Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Where the violence starts -- gay support for US militarism

Filed By Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore | May 28, 2009 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, iraq, iraq war, LGBT, military, murder, occupation, queer, us

Suddenlyiraq stop killing gays.jpg there are all these stories in the news about violence in Iraq against gay people -- by all accounts, this violence dramatically escalated -- guess when? Oh, I know -- after the US occupation!

That's what disgusts me so much about a sign like this, displayed by and for the gays in the Great White Gayborhood (in this case, San Francisco's legendary Castro district) without any context at all -- as if somehow violence against gay people in Iraq can be separated from the endless US brutalization of an entire country in order to pave the way for more oil industry profiteering. Worse than that, this sign, and the protests around this issue, actually legitimize the US occupation by pointing to anti-gay hysteria in Iraq as proof of the savagery of an entire country, when instead they should be pointing to US militarism as the impetus.

It's well documented that when people are deprived of the basic abilities to live, love, eat, sleep, fuck, dream or create family, meaning or culture without the daily threat of a US firing squad entering their homes or US-funded militias terrorizing their neighborhoods, guess what? People lash out at whoever is the most vulnerable -- women, young people, old people, people with disabilities, sexual deviants, homos, immigrants, etc.

Even something as simple as a statement starting with, "end the US occupation" would do so much to shift the blame to its rightful center. Instead, these kinds of messages end up implying that the same kind of homophobia -- furthered by religious fundamentalists, centering in families of origin, carried out by the armed instruments of the state -- doesn't exist here.

Iraq: stop killing gays?!

What about -- US: STOP KILLING EVERYONE!!! That would be a better start.


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Excellent points, as usual.

What an asinine post! You're mad because someone wants Iraqi death squads to stop torturing and killing gays? You're mad because you think it's the US's fault that Iraqis are killing gays? That's ridiculous on its face. And then to say it's because (you assume) the people who posted this sign are (gasp) white and (heavens) living in San Francisco? C'mon. Your argument is nonsensical.

Am I against the idiotic and deadly war in Iraq? Of course I am, but at least we're on the mend there. But as US atrocities decline, Iraqi atrocities appear to be taking their place. Does that mean we should blame the US for starting it? The only reason Iraqi gays were safe before the war was because Saddam ruled everything with an iron fist, as totalitarian regimes are wont to do. We could always reinstate a similar regime, but that has its own set of atrocities.

Yes, get mad at Americans who commit atrocities in stupid wars. But don't get mad at Americans (whatever you assume about their race or supposed social status) who think the torture and killing of Iraqi gays is a bad thing that should also be stopped.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | May 28, 2009 8:43 PM

Colin, the violence is Iraq is not on the "mend". There is a bit less intercommunal violence because sunnis in shiite neighborhoods and towns are dead or have fled and vice versa. But opposition, political and military, to the occupation and US attempts to control Iraqi oil and Afghan gas production continues unabated. That’s why the Brits got out while the getting was good.

The level of violence has ups and downs but it won't stop as long as US soldiers and US oil companies are present at any level. There are more and more signs that Iraqi's in very large numbers are concluding that Obama's racist war for oil and the Democrats occupation of Iraq are for keeps. Iraqi's, after a million deaths from the Clinton/Bush/Obama war and occupation, are not nearly as naive as many Americans about the war for oil. They never did catch Obamabot fever and the appeal of flag-waving American paytriotism is lost on them.

The Iraqi jihadist groups who hunt down and murder GLBT folks in Iraq: the Shiite militia, Sunni 'police' and the Iraqi puppet regime itself are all armed and trained by the US military occupation command. That same US command refuses to raise a finger to grant asylum be

The best way to help our brothers and sisters in Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Pakistan, and Afghanistan is to build a mass antiwar movement on the basis of demanding

1) the total, permanent and immediate withdrawal of all US military, spy, and mercenary forces to their US home bases

2) an end to US sponsorship of the zionist policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians.

3) the immediate implementation of an open door asylum policy for LGBT folks threatened by hostile régimes including emergency protection, transport and the guarantee of asylum.

The withdrawal of US forces will enable the Iraqi people to end the puppet regime with a bang, so to speak, and to treat Al Sistani and the other jihadists in the same way the Italians treated Mussolini after the defeat of German troops in Italy.

Laura, thanks so much!

And Colin, my point is that a sign in a white US gayborhood that says "IRAQ: STOP KILLING GAYS," without any context at all about the reality of the continuing US annihilation of an entire country actually supports that annihilation.

beergoggles | May 28, 2009 9:01 PM

I am not seeing the logic leading from a sign outside a house to the support for annihilation of a country. Looks like Bush (Lets attack Iraq because of Saudi hijacker) logic to me.

Well, aside from the ignorance of the fact that the American invasion of Iraq significantly eroded the situation of LGBT/queer folks in Iraq shown by the sign's makers, it is true that violence begets violence. Maybe U.S. policymakers didn't intend for a wave of violence against queer people in the wake of the invasion, but the fact remains that the Iraqi people (queer and straight alike, with the queer people being scapegoated for it) are suffering because we invaded, and we as a country invaded Iraq to support our energy-intensive lifestyles. Sentiments such as the one expressed in the sign Mattilda photographed are just a way we can feel better about our complicity in their oppression.

Megan, "Sentiments such as the one expressed in the sign Mattilda photographed are just a way we can feel better about our complicity in their oppression."

Love it!

beergoggles | May 29, 2009 7:00 PM

Seems to me like you're projecting. Sometimes a sign is just a sign just like a cigar is just a cigar. Or will you always attempt to read an ulterior motive to any action?

Context? You want context on a PROTEST sign? Give me a break! How large do you want the sign to be?

Mattilda, you're just making things worse with your explanations. What's with your line about "white US gayborhood"? It would be okay for this sign to appear in a black neighborhood but not a white one?

And how much "context" can you actually fit onto a sign? Are you suggesting this person should not put up a sign that can be seen from the street and posted on the Internet? Are you suggesting that the world would be a better place if this person had done nothing to draw attention to the barbaric killing of gays in Iraq?

Some people are just too eager to complain. And if your post has any effect, it will only be to make people less likely to speak out against injustice and barbarism for fear of not meeting some infinite standard of "correctitude."

mixedqueer mixedqueer | May 29, 2009 12:41 AM

Rob-
1. The fact that the sign was in a "white US gayborhood" is worth noting due to the distressingly common ignorance of intersectional politics and a disturbing attachment to systematic privilege in those communities.

2. I believe Mattilda made a clear suggestion:
"Even something as simple as a statement starting with, "end the US occupation" would do so much to shift the blame to its rightful center."

3. It seems to me that the article addresses injustice and violence with wide lens that does not diminish the tragedy of the crimes committed against the Iraqi LGBT community. Moreover, it has encouraged quite a bit of discussion already on its first day, and hopefully will continue to spark debate.

PS- So excited to find Mattilda's blog! Longtime reader of your paper publications -- Nobody Passes is one of my favorite books.

PPS- First time on BILERICO! I think I'm gonna like it here.

Mixedqueer, "The fact that the sign was in a "white US gayborhood" is worth noting due to the distressingly common ignorance of intersectional politics and a disturbing attachment to systematic privilege in those communities." Yes yes yes!

And thank you for this: "It seems to me that the article addresses injustice and violence with wide lens that does not diminish the tragedy of the crimes committed against the Iraqi LGBT community."

And so glad to hear you like my "paper publications" *and* blogging!!!!

Rob, I don't think this sign would make sense anywhere in the US, but in the whitewashed gayborhood of the Castro it's just another example of the limits of identity-as-endpoint, in this case a willingness to talk about violence against gay people as if it exists in a vacuum. I guarantee that if these same Iraqi gays that this sign is supposedly supporting were walking through the Castro, they would undoubtedly encounter their share of racism and xenophobia.

And, as I suggested, I do think a sign starting with "US: STOP KILLING EVERYONE" would help to establish context of bit more... As I stated before, I don't think this sign is speaking out "against injustice and barbarism" at all, but rather furthering the violence of the US occupation under cover of some sort of fictitious homosolidarity.

Just another example of gay tunnel vision. What, do we think that violence in Iraq is limited to gays? Do we think it's somehow worse to kill someone because they're gay than to kill them because they have oil?

That with the idea that gay identity crosses international boundaries and erases the other identities people carry - Iraqi, Muslim, American - just makes it silly. Which is entirely what this is: pretending that everyone in the world who is gay is gay first and have the same backgrounds as we do.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | May 29, 2009 4:54 AM

Alex, Mattilda’s piece is the opposite of tunnel vision. It gets to the heart of the matter, shifting the burden of guilt for the murders of Iraqi's in general and GLBT folks in particular to its root cause, which since Jan. 20th has been Barak Obama.

Tunnel vision in this case consisted of voting for Obama or McCain, of making the needs of the movements for LGBT equality and for world peace take second place to partisan electioneering for the lesser bigot, the lesser warlord.

The sign is wrong precisely because it overlooks the role of Democrats and Republicans and their apologists and supporters in the mass murder going on in South Asia. The Iraqi state established by the US is a puppet state in every sense of the word and if they’re killing GLBT folks it’s with the approval of the US military and political leadership. I also disagree with Mattilda. Our general slogan should be very specific and read "Obama, Stop Killing for Oil" and "Save the GIs, Bring Them Home Now".

Whatever the differences in GLBT identities across national and cultural boundaries, and they’re substantial, this much is clear: we have more in common with our LGBT brothers and sisters in every country in the world than we have with our straight fellow citizens. Americans, in whose name genocide is being committed, have a particular duty to oppose Obama's oil wars and senseless promotion of the murder of LGBT folks.

Iraqi's, Pakistanis, Afghans and Palestinians all deserve to live. The way to help them stay alive is to bring all the US troops (and mercenaries and spies) home now.

If Obama just can’t live without being Commander in Chief he can use the troops to guard strikers and intimidate managers. He can use them to end the looting of our economy and use the spies to prepare prosecutions of criminals, aka, the rich. He can use troops to prevent foreclosures and repos and to guard minority communities, LGBT centers and reservations. Etc.

But he won’t. He’s not on our side, he’s the enemy.

Alex, "Do we think it's somehow worse to kill someone because they're gay than to kill them because they have oil?"

But wait -- then it would be a "hate crime." You know -- because murder isn't usually about hate...

Wow, I'm so glad I ran across this post! Thanks to it—and especially the comments—I now know that the murder of gays in Iraq is all the fault of the United States. Silly me, I thought it was Iraqi religious and cultural nutcases doing the killing, but now I know that it was the evil Americans. Okay, sure they don't actually DO the murdering, but their white masters caused it, so we can say they did it.

Enough sarcasm: I've never seen such shallow, reductionist arguments anywhere—apart from wingnut websites. But what do I know? I'm just showing "distressingly common ignorance of intersectional politics and a disturbing attachment to systematic privilege".

But now I have to go work on shoring up my systematic privilege.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said: "Silly me, I thought it was Iraqi religious and cultural nutcases doing the killing, but now I know that it was the evil Americans. Okay, sure they don't actually DO the murdering, but their white masters caused it, so we can say they did it. Enough sarcasm: I've never seen such shallow, reductionist arguments anywhere..."

I think Mattilda was pretty clear in the original post--the lack of employment, personal security, etc left by the disastrous U.S. invasion _created the conditions_ that made people lash out against those even less powerful then themselves and those culturally/religiously perceived as "wrong" and "sinful". Arthur, it's your argument that's reductionist--reducing everything to "culture" without considering the political and geopolitical conditions that led to people acting on their worst cultural fears.

Also, when I was typing your handle I realized you may want to rethink the "(AmeriNZ)" part. I assume you're trying to convey that you're an American in New Zealand, but if you're trying to pronounce it, it kind of reads (perhaps just to me) as American nazi.

beergoggles | May 29, 2009 6:57 PM

I don't think that's correct. The fundamentalists do this. The only condition the invasion did was remove a US sponsored dictator that the fundies were afraid of. The urge to brutalize and kill gays was already there. The difference between their fundies and our fundies in the US are a matter of degree, not of kind. Introduce any amount of lawlessness into the US and we'll have the xtian versions of those people doing similar things here; wait I take that back, even with our current laws we still have systemic torture. There are sick fucks and they'll use any excuse to kill and maim other human beings. Before the US invasion I'm pretty certain Saddam or his kids or in crowd would be killing some poor guy.

All Mattilda is doing is trying to draw random associations and justifications between the sickos and the rest of us.

OK, I think we're in agreement that removing the external constraint (rule of law, albeit a dictatorial law) is one of the reasons there's been an increase in attacks on men accused of being gay. The difference is I also think the breakdown of the economy, etc, exerts psychological pressure that increases attacks, while you think the attacks are purely ideologically/religiously driven and don't respond at all to people's psychological states (I hate using the term "psychological," since it subsumes whatever I'm talking about to the "care" of "professionals," but I can't think of an adequate replacement term here).

I think that's the nub of the problem for you: How can you use the post-invasion reality in Iraq as the "cause" of the anti-gay murders without sounding like you're excusing these heinous crimes because the perpetrator was somehow deprived? To me, and I bet many others who disagree with this, it sounds like you're trying to make the thugs and murderers into "victims", ignoring the real victims, the ones who are dead.

I agree with you, beergoggles. Thank you for the input.

Let me say first that I opposed the US invasion of Iraq as both illegal and unwarranted and destined for disaster. Nothing since has changed my opinion. I also opposed Bush/Cheney.

However, I think it's absurd to blame the US for the the murders of gay people in Iraq and to give the fundamentalists a free pass: The murders of gay people happen because of culture—specifically fundamentalist religion, and it's shallow and reductionist to deny that to shift the blame to the invasion, wrong as that was.

Religious fundamentalism is also what's led to executions in Iran. But Iran hasn't been invaded by the US (yet?) and doesn't have a "lack of employment, personal security, etc". By the reasoning in the arguments posed here, there should be no anti-gay violence in Iran.

And that's really what I was getting at: It's religious fundamentalism that's causing this, something that existed before the US invasion, but which was largely held under control by the country's dictator, as beergoggles said below.

I completely disagree with Mattilda that display of the sign as written implies that the "same kind of homophobia… doesn't exist here." The argument leading up to that point basically says that, were it not for the US invasion, the fundamentalists would be happy to let gay people live in peace and prosperity. Iran's actions, as well as those of fundamentalists in countries throughout the region, directly refute that.

That same paragraph also says that homophobia "carried out by the armed instruments of the state" exists in the US, and that's just absurd on its face. Bad as fundamentalists in the US can be, the US doesn't have armed thugs and police dragging gay people out into the streets to be tortured and murdered. To imply equivalency is offensive and insulting to the memories of murdered Iraqi gays and vastly overstates the suffering of American gays.

There was also the shallow reductionism in the offensive reference to "Great White Gayborhood". Putting aside the accuracy of the broad-brush attack on the Castro, how is that in any way relevant? Where is the evidence that the race of the sign displayer is white? And what if s/he is? So what? Are white people forbidden to have an opinion on something? And so what if the sign didn't have a qualifying phrase to blame the US—how on earth can anyone know what the politics of the sign displayer are?

This post and many of the comments make an assumption I've seen a lot at Bilerico, that those who disagree with the author or commenter are privileged white men who are always wrong because they dsiplay, as said here, "common ignorance of intersectional politics and a disturbing attachment to systematic privilege". Maybe it's easier to demonise us in some way than to challenge your own assumptions (as you constantly demand we do).

Sometimes, we simply disagree. Of course we sometimes make over-broad generalisations and assumptions, and they deserve to be challenged. But the left does, too, and also deserves to be challenged. Don't insult us by implying we're ignorant racists just because we disagree with you.

As for my nickname, you're the first person in the ten years I've been using it who's said that. In this part of the world—and, indeed, most of the English-speaking world outside of North America—the final letter of the alphabet is "zed" not "zee". As a rule, we also don't pronounce capital letters as a word. So it's pronounced "AMerinz". You're not alone: It's something I constantly have to train my American friends on, which I admit is easier to do in podcasts than in writing.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | May 30, 2009 4:28 AM

Arthur, like it or not, is an apologist for Clinton, Bush and Obama, their wars and their policies of abetting the murder of GLBT folks from Palestine to Pakistan.

He refuses to acknowledge that the genocide and horrendous social degradation caused by the illegal and evil (1) American invasion and occupation of Iraq has consequences. He wants to blame the murder of GLBT folks it on Iraqi culture and religion, assuming as many do that anything that UnAmerican and foreign has to be fatally flawed. He tells us that homophobic violence is built into Iraqi society.

That’s a lie. Iraqi GLBT groups and others comment endlessly that these campaigns of hunting down and murdering our folks in Iraq did not occur before the illegal and evil (1) American invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Arthur, empurpled with righteous American indignation, denies that the roughly half a million Iraqi children murdered by American president Clintons embargo on food, medicines and sanitary supplies produced no damaging effects on Iraqi society. He wants us to believe that the invasion and occupation of Iraq by American military, spy and mercenary forces under Bush that killed roughly 1.2 million is just a sideshow.

Arthur thinks that the real enemy of Iraqi’s is their ‘flawed’ culture and religion. That is of course islamophobic nonsense. Arthur doesn’t seem to understand or care that the main enemy of the peoples of South Asia is the American state sponsored terror machine. It’s created awful killing fields in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s the starting point of all the violence in the region, including violence against GLBT folks, which in any case is committed by puppet groups trained, armed and owing their allegiance to the evil (1), illegal American occupation authorities. That includes The Badr Brigades, the shiite militias, the sunni police and the puppet Iraqi state itself of Jalal Talabani.

Arthur probably doesn’t know, or care, that the menacing of Iran, part of the oil wars, by both Clintons, both Bushes and now Obama is used by the Ayatollahs to shore up their unpopular regime, which engages in mass judicial murders of union leaders, feminists, student and youth activists as well as GLBT folks.

"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do." Samuel P. Huntington


(1) Evil: e•vil. Morally bad or wrong; wicked; causing ruin, injury, or pain.

Oh Bill, you never fail to disappoint with your inflamed righteous indignation and personal attacks. I've seen you launch into these personal attacks countless times before, here and elsewhere, though I haven't been one of your intended victims until now—unless I just ignored you, which would be understandable.

But let's get a couple things clear: You don't know me and have no right to decide for me what I do or do not believe. Unless you've developed mind-reading rays, you have no idea what I deny, what I refuse to acknowledge, what I know or what I care about. You're projecting your own assumptions and prejudices onto me, which is just plain stupid, as well as obviously incredibly arrogant.

Second, where did I ever—even in passing—mention Islam? Go ahead, look: I'll wait. I didn't say that because I believe that all—no wait, let me write the way you like—ALL religious fundamentalism is the enemy of freedom, and religious fundamentalism with its twin, religious fanaticism, are the greatest threats to the peace, security and freedom of the world.

Now, you may have noticed I mentioned religious fundamentalism in the region—that's because I was thinking also of Jewish fundamentalism in Israel. To me, they're all as bad as each other. So, don't you dare accuse me of "islamophobia" just because you want to feel all righteous at my expense.

The fact is, Bill, I disagree with you on nearly every point you raise nearly every time you comment because I have good reason to doubt the veracity of many of your claims. Part of that, admittedly, is the emotive purple prose you insist on using, along with your personal attacks on people you disagree with.

And finally, the reason I'm responding to you at all is because you defamed me and I will not allow that to stand. Second, I've seen you pull this bully-boy routine before to try and intimidate your opponents into silence. Well, guess what Bill? Your antics won't work on me. I'm not afraid of you, I'm not intimidated by you and I'm certainly not about to be quiet just because you fly into a rage because I have the temerity to disagree with you. Quite frankly, I couldn't care less: I don't know you, you're not important to me or my life, so it makes no difference to me how much you despise me or my viewpoints.

This is a democracy, Bill, and until you declare the People's Republic of Bill I have every bit as much right to hold and express my opinions as you do. Neither of us can be compelled to agree with the other, but neither can either of us demand the other be silent. While I disagree with pretty much everything you say, I absolutely and ardently defend your right to say it. Somehow I doubt you feel that way, too.

So my friend, you won't get me to shut up no matter how much boldface type and all caps you use, no matter how much you defame me or my character. Bilerico is supposed to be a place where a wide variety of opinions—even strongly differing ones—are encouraged. Pick a new target: This one's not going anywhere.

Now, can we please get back to a discussion of ideas?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | May 30, 2009 11:30 PM

"Now, can we please get back to a discussion of ideas?"

Sure.

Religion is the enemy, here and in Iraq. And so is the US government and military command, which are the primary enemies of everyone in South Asia, irrespective of sexuality.

But, narrowing it down to the religious enemy, why didn't the "enemy" begin large scale campaigns to hunt down, murder and arrest and murder gays GLBT folks until after the American invasion. Why wait until Saddam was captured and hung? Why wait until Iraq became a killing field? Why did they wait until after they'd been armed and trained by the US military command?

You doubt my veracity. You think I’m lying. But you offered no proof, no counters, no links, not a shred of evidence. Maybe that’s because there is none.

If there is prove that I'm wrong about Clinton’s genocide against children.

Prove that the war is not an imperial adventure to loot oil and gas belonging to other peoples.

Prove that the US invasion and occupation are anything but evil, illegal and genocidal.

etc.

Unruffle you apologist feathers and prove your contention that the US is not a fault, totally and ultimately at fault, for the murders of however many GLBT folks and over a million Iraqis.

Go to the RNC and DNC, to Chevron-Texaco, the DoD and DoS, to NSA, to Haliburton, Shell, BP and the CIA websites, and gather you “proofs” and present them to us. Try to prove that Clinton, Bush and Obama, their administrations and the Congress that supported them every step of the way until the dead numbered over a million are not culpable.

Then make the case against convening an International War Crimes Tribunal.


Finally, since when is describing you bullying? I think you feel bullied because you’re dead wrong. You’ve backed yourself into a little paytriotic corner and you can’t get out.


"since when is describing you bullying?"

It is bullying because you're attempting to intimidate me—and anyone else who disagrees with you—into silence. You don't know me or the first thing about me or my reality. So instead you make up things about me in the hope I'll be quiet. You're not "describing" me, you're projecting your prejudices onto me.

I never—ever—said you were lying. What I said is: "I have good reason to doubt the veracity of many of your claims" (emphasis added). That means that your sources may not be credible. I don't know you and have no way of knowing if you are falsifying anything. Even so, I doubt very much that you are: It's far more likely that sources you rely on may not be credible.

Here's the thing—and the reason you and I can never agree on this subject: I simply cannot "prove" that you're wrong about anything (and, not that you noticed, but I never disagreed with any specific thing you argued, apart from the absurd idea that the US is responsible for the deaths of gays in Iraq; you decided to assume I disagreed with every claim you made). The reason that I can't "prove" my side of arguments with you is that no standard of proof would ever be good enough for you. Of course, I'd also have to prove a negative hypothesis—that something or other didn't happen, which is impossible. The burden of proof is on you, and my standard of proof is far more reasonable than yours—or am I assuming incorrectly? I'm happy for you to correct my impression if I'm wrong about that.

You wrote: "But, narrowing it down to the religious enemy, why didn't the "enemy" begin large scale campaigns to hunt down, murder and arrest and murder gays GLBT folks until after the American invasion. Why wait until Saddam was captured and hung?"

The presence of Saddam and his thugs is precisely why they didn't do this before—it was impossible; have you already forgotten the brutal repression that Saddam wielded against these people?

You go on, "Why wait until Iraq became a killing field? Why did they wait until after they'd been armed and trained by the US military command?"

First, they didn't have access to weapons until then, and second, at first the US forces maintained brutal control. When they started easing back, and the Iraqi security forces took over, they had the ability to do as they pleased.

You call me an apologist. But does your argument not then make you an apologist for Saddam Hussein? Or does it merely make you an apologist for religious fundamentalism, because you refuse to acknowledge the role it plays in these murders—or is it simply too easy to blame the US for everything?

"I think you feel bullied because you’re dead wrong." Oh come off it, that's a primary school "rubber/glue" thing to say. I know you can do better. I never said you're dead wrong—though you are about me; I just said I disagree with your arguments about the US being responsible for the deaths of gay Iraqis.

"You’ve backed yourself into a little paytriotic corner and you can’t get out." Sorry, wrong yet again. Cute the way you misspell "patriotic" to get in yet another dig at me—or so you think. But, since you don't know what you're talking about (me, in this case) it just makes you look silly and childish.

I've never said the US is blameless and I never said that the invasion was legal or moral (quite the opposite, actually). All I said was that these brutal murders are not the fault of the US, but of religious fanatics. But apparently for you that's enough to make me "paytriotic". It's quite laugable, really.

But you know the most hilarious thing about this, Bill? I don't disagree with you about everything (apart from the US killed the gays nonsense). But your prejudices against your imaginary version of me have led you to attack me and belittle me. Instead of working to nurture a nascent alliance, to bring me to your point of view, you'd much rather drive me away. You and the people who believe as you do need people like me if you want to win elections or influence legislation. Or would you rather continually lose so you can scream and shout at enemies your own prejudiced imagination creates?

There will be people who read these posts who, like me, don't completely disagree with you and those who believe as you do. But we're not going to be won over by you shouting at us, telling us what horrible excuses for human beings we are. Stick to the facts, avoid the hyperbole and personal attacks and don't dare to presume what someone else is or thinks.

In my responses to you I've repeatedly said that since I don't know you, I can't make assumptions about you. All I ask you to do the same about me and others. Keep an open mind, give others the benefit of the doubt and you'll find you'll get that in return—and, you just may find you gain new allies along the way.

I may strongly disagree with you about the US being responsible for the killing of gays in Iraq, but you're as entitled to your opinion as I am to mine. Can we not at least agree on that?

mixedqueer mixedqueer | May 31, 2009 3:02 AM

Bill Perdue;

It's not easy being the one to deliver news of reality to a society raised on puppet shows.

see: Plato's Allegory of the Cave

Your facts plentiful and accurate, your analysis is "skillful," and your posts are well ordered and to the point.

Your assertions towards other posters, whether correct or not, seem only to incite the tired and long winded spew of personal attacks and red herrings seen here and on the "other sites" mentioned previously. There is no end to the amount of wordage people are capable of creating in the attempt to debase threatening truths and so-called "leftist" or "radical" politics. Would your research and analysis not be better received without having to wade through a swamp of trite and cliched devices attempting to silence or dilute said facts and reasoning?

To you and Mattilda:

Since it is rare to encounter anything but anger and violence in the pursuit of anti-oppression activism, I thought I'd say "thank you" to both of you.

Too many words, huh? Then how about this: Why do you insist on being so condescending? I was NOT the one making personal attacks, Bill was. Take your own words to heart: More people might listen to you if we didn't have to "wade through a swamp of trite and cliched devices attempting to silence or dilute said facts and reasoning."

Nothing said here has presented a single reason why fundamentalist fantacism didn't cause the murders of gays in Iraq. Instead, you're all using "personal attacks and red herrings".

I was told that Bilerico was a place where ideas could be discussed, and people who disagree were welcome. You're telling me I was wrong and am not welcome, that only people singing in the same choir have a right to express an opinion. Only one of us can be right on this, and I invite anyone from Bilerico to determine who that is.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 1, 2009 12:27 AM

Thanks, mixedqueer

Arthurs whining charges of being driven out (criticized), condescended to (humiliated), being bullied (told he’s wrong), being lied to (now changed to having sources that lie), and being a victim of nefarious plots to shut him up (that’s delusional, no one said that) are equally hysterical responses to being caught with his pants down.

He has no idea what he's talking about because he lacks the ability to see through the ‘big lie’ BS of the last three US administrations. For instance, discussing the 'coincidental' appearance of mass murders of GLBT folks and the invasion by American forces he says "First, they (the jihadists) didn't have access to weapons until then, and second, at first the US forces maintained brutal control. When they started easing back, and the Iraqi security forces took over, they had the ability to do as they pleased." he betrays utter ignorance of the situation.

Following the invasion the US did not maintain ‘brutal control’ – it couldn’t. The invaders had their asses handed to them on a silver platter as resistance fighters showered them with bombs and bullets. The deaths of GIs, victims of the war for oil, rose into the thousands in the undeclared war for oil and gas.

As soon as the US 'pacified'
a situation, as in Fallujah, the resistance simply moved to another area. The pacification, like that practiced by the US in Vietnam, involves mass murder and US state sponsored terrorism against the civilian base or the resistance. It should be named Operation Wounded Knee or Operation My Lai.

Desperate the US military command began making makeshift field treaties with the jihadists, temporarily naming them allies and arming and triaining them. That included Al Sistani, who repeatedly declares fatwa on us, and the ultra right leaders of suuni groups. But that remained unstable so the US 'encouraged' a murderous campaign of intercommunal war between shiites and sunnis that likely killed as many as the invasion. All those deaths, like the mass murders of GLBT folks and the mass murder of Kurds are the sole responsibility of Clinton, Bush and Obama.

The “Iraqi security forces” he’s talking about are the jihadists. They hunt us down for being gay and murder us without mercy. One 14 year old boy had his brains splattered all over the street because he was ‘effeminate’, a definition that even applies to some straight boys at that age. Sometimes the quisling ‘security forces’ 'arrest' us and hang us without trial. But whatever they do they do as puppets of the US military command, which absolutely and repeatedly refuses to guarantee our safety.

The solution is twofold – the total and immediate withdrawal of US forces and opening the consulates and embassies of the US worldwide to GLBT floks facing jail, violence or death and giving them asylum as long as they need it.

Obama and Hillary Clinton won’t do that. They’re the enemy and Arthur is an apologist for them.


Okay Bill, I will make one personal attack: You're absurd.

"Arthurs [sic] whining charges of being driven out (criticized)…" No, I said you were trying to silence those who disagree with you. Twice now I've directly said we're both entitled to our opinions, and now I'm guessing you'd say I'm not.

"…condescended to (humiliated)…" You can't "humiliate" me because I don't care about you; only those I care about or whose opinions I value are in a position to humiliate me. Sorry, but you're just not that powerful.

"…being bullied (told he’s wrong)…" No, I expect you to do that. It's bullying because you attacked me personally, impugned my integrity and defamed me because I have the unmitigated gall to disagree with you about the gay murders in Iraq.

"…being lied to (now changed to having sources that lie)…" I didn't change anything.

"…and being a victim of nefarious plots to shut him up (that’s delusional, no one said that)…" Hey Bill, you're actually right about something!! Because I never said there were any plots, either. But, I guess you can't let another chance for defamation pass you by.

"…are equally hysterical responses to being caught with his pants down." Colourful metaphor aside, how, exactly? I haven't attempted to refute any of your charges, nor have I said which ones—apart from the gay murders—that I don't agree with you about.

You declare, "He has no idea what he's talking about because he lacks the ability to see through the ‘big lie’ BS of the last three US administrations." Oh, really? If I'm so badly informed, so hoplelessy incapable of real "analysis", then why are you directing so much anger and venom at me? What on earth did I do to you to earn your hatred? By making this statement, it seems more like you should pity me instead of attack me.

I told you—and you chose to ignore—that I don't disagree with you on everything. But you'd rather vent your spleen at someone you don't even know than discuss things reasonably and find that common ground.

Do you seriously think that by screaming at me I'm suddenly going to say, "WOW! Bill was right all along!" If you do, you're delusional. Do you think that wrapping your statements in personal attacks, defamation and overheated prose is going to make me even want to listen to you? If so, you're a fool.

Turn down the volume, lose the personal attacks, discuss things calmly, and we might yet find common ground on far more than you can imagine. My guess is you don't care about gaining allies to your causes, that you just care about being "right". Too bad.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 2, 2009 3:11 AM

Arthur you'll have to take up your hysteria at being a victim of evil leftists with someone competent to comment on that sort of thing.

If you ever do resort to actual politial comments I'll be glad to dissect them.

Would you, Bill? Aw, that's so kind of you. I'll make sure to use small words so you can understand it (one stupid personal shot deserves another, no?).

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 5, 2009 10:39 AM

Gee, mixedqueer, maybe we made a mistake. Maybe we are the oppressors and poor, poor Arthur is as browbeaten and trod upon as he thinks he is.

Just look at this:

"If you haven't noticed, the meanest people in politics are on the American left."

Indiana Republican Governor Mitch Daniels. (seen in Teagan Goddards Political Wire today. via the AP.)

Paige Listerud | June 1, 2009 12:57 AM

Dear Mattilda,
The accompanying sign says "Rally in the Castro". So this demo took place in San Francisco. It does not specify a date, but very recently Gays Without Borders San Francisco planned an action bringing attention to the murder sprees against Iraqi LGBTQ.

Michael Petrelis covers the action in his blog.

http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2009/04/iraqs-gay-killings-condemned-in-san.html

In this blog post, Michael Petrelis says, "We also condemned the murders . . . and called on President Obama to bring the US troops home." At least from this blog post, it seems as though GWB San Fran does not think the killing of Iraqi queers and the issue of bringing all US troops home (from AfPak as well?) as mutually exclusive. I'm sure one could talk with Michael Petrelis to see whether the anti-war message got across as well as the anti-queer violence message.

It's difficult to get the LGBTQ community to pay attention to gay issues if they are not domestic. I'm speaking of my own personal experience here in Chicago. Gay Liberation Network held a demo against the Iraqi queer killings on May 17, International Day Against Homophobia Oppression, and drew only some 20 people. (GLN also takes a strong stand against the wars.) The Day of Decision rally, however, for marriage equality on May 26, drew at least 1200 people.

It seems to me that queers organizing to defend the Iraqi LGBTQ are fully aware of our government's imperialistic activities and oppose them. And it seems to me that they are in the minority of LGBTQ activists, since same-sex marriage draws the bigger crowds. We can discuss the value of putting anti-war messages in the foreground of that activism, but I think we also have to face the uphill climb of getting the general US queer community to care about both ending the war and saving Iraqi LGBTQ from violent backlash against them.

One bright spot on the horizon: a gay Filipino man recently won asylum in the US based on homophobic persecution he would experience if our government deported him back to the Philippines. This man has already suffered hate crime rape for being gay and had every expectation of suffering more at the hands of Philippine police if he was forced to return. This is a groundbreaking case! It means queers can pursue asylum in the US from homophobic legal or extra-legal violence in their own countries.

As a caveat, the Philippine government has 30 days to contest the ruling. If they don't, the ruling stands.

http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=28912

Brad Bailey | June 1, 2009 1:50 AM

I thought this was supposed to be a website about the American gay community. But then I see Yasmin Nair's call to dump gay marriage in support of universal health care. Now I see this author using a stupid frikkin' sign as a call to end the war in Iraq. Since when did being gay equate with having a liberal ideology? Is that a prerequisite for posting on this website?

I happen to fully agree with Arthur (AmeriNZ) that religious fundamentalism is the real enemy to gay rights in both the U.S. and in the Islamic world. I also respect Bill Perdue's knowledge of the history of the immoral actions of the U.S. in Iraq. The article itself is much ado about nothing. But the responding posts between Arthur and Bill are both intelligent and insightful. It is their discussion alone that lends excellence to this thread. And I want to thank you both for your input.

Paige, thanks for this info -- this does look like the same action, judging from the visuals, and I haven't watched the TV coverage they mention, but still I see that same message in their "tombstones," -- IRAQ: STOP KILLING GAYS -- and unfortunately it still strikes me in the same way -- as limiting the agenda in a very narrow way to point the blame at all Iraqis and avoid the issue of the US occupation.

And, you say "I think we also have to face the uphill climb of getting the general US queer community to care about both ending the war and saving Iraqi LGBTQ from violent backlash against them." Of course, I couldn't agree more -- you're absolutely right that marriage takes all the attention, resources, energy, etc. -- although I don't believe this is because it is a specifically domestic issue, but because it is a narrow issue of accessing straight privilege that fits into the assimilationist agenda of gay powerbrokers. For example, murders of queer, trans, and gay people in the US certainly do not draw sizable protests along the lines of the recent marriage protests across the country.

Brad Bailey | June 1, 2009 3:24 AM

I thought this was supposed to be a website about the American gay community. But then I see Yasmin Nair's call to dump gay marriage in support of universal health care. Now I see this author using a stupid frikkin' sign as a call to end the war in Iraq. Since when did being gay equate with having a liberal ideology? Is that a prerequisite for posting on this website?

Apparently it is, because my last post has been deleted from this thread. So much for welcoming differing opinons.

mixedqueer mixedqueer | June 1, 2009 4:16 PM

I'd like to point out that the author has a radical ideology. The American LGBTQ community has members from every stripe of the political spectrum.

The reality of both this site, the LGBTQ community, and America in general, is that radical anti-oppression activists rarely have the space to be heard. I applaud BILERICO for welcoming such a wide range of contributors and members. Regardless, I would be surprised if even 10% of the content on this site falls left of "liberal." As for what's offered in the mainstream media, the number is closer to 0% (with the only visible radical politics being spun, mocked, and demonized).

If two articles challenging the status quo seem threatening, simply look to the entrenched colonialist propaganda/war machine for comfort.

Mixedqueer, "I would be surprised if even 10% of the content on this site falls left of "liberal." As for what's offered in the mainstream media, the number is closer to 0% (with the only visible radical politics being spun, mocked, and demonized)."

Exactly! And so fascinating when people get obsessive about oh no, a few radicals...

Brad Bailey | June 1, 2009 6:37 PM

Point taken, mixedqueer. Thanks. If the status quo in bigger urban areas means supporting the gay cause du jour, then in the rest of the country it entails a dawning awareness that homosexuals are actually human beings.

The Bush administration was the first to give the military-industrial complex cart blanche to pursue its neoconservative interventionist foreign policy. Our founding fathers warned us against foreign entanglements, but no one listens when huge fortunes can be made by corporate war profiteers at tax-payer expense.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 4, 2009 4:39 AM

Mattilda, here's an excerpt from a recent press release by the central Iraqi LGBT group regarding the US response to the anti-GLBR pogroms that began with the US invasion.

Iraqi gays condemn Obama/Clinton inaction on pogrom. Embassy statement 'offensive and insulting'.

For immediate release 03.06.09.

A group representing Iraqi lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people (LGBT) has spoken of their deep anger and offence at a statement by the Baghdad US Embassy concerning the violence and murder campaign against gays.

In a response to US Rep. Jared Polis, following a meeting with Iraqi government officials, chargé d’affaires Patricia Butenis said "We have no evidence that [the Iraq government's] security forces are in any way involved with these militias."

Iraqi LGBT has been reporting for four years on police involvement with the terror campaign.

The statement won’t convince any of those who deny US culpability but it does show that our brothers and sisters in Iraq know who the killers are and who unleashed them.

Here’s a link to the full press release and an invaluable list of resource materials on the US/Jihadist pogroms.

http://madikazemi.blogspot.com/2009/05/report-iraqi-anti-lgbt-pogrom.html

mixedqueer mixedqueer | June 4, 2009 11:47 PM

thanks for the link bill. i will be sure to disseminate widely.

from bill's link

"Iraqi gays report that their lives are in danger, that they live in continuous fear of people finding out that they are gay.
...
Although gays could be tried and imprisoned under the Saddam regime Iraqi gays report that "now they kill people like us."
...
The campaign started in 2004, following the religious decree of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani that said gay men and lesbians should be “punished, in fact, killed .. The people should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.”
Since then Iraqi LGBT has received reports and information of over 600 LGBT people killed.
But Iraqi gays and media reports say that the killings have massively escalated since the end of 2008.
Iraqi LGBT has received reports of 63 killings in the last four months but does not have correspondents or members in large parts of Iraq and believes that the actual number of gays killed since December 2008 is much higher."