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Old 07-11-2007, 09:23 AM   #201
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Originally posted by Irvine511




can you explain? not sure what you mean.
in a number of public places (i.e. gas stations, small shops) i'll see store owners with this one particular political cartoon (i guess that's what it is) that shows elmer fudd saying "be vewy qwiet, i'm huntin iwaqis!"

and then ive also seen this obnoxious e-mail that showed an automatic gun with a label under it saying "iraqi passport photo booth"

...those were the most recent. there have been others throughout the years, i just don't recall them right now.
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Old 07-11-2007, 09:26 AM   #202
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^ we broadly agree, actually. though i think it's a little more complex than that, and i don't think it's fair to ignore the fact that Saddam was "kiling the fuck" out of a lot of Iraqis under his rule as well.

are things worse? unquestionably. is this the biggest failure in US foreign policy history? probably. was it a bad idea to begin with? absolutely.

do Americans lust for Iraqi blood? no.
Well i wasn't deliberately ignoring Saddam's rule but i don't actually believe it was a valid reason to get rid of him. The US had the chance 15 years ago and didn't do it, and besides, there are plenty of dictators that are committing atrocious crimes in the world right now (Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Laos etc) that the us is not doing anything about.

Also, while I believe that most americans arn't bloodthirsty barbarians, I was just pointing out the fact that the poster i was quoting was completely ignoring all the cold hard facts, and was complaining that the us didn't have the balls etc, when they've already done enough damage, in fact a lot more damage then i think we can ever realise.

I know that we're sorta on the same page, but sometimes you gotta look outwards a lot more then you do. There is no good from this war, Saddam's removal is a moot point really, because nothing has gotten better from his removal, and also a lot of my disgust comes from the attitude that the us had when marching in over all the objections other countries in the world did. I mean could you imagine the shitstorm if a country tried to do that to the us? IT just wouldn't happen and thats the real point - the us is no better then any other country out there, and this whole war smacks of their arrogance and bullish attitude. (i also include the UK and Australia in that, but i believe our role was we were too gutless to stand up and tell the us to piss off when they asked us to join em)
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Old 07-11-2007, 09:30 AM   #203
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Originally posted by dazzlingamy

I know that we're sorta on the same page, but sometimes you gotta look outwards a lot more then you do.


do you think i haven't been critical enough of this war?

simply because i find nuances and try to add what might be viewed as an American "perspective" doesn't mean that i'm looking inwards. rather, i'm trying to help people in other countries -- and i've lived in other countries, really lived and worked, and there's a huge tendency for people to think they understand the US when, in reality, they haven't a clue as to how complex this country of 300m people is and how it functions and that the reasons why the country does what it does can never, ever be summed up with a singular rationale -- to look more outwards.
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Old 07-11-2007, 09:40 AM   #204
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i agree with you, and i know the us isn't just one uniforming place, but you do realise you send out one message to the world? Not everyone listens to Air America, reads all the liberal newspapers, hears what the person on the street is saying, but instead sees what your president is doing, watches Fox NEws and gets one VERY STRONG message. and when yourethrowing out the old chestnuts of 'lookit at them iraqis; they're a lot worse then us us soldiers are' you're basically saying what they do. Just because they're blowing each other up, doesn't mean you didn't have a great big dirty hand in it. I'm not sitting here pointing a finger at you, or mia, or yolland or lila and saying 'you all wanted this you bloodthirsty basatards!' because i don't believe that, I don't believe even the people who voted for the war would have wanted what its denegrated into, but sometimes i think you take on the argument when really you don't need to based on a thought that im bashing ALL of america when im not. I'm not so blind to think you're all the same i read enough posts and listen to enough american media to understand your position a little bit more then most non americans who as i said, see one very big, very stupid message being broadcasted.
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Old 07-11-2007, 09:52 AM   #205
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just because a newspaper is conservative doesn't mean it's wrong. it's true, and i'm not going to apologize if it looks bad, but Iraqis are murdering Iraqis. that's the reality of the situation. does the US have a big dirty hand in it? yes, we uncorked a flood of ethnic hatred which has been there for centuries, and if our stupid fucking president had ever cracked a history book he would have realized exactly why a country like Iraq had a dictator like Hussein in the first place.

that's called nuance. and i'm not going to flatten out my opinion because i'm afraid of what the rest of the world is going to think. and i know you don't think that all Americans think the same, but i think there are many things happening in Iraq, and looking at it as just one big pit of despair isn't wrong, but it also isn't helpful. is it a pit of despair? yes. but there's more to it than just that.

i'm a little confused, though, because you say that there's "one very big, very stupid message," but then you say that you know that this isn't the case. can't we assume that most people see more nuance than "Bush dumb, America bad"?

i was in the American South last week and got a bit of a lecture on the Civil War. obviously, there are two viewpoints, the Northern and the Southern, and it's not that either viewpoint is right or wrong, but that a Southerner feels the need to round out, to flesh out, to complicate whatever the Northern viewpoint might be. where a Northerner might point to abolition as perhaps the biggest cause of the American Civil War, a Southerner might point out that it was Northern factories that were demanding cotton at cheaper and cheaper prices (cotton picked by African-American slaves), and that was as big a cause.

so it's less that there's one right way of looking at things, and more that the "right" way to look at something is by acknowledging its complexities.

and that's what i try to do. you know i'm fervently anti-war. but i also don't think that the US Army is lining Iraqis up and shooting them into a ditch like it's Poland 1941 or Srebrenica 1995. and much of this comes from the fact that i know US soldiers. and they are simply trying to do their job and not get killed. and it's nearly impossible for me to not react to a (para)phrase like "US soldiers killing a fuckload of civilans" and not imagine that you think that my friend isn't doing the absolute best he can in a nearly impossible situation.
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:09 AM   #206
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Originally posted by Irvine511
and it's nearly impossible for me to not react to a (para)phrase like "US soldiers killing a fuckload of civilans" and not imagine that you think that my friend isn't doing the absolute best he can in a nearly impossible situation.
I recently attended a talk by Jeremy Scahill, Democracy Now investigative reporter and author of "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" http://www.blackwaterbook.com/ and he said that on his book tour he'd had so many US soldiers come up to him and say that one of the most discouraging things for them is that the troops typically enter a village and do everything possible to let the Iraqi civilians know that they're there to help and they earn the people's trust, then the Blackwater mercenaries (ahem, "contractors") roll into town in their fancy armored vehicles and wrap-around sunglasses looking like something out of a Tom Cruise movie, and start shooting at anything that moves. So unfortunately when I hear that "US troops" are shooting fuckloads of Iraqi civilians, I tend to lean towards thinking there's some truth there.
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:11 AM   #207
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Originally posted by Irvine511
just because a newspaper is conservative doesn't mean it's wrong. it's true, and i'm not going to apologize if it looks bad, but Iraqis are murdering Iraqis. that's the reality of the situation. does the US have a big dirty hand in it? yes, we uncorked a flood of ethnic hatred which has been there for centuries, and if our stupid fucking president had ever cracked a history book he would have realized exactly why a country like Iraq had a dictator like Hussein in the first place.
I agree with this! That what i said



that's called nuance. and i'm not going to flatten out my opinion because i'm afraid of what the rest of the world is going to think. and i know you don't think that all Americans think the same, but i think there are many things happening in Iraq, and looking at it as just one big pit of despair isn't wrong, but it also isn't helpful. is it a pit of despair? yes. but there's more to it than just that.

i'm a little confused, though, because you say that there's "one very big, very stupid message," but then you say that you know that this isn't the case. can't we assume that most people see more nuance than "Bush dumb, America bad"?


sadly for the case i do believe a lot people look at america and think 'what the hell are you doing?!' We're powerless to stop you and its a scary thought to think that someone like Bush is in charge of a country that wields so much power that is unchallenged, and when it is its suddenly 'good vs evil' and all that Most epople see one message coming out from your admin, only the people who dig a bit further can see more thenone opinion, but thats what its like for most countries.



and that's what i try to do. you know i'm fervently anti-war. but i also don't think that the US Army is lining Iraqis up and shooting them into a ditch like it's Poland 1941 or Srebrenica 1995. and much of this comes from the fact that i know US soldiers. and they are simply trying to do their job and not get killed. and it's nearly impossible for me to not react to a (para)phrase like "US soldiers killing a fuckload of civilans" and not imagine that you think that my friend isn't doing the absolute best he can in a nearly impossible situation.


See here's where we differ. There has been many reports about the atrocious reports of us soldiers in Iraq against Iraqi people.. While im sure there are some really great guys just doing their service and helping out, I just think they were really sloppy when they blasted into the country, and people died, innocent people being blown up by rockets, homes demolished, workplaces and mosques bombed up by "accurate missiles" and that was the US doing. While i don't think there are many gun toting apocaplypse soldiers running around shooting down people (though there are some for sure) I don't see the us soliders as beacons of chilvery and morals, just doing this job cause they got too. Don't go, don't enlist, stand up and say its wrong as it is.
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:39 AM   #208
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See here's where we differ. There has been many reports about the atrocious reports of us soldiers in Iraq against Iraqi people.. While im sure there are some really great guys just doing their service and helping out, I just think they were really sloppy when they blasted into the country, and people died, innocent people being blown up by rockets, homes demolished, workplaces and mosques bombed up by "accurate missiles" and that was the US doing. While i don't think there are many gun toting apocaplypse soldiers running around shooting down people (though there are some for sure) I don't see the us soliders as beacons of chilvery and morals, just doing this job cause they got too. Don't go, don't enlist, stand up and say its wrong as it is.


i'm actually more concerned about the use of torture (ahem, "coercive interrogation techniques") and the abuses of Abu Ghraib than i am about collateral damage. and i don't agree that US forces were sloppy at all. i think war is by nature sloppy, and technology has dramatically reduced collateral damage. that said, it doesn't mean that collateral damage is ever justified, or the war is justified, or anything. but it is to say that as wars go, this one was about as precise as they get (especially compared to, say, WW2 where people were happy if they hit the right city).

i think there are some psychopaths in the US military, as there are in any population. i think some in the US military -- as has been echoed on this board -- think they are doing God's work, as there are in any population. in fact, military culture is certainly overall more conservative than American culture as a whole. but most soldiers get up in the morning and do their job, and most soldiers were enlisted well before the neocons farted out the idea of invading Iraq. and many, many soldiers have returned and protested the war at home, some running for Congress. i know STING and AEON would like us to believe that soldiers march forward with a Bible and a gun, convinced that Jesus is shooting the machine gun with them, but that's as far from the reality as the image of bloodthirsty savages raping women.

i've contended, since the beginning, that the soldiers should never have been put in such an impossible situation to begin with.
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:40 AM   #209
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I recently attended a talk by Jeremy Scahill, Democracy Now investigative reporter and author of "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" http://www.blackwaterbook.com/ and he said that on his book tour he'd had so many US soldiers come up to him and say that one of the most discouraging things for them is that the troops typically enter a village and do everything possible to let the Iraqi civilians know that they're there to help and they earn the people's trust, then the Blackwater mercenaries (ahem, "contractors") roll into town in their fancy armored vehicles and wrap-around sunglasses looking like something out of a Tom Cruise movie, and start shooting at anything that moves. So unfortunately when I hear that "US troops" are shooting fuckloads of Iraqi civilians, I tend to lean towards thinking there's some truth there.


this is very interesting, and an underreported issue.
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:46 AM   #210
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Check out the book. It's chilling.
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Old 07-11-2007, 03:05 PM   #211
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I recently attended a talk by Jeremy Scahill, Democracy Now investigative reporter and author of "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" http://www.blackwaterbook.com/ and he said that on his book tour he'd had so many US soldiers come up to him and say that one of the most discouraging things for them is that the troops typically enter a village and do everything possible to let the Iraqi civilians know that they're there to help and they earn the people's trust, then the Blackwater mercenaries (ahem, "contractors") roll into town in their fancy armored vehicles and wrap-around sunglasses looking like something out of a Tom Cruise movie, and start shooting at anything that moves. So unfortunately when I hear that "US troops" are shooting fuckloads of Iraqi civilians, I tend to lean towards thinking there's some truth there.
If you liked the book, see if you can get a DVD copy of "Iraq for Sale" - it's an absolutely fantastic documentary precisely on the way this war has been outsourced. Blackwater is heavily featured, including the way they abandon their own people out there. It's a must-see film.
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Old 07-11-2007, 03:15 PM   #212
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i can't seem to find it right now, but i thought i read somewhere that the number of civilian casualties was greater than the number of insurgent casualties. does anybody know if this is true?
Easily.
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Old 07-11-2007, 03:39 PM   #213
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If you liked the book, see if you can get a DVD copy of "Iraq for Sale" - it's an absolutely fantastic documentary precisely on the way this war has been outsourced. Blackwater is heavily featured, including the way they abandon their own people out there. It's a must-see film.
I've added it to my Netflix queue.

For those less familiar with this issue, here is the text from Scahill's testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. What he mentioned in his talk that I attended, and which he mentions here, is how little Congress actually knows about any of this, such is the level of secrecy around it. These contractors answer to no court of law, and no official record of the number of contractor deaths and injuries is kept. Sorry this quote is so long but it's really important.



Published on Saturday, May 12, 2007 by The Nation
Outsourcing the War
by Jeremy Scahill

Jeremy Scahill, bestselling author and investigative reporter for The Nation, testified May 10 before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on the impact of private military contractors on the conduct of the Iraq War. This is the full text of his remarks:

My name is Jeremy Scahill. I have submitted my full remarks and request they be entered into the record. I am an investigative reporter for The Nation magazine and the author of the book Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. I have spent the better part of the past two and a half years researching privatized warfare. I have interviewed scores of sources, filed many Freedom of Information Act requests, obtained government contracts and private company documents of firms operating in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

As this Committee is well aware, we are now in the midst of the most privatized war in the history of our country. This is hardly a new phenomenon, but it is one that has greatly accelerated since the launch of the “global war on terror” and the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Many Americans are under the impression that the US currently has about 145,000 active duty troops on the ground in Iraq. What is seldom mentioned is the fact that there are at least 126,000 private personnel deployed alongside the official armed forces. These private forces effectively double the size of the occupation force, largely without the knowledge of the US taxpayers that foot the bill.

But despite the similarity in size of these respective forces in Iraq, there are key differences with the way our government approaches the active-duty military and these private war contractors. For instance, we know that nearly 3,400 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq and more than 25,000 wounded. We do not know the exact number of private contractors killed or wounded. Through the US Department of Labor, we have been able to determine that at least 770 contractors had been killed in Iraq as of December 2006 along with at least 7,700 wounded. These casualties are not included in the official death count and help to mask the human costs of the war. More disturbing is what this means for our democracy: at a time when the administration seems unwilling to subject its war strategy to oversight by the Congress, we face the widespread use of private forces seemingly accountable to no effective system of oversight or law.

While tens of thousands of these contractors provide logistical support, thousands are heavily armed private soldiers roaming Iraq. We do know that there are some 48,000 employees of private military companies in Iraq alone.

These forces work for US companies like Blackwater, Triple Canopy and DynCorp as well as companies from across the globe. Some contractors make in a month what many active-duty soldiers make in a year. Indeed, there are private contractors in Iraq making more money than the Secretary of Defense and more than the commanding generals. The testimony about private contractors that I hear most often from active duty soldiers falls into two categories: resentment and envy.

They ask what message their country is sending them. While many soldiers lack basic protective equipment–facts well-known to this committee–they are in a war zone where they see the private soldiers whiz by in better vehicles, with better armor, better weapons, wearing the corporate logo instead of the American flag and pulling in much more money. They ask: Are our lives worth less?

Of course, there are many cases where war contractors have hoarded the profits at the top and money has not filtered down to the individual contractors on the ground or the armor to protect them.

The second reaction is that the active-duty soldiers see the “rock star” private contractors and they want to be like them. So we have a phenomenon of soldiers leaving active duty to join the private sector.

There is slang in Iraq now for this jump. It is called “Going Blackwater.” To put it bluntly, these private forces create a system where national duty is outbid by profits. And yet these forces are being used for mission-critical activities. Indeed, in January Gen. David Petraeus admitted that on his last tour in Iraq, he himself was protected not by the active-duty military but by private “contract security.”

Just as there is a double standard in pay, there is a double standard in the application of the law. Soldiers who commit crimes or acts of misconduct are prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. There have been some 64 courts martial on murder-related charges in Iraq alone. Compare that to the lack of prosecution of contractors. Despite the fact that tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, have streamed in and out of Iraq since March of 2003, only two private contractors have faced any criminal prosecution. Two. One was a KBR employee alleged to have stabbed a co-worker, the other pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography images on his computer at Abu Ghraib prison. In four years, there have been no prosecutions for crimes against Iraqis and not a single known prosecution of an armed contractor.

That either means we have tens of thousands of Boy Scouts working as armed contractors or something is fundamentally wrong with the system. Brig. Gen. Karl Horst of the 3rd Infantry Division became so outraged by contractor unaccountability that he began tracking contractor violence in Baghdad. In just two months he documented twelve cases of contractors shooting at civilians, resulting in six deaths and three injuries. That is just two months and one general.

They have not been prosecuted under the UCMJ, under US civilian law or under Iraqi law. US contractors in Iraq reportedly have their own motto: “What happens here today, stays here today.” That should be chilling to everyone who believes that warfare, above all government functions, must be subject to transparency, accountability and the rule of law.

These are forces operating in the name of the United States of America. Iraqis do not see contractors as separate from soldiers–understandably, they see them all as “the occupation.” Contractor misconduct is viewed as American misconduct.

While there is currently a debate in Congress about how to hold these private forces accountable, the political will to act remains shockingly absent.

Given the vast size of this private force, spread across the most dangerous war zone in the world, it is not at all clear how effective oversight would work. We already know that auditors cannot visit many reconstruction sites because of security concerns. Journalists are locked in the Green Zone. The army is stretched to the max. So what entity then is supposed to have the capacity or ability to oversee the men who have been brought to Iraq to go where no one else will?

Members of Congress tell me they have been stonewalled in their attempts to gain detailed information about the activities of these companies. I think it is a disturbing commentary that I have received phone calls from several Congress members asking me for government documents on war contractors and not the other way around.

In the current discussion in the Congress on this issue, what is seldom discussed is how this system, the privatization of war, has both encouraged and enabled the growth and creation of companies who have benefited and stand to gain even more from an escalation of the war.

In closing, while I think this Congress needs to take urgent action on issues of oversight, accountability and transparency of these private forces operating with our tax dollars and in the name of the United States, there is a deeper issue that often gets overlooked. This war contracting system has intimately linked corporate profits to an escalation of war and conflict. These companies have no incentive to decrease their footprint in the war zone and every incentive to increase it.

As the country debates current and future Iraq policy, Congress owes it to the public to take down the curtain of secrecy surrounding these shadow forces that often act in the name and on the payroll of the people of this country. Thank you for your time. I am prepared to answer any questions.

Jeremy Scahill is the author of the New York Times bestseller Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. He is currently a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at the Nation Institute.
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Old 07-11-2007, 03:52 PM   #214
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perhaps a number of those directly involved in this combat don't. but i've seen enough civilian propaganda to indicate otherwise. and they think it's funny.
am i reading this wrong, or are you saying that americans want to kill iraqis??? if so, you are far from the truth. i haven't seen that anywhere. no one here is saying, "let's go kill those iraqis." we sympathize w/ the iraqi citizens who are killed by pathetic insurgents who are willing to murder their own children for personal gain. pathetic human beings if you ask me, who don't deserve to live. anyone who respects them doesn't either. they want you dead if you are of western blood. do you think they cared about who was in the twin towers, or the london subway? no, they want all of us extinct and that is why we must continue to kill them.
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Old 07-11-2007, 03:57 PM   #215
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they want you dead if you are of western blood
No, Islam is a universal creed - it isn't a question a race it is one of faith.
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Old 07-11-2007, 03:59 PM   #216
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am i reading this wrong, or are you saying that americans want to kill iraqis??? if so, you are far from the truth. i haven't seen that anywhere. no one here is saying, "let's go kill those iraqis." we sympathize w/ the iraqi citizens who are killed by pathetic insurgents who are willing to murder their own children for personal gain. pathetic human beings if you ask me, who don't deserve to live. anyone who respects them doesn't either. they want you dead if you are of western blood. do you think they cared about who was in the twin towers, or the london subway? no, they want all of us extinct and that is why we must continue to kill them.


yes, but as has been stated, wars always always kill innocent civilians. collateral damage. do we not worry about that when we make our decisions whether or not to go to war?

further, what about Abu Ghraib? "coercive interrogation techniques"?
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Old 07-11-2007, 04:00 PM   #217
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No, Islam is a universal creed - it isn't a question a race it is one of faith.
Whatever.

I am not saying every Muslim is like that. I am saying that these Islamist radicals need to be extinct, and we must go after them, for if we don't, they will come after us. That is the point. What do you not get about that?
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Old 07-11-2007, 04:01 PM   #218
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Whatever.

I am not saying every Muslim is like that. I am saying that these Islamist radicals need to be extinct, and we must go after them, for if we don't, they will come after us. That is the point. What do you not get about that?


so should we go invade Gaza? after all, there are islamic terrorists there, it's run by Hamas, do we invade?

after all, there's a chance they could get us.
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Old 07-11-2007, 04:01 PM   #219
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yes, but as has been stated, wars always always kill innocent civilians. collateral damage. do we not worry about that when we make our decisions whether or not to go to war?

further, what about Abu Ghraib? "coercive interrogation techniques"?
What was the punishment to those involved in that. They are all serving years in jail. They were not let off the hook.

No where did I say that there wasn't collateral damage. However, our purpose is completely different than that of a jihadist.
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Old 07-11-2007, 04:04 PM   #220
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so should we go invade Gaza? after all, there are islamic terrorists there, it's run by Hamas, do we invade?

after all, there's a chance they could get us.
should we? No. Should an international force, yes. Hamas the political movement, like the Ba'ath movement of Iraq, is legit, however the leadership of Hamas is not. Therefore, it cannot be trusted and a international force must be put in to stop both Israel from advancing and doing something stupid, and Hamas from firing its rockets at Israel. That is what is necessary. Then Abbas' must continue to build his forces and when he is strong enough re-take Gaza and setup a unified state of Palestine.
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