Friday, May 12, 2006

Conversation at Ugly American

My good friend The Real Ugly American has a post entitled "Iraqis and American Soldiers: A Conversation" on his site www.therealuglyamerican that you should be sure to check out. The conversation is between Iraqi blogger 24 Steps to Liberty (www.twentyfourstepstoliberty.blogspt.com) and myself. Be sure to go over and read what we hope will be a continuing thing between us. TRUA set the conversation up between the two of us and in the future hopes to have other people participate like Buck Sargent at www.americancitizensoldier.blogspot.com. Be sure to tell all your friends and leave some comments on TRUA's site.

43 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Boggs: I found your comments interesting. I would like to ask you about the following remark you made:
"The only thing we want to see happen in Iraq is for Iraqi people to be safe and free. We don’t want to convert anyone to Christianity, we don’t want to steal all your oil, and we don’t care if you guys ever get a Wal-Mart or McDonalds. We want you guys to be as happy as we are living in the United States of America."

I believe that's what you want, and probably most of the soldiers too. But when a best-selling right-wing pundit like Ann Coulter says she thinks we should invade all the Arab countries in order to "convert them to Christianity" can you blame some Iraqis for thinking this is what the U.S. wants?

Since the U.S. has invaded other countries, or overthrown governments, in the past in order to protect corporate/economic interests, can you blame Iraqis or others for thinking this is just more of the same?

The problem is that the world knows that the Sgt. Boggs of this world are not policymakers. The policymakers are the former executives of corporations like Halliburton (Dick Cheney), the children of the rich (GW Bush), and the like. So it's nice when they get to meet people like you. But at the same time, they know that you're not the one making decisions.

The Ugly American said...

I hope Tim doesn't mind me piping in and answering your questions Elizabeth.

You are part of the problem. Tim and 24 are the solution.

Ann Coulter is just an idiot with an opinion... kinda like you. Her word means no more than yours and yours means very little.

Sgt. Boggs is on the ground risking his life and making friends in Iraq. That is what Iraqis know.

24 is doing the same. Risking his life as a journalist, and by writing his blog, reaching out to befriend Americans.

How the hell do you know what Iraqis think anyway?

You could try instead of trying to take cheap political shots (and thats all your silly little post is) to actually ask them what they think. You could actually tell them about men like Tim, or Buck Sergeant, or Major K.

My word means about as much as yours by the way but I am trying to reach out to Iraqis like 24, and Treasure of Baghdad and let them know that I do care, that it breaks my heart to see them suffering, that I know our President, and the vast majority of Americans want them to live in safety and freedom.

The fact is you don't give a damn about Iraq or anyone involved. If you did you wouldn't make snide little comments to a man who is risking his life to protect you, and your loved ones.

If I sound harsh, good. I hope you stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution.

bmcworldcitizen said...

I couldn't find that site? Can someone post a URL that works?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sgt. Boggs and 24 for doing the interview on Ugly American. If 24 wants email from us "regular Americans" he could post his address and we bet he would get to know regular citizens over here much better. We agree with the ugly american's comments on this site. Of course it is not the job of our military to "convert anyone to christianity". How can you "convert" anybody to a personal relationship to Christ anyway. You could make a church member out of them maybe, but you can't force anyone into a personal relationship with God. Just like nobody can force us to personally trust in the work Sgt. Boggs has done and is doing and calling him friend. We just like and trust Sgt Boggs because he has shown us he has our interests at heart and is worthy. He is a great soldier, blogger and friend and we are counting on him and all of our Military to keep us secure and free. Thanks again Tim for doing that interview. You men are the best.
A&N

Elizabeth said...

Ugly, your response to what I wrote was just totally bizarre. I don't know what you thought I meant. I don't know why you think I am "part of the problem" in fact I do not even know what the "problem" you are referring to is. I have no idea what you are talking about. I am well aware that Sgt. Boggs is risking his life and trying to make friends with the Iraqis and I do not believe I said anything different. I did not make any "snide" remarks. And how exactly do you think that you know who or what I care about? You don't know anything about me and are evidently incapable of understanding what I write.
As for Ann Coulter, she is a best-selling author, so for you to say her word means little is something I would like to believe, since I find her repulsive, but the fact is that since she is a best-selling author, obviously this is not true!
I simply don't know what to make of your thought process, your interpretations, or your reading comprehension ability.

Elizabeth said...

"You could try instead of trying to take cheap political shots (and thats all your silly little post is) to actually ask them what they think"

Did you notice that in fact I was asking Boggs what he thought? Or did you just kind of not see that? Do you have dyslexia maybe? Or is it Attention Deficit Disorder?

Elizabeth said...

Two more brief remarks then I'll shut up: How is it that some people think Boggs is tough enough to be a soldier, but not tough enough to defend himself or his ideas (assuming defending them is something he needs to do) on his own blog?

Also, about proselytizing: I totally agree that no one can "force anyone into a personal relationship with God." But is that particular commenter aware that there are thousands of Christian missionaries around the world who don't agree with that? In fact the two young women who the military had to rescue in Afghanistan a couple of years ago were there as Christian missionaries, trying to convert the Afghanis.

Anonymous said...

Big difference in missionaries and soldiers! There are all kinds of missionaries in the world "converting" people to all kinds of stuff. Lots of people lumped under the tents of Christianity and Missionaries. Did Ann Coulter say we should send Military men into Arab countries to "Convert" them to Christianity or did she not say send Military to Convert? I don't care if she said just send missionaries but if she said send the Military then I think she is way off but I doubt she said Military. Can you believe I actually was a "missionary" once, for a brief time comparatively, so am no expert on missionaries. My mission field was the US Army during Viet Nam. Strange twist, wouldn't you say? But not to worry, I never affected their ability to fight the enemy in the negative. I doubt too many Iraqis read Ann Coulter. Shoot I haven't even read Ann Coulter and I read much. I think some Americans are more afraid someone might mention Jesus to the Iraqis than the Iraqis are. Propagandist like to throw it around a lot though. Maybe the Iraqis do hear it from the propagansists. Do they Boggs? Oh Bogg - Have you run into any missionaries over there? Watch out for them - a mean bunch.
And by the way, I'm sure you've guessed this is A of A&N

Praguetwin said...

Hey Boggs,

I'll chime in later, but just wanted to say, you did a fine job, and you answered those questions with a lot of courage.

I don't think your bravery has ever been in question.

BMCWC,

The link is HERE

bmcworldcitizen said...

Tough questions. Hard to answer satisfactorily.

T. F. Boggs said...

Anyone who posts a comment does so on their own behalf. I am fully able to answer for myself and sometimes choose to do so. Other times I choose not too. It is a day to day thing. Whether or not I answer is based upon whether or not I think a question posed by a reader is worth my time to answer. Also if another commentor answers a question in a suitable manner then I may choose not to elaborate further.

With that said I don't think too many Arabs I have come in contact with read Coulter or have an accurate grasp on history. Of course those are just the ones I have come in contact and I am sure there are exceptions to every rule.

Bag Blog said...

Here are Elizabeth's two questions: "Can you blame some Iraqis for thinking this (converion to Christianity)is what the U.S. wants?" and "can you blame some Iraqis or others for thinking this (U.S. has invaded or overthrown governments in the past in order to portect corporate/economic interests)is just more of the same?"

I can't imagine why Iraqis would have these thoughts. They sound more like leftwing American thoughts. If Iraqis are having those thoughts, they probably did not get them from reading Ann Coulter, but probably got them from leftwing mass media who are trying to bash Bush, Cheney, and other decision makers by spreading their lies or from people like you who believe those lies and spread them which of course makes it difficult for guys like Boggs to overcome such crazy ideas and do their jobs. By spreading such thoughts, you spread hatred of Americans, and yes, you cause death which I personally feel is treason. I am sure with the fall of Baghdad, many Christian organizations raced into Iraq. They probably helped build hospitals and other such things, but what does that have to do with our military or the reasons we invaded in the first place?

I would like to address the second question, but I want to know what countries the U.S. invaded and overthrew to protect corporate/economic interests.

As for Ann Coulter - she says many things sarcastically. When did she say this - what was the exact quote in context. Obviously, I do not read her either.

Praguetwin said...

Dear Bad Bog,

In answer to your question....

I want to know what countries the U.S. invaded and overthrew to protect corporate/economic interests.


You should start with the Phillipines, look into Chile, and we all remember Nicaragua.

Believe me when I tell you this is the tip of the iceberg.

If you need me to walk you through it, just let me know. Calling these facts lies, as you do, does not make them lies.

Irrespective of the current intentions of our government, US foreign policy leaves a lot to be answered for.

If you think I hate America, or get some joy from this, you are wrong. These truths are hard things to accept for all Americans. But until we are able to answer these questions ourselves, I fear little progress will be made.

Anonymous said...

Great Comment Bag Blog!!! Yeah, what countries did we invade for corporate/ecconomic reasons? Japan? Germany? North Korea? All that oil in Viet Nam? Italy? Panama? Heck, we even gave the Panama Canal away. We couldn't figure that one out either. Last time I looked we pay out the kazoo for any oil we get. Maybe Anne Coulter books are being bought up by liberals as I can't find any conservative (small c) friends who read her. Thanks Bag Blogger

Anonymous said...

praguetwin has been reading all that communist propaganda and believes it. Ha!

Praguetwin said...

Boggs,

Reading your interview again, all I can say is, "Wow". I don't think I've heard the position layed out so well.

I guess it is hard to accept that ALL insurgents are terrorists. Are there really no groups that only target soldiers? I've yet to have that confirmed or denied by anyone.

I totally agree that once you start something you should finish it, but doesn't it seem like with the current troop levels and as you say..

It is unfortunate that now we have to pretty much stay away from highly populated areas and are mostly confined to our bases but I understand the reasoning.

Considering that the security situation is still unacceptable, which you alluded to vis a via reconstruction, and that little seems to be changing in terms of sectarian violence, terrorist attacks, and Coalition casualties, how can we expect to finish this job without making some major change in policy and/or strategy?

I read the disclaimer on answering questions, but if I had one, that would be it.

Anyway, my hat is off to you for a fine performance, and for answering the question about what you would have done differently. That took b***s.

tanksis said...

Sgt. Boggs,

GREAT interview with 24 Steps to Liberty. Kudos to The Ugly American for the commencement of such dialogue. I eagerly await 24's response to your questions, Sgt.

As for some of us coming to the "defense" for our beloved Sgt.--

There is a select group of us in this country who revere our men and women in uniform. This is not to say that ALL those wearing the uniform possess the character deserving of such reverence, however, wearing that uniform alone demands at least a high degree of respect. They are, after all, doing a job that most of Americans would never consider doing. Were it not for these brave citizens volunteering, certain people would have found themselves serving on the front lines in Baghdad, Cammos, Birkenstocks and all. Being provided with the forum to interact with said heroes via blogging and the like, we have further come to feel as though our service members are family in a way. And just like a mom who sticks up for her kid, or the big brother who looks out for his siblings, we will lash out and speak up for our service members, whether or not they "need" us to.

It is only one of the things we can do to let them know WE have THEIR backs. We will always stand with them.

Keep up the great job, Sgt. Thanks for all you do.

Elizabeth said...

I'm certainly glad to know Iraqis aren't exposed to Ann Coulter et al. It's too bad they haven't been learning accurate history, but not surprising I guess considering the state of affairs under Saddam Hussein. Now on the other hand, our state of affairs is pretty shocking: Praguetwin had to "remind" someone:

"You should start with the Phillipines, look into Chile, and we all remember Nicaragua."

And don't forget Iran, 1953.

What does it say about the U.S. public schools that people aren't being taught basic world history? I mean, forget college, people are supposed to learn this stuff in high school!

Anonymous said...

It says that the liberals took over the public schools a long time ago and any history they teach is politically correct and inaccurate. Just like you, Elizabeth and praguetwin are.

Elizabeth said...

Well, from the evidence we were just shown, it appears the exact opposite is true, anonymous.

Praguetwin said...

Like I said, start with the Philippines

Anyone who does not believe that Wikipedia is accurate on this point should provide a reputable secondary source.

You call it "propaganda", I call it "history".

Praguetwin said...

Here is what Mark Twain had to say about the war in the Phlippines...

"There is the case of the Philippines. I have tried hard, and yet I cannot for the life of me comprehend how we got into that mess. Perhaps we could not have avoided it -- perhaps it was inevitable that we should come to be fighting the natives of those islands -- but I cannot understand it, and have never been able to get at the bottom of the origin of our antagonism to the natives. I thought we should act as their protector -- not try to get them under our heel. We were to relieve them from Spanish tyranny to enable them to set up a government of their own, and we were to stand by and see that it got a fair trial. It was not to be a government according to our ideas, but a government that represented the feeling of the majority of the Filipinos, a government according to Filipino ideas. That would have been a worthy mission for the United States. But now -- why, we have got into a mess, a quagmire from which each fresh step renders the difficulty of extrication immensely greater. I'm sure I wish I could see what we were getting out of it, and all it means to us as a nation."

Bag Blog said...

Praguetwin:
Actually, I did not call "invading and overthrowing countries for corporate/economic reasons" a lie. I asked which countries Elizabeth was refering to.

Some of us were taught that the Monroe Doctrine was used to protect the Western hemisphere and our neighbors helping them set up governments that were for the people. I am sure those governments were more "American friendly" than if we had left ruthless dictators. It also seems that there were natives of those countries that wanted our help. "Invaded and overthrown" seems an odd choice of words. Maybe it is an odd perception.

Yes, the mass media does spread lies. I can think of a few lies that have caused deaths - reporters reporting things thatlater turn out to be false, but caused chaos at the time. If you say that the U.S. military is in Iraq to convert Iraqis to Chrisianity, you are spreading a lie - a perception you may have, but one that is not actually true. If Iraqis hate Americans because of these sorts of lies and blow people up because of those lies are you helping or hurting America. I choose to think that guys like Boggs are in Iraq to help the people build better lives, to help build a government for the people rather than having a killer dictator. I think the U.S. military is protecting Iraqis, but more than that, they are protcting America. I think a stand - a fight against terroism is wise.

Anonymous said...

Right on Bag Blog! I have known many people from the Philippines and they certainly have a different view than the one Elizabeth and praguetwin. Ask Michelle Malkin if you want a good source.

Praguetwin said...

Bad Blog,

I misunderstood what you were refering to apparently. You mentioned Elizabeth's question at the beginning of the post and then in explaining where Iraqi's might have gotten such "crazy ideas" you said...

...and other decision makers by spreading their lies or from people like you who believe those lies and spread them which of course makes it difficult for guys like Boggs to overcome such crazy ideas and do their jobs

Which lies are we taling about here? I had assumed your were talking about the statement...

Since the U.S. has invaded other countries, or overthrown governments, in the past in order to protect corporate/economic interests

Please clarify what lies you were referring to.

I wonder if you would call the democratically elected Salvadore Allende a "ruthless dictator." (Incidentally American friendly is not the opposite of ruthless dictator.) Often it is the ruthless dictator that is American friendly. Pinocet, Mobuto, and the young Saddam Hussein of 1986 to name a few. The Rosevelt corallary to the Monroe Doctrine led to the support of many oppressive regimes in South America. The Monoroe Doctrine, as a result, has become synonymous with American imperialism in South and Central America.

Just because a leader and his people are anti-American, you cannot assume they are ruthless dictators.

There are always going to be some people who want our help. There are always two sides (at least). But when the US illegally trains, funds, and arms the army of a brutal dictator who has been exciled, creates death-squads to spread terror (over 30,000 civilians murdered) in order to overthrow the elected leaders of a country, I think "invaded and overthrow" represent good choices in diction. Please refer yourself to the history of Nicaragua between 1980 and 1988 for reference, or as Elizabeth pointed out "operation ajax" in Iran in 1953 which is probably more pertinent.

I agree that the media has spread false information that has resulted in death. Look into the Haymarket riots for example. Often false reports of police brutality have been used to incite riots. This does not mean that all media are liars.

You also said...

If you say that the U.S. military is in Iraq to convert Iraqis to Chrisianity, you are spreading a lie - a perception you may have, but one that is not actually true.

I have not, nor would I claim such a thing. Please review my comments before you accuse me of such a thing.

Nothing is black and white. The question remains...

Since the U.S. has invaded other countries, or overthrown governments, in the past in order to protect corportate/economic interests, can you blame Iraqis or others for thinking this is just more of the same?

I think this is a good question.

Praguetwin said...

P.S.

Sorry I keep messing up your name, Bag Blog.

That is truly impossible to say five times fast.

BUCK SARGENT said...

This whole thead is pure Chomsky 101, of the variety that is so popular on our college campusses these days. I used to spend hours arguing with these misanthropes but I came to realize it is hopeless because most of them are simply wrong in the head. That's why they are so easily led by cynical masterminds like Noam Chomsky and the like.

It's par for the course to harp on esoteric battles and engagements from decades (or even centuries) ago that most people have little specific knowledge of because it makes them seem to have the upper hand on the history when in reality it is an extremely flimsy version of history that they have memorized; typically originating from a single source.

Trying to make some kind of comparison between our current war and the Phillipine Insurrection from the turn of the LAST century is pretty silly. The only thing sillier is wasting your valuable time battling with people like these.

And since no one else will, I'll be the first to stick up for Ann Coulter. She is much more intelligent and erudite than anyone on this message board (including myself), as would be clear if one actually read what she writes rather than misquote her out of context ad nauseam.

If nothing else, she is a fantastic writer. The Stars and Stripes runs her column opposite Arianna Huffington every week, and it's almost embarrassing for Arianna. It's like putting a high school paper up against the Wall St. Journal.

Liberals will never "get" her precisely because she lives to enrage them. Not in a Howard Stern "shock value" sense, but in a "they're too dumb to understand it" sense. What she said after 9/11 captured precisely the national mood as expressed in an unrestrained fit of anger. But it was INTENTIONAL hyperbole, as is much of what she writes. She addressed exactly what would be the most effective means of dealing with radical Islam -- going at it directly at the source. (FYI: There's a reason why we don't have to worry about being blown up or shot when we travel through Christian villages in Iraq.) Yet Ms. Coulter knew that would not be the actions of the U.S. government. They would bend over backwards as they usually do so as not to "offend".

I'm running out of time here, and I know this is going to be Greek to most of you anyway, so I'll stop. But my point is that you have to be more flexible in your line of thinking. You liberals are supposed to be the "open-minded" ones, yet many of you are wound tighter than a drum.

Anonymous said...

Hey Buck Sargent,
Thanks for your comment. It was not Greek to us. You always come through loud and CLEAR. Shall read some of AC. Just usually read male writers because - - -come to think of it not sure why? Think it was that whole women's lib thing - -turned us off to women in general. Ooops - -that no doubt will lead to controversy! What the heck. You are the best - that's why we read you. How's the new assignment coming by the way? You are so right about the education system and everything else you commented on - -not that you need to be told that. Ha! Like a man who knows what he is talking about and doesn't care how many little poison darts get shot at him for taking a stand. Thanks for your imput!! A&N

Elizabeth said...

hey, old bag blog:

I just took a look at your blog. I realized that I'd forgotten something you mentioned earlier: Your husband works for Halliburton. Being that you therefore have a vested financial interest in the Iraq war, I think we can rule you out as a source of unbiased commentary.

Elizabeth said...

Boggs: I realized I told you to read books, but didn't recommend any. I am not a professor of Middle Eastern history. Therefore here is a list of some books recommended by Juan Cole, Professor of History at the Univ. of Michigan, along with a few additions I threw in:

[from juan cole’s] Very Basic Suggested Reading List on Middle East*

Gelvin, James. The modern Middle East: a history. New York : Oxford University Press, 2005.

Gerges, Fawaz. The far enemy: why Jihad went global. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Hourani, Albert. A history of the Arab peoples. Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1991.

- General history of the Arab world from the time of the Prophet Muhammad to the present.

Keddie, Nikki. Modern Iran: Roots and Results of revolution. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2003.

- History of modern Iran, with some early modern and nineteenth-century background, but good treatment of the twentieth century and the Islamic Republic.

Marr, Phebe. The modern history of Iraq. 2nd ed. Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, 2004.

Mottahedeh, Roy. The mantle of the Prophet : religion and politics in Iran. New York : Simon and Schuster, 1985.

Quataert, Donald. The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922. 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambrige University Press, 2005.
Best recent social history of the greatest Middle Eastern empire and its early twentieth-century demise

Shlaim, Avi. The iron wall : Israel and the Arab world New York : W.W. Norton, 2000.

Smith, Charles. Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict 5th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004.

---------

Some additions from Elizabeth:

Fromkin, David. A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. Henry Holt & Co. New York. A well-regarded description of the end of the Ottoman Empire with a focus on the British role in screwing things up.

Palumbo, Michael. The Palestinian Catastrophe: The 1948 Expulsion of a People from Their Homeland. Quartet Books, London. A brief and readable book based on primary sources.

Sacco, Joseph. Palestine. Fantagraphic Books, Seattle. This is actually a comic book, for those who don’t have too much time to read. It’s a graphic novel Sacco, a cartoonist, created as a memoir of a trip to Palestine he took in the 1990s. It's not for children...

Bag Blog said...

praguetwin: As to the my blog name - no problem. I am sure it was just a freudian slip on your part.

As to the lies thing, I guess I was not clear. My first paragraph listed e's two questions. My second paragraph addressed the first lie - that our military is in Iraq to convert people to Christianity. I did not actually address the second question because I wanted more info first. And you are right - the U.S. has sometimes chosen poorly on which foreign leaders they would support. But "invade and overthrow" has a connotation that implies we took over the running of the foreign country. Obviously, we did not do that - hence the problems with choosing poorly.

Finally, I did not mean to accuse you, praguetwin, of spreading a lie. You might want to note the "if" in front of my statement. It was a general, indeterminate "you" that I was refering to. I should probably have used "someone" to be clearer.

Buck Sargent is right. It does seem silly to compare battles and engagements from past centuries to present day especially when we have different perceptions of history. By the way, I am a fan of Ann Coulter, but I have only heard her speak on talk shows.

Well, I got to go now - I am headed to the big Halliburton Barbeque to hobnob with the decision makers :)

Elizabeth said...

Nobody stated that the U.S. was in Iraq to convert people to Christianity. I stated it could be possible some people around the world THINK we are, given political/social/media events in our country. (I guess that distinction is too subtle for some people).

"Invade and overthrow" doesn't necessarily connote that WE will take over the running of a foreign country. Given history, I think the connotation would more likely be that we will install an indigenous puppet, or rather someone who we BELIEVE will be our puppet...

And of course, this affects our operations in Iraq and elsewhere. Given our history, not everyone around the world is going to believe we're really promoting democracy, because frankly, that has not been our most recent history. I mean, we supported Saddam Hussein in the past...

If someone you were in a relationship with told you that despite the fact he/she had done something numerous times in the past, they would never do it again, would you be quick to believe them?

After the U.S. has supported Saddam Hussein, the Shah of Iran, and the Israeli occupation, we expected the Iraqis to welcome us with open arms, and the world to applaud us for promoting democracy...

Boggs and the rest of the soldiers have been given the most difficult public relations job in the history of the world.

Bag Blog said...

elizabeth: I thought you said that Ann Coulter said we should convert the Iraqis to Christianity, and then you asked the question concerning this. By the way, your analogy with the personal relationship and the relationship with a country is just silly and not worth addressing.

Praguetwin said...

Buck Sergent,

Thanks for chiming in. You must have been in a hurry, because you seem to have completely missed the point. (although you did have time to throw me into a your mental trash heap of uninformed drone hipppies).

The question on the table is still...

Since the U.S. has invaded other countries, or overthrown governments, in the past in order to protect corporate/economic interests, can you blame Iraqis or others for thinking this is just more of the same?

No one has even tried to answer the question.

I said to START with the Philipines because that is where the current wave of American neo-colonialism started. I'm am not comparing it to Iraq. More recent examples include Chile and Nicaragua to name just two. (note to Bag Blog, all of these countries were either overthrown or invaded by U.S. forces, but not always alone.)

My sources are varied. There are literally hundreds of books written on these subjects and I have heard the stories of El Salvador first hand from a friend of mine who fled with his family. I spent years studying American imperialism because I was so shocked and saddened when I found out. Like most, I was raised to believe that America is a benevolent country, and I still believe it is. However, there are some very serious dark spots in U.S. history, and they need to be recognized so they are not repeated. One also must remain cognizant of the fact that the dark spots in U.S. history remain as barriers in the war for hearts and minds.

So you can call me silly and say it is a waste of time to battle with people like me, but it is you, sir, who refuses to engage or open your mind to see how America is percieved from outside of your own skull. It is you who sees America as beyond reproach, which is simply not a logical view in light of the facts.

America has plenty to be proud of, and plenty to be ashamed of. I suppose that seems like a paradox to people who see the world in black and white, but it is true.

It is not one or the other: America as the champions of freedom and democracy; or, America as evil imperialists.

It is a healthy dose of both, but it takes an open-minded person to see it both ways.

I'd comment on what you said about Coulter, but I'm not sure what your position is other that devoted follower. Amazing she can appear as a better writer compared to a non-native english speaker. Impressive.

I guess if she goes to prison for voter fraud, she have lots of company from GOP lawmakers.

tfmom said...

Buck, thanks for defending Ann Coulter, she's my hero! I'm not into womens lib either A & N but she's the MAN! Oh, and you're the MEN too!!

Thanks to all of you who support our son and all of you who read his blog and try to think through current issues.

Anonymous said...

Thanks TFmom. We got a hoot out of your comment. It is good to hear from the "woman" behind all the great Boggs men (doing it the old fashioned way)! Are there ANY single Boggs men out there? Good stock. Other than Tim. He's busy. You are the best Sgt. Boggs and please stay safe and keep blogging as we learn much from your thoughtful, informed writing. A&N

The Ugly American said...

Sorry to have lobbed bombs back at Elizabeth and then disapeared. I am in Italy on business and expected to have better internet access.

Using an italian desk top in the internet lounge atm and have to run. I will address your points when I get back next Week Elizabeth.

I will address some of Praguetwins as well as he at the least has a very different view of American history and sounds to be very misinformed.

Prague you might visit a US navy base in the next week or so and see how many filipinos you find there. (there are a lot) having grown up in a Navy town I know scores of them.

no the USA is not perfect. Yes we have made many bad decisions and some of them for self interest. We just happen to be better than all the rest when you compare our relative records.

I think its a fair statement to say most filipinos are happier today than they would have been if we never got involved there.

Have to run.

Praguetwin said...

I think its a fair statement to say most filipinos are happier today than they would have been if we never got involved there.

Wow, you must have some amazing powers of deduction Ugly American. You can actually go back in history a hundred years, change an event, and then recreate a century of history (in a hypothetical sense) in your mind to get a clear picture of what it would have been like had the U.S. never occupied the Philippines. I am impressed, and truly not worthy of your time if you have such deductive power.

I know this smacks of sarcasm, but look at your quote there are realize that that is what you are saying: you can recreate a century of history in your mind and use that imaginary world to refute any claims that do not fit into your world view and partisan contsruct.

"Safe to say?" Hell yes it is safe to say, because no one else can go back in time and recreate history like you can . You have a sigular ability that is unmatched in the world. You must be very proud.

My point was not that filipinos hate Americans. Quite the contrary. Now that a large part of the economy is dependent on the bases there, the local population, I would imagine, looks at America and it's money machine of military bases much like a new-born baby looks at its mother's breast.

But if the filipinos are doing so well, why is it that when I am in Dubai, there is nothing but filipino guest workers everywhere you look?

My point is not that they are better or worse off. The point is that they did not get a chance to determine their own fate. I believe that self-determination is at the heart of the constitution of the U.S. and the paradigm of America. If it is good enough for us, why isn't it good enough for the filipinos?

Your argument that the U.S. is the lesser of all evils in the world is not only false, but irrelevant. When a country claims to be the sole purveyor of freedom of democracy in the world, they must be held to a higher standard, which is exactly what I am trying to do.

If I am misinformed about the military adventures of the U.S., please, enlighten me.

Did the U.S. not invade the philippines after promising to "free" them from spanish imperialism?

Did the U.S. not train, arm, and fund death squads that came from the ousted military of Nicaragua and send them back to commit acts that can only be described as terrorism? Was this not only immoral but actually illegal by virtue of a specific act of Congress?

Please, enlighten me about how misinformed I am. I am all ears.

Please, rewrite history for me Ugly American. It seems you have a sigular ability to do so.

The Ugly American said...

Wow, you must have some amazing powers of deduction Ugly American. You can actually go back in history a hundred years, change an event, and then recreate a century of history (in a hypothetical sense) in your mind to get a clear picture of what it would have been like had the U.S. never occupied the Philippines. I am impressed, and truly not worthy of your time if you have such deductive power.

No problem. Sarcasm is the only argument you have. As they say when the facts are on your side bang on the facts when they are not bang on the table.

It is a fact that the Philippines are better off today than it was before the US got involved there. It is a fact they were better off after the Spanish were defeated. It is a fact they were better off after the Japanese were defeated. If you would actually like to challenge those statements with facts please do.

You can recreate a century of history in your mind and use that imaginary world to refute any claims that do not fit into your world view and partisan contsruct.

Correct we can not change history. What is done is done. What particular partisan view am I trying to support?


My point was not that Filipinos hate Americans. Quite the contrary.


Good we agree. Most Filipinos have a positive view of the US. You can argue the reasons for this positive view but that reflects your bias not mine.

But if the Filipinos are doing so well, why is it that when I am in Dubai, there is nothing but filipino guest workers everywhere you look?

No Idea why don’t you ask and let us know.

My point is not that they are better or worse off. The point is that they did not get a chance to determine their own fate. I believe that self-determination is at the heart of the constitution of the U.S. and the paradigm of America. If it is good enough for us, why isn't it good enough for the filipinos?

Aren’t they determining their own fate now?

Didn’t the US support the democratic elections in 1986 and then condemn the massive fraud by the Marcos government?

Didn’t the actions of the US help avoid a bloody civil war and help the Filipinos determine their own fate with democratic elections?

Your argument that the U.S. is the lesser of all evils in the world is not only false, but irrelevant. When a country claims to be the sole purveyor of freedom of democracy in the world, they must be held to a higher standard, which is exactly what I am trying to do.

Aren’t you trying to have it both ways here? First stating that the US is no better than anyone else yet at the same time holding them to a higher standard?

We can argue our personal beliefs all day long and get no where. You feel the way you do and I feel the way I do. I base my beliefs on my personal experience and what I have seen with my own two eyes combined with what I have read and learned from sources I trust. I assume you have done the same thing?

Your problem seems to be the ability to discern fact from opinion.

Praguetwin said...

Sorry about the sarcasm, but it is pretty arrogant to think that you could possibly know what the situation in the Philippines would be presently, had the U.S. granted them independence in 1899. I have more than sarcasm on my side in this case. I have facts.

It is a fact that the Philippines are better off today than it was before the US got involved there. It is a fact they were better off after the Spanish were defeated. It is a fact they were better off after the Japanese were defeated. If you would actually like to challenge those statements with facts please do.

Those are also facts. These are not the questions at issue here however. I'd say most countries in the world are better off today that they were at the dawn of the 20th century. But again, that is not the point. The point is that we don't know what the history of the Philippines would have been had the U.S. not annexed it. They remain extremely poor which is why there are so many Philippinos working in Dubai (but you knew that).

Just going back once again to the very original question. That Elizabeth had...

Since the U.S. has invaded other countries, or overthrown governments, in the past in order to protect corporate/economic interests, can you blame Iraqis or others for thinking this is just more of the same?

The U.S. has a long history of military action to protect its economic interests. The Philippines example is a very early one.

What the U.S. did in 1986 is not relevant to this point. I'm not trying to portray the U.S. as ALWAYS acting ONLY for its economic interest. I'm not trying to argue that the U.S. hasn't ever helped people, or that wherever the U.S. has invaded and or helped overthrow a trail of misery is all that is left.

It is not an "either/or" argument. You can not classify the U.S. as "good" or "bad". Deafeating Germany in WWII was good. That does not mean every military action since then is justified.

Perhaps you would like to take on the question of Guatemala in 1954. Or perhaps you would like to address "Operation Ajax" in Iran. Perhaps you would like to address Nicaragua under Reagan.

Show me how America was acting in such a benevolent way in these cases.

To your questions...

What particular partisan view am I trying to support?

Partisan was a poor choice of word. You are supporting the specious paradigm that the U.S. (and its military in particular) are only interested in helping people and the cause of freedom. I don't blame you. This paradigm is essential for the morale of the men and women in the military, and as you point out, you were raised on a Navy base.

Aren’t they determining their own fate now?

Didn’t the US support the democratic elections in 1986 and then condemn the massive fraud by the Marcos government?


Yes, after the U.S. had supported Marcos' corrupt regime for decades. But again, relevance? See you are missing the point all over again. Just because the U.S. does good things, doesn't mean that the bad things didn't happen.

West Germany paid huge reparations to Israel. Does that erase the Holocaust? 60 years later and Germany STILL doesn't send troops to foreign lands because of their history.

Aren’t you trying to have it both ways here? First stating that the US is no better than anyone else yet at the same time holding them to a higher standard?

No, what I'm saying is that IF the U.S. wants to be purveyors of democracy they must live up to a higher standard, which I believe they have not. If the U.S. was honest with the world and said that they were acting purely in their own self-interests, then we wouldn't have to have this argument.

But since the U.S. claims to be the champions of freedom and democracy, it is logical to ask hard questions about its history.

I assume you have done the same thing?

Absolutely. Of course our world views are different, and I understand that what motivates the U.S. now is not so easily determined and thus open for discussion.

However, in the past, the U.S. has overthrown governments and invaded countries for its own economic interests.

That is not my opinion, that is a fact.

The Ugly American said...

I can agree with your last post a lot more than your first praguetwin.

No doubt we are not perfect. No doubt our government has done some bad things. On the whole I think the facts are clear and the balance sheet comes out on the positive side.

The difference between our government and many others is that we tend to correct our own mistakes eventually.

We certainly did not enter WW2 to save the Jews or Gypsies from the holocaust but we definitely did the heavy lifting in rebuilding western Europe and fostering stable democracies in Japan and Germany.

We certainly didn't enter the Korean war only to save the Koreans from Communism but our actions certainly did save millions in the south from living in the same poverty their brethren suffer in the north.

Again American history is not without its shames however we are if not unique at least the exception to the general rule of volountarily correcting our mistakes, and when we do wage wars of waging them more humanely (if thats possible) than others do.

History does support this.

If not for the US Kuwait would still be a part of Iraq today, if not more of the middle east as a recent example.

To be clear prague I grew up in a Navy town not on the base 8).

Praguetwin said...

So basically you are saying that America may have bad intentions, and they may be going to war for economic reasons, but the Iraqi people should feel confident that America will fix everything in the end because usually it does.

Am I getting that right?

The Ugly American said...

no as usual you have everything completely wrong.