I must have hit a nerve

I’m a little surprised it’s taken the American Sheepdogs this long to find (or care about, I should say) this blog. After all, it’s been more than a month since I considered, nearly accused them of, their interfering with a WCU campus event. To be fair, as I did with the College Republicans, I owe them at least a retraction and perhaps an apology for implicating them in that situation. They certainly don’t shy away from claiming credit for their successes, and since they didn’t claim that one, I believe I guessed wrong.

But that certainly wasn’t the first time I mentioned CCVM on the blog. I’m guessing they discovered the blog because they Googled themselves, which most organizations do periodically so they can see what people are saying about them. Also, after visiting their website yesterday (just curious, y’know?), I discovered that armyanimaldoc had recommended doing to my blog what he thinks CCPM (somebody named A.E. has been all over theirs; I don’t know who he/she is) has done to them.

As a result, since about 5 pm yesterday, I’ve gotten over 200 hits! That’s nearly 20% of the total number of hits I’ve gotten since I started this thing in March. This new “popularity” fascinates me, not because I think I’m saying anything special, but because it’s an interesting example of what happens when an individual makes himself or herself visible rather than lurking among a larger crowd.

Despite the claims of CCVM that we harass them and intimidate them, at least from my point of view just the opposite is true. To be really honest, I’m not sure how we (who CCVM describes as a bunch of ex-hippies) could intimidate a group of soldiers and vets. I’ve acknowledged, here, that anybody who would go into combat is braver than I am. How could I be a threat?

The answer is that I’m not a threat, and neither, really is CCPM. We vigil in order to demonstrate our opposition to the occupation of Iraq. Most members of CCPM aren’t even pacifists, and have supported other military efforts they thought were just and right. We vigil to demonstrate our faith that democracy can produce justice.

For whatever reason, those goals come across as “treason” and “communism” to CCVM. It’s too bad they’re not in favor of democracy. It strikes me as fundamentally inconsistent that they say they fight for “freedom,” but then as soon as somebody expresses “freedom,” they flip out and accuse us of treason.

Armyanimaldoc said in one of his comments on another entry that 9/11/01 changed everything for him. I can see that, although it seems pretty clear that it didn’t change many things for most people. Even the President called for a return to normalcy less than a week later, by encouraging Americans to go on vacations and to go shopping. If armyanimal doc is one of the thousands of citizens who joined the military as a result of the attacks, I can respect that. But that was his decision, based on his analysis of the situation. That doesn’t trump anybody else’s, and doesn’t give him or anybody else the grounds from which to accuse anybody else of treason.

One last point, which I made in response to Raoul but probably should make again: you’re welcome to try to convince me and other readers that we shouldn’t pursue peace and reject the occupation of Iraq. You should realize, though, that you’re not likely to get a very sympathetic hearing if you begin by accusing us of horrible crimes. If you want people who don’t already agree with you to listen, calling us horrible names and accusing us of horrible crimes probably isn’t the place to start.

I realize, as some of you have said, that you believe you’re being attacked as well.  Armyanimaldoc says he was accused of being a baby-killer.  I didn’t see or hear it, and I don’t know anybody in CCPM who I think would say such a thing, but maybe that’s really what happened.  I’d hope you would hesitate to pin the entire ethos of an organization on the words of one person.  I know from glancing at the Sheepdogs page that one member said something nasty about somebody else and was upbraided for it.  Sometimes individuals say things they shouldn’t.

On the other hand, if your goal isn’t to convince anybody of anything but instead simply to vent your anger at us, have at it, but don’t expect anything to change as a result. Your choice.

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61 Responses to I must have hit a nerve

  1. armyanimaldoc says:

    I found your site by googling “Peace A Pizza” and “Karen Porter” simultaneously. It wasn’t that difficult, nor was it grounded in CCVM hubris. I don’t consider your blog a threat, nor even the CCPM. As I’ve stated before, I think you’re combat ineffective, meaning you haven’t affected any change in policy, the war, or public opinion one way or another, even in your local area. I think it’s been for naught. As for you personally as a threat, as an “academian” at the college, I think that’s a case in point of pseudocredibility by liberal nepotism and selective tenure. I’ve seen it at Rutgers, University of Minnesota, and NCSU. My wife experienced it at University of Baltimore, and my daughter at a first grade level in 2004 when her teacher told the class the day after the election that she “voted for John Kerry because Bush started an illegal war”. Faculty set up passive-aggressive atmospheres of hostility for anyone in support of the war through their position of power and ability to impact grades, topics and “suggested readings”, and justification through credentials which may not even transcend into politics (example: current meteorology professor at Rutgers). This self-perpetuation of one-sided thought touted as “challenging the system” when the system IS liberalism is pervasive in academia, the media, Hollywood, and yes, the State Department.

    As for the statement made to me by the CCPM member, a couple of other CCPM members even verified hearing it and informed Karen. I received no apology by the person who said it, nor by Karen as the emissary of the CCPM. To make matters worse, Rich Davis even called me once because a friend of the person who said it wanted to talk “with” me. He had no interest in doing anything other than talk “to” me about the integrity and history of his peaceful friend who intentionally attempted to inflame me to escalating actions through his words, which I did not do. Basically, he called me a liar. I hung up the phone. Amazing how people who advocate peace with the real enemy can’t even talk with, or listen to a soldier. Your trumped up and unsubstantiated lies about the behavior of CCVM shows you can’t even practice what you preach about honest open debate with the opposition (much less an enemy) and love thy neighbor.

    The two students from your group who actually listened to me…I felt like we could get somewhere. The rest of the group there…forget it. By all means, express your freedoms, including speech. However, realize that when you do, there are unintended consequences. I direct you again to the Harvard study on the emboldening concept. Increased numbers of U.S. military die whenever groups like yours, members of Congress, Hollywood useful idiots, and even members of the media speak out against the war. Here’s the link http://people.rwj.harvard.edu/~riyengar/insurgency.pdf. The ability to exercise rights doesn’t always mean you should. Restraint when the impact on operational security or the very lives of our troops is at stake is often the better part of valor. Then again, speaking with a fully informed perspective grounded in fact is even more important when vocal cords are actually in use.

    I didn’t call that treason; I called it unpatriotic. I can’t find the word treason used anywhere in your blog or elsewhere under my real name or pseudonym. Another example of current events revisionism through simple assertion and repetition on your part. As for my experiences, yes, I am more qualified to speak on the war than most if not all in your group. I’ve been there, I’ve been in the military during the current conflicts, my education and research experience is directly relevant to WMDs and the war effort, I’ve read the reports declassified by Senator Santorum in 2006 http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,200499,00.html, “Saddam’s Secrets” by Iraqi Air Force General Georges Sada, and the admissions of those in the Democratic Party like PA Congressman Kanjorski that THEY misled the American people and I’m privy to more information than you are. I know that upsets you, but you don’t just “have the right to know everything”, and for that matter, neither do I. The government isn’t ALWAYS trying to screw you; sometimes, it’s the real enemy. Sorry, but reality does trump opinion.

  2. sethkahn says:

    Doc: Interesting that you’d make reference to your real name. I can see what it is because it comes up with your e-mail address when I have to approve comments (at least I assume it’s your real name–there’s no way for me to verify that). I don’t use it on the blog itself because I respect your right to anonymity.

    I didn’t say you’d used the word “treason.” Others have.

    I’ve seen the Harvard study and find it interesting. A couple of things about it. First, while yes, it describes a *tendency*, it certainly doesn’t (and doesn’t claim to) say that any dissent, anywhere, by anybody emboldens the enemy. It says that specific kinds of discourse *might* embolden the enemy. Your own analysis, in the first paragraph of today’s comment, says that we’re utterly ineffective in every way. Therefore, by that analysis, we’re certainly not guilty of effecting combat or intelligence operations thousands of miles away. Second, we occasionally (not as often as CCVM, I’m sure) get word from soldiers that they appreciate what we’re doing. You might write them off as unpatriotic too, but we don’t think so. We see them as soldiers who think differently from you, and as long as they’re expressing their gratitude for our work, we do it for them as much as anybody else.

    Let me tell you this story. About a year into our vigils, when they were still relatively small and when opinion was more against us, a car stopped at the stop light. A guy leaned out his window and yelled, “When you know somebody who’s died in combat in Iraq, you’ll change your story!” As it turns out, less than a week before, I’d received word that three people I knew had died in combat in Iraq. So (I admit I flipped out), I yelled back at him, “Listen to me, [expletive deleted]! I’ve lost people there, and the reason I’m out here is to make sure nobody else has to deal with that loss and pain. Don’t you dare assume you know why I’m out here.” And that’s been true ever since. I feel the pain of loss, and work to end the occupation because nobody else should have to feel it.

    I won’t do the “liberal academic” debate again here. If you want to see what I’d say (because I already have), go back to the April posts and look at one called “Politics in the Classroom.” There’s some relevant stuff a couple of posts before that, too.

    For what it’s worth, I’m perfectly willing to admit that you know things I don’t. You seem insistent on concluding from that, however, that I don’t know anything, which is false. I’d follow news from national (liberal and conservative) and international sources; I read scholarly research and analysis on foreign policy and economics and military history. You’ve played the PhD card, so I will too. You make all kinds of assumptions about my political and ideological commitments, but you’ve never actually asked what I thought about anything, instead choosing to assert my beliefs so you can attack them. Logicians call that the “strawman argument.” Yes, I know, liberals do it too.

    As for the baby-killer instance: I’m sorry that happened, again for what it’s worth to you. Like I said, I wasn’t there and didn’t hear it. We peaceniks sometimes lose our tempers too, and say things we shouldn’t. We’re human. Yes, really, we are, even if CCVM chooses to see us as “sheep.”

  3. armyanimaldoc says:

    First off, here’s your quote:

    “If armyanimal doc is one of the thousands of citizens who joined the military as a result of the attacks, I can respect that. But that was his decision, based on his analysis of the situation. That doesn’t trump anybody else’s, and doesn’t give him or anybody else the grounds from which to accuse anybody else of treason.”

    Me or anybody else the grounds from which to accuse. Don’t tap dance around this. Any reasonably prudent person would take that to mean you said I accused you treason.

    I referenced that I had a real name, I didn’t disclose it, nor did I accuse you of outing me. Next.

    What soldiers have written saying they appreciate you? Give numbers and get a comparison to those who don’t appreciate you. Some may be misguided and given the same misinformation you spout, others may have the same agenda John Kerry had in Vietnam. Most don’t.

    I said you were not able to affect any change in policy, the war, or your local situation. However, I’ll concede that you are a small piece of the larger negative output that fuels the insurgencies will to hold on that much longer. Read the whole paper, including the scientific method.

    I’m not playing the PhD card in the sense that I have one, but that it’s in an area relevant to my perspective on the war and grounded in fact. PhDs in meteorology, for example (the example I gave earlier), are not. I only make assumptions based on what I’ve seen you write and in the context of the threads of read and responded to. That’s not strawman, unless you have vastly different/contradictory viewpoints in other articles.

    The term sheepdogs does not infer that the CCPM are sheep. “Sheeple” is a Michael Savage term to denote blind following of the masses. Sheepdogs in this case likely means that they are protecting the sheep, so in this analogy, the enemies (which some CCVM members might argue would include CCPM as the enemy within) would be wolves and not sheep.

    My point in this response is this – you are conjuring up loopholes in my argument that don’t exist, ones that I can close just as rapidly. You’re throwing up smokescreens when you really know what I’m talking about.

    Apology accepted graciously, as they always should be, although it shouldn’t have had to come from you.

  4. Stephanie says:

    Armyanimaldoc comes across as very angry. I wonder where this anger comes from. I don’t think it likely that CCPM engenders this much rage from someone who doesn’t know any of the members personally. It seems to me that perhaps his anger is more a result of deep sorrow, frustration, or depression. Since he doesn’t know you, Seth, I would write it off as nothing but transference.

  5. armyanimaldoc says:

    Anger is a normal emotion when it is prompted by the appropriate stimulus. Your side rationalizes it when someone attacks Skye with a camera. “He was egged-on” or “baited” into slapping the camera out of her face, CCPM said. Stephanie, when I volunteered to leave my 3 children to go to Iraq, saw the successes of the surge and was in some small personal level a part of that success, it angered me to be called a “baby killer” by someone in your group. I don’t need nor care to know anything else about that person who said that to me. It means nothing. Regardless, I didn’t act on my anger. That’s plain and simple the rationale behind it. I went to the rally because I was asked to sing the American and Israeli National Anthems and some other patriotic songs and I was attacked for it in front of my 7-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son. There is no sorry, frustration, depression, or transferenece. Dr. Freud you are not. Even Seth empathized with the personal attack and apologized for it, even though the attack did not come from him and I believe him when he says he does not condone that behavior. I find nothing in your claims about my persona that are anything but conjecture and speculation…nothing substantiated. I’m not even angry with YOU personally at this point because your dimwitted analysis reveals your agenda. If those were my traits and my state of mind, do you even care why a soldier might feel that way? Thanks for your feigned concern, but with my two doctorates, commission as a major in the Army and my service, my wife and 3 kids, and my talents as a pianist and vocalist, I’m more than happy with my life, past, present, and future. Rather, I think that you are transfering your feelings of inadequacy and lack of ability to make a difference. I know you wouldn’t have the courage to say a word of what you just said on here to me in person. That’s how sorrowful, frustrated, and depressed cowards are. Game, set, match. Bye.

  6. armyanimaldoc says:

    P.S. I come across to you as “very angry” because that is how you wish me to be and/or come across. In the Merry Old Land of Oz…

  7. John Grant says:

    You may have two PhDs, a commission as a major, play the piano and have two lovely kids, but you are a blockhead when it comes to listening to anything that is not in your glorious sphere. I would like to respect you for your accomplishments in life, which are quite impressive, but I find it hard to do so when you are such a blockhead in respect to recognizing others. I’m talking the basic sandbox level of respect.

    I was the guy who spoke with you on the phone. It wasn’t Rich; it was Tania/Skye who caught me in the Iron Hill brewery and said YOU wanted to talk with ME, since I had told her I found it impossible to believe Bob called you a “baby killer.” I still do. And, as you know, the only recorded example of anyone calling anyone a “baby killer” on Saturday in West Chester is Kat and Raoul Deming, both on video tape calling bronze-star recipient Vietnam vet John Beitzel a “baby killer” for his testimony in Winter Soldier. With a big grin, Skye handed me the cell phone and, after I said maybe three words, you went into a tirade that I could not hear at all — until I totally lost the thread of what you were saying. When I told you this, you called me an “asshole” and hung up. OK. I realize when I have been snookered. I have never given Skye the time of day since that moment.

    I and others would be glad to meet and debate you anytime. You think you have all the answers. Well, sir, you don’t. I know a number of Iraq vets who praise what we do to end the war. The upcoming election looks promising to get better leadership in Washington to begin to end the war. I feel good about this possibility for change. It is why I love this country. This is why I risked my life in Viet Nam. This is why I attend every Saturday in West Chester. Please know, I am not a “communist,’ which is the silliest, most historically ignorant reference I can image. I’m not an Islamofascist either. I’m a goddamn American. If you must “hate” me as you suggested you do all of us — so be it. But, please, cut out all the superior uber-citizen crap.
    John Grant

  8. sethkahn says:

    John, I appreciate the point but watch the language. My family reads this :).

  9. armyanimaldoc says:

    Corrections: I don’t have two Ph.D.’s; I have two doctorates, one being a D.V.M. Second correction, I have three kids, not two; two of them were there that day.

    It was Rich who called me on his phone and put YOU on the phone because he said you wanted to talk with me. You only talked at me. I’m a blockhead how? You’ve stated no valid claims to that argument, and I used to be on your side of the fence, so I’ve heard plenty of that “blockhead” propaganda. You’re a fat liar, because I was with family the day Rich called me, and I said to him when I called him back later, “You called me to have me listen to that piece of garbage?” I was pissed that he wasted my time, and if it wasn’t the weekend, my cell phone minutes. They put you on the phone because they said you wanted to talk to me, but YOU instantly went into a tirade calling me a liar because it was your friend. I never stated that Skye got your jack-a** buddy on there calling me a baby killer. She could only get the tape going after he said it and I was responding. I was telling the truth and reacting truthfully nonetheless. You are exactly what I called you and more.

    I never stated that I was superior. In fact, you attest to a lot of b.s. on here that you say I wrote that nobody could cite by scrolling up on here. You even infer improperly. I served with thousands of those troops over there, and there were a FEW who disagreed with a point or two, and fewer who disagreed with the whole thing. Most of them got out or are going to. But the overwhelming majority, the 87%+ military who voted for Bush in the last election as a referendum on their thoughts on the war, agree with what we’re doing and have witnessed it. They, and I, are more qualified in our experiences and our knowledge of the current war to judge it than you from afar, and as the study from Harvard has shown what we already believe but they even attempted unsuccessfully to disprove, you do provide aid and comfort to the enemy and “embolden” them. Prior to this, I never said my perspective was “superior” in that word or paraphrased, but I’m certainly not going to be “TOLD how it is” by someone like you who DEFINITELY thinks your viewpoint is superior with NO rationale for why that would be so.

    I would thank you for your service, but you trashed the service of your fellow brothers and sisters in arms, when you got back from Vietnam, and now the next greatest generation. What you can’t stand is when the majority of Warfighters tell you that you’re full of crap and don’t feel supported by you. You can’t take that the largest and likely only consequence of your actions is that the troops despise you overall. Keep it up. You likely “risked your life in Vietnam” because you were drafted, NOT because you signed up directly because of the conflict itself and then volunteered to go. If you did, I sincerely apologize, but odds are in my favor that you went because you had to. Not that that is any less noble service, but like Kerry, you didn’t jump up and down and say, “Send me, send me!” I did, and I just did it again.

    You let me get NOTHING out on that phone “conversation”, which is why I hung up on YOU. You are full of lies, but be that as it may, I have nothing to prove to you. Your self-loathing, AND your flat-out 180o reversal on the facts, is between you and G-d…you know, the one you malign every Saturday on that corner.

    I would love to debate stuff with you and the folks in your group. Two students even spoke with me, at length and respectfully, that very day in West Chester. I offered to do so for Karen as well; to speak of my deployment and incorporate photos from the tour. However, if your intentional distortion of the facts of your phone monologue is any indication of another bait-and-switch in person, I’m not going to waste my time away from family and gas money to drive from Baltimore to waste my time. The choice is yours, but don’t b.s. us on here about my good faith attempts that day to actual think I could communicate with you. P-lease habibi.

  10. armyanimaldoc says:

    P.S. Seth, I would hope that you would concede that John’s embellished “interpretation” of his interaction with me is not consistent with my tone and posture on here. I have thanked you not only for posting my replies on here, but also for your apology for something John’s antagonistic friend said to me that you didn’t have to. I believe you did so because you were not proud that someone in CCPM said that, even if you never would, because it was wrong. It also should have been obvious that my empassioned response to the “baby killer” comment was sincere and didn’t occur in a vacuum. Other CCPM members even heard him say it and apologized at the time. I have also not personally attacked anyone on here, much less lied about events, especially concerning my deployment when there have been those on here who have even said things to doubt those experiences.

    And what was John attempting to accomplish by this? Well, I call his bluff because my demeanor in person discussing the Iraq War have not (on Skye’s video) nor would not (in an open discussion or talk about my deployment) play out the way he stated…unless of course someone flat out calls me a liar the way John did. His friend knew exactly what he was trying to do to me when he said that in front of my children. Many of equal character would have been justified in punching his teeth out and successfully blaming it on PTSD. Aw, and he couldn’t handle it that I called him an a-hole on the phone when he asked to talk to me and listened to nothing while calling me a liar. Sticks and stones, Johnny, sticks and stones. I was called worse that day, and my ego is intact, especially when I remember the source.

  11. sethkahn says:

    I’m not much interested in playing he-said-he-said, especially about stuff I didn’t see or hear. What I can say is this. I don’t know John well, but I’ve never had any reason to think he was lying to me about anything. Doc, I wouldn’t know you if you walked by me on the street, but nothing you’ve said here smacked particularly of lying. Maybe your demeanor in that situation wouldn’t resonate with your demeanor here, but that doesn’t mean anything. One of the reasons I started the blog is so that I can be more considered and careful about what I say–no reason you couldn’t do the same.

    What I expect has happened in this situation, and in plenty of other threads of discussion on this blog and other places, is that people have seen what they expected to see, heard what they expected to hear, and then blamed people for doing whatever we expect them to have done. The reason this conversation (the larger conversation between CCPM and CCVM) isn’t really getting anywhere is the utter absence of trust on both sides. CCVM believes we’re unpatriotic, traitors, quislings, horrible, violent fascist communist…. not the kind of people you trust to have your best interests in mind. CCPM, generally (I can’t speak for everybody here) believes that CCVM is more about silencing dissent and democracy than “supporting troops” or any of the rest of it. We don’t trust you, you don’t trust us, and here we are.

    All that’s to say I don’t expect ever to really know the truth about “what happened.” I’m not sure either of you, or anybody else, “knows” either. Neither does Skye, no matter how much videotape there is, or photos. Nobody ever misses anything from behind a camera, right? Yes, it’s useful to document things, but those documents don’t “prove” much. They wind up being more provocative (which, you have to admit, has been CCVM strategy all along) than anything else.

    I’d certainly like to see the debate everybody keeps offering to arrange. But not if it’s going to be more of the same stuff everybody’s already said to each other a hundred times before. What’s the point?

  12. John Grant says:

    Doc, you must have forgotten our little phone chat, since I definitely spoke with you on Skye’s cellphone call on a Saturday about 12:45 PM. You must be thinking of someone else and yet another phone conversation. I don’t live in West Chester and Saturday mid-day is the only time I’m there. But, let’s not get hung up on a mis-fired phone conversation.

    Sounds like you have a fine family and are a very smart, hard-working guy — PhD, doctorates or whatever. OK. You don’t owe me an apology, but I joined the Army and actually volunteered to go to Viet Nam — as did my brother, who I ran across at two fire bases west of Pleiku twice. I came from a quite militarist family; my dad was a PT boat captain in the South Pacific. What happened was I was very young in Viet Nam, and I came home and a read a lot. So I don’t want people to thank me for my service; I want them to thank me for what I learned from my service. What I learned was that the war in Viet Nam was not necessary, that it never should have been undertaken — that we went wrong back in 1945 when President Truman blew off Ho Chi Minh’s request (he was our friend and ally during WWII) that we recognize the Viet Minh’s “Declaration Of Independence” from colonial France. Truman said no; we’re going with the French desire to re-colonize Viet Nam — after the French had capitulated to the Japanese during WWII in Viet Nam. And the rest was a tragic, disastrous history.

    That’s when the scales fell from my eyes. After that, I spent many years as a documentary photographer making trips to Nicaragua and El Salvador, witnessing the bloody US proxy wars there. I saw two worlds: One, the self-serving propaganda world of US Militarism and Empire, and two, the real story as to what happens on the ground to the so-called “enemy,” who are more often than not, just simple folk trying to improve their lives under the yoke of some pretty awful and cruel masters — political forces we tend to associate with and support, since they are middle and upper-middle class folk like we are. For what it’s worth, I’ve traveled in Iraq twice during the war — in 2003 and 2004 — the first with a “peace” group of veterans and the second as a cameraman on a documentary film project.

    Enough of that. You get the picture. Seth is right when he says, “We don’t trust you, you don’t trust us, and here we are.” You willfully see us as cartoons of your own creation, and then you attack us as those figments you have created. I have been called so many stupid and meaningless names by your friends and allies it is nothing but comical. We try to avoid that stuff, but it’s hard, and sometimes I have failed and let fly some choice words myself. The fact is I think the war is a incredible disaster that will take real diplomatic geniuses to fix. Extending the occupation will only prolong the inevitable. I can’t wait for the current resident in the White House to be relegated to history, so responsible people can at least begin to discuss this stuff.

  13. armyanimaldoc says:

    I never said it wasn’t a Saturday. That was about the time because Rich was at the Brewery right after the rally. I had no idea who else was there or not there with him. Why are you making issues out of thin air and distorting the ones that exist? Rich called because he said you wanted to clear the matter up with me and put you on the phone. You let me get nothing out, and eventually, I called you what I did and hung up because you were interested in hearing nothing – only interested in telling me about your friend’s character.

    This is the Global War on Terror…not Vietnam. You haven’t been there and you don’t surround yourself with all the information, much less that from most of the troops who have been there. You’ll just have to wait for the next president because there was and is nothing you can do about it. It makes me smile. Loser.

  14. armyanimaldoc says:

    Here’s what I posted in the more recent thread, in case you don’t happen to cross reference it:

    “Actually, I’ve offered before, and again on the threat to meet with your group and discuss the “specifics” of the deployment and share photos of the experiences, as well as military experience and knowledge concerning WMDs in my regular jobs (OPSEC permitting). If the offer is declined, it can’t be a matter of irreconcilable differences because the offer has been made. I also used to think the way many of you do, although not to the same extent. Now, if John and others were willing to listen for a change, instead of attempted to convert, viewpoints still might not be changed, but potentially at least tempered. I know through my own experiences that that is possible…that when new verified information is brought to light that it can (and should) be integrated into the whole of someone’s thoughts and opinions. Offer stands. I doubt it is reciprocated (sincerely or otherwise) by John.

    Context for understanding is fine, but not everything is a Vietnam allegory, just as it’s not a one-for-one-parellel with WWII either. There are things to be learned from all past conflicts and there are novelties to the recent as well that have never been seen before. One thing I can definitely concede to in the context of Vietnam is the perceived undermining of the war effort.”

    I concur with some of your recounting of the history of Vietnam, especially predating our involvement. Again, this is not Vietnam, and your travels to Iraq were LONG before the surge, which is a completely different animal altogether. Even for soldiers who were there before 2006, their information is outdated, as mine may be in the near future. You never know, but the surge has worked wonders you have not seen, nor likely care to see even if your eyelids were pried open. Your earlier trips to Iraq where not sanctioned, and from the videos, you put yourself and the troops there in danger. You wanted them to either support you (in extremely rare cases) or else get them on camera being abusive to you for 1) approaching them in a war zone where they’re not expecting you and/or 2) vastly contradicting their own philosophies on their presence there. “I’m John Grant with Veterans for Peace and I’m here to take you home”??? That’s great, lol. Yes, let me go AWOL with you John, good idea. That aside, you were not there as a soldier but an agenda driven rabble-rouser. Absolutely NOTHING you could have seen there, to include overwhelming gratitude from Kurdish and Marsh Arab populations no longer under the threat of Saddam’s tyrrany and genocide, would have factored in to your predestined experience.

    Suggest a date and time and discuss it with Rich +/-, that’s up to you. Realize I live near Baltimore and work many weekend days in private practice. Weeknights or a Sunday in July would work best.

  15. John Grant says:

    Doc, history will tell who the “loser” is in this argument. I grant you we don’t have the power of the White House right now. Hopefully things will change. In the meantime, your side has it all. But you also have lots of eyes on you, and the laws of the land still mean something — I think.

    You have no clue what I did or didn’t do in Iraq — so don’t be so sure of yourself. I’m used to being told I know less because I traveled somewhere than if I’d stayed home on the couch and watched Fox News and agreed with people like you. I’ve got a pretty thick skin for that nonsense. I know who I am and am not pretty well. And, doc, it was not ME fretting over the phone call. I was only informing you that from my vantage point you had it wrong. Again, Skye (not Rich) told me YOU wanted to talk with ME. The confusion probably says a whole lot about Rich and Skye.

    Here’s something you need to think about. Being in the armed forces in a place like Iraq doesn’t give you or anyone else an exclusive right to speak about, or understand, the war, especially as far as it involves American citizens at home who pay the freight for such wars in tough economic times. You would certainly agree on that point with my IVAW friends who testified at Winter Soldiers; they have zero credibility for you. Paying attention, listening and reading can do a lot to inform anyone, and I read about the war every day of the year. In fact, being locked down in a secure location in a war zone like Iraq can often limit one’s scope of understanding significantly as to the big picture. I had not a clue what Viet Nam was all about until I got home and read books on the topic. Then it made sense — and not in the way I was essentially brainwashed into seeing it while there worried about enemy mortar attacks and convoy ambushes.

    Don’t get me wrong, I respect your time spent in Iraq. I just don’t think when it comes to grasping the meaning of the war it gives you — or even General Petraeus for that matter — anything more than a point of view that serves a particular interest. You talk about ME being agenda-driven. I would suggest you have quite an agenda that seems to revolve around Israel and the notion the occupation of Iraq is a positive reality; there’s also the identity you have in seeing yourself as a “warfighter,” one of the new centurians saving us all from a fate worse than death — “American sheepdogs” or whatever you want to call it. That is also an agenda, an investment in self-identity I dare say you and your friends have put a lot into and would fight hard to give up. But that’s a personal matter, something from the inside out — while the issue of the war is global and historic.

    So what is a “warfighter?” Were you a Seal or something? Blackened face, knife in the teeth? Being a “warfighter” makes you understand things better than other people? Or does it make you more inclined, willing and able to reduce and de-humanize people who disagree with you? More willing to drop bombs on people? The difference between us may be that when I see a problem I think diplomacy, while you may think violence. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a pacifist and I own a couple guns, which I practice with now and then. I really am curious about this stuff. What does it mean to be a “warfighter?” One thing that really interests me these days is soon we’ll be using more and more armed drones and armed robot vehicles. We’re already using them in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, where we just killed 11 Pakistani special forces soldiers with 500 pound bombs from a B1 bomber. What kind of “warfighting” is dropping bombs from that height or using drones? Armed robots versus suicide bombers? A helluva future. Just stay on the couch and everything will be fine.

  16. armyanimaldoc says:

    I do have “some clue” of what you did in Iraq, not “no clue”. Second, I never stated, nor do I attest or infer, that have exclusive rights to facts on Iraq. However, you listen and integrate none of those and THAT is my point. Also, that you and most, if not all in your group, are NOT coming from positions of being in the know above and beyond my multi-faceted involvement and experience, and again, you still don’t ever use your ears and the vestibulocochlear nuclei in your brain that should actual integrate that stuff into the hard drive.

    No, one war does not set the precedent for all others to follow in historical basis, the way it is waged, the goals and nature of the enemy, or the outcome. The “Warfighter” term is obviously not one you are familiar with and makes no reference to what somebody does within the military. It’s a documented term, albeit one not used during “your time” – and this ain’t your time anymore, get over it. To that end, you still have yet to address any actual points I asserted in previous posts. You still throw up smokescreens about terms like “Warfighter” and make claims about what I think about the status of my opinion based on pertinent experience in fact. You’ve yet to hear it, and for that matter, don’t even acknowledge that I once again, unilaterally, made the offer to meet. Nobody has acknowledge that yet, but you have no interest in it because you are “set in your ways” and no evidence could EVER pull your blinders off. In that sense, you truly are a crotchety old man. Good advice you gave unintentionally – just stay on your couch and you will get just as much accomplished as your are now. 🙂

  17. armyanimaldoc says:

    P.S. The enemy wages asymmetrical warfare, something you should be familiar with considering your past with the NVA and VC. We have just as right to have targeted attacks, even from the upper atmosphere. We’re under no obligation to “level the playing field” of technology and training to those Pan troglodytes just to be “fair”. War is about winning it, something your crew doesn’t get. It’s not a soccer match, although you should have SEEN the fanfare and morale boost when Iraq won the Asia Cup while I was there last year – and without Saddam torturing them to do it.

  18. armyanimaldoc says:

    Oh, and you’re a liar about the phone call…

  19. John Grant says:

    Doc, again, you’re a blockhead. How am I lying about this stupid phone call? I recall it and the circumstances on my end very well. This underlines my point: You are a blockhead when it comes to giving anyone you disagree with credence. You think what goes on in your brilliant mind is all there is, that there’s nothing more to say except that the person with another view is a jerk. You use words like “vestibulocochlear nuclei” as if that means anything except that you are an over-educated blockhead. I’m talking history and common sense — not medical school smoke-blowing. Why not quit the ad-hominem nonsense and deal with the ideas. Let me tell you, one thing about being a “crotchety old man” is that I know what it was like being an arrogant young men like you. You won’t know what it’s like to be 61-years-old until it suddenly creeps up on you one day — then you’ll understand how arrogant you really are/were now.

    So you want to meet? I’m not against it; I just wonder, given these exchanges, what would be the point? Are you going to change my mind, and am I going to change your’s? I don’t think so. And I really don’t want to sit down for a beer and listen to you arrogantly call me names; I’m not into that. I am always available for a respectful, possibly heated, exchange of ideas. Would you be up for a public debate on neutral ground about the war/occupation somewhere in the West Chester area? John Beitzel and I have tossed that idea around. I could see if there’s any more interest in that area.

  20. sethkahn says:

    OK, this is going nowhere fast. See today’s new post…

  21. John Grant says:

    OK, Seth; it’s your blog.

  22. armyanimaldoc says:

    Seth, unfortunately, you’re copping out. I’ve made an offer in good faith, which you decline. I don’t hate all of you. I hate the person who said that to me, and possibly some others of you, but I wouldn’t make an offer to meet and discuss if I hated people.

    Arrogant how, John? You never substantiate – just throw stuff out there like crap on a wall and hope it sticks. You guys may read and hear certain media source. I certainly have plenty of info that is not classified, or even declassified, that can be shared. For example, and just one example – the documents Senator Santorum declassified. Many folks in the general public say, “How come I never heard about it?” Uh, because you didn’t watch Fox News ALSO or listen to talk radio ALSO.

    Public debate, or privately is fine. I didn’t iniate any name calling (i.e. blockhead). As for terms you don’t understand, and not just in the medical realm, there will be many for you, John, as there have been for me throughout my lifetime. Look them up. Example, when I used the term Pan troglodytes, a simple google would let you know that “troglodyte” is derived from the scientific (Linnaean) name for chimpanzee. It’s a form of wit. The nucleus I mentioned is part of your brain that processes sound and balance. Now, I could have just said that, but then where would the wit and fun be in that? I realize that your drive at 61 to learn new things may be diminished compared to an arrogant blockhead like me, but there it is…laziness and/or jealousy. I could have also stated that you need an optirectomy, which is completely fabricated procedure. That’s where they remove the nerve connecting your eyeball to your behind so you don’t have such a crappy outlook on life. Is “over-educated” someone who has more of an education than you, which would be an “appropriate level” of education? Sorry, but I’ve used my “overeducation” to save thousands of animals, including many marine mammals (although I wouldn’t save a beached Michael Moore, sorry), and people as well, in defense of the nation from chem and bio agents, and paying it forward as a mentor to others in those sciences. I can talk at anyone’s level to not sound condescending unless it’s to get a point across or to be humorous. I don’t dummy myself down in a battle of wits, just like I wouldn’t dummy down our military to level the playing field for a fair fight. That knowledge and experience helps back a point of view, not by credentials alone, but by how they’ve been used and for the benefit of others.

    Back to you Seth. “Going nowhere fast.” I can’t believe that fellow Americans desire to meet and find common ground with a genocidal, homophobic, sexist, thug like Ahmadinejad and think you can’t get somewhere but you can’t try to find common ground with those fellow Americans. When I meet Veterans from any war, I sit down and MOSTLY just listen to them and try to process and integrate that into my perceptions. I talk less, except on occasion to relate or show that I’m paying attention and am interested, but it’s not about me. To that end, it might be high time for you to listen to the wealth of current military in their thoughts about the war. No, they’re not all the same, but most of their viewpoints ARE far removed from yours, and you have no interest in hearing their collective and overall more informed background on it. John has displayed a willingness to meet and talk, and yet Seth, you downplay it now? It would seem that as a peace movement that a civil DIAlogue would be in keeping with at least the STATED goals of your movement.

    As for my “arrogance”, I look back on my liberal, pre-9-11, pre-military, pre-parental-status teens and twenties as my selfish arrogant time. I hope my 30s will be more of a window into my 60s perceptions. Feel free to set something up through Rich; he will be amenable to it provided it’s not an ambush. I think we can ALL sense those.

  23. John Grant says:

    Scott, I’m not going to put my wit on display and run you down to explain why I think you are “arrogant.” Let me just say, it feels to me like you are not open and are quite closed-minded to any view other than your post-911 militarist view vis-a-vis the world and those in it who might not like us or might have a beef (legitimate or otherwise) against us.

    September 11th was for someone like you sorta what the killing of Kennedy was for my generation, in my case a real marker in time, a real wake-up call that there was a mysterious dark side to America. For you, 911 seems to have focused your mind on a militarist path aimed at “them” — those evil forces “out there” trying to kill us and “destroy our way of life.” For me, the revealed horror was something internal to be wary of and to gird myself against; my readings in history and my experiences ever since have only reinforced that mistrust. For you, on the other hand, the revealed horror came from outside our secure, bountiful and morally decent world. “They” were out to get us. The fact that, as I see it from my vantage point, the people who flew planes into our buildings had some quite legitimate beefs against us — like the fact we dominate Saudi Arabia to suck oil out of the ground; the fact that we support Israel 100% vis-a-vis the Palestinian refugee nation created in 1948 and encircled with greater and greater Iron Wall oppressions. I could go on. I know these things, especially the mention of Israel in this fashion, makes you crazy; but that is kinda my point. Because they involve indictments of US policies and/or actions, I see the antecedents to the events you see only as horrors and affronts to our goodness — a state of mind that makes you want to tear off and destroy the “terrorists” who, I feel, you have decided to de-humanize and demonize before you even have a clue who they really are. From my vantage point, they want to kill us because they have a beef against us for mucking in their world. I grant you, if that’s the case, we may have to kill them to defend ourselves. But I’m not going to delude myself they woke up one morning and decided to come over here and destroy our buildings.

    Your arrogance, to me, is rooted in this.

    The first thing I thought about as I saw the towers fall in New York was, What goes ’round, comes ’round. I figured what I knew in my bones to be the case would be allowed as part of the national conversation about this incredible and horrific event. But, no, that strain was immediately and harshly put down; you could not say things like I felt and knew in my bones were the case because to do so you would be trashed from all directions. Fear ruled. People self-censored and an entire response option was closed down. Susan Sontag put it well; after suffering this herself, she said, “By all means let’s mourn together, but let’s not be stupid together.” She meant let’s defend ourselves, for sure, but let’s also open our minds and try to figure out what just happened and why it happened. It’s still being smacked down — I dare say by people like you that don’t/can’t/won’t see the antecedents to the horror that fuels your hatred and your desire to be a warfighter. The whole notion of Islamofascism is nothing more than a cheap new Cold War-level fabrication that reduces and tramples on real human complexity and real human history in the service of the militarist purposes of very powerful people in the American political and financial system.

    So we come full circle, since I’m talking about elements that represent the dark side of America that I first discovered in 1962 when Kennedy was shot. Vice President Cheney even said it early in the Bush regime: “We need to go to the dark side.”

    I feel you are arrogant because you won’t see the grays in the world and you choose not to see much of the human suffering in the world because it might mitigate against, and maybe soil up, your brilliance. I don’t think, you’re a “bad” man. I just think you are young and that you’ve encountered your own power as it is used by, and fueled from, the insidiously manufactured War On Terror Without End. Why would anyone want to give any of that power up? This nightmare narrative we are living has made you feel very powerful. And within its cruel confines, you are powerful — and God help anyone in your path.

    All that adds up to sorta what I meant.

  24. armyanimaldoc says:

    Uh, I’m the one offering to meet to discuss it and was not the one who called someone a baby killer (your buddy) without knowing anything or discussing the person’s history. You don’t put your wit on display? No, I think you’ve tried, it’s just inferior. No worries.

    The folks who “came over here to kill us” are of the same mentality as the Barbary Coast Pirates if you go back far enough. Subsequently, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem allied himself with Hitler to hand over the Jews and fight the Allies. In more recent and personal memory, the Iranian hostage crisis, the Marine Corps Barracks in Beirut, the 1993 WTC attack (Ramzi Yousef – Iraqi Operative, al Qaeda member, nephew of Khalid Sheik Mohammed), Kenya and Tanzania Embassies, the Cole. You don’t even simply read the CHARTERS of al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. to know their STATED intentions and goals, all of which they have and will act upon. The real concept you fail to grasp is that it’s the moral depravity of the “anything goes, nothing is black and white” crowd that they despise most. Yours would be the first head on the chopping block (like Nicholas Berg who attempted to “understaaaaand” them), although for now, they will use you as much as possible to further their goals. They’re wise and I don’t underestimate them – you play right into their hands. Ex. Ahmadinejad is laughing it up over the Supreme Court decision to grant CONSTITUTIONAL rights to detainees in GITMO. If you’ve ever READ the Geneva Conventions, which we go above and beyond in adhering to, we COULD by all rights summarily execute unlawful combatants. They want us dead because of who we are and what we believe. If we were isolationists and not a force of good in the world to affect rights and freedoms on a scale of hundreds of millions, they wouldn’t feel threatened by us and probably WOULD leave us alone…until it was are turn to convert or die under the caliphate.

    Human suffering? Are you kidding me? You “pick and choose” what you consider to be genocide based on arbitrary criteria. It’s only genocide to you if it’s not YOUR president/administration in power and it’s a war we’re not already fighting. If OTHER issues (economic or otherwise) are at play, to you it negates the humanitarian goals. Would you blame FDR for fighting Germany because he never STATED he was doing it to liberate concentration camps?!?! I’ve met countless Kurds and some Marsh Arabs who are no longer under the yoke, tyranny, fear, and death of Saddam, and you would discount that. I went to Iraq to help Iraqi children have a different future with mine. That’s not cruel, it’s not power, it’s not manufactured. YES, I think we should go into Darfur, but how is Darfur soooo much different than Mogadishu? It’s not, yet we killed over 1000 bad guys in Mog and lost 19, Murtha cried “Quagmire”, and Clinton pulled everyone out. Revisit the suffering laid in the wake of our unfinished business, like Iraq post-1991 Gulf War.

    Even if we’re running on a treadmill just to stand still, to stop would send us flying into the wall behind us. These folks are not amicably meeting us on a soccer field and we can just call off the game on account of “we just don’t feel like playing today”. You don’t understand the nature of the enemy, which is why those of the CCVM are comfortable and confident that you are just a fringe group that hasn’t accomplished anything, banging your heads against a wall week-in, week-out, frustrated as all hell. Frustrated that an Iraq War Veteran calls you on the carpet so much so you avoid and justify not meeting with a fellow American at all costs. Sad. Either meet to discuss or don’t. I’m done exposing your hypocrisy of attempting to unify, bring peace, promote understanding, and all that other hippie b.s. when you seem to only be comfortable sniping from behind the security of your keyboards. Meet or obsolete. Your cowardice is apparent.

  25. armyanimaldoc says:

    I have no more time to spend on your self-important (albeit limited readership) blog if you answer no questions posed to you and only throw up smokescreen, reveal hypocrisy in actually meeting to discuss, and doubt the events surrounding what I was called. Today is Father’s Day, and I’m taking the kids to Kung Fu Panda. I’ve spent enough time away from them with your rants. Perhaps you should think more of your own families and what you divert to expend energy in your perpetual negativity and self-loathing campaign. I’m take comfort that I have more “power” at the helm to affect their future than you ever will.

  26. sethkahn says:

    Doc, that’s fair enough. I was just thinking much the same. I’m amused at the term “rants,” though. That made me laugh as much as anything else I’ve heard all day. Hope you have a happy Father’s Day witn your family.

  27. John Grant says:

    Scott, you exaggerate when you suggest I’m afraid to meet you; that’s only in your mind. Come out some Saturday to West Chester and I’d be glad to meet off to the side somewhere on neutral ground and chat. No problem. Call me: 610-832-7028. I just don’t think it will go anywhere, given how it has gone here. I dare say you’re not on a treadmill, you’re on a roller coaster. Still, I liked your treadmill metaphor. It sounds like Seth, you and I have all reached the same place where we stopped running on the thing. Zooop! we’re gone.
    Good luck.

  28. armyanimaldoc says:

    Like I said before, I work in private practice on most weekends, so it would have to be a weeknight or a Sunday if in July. I’m working all my Saturdays in July. I also live down in Baltimore area, so it’s going to have to be arranged in advance. I also didn’t claim that you, John, were afraid to meet with me. I stated that Seth, through his avoidance, and perhaps the CCPM, was afraid of that. Ok, I’m on a rollercoaster…and??? How am I “on a rollercoaster”? The metaphor is incomplete and not an appropriate substitute for the context I was talking about. Smoke screens again. I also don’t think that the center of town on a Saturday is the most appropriate place and time. Set something up with Rich well in advance. He is a friend, although I am not a member of CCVM. I don’t need to be to have an opinion about their view vs. yours as it pertains to the war and my service- the opposite of CCPM isn’t necessarily CCVM. Early August might work as well. As far as your noth thinking “it will go anywhere”, it might go further with an acknowledgement of your friend’s words to me back in November.

  29. sethkahn says:

    Funny how “thinking a meeting with you is pointless” somehow translates into “afraid to meet with you.” Remember, you’re the one who has, several times now, said that you don’t have time to continue this discussion, and yet you keep doing it anyway. I’m not exactly sure what your goal is in doing so, other than to find opportunities to insult me for not acting the way you want me to.

    Also keep in mind, if you would, that I’ve tried consistently to change the tenor of the conversation (which to you seems like a “smokescreen”). From my point of view, the shift is about maintaining a tone of respectfulness. I’ve even defended you, Doc, and what I get in return is an accusation of cowardice. That’s a perfect example of why I’m not interested in changing the venue of the discussion.

  30. armyanimaldoc says:

    Listen, man, I said I didn’t have time yesterday, being Father’s Day. Spin, spin, spin. I also mentioned that I wouldn’t have time for folks who wouldn’t agree to meet a fellow American in discussion/debate but feel we should meet with Ahmadinejad. Scroll up and find it or on another post. Also, I only mentioned ONCE above what I didn’t have time for, not “several times now”. Show me where, and I mean it, that this is otherwise – that I said in other cases that I didn’t have time for this or anything else. I called you the coward, not John, because you keep avoiding an opportunity for resolution, and you do throw up smokescreens. Claiming that I said several times that I didn’t have time to talk, and also not elaborating on the full context of what I said I didn’t have time for, is a case in point for smokescreens. John agreed to a meeting, which is why I “have time for him”. If he’s making the good faith effort to do it, then I respect that and him for it. I stipulated what I didn’t have time for and John’s response didn’t fit the bill. So, that in mind, either go with the flow on the potential arrangement or don’t, but you’re not fooling me, and I’m here to point that out.

    What you’re not aware of is that I have several friends, one of whom I carpool with every day, who hold many of your beliefs. My philosophy is that we have much more in common than differences, but the differences are often more fun and/or interesting to focus on. There are no off-limit conversations and we often agree to at least certain points. But they don’t see me as an enemy or threat to their thoughts, and they certainly don’t call me a baby killer – neither did you or John, but someone in your group did. I would defend my family and friends too because of my relationships with them, but they are not always right either, and some of their behavior may be “indefensible” despite my feelings for them. I would hope you could at least acknowledge that concerning your fellow CCPM member. That was my only stipulation that you could even “infer” from my “conditions” for meeting and talking with you. Now come on with the twisting of my words. They’re right here for the record, and I see you haven’t edited them, so why make stuff up?

  31. sethkahn says:

    OK, Doc. Apparently I was too polite. Even when I try to be nice, you argue with me about it. That’s what I get for being conciliatory with somebody who clearly isn’t interested in reconciliation on any terms but your own.

    Let’s try it this way. You have said over and over again that you’re privvy to information we’re missing. I’ve asked for it, or called for it, and all you can reply is that I’m too scared to get it face to face. I don’t want it face to face, Doc, for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is that your tone in this discussion has made me not very interested in meeting you. I’ve tried not to let this get personal, but you keep making it that way, and I’m sick of it.

    So here’s the deal. You can write whatever you want on the blog, as long as the language is clean. I’ll read it. But I’m no longer interested in debating my psychology or my motives with you, since you flatly refuse to acknowledge anything other than what you’ve already decided. We’re going around in circles. I’m sure you’ll see that as further evidence of cowardice. Whatever. Say it, or don’t–I don’t really care anymore.

  32. armyanimaldoc says:

    Too polite? By spinning what I say? When and where exactly were you conciliatory? You also don’t answer my questions, you only pose new ones. I asked you weeks ago whether or not you were also Jewish, as I am, and you’ve not answered. My language on here has been clean.

    Let’s not kid ourselves with who we’re dealing with here, Mr. Objectivity. You’ve used your position as a faculty member at West Chester University to put your ideas forth as fact to students who not only look to you as an “academian”, but to the very same students who rely on you for their GRADE! When they see you posting your credentials to include peace activist, how far do you think THEY think their ideas will get in YOUR classroom? And you know it. You have used (and this is a point of fact, not conjecture) your esteem to attempt to suppress a small but vibrant, and legitimate, group of Campus Republicans at West Chester University. So much for equality and tolerance of viewpoints. But that’s your M.O. isn’t it? Especially when you hang out with students half your age who play hackie-sack at a coffee shop in much of your free time.

    As for John Grant, let’s not misconstrue in ANY way shape or form “patriotism” for true “hatriotism” when I’ve seen the video of John meeting with Hugo Chavez handing him a certificate of appreciation of some sort and telling him the most Americans don’t support the president. That’s PERSONAL aid and comfort to the enemy. Perhaps I was wrong in my initial assessment in how much damage you (CCPM) really do to the nation.

    Now to answer your inquiry about my experiences, not that I ever cowered or avoided that. I’ve given bits and pieces of it to you along the way. I arrived with combined DoD and DoS teams called Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Teams (EPRTs) and PRTs in Baghdad. We trained together in Washington D.C., then Ft. Bening, then Camp Beurhing Kuwait, then the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Many DoD civilians were retired military and veterans, some from the Vietnam War. A few in the military (COLs, LTCs, and CW5) had been in SINCE Vietnam. We were all SMEs (subject matter experts) in diverse areas – veterinary medicine and public health, agriculture, rule of law, city management, business, education, etc., etc., and so forth. ALL were volunteers.

    The teams were called embedded because we worked with local BCTs (Brigade Combat Teams) on FOBs (Forward Operating Bases = front line), going outside the wire weekly, if not daily, to meet with local Iraqis in their communities to help build capacity and sustainability in our respective areas. We fell under OPA (Office of Provincial Affairs) of the State Department. We continued to meet once or twice a month for various conferences in Baghdad to share information and lessons learned.

    My particular team was located at FOB Kalsu in the northern part of Babil Province (about 40 miles south of Baghdad), right on the Sunni-Shia sectarian fault, so we had al Qaeda and Jaish al Mahdi to deal with. Fascinating Vietnam history on 1LT Kalsu by the way, the Tillman of his time. We helped the Commander of 4th BCT (ABN) 25th ID stabilize the region through our non-kinetic actions. These included, but were not limited to, the following: return to a thriving market economy in Jurf As Sakr (previously a JAM stronghold), establishing agricultural organizations (including farm equipment for rent and supplies/seed for sale) for Muelha, Diyara, and Jiff Jaffa with a combined Farmers’ Market (complete with covered market stalls, chamber of commerce, veterinary clinic, slaughterhouse, live animal auction, crafts section, and security as well a proximity to the FOB), assistance with not only building of schools but soccer and other after-school programs to give children something else to do but plant IEDs, re-establishment of Votech Schools such as the one in Iskandariyah to rebuild the education system, resurgence of fish farming, business training for ag organization representatives, monitoring of water quality with building of new wells and pumps, repair contracts (local) and training to sustain farm equipment, wells, and other projects on the local economy, public health flyers and education, cooperative medical engagements using local doctors, rebuilding of poultry houses and other livestock facilities, canal cleaning and renovation projects, and the list goes on. That’s the short list.

    Then add on what I witnessed in security improvements in Babil Province. Not to diminish the successes of Anbar Province, but there’s really no sectarian violence there to begin with (almost all Sunni). Babil is mixed, and mostly Shia in the south (and run by Shia), so the challenges were greater. Despite that, we went from getting rocketed (thanks to Ahmadinejad) about twice a week to less than once a month. They rolled up a lot of bad dudes, and it was often thanks to locals who had had enough of the violence and wanted a better future for their children. The logical choice was to assist us and turn the bad seeds over to us, as well as forming inter-sheikh agreements and concerned citizens programs (which we also helped forge). Tack a cooperative intercommunity farmers’ market on to that and you have something more sustainable than just a handshake or paper agreement. It was working and is still working.

    On a personal level, I also assisted the 14 devoted veterinarians at the Baghdad Zoo. Thanks to ongoing work there over the past 5 years, it is the only thriving tourist attraction south of Kurdistan, other than perhaps the ruins in Babil (Babylon). Thousands visit daily; you really should see it. In our site visits, we gave them medical and husbandry training, hands-on training for dianostic techniques, and a needs assessment for medicine, equipment, and most of all, training. Through my connections from my PhD at NCSU, we were able to set up sustainable continuing education training through video teleconferencing with the NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine faculty and students, the North Carolina Zoo, and others. Some of the vets have traveled to Syria for a veterinary conference, others to Chester, England for intensive hands-on training. I will be presenting on our work with them at the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians annual conference in L.A. in October and have volunteered to go back to assist them further. It is a source of great pride and success to the staff, to Baghdad, and to Iraq.

    I would be happy to discuss things in more detail in person. It’s not out of avoidance, but out of concern for the safety of the communities and people I would discuss or show pictures of that I don’t mention them by name here. I hope you can understand that. I have loads of pictures of children flocking to us whenever we visited, with no fear of our weapons or humvees, but with a trust for us instilled in them by the families and their tribal sheikh leadership. I have many stories of grateful Kurds who returned to Iraq from the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, and elsewhere to assist in rebuilding the country they love in the wake of the despot they despised.

    Let it not be said that I didn’t at least give you some insight into my experiences. Yeah, I had incoming (especially early on) at Kalsu and in Baghdad and outgoing shaking my bed or cot every night. I’ve bandaged folks up and seen a few die from shrapnel. I’ve received colateral injury from a rocket attack about 50 meters away, but that was nothing compared to what others went through. So whenever the rockets came, I ran to the explosion to do what I could to assist the medics with my medical training while respecting them enough to stay out of their way if they had it in hand – which they usually did. More often, I would try to be the one to comfort the injured person while the medics did the important work. Our dining facility was even hit. Thankfully, the 240mm rocket hit three large airconditioning units, which took most of the punch out of it, and 7 were wounded and RTD the next day.

    Having my picture on the wall in the TOC with the fallen was not an honor I was striving for, but I was prepared for it. Why the heck would somebody want to volunteer for that, and then after seeing it, want to go back, with three kids at home, if he (they) didn’t feel that they accomplished something important, something human, something powerful but not power unto themselves? Yes some of it has to do with my feelings for the people I served with, but it’s not JUST about that, and I didn’t know them when I got there, nor do I know who the future people I would serve with are. I just know that my default mode for them is one of the greatest respect and admiration. Seth, you’ll never know that pride. John, I’m sorry you don’t feel any of it, and I’d like to hear what happened to/with you. Perhaps I will understand why you don’t when I hear it. But that was your war, your time, you experiences. Not mine. I think you should have as much interest in “sharing” experiences, even when they’re not “shared experiences”.

  33. armyanimaldoc says:

    P.S. You know, I just thought of another reason why the vestibulocochlear nucleus is humorous in this thread. The name of the thread is “I must have hit a nerve”. Well, my reference was also to the neurologic system; I just mentioned a bundle of coordinated nerves specifically, that’s all. Surprised you have not commented on my last post yet, but maybe you don’t type 100 words/minute like I do (just in case you thought it took me an inordinate amount of time to type this). Hey, 11 years of classical piano lessons did wonders for finger dexterity.

  34. carolyn says:

    john
    you mentioned that the killing of kennedy was a real marker in time for you and that it woke you up to the mysterious dark side of america. you also note that cheney mentioned the “dark side”. could you tell me more about that as i am not sure what you mean by the “dark side”

  35. Carolyn says:

    John Grant says: “For me, the revealed horror (of 911) was something internal to be wary of…” “The people who flew planes into those buildings had quite legitimate beefs against us…” “The whole idea of Islamofascism is nothing more than a cheap new Cold War-level fabrication..”

    It is not necessary to try and make John Grant look like a complete idiot. One has only to read his own words to discover that he has already done that job himself.

  36. sethkahn says:

    OK, Scott. You’re done here. You went over the line with the utterly unwarranted attack on my professionalism. You’re not welcome here anymore.

  37. armyanimaldoc says:

    Ok, coward. Hypocrite. Like you haven’t attacked MY professionalism for all to see? My professionalism as a soldier, as a scientist? I think you’re done Seth. You’ve shown all that you can’t even debate at all, much less with civility and equality. From what I’ve learned of you recently with your demonization and attempts to suppress the Campus Republicans, as well as your affinity for teenagers in a coffee shop (hardly your peers – it’s a little sick), I finally concur that it’s pointless to debate with an empty moral shell of a self-important academian biped. Done HERE? Where is “here”? The blog of limited readership that only attracts people you know who already agree with you anyway, plus the once-in-a-while CCVM member who smacks you down? No, I think I’ll stick a fork in you, Seth. You’re done.

  38. armyanimaldoc says:

    P.S. I never WAS welcome here, you don’t act like a professional when you wield your academic position of authority the way you do, and the attack wasn’t “unwarranted”. It was answering your questions, as well as your charges against ME…but you guys can’t take that can you? When you do it, it’s First Amendment. When WE do it, it’s hatriotism. LMFAO.

  39. carolyn says:

    are there two carolyn’s on this thread? i’m the little c, responding to the post by the big C.

    my interest in inquiring about the “dark side” is because this concept is a prominent concern for quite a few people, and i believe that it underpins the thinking of many of the people in the anti-war movement. it seems to me that they are rejecting facts and reality in favor of no facts and innuendo/speculation. however, i am not sure what thought processes go nto this type of thinking.
    i am interested in how people process and analyze data, and arrive at conclusions. my dissertaion was in the neuropsychology of information processing – so i do admit that my curiosity is, to some degree, a professional curiosity.

  40. John Grant says:

    OK. Been gone for a couple days. The two C(c)arolyns kinda weirded me out, so I will not address either except to say I think carolyn may be authentic and really interested in something — while I think Carolyn is probably really Raoul Deming in drag (hey, we miss you in the pink burka, dude!) or at least (s)he is, like Raoul, an intellectual torpedo with nothing to say.

    Fact is, I read with interest what Scott was writing about his experiences in Iraq. I am glad to speak with Iraq vets of any stripe, as long as I am respected in the process. As everyone by now must know, I’ve been to Iraq on two brief junkets, so I can, at least, understand and envision what Scott is talking about — though his love of acronyms and other militaryspeak leaves me sputtering, “Please speak English!” One thing I was determined to leave behind when I left the military was that insider militarist way of looking at the world. But, still, I was fine with the account and began to see Scott as a human being with a certain experience he felt strongly about and wanted to share with others. I think he has blinders on and sees only the pro-occupation line as he runs down the litany of civil affairs and health outreach efforts that are part and parcel of a modern US Occupation or campaign of “National Building.” I realize these enterprises actually do help people. No argument. My question is: What are our Strategic Motivations for doing all this positive, humanitarian work in Iraq in the guise of military occupation? Why can’t we let the Iraqi government take charge and pump tons of money there and help them as civilians? The answer is obvious. We want to militarily control the place and the region, and modern civil affairs and humanitarian missions are key to that.

    So, again, I was fine with Scott — until c(C)arolyn showed up and reverted to the torpedo assaultive mode of the CCVM Sheepdogs. Even Scott was amazingly even-handed when he commented on my being on the Hugo Chavez Show with a friend from Atlanta who, indeed, gave Chavez a proclamation from the mayor of Macon, GA, something I stand by — and am glad to discuss REASONABLY with anyone. I’m a journalist and I take that role quite seriously. Witnessing Hugo Chavez do a live TV show informed me a lot as to who this guy is. His backtracking on his recent ruling as far as internal intelligence because of citizen reaction is, to me, an indication that Hugo Chavez is a very smart guy. He may even turn out to be a “statesman,” though the court is still out on that. His ruling was the equivalent to a Venezuelan “Patriot Act” and he had the wit and the grace to know when the population was against him — unlike our frat boy leader in Washington who has basically said he is going down with the ship rather than change anything due to citizen opinion.

    I’m sorry that Scott feels he must be so abusive to me and, especially, Seth, whose blog we are cluttering up with all this. I think Seth bent over backwards on this “dialogue.” Hey, he and I disagree with Scott on the war — no matter what Scott’s experience in Iraq was — and that is not gonna change because of something Scott tells us, though it may be interesting and it may add to the complexity of the discussion — which is good!

    The problem seems to be the polarity established and encouraged by the dueling vigil context created from the Saturday confrontation. Us versus them. No one can argue with the fact that the CCPM did not create the confrontation — the CCVM created it by deciding to “protest the protesters” at the time of their long-established vigil. If the CCVM had established its own time — say Sundays at 11 to Noon — and was less interested in trashing the CCPM, a bit more dialogue would be possible. As Scott’s too-quick reverting to the ad-hominem level and the apparent bogus “Carolyn’s” pathetic comment on this thread shows, any effort at dialogue is too often torpedoed by emotion and two-dimensional stupidity.

  41. Bob Sacamano says:

    How our Marxist faculties got that way

    By Edward Bernard Glick

    It’s August 1968. Anti-Vietnam War demonstrators have just wrecked the Democratic national convention in Chicago and ruined Hubert Humphrey’s chances to become President. So what did these Marxist demonstrators and their cohorts elsewhere do next?

    They stayed in college. They sought out the easiest professors and the easiest courses. And they stayed in the top half of their class. This effectively deferred them from the military draft, a draft that discriminated against young men who didn’t have the brains or the money to go to college. That draft also sparked the wave of grade inflation that still swamps our colleges. Vietnam-era faculty members lowered standards in order to help the “Hell No, We Won’t Go” crowd.

    In the 1970s, President Richard Nixon ended the war and Congress ended military conscription. So the Marxist anti-war activists — activism is now a full-time profession — had to do something else. Most of them went to work in the real world. But a meaningful number remained in school and opted for academia, especially the humanities and the social sciences. If they got a Ph.D., they might even become university teachers, and many of them did. They then climbed academia’s ladder, rising from instructor to assistant professor, from assistant professor to associate professor, and from associate professor to full professor. These last two ranks usually carry tenure, which means a guaranteed job until one decides to retire or is fired for raping little children in the streets.

    Forty years have passed since the 1968 Democratic national convention. During that time, American academia has been transformed into the most postmodernist, know-nothing, anti-American, anti-military, anti-capitalist, Marxist institution in our society. It is now a bastion of situational ethics and moral relativity and teaches that there are no evil people, only misunderstood and oppressed people. American academia is now a very intolerant place, As Ann Coulter, who has been driven off more than one campus podium because of her conservative views, has put it, “There is free speech for thee, but not for me.”

    When the Soviet Union collapsed, Marxism collapsed in Russia and in Eastern Europe. But it survived in U.S. universities, where politically-correct feelings are now more important than knowledge, and where politically-correct emotions are now more important than logic and critical thinking. Our students and graduates are well trained, but badly educated. Outside of what they must learn to make a living, they don’t know very much. But they have been taught to feel sad, angry or guilty about their country and its past.

    In the main, our students and graduates, no matter where they went to school, don’t understand that China, in return for Sudanese oil, is supplying the weapons used to commit genocide in Darfur. But they feel bad about the Drfurians. They don’t now that the Palestinians have rejected every opportunity to have a state of their own. But they feel sorry for them and they blame the Israelis for their plight. They aren’t familiar with the Koranic verse “the Infidel is your inveterate enemy.” But they keep searching for the “root causes” of Muslim hatred and many of them believe that terrorism is the result of what the United States and Israel, obviously the two worst countries on this planet, do or do not do.

    Deficient in history, geography, and economics, our college-trained citizens cannot fathom that the main reasons for high gasoline prices are the speculation in oil futures and the continuing industrialization of Japan, China, India, Brazil, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and other countries. Instead, they blame the “greedy” U.S. oil companies, whose “obscene” profit margins are not as high as many other industries. Nor do they understand that their simultaneous and illogical opposition to nuclear power, coal, liquified petroleum gas, on-shore and off-shore oil drilling, and new refineries guarantees that we will have energy shortages and high energy prices.

    Their professors don’t make the big bucks in America. What their professors do earn, however, are huge psychological incomes in the form of power — the power to shape the minds of their students and the power to influence their colleagues who want raises, sabbaticals. grants, promotions, and tenure. One of the best ways to influence students, colleagues, and the citizenry at large is to hire, promote, and tenure only those people who agree with you. Duke University is a case in point. Some time ago, its psychology chairman was asked in a radio interview if his department hired Republicans. He answered: “No. We don’t knowingly hire them because they are stupid and we are not.”

    If I were a psychologist, Duke would never hire me, for I am a Republican, and a Jewish one at that. Moreover, when I was an active academic during and after the Vietnam War, I audaciously taught politically-incorrect courses: civil-military relations and the politics of national defense.

    Edward Bernard Glick is a professor emeritus of political science at Temple University and the author of “Soldiers, Scholars, and Society: The Social Impact of the American Military.”

  42. David says:

    I did not see Scott as being abusive to you on here at all. Not that he wasn’t at least giving what he was taking from you. It is strange that nothing would change your feeble minds regardless of what new information you were given. I don’t know a lot of the acronyms he was throwing around either, but he did define them as he went along, so what’s the problem there? Seth-poo, Scott was right. You are a coward.

  43. sethkahn says:

    David: I’m not going to argue with you about who was more abusive. As I’ve said several times, it’s my blog, and I get to decide what’s OK and what isn’t. He crossed the line when he attacked my professionalism, which he knows nothing about, and my friends, who he doesn’t know. He also sent one abusive post I didn’t approve, which was worse than your other comment, which I also didn’t approve.

    I’ve read the info he sent and take it under advisement. Just because I didn’t immediately cave and pronounce the occupation of Iraq as the greatest thing ever, that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about what he said.

    And no more of that “Seth-poo” buillshit (sorry, Mom) either. That doesn’t even rise to the level of ridiculous.

  44. David says:

    It’s coddling you, because you’re a baby and it requires it. He wasn’t attacking your professionalism. As he saw it and I agree, you are not very professional in the ways he mentioned and you did attack him and his professionalism. I think you can dish it out especially on your blog but you can’t take it. You live in a big glass house to throw stones at him. Sure you can say what you want on your little blogosphere but you haven’t made a very good case for yourself in your arguments or your behavior. Just my observations. If it was so abusive, what was it that he wrote? I certainly don’t see it on here. What I saw was Scott trying to have a meeting of the minds. That is a little difficult when only one mind was at least open and receptive. John seemed to have come around and it was probably a good opportunity for everyone but you torpedoed it.

  45. David says:

    Perhaps Seth-poo was a bit over the top. Sorry, and good luck.

  46. sethkahn says:

    David, that’s ridiculous. I haven’t said one word about Scott as a soldier or a doctor. Why? Because I have no idea what kind of soldier or doctor he is.

    He, on the other hand, accused me of being unprofessional, of using my position as a faculty member as a bully pulpit, etc. Has he ever seen me teach? No. Has he read any scholarly work of mine? Not that he refers to.

    Scott doesn’t sound abusive to you because you agree with him; I sound abusive to you because you don’t agree with me. Simple and not at all surprising.

    And I didn’t “torpedo” anything. I’m not stopping any meeting from happening; I just don’t feel any urge to arrange it.

  47. sethkahn says:

    Appreciate the nod there, David.

  48. David says:

    You don’t know what beliefs I hold? No. I’ve been a silent observer until it became hostile. I don’t think he was abusive at all and especially under the circumstances of what someone in the peace group called him. Despite that he seemed willing and eager to talk in person and even answered your questions. I googled your information even at West Chester University and it is fraught with leftist topics. It is set up that way under some ruse of objectivity. I don’t think that his degrees deal with such arbitrary and undefined subjects. What is simple is that you would assume to know what I believe or think that I even agree with him, or even that agreeing with him must be wrong because you are right. What is also simple and not at all surprising is your posture in arguing it with the pompous attitude of an associate professor in liberal arts. He hasn’t had to see or hear you teach or stump. Your bully pulpit is right here for your students to see and gain insight into your political stance, not something that is really appropriate given your position. I agree with that. You did make comments about him as a soldier. They weren’t particularly severe ones, but as moderator of this blog if you are going to silence him, you should be more evenhanded and silence those that did overtly attack him and his career(s). That kind of is your responsibility. You don’t have to do it, but it doesn’t look good if you don’t. Nighty night.

  49. John Grant says:

    Look, David, Seth has been nothing but the total professional and generous to boot in allowing me, you and others to yak it up on his site. Why you folks insist on reverting so quickly to sandbox level name-calling I don’t know. Talk about babies. To me, there seems no point in any kind of meeting. I’ve recognized Scott’s humanitarian service to Iraqis — even though I see the military occupation component of that service as problematic. He’s not gonna change my mind about the occupation and I am certainly not gonna change his. Our goals are not to talk to each other; our goals are to speak to members of the American public who are naturally so incredibly confused about this war, given its history. A majority of them consistently have indicated they are fed up with it. That’s what this is all about.

    In respect for Seth, this is my last entry on his topic on his blog.

  50. sethkahn says:

    You’re right, David. I don’t know what you believe. If I made a bad assumption based on the fact that you (following 3 other people) tried to post that you think I’m a “douchebag,” I’m sorry about that. Leap of faith.

    As for my responsibilities to students and to the blog…

    I’m not the “moderator” of the blog; I’m the author. That means I have no obligation to anybody, frankly, and from my point of view I think I’ve been more than generous letting Scott post almost 40 times on here–especially because I know, from reading it on the Sheepdogs site, that it was a tactical move on his part.

    Yes, I let John Grant and Scott go after each other a bit. I also approved a couple of comments that speculated on Scott’s state of mind. You’ll notice that I NEVER commented on his psychology, his state of mind, or any of that. I commented specifically on his tone and on his persuasive strategies, because that’s something I understand well.

    As for my students, a couple of points. First, I don’t give up my right to participate in politics because I’m a faculty member. What I do outside of class is my business. Second, I don’t announce or talk about the blog in class. Yes, it’s possible students might stumble onto it, but I don’t encourage anybody to look for it. Third, even if they do (and I’ve dealt with this elsewhere on the blog), I am very honest about my political commitments with my students under some very specific circumstances. As I’ve said here, I actually trust students who disagree with my politics to be able to deal with that; I don’t feel either the urge to protect them or the urge to “convert” them. I don’t expect you to believe that.

    I can see us starting to do the same dance I’ve already done with Scott and with somebody called Jane who found me a couple of months ago. I don’t mean this to sound nasty, but I’m not particularly interested in rehashing the same stuff. Say what you want to say, but if I’m not very responsive, it’s because you’re making claims or asking questions we’ve been through already.

  51. carolyn says:

    john
    my question to you stands

  52. sethkahn says:

    carolyn: John has said that he’s not going to keep cluttering up my blog with these debates, but I’ll leave it up to him to decide whether he wants to respond to this. If he doesn’t, that’s out of courtesy to me, not out of any fear of responding to you.

  53. carolyn says:

    seth
    i didn’t anticipate that john had “any fear of responding” to me.
    this is a rather odd thread – i asked a genuine question and these responses are all over the place. perhaps it is best if we don’t continue the conversation – there is far too much drama going on………………….

  54. sethkahn says:

    “Rather odd” is a pretty good description. I don’t know if you’re local to Chester County (if you are, you probably know all this already), but there’s been a pretty nasty tension between the local peace activist group and a group comprised largely of vets and their families who aren’t happy about what we do. Recently those tensions have escalated as both sides accuse the other of this and that. So yes, if you walked into this in the middle, there’s a contentious history.

  55. David says:

    [A comment from armyanimaldoc was here; I deleted it because I’ve asked him not to post here anymore, and he insists in trying anyway.] The rest is David’s:

    From what I’ve read it seems that Scott was willing to meet with you to hear about your Vietnam experiences and discuss his whether you guys agreed or not. You are correct in that you have no obligation to meet and discuss just as Seth has no obligation to moderate what goes on in his blog. That said it still has the appearance of lack of objectivity and even favoritism when you allow personal attacks on him but he cannot defend himself or others by providing facts and justification for his side. The way I see it. You definitely displayed bias in your criticism and banning of armyanimaldoc from your blog. I also agree with him that if you are willing to meet with “enemies of the state” and justify their very real hatred of us then the least you could do is meet with a veteran of the war your currently debating to reach an understanding with other Americans. There are many who oppose the war but it is split right about down the middle. Perhaps that split would shift if people heard more from Scott and many others like him about their experiences than from people who lack that experience Seth. I don’t support everything we’ve done in waging this war but I do support the military and to a great extent their mission because of their support and belief in what they are doing. They are the ones who are conducting it and they are the ones who have seen the fruits of their labor in real time on the ground. I think you’ve made Scott’s point for him.

  56. sethkahn says:

    David, I see that you’re trying to insert a new comment from Scott into one of your own. I cut him off because he’s enough air-time as it is and because he went over the top. That’s not negotiable. Pasting his arguments into your posts so they get through the filter isn’t OK. I’m going to put in the rest of your comment because it might call for a response, but I’m not including Scott’s part of the message. If you guys want to debate with John Grant and he wants to debate with you, you’ll have to find another place to do it. That’s between y’all.

  57. David says:

    I appreciate that Seth. Apologies. It won’t happen again. I must also apologize to Deanya as I did insert a vulgar word on her blog that was not directed at her and certainly not intended for full viewership online. I’ve sent that to her as well. I also agree with you on this point and sorry Scott but I must part ways with you on this. This wasn’t accomplishing anything. I won’t reply on any more beaten dead horse threads. Take care.

  58. sethkahn says:

    Thank you, David. Deanya may well be less concerned about vulgarity than I am; I really wasn’t kidding that my family reads this stuff sometimes. My older brother is a police officer–can’t imagine anything I can say that he hasn’t heard many times over–but his wife and 10-year-old twins don’t need that. Mom probably gets a kick out of it, but no point in tempting fate…

    As for the last substantive post: I have never said that I advocate meeting with enemies of the state. Frankly, I’m glad I don’t have to make that decision because I have deeply mixed feelings about it–mixed enough that I wouldn’t vote for one candidate or another based on their stance on that specific issue. The analogy between meeting with nasty heads of state and meeting with Iraq vets isn’t very strong. Nobody lives or dies based on a meeting, or no meeting, between Scott and anybody in CCPM.

    I don’t want to get into a long theoretically-abstract discussion of what you (or he) means by “understanding,” but I think we mean different things. I don’t disbelieve anything he’s said about his experience there–he doesn’t have any reason to lie to me–but as John has pointed out, his posts don’t tell the whole story. I certainly get the feeling, and yes I’m extrapolating (actually even that’s probably too strong a word–maybe “speculating” is more accurate), that when Scott says “understanding” what he means is “you see it my way.” It’s much the same as George W. Bush’s claims to “bipartisanship,” which actually meant “We can work together if you don’t argue with me.” Yes, I realize I’m projecting some motives onto Scott and others he’s been speaking for, but that’s why I’ve been reacting to those arguments the way I have.

  59. David says:

    I don’t disagree with a single thing you just said and you should not have to deal with vulgarity on your site (although I did not use it and neither did Scott). I appreciate your response although from what Scott said about his phone conversation with John today it was an amicable conversation with more agreement and reconciliation than anything else and certainly not hostile. Maybe there is hope. Anyway thanks again.

  60. Bud says:

    From what I can see this ‘John Grant’ is a complete ***hole who is stuck in a serious time-warp. It won’t be long before he suffers a full case of Alzheimer’s and will be hospitalized. I just hope that God is good to him, because his Communist beliefs and Communist travelers will just leave him to rot beside the road. [I MADE A SLIGHT EDIT FOR PG-13 RATED LANGUAGE]

  61. sethkahn says:

    I don’t think John’s reading the blog anymore, so if you (Bud) are expecting a response from him, you’re probably wasting your time. I’ll keep the rest of my smart-a** remarks to myself…

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