Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html en-gb 30 Thu 02 Jul 2015 17:14:57 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=99#comment203 Glad to hear from you, Allen T2...has been some time...I think some are jealous that Americans love their country so much...Regardless, I love USA, always have and always will, there are still many true patriots and we will buoy and defend America forever...We can't let others get us down, cause' there is much negativity in this world, we have to stay positive and keep being who we are...No matter how many mind tricks there are by our enemies, we know America is the best country in the world, it is the leader of the Free World and we should never back down when something is worth it... Sat 26 Feb 2011 18:58:50 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=99#comment202 Very amusing to see people from a part of the world where most do not even know the difference between patriotism and nationalism talking about American patriotism. Sat 26 Feb 2011 13:58:02 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=98#comment201 # 1942: White House spokesman Jay Carney says US Tripoli embassy is "shuttered". Staff have been evacuated. Fri 25 Feb 2011 20:58:45 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=98#comment200 In any event, sooner would still be better than later:#1613: The Tripoli resident continues: "The militia and Gaddafi supporters [are] carrying heavy arms [and] don't want the people to gather. They were just coming out in a crowd. They caused a massacre... There are some people still lying on the street. Nobody can take them. They are using ambulances to shoot at people - can you believe it? They are using anti-aircraft weapons. They are shooting continuously. You think you are in a war zone. This is a civil area. People are not armed."#1610: More on those reports of people being shot at by Gaddafi supporters after Friday prayers. One person told the BBC: "As we were praying, the shooting started. As people came out [of the mosque], they were shooting at people. A lot of my neighbours today died. My brother was hit by a bullet in his leg. The situation here is horrible. There are helicopters. The sky is raining with bullets."-----------The protesters took the airfield. It was reported about an hour ago. Fri 25 Feb 2011 16:42:16 GMT+1 mariein http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=97#comment199 199. At 2:49pm on 25 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:“Benghazi will never be retaken with e.g., British warships, close at hand. Those ships wouldn't be there without appropriate air defense, including support from NATO facilities in Italy. Those areas, at least, are now safe from air attack, whether a "no-fly" zone has been announced or not. Even if the Libyan air force retains any serviceable aircraft, and even assuming that the old regime retains control over an airfield from which they can operate, nothing is going to move in Libyan airspace, no electronic communications are going to be made, and no troops are going to be deployed without NATO knowing about it. This noose is undoubtedly tightening....”I’m so relieved to hear that. I caught some news late last night, and it looked to me as though the Libyans were not going to be able to surmount Gaddafi and his thugs by themselves… ------------------------------------“There appears to be a continuing, if less visible, reign of terror going on in Tripoli. Many civilians are going to be killed as the old regime hunts down people in their homes, house-by-house.”...And it became clear to me that this was still happening. Very sad and disgusted at how it can be happening.------------------------------------“If they can't, more and more western military assets are moving into position, anyhow.”Good.Thanks for the update.P.S. Meanwhile, Texas is about to allow guns on campus. Big mistake, and will affect me personally. Fri 25 Feb 2011 15:42:53 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=97#comment198 192. At 8:01pm on 24 Feb 2011, Grateful Marie wrote:Re Libya:From the small amount of footage I’ve seen and heard, the Libyans are amazing (for lack of a better word) in their own unique way. If they topple Gaddafi (we pray) entirely on their own, it will be a wonderful thing for them, and for the other oppressed countries watching.I will say I don’t understand why it has taken the bigger powers so long to even meet about the situation. What’s this thing about Friday and Monday, for goodness’ sake. I wish we could voice a stronger support for the protestors in Libya. I guess I’m talking about our prez or Clinton, and the other countries.__________Slow, and they missed a really good opportunity four days ago.Nonetheless, far more western military assets are arriving on the scene, and more will arrive in the next 24 hours or so.Benghazi will never be retaken with e.g., British warships, close at hand. Those ships wouldn't be there without appropriate air defense, including support from NATO facilities in Italy. Those areas, at least, are now safe from air attack, whether a "no-fly" zone has been announced or not. Even if the Libyan air force retains any serviceable aircraft, and even assuming that the old regime retains control over an airfield from which they can operate, nothing is going to move in Libyan airspace, no electronic communications are going to be made, and no troops are going to be deployed without NATO knowing about it. This noose is undoubtedly tightening.The freed Libyans seem to be organizing themselves and providing civic services.It remains to clean out Sirte; to clear the road from Tunisia down to Tripoli; to secure the airport; and, finally, to stop the suffering in Tripoli.There appears to be a continuing, if less visible, reign of terror going on in Tripoli. Many civilians are going to be killed as the old regime hunts down people in their homes, house-by-house. There can be no doubt that this is going on, right now. Surely the armed thugs and mercenaries doing this dirty work are signing their own death warrants? Maybe they already figure they have nothing to lose.This terror will continue until sufficient armed force is brought up to end it. It will take a lot more force, and a lot better organized force; and a lot better weapons, than it would have done four days ago, when about the only thing protecting the madman was an umbrella.It may be that the Libyans have captured enough government weaponry, and enough of the army has changed sides, to do the job. Time will tell.If they can't, more and more western military assets are moving into position, anyhow. Fri 25 Feb 2011 14:49:44 GMT+1 champagne_charlie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=96#comment197 #196jmm;"What no UK defenders of the "Mother of Parliaments?""It depends whether you accept 1707 or 1800 as the date. In terms of continuity, the only change in 1800 was the addition of Irish MPs to Westminster. Therefore I say the British parliament has been continuous since 1707, but yes, I would say that. Fri 25 Feb 2011 11:14:27 GMT+1 sayasay http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=96#comment196 193 & 194, NostranoWhy do you need the moderators to support you? With your “The moderators would apparently agree.” In my understanding, the moderators are not interested in the quality of any post, only in its adherence to the House Rules and the concomitant task of censoring when applicable. It is me who is pointing out your deficiencies.As for your latest comments on French soldiers of Narvik and Nelson, I will not bother to point out the internal inconsistencies, which you inelegantly put out. I trust that you will learn and sort it out yourself. I am a firm believer of self-actualising adult learners. As for Churchill, I say “R.I.P., Sir Winston”.I can make no sense of your “non-European” and “European origins” comments. Maybe it’s because non sequiturs are not arguments?Your idea of Utopia being “love and war” in a “John Wayne film” is not compelling enough for me to make an issue. I leave you alone to aspire to your paradise.Finally, with regards to Napoleon again, JMM took on the task. Enough said; there is no further need of myself. Fri 25 Feb 2011 05:15:00 GMT+1 McJakome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=95#comment195 194. At 9:19pm on 24 Feb 2011, Nostrano wrote: "Apparently France was the first nation to establish Parliament on a permanent basis."What no UK defenders of the "Mother of Parliaments?" Even the US parliament, the Congress, has been permanent since 1789. In 1789 France was still under its original parlement the "Estates General," if I am not mistaken. Nostrano, if you must be a historical revisionist at least try to make sense. As the eminent German historian Ranke said, tell the history as it was. Or as Detective Sgt. Friday used to say, "The facts, ma'am, just the facts." Fri 25 Feb 2011 02:36:37 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=95#comment194 USSilentmajority"It’s been forty years since Vietnam and considering the diminishing time for them to recognize the effects of Agent Orange, I’ll succumb to it before they accept my claim as many, in my old battalion, have already as well as those civilians in Puerto Rico where they experimented with it. For us, they said if you didn’t complain about anything the “first year” it wasn’t their problem. Those in Desert Storm weren’t even given that option!"http://www.lewispublishing.com/orange.htm"You sound almost like Hanoi John!If it where not for those that honor and defend the flag here, you would be in the same boat as those in Libya, Egypt, China & North Korea are faced with."More than ???????? -- I cannot say ! Thu 24 Feb 2011 22:27:21 GMT+1 Mirino http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=94#comment193 Further to my last comment regarding your last paragraph Sayasay on the same subject (189). I don't believe I ever wrote that I admire Napoleon, but as a matter of fact I do admire certain things he did. It would be difficult not to. Obviously I never said that Napoleon was a democrat, he was a dictator- an auto-proclaimed Emperor who even arranged to have the Pope kidnapped to be sacré. But there's no doubt that the French institutions that he established helped to consolidate the democracy that was bound to develop. Apparently France was the first nation to establish Parliament on a permanent basis. Thu 24 Feb 2011 21:19:02 GMT+1 Mirino http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=94#comment192 189. Sayasay.Surely it's permitted to make tongue in cheek remarks to counter arguments that seem to be a shade incoherent? The moderators would apparently agree.After all you started this exchange by proclaiming that 'losers belong to the wrong side of history' (which would suggest they don't belong in history at all. You continue by affirming that 'Whether as winning French soldiers in Narvik battles of no relevance etc., etc, which frankly I find incredible! Narvik, of no relevance, the iron-ore route and most strategic point of Norway? The Germans certainly wouldn't agree with you on that point either. They were delighted to 'win' it back so easily. The only reason why the RAF and the Royal Navy couldn't continue to give the French the support they needed was because the front had become far too large since the armistice that they could no longer secure supply lines and defence. At that time the RAF didn't have enough fighter aircraft either to fend off the German dive bombing attacks against the British ships that were supporting the Narvik campaign.Of course Nelson was no loser, although he lost an eye, then an arm and then his life, and then his dying wish was thrown into the scuppers to boot. Now an objective person who is blest with the faculty of eyesight and can read English might reason that here's an example of a national hero who lost out not only physically, but also spiritually, because he even lost out on his last wish and is since rewarded by being gradually eaten away by pigeon shit in Trafalgar Square. Similarly with Churchill. "1955. What can we say Winston? What a remarkable job you've done. Well done! You're going to need to take a bit of time out now to start writing those old memoirs, I'll be bound. And what memoirs! You're right to forget about Downing Street. There comes a time when the old page has to be turned, don't ya know. Just relax and enjoy basking in well deserved fame with your charming wife. And be assured that neither of you nor ya family will ever want of anything for the rest of your lives".. Naturally, I'm being cynical again, but it's also philosophical food for thought on the subject of 'winning and losing'.You ended your comment which introduced your argument by writing that the rest of you non-European ordinary grunt, (which I took to be onomatopoeic) only look to winners to motivate you to victory. It's not your fault if you are non-European, although you may have European origins, which essentially amounts to the same thing, fortunately or unfortunately for you.If love and war were like a John Wayne film, we would live in Utopia. But the truth is that a real winner can never become a real winner unless he has tasted real defeat. And those badly equipped, French soldiers that dragged themselves up snow covered slopes in biting subzero temperatures under withering machine gun fire and took Narvik, are winners, and what they accomplished may be difficult to find in history books, but that accomplishment makes a million times more sense than your argument. Thu 24 Feb 2011 20:46:15 GMT+1 mariein http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=93#comment191 (Unfortunately, I’ve only had time to blast through most of the comments here, aside from my…ahem, purpose…yesterday. I’m in a major work crunch.)Re Libya:From the small amount of footage I’ve seen and heard, the Libyans are amazing (for lack of a better word) in their own unique way. If they topple Gaddafi (we pray) entirely on their own, it will be a wonderful thing for them, and for the other oppressed countries watching. I will say I don’t understand why it has taken the bigger powers so long to even meet about the situation. What’s this thing about Friday and Monday, for goodness’ sake. I wish we could voice a stronger support for the protestors in Libya. I guess I’m talking about our prez or Clinton, and the other countries.The problem with raising oil prices, e.g. in the past, (which is fine by me, except for --->>) is that the dictators/autocrats would just collect more money for their palaces. They wouldn’t (have) use(d) it to help their citizens. Essentially, we’ve been doing business with a neighbor that abuses its children. When we’ve had decades of chances to consider the impact of the people and write in the ‘contract’: ‘This percentage must be used for the stability, security and advancement your people.’ I don’t care if it would be controlling others. (I can say that, because my opinion doesn’t count where that’s really concerned.) Being world police is a mistake (that’s a big thing to say and run). But we should always – always – Be Ready To Walk, because we truly do have that power (and even the power to bluff). I’m so glad we’re finally exploring other sources of energy. In this area, we’ve moved with a pace that rivals, say…the Vatican. ;-) Thu 24 Feb 2011 20:01:29 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=93#comment190 162, 185, 187 Pinko, JMM, Leon Redbone:It doesn't have to be done by the US.The analogy is to a crowd on a pier who watch a man drown because none of them figure that it is their duty to save the fellow's life (I refer to an incident in New York City some years ago.)----------I was very concerned yesterday when I read a report of Gaddafi loyalist troops, supported by armour, re-taking Agedabia. If you look on a map you will see that this is well along the coast road to Benghazi (and, indeed, rather close to Beda Fomm, the site of a notable British victory under Gen. O'Connor).That news seems to have disappeared, although there are still reports of some kind of dirty-doings around Sirte.In any case, the news today seems to indicate that there are few places outside of Tripoli (and none in Cyrenaica) still under Ghaddafi control, and that allied warships are in the offing, just in case. So, other than in Tripoli, perhaps the situation is not as I had feared, and, the need for hard intervention by western (or other) powers seems less than I had feared as well. Not time to stand down yet, though.Here's a prayer that this burden on the Libyan people will end soon. Thu 24 Feb 2011 19:04:52 GMT+1 rodidog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=92#comment189 • 173 publiusdetroit,“Just to let you know, I have moved from Detroit this past summer, although I have kept my moniker I've posted under here on this blog for a few years.” If I remember right you’re living out in Wyoming now. I suppose I should have said your old home town. Detroit is certainly an extreme example to use since, as you say, it’s riddled with corruption, cronyism, and incompetence. Still, other cities and states are finding themselves making difficult decisions similar to Detroit to close their own budget gaps. “Not really a problem with 60 student class sizes. Only 15-20 students will show up on a somewhat regular basis.”What a great comment! That really did not occur to me. Of course, the teachers themselves will find their ranks reduced accordingly. I wonder if any of the decent teachers, assuming Detroit still has some, will be some of those left standing.“Detroit is a prime example of an ill-informed, even irresponsible electorate who have voted into office incompetent school board members who consistently negotiated, and agreed to contracts they could not afford to fund. Really quite insane.”To a certain degree that’s not a phenomenon unique to Detroit. Thu 24 Feb 2011 18:59:40 GMT+1 sayasay http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=92#comment188 179, NostranoThank you for your attempt at clarification. I am very used to straight talking in this blog. If you did not understand me, there is no need to respond “cynically”. A request for more clarification will suffice.Do have you difficulty reading? I am sure I was clear when I said Nelson was not a loser. Why do think that Nelson is still a loser with your “one might regard as 'losers' after they were either dead or no longer considered useful. Churchill is an example. And so is Nelson, despite their fame and fine accomplishments.” Are you now cynically testing my reading and writing skill?In an earlier post: you admired Napoleon because he “established institutions that consolidated democracy”. I had argued that Emperor Napoleon was not democratic. In the latest post, you admired Napoleon despite “his faults and crimes”. How do reconcile this with your plentiful “sense of objective judgement”, which you said I have only but “little”. Thu 24 Feb 2011 17:08:58 GMT+1 publiusdetroit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=91#comment187 Ref 182 Ad-"More seriously, British visitors to the USA often comment on the number of flags on display outside private residences."U.S. citizens displaying the flag at their business and residence is a hold-over from our wilderness and manifest destiny experiences. The flag marked our progress in conquering the wilderness and was a sign that the traveler had reached a safe haven. It was also a convenient 'place-marker' out on the prairies, plains, mountains, and deserts. Many a traveling emigrant traversing the vast, open plains of the west rejoiced to see an American flag posted on a tall flagstaff marking an unseen ranch or small settlement tucked into the folds of rolling grasslands where news, supplies, repairs to vehicles and harness, emergency help would likely be available. Anyone who has traveled across the Great Plains, even in this day and age, has had opportunity to see a flag waving in the distance and felt a comfort knowing that they were close at hand to 'civilization'. Especially if one gets off the Interstate Highways and travels the roads less taken.It became more of a political statement during the days of the Cold War. Then, a source of divisiveness during the days of the Vietnam War. Anti-war protesters wearing the flag sewn to the seat of their pants, or burning the flag as a statement against the war was answered by the flying of flags outside businesses and residences as a show of support for the war and the foreign policy.The flag reunited us again during the celebration of our bicentennial. Flags and bunting everywhere. Rows of historic flags fluttered from staffs. Street lamps festooned with flags. Fireworks in the form of the flag. Clothing styled with the Stars and Stripes sold off the racks in droves.Another resurgence came at the time of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Yellow ribbons and flags marked our support of the troops in an attempt to over-play the lack of support given the Vietnam-era troops. A means of telling our people in arms, "We won't deride you this time." A national mea culpa for having blamed the troops who served in Vietnam for our failed foreign policy in Indo-China."...that our flag was still there.", as sung in the National Anthem, serves as a symbol that we, as a nation, will survive trying and perilous times. It is a enduring sign of hope for "We the People...". Simple as that. A bit campy to the eyes of a foreigner, perhaps. Nonetheless, a symbolic rallying point for the People during good times and bad. Thu 24 Feb 2011 17:07:09 GMT+1 champagne_charlie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=91#comment186 #185jmm;" I agree that something should be done, but why must it be done by the US"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leader_of_the_Free_Worldhttp://www.cfr.org/us-strategy-and-politics/americas-destiny-police-world/p5559Excerpts:"The UN provides a useful forum for palaver, but as an effective police force it is a joke, as shown by its failure to stop bloodlettings in Bosnia, Rwanda and elsewhere.""The European Union (*hardly a monolithic "country" either btw*)is even less effective, since it can neither field an effective military force nor agree on a common foreign policy""other tyrannies, such as North Korea and Iran, will continue to threaten world peace. Taking on all of them is a big commitment, but as Kipling warned America, "Ye dare not stoop to less." Thu 24 Feb 2011 13:48:20 GMT+1 McJakome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=90#comment185 176. At 08:16am on 24 Feb 2011, Jpp799 wrote some hints at truth that might be found in the midden. This way over the top exaggeration has to have been written by someone from the extreme left. It is cartoonish if allowed to represent all of the US. It could depict Texas, or areas around US military bases in the south, but does not represent the parts of New England and the Pacific Northwest with which I am familiar.This appears to be a leftish view as seen from the "Peoples Republic of Cambridge" that neglects to mention Cambridge, Massachusetts' own rather different attitude while presenting unrepresentative televised [on FOX?] images of America. Thu 24 Feb 2011 13:24:30 GMT+1 McJakome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=90#comment184 165. At 02:18am on 24 Feb 2011, chronophobere: 142Your point is well reasoned. You have stated an opinion, whereas what I had read was opinion stated as fact. You have said that it can be discussed, and I agree that the matter is complex and that there is reason on both sides that can and should be discussed.One problem is that both sides take simplistic and dogmatic positions. I am from Boston, my attitudes and perceptions are quite different from those of some Texans. Europeans [and even some Americans who should know better] often think of the US as monolithic. The truth is, Europe did nothing for Bosnia until the US stepped in [unless you remember the Dutch soldiers allowing a massacre by Serbs to take place when they could have stopped it]. Europe did nothing about Sudanese genocide but urge the US to do something. Europe is doing nothing now, but call for the US to get involved. And the people who complain about the US trying to be the world policeman are already sherpening their tongues.I agree that something should be done, but why must it be done by the US? Let those who complain about the US show us how it should be done. Let them do something for a change, besides criticizing whoever does try to do something. Thu 24 Feb 2011 13:05:50 GMT+1 Jpp799 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=89#comment183 @182:You are right. No one is physically forced to say the pledge of alligience. In the school I went to though, if any child refused they would have been treated them (and their parents) like they belonged in a mental institution. The point was that such an absurd thing as a pledge to the flag for school children even exists. I watched a programme on BBC about North Korea. They showed pre-school children saying loyalty oaths to Kim Jong Il. It was protrayed as brainwashing and indocterination for the "Dear Leader". That is seen (rightly so) as bad. But yet the same thing in America is good? Brainwashing children to unquestioningly support and love their country? I just find it funny how these things are viewed. Undying support and love for your country is good as long as the country and its ideals are pure (e.g. America). Undying support and love for your country is bad when the country is bad (N. Korea, Burma). Invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR to prop up a regime was wrong. Invasion of Afghanistan by the USA to prop up a regime is right. I suggest you read a book by Bertha von Suttner (Lay Down Your Arms). It has a lot of interesting positions on nationalism in the late 19th century and how it is tied to agreement with war and other issues. I even remember in Constitution class how we were told "America has the best electoral (checks and balances) system in the world". Yet no one knew how elections in France or Kenya or Brazil work, so everyone took it as the truth. America is the only free country in the world. No questions asked, no discussion necessary.I was in Memphis last year. It was a poor neighborhood where the infant mortality rate was higher than most third world countries. The poverty rate and murder rate were also extremely high. I took a tour of a school and on the wall outside the 3rd grade classroom they hung essays on the wall "Why I am proud to be American". I read over a few of them and they all said much the same thing: "We have so much freedom", "We have so much opportunity", "We fight for what is right". I found it scary that these children living in one of the poorest and most dangerous areas have no idea of the opportunities, freedom and quality of life that a poor person in Denmark, Australia or Belgium has. Yet they blindly believed that they had it so good simply because every member of American society told them so. Thu 24 Feb 2011 12:18:45 GMT+1 Chryses http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=89#comment182 Ad, (#182. At 11:21am on 24 Feb 2011)”... isn't it true that a strange alliance between the Tea Party and more left-tending Democrats are demanding big cuts in military expenditure in the forthcoming US Budget? Put me right on this, American friends, but I have heard this mentioned in current affairs broadcasts.”Politics makes for strange bedfellows. Ref here to the rather odd alliance between feminists and evangelicals in opposition to pornography. While both parties work towards a common goal, they do so for rather different reasons. Thu 24 Feb 2011 12:04:48 GMT+1 Ad http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=88#comment181 176 Jpp179"Children are forced to say the "Pledge of Alliegence" in school" -Even I as a Brit know that American children aren't forced to say the Pledge. In the Supreme Court's decision following the case 'West Virginia Board of Education versus Banette' (1943), public school students were not obliged to say the Pledge.However I should think that there is considerable peer pressure for unwilling students, or students of parents with certain religious beliefs (eg Jehova's Witnesses), to say the Pledge. Amusingly, my British grandchildren now at school in the USA do the Pledge along with their classmates! Their parents just asked them if they'd like to and they said 'Yes'. The school is excellent and I'm sure there'd be no problem if the children did not after all want to say the Pledge. They just like to be like their friends (ages 8 and 10).More seriously, British visitors to the USA often comment on the number of flags on display outside private residences. Some say "Why don't we do that too". Others regard it as a sign of insecurity: "We in Britain don't need to display our flag: everyone knows we're loyal so what's the point?" The truth is that in Britain, and in France where I live, private persons don't display their national flags except perhaps on special occasions. Just wait and see how many Union Flags will appear on the day of the royal wedding. There'll be one outside a certain front gate in one small French hamlet.On the question of support for the American military: I can't say whether American patriotism is strongest where the armed services are concerned, but isn't it true that a strange alliance between the Tea Party and more left-tending Democrats are demanding big cuts in military expenditure in the forthcoming US Budget? Put me right on this, American friends, but I have heard this mentioned in current affairs broadcasts. Thu 24 Feb 2011 11:21:31 GMT+1 Oldloadr http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=88#comment180 180. At 10:34am on 24 Feb 2011, Jpp799 wrote:#1: As previously said, the military has taken advantage of America's nationalistic mentality. It is no different from a politician towing a certain line (whether he believes it or not) when he knows it will get him votes. It is quite an intellegent thing to do. __________________________________________________________________1. You haven't explained how the military takes advantage. Although it has a recruiting budget, it really doesn't have a PR budget. Additionally, the only ads I've ever seen for defence contractors were in industry specific publications and journals. Did you ever see Lockheed peddling the latest C-130 on TV?Of course the military benefits from the current patriotism and nationalism (which I see as a good thing), but the military-industrial complex did not wage an ad campaign to sway public opinion. That's my point.2. You say that Nationalism is dangerous. I agree that personality cults are dangerous, but support for the ideals of America as spelled out in the founding documents are what gives America its heart and soul. Thu 24 Feb 2011 10:55:52 GMT+1 Jpp799 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=87#comment179 ref #177:There is no point in starting an argument here. I will simply explain as you requested.#1: As previously said, the military has taken advantage of America's nationalistic mentality. It is no different from a politician towing a certain line (whether he believes it or not) when he knows it will get him votes. It is quite an intellegent thing to do. Think of a televangelist. He protrays himself as a holy man in order to get influence, power and money. He has taken advantage of people's love for God for his own benefit. Any critism of him can be silenced when he says "he is doing God's work". God is good and so anyone doing his work cannot be wrong.The military industrial complex (to use Eisenhauer's phrase) has just exploited nationalism for their own benefit in the same way. If they fight for America (which is good) then they cannot be wrong. Any amount of money given to them is justified. Military bases on foreign soil are accepted. The deaths of innocent civilians is deemed as necessary.2) Low-level nationalism is good as it gives people a feeling of inclusion and lets them work toward a common goal. But when this nationalism becomes a defining factor it is very dangerous. Nationalism in the early 20th century led to colonisation and numerous wars. When nationalism becomes fanatical, people stop thinking rationally and blindly follow anything which is for their nation and automatically reject anything which is against their nation. If something is deemed anti-American it is automatically wrong. If something is deemed "the American way" it is automatically right. But I can define these things any way I like. It is a psychological concept which functions the same as a personality cult. The leader is all-knowing, everything is good because of him and all those who disagree must be convinced or ignored. In the case of nationalism, this leader figure concept is replaced with a national ideal. As soon as the people accept this leader/national concept as part of themselves and their identity then they are no longer open to any alternatives. This results in a no-questions-asked loyalty which is extremely dangerous. Thu 24 Feb 2011 10:34:51 GMT+1 Mirino http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=87#comment178 163. sayasayBy saying Nelson was a 'loser', I was cynically following what I understood to be your way of reasoning. Nelson was no loser. He was a brilliant tactician who even ignored orders when he knew he could gain a victory against the Danes. 'I see no ships', is the immortal phrase he uttered just before the battle of Copenhagen which, as you know, he won. Later he was shot and killed by a marksman at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, which, in spite of this tragic loss, was also a victory for England.There are many other examples in history of fine men who even if the price of their success or failure wasn't the sacrifice of their lives, they were nevertheless treated as what one might regard as 'losers' after they were either dead or no longer considered useful. Churchill is an example. And so is Nelson, despite their fame and fine accomplishments. Churchill was no longer valued as a politician after the war. Obviously one wanted to turn the page, but later, 'Churchill's wife had to sell her late husbands paintings just to make ends meet. Nelson, whose last wish was that Lady Hamilton be cared for, must have turned in his sea grave as Lady Hamilton's interests were callously if not purposely ignored or neglected. I believe she died in poverty. Perhaps it's the phenomenon that the hero killers of 'monsters', and all who are connected with such heroes, must die with the 'monsters'. But there's never any justification for such callous lack of respect and appreciation.Defeats should never devalue human courage and whatever achievements were made, especially when one defeat might lead to a following victory.Without Napoleon, who is also disdainfully cast aside by the French, as it seems to be the vogue at this period in time, France would have been in an irredeemable mess sans culottes after the French revolution, (another self-destructive monster that still seems to be unreasonably overvalued, for the sake of the Republic). Despite his faults and crimes, I maintain that Napoleon contributed more to the making of Europe as a continent of Nations, instead of medieval, tyrannical baronies such as in Germany at that epoch, and to establishing ties with countries such as Egypt, compared to his more negative actions (the Spanish massacre, etc). The institutions that he was responsible for establishing was no mean feat either. And they live on, as a monument of credit, even if there's no other monument other than for Austerlitz, his greatest victory.His reign was necessary, to establish order after the lamentable disorder caused by the revolution, to reunite France and give her hope and pride. You may regard him as a loser, because he was eventually poisoned by his doctors on Saint Helen's Island, but world history doesn't regard him quite so negatively.The Americans greatly admire Lafayette. Their adopted hero who helped them win their war of Independence. Yet later in France he ordered that the demonstrators at les Champs de Mars be fired upon, and consequently he had to flee to Austria. One man's noble hero can be another man's ignoble coward. It all depends on where you are, when, and what's taking place. http://mirino-viewfinder.blogspot.com/2011/02/boston-tea-party.html Thu 24 Feb 2011 10:29:02 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=86#comment177 ref #176Talk about a major idstorition of the fact in the U.S.First most places don't force the pledgeof alleigance and much of Hollywood over the lst 40 years has been anti military and american exceptionlism.although we rightly celebrate our country as one of the great progressive nations inhistory and a fine example to the world we do respect others.But go to liberal colleges say Columbia and you will get a far different view. Thu 24 Feb 2011 09:45:19 GMT+1 Oldloadr http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=86#comment176 176. At 08:16am on 24 Feb 2011, Jpp799 wrote:The military has simply taken advantage of this. As you wrote in your article, people think that the military is "fighting for freedom" or "keeping them safe". The military has made itself into a symbol for the great American ideal and in doing so, they too have become infallible.___________________________________________________________Could you explain?1. How the military was able to "take advantage" for its esteem?2. Why is teaching the Pledge and respect/love for one's country wrong?BTW, as is pointed out here, the most patriotic citizens are the ones that serve/have served in the military. These service members and veterans make up the vast majority of Americans that have actually seen how other countries conduct their business. In most cases, this firsthand knowledge of the rest of the world reinforces those beliefs in American exceptionalism, goodness, freedoms and greatness. Thu 24 Feb 2011 09:38:44 GMT+1 Jpp799 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=85#comment175 Mark Mardell says that he reads all the comments, so I hope he will read this one. If he wants to understand the people's high regard for the military he has to understand the propaganda in America.America runs on nationalism. Patriotism is simply a more friendly word for it. But from the day someone is born in or arrives in America they are swamped with nationalistic propaganda. Children are forced to say the "Pledge of Alliegence" in school, Hollywood films talk about "greatness of America", all sections of society tow the line touting love of country and America's righteousness. Walk into a church and you see an American flag. Walk into a bar and you see some patriotic display. Nationalism is displayed and advertised in everything from Christmas lights to motorcycle rallys to school projects. I read a story on BBC about how the Chinese government was controlling their people with nationalistic propaganda. America is exactly the same, just that the propaganda comes from other (mostly non-government) sources. Americans believe that they are the only country with freedom, and that their systems, ways and ideas are universal. Everyone wants to live just like them. They have no idea how things in Norway, Japan or South Africa work and so this fallacy cannot be debunked. American's are taught that "being American" is an inseparable part of their identity and they are all convinced of the infallibility of the American ideal. The trick here is that the American ideal can be defined as any individual sees fit, and therefore it can never be contradicted. Any problems that are present in America are then blamed not on the country or on the American ideal. It is all blamed on individuals. The government is wrong, not America. The financial crisis was caused by the greedy bankers, not by the American people or their mentality. Nationalism is followed like a religion and any word aginst this nationalism is treated as blasphemy (a.k.a. anti-Americanism). The military has simply taken advantage of this. As you wrote in your article, people think that the military is "fighting for freedom" or "keeping them safe". The military has made itself into a symbol for the great American ideal and in doing so, they too have become infallible.Any criticism of the military is a criticism of the righteous American ideal. This is a holy ideal and it cannot be criticised for any reason, no more than the Pope would allow criticism on the founding principles of Catholicism or Kim Jong Il would allow criticism of the Juche idealism. Thu 24 Feb 2011 08:16:43 GMT+1 publiusdetroit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=85#comment174 Ref 168 escapedfromny-"Would YOU put your kids in a schools where 50% drop out, like Milwaukee?"Is the drop-out rate the fault of the teacher, or the parents?Is it the responsibility of the teachers to get little Johnny, or Jane, out of bed every morning; feed them a good breakfast; make sure they get to school on time; pay attention and participate in class; do their homework when they get home from school; get to bed a reasonable hour so they can be rested and attentive the next day for classes? Or is this the responsibility of the parents?Do we want the schools and the state taking over these parental duties?It is in the best interest of the schools that students remain attending classes until they graduate. Each student drop-out reduces federal and state funding to the school. No students, no need for teachers. Thu 24 Feb 2011 07:05:27 GMT+1 publiusdetroit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=84#comment173 I was involved in labor contract negotiations for thirty years, representing labor. Whatever wages and benefits increases the union successfully negotiated at the table was also passed on to the lower and mid-management levels in excess of those agreed to in the contract. It was often in the interests of the management negotiating a contract to agree to increases in wages and benefits because they would be given increases in wages and benefits to surpass those agreed to for labor.One can see that it was not just labor looking out for their own interests when you consider this tie. Thu 24 Feb 2011 06:32:43 GMT+1 publiusdetroit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=84#comment172 Ref 172 rodidog-"...your home town of Detroit is talking about closing half of all their schools and increasing class sizes to 60 students per teacher. I don’t see that working out very well for teachers or students."Just to let you know, I have moved from Detroit this past summer, although I have kept my moniker I've posted under here on this blog for a few years. However, I am still aware of what is taking place back in my old city. Friends still living there keep me updated.Detroit has been plagued with an incompetent, even corrupt Board of Education for at least twenty years. Lavish, frequent, unnecessary junkets paid by tax dollars. School board and administrative offices lavishly redecorated for no other reason than ego. Administrative and support service personnel head counts far in excess than required. Non-existent school employees on the payroll. 'School supplies' that never made it to the schools. Food for lunch programs that never reached the cafeteria. The list can go on for several more lines.My child did not attend the Detroit Public School system because the system was a complete shambles. There have been several interventions by the State of Michigan in an attempt to clean-up the corruption and fix the problems. The people of Detroit have fought each intervention.Detroit has lost more than half of it's population over the past twenty to thirty years as well. There are schools providing full services to neighborhoods that are almost vacant of pupils. Poor government, especially during the Kilpatrick mayoral period, has caused the tax-base to dwindle as businesses have moved out of the city as well as citizens. Entire sections of the city are vacant lots, deserted homes, deserted factories and businesses in a madcap checkerboard laid out in haphazard manner across the city. One or two houses in a vacant, 120 acre neighborhood with the city providing full services. Detroit Public Schools needs to close half of their school facilities because of under-utilization. Could likely close even more to become more efficient and still serve the student population. Not really a problem with 60 student class sizes. Only 15-20 students will show up on a somewhat regular basis. (I have friends who are teachers in the DPS)Detroit is a prime example of an ill-informed, even irresponsible electorate who have voted into office incompetent school board members who consistently negotiated, and agreed to contracts they could not afford to fund. Really quite insane. The ignorance of the Detroit electorate is beyond the depth of logic, even simple reason. Recent polls have shown that if Kwame Kilpatrick were released from prison and could run for mayor of Detroit, he would be re-elected by a large majority of active voters. Thu 24 Feb 2011 06:15:44 GMT+1 rodidog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=83#comment171 171 publiusdetroit,You make a valid point. Unfortunately, school districts are in the red by tens of millions of dollars, some in the hundreds of millions. My understanding is that 70% to 80% of school budgets go towards teacher salaries and benefits. That means there is no room to close the budget gap that does not affect teachers pay or benefits. If the unions refuse to budge the result will be school closures and increased class sizes. As an example of possible things to come, your home town of Detroit is talking about closing half of all their schools and increasing class sizes to 60 students per teacher. I don’t see that working out very well for teachers or students. Thu 24 Feb 2011 05:15:49 GMT+1 publiusdetroit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=83#comment170 Ref 168 escapedfromny-"Name one other profession where no matter how incompetent you are, you can never get fired? Well, that is what we have with teachers. And SUPPOSEDLY, our kids are our most valuable asset."A labor union negotiates a contract for their membership. A contract must have all of three elements; offer, acceptance, and consideration. Teacher labor unions negotiate their contracts with local school boards elected by the people of the school district.The teacher's union made an offer. The school board accepted the offer. If the school board accepted an offer that a teacher could never be fired for being incompetent, then the school board, elected by the people of the school district, demonstrated a either a definite lack of negotiating skills, or complete incompetence.School board elections often fall in the bi-elections, or local elections held in years other than during a national election or bi-election cycle. Average voter turnout of registered voters for bi-elections are typically 25% or less. Local issue elections typically get an even lower voter turnout. I have seen voter turnout for elections of school board members as low as 6% of register voters in the school district. This lack of voter participation indicates there is little interest in education in the school district. Is the problem incompetent teachers, incompetent school boards, or an irresponsible electorate? Thu 24 Feb 2011 04:16:41 GMT+1 Malkava http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=82#comment169 #129 champagne_charlie"...My post, before it was extrapolated way beyond what i was actually saying by Malkava.."Extrapolated way beyond what you were actually saying? How so? I think I hit the nail squarely on the head, based on your earlier posting:"Europeans have a VASTLY superior knowledge of the devastating effects of war on their countries, because there are millions of European civilians still alive today who were there and remember it , its in our literature and art ,and because ALL our major towns and cities still bear the memorials and the preserved bombed out buildings to serve as a reminder."It sounds to me like you were trying unsuccessfully to make a point about how Europeans know better based on their involvement in the previous World Wars. I simply pointed out that involvement in past wars doesn't miraculously grant you insight into present day wars! And certainly not into future wars. Judging by your recent post, you seem to agree with me! So, just because I called you out on your flimsy reasoning, I am somehow extrapolating beyond what you were actually saying? Give me a break.#129"Many of those people are still alive today and if you think that their combined experiences dont affect the way Europeans think about war you are grossly mistaken. Is that right? Judging from past history it certainly hasn't stopped Europeans from repeatedly making the same mistakes again...and again...and again. With a track record like that, I'm not holding my breath for the future either."That doesnt mean Europeans have "intrinsic knowledge" nor is it any guarantee that there will no more future wars, nor does it mean that it will last forever, once the WW2 generation are all gone. I never said that."You've got that right! So how about we nip your moral posturing in the bud before it carries out to something "extrapolated way beyond" what you were actually saying, shall we? Thu 24 Feb 2011 04:01:40 GMT+1 USSilentMajority http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=82#comment168 161. quietoaktree wrote:--with all our "FREEDOM" since our independence, how much "PEACE" have we had ?-- practically none !***********************************************Sounds almost like you and Obama's mother studied the same material. Blame whomever but never accept responsibility yourself. These where also the same lessons taught to him,,,, victim...ism.Freedom as well as peace comes with a price tag, however there are those like yourself who are still clicking their heals and expecting it to be freely handed to them. Thu 24 Feb 2011 02:58:12 GMT+1 escapedfromny http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=81#comment167 116. At 3:28pm on 23 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:I also voted for Repubs last election, but I am against banning unions..._____________________________It is NOT an effort to BAN unions - it is an effort to hold unions of PUBLIC EMPLOYEES accountable to the PUBLIC. Right now, teachers are paid by years service, not by performance. Trying to fire teachers who are incompetent in nearly impossible. These are PUBLIC employees who are FORCED to pay dues, but have no control over which candidate receives the benefits of the money spent by the union. So people are FORCED to support Democrats regardless of their personal politics. Is THAT fair?_________________________LucyJ:So the only way for them to reel in spending is by banning unions and workers rights to negociate worker conditions?__________________________Again - this does NOT BAN A UNION. __________________________LucyJ:There's a lot of ppl working for the state, this is esp. going to hit teachers, colleges and social services very hard...I guess it just confuses me b/c why are they banning unions after they voted yes for tax breaks for rich and corps?__________________________Boy, you need to get out more and read something other than the dreck you are reading now.Name one other profession where no matter how incompetent you are, you can never get fired? Well, that is what we have with teachers. And SUPPOSEDLY, our kids are our most valuable asset. Would YOU put your kids in a schools where 50% drop out, like Milwaukee? It's not the 70% of teachers who do a good job that is the issue - it is the way the unions fight to the death for the 30% who think 2+2=5 is "higher" math that are the problem, and the unions WANT TO KEEP INCOMPETENT TEACHERS. Do you want a doctor that is right only 70% of the time? Or an engineer who make a mistake 30% of the time building a few houses for you?So why should we accept that level of incompetence from our "education" system?____________________________LucyJ:If we have enough money for the corps and rich to have tax breaks, why don't we have enough for workers rights in workplace?Regardless of ppl's opinions for or against, the ppl of Wisconsin deserve the right to have media coverage, yet they seem to be getting mostly ignored by media...________________________________IGNORED? Well, the people who are getting ignored are the ones who DON'T SUPPORT THE UNION THUGS that have been bussed in from Ohio.The people who are ignored are the parents of kids who have had their schools closed for 8 days because their teachers are complaining that they will be impacted by the recession like everyone else. Think of those parents who FOR EIGHT DAYS HAVE TO FIND SOMEONE TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR KIDS OR LOSE VACATION DAYS because the teachers lied about calling in sick. When you co-workers lie, is that OK, and normal business practice? Is it normal to expect government employees to lie? So why should any of these people be trusted for any reason ever again?The cost of education children in Wisconsin has nearly doubled in constant dollars over the last 10 years, and the test scores have gone down. So now I am supposed to pay for MORE failure? Thu 24 Feb 2011 02:57:45 GMT+1 USSilentMajority http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=81#comment166 162. quietoaktree wrote:--don´t blame Obama for the mess ---blame the flag wavers !I saw ( Vietnamese propaganda) films of Agent Orange in the 60´s.---the treachery lies elsewhere !You sound almost like Hanoi John!If it where not for those that honor and defend the flag here, you would be in the same boat as those in Libya, Egypt, China & North Korea are faced with. Thu 24 Feb 2011 02:50:05 GMT+1 rodidog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=80#comment165 Perhaps it’s just a coincidence the 82nd Airborne is brushing up on their insertion skills into a hostile airport while foreign nationals are stuck in such an airport in Libya. The timing is certainly fortuitous if nothing else. If they plan on deploying to Libya, hopefully they’re not waiting until after Hillary Clinton arrives in Europe on Monday to discuss the problem with our allies. Thu 24 Feb 2011 02:27:09 GMT+1 chronophobe http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=80#comment164 re: 142 JMMAt risk of being caught in the crossfire on this issue, might I suggest that the Champagne Charlie is making a slightly different point than the one you are ticked off about? If I understand it correctly, the point Charlie was making (and I'm not taking his side only because I whole heartedly agree with his choice in booze) is that having quite recently been the battleground for probably the most terrible conflagration in human history, Europeans tend to be a little less impressed by some of the casual, tub thumping, boo-rah, frankly militaristic nationalism one sometimes sees from US posters here, and which is definitely on display in many a Hollywood movie. There is in many circles in Europe a lingering distrust of the military, and of nationalism, arising out of WW II, which distrust has largely been the impetus behind the development of the EU. I also find that Europeans tend to be more supportive of internationalist institutions like the UN. So I think that Charlie has a point, and while it is certainly not something I can 'prove,' it is my considered opinion, and something I would be happy to discuss. Thu 24 Feb 2011 02:18:00 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=79#comment163 #160 IFThe BBC has reported that the tribes in the South are still with Gadaffi --suggesting that the borders to the East and Egypt are possible weapons routes.The Egyptian army are up to their necks in weapons and can deliver immediately if recipients are available.This action could (and would) be a great American plus in the region --unless it later blows it and fails to solve the Israel-Palestine problem. Thu 24 Feb 2011 02:14:31 GMT+1 sayasay http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=79#comment162 141, NostranoI never say “no heroics”; I said ‘defeats do devalue heroics of the vanquished’.Nelson a loser? For the sake of King and Country, he died in the battle which his armada would win eventually. He exposed himself to death by leading his armada in unconventional manoeuvrings to sink the French fleet. I may be gung-ho but I am not intellectually impaired. Winners dying in their victories count very much superior to losers dying in defeats.Napoleon was an eventual loser both militarily and politically, there was nothing democratic about him. He ‘gamed’ the French political systems which went from monarchy to committee of public safety to Directory to Empire, during his active military career culminating in him being crowned Emperor. And what about Napoleonic Nepotism? Your view of French history is much like your taste in French wine. Just because of its French origin, it got to taste good.I think you overrated European battlefield complexities, in all of NATO’s existence: how many war-games, both in computer-game and actual troop manoeuvrings, do you think were played and are being played? And what about the old Warsaw Pact side? All we need is just a good excuse and you will see the big battalions move, by then, cousins or no cousins, you make up your mind and choose sides or no side. Thu 24 Feb 2011 01:50:22 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=78#comment161 #159 USSM--don´t blame Obama for the mess ---blame the flag wavers !I saw ( Vietnamese propaganda) films of Agent Orange in the 60´s. ---the treachery lies elsewhere ! Thu 24 Feb 2011 01:50:21 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=78#comment160 #158 USSM"You seem to not completely understand that “PEACE” is also related to “FREEDOM”. "---And "FREEDOM" NEVER to "PEACE" ?--with all our "FREEDOM" since our independence, how much "PEACE" have we had ?-- practically none ! Thu 24 Feb 2011 01:37:51 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=77#comment159 152. At 11:49pm on 23 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:"I think we could only send weapons and munitions to the protestors --there are too many foreign nationals that would get in the way of doing anything else.""BBC has reported that families of the higher military are being held as ´deposit´.""Gadaffi cannot protect the borders from weapon supplies getting in."___________Sending weapons to the protesters is a whole different kind of conflict.The keeping of hostages is a very old expedient, commonplace up to the 18th century.Gadaffi and the borders, yes, that's true.Wars take money, though, and he has plenty of it, and he can just as easily take advantage of porous borders to bring in mercenaries and weapons himself.Presumably the Western countries are trying to shut off his bank accounts, and to twist arms of neighbouring countries not to send or permit the transit of mercenaries.----------It isn't as if the window of opportunity is necessarily closing completely, so much as mutating into something else. The opportunity that existed and might have been seized 48 hours ago is almost certainly gone. Nonetheless, the situation is still a bit fluid.The expatriates trying to escape are both hostages and a trip-wire.The western countries are unlikely to try anything while the hostages are there (so planes are leaving Tripoli half empty, apparently).But if any of them are killed, western qualms about intervention will disappear in a New York minute. To paraphrase The West Wing, it's strange how one western life is worth more than, say, 2000 Libyan lives.But the delay works to the regime's advantage. It was off-balance, and now it can regain its balance and regain the initiative.----------If the liberated areas can get their act together, they can get him out, but it is going to take more effort than it might have, and likely a lot more deaths. Somebody is going to have to supply weapons to the liberated areas. Somebody is going to have to pay for those weapons. Somebody is going to have to train the liberated folks to fight like an army rather than a disorganized mob.And while they are doing that, they're going to have to figure out how to defend themselves until they are ready. That's a whole different task.----------If the western nations had acted quickly, they could not only have dumped this buffoon, they could also have sent the message to every remaining thug that the minute you start shooting civilians, it's over.Instead they have sent the message that as long as western expatriates are de facto hostages you can keep killing civilians all you want.It is always, always, always, a mistake to allow one of these guys a chance to regain his balance. Thu 24 Feb 2011 01:33:53 GMT+1 USSilentMajority http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=77#comment158 As a veteran, of Vietnam, and seeing how some politicians feel about the physical and mental trauma which our service men and women have experienced by turning a blind eye and insisting on denying responsibility to avoid helping them gets under my skin. Those like Obama have expounded rhetoric to suggest that if they volunteered for the armed forces they are the ones who should be responsible for themselves, not the government. It is not the governments fault that drugs and munitions used by the military and their contractors have wreaked havoc on returning service men and women as well as their families. They and their lawyers don’t have enough data to accept responsibility. It’s been forty years since Vietnam and considering the diminishing time for them to recognize the effects of Agent Orange, I’ll succumb to it before they accept my claim as many, in my old battalion, have already as well as those civilians in Puerto Rico where they experimented with it. For us, they said if you didn’t complain about anything the “first year” it wasn’t their problem. Those in Desert Storm weren’t even given that option! Thu 24 Feb 2011 01:11:51 GMT+1 USSilentMajority http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=76#comment157 quietoaktree wrote:“The size of a countries” military is usually proportional to its aggressiveness and how much money some companies are making from the hysteria.”“America’s continual pre-occupation with the military and wars suggest that its people have long lost the word ´peace´ from their language and as an ideal.” "In a sense out of regret or guilt, Americans insist there is NO HIGHER VALUE than supporting the troops, --- most depressing!”While your first statement may be partially true, since any economy in the world is market driven, and defense spending for whatever reason, occurs world wide whether it be a small nation like Venezuela, Israel and Taiwan or larger ones like the US, China and Russia, weapons are profitable.You seem to not completely understand that “PEACE” is also related to “FREEDOM”. Libya, Egypt, China, North Korea, Russia and others have had “peace” for a number of years. It has been forced down the throats of the populace by control of the media and an iron hand. I can only guess that you are one who accepts this type of “PEACE”I am glad you are depressed that the majority of “Americans” value the service given by our men and women who choose, for whatever reason, to be part of our “armed” forces. You need to also understand that there are many of us who have served in the past that would be willing to back them up with force if necessary! (The right to bare arms is the one prominent thing which would allow this!)Though I will admit that there are those here in the US who may agree with your opinions, but their rectal perspective like yours would change if they lost the freedoms that the blood of our service men and women have provided us with. Thu 24 Feb 2011 01:10:52 GMT+1 mariein http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=76#comment156 155. At 00:24am on 24 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:“-- All countries and peoples make mistakes --and Europe is and should be thankful for American sacrifices.”-----------------------Says the almighty voice of tolerance and understanding.In my previous post, I forgot to add that your own preconceived notions are showing.Let’s just say I wouldn’t put you in charge of a study group if my life depended on it.Maybe I’d let you ring the bell at a boxing match…. Thu 24 Feb 2011 01:08:46 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=75#comment155 154. At 00:21am on 24 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:"Isn't BBC 4 the alteranative channel that allows terrorists like the President of Iran and no talent like shannon Osborne do New Year's greetings?"????????????? Thu 24 Feb 2011 01:01:56 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=75#comment154 #153 BanG-- All countries and peoples make mistakes --and Europe is and should be thankful for American sacrifices.-- Middle and South Americans may however disagree with your call to prayer ! Thu 24 Feb 2011 00:24:28 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=75#comment153 Isn't BBC 4 the alteranative channel that allows terrorists like the President of Iran and no talent like shannon Osborne do New Year's greetings? Thu 24 Feb 2011 00:21:56 GMT+1 BanG http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=74#comment152 From an Americans view. The writer of this article pretty much sums it all up! ounce again in turbulent world crisis the US steps up to the plate to take the fight to the enemy. What surprises me in this forum or comments section is all the anger towards America? Did we not come to Europe's aid in WW1? Did we not answer the call for you in WW2? We died and shed our blood right beside your soldiers too. No America is not perfect and we do make mistakes at times, but as a people we have enormous hearts we value our freedom beyond your imagination, we earned our place in this world from the Blood Sweat and Tears of our young and brave. I close with this thought, PRAY! PRAY with all your heart that America does not fail or fall, otherwise you will be left to fend for yourselves and thus far in my opinion YOU NEED US. We remain committed to you all as an Allie. Thu 24 Feb 2011 00:07:03 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=74#comment151 #149 IFI think we could only send weapons and munitions to the protestors --there are too many foreign nationals that would get in the way of doing anything else. BBC has reported that families of the higher military are being held as ´deposit´.Gadaffi cannot protect the borders from weapon supplies getting in. Wed 23 Feb 2011 23:49:33 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=73#comment150 #148 CC-- I started my traveling when I was 16 and began being interested (in Indians) in Africa at around 10 -- when the school had a visit from an Indian lady teacher from Mombassa. You are correct I have never visited East Africa.-- So OK, I probably exaggerated a bit. Wed 23 Feb 2011 23:34:33 GMT+1 mariein http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=73#comment149 146. At 10:45pm on 23 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:“--- With all due respect --you were not yet a `glint in your fathers eye´ when I began questioning unjustifiable nationalism and false patriotism (not only British)”---------------------------That explains your posts. You bait responses of “unjustifiable nationalism and false patriotism.” Waiting for your subject of interest to appear, to re-prove itself to you. You've done it again and again.I’d suggest looking for a variety of answers and viewpoints to your “questioning.” It seems like you’re stuck with one way of looking at this interest of yours. Wed 23 Feb 2011 23:20:37 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=72#comment148 131. At 7:12pm on 23 Feb 2011, Bro_Winky wrote:Re 124 Interestedforeigner"I understand your concern regarding the bloodshed in Libya, but I'm a bit more cautious about Western involvement, especially direct military action. After decades of interference, any direct Western action, even with the best of intentions, could delegitimize these revolts."__________True, but here it is the Libyans themselves who are calling for help.----------It seems to me that the turning point in the battle of Crete came because a very small unit that was overlooking an airstrip (Maleme airfield? Memory isn't as good as it was, I'll check this tonight) pulled out when it was desperately important that they not abandon their position. If they had stayed an hour longer, or possibly only 15 minutes longer, it would have been the difference.When the Ark Royal was torpedoed, the Captain did not at first realize the communication with the engine room had been lost. There was a delay until he realized that a runner had to be sent, and so the ship plowed on, peeling off her own hull plating. There was a further delay, in total 46 minutes, before damage control parties got to work. In that 46 minutes the fate of the then most important vessel in the Royal Navy was sealed, when she could easily have made port and been saved.At Gettysburg there might have been a very different story if the Confederate troops had arrived at the cross-roads at the north end of town 15 minutes earlier. They didn't. The Union troops got there first. The historical consequences of that event were huge.If Blucher's army had arrived an hour later at Waterloo, would the result have been the same?At Dieppe, the landing force bumped into a German convoy in the channel, and was delayed in hitting the "beach" at Puys. So they arrived 15 minutes after dawn, instead of in the dark. Puys is an overhanging cliff. The "beach" is a strip of rocks about 30 yards wide. There is no place to hide on that "beach". Because of that delay, the Royal Regiment of Canada took roughly 600 casualties out of roughly 685 men landed, most of them in the first 15 minutes.In fluid chaotic situations, time is often critical.The bad guys aren't waiting.They're calling up reinforcements.They're hunting down and murdering their unarmed opponents.While we sit on our hands. Wed 23 Feb 2011 23:12:35 GMT+1 champagne_charlie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=72#comment147 #147quietoaktree;"-- With all due respect --you were not yet a `glint in your fathers eye´ when I began questioning unjustifiable nationalism and false patriotism (not only British)"Good grief, how old ARE you? I am a grandfather so you must literally be older than them thar hills."-- I am still hoping to hear of your African ties (no bad intentions --honest !)"Yes, sorry, I will do that sometime if the blog topic is right and we arent at each others throats :). It will make your toes curl mind you and you will need to rethink some of your pre-conceived ideas about former British colonies. My recollection is that you dont have much experience with East Africa, so hopefully you will learn a few bits and pieces. Anyway, we'll see how the blogs develop if thats ok with you. Wed 23 Feb 2011 23:06:35 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=71#comment146 #143RBC"--If there is one common element in it, it's conflict, rivalry, imperialism and WAR. Refined and perfected long before the United States existed."--very, very true---- but I see little difference between the Brits sent off to defend the British Empire and Americans sent off to defend ´National Interests´-- both seldom questioned the propaganda (then or now) ! Wed 23 Feb 2011 23:01:42 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=71#comment145 #135 CC "(Sorry quietoaktree, someone stole your crown)"--- With all due respect --you were not yet a `glint in your fathers eye´ when I began questioning unjustifiable nationalism and false patriotism (not only British)-- Have just been watching a documentary about the 1884 Berlin ´Congo´ conference where European powers carved Africa between them -- so there is much work still unfinished on ´both sides of the pond´-- I am still hoping to hear of your African ties (no bad intentions --honest !) Wed 23 Feb 2011 22:45:11 GMT+1 sayasay http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=70#comment144 139, ukwalesTexas revolutionaries lost at Alamo. The next lot led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto in 1836. This time around, they made sure that they were not surrounded in a static defensive position like the Alamo losers.If you are referencing the battle-cry “Remember the Alamo”. Perhaps the Texans are serial vendetta killer-types and preferred such motivational battle-cry. Very much like the present-day Sicilian Mafia or the Mexican drug-cartels.After all they are just land-grabbers battling the original owners, Mexico who had kindly invited them in at an earlier date. They later gave up the Texas Republic idea and invited annexation by the USA.I am just a small-time non-European grunt without the above aspersion. Wed 23 Feb 2011 22:25:51 GMT+1 Jasper http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=70#comment143 It's an aeroplane Mark not a airplane, please use British English on BBC News. Wed 23 Feb 2011 22:23:57 GMT+1 Rather_Be_Cycling http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=69#comment142 106. At 11:32am on 23 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:"If there were Americans alive today who had first hand experience of having THEIR cities bombed or shelled to oblivion, witnessed hundreds of bombers flying overhead, had ballistic and semi-guided missiles (V1 V2) dropped on them, had millions of men slaughtered on their muddy fields, had millions of civilians killed or injured,been occupied and enslaved by totalitarian regimes, or been forced to abandon their homes to become refugees they WOULD think differently about war. "Well, considering that Europe, not the USA, started both World Wars, too right it suffer the consequences! Indeed, the real victims of this were the hapless subject of the Dominions like Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa that got sucked into these things and turned petty European squabbles into world wars.I refuse to be lectured to about war and peace by Europeans if only because I have actually read the history of the Continent over the past 300 years. If there is one common element in it, it's conflict, rivalry, imperialism and WAR. Refined and perfected long before the United States existed. Wed 23 Feb 2011 21:28:13 GMT+1 McJakome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=69#comment141 106. At 11:32am on 23 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote #103 TO chryses:“No you haven't, quietoaktree is right about this one. If there were Americans alive today who had first hand experience of having THEIR cities bombed or shelled to oblivion, witnessed hundreds of bombers flying overhead, had ballistic and semi-guided missiles (V1 V2) dropped on them, had millions of men slaughtered on their muddy fields, had millions of civilians killed or injured, been occupied and enslaved by totalitarian regimes, or been forced to abandon their homes to become refugees they WOULD think differently about war.”I am really surprised that Chryses let you get away with this kind of argument. You make two unprovable assumptions [that Americans WOULD see something in precisely the same way as Europeans, and that they would also react in precisely the same way]. That is highly theoretical, and is then used to render an opinion. The opinion, thus has no real empirically verifiable support, and you are proposing it as a fact.There is enough whining on this blog and elsewhere to the effect that Americans DON’T see things the same way, nor react the same way. Cultural differences are known to render your assumptions invalid. Do you want verifiable proof? The Japanese military believed that striking at Pearl Harbor would scare the Americans and make them back off. Admiral Yamamoto knew better but was overruled. Americans reacted with national fury. Oddly enough, the Japanese attitude toward Americans was rather like the German opinion of the nation of mere shopkeepers on the other side of the channel.Your thesis seems to show the same sort of cultural blindness. Wed 23 Feb 2011 21:26:38 GMT+1 Mirino http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=68#comment140 136, sayasaIn that case one would conclude that you have little sense of objective judgement. If it were only the victors or positive outcomes that determine heroics and noble achievements, history would be a very one-sided and uninteresting record of such gung-ho facts.Sometimes the Indians scored victories in American history, but they were destined to be the eternal losers, in spite of their legendary courage. I don't really regard the Americans as losers of the Vietnam war, yet going by your way of seeing things, they must have been. It thus follows that there were no heroics performed by Americans, according to your logic, in the Vietnam war.Most of the Scottish and the Irish would disagree with you. English legendary heroes such as Nelson would also disagree with you. He would be another example of a loser in your history book, despite all his victories, because they finally got him in the end.If you are only motivated by 'winners' and you were born in Germany in say, 1926, you would have been very badly motivated, as many others also were at that period.People who are motivated by 'winners' are the most vulnerable, simply because they ignore that sometimes one has to lose a battle to win the next. The English and the French learnt this at Dunkirk. They also learnt it in WW1, and in fact such lessons, which come down to humility, were understood throughout the most terrible events of history.In reality Napoleon was in many ways a 'winner' because he redefined Europe and established institutions that consolidated democracy, many of which still exist today. Monuments. What I mean by fighting on the continent regarding WW2 for example, is that geopolitically it's obviously far more complicated than defending an Island or another continent geographically and socially independent. Someone in Alsace Lorraine, for example, would have German friends and vice versa. There were naturally many cases of split loyalties that people had to come to terms with. Many stories that have nothing to do with collaboration, are food for thought. It seems there are still a few grunting Anglo-Saxons that don't have much idea of this reality. Wed 23 Feb 2011 21:24:25 GMT+1 Ad http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=68#comment139 124 IFThere's a lot to play for. Fools rush in...Any new Libyan government would have a large trump card in its hand if it did not have to ride into Tripoli on NATO tanks. In this fraught struggle the enemies of 'the West' (whether Gadaffi-ites, extreme islamists, or whatever) will lose out in the face of a purely Libyan revolution of moderates unaided by 'infidels in camouflage jackets'.NATO and its intelligence/special forces skills would be best employed in counter-intelligence and counter-insurgency operations against Gadaffi-ist etc resistance AFTER the establishment of a new order in Libya, and at the (possibly clandestine) request of the government.But I have said also that in extremis NATO must be prepared to act firmly against Gadaffi's forces to protect foreign nationals. Wed 23 Feb 2011 21:14:22 GMT+1 hms_shannon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=67#comment138 136. At 8:12pm on 23 Feb 2011, sayasay wrote his post,Hmmm,what about the Alamo ?.. Wed 23 Feb 2011 21:03:21 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=67#comment137 More quaint news from Libya:"Another Tripoli resident said: "Anti-government protesters have disappeared. The streets are quiet. There are many, many deaths."The resident also said doctors were reporting gunmen shooting people in hospitals."----------This isn't going to be stopped by UN Resolutions, or by western nations expressing grave concern, or stating that it will not go uninvestigated (at some date years from now), or talking about imposing stiff sanctions.This guy is only going to be stopped by force.I know it's dangerous.But people are dying.Every minute makes it worse.He is consolidating his hold in Tripoli.He is bringing up heavier units.Every minute wasted makes it worse.This is a rag-tag bully.48 hours ago, a platoon of paratroopers could have pushed him out. Now it would take three or four companies, maybe a bit more.The day after tomorrow it may take a brigade.In situations like this, time is critical. Wed 23 Feb 2011 20:42:45 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=66#comment136 Sad note for all DW fansNicholas Courtney" the Brigadier" has died. Wed 23 Feb 2011 20:41:02 GMT+1 sayasay http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=66#comment135 122, NostranoI still think defeats do devalue heroics of the vanquished, but in all honestly, any soldier citing a scenario of defeat as positive reinforcement is not very smart.Is this what you meant in your “Fighting on the European continent is vastly different from defending an Island, or defending an enormous continent on the other side of the Atlantic.”?Losers belong on the wrong side of history. Whether as winning French soldiers in Narvik battles of no relevance or ideologically laden Italian communist cadres with light gun-power or as frozen pontonniers doing only their mundane duty of building much fewer bridges for an already decimated Grand Armee.The rest of us, non-European ordinary grunt, only look to winners to motivate us to victory. Wed 23 Feb 2011 20:12:35 GMT+1 champagne_charlie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=65#comment134 #130oldloadr;"particularly the RAF since I have worked side by side with RAF airmen on some interesting missions and have the utmost respect for them."Oh really, well that must explain why in one of your previous posts you referred to the RAF as being too "AFRAID to fly in daylight". Or that you think Brits are "risk averse", "nervous most of the time", "timid", "good at finding the least dangerous place to be". All euphamisms for cowardice. In fact I think I went through more anti-British posts than anyone I've ever seen on the blog. (Sorry quietoaktree, someone stole your crown) You know what you can do with your "utmost respect" and your patronising faux apologies. Wed 23 Feb 2011 19:54:11 GMT+1 hms_shannon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=65#comment133 130. At 6:53pm on 23 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote his post,How can you pin events that you did not experience on others who were notborn,you remind me of Gaddafi & he`s as nutty as a fruit cake... Wed 23 Feb 2011 19:42:34 GMT+1 Mirino http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=64#comment132 To Oldloadr (130)The Irish never forget. They also learn from History. On the other hand the Orange-day marchers don't seem to have ever learnt anything. Maybe if they knew that they were celebrating one of the most shameful events in the history of England and Ireland, they would seriously consider turning the page to put an end to the futile, annual provocation thus allowing the victims to stop turning in their graves. Then they could go to the local and buy a round of Guinness's to everyone in the public bar, whatever their religion. Wed 23 Feb 2011 19:40:50 GMT+1 champagne_charlie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=64#comment131 #130oldloadr;Just what is the monthly record for mentioning "potato famine"? You are upto 6 for February, but then it is a short month. Perhaps 10 in March?(By the way, my ancestors were in Gujurat in 1850 so dont pin that one on me) Wed 23 Feb 2011 19:33:26 GMT+1 Bro_Winky http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=63#comment130 Re 124 InterestedforeignerI understand your concern regarding the bloodshed in Libya, but I'm a bit more cautious about Western involvement, especially direct military action. After decades of interference, any direct Western action, even with the best of intentions, could delegitimize these revolts. Other regional tyrants could use the situation, where direct Western military involvement was attempted, to their personal advantage. They could deflect attention and blame by claiming that these genuine people's uprisings were in fact a Western ploy to destabilize and subjugate their territories. This, and any collateral damage resulting from foreign military action, could sow doubt among the people and reduce local support for the protesters and their cause. As much as the idea of Western forces coming to the aid of a grateful local population is appealing, short of sanctions or a no fly zone, direct intervention would be incredibly risky. The entire situation is atrocious, to say the least. Wed 23 Feb 2011 19:12:15 GMT+1 Oldloadr http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=63#comment129 113. At 2:00pm on 23 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:#110oldloadr;"However, I understand how traumatic events can shape a national psyche, just go to a supermarket in Ireland and look at the number of varieties of potatoes."Childish and irrelevant. _______________________________________________________________I realize you may have felt insulted by my remarks on other threads. Even though I was trying to draw, what I felt were legitimate comparisons, I obviously fell short in my communications skills so I would like to apologize for insulting your national esteem and your military forces of whatever generation, particularly the RAF since I have worked side by side with RAF airmen on some interesting missions and have the utmost respect for them.Now, for you to say that my reference to the varieties of potatoes on sale in an Irish supermarket is irrelevant shows an amazing lack of understanding of a situation that your forebears caused that cost thousands of lives. In case you didn’t know, the Potato Famine was caused by 3 main input factors.1. The British (that would be you all) occupied Ireland in the 13th century.2. The Irish tenant farmers were required to send all of their produce to England by their English task-masters, except the potatoes. 3. At the time of the potato famine, there was only one breed of potato in Ireland and it was susceptible to a blight that showed up in 1845 and lasted until 1852.Therefore, as much as your English like to run from you past sins; it is relevant and far from childish because, you see that blight only effected one breed of potato. If the Irish peons had had one more breed to plant, there might have been no famine. Therefore, the Irish (who still love their “spuds”) will never be caught with just one breed again; even though they finally got rid of you Brits. So your see that was the point about national psyche and past trauma. Do you get it now? Wed 23 Feb 2011 18:53:22 GMT+1 champagne_charlie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=62#comment128 #128#123ukwales;malkavaIts not about just talking to old soldiers , the Americans can do that just as well as any European. My post, before it was extrapolated way beyond what i was actually saying by Malkava was primarily referring to the experience of civilians and the cities they inhabited. After 50 years in Europe, especially working with a charity in the 70's and 80's ,I must have spoken with hundreds of civilians from European countries who were made homeless, evacuated, bombed, shelled, lost loved ones, orphaned,invaded, occupied, tortured, raped, sleeping in shelters and subways , short of food/water/power etc etc.Many of those people are still alive today and if you think that their combined experiences dont affect the way Europeans think about war you are grossly mistaken. That doesnt mean Europeans have "intrinsic knowledge" nor is it any guarantee that there will no more future wars, nor does it mean that it will last forever, once the WW2 generation are all gone. I never said that.Show me an American civilian who has experienced what these people did and I will accept the derogatory claims of delusion and absurdity. Its a bold claim of malkava's - human beings are inevitably changed by the dreadful experiences they have had. Wed 23 Feb 2011 18:39:14 GMT+1 hms_shannon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=62#comment127 123. At 5:06pm on 23 Feb 2011, Malkava wrote his post.I read 123 twice,I under stand your point & as a point of fact you are correct.How can one under stand if you did not actually experience thatactual event,you can not.But by listening to them that experienced long ago events one can try to understand.Here in Pembrokshire old soldiers try to explain the sacrifice of others in schools,it does bring results,as I hope the link below will testify.Why would this young lass,on her own effort do this, if her imagination was not primed. http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/southwest/sites/local_history/pages/tiffany_factfile.shtml Wed 23 Feb 2011 18:13:28 GMT+1 chronophobe http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=61#comment126 re: 88 Curt CI'm a great fan of Kipling (political incorrectness and all), but think the United States as a nation could learn more to its benefit from the poetry of Wilfred Owen and Sigfried Sassoon. A little Sassoon for the afternoon. I think the last stanza is particularly germane to the topic at hand: I knew a simple soldier boy.....Who grinned at life in empty joy,Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,And whistled early with the lark.In winter trenches, cowed and glum,With crumps and lice and lack of rum,He put a bullet through his brain.And no one spoke of him again.You smug-faced crowds with kindling eyeWho cheer when soldier lads march by,Sneak home and pray you'll never knowThe hell where youth and laughter go. Wed 23 Feb 2011 18:12:50 GMT+1 Mirino http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=61#comment125 To Interestedforeigner (123)I've read the report too. It's awful. We would all like to go along with your way of thinking but is it as easy as that? Any incursion should be representative, not of one nation- which would risk to become the post-operation scapegoat- but of as many as possible, which is what the UN is supposed to be about. God knows why they have to wait until Friday just to start talking about it. Senseless. They should already have contacted the madman to offer UN forces to help sort things out and monitor. Gaddafi would refuse, then he could be immediately informed re. imminent charges of crimes against humanity. If he still doesn't budge then Nato could go in and arrest him and his henchmen. Why not? Wed 23 Feb 2011 18:01:01 GMT+1 Mirino http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=60#comment124 To Malkava (123)I agree, but in principle we should learn from history in order not to repeat what should never be repeated. Is it human nature that prevents us from advancing without repeating the mistakes of the past? It seems to me that nothing, for example, has been learnt from the serious mistakes that have been made in Afghanistan. Principally because no one in any responsible position is admitting to any mistakes ever being made. Consequently, Nato seems to be bogged down there and is quizzically casting an uneasy glance about itself, not sure what procedure would be best to order to continue heroically, or just call it a day. Wed 23 Feb 2011 17:38:37 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=60#comment123 121. At 4:47pm on 23 Feb 2011, Ad wrote:"But I still hold to my point that unless the lives of foreign nationals are directly threatened by Ghadaffi supporters then NATO should hold off for the time being."----------What does that gain anybody?All it does is give this madman more time to massacre civilians:“1408: Gerard Buffet, a French doctor who returned to France on Monday after working in Benghazi, believes the death toll is at least 2,000. Speaking to Le Point magazine, he described a war zone: "In Benghazi, there were snipers everywhere. I wound up flat on my stomach in the streets, it was real carnage. I resuscitated one of my 6th-year med students: he had taken a bullet in the head, which had come out through his mouth."”----------All it does is give the madman time to send his navy to bombard Benghazi. Which group should we now be recognizing as a legitimate government? The madman, or the people of Benghazi?“1635: New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof tweets: "#Libya military officer tells me 3 naval ships ordered to sail to Benghazi to attack it. Crew torn about what to do."”----------All it does is give the madman more time to send his airforce to bomb liberated areas of the country:“1710: The BBC's Jon Leyne is in eastern Libya. He's been to one of the areas main military bases: "We've been shown footage and heard eyewitnesses accounts of the government bombing the area from the air, and attacking protesters from helicopters."”----------The parts of the country that are in chaos are the parts of the country where the madman's paid thugs are running around inflicting indiscriminate violence. There is no law, and no government worthy of the name in these locations:1526: More from the BBC's Paul Danahar on the Egypt-Libya border: "I just spoke to a group of 40 Egyptians and Tunisians who'd been building a hospital in Zuara on the Libyan coast. They fled after hearing Col Gaddafi's speech, which accused foreigners of being behind the uprising. They said they believed the army and militias control all the areas between the border at Ras Adjir and Tripoli. They said they had to cross many checkpoints on their way out. “1358: Othman Darhobi in Tripoli tweets: "#Libya #Tripoli blood donors at Tajura hospital R turned away at gun point by #Gaddafi thugs "”“1351: We're getting information from the BBC's Paul Danahar who is at the Ras Adjir border crossing between Libya and Tunisia. "One man, a Tunisian, who just crossed over from Libya said there was no law inside. God help them he said," he says. “----------There is, however, civil order in the areas that are now clear of the old regime.There are not more than small, isolated pockets of the country in which the madman still holds sway. Should we wait while he re-establishes his reign of terror? Should we talk until it is too late to do anything useful?Very small forces would be required to end this nightmare.While my preference for the work that needs to be done would be the British Army, because it's the best there is, anywhere, at this kind of work, there are a dozen countries with more than adequate forces, most of them close at hand, any of them perfectly capable of doing the job. What does waiting gain anybody, other than more dead to bury?----------I might add that there is an humanitarian disaster waiting to happen at Tripoli airport. There are a large number of expatriates whose lives and safety are in danger. As long as they are there, (in a chaotic throng, without food, water, or sanitation, I might add) they are effectively hostages.Again, the steps required to stabilize that situation are not difficult, and can be implemented relatively easily, provided people know what they're doing, and act with purpose and despatch.The longer people wait, the more people are going to die.Needlessly.----------And, lastly, it permits people to destroy evidence. Here’s a little nugget:1554: BBC Arabic are reporting that former Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Abdul Jalil - who has resigned during the unrest - has told a Swedish newspaper that he has evidence Colonel Gaddafi personally ordered the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988, which killed 270 people.Get off the pot,get it done. Wed 23 Feb 2011 17:35:32 GMT+1 Malkava http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=59#comment122 #106 champagne_charlie"No you haven't, quietoaktree is right about this one.If there were Americans alive today who had first hand experience of having THEIR cities bombed or shelled to oblivion.....they WOULD think differently about war." Honestly, if you believe that Europeans have an intrinsic knowledge of the devastating consequences of war, and have somehow developed an evolved perception of war, you must surely be deluding yourself. This is all soley based on the fact that there are surviving members who have lived during the events of which you speak of? Your reasoning is that their stories will somehow forever alter the perceptions of war to future generations of Europeans? That's a stretch, and I'm certain you know it.By extension, wouldn't it have been feasible that the generation before them - or even the generation before that would have done the very same thing? You said so yourself, there are scores of memorials in Europe dedicated to both soldier and civilian alike in wars long since past - centuries even. Now, ask yourself, has any of the above put a stop to any wars or additional bloodshed from occurring on European soil? I would hesitate before making such declarations.The fact of the matter is, that once those who have first-hand experience have died off, the new generation will have absolutely no concept of such experiences. To exclaim otherwise is nigh absurd to me. Wed 23 Feb 2011 17:06:30 GMT+1 Mirino http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=59#comment121 (114) To saysayIt's easy to refer to a single case related by a few people from a one off experience. In any case the French then knew that their days were numbered in Vietnam, as other nations knew when it was time to decolonize and pull out. It's in the order of things. Similar to the Italian spirit when they were forced into fighting a war they didn't believe in because of their idiotic fascist regime. But watch them when they fight for a cause they do believe in. In any case, courage isn't only measured by performance in war. It can also be measured by how one lives one's life, how one defends what one believes in, more often than not to one's professional detriment, but what's more important finally?Circumstances can make a man a hero one day, and the same man a coward the next. Steven Speilberg obviously knew this and illustrated it perfectly in his 'Find Soldier Ryan' film.What I meant by history would be in referring to epic episodes such as the Napoleonic wars for example. When Napoleon was forced to retreat from Moscow. The remnants of his Grande Armée was saved by his pontonniers, who up to their necks in freezing water built or repaired the low bridges that crossed the rivers such the Bérézina. None of them survived. But heroic acts are only recorded by victories, and never by defeats. No doubt there were heroic actions carried out by the many Italians who were brave enough to persuade themselves that they should go to Spain and fight Franco who was supported by Germany prior to WW2. That was when the ideal of Communism seemed to make some sense, before it was transformed from a Utopia into another monster that was destined to destroy itself, and millions of others in the process.Another example is Narvik. Who knows anything about the victory of the French in Norway in 1941? Again in extreme conditions and badly equipped, they managed to drag themselves up slopes covered in two meters of snow in temperatures at sometimes -20 ° and route the German machine gunners above them and retake the strategic valuable town, the gate-way to the Iron-ore fields of Sweden. After this victory they were in a position to continue and perhaps even free all of Norway, but they were ordered to evacuate, because at the same time Paris had been forced to capitulate. The terrible ironies and circumstances of war. Fighting on the European continent is vastly different from defending an Island, or defending an enormous continent on the other side of the Atlantic. Wed 23 Feb 2011 16:52:15 GMT+1 Ad http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=58#comment120 120I should add to my 118 a contradiction. Apparently some anti-Ghadaffi Libyans are amazed that the USA has not already been bombing Ghadaffi's positions! And they would welcome any such action in support of their revolution. But I still hold to my point that unless the lives of foreign nationals are directly threatened by Ghadaffi supporters then NATO should hold off for the time being. Wed 23 Feb 2011 16:47:04 GMT+1 BuckyOHare http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=58#comment119 LucyJ @ 117"How can we trust what the Pakistanis have said?I don't believe it unless I see the evidence...B/c they can swing or sway the story a certain way if so desired and unless hte evidence is shown and provided, there's no way to have absolute proof..."That's what courts of law are for. This chap has admitted the shooting (out of self defence) and should therefore stand trial enabling the information to be presented in a public forum. Or are you saying that this shouldn't happen because the Pakistanis are untrustworthy? Wed 23 Feb 2011 16:44:09 GMT+1 mariein http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=57#comment118 Re #3:Saying that peace is no longer in our language is such a verbal frontal insult. Don’t you all know? Why even engage such a comment? But I’m finally getting it: whether for propaganda, to instigate an argument, or due to honest naivety, that is just the way quietoaktree talks. It can’t be good for his ideal of peace.--------------One consolation to me after reading this thread is: I now believe this to be a smaller goldfish bowl than I originally thought.--------------If it can mean anything to you, Real Peace To You Today, from even an American in the 21st century. Wed 23 Feb 2011 16:35:15 GMT+1 Ad http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=57#comment117 Coming in late on this lot - have been working (I seem to work more now I'm retired than I did when I was working, if you get my drift!)Very interesting and thought-provoking article by Mark and a good debate - haven't read it all.It is a paradox: even the most powerful nations are not always able to intervene in crises. The US 5th Fleet is no doubt monitoring what is happening in Libya. But what would be said, and how badly would the US's relationships with oil-rich Middle Eastern & N African states be affected, if they took immediate - and ill-considered - military action. If house-to-house fighting were to lead to US/NATO-caused civilian casualties, what then? No - this is a Libyan crisis for Libyans to solve unless foreign nationals are threatened directly.For instance, at present 300-odd oil workers of numerous nationities are holed-up in one desert camp begging to be evacuated. If the Libyan 'authorities' (for want of a better word) can not guarantee their safety then that would indeed be a case for limited military intervention, by whatever NATO forces are in the region.I could see a new Libyan government eventually asking for peace-keeping troops from outside, to help stabilise their situation. Pro-Ghadafi forces could be around for a long time if only as terrorists. They're a bloodthirsty bunch.Meanwhile it's Libya for the Libyans and pray for a rapid resolution. Wed 23 Feb 2011 16:33:55 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=56#comment116 Bucky: Not at all. How can you construe that from what I said above? I merely hinted that there is much more to this case than meets the eye.----------How can we trust what the Pakistanis have said?I don't believe it unless I see the evidence...B/c they can swing or sway the story a certain way if so desired and unless hte evidence is shown and provided, there's no way to have absolute proof... Wed 23 Feb 2011 15:34:19 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=56#comment115 oldloadr: 1. The people already voted when they took control of the legislature away from the Dems and overwhelmingly elected a GOP gov. as well. The GOP’s promise was to real in public spending.2. The legislation only applies to union member working for the state and municipal governments. Private industry is not affected. Most states are in the red due to (among other things) overly generous packages for state employees in the past that can no longer be sustained.----------I also voted for Repubs last election, but I am against banning unions...So the only way for them to reel in spending is by banning unions and workers rights to negociate worker conditions?There's a lot of ppl working for the state, this is esp. going to hit teachers, colleges and social services very hard...I guess it just confuses me b/c why are they banning unions after they voted yes for tax breaks for rich and corps?If we have enough money for the corps and rich to have tax breaks, why don't we have enough for workers rights in workplace?Regardless of ppl's opinions for or against, the ppl of Wisconsin deserve the right to have media coverage, yet they seem to be getting mostly ignored by media... Wed 23 Feb 2011 15:28:35 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=55#comment114 Hero: Yes, americans have a weird and creepy obssession with war and patrioism. Do we need three reports to tell us what we've always known? Do we need one?------------So loving your country is considered 'weird and creepy'?Does this mean you consider every person, European, American or otherwise, who loves their country 'weird and creepy'?What about Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles>?Now there's a lot of things I can call weird and creepy but simple, honest and earnest patriotism is not one of them...What about 'loyal and steadfast' instead?Anyway, it doesn't matter b/c our patriotism is not going anywhere soon! Perhaps its simply time for Europeans to accept that many Americans are highly patriotic and that it and we are here to stay! :) Wed 23 Feb 2011 15:21:31 GMT+1 sayasay http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=55#comment113 108. Nostrano wrote:“And those who doubt this only reveal their own lack of historical knowledge.”You are wrong. My father and uncles who fought for Indonesia’s Independence used war history to stiffen themselves in battle with the Dutch. For encouragement, they tell themselves since their fellow Asians, the Japanese did beat the Europeans; so could they.In the Malaysian Confrontation, my uncle’s unit faced the Royal Green Jackets, stationed across border in Malaysian Borneo. He always reminded the men that the French got whacked at Dien Bien Phu; they only need to emulate the Vietnamese in courage and determination and they would prevail.History's lessons do make good morale boosters. Wed 23 Feb 2011 14:36:17 GMT+1 champagne_charlie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=54#comment112 #110oldloadr;"However, I understand how traumatic events can shape a national psyche, just go to a supermarket in Ireland and look at the number of varieties of potatoes."Childish and irrelevant. Wed 23 Feb 2011 14:00:12 GMT+1 HabitualHero http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=54#comment111 "In the first of three special reports on the US military for BBC Radio Four's Today programme I have been looking at how the American people's high regard for their military might constrain president Obama's foreign policy."Yes, americans have a weird and creepy obssession with war and patrioism. Do we need three reports to tell us what we've always known? Do we need one?And look, we had only to wait until #7 for a mention of WW2 - is this a record? Wed 23 Feb 2011 13:47:02 GMT+1 hms_shannon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=53#comment110 106. At 11:32am on 23 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote his post,You have touched on a subject that is very close to my heart.Even in thisquiet neck of the woods hot action & tragic out come was the norm.So manyincidents that I could easily become a war bore.Pembroke dock was bombedmany times,with the oil storage tanks burning for weeks,5 fire men standing on top of one of the tanks lost their lives as the tank top fell in to the inferno.So many a/c came down around here that its impossible to list them including a flying fortress that ploughed through my grand fathers fieldskilling its pilot.My mother was one of the first at the crash & was asked by the surviving crew not to go any further,she remembers the first hearing of an American accent,that & belts & belts of ammunition that was thrown out to lighten the A/C before impact.In every town & village in Wales is an memorial to the local lads who gave their existence on this earth, for our freedom.But we must not forget the many thousands from the Republic of Ireland although their home land was not involved, did voluntarily enlist to fight & help.. Wed 23 Feb 2011 13:27:28 GMT+1 Oldloadr http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=53#comment109 106. At 11:32am on 23 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:Europeans have a VASTLY superior knowledge of the devastating effects of war on their countries, because there are millions of European civilians still alive today who were there and remember it , its in our literature and art ,and because ALL our major towns and cities still bear the memorials and the preserved bombed out buildings to serve as a reminder.______________________________________________________________2 things:1. You have no one of military age that was born before the Marshal plan was deployed. Therefore, as far as your military personnel, their knowledge is no less abstract than someone who grew up in a US battle ground state listening to the stories passed on from generation to generation (in my case, my grandmother told me what her grandmother told her about the marauding Yankee army). And yes, that is abstract, even after visiting Shiloh, Ft. Sumter and Lookout Mountain; just as it would be for anybody that was not born when these epic battles took place. Of course, if you are aware of the history and you look around Columbia SC, which as a city is 200 years old, but you will find no edifice built before 1865. However, I understand how traumatic events can shape a national psyche, just go to a supermarket in Ireland and look at the number of varieties of potatoes.2. On the national psyche, as I stated before (and a few others have joined in), most Americans just seem to respond the opposite than Europeans, which was the point Oaktree and I were debating at 7, 59 and 93. Wed 23 Feb 2011 13:21:13 GMT+1 BuckyOHare http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=52#comment108 Scott0962 @ 70"OK, for the sake of argument let's say we give active support to the protestors in Libya to overthrow their government. After all, no one likes Gaddaffi and few people outside his circle of cronies would be sad to see him gone but...what message does that send to our allies in places like Riyadh, Amman, Dubai, Bahrein, etc. where the local government is pro-western (or at least not anti-western) but still not a democracy by our standards?"The message it sends to all these nations, sort out your own internal disputes but we will not stand by and watch you massacre your own people. Whats wrong with that? Especially when the Lybian ambassador to the UN has already requested a no-fly zone?"Also, we're still cleaning up after the last Middle Eastern dictatorship we overthrew, you're not going to find much enthusiasm now in the U.S. or the UK for another such adventure in Libya."No one is suggesting we go on another 'adventure'. British war planes are already stationed in Cyprus and many more visit Gibraltar regularly for exercises. These could be used (in conjunction with mid air refuelling) to enforce any no-fly zone.We could also involve more 'neutral' nations, Turkey, Egypt etc.I understand what your saying and I dont entirely disagree - but after the shame of Rwanda and former Yugoslavia (where 'we' said we would never let it happen again) we must do something. To condemn from afar will make no difference whatsoever.Also conside the knock-on effects. Many people in the Muslim/Arab world consider us (the West) to be at war with Muslims. WHat a great example it would be that we are not, if we were able to protect these very people and enable them to obtain the freedom and justice they want and deserve. Wed 23 Feb 2011 13:15:48 GMT+1 Mirino http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=52#comment107 The Americans could certainly give Europeans lessons about the horrors of civil war. Maybe the War of Independence was no big deal in comparison. Any British commander who encourages neat lines of foot soldiers wearing bright red to march against hidden withering rifle fire and canon, couldn't have caused much terror amongst the American ranks.But Europe still hadn't twigged. It took the Great War to finally ram the muddy, bloody message home.But this petty war between Anglo-Saxons is ridiculous. America is basically Europe's baby. The toll the Americans paid on D-day more than spells out their own enormous effort and sacrifice in contributing to liberate France. It's just as futile to keep making snide remarks about French courage. They don't have anything to prove in this respect either. Nor do the Italians. And those who doubt this only reveal their own lack of historical knowledge. Wed 23 Feb 2011 13:06:09 GMT+1 PartTimeDon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=51#comment106 Ref# 98 Oldloadr1. The people already voted when they took control of the legislature away from the Dems and overwhelmingly elected a GOP gov. as well. The GOP’s promise was to real in public spending.--While this is true, the removal of collective bargaining rights is well beyond that mandate. The same end could be acheived in any other number of ways that would impact the whole population and not just victimise blue collar workers.__________2. The legislation only applies to union member working for the state and municipal governments. Private industry is not affected. Most states are in the red due to (among other things) overly generous packages for state employees in the past that can no longer be sustained. __Lets leave aside your decison to parrot the completely unsubstatiated idea that state employee packages are the primary problem here.The state overspent and that is the fault of the legislature - nobody else. Unions have recognised the need for cutbacks in their compensation packages and are willing to bargain. If there's not enough money, then that should be dealt with during negotiations. Taking collective bargaining rights away is ideologically based naked opportunism designed to render unions all but irrelevant and force blue collar workers to shoulder the brunt of the cuts.There needs to be a balance between workers rights and employers rights. If that swings too far in one direction then a correction should be made. This is not a correction. Instead it is tantamount to class warfare. Wed 23 Feb 2011 13:04:30 GMT+1 champagne_charlie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=51#comment105 #103chryses;"I have shown that quietoaktree’s proposition, that of the Europeans’ “greater” knowledge of war, is flawed."No you haven't, quietoaktree is right about this one. If there were Americans alive today who had first hand experience of having THEIR cities bombed or shelled to oblivion, witnessed hundreds of bombers flying overhead, had ballistic and semi-guided missiles (V1 V2) dropped on them, had millions of men slaughtered on their muddy fields, had millions of civilians killed or injured,been occupied and enslaved by totalitarian regimes, or been forced to abandon their homes to become refugees they WOULD think differently about war. Europeans have a VASTLY superior knowledge of the devastating effects of war on their countries, because there are millions of European civilians still alive today who were there and remember it , its in our literature and art ,and because ALL our major towns and cities still bear the memorials and the preserved bombed out buildings to serve as a reminder.http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/2673641http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coventry_Cathedral_ruins.jpgAmericans have vast experience of taking war to other peoples countries, sometimes for the very best of reasons, sometimes not. They have NO experience of what its like to be on the receiving end. Be thankful for that. Wed 23 Feb 2011 11:32:50 GMT+1 BuckyOHare http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/02/fort_bragg_north_carolina.html?page=50#comment104 LucyJ @ 46"Bucky: The two chaps who were shot were shot in the back (whilst running away) and the two pistols were found with no bullets in the chamber (meaning they were not ready to be fired).-------------So if a robber is pointing a gun at you, how are you supposed to know if its loaded or not?And even if someone wiht gun is running away from you, don't you realize they can still shoot you whilst runnign away?------------"Lucy, the US citizen in question states in his defence that he acted under self defence, he claims that he had a pistol pointed at his head and cocked - thats not possible with the models of weapon involved unless there is a round in the chamber. Now, unless the to "accused robbers" had the time to run off, take the round out of the chamber and then reload it into the magazine before being shot then its extremely unlikely that the US citizens account is 100% accurate.Ragarding your second point - the US citizen claims he acted in self defence in fear of his life. Self defence is when you are in grave fear of your life. Would an ex-special forces soldier fear for his life post mugging with his attackers running away? I doubt that. -----------Yes, but didn't they say they did not allow diplomats to carry weapons?How was he supposed to protect himself?Would you want a weapon to protect yourself in a hostile country?----------Diplomats and embassy guards are allowed to carry weapons on their consulate grounds. Any foreigner carrying a weapon on the streets needs to notify the authorities. This guy didnt. Its irrelavant whether he felt safe or not. Laws are laws, he should abide by them when in a different country. No ifs, no buts. Ignorance of local laws is no excuse in a court of law.----------Bucky: He was also supported by another vehicle within minutes of the alledged attack taking place, something that would not be possible had the vehicle not been right by his side when the episode took place.--------So are you trying to justify robbery at gunpoint?---------Not at all. How can you construe that from what I said above? I merely hinted that there is much more to this case than meets the eye.The link to this news piece is:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12491288 Wed 23 Feb 2011 11:26:48 GMT+1