Saturday, May 05, 2007
". . .and brave keep falling
to honor the names
of the ones who have gone before . . ."
-- The Leaves of Grass by Gordon Lightfoot
And did I mention that impeachment should never be off the table. There was never an adminstration that was more deserving of being brought to trial. Not even Nixon!
WASHINGTON - In a survey of U.S. troops in combat inMaybe somebody can put a panel together.
Iraq, less than half of Marines and a little more than half of Army soldiers said they would report a member of their unit for killing or wounding an innocent civilian.
More than 40 percent support the idea of torture in some cases, and 10 percent reported personally abusing Iraqi civilians, the Pentagon said Friday in what it called its first ethics study of troops at the war front. Units exposed to the most combat were chosen for the study, officials said.
And if there isn't evidence with which to charge them with a crime, why would they be considered terror suspects in the first place?
I'm so confused.
Friday, May 04, 2007
I'll bet Rove thinks HE is GOD. At any rate, he's certainly an arrogant piece of fecal matter.
Saw this at Duncan's place this morning:
In Iraq we have a variety of people who are contributing to the violence. There are those who are resisting a foreign occupation ("Wolverines!" for you conservatives) for all the normal reasons people tend to resist such things. There are people engaged in sectarian conflict for both power/influence reasons and for general feud and revenge killing reasons. There are those who see this as an opportunity to wage war on behalf of radical Islam.Note the reference to the Wolverines, those young American insurgents in the film "Red Dawn."
Which reminded me of something I wrote three years ago, back when I was actually writing for this blog instead of just linking and snarking:
Back in August, when things were starting to get bad for the U.S. forces in Iraq, but were still months away full-blown chaos, the Special Ops folks in the Pentagon showed a "training film." It was called The Battle of Algiers.
From an intel perspective, one could view this as an effort to get inside the enemy's head, always a useful exercise. It's also interesting to note that it was the leadership of the Special Operations part of the Pentagon, not the senior civilian leadership, who thought a film about a major insurgency in an Islamic country might be instructive.
The decision to show Algiers, David Ignatius wrote in the WaPo, is "one hopeful sign that the military is thinking creatively and unconventionally about Iraq." He even quotes from a Pentagon flier about the movie:How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas. ... Children shoot soldiers at point blank range. Women plant bombs in cafes. Soon the entire Arab population builds to a mad fervor. Sound familiar? The French have a plan. It succeeds tactically, but fails strategically. To understand why, come to a rare showing of this film.Charles Paul Freund writing in Slate provides a pretty good critique of the film, especially in terms of its applicablility to the U.S. situation in Iraq. It may be even more relevant now that events in Iraq have escelated far beyond where they were last summer.It's welcome news that the military is thinking creatively about the American role in Iraq, but the lessons and pleasures of The Battle of Algiers are a lot more ambiguous than this Pentagon blurb implies. To praise the film for its strategic insights is to buy into the 1960s revolutionary mystique that it celebrates; it is the collapse of that very mystique that has contributed to the film's current obscurity and made screenings "rare."One of the key lessons of the French experience of trying to maintain control of Algeria, if not well-articulated in the film, was that neither side could wage its fight without losing its morality. Both the French and the Algerian insurgents started with high-minded ideals. For the French it was to provide stablility and western values to a fractous North African population. For the Algerians it was to be free of their French colonial masters. In the end, both sides lost much of their humanity in a sea of blood, terror and torture. If there are lessons to be learned by the U.S. commanders in watching The Battle of Algiers, they are murky and ambiguous.
Perhaps if we're going to watch movies to help us understand how the other side thinks, we need a film that really puts us in the shoes of a country that has been invaded and occupied.
Note to the smart guys in the Pentagon: If you really want to get inside the head of an Iraqi insurgent, instead of The Battle of Algiers you should rent Red Dawn.
And, I might add, it's about damn time.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
thanks to Avedon for the link.
UPDATE: Looks like in Tejas they're just concerned citizens.
Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraq have ended.There's more.
[Which will be great comfort to the tens of thousands of your colleagues who will be killed or wounded in "minor combat operations."]
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
h/t Greg Sargent