One Man's Freedom Fighter

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The New Republic's Spencer Ackerman spots this charming tidbit in an L.A. Times story on death squads in Iraq:

[Major General Joseph] Peterson said that Interior Minister Jabr had fired four brigade commanders over allegations of abuse and corruption. The most notorious commando unit, the Wolf Brigade, was recently renamed the "Freedom Brigade."

What's next, passing a law that guts civil liberties and calling it the PATR… oh, wait, never mind.

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  1. The most notorious commando unit, the Wolf Brigade, was recently renamed the “Freedom Brigade.”

    …after a brief period as the “French Brigade.”

  2. dammit. jesse! exactly. was just about to post that!
    (i would say “great minds” but that would be overstating my case a bit, grin)

    cheers to you!

    VM

  3. It’s getting so you can assume anything with the word “Freedom” attached to it must be bad.

  4. Freedom as in freedom from this mortal coil.

  5. Well, the German reactionary paramilitary organization that later supplied much of the membership for the NSDAP’s SA was called the Frei Korps (“Free Corps”), so at least there’s a long history of this sort of thing.

  6. Yeah, freedom is becoming the new weasel word. Hollywood uses it a lot lately, to sell any stupid action movie where someone is leading an army to do… something… I guess…

    When the execs don’t know what the hero is after, they throw up their hands and give us a trailer where the hero is screaming about freedom.

    King Arthur. Aeon Flux. Lots more, I just can’t remember off hand. The best was Colin Farrel in the trailers for Alexander saying, “We fight for freedom!” Um… wasn’t he the guy who… you know… conquered everyone?

  7. Waldo,

    Freedom in the Greek world (which would include the Macedonians by the time of Alexander) was generally viewed as a corporate notion; especially after the victory over the Persians by the Greek city states. So the movie (depending on how the word was used) might not be totally off its rocker.

  8. Although I wouldn’t call Alexander a “Freedom Fighter”, or even a good guy, he did have some pretty advanced ideas for humanity. In fact, some speculate that Jesus Christ (if there was such a man) probably borrowed some of his ideas about the human race coming together from Alexander.

    When Alexander would conquer a place, he encouraged his men to mingle (ie, breed/marry) with the local populace, hence creating a vast society where people from different cultures would become family. His advisors and whatnot didn’t think too much of his progressive attitude…

  9. RTFA. I’m a strong critic of our human rights policies in Iraq, but if you pay attention to the context of the excerpt, it becomes clear that this is part of a broader effort to pull Iraqi forces away from abuses, not cover over them with a misleading name. This is similar to a branding exercise, where you drop the name with bad connotations (e.g., “WorldCom”) and replace it with a superior one (going back to “MCI,”). It may not mean much, but it’s no PATRIOT Act.

  10. Oh come on, Alexander was gay. That means he was evil. Eeevil!

  11. Although I wouldn’t call Alexander a “Freedom Fighter”, or even a good guy, he did have some pretty advanced ideas for humanity. In fact, some speculate that Jesus Christ (if there was such a man) probably borrowed some of his ideas about the human race coming together from Alexander.

    what the fuck?? what does mingle have to do with the moral philosphy of jesus?

  12. No, no. The movie Alexander was gay. The real Alexander was…

    Well, okay. He was gay, too. But that still doesn’t mean…

    Well, yeah, he also conquered the world. Okay, evil.

  13. what the fuck?? what does mingle have to do with the moral philosphy of jesus?

    Uh, like, we’re here for both Jews and Gentiles?

    Mingling with locals? Read Ruth.

  14. Yeah, freedom is becoming the new weasel word.

    Just now ?

  15. joshua – well, it’s all probably obscured by the mists of history, but…aw, shit…I’d have to write a fucking huge essay to really get into all of this, so I don’t think I can really start.

    I would imagine that Wikipedia would have some info if you look up Jesus and Alexander the Great, but I don’t know for sure. (And yes, I’m aware that Wiki isn’t exactly a definitive source.)

  16. joshua, I think it’s in Luke where Jesus says, “Go and mingle amongst the masses, and consider for thyself a cocktail for which to lubricate thy social interactions.”

  17. On second thought, that might be from the New Improved Testament.

  18. Speculation on the use of “freedom” as a weasel word: We all know that if deficit spending continues then at some point taxes will have to go up. Maybe they’ll call the tax increase the “freedom payment.”

  19. I remember learning in history class that during WWI, with the USA fighting the Germans and all, that people took to calling sauerkraut “liberty cabbage” and hamburger “liberty sausage.”

  20. In ww2 wasn’t it Alaxander v Jesus and when Jesus was finally defeated in the hymalayas his spewing death crap created Everest, that and Alaxander has alot to do with christian moral phylosophy.

    Ha!

  21. Stevo, it beats changing your monarch’s name from the cool Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to the wimpy Windsor. It’s been downhill for the Brits ever since.

    Mmmmmmm, liberty cabbage. Tastes like. . .freedom.

  22. I believe “hamburger” became “Salibury Steak.”

  23. I think “Salisbury steak” predates WWI, though I imagine that anti-German sentiment contributed to the popularity of the term. It was a euphemism for “not meat” when I was in school.

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