Reader Comment

    I received a very passionate response (via email) to some of my recent JMBzine bloggings from my friend Summer. She gave me permission to post it here. (her remarks are in red typeface, my comments in response are in black)

      Feel free to publish this as a comment if you wish. I just decided to email because I don’t like the little black comment box. It reminds me of a jail cell.

      Because I love ya,

      Because I know how much you like it when people respond to your blog,

      And because after going a while without directing my browser to JMBzine for fear of high blood pressure at a young age, I finally decided to review it,

      And because I’m feeling frisky tonight,

      I write you this note.

    hehehe, maybe I should put a warning label on this blog. “WARNING: READING THIS COULD CAUSE HIGH BLOOD PREASURE!”

      If you do get too bored with law school, I’ve decided that perhaps the al-Jazeera might be in need of your assistance — because the propagandistic nature of that Apr. 1st blog sent me to the floor. The fact that one man, in a quote of a quote of a quote source (yep, think about it a sec) said something positively brutish in NO WAY reflects upon United States or any Coalition military training.

    You have a good point here on quoting a third hand quote. I was lazy that day and didn’t want to hunt down the original NY Times story. Here it is: NY Times: Either Take a Shot or Take a Chance. Reading this story in context, I would say that Sergeant Schumpf is a much more complex person than that quote might indicate. Reading between the lines, I think he is someone who is very troubled. My earlier remarks on saying he had in effect a “morally bankruptcy soul” may have gone too far. Probably anyone in his shoes would eventually behave in that way.

    However, I stand by my statement on the harm of military training. Certainly most soldiers do not internalize the hate that is taught to them to the extent that this man did, but some do. I have known several veterans over the years who were veterans of the 1991 Gulf War, and they have all said that it was standard opperating procedure to use derrogoratory terms to refer to the nationality of the enemy (which in effect dehumanizes the enemy, so that you won’t feel guilty when you kill them.). These terms include: “sand n—–r, dune coon, raghead, and towelhead” Certainly the top brass wouldn’t use such terms (at least not in front of reporters), but the intermediate and lower chains of command (low level officers, NCO’s, etc.) regularly tolerate and/or encourage the use of this kind of language.

    One veteran I met (during the time of the Afghan war) told me that he thought that the US should kill all the “sand n—-rs.” I asked him why all Arabs, when most had nothing to do with 9-11. He said they all were the same and we should kill them all.

    I know some who come out unscathed, but I know many others who do not. Maybe these nuts were already messed up in the head before they enlisted, but at the very least I would argue that military training did not help their mental situation.

      You know, speaking of propaganda, what’s with the pictures of the “Iraqi civilians” (can’t be so sure about that 3rd guy) harmed in the war. So now we some how know for a fact that those photos are actual representations and not some sort of sick product of pro-peace attempts to convince all the world that we are the “bad guy”? And really, how much more compassionate is it for a blogger to RE-EXPLOIT pictures of sick children to somehow get his own ideas across and thereby continue disruption of the unity of one of the only nations trying to help these poor Iraqi civilians out?

    Let me quote from Dear_Raed , a blog written in Baghdad (assuming the author is still alive) … “Do support democracy in Iraq. But don’t equate it with war. What will happen is something that could/should have been avoided. Don’t expect me to wear a [I heart bush] t-shirt. Support democracy in Iraq not by bombing us to hell and then trying to build it up again (well that is going to happen any way) not by sending human shields (let’s be real the war is going to happen and Saddam will use you as hostages), but by keeping an eye on what will happen after the war.”

    How did a desire by many of the Iraqi people turn into bombing them into oblivion? — Since I do not believe this war is about liberation, therefore I do hope to disrupt the “unity” for war.

    As to linking to the pictures, that was a very difficult call for me. Many peace activists would not agree with the decision I made, but I feel that is important to publish those images to counter-balance the many images of “successful” warfare in the media. Most Americans are completely unaware of what war looks like on the ground. They think it is like a video game where everything is clean and neat. That is not reality.

    Here’s an example of the lies the American people buy. Yesterday I heard a Pentagon press conference on the radio. In this press conference, the speaker (I don’t remember off hand who it was, but it was a military spokesman) said that the US had the capability to destroy a tank that is under a bridge without damaging the bridge.

    That is simply NOT TRUE. I have cited many links lately that talk about the “accuracy” of the so-called smart bombs. I don’t doubt that they are far more accurate than weapons used in the past, but they are also not nearly as accurate as the military is telling the American people.

    I wish there was a way for Americans to see the true cost of the war without showing those pictures, but I don’t know how.

      Civilians, may God protect them, do not ask for the dangers of war any more than they asked for Saddam’s evil regime. Yes, war does not ever come free of casualties. Of course, neither did their old way of life. But at least now their posterity might be able to live in a land that is much less oppressive. Thank God for the the Coaltion and for the Bush administration’s ability to resist the selfishness of the U.N.

    Are we going to liberate them like we did Afghanistan?

    Sheesh… then they’ll be in worse shape than they were in before. Afghanistan (except for Kabul and few other cities) is still ran by thugs. In some places we removed the old ones and put in new ones, in other places we left the old thugs in power.

    BTW, Bush’s new budget provided ZERO DOLLARS for Afghan relief in the coming year. Thankfully, the Republican congress acted out of character and insist on funding in the new budget.

    I hope and pray we do a better job in Iraq than Afghanistan but I doubt it.

      Second, are you really still in a little tizzy about FoxNews? I mean, you’ve got all the other stations and periodicals, possibly excluding MSNBC. At least Fox is trying to be fair. Can’t you just watch any of the main 3 Liberal Television News stations and leave the fair and balanced guys alone?

    Who are you refering to as “fair and balanced”? If you mean Fox… sheesh…

    In all reality, ALL media has a bias. Fox has a conservative tilt. Not as much as say the Daily Oklahoman or the local OKC network affiliates, but it is still very conservative. The other networks to me are “moderate” (MSNBC being on the conservative side of moderate, CNN being on the liberal side). There is no truly liberal News network on cable or broadcast television. Ideally media outlets should aim to be accurate with the facts no matter what, and not let their bias seep into straight news, but the line between straight news and op-ed is mighty hard to draw sometimes.

    You are right to a point though. I shouldn’t contest Fox’s right to exist (or even right to lie if they so choose). I guess my frustration of them lately has been over their various obvious partisan bias, when there is no liberal counter-balance.

    I’ll attack Fox on individual stories when they deserve it (opinion is one thing, mistating facts is another), but I don’t mean to say that conservatives shouldn’t have their voice as well.

      The FoxNews report that you quoted in your blog on 3-20 is not by any means “trash journalism”. First of all, Fox draws the emphasis toward violent protesting, which surely you do not condone, as a pacifist. Second, the segment merely stated that the violent protests and threats are nothing but a distraction, which is true. They do no good. Bush WILL NOT look out the window of the White House, see a peace rally, and cancel the war. It has begun. Protestors had their chance and it didn’t work. There is nothing left to do than UNPATRIOTICLY exercise first amendment rights. What else? Aid is going to the people of Iraq and they are excited about it. Civilian harm is low and the harm that does occur is certainly added to by the “human shield” regimes of the Republican Guard, the militia forces, and the “civilian dress up” game that Iraq is using. I can see point for protest, but not when there is nothing left to protest.

    I stand by my my 3-20-03 post about FoxNews. I felt like they were trying to inflame a situation. Most protests across this country have been non-violent. FoxNews was trying to put non-violent direct actions of civil disobedience in the same category as violent actions that a very few took.

    Also, I do hear your point on the futility of protest at this time (have been told that “it was ok to protest before the war started, but not ok now” by several folks lately), and from a purely pragmatic point of view you are probably right. There is very little chance that Bush will change his heart (he reminds me of the hardened heart of Pharoh in the Bible).

    However, I do think there is hope that maybe there would not be a repeat of this horrible war. Many in the peace movement are not only opposed to this war, but to war in general. We are protesting not only for this cessation of these hostilities but also that we as a culture and society might change, to be less military & war oriented, and committed more and more each day to the principles of social justice as articulated by scripture and other ethical teachings.

    Bear in mind too though that most who are now protesting are the idealists. Those who were of a more pragmatic anti-Iraq war persuasion are now gone. I can’t speak as much about what happens in other cities (and frankly from what I’ve heard lately about San Francisco, I can’t say that I would support much of what they do there in protesting… it seems to be so hateful and angry) but here in Oklahoma, most folks opposed to war do so because of either religious or ethical reasons. Especially for those of us who are opposed to war because of our faith, we must protest if we are to be obedient to God.

    Furthermore, as Americans we have not only a right, but also a DUTY to speak out against evil done by our nation. It is because I am a patriotic American who is committed to the cause of democracy, that I must speak out against the war.

      Speaking of first amendment rights, “ is a free and independent media outlet protected by the Bill of Rights, First Amendment.” Ok, the 1st Amendment is from the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution, right? The Constitution would have never been formed were it not for the….United States, right? And the United States were established because Britain used DIPLOMACY and let the protestors come over and form their own separate, competitive nation, right? Wrong. Diplomacy wouldn’t have worked there any better than it has for the past 12 years with Saddam. We had to pay for rights with blood. There is blood splattered all over your blog and running freely beneath every war protest that goes on today. Lucky Americans. There is unfortunately only one way freedom can be bought in this world, and we have to pay interest every now and then.

    I agree that blood must often be shed as the cost of freedom, BUT I don’t think it should be shed by those seeking liberation. The people of India (and Black Americans to some extent in our own country — thanks to MLK) were liberated, not through violence but through soulforce, by standing up for their rights through non-violent direct action. Some of those who stood up for freedom were beaten, jailed, and even killed. Yet they refused to respond to violence through violence, and by doing so were freed. Blood was shed by the oppressors but not by the oppressed.

    I’m glad my ancestors stood up for their rights almost 226 years ago (one of my ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War — As a side note I also have one ancestor who fought in the War of 1812, four who fought in the American Civil War (3 fought for the South, 1 fought for the North), but I wish they had a better understanding of how liberation can and should take place. I believe America could have been liberated without an army, IF American patriots had committed themselves to non-violent resistance. The British could not have continued to rule over a people who would not cooperate with their oppressors, who would buy their products, who would not trade with them. In time, the British would have had to give in.

      Pardon my “note” that is starting to look like a novel. I needed to get it out of my system. Thanks for being my target.

      I would like to close on this quote from a speech by a man trained in the military, Lt. Col. Tim Collins, commander of the First Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment, delivered at Fort Blair Mayne in northern Kuwait, before the battalion left for Iraq.

      “…Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham. Tread lightly there. You will see things that no man could pay to see and you will have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous, and upright people than the Iraquis. You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing. Don’t treat them as refugees, for they are in their own country. Their children will be poor. In years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you.

      If there are casualties of war then remember that when they woke up and got dressed in the morning they did not plan to die this day. Allow them dignity in death. Bury them properly and mark their graves…”

      Consider that the the very heart song of the Coalition.

      Throw Sergeant Schumpf aside as a grumpy underling. He deserves not to wear the raiment of an innocent Iraqi.

    I appreciate Lt. Col. Collins remarks. I hope and pray that there are many more like him. Men and women with his attitude could do much to bring some light and hope to what I believe is otherwise a dark situation.