“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

GOP Bad Asses and The US Mercenary Foreign Legion - Dump Them Both and Bring Back The Draft

Which war did the Republican candidates serve in? Reflections on GOP War Talk from an Iraq vet
By contributors | Dec. 22, 2015 |

By Ramon Mejia | ( Waging Nonviolence) | – –JUAN COLE

As a U.S. Marine veteran who was deployed to Iraq in 2003, I can’t even begin to describe the disgust I felt while watching the GOP debate [last week]. Presidential candidate after presidential candidate attempted to one-up each other by highlighting how tough they would be as future commanders in chief. Each solution they presented demonstrated what little regard they had for the loss of life, and how quick they would be to resort to acts most often referred to as war crimes.

The debate reached its height of callousness when Ben Carson, once a pediatric neurosurgeon of some repute, was asked if he was “OK with the deaths of thousands of innocent children and civilians.” He responded with “You got it.” The irony of a person who formerly devoted his career to saving children’s lives and is now so willing to commit to actions that would result in the deaths of thousands of children in order to showcase his mettle is hard to ignore.

Let me make something clear: no one on that stage has experienced war. None of those candidates have to relive the memories and traumas of participating in war. And not one shares the intimate loss and grief endured by the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians and service members. And yet, carpet bombing, targeting of civilians, opposing democratic movements, and murdering families as retaliation were all openly suggested as potential strategies in the never-ending wars that began with the Bush administration and have continued throughout Obama’s presidency.

Serving in the invasion and occupation of Iraq has made me question the motivations of any elected leader that casually mentions war as a quick and easy option. My time in Iraq was anything but easy. During the dozens of resupply missions my unit was tasked with, we were exposed to the devastation that the invasion had left inside of Iraq. Trucks, cars, tanks, countless buildings scarred with battle damage.

On each successive resupply run, we watched as the faces of children on the side of the roads changed from open and curious to eventually withdrawn and fearful. I saw children that were so happy and so filled with life, and we were the ones taking that away from them. You won’t hear this from any of the candidates promoting more war. You won’t hear about the impact war has had on the people actually living in Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan.

It is also telling what else was not discussed during the debate. While the candidates all seemed perfectly willing to sacrifice yet another generation to pointless wars all in a shameless attempt to increase their place in the polls, they failed to mention the cost of such belligerence. The term “PTSD” wasn’t uttered once during the debate, nor was “Traumatic Brain Injury,” or “Suicide.” The word veteran? Mentioned only once. The reality is that the impact of the war stays with me, and with countless veterans who are returning home traumatized, with as many as 22 veterans a day resorting to suicide as a solution.

Watching the GOP debate on Tuesday gave me an opportunity to reflect on what I took part in and the journey I’ve traveled to come to a place of dedicating my life to make things right. I wish our country would learn some of the lessons that I did instead of perpetuating the same mistakes repeatedly. The sideshow that many of us watched on Tuesday night was only the most recent egregious example of how irresponsible the national dialogue around our foreign policy has become. We, as people responsible for electing the next commander in chief, need to take a good hard look at who we are bringing into office because, let’s be honest: this isn’t a problem confined to only the Republican Party. This is a bipartisan failure. We need to ask ourselves if the candidate that we choose to elect is going to offer us more of the same or break us out of this deadly cycle.
This article was originally published on Waging Nonviolence and appears here courtesy of a Creative Commons license.
Related video added by Juan Cole:
RT The Big Picture: “The GOP’s Path to the Dark Side”


  1. Fuck the Empire. Let the citizens decide which wars the US should fight. A citizen army would be frugal in its choice of wars.

    Anyone have a son, nephew, grandson or daughter that wants them to go fight in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, please step forward and tell us why. Why does any of your kin deserve to have a traumatic head injury, his face burned off or lose a limb or three?

    Please tell us why.

  2. How would you like them following 2nd Lt. Chris Christie?

  3. If nobody wants to go. It isn't important enough.

  4. If you know anyone else that is more competent than you to determine if your kin deserves to die in a foreign war of choice, please press 1.

  5. If you are aware of any presidential candidate that is qualified to have your kin blown up by an IED in Afghanistan, please press 2.


    Each and everyone of us is more qualified than anyone in Washington DC to determine if any of our kin need die in a war started by US politicians.

  7. We do not need a mercenary army.

  8. Just GOP badasses ?

    Well, we know that President Obama served honorably, at least he said he thought about joining once, if you can believe him, so that's enough.

    Hillary swears she tried to join the Marines. That's enough.

    Not certain about O'Malley.

    The Bern honeymooned in the Soviet Union, and has been spouting socialist horse shit ever since.

    That's service of a kind, we have to admit.

    I object to your restricting your criticism to just the GOP is all.

    Best to walk the entire waterfront.

    Since I've been heavily criticized for getting a high lottery number, and we've had the discussion before, that's all I've got to say.

    Did I read that The Donald got the highest lottery of all ?

    Or did I just imagine that ?

  9. Why do they always pick on poor old Mall of America, which hires lots of blacks, surely, is non political, and follows the rules is such matters closely ? It is not good politics - it just pisses most people off.

    They would make their point much better protesting in some other locale.

    Mall of America files restraining order against Black Lives Matter

    posted at 12:01 pm on December 22, 2015 by Jazz Shaw

    Remind me again… is this Christmas or Groundhog Day? Last year, just before Christmas, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis illegally shut down the Mall of America on one of the busiest shopping days of the year by flooding the mall with activists and preventing customers from moving through the facility. That led to many (mostly fruitless) court cases and not much else. Well, another year has gone by and the leaders of the local chapter are at it again. They are calling for all their supporters to show up on the privately owned property and obstruct commerce. But this time the mall’s ownership is being proactive and asking a judge for a restraining order. (Yahoo News)

    But the mall is trying to take that decision out of their hands. Mall officials are seeking a temporary restraining order against eight activist leaders to stop the planned rally. They also want the group to post a message on its Facebook page announcing the rally’s cancellation. In a statement released early Monday, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis called the suit “unconstitutional.”

    The Mall [of] America continues to seek to bar free speech for the community on its premises despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies, which it has used to appropriate the traditional public forum in service of its own corporate profit. The Mall of America has now taken the further outrageous and totalitarian step of attempting to control the speech of individuals.

    1. One thing that the BLM leaders in the area don’t seem to have invested in is a lawyer. The argument they are making is that the Mall of America is somehow “public property” and a suitable venue for protests because the company who built it received tax breaks and other public subsidies when it was constructed. It’s an interesting argument, but unfortunately it was already shut down by the state supreme court almost twenty years go, specifically citing Mall of America as the example. (City Pages)

      In 1996 the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled the free speech protection written in the state constitution “does not apply to a privately owned shopping center such as the Mall of America, although developed in part with public financing” in State v. Wicklund.

      Freeman Wicklund was part of a group of about 10 people who were arrested and charged with trespassing after they protested the sale of fur products outside of Macy’s. Before the Supreme Court ruling, lower courts originally sided with Wicklund, agreeing the mall was a public forum.

      Of course, none of this has anything to do with free speech and respect for the Constitution or the law when it comes to BLM. Miski Noor, a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter of Minneapolis, said on CNN this morning, “We are going to disrupt your life.” That’s an exact quote. She was being asked why they couldn’t simply protest outside the mall on public property in accordance with the law, where tens of thousands of shoppers would see their protest and hear their message. Her response made their objectives quite clear. This isn’t about speech… it’s about thuggish behavior intended to intimidate people who had absolutely nothing to do with any police shootings and to disrupt and shut down businesses which are not affiliated with the police or the government and have no ability to change government policy.

      When asked what they would do if the judge granted the restraining order, she flatly stated they were going to show up and do it anyway. That brings us to the big question: what will the government and the police do about it? If the answer is “nothing” because they are too afraid to look bad on CNN’s cameras then the citizens of Minneapolis and Minnesota need to begin electing some new leaders with a bit of spine. If the government cannot be relied upon to protect private business and the free movement of their own citizens engaging in commerce, they have failed in their duty and need to be replaced.

  10. December 22, 2015
    Where to give to help the Christians of the Middle East
    By Karin McQuillan

    For those of you who have been heartsick over the plight of Christians being tortured and murdered by ISIS, Christian Solidarity International (CSI) is a legitimate and effective group that is saving thousands of lives, recently described by an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. I am a longtime friend of Charles Jacobs, who personally liberated slaves in Sudan alongside Eibner and was given the Boston Freedom Award. I asked Charles about CSI, and he gave them his whole-hearted support, as quoted here from an article on freeing Sudan’s Christian slaves from the Arab slavers.

    Read the Wall Street Journal article here. Give to CSI here. If you prefer a Catholic charity, you can give here to the International Order of Malta.

  11. What the hell is going on with the polls ?

    REUTERS ROLLING: TRUMP 36.7%, CARSON 11.3%, CRUZ 11%, RUBIO 8.3%.....Drudge

    Just yesterday the Q poll, no reference to Quirk, it's just easier than to type it out, and it's hard to spell, had Cruz only 4 points behind Trump, and way ahead of Carson.

    1. Honestly, this puts Trump way ahead of the next three candidates combined.

      It's bizarre.

    2. Maybe that Q poll was just in Iowa.

  12. Guns top Christmas lists...Drudge

    I give up. I'm going to the Casino.

    1. "Would you rather have a .223 or a 30.06 for Christmas, dear ?"

  13. RCP Republican Presidential Nomination:

    Trump +15.6

  14. Trump vs. Clinton:

    Clinton +6.3

  15. Rubio vs. Clinton:

    Rubio +1.5

  16. See the new all inclusive rest room sign in the link below.

    I have a lifetime handicapped parking sticker.

    Life has passed me by.

    It's simpler for me to just balance on the cane and take a piss in the parking lot than try to negotiate my way though all the new rules and rights.


    New York City joins the mad dash to “transgender” rights laws

    posted at 9:01 pm on December 22, 2015 by Jazz Shaw

    I suppose the real question here is how New York City wasn’t the first place where this cropped up. The fact that someplace in Texas had to deal with the “transgender” bathroom and pronoun issues before Manhattan did is likely just a sign of the times. But Bill de Blasio is never one to be left behind the times for too long in the Social Justice Warrior movement, so he’s going all in on the transgender bathrooms, pronouns and all the rest. (Yahoo News)

    New York City has warned landlords, employers and businesses they could be running afoul of the law by purposely calling a transgender woman “him” or “Mr.” when she prefers a female title and pronoun, or by barring her from using a women’s restroom.

    New guidelines detail the legal protections of transgender and gender-nonconforming New Yorkers and what constitutes discrimination under the city’s Human Rights Law, the New York City Commission on Human Rights said on Monday…

    “Today’s new guidelines strengthen those laws by ensuring that every transgender and gender non-conforming person in New York receives the dignity and respect they deserve,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

    The guidelines said dress codes requiring men to wear ties or women to wear skirts are discriminatory.

    Please do take note that New York City never does things in half measures. It’s already against the law (everywhere) to discriminate against people on virtually any basis in terms of their basic rights in society, but in this brave new world the speech of everyone else will be restricted to accommodate the few. If you happen to believe that people are the gender they were born with, as identified by their 23rd chromosomal pair, and you choose to address them in that fashion, you may now be running afoul of the law. Freedom of speech? It’s such an antiquated concept.

    As with so many other cities, if you want to keep men out of the ladies room so they feel at ease when visiting your establishment, be prepared to face a judge in court. And you can apparently forget about dress codes at dining establishments, even though that clearly discriminatory practice has been approved by the courts. If a man wishes to show up wearing a mini-skirt and a tube top, you have to seat them.

    New York, New York. So nice they say it twice. Dave Blount at Right Wing News offers some thoughts on the subject.

    Imagine a vast mental asylum where everything is upside-down and backward. Instead of trying to cure the sick, the authorities use their unlimited power to impose sickness on the healthy. In this nightmare world, there is no such thing as private business or interpersonal contact; all interactions must be conducted according to the decree of the malevolent lunatics in charge. The name for this grotesque dystopia is New York City…

    Would you like your employees to look professional so that people will take your business seriously? Then escape from New York.

    You may indeed need to escape from New York. (And several other locations for that matter.) And it may require a general revolt by the voters before this nonsense comes to an end and normality is restored. We are now well beyond the point where somebody needs to bring this question before the Supreme Court and find out if the ship of sanity has truly sailed. Otherwise, move someplace where your rights won’t be infringed by the weight of the Social Justice Warriors, take your employees and your property with you, and wait for the system to collapse under its own weight.

  17. Quirk has often pointed out the stupendous stupidity of today's pampered college students.

    Here is another example:

    Students Sign Petition to Ban 'White Christmas' from Radio...Drudge

    Morons !

    Don't they realize that if snow were black, which absorbs heat, we'd all be living in a snow covered steam bath by now !

    By the way, the increase in student tuition fees tracks exactly with the money flow from federal student loans.

    You can't say todays professors and college administrators don't know at least something!

    Breaking: Lady Gaga to get new pony for Christmas.

    1. Also breaking:

      PELOSI: 'Ryan gave away the store'......Drudge

      Well, it is the Christmas Season, no time to play Scrooge.