Bigger They Are.....
"Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight.
You know, it's a hell of a hoot. ... It's fun to shoot some
people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling." -
Lt. Gen. James
Mattis; USMC Feb 2, 2005
By Dom Stasi
"ICH" - - What makes some guys like to
fight? Why is it a
hell of hoot?
Seems to me that even if one cares nothing at
all for the humanity of his adversary, and even if he is beating
women or children or defenseless men, even then, fighting will
probably get you injured to some degree in return.
The simple fact is that striking bone hurts ones fists.
Does that add to the fun?
Is there so much pleasure to be derived from beating
another person that it’s worth the reciprocal pain?
As an adult I’ve come to consider fighting a last resort,
a life-saving or life-improving defensive necessity, sort of like
surgery without the anesthetic.
But fun? Hardly.
Further, if we skip the part about shooting
people, then most real fighting – brawling in particular –
implies touching another person, doing so violently, passionately,
and having him touch you in return, with equal ardor or
person-to-person touching is generally accompanied by grunting
sounds and sweat. Inevitably,
there is also pain and often blood.
Consider the image. Is
fighting the only thing that comes to mind?
Of course not. So,
is there a repressed sadomasochistic sexual component to the joy
of fighting? If so,
does that make fighting rape when one of the combatants is
Or, as is more likely – and perhaps more
disturbing - is there something in all of us that responds to
fighting’s lure, the lure of physical domination?
Is there a primitive compulsion to dominate that is perhaps
stronger than anything the developed rational mind can use to
counter it? Is there
a thing in us so primal, so animal that it ignores or is oblivious
to the inevitable repercussions of physical violence,
repurcussions that only thinking humans can anticipate?
Did evolution weave some uncontrollable thing
into the genetic fabric of its survivors that thrives on mortal
So it seems.
Fun or fabric, the last real touchy-feely
fight I had was as a teenager.
A big, dumb bully had injured my sister with
a tossed firecracker. It
left a minor scar. It
was no big deal until I made it one.
I encountered the culprit at the annual
end-of-summer-vacation beach party.
After a couple of beers, I decided that he wasn’t all
that big. I
introduced myself, and invited him behind a sand dune.
Once there and alone, I realized he was big, really big.
But I was fast. At
first that speed seemed little more to me than an exit strategy.
That’s when he swung.
I ducked. He
grabbed my head and I realized that for the first time in my life,
I was about to be physically abused.
It was a sick feeling.
It was precicely then that thinking stopped, and something
else took over.
Purely on instinct I dealt him a clean blow
to the ribs and another to the midsection.
He released me and I tagged him on the chin as he stepped
back. To my amazement he fell to his knees. Then, in a textbook display of underage drinking’s affect
on teenage hormones, I proceeded to beat him senseless.
Oh, I could have stopped when he asked me to
stop, but was not about to let him stand up again.
I should have stopped when he begged me to stop, for by
then he couldn’t stand up again.
Instead I beat him senseless.
Was it fun? I
dread to think it might have been.
The point of this, however, is that the big
man’s arrogance left him wide open for a beating he should never
have taken. He did
not know how to fight defense!
He was, after all, a bully.
Defense was never an issue.
He was all about the preemptive strike.
Upon returning to school I encountered the
sister, my pretty and popular sister, could not get a date for a
significant part of her junior year because all the boys thought
her brother a violent maniac.
She hated me for it.
But it didn’t end there.
The bully became my new and unwanted best
friend, following me around like a 230-pound pup.
I lost my position as varsity left fielder
for having splintered the 3rd metacarpal bone in my
right hand on the bully’s head.
Pretty girls who formerly avoided the bully
suddenly felt – and several displayed - sympathy for his
bandaged countenance while shooting me disapproving glances.
He seemed richer for this.
I, poorer. Was
any of this in the plan? Plan?
If you were to say, big deal. This stuff happens every day at high schools all across
America, you would be right.
We grow up, and we grow out of it.
Well, most of us grow out of it.
Consider then, yet another, uglier little
slice of life, something that does not happen every day.
But it happens. It
happens because not all of us grow out of it.
Who among us has not heard the story of the
woman who was constantly abused and brutally beaten by her
husband? He was much larger, far more aggressive, and immensely
more physically powerful than was she.
As such, his small brain told him he was safe and could
continue the abuse. Fun
dominion. No possibility of reprisal.
What he failed to consider was that he had
trapped her into a life no longer livable.
She acted. Of
course she did.
One evening as he slept-off yet another
courage-inducing drunken binge, she duct-taped him into their bed,
wrapping strip after strip of the sticky stuff around his arms and
legs, and around the bed. She
then prodded him awake and proceeded to beat him first with her
fists, then with her high-heeled shoe, then with a baseball bat
until he was dead. She
drove off never to be heard from again.
He rotted beneath the tape.
When the police discovered the body, they estimated that
the beating was administered over a period of twelve hours.
More fun? Perhaps.
The moral of these stories is simple.
No one with a sound human mind remains helpless in the face
of inevitable abuse unless of course he or she chooses to.
In all of human history, few have chosen to.
Sometimes retribution is swift, as with the bully,
sometimes slower, as with the woman.
But in every instance, victims can be driven beyond their
concern for repercussions. That’s
when even the physically weakest among us are moved to act.
I inflict these ugly little slices of life
upon you gentle reader that it might illustrate how unplanned
fighting among humans rarely yields the expected results.
We call them repercussions.
We too often ignore them before the fact in our quest for
It also illustrates quite typical human
even those who limit their violence to the abuse of women,
children, and defenseless people, are still not entirely safe from
reciprocal harm. Human
abuse victims often have, or will surely find formidable and
compassionate allies: friends and family.
If that’s not enough, they WILL gain access to weapons
when they need them desperately enough.
In the hands of the vindictive, these family,
friends, and weapons will shift the balance of power.
They will be brought to bear against the bully at some
future date lest the abuse ends.
Even a small ally can distract a big bully’s attention if
he’s brandishing a club. Under
such conditions, even the littlest guy can score a game punch.
Hit the right place, and it’s the only punch he’ll
On a larger, but equally human scale,
consider a defenseless little unarmed country.
It is reeling
from extended abuse by a big, dumb bully country that just wont
leave it alone. Since
countries are geographically fixed in place and cannot run away as
people can, might not a country under assault befriend a big
brother country of similar family name but of whom it formerly –
if only recently – disdained?
If the big brother was smaller than the bully, but meaner,
might not the victimized country find reason to patch things up?
Family is family, after all.
I’m speaking of course of Iraq and Iran and
the greater Middle East as well.
In fact, if one looks back a few decades,
back to a time before the Europeans came into the Middle East and
drew borders and changed all the names, he would find that Iran
was part of the very same nation state as Iraq.
Their new names are made up.
They are European Christian given names and nothing more.
So, might not the “N” country find reason to sympathize
with the “Q” country? After
all, they are family. The
only thing about which they formerly disagreed was religion.
But America fixed that with this month’s “US sponsored
both under Shi’a “control” now.
Oh the media will tell you Iraq’s Shiite
leaders are secular, unlike Iran’s Ayatollahs, and if we drink
enough Bush Administration cool ade perhaps we’ll collectively
find a reason why that matters.
But lest we forget, the Shah and Saddam were “secular”
too. By Middle
Eastern standards even George W. Bush is secular.
That begs the question: So what? They’re all nuts.
Shouldn’t that be what we focus on?
The point is this.
With the emotional obstacle of religion out of the way,
wouldn’t that family affinity grow warmer now that the “U.S.
sponsored elections” have given power to the very same majority
sect that so altered life in Iran: the big brother country?
(That’s right folks.
We lost 1550 young troopers in order to turn Iraq into
Iran. We did that by
handing over control of Iraq to The Shi’a, the sect of the
Amid the corporate press euphoria of
elections in Iraq, elections where only 400 voters were killed,
and amid the multiple orgasms in Washington because only 90 more
Iraqi Shi’a were killed at Ashura observances this week, Russia,
yes Russia, weighed in on the “Nukes For Iran” issue.
On Saturday, February 19th, Vladimir Putin
announced that Russia would help build an $800 million nuclear
power plant in Iran.1
The only condition anyone set is that Iran must give back
the spent nuclear fuel when depleted.
This comes on the heels of some very
troubling revelations. Two
days earlier, Bush’s new CIA Director Porter Goss testified
before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, that Bush’s
war has turned Iraq into a training ground for terrorists.
At the same hearing, Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, director
of the Defense Intelligence Agency told the committee that
"Our policies in the Middle East fuel Islamic
resentment." As evidence of this, Jacoby pointed out that
attacks by a growing insurgency have increased by a staggering
240% in just the last year. 2
And finally, thanks to us, Iraq is doing what it did not do, could
not do, and would not do before we arrived: Iraq is now a breeding
ground for al Qaida, and they’re both finally gonna get next to
some nuclear weapons-grade plutonium.
But back to our story.
If that new ally had nuclear weaponry, just think of the
not such a newfound friendship yield vindication against the
abuser at some future date, repercussions notwithstanding, a date
when the abuser is tired or sleeping or drunk with power?
Or in a word: distracted.
It takes post-MTV America about a millisecond to get
Further, this defensive behavior by our
adversaries is normal behavior.
It’s more normal certainly than “liking to fight.”
It is also human, and it is just.
Though the result of conflict is never predictable, the
result of continued abuse is.
There will be vindication coming out of the Middle East.
It’s been going on in Palestine for 58 years so far.
Now we’ve created another disaster in the region not
Now, with Russia playing a hand by providing
Iran with nuclear power, we’re in a high stakes game again, just
like the Cold War.
This raises questions in my mind, questions
the press seems to have overlooked, or been told not to ask.
I’ll ask them here.
They are, after all, obvious enough.
My first question is this: Does anyone really
care what Iran does with its DEPLETED plutonium after a few
My second question is simpler still: We all
know that Russia needs the $800 million they're getting for
building the nuke. That’s
a given. But why does Iran, a country with more oil underneath it than
a McDonald’s freedom fry, need a nuclear power plant at all?
anyone out there?
Yet this is the country – Iran - toward
which we’ve driven Iraq with our stupid administration’s
But I digress...
how does all this relate to the subject of fighting and its
In the realm of Earthly creatures, humans are slow and weak
and not especially big. Yet
we dominate. That’s because we are not programmed for helplessness.
When it comes to fighting against humans, the only speed
and strength that count are the speed and strength of the
combatant’s mind. Only
here does size matter.
Vindication is so simple and fundamental a
form of human behavior so predictably primitive a response to
abuse, that it might even be within the cognitive grasp of the few
intellectually advanced Right-wing chickenhawks sucking at the
teat of our current government.
Yet their greed and power-lust prevents them seeing it.
They will, though. We
The human mind is a more formidable weapon
than anything it can devise.
Whatever the mind can devise, the mind can obviate.
Against the bodies of our adversaries,
America’s weapons and warriors are devastating.
But against their minds, even our nukes are reduced to so
much irrelevant smoke. Add to this that our leaders are of
inferior mind to their adversaries and are disdained by fully half
of their own demonstrably better-informed population.
Now, multiply that adversarial mind by 1.7 billion.
There are 1.7 billion Muslim minds out there
in the world. They
are being made drunk with hatred, hatred of their bigoted and
persistent abuser: America. Their
religious teachings deride violence.
But so do those of the American armchair-warrior chieftain
and his comparatively little group of never-bloodied war
counselors who abuse them. We’ve
all seen how malleable are religious teachings in the face of
fear, hypocrisy, and hatred.
Another few billion non-Muslim human minds despise our
leaders because they realize they cannot share the planet with
them very much longer and survive, nor can they assure the
survival of their children at the hands of the Americans.
Simply stated, “in the course of human
events,” our “leaders” are demonstrated failures, doomed to
failure yet again. They’re
just too dumb, greedy, and scared to see it.
They will though. All
of us on geographically fixed in place America will see it.
With billions of Chinese now clamoring for
oil at any price, and the Euro kicking the Dollar’s ass
everywhere else, no one will need America for very much longer.
Oh, the French will smile and make nice to Condoleeza, and
the idiots of the press will eat it up.
But the EU members have already begun their economic
neutralization of America. I see it every day. They
do not consider an increasingly fundamentalist, ignorant,
scientifically irrational society worth its place at the table of
mankind. We’re a
consumer of their goods, little more.
As America spirals ever deeper into religious primitivism,
we deliberately segregate ourselves from the modern world.
Our economy is no longer the largest, our debt structure is
unmanageable, our bonds are worthless to foreign markets, and our
philosophies equally worthless to foreign minds.
We’re boring, we’re boorish, and we’re broke.
We’re also troublemakers.
Nobody needs us any longer.
We’re the big stupid guy who always starts the fight that
gets himself and everyone with him, bounced from the party.
Then, when the bully finally gets his ass kicked, he starts
to suck up. Look at
Bush and Condoleeza grinning their way across Europe even now.
And as for our war, did you know that behind
the scenes we’ve been secretly negotiating with the Iraqi
I’ll bet that lets them know they can’t win.
Better still, do our troops know that?
What a surprise.
So, fighting between humans is not quite the
same thing as hitting your dog on the nose with a newspaper.
Fighting between humans always yields repercussions.
Most humans are vindictive not submissive.
Eventually vindication overcomes concern for reprisal.
So one should not start a fight with innocent
humans without an appreciation of those repercussions, and neither
fighting nor shooting people should be fun when one combatant is
neither willing, culpable, nor equally armed.
In fact, shooting people should not be fun.
Yet, when all is said and done, some guys
just like to fight. They
ignore the implications, and they invent justification for their
actions. Consider what else General Mattis said:
Afghanistan you got guys who slap women around for five years
because they didn't wear a veil.
You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway.
So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them." 4
But is it justification?
The general seems to be ignoring both reality and recent
For example, though I
can find no evidence of any American generals having been killed
in the Iraq or Afghanistan fighting, 1540 of their troops have
died there recently. 5 How much fun were they
having? How much fun
will they never get to have?
How many more will die simply as retribution for the
general’s misguided attempt at bravado.
For do his words not
incentivize an already suicidal enemy fully as much as those of
our president when the latter foolishly bragged, “Bring em
on!” They do, and
perhaps more so. A
general does not compromise the welfare of his men by
incentivizing the enemy, an enemy our government is ostensibly
attempting to pacify, not defeat, at this stage of the fighting.
He knows this and should keep it top of mind.
His words are damaging and disappointing because they came
from a warrior leader of men, not from the brain damaged, drug
abusing, alcoholic deserter who said, “Bring ‘em on.”
Mattis’s words have meaning, for General Mattis is a good
and worthy officer. He
has boldly spoken out against prisoner abuse, and torture and done
so for reasons only a soldier can appreciate.
Study his record, and you’ll know he’s been there.
For this general, this good man and true, there is no
excuse for so blatant a lapse of judgment.
Further, they are empty,
Remember, one million
fighters died in the Russo/Afghan wars before we arrived. 6
those remaining Afghan fighters never gave up.
It was the Russians who gave up.
They went broke and quit the fight.
So one should weigh his words carefully before deriding
this enemy’s “manhood.”
Warrior generals know better than to ridicule their
adversaries, however tiny those adversaries might be.
By deriding the enemy’s courage, a commander trivializes the courage of
those fighting that enemy – his own troops.
fight ain’t over yet. Remember
al Qaida? Stronger
than ever, and we’ve outspent the Russians with no results.
Osama bin Laden is still free.
As for Iraq, words alone
cannot describe our crimes. Our
actions have left over 66,000 innocent women and children dead in
We’ve left countless more people maimed.
As relates to these
atrocities, methinks that each and every one of the women and
children we’ve killed in the Middle East and everyone to whom
they mattered, would have preferred that they be slapped around
for a while longer – at least until they, or other rational
humans found a better solution to their plight, a solution short
of killing them.
After all, isn’t that
why were still in this fight, to free people from oppression?
Or was that last week’s excuse?
I’ve lost track.
- END -
Don’t forget. 02/22/05
is the day we celebrate a great American president, general,
statesman, and genuine hero.
It’s GWB! (George
Washington’s Birthday, that is).
About The Author
is Chief Technology Officer for an international media
network. A pilot, Air
Force veteran, and member of both the Planetary Society, and
Center For Inquiry, he is also a widely published science and
technology writer. A
father of two, Mr. Stasi lives in Los Angeles with his wife of 38
years. Email - ResponDS1@aol.com
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