T Nation

A Stupid War to Die In

A Stupid War to Die In

by Charley Reese

The Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, who was wounded by American soldiers as her car approached the Baghdad Airport, believes she was shot at deliberately. I doubt that is true. Of course, our government would kill an Italian journalist if it had a reason to do so, but I can’t think of one.

I don’t use the term “friendly fire.” If ever there were a stupid euphemism, friendly fire is it. There is nothing friendly about getting shot or bombed or rocketed, no matter whose hand is on the trigger or the fire button.

Sgrena had been taken hostage and had just been rescued by an Italian police officer, Nicola Calipari. He tried to shield her with his own body when the Americans opened fire on their car, and he was killed. He is now hailed as a hero in Italy.

What happened is easy to explain. American soldiers are scared. They are in a bad place. Death is all around them and wears a thousand disguises. They don’t know if a car contains a car bomb or innocent people. Quite sensibly, they have adopted the practice of “when in doubt, shoot.” In a situation where somebody will end up dead and somebody will end up sorry, it is better to be the one who is sorry. Most people, though not all, can get over being sorry. Nobody can get over being dead.

Many innocent people have been killed at American checkpoints, and some American soldiers at checkpoints have been killed by people who were not innocent. It is the nature of guerrilla warfare. The enemy doesn’t wear a uniform. Therefore, everyone is a suspect.

No one can blame an American soldier for wanting to come home in one piece. No one can blame him for doing whatever he, on the spot, thinks is necessary for his own survival. You can blame politicians for putting him in the situation, but once there, he has no choice but to concentrate on survival and to kill anybody who appears to be a threat.

This is far too stupid a war to get killed in if you can avoid it. Nearly all wars are stupid, but this one is close to the top. It was sold to the American people on false premises, and when the false premises were exposed, the slicksters didn’t bat an eye and just changed the script. We went to war to spread democracy, not to disarm Saddam Hussein, they said. It is all for the benefit of the Iraqi people, excluding, of course, those who are killed, maimed or impoverished in the process. A majority of Americans bought it.

Of course, the American people don’t have to go to Iraq. They don’t have to pay any extra taxes. They don’t have to suffer any inconveniences. They can just put little stickers and decals on their cars. That’s their contribution to the war effort. They do not have to peer into the darkness of Baghdad and try to spot Death before he snatches you. They do not have to look at the dead or hear the screams of the wounded. They do not have to endure the heat or the cold or the dust. They do not have to stare at a landscape so bleak you wonder why anyone would want to live there.

In the end, though, after all the dead, all the maimed, all the psychologically blighted, all the expense, it won’t make a rat’s toenail’s worth of difference. Iraq will end up with another dictatorship in one form or another. It is too fractious a country to be ruled by the wobbly hand of democracy.

But the price paid by the soldiers and their families will ache forever. The Italian journalist should consider herself lucky. She was wounded, but she got home without making the trip in a box. She will have the chance to taste more of life than many young men half her age who, as the Spanish say, died with their illusions.

=============================

http://www.antiwar.com/reese/

you are indeed the cut and paste king!

Mr. Reese is not a liberal, nor an “apologist” for this country’s enemies, and certainly not “anti-American”. His article provides a very good indictment of the war without drawing on the pool of ideas that tend to attract the above criticisms.

Is Al Shades RSU? I know 100meters is Lumpy. These guys disappear and come back with different names, but the same old liberal crap lines. Hey…new game: Spot the Liberal, win cash and prizes!

Hey rainjack how much money do we have left over after that last huge republican victory bash?

[quote]Al Shades wrote:
Mr. Reese is not a liberal, not an “apologist” for this country’s enemies, and certainly not “anti-American”. His article provides a very good indictment of the war without drawing on the pool of ideas that tend to draw the above criticisms. [/quote]

How nice for Mr. Reese. You know, I’ve had his peanut butter cups…great work.
I wish he’d write an article about how he came up with the idea.

Talk about trying to beat a dead horse – with a bunch of assertions no less.

Al, go back and read the umpteen threads that have been devoted to arguing about Iraq. Then, if you have anything new to add, please feel free to do so.

The only thing new this thread adds is concerning checkpoints, and while I would hardly assert that there aren’t ways to improve them, I really don’t want to have a discussion about them.

Also, you need to learn the difference between asserting something and demonstrating something.

That’s enough for me – I really don’t want to repeat all the arguments we’ve already had concerning Iraq.

“friendly fire” refers to “firing at a friend”. Whoever wrote that article is an idiot.

Gettin warfighting advice from al makes about as much sense as him giving advice on dating and sex.

[quote]ZEB wrote:
Is Al Shades RSU? I know 100meters is Lumpy. These guys disappear and come back with different names, but the same old liberal crap lines. Hey…new game: Spot the Liberal, win cash and prizes!

Hey rainjack how much money do we have left over after that last huge republican victory bash?[/quote]

Can you explain what leads you to believe that we are liberals?

Al Shades is not RSU, I don’t believe.

RSU was a straightforward left-of-center kinda guy.

Al is a novice drunk on anarcho-pacifist libertarianism.

Labels can be a mess sometimes, but I don’t think RSU is a Harry Browne sycophant.

RSU may not have been man enough to live up to his end of the bargain.

However, he would NEVER have said that the Austrian-Hugarian Empire dominated pre-WWI Europe.

It takes a special amount of stupidity to try to argue that.

Al is the gift that keeps on giving!!!

JeffR

Y’know, I think any war would be a stupid war to die in…

-FC

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Al Shades is not RSU, I don’t believe.

RSU was a straightforward left-of-center kinda guy.

Al is a novice drunk on anarcho-pacifist libertarianism.

Labels can be a mess sometimes, but I don’t think RSU is a Harry Browne sycophant.[/quote]

Somewhat unrelated digression:

Did you happen to see the political party that the kid who did those shootings in Minnesota was following?

It was the “Libertarian Nationalist Socialist Green Party.”

Just how the hell do all those things fit together? Here’s a statement from them, BTW http://www.nazi.org/nazi/policy/weise/

BB,

Holy hell, I have read their platform, and I am confused as can be.

Truly bizarre.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Also, you need to learn the difference between asserting something and demonstrating something.
[/quote]

I’m well aware of it.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Al Shades is not RSU, I don’t believe.

RSU was a straightforward left-of-center kinda guy.

Al is a novice drunk on anarcho-pacifist libertarianism.

Labels can be a mess sometimes, but I don’t think RSU is a Harry Browne sycophant.[/quote]

I have no idea who RSU is/was so you’re right about that much. However, you’re wrong about me being a pacifist in any shape or form. Nor am I a Harry Browne sycophant. Pacifism, or more specifically, human interaction, is, indeed, the issue where my thinking splits from Harry’s. He is a through-and-through libertarian to the core, whereas I’m an individualist-anarchist egoist who merely takes up libertarian arguments when confined to the framework of society. There’s nothing in any of my posts to suggest a belief in pacifism. If this is the impression you’ve been left with, then methinks you’ve fallen into the trap of making faulty assumptions based on insufficient evidence.

See Al, that’s an assertion. Feel free to begin demonstrating that at any time.

It’s a counter-assertion to the one made by you about not being able to tell the difference. It’s your responsibility to demonstrate your assertion so that I may, in turn, counter with my own demonstration.

In addition to being an individualist, anarchist, and egoist, I consider myself a rationalist. You needn’t lecture me on how to argue, since I consider myself a master of the art; I have not been beaten yet. Well-formed arguments consist of a logical progression of facts that culminates in a central thesis. For an argument to be solid, the “chain” of facts comprising it must be iron-clad as well. And the facts that I use to construct all of my arguments are just that.

[quote]Al Shades wrote:
It’s a counter-assertion to the one made by you about not being able to tell the difference. It’s your responsibility to demonstrate your assertion so that I may, in turn, counter with my own demonstration.

In addition to being an individualist, anarchist, and egoist, I consider myself a rationalist. You needn’t lecture me on how to argue, since I consider myself a master of the art; I have not been beaten yet. Well-formed arguments consist of a logical progression of facts that culminates in a central thesis. For an argument to be solid, the “chain” of facts comprising it must be iron-clad as well. And the facts that I use to construct all of my arguments are just that. [/quote]

Your delusional kid. You have had your ass kicked in nearly every posting you made and we are all laughing at you.

Clueless!!

At the risk of getting personal…anyone who says “I’m an individualist-anarchist egoist who merely takes up libertarian arguments when confined to the framework of society” is a pedantic loser.

How can one kid be all these things, and still not be old enough to actually cast a vote in even the most local of elections.

The most involved you could effectively be Little Al, is to vote for you class president in school.

Crap this guy’s funny.