Monday, August 01, 2005

BRING ON THE BARBARIANS!

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

When the Roman empire rotted, they would talk patriotic and parade about, pretending to still be warriors, while hiring outsiders and barbarians to be the real fighters.

So it is in America.

From the Washington Post:
By jogging at sunset on the white sands of a palm-fringed beach here, 17-year-old Audrey O. Bricia is doing more than toning up for her next try in this island's Miss Philippines contest. She is getting in shape for United States Army boot camp.

Everett Kennedy Brown/European Pressphoto Agency, for The New York Times
Audrey O. Bricia, 17, in the Northern Marianas, sees the Army as a way to nursing school.
To gain an edge on the competition for enlistment, she reserved a seat two days in advance to take Army's aptitude test on a recent Saturday morning here. Safely ensconced in her seat, she watched an Army recruiter turn away 10 latecomers, all new high school graduates.

"I am scared about Iraq, but I am going to have to give something in return for those benefits I want," said Ms. Bricia, a daughter of Filipino immigrants whose ambition is to attend nursing school in California.

From Pago Pago in American Samoa to Yap in Micronesia, 4,000 miles to the west, Army recruiters are scouring the Pacific, looking for high school graduates to enlist at a time when the Iraq war is turning off many candidates in the States.

The Army has found fertile ground in the poverty pockets of the Pacific. The per capita income is $8,000 in American Samoa, $12,500 in the Northern Marianas and $21,000 in Guam, all United States territories. In the Marshalls and Micronesia, former trust territories, per capita incomes are about $2,000.
Yes, the money is a great lure. And if you survive, you might be able to become a citizen. The Romans used both lures, too. The key was to get them to patrol distant borders such as Hadrian's Wall in Scotland or the Teutoberg Forest or the Black Sea. If the barbarian legionaries survived, they could move to Rome and the did. Eventually, they took over even the Emperor's throne as well as everything and Rome collapsed.

From the Washington Post:
Thirty-two thousand Boy Scouts and thousands of visitors cheered wildly and brandished U.S. flags as President Bush appeared Sunday at the National Scout Jamboree, bringing a buoyant end to the turbulent first week of a camp-out that began in tragedy.

In a brief speech to a sea of excited khaki- and olive-clad boys spread over a vast field at the Army base here, Bush urged the Scouts to continue serving their country and offered his condolences to the families of four Alaska Scout leaders electrocuted last Monday while setting up a dining tent.

President Bush, greeting Boy Scouts onstage, praised the group for leading "America's armies of compassion." (By Rich Lipski -- The Washington Post)
"The men you lost were models of citizenship, leaders who stepped forward to serve a good and selfless cause," he said.

"You Scouts honor them by living up to the ideals of the Scouting they served," the president added.
So, being hit by lightning, heat stroke, heart attacks and electrocution while setting up dining tents is a selfless cause. This melding of war talk with goofing around, camping, is funny considering that virtually no American youth are lining up to die in Iraq for Bush. Like in the Vietnam war, they are content to wave flags and shout aggressive slogans and pat themselves on the back and think, "My gadding about here, goofing around in the sun, laughing and eating, is making America strong!"

And so it goes. You can bet, when these fine, "patriotic" boys are at the age to have their arms and legs blown off, they will find "compassionate" things to do like play violent video games rather than go to war. They will happily sit at home and let the barbarians and aliens fight for them.
After the cheers and chants of "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" died down, Bush praised the Scouts for their community service, singling out troops from Louisiana who collected five tons of food for food banks and Scouts from Nebraska who made flags for soldiers in Iraq.
See? Bush and the paramilitary Boy Scouts did it again! They are proud of making fucking flags! This is the "war support" they want to cheer wildly. They stay at home and manufacture flags and aliens from thousands of miles away die thousands of miles away, fighting for them.

Louisiana: a terrible state that provides virtually no services for the poor. A terrible place that the poor flee. I know what food collection is all about: people cleaning out the trash at home. Having volunteered to sort this garbage, I assure you, the poor are not grateful at all for what they get since it is often all out of date or really nasty stuff people buy but then hesitate to eat so they get rid of it.

In the food banks, much of this stuff is either discarded or sits on shelves for a long time. One of the things I used to do was take home the weirder stuff because I like odd things.

But the food collection game is a hoax. Foodstamps are much better which is why the right wingers especially in the South have worked hard to eliminate food stamps.

Anyway, wave that flag and scream, "USA, USA!" The barbarians are at the Gates.

23 Comments:

At 01 August, 2005 11:43, Anonymous cm said...

Which reminds me, Bolton got his recess appointment ...

 
At 01 August, 2005 12:22, Anonymous JasonB said...

tone it the hell down. seriously. I can't stand Bush but your rhetoric is truly stupid.

Your generalizations of Boy Scouts and anyone who plays *gasp* violent video games (Quick! Someone call Hillary! There's a violent video game here! ahhhhhhhh!) are ignorant and offensive.

Are there Boy Scouts who will grow up to be proud chickenhawks? you bet. But are there Boy Scouts that will grow up to be proud liberals too? you bet. I'm one of them.

Are there kids (and adults) playing violent video games that support the war but won't fight it? yup. But are there kids and adults that play those games for FUN but also were agaisnt the war from the beginning and are liberals? You better belive it.

But to listen to your rhetoric, anyone who is a Boy Scout, anyone who plays violent video games, anyone who doesn't conform to the Elaine Supkis Vision Of A True Liberal, gets mocked and derided and called names. And I suppose anyone from a red state is a straw chewin' Bush-votin' NASCAR lovin' racist chickenhawk redneck?

And kids getting electrocuted to death is not a topic worthy of your high and mighty mockery. You don't know those victims' views on politics or the war or anything. You're just making assumptions.

If anyone on the right was to say something like "Those blacks, they're just lazy liberals who don't love their country" you'd be up in arms. And remember when the Club for Growth generalized all Dean supporters as "latte drinking, volvo driving, New York Times Reading...." etc etc and how offensive liberals and Dean supporters foudn that? But you can generalize about Boy Scouts or gamers just fine. That's called hypocricy.

 
At 01 August, 2005 12:50, Blogger MJS said...

Something disconcerting about a sea of boys, all dressed in their little uniforms (Godwin's Law alert #1), repeating by rote pledges and affirmations...it makes this dark-roasted bean grinding, coffee-mate adding, coarse raw sugar stirring nerve-jangled patriot the willies (the pre-Clinton Willies).

Scouting as camping looks like fun, but when it veers into politics it can have an eerie militaristic aspect: toss in thousands of boys used as political props (Godwin's Law alert #2) for a mythic uber family and we caffeinated types began to search the skies for locusts.

Are all deserving of respect? I surely hope so. Are there forces at work here that prefigure the grown-up scouts in our military, who get blown limb from limb as pawns used in a game of global Risk as played by billionaires and their beholden? Will some lad pitch a tent in Falloujah, cross his heart and die for men who chart the future as if it were their plaything? It's already happened.

Go camping, sing songs, tie knots and collect arrowheads, but learn about those who would send you to kill or be killed. Knowledge is power: scout's honor.

+++

 
At 01 August, 2005 13:42, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BOY SCOUTS DONT DO ANYTHING FUCKING WORTHWHILE THEY ARE A BUNCH OF FACIST PUSSIES WITHOUT THE BALLS TO EVEN KILL BROWN PEOPLE

 
At 01 August, 2005 13:50, Blogger Elaine Supkis said...

Bush did IT again: praised mostly white kids for staying home instead of exhorting them to get their families to sign up to fight!

See? It is that simple. He deliberately equates flag making with being patriots minus the fighting! This is why the two articles are so jarring.

Namely, we are trolling other nations seeking people to fight for "America" while we sit at home, goofing off.

Further: the video games are very violent and the player in the article took great rejoicing in "kicking ass" but they are home and NOT in Iraq "kicking ass".

The parallels are painful and obvious.

Our violent gaming society is identical to Rome as it rotted.

 
At 01 August, 2005 13:52, Blogger Elaine Supkis said...

Seriously, anyone who "plays" violent games and then refuses to fight for their President is what? Why play at what can be real? This really is the heart of the disaster hitting our culture. This utter disconnect.

Why are super violent games fun?

Why?

Heh.

You can kill people as if you are a god. Iraq shows us that our godhood is not that much fun.

 
At 01 August, 2005 13:56, Blogger Elaine Supkis said...

Indeed, most vets I have known hate violent games. It makes them ill. They don't enjoy killing by proxie because they actually did it in reality.

Many of the soldiers coming back into America (and the 1/3 of them who are foreigners granted citizenship) will have to cope with the psychological damage real fighting inflicts upon the soul.

It isn't a lovely time, it really wrecks one's inner life and sometimes bursts forth in reality at home and then one's family and neighbors suddenly have to cope with being in a real time violent video game.

 
At 01 August, 2005 15:04, Blogger Liberal AND Proud said...

A fish rots from the head back.

 
At 01 August, 2005 15:34, Anonymous JasonB said...

Well Elaine, obviosuly what we need is YOU telling us what video games are acceptable. While you're at it, why dont' you just tell us what movies are acceptable as well? TV Shows too! And that violent music - someone's gotta put a stop to that! Not to mention books with scenes of violence - that just allows peopel to recreate violence in their heads without fighting for real!

And those Boy Scouts.... gotta do something about a bunch of junior high and high school kids that, 90%, just want to go camping with friends and learn soem survival skills and teamwork skills and stuff. Who cares if it's adults at the top using them as political props without their consent.... we should MOCK them when they get hurt!

Elaine, you come across as a major asshat and the very stereotype of the crazy liberal. Your aticles cheapen the good goals of OYE with foaming-at-the-mouth rhetoric.

I want you to say it - I want you to SPECIFICALLY call mea Chickenhawk because I have played and *oh no!* enjoyed vilent video games, even thoguh I'v ebeen agaisnt the war and this administration since day 1.

Because once you say that, you are becomign the type of liberal that's been killing the Democratic Party - the type that applies the You Have To be This Rabid To Ride This Liberal Ride standard and throws anyone out (or just mocks them) who doesn't adhere to your standards of what a liberal/Democrat/progressive should be.

 
At 01 August, 2005 15:42, Anonymous MonkeyBoy said...

Miss Everett Teen USA 2004 enlists in Army.

Miss Everett trades in gowns for battle dress.

I she can do it then why can't the Yellow Elephants? Is she more manly than them?

 
At 01 August, 2005 16:52, Anonymous Joe said...

Elaine, the comments about scouts are certainly disheartening coming from you. As a former Eagle Scout who quit during the gay fiasco, I can't condemn scouting entirely. On the whole their message of responsibility, compassion, service and the importance of a code of ethics (though I don't think one should necessarily subscribe to their particular code) are valuable lessons that a lot of people my age didn't hear from very many people. Unlike many organizations, they aren't trying to take over the country or damn anyone to hell. They're going about their business rather nobly, and I might add that they can't exactly go to war, since by definition, no Boy Scout is 18 years old.

 
At 01 August, 2005 17:11, Blogger Elaine Supkis said...

They are the kindergarden of the military. This is why they were founded and this is the reason they exist and why they have very strong ties with the government.

Trust me on this. If everyone really is interested, I can write for you all the history of the scouts and tie it in with the first Roosevelt and the Charge of the Light Brigade and White Man's burden and all that neato stuff.

Let's face it, scouts are a paramilitary organization for younger boys. Just like ROTC is for training OFFICERS who aren't yet in the military.

And again, read the entire article carefully. Pay attention to the words I write.

Then argue with me.

And damning people to hell: they don't do this they just do it without saying "damn" they just kick people out.

Also, about real wars: Hitler Youth. How old were the kids defending Hitler's bunker? 13? Look at Africa. Half the armies there are under 18. Look at WWII. More than one 17 fought in it, ditto WWI. Heck, the Civil War.

I just might post the biography of the only drummer boy to survive his unit's battle at Gettysburgh at the age of 15.

 
At 01 August, 2005 18:47, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chill out on the scouts, comn guys, Bush is a shithead coward liar but you are talking about little kids here. Cub scouts even

 
At 01 August, 2005 19:49, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh noes! AmeriKa is teh romanz empires! Say it aint so blow! Issa MArio games to a violent? cuz u steps on turtles and throw bombs>? I don want to be no ChickenHAWK! Save us liberalism, save us!

 
At 01 August, 2005 19:49, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went undercover at the National Young Republican convention as an official delegate, and got lots of dirt.

Check out my article on it if you’re interested,
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/8/1/194320/9921

 
At 01 August, 2005 20:56, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ELAINE WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU IF YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY RIGHT YOUR OWN POST OR PUT IT IN ONE COMMENT UNSTEAD OF FOUR THAT IS JUST DUMB AND SOMETHING I WOULD EXPECT FROM A NUMBNUT REPUBLICAN

 
At 02 August, 2005 03:31, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...Whereas pounding the keyboard with the Caps Lock on and without punctuation is what I'd expect from an asshat troll with shit for brains, regardless of political affiliation.

 
At 02 August, 2005 09:00, Blogger reason said...

Have you seen this?

http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/cheneys-boundless-iraq-profiteering/2005/07/30/1122144052021.html

Is it true - the source is not given but I know this guy is a serious and responsible journalist.

 
At 02 August, 2005 12:45, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ASSHAT SHIT FOR BRAINS IS WHAT I EPXECT FROM THE CRYPTOFACISTS AROUND HERE THEY ARE ALL FACIST REPUBLICANS AND I AM SICK OF THEM PROMOTING THERE FACIST EMPIRE AND THE WAR AGAINST BROWN PEOPLE BY ENCORAGING WAR WHEN THERE SHOULD BE PEACE

 
At 02 August, 2005 16:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Small correction, Hadrian's Wall is in england. The Boy Scouts were started by Baden-Powell, but as you have said, with military implications.

 
At 02 August, 2005 20:55, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHY THE FUCK IS ANYONE TALKING ABOUT HARDRIANS WALL?

 
At 03 August, 2005 15:02, Anonymous Jimmy said...

you are right boy scouts dont give a fuck about the poor they just want to lower the garbage bills of the filthy rich when poor people need good food not fucking canned food who the fuck eats canned food anyhow how about growing some balls and donating a gift certificate to Chili's

 
At 06 August, 2005 22:59, Anonymous Anonymous said...

F-A-G!, F-A-G!

 

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