Sunday, December 05, 2010

From the mouth of the babe

My son went to an Xmas event at church the other night. He told me that some girl was bothering him, so he called her a "dumb ass." Then he clarified that what he really called her was a "dumb asshole."

My first thought was, "Son a bitch, son, you can't say shit like that at church!!!"

How I wish I could speak the truth. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Thursday, December 02, 2010

It's the behavior, NOT the revelation about the behavior

I heard on the news on the way into work today that some folks are claiming that the Wikileaks cable release about the Yemeni President lying to his country about U.S. bombs dropping in Yemen might serve as a recruiting tool for Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. This immediately reminded me of when I worked with substance-abusing felons...

Part of my job as a counselor was to challenge them about their behavior and to encourage them to be honest about any behavior that violated the rules of the treatment center. This was in keeping with the treatment philosophy of "honesty is integral to recovery from substance abuse." If they admitted to a violation, however, they would receive a consequence. Needless to say, it was indeed challenging to get them to fess up. What was interesting was their main reason for NOT fessing up; it is essentially the same thing that is happening with the above situation.

Their argument was that being honest (i.e., fessing up) would cost them...and indeed in one sense, it would and it did. As such, it was in their best interest to lie. I pointed out that this was in fact incorrect. It was not their HONESTY that resulted in the consequence, it was their BEHAVIOR that resulted in the consequence. In other words, it was not the revelation about the behavior that was consequential, it was the behavior itself.

Put simply, don't do stupid shit and you don't have anything to lie about; you can in fact be honest with people about what you have been doing.

Who knew that people in power could act like felons?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

( Some comments I made at an Honors Reception)

Beware the Glittering Generality

I want to start by asking you to consider the following three statements from three different individuals, all made within the last decade…

1) “I think our core businesses are extremely strong. We have a very strong competitive advantage. Of course, we're now transferring this very successful business model and approach to a lot of new, very large markets globally.”

2) "The fundamentals of our economy are strong,"

3) "There is a reasonable chance that the biggest part of the housing correction can be behind us in a number of months -- I'm not saying two or three months but in months as opposed to years,"

Now before I tell you who made these statements and when, I want to ask if you noticed any similarities among them? Aside from their assessment of the economy and/or their business?

If, when asked to notice similarities, you thought of the use of the words strong, successful, competitive, correction, advantage, all different in form, but similar in type (they all speak to something that is good, a “virtue”) then you are on to something. The question is, of course, what are you onto? The answer is…propaganda. And more specifically, a specific form of propaganda termed, Glittering Generality.

I can hear some of your thoughts (Sociologists are imbued with psychic powers, so beware what you think in our presence) Propaganda you say? In America! In the 21st century! Nyet! Can’t be so! You’re lying!

Um, yeah, afraid not that I am lying and afraid that what that is…is propaganda. In America…in the 21st century…so common…so much a part of our culture…so integral to the discourse of our culture (especially political discourse)…that we don’t even notice it.

And why should we notice? Very few of us have ever been educated about propaganda. We might hear about it and the word might conjure up images of soldiers with rifles, charging a hill or decrying bad habits during wartime, but most of us have never been educated on recognizing the more subtle, linguistic, discursive forms…the forms that dominate our social world.

Believe it or not, there was, at one time in our national history, a brief 5 year period during which a concerted effort was made by a national organization to do precisely that…to educate the general public on propaganda in general, and seven specific forms it takes, in particular.

This work was conducted by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis, Inc. A non-profit organization founded in the United States in 1937. Its aim was to educate the general public on recognizing and then refuting propaganda. It produced pamphlets, newsletters, even a few books, all intended to raise public awareness about propaganda, which they defined as

“…expression of opinion or action by individuals or groups deliberately designed to influence opinions or actions of other individuals or groups with reference to predetermined ends.”

Or to put it another way (my words)

“Specifically designed linguistic and visual efforts to rouse people to respond in precise ways without requiring their conscious acknowledgement”

Or perhaps, even simpler…getting people to do stuff without thinking about what they are doing.

Now, as I mentioned, the institute actually identified seven forms of propaganda. Time does not permit me to explicate each form, but briefly, we have:

Glittering generality

Name-calling (So and so is a communist, socialist, Marxist, etc.)

Transfer (all members of the Tea Party are patriots)

Testimonial (Wear Hanes underwear because Michael Jordan does!)

Bandwagon (Don’t be the last one to join! Have! Get!)

Card-stacking (Gay marriage will destroy the moral fabric of America!)

Plain folks (You betcha! I’m not a witch, I’m you!)

All of these share several features...

First, they are designed to shape public opinion

Second, they are designed to inhibit consideration, i.e., thinking

Third, they are designed to get people to respond in specific ways

Fourth, recipients (i.e., the public) are not supposed to notice that they have been designed nor are they supposed to notice their effects; they are simply supposed to respond.

Powerful stuff, eh?

So what about the statements that I started this with? What was the form of propaganda they employ? Oh, yes, as mentioned, they use something called, Glittering Generality, which is:

“…associating something with a ‘virtue word’ [it] is used to make us accept and approve the thing without examining the evidence.”

Let’s hear those statements again and this time listen for the “virtue words,” the Glittering Generality

1) “I think our core businesses are extremely strong. We have a very strong competitive advantage. Of course, we're now transferring this very successful business model and approach to a lot of new, very large markets globally.”

2) "The fundamentals of our economy are strong,"

3) "There is a reasonable chance that the biggest part of the housing correction can be behind us in a number of months -- I'm not saying two or three months but in months as opposed to years,"

Did you hear them this time?

Remember, I pointed them out earlier; they are:

strong, successful, competitive, correction, advantage

Notice that they all are “virtuous” and suggest “good” things… strong, successful, competitive, correction, advantage

These are things that we all want, right? Only a fool would not want them!

Do you see how they almost immediately stop any questions, any discussion, any consideration of their accuracy? We are supposed to take the people who said them at their word. We are supposed to say, “Okay, nothing to worry about, we can relax…”

The problem is that at the time each one of these statements was uttered, there WAS something to worry about, things were not going “swimmingly.” Who said them and when?

The first, was something Ken Lay, CEO of Enron said during a conference call with employees right before Enron tanked.

The second statement was made by John McCain during his campaign for Presidency at the beginning of the financial crisis, and

The final statement was made by Hank Paulson, Treasury Secretary during the Bush Administration at the start of the housing crisis.

And how was the public supposed to respond when hearing these statements? Were they supposed to question them? To challenge them? To attempt to refute them? It doesn’t seem so; rather, it seems that they were uttered in an attempt to allay any fears about what was occurring to our economy.

So, why talk about propaganda? Why give examples of glittering generality? Is it to bring everybody down? Poke our society in the eye? No. It is a small attempt to continue the work started by the IPA back in 1937. A brief, however limited, endeavor to educate us about the efforts of other people to direct our attention, our thinking, and ultimately, our behavior. It is to increase critical analysis of social discourse and social interaction. It is to invite everyone to develop a healthy skepticism about what is being said by whom and perhaps most importantly, WHY something is being said. Our world has always needed well-educated, thoughtful, people. We need those same kind of people today. We desperately need a well-educated public in this country. We have a future that is like so many other futures of years past…uncertain. We need to take action to make sure that all people are prepared to respond effectively to that uncertain future, to respond in ways that will ensure a better world for all of us, to increase the chances of us individually and collectively living to our fullest.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Building character for whom?

Just dawned on me that the "build's character" adage has been usurped by corporations. Historically, it made sense to work hard and build character because the individual benefited from that labor. Today, however, it is the corporation that reaps the rewards from the sacrifice of the individual.

Hmm, that sounded kind of Marxist...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

PETA and Propaganda Analysis

I recently became interested in the study of propaganda and more specifically the analysis of propaganda in the media and in written/verbal discourse. In searching for sources on propaganda and the analysis of same, I came upon materials developed by the Institute of Propaganda Analysis, Inc. (IPA) This organization, established in 1937 (and dissolved in 1942) in response to the recognition of the impact that propaganda had on populations during the first World War and subsequently in the development of public relations, advertising, and marketing, identified seven techniques that propagandists use to influence individual and group behavior. Six of the techniques are listed here (name-calling, glittering generality, testimonial, transfer, plain folks, bandwagon); the seventh, card-stacking is defined as “…the ordering of facts or falsehoods, illustrations or distractions or distortions, logical or illogical statements, in such a sequence that the best or worst possible impression will be made (Lee & Lee, 1939).” I wanted to see if there was any evidence that any/all of these techniques were still in practice today, some 70 years after their identification. I discovered that they were; in fact, I think it is reasonable to conclude that they dominate much of the political, marketing, advertising, public relations discourse that we are immersed in today.

One example of their application comes from an analysis of a document on the PETA website; itis an argument for the recognition of animal rights. I used a qualitative analysis software package to identify any uses of six of the seven techniques (I conducted this analysis before I learned about the technique of card-stacking; primary source material on the seven techniques developed by the IPA is difficult to obtain). I developed codes (a methodological element of content analysis) for each of the six techniques; they were: PF (plain folks), Tran (transfer), GG (glittering generality), Test (testimonial), BW (band wagon), and NC (name-calling). A screen shot of the coding of the PETA document using the software is below:

Using one of the features of the software package, I was then able to determine the frequency with which each of the codes appeared in the document; this is represented by this graph:

As you can see, the techniques of transfer and glittering generality were used most often. The reason why is probably due to the nature of the argument. Recall that the document is attempting to argue for recognition of animal rights. In other words, the argument is attempting to suggest that animals have rights just like humans have rights. As such, one would expect seeing the technique of Transfer used as there are repeated concerted efforts to get the reader to equate animal rights with human rights, i.e., transfer the notion of inalienable rights, historically associated with humans to animals. Similarly, Glittering Generality is used to make the Transfer easier. This is accomplished by associating “virtue” words that are normally used in reference to human beings with animals. In fact word, “right” is an example of Glittering Generality all by itself.

From this analysis, it is apparent that the propaganda techniques identified by the IPA are still alive and well.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Reality is relentless

I have been on anti-depressants on and off for the last fifteen years (mainly on). During the summer, when I am not teaching, I will stop taking them to give my body a bit of a rest. I am doing that this, summer, too. I have been off for four weeks or so. What I have noticed is that reality, the actual experience of life, is intense; in your face, 24-7. It is not unbearable, but it is relentless. I could start taking them again for some relief, but I no longer want relief; rather, I want freedom. I know that if I persist, I will learn to live with all of the sensations of life. When I am comfortable in my own skin, I will be free. I guess relentless is how it is going to be from now on. I need to learn how to ride it and not get involved with it; detachment is the word, I await the result.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Buddha says...

That we have six sense organs...eyes, ears, nose, tongue, touch and...mind. So those thoughts that run through my head are just sensory data...they are not me. Cool.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Humans are verbs...

Not nouns. Their is no listener, there is only listening. There is no thinker, only thinking. There is no -er, only -ing.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Freedom isn't free...

It's highly regulated. Posted this notion on my Facebook page and got into a cyber shouting match with a friend of mine. Some conditioning is very hard to overcome (for both of us).

To me, it seems patently obvious that we are not truly free in the U.S., despite claims to the contrary. I understand that power of conditioning, but this seems like a fairly mundane observation. We cannot do “as we please” in this country (or any other for that matter). Of course, we can do some things, but if freedom means the ability to engage in behavior without consequences or fear of consequences, then no one is free. The physical environment limits our freedom...I am “free” to walk through a wall, but I will be stopped as soon as my body makes contact with it. People don't seem to have a problem understanding this one.

What is more intriguing and apparently much harder to see, is how we are regulated by our social environment, too. Funny thing...many people claim to dislike the federal government and all of the regulations on our lives (I being one of them), but we gladly regulate each other (“Hey, cover your mouth when you sneeze!”). Prime example is our wearing of clothes. I don't know the history of clothing, but I suspect that it originally was borne out of body decoration and/or necessity for protection against the elements. Either way, today it is a requirement, not an option, when we are out in public. Today, it seems the reason we are required to wear clothes has nothing to do with either decoration, nor protection, but to cover up our “privates;” (after all, there are laws against going nude in public) again, absurd...who has never seen him or herself without clothes on? Are we unaware of what we look like nude? Similarly, I would suspect that at a fairly early age (especially if one has siblings) one sees a person of another gender nude. So, really, is there a need to cover our “privates” when a) we all have them and b) everyone has seen at least their own and in all likelihood, someone else's too? Sure, there are situations in which nudity is “legal” (truly an odd idea...our bodies being, “legal”), but we learn at an early age that we “...have to put on [your] clothes before leaving the house.”

Of course, the prime irony is that we have made the culture that we live in. We may have little control over who gets elected to write our laws (We don't get to “choose” our candidates, they are chosen for us and we get to vote for whomever is left after the weeding out process), but we sure do like to vote for regulatory legislation. To be sure, not all regulation is bad, and some of it makes sense in terms of protecting ourselves and each other; but to claim that we are free or that we are the “free-est” country on earth (whatever that means) is at best inaccurate and at worst a nice tool to get people to act against their own best interests.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Let's see, where was I?

On the road to perdition or was it liberation? It was both, that's right.

I've noticed just how insane my (I'll keep it local) brain is. There is absolutely nothing wrong in my life at any given point in time, yet if the activity and resulting emotional sensations in my brain were the sole source of evidence, I would be convinced that my life was terrible, horrible, really no good. Not me, per se, but my life. Astonishing how brains become conditioned and retain that conditioning.

The upside (I suppose) is that the neural insanity prompts me to be free of it. Not simple relief from (which is always temporary), but freedom from forever. There are many who have taken action to achieve a similar freedom, but I am not interested in ending my life. That is not what I am talking about. Due to karma, God's grace, serendipity, whatever, I KNOW that there is an alternative that can provide that permanent freedom. I don't know much about it and knowing about it is really irrelevant. What is relevant are the actions that I can take to align this body with it. Challenging? To be sure. But not challenging like many, many other people are challenged on a daily basis (my life is good, remember? I AM one of the lucky ones). It seems to be the most (at least right now) compelling task before me; I am lucky that it is this way.

So, how do I know that such an alternative exists? Because I trust what certain people have told me and continue to tell me. These people are incapable of lying. First is my (Divine) Mother; there is absolutely no way in hell the She could, nor ever would, lie to me or anyone else. I know, I have looked Her in the eyes and She has returned the look and when you peer into infinite patience, compassion and love, you are more than convinced. Second, Eckhart Tolle; another person incapable of telling a lie. Where Mother loves me no matter what I do, Eckhart explains the freedom that I seek and does it in an approachable, understandable way (for me). All sanity, all freedom.

The others...the Buddha, Christ, Adi Shankara...have shown me the way out and God does know that the day will come when I step through that door.

In the meantime....where was I? On the road to perdition or on the road to liberation?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010 of the scared shitless

Went to the SS office today to order a new SS card as I lost mine over 10 years ago. While waiting in the lobby, my wife calls me on my cell phone. I answer and start talking to her. The security officer comes over and tells me that I can't talk on the cellphone in the lobby and I need to go outside if I want to continue the conversation. I hang up.

It comes my turn to actually meet with a SS employee, I am polite, but not talkative. She starts asking me about my weekend, where I went, why the conference I went to was over Memorial Day, etc. This, of course strikes me as odd because I have not noticed any of these people (including her) carrying on this kind of conversation with anyone who has gone before me. Again, I am polite, but not real forthcoming.

I ask her why you can't use cell phones in the lobby. She looks quizzical and says she doesn't know why. She then offers a possible reason...people might get distracted (from what?? the stunning interior of a federal building?). I tell her that there are no signs posted about no cell phone use in the lobby. She pauses and says, yes there is one by where I had to get a number (to wait in line to see her).

On the way out, I notice the sign she is talking about. It is one of those that someone prints off of a PC, about 8.5 X 11 that has a cell phone with a crossed-circle over it. It is barely noticeable. There is another, similar sign that indicates that you cannot take any photos in the building either.

Now, let's see...who paid for the construction of that building? Oh, that's right we did. So who owns that building? Oh that's right, we do. So we pay for and own a building where we can't use a cell phone and take pictures of the interior (as stunning as it is) and the people who work there don't know why we can't use the cell phone to talk to anyone. I figured if I ask why we couldn't take pictures, I would end up in hand-cuffs for asking too many questions.

America, once the land of the free, now land of the scared shitless and suffocatingly regulated.

Monday, May 31, 2010


Definition: The collective outcome of the BP spill...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

James Cameron...epic tool

My review of Avatar (from a couple of days ago): Cruel, exploitive fantasy; some reasons 1) takes a "white" guy to save the indigenous people, 2) the indigenous people are victorious in the end, 3) military personnel are depicted as blood-thirsty dumb asses. Cameron is a tool. He should have just made a history of dominant-minority group relations throughout the world, that would have made him LOTS of money as there is plenty of blood, destruction and misery...not fantasy, either. What a colossal waste of money and time at the expense of indigenous people everywhere. Anyone with courage will just read, Bury my heart at wounded knee (Brown) and My life on the plains (Custer) at the SAME time -- no one has the courage to make those two into a movie because they are TOO !@#$% real.

Update (today)...Let's see...why the f*ck does James Cameron have to make a g-d cruel, exploitive fantasy when it is playing out before our very own eyes, again? Oh, that's right, fantasy makes money and reality...makes people wonder...can't have that, right?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's all about timing...

Doesn't it just send chills up your spine when you are peaking on LSD, standing in the kitchen of a suburban home with your college roommate and his mom, thinking about synchronicity and the timing of things when the mom turns to you, looks you straight in the eye and with a seemingly manic smile on her face says, "It's all about timing, isn't it, John?"

What was that phrase? "Fucking eh?"

Why free markets are neither

We'll start with the easy one...the idea of there being such things as “markets.” There are not, nor have there ever been any such things known as “markets” – there are people, period. A person is not a market, nor is a gaggle, nor a murder, nor a herd of people a market. There is a simple proof of this...if a “market” was a real thing, it would have, in the very least, observable properties (like people do), it does not. Subject it to this simple test; ask yourself if you can do any or all of the following to something called, a “market”: See it? Touch it? Taste it? Smell it? Hear it? If you think you can do any one or all of these things to something called a “market” you either need medication or you are an idiot – your choice.

So, first such thing as markets. If there are no such thing as markets, it is not possible
for them to be subject to any kind of condition known as “free,” or any other condition for that matter (mixed, planned, etc.).

Second one...”free.” If we have determined that a “market” cannot be free because, first and foremost it does not exist, then it cannot be “free” either. Something that has no existence...has no existence and cannot be subjected to any kind of condition (re-read the first two paragraphs if you are having trouble with this notion of something that does not exist being subject to any set of conditions.) People, however are another story.

People do have properties and as such, are subject to various conditions, so presumably, they could be subject to a condition known as “free.” They are not free, however, nor will they ever be. It makes no matter where they live, where they have been raised, nor who has done the raising. Why? Because anyone who has been raised with, or by, other people has had (and continues to have) their behavior shaped by those other people. Put simply, they have been trained. Specifically, they have been trained to respond to the environmental conditions that surround them. Any being that can be or is, trained, is by definition not free. A person who has not been trained by other people is known as a “feral” person and the evidence for the existence of such a person is sufficiently, if not completely, lacking. Feral people (presuming that they do, or have ever existed) have been trained too, just not be other people. Feral people have been trained by their physical or non-human environment. The simple fact is that any organism, any animal, cannot and does not survive without training. Since animals are only capable of responding to their environment, they are not free; the environment sets the standards, the animal responds.

Simple test again...try washing your dishes without any clothes on, with no one else in your house. Try NOT eating your favorite food...ever. Try being honest with your boss. Try NOT working to earn money to by food, to pay bills, to pay a mortgage, to pay for your cell phone. Try any and/or all of these and you will discover, quickly that you are not free. You CANNOT be free; in fact it is because of your lack of freedom that you CAN read, think, tell yourself that this is complete bullshit and the author is a communistic-fascist (no, I am NOT Dick Cheney), feed yourself, etc.

And if anyone thinks that markets are free (regardless of any of the above), bankers, CEO's, and world leaders sincerely thank you for this belief as it fills their coffers on a daily basis. In fact, it is these folks who love it when those of us who are not in privileged positions like they are talk about how much we want free markets.

So, no free. Just people, just training, just exploitation of that training.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How it went down

Powerbrokers: Okay, here's the deal. You get to be President, but we get to do whatever the fuck we want.

Dubya: Cool.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Heresy? I think not

Sent the following to Common Dreams, but they didn't publish...I hope that they are not getting to the point where one cannot criticize "progressives" -- seems to run counter to progressive principles.

"Murder" in Iraq? A response

I, like many others, became aware of the military gunship video of the shooting of journalists, other civilians, and children in Iraq, released by Wiki-leaks earlier this week . I, too, was moved and horrified by the audio and video of the incident. I would hope that anyone with a conscience would have a similar response.

I differ with others, however, by characterizing this event as "murder" and by placing the blame for this incident solely on the shoulders of the men in the gunship and their superiors. Normally not one to buy the rhetoric of "it was taken out of context," I think this clearly applies in this instance. To be sure, people were killed who shouldn't have been and this is, of course, tragic. The issue of why they were killed can only be understood by orienting the actions of those who engaged in the killing within the proper context, however. Note that I am not attempting to deny the fact that the killings occurred, nor that someone should not be held accountable. Rather, I am saying that there should be someone (or rather some "ones") held accountable, but unfortunately, many are misidentifying who those are. My reasons for this claim follow.

First, it should be remembered that our soldiers are trained to successfully kill whomever has been identified as the enemy. Since the Vietnam war, they have been trained much more effectively to kill than ever before. This should come as no surprise to anyone as presumably, we have the armed forces to protect us and they do this by ensuring that when called upon, the threat is eradicated as efficiently and completely as possible. Put simply, they do this by being very good at killing. They are not more bloodthirsty than anyone else, they are better trained. As repugnant as this may sound, this is what we expect from our soldiers; we want them to be able to kill others at a higher rate than they are killed.

Second, they are trained to discriminate between the enemy and civilians, but since Vietnam, clear discrimination about who the enemy is has proven to be much more difficult. Why? Because many times the enemy does not wear a uniform. We are all familiar with the evidence that in most armed conflicts of recent memory, "the enemy," oftentimes are regular people who wear regular clothes. This is perhaps especially true in our conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Does incorrect discrimination occur, then? Absolutely. Should we simply accept that it does? That it is part of of war? No. We should continue to improve our soldiers' ability to discriminate. Easy to say, not easy to do. We should also, however, appreciate the tenuous situation that we place our soldiers in when we ask them to fight an enemy that is not easily identified.

Third, our soldiers are getting killed...daily. I have never been in an armed conflict, nor have I ever been in the military. I have read numerous accounts of those who have and as such, I understand that despite the fact that they have been trained to kill others, they are still human. They still feel fear, terror, frustration, powerlessness. They still experience these feelings (at rates and intensity levels most of us have never known) and yet they continue to do what we have asked them to do. To say we put our "troops in harms way" is nonsense. Our troops are commanded to fight and they are expected to continue to fight until they are ordered otherwise. And in addition to our expecting them to successfully dispatch the enemy, we expect our troops to die for us. We expect them to expose themselves to daily attempts to be killed. We expect them to witness the horrible destruction of their friends.

We expect them to do all of these things, while feeling fear, terror, frustration, powerlessness at levels that most of us could not withstand for a few moments, let alone for days on end, and then we hold them to a higher standard when they err. Of course the error is tragic; how can it not be given the situation? But are the women and men who make the error solely to blame for it? I don't think so, because they are not in control of the situation; they are only responding to the situation as they assess it (initial reports stated that the civilians had no weapons; more recent reports stated that several of the citizens were carrying AK-47's) and as they have been trained to respond...which is no different than anyone of us.

While it seems that some soldiers in the gunship were callous and devoid of empathy, I would suggest that really what occurred was that they simply had put their humanity on hold (In fact, I would argue that part of their training on how to effectively kill others required that they put their humanity on hold). I would suspect that when they return to civilian life, many of them will desperately regret this and perhaps other behavior they exhibited while on the battlefield. I have heard from many returning soldiers that they regret their mistakes, but they have to live with them, just like most of us do. Most of us, however, are fortunate enough to not have to make mistakes in such a hellish arena where the consequences are irrevocable, chilling, and tragic.

So, who is ultimately responsible for this? I strongly suggest it is the leaders who sent our troops to Iraq in the first place; the Bush administration and the feckless members of Congress who failed to stop them. They are the ones who commanded our troops to engage in this action, they are the ones who are responsible for all of the death in Iraq and they are the ones who will undoubtedly escape any consequence for any of it. Prosecuting the soldiers on the gunship for murder only serves to provide those whom are truly guilty more reason to sleep easier at night as they are not the ones who have to be held to account for their actions before the world.