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Now that's funny there, eh?
I supose that's the Donut of Misery on their lapels - didn't know that was actually an authorized badge.
(Bumped - great discussion going- as expected.)
ONE OF MY QUESTIONS about the war effort in Iraq is why we lost momentum -- as I noted before, the old saying is that you can do anything with bayonets except sit on them, and we've been sitting on them in Iraq instead of taking the war effort to our enemies, many of whom are outside of Iraq. Mohammed of Iraq the Model has a lengthy discussion of that very topic. Excerpt: "The insurgents, terrorists and militias operating in Iraq depend on foreign support for money, training, technology and in some cases men. Moreover the influence of foreign interference is clear even in the political arena in Iraq through the numerous political crises the country had faced. Thus, this war will not see an end unless America revives the preemptive war strategy and start chasing the enemies and striking their bases in the region, especially in Syria and Iran."Read the rest, which includes an email that makes several points I've seen made in comments here. I have my own thoughts on this, basically about the shaping of perception, and whether the DoD, CENTCOM, et al do (or even perhaps can do) a very good job of countering perceptions that have been shaped. (Have we lost momentum? Or has America lost track of our momentum? If so, hving been AFK for the better part of three months should I blame myself?) Okay, kidding on that last point, but I'm very much interested in useful feedback on the first two, and one thing I've noticed here (at least when a certain troll is successfully ignored) is an abundance of exactly that from multiple sources on most worthy topics.
That seems right to me, and I don't understand why the Bush Administration has let the momentum grind to a halt.
Some years ago the TV series M*A*S*H popularized the fictional experiences of a group of medical professionals in Korea during the war. Every week Americans shared the struggle of Captain (Dr.) Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce, U.S. Army, to heal the wounded of a war he perceived as pointless. It was his determination to heal those he could heal - at great personal sacrifice - that Americans found laudible, of course, and whether the viewer was pro- or anti- war in general (a largely theoritical issue in those peaceful days) such a position was undeniably admirable, perhaps even more so to those who harbored their own personal doubts as to their own ability to live up to such an ideal.
But screw all that, the dawn of a new day is upon us. Last month:
The US Army paid $184,000 for Mary Hanna to go to Tufts University School of Medicine for four years, and in exchange she agreed to serve four years of active duty and another four in the reserve after becoming a doctor.She's not just seeking an excuse from serving in Iraq - her lawyer insists that Hanna's beliefs prevent her from even treating soldiers on American soil.
But just before Christmas, as she was nearing the end of her anesthesiology residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Hanna, 30, of Somerville notified the Army that her religious beliefs were now ``incompatible with military service."
...the Army refused Hanna's request after considering conflicting opinions from priests, a psychiatrist, and military brass about whether Hanna was opposed to war or trying to evade service.
But yesterday, the day before Hanna was scheduled to report for duty at Fort Bliss, Texas, a federal judge stepped in and prohibited the Army from forcing Hanna into service, at least until Oct. 10.
US District Judge Nancy Gertner scheduled an Oct. 5 hearing on Hanna's assertion that the Army violated her constitutional rights by denying her conscientious objector status.
That scheduled hearing has now been completed (swift justice indeed!), and Dr. Hanna is now free to treat (or not treat) whomever she pleases - at substantially more pay than the relatively meager salary of a US Army Captain:
An anesthesiologist whose medical training was financed by the Army must be discharged from the Army Reserve as a conscientious objector, a federal judge ruled yesterday.Although not required to do so by the court, Hanna's attorney said his client will repay the government the money it spent on her education, plus interest.
Dr. Mary Hanna, for whom the Army paid approximately $184,000 to attend the Tufts University School of Medicine, had been scheduled to report to active duty Tuesday at Fort Bliss, Texas. Last December, as she neared the end of her residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Hanna notified the Army that her renewed religious beliefs were now incompatible with military service.
An Army review board last month rejected Hanna's request after considering whether Hanna, a captain, objected to service in the armed forces on sincere religious grounds, or whether she sought to evade her commitment.
In yesterday's ruling, US Judge Nancy Gertner discounted as ``irrelevant to impermissible to unsubstantiated" the conclusions of an Army chaplain who urged, in part, that Hanna's application be rejected because her Coptic Orthodox faith does not teach pacifism.
``I find that the Army improperly denied Hanna's application for CO status," Gertner wrote.
Hanna, 30, of Somerville, had enlisted as an undergraduate at UCLA in 1997. She received an Army-paid scholarship to attend medical school, and in exchange she agreed to eight years of service -- four years of active duty and four years in the reserves.
As part of the application process, she declared that she was not a conscientious objector. In her application for objector status last December, Hanna said a revitalization of her Coptic Orthodox beliefs, which included pacifism, prevented her from fulfilling her commitment to the Army.
Gertner ruled that the Army review board had no ``basis in fact" for rejecting Hanna's application on Sept. 15 by a 2-1 vote. The judge wrote that the board had relied heavily on an Army chaplain who concluded that the Coptic Orthodox Church endorses military service, and that Hanna was inconsistent because she worked at a hospital that performs abortions.
In voting against Hanna's application, the president of the review panel wrote: ``Applicant has shown that she is a devout Coptic Christian but has failed to show that she sincerely meets the CO criteria. Her statements are logical but lack passion and sincerity. They appear as repetitious rather than personally held beliefs."
According to the chaplain assigned to the board, the statements of a priest that the Coptic Orthodox Church ``does not teach pacifism leads me to believe that there is more to Capt. Hanna's position than merely religious conviction. Also, her timing is too convenient with the completion of her schooling and her entry" to active duty.
Hanna's lawyer, Louis Font, is no stranger to this type of case. Having successfully gained CO status himself during Vietnam he now works closely with "anti-war" groups in representing Iraq-era deserters.
You can read a biography of Judge Gertner here:
Honored in the spring of 2002 by the American Bar Association as a "Human Rights Hero," Gertner was an activist even as a college student; she was president of the Undergraduate Association at Barnard, and joined marches and protests against the Vietnam War.All done!
Gertner never thought that she would be picked for the federal bench, believing that her advocacy in civil rights and other controversial cases would eliminate her from consideration.
"I was the reverse of those who keep their heads down for years in order to preserve their chances on the bench," she said.
Her work on behalf of women, minorities, and the poor caught the attention of her Yale Law School classmate Bill Clinton, whom she had known, along with Hillary Clinton, at Yale. Gertner and Mrs. Clinton had been close and the two stayed in touch over the years.
In 1994, Clinton nominated Gertner for the U.S. Federal Court, District of Massachusetts. She had a powerful patron in the confirmation process -- U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., a lifelong supporter of civil rights.
This is what I'm talking about.
You say that the word of God is the highest. Yes, it is. But you are not worthy of it. You have abandoned God and you have started worshipping your own satanic egos that rejoice at the killing of innocent people. You don't represent Muslims or, for that matter, any decent human being who believes in the sanctity of life. Many among us American Muslims have differences with our administration on domestic and foreign issues, just like many other Americans do. But the plurality of opinions does not mean that we deprive ourselves of the civility that God demands from us. America is our home and will always be our home. Its interests are ours, and its people are ours. When you talk of killing of Americans, you first have to kill 6 million or so Muslims who will stand for every American's right to live and enjoy the life as commanded by God.
By growing a beard, shouting some religious slogans and misquoting and misusing some verses of the divine scriptures, you cannot incite Muslims to do things that are contrary to our religion. Yes, you even fail to understand the basic Islamic principles of life and living. Islam demands peace in all aspects of life, Islam demands respect for life. Islam demands justice.
What you are doing in Iraq, Afghanistan, India or other parts of the world is anti-human and anti-divine. You are an enemy of Islam as much as you are an enemy of America. You must understand that God who entrusted you with life is the same God who spelled his spirit in every human being regardless of his or her religion or ethnicity or nationality or status. You are violating him.
We feel totally disgusted with your action and we condemn you without any reservation. Don't come to our mosques to preach this hatred. Don't visit our Islamic centers to spill the blood of innocents. Don't think that just because we share the same religion, we would show some sympathy to you. You are not of us. You don't belong to the religion whose followers are trying to live a peaceful life for themselves and others serving the divine according to their understanding. In our understanding of faith, you appear as anti-divine and anti-human. We reject you now as we rejected you yesterday.
Oh, and note this:
Aslam Abdullah is director of the Islamic Society of Nevada.
I like this guy already. This is the kind of stuff we should be seeing on Little Green Footballs; there's just not much of it. Natan Sharansky called it preference cascades--it's hard to speak your mind when someone will kill you for doing so.
(Original newspaper source here)All done!
May I suggest sending reps from a different institution Salamander?
And that's just supper marchdown. You should see em on parade :)
Ben Stein places the Washington scandal du jour in a different light here.
Everything, every blessed part of my American life, my glorious life as an American comes down to this: far better men and women than I am offer up their lives to keep me and 300 million like me, alive, well, and free.
Ungh. I can see USMC veins popping out of foreheads all over the place......I think we need some West Point trained officers at Annapolis. This is just pathetic. You know what Vince Lombardi said about fundamentals....
Yep, Charles is in charge.
The article Andi linked to leaves out a detail or two included in other reporting of the story:
The Marine, a paralegal who was at the U.S. Navy station in Cuba last month, alleges that several guards she talked to at the base club boasted of routinely hitting detainees.That doesn't necessarily add or detract from the validity of the sworn statement, but it provides a further context for how/when/where the alleged boasting took place.
She said some Marines invited her to the base club Sept. 23. She didn't see them but a group of at least 15 sailors invited her to join them. She said she spoke with the sailors for about an hour, during which she had one drink, and that the sailors did not appear drunk.
UPDATE: The version of the story linked from Drudge adds another "detail":
The lawyer sent the statement on behalf of a paralegal who said men she met on Sept. 23 at a bar on the base identified themselves to her as guards. The woman, whose name was blacked out, said she spent about an hour talking with them. No one was in uniform, she said.Again, standard disclaimers apply.
Driving in to work I caught the end of an NPR interview with William Langewiesche, a journalist who has reported from Iraq since 2003. The subject: Haditha - Langewiesche has just published an article on the topic in Vanity Fair.
I was actually surprised at what I heard, Langewiesche has done as fine a job of capturing most of the key issues, and he's successfully managed to distance himself from the situation without abandoning his humanity - most "war reporters" fall short at such endeavors, if they ever even bother to try. I disagree with a few of his fine points and conclusions, but most of my complaints are semantic in nature - a word change here or there and I'd be in complete agreement with what he said and wrote. (But then I'd not have been challenged by his ideas, and what's the use in that?)
Side note: if you, like me, are on the internet more and more frequently via PDA or similar device, you'll be glad to know that Vanity Fair formats automatically for your device. I'm amazed at the number of web sites that don't - or don't even offer a PDA option - they should know better. (Webmasters take note.)
Excerpt below - don't click if you're easilly offended by the way young Marines sometimes actually talk. (This excerpt contains the only such examples in the piece, by the way.)
The enlisted men of Kilo Company rarely philosophized. Many had joined the Corps in response to the September 11 attacks, now four years past, but the emotions that once had motivated them had been reduced by their participation in an enormously bureaucratic enterprise, and by the tedium of war. Fine—they were probably better soldiers for it. These were not the taut warriors portrayed in action movies. As they shed their helmets and body armor, they emerged as ordinary five-foot-nine-inch, 150-pound middle-class Americans, sometimes pimple-faced, and often sort of scrawny. Some of them were mentally agile, and some quite obviously were not. By the stringent standards of the U.S. military, they were not always well behaved. At Sparta Base there was a bit of illicit drinking, a touch of pornography. There are rumors about the use of narcotics as well. But the unit's morale was good enough, largely because the men had become close friends. They liked motorcycles, they liked cars, they liked guns. They especially liked girls a lot. Some could not speak without fuck. For instance, they fucking did not want to be in Iraq. Not anymore, if they ever did. Those who were returning felt they had come back way too fucking soon. And no, they did not respect the Iraqi culture—who the fuck would? Iraqi men wear man-dresses. Iraqi men think everyone wants to eye-fuck their precious wives. Iraqi men kill their own people, then turn around and kill Marines. It's fucking bullshit. God should paintball the genuine bastards so the Marines could then blow them away. Sometimes on the streets of Haditha it seemed like every man would get splattered.This insightful story examines Haditha in some detail, from the very narrow POV of participants on both sides to the broader context of the larger war - all of which serves to define as well as humanly possible the myriad challenges confronting the newest recruits and the top Generals in Iraq today.
But the Marines did not sit around Sparta Base and worry this to death. They talked about other things, their exploits, their party binges, the really dumb moves of their friends. They laughed and gave each other hard times. They gave each other names. When they mounted their patrols, they went up and down the designated streets and did their jobs as they were told. Be polite and have a plan to kill everyone you meet? Yes, sir, roger that, and on streets like these that would mean shooting the guy from up close, sir, at any false move on his part—is that what you mean by a plan? If the counter-insurgency mission in Haditha seemed half-cocked, so did any real chance for success in Iraq, but that was for others to decide—not for the soldiers who had to carry out the fights. The Marines of Kilo Company were well-intentioned guys who took pride in their conventional battlefield skills and, partly as a result, now just wanted to go home. As a group they were not like people who join the police for the satisfaction of hurting others. They were more like people who join Outward Bound. Until the killings of November 19, there is no evidence that in Haditha they abused the fucking Iraqis even once.
Rest here.All done!