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Sunday, June 24, 2007

My country 'tis of thee

Here's George Bush's war. And it's not work safe.

Comments (16)

thank god we don't have the unions over their. think about a bunch of mexicans working at 1/4 pay doing that job that no american will do

Disgusting. The mood is so light, so detached, you'd think they were in the dude's living room playing Halo 2 on XBox.

There are insurgents in there? Fine, deal with them like any Army worth their salt would. But a 500lb bomb? Not only is it indiscriminate overkill, it's wasteful on a few levels. That adjacent bridge is still intact but probably needs to be built all over again... weren't we just decrying 'Al Qaeda' for blowing up several important bridges around Baghdad?? What about the adjacent buildings, the innocent lives, the livelihoods of survivors (we're capturing hearts and minds, right?). What about the cost of that munition to taxpayers? The cost of bridge and infrastructure repair to contractors paid for by taxpayers?

At the end of the day, our 'War on Terror' has been nothing more than propping up handfuls of terrorists to stir our economic pot, as it were. I wish people who believed ideas have nations and can be fought with armies and nearly a trillion dollars would just stand up and kick themselves in the ass. I'd accept that as a semi-sufficient mea culpa.

War is appalling and this war even more so, but to “deal with them like any Army worth their salt would” means that you would go in a building and risk your life and the lives of the members in your squad to fight mano y mano must have been said from a man who is detached from reality. Hell yeah if I’m on the ground in Iraq and I’m getting fired upon from a building across a river, damn straight I’m ordering a drop of a 500 pounder in lieu of running across a bridge with little cover and trying to take out a well defended position. “Innocent lives” “Cost of munitions!!!” “Cost of bridge and infrastructure!!!!” These are our soldiers dieing everyday and you are worried about the “cost of munitions.” What in the heck do you think war is?

This war was wrong from the start and only has gotten worse. I would wholeheartedly support a war crimes trial for the W and Cheney cabal if that were possible, but regardless of the soldier’s moronic comments, I’m not going disparage them for trying to protect themselves by killing the enemy. Lastly, before I receive any crazy replies, I understand that these terrorists were probably not our enemies prior to the war.

How many innocent people do you think were killed by that bomb? How many more had their lives destroyed?

And what good is any of this doing for the United States?

Todd... read between the lines. Ultimately, these things always boil down to the people who initially drove the idea. I'm listing all the ways these hairbrained ideas cost Americans, in lives lost/risked and treasure squandered. As if I need to tell you, these knuckleheads wouldn't be in this position in the first place if... (well, you know what comes next).

You don't know if these guys were lacking the manpower or firepower to take that building, so spare us the mock outrage and 'You can't handle the truth!" theater. You can't possibly defend the overkill or subsequent teenage response. It's embarrassing, don't you think?

'War is appalling and this war even more so, but to “deal with them like any Army worth their salt would” means that you would go in a building and risk your life and the lives of the members in your squad to fight mano y mano must have been said from a man who is detached from reality. Hell yeah if I’m on the ground in Iraq and I’m getting fired upon from a building across a river, damn straight I’m ordering a drop of a 500 pounder in lieu of running across a bridge with little cover and trying to take out a well defended position. “Innocent lives”'

I stopped at "innocent lives" because yeah, cost of munitions and bridges and infrastructure are less important than our soldiers lives, as you implied, but "innocent lives" are not less important. They are not. And if a war is not worth fighting "mano a mano" then maybe it's not a war worth fighting at all. If you can drop a 500 pound bomb so easily in a war, you can do so for any damned reason, if you please, as long as you fool the public (or Congress first) into allowing you to do so, or even after the fact. If soldiers aren't willing to die for the cause, the cause is not worth fighting for. Period.

Once war's begun, you can get away with almost anything.

Look, this war was wrong from the get go and even before then. The loss of innocent life is regretful, but based on the information I really cannot tell whether civilans were in the area. This is a war mind you and things could be a whole lot worse for the civilian populace. We fire bombed Tokyo which killed 100,000. Does that justify what we are doing now, NO, but it just puts things in perspective. If this were happening 50 years ago the whole riverbank would have been destroyed. I have no clue how many civilians were in the area and a dead civilians does no good to the US, but as long as those guys are on the front line being shot at, I will not hold this video against them. Teenage response? It is unfortunate, but those soldiers are probably teenagers.

"You don't know if these guys were lacking the manpower or firepower to take that building,...." I can say just the opposite and be as valid so spare me the mock outrage. Were there civilians in the area???? How in the heck do you know? If I'm on that bank getting shot at, you bet I blasting that building. I don't go into a knife fight carrying a knife, I bring a gun. (disclaimer, I don't own a gun). We decry the fact that war is not a personal but more like a Nintendo game. That may be true to some extent, but from swords to muskets to stealth fighters, regardless of the weapon are leaders have always found excuses to wage war.

I dunno if this was just from the movie, but several sources I found cited Gen. George S. Patton:

No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.

Different time, different place, different war. But very germane, nonetheless.

This particular adventure of ours was a bad idea from the beginning, precisely because it was not the kind of war that can be won by making the other poor dumb bastards die for their country. Yet that was exactly the approach taken by the Bush administration.

However, that was a mistake at the topmost levels, made over four years ago now. Given that mistake, however, it is incumbent upon those who are tasked with fighting in the conflict to do so in the most effective manner possible.

If soldiers aren't willing to die for the cause, the cause is not worth fighting for. Period.

LC is absolutely correct on that point. However, being willing to die for the cause and wanting to die for the cause are two different things. We shouldn't expect soldiers to want to die for a just cause.

And in any event, once the war has started for whatever reason, just or otherwise, one should expect the soldiers tasked with fighting the war to proceed with whatever tools are at their disposal to get the fighting over with as quickly and efficiently as possible with minimal risk to themselves (see the first quote above).

Strategically, bombing civilian centers is not going to win us the war. But the front-line troops from the video are not responsible for the war's strategy, they're responsible for staying alive to carry out the strategy devised by others. Knock the people at the top by all means, but don't blame the kids (and these are, obviously, kids) at the bottom for the position that they find themselves in.


I could have typed until my fingers bled, and I don't think I could have put it more succinctly than that. Thank you

I don't think anyone was criticizing the front line troops. I certainly wasn't. It is the existance of this war and the way it's being waged that's being criticized here. When it's so easy to wipe people off the face of the earth, similar to sitting at home playing a computer game, we can do it for no good reason. That's what's happening here.

Most ignorance I read is by schooling that skipped Modern History. Blather. Dunces. Repeat.

Ignorance by skipping Economics: War is a racket. Your life is dead in capitalism.

Ignorance by skipping Literature: Mark Twain: "O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst ... We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, Amen." [After a pause.] “Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! — The messenger of the Most High waits!”

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

David: Well said.

Note also that - as aerial bombs go - 500 lb is relatively small and utterly common. It's not so much overkill as it is ordinary.

LC, both you and TKrueg expressed similar sentiments about the tactical choice of using a 500lb bomb instead of close quarters combat (CQC).

TKrueg believes that no army worth its salt would use a bomb when much more dangerous CQC is an available option.

And you suggested that if soldiers aren't willing to fight hand-to-hand in a war, it's not worth fighting.

I certainly understand that does not mean that either of you are disparaging the troops per se. But in essence, you both were second guessing that tactical (not strategic) decision.

And I am simply suggesting that no matter how those young soldiers found themselves in that particular situation, their choice to use a bomb has no bearing whatsoever on the justness of the cause overall. And quite contrary to what TKrueg suggested, the decision to use an expedient and (relatively) less risky bomb in that situation actually demonstrates more professional fitness on the Army's part (or were they Marines?) than had they taken the far more dangerous "mano a mano" approach.

Bottom line -- war is a very ugly, nasty business. We shouldn't have been there in the first place. But we are, at the moment. And as terrible as the choice may be, if it's a question of one of our troops or an innocent bystander surviving that encounter, I'm afraid I have to choose our soldier. So I certainly can't blame our soldiers for feeling the same way.

"But in essence, you both were second guessing that tactical (not strategic) decision."

David, I did not do what you say I did in your statement above. You are reading what you want, in what I have written. I think I've written in a very clear manner, and you still don't get it. What you have written does not address what I've written at all. I will not continue.

LC... I understand your point that the overwhelming force the US military is able to bring to bear, in a relatively detached manner, makes it very easy for us to use that force too casually. Yes, if we have the ability to cause great destruction essentially via "remote control", then the perceived cost is lowered and in theory that may lead to an over-reliance on such force without considering the broader consequences of those actions. You did make that point clearly enough. And I don't think you're wrong about that, so I hadn't addressed that aspect of what you wrote.

But in the process you also said that innocent lives are no less important than the lives of our soldiers, and within the context of those remarks related to hand-to-hand combat it seemed clear to me that you would prefer such up close and personal fighting to the relatively indiscriminate use of a bomb. You certainly strongly implied that the use of a bomb in this case was perhaps an indication that our soldiers would not be willing to fight hand-to-hand in this specific conflict. I disagree on both your explicit and implicit points, so that is what I addressed.

However, if I have mistaken what you wrote, I apologize.


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