Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Two Guns

with 7 comments



Once again a number of readers have left thoughtful comments. Unfortunately due to health and time limitations, I cannot respond to them all individually at this time. Here are a few thoughts inspired by comments, I hope to expound further at a later date. Once again I appreciate all comments, pro and con. Anyone who cannot handle dissenting opinion must not be very secure in their beliefs. Still, some people, me included, sometimes have trouble separating the personal from the political. So I do understand why people might get upset, emotions can be so annoying sometimes. On the other hand, if people didn’t have emotions we would have a planet full of psychopaths, so it’s a small price to pay. And as well there are emotions so good and powerful it’s like a light shining through you. Maybe this isn’t proof of God, but to me it hints at where people may have gotten the idea that there was something going on behind the curtain.

When I talk about Saddam the Martyr, I am talking about Saddam the symbol, not Saddam the man. His crimes don’t matter if our enemies are able to use him to further their cause. It is a failure of American policy that his trial and execution are so easily turned against us. This also illustrates the growing power of the distributed media, one guy with a cell phone made America’s virtual monopoly of the mainstream media utterly meaningless. It’s an interesting feature of the age that in many real senses the increasing power of the state is balanced by the increasing distribution of power. Gunpowder ultimately doomed feudalism as a viable form of government, smokeless gunpowder similarly doomed colonialism (though it’s still in its death throes.) Will the cell phone and the PC do the same to the neocolonial era?

As far as Somalia, when the USA acts as judge, jury, and executioner…justice is not served. Especially when innocent people die in the process. The people who blew up the embassies were criminal thugs, the USA responding in kind merely lowers us to their level. A government that holds up the mantle of law and justice, while it simultaneously smites it’s enemies with no regard for the very same standards is not occupying the moral high ground. Of course all governments are guilty of this, but only the US and Israel don’t even try to be subtle about it. What ever happened to “plausible deniability?” We are so arrogant that we think we can do whatever we want the, consequences be damned. There’s a lot of Israelis and Americans in body bags because of this hubris, and I expect there will be a lot more before this is all over. The world is too big to rule by force alone, history has not been kind to people who didn’t understand this.

Ah well, America is still a great country. So in a complete change of pace I will tell the story of my connection with Kuwait, though it does illustrate some of what is great about America. In the seventies I was a US Marine stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. It was a school for antiaircraft weapons, and people from all over the world trained there. It was kind of wild driving around base, there would be soldiers and signs from dozens of different militaries. It was as close as I ever got to seeing the world while in the service, but in many senses Texas is on another planet than California so I learnt a lot.

In any event, the buzz at the time was that the guys from Kuwait were “normal” while the rest of the Arabs there were basically nuts. And there was some truth to it, in that the others pretty much only associated with their own, while the officers from Kuwait went out of their way to make American friends. So these two Kuwaiti fellows hung out with me and my buddies. I couldn’t remember their names now to save my life, I hope they are doing well wherever they are. They married nice American girls and are living in Schenectady for all I know.

Moving right along, we took them camping with us one weekend. We all jump into cars, drive off base, and stop by a buddy’s off-base home. We run into the house and grab our camping gear. On the last trip, we all come out with pistols strapped on and toss a bunch of rifles in the car trunks. The Kuwaiti guys are, shall we say, a bit surprised. They’re like, “Um, what’s with all the guns?” Who knows what they were thinking they’d gotten themselves into, but we explained that they were just for fun, and maybe shooting a few rabbits to eat or rattlesnakes that were bothering us.

They adjusted quickly, their next question was “Where did you get the guns?” Again, simple explanation, we bought them in stores. Long story short, on the way out of town we stopped at a sporting goods store. In Texas at the time the only requirement for gun purchase was that the buyer had to be able to physically push the money across the counter in the general direction of the seller. Our two Kuwaiti friends qualified handily, and minutes later their two guns went in the trunk. And yes, a number of rabbits and rattlesnakes did come to an untimely end that weekend. Some of them were even eaten, good times. And now my foreign readers know at least part of the reason why I say that America is like living in Disneyland with guns.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit, and it is central to illustrating the post.)


Written by unitedcats

January 10, 2007 at 2:06 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Doug,

    “Will the cell phone and the PC do the same to the neocolonial era?”




    January 10, 2007 at 3:21 pm

  2. Hi Doug,
    Love your new look and was interested to read about your experiences as an ex-Marine in this post. Happy New Year, btw!

    And you, Jack. I believe there was a question posed about what Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric on another post, possibly the Saddam one, by Jack. Notwithstanding that there are a lot of leaders that engage in saber-rattling, most notably and recently by Israel towards as reported by the conservative London Times (and who could forget Chavez’s sulfur smelling antics at his UN address last year), to be fair the oft-repeated” misinformation “wipe of the map” canard is a mistranslation, verified by several respected sources. The fact that it is an idiom in English, and not Persian, should also tell you something. This adds to the corporate media’s willing hysteria complying with the beating of war drums to contrive yet another war against innocents. “But why do they hate us?”

    One might also note, that while Iran may well have some way to go in terms of human rights, it has protected many of its religious minorities, including its estimated 40,000 Jews. In fact, Iran has the largest number of Jews outside of Israel in the region, where there were multifaith communities in many countries for centuries before the state of Israel, especially in the Levant. It is Israel that has acted incredibly belligerently toward Iran. Israel, the already existing nuclear power who is not even a signatory to the NPT, while Iran, who has every right to develop a nuclear capability, is.

    From the Reagan era “the evil empire” to Bush’s “axis of evil”, there is altogether too much demonization of others in the service of War Profiteering and Empire, and not enough mirrors.

    You also wondered, Jack, about how Saddam Hussein could be seen as a martyr, and as Doug and QB have already addressed this I won’t go into it except to point you to an interesting article from the BBC pointing to the sympathetic proliferation of boys being named Saddam — in an Indian village.

    Doug has already addressed the question of Israel’s belligerent policies towards the beleaguered Palestinians. Even a former MK (Member of Knesset) and Minister has now joined the ranks of those decrying Israel’s policies of apartheid, something perhaps you might recognize if you ever went to the walled in and tax credit-starved Occupied Territories (money held by Israel that belongs to Palestinians), having been in South Africa.

    Whatever your political orientation in the US, the US is regaining respect in the rest of the world when the likes of Carter have the integrity to come out with his book and weather the ridiculous attacks he has received.

    There is some poetic justice. The Palestinian Christians have banned from the Church of the Nativity Bethlehem, reputably the birthplace of Christ, the other two war criminals that escaped justice (not that Saddam received justice — US kangaroo court, not given due process, and all that). Yes, Bush and Blair are not allowed to enter the church.

    Amen to that.


    January 10, 2007 at 5:05 pm

  3. Wow, PG! I’ll be working on this one for a while. Thanks for taking the time to put it together for me.



    January 11, 2007 at 7:03 am

  4. My pleasure and please excuse the poor grammar in the rush to put in all the relevant links. I hope some of them may be of interest to you.


    January 11, 2007 at 9:39 am

  5. I appreciate your comments about the cell phone fiasco and Saddam. Something is fishy with the whole ordeal. Whether the event was staged or not, there is a new mechanism brewing in the media. Your points are well taken. Peace!


    January 11, 2007 at 11:18 am

  6. PG, I have been reading through these–not quite finished yet, but hopefully I’ll have a bit of a response by tomorrow.



    January 11, 2007 at 7:15 pm

  7. Thanks Jack, I look forward to it. I’ve no doubt we’ll likely disagree but respectful disagreement here at Doug’s place seems valued and I honor and similarly value that.



    January 11, 2007 at 7:38 pm

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