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The New Transparency of War and Lethality of Hatred

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the apparently-we-do-bad-things-during-wars dept.

The Military 591

Hugh Pickens writes "Robert Wright says that if you had asked him a few days ago — before news broke that American soldiers had urinated on Taliban corpses — if such a thing were possible, he would have said 'probably.' After all if you send 'young people into combat, people whose job is to kill the enemy and who watch as their friends are killed and maimed by the enemy, ... the chances are that signs of disrespect for the enemy will surface — and that every once in a while those signs will assume grotesque form.' War, presumably, has always been like this, but something has changed that amounts to a powerful new argument against starting wars in the first place. First, there's the new transparency of war as battlefield details get recorded, and everyone has the tools to broadcast these details, so 'it's just a matter of time before some outrageous image goes viral — pictures from Abu Ghraib, video from Afghanistan,' that will make you and your soldiers more hated by the enemy than ever. The second big change is that hatred is now a more dangerous thing. 'New information technologies make it easier for people who share a hatred to organize around it,' writes Wright. 'And once hateful groups are organized, they stand a better chance than a few decades ago of getting their hands on massively lethal technologies.' It used to be that national security consisted of making sure all foreign governments either liked you or feared you; now it requires that as few people as possible hate you. 'I think we should reflect on that before we start another war.'"

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Bogus premise (-1, Troll)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698558)

No, the problem is our enemies do not fear us. We obsess and worry about whether our enemies like us. We allow our enemies to put propaganda in our legacy media. They don't.

If they truly feared us they wouldn't do the crap they do. Do ya think they would behead our people, desecrate their corpses, etc. if they feared us? Would they blow up a block of downtown NYC if they feared us? If they really though we would get seriously pissed off and go Add Coulter on their primitive asses and "Bomb their cities, kill their leaders and convert them to christianity." The answer is obvious.

Re:Bogus premise (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698608)

Please be sarcasm...

Re:Bogus premise (2)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698610)

It sounds like you've been playing a bit too much Tropico 4. Only in video games and movies does your suggestion of ruling by fear actually work. If you look at real life history, you'd realize that what you said was really silly.

Re:Bogus premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698656)

It sounds like you've been playing a bit too much Tropico 4. Only in video games and movies does your suggestion of ruling by fear actually work. If you look at real life history, you'd realize that what you said was really silly.

Obviously not a fan of Machiavelli.

Re:Bogus premise (4, Interesting)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698720)

It works if they do not hate you. If they hate you, it doesn't actually work. No matter how feared a dictator is, as soon as a significant percentage of people know that they find him intolerable, and know that a significant number of others share their belief, that dictator has huge problems. All the fear in the world will just make them more determined.

Machiavelli wrote in an environment where there were many competing factions of approximately equal power, none of whom were significantly different from any of the others.

Re:Bogus premise (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698792)

Total bullshit. Pick up a history book some day.

Re:Bogus premise (1)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698952)

Machiavelli actually says that you should be a good ruler so that you have support from the populace. Especially if you are a foreign ruler...

Re:Bogus premise (4, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698728)

Oh I dunno. History is full of examples. Rome comes to mind. For that matter, consider more recent history. How much terrorism did the old Soviet Union suffer? Close enough to zero as to be zero. Because everyone KNEW what sort of reaction would result. (The fact they financed the majority of terror organizations probably didn't hurt either, of course that fact is still in the memory hole....) After the breakup they get a lot of it. There was a time when few would have tried such things against the US. Now they do not fear us.

When your enemies neither respect or fear you is when you get the foolishness we currently endure. We wouldn't have to crucify ten thousand of em anytime they disrespect us or anything, just create the sure knowledge that any attack against us would ensure such a totally disproportionate response that it would be a losing game.

Re:Bogus premise (4, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698870)

Sometimes people fight for what is right. And speaking as a US citizen, if we even thought about embarking on what you propose, you would find that some of us would fight for what is right.

We are the US. It's tough, but we are better than that. No one ever said that doing the right thing was easier or cheaper.

Re:Bogus premise (2)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38699018)

Interesting premise you have. Your 'superior' morality gets people killed. I propose creating peace through clarity. If they know attacking us is a dumb idea they don't attack us so none of our people die, we don't have to kill them so none of them die. Nobody dies. On the other hand, we are following your theory now and fighting a politically correct limited war and there are thousands of dead and wounded on both sides. But I'm evil in your worldview. And you are both stupid AND evil in mine.

Re:Bogus premise (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698894)

That also explains why there was no French or Polish resistance.

fool. (2, Funny)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698902)

terrorism do not occur when all people are given a house, have food to eat, and free education to walk into their future. you need little repression on top of that to keep everything in line. thats why there was no terrorism in ussr. your future is guaranteed in every way - why bomb here and there ...

Re:Bogus premise (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38699006)

Counter example, IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan. They didn't/don't kill a large number of personnel, but they greatly add to the stress level and at least in theory make it harder to conduct operations.

Re:Bogus premise (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38699000)

I disagree, fear works quite well. Or at least it used to. Part of the problem is that it worked a lot better when you were dealing primarily with pitched battle. Marching through a forest of bodies impaled upon stakes was almost certainly going to cause a certain amount of soldiers to abandon the proceedings and flee in terror.

But in this day and age, where one can't just flee when things get to be too hairy, I don't think that it really has the same effect. You're better off going for confusion. At any rate the things you used to be able to do to scare the enemy are mostly war crimes.

Re:Bogus premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698614)

Indeed. The whole idea hinges on the idea that the U.S. does something to cause our enemies to hate us in the first place. By extension, 9/11 "never" would have happened if the U.S. wasn't involved in the Middle East AT ALL. (Which is IMPOSSIBLE due to global trade, unless someone has a 100% alternative to Middle Eastern oil)

Re:Bogus premise (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698738)

The kicker is that the main people who care about middle eastern oil are the europeans. By trying to ensure a supply of oil from that region, we're basically helping out european governments.

Re:Bogus premise (1, Insightful)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698760)

Al Qaeda didn't attack us because we brought middle eastern oil. Al Qaeda didn't attack us because they hated our freedom and democracy.

They attacked us because we stationed troops in their holy land. They attacked us because we supported despotic regimes in the middle east. They attacked us because we are Israel's biggest ally.

Re:Bogus premise (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698896)

C'mon, you're not writing for Al Jazeera.

They attacked us because they're poor, poorly educated people that have been steeped in hateful rhetoric and finger-pointing for generations. That shit just festers.

If they'd stopped sending mortars into Israel and focused on things like schools, sanitation and some kind of meaningful commerce, their current generations wouldn't be looking for someone to blame (and murder).

Re:Bogus premise (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698980)

When I have military supremacy, I shall station my troops throughout the US and support all the regimes which have tried to undermine your freedom.

When you try to retaliate, I'll say it's because you're poor, poorly educated people steeped in hateful rhetoric and finger-pointing. It's all already true, except that debt doesn't count as poverty these days.

If the US stopped with more military action around the world than any other country for the past half century and instead focused on things like schools, health and some kind of separation between government and corporation...

Re:Bogus premise (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698928)

Yeah and? Palestinians stationed troops in the Jewish/Israeli holy land. Should we grant Israel permission to attack civilians indiscriminately?

Re:Bogus premise (3, Insightful)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698956)

To put it another way, they attacked us because it is easy for a person to grab and hold power if they create or leverage an enemy that their potential followers can be made to hate. For example, suppose the Saudi government wants to keep all the money for itself and keep a tight grip on power in their country. So, they quash anyone who points that out to the public. And at the same time, they do not stomp down on anyone who suggests that the reason the conditions are bad for "the people" are because the US is meddling. Keep doing that for a generation or two, and you have a significant population who believes that the US is the reason the regular folks in Saudi Arabia are downtrodden.

Or, you insinuate yourself into a fledgling cable news operation and start spinning all the news to hint that all the problems are caused by a certain political party. You do it subtly, so that each story, taken on its own, can be judged as mostly fair, and then you maybe balance that out by having some news stories that call out members of your favored political party. But you don't criticize them based on their stupid ideas or behavior, but on their lack of allegiance to your values. That subtle bias is hard enough to pierce through, but then you let that stew for a couple-10 years, when your end-game really starts to happen. You've trained significant portions of the population to view "the other" as "the enemy", and even better, from them comes a class of new sources, experts and analysts who share your view without ever being told anything.

The slower you work the plan, the less likely it is to backfire.

well (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698918)

yes, 9/11 would never happened if u.s.w as not involved in middle east since mid 1930s, totally taking over the empire building policy of britain by nurturing and using radical islamist clans or organizations as a tool of power.

Re:Bogus premise (5, Insightful)

MacDork (560499) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698626)

No, the problem is our enemies do not fear us.

So we're supposed to terrorize our enemies... Who are we? Al Qaeda?

Re:Bogus premise (2)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698716)

So we're supposed to terrorize our enemies... Who are we? Al Qaeda?

Preferably they shouldn't fear us, but should fear fucking with us.

Re:Bogus premise (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698740)

No, you're the guys pretending that "politically corect war" exists.

Re:Bogus premise (3, Insightful)

goofy183 (451746) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698634)

Your premise is equally as bogus. You're assuming that all our enemies could be made to fear us. If your living conditions suck enough it becomes hard to fear anything. What do you have to be afraid of? You likely have nothing of material value and little to no family to be held over you. Death / torture is the only thing they could be afraid of and so what? They are likely in a position where death is always a possibility anyways. How do you make someone with little or nothing to lose fear you?

Re:Bogus premise (4, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698810)

You don't. You put a bullet in their brains. Hitler knew this. Stalin knew this. All great tyrants of the past, and all the little tyrants today (local drug dealers, political bosses etc) know this. But no, shoot a few people and suddenly the word "genocide" is screamed out, because our "civilized" culture is perfectly willing to make people suffer a long drawn out death out of sight through economic sanctions and incarceration, rather than a quick death via purges. So this is the price we pay - a nagging problem that just won't go away because the worst that can happen to these people is an all expenses paid room and board vacation in Cuba.

yes. idiot. hitler knew that. stalin knew that ... (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698940)

what happened ? world war ii. you think the entire world will just stand by, watching you 'put bullets into everyone's brains' ?

fucktards are you the first people that need bullets into their brains. because people like you usher in world wars. since noone wants to go back to poking around with wooden spears again, i suggest you put a bullet into your head, and get it over with for yourself.

Re:Bogus premise (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38699022)

Agree. It's like cornering a smaller animal. It knows you have the power to stomp it, but that doesn't stop it from trying. Fear becomes fuel for the fight.

Re:Bogus premise (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698640)

Fear and hatred are not mutually exclusive. I'm sure that the Taliban rank and file have jolts of pure fear when they see an American patrol (and vice versa). They can well hate us for various reasons, including instilling the fear in the first place.

War is a horrible mix of the best and worst in human kind. Be nice if we could figure out how to get around it, but I rather doubt that's going to happen short of some uber powerful alien race coming down and telling us to grow up.

But the big flap over urinating over the Taliban corpses is just that - a flap. I think it just reflects on the total inanity of the general media these days. You don't want to talk about big, complex issues so you make little stupid things go nuclear.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Re:Bogus premise (1)

Capitaine (2026730) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698890)

The problem comes mainly from the differences between real war and what government sells you/media shows you. War doesn't mean bringing peace with happy soldiers, impressive fireworks and no civil casualties. Yeah war is hating and killing, mutilating. People often forget that. So when an image of real war just gets out, it shocks the people who though we fought with an ethic of war. I guess this video is actually quite mild.

Re:Bogus premise (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698674)

Some cannot be made to fear.

Re:Bogus premise (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698702)

Bombing never works. When the routine bombing of civilian areas started in WW2, both sides thought it would demoralize the enemy. Both sides were wrong. Bombing only hardens their resolve. For example, look at 9-11. Did it demoralize the US? No, it hardened their resolve - to the point of changing the very nature of their society - for it not to happen again. Does bombing in Afghanistan fix things? No. Did bombing by Khaddafi stop the revolution? No. Did it stop the Lybian army? No. Long story short - bombing is only good for blowing stuff up. Anyone who talks about its effect on morale is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

Re:Bogus premise (5, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698798)

Unfortunately it does work. Pick up Unbroken [amazon.com] , a story about a downed WWII flyer who, amongst other fairly horrid episodes, got interred in a Japanese POW camp. He remained there till the end of the war and describes leaving the camp. The area had been carpet bombed previously (and hit with the atomic bomb). The civilian population - which previously had been ready to sacrifice themselves when the Allies invaded were basically shocked into submission.

Don't make the mistake of conflating how we persecute 'war' these days with all out and out military aggression which has not been seen on a large scale since WWII. We would have won in Vietnam, would win in Iraq and Afghanistan if we did that (and likely be set up for war crimes). War is really ugly business. We're just playing at low level conflicts for now. (Not that it makes it morally or politically correct). Hopefully we won't get there again, but with humans being the ugly little monsters we are, I wouldn't bet on it.

Re:Bogus premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698860)

We did not win WWII either so your concept that war is winnable without genocide is laughable.

Re:Bogus premise (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698992)

We did not win WWII either so your concept that war is winnable without genocide is laughable.

Obviously you can win a war if you kill everyone on the other side.

The problem with Afghanistan is that no-one has ever been able to tell me what 'winning' there would mean. If you can't tell whether you've won, how can a war ever end?

Re:Bogus premise (2, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698954)

The other side of your example is that the population of British cities were not shocked into submission despite almost constant bombing (the London blitz) and entire cities levelled (Coventry)...

Germany fought to the bitter end despite acts such as the fire bombings of Dresden and other examples of wholesale destruction.

The Soviet Union fought to victory despite the complete destruction of Leningrad and Moscow.

is it ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698972)

The civilian population - which previously had been ready to sacrifice themselves when the Allies invaded were basically shocked into submission.

so it is not because by the end of the war, atrocities japanese had committed had become something common, and now very well known, but, because they were carped bombed into submission, they surrendered.

really. get a fucking clue. a world war ii downed FLYER says carpet bombing works, and you believe it. you could as well listen to marshall harris.

what did carpet bombing do in europe ? NOTHING. nothing. nothing other than razing entire cities and killing irrelevant civilians, whereas slave labor continued manufacturing tanks, warplanes in underground bunkers.

people who dont know enough about military history, should not talk about it.

Re:Bogus premise (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698998)

Dresden was carpet bombed and more civilians were killed than in either nuclear attack, yet the population was not demoralised by it. The Japanese were stunned by the nuclear bombing because it was a massive amount of damage done by a single plane and the US propaganda made it seem that there was a fleet of nuclear-armed aircraft ready to take off and completely destroy all life in Japan. Even if the USA had had that capability, the result would have been making a large area near Japan (probably including big chunks of of Australia and China) uninhabitable due to clouds of fallout being blown by the wind.

Re:Bogus premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698830)

Bombing ended WWII almost immediately.

Re:Bogus premise (4, Insightful)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698710)

The problem is surely that you're making enemies. Not of governments, but of people. Why is it that US soldiers are so unpopular in Afghanistan? They weren't too popular in Iraq either. Why have they not been welcomed as liberators?

Re:Bogus premise (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698820)

My kingdom for a mod point.

The problem is that you have enemies.

And the problem with the Afghanistan and Iraq situations is that the people of these countries are not supposed to be enemies! That's why you don't behave like an animal in their country, because you're allegedly there simply because you love them so damned much.

Re:Bogus premise (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38699010)

In the first invasion of Iraq that the US participated in, they were greeted in the streets as liberators. They then marched almost all of the way to the capital, before turning around and going home. The people who greeted them on the streets then had a long chat with Saddam's security forces. It's not hard to understand why they were a little reluctant the second time around...

Furthermore (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698722)

We have always known of disrespect for the enemy; it is part and parcel of the mindset that allows most people to kill other people in the face of the knowledge that they are otherwise people just like them, with families, etc. History is rife with reports of disrespect on the battlefield. Spitting, pissing, dismemberment, burial of Muslims in pigskin, burial of Christians with no marker or no blessing, rape of surviving family members, etc., etc., etc.

The fact that these things happen with mind-numbing regularity has never served to prevent anyone from going to war. Religion is insufficient (and in fact serves quite commonly as cause.) Pacifism is plowed under in the face of those comfortable with violence.

What we can say is that the least likely occurrence of war has been when the parties (not) involved are strongly connected by trade, common language, and social patterns, and where the society at hand doesn't busy itself with creating, maintaining, or ignoring a growing underclass of people with less privilege, opportunity, and respect than others.

Re:Furthermore (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698834)

The fact that these things happen with mind-numbing regularity has never served to prevent anyone from going to war.

No, but we can hope that as these things become more public we will realise that, this being part of war, war is a dreadful thing. War should not be entered gladly.

Re:Furthermore (2)

Jiro (131519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698970)

Doing that gives an advantage to savages. If it was Taliban folks pissing on American corpses, do you think for a moment that other members of the Taliban would say they're being inhumane and demand shutting down the war? No, they'd cheer. The more these things become public, the more of an advantage they have, because the fact that they don't have scruples lets them use scruples as weapons against us.

Re:Bogus premise (5, Insightful)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698734)

Dehumanization of the enemy explains a lot of the behavior. Normally it would have just happened and few people would know about it. They would know it happens, but not the details of every case. Technology changed that of course.

When one side fights with morals and the other doesn't, that's the problem. Urinating on someone who is dead and won't care is a big outrage, but only due to respect for the dead, even if it's your enemy. Beheading and dragging corpses through the street behind cars seems to be the way things work on the other side.

Technology allows us to share both sides with equality. Having a higher standard puts that side at a big disadvantage. If the US said it would drag corpses thrugh the street in victory and do all kinds of legal but humiliating things to you if you are caught or killed, the enemy would individually fear, not collectively. And individual fear is a lot harder to overcome. I don't want my body desecrated, I'm not joining your war unless I have to, and even then I'll do a half-hearted job.

Either play nice, or play dirty, but don't expect your enemy to do the same. And when you make a promise like 'no torture', either stick by it or throw it out the window. The worst propaganda you can have is a country that says one thing and does another (collectively). At least the jihadis are consistent. They have completely dehumanized the enemy, and do not seem concerned with the same things.

Re:Bogus premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698736)

No, the problem is our enemies do not fear us. We obsess and worry about whether our enemies like us. We allow our enemies to put propaganda in our legacy media. They don't.

If they truly feared us they wouldn't do the crap they do. Do ya think they would behead our people, desecrate their corpses, etc. if they feared us? Would they blow up a block of downtown NYC if they feared us? If they really though we would get seriously pissed off and go Add Coulter on their primitive asses and "Bomb their cities, kill their leaders and convert them to christianity." The answer is obvious.

You are a moron and you can stop spreading your idiocy any time. The world will awaken to peace and universal love/respect whether you decide to join us or remain cold and alone.

I agree! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698766)

That's why we should be like the Waffen SS or better yet, Rome. None of this pussy bullshit of not killing civilians and being civil. War is the most uncivil thing man does!

You want peace? Exterminate the enemy! Kill ever last man, woman, and child - then salt the fucking Earth!

What does the US do? They go in with their pink panties on and escort little old ladies with bombs.

Why don't they just give them Boy Scout uniforms and wooden guns and say, "Go to it, pussy! Bring peace to the Middle East! And make sure not to hurt anyone!"

Re:Bogus premise (0)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698828)

Yeah, I think they would. In fact, if I feared a country so much that I thought they would 'Bomb our cities, kill our leaders and convert us to their religion.". The answer is that Martyrs are more powerful than your military.

Or is your solution going so far as to cause fear like the Romans did. Because you know how well persecution and absolutely brutal responses worked for them in the Middle East.

Re:Bogus premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698844)

The thing about suicide attacks is that there is zero opportunity for reprisals, rendering fear of reprisals meaningless.

Re:Bogus premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698876)

Well you better be able to bomb and kill all of America's enemies at once, because they are going to be arming themselves for war as soon as they see what you've been doing. And America has made a lot of enemies. Don't worry about enlisting to protect your country though, doesn't take much effort to launch a cruise missile half way around the world.

Re:Bogus premise (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698878)

No, the problem is our enemies do not fear us.

No, they hate what you stand for. Isn't it quite obvious? Whom would volunteer for a suicide mission if they were not desperate?

The problem is people like you and your thinking about "enemies". All people want to live in their own way. If any group is trying to curtail that freedom, then that makes people unhappy.

Who supports Middle East tyrants with their military? Just look at Saudi Arabia. Or the apartheid in Israel and occupied territories.

Let's put this in another way, maybe in words you can understand,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Los_Angeles_riots [wikipedia.org]

Why did the riots happen?? Because "the blacks" didn't fear the rest of the society enough?? Did it happen because 1 person was beaten up?? Surely, the answer is NO to both questions! They occurred due to PREEXISTING GRIEVANCES AND INJUSTICES. The same thing applies to the original statements. And if your solution is to terrorize people into submission, like Israel tries to do in Gaza and West Bank, all you are doing is passing the buck down the road when few years from now they will have to deal with a much worse mess than there already is.

Bomb their cities, kill their leaders and convert them to christianity.

I think some of the extremists on BOTH sides are hoping this this scenario. Some don't learn anything from history, and hence will end up writing it once more.

Re:Bogus premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698880)

How is fear going to dissuade a suicide bomber? If you piss people off to that extent, then anything menacing you do is just going to convince them even more that you need to be taken down. And they would be right. Just look at yourself. Did 9/11 make you fear Al Qaida, did it make you want your politicians to bow down to Al Qaida, or did it make you want to take down Al Qaida whatever the cost? Did it make you 100% sure that whatever happened, Al Qaida needs to go? That works exactly the same way with everyone else in the world too.

Re:Bogus premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698882)

Since when is that the case? Everyone feared the Axis in WW2. That didn't mean that everyone backed down and stopped fighting.

If anything, fearing your opponent makes you fight stronger.

Re:Bogus premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698944)

No, the problem is our enemies do not fear us. We obsess and worry about whether our enemies like us. We allow our enemies to put propaganda in our legacy media. They don't.

If they truly feared us they wouldn't do the crap they do. Do ya think they would behead our people, desecrate their corpses, etc. if they feared us? Would they blow up a block of downtown NYC if they feared us? If they really though we would get seriously pissed off and go Add Coulter on their primitive asses and "Bomb their cities, kill their leaders and convert them to christianity." The answer is obvious.

Fear is not a Boolean. It is granular and fine-tuned. I fear sharks. But, that would not stop me from eating shark meat in a restaurant. To have a fear stop any rebellious activity, you are going to have to have already conquered all your enemies and created a 1984ish sort of world. Without such an environment, even an individual can become an effective terrorist fairly easily. If they are willing to die in the process, then it is even easier for them.

There is a reason that we don't (intentionally) bomb civilian targets any more. It is not because we are a bunch of hippies. It is because that strategy gets in the way of accomplishing the mission. If you want people to surrender and stop fighting you, the last thing you want to do is keep harming innocent civilians. That just makes winning a 1000 times harder.

Terrorists would certainly still blow stuff up (including New York) even if they feared us. They are willing to give their lives for their mission, just like our military is. The main difference being we place a higher value on our soldiers lives and try to avoid suicide missions when possible.

Trying to forcibly convert everyone to Christianity would most likely result in the US either collapsing, or losing its position in the world as a world leader. For one thing, I would expect that we would have a really hard time getting oil. For another thing, almost all of our allies would abandon us. I would expect the UN to more or less collapse. Quite likely, world war 3 would result. We don't even have the capability to fight a war on two major fronts right now, nonetheless 100.

               

morality is evolution from barbarism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698566)

morality is evolution from barbarism.
if you profess and implement humanly genuene marolity than greed, wars will not be fought.

Re:morality is evolution from barbarism (1)

Columcille (88542) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698592)

Good spelling is an evolution from bad spelling.

Re:morality is evolution from barbarism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698630)

Although clearly your spelling and punctuation isn't very far evolved yet. Or perhaps it's further evolved than everyone else's? I can't really tell...

Re:morality is evolution from barbarism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698886)

and conformity, used a certain way, is circumvented murder and a whole lot more.

"looks for evil, will find it..."

This is nothing new... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698650)

...when I was studying history in college, I read some WW2 memiors about the fighting on the island of Peleliu, and some parts very disturbing. The only difference between then and now is that then, they didn't film it and post it to YouTube.

'Humans who learn history learn that humans learn nothing from history'

Honor and War (2, Insightful)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698664)

There is no honor in being a mercenary for corporations and a corrupt government.


I fully believe if soldiers were fighting against a foreign invasion they would not have the same mindset as Xi/Blackwater.

Re:Honor and War (1)

Skidborg (1585365) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698836)

However I suspect you would probably see far more brutality as a desperate war where the stakes are high has less time to bother with PR and a big reason to want revenge, justified or not.

Did this guy miss WWII? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698670)

US Marines routinely sent home Japanese skulls (they were photographed in LIFE). Someone sent Roosevelt a cigarette holder made from a Japanese femur. The Russians did crazy, unspeakable things to civilians on a large scale in Prussia and the Nazis were more than happy (desperate) to tell the world through even representatives of the Allied press.

And, oh yeah, the Nazis... no real need to go there.

And why stop with WWII? Vlad Dracul (yeah, that guy) made damn sure everyone knew why he was called "Vlad the Impaler" and he didn't even have a Facebook account.

So, in short, no, nothing new here.

Re:Did this guy miss WWII? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698726)

You neglect the Japanese atrocities [wikipedia.org] of the same World War II period.

Re:Did this guy miss WWII? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698938)

In our school library there was a book (it may have been LIFE photos) that showed pictures from WWII. One of them was a bunch of Marines kicking back and smoking cigarettes or something, with a burned up Japanese head sitting on a rock or something, right next to them. It wasn't a grainy picture either. You could see the fried skin and everything. Black and white; but still very real.

We were in ELEMENTARY SCHOOL and either nobody knew about it, or didn't care then like they do now. Racism was discouraged; a lot of touchy-feely stuff and paranoia hadn't gotten into the system yet. We still snag Christmas songs; but when I was in first grade we were suddenly informed that teachers would no longer be allowed to hand out candy--because somebody had poisoned students.

I suspect that the library no longer has books with pictures of fried heads in them.

So they pissed on the enemy (0, Flamebait)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698676)

I don't see a problem with it. Where was the outrage when they did far worse to our fallen troops?

Re:So they pissed on the enemy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698772)

And exactly who are "they" in your ignorant comment? The vast majority of these combatants are simple people with wives and children who they love very much and are defending their family and way of life from an invasion force of Americans.

So you're down with pissing on patriots, fathers, and husbands?

You've bought into the propaganda just as hard as those poor men whose corpses were desecrated.

Re:So they pissed on the enemy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698932)

The same "they" that decided that 757's can be used to kill random civilians that were no where near invading anyone's homeland. No propaganda there my friend, only your one sided thinking. Did I miss something or did we go to war before or after we were attacked in the US?

What is interesting... (5, Insightful)

RLU486983 (1792220) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698682)

People today seem to think that this is something new. The only "new" in all of this is the instantaneous aspect of transmitting information. These types of acts have been perpetrated in other wars since man picked up his first sticks and stones. To be amazed that this actual happened is nothing more than the true disconnect that people; in general, have with reality as a whole.

How the "explitive deleted" is this tech related? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698698)

I thought /. was about tech material!

Re:How the "explitive deleted" is this tech relate (0)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698832)

You must be new here. At least once a day slashdot does a 'slashkos' politicized story. Always from an extreme progressive viewpoint. This is today's.

In a couple of months, as the US election cycle heats up it will get much worse. Especially since the progressive gameplan is basically going to be a scorched earth campaign since they have no positive case to make.

Re:How the "explitive deleted" is this tech relate (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698868)

Being pissed on is something all you loserboy nerds have experienced at one time or another. This is a variation on the theme, with the difference that the guys being pissed on are not nerds and happen to be dead.

Icing on the cake (1, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698700)

So is the right of US to not only invade the country, put their own government, kill a lot of people, send their childrens to guantanamo, but also to shit over the dead bodies of the ones that tried to resist and even joke over it? Put it in the other direction, what if US get successfully invaded, the government replaced, the resistence obliterated, people sent to be tortured in concentration camps and the invaders shit over the corpse of your fathers/friends/whatever, would you be a little outraged? Would be their right to do so? At least the disclosing is not as bad as what was done in Irak.

As a pacifist i am confused. (2)

DnaK (1306859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698714)

How can you tell a kid it is ok to kill the guy pointing a gun at you. But you need to respect the body of the guy who wanted you dead? While it is disgusting, i find the killing far more disgusting then the pissing on the body.

Re:As a pacifist i am confused. (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698770)

How can you tell a kid it is ok to kill the guy pointing a gun at you. But you need to respect the body of the guy who wanted you dead? While it is disgusting, i find the killing far more disgusting then the pissing on the body.

Simple enough; the guy pointing a gun at you is a threat to your life. The dead body is not a threat to anyone. I realize that as a pacifist you don't believe that a threat to your life is worth killing over, but you still ought to be able to intellectually recognize the distinction.

Re:As a pacifist i am confused. (1)

Gibgezr (2025238) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698872)

Pointing a gun at you means I am willing to shoot you. Pissing on you means I am...willing to piss on you. I know which one *I* find more terrifying (hint: I am not as afraid of being peed on, especially if I am already dead). I'm with DnaK on this, my kids would never understand the logic either. Hell, I don't understand it. Pissing on dead bodies is wrong, but killing people is much worse.

Re:As a pacifist i am confused. (1)

DnaK (1306859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698898)

While i can understand kicking a person when he is down[dead] is disrespectful, you do not find the ultimate choice of taking his life even more disrespectful?

Re:As a pacifist i am confused. (2)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698974)

How can you tell a kid it is ok to kill the guy pointing a gun at you. But you need to respect the body of the guy who wanted you dead? While it is disgusting, i find the killing far more disgusting then the pissing on the body.

You force that kid to read the Iliad. Look it up. When you have mastered basic reading skills you might find it enlightening on the matter or how it's OK to slay an enemy and also to release the body to the family for proper burial.

Facebook and Barney (0)

sp3d2orbit (81173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698746)

Why does war exist in the first place? No, it isn't because some are rich and some are poor. It isn't because American troops are in X country. It isn't because images of whoever, doing whatever, were broadcast wherever.

War exists because humans evolved to be herd animals with a strong need for hierarchy. At our most basic level humans desire to establish herds with an Alpha on top and an Omega at the bottom. This Facebook amplified, "I love you, you love me" mentality that presumes that we can all "just get along" goes against our very human nature.

Liking one another has nothing to do with hierarchy. There is no correlation between hierarchy and liking one another. Most leaders are respected first, and liked second -- if at all. Liking one another is a quality most appropriate for the followers -- and we all can't be followers.

If you want to end war you need to do one of two things 1) either destroy that which we as humans were evolved to do (perhaps via Terminator-like eradication of humans) or 2) create world-wide stable hierarchies that incorporate human nature.

"Clean" coverage of casualties is relatively new (4, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698758)

In the Vietnam war our press corps actually showed the atrocities of war, including burned children, dying soldiers and the execution of civilians. The squeaky-clean "live from the White House" war coverage began to happen after that. If only our major news sources engaged in transparency these days - instead we either get social-oriented pro-government cheerleaders (e.g., MSNBC) or military-oriented pro-government cheerleaders (e.g., FOX), but really nothing that provides insight into the plight of folks outside the power structure.

there's the new transparency of war as battlefield details get recorded, and everyone has the tools to broadcast these details

Newsflash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698768)

Wars are dirty.

Religion? (-1, Troll)

Epeeist (2682) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698780)

Given the reports of Christian fundamentalism in the American military I would have to wonder whether this was a religious motive behind the action by these marines.

longterm planning (2)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698788)

> now it requires that as few people as possible hate you. 'I think we should reflect on that before we start another war.'

lots of luck with that, it seems now that we are "pulling out" of Iraq, we're looking to start another war with Iran (OK, so we've been "at war" with them since 1979) but it seems they're (high level govt officials and many Americans) itching for a shooting war with them.

War is Hell, but not hellish enough. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698796)

In WWII, we carpet bombed cities - entire cities and nations got to feel - first hand - how horrible war was. The result? The citizens would take life and politics seriously. You don't want to elect the wrong leader because YOU could be killed.

Now, war is antiseptic. We can target an insurgent with laser beam precision and take him out. All the other enemies are hiding in the nearby houses. If we leveled the entire neighborhood - men, women, children, babies, and all their pets... there will be no more desire to fight on their behalf, or the citizens would drive the insurgents out of their midst and not permit them to hide like the cowards they are.

Would good and decent people get killed? Yup! Sure will! And it is the fault of the good and decent people that they are being killed. How? Well, if the good and decent people stood up for themselves, they could have put a stop to the bad people - but they don't. Why? Because "those who are cruel to the kind, will be kind to the cruel." If the good & decent spoke up, they would be targeted by the bad people and their lives would be in danger - so they say nothing, do nothing. Well, if the alternative were to have your city carpet bombed, then they would have every incentive to stand up and burn the evil out of their midst.

If you make war so costly to fight - the enemy will surrender. When they surrender, it is done on your terms. They violate the terms? They start losing everything again. If they want to pull their heads out of their collective asses and build up a good & decent society, we will help them. If they don't, we should kill them.

Has humanity learned nothing? (1)

WhatAreYouDoingHere (2458602) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698802)

Make love, not war.

Burial At Sea (4, Funny)

nickmdf (216307) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698842)

I hope this is what they meant by Osama Bin Laden's "burial at sea" and that is why there are no pictures ;-)

Oh no, someone got peed on. (5, Insightful)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698862)

That's so much worse than living in an area where explosive amputations aren't a strange occurrence, or where having the front of your head blown through the back of your head is a potential outcome of both supporting the local warlord and not supporting him.

Come the fuck on people. Its war. This is just like that Abu Ghraib bullshit. People die horribly all the time in these areas, and yet for some reason the thing that always outrages the moral cowards at home is when someone is humiliated. Its like the civilized mind cannot comprehend the atrocities of war, so they focus in on the level of wrong that they can identify with.

R Kelly never used a orphan as a human bomb, blew the legs off of another rapper, then had to watch him drag his intestines behind him while he bled out. But that fucker did pee on someone. Peeing on someone we can be outraged about. Peeing on someone we can understand.

You know what those guys who got peed on would really be upset about? Getting killed.

Is it illegal to spit on an image of Georg W Bush? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698864)

"After all if you send 'young people into combat, people whose job is to kill the enemy and who watch as their friends are killed and maimed by the enemy, ... the chances are that signs of disrespect for the enemy will surface — and that every once in a while those signs will assume grotesque form"

This disrespect for the enemy is embarrassing.

On a related note, is it illegal to spit on an image of Georg W Bush? He is after all no longer the president, but his character and tone lives on among some of the marines.

Reason to Go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698866)

First we need to stop meddling in the rest of the worlds affairs. We need to worry about us (The USA) and our friends, whoever they may be.

We had a valid right of vengeance to go into Afghanistan since that is where Al Q was and they did attack us. Iraq was a joke. Libya was the right measure for the situation.

Defense needs to focus on defending our country. The reasoning behind the 5th fleet being in Bahrain is to be close in case something comes up. Why should the USA care if something comes up? That is an area that loves to kill to each other, has for centuries. It has only mattered in the last 50 years cause that is where most of the cheap oil comes from. Once that is over, no one is going to really care if they go back/continue to slaughter each other. We can sail a carrier group to anywhere in the world from our shores in few days, IIRC.

We knew where bin Laden was days after 9/11, some camp in Afghanistan. Imagine what the world would be like today if instead of marching in all loud and obvious (giving Al Q a chance to run), we sent half a dozen B2 bombers in and leveled the whole camp. I am talking about a complete annihilation of everything and everyone that was there. So that when someone came to visit the spot all they saw was charred dessert and nothing else. Then the President goes on TV and "can neither confirm nor deny that the USA had anything to do with it". That would have set a tone for the rest of the world to understand our position.

unprofessional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698900)

urinating on enemy soldiers / pow is unprofessional.

Re:unprofessional (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698948)

A E-1 in the US military makes about 14k a year.

Professionals don't make 14k a year.

Transparency for the good (4, Insightful)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698906)

Transparency can also lead to the good. The Arab Spring started because of the same transparency. Information technology helped overthrow tyrants. What you do with the information makes all the difference. If you are predisposed to hate, hate will be your response.

War... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698912)

War... war never changes.

Re:War... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38699008)

lol, had i not posted in here already i would actually mod an AC coward up for that one :P

Double Standards (1)

SirAstral (1349985) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698934)

It almost seems that these conversations seem to point out the errors of the "Good Guy's" ways more than the errors of the "Asshole's" ways.

I will be honest, I do not feel sorry if a bully is over punished for their transgressions. A person/nation/business/organization that is willing to allow wrong doing in their pursuits deserves every bit the shit kicking it gets when the tax collector comes to call.

This does not excuse anyone for horrific acts during war, but it should neither prevent a nation from visiting the necessary devastation in the defeat of their enemies. Raping and torture is never acceptable in any setting, but shooting first and asking questions later sometimes is!

Forget about it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698984)

At its root, war is about an individual soldier surviving to return home to their family. If these soldiers are alive (and hopefully home), then this was part of their survival
strategy. How is their behaviour any different than defending themselves in combat? People who haven't been think combat begins when the shooting starts. Not so,
they are always under the stress of iminiate combat or danger. This BS of respect for a dead enemy's sensitivities is hollywood nonsense and inappropriate in a War setting.
How do we know the enemy hadn't just killed one of their friends? It is not a disgrace for a soldier to behave like a soldier; the only mistake I see is that the video
was posted because all of the virgins out there will cry foul!. The enemy was dead; it's not like they tortured them to death - that would be a problem.
Anything that get these guys home safely is fine; that's all I care about.
If pissing on the enemy allows then to focus on their next offensive, or survive the next attack, then so be it!

US Govt solution to the problem = SOPA (2)

vleo (7933) | more than 2 years ago | (#38699012)

With the advance of the Internet it is impossible to hide the truth - existing human civilization is misguided. Near absolute power is given to the wrong people, and these wrong people are then getting absolutely corrupted by the power. Be it Government., be it Business, be it Religion - ANYWHERE where power is given to few "chosen" - it is abused.

Who would win? The FARE future or CORRUPT yesterday?

That is the issue of human race existence now-days.

This isnt new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38699014)

My grandfather fought in the Pacific theater in WWII. He had a kind of photo album full of pictures from the various islands where the battles were fought. This was a professionally printed and bound volume that I assumed was handed out to most of those who served in his division. It was filled with gruesome pictures of dead Japanese soldiers, many surrounded by posing American soldiers. This type of thing is just part of war. Soldiers have been posing with the dead enemy since the civil war and taking trophies long before that. Dehumanizing the enemy is just part of the psychological process of killing other people on a large scale.

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