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[P]
Supreme Court justice to launch morals program

By blues is dead in News
Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 04:41:45 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

CNN reports that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is set to launch a "Dialogue on Freedom" initiative at a D.C. school on Monday, with First Lady Laura Bush.

This program was spurred on by his observation of a "lack of 'moral outrage' among some high school students following the September 11 terrorist attacks."


Justice Kennedy's intention apparently is to give children a sound moral base, so they can make their own informed, objective opinions.
"There seemed to be a feeling that the U.S. got its comeuppance and that we have to take our lumps sometimes too," Kennedy said.

He warned against what he said was an effort to find rational explanations for the actions of the terrorists.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy was nominated by Reagan to the Supreme Court, and took his oath of office on Feb. 18, 1988.

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Do you believe this program will succeed in teaching children ethics?
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Supreme Court justice to launch morals program | 247 comments (243 topical, 4 editorial, 7 hidden)
Moral outrage (3.80 / 31) (#2)
by enterfornone on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 12:50:20 PM EST

I suppose Justice Kennedy will help these students make an informed objective opinion about the fact that the US has already killed more civilians in Afghanistan than those who died in the attacks on the US?

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
Really? (3.94 / 18) (#12)
by seebs on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 01:54:41 PM EST

So, you're quite sure those numbers are fair, accurate, and unbiased?

I put it to you that the number of innocent civilians who have died in Afghanistan since September 11th is lower than it would have been if the Taliban had remained in power. You are welcome to justify an oppressive and murderous regime however you want.

In moral systems suitable for use by anyone over the age of five, there is a distinction between "this is what I wanted to do" and "this was an unfortunate but necessary side effect of something
I wanted to do".

The U.S. has not *targeted* civilians, as civilians. The U.S. may have targeted buildings which turned out to contain civilians, but they have consistently tried to make sure that they hit only military targets.

If the U.S. wanted to kill civilians, the death toll would be in the hundreds of thousands.

Basically, if you think you can do a better job, go out there and prove it. Otherwise, shut up; you're making the species look stupid.


[ Parent ]
unbiased (4.50 / 20) (#34)
by enterfornone on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 03:07:42 PM EST

So, you're quite sure those numbers are fair, accurate, and unbiased?
Well I doubt very much that the Taliban are in charge of the BBC. Do you think it might be possible that US news sources might be biased?
In moral systems suitable for use by anyone over the age of five, there is a distinction between "this is what I wanted to do" and "this was an unfortunate but necessary side effect of something I wanted to do".
In other words, killing thousands of innocent people is OK because we are on the side of good.

I'm sure the September 11 terrorists beleived exactly the same thing.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]

The BBC's sources... (4.00 / 4) (#112)
by seebs on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:17:50 PM EST

Since the only source anyone has is claims made by various parts of the Afghan government, it doesn't matter who's *repeating* them, the question is, where do we get the original numbers?

As to your second point: Define "okay". It's not okay that innocent people die - but that doesn't mean we have the option of living in a world where they don't. You have totally missed the distinction being made, and frankly, given the fervency with which people miss this distinction, I suspect that you know better and are doing it on purpose.

There is a difference between trying to kill a person, and doing something, knowing that the person may get killed. To date, the toll of civilians that were, *as civilians*, the target of attacks by the U.S. is 0, and the toll of civilians that were the target of attacks by terrorists is well over 50,000. Luckily, most of the people they were trying to kille scaped. Unfortunately, some people we were *not* trying to kill were very close to people we *were* trying to kill. One of the reasons is that the Taliban developed the strategem of parking military vehicles next to non-military targets, to try to create sympathy.

Is it a good thing that these civilians die? No. Is it better than the *real* alternative, which is many times more civilians, all over the world, dying? No.

In an ideal world, we would have magic bullets that only hit soldiers. In the world we live in, if soldiers choose to use civilian shields, you either accept that a few innocent people die, or you accept that a lot more innocent people die.

I'm glad you're so far from these kinds of decisions as to be able to easily say that the one the U.S. military picked is obviously wrong. I hope you never have to make a hard decision, you'd never be able to live with yourself.


[ Parent ]
If that were the case (4.00 / 4) (#125)
by enterfornone on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:38:23 AM EST

Is it a good thing that these civilians die? No. Is it better than the *real* alternative, which is many times more civilians, all over the world, dying? No.
If this were true you might have a point. But the truth is that the US going to war against the Middle East is the cause of terrorism, not the solution. Were the US government to pull out of these conflicts, not only would they no longer be killing foriegn citizens, they would also not be provoking foriegn terrorist to attack US citizens. The current US policy is killing Afghan civilians and at the same time putting their own in more danger.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Bullshit, frankly. (5.00 / 1) (#217)
by seebs on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 02:05:45 PM EST

No, the U.S. is not the "cause" of terrorism. These people have a thousand years of history of violent conflict against anything that moves; that's the *cause* of terrorism.

If the U.S. backs out, then whole ethnic groups will be wiped off the map. Compare the fate of the Kurds to the fate of the Afghans; you're better off losing a war to America than not being at war with someone like Hussein.

"Provoking" terrorist attacks is like "provoking" rape. Blaming the victim is bullshit.


[ Parent ]
Provoking rape (none / 0) (#224)
by enterfornone on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 05:38:19 AM EST

George W Bush walking down a dark alley in a short skirt is not going to cause my sister to get raped. However Bush's decisions are causing other people lives to be put at risk. It's not blame the victim, because the people responsible are not victims.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Nice dodge, no points. (none / 0) (#229)
by seebs on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 11:10:42 AM EST

Nope, you still don't get it. The *ONLY* people responsible for a terrorist attack are the terrorists. They are not being provoked; they are acting of their own volition, and they are acting in a way that is wrong.


[ Parent ]
So (none / 0) (#243)
by enterfornone on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 04:29:27 PM EST

by extension, the US is totally responsible for the deaths of civillians in Afghanistan. You can't have it both ways.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Now you are catching on (2.00 / 3) (#130)
by mulvaney on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:03:18 AM EST

In other words, killing thousands of innocent people is OK because we are on the side of good.

Yes, that's right.

<i.I'm sure the September 11 terrorists beleived exactly the same thing.</i>

Yes, they probably did. And they were wrong.

-Mike

[ Parent ]

they were wrong? (4.00 / 1) (#158)
by zenofchai on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:10:19 AM EST

good thing might makes right, or we couldn't be as smug in our being (self-) right(eousness). yes they were wrong to blow up a building of civilians, duh. maybe you've heard the adage, "two wrongs don't make a right", or something like that? i guess in the case of our dealings in Afghanistan, it would be "three wrongs don't make a right" but i would then be assuming you had an idea as to why the WTC was destroyed (read: the WTC was destroyed because of US foreign policy. they were fighting a war against terrorism before we were.).

maybe we should fix our foreign policy? but that would be admitting we were wrong, and how many times has the US done that within 50 years of being wrong? good thing the american people have Enron to fixate upon.

-zoc
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
how do we do that, exactly? (none / 0) (#174)
by mulvaney on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:01:02 PM EST

good thing might makes right

Its not might that makes right, its the fact that its me that makes it right. At some point, you have to decide which side to root for, and I don't know about you, but I like to root for the home team.

maybe we should fix our foreign policy?

Do you have any suggestions here? Or is it just the same "quit pissing everyone off" crap that so many people like to spew. Look, its not that easy. Should we be totally isolationist? Yeah, that worked really well in the past (WWII comes to mind.) Maybe we should just let people like Saddam and Osama do whatever they want, and pull out of every foreign country? Yeah, that worked really well in the past too.

50 years of being wrong is overstating it just a bit. You don't think the people of South Korea were grateful for our actions there? I guess Eastern Europe was better off under the umbrella of the USSR, too. And while we didn't act fast enough in the former Yugoslavia, but when we did, we just as surely helped out the people living there.

-Mike

[ Parent ]

US foreign policy (none / 0) (#215)
by deadplant on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 01:12:49 PM EST

yes, many of the USA's foreign interventions (spin-speak for small wars) have been very good things overall. Yugoslavia and afghanistan (this time, not last time) for instance. The problem is more with the economically motivated wars and terror campaigns. Things like military support for brutal dictators, the middle east has had (and of course still does have) some really nasty autocrats. When the USA supports these people with military equipment and terror training it causes massive suffering and death. This is the sort of behaviour that earns them the "self-righteous" and "evil" name calling. You want specific suggestions for changing US foreign policy? here ya go, don't give military equipment to dictators to help secure your oil supplies, and stop giving terror training to foreign regimes and militias. Those are two very achievable and very reasonable requests that if followed could save countless lives.

This supreme court judge's attitude (as much as could be seen from the linked article) is illustrative of the root problem here. He demands shock and outrage at this horrendous event. Well, outrage I would agree with, but shock? I think perhaps that this judge does not follow international events very closely. If he did then perhaps he would have demanded shock and outrage a long time ago. Non-americans get massacred on a regular basis, but this doesn't seem cause any moral outrage for judge Kennedy, but he expects foreign students to be outraged?



[ Parent ]
really what ? (4.18 / 16) (#46)
by fhotg on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 03:42:00 PM EST

So, you're quite sure those numbers are fair, accurate, and unbiased?
Who knows ? No side will tell you the truth, both will report massaged or made up numbers.
The difference beeing here, that one side has way more influence over news sorces than the other.

US - professor Mark W. Herold documented 3767 civilian deaths till December. He uses international acknowleged news agencys, renowed newspapers and eye witness testimonies. He lists all his sources and his estimate is a conservative one. See here for the original (.doc grrr).

The number comparing pisses me off anyways.

The U.S. has not *targeted* civilians, as civilians. The U.S. may have targeted buildings which turned out to contain civilians, but they have consistently tried to make sure that they hit only military targets.
This is deceptive speak. The military knows that in this situation, they have to kill civilians in order to kill fighters. So they don't care if they kill civilians if it helps them to achieve whatever the fuck it is they want to achieve. So you're right here, but what happens is just an example of evil inflicted through unreflected 'the end justifies the means' - philosophy. Exactly how the terrorists justify what they're doing.
If the U.S. wanted to kill civilians, the death toll would be in the hundreds of thousands.
Very, very true, as proven by them in Irak.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]
Excuse me ? (none / 0) (#101)
by ColeH on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:16:37 PM EST

Ummm... where were the trageted civilans in Iraq ?? Cite some examples please.

[ Parent ]
Where are they targeted?? (4.20 / 5) (#110)
by valeko on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:13:01 PM EST

Perhaps that varies with your definition of 'targeted'. If Iraqi civilians were delibarately shot at by American military units, it certainly won't be proven. Far more important are the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians who suffer at the hands of American (and to some degree, western in general) policy of economic sanctions. Some references to this question are available here, and here (this link pertains to a UN condemnation of the sanctions).


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Iraq... (3.66 / 3) (#115)
by CyberQuog on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:52:04 PM EST

Since Iraqi's suffer so much under America, maybe it'd be better if we stopped sending them our evil western care packages, with that evil food, medicine, clothing, and necesities. Just ignore the fact that Saddam built himself his own theme park, SaddamLand (I shit you not) while his people starve, and let's blame it all on the good ol USA.
-...-
[ Parent ]
Well, look at it another way. (5.00 / 1) (#168)
by valeko on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:27:21 PM EST

There's no question that Saddam's regime could be doing more to help his people, and that his lavish military expenditures (and theme parks?) are damaging to Iraq's overall humanitarian situation. However, there's definitely something to be said about the sanctions themselves; Saddam is not the end-all. Your argument is in reality from the same camp as, "what? but our sanctions allow food and medicine to be imported! what about oil-for-food? if it's not getting to the right places, it's because Saddam is diverting it!"

This may be true to some degree, but Saddam is not the sole determinant of what goes where. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that the ability of the average Iraqi citizen to get access to adequate humanitarian supplies is more a function of Iraq's overall economic health than of Saddam's policies. If Iraq were allowed to freely establish imports, exports, and demand, there's no question that the humanitarian situation would probably be somewhat better. Unfortunately, the sanctions prostrate all of this.

I'm not the only one who thinks so. The UN Humanitarian Panel had this to say in a 1999 report1:

"The humanitarian situation in Iraq will continue to be a dire one in the absence of a sustained revival of the Iraqi economy which in turn cannot be achieved solely through remedial humanitarian efforts."

The organisation Human Rights Watch seems to agree 2:

"[oil-for-food] does not contain the elements of comprehensive planning and economic revival that we believe to be essential in order to reverse the dangerously degraded state of the country's civilian infrastructure and social services"

----------
1 Report of the second panel established pursuant to the note by the president of the Security Council of 30 January 1999 concerning the current humanitarian situation in Iraq.

2 Letter to the United Nations Security Council / Human Rights Watch World Report 2000: Iraq.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Why absolve Saddam of responsibility? (5.00 / 1) (#193)
by KilljoyAZ on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 07:48:13 PM EST

And why are there sanctions now? Because Saddam Hussein is obssessed with obtaining weapons of mass destruction, even though he agreed to give them up at the conclusion of the Gulf War. The sanctions are the result of the government of Iraq's refusal to follow his post war agreements. Like it or not, his dictatorship is the legitimate government of Iraq.

Hussein has proven himself to be very dangerous to his neighbors. He's used chemical weapons against Iran and against his own people, and probably would have used them again against Israel and coalition forces in the Gulf War if the US made the not-so-veiled threat of retaliating with nuclear weapons. If he's willing to use chemical weapons against his enemies, he's probably willing to use nuclear or biological weapons too. Doesn't that concern you? How will lifting sanctions improve this situation?

There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that the ability of the average Iraqi citizen to get access to adequate humanitarian supplies is more a function of Iraq's overall economic health than of Saddam's policies.

Nobody forced Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait. Without any war, you have no post war agreements to break. Nobody forced Saddam Hussein to continue development of weapons of mass destruction, breaking the post-war agreements and forcing the US and UK to push for sanctions. And nobody forced Saddam Hussein to divert funds from humanitarian to not only fund his military and WMD programs, but also to build ornate palaces and monuments to his ego at the expense of his own people. The world should rallying to get this bastard out of power instead of allowing him to act unimpeded.

Incidentally, the US and the UK tried to change the sanction scheme to allow for more exports of food and medicine while tightening on weapon and oil smuggling, but Russia balked because Iraq is a lucrative buyer of Russian weapons and wants the sanctions dropped entirely. You would prefer a world where Saddam is free to pursue weapons of mass destruction and whose military is rebuilt with Russian hardware? I sure don't.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
Well let's think some more.. (none / 0) (#240)
by valeko on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 11:32:04 PM EST

The sanctions are the result of the government of Iraq's refusal to follow his post war agreements. Like it or not, his dictatorship is the legitimate government of Iraq.

The sanctions are the result of American-led policy - whether they're the proximate result of the uncooperative behaviour on the part of the Iraqi government is a question that lends itself to asking, "who defines 'cooperative'?" Obviously the imperialistic organ in the crowd does; if the US said Iraq is not following some agreements, that's the law. That in itself is hardly unusual, except that Saddam was deeply in the US's embrace just a few years before?...

Nobody forced Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait. Without any war, you have no post war agreements to break.

I agree, although the circumstances that led to the invasion of Kuwait and Iraq's internal justification for doing so are both things that should not be overlooked.

However, saying that these post-war agreements, and ostensibly sanctions, are the natural and self-evident product of war with Kuwait is a bit off IMO. It is a course implemented by the US with a specific purpose in mind.

Nobody forced Saddam Hussein to continue development of weapons of mass destruction
[...]

I'm sure that the situation isn't so simple. Iraq's pursuit of a weapons programme may be explained by its strategic isolation, but its strategic isolation may be explained by other points in its history in which the US had a role in making it that way. It's circular logic- a self fulfilling prophecy. A more convenient example is how the US discourages any convergence between the interests of Russia and the European Union by playing the old, "aw, come on, it's Russia, all they do is deal with central Asians, bandits, Chechens, etc, they're all corrupt mafia bosses, why would you want to invest there?!" game. This may not be true in a time when there is progress in Russia (not saying there is right now), but ultimately if Russia is ostracised this way, that will become the truth because it will be isolated and left to interact politically only with those in its traditional vicinity. From examination of the Iraq-Iran war, I am firmly convinced that such circular logic is also at work in getting Iraq toward its present situation, and while Saddam may have a primary role in it, he's not the only one.

but Russia balked because Iraq is a lucrative buyer of Russian weapons and wants the sanctions dropped entirely. You would prefer a world where Saddam is free to pursue weapons of mass destruction and whose military is rebuilt with Russian hardware? I sure don't.

Good argument, except that to state it you've internalised all the parameters of the official western propaganda about it. For one, there is no indication that if Iraq had any ostensible way out (other than permitting the violation of its sovereignty by UN weapons inspectors, which is a loss of face as much as anything), it wouldn't necessarily take it. Unfortunately, it's left isolated even in the Arab world and the government sees no plausable pursuit save the accumulation of arms. It's true that this is mostly Saddam's fault, and that this policy existed in the Ba'ath government long before 1990, but I still think it's partially a product of Iraq's unique environment.

As for arms sales, the reason that the US is so conscious of this arms trade relationship between Iraq and Russia is because the US would rather have everyone's business in its own military-industrial complex. Everyone knows that, unless you believe the official tripe of course. According to statistics that came out toward the end of the last decade (1990-2000), the US generated more than half of all global arms exports, and exported them to hundreds of countries indiscriminate of whether they're "democracies", "human rights violators", etc. If Iraq were only a little more accomodating toward American interests in the region, the US wouldn't be so "concerned" with the domestic tyrrany of its regime. Such goals are colourfully illustrated in the history of American foreign policy - the sanctioning of the Turkish genocidal campaign against Kurds (and the arming of Turkey, a vital NATO partner - with some of the arms used in this campaign) and the invasion of Cyprus, the American approval of Suharto's 1975 invasion of East Timor (in which ~200 000 East Timoreans perished), the propping up of South Korean dictator Syngman Rhee (responsible for quite a few massacres of tens of thousands), and ad nauseum.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Where kids usually hang out (4.33 / 3) (#118)
by fhotg on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 11:32:56 PM EST

An extensive survey by UNICEF and WHO finds that between 1991 and 1998,
500 000 more children under five more died, than would have, if the conditions had remained the same than trough the 80's. The sanctions on Iraq were imposed in 1990.
Naturally, UNICEF uses very diplomatic language to blame the sanctions for that massacre, but it blames them. So if we substract the additional deaths due to more severe weather conditions in the 90's and take into account that we were referring so far only to children under five, we are still in the hundredthousands.
More direct words were found by Denis Halliday, former Assistant Secretary-General of the UN, who resigned from his position as humanitarian co-ordinator in Iraq after 34 years with the UN, because "There was no way I was going to be associated with this programme and manage this ghastly thing in Iraq.."
Hans v. Sponeck, his successor, resigned after 15 months for the same reason:"How long should the civilian population, which is totally innocent on all this, be exposed to such punishment for something that they have never done ?"

From the interview:

Q:Who, in your view, is primarily responsible for the deaths of those 500,000 children under five?
A:All the members of the Permanent Security Council, when they passed 1284, reconfirmed that economic sanctions had to be sustained, knowing the consequences. That constitutes intent to kill, because we know that sanctions are killing several thousand per month. Now, of the five permanent members, three abstained; but an abstention is no better than a vote for, in a sense. Britain and America of course voted for this continuation. The rest of them don't count because they are lackeys, or they are paid off...However, I would normally point the finger at London and Washington, because they are the most active in sustaining sanctions: they are the ones who will not compromise. All the other members would back down if London and Washington would change their position. I think that's quite clear.
Ok the Brits are guilty too, divide by two.

Former US General Attorney Ramsey Clarks letters and reports to the UN might also be of interest.

And now for something completely different: The UN - definition of genozide.

Hope it helps.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]

that's one way to look at it (5.00 / 4) (#131)
by mulvaney on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:06:50 AM EST

Another way to look at it is that there were exceptions that allowed Iraq to spend money on food and medical supplies, and the government chose not to do so. While the outcome of the UN policies were certainly not what was intended, Saddam carries a very high proportion of the blame due to taking his own people hostage.

-Mike

[ Parent ]

let's cover more perspectives .. (none / 0) (#160)
by fhotg on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:19:07 AM EST

Another way to look at it is that there were exceptions that allowed Iraq to spend money on food and medical supplies, and the government chose not to do so.
If you look at the in - detail documentation available on the web, you'll find that the "shortage of medical supplies" is certainly due to the sanctions. (search for interview with v. Sponeck and lists of sanctioned items).

Saddam carries a very high proportion of the blame due to taking his own people hostage.
I do not deny this, he's certainly guilty of numerous crimes against humanity and his own people and the world would be a better place without that guy.

But then you have to ask the question, why the US let him stay in power, they had the opportunity to 'take him out' and create conditions for a more sane government. And that's the mission the US claims to have all the time, when it's about intervening somewhere.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]

so what are you advocating? (none / 0) (#172)
by mulvaney on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:51:58 PM EST

you'll find that the "shortage of medical supplies" is certainly due to the sanctions

Yes, that is possibly true. But you can say for certain, 100% without a doubt, that the "shortage of medical supplies" is also the fault of the current Iraqi leadership. Absent the sanctions, it is hard to say whether Saddam would buy food/medicine or not; after all, we are talking about an irrational person.

But then you have to ask the question, why the US let him stay in power, they had the opportunity to 'take him out' and create conditions for a more sane government.

Well yeah, I think its pretty much agreed on that we missed our chance to finish off Saddam 10 years ago. That was a mistake (thanks to Colin Powell in another one of his long string of bad decisions), and the sanctions were an attempt to fix that mistake. Obviously they aren't working, I think we will all agree on that.

But what is the alternative? Do you just lift the sanctions, and allow Saddam to "win"? Push him out with force? What else is there?

-Mike

[ Parent ]

good question (5.00 / 1) (#181)
by fhotg on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:55:27 PM EST

But you can say for certain, 100% without a doubt, that the "shortage of medical supplies" is also the fault of the current Iraqi leadership. Absent the sanctions, it is hard to say whether Saddam would buy food/medicine or not; after all, we are talking about an irrational person.
Yeah, it's hard to say, but now, it's the US/UK's fault. Your argument is like "Yeah, I killed the junkie, but it's not my fault, he probably would have killed himself anyway if I hadn't"

..the sanctions were an attempt to fix that mistake. Obviously they aren't working,..
If they are working or not depends on what the goal is. An, admittedly extreme and provokative thesis, that nevertheless needs to be defeated is:
"The sanctions are working. It's the goal to pamper a collective hate of the muslim world against the 'west'. Saddam is kept in power on purpose, because we need a face for the evil enemy. And we want to keep control over Iraqs oil."
But what is the alternative? Do you just lift the sanctions, and allow Saddam to "win"? Push him out with force? What else is there?
Assuming the goal was not to make the people suffer, in contrary help them, and at the same time prevent an evil dictator from developing ABC-weapons, hmmm..
The first step to restore credibility would be to honour UN convenants, Geneva and Hague convention and what else international law there is. The current sanctions violate them bluntly. Iraq should be allowed to operate it's own economy, namely sell its oil. Help should be provided to rebuild essential infrastructure (water, transport etc.)
As for the "but they'll make poison-gas again" - argument: Powell told Bush in January:"Iraq no longer poses a military threat to its neighbours". UN-arms inspectors agree. The UN has provisions in place to control these things. I see no way, how large scale weapons manufacturing could take place in secret, given todays reconnaissance technology and UN-inspectors on the ground, backed up by international UN-forces.

"But the dictator ..." Yeah, nobody has figured out a way how to sustainably move a country from dictatorship to democracy. US expertise is more related to the contrary. Chances are, that a population living under human conditions, having access to education and some sort of economy worth the name, is more likely to do away with a dictator than people dying like the flies from diarrhea. In case a significant opposition forms and is suppressed, one could strife for a UN - mandate to force elections.

You think that would be a "victory" for Saddam ? I don't know. He draws his power and support to 100% from the hate against the evil empire. If the west stops killing Iraqi babies and starts supporting the people he'll have a serious problem. Judo you know ?

Key is to give authority to international gremia(that's a word?), like the UN. US/UK already lost all credibility in this case.

Some infos were taken from this joint statement of v.Sponeck and Halliday.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]

hmm (none / 0) (#186)
by mulvaney on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 06:59:46 PM EST

Well, I don't really know what to say to that. I think we both agree that the sanctions are having the affect of not only hurting the Iraqi people but also fostering a feeling of ill will towards the United States throughout the region.

I think there are two main disagreements, though. First, I think that Saddam shares at least half of the blame for the plight of his citizens. If he had said, "I'm sorry, I was wrong, now lets build some hospitals and have some elections" then I think the whole thing would have been over with long ago. But Saddam does not share our compassion for his own citizens.

The second disagreement is what the response to the failure of the sanctions should be. Should the US give up, and allow Saddam to ignore all of the limitations placed on him after the Gulf War? I hate to bring up Hitler again, but the road of appeasement is just too similar.

argument: Powell told Bush in January:"Iraq no longer poses a military threat to its neighbours". UN-arms inspectors agree.

Well, I'm not sure how the UN-arms inspectors would determine that, as they aren't allowed to actually inspect arms. But assuming it is true, then it looks like the sanctions worked after all. The main purpose was to prevent the buildup of another Iraqi army, and you are claiming that we are free of that threat. Yay!

Still, the solution is not perfect, and doesn't come without a measure of guilt when looking at the current state of the Iraqi populace. Also, I find it fairly naive to think that if we lifted all sanctions, eliminated the no-fly zones, etc, that Saddam would turn into a benevolent dictator and not buy another army. With the ammount of oil he is sitting on, and the large number of dangerous weapons just a cashier's check away, we can't afford to be complacent.

-Mike

[ Parent ]

getting close (5.00 / 1) (#196)
by fhotg on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 08:43:38 PM EST

First, I think that Saddam shares at least half of the blame for the plight of his citizens.
Well, myself and many if not most Iraqis agree, that Saddam is a major reason for the misery. That doesn't release US/UK and the rest from the guilt, as they are prohibiting not Saddam, but humanitarian organizations from feeding people.

The rest boils down to

With the ammount of oil he is sitting on, and the large number of dangerous weapons just a cashier's check away, we can't afford to be complacent
Yes, that's the problem. Again, I'm convinced that this danger could be handled without effecting basic infrastructure and health.

It should be noted, that Iraq didn't build its army out of desert dust. During the eighties, when Iraq was at war with Iran, which in turn was considered the greater threat to the 'West", the US sold technical equipment worth 1.5 billions to Iraq. France supplied high tech weapons worth 5 billions. The rest of Europe kept up. A whole legion of German companies provided key components for Iraqs nuclear programme. Banks from all those civilized and responsible countries were heavily involved etc.etc.

I'm trying to say: Keeping our arms-dealers in check would be a good idea too.

Info taken from this cool article, essential read if you want to set up your own A-bomb project :).
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]

and ... (none / 0) (#167)
by fhotg on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:22:48 PM EST

while the outcome of the UN policies were certainly not what was intended
a) To be exact, it's not the UN, but the Security Council, that's quite a difference.

b) I think yes, these consequences are the intended ones. Ten years would have been enough time to notice the consequences and change the policy accordingly.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]

some examples? (4.00 / 3) (#129)
by rehan on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:57:15 AM EST

some examples?


Stay Frosty and Alert


[ Parent ]
I think you're missing the point... (4.25 / 4) (#113)
by seebs on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:19:04 PM EST

If we really didn't care, we could have taken out the Taliban armies a lot faster, with a lot less effort... but more civilians would have died. Lots more. So, obviously, we care. Do we care "enough"? I can't measure that, but I'd say "fewer died this way than if we stood idle" is a good goal.


[ Parent ]
Ok (3.00 / 3) (#120)
by fhotg on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 11:45:55 PM EST

If we really didn't care, we could have taken out the Taliban armies a lot faster, with a lot less effort... but more civilians would have died. Lots more. So, obviously, we care.
All right, you (I didn't identify you with the US government - you did) refrained from dropping a couple of A-bombs. Thanks for that. You care indeed.

I'd say "fewer died this way than if we stood idle" is a good goal
I simply don't believe that, and you'll be hard pressed to present a puff of evidence for that claim.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]
Evidence... (5.00 / 2) (#216)
by seebs on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 02:03:56 PM EST

Consider this: We have very little evidence of *any* measurable civilian casualties. We do, however, have *massive* evidence of executions, floggings, and other abuses of the Afghan population by the Taliban.

Do I believe there were civilian casualties? Of course. I believe that, if the U.S. military were anywhere *near* as careless as people seem to think they are, the numbers would be in the hundreds of thousands; not little four-figure numbers.

Anyway, as I said, if you have a better suggestion, you're welcome to explain it. Your solution needs to, starting from September 11th, result in people in most of Afghanistan being allowed to listen to music if they want to by December, and needs to allow women to go shopping unescorted by the same time. It needs to completely break the Taliban goverment, seriously weaken the Al-Qaeda network, and provide a framework for an interim government to take over and begin collecting funds to build an infrastructure.

And, of course, at the end of your proposed solution, even fewer civilians need to have died. No fair distinguishing between civilians killed by the Taliban and civilians killed by the U.S.; dead is dead, innocent is innocent, and saying it's fine for people to be flogged or killed as long as *your* hands are clean is just plain cowardly.


[ Parent ]
well spoken ... (none / 0) (#223)
by fhotg on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 02:07:39 AM EST

We have very little evidence of *any* measurable civilian casualties.
The evidence presented for the 3742 deaths until December is convincing, well documented, of scholary quality and a shitload of work. This is by no means "very little evidence".
We do, however, have *massive* evidence of executions, floggings, and other abuses of the Afghan population by the Taliban
You want me to play the number game, but don't provide them. Good, I don't like the number game anyways. Yes, the Taliban had an implementation of a legal system in place that strikes us as barbaric, such as execution for murderer and rapists, amputation for thieves ... But so (albeit to a lesser extent of course) perceives the rest of the world the 7 hundredsomething executions in the US in the last 25 years. But its _their_ buisness, no reason to bomb Texas. These barbaric conditions (in Afghanistan I mean ;) were present long before the Taliban grabbed power. The US (and the Saudis) had no problems with fundamentalist barbaric Mujahadeen, but supported them *big* time. They also did not have a problem with the Taliban after the Sovjets had pulled out. What I'm getting at is: US engagement never ever was determined by anything else than geopolitic and economic interests. So don't try to sell me that now.
Your solution needs to, starting from September 11th, result in people in most of Afghanistan being allowed to listen to music if they want to by December, and needs to allow women to go shopping unescorted by the same time.
Here is a reality check for you:
Afghanistan before 09/11: 94% of popul. without electricity, 88% without potable water, 10-40 deaths per week by landmines, 15000 dead women/year through pregnancy, life expectancy 41 ......
This situation didn't exactly get better through carpet bombing. You really think listening to music and shopping is of any prority ? And besides, my ethical framework does not support A killing B just so that C can go shopping for CD's.
..seriously weaken the Al-Qaeda network,..
If this is achieved is open for discussion. I don't think they did irrepareble damage to the terrorists as their dangerous people tend to hide out in UK, France, Germany, Canada... They're getting funding mostly from the Saudis, and these don't get touched for certain reasons. The best effect was probably to kill some charismatic leaders, but these will regrow.
It needs to completely break the Taliban goverment, and provide a framework for an interim government to take over and begin collecting funds to build an infrastructure.
The Taliban are gone, so what ? The land is, or shortly will be still ruled (if that's the right word) by brutal barbarians fighting each other. Northern Alliance is no different from the Taliban when it comes to humanitarian aspects. It would be the first time that a country is transformed from mediaval-fundamentalist to democratic by taking out the current rulers.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]
Thanks, that works very well. (none / 0) (#230)
by seebs on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 11:15:35 AM EST

Okay, so, in other words, you admit more people were dying anyway, and that there was no way in hell it would be getting better under the existing government, so removing that government was the *only* way to save those lives. Excellent.

As to your casual dismissal of the value of listening to music, well, what can I say? I'm from a country that believes that liberty is important. If you don't have freedom, you don't have much.


[ Parent ]
welcome .. (none / 0) (#235)
by fhotg on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 03:39:43 PM EST

Our ideas of reality are so different that meaningful communication seems impossible.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]
According to Taliban sources, of course... (4.14 / 14) (#13)
by FcD on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 01:55:05 PM EST

And their mouthpieces AIP, the Frontier Post, PNS, and ArabNews, all dutifully compiled by a Women Studies professor from New Hampshire. Human Rights Watch lists less than 1,000 dead.

[ Parent ]
Let the indoctrination begin (4.03 / 29) (#3)
by kellan on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 12:51:28 PM EST

Justice Kennedy's intention apparently is to give children a sound moral base, so they can make their own informed, objective opinions.
Next up, the Supreme Court is re-opening the Ministry of Propaganda! Since when did telling children that they have to think just like you become forming their own "informed, objective opinions."

My only question is whether there "fundamental values and universal moral precepts" are going to explicitly, or merely implicitly, Christian.

Maybe we can draw up our own K5 list of universal moral precepts, suggest them to Justive Kennedy

kellan

*cough* (3.92 / 14) (#11)
by rhyax on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 01:48:37 PM EST

I think you must mean the Ministry of Truth, comrade! :P

[ Parent ]
Sad... (4.50 / 8) (#42)
by Danse on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 03:40:11 PM EST

Since when did telling children that they have to think just like you become forming their own "informed, objective opinions."

No kidding. Seems to me that the kids are already forming their own opinions. This guy just wants to use his position to dictate the "truth" to the kids so that they will base their conclusions and opinions on that alone. Give me some time and some young, malleable minds in a captive audience, and I'll get them to believe whatever you want too!






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Jesus loves you (4.00 / 4) (#62)
by j1mmy on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 05:17:53 PM EST

Give me some time and some young, malleable minds in a captive audience, and I'll get them to believe whatever you want too!

You should be a youth minister. =)

[ Parent ]
Give me a chid . . (5.00 / 2) (#79)
by Maclir on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 07:36:11 PM EST

Gve me a child until he is seven, and I will have him for life"
Or something very similar, was (is still?) a tenet of the Jesuits, I believe.

[ Parent ]
Actually, (3.33 / 3) (#67)
by X3nocide on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 05:47:58 PM EST

they'd be re-opening the position for Secretary of Public Information. Actually, I think that changed into Press Secretary. So it looks like the position is allready filled!

pwnguin.net
[ Parent ]
Let me guess (3.05 / 19) (#4)
by Hong Kong Phooey on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 12:55:27 PM EST

This morals program will we based on christianity, thus alienating all non-christians.

Based on... (2.70 / 10) (#15)
by seebs on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 01:59:37 PM EST

Yes, it will be based on the moral system that first said that you should try to avoid killing civilians; before that, SOP was to kill the men, and take the women and children as slaves.

How horrible to imagine telling people that's wrong.

(And yes, I know that many other moral systems don't do that *now* - but Christianity and arguably Judaism are the ones that pioneered any military strategy other than scorched earth.)

Honestly, if people are alienated by the existance of other moral systems, they have a problem.


[ Parent ]
and... (3.33 / 3) (#22)
by rhyax on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 02:15:13 PM EST

Not to discount the moral acheivements of nomadic people over 2000 years ago, but we have had some acheivements since then in ethics and morality. Just because something isn't bad doesn't mean it's the best either. Granted christianity was an improvement over many pre-christian morality systems, as large monarchy was over tribal anarchy, that is not a reason to use monarchy however.

To your second point, I don't think he was complaining about the existance of other morality systems as alienating, as much as the systematic indoctrination of those morals on groups of which not all members adhere. I think if you actually stopped and thought about how you would feel if you or your children had to go to school in which muslim and only muslim morality was taught you might understand that alienation better.

[ Parent ]

A fair point... (3.00 / 4) (#25)
by seebs on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 02:21:17 PM EST

I have no problem with further moral developments since the foundation of Christianity, I just object to the implication that anything in any way "based on it" is necessarily bad.


[ Parent ]
So.. (3.66 / 3) (#36)
by Danse on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 03:27:00 PM EST

What's the problem then? He didn't say anything that could even imply that anything based on Christianity is bad. It was quite obviously saying that the "moral foundation" that the justice is seeking to instil in students will probably be based on Christianity, which could easily alienate people of other religions or no religion at all.

I think the real problem is that he's seeking to dismiss rational thinking in favor of blind acceptance of the government's point of view.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
I didn't read it that way... (none / 0) (#109)
by seebs on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:12:55 PM EST

So much of our current moral framework is "based on" Christianity that the objection really doesn't make sense - unless it's based on some kind of hostility to this.

I just don't see the reasoning by which people would reject an interesting discussion of moral principles on the grounds that they disagreed with part of the cultural background that led to it. Seems counterproductive.


[ Parent ]
Re: I didn't read it that way (5.00 / 1) (#184)
by monksp on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:25:37 PM EST

I think that the idea is that there wouldn't be an ``interesting discussion of moral principles''. What it seems (to me, and to the earlier posters to this thread) is that this is going to turn into a brainwashing scheme. Kids/teens are forming opinions, people in government disagree with those opinions, declare that those kids/teens aren't actually thinking about the issues (Because, after all, if they were, they'd have the same opinions as the gov't officials, obviously), and there's a need to make these people understand that they're wrong, and to change the way those people are looking at the problem.

Having a different isn't a crime, dispite what Ashcroft and company seem to be saying. Even if this moral & ethical instillment program is based on Christianity (Great religion, shame so many people use it as an excuse to spread intolerance and hatred), there's plenty of room for diversity of viewpoints. It's just unlikely that any deviation from the party line will be accepted. And that's where the problem starts. As soon as the government starts down the ``our opinion is the moral one, yours it outright wrong, and an insult to (the people that died/right thinking people/This Great Country/whatever)'', which is what the article was suggesting, then we loose a lot of the freedom that we (should) cherish so much.

This, really though, applies to opinions that are more ambiguous. Things like prohibition on murder, rape, and the like are fairly cut and dried. But when it comes down to not rallying to the war cry, that's a purely personal decision.

[ Parent ]
"since" the foundation of Christianity? (3.20 / 5) (#145)
by itsbruce on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 06:14:01 AM EST

How can you honestly claim that ethical philosophy started with Christianity, you ignorant, arrogant redneck? Never heard of Buddhism (predates Christianity by 500 years)? Jainism (similar age)? Zoroastrianism (by over 1000 years)?

Somebody get this rube an education.


--It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]

I think his post was just confusing (none / 0) (#161)
by jwwebcast on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:38:04 AM EST

I get the impression, that he was considering the moral code of Christianity to include the Judaic timeline, and considers it from the 10 commandments, which does predate all the other ethical philosophies you mention. Assuming that he is an "ignnorant, arrogant redneck" just makes you look like a closed minded, reactionary, jerk. The basic code that Judaism and Christianity are based on are the basic "thou shalt not kill, covet thy neighbors wife, give false testimony, etc)." I think the basic moral code against lieing, cheat, stealing, and killing is a code accepted by enough of the community at large in the US to be acceptable. Typically, the majority decides the moral standards (as long as there is respect for the minority).

[ Parent ]
You sure pulled that out of thin air (none / 0) (#188)
by itsbruce on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 07:29:44 PM EST

I get the impression, that he was considering the moral code of Christianity to include the Judaic timeline

An assumption made without the slightest evidence. In fact, since he clearly distinguishes the two earlier on, in the face of the evidence. As does his idea that Christianity introduced morality to the battlefield - go tell that to the many victims of the Holy Roman Empire.


--It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]

I agree with that (none / 0) (#209)
by jwwebcast on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 10:05:54 AM EST

I agree. I think his assumption that Christianity introduce morality to the battlefield is nuts. And a statement from you on that fact I would have no problem with. The problem I have is rather than post a quality comment, correct facts you find wrong or disagree with, you automatically assume the worst of his intent, and attack him personally. I however, choose to assume the best intent and give him the benefit of the doubt before I attack someone personally. This reply you gave to me is much more indictative of your typical comments than the one you made about "rednecks".

Besides - being from Oklahoma, I resemble that remark :)

[ Parent ]
Lest we forget... (4.40 / 10) (#38)
by Danse on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 03:33:15 PM EST

It was also Christians who burned people at the stake and used horrible torture methods on "non-believers". You take the good with the bad. I don't really see that Christians have any real moral high ground. There are good people and bad people of all religions, and each religion has its good and bad points. Seems to me that you could extract the good ideals from various religions and they could stand on their own. The problem would be getting people to agree on which parts are good. That's why teaching any particular religion's morality is likely to alienate others. Not everybody agrees on what is the correct path.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
actually... (4.00 / 2) (#119)
by geordie on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 11:36:29 PM EST

actually, the pioneers of the then humane practice of enslaving enemies were not the jews (and certainly not the christians - who did not exist until the christian era (!)) but rather the hittites, who lived in what is now the interior of modern-day asian turkey.

[ Parent ]
and... (5.00 / 1) (#122)
by geordie on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 11:54:41 PM EST

and it wasn't because the hittites were 'nice' or 'moral' or something. slavery only became possible with the advent of the iron age. until then chains, which are necessary for slavery, were made of bronze, which was far too expensive for such use. the hittites were sitting on rich iron deposits and, ironically, used the new technology of slave labour to work the mines and smelters.

[ Parent ]
excuse me? (5.00 / 2) (#157)
by chopper on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:09:53 AM EST

- but Christianity and arguably Judaism are the ones that pioneered any military strategy other than scorched earth.

obviously, you've never read the Bible.

Numbers Chapter 31

And they warred against Midian, as HaShem commanded Moses; and they slew every male. And they slew the kings of Midian with the rest of their slain: Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian; Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword. And the children of Israel took captive the women of Midian and their little ones; and all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods, they took for a prey. And all their cities in the places wherein they dwelt, and all their encampments, they burnt with fire.
Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
or Deuteronomy,Chapter 10
When thou goest forth to battle against thine enemies, and HaShem thy G-d delivereth them into thy hands, and thou carriest them away captive, and seest among the captives a woman of goodly form, and thou hast a desire unto her, and wouldest take her to thee to wife; then thou shalt bring her home to thy house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thy house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month; and after that thou mayest go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not deal with her as a slave, because thou hast humbled her

Destroy and burn everything, kill all the males, take the women and female children as slaves and wives. Sounds kinda like a scorched-earth policy to me.

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
[ Parent ]

Excuse me, but (5.00 / 2) (#164)
by Rand Race on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:47:35 AM EST

Have you ever read the bible?

To even suggest the Hebrews pioneered any millitary strategy that reduced civilian casualties is absurd! Just of the top of my head, Numbers 31:28-29 presents a situation in which the Hebrews do exactly as you describe as SOP for 'others'. Of course they only keep the virginal women and children, but the idea is the same. Or how 'bout Dueteronomy 3:6? And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.

Christians did occasionaly try and be more humane in their treatment of prisoners but this often lead to simply maiming prisoners rather than killing them. I'm not sure blinding a man and then amputating his hands and feet followed by lopping off the ears and nose is particularly more humane than killing a man. However, even if such actions are taken as an exception rather than the rule, it still does not make it a Christian originated moral ideal. Diodotus of Athens argued on moral grounds, succesfully for a time, against the slaughter of prisoners during the Peloponnesian War over 400 years before Christ was born.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

hmmm (4.66 / 3) (#72)
by vanillicat on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 06:45:41 PM EST

I find it interesting that this morality reeducation program is being targetted at Muslim students. If the implication that the morals being set forth are indeed Christian, then this country hasn't outgrown the assimilation of "unamerican" (whatever that means) ideas. Anybody else recall the sending of Native American students to school to become westernized? Somehow, I don't think it will matter to the educators if their attempts are rejected. If anything, it'll be cause to try harder.

[ Parent ]
Absolutely unbelievable (4.43 / 44) (#5)
by RareHeintz on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 12:58:08 PM EST

He warned against what he said was an effort to find rational explanations for the actions of the terrorists.

This approaches being the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard. (That statement is meant as a reflection on Justice Kennedy, not you, blues_is_dead.)

He's not pushing morals, he's actively promoting denial. Does he think that it's a coincidence that there are millions of people in the world who consider U.S. foreign policy to be a source of misery in their lives, and that some of them are moved to act (however far beyond the pale those acts may be)? Is he one of those dim-bulb conservative ideologues who thinks that the people in the world who hate this country are just jealous of our material success? Is he really so far around the bend that he has to shield his delicate delusions from thoughts of - oh, the horror of it! - cause and effect?

I understand the reasoning behind appointing the Supreme Court Justices for life, but sometimes I wish for a loophole...

OK,
- B
--
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily

Those irrational barbarians out there (4.15 / 19) (#6)
by Pac on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 01:10:12 PM EST

Yes, I found it almost amusing when I read "In seeking rational explanations for irrational acts, an explanation becomes the excuse".

So, by the judge's view of the world, all planning, trainning and exact execution of September 11 were acts of irrationatility. Funny, I used to think these were proofs that a very fine, cruel and extremely rational mind was behind the attacks. Hence the chase for bin Laden (supposed to be the sai mind) and the war on Taleban.

But no, it looks like I was mistaken. They are all irrational. Shouldn't it be enough reason to release those guys in Cuba to the care of a mental institution? I mean, if al Qaeda and Taleban members are all irrational, they need help, not bombs or prison. At least that is what the Western interpretation of the law traditionally sponsors.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
Insanity? Nay, I say (4.78 / 14) (#51)
by panum on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 04:01:10 PM EST

I find Mr Kennedy's idea troubling. In the former Soviet Union, it was a common practice to put dissidents into asylums. Since the communist system was clearly superior to anything else, surely only madmen and lunatics were opposing it. Why does this make me shudder..? Back in the days of the Cold War, the communist dictatorships were studied carefully by the US: to understand them, to manipulate them, to conquer them.

This idea of labeling opposition as crazies is truly an ancient one; it is mentioned even in the Bible (Psalms 14:1, KJV).

In my opinion, one should try to understand why the 11/9 did happen. What makes 'em tick? Should "we" ever find out, we can act on it. Only by knowing the motives of the enemy one can conquer it. Aeons ago, Sun Tzu said "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles."

But he goes on: "If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat."

And finally "If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."

We, as the westeners, must understand "their" ways. It doesn't mean we should accept or like their ways. But we must know them in order to predict what "they" are going to do. Only then we can act on it.

-P

-- I hate people who quote .sigs
[ Parent ]
Irrational != Insane (3.62 / 8) (#58)
by Woundweavr on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 04:49:02 PM EST

Crashing several airliners into buildings in order to kill the most people possible is not rational. Blaming all your problems on the US [hey, didnt Bin Ladin get his training from the US?] is irrational.

If you are angry with someone, it is not rational to smash their head in. Or if you hate Microsoft, it is not rational to blow up one of their offices. They were fundamentally irrational in their belief that this would help their international position or that it was the right thing to do.

People make a lot of irrational decisions. It may not be rational to believe a referees call is biased against your team, but that doesn't make it insane. By assuming that the terrorists motive's were rational, you give more power to their complaints and at least in part, justify their actions.

[ Parent ]

I may almost agree (4.77 / 9) (#59)
by Pac on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 05:00:18 PM EST

But not completely. "Rational" is a very dangerous word. I sense a strong non-violence bias in your definition of rationality. I even have this same bias myself. But we can not rule out violence on this grounds alone, because human evolution and history are little more than the history of many well-fought battles and tons of wasted blood.

It would not be rational to throw a plane into a civilian building if you are measuring "reason" against a fixed set of behaviors. If, on the other hand, you think you are fighting a war, it may well be an option. It was. And then the response was more violence (not that I disagree with the response - I may have my problems with this war but I cannot think about any other immediate option). Irrational?

Today a woman suicide-bomber exploded herself in Jerusalem. Tonight Israel will bomb many supposed terrorist positions. Where is reason?

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
Justify (4.00 / 5) (#60)
by Woundweavr on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 05:12:11 PM EST

I think the disagreement is just a matter of semantics. Unless you share their viewpoint, their action was not reasonable/rational. In order for the action to become reasonable/rational, however, you must take on their viewpoint. Children, especially, don't have the maturity to understand "that they did this becaus they thought this and thus to them it was rational." This is different from "it was rational" but understanding this difference is a fine point.

If you equate the two, as I think the Justice is worrying children are, then its a tiny step to any action being rational, and thus on some level right, if the person believes its necessary.

Yet, this has to be handled perfectly if you don't want the government teaching more than the most fundamental morals (if you do you have more leeway).

[ Parent ]

everything *can* big rigged to appear rational (5.00 / 7) (#73)
by eLuddite on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 06:55:00 PM EST

Rational thinking is the lowest form of thought. An ant colony appears more rational than human society, and there is no way to demonstrate the ants arent "thinking" rationally.

To think rationally means to employ the machinery of logic, the rules of inference. Since logic alone is incapable of providing insight, we have to be persuasive in the selection of our contingent statements. If your contingent statements are challenged you will, ultimately, have to concede that your argument rests on a set of unverifiable premises. Here is an example of a contingent statement:

It is wrong to attack the civilians of an enemy nation by killing yourself.
The reason the above is a contingent statement is because the following is one, as well:
It is not wrong to attack the civilians of an enemy nation by killing yourself.
Both logic and the universe are completely indifferent to the death of civilians and whether they die at the hands of a suicide bomber (terrorists) or a four star general (Hiroshima, Dresden, etc.) The reason neither logic nor the universe cares is because words like "wrong", "civilian", "enemy", "I", "death" and "nation" dont have independent meaning.

The reason I wrote everything can be rigged to appear rational is because the existence of contradictory premises is a premise no one will disagree with :-)

(Justice Kennedy is not engaging morality, he is engaging conservative ideology: change is bad, dont think different. There's nothing particularly surprising or wrong with the presence of reactionary forces in society. If there were, revolution would be constant.)

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Ahh, there we go... (5.00 / 1) (#105)
by Shovas on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:47:15 PM EST

Greetings,
(Justice Kennedy is not engaging morality, he is engaging conservative ideology: change is bad, dont think different. There's nothing particularly surprising or wrong with the presence of reactionary forces in society. If there were, revolution would be constant.)
While the rest of the post was, while no doubt important, somewhat declaring a different point, it was this portion that clicked. It was in the back of my head; some idea that what the Justice was acting on was not logical, was not reasonable, and this point is exactly it. He's not acting out of deep thoughtfulness, logic or reason. He's acting out of a self-preservation mode to protect conservative, patriotic ideals. Good post.

Farewell,
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
the subjectivity of rationality (4.50 / 6) (#75)
by sayke on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 07:13:42 PM EST

remember - we don't have an absolute standard of rationality to measure acts against. we only have our standards, and we try to make do with those... because of that, please refrain from declaring "act foo is rational" when, to be accurate, you might say "i don't consider act foo rational."

if someone has reasons for their actions - if their act is consistant with their goals - then their act was rational, for them, just as your acts are to you.

to say otherwise is to declare yourself the holder of an absolute standard of rationality, no?


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

Absolute Two Way Streets (3.00 / 3) (#82)
by Woundweavr on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 07:40:50 PM EST

If a crazy man went out on the street and started throwing their crap around, to him it might seem rational. That doesn't mean that everyone has to say, oh yes he has a point. We can declare his acts irrational. Just as people can declare acts we declare as irrational, we can declare their 'rational' acts irrational. Else the entire structure breaks down.

It doesn't matter if its absolute. What matters is what is rational according to the government and to the people it represents. You can't force some of that (religion etc). However, the fact that committing what is to all but those who committed it an atrocity is irrational can be universally accepted at least in the US.



[ Parent ]

Then what about Pearl Harbor? (5.00 / 3) (#87)
by peace on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 08:06:31 PM EST

Since some are fond of comapring 9/11 to the Japanese sneak attack, I may as well ask if you think that both were "irrational". The Japanese were never accused of being irrational, as far as I recal.

Like some posters have pointed out, the "rationality" of something is based on a logical framework and can not produce a moral result. The results for rationality verses irrationality depend on the scope of your rational framework. If something falls outside the scope, then it's declared irrational. In the United States, I fear we have a rather narrow rational scope, and are often perplexed at the behavours other people in the world, particuarly the 3rd world. What is needed here in the US is an expanded awarness of our foreign policies cause and effect on the rest of the world.

BTW, it was president Clinton's administration I beieve that said the US "should not appear to rational" in it's foreign policy, that we should give the impression of being a little crazy in order to put a healthy fear into any government that might oppose our policies.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

Actually (none / 0) (#149)
by wiredog on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:38:36 AM EST

The Japanese were accused of being irrational. Strategically, rather than tactically, the attack was irrational, as Admiral Yamamoto pointed out at the time.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Oh, for crying out loud! (none / 0) (#183)
by peace on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:07:54 PM EST

If the Japanese had won the Pacific war and nuked NY and DC then Pearl Harbor would have been conciderd the most brilliant military sneak attack in history.

I'm not sure where you heard Yamamoto muse that perhaps it was irrational to execute the attack, hopefully not the recent movie. If Yamamoto did not think it rational then he would not have planned and executed it. Or are you saying Yamamoto is not a rational man?

But then what do you care, really? Your post misses the point entirely. Was the US invasion of Vietnam rational? Was covertly supporting terrorists in Nicaragua rational? You can bet your shorts it was rational to the people who planned them. Made perfect sense. And that is what is so frustrating. Some people find it beneficial to play fast and loose with other peoples mortality, while some other people can't see the forrest for the trees.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

"I fear all we have done (none / 0) (#207)
by wiredog on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 09:32:52 AM EST

is awaken a sleeping dragon and fill him with a terrible resolve" Isoroku Yamamoto, Dec 7 1941

He said, before the attack, that it would, at best, immobilize the US for a year or two. He planned and carried it out because he was an admiral and he had his orders. "Ours not to reason why" and all that.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

And your point is what? (none / 0) (#210)
by peace on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 10:08:39 AM EST

I have a few points, and you miss them all.

First, I have never heard the Japanese accused of being irrational. The quote you site by Yamamoto means nothing in the context of this descusion. The quote you slip in at the end to give your post the slightest hope of being relavent is typical of military organization: decisions are made by your commanders, much like when you go to work for a large company. Thats because the most seasond and experienced personal are supposed to filter to the top. It's a framework for getting something done, like sending people into space or bombing a military base. If you want the reasoning behind the Japanese entering WWII and why they did in the way they did, there are thousands of books and articles on the subject, with detailed reasoning for there objectives.

Second, the US is attempting to exempt itself from criticism. It does'nt want the current "war" to be an opportunity for it's populace to actually investigate what the US has been doing in that region. So any attempt to do so is branded as rationalizing the motives of the terrorists. As if the only people with rational motives live in the so called Western World and think Western Thoughts.

Finally, simply calling something "irrational" does not make it so. I could call your post "irrational" but you probobly have your reasons for bothering.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

Re-read (none / 0) (#212)
by wiredog on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 11:15:40 AM EST

Your original post. The part I replied to was:
Since some are fond of comapring 9/11 to the Japanese sneak attack, I may as well ask if you think that both were "irrational". The Japanese were never accused of being irrational, as far as I recal.

My response was, and is, that some, including Yamamoto, thought the Japanese attack was irrational, in that it would not achieve the desired long term result.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

Try to address the issues (none / 0) (#213)
by peace on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 12:01:10 PM EST

Also from my posts:

In the United States, I fear we have a rather narrow rational scope, and are often perplexed at the behavours other people in the world, particuarly the 3rd world. What is needed here in the US is an expanded awarness of our foreign policies cause and effect on the rest of the world.

and:

Finally, simply calling something "irrational" does not make it so.

and:

If the Japanese had won the Pacific war and nuked NY and DC then Pearl Harbor would have been conciderd the most brilliant military sneak attack in history.

And other points that are the meat of the descusion. You however want to base your entire "rebutal" or "clearification" on the single unattributed sentence, "Ours not to reason why". Hence I asked why you botherd.

If you look at the perseption of history, the Japanese have not been framed as irrational. I don't doubt there were all kinds of views as to what was the best course of action for the Japanese government at the time. It's called discourse, something the US is currently trying to stifle.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

Ours not to reason why (none / 0) (#214)
by wiredog on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 12:13:37 PM EST

Umm, it's a reference to The Charge of the Light Brigade.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
i generally don't use the term (none / 0) (#187)
by sayke on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 07:10:03 PM EST

all i'll say is that the japanese leadership clearly had reasons for attacking pearl harbor - they did what they did after considering the probable long term consequences of their actions.

if i remember correctly, though, there were eloquent dissenters among the japanese leadership, who considered angering the US a shortsighted course of action. didn't one say something about waking a sleeping dragon or giant or something? i don't remember ;)

i won't bring rationality into it. i try to avoid vague terms like that - i think they generally cause more problems then they solve.


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

Rationality = red herring (5.00 / 1) (#211)
by peace on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 10:25:37 AM EST

i won't bring rationality into it. i try to avoid vague terms like that - i think they generally cause more problems then they solve.

It was the US Government that brought rationality into it by accusing people of rationalizing the attacks, i.e. not supporting strongly a war against unknown foes and without end. Now it seems that anti-rationality rhetoric is not anuf and we need to engage in educating people in how to think and feel.

The US government is just using this myopic talk of rationality to stiffle debate. And that is what is frustrating.

Next they'll be outlawing "connect the dots" coloring books.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

i think i agree, but hang on (5.00 / 1) (#89)
by sayke on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 08:11:59 PM EST

what if a non-crazy man went out on the street and started throwing his shit around?

remember, all we have to work with is behavior. we can't just stick a person's head in the sanity-o-matic and get a definitive reading.

It doesn't matter if its [our definitions of rational] absolute. What matters is what is rational according to the government and to the people it represents.
so might makes right, eh?

actually, i agree. might is indistinguishable from right in this case. the readers of history (in all its constructed glory) can judge for themselves, but for the people involved, the might of the state is all that matters.

disturbing, no?


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

Blue (none / 0) (#170)
by Woundweavr on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:30:57 PM EST

Its not so much might makes right as subjective abstractions. If we define rational in a certain way, that is what it means for all intents and purposes. If a small group wants blue to be called red, they can but they cannot subject the majority to the will of the minority in this definition.

Remember, looked at some ways, democracy is mob rule. The might of the people make right.

[ Parent ]

Odd... (5.00 / 3) (#90)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 08:15:07 PM EST

.. I thought this,
However, the fact that committing what is to all but those who committed it an atrocity is irrational can be universally accepted at least in the US.
was the very issue in question.

There seem to be plenty of people in the USA, other than those that committed them, that can see some rational thought processes behind the atrocities.

Your example of the crazy man in the street throwing feces is interesting because, the terrorists didn't do anything of the sort, now did they? They determined a set of enemies, considered plans against those enemies, and worked methodically to bring one of those plans about. Not exactly throwing feces.

If you belittle your opponent, you make it that much easier for them to surprise you. Giving your opponent proper credit is necessary if you are to be properly prepared. Terrorists are not crazed animals. They are cunning, intelligent, tool-using primates (just like other people).



[ Parent ]

Diabolical Doody Throwing (4.00 / 1) (#169)
by Woundweavr on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:28:19 PM EST

Furthering the example of the amazing thrower of crap: who said that he didn't do the same thing. He may have determined his enemies, considered plans and then carried one out. It was just not a reasonable/rational plan, nor was it effective.

The terrorists plan resulted in several things. They themselves died. Thousands of people not directly (or arguably indirectly) working against them died. Their terrorist network is broken and many of its members dead or captured.

They might as well have gone to the streets and started covering the area with shit for all the good their plan did.

Say I want a hamburger. In order to get a hamburger, I shoot my foot off. Is that rational? No, at least to most people. It was ineffective and it did me harm.

Whatever the terrorists wanted, other than perhaps martyrdome and murder, failed. Their plan as far as that goes may have succeeded but it had no connection to furthering their goals. Thus it was irrational.

[ Parent ]

ahh - now we're talking about effectiveness though (none / 0) (#191)
by sayke on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 07:46:51 PM EST

once you start bringing the goals of the WTC perps into it, you acknowledge that they had goals and were trying to further them with their actions - which is, to me, indistinguishable from rationality.

once you acknowledge that, then you can start talking about the foresightfulness or shortsightedness of their actions, but those are completely without moral import - as soon as you do that, all moral considerations are removed from the equation.

i agree, though, in calling the WTC perps shortsighted - they were trying to ferment worldwide jihad against the US. thus far, it seems they failed to do this. i hope it turns out that they ultimatly failed in that - i don't like jihads.

you may argue that the terrorist's plan didn't work, but, well, they thought it would, so they tried it - and is there anything more rational then that?


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

Logical Connection (none / 0) (#195)
by Woundweavr on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 08:12:00 PM EST

Just having a goal and "working towards it" does not make rationality. If you lack the grasp of the situation and your actions and there is no real connection or if it will only worsen the situation, it is not a rational action. Thus the fecal tossing example. It had no connection to whatever he wanted to do.

I think a more accurate description of their motives is to make everyone Muslim or dead. While the killed a few people (relatively speaking), they hurt the Islamic faith. Not only will they get less converts from the US, but a hella lot of em are gonna be dead or are dead cause of the action.

Morality can be determined (if you accept it ever can) by the goal and the means to that end used. Rationality is determined by the connection between a goal and the action(and the existance said of goals when performing actions).

[ Parent ]

Their actions... (none / 0) (#236)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 01:17:50 AM EST

... cost their enemy multiple hundreds of billions of dollars. I would say that is a fair bit more successfull than throwing feces in the streets would have been.



[ Parent ]

Meeeeelleeeeeons and Meeeeelleeeeeons of people... (2.64 / 34) (#23)
by FcD on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 02:16:19 PM EST

there are millions of people in the world who consider U.S. foreign policy to be a source of misery in their lives

All of whom live in France...

[ Parent ]

Don't moderate by author, (4.00 / 3) (#49)
by fhotg on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 03:53:41 PM EST

this one is actually funny.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]
I haven't but I can understand those who did (3.20 / 5) (#57)
by Pac on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 04:48:55 PM EST

Since the author has been moderating perfectly well-written comments with 1s just to show he disagrees with the content. He seems almost incapable of leaving the "Rate All" button alone and use the "Reply" link instead...

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
I disagree. (3.00 / 3) (#104)
by valeko on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:39:00 PM EST

Try many folks in the Middle East, southeast and central Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa.. oh wait .. hmm, that just about covers every body outside the aggressively obedient majority in the 'western' world.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Name that tune (3.66 / 21) (#7)
by notafurry on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 01:18:29 PM EST

Is there any member of any branch of the US government that does not immediately inspire revulsion and general disgust? Where does a Justice of the US Supreme Court get off thinking he has any say in what is "moral"? His very job description precludes any possibility of weighing in on the matter; there's a reason why Justice wears a blindfold.

Answering your first question. (1.50 / 8) (#20)
by FcD on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 02:09:50 PM EST

By definition, none to anarchists.

[ Parent ]
why by definition? (4.25 / 4) (#26)
by kellan on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 02:21:27 PM EST

Why is it "by definition"? Which definition of anarchist? The 100+ year old political philosophy? Or the media definition of someone who hates the US government? And why do you assume that notafurry is an anarchist?

kellan

[ Parent ]
Nice of your buddy to mod away your errors... (1.14 / 7) (#37)
by FcD on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 03:31:40 PM EST

(kellan(at)protest.net) http://www.protest.net

So since I cannot speak here, we will have to discuss this matter later. I hope to see you next week at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

Cheers.

[ Parent ]

funny... (3.00 / 2) (#47)
by Danse on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 03:45:07 PM EST

You, of all people, don't have any room to complain about other people's modding.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Heartwarming, really (3.86 / 22) (#8)
by _cbj on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 01:32:52 PM EST

"There seemed to be a feeling that the U.S. got its comeuppance and that we have to take our lumps sometimes too," Kennedy said.
I'm sure this is exaggerated for his own ends, but to whatever extent it's true I seem to find this one of the most cheering USian reactions reported. For all the high profile Michael Moores and Noam Chomskys, and for all the reflective my-kind-of-yanks in rarefied, internet-enabled bunkers, if the American youth is becoming more thoughtful and worldly it's the first sign that things might really change.

Uh huh. (1.30 / 13) (#19)
by FcD on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 02:06:22 PM EST

if the American youth is becoming more thoughtful and worldly it's the first sign that things might really change.

First, the U.S. surrenders...

[ Parent ]

Surrenders to whom? [nt] (2.83 / 6) (#52)
by ti dave on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 04:05:11 PM EST


"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Dear Grout, (none / 0) (#140)
by ti dave on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:01:54 AM EST

The man made an unclear comment, and I asked him a legitimate question.

Or are you just trying to zero out the entire thread?

Cheers,

ti dave


"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Fla Unfla? (4.00 / 3) (#70)
by _cbj on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 06:16:05 PM EST

I don't get it as a gag, and as a serious comment I don't get it. Wha?

[ Parent ]
Oh yeah? (4.50 / 4) (#80)
by valeko on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 07:37:24 PM EST

It isn't a struggle of the US versus humanity/the world, you know. To abandon imperialism as a guiding policy is not synonymous with "surrendering" - to what, anyway?

Of course, you don't know that, as I've expended much effort explaining in the past.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Unbelievable... (4.34 / 29) (#9)
by molybdenum on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 01:36:27 PM EST

***WARNING: Personal rant ahead***

Where do these people get the idea that the United States is (or has to be) invincible? Why is it that we (as a country) don't think that we should have to "take our lumps sometimes"?

So because people of my generation have realized that we aren't the best, most perfect country in the world, we are in violation of morals?

Every day, I am starting to become more and more suspicious of this country and its government.

Ben

Morals? (4.27 / 11) (#14)
by seebs on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 01:57:45 PM EST

I would say that, morally, there's not much you can look at that justifies an attack targeted at civilians. Hitting civilians when you are going after military targets is unfortunate, and should be a sign that maybe it's time to develop more accurate weapons. Hitting civilians *because* they are civilians is different.

This has nothing to do with being "perfect". *No one* deserves to have civilians targeted as such, and there is no moral grounds for doing so. You can explain the behavior of the terrorists, but you can explain the behavior of serial rapists, too; an explanation does not imply any kind of moral quality.

Anyone with a functioning moral system certainly ought to reject terrorist attacks, consistently. Some people don't, but that just means they're wrong.


[ Parent ]
Re: Morals? (4.16 / 6) (#31)
by molybdenum on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 02:52:21 PM EST

I would say that, morally, there's not much you can look at that justifies an attack targeted at civilians.

You're completely right. I was a little mad when I posted, and I didn't explain clearly.

I wasn't justifying what happened; I don't think I ever could or would want to. I think I was trying to say this: why do so many people in this country have such superioristic tendencies?

My doubt in the country is possibly stemming from my increasing libertarian leanings; I don't think that we should be messing with other countries unless they screw with us. "Speak softly but carry a big stick." Do I think that the bombings in Afghanistan were justified? Yes, to a certain point: Too much "collatoral" damage is not acceptable.

I would like to think that I have a functioning moral system. Did I misunderstand the article? Is it wrong for me to think about why the people behind the attacks did what they did?

I'm not trying to troll here. I'm just some stupid nineteen year old kid who obviously has a lot to learn about the world.

Ben

[ Parent ]
Thinking about "why"... (4.81 / 11) (#32)
by seebs on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 03:00:12 PM EST

I think the problem is the subtle distinction between "What can we learn about how these people function" and "What can we do to appease these people". A lot of people think that, for instance, if terrorists are attacking us because we do a certain thing, we should therefore stop doing that thing.

How much collateral damage is "too much"? I can't answer this question. I do know that our tolerance has gone steadily down over the years; what we now consider "heavy" collateral damage isn't even a *blip* compared to what was seen as "normal" in WWII.

I am torn on the question of messing with other countries. On the one hand, I don't like gunboat diplomacy. On the other hand, I don't like saying "well, yeah, thousands of innocents are being slaughtered for their religious beliefs, but they're not here, so let 'em die". I think intervention may be a moral obligation in some cases.

As to the "superioristic tendencies": The U.S. is the last superpower. If we aren't willing to intervene, who will? The problem, in my eyes, is that we didn't take action against the Taliban sooner. It is disgusting that "civilized" nations would sit back and watch as women were methodically brutalized, slaughtered, and kept from basic human rights.

We didn't move because other countries wouldn't have backed us. We may be weak; they were contemptible. What happened to women in Afghanistan should be held up as an example of the cost of not being willing to act.

You want to talk about civilian casualties? I can point you at nearly 13,000,000 Afghan civilians who were denied civil rights and threatened with death, and all because they happened to be female. I can point you at millions of Afghan civilians threatened with death if they didn't subscribe to a specific version of Islam - not just Islam in general, but one specific version.

One Afghan shopkeeper was interviewed, and said he was grateful to bin Laden, because without him, the American planes would never have come.

I say, with no real qualms, that the American government, for all its faults, is a superior one to the Taliban.

[ Parent ]
Well.. (4.28 / 14) (#35)
by Danse on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 03:16:52 PM EST

I'm sure that the way the attackers saw it, those civilians were directly and/or indirectly responsible for many of the actions that the US has taken that they feel are a threat to them. I really don't see much difference between attacking civilians directly, or attacking "military targets" knowing that you'll be killing civilians anyway because you can't be accurate enough. Either way, you know in advance what the outcome will be. Dead civilians. And "military targets" is a rather ambiguous term. We target a lot of civilian infrastructure in our attacks. This often causes great hardship and loss of life among civilians. This is usually glossed over though since they weren't directly killed by US bombs.

Before some of you freak out and start flaming me, understand that I'm not saying that the attack on the WTC was justified. I fully believe that those responsible should face retribution. What I'm saying is that while we're justified in responding to the attacks, we probably aren't justified in all the self-righteous BS that the government and media have been spewing. The US HAS done some seriously evil stuff, including supporting terrorist groups (of course we didn't call them that). We always come up with ways to justify it, but just because we convince ourselves of that, doesn't mean it isn't transparent to the rest of the world.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
hitting civilians (4.37 / 8) (#92)
by leifb on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 08:35:53 PM EST

Hitting civilians *because* they are civilians is different.

And sometimes, far more effective than any number of military victories.

Take Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for instance...

[ Parent ]

how many lives should America have sacrificed ? (3.00 / 5) (#99)
by ColeH on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:14:43 PM EST

Japan was given plenty of opportunities to surrender. How many Americans were supposed to give up their lives for the 'international community' to give their approval ?

[ Parent ]
Err. (4.57 / 7) (#103)
by valeko on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:35:34 PM EST

Japan was given plenty of opportunities to surrender. How many Americans were supposed to give up their lives for the 'international community' to give their approval?

This is a very popular means of evading the more fundamental question. This relies on the premise that you find the lives of American soldiers to be more worthy of existence than hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese civilians. Of course, that's identical to the thought process of the American government in 1945. Besides, they had a new toy - had to try it on someone that they deemed subhuman. The thought process (assuming there was one) that led to the detonation of atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were criminal.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Ahem. (5.00 / 3) (#114)
by ti dave on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:30:53 PM EST

Individuals do not declare and wage War upon other Individuals. Governments do.

If you, as a Citizen, disagree with the Pursuit and Conduct of your Nation's use of War as a Tool of Foreign Policy, it is your Moral Obligation to not support your Nation.

If your Nation is pursuing a Conflict that you can't abide by, staying in place and fueling the War Machine is treachery to your own conscience.


"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
JCB quotes (5.00 / 1) (#134)
by garlic on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:21:26 AM EST

from the number of sigs I've seen attributed to JCB, perhaps he should publish "The quotable JCB." He'd make millions!!! or not.

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
[ Parent ]

Yeah! Check this one out... (5.00 / 1) (#137)
by ti dave on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:25:49 AM EST

me quoting JCB.


"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
I don't agree. (5.00 / 1) (#182)
by kcbrown on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 04:31:22 PM EST

Individuals do not declare and wage War upon other Individuals. Governments do.
Yes, but governments are comprised of individuals, and especially during war, only a few key individuals actually decide the actions to be taken during the war. Such was the case in the decision to drop the atomic bomb: one individual, Harry Truman, decided upon that course of action.
If you, as a Citizen, disagree with the Pursuit and Conduct of your Nation's use of War as a Tool of Foreign Policy, it is your Moral Obligation to not support your Nation.
This is a nice idea but rarely possible in practice. If, during a war, you refuse to support your nation, you'll be lucky to be thrown in jail. While in jail you'll probably be forced at gunpoint to labor in support of the government. That's if you're lucky. If you're not, then they'll kill you and you'll then have no ability to oppose the war, will you?

Your government has many more guns than you do, and so is capable of imposing its will upon you whenever it wishes.

If your Nation is pursuing a Conflict that you can't abide by, staying in place and fueling the War Machine is treachery to your own conscience.
LOL! You think your government is going to let you leave during a war? So that you might (in their minds) support the enemy? How naive can you get?

[ Parent ]
easy to look back... (4.00 / 3) (#126)
by mulvaney on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:47:07 AM EST

The thought process (assuming there was one) that led to the detonation of atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were criminal.

Its easy to say that now, but its also wrong. The Japanese were definately "evildoers", and our actions in that war were (and still are) morally justified.

Civilians were targetted all over the globe during WWII (except in America, where we were lucky). We killed many more people in the bombings of Dresden, Tokyo, Berlin, etc than we did by dropping the atomic weapons.

It's easy to make a utilitarian argument for dropping atomic weapons. If we had continued a conventional war, many more people would have died: more American soldiers, more Japanese soldiers, and more Japanese civilians. Without dropping the big bombs, the Japanese leaders wouldn't have an excuse to surrender in face of superiour technology, and the war would have lasted much longer.

Wars are not fought via proxy armies or by Heroes (such as Hector vs. Achilles) any more. They are fought by nations, and like it or not, civilians are part of the conflict. Modern war is increasingly about production and resources -- which side can build more airplanes and so on. In order to defeat a modern nation (even one as "modern" as Iraq), we have to destroy their ability to produce and feed their war machine. That means taking out power plants and factories, which will undoubtably hurt civilians along with the armies in the country.

Sometimes destroying a country's ability to produce involved killing civilians. The war in Europe would have almost certainly ended in a different way had Hitler been able to kill civilians in the US who were making all those tanks and mortar shells.

-Mike

[ Parent ]

Looking back. (none / 0) (#175)
by valeko on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:57:00 PM EST

Its easy to say that now, but its also wrong. The Japanese were definately "evildoers", and our actions in that war were (and still are) morally justified.

Maybe to you. I suspect the Japanese had (and still have) a different notion of what is morally justified.

It's easy to make a utilitarian argument for dropping atomic weapons. If we had continued a conventional war, many more people would have died: more American soldiers, more Japanese soldiers, and more Japanese civilians.

Unpleasant as the issue may be, it is crucial to underline the distinction between military servicemen and civilians. It is a generally accepted fact that armies fight (even if unwillingly), and hence lend themselves to casualties. This is not true of civilians. While I am most certainly not saying that deaths of soldiers are somehow more justified than those of civilians, I find your logic less than satisfactory. If a war were to break out with a very determined and militarily strong Spain tomorrow, should we conclude that it's more sensible to obliterate Barcelona with an atomic bomb than to allow the military conflict to continue and potentially lead to a higher aggregate death toll than the one that would be achieved by dropping the A-Bomb? It's not so clear-cut, you see.

In my opinion, one of the chief considerations that was neglected by the Truman administration was that political power in Japan was completely hijacked by militaristic elements. Many ordinary people were conscripted to assist in the war effort, especially given Japanese customs in regard to strict loyalty and honour. However, to hold hundreds of thousands of residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki responsible in this particularly cruel fashion for the policies of the generals running the entire show is wrong.

In addition, the atomic bomb was new technology; there was no responsibility undertaken to foresee the consequences of fallout and remaining radioactive residue. In Hiroshima, 66 000 people were instantly killed and approximately that same amount injured. However, due to radioactive fallout, approximately 140 000 people died in Hiroshima as a result of the explosion over the course of 1945. In the next four or five years, an additional 60 000 people died from radiation-related illnesses. In Nagasaki, 39 000 people were instantly killed and over 25 000 injured. By the end of 1945, 70 000 people had died due to radiation poisoning.

I find it difficult to make a "utilitarian" argument for justifying an atrocity of this magnitude. In addition, I have read somewhere about the findings of Barton J. Bernstein, a historian at Stanford University, drawn from recently opened records. These findings assert that the worst-case scenario of losses on the American side to be around 50 000 lives. He concluded, "the myth of 500 000 American lives saved thus seems to have no basis of fact." I take such concrete calculations with a grain of salt, but I think the thesis of Barton's point should not be lost.

Without dropping the big bombs, the Japanese leaders wouldn't have an excuse to surrender in face of superiour technology, and the war would have lasted much longer.

How much evidence of this is there actually? Evidence that Japan was already quite prostrated and in its military death knells is ubiquitous. This dubious claim does not evoke sensation.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Total War (1.12 / 8) (#136)
by Bad Harmony on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:12:12 AM EST

This relies on the premise that you find the lives of American soldiers to be more worthy of existence than hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese civilians.

The lives of American soldiers are a hell of a lot more important to me than hundreds of thousands of "innocent" Japanese civilians. The only problem with the atomic bomb is that we didn't have more of them to drop on Japan.

Sometimes I wish I had a time machine so I could send a few of these post-war revisionists back to Nanking, Bataan or Burma, so they could experience the joy of living in the Greater East Asia Coprosperity Sphere.

54º40' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

How many lives has America sacrificed? (4.71 / 7) (#106)
by asret on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:48:22 PM EST

While Japan may have had the opportunity to surrender, so has America.

Every decision they have made with regard to foreign policy, they were given the opportunity to ask whether that decision would have a significant adverse affect on another nation.

Every time they miscalculated the outcome of an action, they were given the opportunity to offer recompense, or at least an apology.

I would contend that the atrocity of September 11th occurred, in part, as a result of America's actions.

You seem to suggest that as Japan refused to alter its course of action, targeting its populace is justified. Would you then support the desperate actions of those who have suffered at the hands of America?



[ Parent ]
The relative value of civilians versus military?? (3.66 / 3) (#111)
by kcbrown on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:14:45 PM EST

Japan was given plenty of opportunities to surrender. How many Americans were supposed to give up their lives for the 'international community' to give their approval ?

Ah. I see. So the value of an American military person is greater than the value of an enemy civilian?

So, then, it's okay for us to attack the enemy's civilians whenever doing so will cause fewer casualties on our side than attacking their military would?

The smell of hypocrisy is almost unbearable, because I'm sure you'd believe an enemy that acted that way to be barbaric.

[ Parent ]

The Japanese weren't barbaric? (2.20 / 5) (#128)
by mulvaney on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:57:09 AM EST

The Japanese weren't barbaric? Maybe you should ask the Chinese how they felt about the Japanese actions during the 1940's.

There is some dangerous hypocrisy here, but I'm afraid that kcbrown is the guilty party. Its hard to imagine a world view where fighting the Japanese in 1942 would not be a moral action...

So, then, it's okay for us to attack the enemy's civilians whenever doing so will cause fewer casualties on our side than attacking their military would?

I'll bite on this: yes. As an American, I would argue that the life of an American soldier is more important than the life of an enemy civilian. That's not because of some intrinsic good in American soldiers, but just because you have to root for the home team. I'm just being honest about it: when two countries are fighting an all out war to take over the world, then I'm going to back my own guys.

Note that I am only talking about countries that we are at war with. I don't think we should practice mass exterminations (or any exterminations at all, actually) in countries that we haven't declared war on.

-Mike

[ Parent ]

The Japanese were barbaric ... and so were we. (3.75 / 4) (#141)
by kcbrown on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:15:30 AM EST

Look: I'm not arguing that we were wrong to go to war with Japan and to win that fight. They did attack us first, and their government did a number of dreadful things. But don't think for a second that our own government is completely innocent in that regard (just as a start, you'd have to deny or somehow justify the existence of concentration camps here in the U.S. in which we imprisoned our own civilian population who happened to be of Japanese descent), that somehow our government is a beacon of shining light for the rest of the world to follow: it isn't. Our government has plenty of blood on its hands. Most governments do.

There is some dangerous hypocrisy here, but I'm afraid that kcbrown is the guilty party. Its hard to imagine a world view where fighting the Japanese in 1942 would not be a moral action...

This is not what I'm arguing. I'm arguing that if it's barbaric for the enemy to attack our civilian population in preference to our military (and most people believe that such action would be barbaric. Is your belief any different?), then it's equally barbaric for us to do the same. Or do you disagree? Or do you always apply a different standard to others than you apply to yourself?

I'll bite on this: yes. As an American, I would argue that the life of an American soldier is more important than the life of an enemy civilian. That's not because of some intrinsic good in American soldiers, but just because you have to root for the home team.

But if this is the case, then that makes civilian targets better targets than military targets, because you're likely to suffer much fewer casualties by hitting them than by hitting military targets (since civilians aren't nearly as capable of defending themselves), right? So why not simply exterminate the enemy's civilian population at the beginning of the war? Then their military would have nobody left to supply it and you could simply wait for it to die of starvation, right?

And that means that in a war you're engaged in, weapons of mass destruction should be used on the enemy's civilian population first, right?

So ... do you disagree with that train of thought? You have no choice but to agree if you agree with the premise that the enemy's civilians are worth much less than your military. Otherwise you have to answer the question of how many enemy civilian lives are equivalent to the life of one of your military.

And in the case of a country like Japan, it's even worse than that. Do you think the civilians of that country chose their government? That, had they known what their government was really up to in the world, they would have actively agreed with it? It's one thing to "support" your government in fear of winding up in prison or dead (we here in the United States are firmly on the road towards that right now, what with the popular belief that disagreeing with our government's current power grab makes you a "terrorist"), or because the information you base your support on is incomplete or full of lies. It's another thing entirely to support your government because you believe what it's actually doing is right. In the real world, it's rare that the civilian population will actually know what its government is up to. That applies here in the United States just as much as anywhere else. The excuse used here to justify keeping the civilian population ignorant is "national security".

So given that the civilian population probably either doesn't know what their government is doing or is afraid of the consequences of not supporting its government, do you still believe that it's right and proper to prefer to attack it instead of harder military targets? If so, then how are you any less barbaric than an enemy that chooses to do the same?

[ Parent ]

it doesn't matter (1.50 / 2) (#159)
by mulvaney on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:19:00 AM EST

You seem to get some kind of pleasure out of labelling US actions as "barbaric".

So given that the civilian population probably either doesn't know what their government is doing or is afraid of the consequences of not supporting its government, do you still believe that it's right and proper to prefer to attack it instead of harder military targets? If so, then how are you any less barbaric than an enemy that chooses to do the same?

Well, yes its right and proper. We are at war with them, and we have to do what we can to defeat them. By your moral framework, it wouldn't be "proper" to kill the enemy soldiers until you asked them, individually, if they agreed with the policies of their government.

And that means that in a war you're engaged in, weapons of mass destruction should be used on the enemy's civilian population first, right?

No, weapons of mass destruction should be used in the way that will bring about the end of the war the most quickly. That goes for all weapons actually.

I'm arguing that if it's barbaric for the enemy to attack our civilian population in preference to our military (and most people believe that such action would be barbaric. Is your belief any different?), then it's equally barbaric for us to do the same. Or do you disagree?

Luckliy I don't suffer from your moral dichotomies. Barbarism is sometimes justified, and using whatever means necessary to defeat the mid-20th century Japanese is one of those times. I don't think that stains the US in the way you seem to imply (although the Japanese interment camps in the US are incredibly embarrassing. But they are horrible because they failed to treat "us" all the same. Those imprisoned were by and large Americans, and that was a criminal act.)

You seem to want to label every action as either "good" or "bad". While that is an interesting academic activity, it doesn't really translate into the real world. In my world view, "good" nations have to engage in "bad" activities when they are acting to stop an unequivably "bad" nation. What makes a nation "bad"? Usually, it means that they believe in things that directly contradict what I belive in, and take actions to harm others that agree with me.

Is that selfish? I don't think so, but it is at least honest.

-Mike

[ Parent ]

supreme court justice, yes ? (3.20 / 15) (#10)
by fhotg on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 01:41:12 PM EST

Having an intellectual and moral cripple like that in the gremium deciding about how to interpret the constitution, makes me wonder if this documents influence on reality isn't way overrated, these days.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

Who is he talking about? (4.00 / 11) (#17)
by rhyax on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 02:03:14 PM EST

"The associate justice said he had been surprised and disappointed to read after September 11 that some students in a Washington area Muslim school were unmoved by the attacks."

"Kennedy said he also was concerned about the views and knowledge of some U.S. students, and by the attitudes of some students in Beijing, China, where Kennedy lectured at three law schools in late October."

So, i'm wondering who he is talking about, he says that he is dismayed that muslim-americans and chinese students are not as upset as he thinks they should be. But he can't be planning on teaching his version of morality to private schools and foreign public schools i wouldn't think... I'm also somewhat troubled by "views and knowledge" knowledge? what does that mean? does he think they have information that they shouldn't? I really need to get some good, non-stupid news from our government soon or i will cry.

Xenophobia (3.66 / 3) (#81)
by sgp on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 07:38:33 PM EST

Okay, the best way to kill a thread is to mention Hitler, so I won't mention the Hitler Youth.

Over here in the UK, the national press have been crying out that we are being too soft on asylum seekers, that they are draining our resources, etc, etc... ignoring the idea that if someone's willing to risk their life in getting here, we should at least hear what they have to say.

But our tabloid papers have been filling "the masses" heads with racist propaganda the for past year or so. This attitude changed slightly when Afghan refugees started coming, but seems to have settled down again.

I hope to God that our nation's leaders don't start whining that the people we're persecuting don't like us any more...

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

A gentle reminder to the reader... (3.75 / 20) (#18)
by ti dave on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 02:05:45 PM EST

If anyone out there is wondering why
certain groups fought tooth-and-nail to try to block Shrub's
ascension to the Presidency,
this activity by a Reagan appointee is a prime example.
The legacy does live on...


"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

No. (1.71 / 14) (#21)
by FcD on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 02:11:36 PM EST

Don't equate Democrats with traitors. There are some very patriotic Democrats who fought for Gore.

[ Parent ]
That wasn't my point... (3.85 / 7) (#27)
by ti dave on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 02:23:22 PM EST

and that wasn't what I wrote.
Read it again.
Carefully, this time.

Also, rating a "1" for mere disagreement is so without grace.

Cheers,

ti dave


"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Yep (4.33 / 3) (#33)
by Danse on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 03:00:38 PM EST

FcD does that all the time.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
ratings (3.25 / 4) (#30)
by rhyax on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 02:34:38 PM EST

also it probably wouldn't kill you give ratings other than 1 and 5, granted i got a 2, i guess i should feel very special... :)

[ Parent ]
morals ? (4.06 / 15) (#29)
by mindsmasher on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 02:28:28 PM EST

I don't think we can teach moral....
It depends of values, experience of life, life's sad events....
See, Your moral's principle can change very quickly... Example, You walk on a street and you see a young child asking for money....
Some peoples can change their way of life after they saw something like that.... Now, maybe they gonna gives more times in their families ? maybe, they will do some voluntary works ?
And maybe, they will try to know why ? not why the young children don't have money and stuff... but why they feeling bad about it.... Do he decided to help them cause he wanted to feel better with himself ? culpability ? Or maybe, he just wants to help cause it's a great "title" in our society.....
I just try to explain that morality is not something that you can learn... but something that you have to think... IMO, the word "morality" is a bad word... cause they try to put you in a "mould"...
Things is not right when the majority think it is, or because you learned it is....
And morality is worse when you don't do it for yourself... It's not because an action is moraly right, that it means it's the best action to do... ?

Sorry for my language syntax and stuff, but i'm not very good in english and wanted to explain my point of view about morality teaching....
Journal Intime
Wow (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by imrdkl on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 05:38:17 PM EST

And to think I was gonna crack wise about lawyers teaching morals...

[ Parent ]
No, we can't teach morality. (4.50 / 2) (#116)
by sketerpot on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 11:11:22 PM EST

Teaching somebody's view of morality and expecting people to adopt it as their own in a program like this is a step in a very bad direction. You will always have someone who disagrees with the currently taught definition. True, some of these people will be wackos who think that women should dress up in absurd tents when they go outside, but what if someone is right?

To illustrate this, here is a view of morality:

We should go around fighting in the streets and destroying colleges, the government, and such. We don't need to work for anything, we can just steal it from stores when the pigs aren't watching.

That was clearly immoral, from my view. Would you like someone teaching "morality" that seemed to you immoral to your children (if you have any)?

[ Parent ]

Let the reeducation begin (4.16 / 18) (#61)
by fraise on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 05:13:06 PM EST

Warning, this comment contains sarcasm and satire, all in questionable taste.

We should immediately implement Justice Kennedy's suggestion to its fullest extent, and create "reeducation camps" be set up for those annoying people who use their brains to "find rational explanations". We all know it was aliens who did it, right? Only aliens could possibly be behind the Taliban!

There, I have done my country patriotic duty by finding an irrational explanation...

Ahem.... (3.47 / 23) (#63)
by Signal 11 on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 05:32:59 PM EST

The new program ought to be renamed...

BE MORAL - SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL!.

Hey, old people - maybe we have got a point? Maybe we ought not to be shoving our high and mighty idealism in the world's face? I am the United States, I have big dick, large military, and no brain, ph33r m3. Sighs. Sometimes I don't wonder if the next evolutionary step in the script kiddie is to run for political office.

My generation has got it right - and there's no way in hell anyone is going to "re-educate" us, or make us see the error of our ways. We're all about tolerance and understanding, and very little of bigotry and moral indignation, which is really the same thing boiled down to its essence. We're a helluva lot smarter than you give us credit for, old farts. We just keep that fact to ourselves...

Oh, one other thing... remember: we get to pick your retirement homes!


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Straight face? (4.50 / 2) (#74)
by davidduncanscott on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 07:04:59 PM EST

You can write the above, with all its moral outrage (even "My generation has got it right"), and then claim that you have no moral indignation? It is to laugh!

Mind you, I never thought an unwillingnes to judge others indicated anything but squeamishness. If one forms no judgements, than it's never necessary to think about much of anything, much less act. In fact, there's not much point to thinking about anything, if you're not willing to deal with it in some fashion. If we ever do get a generation that really believes in complete moral relativism, than there will be nobody to serve on juries, much less police the streets.

Luckily for us all there is not yet a shortage of elderly African-American women who are willing to sit in a jury box, listen to evidence, and form judgements.

[ Parent ]

Judgmentalism (4.50 / 4) (#78)
by sgp on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 07:30:11 PM EST

It's one thing to make an informed view of a situation, it's quite another to be judgmentalist.

Knee-jerk reactions are much easier to form than considered opinions.

I'm not defending the actions of the terrorists, but teaching kids to be outraged, just adds to the xenophobia of Americans.

Maybe it is time that America realised that forcing American ideals and corporations down the throats of the rest of the world is politically and religiously insensitive. Hopefully the younger generation may be more able to see how it's negatively affecting America's image in the eyes of the rest of the world.

And the Cuba situation is doing *nothing* to improve this image. Bush's rewriting of international laws to justify his treatment of untried captives, all in his TWAT, or to put it another way, TW Pro-Democracy, is pure hypocrisy of the worst form.


There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

We bring jobs and much more... (3.00 / 6) (#93)
by Lenny on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 08:39:37 PM EST

forcing American ideals and corporations down the throats of the rest of the world

Tell europe to stop airing our movies. Tell mexican workers to quit all their jobs at manufacturing plants that are american owned. Tell all foreign investors to sell their stock in american companies. Tell the japanese that own california land to sell it. The USA does not force ideals OR corporations on any country! The people of each country are free to accept or reject any ideal. Every country that hosts an american company gets jobs and tax revenues. Any country that does not want an american business will not allow it. Stop blaming the USA for being needed and wanted by the rest of the world.


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
We bring wars too (4.66 / 3) (#98)
by scanman on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:13:51 PM EST

How about our long history of repeatedly training and funding different extremist groups in poor countries in the name of our "national interests"?

"[You are] a narrow-minded moron [and] a complete loser." - David Quartz
"scanman: The moron." - ucblockhead
"I prefer the term 'lifeskills impaired'" - Inoshiro

[ Parent ]

how about... (1.00 / 1) (#148)
by Lenny on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:33:15 AM EST

replying to my post?


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
Like... (none / 0) (#238)
by sgp on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 06:20:43 AM EST

Like the IRA. That's why, as a Brit, the whole TWAT smells bad. Great, rid the world of terrorism, why not start by ridding the UK of the terrorists you've funded and supported?
<asbestos> (That's not a personal attack, of course... by "you" I mean the US as a nation) </asbestos>

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

This is positively untrue. (4.50 / 4) (#102)
by valeko on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:31:12 PM EST

The US perpetuates many Cold War-era political arrangements that it forced upon its own "satellite states"1 allegedly to protect against the "Communist menace." In reality, it very practically imposed may economic, social, and political rigidies upon them. It was not really an option to reject American presence, for them.

----------
1 Most notably southeast Asian countries.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

look at a map (none / 0) (#147)
by Lenny on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:31:15 AM EST

name one satellite state that the US has in southeast asia.
"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
Satellite states aren't literal. (none / 0) (#152)
by valeko on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:30:26 AM EST

Satellite states needn't be literal or directly occupied. You seem to be thinking of Soviet satellite states, which were touted as such somewhat more blatantly. With the US, the premise is largely the same; you can be an economic and/or political satellite of the US while still technically retaining your sovereignty.

Rather than re-stating my thoughts on at least one aspect of American satellites, I'll just point you to a another comment of mine elsewhere.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

i dont get it... (none / 0) (#163)
by Lenny on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:47:17 AM EST

I read your post and your link. I still don't understand your point. The Phillippines was once a "satellite". they are not "controlled" by the US now. If you are stating that the most powerful country in the world is influencial, you're right. If you are stating that the most powerful country in the world looks out for its own interests, you're right. If you're stating that themost powerful country in the world makes deals and helps groups that benefit primarily the US, you're right; but remember that every country in the world does the same exact thing.


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
Your Right (4.00 / 1) (#222)
by Amesha Spentas on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 06:09:01 PM EST

And when those countries retaliate against the US to remove some of that Influence, their right?

If you are saying that might makes right and as the mightiest nation we get to do anything we want to, well... You might be right but then you have to expect and accept violent opposition to that regime. Nature abhors a vacuum, political or otherwise. And the Russians left a very large vacuum. Before, if a country did not like how America was treating them they could turn to the Russians. Now if they don't like how they are treated, who do they have to go to? The Bin Ladins?

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

Might -> Right -> Responsibility (5.00 / 1) (#237)
by sgp on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 06:18:06 AM EST

I'm not sure it's so simple as taking sides - if someone dislikes America, they like Russia, "my enemy's enemy is my ally" scenario.
I think that the "might makes right" attitude is inevitable, and I'd rather have America in that position than many other countries I could think of. But like we got told in school, with rights come responsibility. In reality, we should add that with responsibility comes public scrutiny, and having not just to do what is right, but to be seen to be doing what is right.
That's why the whole Cuba thing is such an issue at the moment, and so damaging for America - for all I know, they're being treated fine, but that's just "doing right". It's skipping the "being seen to be doing right" aspect, which is crucial in these days of global media.

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

Blaming nobody... (5.00 / 1) (#138)
by sgp on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 04:44:43 AM EST

I'm not saying what can/cannot be done about it. I was just hoping that they'd be self-aware enough to realise it's going on.
The attitude demonstrated above is a part of why so many outside of the USA dislike America (to whatever extent. I can make this observation; I can't force Americans to understand it...

And I can't tell people not to air movies (nor would I), but you'd not find me going to see Black Hawk Down, for example.

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

Knee jerks vs. Outrage (4.00 / 5) (#108)
by davidduncanscott on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:59:14 PM EST

I don't think a Supreme Court Justice is interested in teaching knee-jerk reactions. I think he is interested in kids forming a moral opinion, whether it be in haste or at leisure. Clearly you care about things, and you state your opinions. I might disagree on some of them, but I'll certainly take you over some GenX type who can't be bothered to care one way or the other. He tells himself he's being "broadminded", but in fact he's been trained not to be mindful at all.

[ Parent ]
Tolerance For Evil? (2.71 / 7) (#84)
by WombatControl on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 07:47:01 PM EST

Am I the only one who sees the problem with high-school students who are so morally wishy-washy that they can't condemn the cold-blooded murder of thousands of innocent civilians? Honestly, if anyone is that morally ignorant, then there is one hell of a societal problem. No matters of foreign policy that the United States has ever done justifies the intention targeting of civilians, an act that anyone with the barest amount of basic human decency would find reprehensible to the extreme.

No, instead we're going to be "tolerant and understanding". To hell with tolerance and to hell with understanding for al-Qaeda and the Taliban. They murdered thousands of innocents, far more than were inadvertantly killed by US bombs. Sometimes "tolerance" is just a code word for a basic moral weakness.

The US wasn't shoving it's ideals in the face of Afghanistan, we were defending ourselves from a group that was threatening to kill every man, woman, and child in the country. We were eliminating a cruel and barbarous regime that had systematically oppressed and executed their own people. If you honestly think that what we did was morally wrong, I suggest you ask a woman in Kabul, a Sufi in Kandahar, or any of those people who are now celebrating the basic freedoms they've regained. Yes, it cost some innocent lives, but it saved thousands and thousands more.

This program is clearly necessary. If you honestly can't muster the moral indignation to condemn evil then you are aiding and abeting evil by not speaking out. Millions of lives have been lost because of those who didn't have the moral courage to speak out when they should. Enough is enough.

This notion that such things as morals and values are irrelevant is pure crap. This nation was founded on basic moral principals, and cannot stand without them. I am part of our generation, and I say that attitudes like that have no place in it. I'm not advocating blind patriotism or "my country right or wrong" but innate human principals that create the foundation for all society. If one cannot condemn evil, then one does evil. There's enough evil in this world as it is.



[ Parent ]
I think it's more like this: (4.50 / 6) (#88)
by _cbj on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 08:08:01 PM EST

The kids annoying this judge aren't denying that killing the people in the WTC towers was stunningly nasty, however spectacular, and possibly they don't even disapprove of the retribution campaign, but that to dismiss it as illogical is shortsighted and likely to lead to more of the same. I think that's what the kids are saying.

[ Parent ]
Maybe there just sick of US policy (3.83 / 6) (#91)
by peace on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 08:34:10 PM EST

I don't know where you were previous to 9/11, but the United States has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, just since WWII.

Maybe these kids have a rational frame work that includes the likely behavours of people subjected to tyranny generation after generation.

The United States had been creating extreamist groups throughout the cold war. It has been increasing the violence in the world and generations that grow up under violence. Korea, Vietnam, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, the list goes on.

We have taken the privalige are might affords us to manipulate countries of people mostly for our own corporate interests. Would'nt that cause some resentment in the minds of people subjected to such treatment? What would you do?

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

Tolerance for Evil is a Major Problem (4.08 / 12) (#95)
by esjewett on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:00:32 PM EST

It's interesting how ignorant Americans are of their own policy. To start with, I firmly believe that killing innocent civilians is wrong. I also believe that strong-arming and exploiting other countries in order to achieve our 'interests' is wrong and short sighted.

Okay, so let's start with some statistics. There are 3,767 documented civilian casualties in Afghanistan (http://www.cursor.org/stories/civilian_deaths.htm). Meanwhile, there are 3,040 dead or missing in the WTC attack (http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/12/12/rec.athome.facts/index.html). I assume you can do the math. Similarily, we were not attacking that 'cruel and barbarous regime' you refered to. The Taliban were officially collateral damage.

But there are other, more important, things. Look at US foreign policy. We've had our hand in South America since the beginning of the cold war and are at least partially responsible for every brutal, represive dictatorship (or should I say cruel and barbarous regime? ;) that has been established there. Why? Because we had to fight the 'communists,' most of whom weren't actually communists as most uninformed Americans think of communists. Most of them were what we would call socialists and probably would have been quite willing to ally with the US had we not been trying so hard to kill them. Meanwhile, the war in Vietnam is looking worse and worse, in light of recent findings.

Also, the political and economic behavior of the US has been reprehensible. The major complaint here is that the US has almost always favored its own businesses in the political sphere. It has done this regardless of the negative impact on the developing countries its businesses are exploiting. Argentina is the most recent example of this destructive behavior, but others, such as Venezuela and the fruit growing central American countries have also been affected catastrophically.

Also recently, it has become evident that the US government actually favors business at the expense of its own citizens! The Enron fiasco is only the immediately obvious symptom of a destructive policy that has been pursued for decades.

So, while Signal 11 could have explained himself much better, he does have a point. I am outraged at the terrorist attacks on the United States. But I am more outraged at the behavior of the United States in the international and, we now see, domestic spheres. Before we start calling people evil, we need to be able to evaluate how we stand on the spectrum and be willing to admit our considerable flaws. Once we fix our own problems, our actions against others will be legitimate. Until that time, we should stop worrying so much about others and start worrying about ourselves.

Ethan

[ Parent ]
Bullshit (1.36 / 11) (#107)
by Silver222 on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:56:17 PM EST

You know, if the Trade Center attacks had been done by a leftist rebel group from South America, your argument might hold. This was done because we don't make our women dress up in a fucking TENT everytime they walk outside.

Blaming foreign policy in South America is just stupid. Maybe we should take a look at it now, sure, but it wasn't perturbed Argentinians at the controls of those jets now, was it?

[ Parent ]

Good grief!! (4.57 / 7) (#117)
by Rylian on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 11:17:52 PM EST

He wasn't blaming foreign policy in South America. He was using it as an example of US foreign policy that hurts other people.
There are plenty of examples of US hostility towards Arab people. They don't dislike the US for its freedom, they dislike it because of its actions towards them.
The most common complaints are:
  • one-sided support for Israel against the Palestinians
  • the US military occupation of Saudi Arabia. (Would you like to have Saudi army bases on US soil?)
  • the sanctions against Iraq, which have led to the deaths of ~1 million civilians since 1991.
If these three things were resolved, the likes of al-Qaeda would never be able to muster the support for terrorist activities.

PS: leave the ad hominem attacks at home.

[ Parent ]

U.S. does not OCCUPY Saudi Arabia. Sheesh. (2.75 / 4) (#121)
by grout on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 11:48:03 PM EST

The U.S. has bases on Saudi territory. Calling that presence "military occupation" is just as dishonest as calling the U.S. boycott of Cuba a "blockade".
--
Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

[ Parent ]
Saudi Arabia does'nt lauch attacks on Canada (5.00 / 2) (#154)
by peace on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:50:54 AM EST

Your clarification is a good as it focuses the debate. However, the original posters actuall point still holds true if you should decide to tackle it.

What if Saudi Arabia had a military presence in the US from which they launched attacks on Canada? What would the people of France and England think of our policy then?

You try to both side step the posters point while simultainiously suggesting that the US presence in Saudi Arbia is innert. This is the type of tactic that produces no end to debate.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

Terminology counts (none / 0) (#179)
by grout on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:39:35 PM EST

I'm not sure about whether the original poster's position is on-point or not. But I am sure that using loaded terms like "occupation" should not go unchallenged. So that's how I limited my reply.
--
Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

[ Parent ]
I see your point of view... (none / 0) (#205)
by Rylian on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 07:35:17 AM EST

but I was trying to describe the Arab point of view. As far as they're concerned, the American military bases are an occupation of a holy land. (I understand that the Saudi government is not unhappy about the US presence because it helps shore up their regime. al-Qaeda sees things differently, however.)

I don't necessarily agree with their complaints - I'm just trying to explain their thought processes.

[ Parent ]

weak complaints (2.60 / 5) (#156)
by Lenny on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:01:09 AM EST

one-sided support for Israel against the Palestinians
It is hard to support suicide attack after suicide attack.

the US military occupation of Saudi Arabia. (Would you like to have Saudi army bases on US soil?)
First off, the US does not have a military occupation of SA. We have several bases there. Secondly, do you think SA would rather have been overrun by Iraq?

the sanctions against Iraq, which have led to the deaths of ~1 million civilians since 1991.
Those fools brought it upon themselves. The muslim world can be pissed at the UN for sanctions against Iraq, but one simple action could end the enitre fiasco: allow UN weapons inspectors in to check on the status of weapons of mass destruction. But the Iraqi government would rather martyr their citizens.


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
Unbelievable. (3.33 / 3) (#177)
by scorbett on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:33:14 PM EST

the sanctions against Iraq, which have led to the deaths of ~1 million civilians since 1991.

Those fools brought it upon themselves. The muslim world can be pissed at the UN for sanctions against Iraq, but one simple action could end the enitre fiasco: allow UN weapons inspectors in to check on the status of weapons of mass destruction. But the Iraqi government would rather martyr their citizens.

So, let me get this straight:

  1. The US government has a grievance with the Iraqi government, so the US decides to punish and ultimately murder close to a million Iraqi civilians
  2. The Taliban has a grievance with the US government, so the Taliban decides to punish and ultimately murder close to 3000 US civilians.
You're saying that 1 is acceptable because "they brought it on themselves" while 2 is somehow different? Think about it.



[ Parent ]

in know, it is (4.00 / 1) (#197)
by Lenny on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 08:52:54 PM EST

the US decides to punish and ultimately murder close to a million Iraqi civilians

All Iraq had to do was let the weapons inspectors continue their duty. That's it. That would have diverted the entire problem. Why will you not comment on that? Besides, it was and is a UN sanction. You know, the group that represents most of the WORLD!
"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
UN / UN Security Council (none / 0) (#206)
by hotseat on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 08:59:16 AM EST

Besides, it was and is a UN sanction. You know, the group that represents most of the WORLD!

Actually, it's it's a UN Security Council resolution, the UNSC representing Russia, China, France, USA and the UK. Whilst a few other countries have (rotating) seats, these permanent five have the veto (and effective decision-making) power.

IIRC, the resolution supporting the sanction was only actually voted for by the United States and the United Kingdom (the others abstaining) but I could be wrong on that. In any case, hardly representing "most of the WORLD!"

HTH,
Tom

[ Parent ]

still (none / 0) (#208)
by Lenny on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 10:04:17 AM EST

The sanctions are imposed by the UN Security Council. The UN Serurity Council is part of the UN. The UN represents most of the world. The other three nations could have voted down the resolution. They did not.


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
Interesting. (none / 0) (#190)
by theboz on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 07:43:02 PM EST

"one-sided support for Israel against the Palestinians"
It is hard to support suicide attack after suicide attack.

The fact that you are ignorant of the crimes committed by Israelis against innocent people just proves the original poster's point. Check through some of the links in this article I wrote last year. The Israeli government is frequently as murderous and barbaric as the Taliban was. The U.S. is correct in standing against the criminals that are running rampant in Palestine, but refuses to look at the ones in Israel. I'm pretty sure that those suicide bombers that Arafat allows to do their stuff have racked up a much lower body count than Ariel Sharon.

If it were up to me, the U.S. would take back all the money and weapons we gave to Israel, and let them and the Palestinians fight each other with rocks and molotov cocktails. A fair fight is better than what is going on now.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Sure... (none / 0) (#198)
by Silver222 on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:22:03 PM EST

That would be a great idea. Then all the Arab nations would attack Israel, and the Israelis would respond with nuclear weapons. Are you trying to plunge us into World War 3? :)

[ Parent ]
Oh geez..... (none / 0) (#233)
by DI0GENES on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 01:21:29 PM EST

Finding equally hackneyed, prejudiced opinions and using it to support your's doesn't make your "article" any more palatable. In your zeal to paint Israel with the same brush the Taliban got hit with you...ah, what use is it. Can I suggest a topic for your next "article"? Maybe get together with the folks at "Colorlines.com" and do an expose proving the efficacy of "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion."

"excuse of anti-Semitism"

Absolutely amazing.

You wouldn't be the same "boz" from the "Afghan Online Press" bbs would you? Oh wait...he spelled it B-A-Z. Sounds alike(in more ways than one).

[ Parent ]

What? (none / 0) (#221)
by Amesha Spentas on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 05:49:42 PM EST

"It is hard to support suicide attack after suicide attack."

So if they were just regular attacks you would support them? The reason they have to resort to suicide attacks is because they do not have suicidal machines (I.E. Smart Bombs) to use instead. Suicide attacks are an indication of desperation and nothing more.

"First off, the US does not have a military occupation of SA. We have several bases there."
You cannot have a military occupation without having "several bases there". If the population believes that the presence of those troops equate to an occupation then I would believe them more than the people doing the occupation. And if you say that the government of SA requests their presence then I would further reply that no successful military occupation ever existed without collaborators. Those collaborators are rewarded by positions of power that they could never maintain without foreign military might. Look at Iran as an example of US military occupation and the results that came out of it.

"Secondly, do you think SA would rather have been overrun by Iraq?"

No, but the question is why didn't the US leave after the war was over? Instead we left the wolf at the door and a guard at the gate. Just to keep the children in line.

"Those fools brought it upon themselves. The Muslim world can be pissed at the UN for sanctions against Iraq, but one simple action could end the entire fiasco: allow UN weapons inspectors in to check on the status of weapons of mass destruction. But the Iraqi government would rather martyr their citizens."

You are assuming that the Iraq government cares about its citizens. No one is saying that the government of Iraq is a moral group. But if we are claming to be, then we have to take these things into consideration. Instead, we armed Iraq to fight Iran then when we were forced to "put down our pit bull" we don't finish the job. We ask the Kurds to "Rise up and overthrow the oppressive government" - Bush Sr. When they try, we hand them back to Sadam with full use of the helicopters to put them down again. What kind of message do you think that sends?



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

Insightful.... (none / 0) (#232)
by DI0GENES on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 12:38:35 PM EST

"Suicide attacks are an indication of desperation and nothing more."

I agree wholeheartedly with that statement(had to rip it out of context but it works). Repeated failures using conventional means pretty much isolated the refugees from their erstwhile co-belligerents. I just think their desperation resulted from failing to do what Atef(think it was he that said this...president of Iran or Iraq back then) said...something along the lines of sweeping the Jews into the sea.

"If the population believes that the presence of those troops equate to an occupation then I would believe them more than the people doing the occupation. And if you say that the government of SA requests their presence then I would further reply that no successful military occupation ever existed without collaborators. Those collaborators are rewarded by positions of power that they could never maintain without foreign military might."

Pretty unassailable points. One question though...who are threats to those positions of power held by the House of Saud? Couldn't be those extremist Wahhabis that spawned Osama and all the other benefactors of the Deobandi(birds of a feather....) madrassas that spawned Al-Qaida and the Taliban now could it? Honestly, the government of a country asks for our protection against invasion by a foreign government. Should we have made Fahd sign a contract promising to hold a nation-wide referendum each year on whether we should stay or not? Somehow, I don't think the Saudis are as monolithic as you would have us believe. Sure the mullahs and the most vocal are opposed to it but I wonder whether the mullahs outnumber those employed by Aramco?

"What kind of message do you think that sends?"

We're schizophrenic so don't rock the boat? Iraq is a country about as populace as Afghanistan and most are Sunni. If the Taliban can declare a jihad against land minds can't Iraqis declare jihad against bad government? If being a moral country entailed protecting every group of citizens from their government we would have occupied Afghanistan back in 1994. Have you thought about the repurcusions from a precedent such as you suggest? Amoral government does something wrong. We embargo them. If the amoral government follows a course of action that results in enough of its citizens assuming room temperature we'll let them off the hook. Since we're moral, of course.

[ Parent ]

But again (none / 0) (#242)
by Amesha Spentas on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 02:30:38 PM EST

question though...who are threats to those positions of power held by the House of Saud? Couldn't be those extremist Wahhabis that spawned Osama and all the other benefactors of the Deobandi(birds of a feather....) madrassas that spawned Al-Qaida and the Taliban now could it?

In a word. Yes. Like Pre-revolutionary Iran the House of Saud has clamped down on dissenting views within its boarders. The people, although well paid and living in relative luxury have very little in the way of freedoms and free speech. NPR did a report on this several weeks ago. This has caused a general resentment among the populace against the ruling Saudi leadership. Because of the limitations on speech, most open discussions have been held in the mosques by religious leaders. Due to the enormous negative publicity an arrest on a religious leader would have in SA, the government is loath to try and silence them. So when the only effective vocal discourse of contrary views are coming out of the religious groups, religious fanaticism is going to grab onto that power and use it for their own goals. That's why the Wahhabis and the madrassas have as much power as they do. If you are a average Saudi citizen and you can't speak out about how this or that Saudi prince screwed your company out of a deal because he has a cousin in the construction business or is getting paid kickbacks (Which are not illegal in SA) from an overseas western oil company, your going to get pissed. But when you go to the mosque and there is a priest complaining about the same thing, you're going to listen. Once again the best thing the US could do is drop the Saudi government like a hot rock and support an open democracy.

Otherwise like Iran, the people who will be swept into power will be the mullahs who do not support religious tolerance, or western ideologies. Unlike Iran, the religious mullahs in SA will probably be extremely hostile to the west and may not stop at just taking hostages for a year.

"We're schizophrenic so don't rock the boat?" Uh so ok, lets say that you are a pro west, pro America Saudi. Are you going to make the statement that "Yea well ok, America has supported every dictator in the middle east and shows no inclination to support the people of SA in a true democracy because the ones in power are making sure that the oil flows and the CIA (Let alone anyone else) cannot predict what true democracy will do with regards to oil production. But hey, lets trust that they will help us in our goals for an independent (Of outside influence) democratic country because they are schizophrenic. Hum, Somehow I don't see that as very likely. Instead the message the Saudi people have been getting is very clear. The US supports democracy, it's the best thing. When America is attacked, democracy is attacked. But democracy isn't for you. You can't have it. America doesn't want you to have it. Because you might become a threat to America like Iran (Who hasn't really done anything to the US since they became qusi-democratic.)

Besides, the US really hasn't been schizophrenic in its foreign policy. The CIA has made US foreign policy since the cold war started. Americas relationship with other countries hasn't been decided by which president or which political party is in power as much as what the CIA believed that foreign country's importance to defeating communism is/was. Now that the cold war is over the CIA must find it is very hard to go from directing the action to just monitoring events. So much so I don't believe they are capable of doing so. And now with Bin-laden, they don't have to.

As Far as Iraq and expecting a revolution coming out of there. Not likely. When the Iraqis tried to revolt the US just said, "Well sure, use your helicopters to put down any revolt, we don't mind." Well I'm sure that's the message the Iraqis got. Why isn't the US also insisting that along with the weapon inspectors there be human rights watchers allowed into the country?

"If being a moral country entailed protecting every group of citizens from their government we would have occupied Afghanistan back in 1994." Back in 1994 we would not have had to occupy Afghanistan. They thought we were their allies, we could have sent some money (Certainly less then we sent to Israel, after all the Afghanis did more for defeating communism then the Israelis ever did.) and made some recommendations. If we had done that, I don't think we would have nearly the problems with that country that we have now. Remember despite the propaganda, America will only do what it believes is in it's own best interests, and it has a history of short sidedness. This is not a fault as such because every country that wants to survive the week does this. The problem is that it flies in the face of our own rhetoric.

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

Whoops (none / 0) (#245)
by Amesha Spentas on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 06:02:19 PM EST

On the last paragraph I meant 1984 not 1994.

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

Wrong (none / 0) (#244)
by Lenny on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 05:22:38 PM EST

If the population believes that the presence of those troops equate to an occupation then I would believe them more than the people doing the occupation.

Then you'd be just as dead wrong as the population. We do not have any kind of occupation in SA. We do have a small military presence. Our military presence does not impose any rules or regulations on the populace or government. We have a military presence because Iraq has had 3 major military buildups at the border to Kuwait. What the hell do you think Iraq would have done if we pulled out the day after our operation was done?


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
Your Mistake (none / 0) (#247)
by Amesha Spentas on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 12:36:43 PM EST

Was to take my statement out of context. I was referring to ANY populations right to believe that a foreign military presence is an occupation.

First, "Our military presence does not impose any rules or regulations on the populace or government." The occupying military usually does not need to make any rules or regulations of the occupied. All they need to do is make some requests of the puppet government and they will codify those requests into laws.

But to directly address your question, it does not matter what our military presence does, its existence in SA is interpreted as a threat to the local population and/or Saudi military that they cannot overthrow the current Saudi government. If a coup or a general revolution were to begin all the Saudi princes would have to do is take asylum in US bases. If the revolution tried to attack those bases to get at those leaders they could be seen as attacking the US. (Kind of like having several military instillations in Iran during the Revolution. If the US had them, the Revolution would have been overthrown and the US friendly Shah would still be in power. (This is due to the fact that in the initial days of any revolution or coup there is a great deal of uncertainty about which direction that revolution/coup will go. And the belief is that having a military force with direct large outside backing can go a long way in assuring that the results are favorable.)

Second, "We have a military presence because Iraq has had 3 major military buildups at the border to Kuwait" Yes so why aren't all of our troops located in Kuwait? And why did we leave Iraq in the position to threaten its neighbor to begin with? Who fights a war with overwhelming superiority just to achieve a draw, unless that outcome is more useful then a win.

Third, "What the hell do you think Iraq would have done if we pulled out the day after our operation was done?" Probably just bullied and blustered. Iraq would know what our response would be. During the first invasion into Kuwait, Sadam was on relatively good terms with the US. He had the largest military in the region and he would have guaranteed that the oil would continue to flow. (That is after all why he attacked, to secure a larger percentage of oil to pay for his failed war with Iran. (Much of the money owed was to the US for supplying arms during that war)) However his miscalculation was that to use the increased percentage of oil reserves he would have had to reduce overall production to raise the price of oil to help pay his countries debt. This the western world and especially the US could not allow. (The US was just emerging from a severe recession and would have been hard pressed if the oil prices suddenly sky rocked.) Besides the timing was right for Bush Sr. who, much like his son, was having a dismal time in the popularity polls at the time. (Didn't really help him in the end though and it hurt us much more.)

However after the Gulf War, Sadam would have had to have the IQ of a carrot to believe that any attack on any of his neighbors besides Iran would do anything but invite quick retaliation from the US, stationed anywhere. The purpose of those buildups was to show his neighbors that he still possessed the ability to defend himself. In the hopes to ward off any invasion of Iraq from it's neighbors. (Like Iran, who never officially declared an end to its war with Iraq.) And to tweak the noses of Kuwait and SA. Any other easily answered questions?

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

puppets and ports (none / 0) (#248)
by Lenny on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 02:14:19 PM EST

puppet government

Who is the puppet master? And how did they place the puppet into power?

That is after all why he attacked, to secure a larger percentage of oil to pay for his failed war with Iran.

Iraq attacked primarily for the ports. Look at a map. What good is a larger percentage of the oil that the international community won't buy?


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
So you agree. (none / 0) (#249)
by Amesha Spentas on Sun Feb 03, 2002 at 11:36:44 AM EST

Who is the puppet master? And how did they place the puppet into power?

Western Corporate business. The same Puppet masters that pull the strings on this country. Oil companies that act as the middleman between the consumer and the Middle East producers. The CIA has admitted to overthrowing the democratically elected leader of Iran in the 1940's and installing the Shah. It backfired on them. With SA it was much easier. The Princes were in place. All the corporations had to do was to pay them several billion in bribe money and they would pass any law those corporations wanted. Those same princes own most of the local oil businesses in the area and almost all of the construction business. They are tied more closely to the west then their own people and are quite willing to squelch any opposition. These are the raw ingredients for a revolution. All we need to do now is let it cook for a time.

Iraq attacked primarily for the ports. Look at a map. So you agree that they had very little reason to try to attack SA then? Kuwait, according to your reasoning, would have filled the bill nicely and it's a much smaller area to occupy then SA. So why are most of the US military bases in SA?

What good is a larger percentage of the oil that the international community won't buy? Remember this was before Russia oil was opened up to the west. The West is/was a captive consumer. Even after the war we are buying Iraqi oil. But now it is called "The oil for food program."

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

turned into a long one.... (none / 0) (#231)
by DI0GENES on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 12:07:45 PM EST

"one-sided support for Israel against the Palestinians"

Let's see. One-sided support. That's debatable but some things aren't. Jews and Arabs have fought over that tiny strip of land since the Romans leveled the second temple. Now I've never really been a fan of American history(even though I am one) so someone else might slap me for my ignorance. But I don't think the U.S. was that imperialistic from the last 1700's til the early 1900's so I doubt we had much to do with the region over those years. If I recall, from readings years ago, the British and French used the fall of the Ottoman Empire as a chance to do an epic mea culpa on behalf of Europe(anti-Semitism was quite the fad over the centuries). I can't speak for my fellow countrymen, but I'd be more than willing to give the problems back to you Euros. Of course, we'd hold you(not _you_ you) responsible for whatever happened. Ain't reciprocity a bitch?

A few dates would help here I guess.

1918(or thereabouts), a Jewish homeland is established...only reason this date is important is because some people seem to think it all started after the mass exodus of Jews from Europe following the most famous pogrom during WWII

1947(or thereabouts), UN forms a plan. Arabs reject it. Fighting breaks out. (Yeah, yeah...I'm glossing over an awful low probably...been years since I read about this stuff...sue me). And soon an Arab coalition of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and some others get soundly beaten by Israel. Did I mention this was prior to U.S. arms deals?

1956, the Suez War. It took the Euros years to get over this one. Egypt jumped ugly with some British and French multinational corporations(!!!) so both nations jumped on the Israeli bandwagon and made the Nile people pay! Of course, they all walked out under pressure from the U.S. and never looked back(With good reason, eh?).

1967, the infamous Six-Day War. Major defeat for Nasser and his sycophants. I still hear people today saying this was a war started by the Israelis. Laughable.

1973, Yom Kipur War. Egypt attacks Israel. Israel loses ground. The U.S. begnis massive arms shipments.

Lots of stuff from 1973 til 1991. Arafat makes his famous "olive branch" speech. Sadat negotiates with Begin. Sadat dies for it. Israel invades Lebanon. Those damned Falangists rear their ugly Christian heads. The U.S. pulls Arafat's bacon from the fire and sends in peace keeping forces. Two-hundred and something(no disrespect intended...can't remember exact number) U.S. Marines killed by terrorist, errr, I mean an asymmetric warrior, attack. Mass hilarity ensues as Western journalists try to pronounce 'Intifada'.

I guess the "one-sided support" for Israel occurred between 1991 and 1993. I can't narrow it down any farther than that without consulting reference material. Hopefully you'll do that for me in any rebuttal.

"the US military occupation of Saudi Arabia. (Would you like to have Saudi army bases on US soil?)"

Only if we asked them to be here. Oh wait! I hate that.

"the sanctions against Iraq, which have led to the deaths of ~1 million civilians since 1991."

I'll stray a little off the beaten path first. Anyone else notice how fat and happy those "protesters" were on the streets of Baghdad no doubt bemoaning the plight of their Sunni bretheren in Afghanistan. Oops, I forgot the Kurds were Sunni too. Well, Iraq is governed by a secular government afterall...equal human rights abuses irrespective of religious beliefs. Must have been protesting for some other reason. Anyways, back to whatever. I guess unilaterally removing sanctions would be one way to alleviate suffering in Iraq. I mean the Oil-for-Food thingy really didn't work too well, eh? Brilliant concept though. We let Iraq sell oil so it can feed people. Serves our interests and their's. Apparently there was a weak link somewhere in the chain. Can't imagine where.....

Damn, gotta hate those postscripts. Never see them until it's too late. I don't think I used any ad hominems...if I did I apologize.

[ Parent ]

Lies, damn lies and statistics (none / 0) (#228)
by DI0GENES on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 10:55:26 AM EST

"Okay, so let's start with some statistics."

After just a cursory reading of the cursor.org(pardon the pun...it wasn't intentional) site, I'd say calling "3,767" a "statistic" is being overly generous.

But atleast I didn't see any citations from the "Frontier Post". Haha!

The rest of your comments are pretty standard fair. Yeah, yeah, Pinochet. I'm sure if Kerry weren't implicated in the recent Vietnam findings "Phoenix" would take over the P-entry in the "Blame America Handbook". Honestly, the Chileans don't seem too pissed about it. I mean they aren't trying to extradite Mr. Greenspan and other "Chicago" economists that supported Herr General. I guess we'll never live that one down.

"Also, the political and economic behavior of the US has been reprehensible. The major complaint here is that the US has almost always favored its own businesses in the political sphere. It has done this regardless of the negative impact on the developing countries its businesses are exploiting. Argentina is the most recent example of this destructive behavior, but others, such as Venezuela and the fruit growing central American countries have also been affected catastrophically."

Hrm, this one I don't understand really. It seems counterproductive not to negotiate as favorable terms as possible. I mean these countries don't get taken advantage of at the point of a gun do they? Wait, I bet we cajole them into obedience with the IMF and other debt structuring puppets.

"Also recently, it has become evident that the US government actually favors business at the expense of its own citizens! The Enron fiasco is only the immediately obvious symptom of a destructive policy that has been pursued for decades."

We never should have let them do away with those direct/indirect taxation limits! It's been all downhill since. While I agree with you in principle, I'd rather place the blame on the populace. We cede to the federal government autonomy in setting tax laws then throw a hissy when they use it to benefit those that line their pockets. Nothing much else to do though...unless we go back to a poll tax and keep the idiots from voting.

[ Parent ]

Bollocks (4.81 / 11) (#124)
by Mostly Harmless on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:23:50 AM EST

I hear a lot about the plight of women in Afghanistan. About the violations of human rights etc. etc. And I hear this used as justification for the US retaliation.

The point comes to mind that, if you *really* cared about these things:
  • The CIA would have assasinated Bin Laden 3 years ago.
  • You would have liberated the Afghans without the provocation of a terrorist attack.
  • You'd be getting dirty with countries such as China, which has an appalling human rights record, and doing something about those countries where atrocities such as female circumcision are perpretrated.
Finally, as for the "war on terrorism" - the IRA are still standing. As is Sadam, both sides in the Palestinian conflict (let's face it - they're as bad as each other, but one is better armed and has better lobbyists) etc. etc. etc. And you should be bloody thankful to Britain for supporting you, despite the years of US funding that went towards IRA bombings in London.

And now anyone who claims that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones are morally deficient? Please....grow up.

[ Parent ]
You mean this kind of tolerance? (4.33 / 3) (#144)
by itsbruce on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:59:35 AM EST

Like when a US president authorises the bombing of a desperately needed pharmaceutical factory with no evidence or justification and for the sliver it gets in the .5 of a second that US broadcast media give to foreign news the great US public says "Yeah, great, pass me another beer."?


--It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]

Wow (none / 0) (#220)
by Amesha Spentas on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 05:02:12 PM EST

Wow, "No, instead we're going to be "tolerant and understanding". To hell with tolerance and to hell with understanding" and "We were eliminating a cruel and barbarous regime that had systematically oppressed and executed their own people" Got to love "Sometimes "tolerance" is just a code word for a basic moral weakness" With "Yes, it cost some innocent lives, but it saved thousands and thousands more" added for spice. Again, Wow, How deliciously fascist of you. You should write a book, I got the perfect title for you, how about "Mein Kamph"

You got so many points wrong it's hard to know where to start. First off, when you say "high-school students who are so morally wishy-washy that they can't condemn the cold-blooded murder of thousands of innocent civilians" I would disagree with you I would say that they are condemning the murder of any and all "innocent civilians" theirs and ours. Remember the leadership of Afghanistan, the talaban, was never named as perpetrating these acts, just in not releasing those who we named as responsible over to us. If they had I could almost guarantee that the US would not have attacked. We didn't attack the talaban because we were morally superior and they were harming "woman in Kabul, a Sufi in Kandahar, or any of those people who are now celebrating the basic freedoms they've regained." We attacked because they didn't do as we told them. IF it were about being morally superior then we never would have dropped Afghanistan like a hot potato right after they defeated the Russians for us. And your statement that "Yes, it cost some innocent lives, but it saved thousands and thousands more." where do you get your numbers? Several relief agencies have said that tens of thousands will probably die due to the food shortages alone. These are Innocent women and children mainly. So when you say "sees the problem with high-school students who are so morally wishy-washy that they can't condemn the cold-blooded murder of thousands of innocent civilians?" You mean ONLY American innocent civilians. You see one of the founding principles of morality is equality. If you are a moral person you can say that both the attack on the WTF and the pentagon are a moral outrage and the attack on Afghanistan is also a moral outrage or you say that nether are moral outrages and are simply the results of war. "This notion that such things as morals and values are irrelevant is pure crap." Very true, it just seems that you believe that they only apply to US.

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

Supposedly a "dialogue on freedom" (3.50 / 4) (#66)
by mami on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 05:39:50 PM EST

Strangely enough I really think that a dialogue and definitions on freedom and its limits is one of the most important discussions especially the legal and political and media community should be involved in these days.

Everybody speaks about freedom and everybody seems to interpret it differently. Instead of getting hyped up about the morals, why not getting hyped up about a more precise way of thinking what sort of freedom, how absolute a freedom you want to defend ?

What you should care about is that this "moral dialogue" doesn't end up the usual wishy-washy talk around the point sort of thingy. Hopefully the kids will be innocently logic and ask the right questions.


I'll define Freedom for you (2.66 / 6) (#68)
by elektrogott on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 05:55:59 PM EST

Freedom is when you are allowed to do anything you want, as long as you do what you are expected to do.
period

[ Parent ]
#undef FREEDOM (3.66 / 3) (#71)
by Loki The Younger on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 06:41:26 PM EST

That's sort of a non-definition, or at least it avoids the interesting issues. What things am I expected to do, and who has the right to expect them of me? If someone expects me to help them paint their house for no money, do I have an obligation to do it? What if that person is a family member? And what about the things I may want to do, but am expected NOT to do (like kill someone, or steal their stuff)? It seems your definition still leaves alot of room for debate even if I accept it.



[ Parent ]
Answer (2.00 / 2) (#77)
by elektrogott on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 07:18:20 PM EST

What things am I expected to do?
Obey the Common Sense.

I tried to be ironic (or something like that), but netherless I believe that this definition comes closest to what a lot (if not most) people mean when they talk about freedom. At least when you go by their [re]actions to differing behavior.



[ Parent ]
Why are you jumping around the issue? (4.00 / 1) (#97)
by Shovas on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:11:07 PM EST

Greetings,

In defining "freedom", the two previous posts before me side-stepped and jumped around what was request: define "freedom." Why? Define it. Don't give supposedly witty and seemingly profound responses. Answer it. It's very important that we do answer what freedom is, in order that we know what we want when speak of a desire for our freedom.

Definitions, as returned by DICT.org...

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913):
Freedom \Free"dom\ (fr[=e]"d[u^]m), n. [AS. fre['o]d[=o]m; fre['o]free + -dom. See Free, and -dom.] 1. The state of being free; exemption from the power and control of another; liberty; independence.

WordNet:
freedom n 1: the condition of being free; the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints 2: immunity from an obligation or duty [syn: exemption]

These are very simplified, generalized definitions, as they define the word and not necessarily the connotations or the context in which one might use the concept. We can, however, extrapolate from these definitions a declaration of freedom, in a civil, governmental and political perspective. To be quite simple, again, but to expand on these definitions, I would say:
freedom
The state of being free; exemption from the power and control of another; the ability to allow one's self to be exempt from manipulation, harm or undesireable effects, in that person's view; the ability to act as one wills, wherein the act in no way affects another human being
This is off the top of my head, mind you, and certainly is too simplistic to relay my total views on freedom. I think it stands as said, though, that we _must_ define freedom if we wish to uphold, defend and debate it.

Farewell,
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
Small Correction (none / 0) (#219)
by Amesha Spentas on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 03:49:23 PM EST

In the sentence, "freedom, The state of being free; exemption from the power and control of another; the ability to allow one's self to be exempt from manipulation, harm or undesirable effects, in that person's view; the ability to act as one wills, wherein the act in no way affects another human being."

I would replace "affects another human being" with "harms another human being." But I would essentially agree.

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

A definition of freedom (5.00 / 1) (#127)
by fhotg on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:50:38 AM EST

in this context should IMHO take Rosa Luxemburgs:
Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.
into account
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]
Lets not forget... (3.80 / 5) (#69)
by imrdkl on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 06:06:00 PM EST

Terrorists also, as children and young adults, were receiving special initiatives in their own schools.

All in all, tho, I would have probably ditched this day in HS, myself. We had Rosalyn come to town once, but I blew it off.

OK, now defend the right... (2.27 / 11) (#76)
by afeldspar on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 07:16:50 PM EST

... of a wife-beater who's just smashed open his wife's skill to present whatever "rational explanations" he can come up with for his behavior. "She was nagging me; hitting her was just her 'just comeuppance'".

It has nothing to do with what President appointed this Justice. It has everything to do with killing 5,000 civilians just to send a message being an evil act, and every attempt to justify it as "well, it's a message with some validity" being denial.


-- For those concerned about the "virality" of the GPL, a suggestion: Write Your Own Damn Code.

Please clarify (4.50 / 4) (#83)
by blues is dead on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 07:44:42 PM EST

OK, now defend the right of a wife-beater who's just smashed open his wife's skill to present whatever "rational explanations" he can come up with for his behavior.
I'm taking no position on this article; I get suspicious when morality gives binary answers. And there were some good posts from all sides.

But to clarify your metaphor: What if that wife was responsible for mutilating and killing the husband's family members, at least in part, through her manipulations? Then wouldn't people sympathize a bit with the husband?

Or turn it around. What about a totally different situation, where the wife castrated the man for infidelity and beatings?

Maybe both perps should go to jail, but does that mean we can't think about what their gripes were?

I just think this situation is too complex for these metaphors.

[ Parent ]

Don't forget... (3.40 / 5) (#96)
by afeldspar on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:10:47 PM EST

What if that wife was responsible for mutilating and killing the husband's family members, at least in part, through her manipulations?

I think by the time you get to thinking, "Well, okay, maybe the terrorists did kill five thousand people, either because they happened to be in the World Trade Center or because they went in to rescue people who were trapped in there... buuuut, maybe the people who died did something to deserve it; maybe because a lot of them (though not all) were Americans, maybe there's something America did that was so horrible that it justifies frying civilians in jet fuel..." you are in denial.

I really, really, really would have thought that if flying jetliners filled with innocent civilians into buildings full of innocent civilians demonstrated anything, it was not that the terrorists' actions were reasoned responses to rational grievances, but the very opposite.

The reason I used the wife-beating analogy in the first place is because I thought there, if anywhere, people would understand and be wary of the temptation to blame the victim.


-- For those concerned about the "virality" of the GPL, a suggestion: Write Your Own Damn Code.
[ Parent ]

Blame the victim (5.00 / 2) (#132)
by enterfornone on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:07:15 AM EST

The problem with this is that any attempt to point out the US governments part is provoking the September 11 attacks is seen to be "blame the victim". Because of this the US government feels justified to go on doing the same thing they were doing previously because they are now immune to critisism.

The individuals who died certainly are not responsible in any way, however the US government has to accept the part they played in causing this.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Double standard (none / 0) (#176)
by afeldspar on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:12:40 PM EST

Around here, there are too many people who are aghast that any Afghani civilians might possibly be harmed in the pursuit of the Taliban, and yet view it as perfectly legitimate for al-Qaida to have voiced their opposition to US policies by the expedient of frying whoever happens to be in a major US landmark in jet fuel.

To even talk about the US government's "part in provoking the September 11th attacks" is to presume that the deliberate, intentional and theatrical murder of thousands of non-combatants can be justified.


-- For those concerned about the "virality" of the GPL, a suggestion: Write Your Own Damn Code.
[ Parent ]

Make up your mind!! (1.00 / 1) (#178)
by Trencher on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:35:09 PM EST

So, there is no justification whatsoever for the murder of thousands of people in NYC office buildings, but because those people died the US military has the right to bomb whomever they want within the borders of Afghanistan?
Yes, that would indeed qualify as a double standard. You should think about what you're accusing people of, and then avoid it yourself. Hypocrisy must be the most despicable human trait exhibited.


"Arguing online is like the Special Olympics. It doesn't matter if you win or lose, you're still a retard." RWR
[ Parent ]
Once more for the hard of reading (none / 0) (#199)
by afeldspar on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:23:10 PM EST

If you view the murder of the thousands of civilians in the WTC as justified by "US foreign policy", then you really have no right to complain, even on their behalf, about any Afghani civilians killed in the Allied pursuit of Osama bin-Laden and al-Qaida.

Read that part carefully -- especially you, Trencher, since you've shown your profound lack of reading comprehension. I did not say that the Afghani civilians who have met their deaths due to the campaign were worthless, non-entities, non-persons, "collateral damage", or any of the straw men which fall so easily from the lips of self-righteous zombies. I said that if you view the murder of the thousands of civilians in the WTC as justified by "US foreign policy", then you have already affirmed that it's acceptable to kill civilians if it's for the right purpose. And you've already affirmed that the purpose can be as vague as "tell a country we don't like them, and let them figure out why." The terrorists never identified "US foreign policy" as the reason for the attack; they never identified a reason for the attack at all.

So you've affirmed that it's acceptable to kill thousands of civilians for something as little as "let's send a vague message". You have no right to complain about civilians who have died for a more concrete reason such as "Let's find the murderers who targeted and killed innocent citizens from all over the world and make sure they pay."

Number of times K5 ate this comment before finally posting it: 2


-- For those concerned about the "virality" of the GPL, a suggestion: Write Your Own Damn Code.
[ Parent ]

hard of reading (none / 0) (#203)
by enterfornone on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 04:04:55 AM EST

I said the terrorist attacks were caused in part by US foreign policy. I did not say they were justified.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
All's fair in love and war (none / 0) (#218)
by Amesha Spentas on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 03:14:44 PM EST

If you view the murder of the thousands of civilians in the WTC as justified by "US foreign policy", then you really have no right to complain, even on their behalf, about any Afghani civilians killed in the Allied pursuit of Osama bin-Laden and al-Qaida.

Actually it's the reverse, If you view the murder of the thousands of civilians in the WTC as unjustified, then you really have no right to argue for any Afghani civilians killed in the Allied pursuit of Osama bin-Laden and al-Qaida.

No, I believe he was saying that as the recipients of "murder of the thousands of civilians in the WTC as justified by "al-Qaida foreign policy". That if we have the moral right to complain about this "Act Of War" - George W Bush. Then those Afghani recipients of our actions have every moral right to complain about our acts of war.
   If you doubt that the actions by the al-Qaida were an act of war then I suggest that you take it up with the Prez. The al-Qaida declared war with the United States several years ago. Just because US Citizens did not notice because it did not effect them does not mean it was not war. Sept 11 was al-Qaida using their "Atom Bomb" equivalent. This was their first weapon to breach our defenses and force us to take real notice of them and acknowledge their war. Like Nagasaki and Hiroshima these were weapons of mass destruction, aimed at targets believed most responsible or tactically vital to their enemy. Their purpose was to deny these resources to their enemy. Due the nature of weapons of mass destruction there was a great amount of "Collateral Damage." If you find the use of these terms distasteful, please realize that the US has used them to explain (or Justify, depending on your point of view) our actions in dropping the actual atom bomb. (This is not meant to excuse those actions but to relate them in a familiar way.)
There is evidence that the members of al-Qaida that flew their planes into the WTC chose Sept 11, a Tuesday, strictly because it was a standard work day and the number of woman, children and vacationing public on the planes and in the WTC would be at a minimum. Their target was corporate America and the American military and many people here have pointed out that corporate America is most directly responsible for the US foreign policy and the US Military is most responsible for enforcing that policy.

They have reasons for their war, as much as we disagree with them, or believe that their reasons for attacking us are unjust; we cannot dismiss the fact that they have managed to land them on our doorstep. It is up to us to either address them, or ignore them, at our peril.

Read that part carefully -- especially you, Trencher, since you've shown your profound lack of reading comprehension. I did not say that the Afghani civilians who have met their deaths due to the campaign were worthless, non-entities, non-persons, "collateral damage", or any of the straw men which fall so easily from the lips of self-righteous zombies. I said that if you view the murder of the thousands of civilians in the WTC as justified by "US foreign policy", then you have already affirmed that it's acceptable to kill civilians if it's for the right purpose. And you've already affirmed that the purpose can be as vague as "tell a country we don't like them, and let them figure out why."

Al-Qaida did identify what exactly their "Beef" with the US was, several times. But because they were never able to back up their issues with US, we pretty much ignored them. This is why we did not attack the Afghanistan camps before 9-11. Why we never even had a pashtun speaking person in the CIA. We knew it was there, we knew who was using it, and we knew what they were training for (Terrorism against the US in a general sense not the specific 9-11 act.) but we chose not to do anything about it because it was not a major issue. They had shown that they did not possess an "Atom Bomb" equivalent, but they had shown their desire to use one plenty of times. So we ignored them.

The terrorists never identified "US foreign policy" as the reason for the attack; they never identified a reason for the attack at all.
Technically, al-Qaida has never clamed responsibility. But their was more then enough "Evidence" to point to them and why.
So you've affirmed that it's acceptable to kill thousands of civilians for something as little as "let's send a vague message".
No the message was there but they could not do anything to us, so who cared.
You have no right to complain about civilians who have died for a more concrete reason such as "Let's find the murderers who targeted and killed innocent citizens from all over the world and make sure they pay."
Right, and according to your argument You have no right to complain about the thousands who died in the WTC. The first to die in any war are the innocent. All's fair in love and war. If you disagree with any one side, then you must disagree with both sides. Etc, Etc...

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

Nice but.... (none / 0) (#227)
by DI0GENES on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 09:56:09 AM EST

It would seem that "Al-Qaida's foreign policy" is pretty darn nebulous. What exactly were their grievances? Westernization? Hrm, not much to remedy that one...well, besides living in a cave. Policy relating to Israel? Not much to remedy that one either unless you want to totally disregard history and logistics. Besides, they jumped on that bandwagon pretty late in the game. Troops in Saudi Arabia? I don't see how this particular grievance can fall under the rubric of "Al-Qaida's foreign policy" since techinically it's domestic policy by the house of Saud. If they want us out wouldn't it be more efficient blowing up a few royal-family Bentleys? Ok, maybe defending the holy land could be termed "foreign policy" though extremely misguided. As an aside, bin Laden tried to pawn off the idea of a Muslim defense force to guard Saudi borders against Iraq but King Fahd chose the U.S. instead. Did someone say ego?

Hrm, didn't terrorists attack the Kobar Towers in Saudi Arabia? I think the Saudis' reaction to that pretty much proves we did atleast consider their "foreign policy" objections to troops in the holy land. Reaffirmed by the Saudi government I might add.

We never had a pashtu speaker? Kind of curious seeing how CIA operations were authorized by Clinton as early as 1998. Maybe we just worked with the Farsi and Arabic speakers. Who knows?

"No, I believe he was saying that as the recipients of "murder of the thousands of civilians in the WTC as justified by "al-Qaida foreign policy". That if we have the moral right to complain about this "Act Of War" - George W Bush. Then those Afghani recipients of our actions have every moral right to complain about our acts of war."

Logically...but only if you ascribe moral equivalence between the motivations of the U.S. and Al-Qaida. But I guess that too is open to personal interpretation. Round and round we go.

[ Parent ]

Good Points (none / 0) (#241)
by Amesha Spentas on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 12:08:04 PM EST

But I never clamed that the Al-Qaida's foreign policy was homogeneous or non hypocritical. They were simply the reasons given before and after the actions taken. I'm not going to argue the validly of those policies because I don't believe in them, but they still exist.
I don't believe in a lot of US foreign policies that appear hypocritical, until you look at them from the context of corporate concerns. Then they start to make a lot more sense, unfortunately, no less hypocritical. For instance, the standard response to the question of Saudi Arabia is that the Saudi Government is a puppet of the US. That the US bases in Saudi are there to prop up that government and that is the reason that the US never finished off Sadam. There is enough evidence to support this idea that most people in the Middle East believe it. Of course this ignores the rest of the coalition that was involved with removing Sadam from Kuwait but it does beg the question of why the US and not the collation left bases in Saudi.

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

It has happened, therefore it is rational (3.00 / 2) (#165)
by annenk38 on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:50:11 AM EST

I don't think anyone is in a position to question rationale behind any human deed. Cleary all humans are nature's creations, and everything in nature happens for a reason. Death through violence is indispensable to nature's own survival and evolution. What matters is who sits on the giving and the receiving ends of it. Very few people in the US think of the WTC bombing as just and reasonable, but nearly all accept the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as just that. Of course, the human punitive systems are also nature's creations, and are just as indispensable to its evolution.

And if my left hand causes me to stumble as well -- what do I cut it off with? -- Harry, Prince of Wales (The Blackadder)
[ Parent ]
A little more please? (none / 0) (#226)
by DI0GENES on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 09:19:14 AM EST

Exactly why should an opinion(either way) on one dictate a position on the other?

Honestly, I don't see how you can connect the two unless you want to look at them in their broadest sense--attacks on civilian targets.

Despite what the reparationists/revisionists say, the WWII bombings were entirely warranted. I know it's not quite PC to say that but hard to deny it in the face of facts. Kamikazes. Mass suicides on Okinawa. Militarization of their entire population in preperation for invasion. "What if's" in history aren't really very useful, but I'd bet the bombings not only saved tens of thousands of American lives it also spared the lives of hundreds of thousands of Japanese. Just imagine, in the event of an invasion(either by Russians or Americans), what would come of a massed, mechanized army confronting civilians armed with garden tools, medieval weapons, and a fanatical devotion to their emperor.

Granted, there are other similarties. The perps of the attack on America were suicidal devotees doing the bidding of their god as they saw it. The targets of the American bombings of Japan were suicidal devotees doing the bidding of their living deity as he told them. Sorry, but that's as close as I could get.

I'll venture to guess the terrorists have as little grasp of history as some posters here. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were pretty much aberrations. Bombing of civilian targets has almost never resulted in the desired affect. The Battle of Britain backfired. The fire bombings on Germany were largely ineffective(even the annihilation of targets such as Dresden). The genocide at Leningrad served only to inspire others to more fervent defiance. You'd think they'd have known even if they had no love for foreign history. The Chechen-backed terrorist attack on a Russian apartment complex pretty much led to another offensive.

[ Parent ]

3000 civilians, and some people in the pentagon (4.00 / 1) (#166)
by boxed on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:09:15 PM EST

If you're gonna be outrages at the number of people killed, at least get the figures straight

[ Parent ]
That might be high too. (none / 0) (#192)
by theboz on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 07:47:21 PM EST

I've heard more recent counts in the ~1800 area. Of course, I don't want to trivialize things, and I think it's probably about ~1781 people that didn't deserve to die.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Separation of the judicial branch and rule of law (4.37 / 8) (#86)
by haflinger on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 08:02:50 PM EST

"I thought this was an attack on the rule of law, and there should be a legal response," Kennedy said.

So Justice Kennedy starts an initiative to educate the youth of America as a result of an attack on the rule of law?

Wait a second. Whose role is it in the American government system to educate the young?

The executive branch. Of the states, mostly.

So now we have the judicial branch of the federal government intervening in state executive policy?

It would be different if he was invited - possibly. Even then, you'd still have problems with separation, and constitutional questions. The judiciary has got to be seen as impartial, not taking part in any political causes. That's the basis of a thousand years of freedom in the Western world; when it breaks down, so does freedom, and the rule of law goes out as well.

Who does this guy think he's kidding?

Oh. He's a Reagan justice. No wonder - there's an administration with a hefty respect for the rule of law. Huh.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey

free country.......... (none / 0) (#100)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:16:10 PM EST

he can say what he wants to, as long as it does not violate the regulations on speech......and he should know that should he not?

[ Parent ]
an important distinction (4.00 / 2) (#133)
by vanillicat on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:16:58 AM EST

"just because you can doesn't mean you should" comes to mind. This seems not to be a question of legality, but one of good judgement.

[ Parent ]
thank you... (none / 0) (#146)
by derek3000 on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:27:12 AM EST

mr. fleischer.

-----------
Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars
[ Parent ]

No: it's a question of law. (4.66 / 3) (#155)
by haflinger on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:58:43 AM EST

The foundation of the rule of law is an impartial judiciary. This means that judges - and Justices - have to not say some things. For example, the trial judge in the U.S. vs. Microsoft case made certain comments about the case to journalists before the case had been decided. He was correctly chastised for those comments.

Just imagine what would happen if a terrorism suspect came into the U.S. Supreme Court now. If Justice Kennedy didn't recuse himself, there'd be questions about whether the case was decided fairly - and that's wrong.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

Oh please.... (none / 0) (#225)
by DI0GENES on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 08:44:52 AM EST

comparing this to what Jackson did in the MS case is specious at best. Jackson making comments that MS is equivalent to street gangs who murder or drug traffickers(not to mention personal attacks against Gates) prior to his ruling in the case was clearly prejudicial. All of his comments pertained to a case he was presiding over. Kennedy taking part in this PR scam doesn't prejudice him in any way. If he does, as any sane person would presume, lecture on the moral issues involved in killing noncoms he will be no different than any other person Bush might choose. Now if he uses it for screeds against Islam in general you might have an argument. Claiming that judges can have no prior views involving anything they might judge is an impossible standard. Every SC nominee I can remember has been grilled on their personal views and all but one(that I recall) answered then defended themselves. If you can possibly hold this against Kennedy I'd hate to see your views about state SC judges that are subjected to state elections complete with party affiliations. Just a side note about Kennedy(not directed at you). He is only slightly less scorned among his selector's party members as Souter. He has been a darling of liberals on cases involving term limits, school prayer, flag burning, gay rights and even abortion. Trying to paint the guy as a conservative hack only shows an utter lack of information.

[ Parent ]
I didn't call him a conservative. (none / 0) (#234)
by haflinger on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 03:01:52 PM EST

I called him a Reagan appointee. Which he is. I suggested that his lack of respect for the rule of law might somehow be connected to the legacy of that administration. Now, as for elected judges.

I live in a country where all of the judges are appointed, generally behind closed doors. I can see some of the problems that result from this practice. However, I also can see some of its benefits; the main one being the preservation of the independence of the judiciary. When American justices take actions like this one, it makes me understand the sometimes-corrupt judicial system in my country a little better.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

What are you taling about!!!! (none / 0) (#239)
by modmans2ndcoming on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 01:03:32 PM EST

I suggested that his lack of respect for the rule of law might somehow be connected to the legacy of that administration ummmmm.....he has a respect for the rule of law and his actions do not show anything to the contrairy

[ Parent ]
The gall ... (4.36 / 11) (#94)
by mlinksva on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 08:43:41 PM EST

... any supreme has to pontificate about moral outrage and freedom while the insane war on some drugs powers on under their watch.
--
imagoodbitizen adobe unisys badcitizens
Indeed (4.42 / 7) (#123)
by bjlhct on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 11:57:16 PM EST

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
You missed one (none / 0) (#162)
by jkeene on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:39:17 AM EST

"In seeking rational explanations for irrational acts, an explanation becomes the excuse."

-- Justice Kennedy, from the linked article.

[ Parent ]

Comeup this (3.28 / 7) (#135)
by Nightstalker on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:00:22 AM EST

One thing I would like to fathom is just why anyone would try to warn others against finding a rational explanation for anything. Under the circumstances, trying to understand why this took place is the best possible solution. Instead of lashing out irrationally, religiously, morally or what have you, younger generations are actually living up to the hype that their parents haphazardly taught them. Ever heard a "responsible" adult say, "Don't fight-play nice," then proceed to become infuriated because little two year old Johnny pushed Sally down? I hate to write the following because I know the backlash this is going to cause, but this quip is applicable in this situation. Our parents always taught us not to fight amongst ourselves but contradicted their words with their actions. I suppose the reason that younger generations usually feel such intense detachment to preceeding ones is because of the blatant hypocrisy our elders display in their ancient, and often irrational, adages. The current age is one of apathy towards traditions of forgotten origins; we turn instead to understanding. In doing so, we unintentionally, though sincerely and in different terms, understand the rules our parents gave us. Now our government is up in arms because an act of terrorism occurs and we seek to understand rather than retaliate in anger? I also hate to say this, but this act happened because we let it. Our society is full of undeserved pride in itself, not to mention the fact that it now has one more reason to take advantage of the masses' emotional reactions through clever use of marketing techniques. I understand patriotism. Pride in one's country is a great morale booster, especially when that morale has been sabotaged by its own general lack of enthusiasm during times of peace. American's could care less about the country until some heinous act rips us away from our televisions or useless, impotent excuses for jobs. Frankly, our society has bred us that way. We can afford to live free, meaningless lives, considering that "meaningless" implies lack of general obstruction to complete happiness. One thing strikes me as ironic. This Kennedy guy, by saying that it is wrong for younger people to accept that America "has to take its lumps, too," is declaring that it does not, in fact, have to take anything. Granted, our society is wonderful, everyone in the world should be so lucky: wallowing in this vast sea of commercialism, supply and demand, blatant manipulation of tragic emotions in the name of commerce. What is he trying to suggest, that we as Americans have the right to govern other "lesser" cultures? This reeks of the British Victorian ideals of "conquering savages" with the use of brute force, which in turn bespeaks of the savage nature of societies in general. Do not get me wrong; I enjoy living here, but to think that we are superior to every other nation and culture to the point at which we do not even bother to lock our doors, so to speak, is ignorance suggestive of delusion. We are under the assumption that our way of life has been altered and for THAT ALONE we can seek retribution. Every single one of you out there who thinks that those people had no right to do what they did that day: I hate to say it, but you are a dying breed. They were confused, they WERE wrong to destroy so many lives. So were the millions upon millions of people who have done the exact same thing to ENTIRE cultures, entire ancient ways of life, all over time and space in the name of... you guessed it!... Christianity. Our country is confronted with immediate disaster once and our elitest attitudes come to the rescue. Governing bodies and Christians need to rememeber what they are here for. It isn't revenge. The government officials can do what they feel they must in order to feel validated, not so obsolete. This movement has started. Generations of parental apathy towards children, decades of painting over issues with superstition and all out lies, avoiding truth to preserve tradition, these are the things that have moved us from ignorance. My generation is one that is willing to embrace a form of social stoicism if only because we refuse to endure the hypocrisy of sporadic spurts of "genuine" concern. I am not seeking to explain the terroism away in a puff of logic, I am personally seeking to understand how and why it took place, what psychological responsibility my society has in this matter, and the motivation someone could have to commit acts like this. I am not interested in anyone telling me that these people were evil, or sent from the devil or anything of a superstitious "different equals bad" mentality. Probably the least interested are the high school students who have seen morality compromised in their own households by the very people who first related it to them.

OT: Paragraph breaks (4.00 / 1) (#194)
by theboz on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 07:58:47 PM EST

You can use <p> to break up your paragraphs.

Like

this.

Also, you could use <br> to end a line.

Like
this.


Stuff.
[ Parent ]

yea good idea! (2.80 / 5) (#139)
by boxed on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 04:53:49 AM EST

Since these kids weren't outrages they must have the idea that this happens to other people and several times this has been done by the US. Obviously this is wrong, let's brainwash them into being loyal US kamikaze troops!

Lumps for Lumpy (3.00 / 2) (#142)
by cyberlife on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:19:36 AM EST

So I guess the U.S. is supposed to be immune from anything bad in the world, and we're just supposed to let everyone else get the shit kicked out of them? What a prick. I'm ripping this guy a new one on the air...

nothing new under the sun! (3.66 / 3) (#143)
by danny on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:20:04 AM EST

Morality has always connected with politics. There are plenty of examples from Roman history, but here's a quote about China from my recent reading:
Sexual relations had to be orderly and regulated, because sexual aberrations - like all aberrations - threatened the fragile unity of the new empire, and so were tantamount to rebellion. This was the early imperial sex ideology; it is one of the outstanding features of the Han intellectual world.

The Culture of Sex in Ancient China (Paul Rakita Goldman)

Danny.
[900 book reviews and other stuff]
The application of law. (4.20 / 5) (#150)
by Znork on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:05:59 AM EST

"I thought this was an attack on the rule of law, and there should be a legal response," Kennedy said.

Huh. Last I checked, the 'legal response' to a country, with which no extradition agreement has been signed, refusing to extradite criminals wasnt 'if nobody gives a shit about them, bomb them until they do what we say'.

Not that I actually think that ousting the Taliban was a bad idea, but doing it because they were refusing to extradite suspects reeks of hypocrisy.

Or maybe Justice Kennedy has some 'rational explanation' why it's 'moral' to not give a damn about international treaties and set a precedent wherein every little countrylet in the world is going to make a weak 'yadda yadda yadda just going after terrorists blah blah evil blah not cooperating enough yadda blah we have the right to defend yadda blah' excuse and proceed to launch military attacks on their neighbor states.

For a morally outraged empathic individual he sure has his rational explanations well thought out. But then again, maybe he does need an excuse. People whos 'purpose, mission is to share their rather corrupt version of so-called democracy with the world' often do.

Well, actually... (3.75 / 4) (#171)
by haflinger on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:42:38 PM EST

It's interesting because what the United States did was probably legal. Afghanistan is an internationally recognized state, with a seat at the UN, yes; but the Taliban was not recognized as its government, even in August (it was recognized by two states, one of which was Pakistan - not sure about the other). That makes the Taliban a band of illegal rebels, with no sovereign rights. What's more, the legal government of Afghanistan (that is, the ones with the UN seat) approved of the US-led coalition's actions.

This leads to all sorts of questions. Like the big one: is the Geneva Convention on POWs applicable to Taliban soldiers? It's tough, because normally the Geneva Convention is supposed to apply to soldiers working for a sovereign state. But this is a strange situation.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

Who cares if we have to follow the G.C.? (4.33 / 3) (#185)
by losthalo on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 06:19:06 PM EST

Shouldn't we follow the Geneva Convention anyway, as an example of how to handle people we capture? Shouldn't we be avoiding the appearance of treating the prisoners like "expendables" as we are, by holding them in an out-of-the-way place, far from prying eyes? Shouldn't our Vice President avoid making statements about their conditions being "better than they deserve"?

Rather than only abiding by the letter of the law, shouldn't we also show the world how to behave, considering the power we have? We should not jump at the opportunity to treat the Taliban soldiers poorly. If nothing else, it perpetuates the image of the hypocritical Americans.


Losthalo

"You're going to have to be one of the good guys. Because there's way too many of the bad."

[ Parent ]
I'm not an American. (3.66 / 3) (#200)
by haflinger on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:14:17 PM EST

But I do have opinions on the Geneva Convention, and international law in general. One of the major problems I have with it is the preference it gives for state action. Sovereign states are allowed to do a pile of things in international law that would be considered criminal acts by any other legal system. However, I should say a few things about the Geneva Convention.

  • It does not prohibit the placing of prisoners of war in out-of-the-way places. In fact, armed forces bases are very commonly used to house POWs.
  • It does restrict the punishment that is given to POWs: for example, it envisions the release of POWs once the war is over. This is why factions inside the Bush administration want to not apply it to the Guantanamo Bay prisoners; they're worried that terrorists will be released, and the problems will resume all over again.
There's been no real suggestion that the Guantanamo Bay prisoners are being forced into manual labour or anything else that the Geneva Convention has a problem with. The Big Deal is the release provisions.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]
Reasoning (4.50 / 2) (#204)
by Znork on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 04:59:43 AM EST

It's true that the legal status of the Taliban regime sortof could make it semi-legal for the US to assist the recognized government in ousting the Taliban. Maybe. As a point, since nobody was even thinking about supporting the Afghan exile government before 9/11, and the Taliban were pretty much unopposed, they were the defacto government of the country. Refusing to recognize them because you dont like them while not actively opposing them is inconsistent.

But the point is, this situation existed before, and while I could accept kicking the Taliban out for human rights reasons, in fact, they should have been kicked out long ago, nobody gave a damn about the people of Afghanistan then. Instead, in a time when Bush desperately needs to be seen as 'doing something' the US uses failed extradition negotiations as an excuse to launch military action, which is, frankly, disgustingly hypocritical.

The situation is indeed strange. However, I do not doubt that the US administration will act in its own best interests (which may or may not coincide with the american peoples or anyone elses interests), regardless of any legal or ethical issues.

[ Parent ]
translation (4.33 / 9) (#151)
by Dphitz on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:25:00 AM EST

For those of you who can't translate bullshit into English, here goes . . .

"Our younger generations may start to question, interpret, or otherwise think intellectually about U.S. foreign policy and possibly come to the conclusion that it isn't really a very good policy and may be somewhat imperialistic . . . we must put a stop this immediately!"

And God forbid we should find a rational explanation for 9-11. We should instead rely on politician's irrational explanations, such as how those terrorist organizations are jealous of our wealth and freedom. I don't understand the complete reluctance by our government to even begin to re-examine our foreign policy. To deny that it had even the slightest role in what happened is delusional. I don't absolve the terrorists of their actions but an in-depth, intellectual analysis of why they did it should be done. And please don't come at me with "Cuz they're crazy and they hate Jesus" or something silly like that.


God, please save me . . . from your followers

Our government's foreign policy (4.60 / 5) (#180)
by kcbrown on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:43:36 PM EST

I don't understand the complete reluctance by our government to even begin to re-examine our foreign policy.
I do. Look at who actually is in control of our government: the corporations. Oh, sure, our citizens have the right to vote and all, but their views on who is a viable candidate are swayed heavily by the media, which is owned by ... you guessed it ... those same corporations. And if you think that those corporations which don't directly own the media don't have deals with those corporations which do ... well, then you're probably more naive than you should be.

When you examine our foreign "policy" (or, to be more accurate, our actions in the world), the result doesn't make sense when you assume that the U.S. government is acting on behalf of its citizens. But it makes much more sense when you assume that the U.S. is acting on behalf of its large corporations.

This is why we're perfectly willing to intervene on behalf of some nations (Kuwait, for instance) but not others. When the U.S. government talks about "U.S. interests", it's talking about the interests of its large corporations, not of its citizens.

[ Parent ]

Yup (3.00 / 2) (#189)
by Dphitz on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 07:39:13 PM EST

That pretty much nails it on the head.


God, please save me . . . from your followers

[ Parent ]
Agreed (NT) (2.00 / 1) (#202)
by valeko on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 12:21:11 AM EST


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Teaching democracy? (3.66 / 9) (#153)
by elgardo on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:33:07 AM EST

Kennedy's message, as far as I can read it, is: "We protect democracy, because it allows us to be free and think and say whatever we want to think and say. But if your opinion differs from anything of what I say, if you question the government's action, if you dissent, then you are being undemocratic and should be sent to Guantanamo Bay as a terrorist and be caged for the rest of your life."

So much for democracy. The US government's next message: Arbeit macht frei!



Odd (4.50 / 2) (#173)
by silky99 on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:56:51 PM EST

Kind of funny that this view is completely different from what our last president had to say on the subject..

"We cannot make it if the poor of the world are led by people like Osama bin Laden who believe they can find their redemption in our destruction. And we cannot make it if the wealthy are led by those who cater to shortsighted selfishness and advance the illusion that we can forever claim for ourselves what we deny to others. We are all going to have to change." -- Bill Clinton

Full text at:
http://www.chimayhem.com/bbs/Forum10/HTML/000554.html

Just words (none / 0) (#246)
by ariux on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 05:17:38 AM EST

What did the Clinton team do to back them up?

[ Parent ]

Ha. (5.00 / 2) (#201)
by mickj on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:23:38 PM EST

Justice Kennedy's intention apparently is to give children a sound moral base, so they can make their own informed, objective opinions

This program was spurred on by his observation of a "lack of 'moral outrage' among some high school students following the September 11 terrorist attacks."

"Outrage" leads to uniformed, irrational decisions based on emotion. How does being outraged lead you to make informed, objective opinions?

Supreme Court justice to launch morals program | 247 comments (243 topical, 4 editorial, 7 hidden)
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