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War For Their Money
Cui Bono? Who benefits -- from the war in Iraq? Well, the real surge is in the bottom lines of the U.S.-paid private contractors over there. T. Christian Miller writes for the LA Times that private contractors in Iraq now outnumber American troops:

More than 180,000 civilians — including Americans, foreigners and Iraqis — are working in Iraq under U.S. contracts, according to State and Defense department figures obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Including the recent troop buildup, 160,000 soldiers and a few thousand civilian government employees are stationed in Iraq.

The total number of private contractors, far higher than previously reported, shows how heavily the Bush administration has relied on corporations to carry out the occupation of Iraq — a mission criticized as being undermanned.

"These numbers are big," said Peter Singer, a Brookings Institution scholar who has written on military contracting. "They illustrate better than anything that we went in without enough troops. This is not the coalition of the willing. It's the coalition of the billing."

An Iraq war widow writes to Camille Paglia on Salon, who mentions Miller's book, Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq, in her reply. Here's the letter:

My husband, Donald Neil, was killed on March 8 at an ammunition supply point outside Najaf. He was a private contractor who was over there destroying the tons of ammunition that Saddam bought with his oil revenues. This, apparently, was how Saddam bought respect in the outside world. My husband was one of the contractors being paid absurd amounts of money from the government treasury under the aegis of Halliburton.

My first comment on your column was simply, "How could any of these politicians have learned anything from the consequences of the Vietnam War?" Most every one of these political hacks was dodging the draft legally in order to (as it was so delicately phrased) "preserve their political viability."

This was not colossal ineptitude but a deliberate, calculated move to enrich cronies. I don't believe that it was Mr. Bush's intent. I think he believed all that high-minded crap. It is pretty clear that thinking in tonalities and grappling with complex concepts is not one of Bush's strong suits. The only one who was inept in this was the president.

Did you know that there are over 100,000 contractors in Iraq? While my husband was doing something that I honestly believe was good for world security, most of the contractors over there are either truck drivers or security personnel. Some of the truckers have started talking about how they were ordered to drive empty trucks across the desert in dangerous areas so that Halliburton could bill by the trip.

Blackwater Security (an octopus firm with deep roots in Republican Washington, which pretty much fields Bush's mercenary army) is suing the survivors of the four contractors slaughtered and then dragged through the streets, to try to keep them from accessing the real story about what happened to their loved ones. I have not been told what really happened to my husband (we have two children).

But the fact is this was ALL about enriching the war profiteers, and I am sure (as it sounds like you are) that it was Dick Cheney who came up with the plan. And sold it to our dimwitted commander in chief as a holy crusade.

And the REAL reason that we cannot bring the troops home? Because they are the cheap labor protecting Halliburton's gravy train. Think about it, and check Halliburton's profits for the last five years. And the unholy grotesque disgrace in all of this? The fact that Halliburton has now moved its corporate headquarters offshore to avoid paying taxes on its obscene profits -- a fair percentage of which will probably end up in Cheney's blind trust. My question: Where is the "liberal media," which ought to be all over this story? They could bring the troops home, win a Pulitzer Prize, and bring down the administration if someone would just put the pieces together like I have. This isn't rocket science -- it's corruption so "in your face" it is sickening. Where is Woodward? Where is anybody?

Cynthia Neil

More about Blackwater's lawsuit from the lawyers for the families of the men who died, here on Alternet:

Raleigh, NC -- The families of four American security contractors who were burned, beaten, dragged through the streets of Fallujah and their decapitated bodies hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River on March 31, 2004, are reaching out to the American public to help protect themselves against the very company their loved ones were serving when killed, Blackwater Security Consulting. After Blackwater lost a series of appeals all the away to the U.S. Supreme Court, Blackwater has now changed its tactics and is suing the dead men's estates for $10 million to silence the families and keep them out of court.

Following these gruesome deaths which were broadcast on worldwide television, the surviving family members looked to Blackwater for answers as to how and why their loved ones died. Blackwater not only refused to give the grieving families any information, but also callously stated that they would need to sue Blackwater to get it. Left with no alternative, in January 2005, the families filed suit against Blackwater, which is owned by the wealthy and politically-connected Erik Prince.

Blackwater quickly adapted its battlefield tactics to the courtroom. It initially hired Fred F. Fielding, who is currently counsel to the President of the United States. It then hired Joseph E. Schmitz as its in-house counsel, who was formerly the Inspector General at the Pentagon. More recently, Blackwater employed Kenneth Starr, famed prosecutor in the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal, to oppose the families. To add additional muscle, Blackwater hired Cofer Black, who was the Director of the CIA Counter- Terrorist Center.

After filing its suit against the dead men's estates, Blackwater demanded that its claim and the families' existing lawsuit be handled in a private arbitration. By suing the families in arbitration, Blackwater has attempted to move the examination of their wrongful conduct outside of the eye of the public and away from a jury. This comes at the same time when Congress is investigating Blackwater.

...In addition to assembling its litigation troops, Blackwater also stonewalled the families concerning any information about how the men were killed. Over the past two and a half years, Blackwater has not responded to a single question or produced a single document. When the families' attorneys, Callahan & Blaine, obtained a Court Order to take the deposition of a former Blackwater employee with critical information about the incident, Blackwater quickly re-hired him and sent him out of the country. When the witness returned to the United States more than a year later, the families obtained another Court Order for his deposition. Blackwater again prevented them from taking his deposition by seeking the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office to block the deposition under the guise that he possibly possessed national secrets. Following an investigation, the U.S. Army reported that the witness had no secret information and that it had no objection to the deposition.

...The families are simply without the financial wherewithal to defend against Blackwater. By filing suit, Blackwater is trying to wipe out the families' ability to discover the truth about Blackwater's involvement in the deaths of these four Americans and to silence them from any public comment. In February, the families testified before Congress.

However, Blackwater's lawsuit now seeks to gag the family members from even speaking about the incident or about Blackwater's involvement in the deaths. This is a direct attack to their free speech rights under the First Amendment.

Posted by aalkon at July 12, 2007 11:07 AM

Comments

Another lovely reminder of the deplorable state of our military. How nice that we outsource the work of soldiers to unaccountable contractors. Maybe they also help with "enhanced interrogations"?

Posted by: justin case at July 12, 2007 7:57 AM

So am I to understand that Cheney has a secret undisclosed Halliburton slush fund? If not, then how dose this war make him richer?

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 12, 2007 8:05 AM

The war makes him richer because he's got a ton of Halliburton stock options.

Posted by: justin case at July 12, 2007 8:12 AM

Justin,
The report says a public official's unexercised stock options and deferred salary fall within the definition of "retained ties" to his former company. Deferred salary is not effected by Halliburton profit. The VP doesn’t make one extra dime.
Furthermore, He has no control over the stock options. If he could have cashed them out when he sold all of his other interests, he would have.
I suppose one could argue in a weak sort of way that the VP profits from rising stock prices. Can you tell me how much extra he will make over the pre war stock price? To bad he missed the split, huh? Besides, doesn’t he plan to give proceeds to charity?
So he started a war for Charity? Please

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 12, 2007 8:58 AM

Furthermore, He has no control over the stock options. If he could have cashed them out when he sold all of his other interests, he would have.
I suppose one could argue in a weak sort of way that the VP profits from rising stock prices. Can you tell me how much extra he will make over the pre war stock price? To bad he missed the split, huh? Besides, doesn’t he plan to give proceeds to charity? So he started a war for Charity? Please

Is there anything here that isn't speculation on your part?

If you think that all of the big no-bid contracts that Halliburton has received from the Bush Administration don't increase the value of Cheney's options, then you need to do some remedial work on investments. Go look at the 5-year returns for Halliburton. Cheney's made millions, assuming that the options were dated to his time working there.

I'm not saying that the war was started for Cheney to make money. But it has certainly been a consequence of it. I don't know anything about the charity thing you mention, but feel free to support it with some evidence.


Posted by: justin case at July 12, 2007 9:16 AM

Justin - do you have any evidence of his ownership of any stock interest in Halliburton at all? I seem to recall the constant media badgering in 2000 forcing him to divest himself entirely of all holdings in Halliburton.

Which would mean that he started this war for someone else's profit? Please. That makes about as much sense as the truther's assertions about 9/11. I sincerely doubt that any man would be willing to risk his own life for another man's money.

Posted by: brian at July 12, 2007 9:22 AM

Much about this account of the Blackwater lawsuit doesn't pass the smell test.

While the report repeatedly alleges that Blackwater has sued the contractors' families to keep them quiet, it nowhere describes the nature of Blackwater's claims.

And then there's this:

"After filing its suit against the dead men's estates, Blackwater demanded that its claim and the families' existing lawsuit be handled in a private arbitration. By suing the families in arbitration, Blackwater has attempted to move the examination of their wrongful conduct outside of the eye of the public and away from a jury."

- Uh, not exactly. Private arbitrations and mediations are, by and large, becoming the most popular and cost-effective forms of dispute resolution. In California, you can't even maintain a civil court case without going through at least one court-mandated non-binding mediation attempt.

Also, you can't "force" someone into binding arbitration unless they've previously agreed to it. Its most likely that Blackwater/Halliburton/whoever requires their contractors to agree to binding arbitration as part of their contracts. Since (I presume) the families are suing/being sued in the name of the deceased, the estates they represent still have to honor those contracts.

Sorry, this is not evidence of a conspiracy - just simple, boring, prudent business practices.

Posted by: snakeman99 at July 12, 2007 9:48 AM

Brian, your simplistic reading of my comments is kind of annoying. I never said that Cheney started the war for his own profit (read the damned post, please). As far as going into Iraq, I believe that they wanted to do it as soon as possible following the 9/11 attacks - it was a done deal in principle on 9/12. They just needed to figure out how to justify it; the grand plan for remaking the Middle East was created well before the attacks. It wasn't a profiteering venture - it was an opportunity to realize the neocon dream.

As far as Cheney goes: I stated that his Halliburton stock options (which I can't find any evidence of him giving up; feel free to show otherwise) have become massively more valuable due in no small part to big war-support contracts. Under a weird loophole, unrealized stock options do not count as a "financial interest." Hence, he meets the legal standard, but still stands to make millions when he leaves office and can execute those options. This makes me wonder about why Halliburton was given "no-bid" contracts. We didn't go to war to make Dick a buck, but he wasn't averse to doing so at the same time.

Posted by: justin case at July 12, 2007 10:32 AM

Justin;
The report says a public official's unexercised stock options and deferred salary fall within the definition of "retained ties" to his former company. Not Speculation, from your link.
Deferred salary is not affected by Halliburton profit. Not Speculation
He has no control over the stock options. Not Speculation, the stock option maturation dates are set in stone.
I suppose one could argue in a weak sort of way that the VP profits from rising stock prices. Not Speculation, one could argue.
Can you tell me how much extra he will make over the pre war stock price? Not Speculation, it is a question for you.
To bad he missed the split. Not Speculation, he did.
He plans to give proceeds to charity. Not Speculation, he says he will.
So he started a war for Charity? Please. Speculation.
I hope that helps you understand.
Yes I understand your speculation, Cheney's made millions. He hasn’t. When he gets his options, and if they trade at today’s rate, then he will make a few million. The stock price was around $10 when they were issued, they are at around $40 now. That means he will make $30 a share. However, He plans to give proceeds to charity.
I'm not saying that the war was started for Cheney to make money. Fair enough. Allow me to apologize to you for my criticism.
Brian,
the money comes from options that Cheney received when Halliburton recruited him. Cheney could not divest from something he has not received yet. They are future options.
Justin,
Personally I believe that we are in Iraq due to the failure of the previous administration in Iraq. Had the previous administration taken care of business with Iraq, we wouldn’t have gone in.
Also, Halliburton only received no bid contracts during the initial phase of the war. Every contract has been bid since. Now you can say why Halliburton, but the simple facts are they were the only American company capable of performing all of the jobs necessary. Since we would have just bombed the H**l out of them, we needed one company to rapidly do it all. Communication was weak in the initial phase. Did you Think we would use Schlumberger, they are French? How many American oil field service companies do you think are left? I don’t think you have a good grasp of the oil infrastructure in this country.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 12, 2007 10:53 AM

Stock Options

That still would leave the possibility that Cheney could profit from his Halliburton stock options if the company's stock rises in value. However, Cheney and his wife Lynne have assigned any future profits from their stock options in Halliburton and several other companies to charity. And we're not just taking the Cheney's word for this -- we asked for a copy of the legal agreement they signed, which we post here publicly for the first time.

The "Gift Trust Agreement" the Cheney's signed two days before he took office turns over power of attorney to a trust administrator to sell the options at some future time and to give the after-tax profits to three charities. The agreement specifies that 40% will go to the University of Wyoming (Cheney's home state), 40% will go to George Washington University's medical faculty to be used for tax-exempt charitable purposes, and 20% will go to Capital Partners for Education, a charity that provides financial aid for low-income students in Washington, DC to attend private and religious schools.

The agreement states that it is "irrevocable and may not be terminated, waived or amended," so the Cheney's can't take back their options later.

The options owned by the Cheney's have been valued at nearly $8 million, his attorney says. Such valuations are rough estimates only -- the actual value will depend on what happens to stock prices in the future, which of course can't be known beforehand. But it is clear that giving up rights to the future profits constitutes a significant financial sacrifice, and a sizable donation to the chosen charities.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 12, 2007 11:02 AM

The $398,548 Halliburton has paid to Cheney while in office is all deferred compensation, a common practice that high-salaried executives use to reduce their tax bills by spreading income over several years. In Cheney's case, he signed a Halliburton form in December of 1998 choosing to have 50% of his salary for the next year, and 90% of any bonus money for that year, spread out over five years. (As it turned out, there was no bonus for 1999.) We asked Cheney's personal attorney to document the deferral agreement as well, and he supplied us with a copy of the form, posted here publicly for the first time.

Legally, Halliburton can't increase or reduce the amount of the deferred compensation no matter what Cheney does as vice president. So Cheney's deferred payments from Halliburton wouldn't increase no matter how much money the company makes, or how many government contracts it receives.

On the other hand, there is a possibility that if the company went bankrupt it would be unable to pay. That raises the theoretical possibility of a conflict of interest -- if the public interest somehow demanded that Cheney take action that would hurt Halliburton it could conceivably end up costing him money personally. So to insulate himself from that possible conflict, Cheney purchased an insurance policy (which cost him $14,903) that promises to pay him all the deferred compensation that Halliburton owes him even if the company goes bust and refuses to pay. The policy does contain escape clauses allowing the insurance company to refuse payment in the unlikely events that Cheney files a claim resulting "directly or indirectly" from a change in law or regulation, or from a "prepackaged" bankruptcy in which creditors agree on terms prior to filing. But otherwise it ensures Cheney will get what Halliburton owes him should it go under.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 12, 2007 11:03 AM

Rusty,
Whatever. Cheney still sucks. His maybe-so, maybe-not financial shenanigans are the least of his improprieties.

Posted by: justin case at July 12, 2007 11:19 AM

> Cui Bono?

25 million Kurds who live in safety and democracy; whoever was going to be killed by the sons; whoever cares about the marshlands and their hundreds of thousands of refugees; those who thought it was time for the Saudis to get real about how this century is going to work; etc.

I loves me some Camille Pagia, but she has weak moments. The inability to see beyond our own shortest term interests is proof of the weakness in American character for which we're so routinely criticized... People are unable to take the long view. Time and again we hear that Bush was "Stupid!" for doing this, because Iraq was going to be a shitbath no matter what. Yet for some reason, the fact that it's not going perfectly is proof of Bush's stupidity. Bush haters get to have it both ways. It's psychosis.

History will not be kind to this presumption. Bush may well be seen as an incompetent administrator and a venal man, but he's not stupid, and people who think he is have silly ideas about how brains work.

Also -

> Bowie is a true
> genius of modern art.

Naw, but he was a cute rock star. That's enough.

Posted by: Crid at July 12, 2007 11:31 AM

More Paglia!

> next time around, we will hopefully
> have the support of other powers
> in the region, such as Saudi Arabia
> (a corruption-riddled regime with
> strong Bush ties),

Does anyone else see the insanity of that passage? Please speak up! It can't just be me.

Posted by: Crid at July 12, 2007 11:34 AM

Justin,
Last time I checked, the VP is essentially powerless. I don’t agree that he sucks. I think he would have made a better president than Bush. I am not sure where you get your opinion from unless it is the media or some leftist poster. Drawing Cheney with a swastika doesn’t prove anything.
Crid,
Ditto, but I’ll disagree on Bowie. His work with Eno and Iggy was definitely true genius.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 12, 2007 11:47 AM

If people weren't so fast and loose with the G word, rock n' roll might still be alive.

Doubt it, though...

Posted by: Crid at July 12, 2007 11:48 AM

Porcupine tree? Mar Volta?

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 12, 2007 11:55 AM

System of the Down?

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 12, 2007 11:57 AM

I guess they wouldn't have gotten many American kids to enlist if they said that upfront.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 12, 2007 11:57 AM

I don’t know Amy,
I think the media has hammered every possible negative reason for us being there, yet they still enlist.
Bushes approval ratings are in the tank but they still enlist.
There young, dumb and full of c**, they will enlist.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 12, 2007 12:03 PM

I miss the Cheney before Gulf I. Cheney was the one responsible for implementing the changes (subcontracting services to private companies) in the armed forces during his last year as Sec of DoD. The policies were continued under the Clinton administration.

Personally, the whole business of subcontracting services to private companies should come to an end when it comes to the military. Remember all those Army commercials during the 1990s comparing the service to joining a country club. Water ski, play golf or tennis.... you won't have to clean latrines or kp. I would think it would be a great exercise in character building if soldiers have to clean their own latrines and commit themselves to kp.

I never served in the military, but did 4 years at a military school. Every time I spoke back to the barracks or squad leader... there were consequences. Assisting the school's groundskeeper, cleaning the latrines, drills, and mandatory on the spot 100-150 push ups and so on. Those were the orders from higher ranking students and not the priests.

Now forcing soldiers to do the so called 'drudge' work will cause the military to lose recruitment... all the better. I've always had a deep suspicion of large professional standing armies. Its my inner-libertarian nature. I could see a nightmare scenario in 50 years where the military is called in to solve our continuing election woes. The judiciary branch may be slow and incompetent at times, but a hell of a lot better than having the Joint Chiefs assisting in legal decisions.

Posted by: Joe at July 12, 2007 12:26 PM

Justin - how nice of you to once again impugn my intellect. "I'm not saying xxx" is often code for "I believe xxx is possible or likely". Typically, it is employed as a rhetorical flourish to indicate what the sensible people believe.

Apparently, you think that "re-making the middle east" is some kind of fool's errand. You have a better idea on how to eliminate Islamist expansionism? Or is there really no global problem with Islamist terrorism and expansionism? Don't tell me that the problem was confined to Afghanistan, because we both know that's not true.

As far as Halliburton - they have had long-standing contracts to do military support, and considering that there are precious few organizations that do what they do (only one other in the US, whose name escapes me, and Schlumberger, a French outfit are the ones that jump to mind immediately) there really weren't too many options available.

Posted by: brian at July 12, 2007 12:30 PM

Joe - when the public confidence in the Congress and President combined are dwarfed by their confidence in the military, that ought to serve as a much greater incitement to fear.

I'm just sayin'

Posted by: brian at July 12, 2007 12:31 PM

Well, we already have the Banana-Republicans... next will be the military.

Posted by: Joe at July 12, 2007 12:43 PM

Brian,
I tend to write in a pretty plain-spoken fashion, and your post appeared to ignore the plain text of what I wrote. Forgive me for impugning your intellect, but I think that your response reflected a degree of intellectual laziness, in that it assumed a great deal of things instead of addressing what was said. I don't write in code, and I think it's a bad idea to assume others do.

Apparently, you think that "re-making the middle east" is some kind of fool's errand.

Yes. The place cannot be fixed. All that we can do is protect our interests there. Get the oil, keep people from blowing too much shit up, and work like hell to keep terrorists out of the West. They'll strike us in minor ways, mostly, and if we get hit too hard, we'll need to bomb the hell out of wherever they're from. But it can't be fixed until the people get educated and get rid of the Islamic fundamentalists. It ain't gonna happen because of what we do; we're helping the nutters in Iraq. The neocon idea of democracy as a panacea in a part of the world where the religion demands to be fused with the state is pie in the sky foolishness of the worst sort.

The other American company you're thinking of is the Carlyle group, I believe.

I miss the Cheney before Gulf I.

Me too. I wonder if he was always as Manichean as he appears now, and if Baker and GHWB just kept him in check.

Last time I checked, the VP is essentially powerless. I don’t agree that he sucks. I think he would have made a better president than Bush.

This VP has tons of power, delegated to him by the President, but tons of power nonetheless. He does suck - he supported our use of torture (waterboarding was a "no-brainer" for him). Few things strike me as a more severe betrayal of what our country is about. He might have been more effective, in some sense than Bush, but he's not a very personable man. He wouldn't have won either election.

Posted by: justin case at July 12, 2007 12:48 PM

I believe the change happened after his 5th (c 1994) heart attack. Friends of the Cheneys have viewed similar comments about Dick's change in personality. The loss of his Wyomingesque dry humor. When you lose your sense of humor, everything goes down hill.

The last 6 years have been a major challenge to my atheism. Could there be some kind of malevolent force out there that would allow a West Texas wastrel to become a two term POTUS and keeping Cheney alive???

Posted by: Joe at July 12, 2007 1:04 PM

This one's for you, Crid. Derbyshire offers up the best critique of Bush's intellect I've ever read:

For future reference, here's that I think about the man's mind. He's well above average in intelligence. You don't get a degree from Yale—not even with a C average—unless you're fairly smart. Psychologist Linda Gottfredson, working from W's published test scores, estimated his IQ at 125, which would put him around the 95th percentile (meaning that W is smarter than 19 out of 20 Americans). Charles Murray pegged him a tad lower, but still up in the 90-somethingth percentile.
On the other hand, my rather strong impression is that while the president CAN think, he DOESN'T, much. The Iraq blunderings, the poverty of his off-the-cuff oratory, the endless repetition of tired, empty cliches long discredited, the Harriet Miers fiasco, the stupid squandering of his small remaining political capital on that major-stupid immigration bill... not much thinking there that I can see.

Posted by: justin case at July 12, 2007 1:42 PM

The Derb is on the money, as usual. My view is that Bush is intelligent, but lacks depth. Mix that with a few heapings of resentment and you have the leadership qualities of the POTUS.

Also, Bush's IQ was higher than John Kerry's. (mandatory military IQ tests)

As always Kerry suffers from Adlai Stevenson Syndrome. (ASS) The appearance of being intelligent through smugness and supporting 'progressive' causes. A.S.S. is quite rampant among members of the Pelosi Left.

Posted by: Joe at July 12, 2007 2:07 PM

Bye Goddess,
Thanks for the bandwidth.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 12, 2007 2:31 PM

The worst thing about the foul-up in Iraq is that assertive self defense is getting the bad wrap. The blame should be getting placed squarley on on the half-measures and contradictions Bush employs not to win the war - but to bring magical democracy. They get to vote themselves into sharia after US servicemen sacrifice their lives. bleh.

What the hell is wrong with waterboarding? Or worse. How about nuggies or short sheets?

Posted by: newjonny at July 12, 2007 2:54 PM

TO: The Bozos, Here
RE: Sooooo....

....you 'thought' that when the Soviet Union collapsed...

"It ain't gonna war;
No more;
No more...."

...eh?

Chopped the standing Army combat formations almost in half.

Welcome to the REAL world, bozos.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[To those who refuse to learn from History, she provides remedial education. But it's rather 'harsh'.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 12, 2007 2:58 PM

> while the president CAN
> think, he DOESN'T, much.

Snot-blowing. You (the commentator) don't agree with what he does; therefore he's just 'not thinking.' Could this be more transparent?

I'll never understand this apparently universal fantasy that if we all had the same information, we'd all make the same choices... As if perfect data, neatly collated and promptly delivered from a top-down structure (God or Hillary Clinton, take your pick) would make for a metaphysically righteous human species. Are people that afraid of conflict, that they have to dream of its extinction? People seem to long for a peace much like death.

The feminine weakness over which Jody and I were quarreling the other day is a big part of this.

Posted by: Crid at July 12, 2007 3:00 PM

Joe's right about Kerry's IQ.

(Chuck's back... Oh good.)

Posted by: Crid at July 12, 2007 3:01 PM

P.S. If you voted for Clinton....

....you've only yourself to blame.

"Peace dividend, my fourth-point-of-contact.

Might just as well paraphrase that educational comment about "Why little Johnny can't read," to say....

"Why little Johnny came home in a body-bag."

And that same mentality continues today, vis-a-vis the Pinion Canyon Maneuver Area.

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 12, 2007 3:03 PM

TO: Crid
RE: I'm BAAAaack!

"Chuck's back... " -- Crid

Been busy in the 'real' world, buckie. But don't get your hopes up.....unless you've started smoking a different color of crayon.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Drugs, the door to the prison cell of life. They lead to the prison yard.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 12, 2007 3:06 PM

Chase him away, Amy! Tell him the story about the time your little dog kissed that pink-clad homosexual on the steps of Centre Pompidou after that international atheist's conference.

Posted by: Crid at July 12, 2007 3:12 PM

I wonder what Col. 'Mutt' Henderson's view of the real world? (Seven Days in May) To be honest, I really don't care and just wanted to use the character's name.

Posted by: Joe at July 12, 2007 3:19 PM

TO: Joe
RE: Colonels, Compare & Contrast

"Col. 'Mutt' Henderson's view of the real world...." -- Joe

I'd like to see that compared and contrasted against those of Col. Martin 'Jiggs' Casey.

Personally. I prefer Jiggs to Mutt. More in line with the oath of office I took when I took on my commission....

....To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States; against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Where would YOU stand on taking such an oath?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The difference between good and evil men is their choice of 'cause'.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 12, 2007 3:30 PM

P.S. For YOUR edification....

....commissioned officers are not required to obey the orders of officers or the President of the United States.

I guess that's why they require such to be of a certain IQ level and with a certain 'degree' of education.

The problem, as I've noticed of late, is the quality of the 'education' a lot of kids are getting. It has a direct bearing on the quality of people we allow that kind of authority.

Don't you think?

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 12, 2007 3:32 PM

apologetic derail

Crid - your comment at 3 pm sharp - extremely self-servingly put, but an annoying dollop of truth too.

end derail


Great thread, btw.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 12, 2007 3:42 PM

At least you have humility, Major T. J. "King" Kong. We both agree you are not A.C. material like General James Mattoon Scott.

Personally, my sentiments are quite similar to Lieutenant Commander Charles Madison in The Americanization of Emily. Such dialogue:

"War isn't hell at all. It's man at his best; the highest morality he's capable of. It's not war that's insane, you see. It's the morality of it. It's not greed or ambition that makes war: it's goodness. Wars are always fought for the best of reasons: for liberation or manifest destiny. Always against tyranny and always in the interest of humanity. So far this war, we've managed to butcher some ten million humans in the interest of humanity. Next war it seems we'll have to destroy all of man in order to preserve his damn dignity. It's not war that's unnatural to us, it's virtue. As long as valor remains a virtue, we shall have soldiers. So, I preach cowardice. Through cowardice, we shall all be saved."

Posted by: Joe at July 12, 2007 3:56 PM

Let us not forget these memorable lines too:

"You American haters bore me to tears, Ms. Barham. I've dealt with Europeans all my life. I know all about us parvenus from the States who come over here and race around your old Cathedral towns with our cameras and Coca-cola bottles... Brawl in your pubs, paw at your women, and act like we own the world. We over-tip, we talk too loud, we think we can buy anything with a Hershey bar. I've had Germans and Italians tell me how politically ingenuous we are, and perhaps so. But we haven't managed a Hitler or a Mussolini yet. I've had Frenchmen call me a savage because I only took half an hour for lunch. Hell, Ms. Barham, the only reason the French take two hours for lunch is because the service in their restaurants is lousy. The most tedious lot are you British. We crass Americans didn't introduce war into your little island. This war, Ms. Barham to which we Americans are so insensitive, is the result of 2,000 years of European greed, barbarism, superstition, and stupidity. Don't blame it on our Coca-cola bottles. Europe was a growing brothel long before we came to town."

Posted by: Joe at July 12, 2007 4:02 PM

TO: Joe
RE: Imaginary Heroes vs. Real Ones, Compare & Contrast

"War isn't hell at all. It's man at his best; the highest morality he's capable of." -- Joe, citing some source

I prefer General William Tecumseh Sherman....

"It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell."

Who do you think has more gravitas in this matter?

Some novelist? Or some commanding general who lead men in battle through the bloodiest war in American history?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Image is everything....until the tread meets the pavement.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 12, 2007 4:09 PM

Snot-blowing. You (the commentator) don't agree with what he does; therefore he's just 'not thinking.' Could this be more transparent?

Snot it at all, Crid. It's that all of these errors can be explained concisely in terms of a shallowness of thought.

What the hell is wrong with waterboarding? Or worse.

It's beyond cowardice to do these sorts of things to another human being who is helpless under your power. How people don't get this is beyond me. Maybe they've seen too many episodes of 24; I know justice Scalia has.

Posted by: justin case at July 12, 2007 4:14 PM

TO: Joe
RE: A Question, Unanswered

Earlier, I asked you a question about the commissioned officer's oath of office; where you would stand on taking such an oath on your personal honor.

Please answer the question. Would you take it? Or would you not?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The difference between a good and evil man is his choice of causes.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 12, 2007 4:14 PM

Great thread, btw.

I totally agree, Jody. Nothing brings out the piss and vinegar like a Iraq war thread.

Posted by: justin case at July 12, 2007 4:16 PM

TO: All
RE: Poor Recognition of Reality

"How people don't get this is beyond me." -- justin case

Never been through a 'prop blast' ceremony, eh?

Think of that guy on the bucket, in the hood, wired for 'sound'.

We did that as a 'lark'....a rite of passage, in the 82d Airborne Division.

I was incensed that these 'legs' were doing such an honor to foreigners; conducting an unauthorized prop blast ceremony. And to think they weren't even giving the involuntary candidates French 75s to anesthetize them!!!!

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. -- Thomas Paine]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 12, 2007 4:19 PM

Good Paine quote. That fits.

Justine thinks it is beyond cowardice to undergo the fatigue of supporting freedom if it is too dirty.

Retaliation of the use of force is different than the initiation of the use of force. And NON-gratuitous use of force to extract information is not beyond cowardice.

Disagree all you want - just don't think you are on some higher plane of morality. I consider hobbling the righteous to be a lower plane frankly.

Posted by: newjonny at July 12, 2007 4:59 PM

> can be explained concisely in
> terms of a shallowness of thought.

At the risk of being harsh (Chuck brings out the mood)--

If you want to be concise, the "of thought" is unecessary. Worse than that, it obfuscates. And I think it betrays an unearned faith in cranial neurology. (Also, everybody begins to sound like Daffy Duck, who never even made time for junior college: "I will overwhelm my advertharies with my thuperior intellectual firepower!!. )

The problem with people is not that they're not smart enough, the problem is they're not courageous enough, and generous enough, and patient enough. Having smart guys in the White House hasn't helped.

Posted by: Crid at July 12, 2007 5:02 PM

My response will be coming Colonel Kurtz. I'm builing up the suspense.

Posted by: Joe at July 12, 2007 5:09 PM

Disagree all you want - just don't think you are on some higher plane of morality.

Bullshit. If we aren't more moral than the people we fight, what's the purpose? We are better than them. We damn well ought to act like it. If this belief makes me a girl, as you seem to think, so be it. My wife might debate you on that point, though.

Posted by: justin case at July 12, 2007 5:21 PM

Never been through a 'prop blast' ceremony, eh?

No. But it's irrelevant. You chose to be there, and whatever you did was done to gain the respect of people you admired. It's apples and, not even oranges... how about apples and car parts?

Posted by: justin case at July 12, 2007 5:27 PM

I prefer talent over intelligence any day, Crid. Unfortunately, the current POTUS lacks both. What I meant is the proper application of intelligence (revising bad decisions) and not the fixed point version that is commonly thrown about by everyone.

Still building suspense.

Posted by: Joe at July 12, 2007 5:32 PM

Chuck (le Chauvin)

What irritates me about you (besides the lame memos) is that you brag about your service. I was raised in a small town with less than 10,000. My childhood next door neighbors (I referred to them as my third set of grandparents) was a WWII veteran. The husband was an Army Air Corp serviceman shot down over Europe. He had the misfortune of being Jewish on the mainland of Europe occupied by the Germans. So he was sent to concentration camp that conducted cryogenic experiments among other assorted assembly line methods of death. I won't go into details, except after the war he had difficulties in walking. My crossing guard, who had no finger nails on both hands. Who always said "hello" to me when I was off to Catholic grade school. He was a POW of the Japanese during WWII. When I was 16 and worked at the local grocery store... my co-bag boy was a 75 year old retired teacher and was a combatant at Anzio and was wounded at Normandy. These 3 examples never marched in a Veterans Day Parade. While there were plenty of noncombatant Cold War Warriors gladly to fill in their places.

The funny thing was that I never knew anything about their military services until they passed away. My stunned face when I heard the various eulogies and reading their obituaries in the newspaper. Talking to their widows, kids and grandkids at the various wakes. Their service pictures finally seeing the light of day. Fellow old men who saluted him at the funeral services. See, growing up they were just quirky old men that were always there and deserved respect. Their own kids and grandkids (they didn’t have the exact details) didn't even know about their service either, only their wives knew everything.

I have been around the sun 33 times and know now that I was raised among giants. Real warriors, by not acting like one in public or online. Are you surprised that I will not bow down to any person who donned the uniform and brags about it on Amy's site? I’m sure you can guess where I would like you to shove your Oath, Cross, Sword and Flag to?

So give me Jimmy Stewart over John Wayne any day. By the way, some people can find inspiration in fictional characters. You did in Jesus Christ.

Finally, this is the biography of the ’some’ author of The Americanization of Emily: William Bradford Huie. There is nothing like writing about real life experiences.

http://tinyurl.com/263w69

Posted by: Joe at July 12, 2007 5:43 PM

Justin - Your attitude (the place can't be fixed) is gaining ground. The unfortunate aspect is that it leads to one place: guaranteed genocide.

See, I've long postulated that we have three options to dealing with fundamentalist, expansionist Islam:

1) Reform. I'm not optimistic on this one either, but it's the least bloody option to try. With each passing day where I see the American people lose faith in this, I lose any hope of seeing it happen.

2) Quarantine. We can't keep Mexicans out of our country, how the fuck are we gonna keep all the muslims bottled up in the middle east?

3) Annihilation. And this is where the defeatism ultimately leads. Because if we can't reform them and get them to kill off the Jihadi themselves, there will be another attack on U.S. soil. And when it happens, the response is going to make Hiroshima look measured. The American people will demand it.

To borrow a reference from sci-fi, note Delenn's orders to her crew after the death of Dukhat (Babylon 5, Season 4 "Atonement").

Suffice to say she was not interested in peaceful coexistence.

Posted by: brian at July 12, 2007 7:08 PM

> If we aren't more moral than the
> people we fight, what's the
> purpose? We are better
> than them.

Thank you for that. I got steamed reading the Paglia column this morning because she mumbled something about Bush being arrogant in tellng the rest of the world how things are going to go... Not realizing that the first ones overboard if we start to sink will be the lesbian professoriate. False, rhetorically manipulative postures of humility are something we can't afford. We are the best, and we're going continue to protect the freedom of our daughters... and our gays... and so forth and so on.

> Unfortunately, the current
> POTUS lacks both.

Well, I think he's talented, because you don't get the gig now on the basis of name recognition alone. He's obviously going to go down in history as one of our lesser presidents (though perhaps one who made one of our grander gestures of responsibility). But when people say the problem is that he's stupid, I want start screaming and never stop.

Posted by: Crid at July 12, 2007 7:35 PM

False, rhetorically manipulative postures of humility are something we can't afford. We are the best, and we're going continue to protect the freedom of our daughters... and our gays... and so forth and so on.

Word. I get into some fun discussions/debates with my liberal friends here in the Bay Area about this point. They get so into hating the Bush administration and the war that they forget this big, important point. America is a flawed mess, but it's a kick-ass place in so very many important ways. We fuck up from time to time, but usually find our way toward doing the right thing.

1) Reform. I'm not optimistic on this one either, but it's the least bloody option to try. With each passing day where I see the American people lose faith in this, I lose any hope of seeing it happen.

You're right that this might be the least bloody option. I hope for our success in what we're doing, even though I don't believe it can work the way we're doing it. However, I'm not in charge, so my pessimism is only mildly relevant. I also agree that failure makes your point #3 more likely. It's an ugly, sad situation. And I don't see any good solutions - just a selection of bad options.

Posted by: justin case at July 12, 2007 7:48 PM

Just ordered "The Americanization of Emily" from Netflix.


(Thank you, Joe.)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 12, 2007 7:56 PM

My favorite passage along the lines of what Joe cited earlier:

http://urltea.com/yti/

Posted by: Crid at July 12, 2007 8:15 PM

Ah, sosorry

http://urltea.com/yti

Posted by: Crid at July 12, 2007 8:32 PM

Your welcome, Jody.

I’ll admit to having motives in listing the novel/movie and its slightly related to Amy's post. Everyone has an idea on the reasons behind the Iraq failure. Secret agendas, hidden political factions, greed, corruption and so on. The Memo Warrior made it way too easy for me. So I am very grateful for his participation.

There is another little speech by Lt. Cmdr Charles Madison on the real reason for wars. It goes beyond the litany of reason used by so many people. I won't paste it and allow people to discover a great classic. There is a wonderful story to the movie and not all about speeches on wars.

The other motive is similar to the second Madison quote about the American Haters. I still believe in Pax Americana, but just not the current White House's version. Also, it looks like were going to have to clean up a much older brothel that certain European nations left their fingerprints all over the place in the last century.


Posted by: Joe at July 12, 2007 11:19 PM

Wanna do something really transgressive at the next cocktail party? (Without taking your pants off?)

Decline to speak of the "Iraq failure." War has weird outcomes, and you never know what they're going to be when you start one. We certainly didn't get what we were told we'd get when we signed on for this thing... But some very good things have come from it. Just ask the Kurds! (But do it soon, before we cut them loose again.) Bush may go down on the books as a world-class fuckup, but I can't imagine who's done more to kick the ball forward in that region since maybe Ben-Gurion.

It's a new chapter. Maybe it sucks, but the last one wasn't any fun either.

Posted by: Crid at July 13, 2007 12:13 AM

Hey Joe your taste in actors is better than mine. I got this the other day:
"I will not respond to your Bollywood lust or previous lust associated with such babbling meatheads as Mr. Goan native John Abraham. I am simply too tired." I thought that was hilarious!

Posted by: PurplePen at July 13, 2007 1:50 AM

Thanks, Purple. I get a lot of heat from family, friends and past gfs on my movie tastes. "Not another black and white movie." My rebuttal: "Your lucky, this one has sound."

Crid, (or anyone)

When I talk about "Iraq Failure", it goes beyond the predictable talking points. I've been a supporter of Kurdish independence since the early 1990s, when the average American never heard the term 'Kurd' without laughing.

Personally, I talk about failure as the current White House's inability to revise their strategy and believing it would be a sign of weakness. The current POTUS entrenched beliefs is going to cause a number of political showdowns from the legislative branch and cause problems for GOP candidates for the 2008 election. The withdrawal of US troops is going to be a real scenario and the Kurds are going to suffer for it.

I predicted more than 6 months ago that the various Iraqi insurgents would start a terror campaign into the Kurdish controlled areas. Well, 2 weeks ago a series of car bombs went off in Kurdistan (N. Iraq) Now this was not a start of a new terror campaign, but a symbolic gesture. It meant: "Your next, when the US forces leave."

So when I talk about failure it goes beyond the depressing news coverage from Baghdad. An entrenched, but ineffective POTUS, Democrats that smell blood in the Presidential/Congressional waters and chicken shit Republicans that are going to develop a compromise for US troop removal to save their hides during the much unreported Congressional election in 2008. Who will pay? But the Kurds of course. Well they're use to it by now, just check the history of the Kurdish people on wikipedia.

All of this could have been avoided if Bush revised his strategy by a tactical regrouping of US forces into the Kurdish controlled areas and stress it will save soldiers' lives and promote freedom in the region through the Kurdish example for the other areas. A move like that would have divided the Democrats and basically make Pelosi-Reid ineffective. Where is Rove when you truly need him? Remember, most of the Democrats elected in 2006 are not Pelosicrats.

You can prevail through failure and find wisdom through insecurity. Pretty zen like?

Posted by: Joe at July 13, 2007 9:12 AM

TO: All
RE: justin case....

"If we aren't more moral than the people we fight, what's the purpose?" -- justin case

....you missed it....

...justin seems to have serious problems with sorting information.

I don't recall US forces in Iraq blowing up a bomb that killed about 100 men, women and children in a market place the other day.

Or did I miss that report? If so, please give me a url to it.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard for his country. There is seldom an instance of a man guilty of betraying his country, who had not before lost the feeling of moral obligations in his private connections. -- Samual Adams]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 13, 2007 12:21 PM

TO: Joe
RE: Really?

"What irritates me about you (besides the lame memos) is that you brag about your service." -- Joe

Not so much braggadocio as making you aware of who you're talking to. I think the only braggarts remark I've made was when I commented to [Kid] Crid that I was jumping C130s before his father learned how to jump a prom date.

The rest of it is just background information and reminiscings on some of the 'fun times' I've had, thanks to all you [un]grateful tax-payers.

If you have trouble with that, I'd suggest it is a personal problem that you should seek professional help with. Perhaps a matter of low self-esteem? You might try contacting Counselor Troi, as I alluded to above.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier. -- Samuel Johnson]

P.S. Looks like you're proving the adage correct.

P.P.S. Good on your fellow townsfolk who went before me. Good on you for finally, after getting to ba REAL adult, i.e., over 30 years of age, recognizing what they did.

Aside from that, my comment, immediately above, still stands valid.

P.P.P.S. Anytime you wanna get back to the topic of this thread, feel free, buckie.

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 13, 2007 12:32 PM

TO: Joe
RE: Huie

Thanks for the link. I was unaware of his background.

Still and all....

...I again ask, whom do you think has more gravitas in such matters as leading men on the field of battle?? A former aide-de-camp for a Navy admiral? Or a commanding general on the bloody fields of battle in our most heart-rending war ever?

I still go with the latter.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[I'm a Hollywood writer; so I put on a sports jacket and take off my brain.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 13, 2007 12:40 PM

TO: brian
RE: The Babylon Proposition

"To borrow a reference from sci-fi, note Delenn's orders to her crew after the death of Dukhat (Babylon 5, Season 4 "Atonement").

Suffice to say she was not interested in peaceful coexistence." -- brian

Yes. But she relented at the Battle of the Line. And a good think she did, eh?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The avalanche has begun. It is too late for the pebbles to vote. -- Ambassador Kosh]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 13, 2007 12:43 PM

TO: Joe
RE: Actors & Such

"So give me Jimmy Stewart over John Wayne any day." -- Joe

Poor analogy, buckie. Or are you agreeing with me, indirectly?

William Bradford Huie is to John Wayne as William Tecumseh Sherman is to Jimmy Stewart.

RE: [OT] Fictional Characters?

"By the way, some people can find inspiration in fictional characters. You did in Jesus Christ." -- Joe

Not as fictional as the character James Garner played in that movie inspired by Huie's writings.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[A Christian relies on faith above everything else. A Wiccan relies on it only when nothing else is left.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 13, 2007 12:49 PM

TO: All
RE: Back On-Topic

I'm not a big fan of Blackwater and their ilk.

I see their presence in the theater of operations as a potential problem of significant proportion. I was livid when I saw a video of their people engaging insurgent snipers at a distance with their own sniper team and the local security element, having nothing better to do than keep their heads down, began firing on vehicles moving through the engagement area.

The problem is they are there because of what Clinton did with the military combat forces because of the supposed 'peace dividend'. Not that Bush I didn't have some part in that as well, but Clinton did the real butcher job on the military.

I saw and commented back then, in the mid-90s, that we'd pay a price for this. And now....guess what, people.....

Maintaining the 'peace' is never 'cheap'. And if you go about it like it can be, you pay a greater price down the road.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Qui desiderat pacem -- praeparat bellum. -- Vegetius]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 13, 2007 1:10 PM

There is seldom an instance of a man guilty of betraying his country, who had not before lost the feeling of moral obligations in his private connections

E. M. Forster had a more provocative view: "If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."

(But he was a soppy liberal humanist as well as dreadfully unhappily in the closet when he wrote that.)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 13, 2007 1:10 PM

TO: Jody Tresidder
RE: Country vs. Friend

"E. M. Forster had a more provocative view: "If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."

(But he was a soppy liberal humanist as well as dreadfully unhappily in the closet when he wrote that.)" -- Jody Tresidder

I've got that quotation around here somewhere, myself. And reflecting upon it, I doubt if I'd have someone who was a 'friend' who was opposed to the ideals of the Constitution of the United States. But, if those ideals had been overturned by the government, I believe I could agree with that quote by Forster.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[It all depends on the situation. -- old Army adage]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 13, 2007 2:27 PM

Chuckle, is your comment above playing moral equivalence games? As long as we're less immoral than the terrorists we're OK? It's cool for us to torture because they torture and behead? Can you square this with your purportedly Christian beliefs? Who would Jesus torture?

Posted by: justin case at July 13, 2007 3:06 PM

Alas, poor Chuck,

You haven't seen the movie, read the novel or the entire wikipedia entry? He wasn't just an aid de camp to the King Bee. Huie participated in the D-Day invasion. Ever heard of getting the facts before opening your mouth or typing an entry on person's forum? Remember this line from my past comment:

“There is nothing like writing about real life experiences.”

If you haven’t seen the movie or read the novel… my advice is to stop typing memos on a subject you know nothing about. It will make you look like a fool. Also, the volume of memos doesn’t constitute a winning argument. Maybe it is the S.O.P. of bureaucratic military paper osmosis, but in life its quality over quantity.

Second, I don't care about the details of your military service record. It is not an attempt to demean your years of actual service, but to focus on the heart of the matter at hand. The variations of public service. My complaint was how you interact with people and use your uniform as a means to degrade others who have a different view. Or you question their lack of service and sacrifice without getting the facts. There are plenty of people who proudly serve and it doesn’t mean the person has to wear a uniform. Wrapping themselves with a flag while singing Onward Christian Soldiers.

I’ve mentioned many times of my duties overseas in the Middle East in reference to Amy’s posts concerning Islam. My experiences are based on real person to person interaction with Muslims on their home turf. With their own rules that I had to abide for the time being. My field is in reference to molecular biology in relation to immunology. I’ve been to M.E., Africa and Asia for 9 years. There is a huge reason why I haven’t mentioned my experiences in Africa and Asia and never will. So I know what the words service and sacrifice mean without wearing a uniform and taking an oath. Also, without falling into the typical pitfall of the burnt out case of a bleeding heart humanitarian. I went mainly for my own private reasons.

Finally, I will end on a quote from the Baroque poet, Luis de Góngora‘s Soledades:

“Ha sido un asunto del honor para hacerse oscurece al ignorante, para que es lo que se distingue el aprendido; hablar en un estilo que parece griego al ignorante, para perlas preciosas no debe ser lanzado antes de cerdo. “

Also, this is the last time I will venture on the subject of service ever again.


Posted by: Joe at July 13, 2007 3:19 PM

I hope my Spanish was okay. Its been a while and by memory alone.

Posted by: Joe at July 13, 2007 3:31 PM

...and you're not going to translate that one either are you Joe? (A rotten habit...)

Chuck,
To be fair to you, that Forster quote was a bit unfair to throw in at this stage - since it's part of the 'hall of mirrors' effect you get into with the Cambridge (UK university) Apostles, and their loyalties within treason within loyalties within treason...etc.

Probably best to take it at face value - and then supply one's own context! Rather as you just did!.

I am stone sober but probably only making sense to myself. Sorry.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 13, 2007 3:43 PM

TO: justin case
RE: Which....

"Chuckle, is your comment above playing moral equivalence games?" -- justin case

....comment is that? I've left a few here.

Maybe you should adopt my approach to making posts.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Uh-oh, time to repress another memory.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 13, 2007 4:33 PM

TO: Joe
RE: Alas Indeed!

"You haven't seen the movie, read the novel or the entire wikipedia entry?" -- Joe

I saw the movie before you learned how to change the channels on your television set. Garner calls himself a 'dog-robber'. I'm one too. The plot is that the admiral wants the glory of having the first man killed on OMAHA BEACH a Navy guy.

"He wasn't just an aid de camp to the King Bee. Huie participated in the D-Day invasion." -- Joe

Aides 'participate' in battles fetching coffee for their flag-grade officers.

"In World War II, Lt., jg Huie of the United States Navy, served as aide to Vice Admiral Ben Moreell of the Seabees. While writing for the Seabees chronicling their outstanding, unique wartime activity, Huie had special permission to continue his own writing projects, both fiction and nonfiction work dealing primarily with the war. His Navy experiences, including D-Day, would become the 1959 novel "The Americanization of Emily" and the 1964 Paddy Chayevsky movie by the same title with James Garner and Julie Andrews." -- Wiki on Huie

Maybe you should learn more about who does what to whom; when, where, why and how, before opening your mouth. Also, you should consider that you seem to be assuming things, like Huie wadded ashore with the inital wave on OMAHA BEACH; the wave that sustained 90% casualties within the first 30 minutes, in some units.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[When you ASSUME something, you make an ASS out of U and ME. -- Old Army sergeant]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 13, 2007 4:43 PM

Jody,

You didn't understand my posts in Italian?

Well, the Luis de Góngora line is quite appropriate for Chuckles:

"It has been a matter of honor to me to make myself obscure to the ignorant, for that is what distinguishes the learned, to speak in a style that seems Greek to the ignorant, for precious pearls should not be cast before swine."

While Rambo attacks ant hills via memos, my preference is in the category of mountains. It was Luis de Góngora or Caesar's War Commentaries concerning the surrender of Vercingatorix in Latin. I chose Spanish, because I cannot claim to speak it fluently, but had a wonderful relationship with a lovely creature from Argentina. She was from Cordoba, Argentina and Góngora was from Cordoba, Spain. There were other literary references in the posts, but not in an explicit manner. Its an old habit.

Sometimes there can be a slight method to my madness.

Posted by: Joe at July 13, 2007 5:07 PM

In print it has been stated many times of Huie participating in the D-Day invasions and compare the realism found in the novel The Americanization of Emily to his wartime experiences. That is why he was regulated to the position of a war time correspondent for the remainder of the war. Do wartime correspondents go into combat from time to time? Everyone has an important job to do while in the military. Your lack of interest in others in uniform does exhibit a lack of character. One must degrade a minor topic while avoiding the main topic just to get ahead in a debate in an advice columnist’s forum?

Also, I'm not aware of your reading habits, but your lack of an answer on reading the novel is enough evidence for a definite guess. You pick one vague line in a comment and disregard the novel, movie or your own ability to look for yourself and still make a baseless conclusion on his lack of combat action. Personally, I didn’t write the Wikipedia entry on Huie and it was a poor job. I have a habit of re-discovering lost gems of American fiction and that is why you will not find much information on authors like Huie.

Like I said before, you are attacking ant hills. I will stand by my ’assumptions’ over your tedious memos any day.

Try harder next time, Lt. Col. Korn.

Posted by: Joe at July 13, 2007 5:50 PM

TO: Joe
RE: Heh

"In print it has been stated many times of Huie participating in the D-Day invasions and compare the realism found in the novel The Americanization of Emily to his wartime experiences." -- Joe

What is it with you, Joe?

Poor reading skills? Lack of comprehension? Too eager to jump to a [false] conclusion? English as a tertiary language?

Show me what Huie did on D-Day.

I've known aides-de-camp. One of them went to college with me. Last I heard he was the Commanding General of the Military District of Washington. He's the tall guy beside Nancy Reagan at the funerary services at the Capital. The other, was a lieutenant with me in 1-508th Parachute Infantry, 82d Airborne Division. Last, I heard, he was the very model of a modern major general in Baghdad.

As I said, aides hold flag-grade officers hands and do step-and-fetch for them. Then, if they survive, they go on to be flag-grade officers themselves.

What was it Huie was doing on D-Day? For all the information YOU'VE provided, he was an aide-de-camp for an admiral that day. If he was not, please tell me what he was doing and provide evidence supporting it.

Otherwise....go blow, Joe.

RE: Lack of Interest

"Your lack of interest in others in uniform does exhibit a lack of character." -- Joe

You're projecting here, buckie.

I've much more regard for the men you describe as being childhood encounters than you do. Not to forget having known men in all services who I admire and consider comrades-in-arms.

RE: Reading Habits

"Also, I'm not aware of your reading habits, but your lack of an answer on reading the novel is enough evidence for a definite guess." -- Joe

I read voraciously. I have since my junior high school days when I did volunteer Summer work at the Barksdale AFB library.

Why should I bother reading a novel when I saw the movie and was not particularly impressed with it?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[So many books. So little time.....]

P.S. Anytime you want to get back ON-TOPIC, feel free....


Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 14, 2007 4:42 AM

TO: Joe
RE: [OT] An Additional Thought

You, like [Kid] Crid, seem to be expending an extraordinary amount of energy on personal attacks. And I'm wondering as to why that may be.

One possible explanation is that you have nothing to contribute to the basic thought of this thread. Sort of an application of Option #3 of the Lawyers Rule:

#1: If the Law is against you, argue the facts.
#2: If the facts are against you, argue the Law.
#3: If the Law and the facts are against you, call the other side names.

Another possible explanation is jealousy.

Having never been a soldier yourself, you've a niggling disdain for people who have actually done the duty. Something akin to the Samuel Johnson quote I used as a tag-line (above).

You lack the training and the experience to speak authoritatively to subjects you have only vague opinions about. Your solution, when confronted by someone with better knowledge, is to attack them on a personal level; something of a variation on the Lawyers Rule.

You're entitled to your opinions. You're also, thanks to the men and women who have served in your defense, free to express them, without fear of heavy-handed retribution.

However, I counsel that you focus more on learning from our engagements in a given topical thread instead of trying to maintain your 'position' on this blog as being THE 'expert', as Amy sort of implied some threads down the hall from here.

I'm not the expert on all thinks. I only know what I know. And I'm willing to share. Likewise, you know thinks I don't and I'm willing to learn.

So, as God said to Job, "Come. Let us reason together."

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[A clash of doctrines is not a disaster. It's an opportunity.....to learn.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 14, 2007 5:00 AM

Chuck (l'idiot)

The subject was the differences in service, but you need to concentrate on the activities of a dead author that contradicts your views. Talk about issues. Suffer from avoidance syndrome of some kind? Or my views did plenty to damage your myopic vision of reality that you need to obsess on a small detail? You are a pathetic cliché, but the problem was you never received the memo from your superiors.

I recommend reading the preface of the paperback edition (1964) of The Americanization of Emily. My copy is a used version that was a paperback tie in with the movie. The preface states the 59' edition. I'm not sure which printing though. Huie's activities were the coverage of the Sea Bees activities during the D-Day Invasion. Also, he was one of the many who covered the battle of Iwo Jima as a wartime correspondent.

Like I've said before, but doesn't seem to sink in and around your cranial area. There isn't much information on the author online, because he was a popular author at the time, but faded away after his death. Quite common. This doesn't demean his activities or support your petty claims. It is a cheap tactic in avoiding the issue at hand on how your view of the world isn't the only correct one. Remember? That people can serve and sacrifice without donning a uniform. Does the mind tend to go from time to time? Or is it an intentional tactic? Then when the opponent tries to get back on the topic, you claim that the person is avoiding the issue at hand. Quite transparent, Chicklet.

Not only are you a pathetic cliché, but quite a tiresome one too. Let go, Ole Blood and Guts. You will probably declare victory in your own pathetic manner, but in actuality no one really cares.

Posted by: Joe at July 14, 2007 8:34 AM

TO: Joe
RE: Still At It, Eh?

"The subject was the differences in service, but you need to concentrate on the activities of a dead author that contradicts your views." -- Joe

Let's see. If I review the discussion, it involved the difference between a dead aide-de-camp of a US Navy admiral of engineers, versus a dead commanding general of combat forces.

And, as I said several times now, I think the general has better insight than a coffee-fetching hack.

"Talk about issues. Suffer from avoidance syndrome of some kind? Or my views did plenty to damage your myopic vision of reality that you need to obsess on a small detail?" -- Joe

As always, the proverbial devil is 'in the details'. And speaking of 'avoidance', when are you going to cough up what Huie was doing on D-Day?

I can tell you and show you evidence of what General Sherman was doing throughout most of the Civil War. You ain't showing anything, except for personal rancor and vitriol; neither of which have any real affect on me. [Note: I've been abused by the best. And you can't hold a match to Colonel 'No Slack' Stack, kid.]

"You are a pathetic cliché, but the problem was you never received the memo from your superiors." -- Joe

Actually, I got a lot of memos from senior officers. One of them, passed through the hands of No Slack, then my battalion commander, from the commander of the installation hospital. The hospital CO demanded that I make a Patton-esque apology to his staff in the ER the night I came in with a broken leg from a training accident and took several people to task for their dereliction of duty. [Note: I was not in pain at the time that I upbraided them.]

No Slack put his 'hack' on the memo, which was addressed to him and sent it to me. His normal 'hack' had an additional item beside it....a happy face. It has a special place on my 'love-me' wall.

Aaaah....I see you mention Patton's nick-name later on. How interesting.....

RE: Huie

"Huie's activities were the coverage of the Sea Bees activities during the D-Day Invasion." -- Joe

And where did he 'cover' the CB's activities from? The flying bridge of some cruiser off the coast of Normandy? Or with the assault wave?

As for Iwo Jima....good for him. Where was he there? On-board a ship? Or with the elements crawling 100 yards a day through entrenched Japanese fire?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. I never apologized for being right that night in the ER.

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 14, 2007 9:42 AM

P.P.S. For someone who 'doesn't care', you certainly spend a lot of time and effort expressing it.

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 14, 2007 9:43 AM

Chuckle writes:

Which comment is that? I've left a few here.

Maybe you should adopt my approach to making posts.

Now I see the need for the memo format - you seem to have trouble making thematic connections without explicit references (because you'd never be evasive!). Unless you have some sort of memory deficit, you should have been able to recall what you've thought of and written (there's always scrolling, too!).

But let me break it down:

On this page, you justified torture in 2 ways: 1) I went through the same kind of stuff while in the military (your "prop blast" ceremony comment, which unless you know isn't the same thing - you weren't a prisoner, you were among friends completing a rite of passage) and 2) the terrorists do worse things (i.e., an argument of moral equivalence).

So we have you on the record as pro-torture.

I was bringing up two points:

1) Do you really think we can do whatever bad things we want as long as we're not as bad as the enemy?

2) How do you square this with your Christian faith? Isn't there an absolute right or wrong here? Or does anything go under the "just war" concept as long as we're the more righteous.

Posted by: justin case at July 14, 2007 10:10 AM

...a reader quietly awaits...

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 14, 2007 10:20 AM

JC,

I will be surprised if he does give a coherent answer. Or perhaps he will prattle on how it is blasphemy that your initials are similar to his messiah's. A bunch of verses from Revelations and the current problems in the Middle East to justify his stance.

Posted by: Joe at July 14, 2007 11:00 AM

TO: justic case
RE: Issues R Us

"Now I see the need for the memo format - you seem to have trouble making thematic connections without explicit references (because you'd never be evasive!)." -- justin case

So many comments on so many blogs. It IS useful to use this formating, including citations, to help other people.

Don't you think?

RE: Torture?

"On this page, you justified torture in 2 ways: 1) I went through the same kind of stuff while in the military (your "prop blast" ceremony comment, which unless you know isn't the same thing - you weren't a prisoner, you were among friends completing a rite of passage) and 2) the terrorists do worse things (i.e., an argument of moral equivalence)." -- justin case

Ack tso!

The first instance was sarcasm. [Note: Sorry sarcasm doesn't come across well in type format.] Besides, as I recall, they didn't put the juice to the guy on the bucket with the sack over his head.

They did to ME. And with a vengeance, too. But, as I said, I was well anesthetized with French 75s at that point. We, the 'initiates' ALL were. I even saw, then future Major General Caldwell, lose a front tooth without even flinching; doing some sort of pro football rah-rah, getting 'pumped' with then Lieutenant Council.

As for item #2, the terrorist do worse....

....I was thinking not in terms of 'torture' on that. Rather in terms of the general comportment of our armed forces in theater. This thread IS about the Blackwater types. Your comment alluded, to me, that our forces were behaving worse than the Iraqi 'insurgents'. I pointed out that we didn't go around deliberately blowing up men, women and children as a matter of policy/rules-of-engagement.

Still and all, there is an interesting comparison between the different sides approaches to this conflict.

Abu Ghrab-bag was an anomaly. According to reliable sources, much worse is done to people captured by the Iraqi insurgents. I hear reports of blow-torches and such.

Likewise, general combat operations of the two sides seem to vary dramatically as well. One side targets the enemy combat personnel. The other targets damned near anyone they can, irregardless of age, gender or combat status (combatant, non-combatant).


"So we have you on the record as pro-torture." -- justin case

It would have to depend on the situation. I'd be willing to go to prison for the rest of my life if by torturing a captured enemy combatant I could stop a imminent nuclear attack and save a million lives.

What would YOU do in such a situation?

Also, keep in mind that 'torture' is in the proverbial 'eye of the beholder'. Think S & M, 'bondage', Tiny Tim, disco....

"1) Do you really think we can do whatever bad things we want as long as we're not as bad as the enemy?" -- justin case

No.

From my perspective, it's a matter of following the 'Rules of Land Warfare', as drummed into my pointy little head since I was a young rifleman in the 82d Airborne. And reinforced every year through my colonelcy.


"2) How do you square this with your Christian faith? Isn't there an absolute right or wrong here? Or does anything go under the "just war" concept as long as we're the more righteous." -- justin case

I'm not that familiar with the 'just war' arguments.

As for your question of how I square this with my christianity....

THANKS!

I haven't had that question put to me since a Denver Mensa Halloween Party about 13 years ago. I believe it was a Methodist minister who asked it of me, after he was appalled to hear my profession.

There is nowhere in that old Book that says one cannot be a 'soldier'. Indeed, John the Baptist was asked by a group of soldiers what they should do to be saved. He didn't say, "Quit".

Furthermore....

...what was the profession of the first gentile converted to Christ? He was a Roman soldier. [See Acts 10 for verification.]

Then there is Christ in the garden at His arrest. Didn't He say, "Now is the time for everyone to take their purse and buy a sword"?

After I gave these justifications to the minister at that party, he disappeared.

I had a similar encounter with a fellow baritone in my church choir, some years earlier. He asked me how it was I could be a both a christian and a trained 'killer'. I replied, "So you can freely stand there and insult me without fear of retaliation."

He said, "Good answer." And shut up.

Hope that helps clarify the situation.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[God may be subtle, but He isn't plain 'mean'.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 14, 2007 1:51 PM

TO: Joe
RE: Wanna See Something REALLY Scary?

"A bunch of verses from Revelations and the current problems in the Middle East to justify his stance." -- Joe

Take a look a few doors up the hall from here.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Dates in prophecy are closer than they appear.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 14, 2007 1:57 PM

> Don't you think?

No. Office memoranda aren't admired for being clear; they're loathed for being opaque.

Worse, the form is comically mannered. (If this was Gilligan's Island, you'd be Lovey.) Real human beings don't communicate that way. You wouldn't need to identify the comments you're answering so laboriously if you'd answer them on point... People would know who and what you're talking about. You're no fun to read.

(Reheaded Amy would be Ginger. Lena's Mary Ann! Joe's the Professor. Let's leave it at that.)

Posted by: Crid at July 14, 2007 2:24 PM

Like I said before, you make it easier to validate my point of view. Thanks, Chuckles.

You may need to find a healthier outlet then spending the day reading the newspaper and circling articles with a yellow marker that you personally believe will validate vague and incoherent biblical prophecies.

Posted by: Joe at July 14, 2007 2:34 PM

Chuckle,

Your response to #2 above is, well, non-responsive. I wasn't asking if you could be Christian and a soldier. I was asking whether you could be a Christian and support our policy of using torture against our enemies in the war on terror.

Posted by: justin case at July 14, 2007 3:26 PM

Good soldiers never questions orders, Justin.

Posted by: Joe at July 14, 2007 3:47 PM

TO: justin case
RE: Really?

"Your response to #2 above is, well, non-responsive. I wasn't asking if you could be Christian and a soldier. I was asking whether you could be a Christian and support our policy of using torture against our enemies in the war on terror." -- justin case

Then you're being redundant in your questions. Refer back to the answer to question #1.

And, by the way, how would YOU respond to that question I asked of regarding an imminent nuclear attack that would kill millions.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[For additional information re-read this message.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 14, 2007 5:17 PM

TO: Joe
RE: Your [Ignorance] Slip....

"Good soldiers never questions orders, Justin." -- Joe

....is showing.

Maybe you should go research the oath of office that commissioned officers take upon assuming their duties.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Contrary to popular belief, ignorance is not 'bliss'. It's really an embarrassment.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 14, 2007 5:19 PM

P.S. Ignorance is when you don't know something.

Stupidity is when you are ignorant and proud of it.

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 14, 2007 5:20 PM

There it is again! The fascination with a regimented but slender channel of communication conveys more about one solider's lifetime in uniform than could any tales of derring-do... (Anecdotes which I rate in the 14th percentile of credibility-- You may have been there when that happened to a guy, but....) Whoever you are and whoever you were, it's all about the paperwork.

The cold, formal citation of addressees are just a method of distinguishing your own exalted identity. You never list any new principles that others can use, or logical tools available to anyone but yourself. (Lujlp, bless his pointed little head, is sincerely pissed off.) Christ, the Son of God you claim as savior takes backseat to boasts of your singular excellence. It's always all about you. The comments aren't about Chuck's beliefs, they're about Chuck.

On the other hand, you've made us forget about Jedwards.

Posted by: Crid at July 14, 2007 5:35 PM

Chuck,
Outside of the memo format, your approach to debate is most annoying - you engage in sophistry to evade issues and give the illusion that you're being responsive, when in fact you next to never give a straight answer. Crid's post above kind of gets at this issue, too.

As to your 'ticking nuke' scenario: I could justify an individual doing something awful like torturing another human being to save millions of lives. It would be choice I might make if I were in that situation. However, that's not really what I'm talking about: I'm talking about what the government has done since the beginning of the war on terror, which is to enshrine torture techniques as official policy.

See, not so hard.

Posted by: justin case at July 14, 2007 6:58 PM

Has there been a ticking nuke? Like, ever? Right. Well, when you have one, give me a call. Meanwhile.....

Posted by: Crid at July 14, 2007 7:25 PM

Woo Hoo, 101!

Actually, I like Colonel Moodus.

It's a rare treat in getting a real 'Onward Christian Soldiers' type. Biblical prophecies too. Jackpot. Right out of central casting.

Dreams do come true.

Just drop the memo format. ASAP

Besides me, is anyone else enjoying John McCain's current campaign problems?

Posted by: Joe at July 14, 2007 8:33 PM

Besides me, is anyone else enjoying John McCain's current campaign problems?

No. He is the only (once-)viable Republican candidate who strikes me as a man with some character (Ron Paul kinda does, too, but I don't know much about him, nor do his libertarian tendencies seems viable in his party). Now we're left with Giuliani (and people think Bush likes the police state), Romney (the man is a complete fraud - how can people not see how transparent he is, plus his stupid "double Gitmo!" cheerleading), and Thompson (substanceless, as far as I can tell, merely throwing red meat to the base: I heart Scooter; I hate Michael Moore; etc.). While the rest of the country is increasingly likely to think Bush is a disaster, these guys are all kneeling before the man, mouths open, receptive. They don't strike me as presidential.

Posted by: justin case at July 15, 2007 10:48 AM

>No. He is the only (once-)viable Republican candidate who strikes me as a man with some character

McCain used to strike me as a man with some character, too. Until his lovely 1998 insulting joke about the then 18-year old Chelsea Clinton. I just don't see a lot of character in a grown man publicly calling a teenage girl ugly.

Posted by: Kimberly at July 15, 2007 2:01 PM

Kimberly, I'm not saying you're wrong. I always thought the Chelsea--is-ugly stuff was overdone, too.

But isn't it possible that you're reading a pretty finely-ground tea leaf here?

This is not meant to express and opinion about McCain, either.

But is one wisecrack in a long political career the best way to judge a candidate for that position?

Posted by: Crid at July 15, 2007 2:14 PM

105# The Thread That Won't Die!

The reason I brought up McCain after dealing with the Memo Warrior, because the two specimens use their uniforms to deflect criticism and flaws in their public and online characters.

Is the lesson over, kids?

Posted by: Joe at July 15, 2007 3:36 PM

Is the lesson over, kids?

Never!

The reason I brought up McCain after dealing with the Memo Warrior, because the two specimens use their uniforms to deflect criticism and flaws in their public and online characters.

True, but McCain went through some serious shit, apparently with a great deal of personal dignity - that counts for something. And while he's been a staunch supporter of the Iraq war, something I oppose, he's also been one of the Bush team's harshest critics about the way they've debased our military. I'm not dismissing the man's temper and shortcomings (nobody's perfect); I'm just saying that he's the only one of the current Republican crop (who stood a chance in a general election) who looked to me like he would have been an honorable occupant of the White House. I can't see myself pulling the lever (or pressing the ink-a-vote, or whatever) for any of the others.

Posted by: justin case at July 15, 2007 5:52 PM

>But is one wisecrack in a long political career the best way to judge a candidate for that position?

No, it's not. I thought it pretty telling about his character, but it was subsequently reading about his various petty little temper tantrums that made me lose a lot of respect for him. I'd liked him a lot, and was very disappointed.

Sorry to be so off-topic.

Posted by: Kimberly at July 15, 2007 7:37 PM

Sorry to be so off-topic.

Given the range of the comments to this post, you're hardly off-topic. I didn't know about the nasty comments you described, but I agree that they're way out of line.

Posted by: justin case at July 15, 2007 7:51 PM

Kimberly I think you're right about McCain, he gets a little fussy and petulent sometimes. But I think that's one thing that people responded to back in 2000. Sometimes you'll ask him a question and he'll give a short answer and that's it... He doesn't follow up with several chapters of codicils and conditions (a la Kerry).

One thing I've always liked about Amy's blog: whatever anyone wants to talk about is the topic. Even Seipp used to get sort authoritarian about it, and I never saw the point: If you know what other people are supposed to be thinking and saying, you shouldn't bother asking them to speak up.

Posted by: Crid at July 15, 2007 9:11 PM

TO: justin case
RE: Anoyance

"Outside of the memo format, your approach to debate is most annoying...." -- justin case

I can appreciate your concern. You hate to answer questions put to you. That is obvious.

"...you engage in sophistry to evade issues and give the illusion that you're being responsive, when in fact you next to never give a straight answer." -- justin case

Hardly. I've answered your questions (see above).

However, you've seem particularly 'annoyed' at having to answer one of mine.

But you did. And good on you.

"I could justify an individual doing something awful like torturing another human being to save millions of lives." -- justin case

The next question is....[note: There is ALWAYS a 'next question'. So don't be TOO 'annoyed'.]

What sort of 'torture' would you apply.

I'll show you mine, if you show me yours.

How would you 'torture' the holder of information about the 'bomb'?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Torture is in the eye/ear/nose/throat/hands/feet/fingernails/etc of the 'beholder'.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 16, 2007 4:05 PM

Pretty soon it will be name, rank and serial number.

Posted by: Joe at July 16, 2007 6:10 PM

What sort of 'torture' would you apply.

The Celine Dion Titanic song, at high volume on repeat. Any man would crack before the third repetition.

Posted by: justin case at July 17, 2007 3:55 PM

aycmgnjpz tmqwah nlxwa blhvcxis qylcskgiu gdaf vfmqhrtc

Posted by: zukh ucizgr at July 18, 2007 7:55 AM

unsfl aozhdvmt xlchongzt lcvy rljwmtes sfmi ahwj http://www.qyrwjlsg.enfhbdj.com

Posted by: vaogxsnkb wqxtbuvn at July 18, 2007 7:56 AM

TO: justin case
RE: Forms of Torture

"The Celine Dion Titanic song, at high volume on repeat. Any man would crack before the third repetition." -- justin case

You might not have that kind of time. Let me refine the scenario....

Think of the denoument in the James Bond thriller, Goldfinger.

The bomb is there, beside you; ticking down for the next 5 minutes.

The guy with the information to stop it is at your feet, conscious, lucid, afraid, but determined.

What do you do to get him to give you the information you need to stop the count-down?

Do you carry an iPod with that song on it with you?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. From my perspective, it would depend on the most likely threat. Today, it's....wait for it....Islamists.

I'd carry pork-rinds with me. And, tell the miscreant that if he didn't tell me how to stop the bomb's count-down, I'd stuff them down his throat. Then, when he met allah, he'd have a LOT of explaining to do. Which, understanding his religious beliefs, wouldn't do much good.

So, as we see, from both our examples, torture is in the eye/ear/nose/throat/whathaveyou of the beholder.

Your description of torture is hardly what anyone would REALLY succumb to. In otherwords, you're blowing smoke out of your fourth-point-of-contact. And you think you're cute about it. Thusly, a million lives would be lost.

But I have to admit that you did admit that you would use torture. So therefore, you can't have any complaint about other people behaving as badly as you said you would.

On the other hand, if we were dealing with an Islamist, my form of 'torture' would probably get better results.

Did you learn something from this? I certainly did....guess what it is.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Prevaricator: A liar in the larval form.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 18, 2007 12:26 PM

But I have to admit that you did admit that you would use torture. So therefore, you can't have any complaint about other people behaving as badly as you said you would.

My point, missed in this fun little detour about specific tactics, is this:

I deeply object to the fact that it is now the official policy of the U.S. to use tactics, traditionally defined as torture, refined by Stalinist regimes, as a part of routine interrogations. That people up high in our government have said it's OK to do these things to get information out of everyday terror suspects. I think that it's awful that our leaders have turned their back on a policy of not using torture that goes back all the way to Revolutionary war days, and I think it is to our country's detriment.

As you yourself said above, you would be willing to risk jail or whatever criminal sanctions to save lives in a "ticking bomb" scenario. Fine, so would I. But in this hypothetical, it's an individual, making an individual choice, and accepting that it may mean an individual penalty if he does it. But this is not the same thing as making it officially OK, and this is an important distinction to me. Call this nuanced, or naive, or what have you, but there it is. I think that what we implement as policy should always reflect our better values as Americans. Torture ain't among them.

Posted by: justin case at July 18, 2007 2:06 PM

Do you carry an iPod with that song on it with you?

Shhhhh! Don't tell anyone.

Posted by: justin case at July 18, 2007 2:07 PM

> Think of the denoument in the
> James Bond thriller, Goldfinger.

What is it with these guys that they're fascinated with movies? Does anyone remember the Jack Nicholson guy from a few months ago?

Posted by: Crid at July 19, 2007 2:11 AM

TO: justin case
RE: So...

"I deeply object to the fact that it is now the official policy of the U.S. to use tactics, traditionally defined as torture...." -- justin case

....you were lying to me. Eh?


RE: What IS 'Sophistry'?

Earlier you accused me of 'sophistry'. Do you even know what it is?

I call this proof that you were projecting.

Hereafter your arguments are worthless.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 19, 2007 8:53 AM

....you were lying to me. Eh?

No, what might give anyone that impression? That I said that I could understand why an individual might do something but still believe that it is wrong for our government to make that same action policy? Here's an example:

If I saw a man assault my wife, I want to kill him, and would probably try. At the same time, I wouldn't want to make the death penalty the policy our government uses for handling these things.

Do you even know what it is?

Sure do; I even explained above why I think you engage in it. But to be clear: Your tendency to be evasive on the main thrust of a question, and instead respond with more questions tangentially related to the one at hand smacks of sophistry to me. But whatever, this is all now moot:

Hereafter your arguments are worthless.

Sweet! Hereafter, I'll be pleased to ignore you.

All the best-

Posted by: justin case at July 19, 2007 9:15 AM

TO: justin case
RE: Lying

"No, what might give anyone that impression? " -- justin case

Just me reflections of the foregoing discussion.

You know.....

My description of 'torture' and YOUR 'description' of such.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[If you require more information, please re-read this message.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 28, 2007 3:40 PM

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