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OP/ED: With US or against US

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posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 12:53 PM
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Black or White. Right or Wrong. With us or Against us.

I am seeing a tragedy happening right now with some US members on this board. Members are giving themselves to Ignorance, and doing so happily. People are closing their minds and allowing others to make decisions for them. Minds are trying to seperate every issue into a binary choice, with us or against us.
 

Binary Thinking
I don't know where it started, but I know it isn't a new thing, its human nature to try and simplify things to make life easier for ourselves, we all do it. This manifests itself in religious teachings too, Heaven or Hell, everyone will eventually fall into these two categories. But the latest pandemic seems to be strongly related to President Bush's 'With us or Against us' comments after September 11 2001.

The problem is, there seems to be a whole lot of people who have taken that to heart, and found it so easy to treat everything as a binary choice that they apply this to all arguments. It is deeply concerning to me that this could be extrapolated to assume a decent percentage of the US population is doing the same.

Religious Analogy
I'm going to elaborate on the Religious analogy just for a minute, using Christianity as it is the religion I am most familiar with. Strict Christian teachings say that that to accept God into your heart and Christ as your saviour is the only way into Heaven. Anybody who doesn't, or anyone who deviates from this goes to Hell. Pretty much the same story in other religions, follow exactly and Heaven, deviate and its Hell.


War in Iraq
I think the phenomenon is most obvious in relation to the War in Iraq. But I'd like to preface this by giving my opinion of the War, and saying that I have no problem whatsoever with those who have differing opinions.


My Opinion:
I think we should have at least waited longer before invading, I think that it should have been far more obvious how difficult the job was going to be. I'm really not that fussed about the incorrect WMD intel. Bad intel is bad intel, and either way, there was a quite handy ulterior element to the plan. The idea that this may draw out terrorist networks. Not so much the chump footsoldier type terrorists, but the command and logistical networks (discussed on ATS once, but not this version of the board I think). Regardless, we are there now, and I do not think we should pull out until the job is done. We made the mess, we now have to deal with it.


However.

What I do take issue with are those (and we've all seen met or talked with some of them) who wish to discuss the War in Iraq, and also support the War, yet bring their solid binary mindset to the table. Those who think that any reporting, statement or person that isn't blatantly for the war, are therefore against the war. Then the further extrapolation is made that this therefore means that the reporting, statement or person is therefore against the US. Thus through binary thinking it becomes personal. Anti-US is labeled on anything that doesn't support the War in Iraq. It doesn't stop there. It continues, because if someone is Anti-US they are clearly a threat, therefore they must be attacked.

Yet it seems a lot of those who are the worst binary thinkers completely fail to see the sheer bloody ignorance that drives such thinking. Because even challenging the un-challengeability of the With us or Against us mindset is therefore against us, and something to be attacked.

Dont you get it?
Its one of the fundaments of a democratic society, the right to have conflicting opinions. Someone can disagree with you and not be your enemy. As humans we have disagreements all the time, every day. Disagreements at work, disagreements at home, disagreements over whats for dinner, disagreements over what we are going to watch on TV. But does that ever make the person who disagrees with you your enemy? If you wife/girlfriend does not want to watch football on saturday do you yell at her and accuse her of hating you?

Because this is exactly what is happening right now across this board, and I imagine around the world. Millions and millions of people, inside the US as well as out, disagree with the War in Iraq, and disagree with a lot of other actions taken by the US. But that does not mean they Hate the US or its citizens. Yet all they get in response are attacks and insults from those they are trying to reach out to.

Remember 9-11
The world does. Think back, there was outpourings of grief and support from pretty much every nation in the globe. The World was behind the US and was horrified by what happened at the WTC and Pentagon.

The World likes US people, what gets annoying is that any questioning of US policy being taken as a personal insult. This is leading to the conclusion that the western world is siding with the terrorists. This is utterly false. These people aren't disagreeing because they hate the US, they simply disagree with US policies.

9-11 Lost
We have seen how this binary logic will mean that any questioning of the War in Iraq will lead to the questioner being attacked. This is clear enough with the shameful way that France has been vilified. People are attacking France and they aren't even sure why they are doing it. The world sees this and doesn't like it. Any percieved mistakes and flawed decisions made are compounded a huge amount by the fact that anyone who disagrees is immediately labelled Anti-US and attacked.

Again going back to my own thoughts

My Opinion:
I like the US, and I think that whether the original decision to invade Iraq was right or wrong, we are there now and have to stick with it all the way to its conclusion. I think theres no excuse for the beheadings and other horrific attacks these terrorists are making on civilians in Iraq, and if I was the religious type, I would know that these terrorists have surely got a very special place reserved for them in Hell, and that satan cannot wait to greet them. I generally like US people, they might not always understand every joke I make, but those I have come to know are typically friendly and respectful. I am also aware that a hell of a lot of good US servicemen died during WWII while playing a big hand in defending my country. I respect that a great deal too.


I think that this is a fairly widespread consensus across the western world. Yet any attempt to even get an outsiders viewpoint across will be met with attacks and insults.

Supporting the War
Another thing has surfaced in the last few days (at least became more obvious to me) regarding supporting the War in Iraq. It seems there is a decent sized subset of supporters who think that any news out of Iraq that puts the war in a bad light should be suppressed. This is already happening to a large degree in western media. We hear very little of collateral damage or accidental killings, or even of coalition dead. But when the insurgents kill bystanders in a booby trap attack on the Coalition we hear about it. Every kidnapping and beheading we hear about. The information war is already being dominated by the Coalition.

But I think that legitimate supporters of the war should not care if the press had more freedom in reporting what is going on. By supporting the war you are choosing to support everything that happens as a result of the war. What pathetic ignorance is it to say you support the war then use the media to completely distance yourself from any of the bad things that happen. I support staying in Iraq and finishing the job, and that means plenty more horrific things are going to happen in the country. I'm not afraid to admit it and not afraid to hear reports of these bad things happening. Sure I am saddened by it, but I would think its weakness to hide from the facts and brutal reality. Those that hide behind their little walls of censorship have no right to claim to be supporting the war. Especially not to attack those who oppose it.

Grey Areas
Not everything is Black and White, not everything is Right or Wrong. Trying to force the world to fit into this twisted view is like trying to fit the square block through the round hole. We learnt in kindergarten that this doesn't work. Yet now millions of people are trying to do the same thing.

Someone disagreeing with you does not make him your enemy, its one of the fundaments of modern democracy and western society. However, continuing to call someone your enemy will eventually make it so. Someone who starts out as friendly to the US but concerned about the War in Iraq, will very quickly be put offside when they ask questions and challenge the War, only to be grossly attacked, rudely insulted, and dismissed as Anti-American. The statement becomes self-fulfilling. Therein lies the tragedy of this sort of thinking.




posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 01:01 PM
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Great post Kano -I hope it will make some people think before they start to argue


[edit on 19-11-2004 by jazzgul]



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 01:03 PM
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I totally get what you're talking about Kano. Great post! I wish more people would understand that someone whose opinion differs from your own is not your enemy.
It's really worrysome that some people are being branded as anti-American just because their opinions are different from someone else's.
I hope this trend starts turning around somehow.



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 01:08 PM
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Thank you for this excellent post you are 100% correct! Too bad most of these fools will completely ignore this thread...

[edit on 11/19/2004 by Lecky]



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 01:17 PM
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Very strong personal opinion and I respect it, some times people from the outside can see and analyzed things better than some that are born and raised here because they are more open minded.


I agree with some of your views and I kind of see others in a different light, but I guess that is what it makes us different.



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 01:29 PM
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very very good one. 2 thumbs up from me. this black & white thinking is a dangerous way of thinking, and has already resulted in perhaps the darkest years in human history. the sad thing is that a lot of people don't care about it, and choose the easy way of deciding and/or categorizing people, countries etc.

thanks to kano for this excellent post!



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 01:37 PM
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I respect what you are saying Kano, you know that I do, despite my grumblings on some of the issues that you speak of. I can and will respect most of everyone's counter opinion, beliefs, etc., but the 'attacking' that you speak of Kano is working and happening both ways, not merely from the angle that you are advocating.


seekerof



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 01:38 PM
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It's a direct line analogy to critical thinking; specifically, the lack there of.



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 02:08 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
the 'attacking' that you speak of Kano is working and happening both ways, not merely from the angle that you are advocating.

Of course it is, everything is a two-way street. But the very point I am trying to make is that at the moment any challenge to US position, or any questions raised over conduct in Iraq etc is considered an Attack, the poster is branded Anti American and a counter-attack is launched. Its terrible to watch. From the behaviour of some groups of people it would seem like the majority of ATS members are Anti US and want the US to burn. When we know that that is utterly ridiculous, I think I could count the members who truly want this without taking my shoes off. They aren't the ones being attacked on a regular basis.



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 02:15 PM
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Excellent post Kano.

Things have reached the same point as when discussing Israeli policies. You criticize Israel you're an anti-semite, you criticize the US you're anti-american.

No discourse is possible when this point is reached since the accusation shuts down debate. The accused must try and defend him/her-self thereby derailing the topic under discussion.

This is half the problem in my opinion. The other half of the problem is the inability to connect the dots. Each issue can be debated to death and points scored on both sides but when several related issues are looked at together the overall picture cannot be discerned because of the bickering.

The old saying of "can't see the forest for the trees" applies.

.



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 02:23 PM
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Not to put a damper on this thread because i do agree with some of what you said BUT, there are some things in this world that are 'Black and White'.
I.E. Rape, Murder, Child Molestation and others.

When people on ATS are trying to justify the actions of the 'terrorists' in Iraq, then yea, I guess I would label them Anti-American. What these 'terrorists' do is against everything America stand for...hence Anti-American.

I'll say it again, some things you are either FOR or AGAINST. There is no middle ground.
Not on all things!!!! BUT...on some things



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 02:51 PM
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Originally posted by HardCore American
Not to put a damper on this thread because i do agree with some of what you said BUT, there are some things in this world that are 'Black and White'.
I.E. Rape, Murder, Child Molestation and others.

When people on ATS are trying to justify the actions of the 'terrorists' in Iraq, then yea, I guess I would label them Anti-American. What these 'terrorists' do is against everything America stand for...hence Anti-American.

I'll say it again, some things you are either FOR or AGAINST. There is no middle ground.
Not on all things!!!! BUT...on some things


I agree with you here, but at the same time people have a hard time separating the individual who commits these acts and start labeling entire groups.

Biggest example I see on these boards...and it drives me INSANE:
terrorists = all Muslims/ all Arabs

This really needs to stop...as well as the "nuke the entire middle east" mentality that some people have on here. Come on people...wake the F up!

Deny ignorance right? Isn't that the point?

[edit on 11/19/2004 by Lecky]



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 02:53 PM
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Another issue that is starting to come up is that people are spouting off stuff in a rage. We all know when politics are involved, things get out of hand at the drop of a hat. People have to:

A) learn to try not to post too outrageously [ref. the endless stream of people who want to, quote, "turn the middle east into a sheet of glass"] or antagonistically,

B) learn to realize when a person is talking out their ass or in anger, and

C) learn to walk away.

Don't feed the trolls, children. We need to all calm down, take a deep breath, and approach this like rational, calm adults.

Or at least adults.

DE



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 02:56 PM
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Originally posted by Lecky
I agree with you here, but at the same time people have a hard time separating the individual who commits these acts and start labeling entire groups.

Biggest example I see on these boards...and it drives me INSANE:
terrorists = all Muslims/ all Arabs

This really needs to stop...as well as the "nuke the entire middle east" mentality that some people have on here. Come on people...wake the F up!


Ah, the sweet scent of a rational mind! Before the hordes and swarms of people attempt to flame you out, I present a gift:


You have voted Lecky for the Way Above Top Secret award.


DE



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 03:06 PM
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Kano,

Good post. Naturaly I disagree with some of it, agree with some of it. However, I would be remiss in pointing out that the "other" side is just a guilty. Any support of the U.S. is instantly labled as "mindless" or brain washed. Any positive story about the U.S. agenda is treated with the same distrust, scorn and general distain that you so elequently put forth. BT's cartoon is a case in point. BOTH sides are equally adamant and both sides are just as quick to point the finger.



and challenge the War, only to be grossly attacked, rudely insulted, and dismissed as Anti-American. The statement becomes self-fulfilling. Therein lies the tragedy of this sort of thinking.


As I said above anyone who supports the war gets the same treatment as well.

[edit on 11/19/04 by FredT]



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 03:09 PM
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Excelent post, Kano.

You said what I was thinking, and more, when I asked some time ago if the US felt the need to bo hated, but maybe I did not make myself clear at the time (as usual, its a bit dificult to put my thoughts in English).

Maybe this is a result of only having two political parties who rule the country.



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 03:16 PM
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Originally posted by Lecky


I agree with you here, but at the same time people have a hard time separating the individual who commits these acts and start labeling entire groups.

Biggest example I see on these boards...and it drives me INSANE:
terrorists = all Muslims/ all Arabs

This really needs to stop...as well as the "nuke the entire middle east" mentality that some people have on here. Come on people...wake the F up!

Deny ignorance right? Isn't that the point?

[edit on 11/19/2004 by Lecky]



I agree with you 99%

In all the topics related to terrorism that I personally have read I don't think I remember anyone labeling all muslims terrorists. Not saying it hasn't happened, am pretty sure it has, but its not often at all.

Labelling all Muslims terrorists is ignorance at its finest.

Labelling all American brainwashed anti-muslims is Ignorance at its finest.



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 03:21 PM
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I live in South Carolina where the muslim population is pretty low, most people here have never met or encountered one in their entire life.

Unfortunately I get to hear the arab "towel head" jokes and "all muslims should be shot" rhetoric a lot more than I would like...

Grrrr...rednecks!

If I could have it my way I would have all the racist rednecks as well as the disgusting barbaric terrorists shipped off to some remote island where they could all play together


[edit on 11/19/2004 by Lecky]



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 03:39 PM
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Kano,
another thought provoking post from you

Of course, there are some things I agree with and others I disagree with.
What I find most interesting is the responses. IMO, some folks are using black/white logic to agree with you. It seems they may have missed your point.


Originally posted by Lecky
Too bad most of these fools will completely ignore this thread...

Geeez, is it me of does this seem a bit judgmental??


Originally posted by LeckyGrrrr...rednecks!

If I could have it my way I would have all the racist rednecks as well as the disgusting barbaric terroristsshipped off to some remote island where they could all play together

And, lecky who would decide this. Try subbing other words for redneck and terrorist. Some would use the ethnic or religious group of their choice. It's just that kind of thinking that is part of what is wrong with this world.

(Quotes ed to include stress.)



[edit on 19-11-2004 by DontTreadOnMe]



posted on Nov, 19 2004 @ 03:48 PM
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I said if I could have it my way...so I would be the one to decide...

It was hypothetical ...relax



As for the judgmental comment, yes you are right that was...I hope to be proven wrong though!

Edit - Update: so far I see more anti-american pacifist threads being started...not looking good...I

Hate Against American Muslims at its finest

More War-monger crap...


[edit on 11/19/2004 by Lecky]



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