Archive for War

Wikileaks Leaks “Collateral Murder” Video

Posted in Politics with tags , , on April 5, 2010 by raingeg

I generally don’t post on this type of issue but I figured I would try and put this in perspective a little bit.

This video has made headlines in the blogosphere.

As you can see this is a video of United States military troops engaging, what was thought to be, insurgents with AK-47’s and RPG’s. It turns out that they were in fact not insurgents, but rather, Reuters reporters.

First, some commentary on the video and then you can watch the following video I’ve posted. One thing that we need to note before I say anything else, we cannot let this now turn into another debate about whether or not any of this should have happened, via a discussion about whether or not we should be in Iraq. We have to deal with the reality of the situation, we were and are in Iraq and this happened, that’s it

I’ve watched a lot of these Apache videos, the one thing they all have in common is the usual banter between pilots. When they make a good shot they say “good shot” when they kill an insurgent they talk back and forth and really get into it, sometimes even saying cuss words and calling the insurgents bad names. I would not have it any other way, these men should want to kill the enemy, and if they say some derogatory thing after they kill some Iraqi or Afghan terrorist that is fine with me.

People seem to want to make a big deal over some of the comments that the pilots made during and after the engagement. Like “Oh yeah, look at that. Right through the windshield!” with regard to the van that was shot up in the video. Stuff like that is going to happen in every Apache video that you watch, these people are going to cheer when they have a victory. One comment that seems to be causing some controversy is the exchange after the tanks arrived, a guy says “I think they just drove over a body.” He did run over a body and they talk about that for a second or two.

Is this a very sad thing that happened? Yes, it really sucks that people die in wars when they don’t deserve to die at all.

Now for the next video. This is a video of an insurgent in Afghanistan who is trying to plant an IED, but the plan backfires and it explodes, killing the insurgent. Note the main reason why they do not open fire on this man, a child is in the tent with this stupid terrorist.

I encourage you to read this article by Bill Roggio of the Weekly Standard, he seems to know a lot more about the issue than I.

Morality Shmorality: Moral equivalency and its dangerous consequences

Posted in American Literature, Humanity, Politics with tags , , on June 9, 2009 by raingeg

It amazes me that there are people that are afraid to make moral judgments, and for that they claim moral superiority over those who do. Allow me to show you how these people think, take Al Qaeda and The United States, lets stand back for a second and look at these two entities, but we must refrain from making any moral judgments about them. Lets point out something obvious and go from there, the United States kills people, as does Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

See, we’re both using the same tactics, we’re killing people! Often times that is as far as the argument goes with those that have this irrational fear of making moral judgments. It stems from another irrational fear, the fear to take a side. And that fear stems from the desire to live in a perfect world. A desire labored for in vain. They mistakenly make this assumption that peace and war are different positions on the political spectrum, when they are not, they are states of being. They also make the assumption that we are to blame because we’ve “offended” the enemy. First, you can be at war and you can be in a time of peace. You can be in favor of peace, as all should be, but you cannot have desire for peace and have it exist if it does not, because its existence is vastly out of your control. Secondly, just because you cower in the corner offending no one does not mean that you are at peace, and it surely does not mean that the enemy won’t kill you, that type of “peace” if it is a type, is artificial.

You’d be hard pressed to find moral humans that are actually in favor of war or like war, but you can find a lot of moral people that don’t mind a bit the needed action of killing a killer or the needed action of freeing a people from an oppressor.

This problem comes from what I call a perspective deprived world and a world that desires easy moral decisions rather than difficult ones. It is very easy to say that something is bad, but it is incredibly hard to say that something that looks bad might not be bad, but in fact it might be good. The easy road can work for a while, but at some point as you lackadaisically make your way down the “easy” road you become complacent with its easiness, you become weak and defenseless, and you will find yourself at the end of an oppressors boot heel and eventually dead.

Lets apply this idea to the original argument against war, which essentially boils down to the idea that because people die it must be bad, and because the United States is doing the killing they too must be bad. Allow me to shed light on the issue. Who is the US killing? They are killing the enemy, an enemy that seeks to kill and destroy innocent lives. But the US is killing innocents, are they not just as guilty as the terrorists? No, why should they be, the United States is not aiming to kill civilians, they don’t want it to happen. But just because you don’t want something to happen doesn’t justify it happening? Yes, in fact it does, the death of innocents is to be blamed on the terrorist and not the one trying save the innocent ones form these terrorists. Conversely, just because you want something to happen does not at all mean that it will happen.

Take for example a man held at gunpoint while driving a car. You must assume that this man has no way of fighting back, no way of removing himself from the situation. The maniacal man holding the driver at gunpoint has a bomb laden building down the street filled with 200 hostages just waiting to be detonated. The man with the gun wants the driver to deliver some drugs. If the man does not drive through a crosswalk filled with people, essentially running them over and killing them, the man will blow up the building. What, then, should this man do? A. Run over the people killing 10 or 15 people? B. Refuse to drive through the crosswalk, because its “morally” wrong, essentially letting the 200 perish? It seems only right that the man should choose A, run over the 15 and save the 200. Is the man driving then to blame for the death of the 15? He cannot be blamed because the only reason he is in that situation is because of the hostage taker.

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Gray Champion” an oppressed New England is at the brink of a small war. “James II, the bigoted successor of Charles the Voluptuous, had annulled the charters of all the colonies, and sent a harsh and unprincipled soldier to take away our liberties and endanger our religion.” That soldier was Sir Edmund Andros, Sir Edmund and his men begin marching on a crowd of civilians, who are undoubtedly overpowered by the Red Coats. Cry’s for a “champion” come from the crowd as the people are looking for a way out of the situation. Then an old venerable man comes from the crowd, fearlessly walks up to Sir Edmunds army and speaks with them in a voice that beacons listeners. He brings news of James II soon to be demise. His words rally the crowd and start a fire underneath them, his voice “stirred their souls” and helped them confront the soldiers, “ready to convert the very stones of the street into deadly weapons.” Needless to say Sir Edmund does the smart thing and backs down, for reasons unknown.

Where is our gray champion? I wish he would come and save us. It is not the Red Coats or people of the like that we face, it is not even the terrorists that are our worst enemy. We are our own worst enemy, our desire to appease and to please those who wish to kill us will weaken us, as well as our desire to wish peace into existence. Imagine if the Gray Champion in all his glory had gone up to Sir Edmund and said “I wish we didn’t have to fight” or “no offense but can‘t we work this out?” Sir Edmund would’ve trampled over the champion and the people would have been complacent and had no desire to overthrow Sir Edmund.

In C.S. Lewis’ “Why I Am Not A Pacifist” he says “all we have to fear from all the kinds of adversity, severally, is collected together in the life of a soldier on active duty.” He then goes on to list everything that is to be feared from a soldier. Later he says that “…pacifism threatens you with almost nothing.” He goes on to say that he cannot be pacifist because he suspects that his wishes had directed his decision. That is a very good reason why the plight of the pacifist or the modern person that refuses to make a decision about moral questions, for fear that one might offend, actually lacks morality, because it is in fact based on artificial or contrived morality. And it all stems from their “wishes” or their desire for something to be, therefore, if I desire it, it must be, when that reasoning is completely false and baseless.

If one wishes for the sun to stop shining at noon it will not happen, one must pick himself up and go indoors to escape its burn. We have to act, if feelings are hurt in the process we must regard that as a small casualty. It would be far worse to have no feelings hurt with large human casualties, while we all sit helpless at the hands of a maniacal dictator as he keeps the “peace.” Surely, if the same liberty seeking spirit that existed in hearts of the revolutionaries, in the abolitionists and slaves, and in the men that stormed the beaches of Normandy exists today, I fear not, despots will be overturned. But if that spirit is dying, or close to dead, I fear, not for myself or the others like me, but for those who killed it. Freedom is a large responsibility, and if you freely abdicate your liberty and allow for evil to triumph, all out of fear, a fear that you might offend, you might as well just count yourselves as dead subjects.

Iraq and Barack Obama’s Future, Ringside

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , on July 28, 2008 by raingeg

I haven’t really written about Barack Obama that much. I tend to get a little tired of the election, about Six months in, here we are more than a year into this one and only about four more months to go. It gets slightly annoying, but every now and then I’ll find something that I’d like to touch on. I also don’t write much about Iraq. To tell you the truth I don’t know enough about it to write about it everyday. That’s what people like Michael Yon are for, they know far more than I do. But, while I will admit that I am not the most savvy Iraq War guy, I do have opinions, current opinions, about current conditions. I am extremely tired of people that keep bringing up the beginning of the war. That is in the past and it need not be resurrected anymore, we need to look at our current situation. We are in and that is it.

A lot people say President Bush is stubborn and won’t budge when it comes to his policy views, and they use that against him. How on earth has Barack Obama not enacted the same amount of stubbornness that President Bush is accused of. He voted against the surge, he says that he would still vote against the surge.

Imagine boxers in the ring, it’s the Ninth round of a Twelve round fight. You’ve got two boxers fighting to the death, the one boxer is just pummeling the other in the head constantly, and if only this guy would guard his head he could gain the opportunity to hold on to some of his stamina and counter some of these head shots. At the end of the Ninth round they go back to their corners, the guys coach tells him to guard his head and counter the other guy’s jabs with some hooks to the body, coach knows the other boxer has a real weak body and broke a couple of ribs about two years ago. But no, the man with the hemorrhaging eye resists, say’s he knows what he’s doing and he’ll keep fighting his way.

Well it’s the end of the Tenth round, the ref is about one more right hook to the head of stopping this fight. The boxers return to their corners, the guy’s eye has gone from hemorrhaging to closed shut by swollen skin. So he concedes and starts to listen to his coach. Back in the ring, he guards his head and the swollen eye, about one minute into the fight he counters with a right hook to the side of the guy’s body, breaks two of his left ribs and the guy is wobbled, he’s down for the count, but he gets back up and the bell rings. End of the Eleventh, the Twelfth is going to be hell for this guy if he doesn’t protect his body and the now broken ribs, but at this point he’s gone and it wouldn’t take but the touch of a feather to knock him down. After the Eleventh the guy with the swollen eye walks up to his coach, coach says “What’d I tell you, It worked!” The guy looks out of his good eye and says “No coach, you were wrong I was right, I could’ve won my way and I‘m going to finish it my way.” He finishes the fight victorious and is accredited with an unbelievable win.

I don’t understand why Barack Obama can’t look at the conditions on the ground and say to himself that the surge worked and it might have been a good idea to vote for it! He is the stubborn boxer at the end of the Eleventh round. The question is after the fight is said and done will Barrack Obama gleam the same fate as the storied boxer?

There was an AP article last week talking about troop withdrawal. The article says “President Bush seems likely to order thousands more soldiers home by year’s end.” This is a good thing! I am not one to say that the President deserves 100% of the credit for this occurrence, if anything the award goes to General David Petraeus for his leadership, especially the troops, without a doubt and to all the political figures that supported the surge. I acknowledge that prior to the surge the war was incredibly mismanaged and a mangled mess. But now its getting better. The article says “It now looks as though Bush has more reasons to resume the draw down than to leave the entire decision to his successor.”

The thing that I am worried about is the hypothetical scenario that Barack Obama does get elected and at that time, we are ready to withdraw the troops from Iraq. From the article “the chief spokesman for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the government hopes the U.S. withdraws its combat troops by 2010.” They want us gone by 2010, that’s great! The very fact that they can actually say that, right now, is a great sign of success, because I assure you a couple of years ago they could’ve said what ever they wanted, but it would have fallen on deaf ears, because they had no clout. Now they finally have the clout needed to make that statement and have it actually mean something.

Back to my hypothetical scenario. Say its inauguration day in 2009 and we are even better off in Iraq at that time than we are today. From that point on President Obama enacts his troop withdrawal program, and has the troops out within 16 month of taking office. Does he get all the credit or any of the credit, credit that is obviously undeserved? Is he the stubborn boxer?