T Nation

Attack in Fallujah

I was checking out CNN this morning and apparently the four individuals worked for Blackwater Security Consulting. This doesn?t change my opinion, but they were not really non-combatants like I originally thought. Since I started this topic, I wanted to correct my error.

Me Solomon Grundy

These people should be captured, arrested and taken back here to the states. They should be disguised and forced to go to the funerals of these people. They should be forced to see what the effects of their actions had on these peoples children. Then we should fly them to somolia or another very poor country. Then they might understand that while life isn’t perfect in Iraq, it is still better than some places. I don’t think some of them even think about anything but themselves.

Also this has nothing to do with these people being Iraqis. Watch some tape of the LA riots when that dude got smashed in the face with a brick. Any group of people GROUP being the key word, if provoked in the right way can turn into a group of monsters.

One of the problems with large groups of people is that they feed off eachothers emotions, you can actually feel it. There is usually very little thinking involved. A local high school turf war turned nasty last year. A group of 20 or so kids ended up nearly killing another kid because he went to another school. One kid started a fight with him just for the hell of it and as he started to beat the kid up the rest of the group got whipped into a frenzy and soon everyone was getting their shots in. even after the kid was knocked out cold laying on the sidewalk bleeding all to hell, they were still kicking him in the face and hitting him with stuff. They were even kicking him in the groin. I mean WTF! and these are all middle class upstate NY suburban high schoolers. The fact is at any given time we could be in the crowd and get swept up in the surge of pure destructive energy.

Anyone remember the woodstock fires? I live about 20 min from the venue and I had friends who were grabbing shit from anywhere and throwing it into these things. I was actually scared because I couldn’t even talk to them, it was like I wasn’t even there. All they were focused on, as were most of the people there was destroying shit.

Groups of people suck individuals are a totally different animal. I would bet most of those people are actually sick themselves after the frenzy died down.

But still they should not go away from this scott free, they need a reminder as to how bad they were.

“those involved are nothing more than animals”

I’m not excusing this act; we were all very upset and extremely disturbed by what happened for many reasons. But I just want to point out that despite the surface subjectivity of morals, there is an overwhelming continuity across cultures that require that people have to be treated in certain ways, i.e. no person can be a means to an end.

So since we all basically agree that people must be treated in certain ways, the gap lies in what the definition of a person is. And let me tell you, dehumanization is not the answer. Let’s learn from history and not fall into circular traps of making humans into animals. But I dont think that any of us would contest that what they did was unquestionably wrong in every essence of the word.

This post does no justice to the importance of what I’m trying to say; I could write a monograph about this and then some. This article: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Iraq.html at least shows a somewhat universality of morals.

Ptdr , that statement is evidence of ur pea sized brain!!!

Vegita, the actions of people from Iraq go beyond a simple riot in a moment of anger. They’ve been provoked by external forces. No matter how much we try to believe that the US is doing them some good they don’t have to believe it. Cultures have different systems of values just as individuals do, we can’t impose concepts that have no meaning whatsoever for them such as democracy. They are a theocratic society, which means everything they do; government, work, education revolves around the concept of God. Everything is linked to God.
This is much deeper than just a brutal action, and judging by how those people were killed it shows a great amount of hatred against the US. Just remember that these people have also lost many relatives and friends, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters… It’s not only killing for the sake of killing, they’ve lost something too. Throw in there the loss of dignity and their country to people who they don’t even know or understand and then you’ll understand where so much hatred comes from. NOBODY IS FREE OF GUILT, NO ONE. And contrary to popular opinion not even the almighty US.

TO MOISTURE AND DA MAN, I just want to say that worst attrocities have been commited by Us forces in other parts of the world (including Iraq). I’m not trying to justify what happened in Fallujah nor am I trying to provoke anyone… just the truth is that troughout history the US has done attrocities around the world… Just because they use “smart bombs” doesn’t mean it’s less brutal. While in Mexico I watched a video of a little girl in Iraq who had lost her parents to a US bomb and she had also lost both arms and a leg. I wish you could’ve seen that, she was saying she preferred to die because now she wouldn’t be able to support her self without her parents and her inability to work. I can’t describe it into words… I really cried and it pissed me off. Those videos don’t make it into the US and never will. War is wrong and just as those Americans were unjustly murdered so have a lot Iraqi people.

I’m not sure why you were rebutting me, I think we said basically the same thing?

“Any group of people GROUP being the key word, if provoked in the right way can turn into a group of monsters.”

Anyways, there is a reason for everything no doubt. Just because there is a reason does not make the actions right. They could have chosen to act out many other ways than the path they chose. Some might have even had a better impact on thier agenda, whatever it is.

Killing and mutilating civilian or any for that matter people is wrong. We don’t treat our criminals that way.

Yes there is a reason why something like this happens. But we do not take that reason and try to justify the actions, we learn from that reason and apply it to preventing events like this in the future. It’s all on how you use the information.

The problem is, we have gone in and ousted Saddam, that’s what we wanted to do. NOw the common people, most of whom do not understand the complexities involved in salvaging a country and infrastructure we happily blew up in our liberation of the iraqi people. To them it must look like we are there to stay, and there to take over. Not something they want as they feel that their government needs to be an Iraqi one, not a US puppet. These people want to get on with their lives, but when you have armed FOREIGN soldiers everywhere you look, how normal can your life be?

vegita-
I have never bought the mob mentallity, but as I sit next to a licensed psychologist, she says it is valid. She also adds that even in a mob mentallity setting, one will not do something out of the realm of his/her normal thoughts/behaviors. so, even if you are in a mob, and it is not in your nature to kill and dismember someone, you wont simply because ppl are cheering and your adrenaline is pumping. At least that is what her training says.

katobe-
I am a realist- i tend to define ppl by action- call 'em like i sees 'em. and if you kill and dismember another of your own species and drag the body through public, that is not an act of a human of sound mind. Animals marking their territory do that. and most dont even go that far. perhaps savage is a better word. but it still is inexcusable for any human of sound mind, no matter how much pressure and stress they are under. inexcusable, no matter what the situation.

kike-
I dont recall any reports of dismemberment, dragging corpses or hanging them in public from Iraq. vietnam, yeah, heard of it. And those ppl were animals/savages. your nationality has nothing to do with it. and smart bombs are indeed much more less brutal and provide a more respectable death- fast and most likely painless. its not the unjust murder that is unbelievable to me, it is the method and treatment of the bodies that is horrid. and both sides tend to use mines in a war. never did I say the were humane, either.

Let’s make one thing clear-

NO ONE is making excuses for what those people did. I, along with probably everyone else here, think that these people need to be bought to justice. I don’t think that the people who did the mutilating, dismembering etc should be killed, but they need to be put away.

The real culprits here are the ones who carried out the attack in the first place. However awful the images are, I believe that the worst act was the killings themselves. These are the people who incite the mobs, and without them, this wouldn’t have happened.

All I am trying to get across is that these people ARE people. It is not like they just woke up one morning saying to themselves, “I think that I am going to do some mutilation today.”

Daman and Moisture-

I basically agree with what you had to say. This is an inexcusable act, and those people need to pay. But as I said before, and I may be wrong, these people aren’t the ones who actually killed the people in the car. I doubt the guys with the AKs, RPGs and whatnot actually stayed around too see this happen, because they had no idea that the military wouldn’t be coming asap. We need to kill/capture the people behind the initial attack before mob violence like this, which it seems was incited by the carnage, ever happens again.

Vegita-
You raise an interesting point about mob mentality. While we in the US feel that we are above it, if you look back into our recent history, you will see that we were plauged by it. I could give countless examples from the civil rights movement, but I feel that we are all probably familiar enough with our own history.

Let me reiterate-- I am not making excuses, I am only trying to add some perspective. I again say, that if I was there I would have been in the same boat. Any amount of talking I could have done would’ve been useless.

I just feel that we cannot afford to make any generalizations about the middle east as a population. I see this happening more and more every day and it is scary. If we want to stabalize the region and bring democracy to these people, then we NEED to know that they are not different from us on a basic level. They are only different from us on a cultural level, and that is what many fail to see.

ps

I am suprised to see that this thread has not degraded into personal attacks. I believe that is the worst thing that could happen. We all feel for the families of the victims, and turning this thread into a bunch of insults would only dishonor their memories. Thank you.

DA MAN - Several factors should be considered. Not all humans are capable of serious violence, but certainly many are. I know I could crush someones windpipe with my hand if I had to to protect my family or my own life. Others would not be able to and die. It is inherent in Many of us to be perfectly capable of committing these acts. When one is whipped into a mob type frenzy, one loses all touch of consequences and often reality other than that of “the moment”. I have seen it first hand.

Secondly is the factor of a persons fortitude against others energy. I myself was not tossing anything into the fires at woodstock and there were others also. Not every person in LA was rioting. Not everyone in Iraq that day was mutilating those bodies. These such individuals are resistant to external factors manipulating their emotions.

I realize this is overly simplistic but it is a generalization. When you mix these combinations of traits, ie the ability to do major violent acts or not being able to do them, and resistance or not to external emotional stimuli you get different individual reactions to the Mob Scene atmosphere.

Mixing a non-resistant non-violent person will probably scare the hell out of them and they get the hell out of the scene. Mixing a resistant but capable of violence person will likely get an observer. Mixing a non-resistant and capable of violence will get you someone who can be whipped into doing any level of actions which due to the fact of being capable can be very bad things. It is almost as if the mob scene elicts a false feeling of invincibility and power.

In ancient times these were actually battle tactics. Take braveheart, i’m sure you’ve seen it. The chanting and rallying was done to create a feeling of invincible power, thus increasing the destructive force and brutality of an army made up mostly of farmers and peasants.

These are just some observations I have made and my opinions on them. I’m not saying any of this is good or bad or whatnot. Obviously the actions of those iraqis mob was not good, we need to understand the Iraqis mob to defend prevent it as much as possible.

A few points: Rangertab I served in the Phillipines for Op. Enduring Freedom. When we landed on Basilan Island the locals were afraid to look at us over retaliation by the local Abu Sayef terrorists. After we kicked them off the island we got the same “rock star” treatment that you talk about in Baghdad. However, it would change from this “rock star” treatment in one villiage to getting spit on and having rocks thrown at us in other viliages. My point is that you cannot judge a country by a villiage or town. You just have to believe that what you are doing is right and go with it.

Secondly, I’m a firm believer in cultural relativism but that doesn’t mean that ANYTHING goes just because it’s their culture.

“We hold these truths to be SELF EVIDENT. That all men are created equal are are endowed by their creator certain UNALIENABLE rights, among which are LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.”

To believe this statement is in my opinion what truly makes a person an American. And as an American it is a duty of each of us to protect that, and not just within our own borders. Those unalienable rights do not fall within the bounds of cultural relativism. Believe it or not people we live in a black and white world. We only call things gray because we are afraid to do the right thing.

Let’s review: Pray to whomever you wish, eat what you want, govern how you like, but don’t you EVER infringe upon another’s unalienable rights, or YOU WILL HAVE ME AND MY COMRADES AT YOUR DOORSTEP.

Semper Fi,

mikeyali

I’m no longer shocked by such depraved acts; it’s obviously part of being human just as getting revenge on the dirtbags is also part of being human.

KIKE- I live in the US and have seen the footage that you speak of(VEry sad).

Chrisr and kike make some good points. But in agreance with others on this thread no amount of paradigm shifting and relativism can excuse the attack.In fact absolute tolerance is as much to blame for the worlds problems as close-mindedness. However the same question can be asked of this than many ask in regards to original sin: if you you were in that same position would you have done the same thing? This incident reminds me of what nicollo machiavaeli wrote in his book the Prince. He states that no matter how horrible the government of the day may be any peoples would rather be ruled by their own than by a foreigner. Even if the foreign rule is respectively gentler. It’s just one of those weird human psychology things. Secondly the Iraqis or the entire arab world is really new to this democracy thing. But with the advent of al-jazeera tv I think in about 100-150 years the arab world will be alot like us. Its unfortunate that the west is too impatient to give them the same time to develop that we all had. where would the west be if we didn’t have liberal media(and even the impartiality of western media is questionable at best). If you all want a good read on the middle east pick up Ignorant Armies by Gwynne Dyer. Is the Attack in Fallujah barbaric-certainly. But Every country has skeletons in their closet (nagasaki and hiroshima?) In closing look at the way spain and other european countries react to terrorism- they don’t lash back because all the terrorists want is attention and to see their enemies compromise their morals. If they can force them to do this they’ve won. But if you don’t give them that pleasure they get bored and die off. Its like the old school yard bully mentality. Sure it might be painful to endure but works out better in the long run. countries that have a long history of terrorism have proven this. I can’t make any judgements but who can.

concerning mob mentality-
the characteristic needs to be there. killing or beating to death and dismembering and dragging through the street are 2 totally different things. I could easily see myself crushing somoenes skull in with a rock if they ever threatened me or my own. but i wouldnt desicrate the body like that.
i have actually been in 2 mobs in my time- OU time change ‘riots’ and OSU fiasco. both got very violent and destructive. but i did not take part in any violence or destruction. and i could easily see myself destroying someone/something. that is a lot of the reason i dont buy into the mob mentality.

That gave me goosebumps!

Semper Fucking Fi!

Matt

There were two types of Iraqis. The ones who supported America coming in, and the ones that didn’t. The ones in power obviously didn’t support us. These are the people who are attacking, along with American hating terrorists.

As far as the little girl, I do feel sorry for her. But who were her parents? Innocents, Saddam followers, or terrorists? I also feel sorry for all the former children, (now adults) who lost their parents when we bombed Germany, and Japan.

It is so easy to find collateral damage in war, but it is so simplistic to just decide that war is bad, as so many people say. Sure war sucks, but so does chemotherapy. Should we march on Washington demanding that all this senseless torture of children with cancer be stopped? (Attn, this is an analogy, it is only an analogy. Some of you will understand.) War has to be seen in the same light, as a way of ridding the world of a cancer.

I have heard solders that came back talk about how we don’t get the whole story. That the problems are actually isolated. That most of Iraq is very happy about the changes. The problem is that there is no such of a thing as good news. Look at every newspaper, or television news program, around the world. How many articles are good news? Very few.

How many people actually know that crime rates have been dropping for over 25 years? That the air is cleaner then it was years ago? That the forests in America are larger then at the beginning of the 1900’s?

Good news is boring. How many movies are there where nothing bad happens? Sure most movies have a happy ending, but only after going through some traumatic experience. People need to realize that news has most of the good parts edited out. Why do they say 5.7% unemployment instead of 94.3% employed? Heard about the stock market recently? You will at the next downturn.

If you do hear good news, it is an advertisement disguised as news. (“Soy is good.” Followed by evil laughs.)

I do feel sorry for the little girl. I also feel sorry for the people attacked in Fallujah, and their children. But I am not going to let emotions cloud my thoughts.

Mikeyali -

You seem to have your head on straight, and a good set of morals to go with it. That is typical of Marines and that is why I love those motherfuckers (no insult intended). Your last post was fucking badass, and I would never be able to refute any bit of it, not that i’d ever want to. I have almost died defending those principles, and will do so gladly in the future. Keep up the good posts, mikeyali.

-When in doubt, flip it to burst.

the mage-
great post!