Archive for the ‘war’ Category

This exchange between myself, two of my friends, my sister-in-law, and her husband, happened on my Facebook a few weeks ago. Submitted as-is with only names changed to protect my anonymity.

Còmhradh thinks that if we’re going to demand that Muslims can’t build a shrine in Manhattan (never mind the one that’s already been there for 40 years), then we should demand that there be no Lutheran churches in Jersey City because of the Black Tom incident in World War I that killed 7 Americans, because Wilhelm II was a Luth…eran, and therefore all Lutherans are enemies of America, right?

Friend 1 – On the other hand, America’s been building ‘Ground Zero’ within a couple blocks of mosques all over Iraq and Afghanistan for years now.

BiL – It’s not the fact that they are building it in Manhattan itself. It’s the fact they are building it practically right on ‘Ground Zero’. It’s not about politcs or who is wrong and right with this one. It’s about the 3000 people who died there by Muslim extremist. And being a firemen I wouldn’t want it there to begin with. It’s a slap in the face and not to mention it will cause TONS of issues in the long run that will make it a very bad idea. Our ignorant moron Governor even offered free state land for them to build it on but they won’t do it (the only good thing hes done.) So… yeah… Its a BAD idea and its a slap in the face… Take it down the block away from ‘Ground Zero’

Còmhradh – @BiL – so, you’d feel that strongly if there was a proposal to build a church right a few blocks from Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta or near the site of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City?

Còmhradh – @Friend 1 – but that’s their fault for living in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Friend 1 – ‎”Yeah, I have a delivery here for Iraq. Can Iraq sign for it? It’s a large box of freedom. …Oh, I’m sorry, I meant explosions. The freedom’s on back order.”

SiL – they just HAVE to build near the world trade center? no sense of remorse for these people that died and those that died to save our those in need. no wonder most of america is against….per CNN

SiL – babbling facts does nothing to justify why they are doing it….thats just senseless facts

Còmhradh – So, the 62 Muslim victims of 9/11 don’t count? Were they also responsible for the attacks simply because they were Muslim? Does that mean every Christian is responsible for the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in 1996?

BiL – I honestly don’t care what most of America is against. Most of America has been against some crazy shit in the past, like women’s suffrage, alcohol, interracial marriage, Catholics…

SiL – neither do i….but thank god most of america has their head on right about it

Friend 1 – There just isn’t enough manufactured controversy out there. It’s a real shame America’s so focused on educating its young people, caring for its veterans and elderly, keeping the work force employed and providing medical care for its citizens. We really need more mosque arguments and video game outrage, because wouldn’t it be terrifying if this privileged, rich, powerful and obnoxiously vocal country actually did something beneficial and useful for its citizens for a change?

Còmhradh – I don’t think anyone’s actually addressing my point here – If we’re going to rage about a “mosque” near Ground Zero, why should we not get up in arms about churches near sites of Christian-based terrorism?

Friend 2http://daryllang.com/blog/4421 stuff that’s also “right on top of ground zero”

BiL – You want to know why? Because this is the United States of America. You are American before anything else and the freedom you have is what the Muslim Extremist are trying to take away. Ground Zero is a American spot where we lost over 3000 people in an attack that was senseless. Unless of course you agree with that. And putting the Mosque right on top of that heartbreaking spot is ARROGANT and full of IGNORANCE.

BiL – @Friend 2 that stuff was there this is ‘aftermath’ of them building this… ITS A INSULT and as a New Yorker and a Fireman its PATHETIC and I don’t give a shit who I offend with this but if you are for it…. you… are Pathetic

Friend 2 i’m sorry. Iv’e actually read and believe in the constitution and the bill of rights.

Còmhradh@BiL – Yes, and in the United States of America, we have the freedom to place any manner of religious shrine on private property we own, regardless of what other people think. Unless of course you don’t agree that we should have freedom of religion.

BiL – What is arrogant and full of ignorance is this perpetuation that this is a mosque (it is not), lumping all Muslims in this country together with the extremists who attacked us (they are not), and thinking that it’s OK to strip certain groups of people of fundamental rights simply because you don’t like them (it’s not).

Còmhradh@BiL – calm down, sparky. We’re having a rational discussion here.

Friend 2 – way to make my point there sparky.

BiL – First. Fuck Muslims. I don’t give a shit about them after what happened. Second. Believe it or not, this is not about you, this is about the people who died and their families. Its a slap in the face and the Muslim community is trying to make a point……..

Còmhradh – @BiL – if you can’t behave, you don’t get to chime in.

BiL – I am not calm about this @Còmhradh. Its full of liberal idiocy and its a insult to me. So I won’t stop being pissed about this until the subject is closed and the Mosque is elsewhere.

Friend 2 – hey @BiL, it’s not about you. its about freedom and what it means to defend freedom. _THIS_ is what it means to defend freedom. not blowing up some third world country.

BiL – How about not calling me Sparky @Friend 2 since you don’t know me, and I don’t know you. And @Còmhradh…. Don’t post something ridiculous if you don’t want comments and thoughts.”

Còmhradh – I want comments and thoughts, not racist bigotry. We were having a nice discussion before you jumped in and started throwing elbows.

Friend 2 – oh, and freedom and non government interference with private property and religion is ridiculous now is it? Wow. just wow. Do I get to use the “America love it or leave it” line yet?

BiL – The war is needed and I stand by that. Bush did the right thing. All the liberals can’t eat a bull of crap. And the Mosque don’t belong where it is going… Period.

Còmhradh – @BiL – what exactly has either war accomplished?
We’ve been in Afghanistan for almost 9 years and have succeeded only in killing civilians and further destabilizing a nuclear-armed Pakistan.
We’ve been in Iraq for 6 1/2 years and only succeeded in making Iran the dominant power in the region.
If that’s your definition of “necessary,” then it is absolutely necessary that I’m given a giant robot to stomp around downtown Sheboygan.

BiL – And your saying the Muslims who killed 3000 people in NYC arnt racist? Yes they are. Prove to me they arnt. This is America and a Mosque don’t belong on hollowed ground. Move it away from the spot and make people happy

Friend 2 – Liberals and Liberty have the same root. sorry don’t believe in living in an authoritarian theocracy. going into afganistan was the rightmove, the facts have been quite clear about who’s been eating the bull for Iraq.

Còmhradh – @BiL – The Muslims who killed 3015 people on 9/11 are dead. They also killed (besides themselves) 62 Muslims. Are you spitting in the faces of their relatives by calling them racists for getting themselves killed?

BiL – My definintition of Necessary is I support what Bush did. I support being in war. I support our troops. And I support defending this homeland.

Friend 2 – defending the homeland by making us piles more enemies? how about defending the homeland by not dismantling it from the inside out?

Còmhradh – @BiL – that doesn’t really answer the question. You support the war, which has only served to create dead troops, but you support the troops. These two things are completely contradictory.
I support the troops by opposing continually useless wars that only get them killed and create more enemies for us, which will only ensure that even more troops get killed.

Friend 2 – Re muslems: so do lots of christians and jews.

BiL – The Muslim extremist are racist and most Muslims have this idea that they are the higher power and they are living the right life. All thought that is there opinion look what it did on 9/11. All i am saying is move the Mosque away from Ground Zero. And @Còmhradh… 62 Muslims killed is nothing compared to over 2,500 that weren’t Muslims.

Còmhradh – ‎@BiL – so… Muslims lives aren’t as important as non-Muslim lives?
“The American extremists are racist and most Americans have this idea that they are the higher power and are living the right life.

BiL – LOL @Friend 2…. dismantling it? Wow…. You are obviously blind to what is really going on.

Friend 2 – I don’t know @BiL, revoking personal and religious freedoms for he sake of mob rule seems pretty contradictory to what this country’s about.

CòmhradhBiL – @Friend 2 isn’t the one advocating a repeal of the First Amendment here.

BiL – I support the troops because its the right thing to do. They are over there fighting for our freedom. If you don’t support them how would that make them feel? Protesting is not a good thing for them to see.

CòmhradhBiL – America hasn’t fought a war for American freedoms since 1865. The troops are over there fighting for our economic interests. They’re not even fighting for *someone else’s* freedoms.

Supporting troops is in no way the same as supporting the insane mission they’ve been tasked with.

BiL – LOL OK… enough…. seriously…. You guys have no argument. You believe in OBAMA when he is the worst President in US HISTORY! And will be a 1 term guy. But you follow him EVEN THOUGH HE IS TRYING TO MAKE THIS COUNTRY A SOCIALIST SOCIETY! YOU ARE RIDICULOUS! —-MOVE THE MOSQUE—- ITS A INSULT

Friend 2 – wow, way to bring up random unrelated topics. we have an argument obviously or you wouldn’t be backing out.

Friend 1 – Re: the war: “There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare.” – Sun-Tzu
Re: the mosque: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In other words, demanding that the free exercise of a religion be impeded by any sort of decree is unconstitutional. PERIOD.

BiL – Backing out? Not going anywhere!

Còmhradh@BiL – a) I don’t “believe” in Obama, b) You need to look at James Buchanan and Warren G. Harding before you start judging Obama, c) you have no idea what socialism is, and everything I’ve ever heard you say about socialism just sounds like a good idea that Obama has consistently *not* done. This is America. You don’t have the right to not be insulted. I find the fact that there are people who would surrender our rights at the drop of a hat to be an insult, but I’ve still got to live here.

Friend 2 – well then bring some substance other than hurt feelings and baseless opinions.

Friend 2 – clearly you don’t because there’s nothing even remotely socialist going on in the obama administration.

Friend 1 – @BiL – You’re not going anywhere? Or I’m not going anywhere? The lack of subject in that sentence fragment has me confused. Could you please try to make your thoughts more coherent and well-formatted? The last time I heard rhetoric this vocal and broken it was coming from a podium in Nuremberg in the early 1940s.

BiL – LOL @Còmhradh… you are so blind…. And I do know what Socialism is

CòmhradhBiL – Please, describe socialism, and how letting tax cuts expire while expanding programs implemented by Republican presidents is in any way akin to it.

BiL – Hurt feelings? LOL @Friend 2 you are pathetic and obviously don’t know how to read. Everything I am saying has substance and NOT everyone agrees with you believe it or not. And it’s funny how over 60% of America is for what I am saying.

Friend 2– wind and crying isn’t substance and that all you can come back with is “pathetic” tells me more about your argument than it says about mine. sparky.

BiL – Ok… be a bitch… or are lesbians not Bitches? Not sure how this works. And @Friend 1…. Big words don’t make you “right”… And @Còmhradh… Socialism………. look at Obama’s presidency and thats my definitions/ . If you don’t like my views/Thoughts/views… DONT RESPOND….

Còmhradh – @BiL – we really can’t parse out what you’re saying other than “I hate Muslims and Obama,” and I need to see the polling that suggests that 60% of America agrees with that.
Interestingly, 62% of Americans think we should get out of Afghanistan, so I guess you’re not with the majority there.

Còmhradh – @BiL – We’ll take that as an admission that you’ve got nothing left to say, have admitted defeat, and want to no longer participate in this or any further discussions. Thanks for stopping by.

And then my brother-in-law and I unfriended each other, my sister-in-law unfriended me (because I was being “hypocritical,” which I still don’t understand), my brother-in-law unfriended Mrs. Còmhradh, and Mrs. Còmhradh’s sister didn’t speak to her for a week.

Obama didn’t say “mission accomplished,” but he did say that our troops completed every task asked of them in Iraq, which would indicate that they accomplished the mission that they were sent there to do.

Saddam Hussein was a very bad man. He was a murderous thug who repressed political opponents and other people he didn’t like using methods that get you sent to The Hague if you don’t happen to have a nuclear arsenal at your disposal. That being said, Saddam Hussein got the trains to run on time, if by “the trains” you mean “relative stability in the region” and by “run on time” you mean “not degenerate into an Iranian wonderland.”

Baathist Iraq was a functional country. Despite embargoes and sanctions, it was relatively westernized, had infrastructure reminiscent of a first-world country, had relative religious and personal freedom, was not a haven for terrorists, and was actually not being aggressive to its neighbors, at least in the last decade.

Of course, that was so 2003. Since then, Iraq has lost about 3% of its population to violence or the complete eradication of most of its infrastructure. Just because Arabs live in the Middle East does not mean that they can survive without food, potable water, or with no air conditioning in 120° heat. Additionally, around 15% of the population has been displaced, either over the border into Syria or scattered internally to where it is “safer.” The country is a virtual playground for terrorists or those looking to settle age-old scores. Religious and personal freedom is at an all-time low. Additionally, what government exists is a laughable collection of squabbling enemies that make Congress look like a bunch of well-socialized kindergartners who’ve been told they’ll get cake if they share and play nice. It is by no means a threat to Iranian influence in the region (or even to the lack of indoor plumbing, for that matter). At best, it’s headed by an unelected puppet, at worst, large elements of it are actually working against internal stability.

And now, having gone after the Pottery Barn with a nine-iron, we’re tossing a few dollars at them and striding off through the mall, intent on getting a new rug from that neat little shop that sells hand-made stuff and smells of patchouli. Of course, our rug is backordered because we set fire to that place about 9 years ago and haven’t bothered to put it out yet.

So, to reiterate:

If the mission was destroying a relatively modern country and reducing it to a nightmarish death-hole that now has more ties to terrorism than it ever did in the past, then Mission Accomplished. If, however, the mission was to remove one tyrant from power, then Mission Way Not Accomplished, considering we could have done that 7 years ago for less than .01% of what we’ve spent so far.

I hear a lot about “belt tightening” and “if I don’t make enough money to eat out, I don’t” and whatnot coming from people who are attempting to make the argument that, despite their tax burden being the lowest it’s been since 1960, they are being taxed too much.  It’s like a kid with a 5-scoop banana split complaining because there are only three cherries, really.

The whole notion that the average taxpayer’s financial habits are in any way comparable to larger economic institutions is laughable.  When it comes right down to it, the government has very little in the way of discretionary spending that the average tax protester would accept as a way to save money.

Government budgets deal with billions and trillions of dollars.  When the average person gets overcharged or otherwise spends $10 that they didn’t intend to, the government equivalent to that is millions of dollars.  The problem then becomes that people see that millions of dollars and try to wrap their $30,000/year salary around it.  They try to fit it neatly into things like “how long will I be paying for that cock-up,” all the while forgetting that it is, essentially, a drop in a very large bucket.   The exception to this rules is, almost universally, when that extra couple million dollars is misappropriated on some military endeavor.  Had to re-route a military cargo plane because someone missed a flight?  Pff, what’s a million dollars in logistical support when we’re keeping them fighting! Did I mention that defense spending occupies the single largest part of the budget, accounting for 22% of all federal spending?

Ask the average Glenn Beck viewer if we should start there, and they will, almost without fail, attempt to sell you the idea that we should cut some sort of entitlement program.  Usually, this is a nebulous concept that congeals only to the point of Reagan’s “welfare queens,” but occasionally, if you’re real quiet and let them rant, they’ll move up to Social Security or even Medicare.  And then, they’ll shriek about belt-tightening.

See the connection there?  They want belt-tightening from the government “just like they would,” but what they’re essentially saying is this:

  1. There might be threats in my neighborhood, therefore, I need to occupy parts of my neighbor’s houses to protect my interests.  I will, of course, pay them rent for the space I occupy, unless they are actively working against my economic interests, at which point I will take their house by force.  I will continue to upgrade my armaments to this end.  I cannot reasonably expect to cut costs on this, it is far to important.
  2. The fact that the infrastructure in my house is crumbling due to a lack of funds to sustain it is in no way indicative of my need to bring in more revenue.  I will simply cut costs elsewhere, perhaps by shutting off unnecessary utilities like water and gas (but not electric, because I cannot live without cable.)
  3. To further cut cost, I will stop supporting my children, those entitled brats who need to learn to fend for themselves.  I should not be paying for their food, clothing or healthcare when they’re perfectly capable of working for a living.  I don’t care if they’re only two and three years old.  I also refuse to spend even a cent to educate them.
  4. Simply because other households in my area have expenditure systems that produce healthier, better adjusted and more well-educated children is no reason to suspect that they are any better or should even be looked to for viable alternatives to my current system, which is obviously the best system in the neighborhood.
  5. And,  most importantly, as the duly elected representative of my household, I am a corrupt moneygrubber who deserves to be tossed out on my ear.  I will have hell to pay in the next election.  (please ignore the fact that I’ve been saying that for 10 electoral cycles now but still vote for myself).

Governments have obligations far beyond that of the normal household.  Conversely, they also have the ability to offset costs by raising taxes, something that normal households cannot do.  Ask anyone who’s screaming for budget cutbacks, and they’re likely to demand cuts to programs that directly benefit them – until you point that out.  At which point, they’ll find a program that doesn’t, and demand that be cut.

“I h’aint flushed the terlit all damn day, why’s I gots to pay fer water what comes bubblin’ right out the ground?”

The Religious Right simply cannot get enough of the concept that These United States are a Christian Nation™, founded on Christian Values™, and therefore, we need to Christian the place up.  Of course, they have very strange ideas of what Christian Values™ actually entails.

Let’s do some quick defining:  For starters, what constitutes “Christian” anyway?  The Bible itself is made up of two distinct (and conflicting) parts, those being the pre-Christ and Christ-and-beyond parts.   The first is made up of a long list of back story, but the meat of Christianity is in the New Testament.  Everything before that can be described as “not Christian.”  So, let’s focus our attention on the New Testament.

A “Christian Nation™,” therefore, would be bound by all of the morality espoused by the New Testament.  It would not only be forced to uphold whatever strictures were mentioned, but it would also be forced to conform to those very strictures.  Matthew 5 (The Beatitudes) has a number of very specific things to say, none of which sound very American.

The two biggest changes we’d need as a nation would be how we deal with the least among us (you know, the bottom 98% of all earners), and our national “defense.”  Verse 42 has something to say about the former…

Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

And right on the heels of that, Verses 43-45 discuss the latter…

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

Oh my!  We’re supposed to care for the poor and not fight our enemies?  What kind of madness is this?   Of course, if we were to eliminate the defense budget, we’d have a lot more left over for stuff like paying our outstanding national debt (as we should, according to Romans 13:8).

So no, this is not a “Christian Nation™,” it is simply a nation that happens to be populated with people claiming to be Christians.  Capitalism in its current form (and, in particular, American capitalism) is wholly incompatible with the Christianity that is found in the Bible.  The next time someone tries screaming about this being a Christian nation, agree with them, and ask them if they support relief funding for wounded Taliban fighters.  If they say no, tell them that they’re not Christians, and if they’re not of Christ, then they are certainly of Satan and aren’t welcome in this Christian Nation.

It’ll probably shut them up long enough for you to make a hasty retreat.

Recently, I had a “discussion” with my brother-in-law on Facebook about the recent health care reform legislation that caused the entire fabric of our nation to unravel dominated our news cycle for at least 48 hours before being usurped by Tiger Woods. At some point in this discussion, one of his friends chimed in with that old trope “I don’t want my tax money to go towards abortion.”

Breathe, it’s OK. they just don’t know any better.

I briefly schooled her in the Hyde Amendment and Obama’s executive order (signed that same day), and she actually thanked me for the info.

That’s right: I FUCKING WON AN INTERNET ARGUMENT WITH FACTS!

Anyway, that’s not the point. In that same response, I said “I’m pro-life. I don’t want my tax dollars going toward the bombing of innocent civilians. Who do I vote for?”

That’s right. Pro-life.

Breathe, it’s OK. I’m Pro-choice, too. Were that choice up to me, I’d chose life. But that choice isn’t up to me, and shouldn’t be. Invasions, state-sponsored revenge killings, torture, indiscriminate targeting of civilian populations… I don’t consider anyone “pro-life” if they oppose abortion but support these atrocities.

I get the “choice” between the least odious of two choices when it comes to voting. I go with the one that’s going to do the most good to the most number of people and the least harm to the least number of people. Turns out neither of them are ever gems, but I have to start somewhere, I guess. Voting for them doesn’t mean I can’t tell them to go fuck themselves when they’re bad.

Can someone explain to me how using 11 tons of steel from the World Trade Center to build a ship that will carry troops and supplies to a war where innocent civilians have died in far greater numbers than combatants is “honoring” the memory of the people who died on September 11th?

“19 guys from Saudi Arabia killed over 3000 people, so we’re gonna take the scrap they left behind and kill millions of Iraqis and Afgans! DON’T YOU FEEL HONORED?!”

Barack Obama called Hamid Karzai to congratulate him on his re-election for not being the candidate to stand up and say “this process is a sham and I won’t support it.” Obama further weighed in with:

Although the process was messy, I’m pleased to say that the final outcome was determined in accordance with Afghan law.

Say WHAT?  It’s universally accepted that what Obama calls “messy” is more colloquially referred to as “rampant with enough fraud to make Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blush.”  The point here being that if Karzai is the “legitimate” president re-elect in accordance with Afghan law, then Afghan law is seriously fucked.  Of course, we all know that by now, didn’t we?

The entire country is a good-old-fashioned Iraq-style clusterfuck.  Even our military doesn’t know what to do with it, which isn’t surprising, considering both the British and Russians were unable to subjugate what is essentially a rock-covered heroin farm.  And now, to add to the complete catastrophe that is our involvement there, we have re-legitimized a” leader” who barely has control of his capital and is widely viewed as the top rung of a criminal organization that deals solely in corruption and masquerades as a government.

That’s what we’re in bed with now that Obama has stood up on TV and gladhanded the whole process.  A couple hundred thousand votes weren’t counted?  Critical polling stations had more votes for Karzai than registered voters?  Impartial eyewitnesses observed blatant ballot stuffing?  Local warlords loyal to Karzai set in control of voting?  FREE AND FAIR, I tell you!

The only thing that could have made Karzai more legitimate would have been to have the Afghan supreme court stop the runoff and declare him a winner, and then publicly hang someone named Chad.