Saturday, March 18, 2006

26 Wasted Minutes...

The transcript of an IM exchange with an Australian friend(?) whose name is changed for privacy. The bold emphasis was added later to highlight my main points. :

aussie [10:37 A.M.]: Hola
Ramskates [10:37 A.M.]: hi
aussie [10:38 A.M.]: Do you know how many civillians were killed on september 11th?
Ramskates [10:38 A.M.]: about 3000 I think, but I'm not sure
aussie [10:38 A.M.]: 2,975
Ramskates [10:38 A.M.]: yeah
aussie [10:38 A.M.]: Know how many civillians have been confirmed killed in Afghanistan?
Ramskates [10:38 A.M.]: nope
aussie [10:38 A.M.]: 3,500+
aussie [10:39 A.M.]: Know how many in Iraq?
Ramskates [10:39 A.M.]: no
aussie [10:39 A.M.]: 33,489
Ramskates [10:39 A.M.]: the terrorists are bad
aussie [10:39 A.M.]: Know how many Coalition troops have been killed?
Ramskates [10:39 A.M.]: no
aussie [10:39 A.M.]: 2655
Ramskates [10:39 A.M.]: the terrorists have killed most all of them
aussie [10:40 A.M.]: it's not terrorism when it's against a military person
aussie [10:40 A.M.]: but yes
aussie [10:40 A.M.]: duh
Ramskates [10:40 A.M.]: I was talking about the civilians
aussie [10:41 A.M.]: actually most were killed during the bombing runs
aussie [10:41 A.M.]: basically at the end of the day you have 2,975 versus 39,644
aussie [10:42 A.M.]: that's a difference of 36,669
aussie [10:42 A.M.]: and we're not talking about money or something here
aussie [10:42 A.M.]: we're talking about humans
Ramskates [10:42 A.M.]: That's not a good comparison, actually. Too many variables that aren't taken into consideration. Not logical.
aussie [10:42 A.M.]: what variables?
aussie [10:42 A.M.]: I've only used US government estimates.
aussie [10:43 A.M.]: the maximum estimate for Iraq civillians is 37,589
aussie [10:43 A.M.]: but that few thousand difference don't affect us
Ramskates [10:44 A.M.]: the issues behind the attacks on the US and the issues of why the US retaliated. You have to stop the crazy Muslims who want to kill everyone who isn't Muslim because they want to take over the world.
aussie [10:44 A.M.]: funny that the few thousand in the first stat 9-11 do
aussie [10:44 A.M.]: yes you do
aussie [10:44 A.M.]: killing 3500 civillians in bombing runs
aussie [10:44 A.M.]: is not the way
Ramskates [10:44 A.M.]: What is?
aussie [10:45 A.M.]: better intelligence? Better funding? A foreign policy that doesn't involve assasinating democratically elected Iranian presidents?
Ramskates [10:46 A.M.]: I don't have any answers for those questions. I'm just a little old redneck momma in TN who is trying to raise my family and teach them how to be good people.
aussie [10:47 A.M.]: I know :P
Ramskates [10:47 A.M.]: LOL
aussie [10:47 A.M.]: Teach 'em that killing is wrong no matter what.
aussie [10:47 A.M.]: :P
Ramskates [10:48 A.M.]: No, if their lives and safety and freedom are being threatened then it's okay for them to support the government's wars.
Ramskates [10:48 A.M.]: Freedom is expensive.
aussie [10:48 A.M.]: lol
aussie [10:48 A.M.]: I believe killing is always wrong unless in self defence
Ramskates [10:49 A.M.]: Self defense can include 'offensive' defense.
aussie [10:49 A.M.]: of course
aussie [10:49 A.M.]: you don't have to be looking down a gun barrel
aussie [10:49 A.M.]: but dropping bombs on civillian towns
aussie [10:49 A.M.]: is not self defence
aussie [10:49 A.M.]: I think most would agree
Ramskates [10:50 A.M.]: dropping bombs on civilian towns in which the terrorists are cowardly hiding and using civilians as shields is self-defense.
Ramskates [10:51 A.M.]: are those civilians dying because of us or because of the terrorists? That's my question.
aussie [10:52 A.M.]: because of you
Ramskates [10:52 A.M.]: no, because the terrorists are using them
aussie [10:53 A.M.]: so if terrorists used your children as self defence, that's cool with you?
aussie [10:53 A.M.]: keep in mind these weren't terrorists
aussie [10:53 A.M.]: these were the Afghani government
Ramskates [10:54 A.M.]: no, that's not cool with me. But if terrorists had MY children I'd be going after them with MY OWN guns and shit and wouldn't wait for the government to step in. I'd sacrifice my life to try to save theirs.
aussie [10:55 A.M.]: and they weren't using them as shields
aussie [10:56 A.M.]: and I think you're a sick fuck if you think it's ok to kill hostages to get the hostage takers
Ramskates [10:56 A.M.]: Like I said, freedom is expensive. MANY people (innocent and otherwise) have lost their lives in the fight for freedom all over the world.
aussie [10:56 A.M.]: you've only lost freedom since this war began
aussie [10:56 A.M.]: you haven't gained any freedom
Ramskates [10:56 A.M.]: I haven't lost any freedom. What freedom have I lost?
aussie [10:57 A.M.]: The President has violated the constitution and ordered wiretaps without warrants, the patriot act has been passed, new legislation forcing communications providers to provide the government with backdoors to tap has been passed
aussie [10:58 A.M.]: but nevermind what you've lost
aussie [10:58 A.M.]: what have you gained?
aussie [10:58 A.M.]: are you any safer?
aussie [10:58 A.M.]: is safety the same thing as freedom?
Ramskates [10:58 A.M.]: The US would never have become an Independent nation if many people hadn't lost their lives in the fight for freedom.

I'm safer than I was on Sept. 10, 2001.
aussie [10:59 A.M.]: No, you're not.
Ramskates [10:59 A.M.]: My constitutional rights have not been violated. How do you know? You're not here.
aussie [10:59 A.M.]: I'll warrant I read US news more closely than you do
Ramskates [10:59 A.M.]: When I've flown I haven't worried that some [epithet removed] was going to blow up the plane.
Ramskates [10:59 A.M.]: you get biased news
aussie [11:00 A.M.]: AHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHA
aussie [11:00 A.M.]: Here's my regular news sources
aussie [11:00 A.M.]: Reuters, CNN, ABC, NBC, BBC, Fox News, PBS, Washington Post, TIME
aussie [11:01 A.M.]: and many many more
aussie [11:01 A.M.]: I don't watch Australian news
Ramskates [11:01 A.M.]: yes, all biased
aussie [11:03 A.M.]: what isn't biased?
aussie [11:03 A.M.]: everyone is biased
Ramskates [11:03 A.M.]: Don't you think that Iran's current push for nuclear weapons would be a much bigger threat if Sadam was still in power in Iraq? The problem with people today is that they don't look far enough into the future to see that today's hardships and sacrifices will ensure better lives in the future.
aussie [11:03 A.M.]: basic facts aren't though
aussie [11:03 A.M.]: I think you're a dumbass.
Ramskates [11:03 A.M.]: I think you're a dumbass. You have no clue as to what the real issues are.
aussie signed off at 11:04 A.M.

I don't need some Australian to tell me that my Constitutional rights have been violated by President Bush. Total bullshit. What does an Australian pussy coward know about freedom anyway? Did they fight a Revolutionary War and WIN their INDEPENDENCE from England? Hm?

When will all these cowards finally realize that FREEDOM IS FUCKING EXPENSIVE, in lives, in money, in time, in responsibility? THANK GOD that we weren't overrun by these silly slugs 230 years ago or we'd still be spending money with the freakin' Queen of England's picture on it too. And THANK GOD for the soldiers who have the COURAGE and HEART to risk their lives for all of us. Of course I am saddened that innocent civilians have died. And I THANK GOD for them and their sacrifices too.

And for the record, if you disagree with me that's fine. Just remember if you live in the FREE world there have been countless lives sacrificed for your freedom to disagree. Have a little more reverence for that, okay?


Assorted Babble by Suzie said...

The problem with people today is that they don't look far enough into the future to see that today's hardships and sacrifices will ensure better lives in the future.

EXCELLENT POST RAE ANN!!! Great minds think alike, I guess (smiling). I totally agree...with you. You are right on Target....I have no idea why some people can not see this or understand it. The other side of the convo sounded like the same old rhetoric. Like you...I would die for my children to be safe.

It is getting to the point with these radicals where you will have to own a gun(s) to protect your family and property...esp. if we stop fighting them over there. The teaching of ISLAM is taking over the globe...and they want Jews and Christians (infidels) dead. They live and breathe it everyday...the hatred for us. The is no end for their goals until death.

mr_g said...

I agree that freedom is expensive and often is gained by tremendous sacrafice. However, looking back, even Emperor Bush the First had enough forethought to not move on Bagdahd. He knew that despite Sadaam's tyrranical rule, he kept the region - Namely Iran - in check. Unfortunately, toppling Sadaam was the first domino to fall in an unsteady area full of unstable leadership and crazed followers. To create the chaos without a real (visible) plan to handle it is, in my opinion, crazy. Iran still hates us for ousting their freely elected government in the 1950's...and do you blame them? Unfortunately, though some good may come from our being there, our history of intervention and hypocracy in the region far outweigh it in the eyes of most of the world and much of this country.

DHammett said...

Teddy Roosevelt said "Speak softly, but carry a big stick." Most of the rest of the world nowadays is both afraid to speak and carry the stick. Any parent knows that it's not enough to threaten children with punishment for disobedience over and over again. There has to be follow-through. In the middle east they know, now, that the US and her allies will follow through.

There's no doubt that the Islamo-facists would like non-Moslems wiped off the face of the earth. They've made their intentions clear. And we need to continue to respond, until they get the message that we're not going anywhere.

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that Europe in the late 30's and early 40's made the mistake of not stepping up when they needed to, and look how that turned out. Haven't we learned our lessons, yet?

And in terms of hypocrisy, isn't backing up one's words the antithesis of hypocrisy? Frankly, George HW Bush was wrong not to finish the job he started, and that's what left the US open to all this second guessing. Having said that, there's no threat that Iran won't stay in check. Sure, they've hated us since the 50's and they continue to hate us today, but knowing that we have the ability and determination to take care of business (as we demonstrated in Iraq), I think there's little chance that they will step over the line. The nuke stuff? Sound and fury signifying nothing.

Lumo said...

Excellent ideas and bravery, Rae! Yes, freedom costs something, and if it is not defended at all, it may die. Otherwise, the Australian person raised a very typical theme of many totalitarian ideologies: they want to convince you that you are unfree, exploited, unhappy - even though you (or others) are obviously quite happy. These ideologies spread bitterness, confuse values, and misinterpret reality.

Rae Ann said...

suzie, thanks for the support. I'm hormonal this weekend and I was afraid that I was too offensive here.

mr g, I will admit that my knowledge of the intricacies of Middle East relations is lacking, but I'm not so sure that Saddam kept anyone in check other than his own oppressed people. The man is clearly insane as you can see by his behavior at his trial.

dh, I have also thought about that T. Roosevelt quote about the big stick. *stops mind from wandering* lol In today's world that idea of carrying a big stick as deterrent is attacked as so unPC. I hate PC bullshit. I've noticed that CNN barely covers the situation in Iran while Fox talks about it a lot. CNN doesn't want to acknowledge that our presence in Iraq is necessary to keep Iran from going too far. We need to keep our troops in Iraq so they can move to Iran more quickly if that action becomes necessary. And I do think that it will eventually be necessary.

lubos, thanks! You said it much better than I did.

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

Well, I certainly hope you are right about being safer now than you were on 9/10/01, though I doubt it. I also don't see how attacking an uninvolved country (Iraq) and making it a center for terrorism has helped us much.

Since it bothers you that Oz didn't have to fight for its independence, maybe you will be encouraged to know that lots of them died fighting for other peoples freedom in WWI, WWII, and Vietnam, and other places - though only WWII involved protecting their own country.

And why worry about freedom before they come for you, personally, right?

DHammett said...


Iraq was a center for terrorism long before the US attacked, as a financial supporter and more. Just like Iran and Syria are also centers for terrorism and we haven't attacked them. Hmmm...Maybe a pre-emptive strike would be in order. lol If you don't think there were radicals in Iraq who already hated the US, you're kidding yourself, and Saddam was at the top of the list.

The Aussies are a part of the coalition of the willing. I don't want to put words in Rae Ann's mouth, but I'm sure she's grateful to Oz for their participation. Her point was that her correspondent did not have, or chose not to recognize, the perspective of somebody whose country had to fight for its independence, much like is happening in Iraq right now. Don't you think that freedoms that comes at so high a cost will be highly valued? Just look at the turnout for the Iraqi elections in the face of death threats if you don't think these people are grateful for their opportunities.

Finally, you (and most liberals) talk about the erosion of our freedoms as though Big Brother has installed cameras in each of our bedrooms. The fact is, the Patriot Act is law. It was passed by both houses of Congress - our representatives in government - after open discussion on the floors of both houses. And there are safeguards written into the laws which still require judicial approval for wiretaps and other surveillances. All this uproar about erosion of our freedoms is a tempest in a teapot.

Kat said...

Excellent post RaeAnn. I don't agree with war, but it's the way of the world. It sucks, but it happens, it always has. I don't understand why so many people want to bitch about it. If bush hadn't gone to war, people would be bitching that he didn't do enough.

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

And there are safeguards written into the laws which still require judicial approval for wiretaps and other surveillances. All this uproar about erosion of our freedoms is a tempest in a teapot.

Of course our President has refused to abide by those provisions restricting his ability to spy, imprison, or torture, all in contravention of our laws.

There are lots of countries in the world that have encouraged or practiced terrorism, notably Israel, the US, France, Pakistan, and many others. The crucial question is whether they practiced terrorism against us. Iraq didn't.

Rae Ann said...

cip, it was just a matter of time until Iraq did. If we'd done less in Afghanistan and Iraq I guarantee you that things would have gotten much worse for the US in terms of terrorist attacks.

DHammett said...

cip -

I would argue that Iraq did practice terrorism against the US insofar as the regime supported terrorist groups (in particular al qaeda), financially and otherwise. And I'm not sure what you are referencing, but I'm not aware of any instances in which the Israel (almost exclusively the victims of terrorism) or the US supported the indiscriminate bombing of innocent people. For example, the way I read even the mainstream media, Hamas bombs innocents; Israel takes out Hamas members. I can't speak to France (but who's afraid of them anyway?) or Pakistan. Can you give examples?

And if, in mentioning our president, you're referencing Gitmo, those prisoners are not part of the criminal justice system, nor are they prisoners of war, so criminal procedure and the Geneva conventions are not applicable. There has not been any torture in Gitmo (the Red Cross recently said conditions there are good) and the stuff that happened at Abu Ghraib is not only old news, but was unauthorized and the perpetrators are being punished. I don't think you saw that in Iraq under Saddam and his sons. Have I missed anything?

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

DHammett - Have I missed anything?

I suppose you are quite well informed about conditions in your parallel universe, but things are a bit different here. The founders of Israel employed terrorism extensively in driving out the British and the Arabs. Have you ever heard of the Stern Gang or the King David hotel - try googling them. They have also more recently murdered a few innocent foreigners in their attempts to assassinate Palestinians. The US has employed terrorist tactics in Chile, Iran, and most successfully in Afghanistan, where we trained and equipped the Taliban to drive the Russians out. Terror is a tactic -a tactic used by the weak because they have no other options and by the strong when it is convenient.

Nothing you say about Gitmo is true. Many were tortured, including an American soldier permanentlu brain damaged (the guards were smashing his head repeatedly against the concrete when he manage to unzip his prisoner coveralls to reveal his military uniform)while simulating being a prisoner in an unscripted training exercise. The prisoners captured in Afghanistan are clearly legally prisoners of war by the Geneva Convention. Those captured elsewhere are (legally) either criminals or just people kidnapped by the government.

The most despicable cover-up of Abu Grahib is the targeting of indivual low-ranking soldiers for practices authorized by Cheney and Rumsfeld and implemented by Major General Geoffrey Miller at Gitmo and taken by him to Abu Grahib and the rest of Iraq. It is hardly coincidental that he has invoked his Fifth Amendment rights. Rumsfeld is of course an old hand at cover-ups - he cut his teeth on the My Lai massacre cover-up.

DHammett said...

OK, Lindsay England was acting as an agent for an American General, Rumsfeld covered up My Lai, the Red Cross was lying about prison conditions in Gitmo, the US is a terrorist country and the entire Arab world is not trying to destroy Israel. And, like Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, the holocaust never happened.

And who lives in a parallel universe?

DHammett said...

OK, Lindsay England was acting as an agent for an American General, Rumsfeld covered up My Lai, the Red Cross was lying about prison conditions in Gitmo, the US is a terrorist country and the entire Arab world is not trying to destroy Israel. And, like Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, the holocaust never happened.

And who lives in a parallel universe?

DHammett said...

Sorry, got an error message on the last comment so I sent it a second time.

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

Hey dh, don't put stupid words in my mouth that I didn't say. If you pay more attention, you should be able to find enough stupid things I actually say.

The Holocaust happened, and among the five million plus murdered was one whole branch of my family.

The US, like almost every other country, has used the tactics of terror - I gave you a few examples - you can look them up.

My Lai happened too, but Don Rumsfeld was an innocent bystander who probably knew nothing of the attempted cover-up. My bad.

The Bush cabinet official who allegedly did play a role in the attempted cover up was then Major Colin Powell. Some details are here at the Wikipedia article.

DHammett said...

No doubt the holocaust and My Lai happened, although I would dispute that My Lai was a terrorist action. It did not have the intent to effect political or social change that is part of the definition of terrorism. Be that as it may, my point, cip, was that you're asking us to believe a lot of things that just don't make sense. And I'm sorry, but like the New York Times, Wikipedia does not exactly have a reputation for journalistic accuracy and integrity.

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

Strawman, strawman, your argumentation techniques remind me of those flowing from the drug addled brain of our most famous Vicodin deafened junkie/talk show host. Nobody claimed My Lai was a terrorist incident, though the difference between military atrocity and terrorism is more linguistic than otherwise - the noncombatants being slaughtered by an organized military force rather than irregulars. The NYT actually has a very good, though lately declining, journalistic reputation. The wikipedia is a wiki, and YMMV, but the facts, including pictures and testimony are available from a thousand sources.

My (I hope) final comment on this topic: There are none so blind as they who will not see. You can look that up if you don't know it.

DHammett said...

Strawman, strawman? Verrrry mature.

Anonymous said...

This article by Leonard Pitts JR on 9/12/01 sums up all of this to me, and I(and the article)completely agree with your thoughts.