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Friday, November 3, 2006 for The Guardian (London)

It was pure war-nography. The front page of the New York Times yesterday splashed a four-column-wide close-up of a blood-covered bullet in the blood-soaked hands of an army medic who'd retrieved it from the brain of Lance Cpl. Colin Smith.

Friday, November 3, 2006 for The Guardian (London)

It was pure war-nography. The front page of the New York Times yesterday splashed a four-column-wide close-up of a blood-covered bullet in the blood-soaked hands of an army medic who'd retrieved it from the brain of Lance Cpl. Colin Smith.

There was a 40 column-inch profile of the medic. There were photos of the platoon, guns over shoulders, praying for the fallen buddy. The Times is careful not to ruin the heroic mood, so there is no photograph of pieces of corporal Smith's shattered head. Instead, there's an old, smiling photo of the wounded soldier.

The reporter, undoubtedly wearing the Kevlar armor of the troop in which he's "embedded," quotes at length the thoughts of the military medic: "I would like to say that I am a good man. But seeing this now, what happened to Smith, I want to hurt people. You know what I mean?"

The reporter does not bother -- or dare -- to record a single word from any Iraqi in the town of Karma where Smith's platoon was, "performing a hard hit on a house."More...

I don't know what a "hard hit" is. But I don't think I'd want one "performed" on my home. Maybe Iraqis feel the way I do.

We won't know. The only Iraqi noted by the reporter was, "a woman [who] walked calmly between the sniper and the marines."

The Times reporter informs us that Lance Cpl. Smith, "said a prayer today," before he charged into the village. We're told that Smith had, "the cutest little blond girlfriend" and "his dad was his hero." Did the calm woman also say her prayers today? Is her dad her hero, too? We don't know. No one asks.

The reporter and his photographer did visit a home in the neighborhood -- but only after the "hit" force kicked in the door. I suppose that's an improvement over the typical level of reporting we get. In dispatches home by the few US journalists who brave beyond the Green Zone, Iraqis are little more than dark shapes glimpsed through the slots of a speeding Humvee.

Last month there was a big hoo-ha over the statistical accuracy of a Johns Hopkins University study estimating that 655,000 Iraqis have died as a result of this war.

I doubt the Iraqi who fired that bullet into Lance Cpl. Smith read the Hopkins study. Iraqis don't need a professor of statistics to tell them what happens in a "hard hit" on a house. Of civilians killed by the US forces the Hopkins team found 46% are younger than fifteen years old.

I grieve for Lance Cpl. Smith and I can't know for certain what moved the sniper to pick up a gun and shoot him. However, I've no doubt that, like the Marines who said prayers before they invaded the homes of the terrified residents of Karma, the sniper also said a prayer before he loaded the 7.62mm shell into his carbine.

And if we asked, I'm sure the sniper would tell us, "I am a good man, but seeing what happened, I want to hurt people."

***

Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "Armed Madhouse" Go to www.gregpalast.com.

Originally posted to GregPalast on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 10:03 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Give 'em hell Greg (23+ / 0-)

    I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on OSHA and the EPA as well.

    Abstraction is real, probably more real than nature. -Josef Albers

    by lightnessofbeing on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 10:04:57 AM PST

  •  Nice piece of work Greg! (25+ / 0-)

    When I see what my government has done both at home and abroad - I want to hurt people.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge - Einstein

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 10:06:18 AM PST

  •  Thank you Greg! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roses, Alohaleezy, plaid miniskirt, lynmar

    Let's bring our troops home in an planned and organized manner, such as in the Feingold/Kerry amendment.

    - Israel has the right to exist, and responsibility to coexist.

    by Opinionated Ed on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 10:06:58 AM PST

  •  Whew!! (15+ / 0-)

    The US has never even kept a count of Iraqi deaths. They don't give a shit about them. Never have, never will. Sickening isn't it? Whether you are an American soldier or an innocent Iraqi civilian, they all died for nothing, for lies and war profiteering.

    Frodo failed....Bush has got the ring!

    by Alohaleezy on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 10:07:48 AM PST

  •  What a terrible, terrible situation (13+ / 0-)

    all these people have been thrust into.

    You describe it so well. My heart goes out to both the soldiers fighting the war and the poor Iraqi people suffering under the occupation.

    Again, a special place in hell is reserved for those in the administration who got us into this war, all of them.

  •  asdf (7+ / 0-)

    Exactly why we need to get out.  Our presence is doing nothing to help the situation.  Our soldiers and marines are just targets now.  The Iraqi sniper likely saw anyone who wasn't a member of his own militia as an enemy.  Certainly his "heart and mind" were not won over and the "hard hit" was not going to change that.

    We need to get the troops out now.  The war was won.  The occupation has been lost.

    I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

    by GTPinNJ on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 10:12:53 AM PST

  •  Thanks for your fine work, Greg (9+ / 0-)

    I want to stop hurting anybody.  Enough already.  We're destroying ourselves as we destroy people who never did any harm to us.

    It's time to bring them all home.  All our soldiers and Marines will come home one way or another, but the only way they get to come home and stay home under Bush, Cheney and their greedy hoodlum supporters is in a flag-covered box.

    What have we become?

  •  I feel that too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roses

    Speaking of hurting someone... Speaking of reporting from both sides... Those are subjects that hit home with me also. I tried to put these ideas into a fictional format, hoping to reach the American consciousness. If you care to look, my notes are at stokeycat.blogspot.com.

  •  NYT=NeoCon Pro-Israeli Warhawk Rag. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    racerx, blueoasis, ERyd

    That, the righties do have correct about the NYT.

  •  Turning folks onto Armed Madhouse at work (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftOverAmerica, potownman, J Royce, ERyd

    Could get me into trouble if the Powers That Be knew, but they always figure that most of us are hopeless D's anyway.

    It's an eye-opener for my colleagues as it was for me, and I thought I had already been in complete contempt of the Bush junta.  In fact, I couldn't read the book for more than a few minutes at a time without putting it down in anger and disgust.

    Thanks so much for shining a flashlight into the pits of hell.

  •  Sympathy for the sniper? wtf?? (10+ / 0-)

    Yeah, yeah, we all know that the media couldn't give a shit about Iraqis, live or dead.

    But to say this?:

    And if we asked, I'm sure the sniper would tell us, "I am a good man, but seeing what happened, I want to hurt people."

    Let me get this straight...there's a long story about our troops fighting and dying in a pointless, horrible war not of their own making, and you're concerned with the fucking Iraqi sniper??

    Why don't you tell the dead soldier's family and loved ones about how his killer was actually a good man who just got angry. Ugh. I don't care if you're famous...why is this even recommended?

    "I told them on Inauguration Day. I said look into my eyes: no new enhancements." - President Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)

    by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 10:52:15 AM PST

    •  Um... (12+ / 0-)

      because it's a valid point? We invade their nation, we kill their people, what exactly what YOU do?

    •  Who is the sniper? (9+ / 0-)

      Is he the father of a child killed by Americans? Is he just fighting those he sees as invading his country? Do you have sympathy for American snipers put in this position? If so why?

      That's the point. Who are the people killing each other.

      •  That I agree with; the diary, I do not. (6+ / 0-)

        Had you written the diary, I'm sure it would be much better. As written, it literally says that the sniper was a good man who got angry and wanted to hurt someone. That's a fact? He was a good man? Maybe he was an al-Qaida member. Maybe he was a ruthless Baathist. Maybe he was a Shiite who killed his neighbors for being Sunni.

        The point is, we don't know what he was. So in light of the life he took, I don't want to hear about how I'm supposed to feel sorry for him, or I'm supposed to believe he was a kind man pushed to the edge. It's masturbatory ultra-bleeding-heart fiction.

        "I told them on Inauguration Day. I said look into my eyes: no new enhancements." - President Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)

        by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:05:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Accidentally recommened you (10+ / 0-)

          slippery mouse click. What I meant to do was reply to this post with a question.

          If some armed soldiers kicked down your door, what would you do?  

          Being unable to put yourself in someone else's place is a typical trait of the black/white Republican thinking that got us into this stupid war. Feeling "sorry" for him and his predicament is not weakness or traitorous, it's human.

          •  No, it's make believe. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mary Julia, rsquire

            You don't know a damned thing about the sniper. That's why I said it's fiction. As I've seen from the other responses to my comments, people are imagining themselves in the sniper's position. Well, realize this: you are NOT that sniper. You have no idea who he was, what he believed, or if he was even an Iraqi.

            On the one hand, we've got a very real, dead American young man who was sent off to fight and be killed in Bush's maniacal, shameful war. On the other hand, we've got a fantasy image of "Mr. Sniper who is a widower with 5 children who saw his youngest son die by American fire and now is blinded by anger and revenge."

            It's an archetype. It's a stereotype. But it's fiction nonetheless. Do some research on the guy and then get back to me. In the meantime, I'm sure as hell not going to swallow that he was a "good man who got angry enough to hurt somebody."

            "I told them on Inauguration Day. I said look into my eyes: no new enhancements." - President Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)

            by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:37:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I got an idea, why don't you go ask him, I... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pollbuster, plaid miniskirt

              think you'll find him somewhere in Bush's meatgrinder.

              George Felix Allen Jr, Dumber than George W. Bush

              by ERyd on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:40:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  and the sniper doesn't know the american he shot (4+ / 0-)

              so please tell me what is the difference?
              People are dying who should not be, on both sides and that would not be happening if not for Bush and the idiots who back him up and mostly those who voted for him.

              Don Sherwood, if you campaign on family values, it helps if you have some.

              by TeresaInPa on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:52:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Um, that's the point (4+ / 0-)

              Do some research on the guy and then get back to me.

              That's kind of the point of the piece. No one is bothering to do any research on the Iraqis, to try and find out the facts of the other side.

              •  That is incorrect. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mary Julia, rsquire

                The author apparently has done research, because he states (in the sniper's voice), that he was a "good man" who just got really angry. Seeing as how this is a pretty ridiculous, romanticized, sweeping assertion, you'll have to pardon me if I object.

                I am extremely sympathetic to the Iraqis--you'd have to be a monster or republican not to be--but as far as this one particular unknown sniper who killed a young man, I offer no sympathy.

                "I told them on Inauguration Day. I said look into my eyes: no new enhancements." - President Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)

                by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 01:41:23 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ahem... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tzt, LeftOverAmerica, MarketTrustee

                  Have you ever met anybody who would say "I'm an evil person, and I kill because I like to kill?"  No.  Everybody believes him or herself to be a good person, whether it is true or not.  Now, Greg Palast/Zach says "And if we asked, I'm sure the sniper would tell us, "I am a good man, but seeing what happened, I want to hurt people.""  He did NOT say "the sniper is objectively a good person."  He said, "the sniper, I'm sure, considers himself to be a good person, and given the situation in Iraq, who are we to say he's wrong unless we bother to learn about him?"
                  Not once does the article unequivocally declare ANY PERSON AT ALL to be objectively good or bad.  It's simple reading comprehension.

                  If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell (-9.75, -9.03)

                  by nilocjin on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 02:30:18 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  okay, at this point, (0+ / 0-)

                    i'm going to just refer you to another comments in which i've yet again addressed that same point...
                    http://www.dailykos.com/...

                    The context is the key.

                    "I told them on Inauguration Day. I said look into my eyes: no new enhancements." - President Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)

                    by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 02:32:58 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  And I've read your comments (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      tzt, IL dac, LeftOverAmerica

                      and you're right, it is all in the context... but the context is not that Greg Palast is lauding the sniper for shooting an American soldier (or even suggesting his own opinion that the sniper was a good person).  The context was "there are two sides to every story."  Greg Palast never implied or suggested in any way his personal belief that the sniper was a good man.  I don't know how he could have made that clearer except by writing a puff piece on the dead soldier, like the NYT.  

                      If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell (-9.75, -9.03)

                      by nilocjin on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 02:38:51 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Talk about a lack of reading comprehension. (0+ / 0-)

                        Nilocjin says:

                        Greg Palast never implied or suggested in any way his personal belief that the sniper was a good man.

                        Palast says:

                        And if we asked, I'm sure the sniper would tell us, "I am a good man, but seeing what happened, I want to hurt people."

                        I don't know about you, but as I read that sentence, Mr. Palast says he is SURE that the sniper would tell us he is a good man.

                        I rather doubt that.  And if that doesn't reflect Mr. Palast's belief that the sniper IS a good man. then I am apparently in Wonderland.

                        We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

                        by Mary Julia on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 07:25:49 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                •  The sniper killed more than a young man... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  LeftOverAmerica, KathyinSC

                  He "killed" a tool of empire that also happens to be a young man.  The problem with these discussions is the inability to hold both of these facts in mind at once.  

                  Lance Cpl. Smith was a hammer wielded by a madman. Lance Cpl. Smith was also the "young man" to whom you refer.  

                  In his death, he is at once a discarded tool and a precious human life wasted without need.   Mourn the young man, but question the use of the tool.  

                  As a tool, his task in Iraq was the illegal and immoral brute use of force to achieve the goals(?) of Bush's American Empire. Including murder.

                  As a young man, he was "just doing his job."

                  American and International law provide ways in which thoughtful service members can find their way out of the conundrum of necessary obedience to immoral command.  It is tough to do, but it is possible.

                  "It is up to the most conscious member of the relationship to create the space for the relationship to grow." Ram Dass

                  by bosuncookie on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 05:46:29 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Oh, for heaven's sake (0+ / 0-)

                    American and International law provide ways in which thoughtful service members can find their way out of the conundrum of necessary obedience to immoral command.  It is tough to do, but it is possible.

                    You're right, and I am sure that is comfortably stated from your warm home in the States.  These people are in IRAQ.  And if they refuse to follow a command, the following can happen: charges, courtmartial, prison, dishonorable discharge, loss of job, ruin of your life. And that's after they get OUT of Iraq.  It's just not that simple.  Is it possible? Of course.  It is also possible for me to set myself on fire to protest the war in front of an Army recruiting office.  Do I want to? Ummm...No.

                    We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

                    by Mary Julia on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 07:30:56 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I didn't say it was easy, I said (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      LeftOverAmerica

                      it was possible.

                      Others are doing it.

                      Obviously to attempt to extract yourself from the immorality of Iraq would be incredibly difficult and require great moral courage.  Moral courage is tougher to muster than physical courage, it seems to me.

                      Sitting here in my warm house and reflecting, would I do it?  I don't know...  I try to find the courage to speak up and out in my own little piece of the world...  

                      But I do know that pretending as if the question doesn't matter only insures further suffering.

                      "It is up to the most conscious member of the relationship to create the space for the relationship to grow." Ram Dass

                      by bosuncookie on Sat Nov 04, 2006 at 05:16:01 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  And I wonder... (0+ / 0-)

                      Why would you want to set yourself on fire in front of a recruiting office?  I don't see the connection.  What I could see would be working for counter-recruitment in front of the recruiting office or in the schools.

                      Those acts would take moral courage as well.  

                      "It is up to the most conscious member of the relationship to create the space for the relationship to grow." Ram Dass

                      by bosuncookie on Sat Nov 04, 2006 at 09:43:16 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  I tend to agree... (0+ / 0-)

              ... that it doesn't seem right to consider the mindset of the sniper. But one thing bothers me about your reaction to the story. Did you read it? Or did I miss something? You've said more than once in your comments above that the Marine died. The article I read said he survived but was in critical condition. A small, but at least for the marine, important point. I'll have to think about that sniper for awhile. Cheers!

              Man has only those rights he can defend -- Jack McCoy

              by danno50 on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 07:46:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Then if you don't know (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pollbuster, tzt, Snarcalita, ERyd

          then why should you assume the exact opposite?  Is that 'masturbatory ultra-reactionary-wingnut' fiction?

          Got a problem with my posts? Email me, and let's resolve it.

          by drbloodaxe on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:36:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm sorry, but that point is inane. (0+ / 0-)

            Go back and read what I wrote. Slowly. Now tell me where I declared that the sniper was a terrorist. After several hours of looking for a comment that doesn't exist, then we can discuss what I actually said: we don't know anything about the sniper, so why should I assume he was a "good man"? I'm not the one who cast him in a role; the diarist did.

            "I told them on Inauguration Day. I said look into my eyes: no new enhancements." - President Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)

            by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:40:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ok, I reread (4+ / 0-)

              and I commented too sloppily, so apologies for that.

              However, you did throw an incendiary label at the diary, and imply (you don't want to hear about it) that you don't believe he was 'pushed to the edge'.

              Therefore, one can and probably will infer that you believe otherwise - that he took a life without being pushed to it, aka, without any reason, and therefore deserves no sympathy.

              If you truly merely wanted to say there was no evidence for the sniper's motivations, level of 'decency' or rationality, you could have done so without namecalling and telling us that you're closeminded to hearing about the point of view of anyone 'on the other side' as it were.

              Got a problem with my posts? Email me, and let's resolve it.

              by drbloodaxe on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:59:23 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Actually it doesn't say that (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tzt, IL dac, LeftOverAmerica, nilocjin

          the sniper was a good man who got angry...

          It says that if you asked him he would probably tell you he's a good man... Big difference.

          I think the point Palast was trying to make is that Bush the idiot has turned so many people into angry killers over there and that the NYT didn't even come close to touching on that aspect of this ugly situation.

          •  No difference at all. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mary Julia

            I feel like I keep answering the same points on this thread. The diarist has substituted his own voice for the sniper's; by saying "ihe'll tell you he's a good man" the author is basically stating his opinion through a fictional character.

            It's not as if he's a neutral, detached observer. He's telling the reader that they should believe the sniper is a good man.
            Now, if the author had Charles Manson calling himself a good man, then I'd know the author is merely recording his observations of Manson's own beliefs, as you suggest.

            In case the difference is somehow not obvious to you, the author makes this point only after going through great lengths to create the context: anger, sadness and outrage at the Iraqis' treatment. It is undeniable that we are meant to sympathize with the sniper, and just about every responsive comment I've gotten HAS sympathized with the sniper.

            In that context, anyone who thinks there's a "difference" between the sniper "saying" he's a good man and the author wanting us to believe he's a good man is simply wasting time with semantics.

            "I told them on Inauguration Day. I said look into my eyes: no new enhancements." - President Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)

            by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 02:19:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Damn semantics... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wonmug, tzt, LeftOverAmerica

              all that meaning and distinction that we should just get rid of because its easier to be offended by something if you subsitute your opinion for the clear, though narrow, distinctions otherwise present.

              If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell (-9.75, -9.03)

              by nilocjin on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 02:32:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well said, in all your posts... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                nilocjin

                Thank you nilocjin, for injecting logic, and basic reading comprehension, to this debate.

              •  That refuted my comment not at all. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mary Julia, rsquire

                As far as your use of "semantics," I'll just quote Inigo Montoya: "I do not think it means what you think it means." Semantics has nothing to do with "meaning and distinction"...in fact, it's closer to the opposite. It's mere wordplay; it's a focus on the terms but not the meaning.

                It's almost silly to suggest that the author has created some kind of deep, emotional veil of moral ambiguity because he added "he'll tell you" before "that he's a good man." It's the same damn thing. It's a literary device, not a logical argument. The sniper is the author's literary voice; he is telling us, through his fictional sniper, that Iraqi insurgents are not inherently evil.

                Even though we don't know anything about the sniper. Even though he may be al-Qaida, or a coldblooded murderer of children, or anyting else. Nope, the author suggests here's noble everyman pushed to extremes, and we all buy it because we're so eager to villainize anything Bush touches, even our own dead soldiers. But hey, fuck that soldier, he left that poor sniper no choice but to kill him. That'll teach Bush!

                You can respond if you'd like, but I'm done writing and reading this thread. Let me end by saying this: I GET IT. Nobody who's a regular on this site has anything but regret and remorse for the Iraqi poulace. But sometimes, we're so eager to show it that we'll even throw up a hearty cheer for crap like this diary. Anything that sympathizes with Iraqis is inherently good, anyone who dares question if a diarist went too far in that regard is inherently unsensitive. Blah blah, whatever.

                "I told them on Inauguration Day. I said look into my eyes: no new enhancements." - President Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)

                by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 03:02:34 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm sorry you may not read this (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tzt, LeftOverAmerica

                  but your insistence that we are villainizing the soldiers... well, I don't know where that comes from.  I did not get that from the article.  However, if that is the taste the article left you with, then I have a much better understanding of your ire and frustration.  But, I definitely have not gotten the sense from any of the other commenters that having a soldier die was good (in fact, almost all the commenters have noted that they feel terrible for every single person who's died or suffered as a result; no suggestion that the soldier dying is a fuck you to Bush.)  I'm going to just put you ending up there to your frustration and anger, because there doesn't appear to be any other basis.
                  Your bit about questioning if a diarist went too far... well... you're always free to suggest that, but you've got to be ready for the response you'll get from people who disagree, many of whom will do so very strenuously.
                  (I can only guess you were not a fan of Armando).  

                  If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell (-9.75, -9.03)

                  by nilocjin on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 03:08:34 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I think you're wrong. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tzt, LeftOverAmerica

              Point being that if you had to chance to ask the sniper if he thought he was a good man do you think he'd say he was a bad man?

              I'm pretty sure he would tell you that he prays to Allah, 3,4, however many times a day; that he loves his wife, children, mother, whomever; that he only kicks dogs if they try and hump his leg; that he’s a true patriot, and on and on.

              That's all I think Palast was getting at in regard to the sniper's BELIEF in himself. Not sympathy for the man.

              AND I think it would be fair to say that Palast has no particular empathy for killers of any creed.

      •  fuck that sniper... (4+ / 0-)

        seriously fuck him.  85% of the Iraqi people are not killing or maiming or torturing.  If you don't see why the tone of this article is fucking disgusting then you need your head examined.  There are better ways to point out that we've killed a lot of civilian and that Iraqis have every good reason to be rage fillled than to imply the dead soldier had it coming for the "hard hit" and that the sniper is just like the medic in that he's just a good man who got angry.  All things being equal the chances are very high that a sniper particulary, someone trained, is part of an ethnic militia that also rounds up young men and tortures and executes them.  No, fuck that sniper.  Oh yeah, and fuck Greg Palast for trying desperately to be an important and "sensational" talking head.  

        Arrogance and stupidity: it's a winning combination.

        by MatthewBrown on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:04:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Why not? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      supersoling, tzt, drbloodaxe

      Why don't you tell the dead soldier's family and loved ones about how his killer was actually a good man who just got angry.

      Because then he'd be no better than the New York Times here. However, for all I know, that could be the truth--I don't know who that sniper was, or what his motivations were, and I doubt the average Iraqi family who has lost their own in this conflict knew who killed their loved ones either, nor would it likely matter to many of them.

    •  yah, you better be (9+ / 0-)

      worried about the sniper if you want to go off on nation building. This isn't about wagging your cock around and being the hero, it's about giving people a reason to NOT become snipers.

      your attitude makes for defeat.

      All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

      by SeanF on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:03:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  IF it were my country being invaded . . . . (15+ / 0-)

      and my friends, family, and neighbors being killed,  I would be a sniper, too.

    •  why is this even recommended? (10+ / 0-)

      Because the people here can think, and that's the only way we're ever going to get out of this mess. It's not because they want more troops killed, it's because we want LESS.

      We need to sympathize with the whole NATION, not just the sniper. We fucked them over, hard. We did it intentionally. We did it for an obvious lie. And we're still there because somehow our oil got under their sand.

      If we take every casualty as a reason to hate them more, to kill more Iraqis, we will never get out of there.

      It's counterintuitive, kinda like turning the other cheek. But it's smarter than continuing to pull on the chinese handcuffs until your fingers come off.

      Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come. - Victor Hugo

      by racerx on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:34:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because both the marine and the sniper (7+ / 0-)

      were 'our human beings'?  Because neither really needs to be shooting at the other, apart from 'our glorious leader's' desire to play war?

      Both men were doing what they believed was right to preserve the rights of their own people.  

      If I were a Christian, I'd probably throw in a few phrases about not judging people and how every human being is equally valued by God, and so on and so on.

      Far more Iraqis have died as a result of this incompetent leader of ours than have Americans, and we should mourn each and every death, no matter the nationality of the fallen.

      Got a problem with my posts? Email me, and let's resolve it.

      by drbloodaxe on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:35:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  there are plenty of US Marine snipers (7+ / 0-)

      do you hate them too?

      •  By corollary, (0+ / 0-)

        there are plenty of al-Qaida snipers. Do you not hate them?

        "I told them on Inauguration Day. I said look into my eyes: no new enhancements." - President Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)

        by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:40:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And one more important thing, (0+ / 0-)

        Where did I say I hated the sniper? There must be a trend with people on this thread rushing to condemn me for conclusions I did not make. I said I don't know anything about the sniper, so I refuse to conclude he was a "good man." If you want to use rhetorical sallies, at least don't be clumsy with them.

        "I told them on Inauguration Day. I said look into my eyes: no new enhancements." - President Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)

        by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:43:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  mea culpa (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil

          you definitely didn't say anything about hate. I forced those words into your mouth in a lame mockery of the "why do you hate america" line.

          We don't know anything about the sniper or his target. Perhaps the soldier was a serial rapist and sociopath?  Greg was speculating about the motivations of the sniper in a not unreasonable way. Conflating this reasonable analytic approach with something dangerously close to "sympathizing with the enemy" is, in itself, a bit of nasty rhetorical blade work. Considering the motivation of the sniper is not the same as supporting him/her. Saying the sniper believes he is a good man, is transparently not the same as saying he is a good man.  In short your concern is loudly misdirected.

          •  Well-said, but I pointedly disagree. (0+ / 0-)

            The context and tone are unmistakable. After several paragraphs about the devastation to Iraqi civilians, "hard hits," etc., the diarist ends with a line that any reasonable would understand to mean that the sniper was a "good man" pushed to the edge. When the author substitutes his voice for that of the sniper, it's pretty darn clear that he's saying the sniper WAS a good man--not just a raving lunatic who THINKS he was.

            I'm all for speculating and sympathizing and so forth. But why are we romanticizing a friggin' sniper? I like to keep things simple: I'll take the definite over the maybe. The definite: a dead, young American following Bush's perverse orders. The maybe: a noble, decent Iraqi finally forced to take up arms against an unjust occupier.

            We will never shed the guilt and shame of what we let happen to the Iraqi people and their country. But let's not be in so much of a rush to self-flagellate ourselves that we make martyrs of unknown murderers.

            "I told them on Inauguration Day. I said look into my eyes: no new enhancements." - President Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)

            by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:22:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Jeez. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LeftOverAmerica

              You keep saying Greg Palast is saying that this particular sniper was a "good man, pushed to the edge."  But you ruin your own point by emphasising what Palast is talking about just before the end: the hard hits.  By describing hard hits, he puts himself in a position to use this particular sniper as a more generalized, symbolic character, who, again, would describe himself as a good man, pushed to the edge.  Palast is simply pointing out that a good deal of the unrest in Iraq is probably based on this situation of "being a good man, pushed to the edge."  It's a literary conceit, where one character is used in a manner to be symbolic of an entire group.  

              If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell (-9.75, -9.03)

              by nilocjin on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 02:43:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah Johny (0+ / 0-)

      The sniper was just a low-life, sub-human raghead. Right? Not even worth of the electrons used to mention him.

      Of course he had no reason to want to kill those who invaded his country. After all, we are there bringing him freedom and democracy. That SOB should be down on his knees offering up some flowers and candy.

    •  I agree with Johnny (0+ / 0-)

      So let me line up my thoughts on this "diary":

      1. This "diary" is not written by the person who posted it.  But hey, that's okay, because apparently Mr. Palast is so goddamn BUSY he has to send someone ELSE out to post his columns.
      1. Other than just generally slamming an article in the New York Times, I find nothing remarkable about this column, except its anti-American, anti-military tone.  I had the benefit of reading the article first.  Actually, it is a well-written piece about a medic who has to treat men who are his friends.  Men who die. That's why he wants to hurt someone.  But I missed the part of the article where the medic picks up a gun and shoots the first Iraqi he sees.  Why? Because he doesn't do it.  My Dad was a medic at Normandy.  His best friend died right in front of him, and there was nothing he could do.  It ate at him until the day he died.

      Now, the Iraqi sniper who deliberately shot at an American soldier and killed him, unlike the medic, I am not as sure as Mr. Palast seems to be that he prayed before he shot the American soldier, or that he is a "good man". In fact, I am pretty sure he is NOT.

      As for Mr. Palast' barbs at the New York Times reporter, at least that reporter is IN Iraq.  Mr. Palast is either in London (now there's a war zone) or hawking his latest book in the States.

      And for all of you who are jumping up to defend the Iraqi sniper, may I remind you that when American soldiers are alleged to have killed Iraqis not in the line of duty, I don't see any rush on Dkos to defend them. Even if they had seen their best friends murdered in front of their eyes.

      And PLEASE don't jump on me because you think I am insensitive to Iraqi deaths - I am not. I want our people home, period.  Tomorrow will be too late in my opinion.  But snipers aren't brave people to be lauded- they are cowardly human beings who hide and then pick their shot on an unsuspecting target. In this case, it was an American soldier.  I'll grieve for him, thank you.

      We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

      by Mary Julia on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 07:19:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You wouldn't really want (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril, plaid miniskirt

    an American newspaper printing human-interest stories about the enemy while the war is on-going, would you?

    Would you?

    I mean, regardless how you feel about this war, that sniper has still decided to be an enemy of the United States.

    The Geneva Conventions are not a suicide pact

    by Brain Donor on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 10:53:01 AM PST

    •  The enemy? (23+ / 0-)

      We went to their home and started killing them. God damn it. I was one of the assholes who got caught up in the horrible pep rally atmosphere of 2002 and 2003. I thought it would be a short war, and things would be better.

      I was so fucking wrong.

      If the leader of another country decided to "liberate" us by invading our country and capturing Bush, and along they way, that country's soldiers burst into our houses and killed our children, would we fight back?

      I sure as hell would.

      And, by the way, this is not a criticism of the soldiers. This is a criticism of the asswipe President who insists on being called Commander-in-Chief, but refuses to take responsibility for any of the "commands" he has given.

      •  I think we're not really soberly assessing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mary Julia, Brain Donor

        what is happening in Iraq.  We tend here, I believe, to paint the insurgency as an effort solely to overthrow American oppression.  That it is entirely a reaction to a foreign presence and killing of civilians.  I think a more sober assessment would come to the realization that, on the whole, those involved in the insurgency are fighting and dying, not to overthrow America, but more importantly to gain control of Iraq.  This is a civil war that we are in the middle of and they want us gone, so they can take over.  America's presence is a good rallying point and recruitment tool, but our leaving is just the beginning.  Just like in Vietnam, stepping into a civil war, where both sides hate and resent us is completely untenable and we cannot "win".  But killing Americans is not, by and large, some "freedom fighter" thing.  It's just a means to an end, in the sectarian struggle for total control.  

        Arrogance and stupidity: it's a winning combination.

        by MatthewBrown on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 02:08:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't really see the insurgency (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LeftOverAmerica

          painted as an insurgency against the US, most of the time here.  Mostly I see discussions of how the US is now trapped in the middle of a civil war.  But... at the same time, having us there does make recruitment easier, as Iraqis all know someone who's house was invaded by US or US/Iraqi troops.  It's not exactly 6 of one, half a dozen of the other, but I don't think it's unreasonable to conclude that part of the reason some people are joining the sectarian groups is to have an opportunity to get revenge on the American occuppiers.

          If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell (-9.75, -9.03)

          by nilocjin on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 02:46:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  no, of course there's revenge involved... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mary Julia

            I was speaking to the Kos community which seems to overwhelmingly feel that this violence is merely a reaction to American presence and that all the insurgents are just doing "what we would do if people were busting down our doors".  It's a very clear and simple explanation, but not in any way a full and accurate view and which leads dangerously to a lot of equivalencies about a group of people that are by and large genocidal thugs.

            Arrogance and stupidity: it's a winning combination.

            by MatthewBrown on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 02:52:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Our killing Iraqis (0+ / 0-)

          is actually the "freedom fighter" thing, over there so we don't have to miss the New Survivor over here.

    •  A good point (11+ / 0-)

      But when your dog bites you, it's valid to ask what you did to the dog.

      "I must admit that I don't see a bright tomorrow; still, I must also confess that my hopes are fairly high"--Ass Ponys, "Fighter Pilot"

      by oxymoron on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:05:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe just an enemy of the occupation,... (9+ / 0-)

      nothing in this implies the sniper is an enemy of the US. I wonder how many of his family are in the ground.
      Now, please don't assume from these statements that I (a veteran) don't love, care and pray for our troops, because I do, but to fail to understand your enemy is to fail to understand how to beat him. As long as we keep killing them, they will keep killing us, offering them an exit strategy is the first step to reconciliation, and an end to this fiasco

      George Felix Allen Jr, Dumber than George W. Bush

      by ERyd on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:11:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But "the enemy" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tzt, nilocjin, drbloodaxe

      Doesn't need to include the entire Iraqi population.  If this was a story about a domestic situation, say, cops vs. black teenagers in the ghetto, any story that didn't include SOME response from the community would be outrageous.  Yet in this situation, ANY quotes from any actual Iraqi is "quoting the enemy".

      Read James Loewen's "Sundown Towns"!

      by ChicagoDem on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:17:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mary Julia

      with pretty much what all you guys are saying.

      And just because the guy is an enemy today doesn't mean he'll be an enemy after we pull out.

      But he's an enemy today.

      The Geneva Conventions are not a suicide pact

      by Brain Donor on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:23:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But did he decide to make himself an enemy (6+ / 0-)

        (to use your language), or did we make him an enemy by deciding to invade his country?

        It's a semantic distinction, which may be inconsequential in the current political environment, but there's no question, legally or morally, who is at fault for this debacle, and it's the country that invaded the other: the U.S. of A.

        •  The enemy of my enemy (3+ / 0-)

          is my friend...

          My enemy--whom I pity--is our ignorant leadership.  The sniper aimed at Lance Cpl. Colin Smith, but only because Lance Cpl. Colin Smith is the physical embodiment of the immoral policies of George Bush and Company.  Give the sniper a hypothetical choice of targets: Bush or Cpl. Smith.  Who's he gonna shoot?

          For Iraqis, Lance Cpl. Colin Smith is a symbol and a tool, no matter how much the NY Times would try to humanize him. For Iraqis, he symbolizes the immorality of the war; he is a hammer of death banging away mindlessly in the destruction of their country, their world, their lives.

          The death of Lance Cpl. Colin Smith is a testament to madness, the madness of King George.  

          "It is up to the most conscious member of the relationship to create the space for the relationship to grow." Ram Dass

          by bosuncookie on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:49:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Well, actually... (11+ / 0-)

      Brain Donor said

      I mean, regardless how you feel about this war, that sniper has still decided to be an enemy of the United States.

      I don't think you can legitimately say that a citizen of a country that has been invaded "decided" to be an enemy of the invader. It was the invader who decided. We decided to be his enemy. Losing the ability to claim the moral high-ground over our enemies is one of the prices that we have paid for choosing to go to war when we didn't have to.

    •  this assumes (0+ / 0-)

      one believes the military represents the United States.

      Does it?

      •  Of course it does (0+ / 0-)

        To anybody I meet while I'm on vacation or on business overseas, I represent the United States.

        The soldiers in Iraq have it much worse - they represent the United States government too.

        When I wanted to piss off Dubya supporters, I used to tell them they had blood on their hands because of Iraq. I've come to realize I was wrong.

        We, the citizens of the United States, have blood on our hands. We participated in the democratic process that put dubya at the helm. We didn't assassinate dubya before he sent our kids in there. We're willing to leave them there while we work things out using the democratic process.

        We owe those kids.

        The Geneva Conventions are not a suicide pact

        by Brain Donor on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 06:16:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I just read this in the LA Times (7+ / 0-)

    about a squad that came under fire on the 4th of July this summer.

    They mention in the article how the area the squad took up position had a lot of abandoned houses but they occupied (at around midnight) one that had a family living in it. They ushered them into a back room for their safety.

    All hell broke lose. No mention of how the family made out or how they felt about having Americans force their way into their home and in doing so put at risk their family.

    It's like the innocent Iraqis don't count.

    Question is: Were the marines hoping that occupying a house with a family living in it ward off potential attack?

    Article link

  •  I disagree Greg (12+ / 0-)

    I don't think such stories are war-nography. It hardly glorifies war to show a blood-soaked bullet that was just removed from a soldier's head.

    What it shows to me is the reality of war, that horrible things happen to good people. It shows that war is about blood and death and grief and tragedy and waste.

    It shows that war is not some video game, it's not something fought on paper at think tanks. It's about real people with real lives and real dreams getting blown away or grievously scarred for life for no good reason.

    And publishing a story about one American soldier's tragedy in no way diminishes the deaths of the thousands of innocent Iraqis.

    There is plenty of tragedy to go around in this war.

    What, no fucking ziti?

    by quaoar on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 10:55:39 AM PST

    •  I'm with you on this (6+ / 0-)

      Honestly, who gives a shit if the Iraqi sniper "said a prayer" before putting a bullet in the head of one of our soldiers?  As a future military doc (in about 5 months) who may end up in Iraq before his career is over, I'd hope to God all you people would be more worried about ME than whoever the fuck just put a fucking slug in my brains.

      Look, I'm one of those who argued against this war from the beginning (like most of you here).  I think it's insanity, and I personally rue the day that we got our asses stuck in this.  But to bemoan coverage of this war as "war-nography" just because it shows the blood and guts of our soldiers-- and not that of the Iraqi people-- is pure bullshit.  To say we should feel just as sorry for the poor Iraqi sniper is, I'm sorry to say, fucking crazy.

      Americans, by and large, couldn't care less about the tragic deaths of the Iraqi people (sad to say-- but it's true, and you know it).  But a soldier's death is perceived differently here, and it deserves to be treated that way.  And if the NYTimes publishes a graphic story that highlights the insanity of this war in a way that will move the rest of the American people, then I'm all for it.  "War-nography" or not.

      •  If you do end up in Iraq (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        evil twin

        May God watch over and protect you.

        What, no fucking ziti?

        by quaoar on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:34:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mary Julia, vansterdam, quaoar

          though of course I hope it never comes to that.  The new story that we're hearing is that they're putting PSYCHIATRISTS in convoys (i.e., the movable feast) to do mental health triage on soldiers suffering from battlefield trauma.  That's like hiring a bunch of penguins to guard an armored truck: they're out of their element, don't move very fast, and kind of get in the way when the guns start going off.  (My wife's going to be a psychiatrist, so I'm allowed to get away with saying that, heh.)  THe point of it is that neither of us really look forward to getting into the thick of it.  The only thing that keeps me positive about it is that I want to serve to take care of my friends, who I know are in fact already over there, doing things I'm not sure I'd have the guts to do.

      •  I'm sorry you feel a sense of entitlement (8+ / 1-)

        such that we should bemoan your death more than anyone else's.

        Personally, I'll continue to feel sorry for everyone killed in this senseless occupation equally.

        As to the 'warnography' charge, I think the reasoning there was not the display of a bloodied bullet, but that it was being used for propaganda, for jingoistic reasons.

        I think that if we'd been exposed to the scenes of carnage from the war and the occupation since 'mission accomplished' from the very start, we'd already have been out of Iraq, but the administration knows that, and have been very careful to filter out as much as possible so we have fewer objections to their treating human beings as toys to be crushed and discarded.

        Got a problem with my posts? Email me, and let's resolve it.

        by drbloodaxe on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:45:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's a real shitty thing to say (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mary Julia

          to someone who may have to go to Iraq.

          What, no fucking ziti?

          by quaoar on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:12:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for the troll (0+ / 0-)

            simply because you don't agree with me.

            As I stated, I will feel EQUAL sympathy for him if anything happens to him.  No more, no less.  But I don't have to buy into anyone's feelings that they are more important a human being than anyone else.  Whether or not they are going into harm's way.

            I'm sending care packs to troops in Afghanistan, to show I support them as human beings.  I'm writing my idiot Congresscritter to try and pressure him to STOP putting our people in harm's way.

            My statement was tactless, but honest.  Your reply was equally tactless, pointless, and, indeed vulgar.  Should we all only gush about how great it is for people to go to Iraq if we don't actually WANT them to go?

            Got a problem with my posts? Email me, and let's resolve it.

            by drbloodaxe on Sat Nov 04, 2006 at 11:06:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  You can certainly feel that way (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mary Julia, quaoar, Hedwig, drbloodaxe

          I may not like you for it, but it's a right of yours that I'm willing to fight for.  Just like thousands of others like me serving in the armed forces.  The Iraqis aren't fighting for you, but we are, even if it's in a war that you and I both don't like.  (By the way, if you really don't like it, get your ass out there and get other people to vote with you!)

          Insofar as the bullet is concerned, I haven't seen the picture of it, so I'm hard-pressed to comment on it other than to say that I'd be one sick sonuvabitch to be all like, "yeah, let's go send some more college-aged kids to get blown up!" while sipping my morning coffee.  I'm sure that there are enough sick bastards out there that it's possible, but most people-- like you and me-- would probably recoil at seeing that much gore.  

          I'm with you that such scenes ought to have been shown from the beginning.  The horrors of war-- which I have not experienced, and with luck, won't-- ought to have been shown directly to the American people so that we knew the price we were paying.  I'm with you that this Administration has played politics with the lives of American soldiers.  What I simply can't agree to is that we should expect Americans to think of the Iraqis who kill American soldiers as being the victims.  Retaliation may be an expected response, but you'd have a hard time calling that sniper a defenseless waif.  

          All I'm saying is, you don't have to feel more sorry for me, or for any other soldier who dies fighting for this country.  But goddammit, it'd be fucking nice, wouldn't it?  

          •  I feel sorry for everyone (6+ / 0-)

            and  I do care more about american soldiers.  But the point is Greg felt the article dehumanized the Iraqi people and doesn't show their suffering.
            To end this war I think we HAVE to look at what we have done to them.  I am not blaming you or the other soldiers.  But stitifier, you are not fighting for me.  I was never in any danger from anyone in Iraq.  You are fighthing for rich people to get richer and at this point I hope you are fighting to protect each other.  I love you all very much.  Please protect your lives and your humanity.  As the mother of two 20 something sons, that is what I hope someone would tell my sons if they were in the military.

            ps.. if some Arab country invaded our country and occupied us, I would be a sniper too. I would do it because I love this country.  Other americans might do it because they wanted to kill all Arabs/Muslims. We can't know this guys motivations.  All Greg is saying is that he might not actually be evil and that there is no war in which one side is all good and one side all bad.  
            If we had not invaded none of this would be happening.  This is why we should NEVER EVER go to war for unjust reasons.

            Don Sherwood, if you campaign on family values, it helps if you have some.

            by TeresaInPa on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 01:26:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I hear you (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mary Julia, quaoar, blue in NC

              and while I disagree about Greg's desire for a focus on the Iraqi people (within the confines of that particular article, at least), I understand your sentiments.  

              You are right when you say that American soldiers are fighting for each other.  Lord knows when I hear about my friends coming back from overseas I'm happy as all get out that they're all right.  But I'd suggest that you're wrong when you say that I'm not fighting for you.  I know, I know, Iraq was never a threat-- I said that myself back in 2002-- and at this point, it's as much as our fault as any.  But when I signed up for this, I DID sign up for you, and people like you.  I didn't sign up for just the good times, and I didn't sign up just for the scholarship money or the uniform.  I signed up knowing full well that there could be shit like this; I also signed up knowing that there might be the chance to defend this country in more real, more profound ways.

              I'm not saying that I'm so altruistic as to be an angel, or that our side is all John Wayne and theirs is, I dunno, Borat (I've got to go see his movie).  I'm not even saying that Greg's sentiments are wrong.  What I'm saying is that-- as a soldier and as an American citizen-- I'm touched more deeply by the loss of our men and women, and not nearly as much as the Iraqis.  Maybe that makes me a bad person.  Part of it has to do with the fact that, yes, I think we shouldn't have invaded in the first place, and I think it's a retarded waste of life.  

              All I'm saying is that this article was trying to get across the horror of war to the American people. And the American people will understand that horror better if it's in terms they can understand: for them, that still remains the American soldier, and not the Iraqi sniper that killed him.

          •  Those fighting in Iraq are not protecting (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wonmug, LeftOverAmerica

            any of my rights.  If that's the argument, I ask them to stop right now.  I don't need that kind of protection.  

            This is the same sad logic found in the bumpersticker:

            If you can read this, thank a teacher.
            If you can read this in English, thank a Vet.

            Nothing in Iraq was a threat to any right afforded me by the Constitution of the United Stats.  Quite the opposite is true; the single greatest point-source of threat to my rights (or my "security")is the administration of George W. Bush.

            "It is up to the most conscious member of the relationship to create the space for the relationship to grow." Ram Dass

            by bosuncookie on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 05:57:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

              I feel the same way about people who tell me that Christ died to save me from my sins.  I didn't ask him to, nor in fact want him to.  I take full responsibility for my own words and actions, it is demeaning to me to imply that someone else can 'redeem' me.

              But I can only hope our troops are brought home soon, before too many more of them die early deaths.  Starting Wednesday, I look forward to writing to a Senator who actually will care about my wishes as a constituent, and who will try to save the lives of the troops.

              Got a problem with my posts? Email me, and let's resolve it.

              by drbloodaxe on Sat Nov 04, 2006 at 11:11:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

            unlike the other poster, your response was honest, human, and well thought out.  I recommend it.

            How about this, you don't die or get hurt, and I won't have to feel sorry for you ;)  And, btw, I do respect your reasons for going, much moreso than our leaders for sending you.  Who knows, if this crap drags on long enough, I may wind up there myself after I get my RN.

            Got a problem with my posts? Email me, and let's resolve it.

            by drbloodaxe on Sat Nov 04, 2006 at 11:15:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  it's a hard thing to say, but (9+ / 0-)

        We don't know who the sniper is, but many of us can imagine taking up arms to retaliate for crimes committed against our families. So he is probably what we would be, in many cases.

        Before we invaded Iraq, we had exactly zero Iraqis shooting at us. Now we have 100 attacks a day. Is that because they never had a chance to kill us? Or is it maybe because we killed so many innocent civilians that we have unleashed a genie?

        To say we should feel just as sorry for the poor Iraqi sniper is, I'm sorry to say, fucking crazy.

        If they killed the sniper, I would feel no sorrier for him than for anyone else who is killed for Bush's lies. I fell sorry for them ALL, but which side is taking more casualties? Which side gets medical care when they get shot? Which side gets to go home if they're seriously injured? You need to think about how hard the US has fucked those people.

        If the war is insanity, why would you support it by going? Maybe you should take the harder path, and go to jail or whatever they make people do who refuse to support insane wars. If enough of our troops did this, we'd be out of there in no time.

        Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come. - Victor Hugo

        by racerx on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:53:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can understand (3+ / 0-)

          why the sniper in question might take up arms against us.  That doesn't mean I want you guys to feel sorrier for him than for me.  Fuck, I'll admit it: when it comes to my impending death, I'm a selfish sonuvabitch.  Please feel sorry for me and get the little fucker who shot me.  Please?

          I don't need to think about how hard the US has fucked these people: I already think about it every day.  My point was not that we should ignore the pain and suffering the Iraqi people-- articles like the one in the Lancet are a great example of what needs to be brought home to the American people-- my point was that for the Average American, including myself, the cost of the war is made clear only in terms we can understand: our own lives.  

          To wit-- and to answer your question about why I don't just give myself up and go to jail as a conscientious objector-- the question becomes, am I willing to give up my life in the name of this bullshit?  (And by extension, the question for Americans is, generally, are we willing to give up more American lives in the name of this bullshit?)  The answer for me is, remarkably, yes.  But not because I'm an unthinking drone.  It's because I swore an oath to serve my country and to follow lawful orders, in order to better protect my family, friends, and fellow Americans-- LIKE YOU.

          I would be a sorry excuse for a soldier if I turned my back on that oath just because I disagree with what we're doing.  Service comes before self.  I don't expect you to understand-- presumably, you are not serving, or else I wouldn't need to explain this to you.  But please don't think of me as a self-centered prick (I can be on occasion, but not in this instance).  I think of this war in personal terms, because I have to.  And when I think of our men and women in uniform being shot, blown up, and maimed, I think of them as my comrades, and even my future patients.  It's not abstract for me, and I kind of resent the thought that I should be forced to think that somehow my death or the deaths of others like me is somehow justified in the name of schadenfreude.

          •  Your service is greatly appreciated (6+ / 0-)

            You are obviously quite thoughtful about this issue, and I hope I can convey my respect for your service to the USA. I don't think you're selfish at all. If you go, you will be asked to do things few of us can imagine. You will probably not come back the same person. I grieve for your sacrifice, no matter what you decide to do.

            And I understand that loyalty to your fellow soldiers is typically the paramount feature of the military mindset. But this positive emotion is being used to keep people like you going back, which feeds the problem.

            I would be a sorry excuse for a soldier if I turned my back on that oath just because I disagree with what we're doing.

            I disagree 100%. You took an oath to defend the United States of America, not Bush. Refusing to go to Iraq would be keeping that oath. Sitting in a prison cell might be the best way to save more lives of Americans (including your own). Yes, many of your buddies will not see it the same way. But they have had their heads fucked with, big time. For example, a huge percentage of US servicemen still think Iraq was involved in 9/11. This horribly incorrect data point is indicative of mental conditioning. If I thought that, I would look at things a lot differently too. We have a military that has been brainwashed into doing what the neocons need done.

            So what would happen if you, and lots of other servicemen refused to serve the neocons any further? I think it would be a huge step in the right direction. It would not be painless to your buddies in Iraq, but ultimately it would help prevent more people from being sent into the meatgrinder.

            when I think of our men and women in uniform being shot, blown up, and maimed, I think of them as my comrades

            When I think of all the Iraqis being shot, blown up, and maimed, I think of them as my fellow human beings who incidentally never asked to have our army come and harm them. Unlike our troops, they didn't volunteer to go into the danger zone, it came to them. And it probably makes a difference to the people fighting us that they didn't start this, we did.

            I kind of resent the thought that I should be forced to think that somehow my death or the deaths of others like me is somehow justified in the name of schadenfreude.

            I get no pleasure from seeing anyone get hurt. I think we all grieve for the little Iraqi kids splattered with their parent's brains, and we all grieve for the US soldiers stuck in hell. There's no way to do otherwise and remain human. But we have to think of a way out of this mess, and I believe that it means that US soldiers being sent to Iraq need to say "No, sir" and sit down. If you don't, it doesn't mean you're a bad person, but if you go, you are helping to continue the war.

            I swore an oath to serve my country and to follow lawful orders, in order to better protect my family, friends, and fellow Americans-- LIKE YOU.

            If there was a reason to think that fighting in Iraq was necessary to defend the American people, I would be in support of it (as I am of the war in Afghanistan). There is actually good reason to think that the war in Iraq is making your family, friends, and fellow Americans LESS safe. And finally I would argue that your orders are NOT legal, the war in Iraq was not legal, and so it would be your duty to not serve there.

            I understand that the words of a non-military person might not hold much weight. It's a lot easier for me to make recommendations than for you to implement them. But I feel strongly that you and your comrades can potentially have the most positive influence over this tragedy.

            Thanks for listening, thanks for your service, and best of luck with whatever you do.

            Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come. - Victor Hugo

            by racerx on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 02:55:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I guess (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              racerx, Mary Julia, blue in NC

              we may have to agree to disagree on whether or not fighting in Iraq (at this point-- or any point) is "defending" our country.  On a personal level, I don't think it is-- but at the same time, my personal feelings shouldn't enter into it.  And the words of a non-military person like yourself really DO hold a lot of weight (believe me, it's hard to find any other MILITARY people who share my opinions), simply because I like to think that we liberals are, generally speaking, a more thoughtful, considered bunch.  Maybe we aren't, but we sure put up a good show of it.

              Feeling that it's better to serve-- important and even vital to serve, even-- despite my personal misgivings is hard for me to express in words (I used to be so much more eloquent as a Comp Lit major; witness what medical school does to you!).  I was against going into Iraq back when I was in ROTC, and I'm against staying in there now.  But if I have to go, then I'll go.  Who knows?  Maybe by the time I'm eligible to be deployed we'll be out of Iraq.  (and in North Korea.)

              All I'm saying is, when I raised my right hand to accept my commision, I didn't say anything about only doing my duty when I agreed with it.  The American People elected a leader who put us in this mess.  The only hope for our men and women in uniform is to elect leaders who can pull us out.  Until then, they'll grit their teeth and make the sacrifices we've come to take for granted.  After all, it's what we've signed up to do.

              •  And I find myself (0+ / 0-)

                recommending comments in this discussion by TeresaInPa, racerx, and stitifier.

                It's an impossible issue. This is one of the fundamental questions I find myself contemplating nearly daily as I ponder the sentiments conveyed by a yard sign I've seen:

                Support President Bush and Our Troops.

                I think this is a false dichotomy. I don't know what to think. I want each and every American soldier to come back home safely, but I have a hard time thinking that the most heartfelt wish of nearly every "enemy" soldier isn't to get back alive to his or her loved ones too.

                •  I've seen that one too (0+ / 0-)

                  It's bullshit, of course. Bush loves to use the troops for a backdrop, because Americans will always support the troops, and he steals that emotion to protect himself. He's a thief, and the people who equate supporting the troops with supporting the CIC are either liars or idiots.

                  If Bush supported the troops I might look at it differently, but he doesn't. He USES them, like he does everyone else that he can. He's a user, a con-man, a rat bastard.

                  I sure hope we win back at least the House, because then we'll get to have hearings on all the ways he and the Repugs have used our troops. they deserve MUCH better.

                  Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come. - Victor Hugo

                  by racerx on Sat Nov 04, 2006 at 01:18:15 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sorry, but no... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        migo, tzt, evil twin, plaid miniskirt

        As a future military doc (in about 5 months) who may end up in Iraq before his career is over, I'd hope to God all you people would be more worried about ME than whoever the fuck just put a fucking slug in my brains.
        Why are you more important than any other human being?

        •  Thanks for the Troll Rating (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          evil twin

          Not very bright are you?

          •  As I said to the other person (0+ / 0-)

            who asked the same question, that's an especially shitty thing to say to someone who might be going to Iraq soon and might not come back.

            What, no fucking ziti?

            by quaoar on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:42:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'll take that as a... (3+ / 0-)

              yes.  And, you have still sidesteped the question, why is a US life more valuable than an Iraqi life?

              •  He answered the question himself (0+ / 0-)

                Perhaps you should read it.

                What, no fucking ziti?

                by quaoar on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 01:08:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  So because I don't agree I haven't read? (2+ / 0-)

                  I can understand why the sniper in question might take up arms against us.  That doesn't mean I want you guys to feel sorrier for him than for me.  Fuck, I'll admit it: when it comes to my impending death, I'm a selfish sonuvabitch.  Please feel sorry for me and get the little fucker who shot me.  Please?
                  To digress for a moment, understanding that the Iraqi Sniper is a human caught up in the same thing as you, and with less choice in the matter, is a far cry from feeling sorrier for.  While I can understand "I want myself to die even less than I want someone else to die" it doesn't actually translate into your life is more important than someone else's.  At least not beyond yourself and those immedietly effected by your death.
                  It gets kind of sad because there is a self awarness in the next paragraph.
                  I don't need to think about how hard the US has fucked these people: I already think about it every day.  But, we aren't to give this too much thought because  My point was not that we should ignore the pain and suffering the Iraqi people-- articles like the one in the Lancet are a great example of what needs to be brought home to the American people-- my point was that for the Average American, including myself, the cost of the war is made clear only in terms we can understand: our own lives.   The Average American can only understand so much and everything must be presented in a way he can understand.
                  The summation pargraph is actually quite disturbing to me.  I think of this war in personal terms, because I have to.  And when I think of our men and women in uniform being shot, blown up, and maimed, I think of them as my comrades, and even my future patients.  It's not abstract for me, and I kind of resent the thought that I should be forced to think that somehow my death or the deaths of others like me is somehow justified in the name of schadenfreude.  I mean of course I understand the personal angle but to continue with the idea that right or wrong we must WIN, that is not an attitude I am comfortable to hear in the least.
                  To conclude I have read and I am listening, but from an objective point of yiew no human life is worth more than another.  

                  •  You asked me why I didn't answer a question (0+ / 0-)

                    that you posed to someone else.

                    I suggested you read the reply that that poster gave to someone who asked the same question. There's not anything that I would add to what he said.

                    What, no fucking ziti?

                    by quaoar on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 01:35:26 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

            Not very bright are you?

            It is, indeed, true that I just barely made the cut for Mensa membership.

            But I made my point. I won't be an ass about it. I'll rescind the troll rating.

            What, no fucking ziti?

            by quaoar on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 01:14:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  because he has to be (0+ / 0-)

          For the purposes of this conversation, he is indeed more important. That's what will get our guys home! Images of dead and maimed innocent Iraqis are moving, but images and stories of our soliders who are in the middle of civil war target practice, coupled with stories that show the absolute folly of it all - that it is and will continue to accomplish nothing - are helping to put Democrats in office and, as a result, will help get these guys home, or at the very least fighting the real war on terror, not the distraction in Iraq.

          Man, I fuckin' hate politics.

          by Whigsboy on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:32:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Still... (0+ / 0-)

            it doesn't make a US life more important than an Iraqi life.

            •  He's more important (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              quaoar

              to us because he's someone we know.  It's a natural human reaction to reserve greater sympathy for people we interact with than for people we don't, even if we have a base-line of sympathy for everyone.

              If a Kossack were to die in Iraq, you can bet that we'd have a massive front page story on his/her death, and we'd be right to do so - it's not because that Kossack is "more important" than anyone else, but dammit, that's one of our own, and we have every right to feel more emotionally connected.

              Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

              by pico on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 01:32:12 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  I think the one-sided emotional manipulation (3+ / 0-)

      qualifies the story as "war-nography", if I may offer an expert opinion on a category I had never heard of.  It doesn't glorify war, but by painting the characters so, one sympathises with that poor kid, and is led to hate the sniper, generically, and without sufficient background. It makes the reader take sides and want vengeance, which is the point emphasized by Greg's title.

      •  No single story (4+ / 0-)

        ever paints the entire picture. There are always angles and sides that are left out or incomplete.

        This story doesn't pretend to tell the whole story of the Iraq war. It tells the tragic story of one soldier and the ripple effect of that tragedy in the lives of those around him.

        The New York Times has written plenty about the tragic deaths and destruction inflicted upon ordinary Iraqis. That doesn't mean that those stories are invalid because they didn't explore the motivations of the pilot whose plane dropped the bomb on their house.

        By the standard you suggest, no story about the war would ever be published.

        What, no fucking ziti?

        by quaoar on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:08:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  no (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          matt n nyc, truong son traveler

          by my standard, most stories about the war would be incomplete and potentially manipulative.  The NYT will have to print in red for 100 years to purge all the blood from their hands for this occupation. And that would just cover Bloody Judy Miller's contribution.

          •  So (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mary Julia

            Are you saying that because Judy Miller swallowed a neo-con line of BS hook, line and sinker, that means that this story about this soldier written by a reporter whose name is not Judy Miller is to be dismissed as war-nography?

            Slam Judy Miller all you want. She has it coming. Slam the editors who let her run amok. What does that have to do with this story or with other stories from Iraq by other reporters?

            What, no fucking ziti?

            by quaoar on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:24:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  You make some very good points here ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vansterdam, tzt, truong son traveler

      ...and below about Judy Miller.

      My problem with this story - and so many, many others like it - is that there is not even the pretense of balance. A paragraph, a sentence, even a phrase that hints at the humanity of the "other side" would go far (in all these stories) to  making this less a story about "heroism."

      I never called American soldiers "baby-killers" in the Viet Nam War era and I don't do so now. But I also resist this temptation to call them all "heroes." Some are. Some aren't. Some are just caught in the crossfire. And we demean real heroes by labeling everybody in a uniform a hero just because s/he is in uniform under fire.

      •  MB, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades

        when I first read the article in the Times, I had to leave the computer for awhile.  It's not whether the Marines depicted in the article are "heroes".  The article does objectively depict what was happening in that village at the time, including the reactions of the Iraqis (for anyone who hasn't read the article, it's here).

        Mainly, I just felt overwhelming despair for a young medic who is trying in vain to meet an impossible goal - that nobody dies on him. There's a lot like him in Iraq - some are American medics, some are American doctors, some are Iraqi doctors.  The bad news is that they are going to lose many.

        Is that young medic a hero in my opinion? You bet. A friend of mine just got home from Afghanistan (for a two week vacation - he has to go right back). Is he a hero? Yes, because he is kind and sweet and generous.  The gangsters at Abu Graib were NOT heroes.  They were scum.
        But nowhere in the Times article does the word "hero" appear.  It doesn't have to.  You just end up weeping for a young medic who refuses to give up.  Being that way will probably make him suffer from this experience for the rest of his life. But I am still glad he feels that way.

        We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

        by Mary Julia on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 08:10:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  hits the nail on the head (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tgray, plaid miniskirt, drbloodaxe, ERyd

    and feels like a kick in the stomach. we'll never win if we only care about our own heroism. Nation building is not cut out for chest beaters, but rather the empathic.

    All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

    by SeanF on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 10:57:08 AM PST

  •  But but but (16+ / 0-)

    Iraqi civilians are terrorists. Or they are insufficiently grateful for liberation. Or they worship a false god.

    Hang on. I'll come up with some reason why their deaths shouldn't matter but ours should. Maybe I can find an answer over at Freeperland.

  •  demonizing the enemy (5+ / 0-)

    "Gooks."
    "Ragheads."
    "Terrorists."

    And so it goes on. If the enemy were human, people "like us,"...how would one reconcile it all?

    "Watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal..."-7.75, -7.28

    by solesse413 on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:02:18 AM PST

    •  Just because they're human (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mary Julia

      doesn't mean they're not trying to kill you (in Iraq, I mean).  I'm not a fan of dehumanization either, but neither you (judging by your axis) nor I are qualified to talk about how easy it is to maintain those standards of humanity in times of war.

      If the media (pace Fox News) were calling the Iraqis "ragheads" and "terrorists" it'd be one thing, but I'm willing to cut our soldiers some slack.

  •  This is one reason that we should ... (14+ / 0-)

    ...never mention the 2800+ Americans killed in Iraq without mentioning the 200+ other Coalition soldiers or, most of all, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died as a result of that war.

    Just think how many of the brothers, sisters, parents, cousins and friends of these dead Iraqis "want to hurt somebody."

  •  So let me see (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kaekee, leftvet

    Because he is in Iraq trying to carryout a mission he has no choice but to carry out, the medic is not worthy of admiration?

    Because he is in Iraq carrying out a mission he has no choice but to carry out, we are supposed to see Cpl. Smith as somehow deserving of a headshot?

    Whatever the numebr of dead, it is too many.  But American forces did not kill the vast majority of those dead.  Certainly, if we hadn't invaded, the catastrophe would have at least been put off several years.  But you make it sound like Cpl. Smith and his comrades have been mowing down civilians in the streets.

    You are a better writer than this Mr. Palast, and I thought you were a better human being.

    JRE 2008
    "We should ask the American people to be patriotic about something other than war."
    -John Edwards

    by DrFrankLives on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:05:17 AM PST

  •  It is good to have empathy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChicagoDem, evil twin, drbloodaxe

    If more people had it, there would be no war.

    Ninety nine percent of the Iraqi who have been killed would have led quiet, good and decent lives, never bothering us or killing anyone else had we not invaded their country.

    Nine nine percent of our soldiers who have died over there would have led quiet, good lives, never bothering anyone else, never killing anyone, had we not invaded Iraq.

    A lot of children will never be born because of this war, because their would be parents died too young and too soon.

    They pray to their God and we pray to our God and both are sincere about it. So what does that mean? Maybe, it means that God loves us all and cares about us all even the Iraqi.

    Life is what you focus on. Focus on Joe Lieberman. He works for Bush's deficits, war, rip off medical charges and no bid contracts. It ain't pretty.

    by relentless on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:06:32 AM PST

  •  disturbing stuff (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eddienic

    There was an AP piece recently by Steve Hurst that talked about a bombing in a market. Lots of blood. But the reporter did a much better job of getting Iraqi voices into the piece.

    (link)

  •  Not every news article can cover everything (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Julia, leftvet, quaoar, Eiron, Whigsboy

    It is ridiculous to criticize the article for not presenting the point of view of the Iraqis referrenced.  Just as it is ridiculous to criticize articles that do present the Iraqi view for not getting enough quotes from American voices.  

    I agree that the Iraqi peoples' voices are not represented enough in the traditional American media.  But I found the article to be harrowing, a depiction of just how FUBAR things have become there; adding other viewpoints would have disturbed its focus and made it less powerful.

    •  I want to hit somebody, too (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mary Julia, Eiron, drbloodaxe

      I haven't read your book, so I'm just commenting based on this diary.

      I feel terrible for the Iraqis. I cannot imagine what their lives are like. We have turned hell into something altogether worse.

      But these U.S. soldiers are doing what they're ordered to do, and your diary needs to say that, EXPLICITLY. Those "hit" forces are following orders.

      It is an absolute travesty that they are there, putting their lives on the line for lies and money and power. But those soldiers are doing what they are told. Say that, Greg, over and over and over again, 'cause I don't want it to come across like you're blaming them.

      Man, I fuckin' hate politics.

      by Whigsboy on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:59:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is so sad and I grieve every single day (9+ / 0-)

    about the Hurt People/Hurt People dynamic that will circle and circle and encircle those involved in this horrible thing Bush created called Iraq.  My husband is a soldier.  I always knew that someday he could have to go some place and hurt people and be hurt.  I was so sure that because of Vietnam though that he would go armed into whatever he was sent into after numerous careful, thoughtful, wise, educated, humane men and women had all gotten together and looked at all the evidence on the table and with a huge sadness in their hearts sent him knowing that there wasn't anything else left to do and many innocents would die without his intervention.  I have been deeply betrayed by LIES and deceitfulness of HUGE PROPORTIONS. I don't mind so much that the Times did their little War-nography BS, what I care about most is that people be able to understand this HURT PEOPLE/HURT PEOPLE dynamic that will not end and can only be maintained or increased in Iraq by "staying the course" and we must do something else.  We must do everything we can to find our solutions in every other possible place that wise men and women may bring to the table......because HURTING PEOPLE ONLY MAKES HURT PEOPLE WHO WILL HURT PEOPLE AND THERE IS NO END THAT WILL EVER BE FOUND THIS WAY.  BUSH LIED AND OUR SOLDIERS CAN NEVER BE ANYTHING BUT THE AGGRESSORS IN IRAQ AND THERE IS NO WAY TO EVER CHANGE THAT FACT.....NOT EVER!

    In the Pajamahadeen I'm Scooby-Doo!

    by Militarytracy on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:18:01 AM PST

  •  I just read your new book... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nancelot, plaid miniskirt

    ..."Armed Madhouse" and HIGHLY recommend it to everyone (although I'm going to miss the "peak oil" theory).

    While it is sometimes true that Christians don't lie, it is often true that liars pretend they are Christians.

    by Dan Hrkman on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:18:36 AM PST

  •  For Greg Palast, etc. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nancelot, Eiron

    Experts say, we have done all we can with military resources. Surely there are ways to stop the madness without "losing face" or giving comfort to those who will claim victory over us.
    -------
    For the wonderful Greg Palast, for myself, and all:
    Confucius: Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

    As seen on website of Daily Kos sponsor who sells this at:
    http://www.cafepress.com/...

    . . . .
    -------Confucius recommends hard work:
    A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.

    He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own.

    He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.
    More quotations at:
    http://www.grailquest.com/...

    •  Not Quite. We Never Secured the Country After (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      migo, LNK

      we tipped over the government.

      In the mix of everything needed for that, there was plenty of work for military forces that could have been done and wasn't.

      We've done all we can now that we variously let and helped make the place go completely to hell.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:15:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A truly great diary. Thank you. nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    migo, evil twin, plaid miniskirt

    "George, my gut tells me that they have all along been trying to inflict enough damage that we'd leave." G.W. Bush to G. Stephanopoulos, 10/18/06

    by LodinLepp on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:36:46 AM PST

  •  It was the hand (2+ / 0-)

    of a Navy Corpsman, not an Army Medic, who just treated a Marine.  A small point to some, but still.  

    I just finished Palast's "Madhouse" today-just put it down

    and I thought I was mad before I read it......

    The fate of the wounded rests with the one who applies the first dressing- Nicholas Senn

    by Eiron on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:56:52 AM PST

  •  i want nobody else hurt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raatz

    i want everyone who will be killed or maimed not to be killed or maimed.

    then they can go on back to their cute girl/boy freinds, and they can finish saying their prayers.

    that would be good, i think.

    we'll stand him up against a wall and pop goes the weasel /rufus t. firefly

    by 2nd balcony on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:11:39 PM PST

  •  This diary is not by Greg Palast (0+ / 0-)

    which doesn't mean it isn't good.  It does, however, mean you might want to address your praise to its author, Zachary Roberts Staff, Greg Palast Office.

    just trying to keep us all honest here.

    •  I don't get this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plaid miniskirt

      If Greg Palast didn't want "Zack" posting under his name, he would take care of it himself. Ergo, I assume Palast wants this posting to be seen as deriving from him. It's no different that a pol staffer posting his boss's message.

      It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds - Samuel Adams

      by Overseas on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:31:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Americans don't want to hear about this (3+ / 0-)

    How could they ignore it if they did?

    Democrat=Justice for all, Republican=Injustice is acceptable for those that are not like me

    by felixelf on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:15:26 PM PST

  •  Palast perhaps would not be so dispassionate (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Julia, Eiron, stitifier

    if he had a family member in the Marines.  I hate this war and I despise Cheney and the rest of the chickenhawks that foisted it on us.  

    But I don't like the tone of this post.  We've already done the Jane Fonda thing, and it didn't work.

    Tomorrow you'll be one of us...There's no need for love...Love. Desire. Ambition. Faith. Without them, life is so simple, believe me.

    by Cartoon Peril on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:17:54 PM PST

    •  What does it mean (7+ / 0-)

      to "do the Jane Fonda thing?"  

      I dare to question our nation, our President, and the mission of Lance Cpl. Smith. What's not to question, unless you are caught up in the funhouse of nationalism/patriotism:

      The evil of nationalism consists in justifying murder in the name of patriotism; and the evil of patriotism consists in allowing itself to be easily exploited and misled by nationalism.

      Source

      There is absolutely no justification for any of the murders perpetrated by the US in Iraq.  

      Jane Fonda did not "lose" the war in Vietnam.  The immorality of the war insured the the US would lose. Jane Fonda--young and idealistc as she may have been--was simply ahead of the curve.

      The probelm with our culture is that it is alway, always about "winning" or "losing."

      "It is up to the most conscious member of the relationship to create the space for the relationship to grow." Ram Dass

      by bosuncookie on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 01:05:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not about justification (3+ / 0-)

        or tactics or winning or losing.  It's about words.  Words matter.

        When you use words like "murder" you essentially accuse American soldiers of going out of their way to slaughter people.  That's such a wild exaggeration that it's practically obscene.

        When you use words to make the Iraqis killing American soldiers to be innocent victims, you essentially imply that those soldiers are in fact the guilty party.

        This war may be wrong, but please don't pretend that the average American soldier is a murderer of innocents.  The average American soldier is a patriotic, red-blooded guy or gal just like yourself, but one who also signed an oath swearing to defend his country in good times and in bad.  That's gotta be worth something.  

        It doesn't justify the war.  But it does mean we owe these people just a bit of respect-- enough respect that we can take their sacrifice at face value.

        •  We're not, I hope, painting the soldiers (5+ / 0-)

          as murderers.  I think most of us tend to paint Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld as the murderers, putting American soldiers in an untenable position.  The true killer of the Lance Corporal was the Bush administration; the proximate cause may have been a sniper (who, quite possibly was a horrible person, or may have been a decent person), but, and I think most of us can agree that the real problem is W et al.  I understand where you're coming from, and that's part of why I'm adjusting the frame upwards just a bit, to focus on the truly, definitively bad people who are causing all the death: W etc.  

          If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell (-9.75, -9.03)

          by nilocjin on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 03:02:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

            that moving the frame up the chain is useful.  But while we're doing that, let's not lose sight of the tragedy of this American's death-- which would be unwise tactically (after all, it's what gives the story its punch) and morally indefensible.  

            I dunno.  There's just so much death and destruction that it kind of goes beyond what my pea-brain is willing to deal with.

        •  Words matter, yes, but people matter more... (0+ / 0-)

          I do not respect the Iraq mission of the military.  The military is a tool, a blunt instrument of force.  The problem with talking about "the military" is that most people can't distinuish between the military as a blunt instrument of policy and members of the military as individual human beings.  

          It is tough to do both, but it can be done.  The American military men and women in Iraq are participants in an immoral invasion, occupation, and destruction of a society that was never a threat to this country.  In that sense, we are murderers. To deny it is to deny the meaning of the word. Murder is "the unlawful premeditated killing of a human being by another."  

          Just because Bush says its okay and fuckwad politicians support him doesn't make it legal.  Check the UN charter, the Geneva Convention, and International law.  Just because no country has the balls to stand up to the US to enforce International law still doesn't make it legal or moral.

          The only people who have the balls to stand up to the illegality and immorality of it all are the Iraqis. And yes, they are killing Americans in response.  I call these killings self-defense.

          I am sad that Lance Cpl. Smith lost his life for the madness of Bush and everyone else who will not denounce this war.  I am sadder that he chose to participate in an immoral and illegal war.  The law gave him an out if he chose it.  Other service members have decided that they no longer wanted to participate in this madness and they have taken means to extract themselves from it. People are in prison right now for refusing to return to Iraq.

          Every person has a choice regarding the right thing to do.  We are only limited by our fear. Blind obedience to immoral orders out of fear is understandable and tragic.  But it is still murder.

          "It is up to the most conscious member of the relationship to create the space for the relationship to grow." Ram Dass

          by bosuncookie on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 05:11:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Rock on, Mr. Palast (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    migo, evil twin, plaid miniskirt

    One of America's great reporters - so great America won't take you...all respect to you, sir, and thank you for sharing this, 'cause you're right - warnography indeed, and arriving hair's-breadth close to a pivotal election to boot.

    I bet you this was the NYT's idea of "fair and balanced," "supporting the troops," etc.  A way to wave the flag before the election and show the O'Reillians and Hannitites (sounds like a Biblical tribe, no?) that the always-accused-of-liberalism NYT is a caring, patriotic entity - so we're not so bad, see, you in Tennessee and Kentucky and Missouri and Ohio and everywhere else that's redder than it is blue; we're the NYT, the Gray Lady, the Paper of Record, been around a long time, eminently deserving of respect, and you know, that charge of liberalism, it just ain't true...I mean, hey, read this story, you gonna call us liberals now?

    Like you say, Mr. Palast, it's a terrible thing that an American soldier died, and like you, I'm not just saying that or paying lip service (I leave those bits of ignobility to our "leaders," who do a heckuva job in that category).  But what the hell is a "hard hit"?  Why aren't any Iraqis profiled?  And why should a reporter get away with whitewashing what's patently, absurdly obvious - that an occupation army, a non-native army, is performing these "hard hits"?  

    It'd be one thing to do this story and balance it with Iraqi perspectives.  It's another thing to imbalance it without those perspectives.  Untrustworthy and heavily suspect.  Thanks for pointing this out, Mr. Palast, but then again, I guess that's your habit.  We in America should cultivate, on the largest scale, the habit of reading your words.

    Peace.

    Please visit Neverinournames.com

    by Nathan Hammersmith on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:20:18 PM PST

  •  Love your writing style Greg (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plaid miniskirt

    And love your guts.  And love your books.

    Damn you're good.

    Democracy depends on informed activism.

    by Juan Pablo on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:23:24 PM PST

  •  Don't miss the point (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, kaekee, evil twin

    The Navy Corpsman and his patient are both victims of this misadventure.  These are young lives, American lives that will be forever changed.  In combat, your world and worldview shrink to the temporally immediate and spatially proximal.  Survival.  Yours and that of your squad mates.  With the latter, first.  

    If they pray, I bet it is for the safe return of all of their own, and little more.  Prayers for another  night, another chow line with all faces in place and intact.  

    These kids aren't villains, but victims  

    The NYT journalist did a good job with his task.  

    The fate of the wounded rests with the one who applies the first dressing- Nicholas Senn

    by Eiron on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:36:28 PM PST

    •  I pray for them, too (0+ / 0-)

      I pray for their safety.  My son in law may have to go there. The Military is his career.  A friend of his was killed over there yesterday when he drove over a bomb. He left behind a wife and a one year old girl, a toddler and a four year old son. This is one of several friends he has lost. It bothers him a lot.

      Life is what you focus on. Focus on Joe Lieberman. He works for Bush's deficits, war, rip off medical charges and no bid contracts. It ain't pretty.

      by relentless on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 03:06:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  quite the hot discussion here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, kaekee

    Lots of good points made.
    I have to agree that showing the bloody hands of the medic holding the bloody bullet is hardly glorifying war, and that not showing the poor mans ruined head isn't cowardice or lack of integrity it is meerly showing some restraint and allowing the man some dignity.
    I do think the diarist goes a bit far in assuming the sniper is a good man without having any information to back that up, but I hardly feel it is wrong to speculate that he might be.
    I am convinced if we actually allowed more journalists to do their jobs, from both sides of the conflict, then this war would be over a lot faster and another one would be less likely.
    If the flag draped coffins coming home from this war were being shown on the news every night, and if real stories of real flesh and blood Iragis who had suffered because of this war were seen regularly. The American people would have been demanding that this be ended and they'd have Bush's head if he didn't.
    We must remove the handuffs that have been placed on a free press.

    •  Who handcuffed them? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plaid miniskirt, old wobbly

      Did they handcuff themselves, or are they going by the marching orders of the advertisers or those who own the news shows that they work for?

      Life is what you focus on. Focus on Joe Lieberman. He works for Bush's deficits, war, rip off medical charges and no bid contracts. It ain't pretty.

      by relentless on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 02:57:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, sir (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    migo, evil twin

    Thanks for reposting this here.

    Be good to each other. It matters. Bill Sali

    by AllisonInSeattle on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:49:15 PM PST

  •  Received this in an email this morning from you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plaid miniskirt

    I hope you don't mind I put it on my blog. Thank you for sending to us and posting it on here.

    May peace be inside all of us so we can live on this planet together, taking care of one another. Caring for the next person instead of killing them. May we all have peace inside ourselves........

    Thank you Greg!

    Where are all the peacrful souls? Have we forgotten how peace grows? It's not with the killing of other humans but with love all around, looming.

    by MomFromHlwdFL on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 01:31:05 PM PST

  •  no justice in war scenario, just us cannon fodder (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee
  •  American Corporate Media Complicit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tzt, plaid miniskirt

    The American Corporate Media is complicit in the 655,000 civilian deaths in Iraq.  Once-sided stories like the one which Greg Palast describes here are so slanted it makes one think the media WANTS us to consider the Iraqis our enemies -  even though we were supposed to have gone there to FREE the Iraqi people from the clutches of madman Saddam Hussein!

    The use of the media as a propaganda tool with so little concern for balance is a symptom of either acquiescence to pro-fascists in political power or fascism itself.

    All this time and we can't get balanced reporting on Bush's Occupation of Iraq.  

    Now consider the lack of reporting balance in the Corporate Media over the fraud, tampering and theft going on in our nation's voting process.

    If we can't wrest this election from the grip of Fascist tampering, fraud and theft, our loss of honest elections is fated to be as invisible in Big Media reporting as Iraqi suffering is invisible in our Big Media reporting.

    We are shimmering on the brink of a total flash of destruction.  

  •  Greg. Thanks for posting here, (0+ / 0-)

    and for all you do.  You've been one of the few reporters that has, in the current climate, been courageous enough to stay a true journalist.  Hats off, and keep up the good work.

    "WE are the leaders we are waiting for" Hopi Elders

    by Gabriele Droz on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 03:18:52 PM PST

  •  Obi-Wan said (0+ / 0-)

    I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

    I now know how he felt.

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. - 9th Amendment

    by TracieLynn on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 03:46:34 PM PST

  •  So what is it about US that allows us (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tzt, truong son traveler

    to invade another country without cause, then have a bunch of "twentysomethings" marching around telling the locals how to live all day, and when some of them risk their lives to defend their land...We then refer to them as the BAD GUYS! Hey, I was there, in Vietnam, Charlie was the Bad Guy back then...so what's the answer?

  •  Support our troops. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler

    I want our troops home as soon as possible. I want them to be safe and productive and, most of all, here.

    I have been reading "Fiasco" by Thomas Ricks who details the operations of the troops in Iraq.  Some of the divisions did their best to work with the local leaders and understand the culture.  In Mosul, a city destined to turn violent, the rumor was spreading that with night vision goggles, soldiers could see under the clothing of women.  Obviously, modesty is a key value in that culture, so the rumors and suspisions were rampant.

    When the military commander there heard of the rumors, he called in all the clerics and invited them to try on the goggles.  Soon all the rumors died.  And, a real dialogue was opened between the US military and the locals.  Mosul has been doing pretty well--all things considered.

    However, in other part of Iraq, particularly where the 4th Infantry Division has been working, US soldiers have been knocking down doors late at night, gathering up all men for interegation and essentially spreading terror throughout neighborhoods.

    As their commander said, "If you ain't fishin, you ain't catchin."

    Because of their heavy-handed tactics, a population that might have been friendly to us now sees us as terrorists.  We have created enemies there just with our tactics.

    I think that Bush takes the bulk of the blame, Cheney next, Rumsfled next...all the generals and commanders, all of the Republicans in Congress and all of the Republican activists and donors and Republican voters.

    However, some of the blame (there is soooooo much to go around), belongs to some of the troops because they pushed harder than they needed to.  Not all of our troops acted badly, but some did.

    The Iraq war is a terrible mistake at many levels.  We are going to pay for it for generations.  The only way out of the hole we are in is to look clearly at our situation and climb out.  A mindless "support our troops" is not looking clearly.

  •  Objectively speaking, we know neither sniper ... (0+ / 0-)

    ..nor victim.
    I don't think anybody put words in the sniper's mouth, nor thoughts in his head. We are offered a possibility, not a fact. It takes no fact checking to pull a trigger, nor to take a bullet and die.
    Maybe the sniper is a bloodthirsty raghead - with a "cute girlfriend", whose dad is his hero. Maybe the sniper is angry after seeing his country butchered by its alleged saviors.
    Maybe the dead GI is a good kid - with cute girlfriend, etc. Maybe he's a bloodthirsty jerk who wanted to fuck up some hajis.
    We know neither killer nor killed. We know only that the dead man is American, and his killer was likely not.
    Not enough information here to make a moral judgement on either one of them.
    But, then, war is not about making an accurate moral judgement about it's individual victims, is it?

    I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

    by labradog on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 05:49:38 PM PST

  •  I find this diary offensive (0+ / 0-)

    I certainly don't think it should be recommended.  I am opposed to the Iraq War.  I am in favor of immediate withdrawal.  But a diary that is so sympathetic toward a sniper who killed an American serviceman offends me.  It's especially offensive that the diarist seems to have more sympathy for the sniper than the dead American.  

    On another note, a lot of people on this website were freaking out over the Kerry (non)incident.  "How could he have done this?  Didn't he know that it was going to be picked up by conservatives in the media?  This will kill our chances in the midterm!"  Yet no one seems the least bit concerned by how something like this would play.  It's mind-boggling and it reflects badly on the site.  I always had the impression that the reason 9/11 conspiracy theories are banned here is not only because they offend people, but also because Kos doesn't want those ideas associated with his website.  To me, this falls into the same category.  And yet this diary has been put on the RECOMMENDED list.  It's simply unbelievable.  

    Just because Greg Palast wrote something, it doesn't mean we have to rave over it.  Use a little independent judgment.  

    Tasini for NY SEN 06!

    by rsquire on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 06:13:55 PM PST

    •  I guess sympathy for Iraqis is a no-no? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LeftOverAmerica

      Look, I respect members of the armed forces.  I appreciate their motivations and their actions.  Just like I appreciate police officers and the job they do.  Most of the time.

      But the point of this article seems to have been missed completely by you.  An effort to empathize with why an Iraqi could possibly want to kill an American should be made, don't you think?

      I promise you that if some country bombed or raided or shot up my house, terrorizing, hurting or killing my family - I would be out for blood.  No matter which counry it was.  My family comes first, and it is my DUTY to protect them, and failing that - avenge them.  Right?

      Is it so different for Iraqis?  You think that we should be able to kill and terrorize with impunity there?  Regardless of our trrops' motivations and character (which can vary widely as the armed forces relax their standards in an effort to man the moral atrocity that is the War in Iraq), that matters not at all when your house is broken into by armed men and you are shamed or even kidnapped(arrested) by soldiers.

      What would you do?  Anyway - I empathize with and respect the troops, but this war is wrong.  They way it is being executed is wrong.  And the bottom line is that if some other country invaded us and did what we are doing to liberate us from Bush (who is assuming dicator-like powers as we speak), we would kill them.  An understanding that the same applies in Iraq is not treason, and it in no way reflects poorly on either the person or the site.

      That's MY independent judgement.  I've never even heard of Greg Palast... so this is coming from me, not some admiration of Mr. Palast.

  •  Really, "troop worship" has (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftOverAmerica

    sunk to a new level.  These guys are voluteering to kill people in a war of agression that they all know now had nothing to do with 9/11, simply because their superiors are telling them to kill people.  It's not my idea of the right thing to do.

  •  Moving to a new diary (0+ / 0-)

    I'm going to be starting up a new diary soon under the title Greg Palast Office or something close to that...everyone seems to be more concerned with who is posting  than the issues that Greg brings up in his articles. I apologize to those who have been confused by me re-posting my boss' work here and responding to questions that I can answer.

    Greg has been in the middle of researching and writing the new chapter for the paperback version of Armed Madhouse and thus hasn't been able to respond directly to your questions and comments.

    You can always e-mail me at my office e-mail zach@gregpalast.com if you'd like to converse...I'm always up for converstation. btw- Don't hesitate to e-mail links or anything that you believe that Greg should be aware of...

    Thanks again guys and gals I'll see you in a couple of days...

    -Zachary Roberts Staff, Greg Palast Office

    by GregPalast on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 02:53:04 PM PST

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