Monday, June 06, 2005

If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.

-- Sun Tzu

I am in a Signal unit. That means our mission is to provide all / any communications to other units and bases. We are not intended to engage the enemy. But we convoy.

We must convoy from base to base to take supplies, operational materials, and to repair things. That is my job, I am in charge of a C&E (Communications & Electronics) team. I volunteered to be on a convoy team for many reasons, but operationally it makes good sense to have a C&E rep present as much as possible.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, it dawned on me recently that my attitude is more of an infantry soldier. I don't fear being outside the protective bounds of the FOBs. I don't fear interaction with the locals. I do fear ignorance, indecision, and the fear of other soldiers. I want to face the situations and know my threats. This became clear to me during the Anaconda convoy when I interacted with 'Fish Man'.

Understand that we had been trained repeatedly and extensively how to engage the enemy, what drills to do when a crisis occurred, how to realize that when you are off base you are vulnerable. A healthy dose of paranoia keeps us all alive, or does it. I realized right when some other soldier on the convoy said he would have just shot Fish Man. I can only think it would be fear that would motivate that decision.

A week or so ago, SGT Siler from the Tennessee's 278th was killed in a HMMWV rollover incident. He was the gunner and was crushed by the truck. That is the biggest danger to gunners today. I lived right across from him when we first arrived. There is now a memorial to him outside his CHU. I walked past there today and they added a picture of him. He was sitting, wearing full battle rattle, with 2 Iraqi boys apparently teaching them something he held in his hand. The 278th is responsible for engaging the enemy, clearing roads, and securing the eastern part of Iraq. He showed no fear of being out in the local towns, interacting with the locals and children.

One of our companies was convoying further north. A sergeant was on gunner duty passing through an Iraqi checkpoint. Our sergeant opened fire on an ING (Iraqi National Guard) killing the ING and a civilian that stood nearby. Apparently the ING raised his weapon as our sergeant drove by and it was interpreted as a sign of aggression. I don't know the outcome of the situation, it may still be going on. My point though, is the contrast between the two scenarios.

We fear what we don't know. We react to fear. As a signal unit, we must constantly be mediating that ignorance of our surroundings and the locals because we are not given the opportunity to build the bridges we need to become familiar with them. If we could become familiar, we would stand a better chance of discerning an insurgent from Fish Man. We just keep our heads low, unfortunately, and hope we complete our convoy missions. I fear the ignorance that is innate to our situation, I work to personally overcome that constantly.

41 Comments:

Blogger Crystal said...

I guess that is exactly what I was trying to tell you when we were discussing "hate" and who to hate and hating insurgents, and differentiating between a civilian and an insurgent. I am glad you are striving to overcome this gulf in your own personal experiences, but I think, and you might agree with me that some kind of operational across-the-scale changes need to be made in order to better understand and be able to interpret friend from foe. We can only do that through understanding. The soldier who said he would have just shot fish man, and the other person who shot and killed an ING and a civilian are who I am most afraid of in this world.

There will always be innocent and accidental casualties of war, but we must do everything humanly possible to prevent them.

crys
peace out

13:43  
Blogger Dorman said...

OMG. Don't tell me you've delved past the first layer of my pysche. I thought we were supposed to be diametrically opposed on everything? Really, I am glad to be able to be understood to a better degree.

I do hate insurgents,always will. Still have no better way to distinguish between insurgents and civilians. Still believe what turns one into the other is as little as $1. I am not changing my tune, just fine tuning my view.

But to clarify, I am constantly striving to overcome ignorance at all levels in all situations. The gulf in this situation is not within me, I am within it.

I agree with you that we need to understand our foe better as a whole. But then it wouldn't be backdoor imperialism then would it? I have made sveeral points about the media and the truckloads of shit they feed the sheep of America, hoping that the astute citizens would be able to overcome that mindset and make the right things happen. There are movements started with that intent. I put up a new linkcalled Operation Truth. I encourage everyone to check it out and get involved. I am not alone.

As for humanitarian involvement here, please,let's get real. What level of expectation are we working at? What is the goal here? What can you expect froma society based in the stone age, juxtaposed with fairly modern cities like Baghdad? Are we expecting to suddenly bring the whole of rural iraq into the industrial or information age? Not realistic. So we need to allow SOVEREIGNTY take hold and let these people have their land and do whatever it is they will do with it. basically out of respect and common sense.

I also fear trigger happy soldiers motivated by fear. Friendly fire accidents happen because of people like that too.

And, finally, give me my props. Tell me that you are truly proud of me for not killing Fish Man....you know you are ;)

14:33  
Blogger SnotSucker said...

I remember not so long ago you were portrayed as a Muslim hating, Iraqi killing machine. Looks like all this blogging is softening you up a little;)
The article you referenced rips my heart out. I hate reading about kids that lose their mom's & dad's due to this damn conflict.
Stay safe!

14:36  
Blogger Dorman said...

Well, there are more layers to me than one assumes apparently. I am an Iraqi hating muslim killing machine. More accurately an Islam hating insurgent killing machine. Only when I have to be, only when the privelege arises. That's my job. I don't back down from that just because I can see the other side. Not all of them have succumbed to the evils of islam yet.

But really. I haven't changed my opinions. I just love kids.

14:55  
Blogger Crystal said...

well, i have never striven to be diametrically opposed to "everything" you say. in fact, i sort of like to think about it the other way around. i believe you are diametrically opposed to me and my view points.

Sometimes when I disagree or have a differing opinion than you do, I am all of a sudden labeled naive or the ignorant American Public and that is irritating. I don't think we ever really disagreed on this particular point, so no unlayering of a complicated psyche was completely necessary. But I am always glad to understand someone better. I hope we both are better understood through this discussion.

I have consistently said that we need more humanitarian guidance, and by humanitarian, I mean cultural bridging, health care, fresh water, working electricity, the basics, and to look into anything else the new Iraqi government may request of us, of course in return for a pro-West pro-US position, yeah, they are still puppets. But whether these tasks should be carried out by you, the soldier, or a company like KBR is a completely different question. One I think we also might agree on. But who then? How can anything be accomplished while people are still placing bombs on the roads killing the innocent along with their opponent(s). That is why it is necessary for you to be there. Sovereignty cannot take hold without some amount of stability, which is obviously still lacking as long as bombs and grendades are still going off. And people are still dying.

And finally I AM truly proud of you for not killing fish man. But please keep two final points in mind.

1) I expect this out of you, and every other soldier. So maybe not so much pride, as a thank you for doing your job. Your reaction shows your character along with the character of your training, and I admire that. And the danger factor earns you brownie pride points because of where you are and what your occupation is.

2) You still have a deep-seeded hatred for Islam, something I dont have pride for, admiration in, or any real understanding of. I think that you just need to change your mind on this one. Do you know what fish man was? Does it matter? NO, it did not, it does not presently, and it will not in the future. You reacted without knowing, and would knowing have changed your reaction? I don't believe it would have, so your hatred is more theoretical, less realistic. And theories are just that.


i know you baited me into this one. what can i say, couldn't resist. good job, stay safe, and peace out

crys

16:31  
Blogger Dorman said...

2 very quick things.

1) I hate Islam because it is a factor. Way to obvious and blatant for me to ignore it, still surprise how the rest of the world does, maybe it is fear since that islamic mindset is so far spread. Refer to The Hitchhiker's Guide for how it is a factor. I didn't trust Fish Man because he was most likely muslim, and not a soldier of either army. Had a hindu walked up to me, would have been a different story. It is just a factor.

2) Insurgents exist because WE do. Circular argument pushed oin us all by our gov't to justify our presence. Al-Qaida In Iraq did not exist before we were here for a year.

no bait. warm fuzzies.

23:05  
Anonymous Baker said...

We really shouldn't be afraid of the Iraqis. I was in OIF 1 when the war was actually going on. I had the honor of "parading" through the streets of Baghdad; actually the unit I was supporting only went through Baghdad to get to our next location. The reason I used parading is because the whole city was on the streets celebrating and cheering.
I don't remember if I posted this before but, a good 80% of the people actually like or are indifferent to us being here. The insurgents are the people who use to be in power, and were benefiting when Saddam was in power. There are three groups in Iraq: The Shiites, the Sunnis and the Kurds. The Shiites make up the majority of the population; they were the ones who were oppressed during Saddams reign they lived more in the southern areas of Iraq. The Sunnis are what we are fighting. The Kurds want their land back, which happens to be where the oil is located. They make up the minority in Iraq. The Sunnis and the Kurds had the power and the money.
Statistically only 5% of the attacks are a result of religious fanatics. The Sunnis and Kurds are hiring people locals and foreigners to fight for them. They pay locals a lot of money to strap bombs to them and to dig the holes that the insurgents put the IEDs in. They hire foreigners I.E. Russians, Syrians etc. to fight and to train them how to shoot and develop some sort of tactics and to show them how to develop more complex IEDs.
Most people won’t know this but during the war 264 people who died on our side (more than half died in accidents). We killed 50,000 of their army personnel. I had the privilege of supporting the supply general of OIF 1.

My point is it’s not the Iraqis as a whole that we have a fight with. I do believe that the US is doing a good thing for a change regardless of our intentions. Operation Iraqi Freedom may have been a cover up for our initial intentions when we got here; it does me good to see that we have affected something in a positive way. Insurgents do exist because we do, that is because we took away the power that they were accustomed to having.

00:39  
Blogger The Wisdom of Wislon said...

I understand you have a job to do but as a civilian I can only feel for the innocent victims who get in the way.

Let's hope things don't go on for much longer.

All the best

03:06  
Anonymous Carol said...

I'm am thankful that you were able to remain level headed and not take the fish guy out. I don't know that I would have been able to do the same...you know I'm easily excitable. I think, as with all cultures, we interact differently. That is important information to know whether you are visiting a foreign country or fighting a war there. To hate simply because of those differences is inappropriate. Do you really believe you can say you "hate Islam" in a general way? You would never like anyone that is a Muslim?

It seems that the humanitarian efforts need to remain separate from those efforts going on in "the battlefield". If you don't I would imagine the casualties would be greater.

For a group of people that were kept under the thumb of their leader for many years, how were they to develop beyond anything but a stone age way of living? Moving beyond that would have been a huge threat to those in power and there surely would have been more murders at the hands of the government.

07:32  
Blogger Crystal said...

i would almost agree with Carol that humanitarian efforts need to remain seperate from the battlefield. but she said she might have killed fish man...and

Where is the battlefield? This isn't a typical fight. The battlefield is ever-allusive to our soldiers, why we are technically no longer in a "war", and maybe a reason why Dorman is having trouble getting past his ill-concieved hatred of Islam. In my opinion, it seems as if he has to center his hate on something to do his job well, but cannot find something solid to center it upon, so he has chosen something general, a trait that is mostly innate in his enemy, but not unique in the world or to a guy with a truck load of fish, nor a very readily identifiable trait either. Its like saying you hate everyone who wears a gold necklace around their neck, but you wouldn't know it until it was too latencuz they hide it under their shirt. You go into situations with a pre-conceived notion of almost everyone you come into contact with. Dorman, you need to interact with the locals and more peaceful Muslims in this world. Even though you showed restraint and quick decisive action in creating a positive outcome in dealing with the fish man, your hatred of Islam scares me almost as much as those two soldiers I commented on earlier. Islam should not be hated.

Back to humanitarian efforts. So how can you not assume some kind of positive role when you are not completely or always engaged with the enemy? If you did nothing, the world and some loud Americans like myself would be crying injustice, more so than they are now. Yet, I do believe our humanitarian efforts are going awry and are not being conducted through the proper channels. While we all love the internet, a speedy connection in Iraq is not as important as water, clothes, food, and shelter, for everyone. And that is only if the people want it, if they choose to remain semi-Stoneage, and nomadic, it is not our duty to change this. but it is our duty to help change it, if they want to change it.

Hope everyone has a blessed day.

crys

08:53  
Blogger Dorman said...

Pedophilia.


What's your reaction to that way of thinking?

Satan Worship.


Again, your reaction?



Paganism.


My point is this that several of you have seemed to miss. I HATE ISLAM. I hate its effects, its use, its veiled annihilistic teachings. But islam is not muslims. I don't believe I ever said I hated all muslims. I hate what they do in the name of islam. I figure this is a basic concept. But back to the nazi thing, how a flip flop in opinion changes when discussing that group. Islam is the fuel, like nazism was.

Humanitarian efforts should be done by the UN or greenpeace. What the heck do they do anyway?

Here's some info for you all on the 'humanitarian efforts of the millitary'.....we will beginning an operation called Flintlock '05 to Niger. Look it up. Green Berets in a preemptive peacekeeping mission. Sounds strangely inappropriate, but I don't make those decisions.

00:31  
Blogger Crystal said...

pedophilia is some kind of disorder, one person abusing another, when the abused are too young to understand what is going on, to defend themselves. usually this is the case, or what i think about when someone says this...

it is in no way comparable to a world religion. i dont really understand your comparison with nazism either...this isn't sarcasm, i genuinely don't understand. please explain.

paganism, satanic worship-its their right to worship what they want. i don't hate that either. my reaction is really non-existent, they do not get a yay or nay from me. they are free to practice what they want, as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others.

i don't think you can seperate a religion from the people who worship the teachings of their religious practices. the religion is present because the people are. they are one. religion is beliefs formed into traditions and practices. religion is alive through people. without one, you would not have the other. so when you say you hate islam, to me, you hate muslims. i would cut you some slack if you seperated islamic extremists from all of islamic beliefs and practices.

your entry on the hitch hiker's guide to religious practices, i thought was really good. almost dead on to with what i think and i pretty much agree with you on almost all of your points, so i didnt feel the need to read or post onto the comments section. every religion taken to an extreme is unhealthy, even dangerous. this follows for christian fanatics, cults, buddhists who set themselves on fire for a cause, as well as muslims who kill themselves in the name of allah for or because of a jihad, etc. i dont understand them, and you are correct. we cannot tolerate any endangerment of anyone's human rights. so i think trying to remove islam from the world, besides being unreasonable, is in clear violation of someone else's right to worship how and what they choose.

greenpeace and the UN are only successful when they have the support of big powers like the US behind them. I mean, look at Rwanda and the U.N.'s presence their in '94. I don't know much about the situation in Niger presently, but I will definitely look into it.

peace out

09:32  
Blogger Crystal said...

did you know that everytime i hit the refresh button, your little counter ticker goes up?

i guess that makes sense, but it sort of amused me for all of 30 seconds

:)

10:01  
Blogger InterstellarLass said...

We fear what we don't know. We react to fear.

I cannot profess to have studied Islam, Hinduism, Buhddism, Taoism, or any other religion outside the Christianity I was raised in. And, at this point in my life, I consider myself more spiritual than religious.

In the same way that you say you hate Islam and the insurgents who obviously espouse a radical and distorted brand of Islam, do you not suppose that they too fear you? Are they not reacting out of hatred generated by fear? They are ignorant of who you are, what you stand for, and why you are there. A people who have been raised from birth to see only black and white, with no tolerance for the grey area in between I believe are to be pitied, not hated.

The reason I consider myself more spiritual than religious is specifically because of the intolerance for other people, religions, thoughts and actions each doctrine employs. I think of it as the 'My God is better than your God' syndrome. They are taught nothing else. A is good, B is bad. They live in a sort of fear of their own religion.

I respect the fact that other have different views and beliefs. I enjoy at least trying to understand the viewpoint of a person raised in a completely different culture from me, a person that will have different values, different ideas and different views on topics than will I. I went to school with Muslims, Jews, Buhddists, Christians, and various other religions. I had friends from each representation. When going to their homes, I would respect their values and their rituals.

I still respect those values. I have a favorite restaurant run by a Muslim family. During Ramadan I was able to visit and enjoy foods and conversations that I had never experienced before. Yet, because of daylight savings time during part of Ramadan, they opened later than usual. I was willing to wait until they could open their doors at sundown as their religion dicates. It was well worth it.

And, as I stand here on my soap-box, simply as person who strives for understanding, I believe that ignorance on their part for following a bastardized version of Islam, and ignorance on your part for believing that it is Islam that causes them to do what they do are the cause of these fears.

16:07  
Blogger Crystal said...

Interstellarlass

I hope you stay on your soap box! You have made me begin questioning this problem in a whole different light, not to mention, that I think your thoughts are pretty much brilliant. I too, feel more spiritual, and less religious at this point in my life. Not disillusioned with religion, just more open to other people's traditions and thoughts in dealing with these big questions that can never be entirely proven in purely humanistic terms, without some degree of faith.

But is the challenge/solution really that simple?

If the challenge is ignorance, than this implies that educating and teaching are the solutions. these are not impossible feats.

What if the problems we are facing are because we know too much? hmm. I'm going to have to think some more.

10:58  
Blogger Dorman said...

Wow! Thank you for joining the fray. I appreciate your point of view, too. I agree mostly except for circumstances that I am in that make my views different than if I was sitting civilian at home. Beautiful run-on sentence there. I don't think these folks, insurgents or not, deserve our pity. Pity is a dangerous state of mind to have when dealing with any type of enemy. Pity is condescending. I agree the insurgents may be doing it out of fear, but let's look at the facts (or as close to facts as we can get). They don't call themselves the Islamic Army by accident. Or the other group, the Mujahadeen, which means muslim holy warrior. They name themselves, so what do you think their motivation is based on then?

As for the basis and scope of my hate, please look here. It has been discussed at length. Hate in my position is necessary, you can't pull the trigger when you feel anything but. Someday I may need to do that, indecision is death.

I have friends of many different faiths too, even muslims, but the islam factor remains. People in nthe army convert and grenade command tents, no coincidence. Dining facilities are bombed, what is the commonality? Islam. They tell us this constantly, it is us who deny it. Why?

(I feel a little funny, the first several times I read your post, I missed the last 'l' in your name)

Crys, she accomplishes all that with you in one post and I have been tryin g for months now. No fair. Remember this too, we can educate ourselves all we want, but who needs it more? It is they who need to know that the whole world doesn't behave like they think it should. We can understand them all we want, but that won't change *their* minds.

11:30  
Blogger Crystal said...

i forgot to add that i cannot pity anyone who chooses to kill someone else. they do not deserve this emotion because something innate, from inside of them, tells them that they should be searching for more answers, better solutions than causing bloodshed, yet they choose to ignore this impulse because of what they have been taught or read in an old text taken too literally, and rush to the battlefield for some ideal that hass been drummed into their thoughts. People are free to think, but are too afraid to do so. This fear is not motivated by the unknown or others, but by the realization that they could be acting wrongly. So they choose to remain ignorant, repressing their guilt. I do not pity this.

12:33  
Blogger Crystal said...

and people pull the trigger motivated by other emotions besides hate, mainly this fear.

12:35  
Blogger InterstellarLass said...

crys

Thank you. I don't really know where that all came from, but it felt good to get it out. It at least made sense at that moment.

I don't know that the challenge or the solution is that simple. We all think and respond to things in different ways. For me, that seems to be the logical and most positive path to take. There may not be a clear-cut 'solution' to the 'problem'. However, as individuals we are each responsible for how we treat others. Trite as it may sound, I would rather be part of the solution than part of the problem. It may be too late for some people, but by teaching my children tolerance, I hope to pass on the idea that it is ok to be different; it is ok to have alternate ideas. It is not OK to bully someone that has ideas other than yours because those ideas scare you. It is not OK to force others to believe as you do. Respect yourself and others and hope that they do the same for you.

How does an individual become motivated to kill? When it comes to a group of people such as the insurgents/terrorists, I have to believe that it comes as a result of a few mad-men wielding fear and power over others. I can't (don't want to) believe that evil is 'born' versus 'made'.

Dorman

Always glad to throw in my two cents. I can see how my views might be different if I had to live it every day like you. I do not envy the position you are in, but I thank you for being there.

You wouldn't be human if you could do your job with apathy. Separating yourself from what you have to do day-to-day is necessary. I can't imagine how difficult it is to live in a 'kill or be killed' world and stay sane. This is assuming, of course, that you were sane in the first place.

Yes, they chose their names to reflect what they believe they are fighting for. Because I haven't studied Islam, I can only go on what those who have say about it being a religion of peace and acceptance, but has been corrupted by those who would do evil in it's name. Christianity has been similarly corrupted in the past, as have other religious I'm sure. And please do not think that I am attempting to defend these people. Those who commit these acts are cowards in the truest sense of the word. Using violence to overcome, dominate, or influence another is abhorrent. As I said before, I think their evilness has been cultivated in them. People are easily corrupted; it is one of our human frailties.

(My registered name has a capital "L" in it, but I guess the comment poster lowercases all the characters. That's too hilarious...now I feel a little funny too. Glad I was able to provide some amusement.)

We should never stop educating ourselves. Once we have learned something, we should pass it on to others. We should also seek out those who have learned more than we, and glean the knowledge they possess. Perhaps one day, if we do this, we will not have to send brave men (and women!) such as you into these situations.

14:49  
Blogger Crystal said...

I agree that we should continue educating one another. I should hope that this would lead to better understanding, and a more tolerant environment of other people's beliefs and traditions in the future. I havent been able to figure out what I was thinking when I said we think too much. Maybe I will someday.

Moving on.

By becoming so specific in finding answers to what makes us all "unique", we have become disconnected and distant, rather intolerant of others. So distant, that we are willing to search out differences to persecute and hate. This is what makes history interesting to me, makes it worth writing about, and how history shapes the present and the future.

Dorman, anyone who points a weapon at you or your soldiers, its necessary for you to feel hate towards them. I think. Its a dangerous thing, this thinking thing. But I dont know really, I am still not saying that hate will ever be justified for me personally, but for you in your situation, maybe. just maybe.

But fish man was not for sure Muslim, or a practitioner of Islamic belief just cuz you met him in Iraq. If he was Muslim, and you knew this for sure, it still wouldn't be okay to hate him, because he was peaceful, and he wasn't being inpsired to act violently towards you by his Islamic beliefs. But your hate of Islam, is unfortunately blanketing and giving you a preconception of who your enemy is/will be. And that difference, between the peaceful Muslims and the extremists, is what we should be tolerating and exploiting. We should be thankful that you don't have to hate Islam, because it inspires peace as well as war.

I guess I am asking, sort of begging, for you to be more specific in your hate, the fighting you are witnessing might be in the name of Islam, but it definitely is not in the name of all Muslims, nor can you continue having a misrepresented view of every Muslim you come into contact with because of this hate. Its simply unhealthy.

peace out
crystal

18:54  
Blogger Dorman said...

I am warm and fuzzy all over, really. Besides this conversation, I have a fever and a sinus infection. :)

I guess I should restate this once more for clarity because I think we are all circling the drain of understanding. I hate Islam. I do not prejudicially hate muslims. Hate the sin, love the sinner sort of thing. That is why I can have friends who are (unfortunately) muslim. I have said before to many people that Islam is the seed, the platform, the common flaw. Islam and muslims are very very different here than in TX or PA. There, islam is more of just a belief. Here it is infused with politics and culture. There is no religion or politics here, it is all mixed into one homogenous mix. That is why it is dangerous.

InterstellarLass, you are right about the madmen but wrong about their numbers. That is why I find it hard to call these people 'extremists' because they don't represent a fringe, they represent a large portion. Look at Palestine where 10,000 people turn out to volunteer for suicide missions. No joke. Islam is used to teach these people to send their kids to martyrdom. There was a recent article in the NCO Journal, which stated there are increased numbers of women volunteering, banding together to form militias, because of Islam. No other reason, they want the rewards of the religion. They send their children to die and are shamed when they are only injured. See if there is an online version of this magazine, an eye opening read.

So, for all the talk about my hatred, I hope I have raised some awareness of why we soldiers, many not all, feel frustration about our situation. We see it as Islam, as was Nazism, being the problem, the vehicle for violence. Once the thought process can be stopped, the violence will follow. I am not alone in what I have said, many soldier read this blog and agree. I just have the ability to put it into words better than some.

The solution, IMHO, is sovereignty. That is generally my foreign policy. Let nations do whatever they want within their borders. Humanitarian violations? Send in Green Peace or Amnesty International, or the UN. Any organization purposed to do that job.

I really am happy right now. Thank you both for making this blog worthwhile.

12:48  
Blogger Dorman said...

Oh, actually thank you all who read and post here. Didn't mean to leave you out :)

12:50  
Blogger Crystal said...

wow, im really sorry you dont feel well. but this is a real coinkydink...

guess what, im really sick too. im having an allergic reaction to something, and now, my throat hurts and im running a fever. so im going back to the doctor tomorrow.

***so, warm and fuzzies back at ya***

now on to the love the sinner, hate the sin. that is total bunk.
you can't separate the two, and what's more, in this case, its not a sin to hold Islamic beliefs. But I do think you are totally correct in asserting that the Muslims in America, and other places in the world, are different than one's in the Middle East, where religion and political governance are inseparable and intermingled.

14:03  
Blogger InterstellarLass said...

:( Sorry you're not feeling well. I'm not sick, just tired. Week 2 of marathon training wasn't easy.

I'm trying to understand where you are coming from. Because of your position, you have the opportunity to view this from experience, while I can only stand on my soap-box and say how I think it should be in an ideal situation. I will never be able to see the nuances of the day to day, nor understand the mindset of the Muslims that live there, versus the Muslims we see on the Today Show.

I did find the article you are referencing, and I will read it. crys (and anyone else), you can find it here. https://www.bliss.army.mil/usasma/journal/2005/winter_05.htm

In regards to 'sovereignty'. This opens up a whole new thread of discussion in my opinion. Here I go, opening a can of worms.

Iraq was sovereign. Run by a bad, mad man, yes. But sovereign. I didn't see the Iraqi people on CNN begging us to overthrow their government. There was no call from other Muslim countries asking us to get rid of the guy over in Iraq. Or maybe there was behind closed doors. We'll never know. But I highly doubt it. We started a war because our own 'interests' were affected. We started the war you ask? The one in Iraq we did. Afghanistan I think is a different story, different set of circumstances.
I'm not sure we've done ourselves any favors by going into Iraq. Hopefully in the long-term those people will be better off than they were before. Is the world a better place because Saddam is gone? Maybe. Probably. But he's not the only one. Where does it end? When do we stop being the 100 pound gorilla in the room? We are despised, yet needed. The world can't have it both ways. And, I would prefer to debate dark chocolate versus milk chocolate than whether we have done the right thing by starting a war.

15:01  
Blogger Crystal said...

no, iraq was not sovereign under the reign of saddam hussein. this mad man was sovereign, along with his party, but no, the people were not, they were repressed. they couldn't ask for help on CNN, because the US and the world had turned their back on these people. When they did rise up, they were brutally massacred, and did not recieve any aid from the US or anyone else. Many mass graves that have come out show this repression and brutality.

So, our own public awareness might not have been sparked before, but the problems in Iraq still existed. We are now more aware of them, not fully aware, as Dorman is pointing out. But we do know, that certain elements of Iraqi society were repressed for many many years. This is a fact.

I don't know if it was right or wrong, to start this war in Iraq. And our presence cannot stop in Iraq, now that it has begun.

I like milk chocolate myself. :)

15:47  
Blogger InterstellarLass said...

This is where it gets technical.

sov·er·eign adj.
Self-governing; independent: a sovereign state.
Having supreme rank or power: a sovereign prince.
Paramount; supreme: Her sovereign virtue is compassion.

Of superlative strength or efficacy: a sovereign remedy.
Unmitigated: sovereign contempt.

Sovereign does not mean 'democratically elected and approved by the people'. Iraq was sovereign. Not the leader the people wanted perhaps, but the leader they had nevertheless.

The US and other countries were fully aware of what was going on. However, the world did not turn their backs on the people. Did they do enough? Maybe not. But they did what was within International Law to aid the people as best they could, hence the now-obviously-abused Oil for Food Program. And, the reason our #1 partner is behind us all the way? No, not because Tony Blair is in love with George Bush, but because it was the Imperialistic British Conquest of Iraq that destabilized the country in the first place.

http://www.theglobalist.com/DBWeb/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=3404

I agree that we can't just pack up and go home now. Finish what we started. But I don't think we should have started it in the first place. I also like looking at http://michaelyon.blogspot.com/ Michael Yon's blog. He's an independant journalist in Iraq, and I am glad to be able to see and hear about things that aren't reported on CNN.

And, dark chocolate is absolutely divine.

16:53  
Blogger Crystal said...

Believe it or not. I know and comprehend the definition of sovereign. The people in Iraq were missing sovereignty, control over decisions made within their state, that affected life both within the state of Iraq, and the international community at large.

I refuse to believe that Iraq was/is "sovereign" simply in order to accept international definitions of this term. This may sound stubborn, ill-informed, or ignorant. But I prefer to envisage greater standards in the world that do not limit our expectations by setting out sights so low as to believe that sovereignty is the best we can possibly hope for. In the case of Iraq, one person's sovereignty does not outweigh that of his people's, whether it was missing or not. That because Iraq had a tyrant for a sovereign who was not overtly causing harm in the world, that somehow the situation in Iraq before US intervention in March 2003 should have been tolerated because of the definition of "sovereinty" is unacceptable to me. Or even that the US should have continued supporting the UN in inflicting very awful, ill-concieved, and ineffective sanctions that further undermined and deteriorated the quality of life of the Iraqi people without changing the political climate or, again, the "sovereignty" of the dicatator. Oh but wait, he was doing his part in escalating the level of danger in the world, and for the US. Kuwait...attempted assassination of our ex-president...open praise of Osama bin Laden...all petty attempts at mischief in the eyes of most political officials, as reflected in their actions, or inactions to curb this leader's sovereignty, making a mockery of the absence of sovereignty of the Iraqi people.

Here is where it gets difficult for me. I wasn't for the war, as previously stated here in other discussions, but our military presence has improved the situation helping to make Iraq better, into what a sovereign state should be, where unfortunately the U.N. and other international watch dogs failed to have a clear or positive impact in deterring a tyrant from murdering his own people because he held "sovereignty" over them. We should be re-examining why these bodies have become so obsolete in our world, failing to provide alternative solutions other than war and thus creating greater possibility for relations to disentegrate into such a caricature of a sovereign state that military intervention is the only way to affect a change. Not that military intervention is the best or only way, or that it has done the greatest good we could possibly hope for, but why is it always easiest to choose the war path, instead of peace???

Although I do believe that the love affair between Bush and Blair is a great, immediate cause and factor as to a rational explanation for why we are militarily present in Iraq, please note that Bush had war plans started for Iraq way way way before he got Blair on board.


Please also note that while the British and French imperialism did create the sovereign state of Iraq, agreeing to merge 3 very different Ottoman provinces, that had absolutely nothing in common at the end of WWI, into one governing body, we would probably have done the same if given the chance, despite the theory of US isolationism between the great wars. But really all of this is part of the reason/understanding of the present situation in the Middle East, something that must be realized to understand the circumstances we are dealing with, yet these conditions are not a predominant part of any clear solution to the problems we face today.

So, let's not forget what we are trying to accomplish, to make Iraq a democratically sovereign state, yet still puppeteering behind the facade.

p.s. Michael Yon's blog gets kudos from me...

23:01  
Blogger Dorman said...

I swear, I must have the most intelligent readers that the blogsphere has ever seen. You all rock!
Now some things to point out. There are many nations that are sovereign and do things other countries don't like, many are inhumane. Sure, as a human, I think something should be done to help those folks, but it is not military action.

Saddam was elected. They just couldn't get rid of him after he was in office.

Many, namely Sunni muslims, liked Saddam, backed him, didn't want him gone. Not every Iraqi was repressed, oppressed, or depressed. (Sorry, the medicine is making me talk like Don King now).

Internal genocide pretty much ceased with the first Gulf War...along with possession of WMDs.

I asked before, not rhetorically, what really has been done here for reconstruction. Some schools have been built. Some small electric plants and maybe some water processing plants. But literally, 80% of this country is rural and stone age. I think every voting American should hold our government accountable or disclosing the goals and progress.

and lastly, Crys, why not hate the sin and love the sinner. Or more secularly; hate the act and love the actor.

04:37  
Blogger Dorman said...

Michael Yon has an enviable position IMHO. I would switch with him in a minute. Reading his blog makes me feel like he also sees what I have seen, and more, more of what I and the world need to see.

And there are the validations to my position that Islam is the dangerous factor, that no matter how we try to spin it, Islam is what we need to overcome simply because it is the motivator and perspective of our enemy. In his article, Killing for God the evidence is again overwhelming to the point of not understanding how people refuse to accept this obvious fact.

We must attack how the message and use of Islam is spread to break the cycle. Otherwise, we will be killing an almost endless string of Islamic martyrs.

05:17  
Blogger Crystal said...

so mr. dean dorman, i will post a comment to your latest comment soon, i got lots-o-thoughts on it.


but first, there is a more urgent matter at hand.

while playing my game, were your comments for you??? if that is true, am i understanding correctly that you really never want 11. B again?????


that is really really sad :(

очень ужасно! как грустный!!!

Я надеюсь что ненависть не убыла любовь.

Крис

15:14  
Blogger Dorman said...

11. I WANT TO BE...

emphasis on WANT. Yes, those comments were for me, so send me fudge :) Remember a long while back I made the comment that I am a hopeless romantic. A currently unrequited, lonely, romantic. One without fudge.

15:35  
Blogger Crystal said...

whew, that is a relief. without 11 B. my arguments against hate were going to be that much more difficult to impress upon you.

can food be sent to iraq? i didn't know that.

sorry its currently unrequited. like i said, the wait will be worth it one day. we live in a world of polarized extremes. so it follows that where there is hopeless despair, we will also find ecstatic happiness. and im sure, a fella like you, will not be kept waiting forever.

peace
crys

22:53  
Blogger Dorman said...

You can send certain foods, nothing perishable, as long as they are properly contained. Gobstoppers are a favorite :)

And thanks for the vote of confidence on the 11. B thing. Time will tell.

You feeling better yet? My fever finally broke today.

12:51  
Blogger Crystal said...

i am feeling a little better, not running a fever either this morning. got new meds yesterday, and they seem to presently be working. sort of afraid to test my wellness by actually getting out of bed this morning, now afternoon. i hardly ever get sick, but when i do, im such a whino...

have a good day/night!

13:16  
Blogger Crystal said...

ok, well, i just have to ask. because im entirely too nosey for my own good.

ummm. why is 11 B. unrequited, and who is unrequiting it?

13:29  
Anonymous Baker said...

I like this quote a lot better by Sun Tzu "Winning 100 battles out of 100 battles is outstanding, but to subjugate your enemy without firing a single shot is a true sign of excellence"

05:30  
Blogger Dorman said...

Baker, nice quote, wish it applied.

Crys. Long personal story that I am not comfortable discussing on my blog, email me sometime if you want to know the scoop.

07:33  
Blogger Crystal said...

sounds good.

on sin/sinner

i think it is impossible. you can't. you can try, you may be able to fool yourself into believing you can but there really is no difference. we have tried to separate the two, but really they are infused, and are one. its an attempt by humans to think they have more control over their will than they really do.

im not saying the sin is the sinner, but its part of them. and, in this case, its not a sin at all. its a frame of reference when you deal with someone to understand, or try to understand where they are coming from. and so i think framing your hate within a person will never bring about a better understanding, and is a false security in itself, because, really, you do hate this person, for being part of what you perceive to be the problem.

okay, a good example would be my beliefs/thoughts in regards to you. i hold a basic belief that hate is wrong. but i could not hate that you hate. one, i do not know you well enough to make this judgement. two, if i began to hate the fact that you hate, my hatred would be breaking my first premise to myself, and my feelings towards you would be framed in everything i did, no matter how introverted i tried to keep it.


i don't know. this is sort of complicated. and i dont think im explaining very well.

11:55  
Blogger Dorman said...

I got ya, but I wasn't directly equating islam with sin and muslims with sinners. Just the concept. Islam is a mind virus, a dangerous one at that IMHO, that as you point out frames peoples' perceptions of the world. That is the danger of it. That is the danger of literalist Christianity, color, or any other belief system that is held higher than one's own humanity. If I am white and I hold that as an identity higher than the human commonality, then I have separated myself with filtered perceptions that lessen everyone not in my group. For me, my hierarchy is that I am a human male straight italian. So I principly see things on the human scale first whereas a black male straight human may see everything as a racial descrimination. These dangerous folks here are Islamic terrorists. Islam first, terror second, humanity not present.

17:22  
Blogger Crystal said...

yes yes yes. i think we are talking about the same things...except

that humanity is always present. islam is only present because there is a human face behind it. and once again, islam should NOT be your enemy, for reasons previously circled and about ready to splash through the drain.

crys
a peace-lovin', native/polish american, female

21:56  
Blogger Dorman said...

I think peopel today excuse the obvious problem of Islam, from its beginnings, by blaming 'extremists' or 'fundamentalists' in an effort to shade these beliefs and actions as marginal, performed by a tiny group of radicals. Not so. From yet another news story about Sean Penn visiting Iran....

"Last week, Penn attended Friday prayers at Tehran University where worshippers gave the well-known chant of "Death to America." "


So, I suppose Iran as well as Palestine are now extremists. Entire countries. When do extremists become the majority and therefore the norm? I imagine all the peaceful muslims you may know are not the norm but the 'passivists'.

02:40  

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