Face the facts...

I am standing in south central Illinois. On the driveway of my in-law's home. The weather is beautiful, low 70s. There is a cornfield to my right and the proto-citizens blissfully engaged in creating the largest chalk drawing on the planet.

Life is good.

But wait, I tap into the global field that is the internet only to read this;

The arrests were in addition to those of the two occupants of the blazing
car at Glasgow Airport. A witness to the attack said on BBC television that one
of the car’s occupants had been ablaze from head to foot, and as he struggled
with the police, “was throwing punches and shouting ‘Allah, Allah.’ ”

In case you've been asleep under a rock, we are at war. We (the civilized world) are locked in a very real, very dangerous conflict with forces which seek to drag us back to a culture trapped in the past.

We are at war with the three I's - ignorance, intolerance and ideology. The progenitors of these three I's are not a unified state - but rather a collection of zealots who despair the loss of their stranglehold over the beliefs of their stagnant philosophy. These zealots are represented by militant Islam.

I am sad to arrive at that realization. My civilized perspective conlficts with the reality unfolding before me. Why can't we simply reach a compromise and dialog with the force arrayed against us?

To be at war with a nation represents a difference of politics or resources, a primitive conflict - but one which is understandable. The conflicts in the past century were about political systems and the burgeoning influence of states. Once these nations encountered the edges of each other's spheres of influence, only conflict or cooperation could result. The British and the newly formed United States faced this quandry in 1812.

This current conflict is more challenging. It is being waged assymetrically against our whole society. The civilized world relies on order, trust and law. It's very network is fragile and easily disrupted. This is because it relies on the actions of its populace more than the actions of a government, church or other hegemonic body.

This is why driving a blazing Jeep Cherokee into Glasgow terminal is more devasting than destroying an armored brigade in Iraq. The civilized world relies on the power of commerce, the free exchange of goods and ideas and the free movement of its people.

Nothing can be accomplished if a society is preoccupied with its safety. You will not tackle social injustice, environmental or health issues if one can not safely travel to and from points within your own country.

For those who continue to deny the nature of this war and its attendent enemies (militant Islam, Islamofacism, the three I's), they will be condemned to be its victims and contibutors to defeat.


If you watch the brilliant Showtime film SIMPER FI: ONE MARINES JOURNEY, you will be moved beyond belief at how we have actually fueled some of the terrorism aimed at us. So many issues are addressed in this film, being gay in the military the least. Jeff Key, in this film and in his one man show, displays through an exploration of first hand experience and conflict about it what should mean to be American ("I want them to realize that you don't have to be Republican to be patriotic or Southern Baptist to love God")and how we screwed up one of the greatest opportunities we have ever had to influence the hearts and minds of a population. IF this film a) does not move you and b) show exactly where we have failed in this conflict, and c)(and the least message, change your mind about DODT) then I do not think there is any hope.
Citizen Deux said…
I am sorry - being a doctor means first doingno harm. The unravelling of this action against innocents in Gloasgow is indefensible. Your comment, which continues to boggle my mind - considering you would be imprisoned or executed under Sharia Law - reflects a lack of understanding of our enemies.

In short they are ruthless, care nothing for human life and provide no means for negotiation.

The public stance on DADT has NOTHING to do with this conflict. It is such a minor element of our overall societal circumstance as to not even rise to the level of public discourse - save in the extreme areas of narcissistic debate.

Reread your statement how we have actually fueled some of the terrorism aimed at us and consider what you have said and what it means.
sonicfrog said…
I am still amased that the people who deride us gay folk who voted for GWB as being self haters because we voted for a guy who doesn't aprove of gay marriage, seem to have such empathy for those who's religion dictates that all gay people should be hanged in public.

Yes, I whole heartedly agree we screwed the pooch in Iraq. And yes, our middle east policies have created blowback. But that is a part of being one of the most inflencial nations of the world. Have we made mistakes? Sure. Some extremely stupid ones. The thing is though, these radical islamist (note I didn't capitalize "islamist", they don't deserve it) don't care what we do one way or another. As long as Isreal exists, as long as we remain a non-islamist country, as long as Western Civilization refuses to capitulal to the caliphate, we will be infidels deserving to be kiled by any means possible.

I do hope that we have finally learned our lesson about going to war instead of a police action or occupation, which is hat both Iraq and Afgahnistan are. The only way to win against this, or any foe of this nature, is to commit to actually defeating, no, crushing the enemy. That means taking the gloves off and fighting no holds barred. Does that mean nuclear weaponry? Hopefully no. I believe this enemy can be defeated without it.

The thing that is needed, which the Bush administation cast aside in the slow rush to depose Saddam, is the support of the world community. Yes that hurts to say it, but we can't be the loner in this fight. Unfortunately, the world will not commit to fight until Paris, or London, or Tel Aviv are nuked first. So we should withdraw to our corner of the world and wait for the world to wake up to the impending peril.

I hope this makes some sense. I am rushing this post because the Sonic-Mate is nagging me that we NEED to go to Starbucks.
I retract nothing. I stand by the statement, where the key word is "some:, and before you denounce my words, see the film. On Demand on Showtime anytime between and July 23rd (BTW,DODT is such a small part of the message of this film, but a strong one....and his incredible play THE EYES OF BABYLON.) Yes, there are ruthless terrorists, and they are out there, and we are at war. There are factions in the US, if you recall Oklahoma City, who also resort to terror. How dare you imply that I don't understand our enemy. I do not discount the horror. I do not discount that they hate us. I do understand our enemy-our enemy is and was Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban-Islamofasists all. Then, as Jeff Key says in his monologue, "somebody changed the enemy." By justifying the invasion of Iraq through fear mongering and repetitions of the words "9/11" in "Saddam Hussein", when our focus should have been on Afghanistan, Bin Laden, and the Taliban, we have helped created the insurgency and and a new breeding ground for terror. It was a battle for hearts and minds in Iraq, and do not think that we have won that battle. Our enemy is not a government, but religious fanatics. What have we done to counter that? We also have many religious fanatics of our own, who though they may not agree on the tactics, agree with the message in so many ways. Three churches in Northern Virginia just left the Episcopal community to band together with a Nigerian Bishop and create CANA (Convocation of Biships in America). Bishop Akinola, like the religious zealots we are fighting against, is pushing for a law in Nigeria that would imprison anyone who speaks out in support of gay rights for five years-yet THREE churches in Virginia, with fairly large congregations, and many others, have put themselves under his direct control. Sorry, but that scares me more than the Islamists.
Before you accuse me of not knowing my enemy, we need to know how that enemy has been encouraged. What happens when our home grown fundamentalists start taking the lessons of the islamic terrorists to heart?
Oh, yeah, and Sonic? I could not have put it better myself. You hit the nail squarely and soundly on the head.
Citizen Deux said…

Sonic and Capt, your points are well taken, however they betray the error of the West. They betray the fact that we believe that there is a dialogue to be had with these groups. In the Capt's case, he confuses Iraq as some separate conflict unrelated.

Let's be clear - our efforts in Iraq have been mismanaged and our anticipation of events (post war) were naive. Too bad. I think we counted on Iraq, as one of the most secular of the Arab states, to comply. Unlike Iran under the Shah, we were unwilling to use draconian techniques to enforce their cooperation.

Finally, the argument of equivalency is false. Aside from McVeigh and Rudolph, our radical groups tend to be more respectful of human life. Even ACT UP confines its actions to civil disobedience.

I will make an effort to see the film. However, a film is by definition a story - and subject to substantial editorializing. It is not necesarily completely factual (see heading titled Michael Moore and Al Gore).

Hearts and minds victory - which we all seem to agree is needed - comes from a multipronged use of all our power, economic, cultural, diplomatic, economic and military.
Citizen Deux said…
One other thing - the Marine mentioned by the Capt is Jeff Key, joining the Corps in 2000 at 34 (very old for a Marine) is a staunch anti-war activist and a client of SLDN. He wrote a "resignation" letter to his commanding officer hoping to be discharged under DADT, he was not. Key was openly gay prior to entering service, concealed his beahvior in service, and then "came out" to Paula Zahn in a 2003 interview. I suspect the film will have a certain slant, particularly given his anti-war play Eyes of Babylon.
BostonMaggie said…
I've not seen the film referenced here and I too will make an effort to see it. However, I don't get it's relevence regarding this post. We all agree the war has been mismanaged, but unlike the Captain, I fail to see this as proof that we should not have gone into Iraq. I wasn't tricked into supporting OIF. I read everything and you may disagree, but I would back it again today. That's the favorite question now-a-days, isn't it?

"Knowing everything you know today, would you still go into Iraq?"

First off, it's a stupid question. But I'll play.


I never once thought that going to Iraq had anything to do with 9/11 other than the fact that we were caught looking on 9/11 and I knew we didn't want to be caught looking again. I read the 9/11 Commission Report, so I knew that Saddam had nothing to do with the events of 9/11. Strangely, even though I watch the Sunday morning talk shows and read quite a bit online, I never understood Cheney to be telling me the two were connected. I understood him to be saying that 9/11 was the result of ignoring a threat that grew largely unchallenged. I understood him to be saying that Saddam posed a similar danger if he were left to his own devices. I believe that to be a true statement.
I wasn't lied to. I wasn't misled. But then again, I could find Iraq on a map before OIF.

Once again, on the subject of negotiating with Islamic terrorists. I know this pains you, CD. I know you are a rational man (unlike certain bloodthirsty redheads from Boston who read you). You want to handle this in a civilized manner. You want to find someone to talk with, compromise with. You want to reach an agreement. Realizing you can't is a difficult thing.

Capt. the three churches down south that you speak of.....if you think they aren't being watched carefully, you're mistaken. However, espousing a distasteful idea is a far cry from the sort of actions the terrorists take, don't you agree?
Citizen Deux said…
Well said. Thanks for the persepctive on the rationale for invasion.
sonicfrog said…
BTW: It's gonna be 111 today. Fun for me!
Why do you call THE EYES OF BABYLON an antiwar play? I don't think a play taken from someones own journals and experiences can be considered anti-anything-it is a play about a personal journey.

Also, you state is a staunch anti-war activist and a client of SLDN as if if those are BAD things. SLDN is great organization. If you recall, you once wrote a letter of reference for me when I applied for a job there. The job they do in pointing out the rank hypocrisy of DODT is outstanding, and there are many service members who have benefited from their guidance.

As for Jeff Key, you state Key was openly gay prior to entering service, concealed his behavior in service, and then "came out" as if no one has ever done that before, and that it is also a bad thing. How is wishing to serve your country, and doing everything in your power to make it happen, something to be criticized? As for his age...were you not well into your thirties when you joined the reserve? And them marines are just an adjunct of the Navy, after all. Just playing the devil's (or the angel's) advocate here.

And Maggie, yes, intelligent people saw no connection between 9/11 and Saddam, but I will bet if you asked the average American if Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11, most of them would say "yes". Not that they are stupid, but shall we just say easily manipulated. Say the words 9/11 and Saddam Hussein together often enough in the same sentence, and that is what the mind perceives as the truth. One thing about Bushco, they know how to manipulate peoples emotions.

Now, back to packing and selling my possessions on ebay. Closing on Thursday, still don't have a place to live for a month. Maggie, can I please come to Boston for the summer?
BostonMaggie said…
Come ahead, baby!
Major John said…
"One thing about Bushco, they know how to manipulate peoples emotions."

Oy. I await the massive let down come January 20, 2009...who will be to blame for all the ills of the world?

"Bushco" sheesh. That sounds like the obverse of the conspiracy maniacs of the 1990s who could tie any death in the South to Bill Clinton's "Arkacide" cover up of drug running at Mena or some such fantasy...
Citizen Deux said…
I call EOB an anti-war play because that's how the LA Time described it. Having not seent the play, but read the reviews, I would consider that valid. Especially since Mr. Key's own resignation from the corps was base din part due to his opposition to the war. A conflict he described as "one for oil."

I think it is highly relevant to understand an individuals inspirations and motives prior to judging thier actions. Jeff is a member of IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War) and has appeared at numerous events with Cindy Sheehan. At least Mr. Key has the credentials of having been in theater.

His alignment with SLDN - a political organization dedicated to eliminating DADT (whose existence (SLDN) is a good thing in my opinion) - makes me question his reasons for joining the Corps. Why would someone at 34 join the Marines? The year was 2000 and there was no conflict on the horizon. He was openly gay prior to joining, modified his beahvior in service and then resumed his lifestyle after. I would simply like to hear from Mr. Key, outside of an edited documentary, the reasons for his signing up. I can not find an interview which addresses this.

Indeed, I rejoined service after initially leaving it in college - older, but consistent.

But the major is right on with the Bushco shot - it's really hyperbole. Had 9/11 ocurred under a Gore watch, I imagine we would be engaged in the same theaters - whether we would have pushed the center of gravity in Iraq is another question. I do not think present polling supports your theory on the average American. There are solid links between Iraq and Al Queda, but the 9/11 link is still tenuous at best.
sonicfrog said…
One thing about Bushco, they know how to manipulate peoples emotions.

I think you can safely say - the magic is gone on that skill. At this point I don't think they could convince the public that the Earth is round, or that "Live Goreth" was in any way helpful in reducing the Satanic Emissions or fostering awareness of Anthropogenic Global Warming. Oh, never mind the last example.

Ver Word: funqks
Citizen Deux said…
Frog - right on that topic! Even Cheney's indecipherable comments have failed to gain much attention.

ver word - bawho