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Nov 22, 2004

Bush's Crusade (Or: Aren't the Metaphor's Getting a Little Obvious?)

I wish this was a joke.


According to Yahoo News:

US Marines of the 1st Division dressed as gladiators try to control a horse and stage a chariot race reminiscent of the Charlton Heston movie--complete with confiscated Iraqi horses at their base outside Fallujah, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 6 , 2004. For U.S. Marines tapped to lead an expected attack on insurgent-held Fallujah, the bags have been packed, trucks have been loaded and final letters have been sent, leaving one final task - the "Ben-Hur."

(photos: YahooNews-UK: AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)


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Um, Rome has nothing to do with Crusades, just so you know.

Yes, how odd it is indeed that Marines would organize games themed around a civilization famous for its armies and warriors, recreating activies the soldiers of that civilization. What could they possibly have in common?

P.S. David, little annoying facts like that don't seem to have any effect on the proprietor's fundamental belief that it's all about religious fervor on the part of President Bush and the USA in general. I mean, who else in Iraq is using fanatical religous imagery to create conflict and motivate their troops?

I know the crusade reference comes from the many times that President Bush has used the term to describe the war in Iraq. However, the Romans were pagans throughout most of the empire, so the parallel may not be the most accurate one to draw but the image of the conquering and occupying army comes through loud and clear. You could not deliver that message any louder or any clearer than by dressing up as Roman gladiators a reminder of an imperial army from the past that also used force to conquer and occupy the region. American imperialism at play.

My main concern would only be for that horse. They are scaring the hell out of him and he did them nothing. Why in hell US marines need a horse ????

Kathy O'Leary: Does it really look like that from your ivory tower? Imperialism? Yeah, right. We're there to conquer and exploit Iraq, just like Europe in 1916 and 1944. Liberals are so quick to condemn America and bash us with moral equivalence. I think America is starting to figure you out.

Sorry, but I don't really see the problem here...wherefore the misplaced snark? I am willing to mock any and all photographic depictions of the banal evil of Bush, but these soldiers are most likely 20 year old kids who enlisted out of high school and are being asked to risk their lives for a lie of a war, and if they want to enact some scenes from a Russell Crowe movie, then fucking let them. Don't read something sinister into every little thing. Jeez.

So, our boys can be boys. Letting of a little steam; good for them. Any play time helps them get anchored and ready to go again. American male knees are every bit as good lookin as any Romans too by the way.

It would only be acceptable if they had some huge puppets of Rumsfield and Bush with blood dripping from vampire like fangs...otherwise its just photo's of 'deluded Americans forced into military service' or 'blood thirsty murderous robots' at play.

TO: Whomever
RE: American Gladiators

Used to do this sort of thing ourselves in 4ID(M). Called it the annual Iron Horse Week competition. One event was the commander's chariot race.

Put the commander in a quarter-ton trailer and have his staff act as the horses. It was a hoot. We took the bronze that year I was on 2d Brigade staff.



I saw Ben Hur over the holidays. One of its central themes is that imperialism is not a great idea. The villain, Messala, has this to say:

"Be wise, Judah. It's a Roman world. If you want to live in it, you must become part of it...I tell you, Judah, it's no accident that one small village on the Tiber was chosen to rule the world...It wasn't just our legions...No, it was fate that chose us to civilize the world - and we have. Our roads and our ships connect every corner of the earth, Roman law, architecture, literature and the glory of the human race."

Further on, Messala inquires of Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) which of his friends are strong opponents of Roman rule. In effect, Messala asks Ben-Hur to turn traitor on his people, and reveal the names and identity of Jewish underground resistance leaders - referred to by Messala as "criminals" and by Ben-Hur as "patriots". Ben Hur refuses to betray his compatriots and coreligionists by becoming an informant in an act of friendship. In return for bringing order into Judea with Ben-Hur's help, Messala promises him advancement in the eyes of the new Emperor Tiberius. Ben-Hur responds by pledging his allegiance to his own people, refusing to become part of the Roman world: "You may conquer the land, you may slaughter the people. That is not the end. We will rise again." Ben-Hur turns against Messala with an angry denounciation:

Messala offers an ultimatum - be with him in helping to eliminate rebellion or against him. "If that is the choice, then I'm against you," Judah affirms. Marking him as a troublemaker, Messala breaks off their friendship abruptly.

Damend "insurgents". . .

We did this in the 82nd airborne, chariot races, mock fights, it was fun.

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