Atheist bus ads come to Detroit. Religious types freak the fuck out.

It looks like it’s Detroit’s turn for a round of atheist bus ads according to this article in The Oakland Press News:

The ads are to begin a month-long run Thursday on more than a dozen Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) buses. They show the words “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone” superimposed on an image of blue sky and clouds.

Ruthe Milan, a spokeswoman for the Detroit Area Coalition of Reason, says the ads will appear on SMART buses running from downtown Detroit to several Oakland County communities. They are being paid for with $5,250 from the United Coalition of Reason.

The message is the same as many that have been shown on buses around the country and, as you would expect, the Christians in the area are reacting with the calm tolerance preached by Jesus himself.

Ha ha! Just kidding! They’re pitching a fucking fit.

Here’s a small sample of their well-reasoned discourse:

James DiPaola wrote on Mar 4, 2010 6:42 AM:
“Lets send a message! DONT RIDE THE BUS! ”

Pat Sullivan wrote on Mar 4, 2010 7:07 AM:
“SMART bus? They are not very smart for accepting an ad like this one. I agree with James–DON’T RIDE THE BUS!! ”

daryl wrote on Mar 4, 2010 7:09 AM:
“All the atheists are doing is pushing their religion (and yes its another religous group) on Detroit. I am sick of these egotistical people that believe that the universe is just here. Well guess what i hope religious people of Detroit ban the busses. Than you crazy people can ride the busses together while talking about how you know everything there is to know about existence. ”

Sick of it wrote on Mar 4, 2010 7:17 AM:
“I don’t recall the last time I heard of a group of atheists helping the disadvantaged and poor like religious groups do everyday from all denominations. I think that speaks for itself and how they value human life, they don’t. I feel like they are the sociopaths of spirituality, they think they should feel something spiritual and when they don’t, they want to bring you down too. ”

kathy wrote on Mar 4, 2010 7:19 AM:
“instead of banning GOD in our schools and on our money, and every where else the atheist’s want as to ban him. why dont we just ban the atheist’s. Ill walk in ten feet of snow before i’ll ride one of those buses. SHAME ON YOU FOR PUTTING THAT CRAP ON YOUR BUSES. “

Fortunately, it looks like there are some rationalists amongst the population who are also chiming in. It’s already turned into quite the lengthy thread over there and The Oakland Press is probably enjoying the attention it so rarely gets otherwise.

52 thoughts on “Atheist bus ads come to Detroit. Religious types freak the fuck out.

  1. daryl makes an interesting point that athiesm is its own religion… so doesn’t freedom of religion mean that athiests are just as entitled to express their beliefs as christians? Obviously the intent of the bus ads isn’t an attack on thiests, but a message to comfort athiests. I recognize that all forms of religion have a tendency (or in some cases a mission) to belittle, embarrass and shame people who don’t stand tall enough next to their measuring stick. Mind you, I am a devout Christian and a member of the Mormon church; I feel that all men should believe in God and obey his commandments. The defining point, as you Mr Jenkins have put it, is that Christians should embody the character of the Savior we worship… and this is a fine case of utter failure in that regard. I hope that public dialogue like this bus advertising situation can open up our understanding, and teach us all to be more respectful.

  2. If one came to my town, I would ride that bus, if for no other reason than it’s a great ad!
    I never ride the bus, but I would ride that one! 🙂

  3. That’s a good thought: if the bus ads come to your town, have organized freethinker bus-riding events to draw attention to them.

  4. Argh. Atheism is not a religion, just as silence is not a type of sound!

    You MIGHT be able to call it a form of belief, but even that could be said to stretch the definition.

    Atheism needs no freedom of religion, atheism needs only freedom of speech. We here in Auckland New Zealand aren’t even that far yet – our local bus company just refused to run ads stating “There is probably no god, so stop worrying and enjoy life.”. Fuckheads.

  5. As usual, the religious reich wants to be free to push their sick beliefs with no interference from dissenting opinions, no matter how well founded. What they are saying is, just STFU and let us brainwash your children as we please.

    Religious people are sick, twisted morons that deserve to waste their lives on delusion and guilt.

  6. Don’t be too quick to write them all off for being part of their culture, James. Many are not like that, and it’s hard to tell who may become a “former religious person”. It’s the culture that’s sick, twisted and moronic.

  7. IT is rather telling that this rather inoffensive ad (there is nothing in the text that insults believers or their silly system of self delusion) can cause these “gentle followers of christ” to turn into intolerant, moronic, hate spewing assholes? My oh My – their faith cant be that strong and their god that all powerful if a gentle, benign message like the the one on the bus can get their collective knickers in such a twist. As usual it’s a case of the stupid getting angry at the smart for being…..well….smart.
    Grow some opposable thumbs and lose that prehensile tail, you xians – it’s time to climb that evolutionary ladder that you sooo obviously dont believe …..
    OR maybe your silly little god needs all this hatred to exist on?

  8. Great.. another double standard.

    If you saw a bus that said “Do you believe in God? you’re not alone.” and anyone got upset, the Christians everywhere (and Muslims and Jews) would go out of their way to tell you what an understated expression it was. It simply says that your belief is okay and there are more like you.

    It’s responses like these that give Christians a bad name, and it upsets me even more that the real Christians aren’t right there saying these idiots don’t represent them. I like some Christians. I really dislike dumbass Christians. I dislike hypocritical dumbass Christians even more.

    now excuse me while I go punch something.

  9. So typical American responses… wow… kind of scary! If there was “Jesus Loves You” on the bus, I bet no one would say a word there.

  10. This is exactly how people with irrational faith usually behave. We don’t need to pretend that cult members and extremists are the only ones causing trouble. I have seen many average christians turn into monsters when it comes to subjects like atheism, homosexuality, islam and abortions. No reason to deny this anymore I think.

    I really dislike to categorize people in certain groups, but there are no (or very few) christians who are willing to defend the atheist bus campaign for instance. There are no (or very few) christians willing to admit that there are nut jobs within their own religion.

    “Average christians” should decide what side they are on. As long as they don’t criticize the nut jobs, I will assume they are with them. Atheists are not the ones painting a negative picture of christianity. The christians are doing it perfectly by themselves. If i was a christian right now, I would speak out against the nut jobs on my own “team”.

  11. So what? I’m an atheist. I’m also not one who attempts to make excuses for my beliefs – just as Christians should not for theirs. They aren’t “freaking the fuck out” from what I can tell from the protests. It seems most want to abstain from riding the train that displays a message on it that they disagree with ; which is fine. It’s what I do by avoiding walking in to places of worship because I don’t wish to hear whatever messages I disagree with.

  12. As a Bosnian-Agnostic and a cultural muslim, I absolutely love seeing these ads multiplied from a city to a city. I’ve had enough of Jesus Billboards everywhere I turned to so its really nice to finally introduce some balance into the daily pop culture life.

  13. I usually don’t respond to these discussions, but in this case (since no one else has) I must better inform the ill-informed…
    Sick of it wrote on Mar 4, 2010 7:17 AM:
    “I don’t recall the last time I heard of a group of atheists helping the disadvantaged and poor like religious groups do everyday from all denominations. I think that speaks for itself and how they value human life, they don’t. I feel like they are the sociopaths of spirituality, they think they should feel something spiritual and when they don’t, they want to bring you down too. ”

    Response: The Red Cross is a secular organization that claims no adherence to any religion and they have done more in humanitarian aid then all of the “denominations” combined. Whilst most religious organizations (in their humble, modest t-shirts branding their humble, modest denominational logos) seek advertisement for their morality only to prove “My god has a bigger dick than your god”…..This is why I usually don’t respond to christians, for what is the point of trying to lift the veil from a persons eyes only to reveal a blind person. But I digress. I will not challenge your beliefs here, just your facts. So before you insult another person with your “monopoly on morality” Read something besides the bible….Anything will do.

  14. I am a christian and I think it’s ridiculous that people are getting upset about this. I have friends that left their religion and it was tough for them; I think it’s great that they are not alone. I’m not a fan of people pushing their beliefs done my throat wether they’re christian or atheists or whatever, but I don’t find this ad does this. in fact I find it portrays love and acceptance, a message my fellow christians should embrace.

    I would like to say that there are several christians (myself included) who do speak out against the corrupt, intolerant, and insane. But I agree it needs to be done more and by prominent religious leaders

    I would also like to say that while I understand your anger and frustration with the intolerance, corruption, and ignorance that is too often found in organized religion, I worry that for some people it gets misdirected. I get that what I believe makes no sense to some people and even seems idiotic to some and I’m okay with that; being a christian is only part of who I am and I don’t feel the need to agree with or understand everything about a person in order to accept them. I judge a person by their actions not their beliefs and I make my decisions on individuals not groups

  15. I, as many above, am an atheist. I somewhat understand the discomfort many religious followers feel when confronted by such atheistic signs. I don’t feel comfortable when I see religious signs. My problem is that religious signs are considered acceptable and thus are abundant in our society. If religious people don’t want atheist signs, they should reconsider the overuse of their own.

    I think society is more tolerant of religious signs not only because atheists are a minority but also because religion has connotations of morals, whereas atheism is often thought to lack these. This is simply due to a poor understanding of both theology and atheism.

    However, the fashion in which many religious followers have responded to these atheist signs only confirms that perhaps aren’t as moral as they might like to think.

  16. We spent hundreds of comments in a long thread conversing with a Christian who believed he was trying to understand why atheists perceive Christianity as we do. Predictable result, alas.

  17. Madeleine B: I don’t agree. I don’t get uncomfortable when I see religious signs. I only get upset when I see public figures (politics, school administration, etc) saying things like “Christianity is the correct way”

    Society is more tolerant of religious signs for the simple reason that we’ve always had them. It is natural for religion to be everywhere. Otherwise it is unlikely that “In God We Trust” would ever have gotten printed on our money and the Pledge of Allegiance probably would still have no reference to God in it.

    The reason people are upset at Atheism is because it had begun to be accepted. Atheists have realized that there are a lot more of us than anyone really thought and because of that, standing up for our rights doesn’t always result in instant shunning and discrimination. The religious folk don’t know how to handle that. Where before people only quietly disagreed with them, now people are using their own tactics to win support. They understandably feel threatened by this and like any organization that feels threatened, they fight back using the avenues to the public that have been open to them in the past.

    Unfortunately, they find that the Atheists have already gotten there and they not only have to try to get their word out, they are not allowed to get the word out the way they used to. That’s why they cry discrimination. They’ve had the political right and the school system for so long that they see it as their right to continue to have them on their side. The school system slipped out of their grasp while they weren’t looking and they’re trying to use their political clout to get it back. THAT’S the danger, not signs on busses. That’s just advertising. If advertisers can get away with calling Pringles real potatoes, then churches can put whatever they like on a billboard. I only get upset when they say that Atheists shouldn’t be allowed to do the same.

  18. DOF, that reminded me to add in widgets for the most popular posts (based on number of visits) and the most comment posts. The popular one is a bit off as it only counts views since I switched to WordPress, but what the hell.

    Anyway, the “Christian Asks” thread is the second most commented entry here with 635 total. It’s beaten only by the long-time record holder of the Jesus/Horus thread at over 800 comments.

  19. “If you’ve never encountered anything in your community that offended you then you’re not living in a free society.”-Kim Campbell
    Christopher Hitchens wrote an article yesterday discussing all of the attempts globally to suppress criticism of religion. It is important that people exercise their freedom of speech and not take it for granted; so many of our other freedoms have been watered down, mostly by Bush but now also by Obama (‘Patriot’ Act). Fortunately, when it comes to criticism of religion, the genie is out of the bottle, people are simply going to have to get used to it. Non-believers are one of the largest growing groups in the U.S., larger than American Jews or Buddhists or Muslims.
    As for the ad itself, “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone”, it seems like its creators could have put a little more effort into it. Looks like they went with the first suggestion. Its a rather boring ad, not really worth getting apoplectic over. It goes to show how spoiled religious believers in America are; they have no idea what it would actually be like to encounter a real attempt to suppress their religion (as they might if they were, say, a non-Muslim living in Saudi Arabia or some other place) so they get angry over this rather innocent message. But this is a good example of how critics bring more attention to the object that they are criticizing than it would otherwise have gotten.

  20. To poster #1:

    I really respect what you said. There would not be such animosity between believers and nonbelievers if everyone approached these situations the way you did. From an atheist.

  21. Hi there. stupid evil bastard is an appropriate name for this website.
    and the the guy that runs this place kind of looks like Anton Lavey.

  22. I thought the name was appropriate as well, which is why I chose it. And I am much more attractive than Anton Lavey.

  23. My absolute favourite comment has to be this gem from Tina:

    ” why are they allowing a murderous hate group like atheists to advertise on busses? are they going to allow the kkk to advertise too? ”

    Aah, bless…

  24. Well there you go, folks; we’re on a level with the KKK. Of course if the only thing you know about atheism is what you heard from your pastor…

  25. If we’re on a level with the KKK, can I expect my pointy-top sheet in the mail, or do I have to make my own?

  26. Pingback: Atheist bus ads in Detroit vandalized by tolerant, upstanding religious folks.

  27. ….Maybe we can just borrow one from the Pope Zilch, his has jewels on it.

  28. Atheism was associated with communism during the war with Russia giving us the taint of the red threat. Part of what made Ayn Rand a revolutionist was she was a famous atheist capitolist. However, our association with the “evil” red threat lives on in people’s minds without even knowing why we’re scary.

  29. We don’t need to be associated with Communism (even unconsciously) to be “scary”. If you’re in another religion, any Fundamentalist can be assured that culture has forced all religions to behave pretty much the same way, even if there are some conflicts between basic doctrine (eg.. you can beat your wife for disobeying you, but stop all that nonsense about sticking her in a Burka.. That’s just barbaric..)

    Atheists, on the other hand think for themselves, so there’s no telling what crazy idea’s we’ll get into our heads… Sex without guilt, equality, self-determination and actually testing ideas to see if they’re worthy… ridiculous crap like that. I can’t think of anything more scary to the leaders of the faithful than the notion that mankind can get along just fine without their input. Scary stuff worth fighting, dying and killing to avoid.

  30. THEIRS GOOD AND BAD IN EVERYONE.DON’T FORGET ATHEISTS HAD A ROLL TO PLAY IN COMMUNISM, SEE EVEN PEOPLE WHO DON’T HAVE A RELIGION CAN BE ASSWHOLES.I AM ALSO SICK OF CHRISTIANITY BEING PORTRAYED AS BEING VIOLENT.
    Yes the Conquistadors were violent and didn’t behave as Jesus would, they were bad Christians.JESUS SAID THOSE WHO USE THE SWORD, DIE BY THE SWORD.if Jesus was not born, Christianity would
    not have been a source of education back in the middle ages, meaning great
    minds may not have been tapped into, and we would be behind technically
    from what we are today. If it were not for Christ, we would not use the ‘BC’
    and ‘AD’ dating system.DO YOU KNOW ATHEISM IS ACTUALLY QUITE OLD AS WELL?
    Not all of us are violent

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_pacifism

  31. Jess, you make the usual tired, untrue arguments we see from theists. Yes, communism did bad things and they at least professed to be atheists. But that was because religion was a challenge to their power. They didn’t do the things they did because they were atheists. Theists who do most of their bad things BECAUSE of their beliefs.

    Yes, christianity is violent. When was the last time you heard of an atheists bombing a family planning clinic or shooting a doctor? When have you heard of an atheists killing someone because of their beliefs? You prefer to believe what makes you feel good instead of facts. Does that make you a “good christian? Or does it male you an ignorant asshole? (to use your word)

    If Jesus said those who live by the sword, die by the sword, that was not violent. He also said, according to your bible, “I come not in peace but with a sword.” I imagine you prefer to not recognize the parts that contradict what you like to think.

    Christianity controlled the middle ages. That’s why they were called “The dark ages” when science, learning, and freedom of speech were suppressed by christians.

    The reason that atheism is older than christianity is that there has always been people capable of rational thought. You should try it yourself.

  32. Jess: What James said. I’ll add to it by saying that Christians picket schools saying that evolution is bad and they must teach Creationism, whereas Atheists never picket churches or religious schools saying that Evolution must be taught there. Religion has a documented history of persecuting others who don’t believe the “right things” Atheists don’t have anything like that kind of history.

    I will acknowledge that religion is probably often used as an excuse to do evil things by those who aren’t necessarily believers. For instance, I don’t happen to think that the leaders of terrorist groups are quite as devout as their followers, but we’ll probably never know the truth of it, because they still claim to be believers. They get away with it because no one demands they justify their belief beyond “God wills it.”

    I do know that if you question an Atheist about what they are doing, they will attempt to tell you why (at least according to their logic) but if you ask a theist in a holy war, they will simply say “God told me” That is enough for them to kill everyone opposed to them without any fear that they may be wrong.

    I firmly believe that religion has done more harm than good to civilization. There may have been a unifying force WAY back in the beginning of recorded history where it did something good, but those times are long over. Even charity work by religious people is over-reported. Secular charity work far outnumbers religious charity work in $$ spent and people helped. Even Mother Teresa demanded the people she help be preached to and converted and actually turned people away who did not express their belief in God.

    Personal belief is fine. Your own personal savior is whoever you want it to be. I got no problem with that, but religion as an organization is dangerous and crazy. There is nothing it contributes except fear and xenophobia in it’s own followers and in those it designates as it’s enemies. It is the single greatest cause of war, death, atrocity and strife in human history, either by people who believe or by people who know that they can manipulate others who believe. We would all be better off if every church, mosque and temple were torn down to make room for parks.

    As for education. Christianity is the reason the masses were NOT educated for so long. They were not taught writing, reading, mathematics because that was considered the perrogative of the nobility and the church, and it was the church that taught the nobility. The few splinters of the church that bucked that system and tried to teach to the masses were shut down, and even up to the reniassance, any scientific breakthrough that didn’t conform to church teachings was buried, sometimes for hundreds of years. This is the “enlightened church” Sorry, Atheism does better there, for almost a thousand years, there was a direct correlation between the lack of piety of a civilization and the technological level of that civilization. The closer they were to God, the less they knew about the universe.

    Also, I submit to you that there is no such thing as a “Pacifist Christian” If a “Pacifist Christian” was made to believe that God really wanted them to kill…. what do you think they would do?

  33. Will, I can assure you there are pacifistic Christians. Interesting that they are a small minority. There is no possibility of convincing them – short of powerful hallucinogens – that god wanted them to kill. Even then I am not sure. They might simply collapse in despair, unable to comply with god’s message.

    They believe their pacifism issues from their faith. My understanding is that their pacifism has a lot more to do with them than it does to do with Christianity. If they grew up Muslim, they’d probably be some pacifistic strain of Sufi; if Buddhist, they’d be pacifists too. Of course they don’t see it that way, or maybe some of them do.

    Ultimately it comes down to this: religion points to good people in its realm, taking credit for what is really a personality type.

  34. decrepitoldfool: I have never seen pacifism come from religion. Pacifists maybe are drawn to some Christian teachings, but there is nothing inherent in Christianity or Islam, or even Buddhism that would compel people to be pacifists.

    If a pacifist believed that God wanted them to kill, and their faith was stronger, they would kill for their God. If their faith wasn’t as strong as their desire not to kill, then it would prove that their pacifism doesn’t come from their faith.

    I agree with you that it is most likely the latter. They became pacifists and something in the religion allowed them to justify it, just as it justifies in others the need to control others and do violence.

    In that case, religion is a dodge… a way to deny personal responsibility for your actions. To say “My God is telling me to do this and I must obey.” without explaining WHY this thing must be done. Too many scary things can be justified using a holy book, some of them diametrically opposed, and if you get rid of interpretation and take the bible literally, then most everyone on this planet is an infidel that deserves eternal damnation and it is up to the followers of Christ/God/Allah to cleanse the planet and destroy the unbelievers. That more than anything else should tell us how dangerous religion is.

  35. THEIRS GOOD AND BAD IN EVERYONE.DON’T FORGET ATHEISTS HAD A ROLL TO PLAY IN COMMUNISM

    Lets not forget Hitler believed Jesus was an Aryan, so Christianity had a role to play in mass genocide.

  36. “In that case, religion is a dodge… a way to deny personal responsibility for your actions. To say “My God is telling me to do this and I must obey.” without explaining WHY this thing must be done.”

    Another way of looking at it is that it provides cover for actions that would be inexplicable in the normal social framework. Pacifism is damned hard to explain in a militaristic society, in the extremely practical sense that Conscientious Objector status is easy for, say, Mennonites or Quakers, but nearly impossible to obtain for a secular humanist.

    Buddhism teaches nonviolence, not pacifism. Related concepts, but not identical, and many Buddhists are pacifists, and can obtain CO status without much trouble.

    Ultimately I’d like to see the end of all-or-nothing CO status. A citizen or even a soldier ought to be able to decide for themselves which wars to fight in. If that seems impractical to anyone, then we get into too many wars.

    And of course one shouldn’t have to seek religious cover for the refusal to kill at any given time.

  37. decrepitoldfool: “Another way of looking at it is that it provides cover for actions that would be inexplicable in the normal social framework. Pacifism is damned hard to explain in a militaristic society, in the extremely practical sense that Conscientious Objector status is easy for, say, Mennonites or Quakers, but nearly impossible to obtain for a secular humanist.”

    That’s pretty much the same thing. Either you can’t articulate your reasons or whoever you’re talking to won’t understand, but to make up an excuse (ie “God wills it”) for pacifism is to abdicate your responsibility for your actions. No one can make you kill. You can be drafted into the army, but they can’t make you pull the trigger, but there are consequences for taking that stance. I don’t have any personal problem with pacifism. It’s a personal thing, but if you understand those consequences, then you don’t need any fake excuse for what you believe. If you don’t understand those consequences, then maybe you’re not really cut out to be a pacifist.

    As for CO status, I find it extremely strange to be a willing member of an organization dedicated to killing it’s enemies, enemies decided upon often by political forces, yet be a pacifist dedicated to not killing. The military is a machine. It can’t effectively function any other way. It can’t function as a machine if all it’s parts get to decide when and where they are going to do their respective jobs. I would understand CO status in a conscripted army, but not a volunteer one.

    And before you start talking about those people “forced” into military careers, that doesn’t wash. A willingness to kill is like any other requirement you need to get through boot camp. Some make the cut, and some don’t. I have a problem with passing people through boot camp who aren’t capable of performing the job they were hired for. That’s what boot camp is there for and not everyone passes. Either that’s a problem with boot camp training or it’s a problem with recruiters who send citizens there to be trained. The one thing it SHOULDN’T be is a skill you wait until there’s actually a war to decide if you can cut it or not. The only CO status I believe in is: If you aren’t able to kill anyone, don’t join the military, or if you have a change of heart while you’re in, get out.. Like I said, no one can make you pull the trigger if you truly don’t want to.

  38. Will, perhaps you do not remember the draft, other than as a hypothetical. CO status took on a different meaning then.

    Young men got out of high school and faced awful choices. “Evading responsibility”? Sure. No one should have to be punished for refusing to kill, but many were. Not everyone is made of “go to prison for it” material, and it isn’t a moral failing.

    If Vietnam had gone on just one more year, I would have faced the choices as well, and had no documented religious cover. Was getting pretty nervous there towards the end. Now if we could just get the hell out of Afghanistan.

  39. decrepidoldfool: Exactly.. As I said “I would understand CO status in a conscripted army, but not a volunteer one.”

    The trouble is, we don’t have a draft anymore. If it was ever reinstated, then CO status would make sense. As things stand now, it doesn’t.

    CO status illustrates the stupidity of a draft. It shouldn’t provide an “out” in a volunteer military.

  40. “It shouldn’t provide an “out” in a volunteer military.”

    I’ve come to believe that it should, because of the thousands of National Guard troops sent to Iraq. Not all wars are created equal, and the suits keep sending committed soldiers into wars that just don’t make sense (which is most of them).

    But mostly, I’m repelled by the notion that moral agency is forfeited when putting on a uniform. It has allowed leaders to pursue wars for reasons other than national security, of which Iraq is only one example.

    Of course, if soldiers retain a semi-normal sense of moral agency, they will be more responsible when they do kill. They’ll need a damn good reason. If it makes wars less practical, then I guess we’ll have to live with fewer wars. Darn.

  41. decrepidoldfool: Where’s the moral justification in joining the military when you can’t fight? Even the National Guard trains you how to use a rifle. You think they’re doing that so you can shoot cans and scare the enemy?

    We should be concentrating on the people who start the wars, not the soldiers who fight them. THAT’s how you make wars less practical, not allowing the soldiers to pick their fights. I’m for giving the soldiers the right to choose, but if you don’t want to fight because you’re a pacifist, then NO war is acceptable to you and you shouldn’t be joining the military in the first place. If you’re giving the soldier the right to pick and chose his wars, then you’re only effectively fighting the popular wars, not necessarily the wars that need fighting. That’s a little too whacked… even for me, to market wars like soft drinks? to create pitch men for Iraq? Because you know that’s what will happen. Popularity has never been a good indicator of value, but that hasn’t stopped people from believing the exact opposite.

    Go to the top. Make the people who start the wars start suffering some of the consequences for their actions. That’s how you make wars less desirable, and that’s pretty much the only way.

  42. Will – “to market wars like soft drinks? to create pitch men for Iraq?” But isn’t that exactly what happened? With all the talk about Weapons of Mass Destruction and “Openly supporting terrorism” When no evidence of either was ever found. When the Secretary of State resigned because he couldn’t stomach the lies and deceit?

    Despite the rhetoric of “Making America safer” exactly how has either of the wars in Iraq and Pakistan accomplished anything other than being a recruiting ground for terrorists groups? Well there are the thousands of Americans killed and countless civilians. Was that the purpose of beating the war drums?

    BTW, I do agree with your points.

  43. James: No. The reason we got into Iraq was because No one in the administration was worried about what would happen to them if anyone found out about that they lied.

    Ultimately we did find out, but not one of those people was ever brought to trial for lying to Congress, to the American people and getting us into a war we shouldn’t have been in, and they knew that they would never be held accountable.

    If they knew that there WOULD be consequences for fabricating evidence or for speaking lies into a microphone, then Iraq may never have happened. On the other hand, if you had given the soldiers the ability to say “No.. I’m not going to fight this war.” I don’t think it would have made a damned bit of difference. We had just come out of 9/11 and our soldiers were all gung-ho to find those responsible and kick their asses. President Bush pointed a finger and said “Those people are responsible.” and we went. It was that simple.

    Iraq was a very popular war to begin with, regardless of the debacle it turned into. The only thing that would have prevented it was stopping the people at the top.

  44. I agree, but the war was marketed like a soft drink and it is a counter-productive effort. I agree, many of those people should be in Prison today. You are right on the mark. There is no accountability for deliberate and conscious lies by politicians.

    What we should have is a return to the days when the leaders actually led. Like into combat. Not hide behind a phony National Guard membership that was never even fulfilled while other guard members were flying, fighting, and dying.

    Yes, I am disgusted.

  45. Even if someone is not a pacifist they might recognize a given war as soft drinks. It shouldn’t fall to individuals to point out the emperor’s clothes are, shall we say, a bit transparent but it often does. And the trigger on that war might be pulled after a person has joined.

    Once upon a time the National Guard was mainly deployed in the US. As James says, it was re-purposed to shore up army recruiting. I’m saying; if a soldier can’t reconcile their conscience with a given war, they should be given some stateside duty. Of course I recognize that isn’t exactly a majority opinion.

    Basically we should only be fighting wars against enemies that pose an existential threat to our country.

  46. James: Even if they were playing by standard marketing rules, then things still would have been better. There ARE truth in advertising laws, however limited they are applied. Coke can’t claim that their drinks have ingredients in them which they really don’t, but there is no such rule for government.

    It wasn’t just that they were lying to the country. It was that they were lying with no fear of anything bad happening even if people found out. If there was any doubt as to their guilt, that would be one thing, but everyone knows that they lied. No one even disputes that anymore. The most anyone can say is that they should have know the evidence they had wasn’t accurate. They were either outright evil or they were criminally incompetent, yet apparently neither is actionable, and it should be.

    So no.. A soft drink ad tries convince you that their soda is what you want to drink. It doesn’t try to convince you that the soda is actually a parachute that can save your life when you leap from a burning plane or a wrench that can help you fix your car. The reason it doesn’t is because they can be hauled into court for saying that. The government has no such stipulations on what they say.

  47. decrepidoldfool: “Basically we should only be fighting wars against enemies that pose an existential threat to our country.”

    Agreed, but how do you do that? Giving soldiers the right to pick their wars will make them pick on a whole bunch of criteria; how close the war is to home, their own personal political views (ie Republicans are for the war and I’m a Republican), whether they “feel” like it. How do you MAKE them choose on moral grounds? How do you make sure that their judgment is sound? How do you make sure that they are aware of all the data they need to be aware of to say “This war is against a real threat” and “This war isn’t?” Every soldier? Every branch of the military? All the time?

    No. Focus your efforts on just a few, those who’s JOB it is to know the real threats from the bogus ones and give them a reason to be honest about it.

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