Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday Flashback 3/2/03: Apologies and Explanations

In this post, I am starting to "get it" how discourse is controlled by the current administration and their adherents in the media sphere. I've since revised my filters to notice how ALL of the sources I read are either colored by personal views or agendas. The Democratic end of the world has their own twists and turns which are pretty well documented at the TPMCafe.com where lively debates take place between those Democratically inclined.

I also believe that, although we are in a world dominated by right-wing shock TV hosts and media conglomerates owned by defense contractors and folks like Rupert Murdoch and Rev. Moon, the overriding goal of television is to attract viewers and straight news just doesn't fit the current trend. Even regular news forces viewpoints into narrow right/left narratives that help keep the level of excitement high and the level of discourse low. Congress plays the same game and real problems are never addressed because all of the noise and energy is directed into politically myopic debates on generalized topics.


Sunday, March 2, 2003

Apologies and Explanations

I want to apologize for the stridence that has strayed into this site recently. Sometimes I fool myself into thinking that the AM radio shock jocks are an accurate representation of Republicans or conservatives in America. I forget they are created entities that fulfill a marketing niche. Sometimes I forget and seek to beat them at their own game.

It is their job to provoke and I am sorry to say that I've fallen for it altogether too many times lately. The world as offered up by Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Bill O'Reilly, and others is a nasty, contrived one based on a particular ideology that has nearly succeeded in hijacking Republicanism and conservatism. I erred, at times, in ascribing the values of these loudmouths onto my friends, colleagues, etc. who share conservative values.

These media folks draw upon a number of tricks in order to provoke and embrace an extend a divisive agenda. Here are just a few:


  1. 1. Tie everything to 9/11.

    This in itself is not unusual or bad since that horrific event caused our nation to examine, soul-search, and redefine our views of the world and our place in it. However, the lies occur when they attempt to distinguish their "kind" from their supposed political opposites. They want you to forget that everyone was shocked by 9/11, that everyone grieved, and everyone shared their blood and money and tears in an unprecedented outpouring of love. They want you to think that only their loyal factions did so. This is an insult to everyone in America.

    There were liberal firefighters that died that day. Most religious groups were represented among the dead. Slackers, homeless, immigrants, and others were among the dead. When pundits and personalities throw around terms such as traitor, or unAmerican, or fifth columnist, or liberal appeasers, they are lies set against such a background of shared suffering.


  2. 2. Blur the line of connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

    Without this, popular support for an Iraq war is impossible. Here are the ways: First, call Hussein a terrorist. In this way, they equate the 9/11 killers with those who would execute the 9/11 killers. Second, avoid all details of the atrocities that occurred during the Iran-Iraq war but repeat the "Saddam gassed his own people" mantra. As the debate continues, oscillate between these as needed to keep from delving into such ugly details as who provided the nerve agents and bioterror agents to Iraq (and encouraged their use) then avoiding the lack of a link between two bitter enemies (Osama and Saddam).

    This technique is failing. Protests were small and infrequent for the Afghanistan intervention and huge for Iraq. People know the difference and are making themselves heard. However, there are quite a number who do not want war who will also not march in a protest. These are important and ignored people in the debate.


  3. 3. Ignore Afghanistan unless something favorable happens.

    This is especially true when the dicussion turns to a post-war Iraq (if one occurs). Afghanistan is once again the largest opium producer in the world. It is controlled by warlords whose hatred for women and adherence to draconian religious law is hard to distinguish from the Taliban. US troops are fired on every day, relief groups find it hard to feed everyone, etc. It is only in retrospect that we realize that it would have taken over 100,000 troops to properly destroy al-Qaeda and the mujahedeen and disarm the warlords. Now, things are horrible and many innocents have died for nothing. When I raised this point when it was happening, I was soundly rebuked by those I was discussing it with. Everything I said would happen did, and it didn't take a military expert to figure it out.


  4. 4. Paint criticism of the government as unpatriotic.

    The punditry would have you believe that dissent might erode the decision-making abilities of those in charge. Professors, demonstrators, etc. have no power over the actions of government. I was struck by a protest of Clinton's intervention in the Balkans by some conservatives. Many valid points about the dangers of empire and checks and balances were raised. I agreed with their concepts if not their application in that case. Now raising the same points is loudly decried as unAmerican. Republicans walked out of Clinton's State of the Union address; there were no articles calling for jailing the protesting Republicans; but Michael Savage has called for the jailing of anti-war demonstrators. In fact, Clinton's entire presidency was a study in prolonged and focused dissent. Were these Republicans unAmerican? No, just nasty and ruthless wasters of taxpayer money that showed a great deal of disrespect for the functioning of government.


  5. 5. Wave your flag and buddy up to the military.

    This is a time honored tradition of the loudmouths. The funny thing is that NONE of the big TV and radio personalities, all of whom were of ripe age during the Viet Nam war decided to serve America as warriors. Now they hope that cheap flattery and lionization of currently serving military personnel will obscure that basic fact. Even the main players in the Bush administration seem to have wriggled out of action. I never served either, but I am not cavalier about putting good peoples' lives in danger to carry out my agenda. I am quite impressed with anyone who would put themselves at risk in service to this country. However, drops in recruitment show that the urgency to be cheerled to one's own possible death is low. In World War II, kids would lie about their age to join the fight. Fighting Iraq does not appear to engender the same response. Why put the rest of our sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters at the same risk for a cause that only has urgency in the Bush administration and on radio/TV. Americans want to be safe above all else. The CIA says it is safer to contain Saddam; I suspect they know better than the Bush administration.

    Bill Moyers wrote so eloquently how the loudmouths have hijacked the flag that I don't feel the need to do so myself. Here is an excerpt:

    I put the flag in my lapel tonight. First time. Until now I haven't thought it necessary to display a little metallic icon of patriotism for everyone to see. It was enough to vote, pay my taxes, perform my civic duties, speak my mind, and do my best to raise our kids to be good Americans. Sometimes I would offer a small prayer of gratitude that I had been born in a country whose institutions sustained me, whose armed forces protected me, and whose ideals inspired me; I offered my heart's affections in return. It no more occurred to me to flaunt the flag on my chest than it did to pin my mother's picture on my lapel to prove her son's love. Mother knew where I stood; so does my country. I even tuck a valentine in my tax returns on April 15.



...

In all this discussion, let us not forget some basic American values and Judeo-Christian morality. First, the Bill of Rights was written for all people, not just a certain set of people. It exists to inform people and lawmakers that certain rights are unalienable and natural to our existence. When we keep people locked up in solitary confinement for a year with no access to counsel and total secrecy as to whereabouts, we've thrown our most sacred documents out the window. Security is important and intelligence to carry it out in a way that doesn't destroy your country is more important. If our threat is as high as stated, we can certainly send Saudi and Egyptian citizens home until they can control the radicals that perpetrated 9/11. We don't need concentration camps and gulags; we need accountability and smart action.

When it comes to Iraq, it is important to remember that unless it was okay for Hitler to invade Poland, etc. it is not proper for America to attack Iraq. Germany presented "evidence" that countries around them were a threat as well. We should be able to be proud of whatever we do. Defeating Hitler in World War II was a worthwhile goal; Iraq is not. Remember this. Other than fertilizer explosives, any military hardware used by any Arab or Central Asian country comes from outside that theater of operations. These countries could not do battle effectively if it were not for our weapons and training or that of places like Russia. Even nuclear technology must come from the outside.

...

You won't hear me calling for those who favor war in Iraq to be jailed or censured. That is stupid and I am actually sympathetic to the pro-war viewpoint. Saddam Hussein is a bad man and the world would be better if people like him were not in power. However, it is up to the loudmouths to explain their refusal to discuss what the "right thing to do" is after Iraq is "conquered." We get small details about installing democracy, but chances are pretty good that a full-fledged democracy in a Shi'ite rich environment would result in an Iran-type government where power is ceded to hostile religious leaders, so let's not kid ourselves here. The real question is how are people going to benefit from the resulting military dictatorship, or more importantly, how will we feel about unapologetically ignoring democracy after promising to install it?

With no link between al-Qaeda and Iraq and the fact that John Ashcroft is playing Russian Roulette by arresting random suspected people but letting the majority stay (young Saudis and Egyptians), one can only think that the War on Terror has been won. The war is de-emphasized and things are returning to normal. At the same time, just the opposite is occurring. We are harried by terror alerts, repressive changes to due process and governmental spying and we are asked to be patient. Nightmare scenarios are brought up daily about suitcase nukes, bioattacks, sarin and other gases killing Americans. So which approach is wrong? We can't both attack Iraq and live in fear about Saudis with superweapons. Is terror a priority or isn't it? There is a significant amount of evidence that shows the current administration eschewed all things Clintonian and decided they had a better way. The removal of surveillance resources from scrutinizing critical, but possibly embarrassing aspects of our Saudi allies is at the heart of this. The aggressive refusal of the Bush administration for an open investigation of September 11 is a blow to every American under the scrutiny of government surveillance (which is ALL of us). As Cynthia McKinney asked for all of us: What did they know and when did they know it? The largest intelligence breakdown in the history of our nation should not be swept under the carpet and yes, it is imperative to assess blame. If you don't want to take responsibility for your job, then quit.

...

These are the issues that should appear on the nightly news every night. Instead, we are left with a news media that uses government press releases as their primary news source without bothering to go investigate the nuances themselves. This is a disservice to both government and the public in that the government loses a valuable ally in keeping itself honest (a perennial problem with governments) and the public is unable to make an informed decision about their views; views that are critical to the function of democracy. The media embrace their own idea of a status quo and everything outside that sphere is treated as suspect information; including the counsel of our greatest allies in Europe. It is a sad day when Americans must turn to the foreign press for a full accounting of the news of our own nation; yet this is exactly the case. Most don't bother and therefore develop their views based on a filtered view of the world. It is a failure of the system when the personal views of Rupert Murdoch, the CEOs of Viacom, Disney, and GE can change what we see and hear on the news.

The loudmouths reinforce this view and turn every debate into a provocative shoutfest where minds are turned off and compromise is impossible. Interpersonal discourse is hampered by this process. Many who disagree find themselves entrenching in their own positions without the sunshine of discussion and so both sides are damaged. This indeed is the very state I found myself in. It sucks but I admit it. It is a very effective tool for the loudmouths because it helps promote their simplistic stereotypes.

...

I want to address one final issue. Besides the main page, the most popular page at Snabulus is a side-by-side listing of Hitler's Enabling Act of 1933 with the Bush Administration's executive orders and portion of the USA Patriot Act of 2001. While the similarity between documents is striking, there is no indication that a) Bush is Hitler, b) that anyone is a Nazi who hasn't explicitly stated as much, c) that I think America is as bad as Nazi Germany.

The problem here, I think, is that in order to increase our security some have felt it necessary to abridge freedom and to circumvent the rule of law and our unalienable rights in order to make us safe. It rankles and angers those who feel such acts are necessary to ensure safety when others point out the historical precedents of such losses of freedom. All I can say is that I didn't make history; the people who lived it did. I can no more change Bush's executive orders than you can. I can't change the wording of Hitler's enabling act to make it more specific to his own particular atrocities. We would be fools not to compare and contrast various points in history; in fact, it is the only way we can transform ourselves from our barbarous past of wars for millenia on end. What I posted is only a pinpoint detail in a much larger picture.

This page is not the best thing I've ever done. My service and giving to my family, community, and planet (through charities) far surpasses what I've written here. I started writing at a time when people were too scared to discuss the problems I outlined above. This is no longer the case. My desire from this point onward is to, as Neil Peart might put it, radiate more light than heat. I would rather engage those who disagree to reach a more adult answer than to allow loudmouths divide our country and keep good-hearted people from reaching common ground. I've had several people point out problems with my page and I have given each person serious thought. In doing so, I hope to grow into a better person. So will you.

19 comments:

Pa've said...

Let me open the debate by saying that Micheal Savage thinks Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Rielly are right wing media pundits who caved into the Bushocracy.

Micheal Savage is a very forthright individual who can't control what he says, which is why I sometimes listen to him, even though he is often annoying.

I am still a right wing conservative, and I am deeply disapointed with GWB because he clearly isn't one.

This debate isn't about liberalsim versus conservatism. This debate is about traditional American thought versus the New World Order, the onslaught of a world wide governmental control, and how regardless of which party you vote for, you get the same result, BIGGER government, LESS freedoms.

If you vote for a democrat, they increase your taxes and take away your rights with the ACLU.

If you vote of a republican, they raise our taxes by increasing the deficit, printing more money, and take away your rights with the patriot act.

No matter who you vote for, the next congress will establish the North American Union, because that is the only way we can compete monetarily and militarily with the European Union.

The media, both left and right wing, have their own agenda which is to sell stories to make you listen to them, and will say what ever they think will keep you from changing the channel.

Rupert Murdock, despite the Fox News cable channel, is a liberal, not a conservative. Fox news is dressed up like a conservative channel with a very few moderately conservative hosts, but the majority of news anchors and anchorettes are all liberal, just watch the morning show.

True Conservative thinkers are rarely heard. That is why many people don't understand how good true conservatism is, because there is no one to explain it to them in the media.

Rush Limbaugh has gone all soft.

He used to be credible, but his support of GWB, an anti-conservative has ruined that image.

Don Snabulus said...

Pa've,

You and I see on two quite different planes, but I appreciate your honesty and your perspective. While I could nitpick, I would rather point out that I completely agree with your supposition that both major parties seem to find plenty of ways to cooperate in increasing government power, decreasing individual power, and making our contributions and their revenue disappear into pork barrel projects and other items that don't seem to find their way back to the taxpayers.

Perhaps the rest of the issues are a clever way to "divide and conquer" us.

Pandabonium said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Swinebread said...

Conservative media” is merely outrageous theater but IMO the views expressed on those shows are the logical conclusion of conservative thinking if you take it all the way to it’s end. I’m tired of playing and by the rules with folks who lie, cheat, steal, take away our rights, and kill, and then have gall to say there just doing “gods” work. Just because somebody says they are Christian does not mean they really are. Christianly is defined by its capacity for love and compassion. Jesus is the Prince of Peace not the god of war. Anybody who tells you different wants something from you, namely, your money. GWB took a big giant dump on the American people, the troops, and the world and wants you and me to look elsewhere for the stink. The mantra of Support Our Troops may finally be separated from its meaning of Support Our War with the Walter Reed Scandal, which is not new mind you as I have read about these problems 3 years ago, but the damage has already been done to our society. The “other conservatism” that folks keep talking about is like right’s communism; it looks good on paper but doesn’t work in the real world, except in the minds of aristocratic WASPs. What we got with the Bush administration is the how conservatism really manifests. If you don’t believe me look at the 19th century with the Robber Barons. It is the same ideology, so it has happened before but now it has the power of the modern military industrial complex. Be careful what you wish for you just might get it. Welcome to the Conservative Utopia the “real” conservative Utopia.

Vulgarius said...

Hmmm..

What I see is Media machine that is not Left or right. Which is to say that none leans left or right idoelogically... for ideological reasons. The media is always a machine that thrives on one thing .... Bloodshed. If you thought that peace was bad for hawks, its even worse for the media. As I learned in New Orleans... And have had greatly reinforced by my contact here, The medias which cater either left or right, are intrested only in reporting bloodshed. The US military puts out tons of press releases every day. You can subscribe to them even for those of you who may not believe me. But believe me this... If there is no dead body in it for them, They are not interested. It was the same in New Orleans where the media drove our deployment and it is the same here. I think we can presume that the same is in Iraq... You might actually get a hint of this when you contrast those press releases with those press releases issued by that dark entity called the military. The obedient parrot theory ends there.
Here in Afghanistan. We are not the "Little War" because The US military is not paying attention, but rather because the press does not see any value in stories such as the one that you posted here on Snabublog. Yes there is still a lot of shooting to be found, But the good out weighs the bad. In a sad way I am only greatfull for the safety of my soldiers that the press meerly dabbles here and unfortunately has its bloody carrion laced suckers firmly attached to Iraq. It is sad that our brothers and sisters over there are the unfortunate focus of them. I dont want it to be that way. They would feel the same way if it were reversed... As well it could very well still happen.

The good news for the media is this:

If they can encourage both sides to fight. The headlines will only get better and better. The debate and polarization will only be the gasoline on the fire of profits and ratings.

One more thing one might want to ask, if the media is so right wing, why are they embedding reporters with the terrorists?


On that note.

Feel free to disagree. Its your right. Use it. I have. But I'd like to cast some perspective into your rights.

If I were to tell you every great thing that I did and point out every thing that I felt was wrong, I would only be endangering my own, those people who I protect, those people who protect me and those people who have to make the decisions that allow me to do my job as well as those who have other jobs to do. Its more so important for me to watch out for this because I am far closer to the point of ignition.
From the top to the bottom, from the highest of us to the lowest in station, any one of us could damage our mission or endanger each others lives even by saying the "right thing". You see even that "Right Thing" is a weapon in the hands of the enemy when it is handed to them by a third party who cares not who hears it as long as they get paid for it.
Yes. It is possible to do that "Right Thing" and get all of your buddies killed... Or God forbid, those children that I am pictured with... Or in another instance, an Afghan man who may have even saved my life. All just by doing the right thing and exercising my rights. You may mistakingly think that I am talking merely about operational information or as we say OPSEC. Yes those are good examples but can also be applied to things more commonly thought of as social or un-social discourse, which if viewed by the wrong audience could be just as destructive. In all honesty, I see it, my soldiers see it, the Afghans see it and I'm quite certain that the bad guys see it. Is it just because we are the ones dodging rockets and IED's? I guess if you do not immediately see that it sort of means that we are doing our job right.

Lord knows, I'm no yes man. Even... No especially to my superiors, but the one thing I never do is argue a point in front of my troops... Even a just point where I am willing to hand over my rank.

Where am I going with this? By all means, dont give up any rights... But remember, discussion can liven our freedom... But when viewed by the wrong eyes and ears. Or interpreted, paraphrased and transliterated by a known-to-be untrustworthy medium. It can get my soldiers killed. I do so dearly want to bring them all back. Be carefull... And in the general-er... more national-er sense... be carefull-er.

One other thing. Please do not use the term Mujahadeen when you talk about these foreigners. They are wholly undeserving of that term... even undeserving of the term "Talib" Which should be an honorable term although the term has suffered the same fate as the "symbol of good fortune". I have been corrected by the locals on this.

Sorry I cant stay with this discussion. So try to interpret it with the best intentions. I wish you all well the same. And look forward to a sushi night to talk and not have to worry about... well those things that I have to worry about right now :0

V

Vulgarius said...

Just for you Swinebread...


I am over here because I am a Christian and these people have been wronged and are in mortal danger from an evil group of people. While Jesus may not be the God of War, Part of being that God of Love means being the God of Sacrifice and that sometimes means fighting. If its taking a scourge to moneychangers or fishwacking men (with a very small "M") who murder little girls because they attended gradeschool... I'll follow His example. Did that sound incendiary? Good because thats what the last batch of little girls looked like. Sadly, thats not a joke.

P.S. I dont want your money.

Enjoy your safety. Have a good day. Or Good night in my part of the world.

Vulgarius out.

The Moody Minstrel said...

I was going to comment, but Vulgarius' contribution has left me speechless. I'd call that a Statement With Impact.

Don Snabulus said...

Wow! I appreciate everyone's responses so far. While Vulgarius heart-felt comment deserves a more thought-out response I, like Pandabonium, need to chew on that piece of bamboo for a while.

In the meantime, let me share some observations of the whole kitchen kaboodle so far. My first observation is that 4 years is a lot of time to get perspective. At that time, posting this was almost useless because everyone parroted back whatever they had been reading in their favorite media source.

Before I finish this paragraph, I want to say that the media is a complex beast and each medium is different. Anyhoo. Now, the media is getting hammered by all sides. Why? Folks in the media will say it is because they are "objective" and that will always anger somebody. Baloney. I believe it is because they are failing to do the job of shining a light on reality. But realize that they have no obligation to do so. They are a business and they create this illusion of providing information to attract us to use their medium. Apparently the illusion is wearing off. That can't be a bad thing.

Second of all, while I am sure we all feel strongly about our viewpoints, I observe (especially in myself) that the anger is tempered with the experience of processing this melange of information and learning to filter its meaning. Sadly, this was not the case 4 years ago. The anger was in the forefront and the willingness to assess and grasp other views was in the background. I am glad to see that change.

I've long lamented the fact that it was so difficult to discuss certain differences among friends (old, new, and even unknown) who are all smart people. To assume an otherwise smart person somehow took a stupid pill on one issue doesn't wash; another approach that respects their total intelligence is in order. It is what I've wanted all these years and what I now hope to give.

It is in this light I repost these items; not to dig up old enmities but to see if we've risen to the challenge of ferreting out some conclusions with our own minds that were not provided by reliance on a narrow band of media. I also encourage all of our readers to dive into that complexity of thought we are sharing and get wet with uncomfortable perspectives not to have our minds changed, but to appreciate what is out there and to ferret out some possible commonalities we've not been otherwise privy to.

Don Snabulus said...

Okay, that is enough chewing. First of all, I know that folks in the military are limited in their Internet access time and Vulgarius was very kind to use so much here at Snabulus.

I am proud of you, Vulgarius, and your role in helping the people of Afghanistan start a new and hopefully better chapter in their unfolding future. Vulgarius has served in our armed forces honorably for 2+ decades (correct me if I am wrong). It should also be known that I have defended your service Vulgarius, your sacrifice, and the continuing sacrifice of your family in giving up their paterfamilias for these long months.

Obviously, Vulgarius recognizes that the media as we know it today has problems. Just as obviously, Vulgarius and the majority he serves with in the armed forces are good and even extraordinary people fight for the right reasons and with the right intent: to liberate and to help those who need it.

I also recognize that these comments from Vulgarius come with a great deal of direct experience that I have not personally witnessed.

For these reasons, I am willing to grant him a great deal of latitude on this page. I don’t even need to agree with his points to understand and appreciate them. However, I do think it is important for you, Vulgarius, and the readers here to know where the latitude runs out and also exercise my rights as I hope I still have them.

First of all, you attacked the only commenter, Swinebread, who is not only an Army veteran but served in Bosnia. I find that more than a bit ironic since you assumed his comments were somehow about you instead of our national governmental and civil leaders. He is a new poster and doesn’t know you from Adam. I advise you to heed his comment about being able to separate between “supporting the troops” (you and Swinebread) and “supporting the war” (Bush administration and their decision makers).

Secondly Vulgarius, your tone is condescending, as if you already know the truth and the rest of us do not. Pa’ve and DewKid certainly differ in their views from me, but they don’t act like they know everything because the truth is, none of us do. Why does that matter? I suppose in some sense it probably doesn’t. However, we are all able to acknowledge that Sgt D, who served in Kurdistan, was a hero to the locals and served his country and all as honorably as you sir (at least those of us who know him). However, he didn’t feel the need to constantly remind himself and us of who we “owed our freedom to” or that he was “fighting for us.” It was a given and we appreciate him for it. If you can drop the self-righteousness and let us, we can do the same for you. Show us the same courtesy you showed the Afghan elders in the villages you are helping. As the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.

Finally, when I criticize the Bush administration on a given point, I am not attacking every individual who happens to support President Bush, nor should I assume that every Bush supporter supports everything Bush does. By the same token, it would be a mistake to think that my criticism of President Bush is a blanket criticism of everything he ever does and it is also a mistake to believe that by not supporting Bush as President, I also therefore think that socialism is the way to go, soldiers are baby killers, and that guns are all evil as are the people who own them. Let’s give each other a bit more credit than that. That goes for all of us, not just Vulgarius.

Anyway, keep commenting everyone! Especially Vulgarius!

Vulgarius said...

In the few minutes that I have this morning. I will only say that an attack was made on people who are here for reasons of faith and people who support the war based on their faith. I see this often when I come to this site in reading on down the posts. I in no way attacked his service even had I known it existed. The lesson is this:

Peoples motivations are not inherently evil because faith weighs in their actions and decisions.
Whether they only pay lip service to that faith is between them and God. The action in question is still right. Those of us who support this action because of their faith and not seekng profit should take offense at such remarks. I did. It is directly offensive and implies that I am am just a dumb meat puppet in GWB's grand new order. Its very damaging when my troops hear stuff like that. Sorry if you dont understand that from some of my past posts.


Now, I really have to go now. See you in a few weeks. If I am traveling I will drop an E postcard of sorts. And thanks for your lattitude as its hard to cram the whole discussion in a few posts. I often refrain simply because I cannot follow up.


http://www.taskforcephoenix.com/

Don Snabulus said...

Once again, you are confusing someone's criticism of the President with criticism of you personally. Also, you are claiming to speak for "your soldiers" who can speak well enough for themselves. You are also committing the fallacy of calling those who don't fit your version of God a bunch of God haters.

I don't know how much clearer Swinebread can be when he says Jesus is the Prince of Peace. If you are offended by that, you need to take some happy pills. You are pulling an entire reality out of thin air and trying to stick all of us in there. I am not buying it and most people here do not buy it either.

You don't speak for any soldiers but yourself and you don't have enough operational awareness to know what and how the enemy (in your case, the former Taliban and foreign fighters) reacts to incoming data. That is the purview of other portions of the military such as intelligence and command.

Sgt D recognized that he saw just a slice of the big picture in Iraq, but you do not. I feel pressed to reiterate that you need to drop the arrogant attitude and condescending self-righteous worldview if you expect to convince anybody here of your point of view. You are not the only person I know in Afghanistan and your perspective does not mesh 100% with others I know.

I am basically repeating myself, so I will leave it at that.

Pandabonium said...

I'm not interested in a debate with anyone - and won't - which is partly why I deleted my previous comment.

But I don't want to be silent on is either. I just would like to say I to Snabby that I have read your post over, and there is nothing I disagree with.

Even if there had been, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. If freedom is to survive, and I have no doubt that is in danger from within, we must not be afraid to speak our minds.

Dean Wormer said...

Without jumping into the debate I'd like to point to another issue that's been discussed in this thread because it's something I've personally struggled with figuring out- the question of whether the media is "conservative," "liberal" or simply built on generating revenue through entertainment.

There seems to be a consensus that the media is the latter but I can't help but wonder, given the double standards that exist in the coverage of the Bush and Clinton administrations. Take the following issues out of context-

+ The discovery that the White House has allowed a gay prostitute access to the press corps to feed softball questions to the president.

+ The mismanagement of a natural disaster to the extent that we almost lost a major U.S. city.

+ An attack on U.S. soil in which thousands lost their lives.

+ Using misleading information to gin up support for a major war which would lead to the deaths of thousands of U.S. troops.

+ The discovery that the administration is data-mining and using other forms of unconstitutional surveillance on U.S. citizens.

Sure they're clearly Bush-era scandals but I like to engage in the exercise of imagining what-if should Clinton have been the President when any of those issues arose. Would he get the same treatment from a media that's merely sensationalist and not inherently left or right?

Or would they have crucified him?

I agree that the media is sensationlist and driven by dollars but that still begs a number of questions as to why double standards exist in the coverage of representatives of the two major political parties.

Dean Wormer said...

Oh.

Bush is a conservative, pa've. Sorry.

I know you'd like to believe conservatism can't fail but it has and does.

Evidence is the streets of Iraq. Throughout New Orleans. And a big gaping hole in the center of New York.

Bush is a conservative.

Don Snabulus said...

I would like to say that my view of Afghanistan is that the situation is better now than I believe it to have existed in early 2003.

There is a coherent and accepted government with a seemingly defined set of goals. I think the fact that it is mostly Sunni allows the people to work better together even if there are warring factions.

However, I would be completely unsafe even in Kabul without an armed escort, so it is not a safe place to travel to or do business with. I doubt that RAWA's assessment of the Northern Alliance warlords as "Taliban without beards" has done much to allow women the freedom they deserve. (Aside: RAWA was the organization building medical clinics , fighting for women's rights, smuggling out the famous burkha footage, and getting killed by the Taliban when we were totally ignoring Afghanistan)

Given what I have heard from less strident voices in Afghanistan, it will be a long work in progress because the Afghans started with so little in wealth and organization., without decent education infratstructure, etc. I would like to see the people of Afghanistan freed from the oppression and strife they have endured these long years since the USSR days.

Unlike Iraq, most troops that have been stationed in Afghanistan feel that the country is better off with them there and that our resources and those of other nations are well spent in that endeavor.

My cynicism about the gas and oil deals that run through that region notwithstanding, I hope a competent international presence continues to help those in Afghanistan. I also hope that a competent US presence is soon to come, regardless of party.

Thus my criticisms of Vulgarius are matters of elocution and delivery more than the issues themselves.

Moody: Meteors have impacts too, but the light they cast is temporary.

Swinebread: I hope the light being shown on Walter Reed results in more resources towards the troops whose sacrifices have been even greater than risk itself. I get the feeling it will improve until the spotlight passes only. The Vets always operate on a shoestring budget.

Pandabonium: Thanks for the props.

Dean: I probably have some of the same differences with some of Pa've's factual interpretations as you. However, Conservatism is a many-headed dragon with pre-Goldwater conservatives, pure libertarian conservatives, post-Goldwater big government/low revenue Reagan era conservatives, and of course, the neoconservatives which I believe Pa've is rightly rejecting.

Thinking conservatives like Pa've are grappling with those distinctions just like Democrats are grappling with whether the DLC corporatists are the best voice for the Democratic Party or whether a more optimistic people-oriented view needs to prevail.

Over time, I hope the debate becomes more like Hatfield vs. Kitzhaber (former Oregon governors) than Hatfield vs. McCoy.

Pandabonium said...

Regarding liberal vs. conservative media.....If I can stick my toe in the water without ending up hip-deep....

It is neither. There is not a liberal agenda or conservative agenda in American press or government.

That is window dressing for the voters/taxpayers. Rather, there is THE agenda, which serves the economic powers that be. Been so for a very long time.

Here is small piece of bamboo to chew on. It may be found in the book "Brass Check" by Sinclair Lewis (available free as an ebook nowdays). He quotes John Swinton, editor of the "New York Tribune". At a banquet of his fellow editors in 1893, someone made a toast to "an independent press", and Swinton stood up and answered:

"There is no such thing in America as an independent press, unless it is in the country towns.

You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to writes his honest opinions, and if you did you know beforehand that it would never appear in print.

I am paid one hundred and fifty dollars a week for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with--others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things--and any of you who would be so foolish as to write his honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job.

The business of the New York journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his race and his country for his daily bread.

You know this and I know it, and what folly is this to be toasting an "Independent Press."

We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping-jacks; they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

Seymour said...

Yeah, the Media is neither left nor right, they're Money. I don't think "They" care that much about body-counts or blood, Vulgarius. The MSM didn't start swinging against the Warz until "They" started losing money, and losing 'face': see Abu Graib.

I'm not exactly sure who "They" are, but "They" aren't happy about the way the Warz are going. Damn peppy little natives.

Of course "They" have themselves to blame. Backing BushCo. was stupid considering his past efforts. I mean, jeeze, he couldn't find oil in Texas. Didn't "They" read his resume? I guess "They" figured Chenney whould steer him clear. HA!

So that gives me hope in a certain context. "They" are not omnipotent, yet. But "They" did start this whole shitstorm, and we have to pay for it, feed it with bodies, and explain to nice foreign people on the net what the
"Hell we are doing!".

I'm glad you're okay, Vulgarius. And if you think you're doing God's work, good 'on ya! I'm not gonna argue that point. How can I?

The question I have is "could this have been done any better?" It certainly couldn't have been done worse. So how do we answer history and the multiple thousands of civilian casulties that this was the right way to avenge 9-11? I just don't see it.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Are "they" related to "THEM"?

Seymour said...

No, "Them" are atomically mutated ants, "They" are ruling power elite. Although the best weapon to fight both is the flamethrower.