Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.”     George Bernard Shaw

June 21, 2009

This is Government

by tarran

According to the Iranian government, the person dying below was a terrorist. No doubt all the people walking around her in apparent unconcern for there were fellow terrorists, and the people she was terrorizing were outside camera range.

She is being called Neda. The person who uploaded the video to Youtube claims that he was nearly half a mile away from the demonstrations when a sharpshooter shot a teenage girl standing nearby with her father. Within a few seconds, she was dead, her eyes turn to the camera before being obscured by the pools blood that pour out of her mouth and nose.

A student at Kent State University gunned down by U.S. government troops.

A student at Kent State University gunned down by U.S. government troops.

Many people are arguing that this is the sort of thing that democracy is supposed to prevent. Of course, democracies also shoot people opposed to the government’s policies.

Why? because government, at its heart, is an organization that uses force to get its way. It is incapable of limiting its violence to socially beneficial causes like apprehending murderers. At some point, it points a gun at a group of people and demands they submit, and anyone who refuses gets a bullet.

This is government. Over there or over here, it is the same; the few exploit the many, and they are ready to use beatings, kidnappings and murder to get their way.

So who are the real terrorists?

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41 Comments

  1. All I have to add is this:

    Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

    Attributed to George Washington

    Comment by Kevin — June 21, 2009 @ 2:30 pm
  2. [...] sobering and poignant video posted at Liberty Papers: Why? because government, at its heart, is an organization that uses force to get its way. It is [...]

    Pingback by Lens of Liberty » This is Government — June 21, 2009 @ 6:08 pm
  3. The caption to the photograph is incorrect. The student was not shot by Army soldiers sent to Kent State by the DOD or by Nixon. The person who wrote that caption is either uneducated and ignorant, or is a propagandist.

    The dozens if not hundreds of mass protests that occurred during my lifetime but long before most if not all the Contributors to this site were born, opposing the Viet Nam war, did not result in the government “shooting people for opposing the government’s viewpoint”; but were, in sharp contrast, mostly free of any violence – that is, except when the protesters turned into a violent mob, then tear gas, night sticks, firehoses, etc., were used to disburse the mobs. In contrast to some early civil rights protests – where peaceful protesters were sometimes attacked by the police even though they were NOT engaging in acts of vandalism, mob violence, etc.

    Every single kid in America has probably seen that Kent State photo. Because it is probably in every high school US History book.

    But Kent State was the rare or unique exception to the norm, due to a tragic convergence of events. Poorly trained, improperly equipped (why are guys with Garand M-1′s being sent to a campus protest anyway?) improperly deployed at the site, improperly led, and overall very nervous young Ohio national guardsmen, faced with an angry and violent mob – somebody loses his nerve and fires, and the others around him panic, and they fire 67 M-1 rounds into the crowd, killing four and wounding numerous others. It was a terrible tragedy which occurred through gross negligence and pure stupidity; rather then caused by some nefarious intentional design, concocted by HR Haldeman or a Pentagon official or even Dick Nixon himself.

    But what the average kid taking US History is of course never taught, other than learning that at Kent State, “troops” fired upon college students protesting the war – is anything else about that event.

    Such as that the protest activity had started a few days earlier (May 1, to be exact – a date of significance which is always intentionally overlooked)…and was escalating rather than coming under control…and had already resulted in out-of-control mobs smashing windows, starting bonfires in the street, vandalizing local businesses, etc., during the night….and that the mob had not only set fire to the ROTC building on campus (in addition to burning a copy of the Constitution in a bonfire) but prevented fire fighters from approaching to put the fire out by throwing rocks at them while the building burned….and also rained down rocks to drive away a vehicle that approached them with officials telling them that they needed to disburse.

    Nevertheless, I think it still would have gone down in history, completely forgotten in the national conscience – due to there being zero deaths and therefore being just another chanting mob, vandalism-filled, college war protest, if the guardsmen or cops had fired the tear gas with the wind at their backs instead of in their faces.

    Comment by southernjames — June 22, 2009 @ 6:18 am
  4. The idea that the Ohio national guard troopers who shot and murdered students at Kent State were not representatives of the USA national government is fatuous and meaningless. The national guards were nationalised well before these events in 1971.

    You can argue that the NY Police who came to Columbia University and dragged students out of buildings by their hair, or by their ankles, and smashed their faces weren’t representing your government either. But the difference makes no difference.

    Southernjames, I think the ROTC should be burned off campus. I think the USA military should be ashamed of their actions in Vietnam, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan, among many other countries. You want an authoritarian society where the military recruits people to destroy freedom in other countries, to slaughter children, and you want us to be silent about it.

    I say to hell with you. May your chains set heavily upon you. May your manacles chafe and bind. And may history never record that you were an American, nor a Southerner.

    Comment by Jim Davidson — June 22, 2009 @ 6:30 am
  5. If the Ohio National guard which was called in to Kent State had been called in by the DOD and not the Ohio Governor, and also had been nationalized at that time, and was therefore under the direct command of the DOD during that incident, that is news to me. And if so, I stand corrected.

    Thanks anyway, but I’ll continue to support the US military being able to recruit and train future officers by way of having an ROTC on college campuses. Even if such a viewpoint makes me Unworthy to Be Historically Remembered as an American.

    And I’ll continue to support and defend the right of people like you to NOT feel as though they need to “be silent” but instead can be free to speak up and exercise their first amendment rights and express whatever viewpoints they want.

    Gosh, how Fascist of me. Erase my name from the annals of America!

    Of course, if you come up to my place of business or my home, with rocks or a flaming torch or other weapons, with the intent to physically harm me, my family, or my property, your first amendment rights end right there, and I will exercise my 2nd Amendment rights.

    But in any event, thanks for the kind words and for supporting a diversity of thought and opinion on this site, which may differ from the viewpoint that American military men and woman and veterans must hang their heads in shame for the past actions of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Clinton, Bush and now Obama.

    Comment by southernjames — June 22, 2009 @ 7:03 am
  6. Southernjames – your facts seem to square with what I remember.
    Jim Davidson – The Ohio NG was under the command of the Governor of Ohio. You obviously despise the US military. Burn ROTC off the campus? That’s great idea. You need those people in the military, lest you lose control of it to the very people you apparently hate. And lastly, you have the right to say anything you wish, BUT, once it’s out of your mouth you have to live with the consequences of what you’ve said. There are a lot of southerners that have lost family and friend in the service of this country and probably don’t take kindly to your obvious bad-mouthing of it.

    Comment by MikieT — June 22, 2009 @ 10:21 am
  7. “The federally-controlled National Guard as we know it was officially created in 1916.” So sez wikipedia. So, of course the National Guard was a part of the national government. They represented your nationalist, socialist government, and they shot those young people because villains like you wanted to see them hurt.

    I support having the USA military held directly and individually accountable for war crimes and treason. I support having them held accountable for domestic police state operations, such as going door to door in New Orleans in 2005 to confiscate privately owned weapons. What was the Oklahoma national guard doing in Louisiana, if they weren’t national troops? How do you justify them making war against the American people by going door to door to seize guns?

    As long as your government’s troops occupy 805 bases in 130+ countries, as long as your government’s bombs slaughter civilians in foreign countries, you are part of a murderous cabal. You have the blood of those children on your hands. And I would support angry mobs burning down the recruiting centers, all the way.

    A lot of Southerners are stupid. A lot of Southerners were slaughtered by the Union military. That you think licking the boot that stomped your great grandfather’s face is the way to make yourself safe is fatuous and laughable.

    I’m right here. You want to take my guns away and then smash my mouth because you don’t like what I say? Come up and take ‘em, if you can.

    Comment by Jim Davidson — June 23, 2009 @ 1:23 pm
  8. Just to be clear, violating the Bill of Rights is violating the oath to uphold and defend the constitution. Military men and women have been doing so for decades. The war on drugs is a war on the American people, and the American people are the United States. So if you take a good hard look at your government’s constitution, that you swore an oath to defend against all enemies, including domestic ones, including the commander in chief if he becomes an enemy of the constitution, you tell me how making war on the United States qualifies as anything other than treason.

    The punishment for treason, again in your government’s constitution, is death. Now you think it is fun to send troopers to campus to smash the heads of hippies, I think that’s making war on the United States. You think it is a good idea to have the military support the BATFE in Waco in 1993 to investigate falsified claims of a drug lab at the Branch Davidian church, I think that is making war on the United States. You think it was jolly to have Delta Force operators detonate the church vault at Waco in 1993 and barbecue seven dozen Texans in their church. I think that is making war on the United States.

    The war on terror as it operates in the United States is making war on the United States. Treason. The war on drugs is making war on the United States. Treason. Sending troops onto campus to kick some heads in. Treason.

    Torturing prisoners to death as the USA military and CIA have done in at least four dozen cases. Treason.

    You like it, you support it, you want more of it, so you leave the recruiting centers where they are. You support the very tyranny that oppresses you, and you wonder why people call you villains.

    Comment by Jim Davidson — June 23, 2009 @ 1:29 pm
  9. Davidson,

    Nice troll. Now go take a pill and a nap. You’re reading a helluva lot into James’ post that wasn’t there, and ignoring some of what was there. If all you’re interested in is antagonistic ranting, please go somewhere else and do it.

    Comment by SC — June 23, 2009 @ 1:51 pm
  10. Wow, I really touched a nerve with that caption! :)

    Southern James, so your position was that that kid had been shot by a pro-government militia? I would think that Ohio troops, Ohio being one of the states that comprises the United States, would count as U.S. government troops, but I can see why people would argue that they really were a militia instead since they weren’t full-time soldiers.

    However, I also should point out that the majority of the people killed that day had nothing to do with the protests, one was even a cadet in the ROTC unit!

    The point I am making is that this is not an isolated incident: from the Whiskey Rebellion, when the U.S. Army invaded Pennyslvania to the violent suppression of protests by World War I veterans, to, oh hell, Waco, the U.S. government, which supposedly is one of the most freedom-loving in the world, has shown little compunction to attacking the citizenry.

    You might hate this fact, but it’s true.

    Incidentally, I would argue that the existence of a professional standing army has left us all less free. The wars its existence made possible allowed not only suppression of domestic rebellions (a rebellion against a government is a fine thing), but also permitted the state to contemplate waging wars. Every war has left U.S. citizens less free than the war before. Moreover, many of the so called “defensive” wars in the history of the U.S., when examined carefully are found to be either offensive ones, or the result of a blowback from offensive actions taken in the past. World War II definitely fits this category; the Japanese were goaded out of isolationism and into imperialism by the U.S. Navy sailing into Tokyo harbor and threatening to bombard the place, and without U.S. involvement in World War I, there would have been no World War II (and no Great Depression either).

    This is why I, a veteran, get impatient with this meme that somehow veterans defended our freedoms. They didn’t. They were, for the most part, unwitting tools of an organization that is daily attacking our freedoms.

    If the U.S. military was organized along the Swiss model I would not be making this claim.

    Comment by tarran — June 23, 2009 @ 2:32 pm
  11. Jim Davidson,

    Burning down buildings is a very bad idea. Period. The arsonist, no matter how legitimate his cause, risks the lives of innocent bystanders, and the property of neighbors whenever he starts a fire. Moreover, no cause can justify burning down someone’s offices.

    The mobs protesting the Vietnam war were violent ones. Often they attacked people or property that had nothing to do with the war. Often the mobs were joined by people who wished to commit mayhem in an environment where they could get away with it. Often the mobs, intoxicated by the violence of their actions, raged out of control with no self-discipline to stay their hands.

    Moreover the mobs hurt their own cause. Most people looked at their violent actions and concluded that they needed to be disciplined and smartened up and that they deserved any physical harm they received by the authorities. See my previous essay on the subject of symbolic victories.

    Yes, by levying a draft (and thus instituting slavery), the U.S. government and its officers were declaring war on the young male population of the U.S. You could argue that they deserved the punishment that all enslavers deserve at the hands of free men. However, many of the people levying the draft and supporting it had no idea that what they were doing was morally wrong.

    These people, unaware that they were committing or supporting a moral crime deserved education, not violent punishment.

    Comment by tarran — June 23, 2009 @ 2:44 pm
  12. So much bullshit, so little time:

    “They shot those young people because villains like you wanted to see them hurt.”

    Go back to third grade and learn how to read, please. Thank you. I don’t want any people who want to protest WHATEVER they want to protest, to get hurt in the slightest. I would however, like them to NOT set fire to buildings and throw rocks at people. I know I know – that is a lot to ask.

    “How do you justify them making war against the American people by going door to door to seize guns?”

    I don’t have any justification for what the national guard troops did in New Orleans; and in fact I think it was a very horrific violation of the 2nd Amendment, which I am a very fanatical supporter of. But unlike you, I am not an apparent lunatic. You have my pity. Get counseling. Or even better, seek Jesus.

    “And I would support angry mobs burning down the recruiting centers, all the way.”

    Unlike you, and in sharp contrast, I respect and honor the men and woman who currently serve and who have served this country, by wearing my country’s uniform – even if they have been ordered at various times in our history into situations by the government that are shameful and wrong. But the shame and dishonor rests with the civilian politicians (and those of us who foolishly elected them) and not on the men and women who wear the uniform, and who obeyed the orders of their superiors.

    “A lot of Southerners are stupid. A lot of Southerners were slaughtered by the Union military. That you think licking the boot that stomped your great grandfather’s face is the way to make yourself safe is fatuous and laughable.”

    Actually, I am not a southerner, I’ve just lived here for the past 18 years. I grew up in Indiana, with family roots in Pennsylvania. My great-great grandfather served in the Union Army. I’m not sure if he shot at smart southerners or just the stupid ones. I had a great-great Uncle or some such, from another branch of the family tree who served in the Confederacy. I’m hoping he was one of the smart ones and not one of the stupid ones, but you never can tell.

    “I’m right here. You want to take my guns away and then smash my mouth because you don’t like what I say? Come up and take ‘em, if you can.”

    Again, I pity your inability to form a rational thought. A real shame. I am not only fully supportive of your 1st Amendment rights (as I have ALREADY said), I am a real fanatic about 2nd A rights. In fact, I am only a few hopey-changitudes away from flirting with flat out unhinged full-blooded 3 percenter-hood. (look up what that means Ace; I know you can do it). I’m holding on to my non-”threeper” status by a thread here.

    I’ll have more to say (including responding to Tarran) but it will have to wait. It’s been a long day and my good friend Jim Beam is getting impatient.

    Comment by southernjames — June 23, 2009 @ 3:48 pm
  13. [...] southernjames: So much bullshit, so little time: “They shot those young people because villains like you wanted… [...]

    Pingback by The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » 30,000th Comment — June 23, 2009 @ 9:23 pm
  14. Tarran, “Burning down buildings is a very bad idea. Period.”

    Then why does your military do so much of it? Or do buildings in other countries count?

    “Moreover, no cause can justify burning down someone’s offices.”

    Of course there is justifiable use of force. Force may justly be used in defense or in retaliation. If someone’s business is slaughtering little children in foreign countries and burning down their office stops them from doing that any longer, that’s a great idea. Since killing children is evil in itself (mala in se) anyone is justified in using up to deadly force to stop it.

    “The mobs protesting the Vietnam war were violent ones.”

    That’s curious, because I saw many of those protests, and they were not mobs, and they were not violent. You must have been at different protests. Or, it may be that when the police attack the crowd and start beating them, you call that a violent mob. To me, it is the police which are the violent mob. But, then, I favor the right to assemble and petition for redress of grievances and speak out on issues and even carry guns while doing so. You don’t favor these freedoms, because you are an authoritarian.

    “Often they attacked people or property that had nothing to do with the war.”

    How often? And who? You seem ready to tolerate the police bashing the heads of anyone provided that in some other city someone did something you think is wrong. Your evidence is not admissible since it is both vague and of the nature of hearsay. So I discount your claim.

    “Often the mobs were joined by people who wished to commit mayhem in an environment where they could get away with it.”

    Indeed. These people are called “police” and by some “pigs” or “fuzz.” Some were agents of the FBI, CIA, and NSA, and these facts are now widely documented in books about the period. Official records are a b!tch that way, huh?

    “Often the mobs, intoxicated by the violence of their actions, raged out of control with no self-discipline to stay their hands.”

    You must be talking about the popular uprising in Iran. Of course in that case you support the eradication of the protestors by violence, right?

    “Most people looked at their violent actions and concluded that they needed to be disciplined and smartened up and that they deserved any physical harm they received by the authorities.”

    You say that “most people” concluded that the protestors needed to be physically harmed by the authorities. You are wrong. You don’t know most people, you haven’t spoken to most people. However, even if most people said that you should smash the face of someone carrying flowers and protesting the war, I say it is evil. A corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit, and you are evil.

    “You could argue that they deserved the punishment that all enslavers deserve at the hands of free men.”

    I certainly do make that argument.

    “However, many of the people levying the draft and supporting it had no idea that what they were doing was morally wrong.”

    And they were only following orders, and they were just doing their jobs. These excuses don’t matter. They did not work for the war criminals at Nuremberg, and they don’t work now. It speaks volumes about what sort of sycophant for authoritarianism you are that you would trot out the “they didn’t know they were doin’ wrong when they smashed those kids faces” argument.

    “These people, unaware that they were committing or supporting a moral crime deserved education, not violent punishment.”

    Then they should have read the protestors’ signs.

    As soon as they acted violently, the police and the soldiers became fair game to be killed. To the extent that they ever did anything morally wrong such as kill a protestor, they remain subject to retaliatory force. And I would like to see some justice, some day.

    Comment by Jim Davidson — June 24, 2009 @ 4:25 am
  15. southernjames, “I don’t want any people who want to protest WHATEVER they want to protest, to get hurt in the slightest.”

    You say so, but I do not believe you. I am calling you an authoritarian and a liar because your words do not ring true. You have not convinced me that you believe anything of the sort.

    (I actually got very high marks for reading comprehension. That’s how I came to receive a national merit scholarship from the National Distillers outfit.)

    “I would however, like them to NOT set fire to buildings and throw rocks at people. I know I know – that is a lot to ask.”

    It is a lot to ask. First you have to prove that everyone attacked violently by your authorities was in fact engaged in these acts that you claim. I think you are lying and repeating propaganda lies from the gov’t you so cravenly seek to appease. Second, you have to show that your authorities could not reduce the alleged criminal acts by use of anything less than deadly force. Since they gave the order to fire at unarmed persons, I say they didn’t even try. They wanted to slaughter young men and women, so they did.

    “You have my pity. Get counseling. Or even better, seek Jesus.”

    Pity from evil is worthless. Amuse yourself with your pity. Counseling? Get a degree and a license before you practice medicine, your gov’t is watching. I follow the teachings of Jesus, which you seem not to have ever read.

    “Unlike you, and in sharp contrast, I respect and honor the men and woman who currently serve and who have served this country, by wearing my country’s uniform”

    It is not my country, and I have no respect for bullies. I don’t respect those who serve tyranny.

    “even if they have been ordered at various times in our history into situations by the government that are shameful and wrong.”

    It is because of your attitude that shameful and evil acts are committed with impunity.

    “But the shame and dishonor rests with the civilian politicians”

    The shame and dishonor rests with those who act. If you pick up a gun and kill an unarmed civilian under orders, you are engaged in morally wrong action. You should be ashamed of yourself. Your only moral course of action is to turn the gun on the villain who gave you the order. But you won’t act morally because you’d rather follow evil orders than think for yourself.

    “(and those of us who foolishly elected them)”

    I didn’t vote for any of them. Therefore my conscience is clear.

    “and not on the men and women who wear the uniform, and who obeyed the orders of their superiors.”

    You really ought to check out how that played out for the concentration camp guards who were tried, convicted, and executed at Nuremberg. They had a moral obligation to disobey immoral orders. They failed in their duty to God, and it was their death. The wages of sin is death.

    “if he shot at smart southerners or just the stupid ones”

    Probably both, knowing the vile scum who were officers in the Union army. The smart ones in the South were not in uniform. The stupid ones were.

    “Again, I pity your inability to form a rational thought.”

    Pity and scorn from an evil man are not worthy of consideration. Pity itself is such a pathetic emotion.

    “I am not only fully supportive of your 1st Amendment rights”

    You say so, but I don’t believe you. I believe when you get an order to shoot a protestor for carrying a sign, you’ll do so. You won’t understand that doing so is evil.

    “(as I have ALREADY said)”

    Repeating your lies does not make me believe you. I would want some convincing evidence. Perhaps if you crawled on your hands and knees over broken glass to the home of every family destroyed by the authoritarian police state you pusillanimously support, and apologised for ever having questioned the actions of their dead relatives, I would find that compelling.

    “I am a real fanatic about 2nd A rights.”

    Dude, the troopers in New Orleans were “only following orders.” So, how can you possibly claim to be a fanatic? Have you arrested any of those Oklahoma National Guard troops who confiscated weapons in New Orleans? Or even talked to them about what they did? Nope. No fanatic you.

    “In fact, I am only a few hopey-changitudes away from flirting with flat out unhinged full-blooded 3 percenter-hood.”

    When you die for your country, get someone to video the event. This I want to see, over and over.

    “I’m holding on to my non-”threeper” status by a thread here.”

    Pfft. I’ll believe it when I see it, and not before.

    “It’s been a long day and my good friend Jim Beam is getting impatient.”

    He is. He wants to give you his Canadian Club.

    Comment by Jim Davidson — June 24, 2009 @ 4:57 am
  16. “Southern James, so your position was that that kid had been shot by a pro-government militia? I would think that Ohio troops, Ohio being one of the states that comprises the United States, would count as U.S. government troops, but I can see why people would argue that they really were a militia instead since they weren’t full-time soldiers.”

    My position is that the troops who were sent to try to bring under control a situation which was NOT merely a collection of people engaging in a first amendment protected peaceful protest rally or march(like I believe the overwhelming majority if not virtually 100% of the anti-Iraq war protests were) but instead was scenario which had turned into an ugly MOB violence situation (fires, vandalism, destruction of property, arson, rock throwing) were not “pro government” or “anti-government”. They were not politicians at all. NEITHER were they full time, fully trained, professional soldiers from the US Army or marines. Had that been the case, there would have been a much less likelihood of panic setting in, and somebody losing his nerve and opening fire. IMO.

    They were instead, young, part-time, week-end warriors, most of whom probably signed up for Guard duty in hopes that their units would NOT be activated and sent to Viet Nam – and could spend the war – IF called into duty – doing things like delivering water and ice to hurricane and flood victims.

    “However, I also should point out that the majority of the people killed that day had nothing to do with the protests, one was even a cadet in the ROTC unit!”

    Yes, and thank you for making MY point. That sure shows that it was NOT some sort of nefarious and evil plot by Big Brother Dick Nixon hatched in Washington, to intentionally slaughter commie hippies and silence the protest movement. But rather a bunch of panicked young state of Ohio guardsmen who had thought being called up would mean stacking sandbags at a river flood, or guarding water trucks and food depots after a storm.

    So the attempt to tie in our government as being equivalent to the Mullah’s intentional actions to try to violently “break” the Iranian election protests, is a real stretch. IMO.

    “The point I am making is that this is not an isolated incident: from the Whiskey Rebellion, when the U.S. Army invaded Pennyslvania to the violent suppression of protests by World War I veterans, to, oh hell, Waco, the U.S. government, which supposedly is one of the most freedom-loving in the world, has shown little compunction to attacking the citizenry.”

    1790′s, 1930′s, 1990′s. Three incidents in two hundred years. Tack on a few more too. Does any other country on the planet, in the 20,000 year history of the human race, have a track record coming even remotely close to that one? That does NOT excuse or justify the second two incidents (I would also suggest that had Waco happened under the hated Bush instead of the beloved Clinton, who had the media covering for him; Bush would have been successfully impeached).

    As for the first one, now don’t go picking on my man George Washington – who if I have my facts straight, actually ACTED in the role of “Commander in Chief” for that one – what other president can make that claim? Damn Western Pennsylvania smelly hillbillies can darn well pay taxes on their 1796 moonshine :) They were probably a bunch of Steeler fans to boot. Go get ‘em George. :)

    “Incidentally, I would argue that the existence of a professional standing army has left us all less free. The wars its existence made possible allowed not only suppression of domestic rebellions (a rebellion against a government is a fine thing), but also permitted the state to contemplate waging wars. Every war has left U.S. citizens less free than the war before. Moreover, many of the so called “defensive” wars in the history of the U.S., when examined carefully are found to be either offensive ones, or the result of a blowback from offensive actions taken in the past. World War II definitely fits this category; the Japanese were goaded out of isolationism and into imperialism by the U.S. Navy sailing into Tokyo harbor and threatening to bombard the place, and without U.S. involvement in World War I, there would have been no World War II (and no Great Depression either).”

    I can’t argue one way or another on exactly how history would turned out, and neither can you, and so I disagree with you or anyone else who can confidently claim that if “A” never happened, then “B” would not have been the subsequent outcome; instead “C” would have been the outcome. That is where the whole “butterfly effect” comes into play. You can play out all sorts of scenarios, in addition to the ones YOU have chosen.

    Gosh, take Hitler’s Germany in the years 1936-1944. What if Hitler had chosen not to overextend himself by launching 140 divisions into Russia, but instead had kept his peace with Stalin – agreed with Stalin to carve up and divide Poland – and then stationed 40 divisions as a protective wall on the East to guard against any Stalin funny business – thus freeing up a MILLION troops, TENS of thousands of tanks, thousands of aircraft, etc., to follow up on Dunkirk, and occupy Britain. With hundreds of thousands left over to keep a grip on Northern Africa, hundreds of thousands left over to better control France and its underground; to squash Yugoslavia, etc.

    Even with Hitler’s overreach, what if the allies had NOT broken both the Japanese and German secret codes? Or what if the Germans found out, and acted accordingly — well, for one thing, D-day would have failed miserably. Which would have greatly altered subsequent 1944 and 1945 history.

    What if the assassination attempt on Hitler, in July of ’44, by some of his generals had succeeded?

    What if Hitler had not demonized the Jews? For one thing, he probably would have had the A-bomb long before US – because he would not have lost most of his top physicists, who were Jews who fled Germany in the 30′s.

    We could go on and on and on – about any number of other circumstances (Japanese society coming into the 20th Century, while still maintaining a Samurai culture mentality, etc. etc.).

    I don’t buy into your whole (100% speculative, with you being able to factor in of ALL possible alternate variables) history would have turned out this way or that way if we did, or did not do this or that, proposition.

    Comment by southernjames — June 24, 2009 @ 5:14 am
  17. “The smart ones in the South were not in uniform. The stupid ones were.”

    LOL. I’ll match up Robert E. Lee’s intellect with yours, any day, pal.

    “I follow the teachings of Jesus.” Followed by:
    “Pity itself is such a pathetic emotion…” and “When you die for your country, get someone to video the event. This I want to see, over and over”

    Gosh, I think I can call bullshit on THAT claim. Let me know what sort of church YOU belong to, so that I never make the mistake of ever setting foot in it.

    “I follow the teachings of Jesus, which you seem not to have ever read.”

    You don’t know Jack Shit about a whole lot of things, including knowing one damn thing about me, other than knowing that I don’t view American servicemen and woman as evil monsters, carrying out evil orders given by their evil monster overlords, which therefore makes ME evil.

    “It is not my country.”

    Then you are free to leave. Funny that it should be that way, considering it is such an authoritarian tyranny according to you.

    Don’t let the door hit you on your ass on the way out. I doubt if anyone will miss you.

    You equate Nazi concentration camp guards being no different than Ohio National Guardsmen. Fine. That is your choice. Go for it. You get to live with yourself, and I’m not forced to – so it’s all good.

    Buh bye. Have a nice life.

    Comment by southernjames — June 24, 2009 @ 5:36 am
  18. Jim Davidson,

    “It is not my country, and I have no respect for bullies.”

    Then it is safe to say that any attempt by yourself to burn down ROTC buildings can be seen as an act of war, and the US would be justified in violent retaliatory action against your entire nation, yes?

    Just following your logic, connecting the dots.

    Comment by CommiePuddin — June 24, 2009 @ 6:01 am
  19. So, southern james,

    Why do you think the protesters in the run up to the invasion of Iraq were so much less destructive than the protesters protesting an escalation in the Vietnam war?

    Why were the most violent protesters in college?

    Comment by tarran — June 27, 2009 @ 8:50 am
  20. The most violent protestors were the police and national guard murderers who killed students for fun, and so they could paint their chins with blood.

    Some people were in college as a way of avoiding the worst consequences of the military draft. If they stayed in school and weren’t flunked out, they might avoid being drafted to kill other people’s children in foreign countries. Some who graduated were able to get into graduate school to further stay the execution. Others chose to do their service absent without leave as George W. Bush.

    CommiePuddin, if you want to take violent retaliatory action for me writing things, by all means, get started, you vicious hateful thug. You want to have your government kill me for the things I’ve written? Then drop the dime, fink, and let’s go.

    Comment by Jim Davidson — June 27, 2009 @ 10:21 am
  21. Southernjames, I am also free to stay. If you want me to leave, make me leave, you vicious coward. You don’t have the guts to make me leave, nor the ability. You are just a bully who can’t think straight. If you want a fight, I suggest you stick your head up your arse and fight for air.

    Comment by Jim Davidson — June 27, 2009 @ 10:22 am
  22. Robert E. Lee himself noted that had he not been stupid, he would have never laid down his sword. But he was duped into thinking that the military occupation of the South would be okay, that the Union had honor.

    The ones who had their heads screwed on properly were the irregular forces raiding under leaders like Quantrill and, after the war, Forrest. No point in standing in a line with officers to the rear waiting to get shot, wearing a uniform to draw attention.

    Comment by Jim Davidson — June 27, 2009 @ 10:25 am
  23. “Robert E. Lee himself noted that had he not been stupid, he would have never laid down his sword.”

    No, Lee never said that, and there are no reliable sources for such a comment from Lee (that alleged comment doesn’t show up until relatively recent history). As for Quantrill, his men murdered nearly 200 men and boys in cold blood in Lawrence, Kansas, for no other crime than living in the town (well, that and the town had a reputation as an abolitionist stronghold, so I guess some of them could have been guilty of believing that [gasp] black people had rights). Boys as young as 14 were dragged from their mothers and grandfathers as old as 90 pulled from their wives and all were shot dead in the street. Quantrill’s subordinate, Bloody Bill Anderson and his men, also dragged unarmed Union soldiers being discharged for disability or on their way home on furlough out of a train in northern Missouri and murdered them, and weren’t shy about killing any civilians that so much as blinked at them. One young civilian man on the train was murdered for trying to hide a pocket watch from them when they demanded that everyone on the train hand over their valuables. Yup, realy role models, there Jim.

    Comment by SC — June 27, 2009 @ 11:33 am
  24. And Jim? What post war activities of Forrest are you referring to, exactly? Forrest surrended his command to Union troops in May of 1865, just weeks after Appommattox.

    Comment by SC — June 27, 2009 @ 11:39 am
  25. Wow, Mr. big tough guy Jim Davidson. More tough words!

    I don’t give a flying rats ass if you leave or stay. But I will choose to totally ignore an unhinged non-American (since you said this is not your country) with MAJOR anger management issues, and will only interact from this point forward with fellow citizens.

    So go ahead and feel free to have that last word and call me a choice name or two – anything to make you feel better about yourself and your very pathetic and sad little life.

    Back to interacting with somebody with an IQ over 75 – Tarran, you said:

    “Why do you think the protesters in the run up to the invasion of Iraq were so much less destructive than the protesters protesting an escalation in the Vietnam war?

    Why were the most violent protesters in college?”

    Tarran, my observations about the Nam era are from memory, and comparing to the events of the past decade. From my amateur layman’s perspective, I think for one thing the demographics changed. The Viet Nam war protests, I believe, largely eminated from and were largely organized and orchastrated from, college campuses. Unlike now, we had a draft then, and so young men aged 18+ had a “dog in the fight,” and much more of a personal interest in what was happening.

    I think that led a lot of the crowds to be demographically comprised of a large percentage of young people. Young men of any era in history tend to be more immature, impatient, excitable, and prone to rage/violence. A bunch of middle-aged people in their 40s and 50s marching down the street to protest something are, it is safe to say, less inclined to get pissed off at the police lining the sidewalks, and start throwing rocks. I’m not the same guy at 50 that I was at 19 – if I go to a march or protest of some kind.

    I think a lot of the Anti-Iraq war protests were organized and orchastrated by people in their 50s and up, who view those olden days with nostalgia. Never since those noble days of yore, have their lives had that kind of meaning. Aged leftists, reliving the past glory. I read more than one commentary from leftist journalists who were really pissed off that today’s students failed to share the same passion.

    I also very cynically believe that some leftist politicians who pushed for a reinstitution of a draft were entirely motivated by a desire to light a fire under the largely apathetic youth of 2003-2008, to gain protest traction against Bush. You will note that there are now no longer any such calls from said politicians.

    Along those lines, I also think the anti-war protests in the 60′s were in a way, more passionate, because the passion was 100% centered on being against the war and not on the political party in power. In other words, they hated LBJ too, not just Nixon.

    In contrast, the anti-Iraq war protests were not just 100% about being against the war, but were also about Bush hatred. Where has Mother Sheehan and the Code Pink crowd been since January? Answer: AWOL. Obama isn’t pulling out of Iraq any faster than Bush had planned, and is ramping up Afghanistan every bit as much as McCain would have. So even though Americans are still dying in that illegal war, I guess it must be all okay now, for them, because Evil BushHitler is gone. Which is what REALLY mattered, it would appear. A pack of middle-aged leftist hypocrites are less likely to want to risk getting pepper-sprayed if they start throwing rocks and burning buildings down.

    Finally, I think the protest movement in general, got smarter this time around. As you (or was it another commentator) pointed out, you don’t win over hearts and minds of the general public if you are dangerous and violent and thuggish. The Nam war protestors HURT rather than helped their cause when they had signs like “we support the troops who shoot their officers,” and did stuff like burn the flag.

    That is why I strongly believe that it is absolutely imperative that the tea party protests be kept free from having any racist signs, free from violence, free from any right-wing versions for Obama of the left-wing “Bush is Hitler” crap we saw (on the internet – the complicit big three networks of course hid that stuff) from some of the anti-Iraq protests.

    Just my opinions.

    Comment by southernjames — June 27, 2009 @ 12:20 pm
  26. Lee attended a meeting of ex-Confederates in 1870, during which he expressed regrets about his surrender at Appomattox Court House, given the effects of Republican Reconstruction policy on the South. Speaking to former Confederate Governor of Texas Fletcher Stockdale, he said:

    Governor, if I had foreseen the use those people [Yankees] designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse; no sir, not by me. Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in my right hand.[39]

    You might try wikipedia.

    Comment by Jim Davidson — June 27, 2009 @ 1:46 pm
  27. Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence in 1863 followed the Union army’s detention of women in a jail which was deliberately destroyed, killing the women. The men and boys killed were all old enough to carry rifles, and were implicated in continuing raids against civilians in Missouri. I think the facts indicate it was about 183 killed, but you could look it up.

    Comment by Jim Davidson — June 27, 2009 @ 1:50 pm
  28. What post-war activities of Forrest do you suppose I mean? He was elected to lead a secretive group which, at one point, he said could muster 550,000 men. This organisation, which he later disbanded, was instrumental in keeping many families from having their farms foreclosed, and in supporting the act of settlement for the war (the Posse Commitatus act which would last a little more than a century).

    Comment by Jim Davidson — June 27, 2009 @ 1:52 pm
  29. southernjames, This cannot be my country. Where freedom lives, there is my country. Ubi libertas, ibi patria. Freedom does not live here. QED.

    Comment by Jim Davidson — June 27, 2009 @ 1:53 pm
  30. Bush is Hitler, and Cheney is Goering. Bush deliberately lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and did so knowingly, and with malice. Bush did so because he wanted to slaughter women and children in Iraq, and drive the price of oil over $100 a barrel.

    Sheehan, who is not the anti-war movement’s only voice, has been fighting against Nancy Pelosi for a seat in Congress. She clearly has continuing anti-war issues. She led an anti-war protest at former president Bush’s home earlier this month. You can read about her exploits at wikipedia.

    Those of you who support the troops in slaughtering foreigners are scum. The only thing I support the troops in is coming home – whether by deserting, refusing orders, shooting their officers, or doing any other thing to object to and contest the unconstitutional and undeclared wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere.

    You war mongers won’t be satisfied until your troops are slaughtering women and children in this country, which is exactly what you deserve.

    Comment by Jim Davidson — June 27, 2009 @ 1:59 pm
  31. Jim,

    From this point on, I highly recommend you limit yourself to one, at most two consecutive posts on a topic.

    You are strangling discussion, and making the thread unreadable. Moreover, you are destroying usefulness of the recent comments section of the sidebar.

    If I see three more posts from you in a row from this point forward, I will just delete the “superfluous ones”.

    Comment by tarran — June 27, 2009 @ 2:02 pm
  32. I agree with much of what you said, but I want to focus on this bit:

    Unlike now, we had a draft then, and so young men aged 18+ had a “dog in the fight,” and much more of a personal interest in what was happening.

    Why would the draft rile anyone up? Why don’t we have similar levels of violence against jury duty, or income tax submissions?

    Comment by tarran — June 27, 2009 @ 2:05 pm
  33. The alleged quote from Lee is very questionable as it comes from a unsupported second-hand account many years after Lee and Stockdale had both died. Supposedly Stockdale told Dabney (the author that used the quote in 1903, nearly 40 years after the war) that Lee had said this to him in Sulfur Spring in 1868. There were no witnesses to this alleged conversation, Lee and Stockdale were not friends, and there is no evidence that they even knew each other at all prior to that meeting. I can also publish a quote stating that Lee told Stockdale that he was an alien from Mars and it would have about as much historical validity. Yes, I will pit my history degree and bookshelf of real, reliable books and research against the accuracy of Wikipedia any day.

    It’s interesting that you excuse the killing of every able-bodied male in Lawrence aged 14 an older based on nothing stronger than that raids had happened in Missouri. Due process and presumption of innocence is for wusses, eh? I don’t imagine too many 90 year old grandpas were riding hell-for-leather into Missouri to burn farms.

    I kinda figured the KKK is what you were referring to regarding Forrest, I noticed you refrained from naming them.

    Comment by SC — June 27, 2009 @ 7:38 pm
  34. tarran,

    Why would the draft rile anyone up? Why don’t we have similar levels of violence against jury duty, or income tax submissions?

    Because jury foremen don’t shoot at you. Nor do IRS agents (although in both cases there is the proverbial gun in the room).

    You’re asking this question as if the masses had a problem with the “slavery” portion of the draft. I don’t think that was it. I think they had a problem with being shot at, and being drafted and going to Vietnam was a pretty successful way to get yourself shot at.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — June 27, 2009 @ 9:58 pm
  35. Tarran,

    I suppose it comes down to a matter of degree, in terms of what gets one riled up.

    I have a jury duty summons for August. It is not getting my adrenaline going quite the way I would expect a summons to report to a local Army draft board would have. If it’s like the last jury summons I got, it will represents a morning of inconvenience and boredom, before I receive my “honorable discharge” and get to go back to the office.

    No GI Bill or VA benefits in exchange for a shorter term of servitude. :)

    With respect to the imposition of income taxes…I think there we see the phenomenon of incrementalism. Back when first introduced almost 100 years ago, the imposition on my great grand parents generation was simple, basic, and clear-cut and it was pennies on the dollar. It was not like we went from 0% of your salary being taxed to 28% overnight, and with all the affiliated bullshit complexities we now have. The monster which is our present day Internal Revenue Code evolved over time. Much like the governmental intrusions/regulations into other areas of private life.

    And like Brad pointed out – it is financial servitude rather than actual physical servitude which may include getting shot at in a Southeast Asian jungle.

    And I think the “slavery” aspect of the draft did not begin to bother people until a percentage of the population – which grew with each passing year from 1965 onward, began to question the validity, legitimacy, legality and the very point of, our being in SE Asia. Before the war itself came into question – which took a couple of years, I don’t think the general public, at large and in general, had a big philosophical problem with having a draft. Probably a spillover from the WWII era, when the draft was widely (if not virtually universally) supported as being necessary in order to defeat Hitler and Tojo.

    Heck there is a huge percentage of the populace (as much as 53%? – and I use that number on purpose) today, who would probably support the imposition of a term of mandatory “public” service for all young people. Depending on how he mid-term elections and the 2012 elections go, will you be at all surprised to see legions of “Americorps” youngsters everywhere, serving as draftees rather than volunteers, by 2013?

    Comment by southernjames — June 28, 2009 @ 6:11 am
  36. So, here’s a question for you pro-baby-killing war mongers. What was the point of being in Vietnam? What did that have to do with peace, freedom, safety, prosperity?

    There were no Vietnamese coming over here slaughtering Americans. There were no buildings blown up by Vietnamese. LBJ lied about the Gulf of Tonkin incident as the NSA proved in 2005 by releasing documents about it. So what was the point?

    You gung-ho baby killers wanted to slaughter civilians all over Southeast Asia. You wanted to send soldiers into combat to bleed and die, because you like to see suffering, bleeding Americans soldiers, right? But what did you get out of it?

    What was in Vietnam that was so important to you? Nothing. You got nothing.

    The death merchants got to sell a lot of helicopters to the military. The death merchants sold a lot of bombs and a lot of planes and a lot of ammo. They made huge profits, tens of billions of dollars over the course of the war, and that was back when a billion dollars would buy you a lot of dead soldiers.

    But what did you get out of it? What was the point in supporting the war, and damning the protestors, beating their heads in and shooting them? What was the sense of it?

    You got nothing but blood and death. Are you happier? Is your country safer because you occupied Vietnam? Are you the big men because you got to slaughter a lot of children in a foreign country?

    No. You got nothing worth having. You are fools. You support war because you don’t think. You are mindless drones, slaves to the state, servants to authority because authority is structure and you are afraid to lead your own lives.

    You are timid cowards. You only support the slaughter of children in foreign countries because you can’t think of anything else to do.

    The guys who killed Americans on 11 September 2001 are dead. They all died. You can’t stop them from killing those people by killing children in Iraq and Afghanistan and Somalia. But you do it anyway? Why?

    You do it because you crave order, and you are stupid, and you are cowards. I have no respect for any of you. You are just filthy pusillanimous scum.

    And that’s why this isn’t my country. My country has intelligent, freedom loving, and brave people in it. It says so in the national anthem.

    This country is garbage, and you are all jingoistic poltroons.

    Comment by Jim Davidson — June 28, 2009 @ 6:41 am
  37. Sorry Jim,

    If there was a point amongst the rhetorical excrement above, I wasn’t willing to wade in and try to recover it.

    Tarran,

    I can add another anecdotal confirmation that the issue was more about the perception of life-threatening danger than the more philosophical concern over personal sovereignty.

    When I was registered for the Vietnam draft, my primary concern was the real possibility of dying for a cause which I felt I had no stake in. I had not yet considered the philosophical implication of accepting the state’s claim on my life’s effort, and my life itself.

    Comment by Akston — June 28, 2009 @ 9:01 am
  38. Jim,

    In your various incoherent ramblings above, I noticed something that’s been sticking out at me:

    Dude, the troopers in New Orleans were “only following orders.” So, how can you possibly claim to be a fanatic? Have you arrested any of those Oklahoma National Guard troops who confiscated weapons in New Orleans? Or even talked to them about what they did? Nope. No fanatic you.

    Do you realize that most of the gun confiscations after Katrina were done by the local police and were done on the orders of the local government?

    Comment by Kevin — June 28, 2009 @ 6:05 pm
  39. So, everyone agrees: the protesters were scared that they would be forced to go fight in a war they did not want to fight in, and possibly killed.

    So the next question: what would happen to them if they refused to fight? What would happend to them if they threw the notices to report for a medical examination in the trash and blew them off?

    Comment by tarran — June 29, 2009 @ 10:53 am
  40. “So, everyone agrees: the protesters were scared that they would be forced to go fight in a war they did not want to fight in, and possibly killed.

    So the next question: what would happen to them if they refused to fight? What would happend to them if they threw the notices to report for a medical examination in the trash and blew them off?”

    I think what you are talking about is large scale civil disobedience – which did actually take place, I believe. And I believe it probably contributed, at least to some extent, to the mounting political pressure to find some sort of exit, as the decade came to an end and the 70s’ began.

    There were a number of protestors who burned their draft cards; there were others who fled to Canada or Europe….I have no idea what the statistics are as to how many of those were ever prosecuted. Probably very few – although that is pure speculation on my part.

    There were lots who found other ways to get around serving; college deferments, use of “connections” which got them into e.g., a guard unit which was unlikely to be called up, etc.

    You also have to remember that this was not like the WWII draft, where simply being 18 years old made it a virtual lock that you would get called up into the Army unless a) you were medically disqualified or b) were employed in a “critical defense industry” or c) were subject to a couple of other narrow exceptions, or d) volunteered for some other branch first.

    In the Viet Nam era draft, there was a lottery system. Names pulled based on birth dates. Only the unlucky guys who had the misfortune of getting a low number were likely to get called up. If you had a high lotto number,you could take your chances and not even bother attempting to find an alternate avenue to evade getting drafted.

    This is not relevant to this discussion, but it should be pointed out that even those who WERE drafted were statistically unlikely to ever be in harms way. Only a certain percentage of those who served between 1965 and 1972 were even sent to Viet Nam – Tens of thousands of “Nam Vets” spent their service Stateside, or in W. Germany, or S. Korea, etc. And as for those who actually went to Nam – only something like 1 in 17 were ever exposed to enemy fire or actual combat conditions. The overwhelming vast majority were never in “the bush” but instead served in rear eschelon areas. Like I said, however, — not that any of that matters for purposes of this discussion.

    Comment by southernjames — June 29, 2009 @ 12:09 pm
  41. Also, I recall being under the impression at the time that draft dodgers that didn’t exit the country or successfully apply for conscientious objector status would be jailed. I don’t know how often that actually happened.

    The controversy over Vietnam felt much more like what I saw in the Gulf Wars rather than what I’ve read and been told about WWII. WWII had a more universal buy-in. This difference may have fueled been in part by televised coverage of Vietnam (bodies, combat, illegal behavior, etc) vs. the WWII newsreel-style feedback. At the end, I also remember Watergate having a pretty deleterious effect on trust of the federal government in general.

    WWII was successfully framed as a Just War to most Americans. Vietnam and the Gulf Wars were not framed as successfully.

    Comment by Akston — June 29, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

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