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Author Topic: US troops teach Iraqi kids the F-word
Destineer
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http://minor-ripper.blogspot.com/2006/12/winning-hearts-and-minds-part-three.html

Obviously this sort of thing doesn't happen every day, but still...

There are also links to 2 other unfortunate videos.

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MightyCow
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I always figured any time you learn a foreign language, you should learn how to ask for the bathroom, a doctor, some food, and how to swear. All valuable in a variety of situations.
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skillery
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Check the videos of the troops enticing a kid to run after their vehicle for a bottle of water and the video of the troops running their tank over a taxi driver's car.
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MightyCow
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It's almost a mixed blessing to Americans, that so many of our criminals are now in a foreign country, causing trouble over there.

Hopefully they'll receive equal treatment under the law.

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airmanfour
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I think I've shared how stupid I think a lot of infantry guys are. But they are forced to bungie between home and a dirty place where the kids pretend to like them for treats and a bunch of the adults shoot and try to blow them up. I don't really blame them for acting out.
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Phanto
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quote:
It's almost a mixed blessing to Americans, that so many of our criminals are now in a foreign country, causing trouble over there.
As opposed to the high quality and moral fiber we see in the sideline-pundits posting on message forums, while those criminals are off in foreign territory getting shot and killed in service of the US.
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Lyrhawn
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airmanfour, I tend to lean towards your point of view.

Phanto, they're there because they were ordered to go there, I'm not necessarily convinced they are doing us much of a service at the moment. I've also made it my mission to speak up whenever I hear someone use the "but they are dying to defend your liberties" speech on me. I think it's hogwash, by and large.

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erosomniac
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quote:
Originally posted by airmanfour:
I think I've shared how stupid I think a lot of infantry guys are. But they are forced to bungie between home and a dirty place where the kids pretend to like them for treats and a bunch of the adults shoot and try to blow them up. I don't really blame them for acting out.

I completely agree; my problem is that I hold myself to a higher standard, one which I can hope would hold up in the conditions infantrymen in Iraq experience.

My lack of said experience leaves me with only my gut reaction: disappointment and anger.

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Little_Doctor
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
airmanfour, I tend to lean towards your point of view.

Phanto, they're there because they were ordered to go there, I'm not necessarily convinced they are doing us much of a service at the moment. I've also made it my mission to speak up whenever I hear someone use the "but they are dying to defend your liberties" speech on me. I think it's hogwash, by and large.

Not a country music fan?


I agree anyway. Personally, I've never felt that my freedoms or safety were threatened by Iraq, and I believe that the majority of Americans feel the same way. People wonder why this war is so unpopular. Where was Iraq in the headlines before this war? If it was really that much of a threat, you would think we would have gone after them before we were already over in Afghanistan and it was convenient.

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dantesparadigm
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I think the water bottle thing was worse than abu ghraib.
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Phanto
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Bush may have ordered the troops there. The troops still made a valient decision to enter civil service. That is, of course, besides for those who didn't, and were sent there anyways, as has happened to some. But to call them criminals is offensive.

Sure, I don't think they are perfect, and for sure some of them may be criminals. I think the vast majority of them made a counscious decision that should be lauded, irrespective of who the CIC is.

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Lyrhawn
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Agree on the criminal thing.

Little Doctor -

I like country just fine, it's Toby Keith I can't stand. If I hear one more song about the "red white and blue kicking ass" from him, I swear to god I'm going to snap.

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TMedina
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Yeah, well - try living under the gun for months at a stretch. Toss in temperature extremes and sand for free, shake well and pour. Watch "Jarhead" sometime - the particulars are different, but the boredom and frustration are well represented, as is the terror when you're under attack: mortars, IEDs or a more conventional assault.

It's easy to be nice and civil when you only deal with the crap on hand for 8 hours a day. Walking around with a rifle 24/7 puts a slightly different perspective on life - and I'm in a "safe" area.

This is not to provide a blanket defense to every jack@$$ in uniform who does something wrong, but before you damn someone, walk a mile or two in their combat boots. You can even borrow my TA-50 for added fun.

As for teaching Iraqi kids to swear - one little bugger walked by my tower every morning. He'd either ask me for water or candy or, on a fun morning, insult my mother in pigeon English and flip me off. I'm pretty sure these kids had an idea of how to swear before we rolled in.

And insurgents have been known to use kids to both distract troops pulling security as well as planting improvised explosives on vehicles because it's tough to monitor a crowd milling around and who ever suspects a kid?

-Trevor

p.s. Oh yeah, this is why I stopped checking some threads.

p.s.s. Kids chased vehicles begging for things without troop incentive - it's a logic similar to the "don't feed the animals" signs. As soon as "they" figured out some people might be a soft touch for candy or water or anything else, "they" all started doing it. Don't even get me started on those problems.

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aspectre
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Thanks, TMedina. Add having a very very strong suspicion that everyone else knows where an ImprovisedExplosiveDevice is planted, an ambush is planned. And it's tough to maintain an "innocent until proven guilty" attitude toward civilians.
Which is why irrespective about how I feel about Dubya&Gang's handling of the War, I strongly admire the average American soldiers' restraint and general good will toward the Iraqis.

[ January 20, 2007, 03:33 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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TomDavidson
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And which is also why I believe that soldiers are inherently incapable of peacekeeping.
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Kasie H
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quote:
It's almost a mixed blessing to Americans, that so many of our criminals are now in a foreign country, causing trouble over there.
I'm floored by this statement. Absolutely floored. It's even more amazing that things like this tend to come out of the mouths of people who, as proud liberals, would jump immediately to anger if the same type of generalization were made about blacks, or Latino immigrants, or "white trash," or some other non-WASP, non-country-club-going-civilized group of people.

quote:
And which is also why I believe that soldiers are inherently incapable of peacekeeping.
Or at least incapable of peacekeeping without resorting to brutality. The British soldiers were pretty good at keeping the peace, but they did an awful lot of beheading to win it.
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TomDavidson
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I consider peace with brutality to be stability, not peace. So yeah. [Smile]
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ElJay
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I have no doubt that it's impossible for those of us who are not and have never been in the military, much less part of an occupying force, to know what it's like over there. I don't think it's fair to imply that because of that, we're not allowed to have opinions.

One of my opinions is that what the soldiers in the water video did -- taunting the kid with the bottle of water while they drove ahead, laughing and taping it for their later amusement or to show the folks back home -- is wrong, period, full stop. I don't care if the kids started running after them on their own first and they just took advantage of the situation, or any other possible justification. I acknowledge that I've never been in such a stressful situation, and might do the same to blow off a little steam if I was there. But if I did, it would still be wrong. I don't think all soldiers are jackasses, but I have no problem unequivocally stating that those soldier are.

And that's something that's going to happen. You can't ship that many people, particularly in that age range, that far away from home and expect them all to be models of good behavior and training. Because it's inevitable does not mean we should not condemn it when we see it, just like because we expect our troops to behave well does not mean we should not celebrate and reward it when we see that. And there have been threads about good stories from Iraq here, too, although I admit I haven't seen one recently.

I guess I probably agree with Tom. . . we train our soldiers to make war. They are in a hostile situation, and need to be incredibly suspicious of everyone and everything around them, even as they're trying to win "hearts and minds." How can we expect them to make peace?

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DarkKnight
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quote:
It's almost a mixed blessing to Americans, that so many of our criminals are now in a foreign country, causing trouble over there.

quote:
And which is also why I believe that soldiers are inherently incapable of peacekeeping.
Yes, our soldiers are nothing but brutal brainless thugs incapable of doing anything remotely altruistic and kind. I suppose that after serving in the military, no matter the occupation, all soldiers should be immediately jailed for their barbarism because even if they all weren't caught torturing children and shooting innocents for fun you know they are going to at any moment. Besides, they are incapable of being human so it is for the best anyway.
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Stan the man
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quote:
Originally posted by DarkKnight:
Yes, our soldiers are nothing but brutal brainless thugs incapable of doing anything remotely altruistic and kind. I suppose that after serving in the military, no matter the occupation, all soldiers should be immediately jailed for their barbarism because even if they all weren't caught torturing children and shooting innocents for fun you know they are going to at any moment. Besides, they are incapable of being human so it is for the best anyway.

Are you being for real on this, or is this sarcasm?
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Phanto
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I think he was being as serious as the two people whom he quoted.
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Stan the man
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I'll stick to the promise that I made a while back. I won't say anymore.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Yes, our soldiers are nothing but brutal brainless thugs incapable of doing anything remotely altruistic and kind.
Would you like me to explain why I think the military is the wrong tool for "peacekeeping," regardless of the intelligence or kindness of any individual soldiers, or would you rather enjoy your own biases for a while?
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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I think that peacekeeping is a matter of cultivating character, and soldiering is a matter of winning the next military battle. The two aren't mutually exclusive, but I do believe that people selected and trained for one may not be the best people to employ for the other.

[ January 20, 2007, 08:27 PM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]

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TomDavidson
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I don't think it even necessarily comes down to the people involved. Even if we sent only those people who were trained to both "cultivate character" and "win the next battle," sending them as soldiers with a mission of "peace" would result in defeat.

Soldiers can bring stability. And stability is in my opinion a necessary precondition for peace. But I think that by asking our soldiers to bring peace, we ask them to do the impossible. It's like trying to make a sandwich with a handful of peanuts; the components may even be right, but the process is wrong.

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MightyCow
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I think we can all agree that a few bad apples performing arguably illegal or at the least immoral activities should be held accountable for their actions, but at the same time that they do not condemn the whole of the military. Nobody is saying that all soldiers are criminals, and it's nothing more than a straw man.
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Lyrhawn
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Peacekeeping requires soldiering. It requires force. Soldiers are trained specifically for that mission.

If anything Irami, what you really want is another month of training for the quarter million soldiers that are over there, you don't want a separate force, because no such force exists. Nor could it, we simply can't afford it for what it does.

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Hank
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Um, even if we sent a plane-full of happy shiny peace-trained folks, I can't help but think that after they'd been shot at for a while they might also be less than polite to the locals, who would begin to look alike. Because even when you get that every individual Iraqi has his own life story, once one of them tries to kill you, it's human nature to be a tad bit traumatized.

I'm not excusing anything; I'm saying that no outsiders can force the Iraqi people to live in peace. But maybe we can force them into a stable government, which might someday give those peace-loving citizens among them enough of a voice that the Iraqis will choose peace for themselves.

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ClaudiaTherese
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It might be useful to consider how other countries may fulfill peacekeeping missions more successfully, as well as whether they use traditionally-trained soldiers to do so. There is extensive information online about this.
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TMedina
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
And which is also why I believe that soldiers are inherently incapable of peacekeeping.

YES!

Soldiers are not cops. We're not. Sorry folks. And "keeping the peace" is a polite euphemism for "pacifying the troublemakers".

Cops can do that with tasers and pepperspray, assuming the right conditions.

Our options are a helluva lot more limited when you're being hit with military grade weaponry.

The only real difference between a domestic dispute and international conflicts? Scale. And sometimes the weapons, but not always.

Don't kid yourself - the only reason people are peaceable when the police show up is because they're all thinking, "I do not want a piece of that". When people stop thinking that and the cops show up, you get a highly entertaining segment on "Cops".
(Disclaimer: That being: tickets, arrest, courts, fines, pepper spray, being tackled, batons and so on.)

When you replace "troublemaker" with "insurgent" and "cop" with "soldier", the same basic rules apply. Except with more bodies and a lot more collateral destruction.

Members of one of the local militias already passed orders to "stand down" and be more discreet in the face of the rumored troop surge. This is an example of a troublemaker doing the mental math and saying, "nah - I'll pass. I do not want a piece of that".

Unfortunately, not everyone comes up with the same answer to the mental math. Hence the battles. Add the concepts of jihad and martyrdom to the mix and it's that much more problematic.

I do not believe people understand the concept of "peacekeeper" and what military forces have to do to enforce that peace. Otherwise, people wouldn't have the nerve to be surprised at the mess afterwards.

-Trevor

p.s. This isn't a rant directed at anyone in particular - I just wanted to expound on a point (or two) that people don't stop to consider, in my humble opinion.

Edit 1: For Grammar

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TMedina
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CT - which references are those, please?

-Trevor

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ClaudiaTherese
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*smile

I am flitting around and didn't want to look them up, but I know they are out there because I found and posted them in an earlier thread. But for you, I will go hunting again.

PS: Keep taking care of yourself, okay?

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TMedina
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quote:
Originally posted by ClaudiaTherese:
*smile

I am flitting around and didn't want to look them up, but I know they are out there because I found and posted them in an earlier thread. But for you, I will go hunting again.

PS: Keep taking care of yourself, okay?

Earlier thread? I shall begin my hunt immediately.

As for the other - for you, anything. [Big Grin]

-Trevor

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ClaudiaTherese
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The Red Cross has an extensive bibliography in a 2000 article, International humanitarian law training for multinational peace support operations - lessons from experience

Canada has a specific Pearson Centre for international peacekeeper training, and they may have more information.

I remember reading online and then posting a [link to a] really long (5 dense pages?) article with an in-depth interview of a US military official in charge of the initial peacekeeping turn in Iraq (IIRC) and his observations about both how little preparation of the kind needed was made available to his troops and how difficult the job was to wear two hats (as you allude to). If I recall correctly, he said something about needing to have a distinct other group of people brought in for peacekeeping, because once they had been identified as the enemy, this always colored the further reactions to them. I can't remember the details of that article (at least, not enough to find it quickly), but I will try again tomorrow. It was an excellent piece.

---

Edited to add: Canada had an very good peacekeeping record internationally until Somalia. There were some detailed analyses of what went wrong there that also came out afterward.

Hope this helps. At least there are some keywords for anyone who may be interested in looking further. I'll try again tomorrow. *yawn zzzz [Wink]

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TMedina
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<Bad accent>Excellent! Now, I must do reeeesearch!</bad accent>

-Trevor

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ClaudiaTherese
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*laughing

----

By the way, thank you. For being there.

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ClaudiaTherese
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And a side note: after thinking about this some more, I'm pretty convinced it was an article that twinky linked: Harper's, maybe?
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Lyrhawn
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I don't even think it's fair to call troops in Iraq "peacekeepers" to begin with.

It implies we're protecting a peace that was already established, which is not the case.

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