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iPods at War 364

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-are-you-listening-to-soldier dept.
phaedo00 writes "Ars Technica has put together an outstanding piece of journalism about the use of personal technology in America's military and how these devices along with blatant piracy is causing new problems in the face of war: "While soldiers once deployed with little more than a backpack and a rifle, today's crop of infantry troops pack along MP3 players, digital cameras, DVD players, video games, movie collections, and computers of their own. The personal electronics have made modern American warfare the most comfortable it has ever been, but they've also brought a new set of problems onto the battlefield.""
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iPods at War

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Monday August 21, 2006 @02:30PM (#15950132) Journal
    I'm all for the criticism of the United States military. Or even the government. But it really angries up my blood when someone (who's probably never been in a war) criticizes a soldier who's trying to enjoy what may be the last months of his or her life.

    I haven't heard any anecdotal stories about "so and so would still be alive if he hadn't been listening to his iPod." Or people's personal devices interfering with a mission. I think the number one weapon against the United States military is the IED (Improvised Explosive Devices). And these things blow up without warning. If you're super alert or playing a DS Lite in your vehicle, it's not going to make a difference when one of those things go off.

    The loss of USB drives with sensitive data happens here at home, is it a surprise it happens at war?

    Furthermore, if a soldier wants to play Counter Strike during his or her off-time in his or her tent, why not? If there's a surprise attack, there's not going to be much difference whether they were playing football, reading a book or playing counter strike. Human beings are distracted naturally and this is necessary, you can't ask someone to concentrate on war 100% of the time.

    Our troops aren't just fighting for Democracy, they're also fighting for stable economies & developed infrastructures. I don't think it looks bad if they have gadgets and bells and whistles along with them while they're at war. These are some of the things they're fighting for them and their children to keep.

    I would speculate that if you took away these devices that reminded them of home and society, their performance and morale would probably drop. I believe the USO show was designed to distract soldiers from the horrors of the war they fought, let them have an iPod if it does just that even better.

    Ars Technica has put together an outstanding piece of journalism about the use of personal technology in America's military...
    "Outstanding"?! It's an interesting piece but I'd hardly call it 'outstanding' or even credible journalism. Just an interesting thing to consider.
  • Problem? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GundamFan (848341) on Monday August 21, 2006 @02:35PM (#15950175)
    I would never deny a little bit of humanizing recreation to our troops. Maybe it is being so de-humanized in a very high stress life or death situation lead to things like PTSD and prisoner abuse scandals.

    If you are willing to get shot at, I am willing to let you play playstation and listen to music on you off hours without any objection from me.
  • by mobby_6kl (668092) on Monday August 21, 2006 @02:44PM (#15950234)
    So, what is this about again? You, as a subscriber, obviously had a head start on the article, but I'm not sure you actually read it. Where does it (the article) criticize the soldiers? It does mention a few people who do mention a few downsides to the whole gadget situation, but that's about it. Otherwise it simply describes the situation in the Iraq/Afghanistan bases.
  • Re:Problem? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dr_dank (472072) on Monday August 21, 2006 @02:46PM (#15950242) Homepage Journal
    I get a little miffed at these puff pieces trying to paint the picture of our troops living in the lap of luxury in air conditioning and a barrack full of geek toys that rivals an aisle at Best Buy. Many troops out on the lines sweat their balls/ovaries off in tents in the sweltering heat, fight the fine sand that gets into their gameboys and damn near everywhere else, and face the looming threat of being splattered by a homemade bomb.

    I'm glad that our troops can be entertained in this fashion and that some can get stationed in places with all kinds of creature comforts, but trying to paint a picture (paraphrasing Dave Barry) of the place as a glorified college dormatory is disingenious at best.
  • by brokeninside (34168) on Monday August 21, 2006 @02:48PM (#15950257)
    As the length of a war increases, the length of tours of duty increase and the likelihood that the war can be won decreases. The most effective fighting force is one of fresh troops who know that they will not be staying long. These troops have relatively high moral. The longer they stay in the theatre, the more demoralized they become and the less they care about the end of the war.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21, 2006 @02:49PM (#15950264)
    The article states a few times that certain people aren't blaiming the soldiers. But if you read the article, it seems a lot of people are saying the soldiers shouldn't be enjoying themselves.
  • by ChronosWS (706209) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:00PM (#15950323)
    The real trouble here isn't figuring out how to win these wars more quickly, it's about figuring out how to avoid getting into them in the first place, especially ones where we end up occupying foreign territory. Such situations always end poorly, especially when it's not crystal clear to our soldiers who the bad guys are and why they need to die. I have nothing but sympathy for our soldiers and the horrid situation they are in, and nothing but contempt for the leadership who put them in that situation.

    Besides, I'd rather have them flying back with nightmares that haunt them for the rest of their lives. It's a reminder to them and to the rest of us who speak with them of the horrors of war, and should serve as an object lesson in why it must be avoided.
  • by iamlucky13 (795185) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:00PM (#15950324)

    Another thing about Catch 22 is that it showed how the first contention of the article, that soldiers used to go to battle with nothing more than a rifle and a backpack isn't true. Remember Orr, Yossarian's tent-mate? He was always adding stuff to the tent. Basically everytime he came into a scene, he was either being shot down or trying to get the gas stove working better. Or consider the show MASH. Hawkeye's tent was full of "luxury" items. Ok these are fictional accounts, but based on non-fiction accounts I've read, I'd be willing to bet they were pretty close the real case in terms of personal possessions...at least for units that stayed in one place for any significant amount of time.

    Here's another good paragraph

    Ana Marie Cox argued that soldiers' expectations of war are now so shaped by movies and video games that they are unable to experience a conflict in any other way. They want to see battle as pure action, devoid of context, full of simple goals and explosions, and so when they put together music videos of their time in Iraq (and most home videos do feature music), they tend to unconsciously echo the movies and games they've seen and played.

    I'm more inclined to think it goes the other way: movies and video games are unable to depict conflict any other way than by focusing on the action, only filling in the context sufficiently to give the viewer/gamer a plausible plot. Except for fans of the movie Jarhead, nobody is very much fascinated by the mundane elements of war: cleaning your rifle, trying to stay awake through guard duty, cleaning your rifle, doing PT, cleaning your rifle, cleaning the latrines, cleaning your rifle. Audiences expect 5 minutes of that, then a lot of shooting and heroism.

    Consider amatuer movies at home. For example, the obligatory end-of-the-season high school football team music video recap. It's all clips of tackles, touchdowns, passes, field goals, pranks during scrimmage, etc. Nobody's interested in the time spent running around the track, doing calistenics, sitting on the bench, and especially not sitting in class trying to maintain acedemic elegibility.

    Furthermore, we really are talking about amatuer's here, putting together simple recaps. They're not master storytellers. They don't have the time or luxury of putting together complex narratives, and since they're only sharing this with friends and family, they don't need complex expositions making it clear to the viewer that this is so-and-so's involvement in Operation Enduring Freedom.

    Yeah, let the MPAA and RIAA go after the piracy of media by soldiers afield.

    Actually, let them go after the parties offering the goods for sale. As I understand, the lawyers interest is not as much in the receivers as the providers. Please, go confront Abdul about his copying CD's to sell to the GI's. A flak jacket might be a good a better idea than a briefcase, though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:07PM (#15950367)
    I was deployed to LSA Anaconda last year. We used to have a huge "morale drive." Basically, anyone with a portable drive would hook it up to the network and upload and download songs. About the time I was getting ready to leave they took the morale drive down and reminded us that copyright infringement is illegal.
  • Re:Problem? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gibbsjoh (186795) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:11PM (#15950388)
    I get a little miffed when your soldiers invade another country. Forgive me if I don't get too upset when they get "splattered by a homemade bomb." Your troops still have it a hell of a lot better than the people who they've invaded, and who can blame the "insurgents" for turning to violence to repel the people who've taken over their country? If I recall, the Americans waged a guerilla war against the British too.

    There was a time when serving your country meant defending it against threat (ie NOT IRAQ!)... now it's just colonialism by another name. Don't want to die fighting in a shit war? Don't join up!

    (Yes, I am aware that many people in the US are given no other option economically than to enlist.. that's a failure of the system and while I won't wish the enlistees well, I will be saddened by their death.)

    Flame away, i guess.
  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:12PM (#15950392) Journal
    "Just take the above quotes and replace "Vietnam" with "Iraq" and "Charlie" with the insurgency and you have quotes that apply as much to this war as it did 'Nam"

    Hardly. And if you only care about dead soldiers and not dead anybody else, or if you only care about US killed civilians and not terrorist killed civillians or .....

    The conflict in Iraq is NOTHING like 'Nam, unless you are a peace and surrender at any cost type. You remember Chamberlain? ("I have a piece of paper")

    The people we are fighting against, the Islamofacists don't care about anything the Cindy Sheehans of the world care about. They will kill her just as soon as she is done being useful to them.

    They don't care about about political correctness or rights or anything of value to most of us. I think the war has already been lost, and making "nice" with them doesn't get anyone anywhere.
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:14PM (#15950403)

    Our troops aren't just fighting for Democracy, they're also fighting for stable economies & developed infrastructures.

    Have you picked up a newspaper lately? Half a million Iraqi citizens dead, infrastructure (that we destroyed) still massively broken despite billions upon billions of dollars being forked over to government contractors, and currently the country is essentially in the midst of civil war; you've got your warlords, and now there are Iraqi police departments turning into gangs. The country is in complete, total, utter chaos.

    The party line is "fighting for freedom", by the way.

  • by SEAL (88488) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:18PM (#15950431)
    Soldiers are going to entertain themselves one way or another. Everyone needs an escape for at least a little while when they are in such a stressful environment. Let them play their video games. If there's an attack on the base, guys who were playing some games will be much more alert than if they were smoking weed or drinking heavily.
  • by Travoltus (110240) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:19PM (#15950438) Journal
    A lot of those soldiers are under 21. I say let's give them the right to drink.
  • by woodsrunner (746751) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:20PM (#15950442) Journal
    My uncle was in the Blackwatch before Viet Nam and participated in wargames with the US soldiers. He said he wasn't suprised the US lost vietnam because it was so easy to take out yanks because you could hear em for miles with their transistor radios. They were easy to track and they never heard you coming.

    I think if there is a possibility it's going to be your last days on earth if you fsck up, well you'd better put down the toys and face it head on like a man and maybe survive. The enemy sure ain't playing games... they want to kill you just so they can get your boots instead of the crap they have on their feet.
  • by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd.yahoo@com> on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:20PM (#15950450) Homepage Journal
    GP wasn't out of line - but neither was ARS. ARS is basically reporting that "piracy" which is touted as a crime worse than murder these days by the RIAA/MPAA is actually one of the few comforts that soldiers putting their lives on the line for us (for who knows what, but still, for us) have - sometimes in their last minutes of their lives.

    ARS has always been a pretty heavy critic of the RIAA/MPAA and their anti-piracy rants (they recently ran an article about how the RIAA is moving on from online piracy to "playground piracy" - kids sharing their CDs with eachother - as the number one threat to the industry) and I believe this particular article is showing that if every copyright law paid for by the RIAA were followed, the soldiers may have a modicum less of the comforts of home to enjoy while on the front lines.

    For me, a little piracy for our men and women in uniform is just fine, and any person attempting to crack down on a soldier for playing their IPOD over the loudspeaker for the enjoyment of their fellow soldiers as an illegal peformance under US copyright law is a traitor to this country and the men and women defending it.
  • Re:Problem? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dr_dank (472072) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:22PM (#15950461) Homepage Journal
    I get a little miffed when your soldiers invade another country. Forgive me if I don't get too upset when they get "splattered by a homemade bomb." Your troops still have it a hell of a lot better than the people who they've invaded, and who can blame the "insurgents" for turning to violence to repel the people who've taken over their country? If I recall, the Americans waged a guerilla war against the British too.

    While I agree that the US invasion was sold on lies and serves the interests of the rich and powerful while making the US no more safe, the troops don't get any say in where they're sent and do. They didn't get up one day and decide to take over Iraq, "secure" the oil, and install a puppet government. Those decisions were made by people who are so far insulated from the costs and horrors of the war that they might as well be on another planet.

    If you're going to take issue with somebody, point the finger at the assholes who sent them there, not the poor schmucks who are bound to do their dirty work if they have any hope of going to college.
  • by Calso (838106) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:22PM (#15950470)
    Many of the above entries have been quick to criticize the article as negatively portraying troops as tech-addicted consumer whores or even implying that we should deprive soldiers of morale boosting comforts. The author painted these perhaps unflattering portraits of American soldiers enjoying Counterstrike and porn to illustrate that these are aspects of the American lifestyle that we aggressively defend. The amount of posters who have apparently ignored this main argument to defend the after hours activities of troops shows just how much we hold our gadgets dear to us. I love playing an online FPS, watching porn, and listening to my iPod as much as my fellow countrymen, but it seems crass to have these icons rise to the forefront of American ideals and Democracy. It creates a bit of dissonance with those commericals featuring Marines single-handedly slaying lava monsters (unless most Marines are really into WoW or something). Anyway, the author made the point that we need to re-examine our global image, especially as manifested through our fighting forces.
  • by JBHarris (890771) <bharris@nOSpAm.isf.com> on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:25PM (#15950489)
    Besides, I'd rather have them flying back with nightmares that haunt them for the rest of their lives. It's a reminder to them and to the rest of us who speak with them of the horrors of war, and should serve as an object lesson in why it must be avoided.
    This has to be one of the sickest things I've ever heard. You WANT humans to suffer just to further your anti-war agenda. Worst.Idea.Ever.
  • by aplusjimages (939458) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:32PM (#15950567) Journal
    "is a traitor to this country and the men and women defending it."

    Now you are sounding more like the music industry. That's like calling a kid who downloads pirated stuff a criminal. I agree that our troops shouldn't be cracked down for pirated content, but I hate this crap about calling people traitors. It's being misused just like the word heros.
  • by monopole (44023) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:39PM (#15950621)
    Are you out of your honking mind?

    First off, most personnel are on their 3rd to 4th tour of duty, a circumstance unprecedented in recent history. Soldiers in WWII, Vietnam, and Korea had shorter tours of duty and a defined endpoint to their enlistment. With stop loss and arbitrary callup of the IRR, soldiers are forced to stay on or get called back up long past their existing commitments. Second, wheras soldiers in Vietnam could pull R&R in Siagon without excessive fear of harm, most units are presently bottled up on base for the length of their tours, with few creature comforts. The lack of stateside R&R has led to a very high rate of divorce. No sane individual can maintain combat operations for longer than 150 days in a row without complete breakdown.

    Next off, we are currently practicing officially sanctioned torture, engaging in indisriminate retalitory air-strikes and opening fire on vehicles approaching checkpoints at the slightest percieved provocation. How do we up the ante? Public beheading? Genocide? Tactical nukes? And if so, would it work? The experience with resistance movements under the SS tends to show that even the most brutal repression in occupied territories still meets up with resistance.

    What will our standing in the world be if we renounce our humanity and engage in barbarism to achieve our goals? If we do produce soldiers capable of causal murder and brutality, who can only function in the chaos of war, what do we do with them after the war, how do we reassimilate them into the population?

    Finally, why haven't you visited your local reciuiter? I'm certian they would be overjoyed to garantee an 11 Bravo MOS so you could test these theories in the real world.

    Remember Kurtz was the villian.

  • by SEAL (88488) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:49PM (#15950728)
    Not that I usually care about how a post is moderated - hell mod me Flamebait I don't care. But if you're going to mod me redundant, try choosing a post that actually is?

    Give me a break - I read the comments and no one else mentioned soldiers abusing drugs, which was a definite problem in Vietnam. Still an issue? Sure. But it's less of one now, because the soldiers have other outlets for their stress.
  • by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd.yahoo@com> on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:51PM (#15950739) Homepage Journal
    but I hate this crap about calling people traitors. It's being misused just like the word heros.


    Really? Not to start a flame war, but there is a difference between supporting the troops and supporting the war effort. I would, IMHO if it makes you feel better, consider the RIAA a bunch traitors to this country if they tried to take away a few simple comforts of home to protect their bottom line from soldiers in the field.

    I'm not calling someone who is against the Iraq war a traitor, I'm calling someone who cares more for their wallet than the soldiers on the other side of the world fighting for their lives a traitor - and I stick by that assessment. (Although, I understand your sentiment.)
  • by Secrity (742221) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:54PM (#15950769)
    GI's had portable phonographs in World War 1 (although they weren't carried in the field).

    In World War 2, the troops had "foxhole" (crystal) radios, the detector was a razor blade and safety pin. There were many AC and DC powered radios. AFRTS started broadcasting during World War 2. There were also portable phonographs.

    I am not sure what the GI's used during the Korean Conflict because transistor radios hadn't been introduced yet; they would have had phonographs, they may have carried battery operated tube type radios.

    In Vietnam, transistor radios and tape players were carried in the field. MANY GI's came home from Vietman with high end stereos.

    During the Gulf War and Bosnia, there would have been portable radios, portable CD players and possibly still some portable cassette players.

    iPods and MP3 players were probably first used in Afghanistan.

    Now, during Iraqui Freedom and Afghanistan, the state of the technology includes iPods. Same idea, smaller devices.

  • by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:54PM (#15950771)
    Who cares if a soldier listens to an iPod? You know, my school sent a shipping container full of books of all kinds to our soldiers in Iraq. They deserve a whole lot more than that for their efforts and for risking their lives for your benefit.

    What? You're not a U.S. citizen, you say? Support our troops anyway, because their work is still saving your life, no matter what country you're from.

  • Re:Problem? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by glesga_kiss (596639) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:57PM (#15950797)
    I'm glad that our troops can be entertained in this fashion and that some can get stationed in places with all kinds of creature comforts

    What we need to be careful about however is the perception of this confort by for example the Iraqi people. That's been one of the big criticisms of the way Iraq has been handled. While the Iraqi's don't have clean water, working sewage and electricity, our troops were chilling in big palaces with all the latest toys. Many Iraqis compared them to Saddam.

    Of course, I'm not saying that they shouldn't have toys. But there is a balance to be had and I'm sure spoiling soldiers probably isn't all that operationally wise. There's good reason for the discipline in the armed forces.

    However, I honestly think everyone has missed the real problem that could arise from all of this. Should a soldier get captured, a gameboy might entertain his guards. But imagine they got a hold of a flash drive with personal information, letters home. Or even some GPS enabled phone that has been logging the platoons movements for the past three months! The army probably wants to do a risk accessment on a lot of devices, as well as issuing advice etc to the troops.

  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:59PM (#15950811) Journal
    If the solders are picking up "cheap" cd's/dvd's, what are the chances they are also picking up "cheap" software?
    For that matter, what's preventing them from picking up "cheap" prostitues and a raging case of typhoid or syphilus?

    Are command/control systems isolated enough from the solders personal electronics to prevent virus infections?
    Yes.
  • by daigu (111684) on Monday August 21, 2006 @04:28PM (#15951057) Journal

    Sun Tzu wrote military strategies for armies just prior to the consolidation of states during what is now called the Warring States period. Machiavelli wrote in the hopes of a Prince that his strategies would enable a Prince to unify Italy under a single government - despite the fact he preferred a republican form of government. Neither is particularly insightful on guerilla warfare.

    You want to know how the U.S. government approaches this kind of war? Try reading the manuals that the CIA [fas.org], Marine Corps [fas.org], U.S. Army [fas.org] and others have put together on the topic.

    While these are fairly large to summarize, let's just say that comments like these are not unusual:

    Because America retains significant advantages in fires and surveillance, a thinking enemy is unlikely to choose to fight U.S. forces in open battle. Opponents who have attempted to do so, such as in Panama in 1989 or Iraq in 1991 and 2003, have been destroyed in conflicts that have been measured in hours or days. Conversely, opponents who have offset America's fire and surveillance advantages by operating close to civilians and news media, such as Somali clans in 1993 and Iraqi insurgents in 2005, have been more successful in achieving their aims. This does not mean that counterinsurgents do not face open warfare. Insurgents resort to conventional military operations if conditions seem right, in addition to using milder means such as nonviolent political mobilization of people, legal political action, and strikes.

    My point is that this is not an issue of fresh troops and a quick in and out strategy. Winning these kinds of wars means living with people, sharing their lives and commitment. It is very much what the original poster was getting at that it requires a completely different frame of reference to "win" a conflict like this one and the military is only one part of many that needs to be brought into play - and they need to think about their jobs differently as these manuals will attest.

    While it is possible to use a strategy like the Romans did with their legions where you have quick strike capability (by building roads) that maintains a certain level of discipline throughout an empire, this was used in conjunction with other political and social strategies. Ultimately, it was Rome's dependence on the legions and the use of mercenaries that eventually was the undoing of that empire - a lesson the U.S. would do well to learn.

  • by azuretek (708981) <azuretekNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday August 21, 2006 @04:31PM (#15951081) Homepage
    I'm not sure what you're talking about, this isn't some technological "war" where both parties are on a level playing field. The enemy uses IED's and other low tech explosives and weapons to get the job done. To assume that they would go through the trouble or are even capable of checking for an "Electro Magnetic Leaks" is absurd.

    Not to mention it's near impossible to deduce which type of device is being used based on a probably non-existent electrical signal. If it were really an concern we would be using this technology to sniff out our enemies too, no? Why isn't this technology being used if it's so simple?

    Your comment is definitely not interesting, you're just one more person spreading rumors to fuel this countries fear of war and terrorism. We have the most technologically advanced army in the world and to imply we can be easily tracked and spotted when we don't want to be would mean we can be defeated.
  • by c6gunner (950153) on Monday August 21, 2006 @04:47PM (#15951184)
    (you low-balled, sir; C-5s are neither inexpensive nor cheap to operate, but I'll humor you by using your number) times how many soldiers over there?

    The $10 was based on extra fuel burned on a flight with extra space, and is probably much higher than the actual number. I'm not sure how much exactly it costs to have a C-5 that's already flying anyway carry an extra 40lbs, but it's not going to exceed $10.

    And as for number of personnel? Ok, so you spend $10 for every soldier deployed, and end up with $1.5 million on a yearly basis. Assuming equal tax rates for all US civilian (which isn't the case, but let's go with it), this means you'd be contributin a grand total of one half of one penny per year for me and every other soldier to be able to watch TV while risking our lives during the next year. I'm sorry you think a fraction of a penny is too much to ask you for. I guess it would be a WHOLE penny if you include the flight back, so that must make it even worse for you. Luckily you're just a doofus with a computer and a bad attitude, instead of someone who controls military policy.
  • by aplusjimages (939458) on Monday August 21, 2006 @04:48PM (#15951189) Journal
    No. For example when people who survive an accident are being called heroes now. They are survivors not heroes.
  • by Caldeso (912961) on Monday August 21, 2006 @04:58PM (#15951254)
    Soldiers are going to entertain themselves one way or another

    Suggested techniques for the marine to use in the avoidance of boredom and loneliness: Masturbation. Rereading of letters from unfaithful wives and girlfriends. Cleaning your rifle. Further masturbation. Rewiring Walkman. Arguing about religion and meaning of life. Discussing in detail, every woman the marine has ever fucked. Debating differences, such as Cuban vs. Mexican, Harleys vs. Hondas, left- vs. right-handed masturbation. Further cleaning of rifle. Studying of phillipino mail order bride catalogue. Further masturbation. Planning of marine's first meal on return home. Imagining what a marine's girlfriend and her man Jody are doing in the hay, or in the alley, or in a hotel bed.

  • by don_bear_wilkinson (934537) on Monday August 21, 2006 @05:02PM (#15951274)
    And I could make an argument for calling you a traitor, or perhaps more accurately as being "Unamerican", for not being a proper defendant of the true American way. Nothing is more important to this society that the promulgation of profit. Capitalism is the game. We sidestep morals, ethics and, as often as can be managed, law, to get to the black ink and beyond - every f'ing day.

    It can be said that the major REASON we are in that part of the world, putting our young men and women at risk and to death, is to protect our access to the fuels of capitalism, to evangelize capitalism, to import/export capitalism. Our flavor, which we believe we have the god-given DUTY to force on everyone else.

    No wonder we are hated and mocked.
  • by UbuntuDupe (970646) on Monday August 21, 2006 @05:38PM (#15951537) Journal
    What's with the capitalism bashing? I accept that specific corporations have something to gain from lucrative military contracts. Great. But as far as I know, "capitalism" involves buying the oil from its (willing) sellers in the Middle East. What does that have to do with war?

    And how is Middle Eastern oil a "fuel" of capitalism? "STOP, STOP, everyone, oil's gone up a few dollars a barrel, we're going to have to shut everything down and go to worker-owned production now! It is impossible for us to use nuclear, coal, or natural gas. We cannot change our current methods of production in any way whatsoever without granting full public ownership of all goods."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21, 2006 @05:51PM (#15951639)
    Yes, because it was a formalized military that flew 4 commercial airliners into the twin towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. Seriously, get a grip, dude. Horrible things happen all over the world every day in which no organized military plays a role. If we didn't have an organized military then you'd be one of the first people to be killed in the ensuing melee as Reconquistas and Islamofacists slugged it out to see who would rule America. Face it, as much as you and other self-labeled "progressives" hate the military and always have, it's only the threat of annihilation that keeps our long list of enemies at bay.
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Monday August 21, 2006 @07:19PM (#15952210)
    Regardless of what side of the coin you follow (democrat or republican, liberal or conservative), if you are not putting your life on the line don't criticize others that do.

    The problem is that public tax dollars are funding the whole mess. Just because the kids they send over there have been sold on a total lie, (being that the war has any positive moral qualities to it at all and is not largely a money scam/creepy apocalypse cult thing for Bush and friends), doesn't mean that I shouldn't speak my mind about it. In fact, I'd say that the exact opposite is true.

    Burglars, rapists and murderers also put their lives on the line in their chosen profession, but I'm certainly not going to withhold my criticism about them.

    Sorry. You may be a nice guy, and no doubt you are, but you are still carrying an automatic weapon in a land where you are not and never were wanted. There were no WMD's in Iraq, Saddam had nothing to do with 9-11, and Iraq is a lot worse off today than it was before the American invasion, and the only people benefiting are those selling weapons and oil, and they will keep the war running until the public finally threatens to hang the management. So why on earth are you playing pawn out there? If I were you, I'd get out right smart quick before I got hurt or before my brain short-circuited on too much negative stimulus.

    Best wishes and good luck to you!


    -FL

  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Monday August 21, 2006 @07:32PM (#15952285)
    Just don't expect the socialist haters in America see things any other way than "Israel is the lapdog of Imperialist America" and "Bush is Hitler!" and various other ploys taken out of the Islamic Jihad playbook.

    You mean like, "There were no WMD's"? And, "Saddam had nothing to do with 9-11"? Or how about the Downing Street Memo fave, "Blair and Bush planned to invade regardless of whether they found WMD's or not."?

    And let's not forget about, "Close friends and family of Bush and his cabal benefit directly from arms and oil sales."

    This all comes from the Western Press. So what are you talking about?


    -FL

  • by TwistedEvo (974889) on Monday August 21, 2006 @09:46PM (#15952920)
    The person that moderated the parent Flamebait must have never been in Military service, let alone in the Corps.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21, 2006 @11:26PM (#15953284)
    because their work is still saving your life, no matter what country you're from

    Is that why there have been 5,002 terrorist attacks since September 11th?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @12:28AM (#15953494)
    I'm currently stationed at one of the nicer bases in Iraq and I have to say that this article was pretty unfounded. Most of the references were ARS members and I think some of them have exagerated the circumstances of the deployment a bit (spending 7k on a network infrastructure and surfing p0rn on "Niprnet"-unsecure internet). To put the situation in perspective, most service members work at least 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. While many are not patrolling streets (I myself don't), we do spend an extraordinary amount of time engaged in work that can't be done with all the frills of electronic gadgetry. And when we do get time off, I think that you will find that many service members pursue one hobby or another. You have to remember that most service members view the military as a temporary position; a stepping stone to another life. I use my Alienware Laptop as a ASP.NET server environment, and practice my C# in my off time. I have a friend who is writing a book on his laptop. What about the 200 Marines and Soldiers I see in the Gym with their iPods getting fit? I might add that physical endurance, computer knowledge and writing skills directly translate to military occupational proficiency.

    But on top of that, nobody tells you (Americans) how to spend your time. I find most military members are a sight more industrious than the average American. Look at the amount of overweight Americans. Look at the amount of Americans that spend over 6 hours of day playing their favorite MMORPG Now think about the amount of Americans that exercised for more than 4 hours this week.

    I completely agree with FiveDollarYoBet about this issue. AAFES (the company running the PX's) have programs to suck that hard earned cash out of the hands of service members. They provide payment packages to buy Harleys, convertibles, diamond engagement rings, etc. before you even get back to the United States. The ARS complained about service members taking advantage of cheap shipping from the states, but fail to see that we have no alternative to the store trying to sell garbage to us. There was also a complaint about the copy written material being distributed by the locals aka "Haji" (which is an improper reference to an Arab. It literally means a muslim that performed the Haj, a pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the pillars of islam). The locals selling this material are truely benefiting from it, more so than the RIAA and the MPAA. But you have to ask yourself where they get the material (where the rest of the world gets theirs, P2P). I also need to mention that US Customs agents are responsible for screening these items, so they don't make it back to the states. So if you have complaints, take it up with them.

    The last thing I want to say is that I'm tired of people assuming they know what the other side of the fence is like. People not associated with the military will not understand military life. People who don't enjoy technology will not understand the "slashdot culture". We've all been affected by unfounded judgement, so why rush to place it on someone else?
  • by Achromatic1978 (916097) <.ten.eulbamorhc. .ta. .trebor.> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @01:20AM (#15953640)
    Support our troops anyway, because their work is still saving your life

    Sorry, I must have missed the bit where I owed the US military my life. Care to offer a credible example?

  • by surprise_audit (575743) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:36AM (#15953841)
    But the military wisely realises that without *someone* to fund the terrorists, they'd run out of people to fight... :)
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @04:23PM (#15958041)
    Try asking an Iraqi about that. They'd rather be able to choose to live in an "occupied" country and shoot at each other than have Saddam murder and rape them against their will.

    Oh really? And how many Iraqis have you polled recently? Heck, how many Iraqis actually have the 'choice' you speak of. In any case, the kids making road-side bombs seem to think you don't know what you're talking about.


    -FL

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