This Is Unacceptable

13 04 2010

I’ve been avoiding watching this but I finally had to do it.

Fuck me.

In watching the video I recognized that it was priming for a response so I was actively resisting that particular emotion and trying to be more analytical in the viewing.  What bothered me more was the heightened emotion and eagerness of the sighting gunner to “see” weapons that were not there and to “see” threatening behavior where none was at all visible in the video.

What I heard in his voice was a kid stressed out, a kid upset that his buddies had been killed recently by insurgents.  I heard a kid frustrated at his inability to target the people actively and effectively inflicting casualties on his team from a distance or by remotely detonated IEDs.  I heard a kid who wanted revenge but rarely had a good target to exact that revenge upon.  He wanted to believe he was seeing the ever elusive insurgents out in the open, insurgents all with guns and RPGs, insurgents clearly acting in threatening ways.  He wanted to believe he finally had clear insurgents wandering through his gun sights so he could finally deliver the retribution they so richly deserved.

He absolutely saw what he wanted to see.

You could especially hear his emotions boiling over when he had to wait for the go ahead to fire on the van…he was desperate to shoot at a van picking up the wounded because they must be bad guys too because they’re trying to help the insurgents he just killed.  A whole van load of even more insurgents to shoot!  Please, LET ME SHOOT THEM TOO!!!

Yet I don’t blame the solider, I blame the situation and the leadership that continues to let this scenario play out over and over and over again.  We have the biggest and most powerful military the planet has ever seen.  Our enemies know this and simply avoid giving us a target to shoot at.  In the inevitable frustration that follows our children eventually lash out and shoot at whatever is there…killing the innocent…and making even more hidden enemies.  It’s a vicious cycle that our politicians do not recognize or largely ignore because they can’t be seen as “soft” on “terrorists”.

It’s a vicious cycle we are singularly well equipped to only make worse if we don’t stop.

Please join me and send WikiLeaks a few buck to help out.  The media isn’t uncovering this and you know for damn sure our government isn’t going to tell us.

Consumerism Of The Damned

1 04 2008

I just can’t help but feel my inner consumer perk up when I read about technology like THIS.

Awesomeness just doesn’t get any more awesome than this.

FSM Courthouse Installation

31 03 2008

This is one of the greatest things to happen in the history of Pastafarianism. The Cumberland County Courthouse lawn in Crossville, Tennessee now features an enormous statue of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Behold:

I think I might cry.  All praise him and his carbohydrate goodness…Ramen.

(credit: the FSM himself)

Quote Of The Day: Mark Twain

30 03 2008

“Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”

— Mark Twain, “Puddinhead Wilson’s New Calendar,” I, Ch. 12, p. 132, Following the Equator, (1894).

Evolution Conclusively Proven Wrong

26 03 2008

In an attempt to be more sensitive (dare I say gentle) to other opinions I thought I’d post something that takes a closer look at the other side of the argument. Now I think I might have rushed to my evolution conclusion a bit.

Quote Of The Day: Richard Dawkins

26 03 2008

On this date in 1941, evolutionary biologist and freethought champion Richard Dawkins was born in Nairobi.

“My respect for the Abrahamic religions went up in the smoke and choking dust of September 11th. The last vestige of respect for the taboo disappeared as I watched the ‘Day of Prayer’ in Washington Cathedral, where people of mutually incompatible faiths united in homage to the very force that caused the problem in the first place: religion. It is time for people of intellect, as opposed to people of faith, to stand up and say ‘Enough!’ Let our tribute to the dead be a new resolve: to respect people for what they individually think, rather than respect groups for what they were collectively brought up to believe.”

— “Time to Stand Up,” written for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Sept. 2001. See Dawkins’s Emperor Has No Clothes Award.

(credit: ffrf)

Religion Politics And Reason

24 03 2008

A Gallup Poll produced some very interesting numbers. I will provide some of the more interesting data points and graphs here but I encourage you to read the article for a more complete view of this survey.

When Americans were asked the single question “Do you believe in evolution?” the simple statistical response was 49% believed in evolution while 48% did not. But it’s WAY more interesting than that. When challenged to answer more targeted questions they found that 24% of Americans believe that both the theory of evolution and the theory of creationism are probably or definitely true. There’s a grid that breaks it down on the Gallup site.

Influence of Religion and Politics:

The graph shows the relationship between church attendance and response to the straightforward question of belief in evolution.

The group of Americans who attend church weekly — about 40% in this sample — are strongly likely to reject the theory of evolution. The group of Americans who attend church seldom or never — also about 40% — have the mirror image opinion and are strongly likely to accept the theory of evolution.

Republicans are much more likely to be religious and attend church than independents or Democrats in general. Therefore, it comes as no great surprise to find that Republicans are also significantly more likely not to believe in evolution than are independents and Democrats.

I would assert that this data implies that a majority of religious people (and Republicans by statistical correlation) appear to have impaired critical thinking skills in regards to the sciences related to evolution. Please, feel free to explain to me how my conclusion is incorrect.

Jesus Has Risen And Sees Shadow, Six More Weeks Of Global Warming Expected

22 03 2008

Merry Easter.  Silly Christians.

Quote Of The Day: Blaise Pascal

21 03 2008

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”

— Blaise Pascal, French philosopher, Pensees (1623-1662)

(credit: ffrf)

Quote Of The Day: Bruce Willis

19 03 2008

Bruce Willis was born on this date in 1955.

“Organized religions in general, in my opinion, are dying forms. They were all very important when we didn’t know why the sun moved, why weather changed, why hurricanes occurred, or volcanoes happened. Modern religion is the end trail of modern mythology. But there are people who interpret the Bible literally. Literally! I choose not to believe that’s the way. And that’s what makes America cool, you know?”

Bruce Willis interview, George magazine (July 1998)