Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Violence in Iraq, Seymour Hersh on Democracy Now! and CounterRecruiter

We'll start off with Democracy Now!:

Bloodshed Continues in Iraq
In Iraq, gunmen opened fire on a minibus carrying Iraqi workers to a U.S. airbase in the central resistance stronghold of Baquba, killing more than a dozen people. The deaths came after assailants in two cars attacked the bus. This came a day after gunmen killed at least 24 police, soldiers and government workers on Monday. The latest violence follows a weekend in which more than 150 Iraqis died from suicide bombings.

Maybe it was yesterday or maybe it was last week, but Amy Goodman made a point on Democracy Now! about how we get upset about the London bombings. We should. But when we hear of Iraqis dying we don't react the same way. Why do you think that is? Why do we say "this life is important and that life isn't?"

Which reminds me of something Seymour Hersh said on Democracy Now! today:

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Westmoreland, one of the main U.S. military leaders during the Vietnam War, retired General William Westmoreland has died at the age of 91. You won your Pulitzer Prize covering Vietnam, exposing a massacre, the My Lai massacre. Your response?
SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, Peter Davis, the filmmaker, did a marvelous documentary called Hearts and Minds, in which Westmoreland is filmed saying, ‘Well, the Vietnamese’ he said, ‘are not like Americans and us in the West. They don't feel losses. They don't feel. They don’t have the same kind of family feelings we do. Death to them is not like death to us.’ And that's what he said on camera. I'm paraphrasing because it's a 30-year-old memory.
The movie, the documentary, was done in the 1970s, but his suggestion was somehow they're less human than we are. And that kind of institutional racism, which may have something to do with our, you know, the casualness with which we look at the daily atrocities in Iraq. You know, this is a stigma for all of us. And unfortunately, those who say that this is not like Iraq, should just start listening to the way the military in the last six months have begun talking about insurgents killed, 100 insurgents killed here, 80 insurgents killed there. It's all that talk and the same language we had and the body counts back in Vietnam. You know, they are less than real.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you very much for being with us, Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter. And thank your family for giving us this time on your vacation.
SEYMOUR HERSH: Amy, for you, anything. Bye.

So let's dip into the e-mails.

We'll focus on Ellen who writes that she can't believe I encouraged Tonya to lie to her boyfriend about his crotch rot yestereday. Ellen says nothing gets done with a lie. Uh, war in Iraq?

But her point is that she thinks Tonya should have been upfront with her boyfriend. In fact, she composed a little speech for Tonya to give her boyfriend:

Mr. Happy may still waggle but the fumes are putting me to sleep. Shave 'em, spray 'em but do something because my nose ain't getting near that.

Ellen says he either gets it together or Tonya splits but her boyfriend gets the message and addresses the problem before Tonya's problem becomes some other woman's problem.

Ellen may have a point but I honestly don't know that this solution wouldn't have led to more problems. Besides, we got an e-mail from Tonya.

She tried what my sister suggested. He was rushing around so she had to jump in there and said she was nervous and he was looking at her like she was crazy when she grabbed his deodorant until she pulled off his towel. She said the only problem after that was getting him to put on clothes and that the smell was gone that evening when they got back.

He even commented on it and goes, "I don't know if you noticed but I was smelling pretty gamey." Tonya pretended like she hadn't noticed.

Was it honest?

Probably not.

But relationships aren't strapping lie detectors to your heart. I think sometimes you tell a little lie. I mean the last woman (see I'm watching my words) I was dating got a really goofey haircut and all her friends were telling her that. It was going to be 3 to 4 weeks before it looked half way decent. Did she need me going, "It really does look stupid."

I didn't think so. I told her it was cute and it made her feel good.

You really think she would have wanted to be around me for 3 or 4 weeks if I had told her, "It looks so stupid and it makes your ears look so huge." No.

There are things you can be honest about and there are things where you have to think is this comething you would say? Is there a reason to tell someone something hurtful? If not, then it's better to keep it to yourself or find a nice way to say it.

And from CounterRecruiter, I want to note this on recruiters:

The CBS story also notes that the Army needs over 101,000 new soldiers this year. And this is putting pressure on recruiters, who face declining enthusiam for the military, along with a continuing decrease in new recruits.
"It's very stressful," said former recruiter Jeffery Bacon.
Bacon says he's been busted from Sergeant to Specialist for not meeting his quota of 24 soldiers a year. "I'm losing my house because I'm losing my job, you know. I'm in financial debt," Bacon said.

I'm not feeling too sorry for Bacon or any of the others. They trick people and they do it to meet their quotas. I won't be shedding any tears that they have trouble meeting them. I hope they have a lot of trouble meeting them. Lots and lots of trouble.