[Marxism] Rumsfeld challenged by GIs heading for Iraq

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Thu Dec 9 05:24:24 MST 2004

M. Junaid Alam implies that the position he took which I saw as
"bizarre" involved the numbers of casualties.  He objected to Fred's
comment about the soldiers' willingness to die in a cause because
Americans in Iraq weren't suffering heavies casualties.  My response was
that Messr Alam's "dichotomy between the willingness of soldiers to put
themselves in harm's way and their willingness to inflict harm on others
is just bizarre."

I've not disputed what M. Junaid Alam says about the casualties, though
we know nothing other than the mix of guesstimates and propaganda we are
given.  Nobody going into such a conflict knows what the casualties will
be so it doesn't inform our understanding of their motivation. 

M. Junaid Alam now writes: "My contention is that a society and the
warriors within a society who dish out massive casualties on the enemy
while largely escaping death themselves is fundamentally different than
one which incurs massive casualties and dishes out relatively few."
Maybe.  It certainly sounds good.   

However, while I might be misunderstanding this, I'd point out that both
the U.S. and Britain--surely other superpowers that don't come to mind
this early in the morning--have been in situations where they're taking
heavy casualties fighting an enemy in one place and simultaneously
suffering relatively light losses against another enemy in another
place.  Would such a society be "fundamentally different" than itself?
It seems to me like logic is chasing its own tail around the mobius

Still, what I really object to is the mistaken assumption of a moral
superiority over our class brothers and sisters in uniform.  There but
for the grace of circumstances go we--well, some of us.  Perhaps unlike
much of the list, my blue collar family raised me to be good cannon
fodder/factory fodder.  I had the good fortune to read the right article
or to talk to the right veteran at the right time that I did, which
turned me against the Vietnam War.  

One of the things that drew me to socialism was a class analysis that
precluded moralizing over those who didn't have my kind of luck.  

Mark L.


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