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Dick Stodghill
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Dick Stodghill

Number of posts : 3795
Registration date : 2008-05-04
Age : 94
Location : Akron, Ohio

I don't get it Empty
PostSubject: I don't get it   I don't get it EmptySat Oct 10, 2009 9:43 am

A Stodghill Says So blog:
Remember when certain things happened with public officials and they tried to keep it hidden? It was generally agreed that the cover up was worse than the original offense. How much better it would have been if the perpetrator had just come out and said, "I goofed and I'm sorry." More often than not the cover ups involved sex, but with Richard Nixon the result may have changed the course of history.
The point is, they never learn. Now it isn't break-ins or sex, it's pictures - 21 photographs showing Americans abusing prisoners in Afghanistan. A Federal appeals court said they should be released. Now Congress is about to pass a law keeping the photos hidden.
Some people say releasing them would endanger American soldiers and other government employees. Come on now, does keeping them hidden when everyone knows they exist keep them safe? No matter how bad they may be, and apparently they are pretty bad, imaginations will make them even worse. The cover up won't work. They seldom if ever do. We'd be better off to show them, apologize the way we keep apologizing for bad behavior in Iraq and Afghanistan, and get it over with.
Along with the Afghan photos, the residents of Okinawa want the government of Japan to force the United States to reduce the number of its troops there. Again, bad behavior is the reason.
It's nothing new, unfortunately. When I was a military policeman after the end of World War II in Europe my unit had to investigate some of the 500 rapes by Americans reported yearly. The worst cases I saw personally involved groups of men banging on doors of houses and demanding that all the females be sent out. One of those cases was in Belgium, an ally. It was hurtful to hear a man say it was better under the Germans because at least they were gentlemen.
Is there an answer? Perhaps a crash course in proper behavior for all American troops. I don't know if it would help or not, but I'm sure that covering up bad behavior only makes it worse.
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Christy
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PostSubject: Sunlight   I don't get it EmptyMon Oct 12, 2009 11:50 am

Sunlight is the best antiseptic, they say.
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Abe F. March
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Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10720
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

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PostSubject: Re: I don't get it   I don't get it EmptyMon Oct 12, 2009 11:25 pm

Dick,
when I was assigned to my foreign post, I was told that I was an American Ambassador and to conduct myself accordingly.
My memories of troop conduct on foreign soil are of arrogance. Those who went into town made fun of everything non-American. They didn't understand the language, and the only association with the locals was at the bars. On Monday mornings, they talked about their weekend conquests. They didn't realize that many of the locals understood English and had to deal with the insults directed at them.
There were exceptions, of course, especially with career soldiers on their second or third assignment that made the effort to learn the language and do some traveling within the country. They learned to respect local customs and were good ambassadors, but they were in the minority.
It is the activity of the bad apples that are remembered. The contempt of the locals who worked for the military was well hidden so they could keep their jobs, but the insults would not be forgotten.

If our troops are ambassadors, then more attention should be given to anyone being assigned to a foreign post. Although they feel that the base, or post, is Little America, it is still on foreign soil and should be treated with respect. The trails of roadside trash leading to and from a base make a lasting impression.

There will always be those who break the rules, as they do in their own country, but they should be rare exceptions and dealt with harshly.
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Carol Troestler
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Carol Troestler

Number of posts : 3827
Registration date : 2008-06-07
Age : 81
Location : Wisconsin

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PostSubject: Re: I don't get it   I don't get it EmptyTue Oct 13, 2009 5:40 am

This goes back to the peace prize and the many thoughts going through my head regarding the meaning of peace and how we achieve it.

When my husband and I realized we would have opportunities for world travel, and being the wandering soul I am, we talked about how we wanted it to be more than just seeing the major tourist attractions of the world. We wanted to get to know the world and the people in it, give our children that opportunity as well, and also to show others Americans were peaceful caring people. We aren't important people in the big scheme of the world, not official world ambassadors in any way, but this was our mission. Some things I am proud of, feel we made a difference even with a few people. My greatest regret is never learning another language well enough to converse about thoughts and ideas, but sometimes that shows in faces and actions.

We have sat with shoe string relatives in their homes and talked about family and the world. We had two exchange students who each spent a year with us, and we have gone to their weddings and gotten to know their families, speaking of the great war where we were enemies. People in Japan gave my blue-eyed blond-haired children sticks of incense they took up to memorials honoring the Japanese who had died in the war.

My husband spent more time in other countries than I did since it was his job and I have full confidence in his attitude of friendship and respect. When we took our children and grandchildren along we made sure they were polite and friendly.

When in Italy, our grandsons decided it was the thing to do to go to the evening events at the hotel where we were staying. They participated and observed line dancing, dance contests and other events spoken only in Italian. They laughed at the jokes even if they didn't understand a word that was said.

We visited our shoe-string relatives in France and partook of a meal at their home. My eleven-year-old grandson whispered to me, "This is just like family."

I answered, "It is family."

I have never signed a treaty, brought troops home, or ended a war, but hopefully I have added to the world peace in some small ways, that we all can, and sometimes it is just behaving like fellow human beings on this earth, not insulting in any way, speaking with those there in English or attempts at their language, spending an evening or sharing a meal.

Carol
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alj
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alj

Number of posts : 9633
Registration date : 2008-12-05
Age : 76
Location : San Antonio

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PostSubject: Re: I don't get it   I don't get it EmptyTue Oct 13, 2009 6:48 am

Back in 1969 (It is hard to believe it has been forty years!) my husband was elected president of the local Lion's Club. It just happened to be the year that the club's international convention was being held in Tokyo. Bill convinced the members to make a generous contribution to the cost of attending, so we embarked, early that summer, on a 3-week tour of the Orient, which included several days in Hong Kong and a few in Taipei as well as several cities in Japan, and a rest stop in Hawaii on the way home.

I could tell so many stories about that trip, but what applies here were the number of "ugly Americans" who were on that tour with us. Fortunately, we were able to find a relatively small group of like-minded people who were eager to learn as much about the cultures and peoples we would be visiting, and who realized we were guests in their countries. I don't know what happens to some people when they leave their home country. Men and women who are ordinarily polite and well-mannered can become complete boors when they visit other places.

It is no wonder that Americans are not thought well of by the people who live in the countries they visit. I hope that we and our friends were able to make the point that not all of us are so rude and domineering.

Ann
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