Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2008 October 31

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October 31[edit]


I can't seem to find the answer to my question anywhere. If you are reciting a poem that has a line that runs into another, should that line break be considered a pause or should the reciter treat it like an extra long line? —User:FuzzyBunnyJihad (talk)

Generally, no pause. Pauses are signified by punctuation, not by the ends of lines. An exception might be in a humorous poem where the enjambment is part of the humor. - Nunh-huh 00:34, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
In prose, pauses are marked by punctuation, and this is true of poetry too. But poetry is more than prose, and it's a very bad idea to read it like mere prose. This is especially true for free verse; poets such as Marvin Bell insist that, when a poem is read aloud, line endings call for a least a brief hesitation. --Halcatalyst (talk) 01:39, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Worth knowing if you're going to be reading Marvin Bell's poems aloud, but his insistence on a pause is the exception, and certainly not the rule. - Nunh-huh 01:45, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
If the way the poem looks on the page is part of its character, as in some of George Herbert's poems and Wallace Stevens', the hearer should have an unobtrusive sense of the shaping of the line, as it hangs in the air, and where the enjambment falls. Not easily done. --Wetman (talk) 02:06, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Herbert's "Easter Wings" is a prime exemplar of a poem that's intended to be seen on a page. (I can't think of any of Stevens' poems that depend on that.) The question is about how to read a poem aloud; obviously, it depends on the poem, the reader, and the audience. Reading poetry, aloud or in one's mind, when done well requires both skill and a bit of poetic sensitivity. --Halcatalyst (talk) 01:07, 1 November 2008 (UTC)


You know how some humans are gay or lesbian? Is homosexuality found only in humans or do some other animals exhibit this kind of behavior? -- penubag  (talk) 02:13, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Yup, see homosexual behavior in animals. Adam Bishop (talk) 02:17, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Wow, thanks for the quick reply.  :) -- penubag  (talk) 02:20, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Sierra Leone Civil War[edit]

Who were the Vice Presidents of Sierra Leone at the time of the 1992 coup by the Revolutionary United Front. Vice President of Sierra Leone says one, while President Joseph Saidu Momoh's article says another I believe. Grsz11 →Review! 03:30, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Yet another US election question[edit]

On my friend's absentee ballot, it notes that if she leaves a referendum question blank--it counts as a vote against the referendum. Is this true in all of the states? Why is there not a system in place whereby you can vote for president, senate, etc. but abstain from voting on a referendum?

Thanks! (talk) 05:48, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

That seems unusual, which state is she in? Its certainly not true of all States, most require a simple majority of "yes" vs. "no" and discount those left blank.
Are you sure your friend is not referring to Arizon Prop 105, which - if passed next week - would essentially institute that system for future referenda in Arizona. See [1] Rockpocket 06:30, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

she's from Minnesota207.172.71.243 (talk) 07:23, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Normally in referendums (and elections generally), only formal votes are taken into consideration. That is, votes filled out in accordance with the rules, and where a YES or NO vote is clearly expressed. Informal votes (blank; ambiguous; illegible; crosses or ticks instead of numbers, or vice-versa; not fully completed; etc) are put aside and don't figure in the count. It sounds like they're deeming blank ballots to be formal votes, and against the proposal. This is very unusual. The choices seem to be:

  • If you want to be counted as YES, you have to vote YES formally.
  • If you want to be counted as NO, you can either vote NO formally, or submit a blank ballot.
  • If you want NOT to be counted, you have to mark your ballot paper, but in a way that deliberately makes it an informal vote.

How very odd. It may be an attempt to minimise informal votes and make people think about what they want, but from what you've told us, it seems somewhat undemocratic. -- JackofOz (talk) 14:55, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

It certainly sounds unusual, but perhaps there is a clue in this article. As noted in the very last paragraph, "The amendment needs to be approved by at least 51 percent. Leaving the question blank is essentially a vote against it." The key word being "essentially." Anything that is not explicitly a yes vote won't count toward the 51%. --LarryMac | Talk 15:22, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
That makes sense. What they're saying is that they're going to consider the "yes" vote 51% of all votes, not 51% of all votes that give an opinion. It's a way to make sur that supporters of it don't just overwhelm because most people don't care or don't understand it. -- (talk) 16:03, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't really make sense. You should be allowed to purposefully not decide; philosophically, you shouldn't be required to have an opinion. One may not be apathetic, they may genuinely want to not vote for whatever reason, and this is not the same as wanting to vote "no". Also, it doesn't make sense that people who don't vote at all aren't counted towards the 50%+1, but those that do vote but leave it blank DO count. That's just plainly illogical... 18:33, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree, it makes no sense. In cases where you can expect near 100% turnout (a corporate board meeting, say), it can sometimes make sense to require a majority of the population to support rather than just more supporters that opposes (basically you count an abstention as an opposition), but when you're going to have a large number of people that just don't vote at all (and aren't actively abstaining), then it makes no sense. What they're doing is requiring support from a majority of the people that vote in the presidential election, which is a nonsensical population to be using to determine support for an unrelated resolution. --Tango (talk) 18:46, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
It's not that a non-vote is identical to a negative vote, it's that a negative vote is identical to a non-vote. Only positive votes count and they are taking it out of the total population. Again, it's a way to make it so that a bloc of people can't push it through with only 10% of the vote if everybody else just leaves it blank because they don't know or don't care. It's a reasonable check to make sure that a small interested minority doesn't end up making disproportionate policy. On some issues I can imagine that being something you'd want to do, if the issue was important but its importance was not widely understood. -- (talk) 22:26, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
No, that's comparing different populations of votes.
  • Some people choose not to vote at all, as is their right. It’s impossible to know how they would have voted had they voted.
  • Some people turn up at the voting booth in order to write obscenities or other comments on their ballots, but leave them otherwise unmarked.
  • Some vote properly, but still add comments. In some jurisdictions, these ballots are counted as formal, in some as informal. I can see pros and cons for both approaches.
  • Some people vote in the election, but don’t have a particular view about the referendum question - or vice-versa – so they leave that ballot paper unmarked. It’s just as impossible to know how they might have voted had they chosen to express a view, as it is to know how the people who didn’t turn up at all might have voted had they turned up. In relation to the referendum, to make a distinction between the people who turned up and did not vote, and those who didn’t turn up at all, seems wrong in principle. That's why the only "population" that has any meaning is the population who lodged formal votes, and formal votes have never in my experience included blank ballots.
The question is: what constitutes a "blank ballot"? If it’s utterly blank, that’s clear cut, and in this scenario it’s counted as a formal NO vote. But if it has a small doodle you did while thinking about how you wanted to vote, is that a blank ballot, or is it added to the pile of informal votes and not considered at all? If your pen wasn’t flowing and you had to scribble on the paper to make it work, is that a blank ballot? If it has some smudge from the ink stain on the side of your hand that got put on while you were filling out the other ballot paper, is that a blank ballot? If it has a deliberately written comment or obscenity, but nothing else, is that a blank ballot? -- JackofOz (talk) 23:18, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
In Australia you don't actually have the right to not vote at all do you? Compulsory voting (not sure about referenda but for normal elections I'm pretty sure it applies). You do still have the right to leave the ballot blank but you do actually have to turn up to vote if you don't want to be fined unless you have a legitimate reason (and I don't think I didn't want to vote is one). Nil Einne (talk) 09:33, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
In cases where they don't want a minority to be making policy (most commonly, tax increases), it's common to include a quorum requirement, ie. 51% of the vote, and at least 20% of the registered voters must cast votes. The irony of quorum requirements is that there are cases where a "no" vote is identical to a "yes" vote. --Carnildo (talk) 23:19, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, there are cases where a quorum is required - that's a percentage of total people eligible to vote, rather than a percentage of people that turn up to the polling booths, which is a big difference. (And yes, turning up to vote "no" can actually cause the vote to pass, that can be resolved by requiring 10% of the total population to vote in favour (and more supports than opposes, obviously), rather than requiring 20% to vote and 50% of those to vote in favour - the total amount of support required is the same, but the amount of opposes doesn't matter (unless it is more than the supports).) --Tango (talk) 00:20, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
IMHO, if you want to allow people to offer no opinion, it's best to actually offer that option. Otherwise you're going to confuse people with no opinion with people who didn't even notice the refenda for example. You can also offer people the option to have no vote if you want. Nil Einne (talk) 09:39, 2 November 2008 (UTC)


With the growing discontent in the congo, I would like to know, if what happened in Rwanda happens again in say congo, and the UN once again spends its time pussyfooting around instead of acctually doing some thing, can anyone at the UN be held responsible and be sent to the Hague or some thing equivalent? Last time the UN soldiers on the ground were not allowed to do anything (shoot back I mean) this can be seen in movies such as Shooting Dogs or Hotel Rwanda. Was any one at the UN made accountable for this? who will be made accountable next time, as I am sure it will happen again somewhere. Thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:56, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Read Peacekeeping. It is not for the UN to be held accountable, since they can only act in accordance with whatever treaties, laws and UN resolutions apply. It is lack of international support for the UN, not the UN itself, that may lead to the failure of UN peacekeeping operations. If you want to blame anyone, blame the people doing the shooting, not those who are trying to prevent it. --Richardrj talk email 12:26, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Firstly it's important to note that just because the media suggests the UN isn't doing anything, it is incredibly unlikely that behind the scenes they aren't working on trying to improve the situation. International law is pretty much unpredictable, it's highly unlikely the UN would be held responsible in any way, though such failure to resolve issues diminishes its standing and will make people further question its purpose and ability to react. Diplomacy and peace-keeping are incredible complex issues that require much work and thought, the UN is loathe to send troops, and will try everything in its power to not have to 'use' the troops, given the situation there are many more avenues to look down before action may be taken. (talk) 12:28, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Quite frankly if three quarters of Belgium marched into france with meat cleavers killing anyone and every one, Ban KiMoon would not form a commitee to discuss wether or not they should form a commitee to hold a meeting on wether or not they should have a meeting to decide wether or not to intervene. They woukld just send it troops. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:02, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure Ban Ki Moon couldn't actually send troops unless the security council agreed. To use the reverse example, if 3/4 of France marched into Belgium since France is part of the Security Council, it's actually rather unlikely the UN would send troops unless France didn't attend the meeting, or they were somehow expelled (which has never been done before unless you count the replacement of the USSR with Russia or the ROC with the PRC). Definitely, it's a lot more complex then you seem to think Nil Einne (talk) 09:20, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Have a look at articles such as International relations United Nations Diplomacy and areas of study such as (hope there's an article titled it) Conflict resolution. Sending in troops without at least some discussion is extremely unlikely, especially for an organisation that is maintained by many nations, rather than simply being responsible to itself. (talk) 13:54, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
My understanding of the situation on Congo is that it's actually a lot more complicated then you seem to think. The current mission has quite a strong mandate and also quite a complex one. The trouble is, they have neither the resources nor the manpower to actually effectiely enforce that complicated mandate. If more countries had been willing to commit resources and people to the current mission earlier, it's likely it would have been more effective. The other thing is that the mission was complex and never going to be an easy one to do (I mean look at how much the US has commited to Iraq, they're still a long way away from achieving the goal whatever you believe their goal may be). For example, they're supposed to train the Congolose troops except the Congolose army is in extremely poor shape. They're supposed to keep the rebels away from civilians but the Congolese army likes to fire on the rebels and then run away leaving the UN troops to deal with the retaliation. As others have stated, international diplomacy is incredibly complicated and building up a country which is in a complete and utter mess is even worse. As the US in particular (and the USSR previously) have shown time and time again, just going in there with a lot of troops and shooting everyone who doesn't do what you want doesn't actually work most of the time Nil Einne (talk) 09:20, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Baby slapping[edit]

Is is still normal practice for a baby to be slapped to start it breathing? Is there an alternative? I could find nothing about this in the childbirth article.--Shantavira|feed me 16:35, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

I've read at least one first aid book that specifically said there was no need to slap a baby to start it breathing - it will breath on its own (breathing is instinctive, even in adults, after all). You may need to clear any gunk from its mouth, but that's about it (unless there are complications, of course). --Tango (talk) 17:29, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
The old joke went "When I was born, I was so ugly the doctor took one look and slapped my parents!" Edison (talk) 02:14, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Halloween, an adult holiday?[edit]

Halloween used to be a kid thing. It still is, of course, but it’s also become a big holiday for adults, who for some time have been wearing costumes to work and displaying Halloween decorations outside their homes. Why has this happened? --Halcatalyst (talk) 17:23, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Where is this? The US? It isn't celebrated that much in the UK - there's lots targeted at kids, but that's about it in my experience. --Tango (talk) 17:25, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
I know that my grandmother wore a costume to work when she worked at Tinker AFB in the 50s. She liked to say how much she liked being able to dress up on Halloween while all the Air Force guys had to stay in uniform. So, what is your assumption (that Halloween recently became popular with adults) based on? Personal experience? Most kids don't realize that the adults dress up and go to adult parties, so it isn't surprising for someone to grow up and think that adults using Halloween as an excuse to party is something new. -- kainaw 17:49, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
My parents used to dress up and go to adult Halloween parties when I was a kid in the 1980's, so the phenomenon is hardly "new"... 25 years ago, it was just as prevalent. 18:13, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
You really need to say where you are if your comment is going to helpful... --Tango (talk) 18:49, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
At the time I was living with my parents in a town called Hudson, New Hampshire, located in the south-central part of the state. They frequently went to parties at my mom's brother's house. He lived in a few different places, but the two I remember best were Gloucester, Massachusetts and Lawrence, Massachusetts. They attended these parties every year that I can remember, so that means from at least 1980 (I was born in 1976, but my memory does not stretch back that far), continuing at least until 1994, when I moved out to go to college. I hope that help to provides some context. Sorry my prior posting was so lacking in this regard. 03:28, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm 27 and from America. My mom never skipped the chance to dress up for Halloween. One year she painted her face yellow and went as Jaundice. Another, she spiked her hair up, sowed underwear and socks to a sweatshirt, and went as Static cling. I'm an adult and I at least paint my face up like a skull whenever I escort my niece and nephew. My older sister dresses up everyonce in a while. So, it's not really a new thing. --Ghostexorcist (talk) 19:43, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't have a source handy, but I seem to recall that Halloween (as practiced in the US) was mostly celebrated by adults up until the 40s or 50s. It was only then that it became more focused on children, but adults still celebrated. - — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 11:52, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
No source handy here as well, but Halloween seems to allow adults to express their personal interests and /or become "someone else" for a night, which many people find very enjoyable. Other holidays in the US such as Christmas or Thanksgiving don't give them the chance to wear costumes and be something other than themselves. I was actually this guy this year: [2]..cheers. 10draftsdeep (talk) 21:05, 3 November 2008 (UTC)


Does anyone know how much money a 1.5L bottle of Coca-Cola cost in the united states? Gridge (talk) 17:37, 31 October 2008 (UTC).

Hmmm... offhand, I don't recall ever encountering a 1.5L bottle. Naturally, the answer is "it depends", but I can provide some guidance. A 1L bottle, chilled, is generally in the $1.50 - $2 range. A 2L bottle, warm, is generally in the $1 - $1.50 range. The primary question, then, is whether a 1.5L bottle would be chilled or warm. Depending on the answer, I'd put it at either the high end of the 1L or the low end of the 2L. — Lomn 17:46, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
I just came from the convenience store (purchasing a Coke). They don't sell 1L or 1.5L. The choices are 20oz, 2L, and 3L. I bought a 20oz, which is $1.38. -- kainaw 17:51, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
1.5L is what they call "share size" in the UK (I've no idea why), and isn't sold chilled. The other available sizes are 500ml (usually chilled) and 2L (un-chilled). The 500ml bottles cost around 90p-£1, 2L bottles are around £1.60, I've no idea what 1.5L bottles cost, but it's somewhere inbetween. Are you sure the chilled bottles in the US are 1L and not 500ml (or an imperial equivalent)? If so, any idea why they sell larger bottles in the states than elsewhere? (Other countries I've been to have always sold 500ml bottles.) --Tango (talk) 18:06, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't know that I've seen an actual Coca-Cola 1L bottle -- being a good southern boy, all carbonated syrup drinks are colloquially "cokes" -- but Pepsi-related brands often have larger 1L bottles in the coolers beside the standard 20oz bottles. More dastardly are the attempts to replace the 20oz bottles with the 500mL ones without adjusting price. — Lomn 19:08, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Actually, per Lomn, the real question is whether refrigeration of 20 oz of soda is really worth such a huge markup. I can usually buy a six-pack of warm 20-oz bottles for less than TWO identical chilled 20-oz bottles. Seriously, cold soda has got to be the biggest racket in the 18:09, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
I meant warm bottle. In Israel we pay almost 7 ILS ($2). Thanks guys. Gridge (talk) 18:10, 31 October 2008 (UTC).
As already mentioned, 1.5 L isn't a standard size in the U.S. Some bottling plants use them, but most seem to have the standard sizes of 12-oz can, 16-oz bottle, 20-oz bottle (20 ounces = 590 mL, so its about 0.5 L), 2L bottle. A few make 8-oz cans (at the low end), 24-oz bottles (about 900 mL) , 1L bottles, or 3L bottles (the largest I have seen), but these sizes are rarer than the standards I listed first. I have never encountered a 1.5 liter bottle in the U.S. Remember that the Coca-Cola company (or Pepsico, or generally whatever the brand name is) only manufacture and sell soda syrup, that is concentrated unsweetened flavorings. This syrup is purchased and bottled by "bottling companies" which are usually independently owned and operated franchises and are unaffiliated with the parent company, except as a liscensee of the brand and purchaser of the flavorings. The bottle sizes are somewhat "industry standard", but its largely up to the bottler how they package the product. Given ALL of that, the closest common size in the U.S. is the 2L bottle, which as mentioned generally sells for $1.00-$1.50... 18:25, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
They used to sell 1.5 liter bottles of Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper (and nothing else) at my local supermarket here in the U.S., until about 2 years ago... AnonMoos (talk) 20:38, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
If your supermarket sold nothing but 1.5 liter bottles of Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper, AnonMoos, I think you would have been well advised to shop elsewhere. Indeed, I can't quite understand how you managed to survive to the present. Deor (talk) 01:44, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
No it sold a wide variety of beverages in various sizes (and continues to do so) -- but only Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper were carried in the 1.5 liter size. AnonMoos (talk) 02:14, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
He was kidding... Gridge (talk) 18:43, 1 November 2008 (UTC).

I just saw 2 liter Coca Cola (warm) at 2 for $1.99 (U.S.). Edison (talk) 02:10, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Extra information for Australia: The usual sizes are can (375mL) 'buddy' (600ml) and bottles (1.25L and 2L). I have seen 1.5L bottles that are sold chilled, but they're not as common. Unchilled prices for 1.25L bottles are ~A$2.20 at a supermarket to as much as A$4.00 at smaller convenience stores and fast food stores. Steewi (talk) 23:00, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

does someone know about this book[edit]

i have recently bought a book titled a notebook of medieval history AD323 AD1453 published by oxford university at the clarendon 1917 and wondered if this book was produced on a large scale or just a few because i have searched the web and have found nothing any info on this book would be appreciated thanks dave —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dav83 (talkcontribs) 19:56, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

I've searched a few online catalogues, including the British Library, and can't find any mention of the book. Does it specify an author? --Tango (talk) 20:08, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
You can get it used from Amazon, and it's in my university library (digitized online, even!), so it doesn't seem particularly rare. The author is Charles Raymond Beazley. Adam Bishop (talk) 20:13, 31 October 2008 (UTC)


Why isn't Bush part of the presedential election? (talk) 22:06, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Because McCain wants to distance himself from Bush. As Bush is extremely unpopular among American voters at the moment—his lowest popularity ever, and potentially the most unpopular president in American history. Less than 3 out of 10 Americans are happy with Bush at the moment, by one poll. (The fact that you can get 7 out of 10 Americans to agree on anything political is astounding.) -- (talk) 22:18, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution --Nricardo (talk) 00:33, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
To expand on Nricardo's oblique reference, the U.S. President is currently limited, by law, to serving no more than 2 full terms, rounded, in office. If a president dies in office more than half-way through his first term his successor may run for election twice. If he dies less than half-way through his term, his successor may only stand for election one more time.
Thus, Lyndon Johnson, who took over for after John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963, with less than 2 years remaining in that term, could have stood for re-election in both 1964 and 1968. Being only marginally more popular than Bush is today in 1968, Johnson somewhat wisely declined to seek an additional term. As a counter example, Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981, having only served a few months of his first term, but he survived the attack. Had he died, and George H. W. Bush (the current president's father, and Reagan's VP) taken over as President, Bush Sr. would only have been eligible to run again in 1984, and not in 1988.
The two-term limit had been a long tradition in the American Presidency. George Washington, who was under no restrictions not to, declined to run for a third term, because he did not want to see the presidency become an office-for-life. Most presidents, leary of tarnishing Washington's image, and not wanting to display the hubris of "showing up" the revered president, followed his lead and refused to run for a third term, even if they had the popularity to pull it off. The first to even attempt it was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who successfully won 4 consecutive elections; though his health was so bad in the 1944 campaign that he died only months after the start of his 4th term in 1945. The 22nd Ammendment, passed congress in 1947, and ratified in 1951, made a law what had been a tradition before Roosevelt... 03:18, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
I've taken the liberty of breaking up that massive paragraph.
It's not correct that Franklin Roosevelt was the first president who attempted to run for a third term, although he may have been the first to run for a third consecutive term. At least two others had tried for a third term after one term out of office, though. They both failed to gain their party's nomination: U.S. Grant in 1880 and Teddy Roosevelt in 1912. In Roosevelt's case he went on to run as a third-party candidate, splitting the vote and giving the election to Wilson. By the way, the last president eligible to run for a third term (in his case a second complete term) was Harry Truman; he made a short-lived attempt for it, dropping out after the first primary. --Anonymous, 04:50 UTC, November 1, 2008.
Note that I was assuming you were asking why Bush was not part of the campaigning to any appreciable degree, and why he was keeping his head down for the most part, not why he wasn't running again. -- (talk) 21:05, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Did an American soldier ever kill a Russian soldier in the Cold War?[edit]

Or vice versa?-- (talk) 22:32, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Quite likely. There were Soviet anti-aircraft crews involved in the Vietnam War, the United States provided assistance to Afghanistan during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, probably including military advisors, and there were a number of incidents where units from one side attacked units from the other. Plenty of opportunities for things to happen. --Carnildo (talk) 23:32, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Do you consider spies to be soldiers? -- kainaw 01:27, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
Many spies were military attaches working at embassies, and thus soldiers. Not all soldiers are spies, not all spies are soldiers, but there is certainly overlap. Some soldiers of country A were spies for country B (and countries D and E, if they were adept enough). Edison (talk) 02:07, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
In the Korean War, U.S. and Soviet airmen fought each other in MiG Alley. There were certainly casualties on both sides. There may have been casualties among the Soviet ground forces (anti-aircraft batteries, mainly) caused by U.S. attacks as well. Our Korean War article lists 315 Soviet dead, some of whom must have been killed by Americans. There were always rumors of losses on both sides in the submarine "mock wars". Rmhermen (talk) 02:22, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
It's an interesting question, and I've come up empty so far on specific examples. Do "friendly fire" incidents count? The Russians accidentally killed Sr. Lt. Sergei Safronov while trying to shoot down Gary Powers in his U-2 in 1960 (his plane had already been shot down, and he parachuted to relative safety). Antandrus (talk) 02:17, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, see (American officer killed by Soviet troops). -- (talk) 11:13, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

During the Cuban Missle Crisis, American pilot Rudolf Anderson's Lockheed U-2 plane was shot down by Soviet anti-aircraft missles while flying a reconaissance mission in the vicinity of Cuba. He died in the attack. At the time it was unclear whether Cuban or Soviet authorities ordered Anderson's plane to be fired upon. There is general agreement now that Soviets were at the time in control of those AA missles, and so he was attacked and killed by intentional action of the Soviet military. That's probably the most famous example of regular US military personel being killed by Soviet personel during the Cold War. 03:02, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Arguments could be made that JFK was killed by Soviets... Grsz11 →Review! 03:09, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
Those arguements are generally made by people who wear tinfoil hats and who try to claim that we never landed a man on the moon... 05:02, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
That is true, just throwing it out there. Though Lee Harvey Oswald was a commie. Grsz11 →Review! 05:03, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
Commie != Soviet. -- (talk) 20:00, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
Commie, not soviet (=Rätekommunismus). Has everybody forgotten that first North Korea and then North Vietnam fought with with massive soviet russian support and thus killed US soldiers in huge numbers. The only country perhaps attacking (more likely defending itself with weapons) poor helpless Soviet Russian in the Cold war was China. --Radh (talk) 21:17, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
Except that the people pulling the triggers in those cases were North Koreans and North Vietnamese. There is a big difference between selling (or providing) the weapons to people to use against the U.S., and even providing the training to use those weapons, and actually sending troops to shoot and kill the other guys troops. Sure, the North Koreans and North Vietnamese had Soviet backing, but those were not cases where Soviet military personel and American military personel faced off in a battle situation, and one killed the other. That;s the question the OP asked. Again, other than Rudolf Anderson, I can't recall one... 01:23, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
There's a difference. It's debatable how big it is. --Tango (talk) 22:34, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
I already provided the links above. Yes, in the Korean War, U.S. and Soviet airmen fought and killed each other in MiG Alley. Rmhermen (talk) 05:20, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Did I say commie=Soviet? Nope. Grsz11 →Review! 21:04, 1 November 2008 (UTC)