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G M
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300
« on: March 10, 2007, 12:55:21 AM »

October 11, 2006
History and the Movie “300”
by Victor Davis Hanson
Private Papers

(Adapted from the introduction to the forthcoming book trailer published by Black Horse Comics, Inc. to accompany Director Zack Snyder’s new film “300”)

The phrase “300 Spartans” evokes not only the ancient battle of Thermopylae, but also the larger idea of fighting for freedom against all odds — a notion subsequently to be enshrined through some 2500 years of Western civilization.

Even today we remember the power of the Spartans’ defiance. “Come and take them,” they tell the Persian emissaries who demand their arms. “Then we will fight in the shade,” the Spartans boast when warned that the horde of Persian arrows will soon blot out the very sunlight. “Go tell the Spartans that here we lie obedient to their commands” the tombstone of their dead reads.

In 480, an enormous force of more than a quarter-million Persians under their King Xerxes invaded Greece, both to enslave the free city-states, and to avenge the Persian defeat a decade earlier at Marathon. The huge force of ships and soldiers proved unstoppable on its way west and southward until it reached the narrow pass at Thermopylae (“The Warm Gates”) in northern Greece. There a collection of 7,000 Greeks had blocked the way. They hoped to stop Xerxes’ horde outright — or at least allow enough time for their fellow countrymen to their rear to mobilize a sufficient defense of the homeland.

Among the many Greek contingents was a special elite force of 300 Spartans under their King Leonidas — a spearhead that offered the other Greeks at Thermopylae some promise that they could still bar the advance of the vastly superior invader. And that hope proved real for two days of hard fighting. The vastly outnumbered, but heavily-armed Greek infantrymen in their phalanx — taking advantage of the narrow terrain and their massed tactics — savagely beat back wave after wave of advancing Persian foot soldiers and cavalry.

But on the third day of battle, Leonidas’s Greeks were betrayed by a local shepherd Ephialtes, who showed the Persians an alternate route over the mountains that led to the rear of the Greek position. When he realized that he was nearly surrounded, Leonidas nevertheless made a critical decision to stay and fight, while ordering most of the other various allies to flee the encirclement to organize the growing Greek resistance to the south.

Meanwhile the King and his doomed 300 Spartans, together with other small groups of surrounded Thespians and Thebans, would indeed battle to buy the Greeks time. They ranged further out from the pass on this third and last day of battle — at first with spears and swords, finally with teeth and nails —killing scores more of Persians. The last few Spartan survivors were buried under a sea of Persian arrows. The body of Leonidas was found among the corpses, his head soon impaled on a stick as a macabre reminder of the wages of resistance to the Great King of Persia.

The Greeks took encouragement from the unprecedented sacrifice of a Spartan King and his royal guard on their behalf. And so a few weeks later at the sea battle of Salamis near Athens — and then again the next year at the great infantry collision on the plains of Plataea — the Greeks defeated, and eventually destroyed, the Persian invaders. The rallying cry of the victors was Thermopylae, the noble sacrifice of the final stand of the outnumbered Greeks, and especially the courage of the fallen Three Hundred Spartans under King Leonidas.

So almost immediately, contemporary Greeks saw Thermopylae as a critical moral and culture lesson. In universal terms, a small, free people had willingly outfought huge numbers of imperial subjects who advanced under the lash. More specifically, the Western idea that soldiers themselves decide where, how, and against whom they will fight was contrasted against the Eastern notion of despotism and monarchy — freedom proving the stronger idea as the more courageous fighting of the Greeks at Thermopylae, and their later victories at Salamis and Plataea attested.

Greek writers and poets such as Simonides and Herodotus were fascinated by the Greek sacrifice against Xerxes, and especially the heroism of Leonidas and his men. And subsequently throughout Western literature poets as diverse as Lord Byron and A.E. Houseman have likewise paid homage to the Spartan last stand — and this universal idea of Western soldiers willing to die as free men rather than to submit to tyranny. Steven Pressfield’s novel Gates of Fire and the earlier Hollywood movie The 300 Spartans both were based on the Greek defense of the pass at Thermopylae.

Recently, a variety of Hollywood films — from Troy to Alexander the Great — has treated a variety of themes from classical Greek literature and theater. But 300 is unique, a sui generis in both spirit and methodology. The script is not an attempt in typical Hollywood fashion to recreate the past as a costume drama. Instead it is based on Frank Miller’s (of Sin City fame) comic book graphics and captions. Miller’s illustrated novelette of the battle adapts themes loosely from the well-known story of the Greek defense, but with deference made to the tastes of contemporary popular culture.

So the film is indeed inspired by the comic book; and in some sense its muscular warriors, virtual reality sets, and computer-generated landscapes recall the look and feel of Robert Rodriquez’s screen version of Sin City. Yet the collaboration of Director Zack Snyder and screenwriters Kurt Johnstad and Michael Gordon is much more of a hybrid, since the script, dialogue, cinematography, and acting all recall scenes of the battle right from Herodotus’s account.

300, of course, makes plenty of allowance for popular tastes, changing and expanding the story to meet the protocols of the comic book genre. The film was not shot on location outdoors, but in a studio using the so-called “digital backlot” technique of sometimes placing the actors against blue screens. The resulting realism is not that of the sun-soaked cliffs above the blue Aegean — Thermopylae remains spectacularly beautiful today — but of the eerie etchings of the comic book.

The Spartans fight bare-chested without armor, in the “heroic nude” manner that ancient Greek vase-painters portrayed Greek hoplites, their muscles bulging as if they were contemporary comic book action heroes. Again, following the Miller comic, artistic license is made with the original story — the traitor Ephialtes is as deformed in body as he is in character; King Xerxes is not bearded and perched on a distant throne, but bald, huge, perhaps sexually ambiguous, and often right on the battlefield. The Persians bring with them exotic beasts like a rhinoceros and elephant, and the leader of the Immortals fights Leonidas in a duel (which the Greeks knew as monomachia). Shields are metal rather than wood with bronze veneers, and swords sometimes look futuristic rather than ancient.

Again, purists must remember that 300 seeks to bring a comic book, not Herodotus, to the screen. Yet, despite the need to adhere to the conventions of Frank Miller’s graphics and plot — every bit as formalized as the protocols of classical Athenian drama or Japanese Kabuki theater — the main story from our ancient Greek historians is still there: Leonidas, against domestic opposition, insists on sending an immediate advance party northward on a suicide mission to rouse the Greeks and allow them time to unite a defense. Once at Thermopylae, he adopts the defenses to the narrow pass between high cliffs and the sea far below. The Greeks fight both en masse in the phalanx and at times range beyond as solo warriors. They are finally betrayed by Ephialtes, forcing Leonidas to dismiss his allies — and leaving his own 300 to the fate of dying under a sea of arrows.

But most importantly, 300 preserves the spirit of the Thermopylae story. The Spartans, quoting lines known from Herodotus and themes from the lyric poets, profess unswerving loyalty to a free Greece. They will never kow-tow to the Persians, preferring to die on their feet than live on their knees.

If critics think that 300 reduces and simplifies the meaning of Thermopylae into freedom versus tyranny, they should reread carefully ancient accounts and then blame Herodotus, Plutarch, and Diodorus — who long ago boasted that Greek freedom was on trial against Persian autocracy, free men in superior fashion dying for their liberty, their enslaved enemies being whipped to enslave others.

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pappydog
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2007, 11:14:03 PM »

Iran condemns Hollywood war epic
 
One paper said Iranians' ancestors were shown as "dumb savages"
Historical war epic 300 has been criticised as an attack on Iranian culture by government figures.
The Hollywood film, which has broken US box office records, is an effects-laden retelling of a battle in which a small Greek army resisted a Persian invasion.

Javad Shamqadri, a cultural advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said it was "plundering Iran's historic past and insulting this civilization".

He branded the film "psychological warfare" against Tehran and its people.

But Iranian culture was strong enough to withstand the assault, Mr Shamqadri said.

"American cultural officials thought they could get mental satisfaction by plundering Iran's historic past and insulting this civilization," he said.

"Following the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Hollywood and cultural authorities in the US initiated studies to figure out how to attack Iranian culture.

"Certainly, the recent movie is a product of such studies."

Daily newspaper Ayandeh-No carried the headline "Hollywood declares war on Iranians".


The film achieved the best ever March opening in North America
The paper said: "It seeks to tell people that Iran, which is in the Axis of Evil now, has for long been the source of evil and modern Iranians' ancestors are the ugly murderous dumb savages you see in 300."

Three MPs in the Iranian parliament have also written to the foreign ministry to protest against the production and screening of this "anti-Iranian Hollywood film".

The film has already proved a major box office hit in the US where it earned almost $71m (£36.8m) in its first weekend, making it the best ever March opening in North American cinemas.

This is not the first time Iran has protested over its portrayal in films made in the West.

There was outrage over the 2004 epic Alexander which showed the Macedonian general easily conquering the Persian Empire.


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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2007, 06:00:05 AM »

A personal tangent:

I've heard that the fight choreographers were classmates from the Inosanto Academy Chad Stahelski and Damon Caro.

I am looking forward to seeing this.

TAC,
CD
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G M
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2007, 10:02:56 AM »

It's now one of my top 10 favorite movies.
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pappydog
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2007, 11:19:03 AM »

This is a friend of mine who up and went to Crete and shot a History Channel quality documentary on the battle for Crete in WW2

http://the11thday.com/splash.htm

Nick

P.S. On a political, Historical note. The Spartans did receive reinforcements during the battle. 1 Spartan
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Cranewings
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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2007, 10:43:32 AM »

I agree with the Iranians. That movie was definitely propaganda.

They nailed black people wrong to. The black guy who gets his head chopped off... no one else's head floated in midair like that.

Not to mention the black guy who gets kicked into the pit at the beginning. He could have been a great character and extremely scary.

I'm not saying I didn't love the movie. I'm just saying that there were definitely some negative messages mixed in with it.
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G M
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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2007, 10:54:34 AM »

Cranewings,

300 the movie was based on the graphic novel "300" which was published 1998. Unless Frank Miller is psychic, I doubt very much he wrote it as propaganda regarding the US vs. Iran tensions in 2007.
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pappydog
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2007, 12:17:25 PM »

I agree the messenger in the beginning was a great actor/character. All the better to be kicked in a well. Makes it more poignant that the Spartans don't %^& around. I think the Gratuitous death was spread around equally. What about the the son having his head cut off and slowly falls to the ground. Giving us the only cheesy reflective scene by the Dad. Although, who could blame him.

It is definitely one sided. It is not "Letters from Iwo Jima" It is a comic book. I think Herodotus is more to blame than Frank Miller. This is Propanganda. It is also art or entertainment. It is not from our "Department of Film and Propaganda" It is not George Bush saying what movies can we do. "Lets do Team America about the North Koreans, We need one about the Iranians, Let see...." It is a market based art form. Sin City made Frank Miller cool again and this is his Braveheart. He was a fan of 50's Spartan movie. I thought the Spartans looked a little Scottish to me.

I don't think any of you are saying that. But I think that is what this article says. 
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Stray Dog
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2007, 12:48:25 PM »

Really.. I only wish we could get the Hollywood Liberals to jump on the band wagon so easily! I'm thinking something more self serving...Like box office revenues or Oscars perhaps.

None the less I can't wait to this film and if it fosters a bit of anti-Islamoterrorist sentiment.....Aww did we hurt the poor little terrorist's feeling?
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(I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head.)
Dog Robertlk808
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2007, 04:22:25 PM »

Im thinking people are reading too much into the movie, I mean the movie is coming from a comic book adaptation, it's colorful and vivid LIKE the comic book.
I agree it is among my top 10, I cant wait for the DVD to come out. I almost wish I had a DVD system in my truck so I have it on while I drive to meet the guys at the park on Saturdays. Im surprised no one mentioned the immortals were using blades that were "ninja" like and the uniforms were ninja like too. Anyway...
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"You see, it's not the blood you spill that gets you what you want, it's the blood you share. Your family, your friendships, your community, these are the most valuable things a man can have." Before Dishonor - Hatebreed
SB_Mig
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« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2007, 08:02:55 PM »

Not propaganda by any stretch (unless you reaaaaaaaaalllllllyyyyy need to stretch). More like coincidental timing.

I thought it was alright. Not much in the way of character development and overly melodramatic in parts, but it's great eye candy. I'll check it out again just to see what I missed the first time around...
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Cranewings
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« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2007, 10:13:33 PM »

The fact that the comic book is from 1998 doesn't have much to do with it. For one, in 1998 you didn't have to be a psychic to predict war was on the way.

Even if the comic book is older, it isn't a coincidence the movie came out now. Either it is a deliberate attempt at propaganda, or it is just taking advantage of something Americans are feeling and making money on it. I don’t know the people involved.

When the queen said, "Freedom isn't free" I think my eyes rolled all the way to the back of my head. I know more than one guy with that tattooed on his arm and an American flag hung in his truck. She didn't use the line on accident.
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Cranewings
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« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2007, 10:22:10 PM »

C-Stray Dog,

I don't have a problem with people disliking terrorists. There Persians in this movie weren't terrorists. Really, the Spartans were the ones using the greater measure of brutality. Not to mention the fact that the Spartans had little intention of surviving to the end. They were ready to die as long as they could take as many of the enemy with them as possible.

Sound like anyone you know?

The negative feeling this movie produces are towards different Asian cultures... but it doesn't even do that much. More, it just gets people who watch it to say, "YEAH! WAR! AWESOME!" It is like a wave of darkness.... floating through the minds of movie goers...

You have to be careful when you say, "It is just a hero story."

Jesus was just a hero story in my opinion and look at all how much it accomplished. Hero stories are powerful and people USE them to get things out of others.
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Cranewings
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« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2007, 10:28:09 PM »

I also liked the part when the Captain's son died and he goes mad. Then he returns to say that he has filled his heart with hate. They tell him that's great.

So in Iraq, when an American soldier kills an Iraqi and it creates three new terrorists that have filled their hearts with hate, we have the 300 to show us how that happened.
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G M
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« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2007, 11:09:02 PM »

The fact that the comic book is from 1998 doesn't have much to do with it. For one, in 1998 you didn't have to be a psychic to predict war was on the way.

Even if the comic book is older, it isn't a coincidence the movie came out now. Either it is a deliberate attempt at propaganda, or it is just taking advantage of something Americans are feeling and making money on it. I don’t know the people involved.

When the queen said, "Freedom isn't free" I think my eyes rolled all the way to the back of my head. I know more than one guy with that tattooed on his arm and an American flag hung in his truck. She didn't use the line on accident.


If in 1998 you foresaw the war we are in now coming, i'm impressed. I sure didn't.

Freedom isn't free. That a core truth. Luckily you live in a place where past generations understood that so you can roll your eyes in a land of properity and freedom.
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G M
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« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2007, 11:16:48 PM »

I also liked the part when the Captain's son died and he goes mad. Then he returns to say that he has filled his heart with hate. They tell him that's great.

So in Iraq, when an American soldier kills an Iraqi and it creates three new terrorists that have filled their hearts with hate, we have the 300 to show us how that happened.

Yeah, I was wondering why we were still fighting the Japanese and Germans. I'm glad you've explained how war works so I understand it. rolleyes
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Cranewings
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« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2007, 11:32:37 PM »

I was 18 in 1998. That was a long time ago so I don't remember a lot about how I saw things. I didn't say THIS war, I just said war... war is on the way. It is always on the way. Going to war in Iraq or someplace near to it isn't far fetched, not in 1998.

As far as why we are still fighting the Japanese and Germans, that doesn't have anything to do with it.

As far as my eye rolling, I was thinking about the use of the term "Freedom isn't Free" and how it is used to manipulate and inspire people.

I don't think "Freedom isn't Free" is a fair thing to say when talking about why we fight as a country now. That was an awesome thing to say a long time ago. How about, "Oil isn't Free."
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G M
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« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2007, 11:55:59 PM »

If we were interested in oil, it would have been much cheaper and easier to strongarm Saddam for cheap oil like France, Russia and various UN officials did. 
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Cranewings
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« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2007, 12:05:27 AM »

No.
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G M
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« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2007, 12:08:25 AM »

Well stated.
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Cranewings
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« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2007, 12:15:58 AM »

Sorry, I'm not very politically savvy. I don't know anything about it besides what I read on the net or hear on NPR. I wouldn't do very well on Leno's Street Smarts.

I just don't believe in or trust the motivations of any of these horrible people that run the world. I don't know a lot about politics, but I know a lot about philosophy. I think everyone's minds have been poisoned.

There shouldn't be so much discussion about why we are at war or what we should do next. If the right path isn't clear, our leaders were out of their minds to go through with the things they have done. It makes me sick.
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2007, 12:23:13 AM »

Quote
Either it is a deliberate attempt at propaganda, or it is just taking advantage of something Americans are feeling and making money on it. I don’t know the people involved.


Having done my time in Hollywood hell, I'll re-write your sentence as a producer would:

"...a deliberate attempt at...taking advantage of...Americans...and making money on it..."   wink

In this day and age of shakey box office results, producers could really care less about the message. They look at the bottom line. What attracts most people to the film is the animation. The audience is college kids and comic book fans and if you've been on college campuses lately, you know that no students are jumping out windows to enlist. They care about the political content about as much as they care about the historical content. So a "pro-war" film would not be a good marketing move.

As for content: a war movie is a war movie, whether TORA! TORA! TORA!, PLATOON, or LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA. Either side you use to tell the story can be the good guy or the bad guy. The content in the 300 just happens to be timely, because by coincidence we are in a war with Persians. If this film was really to be used as propaganda by either side, the discussion would be much louder and more in your face. The 300 has the legs to last until the first of the other summer movies and then it will go on its way, not making a meaningful political impact of any kind.

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Cranewings
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« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2007, 12:30:01 AM »

SB_Mig, whatever, no one came here to listen to you make sense. evil
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pappydog
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« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2007, 12:52:47 AM »

Hear hear
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G M
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« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2007, 01:42:08 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/03/16/video-iranian-tv-reviews-300/
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sgtmac_46
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« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2007, 06:03:14 PM »

I was 18 in 1998. That was a long time ago so I don't remember a lot about how I saw things. I didn't say THIS war, I just said war... war is on the way. It is always on the way. Going to war in Iraq or someplace near to it isn't far fetched, not in 1998.

As far as why we are still fighting the Japanese and Germans, that doesn't have anything to do with it.

As far as my eye rolling, I was thinking about the use of the term "Freedom isn't Free" and how it is used to manipulate and inspire people.

I don't think "Freedom isn't Free" is a fair thing to say when talking about why we fight as a country now. That was an awesome thing to say a long time ago. How about, "Oil isn't Free."

I think you have it backwards....a society is either willing to fight for it's prosperity, or it's ready to decline.  It's as simple and brutal as that.  Freedom is one aspect of prosperity.  The basic material a society needs is another aspect of that prosperity.  Again, we are either willing to fight to maintain that prosperity or we are not.

Allow me to put it another way.....the very prosperity that has attained you the luxury of 'studying philosophy', instead of simply struggling to sustain subsistence, was bought and paid for by the blood of others at the violent hands of your grandparents and their parents.  Now that you enjoy the prosperity, devoid of perspective on how it was obtained, you believe the world is fundamentally peaceful, because your grandparents and their parents handed you a peaceful personal world at the cost of their blood. 

Keep in mind, however, that the protection afforded by that violence only lasts as long as someone is willing to pick up the banner when necessary.  'Freedom isn't free' is still true today.....Prosperity certainly isn't free.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2007, 11:22:38 PM »

Sgt Mac:

I appreciate the inclination of your sentiments, but disagree with what I understand to be your position-- that this is a fight for oil.  Not only is this in my opinion not so, but to say it is so is to fortify the beliefs of the weak horses amongst us and amongst our enemy and Muslims who sit upon the fence.

I submit that we have repeatedly shown that we are willing to buy oil from just about anyone.  Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah et al control zero oil.

JMHO,
Marc
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sgtmac_46
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« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2007, 07:39:49 PM »

Sgt Mac:

I appreciate the inclination of your sentiments, but disagree with what I understand to be your position-- that this is a fight for oil.  Not only is this in my opinion not so, but to say it is so is to fortify the beliefs of the weak horses amongst us and amongst our enemy and Muslims who sit upon the fence.

I submit that we have repeatedly shown that we are willing to buy oil from just about anyone.  Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah et al control zero oil.

JMHO,
Marc
I'm sorry if I didn't make myself clear.  I believe our current predicament is a fight for the survival of western civilization against an ancient enemy of western civilization grown powerful on oil revenues.  I believe that the oil is only incidental in that it has provided our enemy with economic, and hence, increasing technological parity.

My statement about fighting for oil, however, was in direct response to a previous post where the poster made the oft spread argument that this is 'just a war for oil'.  Though, that is technically not true....my point is that even if it were 'just about oil', that would be justification enough, our interest and prosperity being enough to fight for.....that this is not just about oil, but the survival of western civilization in general, our justification is that much more.

I only mention the oil, because a large segment of our population seems to believe that any war fought 'simply for oil' would be unjust.  That idea is ridiculous given the very dependence those individuals have with oil themselves.  Oil is the life's blood of modern civilization.  Any entity that controls the oil, can put a stranglehold on the western world.  If there is a single non-renewable resource in all of history worth fighting for, it would be oil, given that the civilization that controls it controls the fate of civilization......and our current war is about FAR more than simply that vitally important single resource.

« Last Edit: April 02, 2007, 07:50:50 PM by sgtmac_46 » Logged
G M
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« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2007, 09:07:45 PM »

Well said, Sgt.
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Cranewings
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« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2007, 11:41:31 PM »

Fighting for the oil isn't worthwile. We waste so much of it driving in our crappy cars everywhere we go. Who made us choose to live 6 miles from the grocery? Who told me to purchase oil based furnature, cds, and plastic electronics? I have a LOT of things I'd rather give up than go to war with the Arabs.

I think, and hope, the future will look back at this time with disbelief at how wasteful we are.

Fighting for Western Culture isn't worthwhile. I don't care about the propagation of the white race, the unbroken chain of knowledge from ancient Greece, the gains we make in economics, or our religions. Our Western Culture has ruined huge tracks of the planet, not just in the west, but all over. Worse than that, we aren't done. There is worse coming.

I know that Arab culture has its flaws, but they aren't a whole lot worse than us, if at all. We are different, and we are just as corrupt.

The only reason to go to war in my opinion is when the situation is dire and it really is us or them. We need something different. This devour to survive, kill them first nonsense isn't sustainable in the long run. We will fall eventually. What we need, if we want to truly endure, is peace and equality between our nations.

It is just impossible with the leadership in our country and in theirs. Arabs and Americans have one thing in common. Our greatest foes live inside out own borders.

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G M
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« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2007, 07:41:01 AM »

Cranewings,

I'd almost swear you were writing a parody there.

So, once you ride your bike to the grocery store, would you expect to find any food there? The average US grocery store is basically totally restocked in one week's time by those big tractor trailers that burn petrochemicals as the transport food from agricultural areas. Agriculture, by the way, is also very dependant on carbon based fuel for all that food you take for granted. So, is food one of those things you'd be prepared to give up?

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G M
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« Reply #31 on: April 03, 2007, 07:58:02 AM »


***In case you were wondering, it IS us or them.***



http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009890

SENSE OF UMMAH

The Trouble With Islam
Sadly, mainstream Muslim teaching accepts and promotes violence.

BY TAWFIK HAMID
Tuesday, April 3, 2007 12:01 a.m.

Not many years ago the brilliant Orientalist, Bernard Lewis, published a short history of the Islamic world's decline, entitled "What Went Wrong?" Astonishingly, there was, among many Western "progressives," a vocal dislike for the title. It is a false premise, these critics protested. They ignored Mr. Lewis's implicit statement that things have been, or could be, right.
But indeed, there is much that is clearly wrong with the Islamic world. Women are stoned to death and undergo clitorectomies. Gays hang from the gallows under the approving eyes of the proponents of Shariah, the legal code of Islam. Sunni and Shia massacre each other daily in Iraq. Palestinian mothers teach 3-year-old boys and girls the ideal of martyrdom. One would expect the orthodox Islamic establishment to evade or dismiss these complaints, but less happily, the non-Muslim priests of enlightenment in the West have come, actively and passively, to the Islamists' defense.

These "progressives" frequently cite the need to examine "root causes." In this they are correct: Terrorism is only the manifestation of a disease and not the disease itself. But the root-causes are quite different from what they think. As a former member of Jemaah Islamiya, a group led by al Qaeda's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, I know firsthand that the inhumane teaching in Islamist ideology can transform a young, benevolent mind into that of a terrorist. Without confronting the ideological roots of radical Islam it will be impossible to combat it. While there are many ideological "rootlets" of Islamism, the main tap root has a name--Salafism, or Salafi Islam, a violent, ultra-conservative version of the religion.

It is vital to grasp that traditional and even mainstream Islamic teaching accepts and promotes violence. Shariah, for example, allows apostates to be killed, permits beating women to discipline them, seeks to subjugate non-Muslims to Islam as dhimmis and justifies declaring war to do so. It exhorts good Muslims to exterminate the Jews before the "end of days." The near deafening silence of the Muslim majority against these barbaric practices is evidence enough that there is something fundamentally wrong.

The grave predicament we face in the Islamic world is the virtual lack of approved, theologically rigorous interpretations of Islam that clearly challenge the abusive aspects of Shariah. Unlike Salafism, more liberal branches of Islam, such as Sufism, typically do not provide the essential theological base to nullify the cruel proclamations of their Salafist counterparts. And so, for more than 20 years I have been developing and working to establish a theologically-rigorous Islam that teaches peace.

Yet it is ironic and discouraging that many non-Muslim, Western intellectuals--who unceasingly claim to support human rights--have become obstacles to reforming Islam. Political correctness among Westerners obstructs unambiguous criticism of Shariah's inhumanity. They find socioeconomic or political excuses for Islamist terrorism such as poverty, colonialism, discrimination or the existence of Israel. What incentive is there for Muslims to demand reform when Western "progressives" pave the way for Islamist barbarity? Indeed, if the problem is not one of religious beliefs, it leaves one to wonder why Christians who live among Muslims under identical circumstances refrain from contributing to wide-scale, systematic campaigns of terror.





Politicians and scholars in the West have taken up the chant that Islamic extremism is caused by the Arab-Israeli conflict. This analysis cannot convince any rational person that the Islamist murder of over 150,000 innocent people in Algeria--which happened in the last few decades--or their slaying of hundreds of Buddhists in Thailand, or the brutal violence between Sunni and Shia in Iraq could have anything to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Western feminists duly fight in their home countries for equal pay and opportunity, but seemingly ignore, under a façade of cultural relativism, that large numbers of women in the Islamic world live under threat of beating, execution and genital mutilation, or cannot vote, drive cars and dress as they please.

The tendency of many Westerners to restrict themselves to self-criticism further obstructs reformation in Islam. Americans demonstrate against the war in Iraq, yet decline to demonstrate against the terrorists who kidnap innocent people and behead them. Similarly, after the Madrid train bombings, millions of Spanish citizens demonstrated against their separatist organization, ETA. But once the demonstrators realized that Muslims were behind the terror attacks they suspended the demonstrations. This example sent a message to radical Islamists to continue their violent methods.

Western appeasement of their Muslim communities has exacerbated the problem. During the four-month period after the publication of the Muhammad cartoons in a Danish magazine, there were comparatively few violent demonstrations by Muslims. Within a few days of the Danish magazine's formal apology, riots erupted throughout the world. The apology had been perceived by Islamists as weakness and concession.

Worst of all, perhaps, is the anti-Americanism among many Westerners. It is a resentment so strong, so deep-seated, so rooted in personal identity, that it has led many, consciously or unconsciously, to morally support America's enemies.

Progressives need to realize that radical Islam is based on an antiliberal system. They need to awaken to the inhumane policies and practices of Islamists around the world. They need to realize that Islamism spells the death of liberal values. And they must not take for granted the respect for human rights and dignity that we experience in America, and indeed, the West, today.

Well-meaning interfaith dialogues with Muslims have largely been fruitless. Participants must demand--but so far haven't--that Muslim organizations and scholars specifically and unambiguously denounce violent Salafi components in their mosques and in the media. Muslims who do not vocally oppose brutal Shariah decrees should not be considered "moderates."





All of this makes the efforts of Muslim reformers more difficult. When Westerners make politically-correct excuses for Islamism, it actually endangers the lives of reformers and in many cases has the effect of suppressing their voices.
Tolerance does not mean toleration of atrocities under the umbrella of relativism. It is time for all of us in the free world to face the reality of Salafi Islam or the reality of radical Islam will continue to face us.

Dr. Hamid, a onetime member of Jemaah Islamiya, an Islamist terrorist group, is a medical doctor and Muslim reformer living in the West.
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Cranewings
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« Reply #32 on: April 03, 2007, 08:08:25 AM »

yeah, I was just screwing around  afro
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G M
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« Reply #33 on: April 03, 2007, 08:31:58 AM »

Good, watch this anyway.

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/04/02/video-hamas-tv-glorifies-child-jihadis/
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sgtmac_46
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Posts: 109


« Reply #34 on: April 05, 2007, 03:40:47 PM »


***In case you were wondering, it IS us or them.***



http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009890

SENSE OF UMMAH

The Trouble With Islam
Sadly, mainstream Muslim teaching accepts and promotes violence.

BY TAWFIK HAMID
Tuesday, April 3, 2007 12:01 a.m.

Not many years ago the brilliant Orientalist, Bernard Lewis, published a short history of the Islamic world's decline, entitled "What Went Wrong?" Astonishingly, there was, among many Western "progressives," a vocal dislike for the title. It is a false premise, these critics protested. They ignored Mr. Lewis's implicit statement that things have been, or could be, right.
But indeed, there is much that is clearly wrong with the Islamic world. Women are stoned to death and undergo clitorectomies. Gays hang from the gallows under the approving eyes of the proponents of Shariah, the legal code of Islam. Sunni and Shia massacre each other daily in Iraq. Palestinian mothers teach 3-year-old boys and girls the ideal of martyrdom. One would expect the orthodox Islamic establishment to evade or dismiss these complaints, but less happily, the non-Muslim priests of enlightenment in the West have come, actively and passively, to the Islamists' defense.

These "progressives" frequently cite the need to examine "root causes." In this they are correct: Terrorism is only the manifestation of a disease and not the disease itself. But the root-causes are quite different from what they think. As a former member of Jemaah Islamiya, a group led by al Qaeda's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, I know firsthand that the inhumane teaching in Islamist ideology can transform a young, benevolent mind into that of a terrorist. Without confronting the ideological roots of radical Islam it will be impossible to combat it. While there are many ideological "rootlets" of Islamism, the main tap root has a name--Salafism, or Salafi Islam, a violent, ultra-conservative version of the religion.

It is vital to grasp that traditional and even mainstream Islamic teaching accepts and promotes violence. Shariah, for example, allows apostates to be killed, permits beating women to discipline them, seeks to subjugate non-Muslims to Islam as dhimmis and justifies declaring war to do so. It exhorts good Muslims to exterminate the Jews before the "end of days." The near deafening silence of the Muslim majority against these barbaric practices is evidence enough that there is something fundamentally wrong.

The grave predicament we face in the Islamic world is the virtual lack of approved, theologically rigorous interpretations of Islam that clearly challenge the abusive aspects of Shariah. Unlike Salafism, more liberal branches of Islam, such as Sufism, typically do not provide the essential theological base to nullify the cruel proclamations of their Salafist counterparts. And so, for more than 20 years I have been developing and working to establish a theologically-rigorous Islam that teaches peace.

Yet it is ironic and discouraging that many non-Muslim, Western intellectuals--who unceasingly claim to support human rights--have become obstacles to reforming Islam. Political correctness among Westerners obstructs unambiguous criticism of Shariah's inhumanity. They find socioeconomic or political excuses for Islamist terrorism such as poverty, colonialism, discrimination or the existence of Israel. What incentive is there for Muslims to demand reform when Western "progressives" pave the way for Islamist barbarity? Indeed, if the problem is not one of religious beliefs, it leaves one to wonder why Christians who live among Muslims under identical circumstances refrain from contributing to wide-scale, systematic campaigns of terror.





Politicians and scholars in the West have taken up the chant that Islamic extremism is caused by the Arab-Israeli conflict. This analysis cannot convince any rational person that the Islamist murder of over 150,000 innocent people in Algeria--which happened in the last few decades--or their slaying of hundreds of Buddhists in Thailand, or the brutal violence between Sunni and Shia in Iraq could have anything to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Western feminists duly fight in their home countries for equal pay and opportunity, but seemingly ignore, under a façade of cultural relativism, that large numbers of women in the Islamic world live under threat of beating, execution and genital mutilation, or cannot vote, drive cars and dress as they please.

The tendency of many Westerners to restrict themselves to self-criticism further obstructs reformation in Islam. Americans demonstrate against the war in Iraq, yet decline to demonstrate against the terrorists who kidnap innocent people and behead them. Similarly, after the Madrid train bombings, millions of Spanish citizens demonstrated against their separatist organization, ETA. But once the demonstrators realized that Muslims were behind the terror attacks they suspended the demonstrations. This example sent a message to radical Islamists to continue their violent methods.

Western appeasement of their Muslim communities has exacerbated the problem. During the four-month period after the publication of the Muhammad cartoons in a Danish magazine, there were comparatively few violent demonstrations by Muslims. Within a few days of the Danish magazine's formal apology, riots erupted throughout the world. The apology had been perceived by Islamists as weakness and concession.

Worst of all, perhaps, is the anti-Americanism among many Westerners. It is a resentment so strong, so deep-seated, so rooted in personal identity, that it has led many, consciously or unconsciously, to morally support America's enemies.

Progressives need to realize that radical Islam is based on an antiliberal system. They need to awaken to the inhumane policies and practices of Islamists around the world. They need to realize that Islamism spells the death of liberal values. And they must not take for granted the respect for human rights and dignity that we experience in America, and indeed, the West, today.

Well-meaning interfaith dialogues with Muslims have largely been fruitless. Participants must demand--but so far haven't--that Muslim organizations and scholars specifically and unambiguously denounce violent Salafi components in their mosques and in the media. Muslims who do not vocally oppose brutal Shariah decrees should not be considered "moderates."





All of this makes the efforts of Muslim reformers more difficult. When Westerners make politically-correct excuses for Islamism, it actually endangers the lives of reformers and in many cases has the effect of suppressing their voices.
Tolerance does not mean toleration of atrocities under the umbrella of relativism. It is time for all of us in the free world to face the reality of Salafi Islam or the reality of radical Islam will continue to face us.

Dr. Hamid, a onetime member of Jemaah Islamiya, an Islamist terrorist group, is a medical doctor and Muslim reformer living in the West.
You have to keep in mind that most on the left still cling to that failed pseudo-science known as 'Marxism', and hence, filter the entire world through that failed ideology.  Hence, all conflict, in their mind, is the result of wealth inequality.  To them, Islamic terrorism is just another example of an economically repressed people rising against colonialism and imperialism.  Therefore, the thinking of the leftist goes, he is compelled to support that 'people's' struggle.

What they fail to understand is that Islamic militancy has FAR more in common with Fascism and Nazism (i.e. state socialism), than their leftist socialist ideologies.  What the Islamists want is an Islamic super-state (Shia or Sunni) patterned in the mold of Iran or Afghanistan under the Taliban, which is a Fascist Theocracy.

But, the left is too blinded by it's class struggle mythology to conceive of such a thing.
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Cranewings
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« Reply #35 on: April 06, 2007, 02:37:03 PM »

pretty eye opening
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #36 on: April 06, 2007, 02:53:33 PM »

For me, this is the best quote in the article:

Quote
Progressives need to realize that radical Islam is based on an antiliberal system
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G M
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« Reply #37 on: April 06, 2007, 03:20:57 PM »

During WWII, the left had phrases like "Fascism means WAR!". It would be nice if that was rediscovered. Saving the free world from islamo-fascism shouldn't be just on the shoulders of the right.
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sgtmac_46
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Posts: 109


« Reply #38 on: April 08, 2007, 07:50:13 PM »

During WWII, the left had phrases like "Fascism means WAR!". It would be nice if that was rediscovered. Saving the free world from islamo-fascism shouldn't be just on the shoulders of the right.
One will note that it wasn't until Nazi Germany attacked Communist Russia that many leftists got on board.
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G M
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Posts: 12124


« Reply #39 on: April 08, 2007, 08:35:41 PM »

Whatever the motivation, people need to wake up to the threat from the global jihad.
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sgtmac_46
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Posts: 109


« Reply #40 on: April 08, 2007, 10:28:50 PM »

Whatever the motivation, people need to wake up to the threat from the global jihad.
I'm not so confident we will.  I fear western civilization has become so complacent and spoiled in our decadent lifestyles, that most of us are willing to entertain the promise of peace at any cost, even if the reality is simply to let the wolf in the door, so long as the wolf is using pretty flowery promises of peace.  I fear we are willing to trade the future of western civilization for a few more years of ease.
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G M
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« Reply #41 on: April 08, 2007, 11:01:38 PM »

When people are fleeing europe and the US has had more major terror attacks CONUS, people will be forced from their slumber.
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