Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Grizzly that is America

I believe more and more each day that things like freedom can't be given. They must be fought for and earned to have value. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that the Iraqi people don't rise up against the insurgency themselves.

That isn't the only way that things could have been better. We could have come here initially with ENOUGH troops. Troops to close the borders (which are still mostly left open) from foreign fighters, and enough troops to have brought security and stability to the cities.

At the same time right now we have a Grizzly bear we call America. Unfortunately it is a Grizzly which is asleep and is kept that way by being fed its daily dose of FOX "Fair and Balanced" medicine. This medicine is fortified with essentials which keep most Americans happily oblivious to what is happening in Iraq and to news stories like the Downing Street Memo... It won't be long however, until this Grizzly wakes up and when it does it is going to be pissed that it has been lied to and so many have been killed because of those lies.


Snag said...

Disclaimer: This is from a tactical/strategic line of thought and is not meant to address the moral issues involved.

I'm concerned that our presence is so tainted now by the screw-ups of this administration that our ability to do anything productive in Iraq is lost. I mean, we've jacked up basic living standards there for so long now, it seems we can never achieve any level of meaningful interaction with the people of Iraq.
It makes me think that the only solution now is to throw ourselves at the mercy of the international community to come in and take over any "rebuilding" efforts, and have some other group help Iraqis rebuild their country.
Is it possible to close the borders? We have troops, federal, state and local law enforcement working on it here, and we still have a very porous divide between us and our neighbors. It seems that if we really want to close the borders, we'd have to do it from the other side (now there's a scary implication).
And what if we could successfully stem the tide of foreign fighters and the ranks of the opposition were lowered. I think their tactics would change to where it was just straight IED's and such without the suicides until they could recruit enough forces to start with the suicides again.
The problem with our whole mentality is that we created a very large target for those that use tactics that require relatively few numbers. Historically, guerilla operations can last indefinetly. Look at the Partisans and French Resistence in WWII, the Viet Cong, the Mujahadeen, Hezbolla, the IRA...
I can see how the American people might have wanted a nice, easy operation plan in response to their anger over 9/11. The professionals should never have let these demogouges in the White House go anywhere with such a simple, piss poor plan.

Anonymous said...

You are Right on Zach. Reporters from the Washington Post justified the fact that they hadn't printed anything about the DS memo by saying that everyone already knew Bush was lying about reasons for going to war so they didnt think that this PROOF was news worthy. What a cop out. Based on that logic if Michael Jackson had been found quilty the Washington Post wouldn't have printed the verdict because we all knew he was guilty to begin with. I would urge everyone to email your local and national news outlet and demand that they print the Downing Street memo and ask the president for a response. The fact that he wont respond is almost enough to call him GUILTY in my point of view.

Anonymous said...

Not only are we creating a more skilled batch of jihadists in Iraq, I am also scared we are creating an army of Timothy McVeighs as well. There eventually will be blowback here in the US from this debacle and I rate it 50-50 as to whether it will be foreign or domestic terror.
The American people had better wake up, or we are in for a nasty does of fascism for years to come. I hope they wake up, Zach. Time is running out.
-roamer in mich

Daedalus said...

on a lighter note- Operation Yellow Elephant has started today. Operation Yellow Elephant is an attempt to get college republicans, the most vocal supporters of the war, to enlist in the military. countless letters have been written asking them to put on their websites, but so far none have. today, hundreds of voluteers will be out trying to get the college republicans who are in DC for the colrep convention this weekend to enlist. if you're feeling down, i would encourage you to visit and read about Operation Yellow Elephant. :)

not all of america is sleeping, but when the minority party is forced to hold hearings in the basement of the Capitol Building by power hungry chairmen of the judiciary committee, it makes it hard for dissenting voices to be heard.

Snag said...

I saw that in Daily Kos and I thought it was brilliant. Linked to OYE from my blog. Wish I could get to Virgina this weekend, I'm having trouble finding wingnuts out in the open lately.

Anonymous said...

I hope OYE is a big success, but I obviously am not holding my breath. Even if the draft restarts, these Rethuglican kids rich parents will demand exemptions for which the poorer kids will not qualify. They talk about a "national service program". Just watch who will get the stateside jobs and who gets sent to the military. Then tell me if I was wrong or not.
-roamer in mich

Goldberry said...

Zach, I wish you were right about this Grizzly, but I really wonder about it - about America. The information is out there, but so many Americans completely ignore it - or deny it. I mean, it's like they didn't grow up in the same country that we did. Did anyone study the US Constitution in school? The Bill of Rights? US History? The Vietnam War? The corruption (particularly corporate corruption) in our government is so obvious, but they don't care.

I was in the Army several years ago (I was a 98 - Russian Linguist), and I got to serve in Kosovo for awhile (they actually LIKED us there). I remember all the B&R contractors talking about all the money they were making - more than $100,000.(tax-free)per year. I'm sure they are making much more in Iraq. Of course, it's a lot more dangerous, but I have to think that many people are getting rich off this war. But nobody seems to care. Will this finally sink in? Is there a Grizzly? Or just a bunch of sheep...? Sorry if I'm ranting a bit. Take care of yourself Zach

bearboy said...

Why does this look so much like Vietnam? First there was enthusiasm, then complacency then rejection then everyone turned on those that fought the war. We went from "God Bless the Troops" to "BABYKILLERS", in just a few short years.

War is Hell and Smedley Butler was right "War is a Racket", so to was Ike, "Beware the military industrial complex".

Oh well, it'll all be over in 2, 5, 10 years. Just how much can YOU stomach?

Anonymous said...

Zach is right on the mark about one thing. Tonite I turned into CNN and Headline Snoooze. What were they talking about? The Aruba girl. I tuned into the CBC from Canada. I saw the graphic results of a car bomb in Baghdad. Then I saw Kennedy asking for Rumsfailed's resignation, followed by Abizaid admitting the insurgency is getting worse. People are sleeping because our corporate whore media is completely avoiding the war topic.
-raomer in mich

Anonymous said...

Take a look at how we spent $20bil or the Iraqi's money

Kristen said...

Absolutely Zach. Certain groups of Democrats are talking about impeaching Bush because of the Downing Street Memo. I'm just so surprised that the media hasn't exploded on that like they did on Clinton when they tried to impeach him. Its justa matter of time before America wakes up and smells the bag of dog doo burning on their front porch.

Anonymous said...

yo vicedc and sarge,

like this? grrrrrrrr gonna bite yuh

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

yo sarge, when the grizzly starts chompin you just might end up in jail for all those times you didn't hesitate to pull the trigger.

butchco's gonna USE YOU and abuse you wnever, wherever, however it sees fit. duh

God Bless Our Troops?

If soldiers were to begin to think, not one of them would remain in the army. Frederick the Great

You see it on bumper stickers, church signs, and the ubiquitous yellow ribbons – God Bless Our Troops. You hear it prayed from the pulpit and the pew – God Bless Our Troops. You hear it uttered by Evangelicals, Catholics, and nominal Christians – God Bless Our Troops.

Why should He?

Because they are in harm’s way? Because they are brave? Because they are protecting our freedoms? Because they are fighting for democracy? Because they are fighting terrorism? Because they are righteous and the enemy is evil? Because "God is love"? Because some of my relatives are in the military? Because a soldier is an honorable profession? Because "the Lord is a man of war"?

American Christians are either naïve or just plain stupid. Don’t they realize that the citizens of other countries incorporate the same slogan into their signs, prayers, and speeches? How is God supposed to bless the troops on both sides? Oh, that is simple, says the typical American Christian: God is not supposed to bless the troops on the other side. In fact, he will not bless them, not as long as they are fighting against American troops.

So the real answer to the "why should he" question is because they are American troops. American troops must be especially dear to the heart of God. They are made up for the most part of professing Christians (except for the Buddhists in the military who now have their own chaplain, Lt. j.g. Jeanette Gracie Shin), and supported by professing Christians. They defend this great "Christian" nation, they perform humanitarian acts, they help spread democracy and American values, they fight against terrorism and evil, they protect our freedoms, they keep us safe.

So what could possibly be wrong with asking God to bless our troops?

Christians will generally agree with you if you denounce some of the more outrageous abuses of the government; most will concur if you condemn the welfare state; many will go along with you if you disparage one of the presidents (excepting, of course, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and George WMD Bush); some will put up with you if you criticize the U.S. global empire; a few will even tolerate you if you denigrate the warfare state; but once you question the military in any way – its size, its budget, its contractors, its bureaucracy, its efficiency, its purpose, and especially its acts of death and destruction as the coercive arm of the state – many Christians will brand you as a pacifist, a liberal, a communist, an anti-war weenie, a traitor, a coward, an appeaser, or an America-hater.

How about a sane, rational, individual?

Conservative Christians that consider Bush to be a stupid biblical illiterate and a sorry excuse for a Christian, that don’t support the United States engaging in foreign wars, that rail against American troops being in Iraq, and acknowledge that we are in an unconstitutional, undeclared war nevertheless win the prize for being the most insane and irrational when they maintain that there is nothing wrong with a Christian joining the military and going to Iraq to kill people as long as the government says that is where he should go. What makes this so nonsensical is that it is not a question of a Christian being drafted or in some way forced to go into the military and then being told by his pastor that he should "obey the powers that be," it is purely voluntary.

The Christian in the military is not exempt either. Christian soldiers who bomb, interrogate, and kill for the state cannot hide behind the lame excuse that they are just following orders. The Christian soldier in the U.S. military is there by choice. He was not drafted. He was not forced to enlist at the point of a gun. If he can read then he has no excuse for being ignorant of the folly of the hundred-plus years of U.S. wars and interventions abroad. If he can see then he has no excuse for joining a military that does everything but actually defend the country.

Why do conservative Christians have such a love affair with the U.S. military? Andrew Bacevich, in his fascinating new work, The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (Oxford, 2005), has a whole chapter on the subject. This is a book that all conservative Christian apologists for the military ought to read. Yet, most of them will never read it even though the author is a conservative, religious, a West Point graduate, a Vietnam veteran, and a former professional soldier. And sadly, many of them will never even know the book existed, including the very people who claim to be so well-read. How many Christian critics of my book, Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State, have ever bothered to read any of the books listed at the end under "For Further Reading"? Some pastors who claim to be bookworms that are so well-read are in actuality way behind the times.

Bacevich wastes no time in his Preface, but gets right down to business: "This is a book about the new American militarism – the misleading and dangerous conceptions of war, soldiers, and military institutions that have come to pervade the American consciousness and that have perverted present-day U.S. national security policy." Chapter 5, "Onward," specifically addresses why the military is held in such high esteem by too many Christians. In a word: Vietnam:

For conservative Christians after Vietnam, the prerequisite for fulfilling America’s mandate as divine agent was the immediate reconstitution of U.S. military power.

In the aftermath of Vietnam, evangelicals came to see the military as an enclave of virtue, a place of refuge where the sacred remnant of patriotic Americans gathered and preserved American principles from extinction.

Because of the cultural upheaval and moral crisis that was triggered by and coincided with the war in Vietnam, "Militant evangelicals imparted religious sanction to the militarization of U.S. policy and helped imbue the resulting military activism with an aura of moral legitimacy." "Moreover," says Bacevich,

Some evangelicals looked to the armed services to play a pivotal role in saving America from internal collapse. In a decadent and morally confused time, they came to celebrate the military itself as a bastion of the values required to stem the nation’s slide toward perdition: respect for tradition, an appreciation for order and discipline, and a willingness to sacrifice self for the common good. In short, evangelicals looked to soldiers to model the personal qualities that citizens at large needed to rediscover if America were to reverse the tide of godlessness and social decay to which the 1960s had given impetus.

Evangelical Christians could not have made a bigger mistake.

Bacevich faults Billy Graham and other evangelical leaders for "courting politicians and being romanced in return." Graham supported U.S. policy in Vietnam, saying that "Americans should back their President in his decision to make a stand in Viet Nam." At the same time, Jerry Falwell, one of the most loyal supporters of Bush’s war in Iraq, touted the U.S. soldier in Vietnam as "a champion for Christ."

There soon developed an unholy alliance between evangelical Christians and the military. Bacevich dates the ratification of this "entente" as May 1, 1972, when Billy Graham was given the Sylvanus Thayer Award by the Association of Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy. This is awarded annually at West Point to a citizen "whose outstanding character, accomplishments, and stature in the civilian community draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives, in keeping with its motto: ‘Duty, Honor, Country.’"

So, should an American Christian pray for God to bless our troops? Not when blessing our troops means allowing them to injure, maim, kill, and destroy property while they themselves come out unscathed. American Christians should pray for an end to this foolish war. They should pray for the troops to be brought home. They should pray for Congress to end funding for this war. They should pray for Bush to leave office in disgrace for being a lying, bloody warmonger. They should pray for Congress to follow the Constitution and reign in presidential war-making ability. They should pray for the healing of the thousands of U.S. soldiers who have been injured in this senseless war. They should pray for the end of military recruiters preying on young, impressionable students. They should pray for the dissolution of the alliance between the Religious Right and the Republican Party. They should pray for the resignation of Christian "leaders" who defended this immoral war. They should pray for pastors to have the guts to stand before their congregation and denounce Bush and the war, specifically, not just in generalities. They should pray for pastors to stop recommending military service to their young men. They should pray for Christians to stop blindly following the state. They should pray for Christian families to stop supplying cannon fodder to the military. Yes, there are many things Christians can pray for, but certainly not "God Bless Our Troops."

Let there be no mistake about the extent of my criticisms of Christian soldiers and the U.S. military. I don’t want to see any American soldiers killed in Iraq or anywhere else. And yes, if someone is going to die, I would rather see an Iraqi soldier die than an American soldier die, but only for the same reason that I would rather see a person die in someone else’s family than in my own family. I don’t want to see any American soldiers die in Iraq for the same reason that I don’t want to see anyone die in a car accident or because they slipped in the bathtub.

It is bad enough when Christian pastors moonlight as cheerleaders for Bush and his war, but those pastors who oppose Bush’s pseudo-Christianity, his socialist domestic policies, and his interventionist foreign policies are woefully inconsistent when they encourage (or do nothing to discourage) the young men in their church to join the military and then "obey the powers that be" when it comes to bombing, interrogating, and killing for the state.

by Laurence M. Vance

Source : LewRockwell.Com

Anonymous said...

aw shucks, ah'm jus in country, doin mah job. ain't mah responsibility fer none u this. ah miss mah kids.

Anonymous said...

Here's an "Open Letter to US Troops in Afghanistan and Iraq" by Stan Goff (Vietnam veteran):

As for the US Grizzly - sorry Zach, but it's you Americans who will have to wake the "grizzly" up, nobody's listening to the rest of us. So the sooner people like you get home safe from Iraq and get down to the real work, the better for all of us out in the wider world.

Good luck.

Snag said...

Regarding culpability and the resonsibility of soldiers to fight or not.
From a legal stand point, individual soldiers are not resonsible for the over all action and decision of their government. However, they are obligated to respect the Geneva Convention.
Spiritually, we are all responsible. As long as we advocate any violence on any side, anywhere. We are all responsible as long as we hold hate and anger in our hearts. I know I do at times, and I am sorry for that. It isn't even a matter of acting on that anger, it's the anger itself that makes us guilty. It affects our thoughts, our relations, our being.
Mahatma Ghandi had proven that conflict can be resolved by peaceful means. Passive resistance was shown to be quite effective. If that is a standard that is available and known to us, then any violence against our fellow human is spiritually wrong.
Those that hold soldiers in judgement need to look in their own heart. For them, as with the Iraqi people, they face a daily stuggle for survival. What do we face daily? And as individuals, do we feed the fire of anger or do we help extinguish it, even if it's teacup of water when we can?
May everyone be safe with their family and friends.

Kate said...

Well said, Snag. One of the few comments that makes sense...

Hi Zach. I hope you're doing okay. Take care --

molldeja said...

what kind of a guy would invade my country, maybe kill my neighbors or family members, then ask cyberspace to acept his behavior and sympathize with him because he's not seeing his 2 kids tro bed each night.

are these ameriKans nut cases or what? too much peppsi or diet coke?

someone on the planet will have to begin war crimes trials against these overweight, evangelical gangsters sapping all the strength from the common people. (talking multicultural here, zach. ole uncle ariel looks very well fed these days, butch and hamaed also.....)

stay well. maybe the causes ain't yer fault, biut it'fd be better for everone all around if you just layed down your gun, tore up the contract and told your "superiors" that they need to count on another grease monkey from now on. yo wont' be the first to do it.

Jim said...

Hey Zach,

Hope you're doing well, or at least as well as can be.

We're doing all we can to get the Downing Street Memo (and its implications) on the front pages. I posted this article about our local paper's coverage on my blog, and I'm working with others to get this whole story into the limelight. Maybe it's my wishful thinking, but I'm pretty sure I hear a grizzly bear stirring...

Keep the faith,

Lisa said...

I'm with Jim! We are doing the same here in New Jersey to push the Downing Street Memo. Stay strong Zach and be safe. Prayers to all of you always!

Anonymous said...

lisa and jim, what if one of the catalysts towards REAL change and evolution of the illegal american governemnet meant that both of you and your spouses would need to go on a strike, stop working at whatever it is you do that helps keep this machinery going. would you do it?

99% of the people point the fingert at their neighbor; "he's/she's the problem......." what if you are part of the problem? willing to evolve? ask hurria............

Anonymous said...

As dusk approached, a flower-bedecked wedding procession made its way down a side street near a heavily damaged commercial thoroughfare. The merrymakers boldly honked their horns and flashed their headlights in a bow to normality.

U.S. soldiers were distributing bottled water and Meals Ready to Eat from boxes stacked on a pair of armored flatbed trucks, flanked by Humvees and Bradley fighting vehicles. Not even humanitarian operations are without peril these days.

As U.S. commanders wonder how to disengage from a conflict that appears increasingly unpopular at home, edgy troops grapple with an unnerving truth: Their very presence inspires the rebellion they seek to crush.

"Part of the recruitment for this insurgency is fueled by the perception that we are an occupying power and have no intention of leaving," Army Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, commander of the Multinational Corps, said in a recent interview. "I think we need to make it clear that we intend to draw down, and we intend to drawn down relatively soon, and we have no aspirations here."

appears the senior officers are just as duuuuuhmb as the enlisted. you are being abused by yer government, fellas.

Watch 'n Wait said...

In California, only 37% approve of anything Bush and his administration has done. It does seem as though the half of the voters who voted for him are beginning to change their minds. But rest assured, everybody on all sides cares about all of you out there...and that caring is a good part of the reason Bush's numbers continue to drop. Now if we can just get him impeached...

Hurria said...

"if one of the catalysts towards REAL change and evolution of the illegal american governemnet meant that both of you and your spouses would need to go on a strike, stop working at whatever it is you do that helps keep this machinery going. would you do it?"

Have YOU done it?

Anonymous said...

I see oil Has passed the $60 a barrel mark in early Monday am trading. Good, I hope it goes to $70. Maybe that will wake the American sheeple up.
-roamer in mich

Anonymous said...

"God bless the troops"

I don't think this is mutually exclusive. I don't think it's meant as a "please make sure our troops destroy all enemies and be ultimately and decisively victorious". It is more meant as a "please look over our sisters, brothers, children, fathers and mothers who are risking their lives to defend Bush's definition of freedom (which is also the same definition as a large percentage of Americans, apparently), and keep them alive". Very few people I have spoken to actually give a crap if we really win over there--they just want to see their friends and family make it back alive.

There's no reason why God can't keep American and Iraqi soldiers alive. He could do this by helping create peaceful resolution to larger problems. He DOESN'T need to pick a side. I'm certain that the majority of American and Iraqi citizens would prefer to have God keep their loved ones alive, regardless of the measure of success in this campaign.

However, if Anonymous is the same person throughout this response, I DO agree that our government, including senior officials, are using our soldiers. I do not hold Zach any more culpable then any of the rest of us Americans--we each agree, by virtue of remaining citizens of the US, to ultimately obey our leadership. We can complain (thanks to the Bill of Rights), but unless we manage to change their minds, we still must obey. Maybe that seems silly, but if itdidn't actually work, America wouldn't be the most powerful country in the world.

Zach, you are right, we are a sleeping Grizzly. The vietnam war did not have the might of America behind it, too many people were not for it. The last time we actually woke up, was WWII. I doubt anything like that will happen for this (sorry Zach) fiasco in Iraq, but if it does, holy hell, God help anyone who stands in our way. We may be bloated with complacency, but have you ever had a 400 pound person leap on top of you? Do not mess with a sleeping giant...


Anonymous said...

I am a Grizzly Hear Me Roar!

paul said...

You boil a frog by putting it in cold water and heatng it slowly. the frog gets complacent and when it wakes up boiled to death.

Anonymous said...

Try Putting A Grizzly in Hot Water!

Anonymous said...


If you have a frog that has woken up after having been boiled to death, DON'T let it go. I believe we can make some money off of it!

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