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Above email address currently deprecated! Use gary underscore farber at yahoodotcom, pliz! Sanely free of McCarthyite calling anyone a traitor since 2001!
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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?
I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.
Thanks for any understanding and support. I know it's difficult to understand. And things will change. They always change.
I'm sometimes available to some degree as a paid writer, editor, researcher, or proofreader. I'm sometimes available as a fill-in Guest Blogger at mid-to-high-traffic blogs that fit my knowledge set.
If you like my blog, and would like to help me continue to afford food and prescriptions, or simply enjoy my blogging and writing, and would like to support it --
you are welcome to do so via the PayPal buttons.
"The brain is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson
"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin
"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan
"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule --
and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley
"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss
"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire,
the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind;
and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise
the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were
respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon
"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify
the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.
They show disrespect for elders and they
love to chatter instead of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They
no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize
"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook
"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.
We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect
disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest
and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the
land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion
"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him
an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this
or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages
to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also
to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing,
with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess
and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion
and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson
"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices,
intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to
improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation;
a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most
tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition --
to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri
"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke
"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology;
it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to
understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit
and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant
"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is
but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest
winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville
"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon,
but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without
being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant
"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand
"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible,
and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and
man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and
after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus
"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814
"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort,
are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true,
the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944
"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News
"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson
"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example."
-- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."
-- H. W. Fowler
"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
-- Kate Wilhelm
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein
"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).
"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128
"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs
"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden
"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit.
He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.
The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cutepanda. Don't you lovepandas?
Current Total # of Donations Since 2002: 1181
Subscribers to date at $5/month: 100 sign-ups; 91 cancellations; Total= 9
Supporter subscribers to date at $25/month: 16 sign-ups; 10 cancellation; Total= 6
Patron subscribers to date at $50/month: 20 sign-ups; 13 cancellations; Total= 7
...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow
I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber
Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow
One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's
face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged
We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott
Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal
If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.
Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks
I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes
Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this? -- Natalie Solent
People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost,
Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry,
Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny.
It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out.
And She of whom I must write someday.
TORTURE, DUTY, AND KEEPING ONE'S MOUTH SHUT. I mentioned the PBS Frontline documentary, The Torture Question, here. (Regrettably, I've, er, had trouble finding my videotape -- I'm kinda lousy about labeling them sometimes -- so while I'll find it Real Soon Now, I have no opinion till then.)
But I find this interesting. Here a pro-war milblogger, one "Froggy," aka Matthew Heidt, attacked the documentary, and in particular the credibility of Specialist Tony Lagouranis, who was featured making allegations in the documentary.
Many comments followed, generally agreeing what a disloyal, non-credible, swine Lagouranis is. Here's where it got interesting. Lagouranis started posting replies (very calmly, I might say). He was met with near-uniform attacks (of varying degrees of reasonablness, of course). He continued to respond.
The heart of the complaints (as opposed to general tendency of many of the ex-or-current soldiers commenting to simply name-call, apparently taking that as a logical rebuttal) seems to be that, setting aside details of what was hearsay or not, and other quarrels and accusations, that whatever actually happened, so long as it wasn't a matter of Lagouranis personally witnessing or stopping a major crime, such as murder, that he was utterly wrong to "run to the media" and violate the -- these words are not used, they're mine -- code of silence these soldiers generally felt that to violate was the mark of a "buddy f*cker."
In the interests of full disclosure, I have banned Tony from the comments because I felt that he was using them to slander people and had failed to present anything approaching "evidence" of war crimes or torture. I felt that I had given him a fair opportunity to present his side of the matter and that he was ultimately unconvincing and frankly disingenuous toward the people he was accusing. If he wants to email me to appeal this decision, then I will reconsider it. He has already emailed other commenters and here is a sample from one of those emails, "By the way, I am smarter than many of my former leaders. You know that is true. You can't be in the military for 22 years without realizing that idiots rise up in the ranks."
So that pretty much sums up his attitude and by the way that jibes perfectly with my speculatory statements made in the initial post. I feel like we know what we need to about Tony, and if he wants to make some more media appearances to show the world how much smarter he is, then he can do it somewhere else.
That was at 2:28 on October 21st, but the thread continues; the majority of it is subsequent to the banning.
There wound up being a few hundred comments, and I'm not so fascinated as to want to read them all, particularly given the great repetitiveness, and the empty semantic content of too many messages. But a few quotes for flavor:
Two things: This spc's testimony echoes of the same line of unsubstantiated BS that Kerry piled on his former shipmates during Viet Nam. Literally the same tone.
From reading your description of it the guy sounds like a total tool.
Keep the faith is something that flew over the guys head. Somebody should have returned the favor and left his *ss outside the gate.
I didn't get to see, "The Torture Question," mostly because I can smell the liberal bullshit from a mile away, but did it feature things like Nick Berg or Paul Johnson having their heads mercilessly rent from their bodies?
Lagouranis was defended by a friend in a very balanced way. Lagouranis then first arrived here and several more followed (and yet more and more, later). Here's one response (to be sure, this sort of thing wasn't the province of Mr. Heidt/Froggy, nor of everyone commenting, though it's representative of the less substantive responses:
We have a name for people like you, in the military (that I've served in for 22 years).
You sound like a typical malcontent. Someone that thinks they're better (smarter) than all their leaders. Like others have said, you don't pass the smell test.
Stop spreading hearsay, you tool.
The prisoners might lie, but it is hard to believe they could all tell us the same lie.'
That's not hard to believe at all. I frequently hear the same lie when I listen to various MSM outlets.
This one is from Froggy:
I really don't think that you understand what your duty was as a soldier. To me, you sound like your duty was primarily to yourself. You demonstrate absolutely no fidelity or affinity with your service, and by your own admission you took steps to avoid responsibility as some kind of protest against the Army. I could see your frustration in the interview, and your postings here have only reinforced that view. [...] You probably weren't cut out for what you were involved in, and that doesn't make you a bad person. But, once you were there, your first obligation was to your unit, the Army, and the United States and you decided instead that your first obligation was to Tony. So you took care of Tony, and everybody else came next.
That's blue falconry my friend, and all that squawking you did on PBS was nothing more than a little man lashing out at the people he came to despise. You clearly have a lot of intellectual potential, but you do not have very good judgement. Being a smart guy doesn't make you right, having and displaying your intellect is a responsibility as well.
You talked about "vibes" at Abu Ghraib. You put off a distinct vibe that you are a malcontent who is hostile to the mission and the leadership. That vibe is going to attract others with similar proclivities and filter out more balanced perspectives. Whatever shit you heard from your buddies was coming from other malcontents with alternate agendas just like you had. You and your "sources" created a nice little echo chamber where all of your stories made sense.
I am aware of many things that SEALs did in Iraq that I will never discuss in a public forum. I am a frogman, but I never served in Iraq. I maintain my fidelity with my brothers who daily risk their lives trying to do a very dangerous job. If I were to betray my comrades by not even giving them the benefit of the doubt in the same way that you have done, I would feel ashamed. Apparently you do not. That is a character flaw that you should see about fixing.
If you consider going "to the media last" your duty, then you clearly have no idea what the word "duty" means.
You participated in a coordinated slander of every person you ever worked with by volunteering for that interview. The bias demonstrated by Frontline during that piece was staggering, and you buddy fucked everyone you served with by allowing yourself to become a tool with which to bludgeon your comrades.
You are no better than John Kerry. He came back from Vietnam and testified before Congress that his comrades had committed all manner of war crimes based on just as flimsy bullshit charges as you have laid out here. I hope for your sake that this was not some publicity stunt to launch your political career, because we will not forget what you did on that show.
I cannot prove a negative after the fact from half a world away, Tony. But you have shown yourself to be a craven and self centered buddy fucker on Frontline and here in my comments. You have no credibility to make many of the charges you have made and I suspect that is the reason your desperate attempts to "hold the military to the law" were unfruitful. Who the fuck do you think you are anyway? Froggy
Apparently Tony Lagouranis (shitbird) is waging an email campaign on some of the people that have posted anti-shitbird comments here. What a tool.
He sent me an email trying to defend himself and his actions.
A truly detestable POS (and First Class Blue Falcon)...
This one might be the best summary of one view:
I hate to tell you this, but it isn't your duty to hold the military to the law. It is the responsibility of those in command, perhaps the JAG corps, those in government who have experience and objectivity. By going to the MSM you essentially relied upon the least objective group with little to no actual experience to "hold the military to the law." You might as well have death row inmates sit on capital murder juries.
Your duty is to report what you observe that concerns you up the chain of command. It is their duty to evaluate all the intelligence and act appropriately. [...] You reported what you heard up the chain of command, and having no actual first person evidence of what you claim, your duty ended there. Had you witnessed these things, had reported them, and believed they were still occuring I might understand your attempt to "protect the image of the US" by making sure it stopped before the MSM got a hold of it and the info was used by the insurgents as propaganda. But going to the MSM only did what your duty should have led you away from. Your duty was to protect and serve the US and its image, and the military. You could have used what you had to protect these things, instead they were your target. What does that really accomplish anyway. You have tarnished your uniform and flag, as well as everyone elses. And that doesn't help prevent prisoner abuse.
I think that's as much space as I care to devote. Examine further or not as you wish.
What I find most interesting is the unsurprising thread that loyalty to the service should trump a belief that the law and Uniform Code of Military Justice have been violated. Lagouranis didn't go to the press until after he was discharged, and felt that none of his apparently many reports to the chain of command were heeded. Presumably his duty, in some eyes, was to keep his mouth shut, regardless, ad infinitum, or perhaps just until the war was over. Well, I certainly understand loyalty, and have a clue as to why many would feel this way. It's interesting to see it in action, though.
That reaction is terribly confusing, and saddening. I don't have any military experience myself, but I have friends that do, and they've always been clear (at least this has been my understanding) that not only is every soldier well trained in the Geneva Conventions, but in their individual responsibility not to follow illegal orders. I don't understand why this reaction is so different.
I've not served, but I'm not surprised, and I think I can explain simply enough.
Yes, you're given some training on Geneva. But some hours of instruction can't remotely approach the core point of military, particularly Army and Marine, training, which is to break you down as an individual and rebuild you so that your core loyalties are to your buddies. (And then your units -- squad, platoon, company, battalion, brigade/RCT, division, corp, army, Army, Country, though that's very simplified.)
That's the key thing at the heart of all military Basic Training, and it's hammered into every minute of the day: your buddies are your life, and vice versa.
And then when you seal that by going through combat, and watching your buddy blown in half....
So winding up with an approximate ratio of priorities being 100/1 loyalty-to-buddies, loyalty-to-unit, over "I-have-been-instructed-in-Geneva doesn't surprise me in the faintest. What's impressive is anyone who bucks all that for an abstract cause.