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Military losses at home and abroad

Mark Mardell | 04:26 UK time, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The president's morning will begin laying wreaths for Veterans Day; it may end with him very much closer to a decision to send more troops to a foreign war.

He's just come back from honouring the dead at Fort Hood - not killed in a war, but almost certainly killed as a result of wars.

As the ceremony began soldiers wounded in the shooting made their painful way down the steps, on crutches, helped by friends, clutching on to the side of stone steps. It must have been even more difficult for the bereaved, walking past the shrines to the memory of the dead. For each, a pair of boots, a gun, a helmet, and a photograph.

President Obama at Fort HoodIt was a ceremony designed to wring tears. A group of solders at roll call, some shouting their presence, then silence when the names of those who died were called. The last post, or taps, as it is called here, is always moving.

This is a ceremony to emphasise the sorrow of loss and to make some sort of sense out of it with talk of heroism and sacrifice.

The president has to fulfil so many roles. The head of state. Commander-in-chief. And the person who sums up the mood of the nation, and who should strike the right tone. What is called here, somewhat tritely, "healer in chief".

There has been a lot of debate, here and elsewhere, about whether politicians and the media have played down possible religious motives of the killer. The president did not: "No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favour.  For what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice - in this world, and the next."

If the president automatically adopts roles like commander in chief he may also have to automatically adopt a set of values, even when he is talking in part about a war in Iraq, which he did not support. He talked of the military's greatness, the values they were fighting for "to protect our people, while giving others half a world away the chance to lead a better life". He said no march on a capital, or surrender ceremony would mark military victory in today's wars "in a world of threats that no know borders, their legacy will be marked in the safety of our cities and towns, and the security and opportunity that's extended abroad".

This synergy, protecting the homeland by improving the life of foreigners far away, is the logic of Obama's war. The president will again be trying to decide what practical measures can possibly achieve this later today. It is his eighth, possibly last, probably critical, meeting on strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He will have before him four options. There is one that is proposed by General McChrystal, the others aren't being spelt out, but they all include sending more troops. One senior source told the BBC that whichever option was chosen, the focus would be on protection and training rather than going out and seeking to kill the Taliban.

There's a sense that a decision isn't far away. An announcement may be a different matter. I may be proved wrong later today, but it seems unlikely it will come before the president travels to the Far East, unlikely to be made while he is abroad - and that means we still have nine days or longer to wait.

Comments

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  • 1. At 06:51am on 11 Nov 2009, wolfvorkian wrote:

    Well, I can't blame this evolving idiot trip on Bush. This one belongs to Obama. I've lived in 3rd world countries, the idea of nation building is at best naive and at worst - just dumb. You can't change a culture.

    The old adage goes something like this:

    1- a fool never learns

    2- a smart guy learns from his own mistakes

    3- a wise man learns from the errors of others

    I voted for the guy and had high hopes at one time but more and more I think he's a number one.

    What went wrong, Mardell? What dumbed us down so much? I don't know, maybe an outsider has a better perspective.

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  • 2. At 09:12am on 11 Nov 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    What has happened is that instead of dousing a bonfire (that's what the original action in Afghanistan was supposed to do) it's been kicked about so that the blazing embers have started other fires half way round the world.

    All that is clear now is that you don't put out fires by pouring more of the same brand of petrol on them. As Jonathan Freedland pointed out yesterday.

    (And will people please stop referring to "AfPak". Or I will start using "AMex" for the USA.)

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  • 3. At 09:37am on 11 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    I think with the exception of Fox News and ABC all of the U.S media have downplayed the fact of his radical islamic tendacies.

    Chirs Mathews even said it was not illegal to call Al Quada. A major in the military calling a terrorist group.

    But there are apologist on this board who do the same thing.

    As far as the goverment Obama too little to late and Eric Holder's running of this situation and general actions should have him dismissed.

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  • 4. At 10:49am on 11 Nov 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #3 Majik

    Chirs Mathews even said it was not illegal to call Al Quada. A major in the military calling a terrorist group. But there are apologist on this board who do the same thing.

    And your posts have shown that you are an apologist for State Terror. Terrorism should be opposed in all its forms or not at all.

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  • 5. At 11:38am on 11 Nov 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    3. MagicKirin:

    And then, after innuendoes and smears like this (dare you name anyone? No, of course not) might my windows get broken? Might I be dragged into the street and given a toothbrush? Made to wear a placard and be spat at?

    Will I recognise you in the crowd?

    You will tell me you find this offensive, no doubt, but I do not know any more how to get this across:
    Some people neverunderstand the implications of what they are saying. Or what it can lead to.

    And on a day like this?


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  • 6. At 12:01pm on 11 Nov 2009, David Murrell wrote:

    Magic – I will avoid the general condemnation of your post, provocative as it was, instead I will deal with specifics. At this point it is not clear how extremist the Major’s religious views were, nor is it clear how much religion was a significant factor in why he did what he did. It seems clear that the gentleman had a mental breakdown of some kind, what is not clear is whether his apparently more radical religious viewpoint was a symptom of that breakdown or a cause. Considering his behaviour in the 20 years leading up to this attack, on balance it would seem more likely that it was a symptom. People under emotional stress have a tendency to try and seek answers from their belief system, if he was unbalanced (which is the only reason I can see for buying two guns and shooting innocent bystanders) he may well have only found views of his religion that reinforced his problems.

    But at this moment this is all pure speculation, only Major knows what was going through his head when he decided to run amok with a gun. Personally I would say those news agencies that didn’t resort to expounding potentially inflammatory speculation, which does little to further reasonable discussion, are far more responsible than what you are lauding Fox and ABC for.

    As for accusing other posters or being apologists, firstly since you refused to name names you seem to lack the conviction of your accusation, secondly it could be argued that you are an Israeli apologist, since you show a clear bias towards that nation. Personally, I believe such labelling is little better than playground name calling and does little to add to an intelligent dialogue.

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  • 7. At 12:16pm on 11 Nov 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    1. At 06:51am on 11 Nov 2009, wolfvorkian wrote:

    What went wrong, Mardell? What dumbed us down so much? I don't know, maybe an outsider has a better perspective.

    This is one from an 'insider'.

    What doesn't help are simplified notions accompanied by simplistic solutions, especially condensed on to one side of A4 paper or into 144 characters. Actually, in the article I cite, mostly because of its grasp of some of the historical, social and geographical background, falls into the same error by supposing that the same methods he says have failed the US will be successful if applied by the Pakistani army. But that is part of the current malaise too: blame the British for having caused the fundamental problem in the region in the first place, the Indians for exacerbating it, and eventually, of course, the Pakistanis for failing to fix it.

    That lets the US off the hook without stacking their guns and marching away with the band playing 'The World Turned Upside Down' which is all anyone is really looking for now, isn't it?

    I'm tempted to coin the phrase 'Imperialism without responsibility'.

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  • 8. At 12:26pm on 11 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "He's just come back from honouring the dead at Fort Hood - not killed in a war, but almost certainly killed as a result of wars."

    Another bald faced European lie. Whatever else Hasan was, he was an Islamic terrorist. His actions were in the service of an implacable enemy whose goal is to wage war it calls jihad against civilization even if he acted alone. That Europeans refuse to recognize it as a war is simply because if they did, they'd have to admit they have a direct stake in its outcome and would be forced to fight it. Instead they invent the canard that these are merely criminal acts. America is on its own in this war just as it is almost entirely in all other wars against civilization whether it is by fascists, communists, or Islamic terrorists. Those in other countries like European countries only fight for the most part when they are directly attacked or can no longer view the threat as anything but dire and imminent. They never are smart enought to head these things off before they become a matter of survival. That is for example why they are not acting far more vigorously against Iran.

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  • 9. At 1:01pm on 11 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #4 and 35

    Typical smearing by the PC crows. I have condemned the state sponsered terrorism of Iran, Lebanon and other countres.

    But the countries that lead the fight against terrorism like the U.S, U.K and Israel are not in that category.

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  • 10. At 1:14pm on 11 Nov 2009, richard wrote:

    marcus aurelius II,
    what do you have against 'european countries' that you so vehemently criticise us all under one all encompassing blanket term? The united kingdom has so many troops stationed overseas in war zones and peace-keeping areas, that like the united states, we send reservists and part -time soldiers to conflict areas, we are hard pressed to find more troops, money for equipment etc. our soldiers die every day answering a call to arms that started with the attacks on american soil, we share the hardships and the high cost of peace. its too easy to attack allies and say we don't do enough, but its such an insult to families that have lost loved ones. america isnt alone in this war as you claim..we have thousands of families that can attest to this, i think its shameful of you to have written this...try thinking before you criticize next time

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  • 11. At 1:20pm on 11 Nov 2009, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 1m Wolfworkian

    "...idea of nation building is at best naive and at worst - just dumb. You can't change a culture."

    I disagree. Cultures are influenced by the mindset, values, and traditions of the citizenry, and almost invariably they change over time dependant on circumstances.

    Instead of looking at the violent reactions of some people in the Islamic world, we would be well served to reflect on what is happening, determine the root causes of the hatred that influence their barbaric acts, and address them in a positive way.

    Thus far, our approach has been to confirm or exacerbate the causes of the hatred, and we then react with incredulity when those affected by our decisions and acts overreact and resist our policies.

    There is no excuse for what Maj. Hasan did and, if found guilty, he deserves the maximum sentence under our military code of conduct, but before we engage in cultural bashing and the usual manifestations of extreme prejudice we ought to consider how people in the Islamic world must feel about our military presence in their homeland and our efforts to change a culture that is so different from ours.

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  • 12. At 1:28pm on 11 Nov 2009, HabitualHero wrote:

    There's no special day for remembering the civilian casualties of war. They are, apparently, not worth remembering, not even worth noticing.

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  • 13. At 1:45pm on 11 Nov 2009, David Murrell wrote:

    Marcus – Another pejorative post, well done. The fact that he was a Muslim is known, the effect that this had on his actions is not, unless obviously you know better that the FBI and military investigators! He shows as many hallmarks of being an unbalanced individual, if not more so, as he does a dedicated follower of any terrorist ideology. You could as easily call the man who entered an Amarillo bar and shot dead a British tourist a terrorist, and you may well be as wrong.

    Also get a dictionary and look up the word jihad, it has been misappropriated by certain Muslims and the media. A bit like the word infidel, which is a Christian word (coming from Latin rather than Arabic) for non-believers.

    What you seem to forget in your blanket criticism of Europe (or rather your Europhobia) is that most countries in Europe did not need to wait until 2001 to suffer organised terrorism. If the War Against Terrorism is a real war, rather than a meaningless jingoistic term, Europe has been fighting it years before the Americans got involved, as per normal. As for the for the bold face lie that America was almost alone in its fight against Fascism, the disrespect to state this on this date above all others, dishonours the thousands of Europeans that stood up against the Axis forces, especially those that died. If you had any sense of respect you would apologise, but I won’t hold my breath.

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  • 14. At 2:16pm on 11 Nov 2009, DiscoStu_d wrote:

    Good point David @13. Today is not the day for one-sided rhetoric that belittles the significant losses Europeans suffered in the 20th century's wars. Thank God for all our veterans and the sacrfices they made!

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  • 15. At 2:53pm on 11 Nov 2009, carolinalady wrote:

    #'s 13 & 14: Oh dear, is Marcus Aurelius ranting again? Stu and Dave, y'all just have to ignore the ignorami among us. Don't encourage them to shoot off their keyboards.

    It's like passing Carry Concealed laws and expecting the people who apply for the permits to be upstanding, responsible citizens who have achieved a certain level of education. Doesn't happen.

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  • 16. At 3:14pm on 11 Nov 2009, faeyth wrote:

    I believe in Nation building as in we need to build our own Nation again.We need new schools,roads,types of transportation and energy,a return to safe banking and investment,and a return to Corporate Competition that's fair.However today is a day to honor Veterans and hopefully discuss there needs and Thank them for their service.Thanks You to all who serve our country.

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  • 17. At 3:14pm on 11 Nov 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    10. At 1:14pm on 11 Nov 2009, richard wrote:

    marcus aurelius II,
    what do you have against 'european countries' that you so vehemently criticise us all


    Don't bother, please ignore him, he always comes up with that stuff, and he's liable to repeat it dozens of times and send an entire blog going round in ever-decreasing circles given the slightest opportunity. Like Magick.

    It's something to do with hailing from Transylvania and Daylight Saving Time, so the nights just aren't long enough where he lives now to keep his blood sugar up. Those long flights trying to get back in don't improve his temper either. Make him peevish, since, obviously the Europeans keep waving him off with stakes and garlic. We'd use silver bullets, but the gun laws make that a bit difficult, and we're not sure about EU law on hunting vampires, seems to be a bit obscure.

    (Story in a nutshell, you might say.)

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  • 18. At 3:22pm on 11 Nov 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    12. At 1:28pm on 11 Nov 2009, HabitualHero wrote:

    There's no special day for remembering the civilian casualties of war. They are, apparently, not worth remembering, not even worth noticing.

    Some of us try. I haven't known many myself, but enough. Today seems as good as any. We still call it Armistice Day. It's the agreement that halts war for everyone in case some people have forgotten.

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  • 19. At 3:30pm on 11 Nov 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 8 MarcusAurelliusII

    "America is on its own in this war just as it is almost entirely in all other wars against civilization whether it is by fascists, communists, or Islamic terrorists"

    I take you to task on this remark you made on Veterans Day here in the States, and Remembrance Day in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. You should feel shame for ignoring the supreme sacrifice made by brave men and women who have given their lives for their countries in alliance with our military and our veterans. Your statement is a dishonorable, disrespectful act from someone who is always beating on the drum head calling for more military actions; and has never been in combat, nor served in the military.

    A demonstration of your own courage is in order in the form of an apology to all veterans and their families for your callous remarks on this solemn day we honor our dead and disabled veterans across the world.

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  • 20. At 3:37pm on 11 Nov 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    9. At 1:01pm on 11 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    "ref #4 and 35 Typical smearing by the PC crows."

    Hope 35 is a good one then. Looking forward to it.

    In the meantime, find out what Patrick Wright has to say on the BBC WS today about the metaphorical history of the 'iron curtain' since 1920 (not 1946, btw) and how this kind of simplistic prejudice and fear fuelled by propaganda and ignorance closes off the view from the other side.

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  • 21. At 3:49pm on 11 Nov 2009, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Mark: '"If the president automatically adopts roles like commander in chief he may also have to automatically adopt a set of values, even when he is talking in part about a war in Iraq, which he did not support."

    The president, upon assuming the office of the presidency, does not "automatically" adopt the role of commander in chief. He is specificly ascribed that role by our constitution.

    He/she (one day) doesn't, as you stated earlier in your entry, have to "fulfill so many roles," as if they are required to fulfill more roles than the prime minister of Britain, or the president of France is expected to fulfill. Every national leader has to be that country's head, so to speak, of its armed forces (I.E. make decisions about where that country's troops should be and what they should be doing there.) Countries' that don't have a monarch such as France and Germany leaders have to fulfill the role of head of state just as the president does. So really the only role that is unique to the president of the United States is the role of so-called "healer in chief."


    I thought his speech at the mimorial was good. My sympathies go out to the victums of the senseless and tragic shooting.

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  • 22. At 4:09pm on 11 Nov 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    19. At 3:30pm on 11 Nov 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 8 MarcusAurelliusII

    Your statement is a dishonorable, disrespectful act from someone who is always beating on the drum head calling for more military actions; and has never been in combat, nor served in the military.


    So easy, isn't it? When you have never been involved in one (and I have not) or faced the moral consequences of failing to save the lives of innocent civilians killed as a result of one (I must).

    The last British survivor who served in action in the First World War, who died this year, described war as "legalised mass murder". He had 111 years of life to consider that. I won't argue with it.

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  • 23. At 4:11pm on 11 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    It seems clear that the gentleman had a mental breakdown of some kind, what is not clear is whether his apparently more radical religious viewpoint was a symptom of that breakdown or a cause.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    He changed. Just as many of his army co-workers have become extremists but in the opposite direction. The knee jerk volunteers in the army after 9/11 are worse than some posters here on this blog.. When americans had a collective mental break down, and were itching for revange, which bush promotly gave them by invading afghanistan, because he had the plans ready anyway, If he had waited , the americans as a nation had snapped..

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  • 24. At 4:14pm on 11 Nov 2009, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    David Murrell #13: '"If the War Against Terrorism is a real war, rather than a meaningless jingoistic term, Europe has been fighting it years before the Americans got involved, as per normal."

    Yes, but since the Americans who funded and enthusiasticly supported the IRA's ruthless murder of wholly innocent British civilians as referenced so many many times on the BBC's web cites whenever the opportunity arises were either ignorant American civilians or selfish and greedy American politicians who did so because they either wanted to please constituants in order to get reelected or feared Britain being pulled into its own version of Vietnam and thus decided to try to prevent it through publicly making statements about how they thought that the way in which Britain was fighting the IRA at the time was perhaps not the best way to defeat them, and since Europe wasn't fighting for its very democratic life, you'll forgive us this time, right?

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  • 25. At 4:20pm on 11 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Squirrelist. did you see that stuff about the "thoughts of the leaders" when the wall fell.
    There is apparently stuff about thatcher saying to stop the unification of germany ,worried they would go neutral or something.

    How she wished to perpetuate the cold wall.
    But Gorby wasn't playing.

    Good on him,just imagine how many he saved from war.
    The iron curtain was created after WW2 because it seems the world had not learned the lesson and some how had not had enough of war.
    Sad


    Lets remember on remembrance day to respect the dead by ending all wars.


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  • 26. At 4:28pm on 11 Nov 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref 1, Wolfvorkian:

    "...the idea of nation building is at best naive and at worst - just dumb. You can't change a culture."

    Seemed to work for Japan and Germany, no? Their cultures have changed radically.

    The question is whether it can be done without the utter destruction of the previous government of the country in question.

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  • 27. At 5:07pm on 11 Nov 2009, David Murrell wrote:

    PursuitofLove – I accept the bit about America coming into the War on Terrorism was a bit of low dig. I still hold that the term of War on Terror is as much meaningless trip as the War on Drugs is, or the War on Happiness would be.

    To be honest when I mentioned the European terrorist threats of yesteryear I was not actually thinking about American funding of the IRA, or any connection between the US and the IRA. I was simply pointing out that Europe has a long history of dealing with terrorists, up to and including using them as an excuse/reason to enter in a major war (specifically the assassination of Franz Ferdinand by anarchists – kind of relevant considering the date).

    As far as I am concerned the actions of a few Americans is not a reason to condemn you as a nation, nor require any American not directly involved in that funding to apologise.

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  • 28. At 5:29pm on 11 Nov 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:

    War and Peace.

    Personally, I'm a pacifist. I have family in forces, but I made a decision as an adult that I, personally, could never take another person's life. I can respect our armed forces -- I'm simply being honest about the fact that I could never have that job.

    I don't envy Obama's job. I do not envy anyone who puts themselves in a position where they must decide the fates of others in time of war. I have a hard enough time worrying about my own kids. I'd go gray in seconds if I were responsible for 150 billion of 'em.


    So, Uncle Mark and all you other "Euro-Cousins" out there... how DO you deal with domestic terrorism?

    As for I and my nation, we're still trying to come to grips with the fact that it dare exist on our soil. It's not exactly a comfortable feeling. I think we kinda feel violated.

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  • 29. At 5:32pm on 11 Nov 2009, Shiloh wrote:

    "America is on its own in this war just as it is almost entirely in all other wars against civilization whether it is by fascists, communists, or Islamic terrorists."

    As an American I'm greatly offended by this comment. We have rarely stood alone! In Normandy, along side the Americans were the British 6th Airborne, the British 3rd and 50th infantry, the British 27th, 8th and 79th Armored Divisions. The Canadian 3rd Infantry along with Polish, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Belgium, the Free French and The Netherlands infantry, naval and air forces. All sacrificed together as one on those beaches. And as free people we stand together against terror. Today we stand as Allies remembering all our men and women who have served their countries with honor.

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  • 30. At 5:42pm on 11 Nov 2009, cirvine11 wrote:

    So much silly vitriol.
    What happened in Texas was probably motivated by-and possibly corridinated with-extremist elements. However, so was Oaklahoma City. In the end, it doesn't mean more than a lone wolf with a serious mental problem. There really is no reasonable defense for an event like that-which does not trample the Constitution in letter and/or spirit.
    As for "The War On Terror"-it was perhaps a bad name. Yet, the fight has largely been successful-perhaps despite ourselves. Al Qaida has lost much of it's heroic image in the Muslim world and the Taliban are more isolated than ever in Pakistan. There's still a long and dangerous way to go. But I think we'll get there. Mark-there was a VERY interesting article on the BBC about new rules for Jihad that have been vetted by a Libyan organization of former terrorists/jihadists... which could be a game changer.

    As for the rest of you (on both sides)-get ahold of yourselves. You sound like school yard children.

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  • 31. At 6:03pm on 11 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #20
    In the meantime, find out what Patrick Wright has to say on the BBC WS today about the metaphorical history of the 'iron curtain' since 1920 (not 1946, btw) and how this kind of simplistic prejudice and fear fuelled by propaganda and ignorance closes off the view from the other side.

    ___________________-

    I tried to find what you refering to but was unable to. Except for being Australian novelist what are his credentials?

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  • 32. At 6:10pm on 11 Nov 2009, Tino wrote:

    "Instead of looking at the violent reactions of some people in the Islamic world, we would be well served to reflect on what is happening, determine the root causes of the hatred that influence their barbaric acts, and address them in a positive way."

    Well we can look for the root cause in two places:

    1.) Primary source

    -Holy texts
    -Statements of purpose from terrorist groups carrying out said attacks

    Both point to: religious reasons. The terrorists claim they must convert the entire world and kill any who resist. Their holy text supports this view.

    2.) Academics

    -Usually theorize that it is poverty or oppression
    -Otherwise perhaps lack of education

    Statistics do not support this view. Many terrorists are in fact at least high-school educated, many up to college level. They are usually from a middle class background.

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  • 33. At 7:18pm on 11 Nov 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Hi Tino (32),

    Interesting points, but at a glance --
    I'm not sure I agree with your dichotomy,
    I'm pretty sure I interpret your two points of contact differently, and
    I'm very certain that my founding assumptions differ strongly from yours.

    Allow me to explain. *Ahem*

    THIRD -- You seem to presume that all terrorists are Muslim. I would strongly disagree with this presumption:
    I would consider 'pro-life-ers' who murder abortion doctors "theologically fundamentalist domestic terrorists" who happen to call themselves 'Christian'. The folks who burned black churches in the 60s (when pastors started preaching about equality) were terrorists. Gang members who shoot random pedestrians in their 'territory' are terrorists. They are all killing people in order to assert some kind of social power for their group &/or ideologies.

    SECOND -- You mention the Primary Source & Academics... I presume you mean they are social factors influencing the decisions people make to act violently, but even your examples of these are kinda' lame:

    a) sources -- The Koran is not the only scripture on this earth that could be used to justify violent actions. Leviticus, Judges, and Deuteronomy are all books that have been used to justify violence. Even Romans and some of the Pauline Letters have been used to justify violence. The problem isn't the text as much as it is the interpretation & application of it. Of course terrorists explain that their 'g-d/ess*' told them to do heinous things. That's what a Fundamentalist (literal/hard reading of scripture) Terrorist (one who kills innocent people as a social statement) does. Duuuhhhhh...

    b) Academics (poverty/oppression/education) -- Well, you are right. Most terrorists throughout history (IRA, Che, Calvin) have some education. Usually, they see a terrible injustice happening to people that, for all their education, they are not capable of healing/feeding/housing/educating/caring for all these people. And, if government (or society, or the other sect) is the perceived 'oppressor,' then a terrorist might think they can justify random murder of innocent life for a political (or theological) point. Again, that's what a terrorist does.

    FIRST, other factors that might incite random acts of violence:
    -- personal desperate fear for one's life
    -- neurological imbalance
    -- anger at an organization due to serious personal loss
    -- Satan. The Full Moon. Aliens. Crop Circles. My Dog Told Me To...



    But then, I'm in America. 'Why ask Why? Drink Bud Dry.'

    I don't like Bud Beer. It tastes like iced urine soda. I guess. I've never actually had a glass of iced urine soda. Please do not send me any. Thank you.

    _________
    * Sorry folks. That's about as inclusive a divine referent as I can come up with. Hope I didn't offend anyone.

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  • 34. At 7:25pm on 11 Nov 2009, aquarizonagal wrote:

    I grieve this day not only for my own personal losses in war but for every man woman and child who has died from violence of war. No politics, no petty arguements, let us just remember our dead and also those who have been maimed in body, mind and spirit by the countless wars that we seem unable to stop.

    I ask this day for peace and let it begin with me. My thoughts and comfort to all who grieve for loved ones and friends this day.

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  • 35. At 7:34pm on 11 Nov 2009, Tino wrote:

    Hello Philly-Mom (32),

    To your THIRD:

    No I do not think *all* terrorists are Muslim. I do think the vast majority are, however. I also do not think the other denominations represent nearly as large a problem. Abortion related murders, for example, are nearly completely gone.

    http://www.prochoice.org/about_abortion/violence/murders.asp

    To your SECOND:

    I was getting at the fact that you can look for the root causes based on either what the people committing these attacks say, or what academics theorize. I choose to go with what they say + what is in the books they believe in. I also realize the Bible has bad parts - but I do not see any Christian nations hanging gays, amputating thieves, stoning young girls for talking to guys, killing their sisters to preserve honor, etc. I mean other religious texts certainly have violent sections - but does it really matter if their followers no longer act on them? If Islam wasn't doing *EXACTLY* what is written in their holy books, what would I care. My process, personally, went like this:

    1.) Muslims attacks prior to 9/11 - I figured it was just some fringe element.
    2.) 9/11 - I figure its the same thing...but I am older now and starting to see a pattern. In addition, I am reading/watching what these terrorists are saying.
    3.) I begin to read their holy texts - Qur'an/Hadith. There is support for their actions in these texts.
    4.) Islam must be their motivation, as this corresponds to their own words and to my personal investigation.

    As far as interpretation goes, there is no room for any in Islam. Allah is considered perfect, the Qur'an is considered to be the *literal* word of Allah.

    To your FIRST:

    I agree with this completely. In the case of Islamic terrorists, however, the motivation is quite clearly religious.

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  • 36. At 8:38pm on 11 Nov 2009, McJakome wrote:

    10. At 1:14pm on 11 Nov 2009, richard wrote:
    to marcus aurelius II.

    Hear, hear Richard. Not many of us over here subscribe to the diatribes that sometimes appear on this and other blogs. It is especially unfortunate on this day of remembrance. However, the wounded and dead fought for our liberty, including freedom of speech, so in tolerating the occasional jibe we honor their sacrifice.

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  • 37. At 01:34am on 12 Nov 2009, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    David Murrell #27: '"PursuitofLove – I accept the bit about America coming into the War on Terrorism was a bit of low dig. I still hold that the term of War on Terror is as much meaningless trip as the War on Drugs is, or the War on Happiness would be."

    Why is that? To me, the term doesn't appropriately describe what we're fighting against. "Terror" is an emotion. You can't fight a war against an emotion. As you said, its like fighting a war on happyness. Is that why you don't like the term '"War on Terror?" Or is there some other reason?

    The '"War on Drugs," however, you'll have to explain why that is similar to, what I believe would be a more appropriate termanology, the "struggle against extremeism." Is it because you think we can't win both the struggle against extremeism as well as drugs? I honestly don't know whether we can win the "war on drugs," and think that all elicit drugs should be legalised, but the struggle against extremeism is, I feel, a wholly different story.

    Forgive me if I jumped to conclusions regarding your reference to Europe dealing with terrorism for far longer than America has had to deal with it. Its just with Senator Kennedy's death recently and all the utterly vitriolic comments from so many many Britains on the BBC's message boards and web forems about how "he funded and supported the IRA, so he won't be missed by the majority of Britains," and "good riddens to one who funded the IRA," even references to his father, Joseph Kennedy, the American ambassador to the UK during the outbrake of World War II, who's secret admaration for the Nazis caused him to restrict Americans from going over to Britain to fight, and many other similar such commentary on previous American indiscretions toward the UK at some point in the past, just preconditioned me to be extra sensitive to commentary sounding even remotely like the above. No mention of the good that Senator Kennedy did both for America and for the world. No mention of the fact that while Joe Kennedy did those awful things as the representative of the United States to the United Kingdom during Britain's darkest hour, when Roosevelt discovered his allegiance to the Nazis through a statement of his to the affect of '"Its over. You may as well surrender. Western democracy is finished," he swiftly had him removed from his post and embarrissed the entire Kennedy family. I guess what I'm saying is I'm a little tired of the bad of America always seemingly being remembered and/or focused on over the good. Though we entered the wars late, we did things, especially during World War II, that I can't even say because it wouldn't get passed the moderaters. So I apologize if I made quick assumptions.


    "As far as I am concerned the actions of a few Americans is not a reason to condemn you as a nation, nor require any American not directly involved in that funding to apologise."

    Well for that I offer my most humblest of thanks, and think you a very rare breed indeed. Many people do.

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  • 38. At 02:00am on 12 Nov 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    Most of us should be thankful that there are wars still being fought.
    I don't refer to the kind of war that our nation is waging right now. although it has a lot to do with it.
    When there is no more left for people to stand against, then we will surely live in a society ruled/dictated by one or few with the common interest at heart. We are perhaps approaching such a time.
    It is not yet complete. Some of the values in every culture have merits.
    To them most of them do. What should we do? Fight with them to accept ours? The fact that some people are willing to die and kill for something is a very good indicator that they value their way of life and want to keep it. We can call them terrorists and even be correct in doing so, they can call us terrorists and also have a point. I believe that it is inevitable that the world will be one, for the most part. There will never be solid peace again. Never, never, never. The fuse is lit and the timer set, we cannot see things equally and all talk about equality is subterfuge. Call me a pessimist and I know I am a realist. China needs supplies and food, US needs to have its money be worth something once again, all others want to be left alone, Including Israel and they are getting tired of the US Interfering all the time, as all they want to do is blow up Iran. We want more South American conflict, so that we can come to the rescue. Although we wish their slavery. Losses? not yet, Drained economy and deflated taxpayers haven't yet felt the crunch. We will be forced to accept a superior currency and in return sell our own interest in the USA in order to satisfy the debt and make our quota. In doing so we will be on equal footing with our enemies. Nope, our enemies will not be Jihads not even communists, Our enemies will be the sick, disabled and poor. If your belief is that a door is god, then it will be so. If you want to marry a cow or a snake no problem. we will have a free future, free to indulge in anything.
    If you can afford it. The real war is the breakdown of economy. The days of Haggard the terrible, where conquering and pillaging entitled the invaders to the spoils of war are Obsolete. We may not be there today, but tomorrow perhaps. The new method is embargoes and banishing, eliciting absolute compliance.

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  • 39. At 02:50am on 12 Nov 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    At 7:18pm on 11 Nov 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Hi Tino (32),

    I want to say that Che Guevara was a socialist and although you may not want to see the the true story of Him, it is available in any library and it is free. You decide.
    A terrorist or a hero, depends on who is considering the merits or lack of. Castro is a Communist, merely by lack of moral choice. The Russian leader is Communist. is he a terrorist? If so why have we not invaded Russia, after all we have a war on terror! Mao Tse Tung and others as well. Should we bomb all terrorists? Dr. Che was a graduate of medical school But that depends on whether you accept that school as qualified. The bible and its chapters define old and new testaments. The old, speaks of much violence (terrorist God)the new speaks of love and peace.(Graceful God) All things are new; some people want to interpret just pieces of it. Israel,(most people) Islam and some variation of believers. God does not have to keep on speaking to any of us, and yet we do not(some of us) kill everyone in sight. Why is that? We are on our own down here for now.
    Still the very core of our being tells us that it is wrong to do certain things. Some do it anyway. If you believe that you should have the right to choose not to believe, then so do others have the right to go on believing, whatever it is they choose. The rest is for God to judge(unless you choose to judge for yourself) and for us to accept.

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  • 40. At 03:38am on 12 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    While it is true that the British sent some troops to Afghanistan to actually fight, unlike most other nations except perhaps for a few like Estonia (certainly not Germany), they might have a chance to actually do some good if they had what Brits call adequate "kit" what we call equipment. That might have been possible if British taxpayer money went to buy it instead of paying billions to subsidize failed French farmers, build roads and bridges in Hungary, and pick up the tab for MEPs to enjoy the best food, drink, luxury hotels and whatever other junkets they can extort to the point where accountant won't certify the EU's books now for well over a decade. In fact the British are so indifferent that the Prime Minister himself could not even correctly spell the name of the family of one of their fallen in a letter he wrote to the dead soldier's mother. Interviewed on TV, she said that when Brown phoned personally, the first time he did not even apologize to her, all he kept saying was that he was sorry she was offended. It wasn't until his second call that he got it right according to her. At least when President Obama writes a condolence letter to the family of a fallen soldier, he "spells it like it is."

    I agree that the Europeans have been fighting terror for a very long time, in fact over a thousand years. And who was perpetrating that terror? For the most part they were...on each other. Are they fighting Islamic terror? Not any more strenuously than they fought the Nazis BEFORE it was too late and America had to rescue them, and not with any more zeal than they had for fighting the USSR. I think the phrase "cheese eating surrender monkeys" applies to all of them. I for one hope the next time they are ready to surrender to some form of tyranny whether it's the EuroTaleban or the EUSSR, we just step aside for once and let them.

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  • 41. At 03:46am on 12 Nov 2009, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    This was just another photo op for President Obama. It's been clear for weeks that he isn't going to pull us out of Afghanistan. It's been clear for weeks that there is NO END to the corruption of the Afghani government or for that matter the Pakistani government....remember this administration is like a magic show...when Obama directs your attention one way, you had better watch his other hand because there is a LOT happening behind the scenes!

    What does it matter if Obama takes another week, 10 days, or a month to pick the correct political moment to send more troops to be slaughtered in this unwinable PERMANENT war?

    The plan is to form "Fort Apaches" around the urban areas? That's not a plan, that's FOLLY! The plan is to win their hearts and minds? Where have I heard that before? THe plan is to PAY the Taliban not to fight? AS IF?!

    This situation is going to get WORSE, not better. Next we will find ourselves obliged to prop up the corrupt Pakistani government because they have nukes! You watch, we're going to end up with 100,000 soldiers or more in Afghanistan...plenty of graves to lay wreaths upon..a photo op every year for Obama...his idea of win-win!

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  • 42. At 04:08am on 12 Nov 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    41. At 03:46am on 12 Nov 2009, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    "This was just another photo op for President Obama. It's been clear for weeks that he isn't going to pull us out of Afghanistan. It's been clear for weeks that there is NO END to the corruption of the Afghani government or for that matter the Pakistani government....remember this administration is like a magic show...when Obama directs your attention one way, you had better watch his other hand because there is a LOT happening behind the scenes!"

    "What does it matter if Obama takes another week, 10 days, or a month to pick the correct political moment to send more troops to be slaughtered in this unwinable PERMANENT war?"

    "The plan is to form "Fort Apaches" around the urban areas? That's not a plan, that's FOLLY! The plan is to win their hearts and minds? Where have I heard that before? THe plan is to PAY the Taliban not to fight? AS IF?!"

    "This situation is going to get WORSE, not better. Next we will find ourselves obliged to prop up the corrupt Pakistani government because they have nukes! You watch, we're going to end up with 100,000 soldiers or more in Afghanistan...plenty of graves to lay wreaths upon..a photo op every year for Obama...his idea of win-win!"

    ____________

    Ok, fine.

    Let's suppose that everything you have said is true.
    Now, put yourself in President Obama's shoes and tell us what you would do instead, and why what you propose would be a better option.

    The choices faced by the US government in Afghanistan and Pakistan are exceptionally difficult ones. There are just no good choices. If you think that this problem is an easy one with a simple solution, there are dozens of governments around the world that would like to hear the answer.

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  • 43. At 4:31pm on 12 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Aqua girl..
    This is it. time to leave. If you ever want to get in touch the seanspa may help.

    Dear aqua I wish you well and I hope the memories of your losses ease somehow.

    I know you have suffered and remembrance day is not some hollow event for you.

    I Miss your wise words and you compassion.

    SkipBob is doing well

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  • 44. At 02:21am on 15 Nov 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    Thanks, for the excellent and informative reportage
    about the military losses at home and, on the battlefield...

    =Dennis Junior=

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