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(Ablogistan)   Kurt Vonnegut calls suicide bombers "very brave people"   (ablogistan.com ) divider line
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17263 clicks; posted to Main » on 21 Nov 2005 at 7:48 PM (11 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2005-11-21 10:43:58 PM  
Can't read too far into this thread without being annoyed. The same Farkers that complain about "but Clinton" comments are making statements that it's not bad because America has done/ is doing wrong are just plain wrong.

Suicide bombing that intentionally targets civilians is hideous. Just because something else is hideous ("Remember that time we gave those Indians blankets?") does not change this.

Wrong is wrong. It's okay to hate Bush, "Operation Iraqi Freedom," or the entire U.S. history and still find oil-for-food dispicable or hate terror. Sheesh.
 
2005-11-21 10:46:39 PM  
panda
I'm certainly not saying it makes suicide bombing right. It's not. It's wrong. Killing civillians is wrong.

But, at the same time, it is to ask the question: What is the dividing line?

After all, I could argue that in a sense, we *have* intentionally killed civillians. Do you honestly believe that we can go into a war in an urban area without knowing that yes, our presence will cause civillian deaths, and yes, some will be killed by our weaponry?

And yet, we go to war anyways, because we percieve the gain to be higher than the cost.

But do we have the right to do that? Do we have the right to point at others and say "You, you will die for the greater good, you will be a sacrifice?"
 
2005-11-21 10:47:35 PM  
Oshizzle: "Why does journalists always go to Vonnegut for opinions? He's not the only great living American author! When Islam starts using suicide bears or wrestlers, they'll come, they'll come."
-John Irving


I somehow doubt that Irving let "Why does journalists..." slip from his pen.
 
2005-11-21 10:47:43 PM  
10 U.S.C. 311

Where did that guy's arm go? I feel a photoshop coming on!
 
2005-11-21 10:48:08 PM  
Korovyov

The Mahdi? The Mahdi had about a 15 to 1 numerical advantage ... but your point is well taken.

I wonder how the Mahdi would have fared if the advantage was say 3-1? As for the Mahdi, it brings to mind Custer's defeat 250 soldiers against 4,000 well armed warriors. The Sioux and Cheyenne were at least brave.

If I were to make your point for you I would have cited as an example the Afghan resistance to the British in the 19th Century. They were (and are) some tough and brave fighters. The Afghans are the notable exception to my general statement.
 
2005-11-21 10:49:11 PM  
Choo-Choo Bear
Agreed, suicide bombing is wrong. Some of the arguments here are about the definitions of bravery (Does it have anything to do with the morality of one's position?)

But I agree that suicide bombing is wrong.
 
2005-11-21 10:49:27 PM  
How can someone who writes such fantastic books say such horribly idiot things . . . .
 
2005-11-21 10:51:06 PM  
Oh, mugen.

Do you feel better when you come into the thread and bash everyone without actually having to argue a point?

You're like an atheist Bevets.
 
2005-11-21 10:54:14 PM  
the use of misc tag intrigues me.

assinine, dumbass, cool, or hero would have incited some sweet submitter bashing. obvious would be weird. weird would be inappropriate, florida is right out.

well, misc is fine i guess.
 
2005-11-21 10:54:42 PM  
2005-11-21 08:51:09 PM fsbilly - Absolutely correct. This is some douchefart interviewer trying to make a name for himself by claiming a famous author is batshiat crazy using partial quotes and leading questions. Funny how he claims he ended the interview after that handful of questions. I'd like to see the scores of other questions he asked that made Vonnegut seem totally rational and well-spoken. Journalism, we hardly knew ye.
 
2005-11-21 10:56:25 PM  
RichieXP

albo: but if your beliefs are that god will reward you if you blow up civilians who are not involved in the conflict (as in Jordan recently), you are not dying courageously in any sense of the word

In one way, it's easier to say that they are dying because of a twisted religious belief. Saying that it's partially politically motivated would make it harder for our politicians, as it would imply that its our western foreign policy that has contributed towards the situation.


How does a bombing being at least partially "politically" motivated instead solely "religiously" motivated indicate that the bomber had some right on their side?

Tim McVeigh was completely politcially motivated. By your line of pseudo-logic, he was at least partly justified. Why aren't you soul searching about the evil leftist US government policy that drove him to murder civilians.
 
2005-11-21 10:56:46 PM  
well, they're certainly not cowardly.

But Vonnegut said enough asinine things in that interview that I'm not going to try and defend him. I'm a fan, but this is clearly delusional, partisan thinking at it's worse. I'm sorry to see him fall into, he sounds as nutty as Nader.
 
2005-11-21 11:00:31 PM  
grotto_man: By your line of pseudo-logic, he was at least partly justified.


No, he merely said it is a response to our western foreign policy, not that it was in any way justified.
 
2005-11-21 11:03:19 PM  
jimmyhaha
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.


Me too, but I gotta tell you someone puked on aisle 3. Go clean it up, old man.
 
2005-11-21 11:07:10 PM  
Yes, it is only brave if you kill innocent people accidentally with a big bomb that was made by a corporation.

Corporate bombs = good
Home made bombs = bad
 
2005-11-21 11:07:58 PM  
Korovyov: whorehopper --
Being a "giant of American Letters" in no way suggests expertise on foreign policy or military theory.


And neither the fark does being named George W. Bush. Vonnegut's alternate realities make more sense to me than the Real Thing as purveyed by Bush and his PetroJunta. Where's the Beef? Where are the results of sound thinking and an eye towards history?

This might be why nations turn to military theorists and diplomats when it comes to statecraft, not novelists or poets.

Statecraft is not Stagecraft. When Zappa was tapped as the Minister of Culture in nascent Free Czechoslovakia he completely shut down their Love-Fest of a Cabinet-level planning meeting. They had all of these grand ideas based on principles and ideals and Freedom and Democracy and Equality and he asked them, "Who is going to run the sewer system?"

Don't count the artists out. Hitler was an artist, so was Churchill.

mikaelhg: whorehopper: the saddest part about the contemporary American societal communication is that people don't even pretend that public discourse is about "smart" and "stupid" or "building" or "breaking" anymore.

That will change. There is no way that our current course is leading us towards anything other than more pressure, more pain. That will make people think, out of sheer self-preservation they will learn to educate themsleves in their own way. If you wish to learn the Law, talk to a prisoner. Nobody is more aware of, and well versed in, the macabre machinations we call a legal system. They know it better than most Public Defenders. Unfortunately, a drunken man is not awakened by the first traces of smoke in the air, but by the flames licking at his feet. A recurrent theme among prisoners is not thinking of the Law before it climbs on their back and plunges it in, deserved or not.
 
2005-11-21 11:12:27 PM  
Brave? Like hell they are. If you commit suicide so your starving family can collect the insurance money, are you brave or just desperate? And if you decide to commit suicide by driving a schoolbus full of kids off a cliff, are you still just desperate or are you also farking sick?

Bravery isn't just about being fearless, it's about being fearless for a noble purpose. That's why we consider bravery to be an admirable trait. Killing innocent people and yourself in a fanatical act of rage isn't brave, it's psychotic. I'm sure Mr. Vonnegut wouldn't call the Columbine kids "heroes," and I doubt he burns any candles in memory of Timothy McVeigh. It's a shame he's letting his personal politics outweigh his decency and common sense.
 
2005-11-21 11:13:52 PM  
EdgeRunner: Killing innocent people and yourself in a fanatical act of rage isn't brave, it's psychotic.


Just ask any fighter pilot.
 
2005-11-21 11:14:28 PM  
I love how people are putting words into Vonnegut's mouth, taking what he said out of context, and making him into a terrorist sympathizer. The First Amendment surrenders..
 
2005-11-21 11:19:49 PM  
About two years ago I saw Vonnegut at a live appearence in Chicago. Quite frankly he didn't seem to be "all there". Maybe he was tired after a long trip, but he was hard to understand, and basically repeated word-for-word the same things he said in other interviews.

He is a great author and an american icon, but I have a hard time taking him at his word at this point in his life.

Let him be.
 
2005-11-21 11:20:02 PM  
Guy sounds like he's losing it to me. How old is he again, 80 something? He's stuck in the wrong generation. It's not cool to compliment your enemy or express solidarity with them anymore like it was in the 1960s with Ho Chi Minh. I imagine that if some Vietnamese terrorists had blown up a few thousand hippies in the name of Communism and Marx while the hippies were sitting cushy in their offices, things would have been different.

You know who's really brave? The Iraqi soldiers of the new Iraqi Army who stand and fight, who have to fight these terrorists without the kind of training and weapons that Americans have, and go home knowing that they and their families could be targeted for assassination by Sunni tribesmen. That's farking bravery, not these stupid pampered Saudis blasting their carbomb on a bunch of people lined up outside a mosque.
 
2005-11-21 11:21:29 PM  
MWeather

grotto_man: By your line of pseudo-logic, he was at least partly justified.


No, he merely said it is a response to our western foreign policy, not that it was in any way justified.


He said:

Saying that it's partially politically motivated would make it harder for our politicians, as it would imply that its our western foreign policy that has contributed towards the situation.

He said that political motiviation implies the US is at least partially at fault, meaning that the bombing is in fact at least partially justified.

Once again, the fact that one's motiviation are entirely political and not at all religious says nothing at all about the rightness of ones actions.
 
F42
2005-11-21 11:22:51 PM  
kiwichan:
Would the "AMERICAN suicide bombers" target random Americans walking the street? Reality check.

Reality check?

[image from cnn.com too old to be available]

McVeigh's love of guns led him to a job as a guard for an armored car service. In May 1988, he enlisted in the Army. According to his Army buddies, McVeigh was a natural, relishing in the discipline and hard work the military demands. After serving in the Persian Gulf War, he left the Army at the end of 1991.
 
2005-11-21 11:22:55 PM  
ImaDoormat: About two years ago I saw Vonnegut at a live appearence in Chicago. Quite frankly he didn't seem to be "all there". Maybe he was tired after a long trip, but he was hard to understand, and basically repeated word-for-word the same things he said in other interviews.


So you were tracking his other appearances before, or after this show?
 
2005-11-21 11:23:17 PM  
Just ask any fighter pilot.

Yeah, damn those crazy fighter pilots, always flying their planes directly into passenger buses in the middle of town. It's a wonder we have any of them left.
 
2005-11-21 11:24:06 PM  
whorehopper: Just ask any fighter pilot.

Since when is it the official policy of our fighter pilots to crash their planes into enemy positions while screaming some religious shiat like "Jesus wills it!"

Get a grip dude. I've seen the leaked videos from the pilots in Iraq, and they don't shout or scream or sound enraged or ecstatic at all as they are lighting up some haji in their night vision. They're talking about it like they're just some guy at a job. "Autorange is on, hit him." "Hit the truck." "Targets are moving, clearance to fire?"
 
2005-11-21 11:24:40 PM  
no wonder the extremist Muslims hate the U.S...this must really burn their butt...

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2005%5C11%5C09%5Cstory_9​-11-2005 _pg4_14

Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Arabs, Muslims more integrated in US than in France

Arab and Muslim immigrants in the US generally identify themselves as Americans and integrate with relative ease into a society that prides itself on social mobility and has more tolerance for cultural and religious differences, Haddad (Yvonne Haddad, a professor of Islamic history at Georgetown University) said. To identify as French you have to renounce your faith and have to renounce you previous identity as though your previous self didnt exist. In the US you dont have to, she said.

Arab Americans and Muslims are better educated and have a higher income than the national average, said Edina Lekovic, communications director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
 
2005-11-21 11:25:05 PM  
oh they're brave, but it doesnt mean what they're doing isn't evil
 
2005-11-21 11:26:05 PM  
I think I know why they are so zealous.

[image from iraqbodycount.org too old to be available]
[image from iraqbodycount.org too old to be available]
[image from iraqbodycount.org too old to be available]

I would be too if some foreign country invaded my nation and started trying to swap out our government "for our own good".
 
2005-11-21 11:28:44 PM  
This just in: Only nice people can be be brave.
 
2005-11-21 11:30:58 PM  
The First Amendment surrenders

Because people are saying dumb things? That's what the First Amendment stands for.

John Stuart Mill and others thought that if we were allowed to argue any point of view, the right ones would beat out all others. Unfortunately, the marketplace of ideas does not work. People will believe any bullshiat.

I guess that logical discourse--a failing ideal--has devolved into a shouting match still beats outright censorship, where only one side gets to shout. While the other gets to scribble secret plots, coded plans, irreverent graffiti in dark corners where the rats aren't looking.

I'll miss old Kurt when he finally kicks. There was a time when he said some things, important things. And some people even listened.
 
2005-11-21 11:31:41 PM  
tommyjefferson: I think I know why they are so zealous.

I would be too if some foreign country invaded my nation and started trying to swap out our government "for our own good".


Then you're a farking idiot. You do realize that the vast majority of people the insurgents and terrorists kill are Iraqi civilians, right? You'd go out and die for Saddam Hussein? Ramadi awaits your bravery, inshallah.

I've got some news for you bucko, Iraq Body Count also counts all dead insurgents and all people killed by insurgents, it's not just some list of civvies we've iced for no reason. If an insurgent truck bomb takes out 400 disabled Iraqi orphans tomorrow, that tally you have there will rise by 400.
 
2005-11-21 11:33:10 PM  
mugen said:

Vonnegut is an idiot.

A dead person receives no benefits from success in an ideological war. Suicide bombers are the dumbest, most illogical motherfarkers out there. They're blowing themselves in the name of a fight between imaginary friends, to what end? What advantages flow to them by scattering themselves over the inside of a building? Precisely none. They have sacrificed their lives and nothing accrues to them by doing so.

There is a massive distinction between bravery and lemming retardation for want of any rational thought whatsoever.


There is a word in the English language called "Brave". There are also two completely seperate words called "Intelligent", and "Correct".

I looked in the dictionary, and I discovered that each of those three words has a completelly different meaning from the other two words.

This oddness in the dictionary surprised me, because this would mean that it would be possible to describe someone as being "Brave", without also saying that they were either "Intelligent" or "Correct".

Wow... sometimes you can learn a whole lot just by looking in the dictionary.

Durang said:

How can someone who writes such fantastic books say such horribly idiot things . . . .


Which horrible things did he say? That the word "Brave" might actually apply to our enemies every once in a while?

Newsflash: There have been lots of brave people throughout history, who have fought for wrongheaded, evil, and just plain stupid ideals.

The slave-owning Confederates who charged Little Round Top in the civil war were brave.

The little 13-year-old kids in the Hitler Youth, who went up against Sherman tanks with Panzerfausts in the closing days of WW2 were brave.

The evil fanatics who piloted aircraft in the twin towers were brave.

How can I say such things? Well, mainly because I know how to speak English, and I can read the little descriptions of words that they have in the diictionary.

You know, with all the effort that conservatives put into condemning the thought-limiting evils of "political correctness", they sure are quick to condemn people who speak the plain truth in a fashion that makes them uncomfortable.
 
2005-11-21 11:33:33 PM  
Wait, a famous *satirist* says something shocking and off-the-wall? IMAGINE THAT! I bet the comment was completely serious too, and doesn't contradict any of his writings about the horrors of war and the harming of civilians (eg, "Mother Night", about Vonnegut's experiences at Dresden).

Why, I bet that other famous satirist, Jonathan Swift, was serious about eating babies in "A Modest Proposal"!

Oh, and Spinal Tap is a real band.

Yeesh.
 
2005-11-21 11:34:10 PM  
To all of you saying he sounds old and senile, welcome to clue lagoon. This is exactly the time in his life that we should be listening to him. The old stand at the door to death every day. The closer they get, the more their wisdom approaches that of a a First-Grader. To witness a great mind like Vonnegut's be stripped of ego and hope is a gift, sheer intellect meets childlike innocence in a stew of collapsing neurons - and he's still smarter than most of us. Listen to the old, five minutes of their ramblings are worth three books by any 27 year old not named Kosinski.

I was taught my best maneuver in the sack from an octagenarian poon hound, and I didn't even know it at the time. I dismissed it as more rambling until years later the memory of what he said was, quite literally, in my face.

The old are trying to tell you what they know, and they don't care about your preconceived notions any more because they no longer share them.
 
2005-11-21 11:37:46 PM  
if any kurt's 4 children were in the Bali explosion or an Israeli bus explosion or any of the other suicide bomber explosions, i wonder if he would still call them brave or would he call them something else like cowards
 
2005-11-21 11:40:50 PM  
You know, the whole 70 virgins thing is flawed to begin with.

Believe me, after 25 virgins or so, you're gonna really want someone who knows what they are doing.


/thats my Milton Berle impersonnation.
 
2005-11-21 11:41:14 PM  
whorehopper: To all of you saying he sounds old and senile, welcome to clue lagoon. This is exactly the time in his life that we should be listening to him. The old stand at the door to death every day. The closer they get, the more their wisdom approaches that of a a First-Grader. To witness a great mind like Vonnegut's be stripped of ego and hope is a gift, sheer intellect meets childlike innocence in a stew of collapsing neurons

My grandma can't remember my name so she calls me "Big Guy". I suppose that's her sheer intellect when it meets childlike innocence in a stew of collapsing neurons? Ever been to a nursing home before? I used to help my mom out at nursing homes. It's not some kind of beautiful metamorphosis when somebody is going senile and gets scared because they don't know who or where they are, it's sad and pathetic.

Congratulations on your best move in the sack, I bet I could teach you a thing or two about the nature of man as well. For instance, did you know that in the post-Civil War years, the lynchings of blacks in the South was directly proportional to the price of cotton? Whenever their economy went bad, they took their anger out on easily targeted minorities. It's called the Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis. There, now you've learned something new today.
 
2005-11-21 11:42:10 PM  
He wrote Slaughter House five.

We should hang on his every word.

Soon they will be the last.

Peace
 
2005-11-21 11:42:17 PM  
god i hate fark and I hate all of you.

"Waahhh I loved him until he said something that offended topical sensibilities!!"

go die in a fire. seriously.
 
2005-11-21 11:42:47 PM  
atlanta_ufo: if any kurt's 4 children were in the Bali explosion or an Israeli bus explosion or any of the other suicide bomber explosions, i wonder if he would still call them brave or would he call them something else like cowards

He'd either go stark raving mad with anger at the guys who did it and say he was wrong or he would become resigned, depressed, and blame it on Bush.
 
2005-11-21 11:43:12 PM  
This thread is surprisingly more mature than I expected it to be. Kudos to all of you.

atlanta_ufo: may

That's the keyword, here.

Are you really defending the firebombing of Dresden? Seriously? I mean... really?
 
2005-11-21 11:45:36 PM  
bbcrackmonkey:

He'd either go stark raving mad with anger at the guys who did it and say he was wrong or he would become resigned, depressed, and blame it on Bush.

Or, more likely, he'd keep saying the very same thing, because he never said that it was either right or wrong, simply brave to do.

You can do something brave yet despicable.
 
2005-11-21 11:45:46 PM  
bbcrackmonkey said:

Guy sounds like he's losing it to me. How old is he again, 80 something? He's stuck in the wrong generation. It's not cool to compliment your enemy or express solidarity with them anymore like it was in the 1960s with Ho Chi Minh.


I was a soldier, and I like to think that I still think like a soldier.

The first thing you need to do if you're fighting an enemy, is to do an accurate assesment of the situation, and take stock of your own strengths and weaknesses, and also to make an assesment of the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents.

If a commander/planner's mental processes are so blinded by ideology, that he cannot bear to acknowledge that his opponent might ACTUALLY POSSESS some strengths... then he'll never be able to make an accurate assesment of the situation, and any plans he makes will therefore be flawed... and he'll start off having half- lost allready.

Now... let's pretend that you're capable of rationally assesing a military situation in a professional manner, bbcrackmonkey.

Name the top five strengths of the Jihadis in Iraq.

If you can't do that... then you'd NEVER be able to make any sort of plans to beat them.... which would put your military planning capabilities about on a par with those of George W. Bush.
 
2005-11-21 11:46:17 PM  
cesare: go die in a fire. seriously.

You know I've never read any of Vonnegut's works, so I can't form an opinion about his writing either way. I actually did almost die in a fire once though. I was a little 2 year old kid and my dad left a pot of boiling oil on the stove to answer the phone, and I grabbed the handle and spilled it on me and my shirt melted to my skin as the boiling liquid shriveled up the outer layers of my flesh. I recovered with some patches of light skin on my torso that went away as I became a teenager.

Funny thing is, I have no memory of this event. The only reason I know about it is because my mom and dad told me about it and I've seen all the photos of me in the burn unit at the hospital.
 
2005-11-21 11:46:56 PM  
Are you really defending the firebombing of Dresden?

Well, it does give me something to commemorate on my birthday besides getting older.
 
2005-11-21 11:47:00 PM  
So it all boils down to a definition of bravery, eh? Okay, let's give Merriam-Webster a shot.

Bravery = Having courage.

Courage = Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

Pop quiz, hotshot: Someone tells you that the best way to oppose foreign invaders is to go blow up innocent people in the middle of your own neighborhood. If you buy this story, do you have mental or moral strength? Or are you a total farktard?

Hint: Anyone who advocates killing innocent people for any reason may automatically excuse themselves from the intellectually or morally enlightened category. And while we applaud your intention to remove yourself from the gene pool, we'd appreciate it if you'd do it somewhere private without harming anyone else. If you can't follow that simple rule, well, thanks for making the rest of us hope that Hell exists, if only to store the disgusting likes of you.
 
2005-11-21 11:47:30 PM  
OMFG TERRORISTS!1
 
2005-11-21 11:47:51 PM  
10 U.S.C. 311: Brave.

How was that death any kind of brave? He was shot in the back by our own troops!

Sure, it was brave to enlist but there's nothing brave AT ALL about his death.
 
2005-11-21 11:49:47 PM  
I have no problem with suicide bombers, if only they did not actually target civilians.

If a suicide bomber blows up a military facility in a war, I dont see the difference between that and dropping a bomb from a plane. Less efficient, but I guess when you have no other option it is quite a useful strategy.

I utterly condemn the targeting of civilians though, no matter who does it. Be it dropping nukes on Hiroshima and nagasaki, bombing Dresden as "payback", dismissing civilian deaths as "collateral damage" or blowing up a marketplace or cafe packed with innocents.

War is a horrible thing, and should always be avoided. The real people who suffer are always the civilians.

What shiats me is the hypocracy of the western world. Our governments use "shock and awe" when they want to, so getting into a huff over other asshats doing it is a bit dodgy.
 
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