"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Friday, August 10, 2007

Because It's Hard to be A Hero

James Robbins writes today:
Invented atrocities usually demonize the enemy. That makes sense – it is normal in war to think that the bad guys are capable of anything. We are fortunate in the war on terrorism in being faced with an enemy we don’t have to stigmatize. Al Qaeda’s principle war-fighting method involves killing noncombatants en masse, and they further make the case for us by videotaping their acts of torture and brutality and posting them on the web. You don’t need a master propagandist to spin evil out of beheading helpless hostages.
Jesse MacBeth claimed to be an Army Ranger, admitted to having executed children while interrogating their parents, shot down rock-throwing protesters, and slaughtered hundreds of worshippers in a mosque. None of that was true. Former Marine Jimmy Massey says he either killed children and civilians personally, witnessed the killings, or heard about them, depending on which story he is telling at the moment. Korean War Veteran Edward Lee Daily came forward in the 1990s claiming to be present at the killings at No Gun Ri, as well as being a lieutenant, a POW, and wounded by shrapnel, all lies. These men are spiritual descendants of the troops interviewed in Mark Lane’s 1970 shocker Conversations with Americans, the book that spurred the “Winter Solider” investigations that brought John Kerry to prominence. It contained a number of confessions by Vietnam veterans who had participated in a variety of gruesome activities, vividly portrayed. The problem was, the confessions were false, and the book was a sham. But it ushered in this new kind of invented atrocity story, aimed not at the enemy but at the United States.
And besides, making stuff up is so much safer than doing the things that real heroes do.

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Comments on "Because It's Hard to be A Hero"


Anonymous 'chesty' said ... (11:41 AM) : 

what's the implication here? that some people have been caught making stuff up about atrocities committed by US troops, therefore no atrocities have been committed by US troops? or that we should turn a blind eye to all such stories?

if we're going to condemn terrorists (as we correctly do) for their commissions of atrocities against non-combatants and their predilection for torture, we should also keep a critical eye on our own actions to make sure we aren't committing the same sins. otherwise we forfeit the moral high ground. the reality is there have been isolated cases in all wars of US troops committing horrendous acts; and most have been duly investigated, and prosecuted in military tribunals. the overwhelming majority of US troops have never, and will never be involved in such acts; and they deserve profound gratitude for their service.

for me the truly terrifying aspect of the current war isn't the rare, isolated instances of US troops committing crimes against civilians, but rather the organized coordinated institution of a global torture program sponsored by the highest levels of the United States government.


Blogger Gentleman Farmer said ... (12:28 PM) : 

Wow. If I thought that there was "a global torture program sponsored by the highest levels of the United States government" then I'd be out of breath too.


Anonymous 'chesty' said ... (5:29 PM) : 

i take it then that for America's gentlemen farmers the term "extraordinary rendition" continues to refer to an abnormal method of turning fat into lard, and our Vice President's passionate support of "waterboarding" is interpreted as an endorsement of little-known irrigation techniques.


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