Monday, August 02, 2010

Lack of self-awareness watch

Emboldened by the fact that U.S. troops have gone a whole four months without being caught digging bullets out of the bodies of Afghan women they murdered, Admiral Michael Mullen, the top ranking U.S. military official, took to the airwaves Sunday to denounce Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for releasing more than 90,000 documents chronicling the failing war effort in Afghanistan:
"Mr. Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family."
Worth noting: A little over a year after Mullen was appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in October 2007, U.S. warplanes "bombed a wedding party, killing 37 people, including 23 children and 10 women," as USA Today recounts. Meanwhile, more than 740 U.S. troops have died in that time. So who is it again that has the blood of some young solider or Afghan family on their hands?

(h/t John Caruso)


  1. Anonymous11:15 AM

    everybody who has hands.

  2. Brian Drake10:21 AM


    Nonsense. The people who say "we all have blood on our hands" are not only logically unsound in their assertion (please, prove me wrong), but they are complicit (intentionally or not) in aiding the constant attempt by those who actually do have blood on their hands to muddy the moral waters in an effort to escape personal responsibility for the blood they have actually spilled (or advocated spilling).

  3. Anonymous1:40 PM

    everybody who has hands and pays taxes.

  4. Brian Drake2:37 PM

    Nobody "pays" taxes. Taxes are extorted from people under threat of imprisonment and ultimately death if resistance is offered (the one exception would be anyone, should they exist, who voluntarily pays an amount in excess of what is demanded of them).

    People don't "pay" taxes anymore than one "pays" a mugger who offers the choice "your wallet or your life" at gunpoint.

    Those who have taxes taken from them by threat of force are no more corporately guilty for how that money is used than the victim is for how the mugger uses the content of their wallet.

    It is a well-established point of law and reason that contracts made under duress are null and void. Remove the threat of violence from taxation and then get back to me on how many people "pay" taxes. As long as the threat of violence is a factor, no consent can honestly be inferred from compliance.

    There absolutely is a large number (majority probably) of "common" "taxpayers" who are complicit in the crimes of their government and thus do have blood on their hands. But that can only justly be determined on a case-by-case basis. Payment of taxes is not a legitimate indicator of anyone's consent to the state under which they are subjugated, and therefore no evidence of their guilt over the wars (or other forms of aggression) that state conducts against others.

    You may spew your "we are all guilty" claptrap all you want, but the accusation fails any test of logic and burden-of-proof.

  5. Anonymous3:15 PM

    feeling a little guilty about what my taxes are buying. never considered not paying up. too inconvenient to wrangle with IRS.

  6. Minor Player3:36 PM

    From today's post by Arthur Silber (blog linked at right of FDichot page) is something bearing on Nonny v. Drake:

    "In her essay discussed in the second part of this series, Hannah Arendt argues that what we commonly call obedience cannot, in the political context, properly be regarded as obedience at all. In fact, it is support -- for a country's constitution, its laws, and its panoply of requirements concerning how we act."

  7. Brian Drake6:32 PM

    I perused Silber's comments which included excerpts from Arendt's essay. This first sentence (from the excerpt):

    "If I obey the laws of the land, I actually support its constitution..."

    has been brilliantly refuted by Lysander Spooner in "No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority", which can be found for free online in a variety of sources (Google is our friend).

    Perhaps there is a semantic game at play; is "obey" the same as "comply"? Do I "obey" the mugger when I turn over my wallet to avoid being harmed or do I simply "comply" with him?

    Either way, the main point is that whenever violence, or its threat, is present in an interaction, consent is not logically and honestly derived from the compliance/obedience of the victim. If you want to see what a person truly chooses, remove the threat of violence.

    "The people of this city are so charitable. I keep asking for their wallets and they simply give them to me. What a generous and charitable group of people. They must really support how I spend the money" says the mugger, holding his gun in concealment lest the absurdity of his statement be immediately exposed.

  8. Anonymous7:32 PM

    everybody who has hands and "pays" taxes and votes.