[lit-ideas] Re: Michael Moore at Cannes: Palme d'Or Best Film

  • From: John Wager <johnwager@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 22 May 2004 21:33:41 -0500

Eternitytime1@xxxxxxx wrote:

>Okay.  But, there is a strong part of me which says...however horrid it is 
>tat thois war was created in the first place and however horrible it has been 
>managed.  The *entire* US Army is not *full* of rotten people. 

The U.S. Army is remarkably effective, remarkably humane, and remarkably 
thoughtful. I was surprised by this when I was in it, and I have been  
surprised by this many times since.  But right now, the U.S. Army only 
has people in it who want to be in the Army. To my mind this is a 
weakness, not a strength. "Groupthink" happens in any organization, and 
when it happens in an organization whose purpose is to use lethal force, 
you can get horrible consequences from trivial decisions.  But there 
will always be stupid people at all levels. The U.S. Army must take that 
into account when it plans on how to fight wars. They are remarkably 
good at this too; they do know how to deal with fixing problems.

This is one reason we should be more hesitant in going to war than we 
have been, though: We WILL do stupid things once a war starts, and if we 
can't afford to fix those stupid things, we can't afford to go to war.  
This is another reason  higher level commanders are hesitant to go to war. 

When the whole Army SAYS that they are not going to be (formally) bound 
by the Geneva Convention in how it treats "detainees" though, the 
responsibility for ALL actions made later follow from that.  If the 
Secretary of Defense says this, then he has to train EVERYBODY to that 
"new" standard; any breach of that new standard is his fault more than 
the fault of those who don't know the new rules.

>Wondering what has happened to unity and why creative energy is not 
>forthcoming towards solutions that are practical, innovative and which will be 

Gandhi said that the only possible time for a non-violent solution is 
BEFORE the bullets start to fly. Once the war has started, it's WAY too 
late to deal with the issues non-violently. So I think the problem is 
that most people don't worry about the Islamic world until they are 
forced to. We respond to those who knock on our door, not to those who 
stand outside, even if that knock is a blast and not a gentle rap. 

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