It’s amazing how much people who use their freedom of speech don’t appreciate the people who secure that freedom for them

You know, as the father of one daughter in the Army, and another who will start Basic Combat Training next June, after she finishes high school, some things just annoy the heck out of me; this article from David Swanson on OpEdNews is one of them:


Army Experience Center’s Bad Experience: Turns out Training Kids to Kill Not Popular with Public


By David Swanson

“This is so cool! This is so cool!” a thirteen-year-old boy repeated as he squeezed rounds from a real M-16, picking off “enemy combatants” in a video game while perched atop a real Army Humvee. “I just came to the mall to skateboard but everyone said this was pretty cool. I just had to try it and it’s great!”

The person reporting on this youthful enthusiasm was Pat Elder, who serves on the Steering Committee of the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth. Elder also described young teenagers congratulating each other for “killing ragheads” and “wiping out hajis.”

All of this fun went on at the Army Experience Center (AEC), a 14,500-square-foot “virtual educational facility” in the Franklin Mills Mall in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The U.S. Army opened the center in August 2008 and planned to run it for two years as a pilot program. If the center proved able to recruit as many new soldiers as five ordinary recruiting stations, the Army planned to build them nationally. The AEC cost more than $12 million to design and construct, but of course the Army spends several billion dollars a year on recruitment.

Naturally, the activists tried to shut down the Army Experience Center. However, the AEC is apparently going to be closed:

Days prior to this long-planned and publicly announced protest, the Army preemptively announced that it would likely close the AEC and not open any others in shopping malls, as had been planned. The reason? Are you ready to hear this?

By their own admission, the Army doesn’t need any more recruits because the bad economy has driven up recruitment significantly.

Now, I have to wonder, since Mr Swanson didn’t cite his source: did the Army say that recruitment was up because of the economy, or did it simply say that recruitment was up?

Now, the truth is that the economy is lousy, unemployment is rising, and the military has cut back on other recruitment expenses, the stated reason being the rise in recruitment that comes with a lousy economy.

Same claim, repeated. And the same response: did the Army state that it was the economy which has increased recruitment, or is that Mr Swanson’s added opinion?

The whopper of a lie is that the Army could ever be satisfied with its recruitment numbers. And the glaring omission was the protests. While the Army is cutting back in recruitment on some areas, it’s still spending billions of dollars per year, and it is spending those billions where they’ll be most effective, which means, in part, where they will generate the least opposition and negative attention. Early reports, prior to the protests, were that the AEC was succeeding in its recruitment goals. Following the protests, the AEC mysteriously became ineffective.

Emphasis mine. Perhaps Mr Swanson doesn’t realize it, but of course the Army could be satisfied with its recruitment numbers: the maximum size of the Army is specified by law, called the strength ceiling, and the Army cannot recruit in excess of its authorized force levels.

I can tell you, from our family’s experience, that recruiting is doing well: our younger daughter received a smaller recruitment bonus than her sister, because authorized bonuses have shrunk, due to the military achieving its goals easily. She wanted to enlist earlier, and do Basic Combat Training this past summer — between her junior and senior years of high school — but she started the process late in the year (May) and recruiting goals for the Army Reserve were alreadsy so close to having been met that she couldn’t. Her enlistment was delayed until October because she had to wait for the new fiscal year to begin.

As it happens, the younger Miss Pico went to the Hazleton Recruiting Center this morning, for the first step in her Future Soldier training.

Our military is made up entirely of volunteers; conscription ended in the 1970s. If Mr Swanson and those who believe similarly to him don’t want to join the military, I say fine, don’t join; that is their free choice. But, as I noted in a comment to Mr Swanson’s article, it’s amazing to me that people on the left, people who are supposed to champion freedom of choice and freedom of speech, are so adamant about silencing choices and speech of which they do not approve.

88 Comments

  1. Now, I have to wonder, since Mr Swanson didn’t cite his source: did the Army say that recruitment was up because of the economy, or did it simply say that recruitment was up?

    *sigh* You can’t use Google?

    Army Times:

    Economy fueled recruiting gains in FY09

    The active and reserve military branches all met or exceeded both their numeric and quality recruiting goals during fiscal 2009 for the first time in the 36-year history of the all-volunteer force, the Pentagon’s top military personnel policy official said Tuesday.

    In addition, retention was deemed “successful” in all the services, the Pentagon said in a press release. No retention figures were provided.

    A weak economy and increased spending on recruiting were the primary reasons for the recruiting successes, said Bill Carr, under secretary of defense for military personnel policy, who met with Pentagon reporters along with each service’s top recruiting officials.

    “The investment per accession we were able to deliver this year — because we hadn’t built in the unemployment [rate], as it turned out … left us with more dollars per recruit than proved to be minimally necessary, given the level of unemployment,” Carr said.

    The seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate for September stood at 9.8 percent; another 214,000 Americans lost their jobs that month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    But, as I noted in a comment to Mr Swanson’s article, it’s amazing to me that people on the left, people who are supposed to champion freedom of choice and freedom of speech, are so adamant about silencing choices and speech of which they do not approve.

    So how would you feel about the Government spending taxpayer money to, say, advertise to children how great welfare is, how natural homosexuality is, or how terrible short-minded wingnut ideas were? Different propaganda, same funding.

    And you seem to have lied yet again about the US military being there to “defend US freedom” – it isn’t. If it was, it would be considerably smaller and spend considerably less than half the world’s total military budget.

    In summary,

    i, The US Army is primarily a tool of imperial policy and only secondary for defence.

    ii, In pursuit of this, it needs to recruit a steady supply of soldiers. It does this through promoting militarism in the US (*) and through propaganda, mainly directed at the young (**).

    iii, Many people object to this.

    iv, The poor economy and the widening inequality in the US has made many Americans turn to the military as a last resort, unable to get ahead otherwise.

    (*) The militarism in United States society is quite noticable to outsiders and to insiders. See this for example.

    (**) Not that its alone in this, of course. It’s interesting to note the difference in Army advertising between NZ, Oz, and the US though.

  2. I was about to pick up on two points, “…secure that freedom for us” in the title, and, “…are so adamant about silencing choices and speech of which they do not approve.”, but there’s Phoenician, on top of it all again. Good!

    Phoenician’s responses are right on, in my view. The trouble many of us Americans have, Dana included, is that they are not able to get perspective, even when someone from outside our country attempts to offer some. Instead, ridicule and ad hominems usually follow, meaning to me that we often cannot either take criticism or at least respond intelligently and thoughtfully to refute it. There is an arrogance about our responses that we ought to think about.

    Just one quick comment on the second quote from Dana that I posted above, I don’t agree with your characterization, that is, I don’t think that Mr Swanson or the protesters were attempting to silence “choices and speech of which they did not approve”. If you use this characterization, then we would have no protests of anything that we wished stopped, like a war. “Free Speech” is not an absolute; there are limits.

    We must finally begin to rein in our military-industrial complex, to the point where we make it more difficult to engage in wars of choice. Haven’t we learned yet? Apparently not, not even Obama!

  3. Yes, the US has conquered a vast number of countries in the past 70 years and has swallowed them up, making the US even larger. The state of Japan is one. And the state of Philippines. And the state of West Germany. And the state of Grenada. This is proven in their representatives’ voting record in Congress. The US is very imperialistic and uses the US military for imperialistic reasons, as I have proven above.

  4. Perry, buy a clue. Also, Perry, quit refusing to acknowledge citations I have made in the past blowing your “see nothing, hear nothing” self out of the water. You demanded citations, you were given linkage showing what you demanded and you have refused to acknowledge anything. Your six-word exclamatory has at least two lies in it (not counting the cluelessness involved in making the exclamatorial retort).

  5. John, stop crying! I did not see your citations. Could be that I tend to gloss over your foolishness when it shows up here, like your snarky response to Phoenician’s intelligence, to which you had no rebuttal.

  6. I cannot respond to PIATOR’s intelligence because PIATOR has none. And your “I did not see” is obvious because you refuse to “see” anything. You demanded citations, I gave citations, you went elsewhere and demanded citations again, I referred you to citations I already made, you moved on once again.

    Perry, let me make this clear for you. You lie. You refuse to acknowledge absolute proof in order to continue to lie about someone else’s honesty. You remain adamantly ignorant (at least in your writing) when the proofs against your lies are all around you.

  7. donviti:
    I was fired, I did not resign. I was “voted” out by the remaining contributors. fyi…

    So much for the First Amendment there. Some speech is free, some is freer.

  8. John Hitchcock:
    Donviti, become a right-wing extremist Conservative Christian kook like me! You can get posting rights in all the right places, if you know what I mean.

    I thought you were an outer space alien? :-)

  9. Phoenician’s responses are right on, in my view. The trouble many of us Americans have, Dana included, is that they are not able to get perspective, even when someone from outside our country attempts to offer some. Instead, ridicule and ad hominems usually follow, meaning to me that we often cannot either take criticism or at least respond intelligently and thoughtfully to refute it. There is an arrogance about our responses that we ought to think about.

    Anyone who calls the US “Imperialistic” is either hopelessly blinded by left wing partisanship or else is a flat out liar. In either event, their comments are not worthy of being taken seriously.

  10. Yes, the US has conquered a vast number of countries in the past 70 years and has swallowed them up, making the US even larger. The state of Japan is one. And the state of Philippines. And the state of West Germany. And the state of Grenada. This is proven in their representatives’ voting record in Congress. The US is very imperialistic and uses the US military for imperialistic reasons, as I have proven above.

    Good one, John!

    PS Perry, you completely missed John’s point. It’s called “Satire” …

  11. John Hitchcock:
    Yorkie, my antennae only rise at important intervals, and definitely not when interacting with 3 male juveniles.

    Hmmm, I guess you should wait for the proper time. :-|

  12. Eric, I didn’t miss his point, I just did not react to it the way he expected. I would say that his point was more irony than satire.

    “Anyone who calls the US “Imperialistic” is either hopelessly blinded by left wing partisanship or else is a flat out liar. In either event, their comments are not worthy of being taken seriously.”

    I think “imperialistic” fits us, not in the sense of German, Japanese, or Soviet imperialism, but the fact that we have a history, post WWII, of fighting wars of choice, essentially unilaterally, on the lands of other nations, which includes periods of occupation, most especially wrt our current wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, to which Phoenician’s remark was focused, would you not agree?

  13. I have to wonder (not really) what Perry needs to show multinational cooperation if he declares Iraq and Afghanistan unilateral, since many different nations are represented militarily in those two countries.

    Perry is a “Helen Keller” partisan, and nothing more.

  14. Anyone who calls the US “Imperialistic” is either hopelessly blinded by left wing partisanship or else is a flat out liar.

    Or they’re smarter than you – which is not difficult.

    Which is Niall Ferguson, Eric?

    Perhaps the book’s real problem is that the very concept of “hegemony” is really just a way to avoid talking about empire, “empire” being a word to which most Americans remain averse. But “empire” has never exclusively meant direct rule over foreign territories without any political representation of their inhabitants. Students of imperial history have a far more sophisticated conceptual framework than that. During the imperial age, for example, British colonial administrators such as Frederick Lugard clearly understood the distinction between “direct” and “indirect” rule; large parts of the British Empire in Asia and Africa were ruled indirectly, through the agency of local potentates rather than British governors. A further distinction was introduced by the British historians Jack Gallagher and Ronald Robinson in their seminal 1953 article on “the imperialism of free trade,” in which the authors showed how the Victorians used naval and financial power to open markets well outside their colonial ambit. There is an important and now widely accepted distinction between “formal” and “informal” empire. The British did not formally govern Argentina, for example, but the merchant banks of the City of London exerted such a powerful influence on that country’s fiscal and monetary policy that its independence was heavily qualified.

    A more sophisticated definition of “empire” would have allowed the book’s authors to dispense with the word “hegemony” altogether. Instead, they could have argued that the United States is an empire — albeit one that has, until now, generally preferred indirect and informal rule. (Whether its recent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq presage a transition to more direct and formal imperial structures remains to be seen.)

    So, tell us, Eric – is Niall Ferguson a hopeless leftie, a liar, or simply smarter than you?

  15. Speaking of Helen Keller, here’s a quote from her:
    HELEN KELLER: “The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators and the exploiters.”

  16. Mr Hitchcock wrote:

    Yes, the US has conquered a vast number of countries in the past 70 years and has swallowed them up, making the US even larger. The state of Japan is one. And the state of Philippines. And the state of West Germany. And the state of Grenada. This is proven in their representatives’ voting record in Congress. The US is very imperialistic and uses the US military for imperialistic reasons, as I have proven above.

    To which Perry replied:

    John, stop making stuff up, again!

    In that that was Mr Hitchcock’s only posted comment at the time Perry made his reply, I must assume that Perry’s reply was to the one indicated. It seems pretty obvious to me that Mr Hitchcock was resorting to sarcasm to make his point. I wouldn’t have thought it was really necessary for Mr Hitchcock to insert the dripping icon to point it out.

    Just to help those who don’t know the code, this will produce the darcasm icon: img src=’/wp-content/sarcasm.gif’ alt=” / You must enclose it between these brackets <> to make it work.

  17. I think “imperialistic” fits us, not in the sense of German, Japanese, or Soviet imperialism, but the fact that we have a history, post WWII, of fighting wars of choice, essentially unilaterally, on the lands of other nations, which includes periods of occupation, most especially wrt our current wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, to which Phoenician’s remark was focused, would you not agree?

    No. Words mean things, and “Imperialism” refers specifically to Empire. And the notion that America has been or is intent on building an empire is simply laughable, hence John’s response.

  18. So, tell us, Eric – is Niall Ferguson a hopeless leftie, a liar, or simply smarter than you?

    It’s called a “Self-serving argument”, the type of stuff you post here all the time. It’s written in academic-speak, so as to appear neutral and “objective” to many not-so-bright readers, but one well versed in the use of logic and rhetoric can smell out such a rat pretty quickly.

  19. Blu wrote:

    The United States has 745 bases in 120 countries.

    This is unfortunate. There are (about) 193 countries in the world; why don’t we have bases in 73 of them?

  20. I am shocked! Shocked, I tell you! That the US has fewer than 1k military bases outside US territory! And your point is? (Since it is manifestly evident that the US is not now, nor has it been in the past 70-120 years or more, imperialistic.)

  21. From NUREMBERG WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL:
    “To initiate a war of aggression…is not only an international crime, it is supreme international crime, differing from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

  22. Blu quoted:

    To initiate a war of aggression…is not only an international crime, it is supreme international crime, differing from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

    And just who wrote those words? They were the representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Republic of France, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Every one of those nations was created by wars of aggression! The history of the US we know: white European settlers invaded, conquered and nearly exterminated the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas. The United Kingdom was created by Norman invaders, who subjugated the Angles and Saxons living there, then the English proceeded to take over the independent lands of the Welch and Scots. France was the creation of the Franks, who dominated other ethnic groups. The USSR was the successor to tsarist Russia, which expanded, via conquest, from the old Duchy of Muscovy, to encompass eleven times zones, and which was subjugating the “captive nations” of Eastern Europe.

    In trying to think of a country not created via wars of aggression, I can come up with places like Iceland and Monte Carlo. The whole history of the world is one of conflict and conquest, and it is foolishness to pretend otherwise.

    War crimes trials are the pretexts used by the winners to hang the losers.

  23. Mr Pico attacked the “wars of aggression is bad” meme quite well. But there’s an underlying premise which is entirely false. The false premise is that Iraq and Afghanistan were wars of aggression. There is such an animal as preemptive defense. Israel has used preemptive defense many times to protect its right to exist and the rights of Jews to exist. But blu is so far off the reservation she could never understand anyone ever allowing for a defensive war. Gotta be Booooooosh’s fault and right-wing Judeo-Christians’ fault.

    During my time in AIT, where I was learning to be an infantryman as part of Charlie Company at Camp Geiger (Camp LeJeune), we got to see Bravo Company doing their little routine. Footlockers outside in formation! One sheet, one blanket, one pillowcase outside in formation! Chants of “OOO OOO Bravo!” piercing the otherwise quiet area. We came up with our own chant: “Boo Foo Bravo!”

    Maybe I should replace “Bravo” with “blu”?

  24. At what point does humanity evolve? Wouldn’t you like to see the United States as one that truly brings peace and humanity to our neighbors? We conquer countries with resources coveted by corporate interest. Sadly, the soldier is used as a means of accomplishing that. The beautiful spirit of those like Dana’s and Eric’s daughters, for example are exploited. Hopefully, they won’t have to see the ugliest aspects of what goes on over there. Their emotional well being, from having grown up thoroughly loved, and stable, hopefully will not be altered. Since the suicide rate of soldiers having returned, rivals the death rate from violence over there in the middle-east.

  25. It’s called a “Self-serving argument”, the type of stuff you post here all the time.

    No, it’s called a “fact” – one of the world’s most respected popular historians has no problem talking about an American Empire. The simple fact is that you don’t know what you’re talking about – again.

  26. Blu, take your “exploitation” bovine byproduct and feed your cabbages with it. And, like I pointed out earlier, the US is not now, nor has it been over the past 70-120 years (or more), imperialistic. PM Chamberlain declared “peace in our time” after he gave away Czechoslovakia’s defensive perimeter. Freedom isn’t free. It takes a willingness to go to war to keep it free. And a willingness to go to war takes a preparation to win that war as quickly and decisively as possible. And that also takes preemptive defensive measures.

    And my daughter already pointed out the “suicide rate” nonsense you keep spewing forth out of your nether regions. But you’re oh so much more informed in your WAH state recliner than she, with her first-hand information. Peace is not gained through pacifistic surrender to servanthood but through a willingness to fight. Not that you’ll ever understand this.

  27. Your daughter as well, I wish the best for. I’m sorry, I was thinking it was Eric’s daughter I’d had the conversation with.

  28. Also, I’m sorry to inform you, John, that your daughter is not the supreme KNOWER of all that is going on over there. Certainly, here experiences are genuine, but so are other soldiers.

  29. Also, of the hundreds of thousands of civilians killed from our wars, are they not real human beings to you? Do they not have babies? Do they not have mothers, and fathers, and grandparents, and friends they laugh with and cry with? Do bombs taking their homes and family members away, seem like an honorable thing to do?

    I know, it’s more fun to ride the patriotic tide, the “USA-USA-USA” rhetoric. Let’s not overlook reality though.

  30. I’m sure you’re aware, blu, that less than 86k Iraqi civilians died, as has been reported. And the vast majority of those died at the hands of the insurgents. I mean, well over 80k of them died at the hands of the insurgents. Surgical strikes are not carpet-bombings. But don’t let that fact distract you from your never-ending paranoiac rants. There is a conspiracy around every corner and I am part of each and every one of them. MUHAHAHAHAHA!!!!eleventy!!11oneone!!!

  31. By the by, blu, have you read “Love My Rifle More Than You” like you told the rest of us to read? You know, that book written by a liberal woman who used to wear the uniform? That book you said would open our eyes to what is really happening in Iraq? Have you read that book yet?

  32. Blu asked:

    At what point does humanity evolve?

    The answer to your question might be different than you think; evolution hinges on the notion of the survival of the fittest. The stronger you are, the better you are able to compete against others, is what leads to advances. In a competition between the Saddam Hussein types and the pacifists, the Hussein types win, and the pacifists lose, because the aggressive ones are the ones who are willing to compete. Survival of the meekest occurs only upon the forbearance of the strongest.

  33. Mr Pico used a mis-definition of meek. A definition people who don’t understand what “meek” is use. Frankly, I’m surprised Mr Pico used that mis-definition. Meek means teachable, not weak and defenseless. Shame on you, Mr Pico, for falling into that leftist trap.

  34. Dana, with kindness and respect, your definition of evolution is wide of the mark. While it does express conventional wisdom, it’s inadequate to explain the growth and development of populations over time. At its core, evolution involves differential reproduction. A focus on “fitness” is consistent with the discredited tradition of Lysenko, and not accepted as a useful explanatory tool today. Check it out, any basic Anthropology text will do, or search on-line.

    Humanity effectively ceased evolving in any real physical sense long ago, sometime after the early stone age cave painters and before Homo Sapien Sapiens appeared. It’s human culture which is now evolving, and rather quickly.

    Incidentally, technology leads cultural change, social systems adapt to take advantage of new technologies, and ideological systems struggle to justify changes which have already occurred.

  35. I’m sure you’re aware, blu, that less than 86k Iraqi civilians died, as has been reported.

    Really? Provide a link showing less than 86k Iraqi civilians have died.

    If you provide a link showing at least 86k Iraqi civilians have died, or an unknown number have died, of which 86k were reported this will show that your comment was, in fact, a lie.

    Where’s the link, John?

  36. From the Iraq Body Count Project:

    Year Civilians Killed
    2003 10,077 – 12,010
    2004 9,741 – 10,573
    2005 13,071 – 14,324
    2006 25,699 – 27,519
    2007 22,586 – 24,159

    The low end of the numbers totals 81,174, while the high end totals 88,585. I don’t know what source Mr Hitchcock was using, but even using the high end of the projections you would come up with fewer than 100,000 at the end of 2008.

    Mr Hitchcock noted:

    And the vast majority of those died at the hands of the insurgents. I mean, well over 80k of them died at the hands of the insurgents. Surgical strikes are not carpet-bombings.

    The same source noted:

    • Bodies found in Baghdad (usually executed after torture) have shown the steepest decline, from nearly 1,000 reported in January to around 120 in December 2007 .
    • Deaths of non-combatants such as civilian bystanders killed in firefights and other attacks involving US-led Coalition military forces rose from 544–623 in 2006 to 868–1,326 in 2007.
    • Air strikes featured in the vast majority of these incidents, which left at least 88 children dead.
    • Civilian deaths directly attributable to US forces alone (ie, not involving any other combatants) increased steeply from 394–434 reported in 2006 to 669–756 in 2007.

    Reading the whole thing tells you that yes, the vast majority of deaths were caused by the terrorists.

  37. Dana, with kindness and respect, your definition of evolution is wide of the mark.

    That’s very true – Dana’s comment reflects his ignorance of the topic. Aggression isn’t the only measure of “fitness” in a species noted for communal activities. By Dana’s ‘logic’, the Yanomamo would be the dominant human society on Earth.

    Humanity effectively ceased evolving in any real physical sense long ago, sometime after the early stone age cave painters and before Homo Sapien Sapiens appeared.

    Nope. There’s evidence of physical evolution in humanity within historic times.

  38. My reference was from a link from a secondary link from Head Noises. It was official Iraqi government and another showing under 86k, with the wholly discredited Lancet (with the discredit linked) showing outlandish numbers. The high end of the totals was sub 86k and of that, well over 80k (likely well over 83k) was due to terrorists and not Coalition forces.

  39. Pho, thanks for the link. While the issue isn’t yet settled, the ideas seem well enough supported to keep an open mind on the topic for now. I know I will. But, as mentioned in the article, there is a community of interested academics who would rather not have these notions discussed in public, or even in scholarly journals, too much baggage.

    I haven’t thought about the Yanomamo for nearly 35 years, I would have thought they were either all dead or putting on jungle shows at some rain-forest theme park. Ishi was always my favorite savage. He went to Berkeley.

  40. My reference was from a link from a secondary link from Head Noises. It was official Iraqi government and another showing under 86k,

    Was it showing at least 86K, John? You haven’t actually given us the link so we can check it ourselves – you’ve just taken the lowest estimate by a self-interested group, and apparently misrepresented it as something other than what it is.

    Where’s the link, John?

  41. No, it’s called a “fact” – one of the world’s most respected popular historians has no problem talking about an American Empire.

    No Pho, it’s called an opinion. And a highly biased one at that. Notice how only left wingers yammer on about “Empire” and “Imperialism”? It’s all part of the indoctrination that it takes to become a left winger.

    Normal people can think for themselves, thank you very much.

  42. There’s plenty more from INDEPENDENT sources, you know, the ones with no political agendas, at all? But, facts don’t really phase you all that choose what feels likes the most comfortable things to believe, instead of how credible, and strict the rules of statistical operation were followed, the integrity of the source of study. So, numbers that depress you, are just “not true”.

  43. So, Phoe, apparently, again, Eric thinks that, although this fellow you cited has his career to be all history, he can’t know as much as Eric.

  44. So, Phoe, apparently, again, Eric thinks that, although this fellow you cited has his career to be all history, he can’t know as much as Eric.

    Indeed. And the joke here is that Eric is so ignorant that he can only conceive of “leftists” holding these perspectives, despite Ferguson’s actual record – contributing editor for the Financial Times, investment manager, critic of the EU, anti-taxer…

    Eric is a prime example of someone proud of his ignorance.

  45. “The United States has 745 bases in 120 countries.”

    So? Most of them are our allies, and they want those bases there. Think NATO, for instance, or South Korea.

  46. At what point does humanity evolve? Wouldn’t you like to see the United States as one that truly brings peace and humanity to our neighbors?

    That would be nice if the world was ready to do a group hug and sing “Kumbaya” together with Oprah leading the way. But it isn’t. Much of the world is still ruled by scum and thugs, and these must be met with military force in order to make the world a better place.

  47. Also, of the hundreds of thousands of civilians killed from our wars, are they not real human beings to you? Do they not have babies? Do they not have mothers, and fathers, and grandparents, and friends they laugh with and cry with? Do bombs taking their homes and family members away, seem like an honorable thing to do?

    You bring this up a lot. I’d like to see you (or anyone) provide decent statistics as to how many civilians were killed by allied aerial bombing in Iraq. Given the limited use of bombers and attack planes in that war, I’ll bet the figure is no more than several hundred.

  48. The low end of the numbers totals 81,174, while the high end totals 88,585. I don’t know what source Mr Hitchcock was using, but even using the high end of the projections you would come up with fewer than 100,000 at the end of 2008.

    Thanks, Dana, for proving Mr. Hitchcock right. 86k seems to be a pretty accurate ballpark figure.

    And the vast majority of those died at the hands of the insurgents. I mean, well over 80k of them died at the hands of the insurgents. Surgical strikes are not carpet-bombings.

    Well, there goes all of Blu’s arguments!

    Reading the whole thing tells you that yes, the vast majority of deaths were caused by the terrorists.

    BINGO! ‘Nuff said, end of story.

  49. Indeed. And the joke here is that Eric is so ignorant that he can only conceive of “leftists” holding these perspectives, despite Ferguson’s actual record – contributing editor for the Financial Times, investment manager, critic of the EU, anti-taxer…
    Eric is a prime example of someone proud of his ignorance.

    I didn’t say the guy wasn’t intelligent, but simply that the piece from him you quoted was full of left wing twaddle. Empire means something. The Romans had one, the Brits had one, ditto the French, Spanish, and, to a lesser extent the Germans and Italians. Interestingly, the Japanese have had an emperor for centuries, but their actual empire lasted about as long as Hitler’s 3rd Reich.

    In contrast, the United States does not now, nor has it ever had anything remotely approaching these kinds of empires. We “own” a few island in the South Pacific (Guam, etc.) a few in the Atlantic, a tiny slice of Cuba, and Puerto Rico. That’s it.

    Some Empire, huh?

  50. The answer to your question might be different than you think; evolution hinges on the notion of the survival of the fittest. The stronger you are, the better you are able to compete against others, is what leads to advances. In a competition between the Saddam Hussein types and the pacifists, the Hussein types win, and the pacifists lose, because the aggressive ones are the ones who are willing to compete.

    Good points Dana. Much of human history has been the Darwinian struggle of one group to conquer another. The Greeks conquered the Persians, the Romans and Brits conquered nearly everybody, and so on. And why? because, for the most part, they were better fighters. And technology didn’t hurt, either. It just stands to reason that the societies that have succeeded, the ones that have lasted, are the ones who were good at war, in all its varied applications.

  51. Nope. There’s evidence of physical evolution in humanity within historic times.

    Well, girls seem to be getting better looking …

  52. In contrast, the United States does not now, nor has it ever had anything remotely approaching these kinds of empires.

    Professionally trained historians have no problem saying the United States is imperialist. Deal with it,

  53. Eric, for the record, the first 50 “smart bombs” were misses in Iraq.

    Also, the allies you discuss were mostly those we were at war with prior. We conquered them, you know, like Empires do!

    And I’m surprised you haven’t taken note, regarding statistics, and MANY MANY MANY OTHER THINGS…GOVERNMENTS LIE!!! FOOL!

  54. Even if the government told the truth, how is 86 thousand human beings dead, due to our invasion okay?

    NO, most are not due to insurgents or suicide bombers.

    Remember, cancer is rampant over there now, because of our use of depleted uranium. Children being born deformed occurring alot more also, and among troops newborns as well. Also, the bombing of hospitals, as has happened, limits recoveries, resulting in more deaths, water facilities bombed, depriving civilians of water, food, in this war time is not available, you can’t just run to the store for groceries, you know!

    You don’t know about these things because the media folks are also the defense industry invested folks too. Your ignorance is what is desired by them. You oblige.

  55. Eric wrote:

    “I didn’t say the guy wasn’t intelligent, but simply that the piece from him you quoted was full of left wing twaddle. Empire means something. The Romans had one, the Brits had one, ditto the French, Spanish, and, to a lesser extent the Germans and Italians. Interestingly, the Japanese have had an emperor for centuries, but their actual empire lasted about as long as Hitler’s 3rd Reich.

    “In contrast, the United States does not now, nor has it ever had anything remotely approaching these kinds of empires. We “own” a few island in the South Pacific (Guam, etc.) a few in the Atlantic, a tiny slice of Cuba, and Puerto Rico. That’s it.

    Some Empire, huh?”

    If anyone bothers to read the article from which the troll drew the passage, they will notice that Ferguson was in context actually reviewing a book of essays titled
    Two Hegemonies.

    It’s Ferguson’s contention that the highly disputed “informal empire” thesis set out in 1953 by Robinson and Gallagher, could have been profitably used by the authors of the book “Two Hegemonies” to emphasize the distinctions and contrasts between the two so-called hegemons, i.e., The United States and Great Britain.

    Ferguson, in granting the Robinson premise – whether for the sake of argument or because he belives in its descriptive utility – finds that in so doing the contrasts between the United States and Imperial Great Britain are only highlighted.

    Whether the informal empire argument of Robinson and Gallagher has any real merit is another matter.

    “This paper seeks to examine the role agency has played in past and present theories of imperialism. I should make it clear at this early stage, that the paper does not begin with a precise, or abstract, definition of agency, which I appreciate is a highly contested, often rather vague concept. Indeed one aim of the paper is to move toward such a definition. Instead the paper uses Ronald Robinson and John Gallagher’s ‘imperialism of free trade’ as a way of defining agency in negative. Their work, I argue below, makes conscious effort to remove human agency from the history of British imperialism, rewriting it as structural process. …

    The key concept underpinning their theory is that of ’informal empire’, a relationship of dominance established between the metropolitan (in this case British) and peripheral economies….

    The effect is to remove the agency behind imperialism from
    the scene. Europe simply expands, in so doing it interacts withother forces thereby developing imperialist relationships. Europe is no longer an active agent—it merely follows the systemiclogic of expansion. Of course we might speculate as to why Robinson and Gallagher adopted this theory. Illustrious establishment historians, they were writing in a period when British rule was being denigrated throughout the developing world. In deflecting attention from Britain’s role in
    the assumption of this rule, they effectively rewrite this history as an unfortunate accident.

    As E.H Carr commented in his review of their work “The ultimate impression…is not so far removed from the old adage that the British Empire was acquired in a fit of absence of mind.”

    Despite the fact it caused endless debate among scholars, Robinson and Gallagher’s theory never received widespread acceptance. …” Nicholas Frayn. ISA Conference Paper, Montreal, March 2004

    Robinson and Gallagher, on their own oddly developed idea:

    “The basic fact is that British industrialization caused an ever-extending and intensifying development of overseas regions. Whether they were formally British or not, was a secondary consideration.

    Imperialism, perhaps, may be defined as a sufficient political function of this process of integrating new regions into the expanding economy; its character is largely decided by the various and changing relationships between the political and economic elements of expansion in any particular region and time.

    Two qualifications must be made. First, imperialism may be only indirectly connected with economic integration in that it sometimes extends beyond areas of economic development, but acts for their strategic protection. Secondly, although imperialism is a function of economic expansion, it is not a necessary function.

    Whether imperialist phenomena show themselves or not, is determined not only by the factors of economic expansion, but equally by the political and social organization of the regions brought into the orbit of the expansive society, and also by the world situation in general.

    It is only when the polities of these new regions fail to provide satisfactory conditions for commercial or strategic integration and when their relative weakness allows, that power is used imperialistically to adjust those conditions”

    What is particularly strange about the way this argument is developed in their reference to the Boer War. The seem to believe that the squeezing of the Boers and the provocation of a state of war between the Transvaal and the Empire was not an example of outright imperialism.

    I’m afraid that anyone who is conversant with the history of this period and who has seen the material of Milner’s dispatches and the evidence of his designs and attitudes , would have to differ on that point.

    Milner from Wiki:

    “‘When we who call ourselves Imperialists talk of the British Empire, we think of a group of states bound, not in an alliance or alliances that can be made and unmade but in a permanent organic union. Of such a union the dominions of the sovereign as they exist to-day are only the raw material.’

    “—”I am a Nationalist and not a cosmopolitan …. I am a British (indeed primarily an English) Nationalist. If I am also an Imperialist, it is because the destiny of the English race, owing to its insular position and long supremacy at sea, has been to strike roots in different parts of the world. I am an Imperialist and not a Little Englander because I am a British Race Patriot … The British State must follow the race, must comprehend it, wherever it settles in appreciable numbers as an independent community. If the swarms constantly being thrown off by the parent hive are lost to the State, the State is irreparably weakened. We cannot afford to part with so much of our best blood. We have already parted with much of it, to form the millions of another separate but fortunately friendly State. We cannot suffer a repetition of the process.”

    Another imperialist speaking of imperialism:
    “It required the touch stone of a great war to make the Empire feel its unity. The moment the war became probable the colonies offered their services, and the tidings of initial reverses made them only the more eager to press their help. The loyalty of India and other dependencies was no less strikingly shown, though it was held inadvisable to make use of any but white soldiers in a war fought between white men in a country where the black man presents so difficult a problem. The presence of the colonial volunteers has made the whole character of the war an Imperial one. The Englishman, the Scotchman, the Irishman, the Welshman, the Canadian, the South African, the Australian, the New Zealander, the planter from India or Ceylon, have fought side by side, and exchanged their impressions and political ideas. Every thrill of hope or fear that has been felt in South Africa or in England has been felt no less in Canada, in Australia, in New Zealand. Every drop of colonial blood shed in South Africa has cemented more closely the bond of kinship between the parts of the British Empire.”

    Leo Amery, The [London] Times History of the War in South Africa

  56. Part of the problem is that we were not imperialist enough. If we had taken Cuba as part of the United States, in a status sort of like Puerto Rico’s, both we and the Cubans would have been much better off. If we had kept the Philippines, both we and the Filipinos would be much better off.

  57. Dana, you must not have clicked onto the links (2nd one better, although virtually same) I left.

  58. Part of the problem is that we were not imperialist enough. If we had taken Cuba as part of the United States, in a status sort of like Puerto Rico’s, both we and the Cubans would have been much better off. If we had kept the Philippines, both we and the Filipinos would be much better off.

    Not only that, you’d have living room too…

  59. Even if the government told the truth, how is 86 thousand human beings dead, due to our invasion okay?
    NO, most are not due to insurgents or suicide bombers.

    Got proof? So far, Dana has provided FACTS, you have provided none. His facts show that the vast majority of people killed in Iraq were done by the terrorists/insurgents.

    Got any figures to counter this? I thought not.

  60. This,

    “What is particularly strange about the way this argument is developed in their reference to the Boer War. The seem …”

    to this:

    “What is particularly strange about the way this argument is developed is their reference to the Boer War. They seem …”

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