Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kill the Messenger... Literally

Conservative military writer and raving psychopath Ralph Peters really turns on the charm in the latest issue of the Journal of International Security Affairs. He suggests taking a, shall we say, "hardline" approach to dealing with journalists who don't immediately dig out the red-white-and-blue short skirts and pom-poms every time this country goes to war.

"Rejecting the god of their fathers, the neo-pagans who dominate the media serve as lackeys at the terrorists' bloody altar.

Pretending to be impartial, the self-segregating personalities drawn to media careers overwhelmingly take a side, and that side is rarely ours. Although it seems unthinkable now, future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media. Perceiving themselves as superior beings, journalists have positioned themselves as protected-species combatants. But freedom of the press stops when its abuse kills our soldiers and strengthens our enemies. Such a view arouses disdain today, but a media establishment that has forgotten any sense of sober patriotism may find that it has become tomorrow's conventional wisdom.

The point of all this is simple: Win. In warfare, nothing else matters... Our victories are ultimately in humanity's interests, while our failures nourish monsters."

The good news is that, as was previously mentioned today, most members of the media are so damn drunk that they'll make for really tough targets if it ever comes to that; I'm not sure even the military's most technologically advanced guided weaponry could hit Christopher Hitchens after a fifth of Macallan 25.

Still, every time I think the right has pushed the envelope of outrageous stupidity to the breaking point, they manage to find hidden reserves of fucking insane.


Anonymous said...

"The point of all this is simple: Win. In warfare, nothing else matters... Our victories are ultimately in humanity's interests, while our failures nourish monsters."

You know, it would be way too easy to just 'Godwin' it all up at this point. Didn't the Allies execute a bunch of guys a few decades back for basically believing the same kinda bullshit?

Shit. I went there without even thinking.

The bright side is I can probably para-quote this guy for some SOB I'm writing into this project I'm working on. Thanks for the material, you crazy fucks! :D

Chez said...

What's great about Peters's rant is that it gives so much insight into the lunatic way these people think. As far back as Richard "When the president does it, it's not illegal" Nixon and even before then, the right believes that America is always the greater good, even when it does terrible things. That any kind of U.S.-led atrocity is justified because, coming from our good hearts and enlightened minds, it's simply impossible for it to be inherently evil. That we're the good guys just because we're America.

Izar Talon said...

You know, what's really pathetic is that these people don't even realize that they would have been rooting for the British during the Revolutionary War, just because it was "their country" that those "damn rebels and terrorists" were fighting against, and "winning the war is all that matters." Being morally correct, however, apparently DOESN'T. It really fucking makes me laugh. And cry.

And it REALLY makes me want to just beat the living shit out of them.

VOTAR said...

"The future of a movement is conditioned by the fanaticism, yes, the intolerance, with which its adherents uphold it as the sole correct movement, and push it past other formations of a similar sort. The greatness of every organization embodying an idea in this world lies in the religious fanaticism and intolerance with which, fanatically convinced of its own right, it intolerantly imposes its will against all others. If an idea in itself is sound and, thus armed, takes up a struggle on this earth, it is unconquerable and every persecution will only add to its inner strength.

The strength of a political party lies by no means in the greater possible independent intellect of the individual members, but rather in the disciplined obedience with which its members follow the intellectual leadership."
--Mein Kampf

Steve Saunders said...

Doh! That was my comment up there... I just realised I somehow posted as anon.

And yeah, you guys are spot on, too. And Izar, I feel as you do... Beatings. Erg.

Michael said...

Votar, I Lubs you! I was thinking the same thing!

Jeremy said...

The point of all this is simple: Win. Jaysus... this isn't high school football or a fucking NCAA tournament!
These are real people in the line of fire, real children as "collateral damage". We don't shake hands and say "good game" at the end of it all Coach .

Real people die. My poor, "I just wanted my GI Bill to make a future for my kids because my husband died in a mining accident" West Virginia cousins are dying! And people commenting from comfy computer desk chairs have the audacity to "sis-boom-rah!" the whole fucking thing.

It makes my stomach turn.

Bill White said...

Protecting America and his interests is right at any cost. In addition to killing those who want to kill us and capturing the enemy and then extracting key evidence to stop others, keeping lefty journos quiet is another key element in our current crusade. Ralph Peters is right - pure and simple. The United States and his allies have to do what's necessary to protect his interests. If that means silencing a Northeastern Commie Lib Journo who sells us out to Islamo-Fascists, then so be it. The U.S. military can keep it quiet and just give more airtime to Shepard Smith, Brit Hume and Geraldo.

"Oh my, where did Katie Couric go? I don't know..."

OK, Geraldo gave too much information out in the past, but he did it on patriotic FOX News and that's OK because FOX is on our side no matter what (don't argue with me here, just agree -- oh, you don't agree? You filthy Communist! You're either with me or against me: "Dick Cheney's gorgeous daughter, waterboard him!" Note to self: Write a love letter to Liz Cheney).

Ref said...

When was Ralph Peters ever under fire? If the fuckwad hasn't earned a Combat Infantryman's Badge, he shouldn't be talking about killing.

Anonymous said...

So I don't know anything about this Ralph Peters except (assuming you accurately quoted him) he's not very adept at expressing himself . . . hence the crude language and silly over-statement. But except for that, what he says is not all that new or interesting.

There was lots of censorship in WWII and news blackouts and journalists played a big role in a big propaganda machine. There were also power blackouts and rationing of meat and sugar and rubber and other supplies with very little press scrutiny, just like this guy Peters says. The members of the "press" were on the "team."

And don't forget Joseph McCarthy's 1950's - the "free press" (or most of it) took a long vacation back then because the Communist threat was much feared.

The same "free press" knew John Kennedy was a philanderer with mobster molls, no less, and they exercised "discretion" in reporting about it-or not - because Khrushchev had those scary missiles pointed at us.

And Peters is also accurate that today's press which exercises little or no editorial authority over what it reports, offers nothing for the future that a camera and a tape recorder can't deliver.

These are clear, simple and obvious ideas that Peters puts out, even if he is unraveled on the ends.

And as for the clever quote from Mein Kampf, well it's true too, particularly the part that says the strength of a group does not lie in the individual talents of the individual members, but in the disciplined actions of the group as a whole. I mean, just ask Phil Jackson or Michael Jordan.

So I ask - - if winning is not the point of warfare, then what is? Perhaps the peace dove Izar can tell us . . . what? oh, he's busy right now pummeling the living shit out of someone.

Burns said...

Anon 9:53
- First, I'm just going to skip over responding to your first point because it seems to me that you're conflating two separate arguments about the proper role of the press and I'm not sure you're reading the same statement that I am by this Peters guy. His "clear, simple and obvious ideas" involve lining journalists up and shooting them when they don't spout the propaganda they're told to and I'm pretty sure you can't possibly be getting behind him on that one.

More importantly, however, is the fact that you obviously don't understand the point of the Mein Kampf passage. It isn't talking about "working together as a team", something I think we can all agree is a good idea. The point of that passage is to advocate a system of political thought where independent expression/judgment/thinking is thrown out the window in favor of dogmatic ideology. The idea there isn't to work together, it is to surrender your free will to the ideological leaders of the party, without question. Undoubtedly a powerful way to run a political party, but powerful in the sense that holding a gun to someone's head is a powerful way to get them to agree with you. That kind of thinking has permeated the right, surrendering all rational thought to the words of people like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck - and down that road lies intellectual slavery, the very antithesis of what American freedoms are meant to represent.

Oh, and really? Winning is the only point of warfare? I'll grant you that, but the fallacy of the argument is what definition of "win" are we using? If the only way to "win" is to eliminate every man, woman and child in a nation, then is "winning" really what we want to do? The sword, properly tempered, can be used to accomplish political goals, but not at the cost of all decency and respectability.

Now, I have no doubt that as you read this, everything I've written will immediately be discarded, but maybe, just maybe, something will stick and you'll start regaining your ability to think, to question, to call out the liars and the manipulators and really see that kind of ideology for what it is - slavery masquerading as rebellion.

Steve Saunders said...

Yeah, I agree with what Burns says... Just about what I would say, but with less profanity. heh

Chez said...

My favorite is the "assuming you accurately quoted him" part. Yes, because I need to edit these people to make them seem really crazy.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your explanation of the errors of my observations. Your interpretation of the Mein Kampf provision in the context of Nazi dogma is particularly interesting - especially since that dogma had not been articulated as a "system of political thought" in 1925 and 1926 when Mein Kampf was published.

In any event, thanks again. Your explanation evidences for me a good reminder that dogma is a serious thing, and a recurring force to be reckoned with.

Anon 9:53

drater said...

Has anyone pointed out to this idiot that the "partisan media" was overwhelmingly in favor of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and even the Vietnam escalation, until they went so horribly bad that nobody believed the "light at the end of the tunnel" BS anymore.

Burns said...

Anon 9:53

Congratulations, you know when the Mein Kampf volumes were originally published. So I assume you also know that M.K. is widely considered to be Hitler's declaration of his step-by-step plan for the rise of and dominance of the Nazi party? It espouses Hitler's thoughts on political theory and explains the motivations driving many of the decisions that would later be made. Perhaps you are right, and my interpretation of the passage does not conform to the established Nazi Party "Goals and Directives" in 1925 and 1926. Of course, the fact that Hitler is writing it and would later come to control the intellectual direction of the Nazi party, including its views on the appropriate governmental forms should have no bearing on your analysis. Why look to what came from these initial thoughts and writings when we can simply cheerlead Hitler's compassion and sense of teamwork. He must have just got slightly misguided along the way.

Hitler was a fierce critic of the parliamentary system in place in Germany. He sincerely believed that the only way to advance Germany, and the goals of the Nazi party, was to overthrow it and establish a new system. These writings clearly discuss his views of how to form a competitive, strong, and controllable political party in post world war I Germany. The fact that he then carried through with those intial beliefs, and that those beliefs DID become established party beliefs should clue you in to the fact that he wasn't just talking about working together. He was talking about how to best control the thoughts and motivations of those he hoped to use to elect himself into power. And yes, it worked, but it worked at a cost to Germany and to the world that I think we can all agree was far too high.

Don't believe that someone can build on their initially expressed ideologies and advocate positions that they will later act on? Hitler claimed he was going to stick to the 25 or so Nazi Party Positions on treatment of the Jews, just a set of anti-Semitic rules he planned to implement. But he discusses in M.K. the idea that if only 12,000 jews were gassed, it would be worth the death of millions of soldiers. Almost a throw-away line, but the idea is there and would later be pushed to its furthest limits. In 1925-26 he was an anti-Semite and believed it was okay to murder Jews, even if he did not have an actualized plan or "final solution". To later go back and say "well, that wasn't really in the party manifesto yet, so he must have just meant that german lives are worth more than jewish ones" seriously misunderstands the historical context and the dangers of ignoring the true intentions or motivations behind speech which promotes violence against ANY group, drink-addled journalists included.

Sidenote - I am not saying that Peters shouldn't be allowed to say what he said, just that he should be accountable for saying it and shouldn't require apologists coming in after the fact to "clean up" his statements. The basic premise is clear - We need journalists to provide propaganda for war. If they don't comply, kill them. "Winning" a war takes precedence over all other rights and liberties. This is the bullshit that he is putting out there, and when you stand by him, you defend exactly that. If you have your own opinion on the subject, I'm glad to hear it, but don't think you need an idiot like Peters to lend validity to your own thoughts just because they are marginally related.

Oh, and Chez, thank you. I consider that very high praise coming from you, I have a great deal of respect for your writing, but I only really become coherent when truly stupid and dangerous statements like that get me all riled up.

Anonymous said...


It's your friend Anon 9:53. Might I just suggest (only a suggestion, mind you, hold your fire) that you read more into my comments than is there.

This is the nature of dogma. No matter what the facts are; no matter what the core ideas are - they all mean what you want them to mean; lead to the conclusion you want to draw. The world is as you see it. There is but one reality - and you know it and if I don't agree with you, you'll "beat the living shit out of" me. Figuratively. And literally, I suspect. (Where are you Izar?)

I did not "clean up" for this guy Peters. I said he can't express himself well. I said he uses crude language and silly over-statements. I said he latches onto clear, simple and obvious ideas but he gets unraveled in them.

I knew, however, that these and the rest of my observations would goad the angry commenters here who apparently believe that they can out-dogma the dogmatic. (None more eloquently than you, however - and so I agree with the Noble Blogmaster). But I apologize for no one.

May I assure you that I have lived long enough that my "understanding" of Hitler's Nazi's is not . . . completely academic. Long enough to have observed that morality can be the worst dogma of all. Remember what Shakespeare said: "Nothing is right or wrong but thinking doth make it so."

In my humble view, fighting for morality is not a "good" idea. Angrily attacking an individual to make her more righteous is a wee bit counter-productive. It's all just silly - no matter who does it.

Gotta go travel now. Best wishes.

Izar Talon said...

Anon -

Did I say I was a peace dove? Apparently I missed that part of my post.

But yes. You are correct. Am I a pacifist? You're damn right I am. War gas always been the rich manipulating, or more usually forcing, the poor to fight each other so that the rich can gain even more wealth and power.* And even more importantly; Killing is morally wrong, no matter what, when, where, how, why, or who does it. It is always wrong. Sometimes it is the best of a set of bad choices, such as when someone is in immediate danger of being killed by someone else, but it is always wrong. Unfortunately we do not live in a world where every choice we make can be morally perfect. It's sad that some people cannot understand that, and continue to try to justify their actions and claim that they are morally perfect in everything they do. It's delusional of them.

And did I say that I WAS going to beat the shit out of someone, or did I say that I WANTED to? I have never started a fight, nor struck anyone, and when I WAS once punched, I walked away.** I can't say that I never will get angry enough to hit someone, but so far I have been able to control myself, and believe me, sometimes it has been VERY hard to do so. But, you see, that's a quality that mature adults possess: the ability to desire something, and yet deny it to themselves. Apparently it is an ability that you either or do not understand, or simply do not possess.

*With the exceptions of the American Revolutionary War and World War II, I can't even think of a war where the common people truly benefited from it. And even WWII, as correct as it was to stop the Nazi's, wasn't started to end their systematic extermination of the Jews. The fact that it had that happy outcome wasn't even a goal of the people fighting, and many didn't even care about the plight of the Jews. (By the way, just how many people in the US were against fighting the Nazis and didn't give a spit about how many Jews they were murdering?)

**All of you Christians out there, observe this Non-Christian practicing one of Jesus' most important lessons, one which most of you conveniently and hypocritically ignore.

The point of warfare is nothing but winning, is it? And here all along, I was under the impression that the point of warfare was ENDING it and having PEACE. There are far better ways to settle our differences with people than killing them. That's kind of one of the points of civilization.

"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."
-Isaac Asimov

Steve Saunders said...

Izar, I may not know you and I myself may not be a pacifist, but I already really like and heavily respect you. Good on you, sir, good on you.

Also, massive props for the most excellent Asimov quote.

It should be noted that while the point of warfare is indeed winning, "winning at any cost" is NOT victory. One has to subjugate the enemy, defeat them into submission. Giving them a reason to constantly fight back is NOT victory. Bringing up Ye Olde WWII again, the Allies achieved victory. There was virtually no resistance in Japan once the war was over, and very little by way of Germany. Was it a vicious victory? Yes. But was it gained through illegal and evil action? No. (Well, mostly-- many would argue over the nukes, but I digress)
The allies, especially the US, Britain et all, were very careful to treat POWs well and to prosecute those who committed illegal actions. The Soviet Union is a whole other story altogether, but once again I digress.

Anyhow, the true point of warfare is to achieve a means to an end. take the US-Vietnam conflict? Did we win? Well, we certainly bombed the fuck out of them and won nearly every engagement. I suppose tactically the US won, but strategically the US lost because we were bent on The Win and not Overall Victory (if it could even be achieved; digression etc etc). In fact, Vietnam may be a good argument against terror-warfare. We bombed them, we burned them, we no doubt abused and tortured them. Not all the time, mind, but a lot. It did nothing but strengthened their resolve to fight. Kinda like what the Japanese did to the Filipinos in WWII.

Anyway, enough rambling. Point is: War is ugly. But we should also always keep in mind that war is never prosecuted willy-nilly. It's done for gain and profit, almost always. Even when "freedom" is involved, there's always a bottom line. Everyone wants a piece and that's just the way it is.

Which, might I add, is more the reason to have unbiased reporting in the field. I thought we were done with press censorship and other totalitarian bullshit. Right?