40 years

40 years

Marseil
Marseil

March 16th, 2008, 7:32 am #1

40 years ago, occured the My Lai massacre.

Forty years on, survivors gather to remember My Lai
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 96627.html


What will historians say in 2048 about current US war, and war actions?

Marseil.
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Bob
Bob

March 16th, 2008, 2:01 pm #2

I'm sure that few Americans today would defend what occurred at My Lai, just as they did not try to defend it at the time. From all accounts, it was a gross misuse of power and soldiers basically losing control. That said -- and this is not an attempt to excuse, but rather to understand -- I think part of the mindset involved is that these men were traumarized by their war experiences. When you live daily with the prospect that this day could be your last . . when you see comrades and friends severely maimed and killed . . . when you see such attacks against you committed by women and children (as reportedly did occur) . . . it becomes easier to see that soldiers (being human) can have that stress build into rage and not thinking clearly.

Lord knows, when I watch real-life crime shows and I see questioning of rapists and killers who non-chalantly, even glibly, recount their horrific crimes against the most innocent of victims, I don't know what inner restraint the detectives have that keeps them from leaping across the table and gouging these guys' eyes out with a ballpoint pen. Not even knowing the victims or their families, and just hearing the gory details of the crimes, I would have no problem carrying out a death sentence on the spot. Imagine how living with daily risk of death for yourself and your buddies, at the hands of people who look like the citizens you're trying to defend and protect, must affect a person. I just don't know why more atrocities like My Lai don't occur. I admire the extreme restraint that most soldiers possess.

You could argue that the Vietnam War, as with Iraq, should never have happened. The fact that they did happen set into motion the things that resulted, including atrocities. You don't put soldiers in a police-action mission (as both were/are), leaving them as sitting ducks, without seeing the potential for excesses grow with the passage of time. Police actions don't work. If U.S. cannot go in and blow the place up, then pack up their gear and leave, then we shouldn't even go in. Of course, this means hardly any military interventions would occur, but I think that is the only feasible way to take action and minimize fallout. Or, maybe next time (as I've posted before) we need to allow other countries to take the lead and show us how its done. I do think it looks easier from the sidelines than when you are playing the game.
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Jeffrey
Jeffrey

March 16th, 2008, 3:16 pm #3

40 years ago, occured the My Lai massacre.

Forty years on, survivors gather to remember My Lai
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 96627.html


What will historians say in 2048 about current US war, and war actions?

Marseil.
The only thing I can add is where were the commanding officers? I have to confess I don't know the answer. Were they part of the rampaging marauders? Were they ignorant of the actions of those in whom they were in charge?
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 16th, 2008, 3:26 pm #4

40 years ago, occured the My Lai massacre.

Forty years on, survivors gather to remember My Lai
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 96627.html


What will historians say in 2048 about current US war, and war actions?

Marseil.
We don't have to wait 40 years. Already the majority of Americans condemn the Iraq war. Remember this war was sold to them and Congress under a false premise- that Saddam had "weapons of mass destruction" that he intended to use against America. Normally I don't think Congress and the people would have ever bought this idea- but coming right after "9/11" when everyone was so hyper over a repeat- they trusted the judgement of their president. I say "they" as I'm on record right from the start saying this war was a big mistake. I think we had adequate controls on Saddam- we controlled his air-space and his boarders and we had UN inspectors on the ground there checking for WMD.

I think the Iraq war is without question the worse foreign policy blunder this country has ever made and it has done enormous and possibly irreparable damage to our economy and foreign relations. The US is a much weaker country now as a result and it's time we stop meddling overseas and tend to our own problems at home. Remember- it was our overseas meddling that caused 9/11 in the first place.

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Bob
Bob

March 16th, 2008, 4:15 pm #5

. . except the last part. I think that so long as U.S. supports Isreal, we will be subject to potential attacks. And, look at Europe as well -- they have been attacked too, yet have not meedled near as much as U.S. . . but attacked nonetheless.

btw, I did support entering Iraq, but I expected a much different outcome. I thought the Iraqis would embrace the opportunity to be free to such an extent that they would take up arms to defend a budding democracy. We all know that did not happen (though I think many Iraqis do want freedom, but aren't going to fight for it . . or don't know how to wage that fight).
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 16th, 2008, 5:57 pm #6

I think we error to assume everyone is like us. People who have lived under dictatorships for generations are quite adapted to it don't know how to live any other way. You think in Iraq especially where you have three different religious factions- the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds who hate each other have fought each other for generations are suddenly be good friends and work together? Welcome to la-la land. It ain't going to happen. Saddam ruled Iraq with an iron hand because that's what it took to keep the peace there, and very important to us- he did the US a great favor keeping Iran in check- now when we leave Iraq will fall into civil war and Iran and Al Qaeda will move it to pick up the pieces. A desirable thing? Hardly. But what is the alternative- staying there for the next hundred years as John McCain has said? The Iraq war is bleeding this country poor- ruining our economy and wearing out our military. I saw a report on TV the other night talking about how it's going to take billions to replace military equipment destroyed and worn out in Iraq just to restore our military to an adequate level to defend this country. Meanwhile our real future adversaries- Russia and China are building their militaries up like crazy and laughing their heads off at how foolish we have been squandering our resources in Iraq. I really fear for the future of this once great country and I don't say that lightly.
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Bob
Bob

March 16th, 2008, 11:52 pm #7

"You think in Iraq especially where you have three different religious factions- the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds who hate each other have fought each other for generations are suddenly be good friends and work together? Welcome to la-la land. It ain't going to happen. Saddam ruled Iraq with an iron hand because that's what it took to keep the peace there, . . ."

The three hostile factions in the former Yugoslavia also were kept at bay and with relative order by the threat of military might applied by the Soviet Union. With the end of the Soviet bloc and the "loss" of that threat, Yugoslavia regressed into civil war, requiring U.N. peacekeeping forces to keep them from continuing to kill each other. Given your comment above, would you also say that the people of Yugoslavia -- accustomed to dictatorship as a Soviet satellite -- were better off before the end of the Soviet bloc? Were they better off continuining to live in a familiar totalitarian society then embarking upon the strange experience of having to decide whether they really need kill each other or learn to live in harmony?
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 17th, 2008, 3:40 am #8

I don't think the two situations are comparable. Yugoslavia is basically a western country that was being dominated by foreign power. Whereas the Iraqis we're talking about are religious refugees from another era who still farm with oxens and sell stuff from push carts.
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Jeffrey
Jeffrey

March 17th, 2008, 3:16 pm #9

. . except the last part. I think that so long as U.S. supports Isreal, we will be subject to potential attacks. And, look at Europe as well -- they have been attacked too, yet have not meedled near as much as U.S. . . but attacked nonetheless.

btw, I did support entering Iraq, but I expected a much different outcome. I thought the Iraqis would embrace the opportunity to be free to such an extent that they would take up arms to defend a budding democracy. We all know that did not happen (though I think many Iraqis do want freedom, but aren't going to fight for it . . or don't know how to wage that fight).
I viewed a rather disturbing feature-length US-made documentary last eve on CBC's Newsworld: No End in Sight. Nominated for an oscar for 2007, it basically explores the theme that none of those heading the US government's Iraq file from the president on down know what they're doing. All totally incompetent. Sad. Very sad.

Let's hope that the new US administration that'll come to power ~10 months from now is not so fully of 'cronyism' as the current one and will employ people that have at least a smattering of knowledge of what they're supposed to be doing. There are some in this country that think a new administration will be able to turn things around rapidly, much like Mr Clinton did following the defeat of the first Bush president. One of the US' weak points is such total commitment to mediocrity and slothfulness - in everything - starting from the shape of their bodies.

The biggest beneficiaries of the bungling are the Iranians. They're historic enemy in the region, Iraq, can no longer harass them.
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Bob
Bob

March 17th, 2008, 4:55 pm #10

I don't think the two situations are comparable. Yugoslavia is basically a western country that was being dominated by foreign power. Whereas the Iraqis we're talking about are religious refugees from another era who still farm with oxens and sell stuff from push carts.
Just that they share a similar dynamic, of three segments within their society with traditional distrust and even hatred of each other that, once they were free to do so, spilled out into inter-group violence.

I was just trying to understand your comment that the dominating factor that prevented hostilities should have been allowed to remain (from my own standpoint, I actually agree with you: why should I care if other people live under a dictatorship? . . . not my fight). The part about their being incapable of managing a democracy, due to their history of living under suppression . . . I wondered about that too. Seems like its not too unique -- societies with competing or hostile subgroups -- and I'd like to know if its really true that they couldn't learn to live in a free society and not kill each other.
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