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August 22, 2007

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Well, I guess you go to war with the prostylizers you have, not the ones you'd want.

And of course, when we are trying to win hearts and minds in Iraq, there's nothing like having soldiers who are already widely viewed as an occupying power trying to convert the local population in their spare time. Bleah.

It is an utter mystery to me how the situation in Iraq is not any worse than it is, given that these are the people running the war.

Headed by former kickboxer Jonathan Spinks.... The group has staged a number of Christian-themed shows at military bases, featuring athletes, strongmen and actor-turned-evangelist Stephen Baldwin.

A former kickboxer, strongmen and actor-turned-evangelist Stephen Baldwin?!!?

I'm putting together my own group of a former proctologist, circus clowns and Cinncinnati-mayor-turned-TV-talk-show-host Jerry Springer. We'll be sending white trash themed colonoscopy kits wrapped in Bozo wrapping paper.

John's back, Ugh, you don't have to carry that load all by yourself now :)

Anarch- heh. I wrote that first sentence and then almost wrote:

*cough*Thullen*cough*

But decided that I didn't want to push him too hard in his first week back, he might pull something.

In the interest of balance, the Pentagon also needs to cancel the delivery of pamphlets on dental hygiene authored by former heavyweight boxer Leon Spinks (the late?) and the audio tapes outlining walkie-talkie etiquette by actor and disciplinarian Alec Baldwin.

oww, geez that hurt!

Wow. It’s always something when those Baldwin boys are involved.

Yeah this is pretty bad. To be fair to America Supports You though they work with 270 organizations. I seriously doubt that they have a handle on what all of them are doing.

Some listed there are overtly religious. Hopefully OSU was the only one trying to bring on Armageddon.

"freedom packages"

But how will our soldiers get their RDA of freedom now?

But how will our soldiers get their RDA of freedom now?

By simply being in Iraq, of course, which corpses, er, courses with such freedom.

On a more serious note, since when has CNN started putting up pictures of children horribly disfigured by the Iraq war on their frontpage? They've done it twice today.

"freedom package"

Wasn't that how Christ Matthews described Bush in the flight suit?

Wasn't that how Christ Matthews described Bush in the flight suit?

Nice. For the second time in as many days I’ve snorted a liquid out of my nose reading something unexpectedly funny. My sinuses thank you…

I’ve snorted a liquid out of my nose

smart writing. more precision is probably unnecessary here.

I'm in favor of more pictures of children disfigured by the Iraq war on CNN and anywhere else. I think that as many people as possible need to see them. Maybe that's just me.

Well, this time it happened to be carbonated which happens to hurt a heck of a lot more… ;)

I have a quibble. Isn't snorting, by definition, an inward-moving action?

Hairshirt: I guess you are correct. But in my dotage I think of “snort” as an involuntary violent exhale out the nose. In my younger days? Well, let’s not go there…

No, no, sniffing is inward, snorting is outward. Unless, of course, one is "snorting" illicit pharmaceuticals, in which case actual snorting tends to be somewhat ineffective, not to mention messy. Not that anyone here is likely to have had their vocabulary corrupted with drug slang. Perish the thought.

Drugs are bad, m'kay?

not to mention messy

Not to mention expensive. So I hear anyway. Not that I would know. Something I read on the intertubes.

Doh! So after my contribution to the ACLU I just went from one watch list to another. Good going…

I'm in favor of more pictures of children disfigured by the Iraq war on CNN and anywhere else. I think that as many people as possible need to see them. Maybe that's just me.

I agree, just wondering why all of a sudden they're appearing now, and twice in one day.

How come Americans have to be careful about using the word "crusade" because it can mean "holy war", but are being xenophobic and ignorant when they hear "jihad" and think "holy war"? I'm just saying...

Mr. Schilling,

For what it's worth, the Dutch are allowed to use neither; only with clog-dancing may they refer to holy war at all.

. . .

Incidentally, the original post is much more disconcerting when one misreads "athletes" as "atheists." I spent a fair few seconds envisioning a very strange passion play in which an actor-turned-evangelist and his strongmen wrestle with the temptations of atheism.

Mike Schilling,

Americans don't have to be "careful about using the word crusade" *unless they don't want to leave the billion or so Muslims we *aren't fighting with in Iraq* with the impression that they all are next in our little "crusade" to "invade their countries, kill their leaders, and forcibly convert their citizens." If we *do* want to imply that, then by all means we should use proper language and call the war a crusade.

And, of course, no one is accusing us of "being xenophobic and ignorant" when we "hear jihad and think holy war." Sometimes particular muslims mean "holy war" when they say jihad and sometimes particular muslims mean "struggle." Like English, arabic has many words that do double duty under different circumstances. Context is key!

As a poster pointed out over at alicublog or somewhere today the phrase "al quaeda" means "the base" which means that whenever Al jazeera translates "Bush spoke to his base today" they probably say "Bush spoke to his al quaeda." This makes lots of sentences in our foreign policy look incoherent, of course, from the point of an arabic speaker since we can imagine a sentence which looked like this "President Bush spoke to al quaeda today and said that al quaeda needs to be destroyed. Al queda is evil. Al queda responded with applause and donations of money and promised to destroy Al queada."

aimai

This makes lots of sentences in our foreign policy look incoherent, of course, from the point of an arabic speaker

More incoherent than it sounds in the original Texan?

Strongmen? Maybe we can get one of these strongmen to take over and stabilize Iraq. Wasn't that one of the plans?

And, of course, no one is accusing us of "being xenophobic and ignorant" when we "hear jihad and think holy war." Sometimes particular muslims mean "holy war" when they say jihad and sometimes particular muslims mean "struggle." Like English, arabic has many words that do double duty under different circumstances. Context is key!

Yeah, but that material was in them there high falutin' English and Litrature classes that Real 'Muricans don't cotton to, no way, no how. It's all too close to dem funny ol' fine arts classes like paintin', musicin' and such---and we got rid o' them right quickly in th' past few years...

Rebecca, there's a Howard Waldrop story, "El Castillo de la Perseverancia", which reworks some medieval passion play to feature three luchadors against the World, the Flesh, and the Devil, appearing here as evil wrestlers. It's in the collection Going Home Again.

OCSteve, I admit to coming at this from an old-fashioned approach to volunteer coordination, but it seems to me that the armed forces could and should withhold approval and sanction until they've had a chance to check out what's being done in their names.

armed forces could and should withhold approval and sanction until they've had a chance to check out what's being done in their names.

Absolutely. It seems like such a basic concept that we have a marketing job to do in the Middle East.

The simple fact of being Americans doesnt cut it.

The Bush Administration: You'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and stupidity.

Ugh,
Ten Quatloos for the star wars reference.

aimai

The simple fact of being Americans doesnt cut it.

That does not to seem to have penetrated the head of this Administration.

aimai - thanks.

2 months until we bomb Iran. Bizarro World is on the case.">http://www.redstate.com/stories/war/when_are_we_going_to_admit_that_iran_is_at_war_with_a_sovereign_iraq_as_well_as_with_america">case.

And is it just me or is the MNF-I web page just one massive piece of propaganda? If that was you only source of news, you'd wonder why we're still there as everything has gone so well for so long.

It is an utter mystery to me how the situation in Iraq is not any worse than it is, given that these are the people running the war.

So true. Every time I see one of these stories, I ask myself "are we (as a country) really this stupid?" Then I drink another beer so as to not contemplate the answer. Now where's the remote?

I blogged a bit about this on one of my other projects, where I'm writing with several other folks about the idiosyncrasies of the Christian culture. While there's certainly a freaky, did-you-really-think-this-was-a-good-idea quality to it, I think it's mostly a product of profound tone-deafness, an unwillingness or inability to look at how certain things appear to those outside the ideological fishbowl.

Well, that and the fact that the makers of the Left Behind game probably gave them a couple hojillion copies for the price of shipping. That game sucked, and it sucked badly. Donating the remaining stock to someone was probably the best decision they could have made...

I admit to coming at this from an old-fashioned approach to volunteer coordination, but it seems to me that the armed forces could and should withhold approval and sanction until they've had a chance to check out what's being done in their names.
That makes sense, but also keep in mind that the organization answering the questions doesnt necessarily have to be very complete or very forthcoming. What if they're sending 'inspirational literature' and 'computer games' and various useful toiletries? While I think the Left Behind game is the Evangelical world's mee-too media nadir, I'd hate to see the military have to start poring over every book, game, and so on sent overseas.

Unless, of course, it turns out that the military knew exactly what was being sent over and there was an explicit decision made to do it... That'd be forehead-slapping and profoundly frustrating. But like any large organization, it's easy to let things keep on rolling until something obviously scarily wrong pops up.

Re MNF-I, I liked this headline:
"http://www.mnf-iraq.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13326&Itemid=128>Coalition Forces Kill An Estimated Three-to-Five Terrorists".

I would explain so much if Monty Python was in charge of our military strategy.

You know, I'm just not that bothered by a voluntary organization sending Bibles to soldiers in Iraq. Most likely the folks there will toss the Bible aside and dig deeper for the snacks and Chap-stick.

Or, not. Whatever.

This, however:

the apocalyptic computer game "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" (derived from the series of post-Rapture novels), in which "soldiers for Christ" hunt down enemies who look suspiciously like U.N. peacekeepers.

is one twisted piece of work. Both the game, and the fact that folks think it's appropriate to send it to US troops as entertainment.

On a lighter note, I'm now unable to clear my mind of the image of Michael Palin dressed as Cardinal Ximenez bursting into the room saying, "Nobody expects the Coalition Forces...!".

Thanks -

Russell, you forgot the "proselytizing material in English and Arabic". That's probably the worst bit, as far as I'm concerned. I might agree with you about the Bible, depending on the details of distribution. The "Left Behind" game is sick but at least theoretically might not do much harm for people who approach it as a joke. But giving troops Arabic-language Chick tracts to hand out to Iraqis is a phenomenally bad idea.

Russel, you haven't even seen the horror-larious part of Left Behind: the game. In the opening levels, the player gets to beat street musicians to death.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffeaton/484111114/in/photostream/

Russell, you forgot the "proselytizing material in English and Arabic". That's probably the worst bit, as far as I'm concerned.

Yes, I did, and I agree with your take on it.

In the opening levels, the player gets to beat street musicians to death.

Yes, but the player gets to beat them to death for Jesus!!

It's a sick, sad world, isn't it?

The fact of the matter is that a lot of street musicians would not go all that quietly. In real, as opposed to cartoon, life, some people fight back.

Thanks -

How else can we stop violins in the streets?

[not original, it was a New Yorker cartoon I think.]

ral,

We will need to drum up some support for that cause, or the street musicians will flute our attempts to solve this problem.

As a former street musician, I resemble that remark...
The thought of being beaten by coalition forces is mitigated by the increased level of attention by an 'audience'.

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