profoundly boring now.

  80. 80
    A. R

    Ing, the point is that we can’t call one side the horrid oppressor in every conflict. But yes, this is getting boring and repetitive. Let’s agree that war is often bad, and fucks up people in every way imaginable.

  81. 81
    WharGarbl

    @Ing
    #69

    The whole point of that is saying that to avenge an atrocity you should hurt SOMEONE, it doesn’t matter who it is as long as it’s someone who is not you and looks close enough to the person that hurt you.

    Quick question on clarification, that quoted part is what you believe that A.R. was trying to say, correct?

  82. 82
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    A.R:

    Let’s agree that war is often bad, and fucks up people in every way imaginable.

    “Let’s agree that both sides are always to blame, thereby mitigating moral responsibility while getting to look and sound all serious-like.”

  83. 83
    A. R

    Ms. Daisy: Please refrain from trowing straw.

  84. 84
    Thomathy, Such A 'Mo

    Oh, I don’t know about straw, A.R, but you might retreat from the claim you originally made instead of digging in deeper.

    Firstly, it is important to remember that in war, atrocity is never one-sided.

    It only takes one example to disprove that statement. I would point to this most current example. Civilians were murdered by an American serviceman. That’s an atrocity and it’s entirely one-sided. Unless those civilians …?

    Further, any psychological harm that serviceman suffered there, in Afghanistan, that may have contributed to his actions, can be squarly laid at the foot of the US.

    Will you be admiting that your statement there is patently wrong? That you were wrong?

  85. 85
    petzl20

    It’s weird how PZ’s Dothraki horde descends upon all who don’t completely adhere to PZ’s foreign policy agenda. They remind me of neo-cons in a Fox News forum.

  86. 86
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    petzl20,

    citation needed, BIG TIME

    If you’re just here to make unwarranted allegations without proof to derail the conversation, then STFU.

  87. 87
    A. R

    Thomathy: Hate to bring this thread back from the dead, but you’re throwing straw too. My intended statement (and I’ve clarified that multiple times above) was that one side in a war is almost never solely responsible for every atrocity. Remember the indiscriminate killings after the Koran burning?

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