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January 20, 2013

Violent Idiots the Same All Around the World

Steven Metz is a professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute. He's a big supporter of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan – not because he likes them, but because we just have no alternative:

I'd pay closer attention to critics of drone strikes if they explained their recommended alternative.

Faisal Shazad is the Pakistani man who planned to set off a car bomb in Times Square in retaliation for U.S. drone strikes. He didn't want to, but he just had no alternative:

Friends with peaceful protest! Can you tell me a way to save the oppressed? And a way to fight back when rockets are fired at us and Muslim blood flows?

In previous violent idiot news, the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign and Saddam Hussein joined forces to warn of the constant threat of wolves, while William Kristol and Saddam explained why the first step on the road to peace is being heavily armed.

—Jon Schwarz

Posted at January 20, 2013 11:30 AM

It all probably nothing personal, ya know, just business. Look at Gaza, gotta have somewhere to test the new drone technology in order to have reliable operational systems for Pakistan.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 20, 2013 01:31 PM

"I'd pay closer attention to critics of drone strikes if they explained their recommended alternative."

You see this a lot. I even got it from a friend years ago when I was explaining how the US supported Indonesia's genocidal occupation of East Timor over five Presidents. His response was "Well, what would you do? If we didn't arm them, someone else would. The trouble is you want the US to be the world's policeman."

The non-sequitur was interesting. He'd obviously been exposed to the usual debate that US elites favor, between the supposed "realists" who don't think we should support human rights and the supposed "idealists" who think we should be invading and killing in the name of humanitarianism. So he responded to what sounded like an idealist argument with the usual realist objection, even though it had nothing to do with what I said. The idea that we shouldn't, you know, help someone commit mass murder didn't compute. Of course he'd also never heard of what we'd done to East Timor before 1999 and so was skeptical that anything I said was true anyway.

Posted by: anonymous at January 20, 2013 03:18 PM

Peaceful protest never works, it didn't stop vietnam(The draft did that),Iraq,bailouts,The whiskey task(the protests weren't always peaceful),The Gaza blockade, fuck it didn't end segregation in America as smarmy Hillary noted.

You peeps have a fetish with non violence. The state uses violence for a reason, and that reason being it works.

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Posted by: at January 20, 2013 10:38 PM

and "Common Sense" shows up to prove your point.

Posted by: Susan at January 20, 2013 11:58 PM

I'm very interested in the violence and non-violence trip and have sort of collected articles and commentaries concerning this topic if anyone was interested.

Archive Reference: On Topic
U.S. Justice: Violence - Non-Violence
Articles and Commentaries by various writers and media pundits.
Last Update: May 30, 2012


Posted by: Calm at January 21, 2013 01:32 AM

Susan: And some just plane love the whip.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 21, 2013 01:37 AM

Can anybody show any instance in history where the Ruling Class ever gave anything to the Lower Class without the threat of violence?

I don't believe that anybody can.


Posted by: Calm at January 21, 2013 01:56 AM

Common Sense

When asked if the means ever justify the ends, Gandhi replied that the means are the ends.

Gandhi was also once asked if non-violence could have stopped the Nazis, and he conceded that the price would have been terrible, but he did not concede the necessity of violence even in those circumstances. In fact, I myself note that, though I doubt he had seen the research in his lifetime, some non-violent protest in Berlin against enforcement of the race laws was in fact effective even during WWII, because believe it or not, the Nazis remained concerned about public opinion even then. Everyone in all Europe knew the Holocaust was happening, but it was important to the Hauptmanfuehrers and Obermeisters that people not get agitated en masse.

Also, it is perhaps worth noticing that since defeating the Nazis, the United States has often behaved much like them, if generally not quite on the same level, though certainly much more so than Americans almost uniformly like to think. (We can leave that hot potatoe alone lest Mike Godwin's law come into play.) This raises the question of means and ends again in a practical sense and not just spiritually, which is probably what Gandhi meant: Can evil truly be opposed BY evil, or does evil always prevail in that competition?

I realize that at some point all this thinking doesn't matter and that if the stakes are sufficiently high, people have to make difficult choices, but when people choose violence under circumstances where it realistically can have no chance of much success, people have just chosen madness and rage for their own sake. And then you just end up with more misery and death. Misery and death are easy, as the real sage of this site has pointed out. It's hope and life that are the tough nut to crack.

Take that for what it's worth, which may be little, because the world moves inexorably on despite all such pondering, and those who inflict misery and death do not care one whit about such opinions.

Nonetheless, peace.

Posted by: N E at January 21, 2013 08:08 AM

I'm not a pacifist, but agree with NE's comment. One thing about WWII is that people take for granted that violence "worked". In fact the USSR did the bulk of the fighting that defeated Germany, and in the process millions of innocent people were raped, murdered, or ethnically cleansed--by the Soviets. The Nazis were worse and planned to do even larger-scale killing if they'd won, but WWII is supposed to be the example of violence "working". And in the end eastern Europe was under totalitarian rule. Three cheers for war as a solution. The US and GB didn't kill as many innocents, but weren't exactly slouches either, given the bombing campaign. And as NE and others have pointed out, in some parts of the world our behavior wasn't all that different from what you'd have expected if the Nazis had won.

So it's not 100 percent clear to me that in some alternate universe where tens of millions of heroic Gandhi-style pacifists had resisted Hitler that the end results would have been worse. Maybe. I'm not a pacifist, but the case against pacifism that people make by bringing up WWII doesn't seem quite so clear to me as it does to others.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at January 21, 2013 11:52 AM

Violence? I suppose its a matter of preference of how and whom. I see NONE in the world I would care to shoot but MANY I could tolerate seeing hanged, after a fair and honest trial by JURY, of course.

WE ALL in this world have learned MUCH from The Nazis&Uncle Joe and it shows. (GITMO 4 1)(Blitzkrieg 4 another)
Commonsense sez that governments use violence because it works, and that is TRUE in a base level sense. Bombs work VERY well if the goal is to bomb someone, but are a terrible waste of BLOOD&TREASURE and can NEVER win hearts&minds.
TORTURE WORKS if one is interested in tormenting others, great for an evening's entertainment for the grand inquisitor, and a wonderful sweatout for the torturer, but can NEVER be relied on for THE TRUTH.
The success or failure of violence is GOAL ATTAINMENT. Are WE building a nation or just buying&selling bombs? Are WE seeking THE TRUTH, or cutting the son-of-a-bitch up just to hear him scream?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 21, 2013 12:59 PM

Violence is VIOLENCE and it only begets more violence.
Though the International Law allows "resistance by any means" for an occupied ( oppressed ) people, it has never worked and will never work.... it has always been counterproductive and the occupied/oppressed suffer further brutality and worse violence by the oppressor.
And the UN's initiative R2P, though has good intentions, it has NEVER worked.....and will NEVER work the way it is being used. The immediate consequences of Interventions have been, to say the least, devastating for the people they were supposed to protect and the long term after effects have been even worse.
To even think that "we have the right ( legal ) to take another person's life because of some crime committed by that person a.k.a. Capital Punishment" is in it self a violent act.
Violence in thought and action is immoral.

And Jon, if I may, I would not call them Violent "Idiots"....... in words of Um Hani, I would call them MONSTERS!

Posted by: Rupa Shah at January 21, 2013 02:24 PM

@common sense. The Vietnam war ended because the North Vietnamese Army beat your fat Yankoff arses.

Posted by: screwtheus at January 21, 2013 02:26 PM

this probably also boils down to a disdain for the rule of law

Posted by: frankenduf at January 22, 2013 09:12 AM

"We are The Jolly Green Giant, with guns."----Full Metal Jacket.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 22, 2013 12:45 PM

"this probably also boils down to a disdain for the rule of law"

On the other hand..

Only as the so called "Powerful Nations" can, they interpret the laws for their convenience and use it to inflict violence on innocent people....
i.e. "imminent danger","self defense" and "preemptive strikes".......

OR... involve UN ( which would legitimise anything) and impose sanctions and punish the innocent civilians and deprive them of food, medicines etc which could kill.... VIOLENCE by other means!!


Posted by: Rupa Shah at January 22, 2013 12:51 PM

Rupa Shah: AGREED!!! Completely, but I don't look to see things change anytime soon. I could be wrong though.
YOU do appear up for the long haul, so good luck. Starving kids seems to be one of the preferred tools of American Diplomacy.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 22, 2013 07:58 PM

I believe the war of aggression on Vietnam ended when US troops refused to fight. I think that was helped out by the non-violence resistance inside the USA.

I believe the war of aggression on Iraq ended when the Iraqi people insisted that their government NOT provide protection for the US troops who acted like MONSTERS inside their country.

In both cases, there was native violent resistance, but I don't think that helped them at all. I can understand why they would be enraged and want to strike back at the US military action like MONSTERS, but I think that just brought more death and destruction down on their heads. i think non-violent resistance would have brought about the desired results much sooner, without the heavy costs involved that came from the violence.

(Of course, US troops who act like MONSTERS only do so because the society and government that support them are REALLY MONSTERS.)

I cannot think of a single example of using violence that actually worked for something GOOD. It always seems to lead to more violence and abuse.

Posted by: Susan at January 23, 2013 10:26 AM

US gov seeking a non-violent solution in Afghanistan:

The Lure of Office Space and Other Ways to Talk to the Taliban

Read more:

Posted by: Susan at January 23, 2013 11:13 AM

(Jim)Garrow made the following Facebook post:

I have just been informed by a former senior military leader that Obama is using a new “litmus test” in determining who will stay and who must go in his military leaders. Get ready to explode folks. “The new litmus test of leadership in the military is if they will fire on US citizens or not.” Those who will not are being removed.

Sounds fishy. Does anyone know if this is true?

Posted by: Rosemary Molloy at January 24, 2013 10:50 AM

Here is a report quoting him but gives his credentials, making it sound legit....


Posted by: rupa at January 24, 2013 11:13 AM

Another bit of information when US troops are asked if they would fire on US citizens!!!
Wonder how many more situations the administration has considered and is prepared to fire those who will not agree to obey??


Posted by: rupa at January 24, 2013 11:26 AM

rupa: Its a fine old TRADITION for Americans to shoot each other. I find it hilarious that POTUS feels the question need be asked. Look at The Civil War for one. That seems bloody and brutal by anyone's standards. Go to Seattle and look crosseyed at a cop, history shows one could easily be shot OR WORSE tazed to death. Look at Kent State. Look at OWS.
What I'm trying to say, rupa, is "Yes, rest assured that when those troops are lined up and the Sarge sez shoot, they will shoot."

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 24, 2013 07:57 PM

Since 1963 the foreign policy of the US has been in the hands of the military-industrial complex. When Nixon showed the slightest independence he was removed via the testimony of every "ex" CIA agent within five miles of the White House. He was replaced by the only appointed President, Ford, who had recently sat on the Warren Commission. When Carter and Stansfield Turner tried to clean out the CIA's black ops people from Langley we got the October Surprise. Reagan, a spokesman for the CIA's Nazi importation program in the early fifties (Christopher Simpson's BLOWBACK), and Bush I, they named the building after him, ran the country the next twelve years. Clinton, who was able to ignore the sanctioned cocaine dumps in Mena as governor of Arkansas, took over and helped to NAFTAize our economy. Then Bush II.

I'd say that at this late stage in the empire that you simply can't get into the White House without being in some way a collaborator. Having said that, as long as most citizens keep assiduously ignoring that little thing that happened fifty years ago they won't be able to change the dynamics of D.C. and America.

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