Army Recruiting Station Protest

U.S. Army Recruiting Station There was a protest today at the Westside Mall U.S. Army Recruiting Station. Army and overall military recruiting numbers are up recently in the wake of the Bush Administration. There are likely several factors in the increased rates of enlistments, including what is commonly referred to as a "poverty draft." A poverty draft results when people don't have other options than the military. The military is hiring. When people can't find work elsewhere, and especially when there are hungry mouths, the military can easily capitalize on this.

There are all sorts of stories recently, ranging from the military enlisting felons and people who openly advocate white supremacy.

There are a lot of important stories to tell. But for now, I am just going to share some photos from today's protest. I hope you enjoy.

10 Photos:

Pre-emptive Invasion Is A War Crime
Pre-emptive Invasion Is A War Crime

Will Work for Peace
Will Work for Peace

Kill Poverty, Not People
Kill Poverty, Not People

No Surge
No Surge

Iraq Veteran Against the War
Iraq Veteran Against the War

Shut Down the War Machine
Shut Down the War Machine

Out Front, the Police came, stayed awhile, then left
Out Front, the Police came, stayed awhile, then left

War Doesn't Prove Who's Right, Just Who's Left
War Doesn't Prove Who's Right, Just Who's Left

Danger Zone
Danger Zone

War Is A Racket
War Is A Racket

U.S. Army Recruiting Station Protest


Does the USA Constitute an Empire?

The USA: an empire? That seems like the basic question and point of disagreement among many people here. I wonder what's going on. It seems to me like the people who regularly watch Democracy Now!, and use alternative (though reputable) sources of information, are more likely to believe that the USA is an empire. It seems like people who rely on more mainstream sources, and sources that are further in the direction of, or part of, the FOX network are more likely to believe that the USA is simply a do-gooder and that US interventionism overseas is totally justified one way or another.

I also don't think it's that simple. Even if every was operating based on agreement over a certain set of facts, there would be differences based on people's values.

That's where I start to lose my understanding of the situation. I tend to believe that people are basically good, and that, on a basic level, no one really wants to hurt anyone else.

So, what gives in war? There are a few very basic questions that people who support the wars need to answer. These questions include, but are not limited to: 1) Why does the USA spend more on military than the entire rest of the world combined? 2) Why does the USA have over 700 military bases and other outposts throughout the world? 3) Does the USA have policies designed to pursue control - does the USA employ practices that seek control - over other nations political decisions, over global resources, and over other economic activities?

Additionally, I think this is a good question for everyone to ask: Whether, or not, America really does employ policies and practices of imperialism, is, or would, this American pursuit of control over overseas and global politics, resources and economics, be entirely justified? Why or why not?

Noam Chomsky

The following speech delivered by Noam Chomsky at Columbia University for the Annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture is relevant to some of the topics discussed in this thread.

NOAM CHOMSKY: “The Unipolar Moment and the Culture of Imperialism”

More Chomsky (to the Rescue)

For those of us who don't believe that the USA constitutes an empire, here is another excellent presentation by Noam Chomsky, which deals with the issue:

Noam Chomsky - Honduras

Jay Smooth on "what you did" not "what you are."

A good description of how these kind of conversations evolve and how to approach them.

'Your Boy' is not racist.


Your Boy

1. A good friend
2. Your favourite person/role model

"It's your boy!"

A reference to someone who obviously is not a close or an admired friend.

"What's your boy, Hughes, up to?"

Should check this site out more...

I'll try and get more involved with the site again, but I just wanted to say that it's impossible for someone to be against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and remain neutral toward the troops. I realize a lot of people are against our involvement in the Middle East and the increase in troop strength in Afghanistan and fully understand that, whether they wish to admit it or not, are against the actions I undertake to further a goal they're against.

It's certainly nothing I take personally, because I know that as a person they don't know me from Adam. However, as a representative of the federal government's armed wing (no, not the IRS), it's impossible for someone to say they're against my actions but for me.

Also, as I said before (and by "before", I mean almost a year ago), I eventually hope to post my thoughts on my time in Iraq and what I think about the increase in Afghanistan sooner rather than later.

Thanks, Norm

That comment sat there for 5 days without anybody saying "boo."  ODT riled up the masses but for no reason.  The comment was not meant to be racist.  Accept my apology if you were offended by the phrase.

Laurian (and Rob) is correct in his assessment that the phrase probably aligns with a generation.  Blame Gangsta Rap...

The words of girlsforscience

I am also considering the words of the user girlsforscience, and am having some difficulty approaching them and finding what would seem like a reasonable response. Maybe there isn't a reasonable response. I think girlsforscience believes that the USA is not an empire. Thus it would be difficult to have a conversation about anything else in terms of international policy without first resolving that issue.

Is America an Empire?

Here's a great look at that question by the BBC.

My feelings are close to this, from the article:

For others, like Michael Mandelbaum of the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, America's current position is unique - there simply is not an adequate word to describe it.

As he put it: "Empire is not quite right but it seems to be closer than anything else we have in common usage, so we employ it.

Thanks for the Conversation

This has been an interesting conversation. Although I am not particularly interested in or enthusiastic about arguing on the semantics of imperialism, I thank everyone for engaging on this important topic (and related topics.)

Although I'll probably be around and stopping in here and there over the next few days, I just want to express some cheer, and to tell you all: Happy Holidays, Good Tidings and Best Wishes for 2010.


Just to be clear

I did not believe EG used the term in a racially derogatory way (not that he needs my approval). I think it's fair to point out phrases that some people find offensive, but it would be cool to find a better way to pass that message along and to accept it with grace. Somethng to do with out mutual respect I suppose. Merry Christmas folks.

Voices of Resistance

I encourage everyone, very much including TFI and other active-duty personnel, to check out the IVAW Winter Soldier testimony. It's powerful and amazing, to hear first hand, from those who have seen the front edge of the war.

Here are a couple videos to get you started. The testimony of soldiers is also archived at

stand alone thread

Hey Berd, I think this coment rocks!

What a great topic to discuss-

-in my opinion, this comment would post well as a thread.



Berd, you are a cool cat and

Berd, you are a cool cat and all, and I like talking with you, but Chomsky, really? Not the best person to sway us from our imperialistic thoughts. Imagine if I was trying to convince you that torture was a GREAT thing......and was using Bush as my power-hitter.  And

I disagree

I admire your willingness to be the final arbiter of all nuance, Rob Richards. But just because it doesn't sound racist to you doesn't mean it doesn't strike other people as sounding racist. The word "nigger" itself may or may not be racist depending on the context, who speaks it, and so forth. Note, I didn't accuse anyone of racism. It's really hard to prove intentions. But I do feel both obliged and entitled to speak up when something strikes me as sounding racist. I think we all should.

Impossible or not

Do you think it is a legitimate criticism of the anti-war movement in general..."they are against the troops." That's the crux of the issue here I believe. Be careful out there.

Next time I read you using a

Next time I read you using a phrase that strikes me as racist, I'll just ignore it; you don't appear to be receptive to examining how your choice of words affects others. Noted!

Thanks Chad / War and Imperialism / Climate and Pollution

Thanks Chad, there is a lot of area to go on here, and I think a lot of need for popular education about the economic policies and practices of the USA. There are a lot of dots to connect between war, militarism and imperialism; and climate change, pollution and environmental degradation; and technology, industrialization; sustainability (and unsustainability); privilege and oppression; racism (and all other "isms"); and the prospect of someday living in a better world that works for all people - a world where all people may be economically prosperous and also have political and social freedom.

I appreciate your enthusiastic words of support.

What's Wrong with Socialism? / Chomsky and Imperialism

I don't think that either capitalism nor socialism are the real root of the problem, nor is either the answer to humanity's problems. However, I don't think that socialism deserves the bad-rap that it so often receives in America. Socialist and capitalist policies alike are responsible for some of the best that America has to offer. So called socialist policies support public parks, fire hydrants and fire departments, public schools, all among a long list of other services. Socialist policies are also (skewed) to serve the worst that America has to offer: as we see in America's addiction to militarism, and in military budgets that are on large doses of growth-enhancement drugs.

Just as so-called capitalist policies are responsible for some of the best and some of the worst that America has to offer. Capitalistic policies can promote efficiency and innovation, competition in arts and trades. However, capitalism can also be prone to excess - when the pursuit of profit is put before the health and well-being of people, then capitalism is really not serving humanity.

I tend to favor socialist policies, because socialism is designed to serve society, which is composed of people and their environment. This is opposed to capitalism, which is designed to serve capital. Which is fine and dandy - until a honest exploration of the ways in which capital is won. This exploration of the ways of capital reveals a horrendous picture of various acts of violence (war, slavery, etc.,) and a status quo of oppression.

I agree with you Norm. I wish the socialist banner wasn't on there, not because I necessarily disagree with "socialism," but because I think some people may be turned off by their snap-pre-judgment of socialism - rather than listening to Chomsky's words and ideas.

Lastly: if any imperialism-denier has been even partly convinced that they might have imperialistic thoughts, much less given consideration of being swayed from imperialism, then that is good. The first step in fixing a problem is to acknowledge that there is indeed a problem.

That's what America really needs. Although I think most people realize that there is a problem - it's scary and complex, and difficult to understand and to do anything about it (myself included.) So people don't open their eyes to the truth. It's easier not to. But it would be worth it if we did. It's not that people don't care. It's that people aren't empowered. Part of the problem is our oppressive society that is designed to dis-empower people from challenging the unjust status quo.

Be careful about automatically dissing socialism. Because I think most people would agree that there are some really good aspects of socialism. And also - because using labels like socialism/capitalism/communism probably just makes it more difficult to approach, in conversation, the deeper and more fundamental meanings and realities of the world.

I admire your willingness to admire me.

and I get that something might sound racist to one person and not to another. And I know that calling someone "your boy" or "your girl" is not racist, and calling someone racist for doing so is Godwinian.

It's not fair...

Only because at the level the criticism is used at, nobody would be civil about it and everyone would get bent out of shape.

It's the same with supporting action in Afghanistan and Iraq. People are "for" my actions so, by extension, they're "for" me, but they don't know me from Joe Blow.

I also want to add that I am in Olympia for a brief period (unfortunately, with the holiday season, I won't be able to meet my usual OlyBlog contact) and had breakfast at The Spar yesterday. Definitely a great place and a reason to say "That's why I like the United States." Anyway, I was reading Works in Progress and found the material...interesting? Hopefully after Christmas I'll be able to submit a post on my last year and my thoughts about it.

Could you include me there as well?

I am just really not receptive to your brand of PC-thuggery

War, Pollution, Climate Change



Burning borrowed money in America’s wars

Dec 17, 2009 10:05 EST

— Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. —

The Pentagon has an evocative term for the level of spending on a war: burn rate. In Afghanistan, it has been running at around $5 million every hour for much of the year. The burn rate will begin going up next week when the first of an additional 30,000 U.S. troops arrive.

Once they are all in place, the burn rate is estimated to exceed $10 million an hour, or more than $8 billion a month. Much of that is literally burned — in the engines of American jeeps, trucks, tanks, aircraft and power generators. On average, each of the 183,000 soldiers currently deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq requires 22 gallons of fuel a day, according to a study by the international accounting firm Deloitte....


Not just a socialism thing

I like certain aspects of socialism, and hate others.

Chomsky is pretty much the poster-boy for the "anarchist, I Hate America, forgive me for being white, military is bad m'kay, look how far left I can go Mom" movement.

I have no doubt that the man is a genius. I just don't think of him as a bridge builder.

If I posted a link to Bush talking about the merits of torture, how global warming doesn't exist, and how Iraq was really the cause behind 9/11, would you take it seriously? Bush isn't the guy who will convince you that torture is a good thing (and he shouldn't be), Chomsky is not the guy that's going to convince me that America is some imperialist regime.

I don't think anyone called anyone racist.



Speaking for all of us, as you put it, "anarchist, I Hate America, forgive me for being white, military is bad m'kay, look how far left I can go Mom" out there I'd just like to chime in and say Chomsky is not our spokes person.

"The Chompers" as he is known about our gluten free vegan anti-parent anti-police student potlucks, is at best, an important figurehead in the process along the way to arriving at our current anti-civilization, anti-work, vegetarian, anti-window, pro-everything you don't like position.

 And my mother has never been impressed with how left I can be, no matter how wildly I wave my arms and shout from the sandbox.

So that's that. Whoever told you Chomsky was a poster boy was misinformed.


"that's racist" vs. "you're racist" - I should have been clearer.


Thank you, I needed a bit of that today :)

Poster-boy was my own interpretation. He seems to be cited constantly.

How Far Left Can I Go

It's interesting, and I think also understandable, that Chomsky could be interpreted as a just simply trying to push the edge of the envelope.

But I think that interpretation is affected by a thorough-going level of indoctrination in the mainstream of society.

I think that deep down, what Chomsky writes and speaks about is common sense. His message is of a fundamentally humanist nature.

Comparison of Bush and Chomsky makes some sense - but it's not like torture is really defensible. Torture, for one, is illegal under humanitarian law. It is illegal because it is immoral. The fact that the USA regularly practices and enables torture may belie the fact that torture is illegal. But torture is illegal. Imperialism is illegal too - for the same reason. Imperialism is immoral.

Chomsky may not be a bridge-builder. You're probably right on that issue. And the second video is not as easily digestible as the first, so I probably shouldn't have posted it. Chomsky may not be a bridge-builder, but at least he is a man of honesty who cares about the truth, and who cares about people.

Honesty, truth, caring about people, and acting out of concern for humanity: that is in stark contrast to Bush, who during his time in office consistently lied and misled the nation. The US Government, under Bush, was driven into two unnecessary wars - wars of aggression (not to mention the "War on Terror" and the associated clamp down on domestic civil liberties, and the multitude of other draconian pop-ups of the last administration. To be fair and honest, the current administration is not immune from the same mistakes. The slide toward fascism and tyranny has been occurring for the past several decades [if not the past several hundred or thousand years,] and is nonpartisan in nature. It's a cultural phenomenon and a deep issue.)

So, ultimately, the comparison breaks down - because it's wrong for whomever (even be it Former President Bush himself) to persuade someone, toward the causes of tyranny and of imperialism.

And conversely it is right to persuade toward the cause of peace, justice, freedom and prosperity for all people. I think that's a big part of what Professor Chomsky is working on: to wake people up and support the truth that the system we live in is fundamentally corrupt and harmful - and that there are better ways to have society.

I think that torture is without merit. And the same goes for much of the criticism of human caused global warming.

I think that the substance of the argument is at least as important as the messenger. Human rights are good. Justice is good. Peace is good. Truth is good. Freedom is good.

Torture is bad. War is bad. Oppression is bad. Violence is bad. Lying is bad.

Anyway. That's my thinking. This is pretty close to the original topic of the thread (regarding the military recruiting issue,) and I am enjoying myself, I hope you are too.

The Chomper's "Manufacturing Consent"

is appropriate for this thread, especially considering the uncritical view that being "for the troops" is just a natural inclination that is independent of outside influences.

If that were true, we would have seen as many yellow-ribbon patriots in 1968, but we didn't. Perhaps we've simply "evolved" to become more sympathetic and appreciative of our service members. To some degree, that is true. But that evolution was heavily influenced by popular culture and media and also just happens to be a potent tool for discouraging and marginalizing dissent.

manufacturing consent

Thanks to the Internet, here's the video based on the Chomsky/Hermann title:

I'm enjoying the conversation really

The comparison with Bush is a bad one, I admit. I was going for a pretty blunt comparison. Torture is defensible though, even if you and I don't agree with the defense. If one man is tortured horribly, and it ends up saving 200,000 lives in the process (pulling this number out of thin air), is that torture justified? Some would think so.

Chomsky is an interesting guy. I can't say I dislike him, he's hard to follow at times, and some of his ideas are too far out there for me.

I can see fundamentally how we are different Berd, and that's not a bad thing.

Torture is bad imo. War is a necessary evil. Oppression is bad. Violence is required, without doubt. And lying is absolutely necessary at times.  Just a little different, it's nice that we can talk though ;)

War is a Necessary Evil? Necessary for What?

War is a necessary evil. Really? Necessary for what?

Necessary for maintaining global dominance - surely. Necessary for maintaining a climate of oppression. Necessary for maintaining a social order where some have power OVER others. Sure. Violence is necessary to maintain hierarchical and oppressive social structures.

But other than that? I don't think that war, violence, or oppression are at all necessary.

I think that war is less of a means, than an end in and of itself. Orwell wrote, in the quintessential novel 1984, that "War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent."

War is necessary to maintaining the status quo where the poor get poorer, and the rich get richer. It's a nonsensical status quo - totally unsustainable. The health of humanity, and health of the living systems of the planet, are being flushed down the toilet. For what? So that some can have more than others?

I think that a profit motive that is without adherence to a moral compass, which would protect the essential dignity of all people, is just plain nonsense. (Why don't our ethics protect people? The ethics of this society protect profit, not people? Is it an intrinsic failure of capitalism? Perhaps it is. Or is it a deeper issue? Again, perhaps that's the case. I tend to think that it's possible to have harmful ethics in a socialist society too. Just look at Nazism. Nazi Germany was socialist. Though it was also expressly nationalist. Not unlike the modern-day USA. Perhaps the problem is nationalism. I think nationalism is a problem. But it also must be understood that Nazi Germany was corporatist. Strikingly similar to the USA, where the most powerful corporations, at all levels, all but hold a monopoly over the reigns of government.)

If war is a necessary evil, for example, to protect Americans against the harm that might come from terrorists, then we must ask and honestly address the serious question of why some might seek to commit acts of terrorism against the USA. Is it possible that people around the world might have legitimate grievance against the USA based on the economic activities of the USA? I think so.

I think the best way to counter terrorism in the world is to stop participating in exploitative and abusive policies and practices.

I mean seriously - what does the concept of global dominance mean to you? And what do you think it might feel like to someone in another land who is suffering under the boot of (what I believe can only rightly be understood as) the American Empire?

Was WWII necessary? Do you

Was WWII necessary? Do you think Americans could have changed their ways and then maybe the Nazi party would have been happy?

I would ask this:

If President Obama were to go on TV tonight and say that he was sending US troops into Sudan to help the people and stop the rapes, murders, kidnappings, and constant state of violence that has plagued that region for decades, leading to an entire generation of children born from rape, would you say that we shouldn't do that because "violence is never justified"?


Closer to home, if you were with a friend or loved one and they were attacked, would you stand by and watch it happen and not help them at all?

I'm not trying to argue, or say that You're Wrong, I just think these are important questions to really understand the different viewpoints at work.

This is why the "war is not necessary" position

is not a very useful approach in general. It too quickly falls into the "well, what if your sister was being raped" trap. When the great and gay literary critic Lytton Strachey was asked that question by an English draft board, he answered, "I'd hope I should try to come between them." The question we have to grapple with is "is this act of violence fustified, or should I behave like Lytton?"


I agree, sir.

I agree too.

Before asking about what to do if a friend is attacked:

The important question to ask, as I so voluminously led up to below, is whether or not I am the attacker.

Regarding US imperialism, we as Americans are at various points along the spectrum between being the attacked, and being the attacker, as well as being the innocent bystander looking on.

I do think that it helps to understand, though, that we are all victims of it - this system that has threads of violence running into its core.

Yeah Good Question

I think this will apply to Norm's question above too.

There is a difference between aggression, and self-defense. That's where it gets confusing. Sometimes, the government tells us that it is acting in self-defense, when the truth is that it is acting aggressively. Sometimes there is a legitimate act of self-defense - that becomes an act of aggression - as can arguably be understood with WWII.

Personally, I don't argue against a person's right to defend their self.

If a friend were to be attacked, then there are multiple variables which factor in to how to best deal with the situation. Sometimes, the best course of action might be to flee. Sometimes to flee would not be necessary. Sometimes just being there to witness the situation might be enough to protect against and prevent attack. Sometimes attack may not be preventable. Sometimes to prevent and protect against attack might not be possible. Sometimes to flee might not be possible. If prevention and then escape are not possible nor reasonable, then it might make sense to interfere with the attack. There are many manners in which to do this.

There are so many variables, it would take a thick book to describe the right actions for any of what could be an infinite variety of different situations. There are already probably many books published about this very same and similar topics.

How to handle immediate physical attack, intimidation, and or threats of violence probably would benefit from a good old-fashioned dose of common sense.

There's a lot to consider in any given situation. All situations are unique. I don't think it necessarily helps to ruminate excessively on how to handle violent attacks.

I don't think legitimate acts of self-defense ought to be treated categorically as violence. But who is define what is a legitimate act of self-defense? Former oil industry executives in the Bush Administration? Former Wall Street executives in the Obama Administration?

Wars are complex beasts. The best thing to do would be to abolish them from human societies. How we react when threatened is less important than how we live our lives and structure our society so that it is either prone toward violence, aggression and war - or conversely designed to avoid and prevent war.

I believe a system that allows for a profit motive in war making is fundamentally corrupt.

As long as people are making money off of war (and other destructive activities) I think the question of how to respond to acts of violence is somewhat of a red-herring and a bogeyman.

Our own culture is a significant part of the overall propagation of violence and destruction in the world.

What is happening in Sudan is horrible - no question. And it is important to realize that the events in Africa, the destabilization, can truthfully be traced way way back to the conquest of the African continent, and the subjugation of Africans, by Europeans. The exploitation of and violence toward black Africans by white Europeans (and others) still goes on today.

So I think there are deeper, underlying, and more fundamental questions that need to be asked.

Regarding WWII, what provoked it? What prompted Germany to rise up in such a heinous manner? Is it possible that it was the cruel conditions imposed upon it in the wake of WWI that caused Nazism to flourish?

The problems of war and violence are both simple and complex. There is a long history of violence amongst humanity that contributes to ages worth of mistrust and misunderstanding between peoples.

And as long as some of us, or the governments of some of us, continue to pursue and promote policies that involve some form of dominance and/or oppression, then I don't see how we can expect an outbreak of peace and goodwill. People around the world are legitimately aggrieved.

You ask, what are we supposed to do when a friend is being attacked? I say - try to stop the attack!

Port Militarization Resistance - Case in Point.

I view the innocent people of Iraq, and Afghanistan, and the world, as my friends, who have come under attack by what just so happens to be my very own government. Thus - ample reason to stand in the way. We don't need to discuss the nitty-gritty details of the violence. The entire familes that have been vaporized in the blink of an eye, the orphaned chilren. All of it unnecessary. All of it provoked by a lie. And every day I grow more and more disillusioned with the Obama Administration - which seems powerless to address these so grievously obvious abuses - which every day seems to appear more and more obviously complicit with the ongoing unjust status quo.

You ask, what is a person to do when their friend is being attacked. To just stand there?

I think we also need to ask, what are we to do when WE are the attacker - what are we to do when our own country is the greatest exporter of violence and aggression? Are we supposed to standby and let our government ship the weapons of war in the name of ostensibly "supporting our 'troops'."

We are all victims of terrorism. We are all victims of this culture of fear and division. The American People are horribly victimized by this culture of conquest. It permeates the space between all of us. It tears apart families, and engenders terrible socio-economic instability, even in our own lives, families and homes, neighborhoods and communities. This culture of violence and domination: it's an old problem. It's thousands of years old. It probably existed in pockets even before capitalism was born in ancient Babylon. But ever since the advent of agriculture and technology and banks and the wielding of the efforts of capital, people have variously used these powers to put each other down. So there's a lot of momentum, and a lot of confusion - a lot of false idols. Money, gold, has become a god. And I think that none of us are truly - not one of us is truly - better off as a result.

I'll stop there.

Who did I call racist?

Who did I call racist? Actually, I put the phrase in quotes and said "No comment." Guess that passes for Godwinian in your book?

I wonder if the interpretation of the Boy thing

is a generational. To this 47 year old the racist connotations of 'your boy' are immediately clear but to a Gen Xer, they may not. Kind of like the use of 'suck', In my adolescent milieu 'suck', as in 'you suck', was a homophobic slur. Today the term is bandied about by even the most progressive anti-homophobe.

I just asked an older woman

I just asked an older woman (over 70) what she thought, and she found it to be unquestionably racist. So the generational theory may have something to it, Laurian. Maybe people should be aware then, that when they choose to use the phrase "your boy Obama," that it will most likely seem racist to older people. If they care.

TFI, good to hear from you

Season's Greetings from OlyBlog!

<we all still talkin 'bout da war here>

I disagree. I can hope the best for you but still think you are misguided for joining and I can still disagree with the US foreign policy while wishing you a safe tour.

That said, I do want to hear your perspective on your chosen adventure in service.

~Happy Holidays~



Ignore It?

I for one appreciated your addition to the conversation. I encourage to keep speaking up in the future when you encounter words or activities that seem racist. I thank You, ODT.

It's a good lesson for young writers

If you want people to pay attention to what you have to say rather than how you say it, it's a good idea not to build little idiomatic speed bumps in the middle of your paragraph.


I disagree. I can hope the best for you but still think you are misguided for joining and I can still disagree with the US foreign policy while wishing you a safe tour.

I wasn't saying you would wish for me - or anyone else - to be physically or emotionally harmed from being abroad as a part of an armed conflict.

I'm just trying to say that on some level, you have to be against me because my actions further a goal you're against. More than likely, you'd hope I was incompetent at my job. However, incompetence leads to people - both American and foreign national - being injured and/or killed.

I understand how it's difficult being against a policy - in this case, armed action in Iraq and Afghanistan - and not wanting to see your fellow citizens participating but also not wanting them to meet an untimely demise. I supported action in Iraq when the Bush administration first made its case but eventually changed my position, prior to joining the Army and after being in Iraq. I think in the long-term, Iraq is going to be far better off than Afghanistan (though much of that has to do with the overall education of the population), but I don't think that will mean our involvement there protected U.S. citizens or interests any more than had we not invaded.

We'll see, though. If we have access to Iraq's natural resources for the next X-amount of years and the country turns into a stable, semi-democratic state, history will probably look favorably on our action there.

Sorry, I'm off-track now. I don't think you - or anyone else protesting - wishes me ill (although I'm sure there are some people who might), I was just saying - from a strict X + Y = Z mindset - supporting me doesn't fit into the equation.

While I have the bully pulpit, I also want to say that I have felt for some time - long before I joined the Army - that the biggest hypocrites are the people who supported the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and did not join any branch of service.

I'm really not all that

I'm really not all that worried about OlyBlog regulars reading what I have to say.  Point taken.

Brave and Honest TFI

The position of that one can be against war but be in favor of soldiers has always struck me as a secular version of hate the sin but love the sinner. If one opposes a war one has to oppose those who commit that war, from Presidents to riflemen.

For the record TFI I do not wish you ill.  I do want you to come home. Good luck to you sir. Merry Christmas.


If one opposes a war one has to oppose those who commit that war, from Presidents to riflemen.

Exactly. Everyone is afraid of repeating the treatment Vietnam veterans received, which isn't a bad thing. Those guys certainly didn't deserve to come back to that.

The public has at least decided on a way to assign blame, with those carrying out the orders receiving the least amount. Although soldiers are the cogs in the machine, people understand and can empathize with their fellow citizens simply attempting to see the next day and keep the lights on, so to speak. We're all a part of the rat race.

People also understand that the members of the military would participate in - just about - any conflict on their countrymen's behalf. Whether you agree with the conflict or not, there's something to be said about that.

This is why policy and policymakers are the ones who get the blunt of the public's wrath. They're the ones who decide how the nation's assests are used.

I do want you to come home. Good luck to you sir. Merry Christmas.

Thank you. I'm actually in Olympia for a bit. The joys of leave.

nice points

Can't say I understand the logic of...

"at some level...More than likely, you'd hope I was incompetent at my job...incompetence leads to people - both American and foreign national - being injured and/or killed.".

That is exactly what I'm not saying.

Hopefully you can and are getting more out of serving than just a paycheck and hopefully will never have to take a life.

For me, other than just being one of many tax-payers and Americans, it is all relative...

...I didn't join, nor am I forced to serve, and you have the freedom to, so that works for me.

And I already have no choice in supporting you because I willingly pay whatever taxes I owe.



Soldiers vote on this issue too

The thing that really rankles me when people criticize someone whose VOICE opposes war (by saying they are anti-US troop), is that more US troops are killed by OTHER US troops (counting only deliberate action here) than by ANY protester of the war(s).

Let me be clear, the criticism of antiwar persons as anti troop is NOT LEGITIMATE for a person sworn to uphold the US Constitution and its Amendments, one of which protects the very right being critiqued. It is a herring, of a red pigmentation. It is a false argument. It is NOT Cricket.

By supporting and participating in a war which is illegal by any international laws which apply, is to be ANTI UNITED STATES. For a troop to do that is not only illegal, but immoral and inconsistent and illegitimate. Having said so does not mean I wish that soldier harm, it means I wish to 'strike' them in the noggin with a (metaphorical) clue by four.

Rabble rousing is SO easy!

Rabble rousing is SO easy! All it took for me to "rile up the masses" was to quote someone and say "no comment." It's interesting that some people would prefer no one make "no comment"s about what they write.


Referring to someone as "boy," from the dictionary on this computer: dated offensive (often used as a form of address) a black male servant or worker.

I'm behind you, and the

I'm behind you, and the actions you take. Stay safe bud.


Thank you.

Against the Wars (Against Imperialism) Yet for the Soldiers

TFI, Welcome back to OlyBlog, and Olympia. I hope you have a very pleasant stay for the holidays.

About war and soldiers and support: Maybe you are right - that it is impossible to be against the wars, and against the policies of the USA - yet support the soldiers.

I don't know. Maybe it's difficult because of how emotional of an issue it is. Maybe it is possible to be against the wars and still support the soldiers at some level. Maybe it's possible to feel like I am supporting soldiers, but that some soldiers might not be receptive or accepting of the feelings of support that I do, very much so, legitimately and really, have.

Maybe Chad is right. Personally, I think that there is a difference and a distinction between soldiers as human beings, and soldiers in terms of what they do in their professional capacity (which is to enable ongoing injustice of imperialism, and tremendous violence.) I think that much of what is asked of soldiers to do in their professional capacity is demeaning and dehumanizing. Just think about being told to kill another human being - how devastating!

I view soldiers as victims of the system: a system that says some are better or more worthy than others. A system that says it is okay to go out and take from other lands and peoples without asking. Soldiers are victims just like the rest of us.

However, I also believe that the USA is the greatest perpetrator of violence in the whole world, and as such, we all have a duty: soldiers, other military personnel, and civilians alike - we all have a responsibility to expose and oppose what I believe is an essentially harmful (extremely violent and destructive,) corrupt, and oppressive system.

So, I am against the wars, against imperialism - and against what soldiers do on a daily basis in their official professional capacity. However, I am for the soldiers on a human level - the level at which we all need to be loved, to be cared for, to be told the truth, to be respected, to have someone listen to us, to have tenderness and affection in our lives. We are all human. We all have that in common. And in order to be happy, healthy and free, we have some basic common needs, and I think soldiers are entitled, as humans, to having those needs met to.


Nice photos Berd. - Don't shoot till you see the whites of their eyes! :) Good series.

Thank You Kay!

Poverty Draft Made Good

I was a product of your so called poverty draft in '93.  No options, no money for school.  Yep, the military got to me.  16 years later I've held a job in the same industry the military trained me for, 12 years at the same company, and am married with 3 beautiful kids.  Jealous much?

Boy, you protesters sure do have a lot to learn.  We all do.  But, I look at this and think, "What is the point?"  I really, really don't see the point.  Hope it made you feel better to pontificate.  Your actions are shameful... I hope to look past them but you make it very difficult to accept a protest that has no chance, I said no chance, of doing anything at all to further your cause.  Gawd, you're in the comforts of Olympia for goodness sake.  Think about it.

In case you've been living under a rock, which I know is not the case, why in the hell do you pin this on Bush?  Seriously.  Your boy Obama has had plenty of time to make good on his promises.  Just seems to me that your so f**king clueless you have no other options.

Poverty Draft

EG - Thank you for sharing your perspective. It's great for you that your military career worked out like that.


Yeah, no problem.  Glad

Yeah, no problem.  Glad you're able to speak to your claims of Bush and all.  Do me a favor, let me know the next time you and your friends plan to loiter on the porch of a military recruiting station.  I'd like to join to give you perspective when you need it most.

pull the trigger?

Yeah, good for you, but let me ask, did you pull the trigger on someone during your term of service?

And if not, do you think that if you'd have had to serve with lethal force, that you'd still be so hung ho?

(nod to Bert for being nice)

I'm just curious & confused by your comments, but don't want to discuss what a fruitless drain the military is on America and the globe.

Happy Holidays civilian.


The point of protest

I appreciate what you've had to say, Ehver. Really. I think you are probably right that many of the protesters have a lot to learn. After all, a great many of those who actively protest in the Olympia community are students. However, I'm not sure why you don't see the point. I will tell you I personally wouldn't be out in front of the local Army recruiter's office protesting, since I currently support what the Army and military is currently engaged in, and the men and women serving in it. When your young, I think learning to exercise your political voice is exciting. It's also like trying on a pair of shoes, and learning what various political positions mean. I personally disagree with many of the protesters' signs, and hope they will eventually come to change their minds. They are taking several political positions that I think are obvious, and debatable. I can see that you come from a point of knowledge, having served with the Army. This is a great position from which to educate youth who have good intentions, but are lacking essential life experience and scope. No one is better at teaching world politics and our role in them than the military, as far as I can observe. I know it's tempting to berate the protesters involved, and even mock them, but what's the point? They don't really learn much from that, in my opinion, except that they've taken a position that is unpopular. I think they already know that. Since they're largely a learning population, I believe that debate is essential to showing them a different side of the issues they aren't considering. You can't expect world politics to be self evident, when it takes so much time to become properly acquainted with them. I do wish they'd spend more time talking to soldiers, or volunteering at there local VA hospital, than protesting them. Just so you have a sense of my background, I grew up in the community, went to school, and even attended the local Evergreen College. When I was young, I protested the Gulf War, and attended many political protests and rallies for various alternative/liberal causes. Contrary to what you might think, my attendance at Evergreen was the first inclination I had towards questioning my prior political activities and assumptions. I realized I really disliked Evergreen politics, once I was exposed to it in full force. I also met my husband, who really impressed me with his character and manners, and who happened to be a veteran. He continues to serve alongside the military as a civilian, and is about to enlist again. He taught me a lot about the reality of the military, both good and bad. Here I was, a complete hippie chick at the time, hooking up with a Texan with prior service and a cookie cutout of your all American guy. After we married, I traveled alongside him to various military installations and bases, which I continue to do today. What an education. It really tests the reality of what you think you know. Also, I have learned that today's American Army is incredibly diverse. There's a place even for those like the protesters in front of the recruiting office. I wish they'd join us and learn that they can really make a difference, and learn an incredible amount while they're at it. Thank you for your service.

They are not "protesting the soldiers."


I respectfully disagree

...and they are definitely protesting the decisions that soldiers make. You can call out the "war machine" or what you like, but the decisions this body of people make in conjunction with their people and leaders is an issue. I do think you're protesting soldiers, at least indirectly, and I do believe that face-to-face time with active military members is lacking. You may rationalize differently, but I have another impression.

As the great Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said

"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."

Perhaps a little face-to-face time with some of the protesters will help sort that out.

Generals are Soldiers too (I agree with GFS)

So of course we are 'protesting soldiers' when we protest war. I'm not sure how that became off-limits in discourse in the US, but I have heard versions of it going back to the First Gulf War. The yellow ribbon campaign was all about exploiting the wedge between dislike of warfare, and love of the persons who were stuck in that system.

It is, of course, a stupid way to defend warfare in the context of humanist values. The other side has soldiers, too. Defending warfare is defending harm to the other soldiers (and our own but to a lesser degree). The only way it makes sense is to assume that "US" means U.S. and "Them" means "The rest of the world with our resources in their areas." From the context of being a country, of internalized nationalism, it makes sense to say that you cannot question war without questioning soldiers' decisions and essentially disregarding their lives. (Soldiering is slightly more invested than clerking at a gas station).

"Your boy Obama"?

No comment.

That Sounds Racist

I am surprised that someone like EG, who has so much respect for the ways of the USA, would speak in such a derogatory manner of the POTUS. Thank you for pointing this out, ODT.

"Your boy Obama" - That sounds racist.

Maybe "our boy"

would get more respect if he wore one of those "Mission Accomplished" cod-piece uniforms. It's all about the uniform for some folks.

Too Bad GI Joe...

...didn't have a uniform for POTUS on the team, all tech & nomex with mirrorshades & all the  Commander-in-Chief technology onboard.


Do you believe it to be

Do you believe it to be racist or are you just playing along, Berd?  It's a reference to those who voted for Obama and has nothing to do with his race.  Tell your boy ODT to settle down and focus on the message, not the words.

Sounds Racist and Derogatory

All I am saying is that what you wrote sounds racist. I don't know what you mean by "playing along". But it would be a lot easier to focus on your message if the words weren't offensive and mean.

It does sound racist, doesn't it?

You can't really expect people to "focus on the message, not the words" in a written medium. And the phrase "your boy Obama" sounds racist. Maybe you didn't realize it the first time. But now you know.


Don't fall for it EG. It's OlyD trying to bait you, and for some reason a few others jumping on the mob-rule bandwagon.

"your boy name" is pretty common. Talking about the other teams QB? Anyone? I have done it myself. "Your boy Bush"? Have had it said to me before. Laughable at best. You ALL knew what he was talking about, don't pretend otherwise.

"Your boy Obama" ie. The guy you voted for, the guy who so many progressive/liberal/moderate/hippy/socialist/etc cried for on election night. The guy who made American history when he was elected by the people. The guy who hasn't made so many of you happy because he hasn't pulled all troops out of foreign land and sat down to smoke a bong with them.

You want to pin something on EG, I can think of half a dozen things to pin on him. Racist? Give me a break. I've never seen so many of you grasping at straws at the same time. Shame on you.

Sometimes people sound

Sometimes people sound racist without meaning to. Sometimes they mean to, and then deny it. I think it's incumbent on all of us to call it to people's attention when someone says something that sounds racist. I am not saying that EG (or you, either, Norm) is a racist, but that phrase, "your boy Obama," sounds racist to me, and apparently to other people as well. Whether you want to get defensive and insist you're not racist, or instead think about how your words sound to other people, is an individual decision.

First off

Hey Norm, I hear you, but I thought the same thing when I read EGs comment, which I think is a loose, racist phrase when used to describe a person of President Obama's ethnic ancestry, but I also not not think that EG is a hardcore racist, at all. 

My second point is that bongs are not good for you. Try a vaporizer(re super high me), ok no seriously, President Obama never made any promises about pulling folks out or stopping the previous administration's policy to follow a GWOT. That is one of the reasons that I'm not totally down with Obama.

I think that if service folks were given the opportunity to vote with their feet on whether or not they support the US mission/role overseas in the fight against terrorism, that many would prefer to come home vs stay on task. Stop loss is a slap in the face for volunteers, and no one supports a draft, so where is the choice for the current force?

Theirs is not a choice, and equivalent to forced service, which is wrong.

The US can always re-deploy if everyone is gung-ho, but I thinking that the US has done enough, spent enough, and lost enough to stick a fork it it and call it done. China would have obliterated the opposing forces already & the AfPak war is nothing more than a costly exercise for drone R&D, plus the US tech edge is slipping the more me play this foolish game.




There are some absolutes in

There are some absolutes in this folks

President Obama is black. This cannot change.

He is our President. This means people will take little jabs at him. It's going to happen.

If we take the phrase "Your boy Bush" and it's not racist, yet it becomes racist when used in the same frame-of-referrence with our current President (who just happens to be not caucasian) we are in for a few more years of gasping. I realize some folks here have a really strong need to be ultra-PC about everything, but this is going to get really ridiculous. Is nobody allowed to take a jab at our own President for fear that it might be considered racist in some folks eyes? 3 more years people. If we keep barking at the little things that might, in a stretch, be considered racist to some people, the barking when strong racism comes around is going to be far less loud.

fair enough

Damn Norm, that is well said. 'Nothing wrong with hearing where you are at and I'm not gonna disagree. Good points and well-rounded rational.

To continue to focus on the ethnic ancestry of POTUS is perpetuating racism, and I'll just leave it there.

Can I suggest a left vs right paintball match to blow off steam? or disc golf? Halo?

< cheers & best regards folks >


Paintball hurts! Disc golf

Paintball hurts! Disc golf and halo are cool though. I'm terrible at both but it's all about having fun right?

I don't recall the phrase

I don't recall the phrase "your boy Bush" being commonplace during the eight years that gibbering idiot was in office.

For your viewing pleasure Search string: "your boy bush". Results, page 1

Jimbo said... Your boy Bush is an A**hole!  This article is about your boy Bush and his idiotic quotes. You righties keep forgetting one thing. This study was comissioned(sp?)  by the bush administration. It just didn't get done until now. Your boy bush wanted to know these things.

 Your boy Bush

 Sandy, Sandy. That's a direct result of you rigging the election for your boy Bush.


Your boy Bush singed every single budget into law. He also controlled Congress Your boy Bush wanted to build a wall between US and Mexico. Thats a bit insulting isnt it? And its funny how neocons were all pro government

And that's just the first page. I've had it said to me a handful of times. Amazing how you get lumped into being a "neocon" when you a pro-gun and pro-law enforcement.

I like the way you edited

I like the way you edited out the most common hit: "... "How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

Focus, stay on target!

I love how you ignore the pertinent things that I pulled from the page, y'know, the ones that actually have something to do with the conversation, and instead focus on the other thing in the page. So, how about you address all the links I posted using the referrence you never seemed to hear of. A little more commonly used than you thought, no?

I don't care enough to

I don't care enough to paste in the clip but on yesterday's edition of PTI on ESPN, one of the hosts, Michael Wilbon used the phrase while referring to a white NFL coach.  Hopefully you understand the TLAs.  By the way, Wilbon is black.

Talk about getting wrapped around the axle... Merry Christmas.  I'm out.

President Obama is not black.

President Obama is just as white as he is black, which is to say the man is half and half. He's half human on his mother's side, and half human on his father's side. Which makes him a person. Race is a lie.

Not saying the man is always treated as if he is a person, and I'm not saying that racism has not affected him worse than say Norm or Ehver Green, but I am saying that all three of these people are - well, people.

To say that President Obama is black, and that his blackness is an absolute, is to ignore completely the fact that race is a social fiction. An untruth. A big lie. What is harmful is that it has as much social reality as if it were true, to the exact extent folks like us believe that it is true.

Yes, in that reality "your boy Obama" is a racist phrase. "Your man Obama" is not a racist phrase. If I were to write "your boy Bush" that would be an ageist phrase (calling a man a boy). Or would that be a humanist phrase? (Calling a chimp a person?)

I don't envy all those

I don't envy all those military recruits that end up dead. And I don't envy all those army veterans who are homeless (approximately 33 percent of homeless men in the United States are veterans, and nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night). I don't even envy those veterans who work for giant corporations and live in a mortgaged house in a soulless suburban development, but that's just me. (I DO envy the utter lack of self-doubt that leads people who lead what I consider lives of quiet desperation to imagine that other people envy them!)

War is a Racket

I want everyone to realize that War is a Racket.

War is a Racket, Speech and Book Text

Please, make sure to familiarize yourself with this important speech by USMC Major General Smedley D. Butler, which he also expanded upon and developed into a short book, (which also happens to currently be available in multiple locations on the Internet.) (more info from wikipedia: war is a racket)

This is an important statement, and I encourage you to become familiar with this text.

War is a Racket text from "lexrex".

Military, Advantage, and Privilege

Believe it or not, EG, my family has a similar story to yours. Military service, that of my father, most quite certainly played a role in enabling my family to enjoy many social advantages and privileges.

But at what cost? I love my family very much, each and every family member. But I still think of the cost to others, the consequences, of our privilege. It's sickening and deadening. It's tragic.

Here's a photo of the violence, warning it's graphic: missing leg. Horrible images like this one are a daily occurrence now, as a result of instabilities caused by the USA's policy of global dominance.

Then there's the issue of war-profiteering. Please see the "War is a Racket" speech by Smedley Butler to learn how some people "benefit," or make profit, both directly and indirectly, from war. Some people are made into millionaires and billionaires based on specifically war related investments. It's sick.

Given the gravity of the situation, it helps me to remember that people are basically good. No one in his or her right mind truly wants to do harm to another. No one person is really to blame for this situation. It's really a systemic problem. It's not personal issue.

The terrible reality of war and violence that we all suffer under (knowingly or not) is a product of the repetition (and amplification, via industrialization powered by fossil fuels,) of age-old patterns of conflict and abuse - patterns which are rooted in the most fundamental levels of our socio-cultural system.

At one point aggression may have made some sense, but it really doesn't make any sense any more. What makes the most sense in today's world would be for people to cooperate and work toward the goal of mutual prosperity of all people - including all future generations. Economic competition (at least unrestrained/amoral competition) doesn't make nearly as much sense in an industrialized world that is full of 7 Billion needy human beings. Economic survival of the fittest may have made more sense in the past, say 2 or 4 or more thousands of years ago, but it doesn't really make sense now, given the current state of technological development.

I am of the understanding that the greatest cause of violence, environmental degradation, and unsustainability is economic inequality and inequity.

The world is becoming more and more populated and more and more polluted. Environmental degradation is drastically harming most peoples quality of life. We need to learn to live nonviolently - to live without doing harm - so that we can ensure leaving a livable world for the people of tomorrow.

There is more than enough resource on this planet for everyone to get along quite comfortably. There's more than enough to go around. This planet is an amazing provider. But it won't be able to keep providing if we continue to abuse it in the ways that we are.

I think: is there some social change in order?

America's global dominance

I would say it is less about America's global dominance, since joint task force training and readiness with various countries throughout the world is such an integral part of today's military culture and environment. It is because of the cooperation between many that we achieve or don't achieve, not simply whether America wants it that way or not. You may see this as more evidence of a systemic problem. I agree that war is a terrible thing. I disagree with you about the cause and outcome.

Irony is dead...for some folks

"...But, I look at this and think, "What is the point?" I really, really don't see the point. Hope it made you feel better to pontificate."

War is good business and business is good

Hahahahahahahahahah. "No one in his right mind".... Oh god that's ripe. I'm rolling. "Social change in order?" Sure Bud. And later monkeys will fly...... I used to be a recruiter for the Army. In fact I had the honor of recruiting 75% of the Kelso High School Varsity wrestling team a couple of decades ago. I would have called up my DEPPERS (Delayed Entry Program Personnel) and had them join the demonstration. You'd have liked that, I'm sure. Nerds with no lives. Hooooaahhh! For the Senate and People of.....well, you know what side of the coin I'm on now, dont cha? "Would you like to leave a message?"
"Would you like to leave a message?"

No one is better at

No one is better at teaching world politics and our role in them than the military.

Oh dear god. 


assumptions & attitude

For the folks on this thread, ya'know, making assumptions about what people know or who they know is a waste of time and just tosses useless labels around...

...using attitude is even worse.

I can't believe that folks that served would give a rip about folks exercising American freedom.

<nod to Laurian: "word">


Freedom is great Chad, but

Freedom is great Chad, but don't expect everyone to agree with the message that is being expressed by these folks. Although people are free to do this, some people would feel insulted by it. Some people are proud of serving in the military, some people are proud of the recruiters and possibly served as one at some point. So when someone who is proud of their military heritage catches a bunch of people protesting "the war machine" and american imperialism blah blah blah, do you really think they would just not give a rip about that? C'mon Chad.

I'm sure the Roman Legionaires

felt a similar pride in their service to empire but that doesn't make it right, then or now. Besides, isn't pride a sin?

I'm really tired of this cult of death idolatry.

This isn't Rome

Feeling pride for what you do is going to influence your thought process when posed with the question "do you really think they would just not give a rip about that?". Whether or not you, or anyone else, feels that it is right or wrong has no bearing on that. The pride is there, the protest is there, the decision is influenced.

Besides, isn't pride a sin? I suppose that depends on your level of Christianity. The last time I checked the military in this country isn't exclusively Christian.

I'm really tired of this cult of death idolatry.   Poetic

He is right, this is not

He is right, this is not Rome. As far as the "Cult of Death Idolatry" thing. I speak as a person who has been in the field and has proudly worn the uniform of our empire. Not one soldier, not a single one, have I ever seen worship death. That statement shows are totally disconnected with the purpose and character of most soldiers.

As far as these folks being "against the soldiers." I could understand how one would feel that way. Many who have been in the military develop a deep love for soldiers and the culture that sorrounds them. So anyone who encroaches on it, however slight incurs the rath. I totally understand that. I have that reaction when there is a community event at the downtown Armory. My wife and I may go into the place to look at Christmas Ornaments at a craft show, however, when I see unshaven, sloppily dressed, baggy pants, leaning against the walls etc... I have a reaction, I have no idea where it comes from, but it is there. I think to myself, "Look at these dirtbags messing this place up, don't they know where they are, shape up!" I could look at those folks any other place and not give it a second thought. Maybe it is the remainder of the discipline that was instilled in me, maybe it is something else. But that is the reaction I think you are seeing from people who say they are "against the soldiers." I came to the conclusion that they are not, they just flat don't know enough about them or why they do it to be against it.

   My initial reaction was along those lines. Mostly it was...Look at those cute children out there, they think they are brave, standing outside of a recruiting station in West Olympia, perfectly safe. Smug looks on their faces. They are going to head home, drink some beer, sit in a nice warm (however cluttered) living room and smoke a little weed. Maybe even brag about their rightousness.

That was my first thought. Then indifference set in. The final thought was, "well if they are going to express themselves I'm glad they are doing it in West Olympia, safely, good on them." 

Rambo wore cargo pants & didn't shave

I hear where you are coming from:

In my family, across all the relatives, in my generation of 19 kids, 17 are in the military; I'm one of the 2 that didn't choose to join.

I went to school and became a scientist & learned how to engineer mt. bike frames, then worked at Intel, then retired from professional computer manufacturing & sales, then went back to school to learn nonprofit business & urban design/planning, and now I am a freelance consultant.

My own time & my own dime, and with the love & support of my wife E.

Oh, yeah, and I worked for the UN, the intelligence community, and Half Priced Books, too! Fun stuff, and it all took place right-round the "poverty draft" of '93 (I started my learning in '89 when I graduated from HS).

...but I hear you wilson on the indifference factor 


"Cult of Death Idolatry"

L. can speak for himself, but when I look at that phrase I don't think of soldiers, I think of how our culture encourages and celebrates (increasingly so it seems) military hero worship. A politician cannot make a statement against a war without prefacing it with (I'm not against the troops). The value of protesters, "dirtbags," and other Americans are measured against idealized versions of soldiers, law enforcemnt, and other "worthies."

My father was a career soldier. I grew up an army brat. I remember the delicious disregard we had for the outside world and how "civilian" was a term of significant derision. That attitude makes perfect sense from the inside. It is a bit disturbing, however, to see similar sentiments taking root in popular culture.

damn fine statement

I especially like the use of the term idealized and the way you made your points.




the spelling, on the otherhand...


I am no spelling wizard (I keep having to change from rich text in the Tiny MCE to get the spell check on OlyBlog/my browser to kick in), and I know I have given you sh*t for spelling something wrong in the past, so I apologize for that...

...again, dfp!


Yes, other people are

Yes, other people are measured against soldiers and others. It has been that way since the beginning of time. For good reason. Cavemen had a basic understanding of why their warriors are special. The job is different. Was it easier to gather berries, or travel for days and engage a rival tribe in battle. Is it easier at 19 years of age to deploy to Iraq or other places? Or is it easier to be 19 years old enjoying dorm life or a job that allows you to knock off after 8-9 hours. That's just the way it is, that is why people act like they do. I don't think it is a matter of "worthies", noone said that. It is simply appreciation. Also the derision you speak of. I don't think it has taken any root in popular culture. Has there ever been a time, an any part of the earth, or any culture when the great soldier, athletic hero, guy that could throw his spear the furthest, etc.. hasn't been made a hero? To deny that it has is simply being dishonest with yourself. Our soldiers and others do deserve it, they simply are not the same.

I'm not denying that there are heros

But that label has usually been based on exceptional accomplishiments, not simply one's choice of occupation. Today, however, the label has become an entitlement that is promoted rather vigorously in our popular culture. It's probably better to view that with a critical eye than to dissmiss it as "the way it's always been." And notice, Wilson, that I'm not speculating about whether or not you're being honest with yourself. We simply have different points of view here.

Repsectfully wilson

Neither you or I can make an educated guess as to what a caveman (whatever that means) thought let alone about their social organizations. What you are engaging in is speculative evolutionary psychology at it's very worst. Whatever paleolithic hominid violence occurred, and there is archeological evidence it did, it clearly it was vastly different in form than contemporary warfare.

Making statements about militarism based on just so stories about cavemen is a example of the idolatry of death I wrote of above.    

Anthropology by projection

There is little evidence of paleolithic warfare or warrior culture. Sure, I imagine it happened in some places in much the same way it happens in New Guinea today. But it's also reasonable to assume that something akin to Bushman society was not uncommon for most of our 200,000 years on earth. And that would be considerably different from the hunter-warrior fantasy we seem to prefer regardless of its scientific merit.

lots of big words, I have a

lots of big words, I have a headache


heroes or GIs?

In my mind, GI does not equate to hero (but some are, and were, like Audie Murphy), and flying RC drones (or even playing on the team that does), is not hero-like behavior.

war is way past romanticizing


This isn't Rome

Of course this isn't Rome. But just because the USA isn't Rome, also doesn't deny the possibility that the USA might be an empire.

Of course, it is discomforting to consider the possibility that our nation actually does constitute an empire. Absolutely downright terrifying and horrifying - when the total costs are considered.

Freedom is the point

The only folks that I know that have a problem with peaceful protest are fascists.

Another way to look at it: "Why should anyone in the service give a rip what a bunch of peace-niks say or want?" (criticism from respected peers is one thing, while pot-shots from the peanut gallery are another).

I say protest on and recruit on...folks will sort themselves out as they will...those that want to serve will and others (like me) will stay the F away from the DoD.

< ...since no one wants to comment (EG, Norm?) about whether or not "poverty draft" justifies the albeit small chance of having to pull the trigger, I would just love to hear this thread "done over" if there was a draft and little 18yo babies were being ripped away from mommy & daddy to be sent to AfPak...for...what? >


Nobody is saying they can't protest

Nobody is required to agree with their message though, and I can understand why. Does disagreeing with the message, or the delivery of that message, make me a fascist? You are hugely stretching here Chad. Go ahead and protest, just don't expect a bunch of hugs from military folks while doing it.

Look at it this way...and this is extreme. I understand the KKK holding a rally. Whatever. I'll be damned if I support them in any way though. I'm not gonna go and listen to their message, I'm not going to pretend to like them, and I'm not going to have some kind of respect for them because they choose to exercise their freedom of speech/assembly. If someone asks me, "Are you irked by their message?" I would say, "Yes, I am irked, and I give a rip."

There are 2 pictures in the thread that have something to say about poverty. All of the others were about other things. Was this protest strictly about poverty and the military? Or was it anti-military, anti-recruitment in general?

Protest reasons and meanings

The protest was about a lot of different meanings. Multiple. Every protester probably has a slightly different reason for being there. Some have lost family members to what they consider imperial wars of aggression. Some others have seen the way violence and militarism tears apart families, wrecks homes...

People want to understand the world, and I think that's great. But I don't think that a true and holistic understanding of the world, nor of this protest, will be possible by classifying, labeling, or putting into a box the reasons for protesters' protesting, nor any of the various possible meanings behind the protest.

no way

Norm, I'd never project on you like that...

...first off, I'm talking 'bout folks I know...just saying that out of that group of people I know (veterans and in service and others all alike), the only ones in my circle that even pay attention or care what peace-niks (trying to use an OK term to label that diverse group of protesters) think about them/the war, etc.. are fascists, most self-admitted (I play alot of Axis & Allies).

I hear what you are saying.

There is no peace recruiter office to protest in front of, and I'd feel left out too.




Godwin Alert!


just got the Godwin joke


Speaking of Godwin

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Oh my...

I'm having a "This is Sparta" moment.