Friday, June 02, 2006

We would not seek a battle as we are, yet as we are, we say we will not shun it.

Bill O'Reilly has a point.

I'll let that odd sentence sink in while I swear that I have NOT recently received a severe hammer blow to the head, been exposed to toxic fumes or found myself on a three day Peyote bender staggering through the desert in Eastern Oregon.

Progressives, from Randi Rhodes to Keith Olbermann to the guys at Crooks and Liars are jumping all over statements O'Reilly made during an interview of Gen. Wesley Clark a couple of days ago in which O'Reilly basically accused American forces in WW2 of committing atrocities similar to those recently revealed as having been perpertrated by U.S. Marines in Haditha, Iraq.
Rhodes, whose father served as an infantryman in Europe during the war, seemed to take great offense to O'Reilly's remarks. During a prolonged rant on her national show she went out of her way to try draw a distinction between shooting S.S. soldiers who had been shooting at our troops moments before surrendering or burning Japanese soldiers to death who were dug into caves on Pacific islands and the cold-blooded execution of civilian men, women and children cowering in their homes in Iraq. Her definition of atrocity hinges on whether the person being executed by U.S. troops was a combatant (or recent combatant) or a civilian.

While there is no doubt that captured Axis troops sometimes faced summary execution (Eisenhower issued an infamous order near the end of the war basically instructing that no German sniper would be taken alive,) it's difficult to find a documented instance of Allied soldiers executing unarmed European civilians. Nevertheless; it would be the height of absurdity to assume such atrocities never took place by American forces in the Second World War.

I wonder if Rhodes has ever heard the cities Nagasaki or Hiroshima. Wrong theater of the war? Then how about Dresden? On the low end of estimates of civilian casualties 25,000 non-combatants were killed in the carpet-bombing of that strategically unimportant city alone. Shock and awe aren't simply modern neocon military constructs. Terror is not just a tactic of crazy islamic fanatics. Civilians are never "off limits" in a war the United States was involved in, even to U.S. troops and even a war as just and righteous as a war to stop the tyranny of fascism.

Of course none of that supports O'Reilly's larger argument that the atrocities of other U.S. soldiers in other wars somehow absolve this administration or the Marines at Haditha of atrocities in THIS war*. Quite the opposite is true. The reality that war is a horrible, bloody terrible thing that often moots moral questions by it's very nature should never be an act of choice. This President picked this unnecessary war and bears culpability for it's atrocities.



* As a side note - I'm to lazy to check it at this point but wasn't O'Reilly one of those clowns who just recently was jumping all over John Kerry's post-Vietnam war assertions that U.S. troops committed atrocities in THAT conflict? Hypocrite much? Ah, where would conservatives be without moral relativism and deliberate self-induced ADD?

9 comments:

Don Snabulus said...

It turns out that the incident O'Reilly mentioned involved US troops being executed by Germans. Billy-Bob got it backwards and used it as an example of US atrocities.

Too much fun...

Uncle Jophus said...

Bill Orielly is an assbucket. If he said the sun was made of hydrogen, I would believe it was made of cake. Just because a flower falls from the sky during a rain of shit, doesn't mean you aren't in a shitstorm. And when Orielly opens his mouth, it's 99% shit. I won't be satisfied until he's set on fire, buried, dug up, and set on fire again.

Dean Wormer said...

Yeah, that Olbermann tongue lashing of O'Reilly is a think of beauty. I don't think I've ever seen somebody smacked down that hard on national television. The "Sisiphus of morons" Good stuff.

I'm speaking to O'Reilly's larger point: that atrocities happen in every war. This concept seems to have some on the political left a little bit in a tizzy.

I just think it's crazy to entertain the idea that U.S. troops weren't involved in atrocities in every war we've participated in. It's the nature of war. Even a necessary war such as WW 2.

Maybe some

Dean Wormer said...

Seph-

I believe the internet phrase you're looking for is DIAF-

Die in a fire Bill O'Reilly.

Uncle Jophus said...

I suppose that is true, but there is a difference when atrocities are sponsered, encouraged, and accepted by the people in charge of prosecuting the war. That has to have a wider effect than Abu Graib.

Dean Wormer said...

I wrote you a long response that dissapeared in cyber hell but the gist of it was that I think that we pretty much agree.

The point I've been trying to make is that atrocities- as defined loosely as the intentional infliction of harm upon civilians - are a part of all wars and often are intentional from the top-down.

That is why I strongly believe that wars should not be "of choice" as the war in Iraq and that the Powell doctrine MUST be in effect (timetable, objectives, proper resources)

Uncle Jophus said...

I wrote you a long response that solved for a unified field theory. But then I sneezed and accidentily turned off my computer. And the math was real hard, I don't feel like figuring it out again.

Dean Wormer said...

Congrats on that. I know that theory has plagued you for a while.

Along those lines- how's the learning to tie your own shoes thing going?

Uncle Jophus said...

You are a petty man.