Winning Hearts and Minds

345-muslim-outrageWe will never finish cleaning up after the Dear Leader:

US soldiers have been encouraged to spread the message of their Christian faith among Afghanistan’s predominantly Muslim population, video footage obtained by Al Jazeera appears to show.

Military chaplains stationed in the US air base at Bagram were also filmed with bibles printed in the country’s main Pashto and Dari languages.

If you can tell me something that pisses Muslims off more than telling them their god sucks, I’d like to hear it.

 In one recorded sermon, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, is seen telling soldiers that as followers of Jesus Christ, they all have a responsibility “to be witnesses for him”.“The special forces guys – they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down,” he says.

I am sure the Taliban are just fine with that.

The footage, shot about a year ago by Brian Hughes, a documentary maker and former member of the US military who spent several days in Bagram, was obtained by Al Jazeera’s James Bays, who has covered Afghanistan extensively.

Bays also obtained from Hughes a Pashto-language copy of one of the books he picked up during a Bible study lesson he recorded at Bagram.

A Pashto speaker confirmed to Bays that it was a Bible.

Again, my tax dollars at work.

It is not clear if the presence of the Bibles and exhortations for soldiers to be “witnesses” for Jesus continues, but they were filmed a year ago despite regulations by the US military’s Central Command that expressly forbid “proselytising of any religion, faith or practice”.

But in another piece of footage taken by Hughes, the chaplains appear to have found a way around the regulation known as General Order Number One.

Seems pretty clear, but the fundies don’t get it.

“Do we know what it means to proselytise?” Captain Emmit Furner, a military chaplain, says to the gathering.

“It is General Order Number One,” an unidentified soldier replies.

But Watt says “you can’t proselytise but you can give gifts”.

The footage also suggests US soldiers gave out Bibles in Iraq.


Witness for Jesus’ in Afghanistan [Al Jazeera English]

And Karzai just announced his new running mate, a mujahedeen warlord.

Does anyone remember the reason that Afghanistan was on our radar in the waning days of August 2001? That’s right: American missionaries held captive by the Taliban for distributing bibles.

Oh, and that blowing up the enormous statues in Bamyan, but mainly the captive Americans.

“Jesus Say ‘DIE!!!'”
– from the forthcoming Stinque graphic novel “Snark in the Time of War”.

@Nabisco: I thought it was because Unocal wanted to build a natural gas pipeline from Kazakstan through Afghanistan and eventually to India (and was employinh Hamid Karzai as a consultant to negotiate with the Taliban), where it would provide the natural gas for the huge electric plant built by Enron and which was a noticeable contributing factor in that company’s failure. I thought we were using a dimplomatic carrort and stick approach at that time, which was why in early 2001 we had just given the Taliban something like $40 worth of aid (and meanwhile, Colin Powell was visiting India to try to get the Indian government to help out Enron with some subsidies for that big project until they could get the pipeline built).

I get confused.

Sign of the times, laid-off partner in DC firm kills himself on what would have been his last day of work.

@SanFranLefty: Read about that over the weekend. Such a shame. Hopefully the wife and kid are taken care of, at least.

@SanFranLefty: @mellbell: Doesn’t it seem like it’s always men who kill themselves over a job loss? I don’t understand that kind of thinking.

@Jamie Sommers: I think for some cats their job/career/profession is their identity, and we all know lawyers who have no lives outside of the office. Maybe he was one of those unfortunate souls.

@Prommie: Which reminds me of my friend in third grade — Spring 1968 — distributing pamphlets showing Vietnam deaths as gas gauges. Not sure that angle panned out, but it put me on notice.

(And Spring 1968 is a helluva moment for a political awakening…)

Glad you posted this BLOGENFREUDE. I was thinking of doing the same under the title: “How to lose a war.”

Seriously, how fucking obnoxious are these idiot fundies who are so retarded they can’t seem to understand that they’ve just done more damage to the war effort than a million man army of japanimation-missile-from-the-fingertips-firing-mecha-Mujahedin could do.

@Serolf Divad:
“a million man army of japanimation-missile-from-the-fingertips-firing-mecha-Mujahedin”

sounds kinda cool.

@Jamie Sommers: And too many times they decide to kill the wife and kids, too.

I’m getting a nice ad for Front Sight Firearms Training Institute in the ex-MSNBC box.

@nojo: In third grade I was in love with Cynthia Honeycutt, who had strawberry blonde hair, and with the Doors song “Love Her Madly,” for some bizarre reason. My brother had joined the Navy to avoid the draft, and my father had already told me he’d send me to Canada to keep me out of Vietnam, but I was not aware of what all this meant, I just knew there was machine gun fire audible in the background every night at dinner, because of the Vietnam coverage on the news.

@Prommie: My babysitter’s son was an Army cook, and she had a Vietnam map on her wall showing where he was stationed.

Interesting thing about kids: they accept the world they’re born into, and work from there.

@Prommie: I remember the rockets fired from aircraft into the jungles on the news at dinner time. A substitute teacher I had in kindergarten was blinded by a grenade there. He later became a noted sculptor who works by feel.

@SanFranLefty: A law firm made me want to kill myself once, but I was still working there.

@redmanlaw: I get that, but it’s the loss of a job through economic layoff, not incompetence or other fuckupedness.


Japan has been having a lot of trouble with that.

Talk about a life out of balance! I would be bummed if I lost my job, but I’d find something to do, I always have. Of course, I don’t have kids, a mortgage, etc.

@Serolf Divad:
I hope these chaplains come home to find that their kids have become militant Wiccans.

@Tommmcatt the Wet Sprocket:
It’s not just the economic problems.

The culture has a lot to do with it.

I grew up in a somewhat muted version of the typical Asian family. My parents pushed the philosophy of “All you need to do is study hard, work hard and all the success will come your way.”

It does help, but I realized that I also missed out on a lot too. One thing that has haunted me was my own stunted social development that helped make me a near total failure with the opposite sex till my 30s.

But the problem with this approach is that you assume that success is yours and that failure does not happen. It does not allow you to deal with disappointment and learn the lesson that sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do, things will go to shit. These guys don’t figure it out and break emotionally. When things go bad, they lose it and turn to suicide because they think it is the best way out.

W/r/t lawyer layoffs. I can’t bring myself to see if the kids I placed still have jobs.

Remember the inauguration thread and how we had a link to it on the first page? Should we do that with this book club business — give it a dedicated thread and a link? I’m interested in Ewalda’s picks.


Very sad. Interesting take on it, though. I have an ex-boyfriend (Asian, nach.) that embodies that idea of “study+work=success”…he has had a terrible time of things, becuase he feels like the universe is cheating him out of the huge success that is rightfully his. Plus his mother always puts him through hell about his perceived lack of achievement….

@Tommmcatt the Wet Sprocket:
Pretty much sums it up. It becomes a problem when one assumes it is your divine right.

My mom used to “motivate” me by telling me about the awesomeness of my cousins and her friends kids in relation to the stupidity that is/was her son.

It really pissed me off, but reality has a way of changing that. My mom’s favorite “club” was this one guy who became a doctuh, got married to a beautiful Korean girl and had two boys. My mom said that it should have been me. That was till we found out that the beautiful Korean girl was really the Korean Peggy Bundy and he morphed into Al Bundy.

A couple of years ago, she brought him up and mentioned how successful and happy he was. I lit into my mom and (considering next Sunday is Mother’s day) it was probably the cruelest I’ve ever been to my mom as I began to call his wife, Ban-Hee Peg, and ask what would you do if I married such a miserable bitch like that? My mom spluttered as I laughed.

Blissful silence ever since.

@ManchuCandidate: My dad was really annoyed one day at my next oldest brother and I who were, shall we say “taking the scenic route” through college and work. “You guys go out of your way to make it harder on your selves,” he said.

Many years later, I’m where I’m at and my brother is the top permanent tribal government official for our tribe back home. He’s pretty happy with us, but he pretty much was exceptin’ for some of the usual college/dropout screwing around.


The sad thing is that he is actually doing pretty well, all things considered.

@redmanlaw: @ManchuCandidate:

My mom once got mad at me and told me “You have always done exactly what you wanted to do, all the time.”

To this day I have no idea why that would be a bad thing.


Back in high school band, I was in the second or third trumpet section early on, not that I minded.

Dad brought it up one day: “Why aren’t you challenging [up the ranks]?”

Me: “I’m content.”

Dad: “Cows are content.”

But that was an exception — on the whole, I didn’t suffer the parental pressure I hear about elsewhere. Although telling Dad I was quitting journalism was still, shall we say, uncomfortable.

@redmanlaw: We describe my brother’s college career as “the tour of North American colleges.”
I was a huge disappointment to my grandmother (the only person who cared). She wanted me to go to law school (Harvard, of course) but after working as a runner and then a paralegal at a law firm, I knew that was the one thing I did not want to do. She solved this by just telling all her friends I was a lawyer. As I lived 2,000 miles away, it worked just fine. Sometimes having delusional family can be a bonus.

@Mistress Cynica: After finding out about my male roommate and having multiple apoplectic fits about it (despite my repeated insistence that the world was, in fact, in no danger of ending), my grandmother simply convinced herself that I’d moved. Just wrote a letter saying, “I see from the return address on your last letter that you have moved,” and that was that.

@Mistress Cynica: Oh, and mine’s 1,000 miles away, so it’s the same deal.

@ManchuCandidate: Your experience mirrors mine. I did great academically, and my father was maybe a bit asian in always stressing how important it was to do well academically, he pushed me hard to do well.

But the social thing was there for me too. And very very complicated. It was social class. My mom and dad were pure working class, no country club. They didn’t go to church, I didn’t have that weekly interaction with upstanding members of the community. They never socialized at all, with anyone, except our huge family, other than that, I never saw how adults socialized.

I was comfortable with the other poor kids from poor families. But all my classes were with the college-bound middle class kids. I had friends among them, but I was so awkward and out of place in their world. I didn’t know how to dress, I would wear cut-off jeans shorts when a friend would invite me to come to the country club pool for the afternoon. My lower class friends would give me shit about my “rich” friends, and something similar but more subtle happened among the lower class kids, it was a betrayal of sorts, to socialize with the midle class kids.

And I was so completely clueless, its only hindsight that lets me see what was going on, at the time, I was clueless, I just did not understand why the two groups were so different. My dad was assistant manager of a restaurant, he was always dirty and smelling of fish, worked long hours, mopped floors. My friends whose parents were doctors or stockbrokers would introduce me to their parents and say “his father was in the food service industry.” I was no social climber, I would never have tried to paint them that way, my friends did it for me, trying to save me embarrassment, I guess.

With girls, I was fine with the poor kids. There was no “dating,” you hooked up and made out with someone at a beer party in the woods. Nothing serious, it was all about first base, second base, and third base, no intercourse was going on, I was completely shocked by my first blowjob, I would never have expected or asked for such a thing. But the middle class girls in my classes, there were these rituals, a formal date thing, I was so clueless. They didn’t seem to regard “hey, want to hang around the pinball arcade and get high in the woods across the street Saturday night?” was apparently not acceptable. I have still never “asked someone out” in that formal sense.

But thats not the social issue I suffered from. It was my parents complete ignorance of the path I should take, and how one simply goes about things. I was bright, great SATs, great grades, they had no idea what one does with these abilities. None. I wanted to be a businessman, wear a suit and go to work in a big building and make money. I had no idea what these “businesspeople” did, none. Still don’t. Not one person in my parents social set, not one person in my family, had set an example to follow.

Law school was an easy way out for me. I had always done great in school, so more school would let me keep doing great before I had to go out in the world I was so clueless about. And law school is a glorified trade school, you don’t have to worry what to do with the law degree, you become a lawyer.

They had no ability to give me any well-defined goals or dreams, because they, my parents, were so clueless themselves of how the world works. They punched a clock and got a paycheck, anything beyond that was scary and suspect to them. Their life was filled with bosses, your success or failure was not created by you, it was all about the approval or diapproval of your bosses. Its a working class helplessness, I think.

I lived in books, still do. I love stinquey because here, you all also have that intellectual life that still to this day noone in my life has.

The fictional character I most identify with is Lucky Jim, clueless, awkward, intensely self-aware and lacking in confidence, my life is something that happens to me, not something I create. Its hard to shake that, I inherited that view. From parents buffeted by the great depression and WWII and always being told what to do by those in authority (their being catholic, even though they didn’t go to church, probably added to that sense of the world, know your place, do good, someone will reward you, no idea of promoting yourself, creating your path in life).

Lucky Jim was rescued and promoted by some figure who came into his life like a deus ex machina and just bestowed success on him.

In law school and after, that was all the clue I had, some big corporate client would recognize my talent and throw success at me.

I am over it now.

@nojo: I suffered from a wierd kind of pressure, a “do well,” with no advice, information, or example of how one does well. It would have been easier, I think, if they had said “be a doctor” or something concrete like that. But they never ever thought I could ever do something like that, they were amazed I became a lawyer, it was so far above their expectations. The family members pointed out to me as “successes” were people with secure union jobs with a utility, or taking tolls, seriously, they had this expression, a “good job,” one where you made the high end of working class wages, had security and a pension. Beyond that, they were touchingly ignorant.

I almost took the test to be a New Jersey State Trooper, because one of my brother-in-laws had been one, before being kicked out for brutality.

If I had done that, I would be retired now for 5 years or so, with a pension at 60% of my highest salary, which would come to about $60,000 a year, and the usual career after retiring is to become an investigator for a state regulatory agency after that, at $100,000 a year.

Yup, Outsiders for different reasons.

I think it’s actually tougher to be an outsider when you’re with folks of the same “kind.”

I sympathize with you because I’ve been there too. I don’t spend much time with other Canada City Koreans because I grew up a country goober and never was in a Korean community outside of my family. Lots of rejection there and it kind a hurts more because you’d think that somehow being of the same “race” would mean something. It doesn’t.

@ManchuCandidate: The only brotherhood I belong to is the “nerdy clueless well-meaning white dude torn between striving for success in a game he believes is an empty illusion, or just doing what he loves even if it means a more modest life.

But seriously, I do understand what you are saying. In my parents generation, no more, there was an “Irish” thing, there was some kind of vague network, which is why so many cops and firemen are Irish in eastern cities. But not at all now, no vestige remains.

But even that was a completely working class thing. Among the country club protestant set in the US middle class, Irish Catholics were still somewhat suspect as late as the 70s. There was still discrimination against them.

My father was not allowed to join the YMCA when he was in high school. No catholics allowed.

Hey Stinquers, I am going to bed tonight hopeful. My business venture is about to begin the active phase, we get the keys Friday at the latest, possibly as early as Wednesday, and then the crush begins t0 get it up and going.

Today the news about the economy was good. Real estate sales, especially, and in my industry, good news, too. Last week’s consumer confidence numbers were great. The automakers bankruptcies, I have been saying for a while, will be good, finally ending this uncertainty of will they or won’t they. The serious commentary on the economy has been so so negative for so long, but there are signs of a reasonable suspicion that we may be near the bottom. And I am so careful to say that, because if thats true, it means it will be much less severe than I have been anticipating, with the roving cannibal gangs and all.

If thats true, its the bottom, at least that means it won’t get worse, and thats the most hopeful thought I have allowed myself in about half a year.

@Promnight: I am so excited about your business, and am trying to figure out how to get anywhere remotely close on the Eastern Seaboard to check it out.

Oh, and if your brotherhood had sisters, I’d be in it.

@redmanlaw: If there were a reservation branch, we’d be opening Prommie’s restaurant on the rez where it could exist w/o state taxes, and with lots of gambling.

That’s the next step – after we create the law firm of “RML, Dodger, baked, Bloggie, Jamie, JNOV, SFL, Prommie, Esq.” with MellBell and Cynica as super overlord rockstar paralegals, all of us operating in seven states and three countries, THEN we can open our cantina in Santa Fe, or on the road to the rivers. I’ll tend bar and make enchiladas, if that’s okay.

@Promnight: Fingers crossed. I’m looking forward to lunch with you on the 23rd.

@SanFranLefty: I’ll help with marketing, PR, and possibly making coffee and crumpets.

And we’ll have couches and hold our book club meetings there, and it will be like Friends!

Thanks, you-all.

Benedick, the 23rd, memorial day weekend, thats my do-or-die date. You will be witness to history.

@SanFranLefty: We’d need to have live jazz in the cantina a few nights each week.

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