This story reminds me a lot of my friend Dag. Maybe you have seen his blog and his often heated rhetoric and think, there goes another crazy right wing religious bigot. However, when you talk to Dag in person, you realize that his disdain for Arab-Muslim culture is voiced in calm, and often world-weary tones, and a true desire to liberate fellow human beings from a crazy culture. You see, he has spent a good part of his life in the Middle East - in some ways he really likes the place and would go back and teach if it were not so life-threatening - and he has endless stories about, e.g., the fact that everyone lies incessantly to keep face. His vision of that world is at odds with all our liberal sensibilities and prejudices and his writing thus sometimes seems febrile. But then you read a story like this and you realize that, whatever actually happened, whatever the degree of the Marines' guilt, that they are dealing with a culture that is only truly addressed with an imagination that is not only calm and objective, but also sometimes willing to immerse itself in the febrile subjectivity of that place.
truepeers:Actually the first time I heard a report on solace money was on NPR. The reporter talked to a civilian representative, an American I think, from some group and they said that for years the practice of paying people off had been standard and she considered it invaluable. She was not being nasty or judgmental, she said this is just how things work in that culture.The reporter tried to make it sound like payoff and a lot have, but the truth is the Marines have to do paperwork to get that money so there is a record, just like this article said. Even if you are not directly responsible custom may require compensation in order to save face and to negate the need for pay back.Of course to westerners it is extortion and a recipe for abuse and fraud.
I keep thinking about the AP "stringers" who used to show up with amazing timing for IED explosions and terrorist murders.The MSM has caused a lot of deaths in Iraq and this Haditha story is both less and more than meets the eye. I hope those exhumations but some of the lies to bed but I wouldn't bet on it.
Well, however it turns out, the quote from michael yon I saw on Instapundit just now sure fits:In the absence of clear facts, most people know that a rush to judgment serves no one. What word, then, properly characterizes the recent media coverage of Haditha, when analysis stretches beyond shotgun conclusions to actually attributing motive and assigning blame? No rational process supports a statement like: “We don’t know what happened, but we know why it happened and whose fault it is.”
She was not being nasty or judgmental, she said this is just how things work in that culture.Sure. It started with the British right at the beginning, way back in 2003 IIRC, and the US took it up. I believe that traditionally the payment is often mediated or assessed in a religious court. It's old news and if the media is unaware of it they are flat out incompetent. So what else is new.
syl - Yon's piece is absolutely a must-read.all those who have rushed to judgment are forever guilty in my eyes - whatever the outcome of the investigation. iow, their treachery will not be redeemed by what comes next, because their treachery is in the here and now when what comes next is not knowable.
ex-dem,That highlights the idiocy of this on a political basis. This tactic is supposed to wear down Reps and soften the middle - that's a very delicate path to try and follow in mid-terms where turnout is apt to be low. That 40% that keeps doggedly supporting the President is enough to dash Dem hopes pretty effectively. The descriptor "broken glass" is used for Reps - never Dems.
chuck:That was not exactly her meaning. Her meaning was that payment for the sake of peace goes way back in Arab culture. In much the same vein as war reparations. But of course by being all sensitive and wanting to placate people the coalition has created a motive for lying on the part of the Iraqis. For instance, since Zarqawi will not pay there are times the US will pay for deaths of civilians by terrorists if US is involved, such as road side bombs that kill civilians. But when some of the folks were considered hostile, as is the case in Haditha then not everyone is compensated.
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