March 24th, 2008

4,000 and Counting

photo credit: kevindooley

Casualties to soldiers in the United States armed forces have now surpassed 4,000 in number. 4,000 men, women, fathers, mothers, siblings, and children have passed on to the next life. What is more saddening than the total number of deaths is the simple fact that they could have been prevented.

War is justified for the most limited and moral of reasons. Despite assertions to the contrary, the conflict that has claimed so many lives (far, far more Iraqi lives than American ones) is an immoral, offensive, un-Constitutional war of aggression. Claiming that our troops are “[laying] down the foundations for peace for generations to come” is an outright lie.

America is hated around the world now more than ever. We are seen as the Roman empire once was, our hegemony made apparent by the 130+ countries in which we have bases. We are seen as an aggressor, an invader, a bully. We have destroyed our dollar in an effort to sustain our foreign military adventures. We have destroyed countless innocent lives, caused numerous unnecessary deaths, created a huge swarm of disabled and injured veterans, and increased the dependency upon the state for recompense and welfare.

How many more lives must be wasted before a change will occur? What will it take to get Americans to act on their widespread disapproval of this war, and hold their elected leaders accountable? When will America stop idolizing pop culture and do something about this mess we’re in?

4,000 is far too many lives to spend on policing the world; one life is too many to waste on such immorality. The foundation of peace is not being established through war—its opposite is. Supporting our troops (a highly propagandized term used by this administration) means bringing them home and not using them as pawns in aggressive wars for “our interests” overseas.

I honor the sacrifice these soldiers made for what they believed to be a just cause. I mourn their loss, and disagree with the morality of the stated objectives. As a student of law, government, history, and war, I find in this war the elements almost all others have in common: deceit, propaganda, false flag operations, and outright lies. The war in Iraq is not a moral cause; each life lost as a result of the war is a new blood stain on the American flag. Nearly soaked through in red, she is hardly recognizable these days as the banner of liberty and hope she once represented.

Soon after writing this, the 4,001st soldier will die.

When will it stop?

62 Responses to “4,000 and Counting”

  1. Kelly W.
    March 24, 2008 at 7:06 pm #

    This is NOT a war, for there is no enemy.

    We will be there for another 100 years, and the next president of the USA will call that a good thing.

    We are not a country anymore, we are a hegemon.

    Iraq is not a country, it is an occupied possession of the US Empire.

  2. Lee
    March 24, 2008 at 9:54 pm #

    Sad thing is about this is the “Bush boy’s” are reaping the benefits of American service members blood. Shame of Bushy for sending our young men/women to their deaths so he and his buddy boy Dick loves oil could pad their pockets with money based on American blood.

    Vote all our corrupt government out of office as that is our ONLY hope. Then the next round of corrupt politicians can sign on and repeat the exact same mistakes for blood/money as the Bush boys.

    Each time you gas up your car, you are in effect padding the corrupt wallets with blood covered cash. Do you hear them complain about fuel prices??? ummmmm NO, they are benefiting from the high prices.

    Hearing Bushy (yeah I called him”Bushy” since he has no respect for others) saying anything about the sacrifices of our service members and their families is a complete insult to the members and their families that have lost love ones that he will pay for some day when he tries to enter the gates of hell. May he boil in all the spilled blood of our country men/women.

    His father was a much better man that knew when to leave well enough alone. Too bad his son was a cash corrupt fool that based his decision on greed and the blood of Americans.

    Baby Justice was sold out long ago to the highest paying bidder…. AKA big oil…..


  3. Clumpy
    March 25, 2008 at 1:29 am #

    @Lee, I thought that the “blood for oil” argument had died in the face of a little thing called “no evidence.”

    @Connor – one advantage of my being libertarian is that I won’t have to say “I agree with you on every issue except for . . .” I’m with you on this. It’s too bad that it takes such a big round number of deaths before people start thinking about this. And I mean thinking about the actual issue of unjust war and American presence in other countries, not just another “Bush” rant like the two above.

  4. Connor
    March 25, 2008 at 7:57 am #

    Chris passed on this photomosaic showing our advocates of war draped in the faces of the 4,000 men who have died in this battle. Chilling.

  5. Mark N.
    March 25, 2008 at 11:56 am #

    Since this war is (and probably all wars are) based in fear (“they’re coming over here to kill us all if they get the opportunity”), it just goes to show how the Gospel of Christ is needed more than ever, because “perfect love castest out fear”. Why is it that the right-wing Christians who have the ear of the President and his fellow war-mongers seem to be the ones who fear the “Islamo-fascists” the most, and seem to be the ones making the biggest case for wiping them out before they wipe us out?

    Mormon and Moroni documented exactly what happened to the Nephites when they struck upon the idea of wiping out the Lamanites once and for all as that generation’s “final solution”: God swept them (the Nephites, not the Lamanites) from the face of the land.

    All we need is a political leader in office determined to keep the troops fighting for another 100 years, if need be, and I suspect we’ll live through our own version of the Nephites’ last days when real, live, bloodshed-for-all becomes the order of the day.

    The Book of Mormon doesn’t end on a happy note, and it’s pointed right at us in the hopes that we will turn out to be wiser than the Nephites were. For the present, to me it looks like Mormon’s morality tale that we have subtitled “Another Testament of Christ” needs another moniker: “Don’t let this happen to you.”

  6. Janet
    March 25, 2008 at 1:49 pm #

    Front Line has a documentary on “Bush’s War” airing last night and tonight on channel 7. It is worth watching.

    When Bush ran against Al Gore, I told my daughter that if he won, we would be at war. I predicted our military and economic state of affairs perfectly. We need to realize the effect greed and fear have on our nation and stop being hysterical voters. We also need to understand that when one person looses, we all loose. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about war, money, or human rights… we are our brother’s keeper.

    The preamble to the Constitution tells a tale worth assimilating. The document sets forth rules for imperfect people to be governed by so that we all have the best shot for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If the Constitution had been applied, we wouldn’t be in this war. I cringe when people look upon injured vets and say “he sacrificed for FREEDOM.” The only truth to that statement today is in the word “sacrifice.” His freedom was sacrificed for ________ is more accurate. Lest anyone start to rant about me being anti-military, my ex-husband did three tours in Vietnam, I have a daughter in the military, both of my sons served in the military as did my father, uncles and great grandfather. Requiring others useless human sacrifice for the sake of greed, fear and selfishness is not a patriotic action. Demanding the lives of our troops is not supporting our troops.

  7. Curtis
    March 25, 2008 at 2:11 pm #

    Unfortunately, this 4,000 US soldier death number is not my biggest concern since this is probably about the 5th anniversary of the 4,000th death of an Iraqi.

    Unlike Connor, I do not honor our soldiers in Iraq, but rather sympathize with people like Umm Mohammad whose situation is as follows:

    The scars run deep in Iraqi society. Umm Mohammad, a 49-year-old widow in Baghdad’s western Mansur neighborhood whose husband was abducted and shot by gunmen 15 months ago, bitterly blamed the US military for the loss, which has profoundly affected her family.

    Her two daughters, both in college, are still in mourning while her son, in secondary school, is so depressed he failed his exams last year. They have been forced to move in with her husband’s family to survive.

    “Why does the world care so much about the 4,000 soldiers killed? No one cares about the Iraqis,” said Umm Mohammad, a Sunni Arab.

    “All the killings in Iraq are because of the Americans. They are the cause of all the bloodshed. I ask God to kill all the American soldiers – to count them all and not leave any one of them,” she said. “The world regards the American soldiers as our saviors but they are murderers.”

    Our soldiers in general are a huge murder force in Iraq. Anyone who paid attention to the Winter Soldier event recently would have a hard time arguing that.

  8. Connor
    March 25, 2008 at 3:21 pm #


    Perhaps I should clarify why I honor the soldiers. Ludwig Von Mises has written that the only way to measure the success of human action is how well it attains the thought or satisfaction.

    Given that statement, I honor these soldiers for sacrificing themselves for what they believed to be a just cause. In this case, as you no doubt would agree, I believe that this cause (the Iraq war) is immoral and unworthy of the sacrifice of a single life.

    The ideal, I believe, is the soldier who shuns the heavy military propaganda to which he is subjected, learns the truth of things, and resists orders to murder and plunder. Alexander Doniphan is one excellent model for this.

  9. Cameron
    March 25, 2008 at 3:45 pm #

    “Our soldiers in general are a huge murder force in Iraq.”

    I’m not even sure what to say to this, other than to shake my head in disgust.

  10. Jeff Thayne
    March 25, 2008 at 4:18 pm #

    I agree that it is unconstitutional for us to be in Iraq, and that the principles of limited government forbid intervention in the affairs of other nations the way we have, and I agree with those principles. In other words, I disagree with the war in Iraq.

    However, Curtis, many sources say that the story you produced is not the majority opinion among the Iraqi populace. The U.S. troops are not the only cause of killing in Iraq. We are not the sole perpetrator of crimes. In fact, (though some may argue that this has little bearing on the issue at present) Saddam Hussein has tested chemical weapons on his own civilians in the past, killing thousands. While I disagree with the Iraqi war and think it was foolishly and perhaps devilishly motivated, the actions of our troops pale in comparison to the dictatorial murders of the pervious Iraqi administration. Now I am not trying to vindicate U.S. war crimes, I am only saying that it is VERY fallacious to think the only reason people ever get killed in Iraq is because of America, since murder and atrocities happened in Iraq long before America’s intervention.

    Its sad that atrocities happen. Were those gunmen American? Just because that woman said it was America’s fault, doesn’t mean it was. Yes, her loss is sad, but just because she is bitter against the U.S. doesn’t make the U.S. responsible for her loss, or justify us in demonizing our troops.

    If those gunmen were American soldiers, maybe there is a point. But you have produced nothing to show that they were. To call American soldiers a murder force because some guy got kidnapped and killed by terrorists is the most fallacious, sad, and disgusting claim I’ve heard.

    I sympathize with no one who wishes death to thousands of innocent people, merely out of bitterness. That’s a sad state for the human soul, and pity her for feeling that way.

  11. Jeff Thayne
    March 25, 2008 at 5:05 pm #

    Sorry, that was a lot harsher than I intended. I guess I am seriously irritated that you would call many honorable men and women (many who I know personally) an army of murderers merely because a woman blames America for the death of her husband by (I presume) terrorists.

  12. Curtis
    March 25, 2008 at 6:47 pm #

    If you don’t believe me then google “Winter Soldier” and see what you find out. Believe the testimonies of our own soldiers then.

    However, Curtis, many sources say that the story you produced is not the majority opinion among the Iraqi populace.

    These sources then ignore the reality on the ground. Are you ignorant of polls showing last year that 61% of Iraqis approved attacks on US soldiers?

    Iraqis blame even sectarian violence on the US as it was not there before the US invasion. That’s not too hard to understand.

    Saddam tested chemical weapons on his own people? If you’re referring to the Anfal campaign, I don’t know that it was ever established that this was not an Iranian action. The US used to blame that one on the Iranians until it became convenient to blame it on Saddam. If you’re referring to the chemical attacks on Iranians during the war, both of these events were fully supported by the Reagan administration and we supplied Saddam with the helicopters and satellite coordinates to utilize in his atrocities. We supported Saddam in all of his atrocities from the beginning. He used to be a CIA asset and we supplied names of suspected communists to him when he was chief of Iraqi intelligence, and he had 5,000 of them executed.

    However, his atrocities conversely pale in contrast to what we have enacted on that country. We killed upwards of a million people, mostly small children with our sanctions of the 90s. Many studies show the deaths of civilians of Iraq to number in the hundreds of thousands since our war began, and consistently show the US military to be responsible for about 1/3 of those deaths.

    My anger at our war in Iraq is much more steeped in a knowledge of the atrocities we have brought about in Iraq, than you understand by the surface of my comments here.

    Please, when you have a chance, look up Winter Soldier for example, and see what we have been doing in Iraq and then see if you don’t see things a little differently.

  13. Jeff Thayne
    March 25, 2008 at 7:33 pm #

    Please don’t call many good people murderers. Our prophet has told us that when we are asked to serve country, we should do so. I don’t think the many men and women in the church who are serving their country honorably are murderers, and I think that it is a terrible, heartless thing to claim that they are.

    If you want to call the war unjust, immoral, and wrong, do so. If you want to point out the atrocities done in Iraq, do so. If you want to push for withdrawal, do so. But don’t accuse great men and women of crimes they are not personally responsible for. That is just plain WRONG.

  14. Curtis
    March 25, 2008 at 7:35 pm #

    Dahr Jamail, one of the few unembedded reporters in Iraq, for example, started off his reporting on the Winter Soldier testimonies thusly:

    Jason Moon suffers from persistent insomnia as he wrestles with memories of his time in Iraq. “While on our initial convoy into Iraq in early June 2003, we were given a direct order that if any children or civilians got in front of the vehicles in our convoy, we were not to stop, we were not to slow down, we were to keep driving,” says the former National Guard and Army Reserve member. “In the event an insurgent attacked us from behind human shields, we were supposed to count. If there were thirty or less civilians we were allowed to fire into the area. If there were over thirty, we were supposed to take fire and send it up the chain of command. These were the rules of engagement. I don’t know about you, but if you are getting shot at from a crowd of people, how fast are you going to count, and how accurately?”
    Moon is taking part in Winter Soldier. This is public testimony organized by the Iraq Veterans Against the War about the human consequences of failed U.S. policy in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
    The group takes its name from the Winter Soldier testimony by Vietnam Vets, including John Kerry, in 1971, which played a part in turning public opinion against that war.
    “We’ve heard from the politicians, from the generals, from the media—now it’s our turn,” said Kelly Dougherty, executive director of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Dougherty, who served in Iraq in 2003 as a military police officer, said, “It’s not going to be easy to hear what we have to say. It’s not going to be easy for us to tell it. But we believe that the only way this war is going to end is if the American people truly understand what we have done in their name.”
    When I was reporting from Iraq for eight months on and off between November 2003 and February 2005, Iraqis told me of atrocities U.S. soldiers were committing. The accounts now from soldiers themselves confirm an awful picture.

    Think about it.

  15. Curtis
    March 25, 2008 at 7:39 pm #

    I am not ignorant of the many good people who think they are doing something good in this war. Unfortunately they are pawns in the hands of our great secret combination. If they murder against their conscience, they will have to deal with that theirselves.

    I should have stated that earlier. I do see Connor’s and your point. However, our troops are committing murders there, not unlike the Mai Lai massacre, and they are doing it on a daily basis. We need to pull them out of there yesterday. Our 4000 soldiers dead is nothing compared to their hundreds of thousands. Yet, all we talk about is our 4000 and their deaths are like the deaths of animals to the people in the USA. This is the sort of frame of mind that will bring upon us the condemnation of God.

  16. Jeff Thayne
    March 25, 2008 at 7:45 pm #

    No amount of stories and atrocities can justify calling the GOOD and NOBLE men and women that I know serving our country murderers. There may be murderers among the armed forces, but IN NO WAY does that justify called the military as a whole a murder force. I know many individuals who have served and are serving in Iraq, and they tell a different story. These faithful members of the church ARE NOT murderers, and like I said, it is irresponsible for you to claim such.

    Like I said, point out the atrocities, speak against the war, but DON’T CALL MY FRIENDS MURDERERS merely because they answered the call to serve our country.

  17. Connor
    March 25, 2008 at 7:49 pm #


    Lest this back-and-forth get any more heated, I invite you to read this thread, specifically the portion that starts with a quote by President Hinckley, which begins “I believe that God will not…”. Search for that phrase, read the few following paragraphs, and hopefully you’ll see God’s thoughts on the matter.

  18. Jeff Thayne
    March 25, 2008 at 7:51 pm #

    There were faithful saints who served in the German army during World War II, and the Lord has made it clear that it was not wrong to do so. We have been asked by God to serve our country when called upon, and have been promised the guidance of the spirit when we do so.

  19. Jeff Thayne
    March 25, 2008 at 8:09 pm #

    by the way, my earlier post was posted just after yours curtis, so I didn’t read your response until after I posted. sorry about that.

  20. Josh Williams
    March 25, 2008 at 8:38 pm #

    I don’t know how much TV you watch, Connor…..

    I’ve been watching the PBS program Frontline: Bush’s War, (which

    What strikes me most about the Bush administration, is the fact that his senior staff have a bad combination of almost pathological wishful thinking, and a violent allergy to being “wrong.” In other words, not only can Bush and his senior staff simply not comprehend when they’ve chosen poorly in the past, but they believe that no one should even have the right to tell them otherwise. To that end, they have shown an ability to hire people based only on political loyalty and “idealogical correctness,” while totally disregarding things like effectiveness or even basic competence for the job at hand.

    Why do Americans allow such people to get elected? Is that all we value in a leader; their ability to “always be right?” The current crop of presidential contenders all seem disturbingly similar in this regard.

    Why is it that the the truly effective leaders, the ones who take responsibility for mistakes and work to fix them, are quickly swept aside by those are determined to be right at all costs?

    Both Iraq and America are examples of the fact that a country will generally get the very worst government that they are willing to tolerate.

  21. Josh Williams
    March 25, 2008 at 8:39 pm #

    once again, I fail at HTML

  22. Curtis
    March 25, 2008 at 9:43 pm #

    Food for thought on my assertions here from Brigham Young (and I know that there are other wise men who have said differently, but it should give pause that Brigham Young disagrees):

    “Our traditions have been such that we are not apt to look upon war between tow nations as murder… Does it justify the slaying of men, women and children that otherwise would have remained at home in peace, because a great army is doing the work? No: the guilty will be damned for it.”

    I stand by my assertion that our army is a great murder force and is serving its master well in Iraq, notwithstanding there are those with noble intentions who are members of the army.

  23. Kelly W.
    March 25, 2008 at 9:47 pm #

    When soldiers enter the military, they may have been good people at that time. However, once there – if they stay there – they are brainwashed and turned into murderers. This is to put it mildly. Therefore, when they murder, they are probably not as accountable as you or I would be.

    I would propose that soldiers who are brainwashed by their military training are no longer able to hear or be influenced by the Holy Spirit or Light of Christ.

    I would honor those soldiers who have realized the truth of the situation, and have since left the military and taken up the cause of revealing the propaganda of killing innocent people as “honorable.”

  24. janet
    March 26, 2008 at 6:12 am #

    Curtis, If our military men and women are murders and guilty of God’s wrath, how much more are YOU and I to blame for allowing our politicians to send them there?

    I know what it is like to see my husband in bed having nightmares because of the slaughter of war including women and children. I know his pain when Americans spit on him when he got off the plane coming back to the states. Did you know that Americans captured run away soldiers and turned them in for a bounty when the soldiers were trying to escape a second or third tour in Vietnam?

    We caused the war. We listened to Bush’s and Cheney’s lies for two plus years before the Iraq war. What did you do then? You share the blame. Have you an awareness of your own guilt? Most of the men and women in Iraq didn’t join the military to go fight that unjust war. They were counting on you to see that they could defend you justly when necessary.

  25. Jeff Thayne
    March 26, 2008 at 6:36 am #

    Connor, do you believe what Kelly and Curtis claim that men who serve in our armed forces, are, because of that fact, murderers? I am sorry, Kelly, but read what I said before. I will not tolerant the GOOD people I know being called murderers because they honorably answer the call to serve in the military.

    Serving in the military =/= being a murderer, and I think it is foolish to make that claim.

  26. Curtis
    March 26, 2008 at 6:55 am #

    I’m sorry for what your husband has gone through. I have been a vocal opponent against our wars since I became aware of them in the mid-90s. I have always written my elected representatives and put my small voice out there in protest of their policies. I run a blog that you can see if you click on my name, that deals specifically with the secret combinations in our country that inspire our wars and other unjust policies. My voice is small, but hopefully I am cleansing my garments at least partially through my vocal opposition to our governments murders.

  27. Kelly W.
    March 26, 2008 at 7:46 am #

    @ Jeff:
    When a person kills an innocent child of God, what other word would you use? Murderer fits the definition.

    As far as being a judge, that is not my calling. Perhaps the soldier killing innocent people is not a “murderer” in the eyes of a judge, if that soldier acts out of insanity or diminished mind capabilities.

  28. Jeff Thayne
    March 26, 2008 at 8:03 am #

    Kelly, God has told us that those who serve responsibly in the armed forces are not sinning. I am not talking about those commit atrocities. I am talking about people who serve their country in a responsible way. They are not murderers. Such a generalization is an insult some of the greatest men and women who ever lived.

  29. Mark N.
    March 26, 2008 at 1:11 pm #

    Jeff, in #14, said: “But don’t accuse great men and women of crimes they are not personally responsible for.”

    The war in Iraq would come to a screeching halt if our soldiers in Iraq decided to put down their arms and not take them up again. Of course, all of their military training is designed to brainwash them into strongly resisting such an idea — by doing so, one lets down his buddies; it’s sedition. But in the end, as trite as the saying may be, they can’t throw a war if nobody decides to cooperate.

    Sometimes, Alma 24 really does have something important to say.

  30. Curtis
    March 26, 2008 at 1:56 pm #

    All of our training since our earliest days of elementary school teaches us to be patriotic and not question the motives of our government, to be supportive of our war efforts. My kids in elementary school know the theme songs of all 4 branches of the military!

    It’s like we’re all Truman, living in the Truman show where the alternate “reality” teaches us what should be important, and then we swallow it, usually without trying to break out of the bubble. We are taught that the war is good, and when we question that, we are taught that the great shame of the war is that now 4,000 of our soldiers have been killed in the war. When we break out of the bubble though is when we start mourning the horror that we have brought to the lives of millions of Iraqis. When we break out of the bubble is when we truly see all human beings as our brothers and sisters and do not let them pass us by and notice them not. We should all watch the Truman Show and then contemplate what sort of bubble each of us is contained in.

  31. Jeff Thayne
    March 26, 2008 at 3:06 pm #

    Excuse me, Curtis, am I saying the war in Iraq is right? No. I am under no delusions that everything the government does is right. DID YOU NOT READ MANY PLACES I MADE THAT CLEAR IN PREVIOUS POSTS?

    I don’t think that a member of the military is a murderer because they don’t leave the military. Can you see the simple logic in that? Some people are GOOD people, and serve responsibly. Others do not. There is no need to make generalizations, and hold every member of the military responsible for atrocities that some commit. You may say that we shouldn’t be over in Iraq in the first place, but that wasn’t their decision. They have a legal obligation to fulfill. The LDS church approves of fulfilling this obligation, and in no way holds individual members of the military for decisions made by the president and others. Again, I don’t expect my military friends to quit the military; it is vitally IMPORTANT to have a military. It is sad that our leaders abuse the military, disgustingly sad, but we don’t need to disband the military. Nor do we hold those who responsibly, without committing atrocities, fulfill their legal obligation for crimes they do not commit. The crime of being in Iraq is the president’s, not my military friends’. Sure, if the whole military were disregard orders, abandon the military, there would be no way to wage an unjust war. But I think the leaders of our church disapprove of criminal behavior, even for politically justified purposes.

    Alma 24 does have something to say; But it is fallacious to say that the BOM disapproves of any military action because of Alma 24. The men and women who laid down their weapons in that chapter were not protesting an unjust war; in fact, you could say it was the most just war that could ever be fought (defense of life and religion). They were repenting of their previous murderous disposition. What about the war chapters in Alma when Moroni kills those who refuse to take up arms in the defense of their country? Now, I am in no way claiming that this war is a defensive one, or that this war is justified. Mormon led his people in war, and killed people, in what he said was an unjust war. Of course, he left the war for a while, but then came back continued to fight. I am tired of people using one piece of scripture to justify their personal political views. Now, I agree the war in Iraq is unrighteous, I’ll repeat that AGAIN so no one misunderstands me, but our church leaders have directly said that members of the military have a legal obligation to fulfill, and they are not responsible for the atrocities and crimes of the nations leaders, and quoting scripture in whatever twisted way doesn’t negate modern revelation.

  32. Curtis
    March 26, 2008 at 3:27 pm #


    Excuse me, Curtis, am I saying the war in Iraq is right? No. I am under no delusions that everything the government does is right. DID YOU NOT READ MANY PLACES I MADE THAT CLEAR IN PREVIOUS POSTS?

    Whoa friend! Relax a bit there. Where did I accuse you of saying the Iraq war is right? Stay on the handle man.

  33. Jeff Thayne
    March 26, 2008 at 3:31 pm #

    Sorry… your reply to Mark’s reply at first to me sounded like you counted me in the category of those who unquestioningly support the government’s actions. But I misread, I apologize. My attitude has been pretty charged in this discussion, for which I am in the wrong. No hard feelings?

  34. Curtis
    March 26, 2008 at 3:49 pm #

    None at all amigo. I guess this is why we don’t discuss this sort of stuff in priesthood lessons. I’m glad we can discuss it here though. I’m sorry my words have provoked you. I feel rather strongly about this issue and am not very eloquent in getting my thoughts out in an unoffensive way. In any case you are a good man and I’m sure that if we had the same information, we would have the same opinions.

  35. Jeff Thayne
    March 26, 2008 at 3:57 pm #

    I am also terrible at presenting myself unoffensively. I guess we may agree that the war in Iraq is unconstitutional, unjustified, and that horrible things may be happening. But I don’t think I will ever agree that my neighbor is personally a murderer for not refusing to go to Iraq when asked to, even if he does not personally participate in atrocities. If that is the criterion of innocence during an unjust war, then many of the most faithful saints are murderers; in fact, if that is the only criterion for innocence, then our own church leaders are guilty for encouraging members of the church to perform their legal obligations to the military, during this war and others in the past.

  36. Curtis
    March 26, 2008 at 4:01 pm #

    I don’t really have any reply to that. My comments here have always been a general assertion that our military is a murderous force in Iraq, and have never referred to the guilt or lack thereof of specific individuals in the military.

  37. Jeff Thayne
    March 26, 2008 at 4:24 pm #

    You are right, you didn’t make that claim. Maybe my last remark should be better aimed at Mark, who did seem to make that claim. I doubt he actually believes it, but in his post he basically held anyone who doesn’t refuse to fulfill their military obligations personally responsible for the tragedies of war. But if that is not what you are saying, Mark, I apologize for misunderstanding.

  38. Mark N
    March 26, 2008 at 11:47 pm #

    One of the more obvious messages of the Book of Mormon is that wars don’t solve anything. Yes, the BoM is a testament of Christ, but that’s not all it is. It is a real history of a real people and their ultimate downfall, and God has seen fit to give us this history that we might learn from it. We have very specifically been told “look what happened to the Jaredites, and look what happened to us, and I have seen your doings, and you guys need this message before it gets to be too late for you, too.”

    The Lamanites’ purpose, so far as God was concerned, was to keep the Nephites righteous. That’s how I see Islam today: they’re our Lamanites. We are not going to be permitted to destroy them, and if we try it, we’re going to meet the same fate as the Nephites.

    If you want a Christian but non-LDS take on the subject, I agree with Lawrence Vance:

    “The only ones who can end this war, and end it now, once and for all, are the troops themselves. After all, it is the troops that are doing the actual fighting, bleeding, dying – not the Congress. It is the troops that are bringing death, destruction, and heartache to the people of Iraq – not the political candidates. It is the troops that are dropping the bombs – not the typical American. It is the troops that are firing the bullets – not Christian warmongers.

    “I was told by one of my critics that he agreed with me on the point of not fighting illegal and unjust wars, but that doing so was not the fault of the soldiers. Well then, whose fault is it? No one is doing the fighting except the soldiers. It doesn’t matter who told them to fight or what the reason is that they were told to fight. If the troops stop warring, the war will stop. It will not gradually come to an end, it will grind to a halt…

    “They are not liberating Iraq or bringing democracy to Iraq. They are in fact engaging in a war crime and perpetrating genocide against the Iraqi people.”

    These are hard words, but our soldiers need to hear the truth, and we can be absolutely certain that their government isn’t going to tell it to them.

    The Lord has commanded us in the 98th section of the Doctrine and Covenants to renounce war:

    And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God.
    For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith.
    And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal.
    Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy.
    For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me.
    Therefore, renounce war and proclaim peace, and seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children;
    And again, the hearts of the Jews unto the prophets, and the prophets unto the Jews; lest I come and smite the

    whole earth with a curse, and all flesh be consumed before me.

    Do we think the Lord is just kidding about this stuff?

  39. Curtis
    March 27, 2008 at 7:59 am #

    Good points. I think we take the Lord’s words lightly whenever it suits us, and on the subject of war, it suits us just fine to ignore Him altogether. Not to toot my horn here too much, but I wrote a piece on “War and the Gospel of Jesus Christ” a while back which uses mostly the words of the prophets and scriptures on the subject of war.

  40. Jeff Thayne
    March 27, 2008 at 9:07 am #

    Do you think the prophet was kidding when he said our soldiers should fulfill their legal obligations?

    Please don’t quote scripture to trump prophet. It doesn’t work.

    To criminally deny legal obligations to serve in the military would be to dishonor the prophet and the church.

    If you can protest legally, go ahead. But I believe what the Lord says when he asks us to honor the law of the land.

  41. Curtis
    March 27, 2008 at 11:32 am #

    The law that is constitutional that is.

  42. Jeff Thayne
    March 27, 2008 at 11:41 am #

    Hmm… so are we obligated by our religion to follow unjust laws? what think ye Connor?

  43. Connor
    March 27, 2008 at 12:13 pm #


    Hmm… so are we obligated by our religion to follow unjust laws? what think ye Connor?

    Ah, one of the biggest conundrums I’ve yet faced. I discussed one aspect of this question in this post.

    You asked me another question earlier, which I forgot to address:

    Connor, do you believe what Kelly and Curtis claim that men who serve in our armed forces, are, because of that fact, murderers?

    This is also a conundrum. While they must fulfill their legal obligations, I do not believe that the Lord would disapprove of soldiers who desert or refused to, say, torture somebody. Nor do I think that He would disapprove of a soldier refusing to knowingly inflict causality upon an innocent civilian life. Soldiers are in a different class in wartime, in my mind. But any soldier who refuses an order that will knowingly and deliberately harm civilians in the process is a hero in my book.

  44. Jeff Thayne
    March 27, 2008 at 1:00 pm #

    That I can agree with; I just don’t believe they are culpable merely by the fact that they are in the military or even in Iraq.

  45. Trent
    March 27, 2008 at 4:32 pm #

    I think many of these comments about what soldiers should and shouldn’t do are just silly. It is coming from people who have no idea how an effective fighting force is made. Whether or not you believe Iraq was right does not take away from the fact that we should have a strong military. Calling what military training is as brainwashing is silly and shows complete lack of understanding of how war and fighting works. If every soldier evaluates every gun shot or every millisecond like you would want, they die. Soldiers are beholden to their superiors for good reason, their safety! This isn’t to say that there are moments where there are clearly lines being crossed by individual soldiers.

    Saying “well if they all just put down their weapons” just boggles my mind. So, hundreds of thousands of soldiers across Iraq at one moment all come to the same conclusion, drop their weapons all over without endangering all their lives and the livelihood of all their families. And I would be rich if I had a lot of money. Anyway, reality and logic is lost so often with such strong ideology. 99.99% of the time the leaders of these soldiers are to blame. The rest of these incidents are not us to judge and should not be of our concern anyway.

  46. Connor
    March 27, 2008 at 4:35 pm #

    Whether or not you believe Iraq was right does not take away from the fact that we should have a strong military.

    I disagree with this statement. We should have a strong defense. Standing armies are a dangerous institution, especially when used for foreign aggression, empire maintenance, and policing the world.

  47. Trent
    March 27, 2008 at 4:39 pm #

    C’mon Connor, that is playing semantics. It seems when I comment here, one phrase out of what I write is picked out and nitpicked. In any case, you have soldiers that are trained. That is all I am talking about. Our national guard is trained and are not “standing armies”. There are tactics to war, the BOM is full of them. Part of this is having soldiers that follow their leaders commands in battle and don’t question every move.

  48. janet
    March 27, 2008 at 6:06 pm #

    This stream is getting ridiculous. You young guys will all get your turn to be tested. Good luck! I suggest that you read the scriptures rather than proof text them. You’ll need the information.

  49. Connor
    March 27, 2008 at 6:23 pm #

    C’mon Connor, that is playing semantics. It seems when I comment here, one phrase out of what I write is picked out and nitpicked.

    Perhaps it is semantics, but I draw a big distinction between having a strong military, and having a strong defensive military. Our defense is anything but strong right now, with our troops spread so thin.

    As per picking out what you posted, I felt that the rest of your comment was directed at others in this thread, so I was leaving it up to them to respond if they chose.

  50. Connor
    March 27, 2008 at 9:48 pm #

  51. Mark N
    March 28, 2008 at 12:24 am #

    There are tactics to war, the BOM is full of them.

    And, as we find out at the end of the book, it was all for naught. It was a complete and utter waste, because nobody wins in the end. It wasn’t even good for the Lamanites in the end, because once they had lost the Nephites to pick on, then they just continued warring among themselves.

    I would advise everyone to read every article about Christianity and Christians and war that are linked on this page.

  52. Trent
    March 28, 2008 at 1:19 am #

    Mark, nowhere in my comments was I supporting the actions in Iraq, nor was I trying to prop up war. Regulars on this blog are so eager to jump on their RP/constitutionalist soapbox that they just interpret what people say how they want rather than actually thinking it through. It is hypocritical on so many levels considering the attacks that are leveled so often on the “general public”.

    War is hell, and my grandfathers on all sides were in wars, D-Day, etc. I went on a mission to Ukraine, a former member of the country that had more deaths in WWII than any other country by a very wide margin. Over 20 million. I have seen entire cities that were flattened and people who had their family ripped away from war. I hate war. That said, when you fight, you do it to win. In Alma, Moroni talked about how the stripling warriors did everything he asked of them with exactness etc. That is how an effective fighting force works. That is all I was pointing out. It isn’t brainwashing. Blaming the soldiers is stupid and prideful, and in the few circumstances where it was the actual individual soldiers that caused the problems, we should leave it up to the respective organizations to deal with that. Leaders are for all intense and purposes always the ones to level blame at.

  53. Mark N
    March 28, 2008 at 2:10 am #

    Jeff T. in #31: “I don’t think that a member of the military is a murderer because they don’t leave the military.”

    My hope is that they search for the truth of the matter, and that once they discover the truth, they get out of the military as fast as they can.

    Did you ever see the “Lonesome Dove” miniseries, or read the Larry McMurtry book on which it’s based? There’s an interesting character by the name of Jake Spoon in the book, and he basically serves as the catalyst in the story that starts everything in motion. He inspires a group of cowboys running a livery stable in a two-bit town in Texas to gather a herd of cattle and go north and start a ranch in Montana “before the bankers get everything”. Jake soon enough learns that being a cattleman isn’t really what he’s cut out for, and by chance (and then choice) falls in with a group of murderous ruffians. He tells himself that he’s going to break away from them as soon as he can, that he’s just with them in order to get through the territory, but pretty soon he finds himself an unwilling accomplice to the murder and “manburning” of innocent farmers; he’s never able to break ranks with the Suggs gang because they don’t trust him, and they know he’ll report them to the law should he ever get the chance. Eventually, he finds himself facing a hangman’s noose as a result of the poor choices he made and his attempts to rationalize his actions:

    “Pea, you know me,” Jake said. “You know I ain’t no killer. Old Deets knows it too. You boys wouldn’t want to hang a friend, I hope.”

    “I’ve done a many a thing I didn’t want to do, Jake,” Pea Eye said.

    Jake walked over to Augustus. “I ain’t no criminal, Gus,” he said. “Dan’s the only one that done anything. He shot that old man over there, and he killed them farmers. He shot Wilbarger and his men. Me and the other boys have killed nobody.”

    “We’ll hang him for the killings and the rest of you for the horse theft, then,” Augustus said. “Out in these parts the punishment’s the same, as you well know.”

    “Ride with an outlaw, die with him,” he added. “I admit it’s a harsh code. But you rode on the other side long enough to know how it works. I’m sorry you crossed the line, though.”

    Jake’s momentary optimism had passed, and he felt tired and despairing. He would have liked a good bed in a whorehouse and a nice night’s sleep.

    “I never seen no line, Gus,” he said. “I was just trying to get to Kansas without getting scalped.”

    Newt had saddled the men’s horses. Call came back and took the ropes off the four saddles.

    “We’re lucky to have caught ’em by the trees,” he said. Newt felt numb from all that he had seen.

    “Have we got to hang Jake too?” he asked. “He was my ma’s friend.”

    Call was surprised by the remark. Newt was surprised too — it had just popped out. He remembered how jolly Jake had been then — it was mainly on Jake’s visits that he heard his mother laugh. It puzzled him how the years could have moved so, to bring them from such happy times to the moment at hand.

    “Yes, he’s guilty with the rest of them,” Call said. “Any judge would hang him.”…

    It took a while for Deets to fix the knots to his satisfaction. The twilight began to deepen into dusk.

    Jake tried to get his mind to work, but it wouldn’t snap to. He had the feeling that there ought to be something he could say that would move Call or Gus on his behalf. It made him proud that the two of them had caught Dan Suggs so easily, although it had brought him to a hard fix. Still, it cut Dan Suggs down to size. Jake tried to think back over his years of rangering — to try and think of a debt he could call in, or a memory that might move the boys — but his brain seemed to be asleep. he could think of nothing…. Life had slipped out of line. It was unfair, it was too bad, but he couldn’t find the energy to fight it any longer…

    Call walked over. Now that they were about it he felt a keen sorrow. Jake had ridden the river with them and been the life of the camp once — not the steadiest boy in the troop, but lively and friendly to a fault.

    “Well, it’ll soon be dark,” he said. “I’m sorry it’s us, Jake — I wish it had fallen to somebody else.”

    Jake grinned. Something in the way Call said it amused him, and for a second he regained a bit of his old dash.

    “Hell, don’t worry about it , boys,” he said. “I’d a damn sight rather be hung by my friends that by a bunch of strangers. The thing is, I never meant no harm,” he added. “I didn’t know they was such a gun outfit.”

    He looked down at Pea Eye and Deets, and at the boy. Eveyone was silent, even Gus, who held the coiled rope. They were all looking at him, but it seemed no one could speak. For a moment, Jake felt good. He was back with his old companeros, at least — those boys who had haunted his dreams. Straying off from them had been his worst mistake.

    “Well, adios, boys,” he said. “I hope you won’t hold it against me.”

    And then he spurs his horse, and handles the final detail of his own hanging himself.

    How many Jake Spoons have we got in our military, who just signed up for the educational tuition assitance benefits, or the incentive pay, or the chance to see the world, or because they really believed they were going to defend the United States against unjust aggression, or because they saw it as a chance to participate in a religious crusade against Islamofascism, or any number of reasons that didn’t include going off to foreign lands and killing people, both in and out of military uniforms, for reasons about which their own government hasn’t been honest? It’s entirely possible they joined up and “didn’t know they was such a gun outfit”, being blinded by all of the other reasons they might have had for signing up.

    Maybe I’m completely wrong, and God will still look upon these Jake Spoons at the last day and say to them, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”. But we are taught that a man can not be saved in ignorance. We all need to find out the truth of what our government has been doing in its foreign relations policies over the last century. And then we need to see the line that Jake didn’t see before we cross it, and end up by going down the same unfortunate path as the Nephites who thought that by being better warriors than the Lamanites, they would save themselves. Too late, they found that war was not the answer; it wasn’t even the real problem. The real problem was their ability to rationalize away the keeping of the commandments.

  54. Curtis
    March 28, 2008 at 10:51 am #

    You can’t see a good reason for having a strong imperialist military? Try this testimony then. This is from a mother of a soldier who attended the recent Winter Soldier event where Iraqi war veterans testified to what our military is doing over there:

    On Friday, Day 2, testimony began at 9 AM with a panel about the “Rules of Engagement”. Speakers from the Army and Marine Corps. — people that I have known for the last few years — recounted the atrocities that they not only witnessed but participated in. Anyone who is interested can listen online at But about halfway into that panel, I lost my objectivity. The stories they were telling about the rules of engagement they learned while training at boot camp, or on a military base “back home”, were the same as what I had heard from my son. I broke down sobbing. The photographs they were showing on the five viewing screens of bloodied bodies torn apart by close gunfire, 50-calibre Machine guns, rocket launchers, and every other damn weapon our great military industrial complex has created, were all too familiar to me. When my son returned home from both war zones, he was so eager to share his stories and pictures.

    I could not fathom that my son, whom I raised to be a Catholic, whom I took to Sunday school, who received Communion and Confirmation, had not only been a participant in such horrors, but had pictures to prove it. I immediately told him that I would not listen to his stories or look at those pictures. He could speak with his father. My response may seem too many as being hard on my son, who only wanted to unload what he was feeling on his mother. But I couldn’t come to terms with it then — or now.

    Watching and listening to the testimony made me very ill. Here were these young men and women, handsomely dressed, some wearing medals, talking about how they shot civilians who were holding nothing more threatening than a cell phone, groceries, a shovel, a white flag, or a pair of binoculars. Anyone deemed suspicious by the particular soldier or Marine on watch was fair game, subject to the orders, “Take ‘em out!” The Rules of Engagement, as stated by Garrett Rapenhagen were “a joke and disgrace, and ever changing.”

    I knew that. I had heard it back home from my son. He told me he had to survive; he had to protect his buddies, so that they could all come home alive. They didn’t know who the enemy was, so they would just “blast them away.” The Marines are taught that. They shoot and don’t even ask questions. Their motto is “Kill ‘em all and let God sort them out!”

    Camilo Mejia, who is the chair of IVAW, spoke about how soldiers were trained that dehumanizing the enemy is necessary to survival, and how they are taught to think of Iraqis as “hajjis”. In fact, all of the panel members said Iraqi citizens were repeatedly referred to as hajjis. I know that word all too well; I have heard my son talk about it, as well as other anti-Iraqi slurs such as “towel head,” and “sand nigger.” The expression “if you feel threatened, use your weapon” was also a familiar phrase to me. So, too, was the slogan, “Do what you need to do.” That meant that you use your rifle anytime, and you can crush whoever you want with your vehicle in the street.

    Members on the panel recounted how, when they were bored, they blew up dogs and other animals to keep themselves entertained. All too well I had heard these stories, which gave me the creeps more than anything else. I also heard the testimony of former Cpl. Matt Childers, who said that after American soldiers had already beaten and starved detainees in their custody, one of them removed a hat from one of the detainees’ heads and smeared it with his own feces, before feeding it to one of the prisoners who was so hungry that he actually attempted to eat it.

    One other Marine, whom I happened to interview personally — which produced a conversation I hope to describe more fully in a future article — was Bryan Casler. Casler was part of the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. He described Marines taking their MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) which were in plastic bags, and defecating in them before tossing them out to Iraqi children on the side of the road. Those who picked them up would think they were food and attempt to eat the contents. Casler also said soldiers would urinate in bottles and throw them at children. They would also remove the chemical packets that were within the MREs (which helped heat the food) and hand them to children to eat. He said that when they went into Babylon, the marines would drive vehicles into mosques and historic ruins, and break off pieces to take home with them.

    Some of the soldiers’ testimony was characterized by defiant anger. At the end of his testimony, former Marine Mike Totten ripped up the commendation he had received from General Petraeus, and threw it on the floor in front of him, to a huge applause. One day earlier, former Marine Jon Turner had taken a chest full of medals and thrown them into the audience. “I don’t work for you anymore!” Turner said. At the end of his heart-wrenching account of the atrocities he had witnessed or committed, Turner begged the Iraqi people for forgiveness.

    All too well I know these stories, and have known them for years. So I kept crying and asking myself how these young men and women wound up in this position. How someone who joined the military out of a sense of “patriotism” wound up doing such horrible and heinous things that would make a mother sick to her stomach. How do we let our children do this? Casler, like my son, joined right out of high school. Many others do the same. And many don’t have to be recruited; they join voluntarily, out of a desire to serve their country. Many feel that doing so is what makes heroes.

    So I spent three days listening to heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching stories, and continuously asked myself the same question: “Why?” More specifically, why do these soldiers and Marines, who represent a critical new breed of resisters, still feel so tied to the military that many of them espouse some variation of the sentiment, “I am proud of my service in the military. I am not proud of what I did.” For someone like me, I can clearly see that statement making sense. But then I had to ask myself why I thought it made sense.

    How could you be proud to be in the military, and yet not like what you participated in while in the military? I have often asked my son this question. He says, “I love the Marine Corps. , but hate the government.” What a deep statement – one that conjures up very mixed, confusing emotions. So I have to examine not only the statements of love, but of loathing for war. War is a dirty business, forever has been and forever will be. So why do we encourage our citizens to think otherwise?

  55. Curtis
    March 28, 2008 at 2:11 pm #

    Here is another good reason we need a strong imperialist military… so that our soldiers can do things like this (from an article in The Nation magazine):

    While on tank patrol through the narrow streets of Abu Ghraib, just west of Baghdad, Pfc. Clifton Hicks was given an order. Abu Ghraib had become a “free-fire zone,” Hicks was told, and no “friendlies” or civilians remained in the area. “Game on. All weapons free,” his captain said. Upon that command, Hicks’s unit opened a furious fusillade, firing wildly into cars, at people scurrying for cover, at anything that moved. Sent in to survey the damage, Hicks found the area littered with human and animal corpses, including women and children, but he saw no military gear or weapons of any kind near the bodies. In the aftermath of the massacre, Hicks was told that his unit had killed 700-800 “enemy combatants.” But he knew the dead were not terrorists or insurgents; they were innocent Iraqis. “I will agree to swear to that till the day I die,” he said. “I didn’t see one enemy on that operation.”

    Hicks soberly recounted this bloody incident to a packed auditorium in Silver Spring, Maryland, as part of Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan, a summit hosted March 13-16 by Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). Modeled after the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation–in which Vietnam veterans, including John Kerry, testified in Detroit about US atrocities in Vietnam–this incarnation featured more than fifty veterans and active-duty service members testifying about engaging in or witnessing atrocities and war crimes against Iraqi and Afghan civilians. As a precondition for participation, IVAW required veterans to provide corroborating evidence such as photographs, videos and additional witnesses. Former marine Scott Camil, 61, who spoke at the first Winter Soldier event, attended the conference along with seven fellow Vietnam-era witnesses. “When we came home, the World War II and Korean War veterans did not support our activities. I know how that feels,” Camil said quietly. “We’re not going to let it happen to these guys.”

    Soldiers and marines at Winter Soldier described the frustration of routinely raiding the wrong homes and arresting the wrong people. It was common for unarmed Iraqis to be killed at US checkpoints or by US convoys, they said. Many said they were congratulated on their “first kill.” Some even desecrated Iraqi corpses. Spc. Hart Viges said he refused to pose in a photograph with a corpse when his fellow soldiers prodded him. “I said no–not in the context of, That’s really wrong on an ethical basis,” he said. “I said no because it wasn’t my kill. You shouldn’t take trophies for things you didn’t kill. That’s where my mind-set was back then.”

    Several veterans said it was common to carry a stash of extra automatic weapons and shovels to plant near the bodies of unarmed civilians they had killed to make it look as if they were combatants. Others described the surreal sensation of committing cold-blooded murder without facing any consequences. Jon Michael Turner, who served as a machine gunner with Kilo Company, Third Battalion, Eighth Marines, said he shot an unarmed Iraqi in front of the man’s father and friend. “The first round didn’t kill him, after I had hit him up here in his neck area. And afterwards he started screaming and looked right into my eyes. So I looked at my friend…and I said, ‘Well, I can’t let that happen.’ So I took another shot and took him out. He was then carried away by the rest of his family.” Later, Turner pointed to a tattoo on his right wrist of the Arabic words for “**** you.” “That was my choking hand,” he explained. “And any time I felt the need to take out aggression, I would go ahead and use it.”

    “This is not an isolated incident,” the testifiers uttered over and over, to the point of liturgy, insisting that the atrocities they committed or witnessed were common. The hearings were not organized to point fingers at “bad apples” or even particular squads, several testifiers said.

  56. janet
    March 28, 2008 at 4:37 pm #

    So Curtis,

    Did you attend your state caucauses? Did you vote for Bush? Once? Twice? Have you written your congressional representatives? Have you written your senators? Are you active in political campaigns? Do you have a blog about war? Have you advocated removal and criminal charges against those who lied to start this unjust war? Have you stood beside Iraq vetrans and demonstrated against the war with them?

    Most of our servicemen are good people. Some good people had gone bad after-the-fact. What are you doing to help the U.S. military victims of this unjust war? How would you end it? What are the results of your solution?

  57. Curtis
    March 28, 2008 at 4:49 pm #

    I already replied to you on comment #26. Apparently you didn’t read it. I said:

    I’m sorry for what your husband has gone through. I have been a vocal opponent against our wars since I became aware of them in the mid-90s. I have always written my elected representatives and put my small voice out there in protest of their policies. I run a blog that you can see if you click on my name, that deals specifically with the secret combinations in our country that inspire our wars and other unjust policies. My voice is small, but hopefully I am cleansing my garments at least partially through my vocal opposition to our governments murders.

    Vote for Bush? Are you kidding? I’ve voted for Nader the last 3 elections.

  58. Curtis
    March 29, 2008 at 12:39 am #

    I would pull our troops out of Iraq immediately. I would pay reparations to a stable Iraqi representative government, with the stipulation that the money must go to reconstruction and to improving the lives of the Iraqi people.

    The results of such an action? One of the results would be no more US soldier deaths. Another would be no more US soldier atrocities. No more torture by US military interrogators. Families would be reunited and our troops would be where they need to be… protecting our borders rather than out on an imperial adventure. There would doubtless be violence in Iraq after our departure, but that would happen whenever we leave, especially after all the money we’ve given Al Queda in Iraq in bribes.

    One of the things I’m doing now is supporting Nader’s candidacy. He’s the only candidate that will withdraw the troops fast. He’s the only candidate that will cut our defense spending by half. He’s the only candidate that sees the Palestinian plight and Israeli atrocities for what they are.

    I’m hugely in favor of impeaching Bush and Cheney as you can see by the banner on my blogsite. I’d impeach Nancy Pelosi too, for her complicity in the matter.

    I have attended Nader rallies in the past and refuse to attend republican or democrat caucuses. These parties are corrupt beyond repair and their is no hope of reform from within. They are our modern day Gadianton society IMHO and I cannot get near one of their caucuses without retching violently.

    Most importantly, whenever war topics are raised on Connor’s blog, I pipe up most annoyingly and regularly to the dismay of all of Connor’s regular readers.

    I suppose you are asking me these questions to see if I’m sincere or not in my assertions here. Why do you doubt me?

  59. Mark N
    March 30, 2008 at 11:16 pm #

    Here’s one soldier who understands what needs to be done:

    First Lieutenant Ehren Watada.

  60. Curtis
    March 31, 2008 at 10:04 am #

    Amen. Watada is a courageous man. I disagree with him on one point only though. He says that Afghanistan was a legal war and he would have served there had he been asked. That’s where we disagree.

  61. Mark N.
    March 31, 2008 at 1:35 pm #

    Yeah, I think Afghanistan was the initial snooker job that prepared the American public to say “yes” to Iraq. Kind of a “2 for the price of 1” deal.

  62. Curtis
    April 4, 2008 at 8:36 pm #

    General Odom gave a nice talk on why we should leave Iraq immediately. He spoke before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Iraq. It is good with the exception that the victims are not really factored into the equation and it is spoken with an eye toward the maintanence of US hegemony.

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