“Stupid Is As Stupid Does”

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Vietnam Napalm attack

“Stupid is as stupid does.” — Forrest Gump

25 great forrest gump quotes – YouTube

Feb 16, 2015 – Uploaded by PonAdidas

Forrest Gump Quotes 1994.

One of my friends was drafted to be a soldier in the Vietnam War. He couldn’t wiggle out of the duty since he was not a conscientious objector (pacifist), who would be assigned alternative duty such as being a medic. Simultaneously he had no intention of being a draft dodger and flee to Canada so as to never return to his life in the USA, his work in the USA, his home in the USA. his family in the USA, his culture in the USA and his friends in the USA.So he got clever. He acted like such a dumbbell, he was considered useless for anything except to peel potatoes while in military service . He found the perfect way for himself to avoid wrongful slaughter and carnage as a matter of conscience.

Steve, who is a very bright chemical engineer, was drafted into the Vietnam War. So what did he do? He shunned the whole affair in a unique way.

Yes, he acted so stupid that he couldn’t shoot a target with a gun. He acted so dumb that he couldn’t change oil in a car used by a general. He acted so idiotic that he was eventually left peeling potatoes on a USA military base … and this is a fellow with great intellectual capacity. (He be damned in his own eyes if he were killing some innocent Vietnamese. He had no intention of everdoing so.)

I wish that I’d saved Steve’s recent email to me so I could stick his words verbatim here, but I deleted it. So here’s a rough embellished paraphrasing.

He wrote that it is so much easier for most people to conform to the norm expected of them (i.e., to be like sheeple herd animals and go along with the crowd) rather than be a pariah and shun the common standard expected of them. So most people drafted did as they were told. After all, one doesn’t have to make decisions, but simply obey and act dutiful in the ordered confines, confines given to you like a fenced in structure for sheep.

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He simply refused to be apart of these sorts of incidents. Taken from  My Lai, Sexual Assault and the Black Blouse Girl – Reading The Pictures:
My Lai 2 LIFEBy reading the image closely, you can see that the teenager in the right background is buttoning up her blouse. It’s a curious action. Why would she be preoccupied with a button while the other people in the photograph were terrified of being killed? Why was the button undone to begin with?

Testimony from the 1969-1979 Peers Inquiry solves the mystery of the button: the image actually captures these women and children in the moments between a sexual assault and mass murder. In his inquiry testimony, Haeberle explains that a group of soldiers were trying to “see what she was made of,” and that they “started stripping her, taking her top off,” Additional testimony from the investigation confirms this.

Steve goes on to share: Besides, the conformists, who find obedience convenient for their daily ease, don’t have to take personal responsibility for their actions. They are not considered personally responsible for their murder, maiming, rapes, other actions, and bombing of whole villages, towns or cities … unless we go back to the times of the Nuremberg trials. (Of course if the Nazis had won the war, the same trials may have taken place with the USA and some European people on trial for Dresden and other actions carried out against Germany and Italy.)

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Napalm in War

Excerpted from the above link:  Dow Chemical was responsible for the manufacture of napalm for the US military between 1965 and 1969. Demonstrations against the company stirred public controversy. Harun Farocki’s astute 1969 film “Inextinguishable Fire” focused on the production of Napalm B by the Dow Chemical Company. After weighing the moral and practical aspects, Dow decided that its first obligation was to the government.
Israel used napalm during the 1967 war and in the 1980’s in Lebanon. On June 8, 1967, Israel attacked the USS Liberty. Thirty-four American soldiers were killed and one hundred and seventy one were wounded. Both the US and Israeli governments have ruled the attack a tragic case of mistaken identity, but many survivors remain unconvinced. The Israeli forces attacked the ship with napalm, with canon fire, and with torpedoes. They did everything they could to blow up the ship; firing, for example, five torpedoes at the ship, one of which blew a forty-foot hole into the ship. This was followed by shots at the life rafts of people trying to escape the ship.

In Angola, the Portuguese military used defoliants and napalm, mined trails, and poisoned water holes as tactics to counter their adversaries.

By 1969, the Biafrans had reassessed the resolve of their Nigerian opponent. The verdict was that the unrestrained aerial attacks on undefended hospitals and markets, especially with napalm, and the tightening blockade were further evidence of the Federal desire to commit genocide, i.e., the eradication of the Ibo population.

In May 1972, when the Brazilian military operation effectively started, FOGUERA had about 80 guerrilla fighters. One of the first operations completed in the area was a clean-sweep action over the only existing mountains in the region, the Andorinhas Mountains, which do not have natural cover. After being bombarded with napalm by the Air Force, the mountains were the object of a vigorous search and encirclement mission conducted by a large force. The results were dismal because the guerrillas were never there.

In the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, Moshe Dayan was nearly injured when an Egyptian helicopter dropped a napalm barrel near him at Adan’s command post on the east bank.

During the 1982 Falklands conflict, the Argentine PUCARA proved an enduring craft. They were hit numerous times by British small arms fire and by BLOWPIPE SAMS, but were often able to return to their base for repair. They were used to combat British helicopters and shot down two. They also delivered NAPALM against British positions on at least one occasion.

In early November 1994, Serbs from within Croatia launched missile and air strikes on the Bihac pocket. Bosnian Serbs and the rebel Muslim forces attacked the Bihac pocket from Croatia. During an attack on November 18, these forces used napalm and cluster bombs, which the Security Council noted was “in clear violation of Bihac’s status as a safe area.” The air attacks from Croatia led the Security Council to authorize the use of NATO air power on targets in Croatia.

Napalm was used during the Persian Gulf War. The Marine Corps dropped all of the approximately 500 MK-77s used in the Gulf War. They were delivered primarily by the AV-8 Harriers from relatively low altitudes. During Operation Desert Storm MK-77s were used to ignite the Iraqis oil-filled fire trenches, which were part of barriers constructed in southern Kuwait.

The massive defeat of the Iraqi military machine tempted the Iraqi Kurds to revolt against the Baghdad regime. Encouraged by American radio broadcasts to rise up against their ‘dictator’, the Kurds of northern Iraq rebelled against a nominally defeated and certainly weakened Saddam Hussein in March of 1991. Shortly after the war ended, Kurdish rebels attacked disorganized Iraqi units and seized control of several towns in northern Iraq. From the town of Rania, this sedition spread quickly through the Kurdish north. Fear of being drawn into an Iraqi civil war and possible diplomatic repercussions precluded President Bush from committing US forces to support the Kurds. Within days Iraqi forces recovered and launched a ruthless counteroffensive including napalm and chemical attacks from helicopters. They quickly reclaimed lost territory and crushed the rebellion.

In late 1997, Turkey launched attacks on Kurdish villages in Northern Iraq. Turkey said that they were pursuing the PKK into Northern Iraq. The use of napalm and cluster bombs against civilians in Northern Iraq was part of Turkey’s military efforts against the Kurds. From Napalm in War

Anyway, my friend made sure that he would not carry out any action against his values and conscience. So I doubt that he would have done well in some of Stan Milgram’s experiments. Excerpted from Milgram Experiment | Simply Psychology:

Ordinary people are likely to follow orders given by an authority figure, even to the extent of killing an innocent human being.  Obedience to authority is ingrained in us all from the way we are brought up.

People tend to obey orders from other people if they recognize their authority as morally right and / or legally based. This response to legitimate authority is learned in a variety of situations, for example in the family, school, and workplace.

Milgram summed up in the article “The Perils of Obedience” (Milgram 1974), writing:


‘The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous import, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations. 

I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist.

Stark authority was pitted against the subjects’ [participants’] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects’ [participants’] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not.

The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.’


Milgrams’ Agency Theory

Milgram (1974) explained the behavior of his participants by suggesting that people have two states of behavior when they are in a social situation:

    • The autonomous state – people direct their own actions, and they take responsibility for the results of those actions.

  • The agentic state – people allow others to direct their actions and then pass off the responsibility for the consequences to the person giving the orders. In other words, they act as agents for another person’s will.

How would many of the people who you know fare in such experiments? Imagine.

However, keep in mind that people like Steve, many others and I refuse to go along with the expected norm. After all, we aren’t and never will be this:

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We simply can’t because of this following sort of unacceptable outcome (pictured). We want no part of it and absolutely refuse capitulation from the deepest, most ethical parts of our beings.

Our core selves and all that we are in our brief life on Earth thoroughly reject! Instead we’ll fight until our last breaths are expended for a better way for humanity to go forward than to do this to others:

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Sally Dugman is a writer from MA, USA.


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