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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Blackwater, and contractors in Iraq. (Belated Justice!) (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Blackwater, and contractors in Iraq. (Belated Justice!)
aspectre
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Given that Iraqi military and Iraqi police -- or at least people who look like Iraqi military and Iraqi police -- have a reputation of routinely kidnapping&murdering people, just who would you suggest the Iraqis use to arrest foreign contractors?
I guess they could hire Blackwater mercenaries...

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by aspectre:
Given that Iraqi military and Iraqi police -- or at least people who look like Iraqi military and Iraqi police -- have a reputation of routinely kidnapping&murdering people, just who would you suggest the Iraqis use to arrest foreign contractors?
I guess they could hire Blackwater mercenaries...

Um...WE could arrest our OWN citizens who are working in that capacity. At the very least we could agree to extradite anyone the Iraqi government considers persona non grata and then prosecute them in the US according to our laws.
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Morbo
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Very short press release from DoJ on the immunity issue:
quote:
DOJ Statement on Blackwater, just out ...

STATEMENT BY JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN DEAN BOYD

ON THE BLACKWATER INVESTIGATION

"The Justice Department and the FBI cannot discuss the facts of the Blackwater case, which is under active investigation. However, any suggestion that the Blackwater employees in question have been given immunity from federal criminal prosecution is inaccurate. The Justice Department and the FBI continue the criminal investigation of this matter knowing that this investigation involves a number of complex issues. We are unable to comment further at this time."


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BlackBlade
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I read yesterday in the NYTs that the Justice Department was stating it had no knowledge of an "immunity deal," and they are the only ones authorized to give it. This announcement is good news.
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BlackBlade
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http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/04/05/iraq.blackwater/index.html

Read this today and I had a few thoughts.

Firstly, does anybody have any clue what these new, "rules of engagement" are, or how one might read up on them?

Second, have contractors always had to renew their contracts on a yearly basis?

Third, I think this has to be something we take more seriously,
quote:
The U.S. government has the right to choose what contractors it chooses, but Iraq should also have the right to allow or ban certain contractors from operating on its territory," he said.
The September incident seems to have fallen from notice, but I wonder if anybody will be prosecuted or if Iraqi officials have any say in this matter. It feels like we just pat them on the head and say we are handling it.
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Battler03
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Don't really know why you guys think Blackwater is so horrible. By definition, ALL American soldiers are mercenaries, right? Because they all get paid a monetary wage, right?

Also, you cats that are claiming to get your Blackwater facts from various MSM sources, like the NYT or CNN...are you serious? This is a newspaper that committed sedition and treason by revealing national security secrets regarding the Patriot Act and the terrorist wiretap program; and a news network that calls terrorists "freedom fighters" or "insurgents" and sometimes even "embeds" reporters WITH AQI.

Honestly, all of what you gather from random leftist outlets may be true; it won't change the fact that there are plenty of people the world over who will take the physical fight to the enemy wherever they hide--even if it means fighting in an "illegitimate," "mercenary" capacity. If, for some reason, the US stopped fighting radical Islam, I would totally continue the fight in some other venue. Don't fault people for fighting a war you refuse to admit even exists. I mean, you have freedom of speech, so hell, go ahead and flame away; but when you're attacking people who are protecting you--safeguarding the very air you draw--it just makes you look like a coward.

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Samprimary
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So, uh.

You try to make an argument asserting that even if everything people here have gathered from the media is true, it doesn't matter because it's still 'taking the fight to the enemy' (I guess even getting drunk and shooting the goodguys or massacring innocent civilians still counts as keeping up the fight) and that people are essentially cowards for having made an issue of it like they have.

I had to read the post three times just to make sure it didn't hold any obvious clues that it was purposeful sarcasm. It's like a blatant parody.

Also just fyi? No, american soldiers aren't considered mercenaries and it's kind of obvious that the people in this thread are clarifying this. You sure you wanna be talking about mercenaries here when you can't even get your head around what the term specifically applies to?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Don't really know why you guys think Blackwater is so horrible.
I have to ask: have you read the sources on this, or are you rolling your eyes on principle?

For my part, I'm uncomfortable extending immunity from prosecution (and other benefits) to mercenaries who are not subject to the restrictions applicable to our armed forces, and who do not actually answer to our commanders in the field. Why are you okay with that?

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Sterling
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quote:
Originally posted by Battler03:
Don't really know why you guys think Blackwater is so horrible. By definition, ALL American soldiers are mercenaries, right? Because they all get paid a monetary wage, right?

...

Personally, I don't really feel a need to put together a coherent response to ill-informed commentary so deficient in the basic tenets of discussion that it needs to shove words into the mouths of imaginary opponents before attacking said opponents. When I'm given the respect of being addressed like a real person, perhaps I'll bother.

As far as the Blackwater renewal... One more blow struck against the credibility of an independent and empowered Iraqi government. How unfortunate.

[ April 06, 2008, 09:33 PM: Message edited by: Sterling ]

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Morbo
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Battler, it's not that I think that Blackwater and other merc outfits in Iraq are horrible. I just don't think they should be completely free of any laws: US law, Iraqi law, the USCMJ. Why are they granted that extraordinary privilege? Other than very effective lobbying?

Also, I don't see why you're whining about the bias of CNN, when a) you've said you go to CNN.com several times a week and b)you never source anything you post.

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TomDavidson
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FWIW, I think Blackwater and most other merc units are horrible.
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Noemon
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I think that the development and growth of extra-national militaries is a huge threat to the stability and power of nation states, period.
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Kwea
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Welcome back, Sax!
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Threads
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Oh wow. Well, just for the record Battler03, the reason news sources use the term "insurgents" is because it is a neutral term. I challenge you to find a single article where CNN describes Iraqi insurgents as freedom fighters. I think you're just bluffing.
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Kwea
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{Otherwise know as being full of it)


And when you claim to be defending freedom, whether the people want you to or not, you are simply a fool.


One without the intelligence to understand the irony of your statement.

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BlackBlade
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Sorry about the thread necromancy but Blackwater is one of my pet topics.

Link.

What a charming group of guys. And that shooting rampage happened just weeks after those guys were recalled? What a shock!

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Lyrhawn
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Read the full NYT piece.

It's absolutely mind boggling. .

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Samprimary
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remember: bush was running this war just great before obama ruined everything
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Lyrhawn
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I wish Dems would make more of an issue of this, not just to correct history and remind everyone what they knew was true for 8 years, but also to show that the Republicans want more of the thing we rejected as a nation and still poll very heavily against.

I know domestic issues are taking precedence, but the only things the Republicans seem to really be in favor of is foreign intervention, so if that's it, then let's talk about it for goodness sake.

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Samprimary
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yeah I get what you're saying. Probably one of the most hilariously up****ed and pervasive oddities of our age is that the conservatives have been real big on War — made it their big thing, alongside military — and yet they have been so consistently and embarrassingly incompetent to the point of worthlessness and amoral to the point of being war criminals in all matters military.

When anyone off in that sphere criticizes liberals or hippies or whatever for how they'd make a mess of military policy or something, it's like ... do you not understand that the previous administration was so bizarrely incompetent at war that you could practically just hurl the green party into the pentagon and ask them to conduct a war and they'd probably do it many times better than Bush did? Why is that true? How did things get so bizarre?

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Lyrhawn
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I'd like to see some prominent Dems stand up and call on the Tea Party to join them in reducing government wasteful spending on the military.

They'd probably get some of them to break ranks, and those that don't they could shame pretty hard.

Dems are just too gunshy on the issue.

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kmbboots
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It depends on what you mean by success. The Republicans are very successful at making a lot of money from the war. They have transferred huge sums from government coffers into the hands of corporations. Often their very own corporations. They have created an atmosphere of fear and jingoism that perfectly suits their message and helps get them elected. They have used the debt from the war to justify eviscerating cuts in spending for infrastructure and social programs.

Seems to me they are doing a bang up job. Wars are only useful while they are going on.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Battler03:

Honestly, all of what you gather from random leftist outlets may be true; it won't change the fact that there are plenty of people the world over who will take the physical fight to the enemy wherever they hide--even if it means fighting in an "illegitimate," "mercenary" capacity. If, for some reason, the US stopped fighting radical Islam, I would totally continue the fight in some other venue. Don't fault people for fighting a war you refuse to admit even exists. I mean, you have freedom of speech, so hell, go ahead and flame away; but when you're attacking people who are protecting you--safeguarding the very air you draw--it just makes you look like a coward.

Also aren't you literally the dude who tried to make the case that colonialism helped the developing nations subject to it? Under what circumstance do we even remotely want to consider your advice about "taking the fight" anywhere?
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Elison R. Salazar
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I'd like to see some prominent Dems stand up and call on the Tea Party to join them in reducing government wasteful spending on the military.

They'd probably get some of them to break ranks, and those that don't they could shame pretty hard.

Dems are just too gunshy on the issue.

I was thinking of making another F-35 is a boondoggle thread

Its increasingly the case the F-35 might very well be the downfall of the US military.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
Its increasingly the case the F-35 might very well be the downfall of the US military.

Lol. Says who.
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Elison R. Salazar
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It's uncompetitive in all of its intended roles.
"Stealthiness" is actually only stealth from a limited perspective, there's plenty of ways to target and detect them.
It's ridiculously expensive in ways the F-22 never was.
If it ever came to an actual clash with a comparable military they'll be massacred in the sky en mass, as they are intended to replace the F-16.

It is every boondoggle project put together, every terrible decision that could have been made regarding it has been made; it is symbolic of everything that is institutionally wrong with the US military and the Military-Industrial Complex.

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Samprimary
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none of that is a case that it will be "the downfall of the US military!!!111"

which is hyperbolic theorycraft even by your standards

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Elison R. Salazar
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Maybe, it is hyperbolic theory crafting but there's a lot of evidence for the theory crafting (If you've went and checked out reliable sources regarding its deficiencies); the inevitable worst case result is the Airforce getting smashed in an actual 'serious' confrontation against planes actually designed to be air superiority fighters.

Additionally even if not up against a comparable military their rule is flawed, the F-22 and the F-35 are only useful in long ranged missile attacks from BVR but that completely ignores the reality that doesn't happen in modern warfare anymore. Because of the Rules of Engagement and needing to confirm the identity of the opposing aircraft before engagement you're back in Visual Range and the stealth is meaningless while losing any edge it might have had.

The flight characteristics of a good air superiority fighter that doesn't engage from BVR are not the characteristics of the F-22 and the F-35.

Now the next problem is even more disturbing, the stealth aspects of the F-35 are only from the front against head-on threats, this is worthless if the enemy can rely on networking with other assets (from the side, from other planes, ground facilities, etc), costing it in manoeuvrability, in payload, in cost, with no real benefit in exchange.

It gets worse, the F-35's stealth gives it no defence against IR-guided MANPADs, which is its primary threat now; its stealth can't even defend it from its primary threat or enable it to carry out its primary mission against its primary threat!

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Samprimary
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The F-35 is a historic boondoggle. This is not at issue. The issue is substantiating the hyperbole — your hyperbole — that the F-35 program might well be the "downfall of the US military"

The US military could have taken all the money it spent on the F-35 and literally just lit it on fire for funsies (or bought every single homeless person in America a mansion, or totally fixed our transportation infrastructure aging issue, but those are just depressing asides) with a giant void left in its replacement role for decommissioned aircraft and it will still utterly cremate any other nation in air superiority, for whatever dwindling relevance manned aircraft have to it anymore.

Additionally, everything you said about "that doesn't happen in modern warfare anymore" is absolutely not something that we can take as a point of fact, though I can guess why you believe it.

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BlackBlade
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At least he didn't say something about a Russian Mig or whatever the Chinese build being better in every way and cheaper too.
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Samprimary
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yet

well it probably wouldn't be better in every way, it would be better in pretty much all ways that would matter

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Elison R. Salazar
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
The F-35 is a historic boondoggle. This is not at issue. The issue is substantiating the hyperbole — your hyperbole — that the F-35 program might well be the "downfall of the US military"

The US military could have taken all the money it spent on the F-35 and literally just lit it on fire for funsies (or bought every single homeless person in America a mansion, or totally fixed our transportation infrastructure aging issue, but those are just depressing asides) with a giant void left in its replacement role for decommissioned aircraft and it will still utterly cremate any other nation in air superiority, for whatever dwindling relevance manned aircraft have to it anymore.

Additionally, everything you said about "that doesn't happen in modern warfare anymore" is absolutely not something that we can take as a point of fact, though I can guess why you believe it.

I believe it because its literally what actually Airforce pilots and analysts tell me, please do provide a better source; "Nuh huh" doesn't cut it.

This isn't some ideological anti Americanism its based on actual goddamn evidence which you've providing absolute effing nill.

Here's some more what I guess I loosely define as evidence for my hyperbole:

quote:

George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four posted:

In past ages, a war, almost by definition, was something that sooner or later came to an end, usually in unmistakable victory or defeat. In the past, also, war was one of the main instruments by which human societies were kept in touch with physical reality. All rulers in all ages have tried to impose a false view of the world upon their followers, but they could not afford to encourage any illusion that tended to impair military efficiency. So long as defeat meant the loss of independence, or some other result generally held to be undesirable, the precautions against defeat had to be serious. Physical facts could not be ignored. In philosophy, or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when one was designing a gun or an aeroplane they had to make four. Inefficient nations were always conquered sooner or later, and the struggle for efficiency was inimical to illusions. Moreover, to be efficient it was necessary to be able to learn from the past, which meant having a fairly accurate idea of what had happened in the past. Newspapers and history books were, of course, always coloured and biased, but falsification of the kind that is practised today would have been impossible. War was a sure safeguard of sanity, and so far as the ruling classes were concerned it was probably the most important
of all safeguards. While wars could be won or lost, no ruling class could be completely irresponsible.

But when war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases to be dangerous. When war is continuous there is no such thing as military necessity. Technical progress can cease and the most palpable facts can be denied or disregarded. As we have seen, researches that could be called scientific are still carried out for the purposes of war, but they are essentially a kind of daydreaming, and their failure to show results is not important. Efficiency, even military efficiency, is no longer needed.

We're at the point where the powers-that-be are ignoring reality and thus endangering their continued existence on something that will fail in all of its roles.

It seems to me you're disagreeing because its me making the point and not because you actually disagree with any of my points, you actually seemed to agree with most of them and actually linked an article that made the same point in the chart that I linked without acknowledging that fact.

quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
At least he didn't say something about a Russian Mig or whatever the Chinese build being better in every way and cheaper too.

Like what the hell is this. It's like you have this imaginary caricature in your head, some sort of strawman if I may, that you're pretending to be arguing against instead of what I'm actually saying!

This isn't me screaming into the wind as a lone insane voice, these arguments I largely acquired from reading through pages of discussion on other forums, particularly SA; a forum well known for it being frequented from actual experts in their respective fields.

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TomDavidson
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Something Awful may be well-known for many things, but being populated by subject matter experts is not one of them.
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Samprimary
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quote:
I believe it because its literally what actually Airforce pilots and analysts tell me, please do provide a better source; "Nuh huh" doesn't cut it.
Oh, if that's something that counts as "a source" then I guess all I have to do is say something like "I believe you are wrong because even more and better airforce pilots and analysts tell me that you are totally wrong!"

Wait! That's not a source, is it. Hmm. Well, what does that say about your own post!

This response of yours is not a substantive backing up of your own claims. You are still not substantiating your hyperbole, and the best course of action is still to not take claims you make about military realities as true on their face, literally even just on account of your reputation in these affairs.

quote:
Like what the hell is this. It's like you have this imaginary caricature in your head, some sort of strawman if I may, that you're pretending to be arguing against instead of what I'm actually saying!
Saying that at least you didn't say something is not the same as saying you said something.

Obviously.

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BlackBlade
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Blayne: That was rude of me, and insulting. I'm sorry.

I get exasperated at what I perceive to be a mega handicap you give Russia and China in all discussions, but that doesn't excuse my being dismissive.

I'll stop doing that.

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happymann
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I'm an Air Force pilot. I know stuff.
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JanitorBlade
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Four Blackwater Guards convicted for 2007's shooting of civilians. Link.

Only took what seven years? And we're still not technically done.

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Samprimary
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Well, I guess four's better than nothing.
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theamazeeaz
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The number of people they killed is on par with mass shootings, and yet the media doesn't care, because this is the first I've seen of it.
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Orincoro
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I met a Custler-Battles guy on a train once in France. In like 2005.

The guy was, cheerfully, the scariest person I have ever met. And I count a couple of marines among my good friends. He wasn't imposingly scary, but what he represented, and the way he thought, was something I had never thought I would experience.

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Kwea
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Actually, it pretty much DOES justify you being dismissive. Just be dismissive of his points, not his persona.

After all, his subject matter experts were on SA, so of COURSE they know what they are talking about...

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Elison R. Salazar
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Its funny how you haven't actually responded to my points, it must be great being a coward.
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BlackBlade
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Elison: I'm not thrilled with you calling another poster a coward.
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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
Its funny how you haven't actually responded to my points, it must be great being a coward.

It takes a special level of audacity to call a veteran a coward. Tell me, Blayne, what deeds of intrepid gallantry have you committed so that you feel justified calling Kwea a coward? I mean, I know reading wiki articles about realpolitik and playing war games is awfully grueling (at least as bad as being a combat medic!), and you've never, ever mysteriously stopped posting in a thread after being proved laughably wrong about something, but still. And has he ever called you a coward? Has anyone here *ever* called you a coward? So seriously, where do you get off with this kind of shit?
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Rakeesh
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Actually, I think direct challenges to Elison's commitment and even courage have been placed before. I think by me once or twice, in plain terms, during one of his routine defenses of Chinese repression from the safety of Canadian law.

Anyway, it was a chickenshit attack to make, dude. This is one of those times when it's not just possible but actually preferable to eat some crow and retract it. Or you can stick to it, and the next time you don't answer a direct challenge, don't complain when you hear the same.

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Elison R. Salazar
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There's a distinct different between intellectual and physical bravery or what have you, if someone provides a reasoned argument based on certainly plausible grounds (does Kwea not know the SA forums have an entire subforum that US and NATO current and former armed service members regularly attend and post in?) and documented evidence, and instead of responding to those concrete points he instead seeks to find means of evading the actual argument in favour of attacks on the source of the argument instead of the argument itself, well yeah, that is cowardly.

Anyone who insists on pursuing such a line of argumentation, preferring to dismiss and ridicule their opponent instead of arguing in good faith is at best a complete lack of respect and I see no reason to offer that in kind.

Whether or not he's an active service member of not isn't relevant until he actually provides argumentation that uses it in a substantial fashion, where the ethos of his argument flows naturally from it as it did for mine.

In my case, people who generally either identify as being former contractors or current service members or people who just generally put a lot of effort into compiling the evidence of the F-35's failures over the course of the thread have put together a great deal of evidence signifying and explaning the F-35's failure.

I draw upon that, providing links, reasoned arguments, and I get just blase ridicule in return.

And that's stupid, because its based on a strawman caricature and not on an actual consideration or analysis of the evidence or arguments at hand.

I'm frustrated because this has been the latest in a line of arguments of people just blatantly making shit up and arguing against that or what I actually have said.

So yeah I feel pretty well justified in calling out that behavior for what it is, the behavior of a bully and a coward who can't bear the burden of facing what's really there, being a vet' has nothing to do with that except to make that behavior worse in hindsight.

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Rakeesh
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*shrug* alright man, double down.

I guess Dogbreath is your latest addition to the 'people who don't know what they're talking about when they tell me I'm throwing a tantrum' list, then?'

Odd. That list seems almost always to equal the number of people critical of your behavior.

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Rakeesh
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Just for kicks though, can you link us to one of these vaunted SA experts posting about how near the end of the U.S. military is?
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Dogbreath
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Blayne: you've somehow completely missed the point here. Nothing I said had any relevence to whether or not Kwea is right or well informed, nor did I say or imply his being a vet somehow gives him the upper hand.

No, I was calling you out for making a completely unjustified and highly personal attack. It has nothing to do with the subject at hand, yet you still try and warp it into a defence of your argument. (Which I care nothing about.) I find it especially ironic that you, the only poster here who can be relied on to resort to insults and vicious personal attacks whenever cornered in an argument, are claiming to be bullied by someone you just attacked.

Also, interested in hearing more about this distinction between physical and intellectual bravery! And also the assumption that if someone say, questions your sources (which is a completely valid response to your rather dubious claims) rather than directly address your points that makes him a coward.

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