The Secret War in Laos Wasn’t a Secret to Laotians

This Glenn Greenwald piece about the helicopter attack in Iraq contains something that always sort of drives me insane about Americans and our concept of ourselves in the world:

The WikiLeaks video is not an indictment of the individual soldiers involved — at least not primarily. Of course those who aren’t accustomed to such sentiments are shocked by the callous and sadistic satisfaction those soldiers seem to take in slaughtering those whom they perceive as The Enemy (even when unarmed and crawling on the ground with mortal wounds), but this is what they’re taught and trained and told to do. If you take even well-intentioned, young soldiers and stick them in the middle of a dangerous war zone for years and train them to think and act this way, this will inevitably be the result. The video is an indictment of the U.S. government and the war policies it pursues.

All of this is usually kept from us. Unlike those in the Muslim world, who are shown these realities quite frequently by their free press, we don’t usually see what is done by us. We stay blissfully insulated from it, so that in those rare instances when we’re graphically exposed to it, we can tell ourselves that it’s all very unusual and rare. That’s how we collectively dismissed the Abu Ghraib photos, and it’s why the Obama administration took such extraordinary steps to suppress all the rest of the torture photos: because further disclosure would have revealed that behavior to be standard and common, not at all unusual or extraordinary.

We’re like the little kid playing hide and seek who stands behind a thin tree and thinks that just because he can’t see us because the tree is blocking his vision, we can’t see him. Remember when the wingnuts were going after Michael Isikoff for an off-hand remark about the desecration of a Koran at Gitmo- because as we know, everyone in the Middle East gets all their information from Newsweek- otherwise they would NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS hear about it! Or the lunatic attacks on Scott Beauchamp, because if the New Republic hadn’t published it, no one in the middle east would ever think that American troops would run over a dog!

They don’t learn about this stuff because of the American press. They learn about it because an American helicopter just lit up their next door neighbor and his girls with a 30mm chain gun because he stopped to pick up a bleeding photographer and help him. They learn it because it was their son or their nephew who was whisked away to Abu Ghraib and sexually humiliated and threatened by dogs.

It’s crazy, really, how myopic we are. But I guess it is easier than facing the truth. What’s on tv tonight, btw?






188 replies
  1. 1
    AhabTRuler says:

    Yup, we are pretty much frickin’ morons.

    ETA: And what happened to my census thread? Huh, bub?

  2. 2
    FlipYrWhig says:

    it’s why the Obama administration took such extraordinary steps to suppress all the rest of the torture photos: because further disclosure would have revealed that behavior to be standard and common, not at all unusual or extraordinary.

    ISTR that the reason why the Obama administration took steps to suppress the torture photos was because the military put up a big stink about it. Not because the president thought it would spare our tender fee-fees.

  3. 3
    scav says:

    AhabTRuler @ 1
    and simply stunned, absolutely Stunned! when everyone doesn’t accept us at our own estimation once we leave the borders.

  4. 4
    John Cole says:

    You mean this census thread from THREE DAYS AGO?

  5. 5
  6. 6

    Damn, the Apocalypse must be nigh. I agree fully with GG’s take and am highly impressed with his analysis of the big picture, rather than focusing on individual soldiers put in insane situations that turn them into callous killers, sometimes.

    It’s crazy, really, how myopic we are. But I guess it is easier than facing the truth. What’s on tv tonight, btw?

    Ha,. perfect metaphor. And if we don’t reinstate a draft and make the general public part of the war machine with skin in the game, shit like Iraq will happen all over again, and blissfully ignorant murricans will just tune into American Idol until their soul rots from the inside out.

  7. 7
    Maude says:

    For the Bushites it was hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

  8. 8
    AhabTRuler says:

    @scav: Yup. And this is where Chuck B. hit it dead on the other day: go find a wailing mother, sister, child, &c., and explain to them that it’s really OK because you didn’t support the war anyway. Funny that the inability to tell the individual from the collective goes both ways.

  9. 9
    Rhoda says:

    It’s crazy, really, how myopic we are. But I guess it is easier than facing the truth.

    Is it really true, through, if we don’t face it?

    That’s pretty much the whole idea: if we hear no evil, speak no evil, or speak no evil then what the fuck are these towel heads going on about?

    Like that Congressman who can’t produce video of anyone spitting at him (what video we’ve seen was probably doctored).

    What’s on tv tonight, btw?

    The Good Wife

  10. 10
    ThresherK says:

    We’re like the little kid playing hide and seek who stands behind a thin tree and thinks that just because he can’t see us because the tree is blocking his vision, we can’t see him.

    “I can’t see you, therefore I am invisible.”

    My cat plays a mean game of that.

  11. 11

    For the Bushites it was hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

    And the call for the country to pitch in? Shop till you drop.

  12. 12
    Drive By Wisdom says:

    If we hated them like they hate us, there would be a lot less trouble.

  13. 13
    AhabTRuler says:

    @John Cole: Holy shit, I completely missed that.

    OK then, I am changing my complaint: There are too many states posts, please eliminate three.

  14. 14
    Mike in NC says:

    ‘Justified’ is on tonight.

  15. 15
    Josh Huaco says:

    The arrows you click on to comment on others’ comments are missing in my browser. Is there a technical glitch, or did I get banned from using this feature?

  16. 16
    Keith G says:

    What’s on tv tonight, btw?

    NCIS. Hee hee.

  17. 17
    mai naem says:

    I wish every American was required to live outside the US even just for six months during their late teens/early thirties. It would change Americans’ attitudes towards other countries.

  18. 18
    Violet says:

    Our press: Bread and Circuses.

  19. 19
    qwerty42 says:

    …And if we don’t reinstate a draft and make the general public part of the war machine with skin in the game, shit like Iraq will happen all over again…

    When McCain and Kyl feel the Obama administration has been insufficiently confrontational with Iran and North Korea and there are a host of lunatics and chickenhawks anxious for a war with Iran or someone, I begin to believe we will not be able to have a sane foreign policy until the draft has been reinstated.

  20. 20
    El Cid says:

    Hell, our billion dollar newspapers act like they can’t fucking hire someone to read the Spanish- and Portugues-language papers in our own hemisphere.

    Some giant story will break out in some Latin American nation, their press either covers it or maybe even originated it through investigation, the U.S. press instead covers none of it or other bullshit silly issues about the country in question, and, maybe, if you’re lucky, 6 months later write a patronizing article friendly to right wing perspectives and acting like those little brown journalists down there weren’t worth quoting.

  21. 21
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Josh Huaco: John updated the site, and if you’ve ever seen John “quit blogging,” the results were similarly effective. Bye-bye linky arrow!

  22. 22
    D0n Camillo says:

    If we hated them like they hate us, there would be a lot less trouble.

    If they were going around in helicopters lighting our neighborhoods up like in that video, we probably would start to hate them more than we do now.

  23. 23
    scav says:

    AhabTRuler @ 8: I’m actually usually pretty impressed about how well the people I meet do seem to manage treating me as an individual and not the collective. ‘f course, I don’t faint away at what criticism there is, attempt to be polite in wretchedly bad attempts at the local vernacular, and I haven’t yet gone to many recent or active war zones.

    EDIT: Oh. And it takes Time.

  24. 24
    slightly_peeved says:

    Unlike those in the rest of the world, who are shown these realities quite frequently by their competent press, we don’t usually see what is done by us.

    Fixed. Our papers and news broadcasts have decent international news sections. And we watch the BBC more often.

  25. 25
    Martin says:

    When McCain and Kyl feel the Obama administration has been insufficiently confrontational with Iran and North Korea and there are a host of lunatics and chickenhawks anxious for a war with Iran or someone, I begin to believe we will not be able to have a sane foreign policy until the draft has been reinstated.

    You think video of McCain riding a nuke down as it falls on North Korea is really going to change anything?

  26. 26
    Bnut says:

    I very much would like to know how this would play out if it were a British chopper supporting British troops. Or Polish, or whoever.

  27. 27
    Mnemosyne says:

    Damn, the Apocalypse must be nigh. I agree fully with GG’s take and am highly impressed with his analysis of the big picture, rather than focusing on individual soldiers put in insane situations that turn them into callous killers, sometimes.

    It’s Greenwald doing what he actually does best — analyzing and assembling actual facts that aren’t really open to interpretation.

    Where he falls down is when he tries to interpret said facts and impute motives to people because he starts spinning off into crazy conspiracy land where Obama is all-powerful and the only possible reason someone would disagree with his interpretation is because they’re Against Him.

  28. 28
  29. 29

    @El Cid: Yes. That is why I read Al Giordano at narcosphere.com on a regular basis. They do a good job of covering the rest of the Americas. Sadly what they report rarely gets any establishment media attention.

  30. 30

    […] in Bush Administration, Daily life, Iraq War, Military at 4:00 pm by LeisureGuy John Cole at Balloon Juice: This Glenn Greenwald piece about the helicopter attack in Iraq contains something that always sort […]

  31. 31
    Martin says:

    Yup. agreed.

    Count me in as well.

  32. 32
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @Josh Huaco:

    To access that feature you have to pay John for the Platinum BJ Membership.

  33. 33
    scav says:

    What IS it with these earthquakes. 7.8 Sumatra, Indonesia.

  34. 34
    Carrie says:

    My son leaves for basic training in 11 days and will most likely be in Afghanistan by the end of this year because of the trade he chose.

    This shit terrifies me. All of it.

  35. 35
    Lisa K. says:

    I am less inclined to believe it is solely the result of years of indoctrination and war, rather that it is the next step in the evolution of personality traits the armed forces prefers in recruits and cultivates once they get there.

  36. 36

    Hey I may as well jump in on the no post linking button fray. So we have a Quicktags and Comments row of buttons that are identical, but no arrow to click on to link to a comment. Sigh. And I was just getting over President McCain renouncing his mavericky-ness. This is going to be a long week.

  37. 37
    Bob K says:

    DENIAL – we really don’t WANT to see these things so we don’t. We can swallow anything Faux Pravda throws at us. Don’t try to make us believe we can be WRONG!!! Reality – We can’t handle reality.

  38. 38

    They don’t learn about this stuff because of the American press.

    Yep, Al Jazeera does a much better job of covering death in the Middle East. Control Room was a great docu about that service. I used to show it and the Fox documentary back to back in class.

  39. 39
    slightly_peeved says:

    I’m actually usually pretty impressed about how well the people I meet do seem to manage treating me as an individual and collective.

    I can only speak for myself here, but I’m sympathetic to the many thoughtful, intelligent, considerate Americans who have to wake up every day and deal with the, shall we say, stereotypical American. That’s gotta be tough. It’s part of the reason I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Obot cultist; I don’t think some Americans appreciate how tough it must be to govern them.

  40. 40
    Zifnab says:

    It’s crazy, really, how myopic we are. But I guess it is easier than facing the truth. What’s on tv tonight, btw?

    That in and of itself is myopic. Any individual American has a rather long and involved life. The entire country – 300 million and counting – can’t be perpetually fixated on one thing, even if that one thing is as big as Iraq. I’ve gone through all of college and years of employment since Afghanistan. And I regularly had an eye for the news. One of the reasons I came to blogging was the vastly higher grade of information than was available on broadcast news. And I still hear new and shocking news – dating back five or more years – that there was no way for me to know about in 2008, much less 2002.

    Let’s get real here, the country doesn’t stop because we go to war. The pro-war interests have set up dozens of barriers to keep the money and blood flowing as far outside of the limelight as possible.

    Blaming “stupid Americans” for a lack of knowledge about the Iraq War is a lot like blaming “stupid Americans” on the housing crisis or the national debt or the state of health insurance. You’ve got billions of dollars in special interests trying to game the system. Look no farther than the Texas Textbook Board to see the massive and comprehensive disinformation machine in play. You can’t play the “stupid Americans” card against that sort of thing.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    Bob L says:

    Pretty much the rule of thumb should be if you don’t hate the other side so much you aren’t going be willing to kill a van full of their children and run over his dog then why in the fuck are you at war with them? Because shit like in the video always happens in war and always will. Instead we have to sanitize the fuck fest so we can have our wars of choice.

  43. 43
    Mark says:

    reminds me of that great song by Roger Waters…”The Bravery of Being Out of Range”. I think he probably wrote that for Cheney.

  44. 44
    Mike says:

    The flip side of this is that while Rosie O’Donnell provides aid and comfort to Jihadists via Bush-bashing on The View, spending three years calling George Tiller a Nazi baby-slaughterer is merely coincidental to the guy with a shelf full of Beck and O’Reilly books blows a doctors head off.

  45. 45
    Violet says:

    @ Zifnab:

    Blaming “stupid Americans” for a lack of knowledge about the Iraq War is a lot like blaming “stupid Americans” on the housing crisis or the national debt or the state of health insurance. You’ve got billions of dollars in special interests trying to game the system. Look no farther than the Texas Textbook Board to see the massive and comprehensive disinformation machine in play. You can’t play the “stupid Americans” card against that sort of thing.

    A lot more people can identify Lindsey Lohan, Snooki from “Jersey Shore” and the Jonas Brothers, plus say what they’ve done that made them “famous”, than can name even one member of the President’s cabinet (outside of maybe Hillary Clinton) or put Iraq or Afghanistan on the map.

    People have plenty of time to read and learn about celebrities. They could just as easily spend that time learning about the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. But they don’t. Are they stupid? Or just lazy?

  46. 46
    GregB says:

    It seems to me, I recall that Richard Angle was declared a terrorist sympathizer for showing footage of a US soldier executing a dying Iraqi by shooting him in the head point blank as he lay dying.

    Lets face it folks, there are a lot of our fellow citizens who’ll gladly load liberals and Democrats onto boxcars headed for death camps and to it with a smile on their face and a gleam in their eye.

  47. 47
    yam says:

    Ah, Americans — this planet’s version of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal

    The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal is a creature that hails from the planet of Traal, and will eat anything. The beasts are impossible to kill. To deal with a beast, one should wrap a towel around one’s own head. This creature is so mind-bogglingly stupid that it assumes that if someone cannot see it, then it cannot see the person.
    </blockquote

  48. 48
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    GG is spot on, as he usually is when he is performing media criticism (as noted by others above).

    What ticks me off even more is that we don’t even have a language barrier to use as an excuse for being ignorant about what the press is reporting in other parts of the world – there is plenty of English language press based outside of the US, and some of it (e.g. the BBC) even makes it onto US TV. And oh baby, do things look different when seen from outside the bubble.

    Horse, water, drinking…

  49. 49
    mattt says:

    Spot on, John (and Greenwald).

    I’m ashamed that in 2002-3 I was one of those rationalizing the invasion of Iraq; suspicious of the public case for war but deferring to the judgment of the administration because “they must know something.”

    In light of the resultant suffering and waste it’s pathetically inadequate to say: at least I learned my lesson.

  50. 50
    JGabriel says:

    7.8 Magnitude Earthquake in Indonesia.

    Looks to be in the same area as the quake that caused the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

    .

  51. 51
    Midnight Marauder says:

    To access that feature you have to pay John for the Platinum BJ Membership.

    By all means, do tell more about this “Platinum BJ” and how I can gain access to it.

  52. 52
    Martin says:

    By all means, do tell more about this “Platinum BJ” and how I can gain access to it.

    Is there a group rate or something? How about a buffet? Bottle service? Does the RNC run a tab?

  53. 53
    John Cole says:

    The reply to tag is back. When it blows up, I don’t want to hear about it.

  54. 54
    scav says:

    @John Cole: you’re a brave man.

  55. 55
    El Cid says:

    I remember back in the 1980s when the Reaganites would be talking about their ‘classified’ and covert action programs to arm terrorists / death squads in Central America, and you could go to any one of these countries where they were operating, ask the locals where the CIA bases were, and they could tell you, not least of which because the local army or Contra trucks would go meet them at the airstrip and there’d be these giant blond guys wearing sunglasses and talking in American accents and, yes, unloading guns.

    These actions were not covert from the locals, they were covert from the American public.

  56. 56
    EthylEster says:

    Your title is what Gary Wills has been saying as he plugs his latest book. A very good read about how the security state is meant to keep American citizens in the dark…as it did vis a vis the so-called secret bombing in Cambodia. The Cambodians knew exactly what was going on. Only the American public was not clued in.

  57. 57
    jrg says:

    And if we don’t reinstate a draft and make the general public part of the war machine with skin in the game, shit like Iraq will happen all over again, and blissfully ignorant murricans will just tune into American Idol until their soul rots from the inside out.

    Horse Puckey. A draft did not get us out of Vietnam. Besides, people were so pissed off after 9/11 they would have been OK with a draft-backed land invasion of China if Bush could convince us Bin Laden was hiding there.

    A draft wouldn’t have stopped a damn thing.

  58. 58
    R. Porrofatto says:

    Something else we turn a blind eye to: the people we’re seeing in the video are not being “shot”; they’re being shredded and disintegrated. That 30 mm chain gun the Apache is armed with uses explosive ammunition, and is not a “gun” to ordinary civilian understanding (it’s unusual for anyone hit by it to be merely wounded enough for these doomed Samaritans to stop and help). Our advanced armaments are as as lethal as our blinkered attitude towards defense budgets and foreign invasions, and our willingness to succumb to the mindless PR of “Shock ‘n Awe” and “Operation Iraqi Freedom” that transforms horrific death into righteous video games.

  59. 59
    Little Dreamer says:

    @ qwerty42 (19):
    __

    We believe that preventing nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation should begin by directly confronting the two leading proliferators and supporters of terrorism, Iran and North Korea.

    Yeah, cuz, ya know, starting a nuclear war is exactly like not starting one – or something like that.

    God D*mn I hate having these two assholes as my senators.

  60. 60
    theturtlemoves says:

    @John Cole: It is, however, invisible until you mouse over it. At least in Firefox. Which I actually find kind of cool. It’s like a bunch of easter eggs all over the thread.

  61. 61
    eric says:

    I got some bad news for you all. Although there is a problem about US media coverage of the US in the US, the real problem is with the moral sensibilities of this great Christian nation.

    For example, the US media did not hide all of the Abu Ghraib photos…they were out there in the news. There was a trial. That, too, was in the news. The facts underlying the horrors of vietnam are now common knowledge. Here, the video is out there, too.

    Americans, generally, dont care and it is that moral myopia that is the true problem. If you see suffering and killing like this and dont get a moral feeling that something is amiss, then you will not be bothered to demand more information or take steps to see it stopped.

    Look at your neighbors and it is their moral indifference to the horror that should give you pause far more than the horror itself.

    eric

  62. 62

    @John Cole:
    Check, Check. Is this thing on?

  63. 63

    @arguingwithsignposts:
    Now, everyone remember: Don’t mention chatrOOOOlette

  64. 64
    BR says:

    @El Cid:

    Hell, our billion dollar newspapers act like they can’t fucking hire someone to read the Spanish- and Portugues-language papers in our own hemisphere.

    That’s why Al Giordano’s Narco News is so awesome. Among other reasons.

  65. 65

    Horse Puckey. A draft did not get us out of Vietnam.

    Sure it did. It just didn’t prevent Vietnam from getting started in the first place. Because we had never lost a war until then, and had never been stuck in a bloody quagmire for a decade.

    And with a wide berth of American voters having sons and daughters involuntarily serving, I don’t think Bush et al would have been quite so eager to lie us into Iraq. Afghan. would have happened because we were attacked from there. But do you think for a moment, Obama escalating us in Afghan would not have caused him to be less willing to do that.

  66. 66
    scav says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: you waiting for the universal strikeouts and random indenting too?

  67. 67
    Calouste says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Do they speak English in England? They should give our language back!

    /teabagger

  68. 68
    Little Dreamer says:

    @scav:

    Jesus is coming!

    (Did you know that your post # was 33? Same number of years Jesus spent on earth! He’s coming, he’s pissed, he’s sending us all to Hell, and he can set off one earthquake with just a tiny spittle of his supernatural saliva, don’tcha know!)

  69. 69
    DPirate says:

    If we believe our government to be corrupt, then it follows that it will be corrupt in all it does. Even if we do not, how can one countenance being told who to kill by the most popular guy of November?

    The operatives have exactly as much culpability as employees of Blackwater/Xe who shot up crowds of civilians, no more and no less. Being a civil servant is no excuse. The bottom line is that they chose to enlist, and the rules are very clear. I firmly believe that every man is responsible only for his own behavior, and that the Nuremberg principle of accountability is correct.

  70. 70
    bemused says:

    This post & the one below on Confederate History Month are both about the same myopic way of thinking. Southerners clinging to their fairy tales of the war between the north & south and today the “we’re # 1” americans won’t acknowledge any flaws in US meddling in other countries. Denial.

  71. 71
    Cain says:

    @JGabriel

    7.8 Magnitude Earthquake in Indonesia.

    Looks to be in the same area as the quake that caused the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

    Many earthquakes of late. Is that normal? Is the anti-christ stirring while sitting on the can?

    cain

  72. 72
    Annie says:

    The other disconnect is that after the military does what it does, the “development” community, of which I confess I am a part of, goes in and explains to the grieving community that we have come to help….Talk about playing “good cop/bad cop.”

  73. 73
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    The reply arrow is back!

  74. 74
    DPirate says:

    @yam:

    I disagree, considering the number of towel-heads we’ve destroyed this past decade…

  75. 75

    It’s crazy, really, how myopic we are.

    Cole, I love this blog, but my only reaction to this is “well, duh”.

    Even on here, and this is a highly enlightened place compared to the shitfight that is the US mainstream media, things rarely get mentioned unless they impact on the US somehow…

    There’s a whole wide world out there, and most Americans don’t realise it exists unless they are travelling there and wondering why the locals get pissed off when they shoot them, speak loudly at them in English or in Spanish (because it’s “just like Portuguese”) when asking where the nearest Hard Rock Cafe is or wondering whether shops in Lisbon or Sydney accept US dollars.

    I love Americans, but sheesh. Americans as a group are blind to the entire rest of the world, unless they are invading it, selling to it or millions of people get killed (in which case question number one will be how many Americans were involved).

    Australian’s aren’t massively better, but at least being smack bang in the middle of Asia, we have some awareness other cultures exist. You lot are smack bang on top of the next world growth centre, and for most of you it might as well end at Tijuana.

  76. 76
    Dollared says:

    @65. I’m with the General here. The draft is precisely why we got out of Vietnam. And if a few Harvard and Princeton parents lost one of their precious offspring, we’d be out of Iraq, too.

  77. 77

    To Carrie, number 34:

    I sympathize with your worry.

    My daughter was in the Navy when 9/11 occurred. I was on pins and needles for another 3 years.

    I do hope that all of your worry is for naught. May he come home with a spiffy tan and a spring in his step.

  78. 78
    Dollared says:

    But back to the media blackout. What is the solution?

    A crusading journalist figure that has backing? Expanding the Guardian into a US Franchise?

    How do we get the actual news?

    We really can’t keep killing the brown people and spending $800B/year doing it. Really. We just can’t afford it.

  79. 79
    Lurker says:

    @eric:

    Look at your neighbors and it is their moral indifference to the horror that should give you pause far more than the horror itself.

    Reminds me of this quote:

    “Fear not your enemies, for they can only kill you.
    Fear not your friends, for they can only betray you.
    Fear only the indifferent, who permit the killers and betrayers
    to walk safely on the earth.”

  80. 80
    scav says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    Jesus is coming!

    In regards an earthquake? You make it too too easy. Did the earth move for you too?

  81. 81
    D-Chance. says:

    @Josh Huaco:

    You have to email Cole for a password.

  82. 82
    bemused says:

    @Carrie:
    Our Marine nephew will be going there too although we don’t know when. It seems like we’ve known this for at least 2 years now (he had re-enlisted) but now after this big training thing he is doing now, we expect it will finally happen. Sigh.

  83. 83
    Calouste says:

    @Cain:

    Not more than is normal. 18 earthquakes of over 7 each year on average, plus an additional 1 over 8.

    Yes, 18 a year is a fucking lot. Good thing some of them are far enough off the coast not to kill any people.

  84. 84

    @ Tattoosydney

    Australian’s

    Aaagh.

  85. 85
    Polar Bear Squares says:

    So very true.

  86. 86
    Napoleon says:

    Great post.

    I have become increasingly depressed that Oboma really is no different then Johnston et al on all of this (maybe Carter aside).

  87. 87

    It seems there is a sentiment that the media should expose the military/industrial complex. I remember the same argument from the later ’60s – bunch of lefties, of course.

  88. 88
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Tattoosydney:

    What’s even crazier is that there’s at least ten locations in Sydney where Americans can exchange American Express Traveler’s Checks for local currency (10 in and around Lisbon too).

    They’re idiots if they don’t know that!

  89. 89
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I see that the reply button is back. Tunch must have coughed up a giant hairba”l.

  90. 90
    Mike in NC says:

    I was just getting over President McCain renouncing his mavericky-ness.

    So just wait until Sunday, when McGrumpy will appear on several TV panels to insist he still is a maverick, because that’s just the way mavericks roll.

  91. 91
    RedKitten says:

    @Tattoosydney:

    I love Americans, but sheesh. Americans as a group are blind to the entire rest of the world, unless they are invading it, selling to it or millions of people get killed (in which case question number one will be how many Americans were involved).

    Yep. It really blew my mind when my husband and I spent our honeymoon week in New York. Every morning we had breakfast in the library of our hotel, and the tv would be on to the news. And if it wasn’t happening IN the U.S. or if it didn’t directly INVOLVE the U.S., it just flat-out didn’t happen. It was so weird and surreal to not hear anything about any other country.

  92. 92
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @Josh Huaco:

    Only if Tunch is in a good mood when you upgrade your membership. We are all at the mercy of teh Tunchmeister.

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Talk to the paw. ;)

  93. 93
  94. 94
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    hairball not hairba”l

    Cripey

  95. 95
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Dollared:

    Only George Soros

    ;)

  96. 96
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    It’s just Tunch toying with us again. We are all mice to him, something to toy with when he is bored.

  97. 97
  98. 98
    scav says:

    @Little Dreamer: There’s a t-shirt

    I slept through The Rapture

  99. 99
    Little Dreamer says:

    @scav:

    I want one. ;)

    Thanks for the heads up. I’ll look for it.

  100. 100

    @El Cid:

    That is why I follow BBC News on twitter, it is the ONLY way to get the news of what is going on in the world. If you watch the US news all you will know is that Tiger Woods was playing in some sort of golf tournament today.

  101. 101
    stuckinred says:

    This is pretty funny, you want to reinstate the draft so there will be a better chance of anti-military/war resistance. Duh. Maybe they will reinstate Project 100,000 too.

  102. 102
    MikeJ says:

    @John Cole:

    The reply to tag is back. When it blows up, I don’t want to hear about it.

    I was writing a greasemonkey script to do it literally as you reinstalled the reply tag.

    Can you tweak the addon that does it to not use full urls, just #commentnumber? That’ll take care of that stupid /page-2 /page-3, etc.

  103. 103
    bemused says:

    @mai naem:
    You are so right.

  104. 104

    Having lived through the ‘Nam era and coming of draft age during it; it is true that the public discontent spread across the entire political spectrum. They had skin in the game and you saw it in the news. You knew people who were in or knew their families and you knew those who didn’t make it or came back messed up. The wider spread the suffering got the wider spread the discontent.

  105. 105
    demo woman says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Not sure about this new reply button but it’s nice to realize that the sane world could care less who Tiger fucked and where the fucking took place. CBS or whoever is carrying the Masters is just hoping that he makes the cut.

  106. 106
    scav says:

    @Little Dreamer: Actually, it might be more of a marketing opportunity. There was an invisible “Aha!” immediately before “There’s”. I donate the idea to the Tunchster and his store.

  107. 107

    @Bnut:

    Have to say in all honesty not sure. I know there was some stuff in the Falklands war that the general public never became aware of because it got in the way of the “hero” meme. However, that was a long time ago, people want the truth more these days and are slightly less jingoistic. While they are still patriotic when appropriate (see the I love my NHS thing on Twitter recently), they are willing to admit that their country makes mistakes sometimes, unlike a large portion of the American population who pin a flag lapel pin onto their man titties, stab a foam finger into the air and scream “USA USA USA” regardless of the fact that something really unpleasant has just happened.

  108. 108
    Little Dreamer says:

    @RedKitten:

    that’s because we’re a melting pot of races who are completely ethnocentric in our cultural view.

    Don’t ask, the residents of this country don’t really understand what that means – but, I have this huge foam finger that says “We are #1”.

  109. 109

    @Little Dreamer:

    I spend a lot of time on Tripadvisor on the Sydney, Lisbon, Bangkok and Amsterdam forums, and at least once a month there will be a question as to whether shops accept US dollars. Mockery usually ensues.

  110. 110
    Little Dreamer says:

    @scav:

    Ooooh, I was considering a second job (I don’t really want to work for an over-inflated egomaniac – that’s why I do papers! Ha!). Maybe I have to look into this opportunity! ;)

    Thanks for the idea. I was considering doing the census thing, but then I heard Erick son of Erick wanted to kill me. Thought better of it.

  111. 111
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    The people who brought us the clusterfuck in Iraq were pretty uniformly draft dodgers in Vietnam. I’m not sure if that’s an argument for not bringing back the draft or for not allowing any exceptions to the draft.

  112. 112
    stuckinred says:

    @Tattoosydney: Gee, at the R&R center they just told us to get on the bus to Kings Cross and don’t try to out drink our Aussie brothers!

  113. 113

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    Gee whiz,

    The idea that this Apache thing is an American thing and only here would the military sit on it is plain silly. Militaries don’t release this kind of stuff for the same reasons ours didn’t.

  114. 114

    @CalousteNow that is fucking funny!

  115. 115
    stuckinred says:

    @Mnemosyne: Fuck exceptions. Universal service, military or not, no exceptions.

  116. 116
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    What? Tiger is playing today?

    ;)

    I’m sorry, I’m too busy discussing earthquakes in Mexico and Indonesia, money exchange in Sydney and Lisbon and marketing campaigns where I can make money off the Crapture!

    I simply had NO idea!

  117. 117

    @Mnemosyne:

    The exemptions sure upped the resentment, obviously it didn’t last long enough.

  118. 118

    @stuckinred:

    don’t try to out drink our Aussie brothers!

    Generally, good advice. Oh, and don’t drink Fosters. Ugh.

  119. 119
  120. 120

    @Chuck Butcher:

    I don’t believe I said any such thing. I believe I said that the British people are more willing to admit that their country makes mistakes sometimes, and are therefore more willing to view something like this as “the fog of war” as John put it. As it is right now the US public as a whole appears to believe that their country (and therefore its troops) can do no wrong, and therefore despite evidence to the contrary those guys in the street HAD to be up to something because the pilots would not have shot them if they were not. You only have to read some of the responses on that thread to see that that was the case.

  121. 121
    stuckinred says:

    @Tattoosydney: Did they have it in 69? We were too busy trying (unsuccessfully I might ad) to score some bud.

  122. 122
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    That’s not really what I meant. I was pointing out that the majority of the Bush administration was made up of people who used various weaselly excuses to get out of serving in Vietnam and then turned around and started their very own war as soon as they were in power. Would that kind of shit really be prevented by a universal draft?

  123. 123

    @Little Dreamer:

    Don ‘t forget devastating landslides in Rio, a potentially catastrophic oil spill on the biggest coral reef in the world and that whole British election thingy.

  124. 124
    someguy says:

    I listen to those soldiers and I am reminded, the military breaks about 4/5ths Republican.

  125. 125
    scav says:

    @Tattoosydney: One of the scariest things involving sheer volume of alcohol consumption featured Swedes going to and from Malmö. Might be instructive to witness them and our Australian brothers battling it out for the gold.

    To and from Malmö to Copenhagen. Had to hit technically international waters for the trick to be financially possible.

  126. 126
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Tattoosydney:

    Maybe this is a good time to add that when in Ireland, it’s probably a good idea to not call a drink containing Guiness, Baileys Irish Cream and Irish Whiskey an Irish Car Bomb!

    Just sayin’.

  127. 127
    PeakVT says:

    How do we get the actual news?

    Pay directly for newsgathering and stop depending on advertisers to carry the bulk of the cost.

  128. 128
    demo woman says:

    @Little Dreamer: And not only will Tiger play this weekend, as long as he makes the cut, but the azaleas will bloom almost on cue, no matter the winter or spring season. Oh yeah, they actually climate control those bushes. This year they probably did not need to trick them though.

  129. 129
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Tattoosydney:

    Well, I did hear something about the Rio landslides.

    The rest, I haven’t a clue. I’m in America, land of the perpetual idiot!

  130. 130
    stuckinred says:

    @Mnemosyne: And the people who got us into Vietnam were WWII vets and Democrats.

  131. 131
    Little Dreamer says:

    @PeakVT:

    Or move to another country!

  132. 132

    @stuckinred:

    Still almost impossible to get bud here…

  133. 133
    stuckinred says:

    @demo woman: There gonna have to wash this green slime off!

  134. 134
    stuckinred says:

    @Tattoosydney: No wonder those RAR guys up the road seemed to like the Nam so much!

  135. 135

    @Tattoosydney:

    LOL When I first went to work for my boss he had never left the country. He was a full on “the USA is the best country in the world” fanatic and would hear nothing of it if you tried to explain to him that perhaps there were some things in other countries that were perhaps better. He went to Paris for his first trip out of the country and came back with a completely and utterly different view on life. I mean completely. He could not praise the public transportation more “I mean you would never need a car over there!” The food was fantastic, the standard of living of the average French was outstanding. Ditto when he went to London, when he came back he said “do you know you can get a pass for the Underground and go ANYWHERE!” (I know, I know he was asking me right?) His only complaint about London was that they only gave him one egg for breakfast. Since then he has been all over the place and the difference it has had on his view of the US is just astounding. Truly astounding. He is a completely and utterly different man.

  136. 136

    @scav:

    I suspect the Swedes would win a freeform drinking contest. We don’t have the long hours of drinking practice that below zero winters bring. However, we would win all the medals in the beer drinking section.

  137. 137
    scav says:

    Wouldn’t want to miss a guy in the Caribbean phoning his buddy in Aberystwyth to organize the rescue of a ship called the Titanic now, would you? Guardian

  138. 138
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    John, since you’re going all Chomsky on us tonight, allow me to paraphrase one of his most profound insights; the United States is simultaneously the freest and most propagandized country on Earth.

  139. 139

    @someguy:

    Actually the last election they donated 3.1 for Obama. Not sure how they voted but when it comes to putting their money where their mouth is there it is.

  140. 140

    @Dollared:

    How do we get the actual news?

    The internet?

    If you combine together the Guardian, CNN’s international web site, the Australian ABC and the odd news site from outside the English speaking world you get a pretty damn good overview of what is happening everywhere in the world.

  141. 141

    @stuckinred:

    Funny story, my mum and dad came to visit me when I was serving in Hong Kong. From there we all went to Aus to visit my cousins. Our plane was such that we had to stay the night in Sydney before the Cousins could come and pick us up the next morning (they lived in Eberneezer about an hour outside of Sydney) my mum being a cheap skate got herself a budget motel in Sydney, turns out it was right smack bang in the middle of King’s Cross right next door to a hotel advertising the world’s biggest bed. Never got a wink of sleep all night, thanks to all the fights, and shouting, and singing and police sirens and such.

  142. 142
    Mnemosyne says:

    @stuckinred:

    Sort of — one of the problems with Vietnam was that the generals in charge missed out on WWII and were hoping to have their very own path to glory, so they kept pushing and pushing for more involvement.

    Don’t forget that Johnson didn’t have a combat position in WWII. He had a desk job and only saw combat when he was on a mission to the South Pacific for Roosevelt. That’s quite a bit different than being one of the guys who had to try and re-take Iwo Jima again and again.

  143. 143
    Mnemosyne says:

    @someguy:

    I listen to those soldiers and I am reminded, the military breaks about 4/5ths Republican.

    The officer corps is heavily Republican. Enlisted are more similar to the general population. When they did that famous survey, the officers sent back a much higher proportion of responses than the enlisted did.

  144. 144
    stuckinred says:

    @Mnemosyne: LBJ was a chickenshit motherfucker who weasled a silver star for being on a plane that turned around. Rusk was in the CBI with Stillwell. Westy, who I also detested, sure didn’t miss WWII or Korea. I’m not sure what “Generals” you are talking about but a much greater issue was junior officers and the “ticket punching” combat commands that resulted in most grunt officers spending half their tour in the field, just long enough to have half an idea of what the fuck they were doing.

  145. 145
    Paris says:

    The banality of superior military force:

    Here comes the helicopter — second time today
    Everybody scatters and hopes it goes away
    How many kids they’ve murdered only God can say
    If I had a rocket launcher…I’d make somebody pay

    – B. Cockburn

  146. 146
    demo woman says:

    We put troops on the ground and paint the entire society as the enemy.. Look at what happened at Abu Ghraib. They were primed for torture cuz they were taking caring of those that attacked us but they did not order the torture. In war the grunts get blamed…..
    This will always be the case unless the news media decides to present events factually.
    They were paying folks $40,000 bonuses to enlist. That was not to get the cream of the crop, that was to get grunts.
    Just to be clear, I know that Iraq was not involved in 9/11 but many of the enlistees did not.
    The troops in Iraq now understand what happened but they also know they will be blamed for the sins that occurred before their arrival.

  147. 147
    stuckinred says:

    @stuckinred: Of course I was mainly talking about Saint Kennedy.

  148. 148

    @Mnemosyne:

    Actually the survey was not only active duty but was also retired, there is the rub. Retired military are the most rabid right wing nut jobs you will ever find (see Taitz, Orly plaintiffs), the Military Times has an almost exclusively retired readership (the active duty peeps don’t have the time to read that shit), they are the classic IGMFU crowd, they have their retirement and their health benefits for life and they don’t want THE GOVERNMENT INTERFERING WITH THAT! Keep the government’s hands off my Tricare sort of thing. I live in a Military town, believe me when I see a Tea Party rally here (they have them about once a week) almost exclusively the attendees are retired military or retired civil service, who I am sure would be quite happy to give up their retirement checks and health bennys so that they wouldn’t be “taxed enough already” riiiiiiiiiiiight.

  149. 149

    I have an internet radio and split my time between CBC Radio One Ottawa, Australia’s ABC Newsradio (which because of the time difference gives me their overnight service with BBC World Service, Deutsche Welle, Radio Nederlands both in English, Radio Australia and their rolling news), Radio New Zealand International and BBC Radio 4.

    For U.S. news it’s generally just the NY Times.

  150. 150

    @Mnemosyne:

    Sort of—one of the problems with Vietnam was that the generals in charge missed out on WWII and were hoping to have their very own path to glory, so they kept pushing and pushing for more involvement.

    Yes, and they took from WW2 a great willingness to suffer high casualties for that glory, and nonsensical battles in the cause of winning by attrition.

    I think Vietnam had one redeeming factor for the military. It produced some sober generals of it’s own later on, from junior officers, with some sense of limitations to American power and having a clearer sense of mission. See the Powell Doctrine. Of course, comes along W and Darth and Rumsfeld that aside from being pampered draft dodgers and callous fools, put in charge a cadre of weak willed subservient officers that did not sufficiently push back on the folly, imo.

    But maybe the Iraq disaster will again produce some better generals down the road, as a minor saving grace.

  151. 151
    stuckinred says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: And Powell gives the pivotal speech that lights the fuse.

  152. 152

    @stuckinred:

    Yea, then there is that. He was a better General than cabinet member, for sure.

  153. 153
    stuckinred says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: I will never forget that I bought it. I refused to go to the 25th Anniversary of the Wall because he was the keynote.

  154. 154
    Mike Furlan says:

    @toujoursdan:

    The New York Times.

    Judith Miller of the New York Times is who bamboozled me into thinking that GW might not be fabricating the “WMD” excuse for the war.

    Now I read it for entertainment purposes only.

  155. 155
    demo woman says:

    Another article in the NYTimes on the tragedy.

  156. 156
    Annamal says:

    @tattoosydney
    At least Americans have some very rough ideas about Asia, the group understanding of the Pacific seems to lag behind even that.

    I still can’t get over the idea of Fiji water as a product in the US. I mean the place is currently technically a military dictatorship following a massive number of coups and coup-attempts and *this* is what gets used to hawk pure green spring water?

  157. 157
    Fern says:

    @toujoursdan:

    Hey – Never thought of listening to that stuff on ABC – I have to stay up until 3 in the morning to hear it on CBC.

    The Voice of Russia is hilarious.

  158. 158
    Mike Furlan says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    Every war is a disaster. What is happening now in Iraq has happened in every war.

    “It’s an underappreciated, almost ignored fact in the grand narrative of World War II that the Allied invasion of Normandy caused something on the order of 19,890 civilian deaths in the five French departments that saw most of the fighting.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05.....wanted=all

    You had better have a good reason to go to war.

  159. 159
    Mike Furlan says:

    It’s crazy, really, how myopic we are.

    Yep since our forefathers ethically cleansed a continent, brought in millions of slaves to work for free, and attacked foreigners in every direction, we have been myopic.

    Compared to that, our behavior in Iraq is actually an improvement.

  160. 160

    @Annamal:

    technically a military dictatorship

    Indeed. Australian policy with respect to Fiji seems to be incredibly conflicted, mainly I suspect because no one really understands what the hell is going on.

    I went to university with the current Fijian Attorney General, who was a lovely, very clever man, but who now seems to have bought into whatever extreme oddness is going on in our neighbour.

  161. 161
    Carrie says:

    My daughter was in the Navy when 9/11 occurred. I was on pins and needles for another 3 years.

    I can’t even imagine how that must of felt.
    I realize that i’m worrying unecessarily but it’s always in the back of my mind, ya know?
    Ugh, motherhood.

  162. 162
    Annamal says:

    @Tattoosydney, yeah NZ’s in the same boat (we’re not even barring sports games) , it’s pretty easy to trace back to mindless colonialism as the root cause but I don’t think anyone has any decent solutions.

  163. 163
    someguy says:

    @ memnosyne & e galitarian stuck

    one of the problems with Vietnam was that the generals in charge missed out on WWII and were hoping to have their very own path to glory

    You mean like Creighton Abrams, who was Patton’s darling? Or did you mean William Westmoreland, who commanded artillery battalions in fighting in Tunisia, Sicily and France? Who do you mean? Curtis LeMay? Paul Harkins? Bruno Hochmuth? Keith Ware? Victor Krulak? I could go on.

    Seriously, which of the generals who served in Vietnam missed WWII? As far as I can tell, there weren’t any.

  164. 164
    delosgatos says:

    We’re like the little kid playing hide and seek who stands behind a thin tree and thinks that just because he can’t see us because the tree is blocking his vision, we can’t see him.

    Isn’t that analogy backwards? “We” (behind a thin tree “we” choose not to look past) don’t see what’s really happening, so “we” assume the rest of the world doesn’t see what’s happening either.

  165. 165
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    @qwerty42:

    Yeah, because having a draft worked so well in preventing any war or escalation of war in southeast Asia….uh, wait a minute!

  166. 166
    JGabriel says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    Maybe this is a good time to add that when in Ireland, it’s probably a good idea to not call a drink containing Guiness, Baileys Irish Cream and Irish Whiskey an Irish Car Bomb!

    Actuallty, I think in Dublin, they call that an American Fart Bomb*.

    (*Not really. I just made that up because the drink sounds disgusting, and I’m sure the Irish think it should be called something like that.)

    .

  167. 167
    mclaren says:

    The larger and uglier truth here involves the harsh reality that American military behavior overseas percolates down to American police behavior here at home.

    Cops in America have turned into muggers with badges who tase and beat unarmed innocent bystanders to death because the same sadistic glee in killing that gets drummed into U.S. soldiers overseas seeps into all of American culture.

    Who do you think becomes a police officer? Very often, one of those giggling 22-year-olds who’s spent 4 years shooting unarmed Iraqi bystanders in the back while the wounded Iraqis crawl on the ground begging for their lives.

    What do you think that police officer is going to do when he gets on the street? How do you think he’s going to treat an unarmed civilian?

    Bingo.

    Militarizing the police isn’t just a bad idea because it escalates the level of force police officers use…it’s a bad idea because all the brutality and sadism and glee in blasting with 50 cal fire a car containing a family of Iraqis at a checkpoint percolates down into police culture.

    When the military is made up of sadists who enjoy kicking in the doors of random Iraqi houses and shooting everyone inside and then lying that they were all terrorists, mlitarizing police means cops wind up becoming sadists who enjoy kicking in the doors of random American houses and shooting everyone inside and then lying that they were all drug dealers.

  168. 168
    JR says:

    We’re AMERICANS: if we can delude ourselves into thinking it’s true, so can anyone else. Anything that prevents such a delusion is inherently serving anti-American ends.

  169. 169
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @Mark: reminds me of that great song by Roger Waters…”The Bravery of Being Out of Range”. I think he probably wrote that for Cheney.

    I’ll see that, and raise a couple of verses by Seamus Heaney:

    When truth is the treadle of his loom
    And justice the shuttle, all due honor
    Will come his way. But let him once
    Overbear or overstep

    What the city allows, treat law
    As something he can decide for himself –
    Then let this marvel of the world remember:
    When he comes begging we will turn our backs.

    Come the next Sept. 11th, people aren’t going to be nearly as sympathetic to American howls of outrage.

  170. 170
    slightly_peeved says:

    @Tattoosydney:

    Australian’s aren’t massively better, but at least being smack bang in the middle of Asia, we have some awareness other cultures exist.

    On the upside, far more young Australians have first-hand experience of foreign countries than people of many other countries.

    On the downside, that experience generally involves serving drinks, drinking drinks or fighting people. While drunk.

  171. 171
    Mark S. says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    Come the next Sept. 11th, people aren’t going to be nearly as sympathetic to American howls of outrage.

    That’s the fucking truth. Bush’s most amazing accomplishment was going from 90% of the world sympathizing with the US to 90% of them hating it. Obama got a Peace Prize simply for not being Bush.

  172. 172
    Comrade Kevin says:

    Interesting, Oliver Willis appears to think that the article John linked to is proof that Greenwald hates the troops, and thinks they are monsters who go out of their way to kill civilians.

  173. 173

    @slightly_peeved:

    … serving drinks, drinking drinks or fighting people. While drunk.

    Very true.

  174. 174
    wilfred says:

    I’ve spent the last 21 months living and working in an Arab Muslim country and have seen enough of the other side of the story to believe that this is the norm. Over that time I must have posted dozens of times talking about the images readily available here that never get shown to American viewers.

    The collusion between the press, the entertainment industry and the militarists started with Top Gun and continues right until the present day, when McCrystal can muse about “the amazing number of people we’ve killed” and nobody blinks. At least he didn’t say ‘awesome’.

    The Arab/Muslim is the new nigger. Like his African/Native American/Aboriginal politico-cultural ancestors he gets killed for sport.

  175. 175
    Annamal says:

    @slightly_peeved

    Don’t forget the ever important “viewing great and ancient historical landmarks through the haze of a killer hangover”.

    Having said all that I do think there’s a lot to be said for the expectation that antipodean kids will spend part of their lives traveling and living in other countries.

  176. 176

    Same as it ever was.

    The strong do what they can, the weak do as the must.

  177. 177
    mclaren says:

    @Wilfred:

    The collusion between the press, the entertainment industry and the militarists started with Top Gun and continues right until the present day, when McCrystal can muse about “the amazing number of people we’ve killed” and nobody blinks. At least he didn’t say ‘awesome’.

    Move over, sonny, it’s been going on a lot longer than that. I remember going to see The Green Berets in 1968 as a very small kid and being shell-shocked by the reality distortion field. My family used to eat dinner in the late 1960s while watching 19-year-old marines get blown away by Cong snipers in rice fields on the 6 o’clock news. The picture portrayed by the live film that played on the news nightly (something we no longer see in America, by the way — no more live unedited film from American wars on nightly news, that’s gone) during the Viet Nam war and the picture peddled by the major media and the entertainment industry were radically different.

    Even a kid in kindergarten realized something was seriously out of whack when you’d watch bloody mutilated marines screaming and crawling through the mud with their guts hanging out and an entire platoon disintegrating into chaos under VC sniper fire during the evening news, and then read headlines proclaiming how we were winning the war in Vietnam and victory was just a few months away in Newsweek and TIME magazine and the New York Times et al.

  178. 178
    Uriel says:

    Hey! I went to hit the reply tag, and god damn if it didn’t just literally blow up the minute I moused over it! Cole- do you know something about this? What the hell are you up to over there? Cole? Hey, John- are you listening? I said the reply tag blew up! Hey- over here! I talking to you John! John Cole! Look over here! I need to tell you about the reply tags! Something’s wrong with them! Like, blowing up wrong! I’m telling you, you really need to hear about this! John!

  179. 179
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Cole, posts like this one are what make you so awesome. Excellent!

  180. 180
    wilfred says:

    @mclaren:

    You miss the point. It was the fact of Vietnam, the images of wrongheaded patriotism and mass murder, that de-mythologized the Sacred Warrior on a Holy Mission narrative that TV had helped create – all the Combat!-like shows that heroicized things at the same time they supposedly elaborated the Oh! the horror! aspects of war. The best example being 12 O’clock High, a tv show that was basically about the wholesale slaughter of German civilians.

    The 70’s put an end to the mythic narrative, with films like MASH and Catch-22. and a host of other cultural productions that systematically dismantled the previous narratives. Top Gun rescussitated the war/porn images encouraged by the militarists, creating a whole new generation ready to push a button and some new species of gook a hundred miles away.

    Thus the support the troops horseshit force fed by the media/entertainment/militarist triumvirate. In fact, the giggling murderers of this video should each receive a nice puppy and a heartfelt thank you for all the horror they’ve been forced/compelled/obligated to endure since the moment they enlisted.

    I don’t support the war or the troops.

  181. 181
    stuckinred says:

    @wilfred: yea, well fuck you

  182. 182
    mclaren says:

    You make a good point, Wilfred. Each generation has to see through the “killing random brown people is heroic as long as Americans do it” myth for themselves.

    Wouldn’t you say that the technologization of war in the 80s and 90s is also responsible for the resurgence of gung-ho superpatriotism? Consider the live CNN video coverage from Baghdad — it looked like a video game. Nary an inkling of the 100,000 civilians killed in the “shock and awe” bombing of Desert Storm, nor any pics of the corpses on the “highway of death.”

  183. 183
    media browski says:

    Funny how we progs accept interpretations of Obama Admin actions from a guy who’s so dishonest about his own. Glenn Greenwald is the definition of unreliable narrators.

  184. 184
    rickstersherpa says:

    When you have a guerilla war, the children are always in a combat zone. Of course, let’s just remember that war is by definition legal premediated murder. It is the intentional plotting and planning for the deaths of other human beings, the justification for it is that they are planning and plotting your death or the deaths of your friends and comrades. By definition war is very tribal, and at this particular time the war was very hot between the Iraqi insurgents and the Americans, and this was a very hot day.

    The crime was not what the soldiers did (very legal and justifiable under the laws of war), but the original decision to start this war, which is why I want to puke everytime the Bill Kristols of the world want to start a 3rd war (apparently the current two are not enough) with Iran. He was so cavalier about advocating it that it apparently provoked Nina Easton to comment that the was ”blythly” advocating war. Chikenhawks like Kristol (a “student deferment” allowed him to support the Vietnam War from a safe distance) love to advocate the mass murder of others, a job they don’t have to do themselves, nor have their children or risk their lives.

  185. 185
    karl says:

    Most Americans could care less about murdered and tortured innocents in a war far from their more pressing concerns and interests: Celebrity breakups, Tiger Wood’s mistresses, and what’s on TV tonight.

    As an American, I am appalled at the actions of juvenile and immature troops treating the murder of innocents (or not) as a video game:

    That’s the nature of the war machine and the warlords-Bush/Obama. Torture, rape, murder…business as usual.

  186. 186
    searp says:

    Well, I was in Iraq at the height of the war. I was actually amazed at the discipline of the soldiers. Having said that, it was incredibly brutal and violent, with most of the violence being iraqi on iraqi. My takeaway is that wars are horrible, and in modern war more civilians get killed than combatants. Counterinsurgency is even worse, as combatants are not readily identified. Soldiers learned through hard experience not to trust any iraqis.

    I most emphatically do not believe american soldiers are brutal thugs; I admire them. They are good soldiers in the middle of the worst sort of conflict. Not excusing the incident, but overgeneralizing based on limited knowledge is a mistake.

  187. 187
    Dick Hertz says:

    @Violet: More like Accessory 1

  188. 188

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