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Location: toronto, ontario, Canada

Thursday, August 04, 2005

you're either with us or against us.

.
This is, in my opinion, the single most baffling statement of all time.

Since when is the world coloured black and white? Since when do other people's thoughts and feelings not count? Since when is it okay to impose your will on a sovereign being because you don't happen to agree with the way they are running their lives?

Now, if by not being with you I was out there recruiting guerrillas and trading for 'weapons of mass destruction' and incidentally I was funding some radical groups that had threatened to destroy your way of life then SURE I'm against you. But why am I not allowed to disagree? Why can't I say 'hey neighbour, i see that you think you're doing the right thing, but well, for me personally it's not the right thing and I'm going to sit here and continue my role as a peacekeeper and mediator okay?' Why does that make me *against* you? Please explain.

Now I can understand that when someone is threatening your freedom and way of life that you might feel attacked and that you might feel justified in flattening a couple of sovereign beings or countries in order to feel safer... I just don't understand how it makes people *actually* safer. Also, I'm Canadian and since so many people of so many faiths live here we don't tend to get a lot of terrorist activity. That and Pierre Trudeau sort of nipped that in the bud with the War Measures Act a couple of years before I was born.

Imagine curfews and soldiers in the streets of Montreal. Such a weird concept.

Okay, so maybe I'm naive but it seems to me that by bombing someone into oblivion you are creating the very 'radical fundamentalists' that you are trying to defeat because I have to say, if you drop bombs on my head I'm going to hate your guts forever. No, forever. Not to mention that I will also teach my children to hate your children.

What *I* won't do is hate a whole bunch of people who weren't involved simply as an excuse to invade a place that has some of the sole remaining oil reserves in the world. We're running out of oil, face it, get over it and find some fucking alternatives. Finding excuses to bomb the shit out of a place instead? Seriously... get over yourself.

Why not try a little patience and free education instead and watch people learn to like you instead of hating you for your capitalistic and overbearing behaviour.

For the record, I was in favour of the FIRST Gulf War. In fact I thought going in to protect Kuwait was pretty impressive even if it was all about oil... but this? This senseless slaughter of people who really don't want you in their homes? [For the record, if you've BEEN there I would really like to hear your thoughts. That said, if your thoughts upon seeing a town that's millenia old are 'wow these unfortunate bastards don't even have a denny's' then I really don't give a shit what you have to say.]

I watch what's happening in the world and I'm fully baffled.

Even more baffling is when I read blogs and comments that are filled with educated people and I read them saying 'bomb all those Islamic motherfuckers'. Um... what?

Islam is a pretty peaceful religion all told, more peaceful in fact than Christianity. Muslims? The same. Sure they have their radical fundamentalists but you know what? So do the Christians. Please don't tell me that I have to remind you about the Klu Klux Klan and the Crusades. Please.

All we're seeing today is modern day crusades and I just don't get how that's any more okay now than it was then. I further don't get how theoretically smart and educated people can say 'bomb them all into oblivion' as though EVERY single follower of a DIFFERENT religion is evil and somehow plotting to wreak havok on them. As if. Most of those people are as horrified by recent events and the behaviour of the radical fundamentalists as the average american is horrified by the Klan.

So if the KKK was after brown people instead of black people would anybody give a shit?

13 Comments:

Blogger Eddie said...

I guess it all depends on your perspective. For example, if I were in Canada, we had no military, and I knew the US would protect us if ever invaded, I would probably have a different thought process as well.

Second, you can take any one statement out of context and have it sound anyway you wish. Michael Moore taught us that one.

The idea that there isn't a lot of terrorist activity because there are many faiths in Canada is a little misleading. We have just as many faiths in the USA, if not more. The relationship to not being a superpower is probably a better reason for there not being terrorist activity.

If you were Israeli or Jewish, you would have a completely different view on the middle East. I am neither, but I sympathize with them. When I volunteered for the Bush campaign this fall, I sat next to a Jewish guy who had volunteered for the Israeli army and was going to Iraq to volunteer for the US army. To them, it's a matter of safety as Hussein was funding suicide bombers for decades in Israel.

Until there is a terrorist attack in Canada, I can see where you might be more forgiving of extremists. This war wasn't over oil. If it were, than George W. Bush is the dumbest man on earth as the price of oil has done nothing but gone up since the US defended itself and upheld the UN resolutions.

I find myself getting much better information in the US media than I did when I visited Canada. I think this is because our press, including conservative viewpoints, is more free. Thanks. Later.

8/04/2005 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger sassinak said...

Well, I think we prefer to think of ourselves as a neutral country that people don't want to invade. Of course if and when we ever get invaded then I'm sure we're in for a shock. That said... Canada seems to me like one of those countries that would be easy as hell to conquer and ridiculously difficult to swallow. I *personally* don't count on the US for protection but I can't speak for anyone but myself.

I wasn't really trying to take that statement out of context I was musing on what it means. As for Micheal Moore he took a neighbourhood full of expensive condos, some government sponsored coops and not cheap apartments in a highly desireable area and called it a slum. I get that the guy was trying to make a point but he a) offended my friends that LIVE there and b) ruined any truth he might have by not bothering to find an actual slum. Toronto is nice and lots of people don't lock their doors but there was a full on crappy neighbourhood 5 blocks from where he was. Twit.

It's true that you have an enormous amount of faiths in the US, I was more trying to comment about the culture of tolerance that we are building here. I am not certain that your national police force would allow people to change the uniforms and wear turbans for example. We strive to include everyone in law and in practise and I have not noticed that to be AS TRUE in the states. (note I say not as true and not that it's never done).

This is where you lose me. If I were Israeli or Jewish I like to think that I would look at these people and see a reflection of the persecution that I myself have experienced and then try to turn the other cheek or learn to get along or meet in the middle or whatever. Of course I am NOT Israeli or Jewish so I cannot speak for them... I just find it amazing that a persecuted minority would want to persecute another minority. I guess if you are more downtrodden than me then I'm not so miserable or something. I see here certain black communities running down certain others and I just don't get it.

I'm not forgiving of extremists at all. That said, I find the idea that EVERY muslim or member of Islam should be bombed to be absolutist and ridiculous. It's like saying that because of the KKK every one of the Christian faith should be rounded up and bombed. I don't get it. Now if you said every radical fundamentalist who preaches hatred, violence and intolerance I would be right there with you.

If you don't mind I won't comment about the US defending itself and upholding UN resolutions.

I don't understand the free press comments I really don't. When I watch US media I see a lot of statements that seem very one sided. I see little effort to present the other side. I see a lot of bias. I'm not saying that our media is perfect but I find we're a lot more likely to hear about what's happening in Tibet or whatever than you are. Now I only see the major networks and CNN here... but for news I primarily go to the CBC and I've found them a bit biased in favour of Quebec but that's about it. They may not agree with you but they will try to show your viewpoint.

Maybe it's one of those things where we each have different expectations from our media and we just can't agree. Thanks for your thoughtful response though :)

8/04/2005 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger castufari said...

The US isn't bombing the crap out of villages...we're targeting insurgents and sometimes innocents get killed. I know, "the horror", but look at the innocents killed with the WTC went down.

I talked to my dad about Iraq and here is his opinion based on working Army intel and later DoD:

Iraq wasn't about removing Sadam. If it was why didn't the US go after the Hutu extremists in Rwanda? Or Mugabe in Zimbabwe? The answer is simple - we have no interests in any of those area. Iraq is an oil rich nation; yes, they abused the oil for food program but that is a UN program and the UN should have taken them out, NOT the US. I wonder how much of this war is revenge because Bush Sr failed to take Sadam out in Gulf War I.

Try as I might to like Bush I cannot. It's not that I can't trust him, it's the people surrounding him that I cannot trust.

Mainstream media still eats it doubled over. :)

8/04/2005 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger factory_peasant said...

hey sassinak. good post.

i haven't been in the US military, but i worked for them over a period of a few years. i have a very different perspective on US involvment in Afghanistan and Iraq compared to many of my fellow US citizens. before i throw down my two cents in response to your post let me say the 'with us or against us' statement is all kindergarten crap. it's desperation to be sure, nothing more.

first of all the plain facts are that we bungled Afghanistan completely. you won't hear much about it in the news media, it's becoming forgotten much like the Korean War did in the 1950s. if you know where to look for accurate reporting you can get the real lowdown. mainstream America can't handle the truth and won't bother to care about it either (i could write a lengthy diatribe on the not caring part, but i'll save that for another time). CNN and Fox news help ensure everyone stays ignorant here...

Afghanistan was where the fight needed to be taken and for the usual political reasons nowhere near enough manpower was committed to do the job quickly and effectively. as a result the bad guys got away and the rest of that country has essentially been handed back to the provincial warlords that were there before the Taliban rose to power. now they're back in business and that's been great news for the Heroin crowd. Kabul is a tiny island of westernization and that's about it. the more things change the more they stay the same.

Iraq has nothing to do with "keeping America safe". you can't tell this to servicemen or their families though. they cannot consider even for a moment that what they are doing has no meaning, that they have been mislead, and that they are dying for nothing. Iraq had everything to do with an unfinished job in the early '90s if you catch my drift. any excuse to go back again would do, and we all got a pretty weak one.

it's tremendously easy to prey upon people's fears of being attacked and to prey on their emotional concepts of "Patriotism". that's all the White House has been doing since 9/11.

if you have the time and you are interested spend some time reading at www.globalsecurity.org
it's a defense think tank back east that has accurate military/defense issues information available to the public free of charge. to get this quality of information one would usually have to pay for subscriptions to Defense News Weekly, Jane's Defense, or perhaps be involved in government itself. there is some heavy duty stuff in GlobalSecurity.org's site pertaining to the mess we've made in the middle east.

another great place to start getting the real scoop is the US Army's own war college publication, Parameters. you can read most of their archives online here:
http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/parahome.htm

in the last couple of years the US Army has published many papers in Parameters which have been highly critical of both the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns with good reason. dig around in there for a while. the articles are written by defense experts at universities and think tanks, and many are written by the Army's own leadership and scholars. check it out. you might be surprised by what you find there. or not...

8/04/2005 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger sassinak said...

wow i love that we're basically getting blog entry length replies here.... this is awesome.

castu i didn't mean to imply that they were flattening villages... in iraq. we'll leave previous police actions such as afghanistan out of it. nonetheless you try to take out one guy with a missile and a lot of people will die. i just don't see how throwing bigger and bigger rocks at each other will help in the long run.

peasant that's the word i was looking for, desperation. bush et al remind me of scared children with no earthly idea how to get themselves out of a corner they've painted.

I can't even discuss Fox News without wanting to hurl. Never have I seen such claptrap day after day after day. I'm not saying that CNN is great but Fox News is... *shudder*

I never understood the Afghanistan thing. I know it's a daunting place, I mean hell, even the Russians couldn't take them but still. Why on earth go there in the first place if that's all the weight you were going to put into it. Nothing has really changed at ALL except that they're being less public about it.

the servicepeople and their families break my hearts. here you have the people who believe in their country the most and they're dying and dying and... oh my heart is with every one of them and i pray to the Universe that they all come home safe. I know they won't but that doesn't stop me hoping and wishing.

I couldn't believe we got two elections out of 9/11 fearmongering. Not that 9/11 wasn't horrific and tragic it absolutely was but I really noticed the 'fear factor' being ratcheted up a little before the electioneering started. No one seems to notice though which I don't get.

i'm really interested in that war college info, thanks for the tip dude and I look forward to any other thoughts you care to share :)

8/05/2005 12:49:00 AM  
Blogger roya parsay said...

Hereis my question:What is it that Iran says he continues building the nuclear power, and Israel says she continues to build settlement houses, both against America's wish? Israel says that while she get billions a year from America and Iran says that thou they took hostages fromAmerica. Why these 2 countries have so much power over America? Dont throw shoes just honestly answer this question,both news are in the paper today.Both countries go against America's wish ,where is the power coming from? WHY iSRAEL DID NOT INTERFERE WITH iRAQ AND AFGHANESTAN,BUT WANTS TO DO WITH IRAN? ARE THEY FRIENDS UNDER THE TABLE?

8/05/2005 01:27:00 AM  
Blogger factory_peasant said...

roya-

the Israeli lobby in Washington DC is extremely strong. with all the political clout they swing, Israel can get almost whatever it wants from the US whenever it wants it. this has to stop.

Iran is a growing military power that US leadership is unwilling or unable to properly deal with. North Korea is in the same category as Iran. if there was ever a classic case for starting a "pre-emptive war" like we recently did in Iraq, North Korea was it's poster child.

Iraq had no real military capability left to strike the US in any way shape or form yet the American military machine was unleashed upon it. meanwhile the North Koreans have leveraged Russian technology to build their first operational ICBMs that are capable of hitting the west coast with nuclear warheads. nobody is paying attention to that one for some funny reason. whatever.

"WHY iSRAEL DID NOT INTERFERE WITH iRAQ" Israel cannot involve itself directly with Iraq, or any other Arab nation. to do so would surely bring down massive Arab military retaliation throughout the middle east. in a way, the US is doing a dirty job by proxy for the Israelis and it keeps other Arab nations on the sidelines of conflict. another advantage of the Iraq conflict is that it further destabilizes the entire region. corporations have less trouble cutting up the area piecemeal for their business endevors and it has the added bonus of taking Arab attention away from the Israelis, placing it squarely on the shoulders of Uncle Sam.

8/05/2005 02:54:00 AM  
Blogger castufari said...

The isrealis have owned the US for years. They've been getting so much money from us yet they deep down cannot stand us. We're the big guy with the big guns who will give them money and protection. If we cut them off then they'd end up flattened by one of their neighbors. Sorry, that protection has to go. They will need to learn how to play well with others or fight for themselves.

8/05/2005 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger sassinak said...

Wow so many awesome comments, thanks you guys, I'm really learning from and enjoying this discussion.

I read somewhere that the Israelis and the Palestinians deserve each other. I thought this might have been one of the most horrifying things I'd heard in years but in some odd way it strikes a chord of truth.

There's some really sick irony in the most persecuted people in the world persecuting the people that have been living in their 'homeland' for thousands of years.

I mean don't misunderstand I get that they had nowhere to fucking go it's just kinda sick and twisted irony is all.

I wish i was omniscient and I could really understand the threads that weave this evil middle eastern mess together because then maybe i would know which one to cut or move or tug or...

I wish some folks who had been to the middle east would pipe up... in my experience nothing beats being there to really cement your understanding of a conflict.

Word that washington has to get over rich lobbyistitis thou

8/05/2005 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger castufari said...

The Israelis seem to have pissed off everyone in the middle east. They can do no wrong in the eyes of the US, they're that spoiled kid who always gets his way, like Dudley in the 1st Harry Potter book.

8/05/2005 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger Mingyiu Gyatso said...

Sassinak - your views are well written and I can't help but agree with much of what you've put forth.

I will address only those who pull the "with us or against us" line:

You know, somehow James Carville and Mary Matalin find a way to have political views that are polar opposites but still love each other. All of us good learn a valuale lesson from them.

People are all basically good. Some of us are simply misguided.

Viva la difference!

PS - I'm linking you from my blog.

8/05/2005 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger sassinak said...

thanks mingyiu... i visited your blog and plan to link you right back :)

I would really like to see people who don't agree with the prevailing attitude here say something. i found eddie's comments particularly cogent and i'd like more along that line. it's interesting to see what people you agree with think but the ones who disagree can teach you more ... hmmm that came out wrong but anyway :)

some of my best friends have radically differing views than mine, it's what makes them so fun to be around.

to disagree is divine fun, it's just if you get pissy that doesn't work.

anyway... on with the fray :)

8/05/2005 10:07:00 PM  
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