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Obama: Squaring Idealism and Realism (Guest Voice) »
Dec 13, 2009 by KATHY KATTENBURG
This is kind of a nothing song, but I didn’t pick this video for the song, I picked it for the images. This is what happens to children in wartime. Incredibly, there are still people who pretend otherwise.
Another video, no music bu a reminder of what life is like for children under Taliban rule:
Pashtun Taliban Murder Mother Then RAPE Her Three Daughtershttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpAOkVD_Hrc
Sometimes war is justified.
from a Newsweek description of children in North Korean gulags
“And then, from time to time there a living infant is delivered. And then if someone delivers a live infant, then the guards kick the bloody baby and kill it. And I saw an infant who was crying with pain. I have to express this in words, that I witnessed such an inhumane hell.”http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3071466/
Hundreds of thousands, including many children, endure such misery under the Communist regime in North Korea. Does anyone write songs about them?
The Taliban are one phase of a war that has been going on in Afghanistan for 30 years now. The war began with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, fighting the mujahideen who were trained and supported with U.S. money and arms. Then, after the Soviets left, there was the Afghan civil war between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. That went on for many years — and of course the Taliban came out of those mujahideen that we financed and supported. Then came 9/11, and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. That is still going on and likely to be going on for a long time.
So tell me again what point, exactly, you are trying to make when you say that U.S.-led wars are justified because life is terrible for children under the Taliban?
I'll tell you the point I'm making. The U.S. is up to its neck in the blood and tears of children and their families in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in many other places. What you are saying basically is that we are justified in killing children and their parents, traumatizing them, filling their lives with tears and grief and terror, because the Taliban are doing the same thing. You can ignore images of children being blown to bits and screaming in fear as the result of what *we* have done, and point to another set of images and tell me (in effect), Look at how the Taliban are making children suffer! This is why we have to make children suffer.
And that makes no sense at all.
Exactly the same goes for DaMav's comment about North Korea.
It's their M.O., it seems to be in their DNA so why waste the keystrokes?
Because I get mad.
So the suffering of children becomes very important if you can somehow blame the US but not worth mentioning otherwise, is that what you are saying?
Let's not spend time mourning the children of North Korea because it's hard to establish American culpability.
The sad fact is that war is hell on children and everyone else. The best approach is to end the war by ruthlessly smashing the enemy so the issues involved are settled and we don't have to spend decades fighting over them. WW2 is a pretty good example of that — it didn't end war, but Europe and Japan became generally peaceful for the first time in recent history. It was over in about six years, and although massive numbers of civilians were killed and suffered, the world was spared from Nazi and Imperial Japanese domination. No more concentration camps. No more Rapes of Nanking.
Maybe you feel the answer is never to go to war. But just think of what would have been saved had the Allied powers instead intervened militarily when Hitler first rearmed. The war would have been brief, bloody, but saved the lives of millions.
I wish there were easier answers, but falling into the trap of believing simplistic ones is not the solution. America is far from perfect but I have no problem choosing sides when Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, radical islam, or the Taliban is the other choice.
So the suffering of children becomes very important if you can somehow blame the US but not worth mentioning otherwise, is that what you are saying?
Not at all. The suffering of children is important regardless of who is causing the suffering. In this particular instance, I posted the video in response to your comment praising Tony Blair for saying how glad he still is that we invaded Iraq. In that comment, you said that the U.S. invasion of Iraq saved the lives of 300,000 Iraqi children who would otherwise have been killed by the genocidal sanctions imposed by the U.N. at the behest of the U.S. (during the George H.W. Bush administration).
I was incensed by this notion, which I've heard many times before, that one must kill large numbers of people in war in order to prevent the killing of large numbers of people without war. It's a breathtakingly immoral argument, not to mention illogical, but the immoral part bothers me more.
Hence, I went looking for visual evidence of what the U.S. invasion of Iraq did to Iraqi children — tens of thousands of them, at minimum.
If you had written in a comment to me that North Korea was a wonderful country and its treatment of children a model for humanity, then I would have gone seeking visual evidence of how untrue that is.
So you see, *you* are the one who caused me to use that video of Iraqi children being killed by our U.S. invasion. If you had not praised the U.S. invasion as a historically humanitarian venture that saved children's lives, I would not have felt the need to find visual proof of what a damnable lie that is.
The best approach is to end the war by ruthlessly smashing the enemy so the issues involved are settled and we don't have to spend decades fighting over them.
That is among the most foolish statements I have ever read. The issues involved in war are never settled by the war, and WWII was no exception. Out of WWII came the Cold War, which actually involved many real wars and much death and carnage. Out of WWII came the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, which continues to rage today with no end in sight. Out of WWII came survivors who remembered the suffering they went through, the grief and the loss, and who carried the desire for revenge with them into other conflicts, like the Balkan Wars.
Europe and Japan became generally peaceful for the first time in recent history. It was over in about six years, and although massive numbers of civilians were killed and suffered, the world was spared from Nazi and Imperial Japanese domination. No more concentration camps. No more Rapes of Nanking.
Yes, and so far no more Hiroshimas or Nagasakis. But there have been plenty of other human rights horrors to take their place. Europe and Japan may have appeared to be peaceful, but peace is more than just silence. You don't create peace by conquering or crushing countries and killing millions of innocent civilians. You just lay the seeds for more conflict and more war, and you can trace the lines directly from one war to the next to the next.
A ruined landscape where everyone is dead and the guns have fallen silent — that's not PEACE, DaMav! Peace is the presence of justice, and in the absence of that there is no peace.
Maybe you feel the answer is never to go to war.
I don't, necessarily. But humans should become more serious about finding alternatives to war, because it's not enough to say that war is hell but sometimes it's necessary. If war is hell we have to end it, or at least make it the exception rather than the rule. And people like you, imo, are not at all serious about doing that. You are just as simplistic as you claim I am in your naive clinging to war as the solution to all human conflict. War is a terrible answer to conflict, and it's certainly not the solution. Until we achieve better ways of living with each other, wars will continue, but we cannot just accept that as the way it is and say, Oh well, I hate war, but sometimes it's necessary.
Sometimes you can make the world a better place with war. Thats the point Kathy. Our founding fathers certainly knew it. We didn't get our country by serenading King George with “Kumbaya”. War it a terrible thing, but sometimes the alternative is worse. When ” Kumbaya” keeps the Taliban from raping 9 year olds, call me.
I'll go ahead and be the only first person account of how ugly war is, and how much I hate it.
I was there after 30,000 Kurds were slaughtered in Northern Iraq – where bodies lay everywhere in the street and in their homes – mothers still clinching their babies.13,500 of these were children.
It is true that in few circumstances, our bombs caused terror to children and have killed some from time to time. This is a fact that I dread, like I'm sure you do as well, Kathy. But Saddam Hussein and the Taliban have murdered more children than we can even dream of. These were not casulaties of war that the Taliban and Hussein inflicted – it was outright murder, usually obtained by lining them up in the street and shooting them in the head. In Hussein's case, it was nerve gas and blister agent.
If you'd like to give me an example of our forces doing the same thing, then I'll listen. But for now, I'll go ahead and call those who perpertrate such heinous murders what they are – forces of evil. I absolutely refuse to follow your lead and place our men and women in uniform under the same banner.
Any time some nation undertakes genocide, it is our duty (and the duty of the world) to intervene. This is one such case where war is justified. It was justified under Hitler, Milosevic, Hussein, and even the Taliban (who are the most ruthless of these). If you'd rather our nation simply stay within our borders and never lift a finger unless OUR borders are crossed, that is an option. Forgive me if I do not join that school of thought. As many others have said above, war is SOMETIMES justified. It should never be a political option for approval numbers, it should never be approached half-heartedly, and it should never be pursued without first exhausting all measures of diplomacy.
You make an admirably phrased but unconvincing argument imo.
re: IraqRegarding Iraq, numerous sources claimed the UN Sanctions were costing the lives of 50,000 children a year. Noam Chomsky put the number even higher. Yet as soon as the initial phase of the war was completed, the sanctions were dropped by Bush/Blair. No subsequent argument even approaching this number was claimed during the subsequent conflict, excepting possibly the widely discredited Lancet articles. Yet no credit at all is extended to Bush/Blair for ending a sanctions regime by critics of the war. It was as if the supposedly widespread deaths caused by sanctions simply disappeared and no longer were on the ledger.
Now it is true that this argument could be considered invalid if Chomsky and the UN were simply lying through their teeth for years during the Sanctions, which were supported by the Clinton Administration. But I have seen nothing from those sources admitting their fabrication.
What I find breathtakingly immoral, to use your phrase, is the use of children as political pawns. One month the sanctions are killing children by the thousands, the next month we can forget all that and change to an oh how the children are suffering from the war perspective. Yet in terms of basic math, the number of children lost was far less from the war than from the sanctions. How can it be morally superior to have more children killed?
WWIINobody would argue that all war was ended by WW2. Yet Europe has remained free of a major war for over 60 years now; that has to be an historic record in the past millennium. And there has not been a war on the scale of WW1 or WW2 in all the years since it ended. The key issues between Japan and China, and Germany and France were resolved. Nazism was crushed and has thankfully not revived as a major force. You may disagree but I don't count those as minor accomplishments. Had the war ended in a stalemate there can be little doubt that we would have seen far more violence than we see today. And anyone familiar with today's Europe and Asia would see more than “a ruined landscape where everyone is dead”.
War no moreNowhere did I say that war is the “solution to all human conflict”. However a desire for peace at all costs may be the source of many conflicts, since perceived weakness invites aggression.
Thank you for an interesting exchange. I believe we will agree to disagree on these issues.
What is wrong with diplomacy?
I try and view this locally. If my neighbor irritates me and there were no laws, I could go over and kill him. Simple. Problem solved.
But we have laws against me going over and killing him just because he raked some of his leaves onto my lawn.
Well, we have the United Nations which, ostensibly, began as a way to solve problems by talking, diplomacy. The UN soon became polarized and lost it's way but that doesn't mean we can't have diplomats talk and find solutions. It sure as hell would be far cheaper. But then the arms manufacturers would suffer. Less bullets, guns, tanks, fighter airplanes and so on.
One can always find an excuse for war.
But what happens when diplomacy fails? The UN is not only polarized, but its also toothless. There's no police force or other mechanism to fall back on when errant nations fail to respond to resolutions.
Because of course we're not talking about anything analogous to a neighbor raking leaves onto your lawn. We're talking about governments that sponsor the slaughter of their own people, so to even come close you'd have to use an analogy of a neighbor that was killing his children. Would that be a situation that required someone having a good talk with him, or would it likely require some authorized use of force to remove him from a place where he could commit those acts?
In the nation part of the analogy, who should do the policing? That's the question.
Then Join the International Committee of the Red Cross movement Kathy.
Stop feeling and start doing.
Protect the innocent.
“If my neighbor irritates me and there were no laws, I could go over and kill him. Simple. Problem solved.But we have laws against me going over and killing him just because he raked some of his leaves onto my lawn.”
I agree with you, Chief.
But let's take your analogy one step further, ok?
If you saw your neighbor slaughtering innocent people in his back yard, the entire neighborhood stood idly by and did nothing, and you had the means to stop it….. Would you?
I agree that asking him to stop “or else” should be the first step… But what if that fails? Do you simply join the rest of your neighborhood and, to quote Paul McCartney, “Let it be”?
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