My Lai Type Massacre in Iraq?

“Fortunately, history is not made up of daily headlines, blogs on Web sites or the latest sensational attack. History is a bigger picture, and it takes some time and perspective to measure accurately.” — Donald Rumsfeld in Sunday’s WaPo

Time may have unearthed another bombshell pertaining to the Iraq war. In this exclusive article, they allege that Marines indiscriminately shot up several families in apparant retaliation for a roadside bomb fatality. From the article:

…a Marine communiqué from Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi reported that Terrazas and 15 Iraqi civilians were killed by the blast and that “gunmen attacked the convoy with small-arms fire,” prompting the Marines to return fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding one other. […]

But the details of what happened that morning in Haditha are more disturbing, disputed and horrific than the military initially reported. According to eyewitnesses and local officials interviewed over the past 10 weeks, the civilians who died in Haditha on Nov. 19 were killed not by a roadside bomb but by the Marines themselves, who went on a rampage in the village after the attack, killing 15 unarmed Iraqis in their homes, including seven women and three children. […]

According to military officials, the inquiry acknowledged that, contrary to the military’s initial report, the 15 civilians killed on Nov. 19 died at the hands of the Marines, not the insurgents. […]

But the military’s own reconstruction of events and the accounts of town residents interviewed by TIME–including six whose family members were killed that day–paint a picture of a devastatingly violent response by a group of U.S. troops who had lost one of their own to a deadly insurgent attack and believed they were under fire. TIME obtained a videotape that purports to show the aftermath of the Marines’ assault and provides graphic documentation of its human toll. […]

When the Marines entered the house, they were shouting in English. “First, they went into my father’s room, where he was reading the Koran,” she claims, “and we heard shots.” According to Eman, the Marines then entered the living room. “I couldn’t see their faces very well–only their guns sticking into the doorway. I watched them shoot my grandfather, first in the chest and then in the head. Then they killed my granny.” She claims the troops started firing toward the corner of the room where she and her younger brother Abdul Rahman, 8, were hiding; the other adults shielded the children from the bullets but died in the process. Eman says her leg was hit by a piece of metal and Abdul Rahman was shot near his shoulder. “We were lying there, bleeding, and it hurt so much. Afterward, some Iraqi soldiers came. They carried us in their arms. I was crying, shouting ‘Why did you do this to our family?’ And one Iraqi soldier tells me, ‘We didn’t do it. The Americans did.'” […]

According to military officials, the Marines say they then started taking fire from the direction of a second house, prompting them to break down the door of that house and throw in a grenade, blowing up a propane tank in the kitchen. The Marines then began firing, killing eight residents–including the owner, his wife, the owner’s sister, a 2-year-old son and three young daughters. […]

The Marines raided a third house, which belongs to a man named Ahmed Ayed. One of Ahmed’s five sons, Yousif, who lived in a house next door, told TIME that after hearing a prolonged burst of gunfire from his father’s house, he rushed over. Iraqi soldiers keeping watch in the garden prevented him from going in. “They told me, ‘There’s nothing you can do. Don’t come closer, or the Americans will kill you too.’ The Americans didn’t let anybody into the house until 6:30 the next morning.” Ayed says that by then the bodies were gone; all the dead had been zipped into U.S. body bags and taken by Marines to a local hospital morgue. “But we could tell from the blood tracks across the floor what happened,” Ayed claims. “The Americans gathered my four brothers and took them inside my father’s bedroom, to a closet. They killed them inside the closet.”

Time provides that the military version of events is not the same as what I just posted. This said, the military has not told a consistent story and seems to be trying to cover up. I provided what I’d guess to be the more likely of the two scenarios. I’d also like to view the video mentioned in the article, but haven’t found it on the Internet, yet.

Back to Rummy. We’ve had time to look at the historical picture of the My Lai massacre and almost universally condemn what happened there. If this story from Iraq ends up being truthful, the only positive thing about it is that it may help strengthen U.S. resolve to withdraw from Iraq immediately.

79 Comments
  1. Stephen Gordon

    Why don’t you show your true colors? It is the marines you are after. What would you like to happen to them? Nothing? How about we kill them? Your reporting is inflammitory on purpose so you can promote your true agenda, our total defeat in Iraq by our running like hell with our tails between our legs.

    Would that satisfy you? I doubt it since you have admitted to flirting with anarchy. Is that what you want? No government? Go to one of the deep African countries where virtual anarchy exists, live there for awhile and then come back and see if you can sell that kind of disorder to US citizens.

    What makes you think you have all the answers in your uniquely smug way of presenting leftist slanted reporting?

  2. If true this happened for EXACTLY the same reasons as My Lai. No Command responsibility and no clear orders on how to treat non-combatents. Frustrated grunts tired of taking casualties with no effective way to fight back lash out against whomever they see as sympathizers. Unfortunately this time there is no CWO overhead to push the Command structure into doing the right thing. With this Administration there will be no change like there was after the Calley trial.

    I too lived with the crap morale after Vietnam and the struggle to turn the military around. Now these wanna be Field Marshalls in charge are putting us right back into that mess.

    Stephen, if you truly support the troops you will stop with the “leftist” crap and insist that the Marines uphold their Honor, investigate what happened and hold all accountable right up the Chain of Command. Something clearly went wrong and innocents were harmed. With this Chairman of the Joint Chiefs ass kissing of Bush I doubt they will.

  3. (Grandson of a 2 Purple Heart Recipient WWII Vet and cousin to two soon to be Naval officers)

    Julian, first of all people are dying, more people died in the three years after 9-11 than the three years prior. War kills people, people we love. Your pride and the pride of many other Americans will continue to promote a war with unclear agendas and motives and continue to watch people die.

    His reporting was no where near slanted nor was it inflammitory. It was quite informative and relatively unbias, it was mostly quoted from another source. That which was opinionated in the article wasn’t hidden nor is it suggesting anarchy of any sort.

    If this is another cover up it’s not amazing that the grunts would behave this way when the higher ups are setting such high ethical standards by spining every story, and citizens like Julian continue to stray off topic.

  4. I guess their mistake was leaving witnesses. Seriously, do you think they would have left any witnesses if they were on a “rampage”? The more likely scenarioe is that they killed “civilians” who set a bomb and those “civilians” relatives have a bit of conflict of interest in their account of events, probably not wanting to face prison time themselves.

    Also, not wearing a uniform doesn’t make someone a civilian. In fact, not wearing a uniform and engaging in acts of sabotage actually puts the “civilian” outside the the normal protections according to POWs under international law and puts them in the class of spies and saboteurs. More importantly, blowing up and shooting at U.S. Marines puts them in the class of Darwin Award recipients.

  5. When will you leftists admit that arbitrary death and retribution killings under American occupation is far better than arbitrary death under Saddam?

    The gall of trying to undermine our glorious freedom from living has no bounds apparently.

  6. “running like hell with our tails between our legs” is better than standing there, crapping our collective shorts.

  7. I’d like to wait and see what the investigation says. I’m not willing to immidiatly condemn the marines, who by the way are serving in a war that is increasingly unpopular for not much pay and under incredibly difficult considtions (and whose family’s suffer right along with them).

    They are also under fire alot. The fact is insurgents have used mosques, homes and anywhere there are civillians to attack our forces precisly with the intention of creating civillian casualties.

    IF and I say IF there was any wrong doing – I’m certain justice will be served against those responsible, unlike against the insurgents who blow up civillians every day with relative impunity.

    Frank

  8. If the Bush slut twins were over there doing their duty all those marines would not have this raging sense of frustration.l

  9. This is not about being a leftist, anarchist, or anything else. It simply seeing that such an ineffectively executed war has done nothing but wreak havoc on our international standing and alienated much of the electorate from its leadership, not to mention killed thousands of innocent people and many of our brave troops.

  10. War is a force that gives us meaning. Also glory. Killing and dying make us heroes. It’s all but impossible for us to admit any wrong. Thank you for presenting pobably “what is real”. Without a doubt, these events are happening frequently. Likewise our torture and abuse of prisoners. How long did it take to estabilish the truth in My Lai? In Watergate?

    John Ragsdale

  11. It’s amazing how people can say this is “leftist” reporting. Why? Simply because it’s not your usual “my country, right or wrong”-style propaganda? It’s not surprising that these rebuttals are nothing more than straw-men arguments that don’t even address the points in the article; namely that it is apparent that civilians were killed in their homes by marines. To say that the marines killing Iraqi civilians is better than Saddam killing them is utterly off-topic. To say that this article is trying to promote the defeat of US troops in Iraq is utterly off-topic. To say that civilians wearing street clothes are potentially saboteurs is rampant speculation. So now marines are going after grandparents sitting in their rocking chairs because they are *potential* saboteurs? Reich-wingers, as usual, are grasping at straws in order to avoid the possibility of looking at a potentially ugly truth. Semper fi, right?

  12. I am just plain sickened by Julian’s comments.

    Me, I want to know why the hell our troops are in Iraq in the first place. Julian ought to be concentrating on that issue as well instead of frothing at the mouth about our being “..defeated” and “running like hell with our tails between our legs..” from something that we should never have been involved with in the first place.

    U.S. Regular Army, Korea service 1953-54.

  13. I am dismayed, at lest part of me is. The other part of me is hardened to the blatant “My country right of wrong” attitude. If the investigation shows that the people were massacred, then the perpetrators must pay the price. This is where the dismayed part comes in. Criminal conduct cannot be rationalized. In extreme circumstances it can me mitigated to a degree, but never excused.

    I spent my time as a combatant in Vietnam. I have earned my right to be righteous. In all of the combat missions I was part of – no one ever stepped over the line. Don’t think for a moment though that the thought did not enter our minds. The important thing is that we never acted upon our frustrations, anger or fear in such a manner. Shame on anyone who thinks an act such as this (if it proves to be criminal activity) can be condoned or rationalized away.

  14. A marine went down,, Us Marines “stick” together..We take care of our “brothers”..Don’t mess with us. This is what makes us MARINES and this is why we are called to duty..We live, we die, for our belief’s and our brothers, and,, our country…Now, dear friends,,, Who do you want on your side- – – al perkins, marine veteran,, vietnam- – –
    \

  15. Fascinating stuff! Well, I ain’t no commie or socialist or anarchist, in fact, I reckon the Left Vs Right paradigm is as dead as a dodo. So here is a scenario for you to ponder. If the USA had a very unpopular President (perish the thought:-) and a Coalition of the Willing invaded the States, installed a quisling government and destroyed US infrastructure, killed civilians, released tons of depleted uranium etc etc and then said any American that fought the government was a TERRORIST, not a FREEDOM FIGHTER – what would YOU do? Please don’t give me the ‘free & fair’ election crap, we didn’t think much of Afghanni elections under the USSR either. 250,000 dead Iraqis is a pretty horrid number, guys. So, how can a citizen of a country that has been invaded NOT resist? If you were a Frenchy in WWII, would you fight for the Vichy government, OR the resistance???

  16. What is this presumption of goodness and virtue in “our” murderous, mercenary troops? None of the hired thugs we call our troops in Iraq have even the paltry excuse that they are hapless conscripts, like the idiots who waged genocide on Vietnam. And just what is so damned honorable about anybody (much less the compatriots of H.D.Thoreau, Mark Twain, and Gertrude Stein) blindly and obediently following orders? Who the hell says? I feel about “our” child-torturing, baby-killing soldiery the same as I would feel about “owning” a pack of marauding pit bulls: I would thank anyone who, acting in my behalf, would shoot them for me, wherever they were found. I would, in their place: speaking as a Real American (and a bona fide Son of the American Revolution) who is willing to take responsibility for my country’s iniquities, and who is hopeful, so long as I have a shred of humanity left, of some day making restitution for them.

  17. We went there to make sure that there was no nuclear weapons or weapons or mass destruction… What keeps you there now that you dont find anything. US troops should have been back home two and half years ago… not protecting Halliburton Employees… Our Tax money is not for them… I dont care if you are vietnam veteran or not… this war is being fought for the WRONG REASONS… and all that extra money we pay for gas goes straight to Dick’s pocket!

  18. Mark,

    I don’t know if you visit this site often, but I’m no leftist. I’d like some accountability on this one, too. I’m also a vet — and trying to get hold of an ex-jarhead friend of mine who served in the first gulf war to get his take on this.

    Today’s example of military accountability, unfortunately, covered a full bird being given immunity while an NCO was court martialed (the dog handler from Abu Ghraib).

    With today’s political leadership of the military, I don’t expect a fair investigation — and it has already started out (allegedly) with a bunch of lies.

  19. Julian,

    This one isn’t about politics or Bush hating or anything related. If a bunch of our troops got pissed off because they lost one of their buddies and then went and intentionally shot noncombatant civilians – including (what seems to be) unarmed children, women and old people — then we’ve got a major mess to deal with.

    I’m not sure what happened, and Time broke the story. I’d love to see the video for myself. Based on what they presented, it looks pretty bad, though.

    I have no idea what reporting this miliary action has to do with economics (you called me leftist). If anything, my sense of economics is extremely right leaning.

  20. Whew Anatole (hmm, is that a Roosky moniker?:-) ! Apropos to the actions of US troops, I note the ‘Spartanization’ of your domestic Law (sic) Enforcement arms. Many police departments are recruiting from the returned vets. See this link re importation of military tactics for use against American civilians. Blowback is a bitch.
    http://www.sploid.com/news/2006/03/rise_of_the_us.php

  21. Tom,

    I agree that a oftentimes a uniform does not make that much of a difference. I was too young to have served in Viet Nam, but most of my immediate superiors did, and I’ve heard the stories (and trained to be able to differentiate between hostile and neutral civilians) a million times.

    My take on the description of the video indicates that there were no shrapnel wounds on the deceased, but a lot of bullet holes. Not having seen the actual video, I cannot state that the description is accurate, but it seems unlikely that Time would go that far out on a limb if it wasn’t factual at least in this regard.

  22. thttp://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/news/world/14139070.htmrust
    I trust you would lend SOME credibility from Knight Ridder Kansas City Star (or maybe not as it’s just been sold)?

    Here is an independent story re the massacre. Regards

  23. Frank – Here’s today’s example of sorting out the truth and prosecuting those responsible (emphasis added):

    Testifying for the defense, Colonel Pappas, who had been granted immunity from prosecution, said, “In hindsight, clearly we probably needed to establish some definitive rules and put out some clear guidance to everybody concerned.”

  24. Thanks, Justin. I’d also love to see a greater level of real debate, as opposed to this sparring with non sequiturs.

  25. Go to one of the deep African countries where virtual anarchy exists,

    There’s only one, Somalia.

    And it’s doing better than the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, and better than it did with a government.

    http://www.somalianarchy.com/

  26. In all of the combat missions I was part of – no one ever stepped over the line.

    How nice, but in Central America we saw 14 year old kids
    forced to serve in whichever “side” grabbed them up out of their villages first. They would get stoned on basuco, rape, torture, and kill for fun, and play soccer with human heads. War ain’t pretty, and to hell with whoever wants to dress it up and sell it to the public. Keep going down this path and it will come home to you soon.

    The Muslims still remember the crusades, and that was 1000 years ago. Is that really the beehive we should be sticking our peckers in? If you really want to, go yourself, or pay someone else to do it out of your own pocket. Start a fundraising campaign from fellow warmongers. Just keep our money, and our names, out of it.

  27. The Soldiers may have killed innocent civilians.
    That is what happens in any war.
    The Soldiers cannot and should not be punished.
    But here you have the non-leftist, demanding that. But apparently the Leaders can break the LAW and these non-leftist have nothing to say.

    In a Democracy the people punish the elected politicians who do wrong. Apparently American people still think their elected officials are not at fault and that punishing individuals soldiers is enough to continue spending billions to occupy a country and provide NO security to its innocent civilians, where some 50 civilians die each day by other civilians which cannot be called civil war since that will look bad.

    Lets face the truth. everyone who makes sense have been branded as Leftist, and left itself have been branded as non-True American. and the day dreaming idiots are continuing to rule. I say, Lets us Pray.

  28. I don’t know what actually happened, but given the choice at this stage to trust in US Marines or Time Magazine, I’m sticking with the Marines for now. Besides which there is always that time honored American (if not exactly libertarian) tradition that anyone accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty.

    Justin, your ability to miscontrue things written by others is without equal. Certainly what you wrote is true, but it missed the point. It’s not the wearing of street clothes that makes them saboteurs – it’s the acts of sabotage. My point, which I’ll reiterate since you didn’t seem to understand it, was that simply not donning a uniform before entering combat doesn’t make one a “noncombatant”. And this is not about “my country, right or wrong.” It is about not taking out your antiwar hysteria on Marines who were doing a job we asked them to do and tossing out their presumption of innocence for your political convenience.

  29. So my question is, what have you done to promote liberty today?

    You haven’t been over here, you don’t know what is happening on the ground, and you are giving unequal reporting coverage to the negative aspects of the daily grind here in Iraq. Life and death and losses and new found freedoms are all parts of the bigger story.

    If the Marines committed an atrocity, as some are claiming, they will be punished. How about some coverage of the attack on the Iraqi police station near the Iranian border where 100 insurgents slaughtered 20 Iraqi policeman?

    This post comes off as smarmy self-righteous chatter because you guys never ever publish anything positive about the war, and there are positive things happening. Libertarians are ineffective because most of us refuse to be practical.

    The war certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s been a long time coming. I suppose you would be happier if we had just removed Saddam and let some other tyrant step up and take his place.

  30. Trevor

    You are preaching to a bunch of entrenched antiwar, antisoldier, antianything that does not fit into their own little world. I know you are still in Iraq but why would these people want to listen to an eyewitness to history when they can get all their news second and third handed through filters and distortions of those reporting?

    It is same history all over again, just like Vietnam. Hell, when I was in college classrooms studying history, political science and whatever from 1968-1971, after serving in the army infantry in Vietnam, do you think the professors or students wanted the truth? Hell no and HELL NO again. They wanted to believe lies more than the truth, even an eyewitness and participant could refute much of the bullshit.

    The same thing is happening again. You will be alone in your thoughts and beliefs all the rest of your life because you know the truth and these little shits will fight with you forever.

  31. Trevor

    If the marines did screw up, these shits here will generalize to all troops and call all of you baby killers as they did to us because of My Lai. I had nothing to do with My Lai and never killed a civilian but we all are blamed for the actions of a few.

    Do you know the crazies here are patrolling the bars at night looking for soldiers just to mess with them, at least where I live?

    Not only does Phelps show up at soldiers funerals, but now antiwar ANSWER leftists (with whom radical libertarians agree with about the war and are allies) are also showing up.

    American radicals and the news media are turning public opinion against the war and guess which Americans suffer for the rest of their lives? The military combat veterans. Do you believe these people care about you and the soldiers? NO. You are the sacrifice. They will be satisfied and even gloat. You will be forgotten and disrespected. You will be a social anomaly for the rest of your life.

  32. I suppose you would be happier if we had just removed Saddam and let some other tyrant step up and take his place.

    You mean George Bush? No, we are not happier that he took Saddam’s place.

    This post comes off as smarmy self-righteous chatter because you guys never ever publish anything positive about the war, and there are positive things happening.

    Perhaps you can share some of these “positive things” with us?

    How about some coverage of the attack on the Iraqi police station near the Iranian border where 100 insurgents slaughtered 20 Iraqi policeman?

    I find it interesting that you are referring to these people as “insurgents”. Supposedly the defenders of Iraq are less than 10% foreign.

    Life and death and losses and new found freedoms are all parts of the bigger story.

    Like the freedom to engange in civil war?

  33. Paulie Cannoli

    Ever been in the military? Ever done anything for your “adopted” country other than bitch and criticize? Do you have anything good to say about living and enjoying the benefits of being in the USA?

    I am asking these questions because I recall you said you are originally from an eastern European country. If my memory serves me correctly, were they not under a Communist Totalitarian government when you lived there? Why did you leave? Was it by choice or did your parents force you to go with them?

    Say something nice about this country once in a while or leave!

  34. Ever been in the military? Ever done anything for your “adopted” country other than bitch and criticize?

    No, we have jarhead lemmings to fight Bush’s illegal wars for us.

    Say something nice about this country once in a while or leave!

    So what you are saying is: bend over and take whatever the Bush admin wants to shove up your ass, or leave?

  35. “Say something nice about this country once in a while or leave!”

    This country is wonderful, PRECISELY because it was created on the ideals of individual liberty, constitutional government, free-markets, and a foreign policy of NON-INTERVENTION. This is why we have flourished and this is why we are great. NOT because of our government.

    So Julian, why do you continually conflate these 2 distinct viewpoints of, support of the IRAQ war, and patriotism or love of ones country?

    Anyone can pick up a gun. Putting on a uniform, even when the person is on our side, doesn’t legitimize the reasons for war.

  36. This post comes off as smarmy self-righteous chatter because you guys never ever publish anything positive about the war, and there are positive things happening.

    Yeah! The media always talks about all the people we massacre, torture, the innocents we kill. They never write stories about the people we DIDN’T torture or kill! That’s biased reporting, if I ever saw it.

    I want to see more positive stories from Iraq! Like the restoration of electricity and water to villages (that we destroyed), or the rebuilding of hospitals and schools (that we bombed), or all the WMDs we found (oops, that didn’t happen), or the elections (which were a farce), or the shutting down of Saddam’s torture chambers (which we re-opened).

    You Iraq war supporters are an absolute joke.

  37. Mike Nelson

    It would make no difference to you who is President unless it is a libertarian “purist”. Guess what? He could do nothing unless a majority of congress were “purist” libertarians. You better start at the local level.
    You are disrespecting marines calling them lemming jarheads. I am right when I say you shits are generalizing to everyone wearing a uniform. Why do you hate the individual in the military so much? You show your colors on this at this blog quite often. Why don’t you come right out and name call and write what you are really thinking? You do believe individuals in the military should be held collectively responsible for the actions of a few, don’t you? You really believe we are all baby killers.
    You must have had hippie parents that Pablum fed you a bunch of lies when you were growing up. I blame your parents or lack thereof for your condition. How about that for displacing blame for your condition. It is the same disrespect you use on soldiers.

  38. We live, we die, for our belief’s and our brothers, and,, our country…

    So does Al-Qaeda. It’s possible to be brotherly, nationalistic, and willing to die for your cause, and still do bad things.

  39. Mike Nelson

    You reinforce my decision why I joined the Libertarian Party Reform Caucus. We need to purge the Libertarian Party of radical nut cases like you by making you nothing but a footnote. We can never win an election with whackos like you hanging around. I have seen and met your type face to face at local meetings and your type is nutso.

    So many issues to deal with like getting rid of the right (Republicans) and the left (Democrats) and reestablish the principles of the Constitution. This soldier bashing has got to cease if libertarians are going to be taken seriously and the starting point is getting rid of you and your radical friends.

  40. Julian,

    You are confusing the Libertarian Party with a discussion on an the war with Iraq. They have nothing to do with one another.

  41. The shrub, The Dick, Dumsfeld, The Rice Burner, and all the other murderers in the White House are equally, if not MOSTLY, responsible for this carnage.

  42. Julian,

    Ever been in the military?

    paul) Not officially, but my Central American import/export business was a military contract operation.
    I wasn’t officially old enough to be in the military and what we did, “didn’t happen”.

    Ever done anything for your “adopted” country other than bitch and criticize?

    paul) I would maintain that “criticizing” is the best thing I’ve done for this country. But if you mean serving the power structure, I did my share of that before “switching sides”.

  43. Julian,

    “Do you have anything good to say about living and enjoying the benefits of being in the USA?”

    paul) In some ways it’s still better than most countries, but going downhill rapidly.

    “I am asking these questions because I recall you said you are originally from an eastern European country.”

    paul) Technically speaking, we lived in the Asian part of the Soviet Union, close to the Mongolian border.

    “If my memory serves me correctly, were they not under a Communist Totalitarian government when you lived there?”

    paul) Yes, and the American regime is reminding me of my childhood more and more everyday.

  44. Julian,

    “Why did you leave? Was it by choice or did your parents force you to go with them?”

    paul) Both. At age seven, I didn’t exactly have a choice, but I’m glad and fortunate they left when they did because I was already starting trouble with the regime even at that age. For example, I told everyone I could – kids and adults – that I had a rich American uncle who rode around in a stretch limo and would take us away to America.

    The local party bureaucrats were mortified to get flak about this from several levels up, which was definitely not on the agenda for them. Their agenda was to keep their heads down, not attract unwanted attention – they knew it could mean getting their heads chopped off, literally.

    I didn’t know my parents had put in for a permit to leave “for Israel” but supposedly my antics got it expedited, as the local bureaucrats were happy to get rid of an ethnic minority kid who was already causing trouble for them at age seven. (cont)

  45. (for Julian cont.)

    And I was lucky again that they didn’t actually go to Israel. Unlike most Jews leaving Russian then, my father did in fact intend to go to Israel when he left, and didn’t just use it as a ruse to go to America.

    Luckily, he got a letter from my uncle who lived in Israel, who had been a strident Zionist before going there, and told him not to even think about it. Mandatory military service, no jobs, snarling bureaucracy…

    So we went and joined my mother’s extended family in New York, and were picked up at JFK by her cousin (in Russian, my second uncle, roughly translated) who was a limo driver, not rich yet, but soon to be, thus fulfilling my vision. Eerie, huh?

    “Say something nice about this country once in a while or leave!”

    Once in a while, this was a nice country, and there is still a lot of good in it. But I will be leaving as soon as I’m financially able, if still given a choice. I’m thinking a Caribbean or S. Pacific island.

  46. Yeah! The media always talks about all the people we massacre, torture, the innocents we kill. They never write stories about the people we DIDN’T torture or kill! That’s biased reporting, if I ever saw it.

    True, over 90% of the people of Iraq are still alive. Also, some of them still have their houses, and have not been tortured or raped. There are even a select few who are better off, because they allied themselves with the quisling faction that is in power at the moment. Of course, this may not long be the case.

  47. You do believe individuals in the military should be held collectively responsible for the actions of a few, don’t you? You really believe we are all baby killers.

    No, not at all. I knew many good people in the Red Army and Israeli Defense Forces, and I’m sure there were many good soldiers in the Nazi Wehrmacht, although it was before my time. Would you say all of them were collectively responsible or baby killers?

    If not, does it justify the institutions and their missions?

    I’ll note in passing Julian’s affiliation with the LP Reform Caucus. If folks like him want to take over the LP, it just shows why we need a new Radical Caucus now more than ever, and simultaneously a libertarian caucus within the Green Party as a fallback position.

    We’re also trying to organize a 9-11 Truth Caucus and write a Libertarian Bush Impeachment Resolution. Anyone who’s interested, let me know.

    http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14

  48. Julian, the war in Iraq was entered into on false premises and has demonstrably not made us safer or the Middle East more stable. Soldiers have been found murdering civilians and disarmed prisoners. America has operated torture dungeons in Iraq and elsewhere. Worst of all, Bush has used the Pentagon and the FBI to spy on anti-war groups and other political enemies for his own purposes. Put short, this war has made us less free, not more free- and the only remedy begins with ending the war.

    Also, by insulting, impunging the morals, and questioning the motives of those who disagree with you, you’re ill-representing the reformers in the party. My personal view is that you’re pushing for unification with the Republican neo-cons who have created the current mess… but I don’t know you or your motives, so I’m likely mistaken. Please grant other people the presumption, at least, that they also stand for the American ideals of freedom and liberty.

  49. i am surprised at the number of veterans and, um, troop-supporters who are apologists for this kind of disgusting behavior. mai lai, falluja, and now haditha are the reason people all over the world hate and fear the american military, do you not understand that? this kind of wholesale slaughter degrades the sacrifices made by people who do manage to be soldiers and decent human beings at the same time. in addition, this sort of display does nothing to promote the mutually beneficial peace that is supposedly our aim.

    don’t want to be called a babykiller? don’t kill babies.

  50. At least we know now that the Libertarian Reform Caucus’ true intent is to purge the principled members. People like Julian want to hijack the party. I have no understanding why, if you are going to lose, you don’t lose on principles. Even some Republicans are upset with their party members losing under on a sell out platform. Although conservatism is an utter contradictory ideology to begin with.

    It’s obvious that principled members are going to have to counter this effort by purging LRCers. It’s a shame, because I and most other principled members are happy to have “other” people along, but they aren’t willing to reciprocate and have it the other way around. They fully intend to get rid of us. That is the goal and the entire point of the effort, apparently. The best part of this is that everyone is a net loser because the LRC’s divisive tactics and intentions. It wouldn’t surprise in the least me if the LRC was funded and operated by GOP operatives.

  51. >don’t want to be called a babykiller? don’t kill babies.

    My nomination for quote of the year!

  52. Yes, because everyone knows principles like the right to turn blacks out into a blizzard rather than rent them a room, or the need to totally dismantle the military and rely entirely on civilian militia for national defense, or the right to own your own nuclear bomb, or repudiating the national debt and thus triggering a global depression, or advocating the right of states, cities, or even individuals to secede and thus evade any laws they don’t like… principles like these don’t drive voters away at ALL, do they?

  53. Kris,

    If you are a socialist, then why not run as a mega-party candidate instead of Libertarian?

  54. Tom,

    Given the penchant for the US military to cover up stories to save face or protect their own, I find it troubling that you would choose to believe them over Time Magazine. If you recall, the military tried to say that it was roadside bombs that killed these people. Occam’s Razor is extremely helpful in this situation, namely that the simplest explanation is often the correct one. The Marines lost one of their own. They got pissed and decided to take it out on nearby residents. This is the simplest explanation, but whether or not there are mitigating circumstances remains to be seen. I agree they are innocent until proven guilty, which is why the due process of a criminal investigation is taking place.

    I agree with you that just because you aren’t wearing a uniform, doesn’t mean you aren’t a combatant. However, your comment is another straw-man argument because it is based on the presumption these people were combatants. Where’s your presumption of innocence now?

  55. Julian,

    So many issues to deal with like getting rid of the right (Republicans) and the left (Democrats) and reestablish the principles of the Constitution.

    In what ways do you disagree with the Republican Right?

  56. This is one of the reasons we need to have more reporting, more live cameras, more reporters, and more freedom of speech in Iraq. If we can have traffic cameras in every major city, on public websites, why can’t we have the same thing in Iraq. If someone is worried about troop safety, then put in a 48 hour delay (but always continuously running).

    For the ardent military supporters, I will put the whole military into the same basket when individuals in the military blindly support the wrongdoings of others within their ranks.

    I feel the same way about police. I generally support the police and feel they try and do a good job. But when the blue shield goes up, all cops are corrupt. Only when good ones stand up and support truth and public disclosure, whatever it may be, is their name restored.

    Hopefully the military or ex military will wish for the truth, whatever it may be.

  57. Mike R,

    It should be obvious why there are no cameras monitoring what’s going on in Iraq. This entire adventure has been made possible by the creation of a foundation of lies and deceptions and the only way the Neocon administration can keep it going is to suppress as much of the negative realities of it as they can. But, thanks to the Internet, the masses have access to non-filtered sources of information and have (largely) begun to reject the official propoganda.

  58. I am not a socialist, although many of the purists have attempted to drive me out of the party over the past seven years by claiming I am.

    I am a person who wants more freedom for all people equally. With this in mind, I also believe that (1) Objectivism and Randianism is bullshit, (2) anarchy is destructive, not conducive, to freedom, and (3) the Libertarian Party will never do any better than it currently does until and unless it ceases to be the Anarchist Party. Only the insane, those with nothing to lose, and those capable of securing themselves in total chaos will knowingly support a party dedicated to the total destruction of government and, thereby, of law… and that’s where the LP currently stands, at least if you believe the platform and its leading spokespersons.

    In my campaign I deliberately choose issues which, if implemented, lead to more freedom than we currently have. They don’t shoot for total freedom now. All-or-nothing politics doesn’t fly… Q. E. D.

  59. a party dedicated to the total destruction of government and, thereby, of law…

    The two are not equivalent. Law can be polycentric. There’s historical, actual, present, and theoretical evidence.

  60. Paulie Cannoli

    You write as if you are a college instructor (or assistant instructor, professor, etc.) when arguing your position. Simple Simons like me find you difficult to follow sometimes. Maybe you can put it in plain English for rednecks like me.

    I believe the Republican right is as dangerous as the Democratic left; neither gives a damn about the individual, God given rights and freedoms of the average citizen. However, I also believe the anarchist (so called purist) sect of libertarianism is as dangerous if not more so than either party. The absence of any government is worse than too much government. With no government, we will be in total chaos, have warlords and tribes and live in daily fear for the safety of our families and ourselves.

    We do have recourse for our grievances if it is nothing but exercising our freedom of speech in this forum. I support our troops and will work to hopefully reform the LP and yes, purge it of anarchists. I expect we will succeed

  61. Julian, I’ve been around the LP awhile and, just like any political party, a fairly wide range of views are represented. The range typically runs from those seeking moderate steps toward liberty to those advocating more radical leaps. But, I can’t fathom how you consider any of them to be “anarchists”. Anarchists, by definition, believe in no government whatsoever, which is completely contradictory to working within the political system. All of the anarchists I’m aware of refuse to vote out of sheer principle.

    There probably are a few fringe oddballs affiliated with the LP who think eradicating government from within is the best strategy, but I’ve never encountered anyone like that and I certainly haven’t seen any evidence that anyone amongst the party leadership can be accurately described that way.

    Anyway, the whole minarchist/anarchist debate is irrelevant at this time. If/when we ever get back to something resembling limited government, then it may be reasonable to resume.

  62. The absence of any government is worse than too much government. With no government, we will be in total chaos, have warlords and tribes and live in daily fear for the safety of our families and ourselves.

    Absolutely false. I have and could point to numerous sources which prove otherwise, but they probably use too many long words for you. Or you could try dictionary.com.

    But, I can’t fathom how you consider any of them to be “anarchists”. Anarchists, by definition, believe in no government whatsoever, which is completely contradictory to working within the political system. All of the anarchists I’m aware of refuse to vote out of sheer principle.

    No, it isn’t. It’s possible to work within the political system to destroy it, and perhaps even necessary. If you choose to ignore the regime it doesn’t mean it will choose to ignore you.

  63. There probably are a few fringe oddballs affiliated with the LP who think eradicating government from within is the best strategy, but I’ve never encountered anyone like that and I certainly haven’t seen any evidence that anyone amongst the party leadership can be accurately described that way.

    This is completely wrong. Anarchists are a substantial minority within the LP and in the party leadership, especially among long-time members.

    Julian,

    I support our troops

    If you really supported them, you would agree with the vast majority of troops and work to bring them home as soon as possible.

    What you mean is that you suppport the war.

    Please explain how a massive military state supported by stolen tax money that “pre-emptively” invades other countries and fights an endless “war on terror” complete with domestic surveillance is supposed to square with individual freedom.

  64. Paulie, I might find your points more compelling if you could demonstrate in what way “a substantial minority within the LP and in the party leadership” (particularly the leadership) are anarchist when the message I am consistently getting is one of minimal government.

    Harry Browne, for example, was probably about as radically libertarian as any prominent LP figure in recent years that I’m aware of and he even wrote a book entitled, “Why Government Doesn’t Work” (an excellent book, BTW). Nevertheless, I never once read anything he wrote or said that indicated to me that he was an anarchist. He consistently advocated scaling back government to its minimal, legitimate functions of protecting the rights of citizens, however poorly its track record has been in doing so.

    Perhaps you can point to some examples that I have not yet considered.

  65. http://www.rationalreview.com/rationalreviewold/archive/tlknapp/tlknapp010303.html
    is a good starting point. It mentions that 13% in 1998 described themselves as anarchists, down from 31% in 1988.

    Of the editors of this site, Steve Gordon is the only one I know personally, and he has described himself as an anarchist.

    Murray Rothbard, one of the leading founders of the LP, was an anarchist.

    In Alabama, while I was active in the state LP, many of the party leaders were anarchists. The Executive Director, former State Chair and former Secretary/Treasurer among them, and many of our candidates.

    So were many of the people I met at LP National conventions in 2000 and 2004, and outside of the party per se: Advocates conference in 1999 and ISIL in 2002.

    I also attended LP conventions in California (2005), and Arizona (2004) and found plenty of fellow anarchists wherever I went.

  66. By the way, if you liked “Why Government Doesn’t Work” you should try “How I Found Freedom In an Unfree World”.

  67. Thanks for the feedback, Paulie. I’m thinking my definition of “anarchist” is probably a bit too narrow. I suspect the Stephen Gordon types (please correct me if I’m wrong, Stephen!) could probably be described as taking the position of, “no government is the ideal, but I’m willing to work through the system to minimize it in the meantime.” My impression regarding Rothbard, OTOH, is that he finally “went all the way” to anarchism sometime after his initial LP involvement. Maybe you have more details on this.

    I’d love to check out the other Harry Browne book you referred to, but WHOA!

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0965603679/ref=buy_pb_n_//104-7999945-9426353?condition=new

    It must be one helluva a book!

  68. “no government is the ideal, but I’m willing to work through the system to minimize it in the meantime.”

    Well, I share Steve’s position, as do most of the anarchists in the LP. We’re “practical anarchists”.

    My impression regarding Rothbard, OTOH, is that he finally “went all the way” to anarchism sometime after his initial LP involvement.

    As he deepened his understanding of laissez-faire economics, he confronted a dilemma. The arguments for market provision of goods and services applied across the board. If so, should not even protection and defense be offered on the market rather than supplied by a coercive monopoly? Rothbard realized that he would either have to abandon laissez-faire or embrace individualist anarchy. The choice, arrived at in the winter of 1949, was not difficult.

    source:

    http://www.mises.org/content/mnr.asp

    The LP was founded in 1971, so that would be some time before his LP involvement.

  69. Yikes!

    $919?!

    Either that was a misprint, or I would be hard-pressed to believe you couldn’t find a much better price elsewhere.

    If you’re not opposed to using your local government library, an inter-library loan request will usually get you any book in print (and a few that are out) if your branch doesn’t have one.

  70. Based on the prices of the used copies ($149+), I’m guessing this was NOT a misprint. I’m wondering if this book has suddenly shot up in value in light of Harry’s recent passing.

  71. Interesting discussion but as usual the demons of political persuasion and mental illness prevail. Generalizations about subjects most know absolutely nothing about.Which is their right to discuss but which accomplishes nothing.
    There was one person, a Vietnam Vet, who spoke with a certain “ring”, the ring of experience. Experience is an incredible thing but one which cannot be passed along.
    Think about anything you’ve really experienced and tell me about it. I will read a book , think big thoughts and then challenge your opinion.Try to explain to me , I don’t know shit about what I’m talking about.I’m very hard headed.