Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Canon Cockers

 The urge to save humanity is almost always
a false front for the urge to rule 
--H.L. Mencken 

Shut up! Shut up you American. You always talk,
you Americans, you talk and you talk and say 
"Let me tell you something" and "I just wanna say this." 
Well you're dead now, so shut up 
--The Meaning of Life (the Grim Reaper), 
Monty Python (1983)

An important yet unspoken implication of the call for General Staff ethics training ("Ethics for Dummies") is this: Where is the ethics training for our Soldiers-cum-Warriors?  We don't talk about it, because warriors do not have ethics.

How can you have a cadre of hopefully ethical officers leading a group of killing warriors?  Answer: You can't; to imagine such a contradiction as effective is a joke.  The FOX news - Black Five contingent says, "Ranger stop spouting your high-falutin' sophistries," but Ranger is correct -- a democracy does not stand in name or reality if it adopts the Warrior Way in battle.

Warriors will do anything to win, versus Soldiers who are constrained in their activities by civilized norms recognized by our canon of common law.  You cannot expect ethical behavior from warriors, but you can from Soldiers.  Conforming to a body of ethics is the thing that allows Soldiers to return and enjoy a hopefully successful reintegration into their society. A warrior is condemned to living forever on the fringes.  While we may love our Kurosawa films, the actual life of a Samurai is not something most of us would relish.

Everyone calls our Soldiers "Warriors" today, but are loathe to consider the consequences of an actual transformation into warriorhood. Consider the Kandahar Massacre, in which Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales soldier methodically killed sixteen Afghan civilians and injured five others in Afghanistan 11 March 2012 on his own, in two separate actions (SSG Bales is currently being held at the Ft. Leavenworth correctional facility.)  SSG, Bales's actions were those of a warrior -- brutal, fierce, unforgiving, relentless, cruel ... lacking in humanity and devoid of adherence to any martial code.

SSG Bales behaved like the warrior he was, and we did not like it.  We may impose much onto our fighting men, but there are certain divide which we cannot brook because we know at heart that we are them -- we are both SSG Bales, and the villagers whom he slaughtered. 

We are aroused by the biblical story of Joshua fighting the Battle of Jericho, but we do not see ourselves as people who wreak such outright destruction.  We are people who, inasmuch as is possible, respect the elderly and the young; we respect that people wish to live a life, and work hard to cobble together a living best they can.  Their leaders may initiate wars and the people suffer and we understand all of this, and so endeavor to mitigate "collateral damage".  However, warriors do not take such considerations to heart. 

Flying planes into the Twin Towers is warrior behavior.  It is indiscriminate, violent and abides by no social norms.  It is doubly frightening both in its outright destruction and its disobedience of rules of civilized behavior.  We do not wish to be such warriors.  Moreover, we cannot fight that impulse if we ourselves display and abide by the same imperative.

Leon Panetta, who does not understand what it is to be a Soldier, cannot codify a body of ethics for Soldiers or for their leaders. 

Maybe the call to ethics training is a wake up call to return to Soldierly Values. 

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I disagree with you. Flying planes into the twin towers was a 'means of communication' similar to how bombing cambodia was a 'means of communication" by Rob Macnamara. means of communication heretofore limited to 'statesmen' playing great games. THat was the rub, not the attacks but how dare someone not having some political title exacting the means of communication.

It was a statement 'we can strike you as we have perceived you have stuck us, we can punish you and humiliate you the same way we feel we have been humiliated. Your (white) life is not worth more and we will take it just as you take ours without thinking." It wasn't a message to the American people (who the Arabs didn't know much or anything about no matter who much self worship we engage in) so much as it was to domestic audiences in the Arab world (see we are taking revenge in your name) and to the American elite. Little did those idiots know that the elite of America are eager to send their compatriots to death to safeguard their security when playing their 'great games'. The joke is that Americans put their own interpretations based on their own views of the attacks, it was a barbarous horde, it was because they hate our freedoms bullshit. City on the hill and such. No one bothered to ask why the attackers did it, content with delusions that we are the centre.

The attackers did what they were used to, in their world the governments are brutal and violence is legitimate way of communicating, they brought it here because our elite CHOSE to play a part. Their world was of HAfiz Assad, of Ariel Sharon, of Hams massacres and prison executions. Their brutality grew from a climate of violence we were supporting, though sleeping soundly away from. Our elite CHOSE to prop up dictators. CHOSE to support ISrael unconditionally and thus call for peace while supplying the weapons for war. A peace of weakness, of rolling over and dying. Israel too being part of the Middle East has played this game, and inflicting a 1000 deaths for 13 is ritual practice the same way terrorist bombings or government crackdowns are.

LET ME BE CLEAR I AM NOT JUSTIFYING IT. It was a nihilistic violence by a minority so cynical that they lump whoever affected by their violence as deserving it. When they see the towers fall they do not see a human tragedy and crime against humanity. They see a Hollywood style symbolic victory. The power has a price to be paid, nose is being rubbed. Humiliation avenged. It is similar to how we might sit with cereal and watch the bombing of Baghdad as a fireworks display. Journalists are enemy propaganda for example if they write inconvenient truth- and their beheading just. This too partially stems from an experience of state controlled media that is another arm of government, perhaps they couldn't tell the difference with western journalists. For us they might be terrorist sympathizers or leaking confidential secret deserving prison. Countrymen who join (so called puppet) police and military are legitimate targets and no different then foreigners (they supposedly serve). The main (spurious) argument to try and justify 9/11 (it didn't work at the time, and only gained some traction after Iraq when people started to think retroactively they deserved it) was that it was a strategic attack meant to cripple American military, and economy and galvanize America to understand they have a price to pay for their polices. These terrorists fancied themselves as soldiers.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 12:19:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It did the opposite and this violent minority of a few hundred at most provoked the beast to become just like them.I contend they always were. Killing children was killing future terrorists. The sham of gauntanamo is seen as a modern trial of the faithful by a modern Rome or Ancient Egypt. The prisoners regardless of guilt are regarded as Josephs in prison awaiting deliverance. The torture is expected an d satanic. America an evil stupid mongol that must be endured for now but will collapse under the weight of its own evil. They don't know what Americans think America is. A waziristani or Yemeni only knows of drone strikes and support of their brutal governments. No man left behind doesn't apply to the hundreds of alleged informers killed for helping America does it.

It never ceases to amaze me how CNN or FOX can show footage of armed soldiers breaking into peoples houses without any sense of irony as they pay lip service to freedom and democracy. To us its our boys in green who volunteered, they redeem a selfish society by 'giving the ultimate commitment to their nation'. WW2 never comes to mind, how hostage populations might feel never comes to mind.

America is the number one recruiter of terrorists, by that logic it should drone bomb itself.

War is politics by other means. Violence is the airing of views. The Arab world will move on from the horrendous violence of the War on Terror as they have to the French, British occupations, of Sykes Picot and incompetent and brutal leaders, and our polices and leaders of this time will be relegated to history's dustbin for engaging in violence abroad for domestic consumption as all haughty empires. The question now as all our dirty business comes home reflected in society and government is will we?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 12:19:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Yes, there was a message to the 9-11-01 attacks, as terrorism always carries a message which goes beyond the actual criminal act itself. That is the point of terrorism.

The perpetrators may have seen themselves -- if True Believers --as holy warriors. If al-Qaeda were an evolved terrorist organization (along the lines of the IRA or PFLP), they may have thought themselves "soldiers" in the terminology of such groups, but that is not our point.

Our point is, call yourself what you will, true Soldiers do not commit acts like nihilistic acts like those on 9-11-01, which abide by no martial law.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 12:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

You are putting the concepts of Low intensity conflict(lic)into a hodge podge that tries to integrate GW/UW/Insurgency/criminality.
You touch on sociology,religion and all those things,AND this is ok,BUT they are all different concepts that can't be wrapped up in a neat package called terrorism.
The gov't has really not bothered to try to untangle this gordian knot since 9-11. They are happy just to keep us all in lockstep obedience to failed policies.
Thanks for your input and i congratulate you for trying to connect the dots.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 9:49:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the statement. But what about State Terror which private terror has superseded and imitated? Couldn't America's actions abroad be considered state terrorism with paramilitaries, death squads/ kill capture, drones buzzing overhead 24/7 without declared war, secret renditions, ROE that allow shooting people with cellphones, funding and allying with savage and corrupt police and armies that use the pretext of (puppet) authority to cary out ethnic cleansing and torture.

There was lot of statements that America doesn't have to follow Geneva conventions etc because our enemy doesn't. However hasn't this been the case for most insurgencies? They 'hide among local' because they ARE locals. They don't wear uniforms because that would ensure their demise. Guerrilla warfare has always been like that, but only now when on the receiving end is this contempt of it.

The enemy uses ieds to protect their lives as much as we use drones to protect ours, why the dichotomy?

I have a problem with this idea that putting on a uniform or nominally following law makes one side 'right'. I'm sure if the enemy had a military, a chain of command, logistics, safety of command, training, jet bombers they too would be following such laws. To put in another way if you were a guerrilla fighter in flip-flops would you feel compelled to listen to your enemy's proclamations when they were the most powerful in the world? No you would do whatever it takes to win even if mens slitting throats of alleged informers or using ieds and not putting yourself in harms way.
Especially if it seemed the system protected them (see the many cases of war crimes covered up, dismissed or given slap on the wrist punishments)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 1:59:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous jim at ranger said...

The long term readers of RAW know that i've discussed all the concerns that you just mentioned in your comment.
I can see where your logic lies and how you are tying to tie this to ETHICS and my dislike of WARRIOR HOOD and all associated with it.
I try to keep things simple so Rangers can understand them

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 2:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Moe said...

Hey Ranger thought you'd find this article interesting. Its written on a site popular with teenagers and twenty somethings and those that play violent games debate among themselves the merits and demerits of the argument. Its fascinating insight into the youth who feel society worships gun violence (perhaps rightly). You can see their reaction to the idea of the warrior (as a good thing). They also question. Its short, if anything the comments are more instructive, although I find the Starbucks Barista analogy to be file with unintentional revelation.


I'm not one to plug links, and this is most definitely not spam, I hope I haven't offended by the link. I'd encourage to check it out if only to get a glimpse of how this generation sees the matter.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 11:08:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Thanks for your input.
i'll ck it out.

Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 11:06:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Thanks for your input.
i'll ck it out.

Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 11:06:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's weird to me is that even with all the romanticizing of "warriors" the country seems have forgotten about soldiers and Marines fighting our wars.

I've been on an a self induced re-education marathon this week; watching both FOX news and CNN all day as I work. I have yet to see a report from the front in Afghanistan. We have young men (and ocassionaly women) dying and being maimed there every day - EVERY DAY. All sorts of missions jumping off, etc ...the whole spectrum of what happens in a war, BUT NOT A SINGLE COMMUNIQUE FROM THE FRONT IN FIVE DAYS OF NEWS WATCHING. NOT ONE!

Is this 1st amendemt suppression or public indifference?

I call BS on the whole thing. Warrior or soldier - no one cares. It doesn't matter any more. When our country is at war and the war isn't even news, then it just doesn't matter what you call the people fighting it.


Friday, January 18, 2013 at 11:05:00 PM GMT-5  

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