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Most "violent and murderous" army in our history
Posted by: mcq on Wednesday, November 01, 2006

“In Vietnam, our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation,” he said. “It isn’t happening now, but I will tell you – there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.”
This quote is from Seymour Hersh. His basis for it is supposedly a video to which he has access or at least claims to have seen. He describes it:
“Three U.S. armed vehicles, eight soldiers in each, are driving through a village, passing candy out to kids,” he began. “Suddenly the first vehicle explodes, and there are soldiers screaming. Sixteen soldiers come out of the other vehicles, and they do what they’re told to do, which is look for running people.”

“Never mind that the bomb was detonated by remote control,” Hersh continued. “[The soldiers] open up fire; [the] cameras show it was a soccer game.”

“About ten minutes later, [the soldiers] begin dragging bodies together, and they drop weapons there. It was reported as 20 or 30 insurgents killed that day,” he said.
I'm not going to defend this because, frankly, I don't know if it even exists. But the things said are interesting.

"Three armed vehicles". "Sixteen solders come out of the other vehicles". Sound like Bradleys or Strykers to me (you can't get 8 people in a Humvee). For the sake of argument, let's say Strykers since they can carry 11 and a Bradley (M2A2) carries 9, but only 6 dismounts. But you don't easily pass out candy to kids from Strykers because you simply don't want them that close to where they could be killed or injured (driver can' see them at all) beside the fact that it is almost impossible to reach a kid from a Stryker. So maybe they're just tossing the candy from an open hatch or two.

And, one would assume, when the first vehicle exploded any number of kids getting candy from that crew would go with it. Somehow Sy missed mentioning that.

"Lead vehicle explodes." "Soldiers are screaming". If it was three Strykers, they most likely wouldn't unload their soldiers in a kill zone. Call it "combat common sense 101". They're safer on-board. They'd maneuver with the vehicles and use their crew served weapons if necessary. In that particular case, if they unloaded anyone, they'd do so to pull wounded from the vehicle that's been hit. The only other reason to unload is if they were trapped and needed the dismounts to clear an area. Otherwise, I'd guess the SOP says secure your wounded and get out of the kill zone. In some cases, suppressive fire may be indicated if trying to extricate wounded, depending upon whether you're being fired upon.

Soccer game. Firing indiscriminatly at anyone. Drag 'em out, stack 'em up and drop weapons all about (how does one know to carry enough AKs to accomodate murdering 30 Iraqis?). Dismounted in a kill zone, no ROE, no one in charge ... just what we do, per Hersh.

Like I said, I have no idea if the video exists. It may. If so I'd like to see it, because Hersh's description reminds me of something Jesse MacBeth or a certain Winter Soldier might describe, with all the tell tale signs its BS.

Oh I'm not saying some troops don't do murderous things. But I do say they don't do them often or as a matter of SOP. And I damn sure dispute Mr. Seymour Hersh's claim that "there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq", mainly because I don't think he knows what the hell he's talking about.

But it certainly doesn't stop him from spreading his poisonous rhetoric, does it?
 
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"(how does one know to carry enough AKs to accomodate murdering 30 Iraqis?)."

I’m sure it’s in their prescribed load list. Why does anyone still listen to him?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Because he says what a certain segment of the political left wants to believe. That’s why they listen. That’s why they believed Jesse MacBeth and John Kerry.

Why Hersh feels he has to make stuff up, though ... dunno.

Anyway, I was bored, saw that and thought, eh, let’s pick it apart. And I did.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
I’m sure it’s in their prescribed load list.
LOL! Missed that the first time. Yeah, probably those AKs we bought them that have gone missing.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
The truth hurts, doesn’t it? Look, our military is not defending freedom or doing anything heroic in Iraq. It’s a failed war of aggression, an attempt at imperialism designed to assure access to oil and dominance in the region, and stories abound of abuses, murders and mistreatment of innocents by frustrated soldiers who think they came to liberate, only to find that the liberated don’t want them. They were used, and anger should be directed not at people like Hersh, but at a government that treats our military people as pawns in a geopolitical game. Iraq is a failure, the deaths there have been in vain, and a lot of destruction and death was caused both directly and indirectly by the vile choice to launch a war of aggression.

Americans should be ashamed of what is being done in our name. It is disgusting. But watch — more and more of the truth will come out, and you won’t be able to spin around it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Perhaps Mr. Hirsch, and Mr. Kerry, should get together.
They seem to be singing the same tune.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Scott: Your post is but a reminder just why I despise the Democrat Party. As feckless and incompetent as the GOP is at times, the Dems are far far worse. We can argue over whether the Iraq War was right or not, but to inject slander against the military and tar all soldiers with the same brush is beyond the pale. That is something the idiot Dems have never learned and is one reason I hold them in such contempt. Focus your criticism on Bush and the GOP, leave the soldiers the eff alone.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://averagegayjoe.blogspot.com
We can argue over whether the Iraq War was right or not, but to inject slander against the military and tar all soldiers with the same brush is beyond the pale.


First of all, no matter how bad Iraq gets, there are some die-hard Bush cult members who will never acknowledge that invading Iraq was a strategic blunder of the first order. Given the tone of your response, I suspect you fall in that category.

Second, you engage in classic winger dishonesty in your response. The by now classic technique is to label criticism of the Bush administration as criticism of the troops. Scott didn’t criticize or slander or tar the troops. Here is what he said:
They were used, and anger should be directed not at people like Hersh, but at a government that treats our military people as pawns in a geopolitical game
He is clearly expressing anger at the administration, not the troops.

I’m sorry John, but you are a liar. It’s that simple.

And what’s worse, is that your lies are in service of the very administration that is sacrificing American troops for political gain. At this point, only a fool would believe that a positive outcome is likely in Iraq. All that our troops are doing now is delaying the inevitable - an all out civil war that will erupt when we leave. Americans are dying for to maintain GOP power past 2006. That’s it.

And they are not even doing that. Sadr just told Maliki to order US troops to abandon their checkpoints in Sadr City, where they were searching for an American soldier. And Bush obeyed his command. Bush left a man behind because Sadr ordered him to.
Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki demanded the removal of American checkpoints from the streets of Baghdad on Tuesday, in what appeared to be his latest and boldest gambit in an increasingly tense struggle for more independence from his American protectors.

....The language of the declaration, which implied that Mr. Maliki had the power to command American forces, seemed to overstep his authority and to be aimed at placating his Shiite constituency.

The withdrawal was greeted with jubilation in the streets of Sadr City, the densely populated Shiite enclave where the Americans have focused their manhunt and where anti-American sentiment runs high.
Think about it. A radical terrorist just ordered Bush to leave a man behind, and Bush obeyed.

Obviously, this kind of capitulation doesn’t get you angry. Why? Because getting angry would put your fealty to your country above your fealty to Bush. And, quite obviously, you are not capable of that.

At long last, have you no shame?
 
Written By: mkuoltra
URL: http://
i can’t wait until we start going after the real enemy Iran ..... that will be a great war
 
Written By: jjj
URL: http://
This reminds me of one of his stories back in November 2001, right after we went into Afghanistan. It was a story critical of the initial Ranger/Delta raid on Mullah Omar’s compound. As usual, Sy quoted the standard "anonymous, but very high level" sources in SOCOM. Hersh basically made the case that the Ranger jump onto the airstrip was for purely Hollywood purposes, and the Delta squadron that raided the compound nearly had their a**es handed to them. Now, I don’t know how the raid really went, but what made the story suspect in my eyes was the number of AC-130 gunships Hersh said were supporting the mission. He said that there were 16...that’s right 16 Spectres circling the area, when most knowledgeable people in that community know that there’s barely 16 Spectres in the entire inventory!! That must have been some crowded airspace. Anyway, what do you expect from a man who has freely admitted that he makes stuff up?
 
Written By: cjd
URL: http://
Scott: Your post is but a reminder just why I despise the Democrat Party. As feckless and incompetent as the GOP is at times, the Dems are far far worse. We can argue over whether the Iraq War was right or not, but to inject slander against the military and tar all soldiers with the same brush is beyond the pale. That is something the idiot Dems have never learned and is one reason I hold them in such contempt. Focus your criticism on Bush and the GOP, leave the soldiers the eff alone.
Given that I don’t hold the Democratic party in high esteem myself, I’m surprised anything I would write would create cause to think anything about the Democratic party.

You are throwing out a lot of insults, a lot of charges, but you are not countering anything I wrote. That’s the problem with today’s political discourse. Yeah, I wrote some provocative things. I’m prepared to defend them, and respect disagreement. But when someone just makes false charges (slander? Poppycock) and calls names, it suggests maybe the reason for your anger is deep down you know I have a point, but you just don’t want to bring yourself to admit it. You can either deal with the truth head on, or cover your eyes and call names to avoid it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And what’s worse, is that your lies are in service of the very administration that is sacrificing American troops for political gain. At this point, only a fool would believe that a positive outcome is likely in Iraq. All that our troops are doing now is delaying the inevitable - an all out civil war that will erupt when we leave. Americans are dying for to maintain GOP power past 2006. That’s it.
I think it’s worse than that; they are sacrificing troops in order to save face and to try to avoid admitting error. That’s what happens when you see the military as a political tool rather than as young men and women who are being put in a situation that will change them forever, and cause psychological pain and hardship to those who survive or are physically uninjured.

What also bothers me is how some (like Ralph Peters today) want to brush all responsibility for what’s happening off to the Iraqis, saying ’we didn’t fail, they did.’ To take Powell’s pottery barn metaphor another step, it’s like saying, "I didn’t screw up when I knocked over the vase and it broke into pieces, the workers here who couldn’t glue it back together failed." It seems almost criminal to try to deny responsibility for doing things that led to the situation in Iraq today, but war hawks are setting themselves up to try to do just that. I doubt they’ll be too convincing, however.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Gosh, the Hersh fanboys are really bouncing on this.

Hersh’s relationship with the truth is pretty loose.

I bet this magical tape never appears and not a one of his fanboys will ask about it. The reality is that they want to believe this is what the US military is realy about. Sure puts Kerry’s comments in context doesn’t it.

 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Oh, forgot one last thing. Any of you Hersh fanboys remember Hersh’s "interesting biography" of the Kennedy (the dark Side of Camelot):
The reviews of Hersh’s singularly tumescent account of the Kennedy presidency were savage. Gail Collins wrote in The Nation that Hersh’s book on JFK was “best read as a sort of journalistic tragedy.” In the Los Angeles Times, Edward Jay Epstein decreed that Hersh “must have invented” some of his facts and that the book “turns out to be, alas, more about the deficiencies of investigative journalism than about the deficiencies of John F. Kennedy.”

More damaging than the book’s critical reception were revelations that Hersh had fallen for a set of forged Kennedy documents—including a handwritten note from JFK offering Marilyn Monroe hush money to keep quiet about their affair—peddled by Lawrence X. Cusack III, a con man. The phony docs didn’t make it into The Dark Side of Camelot, but the moral of the story stuck: The onetime giant of investigative journalism had let himself be duped again. Hersh’s next book, on Gulf War syndrome, was almost completely ignored.
There is nothing more pathetic that academics who throw out their common sense because of what they desperately want to believe.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Oh No Capt. Joe it’ll turn up...unless the BFEE kills the owners of it.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Oh No Capt. Joe it’ll turn up...unless the BFEE kills the owners of it.
Cheney is putting on his quail hunting jacket right now.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
I have to agree with the "right" on all of this. Soldiers are soldiers, their job is to kill people and break stuff, and our soldiers do their job very well. They also follow orders and practice restraint almost every time they should.

Soldiers occasionally go off the reservation, but this SHOULD NOT be a reflection on every soldier who does their job.

If there is a story here, the story is whether the leaddership, political or military, are doing anything to cause or encourage these kinds of criminal actions, or if they are doing enought to prevent these things from happening and prosecuting them when they do.

That I think the current civilian leadership is horrendous and does a diservice to our military is certainly no reason to make or accept inaccurate and disparaging accounts of our soldiers actions.

Cap


 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
That I think the current civilian leadership is horrendous and does a diservice to our military is certainly no reason to make or accept inaccurate and disparaging accounts of our soldiers actions.
But that’s the point in bringing up this point about Hersh, isn’t it? McQ has no respect for Hersh, yet he spends time criticizing him. So why does he do it?

To frame the issue. McQ doesn’t want to talk about the reality on the ground in Iraq. You know, using multiple sources - foreign and domestic, left and right, to make sense of the reality. That would be boring. Instead, the effort is to use Hersh as a proxy for anyone who opposes Bush and who suggests that the reality on the ground is different from the Bush administrations point of view.

Basically, the message is this: If you think things are going poorly in Iraq, you hate the troops.

It’s a variant on the notion that if you oppose Bush, you therefore hate the troops. It’s a tiny bit more sophisticated than that notion, in the same way that a Mike’s Hard Lemonade is more sophisticated than a Bartles and James wine cooler.
 
Written By: mkuoltra
URL: http://
I’m no fan of Bush and will admit that the war in Iraq would have to be chalked up as an overall failure at this point, and Afghanistan isn’t looking so great either. Blame Bush, his cabinet, Rumsfeld or the military, but there are no rose-colored glasses to view it through.

Having said that, most of those who openly oppose the war seem to be saying the same things:
1. Bush got us into this mess by lying about WMDs
2. Bush won’t admit his plan failed and our soldiers are dying for nothing
3. The war was actually about imperialism, oil, Bush’s religious beliefs, etc.

What I never hear from opponents is what we should now do to untangle ourselves from the war. Sure, there’s the cut-and-run position, but that is just not viable. Not unless you wish to see Iraq implode and become the Taliban’s (and likely others) new stomping grounds. The Democrats proper have plenty of criticism of Bush and the war, but no solution. And no one who has access to them will pin them down and ask them to specify how we get out from under this mess. I’m still waiting for proposed solutions from the anti-war/Bush haters, other than Murtha’s laughable idea of immediately leaving Iraq and operating out of Okinawa.
 
Written By: Joab
URL: http://joabsblog.blogspot.com
I was listening to a podcast, not sure who’s, but they interviewed some of our top army guys in Baghdad. They discussed the new training policy towards checkpoints, and their program to reduce accidental shootings by "profiling" cars before they made a decision to shoot. Supposedly the program has reduced the death rate at checkpoints.

Now if we were really just bloodthirsty savages, why would such a program exist?

Secondary points: The Brits have taken over a province in Afghanistan, and it seems to have resulted in many of the same problems we had. There is no panacea.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Basically, the message is this: If you think things are going poorly in Iraq, you hate the troops
Hmmm...I guess the part about accusing the troops (without providing evidence) of massacring civilians and then changing the scene to make it look like they were insurgents has nothing to do with "the troops"?

And when Scott Erb starts off by saying "The truth hurts" he’s not blindly accepting something horrific about "the troops"? He’s attacking the administration by agreeing our troops are monsters?

 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Given that I don’t hold the Democratic party in high esteem myself,
I’ve noticed that you keep saying that. I’ve also noticed that you immediately thereafter go about proving that the first sentence was untrue.

I doubt I am alone in noticing that.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
For Scott and you other boneheads, let me ask you a question. Do you really believe that fraggings, rapes, and atrocities have never been committed in other American wars?

This article was so puerile because it assumes that history began in 2000.
This just in! ALL wars have some bad shiite happen in them! It is only in the modern times that we have reporters and cameras crawling all over the place that you see it more often.

It a war for godsakes and regardless if you think it was a good war or not makes no difference, there would still be atrocities. Because when you have a very large collection of human beings some of them are going to be bad, period, end of story.

SO go ahead and hate the war all you want, hate Bush all you want, but STFU about our soldiers because its only ever going to be a few of them committing crimes, and then when caught they are punished.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
For Scott and you other boneheads, let me ask you a question. Do you really believe that fraggings, rapes, and atrocities have never been committed in other American wars?
American Military History, like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, was all sunshine, flowers and rivers of chocolate until Chimpy McHitlerburton and the PNAC neocons took over. QED.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
For Scott and you other boneheads, let me ask you a question. Do you really believe that fraggings, rapes, and atrocities have never been committed in other American wars?
Oh well, if it was done in the past, then I guess it’s OK, eh? The point is that the government has put the soldiers in a horrible situation. They are not fighting a war, they won that. They are trying to, I don’t know, ’provide security.’ But they don’t have the numbers to accomplish that. They are trying to train police and the Iraqi military, but they can’t trust the people they train to really stand by them. They are trying to ’help the Iraqis’ but they have to endure the animosity of the Iraqi people to their presence, and are unable to trust that the next civilian might not be an insurgent sniper.

Put 18 and 19 year olds in such a position and I have no doubt many very good, honorable, courageous people will get pushed to the edge sometime. The shame is that they are then paraded as ’bad apples,’ sent to prison, and the leaders wrap themselves in the flag while saying ’very few soldiers’do this (which of course is true) and don’t realize that their choice to send these young people into such conditions probably has caused severe damage to their future and their reputation. It’s a damn shame, and the main blame lies with the elites in Washington and not with the soldiers.
Given that I don’t hold the Democratic party in high esteem myself,
I’ve noticed that you keep saying that. I’ve also noticed that you immediately thereafter go about proving that the first sentence was untrue.

I doubt I am alone in noticing that.


You are fantasizing, not noticing. My criticism of Clinton during the Kosovo war was just as intense as my criticism of Bush now — even more so; I had a letter ot the editor published in *Time* magazine strongly criticizing that war.

In fact, during that war I started an online commentary which now would be called a blog (though I don’t think the term blog was in use at the time):
http://academic.umf.maine.edu/~erb/misc/nato_bombing.htm
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The truth hurts, doesn’t it?
Look, our military is not defending freedom or doing anything heroic in Iraq. It’s a failed war of aggression, an attempt at imperialism designed to assure access to oil and dominance in the region, and stories abound of abuses, murders and mistreatment of innocents by frustrated soldiers who think they came to liberate, only to find that the liberated don’t want them
Americans should be ashamed of what is being done in our name. It is disgusting. But watch — more and more of the truth will come out, and you won’t be able to spin around it.
Scott - stick with the fact that Hersh has delivered his standard load of crap.
You’re arguing over some strawman attack, and telling us we are upset that the ’truth hurts’.

MORE OF WHICH TRUTH are you telling us will come out Scott?
Did you mean the truth outlined in the mythical video that Hersh has described?
...send these young people into such conditions probably has caused severe damage to their future and their reputation.
The only one damaging any reputations here (except for the damage being done to Hersh’s, and your own, by your own statements) is you, buying into unsubstantiated stories about American atrocities and perpetuating them.

If you read this place much, you’ll find there’s no one who is FOR atrocity, everyone is FOR punishing those who commit them. But as a group we’re not FOR believing unsubstantiated stories and peddling it as part of some buried truth and then wailing and wringing our hands over the 18 and 19 years olds who’s reputations we’re damaging in the process.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Hersh:
there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq
Erb:
The truth hurts, doesn’t it?
Erb later:
saying ’very few soldiers’do this (which of course is true)
Which is it?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
You are throwing out a lot of insults, a lot of charges, but you are not countering anything I wrote
Maybe because you’re not worth bothering with?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Scott Erb, just having ’ole Sy whip out that thar video... otherwise this just falls into the Jessie What’shisname File... a nice STORY, just like the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" but just a truthful.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Hmmm, how about our frontier army during the expansion west?

More or less "violent and murderous" then it is now?

Our Air Force during WWII, I mean, look at Dresden, we pounded the sh!t out of them just to show how bad we could make the rest of Germany look.

More or less "violent and murderous" then it is now?

War is all about violence. We do more to avoid targeting the innocent then we ever have before.

Murderous implies illegality. So, the question is, as someone pointed out, are we covering up or encouraging illegal killings by our troops?

I highly doubt it.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://
" and stories abound of abuses, murders and mistreatment of innocents by frustrated soldiers"

Please. These stories don’t exactly "abound", except in the fevered imaginations of pseudo-intellectual antiwar types.

"but you are not countering anything I wrote."

What is there to counter? You make an accusation, someone makes a denial. Seems pretty even to me.

" it suggests maybe the reason for your anger is deep down you know I have a point, but you just don’t want to bring yourself to admit it."

Yeah, and my childhood sucked, too.

****************************
"Do you really believe that fraggings, rapes, and atrocities have never been committed in other American wars?"

Ah, you beat me to it, Kyle. There is indeed a reason for the existence of Military Police, Judge Advocates, etc. beyond the need for enforcing traffic regulations.

**************************
" Oh well, if it was done in the past, then I guess it’s OK, eh? "

Jumping Judas! Are you serious? And you claim to be on the faculty of a reputable university? I have had junior college instructors who used better logic to defend their positions. If you have tenure my opinion of U. of Maine just dropped significantly. Oh, but then you are a "political scientist"(that always makes me think of Scientologist).
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Did you mean the truth outlined in the mythical video that Hersh has described?
My, my, lots of insults, and attacks, including attacks on Seymour Hersh, one of the greats of American journalism — and someone who has earned trust, despite the predictable efforts of character assassins who attack anyone who dares go against their perspective. Hersh broke the story of the Mai Lai massacre in Vietnam. If you guys were watching from stateside when that story broke, I’m sure you’d be attacking him and calling him a liar at that time.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
So Scott, you have no problems with Hersh’s credibility since Mai Lai? He’s got a blank check with you forever?
 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
What Spongeworthy said, Scott IF Sy Hersh said, "This is the BEST Army the US has ever fielded." would YOU believe it? No, you believe Sy Hersh because his position coincides with YOURS, not because he speaks truth to power....

and again, Scott, Hersh admits he lies and yet his word(s) are golden to you?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
This shouldn’t have passed the smell check in the first place (and didn’t since McQ took it apart on the military standpoint).

Think about the technical aspects -

Where is the cameraman during this filming? (and note, Hersh actually alleges CAMERAS - plural, but I’ll stick with one guy just for sanity sake, because otherwise it means the films were merged and edited for most dramatic effect)

Is our intrepid cameraman friendly or hostile? (what about his sound guy? Does he have one?)

If he’s a hostile (expecting the attack) - why are our guys letting him film them in action?
Even to the level that he’s filming them as they lay out the predeployed atrocity emergency spare weaponry on the bodies?
Why aren’t they fragging him along with the kiddies?

If he’s a friendly -
Sitting outside which vehicle when the lead takes a hit?
And sweetheart of a guy too, our guys are cooking in the ’vehicle’ and he films it instead of helping out.
Then when our guys open fire on civilians at a soccer game, he doesn’t say anything like "hey, uh, guys, that’s not right!" - nope, he just keeps a filming. Swell guy, in the real world, we’d call him MR. ACCESSORY TO MURDER.
Again, nice guy!
Then, our guys, knowing they’ve committed an atrocity - (how do we know they realize they have? Because they break out those predeployed AKs to lay on the bodies) - let him film it, all of it, soup to nuts.

Soundtrack -
"Heckydurn, bag another kid will ya?, I missed that last take, and I want a closeup!"
"You’re recording our atrocities! Wow dude way cool!"
"Sure, can you guys, like um, put one foot on that dead kid, like a trophy? Ya know?"

"Well sir, I think we’ve covered this massacre up pretty good"
"Yep, all except for that camera guy that was following us around"
"ah, he’s okay, I’m sure he just wants that video for his grand kids"
"Oh...right, that’s what was I thinking..."

Finally is he civilian or an Army combat videographer?

From the get go, a VIDEO documenting the massacre in progress doesn’t pass a normal smell check. You seriously think they’re going to commit an atrocity and let the film survive!?????
My, my, lots of insults, and attacks, including attacks on Seymour Hersh, one of the greats of American journalism
And where’s the video? What insulting thing did I say about Hersh other than to question his credibility on this? Am I not allowed to do that because he’s an American Literary great who broke the Mai Lai massacre story?
He’s provided hearsay evidence of a massacre based on a video.
Is it an insult for me to ask to see the video?
Why is it an insult for me to deductively reason that such a video is unlikely to exist because of the technical difficulties contrasted against the description of the video content.

We question the President of the United States all the time, but I shouldn’t question Hersh?

And for the record Noam Choamsky is supposedly an American literary great too.
Maybe in your eyes, not mine.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
We question the President of the United States all the time, but I shouldn’t question Hersh?
Because Chimpy McHaliburton is SATAN, a Fascist, a CHRISTIANIST... and a Republican. Sy Hersh is good...

Bottom-line: Bush Bad/Hersh Good....see Looker it’s easy...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
You are throwing out a lot of insults, a lot of charges, but you are not countering anything I wrote.
Scott,

What you wrote was garbage:
The truth hurts, doesn’t it? Look, our military is not defending freedom or doing anything heroic in Iraq. It’s a failed war of aggression, an attempt at imperialism designed to assure access to oil and dominance in the region, and stories abound of abuses, murders and mistreatment of innocents by frustrated soldiers who think they came to liberate, only to find that the liberated don’t want them.
Scott,

There are several claims of US abuse, some of which may be true, and some of which may be partially true, and others which are false. And they all add up to a US military which shows considerable restraint (Seymour Hersh has no clue what our army has done in previous wars, which has consistently been better than the enemy, but was significantly worse than anything to come out of Iraq). Aside from that, what you wrote is opinion. The imperialism / oil thing suggest ignorance on your part, most likely willful ignorance.

McQ did a good take down on Seymour Hersh. Sometimes it helps to actually understand the military, and not make stuff up. Hersh needs to learn more so he can lie more effectively.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Hersh needs to learn more so he can lie more effectively.
Heh. Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
including attacks on Seymour Hersh, one of the greats of American journalism
Can we canonize him now given his infallibility?

At least pretend to read the article I took the effort to find that points out that Sy Hersh will tell any lie to to his an idea. In the article I referenced, he even says he lied and that the lie was for a greater cause.

Sure Sy Hersh has some great articles but he also has some absolutely terrible bs ones too. The problem with Hersh is that he has a story before he has the facts and sculpts his story to fit that.

So my point is that Hersh has to taken with a grain of salt until he has the evidence to back it up. Even then you need to fact check him. Remember his falling for fraudulent docs on Jack Kennedy.

So that’s the difference between you and I in this regards. I prefer my facts to be well "fact-like" and not faith based.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
capt. joe in the reality-based community facts(fax) are either "gude" or "bad"...gudefax show Bush as the evil tyrant we know him to be and so are inherently TRUE, badfax contradict gudefax and are lies. Again this is easy and you know I’m changing sides, because Scott and Mk’s side has it a LOT easier.

So to illustrate the "video" and the Hersh story based on this video are gudefax and so are true...YOUR discussion of Hersh are badfax and hence are LIES.

Man I marvel at the elegance and simplicity of this system.....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
attacks on Seymour Hersh, one of the greats of American journalism — and someone who has earned trust
Man, are you ignorant! Hersh admits that he lies for impact:
On the podium, Sy is willing to tell a story that’s not quite right, in order to convey a Larger Truth. “Sometimes I change events, dates, and places in a certain way to protect people,” Hersh told me. “I can’t fudge what I write. But I can certainly fudge what I say.”
P.S. I’m still waiting to find out which "truth" Erb supports since he commented on both sides:

1) there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq, OR
2) ’very few soldiers’do this (which of course is true)

Which is it?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
P.S. I’m still waiting to find out which "truth" Erb supports since he commented on both sides:

1) there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq, OR
2) ’very few soldiers’do this (which of course is true)
In the reality-based, post-modern community this whole true/untrue thing is really quite passé. To the extent that exculpating the troops is a gudefax (q.v. Gudefax) then THAT is true; to the extent that excoriating the troops is gudefax, then that, too is TRUE. In fact, depending on the need and context these statements can be true and untrue simultaneously. A sort of indeterminate Truth, a Schrödinger’s Cat Truth, as it were....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Is this a refinement on "fake but accurate"?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Is this a refinement on "fake but accurate"?
No, Looker, because that idea "fake" is predicated on the false consciousness of Fake v. True, whereas gudefax v. badfax is based upon the idea of UTILITY. You see fake but true would still imply that the statement is a lie, whereas in my paradigm it can be both a lie or a truth, depending on whether the statement at that moment in that context is gudefax or badfax...there is no fake but true, only gudefax=true, badfax=lies. IF Bush’s Rathergate Memo’s are gudefax, THEN they are TRUE, inherently... again see how easy this is?

Again I am switching sides, because the reality-based community has a MUCH easier time of it..come on you capt. joe and I we join Glasnost and MK and CindyB..it’ll be fun. I believe it is....our destiny....In fact I believe MK is YOUR Father, Looker. Join him and together you can rule the Galaxy.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
No, nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

But I must admit, it IS a brilliant plan. Finally a rational explanation for the pig headedness....errr....faith.....secular of course.....of the left in their philosophies and talking points.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
First of all, no matter how bad Iraq gets, there are some die-hard Bush cult members who will never acknowledge that invading Iraq was a strategic blunder of the first order. Given the tone of your response, I suspect you fall in that category.
One doesn’t have to be a "die-hard Bush cult member" to dispute your claim here. That having been said there is a significant difference between the invasion of Iraq and how matters have been handled since then. One can easily believe the former was correct while the latter has been bungled due to poor leadership.
Second, you engage in classic winger dishonesty in your response. The by now classic technique is to label criticism of the Bush administration as criticism of the troops. Scott didn’t criticize or slander or tar the troops. Here is what he said:
They were used, and anger should be directed not at people like Hersh, but at a government that treats our military people as pawns in a geopolitical game
He is clearly expressing anger at the administration, not the troops.
Ah, I see that you suffer from Pot & Kettle Syndrome. If I were of the type you describe than I would hardly rate the Republicans as being "feckless and incompetent". Scott and anyone else should feel free to blast the Bush Administration all they wish, I may even agree depending upon what is being charged. Yet when you use code-words for the Radical Assinine Left, I reserve the right to call a spade a spade and identify you as a wacko nutjob. As angry as I am with the GOP the rhetoric and shenanigans of the Democrats, who have embraced every wack-job that’s come along in it’s quest to regain power, makes me even angrier. The fact that as a party they are too stupid to understand what golden opportunities they had in 2002, 2004, and even this year to make significant gains if they had chosen a wiser course says quite a lot to me. I’m not wed to the GOP and have plenty of reasons to vote against them but the alternative the Dems present is even worse. It’s not enough to tell me why I should hate the GOP, you have to woo me to your position by presenting a better alternative. Lemme give you a hint: denigrating those I hold in high esteem a la Sheehan, Moore, Durbin, etc. is not the way. Some individual Dems seem to be getting the message but as a party they are still as clueless as ever.
And what’s worse, is that your lies are in service of the very administration that is sacrificing American troops for political gain.


Lemme guess: Line #6 from the Kossack Handbook? You are projecting, idiot. My anger at the Dems does not translate to love for the GOP but perhaps that’s too simple a concept for addled-mind to comprehend? Ni modo.
At long last, have you no shame?


A question like this is being asked by a Democrat sympathizer is so amusing I may just hurt myself laughing if I think about it any further.

 
Written By: John
URL: http://averagegayjoe.blogspot.com
Given that I don’t hold the Democratic party in high esteem myself, I’m surprised anything I would write would create cause to think anything about the Democratic party.
When you use code-words from the Radical Assinine Left in making your criticism you really shouldn’t be surprised. I have no problem with an intelligent critique of any politician or administration, rhetoric a la the idiots of the past few years I most certainly do.
You are throwing out a lot of insults, a lot of charges, but you are not countering anything I wrote.


You presume I am not critical of the failures in Iraq myself. You also assume that I do not recognize where the responsibility for such rests. Wrong. Ever hear of the saying "you can catch a lot more flies with honey rather than vinegar"? Think about it.
That’s the problem with today’s political discourse. Yeah, I wrote some provocative things. I’m prepared to defend them, and respect disagreement. But when someone just makes false charges (slander? Poppycock) and calls names, it suggests maybe the reason for your anger is deep down you know I have a point, but you just don’t want to bring yourself to admit it. You can either deal with the truth head on, or cover your eyes and call names to avoid it.
Typical. Only a fool, or a Democrat, throws such incendiary rhetoric around willy-nilly and then expect people to take them seriously. Nope. Wacko nutjob you remain.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://averagegayjoe.blogspot.com
That I think the current civilian leadership is horrendous and does a diservice to our military is certainly no reason to make or accept inaccurate and disparaging accounts of our soldiers actions.
By Jove, I think someone has got it!
 
Written By: John
URL: http://averagegayjoe.blogspot.com
Basically, the message is this: If you think things are going poorly in Iraq, you hate the troops.
While others still suffer from a disconnect...
 
Written By: John
URL: http://averagegayjoe.blogspot.com
Typical. Only a fool, or a Democrat, throws such incendiary rhetoric around willy-nilly and then expect people to take them seriously. Nope. Wacko nutjob you remain.
I posted no incendiary rhetoric or anything of the sort. You have not shown anything that I have posted is inaccurate, you haven’t even tried to make a counter argument. Until you do, you really don’t have much of a case, and you certainly aren’t in a position to attack others. My blog today has more about this issue, by the way.

My critique, obviously, is of the war and the administration. The soldiers, as I note, are victims as well.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I posted no incendiary rhetoric or anything of the sort.
Yes, you did. Now, for the third time... answer the question! Which of the two opposing points that you made do you stand by?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Yes, you did. Now, for the third time... answer the question! Which of the two opposing points that you made do you stand by?
I stand by what I posted. Can you quote precisely the supposed opposing points I allegedly made?

Face it, there were none. You overreacted to my post without reading closely, calling lots of names, and not responding to my real post. Go back and read carefully, or check out today’s blog (November 2 — click the url on the bottom of the post) for a more detailed statement.

Also the attempt to say Hersh doesn’t understand the military is asinine. He has been involved in reporting, having contacts with, analyzing, etc., the military for a long time. I trust his judgement far more than that of obscure bloggers.

As for claims he lies, the not necessarily credible piece the link led to suggests to me that his byline — what he puts in print — he is very careful about. The criticism was about his public speeches. And, for a lesson in logic:
P.S. I’m still waiting to find out which "truth" Erb supports since he commented on both sides:

1) there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq, OR
2) ’very few soldiers’do this (which of course is true)
Show me any logical contradiction above? I don’t know if Hersh’s claim is accurate, but I suspect it could be, given the circumstances in Iraq and the fine military tradition of the US. I’ve been reading other media sources from the Mideast, Juan Cole, etc., that has links to stories of Americans killing numerous civilians out of fear, mistaken identity, and sometimes anger. You don’t need much of that to make Hersh’s claim true; America’s military has a tradition of being very professional. The circumstances in Iraq have put military personnel in a position that is untenable and extremely stressful and intensely dangerous — that is the cause. As I note in my blog, the military personnel are victims here as well, even those who crack.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I posted no incendiary rhetoric or anything of the sort. You have not shown anything that I have posted is inaccurate, you haven’t even tried to make a counter argument. Until you do, you really don’t have much of a case, and you certainly aren’t in a position to attack others.
You posted this:
The truth hurts, doesn’t it? Look, our military is not defending freedom or doing anything heroic in Iraq. It’s a failed war of aggression, an attempt at imperialism designed to assure access to oil and dominance in the region, and stories abound of abuses, murders and mistreatment of innocents by frustrated soldiers who think they came to liberate, only to find that the liberated don’t want them. They were used, and anger should be directed not at people like Hersh, but at a government that treats our military people as pawns in a geopolitical game. Iraq is a failure, the deaths there have been in vain, and a lot of destruction and death was caused both directly and indirectly by the vile choice to launch a war of aggression.

Americans should be ashamed of what is being done in our name. It is disgusting. But watch — more and more of the truth will come out, and you won’t be able to spin around it.
That’s opinion, including incendiary rhetoric, with no facts worth debating. You are providing no debate of value. Unlike McQ.
Also the attempt to say Hersh doesn’t understand the military is asinine. He has been involved in reporting, having contacts with, analyzing, etc., the military for a long time.
It is becoming clear he doesn’t understand the military. McQs takedown helps to illustrate that. If you have some counter to McQ’s argument other than an appeal to Hersh as an authority, knock yourself out and present it. Maybe then we’d have something worthy of debate.

As it stands, you are just Pee Wee Herman with a larger vocabulary.
I don’t know if Hersh’s claim is accurate, but I suspect it could be, given the circumstances in Iraq and the fine military tradition of the US. I’ve been reading other media sources from the Mideast, Juan Cole, etc., that has links to stories of Americans killing numerous civilians out of fear, mistaken identity, and sometimes anger.
McQ’s points are good. They do not rely on trusting McQ, either, unlike your trust of Hersh. Or the other lier, Juan Cole.

http://austinbay.net/blog/?p=416
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I’ve been reading other media sources from the Mideast, Juan Cole, etc., that has links to stories of Americans killing numerous civilians out of fear, mistaken identity, and sometimes anger. You don’t need much of that to make Hersh’s claim true; America’s military has a tradition of being very professional.
Just considering WW2 as an example, you could point out the fire bombing of Tokyo and other cities; Hiroshima and Nagasake; the vast number of civilians killed by mistake on Okinawa and a few rapes (the rapes virtualy all by soldiers, not Marines, and usually not combat troops); the torture at Nuremburg; the German soldiers murdered during or after surrender (Patton pointed out that POWs should be taken from combat troops ASAP); rape in Germany, etc.

By comparison to the enemy, the Red Army, the French, and even the Aussies and Canadians, our guys of WW2 were saints. But our guys now are even better behaved.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Oh, and here is a past from the link on Juan Cole:
Cole began the process of self-destruction by dashing off an extremely stupid commentary– a mistake I guarantee you every writer has committed at some point. Cole, however, also displayed a reckless disregard for basic facts– which raises the power of mere stupidity several quanta. [See UPDATE at the end of this post.] What do I mean by reckless disregard? Last week, after London’s 7/7 terror attacks, Cole argued the 9/11 was a reaction to “Jenin” (not the Jenin Palestinian refugee camp fight as it actually occurred, but as hard Left propaganda portrayed it). Unfortunately for Cole, Jenin happened seven months after 9/11 (at the end of March, 2002, according to this pro-Palestinian website).
Scott has such good sources.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I posted no incendiary rhetoric or anything of the sort.


Your inability to choose your words more carefully or failure to see how incendiary they are, right out of the Radical Assinine Leftist Handbook I might add, is not my problem. Instead of a thoughtful critique, you very mockingly began with an agreement of Hersh’s despicable article:
The truth hurts, doesn’t it?
Then proceeded into touching upon all the buzz-words from the RAL:
Look, our military is not...doing anything heroic in Iraq. It’s a failed war of aggression, an attempt at imperialism designed to assure access to oil and dominance in the region, and stories abound of abuses, murders and mistreatment of innocents by frustrated soldiers who think they came to liberate, only to find that the liberated don’t want them.
My critique, obviously, is of the war and the administration.


There is a difference between intelligent criticism and invective dressed up to resemble it. McQ gave a thoughtful critique of failures in Iraq today, which I happen to agree with, you did not. Such is what the RAL consistently fails to realize that acting like an ass even when you may have some truth behind your criticisms doesn’t win you any friends nor does it change the fact that you are an ass.
The soldiers, as I note, are victims as well.
Yes, I noted the back-handed praise you gave them.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://averagegayjoe.blogspot.com
I’ve seen the attempts to smear Juan Cole, and claim he said things he didn’t, etc. It’s part and parcel for the political hatchet jobs done on any one who offers credible criticism of the war: if you can’t win the argument, attack the source. I think, though, it’s getting a bit shrill and desparate these days, as the hatchet jobs against people like Murtha, Sheehan, Hersh, Cole, and others start reeking of desperation. The truth is winning out; reality cannot be spun away.

The tide is turning. The times, they are a-changing. And, while John seems to think I’ve used some kind of incindery language, he hasn’t shown where or denied it. I stand by:

1) We launched a war of aggression, we started an unnecessary war.
2) The goal was neo-imperialist: to assure access to oil, to install a friendly regime to act in our interests to reshape the region;
3) Stories abound of abuses — Haditha (and for awhile the shrill paritsans were trying to say that it really didn’t happen), Abu Ghraib, numerous stories of check point shootings, recent rape and murder allegations and arrests, etc. These stories are really prevalent on Mideast media sources (far more than here) and of course that directly impacts our ability to act in the region and achieve goals.
4) The soldiers in Iraq have been given an impossible task, with extreme stress and danger, for no real reason and no chance for success. They are victims of a policy that makes no sense.

If you disagree with these, state your disagreement. To simply claim you don’t like the rhetoric or the wording isn’t enough.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
1) there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq, OR
2) ’very few soldiers’do this (which of course is true)
Show me any logical contradiction above?
Huh? I really have to explain to you the contradiction between:
1) the most murderous army there has ever been
vs
2) only a few soldiers are acting in a criminal fashion?
while John seems to think I’ve used some kind of incindery language
Agreeing that our military is acting like murderers is not incindeary? Oh, wait...maybe you’re thinking of your completely opposite statement that only a few troops are murderous. You have some serious language problems.
You overreacted to my post without reading closely
Yeah, I read the very first sentence you wrote in which you completed agreed with Hersh’s statement that the current US military is the most criminal army in history and should be reviled by the public.
As for claims he lies...The criticism was about his public speeches.
And where, pray tell, did this story and statement come from? Hmmm... And you agreed with it hook, line, and sinker despite the obvious problems with his "facts" about the event.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
"If you guys were watching from stateside when that story broke, I’m sure you’d be attacking him and calling him a liar at that time"

Nope, I was arguing in my sociology class that Calley, Medina, and about two more levels up the chain of command should go to jail. I had already done my time. I was very unpopular, surprisingly enough. Particularly with veterans. Perhaps due to being in a small, southern junior college.


"I trust his judgement far more than that of obscure bloggers."

Obscure bloggers of whose backgrounds and experiences you are entirely ignorant.

******************

"Huh? I really have to explain to you the contradiction between.."

Yeah, you do. P-o-l-i-t-i-c-a-l "scientist", remember?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Huh? I really have to explain to you the contradiction between.."
Yeah, you do. P-o-l-i-t-i-c-a-l "scientist", remember?
I think you’re confused about who’s posting what. And I did continue with some explanation. And I’m not a political scientist. Erb is. But anyone should be able to tell the difference between accusing an entire army of being the worst criminals in history versus only a few soldiers acting in a criminal fashion.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Huh? I really have to explain to you the contradiction between:
1) the most murderous army there has ever been
vs
2) only a few soldiers are acting in a criminal fashion?
LOL! I see you conveniently cut out the fact he said it was the most murderous AMERICAN army.

This shows that you know there is no inherent contradiction. in the two statements. It doesn’t take a wizard of logic to see that. Dance all you want, but you’re clearly admitting you’re wrong with your dishonest little snip.

And again, you’re not showing my statements to be incindiery, just Hersh’s. I trust Hersh’s reporting. I suspect he may well be right that there is more murder and killing of innocents in this war than past American wars. But even if he is right, it’s still a small group that engage in such actions.

A quick logic lesson. Is there a contradiction between the following two statements: This year has seen the most automobile fatalities in history. It is exceedingly rare for one to die when one drives a car.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"I think you’re confused about who’s posting what."

Quite possible. Wouldn’t be the first time, won’t be the last.


"And I’m not a political scientist. Erb is."

I know, I obviously expressed myself poorly. Sorry for the unintended insult.

"But anyone should be able to tell the difference between accusing an entire army of being the worst criminals in history versus only a few soldiers acting in a criminal fashion."

Absolutely.

Sorry for the inconvenience.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I see you conveniently cut out the fact he said it was the most murderous AMERICAN army.
Are you on crack?! Of course we’re talking about the American military.
I suspect he may well be right that there is more murder and killing of innocents in this war than past American wars.
Please tell me how many innocents we raped, pillaged, and killed in the Indian wars. Please tell me how many innocents we raped, pillaged, and killed in the Civil War. Please tell me how many innocents we shot up and bombed in WWI and WWII.

Are you actually arguing that the ability of the American military to avoid killing non-combatants has gotten WORSE over the years? Are you arguing that the discipline level and professionalism of American troops has gotten worse over the years?
A quick logic lesson. Is there a contradiction between the following two statements: This year has seen the most automobile fatalities in history. It is exceedingly rare for one to die when one drives a car.
It may be rare, but if there are more fatalities then it is less rare than ever before (assuming the same number of drivers). If there are more drivers, then it can become more rare even while fatalities rise...BUT to make your "logic lesson" analogous there would have to be more troops involved now than before. That is not the case.

Therefore your statements should read: This year has seen the most fatalities in history. It is rare for one to to die while driving, but the risk is higher than ever before.

Shifting your "lesson" to the military: This army is the most murderous in history. Only a few soldiers are criminals, but those rare individuals are murdering more civilians than any other group of soldiers in American history.

That small "exceedingly rare" group of soldiers must be keeping mighty busy! Either that, or there must be more than just "a few" soldiers involved. Hence the contradiction.

Thus endith the lesson.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
I trust Hersh’s reporting.
Because you have no concept of what would be involved for his "fudged" stories to be militarily accurate. You are like a person who goes to a psychic and latches on to one or two correct statements while ignoring the multitude of incorrect claims.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Please tell me how many innocents we raped, pillaged, and killed in the Indian wars. Please tell me how many innocents we raped, pillaged, and killed in the Civil War. Please tell me how many innocents we shot up and bombed in WWI and WWII.
I don’t know. I do know that until WWI most deaths in warfare were military deaths and not civilian deaths.
Are you actually arguing that the ability of the American military to avoid killing non-combatants has gotten WORSE over the years? Are you arguing that the discipline level and professionalism of American troops has gotten worse over the years?
I’m arguing only what I’m arguing. The fact you want to try to put words in my mouth rather than making your own points suggests you know you have a weak argument.
A quick logic lesson. Is there a contradiction between the following two statements: This year has seen the most automobile fatalities in history. It is exceedingly rare for one to die when one drives a car.
It may be rare, but if there are more fatalities then it is less rare than ever before (assuming the same number of drivers).
But the two statements are not contradictory. You’re becoming Clintonesque trying to parse words here. But you really can’t avoid the conclusion that there isn’t an inherent contradiction. Hersh’s claim may be wrong, but there is no contradiction to thinking he may have a point, and yet the amount of murder is still quite low.

If there are more drivers, then it can become more rare even while fatalities rise...BUT to make your "logic lesson" analogous there would have to be more troops involved now than before. That is not the case.
No, that does not have to be the case. By definition, there is inherently no contradiction between the two statements. You certainly don’t need more troops involved, I read Hersh’s statement as looking at the proportion of murders rather than an absolute number. I think that’s the only way you can reasonably interpret it.
Therefore your statements should read: This year has seen the most fatalities in history. It is rare for one to to die while driving, but the risk is higher than ever before.
No, the two statements I made are not contradictory, either about war or about driving. You simply aren’t able to admit that openly and you sound like Bill Clinton trying to avoid admitting he did something wrong.
Shifting your "lesson" to the military: This army is the most murderous in history. Only a few soldiers are criminals, but those rare individuals are murdering more civilians than any other group of soldiers in American history.
No, it means that per soldiers more murders are taking place. That’s the only way to interpret that statement sensibly.

In any event, the two statements are not inherently contradictory no matter how you try to reinterpret it.

And Hersh has a proven track record of getting the inside story, you can’t simply dismiss him. Also given how things are going in Iraq — and given that I’ve been accurate in my assessment and predictions, unlike those who saw lots of "turning points" or "slow progress" or claims "the media isn’t telling the truth," I think you should trust my analysis too ;-)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I do know that until WWI most deaths in warfare were military deaths and not civilian deaths.
Yes, our past armies are well known for their strict professionalism when it came to the Indians. And raping, pillaging, and murder were rare when it came to those well disciplined Union and Confederate troops.
I’m arguing only what I’m arguing. The fact you want to try to put words in my mouth rather than making your own points suggests you know you have a weak argument.
No, it means you can’t or won’t understand the implications of what you are arguing. Agreeing that our military is "more murderous" is a comparison to the past with implications. How is it that we are supposedly committing more atrocities than before, especially if it’s only "a few" soldiers as you try to claim? Either those few soldiers are remarkably efficient and elusive or our military as a whole is committing more criminal acts. Either way, more violent and murderous means less disciplined and less professional (they can’t help themselves because of all the stress and the impossible situation, etc...remember?).

Which is it?
1) A few soldiers on massive killing sprees which outnumber the hundreds of thousands of civilians in previous wars, or
2) Many soldiers killing many civilians to outpace previous wars?
I read Hersh’s statement as looking at the proportion of murders rather than an absolute number. I think that’s the only way you can reasonably interpret it.
Cripes. Now who’s putting words into someone’s mouth? NOWHERE does he make any indication that it is a matter of proportion. A murderous army requires murderous soldiers. There is no way the most murderous army in history can achieve that much violence and criminality without a large participating group.

You can’t accuse an army of being murderous without blaming those in the army. A "few soldiers" does not make an army.

However, even if it is just proportionally worse, that still means that a higher proportion of troops are criminals than ever before. The implication MUST be that they are less disciplined in comparison to previous armies.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
I trust his judgement far more than that of obscure bloggers.
Well that makes sense coming from an obscure and marginal professor at a third-rate university.

I’ve enjoyed watching the rest of you discover what I found out about Erb, oh, 10 years ago on USENET.

That’s why I ignore him.

He’s simply not worth the effort and you’ve now discovered why.

There’s a reason Beck calls him the "Maine Mosquito".

And JWG, he won’t answer your query. He’ll just ignore your point. I notice the old "insults but not arguments" has been rolled back out too. That’s a favorite fall back of his when getting his ass handed to him.

So do your sanity a favor ... ignore him. He makes MK look good.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Hey boss - you left out one of his stock response methodologies which I’ve particularly come to enjoy.
I’m arguing only what I’m arguing.
I’m only saying what I’m saying though, you know?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://

I’ve enjoyed watching the rest of you discover what I found out about Erb, oh, 10 years ago on USENET.

That’s why I ignore him.
(series of ad hominems deleted)

Except, of course, you’ve been dead wrong about just about everything in Iraq, and on the usenet about most of your positions. You think you understand this stuff, but you’re driven by bias and ideology. You should be trying to engage in real discussion and learn, but that would mean you’d have to admit that just maybe someone who was predicting this kind of outcome three years ago might have some understanding you lack. Apparently, your pride keeps you from doing that, easier to hurl some insults now and then, but avoid real discussion.

But I won’t — I’m enjoying contributing to these little discussions ;-) And the level of your insults show that deep down, you know I’m right.

(Oh, and while you also decide you want to insult my place of employment, I’ll have you know we were listed as a best value at Kiplingers, are consistently near the top in our region in US News, and have just received a major boost in funding from the state as we move forward as Maine’s Public Liberal Arts University, offering the kind of education private schools have at public prices. But hey — you’re about insults, aren’t you? Thank god you don’t teach!)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Cripes. Now who’s putting words into someone’s mouth? NOWHERE does he make any indication that it is a matter of proportion. A murderous army requires murderous soldiers. There is no way the most murderous army in history can achieve that much violence and criminality without a large participating group.
He certainly isn’t saying the total number of murders is the highest in history either. It seems to me the word "murderous" implies proportion, the level of murdering within the troops.

But hey, you’ve basically surrendered the point that there is nothing contradictory in the statement. Now it’s come down to whether or not Hersh meant total absolute number of murders, or the proportion related to the level of troops.

You can believe he meant absolute numbers, I’m pretty certain he didn’t. But unless we get a chance to ask him, it’s outside of proof. Dictionary.com defines murderous as ’capable of, guilty of, or intending murder.’

In any event, a lot of innocents are being killed, and there is no purpose. Even the neo-cons are now saying the war is a mistake.

What amazes me is how those who have been so wrong can keep up such bravado, and hide behind insults. In any event, things are changing — regardless of who wins on Tuesday — and I think this militarist phase of American foreign policy is ending. And that is a very good thing.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I do know that until WWI most deaths in warfare were military deaths and not civilian deaths.
I don’t really have a dog in this fight, but I would like to point out that this is demonstrably, verifiably false. Simply a few examples (citing source):

1. Franco-Prussian War (1870-71): Total military deaths (all causes) 184,781; total civilian deaths approx. 590,000 [Gaston Bodart, Losses of Life in Modern Wars (1916)]

2. Mfecane and the wars of Shaka’s Empire (1816-1828): Total deaths 1 million+; given the relatively small numbers of combatants, the majority of these casualties are civilians [Eugene Walter, Terror and Resistance (1969)]

3. Australian frontier wars (1788-1921): Total deaths 2,500 Australian colonists, 20,000 Aboriginie warriors; total Aboriginie civilian deaths approx. 950,000 [I’ve used averaged figures; they are all drawn from Mark Cocker, Rivers of Blood, Rivers of Gold (1998) and Jared Diamond, The Third Chimpanzee (1993)]

4. Boer War (1899-1902): Total British military deaths (including native auxiliaries) approx. 24,000; total Boer military deaths approx. 7,000; total civilan deaths (including white Boers, white British colonists, and black Africans) 50-78,000 (figure imprecise due to varying estimates of black African civilian casualties) [figures primarily from Thomas Pakenham, The Boer War (1979), however I’ve used Steve Attridge, Nationalism, Imperialism and Identity in Late Victorian Culture: Civil and Military Worlds (2003) for updated figures on black civilian casualties as Pakenham’s are known to be too low]

Appreciation to Matthew White for providing some of these figures for me.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
I do know that until WWI most deaths in warfare were military deaths and not civilian deaths.
And of course we can’t forget The Crusades.

"Kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out"

There were some friendly summer wars with nights, weekends, and holidays off, but generally speaking, war has always been hell.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
There were exceptions, but in general military deaths outweighed civilian in European wars (not colonial wars, and certainly not the attacks from the Mongols and the Huns in the past) before WWI. The key is that after WWI civilian deaths started to outweigh military deaths, and in many wars now up to 80% of the deaths are civilian. To me that’s a strong reason to rethink whether military options are moral or effective.

Did the deaths in the Franco-Prussian war you cite include the Paris Commune?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The key is that after WWI civilian deaths started to outweigh military deaths
Not when it comes to what the American military inflicts upon our enemies. Even in Vietnam we killed more military than civilians. We’re talking about the American military, remember? We kill many more military than civilian. However, the number of civilians was still very high in the past. Yet, the fact that you "know" the American military kills more civilians than combat personel tells me and everyone else all we need to know about your bias and academic knowledge.
you’ve basically surrendered the point that there is nothing contradictory in the statement
This proves you have a reading problem. My last post was all about explaining it once again. You, of course, continue to avoid answering my questions to get you to clarify your position just like McQ predicted. Thank you for continuing to demonstrate your "logic" and inability to think about the implications of what you write.

I’ll just point out for the last time:
You can’t accuse an army of being murderous without blaming those in the army. A "few soldiers" does not make an army.
Hersh agrees since he also made the point that
If Americans knew the full extent of U.S. criminal conduct, they would receive returning Iraqi veterans as they did Vietnam veterans, Hersh said.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Scott "the truth hurts" Erb,

Maybe you can answer just this one question:

Is our military now proportionally more murderous than the troops who fought in the Indian Wars?

(Note: I only use the "proportionally" qualification for the sake of argument. I in no way endorse that interpretation as explained earlier.)

You’re not going to let McQ be right and avoid answering, are you?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://

Is our military now proportionally more murderous than the troops who fought in the Indian Wars?
Instead of asking questions, why don’t you make a point — if you think that the American military was murderous in the 19th century, state so, and give your reasons for stating that. You’re trying to dance and weave and play a game that you can’t win.

I’ve stated very clearly more than once in this thread that I don’t know if Hersh’s qualitative judgment is accurate. I do know that he is a trustworthy journalist (I’ve assigned him in numerous classes due to his insights through his sources in the Pentagon and high levels of the bureaucracy — he’s perhaps the most important journalist in America today). The reaction against him here is all based on emotion, with the usual insults and attacks, but nothing to refute him.

So really, unless you bring something to the table, you’re just dancing around.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Instead of asking questions, why don’t you make a point
BINGO! McQ was right!

I have made my point numerous times that previous militaries were less disciplined and more murderous.

I also PROVED that you did not in fact "know" that civilian deaths have been outnumbering military deaths since WWII.
Are you a liar or just ignorant?
I’ve stated very clearly more than once in this thread that I don’t know if Hersh’s qualitative judgment is accurate.
Nope. You made ONE comment to this effect after defending his statement "very clearly more than once."
  1. Your first statement was "The truth hurts, doesn’t it?" and you ended that post with "But watch — more and more of the truth will come out, and you won’t be able to spin around it."
  2. You also said, "You don’t need much of that to make Hersh’s claim true"
  3. Another post from you added, "I suspect he may well be right that there is more murder and killing of innocents in this war than past American wars"
  4. FINALLY, you concede that "Hersh’s claim may be wrong"

So what we have is you repeatedly defending the claim that our current military is more "capable of, guilty of, or intending murder" (definition provided by you) than the troops during our Civil War (tens of thousands abused and killed in prisons in addition to the pillaging and killing while ransacking towns), our wars and battles against the Indians, and even the Vietnam War in which our troops "randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war" (since Hersh brings up Vietnam).

It is the responsibility of the accuser to provide evidence. Got some?

Oh, wait…you’d rather defend undocumented accusations and ignore their implications (as you keep dodging those questions). You’re a real piece of work, "professor".
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Did the deaths in the Franco-Prussian war you cite include the Paris Commune?
As far as I can tell, Bodart’s figure cuts off at the signing of the treaty of Frankfurt. It does not include the commune as Bodart does not seem to regard them as directly war-related. Further, Bodart was an Austrian law professor who worked for the German government during the First World War. It is unlikely that during this period, he had access to the remaining records of the commune period or any reliable eyewitnesses. His data would have been drawn from old German records of the period 1870-1871 which had no reason to account for the commune. It is also likely that the German records downplay civilian deaths since they would have been directly blamed for them. This leads me to believe that the 590,000 figure is actually low.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
It is the responsibility of the accuser to provide evidence. Got some?
You’re accusing in a kind of bizarre word game I’m not going to play. I trust Hersh’s reporting and believe he is stating his interpretation sincerely — one can debate if he is right or wrong, but it has to be pretty bad, I think, for him to come to his conclusion. A lot of people are jumping on his claims and reporting with personal attacks, but that seems to be more emotion-driven than data-driven. Even the neo-conservatives, as Vanity Fair’s article shows, believe things have gone very bad.

I am absolutely convinced that the stories coming out of killings at checkpoints and out of anger/fear are accurate. I believe that when the story of this war is told, it won’t look good for the reputation of the military, based on the coverage so far. You certainly can believe otherwise. Moreover, I blame the political leaders for putting young people in such a stressful, hopeless situation; the point of my blog entry of November 2nd is that even the soldiers who crack and who are thus villified are really victims as well, and deserve to be helped.

You’re not going to make me not believe what I believe any more than I’m going to make you change your beliefs. You claimed I made a contradictory claim, a claim you even now back off of. So we’ll have to agree to disagree on this, and wait for the judgment of history.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You claimed I made a contradictory claim, a claim you even now back off of.
You keep saying this despite the fact that I said the exact opposite.

I have shown with facts that your statements have been wrong. You can’t even keep your own thoughts straight as I demonstrated in my last post. You are either a liar or a very confused and ignorant debater. Either way, your school should be embarrassed to call you a professor.

Next time I will take McQ’s advice and ignore you since you are unable or unwilling to debate the facts (just as he described).
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
"until WWI most deaths in warfare were military deaths and not civilian deaths"

I am not sure, but I think the 30 years war might have had more civilian than military deaths. Perhaps you could ask someone who knows a little about Europe to confirm.

******************

"what I found out about Erb, oh, 10 years ago on USENET"

Ten years ago, and he still has learned nothing about military history? I have heard but never used the term "invincible ignorance" before, but in this case I think it applies. I am awestruck. I consider myself to be ignorant in a wide number of areas, but I know when I am outclassed. Or is this a parody? Come on, McQ, where are the cameras?


"(series of ad hominems deleted)"

Is there a point in mentioning that? You needn’t have bothered, since I think we have all indeed reached those conclusions.

" And the level of your insults show that deep down, you know I’m right."

No, I think the level of insults, in my case anyway, shows how much I despise you and your pseudo-educated brethren, not for your political beliefs(which I disagree with), but for the willful ignorance you show; the refusal to learn even the most cliched historical examples(Carhage vs Rome, e.g.) which you must have been exposed to repeatedly over the years. And your moral bullying and intimidation, disguised as concern for the well being of others.
One of my favourite literary characters is Blanche Dubois, in "A Streetcar Named Desire". I find her a somewhat sympathetic and somewhat humorous figure, constantly protesting her ladylike refinement and moral superiority to the crude and brutish Stanley. Rank hypocrisy, of course, given her history. But at least she had the actual knowledge and experience of the shame and degradation she so staunchly deplored in others. You are a sort of caricature of Blanch without the pathos; you have the same sneeringly superior and condescending morality, but none of the knowledge and/or experience which would lend, dare I say it, gravitas to your idiotic pronouncements. In other words, you don’t even qualify as a hypocrite.
As for your "shameless plug" hawking your book; No thank you, your obvious ignorance of European history does make that, indeed, a shameless plug. I will wait until it is available from a bulk book dealer who sells them to interior decorators who use them to fill empty wall space in restaurants with them, ordering books by the square foot and paying for them by the pound, taking advantage of their decorative, insulating, and soundproofing qualities. Such tomes are not for reading, as they deaden thought and taste as well as sound. Then, when I am in a restaurant with bad food and poor service and only boring dinner companions to divert me, I shall, perhaps, look for your book.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
There! See, you do not need a phud to be verbose, pompous, and inane.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
As for your "shameless plug" hawking your book; No thank you, your obvious ignorance of European history does make that, indeed, a shameless plug. I will wait until it is available from a bulk book dealer who sells them to interior decorators who use them to fill empty wall space in restaurants with them, ordering books by the square foot and paying for them by the pound, taking advantage of their decorative, insulating, and soundproofing qualities.
LOL!

Classic.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
As for your "shameless plug" hawking your book; No thank you, your obvious ignorance of European history does make that, indeed, a shameless plug. I will wait until it is available from a bulk book dealer who sells them to interior decorators who use them to fill empty wall space in restaurants with them, ordering books by the square foot and paying for them by the pound, taking advantage of their decorative, insulating, and soundproofing qualities.
LOL!

Classic.
McQ loves the thoughtless insults. Yet even though I’m jumping into hostile territory, it’s pretty clear I’m bringing more substance to these discussions than most of you, especially McQ. Also, I can point you to book reviews from the US and Europe that praise my book — you really should purchase it and educate yourself a bit about how things look outside your very narrow world view which suffers from a lot of biases and misunderstandings of how international relations work.

But don’t worry — I’ll keep pointing out your errors, and you can keep hurling insults without substance. That speaks volumes to what you are all about.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"McQ loves the thoughtless insults."

I am hurt. I put some thought into my insults, since I had so much to spare after answering your remarks.

"it’s pretty clear I’m bringing more substance to these discussions than most of you, especially McQ"

Well, you are certainly bringing more of some substance, and certainly more ego. Favourable book reviews? LOL. I can point you to people who think I am brilliant and quite knowledgeable about history.
The reason I like this site is that I am a little fish in a big pond. Most of the folks here know much more than I do about a wide variety of subjects, so I get to learn something almost every day, and my errors are corrected fairly often, usually quite nicely. I even get to learn a little photography from Dale. There are a few people here, though, that make me realize that although I am a small fish, I am not the smallest. Thank you for dropping by.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Well, you are certainly bringing more of some substance,..."

Upon reflection, I fear this passage may be misinterpreted. I meant no compliment. The substance you bring draws, in addition to derision and laughter, flies. My apologies for any misunderstandings.

(Written language does require more care than I sometimes give it, as there are no visual and/or aural cues).
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The reason I like this site is that I am a little fish in a big pond. Most of the folks here know much more than I do about a wide variety of subjects, so I get to learn something almost every day, and my errors are corrected fairly often, usually quite nicely. I even get to learn a little photography from Dale. There are a few people here, though, that make me realize that although I am a small fish, I am not the smallest. Thank you for dropping by.
Glad to help you with any self-esteem problems you may have.

But I think what I"m really seeing is the collective anger and frustration at generally pro-war pro-military types when someone who believes the war was a big mistake (and in response to ad hominems decides to shove in their faces that I was right and they were wrong — but I won’t do the ’I told you so’ gig except in response ot insults). I believe we should have a military based on defense, we should not kill or have our citizens killed unless we are responding to a direct threat, and that the current neo-imperial policies have led us to immoral acts, have made us weaker, have lost the respect of much of the world, and with Iraq, most don’t even fear us anymore. I think most of you pro-military hawkish types have a fundamentally false conception of the way the world operates.

When confronted with that perspective, you go on the attack. That’s fine. It would be better for you to actually engage different perspectives and have a good conversation, without animosity or vitriol. Let the stands and positions taken be the provocation, not the ad hominems.

But, I guess, that wouldn’t be as emotionally satisfying. Better to throw an insult at someone who thinks differently than you.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Better to throw an insult at someone who thinks differently than you."

One of the differences between us crude and brutish hawkish types and you sensitive, compassionate, peace-loving types is that we can recognize and admit when we are insulting or offending someone. By the way, the beginning of your second paragraph needs to be reworked.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
About the "ad hominems". I take it that you think I am attacking you personally as a means to unfairly discredit your arguments or as a diversion. Not so. My ad hominem attacks on you are purely personal. I do not like you. I believe I mentioned why. I certainly attempted to make that point clear. I also do not agree with many of your political positions, and I believe I have said so, and why. It does not surprise me that you cannot differentiate between a personal insult and an attack on your contentions. I would endevour to clearly label my statements to you in future as personal or intellectual, but I do not anticipate the need. As I mentioned before, there are a few posters here that I only rarely bother to read, and that usually by accident. You are now one of them. McQ is right, it is not worth the wear on my eyeglasses.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
My ad hominem attacks on you are purely personal. I do not like you. I believe I mentioned why. I certainly attempted to make that point clear. I also do not agree with many of your political positions, and I believe I have said so, and why. It does not surprise me that you cannot differentiate between a personal insult and an attack on your contentions. I would endevour to clearly label my statements to you in future as personal or intellectual, but I do not anticipate the need. As I mentioned before, there are a few posters here that I only rarely bother to read, and that usually by accident. You are now one of them. McQ is right, it is not worth the wear on my eyeglasses.
Well, I can’t claim I dislike you — I think the level of misinterpretation on the brief number of posts like this make it impossible to truly know what another person is like. And, since insults don’t bother me (ironically they are a form of flattery in this kind of forum), I just have to assume that you very easily make judgements about other people on how you interpret a few statements. That’s OK, but from my experience that isn’t a reliable way to think you know someone.

But hey, if that’s the way you deal with life, that’s fine. Know only that your dislike of me is not reciprocated.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I’ve seen the attempts to smear Juan Cole, and claim he said things he didn’t, etc. It’s part and parcel for the political hatchet jobs done on any one who offers credible criticism of the war: if you can’t win the argument, attack the source. I think, though, it’s getting a bit shrill and desparate these days, as the hatchet jobs against people like Murtha, Sheehan, Hersh, Cole, and others start reeking of desperation. The truth is winning out; reality cannot be spun away.
You left out the shrill attacks on Dan Rather, for putting up those Bush memos.

Yep, the truth is winning out, all right.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://

 
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