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[P]
Securing Their Legitimacy

By quixotic1 in Media
Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:41:54 AM EST
Tags: Books (all tags)
Books

Why the current state of American journalism is good for media corporations, good for politicians, and bad for democracy: A review of Journalism After September 11

Many Americans have a peculiar sense of dualism about themselves, a feeling at once slightly elitist and fiercely victimized. The United States attempts to be the great savior of the world, but is cast off by many other nations, and it is from this so many Americans draw both superiority and resentment. While U.S. citizens have much to be proud of, most are neurotically opposed to admitting any shortcomings, and it is this arrogance--not, as is so often cited, hatred of American culture or freedom--that is a primary source of a bias against the United States from Sweden to Somalia. Two phrases plastered across American newspapers a year ago demonstrate this bipolar affliction: Everything has changed and Why do they hate us? Only Americans could claim that their indeed heart-wrenching loss of 3,000 lives had superseded every other such atrocity the world over, yet simultaneously sequester themselves with a flippant "us."


This is not the space to debate whether the world was, in fact, changed last fall, as Mark Slouka recently did in Harper's. What is generally apparent, though, is that American newspapers and their journalists were dramatically affected by Sept. 11. From the instant iconicity of "9/11" (a date so beautifully Ameri-centric) to the violent and sudden loss of any pretense of objectivity, American journalism is in not in the same state today as it has very recently been.

Chronicling the myriad shifts over the past year, Journalism After September 11 takes a hard, academic look at nearly every aspect of journalism--structure, stereotypes, objectivity, conglomeration, globalization, patriotic journalism, risks to reporters' health, tabloids (both American and British), talk shows, online media, and photography. All of the writers included are from the world of academia, and it shows in a few of the chapters, which dive headlong into obscure sociology. The authors' distance from the world of news media, however, unquestionably enhances most of the work. There is also a range of opinions on American journalism--though all authors seem to agree that it is flawed, several believe that it can be saved. After being under the microscope its prognosis is cautiously--though barely--optimistic.

In James W. Carey's essay, "American journalism on, before, and after September 11," he argues that American journalists were in the midst of a "vacation from reality," one that began sometime before the 1988 presidential election and peaked with the impeachment of Bill Clinton. During this time, Carey writes, news media did "serious damage" to democracy. They pulled expensive foreign affairs correspondents, integrated news and entertainment programs, and increasingly moved toward tabloid-style scandals in order to sell their papers. When the airplanes struck that morning, Carey says, journalists performed adroitly--but not for very long.
The calm and poise of the television networks during those fateful hours of ignorance represented an admirable professionalism. Perhaps it couldn't last. By the end of the day speculation was pouring forth from the political centers of the country. As the week progressed, television coverage degenerated. Banners were unfurled, inevitably in red, white, and blue, along the crawl space at the bottom of the television screen announcing "America at War," or "America under Attack" as if the story were about a basketball or football tournament.
In the days that followed, Sylvio Waisbord argues, American news media "resorted to standard formulas and stock-in-trade themes." The national news media served primarily to comfort and to warn, and to do little else. The centerpiece of the book is surely Waisbord's chapter, "Journalism, risk, and patriotism," which builds on the other contributors' conclusions. With the news media's growing ignorance of foreign affairs, Waisbord writes, insecurity itself became "othered"--terrorism was simply something that occurred, however unfortunately, to other people in other places. This begins to account for why the American public did not react so viscerally (or, in some cases, at all) to either massive genocides or attacks on American holdings abroad. There was no general American revulsion following Rwanda. After massive atrocities were revealed in the former Yugoslavia, Hollywood stars did not proclaim how suddenly "meaningless" their work had become. This cultural sense of invincibility was truly what broke down last September, and Waisbord argues it may have taken the news media along with it. In addition, professional journalists felt that, in the wake of a violent message interpreted against American "freedoms" (and certainly after the death of reporter Daniel Pearl), they were being specifically targeted. Thus, Waisbord writes, they increasingly used patriotism to inoculate themselves against the threat. News had suddenly become legitimate in the eyes of the public, and journalists were more than willing to write what the public wanted to hear. Gone was the subtle elitism that Carey describes, which had pervaded the media since Watergate. Patriotism allowed journalists to be a visible part of what they interpreted as a united nation. With the combination of a supposed attack on the freedoms that supported their own enterprise and a newly-admiring public, the news media embraced patriotism as their rightful purpose.

As Robert W. McChesney laments in "The structural limits of US journalism," this deference to patriotism--or, more frequently, rabid nationalism--gave journalists an extremely limited framework in which to operate.
What is most striking in the US news coverage following September 11 attacks is how that very debate over whether to go to war, or how best to respond, did not even exist. It was presumed, almost from the moment the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed, that the United States was at war, world war. The picture conveyed by the media was as follows: a benevolent, democratic, and peace-loving nation was brutally attacked by insane evil terrorists who hated the United States for its freedoms and affluent way of life.
There is considerable reason to believe that the text selected by most media and politicians--of "evil" or "insane" terrorists--was not merely a gut reaction, but carefully selected vocabulary. If the terrorists were evil, then they had no motivations, and it was absurd to attempt to discover what led them to carry out such an act; their motivation was evil alone. (A fuller exploration of this phenomenon can be seen in Sandra Silberstein's book War of Words.) But as another author points out elsewhere in Journalism, "There has emerged over the last three decades a set of journalistic narratives on 'Muslim terrorism,' whose construction is dependent on basic cultural perceptions about the global system of nation-states, violence, and the relationship between Western and Muslim societies." Doubtless these tropes reinforced the predominant feelings of "having to do something" ("something" which inevitably translated into "war") to combat the evil marshaled against us.

Not coincidentally, risk suddenly became real, not by a measurable increase in danger (virulent anti-Americanism had been flowing for quite some time), but primarily by the media's own increase in focus. They--meaning both the public and the journalists who were now, proudly, a part of it--had been attacked, and they would stand sentinel against any further threats. The anthrax attacks were a good example of this: perpetrators were almost immediately assumed to be foreign, working against a unified American public, and a relatively small number of deaths created a firestorm of articles for more than a month. Waisbord and several other authors lament modern journalism's reliance on official sources and "events" for their news. This policy precludes long-term explorations of structural violence, such as the building threat of terrorism against the United States in the previous decade. In the case of the anthrax attacks, the news promptly dropped off the front page shortly after the final death, despite the fact that no perpetrator had been identified.

It is this combination of legitimizing patriotism, reliance only on official sources, and risk based on definable events that did the most harm to American journalism after Sept. 11. Carey places the blame for these policies primarily on the conglomeration that governs most news organizations, writing that "in recent years journalism has been sold, to a significant degree, to the entertainment and information industries which market commodities globally ... This condition cannot be allowed to persist." With Sept. 11, however, Carey seems more hopeful. In their introduction to Carey's piece, the editors write that journalists "just might have realized that democratic institutions are not guaranteed; rather, they are fragile and can be destroyed by journalists as well as by politicians."

The remaining authors in Journalism offer a wide panorama of the state of the news media today. Barbie Zelizer (an editor of the book) describes how the use of still photography in newspapers allowed the American public to "bear witness" in a similar way as following the Holocaust--yet this time, there were no bodies to be seen. Karim H. Karim notes that Islamic and Middle Eastern stereotypes are still in wide use when explaining notions such as "terrorism" or "violence." Several authors tackle more specific areas of news--tabloids, talk shows, and newspaper commentaries--and there is an intriguing look by Ingrid Volkmer at how news media is increasingly defined not by national boundaries, but by sub- and supra-national organizations. Journalism gives one an in-depth look at how different facets of American news reporting operate, and how that may be affecting, for good or ill, the American democracy.

The two, of course, have always been intertwined, with patriotism frequently substituted for democracy when threats arise. "Patriotism" is itself a nebulous term, and Waisbord questions why journalism opted so forcefully to embrace "hawkish patriotism," parroting the official line and increasing the level of anxiety. A more traditional "constitutional patriotism" would have preserved civil rights and freedom of speech, while holding government accountable for its actions, he writes.
Journalism needs to resist the temptation to dance to the tune of deafening nationalism often found in public opinion. Instead, it could courageously show patriotic spirit by keeping criticism alive ... [it] could provide reassurance by lowering the fear volume and offer community by defending diversity and tolerance rather than foundational, ethnocentric patriotism. A choice for the latter not only excludes democratic dissent from patriotism, but it also minimizes the possibility that citizens of the nation imagine that they also belong to a world community of equals.
Journalism After September 11 raises many such questions about the choices of mainstream journalism, and answers few of them--yet those in the news media need to be having such debates. And in a nation in which reporters take their strength from an empowering democracy, the issue is one of importance beyond the news media. These are concerns everyone must attempt to resolve.


Ivan Boothe has written for The Atlantic Monthly Online and is a webmaster at why-war.com.

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Poll
Does modern journalism help or hurt democracy?
o Journalism is based on democracy--it embodies it. 10%
o Reliance on "official sources" means fewer viewpoints, but it doesn't harm democracy as a whole. 0%
o The mainstream news media is corrupt; it's about money, and only money. 88%

Votes: 122
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Journalism After September 11
o War of Words
o Ivan Boothe
o why-war.co m
o Also by quixotic1


Display: Sort:
Securing Their Legitimacy | 227 comments (213 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
US Media (4.47 / 21) (#4)
by Gambu on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 05:09:50 PM EST

(I'm Portuguese therefore, what follows is a view of a non-USian....)

When, sometimes, I watch CNN I have a felling something is missing in the US mainstream Media. Sure CNN is not the only news source available in the US (and therefore my impressions may be wrong), but it's the only US news channel available in Portugal.

It looks to me that there is a lack of will to investigate, to dig, to try to get a diferent perspective on big subjects.
It is as if the journalists have lost the will to criticize. Whenever an important politician goes to press conference, there are nearly always question I consider important that are never asked. This all "let's get Saddam" affair is a good example of such situations.

I atribute this to the post 9/11 pull for US unity.

Am I alone in this?

Not so. (3.88 / 9) (#6)
by Noam Chompsky on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 05:36:14 PM EST

It's just that, at the moment, famous people aren't having public flings. This state of affairs cannot endure forever; then once more into the breach, marketing to the fore, CNN will unleash pandora's box of lipstick journalists.

--
Faster, liberalists, kill kill kill!
[ Parent ]

And then... (3.00 / 1) (#109)
by CodeWright on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 01:21:34 PM EST

They will start crying crocodile tears over trying to put spilt milk back in a broken djinni bottle.

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
I agree (3.00 / 2) (#72)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:12:02 AM EST

although I am not sure 911 was the cause, it is clearly the case that journalistic intergrity has gone to hell in a handbasket...

[ Parent ]
BBC news versus CNN (4.50 / 2) (#113)
by DodgyGeezer on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 01:38:08 PM EST

I like to compare the BBC news against CNN.  I subscribe to BBC World on digital cable, but I see that CBC here in Canada also broadcasts the BBC news, so presumably sources like PBS in the US will too.  After watching CNN for an hour, I'm left without much recollection of what was going on.  I certainly couldn't give you a decent summary. A half hour of the BBC news though has more news content that 24 hours of CNN, and I'm left feeling that I've learnt something.  I think the likes of CNN did the world of journalism a huge disservice with their 24 hours broadcasting that dilutes the content and encourages a race to the screen without proper broadcasting preparation.

[ Parent ]
I don't watch CNN that much (3.00 / 1) (#101)
by Calledor on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:52:43 PM EST

But I know the question of going to war with Iraq is constantly disbuted and for good reason. Yes there is a pull for U.S.A. unity, and since 9/11 the media has been U.S.A. centric. Why wouldn't it be though? Before 9/11 the news here was filled with stories from the Balkans, Pakistan, India, Columbia, Northern Ireland, Israel (of course), journalists go where the fires are.

Speaking of 9/11 though the U.S.A. is rarely attacked in such a way. Generally there will be embassy bombings, military vessels or institutions, but those things while still horrible to us are not nearly as shocking as 9/11. I mean I know a year after the Oklahoma City bombing they were still talking about that.

What I am saying to you and to the article commented to is that American journalists can hardly be blamed for being America centric now. Though there probably isn't much that isn't covered as long as you channel surf, and one must also consider that in the U.S.A. media is also internet based too. A significant percent of the populations gets world news from here as well. I hope that answers you question.

P.S. I am an American and when making reference to me I would be most appreciative if you used that rather than USian. I do not omitt the America from the title of our country.

-Calledor
"No matter how good you are, how skilled and heroic you are, if you are playing on a fairly populated server and your team is composed most
[ Parent ]

America (5.00 / 2) (#118)
by IriseLenoir on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 03:21:46 PM EST

P.S. I am an American and when making reference to me I would be most appreciative if you used that rather than USian. I do not omitt the America from the title of our country.

He was not talking about you living on the American continent, but you being a citizen of the United States of America. The "of America" part meaning that the US is IN America, not that it IS America. Therefore, while it is true that you are American, so am I, and I don't get upset when people call me a Quebecer, or even Canadian (even though I don't like that much...) And before you start rambling, Amerigo Vespucci, the guy who they named America, the continent, for was Italian, so no twist of logic can give you an exclusive right to the term. If you prefer, I can call you an United Stater (of America, even so as not to "omitt the America from the title of [y]our country", although that doesn't sound any less silly, but it's not our fault your country is so weirdly named that we can't make an adjective out of it. So unless you can find a better term for it, I'll keep calling you an USian, sorry 'bout that...



"liberty is the mother of order, not its daughter" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
[ Parent ]
That's fine... (5.00 / 1) (#129)
by Calledor on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:46:59 PM EST

Seeing as how it's printed on all the currency, yeah the little of America part is just...technical. Well I could call you Canads, or the far more popular Canucks. Personally I don't mind being called a Texan, but obviously people are going to more readily know that I am a U.S.A. citizen. See you're called a Canadian Citizen. And yeah I'm not going to argue about Amerigo Vespucci, I could care less about the map maker. Anyway, I have to go to my international studies class, so in the mean time call us whatever you'd like. Ever the polite ones you are.

-Calledor
"I've never been able to argue with anyone who believes the Nazis didn't invade Russia, or anyone who associates the Holocaust with the meat industry. It's like talking to someone from another planet. A planet of fuckwits."- Jos
[ Parent ]
Ad infinitum ad absurdum... (3.00 / 2) (#173)
by Stickerboy on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 04:26:17 AM EST

...honestly, the only reason Americans are called the silly term "USian" is because the speaker is attempting to gain whatever type of higher intellectual ground through it that he or she is striving for over the "arrogant" and "self-centered" Americans.  Individuals with a disembodied sense of collective, nationalistic penis envy, sick of hearing how good the United States of America is at doing things, kill two birds with one stone by using "USian": spread the idea that Americans are really collectively stupid to the point of forgetting that there are other nation-states in the Western Hemisphere (the Middle Kingdom Syndrome) and, of course, project the image of "all the Americans calling themselves Americans" as "wrong" and "everyone calling Americans 'USians'" as some logically superior group (yes, you too can be included!) that has come to the great and world-altering conclusion that they are "right".  At which I would like to reiterate some semi-obvious points:

1. There is no continent America!

Believe it or not, there is a continent North America and there is a continent South America, but there is no singular continent that is referred to as America. (At least since there were accurate maps of the world.) The US IS, for all intents and purposes of common usage globally, America, a term that commonly refers to a nation-state that stretches from the southern border of Canada to the northern border of Mexico and also includes various non-contiguous states and territories.  The US is IN North America, a continent that includes the US, Mexico, and Canada.  You can refer to Mexicans, Canadians, and/or Americans as being North American as an all-inclusive group, just like you can refer to Frenchmen, Germans, and/or Poles as being European.  Therefore the "I don't wanna be so smug and ignorant of other nations by inferring that 'Americans' are the only ones living in NORTH America" argument becomes pointless, once you realize that easy-to-use, distinguishing identifiers have existed for centuries by adding a "North" or a "South" to "American", just as citizens of a country named the United States of America have had an easy-to-use, distinguishing identifier in use for centuries.

2. Using "USian" to "correct the wrong people who use American" is useless when over 99% of people, American or non-American, have never heard of it or will never use it in preference to the term already in use. Communication is about making a message understood by an audience, and by coming up with cute phrases such as "USian", which would draw blank stares from a vast majority of people exposed to it for the first time, people who use it don't clarify anything (the stated purpose of using "USian"), they instead muddle the message for anyone who isn't versed in k5sp34k.  And yes, the reference to 1337-speak is intentional - "USian" and other similar words becomes the jargon of the group, the usage of which projects an insular air of superiority and clique-ishness that the user is hypocritically stating that they are fighting against by using "USian".

3. On a factual level, there is no "correct" term for citizens of any country.  Ezra Pound wrote that "a rose is a rose is a rose", and a popular children's riddle says less poetically that "a dog's tail that is called a leg is still a tail".  My ire doesn't rise at people who use USian because they like the sound of it; I get irked at people like the parent poster who use USian because they believe I am somehow in the wrong by using the term American.  Folks, here it is in black-and-white: there is two hundred years of precedence of people of every nation calling citizens of the United States Americans, there is no reason why you cannot already distinguish referring to people from the North American continent from referring to citizens of America, and by commonly using the term American, no one except relatively rich people with too much time on their hands and an internet connection gets confused as to what exactly you're referring to. I use the term American because other people use it and other people understand me when I use it. If, bizarrely, other people had always referred to citizens of the USA as "Australians" and everyone understood that you were referring to said citizens when you said "Australians", I would be calling this particular dog's tail an Australian, too.  Go figure: common usage and understanding will always trump an elitist redefinition of what is "correct".

[ Parent ]

What people want (none / 0) (#190)
by Amesha Spentas on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 03:07:44 PM EST

Fist I would like to say that I agree with many of your arguments. However I believe that the error is not so one sided.
The first poster wanted to be called American. The Second wanted to be called American even though he/she is from Canada. So there is a legitimate problem of definition. Who is "American"? The technically correct answer is that the Canadian is "American" (Common sense would agree with it, since Canada is so like the US.) However you make the argument that common usage gives the people from the United States the name "American"

As someone from the United States, I prefer to be called a USian online and American offline. The reason for this is simple. USian is difficult to pronounce vocally however it is more accurate and easier to type when on-line. I do not see the term USian as an insult, so I take no offence to it's usage.

If I were feeling hawkish, I would question the patriotism of anyone who does not hold great stock in the United States. When I refer to myself I say, "I am from the States." Not "I am from America." The location is less important then the government. Hence "United States" has more significance then "of America"

Does all of this sound stupid to you?

If someone says "American" or "USian" to you online would you understand what he or she were talking about? If so the only question is one of preference. Since you cannot control how others address you the only thing you can address is how you refer to yourself. It does not matter what your preference is. If someone calls you "USian" live with it. If you call yourself "American" they should live with it. And all of you should just get over it.

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

United States of North America? (none / 0) (#192)
by IriseLenoir on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 05:10:44 PM EST

There is two hundred years of precedence calling the indigenous people of the AmericaS Indians, does that make them Indians? I'd think not.

There is two hundred years of precedence calling Inuits Eskimos, do you keep calling them that even though it's a pejorative term they hate? I know I don't, even if they got used to it and stopped complaining about it. Common usage is not always a justification.

The distinction is not as clear cut as you say it is. I was not rambling because I want to be called an American, I am because I sometimes get called that, and even though it's right, I don't like it now because it is so linked with the US.

I did not invent the term USian and did not blankly stare the first time I saw it, it's very obvious what it refers to, although a good point someone who replied to you made is that it doesn't pronounce well and outside written language it wouldn't be understood, which I agree with. I still use the term American to refer to USians in spoken language.

The reason USians call themselves Americans is because of the old dream of controlling all the "New World". You lost against us militarily long ago, it seems like you will succed economically with the FTAA (which I went to protest against, by the way), they are starting to talk about the "United States of the Americas", which really, really scares me.

Oh, and common usage, which is what you consider important, still refers to America as a continent. Technically it's not entirely true, but come on, the separation so relatively tiny that the distinction is insignificant. We also consider Madagascar to be in Africa and England to be in Eurasia, and the distinction is much greater. But if really want to insist on this, you should mail your representatives to suggest they change the name of your country to the United States of North America, since America doesn't exist, right?

Anyway, I didn't think this to trigger such a reply, didn't intend to make such a big deal out of it. There ain't going to be any consensus on this, so since you say that common usage is more important than being right or wrong, common usage here is to say USian, so get used to it. I do not really mind that much you being called American, what I mind is USians that require being called American like the parent to my post, which is arrogance, hence my reply.

And no matter how elitist or US-hating you say I am, I do not think I'm superior or hate all USians. In fact, what I hate the elitism of some USians like the one I originally replied to. Ironic, no? As an USians said to you, he doesn't take it as an insult, and I don't mean it as such so you shouldn't take it like that. Hehe, just realized I called him Anus Ian, though ;-)

"liberty is the mother of order, not its daughter" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
[ Parent ]

Well (4.50 / 2) (#197)
by Stickerboy on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 01:50:33 AM EST

Interesting points, although the name-as-insult examples you brought up can just as easily backfire against the usage of "USian".

For example, the original poster who didn't take offense to being called a USian is one individual.  I've met several individuals of partial or full Native American heritage that don't mind being referred to or referring themselves to their "Indian" blood, or their "Indian" heritage.  For them, there is no insult in being "Indian", because the word itself has lost its root meaning, which means being from the country of India, and is interchangeable with the term "Native American".  So where, exactly, do you draw the line?  "USian" can be a mightily insulting term when used to that effect, do you stop using "USian" like you stopped using "Indian" because you're going to offend someone who thinks you're denigrating him or her?

Out of the mouth of someone like wji, for whom adding the adjectives lazy, selfish and ignorant to "USian" is usually redundant, the term can be very insulting to just about anybody combined with his tone.  Are you willing to subject "USian" to the same restricted usage as "Eskimo", or is "USian" somehow exempt because the United States is perceived as a global powerhouse?  (The You Can Make Fun Of White People On TV But Don't Insult A Minority Syndrome)  And lets take it a little farther: do you refer to "Handicapped Parking" or "Physically and/or Mentally Challenged Parking"?  Do you refer to a person as being "blind" to someone else or do you tell them they're "visually impaired"?  If somebody refers to someone else as being of "Oriental descent", do you jump in and correct him?

On to another point...

You say "America" is still being used in the modern day to refer to a continent.  By whom?  The closest I have ever heard is someone every now and then refer to "the Americas", but once again, they're giving a plural reference, grouping two continents together, North America and South America.  Would you like a practical example of how common usage prevails?  We have plenty of Mexican migrant workers here where I go to school, but next time you're in Mexico, try two things.  First, walk up to a Mexican and proclaim yourself an American.  Then question them as to whether they think you were proclaiming yourself as from the United States of America or as being from the North American continent (you can do this in the USA or Canada, too, but in the USA you'd think the result would be biased and in Canada they'd recognize your accent and localized behavior and think they misheard you).  Now, go up to another Mexican and proclaim them as an American, and see, out of a hundred repetitions, how many believe you're referring to them as being from the North American continent and how many of them start snickering at the tourist idiot.

Us Americans, by the way, didn't start referring to ourselves as Americans because of some dream of controlling all of the Western Hemisphere (which is more of a myth propogated to spread anti-American ideas, such as I noted "USian" is used by a lot of people in my original post).  Americans were originally referred to by themselves and by Europeans as the "American colonists", because they were immigrants from Europe who colonized the Americas.  Later, as the rift between the British colonies and the homeland grew wider, "American colonist" was shortened down to "American" by those wished to emphasize a break in both ties and dependence on Europe, especially Britain proper.  By the time war with the British colonies in Canada came along with war with Britain in 1812, "American" was very much ingrained in common use to refer to citizens of the United States of America.  Canadians weren't referred to as Americans, because they were still mostly British subjects.  So you see, not only was it not just us who "took upon ourselves to name us Americans" (it was anyone of European descent), but the road to the term "American" is an evolved bastardization of "American colonist", just like a lot of words in the English language are evolved bastardizations of some other long-dead term.

As for Canada becoming integrated into the United States, it's going to happen, it's just a question of when.  The cultures are similar enough, the language, governments, and economies are linked and intertwined enough, and the people (barring artificial differences like state allegiances) are pretty much the same in terms of values, mores, education, affluence, ethics, etc.

So whether it's a gradual integration over the next hundred years or, say, Quebec winning independence and the rest of Canada broken up as an aftereffect, with some of the pieces absorbed into the United States in a matter of years, I'll leave up to better imaginations than my own.

Would it be a good thing?  Well, as good as the integration of the European Union will be, or better.  The United States' framework of federalism is a far better approach to a supranational government than the current and planned EU systems for taking care of practical, necessary day-to-day matters, something Europe is going to find out for itself, Articles of Confederation style.  In a century or two, the major players on the international political scene is going to consist of a not-completely-democratic-but-not-entirely-authoritarian China, an integrated North America (probably a partnership of Canada and the United States, and a less-integrated Mexico in a Partners For Peace-ish way) and an integrated Europe.  But I digress.

Elitism and superiority in being jigoistic is bad and terrible, that I agree with you.  But using "USians" in a manner to patronizingly suggest that referring to ourselves as American is stupid and wrong smacks of a different sort of elitism and air of false intellectual superiority.  Like I said in my previous post, the common usage and interpretation of terms like "American" will trump a redefinition by elites of what is "correct", like how "USian" was created in the first place, any day.

[ Parent ]

eh. (none / 0) (#199)
by IriseLenoir on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 04:49:16 AM EST

Yeah, it will backfire, I know, but I couldn't help it... it'd make a nice nickname though, don't you think;-)

No, Indian is no offence to anyone here either, I stopped using it because it's sometimes confusing. Like American is sometimes confusing, I still think. We found an, albeit silly, understandable compromise, "Amérindien". I am in favor of respect, but don't like politically correctly speech for it's own sake. I say handicapped, blind, black, etc. By the way, I really don't get the "Oriental decent" part... what would there be to correct about that?

Being white, of course I can make racial jokes about white people... it would take a very stupid person to think I would seriously insult myself. But I am more careful about black jokes, I think it's just common sense (but I do make some when with my black friends -- they know it's not serious). For example, us Quebecers really like to make fun of French people (as in people from France, another source of confusion, but I'll not get into that...), but that doesn't mean we don't like them and they know it.

You say "America" is still being used in the modern day to refer to a continent.  By whom?  The closest I have ever heard is someone every now and then refer to "the Americas"

Obviously, since you live in "America", but here it's mainstream. We are somewhat schizophrenic about this I guess, since, at least for most people I know, "Américain" means "USian", and "Amérique" means North and South America... but if I hear it in english (America), I'll think of the US first. As for your experiment, I have no need to do it to know it's true, well I already did it in some more limited way just for fun...

Interesting take on history, you're probably right. You have to understand my cultural standpoint, it can be hard not to have bias against Englishmen sometimes, considering... but nevermind that.

As for your take on the future, you're assuming everything will just flow from what currently is. I think in two hundred years, either there'll be no US, no Canada, no China, just freely federated communities (and neither Canada or the US is a free federation, although I agree that the US system is better in theory, I think it's actually gotten worse) and our descendents will laugh we could have had such a conversation, or we'll have destroyed ourselves.

Alright, now you're back to calling me names, but I'll pass on that. Counter productive though, you had almost convinced me, USian ;-)

Que voy hacer, je ne sais plus...
"liberty is the mother of order, not its daughter" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
[ Parent ]

Culture? (none / 0) (#209)
by Curieus on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 11:10:53 AM EST

Later, as the rift between the British colonies and the homeland grew wider, "American colonist" was shortened down to "American" by those wished to emphasize a break in both ties and dependence on Europe, especially Britain proper. By the time war with the British colonies in Canada came along with war with Britain in 1812, "American" was very much ingrained in....etc

Now read that section back and realise how dependend on England this is. I can very much imagine that in Spanish and Portuguese, "to go to the americas" indicated that it was going to that area between the northern mexican border and the southern tip of fireland.

This would imply that your justification of America as implying "USA" is very much culturally defined.

[ Parent ]

[OT] American vs. Canadian. (none / 0) (#119)
by DodgyGeezer on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 03:24:03 PM EST

I am an American and when making reference to me I would be most appreciative if you used that rather than USian. I do not omitt the America from the title of our country.

Many people who don't have US citizenship or residency view themselves as American, such as many Canadians.  My wife's cousin (Canadian) always interrupts and corrects people who say "American" when them mean "USian" - especially if he feels it's an un-Canadian observation - because he views himself as an American.  I think this is where the drive for the "USian" term comes from, because, let's face, USians often have radically different views on things to even the country that is most similar to them.  Asking to be called an American is like a Brit asking to be called European, which although technically correct might not be the right thing to do.

[ Parent ]

Actually... (none / 0) (#128)
by Calledor on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:40:21 PM EST

They refer to Brits on here as UKians. I'm sorry, but it's in the title of my country, and thats why I take it as my own. There is no other country with America in the title (that I know of, no doubt there is a Latin American or South American country with it in their name, I just haven't heard of them). If you're going to call us USians either get it right and add the A after US or don't use it. I still have met very few people from Canada who ask for clarification when someone says they are "American". Infact use the term United States Citizen or U.S.A. citizen but do not butcher it. I try not to call Canadians Canucks, I expect as much in return.

BTW I still say America is in the title, and that makes American the correct term, but if you must use something else don't use USian. As I have read here it is hardly a complimentary term.

-Calledor
"I've never been able to argue with anyone who believes the Nazis didn't invade Russia, or anyone who associates the Holocaust with the meat industry. It's like talking to someone from another planet. A planet of fuckwits."- Jos
[ Parent ]

More on USian (none / 0) (#132)
by DodgyGeezer on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 05:06:34 PM EST

I'm British and never liked the term "Brit".  UKian is worse in my opinion as it just seems to be people jumping on the USian-term bandwagon and trying to sound cool and trendy.  I guess technically it could be more politically correct as many people - republicans in particular - in N.Ireland don't want to be called British - the full name after all is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, implying that the Northern Irish aren't actually British.

I personally refer to the US as America, which is common for us English, and it's only in the last couple of years living in Canada that I've started using US or United States instead.  I assume the term American refers to USians, although I've now become sensitive to the fact that Canadians view themselves as [North] Americans too.  And yes, I could see how you might consider USian to be less than complimentary as it often used by people who have a gripe with the US in particular.  

As for Canuck, use it if you want, but consider that it is slang that is unobvious or unknown in some cultures - I'd never heard of it until I'd lived here for some time.  I don't think it's a derogatory term, unlike many similar slang words the British use when referring to their European neighbours.

[ Parent ]

Canuck is not derogatory. (none / 0) (#135)
by dadragon on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 05:34:58 PM EST

It's a very common term used here to refer to Canadians.  We'll also call each other hoser occasionally, but that's rare.

Vancouver Canucks is also the name of Vancouver's NHL hockey team, unless they moved.. I don't follow hockey.  Fankly, I don't know of any derogatory terms used for Canadians.  Got any you'd like to share?  I know lots for the people who immigrate to Canada, but not for our emigrants.

[ Parent ]

Well living in the U.S. (5.00 / 1) (#143)
by Calledor on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 06:58:08 PM EST

I've never heard Canuck used in a good context. But I could really care less because I don't refer to Canada's citizens very often anyway. And I'm sorry they are sensitive to the fact that they or North Americans, and therefore feel that it is unjust that people of the U.S. call themselves Americans as their preferred nationality term. I'm sorry that you don't like the term "Brit" and I hope I didn't offend you by repeating it.

I was simply at first asking that they would stop using the term USian, I tried this several times with different people and more or less got the answer "It's wrong for you to call yourselves Americans, and until you can think of a better term than USian we'll continue to use it regardless of how you feel about it." Which in condensed terms means "Fuck off USian". So yeah I've more or less stopped trying to ask nicely and have resigned myself to believing that everyone who uses UKian or USian repeatedly as having a DNA sequence that causes congenital idiocy. I mean if you're not going to make something up that doesn't sound retarded, then don't bother. Otherwise you should not be surprised if people think you are a mentally challanged person.

-Calledor
"No matter how good you are, how skilled and heroic you are, if you are playing on a fairly populated server and your team is composed most
[ Parent ]

No...you are not alone (3.33 / 3) (#107)
by bayankaran on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 01:11:46 PM EST

Infact what you say is unfortunately true. Except for 2 or 3 newspapers and magazines (NY Times or New Yorker for example), there is a lack of journalistic quality to mainstream media.

This is widespread and is not limited to coverage of socio-political issues. Take Hollywood for example...have you seen any critic in the mainstream media saying a bad movie is really bad. Even if there is one sentence criticizing the movie, there will be 10 sentences full of encouraging soundbites.

Why does this happen?

One of the reasons is that journalists and editors are afraid of being shut out. Shut out in the Hollywood sense is not being invited to press junkets or parties. The same happens with government...rather than parties it would be access or information.

[ Parent ]
CNN isn't news (3.00 / 1) (#108)
by mmealman on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 01:18:16 PM EST

It's entertainment. And of the other "entertainment" new outlets, it's probably the least accurate.

[ Parent ]
CNN International... (none / 0) (#171)
by nonsisente on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 02:39:06 AM EST

...is quite different from the CNN you see in the US. While hardly the best news outlet, it is quite representative of US media.

Maybe 10% of what you see on CNN is seen abroad; it has a different staff, schedule, etc.

[ Parent ]

No you're not alone (4.33 / 3) (#121)
by vaf on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 03:47:45 PM EST

No, you're not alone. I'm also Portuguese and quite interested in these matters.

Disclaimer: When reading "americans", please read "average americans". Don't get flamed, this is not a flame.

The article is very good and it's a "must read" for nearly all average americans. One doesn't have to be part of an "European Intelligentsia" to understand that american journalism is everything but impartial or intellectually honest, and this comes from before 9/11. Everybody knows (at least outside US) that a journalist should avoid personal comments or try to put the story in a manner that encourages one or another point of view. Journalism gives the facts and the consumer decides what to think. That is not what happens with US mass media. And I have more than one tv channel.

I'm not trying to flame american people, I just want you to perceive that the whole mass media environment that you are merged in is not an example of exemption.

This is not only my opinion, this is somewhat a commonplace among europeans, it's something that you take for sure. True. Every week, there are several articles, considering only the Portuguese press, that mention somehow this topic.

I'll try to give you some examples that make us laugh out loud (sometimes cry) about american society, and it's unjustified immaturity:

  • A list (made up by Colin Powell's wife, I think) of anti-patriotic attitudes, such as not to mention WTC victims when reporting Afghan deaths.
  • Bush election, err... nomination.
  • A nation under god. Separation between state and curch is a basic distinction. Not having this distinction is being closer to a teocracy, and you know what that means.
  • Michael A. Newdow questioned the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance, and because of that he now needs personal security, for affirming something that is obvious to every matured society. Those short-minded conservative people that insult him, don't understand this basic separation. I spent three hours laughing when I read this.
  • The racism that still is very present.
  • The gay fear. "Gay" is still an insult [No, i'm not gay. :-) ]. Did you know that one of the most well known portuguese politicians is gay. Everybody knows it, and no one finds it important, no one talks about it, everybody respects that. Your elections are a sham at our eyes. Every little detail is fictitious, shammed.
  • The communist hunt. Let me remind you the Universal dclaration of human rights:

    Article 2.
    Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.[...]

    [No, i'm not a communist, I will never vote on communists, but I respect and tolerate them]

  • The creation of Militar courts to judge talibans captured in Afganisthan, and total disrespect for Geneva Convention guidelines. This is something that evil regimes like Hitler's did.

I often, when talking with some friends of mine, say that Americans don't live in this world, they don't think the same way, they live obfuscated with their mass media and their technological development, wich is great. My friend replies, "No, they don't live in another world, they live in their world."

"We don't hate you. We do like you, but we understand why all others hate you. You don't."



Regards, Vasco Figueira
[ Parent ]
You missed your own point... (1.80 / 5) (#133)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 05:15:06 PM EST

...most people outside the US equate CNN with US journalism. This strikes me as ironic, since here in the USA, we have access to all of your journalism, all of our journalism, and just about every goddamn thing in print or electronic form that you could ever possibly imagine. I'd say the problem is that people outside the USA don't have the slightest fucking clue what news sources Americans are reading on any given day. The fact that you all are looking at *our* major news outlets is a testament to the mediocrity of *your* local news, not ours. I mean, for Christ's sake, I live in New York City -- How can anyone question the journalistic integrity of every news source from this city?!
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

I too live in New York (none / 0) (#179)
by aprentic on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 09:39:45 AM EST

Gambu: If you'll believe it, CNN is actually not the least objective news source in this country.

Yes there are a mind boggleing variety of news sources in this city. Some are good some are good for lining your bird cage.

But for some reason most people don't read more than a single newspaper. And even they are in the minority.

Most people get their news from one of the major network stations.

To be fair there are some really good news sources here but they have extremely low readerships.


[ Parent ]

An addition (none / 0) (#188)
by Amesha Spentas on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:34:04 PM EST

I would like to add that there are a few good network stations. However the number of them has dropped, post 9/11. I only get one story from the mainstream media now.

Since I know there exists more then one story and certainly more then one viewpoint, then I know that there is a loss of information coming to me via those news sources.

I am not getting all the facts, so how can I make the right judgments? I can't. We can't. The media have failed US. Now our decisions will fail US.

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

Which ones? (none / 0) (#204)
by aprentic on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 02:30:21 PM EST

Perhaps I was being unclear. When I said network stations I was referring to network television as opposed to cable television.

PBS is better than the rest but since it get's alot of it's revenue from corporate sponsors it tends to self censor alot when it comes to discussions about corporate america.
Take, for instance, the sponsor list of their recent series, "Commanding Heights."

There is one radio news network which I listen to regularly (Pacifica) otherwise I tend to rely on newspapers and magazines, many of them foreign.

[ Parent ]

Actually (none / 0) (#208)
by Amesha Spentas on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 08:34:10 AM EST

Actually I was thinking of PBS and specifically their Frontline series.

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

PBS (5.00 / 1) (#217)
by aprentic on Fri Sep 27, 2002 at 03:42:53 PM EST

OK.
As I said, I agree that PBS is probably the most impartial network we have.

They cover a much broader range of topics than the others do. They're much better about their fact checking. And they put alot less "spin" on their reports".

But if you watch alot of PBS and compare it to a diverse sampling of newspapers (or even a not so diverse sampling of "progressive papers") you start to see a trend of editorial censorship.

You start to see that certain issues are reported more from one side than the other. And certain issues tend not to get addressed at all.


[ Parent ]

Yes (none / 0) (#218)
by Amesha Spentas on Fri Sep 27, 2002 at 03:54:24 PM EST

I agree.

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

Trying to make a little money? -1 (2.58 / 17) (#9)
by Aluminium on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 06:54:27 PM EST

The fact that you chose to include your (or someone else's) Amazon.com "associate" ID - whywar20 - and your Powells.com "partner ID" when linking to said sites has disgusted me to the point of having to vote -1 for an otherwise excellent article. I encourage everyone else to dump this and ask you, quixotic, to repost this without such subtle but noticeable attempts to make a little money off of this.

I'm not even sure that this is your Amazon ID or that this money will go to you in the end, but still, if the money doesn't go to Kuro5hin, the link shouldn't be on Kuro5hin.

I propose that rusty create an Amazon.com associate account and ask all users to use it when they link to Amazon. It's a great way to benefit K5 ("up to 15%" of each sale will come back to us).

Why? (4.77 / 9) (#14)
by bc on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 08:36:42 PM EST

Why is making some cash so bad? I like the chap's spunk in coming up with the idea, and am willing to reward him by having his words smeared all over the front page.

Remember, what makes k5 is the contribution of the users. Why shouldn't they make a little cash from it? He expended effort on the article, which benefits k5 in its own right. Any money he makes from it he is welcome to keep, as far as I'm concerned.

And who cares? I mean come on. "Despicable", you say. "Disgraceful, harumph. Rusty must intervene!" Don't you think you are guilty of some hyperbole here?

Not all of the people who visit this site and contribute to it are of the landed gentry, they aren't nabobs who can gayly invest free time in all their fancies without worry of cash. k5 shouldn't just be a site for the bolshy, intellectual middle classes, it should be a site for the smart arsed working poor as well, the jobbing essayists and articlemongers who hang on, barely, by employing tricks like this, and whom people like you with your mewling rusty-begging "we don't want trade" rhetoric eschew and condemn.

Sickening.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

Because (3.00 / 2) (#92)
by hawaii on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:04:12 PM EST

Why is making some cash so bad? I like the chap's spunk in coming up with the idea, and am willing to reward him by having his words smeared all over the front page.

Because he is doing the same thing he accuses the US media of - profiting off of news reporting and gearing the presentation of 'news' to match his own beliefs and biases (or those that are lobbying him, specifically the amazon account).

Granted his little article isn't really a widespread news story, but in this little K5 community it is.

Or, since people like to wreak havoc, why not just jump to the conspiracy theory idea like many do when talking about the US media. How do you know he's not crying wolf and spreading FUD just so someone will buy more books to put dollars in his pocket?

That is, conflict of interest, between making money and presenting unbiased facts. And similar to what he's complaining about the US media.

[ Parent ]

Couldn't that be seen (2.00 / 1) (#111)
by CodeWright on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 01:23:59 PM EST

As a tongue-in-cheek joke in and of itself?

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
If it's a joke... (4.00 / 1) (#114)
by hawaii on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 01:55:35 PM EST

As a tongue-in-cheek joke in and of itself?

If that's actually the case then hats off to the author for the joke, and phooey on me for not catching the sarcasm of the situation.

[ Parent ]

I agree completely. (3.00 / 32) (#11)
by Peter Johnson on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 07:47:00 PM EST

Iraq is no threat to anyone. There's no reason for war against it. Saddam has been disarmed for nearly four years, and he shows no indication of obtaining nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. Scott Ritter says so. He is not a threat to his neighbors, and definitely not to the U.S. It would be wrong and immoral to inflict innumerable civilians casualties so that some US present can avenge an assassination attempt on his father.

The real enemy in this conflict is the United States of America. This "leader of the free world", who's government wants to wage an aggressive war on a beaten, hungry, country, is a true threat to world civilization. The U.S. has been murdering thousands of Iraqi children, every day, FOR THE PAST TWELVE YEARS, with their sadistic and cruel sanctions program. They blame those deaths on that big boogie-man Saddam, saying that he's been squandering his resources on military programs. This is NOT true! First, Iraq is a desert country, the U.S. made it that way. It could never hope to feed its own people with the products of its own soil, AND THE U.S. KNEW IT! Second, who is the US to say that Iraq cannot defend itself? When the U.S. allows U.N. weapons inspectors into Los Alamos, then it might be reasonable for Iraq to subject itself to the same inspections. After all, the U.S. pretty much gave Iraq many of its advanced weapons to fight against Iran. Its perfectly reasonable for it to give up its weapons to the U.N., before Iraq gives its up.

It never ceases to amaze me how the mainstream press lies to support the US government's plans. It has been often repeated that Iraq is in violation of UN resolutions, and that they expelled the U.N. weapons inspectors. This is not true! According to fair.org, "Iraq did not "expel" the UNSCOM weapons inspectors; in fact, they were withdrawn...the head of the inspections team." They left voluntarily, Iraq had nothing to do with it, yet they are blamed for being in violation.

There are many other lies and distortions like the ones I've described. I urge you all to get the REAL STORY at www.zmag.org and www.fair.org. These two exemplary publications won't give you that disgusting propaganda that you will find elsewhere.

Also published on raisethefist.com and the IMC.

------------------------------------------------
I am glad I am involved in the anti-capitalist movement. We are winning.

Sure (3.85 / 7) (#16)
by inadeepsleep on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 09:01:42 PM EST

Ritter is so reliable


[ Parent ]
sheesh (3.00 / 2) (#30)
by spacejack on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:16:50 AM EST

inadeepsleep got 5/3 and PJ got 2.66/12. Think about that for a sec.

[ Parent ]
I'm not sure how you meant that (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by inadeepsleep on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 02:00:57 AM EST

But I imagine that even people who largely agree with Peter Johnson recognize that he's ranting, and that I linked to a well written article, which makes credible points that Ritter is basically taking bribes from Hussein. Is that so hard to take?


[ Parent ]
Wall Street Journal >>>>> Internet (5.00 / 1) (#47)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 02:53:13 AM EST

No text. I think the subject says it all.

[ Parent ]
This sounds like parody... (3.00 / 5) (#22)
by Demiurge on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 10:53:28 PM EST

but on K5, you can never be sure.

[ Parent ]
Scott Ritter (5.00 / 2) (#86)
by ka9dgx on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 11:29:18 AM EST

To quote Scott Ritter: (from memory)
"What Scott Ritter thinks isn't important, we have the means to find out the truth at our disposal, we should send the inspectors back in..."

We pulled the inspectors out, we should put them back in, find out if the President is full of shit, or not. We shouldn't start a war over a politically motivated assertion.

Pax Americana can't work, and will bring us down if we try it.

--Mike--

[ Parent ]

ONE comment (3.28 / 7) (#99)
by Calledor on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:35:26 PM EST

It's comments like these that make me proud to say I don't have trusted user status. Why? Cause I give out ones to psychotics. I find it hard to believe that all the oil in Iraq couldn't be sold for purposes of buying food for it's people, U.N. sanctions or not. Guess what, the U.S. isn't demanding many other nations to disarm, want to know why? Because we don't think we'll be on the recieving end of anyone elses WMDs anytime soon. Since we are at odds with the DICTATOR of Iraq, it goes without saying that we would rather he not have WMDs. You can defend yourself without WMDs, believe it or not.

First Iraq is a desert country, the U.S. made it that way.

WTF?! I'm giving you a rating of one just for that horrendously retarded factoid. Why don't you blame us for the tundra in siberia and the Sahara Desert while you're at it? Damn it man, argue with some sanity. If you're going to let loose a bowel movement of anti-american shit at least don't fuck it up anymore than it already is, dumbass.

No, wait, I'm sorry I'm sure you have substantial proof that the U.S.A. itself is personally starving Iraq and making it a desert. You've been there after all and you've been privey to all the governments behind the curtain domestic policy. Ex. CIA, FBI, NSA? State department? Something like that right? Former right hand of God? Former right contact lense for the all seeing all knowing entities that flow about us with the air we breathe? Well I'm sure whatever it was it makes you an authority.....dumbass.

-Calledor
"No matter how good you are, how skilled and heroic you are, if you are playing on a fairly populated server and your team is composed most
[ Parent ]

You've got your head up your ass. (1.88 / 9) (#149)
by Peter Johnson on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 07:24:39 PM EST

I can't believe that you could believe that bullshit you just wrote. I suggest you go read a few articles on the IMC or Zmag, or maybe one of Chomsky's books (9/11 is a good start) and come back when you've got a clue. You believe propaganda too easily.

------------------------------------------------
I am glad I am involved in the anti-capitalist movement. We are winning.
[ Parent ]

Damn you're right... (5.00 / 2) (#196)
by Calledor on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 11:23:21 PM EST

What was I thinking?! I mean all the most intelligent and well connected people write the articles on IMC and Zmag! You're smart for listening to such people. I mean damn SMART! You're so damn smart I'm not going to talk to you anymore because I can't possibly hope to comprehend what's going on in that galaxy spanning intellect that you fit into that small small pea sized area. So once again let me say I will never try to comment to you again(troll) and that I hope you better the world with your enormous I.Q.(dumbass).

-Calledor
"I've never been able to argue with anyone who believes the Nazis didn't invade Russia, or anyone who associates the Holocaust with the meat industry. It's like talking to someone from another planet. A planet of fuckwits."- Jos
[ Parent ]
Don't forget the cries of (3.96 / 28) (#15)
by My Real Account Keeps TU on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 09:00:33 PM EST

<American> Why does the world hate us?
<Non-American> Because your government has about as much sense with foreign policy as a garden variety fuckwit
<American> They are just jealous of our success, our freedom and our culture!

Seriously, the Americans have gone around the world killing civilians and stirring up civil unrest just so it can get things they way they want them.

If they came into my country, incited a bloody coup to overthrow the democratically elected leader with some corrupt tyrant acting like a US puppet, you can be sure that I'd be starting a crusade and joining up with the terrorist gang.

Go ahead, mod me down! This account cares not for TU!

Don't blame me for my country (3.50 / 8) (#19)
by goatboy14 on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 10:09:57 PM EST

It's not really fair to blame all Americans for the acts of our glorious leaders. I personally have never been outside of my little section of the US and have not done anything against other countries. Despite popular belief, we (the American citizens) have little control over our government and especially over our military. Congressional elections are every two years, presidential every four. We (the American citizens) must live with whatever choices they make as far as military actions and issues of foreign policy. Unless our leaders do a really crappy job in office its damn near impossible to oust them. I don't blame the actions of Saddam on the Iraqi's, I don't blame the actions of Blair on the British, I don't see how its fair that the actions of Bush get blamed on me (as an American, who by the way was too young to vote in the 2000 elections, but would have voted for Gore anyways).

I especially dislike how you paint all Americans as mindless proponents of whatever the government says. There are quite a number of groups that oppose the actions of our government, especially on the topics of war and our foreign policy (I just recently learned of this one in the Portland, OR area, which I plan to check out next Friday). I believe that most Americans know (at least on some subconscious level) that our government is abhorrent with foreign policy and war, but the fact is most people have greater personal concerns as far as their political choices go (such as abortion rights, death penalty, the Great Drug War, taxes, etc). I can't imagine that it would be much different elsewhere in the world.

I'm sorry if it looks like I'm flaming you that was not my intent. In fact I actually agree with you that our foreign policy is horrible, but we're a young country (~225 years is young as far as countries go) still trying desperately to find a place in the world.



[ Parent ]
But you're living in a democracy (4.00 / 10) (#23)
by andrewm on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 10:56:10 PM EST

If you don't have the right to vote, then I'll believe that you're innocent. That may suck, but it only accounts for a fairly small portion of your life, so that's really too bad - come back when you can vote, and explain why a minority opposed the government.

Unfortunately, a large number of Americans (most of the adult population) actually do have the right to vote. Not only that, but you have a constitution that Americans keep telling me is designed to, among other things, prevent certain excesses on the part of the government. (Remember that whole "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" thing? We hear a lot about democracy and why Iraq should have it - somehow we got the idea that Americans can actually elect their leaders. Weird, that.)

The really odd thing is that most countries have politicians who're a lot like Bush, and even openly admire him - his approach to government isn't all that unique or original. He hasn't really been a big surprise to the rest of the world - and we're pretty sure that the people who voted for him knew damn well what they were asking for, and more than a few are still actually happy with him. The rest really need to do something, such as vote in the next election. It'll still be a while til people stop expecting more Bush style foreign policy, though, sorry. (Note: anything that has an impact outside the US is covered in this - a subsidy to US farmers may be an internal matter, but if the US government wants free trade and agrees to a certain policy regarding subsidies, then it becomes a matter of foreign policy. If this bothers you, vote for a government that opposes free trade. Once the government stops talking about free trade, then no foreigners get to whine about subsidies because there won't be any free trade agreements for the US to break.)

If you're opposed to the actions of your government, do something about it, such as vote for a government that you support.

Alternatively, I'm always pleased to see Americans arguing that their country is no better than Iraq. They're wrong, of course, but the argument that Iraq has too much freedom and democracy still amuses me :)

Unfortunately, more than a few Americans have posted interesting comments to K5 assuring non-americans that the US government will never keep to any treaty that places any obligations or requirements on the US government. They whine about 'national soverignty' when they mean 'we want all treaties to provide benefits to us, with no cost at all'. Most people in every country have the same intelligent and rational attitude, but that's just one more reason to believe that US voters actually do support their government.

(I may be wrong, but if so then why is opposition to anything related to the UN consistently criticised as infringing American soverignty, although oddly enough that's fine when the US wants to attack another country? Why is free trade good for other countries, but US citizens demand subsidies and tarrifs to protect their industries? If the US government consistently said free trade is bad, I'ld be quite happy - but the reality is the rest of the world is supposed to be subject to a US dominated UN and WTO, but US citizens demand 'freedom from interference'.)

You live in a democracy. If you don't like the results your government gets, do something about it. Until that happens, the rest of the world will keep assuming Americans are serious when they claim to have a democratically elected government, and we may even believe that your foreign policy has the support of the people. (Oh, and as long as the US continues to criticise other countries, we'll assume that we get the same freedom - although some Americans would consider us to be overly optimistic.)

[ Parent ]

Techniclly... (4.25 / 4) (#31)
by goatboy14 on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:21:41 AM EST

I find that the American government is closer to a republic rather than a democracy, but that's just semantics. As for me not being involved in my government, I just turned 18 last month and I intend to vote in the upcoming November elections, as well as getting out to public rallies. I'm doing the best I can but with starting collage soon (tomorrow, actually) I find it increasingly difficult to get involved.

On another note, I fully agree with you that the US has grown a double standard. They do indeed break treaties (fun fact: the US government has never upheld a single treaty in relation to the Native Americans, at least before 1950) and will do basically whatever it wants to insure that its own interests are met. Our government is very hypocritical in that way, I'll admit. I'll agree that the WTO may be heavily slanted towards the US, but is the UN too? I admit that I have only a little understanding of what goes on there, but I always thought that they where to be an impartial international government. Can you give me any examples of the UN favoring the US?



[ Parent ]
Can you do the reverse? (4.60 / 5) (#39)
by andrewm on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 01:22:00 AM EST

Can you give an instance of the UN voting against the wishes of the US, allowing for the fact that the US has veto power over any UN vote.

No matter what the UN votes for, if the US vetos it, then it does not happen. (Incidentally, this is why I'm so amused by Americans living in caves who're terrified of the UN taking over - the UN can't vote on where to have lunch without US approval, much less take over the US :)

(Note: the UN isn't entirely subservient - no one country can force any vote, but a small number can veto anything they don't approve of. This means the UN will never vote against the interests of the US.)

The UN isn't a government, either. It's an organisation supported by member governments - it has absolutely no power to issue any laws anywhere at all. Instead, it provides a negotiation forum.

For example, a large number of countries may decide that land mines are inappropriate. Through the UN they'll negotiate what sanctions should be used against countries that use land mines, and then once the negotiations are completed, each country will be expected to do what it promised to do. This may result in some countries agreeing to change their laws, but the UN can't actually write laws for anyone, anywhere, unless given explicit permission from the affected country. (In case it isn't obvious, the only difference between the UN and a bunch of large countries ganging up on smaller ones is that the UN is at least intended to be fair - how well it's working or even how well it could ever work is another story. Note the cynicism below.)

Of course, it's getting to be standard practise for countries to promise to do things that they have no intention of actually doing. This is mostly because the entire planet is full of people who can't stand the thought of negotiation with those damn foreigners - and any time a negotiation doesn't go their way 100% they whine about how the UN is out to get them (eg: I want to be able to use land mines freely, but every other country should be punished for that! waaaa! The Evil UN is attacking my national soverignty! If we're not careful, people will want to ban torture of foreigners - everyone knows the Geneva convention only applies to patriots, not foreigners.)

As another example, there is no UN army that does anything. Instead, many different countries send troops to assist in various operations, and have negotiated ways to share command - simply because when troops belong to different nations, there has to be some way to coordinate what they're actually doing.

Fortunately for world peace and the good of all mankind, the planet is full of people who never went to kindergarten, and thus failed to learn how to work nicely with others. Rabid fear of Evil Foreigners means that everyone wants to have complete and total control, and expects every other country to be completely subservient. This really doesn't work particularly well, for some reason.

[ Parent ]

Democracy (4.00 / 2) (#45)
by e on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 02:49:26 AM EST

According to the definitions you linked, a republic is a form of democracy (one entry in dictionary.com even called them synonyms), so I'm not clear on what distinction you were trying to make.

Anyways, I was involved in an argument similar to this (only more opinionated - I have a tendency to go overboard in on-line discussions ;-) about a week ago, in another K5 story. I met the same sentiment, don't blame Americans for the actions of the US government. Whom, then? I see a problem of accountability here.

I know there are many valid arguments to the claims that "I cannot change anything" (after all, 75% of eligible voters did not vote for Bush, right?). But if we accept those claims and leave it at that, what are we to conclude? The US government is not representing the American people? It is a rogue organization? Is the international community to cease treating the US government as representatives of the Americans (in fact, should the UN intervene and liberate the Americans from this rogue organization?)

There seems to be a state of dissociation between the American people and its government. Perhaps symptomatic, I see that you call the US "them" rather than "us", despite the fact that you are American.

Anyway, you are politically active, which is more than I can say about most people, myself included :-)

-- E
"You're not paranoid if they're really out to get you..."
[ Parent ]

Let me clarify... (4.00 / 1) (#50)
by goatboy14 on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 03:47:45 AM EST

Looking back I realize that dictionary.com was a bad way to convey my point. What I was trying to say is that the US government, in its current form, is more of a republic (as in the citizens vote for representatives who will, hopefully, pass their constituency's vote on) than a democracy (as in the citizens vote for everything: taxes, laws, wars, etc). Also, I believe that in the presidential elections we cast a vote, which gets passed on to the electoral collage, which gets to decide the official vote, and I don't believe that the electoral college members are even required to vote for the same candidate that their citizens voted for. So in a manner of speaking, our presidential vote really doesn't count (although I learned all of this by word of mouth, so I could be horribly wrong). This may explain at least some of our voter apathy.

The other point I was trying to get at was that it is unfair to blame all citizens for the actions of their government. I suppose if you really had to place blame somewhere, then yes, it would fall on the citizens shoulders. I do, however, blame the actions of Bush on the people who voted for him, as well as the people who where eligible to vote but did not. Maybe I should have said that in my earlier post, sorry. As I see it, these people are responsible for what he does as they (either directly or through complacency) allowed him into office. I was trying (feudally) to debunk the statement in my parent post that all Americans blindly support our government. I dislike the idea that people outside of Americans continue the stereotype that we actually believe that we have done no wrong and the Non-American is only jealous and is just out to destroy America.



[ Parent ]

Agreed (none / 0) (#54)
by e on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 05:13:28 AM EST

OK, I agree with everything you say above. I think it is more clear to talk about the distinction between direct and representative democracy rather than republic and democracy (I believe the original meaning of republic is just non-monarchy?), but what the heck, now I understand what you mean :)

-- E
"You're not paranoid if they're really out to get you..."
[ Parent ]

Origins of "republic" (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by nph on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 10:25:26 AM EST

OK, I agree with everything you say above. I think it is more clear to talk about the distinction between direct and representative democracy rather than republic and democracy (I believe the original meaning of republic is just non-monarchy?), but what the heck, now I understand what you mean :)

"Republic" comes from the Latin "res publica" which means "public matter" in contrast to "matter of one" or "matter of few". It basically describes ways of government involving the majority of the people (though not all people, the Romans left out women, slaves, ...) instead of dictatorships, feudalism, oligarchies.

[ Parent ]

Electoral College (none / 0) (#77)
by br284 on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:22:24 AM EST

I don't think that the electors are required by federal law to vote for who the population chooses, but I think a few states do have legislation that requires the electors to vote based upon the state's elections. They won't be breaking federal law, but they might be breaking state law.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Voting and Journalism (4.00 / 3) (#34)
by opensorcerer on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:45:13 AM EST

(Somewhat on topic, I hope)

On the one hand, yes, Americans can vote in their leaders on the assumption that those leaders will adequately represent the interests of the people and the nation (and when they come into conflict, that they will resolve it).  On the other hand, no American is provably gifted with precognition or ESP, and so in national elections we are quite capable of electing a total buffoon by an arguable margin.

The role of journalism - as opposed to its parent, "free expression" - is to expose for public consideration just WHAT the elected lawmakers, executives and whatnot are doing, why they are doing it and possibly why they shouldn't be doing it after all.

The peculiar form of government we have now (as opposed to the one the Constitution established) is that the government can act only in the absence of sufficient opposition from the people - that is, we ("We The People") are no longer at the rudder of the ship of state, we are simply the rocks which the ship's real navigators must be sure not to run aground on.

Some Americans as individuals can be blamed for parts of what's wrong with America, as they pass on negative viewpoints to those around them, their children and their friends.  But to condemn Americans as a people is to do just what Americans is being condemned of to start with - having an overly short-sighted view of their international neighbors.

Steve Arlo: There aren't evil guys and innocent guys. It's just... It's just... It's just a bunch of guys.
[ Parent ]

You can't get away with that. (3.00 / 2) (#71)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:12:02 AM EST

In a representative democracy, the leaders act as representatives of the people that elected them (even if you could not vote, your elected goverment still acts in your behalf).

I would be more sympathetic to your plight of absolution from responsibility if I could see clear changes in foreign policy according to which goverments are in place.

Lets put it this way, for the foreigner in the receiving end, Democrat goverments are bad, Republican ones are worse of the same...

0wr F4th3R, wh0 0wnz h34\/3n, j00 r0x0rs!
M4y 4|| 0wr b4s3 s0m3d4y Bl0ng t0 j00!
M4y j00 0wn 34rth juss |1|3 j00 0wn h34\/3n.
G1v3 us th1s
[ Parent ]

Things used to be that way in the States ... maybe (5.00 / 11) (#174)
by kcbrown on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 06:07:05 AM EST

In a representative democracy, the leaders act as representatives of the people that elected them (even if you could not vote, your elected goverment still acts in your behalf).
That's no longer the case in the United States.

Today, the leaders don't act as representatives of the people who elected them, but of the people who made their election possible. In short, the leaders today are representing the people (mainly large corporations) who put sufficient money into their election campaign that they were able to win.

Oh, how incredibly appropriate it is to talk about this in response to an article about the American media. Let me explain:

The basic problem any election candidate faces is this: how to make himself visible in a favorable light to the largest number of people possible. For that, there is only one good answer: the media.

The media in the U.S. is privately owned by large corporations. That means that the media is viewed and operated as a moneymaking operation. While this has its own set of problems (which the article talks about) that automatically affect the objectivity of the media, it has an especially troubling effect on political news reporting: for a candidate to gain visibility, he must convince the media to give him exposure. Since the media is a moneymaking operation, that means he has to pay the media. Now, this is bad enough, in that it is the reason for many of the problems we have in our campaign finance system today, but the situation is actually worse than that.

You see, the media corporations have agendas of their own, so they'll naturally paint a more favorable picture of a candidate they believe will do more good for them.

But it may even be worse than that. Allow me to put on my tinfoil hat for a moment. The above situation makes it logical for the media corporations to sell a candidate's political exposure not just to the candidate directly, but also to any large corporation that wants that candidate in office! I think it's a good bet that the media corporations make deals with other large corporations in order to maximize their own profit. Since such corporations do whatever it takes to make the most amount of money possible, no matter how unethical or questionable (as long as it isn't too blatantly and obviously illegal), you can bet that the media corporations sell their influence over their viewers to other corporations.

And so the media corporations get more money, the other large corporations get more media support for their candidate, and the candidate gets greater exposure.

And all of this is profoundly important because the people can't elect someone they don't know about. This means that the only people that will get any real media exposure will be those people who have been bought by the large corporations.

And suddenly, U.S. foreign policy makes a lot more sense. The actions of the U.S. are for the benefit of its corporations, not of its people.

The U.S. isn't a democracy. It's not a republic. It's a corporate plutocracy that merely has the trappings of a republic.

The real republic in the U.S. began to disappear when the Supreme Court ruled in Santa Clara County v Southern Pacific Railroad that corporations have the same Constitutional rights and privileges that individuals have.

[ Parent ]

Re: Don't blame me (4.66 / 3) (#89)
by ka9dgx on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 11:54:48 AM EST

It's really not fair to plame all Germans for the acts of their Furher. Dispite popular belief, they had little control over the actions of their Government, and its devolvelment into the Third Reich.

I equally dislike how you paint all Germans as mindless proponents of whatever the Nazi's said.

History repeats itself. The time to act is now, write your Senators and Congressman, oppose any authorization of force.

--Mike--

[ Parent ]

Your ideas are typical (2.44 / 9) (#21)
by Demiurge on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 10:48:53 PM EST

of the reflexively negative anti-American left, who aggrandize every American misstep over the past two centuries, minimize all the good America has done, and stereotype Americans themselves as flag-waving bible-thumping coach potatoes.

[ Parent ]
America has... (3.00 / 5) (#44)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 02:49:13 AM EST

been responsible for far less evils than any other empire before it. The colonial empires, particularly the British, were far worse. The Soviet Union was monstrous compared to America. While America has made missteps in policy(and I think hundreds of thousands of innocent dead is pushing it, unless maybe you go back to 1776). Of course, you completely ignore the millions of lives America has saved. You harp on support for dictators like Pinoche during the Cold War, but forget all about the Marshall Plan.

[ Parent ]
That's because (3.66 / 3) (#66)
by wiredog on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:41:07 AM EST

The Marshall Plan was anti-Communist, in intent and result, and therefore Evil.

Earth first! We can strip mine the rest later.
[ Parent ]
missteps (4.75 / 4) (#84)
by akb on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 11:17:10 AM EST

While America has made missteps in policy

That's a good euphimism.

(and I think hundreds of thousands of innocent dead is pushing it, unless maybe you go back to 1776)

No need to go back to 1990 to get to hundreds of thousands innocents dead, given a UNICEF report that says 500,000 Iraqi children have died because of  sanctions.  This is not to mention 2 million in Vietnam and surrounding countries, weapons and the go ahead for Indonesian atrocities in East Timor killing 200,000, Turkey, El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, Congo, etc.

Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net
[ Parent ]

500,000 Iraqi children (2.60 / 5) (#85)
by wiredog on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 11:25:47 AM EST

So we remove the sanctions and then. What? How do we restrain Iraq without the sanctions? Invade? Or do we just decide that enforcing international law isn't our business. But then, whose business is it? No ones? But if no one enforces international law, is there any international law?

Sanctions may not be good, but they may be "least bad". There doesn't seem to be a better alternative.

Earth first! We can strip mine the rest later.
[ Parent ]

innocent (5.00 / 1) (#90)
by akb on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:00:14 PM EST

The issue I was responding to was innocent dead, which Demiurge seemed to not be aware of.  I'm glad you acknowledge the point.

However, you seem to think that 500,000 dead children is worth the 10 years of ineffective policy we've had.  I don't think it is.  

Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net
[ Parent ]

"worth it"? I dunno. (3.00 / 1) (#97)
by wiredog on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:18:23 PM EST

I'm just not sure there's a good alternative, or even a less bad one.

Earth first! We can strip mine the rest later.
[ Parent ]
Since when (3.00 / 6) (#95)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:17:14 PM EST

Since when are the governments of Iraq, Turkey, El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, Congo, etc not responsible for thier own actions?

Lets take Iraq as a perfect example. The government of Iraq engages in a war of conquest over one of it's neighbors, Kuwait.

During that war it also unprovokedly fires Scud missles into Israel (a non-belligerent in the Gulf War) in an effort to widen the conflict and throw the entire region into chaos.

At the behest of the Government of Kuwait (in exile) and many other Arab states in the region the U.S. intervenes at the head of a U.N. lead coalition to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.

The government of Iraq pulls it's most loyal forces into Bahgdad and hunkers down in a bunker while leaving all the poor sob's it conscripted out in the desert to get shot up.

Iraq is driven out of Kuwait and as part of the Cease Fire agreement agrees to dismantle it's weapons of mass destruction which involves unfettered inspections to assure that's being done. Iraq violates that agreement by refusing to allow weapons inspectors unfettered access to facilities. The weapons inspectors are withdrawn and the U.N. Security Council (of which the U.S. is a member) imposes harsh sanctions in an attempt to force Iraq to comply by the terms of the cease fire agreement which it signed.

The sanctions put a severe strain on Iraq's economy. Many of Iraq's common citizenry suffer severe privation due to the strained economy, yet Iraq's government still seems to manage to find the money to rebuild it's air defenses so it can take pot shots at U.S. planes patrolling the no fly zone.

So who do we decide to blame for the deaths of "500,000 Iraqi children" ?

The government of Iraq for waging a war of conquest against it's nieghbor that started this whole mess? ..... No lets not blame them.

The government of Iraq for demostrating a willingness to destabilize the entire region by firing missles at Israel .... No lets not blame them.

The (very rich) Arab states in the region for failing to provide adequite defence of Kuwait to discourage Iraqi agresssion ...... no lets not blame them.

The government of Iraq for violating the terms of the Cease Fire which it agreed to (namely dismantling it's weapons of mass destruction) ..... no lets not blame them.

The other members of the U.N. Security Council who also voted to impose sanctions... no lets not hold them accountable for thier own votes.

The government of Iraq for choosing to rebuild it's millitary capability rather then feed it's own people..... no lets not blame them.

The people of Iraq for not taking action to oust a tyrannical regime that would rather play power politics then care for the basic needs of it's children.... no lets not blame them.

Clearly the only one to blame for "the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children"  is the U.S.

I'm sorry but that kind of rhetoric is stereotypical of the anti-american b.s. that is prevelent these days. Lets absolve everyone else of responsibilty for thier own actions and blame the Americans for everything.

If a grandmother in Nepal slips on a bar of soap and falls in the shower it must be the fault of the U.S. government.

I'm sorry, but is it any wonder why most Americans turn a deaf ear to the bleating of the rest of the world when the vast majority of what we hear is that sort of rubbish?

Want to have a frank discussion of the state of the world.. fine But lets have one where EVERYONE is held accountable for thier OWN actions.

Lets have a balanced discussion about the actions (both good and bad) of all nations..... and lets have one where we recognize that America (and Americans) LIKE EVERY OTHER NATION ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET has a legitimate motivation in supporting agendas that protect it's own interests.

[ Parent ]

innocents (4.80 / 5) (#102)
by akb on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:54:38 PM EST

Standards of international conduct are very clear about impacting civilians in conflict and where responsibility is placed.  They are insensitive to the rationalization that you engage in.  What is relevant is the fact that the sanctions primarily impact the civilian population, as the UN itself has found.

The use of long term sanctions whose primary impact is on a civilian population is unprecedented.  The international community has tried to reverse this, it is the US that has prevented this.

Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net
[ Parent ]

Logic (2.00 / 1) (#112)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 01:29:17 PM EST

"Standards of international conduct are very clear about impacting civilians in conflict and where responsibility is placed."

Standards determined by whom? Not by common logic.

International standards could dictate that anyone who burped on tuesday was subject to crucifiction or that the value of Pi is 3.

That does not mean that a rational individual will form and base thier opinions upon arbitrary standards devised by some self-apointed authority somewhere.

Rational individuals will form and base thier individual opinions based upon logic and common sense.....not arbitrary standards determined by someone else.  If you want your arguements and opinions to resonate with me you will have to base them on logic and common sense.

Clearly your arguements about where responsibilty most apropriately lies for this tragedy are "insensitive" to logic and common sense. (at least from my perspective)

[ Parent ]

logic (5.00 / 2) (#123)
by akb on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:11:01 PM EST

Standards determined by whom?

Try the Geneva Convention the most universal standard on conflict in warfare there is.

Clearly your arguements about where responsibilty most apropriately lies for this tragedy are "insensitive" to logic and common sense.

Two heads of UN humanitarian operations in Iraq quit in protest of the sanctions.  Clearly, these career diplomats, committed to advancing human rights, must be logicless idiots.  The logic that would hold the US responsible for deaths due to drinking untreated water when the US bombed that neighborhood's water infrastructure, then refused to allow equipment necessary to rebuild that infrastructure to be imported is clearly wrong.

And going back to the point of the original article, its crystal clear that the its too bad that the British public was subjected to these illogical thougths when "Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq" aired on prime time television.  Its better that these illogical thoughts never be seen widely in the US, while 500,000 children die.

Again, sanctions that primarily inflict harm on the civilian population of a whole country have never been tried before.  Perhaps because it was thought that they were illogical.

Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net
[ Parent ]

Logic (3.33 / 3) (#136)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 05:44:29 PM EST

Some Points:

  1) I find it specious that the Government of Iraq has been fully capable of obtaining (presumably through smuggling) the capability to rebuild it's air defense network and other millitary infastructure but incapable of obtaining the capability of the far less demanding task of rebuilding the infastructure neccesary to provide clean drinking water for civillians.

You maintain that the U.S is responsible for the privation of civillians in Iraq because it is preventing the Iraqi government from providing for the basic needs of the civilian populace.

I maintain that the Iraqi government (i.e. Saddam Hussein) ALREADY has the capability to provide for the basic needs of it's civilian populace IF IT CHOSE TO DO SO. It is simply CHOOSING to ignore the needs of it's civilian populace in order to expend the resources that could be used to provide for them on rebuilding it's millitary capability instead. Therefore I maintain that the Iraqi Government (i.e. Saddam Hussein) is responsible for those privations.

2)

Your arguements also conveniently ignore how Iraq managed to get itself in it's current situation (i.e. sanctions and under threat of U.S. attack) in the first place. The Geneva Convention does  deal with provisions for the well being of civilian populace during armed conflicts. Including the responsibilty of all belligerents toward that populace. However, nowhere does it state anything about absolving that populaces OWN Government from the actions which lead to the armed conflict in the first place or from placing that populace in a difficult situation.

3) Being a "career diplomat" is absolutely no assurance of an individuals aptitude at reasoning.
In fact, from what I Know I would generaly assume the reverse. However since I know nothing about either of the individuals which you mention I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Firstly one can still be opposed to the sanctions without being of the opinion that the U.S. is solely responsible for the privations of the Iraqi people.

One can be of the opinion that the sanctions are ineffective and place undue hardship upon Iraqi civillians while still firmly believing that the Iraqi government was fully responsible for bringing said hardships upon it's own people and HAD IT IN IT'S POWER TO END THEM AT ANY TIME IT CHOSE.

Being "head of UN humanitarian operations in Iraq" also engender certain personal and proffessional bias. If your "mission" is to care for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people you, quite naturaly, are going to take dim view of anything that makes that mission more difficult REGARDLESS OF WHATEVER OTHER FUNCTIONS it might perform (such as hampering Iraq's abilities to acquire millitary technology). On the other hand if your "mission" was to attempt to maintain security in the region you might take an entirely different view of a tool which helped hamper a dangerously agressive regieme from rebuilding it's capacity to project power in the region.

4)

My previous post was not at all a discussion about the appropriateness of the sanctions in place against Iraq. It was a discussion that ALL nations be held responsible for thier own actions... yet you and many others posting on this board seem to maintain the position that the U.S. is the ONLY nation which should be held accountable for the actions of ANY nation.

Your rebuttals have so far only prooved to bolster my origional point. That you are clearly biased against the U.S. regardless of what it's actual cuplability might be in any given matter...
and cleary willing to ignore or forgive the culpability of ANY other nation ( Although I'd hazard to guess that you'd also be happy to blame Israel for anything you possibly could.... although that is pure speculation based upon the actions of people who have used rhetoric similar to that which you have expressed)


[ Parent ]

So... (2.00 / 4) (#116)
by rusty on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 02:19:30 PM EST

You must look forward to the invasion, then, as it will certainly end Hussein's rule and remove the necessity for sanctions.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
unsure (none / 0) (#124)
by akb on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:24:32 PM EST

I'm not convinced that going to war will cause less harm than the sanctions, neither choice is particularly appealing.  

Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net
[ Parent ]

Why excluding peace? (5.00 / 2) (#169)
by nonsisente on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 02:22:51 AM EST

Don't you think it's possible that Iraq is really not building WMDs, that they might have disarmed as requested by the international community or at least be ready to do so?
Iraq was very, very near to getting the sanctions lifted in 1998.

That sure won't make Iraq a democracy - but then, dozens of dictatorships are coexisting 'quite peacefully' all over the world.

And what makes you so sure that, if Hussein is ousted, a man of peace will replace him? Chances are if a new US puppet will be placed at the helm of Iraq, it will declare war on Iran, as Hussein did in the 80s, when he was 'our kind of guy' and had 100% backing from Washington.

[ Parent ]

A man of what? No comprende. (none / 0) (#184)
by rusty on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 10:55:02 AM EST

Don't you think it's possible that Iraq is really not building WMDs, that they might have disarmed as requested by the international community or at least be ready to do so?

Who knows? I'd be glad to see inspectors return, with truly unfettered access, and a UN resolution with teeth backing them. That, however, hasn't happened for 12 years, and isn't about to happen now. Wishing won't make it so.

And what makes you so sure that, if Hussein is ousted, a man of peace will replace him?

I'm not sure of any such thing. All I said was that if akb wanted to see the sanctions lifted, his best bet is an invasion and overthrow of Hussein. Hussein isn't going to submit to unconditional weapons inspections, and BushCo isn't going to accept anything less (if they'd even accept that). I am sure that when Hussein is replaced, it'll be by someone the US administration won't have to sanction to control. Whether "a man of peace" or not is pretty far from the point.

Chances are if a new US puppet will be placed at the helm of Iraq, it will declare war on Iran

No idea. I don't even get why Iran was included in the so-called "Axis of Evil." It's like Dubya missed the decades since Reagan's presidency entirely. So I have no speculation on that front at all. The idea makes no sense to me, but neither does Iran being an Axis of Evil, so damned if I know.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Sanctions as a tool are wrong? (3.00 / 1) (#139)
by CptNerd on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 06:36:01 PM EST

If there is so much concern about the supposed horrible loss of life of innocents in Iraq due to sanctions, why were sanctions so necessary against South Africa? Why was no international concern raised over the impact of sanctions on innocent South Africans? Could it be because it was more important to end Apartheid, even if it meant children were harmed? Why does this smack of yet more hypocrisy on the part of the perpetually outraged? Cap.

[ Parent ]
south africa (4.00 / 1) (#164)
by akb on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:29:42 AM EST

I'll say it for a third time in this thread, the sanctions against Iraq are unprecedented.

Sanctions against SA and Iraq are not comparable.  The sanctions against SA did not directly effect the civilian population and they were asked for by the ANC.  I'm sure there were indirect effects but the sanctions were nowhere near as comprehensive as those against Iraq, as they did not restrict the flow of food, medicine, and essential public health infrastructure goods into SA.  

Also, the sanctions against Iraq were implemented after a war that destroyed much of its infrastructure, roads, electricity, water system.  Much of this has never been rebuilt.  Its kinda like having an earth quake and not rebuilding for ten years.

Another key point is that the Iraqi regime seems to be more efficient than the South African apartheid regime in isolating the ruling class from the effects of sanctions.  I'm not expert enough to explain why this is, it could simply be that the Iraqi regime is more brutal but I imagine its more complex.

Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net
[ Parent ]

+++++++++ 5 +++++++++ (none / 0) (#163)
by NaCh0 on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:25:21 AM EST

Wow.

Thank you for your post.

It is one of the most cluefull I've seen here in a long time.
--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
[ Parent ]

El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile (4.00 / 1) (#170)
by nonsisente on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 02:28:33 AM EST

Those countries used to be peace loving democracies.

The US used all of its military/economical might to overthrow those government and replace them with bloodthirsty dictators, causing thousands of deaths, poverty, war.

If the US hadn't been screwing around in those countries the people there would have a different idea about their fellows americans, and they wouldn't blame the US for the problems they have now.

[ Parent ]

That is patently false (1.00 / 1) (#185)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 11:33:50 AM EST

Those countries used to be peace loving democracies.

All three were unstable countries teetering on the brink of yet another civil war at the time the US picked sides in their domestic political affairs. Further, in each case the deposed regime you allude to voluntarily choose to place itself within a the global cold war theater by violating neutrality. I'm not categorically defending the actions of the US in South America, but the situation was not nearly so clear cut and simple as you present it.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
See the history of Guatemala (5.00 / 1) (#191)
by nonsisente on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 04:15:46 PM EST

All three were unstable countries teetering on the brink of yet another civil war at the time the US picked sides in their domestic political affairs

True, the US officially picked sides after they were at the brink of a civil war, but historical documents prove the US covertly operated to destabilize those governments. See here, where you fill find declassified CIA materials on how the democratic government of a peaceful Guatemala was destabilized.

in each case the deposed regime you allude to voluntarily choose to place itself within a the global cold war theater by violating neutrality

Just because the governments were leaning towards the left doesn't mean they sided with the USSR. The only american government ever to side with the soviets is Cuba. Funny how freedom and democracy are goals to be pursued if your side wins - if the other side does they become evil and need to be suppressed.

[ Parent ]

Ridiculous arguments (1.00 / 1) (#193)
by Demiurge on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 05:41:57 PM EST

Yes, the CIA and the US government supported, and in some cases abetted to a degree, hard-line strongmen. But they weren't overthrowing utopias, they were replacing socialist demogogues. While that certainly doesn't make what they did right, it's not as if the US was single-handedly responsible for demolishing dozens of earthly paradises, as you're claiming.

[ Parent ]
Not at all - did you read my comment? (5.00 / 1) (#198)
by nonsisente on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 02:39:03 AM EST

The US interventions did not solve any problem, they deprived peoples of democracy and human rights. Those 'hard-line strongman' were bloodthirsty dictators, and they did not replace some 'socialist demogogues' - they replaced democratically elected leaders.

I never spoke of 'earthly paradises', I spoke of democratic, peace loving countries where basic human right were respected.

Is that your concept of democracy? If the party you don't like wins the elections it should be overthrown by a dictatorship?

That's fascism.

[ Parent ]

stability and containment (none / 0) (#200)
by cr8dle2grave on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 04:51:15 AM EST

True, the US officially picked sides after they were at the brink of a civil war, but historical documents prove the US covertly operated to destabilize those governments. See here, where you fill find declassified CIA materials on how the democratic government of a peaceful Guatemala was destabilized.

I've read those documents before. Interesting, but they don't demonstrate what you want them to. El Salvador, Guatemala, and Chile were unstable prior to the US cold war intervention. Each country had a middle class and upper class strongly opposed to the "economic reforms" being put into place and these "counter-revolutionaries" had significant military connections. Was further civil conflict inevitable? No. Was it reasonable to assume it highly likely? Probably.

Just because the governments were leaning towards the left doesn't mean they sided with the USSR. The only american government ever to side with the soviets is Cuba.

Each government was entertaining increased trade and political cooperation with the Soviets. The US policy of containment aimed at the economic and political suffocation of the USSR by depriving it of normalized relations with as many countries as possible. Those governments knew this and they decided to proceed.

With hindsight it is easy for me (and others) to criticize the all to frequent confusion of a post-colonial reconstruction with a truly Soviet aligned Marxism, but those making the decisions at the time did a fair job considering the dearth of information and perspective.

Funny how freedom and democracy are goals to be pursued if your side wins - if the other side does they become evil and need to be suppressed.

Agreed, the US wasn't really a champion of democracy in the third world during the cold war. The problem is that US interests could never have won in a fair democratic election in poor post-colonial countries. The spectrum of communist and radical socialist had a better story to sell the masses - not that they ever effectively delivered in any country. How do you convince a poor and disenfranchised population that what they need is gradual economic reforms and a multi-generational transition to a market economy. The US's program held the promise that a people's grandchildren would live in freedom and prosperity, whereas the leftist ideologues were selling the instant satisfaction of revolution, commraderie, economic justice and the promise of an earthly paradise just around the corner.

Democracy had to go ("put on hold" as it was justified) or the US would have faced the prospect of a future in which the Soviets grew their economy and political power through the acquisition of more and more client states. The consequences of this would have most likely been catastrophic to the entire population of the world because, where the Soviets crumbled internally and transitioned relatively smoothly, the US would probably not have.

jth - I'm waiting for your knee-jerk 1. Moron.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Is America responsbile when anyone on earth dies? (2.00 / 4) (#145)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 07:01:58 PM EST

That seems to be the view of people like you. American hasn't killed half a million Iraqi children with sanctions, Saddam Hussein has because he'd prefer to spend his money on repressing dissidents and living a sybaritic lifestyle. Same with East Timor. It's ridiculous to claim that America was responsible for those deaths.

If you're going to go that far, every Socialist or Communist state holds responsibility for the millions killed in Soviet Russia.

[ Parent ]
Bullshit. (4.00 / 7) (#67)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:41:22 AM EST

My country, Mexico, has a completely negative balance in its relations with the US. For starters give us back California. To continue, apologize for the colaboration on the  assasination of President Madero. Thank goodnes for NAFTA, otherwise Mexican products would still be unfairly treated in favor of subsidized US products.

Bar the WWII allied countries in Europe, I think there are very few countries that can hail the good the US has done to them.

0wr F4th3R, wh0 0wnz h34\/3n, j00 r0x0rs!
M4y 4|| 0wr b4s3 s0m3d4y Bl0ng t0 j00!
M4y j00 0wn 34rth juss |1|3 j00 0wn h34\/3n.
G1v3 us th1s
[ Parent ]

You completely ignore (2.50 / 2) (#144)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 06:59:44 PM EST

...the history of economic and social cooperation between Mexico and the United States, one that, albeit with flaws, has undoubtedly added to Mexico's prosperity. Which is, of course, exactly my point. You harp on what bad American has done while turning a blind eye to all the good.

[ Parent ]
More bullshit... (1.00 / 1) (#207)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 06:34:50 AM EST

Mexico's economy grew thanks to protectionist policies that kept the internal market captive and thanks to oil.

If the price to pay for trading with the US is 70 years of lack of democracy I can say emphatically, no thanks.

0wr F4th3R, wh0 0wnz h34\/3n, j00 r0x0rs!
M4y 4|| 0wr b4s3 s0m3d4y Bl0ng t0 j00!
M4y j00 0wn 34rth juss |1|3 j00 0wn h34\/3n.
G1v3 us th1s
[ Parent ]

And yet (2.33 / 3) (#228)
by Quick Star on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 05:48:35 PM EST

We don't see you complaining at all about all the loans we've let you default on.

Frankly, I think we should wall you bastards off, and import someone else to pick fruit and sew clothes.  They'd most likely be willing to learn our language at least, and wouldn't demand special treatment in a language that was actually imported by the Spaniards.

"absolutely no one can sex a lobster without cutting it open" -- rusty
[ Parent ]

America's Good (none / 0) (#226)
by r00t on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 06:47:45 AM EST

While you may perceive what America does as good there is an alterior motive. The US preaches economic liberty because they want the world to become dependent on multinational corporations. The US government will then of course control all these corporations thereby gaining complete control of the world. While peaceful in nature, the result of this control is a lack of freedom such as biased media corporations and is what this article is all about.

I have an inherent distrust of anything or anyone who keeps information secret and wants me to just accept and believe what I am told. This is exactly what corporations do.

-It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to unlearn. - Isaac Asimov
[ Parent ]

I agree (3.00 / 2) (#94)
by hawaii on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:16:24 PM EST

Your ideas are typical of the reflexively negative anti-American left, who aggrandize every American misstep over the past two centuries

I agree. In the past 10 years or so, I used to be rather liberal in my beliefs. However, recent events have shown me that many radical liberals (I hate using that word as a noun) are no better than many die-hard conservatives.

Maybe part of the problem is trying to fit a variety of political ideologies into one degree of freedom (right, right-of-center, center, left, etc). But now I see the radical left as being identical in scare tactics and FUD-spewing as the ultra Republicans.

I think the main difference between these two camps is manifested in their hypocrisies. The Republican right criticizes other countries for doing things that they ignore the US doing. Meanwhile, the radical left criticizes the US for doing things that many other countries are doing, which they also are conveniently ignoring.

The last few years world events have pushed me to the center of the spectrum. I view the reliability of much left-wing media as being no more credible than Rush Limbaugh spoonfeeding Republicans.

I think alot of this is due to the internet allowing anyone to spread whatever ideas they want. So it becomes easy for someone to put up conspiracy theory sites full of supposed 'facts' and even link to other similar sites to make things appear legit with 'reliable' sources, etc. It will be interesting to see how things pan out in a few years.

[ Parent ]

Not quite (2.22 / 9) (#46)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 02:51:41 AM EST

Europeans hate us because they're a decaying empire and have not needed to make the important military and policy decisions America had in the last 50 years, mainly because American military power helped protect them as well.

The Middle East hates America because their leaders focus their population's hatred onto the boogeyman of the Great Satan, so they don't realize how corrupt and backward their own societies are.

Sensible people all over the world, however, may dislike America for a great number of reason, including foreign policy.

[ Parent ]
Not qute not quite (none / 0) (#177)
by zocky on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 08:58:58 AM EST

Europeans hate us because they're a decaying empire and have not needed to make the important military and policy decisions America had in the last 50 years, mainly because American military power helped protect them as well.

That quote would be highly appropriate in, say, 1905. But since that, the European decaying empire had a couple of seizures and is long dead. The current empire is the USA. Whether it's decaying and nearing seizures, decide yourself.

---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

That's Stupid (3.50 / 2) (#148)
by Sloppy on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 07:20:35 PM EST

If they came into my country, incited a bloody coup to overthrow the democratically elected leader with some corrupt tyrant acting like a US puppet, you can be sure that I'd be starting a crusade and joining up with the terrorist gang.
Do you really think that would help your situation?

If you really wanted to make things better, you would work on a way to overthrow the US government. I would think that joining a terrorist gang would be contrary to your self-interest, since any such activities would just

  1. Justify US government flying off the handle and going apeshit. Expect plenty of bombs to fall from the sky.
  2. Scare US citizens, which always results in them giving more of their power to the government. Don't expect many US citizens to complain about how we're overthrowing and bombing; we'll be too busy worrying about ourselves to spare a thought for you.
So you better rethink that. If our government comes into your country and overthrows your democratically elected leader and replaces him with a corrupt puppet, what should you really do about it? The correct answer is to return the favor.
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."
[ Parent ]
I would if I could (none / 0) (#229)
by Fuzzwah on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 10:35:36 PM EST

Your above reasoning is exactly why the US is going to walk into Iraq and make sure they don't have the weapons which would be needed to "return the favour".

I can't see a way for the middle eastern countries to express their point of view in any other way that through "terrorist gangs". I suspect that the US government much prefer the prospect of pushing more and more unhappy people toward such groups than allowing them to form an organised opposition.

--
The best a human can do is to pick a delusion that helps him get through the day. - God's Debris
[ Parent ]

Normally... (1.57 / 21) (#18)
by buck on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 09:43:39 PM EST

I'd rate this up, but since I happen to live in the very country that the rest of the world wants to destroy, -1. After all, since everybody hates us, we must be doing something right. Besides, if those stupid people hadn't flown those planes into the WTC and the Pentagon over a year ago, none of this shit would be happening right now. See, you people brought this upon yourselves. Don't blame us for your mistakes.

-----
“You, on the other hand, just spew forth your mental phlegmwads all over the place and don't have the goddamned courtesy to throw us a tissue afterwards.” -- kitten
Let me get this straight (3.50 / 4) (#28)
by andrewm on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 11:45:09 PM EST

If I say "I expect the US government to honor free trade agreements that it signs" then you believe I want to destroy your country?

Or is "when will the US government acknowledge responsibility for foreign children killed by the US military?" a statement of nationalistic anti-American hatespeak?

Or perhaps I hate your country because we got constant coverage of the OJ trial, but there's been a distinct lack of coverage of the trials of terrorists? There were trials, right? I know I've heard claims that evidence exists, and I do know Americans have had trials for terrorists before, so I'm sure a fair decent and open society would be able to cope with a trial. Hell, if I was an American, I'ld demand to see the guilty parties being tried. I guess just because fellow citizens of my country (you did know that the WTC actually had non-Americans working there, didn't you?) were killed on September 11 that I'm still an American-hater for wondering why their killers haven't been tried.

Damn, all those crimes against America. How can I live with myself now?

[ Parent ]

I wish you would (1.00 / 5) (#37)
by buck on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 01:00:37 AM EST

>> If I say "I expect the US government to honor free trade agreements that it signs" then you believe I want to destroy your country?

This is what we call in our language, English, a non sequitur; two statements put together that have nothing to do with each other and, taken together, make the whole statement meaningless.

>> Or is "when will the US government acknowledge responsibility for foreign children killed by the US military?" a statement of nationalistic anti-American hatespeak?

Maybe they shouldn't give the children guns?
They would have just grown up to be terrorists anyway. So don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

>> Or perhaps I hate your country because we got constant coverage of the OJ trial

Don't have a life, do you?

>> but there's been a distinct lack of coverage of the trials of terrorists? There were trials, right?

Well, if we must go through formalities...

>> I know I've heard claims that evidence exists, and I do know Americans have had trials for terrorists before, so I'm sure a fair decent and open society would be able to cope with a trial. Hell, if I was an American, I'ld demand to see the guilty parties being tried.

We got it all on tape, even. Oops, didn't do Rodney King much good, did it? I hear the terrorists' lawyers want to move the trial to Simi Valley.

>> I guess just because fellow citizens of my country (you did know that the WTC actually had non-Americans working there, didn't you?)

Ooh, next you'll be telling me people from Europe came here almost 400 years ago to colonize.

>> were killed on September 11 that I'm still an American-hater for wondering why their killers haven't been tried.

>> Damn, all those crimes against America. How can I live with myself now?

Oh, well. You'll get over it.

-----
“You, on the other hand, just spew forth your mental phlegmwads all over the place and don't have the goddamned courtesy to throw us a tissue afterwards.” -- kitten
[ Parent ]

What do you want to say? (none / 0) (#78)
by nph on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 10:01:13 AM EST

>>> If I say "I expect the US government to honor
>>> free trade agreements that it signs" then you
>>> believe I want to destroy your country?
>
> This is what we call in our language, English, a
> non sequitur; two statements put together that

That, my friend, is Latin.

> have nothing to do with each other and, taken
> together, make the whole statement meaningless.

He probably just exaggerated a bit. Or left out the link: that some people perceive the majority of Americans to be thinking "they criticize us ergo they have to hate us ergo they want to destroy us". This is obviously double nonsense, on the one side I doubt that it's true for most of the Americans and on the other side are those few who actually believe it.

I don't really get what opinion you want to express though, it's not quite clear whether you were being ironic or not here.

[ Parent ]

I guess... (none / 0) (#103)
by buck on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:56:33 PM EST

>> I don't really get what opinion you want to express though, it's not quite clear whether you were being ironic or not here.

I'm just in denial over the fact that I really liked having Adequacy.org around. :)

-----
“You, on the other hand, just spew forth your mental phlegmwads all over the place and don't have the goddamned courtesy to throw us a tissue afterwards.” -- kitten
[ Parent ]

Some Observations (3.00 / 18) (#20)
by HidingMyName on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 10:25:28 PM EST

I'm unhappy about the article above, because there appears to be an inseparable rant against the U.S. and a rant against the media in the U.S. It is bordering on being insulting in some ways. The average American does not necessarily approve of everything the government does, and your assertion that we just side with our leaders is inaccurate to say the least.

Now regarding the U.S. media, I too feel that it leaves something to be desired. However, this is not necessarily the fault of the citizens, but rather the fault of the pervasive corporate system. Consider one of the better news services (for international news at least, in my opinion), the BBC. I think they are quite good, yet in the same country they have the Sun (the page 3 girls don't quite compensate for weak journalistic integrity). Although the BBC tends to be accurate, they publish at the pleasure of the government, and this is true of the press in most countries. In the U.S. the constitution (which we take seriously ) protects freedom of the press (to publish truthful stories) . However, our press is corporate run, and needs to make profits. Thus, the number of news providers is really rather small (AP, UPI, Reuters, CNN) and the coverage tends to get homogenized as they have a sense of what articles will bring in advertising revenue (which is driven by circulation in print and ratings for broadcast news).

Now let's debunk some of that stuff in the intro.

  1. Everything has changed. Name one other country where:
    1. Some group bombed the headquarters of the military (allegedly, only because the pilots weren't able to find the White House from the air).
    2. Some group bombed the financial district.
    3. There was no declaration of war.
    4. The bombers hid and lied about involvement.
    5. The financeers of the bombers are giving disengenuous denials.
    This is far worse than Pearl Harbor, at least the Japanese owned up to being the attackers. Imagine that the attackers crashed their planes into another country's corresponding structures (e.g. Buckingham Palace, The Kremlin, China's Military Headquarters). What do you think these countries would have done?
  2. In fact the U.S. cares more about international opinion than most other major powers. If you think the Soviet Union's or the British or the Spanish empires were all sweetness and light, you may wish to read a history book or two.
  3. I don't think any other country would be more equitable than the U.S. if it were in the controlling position.
Make no mistake about it, this attack is unique in world history, and those responsible need to be punished.

Why is it that when other countries have a sense of national identity and patriotism it is O.K. but when an American is patriotic, he is suddenly arrogant ? I don't get it. I don't think the other countries are necessarily jealous, but the U.S. has the sword of Damocles above them, and people in other countries cannot properly imagine themselves in our position. Sure we make mistakes, but our track record is good relative to other large countries. Things that may seem like mistakes are correct in some sense and wrong in others (a compromise). We can't please all the people, and when prioritizing who to please, we have to take our own citizens into account.

You're completely right (4.27 / 11) (#27)
by andrewm on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 11:33:34 PM EST

That's why the rest of the world is so impressed by the US government - the evidence linking the terrorist attacks to Iraq is overwhelming, and the open and public trials of the terrorists (including the mastermind, Osama bin laden) have inspired admiration everywhere.

Well, ok, to be fair none of that has actually happened, and even the US government openly admits that Americans are no safer now than they were on september 10 2001.

I don't get it - somehow the world is no better now than it was a year ago, but dead and orphaned kids are perfectly acceptable? Well, US citizens keep arguing that the attack on Afganistan was either justified, successful, or both, and I know they're aware that civilians were killed so they must think this is ok. Maybe revenge helps? Does anyone even care what happened to Osama anymore? After all, he was only supposed to be the ultimate evil mastermind.

Tell me about America's noble self defense when the US government does something like acknowledge dead Afgan children. Oh, sorry, I forgot - they're either acceptable collateral damage or really small terrorists in training. Which is odd, because I thought America was liberating them from an oppressive government. Yes, accidents happen in wartime (when did the US declare war? I must have missed that) but actually acknowledging that Afghan children could actually have been innocent victims would be progress.

The US government has a long history of picking and choosing which oppressive terrorist supporting nations and military dictatorships to support and trade with, and which to attack. It's just nice when Americans can acknowledge more than just the warm fuzzy reasons. (As an example, many Americans have forgotten that Pearl Harbor was a significant event that changed public opinion over WW2. A patriotic American is justifiably proud of the major contribution the Americans made in that war. An arrogant American believes that the entire war was won entirely by America, and solely as a geneous defense of the rest of the world, because America would have been perfectly safe on its own.)

Fine, it's not surprising that Americans are more than a little angry about the one attack on American soil even plausibly linked to Osama bin Laden, but rabid hatred of muslims isn't exactly projecting a positive image to the rest of the world. (Think you hate arabs cheering the attacks? Fine. Give me one reason why a peaceful muslim - or possibly a fair and balanced explanation of why every muslim is pure evil - is going to be overjoyed by Americans cheering the bombing of innocent arabs. I may not be American, but people still forward patiotic arab hating emails to me - don't waste your time telling me that Americans are somehow invariably superior to the rest of humanity.)

Btw, arrogance is hardly unique to Americans, and it's not a characteristic of every last American from the moment of conception. However, when that arrogance appears in the elected government and Americans openly support that government's policies, then it actually becomes an issue. The attidute of the current democratically elected government strikes many as distinctly arrogant, and very agressive. You're more than welcome to support that - it's your government - but being American will never be an automatic guarantee of universal lover and admiration.

[ Parent ]

At least this is an attempt at debate (2.71 / 7) (#64)
by HidingMyName on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:37:01 AM EST

However, you get off on the wrong foot.
That's why the rest of the world is so impressed by the US government - the evidence linking the terrorist attacks to Iraq is overwhelming, and the open and public trials of the terrorists (including the mastermind, Osama bin laden) have inspired admiration everywhere.
The Iraq situation may have some links to the attacks (as Financeers perhaps), but there are different issues at play there. Perhaps if the countries harboring the terrorists and financing the terrorists has these open and public trials with the level of expedience you are describing this whole state of affairs could have been avoided. Instead they shelter, harbor and ignore international law. Sorry, they can't break laws and refuse to enforce them and then cry foul when laws aren't enforced at their convenience. Perhaps the countries sponsoring and harboring terrorists should step up, and meet their duties under international law.

Well, ok, to be fair none of that has actually happened, and even the US government openly admits that Americans are no safer now than they were on september 10 2001.

Let's discuss what actually happened.
I don't get it - somehow the world is no better now than it was a year ago, but dead and orphaned kids are perfectly acceptable? Well, US citizens keep arguing that the attack on Afganistan was either justified, successful, or both, and I know they're aware that civilians were killed so they must think this is ok. Maybe revenge helps? Does anyone even care what happened to Osama anymore? After all, he was only supposed to be the ultimate evil mastermind.
The attack against Afghanistan was not what the U.S. wanted. In fact, we asked Afghanistan several times to extradite the terrorists. But, somehow, their culture seems to forbid it (I'm not an expert, so please correct me if I'm wrong). Bin Ladin had become a "guest" of the ruling Taliban. I think the Afghanistani culture deeply believes it the host's responsibility to provide sanctuary of his guests. So, it was necessary to defeat the hosts to extract the guests. The U.S. has nothing to gain from being in Afghanistan, it is a great tragedy that we had to go in at all. We succeeded in making the Taliban hosts and Al Qaeda guests uncomfortable, and reomved them from ruling positions. Whether we will win in the long term remains unknown. On the surface, we made some progress, however until Mullah Omar, Osama Bin Ladin and others are are punished or dead, the job is not done. Bush is unlikely to win reelection if he fails to accomplish this (in which case his successor will be expected to complete the mission). While we are not glad for the killing of Afghanistani civilians, the terrorists must be denied shelter, and must be caught for justice to be enforced.
The US government has a long history of picking and choosing which oppressive terrorist supporting nations and military dictatorships to support and trade with, and which to attack. It's just nice when Americans can acknowledge more than just the warm fuzzy reasons. (As an example, many Americans have forgotten that Pearl Harbor was a significant event that changed public opinion over WW2. A patriotic American is justifiably proud of the major contribution the Americans made in that war. An arrogant American believes that the entire war was won entirely by America, and solely as a geneous defense of the rest of the world, because America would have been perfectly safe on its own.)
Sigh, I'm not always happy with the leaders supported by my Govt. I frequently wish the U.S. had better relationships with other countries. However, a policy of preferring leaders who create favorable trading conditions seems reasonable to me.

Most educated people in the U.S. do not think that the U.S. did it alone. Rather they think we were just the major player who hastened (and perhaps enabled) the allied victory. We do however have a few uneducated citizens who confuse the facts, just like many other countries (such as yours).

Fine, it's not surprising that Americans are more than a little angry about the one attack on American soil even plausibly linked to Osama bin Laden, but rabid hatred of muslims isn't exactly projecting a positive image to the rest of the world. (Think you hate arabs cheering the attacks? Fine. Give me one reason why a peaceful muslim - or possibly a fair and balanced explanation of why every muslim is pure evil - is going to be overjoyed by Americans cheering the bombing of innocent arabs. I may not be American, but people still forward patiotic arab hating emails to me - don't waste your time telling me that Americans are somehow invariably superior to the rest of humanity.)
Intolerant terrorist types are the problem. I don't hear citizens complaining about the people in India, although India has a large Islamic population. There are many other countries with large muslim populations that I don't hear complaints about. If a U.S. based hate group (say the Klu Klux Klan) went blowing up embassies and attacking civilians in other countries, our police would round them up, jail them and/or extradite them. So, while we can't expect the Arabs to love us when the Armed forces go over to chase terrorists and civilians get hurt/inconvenienced, I would expect them to step up and round these culprits up I wouldn't dream of saying American's are not subject to human foibles. However, we are not inherently worse either. In general I think we are probably better than most large countries when it comes to listening to international opinion.
Btw, arrogance is hardly unique to Americans, and it's not a characteristic of every last American from the moment of conception. However, when that arrogance appears in the elected government and Americans openly support that government's policies, then it actually becomes an issue. The attidute of the current democratically elected government strikes many as distinctly arrogant, and very agressive. You're more than welcome to support that - it's your government - but being American will never be an automatic guarantee of universal lover and admiration.
Perhaps the arrogance you mention is held by people thinking that we should abandon our own agenda and take up theirs. After all, Americans couldn't possibly have an agenda as important as yours, right? By the way, our democracy is representative, not absolute. So we only get to influence government officials during elections, However, elections in the U.S. tend to strongly favor incumbents (due to fund raising, and seniority perks). So replacing someone is a big deal, and requires that they upset the vast majority of their constituents over a wide enough range of issues (or significant enough issue).

[ Parent ]
Another attempt (5.00 / 4) (#93)
by Ngwenya on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:14:15 PM EST

Sorry, they can't break laws and refuse to enforce them and then cry foul when laws aren't enforced at their convenience. Perhaps the countries sponsoring and harboring terrorists should step up, and meet their duties under international law.

It would certainly be a better world if this situation were to obtain. I think it unlikely - and I think that even a principled nation like the United States would not accede to such a constraint in general.

Why? Because, like virtually all mature states (the United Kingdom - my country, France, etc), the United States has sponsored irregular warfare at one time or another. Such warfare could easily fall within a textbook definition of "terrorism".

Sponsoring the Contras in Nicaragua (and accidentally blowing up a British ship for instance). Just so you don't get the impression that I'm picking on the US, the UK governments' past  use of loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland certainly falls into a reasonable definition of sponsoring terrorism. Now, we don't have to wring our hands and beat ourselves up about it - we just have to take care not to be in that position again.

But, you must admit - the ability to use plausibly deniable military force is a great asset to a nation which ostensibly stands for the principles of freedom, justice and plain dealing. Why? Because the world has bad guys in it, and sometimes you have to deal with those guys in order to get a better deal for the people who elect you. ("You" meaning any democratically elected government official, not "you" personally).

If a U.S. based hate group (say the Klu Klux Klan) went blowing up embassies and attacking civilians in other countries, our police would round them up, jail them and/or extradite them.

Would they, though? The KKK? Yes, I believe that they would. But let us suggest that a Cuban emigre group arranged the assassination of Fidel Castro (or even just the demolition of his presidential residence), and the successor Cuban government demanded the extradition of the Florida based "terrorists". Do you think that the USG would actually extradite the likely perpetrators to Havana? I'm pretty bloody sure that the UK government would not extradite to Zimbabwe a white farmer who had shot at a rampaging "war veteran" mob threatening to sieze his farm - even though it's a recognisable offence under British law.

Most educated people in the U.S. do not think that the U.S. did it [WW2] alone. Rather they think we were just the major player who hastened (and perhaps enabled) the allied victory.

The major player? Depends if you mean the European front or the Asian one. If the Asian one, then such a judgement is correct. If the European one, then I think the Soviet Union was responsible for more advances over the Germans than the Western Allies. Doesn't change the fact that the contribution of the USA was invaluable - and of immense future benefit to western Europe.

--Ng

[ Parent ]

hmmm (none / 0) (#115)
by samfoo on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 01:57:04 PM EST

The major player? Depends if you mean the European front or the Asian one. If the Asian one, then such a judgement is correct. If the European one, then I think the Soviet Union was responsible for more advances over the Germans than the Western Allies. Doesn't change the fact that the contribution of the USA was invaluable - and of immense future benefit to western Europe.

You are right about the Asian front. The US was the only major player there. However, they were also probably the biggest contributor to the European front as well. For starters, the US was a financial contributor to the British from virtually the begining of the war, and arguably an arms contributor as well. Consider the fact that without US pressure Germany would have limited itself to the Russian front, and the African front. The British could have been ignored for years given that they had no real power at that point in the war and were struggling to stay above water. You say the Soviet Union was responsible for more advances (which is possible, I don't know the numbers off the top of my head), however NONE of these advances would have been made if these two criteria were not met:

1: Hitler was a militarily incompetent fuckwit
2: The US opened another front forcing the German commanders to further spread their forces thin.

In addition to the military aid during the war itself; the US (pretty much single-handedly) rebuilt--in the form of billions of dollars in reparations--the shattered economies of nearly all of Europe.

I believe that without US intervention the war in Europe would have been lost. You gravely minimize the impact that the US on the European front in my opinion.

[ Parent ]
re: (none / 0) (#125)
by mikael_j on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:24:41 PM EST

2: The US opened another front forcing the German commanders to further spread their forces thin.

The Soviets had already started moving the front toward Germany by the time this happened...

/Mikael
We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
[ Parent ]

see condition nummero uno (none / 0) (#127)
by samfoo on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:29:58 PM EST

If Hitler hadn't attacked during the Russian winter and had just held his lines that wouldn't have happened.

[ Parent ]
True but... (none / 0) (#134)
by mikael_j on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 05:30:50 PM EST

...this does not make my point invalid.

/Mikael
We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
[ Parent ]

World War II (5.00 / 1) (#175)
by Ngwenya on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 06:34:42 AM EST

I believe that without US intervention the war in Europe would have been lost. You gravely minimize the impact that the US on the European front in my opinion.

I'm not going to argue the toss of "What would have happened if the US had stayed out of WW2". For what it's worth, a book I recently purchased in the USA (written largely by US military historians) disagrees with your hypothesis - they point to a slow, Soviet advance which would have crushed Germany in the long run (the war ending in 1947). See "What If?: The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been"
by Robert Cowley (Editor), Stephen E. Ambrose (Editor).

But - for God's sake - don't see my interpretation of history as an act of ingratitude or hostility (which comes right back to the original poster's point about "American neuroticism"). Frankly, I don't want to live in a Europe which had been conquered by Stalin (another militarily incompetent fuckwit by the way - if he hadn't decimated the Red Army with his purges, Germany might well have failed Operation Barbarossa at the first test). The USA massively fostered (note that: fostered - not single handedly created) the maintenance of democracy that Europe enjoys today.

It is for this reason (amongst others) that the Europeans and Americans are friends today. And they are friends. Even friends can criticise one another without losing friendship. And it is surely the duty of a friend to point out another friends error, if he sees it as such.

Prosperous partners make the best friends. Slaves and masters are never so.

--Ng

[ Parent ]

You have fingered the heart of evil. (4.14 / 7) (#49)
by kholmes on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 03:20:41 AM EST

"Make no mistake about it, this attack is unique in world history, and those responsible need to be punished."

I'm going to sound crazy, but I am convinced this is because of the times rather than my own sanity.

But you say this casually, and I don't mean to pick on you--most Americans feel the same way, but it determines on what you mean by "punished".

Given the latest year of flag-waving and nationalism, our armed forces crossed seas for preventative measures or for revenge? What were you waving your flags for?

And how many people not only want to see bin Laden captured but want to see him dead? What would Christ say about this? What would Buddha say about this? And supposedly the majority of Americans are Christians! What of the virtues of redemption? And here I am, an atheist preaching christianity to christians.

Sept 11th, 2001 spurred a war of hate versus hate. We attack terror like it was a bad nightmare. Yet I'm not sure Americans realize that hate begets hate. But that is what our spiritual leaders tell us. And I think they're right.

Look at the slogan I've seen bannered around of late "Never Forget". Isn't that what the jews said after Hitler? And look what it bought them, perpetual war[1].

I'm twenty years old. This is the first historical incident I've lived through. Before this, I never realized how attitudes change in every American when something this drastic occurs. But now I have more understanding on why we locked people up in concentration camps and destroyed people's lives in aggression, anger and fear. Comparatively, the US seems to have recovered rather gracefully from the terrorist attack. Muslim-Americans are still first class citizens other than a few isolated incidents.

But I think I've seen a glimmer of the heart of evil. I hope I never see it again.

[1] I may be incorrect in that the Israel/Palestine conflict has anything to do with the Holocaust. If so, then ignore what I said.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

Afghanistan was a clear-cut case of self defense (2.00 / 4) (#52)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:25:15 AM EST

The Taliban were actively supporting Al Qaeda, which was serving as part of the Taliban's military in a quasi-official role. Absolutely any nation on earth would have acted in the same was as the US. Make what you will of an Iraq war, but the case for attacking Afghanistan, both from an ethical and a geopolitical standpoint was ironclad.

[ Parent ]
That wasn't what I was trying to say (3.66 / 6) (#55)
by kholmes on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 05:42:57 AM EST

I am not criticising the US government. I am criticising the US people. I am saying we saw it as revenge and some sort of twisted justice.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]
I don't think so (3.20 / 5) (#65)
by wiredog on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:37:42 AM EST

At least, not the crowd I run with. We saw it as being as much of a deterrent war as a retaliatory war. The message was "Don't step over the line, or your govenrment will be replaced."

Iraq is another matter. When I look at Iraq I think the liberal/leftist internationalist crowd should support war, and the neo-cons should be opposed. To some extent the latter is true. I wonder if the leftist crowd realizes just how damaging a failure to act in Iraq could be to their hopes for some sort of world polity.

Earth first! We can strip mine the rest later.
[ Parent ]

Good Questions, let's discuss justice (2.66 / 3) (#68)
by HidingMyName on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:55:19 AM EST

But you say this casually, and I don't mean to pick on you--most Americans feel the same way, but it determines on what you mean by "punished".
After one party hurts another, there are several forms of justice available to the victim.
  1. Restitution - force perpetrator to fix the problem, make it right
  2. Retribution - get revenge on the perpetrator, you hurt me, so I'll hurt you (proportionately).
  3. Deterrence - discourage the perpetrator or any other observer from trying similar acts.
The terrorists cannot bring back the dead, nor can they be adequately punished for the number of murders (even if we give them the death penalty, they can only die once). Rather this is about making it stop.

This whole action in my point of view is about deterrence, the U.S. Govt. needs to make these people, and their willing accomplices (e.g. financeers, enablers and supporters) so unhappy in a very public way that noone will ever dream of trying this kind of crap again (in the U.S. or any where else). We need to make it stop.

The Holocaust seems different. The Holocaust was persecution of a minority in a country, and its link to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is less direct. However, never forgetting great evils is a good general message and should be heded.

[ Parent ]

Doesn't make sense (none / 0) (#138)
by kholmes on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 06:19:30 PM EST

"This whole action in my point of view is about deterrence, the U.S. Govt. needs to make these people, and their willing accomplices (e.g. financeers, enablers and supporters) so unhappy in a very public way that noone will ever dream of trying this kind of crap again (in the U.S. or any where else). We need to make it stop."

The terrorists killed themselves in the process of terrorism. I don't think there is any deterrence for these people.

There is no point in trying to make them unhappy--they *are* unhappy, thats why they do what they do. Making them more unhappy would seem to only make the problem worse. This is too simplistic, but I believe you understand the gist.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

Strategic deterrence (none / 0) (#147)
by Sloppy on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 07:06:38 PM EST

The terrorists killed themselves in the process of terrorism. I don't think there is any deterrence for these people.
I mostly agree, but there is still strategic deterrence. Supposedly, the terrorists had a strategic goal, although it is not often discussed. They wanted their attack to result in something, and I don't just mean the destruction itself.

Bin Laden has claimed that he wants US forces out of his "holy land." That's where the deterrence comes in: because they're more entrenched than ever, now. I want my government to stop spending my money on protecting Saudi Arabia and Israel from Iraq too, but now I know I'll never see the day that we pull out.

Would you fly another airplane into skyscraper, if you knew that it would just America a worse "monster" than it already is? Would you use violence to try to teach us a lesson, now that you've seen that it just makes us wave flags and send more troops to your part of the world? Whatever it is that we do that makes them so angry, we can only be provoked into doing more of it.
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."
[ Parent ]

Organized crime (none / 0) (#156)
by HidingMyName on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 10:48:51 PM EST

Consider this sentence:
The terrorists killed themselves in the process of terrorism. I don't think there is any deterrence for these people.
These dead pilots and hijackers were just the desparate people used as henchmen. Left to their own devices, they could not have planned it much less carried this out. These guys were well subsidized, had a large intelligence infrastructure and lived abroad for years. Their money and orders came from somewhere. I (and I suspect most Americans) won't be satisfied until we get the ring leaders. I suspect Bin Ladin and Mullah Omar are just the tip of the iceberg.

[ Parent ]
Since you're an Atheist (none / 0) (#137)
by RyoCokey on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 06:07:18 PM EST

I'll forgive you for thinking that it would be non-Christian to want to kill Bin Laden. It would indeed be the Christian thing to do. This, of course, after he has been tried and found guilty. Not before.

If Bin Laden truly repented, then perhaps it would be a thornier issue. However, I think he is likely to spare us the moral dilemma.



The issue here is not the facts; Right - so how does this apply to Mr. Scott Ritter?
[
Parent ]
I stand corrected (none / 0) (#140)
by kholmes on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 06:45:41 PM EST

I wish I had a bible to look that passage up in.

But just from reading that I can see the various complications in Christian theology. What sins are worthy of execution? Should I be executed?

What if Joe Badguy killed a stranger on the street, should he be killed? If not, why is the killing of one man a lesser evil than the killing of thousands? If so, I thought "eye for an eye" wasn't accepted by Christianity.

And who is allowed to do the killing? Is God allowed to overrule the ten commandments? Wouldn't that be a contradiction?

Its definitely a puzzling insight you have.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

The 10 Commandments (none / 0) (#151)
by Control Group on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 07:35:28 PM EST

This may seem nitpicky, but it's an important distinction. "Thou shalt not kill" is a mistranslation from the original Hebrew. (Note that the linked page refers to the sixth commandment as the item in question; this is because the Hebrew Ten Commandments split the "traditional" first commandment into two, and combine 9 & 10 into one) The original commandment was "Thou shalt not murder," which is (obviously) a horse of a completely different color.

This makes some sense, of course, in the larger context of the Old Testament. It is something of a difficult task to swallow God as portrayed in the OT as comprehensively condemning all killing...

Of course, this does raise serious issues regarding the reliability of the Bible as a source for any argument...but if I begin to point out the inherent errors involved in translating any work (much less one the size of the Bible) from even one language (much less through several evolutions of different languages), I'm quite certain to draw hate posts from fundamentalists.

So I won't.

***
"Oh, nothing. It just looks like a simple Kung-Fu Swedish Rastafarian Helldemon."
[ Parent ]

Would it? (none / 0) (#181)
by pyramid termite on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 10:34:00 AM EST

I see you're quoting from the Old Testament book of Kings, which is a pre-Christian book. The thorny question of how much the New Testament changed the laws of the Old Testament and to what degree this happened is one that I don't care to get into, though. One could find people who would argue that the New Testament changed this and others that wouldn't.

But a quick comment on Iraq - aren't the alleged deaths of 500,000 children a punishment for the sins of their fathers, and how could that be Christian according to the view you have just given?

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Hesitant (none / 0) (#186)
by RyoCokey on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:30:53 PM EST

...to engage in a religious debate, but I suppose I owe you a reply. You're correct, some Christians feel the Old Testament doesn't apply. I personally feel this is a terribly erroneous view. But then again "Christian" is a pretty blanket label. I came from a church with a very strong emphasis on the Old Testament, to the point where they kept the food laws as well as the old holidays. (Feast of Tabernacles, etc)

You are correct as to the deaths of the children, but ignore some mitigating factors. At what point are we culpable for their deaths? Iraq's oil income under the Food for Oil program is more than sufficient to feed the country. Furthermore, they can buy the grain without restriction. We didn't starve those children, the Iraqi government did.

The UN sanctions on Iraq were an attempt to contain a conquering dictator. They were not a literal attempt to punish those who had no guilt in the Gulf War. That Saddam should chose to let his people starve to further his ends is horrific.



The issue here is not the facts; Right - so how does this apply to Mr. Scott Ritter?
[
Parent ]
I think what I'm trying to say here is ... (none / 0) (#187)
by pyramid termite on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:19:23 PM EST

... that one should be cautious in quoting Scripture in justifying a modern government's actions, or saying that a particular viewpoint is a "Christian" one. That's pretty much it - I don't care to get into a religious debate either.

It's my belief with the Iraq situation is that both sides bear some responsibility and also that the 500,000 figure that has been thrown around may be grossly exagerrated. (Note I did say alleged.) All I can say is that halfway measures such as sanctions often freeze the situation into place without solving anything and that we would have been more justified in more extreme measures in 1991 when Saddam had recently done something then we are now. We have committed acts of war (blockades, bombing) against Iraq for 10 years now and there has been little real resistence or retaliation. Whatever his intentions may be, his actions in regard to his neighbors have been fairly legal - he remains a dictator, but not a conquering one, and I doubt his capacity to do so. I looked over the summary of the British government's report and I'm just not convinced that we have seen a compelling case and that the risks outwiegh the benefits.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
some answers (4.60 / 5) (#105)
by HtwoO on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 01:04:37 PM EST

1.Some group bombed the headquarters of the military (allegedly, only because the pilots weren't able to find the White House from the air).

The IRA?

Some group bombed the financial district.

The IRA?

There was no declaration of war.

I believe various factions of the middle east have for some time been declaring war on the US?

The bombers hid and lied about involvement.

This I'm not sure about. From what I gather they didn't lie about it? Hiding? Well to be honest that makes sense, I very much doubt any person would stick around to be picked up by the US.

The financeers of the bombers are giving disengenuous denials.

Which are who exactly? Certainly not Iraq, as both AQ and Iraq are both enemies of each other.

Saudai Arabia prehaps? Most negative press (which is originating from the US) about SA only happened after Bushes falling out with them.

What do you think these countries would have done?

Well lets take England for example vs the IRA (I try to stay away from Israel vs Palistine because it tends to enforce godwins law).

Read CAIN, see how exactly the sort of tactics that the US is employing to hunt out and remove terrorists will eventually help create more then the terrorists could ever hope to get.

In fact the U.S. cares more about international opinion than most other major powers.

I doubt very much this is true. I believe that the majority of Americans believe this to be true but what you believe and what you convey to the world are two totally different things. You may not agree with what your government does but it's your government that executes forigen policy and it is that others judge you on.

Lets see, the US refusing to join a world court that tries war crimes only. Backing down on Kyoto, Missile defense plan, being caught spying on Europe (although the UK got spanked more for this) in order to steal business, people being detained because of their religion and race without a trial or rights. Funds Israel who have violated UN treatys with a large military budget to beat up Palistine (neither side is the good guys btw) while stating it's going to pre-empt attack Iraq for the same UN violations while at the same time telling the UN it will ignore them if it doesn't do what they say.

Now imagine that was another country doing that? Do you believe that country would be counted as what the US aspires to?

when an American is patriotic, he is suddenly arrogant ?

Not at all, it's more lack of knowledge of what your country gets up to in the rest of the world when showing your patriotism to them is what's annoying.

When I lived in Greece I had an American couple wonder why there was such hatred towards them. They were totally oblivous to the US actions in that country that caused the hatred.

The American Constitution has high ideals that every person should live up to. However the US if it is to live up to these should reflect them in their actions against the world.

[ Parent ]

Interesting, Difference may be Magnitude and Cause (none / 0) (#161)
by HidingMyName on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:03:46 AM EST

The IRA have some similarities, in that they use similar tactics (false alarms, bombing, etc.). However, the scale of the events cannot compare, in your very helpful link to CAIN, they indicate that about 3580 people died from 1969-1998 in response to hundreds of years of occupation and oppression. The U.S. in turn has 3547 dead on September 11, 2001 . (over 100 times that of the worst civilian death day in Northern Ireland).
The bombers hid and lied about involvement.
This I'm not sure about. From what I gather they didn't lie about it?
I cannot understand how people forgot the well documented denials that came after the bombing.

Actually, Americans are deprived of diverse news coverage of international events due to the corporate media in the U.S. (local news gets diverse treatments in major markets). It is hard to know the details of international news given the coverage we have. The internet helps (I can now get BBC news much easier for example). Many of these political issues you cite are of the Sword of Domocles variety.

Regarding the your data point in Greece, I'd be interested in hearing just what events your referring to (do you mean Cyprus and siding with Turkey on some disputes?).

[ Parent ]

I've always wondered about the numbers. (none / 0) (#176)
by HtwoO on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 08:03:48 AM EST

How many people must die before it becomes a tradegy? I always believed one.

But if your taking number of deaths as a score, why is there no outrage about smoking? The estimated deaths per a year is around 400,000. That's 33,333 people a month dead while others profit off it and those that don't smoke pay for the medical costs?

The only answer I can come up with that is, (a) It was done with spectacular effects and (b) The people who hit you weren't American.

<i>Regarding the your data point in Greece, I'd be interested in hearing just what events your referring to </i>

I was referring to the Military Junta of 1967 which was helped in part by the US and put into a power the military who proceeded to torture and exile anyone who was opposed to them. Meanwhile the US got cheap government contracts during that time because of their help.

Greece has changed a lot since then, but 20 years ago there was still a lot of people who remembered what happened and took it that all Americans were responisble for a few peoples actions.

[ Parent ]

Deaths of individuals do matter (none / 0) (#180)
by HidingMyName on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 10:02:23 AM EST

How many people must die before it becomes a tradegy? I always believed one.

But if your taking number of deaths as a score, why is there no outrage about smoking? The estimated deaths per a year is around 400,000. That's 33,333 people a month dead while others profit off it and those that don't smoke pay for the medical costs?

However, let's discuss mass death. If someone dies it is tragic. However, deaths of large numbers of people compounds the tragedy. Consider a case of a single man killed by a rifle and a large city leveled by a nuclear/atomic blast (with millions killed). While both are tragic, which has more impact?

Smokers (in modern times) should be aware of the risks. They willingly partake in the risk. This is not the same as killing a bunch of unsuspecting people during a time of peace.

I don't know too much about the Junta, so I'll forego commenting about it. It may be that different segments of Greek society were affected in different ways.

[ Parent ]

Re: Deaths of individuals do matter (none / 0) (#203)
by HtwoO on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 11:05:32 AM EST

Consider a case of a single man killed by a rifle and a large city leveled by a nuclear/atomic blast (with millions killed). While both are tragic, which has more impact?

It would really depend on who was being shot. Which do you think would matter more to Americans? Some other country that has no ties to the US being nuked or someone like the president being shot? (hypothetical). I think we both know the answer to that.

I don't know too much about the Junta, so I'll forego commenting about it. It may be that different segments of Greek society were affected in different ways.

Yes I guess to the people who weren't imprisoned or exiled had a grand time.

You can read more about it here. There was also recent CIA files released which listed the US actions in supporting the junta and attempting to get funds from the government to pay to change the outcome of the elections in Greece prior to junta.

[ Parent ]

Yes we do know the answer (none / 0) (#220)
by HidingMyName on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:21:21 AM EST

Consider a case of a single man killed by a rifle and a large city leveled by a nuclear/atomic blast (with millions killed). While both are tragic, which has more impact?

It would really depend on who was being shot. Which do you think would matter more to Americans? Some other country that has no ties to the US being nuked or someone like the president being shot? (hypothetical). I think we both know the answer to that.

Nukes are the bigger deal, although (attempted) assasination of our president is also a big deal. Glad to see we agree.

Thanks for the link on the Junta.

[ Parent ]

-1 dump it. (1.81 / 11) (#24)
by dvchaos on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 10:58:14 PM EST

yet another pointless s11 article.

--
RAR.to - anonymous proxy server!
Completely ridiculous (2.68 / 16) (#25)
by Demiurge on Sun Sep 22, 2002 at 11:01:25 PM EST

One of your complaints seems to be that Americans are insular and elitists because they refuse to suborn their grief over 9/11 to the concerns over other nations. This is absolutely ridiculous. While there have been many other tragedies throughout the globe, 9/11 touched Americans much more personally and directly than any of those. That doesn't mean that Americans don't care.

Do you think Indians were more concerned over 9/11 than the Bhopal disaster? Palestinians certainly weren't as concerned with 9/11 as with the occupation, they danced in the streets when three thousand Americans died. Do you think victims of genocide in Rwanda were as concerned with Americans dying half a world away as they were over people being slaughtered in their own country?

well (5.00 / 1) (#32)
by spacejack on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:30:24 AM EST

"The day the world changed" catchphrase and its popularity would seem to indicate otherwise.

Although maybe after the war in Afghanistan and the possible war in Iraq (and who knows where else), it will seem prescient. But I could see how that could rub some people the wrong way too.

[ Parent ]
Complete accurate (none / 0) (#33)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:40:24 AM EST

First of all, I'm sure that people who suffered through Chernobyl feel the same way about their fateful day. And the fact, 9/11 is the day the world changed. International geopolitics post-9/11 is a lot different than it was before, you'd have to be an idiot not to realize that.

[ Parent ]
yes but (5.00 / 4) (#36)
by spacejack on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:55:06 AM EST

a) I never heard any Ukranians telling me that Chernobyl was the day the world changed.

b) Why are international geopolitics post-9/11 so different? More because of the U.S. reaction than the terrorist stunt.

[ Parent ]
Answer to B (4.00 / 2) (#73)
by br284 on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:12:21 AM EST

One good example is Bush abandoning the Cold War doctrine of containment and deterrence in exchange for a more proactive "care of problems before they become problems" policy. Also the fact that the new security doctrine contains wording to the effect that the USA is the preeminent military power on the face of this planet and that it will not anyone else challenge that power. Basically it is a declaration that the USA is accountable to noone but itself when push comes to shove, and god help those who think otherwise.

Granted, it is only the policy of a single nation, but a good case can be made that this may be as significant as the shifts in geopolitical doctrine that made post-WWII. Pretty significant if you were to ask me.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

not really (2.80 / 5) (#38)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 01:14:56 AM EST

The images transmitted by CNN weren't genuine. It was yet another example on how news are often manipulated.

The german magazin "Der Spiegel" reported it  was a hoax (see http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,158625,00.html).

You can see an english translation here, with the pictures that were pulled from the online article (they are in the printed version):

http://members.tripod.com/thinkagaintv/Palestinianscelebrating.html

And some other pictures of how palestinians really celebrated 9/11 at

http://www.infopal.org/docs/spics.htm

I don't think americans refuse to suborn their grief over 9/11 to the concerns over other nations - I think they're very badly informed about what goes on in the rest of the world and the US media is the mainly responsible for that.

[ Parent ]

An utter lie (3.75 / 4) (#43)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 02:37:52 AM EST

The idea that the film was staged is complete horseshit, pedalled by those who believe the Palestinians can do no wrong. It was completely legitimate and unscripted, and claiming that it was Israelis or Americans provoking them to do so is about as responsible as claiming that all the Jews stayed home on 9/11.

The online Der Spiegel website is a rag. It's the same(and only) "news" outlet that published the 'Bush:Do you have blacks too?' rumor.

The reason the video isn't aired much is because the PA threatened the cameraman's life. Technically, I believe the wording was that if CNN continued to show the footage, then the PA 'could not be responsible for any harm to the cameraman that came about as a result'.

[ Parent ]
It's confirmed (2.33 / 3) (#48)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 03:11:52 AM EST

By the fact that no other news outlet besides CNN had such footage - all other outlets cited CNN as the source.

Now, if that had really happened there would have been more then one source: there are several news agencies (BBC, Reuters, etc.) and journalists that never ever mentioned this facts, the only ones that did so picked it up from CNN.

I didn't know the 'Bush:Do you have blacks too?' thingy though - thanks for pointing it out, it's really funny. On the same note (but this one was televised, so it's definitively not a rumor: http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger/images/foolbush.mpg)

[ Parent ]

Wrong, wrong, wrong. (2.80 / 5) (#51)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:22:43 AM EST

The reason only CNN is showing it is because it was filmed by their camera crew, and as mentioned before, the PA threatened their life if it continued to be aired.

Soon after it aired, I started to hear a bullshit response from fringe leftists about how it was a tape from 1991. Now that their previous excuse is in shambles, they're searching for a new one.

[ Parent ]
No, really... (3.40 / 5) (#57)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 05:51:10 AM EST

That is what the article says: "part of the images was likely staged, the rest was old material.". But I will assume you are right: there are idiots everywhere and that report was not staged.

Even then, it was an isolated incident - otherwise there would have been different reports on that happening, from different sources - but all we see is the same CNN footage over and over. There were even a handful of israeli rednecks in New Jersey that cheered and danced on the backdrop of the burning towers (see here), but only a handful of racist nutcases commented that as "jews cheer WTC attack".

The vast majority of palestinian mourned the victims of 9/11, so did the israeli, the iranians, etc.: all peace-loving people in the world (the overwhelming majority IMO) mourned. But have we seen the mourning palestinians, the mourning iranians? No - all the american public got to see was that same CNN footage.

That is what this story is about - the media is about money, and cheering arabs sold much better then mourning ones.

[ Parent ]

Have you not been reading my posts? (2.50 / 2) (#59)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 07:26:38 AM EST

The reason CNN and other news services haven't been showing that clip(or others) is because the PA threatened the cameraman's life. And they've recently placed similiar injunctions over the taking of pictures of Palestinian children in militant garb.

And while Arafat & Co. mouthed words of sympathy, as did Arab leaders across the Gulf, that does not change the fact that there is an overwhelming and palpable hatred of America and Americans throughout the region, before 9/11, on 9/11, and after 9/11.

[ Parent ]
I have been reading your posts... (none / 0) (#60)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 07:57:28 AM EST

...and I'm interested in a constructive exchange of ideas.

I don't know what to think of this story of the PA threatening the cameraman's life. I have seen the CNN footage in question several times, on different US networks, as recently as a few weeks ago. It's on the new DVD that you can find about everywhere in the US for $14.99 btw, it's called "America remembers" and produced by the CNN.

I apologize for not addressing this issue in the last post.

Yes, there is strong anti-americanism in the middle east, and it's getting worse every day. Nevertheless most people don't hold the general population of the US responsible for their government's policy, and don't agree with the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

[ Parent ]

From another branch of this thread ... (none / 0) (#79)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 10:04:14 AM EST

Snopes seem to have the whole thing pretty well documented. It would appear the allegations are untrue.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

dear wolf (none / 0) (#62)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:15:03 AM EST

From your ratings I see you have been reading this posts and that you find yourself in agreement with me over Demiurge.

I thank you for what you surely meant as an act of support, but please: if you are going to assign your ratings this way wait at least until the thread has settled.

Better yet, post your own opinions while the discussion is ongoing!

It's just so much better when people can discuss about their different views without feeling like being bashed/slammed/cornered.

I'm sure you understand, thanks.

[ Parent ]

actually.... (5.00 / 3) (#74)
by boxed on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:12:37 AM EST

On Swedish TV they sent pictures of huge crowds of palestinians laying down flowers and crying for the victims of the WTC attacks.

[ Parent ]
Thank you! (attn. Demiurge) (none / 0) (#183)
by pyramid termite on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 10:48:32 AM EST

It annoys the hell out of me that people remember the Palestinians dancing in the streets and don't remember the Palestinians who expressed shock and sympathy. Quite bluntly, CNN's selective coverage of this was nothing more and nothing less than an act of bigotry and those who keep harping about it are perpetuating a bigoted stereotype.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Arab journalist threatened in Israel today (link) (none / 0) (#141)
by hawaii on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 06:46:06 PM EST

That is what this story is about - the media is about money, and cheering arabs sold much better then mourning ones.

You're right that the Western media is about money, but it's also exploited by various groups/countries for other reasons as well. If you're interested in truth and censorship in the media, especially Palestine, then you should take a look at this article .

This is an article about an Arab reporter working for the Jerusalem Post. He received many threats for reporting truthfully what he saw regarding the Israeli/Palestine conflict. However, it's not the standard fare you'd expect.

He's telling, in his own words, how his life was threatened by the Palestinian Authority for documenting events unfavorable to Palestinians. Apparently he was expected to put the 'cause' above the 'truth' when reporting events about the conflict.

It will be interesting to see how this comment gets modded for daring to go against the status quo.

[ Parent ]

'It was completely legitimate and unscripted' (2.00 / 1) (#61)
by SanSeveroPrince on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:15:02 AM EST

Were you there when it was shot? Were you dancing with the crowd? Were you there with them for every minute of every day for at least a year before they came out to dance?

How can you be so sure of anything?

(not that I care about the film itself... just proving that media is nothing more than other people with teir own agendas that tell you what they think happened after their bosses vetoed what they don't like...)

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


[ Parent ]
The burden of (dis)proof is on you. (none / 0) (#146)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 07:04:55 PM EST

On the video, there is no indication that it's anything but genuine. Unless you can prove to the contrary, I will except the fact that a considerable(but not complete) number of Palestinians rejoiced at the slaughter of innocent Americans.

[ Parent ]
Except (none / 0) (#172)
by SanSeveroPrince on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 02:53:14 AM EST

That somebody tried disproving it, and you refused to listen to them. Oh, and cut the propaganda....

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


[ Parent ]
Umm... (none / 0) (#69)
by br284 on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:07:59 AM EST

I also remember reading about this story and I think I read it from the NY Times. I definately didn't hear about this from a German rag.

If I'm not mistaken, the issue was that CNN was showing the footage as if it were current -- though the actual footage was taken a couple of years ago.

I think that this got more widespread press than Der Spiegel. I certainly don't read German, yet read about this.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

You were right (none / 0) (#167)
by nonsisente on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:17:31 AM EST

Both the LA Times article and the Reuters statement are proof that the footage was genuine.

The WSJ article by Elisabetta Burba that says, contrary to what Reuters and BBC reported, the overwhelming majority of arabs rejoiced has been cited by the Daily Star and by the Reason magazine as exemplary for bad journalism. That same article is referenced every time the "arabs cheered at WTC attack" story pops up on written media together with the aforementioned footage.

Considering there are hundreds of western journalists in the middle east, I still find it far fetched to say 'the arabs rejoiced'.

And I would take any anti-palestinian article of the Jerusalem Post with the same grain of salt I take anti-israeli reports on Palestine Chronicle.


[ Parent ]

Completely true (4.14 / 7) (#76)
by Anatta on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:21:38 AM EST

That allegation is completely false.

And people who listen to the Amercian media are the ones who are unthinking and unwilling to examine ideas that are uncomfortable to them?


My Music
[ Parent ]

+1 (introspective nonsense?) Interesting (3.87 / 8) (#35)
by dmt on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:46:53 AM EST

This is an interesting piece; although as ever on Kuro5hin I'm left with a disting feeling that someone, scratch that - some people are trying to ameliorate their sense of WASPish guilt through introspective tropism.  

In many ways this is ironic given that they accuse the press of debate in the media through imposing their own mental order; or at least morality upon the perception of 'the media' .  As if as a collective 'the media' is somekind of homogenetic organism, intelligent and responsive to poking with the guilt stick.

I don't know; but it follows that the only people capable of wrtiting such an article are inherently WASPish, which means that such an article follows and creates it's own stereotypes in the same way as the media. Which is the ultimate irony, the media appeals to it's audience and this style of introspection appeals to it's own creating this WASP like fringe sitting at keyboards and logging into Kuro5hin.

It is however a well written, slick article that has clarity - so +1.

-1 Mumble Jumble (3.00 / 17) (#41)
by kholmes on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 02:04:11 AM EST

It would be one thing if this article was really a summary of other people's opinions, but its not. This is an Op-Ed piece and you're relying on other Op-Ed pieces as sources. Thus the essay is hard to read and simply swashes opinions around and mixes them.

Ironically, you're going to get votes from the anti-American brigade.

Here's an interesting excerpt:

"most are neurotically opposed to admitting any shortcomings, and it is this arrogance--not, as is so often cited, hatred of American culture or freedom--that is a primary source of a bias against the United States from Sweden to Somalia."

I think this needs to changed to say that you really don't know what most Americans think or remove the speculation completely.

"In James W. Carey's essay, 'American journalism on, before, and after September 11,' he argues that American journalists were in the midst of a 'vacation from reality,' one that began sometime before the 1988 presidential election and peaked with the impeachment of Bill Clinton."

So what? And how does this support your opinion?

Your essay's rhetoric swirls into a speculative black hole. I've written a few essays like that for English. I was always unhappy about them. This essay lacks clarity and needs perspective.
Best regards.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.

My bad (5.00 / 1) (#42)
by kholmes on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 02:19:48 AM EST

I went back to reread the article. I don't know what came over me.

It is an okay article. I still question the claim on "most Americans" however.

It seems I'm part of the problem that I complain about.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

you should've made that an editoral comment [nt] (none / 0) (#70)
by boxed on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:08:05 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Though very generalized and speculative (4.28 / 7) (#75)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:16:01 AM EST

I think there is an iota of truth to this story. I would much rather address the actual facts, such as this one http://www.fair.org/activism/usat-iraq.html than point fingers though. This much generalization and finger pointing is bound to create some discussion, like any good flamebait will.

An unfair generic template based story (4.11 / 18) (#80)
by gbvb on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 10:21:29 AM EST


I am an indian living in US for the past 6 years. That gives a unique perspective to the tragedy that was 9/11.

<rant>
The article blames the news media for the jingoism during a moment of intense emotional distress. Nobody can claim that the news media can somehow be impervious to the surroundings in which it exists and it can actually be objective at all times. Those were moments when US had to stand together , news media or otherwise. Because, Those are the times when you need emotional support and understanding that the country is together. It will not tumble into introspection at that period of distress.

There have been many questions about the failings of FBI and other agencies and the heavy-handed behavior of Justice dept after a couple of months. But at that moment and the weeks that followed, News media was just being the transmitter of people's emotions.

There were many who died that day, many americans and many others too. Whether or not the news media behaved correctly that can only be judged by history.  Right now, its too early to understand whether or not they behaved right.

The fears of this country came true on 9/11. But, considering the behavior of my american friends and collegues after that day, I believe that inherently all of us just "human". That behavior just extended to News media as well.
</rant>

One final comment: While the article blames the news media for clumping Muslim and terrorists as if they are synonyms ( not in somany words), I think that article itself is commiting the same error by clumping all americans as being arrogant et al.

Oh Well.. I think this is enough. I should never write answers in empty stomach.. too much acidity and brings out the anger about all these generic articles which dont do justice to the cause or effect..

where do I start... (4.00 / 11) (#82)
by Phantros on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 10:34:05 AM EST

In the introduction you claim that Americans are "neurotically opposed to admitting any shortcomings." You must know different Americans than I do. For instance, how many Americans will dispute that we have an idiot for a leader? Or that we have crooked and ineffective congressmen? Look at the wide range of issues that voters clash about every four years and tell me that we do not find fault in our country.

Your article seems to be concerned that the backlash of 9/11 has created skewed journalism. Newsflash! Journalism (American, perhaps everywhere) has rarely been about bringing the most important news to the people so that they may have informed opinions. It's about sensationalism, because that's what sells. If there is room to mention a) a drought that will bring famine and death to thousands in Africa, or b) Johnny is stuck in a drainage ditch, which do you think you'll see in bold on CNN? For the average person, a distressed child is more emotionally gripping than crop failure in a land they've barely heard of. Look at how long the stupid Clinton/Monica Lewinski thing was dragged through the news. I, for one, never cared a bit, but editors across the US realized that sex and scandal sell, especially when they happen to people that we recognize. This is not a new phenomenon. The kidnapping of Lindbergh's baby made countless headlines in 1932. This was because of Lindbergh's celebrity status, not because a kidnapping was the most important news to the world.

The filter for news is emotional immediacy not logical necessity. Because of this, newsprint is exactly the shade that will invoke the strongest feelings. Patriotism, indignation, anger, gung-ho action like you see in a Bruce Willis movie; these are what the people want to hear about, not rational debate over longterm prevention.

4Literature - 2,000 books online and Scoop to discuss them with

Americans and criticism (5.00 / 5) (#100)
by emad on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:40:11 PM EST

From my personal experience, it seems that while Americans are more than happy to pick apart and criticize domestic issues, such as Social Security or  Education Reform, when it comes to foreign policy any sort of disagreement or criticism is met with anger and questioning of allegiances.  

For instance, A newspaper could run a story about how it is stupid to give millions of dollars a year to fund artists. This would result in a hearty debate.  You certainly won't hear anyone calling the author unamerican. You rarely see a mainstream newspaper take issue with foreign policy decisions or investigate US actions oversees. When they do, many americans start screaming traitor.

[ Parent ]

Not really (4.00 / 3) (#104)
by mmealman on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 01:03:46 PM EST

That's not quite true. There was the Iran/Contra scandal in the 80's, Vietnam was a PR nightmare in the 70's, and so on. Go see the movie Traffic and see how proudly we represent American foreign policy.

I think the one big thing we don't tolerate is outsiders criticizing our own internal laws, especially core constitutional ones like free speech, gun rights and so on.

[ Parent ]
Economic Policies.. (4.00 / 1) (#131)
by Kwil on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:56:43 PM EST

..are another taboo subject - probably because they're on that fuzzy border between internal and external.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
1/2 true (none / 0) (#213)
by livus on Fri Sep 27, 2002 at 04:48:16 AM EST

I think you're right that it's criticism from outside you don't tolerate, but this applies majorly to criticism of your foriegn policies.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Agree about congress (none / 0) (#160)
by NaCh0 on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 11:51:43 PM EST

But you are off on your Bush comments. He still has high approval marks (lower than the peak, but still). Don't confuse your personal dislike for the man with the opinion of the populace.

I think Bush has been doing a good job...and when you consider the alternatives...*shudder*
--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
[ Parent ]

All Americans are alternatives (none / 0) (#214)
by livus on Fri Sep 27, 2002 at 04:49:22 AM EST

if any one of you could have grown up to become president, that is.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
I agree 100% (4.28 / 14) (#83)
by wiredog on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 10:57:43 AM EST

The US Media never reports on opposition to the war with Iraq, and always synonymizes "terrorist" and "Muslim".

Earth first! We can strip mine the rest later.
Right... (5.00 / 1) (#122)
by Skywise on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:07:48 PM EST

Absoluetly no opposition could be found like this sort of stuff:

http://www.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/09/19/ivanov.iraq/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/09/19/bush.congress.iraq/index.html

or

http://www.msnbc.com/news/804440.asp
http://www.msnbc.com/news/805140.asp

or

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2002/09/23/MN67020.DTL


[ Parent ]

Now post all the PRO WAR propaganda links pls. (4.00 / 2) (#159)
by Wulfius on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 11:22:11 PM EST

Now post all the PRO WAR propaganda links pls.

A drop in a maelstorm will not make an iota of
difference.

If that is your definition of 'balanced reporting'.

The world doesnt hate America because they "Hate Freedom", they hate America because you are STUPID :D <JOKE>
---

---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
[ Parent ]

I found the anti-war... (none / 0) (#166)
by Skywise on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:03:47 AM EST

YOU find the pro-war...

Try it.  There really aren't that many.  Definitely support in the WSJ and Fox news.  But the New York Times, the Washington Post, LA times, ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN are all anti-war.  What "pro" war messages they print are nothing more than rehashes of White House press releases.  Editorial-wise, they are dead set against it.

But then I provided the proof and you resorted to name calling.  :D

[ Parent ]

why are you misrepresenting what the article said? (3.00 / 2) (#153)
by sayke on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:18:42 PM EST

note that the article actually says:

Karim H. Karim notes that Islamic and Middle Eastern stereotypes are still in wide use when explaining notions such as "terrorism" or "violence."
the article didn't even mention iraq.

why did you so absurdly misrepresent this article? any remotely careful reader will see through your dishonesty.

or would you like to point out to me exactly where the article says that the US media never reports on opposition to the war with iraq? or, perhaps you'd like to tell me where the article says that the US media always synonymizes "terrorist" and "muslim", instead...


sayke, v2.3.1 /* i am the middle finger of the invisible hand */
[ Parent ]

It's fascinating... (3.07 / 14) (#87)
by Skywise on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 11:48:15 AM EST

You seem unable to make a distinction between "Americans" and "American Journalists" where all your factoids come from.

I presume that Prava, pre-Gorbachev USSR, is also indicative of the attitudes of all Russians.

Most Americans I know of don't believe this to be an act of "victimization", but an out and out first strike in a war.  Attacking the center of military control of a country is... an act of war.  And I do NOT understand why people seem to feel the need to debate this.  No one seems to have a problem with the Palestinians nuking Israel because Israel whacked Arafat's base this weekend, which is his center of military control...  Everybody understands that Arafat is justified... right?

Your article also starts with the basic implied assumption that America deserved what it got.  You're entitled to your opinion.  But realize that it is just that.  An opinion.  And all your factoids of American Media whining will not turn that into a fact.

As for the American Media.  It has been on the steady decline for quite sometime.  First with the commercialization of the American News so that raw information becomes secondary to making a buck.  Thereby ensuring that only the most salacious and fantastic information gets shown.  Secondly with the mergers of various News companies into one mega-corp with one voice.  This leads to information control by the political parties to the news corps to guarantee broadcast rights of  mud and slander stories (salacious information) to the news corp that shows the political party in the best light, while shunning those who won't toe the party line.  If anything, the immediate weeks following the WTC attacks were a time where the media did NOT toe party lines and tell the American people what to think...and for a while actually got around to reporting information again.  It was short lived, and were back to inane analysis, debating whether or not getting caught beating a child is actually a crime worthy of having the child removed from the parent.  And THAT is what leads to your headlines of "Suspected Anthrax terrorist denies he had anything to do with it!".

Or the fact that when the police pulled over the 3 Muslims in Florida, the police did NOT blow up a suspicious book bag as had been widely reported.

Reverse Racism (1.80 / 10) (#88)
by Boss Duck on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 11:54:20 AM EST

This entire story is invalidated by the fact that you're doing what you're condemning.

If I'd posted a story entitled "Why Iraq Hates Us" there'd be an uproar you wouldn't believe (I wouldn't by the way). This just puts that in a mirror and suddenly claims it's okay.

Hey, guess what? It's the same thing!

-BD

=========================================
"No," said the Caterpillar.

huh? (3.33 / 3) (#98)
by akb on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 12:22:31 PM EST

The article addresses US media reporting following S11. Your post does not.  The article does not talk about race, its not clear to me why you are.

Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net
[ Parent ]

Actually... (5.00 / 1) (#110)
by Boss Duck on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 01:22:08 PM EST

...I'm addressing the his claims that Americans feel superior and overly arrogent. The author goes out of his way to add quotes such as:
Only Americans could claim that their indeed heart-wrenching loss of 3,000 lives had superseded every other such atrocity the world over, yet simultaneously sequester themselves with a flippant "us."
How does his distaste of American media relate to this? I can even agree with him on several points, but when did my entire country become populated with the Republician archtype?

-BD

=========================================
"No," said the Caterpillar.
[ Parent ]

Uhh.. (5.00 / 2) (#130)
by Kwil on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:51:14 PM EST

he's commenting on what the headlines said.

Perhaps he could have been more specific and said "Only American media could..." but it seemed fairly obvious to me.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Not really, draw a venn diagram or something. (none / 0) (#215)
by livus on Fri Sep 27, 2002 at 04:52:43 AM EST

"Only Americans" doesnt mean "all Americans". It's erroneous to think that if something is a subset of something else, then vice versa applies.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Torn. (2.40 / 5) (#106)
by regeya on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 01:07:34 PM EST

I'm glad to see "real" journalists contribute and I'm glad to see attempts at raising journalistic standards on this site. Had I come along during the voting phase, I'm sure I'd had voted -1 with a prejudice.

Why? It makes an increasingly common mistake -- broad, sweeping generalities based on the commenator's feelings on a subject. No, you shouldn't project your own personal feelings on the subject -- or the personal feelings of a handful of people -- onto the 270 million Americans' motivations. Maybe if you had supported this with some sort of survey, carefully crafted from key demographics. Even then, it would be suspect.

Further, that second paragraph seems an ill fit to the rest of the piece.

I fear that, due to the apparent lack of organization and shooting-from-the-hip guesswork, that dipping from the well of the prestigious Atlantic Monthly has gotten us something little better than the average kuro5hin political twaddle.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

Feee-eee-eeelings.... (none / 0) (#202)
by jefu on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 10:55:16 AM EST

"sweeping generalities based on the commentators feelings on a subject"

Wars don't usually start because of logic (there are exceptions, but probably fewer than most suspect), wars start because of feelings.

How many wars have started without a mass (not necessarily a majority) of people in a country pushed into a war frenzy - usually enough by a government with interests which, if not hidden, are at least not made very clear.

But, more fundamentally, look at the media - news programs in the US are finding sensationalism, and most especially sensationalism arousing the viewer's (reader's...) emotions to be the best way to gain an audience. If you are in the US, watch carefully the evening news on local television - and especially watch the lead up spot ads. Rarely about information, mostly about gaining viewership for their ads.

And lets face it. Wars are good for business if you're a news show.

Oh, and I started by wanting to say that I'm not sure how anyone can effectively distinguish between "Truth" and "Feelings" - if indeed there is a difference.

[ Parent ]

some excellent points (4.80 / 5) (#117)
by stpna5 on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 02:54:18 PM EST

I can see already by some of the comments however that observations about how journalism and reportage have dimmed to a mere flicker seem too scary for some of our fellow cave-dwellers to contemplate. These obvious traits in "the media" are ignored, and pie-charts and graphs seem to be recommended instead of observation and comment by a live human. The statement of simple facts is not by itself journalism, but the tendency of dumbed-down de-funded news organs now owned by entertainment conglomerates to ignore this has resulted in even simple facts not being reported and massive errors, untruths and speculative rambling passed on as "news". It is a prevailing trait of the infotainment universe. More than twenty years ago Tom Wolfe remarked that it was "a great time for corruption in government" because there was "no journalism" being practiced. Today it is even more true and on many more channels, and pages, both paper and electronic ones.

* Yawn * (1.40 / 20) (#120)
by PurpleMicrodot on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 03:39:17 PM EST

I did make it to the second paragraph. Really, I did.

Unlike your long-winded, masturbatory (typical for this place) crap, I'm going to get right to the point:

The situation is this: The world is like a giant playground. There is a strong wind blowing, such that it moves east from the United States, across Europe, over the Middle and Far East and finally dies down before it ever reaches Hawaii.

The rest of the world should just be glad we don't whip it out and take a giant piss.

Stay tuned... (5.00 / 1) (#126)
by magney on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:25:50 PM EST

Dubya's fiddling with the zipper.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

Indeed. (5.00 / 2) (#158)
by Wulfius on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 11:17:38 PM EST

The world is trully like a giant playground.

The US is like a teenage bully (merely 150 yo).
7" tall, stong but naive in the ways of the world
and for all his strength weak because all he
can think about is shallow goals.

Where as the rest of the world has been at this
for a while, they are much wiser.
So when the bully starts to do things like
enforcing his dominance, beating up the nerds (communists, muslims, anyone who opposes US interests), standing there in the middle of the
playground fiddling with his dick to the approval
of his gaggle of the 'in' crowd.
They just stand to the side, bemused.
He will grow out of it, adventually.

So by all means, play with your zipper son
you do it so well.

---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
[ Parent ]

ok (1.55 / 9) (#182)
by PurpleMicrodot on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 10:43:42 AM EST

Yes, we are relatively young. But before you start throwing stones at us, perhaps you should think about the crusades, or the opium wars.

Oh, and the next time you need someone to save your ass from some psycho Eurofag with delusions of grandeur, go crying to Iraq. I'm sure they would love to help you.

[ Parent ]

I really like the playground analogy (5.00 / 1) (#195)
by owenh on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 07:11:26 PM EST

I really do.

The US is the kid in the playground who likes to
"whip it out and take a giant piss" over anyone it feels like.  There are all these other smelly kids who get pissed on all the time.  Occasionaly they might get hurt by something the big kid throwns, but mostly they just get pissed on.

Sooner or later one of those smelly kids is going to throw a rock back.  They are throwing against the wind, and they arn't strong enought to throw as big a rock as the big kid can.  In short, they are going to get hurt more in the long run, but they think it will be worth it to hurt the big kid a little first.

Opps, I think that was what happened.

I feel sorry for the beople that died when those planes came down.  I feel worse for those people that knew and loved the people that died.  If you didn't know anyone who was directly affected, why should you care?  Did you care when some one in another country dies?  So why does it make a difference?
-- Observations of the world we live in
[ Parent ]

Saying that journalism is bad after 9/11 (3.80 / 5) (#142)
by godix on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 06:55:47 PM EST

implies that it wasn't bad before 9/11. I'd like to see proof that CNN or FOX didn't suck before last year before I pay much attention to anything else in this article.


Don't mind the plummeting noise, mojo always makes that sound after I post.


Gore Vidal also wrote about this subject (3.80 / 5) (#150)
by ttfkam on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 07:27:26 PM EST

...in his book entitled Perpetual War For Perpetual Peace: How We Got To Be So Hated.

To be honest, I don't hate the media for sensationalizing the story. Many news outlets, as was mentioned, tried to do honest, clean journalism. Unfortunately, people keep tuning into Fox News and the others had to follow suit in their presentations or lose out on viewers.

The fault is not the media's for displaying the word "evil" every hour. In fact, if memory serves, it was Bush who first applied that term to the terrorists. The media was just quoting him. Also, if memory serves, they took him to task over such a simplistic view of current events.

In the end, too many people in the US actually believed it to be true that the terrorists were simply evil with no motivation and rushed to tune into the news outlets that confirmed their beliefs. I myself know a few people who consider Islam to be a devils' religion and feel completely justified travelling the world for the sake of converting people to Christianity no matter the harm or diplomatic discord it may cause.

You want the media to report the news better? Give people a better education in US public schools. The more people out there that can recognize bullshit, the less likely any reputable news outlet will report that bullshit.


If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami

From what I've seen (none / 0) (#201)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 10:54:14 AM EST

"In the end, too many people in the US actually believed it to be true that the terrorists were simply evil with no motivation and rushed to tune into the news outlets that confirmed their beliefs. "

From what I've seen most people (myself included) believe the terrorists were simply evil with alot of motivation.

Just because some-one believes in a cause doesn't justify every action some-one might take to further that cause. Nor does it mean that the cause itself is justifiable.

I don't think the American public is ignorant of the fact that the terrorists had motivations. They just happen to believe that both the actions AND motivations of the terrorists were "evil".

[ Parent ]

I agree (none / 0) (#216)
by livus on Fri Sep 27, 2002 at 04:58:44 AM EST

It's true. Too many people are like Homer Simpson - "It was on TV so it must be true". They need a decent education, a higher standard of literacy, and encouragement to think critically. Oh and some basic knowledge of the rest of the world.

That said, if I was a moron like Bush and his ilk, I'd try to make sure no-one was able to have these things as it might make populations much harder to control.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Probably won't happen (none / 0) (#225)
by r00t on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 05:53:16 AM EST

They need a decent education, a higher standard of literacy, and encouragement to think critically.

I doubt this will happen. It is easier to capitalize on a stupid population.

-It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to unlearn. - Isaac Asimov
[ Parent ]

um. . . you see something I ain't seeing? (5.00 / 7) (#152)
by moron on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:01:33 PM EST

Of the URLs you posted as examples, none showed any U.S. public resistance to declaring war against Iraq.   The fact that Germany and Russia oppose the action is irrelevant to how US media portrays the issue really.  Russia and Germany are old enemies which makes it easy for the States to demonize them for opposing their policy.  I read a scary quote today where Bush responded to the recent rebuke from Germany by re-iterating his "if you are not with us, you are against us" war cry.  So this means that Germany and Russia can become the next enemies if need be.

You posted a link about some members of Congress not being totally sold on the idea but that is again, not the public and personally I am not really sure if that article is an even weighting of both sides or a maligning of the doves versus the hawks.

Nothing in those links suggest that US media is even allowing the opinion that declaring war on a soviergn nation is wrong or unsupported by the greater population.  

I have however seen numerous examples in the US media (Larry King Live, CNN reports, local news from Seattle and Tacoma, etc.) that act like you are already at war.  Basically it is simply not allowed for anything other ra ra ra, war war war type opinions to be broached.  Groups that disagree are called "rogue", "subversive", etc.  There was a post last week from Associated Press which mentioned that the US Government was stepping up efforts at "communication" to counter what they called mis-information by both *domestic* and foreign groups (say, indymedia.org for example).  

I live in Canada and watching US news scares the shit out of me.  If there was even a hint of resistance to rampant hypocritical war mongering I definitely wouldn't be so alarmed by it.

Cheers

--
culture: http://industrial.org
music: http://deterrent.net
code: http://codegrunt.com

Do you actually read the news? (4.33 / 3) (#154)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:05:17 PM EST

Because if you did, it would be impossible for you not to notice the great amount of coverage given to things like Congressional and international opposition to an Iraq war.

That's the problem with extremists. If they don't see "BUSH'S FASCISTIC PLAN TO KILL IRAQI CHILDREN" on the front-page of the Wall Street Journal, they assume that the media is pro-war.

[ Parent ]
You call that opposition? (3.75 / 4) (#157)
by Wulfius on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 11:04:10 PM EST

The congressional 'opposition' is purely cosmetic.
The unthinking masses of the beeelectors have
been whipped into such a war frenzy by the Bush propaganda machine that ANY thought
of halting this armed aggression is thought
UNPATRIOTIC and a political suecide.

As to the foreign opposition (ie: Pretty much all of the planet with the exception of UK and Australia) its allways portrayed as if THEY are wrong and WE are right by a godgiven right.

Really.

Bottom line is the US is in a military imperial
phase, this is why Rumsfield got so pissed by
the Gemans likening Bush to Hitler.
I guess being so close to the mark it hurts.

---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
[ Parent ]

You simply illustrate my point (2.66 / 3) (#162)
by Demiurge on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:06:38 AM EST

Foaming at the mouth demogogues like yourself see any media source not calling for Bush's impeachment and hanging as reactionary and greedy. People who don't share your myopic, extremist views are labelled idiots and sheep.

[ Parent ]
Cosmetic?! (4.00 / 4) (#165)
by Skywise on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:57:34 AM EST

Explain to me how the congressional opposition is "Cosmetic".

First the Congress demanded that Bush ask them for permission first before going to war.

He did. (answer is pending)

Then Congress demanded that he take it up with the UN and see that he gets a resolution from them.

He did. (answer is pending)

Now, we're in a holding pattern (contrary to what the media is saying) waiting for the UN to give the green light, and barring that, Bush is lobbying congress to give him the green light before the UN makes its decision (hoping to sway the UN with US resolve).  If that fails, he'll go the traditional route of swaying the US congress with the UN result.

Either way I find it imminently satisifying that an "idiot savant" president like Bush has both the US Congress AND the United Nations ready to consider his conditions on HIS terms and on HIS playing field, when all they BOTH have to do is say no    and Bush will be completely S.O.L. and neutered. Remember that the Democrats CONTROL THE SENATE.  If the UN says no...If Kofi shows one ounce of cahones he claims he has, the Democrats will have more than enough power to shut Bush down.

Or maybe, just maybe, the UN and congress agree with Bush's actions and Bush is, dare I say it, right, and the screamers of Empire America are the ones out of control?

Either way, do NOT confuse political rhetoric with actual action.  Bush' team is banging the war drums loudly to drum up support.  But legally he's beholden to congress, and they'll toe the line behind the UN.  What you should be asking yourself is why Daschle's team can't seem to get a cohesive political strategy out of this.  My guess is they're playing "give the man enough rope to hang himself" and hoping that Bush will indeed go to war and completely screw things up and then they'll come in afterwards and "save" everybody.  Which, I pray to God they're not doing...

[ Parent ]

Some examples of 'beating the war drum' (4.00 / 2) (#168)
by nonsisente on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 02:06:26 AM EST

Here is the comparison of some of todays headlines:

The Independent (UK)

  • Scientists question Bush case against Iraq
  • Warriors of the world give peace no chance
  • UN to upset Bush's war plans with one-year deadline for Iraq
  • Bush to bulldoze military action vote through Congress
The Times (UK)
  • UN inspectors will dice with danger and deceit
  • Rumsfeld: we have to shoot first
  • Debate over US and UK proposals to use force against Saddam in Iraq
  • Legal queries over actions on Iraq
  • Bush presses Russia to back UN action on Iraq
NY Times (USA)
  • New Plan for Smallpox Attack
  • Retired Generals Warn of Peril in Attacking Iraq Without Backing of U.N.
  • U.S. Suspects Ukraine of Selling Radar to Iraq
  • Portrait of the Arab as a Young Radical
  • U.S. Taking Steps to Ready Forces for Iraq Fighting
  • Bush's Push on Iraq at U.N.
  • Bush Seeks Power to Use 'All Means' to Oust Hussein
USA Today (USA)
  • U.S. boosts bioterror plan 
  • Blair to give evidence on Saddam's arms programs
  • Democrats seeking Iraq alternative
  • Plan aimed at Iraqi commanders raises doubts
Times Of India (India)
  • Bush wants strong UN resolution on Iraq
  • Iraq factor reduces Blair's popularity
  • Attack on Iraq may force hike in oil prices
Daily Telegraph (Australia)
  • Iraq war 'will hinder terror fight'
  • Blair to reveal Iraq evidence
  • Labor wants Iraq 'attack' details
  • MP risks expulsion over Iraq 
Just by reading the headlines, you can see there are big differences between the first and the second two; while for the british media it is still a war/no war debacle, the US media is concerned with 'how are we going change the Iraq regime'. The last two are yet different - they both question how can a war be avoided.

For the US media, peace is categorically out of the question.

[ Parent ]

looks like bush learned from stalin (5.00 / 3) (#155)
by RelliK on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:23:30 PM EST

"You are either with us or you are with terrorists" -- George W. Bush
"Those who are not with us are against us" -- Joseph Stalin
---
Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism it's just the opposite.
[ Parent ]
Bush's latest speech (none / 0) (#224)
by r00t on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 05:42:04 AM EST

Ironic how on Bush's last speech he specifically stated that "Saddam is a student of Stalin".

-It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to unlearn. - Isaac Asimov
[ Parent ]

A little analysis please (none / 0) (#206)
by wilson on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 05:59:08 AM EST

The fact that Germany and Russia oppose the action is irrelevant to how US media portrays the issue really. Russia and Germany are old enemies which makes it easy for the States to demonize them for opposing their policy. I read a scary quote today where Bush responded to the recent rebuke from Germany by re-iterating his "if you are not with us, you are against us" war cry. So this means that Germany and Russia can become the next enemies if need be.

I believe that German opposition is a genuine one, but Germany is most certainly not seen as an old enemy of the America. I don't think American feel friendlier to any non-English-speaking country than Germany. Unlike the British, we never had our cities bombed by the Germans and we don't carry the resentment they do for WWII.

Russia certainly kindles a bit of the old animosity, but you don't actually believe that Russia will oppose a security council resolution in the end, do you? They're just horse-trading with the US. Russia wants to know that the US is going to let them handle the problems on the Georgian border (no problem, we're already training Georgians to deal with them) and in Chechnya (we'll have to swallow our bile on that one, but we'll knock off the condemnations and not interfere)without any inteference from us.

Neither Germany nor Russia would become enemies for their opposition. Just not gonna happen, no way, no how. Bush is probably an idiot, his staff certainly tends to the hawkish side, but NOBODY in the Bush administration thinks "if you're not with us, you're against us" is a binding agreement to go to war with Schroeder.

You know, I'm pretty vocally against a lot of what the administration is doing these days in foreign policy, but it's exhausting having to begin every argument by separating myself from thoughtless, knee-jerk, twits who take everything on face value.

[ Parent ]

Hm (3.00 / 2) (#178)
by dzeroo on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 09:05:35 AM EST

Although I really think this is a good article (even though a lot of people here seem to disagree), I cannot help but feel the urge to stop talking about it and actually go out and do something about it. I'm done with the theory. If you ask me, one of the most important reasons the US is where it is today is because it actually does things whereas many many cultures prefer to endlessly debate their goals and causes. Shit does not change if all you do is talk. And if you want anyone (including the apathetic American consumer) to change his way, you'll have to go do something about it. Creating 'awareness' by flapping your lip is the easiest way out. In fact, nothing will change because the only social body that has actually been moving since 9/11 is the American consumer (and, yes fine, a small army of rich white kids who protest because they can afford to). While you were telling me, I told you so.


== chicks are for fags ==


Heh (none / 0) (#194)
by Mantikor on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 06:47:26 PM EST

If you ask me, one of the most important reasons the US is where it is today is because it actually does things

Although this wasn't what you meant, I find this comment portion EXTREMELY insightful.

The reason the US is in the twin-tower-less position it is today, is because it actually goes out and does things to other people.

[ Parent ]
hm2 (none / 0) (#205)
by dzeroo on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 06:30:27 PM EST

Taking the lead can be a very ungrateful job, regardless of whether or not you're doing the right thing. In both the pragmatic and theoretical sense, movement will be hampered by friction, regardless of direction or motivation. If you move, you'll go somewhere, but you'll get hurt along the way.


== chicks are for fags ==


[ Parent ]
heh 2 (none / 0) (#211)
by livus on Fri Sep 27, 2002 at 04:39:24 AM EST

Which cultures are you talking about? Who on earth are you talking about? Last time I looked no-one was letting talk stand in the way of what progress they were able to make.

Or did you specifically mean "does things to other countries"?

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Evil people also have motivations (4.50 / 2) (#189)
by pantagruel on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:57:14 PM EST

How tired I am of always hearing how evil people do things without motivation when it just isn't true.

Some of the vilest, most evil people in the history of humanity have also been among the most motivated; I'm talking about people like Gilles De Rais who seems to have been highly motivated to experience persecution by our sensation-loving, celebrity-obsessed media but alas found that he could not transcend the boundaries of time.

Or how about Adolf Hitler, a truly evil man who fiercely yearned to be Saddam Hussein?

As an evil person and yet also a highly motivated one(my personal likes are satanism and The Shrub), I found it difficult to give your article the attention it deserved because of your snap judgement that evil people were somehow different than normal people; it is this kind of hurtful stereotyping which contributes to society's mis-perception of evil as a negative quality and prevents the full use of evil people's capabilities for the betterment of Humanity.

Well, that was just my malign two cents.



Evil motivation.... (none / 0) (#210)
by Gooba42 on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 03:27:08 PM EST

You always have the question of how to define evil in a moral sense. Is evil the lack of good as St. Augustine asserted? Is evil the specific will to do other than good?

If evil is a lack of good, then there are tons of evil people in the world. This definition lumps in amoral with the immoral This definition would also define as good any world leader who is doing intentional good for their country.

If evil is the specific will to do other than good then there are in fact exceedingly few evil people in the world. If there is any motivation other than the simple reduction of "good" in the world, then they are not evil. Misguided, crazy, whatever you want to call them, evil is not the right word for it. Basically under this definition you can't be evil if you have any intention of doing good for anybody including yourself.

I would contend that to be classified as "evil" you would really have to fit the second definition. If you want to get seriously orthodox and archaic then if you are truly Evil then no good will ever come of anything you do. No deal made with the devil can ever come to good purpose.



[ Parent ]
definition of good (none / 0) (#223)
by pantagruel on Fri Oct 04, 2002 at 06:20:53 AM EST

You say one can't be evil if one has intention of doing good for anyone, including oneself. Somehow this statement causes me to assume that your definition of good somehow involves material advancement.

[ Parent ]
Good != Material (none / 0) (#227)
by Gooba42 on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 10:44:05 AM EST

The "good", whatever it is, isn't necessarily material advancement and I hate to have left you with that impression. I will not however rule out material advancement, that doesn't disqualify something from being good either.

You have hit upon something though, "good" is vague as much as "evil" is vague.

I tend to fall somewhere between Kant and Confucius when it comes to ethical argument. The ethical good or bad of an act is really in the intention to do good or bad but there are some things which are valuable without doing any particular good.

So I guess in my mind it's really difficult to do good unintentionally because it is the intent which makes it good. Likewise evil is not done by accident because it takes an evil will behind it to make it evil. Everything else is immoral, sometimes misguided, but of no real moral or ethical value either way.

[ Parent ]
Evil is its own reward. (none / 0) (#212)
by livus on Fri Sep 27, 2002 at 04:42:23 AM EST

Tsk tsk. Shame on you. You should be satisfied with being evil; it should be your only goal. Otherwise you're merely an evil-wanabe.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
as evil as I wanna be (none / 0) (#222)
by pantagruel on Fri Oct 04, 2002 at 06:19:01 AM EST

and no more than that. This reminds me of an old acquaintence of mine, whenever he walked into a situation fraught with potential violence he would announce "I don't wanna kill no one, but I will!"

[ Parent ]
The Church of Satan isn't evil.. (none / 0) (#219)
by sudog on Sat Sep 28, 2002 at 01:24:04 AM EST

(See subject line.)

[ Parent ]
not any more (none / 0) (#221)
by pantagruel on Fri Oct 04, 2002 at 06:17:16 AM EST

alas.

[ Parent ]
Five steps to escape media conformity (none / 0) (#230)
by mesozoic on Wed Nov 20, 2002 at 05:41:03 PM EST

I feel sorry for anyone who watches the news on television, or reads the CNN headlines a few times a day, and actually thinks they are well-informed. I implore everyone whom this reaches to take a more active role as media consumers.

Step 1: Stop watching the major news broadcasts. CNN, MSNBC, ABC, Fox; they all streamline and editorialize world affairs into tiny bite-size pieces that are devoid of any real insight, yet leave you with the impression you understand what's happening in the world. Television is great for showing movies; it is horrible for developing a well-informed citizenry.

Step 2: Get your information in print. Read the New York Times. Then read the Wall Street Journal. Then read Reason. Then read BBC News. Then read the Financial Times. The printed word offers a much broader range of opinions and views, and it will also improve your vocabulary. Watching a news cast is like watching a movie; you become a passive receiver. Reading the news is an active and engaging process, and it gives you time to think and properly digest what you've read.

Step 3: Get your information from primary sources. When you read about a UN declaration in the news, it takes just one extra click to actually read that declaration. Before you start arguing about the Office of Homeland Security, make sure you understand exactly what it is and what sort of language was used to create it. Whether you support or oppose a war against Iraq (in the event that they mislead UN inspectors), read about the history of Saddam's regime and his history with the UN. Don't settle for preprocessed accounts of what's happening in the world; they will inevitably be slanted one way or another. Find the facts and make your own conclusions.

Step 4: Do not believe any one argument is all-encompassing. Just because somebody makes a compelling argument, whether on TV, in the paper, or in a book, does not mean they understand (or even addressed) the whole situation. Even if you agree (and especially if you agree) with what someone says, find out what counterarguments exist. This will make you more aware of the diversity of human thought, whether or not you actually agree with all of it.

Step 5: Think. Examine. Investigate. Be an active observer. Don't take anything at face value, but don't ignore it either. If you can't come up with a compelling argument, you don't know enough to be arguing yet.

"Information is the currency of democracy."
-- Thomas Jefferson


"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right." -- Salvor Hardin, Isaac Asimov's Foundation
Securing Their Legitimacy | 227 comments (213 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
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