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[P]
Attacking Iraq is not Justified

By losang in Op-Ed
Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 10:58:53 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

I am writing to express my concern over the very real possibility that Iraq will be the next target in the war on terrorism. This is based on two principles. First, I am opposed to the killing of innocent civilians of any ethnicity by any agent. Second, as any rational person would agree, I do not want to see any further terrorist attacks against America. In actuality, expanding the war on terrorism to Iraq will, unfortunately, accomplish both of these. If we allow the attacks of September 11th to justify attacking Iraq when and where will we stop? In order to truly stop terrorism and build a safer world we, as Americans, need to look more closely at the foreign policy decisions made by the people we elect.


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comments (24)
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Going after Iraq has nothing to do with the events of September 11th or fighting terrorism. It has everything to do with continuing our hegemonic policies towards the Middle East in order to secure our oil interests in the region; the roots of which date back 50 years (and perhaps further) to the CIA involvement in overthrowing the Mossadeq government in Iran. The details of our involvement in this overthrow are incontrovertible and well documented. This imperialistic foreign policy, based on domination and oppression, has unfortunately contributed to the current global crisis. As a concerned citizen, I believe it is imperative to for us to stop denying any responsibility for creating conditions that would lead people to commit terrorist acts against America and begin to ask the tough questions. Questions such as, 'why would someone be so filled with hate they would commit an act like the September 11th attacks'? The common, and completely irrational, response is that America is hated for its values and freedoms. If this is so then why, for the past ten years, has Osama bin Laden consistently said otherwise? This resentment is not only limited to radicals like bin Laden. A New York Times article, in the wake of September 11th, surveyed educated Arab professionals who had business ties in America. While they condemned the attacks, they expressed the same resentment towards American foreign policy as the more extreme individuals. This indicates that resentment towards America is not limited to the extreme end of the spectrum. Additionally, why is bin Laden's message so feared that is must be suppressed? If an elementary school student wrote a paper simply stating the war on terrorism is a battle of 'good verses evil' they would hardly get a passing grade. It is time that we refuse to accept trivialized simplistic answers to complex problems and honestly look at our own policies and how they effect others.

A good deal of the anger in the Arab world towards America is related to the sanctions on Iraq. It is documented that medicines which cost twenty cents per day, could not be used in the manufacturing of biological or chemical weapons and could save lives are not getting through because of the sanctions. As a result, according to humanitarian agencies, an estimated 500,000 Iraqis have died as a direct result of the sanctions. This is bound to cause resentment especially when our own Secretary of State, referring to the half a million estimated dead due to these sanctions, says 'we think the price is worth it'. To who is this 'worth it'? It is not worth anything to anyone except perhaps Saddam Hussein. The sanctions are weakening the only possible internal resistance to his rule. It is certainly not 'worth it' to the Iraqis who are dying. Lastly, it is not 'worth it' to America. If these policies have contributed to so much hatred towards us, the consequence of more oppression and military action is clear. If we want to make our own country, and the world, more secure we need to think before we act. Military attacks on Iraq will only strengthen the increasing resentment towards America and endanger Americans at home and abroad. In addition, the civilian casualties will be very high. An untold amount of civilians have already died as the result of our bombing in Afghanistan. If we bomb Iraq this is certain to occur. Additionally, it will further seed the breeding grounds of terrorism.

How long can we, as Americans, stand along side while our government orchestrates the deaths of innocent civilians and at the same time increases the risk of further attacks on Americans? Opposing the bombing of Iraq is in the interest of all people who want true freedom from fear and terror, both at home and abroad.

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Poll
Turning the "war on terrorism" to Iraq will...
o Reduce the threat of Terrorism again America 28%
o Increase the threat of Terrorism again America 50%
o Neither 20%

Votes: 81
Results | Other Polls

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Attacking Iraq is not Justified | 259 comments (211 topical, 48 editorial, 0 hidden)
Very good article, +1 FP (3.00 / 10) (#1)
by valeko on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:12:41 PM EST

In addition to these excellent thoughts, I would like to add that whereas the current "war on terrorism" has vague definition and is essentially waged by the executive branch of government, a formal declaration of war against a country like Iraq could give the Bush administration additional ammunition to justify repressive measures at home. All Ashcroft has to do is point to his favourite historical precedents and somehow construe an analogy, and this would eat away the growing chorus of ambivalence and criticism about these "Patriot acts", etc.


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

Also... (3.00 / 2) (#2)
by valeko on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:19:59 PM EST

Here is a related, if somewhat vague, article.


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

broken (none / 0) (#3)
by Arkady on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:24:24 PM EST

That link just 404s when I click on it. Did you paste the whole URL?

-robin

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.


[ Parent ]
Correct URL (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by protactin on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:39:54 PM EST

Seems the URL as posted by valeko had some strange transpositions in it..

Oh well here's the corrected link (I hope).

[ Parent ]

Yes and No (4.30 / 13) (#4)
by ajkohn on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:31:28 PM EST

Good topic, one certainly worth discussing. I agree with some of what you've said, but I don't think you've looked at all of the forces acting on this situation. I'm sure I haven't either, but I have a few that I'd like to throw in here.

Many in the Middle-East don't like the US because of our policy toward and support of Israel. And you can debate the stance all you want, but it's my general feeling that at the end of the day the US simply can't stand by and say it's okay to push Israel into the ocean. It's convoluted, and linked to religion which is a sure fire way to make it even more complicated, often irrational.

Is that support in part because we want an ally in that region - sure. And yes the US does protect it's interests, oil and otherwise in the region. Let's not forget that the US in some very clear ways helped OBL during the Soviet incursion/war/assault/occupation. Is a good deed still good if you have an alterior motive? Stop genocide in Bosnia - a good thing - but also important to keeping that region stable and ensuring it doesn't devolve to a point where it may be a threat to the US.

The US has the notion that it knows best. Does it always, of course not, but I honestly believe that most of the time, they have good intentions. But you know what they say about good intentions right?

However, to say that we have created this hatred in a vaccuum is just not true. The media, controlled by the state in most cases, has fed people one-sided versions of the US. And religious fervor has certainly helped to at times demonize the US. Propoganda and being raised to believe in such biases is a root cause as well.

Take racism, is the US government responsible for the continued ongoing racism in America? Slavery was alive and well in America right? It wasn't until fairly recently that we really put everyone on equal footing. We recognized an error, sought to alleviate that mistake, but some will still raise their children to hate others, to be xenophobic.

So you are right, the answers are not simplistic. We have had a hand in creating many of our problems, good intentions gone bad, or errors in judgement or outright bonehead moves. However, two wrongs don't make a right.

I don't support bombing Iraq right now, but a few black bag, special forces type raids to expunge known terrorists or retreive weapons of mass destruction - I might give a nod to that. Civilian casualties are always sad (not a strong enough word I know) but often leaders put their people in the line of fire. If Iraq is sheltering terrorists, funding terrorists, providing chemical weapons to them, and reasonable actions, sanctions even, have not broken the impasse ...


"Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it." - The Transmigration of Timothy Archer

The article is funny (3.36 / 11) (#5)
by wiredog on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:36:02 PM EST

It reads like some Soviet Marxist dialectic from the 70's. All the code words are there.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
The Israel Situation... (2.00 / 6) (#14)
by Electric Angst on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:55:30 PM EST

Right now, Israel has enough military might to take out all of its neighbors if need be. The threats fanatics made decades ago is really poor support of that argument. While anti-US media is doubtlessly part of the problem, I don't think you can say we're innocent when US-made-and-purchased Apache helicopters are firing missles are people in concentration camps.

Then again, the entire Israel/Palestine situation is fucked up beyond all. There are people much wiser than us who are having quite a time with the situation, and there isn't a light at the end of the tunnel yet...


--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The Parent ]
comments (2.14 / 7) (#15)
by losang on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:59:39 PM EST

1. If you mean by good intentions the intertion to maintain our global hegemony then I agree with you. If you mean good intention trying to improve the lives of as many people worldwide I disagress with you completely.

2. There is good evidence that planners in Bosnia knew the bombing would escilate ethinic cleansing. This is well documented in 'New Miliary Humanism' by Noam Chomsky.

3. In response to sending spec-ops into Iraq, the first thing a country does to end terrorism is stop commiting it. The US is by far responsible for the most global terrorism in the world today.

[ Parent ]

Response (3.50 / 2) (#20)
by ajkohn on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:30:19 PM EST

1. We shall agree to disagree. It seems you believe that US intentions (I am from the US) are always laced with a need to conquer. I just doubt that the government is that organized - to advance that cause for so long. Again, ulterior motives yes, but it's not like the US is planning to overrun Canada and then, and then ...

Also, it's not really the job of the US alone to improve the lives of as many people worldwide. But I do believe we try to do our part when we can, aide to Honduras during a national disaster springs to mind. The US does keep a close eye on the world because they've learned from the past. Sometimes you can't sit idly by and let things just work themselves out.

2. I can't respond to that 'documentation' - but I ask you then: Are you saying the US goal was genocide? That we did not have even the hint of wanting to stop a bad situation?

3. Humm, again with the evil US. Look, I'm really not a huge rah-rah kinda guy, but you seem to see this as black and white, whereas I see gray or for those familiar with Jesus Jones 'Yellow and Brown.' Bold statements like this without supporting evidence just kinda of rub me the wrong way.

In regards to not fighting terrorism with terrorism - yeah, I'll give you that. And it sounds good, looks good on paper. I just don't know if it always holds up in the real world. Wish it did. Maybe it will.


"Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it." - The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
[ Parent ]

Remember (3.20 / 10) (#22)
by wiredog on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:35:47 PM EST

The author has apparently internalized most, if not all, of the cold war era Soviet propaganda. "Hegemonistic" "Imperialistic". I suspect he's a college student somewhere. Probably white and middle-to-upper class, financially. Most of the people I've met who write the way he does are.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
I beg to differ (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by valeko on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 04:28:16 PM EST

The author has apparently internalized most, if not all, of the cold war era Soviet propaganda. "Hegemonistic" "Imperialistic". I suspect he's a college student somewhere. Probably white and middle-to-upper class, financially. Most of the people I've met who write the way he does are.

Perhaps the repetitive use of the terms like the ones you described is unfortunate for other reasons, but that they are not applicable to the US is not one of them. It's a bit of a broad assertion and unnecessarily stretches the scope of the article, but it's not wrong.

Coming to terms with this truism does not imply that a person is brimming with "Cold War era Soviet propaganda". If you think that contempt for western imperialism and hegemony - both very real things - is unique to Soviet propaganda, you need to look a bit harder at the rest of the world. It may seem distant and abstract Marxist dogma to you, but not so for others.

And I've met lots of people who are neither white, nor of upper middle class origins, who can tell you the same.


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

I beg to agree. (3.00 / 3) (#86)
by Jacques Chester on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 07:30:42 PM EST

Whilst one does not need to be a cold-war era Soviet to spout stuff like "hegemony" (a semester of sociology is enough), I agree with the suspicion that the author is white, wealthy, and poorly dressed.

Yes, I know that there are all sorts of non-white, poor activists in universities, but they are by *far* the minority, and their rhetoric tends to be more reasonable and usable. Usually, the further the leftist writer is from the issue at hand, the more complete is their bombast.

--
In a world where an Idea can get you killed, Thinking is the most dangerous act of all.
[ Parent ]

It's not nearly that simple! (3.66 / 3) (#55)
by valeko on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 04:49:40 PM EST

2. I can't respond to that 'documentation' - but I ask you then: Are you saying the US goal was genocide? That we did not have even the hint of wanting to stop a bad situation?

It's not a clear-cut question of good or bad. In general, attempts to construe the policy of almost any government in colours of 'good' or 'bad' quickly runs into a dead end. The determinants are not whether something is morally good, virtuous, charitable, or not, although that is certainly the way propaganda demands that people see it.

Bombing Serbia wasn't an issue of necessarily good or bad. In fact, depending on who you ask, it could be very good or very bad. Very good from the perspective of Albanians, and very bad from the perspective of ordinary Serbs who are now being terrorised by the former.

It's not appropriate to question whether the intentions of American policymakers in carrying this out were somehow 'good' for humanity or not. The goals are self-serving; to expand the influence and domination of NATO to eastern Europe, among other things. This isn't something you can really argue to be good or bad without displaying a concrete frame of reference.

As for overrunning Canada or other western countries, that's probably not in the forseeable interest of the US. Economically and otherwise, Canada is already quite bound to the US, like it or not. What else does one need? It would be crippling to the strategic position the US holds in the world if it were simply to roll into Canada. <p. No, seriously. Why on EARTH would they invade Canada? Where did that come from? The US is interested in extending dominance, influence, and good profits. Canada already fulfills this role quite nicely. <p>

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

Starting from the back and working forward (4.00 / 1) (#60)
by ajkohn on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 05:27:32 PM EST

Canada - well, that was just a hyperbole, my inner chuckle.

I can grant you that what is good for one is bad for others. I can also say that it is often difficult to attribute morals to policy.

However (you could feel that coming right!) I think it is difficult, but not impossible. US policy is developed for a great number of reasons, including the ones you mention, but also with some semblance of wanting to do 'the right thing.' Sometimes self-serving goals are one in the same with what seems 'right.' And sometimes, yes, it is simply self-serving - which is then ... follow me ... a selfish way for the US to ensure the well being of what it feels is a better way of life. Arrogant perhaps, but again, rooted in wanting the 'good' for its people.

And to take it on a much grander scale, I believe most governments, not all - that's true - do enact policy because of certain charitable, virtuous or moral reasons. A large amount of domestic policy is certainly the root of this, whether it be Social Security or Unemployment or Civil Rights.


"Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it." - The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
[ Parent ]

Perhaps. (4.00 / 3) (#66)
by valeko on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 05:50:11 PM EST

Sometimes self-serving goals are one in the same with what seems 'right.'

I think you hit it on the nail there. That's called opportunism, where you can hit two birds with one stone. There's nothing like scoring both a public relations victory, giving everyone the impression that you're a nice government, and achieving a goal simultaneously. It's just sublime. And that's all Kosovo was, and I'm inclined to think that's all Afghanistan is. I'll accept the possibility of an eventual military intervention in Afghanistan even if the events of September 11th had not happened, but the US government allows genuine repression of people all over the world in places that are not vital to its interests.

Do you really think they were just looking out for the Albanians because they're really nice? Instead of looking at other areas, they looked at eastern Europe, a vital strategic interest. They then proceeded to denounce Milosevic as the architect of a little known Holocaust of Albanians of Hitler-esque proportions. Any scholar of the Yugoslav situation will quickly realise that things aren't quite so unilateral there.

And to take it on a much grander scale, I believe most governments, not all - that's true - do enact policy because of certain charitable, virtuous or moral reasons.

I think that's a fundamental point of philosophy where we can agree to disagree.

However, I am not inclined, through observation of American history, to conclude that the American government has done much legislation because they simply wanted to help the nice people. This holds true for most governments of the world, and just seems to be an axiom by which the leadership functions. Whether your goal is expanding hegemony or getting re-elected, rarely do governments just do something nice. Doing something nice rarely squares with their interests - the bureaucratic overhead, the expenditures.

Social Security and such was enacted during the Great Depression because it is in the interest of the government to have a functioning national economy. It is essential to preserving order and harmony. I guarantee you that if this was not true, there wouldn't be any nice Social Security.

Don't get me wrong, it's often enough that what's good for the goverment is also good for the people, and in that case these two motives can be reconciled into legislation that is ultimately constructive.

Perhaps it's just my lack of faith in these omnipresent 'good intentions'. Maybe you know better than I do. However, there are many apologists in history who try to construe bad things as having started out with good intentions and therefore justifiable. Why, I'm sure some pundit can convince me that there were "good intentions" in imprisoning Japanese Americans in World War II, or carpet-bombing Cambodia...


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

Agree (none / 0) (#77)
by ajkohn on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 06:42:29 PM EST

with your first argument. And it seems we're somewhat close on that one. It is opportunism, and the US allows other atrocities to continue because it doesn't really advance their cause. I think it's a very cold risk/benefit analysis and while some in power may want to help, we often need to see some return on that investment. We are selfish in self-preservation, protecting our own.

Again, is it up to the US to solve every problem? Should we be held up as great saviors - no! We pick our battles, ones where there is that opportunity for a win/win. Perhaps that is seen as bad by some, I have mixed feelings but would rather act when possible. It is a compromise.

Lastly, I doubt that many want the US to intervene in some cases. Doing so would truly portray us as an 'expanding hegemony.' If we were to act out of 'good will' every time, there's a good chance we'd really piss people off. I believe you mentioned something to the effect that what is good for one is bad for another.

On the second point, we shall agree to disagree. I do see your view on it, and perhaps if I were in a foul mood I might be persuaded. The results may look calculating, but there are people making decisions and they can't all be this objective. I certainly don't know more or better, I just feel that government is populated by people and they can't all be rotten.

Lastly, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Absolutely. The two items you cite are nasty chapters in history. But were the guards at the internment camps all bad? Were the pilots in Cambodia all evil? You delve into decisions (bad ones) that were made by people and not made lightly, they are then following by others, which is not an excuse but ... *shrug*


"Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it." - The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
[ Parent ]

Fair enough, but some other points to consider ... (3.33 / 3) (#93)
by valeko on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 08:15:52 PM EST

Again, is it up to the US to solve every problem? Should we be held up as great saviors - no!

No, but do ask yourself whether it's up to the US to fix problems of which its policies are the direct cause, and whether it's up to the US to abstain from delibarately creating devastating problems as a byproduct of its policies. I think that concerns such as these are more relevant.

If we were to act out of 'good will' every time, there's a good chance we'd really piss people off.

No comment, other than that enough people are plenty pissed off already. Especially the ones that realise that the US isn't acting out of good will entirely, if at all.

The results may look calculating, but there are people making decisions and they can't all be this objective. I certainly don't know more or better, I just feel that government is populated by people and they can't all be rotten.

This is an optimistic notion that I certainly can agree with.

However, a number of variables are involved. One is - what kind/which echelon of government? I'm sure there are nice people in your municipal government who probably aren't rotten and may have genuine concern for the welfare of the town's citizens. When you travel up the heirarchy, this characteristic naturally disappears or becomes obscured.

Sure, government is populated by people. People from certain environments representing certain interests and having certain agendas of their very own. As committed as you are to faith in democratic society apparently, you have to realise that the cornerstone of an effective popular government is an informed populace and fruitful leaders that rise from the pool.

There are people far more credible than I that can tell you all about how Congress is really more of a nomenclature serving corporate interests than anything else. Do you want to believe them? Ultimately up to you.

I feel that your final point about pilots of missions over Cambodia and guards at Japanese-American internment camps is irrelevant. Hate to burst your bubble on it, but the henchmen are not the same as the policymakers. I suppose a real optimistic perception of representative government might lead you to believe otherwise, but that's how it is.


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

Okay ... read on (4.00 / 1) (#97)
by ajkohn on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 08:47:45 PM EST

Got a case of freeze so this is the second time I'll do this, but I'll break it down into the three to four responses you provided.

Yes they are relevant, and I may agree with abstaining. However the fixing angle just seems like another 'good intention' or 'two wrongs' trap. If the future could be determined to absolutely cause a negative result, then it should be avoided. Hindsight always makes things so clear. I'll skip two since you didn't say much really

Three, ahhh, here you've gone and done it. I hate to break it to you but in all honesty, like the Depeche Mode song title reads, People Are People. I know folks who don't believe this, colleagues of mine who are terrified of even approaching a VP or CFO or CEO. But they put their pants on one leg at a time and we all have far more in common then not. Whether they be lawyers, politicians, jocks, CEOs or homosexuals, we're all just people with wants and desires and fears and dreams. Of course, your job will in many ways inform how you conduct yourself. Priests, therapists, porn stars, accountants, coders. But in the end, all pretty much the same. And before I hear, but they're really different, let me tell you ... I lived in DC for 6 years, met congressmen and have friends who talk to, meet with, rub elbows with many, many more. Nothing to get too excited about. They're not very different. Dick Gephardt still gets a ride home in a beat up Honda from time to time, true story.

Now if you wish to open the door to 'who has the most influence in government and is that good' debate, we can do that another time. Let me only say one thing ... would you rather have a system where you knew with the right money, by convincing the right people with that money, that you could get something done, pitting money against money ... or would you rather Ross Perot simply do whatever he likes because he doesn't need any more money. At least in the former, you have lobbyists throwing money at politicians from both sides, and they actually have to make a decision.

Lastly, I probably did not make myself clear. From policy makers all the way down to those that pull the trigger - most will have doubts. Most will go through a thought process to reach that decision and it is generally not arrived at unilaterally or without some reservations.


"Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it." - The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
[ Parent ]

The purpose of government (3.50 / 2) (#69)
by UncleMikey on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 06:06:24 PM EST

1. If you mean by good intentions the intertion to maintain our global hegemony then I agree with you. If you mean good intention trying to improve the lives of as many people worldwide I disagress with you completely.

The purpose of government is to secure and improve the lives of its own citizens, not of random people worldwide. The purpose of the American government is to make life better in America, and only in America. The purpose of Her Britannic Royal Majesty's Government of Great Britain is to make life better in Great Britain. The purpose of Kharzai's new government in Afghanistan (and best of luck to them!) is to make life better in Afghanistan. Et caetera.
--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]

re: the purpose of government (5.00 / 1) (#189)
by deadplant on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 04:43:06 PM EST

The purpose of government is to secure and improve the lives of its own citizens, not of random people worldwide.

Indeed you are correct. However enlightened self-interest reveals that the well-being of the individual is reliant on the well-being of the entire community. So, just as each individual within a nation is better off if all their citizens are well-treated, each nation within the world is better off if the other nations are treated well.

[ Parent ]
Hmm... (4.28 / 14) (#7)
by trhurler on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:41:00 PM EST

I'm inclined more towards the statement "attacking Iraq would be wasteful and counterproductive." I don't really think it is unjustified; after all, Saddam Hussein's regime makes the word horrific seem entirely too mild. However, attacking it isn't likely to help the US, is likely to increase terrorism, and is actually only moderately likely to help the Iraqi people, even in the long run - and it WILL harm them in the short term.

That said, if Saddam and his family were to all die in a horrible accident or two, the world would be a better place.

I do make one exception. If fairly conclusive proof were to be shown that Iraq was involved(money, equipment, whatever) in actual terrorism against the US, I'd be all for going in there and ripping the existing regime apart utterly. As long as terrorist sponsors "get away with it," terrorism will not end; the appeasement people such as yourself suggest is mere foolishness. Meet their demands, and they will simply find something new to demand.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Terrorists are not finite (1.60 / 10) (#10)
by losang on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:48:17 PM EST

The number of terrorists in the world are not finite. If Iraq was found to be involved in the 9-11 attacks destroying them would not do much to end terrorism. What is would do is create the conditions for more people to want to commit terrorist actions.

Again we need to look at why a country like Iraq would want to commit terrorist attacks agains the US. According to your reasoning Iraq is justified in ripping apart the regime in Washington. The sanctions that have been in effect for over 10 years are act of terrorism. This is unrefutable by any useful definition of the word. So by your logic we are justified in attacking Iraq for doing what they were justified in doing.

Instead of writing a quite response think about whay you are saying then comment.

[ Parent ]

Oh, boy (4.63 / 11) (#24)
by trhurler on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:48:17 PM EST

The number of terrorists in the world are not finite.
Terrorists are a strict subset of humans. The number of humans is finite. Therefore, the number of terrorists is finite.
If Iraq was found to be involved in the 9-11 attacks destroying them would not do much to end terrorism.
Certainly it would. Your real meaning of course is that there are many potential terrorists. The thing is, there are FEW potential terror sponsors, and if a couple of them get obliterated for sponsoring terror, the rest will fall into line because they do not want to be destroyed. Terrorism requires a lot of planning, equipment, manpower, money, time - you need places to train - and so on. Real terrorism is not some kid in the West Bank strapping on some dynamite. That's bush league, and will never really hurt the US. On the other hand, huge, well funded, well equipped and organized efforts like bin Laden's can and will - but they are also viable targets, as we've proven now, and there are not many of them - or many places that will tolerate their presence.
Again we need to look at why a country like Iraq would want to commit terrorist attacks agains the US.
That would be because we drove them back from their highly illegal opportunistic occupation of Kuwait and have since then done our best to prevent them from building weapons of mass destruction or using their military against their own civilians. Basically, they're like a little kid who bullies other little kids, and we're not letting them do that.
According to your reasoning Iraq is justified in ripping apart the regime in Washington.
Clearly, you have not actually understood my reasoning.
The sanctions that have been in effect for over 10 years are act of terrorism.
Terrorism includes elements of sudden destruction or the threat of sudden destruction, surprise, and so on. Sanctions, on the other hand, are pre-announced, plodding, political measures. By the way, the UN applied the sanctions; they're not some unilateral US decision. The UK, China, Russia, and France have at least as much say in that matter as the US does, and other nations are involved too.
This is unrefutable by any useful definition of the word.
If by "useful" you mean "useful in making a ridiculous statement calling economic sanctions terrorism true" then yes. Carbombs, planes crashing into buildings, hijackings, assassinations, and so on - these all share common elements which we collectively refer to as "terrorism." Sanctions have some of these elements(they have a negative impact on the target, for instance,) but not others(they are imposed legally, and they are announced in advance, for instance.) Not all actions which negatively impact someone else are terrorism.
Instead of writing a quite response think about whay you are saying then comment.
I suppose I think faster than you. More practice, I'm guessing. In any case, telling me how to behave on a weblog is a sign that you're either very stupid or very, very new. Or both.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
It's painful, isn't it? (4.14 / 7) (#30)
by Electric Angst on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:08:43 PM EST

I agree with some parts of what you're saying, trhurler, and I disagree with others. The thing that really irks me, though, it that this guy is coming at things from such an uninformed, anti-american point that I'm finding myself on the same side of the fence as you, and that just makes me feel dirty.
--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The Parent ]
please clarify (1.50 / 4) (#36)
by losang on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:21:33 PM EST

First of all anti-American means nothing in this case. You are using it as a derogatory term which it only obtains in certain contexts and not in the realm of logic.

Second, please let me know which of my comments are uninformed?



[ Parent ]

You know little to nothing about Foreign Policy. (4.80 / 5) (#43)
by Electric Angst on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 04:04:41 PM EST

Else you wouldn't be making incorrect claims about our motivation for the Gulf War (which was done more at the bidding of a nervouse Saudi Arabia than any US-centric motives.) Nor would you be seriously talking about a total policy overhaul. Hell, even the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War didn't create the kinds of changes you're talking about.

Is our foreign policy fucked up? Yes. Does it hurt people? Yes. The best that we can do, though, is wait out the bad and promote wisedom in the policy that is being laid down right now.

Also, on the subject of anti-Americanism, the rhetoric of your posts, from start to finish, characterizes American action as bully-ish, racist, and generally unfit. Had you perhaps understood that our current policies are built on a hundred years of decisions, both good and bad, then perhaps you wouldn't be so likely to oversimplify everything and make the failings in our policy out to be due to some negative aspects of the character of American government.


--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The Parent ]
Man, I'm sorry about this. (4.00 / 1) (#103)
by wiredog on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 09:38:45 PM EST

But the US didn't go in at the bidding of a nervous Sauid Arabia. Read "The Commanders" by Woodward. The US had to convince the Saudis that Iraq was a threat and that the US should be invited in.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Saudi Action... (none / 0) (#164)
by Electric Angst on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 10:19:15 AM EST

Well, I haven't checked out that book, but the information I've checked seems to indicate that Saudi was the one who initiated the US forces. Bush Sr. didn't say a word about "this horrible action" until over three days after it happened, and then only because Saudi condemned it.


--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The Parent ]
So we give the terrorists what they want? (4.16 / 6) (#33)
by Your Mom on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:13:59 PM EST

Again we need to look at why a country like Iraq would want to commit terrorist attacks agains the US

And then do what? Give them what we want? I'm not quite sure on how giving terrorists what they want is supposed to help stop terror as a tactic people use to get what they want. I was under the impression that taking a longer view of the problem and making it apparent that blowing things up will not get you what you want was the point of the operation.

That being said, some modification of how America acts internationally is definately in order. However, this must be balenced with maintaining our best interest at all times (and using our position to help others).

--
"As far as I'm concerned, Osama bin Laden can eat a dick." -trhurler
[ Parent ]

response 2 (2.00 / 5) (#34)
by losang on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:17:00 PM EST

Terrorists are a strict subset of humans. The number of humans is finite. Therefore, the number of terrorists is finite.

You are correct, although intelectual games don't help the situation of ending suffering. What I meant to say was static not finite. Thank you for pointing this out.

The second response was pretty good. The point is that violence only causes violence.

That would be because we drove them back from their highly illegal opportunistic occupation of Kuwait and have since then done our best to prevent them from building weapons of mass destruction or using their military against their own civilians. Basically, they're like a little kid who bullies other little kids, and we're not letting them do that.

It is evident that the US intervention had nothing to do with freeing Kuwait. It was all about teaching Hussein a lesson. Another detail, that is somewhat related, is that the US stood by and even supported Hussein when he was using gas on his own people. Likewise, at the end of the Gulf war the US denied access to captured Iraqi military equiptment and essentially condoned their slaughter by Iraqi forces who could have been prevented by the US.

Clearly, you have not actually understood my reasoning.

You are probably right but as I understand it you are saying that America is justified in going after Iraq because they sponsor terrorism.

Terrorism includes elements of sudden destruction or the threat of sudden destruction, surprise, and so on. Sanctions, on the other hand, are pre-announced, plodding, political measures. By the way, the UN applied the sanctions; they're not some unilateral US decision. The UK, China, Russia, and France have at least as much say in that matter as the US does, and other nations are involved too.

I was refering to the FBI definition of terrorism which is: Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

This has no mention of anything related to sudden threat of surprise. I does have reference to civilian population and political objectives. According to our own definition the sanctions on Iraq are terror.

At the risk of sounding presumptuous I honestly want to ask you how much you have researched these issues. It is fine for us all to have an opinion but that is really not worth much in the big picture. What is worth something is the truth and facts.

[ Parent ]

Ah (4.60 / 10) (#41)
by trhurler on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:57:41 PM EST

You are probably right but as I understand it you are saying that America is justified in going after Iraq because they sponsor terrorism.
Not "because." I have no evidence that they do, aside from unsupported claims by the CIA. What I said is, if it turns out that they do sponsor terrorism against the US, then not only are we justified, but it is clearly a good idea to remove the present Iraqi government entirely. Governments need to learn that even if terrorists are hard to capture and punish, governments that sponsor them are not. Without those sponsors, large scale terrorism is impractical.
I was refering to the FBI definition of terrorism which is: Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
Note the use of the word "unlawful" in the definition. The sanctions, regardless of your opinion of their moral standing, are certainly legal; they have been approved by lawful procedures of the nations involved and the UN; how much more legal can you get?
At the risk of sounding presumptuous I honestly want to ask you how much you have researched these issues.
I keep up with as much of current events as I can, and I've been doing that for quite a while. One thing that is abundantly clear to me, but perhaps less so to you, is that international terrorism is not about terrorists - you're right, there is always another terrorist. This is really about governments that sponsor them - there is always some sponsor or other, and there are a very limited number of potential sponsors. They are the part you attack - not the terrorists. Upon this realization, you will see why I think that regardless of the wisdom of our other policies(some of which certainly need to change, no doubt,) the way to deal with terror is to stamp out its resource providers.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Go read "The Prince", ASAP. (4.00 / 1) (#88)
by Jacques Chester on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 07:45:42 PM EST

The point is that violence only causes violence.
Again, not quite. To whit:
men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.
Again from the Gutenburg Project. You may also find that Clausewitz and Sun Tzu provide profitable reading. These three have all heavily influenced both war and statecraft, for as Clausewitz pointed out - war is policy by other means.

--
In a world where an Idea can get you killed, Thinking is the most dangerous act of all.
[ Parent ]
Works both ways, too :-) (5.00 / 1) (#110)
by UncleMikey on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 09:55:23 PM EST

I've heard this sentiment:

for as Clausewitz pointed out - war is policy by other means.

cited the other way around, "Politics is war by other means", probably from a different source, but I'm blanking on the citation.


--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]
Go read "The Prince", ASAP. (5.00 / 2) (#89)
by Jacques Chester on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 07:47:20 PM EST

The point is that violence only causes violence.
Again, not quite. To whit:
... men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.
Again from the Gutenburg Project. You may also find that Clausewitz and Sun Tzu provide profitable reading. These three have all heavily influenced both war and statecraft, for as Clausewitz pointed out - war is policy by other means.

--
In a world where an Idea can get you killed, Thinking is the most dangerous act of all.
[ Parent ]
Violence causes violence? (4.50 / 4) (#96)
by khym on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 08:44:36 PM EST

The point is that violence only causes violence.
If that was true, then WWI and WWII would never have stopped. But the violence done by the Allies did eventually stop the violence done by the Axis. If you mean that, in this particular case, violence will lead to more violence, OK then, but don't go dragging in a moldy old catchphrase like that.
I was refering to the FBI definition of terrorism which is: Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
The stated purpose of the sanctions are to prevent Iraq from building weapons: baby forumula powder isn't allowed in because phosphorus could be exctracted from it and used to make weapons; computers aren't allowed in because they could be used in the contruction or deployment of weapons. If the real, hidden intent of the sanctions are to force the populace of Iraq into revolting against Sadam Hussein, I'd like to see some evidence for this.

--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
[ Parent ]
iraq and sactions (2.00 / 1) (#245)
by losang on Sat Dec 22, 2001 at 12:53:53 AM EST

Regarding sanction I thought we were debating if there were terrorism which they are. I don't know the exact location but there are documents released during the Clinton era, refered to by reliable sources with little motivation to lie, which indicate that Gulf War planners deliberately destroied much of the infrastructure of Iraq. Particularly targeted was the water treatment system. A post-war UN report indicated that the living conditions in Iraq were miserable. Figures site that at oncepoint 10,000 people were dying a month due to the destruction of water treatment facilities.

The validity of the numbers is not very important though. What is important is that military planners specifically targeted the civilian population during the Gulf War. Not only in terms of direct targets of bombs but in a much vile way of causing disease and sickness to spread among the people. This is both terrorism and biological warfare in its most obvious forms.

As far as the real truth behind the sanctions we need to look at where Hussein was before and after the war in Americas eyes. He asked Washington if they would have any problem with him moving in on Iraq. We said we have no interest in the matter and no sooner did he invade then we made him out to be a monster. Of course, when we were funding his murderous crimes there was no mention of them.

Now addressing the sanctions directly, it is hard to believe that they are for the stated purpose. We built him up in the Middle East so as to maintain a ballance of power. The US did not want any leader to get too powerful and at the same time wanted leaders who we could control. During the Iran/Iraq war we funded both sides. This should shed some light on our motivations for intervention which were far from humanitarian. Likewise, the so called 'no fly zones' which were established in order to protect the Kurds in the north and Shiite Muslims in the south need further investigation. At the end of the war there was an uprising against Hussein by both groups. The American military let both groups be slaughtered right under there noses and could have easily been prevented. The uprising in the south even was denied access to captured Iraqi military equiptment, without any actual assistance from the US forces. This was denied. I we were so concerned with removing Hussein then why did we turn away as internal resistence mobilized? Pretty much the same story with the Kurds.

That fact of the matter is that we should know what Hussein has since we probably gave it too him or were somehow knew about it. I believe that the true motivation of the sanctions is to demonstrate what happens to those who oppose US interests. It is in the best interest of the US to keep the people of the Middle East weak and the governments in our pockets. Recall that the main focus of US foreign policy in the region has been domination and control of our vital interests at any cost at the cost of human lives. The history of our role in the Mid-East is one of domination and suppression for the sake of oil. An honest examination of our intervention post-WWII will demonstrate this.

[ Parent ]

Wrong, (4.57 / 7) (#52)
by Whyaduck on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 04:33:17 PM EST

unless 6 billion is the same as infinity. Seriously, if the United States continues reacting to terrorism in the same way that it has reacted in Afghanistan, then I'd say the maximum for the supply of terrorists would be the number of people that are willing to give over their lives to a losing proposition, likely dying in the process. I'll bet that number is much less than infinity.
If Iraq was found to be involved in the 9-11 attacks destroying them would not do much to end terrorism. What is would do is create the conditions for more people to want to commit terrorist actions.
So ousting a terrible regime that has been funnelling money earmarked for food and medicine into weapons programs for the past decade, then helping to rebuild the country would automatically create terrorists. Well, maybe a few more will sign up in Saudi Arabia or Egypt, but I'm not so sure that it would create a lot of Iraqi terrorists. Personally, though, if Hussein were involved, I'd be willing to risk the possibiliy of engendering a little hatred.
The sanctions that have been in effect for over 10 years are act of terrorism.
So the U.N. is a terrorist organization? Honestly, how can sanctions aimed at preventing an aggressive regime (that has used weapons of mass destruction in the past) from producing weapons of ultimate terror be characterized as an act of terror? Please explain to me why the solution is necessarily a change in the U.N.'s policy rather than a change in Hussein's policy? Because Hussein won't change his policy?

Oh Lydia, oh Lydia, say, have you met Lydia?
Lydia The Tattooed Lady.
She has eyes that folks adore so,
and a torso even more so.

[ Parent ]
Not so much-- (1.66 / 3) (#64)
by Koutetsu on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 05:48:29 PM EST

The problem is not so much the goal of the actions as the negative effects by them. A few of the thousands of innocent Afghan casualties have already likely stirred up resentment towards the U.S. If the U.S. continues the same irresponsible tactics of "war" that have been shown so far this year, they're likely to create enemies from all directions. It's quite easy to give in to someone offering retaliation against an evil international superpower when you've got your loved ones dead beside you with bomb shrapnel in their guts.

I don't have much to say about sanctions, but given that they're not working I'd prefer to see some decent, surgical military action to dethrone Hussein rather than choking of resources and carpet-bombing.



. . .
"the same thing will happen with every other effort. it will somehow be undermined because the trolls are more clever and more motivated than you are." - rmg
[ Parent ]

thousands of innocent casualties (4.33 / 3) (#101)
by wiredog on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 09:32:42 PM EST

Man, even the Taliban wasn't claiming thousands of innocents killed.

The tactics have been extremely responsible. We may differ, however, on whether the strategy of war is responsible.

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

Just a few thousand (3.50 / 2) (#143)
by Koutetsu on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 12:55:36 AM EST

An independent study compiles the coverage of multiple news sources to give what I hope is a fairly thorough account of each and every incident of civilian death in Afghanistan since U.S. bombing started, including the Taliban's and the Pentagon's claim about each.

I'll have to trust your judgement on the definition of tactics against strategy, as I can't glean a meaningful difference from Dictionary.com, so take my apologies for my ignorance in diction.



. . .
"the same thing will happen with every other effort. it will somehow be undermined because the trolls are more clever and more motivated than you are." - rmg
[ Parent ]

Looked at the link (4.60 / 5) (#163)
by wiredog on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 08:42:09 AM EST

He's got bad data on the weapons used. The 2000 lb JDAM is only dropped by the B-52, he claims it is dropped by F-18's. It won't even fit on an F-18. Makes his data and analysis somewhat suspect.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Like a Surgeon (5.00 / 2) (#224)
by On Lawn on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 06:31:15 PM EST

The problem is not so much the goal of the actions as the negative effects by them.

later...

I don't have much to say about sanctions, but given that they're not working I'd prefer to see some decent, surgical military action to dethrone Hussein rather than choking of resources and carpet-bombing.

This rises a few points. Among them is the notion of a surgical strike, and the other is the notion that America is not doing it. I think my favorite point I unfortunately will not treat in detail, but just to say I find it ironic that you would rather bombing and ousting Hussein rather than sanctions. But then again I might agree with you there, so it may not be that ironic at all.

A surgical strike is a very noble goal. I give high marks for every organization who is spending millions of dollars on weapons capable of such surgical targeting. I appreciate any administration that is working so hard at targeting only military installations.

To my knowledge the USA meets that criteria, and there are plenty in the areas they have bombed that agree. There are also those that assume that any casualties *must* be evidence that the USA is hated and indescriminately bombing,.

Case in point, I was listening to NPR today, Fresh Air. The guest was a woman who traveled in Afghanistan, documenting woman's issues.

She had just come from a displacement camp only 6 miles away from the front lines. She continued on how she could feel the daisy-cutters from the camp and they ran chills down their spines.

As the interview continued, we learned why those women were in displacement camps. Was it the war? Had there been some carpet bombing that wiped out their village? (Note there were *thousands* in this displacement camp alone.) No, they were displaced by the cruelty of the Taliban. Some had watched their husbands get shot in front of them. Some had seen them tortured and taken.

A second case in point comes again from NPR about a month ago on the program 'All Things Considered. I heard the voices of three afghanistani aid workers who were showing contempt for the war. Was it the casualties from American bombing that had them riled up? No, it was the talk of the Islamic clerics that had them discusted.

After years of watching the military movements of USSR, Northern Alliance, and Taliban forces they considered the USA as very courteous in their targetting. They had watched the rocket attacks in Kabul when the Northern Alliance ousted the Russians, and how they indiscriminately poured their arsenal into the city. Then they saw the Taliban repeat the same indescriminate rocketting of the city when took over Kabul a few years later.

My last case in point shows the interactions of one who was very sympathetic to Afghanistan. It was a reporter who had his car break down on the road in southern Afghanistan. At first a few children gathered around him, then a few adults. he couldn't hear what they were saying but it was jovial in nature. He tried to ignore them at first, but that only encouraged a few children throwing rocks at him.

What was he to do? He started scolding the children. Then a much larger crowd showed up and more rocks were thrown. His glasses were broken, they were laughing at him, and stole his second pair of glasses when he reached for them. Blind, and red in his eyes from blood he lashed out and attacked the nearest people to him. They then started beating him. If it weren't for a passing cleric he probably would have been dead.

His assesment of his own situation was that America was to blame. Their was a nearby city that was being bombed by Americans, so they must have been angry at anyone who looked American (he was British if I recall.) He frankly forgave them on those grounds. I'm glad he was so magnanimous.

I'm sure you see the trend here. There are a few thousand people with valid complaints with a great many more at regimes that are truely as bad as they claim America to be. These people are in turn being represented (by my estimate) by a million people with their own axes to grind.

I think these people need to be found and helped, and not put on a poster for their own political agendas.

My last point is that carpet bombing has not occured in Afghanistan, and not in Iraq since Kuwait was restored. You'd be interested in just such a discussion found here. Note the article it is linked to.

[ Parent ]

I mostly agree (2.00 / 1) (#202)
by itsbruce on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 06:53:51 PM EST

But have a quibble about that last paragraph. Unless you define the term "Terrorist Sponsors" very carefully, most western governments are solidly in the frame.


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


[ Parent ]
Potentially nasty ... (3.55 / 9) (#8)
by Ranieri on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:46:05 PM EST

I would like to draw attention to the fact that mr. Hussein has not been idle for the past ten years.
If the coalition turns their aim in his direction, chances are that he will go through the trouble of having the product of his decennium of research (be it nuclear, bacteriological or whatever) delivered to his local enemy of choice.

Cosidering the explosive situation in the region at the moment, there's not telling what might happen.

Israel has fangs. (4.25 / 4) (#91)
by Jacques Chester on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 08:05:56 PM EST

As someone so eloquently pointed out. During the Gulf War, the Israelis made it clear, via diplomatic channels, that if Hussein used WMDs on Israel, they would nuke Iraq into green glass. It's called "The Samson Option", it's well known in Israeli foreign policy circles, and they'd exercise it too.

As for conventional attacks, the Israelis have shown that they can rebuff invasions, even take ground. Yom Kippur war, for example. Local hostiles are reluctant to take such a shellacking again, as Israel maintains a large, very well equipped military.

Which brings one back to WOMDs. If some nutter used them - and Hussein might have a bad pizza someday and try it - you can kiss the middle east goodbye.

I don't particularly like Israel, I'm explaining their position.

--
In a world where an Idea can get you killed, Thinking is the most dangerous act of all.
[ Parent ]

That's the bitch of it, though... (4.47 / 19) (#9)
by Electric Angst on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:46:37 PM EST

First of all, an interesting editorial note. Your first objection to the was mentioned people of "any ethnicity". It would appear from talk like that the current US "we're not about attacking Arabs" propaganda campaign isn't working that well, even on the homefront. (I'm not making any judgements about the statement's veracity, just the mindset of the individual writing it.)

Now, about the foreign policy issue, I was discussing this with my girlfriend a while back (as we're prone to do, since she's an MA in Public Policy and Middle Eastern Studies away from working in Washington and I'm the armchair policymaker.) The biggest problem is that reversing the sanctions will ultimantly weaken the US's ability to deal with other nations. If there were radical shifts in foreign policy every few years, or particularly, at the beginning of each new administration, than other nations would begin to doubt US resolve, and no threat or potential reward would make that much difference, since it could all be swept away in four years. That's the current accepted wisdom on the Hill, and that's why the sactions against Iraq, hell, even the sanctions against Cuba, have yet to be lifted.

Now, as far as a potential war, that's not going to happen unless we can get some kind of support. Right now the rest of the world is very much against US war against Iraq. Britan, our little bitch in all affairs military, won't even support us. Saudi Arabia won't support us (or let us use their bases for troops that would invade). Hell, Kuwait won't even support us in this action. So, no matter how badly anyone wants it, it's just not going to happen. We may attempt to pass ourselves off as the mighty juggernaught, but we are weaklings without international support.

Now, with very little potential for war with Iraq (unless Bush pulls a real miracle out of his ass) and the unfortunante permanence of foreign policy on the table, I think there's something really important we have to think about. When we elect an executive officer, we are not only going to have to deal with that individual's strong, but checked and quite potentially reversable decisions on domestic policy. We must also consider the practically unchecked and long-lasting foreign policy decisions they will make. The things they will decide, and the people they will appoint, will end up effecting our relations with the world for years to come. There are problems with the Middle East that relate back to Truman. Many of our most misguided actions there had less to do with securing cheap oil as attempting to secure the region from the phantom evils of communism.

So, in 2004, when you're choosing your candidate, and then your president, think long and hard about how that person will steer the United States through the rest of the world. Could that candidate lead the nation down a path that will result in your children and grandchildren being needed in a war? Afraid to leave their home due to threats of terrorism? Or will he or she be able to safeguard our nation for years to come?

Damn, this got long, and offtopic enough that it could almost be its own article. I've already done so much typing, though, I'll go ahead and post it...


--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The
your comments (1.12 / 16) (#23)
by losang on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:39:22 PM EST

People might be more inclined to read your articles if you did not use profanity. There are some people who are actually trying to understand what is going on. Since you are obviously only interested in making a harangue please don't bother those who did not recieve as good an education as you.

[ Parent ]
You're obviously new here. (4.50 / 6) (#27)
by Electric Angst on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:57:06 PM EST

There is a long, proud tradition of profanity in political debate here on K5, dating back to before the first time streetlawyer reamed his first libertarian on this board. Perhaps you should become better aquainted with the enviornment in which you're attempting your discussion.

Now, I brought up some valid points about the inability to remove sanctions from Iraq and the unlikelyhood of war with them. (Although just a few minutes ago at lunch I saw Rumsfeld trying to rabble-rouse NATO with scare tactics of "security in their own homelands", so who knows.) Is there anything you'd like to say aside from shock at my choice of words?


--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The Parent ]
What the fuck? Over. (3.77 / 9) (#29)
by wiredog on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:08:41 PM EST

Profanity? I only saw three words that might, by members of the shitwit christian right, be considered profanity. I mean, goddamn, EA is hardly being profane at all.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
For someone so bitter (4.25 / 4) (#35)
by ajkohn on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:19:36 PM EST

you have a seemingly thin skin. This was a 1.2 on a scale of 1 to 10 in my book. And if you fail to read or respond to anything with profanity you have cut yourself off from an amazing amount of information.

Do not, I repeat, do not read Roth's, Portnoy's Complaint.


"Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it." - The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
[ Parent ]

reply to all three (1.25 / 8) (#38)
by losang on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:26:58 PM EST

If people want to make a differnce with their ideas then it is important to express them in a manner which will be more generally accepted. If all you are interested in is stating your opinion on some web site, and these are the rules, then you are correct and I am ignorant. But the question of what use this is should be asked.

[ Parent ]
Watch Your Step! (4.33 / 6) (#48)
by ajkohn on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 04:18:50 PM EST

If people want to make a differ(e)nce with their ideas then it is important to express them in a manner which will be more generally accepted.
What is generally accepted? For whom? And who determines this? Is this fixed in stone?

My reference to Roth's Portnoy's Complaint shows that though not perhaps generally accepted by all, it proved to be an excellent book, whether or not it contains a sub-header titled 'Cunt Crazy' or not.

Malcolm X certainly wasn't generally accepted, yet he's made quite a bit of difference. Oh, and to truly tweak you, how about Hitler? Under his rule, what he said was expressed in a manner that was generally accepted.

Think! Don't be narrow-minded and throw out the baby with the bath water.


"Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it." - The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
[ Parent ]

The net and profanity (4.50 / 8) (#67)
by UncleMikey on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 05:51:45 PM EST

There was a time when profanity was relatively rare on the nets, or at least frequently bleeped out. That time is long past, however. I have a theory that this is actually not a part of the wider trend in society toward greater profanity, but rather one more way to compensate for the lack of 'inflection' possible even in HTML text. Lacking the ability to convey shades of meaning (particularly negative meaning) with tone of voice, profanity has become a fairly common substitute.

In the end, however, to refuse to answer the points of a debate because you don't like the choice of words is merely a form of buck-passing. Either you have responses to the points enumerated, or you don't. Don't hide behind your distaste at language choice.


--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]
Interestng thesis (5.00 / 1) (#98)
by wiredog on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 09:17:40 PM EST

Might make a good op-ed.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Fuck yeah!!! (4.00 / 1) (#118)
by SvnLyrBrto on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 10:24:58 PM EST

AOL
What you said.
/AOL

That, and I abso-motherfucking-lutely HATE those god damned, piece-of-shit emoticons!


cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Profanity (4.00 / 2) (#227)
by epepke on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 08:39:17 PM EST

There wasn't any profanity in the article. Even "damn" isn't profane. It would have to be "god-damn" to be profane. "Ass" is just an Americanism for "arse," and "bitch" refers to a female dog and is used figuratively.

"Fuck" isn't profane either; it's a sexual oath. "Shit" is a scatological oath. You can combine all three together with "Jesus Fucking Shit." Now, if the little rat-bastard had written that, you might have been able call him for it without coming across as a wanking pigfucker.

Oh, yes, I almost forgot: :-)


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Two separate issues. (4.21 / 14) (#12)
by UncleMikey on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:53:19 PM EST

I've voted this up, but there are really two separate issues here, and I would have preferred to see them treated separately.

On the issue of America's attitude toward the world...well, it's out of fashion to come right out and say it, but I'm something of a hegemonist, myself. I believe that people become great by getting out of their houses (physically, virtually, or both) and doing things; and that nations become great by occasionally stepping outside their borders and doing things, as well. Some of this stepping outside is thought 'legitimate' -- trade, for example. Some is frowned upon by the modern conscience. But however you slice it, nations don't become great by staying home and minding their own business.

The answer, therefore, is not to retreat from the world because the world isn't always happy with what we do, but to remind the world that we're strong enough to respond when attacked. People have been allowed to forget that America, for all its internal contradictions and infighting, is capable of strong response when provoked.

That said, Iraq is the wrong target, right now. There are other, easier to justify targets for our continued anti-terror responses. Iraq will show their hand soon enough, and then and only then will it make sense to move on them.

Full Disclosure: I do like, did not vote for, and will not vote in 2004 for George W. Bush. I do not like most of his administration, with the exception of Colin Powell, and even that liking is more gut feeling than anything rational. I think John Ashcroft is a scary, scary man. These are all separate issues from how America should respond to terror, but they tend to get intertwined, so I wanted to get my position clarified ahead of time.
--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]

comments (1.33 / 3) (#17)
by losang on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:17:32 PM EST

Nations can also be great by steping outside their borders and helping the less fortunate. If America build homes and fed the poor arround the world then we would not have hatred but love for America. This is evidenced by the reaction of the people who were alegedly celebrating as Americans removed the Taliban.

The world knows all too well that America is capable of response. This is the policy. If you oppose our power interests we will destroy you. Look at Afghanistan, Iraq, Panama, Nicaragua, Iran, etc.

The first thing America needs to do to end terrorism is stop commiting it. Due to an efficent propaganda and indoctrination system Americans, with few exceptions, are unaware of the terror we bring upon the world. In its destructive power and size it is unchallenged by any other nation.

[ Parent ]

Charity (4.14 / 7) (#39)
by elefantstn on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:30:57 PM EST

Nations can also be great by steping outside their borders and helping the less fortunate. If America build homes and fed the poor arround the world then we would not have hatred but love for America. This is evidenced by the reaction of the people who were alegedly celebrating as Americans removed the Taliban.
The US is by an enormous margin the largest source of aid and charity in the world. America does build homes and feed the poor around the world. To say that all the US does it bomb people with whom it disagrees is to ignore what is going on in the other 180 countries in the world that aren't Afghanistan, as well as 95% of Afghanistan itself.

[ Parent ]
Charity is relative (4.00 / 1) (#218)
by beak on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 06:34:37 AM EST

    The US is by an enormous margin the largest source of aid and charity in the world
In absolute terms, perhaps so, but America is also one of the richest countries in the world.

If you compare the amount of aid countries send with the GNP of the country, (which the OECD did in 1999) you find that the US is very un-generous, donating only 0.1% of GNP.

To put this in perspective: this is one quarter of the average; the UN likes countries to donate at leat 0.7%; Denmark donates 1.01%; even Greece made more effort to donate overseas aid than the USA!

This is covered in an k5 article with the usual amount of comments...

[ Parent ]

Denmark does not have a gigantic military (none / 0) (#258)
by A Trickster Imp on Sun Jan 13, 2002 at 11:33:26 AM EST

And they have higher taxes.


It is one of the benefits of a strong economy that you can give less, %-wise, and still give more. 5% of GDP in a 3rd world country doesn't mean squat on a per-capita basis. While Jesus may say "truly, that poor woman giving 2 cents gave more than Bill Gates giving a billion dollars", the fact remains the receiver got only 2 cents from the woman, but a billion dollars from Gates. The woman gave 100% of her GDP, gates about 0.8%.








[ Parent ]
Too few Socialists read "The Prince". (5.00 / 5) (#79)
by Jacques Chester on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 07:00:16 PM EST

If America build homes and fed the poor arround the world then we would not have hatred but love for America.
Alas, it ain't so.
... Therefore a prince, so long as he keeps his subjects united and loyal, ought not to mind the reproach of cruelty; because with a few examples he will be more merciful than those who, through too much mercy, allow disorders to arise, from which follow murders or robberies; for these are wont to injure the whole people ...
These days punishment can be effective without capital punishment, so I disagree with old nick on that small quibble. Continuing:
Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life, and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. And that prince who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, and not by greatness or nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.

Nevertheless a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred; because he can endure very well being feared whilst he is not hated, which will always be as long as he abstains from the property of his citizens and subjects and from their women. But when it is necessary for him to proceed against the life of someone, he must do it on proper justification and for manifest cause, but above all things he must keep his hands off the property of others, because men more quickly forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony. Besides, pretexts for taking away the property are never wanting; for he who has once begun to live by robbery will always find pretexts for seizing what belongs to others; but reasons for taking life, on the contrary, are more difficult to find and sooner lapse. But when a prince is with his army, and has under control a multitude of soldiers, then it is quite necessary for him to disregard the reputation of cruelty, for without it he would never hold his army united or disposed to its duties.

From the Gutenburg Project's edition.

--
In a world where an Idea can get you killed, Thinking is the most dangerous act of all.
[ Parent ]
Ah, yes, the new *benevolent* hegemony . . . (3.66 / 3) (#193)
by Robert Hutchinson on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 05:24:55 PM EST

The answer, therefore, is not to retreat from the world because the world isn't always happy with what we do, but to remind the world that we're strong enough to respond when attacked. People have been allowed to forget that America, for all its internal contradictions and infighting, is capable of strong response when provoked.
Is the rock you've been living under very comfortable? The American government has been "responding" (read: interfering) virtually non-stop for the past 50 years. Go to Iraq and ask a few random people if they know how powerful America is.

Robert Hutchinson


No bomb-throwing required.

[ Parent ]
Well we could listen to you... (4.51 / 27) (#13)
by Anatta on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:55:03 PM EST

or we could take a look at what the former director of the Iraqi Nuclear Weapons Program, Khindhir Hazma, has to say. No offence, but my guess is that he knows more than you do.

A good deal of the anger in the Arab world towards America is related to the sanctions on Iraq.

Fortunately for the US, those sanctions are UN sactions. Remember all those who said the bombing needed to stop and we needed to switch to sanctions, which are the "humane" way to overthrow a corrupt government?

Going after Iraq has nothing to do with the events of September 11th or fighting terrorism.

I suppose you've seen all the intelligence on Iraq currently available to the top governmental positions in the US? In the media the link between Iraq's government and the terrorists has been proven... one wonders what the FBI and CIA knows about additional links to Iraq. Of course, it seems you already know that they don't have any additional information.

It has everything to do with continuing our hegemonic policies towards the Middle East in order to secure our oil interests in the region; the roots of which date back 50 years (and perhaps further) to the CIA involvement in overthrowing the Mossadeq government in Iran.

How much more of this oil conspiracy crap do we have to go through? The fact of the matter is that OPEC is essentially powerless, that Russia is the 2nd largest oil producing country on earth (Saudi Arabia 1st) and that Finland and Mexico are boosting output significantly. OPEC attempted to lower output/raise prices following Sept. 11, and Russia said "please lower output! We'll take your market share with a smile!"

Meanwhile in the US, the amount of oil needed to generate a dollar of GDP has plummeted over the past 20 years, meaning that we're far less dependent on oil than we once were... and it's also why we've seen oil go from about 8% of our economy in the early 80s to less than 3% of our economy today. We have new technologies coming to market that will revolutionize the way we use our oil, and likely further reduce the supply of oil needed in the US.

It's time to move on and make a new conspiracy theory.

It is documented that medicines which cost twenty cents per day, could not be used in the manufacturing of biological or chemical weapons and could save lives are not getting through because of the sanctions.

It's also been documented that Iraqi food/medicine has been found on the black market, being sold in places like Kuwait. It gets there because the Iraqi government sells its food to support its weapons program. Nice group of people, that Iraqi government.

As a result, according to humanitarian agencies, an estimated 500,000 Iraqis have died as a direct result of the sanctions.

As K5 has discussed before, this number is... not the most accurate number ever quoted... and to suggest that it is the US' (or more accurately the UN's) fault is pure intellectual dishonesty.

Military attacks on Iraq will only strengthen the increasing resentment towards America and endanger Americans at home and abroad.

Did you miss the shots of the smiling people dancing in Afghanistan, throwing off their Burquas, shaving their beards, as the US freed them? Or did CNN fabricate those images like they did the ones of the Palistainians dancing in the streets on Sept. 11?

How long can we, as Americans, stand along side while our government orchestrates the deaths of innocent civilians and at the same time increases the risk of further attacks on Americans?

Yes, how long? Our government has left Saddam Hussein in power and left him to murder innocent civilians in his dictatorial, power-mad regime. Our government has given him the opportunity to build weapons of mass destruction that we already know he has no qualms about using on civilian targets. The media has already announced al Qaida ties to the Iraqi Government. It is time we take action and support the Iraqi National Congress in bringing peace and stability to Iraq.
My Music

reluctant reply (1.57 / 14) (#16)
by losang on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:06:40 PM EST

Going after Iraq is merely another act in the push towards global domination the US and its associates. A look at the pattern of foreign policy post WWII indicates this. It is important to look beyond small details and try to see the systemic roots of the problem.

[ Parent ]
details details (3.85 / 7) (#19)
by cetan on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:26:38 PM EST

But the devil is in the details...

===== cetan www.cetan.com =====
[ Parent ]
what do you mean? (1.00 / 13) (#26)
by losang on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:50:47 PM EST

If you are interested in making a statement please do. If you are going to simply state you opinion without any backing then go home.

[ Parent ]
Practice what you preach (4.85 / 7) (#136)
by thenick on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 11:44:12 PM EST

In a later comment, this is what you replied:

"It is not my job to find sources for you. If you are truly interested then you can find them."

If you are going to criticize someone, make sure you aren't guilty of what you are railing against.


"Doing stuff is overrated. Like Hitler, he did a lot, but don't we all wish he would have stayed home and gotten stoned?" -Dex
[ Parent ]
Important to look beyond small facts... (4.60 / 10) (#32)
by Anatta on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:13:13 PM EST

in support of wild conspiracy theories.

Going after Iraq is merely another act in the push towards global domination the US and its associates. A look at the pattern of foreign policy post WWII indicates this.

Like frequent use of the word "hegemony", what you just said sounds good, is hard to refute, but really doesn't mean anything at all. The fact is that every place we have supported post WWII, we haven't claimed territory. We didn't take any chunks of Iraq, even though we were victorious. I don't see Kandahar becoming a US ski destination. Nicaragua? nope. Panama? hmmm we don't even control the Canal anymore. Bosnia? nope, don't control anything there.

Seems to me I recall well... lets say the previous 5,000 years before the US came into the global scene (give or take a decade), when a country or culture won a war, they conquered the citizens and forced them to live under their rule. Until very very recently in the course of human history, when a country won a war, it got the spoils of that war. The US is really the culture that has begun to change that strategy, and fight wars to free people with whom it has no cultural/political ties from oppression. That's not, however, to say that the US doesn't act in its own interests. It does, of course, and it's quite good at doing so.

Essentially, your argument is completely backwards. If the US is trying to achieve "global domination" (whatever that means), it's doing a piss-poor job of it.
My Music
[ Parent ]

It's economics (3.50 / 2) (#46)
by core10k on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 04:14:15 PM EST

It's much cheaper to rob wealth when citizens of other countries think they're not being robbed.

[ Parent ]
Is that robbery? (4.00 / 1) (#99)
by wiredog on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 09:20:29 PM EST

If both sides think they are getting a fair deal, is the deal not fair?

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Live under their rule... (none / 0) (#257)
by IriseLenoir on Mon Jan 07, 2002 at 11:43:29 PM EST

The reason why the U.S. (ruling class) doesn't want to claim territory from other countries is that under the rule of the U.S. also means under the U.S. constitution, which gives way to many rights to citizens. It is much easier to put a friendly government into place and put economic pressure so they sell all their ressources for almost nothing. It is also because this strategy leaves a doubt in occidental people's mind as to wheather this is truely imperialism and makes people who are against such politics pass for "conspiracy theorists". To answer the 'fair deal' question raised below, both sides don't think they get a fair deal, they are convinced it's the best deal they can get in a "free trade" market where your negociating power is based on your wealth. Sadly, they are right in thinking this. I'm not sure how the quote got translated in english, but you sure have heard "divide to rule" somewhere?
"liberty is the mother of order, not its daughter" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
[ Parent ]
Global Domination? Histrionics (4.40 / 5) (#75)
by tudlio on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 06:30:15 PM EST

Going after Iraq is merely another act in the push towards global domination [by] the US and its associates.

I'm probably missing an obvious point here, but how, exactly, does the United States stand to gain from, "global domination"? What good would it do American power brokers to own Iraqi soil? I guarantee you U.S. decision makers have a very clear idea of what the enormous costs of such a policy would be, far more than could ever be made up in oil revenues for American companies.

Maybe I'm misinterpreting "global domination." Maybe you didn't intend that term to mean actual, physical domination, but instead "influence." Maybe "global domination," in this context means that the United States and its allies are working to influence foreign governments into supporting the United States' economic agenda.

So what?

The U.S. economic agenda is about allowing American companies to trade in foreign countries. And allowing American companies to trade in foreign countries means changing the political, economic and physical infrastructure of those countries to support a laissez-faire free market. And a free market, to date, is the only system that has consistently proven capable of improving GDP, productivity and per-capita income. Higher per-capita income means fewer poor people. Poverty is the single greatest threat to political, economic and environmental stability in the world.

So the U.S. agenda, it's "push towards global domination," as you put it, is likely the only way to address in the long run the fundamental problems threatening the world.

I can't give you any short references that are also meaningful. I'd recommend two books to you: Earth Odyssey by Mark Hertsgaard, and The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas L. Friedman. The first documents poverty as the source of the world's worst problems, from an environmentalist's perspective; and the second discusses the role that globalism can play in ending poverty.




insert self-deprecatory humor here
[ Parent ]
US Globalism Good (none / 0) (#254)
by A Trickster Imp on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 11:35:12 AM EST

Going after Iraq is merely another act in the push towards global domination the US and its associates.



Europeans lived for two thousand years with the hope someone would take over all of Europe once and for all, simply to end the every-two-generations continental slaughters that would take place. That he would be an emperor and dictator was considered small potatoes -- they mostly lived that way already.

If the US does things correctly, they'll make sure Afganistan is a democracy, not a theocracy, and has freedoms, including economic, in place. If they allow thugs to return to power, they'll just breed more US hatred because they allowed that.

Given, oh, every damned other thing out there, US globalism is a very good prospect.



[ Parent ]
We are dependent on Arab oil (4.57 / 7) (#31)
by skipio on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:10:09 PM EST

The fact of the matter is that OPEC is essentially powerless, that Russia is the 2nd largest oil producing country on earth (Saudi Arabia 1st) and that Finland and Mexico are boosting output significantly. OPEC attempted to lower output/raise prices following Sept. 11, and Russia said "please lower output! We'll take your market share with a smile!"

I can't say I agree with you on this point. OPEC does perhaps only have a 40% share in the oil market but what matters is that the Arab countries control more than 65% of all known oil reserves in the world. Saudi Arabia alone has 25% of all known reserves! No matter what Russia, Mexico or Norway do we will be dependent on the Arabs for a long time, and our dependency on them is only going to increase as oil wells in most places but Arabia are running dry within a decade or two (the consequences of Arabia controlling 65% of all known oil reserves but only having a 40% share in the market). It has been estimated that the Arabs will have at least 70-80% share of the oil markets in 2020. Furthermore, the Arabs control almost all of the easily extractable oil. It costs far more to extract oil from wells in Russia than in Saudi Arabia.
All this is, naturally, not a good thing as most of the Arab countries are badly governed and full of angry people - angry at us, that is! And who wants to be dependent on someone who doesn't like you?
Btw.: I have never ever heard of Finland producing as much as one drop of oil. You are probably confusing it with Norway.

In the media the link between Iraq's government and the terrorists has been proven... one wonders what the FBI and CIA knows about additional links to Iraq.

I'm not totally convinced yet. Yes, there was that episode in Czech Republic involving Mr. Atta and an Iraqi spy. We have heard of Iraqi agents in Bosnia plotting terrorist attacks and so on. This is still not enough to prove that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the September 11 incidents. Besides, Mr. bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are not exactly very fond of each other. Osama bin Laden has always been displeased at the tyrrant in Baghdad and even offered his help to overthrow him. It is perhaps possible that those two overcame their hatred of each other and united against their common enemy - United States, but I will want to see more evidence for that if I am to believe it. Most European leaders (even the British) seem to share this opinion, even wanting to warn Mr. Bush not to attack Iraq.
(This doesn't mean I think we shouldn't try to overthrow Mr. Hussein - he is clearly a menace to both his people and the whole world, and we should do what we can to help those who oppose him. Just that I still have doubts he had anything to do with the September 11 attacks.)

[ Parent ]

Yes and no (4.33 / 6) (#47)
by Anatta on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 04:18:09 PM EST

First off, you're right, I meant Norway but typed Finland. Everybody knows those Scandanavian countries are all alike! (j/k) My error.

Getting to your argument... you are correct on virtually everything you say, however I feel the need to add some caveats.

You're right, Saudi Arabia has 25% of all currently-known oil reserves on the planet. Russia has a large amount of oil, but its natural gas reserves dwarf everyone else on the planet (and it seems the Middle East only has about 1/3 of all of the natural gas on the planet.) Saudi Arabia is currently in fiscal trouble, and is essentially in a great deal of debt. As this debt gets bigger and bigger, it will likely force Saudi Arabia to sell oil cheaply and plentifully (the cartel can raise prices and lower output, but only if all members follow it.) It seems Saudi Arabia will be in real trouble soon. They have also said that they will sell us what we need, and the Saudi government likely recognizes that it needs us more than we need it.

Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia are the four biggest Middle East oil countries. As I said, Saudi Arabia is essentially stuck selling us oil, Kuwait is relatively pro-American, Iran is currently under a dictatorship, and it will be interesting to see how long it will take for a popular uprising and a democracy to be installed; at this point it seems inevitable judging from the actions of the Iranian public. The United Arab Emirates is fairly friendly with the US, and they also have a good deal of oil. Iraq... well let's say it would be nice to have a Government By the People and For the People in Iraq, both for the citizens' benefit and the world's benefit.

So, the bottom line is that we don't, and likely won't, have major energy troubles... between oil reserves in the rest of the world, "friendly" Arab countries, and natural gas deposits, it seems we'll have enough energy for the time being.

I also won't argue with you that there are technological factors to extracting oil, and that it is cheaper to extract it from the Middle East than it is to extract it in Norway or Russia. However, there is a significant opportunity cost inherit in doing business in the Middle East that likely balances prices out somewhat. Also, the world has gotten much better at extracting oil, and the technology keeps getting better and cheaper... there is now more available oil in the world than there ever was in history.

Add to all of this alternative forms of energy/energy production breakthroughs... we are currently seeing the first viable fuel cell vehicles on the market, and we can only assume the technology will get better, smaller, and cheaper. The solar energy industry has been getting vastly more efficient and has been growing quickly over the past year. It grew from 200MW in 1999 to 280MW in 2000 (still realtively small, but significant growth), and nuclear energy is always an option.

Assuming current trends will continue for 20 years can be a dangerous strategy (Thomas Malthus and Paul Ehrlich know all about that), though both of us make such assumptions in our analyses. In any case, energy prices in the last few years are the lowest they've ever been, after adjusting for inflation, and this price reflects the energy market for the forseeable future.

As for whether or not Hussein was involved in Sept. 11, I agree with you, I'm not convinced yet, either. We'll have to see what information captured al Qaida members give to interrogators, and what other intelligence turns up. It does seem to be a no brainer to end the embarrassingly ineffective sanctions and try some different strategies in any case, such as perhaps throwing our support behind the Iraqi National Congress...
My Music
[ Parent ]

Popular uprising in Iran? (3.00 / 4) (#68)
by UncleMikey on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 05:54:06 PM EST

The last time they had one of those, they installed the present dictatorship :-)
--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]
Saudi Arabia is in deep trouble (4.66 / 6) (#76)
by skipio on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 06:36:28 PM EST

Saudi Arabia is indeed in deep trouble. The income per person has there falled from more than $16,000 during the early 80s to $10,000 (or lower?) at present time. In additition, the economy has to grow by 6% every year in order to keep up with population growth (it has achieved around 1% growth per year for the last few years, and the current recession will probably reverse that small growth). In my view, this is probably a good thing for Saudi Arabia as it will be forced to adapt to those changes and modernise. Perhaps women will be allowed to drive there some day :)
On the other hand the present ruler in Saudi Arabia, crown prince Abdullah, is not what I would call a reformer. He seems to be a bit of a traditionalist and could perhaps block some vital reforms. That is, those few reforms that the fundamentalist Wahabi sect doesn't block.
[There has been an alliance between the Saudi royal family and the Wahabis for around 250 years. The Wahabis have considerable influence in the country and 80% of the country's judges come from that sect. The courts have been a big obstacle on the road to reform for a long time. They have, for example, ruled that interest is akin to usury and therefor a sin and that sending flowers to hospital patients is against the rules set in the Koran.]

What is troubling is that even though Saudi Arabia will be forced to reform in the coming years it may be next to impossible to implement reforms because of resistance from traditionalists. This could lead to some major problems, especially if the kingdom will be unable to create enough jobs for the young generation that is coming of age. And there are a lot of young people in Saudi Arabia. The population growth is 3.27% and a country full of young people without jobs is not exactly a recipe to a stable country. If all those young men begin to listen to Mr. bin Laden, when he claims that the US has committed "the biggest theft in history" for forcing oil prices down and that the barrel of oil should cost $144, we could be in for some big time trouble.
What I am basically saying is that we should not take a stable Saudi Arabia for granted. If the Saudi regime falls oil prices will rise dramatically as did happen during the Iranian revolution. Even if prices rise for just a short time the effects on the world's economy are not going to be pretty.

As to your comparision to Thomas Malthus and Paul Ehrlich I assume you are talking about the prediction that food production would not keep up with population growth. Well, oil is a finite resource - food is not. The oil will run out someday. Perhaps the oil reserves will last for hundred years or longer but it is quite clear that there is a lot more of oil in the Arab countries than in any other place in the world. It is also clear that known oil wells in most countries will run dry long before it will happen in the Middle East. So, unless new oil wells are found in other countries the Arab share of the world's oil market is bound to increase in the coming years.

You mention alternative energy sources. To be frank, I doubt we'll see solar power becoming an important enenrgy source in the future. Same goes for wind power. I have nothing against nuclear power but most of the population don't seem to be that fond of it so I doubt we'll be building many nuclear plants in the future [unless someone finds a way to use fusion power].
As for fuel cells, it will cost a great deal of energy and money to create all that hydrogen needed for the fuel cells. That energy needs to come from somewhere.

Perhaps the best thing the western countries could do, in order to decrease their dependencies on Middle East oil and to encourage advancements in the field of transportation and energy, would be to introduce gradually rising gasoline taxes, as the Economist has recently suggested. Or as they write:

    "America taxes gasoline too lightly. Better than a one-off increase, a politically more feasible idea and desirable in its own terms would be a long-term plan to shift taxes from incomes to emissions of carbon. This would spur development of new transport technologies--vital in curbing the demand for oil. It would also improve the chances that OPEC's reserves will fetch a better price tomorrow than in 2020: an insight that would curb the cartel's market power from day one. Gradualism is the key to doing this intelligently."


[ Parent ]
Re: Well we could listen to you... (3.50 / 8) (#63)
by andkaha on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 05:46:49 PM EST

I suppose you've seen all the intelligence on Iraq currently available to the top governmental positions in the US? In the media the link between Iraq's government and the terrorists has been proven... one wonders what the FBI and CIA knows about additional links to Iraq. Of course, it seems you already know that they don't have any additional information.

Have you seen the all the intelligence on Iraq currently available to the top governmental positions in the US?

Is it the job of the media to link Iraq to terrorism? What validates the link that the media makes between Iraq's government and the terrorists?

Did you miss the shots of the smiling people dancing in Afghanistan, throwing off their Burquas, shaving their beards, as the US freed them? Or did CNN fabricate those images like they did the ones of the Palistainians dancing in the streets on Sept. 11?

No, they probably didn't. But military attacks on Iraq or any other country will certainly not make more people happy. Shaving off ones beard might be nice, especially if it's warm, but does it lead to a higher standard of living? No, so USA and the rest of their alliance now have a huge responsibility of supporting Afghanistan. The country has to be rebuilt; mines and bomblets needs to be found and removed, roads and airports must be restored, schools must be built, the economy must be revived etc., a process that will take a long time. Failing to follow this through will prove that USA and the alliance againast terrorism can't be trusted to take responsibility for their actions.

But no worries. In two years time, the focus of the media will be far away from whatever goes on in Afghanistan. People won't notice a failure.

The media has already announced al Qaida ties to the Iraqi Government.

Yes. Convinient, isn't it?

Media has also said that al-Qaida members went to Sudan after the USA-led attack on Afghanistan. That's also quite convinient, especially if one wants to have a reason for invading Sudan...

So, what does Iraq, Afhanistan and Sudan have in common? Why doesn't USA want to go after terrorists in other parts of the world, such as the Philippines?

Oh, and it's time for Mr. Bush to say "it's going to be a long war" and "the time is running out for Bin Laden". He hasn't said that for almost a week now...

--
Remember RFC 1436?
[ Parent ]

Ummm... (4.50 / 2) (#100)
by elefantstn on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 09:28:34 PM EST

That's also quite convinient, especially if one wants to have a reason for invading Sudan...
Why on God's green earth would we want to invade the Sudan? What possible ulterior motive could there be? All these conspiracy theories about the US and world domination are missing one key part - a motive! If all the US really wants is to rule the world and impose its "hegemony," then why the hell does it keep sending its military to the most godforsaken poor countries? Why not invent reasons to attack somewhere worth fighting over? Geez.

[ Parent ]
Foreign Policy (3.66 / 3) (#117)
by andkaha on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 10:23:45 PM EST

Why on God's green earth would we want to invade the Sudan? What possible ulterior motive could there be? All these conspiracy theories about the US and world domination are missing one key part - a motive! If all the US really wants is to rule the world and impose its "hegemony," then why the hell does it keep sending its military to the most godforsaken poor countries? Why not invent reasons to attack somewhere worth fighting over? Geez.

Sudan has unexploited oil reserves and has a very strategic location [ref, ref].

Washington's goals in the Middle East involve (apart from supporting Israel) assuring oil flow, and ensuring political stability for economic growth. Ensuring reliable U.S. military access for intervention in the region and beyond means increasing military aid and arms sales, and supporting military solutions to regional instabilities (a.k.a. giving money and arms to "freedom fighters"). [ref].

So I'm afraid it's the oil thing again.

--
Remember RFC 1436?
[ Parent ]

Sudan? Oil? Where? (4.00 / 3) (#134)
by Anatta on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 11:37:48 PM EST

You should tell the oil companies and the Sudanese government about all the oil Sudan has... I'm sure they'd be pleased to know. In the real world, Sudan has about the same amount of oil as Cuba has. Sudan has about 300 million barrels of the world's current over 1 trillion barrels of available oil reserves.

Even if it was about oil, it most certainly isn't about oil in Sudan.

As for strategic location, it's safe to say a country right near Ethiopia, Chad, Congo, and Eritrea isn't very important to the US. It must be that important access to the Red Sea that's attracting us, rather than the terrorists that live there...

I think Foreign Policy in Focus needs to clear its lense... I suggest they clean with Occam's Razor.
My Music
[ Parent ]

Contradictory (1.00 / 1) (#140)
by elefantstn on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 12:12:39 AM EST

Washington's goals in the Middle East involve (apart from supporting Israel) assuring oil flow
This is the part that never made sense to me. If all the US cares about is ensuring the flow of oil, why in the world would it support Israel? There's almost no oil there, and all it does is cause resentment among the nations that do have oil. It just doesn't make any sense.

[ Parent ]
Re: Contradictory (none / 0) (#177)
by andkaha on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 03:35:59 PM EST

If all the US cares about is ensuring the flow of oil, why in the world would it support Israel?

I believe those are two different things. The support for Israel is one thing, and ensuring the flow of oil is another separate issue.

In 1922 the 67th US congress passed a resolution supporting a jewish home land. In 1948, Israel was founded and the US congress has supported them ever since [ref]. I don't really know why US keeps supporting Israel like they do, with huge amounts of money for weapons (through Economic Support Funds (ESF) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF)). Almost $2 billion went through to Israel through FMF during 2001 and it will increase by $60 million until 2008 [ref]... I assume that part of the reason is the large (?) number of jews living in the US.

--
Remember RFC 1436?
[ Parent ]

A common enough belief... (4.00 / 1) (#248)
by UncleMikey on Sat Dec 22, 2001 at 05:39:44 PM EST

...but not, I think, quite correct.

It's true that there are a large number of Jews living in the US. In fact, altho' I haven't seen recent statistics, I seem to remember that at one time, as many as half of the world's entire Jewish population lived in the US and Canada. Both nations have a long history of official tolerance (altho' the internal history of actual tolerance varies from time to time and place to place). America was one of the first places since the fall of the Kingdom of Khazaria (c. 1000 CE) where a Jew could get by on equal terms; so before the creation of Israel, it was the obvious place for Jewish refugees from other places.

But in a nation of 260 million inhabitants, only perhaps 2-4% of them are identifiably Jewish, and many of those (like myself) are not particularly obvious or active about it.

I don't know what the reason is, but numbers alone ain't it.
--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]

anti-americanism and doublethink (4.11 / 9) (#18)
by boxed on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:22:56 PM EST

There is a deeply rooted anti-americanism in practically the entire world. This is not to say people hate americans, quite the contrary. The dislike (in extreme cases hate) is directed towards the US government. It is also directed at the US political system for continuing the two-party system that reflects the wishes of the general populace poorly. It is directed at everything bad with the US.

The point I am making is this: there's a whole lot more good stuff with the US than there is bad. The US is a very good country but the bad sides have such a huge effect on the rest of the world it's sometimes hard to see the good sides.

The biggest problem with the US post-sep-11 in my view is the kind of doublethink widely used: "They attack us because they like our freedom", "They hate us because we are successful", etc. There seems americans have an unwillingness to accept flaws in the US system. The current "war on terrorism" reminds all too much of the responses to the Littleton massacre: banning black trenchcoats in school.

US and Freedom (3.63 / 11) (#28)
by MrAcheson on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:58:15 PM EST

I have never met a foreigner who disliked the US because of two party government. Given that I am a grad student and therefore work with a multitude of foriegners who are also grad students I think I would have heard this complaint. Some of them dislike the electoral college mind you, but not the 2 party system. This is because a 2 party system is not better or worse than a 2+ party system. Look at Britian, can you honestly say that the Labour government represents the majority of Britians? The real problem with a 2 party system is the current obstructionism in the senate. Nothing is going to get done to help the US economy because the democrats think that keeping the economy bad will help them win the 2002 elections.

As for the reasons people hate the US, they turns around three basic points. The US is full of unrepentant capitalists and unrepentant capitalist values. The US has the freedoms to export its consumer convenience culture across the globe to the detriment of other cultures. The US has backed/opposed the unpopular/popular in the past.

The essentially socialist European nations dislike the US because of mostly 1 and 2. The arabs dislike us for 2 and 3. The asians dislike us for 1 and 2. The third worlders dislike us for 1, 2, and 3.

The problem here is that quite frankly we like 1, we can't change 2 without giving up both freedoms and 1, and we often had good reasons at the time for 3.


These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.


[ Parent ]
Obstructionism is the point of our government (4.20 / 5) (#74)
by grout on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 06:24:14 PM EST

If you want efficiency of lawmaking, get thee to a dictatorship: direct connection of whim to law.

Or you can live in a relatively nicer place, like the US. Checks and balances make a government less dangerous precisely because they slow things down. A government is a dangerous and fickle servant; keeping it hobbled is almost always in our own best interests.

Three cheers for sticks in the mud!
--
Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

[ Parent ]

I'll drink to this. (4.20 / 5) (#107)
by UncleMikey on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 09:47:19 PM EST

And I'll add three more cheers. We who live in Minnesota are currently blessed (and I honestly mean blessed, altho' most of my friends and neighbors think it a curse) with a state government perfectly balanced between three parties:
  • In the Governor's Mansion, we have Jesse 'The Body' Ventura, who was elected on a Reform Party ticket, but left the party when it became too closely associated with Patrick 'The Fascist' Buchannon.
  • The State Senate is dominated by the Democratic Farmers and Laborer's Party. Yes, you read that right. We don't have a normal 'Democratic' party in Minnesota. No-sir. We have the DFL. The name alone should tell you some interesting things about Minnesota's past political scene.
  • The State House of Representatives is dominated by the Republican Party.
  • The Constitutional offices (Sec'y of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, and Auditor) are divided two and two between the DFL and the GOP.

The state has, as a result, gotten comparatively little done...and I love it! And the squabbling between them -- particularly between the leaders of the two houses -- is a joy to behold, because it shows them for what they really are...

Uh-oh...am I talking with my cynical voice, again...:-D
--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]

Jesse Ventura... (5.00 / 1) (#210)
by Anonymous 6522 on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 09:23:43 PM EST

...makes MPR worth listening to.

Seriously, I keep better tabs on local Minnesota politics than I do ND's. But it's not like knowing anything or local politics would do me much good, there's something like 5-10 democrats (I'm not sure if they're a home grown DFL-like thing or the real deal) in each legislative house, so it's not like they're interesting or anything.

North Dakota is so boring.

[ Parent ]

North Dakota (none / 0) (#259)
by UncleMikey on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 01:05:04 AM EST

North Dakota is so boring

You'd be amazed how many people I've I know who've lived there say that :-)
--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]

Right on (4.00 / 1) (#178)
by Rand Race on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 03:38:49 PM EST

But let's not ignore the fact that our checks and balances are in dire straits at the moment. For instance, Bush Minor is attempting to make presidential fiat take precedence over congressional law with his executive order overturning the Presidential Records Act. The USAPatriot Act removes several crimes from judicial review, once again overturning checks and balances on the executive. Not that this is new or soley the provence of Republicans, Clinton did some serious damage himself; The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 effectively removed many death sentences from judicial review. The previous administration also championed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which restricts judicial review of a range of executive branch decisions regarding legal and undocumented immigrants, and the Prison Litigation Reform Act, which withdraws from federal judges procedural tools they need to remedy unconstitutional prison conditions.

Checks and Balances are the cornerstone of our republic, we need to defend them more vigourously from those who would do away with them. Unfortunately we are in a two party system and neither party seems to have any interest in preserving them.

Whew... sorry I got off on a rant there.

"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 ]

There are other reasons (2.20 / 5) (#82)
by svampa on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 07:11:04 PM EST

USA has supported monsters because they were good for its interests. The history of CIA in South America is worse than Mafia. Wounds are still bleeding

USA sign treaties with 3th world countries to exploit natural resources that are near of extorsion

The above one are part of 3, but not exactly the past

USA doesn't accept international treaties that put it in the same level that other countries. Kyoto... international court...

The hypocrisy ,USA pretends that defends freedom and democracy, but at the same time wants to make clear that it's above any international law.

Probably a lot of hate to USA can be put in a sentence: USA is the most powerfull country from a militar and economic point of view, and has used that power in the past with no scruples, and we are aware that it eventually will happen again.



[ Parent ]
Ethics? (4.00 / 4) (#104)
by elefantstn on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 09:42:11 PM EST

Probably a lot of hate to USA can be put in a sentence: USA is the most powerfull country from a militar and economic point of view, and has used that power in the past with no scruples
If the US brought the full power of its military to bear with "no scruples," you would know it. Trust me.

[ Parent ]
Not the military. (none / 0) (#198)
by Happy Monkey on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 06:09:11 PM EST

The USA has used the full power of its covert forces with no moral scruples. It's had PR scruples with its use of its military when under the public eye. It has also used the implied threat of its power to improve its bargaining position, and cut exceedingly one-sided deals to the detriment of a huge number of countries. We can certainly argue that we have the (might makes) right to do it, but we can't complain about the resentment it causes.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Another Reason (5.00 / 2) (#180)
by RHSwan on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 03:52:55 PM EST

The US also exports it's culture, and many dislike us for that too.

[ Parent ]
US Hypocrisy... (5.00 / 3) (#185)
by ragabr on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 04:05:36 PM EST

There's no hypocrisy inherent in supporting freedom and democracy while being unwilling to give up national sovereignty. Why should we sign treaties that aren't in our best interest just because other countries think we should? Our democracy has decided to put into power those who don't agree with the international treaties you mention. That goes hand in hand with our support of democracy, and freedom.

-------
And my tongue would be made of chocolate. Mmmmm. Chocolate.
-rusty
[ Parent ]
wrong (2.50 / 2) (#152)
by boxed on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 05:29:51 AM EST

I am FROM a socialist European country, you on the other hand are not. Therefor I can say with certainty that your analasys is just plain wrong. Oh I admit you're right about the capitalists thing, but trust me we like Burger King and McDonalds over here! You forgot another reason people don't like the US: you bitch about human rights yet blatantly break the UN treaty of human rights you've signed all the time. Executions of prisoners, guilty or not is ILLEGAL under international treaty. Oh, and the US didn't pay the UN membership fees until after 9-11 because suddenly you decided that it would be good to have the UN on your side. You know, I'll just stop now because I can just continue all day. Read my flamefest story for as many examples of this as you could ever need. ("you would all be talking german/russian if it wasn't for us" and other bullshit)

[ Parent ]
thank you. (2.14 / 7) (#155)
by losang on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 06:02:37 AM EST

As is often the case the sane and humane point of view comes from a non-American. The level of morality where we can turn our eye to the slaughter of millions in a poor country while harpering over the deaths of 6000 is disgraceful. It is racism plain and simple.

I have many international friends and they are by far more informed about world poitics and policies than those of us on the inside. I am always interested in hearing more from your side of the story. It is fresh and a relief amonst all the other stuff here.

[ Parent ]

Re: Thank You (4.00 / 1) (#184)
by RHSwan on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 04:01:14 PM EST

The US rarely turns a blind eye to slaughter of millions. We may stall debating the best course of action, but we usually do something. Just a question, are your international friends representative of their countries? Somehow I doubt they are.

[ Parent ]
the US did something in Korea and Vietnam alright (3.00 / 1) (#217)
by boxed on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 03:49:06 AM EST

The US didn't join WWII until being practically forced into it by Japan. The US has itself been responsible for the massacres in Korea and Vietnam. Don't give that shit, the US has far from a clear record. Fortunately the most of what the US does is good.

[ Parent ]
Not McDonalds (4.00 / 4) (#170)
by MrAcheson on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 12:25:34 PM EST

Depending on where you look it is rather common for people to be upset about American "cultural imperialism". The French are a prime example of this, but the fundamentalist muslims who have a problem with the arab fascination with baywatch and Madonna (remember when Iran tried to have her extradicted for crimes against the state?) are another. I am not saying that all people are incensed when they see a McDonalds. I am saying that there is some pretty widespread discontent especially in the smaller extremist groups.

As for the treaties, yup we've had a good number of fuck ups with them too. Make that 4. But it only really seems to be pissing off the europeans because not of the other grad students (except the french and some of the germans and british) seem to care.


These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.


[ Parent ]
US does and always has paid the most to the UN (5.00 / 2) (#171)
by sonovel on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 12:40:42 PM EST

The US does today and always has paid more to the UN than any other country.

Also, steps were being taken to pay back dues _before_ 9/11.


If your other facts are as fanciful as:

"the US didn't pay the UN membership fees until after 9-11 because suddenly you decided that it would be good to have the UN on your side"

then I think you are either grossly misinformed or a liar.

Have a nice day, but please try truth rather than propaganda, ignorance or lies.

[ Parent ]
the amount isn't the issue here (none / 0) (#216)
by boxed on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 03:44:30 AM EST

According to the UN charter, which the US was part of creating, the US membership fee was the highest because they could pay the most simeple as that. Did you know that the UN has had internal debates about throwing out the US because they didn't pay the membership fees? Don't spread that stupid propaganda.

[ Parent ]
Truth isn't propaganda. (none / 0) (#241)
by sonovel on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 12:07:51 PM EST

I told the truth.

The orignal post contained either blatent lies, or perhaps just gross ignorance.

The U.S. does and always has paid more to the U.N. than any other country. This is the truth. Do you deny it?


The U.S. had made steps in paying back dues _before_ 9/11. This is also true. Search the news webs sites and you can read all about it.

I never said the U.S. didn't owe some back dues. I acknowleged that by pointing out that the U.S. had already taken steps to repay it.

I didn't say a thing about how much the U.S. should or shouldn't pay.

How is any of this propaganda?

The original post stated that the U.S. only started to pay dues after 9/11. This is completely false. The U.S. did pay dues, just not all of it (still the U.S. did pay more than any other nation on earth!). Second, the U.S. was taking steps to pay the back dues long before 9/11.


[ Parent ]
Illegal, not immoral (none / 0) (#253)
by A Trickster Imp on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 11:10:32 AM EST

Executions of prisoners, guilty or not is ILLEGAL under international treaty.



Given that much of the world, Europe included, has recent thru ancient history of massive executions for political reasons rather than a history of execution as a proper, thought-out punishment for murder, I'm not surprised the UN has this policy.

The US has tons of anti-racism legislation, including stuff that trods on free speech, about stuff that wouldn't cause a second glance in other countries.

You have your recent hideous history; we have ours.



[ Parent ]
Europe and Socialism (3.00 / 2) (#182)
by yooden on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 03:59:34 PM EST

This is because a 2 party system is not better or worse than a 2+ party system.

The more the merrier. The most obvious flaw of a 2-party-system: Two world views can be represented at most, if I consider what I see in Germany and the USA, the larger parties have the tendency to move towards each other, reducing even this number.

In Germany, there are six parties in the national parliament, two more are in some other ways of national importance. If you have a serious grief about something, you have a solid chance to get elected with an entire new party. Happened in one Land/state earlier this year: 18 percent of votes and part of the government.

What sense would it make to vote for the Greens in the USA?


As for the reasons people hate the US, they turns around three basic points.

No. Please stop making 'facts' out of thin air.

The essentially socialist European nations

As a citizen of one of these European Socialist countries living next to two others, I am right now more annoyed by the Merkin ignorance you display than feeling any hate. Most of the time however, we European Socialists dislike several things coming out the USA, but don't hate the USA.

we often had good reasons at the time for 3.

Please name the good reasons for Al-Shifa.



[ Parent ]
Exportation is good (none / 0) (#252)
by A Trickster Imp on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 11:00:04 AM EST

The US has the freedoms to export its consumer convenience culture across the globe to the detriment of other cultures.



And it's deriving the conclusion, that "this is a bad thing" that is the error.

When offered American products, they snap it up. Witness the idiocy of the guy in the mid-East in a Steelers jersy criticising the US, or ten years ago during the Gulf War, when another guy did a similar thing holding a Coke cup with a Coke fountain machine in a shop right behind him.

It's all rhetorical crap used by leaders outside the US to gain power. The actual people (or should I say People) vote with their dollars to buy our crap. More power to them. It just doesn't sit well with some people when free people with their own money choose things from the US over some domestic product.



[ Parent ]
Passive approval of evil considered evil (3.00 / 1) (#195)
by Robert Hutchinson on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 05:36:20 PM EST

There is a deeply rooted anti-americanism in practically the entire world. This is not to say people hate americans, quite the contrary. The dislike (in extreme cases hate) is directed towards the US government.
I think a lot of it seeps into their opinion of the general American population, probably because 99% of us sit around shrugging and saying "What, my government criminal?"

Robert Hutchinson


No bomb-throwing required.

[ Parent ]
How long can you keep your head buried in the sand (1.25 / 16) (#40)
by farl on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:34:20 PM EST

n/t.


Farl
k5@sketchwork.com
www.sketchwork.com
statements? (2.33 / 3) (#45)
by losang on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 04:13:01 PM EST

do you have anything to add?

[ Parent ]
I agree with the topic, but not your reasoning ... (4.46 / 13) (#42)
by joegee on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 04:02:12 PM EST

I agree that it is wrong of the United States to finish its action in Afghanistan and immediately turn its gunsights towards Iraq, but not for the reasons Losang cites in this article.

I certainly find the deaths of civilians repulsive, but war is a tool of statecraft. War is most definitely not a preferable choice, but some disagreements can only be resolved through aggression.

I do not believe the world is far enough along to completely avoid war, and nonviolent solutions although certainly desirable, are not possible if one's opponent seeks violence. In short, non-agression only works if the opposition understands it and ultimately seeks it. Gandhi's tactics worked against the British, but they would have been useless against Hitler had Hitler's goal been to destroy the various peoples of India.

Why do I think action against Iraq is wrong? I think it's wrong because the United States has no proof that Iraq was involved in 9/11, and there is no international mandate for immediate action. Furthermore the international coalition is shaky at best, and I suspect it will require considerably more strengthening before any action can take place beyond the current activity in Afghanistan and the worldwide eradication of al Qaeda.

As for loss of life, I do believe Mr. Hussein has as much ability to end sanctions and avoid hostility as the western powers have to inflict them. He can do something about Iraq's current isolation. He chooses instead to accept civilian deaths and wage a war of propaganda. I do not believe the cynical manipulation of media is any more palatable coming from the west, and yet I feel that Mr. Hussein is certainly playing "baby food factories" for all they are worth.

How do I feel about the argument that acting aggressively against terrorism will incur further acts of terror? Certainly acting against terrorism involves risk, and yet if we withdraw and avoid confronting terrorism, this gives terrorists the victory they seek.

As OBL states in his own videotaped missive, it is natural for a person to choose the stronger of two horses. In the world of terror, strength means everything. Although we might interpret withdrawal and disengagement as wisdom, the opposing sides will see such withdrawal as weakness.

This is my two cents on the topic. I am certain my opinions will arouse vehement disagreement from both the pro war and pro peace factions, yet I feel, and I believe that history demonstrates, there are times and places for both machine guns and negotiating tables. I suspect true wisdom lies in deciding when either is appropriate.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
3 options for Uncle Sam. (3.41 / 12) (#49)
by Apuleius on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 04:27:58 PM EST

1. Back off completely from Iraq. I'm slightly disinclined regarding this idea, because ample precedent shows that in this event, Saddam will redevelop his military capacity, including his exotic weapons program, and that he will throw a dart on a map and go to war against somebody. Keep in mind that the Iran-Iraq war's body count puts it in third place for this century, after World Wars 1 and 2.

2. Keep the sanctions. I'm slightly disinclined regarding this idea, because it is causing immense suffering on the Iraqi people (even though the Iraqi people are by and large intensely racist and would not think twice of inflicting the same suffering on my own people, I don't want to sink to their level.) Forget about "smart sanctions" that would somehow hold Saddam in line while giving the Iraqi people a breather. Saddam will never let such a thing happen.

3. Go in one more time and this time fscking finish the job. Topple his regime, install a Mandate or a friendly regime, and keep breathing down its neck until it evolves into a sane republic for all of the Iraqis. The UN won't like it because it will be an overt display of America's power and hegemony. But the UN's a joke, and the US is a far more benign hegemon than any other candidate.

So, what's it gonna be?




There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
Racism... (4.00 / 3) (#57)
by Electric Angst on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 05:06:46 PM EST

It should be noted that, previous to the Gulf War, Iraq was considered one of the more progressive, liberal nations in the Middle East. I don't doubt that there is a strong anti-American sentiment amoung the people there now, but honestly, can you blame them? It's not like they're hating Americans because they're a minority and they don't want to share drinking fountains with them. These people have seen their quality of life become unthinkably abysmal. Sure, Hussain deserves plenty of blame, if American foreign policy isn't coming out of this innocent...
--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The Parent ]
For example.. (4.00 / 2) (#59)
by Apuleius on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 05:18:52 PM EST

You wish to speak about minorities? Well, there was that little episode in Halabja where Saddam gassed a bunch of them. Or how about the Assyrians? They got massacred in the 30's. The Chaldeans have been leaving for anywhere they can go, and a bunch are on the Mexican Border asking for US asylum. The Jews are gone, some to Britain, most to Israel. Then there was Saddam's use of racist bilge to fire up his people against Iran, which the people swallowed readily. Iraq was progressive in that women could walk around sans hijab, but Iraq was, and is, in no position to hold a candle up to Lebanon.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Oh, I see, you just gotta bring up Lebanon... (none / 0) (#62)
by Electric Angst on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 05:37:21 PM EST

The actions of Saddam and the will of the Iraqi people are two very different things... I think characterizing the Iraqi people as racist is an incorrect assumption.
--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The Parent ]
Yes, because Lebanon is progressive. (2.50 / 2) (#70)
by Apuleius on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 06:11:41 PM EST

Lebanon's attempt at democracy and a civil society is genuine. Iraq's was nothing more than lip service given to the outside world. Furthermore, while the Iraqis have beaten the hell out of every minority in their midst, this was not always at the instigation of Saddam. Ironically enough, Saddam has tried to prevent violence toward Iraq's remaining Jews. It is the will of the Iraqi people that brought out the violence and cut the Jewish population down to its current level of around 50.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Israel (3.36 / 11) (#81)
by ucblockhead on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 07:09:38 PM EST

You ask "what would drive someone to commit the 9-11 attacks", but you avoid the true reason.

The true, central reason is US support of Isreal and all that this entails.

So you can talk all you want about how US military actions support terrorism, but the bottom line is that these particular terrorists would only stop if the US were to pull all support for Israel and withdraw from the region

So it is pretty pointless to say that we shouldn't attack Iraq because this will cause hatred, which will promote terrorism, because we are not avoiding that other thing that provokes equal or greater amounts of Arab hate, i.e., supporting Israel.

That said, there are basically two paths the US can take:

  1. Pull out the region entirely and pull all support for Israel.
  2. Attempt to physically destroy the terrorists.
Anything else is a pointless half measure.

I am vastly amused at how much of the left seems to want to ignore this root cause of the whole thing and pretend it is all a matter of American actions. But it is understandable because to admit that Israel is the root cause is to admit that a "peaceful" solution means throwing Israel to the wolves.

And maybe that is the best solution, but Israel has fangs too, so "throwing Israel to the wolves" itself means lots and lots of dead people. On both sides. It is just that they will all be Arab and Israeli, rather than American.

The sad truth of life is that there are no perfect solutions. There is no way to prevent innocent civilians from dying. The war in Afghanistan kills innocent civilians, but it almost saves other innocent civilians, both potential terrorist targets and those not liked by the Taliban. So it is not a matter of "not killing civilians" as it is of "minimizing civilian deaths on all sides". Given the increased access for food aid, the US involvement in Afghanistan may well mean fewer civilian deaths overall.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

response (1.50 / 4) (#90)
by losang on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 07:57:19 PM EST

First off, I am glad someone has finally come fourth who knows the true reason why someone would be motivated to attack the US.

In reality there is not one true reason we can point to. You probably have not researched this issue very much because the more you do the more you realize it is not a simple problem with such a trivial, one issue solution. The problem lies in a long term systemic process of domination and exploitation of a people. This problem that you site is a particular example that results from a pervasive systemic policy.

Your last comment about increased access for food aid is not unfamiliar to most Americans, but looking deeper we see that it is not true. Claims that the Tabliban were preventing aid workers may or may not be true. We are in no position to judge the honesty or either Washington or the Taliban. Although, given Washingtons track record of propaganda we can make a fairly accurate guess. Regardless, what we can do is listen to the people who are in a politically impartial position. Of course, these views have not been deemed newsworthy by the American media. The fact that we have not heard much about the starvation that is occuring, a direct and well know result of our bombing campain, indicates the level of morality held by the American media.

To their credit the New York times early on published an article reporting the number of Afghans as risk of death from starvation, disease and exposure is likely to increase by 50% to about 7.5 million if a bombing campain were to begin. This was also well known to the policy makers in Washington. Many pleas were made to stop the bombing by people in positions to make an accurate assesment of the damage it woudl cause. The requests were made by UN officials and major relief and aid agencies which include Oxfam and Doctors without Borders. In light of this evidence, Washington's claims are seen as mere propaganda at best and, at worst, an indication of the level of morality held by policy makers. There is further evidence that the already horrible situation was likely to increase if a bombing campaign began.

[ Parent ]

Uh...yeah (4.25 / 4) (#94)
by ucblockhead on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 08:24:29 PM EST

First, drop the arrogance. You've no clue how much I've "researched" this, and you certainly are not the arbiter of what a "correct" response is.

Your comments on the lack of reporting about "starvation" are amusing...they basically boil down to "people I agree with predicted starvation. No starvation is being reported. Therefore the media is bad". Of course, the other possibility is that the predictions were false.

I've seen no reports of mass starvation in non-US media either. You'd thing at least one news site would report it if it were happening...

Anyway, the trouble is that these predictions (including those in the New York Times) were based on a long-term bombing campaign and a war lasting through the winter. As you may have noticed, this did not happen. Instead, the Taliban crumbled fairly quickly, which means that even now aid groups are moving in. All the predictions of starvation were based on the idea that war would keep the aid groups out during the winter.

The fact that you ignore all this tells me everything I need to know about the openness of your mind. But if you do want to correct me and point me to sources that show there is mass starvation in Afganistan right now, be my guest. This is the Internet, after all, and there are many news sources not controlled by the US.

Anyway, I notice you dance away from Isreal again... All of a sudden it is again "dominance" and "exploitation". That reads like a typical marxist blinkered view of the situation, and again ignores the real roots of the problem.

A hint: if the US were to set about to dominate and exploit the people of the Mideast, the last thing they'd do is support Isreal. I'm not saying that exploitation and domination is not happening. I AM saying that this is not all that is happening, and that this "domination" and "exploitation" is NOT the cause of the terrorist activity.

The cause is the Isreali-Palestinian conflict. The cause is the support the US has given the state of Isreal is 1948. You can't get anywhere without admitting that. The trouble is that people don't like to admit that because this means the solutions are not trivial. Indeed, it means that the there is likely no solution that won't leave lots of people with burning, murderous hatred in their hearts.

No, if this were about "exploitation" only, the US would throw over Isreal and back Saudi Arabia only. Instead, we risk Saudi support to support Isreal.


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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Israel is certainly not the primary reason (4.25 / 4) (#105)
by skipio on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 09:42:35 PM EST

I must disagree with you. I think Israel is certainly not the biggest reason OBL has for hating the US. As can be seen in his famous statement published in '98 OBL seems more concerned about the US "occupying the lands of Islam", the "devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people [by the US]" and of course uniting the whole Arabian Peninsula than the plight of the Palestinian nation. As far as I know, Mr. bin Laden hasn't even made that much of a fuss about the Israel-Palestinian conflict until quite recently [when it suited his greater interests]. He seems to have been far more eager to get the US out of Saudi Arabia than helping the Palestinians. And if OBL were that concerned about US support for Israel it would be rather odd to start a plan during the late 90s to attack US interests because at that time the US was trying *very* hard to negotiate a permament peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians. [You could perhaps note that OBL might not want peace with Israel but rather to get every Jew out of Palestine but it would still have been an odd time to start plans to attack the US.]

US support for Israel may be one of the reasons OBL might use to justify his stance against the US, but it is certainly not the only reason nor the primary reason as you suggest.

[ Parent ]

Muslim attitudes, not Bin Laden (none / 0) (#108)
by ucblockhead on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 09:53:10 PM EST

I'm talking about general Muslim attitudes, not Bin Laden in particular.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
response (1.66 / 6) (#111)
by losang on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 10:00:54 PM EST

I am not being arrogant. That is your projection. I was being honest and just asking a question.

It is not my job to find sources for you. If you are truly interested then you can find them. I know of television bit which discussed the issue and the organizations I mentioned in my previous posting. I honestly think you are not interested in seeing these.

It is not as simple as good media/bad media. The point is that what is covered shows the importance we place on issues. There are several paragraphs dedicated to determining if one single US soldier has died. In the same article there was a quick mention of 'civilian casualties'. The issue of starvation was given even less coverage. This indicates the level of morality of the American elite and what is important to them.

Whether the bombing campain moved quickly and the aid workers can return is irrelevant. Implicit in the planing of the bombing was that its threat and execution would directly increase the chances of death from starvation and illness. This is the imporatant point. Knowingly orchestrating the deaths of millions of innocent Afghans while at the same time claiming to fight against those who wish to harm innocent civilians has one logical consequence. The Afgnan people are not considered innocent civilians and therefore it is ok to kill them. This is a subtle type of racism that somehow gets overlooked by the intellectual elite.

Regarding Israel I don't know the details. I do agree that it is one of the issues but not the only one. More extreme types like bin Laden, along with professionals, in the Arab world have sited the US support of Israel as one among many issues. If we are to make any headway to understand why someone would do such a terrible crime it is best to begin with those people and their culture. Not with the opinions of people like us who really have no idea what it is like to live under domination and oppression.

[ Parent ]

Two points, one of them stylistic (4.75 / 8) (#119)
by wiredog on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 10:26:22 PM EST

First, please stop titling your responses "response", "reply", "comments", etc. It makes it look like you have trouble thinking creatively enough to come up with more descriptive titles. The rest of your writing doesn't look that way, why should the comment titles?

It is not my job to find sources for you.

Actually, if you are writing an article, or engaged in a discussion, it is your responsibility to find sources to back up your arguments. Otherwise, how do we know that you aren't talking out of your ass? If you can't support your arguments, why should we listen to you? I can claim that I'm a space alien from Arcturus and a member of the Kuro5hin Cabal, but I hope you'd want some proof if I did so.

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

Bzzzzt. Thank's for playing. (4.00 / 4) (#129)
by SvnLyrBrto on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 11:16:19 PM EST

Ah Ha!!! What we have here is streetlawyer Mk II... or perhaps streetlawyer jr.?

>It is not my job to find sources for you. If you
>are truly interested then you can find them.

Sorry pal, but that line doesn't wash when streetlawyer himself uses it. And he's been around longer, and is MUCH better at the game than you.

You make a claim, it is YOUR obligation to back it up. End of story.

YHL, HAND.


cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Sources (3.83 / 6) (#147)
by ucblockhead on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 01:41:43 AM EST

It is not my job to find sources for you. If you are truly interested then you can find them.

Actually, I looked. I spent about a half hour trying to verify your claim, and came up empty. That, combined with your refusal to back up your claims, leads me to the conclusion that you were full of shit, had no evidence backing it up, are unable to find any evidence backing it up, and are now trying to bluff your way out of it.

If you can't prove your claims, fine, but don't act all pissy and claim that we aren't looking hard enough. It isn't my job to prove you right. If you want your claims to be taken seriously then you damn well should act like it.

Yeah, you don't know the details about Isreal. You don't know the details about a lot of things, obviously. It's pretty clear that you don't want to know anything that conflicts with your worldview.

You know, you look pretty foolish blithely talking about "knowingly orchestrating the deaths of millions of Afghani civilians" when the civilians in question are not dead.

In any case, losang, I have a damn good idea what motivates those who committed the terrible crime in question. And that knowledge makes it damn clear that without completely abandoning the state of Isreal, the motivations will remain. Given that, your "peace in our time" bullshit is just flat out wrong, won't work, and is utterly misguided. It isn't that I haven't "thought about it" or "haven't researched it". It is that I HAVE thought about it and HAVE researched it, and those thoughts and that research lead me to believe that you are utterly wrong.


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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

sources (none / 0) (#156)
by losang on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 06:48:31 AM EST

http://www.oxfam.org/news/afghan.htm http://www.oxfam.org/news/docs/011121GreaterUNrole.html http://www.oxfam.org/news/docs/011109_rockandhard.html http://www.oxfam.org/news/docs/011101_2.htm http://www.oxfam.org/news/docs/011017AfghanistanBriefingNote.html http://www.fao.org/WAICENT/OIS/PRESS_NE/PRESSENG/2001/pren0173.htm http://www.fao.org/WAICENT/OIS/PRESS_NE/PRESSENG/2001/pren0193.htm http://www.unhcr.ch/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/afghan?page=assess

The point of whether the humanitarian crisis did occur, and it is as we speak as is evidensed by these document, is not the point. What moral beings should be concerned with is that this campaign was planned knowing it would lead to the starvation of millions. In fact, the planners thought it would be a long drawn out campaign. With this in mind any person of the lowest moral fiber should be concered about this type of policy making.

[ Parent ]

Can someone remind me... (3.66 / 3) (#122)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 10:43:29 PM EST

... why we in the USA don't throw them to the wolves. They haven't exactly been model citizens on the world stage. Sure they vote with us in the UN, but I think we can get along without them. Surely we can find another sap country to fill that role.



[ Parent ]

You know ... (4.25 / 4) (#131)
by joegee on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 11:25:23 PM EST

... I have wondered this myself. For all the problems we face because of our support of Israel they repay us by planting spies in our military programs (the mid 80's), leeching financial and military support, and petulantly harranguing us when they do not get their way (remember the comment at the beginning of the action in Afghanistan -- "we do not want to be sacrificed like Poland in 1939").

Why indeed do we so blindly fall all over ourselves to accomodate Israel? It's not a question of being anti-Semitic. I suspect the U.S. have proven we're not anti-Semites a thousand times over. On the other hand Israel as a nation state repays U.S. loyalty by creating conditions of constant strife with their neighbors, seemingly assured that they can commit atrocities of their own because the U.S. will back them up. Isn't enough, enough?

I do not believe we should alter our position on Israel due to Arab pressure, and unfortunately outside pressure makes the U.S. even less likely to change its position of support, but I do believe that when things have calmed down a bit the U.S. need to seriously reevaluate our relationship with Israel. It's time the dog started wagging the tail again.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Who cares... (none / 0) (#144)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 01:17:56 AM EST

... about outside pressure. They annoy us and complicate our plans.



[ Parent ]

Why? (4.33 / 3) (#132)
by ucblockhead on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 11:28:30 PM EST

Because the party that threw them to the wolves would lose the next election.

That's why.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

How incredibly cynical... (5.00 / 1) (#145)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 01:19:58 AM EST

... and Practical.

Touche.



[ Parent ]

The real reason (4.60 / 5) (#141)
by elefantstn on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 12:29:15 AM EST

I think there is a very simple reason we don't throw Israel to the wolves, and it has nothing to do with latent guilt over the Holocaust -- they most likely have the bomb. Consider this scenario: The US decides it doesn't like what Israel is doing, pulls economic and military support, and says "Go it on your own." Six months later, after some nasty terror attacks and retaliations, Israel's neighbors, emboldened by the lack of US support, invade Israel to end the problem once and for all. Whoops, Israel has the bomb, and when confronted with imminent extinction, decide to use it. The world's second nuclear war arrives. There is a large faction that thinks that if we would just stop supporting Israel, we could have peace with all the Arab nations, and they may be right -- the Middle East will be too busy digging itself out of radioactive rubble to care about us.

[ Parent ]
The Israeli spies who were arrested and jailed ... (4.00 / 3) (#142)
by joegee on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 12:45:49 AM EST

... a few years ago, late 80's early 90's, were acquiring thermonuclear secrets.

As I recall the bombers that were in the air over Jordan when the first Iraqi scuds fell on Israel were carrying live nukes. I cannot substantiate that with a print source -- I heard it from a friend in the military. My understanding is that fast talking and deal-making on the part of then Secretary of State Baker kept Baghdad and several other Iraqi cities from becoming glowing craters.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
And yet... (4.66 / 3) (#126)
by Anatta on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 11:13:02 PM EST

as the Wall St. Journal pointed out, one would think OBL would mention Israel at least once while he was being so candid on Afghanistan's Most Hideous Videos. He spoke freely on a great vareity of topics, but nothing about the Jews, Palistianians, or Israel.

It seems, among his other "talents", he is a good marketer. He seems to have jumped on the Isarel/Palestine conflict in order to garner more support in the media from the Arab world and various anti-Zionist and anti-Semetic organizations.

It also seems that he succeeded in fooling a great many people on both the left and the right.
My Music
[ Parent ]

And still yet . . . (4.00 / 1) (#196)
by Robert Hutchinson on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 05:44:42 PM EST

as the Wall St. Journal pointed out, one would think OBL would mention Israel at least once while he was being so candid on Afghanistan's Most Hideous Videos. He spoke freely on a great vareity of topics, but nothing about the Jews, Palistianians, or Israel.
Well, there was the Sulayman saying "there was a subtitle that read: 'In revenge for the children of Al Aqsa', Usama Bin Ladin executes an operation against America.'" (Al-Aqsa referring to that little day trip Sharon took that preceded the current intifada.)

Robert Hutchinson


No bomb-throwing required.

[ Parent ]
another arrogant and misinformed comment (3.66 / 15) (#85)
by cthulhain on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 07:24:26 PM EST

At the risk of sounding presumptuous I honestly want to ask you how much you have researched these issues. It is fine for us all to have an opinion but that is really not worth much in the big picture. What is worth something is the truth and facts.
Very true. However, "researching these issues" involves more than reading and listening to Noam Chomsky. Chomsky's interpretation of the "facts" is skewed by his anarchist political stance, and he tends to broad-brush everything into "U.S. bad / poor starving third-worlders good". And don't try to pretend that your opinions don't come from Chomsky; not only is it painfully obvious from your prose ("...our hegemonic policies...", "...500,000 Iraqis have died as a direct result of the sanctions...", "...our government orchestrates the deaths of innocent civilians...", etc), but you link to a book by him in one of your posts below.

I'd like to address one point that is at the heart of your article and which you elaborate on in one of your comments: the notion that the U.S. government should "step outside [its] borders and help the less fortunate", etc etc, "build houses and feed the poor", etc etc. This is silly and unrealistic. There is nothing wrong with any of these things, but they are not the responsibility of the government. Exactly what is the government's responsibility is another topic entirely, but I think most people would agree that one of its most important duties is to protect the people that it governs from stuff like chemical and nuclear weapons, among other things. A national policy of good samaritanism is not a good way to go about this, for reasons that should be self-evident. Your (or should I say Chomsky's?) altruistic viewpoint has a certain moral and melodramtic appeal, but it has no practical value whatsoever.

I'm sure your holding of the moral high ground feels good to you, but the fact is that being nice to everyone isn't going to solve the problems that the U.S. is currently facing (Islamic extremism/Iraq). I suggest you take your own advice and research these issues, instead of regurgitating Chomsky and feeling clever about yourself for being a "dissident" who is tuned into what's really going on, unlike the rest of the poor sheep who are merely slaves of their own opinions.

--
nothing in his brain except a ruined echo of the sky.

Have you no shame? (3.16 / 6) (#106)
by valeko on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 09:43:37 PM EST

I'd like to address one point that is at the heart of your article and which you elaborate on in one of your comments: the notion that the U.S. government should "step outside [its] borders and help the less fortunate", etc etc, "build houses and feed the poor", etc etc. This is silly and unrealistic.

I concur that it's a somewhat simplified, if idealistic, viewpoint and that it's unrealistic.

However, there's nothing wrong with the philosophical notion that the US has some obligation to the world, as it covets a great deal of the world's wealth and resources. I am not of the opinion that it would be sensible to suggest that it mount an operation to help build houses and feed everyone. But the US should definitely question whether it's doing enough to help the downtrodden in the third world.

Neither am I saying that the US isn't doing anything. The US provides lots of nice humanitarian aid. It's unfortunate that a lot of times such aid (although this is more true of financial aid) has various strings attached that benefit the American corporate apparatus, but that America has been charitable is not in question. How selective it is in its charity and just how much its strategic and diplomatic interests play a role in this is another discussion.

As if listening to Mr. Chomsky were a vice, there's nothing wrong with pointing out commonly known truths - regularly discussed in European/non-USian media (not to be confused with state-run media ;-). That it's a bit melodramatic I do not question, but I wouldn't go as far as to say that it's all a bunch of outright lies. Somewhere in between the extremes lay the truth, as testified to by the people on the front lines (and I don't mean American soldiers).

... isn't going to solve the problems that the U.S. is currently facing

Sounds like another archetype from the "let's act! NUKE AFGHANISTAN!!!!!!!!! AND IRAQ!!!!!!!" crowd. Rejecting critical discourse as impractical is the staple tactic of the nutty right-wing pundits. "We're all talk, no action. Time to deliver some Infinite Justice and kill all terrorists!"

Ever wondered why the US may be facing problems like Islamic extremists and Iraq? There may be a more intelligent conclusion than "ah, well, sure, we helped 'em, put 'em in place, and really pissed 'em off, but it's just idealism and has no practical value."


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

clarification (2.00 / 1) (#114)
by losang on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 10:17:40 PM EST

I'd like to address one point that is at the heart of your article and which you elaborate on in one of your comments: the notion that the U.S. government should "step outside [its] borders and help the less fortunate", etc etc, "build houses and feed the poor", etc etc. This is silly and unrealistic.

These comments were in response to a misinterpretation that my suggestion is for the US to 'stay at home' and not reach outside its borders. My point was that we can step outside our borders and not act violently. If instead of destroying lives we helped build them how could we be hated.

Saying that it is not practical or the responsibility of the US to help the world is missing the point. The fact of the matter remains that we do reach out to the world, but in a manner which has unfortunate consequences for others. If we are going to reach beyond our borders, which we do, we should promote reconsiliation and build lives not destroy them.

Finally, yes I do read of a lot for literature from Chomsky, but he is not the only source. As I see it he is an excellent opinion with well documented sources and footnotes. This is much more productive than me simply giving my opinion. Besides people who are as well researched as Chomsky are hard to come by.

[ Parent ]

you are being evasive (3.75 / 4) (#158)
by cthulhain on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 07:22:15 AM EST

Saying that it is not practical or the responsibility of the US to help the world is missing the point. The fact of the matter remains that we do reach out to the world, but in a manner which has unfortunate consequences for others. If we are going to reach beyond our borders, which we do, we should promote reconsiliation and build lives not destroy them.
If you want people to take you seriously, you're going to have to do better than stubbornly repeating your position over and over, while brushing off opposing arguments as "missing the point".
Finally, yes I do read of a lot for literature from Chomsky, but he is not the only source. As I see it he is an excellent opinion with well documented sources and footnotes. This is much more productive than me simply giving my opinion.
So what you're saying is that it's more productive if you repeat someone else's opinion rather than formulate your own? Productive for whom, you or the rest of us?

Since Chomsky's ideas are readily available through his many books and lectures, don't you think it's a bit redundant for you to parrot them without adding anything of your own? You don't even really try to defend them, because you refuse to address anyone who disagrees. You've latched onto these ideas and turned them into a personal dogma to which you strictly adhere, which, ironically, is exactly what you accuse others of doing.

Besides people who are as well researched as Chomsky are hard to come by.
Perhaps because they feel that since Chomsky has all the answers, there is no need for them to do any research themselves.

--
nothing in his brain except a ruined echo of the sky.
[ Parent ]

Bzzzt! (2.66 / 3) (#173)
by valeko on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 01:04:24 PM EST

Fortunately, Chomsky is far from the sole source of such commentary. You are confusing the speaker with the material. That the US is acting in an imperialistic fashion, attempting to assert global hegemony, and that many suffer as a result is not the sole opinion of Professor Chomsky, nor a formulation based on any of his personal axioms.


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

Well said! Hit the nail on the head! (2.66 / 3) (#116)
by Shovas on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 10:22:12 PM EST

Greetings,

You expounded quite the pointed statement, one of which I've been trying to understand and be able to phrase myself:
Rejecting critical discourse as impractical is the staple tactic of the nutty right-wing pundits.
In my many discussions with those who disagree with my own thoughts, and label me anti-American, or unpatriotic, and whatnot, this type of response has always come up. It seems those who are "right wing", or "hawks", or whatever other "label" who supports instant military action, no mercy, etc., is not able to understand the concept of critical thinking, nor displays a willingness to walk through the problem to find the true root cause.

It's a crying shame. Many millions of people will die at the hands of Americans simply because the US is too arrogant and greedy, and its mass populace to ignorant to turn the tide of foreign policy which has driven the passions of anti-American sentiment abroad, for most of the last half century.

Farewell,
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
indeed.. (3.50 / 2) (#120)
by valeko on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 10:38:07 PM EST

In my many discussions with those who disagree with my own thoughts, and label me anti-American, or unpatriotic, and whatnot, this type of response has always come up. It seems those who are "right wing", or "hawks", or whatever other "label" who supports instant military action, no mercy, etc., is not able to understand the concept of critical thinking, nor displays a willingness to walk through the problem to find the true root cause.

This is a problem from which I suffer too.

The failure to make the distinction between being opposed to the regime or the foreign policy and being "anti-American" is the single most dire obstacle to the development of intelligent discussion, next to an uninformed and mostly ignorant populace.

I have trouble understanding in what context people mean 'anti-American'. Do they really think that people or regimes who are labeled 'anti-American' simply hate Americans just because they're Americans and so they hate them and want to kill them for no other reason than that they hate them? I could see such a conclusion being made in kindergarten, but to find it in everyday discussions? Ack. It's highly disturbing how ordinary Taliban partisans are being demonised as American-hating daemons. How do you hate Americans? How do you feel burning, passionate hate towards normal American civilians? How does that work? I don't understand. It might be possible, but I don't see how it figures into the politics of nations opposed to American policy. I really don't. How do people eat that up?

The second great obstacle it seems is the tendency to mechanically equate patriotism and whatnot with support of the current leadership and its policies. How does not supporting this farce ("war on terrorism") make you "un-American", "unpatriotic", and whatnot? Pluralism is supposed to be as American as apple pie, if you listen to the idealistic constitutional scholars.

Patriotism. Noun. Love and devotion to one's country.
Now, why is opposition to a repressive, imperialistic foreign policy unpatriotic? Especially if it spawns homeland terrorism? I'm quite confused. And last of all, how is intelligent debate 'aiding the terrorists'?! (Ashcroft says).

I don't think most people know what they're saying when they spout this garbage. Hence I stick by my original quote - shaping public "opinion" with disinformation and right-wing nonsense is the profession of "conservative" pundits.


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

patirotism (2.00 / 1) (#125)
by losang on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 11:10:14 PM EST

I believe that what we are doing is being true Americans. The other day someone told me that the problem with American is the weak people in the country. He was refering to a group of us that were having a discussion on what might provoke hatred toward the US. This man felt he had all the answers and was not open to any discussion.

If we look at what the elites are saying about freedom, democracy and America then people like us are the true Americans and those who wish to beligerantly silence us are the most un-American of all.

[ Parent ]

This is going to sound really brutal... (5.00 / 1) (#128)
by Shovas on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 11:15:13 PM EST

Greetings,

And maybe I'm just an arrogant, pompous, intellectual prick; but I've seen and heard too many opinions, propaganda speehces, lies, breeches of trust and immoral behaviour to deny it anymore,
[The resentment and confusion towards those who can't do not bow to popular thought] is the burden of the modern, learned, globally aware intellectual.
And it's our own fault. We want to have our own security and our own freedoms. Our own personal space, our own privacy and, most of all, our own ability to _not_ have to do something. We've grown up with that ideal. In an idyllic world, this sort of philosophy would flourish and people would become aware and learn for themselves.

But this world is far from ideal.

In fact, I've said it before and I'll say it again, no matter how much we try to deny it, there is a single, inherent flaw in each and every human being that prevents us from our mutual success: Man is not naturally good.

Granted, some people who may not be "good", in the classic good and evil sense, may have ideals which are compatible with those of, for example, many religions. Personally, I think this arises from a greed desire. Not evil, but still, a desire for self gain and not necessarily the gain of their peers.
The failure to make the distinction between being opposed to the regime or the foreign policy and being "anti-American" is the single most dire obstacle to the development of intelligent discussion, next to an uninformed and mostly ignorant populace.
I believe this to be the result of constant, background noise, prompting ferverent nationalism and symbolizing patriotic fanaticism as being a true [insert nationality here]. I'm not trying to sound like a conspiracy theorist. I hope I don't come across that way. Many things in our media are obvious conduits for this type of propaganda and manipulation, and many times, we are only too willing to be caught up into it, myself included. And, many times, it's not really so negative. Cheering for one's national sports team, for instance. The constant, beating flow, to its citizens, of required ideals to be truly patriotic, however, is aggravating. To see the majority of people be pulled into the popular culture is, to say the least, disappointing, as it relates to the progress of intellectual thought, throughout history.
It's highly disturbing how ordinary Taliban partisans are being demonised as American-hating daemons. How do you hate Americans? How do you feel burning, passionate hate towards normal American civilians? How does that work? I don't understand.
This is actually a point of debate between you and I. In my experience, anti-American sentiment abroad can _actually_ be seen as passionate, even to the individual citizens of the United States. The US is the poster child of democracy. It has painted itself in this pose, throughout the cold war, and retains this elegant stature to this day. But, representing all that is good about representative government brings the dubious task of showing how the people of the country feel and act, through its governments actions. From what I am able to gather, where anti-American sentiment is apparent, the people actually think of the US, and its individual citizens, as 'bad'. I don't think they differentiate between the government and its people, because, as it is a democracy, the government _is_ its people. Regardless if foreign nations understand how real the lack of representation and fairness really is.
The second great obstacle it seems is the tendency to mechanically equate patriotism and whatnot with support of the current leadership and its policies. How does not supporting this farce ("war on terrorism") make you "un-American", "unpatriotic", and whatnot?
It's what I've begun to see, especially since September Eleventh. You are not "with it", nor are you pro-[nationality] unless you agree with the popular culture/thought of the moment.

"shaping public "opinion" with disinformation and right-wing nonsense is the profession of "conservative" pundits."

There's a manipulation going on, and it seems innocent, but it harms us in the learning and intellectual area of things, while improving morale and the economy.

I've written more than my fair share for tonight. :) And, while I've griped and complained, I will probably not take action(or know where to begin) to correct the problems with popular culture and its herding behaviour. All I know is that more people need more education in philosophy and intellectual studies.

Farewell,
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[ Parent ]
Argh...so many mistakes I'm so tired. NT (none / 0) (#130)
by Shovas on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 11:17:41 PM EST


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[ Parent ]
human nature and education (1.33 / 6) (#133)
by losang on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 11:28:40 PM EST

1. Human nature is good. It is merely obscured by ignorance. One example. There is a strong propaganda campaign to supress the details of civilian deaths in the Afghanistan campaign. This is evidenced by the ratio of deaths to coverage among American civilians and Afghan civilians.

The fact that these truths even need to be obscured is an indication that humans are ultimately good. If we were feeding them instead of bombing there would be no need for obscuration.

2. While education and philosophy are important what is needed more is access to the truth via the media. It doesn't take an education to determine what horrible crimes against humanity are. This is one reason why the media filter is so well designed and systematic. Those who are in charge are well aware of this as were the founders of our country.

To take the stand that people need more training in philosophy and intellectual studies is somewhat elitist and exclusionary.

[ Parent ]

'Human nature is good'? OK, that's it. (3.00 / 1) (#148)
by grout on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 01:46:38 AM EST

Humans may strive toward goodness, but to suggest that the natural state of humans is 'good' is just (further) evidence that you're out to lunch.
--
Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

[ Parent ]
Support yourself (3.00 / 1) (#160)
by Shovas on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 08:16:10 AM EST

Greetings,

I would tend to think that a tendency to "strive towards goodness" reflects a fundamental "good" nature in humans, if that was logical and proven.

All the same, we can't just go around flinging "humans are naturally bad" and "humans are naturally good" all around without support. In my previous, I hoped to make it clear that the support for my argument was in the common experiences of each one of us. That being, what we've seen throughout our lives, in our families, places of work, friends or politics.

The prevevalent school of thought these days is a wishy-washy, 'we're all naturally good, and it's only the bad influence of society and our seared in prejudices that affects children negatively.' Along those same lines, the case in point follows that a group of children placed on a deserted island with no adult supervision or contact, would grow up without fear, religion, enemies and pain. That is a very foolishly optimistic dream, though. One good piece on the subect is Lord of the Flies(Joseph Heller). The developments of a shipwrecked group of children on a deserted island, follows an easy to understand, logical course. Other sources allow one to better comprehend the rationale and desires of the human mind--Heart of Darkness(Joseph Conrad)--and, together, these form a cohesive, concise view of humans, as flawed.

This particular subject is touchy, because nobody seems to be able to take criticism these days, and hence, nobody can take pointing out their flaws. So, they just brush it off and continue on their lives, as before. As one of my favourite quotes goes...
"People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid."
Farewell,
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[ Parent ]
Sorry, quote by... (none / 0) (#161)
by Shovas on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 08:19:08 AM EST

Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
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[ Parent ]
thats it? (1.75 / 4) (#230)
by losang on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 09:25:17 PM EST

What the heck does this mean. First of all that is a pretty arrogant statement to make.

Second of all you are limiting you view to one culture. There are people who have developed their minds to an infinite level of purity. To reach this level they must abondon all thought of harming others. The reason it seems that humans are inpure by nature is because of the power of ignorance. Once this ignorance is removed there is only compassion for others. There are definitely people in the world who have acheived this state. Once attained one never falls from it either.

The nature of conciousness is clear. It is only due to habit that certain bad qualities seem to be mixed with the nature of mind. The mistake lies in not separating the two, the ultimate nature of conciousness and the delusions such as hatred. If conciousness was not fundamentally pure then it could not perceive objects.

[ Parent ]

the mind boggles (3.50 / 2) (#233)
by cthulhain on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 10:10:42 PM EST

The nature of conciousness is clear.
That is quite an extraordinary statement. It's no wonder you don't clarify it further, or provide a rationale for it.
It is only due to habit that certain bad qualities seem to be mixed with the nature of mind. The mistake lies in not separating the two, the ultimate nature of conciousness and the delusions such as hatred.
Let me get this straight. You think that emotions such as hatred are external and have nothing to do with the self?

If these "delusions" are outside of our consciousness, how would we even be able to experience them?

If conciousness was not fundamentally pure then it could not perceive objects.
Dear lord in heaven! This is almost as good as the one about opinions not counting. I'm seriously considering changing my sig.

This statement of yours does not mean a single thing. Consciousness cannot perceive objects unless pure? Eh?

You have to be a troll. No one can naturally be that daft.

--
nothing in his brain except a ruined echo of the sky.
[ Parent ]

the mind (1.66 / 3) (#234)
by losang on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 10:22:48 PM EST

I don't think you are really interested in understanding what I wrote. For one, you are intepreting what I wrote completely wrong and not even leaving room for this. Second instead of being humble and offering your understanding you seem to think you already know.

Just because you do not undetstand something does not mean it can not be understood that way. Your contention does maintain a pervasion.

I don't know why such ignorant people like you are allowed on this site you are quite condescending and rude. How do you know I don't have further explanation as to what is meant by clear. The last guy who lashed out at me in this way never responded when I showed more evidence that he needed. You run the danger of making yourself look like a fool when you attack so harshly. If you really want to attack an argument you need to proceed carfully so you don't put yourself in a corner in the process.

I would explain these reasons to you but I don't think you are interested and it is not worth my efforts. If someone would like to have an intellegent discussion on this topic please post something.

Finally, please don't write back about how I am not posting an explanation because I don't have one and am simply avoiding the issue, there is too much of that arround here. That is not what I am saying and I never hide behind my arguments. You are simply not worth my time.

If you push the issue you may get more of a response than you want. Besides, you probably would not undetstand.

[ Parent ]

actually... (4.00 / 1) (#235)
by cthulhain on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 10:31:23 PM EST

I really, genuinely would like some further clarification from you. Providing you are clear, I don't think I'll have any trouble understanding you.

--
nothing in his brain except a ruined echo of the sky.
[ Parent ]

Painfully aware it appears elitist... :( (5.00 / 1) (#162)
by Shovas on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 08:37:57 AM EST

Greetings,

(1) The example: how is it evidence of humans-as-good? It would more likely appear to be proof that humans are bad, greedy for power and using, surprise, surprise, massaged reports that would reflect the campaign in a good light.

I don't understand how obscuring the deaths of civilians in one nation, to the people of another nation, represents the good in someone.

(2) So you're saying translate education and mask it as media? Because, that's really what you're implying. It doesn't take formal education to know what a crime is, but it does take education. And, letting the easily malliable media shoulder the need to educate people, is flawed. A non-profit, honest organization, funded and worked in by the people, is the best method. And we already have this, but, unfurtunately, mandatory schooling only goes as far as 17-18 years of age. Exactly at the point where youth are most impressionable, as well as most lazy and unconcerned with the world outside their little group of friends. It is the college/university years which develops the mind into more refined, if idealistic and somewhat inpractical, principles.

The sad thing is, while I'm well aware of the fact that my opinions are considered elitist, I seem to have settled on the fact that it is the only method of improvement, for any given person, in general.

As for exclusionary, I'd contend that point. Education, available as it is--primary and secondard school--would do much good to be made available, and I think, even mandatory for the few years after secondary ends, for reasons I've stated above.

Farewell,
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[ Parent ]
I explain (none / 0) (#228)
by marc987 on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 08:51:03 PM EST

The Americans are basically good therefore to pursue the war the death of civilians must be obsured. If the deaths were not obscured, public support would be less... example of civilian deaths obsuredtherefore people good.

[ Parent ]
good interpretation (3.00 / 1) (#232)
by losang on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 09:42:44 PM EST

That is pretty much what I meant. Just the simple fact that people who do bad things such as killing need to justify them whereas when they do good things they do not is an indication that humans have a conscience.

Consider the death penalty. People go to great lengths to justify killing someone for commiting a crime. There is not type of justification needed or expected from someone who wants to preserve life.

[ Parent ]

Flawed (none / 0) (#255)
by Shovas on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 01:59:13 PM EST

Greetings,
That is pretty much what I meant. Just the simple fact that people who do bad things such as killing need to justify them whereas when they do good things they do not is an indication that humans have a conscience.
Well, this is exactly what I was referring to in my previous post, to the person who clarified your words. I guess I should have replied to you directly. At any rate...

I was hoping I wouldn't have to come right out and say, as it might offend some, but your logic is other worldly and completely opposite to my own. What I was attempting to get across was the idea that, in the situations you had given, preserving one's own interests(the support level for the war) at the expense of someone: the dignity of those who lost their lives, but not only that, at the expense of the actual foundations of democracy and its fundamental precepts.

Rather, however, that particular situation displays man's greed, desiring to protect themselves and their ends, at the expense of something 'else', which does not immediately affect their current interests. I would suggest this is evidence against a natural good, in humans.

I don't understand how it can be construed any other way. Doing one negative thing to promote a positive thing doesn't cancel out the negative thing.

Farewell,
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[ Parent ]
I'm amazed at the logic you use... (none / 0) (#240)
by Shovas on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 11:19:27 AM EST

Greetings,

I'm amazed, and absolutely astounded, in quite a negative mode.

From what I understand, you believe that the flow of information being manipulated, to protect the level of support for the War on Terrorism, is a "good" thing? And that, you think, following this logic, the person(s) causing this manipulation is/are "good" because it is only through the obscuring of civilian deaths that the war will have as much support as it does?

Either I'm confused or your logic is incredibly malliable. I find this explanation to be completely baffling to my sense of right and wrong.

But, perhaps I'm wrong, and a little more explanation is needed?

Certainly, you must admit, _not_ propogating such information, at the very least, contradicts the fundamental concepts of a democracy?

Farewell,
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[ Parent ]
Sorry (none / 0) (#242)
by marc987 on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 07:03:29 PM EST

I believe that the flow of information is being manipulated to protect the level of support for the "War on Terrorism".

I believe this is not justifiable.

the person(s) causing this manipulation is/are "good" because it is only through the obscuring of civilian deaths that the war will have as much support as it does?

No i meant to explain that the previous poster was equating the apparent need for manipulation as proof that the general public was "good".

In the future, if i really have something to say i will try to post in a clearer fashion.

It is a learning process.

[ Parent ]

Not so brutal (4.00 / 1) (#204)
by epepke on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 07:19:16 PM EST

In fact, I've said it before and I'll say it again, no matter how much we try to deny it, there is a single, inherent flaw in each and every human being that prevents us from our mutual success: Man is not naturally good.

This does not sound particularly brutal to me. It's quite accurate. To quote Frank Zappa, the problem is that people are bad, stupid, and incompetent.

I believe this to be the result of constant, background noise, prompting ferverent nationalism and symbolizing patriotic fanaticism as being a true [insert nationality here].

This is true, but it is not the whole picture. It would be the whole picture if you included "leftist" along with "nationalist." Another current article is about how the events of September 11 changed one. What it changed about me is my opinion of the political left. I used to be pro-left, and my opinion of the left has been dropping asymptotically toward zero. The reason for this is that I have not seen an opinion from the left that was not utterly vapid and banal. Besided these online services, I've scoured the Utne Reader, The Nation, and whatever local leftist sources I've been able to find. Everything that the left has produced in essence reduces to a few statements:

  1. The U.S. supports Israel.
  2. Israelis use U.S. weapons, which is why Palestinians hate us.
  3. The U.S. supported the Taliban and Iraq. Hah!
  4. The U.S. did bad things, like bomb a pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan.
  5. It's all about Oil!
  6. The U.S. should just stop being bad hypocrites, and things would be better.
  7. If you don't agree with me, it can only be because you are unwilling to question U.S. policy.

Except for 4, which is absolutely true, all of the other elements can be rebutted, but there is no point, because the statements are so empty. It is exactly on the level of a fundamentalist who insists that evolution can't have occurred because "there are still apes." Beyond punchy, preaching-to-the-choir sentiment in small chunks that ring true to small brains, there is nothing.

There is never the slightest evidence that <it>any</it> of the leftist gadflies have any apprehension, let alone understanding, of the complexities in the Middle East, the history of the modern conflicts and alliances, or even what happened in the past 15 years, save for a few Magic-Markered historical sections useful as polemic. They maintain a child's view of Why People Hate that has been known to be wrong since the first decent psychology ever was done in the 1950's, and they speak as if they have never heard of Israeli physicists or the Uzi.

So help me, the only evidence I have that someone even remembers 1967 comes from sources like <it>The Economist</it> and <it>Reason</it>, hardly left-wing journals.

I get the feeling that you'd like to insist that all of the idiot pundits are on the right wing, but I would strongly disagree. The idiot right, like the poor, is always with us. I expected better from the left. I've learned my mistake.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Only man can be good (none / 0) (#251)
by A Trickster Imp on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 10:50:49 AM EST

Man is not naturally good.



Animals run around and just take stuff. They are hunter-gatherers. Many build a nest, other animals just take it over.

Along comes man, and with a bigger brain, can make radically more complex things, including agriculture so they don't have to hunt anymore. Now to just "take" becomes theft because you didn't make that thing over there, that other human did.

Civilization is about creating rules to respect this, allowing you to be free from the theft nature. Man can be good, and is the only animal that can be free from taking and violence.




[ Parent ]
Re: Well said! Hit the nail on the head! (none / 0) (#179)
by RHSwan on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 03:45:19 PM EST

Yes, the United States of America has done bad things. Sometimes the US even had not so good intentions. But, then again, very few countries haven't. Those countries that have not done some bad things usually haven't had a chance.

But the United States has also done some very good things for the World. The Marshall Plan helped rebuild Europe. The US also helped Japan rebuild as well. As communism as the Soviets practiced has pretty well been demonstrated a failure, the US goal of stopping Communism was probably a good idea (The tactics we used sometimes are debatable). We have also helped defend countries so they can spend more of their resources on their own products.

But to do some of those things we sometimes have had to deal with bad people. Sometimes, you have to chose the lesser of two evils. For example (I'm being extreme here), if you had a male neighbor who was torturing (I'm talking Inquisition style torturing) his family, and the only person available to help you stop this person was the local thief, would you turn down their help?

Most people have a tendacy to believe people who agree with them and to ridicule or ignore those who don't. And truth is relative, it is not an absolute. People can look at the same facts and derive different "truth's" from them.

Personally, I think the US is a stumbling, bumbling giant who usually tries to do the right thing. It may step on a few people but rarely intentionally and even then only on those who it thinks are doing the wrong things.

By the way, I understand critical thinking and I try to understand what the root cause of events, but I wanted a reasoned military campaign as soon as possible on those who perpretated the events of Sept. 11. I don't seem to fit in your world view. You seem to be making the same mistake as the people you oppose.

bye,
---
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[ Parent ]
A quick note ... (none / 0) (#137)
by ajkohn on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 11:45:52 PM EST

How exactly would the US go about stepping outside of its borders and doing all of these things, while at the same time not being perceived by some of the same people urging them to do so - as then being an expanding hegemony?

My posts speak for themselves, I believe that the US should do its part, perhaps more then others, like a progressive humanitarian tax I guess. But I keep running into this seeming Catch-22. The US should do more, and it should always do the perfect thing, and if it slips up or doesn't tend to the right people then it's - no not hammertime - but the other 'h' word.

Just an observation.


"Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it." - The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
[ Parent ]

re: Have you no shame? (none / 0) (#153)
by cthulhain on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 05:47:57 AM EST

As if listening to Mr. Chomsky were a vice, there's nothing wrong with pointing out commonly known truths - regularly discussed in European/non-USian media (not to be confused with state-run media ;-). That it's a bit melodramatic I do not question, but I wouldn't go as far as to say that it's all a bunch of outright lies.
I wouldn't go so far either. And actually, I didn't. However, I also wouldn't go so far as to say that Chomsky's position is a "commonly known truth". What I tried to say in my original post was that his conclusions about current events are made in support of his anti-government beliefs, or in other words, that he twists the facts to fit his thesis. The facts themselves may be true, but that does not necessarily mean that the conclusions someone draws from them are also true.

Or are we seriously to believe that the U.S. government, over the course of many different administrations, has managed to consistently operate a secret hegemonic conspiracy against the third world? Please.

I may not agree with Chomsky's ideas, but I certainly don't think reading his books or listening to his lectures is a vice: you've pulled this one out of thin air. It should be obvious that I've read him myself. My problem with the author's story is that he practically rehashes Chomsky's writing verbatim, and I'm afraid this causes me to not take him very seriously. A little research shows that this is not the first time he has done this.

Sounds like another archetype from the "let's act! NUKE AFGHANISTAN!!!!!!!!! AND IRAQ!!!!!!!" crowd. Rejecting critical discourse as impractical is the staple tactic of the nutty right-wing pundits. "We're all talk, no action. Time to deliver some Infinite Justice and kill all terrorists!"
And I might just as well say that running a smear campaign against your opponent in an effort to discredit him, and thereby render his opinion invalid, is the staple tactic of the pc left. If you carefully read over my post, you'll notice that nowhere does it call for the nuking of anything or anywhere, much less Afghanistan or Iraq. You may also notice that I did not reject "critical discourse" as invalid; I rejected a specific viewpoint as invalid, and I stated my reasons for doing so. There's a big difference.

Do you suppose that I, posting to this message board, have all the answers? The number of different factors involved makes these problems very complicated indeed, and I doubt that any one person has the solution to all them (most notably the author of the story). I do know, however, that appeasing the so-called terrorists is most definitely not the answer. Why? Because if history has taught me anything, it's that appeasement doesn't work. This is particularly so in the case of people who have an ideology that embraces death as its foremost value. In such a situation, there is unfortunately not a lot that can be done.

One more thing: would you care to explain to me exactly why it is that you think I should have shame?

--
nothing in his brain except a ruined echo of the sky.
[ Parent ]

Jet-assisted takeoff for flying piglets...? (3.00 / 2) (#159)
by valeko on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 07:32:59 AM EST

I wouldn't go so far either. And actually, I didn't. However, I also wouldn't go so far as to say that Chomsky's position is a "commonly known truth". What I tried to say in my original post was that his conclusions about current events are made in support of his anti-government beliefs, or in other words, that he twists the facts to fit his thesis. The facts themselves may be true, but that does not necessarily mean that the conclusions someone draws from them are also true.

Chomsky's position and beliefs are not unique. What's unique is how he musters the strength to push against the wind and utter them domestically. Everything he says has been quite openly discussed and poured over in the last few decades by European media, and non-USian pundits using sources of mass-information as their outlet. He's not a lone firebrand in his so-called agenda (inform the masses? what a noble agenda). He's just one of the few to really speak up.

Or are we seriously to believe that the U.S. government, over the course of many different administrations, has managed to consistently operate a secret hegemonic conspiracy against the third world? Please.

Nothing less. The only element that distorts this truth is your hyperbole about how it's a 'secret' conspiracy. There's nothing secret about it. At least, not to people who live outside the US and see imperialism at work firsthand.

The fact is, the US is a free society. This should be valued dearly. When you see the doublethink and lies on CNN, you can go to your public library and freely find real information, published by real academics (most of which tell the truth), that directly contradicts it. You can find an alternate viewpoint on the Internet. You can discuss it in a meeting. Information is not airtight as it was at times in places like the Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union, if such was the information, that was *the* information.

The fact that the populace manages to be blissfully ignorant dispite this is somewhat enigmatic to me.

Anyhow, there's nothing 'secret' or even conspiratorial about it. It's a self-evident truism.

And I might just as well say that running a smear campaign against your opponent in an effort to discredit him, and thereby render his opinion invalid, is the staple tactic of the pc left.

This is true. But first one wonders what you mean by the Left. Different people have vastly different notions of what the Left is, I have observed. For example, a reader of my hometown newspaper recently graced the editorial page with an abusive denounciation of "liberal" media such as "CNN, MSNBC, FOX, ABC, etc" [sic!] for being "anti-American", and demanded that they be more "patriotic". Christ ... that's the most devoted submission to doublethink I've yet seen.

Otherwise, yes, the Left operates under a set of natural disadvantages. The right wing floats upon ignorance of the masses in respect to anything outside of their subdivisions. The left wing, on top of being disorganised, is left to contend with this, and that's an uphill journey. It is given that some of the factions choose more unsavoury methods of trying to advance their cause than others. But you've got to play the same, you know ...

Nowhere do I imply that you're one of the rabid nutcases. If I did, I apologise sincerely. However, my point remains, and I cling to it ever as emphatically - discussion bad, action good, let's bomb everyone. That's what the mainstream pundits are still calling for, and that's a bad thing.


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

Bias (3.00 / 3) (#169)
by Ken Arromdee on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 12:21:03 PM EST

Chomsky's position and beliefs are not unique. What's unique is how he musters the strength to push against the wind and utter them domestically. Everything he says has been quite openly discussed and poured over in the last few decades by European media

Anti-black messages are more popular among people who aren't black; anti-Jew messages are more popular among people who aren't Jewish. Of course anti-US messages are going to be more popular outside the US. That doesn't mean that the views have any particular merit or that the US is somehow amiss in not listening to them.

[ Parent ]

warning: this post contains some sarcastic content (4.00 / 1) (#225)
by cthulhain on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 06:54:53 PM EST

Chomsky's position and beliefs are not unique. What's unique is how he musters the strength to push against the wind and utter them domestically. Everything he says has been quite openly discussed and poured over in the last few decades by European media, and non-USian pundits using sources of mass-information as their outlet. He's not a lone firebrand in his so-called agenda (inform the masses? what a noble agenda). He's just one of the few to really speak up.
Round and round we go.

I never said that Chomsky's position was unique; in fact, I'm very familiar with the trendy ideas which comprise it.

You seem to feel that since Chomsky's beliefs are relatively popular and widespread, it is perfectly fine for someone to write an article that mindlessly repeats them without adding anything new. On the other hand, I think this topic (whether or not to attack Iraq) is interesting and important, and worthy of discussion; and so it bothers me to see plagiarized Chomsky instead of something a little more original (see post #158). This was the only reason that I brought up Chomsky in the first place.

In addition, there are a number of things I don't like about Chomsky which I went into at some length. This was ignored by you, apparently because "Chomsky's position and beliefs are not unique". And so they aren't, but I can't very well refute all of the people who hold them at once, can I? I raised objections to Chomsky because in this particular instance, Chomsky was the spokesperson for this set of beliefs.

Nothing less. The only element that distorts this truth is your hyperbole about how it's a 'secret' conspiracy. There's nothing secret about it. At least, not to people who live outside the US and see imperialism at work firsthand.

[stuff snipped]

And you talk about my hyperbole? Egads!

My intention was to come across as being sarcastic, which is something I tend to do when I encounter ridiculousness. If you took it literally, well, that's probably why it seemed like hyperbole.

Anyhow, there's nothing 'secret' or even conspiratorial about it. It's a self-evident truism.
Is it a self-evident truism simply because you've decided that it is? I realise that you actually believe this stuff, but there are quite a lot of people who don't, and it isn't a self-evident truism to them.
This is true. But first one wonders what you mean by the Left.

[lots of meaningless and rather uninteresting nitpicking about media conspiracies snipped]

Seriously, I couldn't even make myself read through everything you wrote in these two paragraphs. Why are you going on about "Left" vs. "Right"? I didn't address this in my posts, and frankly, I don't care about any of it.
Nowhere do I imply that you're one of the rabid nutcases. If I did, I apologise sincerely. However, my point remains, and I cling to it ever as emphatically - discussion bad, action good, let's bomb everyone. That's what the mainstream pundits are still calling for, and that's a bad thing.
What do the so-called "mainstream pundits" have to do with it? I, in my pronounced state of non-mainstream-punditry, never said anything about bombing everyone, and I don't really think anyone else has either. I suspect that you keep bringing it up yourself as part of a determined effort to turn bombing anyone into bombing everyone, because you probably oppose any bombing at all. I do not think bombings will solve everything, but they will take care of one rather important issue - the existence of Al Q'aeda's merry band of miscreants and the regimes that support them.

--
nothing in his brain except a ruined echo of the sky.
[ Parent ]

Read these interviews (4.33 / 15) (#102)
by montjoy on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 09:35:46 PM EST

I might have agreed with your article until I read this on frontline's website. It's a collection of several interviews with former Iraqi generals/scientists as will as (recent) U.S. policymakers.

Going after Iraq has nothing to do with the events of September 11th or fighting terrorism

Really? Here's an excrept from an interview with Sabah Khodada, a former Iraqi captain:

FRONTLINE: And the camp has a 707 that they train on?

SK: Yes, there's a real whole 707 plane, a whole real plane, standing in the middle of the training area in this camp.

FRONTLINE: And they train people on how to get access to the cabin, to the crew?

SK: Yes.

FRONTLINE: And how to take over the plane using weapons? How?

SK: They will get trained on how to get weapons inside the plane. If there is a security weakness that they know of, they will prefer to get weapons. But I am sure that, before the attack of September 11, those people made a very thorough study. And they learned that getting weapons into the plane might not be a very good idea. But in this camp, I saw them getting trained on this kind of situations where security will not allow you to get weapons into the plane -- then what you need to do is to use all available methods and very advanced terrorizing method.

These methods are used to terrorize the passengers and the crew of the plane. They are even trained how to use utensils for food, like forks and knives provided in the plane. ... They are trained how to plant horror within the passengers by doing such actions. Even pens and pencils can be used for that purpose they were trained. They can do it, and they can overcome any plane because they are very well physically trained, and they are very strong, and they can do it. They can overtake a plane in a very efficient manner. ...

Now I'm not saying you have to believe this, but the interviews seem pretty credible to me.

Mossad? (2.00 / 1) (#168)
by jabber on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 12:05:07 PM EST

Well, by that logic, we should also go to war with Israel, because their special ops forces are just as, if not more, capable to doing the same thing..

Just because someone has the capability to hurt us, does not mean we have to kill them.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

The difference is... (none / 0) (#192)
by NovaHeat on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 05:17:20 PM EST

...that in this case, the Mossad isn't likely to attack us, whereas it should be clear to everyone by now that Arab extremists are quite willing to do so.

-----

Rose clouds of flies.
[ Parent ]

Yes, all fear the boogeyman (4.00 / 1) (#203)
by jabber on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 07:03:13 PM EST

Yes, Arab extremists are out to get us. Now, what makes someone an Arab extremist? The fact that he despises the US? Where is that line, just so we know when we cross it.

Iraq, to my knowledge, hasn't done anything against the US outside of it's own borders. The only way a pre-emptive strike is justifiable, is if there is clear, present and irrefutable danger to the US.

The ideal of 'innocent until proven guilty', as well as all the other American ideals, should extend into American foreign policy.

If the Iraqis hate us, fine, it's their Allah-given right to do so. If they train to harm us, they have every right to do so as well. Don't they? Don't we do the same thing?

Now, if you can show me that they INTEND to harm us, I'll be the first reaching for a gun.. But just because they CAN, while it may make them the enemy, it does not necessitate military action.

The American military has shown itself, again and again since WWII (except for Vietnam, where it wasn't allowed to get the job done) to be unsurpassed in the world. It is the 'unstoppable force', and as such, it must be a means of last resort.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Foolishness (4.50 / 2) (#219)
by ccpirate on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 12:25:32 PM EST

Iraq, to my knowledge, hasn't done anything against the US outside of it's own borders. The only way a pre-emptive strike is justifiable, is if there is clear, present and irrefutable danger to the US.

Oh really? I'd call giving Mohammed Atta fake credentials in Europe doing something against us outside of its own borders, wouldn't you?

Saddam is crazy enough to do ANYTHING. He needs to go and he needs to go NOW. We should have gotten rid of him after the Gulf War.

I still think Bush the Older was an absolute, complete MORON for not supporting the anti-Saddam forces that uprose against him (and were crushed by lack of Western support). I mean, Bush had been screaming at Iraqis to rise up for months, then when they did, the US did nothing to help them. Hell, we even allowed the Iraqi army to use their helicopters to crush them. Pathetic. I supported the Gulf War, but this bit of stupidity was SO stupid as to be criminal.

[ Parent ]

More foolishness (none / 0) (#236)
by jabber on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 11:09:29 PM EST

Where does it say that it was the Iraqi Government that supplied Atta with the means to do what he did? Or that that was the reason they aided him, IF they did?

Saddam may be 'crazy ehough to do anything', but other than stand up for the soveregnity of his nation, he hasn't actually DONE anything in a decade.

Leaving the Kurds hanging though, that was inexcusable. There better have been a damn good, undisclosed reason for it.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

I'm not following you... (none / 0) (#194)
by montjoy on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 05:30:39 PM EST

It seems like you just read my post, and not the link, because your response doesn't make any sense.

Your subject doesn't make sense either. Please elaborate.

[ Parent ]

Beware! (3.50 / 2) (#229)
by teamofmonkeys on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 09:16:15 PM EST

Maybe there's no real connection, but something about those interviews reminds me of the Hill and Knowlton selling of the Gulf War. (For those of you who are skeptical of the source, this involvement is also documented in the congressional record.) After that incident, I'd be hesitant to base calls for war on the timely, lurid testimony of an individual. Our Pentagon has already hired the Rendon Group to sell the Afghan war; why not Gulf War II?
The page you linked to had an illustrative sidebar:
It should also be noted that the two defectors interviewed for this report have been brought to FRONTLINE's attention by the Iraqi National Congress (INC), a dissident organization seeking to overthrow Saddam Hussein
Nice disclosure. But the article doesn't disclose that the CIA has funneled $23 million dollars to the INC through the Rendon Group, or that the PR firm actually came up with the name "Iraqi National Congress."
Any of this starting to sound fishy? There's more, if you wanna do the research. And it doesn't get any prettier.

[ Parent ]
regarding the sanctions... (3.88 / 9) (#166)
by derek3000 on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 11:49:33 AM EST

Those can only be blamed on the Iraqi government. After the Gulf War, we made it clear that we were going to be inspecting to make sure Hussein wasn't going to be up to more of the same stuff, with biological and possibly nuclear weapons.

Every time UN inspectors went there, he got jerked around. He was the one who told them to go home, he was the one who would not let them do their job.

So are we supposed to bend to his will? I don't see how you can have a sensible argument against this. Innocent, yes. But their casualties are the fault of their own government, not ours.

-----------
Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars

sorry. (4.50 / 2) (#167)
by derek3000 on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 11:52:32 AM EST

every time the UN inspectors went there, they got jerked around.

-----------
Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars
[ Parent ]

An airtight argument . . . (2.00 / 3) (#190)
by Robert Hutchinson on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 04:45:10 PM EST

. . . so long as you read it while already convinced that Hussein is evil incarnate and that the U.S. (or the U.N.) is a saint that can do no wrong. And, of course, saints that can do no wrong can be trusted implicitly with possession of nukes. After all, the U.S. government has never ever lobbed bombs indiscriminately at other countries!

Robert Hutchinson


No bomb-throwing required.

[ Parent ]
regardless... (none / 0) (#211)
by derek3000 on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 12:15:35 AM EST

He was the loser of that war, one which he had a chance to back out of. Don't think that I am satisfied with our government's ability to handle anything. Seriously.

But I don't think that anyone thinks the world would be better off if he weapons, period. Please appreciate the restraint I'm excercising here. The above is the most idiotic comment I've read in a while.

-----------
Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars
[ Parent ]

It's always a lack of regard (2.33 / 3) (#221)
by Robert Hutchinson on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 02:21:58 PM EST

But I don't think that anyone thinks the world would be better off if he weapons, period. Please appreciate the restraint I'm excercising here. The above is the most idiotic comment I've read in a while.
I understand. The world is a much happier place when you can pretend that some power-hungry heads of state with stockpiles of weapons are just above all that petty murder and oppression. No, I certainly wouldn't want to ruin the little Western you've erected to explain international politics.

Robert Hutchinson


No bomb-throwing required.

[ Parent ]
Don't put words in my mouth. (1.00 / 1) (#239)
by derek3000 on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 08:52:15 AM EST

Don't try and make it look like I can't comprehend the complexeties of the situation. The point is that his regime oppresses men and takes away their rights. Don't start with what the US is doing, because while it's bad, we're still better off than most.

You are a prime example of what the Clinton era has given us; a leftist snob who doesn't want to judge any government or culture (except for his own) as being wrong for fear of offending them. I think that you would find life to be a little different if you were living in Iraq, and it is because of Hussein and his dictatorship that you would probably live there in fear for your life.

Think I'm making it a Western? What, are you going to bring up covert CIA missions that helped this terrorist or that one? Bring it up if you want, but understand that most Americans weren't consulted before those decisions, ass-jerk. You've given no reasons as to how he has shown the proper judgement to be in control of powerful biological and nuclear weapons. We, however, could have made that place a fucking parking lot if we had wanted to. Excuse me if I sleep better at night knowing he doesn't have that capability.

The problem is that you don't have the balls to decide what's right and what's wrong. This isn't righteous indignation or rabid patriotism, because both make me sick. There is probably nothing about our current government that I like, but that is mostly because of fundamental differences. However, I would rather we have weapons than him. We're too worried about international opinion to actually use them, which is one of the reasons terrorists will keep attacking us.

-----------
Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars
[ Parent ]

But yours were so painful to read (4.00 / 1) (#243)
by Robert Hutchinson on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 09:10:45 PM EST

Don't try and make it look like I can't comprehend the complexeties of the situation. The point is that his regime oppresses men and takes away their rights. Don't start with what the US is doing, because while it's bad, we're still better off than most.
Well, you see, I'm capable of recognizing more than one crime at a time. And, depending on which crime we're talking about, the U.S. government doesn't always come out ahead on the 'least criminal' scale--unless there was a story about hundreds of thousands of Americans dying from starvation and easily curable diseases that I missed.
You are a prime example of what the Clinton era has given us; a leftist snob who doesn't want to judge any government or culture (except for his own) as being wrong for fear of offending them.
God, how I love being called a leftist snob. Unfortunately for your premise, I know that Clinton was also a booster for bombs and embargoes. You see, I judge all governments as being wrong by their nature, and I have no fear of offending any such gang of criminals (short of encouraging such gangs to steal from, imprison, and/or kill me, of course).
I think that you would find life to be a little different if you were living in Iraq, and it is because of Hussein and his dictatorship that you would probably live there in fear for your life.
If I don't die by way of bomb impact or drinking filthy water first, you bet.
Think I'm making it a Western? What, are you going to bring up covert CIA missions that helped this terrorist or that one? Bring it up if you want, but understand that most Americans weren't consulted before those decisions, ass-jerk.
You seem to have mistaken me for someone who can't tell citizens and governments apart. Just to make it crystal clear, I do not hold the average American responsible for the government's thuggery, just as I wouldn't say that the guy paying 'protection money' to the Mafia is responsible for the drive-by the next day.
We, however, could have made that place a fucking parking lot if we had wanted to.
Wow, mass murder. You sure know how to stake out the moral high ground.

Robert Hutchinson


No bomb-throwing required.

[ Parent ]
Crusade (1.75 / 4) (#174)
by aminorex on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 02:38:48 PM EST

It seems increasingly evident that George W Bush intends to bring about an end to global Islam. Personally, I think that would be a good thing, if the alternative were not a moral and spiritual vacuum of corruption accompanied by yet another genocide by the U.S. government. Since it cannot be accomplished except by the thorough-going corruption of all of the designated "friendly" regimes of the Ummah, establishing repressive pro-U.S. police states, disregarding the rights of the surviving populations, and killing several millions of people in the Arabic and Turkic speaking world, I have to oppose the campaign. Islam and the non-Islamic world could live in peace, but not as long as the non-Islamic world conducts military incursions into the Islamic world. Koranic Islam requires the defense of the Ummah. The notion that Islam is a religion of peace is absurd. Islam is a religion of obedience and justice. Peace is impossible in Islam, when justice is absent.

Not quite (4.00 / 1) (#187)
by Happy Monkey on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 04:22:51 PM EST

It seems increasingly evident that George W Bush intends to bring about an end to global Islam.

I'd say that at most he is seeking an end to Islamic national governments (where Islam is the government - not ones where the officials just happen to be Muslims). That is an extremely different thing, though still morally questionable at best. Religious governments don't have a great track record, but it's really not our place to topple them simply for being religious.

Islam and the non-Islamic world could live in peace, but not as long as the non-Islamic world conducts military incursions into the Islamic world.

Are you suggesting that the rest of the world ignore any wars that happen between Islamic nations, and just erect a big diplomatic wall around the Islamic world? Would you consider Israel to be in the Islamic world? I'm not arguing pro or con; I'm just curious.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Your religion at the point of a gun is Ok, I guess (5.00 / 1) (#250)
by A Trickster Imp on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 10:40:57 AM EST

That is an extremely different thing, though still morally questionable at best. Religious governments don't have a great track record, but it's really not our place to topple them simply for being religious.



Since gods don't exist anymore than unicorns or Santa (bear with this for a minute) then any government based on such is a monstrosity, especially given the track record of major religions (Christianity especially included.)

Assuming God did exist (here's why you bore with it) then it's obvious from the observation of the incalculably evil things Man does to Man that such a god, who could stop such things but does not, is not deserving of worship and similarly, any government based on an existant Him is also a monstrosity.

Religions should be shunted as quickly as possible to the quaint anachronisms they are, where they are merely a harmless belief considered a lifestyle choice.


Of course, then there's the modern religion that has replaced the old-style ones as a source of power for political leaders (no longer religious): power to the people vs. freedom



[ Parent ]
utterly stupid (3.14 / 7) (#175)
by Ender Ryan on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 03:00:53 PM EST

Iraq has been trying to develop weapons of mass destruction, with the intention of USING them, for the past 15+ years. Iraq is ruled by an insane person who has no qualms about murdering his own family because he feared them, nor does he have any qualms about murdering thousands of his own people.

Nothing short of Saddam being forcefully removed from power is acceptable, or safe for the rest of the world.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


not that stupid. (3.50 / 2) (#183)
by bobzibub on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 04:00:31 PM EST

He is extremely cruel and self-interested, but he is not insane. He's still in power isn't he?
Many world leaders would kill their own people or family to ensure or extend their power. States "have interests" not some world-must-be-better ideal. One also has to admit that this behavour is the norm throughout recorded history.

Plenty of countries have Chemical and Biological weapons. These are useless as a deterrence if the state doesn't tell the world:
1) They've got it.
2) They'll use it.

Iraq is no exception. Especially in its nasty neck of the woods.
Saddam being in power all this time and openly mocking the US administration at every opportunity is apparently reason enough to go to war.
Never under-estimate the awesome power of "Nyeah nyeah nya nyeah nyeah" in international affairs.








[ Parent ]
Since when has this troubled our leaders? (3.50 / 2) (#200)
by itsbruce on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 06:39:14 PM EST

Bush Senior, his predecessor Ronnie and their friend Margaret Thatcher had no problem with Saddam killing his own people and using poison gas on the Kurds. So long as he was their reliable ally. These things were only used against him when he became unreliable. Once they'd slapped him down and put him in his place, it stopped being so important again. Nobody felt the need to get too tough with him since then. Suddenly it's vital to root him out.

What changed? Apart from Bush having only one idea about how to get high approval ratings, that is.


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


[ Parent ]
It hasn't. (4.00 / 2) (#208)
by Anonymous 6522 on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 08:48:15 PM EST

Saddam wasn't perceived as being any real threat to the west, no little was done to try to remove him.

Now he's seen as a very real threat. He had/has a large biological/chemical weapons program. He doesn't really care for the US or the west anymore.

He and the western leadership have also been shown that a small group of nuts can do some really nasty things to the US, and they don't need a whole lot of money to pull them off.

Basically, what's changed is perception. Saddam has a better idea of what he could be capable of doing, as does the west. People realize that Saddam could be more than just a local threat.

In getting rid of Saddam, the US/west is getting rid of a potential threat. The fact that we'd be getting rid of a Bad Guy who gasses portions of his own population is just icing on the cake.

[ Parent ]

A perfectly reasonable point (4.50 / 2) (#214)
by itsbruce on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 01:18:01 AM EST

But it grates that W expects to be applauded for this, just as Bush senior and cronies expected plaudits for failing to deal with the monster they had helped to create 10 years ago.


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


[ Parent ]
War on terrorism (2.66 / 3) (#176)
by looksaus on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 03:32:52 PM EST

OK. Let's have a k5 poll.

* Do you think the world has become a safer place with the actions taken since 911?

* Do you think the world has become a nicer place to live with the actions taken since 911?

* Do you think the world will be a safer place after bombing Iraq?

http://MusicaLiberata.org Towards a Free Classical Music Library
Poll results (4.00 / 1) (#249)
by A Trickster Imp on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 10:28:58 AM EST

OK. Let's have a k5 poll.

* Do you think the world has become a safer place with the actions taken since 911?

Given that further incidents were planned and stopped, yes, even in the short term.



* Do you think the world has become a nicer place to live with the actions taken since 911?

Certainly. By demonstrating the ability to rapidly dismantle a government that allows terrorists free reign with virtually no casualties to ourselves, other governments will learn what a major chewtoy they would be and exactly what pushes the US too far.



* Do you think the world will be a safer place after bombing Iraq?

If we get rid of Hussein and his regime, yes. The alternative is him developing a small nuclear bomb, or even nuclear material surrounding a high explosive for a "dirty" conventional bomb, and sailing it into a major city and blowing it up. We haven't had inspectors in there since he threw them out some years ago. That will catch up to us eventually.




[ Parent ]
Watching telly..drinking beer.. (3.00 / 4) (#181)
by tobin on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 03:55:00 PM EST

I'm watching this whole sept. 11th afair with mixed emotions... awe, disgust, and disbelief... The first time I saw the video fotage of the events I thought 'nice special effects...' Then I swichted channels and figured it out.

I don't think that the events of sept 11th justify the landing of America's war-machine in Afganistan and bombing it back to the prehistoric ages.

Prehistoric ages because, let's face it, the war with Russia got them as far as the Stoneage. Cute little fact is America supported the Taliban then . (correct me if I'm wrong, I don't know this for sure.) The taliban didn't like Russia and therefor got the CIA's support.

Something should be done don't get me wrong. But doing this is a shure thing to get peoples minds to dislike America to say the least. Though I don't think anything else would satisfy the American general public watching TV.

A few weeks later I was watching a documentary about the 'war on terrorists' on the BBC. (Like afganistan is the only country breeding them.) In this documentary they pitched an interesting notion.

By fighting Osama so ruthlessly America is forcing Osama to deal with organized crime, something terrorist groups usualy avoid. Organized crime's money laundering is about 4 times more expensive than the terrorists own operations.

But as they are cleared up, read bombed to bits, Osama might seek contact with criminal organisations. Thus mixing the extremist mentality of terrirists with years experiance of running a succesfull criminal empire. Something I prefer to see seperateded.

So get them M.....F...... but not to badly for they might go limbing to other baddies and fight america together a lot more effectively than one suicide mission that looks good on TV.

I mean let's face it no more than about 30 poeple are needed to pull this off. Thirty! One terrorist Cell! Those thirty people can be anywhere even if they are Afgani. Sure they need help but that can be people who know nothing of the plan. they can provide passports and background, training etc. etc. That's not the well very organized large international terrorist army that America says it's fighting.

What america so far has accomplished is very little.. overthrown a very poor countries government. And added an other good cause to a long list of 'popular' causes.

As for the Iraqi base with the 707.. Bomb it to bits. Don't bomb Iraq to bits just the 707 that will suffice.

well so far for my rant..

T.

US Support for the Taliban (4.66 / 3) (#220)
by RHSwan on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 12:52:07 PM EST

The US has never supported the Taliban. The US supported the Mujadeen(sp?) in their fight against the Soviets in the 80's but once the Soviets left, the US left. It took a couple of years for the Mujadeen to finish overthrowing the Soviet installed government. Soon afterwards the Mujadeen began to fight among themselves. The Taliban were started in the mid-90's and soon by bribery, coercion and military conquest soon took over most of the country.

The US did give farmers in Afghanistan some aid early in the year for their aid in the drug war but that was not to the Taliban.

[ Parent ]
Straight from the pages of The Onion: (4.00 / 3) (#188)
by Zeram on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 04:42:02 PM EST

Report: U.S. Must Reduce Dependence On Foreign Turmoil

WASHINGTON, DC--According to a Cato Institute report released Monday, the U.S. has become overly dependent on foreign turmoil for its conversations and media coverage. "The American people consume as many as 60 million barrels of crude speculation every day, using it for everything from driving discussions to heating up political debates," the report stated. "Unless we can dredge up domestic sources of turmoil, we may end up utterly dependent on the Middle East for conversational fuel."
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
Iraq (3.50 / 8) (#199)
by kpeerless on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 06:21:11 PM EST

It would seem that it is mostly USians posting to this story. That being the case, perhaps one should remind them that prior to Saddam's invasion of Kuwait he asked the American Ambassador what the US reaction would be. He was informed that the US had no interest in it one way or the other because it was primarily an Arab problem. At this time Iraq was a US ally and had been armed (including chemical and biological components for weapons of "mass destruction") by them. Heving been given the green light by the US Ambassador he proceded.


I watched this come down on the telly in a bar in Manila sitting with the Bureau Chief of one of the largest newspapers in the US and the Bureau Chief of the largest newspaper in Canada. Both these newspapermen were of the opinion that it was all a scam to insure Bush's re-election. I concurred then and I have seen nothing to change my mind since. It was another example of the US abandoning its allies and stabbing them in the back when it suits, if there is political hay to be made.


As the US economy goes down the tubes under the guidance of the less-then-half-wit you allowed to steal your election, aided by his coterie of psychopaths in what is laughably called a cabinet, you might look to see more of these smoke and mirrors operations. Unfortunately, the rest of us get sucked into the slipstream.


If nothing else this all should support the idea of world government in the portion of the planet not flying the stars and stripes. Were it to happen then the 4 billion or so souls that make up the majority of the world population would at least have some say in our collective destiny.


George W Bush... leader of the free world? In a pigs ass.

Yes, yes, yes, very much no and yes (4.25 / 4) (#206)
by ajkohn on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 08:00:19 PM EST

I agree that the US had a hand in creating many of these problems, whether it be Saddam or Osama. [Tangent: Odd how so many, myself included, refer to these individuals on a first name basis.]

I further agree that the reason for the war was, in part, to help Bush's re-election. In part. I just find it less then reasoned to think that this was the sole reason, or even the leading reason, for that action. Policy decisions are made for a multitude of reasons, and if it serendipitously helps some self-serving purposes, then so be it.

I simply don't adhere to the concept that the US government is entirely evil, and always out to get others. The government is run by people, and they are not all these black, soulless creatures, rubbing their hands together menacingly and guffawing when they see a pratfall elsewhere. People have both good and bad, and thus the government produces both as well.

And the people in government change, meaning that a sustained legacy of doing such evil would be incredibly difficult - unless you're of the mind that it's a Zionist conspiracy or that the Illuminati pull the strings.

Let me be clear, I don't think the US government is always right. They have done some dumb things, nasty things too, even to their own - but often, I believe, with the goal to protect what it thinks is the best interest of ... yes, the US. It is selfish, granted, and sometimes that does bother me ... a lot.

So, we played nice and propped up Saddam thinking this would help our interests in the region but then new administrations slowly found that this guy is a raving loon and poses a pretty decent threat. What exactly should the US do then? Continue to back the loon? Or try to do something about it? Nevermind the grandstanding, history or spin on it, given that we had a hand in starting it, would you rather the US walk away?

I didn't vote for Bush, don't like Bush or his cronies and wouldn't support rolling into Iraq like a bat out of hell. And it pains me that the economy is down now because it has time to recover, and Bush also has ample ability to extend his hunt for terrorists in a very pubilc way. All depressing. But if Saddam continues to fund terrorism, harbor terrorists and sanctions don't work, perhaps something more will have to be done. These are not pleasant or simple things to ponder, and often compromises have to be made. Rarely, if ever, is it so black and white, so ridiculously easy, as to produce a 'perfect' solution.


"Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it." - The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
[ Parent ]

Show of hands (5.00 / 2) (#226)
by epepke on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 08:29:07 PM EST

I simply don't adhere to the concept that the US government is entirely evil, and always out to get others.

All right now. How many people believe that those who consitently say the US is a bad, colonial, imperialist power are going to change their minds if the US changes its policy? Anybody?

They aren't going to stop. Ever. Many of the policies that the US is being blamed for were demanded by the exact same people who are now criticizing the US. When the US waged war on Iraq, it was "No blood for oil! Use sanctions instead!" When the US stopped waging war on Iraq, it was "The US abandoned the Kurds!" When the US and UN imposed sanctions, it was "What About the Baby Milk Factory!" When the US and UN removed sanctions for food and medicine, it's still "The US Killed a Million Iraqi Children!" When the US wasn't a strong ally of Israel, it was "The US Doesn't Care about the Middle East!" When the US became a strong ally of Israel, it became "Colonial Imperialists!" If the US and UN hadn't waged war on Iraq, it surely would have been "The Bad US Supports Iraq against the Poor Kuwaitis!" When the US busts its hump to try to get a Palestinian state, it's "The US Isn't Trying Hard Enough!" When the US doesn't try so hard, it's "The US Abandoned the Middle East!"

The strength of this kind of badgering is that it always works. Hindsight is always 20-20. It is always possible to see that something didn't work, and most people don't have memories long enough to call the gadflies on changing their tune. Imaginary ideals of the future are inherently rosier, even if they are the same as something that has been tried before and failed miserably; widespread ignorance of history helps here. It always works. The extra-fun part is that, if the US bows to the pressure from gadflies, as it often does, if it doesn't work out, the gadflies get more opportunity to blame the US.

On the flip side of the coin, if they will find fault no matter what, then their finding fault has no meaning. It's just how they choose to live their lives. t's just like Breatharians or Duseberg threatening to inject himself with HIV every five years or so. If you didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, it all becomes a stream of drivel. It's kind of too bad that the drivel prevents any actual discussion from taking place, but no actual discussion is what most people want in this democratic republic.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
It's politics. (3.00 / 1) (#207)
by Anonymous 6522 on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 08:36:20 PM EST

another example of the US abandoning its allies and stabbing them in the back when it suits

Allegiances are a matter of convenience, nothing more. If it's convenient to stab the ally in the back because they are no longer useful/have become a liability then they will get their backs stabbed.

That's life, that's politics. It's the way the world works.

[ Parent ]

that is not the way the world work. (3.33 / 3) (#209)
by losang on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 09:00:47 PM EST

The way the world works is the way humans decide for it to work. If we work towards war we have war, if we work towards to pease we will have peace. To say that that is the way to world works (in this context) is unfortunate because it gives up any possibility of a better world.

There is a nice quote by Jewel that goes something like 'human nature is nothing more than human habit.'

[ Parent ]

Alright buster. (5.00 / 1) (#237)
by Anonymous 6522 on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 12:42:21 AM EST

How do you plan to get "us" to decide to "work towards...pease [peace]?"

No clue, right?

It's time you realized that there is no collective decision making process at work here. No one decided that the world was going to be how it is, it just turned out that way. Period, end of story.

That's right, no group of people can "decide" how the world is going to be. Sure, there are losers who think otherwise, but they're deluding themselves. That's just not the way to world works.

[ Parent ]

so you talk abot a revolution (4.00 / 1) (#238)
by plug on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 04:47:05 AM EST

Hmmm... it is true that there are a minority of people with an overwhelming balance of influence. Lets take the IMF (Argentina) or the US economical/political elite (Iraq etc) that do benefit from the instability of unhospitable regimes - especially in oil tainted regions. I agree that utopias are unachievably good ideas but collective groups of people can and do influence the world. If only through discourse or economic influence.

"If God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him."Mikhail Bakunin
[ Parent ]

human evolution (2.00 / 3) (#244)
by losang on Sat Dec 22, 2001 at 12:22:15 AM EST

The way the world is now is the result of human decisions. If there is no mind there is no motivation. If there is no motivation there is no action. If there is no action there is no result.

If what you say is true, regarding that the world just turned out this way, then if would have been equally the same if there were no humans.

It is unfortunate that you are so adamant in your views. You may want to check up on why you have to dominate the argument. It can also become a problem when you are shown wrong and your arrogance blows up in your face.

In typical fashion you mis-interpret not giving a response as not having a response. Unlike other peace advocates you may have encountered I have logical backing for everything I say.

Since you obviously have not come here to have an intelligent discussion why don't you leave the rest of us be. I did not come here to be harangued by people like you. I came here to share my views and have discussion.

Another interesting fact is that what I am saying is possible and there are people who have trained in non-violence to prove it. They have documented, scientifically tested methods and explantions on how to transform one from a negative state to one which is more caring and compassionate. Unfortunately most people are too intellectual to understand this.

[ Parent ]

You aren't really making any sense. (5.00 / 1) (#246)
by Anonymous 6522 on Sat Dec 22, 2001 at 02:13:28 AM EST

And you should take my advice. Go to Adequacy, you'll like it there.

Anyway:

The way the world is now is the result of human decisions. If there is no mind there is no motivation. If there is no motivation there is no action. If there is no action there is no result.

There's six billion or so individual minds that make individual decisions that affect other decisions in complicated, and ultimately unpredicable, ways. The human race does not have any sort of collective will or mind. Don't act like it does. No collective decision to work towards peace can be made because no collective descisions can be made, period.

If what you say is true, regarding that the world just turned out this way, then if would have been equally the same if there were no humans.

Yeah, sure. Interesting hypothesis, the world would turn out the same if humans didn't make collective decisions or if there were no humans at all.

In typical fashion you mis-interpret not giving a response as not having a response. Unlike other peace advocates you may have encountered I have logical backing for everything I say.

Enjoy Adequacy.

Since you obviously have not come here to have an intelligent discussion why don't you leave the rest of us be. I did not come here to be harangued by people like you. I came here to share my views and have discussion.

I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV. Use Adequacy to treat everyday aches and pains.

Another interesting fact is that what I am saying is possible and there are people who have trained in non-violence to prove it. They have documented, scientifically tested methods and explantions on how to transform one from a negative state to one which is more caring and compassionate. Unfortunately most people are too intellectual to understand this.

The Time Cube, it kills science dead.

[ Parent ]

This has a different name (5.00 / 1) (#213)
by karjala on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 01:06:22 AM EST

This isn't exactly a stab in the back of a former ally. What it's really called is "setting up someone" in this case setting up a nation.

[ Parent ]
Let's be sensible. (4.77 / 9) (#215)
by Jonas Cord on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 03:23:17 AM EST

While I agree that attacking Iraq is a non-sequitor when it comes to fighting terrorism and should not be done, this article nonetheless is filled with half-truths and contridictions that fail his initially correct assertion.

Here's my comments for the writer, and anyone else who buys this line of thinking.

1. Be a pacifist and live with it.

If the writer does not believe in war (or rather, the inevitable killing of innocent civilians) why is he compelled to provide any reason other than that not to attack Iraq? It wouldn't matter if we actually had a legitimate reason to attack Iraq - he wouldn't support that either. I admire the idealism of pacifists, but if there is no such thing as a good war, then there never will be.

2. Being a pacifist and complaining about sanctions leaves yourself optionless.

In the 1980's, sanctions were touted by many pacifists as the new "humane" way to exert force on countries without using the military. This, apparently, is no longer acceptable.

All of the anti-sanction reports I've read attribute the lack of critical medicines in Iraq to a lack of financial resources. Meanwhile, the Government of Iraq makes a full $5 billion more than it did pre-Gulf War. Tell me again who's killing these people?

If nonetheless you should to choose to be a pacifist and be anti-sanctions, you must acknowledge that should your ideologies be adapted by the United States government there is next to nothing we can do to protect ourselves from another country. And that's fine, you're entitled to your opinion. Just be sure to admit the consequences and problems that arise in that situation - the same way you raise the problems that can arise from military action and sanctions.

3. Terrorists do not necessarily have legitimate greivances.

Osama Bin Laden does not like the Saudi regime. Neither do I.

In fact, Bin Laden's actions of the United States began when our troops began operating out of Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. He considers the presence of American troops in the holiest of Muslim lands to be sacriledge.

Good for him.

What did we do wrong? Apparently, accept the invitation of a regime who wanted to be defended by the United States from Iraq, that's what. Are the Saudis corrupt? Yes. Is Bin Laden corrupt? Yes and yes! Is Saddam Hussein corrupt? Yes again!

So what are we to do exactly? In order for our foreign policy to not offend violent terrorist organizations, we should not defend Saudi Arabia.

Do the people of Saudi Arabia deserve the rule of Saddam Hussein? No. Do they deserve to have their foreign policy decided by Bin Laden? No.

It's not like we can remove the corrupt regime in Saudi Arabia either - since both war and sanctions are off the table. Are bribes all we have left? Do we have enough money for that?

But if we remove the regime in Saudi Arabia, because they're corrupt, we're being "imperialist." We're screwed when we follow this logic.

I read an article in the New Yorker lately where the former head of the Pakistani Secret Service said that he believed that 9/11 was a coup staged by Ariel Sharon to get rid of George Bush. This is the kind of thinking we're dealing with here.

I hear plenty of anti-american-foreign-policy statements from anti-war protestors that make sense. They bring up legitimately bad things America has done in the past. However, I haven't heard anything that wasn't completely looney-tunes from Terrorists. Even if we had a squeaky-clean policy record, would it even matter?

Designing a foreign policy that does not drive thousands of people to violence against us is damn near impossible when you are the lone superpower in this world. If you've got one, besides pure isolationism, I'm listening.

This entire situation is enormously complicated. Those who post articles like this are overly simplistic, as are those who blindly support the war without asking questions. Let's not let our natural desire for simple solutions turn this debate into the childish antics that typifies political discourse.

Those options are supperficial (2.66 / 3) (#231)
by peace on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 09:36:50 PM EST

If those are the only options short of war that you could find I'm not surprised your at a loss for what the US could do. In the case of Iraq, we did not just apply sanctions, we applied war and then sanctions. We encuraged internal Iraqi disidents to rise up against Saddam and then let them get crushed. We have have fostered exactly zero good will with the people of Iraq. What we have done is polerized the country to the point where the only ones suffering are the people. I doubt that the "pacifists" would support a loosing stratagy, war was clearly a loosing stratagy in Iraq, and so are sanctions after war.

Even if we had a squeaky-clean policy record, would it even matter?

Yes it would. The same way are horrendious policy record has brought us to the situation we are in now. You seem to think that our actions do not matter.

It's appariently so normal for the monsters the US creates to come haunt it in later times that it's just become our way of life, the cost of business so to speak. We armed the middle east to the teeth, we support and purpatrate violence in the region, and through out the world. The US created the Islamic extreamist militants as a power during the cold war. It amazes me when people seem dumbfounded that the rest of the world does'nt think the US is just the greatest thing. We have destroyed generations in entire countries chasing the spectors of our fears. What do people expect the feelings of someone to be who witnesses everything they know crumble around them? Can we even relate?

Terrorists do not necessarily have legitimate greivances.

Well neither does the US. It does'nt meen that arming and trianing the terrorists is going to make the world better.

I was listening to an Arab on the radio talking about US rhetoric, he said, "The US says that we hate them because of their freedom. How can anybody believe this?" You say that if we were to remove the regiem in Saudi Arabia we would be called imperialists. This Arab would be pleased if we simply stop supporting it and other corrupt regiems in the region. He does not share our values. He does not want to kill anybody, and has respect for the US, but resents the Wests beligerent attitude to his way of life. Worse, the Wests destruction of his way of life. We are causing suffering and offering nothing in return.

Your arguments fail to address the source of the problem. Which does not surprise me. The source of the problem is what has made the US the richest most powerfull country on the planet. Just don't act so surprised that we should have to pay the true "cost of business".

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

Pacifism (3.33 / 3) (#222)
by Khedak on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 04:22:47 PM EST

I just want to point out that most of the well-constructed arguments against this post are centered on the futility of the pacifist point of view.

I would just like to point out that although war is a tool of statecraft, and that innocent civilians are killed in war, I would suggest that all possible avenues should be investigated before we start violent action, for all the reasons that the poster mentioned in his argument.

If your tax dollars are being used to bomb innocent people, you had better be damned sure there was no other way. Simply blaming their government for not cooperating is not sufficient justification. And I, for one, am not convinced that our government responsibly investigated the available options. If anything, the maddening pace of the spin machine currently at work should make you wonder whether we're doing the right thing, or if our patriotic feelings are being exploited for questionable ends.

Give a man a hammer... (4.33 / 3) (#256)
by CaveMan on Thu Dec 27, 2001 at 06:43:48 PM EST

If the only tool I have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

One possible reason why our government is so eager to use war to solve it's problems probably has much to do with our huge military. Arguably, the US military is unmatched in the world today, thus solving problems with our military may often be seen as the best, if not only solution.

Recently, bill hr2459 was introduced to the House. This bill would establish a cabinet level Department of Peace. The Dept of Peace would be given 1% of the military budject and be tasked with looking for peaceful solutions to problems our government faces.

I would urge you (assuming a US audience) to write your elected officials and ask that they support this bill.

[ Parent ]

My problem with this story .. (4.66 / 3) (#223)
by Highlander on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 06:18:12 PM EST

My problem with this story is that the rhethoric flow of the story could be used to argue against everything and not anything in particular:

I am writing to express my concern about <insert concern here>.

Going after <XXX> has nothing to do with <insert anything bad someone has done>.

A good deal of the anger in the Arab world towards America is related to <insert anything a muslim might be upset about>.

Apart from that the author is right in one of his arguments: Justification for Wars (e.g. on Terror) should arise from reasons that everyone can believe and understand, not from circuitously translated U.B.L. videos that make thrive conspiracy theories and cause trouble to everyone.

There is always a reason to go to war - few rulers are saints, and few situations are perfect not needing improvement.

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.

Attacking Iraq is not Justified | 259 comments (211 topical, 48 editorial, 0 hidden)
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