Why We Fight

June 2010


During the Second World War, the United States Government funded a series of films, directed by Frank Capra (It’s a Wonderful Life) and narrated by Walter Huston.

The films were intended to show the US Soldier, Sailor, Airman, and Marine, as well as the American public, the evil nature of the enemy with which we engaged in that epic struggle. Looking back at those films is educational, as nothing in them was conjured. All of it, every bit, was truth. It was propaganda, a word we assiduously avoid today. Because we lack the perspective that Strategic Messaging is indeed propaganda. And the most effective propaganda is truth.

Perhaps it is time to revisit our ideas on the subject. We can start here.

At a time when we are hesitant to label our greatest terrorist threat Radical Islamic Jihadism, despite the fact that those engaged in that terrorism are radical, Islamic, and waging Jihad, we need to be reminded of the true nature of our enemy.

This is their vision of how we should live (From the AP):

Suspected Taliban militants publicly hanged a 7-year-old boy for spying in the militant stronghold of Helmand province, an Afghan official told the Associated Press.The child was placed on trial by the Islamic extremist group and later found guilty of working for Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government, the local official said.

Karzai on Thursday condemned the alleged act, calling it a “crime against humanity”.

Read it again. A 7-year old boy. Hanged after a trial for spying.

For those who think coexistence with these bloodthirsty creatures is possible through some sort of accommodation, or that such evil does not need to be destroyed, and destroyed by force of arms, let them see a 7-year old child on any street in America, and envision them hanging at the end of a rope.

The destruction of tyranny is as noble a goal in 2010 as it was in 1943.

Posted by UltimaRatioReg in Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Foreign Policy, History, Homeland Security, Marine Corps, Naval Institute, Navy

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  • anonymous

    This is one of the best posts I’ve ever read on this site. Now to work on the video.

  • The very credible Seymour Hersh recently alleged our forces are executing captured Taliban in the field, and this seems to offer a rationalization for that:

    “For those who think coexistence with these bloodthirsty creatures is possible through some sort of accommodation, or that such evil does not need to be destroyed, and destroyed by force of arms, ….”

    Following are some examples of our own treatment of children in Iraq and our other Southwest Asian fronts, and we have instead convinced many if not most people in the world that they cannot coexist with creatures like *us*:

    “Sodomizing Children. For Freedom. by Hunter”
    Fri Jul 22, 2005 at 05:02:20 PM PDT


    Following up on Kos’ post, below; we already have some idea of what the Abu Ghraib images in question show, though we don’t know precisely which ones are in the queue to be released. The images, according to those lawmakers who have seen them, paint a picture of torture at Abu Ghraib far, far worse than most Americans have yet been willing to admit. Via the Boston Herald, May 8th, 2004:
    Signaling the worst revelations are yet to come, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the additional photos show “acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman.” […]

    The unreleased images show American soldiers beating one prisoner almost to death, apparently raping a female prisoner, acting inappropriately with a dead body, and taping Iraqi guards raping young boys, according to NBC News.

    Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the scandal is “going to get worse” and warned that the most “disturbing” revelations haven’t yet been made public.

    “The American public needs to understand, we’re talking about rape and murder here,” he said. “We’re not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience; we’re talking about rape and murder and some very serious charges.”

    And from investigative reporter Seymour Hersh:

    The women were passing messages saying “Please come and kill me, because of what’s happened”. Basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys/children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. The worst about all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking.

    Note these links are from 2004. We’ve known about the additional abuse cases for over a year. And yes, the rest of the world already knows.

    Source cited in article:
    WAR ON TERROR; RUEFUL RUMSFELD: `CRUEL’ TRUTH HURTS; Rape and murder feared in Iraq abuse
    Boston Herald – Boston, Mass.
    Date: May 8, 2004
    Start Page: 005


    Then there is all the collateral damage – innocent people including children our remote control bombs are killing and maiming in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Then there is Depleted Uranium (DU) we have used which causes unending genetic/birth defects and cancers … in even the smallest/unborn children, as well as adults. The Iraqi government recently issued a report about this.

    We invaded Afghanistan after 9/11 (which looks to many Americans like a Reichstag Fire inside job, as it is) and had the Taliban beaten … until Cheney&Bush launched their unjustified and illegal invasion of Iraq. Then we appalled the entire region with our neocon occupation’s incompetence and atrocities.

    What is it now? A million dead Iraqis our cruel stupidity has caused? And there have been no war crimes charges against those responsible on our side.

    We long ago lost the hearts&minds/propaganda war by our actions which the local inhabitants have experienced first-hand, and naturally we’re now losing the military war as well.

    We have lost all credibility with the Afghan and other peoples of that region. All we can do now is pull out and bring those of our leaders responsible for these crimes to truth and justice for the rest of the world to see, instead of trying to rationalize continuing the crimes and tragedy.

    Lou Coatney

  • Here is documentation about DU.

    We might pause in this discussion to remember the advice of wiser strategists in our history: NEVER get (directly, anyway) involved in an Asian land war.


    Iraq littered with high levels of nuclear and dioxin contamination, study finds
    • Greater rates of cancer and birth defects near sites
    • Depleted uranium among poisons revealed in report

    Martin Chulov in Baghdad guardian.co.uk, Friday 22 January 2010 17.45 GMT

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Your moral relativist comments speak for themselves.

    May your freedom to spew such drivel continue to be defended by people more courageous and dedicated than yourself.

  • Chuck Hill

    The great thing Capra did was that he used film supplied by the Axis against them. He used their own words.

    We have to stop calling them the “Taliban”. The word means nothing to us, but we are calling them “students of Islamic knowledge” which in an Islamic culture is a complement. We have to show why they are not good Muslims if we are ever going to win this.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “We have to show why they are not good Muslims if we are ever going to win this.”

    Boy, howdy.

  • Byron

    “Moral relativist”…I had another phrase in mind that I expect would get censored, and rightfully so.

    Chuck, how about, “murderers”. “Rapists”. “Child molesters”. “proponents of genocide”. Will those work for you?

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Chuck hits a good point, one in which we failed in our IO (read: propaganda) campaign in OIF II.

    Instead of trying to convince the Iraqis that we were wonderful souls, there was plenty to point out how terrible the enemy was in the treatment of the Iraqi people. Murder, kidnapping, rape, you name it.

    Pick a few simple themes that resonate, and hammer them home. Hammer, hammer, hammer.

  • Byron

    I prefer the way Mattis put it to the sheiks…I’m sure you remember.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Oh, I do. One of the great non-published speeches of our time. The looks on their faces were priceless.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Okay, Lou, it has to be said.

    I watched time and again as US Marines and Soldiers risked their lives, sometimes paying with them, to aid and protect innocent Iraqi men, women, and children.

    During that time, nobody from “daily kos” was there. Nor was Seymour Hersh. YOU certainly weren’t. I doubt you have the courage.

    Your empty, unsubstantiated claims of “atrocities” smacks of the same hackneyed anti-American, anti-military nonsense that permeate the very radical Left.

    The offenders at Abu Ghraib stood trial for their actions. Those Islamic radicals who murder women and children purposefully are convinced of their righteousness and that of their violent cause.

    Your attempt to equate the honorable service of America’s warriors in Iraq and AFG with the intolerant, savagely cruel, sadistic terrorists shows your intellectual and moral bankruptcy.

    You may study war, but I doubt you have the courage and discipline to do what those young men and women are doing, not even for a day. It is as if you claim to study religion but don’t have a grasp of the concept of God.

    Admin has been more than kind to you here. Slinging wild accusations and allegations of war crimes without the least bit more evidence than wildly biased and thoroughly discredited websites or slanted “investigative reporting” hardly defines debate. It may sound good at a Berkeley student union rally, but readers here have done much more than march in protest of things they only have the vaguest understanding of.

  • URR, you set the provocative tone of this thread of yours with your attack words I described above and now your personal attack on me – not just on my posting which (unlike you) I backed up with sources. So if Admin is fair, you should get bounced out of here long before me, especially after trying to bait me with your latest post.

    As to your attempt to impugn my courage, I’m not the one hiding behind a pseudonym like you are. And after discovering my local friendly draft board had lost my records in late 1966, I volunteered for the draft. I felt lucky I didn’t have to go to Viet Nam. Although I knew it was a just war – unlike our invasion/occupation of Iraq – and was prepared to go if ordered, I knew it was a war which would be lost politically back home … nor did I trust DoD reassurances about Agent Orange then anymore than I believe them now about Depleted Uranium.

    And contrary to your accusation, I am not attacking our servicepeople at all. I am attacking our neocon political leaders for misusing them in a fraudulently started and predictably unwinnable and dirty Iraq war of occupation. And National Guard NEVER should be used overseas, unless in a real, legally declared war: the cost in broken families and lost (small) businesses has been incalculable.

    Trying to wrap our Southwest Asian strategic, economic, and moral DISASTER in the Flag is contemptible enough, URR, but your trying to wrap it in the service and suffering of our servicepeople is beneath even that.

    There were far more “offenders” responsible for what happened at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere and they haven’t been charged, and you know it.

    This talk of “warriors” in our services is itself demeaning. I remember the book School for Soldiers about West Point. If anyone had called U.S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Sherman, Jackson, Sheridan, … a mere “warrior,” they likely would have taken grave offense. They were SOLDIERS, abiding by the Laws of War to go to it as a last resort and wage it as humanely as possible. Sherman may have had to wage physical destruction, but he loved the South and *actively* sought to prevent atrocities by his men.

    “Warriors” are from primitive or (in the case of the WW2 Axis) reversionist societies. They typically wear breechclouts, love war, and murder, rape, and loot.

    Finally, and something you and I *can* agree on, is the importance of terminology in debates like this. In my battles against the Left back in Alaska, I created terms like anti-defense (instead of anti-military) and anti-deterrence (instead of anti-nuclear) to better/intrinsically describe my opponents’ self-destroying delusions. (On the other hand, the peace groups did contribute to our Cold War victory: they convinced the Soviets that they could win politically, not militarily, and slowly the KGB and new Russian leaders came to like and believe in democracy even as they lost the CW.)

    But if anyone is serving the Left by continuing to support what have now become our unwinnable, bankrupting, and self-defeating Asian wars of attrition, it is those who support them – not those of us who tried to prevent them and who have tried to stop them.

    Finally, look at the Security Council vote about the sanctions against Iran. Happily, it passed, although China not vetoing it makes me wonder if it is hoping we get ourselves enmired even deeper in the Mideast, in a direct war against Iran. But in defiance of us, our once best ally in the Mideast, Turkey, and our once best ally in South America, Brasil, voted against us – both of them strategically vital.

    THAT is how bad our strategic situation has gotten, listening to those like you who still continue to cheerlead one disaster after another.

  • Lou – Really? We are discussing the clear and present danger of radical Islam in general and the form it is currently taking in Afghanistan in specific. However, you respond with a five year old link to an unsubstantiated claim regarding charges in another country.

    Do you walk to work or take your lunch?

    Seymour Hersh is not credible in my book. He is two-bit and sells his nonsense with sensationalism. If your reporting can’t garner the attention you desire based on facts & you need to pimp it as hard as Hersh does….well, as they say, “The fault, dear Brutus….”

    Abu Ghraib? Bush is eeeeevil? “Ahhh, wirra wirra” as my Irish grandmother would say.

    Do you even read this blog? Have you seen it before today? Or do you just have some Google alert for key words and when you get the chance you pop up and plug in your tired old nonsense?

    Just in case you are checking back for responses….
    Abu Ghraib – Horrible? Check! Government conspiracy – not so much. Tell me Lou, when prison guards in this country behave poorly, as is sadly commonplace, is that because they are damaged idiots or because the governor of that state gave them secret orders to torture inmates? You see anytime you take one group of humans and give them absolute control over another group of humans, someone is always going to go too far. It’s just human nature – sadly enough. But on the bright side, other humans usually step up to the plate and do the right thing ….like …..the soldiers who turned in Lindie England, et al. It wasn’t a conspiracy, it was just another sad example of man’s cruelty and weakness.

    But Lou, there are always some that hear the hoofbeats and think “Zebra!” when “Horse” makes more sense. Take a breath, get a grip, read the post and try again. See if you can respond to the discussion that we are having here in this galaxy.

    There is a group of people who are exercises varying degrees of power over territory and people in an area of Afghanistan. It is in our best interest as a nation if they are not able to fulfill their ambition of a pious caliphate.

    The discussion is about the danger of being lulled into complacency by political correctness.

  • From Wikipedia, Maggie, for you:


    “Janis Leigh Karpinski (born May 25, 1953, Rahway, New Jersey[1]) is a central figure in the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal. …

    In October 2005 she published an account of her experiences, One Woman’s Army, in which she claims that the abuses were perpetrated by contract employees trained in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay and sent under orders from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and that her demotion was political retribution. …

    In July 2007 Karpinski stated she had evidence Israelis were involved in interrogations …”

    There are links there to the news media sources.

    There is rightwing political correctness too … heavily into coverup.

  • LOL! Janis Karpinski? The shoplifter? That’s your credible source? Try coming up with someone who wasn’t trying to save their own scrawny ass.

    And again….that’s not the discussion at hand. The title of this post is not “Let’s resurrect crazy stories from a couple of years ago.”

    Come on Lou.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    You make wild accusations of atrocities committed by US forces and then claim not to attack our service people. You equate the US and its service men and women to the Islamist butchers who threaten the freedom and safety of our nation and way of life, and claim to back such claims with “sources”.

    I stand corrected. Such are clearly the actions of someone with real courage.

    You almost went to Vietnam? So did President Bush. Huh.

    You are free to express whatever bizarre and delusional foreign policy ideas you want to. Just remember which of us goes and executes foreign policy. And just whom hides behind what.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Oh, and Janis Karpinski? She was in command of Abu Ghraib. She was responsible for everything her command did and failed to do. Probably a hard concept to include in a board game.

  • Byron

    My daddy once told me that the only way to talk to a foolish or stupid man was to nod your head and say, “Uh huh”.

    “Uh huh”.