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Is protecting government secrets censorship?

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message 1: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
While putting togehter this month's poll for our book group, I came across the book The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence and, as always, went to verify whether it has been challenged or banned. All I could find was a complaint by the US CIA, summed up here:

1974: The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence revealed some of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s dirty tricks and failures overseas and in the United States. The authors (Victor Marchetti, a former senior analyst for the CIA, and John D. Marks, a former U.S. State Department official) were told by a U.S. court to submit their manuscript to the CIA before the book was published. The CIA demanded the removal of 339 passages from the text, but eventually the publisher won the right to retain 171 of those in the first edition of the book. By 1980, the publisher had won the legal right to publish 25 more passages, but the most recent edition (1989) still indicated numerous censored passages.

I'm not sure if it qualifies as "frequently banned" when it's only been challenged by one entity but it is a government org, so that's pretty big. But it made me think about the reasons the info was censored: allegedly to maintain CIA secrets and protect CIA agents abroad.

Now I'm not a big fan of the CIA and I was told by colleagues that there is probably a dossier on me in CIA archives because I actively protested CIA recruitment on my college campus in a very public demonstration. (I tend to think that kind of stuff is unlikely but who knows.) But I do understand a need to keep military secrets in order to protect ourselves. So this is one of those gray areas.

Does a government have the right to protect itself such as it's current military and intelligence information? What about past mistakes? Where do we draw the line (think: China's control on information about itself to its people)? Does the CIA attempts to control what was published in this book constitute inappropriate censorship?

For now, I'm removing this book from the poll this month and will add it back in next time depending on what you all think.


message 2: by Mawgojzeta (new)

Mawgojzeta This is a really hard question to answer.

I would say that it is not a banned book. At least, not yet. I wonder if a new edition was put out, what amount of passages would still be censored.

I believe the government should have the right to try and protect its military and intelligence secrets. Of course, they also hide some really bad stuff that the public needs to be aware of. So, with some level of qualifying in advance, it is the public's responsibility (those with the ability) to attempt to bring those issues to light. A constant tug-of-war, for lack of a better analogy.


message 3: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
Thanks Mawgojzeta for your comment. I'm going to remove it from our polls as I think it doesn't really count, nor does it fit the spirit of our monthly read.


message 4: by Jennifer W (new)

Jennifer W | 13 comments Similarly, I just saw this, too. I guess the question has to be asked, are they really protecting military secrets, because based on the article, they weren't hiding too much that wasn't already known. But of course, if they censor it, we won't know what they are censoring.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/...


message 5: by Irene (new)

Irene Hollimon | 20 comments Sure protecting government secrets is censorship. And there is censorship in protecting government secrets. Not all censorship is bad. It's the degree we will give up freedom for security. I want all the freedom I can get. I don't like the idea of giving up any freedom. But giving up freedom is the lesser of two evils when one side of the pendulum is anarchy.


message 6: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) if anyone has been monitoring the news over the last few months, there has been the wikileaks incident...this organization released over 90,000 classified documents to the public over the last 6 months...these documents identified invididuals who were helping the US in Iraq and Afghanistan - people who are now scared for their lives because they have been identified


message 7: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) Government censorship is always a tricky question. I tend to agree with Mawgojetz and the others. I think there are times when the government cannot let infromation be out there in public sphere. I think about D-Day. There was some type of pratice exercise that went horribly wrong and it was hushed up so the Germans wouldn't get wind of D-Day. Or how about the news holding back infromation to help catch a killer?

Now, do I think the news should just roll over? No, but I can understand that sometimes holding back is needed.

I have my students write a paper about censorship and the question of if the government should censor in this way, is one I raise.


message 8: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 474 comments I think there is a difference between keeping government and military secrets and covering up instances of government and military atrocities. The former is acceptable to an extent, but the latter, in my opinion, should be generally regarded as criminal behaviour and punished accordingly (personally, I think that any military wrongdoings that are covered up should be regarded as war crimes, especially if they involve attacks on civilians).


message 9: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa I think there is a big difference between censorship of art or free speech and state secrecy. As far as I can see there aren't any rational arguements for censoring art..."but they might learn to think critically!", "they will copy the violence!", "they might have...sex!". But secrecy can be about big issues like safety and the saving of lives, the stability of economies (which isn't going to well now is it) etc.
From my perspective, govts will always need to have secrets, I don't think this is censorship. But it is a free press's duty to look out for us, to expose the things that shouldn't be secret. Now the problems happen when the press aren't looking out for us anymore...if they are owned by the very folk that are paying for election campaigns, then when press is censored, either by govt or by self censorship, we all lose.


message 10: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa Gundula wrote: "I think there is a difference between keeping government and military secrets and covering up instances of government and military atrocities. The former is acceptable to an extent, but the latter..."

Agree.


message 11: by Jesslynn (new)

Jesslynn | 20 comments Gundula wrote: "I think there is a difference between keeping government and military secrets and covering up instances of government and military atrocities. The former is acceptable to an extent, but the latter..."
Military atrocities? I think when in war, it's not any "civilians" right to judge or criticize when fighting for your life and some things are just better left unsaid.


message 12: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa Jesslynn wrote: "Military atrocities? I think when in war, it's not any "civilians" right to judge or criticize when fighting for your life and some things are just better left unsaid..."

Eh? So if military personnel march into a village and kill the civillians it's "better left unsaid"? Execution of prisoners? Rape camps? All "better left unsaid"? Ethnic cleansing?
I think both military and civilians have a moral right to judge and criticise, to expose and stop if possible.


message 13: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Hilbert (leoniine) these documents identified invididuals who were helping the US in Iraq and Afghanistan - people who are now scared for their lives because they have been identified

So the government tells us. Wikileaks insist that the reason it took months to release this material is that they went thru it first editing out anything that could identify and endanger people in the field.

As usual it depends who you believe, but I've yet to see an actual example quoted of a person who's been identified and endangered. Until I do, I'll remain skeptical.


message 14: by Anthony (last edited Oct 05, 2010 01:57AM) (new)

Anthony Hilbert (leoniine) I think both military and civilians have a moral right to judge and criticise, to expose and stop if possible.

Since this is a book forum, I recommend Fatherland for an unashamedly biased study of whether the State is right to keep atrocities secret. (Trusting this isn't too close to Godwin's Law.)


message 15: by Kristi (last edited Oct 05, 2010 10:45AM) (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) @ Jessalyn & Barbarossa, I agree with both of you, in different ways. I just finished a book that opened my eyes a little about this subject, and for what it's worth, here are my thoughts.

I think that the Military has a right to defend us. I think that in any war there is "collateral damage". No, I'm not saying that if soldiers march into a village and blow it to smithereens it's ok, but I am saying that if, in the execution of orders civilians are killed, that's War, and if we aren't willing to commit 100% to fighting a war, we should not have started in the first place. Any country that goes to war has to know that it is an ugly business. We also have to understand that we are sending people out to do the horrible dirty work for us.

Sitting here in my plush chair and playing on my expensive computer, I don't know if I have the right to say that, in the heat of battle and trying to defend their lives, soldiers are wrong in what they do, that's for military courts and military personnel to decide. I also say, that any censorship that may save the lives of people defending MY freedom is good. They are out there risking their lives so I can sit at my computer and have an opinion.

Now, with that said, I do not believe that covering up military atrocities is ok. Human rights violations, war crimes, and the like SHOULD be uncovered and punished. That is justice, and that is what everyone, our soldiers included, are fighting for.

It seems to me that if we didn't censor government secrets, we would be much more vulnerable to things like 9/11. Our enemies would know all our secrets and our defences and target us easily. I think government secrets are necessary...to an extent.

Again, just my 2 cents.


message 16: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 474 comments Old-Barbarossa wrote: "Jesslynn wrote: "Military atrocities? I think when in war, it's not any "civilians" right to judge or criticize when fighting for your life and some things are just better left unsaid..."

Eh? So..."


I agree, it is never, ever acceptable to be supportive of military attacks on civilians (no matter whose military). Sorry, this is the kind of attitude that enabled the Nazi atrocities and some of the horros of the Vietnam War.


message 17: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 474 comments Sure, there is always some collateral damage, but we should not simply accept that. And, if soldiers, any soldiers (even US, British, French soldiers etc.) march into a village and brutalise the inhabitants, or sexually assault and humiliate their women and children (and, this has happened), these soldiers must be not only punished, but publicly identified as war criminals and punished to the absolute fullest extent of the law. There is no excuse for gratuitous violence, and there is certainly no excuse for soldiers "raping and pillaging" (and, all soldiers should be held to that and if any such atrocities do occur, they MUST be publicised). And, I am not talking only about American soldiers, here, for me, this pertains to ALL soldiers. We cannot allow abusive and violent behaviour (above and beyond the heat of battle) to be condoned, to do so, would be to basically justify evil entities like Hitler, the Gestapo, Stalin, the Kmer Rouge etc.


message 18: by Kristi (last edited Oct 05, 2010 11:24AM) (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Gundula wrote: "Sure, there is always some collateral damage, but we should not simply accept that. And, if soldiers, any soldiers (even US, British, French soldiers etc.) march into a village and brutalise the i..."

This is why I said...

"Now, with that said, I do not believe that covering up military atrocities is ok. Human rights violations, war crimes, and the like SHOULD be uncovered and punished. That is justice, and that is what everyone, our soldiers included, are fighting for.


I absolutly agree that raping and pillaging and brutalization are wrong. But our soldiers are having to make the hard decision of weather to carry out orders, due to the fact that the people sitting at home see the taking of a civilian's life, while following orders, as a punishable offense that they may be tried in court for. Now I am not saying "they went in there with guns blazing and killed the village" I'm saying "they were apprehending their "target" and a civilian was killed/injured". There is a difference, and I think that it's for the UN, Military courts, and the like to decide who is guilty (no matter the soldier's nationality).


message 19: by Old-Barbarossa (last edited Oct 05, 2010 11:27AM) (new)

Old-Barbarossa Kristi wrote: "There is a difference..."

Agreed. The point I was trying to get across was that even though war by it's nature causes death, the covering up of what most nations agree are war crimes is unacceptable. My post was not meant to be directed at any nationality but at combatants and govts in general and their responsibilities once the dogs of war are unleashed. To note the fact that war need not always be what used to be called total war, civilians shouldn't be targets by default of race, nationality, faith, gender or location.


message 20: by Kristi (last edited Oct 05, 2010 11:32AM) (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Old-Barbarossa wrote: To note the fact that war need not always be what used to be called total war, civilians shouldn't be targets by default of race, nationality, faith, gender or location."

Absolutely!


message 21: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 474 comments And, if you cover things up, it will always look suspicious, no matter what. And, no matter what, civilians should not be specifically targeted (by any military). It becomes a problems when civilian casualties are only seen as collateral damage, or worse, if they begin to be used by either side (or both) as simply human shields, cannon fodder or information sources. I also know that if I were a civilian minding my own business in a war zone and a soldier came into my house and asked for information, if he/she were respectful, non violent etc., I would do my best to tell what I knew, but if this same soldier burst into my house, and basically threatened me with violence or worse, I would be much less forthcoming, and if my family were attacked, I would defend myself (and, I would have the right to do so, especially if my children were being threatened or worse). I know this is a tough question and there are no easy answers. But, it is equally dangerous to assume that both soldiers and civilians can do no wrong. And, no matter what, deliberately razing an entire village, if you know that it only or mostly contains civilians, makes me ill and angry.


message 22: by Jesslynn (new)

Jesslynn | 20 comments Gundula wrote: "Old-Barbarossa wrote: "Jesslynn I agree, it is never, ever acceptable to be supportive of military attacks on civilians (no matter whose military). Sorry, this is the kind of attitude that enabled the Nazi atrocities and some of the horros of the Vietnam War. ..."

The horrors of Vietnam? Did you have family in the Vietnam war? I did. Wanna know what my dad remembers the most abt the vietnam war? Coming home to a hailstorm of rocks being thrown at him.
Things are done w/ purpose in the military that frankly, I don't think your average housewife has the experience to understand. People try to make war into a PC event that should be fought w/decorum and a some sort of unachievable sense of honor. No average GI Joe is going to walk into a village to
"deliberately" raze an entire village. It happens under extreme situations and then a reporter catches half of the experience and puts his spin of look poor little children and women who got mowed down by the big bad army.
You're nieve, if you think that's what really happened. and like Kristi said they are councils and judiciary systems to take care of the psychos who do think it's about going in there in killing innocents.
Not quite being a Nazi, but I'll be sure to pass that along.


message 23: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 474 comments Jesslynn wrote: "Gundula wrote: "Old-Barbarossa wrote: "Jesslynn I agree, it is never, ever acceptable to be supportive of military attacks on civilians (no matter whose military). Sorry, this is the kind of attitu..."

Look, I am just putting down some ideas and I was not trying to insult anyone, so I would ask you to tone down your rhetoric a bit, please. And, I certainly was not trying to condemn all soldiers or to say that the Vietnam War was not horrible for the American soldiers who were there. But, it was horrible for the citizens of Vietnam as well, and that should also not be forgotten. I know that war is extreme, but one has to have mercy, compassion and pity for everyone involved in war (and, when I was talking about soldiers razing a village, I was thinking of some of the atrocities of the Nazis). Why do people always assume that if one criticises somewhat, one is against all soldiers or one thinks that all soldiers are evil. I was never saying that and I would like you to stop putting words into my mouth or onto the screen. All I was saying is that one needs transparency, and that it would be great if problems etc. were not covered up,


message 24: by Jesslynn (last edited Oct 05, 2010 04:20PM) (new)

Jesslynn | 20 comments Pot?? Kettle? Black?
Did I say anything about evil soldiers? No.

When you compare any military activities to Nazis, just the word itself, is an insult.
I'll ask you to tone down the comparisons if you're not clear on what you're comparing.


message 25: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Gundula wrote: I know that war is extreme, but one has to have mercy, compassion and pity for everyone involved in war."

I have compassion first and foremost for the men and women who are willing to lay down THEIR lives to protect ME (and additionally the victims of people like the Nazis and Taliban and Al Qaeda). You need to be careful what you say, because if they weren't willing to be there, your way of life, your very ability to put your opinions out there would most likely be gone. What you are saying is coming off as very un-grateful to these people.

Secondly, if Jesslynn has to tone down her rhetoric, then you might think of calming yours down too.

Gundula wrote: I know that war is extreme, but one has to have mercy, compassion and pity for everyone involved in war"

You seem to have a lot of compassion for people who are on the other side of the war, and I understand having compassion for the Haulocaust victims, and the Vietnamese (A war which I haven't read a lot on, but I am getting there). But what about the people who fought to rescue the Haulocaust victims, do you have compassion for the soldiers who died in WWII, and their families? What about the men who were at pearl harbor? What you are putting out there is that only the victims have a right to compassion, and the soldiers need to be very careful not to put a foot wrong or they should be condemned. I'm not sure if that's what you meant, but that's sure what it sounds like.

Gundula wrote: Why do people always assume that if one criticises somewhat, one is against all soldiers or one thinks that all soldiers are evil."

Because your responses to other posts never seem to understand that there are Courts and places like the UN for these judgments. Of course we all think lessons like the Nazi's are horrendous! That's why there was WWII!!! To stop things like this. You are making it sound like all soldiers are walking into villages and just blowing people away...even if that's not what you put down in words.


Anyways, I kinda feel like this is really off track from the actual discussion, which is, is it "right" for the Government to Censor...


message 26: by Jesslynn (new)

Jesslynn | 20 comments I think the Government absolutely has a right to protect it's military and all that implies.

I don't think the Government has the right to protect ridiculous things like they spent $600 on a hammer.

I do they think they should try to keep their sexual indescretions more underwraps bcs ...well...no wonder the other countries think America is filled with freaking idiots. The presidents can't even keep their pants zipped up at the appropriate times. HA!


message 27: by Manybooks (last edited Oct 05, 2010 02:31PM) (new)

Manybooks | 474 comments Jesslynn wrote: "Pot?? Kettle? Black?
Did I say anything about evil soldiers? No.

When you compare any military activities to Nazis, just the word itself, is an insult.
I'll ask you to tone down the comparis..."


Alright, I am sorry, I guess some of what I wrote could have been misunderstood. But, I never meant to say that all or most soldiers act like the Nazis did. What I was trying to say is that if we cover up or deny problems with the military, if too many civilians etc. are hurt or killed, and if that is then perhaps perceived as being generally acceptable (especially by those unsympathetic or critical to one's cause), it might give the "appearance" that soldiers are acting like dictators; I think that image should be avoided, as it just augments suspicion and animosity, while endangering not only civilians, but soldiers as well. I think it would be better for everyone if there was not only more transparency, but if the military and the media actually worked together instead of so often against one another (I mean, half the time you don't know what to believe and the newspaper articles are never balanced, but are usually rather polarised). I hope that makes it a bit clearer.


message 28: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Jesslynn wrote: "I think the Government absolutely has a right to protect it's military and all that implies.

I don't think the Government has the right to protect ridiculous things like they spent $600 on a ha..."


lol, $600 hammer...I hope it was gold plated! Sheesh!


message 29: by Jesslynn (last edited Oct 05, 2010 02:36PM) (new)

Jesslynn | 20 comments I'm sorry and I hate this word, but I almost think you're ignorant.

A soldier has the "appearance" of acting like a dictator is a ridiculous statement. Unless you're talking about a green beret, most soldiers operate in units.
My point was/is there is no black and white in war. There are some things that happen that can not be explained cleanly to the average citzen and therefor that average person does not have the right to know.


message 30: by Jesslynn (last edited Oct 05, 2010 02:39PM) (new)

Jesslynn | 20 comments Kristi wrote: "lol, $600 hammer...I hope it was gold plated! Sheesh! ..."


I actually don't see invoices for hammers, but I do see other government funded items from like the DOT projects and I can verify that the government has an obscene idea of what's okay for spending.


message 31: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 474 comments Jesslynn wrote: "I'm sorry and I hate this word, but I almost think you're ignorant.

A soldier has the "appearance" of acting like a dictator is a ridiculous statement. Unless you're talking about a green beret..."


Look, I was trying to explain it the best way I know how, but you are obviously not willing to understand me. I am not ignorant, but I am also not an expert, I never said I was. And I know there is no black and white in war. I've apologised and if that is not enough for you, too bad, but calling me ignorant, well, that's a bit much, but I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinions.


message 32: by Jesslynn (new)

Jesslynn | 20 comments I read your apology as very insincere.
It's not that I'm not willing to understand, I just don't agree with you. At all.


message 33: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Jesslynn wrote: I actually don't see invoices for hammers, but I do see other government funded items from like the DOT projects and I can verify that the government has an obscene idea of what's okay for spending."

I bet it comes from the "if you don't spend it the budget will get cut" mentality?


message 34: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 474 comments Jesslynn wrote: "I read your apology as very insincere.
It's not that I'm not willing to understand, I just don't agree with you. At all."


Well, my apology was sincere, I really meant to apologise and I did it the best way I could. You don't have to agree with me, but you could at least try to accept my apology, because I was being sincere.


message 35: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) I can say that is a fact...I'm in the military and there have been times towards the end of the quarter when we have been told, we have money left in our alloted amount that needs to be spent or we will lose that equilvalent money next quarter...all the departments submit a list of requests for stuff and it gets ordered...but there are also specific stuff we have to buy...i.e. no shit, there is a specific brand and style of paint that has to be on the interior of ships...its not like I can go to home depot and just buy any paint


Kristi wrote: "Jesslynn wrote: I actually don't see invoices for hammers, but I do see other government funded items from like the DOT projects and I can verify that the government has an obscene idea of what's o..."


message 36: by Jesslynn (last edited Oct 05, 2010 03:12PM) (new)

Jesslynn | 20 comments Kristi -LOL Yes, Ma'am.

Did you hear about the new projects coming up? It's a new FEDERAL regulation that every road sign in America has to be changed from all caps to a mix of caps and lower cases. It's ridiculous. I believe the reasoning behind it would be to create construction type jobs, but still... Retarded!


message 37: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) that doesn't surprise me at all...meanwhile, we have schools that can't afford to pay its teachers, towns that are having to cut policemen and firemen because of budgets....


message 38: by Jesslynn (new)

Jesslynn | 20 comments It seems like to me that education is always put last on the totem poll and I am disgusted by it.


message 39: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (last edited Oct 05, 2010 11:34PM) (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
[[I have edited this somewhat to be slightly more clear, although I have not made any significant changes. All of my changes, with the exception of a couple of typos, are in double brackets.]]

Whoa, folks, I think this is a very sensitive subject and although we started out with a civil discussion, it's quickly devolved into the attack arena.

Jesslyn, Gundula was trying to apologize and explain her point of view better. You replied with, "I'm sorry and I hate this word, but I almost think you're ignorant." If you hate the word, please don't use it. And please don't tell someone they're ignorant. This goes against our group guidelines. Disagreeing is fine, insults are not. Just because you disagree doesn't mean someone else is ignorant. And just because someone tries to clarify does not mean their apology is insincere. She apologized yet again and you did not even acknowledge it. You are not required to do so, but when you were so rude to her, it would be nice to at least acknowledge her apology. She is disagreeing with you but respecting your point of view. It's unfortunate it is clearly not reciprocated. Intolerance of other people's ideas is the very opposite of what this group is about. I want you to feel free to share your opinion but it's imperative that you also allow others to share theirs.

Kristi, I really appreciate your participate in the discussion without bringing up anything personal.

[[Folks: I should have made it clear here that I was no longer speaking to Kristi specifically but to everyone who might have been offended by what Gundula said.]]

Gundula did not say our American soldiers are Nazis. She said, "I agree, it is never, ever acceptable to be supportive of military attacks on civilians (no matter whose military). Sorry, this is the kind of attitude that enabled the Nazi atrocities and some of the horros of the Vietnam War."

She did not say that the soldiers themselves were Nazi's but that there were some horrible atrocities committed, which is widely documented. She did not attack actual soldiers. She never said that she didn't appreciate what they do for us. [[I believe]] it is possible to have compassion for our enemies without agreeing with them. Their soldiers are doing what their government told them to do, too. They are following what they were brought up to believe. If you were raised in a Communist country, it was all you ever knew, and you had no access to other ways of thinking, you might be arguing the other side of this. A life lost is a life lost. [[I believe]] It is not horrible for a person to be sad for their families as well.


Gundula, it's important to understand that Back then, it was such an unknown phenomenon (this random attacking of civilians) that the soldiers that took part had no idea what to do. So they did what they were taught and obeyed orders, or got caught up in the emotions of the event. This is different then a long-standing general order to pull people into concentration camps to be murdered. What those poor soldiers came home to was part of the atrocities. It was horrible and wrong and inexcusable. The anti-war protesters I know condemn that kind of behavior. You can support troops and be against the war.

That said, it is also VERY important to remember that there is a reason that soldiers are taught to obey orders first, think second. When lives are on the line, there is no time for individuals to second-guess their commanders. But there are generally warning signs ahead of time and killing clearly unarmed children when not under fire is pretty hard to justify. In that instance, it can make sense for a team to question its commander. Yet there is an element of brainwashing type behavior in war (extreme living conditions with only one authority and little to no outside contact is how brainwashers do what they do). I am not saying soldiers are brainwashing, I am saying that in their intense, extreme situations, reality changes. I've seen it happen to me just being away at a conference with a group of coworkers: something more intense happens when you spend every moment with people towards a common goal. I can't imagine how extreme that feeling would be if I were in a war. It's a very difficult line that has to be trod and it's hard for us [[who have never been to war]] to understand the situation. I believe each situation needs to be evaluated individually [[when we as outsiders are trying to understand what happened]]. That's what war crimes trials are for.

But it is true that blind following and not questioning any order ever is the kind of thing that can lead to a group mind and then to the TYPES of atrocities that have happened in the past.

Again, Gundula did not say that people who fought in the Vietnam war were Nazis, only that there were atrocities which I hope you are not denying happened [[in Vietnam]].

Jesslyn, you said, "When you compare any military activities to Nazis, just the word itself, is an insult." The Nazis do not have a monopoly on mass murder and genocide. One only has to look at Darfur, Rwanda and Bosnia for more examples. If we [[everyone in the world]] do not question what our militaries [[in every nation]] are doing, and tiptoe around blatant murder, we risk those kinds of things happening again, as they do over and over. What makes our country [[The US]] so great is that we the people do have a say in what happens. We have the right to question and speak out against what we find abhorrent. Just as you are upset by any words against our military, others are upset by any idea that soldiers are robots who have no free will and cannot be held responsible for their actions.

Civilian murder by US soldiers has happened in Afghanistan very recently: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/ame... . If no one had questioned this commander's behavior, civilians might still be killed for no reasons.

This is a complicated subject, emotional and subjective. I personally have both "no Iraq war" and "support our troops" stickers on my car.


message 40: by Jesslynn (new)

Jesslynn | 20 comments Whoa Kelly,
Nice. I can't say that someone has no idea what they are talking about? That they have no education in the background that they are talking about? Ignorant is not a hate word. Nor is she being attacked or cursed at or whatever...
You agree w/what she's saying so you're going to say that I was the only one being rude. Nice, open, debating rules. (That was sarcasm) Watch CNN much? (again, sarcasm)
Nazis is the word she used. I don't need the education in murder and mass genocide. Thanks. I'm not upset by "any word" used. She is trying to compare an army (and we all know we're talking about US military) to Nazism and dictatorships. Her words.
Yes, I am offended by that. No, I don't acknowledge any apologies from someone who I think has no idea what they are talking about. BTW, "I think" is the way we express IMO or in my opinion which is what you're asking for in a debate. A topic which you opened.
Going back to your Vietnam war and your nice articles on what's happening in todays wars. Do you have any articles that tell about the kids in vietnam that use to put grenades in fruit (oranges) and would throw them at the soldiers? Do you have articles about the soldiers who shot kids when they were throwing stuff at them bcs the soldiers had no idea what was being thrown at them as a result? Is that the soldiers fault? Those poor, likely to fall into mob mentality, ill-trained soldiers. Did I sum up your POV correctly? Bcs thats the way you're both now coming off.
You know what, war is personal. Especially when it happens to your family. Especially when it involves your highschool buddies going off and never coming back. I take this very personally. Not every soldier or commander is out there razing villages.
I wish they could come home and I wish we would leave that country to handle itself however the majority terroristic group that was in charge felt the need to handle it. So that way, all the reporters could tell about what they are doing to each other and leave America out of it.
But there goes the apathy in me.


message 41: by Kristi (last edited Oct 05, 2010 10:29PM) (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Kelly Hon,

I don't think that Gundula and I have any problem, if you look back at the conversation you will see that through the discussion many things were made more clear. The more we hashed it out, the more I understood. I felt like Post #27 put to rest any thoughts I had that needed settling, and left the "fight" (or whatever). I appreciate you trying to clarify the situation, but I was perfectly clear before your clarification. I don't hold a grudge against Gundula, I just felt things needed to be clarified and hashed out, I tried not to get personal,and I hope Gundula understands I meant no harm.

I have to also say I definitely see Jesslynn's point of view. When this whole debate started it was unclear who Gundula was saying was committing mass genocide, and it is infuriating to think that anyone out there thinks that our soldiers are out there "going Rogue" Razing villages...that's just not what is done. I feel that it's ok to say that, and try to inform someone who doesn't understand (or is perceived to not understand...hence having discussions).

And...To tell the truth, My first comment was aimed at Barbarossa and Jesslyn, not Gundula. Gundula's response in post #17 made it REALLY sound like she thought US, British, French soldiers etc. (her phrasing) were causing these atrocities...Just saying, that's where my comments came from.

I would also like to say, in response to you article, that 99.9999% of soldiers would never murder anyone. They are out there to protect our country, and help the Afgani people (among others). That being said, those 1% of "bad apples" are the reason for court marshals and MP's and the UN...as I have been saying ALL frickin' day! SO, nice shot at trying to make us understand that murder happens in war...we understand, and ALSO realize that there are institutions for dealing with such crimes.

I STRONGLY agree with Jesslynn's assessment here:

Do you have any articles that tell about the kids in vietnam that use to put grenades in fruit (oranges) and would throw them at the soldiers? Do you have articles about the soldiers who shot kids when they were throwing stuff at them bcs the soldiers had no idea what was being thrown at them as a result?


and I further add:

What about the soldiers in Afganistan, who were found by "goat herders", then, because the rules of engagement state that you cannot fire until fired upon, 2 hours later, after these same goat herders were kindly released to go on their way, (unmolested in any way) they went and told the local Taliban where the Soldiers were located. They are massacred by 200 Taliban soldiers armed to the teeth and out for their blood (BTW...this was a 4 man SEAL team). THEN when the rescue team comes for them, the Taliban blow up the helicopter and kill all aboard as well. Should our soldiers be expected to trust goat herders?? With their lives, and the lives of their team??? BTW...that totals 19 dead, all because OUR soldiers released these goat herders instead of killing them.

There is no right answer, it's all situational, and the people responsible for keeping everyone sane and under control are the military...and their courts and tribunals. We as civilians will never know what it is like to be out there and have someone who hates up with the utmost hostility staring us in the eye, and have to make the decision to take a life.

Anyways...here was my original point: I think that it's ok, and necessary for the government to censor. If they did not they would be risking the safety of our soldiers, and the citizens of their country. If you publish war strategies in a book...who is stopping that country's enemies from buying it? I would think it's common sense. NOW, I am not in anyway condoning the covering up of human rights atrocities (which should be readily and abundantly clear by now right??) but saying that all governments MUST protect their citizens...civilian and Military.

The Press is another matter...and here is one of my fav quotes about this...

"In the military, if we don't know something, we say we don't know and proceed to shut up until we do. Some highly paid charlatans in the media think it's absolutely fine to take a wild guess at the truth and then tell a couple of million people it's cast-iron fact, just in case they might be right...I hope they're proud of themselves, because they nearly broke my mom's heart.... "

~Marcus Luttrell (Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10)


The media had run stories saying that he was dead....while the Military had not confirmed or released this...REALLY...That's reporting???

Also, for more info about the Goat Herder incident (also known as Operation RedWing) above, check out this Wiki Article or pick up Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10...truly and inspirational book about inspirational men.

Anyways, I’m done with this whole conversation...Kelly, I’m sorry if I offended you in my postings today by discussing my point of view, i meant it all in a "debate" type of tone...Jesslynn, you do have the right to your opinion, but not to be mean (just sayin...you know I get your viewpoint), and Gundula...well, its been an interesting discussion, thank you for you viewpoint, but I think I’ll keep mine, it was lovely chatting with you. G’night all..


message 42: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Jesslynn wrote: "I wish they could come home and I wish we would leave that country to handle itself however the majority terroristic group that was in charge felt the need to handle it. So that way, all the reporters could tell about what they are doing to each other and leave America out of it...."

I agree with wishing that they could come home, but I disagree with the "leave that country to handle itself however the majority terroristic group that was in charge"...don't you think that's just asking for another 9/11?? Especially now that those terrorist groups hatred has been er..."stoked" a bit?


message 43: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa What about me...no one's shouting at me...I feel left out!


message 44: by Old-Barbarossa (last edited Oct 05, 2010 10:28PM) (new)

Old-Barbarossa So anyway...censorship by Gvt can be necessary and justified, but coverup of warcrimes (I realise definition may be an issue here but that's what the chaps in the Hague are for) not acceptable...that it in summary?
To get off the war thing for a minute, in the UK there was a recent exposure by the media of MPs expenses claims. These had not really been censored but the MPs weren't exactly shouting them from the rooftops. The favorite of mine was one chap claiming for his moat being cleaned...his moat! Who has a moat in the 21st cent? The media firestorm I think in these days of recesion was an appropriate response.
And while a lot of media (like many jobs) is staffed by eejits, or just folk turning up and taking a paycheck, when it works a free press is one of the best checks a democracy has against gvt excess.


message 45: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Old-Barbarossa wrote: "What about me...no one's shouting at me...I feel left out!"

Er herm....**SHOUT** @ Barbarosa

I hope you feel included now...lol.


message 46: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa Thank you.


message 47: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Old-Barbarossa wrote: "So anyway...censorship by Gvt can be necessary and justified, but coverup of warcrimes (I realise definition may be an issue here but that's what the chaps in the Hague are for) not acceptable...th..."

I'd love to have a moat...but my question is why is the MILITARY cleaning his moat? It doesn't surprise me that the media had fun with that one!


message 48: by Old-Barbarossa (last edited Oct 05, 2010 10:42PM) (new)

Old-Barbarossa Kristi wrote: "Old-Barbarossa wrote: "So anyway...censorship by Gvt can be necessary and justified, but coverup of warcrimes (I realise definition may be an issue here but that's what the chaps in the Hague are f..."

Not the military...sorry, MP in the UK is Member Of Parliament in this case not Military Police. So one of the elected representatives of the people still has a moat and lives in feudal splendour...and gets the plebs to clean it for him, paying for it from the public purse.


message 49: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Old-Barbarossa wrote: "Kristi wrote: "Old-Barbarossa wrote: "So anyway...censorship by Gvt can be necessary and justified, but coverup of warcrimes (I realise definition may be an issue here but that's what the chaps in ..."

Oohhhh! Well, still! Why should the government pay for it? (I assume that his expense claims are paid by the government...right?)


message 50: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa Exactly the point. Travel expenses etc fair enough, you can justify that (even though a bunch of the MPs will be making a slab of cash from other "extra curricular" work). Moat cleaning though? The list the papers published were full of wee gems that sparked outrage just like that.


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