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Duty, Honor, Atrocity
George W. Bush Receives a Character Award at West Point
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In George W. Bush’s home state of Texas, if you are an ordinary citizen found guilty of capital murder, the mandatory sentence is either life in prison or the death penalty. If, however, you are a former president of the United States responsible for initiating two illegal wars of aggression, which killed 7,000 U.S. servicemen and at least 210,000 civilians, displaced more than 10 million people from their homes, condoned torture, initiated a global drone assassination campaign, and imprisoned people for years without substantive evidence or trial in Guantanamo Bay, the punishment evidently is to be given the Thayer Award at West Point.

On October 19th, George W. Bush traveled to the United States Military Academy, my alma mater, to receive the Sylvanus Thayer Award at a ceremony hosted by that school’s current superintendent and presented on behalf of the West Point Association of Graduates. The honor is “given to a citizen… whose outstanding character, accomplishments, and stature in the civilian community draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives.”

The Thayer may be one of the most important awards that hardly anyone has ever heard of. In a sense, it’s a litmus test when it comes to West Point’s moral orientation and institutional values. Academy graduates around the world — in dusty GP medium tents as well as Pentagon offices — all sit at the proverbial table where momentous, sometimes perverse decisions are regularly made. To invade or not to invade, to bomb or not to bomb, to torture, or not to torture those are the questions. As the Trump era has reminded us, the U.S. military’s ability to obliterate all organized human life on Earth is beyond question. So it stands to reason that the types of beliefs pounded into cadets at West Point — the ones that will serve to guide them throughout their military careers — do matter. To the classes of cadets now there, this award will offer a message: that George W. Bush and the things he did in his presidency are worth emulating. I could not disagree more.

The United States Military Academy is, or at least should be, a steward of American military values and yet the presentation of the Thayer Award to our former president represents an unprincipled lapse in judgment. In what it condones, it has committed a brazen violation of West Point’s honor code, which instructs that “a cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.”

George W. Bush deceived the nation, cheated noncombatants of both their bodily autonomy and moral significance, and waged unjustifiable, unnecessary wars, which misallocated trillions of dollars that would have been better used to ensure the prosperity and well-being of Americans. And he once described his messianic mission as “this crusade.” Is the world’s premier military academy not then honoring the dishonorable?

As I recall from my time wearing cadet grey, West Point regularly indulged in talk about doing “the harder right rather than the easier wrong,” about exhibiting “moral courage,” and about “Army Values.” Our ethical compass was given to us, standard issue, early on, often in the form of quaint military parables.

These were meant to set the ethical standards for behavior in war. Despite serious transgressions of those values by West Point graduates in these years, I still believe that the majority of West Pointers, even in the most stressful situations, are challenged by a nagging little voice asking what West Point would do. In a sense, we have all been hard-wired to follow the ethical protocols we learned at the academy. As far as I’m concerned, however, this award shifts the goal posts. It establishes a new moral paradigm for what should be considered acceptable behavior in war and foreign policy.

As someone who also fought in one of those wars, let me just say that presenting Bush’s legacy as a template for cadets to follow is — not to mince words — a moral obscenity. Once the collective “we” — that is, West Point and its alumni — acknowledge that Bush’s wars and the state-sanctioned torture that went with them are not just acceptable, but laudable, we have lost any plausible claim to the moral high ground, the ground I once believed West Point was founded on.

Now that the Thayer Award has been given to former President Bush and we, the alumni, have even officially sponsored the act (not me, of course), it seems that the values we were taught don’t stand for anything at all.

A Cadet Will Not Lie

By idolizing Bush, a man whose major legacy is defined by acts of state terrorism (rebranded “counterterrorism”), West Point and its alumni have canonized by association his now-16-year-old war on terror. West Pointers have long been placed in a precarious position in relation to that war, simultaneously helping to perpetrate it and suffering from it. Too much energy has been devoted to pursuing it and too much lost for it not to have some grand meaning. By retrofitting the past, West Point and its graduates are now attempting to lessen the sting of, the reality of, those last 16 years. In the process, they are continuing to delude its graduates, who are still being deployed to commit political violence in, at best, a morally dubious set of wars.

The very act of misleading a generation of salt-of-the-earth people — as most West Pointers I’ve encountered are — making them willing participants (and I include myself in this) in Bush’s supreme international crime should qualify as a tragedy. Convincing cadets of Bush’s widely discredited, false narrative is also a lie by West Point’s own doctrinal definition of the word. The academy’s honor code defines lying as “an untruth or… the telling of a partial truth and the vague or ambiguous use of information or language with the intent to deceive or mislead…”

West Point generally doesn’t teach those facts that would cause cadets to feel embarrassed by or skeptical of the state. During wars of aggression like Bush’s, cadets will never be permitted to come to the conclusion that the political violence they will be sent off to commit after graduation is illegal or morally unsavory. Acknowledging all the emotive connotations that come with the word, one could still credibly call this practice “brainwashing.”

At West Point, it’s still possible to believe that we are fighting in the interests of the Afghan people when, for 16 years, a coalition of the most powerful armies on Earth led by the United States — supposedly with the support of most Afghans — hasn’t been able to get rid of a few thousand ragtag Taliban fighters. Why is it that, at the academy, the contradictoriness of such claims never leads to an inconvenient but possibly more reasonable explanation: that we’ve failed because enough of them oppose us, that we’re part of the problem, not the solution? In his final address to the Afghan parliament in 2014, President Hamid Karzai suggested as much, claiming that the last 12 years of war had been “imposed” on Afghanistan.

The extreme psychosocial dynamics of West Point make it a masterful teacher of such Orwellian “doublethink.” In the process, people like Bush — or former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (another Thayer Award recipient) — are deified. They must exist as role models, not villains or war criminals. Being sure that the enemy is the enemy is an imperative of combat, so it’s essential that no one thinks about this topic too much or too deeply.

Inconvenient facts are deliberately omitted as threats to both recruitment and retention. Blind devotion is considered a virtue. Cadets are trained to proverbially place all their self-esteem eggs in the military basket. Morality is partitioned. Emphasis is put on individual actions in combat, not the morality of the war being fought. We were typically taught that, a few bad apples aside, throughout its history the United States has always been “the good guy,” never the perpetrator.

In direct combat in Afghanistan, my soldiers and I faced death, disability, and despair. But perhaps the deepest wound was coming to realize that such tragedies were in service to, at best, a quixotic cause and, at worst, political expediency.

Due to an overriding obligation to the state and a purely subordinate obligation to the truth, West Point is structurally incapable of adhering to its own honor code in practice. Dishonesty, however, has a subtler aspect to it. It leeches away whatever integrity the academy does possess beneath its granite foundation. In that sense, the latest Thayer Award is an attempt to revise history by denying the illegality of Bush’s wars and absolving him of any accountability for them.

Lest we forget: none of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Iraqi or Afghan citizens, nor did Iraq’s autocratic ruler have nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction, nor was he in any way involved with al-Qaeda. Instead, as revealed in the leaked Downing Street Memo, President Bush “wanted to remove Saddam, through military action… [T]he intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” Meanwhile, his top officials continued to publicly push the lie that Iraq “possesses and produces chemical weapons,” as well as supposed evidence (fraudulent, as they knew at the time) indicating that Iraq was “reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.” This claim would be explicitly contradicted by the U.S. intelligence community’s prewar National Intelligence Estimate, which stated that Saddam Hussein’s regime did not have “sufficient material” to manufacture any nuclear weapons and that “the information we have on Iraqi nuclear personnel does not appear consistent with a coherent effort to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program.” The very justification for Bush’s invasion and occupation of that country, in other words, was built upon lies. This year’s Thayer Award is simply a concrete manifestation of those lies.

To former President Bush, I’d like to say: there is no betrayal more intimate than being sent to kill or die unnecessarily by your own countrymen.

… Cheat

Whatever one thinks about soldiers invading another country or the people who defend that country from those foreign aggressors, this year’s Thayer Award cheats the far more numerous victims of those wars, Iraqi and Afghan civilians, of their status as human beings. To give this award to Bush is to say that their lives didn’t matter, that they got what they deserved. Or as soldiers I came across liked to say, often with high-wattage smiles, “We freed the shit out of them.”

Osama bin Laden was connected to the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians, George W. Bush to hundreds of thousands (at least 70 September 11ths), not to speak of the unrecorded torments of millions. One can only argue that Bush’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were less of a crime if Iraqi and Afghan noncombatants are counted as fractional human beings — if, that is, there is one set of rules for America and another, heavily enforced by the U.S. military, for the rest of the world. By any elementary definition, this is “cheating.”

It should be self-evident that the use of torture is a dishonorable thing. What then could be a worse crime than for a leader of a democracy to organize the state-sanctioned torture of both the innocent and the guilty on a large scale? The very act of torture cheats people of their bodily autonomy. When West Point overlooks the hypocrisy of giving an award for “outstanding character” to a former leader who put his stamp of approval on torture — for which the U.S. once punished Japanese war criminals with hanging or lengthy prison sentences — it makes a mockery of those values. The International Criminal Court reported that, under the Bush-era torture program, members of the U.S. Army and the CIA may be guilty of war crimes. Former National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism Richard Clarke went further, saying, “It’s clear that some of the things [the Bush administration] did were war crimes.”

Think of this Thayer Award, then, as an undeserved rehabilitation of George W. Bush’s reputation that’s meant to cheat history. Put another way, West Point supports giving the former president this award not because he earned it, but because they wish he had.

… Steal

It’s hard to find a time in American history when more was spent to accomplish less. Even on the most practical level, the spread of terror groups and insurgencies of various kinds continues to outpace the rate at which the U.S. can kill the latest “bad guys.” The entire war is, in the long run and to the tune of trillions of taxpayer dollars, unsustainable. It’s only a question of how much damage we want to do to our own soldiers, how much public funding we intend to divert, while destroying the social fabric of other countries, before we pack it up and leave.

What did Bush, or any of us, get from stealing sovereignty from the people of Iraq and Afghanistan? Global terrorism deaths increased 4,000% from 2002 to 2014 (from 725 to 32,727). The Taliban now hold more ground in Afghanistan than at any point since the invasion of 2001. TSA airport screenings fail to detect mock weapons in 95% of tests. The U.S.-friendly client regime established in Iraq looted billions of dollars in American aid. And that’s just to start down a long, long list. As journalist Patrick Cockburn wrote, “The invasion and occupation of Iraq by the U.S…. destroyed Iraq as a united country and nobody has been able to put it back together again. It opened up a period when Iraq’s three great communities — Shia, Sunni and Kurds — are in a permanent state of confrontation, a situation that has had a deeply destabilising impact on all of Iraq’s neighbours.”

Bush leveraged the future prosperity of America into trillions of dollars of debt, an intergenerational heist meant to give him the appearance of being “tough on terror.” That’s a reality that should be unappealing to members of both political parties. For fiscally conservative Republicans, it bloats the budget; for Democrats, it diverts precious funding that might otherwise have gone into crucial social programs. In short, the honored former president stole from American citizens a chance to deal adequately with climate change, infrastructure needs, education, and healthcare.

And it’s difficult to discuss stealing without recalling Bush’s illegal mass surveillance program. It’s hard to imagine how spying on one’s own citizens without a warrant could be emblematic of what the Thayer Award stands for.

… Or Tolerate Those Who Do

When cadets, soldiers, and other servicemen swear an oath, they trust that the president will be guided by sound principles. By sending us to fight his bogus war on terror, George W. Bush betrayed that commitment. In giving the Thayer Award to him, West Point and its graduates not only put their stamp of approval on a president who broke with their stated values, they glorified and cleansed him. This award, in Dubya’s hands, is distinctly stolen valor.

There are many Americans who exemplify the very best of what our country — and West Point — could be. As graduates of the academy, none of us should have difficulty finding deserving Thayer Award recipients. George W. Bush’s terror wars, however, were not just a tragedy but also a crime. It’s now a secondary tragedy that West Point lacked both the honor and conviction to say so.

The former president deserves a cold metal bench in a stockade awaiting trial, not an award and a warm round of applause from the academy. No coffee table books featuring his paintings — a perverse form of macabre exhibitionism — will atone for his actions. If West Point and its Association of Graduates want to maintain any credible pretense of adhering to the values they claim to espouse, they should revoke the most recent Thayer Award immediately.

Erik Edstrom is a graduate of the West Point class of 2007. He was an infantry officer, Army Ranger, and Bronze Star Medal recipient who deployed to direct combat in Afghanistan.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy, History • Tags: George W. Bush, Iraq War 
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  1. Few Americans know that the accused 9-11 mastermind remains in pre-trial confinement at Gitmo. This award should go to West Point graduates like James Yee. Here is something I wrote in Dec. 2003.

    “This past Summer, after months of private discussions about POW treatment at Gitmo, the Red Cross openly declared the US Government in violation of the Geneva Conventions based upon first hand reports from Cuba. Food quality and exercise rights were tied to cooperation during interrogations, reports of physical torture emerged, and it was revealed that three boys under age 16 were in custody. Since Gitmo was run as a high security facility with all activities considered secret, Gitmo commanders were enraged at the prospect of facing an international war crimes tribunal in the future.

    Three people who worked among POWs at Gitmo were promptly arrested, and espionage was suggested as the reason. The most noteworthy “spy” was US Army Captain James Yee, who was found to have notes about POWs in a briefcase when he flew into Jacksonville, Florida, which is not uncommon for a chaplain. This West Point graduate was not imprisoned at the Army stockade at nearby Fort Stewart as is customary; he was transported to a maximum security Navy Brig at Charleston, South Carolina, where three other US citizens are held without charges or access to lawyers. Yee was not formally charged within 45 days as required and not allowed free pending charges as is customary for a simple accusation of “mishandling classified information.” Yee was recently released after 76 days of confinement and charged with failing to use proper cover sheets for classified documents. Prosecutors also charged him with adultery and viewing pornographic material on a government computer. Since most US servicemen can be charged with such “crimes”, a strong message has been sent to every soldier at Gitmo to keep his mouth shut.

    According to an October 24, 2003 article in the Washington Post,

    Military authorities launched an investigation of Army Capt. James Yee, a Muslim chaplain at the Guantanamo Bay prison, after a series of confrontations between him and officials over the treatment of al Qaeda and Taliban detainees there, according to military officials and other informed sources.

    Yee, who ministered to the inmates at the U.S. Navy prison in Cuba, protested what he believed were lives of unrelieved tension and boredom experienced by his fellow Muslims in captivity, the officials and other sources said.

    Some interrogators at the prison complex objected after concluding that Yee’s private, one-on-one meetings with inmates interfered with their attempts to fully control the prisoners’ environment, numerous sources said. Some detainees appeared less cooperative in interrogations after visits from Yee, the sources said.

    Apparently, the senior intelligence officer at Gitmo, US Army Colonel Jack Farr, crossed his superiors too. On November 29, 2003 he was charged with “wrongfully transporting classified material without the proper security container on or around Oct. 11, 2003″ and lying to investigators. Criminal charges for such petty violations are extremely rare, and indicate retribution for reasons which remain secret.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    “This past Summer, after months of private discussions about POW treatment at Gitmo, the Red Cross openly declared the US Government in violation of the Geneva Conventions based upon first hand reports from Cuba..."
     
    Why doesn't the Red Cross do something useful, like making the same claim about Puerto Rico? Then we'd be forced to grant them independence. It's way overdue.
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  2. It can’t be easy for one such as yourself to write this but I commend you for doing so. This, however, didn’t go far enough… “But perhaps the deepest wound was coming to realize that such tragedies were in service to, at best, a quixotic cause and, at worst, political expediency.” The worst is far worse in that that it was done in the service of pure evil, that it never served American interests ever, at least not those of the American people. Those who gave their lives didn’t do so in the service of the American people, rather they died in service to the MIC and the globalists who are well into the process of destroying any and all potential good possible in the USA. Painful, I’m sure but necessary.

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  3. Half right.
    Bush is a war criminal and should not be rewarded for upholding moral standards, he should be in prison or on the end of a piano wire.
    But, the seed does not fall far from the tree (from which both should hang).

    Lt Col Pete Kilner styles himself an ethicist and teaches/counsels ethics and morality to West Pointers and helps military personnel deal with post-engagement moral issues.

    Kilner published this essay a few days ago:

    MORAL MISCONCEPTIONS: FIVE FLAWED ASSUMPTIONS CONFUSE MORAL JUDGMENTS ON WAR

    https://www.ausa.org/articles/moral-misconceptions-five-flawed-assumptions-confuse-moral-judgments-war

    imo nearly every argument Kilner makes to refute the “5 misconceptions” are childishly simplistic; some rely on distortions or omissions of key facts.
    For example, Kilner writes:

    Misconception 4
    Motives must be pure:
    The 1990–91 First Gulf War was a paradigm case of a just war. Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait, and the U.S. and other countries assisted Kuwaiti forces in liberating their country and re-establishing their government. Critics of the war claim that the United States’ involvement was motivated by a desire to keep oil prices low. Even if they are right, would it matter?

    No, the Gulf War was NOT a “paradigm case of a just war.” Just war theory / Jus Ad Bellum Convention holds that the just war must:

    have just cause, be a last resort, be declared by a proper authority, possess right intention, have a reasonable chance of success, and the end must be proportional to the means used. . .http://www.iep.utm.edu/justwar/#H2

    First of all, if you have to lie to gain assent to wage war, then any moral claim to having a just cause is null.
    Incubator babies??

    In almost every other way the Persian Gulf war waged by George H W Bush violated jus ad bellum principles but especially:

    War should always be a last resort. This connects intimately with presenting a just cause – all other forms of solution must have been attempted prior to the declaration of war.

    As Vernon Loeb recorded — and the George H W Bush archives as examined by historian Jeff Engel affirm, King Hussein of Jordan, in concert with other Arab leaders, had achieved a resolution to which Saddam would have agreed, and repeatedly asked Bush to let the Arabs take care of their own conflict. Likewise, Mikhael Gorbachev persisted to the point of annoyance in calling Bush and urging him NOT to go to war to resolve the conflict. Bush shouted at him and ignored his advice.

    All other options had NOT been exhausted.

    The Berlin wall had fallen, USSR and Gorbachev no longer had power to counterbalance US power; George H W Bush was King of the Mountain and he wielded his power recklessly. The world is still reeling — and hundreds of thousands are dead, because of his reckless disregard of thousand-year old principles of Justice in War.

    It’s astonishing that an ethicist who teaches West Pointers did not make this basic analysis.

    In summary, if Lt. Col. Pete Kilner is representative of the “moral foundation” provided West Point cadets, the institution — and the United States that, according to a Gallup poll, trusts the military more than any other institution in USA — are in deeper trouble than Erik Erdstrom comprehends.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    It’s astonishing that an ethicist who teaches West Pointers did not make this basic analysis.

    In summary, if Lt. Col. Pete Kilner is representative of the “moral foundation” provided West Point cadets, the institution — and the United States that, according to a Gallup poll, trusts the military more than any other institution in USA — are in deeper trouble than Erik Erdstrom comprehends.
     
    Oh yes.....

    Or not. Depends on a viewpoint.

    Military is....peculiar....social entity.

    Understanding it, as in any attempt to understand society, or humans for that matter, depends more on WHO is trying to understand and less of WHAT is being understood.
    Libertarian will have a quite different perception of military than Marxist.

    So, consequently, talking about ethic, for example, depends solely on WHO is talking about it.

    The article is interesting because it shows ...confusion...IHMO.
    Mr Edstrom, as I could read about, was a Platoon Leader. A Lieutenant I guess, maybe a Captain.A junior officer in essence.
    In military parlance....a kid who is playing a game.
    No offense....I was probably worse in my time. True believer in my cause, my leadership...blah...blah..

    As one climbs that ladder and gets into mid range (Major, Leutenant Colonel..Colonel) one starts to learn the true nature of military.
    And becoming a General is a true rite of passage. The full acceptance who one is, what he is for and what the game is all about.

    The military is an ultimate tool of a state. Or, better, of an oligarchy ruling the state.
    A tool. Nothing more, noting else.

    Because one is supposed to kill and gets killed a motivation of higher level is required to do the job.
    It is (literally) a bloody job and one has to be highly motivated to properly do it.
    That is where "honor, duty, ethic..blah...blah..." come in. Flags, songs, rituals.....etc...etc....

    When some youngsters ask me about joining my advice is simple: you must accept that you are a tool of a state. Blunt, disposable tool. For bloody work. Like....cattle gun, knife, hooks....in a slaughterhouse.
    The President is CEO; Congress/Senate/Parliament are board members; top brass are management etc.....of a slaughterhouse. You, joining, are a hook.
    In time, though....who knows?
    The moment of jump between "hardware" and "human" in that analogy is, I guess, a Major/Leutenant Commander/Squadron Leader.

    People of your country/society are consumers.
    You are a small part of providing a certain service.

    When within that toolbox you try to create own "mini box" where you could fit in.
    The same when you jump into "humans".
    If you are smart and lucky, and of certain character type, it can be simply wonderful.
    Or hellish. And anything in between.
    Choose wisely.
    Free will, brother.
    , @Pete Kilner
    Solonto: You've posted more than 2,600 comments on this website? "You" are likely a group of Russians working full time to sow discord.

    But let's charitably assume that you're a real person. Your knowledge of the history of the 1990-91 Gulf War is terrible. I assume that you were too young to remember the events leading up to it. Watch President George H. W. Bush's speech to the world and learn:
    https://www.c-span.org/video/?15723-1/president-bush-announces-beginning-persian-gulf-air-war

    That may be the best explanation in terms of Just War you'll ever hear a politician give. He checks every block of jus ad bellum.

    Also, about your snide comment, "Lt Col Pete Kilner styles himself an ethicist." I have a masters degree in philosophical ethics from an excellent program, and I've researched, written on, and taught ethics for 20 years. I may "style" myself a comedian or good dancer, but I'm pretty well-credentialed as an ethicist.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    Bush is a war criminal and should not be rewarded for upholding moral standards, he should be in prison or on the end of a piano wire.
     
    So how is he different from Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry S Truman, who are considered heroes?
    , @jilles dykstra
    As Chomsky said ' according to Neurenberg standards any USA president should have been hanged'.
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  4. Previously had the impression that Dubya was a dumb but decent person, manipulated by others. I didn’t know for example his eager participation in the speechmaking/lecture circus. This mental picture has changed somewhat in recent years, but I remained greatly ignorant of a lot of details. Now these two articles about him shed some light how he really is a piece of shit, just like the others. Maybe not so extremely dumb, though.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Realist
    "Maybe not so extremely dumb, though."


    Oh he's stupid alright. His cerebral prowess is being burnished to further the Deep State cause.
    Like father like son.

    , @anonymous

    Previously had the impression that Dubya was a dumb but
     
    He's obviously no intellectual and it's unlikely he's ever read any book on his own. He appears to lack curiosity whatever his mental level may be. His speeches, like everyone else, are written by others and just simply read as an actor reads their lines. However, his job was to deliver and that he did in spades. He ratcheted up the security state to a historic level and diverted trillions from the US treasury for the biggest gravy train ever. It's an income transfer scheme, from the masses to the upper classes, all while scaring everyone with nonexistent hobgoblins. He did nothing about unchecked illegal immigration, giving his constituency, the haves and the have-mores, their cheap labor. Historians will argue as to who the worst president of all time was and Bush's name will figure prominently. He'll be seen as one of the downward turning points in American history, a person who ruined what was left of American credibility and pride. He had a lot of enablers though, and did not act alone, standing astride a mountain of bones. So, smart or not, the evil nature of this man will continue to cast it's shadow for years to come.
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  5. peterAUS says:
    @SolontoCroesus
    Half right.
    Bush is a war criminal and should not be rewarded for upholding moral standards, he should be in prison or on the end of a piano wire.
    But, the seed does not fall far from the tree (from which both should hang).

    Lt Col Pete Kilner styles himself an ethicist and teaches/counsels ethics and morality to West Pointers and helps military personnel deal with post-engagement moral issues.

    Kilner published this essay a few days ago:

    MORAL MISCONCEPTIONS: FIVE FLAWED ASSUMPTIONS CONFUSE MORAL JUDGMENTS ON WAR
    https://www.ausa.org/articles/moral-misconceptions-five-flawed-assumptions-confuse-moral-judgments-war

    imo nearly every argument Kilner makes to refute the “5 misconceptions” are childishly simplistic; some rely on distortions or omissions of key facts.
    For example, Kilner writes:


    Misconception 4
    Motives must be pure:
    The 1990–91 First Gulf War was a paradigm case of a just war. Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait, and the U.S. and other countries assisted Kuwaiti forces in liberating their country and re-establishing their government. Critics of the war claim that the United States’ involvement was motivated by a desire to keep oil prices low. Even if they are right, would it matter?
     
    No, the Gulf War was NOT a “paradigm case of a just war.” Just war theory / Jus Ad Bellum Convention holds that the just war must:

    have just cause, be a last resort, be declared by a proper authority, possess right intention, have a reasonable chance of success, and the end must be proportional to the means used. . .http://www.iep.utm.edu/justwar/#H2
     
    First of all, if you have to lie to gain assent to wage war, then any moral claim to having a just cause is null.
    Incubator babies??

    In almost every other way the Persian Gulf war waged by George H W Bush violated jus ad bellum principles but especially:


    War should always be a last resort. This connects intimately with presenting a just cause – all other forms of solution must have been attempted prior to the declaration of war.
     
    As Vernon Loeb recorded — and the George H W Bush archives as examined by historian Jeff Engel affirm, King Hussein of Jordan, in concert with other Arab leaders, had achieved a resolution to which Saddam would have agreed, and repeatedly asked Bush to let the Arabs take care of their own conflict. Likewise, Mikhael Gorbachev persisted to the point of annoyance in calling Bush and urging him NOT to go to war to resolve the conflict. Bush shouted at him and ignored his advice.

    All other options had NOT been exhausted.

    The Berlin wall had fallen, USSR and Gorbachev no longer had power to counterbalance US power; George H W Bush was King of the Mountain and he wielded his power recklessly. The world is still reeling — and hundreds of thousands are dead, because of his reckless disregard of thousand-year old principles of Justice in War.

    It’s astonishing that an ethicist who teaches West Pointers did not make this basic analysis.

    In summary, if Lt. Col. Pete Kilner is representative of the “moral foundation” provided West Point cadets, the institution — and the United States that, according to a Gallup poll, trusts the military more than any other institution in USA — are in deeper trouble than Erik Erdstrom comprehends.

    It’s astonishing that an ethicist who teaches West Pointers did not make this basic analysis.

    In summary, if Lt. Col. Pete Kilner is representative of the “moral foundation” provided West Point cadets, the institution — and the United States that, according to a Gallup poll, trusts the military more than any other institution in USA — are in deeper trouble than Erik Erdstrom comprehends.

    Oh yes…..

    Or not. Depends on a viewpoint.

    Military is….peculiar….social entity.

    Understanding it, as in any attempt to understand society, or humans for that matter, depends more on WHO is trying to understand and less of WHAT is being understood.
    Libertarian will have a quite different perception of military than Marxist.

    So, consequently, talking about ethic, for example, depends solely on WHO is talking about it.

    The article is interesting because it shows …confusion…IHMO.
    Mr Edstrom, as I could read about, was a Platoon Leader. A Lieutenant I guess, maybe a Captain.A junior officer in essence.
    In military parlance….a kid who is playing a game.
    No offense….I was probably worse in my time. True believer in my cause, my leadership…blah…blah..

    As one climbs that ladder and gets into mid range (Major, Leutenant Colonel..Colonel) one starts to learn the true nature of military.
    And becoming a General is a true rite of passage. The full acceptance who one is, what he is for and what the game is all about.

    The military is an ultimate tool of a state. Or, better, of an oligarchy ruling the state.
    A tool. Nothing more, noting else.

    Because one is supposed to kill and gets killed a motivation of higher level is required to do the job.
    It is (literally) a bloody job and one has to be highly motivated to properly do it.
    That is where “honor, duty, ethic..blah…blah…” come in. Flags, songs, rituals…..etc…etc….

    When some youngsters ask me about joining my advice is simple: you must accept that you are a tool of a state. Blunt, disposable tool. For bloody work. Like….cattle gun, knife, hooks….in a slaughterhouse.
    The President is CEO; Congress/Senate/Parliament are board members; top brass are management etc…..of a slaughterhouse. You, joining, are a hook.
    In time, though….who knows?
    The moment of jump between “hardware” and “human” in that analogy is, I guess, a Major/Leutenant Commander/Squadron Leader.

    People of your country/society are consumers.
    You are a small part of providing a certain service.

    When within that toolbox you try to create own “mini box” where you could fit in.
    The same when you jump into “humans”.
    If you are smart and lucky, and of certain character type, it can be simply wonderful.
    Or hellish. And anything in between.
    Choose wisely.
    Free will, brother.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SolontoCroesus
    Trump's brutal comment to the dead soldier in Florida was on the money: That's what you signed up for.

    It would be gratifying to think that Trump knew exactly what he was saying; Scott Adams thinks Trump is a master communicator.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uERs7AyaQmA

    Conversely, tragic to hear the Florida Rep gripe that she was so upset at Trump's callousness because she "had mentored the young man and helped him get in the military." That's just like helping you get a job with Goldman Sachs, right? No risk, no moral quandaries.

    re Lt Col Kilner -- he's Chhristiian: here's a piece he wrote for Christianity Today:
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/december-web-only/war-is-hell-but-it-can-be-heaven.html
    War Is Hell But It Can Be Heaven
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  6. willem1 says:

    This article is (sadly) on the money. However, it is just another illustration revealing the mockery that most such prestigious awards have made of themselves in recent years. Awarding Barack Obama the Nobel Prize was one recent instance of this–a president that at one point had us engaged in seven wars at once. But at least in that case, it can be claimed that the award was aspirational, as the totality of his “accomplishment” did not become a matter of record until after the award was made. In the case described above, the honor is being awarded with full knowledge of the recipient’s history.

    Read More
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  7. @peterAUS

    It’s astonishing that an ethicist who teaches West Pointers did not make this basic analysis.

    In summary, if Lt. Col. Pete Kilner is representative of the “moral foundation” provided West Point cadets, the institution — and the United States that, according to a Gallup poll, trusts the military more than any other institution in USA — are in deeper trouble than Erik Erdstrom comprehends.
     
    Oh yes.....

    Or not. Depends on a viewpoint.

    Military is....peculiar....social entity.

    Understanding it, as in any attempt to understand society, or humans for that matter, depends more on WHO is trying to understand and less of WHAT is being understood.
    Libertarian will have a quite different perception of military than Marxist.

    So, consequently, talking about ethic, for example, depends solely on WHO is talking about it.

    The article is interesting because it shows ...confusion...IHMO.
    Mr Edstrom, as I could read about, was a Platoon Leader. A Lieutenant I guess, maybe a Captain.A junior officer in essence.
    In military parlance....a kid who is playing a game.
    No offense....I was probably worse in my time. True believer in my cause, my leadership...blah...blah..

    As one climbs that ladder and gets into mid range (Major, Leutenant Colonel..Colonel) one starts to learn the true nature of military.
    And becoming a General is a true rite of passage. The full acceptance who one is, what he is for and what the game is all about.

    The military is an ultimate tool of a state. Or, better, of an oligarchy ruling the state.
    A tool. Nothing more, noting else.

    Because one is supposed to kill and gets killed a motivation of higher level is required to do the job.
    It is (literally) a bloody job and one has to be highly motivated to properly do it.
    That is where "honor, duty, ethic..blah...blah..." come in. Flags, songs, rituals.....etc...etc....

    When some youngsters ask me about joining my advice is simple: you must accept that you are a tool of a state. Blunt, disposable tool. For bloody work. Like....cattle gun, knife, hooks....in a slaughterhouse.
    The President is CEO; Congress/Senate/Parliament are board members; top brass are management etc.....of a slaughterhouse. You, joining, are a hook.
    In time, though....who knows?
    The moment of jump between "hardware" and "human" in that analogy is, I guess, a Major/Leutenant Commander/Squadron Leader.

    People of your country/society are consumers.
    You are a small part of providing a certain service.

    When within that toolbox you try to create own "mini box" where you could fit in.
    The same when you jump into "humans".
    If you are smart and lucky, and of certain character type, it can be simply wonderful.
    Or hellish. And anything in between.
    Choose wisely.
    Free will, brother.

    Trump’s brutal comment to the dead soldier in Florida was on the money: That’s what you signed up for.

    It would be gratifying to think that Trump knew exactly what he was saying; Scott Adams thinks Trump is a master communicator.

    Conversely, tragic to hear the Florida Rep gripe that she was so upset at Trump’s callousness because she “had mentored the young man and helped him get in the military.” That’s just like helping you get a job with Goldman Sachs, right? No risk, no moral quandaries.

    re Lt Col Kilner — he’s Chhristiian: here’s a piece he wrote for Christianity Today:

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/december-web-only/war-is-hell-but-it-can-be-heaven.html

    War Is Hell But It Can Be Heaven

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Thank you for that link.
    A VERY GOOD article.
    A gem really.

    Some parts I found particularly good:

    This insight is that combat deployments affect our souls so deeply because they allow us to taste something of heaven and hell, in ways that civilian life rarely does. The profound purpose, unity, and love that soldiers in a small unit experience is almost impossible to replicate outside of war; it is a foretaste of heaven. At the same time, the dehumanizing suffering and apparent absence of God that characterize a war zone instruct veterans on how awful human existence can be; there's a reason we say "war is hell."
     

    Soldiers are pawns in a conflict started by others.
     

    And for the first time in most soldiers’ lives, we encounter undisguised evil.
     

    Hidden beneath the ugly destructiveness of war, however, is a sublime beauty that is known only to the veterans who have experienced it.
     

    The greater the dangers and adversity that soldiers face and overcome, the greater those bonds. Some soldiers become closer to each other than to their own families.
     

    , it explains why soldiers want to be deployed. We’re not warmongers; we’re longing for another taste of heaven alongside other warriors. Second, it explains why life outside of war can seem so mundane and even meaningless. Having gone through heaven and hell, our everyday lives can feel like limbo.
     

    We’ve seen what humans are capable of, for better and for worse. Reflecting on our experiences of war, we are alternately inspired and appalled. We have glimpsed what was previously unimaginable: the happiness of heaven, the desolation of hell.
     
    Compliments to Lt.Col Kilner.
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  8. peterAUS says:
    @SolontoCroesus
    Trump's brutal comment to the dead soldier in Florida was on the money: That's what you signed up for.

    It would be gratifying to think that Trump knew exactly what he was saying; Scott Adams thinks Trump is a master communicator.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uERs7AyaQmA

    Conversely, tragic to hear the Florida Rep gripe that she was so upset at Trump's callousness because she "had mentored the young man and helped him get in the military." That's just like helping you get a job with Goldman Sachs, right? No risk, no moral quandaries.

    re Lt Col Kilner -- he's Chhristiian: here's a piece he wrote for Christianity Today:
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/december-web-only/war-is-hell-but-it-can-be-heaven.html
    War Is Hell But It Can Be Heaven

    Thank you for that link.
    A VERY GOOD article.
    A gem really.

    Some parts I found particularly good:

    This insight is that combat deployments affect our souls so deeply because they allow us to taste something of heaven and hell, in ways that civilian life rarely does. The profound purpose, unity, and love that soldiers in a small unit experience is almost impossible to replicate outside of war; it is a foretaste of heaven. At the same time, the dehumanizing suffering and apparent absence of God that characterize a war zone instruct veterans on how awful human existence can be; there’s a reason we say “war is hell.”

    Soldiers are pawns in a conflict started by others.

    And for the first time in most soldiers’ lives, we encounter undisguised evil.

    Hidden beneath the ugly destructiveness of war, however, is a sublime beauty that is known only to the veterans who have experienced it.

    The greater the dangers and adversity that soldiers face and overcome, the greater those bonds. Some soldiers become closer to each other than to their own families.

    , it explains why soldiers want to be deployed. We’re not warmongers; we’re longing for another taste of heaven alongside other warriors. Second, it explains why life outside of war can seem so mundane and even meaningless. Having gone through heaven and hell, our everyday lives can feel like limbo.

    We’ve seen what humans are capable of, for better and for worse. Reflecting on our experiences of war, we are alternately inspired and appalled. We have glimpsed what was previously unimaginable: the happiness of heaven, the desolation of hell.

    Compliments to Lt.Col Kilner.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pete Kilner
    Thanks, Peter.

    If you want to read more, I have a column on professional ethics in Army Magazine. You can access my articles at: https://www.ausa.org/people/lt-col-pete-kilner

    Cheers,
    Pete
    , @jacques sheete
    Thanks for posting those excerpts.

    Most of them annoy the bleep outta me because they seem like more of the sappy (unctuous even),over romanticized, self aggrandizing, claptrap that we've come to expect from functionaries of the state.

    This, type of nonsense, in particular, galls me.:


    Hidden beneath the ugly destructiveness of war, however, is a sublime beauty that is known only to the veterans who have experienced it.
     
    What a disgustingly hollow load of bulshit that is! Oh, but the rest of us, who haven't experienced the "sublime beauty" of war, aren't counted amongst the anointed elite who know things the rest of us mere mortals don't.

    "Sublime beauty?"

    Who do you think yer kidding? I was a grunt (volunteer, not drafted) in Vietnam, and I never saw any beauty in war, sublime, mundane, or otherwise.

    Here's how a man with integrity views the military.:


    “Military life in general depraves men. It places them in conditions of complete idleness, that is, absence of all rational and useful work; frees them from their common human duties, … also puts them into conditions of servile obedience to those of higher ranks than themselves.”

    ― Leo Tolstoy Resurrection Or, The Awakening, 1899
    In 1851 Tolstoy and his older brother went to the Caucasus where he joined the Russian army as an artillery officer.
    In 1854, during the Crimean War Tolstoy transferred to Wallachia to fight against the French, British and Ottoman Empire and defend Sevastopol.
    http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1872
     

    Here's what military establishments are really about; I wonder if they deal with this at West Point, or in "ethics" classes.

    A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.

    James Madison, Speech, Constitutional Convention (1787-06-29), from Max Farrand's Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. I [1] (1911), p. 465

     

    Standing armies are un-American, and no amount of cloyingly romantic slight of hand with the truth will change it. Here's all one needs to know about the "ethics" of state sponsored terrorism.:

    Wherever an army is established, it introduces a revolution in manners, corrupts the morals, propagates every species of vice, and degrades the human character.”

    Mercy Otis Warren, Revolution-era historian,
    History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution vol. 1, Ch3, 1805

    http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1872
     

    Ethics my tush!:

    “… I spent most of my [33 years in the Marine Corps] being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers.

    In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for [crony] capitalism.”

    Major General Butler USMC, War is a Racket, 1935

    http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

     

    So, you see, the truth is nothing new. Anyone with a sense of ethics wouldn't try to smear lipstick on a pig.
    , @Ris_Eruwaedhiel
    George Bush served in the Texas Air National Guard during Vietnam and his dad served as a naval aviator during WWII. Quite a difference.

    At one time, the people who started wars fought in them. The last English king to serve in combat was the much-maligned Richard III, killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. James IV of Scotland was killed at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513. George II was commander at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743.

    Prince Harry saw service in Afghanistan and Andrew in the Falklands. So, the denigrated Royals have a better track record than the elites in a democracy.

    In Robert Heinlein's Starship Trooper novel, only people who served their society in a dangerous position had the right to vote. That would weed out almost of the "cloud people" who dominate the West.
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  9. wraith67 says:

    I’m not sure why that’s supposed to be surprising. Leadership across swathes of institutions has abdicated their responsibility to lead or govern and instead adopted baby-sitting and appeasement.

    Read More
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  10. Pete Kilner says: • Website
    @SolontoCroesus
    Half right.
    Bush is a war criminal and should not be rewarded for upholding moral standards, he should be in prison or on the end of a piano wire.
    But, the seed does not fall far from the tree (from which both should hang).

    Lt Col Pete Kilner styles himself an ethicist and teaches/counsels ethics and morality to West Pointers and helps military personnel deal with post-engagement moral issues.

    Kilner published this essay a few days ago:

    MORAL MISCONCEPTIONS: FIVE FLAWED ASSUMPTIONS CONFUSE MORAL JUDGMENTS ON WAR
    https://www.ausa.org/articles/moral-misconceptions-five-flawed-assumptions-confuse-moral-judgments-war

    imo nearly every argument Kilner makes to refute the “5 misconceptions” are childishly simplistic; some rely on distortions or omissions of key facts.
    For example, Kilner writes:


    Misconception 4
    Motives must be pure:
    The 1990–91 First Gulf War was a paradigm case of a just war. Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait, and the U.S. and other countries assisted Kuwaiti forces in liberating their country and re-establishing their government. Critics of the war claim that the United States’ involvement was motivated by a desire to keep oil prices low. Even if they are right, would it matter?
     
    No, the Gulf War was NOT a “paradigm case of a just war.” Just war theory / Jus Ad Bellum Convention holds that the just war must:

    have just cause, be a last resort, be declared by a proper authority, possess right intention, have a reasonable chance of success, and the end must be proportional to the means used. . .http://www.iep.utm.edu/justwar/#H2
     
    First of all, if you have to lie to gain assent to wage war, then any moral claim to having a just cause is null.
    Incubator babies??

    In almost every other way the Persian Gulf war waged by George H W Bush violated jus ad bellum principles but especially:


    War should always be a last resort. This connects intimately with presenting a just cause – all other forms of solution must have been attempted prior to the declaration of war.
     
    As Vernon Loeb recorded — and the George H W Bush archives as examined by historian Jeff Engel affirm, King Hussein of Jordan, in concert with other Arab leaders, had achieved a resolution to which Saddam would have agreed, and repeatedly asked Bush to let the Arabs take care of their own conflict. Likewise, Mikhael Gorbachev persisted to the point of annoyance in calling Bush and urging him NOT to go to war to resolve the conflict. Bush shouted at him and ignored his advice.

    All other options had NOT been exhausted.

    The Berlin wall had fallen, USSR and Gorbachev no longer had power to counterbalance US power; George H W Bush was King of the Mountain and he wielded his power recklessly. The world is still reeling — and hundreds of thousands are dead, because of his reckless disregard of thousand-year old principles of Justice in War.

    It’s astonishing that an ethicist who teaches West Pointers did not make this basic analysis.

    In summary, if Lt. Col. Pete Kilner is representative of the “moral foundation” provided West Point cadets, the institution — and the United States that, according to a Gallup poll, trusts the military more than any other institution in USA — are in deeper trouble than Erik Erdstrom comprehends.

    Solonto: You’ve posted more than 2,600 comments on this website? “You” are likely a group of Russians working full time to sow discord.

    But let’s charitably assume that you’re a real person. Your knowledge of the history of the 1990-91 Gulf War is terrible. I assume that you were too young to remember the events leading up to it. Watch President George H. W. Bush’s speech to the world and learn:

    https://www.c-span.org/video/?15723-1/president-bush-announces-beginning-persian-gulf-air-war

    That may be the best explanation in terms of Just War you’ll ever hear a politician give. He checks every block of jus ad bellum.

    Also, about your snide comment, “Lt Col Pete Kilner styles himself an ethicist.” I have a masters degree in philosophical ethics from an excellent program, and I’ve researched, written on, and taught ethics for 20 years. I may “style” myself a comedian or good dancer, but I’m pretty well-credentialed as an ethicist.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    I was around 1990/91 and I followed what was happening. I do not agree with SolontoCroesus take on Bush and Gulf War. I already once had exchanged comments with him about it, I think, but my points did not make a dent.

    Bush never looked thrilled to go to this war. I had impression that his arms had to be twisted. He seemed like he would not mind letting Saddam Hussein slide. It was his meeting with Margaret Thatcher in Aspen that changed everything. Bush built broad coalition including many Arab and Muslim nations and went to war. He head to give $500 millions to Israel to keep them away and not retaliating against Iraq in order to not upset Arab allies in the coalition.

    The war was won. Bush did not go to Bagdad but only liberated Kuwait. It was reported in papers that his popularity hit 90% which was 20% more than what Hitler got after the Anschluss of Austria in 1938, as I remember thinking this at that time.

    In summer 1991 Bush decided to use his political capital and tried to say no Israel illegal settlements by holding money slated for Israel. Yitzhak Shamir got furious and the Lobby attacked. Everybody was against hime. Most people did not know what was happening. Bush backed off and instead of turning to American people and leveling with them on what was going on he only complained that he was all alone in WH.

    It was decided (I do not know how, when and where and by whom but it was decided nevertheless) that Bush could not be trusted with the 2nd term. He did not take advantage of the golden opportunity to occupy Iraq and then he had audacity to challenge Israel which last time happened in early summer 1993 by JFK when said no to the development of nuclear weapons by Israel. So everything was done what had to be done for him to lose. And he knew that it would be so. He did not fight. He got impatient with the campaign and looked at his watch during the debate to show his disdain. He had no chance to win. Ross Perot played the same role as Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 election to deprive Taft the 2nd term. Unlike Roosevelt Ross Perot probably did not know what role he was cast to play.

    Why Bush did what he did? Why he did not occupy Iraq? Why he challenged Israel? My take is that he really did not want this war. That he really believed that after the wall coming down and Soviet Union falling apart America can change the course and start reducing military spending. He seemed to really believe in the peace dividends. The end of the Cold War was his greatest achievement and it was ruined by Saddam Hussein invasion of Kuwait. So the most important question is to find out who TF whispered to Saddam Hussein's ear to convince him that he will get away with his attack on Kuwait? The same people who wanted Iraq destroyed who eventually had it destroyed 12 years later and all those who did not want peace dividends and who feared the cuts in military spending? I think Bush knew who was really behind Hussain? Who screwed up his vision of post Cold War peace, who deprived him of his legacy. So he said no to Israel when he had the highest approval rating in recent history but then he chickened out. He was intimidated by something. In retrospect he was not a bad guy but he wasted possibly the last opportunity to have America extricated from the iron grip of the Lobby.
    , @jacques sheete

    Also, about your snide comment, “Lt Col Pete Kilner styles himself an ethicist.” I have a masters degree in philosophical ethics from an excellent program, and I’ve researched, written on, and taught ethics for 20 years.
     
    I must tell you that the comment, whether snide or not, is spot on.

    Your other credentials are worth about as much as Bush's award or O-bomb-a's "peace" prize, and any adult should know that.

    What're the ethics of farces?
    , @Verymuchalive
    I see that you have retired this year. I don't think you would be conversing with us deplorables otherwise.
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  11. @peterAUS
    Thank you for that link.
    A VERY GOOD article.
    A gem really.

    Some parts I found particularly good:

    This insight is that combat deployments affect our souls so deeply because they allow us to taste something of heaven and hell, in ways that civilian life rarely does. The profound purpose, unity, and love that soldiers in a small unit experience is almost impossible to replicate outside of war; it is a foretaste of heaven. At the same time, the dehumanizing suffering and apparent absence of God that characterize a war zone instruct veterans on how awful human existence can be; there's a reason we say "war is hell."
     

    Soldiers are pawns in a conflict started by others.
     

    And for the first time in most soldiers’ lives, we encounter undisguised evil.
     

    Hidden beneath the ugly destructiveness of war, however, is a sublime beauty that is known only to the veterans who have experienced it.
     

    The greater the dangers and adversity that soldiers face and overcome, the greater those bonds. Some soldiers become closer to each other than to their own families.
     

    , it explains why soldiers want to be deployed. We’re not warmongers; we’re longing for another taste of heaven alongside other warriors. Second, it explains why life outside of war can seem so mundane and even meaningless. Having gone through heaven and hell, our everyday lives can feel like limbo.
     

    We’ve seen what humans are capable of, for better and for worse. Reflecting on our experiences of war, we are alternately inspired and appalled. We have glimpsed what was previously unimaginable: the happiness of heaven, the desolation of hell.
     
    Compliments to Lt.Col Kilner.

    Thanks, Peter.

    If you want to read more, I have a column on professional ethics in Army Magazine. You can access my articles at: https://www.ausa.org/people/lt-col-pete-kilner

    Cheers,
    Pete

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Already read some articles as soon as read that linked article.
    You address definitely important and fascinating topic (for a lack of better word)
    That topic started interested me at a very young age and, I guess, got me really interested while involved in my little war.
    Has kept me interested since, of course.

    Just found your article/article....resonating....and very well written.

    Now, this place is NOT for any conversation about the topic.

    Pity we (or guys like us) couldn't have a quiet chat somewhere.

    I remember, during my little war, having long conversations with a friend of mine.
    Interesting is, nobody to talk about it with now. I am not complaining, just stating the obvious.

    People who'd understand are hard to find. At the moment, impossible (in real word that is).
    People who care (for any reason imaginable) just don't understand.
    So, reading rare articles, as yours, definitely help.

    And, of course, there is the issue of "privacy". Some of own thoughts and feelings one shares with NOBODY. This post-modernist culture of "sharing" doesn't work for some types.

    I remember talking with that friend of mine, and after some time the conversation would stop and we'd just sit there in silence, sipping our drinks, each deep in own thoughts. The real thinking....And then start again.

    One more thing.
    Should you choose to post here try to be....how to put it....careful.

    Regards
    P
    , @whoever
    Did you ever finish Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? I liked it a lot when I first read it.
    Good video. (A debate between you and Fred Reed would be interesting.)

    https://youtu.be/zHVFwZfegPo

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  12. LauraMR says:

    So what.

    Obama turned war itself into a prolonged assassination campaign via remote drone and he awarded himself every conceivable medal.

    Previous administrations successfully circumvented genocide as a crime against humanity by raining annihilation from the skies.

    Which part of the government of our country do you fail to understand?

    Read More
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  13. @Carlton Meyer
    Few Americans know that the accused 9-11 mastermind remains in pre-trial confinement at Gitmo. This award should go to West Point graduates like James Yee. Here is something I wrote in Dec. 2003.

    "This past Summer, after months of private discussions about POW treatment at Gitmo, the Red Cross openly declared the US Government in violation of the Geneva Conventions based upon first hand reports from Cuba. Food quality and exercise rights were tied to cooperation during interrogations, reports of physical torture emerged, and it was revealed that three boys under age 16 were in custody. Since Gitmo was run as a high security facility with all activities considered secret, Gitmo commanders were enraged at the prospect of facing an international war crimes tribunal in the future.

    Three people who worked among POWs at Gitmo were promptly arrested, and espionage was suggested as the reason. The most noteworthy "spy" was US Army Captain James Yee, who was found to have notes about POWs in a briefcase when he flew into Jacksonville, Florida, which is not uncommon for a chaplain. This West Point graduate was not imprisoned at the Army stockade at nearby Fort Stewart as is customary; he was transported to a maximum security Navy Brig at Charleston, South Carolina, where three other US citizens are held without charges or access to lawyers. Yee was not formally charged within 45 days as required and not allowed free pending charges as is customary for a simple accusation of "mishandling classified information." Yee was recently released after 76 days of confinement and charged with failing to use proper cover sheets for classified documents. Prosecutors also charged him with adultery and viewing pornographic material on a government computer. Since most US servicemen can be charged with such "crimes", a strong message has been sent to every soldier at Gitmo to keep his mouth shut.

    According to an October 24, 2003 article in the Washington Post,

    Military authorities launched an investigation of Army Capt. James Yee, a Muslim chaplain at the Guantanamo Bay prison, after a series of confrontations between him and officials over the treatment of al Qaeda and Taliban detainees there, according to military officials and other informed sources.

    Yee, who ministered to the inmates at the U.S. Navy prison in Cuba, protested what he believed were lives of unrelieved tension and boredom experienced by his fellow Muslims in captivity, the officials and other sources said.

    Some interrogators at the prison complex objected after concluding that Yee's private, one-on-one meetings with inmates interfered with their attempts to fully control the prisoners' environment, numerous sources said. Some detainees appeared less cooperative in interrogations after visits from Yee, the sources said.

    Apparently, the senior intelligence officer at Gitmo, US Army Colonel Jack Farr, crossed his superiors too. On November 29, 2003 he was charged with "wrongfully transporting classified material without the proper security container on or around Oct. 11, 2003" and lying to investigators. Criminal charges for such petty violations are extremely rare, and indicate retribution for reasons which remain secret."

    “This past Summer, after months of private discussions about POW treatment at Gitmo, the Red Cross openly declared the US Government in violation of the Geneva Conventions based upon first hand reports from Cuba…”

    Why doesn’t the Red Cross do something useful, like making the same claim about Puerto Rico? Then we’d be forced to grant them independence. It’s way overdue.

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  14. @SolontoCroesus
    Half right.
    Bush is a war criminal and should not be rewarded for upholding moral standards, he should be in prison or on the end of a piano wire.
    But, the seed does not fall far from the tree (from which both should hang).

    Lt Col Pete Kilner styles himself an ethicist and teaches/counsels ethics and morality to West Pointers and helps military personnel deal with post-engagement moral issues.

    Kilner published this essay a few days ago:

    MORAL MISCONCEPTIONS: FIVE FLAWED ASSUMPTIONS CONFUSE MORAL JUDGMENTS ON WAR
    https://www.ausa.org/articles/moral-misconceptions-five-flawed-assumptions-confuse-moral-judgments-war

    imo nearly every argument Kilner makes to refute the “5 misconceptions” are childishly simplistic; some rely on distortions or omissions of key facts.
    For example, Kilner writes:


    Misconception 4
    Motives must be pure:
    The 1990–91 First Gulf War was a paradigm case of a just war. Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait, and the U.S. and other countries assisted Kuwaiti forces in liberating their country and re-establishing their government. Critics of the war claim that the United States’ involvement was motivated by a desire to keep oil prices low. Even if they are right, would it matter?
     
    No, the Gulf War was NOT a “paradigm case of a just war.” Just war theory / Jus Ad Bellum Convention holds that the just war must:

    have just cause, be a last resort, be declared by a proper authority, possess right intention, have a reasonable chance of success, and the end must be proportional to the means used. . .http://www.iep.utm.edu/justwar/#H2
     
    First of all, if you have to lie to gain assent to wage war, then any moral claim to having a just cause is null.
    Incubator babies??

    In almost every other way the Persian Gulf war waged by George H W Bush violated jus ad bellum principles but especially:


    War should always be a last resort. This connects intimately with presenting a just cause – all other forms of solution must have been attempted prior to the declaration of war.
     
    As Vernon Loeb recorded — and the George H W Bush archives as examined by historian Jeff Engel affirm, King Hussein of Jordan, in concert with other Arab leaders, had achieved a resolution to which Saddam would have agreed, and repeatedly asked Bush to let the Arabs take care of their own conflict. Likewise, Mikhael Gorbachev persisted to the point of annoyance in calling Bush and urging him NOT to go to war to resolve the conflict. Bush shouted at him and ignored his advice.

    All other options had NOT been exhausted.

    The Berlin wall had fallen, USSR and Gorbachev no longer had power to counterbalance US power; George H W Bush was King of the Mountain and he wielded his power recklessly. The world is still reeling — and hundreds of thousands are dead, because of his reckless disregard of thousand-year old principles of Justice in War.

    It’s astonishing that an ethicist who teaches West Pointers did not make this basic analysis.

    In summary, if Lt. Col. Pete Kilner is representative of the “moral foundation” provided West Point cadets, the institution — and the United States that, according to a Gallup poll, trusts the military more than any other institution in USA — are in deeper trouble than Erik Erdstrom comprehends.

    Bush is a war criminal and should not be rewarded for upholding moral standards, he should be in prison or on the end of a piano wire.

    So how is he different from Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry S Truman, who are considered heroes?

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  15. utu says:
    @Pete Kilner
    Solonto: You've posted more than 2,600 comments on this website? "You" are likely a group of Russians working full time to sow discord.

    But let's charitably assume that you're a real person. Your knowledge of the history of the 1990-91 Gulf War is terrible. I assume that you were too young to remember the events leading up to it. Watch President George H. W. Bush's speech to the world and learn:
    https://www.c-span.org/video/?15723-1/president-bush-announces-beginning-persian-gulf-air-war

    That may be the best explanation in terms of Just War you'll ever hear a politician give. He checks every block of jus ad bellum.

    Also, about your snide comment, "Lt Col Pete Kilner styles himself an ethicist." I have a masters degree in philosophical ethics from an excellent program, and I've researched, written on, and taught ethics for 20 years. I may "style" myself a comedian or good dancer, but I'm pretty well-credentialed as an ethicist.

    I was around 1990/91 and I followed what was happening. I do not agree with SolontoCroesus take on Bush and Gulf War. I already once had exchanged comments with him about it, I think, but my points did not make a dent.

    Bush never looked thrilled to go to this war. I had impression that his arms had to be twisted. He seemed like he would not mind letting Saddam Hussein slide. It was his meeting with Margaret Thatcher in Aspen that changed everything. Bush built broad coalition including many Arab and Muslim nations and went to war. He head to give $500 millions to Israel to keep them away and not retaliating against Iraq in order to not upset Arab allies in the coalition.

    The war was won. Bush did not go to Bagdad but only liberated Kuwait. It was reported in papers that his popularity hit 90% which was 20% more than what Hitler got after the Anschluss of Austria in 1938, as I remember thinking this at that time.

    In summer 1991 Bush decided to use his political capital and tried to say no Israel illegal settlements by holding money slated for Israel. Yitzhak Shamir got furious and the Lobby attacked. Everybody was against hime. Most people did not know what was happening. Bush backed off and instead of turning to American people and leveling with them on what was going on he only complained that he was all alone in WH.

    It was decided (I do not know how, when and where and by whom but it was decided nevertheless) that Bush could not be trusted with the 2nd term. He did not take advantage of the golden opportunity to occupy Iraq and then he had audacity to challenge Israel which last time happened in early summer 1993 by JFK when said no to the development of nuclear weapons by Israel. So everything was done what had to be done for him to lose. And he knew that it would be so. He did not fight. He got impatient with the campaign and looked at his watch during the debate to show his disdain. He had no chance to win. Ross Perot played the same role as Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 election to deprive Taft the 2nd term. Unlike Roosevelt Ross Perot probably did not know what role he was cast to play.

    Why Bush did what he did? Why he did not occupy Iraq? Why he challenged Israel? My take is that he really did not want this war. That he really believed that after the wall coming down and Soviet Union falling apart America can change the course and start reducing military spending. He seemed to really believe in the peace dividends. The end of the Cold War was his greatest achievement and it was ruined by Saddam Hussein invasion of Kuwait. So the most important question is to find out who TF whispered to Saddam Hussein’s ear to convince him that he will get away with his attack on Kuwait? The same people who wanted Iraq destroyed who eventually had it destroyed 12 years later and all those who did not want peace dividends and who feared the cuts in military spending? I think Bush knew who was really behind Hussain? Who screwed up his vision of post Cold War peace, who deprived him of his legacy. So he said no to Israel when he had the highest approval rating in recent history but then he chickened out. He was intimidated by something. In retrospect he was not a bad guy but he wasted possibly the last opportunity to have America extricated from the iron grip of the Lobby.

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    • Replies: @Ris_Eruwaedhiel
    I remember James Baker's comment: "F--- the Jews, they didn't vote for us anyway."
    , @MarkinLA
    He did nothing to counter the Iraqi claims that Kuwait was slant drilling and stealing Iraqi oil as well as overproducing to keep the price low. If Bush really did not want that war he could have gotten involved with pressuring the Kuwaitis to keep Iraq from attacking. Oh wait, we wanted the oil price low so we really weren't all that interested in keeping a war from breaking out.
    , @MarkinPNW
    "So the most important question is to find out who TF whispered to Saddam Hussein’s ear to convince him that he will get away with his attack on Kuwait." April Glaspie; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Glaspie
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  16. Just read the chapter on the Vietnam war by Howard Zinn A Peoples History of the USA.
    Or read an Eisenhower letter, written after WWII, ‘we should have killed much more Germans’.
    James Bacque, ´Der geplante Tod, Deutsche Kriegsgefangene in amerikanischen und französischen Lagern 1945 – 1946, Frankfurt/M, 1989, 1994 (Other losses, Toronto, 1989)

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    • Replies: @Ris_Eruwaedhiel
    I daresay that (((Howard Zinn))) approved of that.
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  17. @SolontoCroesus
    Half right.
    Bush is a war criminal and should not be rewarded for upholding moral standards, he should be in prison or on the end of a piano wire.
    But, the seed does not fall far from the tree (from which both should hang).

    Lt Col Pete Kilner styles himself an ethicist and teaches/counsels ethics and morality to West Pointers and helps military personnel deal with post-engagement moral issues.

    Kilner published this essay a few days ago:

    MORAL MISCONCEPTIONS: FIVE FLAWED ASSUMPTIONS CONFUSE MORAL JUDGMENTS ON WAR
    https://www.ausa.org/articles/moral-misconceptions-five-flawed-assumptions-confuse-moral-judgments-war

    imo nearly every argument Kilner makes to refute the “5 misconceptions” are childishly simplistic; some rely on distortions or omissions of key facts.
    For example, Kilner writes:


    Misconception 4
    Motives must be pure:
    The 1990–91 First Gulf War was a paradigm case of a just war. Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait, and the U.S. and other countries assisted Kuwaiti forces in liberating their country and re-establishing their government. Critics of the war claim that the United States’ involvement was motivated by a desire to keep oil prices low. Even if they are right, would it matter?
     
    No, the Gulf War was NOT a “paradigm case of a just war.” Just war theory / Jus Ad Bellum Convention holds that the just war must:

    have just cause, be a last resort, be declared by a proper authority, possess right intention, have a reasonable chance of success, and the end must be proportional to the means used. . .http://www.iep.utm.edu/justwar/#H2
     
    First of all, if you have to lie to gain assent to wage war, then any moral claim to having a just cause is null.
    Incubator babies??

    In almost every other way the Persian Gulf war waged by George H W Bush violated jus ad bellum principles but especially:


    War should always be a last resort. This connects intimately with presenting a just cause – all other forms of solution must have been attempted prior to the declaration of war.
     
    As Vernon Loeb recorded — and the George H W Bush archives as examined by historian Jeff Engel affirm, King Hussein of Jordan, in concert with other Arab leaders, had achieved a resolution to which Saddam would have agreed, and repeatedly asked Bush to let the Arabs take care of their own conflict. Likewise, Mikhael Gorbachev persisted to the point of annoyance in calling Bush and urging him NOT to go to war to resolve the conflict. Bush shouted at him and ignored his advice.

    All other options had NOT been exhausted.

    The Berlin wall had fallen, USSR and Gorbachev no longer had power to counterbalance US power; George H W Bush was King of the Mountain and he wielded his power recklessly. The world is still reeling — and hundreds of thousands are dead, because of his reckless disregard of thousand-year old principles of Justice in War.

    It’s astonishing that an ethicist who teaches West Pointers did not make this basic analysis.

    In summary, if Lt. Col. Pete Kilner is representative of the “moral foundation” provided West Point cadets, the institution — and the United States that, according to a Gallup poll, trusts the military more than any other institution in USA — are in deeper trouble than Erik Erdstrom comprehends.

    As Chomsky said ‘ according to Neurenberg standards any USA president should have been hanged’.

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  18. Realist says:
    @reiner Tor
    Previously had the impression that Dubya was a dumb but decent person, manipulated by others. I didn't know for example his eager participation in the speechmaking/lecture circus. This mental picture has changed somewhat in recent years, but I remained greatly ignorant of a lot of details. Now these two articles about him shed some light how he really is a piece of shit, just like the others. Maybe not so extremely dumb, though.

    “Maybe not so extremely dumb, though.”

    Oh he’s stupid alright. His cerebral prowess is being burnished to further the Deep State cause.
    Like father like son.

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  19. Greg Bacon says: • Website

    The United States Military Academy is, or at least should be, a steward of American military values

    But they are upholding American values, like lying, cheating, murdering, stealing, which is what many American presidents, but definitely since President Clinton, have engaged in around the world.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the liars with Operation Inherent Resolve, the gangster outfit that is overseeing the ‘Wars for Wall Street and Israel’ in SW Asia and the ME, bomb to smithereens civilians on a daily basis, then get in front of the cameras and LIE that they didn’t do it, it was those Rooskies. Then, when they’re outed with evidence, they LIE again, promising to investigate and that’s the last you’ll hear of the latest American-made mass murder.
    Aren’t all those command types at Operation Butcher Muslims, sorry, Inherent Resolve West Point or Annapolis graduates, that lie, cheat, steal and murder on a daily basis, yet they get their chests festooned with medals from a grateful nation for being basically, unhinged psycho-killers, so you see, West Point is upholding American values.

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    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    But they are upholding American values, like lying, cheating, murdering, stealing, which is what many American presidents, but definitely since President Clinton, have engaged in around the world.
     
    True, but one could argue that Lincoln was the first of the worst. Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, and FDR took hypocrisy and mockery of "American values" to new depths and it's been downhill since then.

    We have to face the fact that none of us is fit to wield the levers of so much power. To think otherwise is positively deranged.
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  20. I have read elsewhere that Mr. Bush had the largest contingent of rabbis in his administration, as advisors behind the scenes, to provide him with moral guidance. What is a person to make of that? Was he that obtuse?
    Thank you Mr. Edstrom!

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  21. The Thayer may be one of the most important awards that hardly anyone has ever heard of.

    Not anymore. Sort of like the Nobel Peace Prize. Dark humor.

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    • Agree: jacques sheete
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  22. @peterAUS
    Thank you for that link.
    A VERY GOOD article.
    A gem really.

    Some parts I found particularly good:

    This insight is that combat deployments affect our souls so deeply because they allow us to taste something of heaven and hell, in ways that civilian life rarely does. The profound purpose, unity, and love that soldiers in a small unit experience is almost impossible to replicate outside of war; it is a foretaste of heaven. At the same time, the dehumanizing suffering and apparent absence of God that characterize a war zone instruct veterans on how awful human existence can be; there's a reason we say "war is hell."
     

    Soldiers are pawns in a conflict started by others.
     

    And for the first time in most soldiers’ lives, we encounter undisguised evil.
     

    Hidden beneath the ugly destructiveness of war, however, is a sublime beauty that is known only to the veterans who have experienced it.
     

    The greater the dangers and adversity that soldiers face and overcome, the greater those bonds. Some soldiers become closer to each other than to their own families.
     

    , it explains why soldiers want to be deployed. We’re not warmongers; we’re longing for another taste of heaven alongside other warriors. Second, it explains why life outside of war can seem so mundane and even meaningless. Having gone through heaven and hell, our everyday lives can feel like limbo.
     

    We’ve seen what humans are capable of, for better and for worse. Reflecting on our experiences of war, we are alternately inspired and appalled. We have glimpsed what was previously unimaginable: the happiness of heaven, the desolation of hell.
     
    Compliments to Lt.Col Kilner.

    Thanks for posting those excerpts.

    Most of them annoy the bleep outta me because they seem like more of the sappy (unctuous even),over romanticized, self aggrandizing, claptrap that we’ve come to expect from functionaries of the state.

    This, type of nonsense, in particular, galls me.:

    Hidden beneath the ugly destructiveness of war, however, is a sublime beauty that is known only to the veterans who have experienced it.

    What a disgustingly hollow load of bulshit that is! Oh, but the rest of us, who haven’t experienced the “sublime beauty” of war, aren’t counted amongst the anointed elite who know things the rest of us mere mortals don’t.

    “Sublime beauty?”

    Who do you think yer kidding? I was a grunt (volunteer, not drafted) in Vietnam, and I never saw any beauty in war, sublime, mundane, or otherwise.

    Here’s how a man with integrity views the military.:

    “Military life in general depraves men. It places them in conditions of complete idleness, that is, absence of all rational and useful work; frees them from their common human duties, … also puts them into conditions of servile obedience to those of higher ranks than themselves.”

    ― Leo Tolstoy Resurrection Or, The Awakening, 1899
    In 1851 Tolstoy and his older brother went to the Caucasus where he joined the Russian army as an artillery officer.
    In 1854, during the Crimean War Tolstoy transferred to Wallachia to fight against the French, British and Ottoman Empire and defend Sevastopol.

    http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1872

    Here’s what military establishments are really about; I wonder if they deal with this at West Point, or in “ethics” classes.

    A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.

    James Madison, Speech, Constitutional Convention (1787-06-29), from Max Farrand’s Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. I [1] (1911), p. 465

    Standing armies are un-American, and no amount of cloyingly romantic slight of hand with the truth will change it. Here’s all one needs to know about the “ethics” of state sponsored terrorism.:

    Wherever an army is established, it introduces a revolution in manners, corrupts the morals, propagates every species of vice, and degrades the human character.”

    Mercy Otis Warren, Revolution-era historian,
    History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution vol. 1, Ch3, 1805

    http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1872

    Ethics my tush!:

    “… I spent most of my [33 years in the Marine Corps] being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers.

    In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for [crony] capitalism.”

    Major General Butler USMC, War is a Racket, 1935

    http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

    So, you see, the truth is nothing new. Anyone with a sense of ethics wouldn’t try to smear lipstick on a pig.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS
    You appear to be an educated and thinking man.
    Let's try.

    What a disgustingly hollow load of bulshit that is! Oh, but the rest of us, who haven’t experienced the “sublime beauty” of war, aren’t counted amongst the anointed elite who know things the rest of us mere mortals don’t.

    “Sublime beauty?”

    Who do you think yer kidding? I was a grunt (volunteer, not drafted) in Vietnam, and I never saw any beauty in war, sublime, mundane, or otherwise.
     

    Some people don't get sublime beauty in arts. Some do.
    Some people don't get sublime beauty in nature, architecture. Some do.

    Some people even get sublime beauty in mathematics, chemistry, medicine. Most don't.

    The same applies to professional boxing. Cage fighting. Vale tudo.

    The same apples to war and combat as well.

    On a personal level, I do not get any, let alone subliminal, beauty in modern paintings.
    I am positive those can't see any subliminal beauty in combat.
    But, interestingly enough, I don't see those people who do as "the anointed elite". They definitely don't see me either.

    Different strokes for different folks.

    Perhaps you could approach this issue in the same way.

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  23. @Greg Bacon

    The United States Military Academy is, or at least should be, a steward of American military values
     
    But they are upholding American values, like lying, cheating, murdering, stealing, which is what many American presidents, but definitely since President Clinton, have engaged in around the world.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the liars with Operation Inherent Resolve, the gangster outfit that is overseeing the 'Wars for Wall Street and Israel' in SW Asia and the ME, bomb to smithereens civilians on a daily basis, then get in front of the cameras and LIE that they didn't do it, it was those Rooskies. Then, when they're outed with evidence, they LIE again, promising to investigate and that's the last you'll hear of the latest American-made mass murder.
    Aren't all those command types at Operation Butcher Muslims, sorry, Inherent Resolve West Point or Annapolis graduates, that lie, cheat, steal and murder on a daily basis, yet they get their chests festooned with medals from a grateful nation for being basically, unhinged psycho-killers, so you see, West Point is upholding American values.

    But they are upholding American values, like lying, cheating, murdering, stealing, which is what many American presidents, but definitely since President Clinton, have engaged in around the world.

    True, but one could argue that Lincoln was the first of the worst. Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, and FDR took hypocrisy and mockery of “American values” to new depths and it’s been downhill since then.

    We have to face the fact that none of us is fit to wield the levers of so much power. To think otherwise is positively deranged.

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  24. @Pete Kilner
    Solonto: You've posted more than 2,600 comments on this website? "You" are likely a group of Russians working full time to sow discord.

    But let's charitably assume that you're a real person. Your knowledge of the history of the 1990-91 Gulf War is terrible. I assume that you were too young to remember the events leading up to it. Watch President George H. W. Bush's speech to the world and learn:
    https://www.c-span.org/video/?15723-1/president-bush-announces-beginning-persian-gulf-air-war

    That may be the best explanation in terms of Just War you'll ever hear a politician give. He checks every block of jus ad bellum.

    Also, about your snide comment, "Lt Col Pete Kilner styles himself an ethicist." I have a masters degree in philosophical ethics from an excellent program, and I've researched, written on, and taught ethics for 20 years. I may "style" myself a comedian or good dancer, but I'm pretty well-credentialed as an ethicist.

    Also, about your snide comment, “Lt Col Pete Kilner styles himself an ethicist.” I have a masters degree in philosophical ethics from an excellent program, and I’ve researched, written on, and taught ethics for 20 years.

    I must tell you that the comment, whether snide or not, is spot on.

    Your other credentials are worth about as much as Bush’s award or O-bomb-a’s “peace” prize, and any adult should know that.

    What’re the ethics of farces?

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  25. n230099 says:

    Still, as criminal as Bush and Obama’s actions were, between Wilson, FDR, Truman, and Kennedy/Johnson, there are way more Americans dead for nothing than these pikers killed.

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    • Agree: jacques sheete
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  26. Bush jr. and Bush sr. are both war criminals and were front men for the Zionists who really control this country and both were complicit with Israel and the deep state in 911.

    They are evil incarnate with satan and also their henchman Cheney, straight from hell.

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    • Replies: @jacques sheete
    All of your comment is true and I'd like to add that the fetid scent of Zionist sympathies can be detected at least as far back as Wilson and FDR as well, and probably even goes further back.

    This quote is interesting though I do not mean to conflate Judaism with Zionism.:


    We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time, an element which through historical development – to which in this harmful respect the Jews have zealously contributed – has been brought to its present high level...

    In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.
    The Jew has already emancipated himself in a Jewish way.

    “The Jew, who in Vienna, for example, is only tolerated, determines the fate of the whole Empire by his financial power. The Jew, who may have no rights in the smallest German state, decides the fate of Europe. While corporations and guilds refuse to admit Jews, or have not yet adopted a favorable attitude towards them, the audacity of industry mocks at the obstinacy of the material institutions.” (Bruno Bauer, The Jewish Question, p. 114)

    This is no isolated fact. The Jew has emancipated himself in a Jewish manner, not only because he has acquired financial power, but also because, through him and also apart from him, money has become a world power and the practical Jewish spirit has become the practical spirit of the Christian nations. The Jews have emancipated themselves insofar as the Christians have become Jews.

    -Karl Marx, On The Jewish Question, First Published: February, 1844 in Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher; https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/jewish-question/


     

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  27. TG says:

    Whatever one thinks of Trump, one must appreciate the public service that he did in utterly humiliating Jeb! Bush and pretty much putting a stake in the heart of the Bush political dynasty. One takes ones guilty pleasures where one finds them.

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  28. @DESERT FOX
    Bush jr. and Bush sr. are both war criminals and were front men for the Zionists who really control this country and both were complicit with Israel and the deep state in 911.

    They are evil incarnate with satan and also their henchman Cheney, straight from hell.

    All of your comment is true and I’d like to add that the fetid scent of Zionist sympathies can be detected at least as far back as Wilson and FDR as well, and probably even goes further back.

    This quote is interesting though I do not mean to conflate Judaism with Zionism.:

    We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time, an element which through historical development – to which in this harmful respect the Jews have zealously contributed – has been brought to its present high level…

    In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.
    The Jew has already emancipated himself in a Jewish way.

    “The Jew, who in Vienna, for example, is only tolerated, determines the fate of the whole Empire by his financial power. The Jew, who may have no rights in the smallest German state, decides the fate of Europe. While corporations and guilds refuse to admit Jews, or have not yet adopted a favorable attitude towards them, the audacity of industry mocks at the obstinacy of the material institutions.” (Bruno Bauer, The Jewish Question, p. 114)

    This is no isolated fact. The Jew has emancipated himself in a Jewish manner, not only because he has acquired financial power, but also because, through him and also apart from him, money has become a world power and the practical Jewish spirit has become the practical spirit of the Christian nations. The Jews have emancipated themselves insofar as the Christians have become Jews.

    -Karl Marx, On The Jewish Question, First Published: February, 1844 in Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher; https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/jewish-question/

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    • Replies: @DESERT FOX
    Agree, it is a fact that the Zionists achieved total control of the U.S. in 1913 with the FED and the IRS which are both privately owned by the Zionists and thus opened the way for the wars to which we Americans have been subjected to for the profit of the Zionist warlords.
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  29. A someone very fond of the Bush family, I have to admit, as someone who opposed both conflict (one outright) the other as to scale and purpose) this article is a very heavy indictment, less of the executive but of members of congress, the foreign policy establishment and the military advocates for invasion (men and women alike).

    I have always thought that Pres Bush ignored his bet instincts on the matter and was ill advised. I don’t know what recompense the country will garner for our actions, but I don’t think it has yet come. We need to pull up and consider the dark space into which are knee-jerking our way into.

    —–

    However, I don’t think this is about Pres. Bush or even a stamp of approval on needless and careless interventions as much as it an attempt to wedge the military against Pres Trump or tangentially express discomfit by some in the higher echelons with the Pres.

    Deeply appreciated this a article. No argument against those invasion penetrated the cloud of revenge the country was bent on exacting. And it is deeply troubling – when the case against invasion was so blatantly clear.

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  30. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    At West Point, it’s still possible to believe that we are fighting in the interests of the Afghan people

    If that’s true then they are mentally deficient. Mercenaries and the mentally defective working under the leadership of the morally corrupt, the perfect dance partners.

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  31. @jacques sheete
    All of your comment is true and I'd like to add that the fetid scent of Zionist sympathies can be detected at least as far back as Wilson and FDR as well, and probably even goes further back.

    This quote is interesting though I do not mean to conflate Judaism with Zionism.:


    We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time, an element which through historical development – to which in this harmful respect the Jews have zealously contributed – has been brought to its present high level...

    In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.
    The Jew has already emancipated himself in a Jewish way.

    “The Jew, who in Vienna, for example, is only tolerated, determines the fate of the whole Empire by his financial power. The Jew, who may have no rights in the smallest German state, decides the fate of Europe. While corporations and guilds refuse to admit Jews, or have not yet adopted a favorable attitude towards them, the audacity of industry mocks at the obstinacy of the material institutions.” (Bruno Bauer, The Jewish Question, p. 114)

    This is no isolated fact. The Jew has emancipated himself in a Jewish manner, not only because he has acquired financial power, but also because, through him and also apart from him, money has become a world power and the practical Jewish spirit has become the practical spirit of the Christian nations. The Jews have emancipated themselves insofar as the Christians have become Jews.

    -Karl Marx, On The Jewish Question, First Published: February, 1844 in Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher; https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/jewish-question/


     

    Agree, it is a fact that the Zionists achieved total control of the U.S. in 1913 with the FED and the IRS which are both privately owned by the Zionists and thus opened the way for the wars to which we Americans have been subjected to for the profit of the Zionist warlords.

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    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    ...it is a fact that the Zionists achieved total control of the U.S. in 1913 with the FED and the IRS which are both privately owned by the Zionists and thus opened the way for the wars to which we Americans have been subjected to for the profit of the Zionist warlords.
     
    Amen!
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  32. I apologize to those who may find my comments excessive, but some of the attitudes expressed here need to be confronted. I regret that I can’t do it in person.

    To those who postulate such insubstantial, quasi-profound, faux-poetic pornography, if not swinishly orgasmic, fanciful hooey as:

    … combat deployments affect our souls so deeply because they allow us to taste something of heaven and hell, in ways that civilian life rarely does. The profound purpose, unity, and love that soldiers in a small unit experience is almost impossible to replicate outside of war; it is a foretaste of heaven.

    …we’re longing for another taste of heaven alongside other warriors. Second, it explains why life outside of war can seem so mundane and even meaningless. Having gone through heaven and hell, our everyday lives can feel like limbo.

    Having gone through heaven and hell, our everyday lives can feel like limbo.

    I say that Aristophanes, to name just one, saw through the self adulating humbug, millennia ago.

    SAUSAGE-SELLER
    …you wish the war to conceal your rogueries as in a mist, that Demos may see nothing of them, and harassed by cares, may only depend on yourself for his bread. But if ever peace is restored to him, if ever he returns to his lands to comfort himself once more with good cakes, to greet his cherished olives, he will know the blessings you have kept him out of, even though paying him a salary; and, filled with hatred and rage, he will rise, burning with desire to vote against you. You know this only too well; it is for this you rock him to sleep with your lies.

    - Aristophanes, The Knights, 424 BC

    http://classics.mit.edu/Aristophanes/knights.html

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  33. Mulegino1 says:

    Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama all fit in the category of war criminal, and were there such a thing as authentic and impartial international justice, they could all be in the dock of a new Nuremberg Tribunal – albeit one without the kangaroo court and vae victis characteristics of the eponymous one.

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  34. @peterAUS
    Thank you for that link.
    A VERY GOOD article.
    A gem really.

    Some parts I found particularly good:

    This insight is that combat deployments affect our souls so deeply because they allow us to taste something of heaven and hell, in ways that civilian life rarely does. The profound purpose, unity, and love that soldiers in a small unit experience is almost impossible to replicate outside of war; it is a foretaste of heaven. At the same time, the dehumanizing suffering and apparent absence of God that characterize a war zone instruct veterans on how awful human existence can be; there's a reason we say "war is hell."
     

    Soldiers are pawns in a conflict started by others.
     

    And for the first time in most soldiers’ lives, we encounter undisguised evil.
     

    Hidden beneath the ugly destructiveness of war, however, is a sublime beauty that is known only to the veterans who have experienced it.
     

    The greater the dangers and adversity that soldiers face and overcome, the greater those bonds. Some soldiers become closer to each other than to their own families.
     

    , it explains why soldiers want to be deployed. We’re not warmongers; we’re longing for another taste of heaven alongside other warriors. Second, it explains why life outside of war can seem so mundane and even meaningless. Having gone through heaven and hell, our everyday lives can feel like limbo.
     

    We’ve seen what humans are capable of, for better and for worse. Reflecting on our experiences of war, we are alternately inspired and appalled. We have glimpsed what was previously unimaginable: the happiness of heaven, the desolation of hell.
     
    Compliments to Lt.Col Kilner.

    George Bush served in the Texas Air National Guard during Vietnam and his dad served as a naval aviator during WWII. Quite a difference.

    At one time, the people who started wars fought in them. The last English king to serve in combat was the much-maligned Richard III, killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. James IV of Scotland was killed at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513. George II was commander at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743.

    Prince Harry saw service in Afghanistan and Andrew in the Falklands. So, the denigrated Royals have a better track record than the elites in a democracy.

    In Robert Heinlein’s Starship Trooper novel, only people who served their society in a dangerous position had the right to vote. That would weed out almost of the “cloud people” who dominate the West.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Agree.

    And, you definitely have a point here:

    In Robert Heinlein’s Starship Trooper novel, only people who served their society in a dangerous position had the right to vote. That would weed out almost of the “cloud people” who dominate the West.
     
    Now, there is one country which adheres to that rule a bit:Israel.
    Interesting, isn't it?
    Easy, especially on sites like this, to heap abuse on, say, Netanyahu.
    Just from Wikipedia, though:

    Netanyahu joined the Israel Defense Forces shortly after the Six-Day War in 1967, and became a team leader in the Sayeret Matkal special forces unit. Netanyahu took part in many missions, including Operation Inferno (1968), Operation Gift (1968) and Operation Isotope (1972), during which he was shot in the shoulder. Netanyahu fought on the front lines in the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War in 1973, taking part in special forces raids along the Suez Canal, and then leading a commando assault deep into Syrian territory.[3][4] Netanyahu achieved the rank of captain before being discharged.
     
    You have to give them: they got that right.

    Now, we'll see, say, 20 replies with 20 links each about ...them....
    Will keep the article busy though.
    Interested in topic could just skip them.
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  35. @utu
    I was around 1990/91 and I followed what was happening. I do not agree with SolontoCroesus take on Bush and Gulf War. I already once had exchanged comments with him about it, I think, but my points did not make a dent.

    Bush never looked thrilled to go to this war. I had impression that his arms had to be twisted. He seemed like he would not mind letting Saddam Hussein slide. It was his meeting with Margaret Thatcher in Aspen that changed everything. Bush built broad coalition including many Arab and Muslim nations and went to war. He head to give $500 millions to Israel to keep them away and not retaliating against Iraq in order to not upset Arab allies in the coalition.

    The war was won. Bush did not go to Bagdad but only liberated Kuwait. It was reported in papers that his popularity hit 90% which was 20% more than what Hitler got after the Anschluss of Austria in 1938, as I remember thinking this at that time.

    In summer 1991 Bush decided to use his political capital and tried to say no Israel illegal settlements by holding money slated for Israel. Yitzhak Shamir got furious and the Lobby attacked. Everybody was against hime. Most people did not know what was happening. Bush backed off and instead of turning to American people and leveling with them on what was going on he only complained that he was all alone in WH.

    It was decided (I do not know how, when and where and by whom but it was decided nevertheless) that Bush could not be trusted with the 2nd term. He did not take advantage of the golden opportunity to occupy Iraq and then he had audacity to challenge Israel which last time happened in early summer 1993 by JFK when said no to the development of nuclear weapons by Israel. So everything was done what had to be done for him to lose. And he knew that it would be so. He did not fight. He got impatient with the campaign and looked at his watch during the debate to show his disdain. He had no chance to win. Ross Perot played the same role as Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 election to deprive Taft the 2nd term. Unlike Roosevelt Ross Perot probably did not know what role he was cast to play.

    Why Bush did what he did? Why he did not occupy Iraq? Why he challenged Israel? My take is that he really did not want this war. That he really believed that after the wall coming down and Soviet Union falling apart America can change the course and start reducing military spending. He seemed to really believe in the peace dividends. The end of the Cold War was his greatest achievement and it was ruined by Saddam Hussein invasion of Kuwait. So the most important question is to find out who TF whispered to Saddam Hussein's ear to convince him that he will get away with his attack on Kuwait? The same people who wanted Iraq destroyed who eventually had it destroyed 12 years later and all those who did not want peace dividends and who feared the cuts in military spending? I think Bush knew who was really behind Hussain? Who screwed up his vision of post Cold War peace, who deprived him of his legacy. So he said no to Israel when he had the highest approval rating in recent history but then he chickened out. He was intimidated by something. In retrospect he was not a bad guy but he wasted possibly the last opportunity to have America extricated from the iron grip of the Lobby.

    I remember James Baker’s comment: “F— the Jews, they didn’t vote for us anyway.”

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  36. MEexpert says:

    Bush II could be called a war criminal by reason of stupidity. The real culprit is the bastard standing next to him in the picture. He controlled George W. Bush and was the real President. To this day, he continues to push for war against Iran.

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  37. Don Bacon says:

    Blaming Bush for starting wars is sort of like blaming bin Laden for 9/11 or Putin for Hilary’s defeat. There were a lot more people involved in recent and ongoing US wars, including many people from the “opposing” party, Joe Biden and Al Gore come to mind.

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  38. @DESERT FOX
    Agree, it is a fact that the Zionists achieved total control of the U.S. in 1913 with the FED and the IRS which are both privately owned by the Zionists and thus opened the way for the wars to which we Americans have been subjected to for the profit of the Zionist warlords.

    …it is a fact that the Zionists achieved total control of the U.S. in 1913 with the FED and the IRS which are both privately owned by the Zionists and thus opened the way for the wars to which we Americans have been subjected to for the profit of the Zionist warlords.

    Amen!

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  39. anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @reiner Tor
    Previously had the impression that Dubya was a dumb but decent person, manipulated by others. I didn't know for example his eager participation in the speechmaking/lecture circus. This mental picture has changed somewhat in recent years, but I remained greatly ignorant of a lot of details. Now these two articles about him shed some light how he really is a piece of shit, just like the others. Maybe not so extremely dumb, though.

    Previously had the impression that Dubya was a dumb but

    He’s obviously no intellectual and it’s unlikely he’s ever read any book on his own. He appears to lack curiosity whatever his mental level may be. His speeches, like everyone else, are written by others and just simply read as an actor reads their lines. However, his job was to deliver and that he did in spades. He ratcheted up the security state to a historic level and diverted trillions from the US treasury for the biggest gravy train ever. It’s an income transfer scheme, from the masses to the upper classes, all while scaring everyone with nonexistent hobgoblins. He did nothing about unchecked illegal immigration, giving his constituency, the haves and the have-mores, their cheap labor. Historians will argue as to who the worst president of all time was and Bush’s name will figure prominently. He’ll be seen as one of the downward turning points in American history, a person who ruined what was left of American credibility and pride. He had a lot of enablers though, and did not act alone, standing astride a mountain of bones. So, smart or not, the evil nature of this man will continue to cast it’s shadow for years to come.

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  40. I checked the web and found this award often goes to the most despicable neocon in the nation. I expect McCain to win next year.

    Sylvanus Thayer Award Recipients

    2017 The Honorable George W. Bush • speech • biography

    2016 The Honorable Robert S. Mueller • speech • biography

    2015 Gary Sinise • speech • biography • photos

    2014 Condoleezza Rice • speech • biography • photos

    2013 Madeleine Korbel Albright • speech • biography • video

    2012 Isaac Newton “Ike” Skelton • speech • biography

    2011 Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates • speech • biography

    2010 Honorable James A. Baker, III • speech • biography • photos

    2009 H. Ross Perot • speech • biography • photos

    2008 William J. Perry • article • biography

    2007 General (Retired) Frederick Kroesen • speech • article • biography

    2006 Tom Brokaw • speech • article •biography

    I stopped with Tom Brokaw because that seems odd to most. Watch this funny and insightful Jimmy Dore clip about how Brokaw was a no newsman, but a Pentagon bootlicker, hence the award.

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  41. sample says:

    I think what we can all be thankful is the fact that we are no longer dependant on the NY time/Washington Post etc to see the World through their prizes…l

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  42. President Bush may have been dumb or naive or he may have been smart. It’s difficult to know what a person really thinks. The Iraq war was a mistake but Bush the Younger also pushed for implementation of other policies which look to be highly dubious. Does anyone remember “No Child left Behind” or “The Housing Gap”? These two policies were hairbrained to say the least. Only a foolish person could ever believe in such nonsense. He truly believed that we were all created equal, he was they ultimate champion of the “Blank Slate” theory.A delusional fool who I actually voted for in 2000.
    Yes I think he was “A True Believer” in Social Justice causes.

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  43. @jilles dykstra
    Just read the chapter on the Vietnam war by Howard Zinn A Peoples History of the USA.
    Or read an Eisenhower letter, written after WWII, 'we should have killed much more Germans'.
    James Bacque, ´Der geplante Tod, Deutsche Kriegsgefangene in amerikanischen und französischen Lagern 1945 – 1946, Frankfurt/M, 1989, 1994 (Other losses, Toronto, 1989)

    I daresay that (((Howard Zinn))) approved of that.

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    • Replies: @utu
    I daresay that (((Howard Zinn))) approved of that.

    Rather not. Zinn on one of his last missions as a member of USAF bomber crew was sent to bomb with napalm large groupings of German soldiers who were just awaiting to surrender somewhere in northern France. The front line past them and was much further West. He did not like it at all. He thought that the only purpose of the mission was to test how the new napalm worked.
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  44. utu says:
    @Ris_Eruwaedhiel
    I daresay that (((Howard Zinn))) approved of that.

    I daresay that (((Howard Zinn))) approved of that.

    Rather not. Zinn on one of his last missions as a member of USAF bomber crew was sent to bomb with napalm large groupings of German soldiers who were just awaiting to surrender somewhere in northern France. The front line past them and was much further West. He did not like it at all. He thought that the only purpose of the mission was to test how the new napalm worked.

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  45. peterAUS says:
    @Pete Kilner
    Thanks, Peter.

    If you want to read more, I have a column on professional ethics in Army Magazine. You can access my articles at: https://www.ausa.org/people/lt-col-pete-kilner

    Cheers,
    Pete

    Already read some articles as soon as read that linked article.
    You address definitely important and fascinating topic (for a lack of better word)
    That topic started interested me at a very young age and, I guess, got me really interested while involved in my little war.
    Has kept me interested since, of course.

    Just found your article/article….resonating….and very well written.

    Now, this place is NOT for any conversation about the topic.

    Pity we (or guys like us) couldn’t have a quiet chat somewhere.

    I remember, during my little war, having long conversations with a friend of mine.
    Interesting is, nobody to talk about it with now. I am not complaining, just stating the obvious.

    People who’d understand are hard to find. At the moment, impossible (in real word that is).
    People who care (for any reason imaginable) just don’t understand.
    So, reading rare articles, as yours, definitely help.

    And, of course, there is the issue of “privacy”. Some of own thoughts and feelings one shares with NOBODY. This post-modernist culture of “sharing” doesn’t work for some types.

    I remember talking with that friend of mine, and after some time the conversation would stop and we’d just sit there in silence, sipping our drinks, each deep in own thoughts. The real thinking….And then start again.

    One more thing.
    Should you choose to post here try to be….how to put it….careful.

    Regards
    P

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  46. nsa says:

    West Point? Isn’t that some place where the Jooies indoctrinate their latest crop of servile Goy Gurkhas? Change those posters to: Uncle Samuel Wants You……with a pic of Samuel in his beanie pointing a bony finger out at you, the suckers.

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  47. J1234 says:

    George W. Bush Receives a Character Award at West Point

    He’s a character alright.

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  48. peterAUS says:
    @Ris_Eruwaedhiel
    George Bush served in the Texas Air National Guard during Vietnam and his dad served as a naval aviator during WWII. Quite a difference.

    At one time, the people who started wars fought in them. The last English king to serve in combat was the much-maligned Richard III, killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. James IV of Scotland was killed at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513. George II was commander at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743.

    Prince Harry saw service in Afghanistan and Andrew in the Falklands. So, the denigrated Royals have a better track record than the elites in a democracy.

    In Robert Heinlein's Starship Trooper novel, only people who served their society in a dangerous position had the right to vote. That would weed out almost of the "cloud people" who dominate the West.

    Agree.

    And, you definitely have a point here:

    In Robert Heinlein’s Starship Trooper novel, only people who served their society in a dangerous position had the right to vote. That would weed out almost of the “cloud people” who dominate the West.

    Now, there is one country which adheres to that rule a bit:Israel.
    Interesting, isn’t it?
    Easy, especially on sites like this, to heap abuse on, say, Netanyahu.
    Just from Wikipedia, though:

    Netanyahu joined the Israel Defense Forces shortly after the Six-Day War in 1967, and became a team leader in the Sayeret Matkal special forces unit. Netanyahu took part in many missions, including Operation Inferno (1968), Operation Gift (1968) and Operation Isotope (1972), during which he was shot in the shoulder. Netanyahu fought on the front lines in the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War in 1973, taking part in special forces raids along the Suez Canal, and then leading a commando assault deep into Syrian territory.[3][4] Netanyahu achieved the rank of captain before being discharged.

    You have to give them: they got that right.

    Now, we’ll see, say, 20 replies with 20 links each about ...them….
    Will keep the article busy though.
    Interested in topic could just skip them.

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  49. peterAUS says:
    @jacques sheete
    Thanks for posting those excerpts.

    Most of them annoy the bleep outta me because they seem like more of the sappy (unctuous even),over romanticized, self aggrandizing, claptrap that we've come to expect from functionaries of the state.

    This, type of nonsense, in particular, galls me.:


    Hidden beneath the ugly destructiveness of war, however, is a sublime beauty that is known only to the veterans who have experienced it.
     
    What a disgustingly hollow load of bulshit that is! Oh, but the rest of us, who haven't experienced the "sublime beauty" of war, aren't counted amongst the anointed elite who know things the rest of us mere mortals don't.

    "Sublime beauty?"

    Who do you think yer kidding? I was a grunt (volunteer, not drafted) in Vietnam, and I never saw any beauty in war, sublime, mundane, or otherwise.

    Here's how a man with integrity views the military.:


    “Military life in general depraves men. It places them in conditions of complete idleness, that is, absence of all rational and useful work; frees them from their common human duties, … also puts them into conditions of servile obedience to those of higher ranks than themselves.”

    ― Leo Tolstoy Resurrection Or, The Awakening, 1899
    In 1851 Tolstoy and his older brother went to the Caucasus where he joined the Russian army as an artillery officer.
    In 1854, during the Crimean War Tolstoy transferred to Wallachia to fight against the French, British and Ottoman Empire and defend Sevastopol.
    http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1872
     

    Here's what military establishments are really about; I wonder if they deal with this at West Point, or in "ethics" classes.

    A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.

    James Madison, Speech, Constitutional Convention (1787-06-29), from Max Farrand's Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. I [1] (1911), p. 465

     

    Standing armies are un-American, and no amount of cloyingly romantic slight of hand with the truth will change it. Here's all one needs to know about the "ethics" of state sponsored terrorism.:

    Wherever an army is established, it introduces a revolution in manners, corrupts the morals, propagates every species of vice, and degrades the human character.”

    Mercy Otis Warren, Revolution-era historian,
    History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution vol. 1, Ch3, 1805

    http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1872
     

    Ethics my tush!:

    “… I spent most of my [33 years in the Marine Corps] being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers.

    In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for [crony] capitalism.”

    Major General Butler USMC, War is a Racket, 1935

    http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

     

    So, you see, the truth is nothing new. Anyone with a sense of ethics wouldn't try to smear lipstick on a pig.

    You appear to be an educated and thinking man.
    Let’s try.

    What a disgustingly hollow load of bulshit that is! Oh, but the rest of us, who haven’t experienced the “sublime beauty” of war, aren’t counted amongst the anointed elite who know things the rest of us mere mortals don’t.

    “Sublime beauty?”

    Who do you think yer kidding? I was a grunt (volunteer, not drafted) in Vietnam, and I never saw any beauty in war, sublime, mundane, or otherwise.

    Some people don’t get sublime beauty in arts. Some do.
    Some people don’t get sublime beauty in nature, architecture. Some do.

    Some people even get sublime beauty in mathematics, chemistry, medicine. Most don’t.

    The same applies to professional boxing. Cage fighting. Vale tudo.

    The same apples to war and combat as well.

    On a personal level, I do not get any, let alone subliminal, beauty in modern paintings.
    I am positive those can’t see any subliminal beauty in combat.
    But, interestingly enough, I don’t see those people who do as “the anointed elite”. They definitely don’t see me either.

    Different strokes for different folks.

    Perhaps you could approach this issue in the same way.

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    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    Perhaps you could approach this issue in the same way.
     
    No, thank you! I approach bullsh!t as BS, and I don't need anyone to guide me.

    PS: About 99% of what humans do is BS, and ~100% of what they say is that as well.
    , @Vidi


    “Sublime beauty?”

    Who do you think yer kidding? I was a grunt (volunteer, not drafted) in Vietnam, and I never saw any beauty in war, sublime, mundane, or otherwise.
     
    Some people don’t get sublime beauty in arts. Some do.
     
    Some people see sublime beauty in rape.

    I see defensive war as only necessary, and I curse those who make it necessary.
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  50. edNels says:

    Thanks for the article about how the elite soldiers are morally conditioned in these days.

    Did they teach anything about General Smedley Butler? Some of his second thoughts he had?

    What’s the matter with these academics who run everthing now, are they senile?

    Or, much worse, (maybe not though,) there is a policy on high, to effect the intentional dilution, and then destruction of standards. Prominently, auspicious prizes given to idiots and worse scoundrels! what’s that do to the mental and moral health of the youths, will they wise up and see through it and not show up?
    No, just replaced with a lower order, who will be more monstrous.

    All this decay of stuff is everywhere, who benefits… Cui Bono? They don’t need smart soldiers what with robots and AI etc. and the real work is in dumbing down the peeps, for the eventual enclosures.

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  51. Antiwar7 says:

    Really well written. I honor the author’s service in writing this piece.

    Also, I thank him for pointing out that W. Bush shares another thing with Adolf Hitler, besides war-mongering: painting.

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    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    ...Bush shares another thing with Adolf Hitler, besides war-mongering: painting.
     
    Look up some of Hitler's works. His talent far surpassed that of the Shrub and the dabbler, Churchill put together.

    Check this as well. It was written by the Jewish master, Murray Rothbard.:

    … Taylor [says] Germany and Hitler were not uniquely guilty of launching World War II (indeed they were scarcely guilty at all); Hitler was not bent on world conquest…Hitler, in brief, (in foreign affairs) was not a uniquely evil monster or daimon, who would continue to gobble up countries diabolically until stopped by superior force. Hitler was a rational German statesman, pursuing — with considerable intuitive insight — a traditional, post-Versailles German policy (to which we might add intimations of desires to expand eastward in an attack on Bolshevism).

    …he was a German intent, like all Germans, on revising the intolerable and stupid Versailles-diktat, and on doing so by peaceful means, and in collaboration with the British and French. One thing is sure: Hitler had no designs, no plans, not even vague intimations, to expand westward against Britain and France (let alone the United States).

    Hitler admired the British Empire and wished to collaborate with it.

    Not only did Hitler do this with insight, he did it with patience, as Taylor excellently shows; the legend (that perhaps all of us have accepted in one degree or another), is that Hitler annoyingly created one European crisis after another, in the late 1930s, proceeding hungrily onward from one victory to another; actually, the crises naturally arose, were developed from external conditions (largely from the breakup of the inherently unstable conditions imposed by the Versailles-diktat), and by others, and which Hitler patiently awaited the outcome to use to his and Germany’s advantage.

    … the Germans were morally right…

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/03/murray-n-rothbard/origins-2nd-world-war/
     
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  52. Most of it’s already been said above, but we’ve been a war nation for more than a generation. Mr. Bush’s predecessor bombed Iraq for years. Bush himself (or Cheney or whoever) turned it into an official and seemingly permanent war, using what are now known to be bold-faced lies. Torture as a matter of routine also started during Cheney’s reign. Nobel Peace Prize Obama ramped us up to 6 or 7 wars, normalized drone murder, and in his usual unctuous way told us to stop harping on Abu Graib (“It’s important we don’t get too sanctimonious”). Now Mr. Trump is starting/threatening even more war, complete with nukes, and bragging about the torture.

    My point is that someone we don’t even see is calling the shots, for all of them. These guys on TV just work for them, and are paid handsomely. The awards they get mean even less than their elections. I don’t see us (the proletariat, wage slaves, trying to raise a family) ever even figuring out what’s going on, much less doing anything about it.

    Read More
    • Agree: jacques sheete
    • Replies: @lavoisier
    Look, I agree with the malign influence the Zionists have had on world events. I agree that the Jews control the media and the narrative. And I agree that Israel is a very dangerous nation that has a malign influence on world events in general and the United States in particular.

    But how do you explain the actions of the Bushes the Clintons the McCains the Ryans and the Obamas of our corrupt world?

    This to me is the salient question.

    There are riches and honors aplenty to being a sellout to the Tribe if you are stupid, venal, and without principle.

    These men are the ones whom we should be disgusted with. THEY alone are responsible for their treachery and the evil that they have perpetrated.

    Let the Bolsheviks do what they would, they could not own Solzshenitsyn or, for that matter, the author of this article.

    The Goyim have been willing accomplices to evil.

    Shame on all of them. Every last one of them.

    Unless and until the Goyim take responsibility for their actions, and stop blaming the Jews, there is no hope for redemption of Western Civilization.

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  53. lavoisier says: • Website

    “The former president deserves a cold metal bench in a stockade awaiting trial, not an award and a warm round of applause from the academy. No coffee table books featuring his paintings — a perverse form of macabre exhibitionism — will atone for his actions. If West Point and its Association of Graduates want to maintain any credible pretense of adhering to the values they claim to espouse, they should revoke the most recent Thayer Award immediately.”

    NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

    Excellent essay.

    What has happened to West Point to act this way?? No one with any sense could think of Bush as anything other than a moron at best, a traitorous moron at worst.

    There must be an explanation–FOLLOW THE MONEY.

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  54. @peterAUS
    You appear to be an educated and thinking man.
    Let's try.

    What a disgustingly hollow load of bulshit that is! Oh, but the rest of us, who haven’t experienced the “sublime beauty” of war, aren’t counted amongst the anointed elite who know things the rest of us mere mortals don’t.

    “Sublime beauty?”

    Who do you think yer kidding? I was a grunt (volunteer, not drafted) in Vietnam, and I never saw any beauty in war, sublime, mundane, or otherwise.
     

    Some people don't get sublime beauty in arts. Some do.
    Some people don't get sublime beauty in nature, architecture. Some do.

    Some people even get sublime beauty in mathematics, chemistry, medicine. Most don't.

    The same applies to professional boxing. Cage fighting. Vale tudo.

    The same apples to war and combat as well.

    On a personal level, I do not get any, let alone subliminal, beauty in modern paintings.
    I am positive those can't see any subliminal beauty in combat.
    But, interestingly enough, I don't see those people who do as "the anointed elite". They definitely don't see me either.

    Different strokes for different folks.

    Perhaps you could approach this issue in the same way.

    Perhaps you could approach this issue in the same way.

    No, thank you! I approach bullsh!t as BS, and I don’t need anyone to guide me.

    PS: About 99% of what humans do is BS, and ~100% of what they say is that as well.

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  55. @Antiwar7
    Really well written. I honor the author's service in writing this piece.

    Also, I thank him for pointing out that W. Bush shares another thing with Adolf Hitler, besides war-mongering: painting.

    …Bush shares another thing with Adolf Hitler, besides war-mongering: painting.

    Look up some of Hitler’s works. His talent far surpassed that of the Shrub and the dabbler, Churchill put together.

    Check this as well. It was written by the Jewish master, Murray Rothbard.:

    … Taylor [says] Germany and Hitler were not uniquely guilty of launching World War II (indeed they were scarcely guilty at all); Hitler was not bent on world conquest…Hitler, in brief, (in foreign affairs) was not a uniquely evil monster or daimon, who would continue to gobble up countries diabolically until stopped by superior force. Hitler was a rational German statesman, pursuing — with considerable intuitive insight — a traditional, post-Versailles German policy (to which we might add intimations of desires to expand eastward in an attack on Bolshevism).

    …he was a German intent, like all Germans, on revising the intolerable and stupid Versailles-diktat, and on doing so by peaceful means, and in collaboration with the British and French. One thing is sure: Hitler had no designs, no plans, not even vague intimations, to expand westward against Britain and France (let alone the United States).

    Hitler admired the British Empire and wished to collaborate with it.

    Not only did Hitler do this with insight, he did it with patience, as Taylor excellently shows; the legend (that perhaps all of us have accepted in one degree or another), is that Hitler annoyingly created one European crisis after another, in the late 1930s, proceeding hungrily onward from one victory to another; actually, the crises naturally arose, were developed from external conditions (largely from the breakup of the inherently unstable conditions imposed by the Versailles-diktat), and by others, and which Hitler patiently awaited the outcome to use to his and Germany’s advantage.

    … the Germans were morally right…

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/03/murray-n-rothbard/origins-2nd-world-war/

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  56. LBJ was on a par with GW Bush when it came to conducting really stupid wars that resulted in the unnecessary deaths of so many human beings. I’ve often asked my self if their consciences were ever troubled at the thought that perhaps they were responsible for the pain and suffering that afflicted the dead and wounded and the close relatives there of. Could not have been much or otherwise if the thoughts were deep enough it would likely lead to suicide. A lack of conscience has led to the ability of a person like Ted Kennedy to shrug off his cowardly action at Chappaquiddick, remain in the Senate and be treated by his peers as if nothing had ever happened.. And GW Bush goes around making speeches as if nothing ever happened. The beat goes on.

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    Interesting to consider what qualifies as being troubled by one's conscience. Set aside full blooded psychopaths who have no conscience....how does it feel from inside? And, in the context of your comment, how does one reliably infer as observer that a person's conscience hasn't been troubled?

    I see lots of work for rationalisation - conscientious, even anxious, rationalisation.

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  57. @Simply Simon
    LBJ was on a par with GW Bush when it came to conducting really stupid wars that resulted in the unnecessary deaths of so many human beings. I've often asked my self if their consciences were ever troubled at the thought that perhaps they were responsible for the pain and suffering that afflicted the dead and wounded and the close relatives there of. Could not have been much or otherwise if the thoughts were deep enough it would likely lead to suicide. A lack of conscience has led to the ability of a person like Ted Kennedy to shrug off his cowardly action at Chappaquiddick, remain in the Senate and be treated by his peers as if nothing had ever happened.. And GW Bush goes around making speeches as if nothing ever happened. The beat goes on.

    Interesting to consider what qualifies as being troubled by one’s conscience. Set aside full blooded psychopaths who have no conscience….how does it feel from inside? And, in the context of your comment, how does one reliably infer as observer that a person’s conscience hasn’t been troubled?

    I see lots of work for rationalisation – conscientious, even anxious, rationalisation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous

    I’ve often asked my self if their consciences were ever troubled
     
    The western evilisation (I know, laaame :) ) has prospered immensely on the pain, suffering and bloodshed of people, primarily those perceived as lesser.

    In other words, the success you exult over so much would not have been possible without the imperial plunder which has been ongoing for centuries. You fellows are truly the most greedy degenerates ever :D

    It is easy to simply blame your psychopathic elites, but it is the entire, barring a handful, western civilisation which suffers from a chronic lack of conscience... more so than any other civilisation in recent history.

    It is why your cursed civilisation will remain godless (i.e. pagan -yay, hallow-fucking-een- polytheist human worship is exactly that), and thus suffer its unimaginable consequences.

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  58. fnn says:

    West Point seems to falling on hard times:

    http://americanmilitarynews.com/2017/10/exclusive-former-west-point-professors-letter-exposes-corruption-cheating-and-failing-standards-full-letter/

    The broader conversation that has been taking place in the military community now is what exactly went on – and goes on – at West Point that a graduate such as Rapone would feel so strongly empowered to apparently be a socialist and/or communist and spread these doctrines.

    Heffington says the Military Academy turned a blind eye to Rapone’s behavior and his “very public hatred” of West Point. While this doesn’t mean leaders at West Point defend Rapone’s views, it means that West Point’s senior leaders “are infected with apathy: they simply do not want to deal with any problem, regardless of how grievous a violation of standards and/or discipline it may be,” Heffington writes.

    Rapone was recently discovered to be a communist propagandist and “official socialist organizer” of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) after he posted a photo to Twitter of himself in support of professional football player Colin Kaepernick, where he is seen in his West Point uniform at graduation holding his cap that contains a piece of paper that says “Communism will win.”

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    • Replies: @Vidi

    West Point seems to falling on hard times:

    http://americanmilitarynews.com/2017/10/exclusive-former-west-point-professors-letter-exposes-corruption-cheating-and-failing-standards-full-letter/
     
    I do think you've explained why the obscenity at West Point happened! Follow the money -- that works nearly all the time.
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  59. the us govt is literally trying to white wash bush jr and make him likable to the public :) those PR firms has worked plenty of reddit threads to that affect. same with clinton.

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  60. Yes I do blame Bush for “starting Wars.”
    And I think if Trump is eventually — like Nixon– going to resign, George W. Bush will still be the worst President of my lifetime.

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  61. whoever says: • Website
    @Pete Kilner
    Thanks, Peter.

    If you want to read more, I have a column on professional ethics in Army Magazine. You can access my articles at: https://www.ausa.org/people/lt-col-pete-kilner

    Cheers,
    Pete

    Did you ever finish Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? I liked it a lot when I first read it.
    Good video. (A debate between you and Fred Reed would be interesting.)

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete
    Thanks for that vid.

    Gawd, I loathe the damned drama queens! What's with the dumb ass background music in that doofus production, anyway? Give it up already!

    Generally speaking, mutatis mutandis, truly defensive wars can certainly be justified. No big quarrel there. However, what these corpulent, well paid, bureaucratic, plastic heroes with their silly worthless credentials are attempting, is nothing less than attempting to justify unwarranted aggression in service of the leviathan.

    Sorry, but that bird don't sing no more, at least in my neck of the woods.

    Anyone who disagrees can go read Smedley Butler, War is a Racket. http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/articles/warisaracket.htm

    , @geokat62
    Not sure if this is true, but it looks as though the combat scenes shown in this video are taken from the invasion of Iraq.

    With that backdrop in mind, MAJ Pete Kilner reads aloud a letter from a Vietnam vet who talked about his fears. After reading the letter MAJ Pete Kilner concludes by stating:

    "Still looking for a way, I think, to make sense of the experience of killing on behalf of all of us... on behalf of his country."

    Quick question for MAJ Pete Kilner: do you think all the killing that was done in Iraq was "killing on behalf of all of us... on behalf of his country"?
    , @edNels
    When was it that the ''chain gang'' songs and cadences from the old south took over in marching drills? Has it ever been asked if that is a wrong influence on the men, and maybe infuses them into a kind of despondency of the inevitability of shackles, and mindless obedience, how does that make a Freedom loving soldier?

    Seeing the way the NK army marches, and the Chinese too, it isn't anything like that. They have total precision, uniformity to the max, and it shows a winning mind set which is complete opposite, Didn't see any out of step Gommer Pyles there! nor did there seem to be any who fell out from over exertion.
    All the soldiers are arrayed of same sizes together, if they can fight and shoot straight too,lookout. Especially if there were to be any glitch in electronics in the next war.

    I wonder if US training is styled to for the sake of miscegenation of the services, bring the whites and immigrants and line with culture of blacks, and hammer 'em into submission, then you got some damned good slaves! Is that the proper spirit of warriors?

    What did those dead people in the video do to cause 9/11? OR build up of WMD's!?
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  62. Thank you.

    Counterterrorism = State Terror.

    Bush is a mass murderer, and looked so pathetic on Sept. 11 when he was put to the test.

    This award is disgraceful. Disgusting.

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  63. anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Wizard of Oz
    Interesting to consider what qualifies as being troubled by one's conscience. Set aside full blooded psychopaths who have no conscience....how does it feel from inside? And, in the context of your comment, how does one reliably infer as observer that a person's conscience hasn't been troubled?

    I see lots of work for rationalisation - conscientious, even anxious, rationalisation.

    I’ve often asked my self if their consciences were ever troubled

    The western evilisation (I know, laaame :) ) has prospered immensely on the pain, suffering and bloodshed of people, primarily those perceived as lesser.

    In other words, the success you exult over so much would not have been possible without the imperial plunder which has been ongoing for centuries. You fellows are truly the most greedy degenerates ever :D

    It is easy to simply blame your psychopathic elites, but it is the entire, barring a handful, western civilisation which suffers from a chronic lack of conscience… more so than any other civilisation in recent history.

    It is why your cursed civilisation will remain godless (i.e. pagan -yay, hallow-fucking-een- polytheist human worship is exactly that), and thus suffer its unimaginable consequences.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    It is why your cursed civilisation will remain godless (i.e. pagan -yay, hallow-fucking-een- polytheist human worship is exactly that), and thus suffer its unimaginable consequences.
     
    Actually it's not godless. As you point out, the new gawd is "self," which is a cursed abomination.
    , @Wizard of Oz
    Who and what ate uou teplying to? It doesn't appear to have any relationship to what I wtote.
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  64. @anonymous

    I’ve often asked my self if their consciences were ever troubled
     
    The western evilisation (I know, laaame :) ) has prospered immensely on the pain, suffering and bloodshed of people, primarily those perceived as lesser.

    In other words, the success you exult over so much would not have been possible without the imperial plunder which has been ongoing for centuries. You fellows are truly the most greedy degenerates ever :D

    It is easy to simply blame your psychopathic elites, but it is the entire, barring a handful, western civilisation which suffers from a chronic lack of conscience... more so than any other civilisation in recent history.

    It is why your cursed civilisation will remain godless (i.e. pagan -yay, hallow-fucking-een- polytheist human worship is exactly that), and thus suffer its unimaginable consequences.

    It is why your cursed civilisation will remain godless (i.e. pagan -yay, hallow-fucking-een- polytheist human worship is exactly that), and thus suffer its unimaginable consequences.

    Actually it’s not godless. As you point out, the new gawd is “self,” which is a cursed abomination.

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  65. @anonymous

    I’ve often asked my self if their consciences were ever troubled
     
    The western evilisation (I know, laaame :) ) has prospered immensely on the pain, suffering and bloodshed of people, primarily those perceived as lesser.

    In other words, the success you exult over so much would not have been possible without the imperial plunder which has been ongoing for centuries. You fellows are truly the most greedy degenerates ever :D

    It is easy to simply blame your psychopathic elites, but it is the entire, barring a handful, western civilisation which suffers from a chronic lack of conscience... more so than any other civilisation in recent history.

    It is why your cursed civilisation will remain godless (i.e. pagan -yay, hallow-fucking-een- polytheist human worship is exactly that), and thus suffer its unimaginable consequences.

    Who and what ate uou teplying to? It doesn’t appear to have any relationship to what I wtote.

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  66. @whoever
    Did you ever finish Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? I liked it a lot when I first read it.
    Good video. (A debate between you and Fred Reed would be interesting.)

    https://youtu.be/zHVFwZfegPo

    Thanks for that vid.

    Gawd, I loathe the damned drama queens! What’s with the dumb ass background music in that doofus production, anyway? Give it up already!

    Generally speaking, mutatis mutandis, truly defensive wars can certainly be justified. No big quarrel there. However, what these corpulent, well paid, bureaucratic, plastic heroes with their silly worthless credentials are attempting, is nothing less than attempting to justify unwarranted aggression in service of the leviathan.

    Sorry, but that bird don’t sing no more, at least in my neck of the woods.

    Anyone who disagrees can go read Smedley Butler, War is a Racket. http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/articles/warisaracket.htm

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  67. geokat62 says:
    @whoever
    Did you ever finish Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? I liked it a lot when I first read it.
    Good video. (A debate between you and Fred Reed would be interesting.)

    https://youtu.be/zHVFwZfegPo

    Not sure if this is true, but it looks as though the combat scenes shown in this video are taken from the invasion of Iraq.

    With that backdrop in mind, MAJ Pete Kilner reads aloud a letter from a Vietnam vet who talked about his fears. After reading the letter MAJ Pete Kilner concludes by stating:

    “Still looking for a way, I think, to make sense of the experience of killing on behalf of all of us… on behalf of his country.”

    Quick question for MAJ Pete Kilner: do you think all the killing that was done in Iraq was “killing on behalf of all of us… on behalf of his country”?

    Read More
    • Replies: @whoever

    “Still looking for a way, I think, to make sense of the experience of killing on behalf of all of us… on behalf of his country.”
    Quick question for MAJ Pete Kilner: do you think all the killing that was done in Iraq was “killing on behalf of all of us… on behalf of his country”?
     
    Indeed. And there is the other half of the equation, dying "on behalf of all of us."
    This article and the comments to it have reminded me of something Dickey Chapelle wrote in her autobiography. She was a war correspondent on Iwo Jima in 1945 and had just photographed a wounded marine:

    "After I took his picture, while the chaplain administered the last rites as the corpsman began transfusing him, he came back to consciousness for a moment. His eyes rested on me. He said, “Hey, who you spyin’ for?”
    “The folks back home, Marine.”
    “The folks back home, huh? Well, fuck the folks back home!” he rasped. Then he closed his eyes. I didn’t see where his stretcher was carried.
    After we had ceased loading for the day, his voice haunted me. What lay behind that raw reflex answer? What dear-John-I-know-you-understand letter? What other betrayal?
    I remembered his wound. A piece of a giant mortar shell had sliced across his stomach. So I went down into the abdominal ward with my notebook in my hand. There were no names in it yet because I wasn’t willing to hold up moving stretchers while I spelled out names. But I had copied the dogtag numbers of each man as I made his picture. The nurses’ clipboard listed the serial numbers of the men being treated. The number I wanted wasn’t there. I thought perhaps I had been mistaken about the kind of wound he had, so I tried to find him in the other wards, the other decks, even those of the officers. I couldn’t find his number.
    There was only one more set of papers aboard. This showed the dogtag numbers of the men who had died on deck. The number for which I was looking was near the top of the list.
    So I think I was the last person to whom he was able to talk. And I had heard him die cursing what I thought he had died to defend.
    It was my first and most terrible encounter with the barrier between men who fight, and those for whom the poets and the powers say they fight."


    Chapelle herself was killed in Viet Nam in 1965 while on patrol with marines during Operation Black Ferret.
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  68. In regards to Bush sr. and Bush jr. read the book, THE TRANCE FORMATION OF AMERICA by Cathy Obrien and the book THE FRANKLIN COVERUP by the late John DeCamp , both can be had on amazon.com and see their videos on youtube.

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  69. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Yes, the dishonesty of West Point, and by extension of the whole United States, has been institutionalized and become official with the celebration of the major war criminal Bush the Lesser

    https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2005/pinter-lecture-e.html

    Harold Pinter – Nobel Lecture
    “As every single person here knows, the justification for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein possessed a highly dangerous body of weapons of mass destruction, some of which could be fired in 45 minutes, bringing about appalling devastation. We were assured that was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq had a relationship with Al Quaeda and shared responsibility for the atrocity in New York of September 11th 2001. We were assured that this was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq threatened the security of the world. We were assured it was true. It was not true.
    Everyone knows what happened in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe during the post-war period: the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought. All this has been fully documented and verified. …
    But my contention here is that the US crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all. I believe this must be addressed and that the truth has considerable bearing on where the world stands now. …
    Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America’s favoured method. …
    The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.
    Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn’t know it.”

    With bringing the ne-Nazis into Kiev government during regime change in Ukraine, the US completed another phase on a spiral of lies and atrocities.

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  70. “Still looking for a way, I think, to make sense of the experience of killing on behalf of all of us… on behalf of his country.”

    That’s the type of person living off of our tax dollars, getting promotions and sinecures and brainwashing our young, wannabee heroes.

    I about upchucked when I saw that closeup of the Ranger patch. The vid is obviously designed to impress the Hell outta all the 10 year olds in the Cub pack. And some of us wonder why things look so bleak “fer da kuntry.”

    Keep looking for a way to justify your paycheck, your pension, and your puerile longing to be seen as a hero, Mr. “Ethics!”

    (Unprintable litany of expletives deleted by the author of this comment.)

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  71. lavoisier says: • Website
    @Sane Left Libertarian
    Most of it's already been said above, but we've been a war nation for more than a generation. Mr. Bush's predecessor bombed Iraq for years. Bush himself (or Cheney or whoever) turned it into an official and seemingly permanent war, using what are now known to be bold-faced lies. Torture as a matter of routine also started during Cheney's reign. Nobel Peace Prize Obama ramped us up to 6 or 7 wars, normalized drone murder, and in his usual unctuous way told us to stop harping on Abu Graib ("It's important we don't get too sanctimonious"). Now Mr. Trump is starting/threatening even more war, complete with nukes, and bragging about the torture.

    My point is that someone we don't even see is calling the shots, for all of them. These guys on TV just work for them, and are paid handsomely. The awards they get mean even less than their elections. I don't see us (the proletariat, wage slaves, trying to raise a family) ever even figuring out what's going on, much less doing anything about it.

    Look, I agree with the malign influence the Zionists have had on world events. I agree that the Jews control the media and the narrative. And I agree that Israel is a very dangerous nation that has a malign influence on world events in general and the United States in particular.

    But how do you explain the actions of the Bushes the Clintons the McCains the Ryans and the Obamas of our corrupt world?

    This to me is the salient question.

    There are riches and honors aplenty to being a sellout to the Tribe if you are stupid, venal, and without principle.

    These men are the ones whom we should be disgusted with. THEY alone are responsible for their treachery and the evil that they have perpetrated.

    Let the Bolsheviks do what they would, they could not own Solzshenitsyn or, for that matter, the author of this article.

    The Goyim have been willing accomplices to evil.

    Shame on all of them. Every last one of them.

    Unless and until the Goyim take responsibility for their actions, and stop blaming the Jews, there is no hope for redemption of Western Civilization.

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  72. edNels says:
    @whoever
    Did you ever finish Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? I liked it a lot when I first read it.
    Good video. (A debate between you and Fred Reed would be interesting.)

    https://youtu.be/zHVFwZfegPo

    When was it that the ”chain gang” songs and cadences from the old south took over in marching drills? Has it ever been asked if that is a wrong influence on the men, and maybe infuses them into a kind of despondency of the inevitability of shackles, and mindless obedience, how does that make a Freedom loving soldier?

    Seeing the way the NK army marches, and the Chinese too, it isn’t anything like that. They have total precision, uniformity to the max, and it shows a winning mind set which is complete opposite, Didn’t see any out of step Gommer Pyles there! nor did there seem to be any who fell out from over exertion.
    All the soldiers are arrayed of same sizes together, if they can fight and shoot straight too,lookout. Especially if there were to be any glitch in electronics in the next war.

    I wonder if US training is styled to for the sake of miscegenation of the services, bring the whites and immigrants and line with culture of blacks, and hammer ‘em into submission, then you got some damned good slaves! Is that the proper spirit of warriors?

    What did those dead people in the video do to cause 9/11? OR build up of WMD’s!?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    The less honest West Point becomes, the weaker its graduates.
    The sycophantic incompetent brass at West Point kneels before the obnoxious incompetent Bush the lesser. Looks rather cartoonish.
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  73. Vidi says:
    @peterAUS
    You appear to be an educated and thinking man.
    Let's try.

    What a disgustingly hollow load of bulshit that is! Oh, but the rest of us, who haven’t experienced the “sublime beauty” of war, aren’t counted amongst the anointed elite who know things the rest of us mere mortals don’t.

    “Sublime beauty?”

    Who do you think yer kidding? I was a grunt (volunteer, not drafted) in Vietnam, and I never saw any beauty in war, sublime, mundane, or otherwise.
     

    Some people don't get sublime beauty in arts. Some do.
    Some people don't get sublime beauty in nature, architecture. Some do.

    Some people even get sublime beauty in mathematics, chemistry, medicine. Most don't.

    The same applies to professional boxing. Cage fighting. Vale tudo.

    The same apples to war and combat as well.

    On a personal level, I do not get any, let alone subliminal, beauty in modern paintings.
    I am positive those can't see any subliminal beauty in combat.
    But, interestingly enough, I don't see those people who do as "the anointed elite". They definitely don't see me either.

    Different strokes for different folks.

    Perhaps you could approach this issue in the same way.

    “Sublime beauty?”

    Who do you think yer kidding? I was a grunt (volunteer, not drafted) in Vietnam, and I never saw any beauty in war, sublime, mundane, or otherwise.

    Some people don’t get sublime beauty in arts. Some do.

    Some people see sublime beauty in rape.

    I see defensive war as only necessary, and I curse those who make it necessary.

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  74. MarkinLA says:
    @utu
    I was around 1990/91 and I followed what was happening. I do not agree with SolontoCroesus take on Bush and Gulf War. I already once had exchanged comments with him about it, I think, but my points did not make a dent.

    Bush never looked thrilled to go to this war. I had impression that his arms had to be twisted. He seemed like he would not mind letting Saddam Hussein slide. It was his meeting with Margaret Thatcher in Aspen that changed everything. Bush built broad coalition including many Arab and Muslim nations and went to war. He head to give $500 millions to Israel to keep them away and not retaliating against Iraq in order to not upset Arab allies in the coalition.

    The war was won. Bush did not go to Bagdad but only liberated Kuwait. It was reported in papers that his popularity hit 90% which was 20% more than what Hitler got after the Anschluss of Austria in 1938, as I remember thinking this at that time.

    In summer 1991 Bush decided to use his political capital and tried to say no Israel illegal settlements by holding money slated for Israel. Yitzhak Shamir got furious and the Lobby attacked. Everybody was against hime. Most people did not know what was happening. Bush backed off and instead of turning to American people and leveling with them on what was going on he only complained that he was all alone in WH.

    It was decided (I do not know how, when and where and by whom but it was decided nevertheless) that Bush could not be trusted with the 2nd term. He did not take advantage of the golden opportunity to occupy Iraq and then he had audacity to challenge Israel which last time happened in early summer 1993 by JFK when said no to the development of nuclear weapons by Israel. So everything was done what had to be done for him to lose. And he knew that it would be so. He did not fight. He got impatient with the campaign and looked at his watch during the debate to show his disdain. He had no chance to win. Ross Perot played the same role as Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 election to deprive Taft the 2nd term. Unlike Roosevelt Ross Perot probably did not know what role he was cast to play.

    Why Bush did what he did? Why he did not occupy Iraq? Why he challenged Israel? My take is that he really did not want this war. That he really believed that after the wall coming down and Soviet Union falling apart America can change the course and start reducing military spending. He seemed to really believe in the peace dividends. The end of the Cold War was his greatest achievement and it was ruined by Saddam Hussein invasion of Kuwait. So the most important question is to find out who TF whispered to Saddam Hussein's ear to convince him that he will get away with his attack on Kuwait? The same people who wanted Iraq destroyed who eventually had it destroyed 12 years later and all those who did not want peace dividends and who feared the cuts in military spending? I think Bush knew who was really behind Hussain? Who screwed up his vision of post Cold War peace, who deprived him of his legacy. So he said no to Israel when he had the highest approval rating in recent history but then he chickened out. He was intimidated by something. In retrospect he was not a bad guy but he wasted possibly the last opportunity to have America extricated from the iron grip of the Lobby.

    He did nothing to counter the Iraqi claims that Kuwait was slant drilling and stealing Iraqi oil as well as overproducing to keep the price low. If Bush really did not want that war he could have gotten involved with pressuring the Kuwaitis to keep Iraq from attacking. Oh wait, we wanted the oil price low so we really weren’t all that interested in keeping a war from breaking out.

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  75. Vidi says:
    @fnn
    West Point seems to falling on hard times:
    http://americanmilitarynews.com/2017/10/exclusive-former-west-point-professors-letter-exposes-corruption-cheating-and-failing-standards-full-letter/

    The broader conversation that has been taking place in the military community now is what exactly went on – and goes on – at West Point that a graduate such as Rapone would feel so strongly empowered to apparently be a socialist and/or communist and spread these doctrines.

    Heffington says the Military Academy turned a blind eye to Rapone’s behavior and his “very public hatred” of West Point. While this doesn’t mean leaders at West Point defend Rapone’s views, it means that West Point’s senior leaders “are infected with apathy: they simply do not want to deal with any problem, regardless of how grievous a violation of standards and/or discipline it may be,” Heffington writes.

    Rapone was recently discovered to be a communist propagandist and “official socialist organizer” of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) after he posted a photo to Twitter of himself in support of professional football player Colin Kaepernick, where he is seen in his West Point uniform at graduation holding his cap that contains a piece of paper that says “Communism will win.”
     

    West Point seems to falling on hard times:

    http://americanmilitarynews.com/2017/10/exclusive-former-west-point-professors-letter-exposes-corruption-cheating-and-failing-standards-full-letter/

    I do think you’ve explained why the obscenity at West Point happened! Follow the money — that works nearly all the time.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    I like that the letter said the falling standards have happened over the last ten years without considering how a total F-up like McCain graduated.
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  76. MarkinLA says:
    @Vidi

    West Point seems to falling on hard times:

    http://americanmilitarynews.com/2017/10/exclusive-former-west-point-professors-letter-exposes-corruption-cheating-and-failing-standards-full-letter/
     
    I do think you've explained why the obscenity at West Point happened! Follow the money -- that works nearly all the time.

    I like that the letter said the falling standards have happened over the last ten years without considering how a total F-up like McCain graduated.

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  77. Duty, Honor, Ethics…

    ‘Fat Leonard’ probe expands to ensnare more than 60 admirals

    …the Navy recently confirmed that it has been reviewing the conduct of 440 other active-duty and retired personnel — including 60 current and former admirals — for possible violations of military law or federal ethics rules in their dealings with Francis and his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia.
    That is double the number of admirals whom Navy officials said were under investigation last year (The Navy has about 210 admirals on active duty).

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/fat-leonard-scandal-expands-to-ensnare-more-than-60-admirals/2017/11/05/f6a12678-be5d-11e7-97d9-bdab5a0ab381_story.html?utm_term=.a212fe8f69a9

    Scum at the top on our dime goys and churls! Complete with “ethics experts” to justify it all! Sublime beauty somewhere in there, too.

    Excuse me while I vomit.

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  78. whoever says: • Website
    @geokat62
    Not sure if this is true, but it looks as though the combat scenes shown in this video are taken from the invasion of Iraq.

    With that backdrop in mind, MAJ Pete Kilner reads aloud a letter from a Vietnam vet who talked about his fears. After reading the letter MAJ Pete Kilner concludes by stating:

    "Still looking for a way, I think, to make sense of the experience of killing on behalf of all of us... on behalf of his country."

    Quick question for MAJ Pete Kilner: do you think all the killing that was done in Iraq was "killing on behalf of all of us... on behalf of his country"?

    “Still looking for a way, I think, to make sense of the experience of killing on behalf of all of us… on behalf of his country.”
    Quick question for MAJ Pete Kilner: do you think all the killing that was done in Iraq was “killing on behalf of all of us… on behalf of his country”?

    Indeed. And there is the other half of the equation, dying “on behalf of all of us.”
    This article and the comments to it have reminded me of something Dickey Chapelle wrote in her autobiography. She was a war correspondent on Iwo Jima in 1945 and had just photographed a wounded marine:

    “After I took his picture, while the chaplain administered the last rites as the corpsman began transfusing him, he came back to consciousness for a moment. His eyes rested on me. He said, “Hey, who you spyin’ for?”
    “The folks back home, Marine.”
    “The folks back home, huh? Well, fuck the folks back home!” he rasped. Then he closed his eyes. I didn’t see where his stretcher was carried.
    After we had ceased loading for the day, his voice haunted me. What lay behind that raw reflex answer? What dear-John-I-know-you-understand letter? What other betrayal?
    I remembered his wound. A piece of a giant mortar shell had sliced across his stomach. So I went down into the abdominal ward with my notebook in my hand. There were no names in it yet because I wasn’t willing to hold up moving stretchers while I spelled out names. But I had copied the dogtag numbers of each man as I made his picture. The nurses’ clipboard listed the serial numbers of the men being treated. The number I wanted wasn’t there. I thought perhaps I had been mistaken about the kind of wound he had, so I tried to find him in the other wards, the other decks, even those of the officers. I couldn’t find his number.
    There was only one more set of papers aboard. This showed the dogtag numbers of the men who had died on deck. The number for which I was looking was near the top of the list.
    So I think I was the last person to whom he was able to talk. And I had heard him die cursing what I thought he had died to defend.
    It was my first and most terrible encounter with the barrier between men who fight, and those for whom the poets and the powers say they fight.”

    Chapelle herself was killed in Viet Nam in 1965 while on patrol with marines during Operation Black Ferret.

    Read More
    • Replies: @whoever
    “After I took his picture...."
    This is the photo she took:
    https://i.imgur.com/RpqKXfv.jpg
    , @peterAUS
    Well...well.......

    “Hey, who you spyin’ for?”
    “The folks back home, Marine.”
     


    After we had ceased loading for the day, his voice haunted me. What lay behind that raw reflex answer? What dear-John-I-know-you-understand letter? What other betrayal?
     
    and

    So I think I was the last person to whom he was able to talk. And I had heard him die cursing what I thought he had died to defend.
     
    Mmmm......

    It was my first and most terrible encounter with the barrier between men who fight, and those for whom the poets and the powers say they fight.”
     
    I see.

    How to put this politely?

    Stupid.......cow, perhaps?
    Zero social intelligence?

    Those paragraphs are good, actually.
    Shows, how to put it politely again, the self-absorbing, clueless, preaching attitude of those who do not share the direct danger of close combat.

    Actually, what's so hard to get?
    Any perceptive person should get it ..easy.
    True, self-absorption and "I am actually better than you" don't work well with perception skills.

    The problem, as always, isn't about not getting it.
    That's O.K.
    The problem is when those types who do not get.......PREACH.

    To be fair to the girls she, apparently, did right later on.
    Paid the price apparently.

    It would've been interesting to repeat that episode in her last moments........
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  79. whoever says: • Website
    @whoever

    “Still looking for a way, I think, to make sense of the experience of killing on behalf of all of us… on behalf of his country.”
    Quick question for MAJ Pete Kilner: do you think all the killing that was done in Iraq was “killing on behalf of all of us… on behalf of his country”?
     
    Indeed. And there is the other half of the equation, dying "on behalf of all of us."
    This article and the comments to it have reminded me of something Dickey Chapelle wrote in her autobiography. She was a war correspondent on Iwo Jima in 1945 and had just photographed a wounded marine:

    "After I took his picture, while the chaplain administered the last rites as the corpsman began transfusing him, he came back to consciousness for a moment. His eyes rested on me. He said, “Hey, who you spyin’ for?”
    “The folks back home, Marine.”
    “The folks back home, huh? Well, fuck the folks back home!” he rasped. Then he closed his eyes. I didn’t see where his stretcher was carried.
    After we had ceased loading for the day, his voice haunted me. What lay behind that raw reflex answer? What dear-John-I-know-you-understand letter? What other betrayal?
    I remembered his wound. A piece of a giant mortar shell had sliced across his stomach. So I went down into the abdominal ward with my notebook in my hand. There were no names in it yet because I wasn’t willing to hold up moving stretchers while I spelled out names. But I had copied the dogtag numbers of each man as I made his picture. The nurses’ clipboard listed the serial numbers of the men being treated. The number I wanted wasn’t there. I thought perhaps I had been mistaken about the kind of wound he had, so I tried to find him in the other wards, the other decks, even those of the officers. I couldn’t find his number.
    There was only one more set of papers aboard. This showed the dogtag numbers of the men who had died on deck. The number for which I was looking was near the top of the list.
    So I think I was the last person to whom he was able to talk. And I had heard him die cursing what I thought he had died to defend.
    It was my first and most terrible encounter with the barrier between men who fight, and those for whom the poets and the powers say they fight."


    Chapelle herself was killed in Viet Nam in 1965 while on patrol with marines during Operation Black Ferret.

    “After I took his picture….”
    This is the photo she took:

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  80. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @edNels
    When was it that the ''chain gang'' songs and cadences from the old south took over in marching drills? Has it ever been asked if that is a wrong influence on the men, and maybe infuses them into a kind of despondency of the inevitability of shackles, and mindless obedience, how does that make a Freedom loving soldier?

    Seeing the way the NK army marches, and the Chinese too, it isn't anything like that. They have total precision, uniformity to the max, and it shows a winning mind set which is complete opposite, Didn't see any out of step Gommer Pyles there! nor did there seem to be any who fell out from over exertion.
    All the soldiers are arrayed of same sizes together, if they can fight and shoot straight too,lookout. Especially if there were to be any glitch in electronics in the next war.

    I wonder if US training is styled to for the sake of miscegenation of the services, bring the whites and immigrants and line with culture of blacks, and hammer 'em into submission, then you got some damned good slaves! Is that the proper spirit of warriors?

    What did those dead people in the video do to cause 9/11? OR build up of WMD's!?

    The less honest West Point becomes, the weaker its graduates.
    The sycophantic incompetent brass at West Point kneels before the obnoxious incompetent Bush the lesser. Looks rather cartoonish.

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  81. Art says:

    George W Bush has an added shame that is not discussed, concerning starting the Iraq war.

    He had a personal reason for starting the Iraq war – that was to save the honor of the Bush name.

    His father did not take out Saddam in the first Iraq war. This was a blot on the Bush name.

    W Bush had two personal “Bush” goals going into office – win a second term and get Saddam.

    The second goal cost a million lives – Shame Shame.

    Think Peace — Art

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  82. geokat62 says:

    He had a personal reason for starting the Iraq war – that was to save the honor of the Bush name.

    Not according to Stephen Sniegoski. Here’s what he had to say in The Transparant Cabal about this topic:

    As noted the previous chapter, the elder Bush himself expressed his opposition to the war in private. Joseph Wilson, an open critic of the impending war in 2002, wrote that he received a “warm note” from the former president, in which the elder Bush stated that he “agreed with almost everything” Wilson had written.

    From the neocon perspective, Jeffrey Bell in the Weekly Standard noted how the elder Bush’s position radically differed from that of his son, and that the adherents of his position staunchly opposed the neocon Middle East war agenda. “There is an alternative Bush I view that is now engaged in a death struggle with Bush II,” Bell wrote.

    It has a micro, not a macro, interpretation of what happened on 9/ 11. It sees Osama and Islamism as limited and aberrational. It mildly supported the invasion of Afghanistan, but would favor no other significant military actions, backing mainly police actions geared toward catching Osama and other al Qaeda figures. It believes many of our problems in the Islamic world relate to our support for Israel. Bush I does not like Yasser Arafat, but believes the United States and Israel have no choice but to try to strike a deal with him.

    In the Islamic world, Bush I favors economic development through trade and internal, top-down reforms. While it does not oppose attempts to achieve democratic reforms in Islamic countries, it has little hope that this will be much of a factor in the immediate decades ahead.

    It should be added that this opposition from the elder Bush’s close associates and apparently from the elder Bush himself would seem to belie the argument that George W. Bush went to war to avenge Saddam’s alleged assassination attempt against his father. There is no evidence that George W. Bush launched the war in the interest, much less advice, of his father.

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  83. @Pete Kilner
    Solonto: You've posted more than 2,600 comments on this website? "You" are likely a group of Russians working full time to sow discord.

    But let's charitably assume that you're a real person. Your knowledge of the history of the 1990-91 Gulf War is terrible. I assume that you were too young to remember the events leading up to it. Watch President George H. W. Bush's speech to the world and learn:
    https://www.c-span.org/video/?15723-1/president-bush-announces-beginning-persian-gulf-air-war

    That may be the best explanation in terms of Just War you'll ever hear a politician give. He checks every block of jus ad bellum.

    Also, about your snide comment, "Lt Col Pete Kilner styles himself an ethicist." I have a masters degree in philosophical ethics from an excellent program, and I've researched, written on, and taught ethics for 20 years. I may "style" myself a comedian or good dancer, but I'm pretty well-credentialed as an ethicist.

    I see that you have retired this year. I don’t think you would be conversing with us deplorables otherwise.

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  84. MarkinPNW says:
    @utu
    I was around 1990/91 and I followed what was happening. I do not agree with SolontoCroesus take on Bush and Gulf War. I already once had exchanged comments with him about it, I think, but my points did not make a dent.

    Bush never looked thrilled to go to this war. I had impression that his arms had to be twisted. He seemed like he would not mind letting Saddam Hussein slide. It was his meeting with Margaret Thatcher in Aspen that changed everything. Bush built broad coalition including many Arab and Muslim nations and went to war. He head to give $500 millions to Israel to keep them away and not retaliating against Iraq in order to not upset Arab allies in the coalition.

    The war was won. Bush did not go to Bagdad but only liberated Kuwait. It was reported in papers that his popularity hit 90% which was 20% more than what Hitler got after the Anschluss of Austria in 1938, as I remember thinking this at that time.

    In summer 1991 Bush decided to use his political capital and tried to say no Israel illegal settlements by holding money slated for Israel. Yitzhak Shamir got furious and the Lobby attacked. Everybody was against hime. Most people did not know what was happening. Bush backed off and instead of turning to American people and leveling with them on what was going on he only complained that he was all alone in WH.

    It was decided (I do not know how, when and where and by whom but it was decided nevertheless) that Bush could not be trusted with the 2nd term. He did not take advantage of the golden opportunity to occupy Iraq and then he had audacity to challenge Israel which last time happened in early summer 1993 by JFK when said no to the development of nuclear weapons by Israel. So everything was done what had to be done for him to lose. And he knew that it would be so. He did not fight. He got impatient with the campaign and looked at his watch during the debate to show his disdain. He had no chance to win. Ross Perot played the same role as Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 election to deprive Taft the 2nd term. Unlike Roosevelt Ross Perot probably did not know what role he was cast to play.

    Why Bush did what he did? Why he did not occupy Iraq? Why he challenged Israel? My take is that he really did not want this war. That he really believed that after the wall coming down and Soviet Union falling apart America can change the course and start reducing military spending. He seemed to really believe in the peace dividends. The end of the Cold War was his greatest achievement and it was ruined by Saddam Hussein invasion of Kuwait. So the most important question is to find out who TF whispered to Saddam Hussein's ear to convince him that he will get away with his attack on Kuwait? The same people who wanted Iraq destroyed who eventually had it destroyed 12 years later and all those who did not want peace dividends and who feared the cuts in military spending? I think Bush knew who was really behind Hussain? Who screwed up his vision of post Cold War peace, who deprived him of his legacy. So he said no to Israel when he had the highest approval rating in recent history but then he chickened out. He was intimidated by something. In retrospect he was not a bad guy but he wasted possibly the last opportunity to have America extricated from the iron grip of the Lobby.

    “So the most important question is to find out who TF whispered to Saddam Hussein’s ear to convince him that he will get away with his attack on Kuwait.” April Glaspie; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Glaspie

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  85. peterAUS says:
    @whoever

    “Still looking for a way, I think, to make sense of the experience of killing on behalf of all of us… on behalf of his country.”
    Quick question for MAJ Pete Kilner: do you think all the killing that was done in Iraq was “killing on behalf of all of us… on behalf of his country”?
     
    Indeed. And there is the other half of the equation, dying "on behalf of all of us."
    This article and the comments to it have reminded me of something Dickey Chapelle wrote in her autobiography. She was a war correspondent on Iwo Jima in 1945 and had just photographed a wounded marine:

    "After I took his picture, while the chaplain administered the last rites as the corpsman began transfusing him, he came back to consciousness for a moment. His eyes rested on me. He said, “Hey, who you spyin’ for?”
    “The folks back home, Marine.”
    “The folks back home, huh? Well, fuck the folks back home!” he rasped. Then he closed his eyes. I didn’t see where his stretcher was carried.
    After we had ceased loading for the day, his voice haunted me. What lay behind that raw reflex answer? What dear-John-I-know-you-understand letter? What other betrayal?
    I remembered his wound. A piece of a giant mortar shell had sliced across his stomach. So I went down into the abdominal ward with my notebook in my hand. There were no names in it yet because I wasn’t willing to hold up moving stretchers while I spelled out names. But I had copied the dogtag numbers of each man as I made his picture. The nurses’ clipboard listed the serial numbers of the men being treated. The number I wanted wasn’t there. I thought perhaps I had been mistaken about the kind of wound he had, so I tried to find him in the other wards, the other decks, even those of the officers. I couldn’t find his number.
    There was only one more set of papers aboard. This showed the dogtag numbers of the men who had died on deck. The number for which I was looking was near the top of the list.
    So I think I was the last person to whom he was able to talk. And I had heard him die cursing what I thought he had died to defend.
    It was my first and most terrible encounter with the barrier between men who fight, and those for whom the poets and the powers say they fight."


    Chapelle herself was killed in Viet Nam in 1965 while on patrol with marines during Operation Black Ferret.

    Well…well…….

    “Hey, who you spyin’ for?”
    “The folks back home, Marine.”

    After we had ceased loading for the day, his voice haunted me. What lay behind that raw reflex answer? What dear-John-I-know-you-understand letter? What other betrayal?

    and

    So I think I was the last person to whom he was able to talk. And I had heard him die cursing what I thought he had died to defend.

    Mmmm……

    It was my first and most terrible encounter with the barrier between men who fight, and those for whom the poets and the powers say they fight.”

    I see.

    How to put this politely?

    Stupid…….cow, perhaps?
    Zero social intelligence?

    Those paragraphs are good, actually.
    Shows, how to put it politely again, the self-absorbing, clueless, preaching attitude of those who do not share the direct danger of close combat.

    Actually, what’s so hard to get?
    Any perceptive person should get it ..easy.
    True, self-absorption and “I am actually better than you” don’t work well with perception skills.

    The problem, as always, isn’t about not getting it.
    That’s O.K.
    The problem is when those types who do not get…….PREACH.

    To be fair to the girls she, apparently, did right later on.
    Paid the price apparently.

    It would’ve been interesting to repeat that episode in her last moments……..

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  86. who ordered the removal of evidence at ground zero?

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The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?