The Truth About War

by Luke Muehlhauser on December 20, 2009 in Ethics,Video

Clipped text:

I tried hard to be proud of my service, but all I could feel was shame… I’ve since been plagued by guilt any time I see an elderly man like the one who couldn’t walk, who we rolled him onto a stretcher and told the Iraqi police to take away. I feel guilt any time I see a mother with her children, like the one who cried hysterically and screamed that we were worse than Saddam as we forced her from her home. I feel guilt any time I see a young girl, like the one I grabbed by the arm and dragged into the street.

We were told we were fighting terrorists. The real terrorist was me. And the real terrorism is this occupation…

While all those weapons are created and owned by this government, they are harmless without people willing to use them.

Those who send us to war do not have to pull the trigger or lob a mortar round. They do not have to fight the war. They merely have to sell the war. They need a public who is willing to send their soldiers into harm’s way. They need soldiers who are willing to kill and be killed without question…

The ruling class, the billionaires who profit from human suffering… understand that their power lies only in their ability to convince us that war, oppression, and exploitation is in our interest. They understand that their wealth is dependent on their ability to convince the working class to die to control the market of another country…

Soliders, sailors, marines, airmen, have nothing to gain from this occupation. The vast majority of the people living in the U.S. have nothing to gain from this occupation. In fact… we suffer more because of it. We lose limbs… and give our lives. Our families have to watch flag-draped coffins lowered into the earth.

Millions in this country without health care, jobs, or access to education, must watch this government squander over $450 million a day on this occupation.

Poor and working people in this country are sent to kill poor and working people in another country to make the rich richer. [Soldiers] have more in common with the Iraqi people than they do with the billionaires who send us to war.

I threw families into the street in Iraq only to come home and find families thrown onto the street in this country [due to the] foreclosure crisis. We need to wake up and realize that our real enemies are not in some distant land. They’re not people whose names we don’t know and whose cultures we don’t understand. The enemy is people we know very well and can identify.

The enemy is a system that wages war when it is profitable. The enemy is the CEOs who lay us off when it is profitable. The enemy is the insurance companies who deny us care when it is profitable. It’s the banks who take away our homes when it’s profitable. Our enemy is not 5,000 miles away. The enemy is right here at home.

If we organize, if we fight beside our sisters and brothers, we can stop this war, we can stop this government, and we can create a better world.

- Mike Prysner,
a true patriot.

Previous post:

Next post:

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

rhys December 20, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Word!

  (Quote)

Rick December 20, 2009 at 10:38 pm

Luke,

I’m disappointed in this choice of topic and the view point chosen to represent the current war. As an atheist I find you to be fresh voice that helps me to clarify my own thoughts on the matter.

I respect opposing points of view and the right of you to post whatever you feel passionate about, especially on your own blog. My disappointment stems from a few different places.

I visit this site to help me gain perspective on atheism and other such things related and while this post has the tag line of ethics I find it a very tenuous link from a very biased source.

I can say he is biased because I am also an Iraqi war veteran and have seen with my own eyes the type of country Iraq is and have talked to the people. I’ve been there twice and have done both C.O.I.N. (The type of operations where you live and patrol with the population) and Route Clearance (basically driving around really slowly looking for bombs in the road). I find his portrayal to be distorted and an unfair portrayal of both the Military and the Iraq war. It makes me disappointed that this is an accepted view of how the military works and that it would be put under the title “The Truth about war”.

I understand that for many people the military services are mainly represented by the movies and am offering my services to answer questions about the military. Feel free to email me at the email provided or for any commenter to ask me in the comments.

  (Quote)

Laura December 20, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Powerful. There are definitely two sides to the story. I can see how both could be right in different ways.

  (Quote)

Rick December 20, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Just to be clear – I understand that many think the war is a bright sunny day, Mr. Prysner describes as if it is a world wide flood. From what I’ve seen I would describe it as more of a bad thunderstorm with plenty of mud to be found.

There is plenty to criticize on how we got there, how we operate there and how long to stay there. But I do honestly believe that an understanding of all those things put in proper perspective is where we need to start from, and Mr. Prysner provides only one extreme.

Since I didn’t provide any thing in particular in my last comment I will start out by rejecting the statement that racism is rampant, widely accepted and even expected in the military.

  (Quote)

lukeprog December 20, 2009 at 11:29 pm

Rick,

Whatever is happening on the ground does not change the fact that millionaires start wars to enrich themselves, and convince the common people it is good for them when really it harms them and wastes the money of the poor killing other poor people.

  (Quote)

lukeprog December 20, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Oh, and yeah, I’m not so sure about the racism bit. I can’t comment on that. Which is why I edited those parts out of my transcript.

  (Quote)

Rick December 20, 2009 at 11:42 pm

Luke,

Thank you for your reply, I’m glad to see I’m not the only night person.

I won’t argue that wars get started that way but do you believe that all wars are merely for monetary gain (or the equivalent e.g. land) or are some wars “just”.

I did notice that the racism parts have been edited out. When watching his speech and the other speech of his that is easily findable on the web (They both seem to be part of the same event) it seems that his central theme is that the soldiers on the ground are today’s terrorists and horribly racist.

It seems that his speech was a poor choice to illustrate that wars are often fought for the purpose other than which they were sold on.

And could the text intro be changed from Full text to edited or something of the sort. It was kind of a shock to read it and only then hear about a bunch of racism.

My offer still stands that I would be happy to answer any questions I can from a soldier’s perspective in general or my own unique experiences.

Sincerely,
Rick

  (Quote)

lukeprog December 21, 2009 at 12:17 am

Rick,

I think there probably is such a thing as just wars, but they are very rare. As far as I can tell, most wars in history are unjust and unnecessary.

This is a pretty sensitive topic, especially when speaking with a soldier. It’s a bit like those who felt the Vietnam War was an unjust war that made the world a worse place. As time passes, it might be easier for people to admit that our involvement in Vietnam was pretty unjust and destructive. But such a view has some rather uncomfortable consequences. One consequence is this: a person who believes the Vietnam war was unjust that made the world a worse place must necessarily believe that American soldiers fought an unjust war and made the world a worse place.

Look how ugly that sounds. I’m saying that American soldiers, who fought bravely and got hurt and got killed were making all these sacrifices only to make the world a worse place. That’s a pretty shitty thing to say to somebody who did such brave things and sacrificed so much. But, well, if it’s true, then it’s true.

But I’ll go one step further. Not because I like saying shitty things, but because one more step is a necessary consequence of the belief that the Vietnam was unjust and made the world a worse place. Since I believe that about the Vietnam War, I must believe there was something morally objectionable about the American soldiers who fought so hard to make the world a worse place. That is, after all, nearly the definition of “morally objectionable.” We, as humans capable of suffering, have many strong reasons for action to condemn people with desires that lead to so much suffering, and we who are capable of suffering have many strong reasons for action to condemn those who lack good desires that would avoid such colossal inflictions of suffering.

Some condemnable desires that lead to suffering are the desires of the ruling class to start wars to enrich themselves, and to deceive the public into being their expendable pawns. But there are also those who merely lack good desires, such as a desire to thoroughly investigate the morality of one’s actions before directly contributing to bloodshed.

Rick, I realize I’m saying some pretty ugly things. I’m basically saying that not only were the American soldiers in Vietnam pawns of evil men wanting to enrich themselves, I’m also saying that the soldiers themselves were “evil” in the sense that the lacked important good desires, for example a desire to investigate the morality of one’s actions before dropping bombs that would kill dozens of people.

I think the American soldiers in Vietnam were bravely and courageously making the world a worse place. I mostly blame the ruling class, but Mike Prysner has a point: The ruling class wouldn’t be able to start wars if it wasn’t for the willingness of soldiers or mercenaries to fire the guns and drop the bombs. The members of the ruling class aren’t going to fight their wars themselves. They will send their willing subjects to do it.

Rick, I don’t know anything about you. I don’t know much about what it’s like to be a soldier. I don’t know what kinds of sacrifices you’ve made, nor what you think about the Vietnam War, nor what you think about the Iraqi War, nor what you think about racism in the military, nor what you think about the ruling class, nor what you think about moral theory.

But I would be very interested to hear your perspective on all this. There are many points with which you might disagree. For example, you may have a totally different moral theory. Or you may think that the Vietnam and Iraqi wars are just. Or you might just object to labeling invasive American actions as “terrorism.” I don’t know what you think, but I’d like to.

  (Quote)

Rick December 21, 2009 at 12:21 am

After some thought on where my questions would go I would like to withdraw them. I think it would be easiest to say that we disagree on certain points about when wars are and should be fought. There are plenty of places on the internet where this discussion is carried out passionately and part of my original intent was that I felt this post out of place on this blog. Asking those types of questions would only perpetuate what I would not like to see here.

Suffice to say that as a soldier I disagree with Mr. Prysner view of what goes on over there and would rather be reading your edifying thoughts on atheism and logic.

Apologies,
Rick

  (Quote)

Rick December 21, 2009 at 12:24 am

Alas I was too late.

I refreshed one last time in hopes I could post my question withdrawal before your reply. I thank you for it though. I will happily go through and see what I can answer for you and I hope that if nothing else it will help to clarify my thinking on the matter.

Sincerely,
Rick

  (Quote)

Rick December 21, 2009 at 12:57 am

Luke,

Don’t feel the need to tip-toe around the bushes if you believe that I may of done “evil”. I fully aware that i’m not perfect and very well could of done evil unknowingly and self realization of things like this only help me become a better person.

I will admit that my initial disgust with Mr. Prysner comes from his misrepresentation of many things that I have witnessed or taken part in. For example, kicking Iraqi’s out of their houses. I have done that, or at least been a part of it.

We would show up at a predetermined house, politely knock on the gate, talk to the owner and explain that we were using their house for the next 24 hours. Time was given for them to collect any personal belongings and they were always paid for it, and not a small amount. It sounds very mean and “evil” from the surface I will admit. The idea behind this is that for a counter insurgency to work you must have your soldiers live with the Iraqi’s. Driving 45 minutes from a base to patrol through a town for a few hours does not deter nor gain the trust of the populace. And we did gain the trust of the populace, they liked us more than the “insurgents” and were very free with who were the bad guys and where they lived. We almost always found the family we removed from their home a block or two down the road at a family members house and the houses we took were never trashed. I relate so it can be put into a better perspective of what happens. There are a few different ways of viewing situations like this and weighing out whose needs or desires are thwarted and whose desires are fulfilled. The family was removed by the threat of force and had their desires thwarted but the desires of the village were fulfilled by having a safer village. Although if a family vehemently disagreed with us my unit would of just gone to a neighbors, other units might not of. That is just one way of looking at what happened. A lot of my view on this is based on what I believe works to bring peace to Iraq and the strategy for doing it. I don’t believe that us leaving would solve the problems that have been created over there.

Moving on to my Moral theory, yours is actually what I’ve been co-opting as my own as it is making the most sense to me so far. I do mix it in with my own world view that would not really qualify as Moral theory but does provide a basis for my views.

There is how the world should be, and how the world is. We should always try to make the world how it should be, but that doesn’t mean we should be blind to how the world is.

I noticed an underlying thought process from your reply that seems that you’re under the impression of hollywood as far as how a soldier is allowed to fire his weapon. We were given a few very specific rules.

1. If our lives or an others is threatened. This includes protecting Iraqi life’s as well. And it was made very clear that threatened either means being shot or that very clearly somebody is aiming a weapon at you.

2. To protect against serious bodily harm such as rape or dismemberment.

3. To stop the theft of coalition equipment that would lead directly to the deaths of others. The main examples they gave of these would be our radio’s that had the encryption keys loaded into them and M-4′s and such.

The only times we were allowed to shoot (and we only shoot to kill, there can never be any intention to maim) were, to me at least, morally defensibly positions.

Is the Iraqi war just? I dislike the term “Just” because to me it implies that there is absolutely no question that it’s for a good cause and more good will come out of it in the end. Obviously only “Just” wars are fought, but I understand it to be a mesh of black and whites that make up a grey. One hopes that the collection of whites over powers the blacks that make up the palette and in the end it turns out to be on the “Just” side of things but life is never that simple. Even less so when it involves over 35 nations and millions of people.

  (Quote)

lukeprog December 21, 2009 at 1:07 am

Rick,

Thanks for providing some much-needed context. I suspect you get pretty annoyed when someone calls what you have done “terrorism” given those shooting rules compared to the shooting rules of real terrorists. Also, American conduct in the Iraqi war seems quite different than the Vietnam war – in part, because of the eventual protests to the Vietnam War and subsequent U.S.-initiated conflicts.

Anyway, I’m not sure what we disagree on, but posts like these will remain less common than posts on philosophy of religion, logic, and so on. Obviously, my ethical views are not meant to stand for the ethical views of atheists in general.

  (Quote)

Rick December 21, 2009 at 1:16 am

I should take this opportunity to thank you for providing this platform, it is much appreciated. And yes, this war has been fought very different from the Vietnam war. In basic training were told of a very specific Vietnam battle where American soldiers massacred an entire village out of frustration. It was very clear that it was absolutely unacceptable and was a black mark on our honor.

My disagreement came from using Mr. Prysner as a subject of “truth”. Even through his speech may contain a few nuggets of truth, a broken clock is correct twice a day and would really hate for those who come here to believe that his representation of Iraq was an honest one.

  (Quote)

Asher December 21, 2009 at 1:30 am

This post is idiotic. If I don’t pay my taxes then men with guns come for me, and if I resist they shoot me. Law is predicated on violence, so, anyone who supports taxation and the application of law is an advocate for the implementation of the tools of war.

I opposed the Iraq War, and I understand that you dimly have a vague sense that your service was fruitless. Fine, but our species is hardwired for conflict, so, you’d best get used to it as it’s in our genes.

Gah, it’s websites like this that almost make me ashamed to be an atheist.

BTW, the whole “tax” bit is not an argument against taxation but an argument for violence. Everyone advocates violence and those who deny it are just hypocrites.

  (Quote)

Rick December 21, 2009 at 1:48 am

Thank you for you input Asher.

While I don’t consider my service fruitless I am not closed to the option that it might of been. If I was closed to that option, then I would have to stop being honest with myself.

I couldn’t agree with you more that part of human nature is conflict and we will probably never completely remove it. We can only hope to minimize it.

I’m curious as to what part of our conversation causes you to be ashamed?

  (Quote)

Asher December 21, 2009 at 2:05 am

Ashamed of you, not of myself, as it was a sneering, curdled comment. I am ashamed that people like you call yourselves atheists, when, really, you make the average fundamentalist look like a paragon of scientific rationality, in comparison.

Life is reducible to nothing more than who is ramming what down whose throat, and that will never be reduced.

  (Quote)

Haukur December 21, 2009 at 2:17 am

Have a good Solstice, Luke.

  (Quote)

g December 21, 2009 at 2:38 am

I wonder what sort of mental setup it takes to make someone hard-headed enough to claim that “life is reducible to nothing more than who is ramming what down whose throat” — and yet soft-headed enough to be *ashamed of someone else’s conduct*.

I even wonder, slightly, whether Asher is in fact a Christian who thinks atheists are or should be amoralists, masquerading here as an atheist. That sounds pretty crazy, but it’s happened before.

  (Quote)

Beelzebub December 21, 2009 at 4:16 am

Asher: Ashamed of you, not of myself, as it was a sneering, curdled comment.I am ashamed that people like you call yourselves atheists, when, really, you make the average fundamentalist look like a paragon of scientific rationality, in comparison.Life is reducible to nothing more than who is ramming what down whose throat, and that will never be reduced.  

Run, don’t walk, to your local college and take classes in psychology, philosophy, political science, economics and game theory. It may be a seductive reductionism to think that we never made it out of the stone age and are still just metaphorically hitting each other over the head with clubs, but surprisingly enough, things have advanced beyond that, even if our stone age correlates are still there.

  (Quote)

drj December 21, 2009 at 7:50 am

g: I even wonder, slightly, whether Asher is in fact a Christian who thinks atheists are or should be amoralists, masquerading here as an atheist. That sounds pretty crazy, but it’s happened before.  

That’s not crazy, it happens quite often. The reverse is also pretty frequent – that an immature atheist poses as a religious person.

Gotta love the internet.

  (Quote)

Asher December 21, 2009 at 8:19 am

Nope, I’m an atheist, whose taxes pay for a society’s infrastructure that carries and supports millions and millions of individuals who contribute nothing. They vote with their open maws, their “social justice” is shoved down my throat. If I were a 17 year-old rutting sow, spreading my ample thighs for any gold-chained thug with a swagger, and having three children by three different ex-cons, I’d be everyone’s darling. The so-called conservatives would be begging me to just have the baby and the so-called liberals would be throwing as much money at me as they could possibly wring from the productive class.

I just want life-types, such as myself, to band together and turn the tables.

Once limited, constitutional government ends, in the US circa the New Deal, justice is nothing more than who is fucking whom. It’s better to be the fucker than the fuckee. My goal is an atheism that understand the diversity of the species and understands that in that vast diversity of life-types there is often no possible reconciliation. Either your fucking someone or your the one getting fucked. Life is a struggle for supremacy between different life-types.

  (Quote)

Asher December 21, 2009 at 8:20 am

Oh, and you failed to address my point that government is nothing more than the gun. It’s entire function is predicated on violence r the threat thereof.

  (Quote)

drj December 21, 2009 at 9:03 am

This post is idiotic. If I don’t pay my taxes then men with guns come for me, and if I resist they shoot me. Law is predicated on violence, so, anyone who supports taxation and the application of law is an advocate for the implementation of the tools of war.

So your logic seems to be

p1. If you support taxation, you support a form of violence
p2. You support taxation.

The valid conclusion from this argument would be the following:

c. Therefore, you support a form of violence.

I think this is pretty uncontroversial. However, that was not the conclusion you seem to draw. The conclusion that you draw, is the following (and its invalid, hopefully for obvious reasons):

c. Therefore you support all forms of violence.

One can easily advocate a form of violence, without advocating them all, just like one can advocate a form of taxes, without advocating them all.

  (Quote)

Asher December 21, 2009 at 9:14 am

The point is that we live in a world ruled by violence, and the initial post seems to oppose violence per se. I opposed the Iraq War because I judged that it did not serve to advance US interests, but I did not consider it immoral as the US has no moral obligations of any kind to Iraqis. Your post seems to imply that the US does have some sort of obligation.

  (Quote)

Penneyworth December 21, 2009 at 9:15 am

Luke, do you know of any good sources that illuminate any actual profits being gained from the Iraq war (be it oil, weapons production, or whatever)?

The thing that I want to understand is: what is the real motive for the bush administration peddling this war? The more I read, the more it seems to be that bush and friends simply were drunk with power and sought some sort of war glory. But… maybe it was just oil lobbyists pushing it. Anyone have any good sources that contain real details and numbers?

Asher, you are quite correct, but your abusive attitude is counterproductive. Look to Chomsky and Ron Paul. We can organize. We can make a difference.

  (Quote)

Penneyworth December 21, 2009 at 9:22 am

Whoops, nevermind. I missed your latest comments, asher. Looks like you would rather be a beneficiary of the problem rather than a victim of it, and don’t desire a solution to it.

  (Quote)

Asher December 21, 2009 at 10:04 am

There is no “solution”, since we are what we are, violence is only a “problem” in the sense that we need ways of managing so that said violence is not used against us. Your brand of so-called atheism is no different from dewey-eyed religions aching for the day when the lions will lay down with the lambs.

Lots of violence in human history stems from male sexual competition. Societies managed that by socially enforcing, implying the threat of violence, heterosexual monogamy, homosexuality doesn’t present the same issues because supply and demand for sex are axiomatically equal. As social regulation of sex recedes expect increasing levels of violence stemming from sexual competition. We already see evidence of this in black-run communities and societies around the world where sex is untethered from monogamy and provision for children by their genetic fathers.

Your brand of kumbaya-style atheism is already toast. The future of atheism can be found at places like http://www.roissy.wordpress.com

  (Quote)

Asher December 21, 2009 at 10:11 am

Bush’s motivation is that of almost every politician, namely, glory. I thought this was pretty well established several centuries ago, maybe brush up on your Montesquieu. Bush decided that he could go down in history as the politician who brought modernity to the savage, illiterate, IQ challenged, inbred Arab world. Occam’s Razor, buds, it’s pretty damn obvious.

Also, you may be conflating abusive and dismissive. I am rarely the former and often the latter.

  (Quote)

Chris December 21, 2009 at 10:18 am

Just wondering, Luke, or anyone, what wars of the past would you consider just, if any? And what would a just war look like in the future? Would intervention in Darfur, for example, be just? I think you could make a good case for it.

If isolationism is truly the best policy in the long run, what do you think would happen if we pulled out of Afganistan today? It’s a messy situation, no? I’m not pretending to have the answers, but it seems to me the way forward is much less clear than both the left and the right think it is (for reasons such as these http://www.slate.com/id/2236148/ ).

  (Quote)

Asher December 21, 2009 at 10:28 am

US isolationism would likely hasten the ascendancy of China to global preeminence. The upside would be the complete end of the farcical ideology of “human rights”, a thoroughly spiritual concept wedded to the religion-originated notion of inherent human dignity. “Human rights” is the product of the combination of Western Christianity and Greek Philosophy, it is a particular cultural value peculiar to the West. The end of Western pre-eminence presages the end of human rights.

  (Quote)

Omgredxface December 21, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I don’t believe anyone reading this blog is qualified to give this post the heading “Truth about the war” or “Untruth about the war”. Finding a random letter about an Iraq vet’s feelings towards the war and posting it up doesn’t make it truth (in fact, kind of childish like a chain email)….and in fairness of the blog where is the opposing point of view/letter for that matter?

Very disappointed with the lack of content in this one.

  (Quote)

Beelzebub December 21, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Cheney facilitated the war to enrich Halliburton and other private contractors (Blackwater, etc.) But the larger reason is oil (sometimes cliches are actually true.) The middle east has the only remaining large and accessible oil fields that are not at peak oil. Iraq sits on the second largest in the world. When peak oil hits (probably around 2020) everyone is going to be scrambling for control of it, and you can bet we’re still going to be in Iraq, perhaps holed up on our billion dollar embassy.
The military no doubt has good intentioned servicemen like Rick above. Unfortunately, it has also become the enforcement arm of plutocratic american business, which makes a mockery of all the sacrifice and idealism.

  (Quote)

Ari December 21, 2009 at 3:57 pm

lukeprog: But there are also those who merely lack good desires, such as a desire to thoroughly investigate the morality of one’s actions before directly contributing to bloodshed.
Rick, I realize I’m saying some pretty ugly things. I’m basically saying that not only were the American soldiers in Vietnam pawns of evil men wanting to enrich themselves, I’m also saying that the soldiers themselves were “evil” in the sense that the lacked important good desires, for example a desire to investigate the morality of one’s actions before dropping bombs that would kill dozens of people.

As I understand it, the problem with condemning soldiers for not thoroughly investigating their actions is that it’s incredibly unrealistic. You can’t expect a soldier on the ground to understand the theater-wide context of his mission or in what specific contexts it could be justified. This isn’t at all because soldiers are stupid, but rather because in order to have the knowledge to make this sort of ethical decision, one would have to spend all of one’s time planning strategy and have access to all sorts of classified information. That’s why soldiers have to trust their officers.

Of course, in obvious cases, such as whether or not to randomly massacre a few civilians, this is irrelevant. But it is both ludicrous and insulting to say that this is the type of thing that American soldiers normally do.

In other words, we can’t expect a soldier to be able to make this sort of decision for the same reason we don’t expect a low-level employee to understand his project’s impact on corporate strategy. Of course, the difference is that in the military lives are at stake rather than just profits.

Rick, I have no military experience. Can you comment on the veracity of my statements? How true are they with regards to the American military in particular?

  (Quote)

rissthesexyatheist December 21, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Truly powerful words. If only the media could report more/some stories like this, perhaps this crusade would end. Thanks

Kriss

  (Quote)

Mark December 21, 2009 at 5:48 pm

“If we organize, if we fight beside our sisters and brothers, we can stop this war, we can stop this government, and we can create a better world.”

This is scary. Sounds like some militia type stuff.

  (Quote)

Penneyworth December 22, 2009 at 6:37 am

Beelzebub, do you know of a source that details which companies have (or have tried to) profit from the war, and that details the nature of their political connections?

  (Quote)

Rick December 22, 2009 at 9:19 am

Ari,

I would agree with you on your statement. I will emphasize that all soldiers are given very extensive ethics classes on the proper use of force according to the Geneva conventions. These classes only intensify as troops get ready to deploy and don’t stop even in Iraq. At least once a month we would have to get together as a platoon and go over vignettes and discuss where and when it was proper to use what force. Movies in Hollywood don’t come close to representing the decisions that soldiers make on a regular basis.

For those times when soldiers do blatantly violate the laws of war, i.e. shooting into a crowd of civilians, the punishments are very broad reaching. Not only is that soldier punished, but His squad leader, platoon sergeant, platoon leader and it’s not unusual for his company commander to all be releaved of duty, effectively ending their military career.

All soldiers are well trained for the ethical situations they will encounter (To shoot or not to shoot) and failures of those should be made known so deficiencies can be fixed and so mistakes are not made again.

  (Quote)

AshAndMistyInLove December 23, 2009 at 4:04 pm

“Nope, I’m an atheist, whose taxes pay for a society’s infrastructure that carries and supports millions and millions of individuals who contribute nothing. They vote with their open maws, their “social justice” is shoved down my throat. If I were a 17 year-old rutting sow, spreading my ample thighs for any gold-chained thug with a swagger, and having three children by three different ex-cons, I’d be everyone’s darling. The so-called conservatives would be begging me to just have the baby and the so-called liberals would be throwing as much money at me as they could possibly wring from the productive class.

I just want life-types, such as myself, to band together and turn the tables.

Once limited, constitutional government ends, in the US circa the New Deal, justice is nothing more than who is fucking whom. It’s better to be the fucker than the fuckee. My goal is an atheism that understand the diversity of the species and understands that in that vast diversity of life-types there is often no possible reconciliation. Either your fucking someone or your the one getting fucked. Life is a struggle for supremacy between different life-types.”
——————–
Well, you unequivocally adhere to a right-wing social Darwinist political philosophy and a sense of pride since you go out of your way to distinguish yourself as a productive person. Why don’t you just plagiarize from one of your idols Ayn Rand? Why don’t all the “life types” band together and abolish your productive efforts and actually go Galt “to turn the tables”? I guess that would require a sense of collusion that people of your “life type” are incapable of. I guess your demand of all the “life-types” joining together is just a koombya dream too. Most out-spoken atheists are left-winged, and the right-winged atheists that aren’t outspoken have other concerns besides making the world more limpid.

Of course, the inability to band together might be due to a marketing deficiency. For examaple, you state that it would be a good thing if the religious and secular concepts of human dignity were vanquished. You assigned a positive normative value to the elimination of such concepts unlike atheists who derived their morality from people such as Singer and Rawls. My question is how would the would be different if “human dignity” were vanquished? What would the vacuum be like? What would fill this vacuum? How would this benefit a majority of the human population, or more narrowly, people in developed countries, US citizens, or more exculsively, people among your “life-type?” At least Obama provided a positive vision get himself elected! What could be gained from accepting your form of “moral realism”?

  (Quote)

VishalPrasad December 24, 2009 at 10:42 pm

lukeprog: Rick,Whatever is happening on the ground does not change the fact that millionaires start wars to enrich themselves, and convince the common people it is good for them when really it harms them and wastes the money of the poor killing other poor people.  

What are you doing!? This is an ad hominem circumstantial.
The things you have enumerated would not abolish the principle of a war in the least. What matters are the philosophical groundings of just-war and the lineaments of international law.
First, this is an absolutely ludicrous reduction of the complexity and necessity of wars. Of course there are times when military action is necessary; those who think that German expansionism and the Holocaust could have been prevented with Gandhite peacenicking IS A FOOL. Nothing gets me more angry when people start all these charities like “Donate to stop genocide in Darfur!” GENOCIDE and TOTALITARIANISM is not ended via charity. Do you know what happened with Darfur? Americans and other self-righteous Westerners donated food to this organizations, and that food (as revealed in the New York Times, in an article that didn’t even qualify for the front page) was take by the government in KHARTOUM, and resold back to Europe for straight profit! That government then proceeded to take those profits, and continue to fund the Janjaweed, the group of equestrian rag-tags who proceeded to burn villages and flaw women and children. And the Westerners forgot about them, and now they don’t have to worry- all of them are dead. We let another Rwanda fall through our fingers, like fools- like apathetic and immoral fools! We were BOUND to intervene: the Geneva genocide convention makes it so! But no, our politicians and isolationists like yourself come up with all kinds of hollow excuses in order to avoid our moral and political duty.
This is the event in modern history that gets me most upset, so forgive me if that sounded overly-passionate.

Second, Notice that this veteran did not just attack the intervention of Iraq (which I think is justifiable), but proceeded to denounce the war in Afghanistan, which is quite unambiguously a just war. Let’s review the parameters of this conflict:

a) On September 11th 2001, the United States was attacked by 19 radical Muslims (who were of varying nationalities, but who were members of the same group, namely, Al-Qaeda), via 4 hijacked planes, which resulted in the death of 2,973 innocent American citizens. This assault alone calls for military action and retribution; do not be forgetful of that.
b) Al-Qaeda is an international body, which had found funding and haven through the Taliban government of Afghanistan. The two groups had tied their fate thus. An attack on one them requires an attack upon the other.
c) Osama bin-Laden says that it is the duty of all true Muslims to strive to obtain Atomic Weapons, and use them to establish Muslim Fundamentalist Hegemony.
d) Al-Qaeda’s expressed goal is to establish a new empire by restoring the lost caliphate. They do not recognize the borders of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, or any other middle Eastern country. Supporting them is not supporting “anti-imperialism” as many left-wing masochists like to believe.
d) The Taliban were quite close to obtaining a nuclear bomb. Before the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban had been steadily gaining influence in the government of Pakistan, which is, of course, a nuclear power. Government officials were sympathetic or collaborated with the group. Now, Pakistan is our ally (albeit a wearisomely resistant one, at times).
e) There is nothing more to hate in the politics and social theories of Al-Qaeda: They are anti-secular, anti feminist, anti socialist, anti democratic, against any form of human rights (trial by jury, the right to the due processes of law, freedom of speech, FREEDOM OF RELIGION, freedom of the press), will assuredly enslave (a term I am NOT using lightly) all females, against any form of education (philosophical, historical, sexual), and, as I’ve said in c, desire to establish the lost caliphate.

And all this you want to defend?

  (Quote)

VishalPrasad December 24, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Beelzebub: Cheney facilitated the war to enrich Halliburton and other private contractors (Blackwater, etc.)But the larger reason is oil (sometimes cliches are actually true.)The middle east has the only remaining large and accessible oil fields that are not at peak oil.Iraq sits on the second largest in the world.When peak oil hits (probably around 2020) everyone is going to be scrambling for control of it, and you can bet we’re still going to be in Iraq, perhaps holed up on our billion dollar embassy.
The military no doubt has good intentioned servicemen like Rick above.Unfortunately, it has also become the enforcement arm of plutocratic american business, which makes a mockery of all the sacrifice and idealism.  

I know you think that that is a clever summing up of all United States foreign policy, but this is a phenomenal failure.
How about Afghanistan, where there is no oil. In fact there is no industry apart from the opium trade, and the United States military is systematically destroying all the poppy it can get its hands on. The only other industry Afghanistan was known for in the recent past was grape growing, and, arguably, the harvesting of hashish. The GDP per-capita in Afghanistan is $350 (a third of what it is in Iraq), and no less than 80% illiteracy. I terms of international politiking: Afghanistan is no longer a contested region. The British and Russians don’t want it, the Pakistanis don’t want it, and no other country with any sense would want that place. Iraq is truly a region that was contested; Iran wanted the South, and Turkey wanted the north, and Syria would have rolled through. Instead, there is an autonomous and self-appointed government in Iraq- but back to Afghanistan. There was no great power move in Afghanistan, and it certainly isn’t impressing anyone. The reason that the United States and the rest of NATO is there is because of genuine international security issues, and the recognition of an incompatible ideology.

  (Quote)

VishalPrasad December 24, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Asher: Bush’s motivation is that of almost every politician, namely, glory.I thought this was pretty well established several centuries ago, maybe brush up on your Montesquieu.Bush decided that he could go down in history as the politician who brought modernity to the savage, illiterate, IQ challenged, inbred Arab world.Occam’s Razor, buds, it’s pretty damn obvious.Also, you may be conflating abusive and dismissive.I am rarely the former and often the latter.  

The fact that you tried to apply Occam’s razor to your incoherent example doesn’t reflect kindly upon you. Please clarify.

  (Quote)

lukeprog December 25, 2009 at 12:17 am

VishalPrasad,

Congrats, you are person #356 to accuse me of a fallacy before I even made an argument.

If you don’t know what’s wrong with that, please consider taking my Intro to Logic course.

  (Quote)

Jon December 25, 2009 at 7:32 am

Rick, it’s all well and good that your platoon paid Iraqi’s for the use of their homes. It’s all well and good that you get ethics training. But how many are dead right now as a result of the U.S. invasion (and also the prior 12 years of sanctions)? A couple of million maybe? All the ethics classes and payments you made don’t change that fact that disaster has been rained down on Iraqi’s for the last 20 years, and for what reason? It’s the obvious one. There are people that make a lot of money this way.

You think it would be worse if we left. What do the Iraqi’s think? Ever consider that? Do you know that overwhelmingly they want us out. The United States is the aggressor nation here. It doesn’t matter what we think if we want to act ethically. We should listen to the aggrieved party. If they want us to stay and rebuild the country we wrecked we should do that. If they want us to leave, shouldn’t we do that? Polls have them requesting us to leave by 90% majorities. The dissenters are probably the members of the puppet government we’ve now installed, probably because they’ll be hanging from the lampposts as soon as we’re gone.

You may have meant well, but the consequences have been disastrous and the purposes are transparently unjust. That’s important.

  (Quote)

Neil C. Reinhardt January 14, 2010 at 1:20 pm

THE TRUTH ABOUT WAR?

From this post, it is extreamly obivious you would NOT know the TRUTH were it a sharp poined cactus shoved up you your ignorant butt by someone who actually has a clue what the are talking about!

There are MORE than sufficent facts which PROVE the Iraq War is both FULLY JUSTIFIED and a NECESSARY part of our World Wide War on the TERRORISTS who have been KILLING Ammericans and our friends for OVER THIRTY YEARS!

And anyone who disagrees with the above is just too lazy to do the research and get the FACTS as well as most probably being too stupid to be able to fully comprehend what the facts mean!

  (Quote)

Neil C. Reinhardt January 14, 2010 at 4:38 pm

It seems many of you have NO “F” ing clue as the facts & truth on Iraq. I really do feel very sorry for those of you who BLITHER though life being as totally clueless as you are about the REAL WORLD.

  (Quote)

red fewcha August 16, 2010 at 10:42 pm

One red world
We are moving toward one red world
There’s peace for all
In a communist world

  (Quote)

Leave a Comment