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Murder Is Not an Anomaly in War

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Posted on Mar 19, 2012
Illustration by Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges

(Page 3)

Steele had come to understand the reality of his work, a reality that stripped away the self-righteous, high-octane gloss. When he was in Sarajevo he was “in a place called Sniper’s Alley” and “filmed a girl there who had been hit in the neck by a sniper’s bullet,” he wrote. “I filmed her in the ambulance, and only after she was dead, I suddenly understood that the last thing she had seen was the reflection of the lens of the camera I was holding in front of her. This wiped me out. I grabbed the camera, and started running down Sniper’s Alley, filming at knee level the Bosnians running from place to place.”

A year after the end of the war in Sarajevo, I sat with Bosnian friends who had suffered horribly. A young woman, Ljiljana, had lost her father, a Serb, who refused to join the besieging Serb forces around the city. A few days earlier she had to identify his corpse. The body was lifted, water running out of the sides of a rotting coffin, from a small park for reburial in the central cemetery. Soon she would emigrate to Australia—where, she told me, “I will marry a man who has never heard of this war and raise children that will be told nothing about it, nothing about the country I am from.”

Ljiljana was young. But the war had exacted a toll. Her cheeks were hollow, her hair dry and brittle. Her teeth were decayed and some had broken into jagged bits. She had no money for a dentist; she hoped to have them fixed in Australia. Yet all she and her friends did that afternoon was lament the days when they lived in fear and hunger, emaciated, targeted by Serb gunners on the heights above. They did not wish back the suffering. And yet, they admitted, those may have been the fullest days of their lives. They looked at me in despair. I had known them when hundreds of shells a day fell nearby, when they had no water to bathe in or wash their clothes, when they huddled in unheated flats as sniper bullets hit the walls outside.

What they expressed was disillusionment with a sterile, futile and empty present. Peace had again exposed the void that the rush of war, of battle, had filled. Once again they were—as perhaps we all are—alone, no longer bound by a common struggle, no longer given the opportunity to be noble, heroic, no longer sure of what life was about or what it meant. The old comradeship, however false, had vanished with the last shot.

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Moreover, they had seen that all the sacrifice had been for naught. They had been, as we all are in war, betrayed. The corrupt old Communist Party bosses, who became nationalists overnight and got them into the mess in the first place, had grown rich off their suffering and were still in power. Ljiljana and the others faced a 70 percent unemployment rate. They depended on handouts from the international community. They understood that their cause, once as fashionable in certain intellectual circles as they were themselves, lay forgotten. No longer did actors, politicians and artists scramble to visit during the cease-fires—acts that were almost always ones of gross self-promotion. They knew the lie of war, the mockery of their idealism, and struggled with their shattered illusions. And yet, they wished it all back, and I did, too.

Later, I received a Christmas card. It was signed “Ljiljana from Australia.” It had no return address. I never heard from her again. But many of those I worked with as war correspondents did not escape. They could not break free from the dance with death. They wandered from conflict to conflict, seeking always one more hit.

By then, I was back in Gaza and at one point found myself pinned down in still another ambush. A young Palestinian 15 feet away was fatally shot through the chest. I had been lured back but now felt none of the old rush, just fear. It was time to break free, to let go. I knew it was over for me. I was lucky to get out alive.

Kurt Schork—brilliant, courageous and driven—could not let go. He died in an ambush in Sierra Leone along with another friend of mine, Miguel Gil Moreno. His entrapment—his embrace of Thanatos, of the death instinct—was never mentioned in the sterile and antiseptic memorial service held for him in Washington, D.C. Everyone tiptoed around the issue. But those of us who had known him understood he had been consumed.

I had worked with Kurt for 10 years, starting in northern Iraq. Literate, funny—it seems the brave are often funny. He and I passed books back and forth in our struggle to make sense of the madness around us. His loss is a hole that will never be filled. His ashes were placed in Sarajevo’s Lion Cemetery, for the victims of the war. I flew to Sarajevo and met the British filmmaker Dan Reed. It was an overcast November day. We stood over the grave and downed a pint of whiskey. Dan lit a candle. I recited a poem the Roman lyric poet Catullus had written to honor his dead brother.

By strangers’ costs and waters, many days at sea,
I come here for the rites of your unworlding,
Bringing for you, the dead, these last gifts of the living
And my words—vain sounds for the man of dust.
Alas, my brother,
You have been taken from me. You have been taken from me,
By cold chance turned a shadow, and my pain.
Here are the foods of the old ceremony, appointed
Long ago for the starvelings under the earth:
Take them: your brother’s tears have made them wet: and take
Into eternity my hail and my farewell.

It was there, among 4,000 war dead, that Kurt belonged. He died because he could not free himself from war. He had been trying to replicate what he had found in Sarajevo, but he could not. War could never be new again. Kurt had been in East Timor and Chechnya. Sierra Leone, I was sure, meant nothing to him.

Kurt and Miguel could not let go. They would have been the first to admit it. Spend long enough at war, and you cannot fit in anywhere else. It finally kills you. It is not a new story. It starts out like love, but it is death.

War is the beautiful young nymph in the fairy tale that, when kissed, exhales the vapors of the underworld.

The ancient Greeks had a word for such a fate: ekpyrosis.

It means to be consumed by a ball of fire. They used it to describe heroes.


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By Sana, March 22, 2012 at 5:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is beautiful and moving and yet sadly true.

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katsteevns's avatar

By katsteevns, March 22, 2012 at 4:49 am Link to this comment

We killed 2 million Vietnamese before that war was finished.

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By heterochromatic, March 21, 2012 at 10:43 pm Link to this comment

Ed Romano—-” they completely disregarded the charge that cause of the war was
capitalism…and started the chant that it was merely a mistake”....


——

literally from left field?


capitalism, my aunt fanny.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, March 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

Cleaning up a loose end:  balkas – in your post of March 19 at
1:33 pm, you have made a mistake in what I said to you.  The
following is the quote, please reread it as it was in fact correctly
written.  It was not written as you thought.

Shenonymous, March 19 at 12:38 pm Link to this
comment So sorry balkas you do not do more research. 
Your philistinism is showing.  I believe there is nothing
about evolution that insists on a god’s will.  Quite the
opposite.  But you’ve a right to believe ?what you want.

The word I meant to use and used is philistinism and not as you
incorrectly wrote it in your post of March 21 9:48 a.m. as philistic,
then reinterpreted it to the correct word I actually did in fact write. 
I did not make the mistake, you did.  The copy/pasted quote is
shown above.

The intention in using the word was not with reference to its
etymological origin from 1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin
Philist?n?  (plural) < Late Greek Philistînoi < Hebrew p?lisht?m.  You
tried to give it, erroneously, a derogatory ethnic tinge.  My syntaxical
usage of the word has nothing to do with the ancient residents of the
middle east.  There was no implication in the least that you were Semitic
(nor shemitic) and NO SAVAGE ATTACK WAS MADE.  You have made a
glaring error.  What you did is to incorrectly read and understand a
commonly used word in my English language, then you built up a fiction
of what I meant that created the impression I had attacked your ethnicity.
All of it untrue.  Makes me wonder, balkas, if that was deliberately an
aggressive act?  My invoking my using the word philistinism to describe
your approach to understanding the language being used was
lexemically appropriate.

    The definition for philistinism from Dictionary.com:
    1. a person who is lacking in or hostile or smugly indifferent
      to intellectual pursuits in ideas and tastes.

By philistinism, I was observing that you were unwilling to do the
research required for us to speak relevantly about the subject.  The irony
is that in your ignorance, you are the one who is casting aspersions on
me and my comments.  You are the one being uncivil.  But you know
what?  I forgive you since it is obvious you are ignorant of this nuance
of the language.

This has been a digression from the real subject of our comments which
was whether or not there was any genes involved in human hostilities or
tendency for war, and that has been dealt with adequately in other posts.
———————————————————————

Anarcissie, March 20   1:33 pm

JDmysticDJ, March 20 at 11:04 am:??‘This
article by Hedges is Hedges at his best. This critique
of war (and more specifically the war in Afghanistan)
is, by my appraisal, the equal to anything I have read,
ever. Hedges is doing his best to nurture people away
from the acceptance of war.  While Shenonymous is
doing her best to convince people that war is “Natural”
to the human psyche and that people can not be
nurtured away from accepting war.’ ...

So what?  None of you are going to do anything about it, so
your theoretical positions are rhetorical play at best.  At least
for Shenonymous doing nothing is consistent with her theory.

DmysticDJ is conspicuously wrong.  I did not exactly say that war is
natural to the human psyche and that people cannot be nurtured away
from accepting war.  To the contrary, I said scientists, anthropologists
and archaeologists have hard evidence there is a predisposition for
aggressive behavior and that there also is evidence of a capacity to be
nurtured for altruism.  I also said I believed there is both nature and
nurture involved.  In his perennial insecurity, JD would concoct any lie to
try to slander me.

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By elisalouisa, March 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment

Patrick Henry:I do not know what force makes you a triggerman or not on innocent civilians.

It is each persons moral compass to either kill a threat or not, in peace as well as war.  When we start killing those who are not a threat, our compass starts spinning and we forget where we are as a nation and the fundemental beliefs which got us here.

Consider the first few sentences of this Chris Hedges column:

The war in Afghanistan—where the enemy is elusive and rarely seen, where the cultural and linguistic disconnect makes every trip outside the wire a visit to hostile territory, where it is clear that you are losing despite the vast industrial killing machine at your disposal—feeds the culture of atrocity. The fear and stress, the anger and hatred, reduce all Afghans to the enemy, and this includes women, children and the elderly.

Perhaps civilians are now considered fair game. For obvious reasons the military can’t come right out and say this. I have read where such murders of civilians is not all that uncommon.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1370758/Shocking-video-shows-U-S-troops-cheering-airstrike-blows-Afghacivilians.html

http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/21/10795362-pentagon-no-evidence-afghan-massacre-was-a-retaliation

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By katsteevns, March 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

“Whereas I do think they believe the war business is a crock with particularly repulsive contents.  We can make some progress in dealing with it, one step at a time. “


This sounds nice. But as long as the voting public keeps it’s conscience clear and can live with themselves after voting in people like Bush. And while they sit back and do mental gymnastics to justify keeping Obama in the White House while he kills Afghan civilians, then nothing here is going to change for the better. It’s only going to get worse.
  All they need is another 911 and blame it on Iran in order scare everyone to death. The papers will intensify their drumbeat for war cuz they are all owned by the 1%. Almost nothing was learned from 9/11/01…at least not enough anyway.

It’s all still just business as usual….Tell me I’m wrong, will ya?

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By Ed Romano, March 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment

Anarcisse, Nothing was learned for the Vietnam fiasco because the anti war movement was taken over by liberals. The early opponents said the war was what it was….a capitalist adventure.  After the movement was swamped by liberals the emphasis was changed drastically….they completely disregarded the charge that cause of the war was capitalism…and started the chant that it was merely a mistake….I think you probably know that this is the reason nothing was learned from that horror show…. but of course, if you voice this fact you will have to face the hostility of the flag wavers.

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By heterochromatic, March 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment

@  Foucauldian,———- I liked this latest one much better…... you still don’t quite
get Hobbes completely, but you’re definitely asking the right questions.

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By Foucauldian, March 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

Disagree with your analysis, Ana.  When you speak of
“effect” you mean permanent effect Well, we’re not
up to it yet for permanent effect.  Besides, we took
our eye off the ball, Watergate having served as one
kind of distraction.

But whatever the case, the antiwar movement
energized a whole bunch of people, more so than the
Occupy has done thus far.  Is that why you’re
minimizing the sixties?  Aren’t you in some sense
the product?  I know I am.  Don’t deny your past.

Whatever the case, and however much or little we
have learned from past mistakes, we’re certainly
much more philosophical and nonchalant about our
imperialistic ventures in the past twenty or so
years than we ever were—because of no draft,
because our own butts are not on the line this time.

It all comes down to our self-interest in the final
analysis, doesn’t it?  Even our “ideals.”

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By OzarkMichael, March 21, 2012 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie asks vector:

1. I am curious as to which participants in this conversation you consider to be baby killing MFs, and on what grounds.

Yeah, me too. especially since I havent even posted here yet.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 21, 2012 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

“I think possibly it might have had something to do with the ease with which those vulnerable to being drafted could be recruited for protests.”  this is the effect it had on ending the war.  The protests were serious, perhaps the ruling class lost their nerve.

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By PatrickHenry, March 21, 2012 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa,

I do not know what force makes you a triggerman or not on innocent civilians.

It is each persons moral compass to either kill a threat or not, in peace as well as war.  When we start killing those who are not a threat, our compass starts spinning and we forget where we are as a nation and the fundemental beliefs which got us here.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, March 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

John Best asks, “What IS Progress”?, March 21 at 1:40 pm:

‘Anarchissie your description of liberal is a keeper.  I wish those who use ‘liberal’ as a derogtory would read your description.

I thought though that the draft did contribute significantly in getting us out of vietnam.

As far as I can tell, my description of my neighbors would be considered highly derogatory in many quarters.

The draft did occasion a lot of protest and probably caused a lot of social damage, but it doesn’t seem to have had much effect on ending the war, which, if you count from Kennedy’s 17,000-man intervention in 1963, lasted for ten years, which is a long time to fight a war for no comprehensible reason.

One of the more important outcomes of that system of events is that people apparently learned nothing from it, because only ten years later they were willing to believe the government’s lies about Latin America, Yugoslavia, and the Middle East, just as they believed the lies about Vietnam.  This was a great failure on the part of the anti-war movement, and I think possibly it might have had something to do with the ease with which those vulnerable to being drafted could be recruited for protests.  No powers of analysis, publicity, or organization seem to have been built up except in very small groups.

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By Anarcissie, March 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment

vector56, March 21 at 12:36 pm:

(me) “I’m pretty sure that beating up on other participants, while it’s fun, is not going to get us anywhere.  In fact it might be a bit warlike!  But if you must do it, try to be clever about it so that if I am not enlightened I will at least be entertained. “

‘I find the above statement by Anarcissie puzzling? If we as citizens do not directly “engage” these “baby killing MF’s who will? ...’

1. I am curious as to which participants in this conversation you consider to be baby killing MFs, and on what grounds.

2. In any case, in what sense does hard talk on an obscure leftish web site ‘engage’ the aforesaid MFs, or anyone else?  People who suffer any discomfort from it—unlikely—can simply stop reading it and blithely continue killing babies.

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By vector56, March 21, 2012 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

John Best asks, “What IS Progress” (some name); I think Mandatory military service by all able bodied citizens is a must in a Democracy. Like Jefferson, I think that “citizen soldiers” are the only way to avoid a “cult of the military”.

“Having a draft didn’t stop the U.S. from getting embroiled in the War in Vietnam.”

Anarcissie, it is not about the draft or even the present all volunteer military; what is at the core of all war is “stuff”, not evil or a high and mighty ideals.

Some one once said that “there will never be a shortage of poor people that rich people can hire (for table scrapes) to kill other poor people” This has been the case through out history as it is today.

So, please spare me the misdirection and bull dodo evil, God, are just front-men for the real reason we go to war. Personally, I find the trigger men far more despicable than their corporate masters! The 1% could very well be insane; the countless millions who do their killing for them, how shall we classify these guys?

Without the Military, Cops, FBI, NSA, CIA… the 1% would be powerless! Have the guts to look the killers in the eyes and say “same on you” for protecting our oppressors!

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

Anarchissie your description of liberal is a keeper.  I wish those who use ‘liberal’ as a derogtory would read your description.

I thought though that the draft did contribute significantly in getting us out of vietnam.

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By Leefeller, March 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Well now my Pet Peeve is GW Bush the Draft evader, but even more pathetic was Bush sending the National Guard to his bogus war, while during Vietnam he stayed home and partied in the National Guard because they did not go overseas, all because of that all so silver spoon up his ass, not to mention his Vice President!

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By Foucauldian, March 21, 2012 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment

I didn’t stop it, but it surely raised a stink.  Right
now there is none because the citizen’s aren’t
involved.  Any war, just or unjust, has got to be
subject to democratic agreement, in the absence of
which it’s but an exercise of power.

I wish I could say something here on behalf of the
Athenians, but I can’t.  Thucydides delivered the
eulogy.

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By Anarcissie, March 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

Having a draft didn’t stop the U.S. from getting embroiled in the War in Vietnam.

Let me suggest that doing good by doing evil is a really, really long shot.  ‘Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.’

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

Vector, what do you think about campaigning for a return to mandatory military service.  Have extreme measures to be sure favoritism for elites ended up in prison sentence for Rich Daddy.

I think it might change the culture and inject better morals from the ground up.  Good place to cross-pollinate the various isolated socioeconomic and cultural groups in the US.  but the biggest benefit I think is it would make the military less of a tool of private interests.

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By Anarcissie, March 21, 2012 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

By ‘liberal’, in the case of my neighbors, I mean they generally believe people have a right to life, liberty, property, free speech, freedom of religion, due process, ostensibly democratic forms of government; they think social democracy or welfare is proper, at least in moderation; they approve of programs like Social Security and Medicare; they believe in legal and political equality for all persons regardless of race, religion, country of origin, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, or political association; they are doubtful about the utility of aggressive war; they think science and education are generally all right; they think the environment, physical and social, should not be destroyed; they think the wealthy should pay taxes; that sort of thing.  Apparently out in the hinterland such people are often considered to be raving leftist ‘ultraliberals’, which is why I live in a big eastern city where they’re middle-of-the-road or even conservative.

When people decide that this body of theory and practice is not working any more, as the culture stands at present they are not necessarily going to become anarchists or Marxists or join a commune of Christian pacifists.  They may go for something far less pleasant, as people have in many other countries when things turned bad.  They are less likely to turn bad if our government gets out of the aggression and imperialism business.

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By vector56, March 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

“I’m pretty sure that beating up on other participants, while it’s fun, is not going to get us anywhere.  In fact it might be a bit warlike!  But if you must do it, try to be clever about it so that if I am not enlightened I will at least be entertained. “

I find the above statement by Anarcissie puzzling? If we as citizens do not directly “engage” these “baby killing MF’s who will? Too many here and in the corporate media are quick to give these “trigger men/women” a pass and allow the killing to go on for generations to come. The elite (1%) understand this “myth of the virtuous common man” and use it to continue the slaughter. Shaming the “Troops” into not getting on a plane and crossing an ocean to kill men women and children is not “war-like”, it is saving lives plan and simple!

The way I see it the Troops have two choices; stay here and fight for a more economically just society, or move to Canada. Killing other people by the millions for Multinational Corporations should not be their “plan B”.

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By Leefeller, March 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

balkas, I will not mention your name ever anymore again,... but what if I want or desperately need to reply or mention something on your comments and said ‘He who dost not want his name mentioned’ could be confusing? Instead of writing your name balkas, if you had an avatar we could say he who has an avatar of such and such, or I and others here could provide you balkas with a nick name, then we would not have to directly say balkas but then we would know it is you, except for any new readers, then maybe we could apply footnotes?

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By Guy Dawson, March 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

After reading this article I am so glad that I dont
know of war at first hand. No wonder so many commit
suicide after experiencing the darkness, hatred and
evil of it.

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By balkas, March 21, 2012 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

leefeller,
i hope you do what you said in your post at 11:27 am. also, if you cld, don’t write my name,
either!
btw, it wld be nice if we wld avoid mentioning names.
instead of that, let’s just mostly posit own facts, conclusions, solutions, suggestions.
we do not have to adhere to this suggestion too rigidly.
at times we may need or even must do some quoting.
in any case, i stress that i am only SUGGESTING we do that. i am not going to berate people if
they do that.
believe me, i am often tempted to attack back those who attack me or get personal while
avoiding the matter at hand.
but being such slow typer and making so many typos, i already spend too much time on posting
w.o. getting also personal

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By Leefeller, March 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

balkas, I know it isn’t right,.... so I will not comment on your post nor on your previous postulations!

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By CanDoJack, March 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

@ marcus, March 20 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@candojack

Um, jack, you didnt coin “obamanation”. As for
“baleful”...oh dear….maybe you should use this link
before you “coin” anymore words…

http://dictionary.webster.us/alphabet/A”

Marcus, thank you for your note.

I DID coin ‘OBAMANATION’ ad hoc - ly defining ‘coin’
as follows. Insatiable reader with great depth and
variety uses a well known word—abomination—but
first flips a couple vowels and exchanges another
vowel so as to arrive at a tragicomedic new word
that is a surname of a person recognized widely; in
some cases the coining may have already occurred
but, it has not occurred in prominent places with
sufficient significance to bother the minter of the
coin with error pokes without siting a correct
reference.

Your complaint with ‘baleful’ is accepted if you are
a Scorpio or other waterborn vice air
astrological/personality sign like, ex gregis, a
Gemini, who would with wry smile be very likely to
grok that the coin is ‘baleful to Bales’ vice
‘baleful to bale’.

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By balkas, March 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

yes, violence appears conditioned and conditional. in other words, all or almost all of our
behavior [and not just violent one] is conditioned [taught/learned] and totally or much
dependent on conditions we selves create.
i have repeatedly postulated on this site that we were and still are ok; i.e., that nature
which made us, did the best it could for us and there is no more to be had than that.
but at certain point of time some extremely sick minds [priests, at first] thought that we
are not ok.
they, along with ‘nobles’ and now with plutocrats, still think as they did some 10-15k y
ago; and, of course teach it in movies, tv, schools, churches, colleges, advertising, most
books, on internet, etc.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 21, 2012 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

jkhall, welcome.  you have raw, firsthand data, I do not.  Can you try to give unvarnished truth?  It is not easy.  Please go on. 

Do you think you are war-like by nature?  When you were at your peak as an instrument of our military machinery, how much of your internal programming was nature and how much was training?  Were you a volunteer or drafted?  Hell, I don;t know what to ask.

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By jkhall, March 21, 2012 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

I am a Vietnam-era Army veteran. I don’t believe anyone knows war, understands war, grasps the reality beneath the surface of war’s perverse attraction better than Chris Hedges.

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By JDmysticDJ, March 21, 2012 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous

I have a rhetorical question for you. Do you think the following comment by you is appropriate?

“Well the gangbangers have crawled out of their holes.”

Of course you do, after all, “all is fair in love and war.” There is no love between you and me so I must deduce that this is your “War gene” at work.

Incidentally, the briefest research revealed the following:

From Psychology Today:

“Sigmund Freud tried to cure Viennese women of their neuroses, and Konrad Lorenz made his reputation studying birds, but the two men shared a belief that has become lodged in the popular consciousness. The belief is that we have within us, naturally and spontaneously, a reservoir of aggressive energy. This force, which builds up all by itself, must be periodically drained off—say, by participating in competitive sports—lest we explode into violence.

This is an appealing model because it is easy to visualize. It is also false. As animal behaviorist John Paul Scott, professor emeritus at Bowling Green State University, has written: “All of our present data indicate that fighting behavior among higher mammals, including man, originates in external stimulation and that there is no evidence of spontaneous internal stimulation.” Clearly, many people—and, in fact, whole cultures—manage quite well without behaving aggressively…”

And:

“Evolutionary psychology” - the discipline that attempts to explain much of human behavior as a creation of natural selection that operated during our hunter-gatherer past - “is dead but doesn`t seem to know it yet,” Stanford University evolutionist Paul R. Ehrlich told the annual meeting of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) in Arlington, Va., on March 26.

‘Genetic evolution did not determine most of how we act or provide us all with a pre-programmed `human nature,’ he added. ‘For instance, there is no reason to believe that human beings are either innately violent or innately peaceful, instinctively disposed to wreck their environments or to be conservationists, or born genetically gay or genetically straight.’”

Now, I know that you, being of a scientific bent, will be quite “open to challenges” to your pseudo-science, and encourage those challenges as well (The astute reader will note my sarcasm here.)

I have no intention to get into a long tedious scientific debate here which would require citing contradictory sources and would deflect from the crux of Hedges superlative article, so don’t bother (As if I could tell you what to do or not to do.)

The contrast between you and me is remarkable. The things that cause you to “hoot” are different than the things that cause me to “hoot.” I’m hooting right now regarding your contention that there is a gene that dictates warlike behavior in human beings.

There is so much more that could be said (That would give me a “hoot”) but I am bored with your theoretical pseudo-scientific blathering so, I’ll pass for now.

Have a nice day! (Not likely)

nice

1.  pleasant: pleasant or enjoyable

2.  kind: kind, or showing courtesy, friendliness, or consideration


3.  respectable: respectable, or of an acceptable social or moral standard


Synonyms: enjoyable, agreeable, pleasant, good, fine, lovely, amusing, wonderful


(As an aside, I’ll relate something that happened to me the other day. I got madder than hell and became aggressive, which caused my serotonin levels to drop.)

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By balkas, March 21, 2012 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

john best,
i put dwn your name out of politeness and not any necessity.
if we wld just adhere to a rule of thumb of cutting down on labeling
people and what they say and replaced tendency to label with a tendency
to describe [whatever] we’d make giant step towards civility!!

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By balkas, March 21, 2012 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

shen, dear,
i am desperately trying not to attack even what people put dwn on paper let alone her/his personality.
i’m trying to keep in mind to juxtapose my—oops, our [almost nothing i posit is solely mine] facts, inferences, solutions, suggestions, etc.
yes, i do know, that people like when others comment on their posts. so, out of politeness, i do respond to some posts and mention the
names of the posters. but i’d rather not do that, because such behavior is not right!
i do not think that attacking other peoples thinking has any protreptic [enlighhtening] values.
what we do when we post is THINKING! and then describe verbally our thoughts. that’s all folks!
we think and speak or write our thoughts!
so, we can see from above affirmation [ok, fact or postulate] that one shld never thwart other thinkers to think and put them dwn on paper.
and, whether we like it or not, that is an inalienable panhuman right. so, lets cut dwn on not only blaming, but also praising people.
of, course, this does not mean that one shld not condemn some behaviors!
==
in one of your posts, you said s’mthing like this: balkas, you’re showing your philistic nature. i think you meant to say my philistine
[palestinian nature] nature—which the judeans or hebrews have imbued with to many negatives to mention them all, but vulgarity does stick
out.[by the way, i am no more shemitic than ben gurion, lieberman are—and i reject islam…]
i chose not to respond to such a quite a condemnation of my person and what i say.
ok, i am often savagely attacked on all site i post. but since i know that such people don’t know how to behave in a civil manner, i don’t let
such comments even deter me in OUR writing what WE THINK, let alone stop. thanks, bozhidar b

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 21, 2012 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

OK, let’s start right here.  Toward the end goal of calming minds, can we please have less confusion? 

The term ‘liberal’ is confusing.  It means different things to different people.  When 6 people talk about a ‘liberal’, there are at least 5 separate opinions if not 6 as to what is meant.  This makes confusion.  This makes stress.  Stress is the enemy of calm. 

Another term, ‘’  It means different things to different people.  When 6 people talk about a ‘The American Way of Life’, there are at least 5 separate opinions if not 6 as to what is meant.  This makes confusion.  This makes stress.  Stress is the enemy of calm. 

Perhaps we should start our movement by teaching people that if they can recognize various sorts of ambiguities and fallacies, and other sources of confusion, we might be less stressed, and be able to call BS on more wanna-be politicians, therefore increasing the general calm and serenity of the Nation.  There’s your movement: Calm, Reasoned Nation.  Waddayathink?

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By Foucauldian, March 21, 2012 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, March 21 at 9:06 am

Would it require all of that—abandoning the
American way of life?  Guess you’re right.

Got to keep the cat, however.  And I could never do
without a car—my only symbol of physical freedom.

Everything else can go!

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 21, 2012 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

Lefeller, The industrialists let Hitler exterminate the Jews as a distraction from theft of resources.  Apparently some of those industrialists were Americans.  I have to wonder, if due to our inheritance laws how much war profiteering has stayed in those families? 

Shenonymous, another great post, but a succinct little gem at the end IMO is a keeper.  You say, “I think it is only with calm minds that the first steps towards a better world can begin.” 

I don’t even want to try to build on this yet. I just want to savor it.  Then I want to consider the things that ‘un-calm’ our minds.  Those ‘uncalming’ things are the enemy of rationality, peace and love.

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By Anarcissie, March 21, 2012 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

My neighbors Juan and Maria can stop being liberals, but it will not be so easy for them to dump their jobs, house, car, children, aged parents, dogs, cats and each other.  They’ve made commitments to life as they understood it and they’ll probably stick it out.  However, they could give $25 to the Green Party or some other such outfit without inconveniencing themselves too much.

Anyway, I don’t know if I want them to stop being liberals too quickly.  They’re not necessarily going to adopt my wonderful views on anything.  Whereas I do think they believe the war business is a crock with particularly repulsive contents.  We can make some progress in dealing with it, one step at a time.

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By Shenonymous, March 21, 2012 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

It will all depend, Ed, on how one expresses one’s thoughts.

And yes, Leefeller, we must get the money out, since that is what
feeds powerplays.  We serfs of the nation must find a way to do that. 
There will never be a groundswell of the numbers consequential to
make changes.  Occupy is one manifestation of a rebellion if there
ever was one in this country.  But even that is not organized enough
to make a sweeping change we are pining for.  That is the central and
essential problem of an anarchic effort.  Read your Hoffer again. 
Doesn’t he say, insightfully, how movements can be successful.  Can
that movement be as large as the entire 313,221,251 US population?

At least liberals have a focus for their altruism and it’s locus is not on
the individual but on the society’s freedom.  But besides meaning free,
liberalism also means generosity, unprejudiced, a substantial political
program, social in substance, and a morality that sharply emphasizes
fairness, as well as a receptivity to the world’s people and caring of the
condition of the planet.  The liberal disposition is more psychological
than with politics per se or even morality.  It seeks to include rather than
to exclude which the anarchistic and libertarian persuasions do. We
recognize the dark side of human nature, and that some political
systems, illiberal ones, have been and are today evil in the extreme sense
of the word. But this does not preclude a realization of moral excellence,
or that wonderful Greek word, arete.

With all certitude, elisalouisa, I am absolutely sure I made it clear that
while there might be a genetic component to the human penchant for
war, we must modulate it with a conscious effort to constrain that savage
impulse, and because we are conscious animals. we can.  We are the only
ones who can stop ourselves.  Or nature will do it for us by annihilating
the human race, or at least a great number of us, by our clinical insanity. 
When we kill our progeny as a species, we surely are lunatics.

So how shall we go about it, as Anarcissie so lucidly asks?  She offers a
few actions we can take.  But what can each of us do unhesitatingly to
end the animosity for others that we have either learned over the
millennia or find in our physical/mental make up?  To not pay attention
to both of these facilities for violence is to work only on half of the
problem.  Working on our behavior can work more immediately than the
other as breeding it out of human life would take many generations
where our learned conduct can be unlearned much quicker. And it seems
speed is of the essence and commands our urgent attention.

So one is short term and the other long term.  We need both.

As a gesture of what I can do on a personal level, in view of the recent
attacks on my person as well as my opinions and beliefs, which I
consider have been extraordinarily vicious and unbelievably irrational, I
still can and would offer a dove of peace to those who have expressed an
unusual dose of animosity.  It does not seem likely that a friendship
could be struck, but a calming of the heart and thereby a calming of the
mind might be possible.  I think it is only with calm minds that the first
steps towards a better world can begin.  We are talking of a colosal task
and we usually can only imagine small scale. Mine is as small as it can
get, but beginning with the personal is surely the way.

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By Foucauldian, March 21, 2012 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

BTW, Ana, still looking for your first comment,
favorable or not, on my “series.”  The following is
a link to the summary:

http://tinyurl.com/7boe6mm

You too, Hetero, since you’re a resident expert on
Hobbes.

Next piece should be a welcome change of pace,
looking at Hayek’s conception of “individualism” as
per “Individualism & Economic Order.”

Sorry for this shameless act of self-advertising,
but I’ve been known to do worse.

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By Foucauldian, March 21, 2012 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

“... sadly compromised liberals burdened by jobs,
mortgages, and limitations of funds, energy and wits. 
I understand; I’ve been there.”    Anarcissie

The quote of the day.

There’s a simple solution:  stop being one and
everything will fall into place.

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By Leefeller, March 21, 2012 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

Yes, John it all does seem a diversion from the real issues, actually emotional issues which are being implemented as diversions to divide, I wonder if Hitler used diversions as he took power?  As always there is money to be made. Both parties seem to be running with the diversions and I see once again a Kabuki Theater the diversion before us with a good cop and a catch up cop.

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By Anarcissie, March 21, 2012 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

My guess is that there was a long period in human evolution when the ability to fight well in groups against large predators, including other humans, was the key to survival and reproduction.  So there might be quite a bit of programming in between our ears tending toward warfare and oppression, and a general solution may take a lot of work.  Yet the work is necessary, because in this age of advanced technology, we have become capable of destroying ourselves.  Or, as someone else put it, ‘Formerly, man was not able to do as he desired.  Now he can do as he desires; and he must change his desires, or perish.’  A big order if the propensity to organize for (and celebrate) killing is genetic or deeply embedded in human cultures, and a complex question.

Nevertheless, we can probably do something towards stopping the next war, or the next few wars, and towards deflating the exceptional American propensity to start them.  This is what I’m interested in at the moment.  I’ve given a few suggestions that might even appeal to sadly compromised liberals burdened by jobs, mortgages, and limitations of funds, energy and wits.  I understand; I’ve been there.

I’m pretty sure that beating up on other participants, while it’s fun, is not going to get us anywhere.  In fact it might be a bit warlike!  But if you must do it, try to be clever about it so that if I am not enlightened I will at least be entertained.

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By Ed Romano, March 21, 2012 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

Elisa, How could I possibly be more specific? Did you accuse me of being a “censor” on this site, or was it someone else using your name ? My God, can’t we all post our thoughts concerning war on this site without having them splattered with snide remarks and insults ?

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By Leefeller, March 21, 2012 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

Yes, first it always seems to be the money but then follows the stuff or do I have it backwards?

Still I maintain we need to get the money out of Congress and politics, so they would appreciate their stuff.

You know, everything according to the politicians seems to become a war, from the war on drugs, the war on the 99 percent, the war on women, all bought and paid for by the few with money and lots of stuff.

If any of you have not read General Butlers “War is a Racket” it connects the dots after WWI, and fits today. I may have to reread it myself, to see if the word ‘War’ may be a inclusive metaphor for all the declared wars going on against the people of the world, including our own right here in River City? Yes it appears to always be the money and the stuff which goes with it.

As for God, elisalouisa’s comment seems to be very close in intent to what I find to be real compassion, possibly even let me assume on unsound ground for those who would be, as stated alone, (for me it works) it may be as close to commonality one may potentially expect as our differences vary, enabling to find civil common ground.

  “Those with love in their hearts who work to better mankind and the earth” would be my definition of one close to God.”

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 21, 2012 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

Once again we see why I completely accept the occasional seeming bruskness of Shenonmous: the post below, thorough and to the point.  Exactly long enough to inform factually and adequately. 

So, why the Republican attack on Women? Carried out from the rightmost fringes, a useful tool for this political dirty work.  And I’d say the ‘lesser of evils’ party will benefit, risking the Wrath of She, but hear me out…..

It’s a huge smokescreen/distraction.  I hate to categorize the unmitigated assault on women a ‘distraction’, but it is of such, such seriousness that the issue can;t be ignored.  This shows how serious the issues are from which the distractive issue distracts!  ‘They’ could have ramped up the assault years ago, but why is it happening now?  What other issues are at critical mass? 

Iraq/Afghanistan? OWS issues?  Economic health?  Domestic erosion of civil liberties?  Environmental issues? Price of gas?  Perhaps all of the above and more?  All of congress benefits from the Rick Santorums and the other ultra righties distracting the public.  Anti-congress sentiment has been brewing for some time, this is indeed a damn evil attack on womens rights, and it ratchets up the classic ‘lesser of two evils’ framing of our political decisions. 

So what to do?  This attack is largely at the state level.  At least they show us that being focused on the Presidential race is a waste of time, that we must look deeper.

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By elisalouisa, March 21, 2012 at 6:58 am Link to this comment

Be nice yourself Ed. Could you be more specific as to what it is in my post that offended you? The fact that we must work at controlling our lesser instincts? If so, why?

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By Ed Romano, March 21, 2012 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

Vector 56, So good to see someone disregarding the smoke and mirrors show and laying down the clear, obvious and evident reason for war. Get ready for the bricks and insults.

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By Ed Romano, March 21, 2012 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

Elisa, Be nice why don’t ‘cha ? I wouldn’t say that trying to get folks to focus on the root of our problems is trying to “censor” them. And if anything needs changing it still needs to be changed even if aren’t capable of changing it…. Just because an armless mama can’t change the baby’s diaper doesn’t mean the kid don’t stink.

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By elisalouisa, March 21, 2012 at 5:14 am Link to this comment

Patrick Henry:  Is it possible that murder of women and children is now a method of keeping the “enemy”  population in check and winning the war? More specifically, could Richard Bales have carried out what some officers felt should be done in retaliation for the two officers who were killed? Thus the cover up?

Most here on Truthdig Anarcissie do not jump on “bandwagons” which is verified by the lively discussions that make this site what it is. Agreeing with Shenon’s comments does not change the fact that we must fight war, especially these endless wars, in every way possible. Our present system encourages and
even admires greed. As long as people want “other people’s stuff,”  anarchy or any other form of government is doomed to failure. The seemingly insatiable need “for more” and thirst for power that is within must be altered and given new direction for wars to stop. That takes hard work and falls within the category of “doing something” in my book.  Perhaps David Graeber will soon rejoin Occupy Wall Street when the weather is better, the publicity will help the sales of his new book soon to be published. Incidentally, I did borrow his book “Debt, The First 5,000 Years” from the library and found it quite interesting.

As to your comment on misogyny John Best, very good.

Your gentle posts are appreciated Colin 26x3+2, however, how is “Being Religious” defined and who defines such a phrase? Also, it may be the wrong question as explicit belief is God could be considered a side issue and also a judgment call. “Those with love in their hearts who work to better mankind and the earth” would be my definition of one close to God.

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By katsteevns, March 21, 2012 at 5:00 am Link to this comment

“No one is fine feeling alone.  Feeling alone is an existential crisis, and anyone who tries to live without God is undergoing this crisis.  These people who deny God’s existence are denying their own existence, and they’re lost.  I don’t say that with any kind of malice.  They’re lost in the sense that they don’t know how to experience love, and they can’t experience love.  They can’t truly feel love.  They can’t truly care for other human beings, especially since they can’t feel love even for themselves.”

Interesting proposition that warrants exploration. smile

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By Shenonymous, March 21, 2012 at 4:57 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, March 20 8:37 pm – That got my laughing motor started
this a.m. 

truedigger3 and John Best clearly understand the motivations for war.
It is power as insured by money, so on the face of it, it only looks like
money is the first reason.  Name one war that has not been for power. 

The refreshed but perennial “so-called war on women.”  And the
religionists would de facto murder women by their redefining rape, The
No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act that bans using tax credits or
deductions to pay for abortions or health insurance. A woman who used
such a benefit would have to prove upon a mandatory official inspection
that her abortion “fell under the rape/incest/life-of-the-mother
exception, or that the health insurance she had purchased did not cover
abortions.” This would cause the IRS to become “The Abortion Police”
who would require women to give “contemporaneous written
documentation” that it was “incest, or rape, or [her] life was in danger”
which made an abortion necessary. This added responsibility would also
add uncountable millions and millions of dollars to the cost of IRS
operations.  What asses are the Republicans on this particular issue, you
know, the fiscally responsible Republicans! 

The Protect Life Act, the House Republicans passed or as it is called by
its real name, “Let Women Die” bill.  Hospitals that receive federal funds
will be forced to reject any woman in need of an abortion procedure,
even if she is in dire need to save her life. 

The next detrimental attempted legislation is the Mississippi personhood
state constitution amendment.  (It was rejected soundly by the citizens of
Mississippi 58 to 41 percent but even that margin is scary that 41% voted
for it, Jeezus!) 

To continue:  Copycat House Republicans in the US Congress introduced
the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination
Act (PRENDA) based on Arizona’s legislation that — a so-called “civil
rights” bill that bans physicians from performing abortions based on the
fetus’s race or sex and incarcerates doctors and clinicians tor three years
if they knowingly provide such abortions. The federal bill PRENDA allows
for civil suits against the physicians. 

And…the forced ultrasound forced on women seeking abortion services
of the fetus, and in some cases, describe the image to her or require her
to look at the ultrasound.  For instance, Kentucky’s bill required doctors
to describe the image if the woman chose to avert her eyes or face a
$250,000 fine for disobeying the law.  Ohio’s House passed the
Heartbeat Bill that would ban abortions after the first detectable fetal
heartbeat, which can occur as early as six weeks into pregnancy.  It was
put on hold while Republicans scramble for political reasons to reword
the amendment claiming the language of the bill was too confusing.  The
only thing that is confused are Republicans with their shrunken brains. 

Fetal pain has now become a Republican issue in several states, Texas
being one of them, that would limit or ban abortions past 20 – 22 weeks
“based on disputed research that fetuses an feel pain at that point of
development.

This frenzied attack on women’s rights becomes literally a physical
attack on women when these laws are applied.  It does have to be asked
how precisely do the Republicans benefit from their invasion?  For Power
and only Power is why they are ransacking and ravaging women.

Want to talk about war?  Apparently the wholesale murder of women is
not much of an anomaly in the Republican war on women.

theway, exactly how many women falsely accused males of rape and
child abuse have you encountered?

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 21, 2012 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

theway, you are the one who is too kind.  Extra sensitivity is called for on the web, I think, and believe me, I’m certainly not always as kind as one should be.  Colin 2626262 is a heck of a test…...

Colin2626262, you are not only projecting your need for religiosity on to others, you are telling me, prescribing to me, what is best for me?  And calling me a liar?

How can I possibly retain my composure and behave in a civil manner in light of this pure arrogance?  I’m just going to say, thank goodness this is America, and I can still tell you to take a hike.  Let me also add, if you could trade your IQ for what you’ve made my blood pressure, you’d make a monkey out of Einstein.

Patrick Henry, you may be perfectly right, I haven’t dug into Bales, but let’s not let him be the scapegoat.  He is the tip of the iceberg.  He’s the Bernie Madoff in so many ways.  I don’t think we can ever advance if we don’t start really trying to solve the underlying pressures and impede those who unscrupulously use those pressures to advance themselves within a big uncaring machine. 

We have a public trial of a bad one who certainly went way, way over the line, then allow the conditions to carry on, forming legions of the next Sgt. Bales.  There are thousands very like him, and when conditions are wrong, it’s going to hit the fan again and again.  Perhaps even in a small town near me and you.

I do think a really serious nationwide discussion nationwide about PTSD and about general anxiety and stress is long overdue.  We are People, not a herd of consumers, and we are not living our lives to be continually stressed by various pressures.  Psychological pressure from low level advertising up to extreme ‘warrior conditioning’ is tearing us apart.

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By vector56, March 21, 2012 at 4:34 am Link to this comment

“I differ with you in that many of the troops are not fighting for “scraps”. Many of the troops swallow the bullshitting and think that they are fighting for a “noble cause”.”

truedigger3; your above comment would seem to fit neatly into what gets repeated in “polite company”, but “truth be told”, many if not most of the Troops are into “it” (mass murder) for the “table scraps” that “trickle down” from the multinational corporations. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble here but, there are no “good guys” occupying the camp of the aggressors!

The “Dream Act” is a prime example of how easy it is to recruit poor Brown people on this side of the world to slaughter poor Brown people on the other side of the world for multinational corporations (BP, EXXON Mobile).

Just as Multinational corporations do not come right out and say “we want to kill these people and take their oil”, the Troops all so hide behind bull shit reasons for “killing for cash”! The ones who pull the triggers and drop the bombs are not victims!

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By theway, March 21, 2012 at 4:24 am Link to this comment

To John Best:
Thank you. I belive you must be a very kind person.

May I please just point out that what sometimes seems like assertiveness may be an arrogance, aggression,ignorance and self-importance. Although I am a female,in my work I encountered women who falsely accused males of rape and child abuse. Vindictive women can be more dangerous then vindictive males. However, we should not generalize.

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By PatrickHenry, March 21, 2012 at 3:34 am Link to this comment

I have been watching the info on SSgt Bales come out bemused by all the apologetic crap being offered up about him.  He is implicit in this and performed these acts with premeditation and needs to be held accountable.

10 years in a war zone has lowered the threshold of accountability to wild west status and has replaced the rule of law with the rule of the gun.

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By colin2626262, March 21, 2012 at 3:17 am Link to this comment

John Best,

I’m the one who said if you believe in God, you won’t be alone, not elisalouisa.  I was responding to her comment.  I also wrote to you, “Just because some religious people, or people who have a title of religiosity like chaplains, say they’re in support of war doesn’t mean God is.”  You should understand there is only one God, but there are different levels of closeness among believers (and nonbelievers) to this God, and this God is a God of love.  So if a person is close to God, he or she will be a loving person.  If a person is not close to God, he or she will not be a loving person.  This is why it’s so important, this question of faith or closeness to God, as it relates to war and peace.

John, you write:

“I’d be fine feeling alone.  I don’t feel alone, but if I was alone, would I rely on an imaginary friend?  No.  I could face it.  Perhaps that’s what God is.  Hey, whatever gets you through the night…”

Someone asked me if it matters whether or not Chris Hedges is truly religious.  It matters because we have to understand, or define, what it means to be truly religious.  It starts with, as I wrote before, having a relationship with God.  Now, how do you have a relationship with God?  First off, you pray.  That’s how the relationship with God begins, and you live and continue to seek God through prayer, and you grow, and your faith grows, your relationship with God becomes closer each day you practice your faith, each day you pray.

Obviously, if you don’t pray, if you don’t have a relationship with God, if you never seek God, then you’re going to think there is no God.  You’re going to refer to God as “an imaginary friend” or something like that.  But those of us who pray, those of us who have a relationship with God, know God exists, we know God is real and not just psychological, not just in our imagination or our perception.  God’s Being is independent of our being.  God gave life to our being, however, and so God is also within us.  This is not proselytizing but rather stating a spiritual fact of life.

When John says he’d be fine feeling alone, he’s lying.  No one is fine feeling alone.  Feeling alone is an existential crisis, and anyone who tries to live without God is undergoing this crisis.  These people who deny God’s existence are denying their own existence, and they’re lost.  I don’t say that with any kind of malice.  They’re lost in the sense that they don’t know how to experience love, and they can’t experience love.  They can’t truly feel love.  They can’t truly care for other human beings, especially since they can’t feel love even for themselves.

A person in this predicament might try to appear strong and say, “I can face it.”  But ultimately, it’s a life of despair that cannot be faced for long.  Eventually, if you don’t change, you’ll die of despair, and being in despair is hell.  Being alone eternally, separated from God, is hell, and that is the despair that those who deny God live with every day.  These people cannot love, they’re filled with hate, and the communal expression of this despair and hate is seen in war.

Don’t think I’m just saying believe this and that’s the end of it.  Try praying to God.  Everyone knows how.  If there’s no God, then who are we praying to?  We’re praying to Someone who really exists and who loves us and who wants us to love each other.

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By colin2626262, March 21, 2012 at 3:06 am Link to this comment

John Best,

I’m the one who said if you believe in God, you won’t be alone, not elisalouisa.  I was responding to her comment.  I also wrote to you, “Just because some religious people, or people who have a title of religiosity like chaplains, say they’re in support of war doesn’t mean God is.”  You should understand there is only one God, but there are different levels of closeness among believers (and nonbelievers) to this God, and this God is a God of love.  So if a person is close to God, he or she will be a loving person.  If a person is not close to God, he or she will not be a loving person.  This is why it’s so important, this question of faith or closeness to God, as it relates to war and peace.

John, you write:

“I’d be fine feeling alone.  I don’t feel alone, but if I was alone, would I rely on an imaginary friend?  No.  I could face it.  Perhaps that’s what God is.  Hey, whatever gets you through the night…”

Shenonymous asked me if it matters whether or not Chris Hedges is truly religious.  It matters because we have to understand, or define, what it means to be truly religious.  It starts with, as I wrote before, having a relationship with God.  Now, how do you have a relationship with God.  First off, you pray.  That’s how the relationship with God begins, and you live and continue to seek God through prayer, and you grow, and your faith grows, your relationship with God becomes closer each day you practice your faith, each day you pray. 

Obviously, if you don’t pray, if you don’t have a relationship with God, if you never seek God, then you’re going to think there is no God.  You’re going to refer to God as “an imaginary friend” or something like that.  But those of us who pray, those of us who have a relationship with God, know God exists, we know God is real and not just pychological, not just in our imagination or our perception.  God’s Being is indepedent of our being.  God gave life to our being, however, and so God is also within us.  This is not proselytizing but rather stating a spiritual fact of life. 

When John says he’d be fine feeling alone, he’s lying.  No one is fine feeling alone.  Feeling alone is an existential crisis, and anyone who tries to live without God is undergoing this crisis.  These people who deny God’s existence are denying their own existence, and they’re lost.  I don’t say that with any kind of malice.  They’re lost in the sense that they don’t know how to experience love, and they can’t experience love.  They can’t truly feel love.  They can’t truly care for other human beings, especially since they can’t feel love even for themselves.   

A person in this predicament might try to appear strong and say, “I can face it.”  But ultimately, it’s a life of despair that cannot be faced for long.  Eventually, if you don’t change, you’ll die of despair, and being in despair is hell.  Being alone eternally, separated from God, is hell, and that is the despair that those who deny God live with every day.  These people cannot love, they’re filled with hate, and the communal expression of this despair and hate is seen in war. 

Don’t think I’m just saying believe this and that’s the end of it.  Try praying to God.  Everyone knows how.  If there’s no God, then who are we praying to?  We’re praying to Someone who really exists and who loves and who wants us to love each other.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 21, 2012 at 1:01 am Link to this comment

elisalouisa, Regarding your post below of March 20 at 7:03 pm —I would say it is difficult to separate at what point an individual realizes (or not) what they have become, and assign the right degree of culpability.  But, you may be right, a close look may show he is one who is adequately aware, and goes ahead with his conditioning, and is therefore, “well beyond any ‘logical redemption’.”

There have been some tremendous posts here, and truedigger3 nicely sums the simple core issue about the real causes, theft.  I might add power, but ultimately power is about the power to steal. 

Stealing is easier than building for yourself I suppose.  How many millenia does that go back?  But, shall we try to look at the sources of the needs which add up through our economic and political system to ultimately propel us to steal through war?  Isn’t it the difference between what we use and what we produce?  If me and 300,000,000 of my fellow Americans would change our basic philosophy to truly be self-reliant, to have a balanced energy equation (demand=renewable production), to produce no ‘throw-away’ goods, all we would have to do is keep some other rising power from making the same wars we are making at present.

We need to develop a better lifestyle, and a less self-oriented attitude.  That’s all. (wink)

And to those who seem to have a little extra enthusiasm for picking on knowledgeable assertive ladies…..look in the mirror.  Find the cause of your misogyny.  Tear it out.

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By truedigger3, March 21, 2012 at 12:02 am Link to this comment

Re: By gerard, March 20 at 6:52 pm

gerard wrote:
My take on our situation worldwide is that the human race is just at the very beginning of a massive turn away from war as the sanctioned answer to the settling of differences and disputes.
————————————————————————
gerard,
There are no differences and disputes. There are the appearance of differences and disputes! The real reason for wars , as vector65 said and I agree with him, is to get other peoples’ stuff. It is all resources grabbing and any other reasons given are pure bullshitting!.

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By truedigger3, March 20, 2012 at 11:43 pm Link to this comment

Re:By vector56, March 20 at 5:45 pm

vector56 wrote:
Hello!  Me again. At the risk of being redundant, I will repeat; war is not as complex as you guys with “big brains and titles” make it out to be.

It is about killing people and taking their “stuff”! Strip away all the philosophical ceremonial bull shit and you will always find the primitive brute who is bashing the other guy in the head to take his/her stuff!

Global Corporations are at the top of the feeding chain, and the trigger men (the Troops) kill for their table scraps.

“Who do I have to kill to get some of that government health care (VA), a steady pay check, Dental, and some college money?”
———————————————————————-
vector56,
I agree with you that all wars are started for economic gains camouflagued and hiding behind bullshitting justifications.
Wars are always started or provoked by the stronger opponent. The weaker opponent sometimes get tricked into starting the war or was left with no choice but to fight!
I differ with you in that many of the troops are not fighting for “scraps”. Many of the troops swallow the bullshitting and think that they are fighting for a “noble cause”.

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By Anarcissie, March 20, 2012 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa—I was going to bring that up, as a matter of fact.  Hedges may blather more than I like but he did have the moral wherewithal to chain himself to the White House fence and get himself arrested.  But that doesn’t let anyone else off the hook.

I guess a lot of the present company are bravely resisting war and imperialism by jumping on Shenonymous’s case.  That’ll fix the problem, eh?

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By Shenonymous, March 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment

Thanks heterochromatic….I won’t let the bastards grind me down!
I’ve got fingernails of steel.  G’nite and thanks again.

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By heterochromatic, March 20, 2012 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

nothing to forgive, She…...  hang in there…..

Illegitimi non carborundum

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By Shenonymous, March 20, 2012 at 8:40 pm Link to this comment

Let me look at that again, heterochromatic…............

I guess I am just tired, worked all day then had to deal with
a set of e-gunmen on the hunt for my back and they got quite
a few shots off.  Yeow!!!!!  I prevailed, well leastwise I’m still here
and I owe it all to my Dago Granddad’s genes!  (and shhhhhh, don’t
tell anyone, to my Mom’s spirited scrappy teachings!)

Having taken another look, I now see your inimitable humor! Thanks,
f’sure f’sure.  Please forgive….......

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By Leefeller, March 20, 2012 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment

“This is coalescing.  W may have a disposition to aggression, battle, war, whatever.  In tough times, the one who shot first and asked questions later, then raped whatever was living, may have passed their DNA more efficiently.  Yuk, I know.”

You may be onto something there John.  I mean the DNA thing and rape babies, with the recent Santroum dicktum rape babies are a gift and now any women must prove they where raped if they do not want to give birth, the list goes on!

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By Leefeller, March 20, 2012 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

Arabian Sindbad, you may actually be referring to ‘Billy the Dick’,... though not to say you and I may have had a few disagreements, but Billy the Dick and you went at it like an old married couple fighting over the remote!

‘It’s true that you can’t teach old filthy dogs new tricks about how to cleanse themselves!’ ... Well Arabian Sindbad, I disagree with you in this case of what is true, though teaching old filthy dogs is not my specialty, but it could be teaching as change like you did with your name from flippity Do Dahh! ... to A.S.  could be considered as a form of cleansing.

Me thinks your dog has fleas!

Tell you what Arabian Sindbad, you can have the last insult and I will not reply and lets leave it at that. Go find ‘Billy the Dick’ if you really want to get into it, he is whom you may be thinking of.

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By heterochromatic, March 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

She———I guess that the conversation has get your back up, but in my own
sarcastic little way I thought I was supporting you.

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By katsteevns, March 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment

Prisoners of the Cave

“Seven years later!

Another American President elected on the ‘CHANGE’ ticket.

Yet, predictably, nothing has changed. American military occupation and decimation of Iraq and Afghanistan continues right alongside Israel’s in Palestine. Both Iran and Pakistan are in the gun-sights of invasion and actively being destabilized from within with fabricated “insurgency” to soften up the targets…............All the global turbulences, both manufactured ones (global war on terror, global financial collapse, global epidemics), as well as fictitious (global warming, others), are being harvested as the pretext to usher in world government. “

http://prisonersofthecave.blogspot.com/2007/04/foreword-2005.html

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By elisalouisa, March 20, 2012 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

John Best:All this ultra-macho crap from pee-wee football up through deployment.  Robert Bales is a product of this conditioning, and I would say a victim.  

Robert Bales joined the Armed Services when he was about 28 I suspect to escape paying $1,274,000 in compensatory and punitive damages due to wrong doing as a stock broker, (I refer you to my March 20 1:15 pm post.) Robert Bales may have been complicit in the conditioning of young men who didn’t know what they were getting into when they entered the Armed Forces. Robert Bales is no innocent. 

http://holtvilletribune.com/tag/us-military/

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/02/25/US-Officers-Killed-in-Retaliation-for-Koran-Burning.aspx#page1

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By Shenonymous, March 20, 2012 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic, March 20 6:53 pm Seems like you are one of
those who think they know without checking out the references
or giving any.  Okay. 

And, you apparently don’t read very well either what I wrote here on
the forum.  And that is all right too.  It shows your intolerance, and
that is sooooo outrageous.

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By Shenonymous, March 20, 2012 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

John Best…–I’m honored to be put in with such principled company.
I won’t speculate if they feel the same way.  Yes, you are right, we
live in the now and what we do now is what has meaning.  I believe
I said something similar just a few minutes ago.

There is…a genetic predisposition for? empathy, which
is seen in mother/child bonding and the development of
?humans making personal sacrifices for others with no
expectation that it will be reciprocated…because of ?the
human unique ability to contemplate causes and consciously
wonder about their behavior, what kind of person nature and
nurture produces, ?they would still have the responsibility to
evaluate what is humans’ place is in this world and how should
we treat one another.

But it does matter on a certain level.  What we are now is a function of
our history and reinstrumentation is not so easy for large living things
and certainly not like overnight.  We agree that what we are is deeper
than being brainwashed.  There is a new tool on the scene, social
electronic media that is augmenting the pace of human learning to
develop empathy for those who are different from each other.  We
are too close to the action to see it, but over a decade I’d bet we will. 
Seems like if this is the goal, to develop true empathy, then, because
we know there is a genetic factor that can be involved then encouraging
our children to be altruistic is the path.  Learned behavior plus the forces
of nature.  After several hundred years, it might become encoded in our
genes, albeit yuk… you know ...through natural selection.

You describe things very well Rob (March 20 3:20 pm) and the have the
highest sense of what is required to construct a better world.  But it is
easier said than done.  It will take work to unite more than seven billion
people in a pluralistic world.  But just like the saying goes, charity begins
at home, so does unselfishness.  So we need a plan to teach 7 billion
people.

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By heterochromatic, March 20, 2012 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment

She—- i just cant, for the life of me, figure out how you could suggest that war
or killing or violence is anything that is part of the human animal…...


Isn’t it obvious that there is rarely any war in recorded human history and that
four or five centuries often pass without any record of war on any part of the
planet?

it’s it also obvious that murder for money or from a jealous urge to possess a
love object is also almost completely absent from most groups of humans?

It’s small wonder that people are shocked and amazed and stunned by your
assertions !


You’re soooooooo outrageous.

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By gerard, March 20, 2012 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment

My take on our situation worldwide is that the human race is just at the very beginning of a massive turn away from war as the sanctioned answer to the settling of differences and disputes. There is something called “nonviolent resistance” which has been used a few times by people from various places and times, with avarying results due to vastly different circumstances.
  At present there have been enough “successes” to inspire a worldwide desire to study those successes deeply, but few texts, teachers and records are available, and circumstances have differed widely so that it is impossible to draw solid conclusioins.
  In the face of this desired change stand centuries of deeply inculcated belief in the “inevitability” and the heroism of violence. It is therefore not surprising that making a radical turn away from habituated behavior is very difficult. And millions who otherwise might testify from experience in favor of nonviolence, cannot do so because they are dead.
  We are thus left with strong indications that perhaps there might be a better way to solve problems but no strong evidences that guarantee success, plus a fear that changes as deep as putting aside war might bring about a “worse” defeat.
  In addition, we industrialized nations have learned how to make money out of war—lots of money.Though we are appalled (and spiritually deadened) by the results of so much killing, we still lack the moral conviction to cultivate the art of peace.
  Yet more and stronger efforts are being made, especially in the last 50 years. Finally it appears that the world—even the U.S.—has “had enough.”
Such an enormous and world-changing effort will take time, deep dedication and persistence.  There will be various degrees of success and failure, but the continued existence of the human race depends upon our going forward and not back. Fifty years or more?
But think how the world might be if we can come together and defeat the deadly interests that promote war.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 20, 2012 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment

Elsisa, She, Ed, whomever,
This is coalescing.  W may have a disposition to aggression, battle, war, whatever.  In tough times, the one who shot first and asked questions later, then raped whatever was living, may have passed their DNA more efficiently.  Yuk, I know. 

but that matters not.  We are what we are.  What we can perhaps identify and discourage are the jerks who nurture whatever pre-disposition there is.  All this ultra-macho crap from pee-wee football up through deployment.  There is a lot of influence and selection going on.  Robert Bales is a product of this conditioning, and I would say a victim.  It’s a nasty machine we’ve built for conditioning and selecting ‘service’ people.  I use ‘service’ not to mean just military service, but they ‘serve’ a function.  For who?  Who’s benefiting?  There’s the question. 

I have come to really dislike a term like ‘brainwashing’.  It may be true, but it implies a quick 6 weeks at basic training and poof, you’re brainwashed.  This is deeper than that.  It’s got roots in an aggressive part of our culture that does not care about the enemy.  The ‘enemy’ is sub-human to many on both extremes of the political spectrum, but mainly on the right. 

I don;t see us developing true empathy for people who are not enough like us, but shouldn’t we be able to develop a logical empathy?  A logical understanding of the situations which leads to empathetic actions?  And sometimes, tough love is needed.  I wager there are those who are well beyond any ‘logical redemption’.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 20, 2012 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

Exactly Ed.  WHO is using Christianity as a tool to accomplish very non-christian goals?  There are millions of cynical preachers of various sorts scattered through our society laying the groundwork, cultivating a society to produce soldiers who obey whomever is in authority and commands in the name of God.  The WHO is scattered throughout society.  Most of them wear their religion on their sleeves.  Falsely pious self-righteous bastards. 

Finger them.  identify them so the common man knows when the name of God is being used against Christian teachings, and you’ll have done us all a greatest favor.  And I’ll bet they don’t pull their weight when it comes to real work either.

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By Shenonymous, March 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

balkas – sorry to have to respond to you on the heels of a defense
of my integrity.  It seems to be the season to prowl for Shenonymous. 
The delay was not intentional but was caused by some distractions. 
If you felt your person had been unduly injured by something I said,
that definitely has to be looked at. 

If you would give an example of what you consider was offensive, I will
certainly reconsider what was said if it can be shown that I in fact did and
I most assuredly will give an apology.  As I would never and do not let it
slide when someone has besmirched me, or my character, or my beliefs.

I believe the topic on this forum is still relevant, and I want to make clear
what I think.  So with respect to whether warring is due to some factor of
human nature (that is, genetic) or from teachings postnatal (meaning
after birth and hence nurtured), if you would read my post carefully you
would see that I had given several websites for anyone not too lazy to
scout them out to gain some bona fide scientific proof of the theory that
there is a human warring gene and that we come into this world with a
genetic disposition for combat.  It is only logical since the will to survive
is the strongest drive all living things have. 

A genetic predisposition means having a tendency for a functional
potentiality. Lethal warfare drove the evolution of altruistic behavior
among ancient humans based on archaeological records.  Hunter-
gathers competed against each other for survival and this was a natural
behavior prior to altruism.  There is also a genetic predisposition for
empathy, which is seen in mother/child bonding and the development of
humans making personal sacrifices for others with no expectation that it
will be reciprocated. 

Also I made it very clear I believe that both nature and nurture is at
work in the human being.  Perhaps I should have added that because of
the human unique ability to contemplate causes and consciously wonder
about their behavior, what kind of person nature and nurture produces ,
they would still have the responsibility to evaluate what is humans’ place
is in this world and how should we treat one another.  But I am certain I
spoke about altruismt.

Now there is much physical evidence, meaning hard evidence, had by
anthropologists and archaeologists that our primitive ancestors waged
wars and the websites I provided describes what these scientists have
found.  Neither you nor I are anthropologists or archaeologists so we
must rely on secondary sources, not data from our own personal
investigation. 

I do think you need to make some better distinctions of what I wrote. 
That is what would be fair.

colin2626262 - Does it matter if Hedges is not truly religious?

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By elisalouisa, March 20, 2012 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

Whatever you say John Best (Not John Good or John Better). Better get that in before EdR censors such comments in favor of discussing how our system needs to be changed as if we could “change” the system. Perhaps we should continue along the lines of what is going on with Robert Bales and focusing on the truth as to the massacre and also war in general. Can it be stopped? Is waging war within man? Shenon may have something at that.

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By Arabian Sinbad, March 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm Link to this comment

By Leefeller, March 20 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

“Is, Is, it really you Fiddle Faddle, me thinks I remember all the flack back then? I suppose it is still available if anyone wants to go back in time to the the 5th century TD Archives and relive the unpleasant experience of sexism as some would like to have it today.”
=====================================================
I am glad I put you to your ugly task, though I didn’t address you. Actually, I am happy that now through your posting you reminded me about the other member of the evil duo who ganged with “she” against me. I almost forgot your ugly name.

May you faithless duo be consumed by your eternal ugly hatred and bigotry till you drop dead!

It’s true that you can’t teach old filthy dogs new tricks about how to cleanse themselves!

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By Ed Romano, March 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

This is just the poor thought of a person struggling to understand the existence he has been plunged into. I am not trying to teach anybody anything. But I have observed that we humans seem to have trouble penetrating the surface of things…to get to the root of what we are trying to deal with….In the first centuries of Christianity, sincere Christians refused to serve in the Roman army. But, once the Emperor Constantine realized that the new religion could be used in the service of the state, Augustine developed his theory of the “Just War.” This accomodation to everything that was against the spirit of Christianity enabled both sides in a conflict,. if the nation were predominmatly christian, to claim that God was on their side in the ensuing slaughter .....This is the foundation of what we are living with today… as modern Christians find no contradictions in their faith when they are slaughtering people if the state demands it.  ....Okay. Now we have a ground floor on which to build….  Discussions about the nature of man, the psychology that makes him aggressive, etc.  does not address our problem. I believe we will not achieve anything at all as far as THIS war in Afghanistan is concerned, unless we zero in on what has gone into the reasons and making of this conflict, who stands to gain from the slaughter, and what measures we, as a people, can take to stop it. This should be the focus of our discussions. It may be that our efforts, whatever they may be, will be futile. We are . after all, at a great disadvantage when we consider the power of the Great Beast. But at least we will not be chasing our tails with meaningless conversation that does nothing to help us undertand the problem and the ways we might confront it. Why is this important ? Because the Beast is always on the prowl and will certainly not have its appetite satisfied with Afghanistan. Our system needs to be fundamentally changed. May I suggest that we focus on that?

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By vector56, March 20, 2012 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

Hello!  Me again. At the risk of being redundant, I will repeat; war is not as complex as you guys with “big brains and titles” make it out to be.

It is about killing people and taking their “stuff”! Strip away all the philosophical ceremonial bull shit and you will always find the primitive brute who is bashing the other guy in the head to take his/her stuff!

Global Corporations are at the top of the feeding chain, and the trigger men (the Troops) kill for their table scraps.

“Who do I have to kill to get some of that government health care (VA), a steady pay check, Dental, and some college money?”

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 20, 2012 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa, I’m sorry, but I can’t stand proselytizing.  You may be a real nice person, but you’re enabling some real nasty ones.  Think about it. 

So, I ask, is your God also George Bushes God?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzjCHlRA_Yc&feature=related

You’re not the problem.  It’s all the ones who use your God to justify all kinds of really horrible stuff.  The cynical godless leaders make suckers out of you believers each and every time they want to have a war.

I hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings, but it might. if it does, I apologize, but it’s well intentioned.   
Look, you sum it up here: ” with the infinite God of love, you won’t feel you’re all alone in the world anymore.”  I’d be fine feeling alone.  I don’t feel alone, but if I was alone, would I rely on an imaginary friend?  No.  I could face it.  Perhaps that’s what God is.  Hey, whatever gets you through the night, it’s alright.  But, moderation in everything.

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By theway, March 20, 2012 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

Not that it is important but my apology for a typing error in my previous comment; it is annihilate.

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By elisalouisa, March 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie:I did ask, more than once, what they do, what was to be done.  You would think with so many people carrying on about the evils of war, that someone would have some idea they wanted to communicate, but no.  

You also asked that of Chris Hedges, every week. Why didn’t he do something?Well, he did something, he got himself arrested at the Occupy Wall Street site and/or Washington DC if my memory serves me right. That is more than many and I would presume you did.  You almost sound like the Inquisitor. No offense intended of course but people do what they can, depending on where they are and the limitations before them are so speak.

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By colin2626262, March 20, 2012 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa,

Complete union with God is difficult on this earth, but it is possible to connect with God, which was my point.  Yes, there will remain obstacles, or sins, in the spiritual person, but those can be minimized the closer one unites with God.  If you have a personal relationship, through prayer, with the infinite God of love, you won’t feel you’re all alone in the world anymore.


John Best,

Just because some religious people, or people who have a title of religiousity like chaplains, say they’re in support of war doesn’t mean God is.

Also, no one can kill “for God” since killing is a sin against God.  Someone may try to justify their violent acts by using God’s name to sanctify killing, but killing is still killing and still an act of rebellion against God, against what’s holy in us all.  A true believer in God knows that you can never harm a fellow human being in the name of God since we’re all born in the image of God and we all have God within us.  This is why it is written in the New Testament that anyone who claims to love God but hates his brother is a liar and there is no truth in him.

Finally, my God did not tell us to invade Iraq.  I was opposed to that war.  Some evangelical Christians, the president at the time, for example, went to war with Iraq.  Don’t confuse my God, the God of love and peace, with a politician’s justifications for an immoral war.

You’re right that Hedges avoids this aspect of religion, which is why he’s not truly religious.  God is real, a real Being with whom we can communicate and connect through prayer.  God exists.  That is not a mixed blessing.  God loves us and we can love God.  If we do love God, we will be able to love one another and avoid war.

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By colin2626262, March 20, 2012 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa,

Complete union with God is difficult on this earth, but it is possible to connect with God, which was my point.  Yes, there will remain obstacles, or sins, in the spiritual person, but those can be minimized the closer one unites with God.  If you have a personal relationship, through prayer, with the infinite God of love, you won’t feel you’re all alone in the world anymore.


John Best,

Just because some religious people, or people who have a title of religiousity like chaplains, say they’re in support of war doesn’t mean God is.

Also, no one can kill “for God” since killing is a sin against God.  Someone may try to justify their violent acts by using God’s name to sanctify killing, but killing is still killing and still an act of rebellion against God, against what’s holy in us all.  A true believer in God know that you can never harm a fellow human being in the name of God since we’re all born in the image of God and we all have God within us.  This is why it is written in the New Testament that anyone who claims to love God but hates his brother is a liar and there is no truth in him.

Finally, my God did not tell us to invade Iraq.  I was opposed to that war.  Some evangelical Christians, the president at the time, for example, went to war with Iraq.  Don’t confuse my God, the God of love and peace, with a politician’s justifications for an immoral war.

You’re right that Hedges avoids this aspect of religion, which is why he’s not truly religious.  God is real, a real Being with whom we can communicate and connect through prayer.  God exists.  That is not a mixed blessing.  God loves us and we can love God.  If we do love God, we will be able to love one another and avoid war.

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By Anarcissie, March 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

balkas, March 20 at 3:35 pm:

‘anarcissie,
please don’t include me in those people who only write about events, but do not, according to you, do anything
against negative events.
i have been a member of StopWar.ca….’

Actually, of course, I have no idea what anyone who reads Truthdig actually does.  However, I did ask, more than once, what they do, what was to be done.  You would think with so many people carrying on about the evils of war, that someone would have some idea they wanted to communicate, but no.  Just a lot of aint-it-awfullism so far, plus the usual personal abuse and put-downs of other participants.

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By Leefeller, March 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment

Is, Is, it really you Fiddle Faddle, me thinks I remember all the flack back then? I suppose it is still available if anyone wants to go back in time to the the 5th century TD Archives and relive the unpleasant experience of sexism as some would like to have it today.

What is it with being nice puckering up ones ass holes acting so nice, then Arabian wants an allies So-bad spews his bile filled demented brain cavity and spews his oh so disgusting hate all over the place like a homomorphism taking a shit.  As a biased observer of ill repute, I can only shake me head at the what appears as festering jealousy and female envy displayed by simple sexist imbecility, (hell a women smarter then they, how dare her?)  may as well place you in there too JD!

I never; which is an absolutism; seen so many ass holes in one place at one time except at the Republican Convention. (RD just cannot bring myself to say the Democrats this time).

It should be known, I seldom (me toes are crossed) insult other posters almost always; which leaves some questions;...  but I find insulating and name calling so damn sophomoric!

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By elisalouisa, March 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

I just don’t buy the whole story Ed. We have Deja vu of the My Lai massacre only now they are much better at the cover up. Many Afghans attest to the fact that there was more than one soldier involved. Some say 25 or more, also helicopters. No reporter can get to that area to get a news story. Mr. Bales has been secluded.

I have read on some sites that this was in retaliation for the killing two US Officers (follow link below). There may be a big coverup here and those in command are well aware of it.

Yes, of course the criminals who need to be taken to task are the ones who started this insanity and those perpetuating it. I suspect they are also behind this massacre.

Another thing, why wasn’t this information available on the internet? I have managed without too much of a problem to get legal information that was not as serious as what Bales was found guilty of.

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/02/25/US-Officers-Killed-in-Retaliation-for-Koran-Burning.aspx#page1

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By radson, March 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller ;what the hell is a Troop Handler ? The IC of a troop would be an LT and LTs’ don’t train recruits ;Sgts’ do .I do realize that you enjoy your tequila immensely but do ask your cats for advice from time to time.

cheers

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By Shenonymous, March 20, 2012 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment

Arabian Sinbad, March 20 11:43 am

Well said JDmysticDJ! And thank you for saying what I managed to
suppress about this old woman, Shenoymous, for fear of turning this
thread into an ugly new exchange of hostilities. Several times in the past,
this “she” was so nasty to me when I took issue with some of her
perverted ideas and thought!

You should be truthful Arabian Sinbad and say how you were “so nasty to
me” before I reciprocated that even our mutual friend who will remain
unnamed out of respect contacted you about it.  You know who he is. 

Sometime in the past I used to post under my real name and I
even indicated which university I was teaching at. I will never forget, that
this old woman of bad repute, suggested to one of her supporters to go
and sit in my class to spy on me and prove that I was politically incorrect,
and have me fired as a result.

You are a liar too!  It must be a club.  Some of your vile invectives at me
were removed by Truthdig, as were your bosom buddy’s JD, by the way. 
Besides you two make too much of a celebrity of me.  So I will take a
bow.

But remember that this old “She” has a grandson who is a marine
and you don’t expect her to be honest enough to come against how
some of her family members make their living, by being part of the war-
mongering military establishment. So it is possible that “She” comes
from a military family who could not find employment but in the
business of death! At one time, I had a brother-in-law who came from
such background and it was always hell to be a free thinker around him.

Your penchant for lying is amazing.  I must be some powerful chick
and intimidate those who think they are men.  Your maligning me as
you do shows a really sick and irrational mind and you need to see a
psychiatrist.  Still, you haven’t changed in two years or learned anything
have you?

I really firmly believe that almost all military people are
brainwashed beyond any hope to see the light of the truth!

You don’t have to believe what is true.  I know it is true.

Thank you again for encouraging me to say what I willingly
suppressed for the sake of peace on these threads!

Said like the perennial coward you are.  You were on the last thread
where we interacted and you show you still are.

I believe I have a “natural” right to ask, what’s wrong with these
foaming-at-the-mouth jerks?

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By balkas, March 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

anarcissie,
please don’t include me in those people who only write about events, but do not, according to you, do anything
against negative events.
i have been a member of StopWar.ca since late ‘02. i held banners, passed leaflets, gave money to that vancouver
org before and during nato aggression against iraq march 19 ‘03.
recently, i walked out of a dental clinic once i found out it is owned by ashekanazim.
i boycott all ‘jews’ and not just socalled zionists. i do not approve of anyone who say s/he’s a jew. do i go around
saying i am a catholic? so, by what moral right has a person to call self a “jew”.
ashkenazim are not jews; i.e., israelites are judeans—they are white people from europe with talmudic cult.
there were indeed jews in palestine. these have always lived in peace with palestinians. jews and arabs have a
common ancestor: that’s shem [dark-skinned and all]. they are shemitic and not ashkenazim.

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By Ed Romano, March 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

Elisa, Can I say that a person who arrives at the scene of battle for the first time and witnesses humans being blown to pieces and children being burned alive ( this is the reality and why so many troops are returning home with “post traumatic stress disorder ” ).... soldiers who witness this can be forgiven to some degree , because most of us poor humans do not have the imagination to think about what it’s like to see a child disintegrated. We have to witness it to know what it’s like. BUT someone who has witnessed it and returned voluntarily to the scene , not once but, many times would have to be termed by any reasonable evaluation to be cracked to the point of no return. This man Bales ( is that his name ?) .... what can gained by punishing him either with death or long term incarceration? The criminals who need to be taken to task are the ones who started this insanity and the ones who are perpetuating it. Let’s keep our eye on the reality of this horror show. What Bales did is undeniably horrible, but it’s just a blip on the larger screen of reality….. I have much appreciated your presence and heart of these sites.

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By Rob, March 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We don’t need a one world government. We need a one world people. We have been divided for too long. In the name of religion and nationality, throughout known history, we have been killing each other for what? For the benefit of a very few. We are all brothers and sisters, around the world. We all feel pain. We all feel Love. We all have our own perspectives and aspirations. We are all of the human race on this planet Earth. We have been chopped into kingdoms and serfdoms to serve a very few at the expense of very many and we have been corralled in fear, greed and deception. The vibration of this attitude and has kept us in a very low state of consciousness. Our political systems are poisoned with greed and deception and our mainstream medias maintain a low state of consciousness with lies and violence. An enemy is profit and there’s no profit in a cure. It plays like a songbook from hell. When one travels abroad it becomes very clear that, although different cultures may have a little different perspective on things, we are all brothers and sisters of the same Mother. In these troubled times, it is important that we realize that the people of other nations are not our enemy. They live day to day as we do, with families, loved ones and neighbors while governments, banksters and corporations foment hostility for their personal gain as they destroy the ecosystems of this beautiful planet, home to us all. It is time to recognize that our biggest ally is each other and our biggest threat are those that would try to control us, and divide us for profit and power. The information age has brought us all closer together around the world and it is time to build on this initiative to unite as people of the world in the cause of freedom and dignity and justice for all. In unity, we can easily raise the vibration of consciousness around the world. It’s time for this change and we are the ones here to change it. We have been the servants and slaves to our governments and not the masters as the word democracy suggests. It is time to bring ‘Power to the People’!

        This avarice for war in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Serbia, Libya, Uganda, Somalia and Palestine is disgusting. There are people living there! We want to save them by killing them, or starving them, or raping them or torturing them? We must see beyond the bullshit! People just like us are living in these places. These are our brothers and sisters. Would you wish the treatment that the peoples of these countrys have endure on your own family. We must no longer be divided by the greed, lies and deception of the psychopaths that initiate these atrocities. Let us unite for the rights of all our brothers and sisters around the world and put an end to the divisiveness that thirsts blood for profit. Let us join together as one, as we are in the collective consciousness and create a wonderful world for all. This is the dream we are becoming. Love to all.
Rob
RobGordonMusic.com

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By Anarcissie, March 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

The Holy Rat.

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By Leefeller, March 20, 2012 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

It was Camp at Pendilton the Marine Troop Handler had his squad of men surrounded him while he was holding a fuzzy little Cotton Tail Rabbit in his hands which he had captured earlier during the day, as Troop Handler petted the rabbit, he asked anyone if they wanted to hold the rabbit one Marine raised his hand and the Troop Handler handed it to the Marine. (I learned early on in Boot Camp never to volunteer for anything)

As the Marine held the little rabbit in his hands petting it, the Troop Handler said to him,....“Marine I give you a direct order, pull the head off the Rabbit.”

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By marcus, March 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@candojack

Um, jack, you didnt coin “obamanation”. As for “baleful”...oh dear….maybe you should use this link before you “coin” anymore words…

http://dictionary.webster.us/alphabet/A

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By Shenonymous, March 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

Well the gangbangers have crawled out of their holes.  You were
expected boys.  I will deal with you one at a time though, you don’t
mind do you? 

JDmysticDJ, March 20 at 11:04 am

While Shenonymous is doing her best to convince people
that war is “Natural” to the human psyche and that people
can not be nurtured away from accepting war.  Shenonymous
relies on theoretical pseudo-science to influence her sycophants.
I’m still waiting for legitimate scientific evidence that proves
genetics influence human behavior to the extent that she asserts.

JDmysticDJ you seem to have a problem with “real” science. You
really are the one waiting for the pseudoscience as the moments
of ersatz truth that you always proselytize on Truthdig. You should
check out the websites provided that has empirical proof of a Warrior
gene.  And besides I did not say that war was completely natural to
the human psyche.  If you are going to take crossbow shots at me, or
anyone else, open your eyes at least.  But you and I know you are still
sore at me because the last time we met your butt got kicked. Being
too sequestered in your own mind is debilitating.

I continue to be puzzled by the degree of credibility
Shenonymous apparently has with some people who
comment here at truthdig. If the issue discussed here
wasn’t so important I would simply be annoyed with her
comments. Shenonymous reminds me vaguely of Sheldon
Cooper from the television sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,”
who grates on my sensibilities to no end. Her arrogance
and essentially cold hearted pseudo-intellectual blathering
frightens me, not because I give any credibility to her
blathering but because she is the personification of a school
of thought that can only serve to perpetuate the cruelties.

You are not able to hold a decent conversation with most of the
commenters on Truthdig, JDmysticDJ.  If you watch The Big Bang TV
show, that is a sure sign you are into pseudo-science.  What a hoot.

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By JDmysticDJ, March 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

RE: Anarcissie, March 20 at 1:33 pm

This will be my only comment directed at you here. I’m writing nothing specific about your comment directed at me. Your perception that I am doing nothing is correct in this instance. Doing and saying nothing about your comment directed at me is very difficult and not commenting about your comment directed at me is something I’m doing that I feel good about. After all there is so much I could say about your comment, but I won’t. My comment directed at you would of necessity require insults (note that I am not insulting you) and would be a frivolous waste of time and deflect from the seriousness of the issue raised by Hedges here.

Have a nice day! (Please ignore any perception you might have that I am being sarcastic. I’m sincerely in favor of your having a nice day as opposed to your not having a nice day.)

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By elisalouisa, March 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

From the New York Daily New Tuesday March 20 at 1:15 pm

The U.S. soldier who now claims to have no memory of slaughtering 16 Afghan civilians is a “smooth talker” who defrauded an elderly Ohio couple out of their savings, records revealed Tuesday.Staff Sgt. Robert Bales enlisted in the Army shortly after federal financial regulators found he “engaged in fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, churning, unauthorized trading and unsuitable investments,” according to a report on Bales filed in 2003.Bales, who was then a stockbroker in Columbus, Ohio, and his partners, were ordered to pay Gary Liebschner and his wife $1,274,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. So far, he hasn’t paid a dime, according to Liebschner.“He robbed me of my life savings,” Liebschner told ABC News. “We didn’t know where he was. We heard the Bahamas, and all kinds of places.”

RELATED: BALES REMEMBERS ‘LITTLE’ OF AFGHANISTAN MASSACRE, LAWYER SAYS

Asked if Bales is a con man, Liebschner answered, “You’ve hit the nail on the head.”The newest revelation came a day after Bales’ wife Karilyn issued a statement saying, “what has been reported is completely out of character of the man I know and admire.”It wasn’t immediately clear if she had any idea that her husband, who has had other brushes with the law, was a disgraced stockbroker with a $1.5 million securities fraud judgment hanging over his head.
Bales, who had worked for the MPI brokerage firm, was a no-show at an arbitration hearing to resolve the complaint the Liebschners filed with the feds in 2000.

The Liebschners claimed they asked Bales to sell their AT&T stock to pay for medical bills. They said they never got the money and soon after Bales fell off the radar.

The Ohio couple said they recognized Bales after he was arrested for the March 11 mass murder.Bales, 38, had allegedly been drinking on base before he snuck out and gunned down the Afghans, burning some of their bodies.In a jailhouse meeting Monday with his lawyer, John Henry Browne, Bales said
he was hazy about the massacre.“He has some memory of somethings that happened that night,” Browne told
the Associated Press. “He has some memories of before the incident and he has some memories of after the incident. In between, very little.”Bales, however, did give what Browne called a “moving” account of what the war being waged in Afghanistan is really like.

Browne is best known for defending serial killer Ted Bundy.

Bales, a father of two, has not yet been formally charged. He served three tours in Iraq before being deployed to Afghanistan and reportedly was having money problems.

Neighbors said Bales was patriotic but angry over being passed over for promotion and unhappy with the way the Pentagon had waged the war in Iraq.

Bales, who is being held at Fort Leavenworth, has also had other brushes with the law, including charges of assaulting a former girlfriend and being involved
in a hit-and-run accident.
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