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[P]
500,000 Children Dead - "The Price is Worth it" - Who Said This?

By greenrd in Op-Ed
Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 07:26:27 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

How would you feel if bin Laden said 6,000 American lives were "a price worth paying"? Ed Herman points out in this article that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once said on 60 Minutes that "we think the price is worth it", answering a direct question about 500,000 dead Iraqi children (evidence available on video here).

Incomparable contexts? Perhaps. Perhaps not, when even the UN criticises its own policy of sanctions on Iraq.

My question to the kuro5hin audience (see poll) - Why do we react relatively uncaringly to reports of 500,000 children dead due to the effects of the Gulf War and United Nations sanctions on Iraq, whereas we (most of us) reacted with anger at the news of the WTC terrorism? Certainly the media portrays the effects of the sactions as all Saddam's fault, but when a wide variety of people including the former UN Humanitarian Coordinator partially blame the US, doesn't it give one at least pause for thought?


"...Besides water-borne diseases, a major health problem is the sharp increase in cancers, leukaemia and birth defects. This appears to be a consequence of the use of depleted uranium weapons by allied forces during the Gulf War.

Between 6,000 and 7,000 children under five die each month in Iraq as a direct result of the sanctions, according to the WHO. This is probably an underestimate, since births in rural Iraq are often not registered.

We are destroying an entire society. It is as simple and as terrifying as that."

Denis Halliday - former United Nations Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq

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Poll
Are you outraged over the 500,000 dead in Iraq allegedly due to the UN sanctions?
o No, because it is 100% Saddam's fault - a US policy change would not significantly improve the situation 13%
o No, because I believe or assume it is mostly Saddam's fault 12%
o Yes, I do find it outrageous, absolutely 45%
o Intellectually, yes, but I'm feeling to jaded to care much right now 14%
o No, because I have racist or otherwise hateful sentiments towards the Iraqis 0%
o No, I am not a racist but I don't much care about anything that happens outside the USA/Europe/___ (fill in the blank) 1%
o No, because I agree with Madelaine Albright - 500,000 children dead is "worth it" 1%
o No, because I am a nihilist/psychopath (I didn't give a flying #%!$ about the WTC terrorism either) 11%

Votes: 314
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o this article
o here
o criticises its own policy of sanctions on Iraq
o a wide variety of people
o the former UN Humanitarian Coordinator
o pause for thought?
o Denis Halliday
o Also by greenrd


Display: Sort:
500,000 Children Dead - "The Price is Worth it" - Who Said This? | 306 comments (301 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
uranium? (3.71 / 7) (#2)
by garlic on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 04:06:03 PM EST

"a major health problem is the sharp increase in cancers, leukaemia and birth defects. This appears to be a consequence of the use of depleted uranium weapons by allied forces during the Gulf War. "

I thought depleted uranium had been debunked as causing illnesses. I vaguely remember this being a complaint by italian soldiers in Kosovo, but someone saying that the only way this could happen would be if you inhaled A LOT of uranium dust from pulverized bullets. Since I'm not really sure, what do others remember?

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

Remember agent orange? (3.00 / 5) (#5)
by generaltao on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 04:19:46 PM EST

Depleted uranium has not been debunked as a cause of cancer, it has been denied. The tobacco companies deny cigarettes cause cancer. Remember agent orange, and how the government denied it caused illness?

Fact is, cases of leukemia have gone up by a factor of 8 in children between 1989 and 1993. 8 times more cases than before the war. Clue?

Check out http://www.consultclarity.com/blazing/uranium.html

[ Parent ]

Statistics lesson. (4.50 / 8) (#28)
by physicsgod on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 10:31:21 PM EST

Correlation does not imply causality. Just because there was an increase in lukemia after a war in which DU was used does not mean DU is directly to blame. It could be the use of DU, the exhaust from SCUD's, the use of chemical weapons, freak solar activity, soot from the burning oil wells, sick "medical" experiments by the regime, or changes in reporting rates. You have to show that each of these is not a cause, or is much less probable than DU before you can state DU munitions cause lukemia. In fact a RAND study on Gulf War soldiers who had DU embedded in their skin shows no increase in cancer.

Perhaps a quick look at the numbers is in order. The 30mm DU cannon round used in the apache during Desert Storm contains ~1 mole of U238. This would result in ~3 million alpha particles per second per round. However alpha particles are very easy to sheild, human skin does a fine job, so only the uranium that is ingested will result in radiation exposure. In other words for every gram of uranium ingested you will be exposed to 12,000 alpha particles per second. This may sound like a lot but an adult human generates 7,000 decays per second and a household smoke detector produces 30,000.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Too soon for denial, though (1.50 / 2) (#51)
by generaltao on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 11:01:44 AM EST

By no means am I an expert on the subject, but from what I have read the concern is over DU dust being inhaled. It seems that DU dust is very very bad, and that there is ALOT of it in Iraq. I tried to find a good link to some info but I got overwhelmed by how much information came up when I did a google search for "depleted uranium".

[ Parent ]
Not really. (3.66 / 3) (#57)
by physicsgod on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 12:08:15 PM EST

The RAND study I linked to followed a group of US servicemen who had chunks of DU embedded in their flesh, there were no detectable ill effects. There might have been a lot of uranium dust after the war, but it's had time to settle/wash out, and the human body is very good at eliminating uranium (it requires high exposure levels to cause kidney problems). When you also consider the typical exposure to inhaled contaminants is on order of milligrams you can see there isn't going to be much effect; there's negligible radiation and few kidney problems. I find it much more likely that the increase in lukemea is a result of poorer health facilities and possibly the post-war use of chemical weapons by Iraq.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
I remember Agent Orange... (2.60 / 5) (#36)
by magney on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 02:07:15 AM EST

...what I don't remember is any serious reason to believe the government is wrong in said denials.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

really? (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by mikael_j on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 06:14:38 AM EST

Have you ever been to this place called Vietnam?

/Mikael Jacobson
We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
[ Parent ]
Okay, I was unnecessarily flippant. (none / 0) (#148)
by magney on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 06:42:45 PM EST

With a smidgen more humility, I ask: what is the evidence that Agent Orange is responsible for which specific ailments in humans?

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

uranium! (3.16 / 6) (#6)
by uweber on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 04:22:23 PM EST

The thing is that the uranium used for those projectiles had traces of Plutonium in it, since it was a leftover from nuclear bomb pruduction and not extrcted from natural ore (remember Plutonium is rather wicked). Besides that uranium is a heavy metal and causes kidney failure. The radiation is only the smalest part of the problem!

[ Parent ]
Uranium (4.22 / 9) (#7)
by stfrn on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 04:22:53 PM EST

deplete uranium is not radioactive, however it is a hevey metal, and as such is inherently poisous, like mercury.

"Man, I'm going to bed. I can't even insult people properly tonight." - Imperfect
What would you recomend to someone who doesn't like SPAM?
[ Parent ]
The "U" word... (4.30 / 10) (#13)
by SvnLyrBrto on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 06:29:12 PM EST

Yeah, it's just that "uranium" is a nice little word that conjures up the nuclear boogeyman.

It's much like how MRI scans didn't used to be called "magnetic resonence imaging", but by a more accurate term that included the word nuclear. But the "N-word" just has such a bad rep that no one wanted anything to do with it.

The whole POINT of depleted uranium is that you've filtered out all the nasty radioactive isotopes (for use in nuclear fuel and bombs). What's left actually emits LESS than the natural background radiation you're exposed to 24/7.

I really wish, FOR ONCE, that people would open up a physics textbook occasionally... First we've got nuclear bombs that don't use a critical mass to trigger, and now (AGAIN!!!) depleted uranium that magiclly becomes radioactive! (okay... maybe that's unrealistic... I was cleaning out a big box o' college junk the other day and found my old physics texts, and I've been re-reading the nifty bits)

But even WITHOUT doing the physics... common sence would seem to be of SOME value... consider:

Depleted uranium is used as ARMOR in some M1 variants now. That's right, American soldiers sit INSIDE a box of the stuff. If it were radioactive, they should come out as krispy kritters.

Soldiers and airmen routinely handle DU munitions. The M1 fires DU shells, as does the A-10 (if any Warthogs are still in service that is... I seem to recall that they were to be phased out). If DU were radioactive, those guys' kids should have extra digits by now.

Now, some people have tryed to point the finger at DU for "gulf war syndrome". But the fact remains, that DU has been used and handled for YEARS before and after the gulf war... WITHOUT causing "gulf war syndrome".

It's just not radioactive. Even money says that a geiger counter will give you a higher reading from the radium in your smoke detector or the tritium in your wristwatch than from a DU shell.

TRY to be rational, and don't automaticlly fear anything that even SOUNDS related to the nuclear boogeyman.


cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Fair enough ... (none / 0) (#220)
by Herring on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 07:47:02 AM EST

... it aint radioactive - but then neither is that other nice heavy metal: lead. People have been handling it for ages (it's used as damping weights in the wingtipsof aircraft for one thing), but inhaling/ingesting the dust ... well, that's another matter.

I think we're talking about the chemistry here, not the physics. If you're willing to eat a pound of DU to make your point, then feel free. Let me know what happens.


Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
[ Parent ]
HORRAY for kuro5hin!!! (none / 0) (#279)
by minra on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 07:22:58 PM EST

For posting this story!
.
Can you imagine seeing a similar story ANYWHERE in the US/western media? Nope.
.
See, by my count, the US has killed 4-6 million people around the world _since_ WWII in pursuit of US interests. Now that's a lot of people. But let's try to not be judgemental; EVERY superpower kills millions of people.
.
The sickening thing is the "Captain America" attitude that oozes through every pore of the US educational system, the media, and the political process. It's SOOO nauseating. I deeply regret the WTC incident - because of the INANE flagwaving it provoked.
.
But here's the kicker: I've read reports that the CIA and Secret Service were WARNED about the attack, and DIDN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
.
Why? Hmmm...
.
"Connect the god-damn dots" - Ministry
Reboot macht frei.
[ Parent ]
A little bit of empathy (3.83 / 12) (#3)
by generaltao on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 04:07:10 PM EST

Nothing can justify what happened on Sept 11th. Nothing. Everyone pretty much agrees on that one, even the citizens and governments of so-called "enemy" states. The trouble, of course, is that nothing can justify anything of this sort. That doesn't stop people from trying.

200,000, mostly civilians, died in Iraq during the Gulf war. Since then, almost 1,000,000 have died as a result of the US-imposed sanctions. Most of them children.

Does anybody remember why this is justified? What did the Iraqi people do to deserve this? Be careful how you answer. You don't want to justify the deaths of hundreds of thousdands of innocent civilians.

A price worth paying.. for what? Think. For what?

Is there a cause for which the deaths of the over 6,000 who perished on Sept. 11th was a price worth paying? The terrorists thought so, but that's what makes them bad people!

So what does it say about us when we justify the death and suffering of hundreds of thousdands?

what would you have rather done, then? (4.00 / 8) (#4)
by yankeehack on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 04:15:12 PM EST

For those of you with short memories or some propaganda to spew, don't forget that Iraq *did* invade Kuwait and *did* do horrible things there. Plus, Saddam was threatening Saudi Arabia at the time. Didn't Saddam lob some Scuds to Saudi?

What I don't understand, from Mr. bin Laden (who allegedly is/was incensed that kafirs were defending holy soil) or from the apologists on US soil, is what you wanted the US to do in this particular case. Allow Saddam to invade Saudi? What, then? Perhaps the US should not have gotten involved? Just wondering.

"There is nothing dumber than betting against America. It hasn't worked since 1776." Warren Buffett, Wall Street Journal 9/24/01
[ Parent ]

gee (2.88 / 9) (#9)
by generaltao on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 04:38:35 PM EST

For those of you with short memories or some propaganda to spew, don't forget that Iraq *did* invade Kuwait and *did* do horrible things there.

Oh! Is that all it takes to justify the slaughter of innocents? Well, in that case, for those of you with selective memories or some propaganda to spew, don't forget that America *did* invate Vietnam, Panama, Grenada and many others, and *did* do terrible things there.

I suppose that justifies the killing of American civilians?

[ Parent ]

nice non-answer.... (4.00 / 5) (#27)
by yankeehack on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 10:20:16 PM EST

Panama was to get Noriega out, and Grenada involved, at least in part, rescuing medical students whose lives were being threatened. I won't go into the Vietnam debate mostly because I wasn't alive at the time.

That said, I still want to know what you would have done in the case of the Gulf War. Would you have rather seen Saddam kill more people, just so the US didn't get their hands muddied in that pit? (not counting, of course the Kurds and the opposition in the south who he did end up killing anyways....) Would you have just stood guard at the Saudi border and allowed Saddam to have Kuwait?

Sanctions are supposed to be a method of forcing governments to change their ways. And let's not forget that this is a UN move and not just a unilateral US action.

"There is nothing dumber than betting against America. It hasn't worked since 1776." Warren Buffett, Wall Street Journal 9/24/01
[ Parent ]

My pleasure (3.20 / 5) (#50)
by generaltao on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 10:56:54 AM EST

Panama was to get Noriega out, and Grenada involved, at least in part, rescuing medical students whose lives were being threatened.

Aside from the fact that Noriega was a long-time friend of the CIA, and that the endangered medical students in Grenada were in fact not endangered at all but had been permitted to start leaving the island, you have basically just told me what you think are justifiable reasons for killing civilians.

It's ok to kill Panamanian civilians to get Noriega out, and it's ok to kill Grenadans to rescue medical students. Price worth paying eh? You should be ashamed of yourself.

That said, I still want to know what you would have done in the case of the Gulf War.

I don't have as much of a beef with the war itself as I have with the sanctions. That said, there were many diplomatic avenues that had yet to be explored before Desert Storm was unleashed upon the Iraqi population. Aren't you happy nobody carpet-bombed the US for invading Panama?

Would you have rather seen Saddam kill more people, just so the US didn't get their hands muddied in that pit?

You might want to check your history there. Several people (in the hundreds) did die during Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, but it was by no means a bloody invasion as far as invasions go. The US did not go in there to "save innocent Kuwaiti lives". The invasion caused less death than the US invasion of Panama.

(not counting, of course the Kurds and the opposition in the south who he did end up killing anyways....)

Like the US actually gave a damn. The first time he massacred Kurds, the US was happily supplying him with the weapons to do it. I didn't see anyone rush to Kurdish defense the second time around either.

Regardless, you are talking about Saddam, who is still in power, I am talking about the Iraqi population who is now among the world's most destitute thanks to US sanctions.

And let's not forget that this is a UN move and not just a unilateral US action.

Do you actually believe this stuff or are you being deliberately obtuse? Yes, it was a UN resolution that the US used to justify itself in Desert Storm, and yes, it is a UN resolution which the US uses to justify continued sanctions against the civilian population. Do you know how many such resolutions are totally ignored by the US when they don't serve the US's political goals? What does it mean when only US-backed UN resolutions are enforced? Don't just repeat the tripe they feed you on CNN. Think!

[ Parent ]

I agree... (2.60 / 5) (#32)
by Refrag on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 12:04:03 AM EST

...we really fucked up in Vietnam, in ways most people don't know about, but please do try to stay on topic!

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
[ Parent ]

on topic? (2.00 / 3) (#69)
by generaltao on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 06:07:52 PM EST

I mentioned vietnam as a counter-example to the claim that it's ok to kill civilians in countries that invade other countries. That's hardly off-topic. How can anyone every hope to make sense of things without some historical and geo-political perspective?

[ Parent ]
Saddam was US's biggest ally. (3.83 / 6) (#74)
by libertine on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:15:47 PM EST

This is something that most people forget...much like the mujahadeen of Afghanistan, Iraq was the US's ally. Of all of the middle eastern muslim nations, Iraq was the ONLY one to allow the open practice of religions other than Islam. Note also, before I continue, that Kuwait both supported nation states that had it out for the US, and consistently voted against the US in all UN session meetings. That is for the record.

Before Iraq's forces invaded Kuwait, they amassed at the border. They did not sneak in during the cover of night. They made their intentions known- they needed more port space for oil shipments, largely shipments to the US. Saddam Hussein personally contacted the US ambassador and posed the question of whether the US would get involved if it invaded, and the ambassador stated that it was not our foreign policy to get involved (was printed in many papers, including the SF Chronicle). So Iraqi forces under Saddam invaded.

Now, here is the clincher. The next reports that get printed, in direct quotes from the US Ambassador to Saddam Hussein's govt, is that "we did not expect you to take the whole country". This was the US's initial justification for action against the govt of Iraq. Also in many newspapers, if you bother to read past the first page, including the Chronicle. This wasn't an alliteration...this was a verified quote.

The scuds and all came after US troops had taken beachheads in Saudi...contrary to what many US people popularly believe, which is that the US forces were "invited". That invitation came about 4 hours after US forces landed. Until then, I found an arabic translator and sat down and watched the international newscasts that did not fully over-dub Saudi voices on air...those Saudi people were literally saying that they had been invaded.

This all does come back around to the issue of ethical double standards. The US govt clearly used an old bait and switch tactic with its ally, Iraq, to create an untenable situation in which US forces would be continuously redeployed to that region. The deaths of over 100,000 civilians was reported and confirmed on CNN by the US military (aka collateral damage). I would like to see no more hedging on this issue. Please answer the gentleman's question, or just don't. Are the casualties worth it? Can you live by the standard you set for yourself when applied against you?




"Live for lust. Lust for life."
[ Parent ]

That wasn't the reason we fought (4.00 / 1) (#113)
by pyramid termite on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 06:36:38 AM EST

For those of you with short memories or some propaganda to spew, don't forget that Iraq *did* invade Kuwait and *did* do horrible things there.

Sure, and even more horrible things happened in Rwanda. But we didn't intervene - I guess they didn't have enough oil.

That's the only reason we got involved there. Oil. Now, that doesn't change Saddam's evil nature, but let's be realistic. A lot worse things have happened in the world and we didn't go to war over them.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Please supply links to your numbers ... (4.60 / 5) (#8)
by joegee on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 04:27:12 PM EST

Those numbers seem surprisingly high. They are quite definitely attention-getting. I would like to see them substantiated.

Thanks.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Well... (3.60 / 5) (#19)
by Xeriar on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 07:22:15 PM EST

Those numbers seem surprisingly high. They are quite definitely attention-getting. I would like to see them substantiated.

Remember that we could consider much of Saddam's army 'children' and that was about 1.4 million or so. For some reason we are keeping that @%$^head in power, simply to destabalize the area. I guess many of us have become a little more human lately...

----
When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.
[ Parent ]

I agree ... (4.75 / 4) (#61)
by joegee on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 01:54:35 PM EST

with numbers like that, I would like to see links substantiating them. If they are valid they certainly deserve discussion.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Substantiation of figures (4.75 / 4) (#109)
by frabcus on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 02:48:17 AM EST

The origin of the half-million figure is given on the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq website.

To summarise, it is calculated by an increase in infant mortality. In the 90s under-5 mortality in Iraq more than doubled compared to in the 80s.

This is a moderately controversial way of measuring, as it also assumes the decrease in infant mortality that was happening in the 80s would have continued in the 90s.

Even if you dislike this counterfactual calculation, it still works out at a lot of children dieing.

Please, argue about the causes for this, as nobody is in disagreement about the scale of the deaths.

[ Parent ]

Empathy (4.14 / 7) (#11)
by jasonab on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 06:06:55 PM EST

Does anybody remember why this is justified? What did the Iraqi people do to deserve this? Be careful how you answer. You don't want to justify the deaths of hundreds of thousdands of innocent civilians.
The Iraqi people don't deserve it. Unfortunately, they have a leader who refuses to buy food for them, them smuggles oil to rebuild his palaces and air defences instead of helping them. The fact that Saddam continues to rebuild his defenses only shows how little he actually cares for his people.

In my mind, there is little doubt that, had sanctions been removed, Iraq would have developed a weapon of mass destruction. Saddam has never come clean about that, and having removed the inspectors, he would be free to continue his development. Whether or not he is implicated in the WTC attack (personally, I don't think he's that stupid), if he had those weapons, I'm sure OBL would have gotten his hands on some.

I don't know where the 1,000,000 people figure comes from. Given the UN oil-for-food program, that number being true can only come from a complete mismanagement of the system inside Iraq, or they are made up for propoganda.

[ Parent ]

More subtle than that (4.00 / 6) (#21)
by frabcus on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 07:46:58 PM EST

They are not made up for propoganda. As to who is to blame, that is a more complex matter to adjudicate. Go read the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq website first. It has a FAQ which gives an answer to your assumptions. You can then choose to agree or not agree with it.

Read it. It doesn't just rant, but gives clear, quoted evidence. That doesn't mean the evidence will convince you, but it cannot be just ruled out.

[ Parent ]

Hmm... (4.12 / 8) (#10)
by trhurler on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 05:51:49 PM EST

How are the people saying we're at fault for the Iraqi situation answering the number one criticism of that position, namely that Saddam's regime would not be giving the benefits of increased trade with the outside world to the people anyway, and they'd still be starving? Without an effective answer to that, this is nothing but misplaced blame.

It is easy for an elected official or a bureaucrat to step up and make bold claims that happen to fit with the political views of a lot of people. It is a lot harder to justify the claims made.

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

Then why doesn't the US act against Saddam? (3.14 / 7) (#12)
by nobody00 on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 06:28:48 PM EST

How are the people saying we're at fault for the Iraqi situation answering the number one criticism of that position, namely that Saddam's regime would not be giving the benefits of increased trade with the outside world to the people anyway, and they'd still be starving?

Then why doesn't the US actively try to topple Saddam Hussein, the way it is trying to topple the Taliban? Sactions have clearly not worked, and if the US is so sure that Saddam is out to build weapons of mass destruction, all the more reason to topple him.

Is the reason why they are not going after him because the US death toll in Iraq was not above the threshold when people demand action, irrespective of the body count that would involve?

[ Parent ]

Amusing (4.16 / 12) (#14)
by trhurler on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 06:36:20 PM EST

When the US goes to screw with another government, everyone screams bloody murder. When it chooses not to do so, everyone screams bloody murder. What the hell is wrong with people?!

The reason Saddam is still in power is because ousting him would have put people even crazier into power. Remember, the US can't just go in and impose a government without first utterly crushing Iraq - and not just the government, but all the citizens who would revolt against such action as well. Do you really want that kind of brutality? There'd be a lot more than half a million dead people, for certain.

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

[ Parent ]
Double standards??? (2.66 / 6) (#30)
by nobody00 on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 11:15:28 PM EST

Then why go after the Taliban in Afghanistan? Isn't the same danger present there? You could end up substituting another bunch of loonies for the ones that are currently ruling....
AFAIK, the Northern Alliance is not much better in terms of respect for human rights and who knows what their stance on terrorism is.
The last time they tried to rule (IIRC early 1990s ), they ended up fighting each other with ordinary people dying by the thousands.

In Iraq, there was the potential of a viable opposition and an educated, reasonably well off society which could have produced viable leaders. I don't see that happening in Afghanistan.

[ Parent ]

Um... (2.50 / 2) (#53)
by trhurler on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 11:37:39 AM EST

Actually, we've already said, on numerous occasions, that while we'd like to see the Afghan opposition rise up, we're not going to get our troops involved in the effort of taking out the Taliban. Perhaps if you attack government policies that actually exist, instead of this complete and utter fiction, we can have a discussion.

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

[ Parent ]
It's not double standards! (none / 0) (#120)
by sopwath on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 10:44:10 AM EST

Remember how the US was helping Afghanistan fight the Soviets? We weren't helping the Taliban, we were helping the Afghans. Despite the fact that they were by far the worlds top producer of opiates (Heroin) they were still on "our side"

After the Taliban moved in, they destroyed the country by outlawing popies and making the country the crap hole it is today. By devastating the economy, they've basically made it impossible for anyone to rebuild what was destroyed in battle with the USSR. That's not even counting the strict militant-muslim regime they've put in place. I really doubt they care about the Koran, it's just to make sure they stay in power.

Last I checked Iraq hadent stolen our planes and killed 7,000 people on US soil. The normal Afghan people probably wouldn't mide someone else ruling the country for a change. Maybe then they wouldn't have to use a soccer field to kill people.



sopwath
Graduation, Sleep, Life: Pick Two
[ Parent ]
bad business (3.00 / 3) (#26)
by lucid on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 09:30:51 PM EST

Understand that I'm not a businessman, here, but I do believe that protecting your investments is just a sound business practice. Maybe there's your answer.

[ Parent ]
Taliban (4.00 / 1) (#35)
by garlic on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 12:39:16 AM EST

"the way it is trying to topple the Taliban? "

I think you have this wrong. My understanding of the US government position on the Taliban before sept 11 was "Taliban, you suck, but you're far away.". I think this has changed to "Taliban, you suck and you're far away, but if you don't cooperate real quick you'll regret it." Nowhere in there is the US trying to topple the Taliban. They just wouldn't be dissapointed if it did happen.

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

Burden of proof lies on you, the advocate of murde (3.25 / 8) (#16)
by M0dUluS on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 06:58:43 PM EST

How are the people saying we're at fault for the Iraqi situation answering the number one criticism of that position, namely that Saddam's regime would not be giving the benefits of increased trade with the outside world to the people anyway, and they'd still be starving? Without an effective answer to that, this is nothing but misplaced blame.

Iraq before Kuwait invasion: technologically advanced society, high levels of health care and education, few starving people, stable US-backed dictatorship, quiet low-level extermination of irritating Kurds, West doesn't care.
After invasion, many soldiers killed in battle, many massacred when retreating by US forces of democracy and freedom "It's a turkey shoot! Haw haw!"
Afer invasion and imposition of sanctions by UN Security Council: hundreds of thousands of innocents dead

Basically you are trying to justify the unjustifiable, the murder of innocents for Realpolitik. You have no evidence to show that they would in your words "still be starving".

If you are going to argue in favor of the murder of these people then the burden of proof rests on you.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]

Well, no... (4.11 / 9) (#17)
by trhurler on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 07:03:20 PM EST

You see, refusing to trade with someone does not constitute murder in any case, and furthermore, if you are proposing a hypothetical solution to an existing problem, the burden of proof is on YOU to show that it would actually solve the problem. If you are laying blame, the burden of proof is on YOU to show that the blame is correctly placed.

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

[ Parent ]
Well, yes... (3.44 / 9) (#24)
by M0dUluS on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 09:12:06 PM EST

You see, refusing to sell someone food when they're starving is murder.
You see, using planes to bomb food and medicine convoys when _other_ people agree trade with someone when they're starving is terrorism.
You see, proposing that genocide (the murder of a large number of people, like the WTC or Iraq) is a hypothetical, or worse an actual, solution means that burden of proof and of morality is on you.
If you argue that murder is a solution then you are a soulmate with the Taliban, the WTC bombers, Saddam Hussein, George Bush, George W. Bush, Stalin, Hitler and all the other strong men of history.
Now, can you see where I'm laying the blame?

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
heh.. (2.25 / 4) (#25)
by lucid on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 09:27:35 PM EST

You forgot to add 'trhurler' to your list of history's strong men. ;)

[ Parent ]
You seem to be missing my point. (4.50 / 4) (#55)
by trhurler on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 11:51:37 AM EST

However, before I reiterate that point, I'll reply to what you wrote.
You see, refusing to sell someone food when they're starving is murder.
Look up "murder" in the dictionary. It does not mean what you think it means.
You see, using planes to bomb food and medicine convoys when _other_ people agree trade with someone when they're starving is terrorism.
Show one case where the US has ever done such a thing, particularly in Iraq, but anywhere else too. The problem is, you're talking out your small end.
You see, proposing that genocide (the murder of a large number of people, like the WTC or Iraq) is a hypothetical, or worse an actual, solution means that burden of proof and of morality is on you.
Ah, yes, back to my point, which you ignored. Unless you can show that we're actually committing genocide, which you have yet to attempt by any means other than brash assertions, there's nothing for anyone else to "prove." You have yet to do so; you just keep assertiong that refusal to trade with someone is murder, despite the fact that "murder" is a term with a meaning nothing like "refuse to trade with."
If you argue that murder is a solution then you are a soulmate with the Taliban, the WTC bombers, Saddam Hussein, George Bush, George W. Bush, Stalin, Hitler and all the other strong men of history.
Where's Godwin Man when you really need him? I mean, really, can you at once be both more hyperemotive and more disgraceful than to compare someone who thinks free association is still a human right to a big list of history's worst men, and then to include in that list some people who are far worse than others and pretend they're all the same? You forgot to compare me to Falwell, by the way, and no good list could be complete without Mussolini and Chairman Mao.

At least you didn't say "Dick Gephardt."
Now, can you see where I'm laying the blame?
I can see where you're laying the blame, and have been able to do so all along. The problem is not where, but why.

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

[ Parent ]
Starving people is murder (2.00 / 1) (#93)
by M0dUluS on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 10:26:56 PM EST

You see, using planes to bomb food and medicine convoys when _other_ people agree trade with someone when they're starving is terrorism

.

Show one case where the US has ever done such a thing, particularly in Iraq, but anywhere else too. The problem is, you're talking out your small end.

Well, I've tried to find a source to back this up and I have to admit that I cannot find one. So I concede that point. BTW if you are going to invoke Godwin's Law and are trying to have a rational debate then you should be aware that being rude e.g."talking out of your rear end" is not a good way to promote that.

With regard to other specific instances of the US attacking other nation's trade, well there's the whole blockade of Managua in 1936, then there's the incursions into LatinAmerica interfering with the trade of drugs, attacks on the British during our seditious and treasonable revolution, hell history is littered with them!, are you really serious?

Murder, according to the Concise OED is the pre-meditated unlawful taking of someone's life. Now, I assume that you are not going to argue that the sanctions are not pre-meditated, also that you are not going to argue that lives are being taken as a result of them. So how about lawful? Well, I don't agree that this is in accordance with the appropriate body of law (which is a pretty dodgy body, but anyway), specifically the Geneva Convention's Protocol 1. This prohibits the deliberate targetting of civilians. That is what the sanctions are doing. That is murder.

Unless you can show that we're actually committing genocide, which you have yet to attempt by any means other than brash assertions, there's nothing for anyone else to "prove." You have yet to do so; you just keep assertiong that refusal to trade with someone is murder, despite the fact that "murder" is a term with a meaning nothing like "refuse to trade with."

Where did I say that murder means "refuse to trade with?". Let me explain it again to you. There are many different ways of committing murder. There's going up to someone and shooting them in the head, firing tank shells at them, incinerating them from the air. Those are obvios even to the dullest mind. Now here are some others: there's keeping someone captive and not giving them food, there's giving support to someone that you know will kill them. There's refusing to allow a country to sell its oil and import food and medicine.

I'm not missing your point. I'm arguing that you are wrong.

B.t.w. I would consider you guilty of the death of someone that bled to death in front of you if you did not help them, or starved.



"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
ok... (3.50 / 4) (#37)
by Danse on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 02:16:20 AM EST

You see, refusing to trade with someone does not constitute murder in any case

How about threatening anyone else that would trade with them? Wouldn't that constitute murder?






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Depends, I guess (3.00 / 3) (#54)
by trhurler on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 11:41:32 AM EST

Seeing as we haven't really threatened anyone so much as just put the weight of international law behind the sanctions, I'd say no. Even if someone broke the sanctions, the most we'd do about it is pass resolutions and maybe refuse to trade with them too; it isn't like we'd go to war over it. I don't see how you're "murdering" anyone until you actually do some violence or at least take something from someone or something.

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

[ Parent ]
In this case .... (3.80 / 5) (#56)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 12:03:25 PM EST

Seeing as we haven't really threatened anyone so much as just put the weight of international law behind the sanctions, I'd say no. Even if someone broke the sanctions, the most we'd do about it is pass resolutions and maybe refuse to trade with them too; it isn't like we'd go to war over it.

Is that so?

There are US warships stationed in the Gulf solely to monitor and enforce the sanctions on Iraq. They will, and have, used force against clear attempts to break these sanctions. There are squadrons of fighter planes stationed in neighbouring Gulf countries ready to clear Iraq's airspace as well. How's that fit in with your very flexible definition of "refusing to trade"?

[ Parent ]

Er... (3.75 / 4) (#59)
by trhurler on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 12:33:30 PM EST

I've heard of two kinds of action by those forces, other than patrolling the no-fly zones set up to prevent Saddam from massacring his own people.

The first is stopping and boarding vessels and turning them back. That's not exactly violent.

The second is sinking vessels - but only Iraqi vessels - that refuse to be boarded. Why precisely they don't just track and seize them, I don't know, but I'm not a navy guy. Anyway, the point is, the Iraqi vessels are carrying goods "owned" by the Iraqi government, and the funds they intend to obtain via them are destined to be Iraqi government funds. For reference, this is the same government that uses weapons of mass destruction against its own people. Do you think we or Iraq are the ones starving the Iraqi people?

The most damning evidence of all is that the Iraqi government brings in enough money to feed its people, and chooses not to.

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

[ Parent ]
funny.. (3.75 / 4) (#87)
by Danse on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 09:20:52 PM EST

The first is stopping and boarding vessels and turning them back. That's not exactly violent.

And how do they get them to turn back? With the threat of violence if they attempt to pass anyway, of course. You're deluding yourself if you believe that there is no threat of violence backing up the sanctions.


br>


An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Sad... (none / 0) (#166)
by Danse on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 04:39:17 AM EST

Hey kmself... if you have a beef with what I'm saying, why don't you reply instead of rating my post a 1? Or at least do both.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
ha, ha, this thread is funny (3.00 / 2) (#185)
by eLuddite on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 02:32:15 PM EST

The first is stopping and boarding vessels and turning them back. That's not exactly violent.
And how do they get them to turn back? With the threat of violence if they attempt to pass anyway, of course. You're deluding yourself if you believe that there is no threat of violence backing up the sanctions.

You should have replied with a cut and paste of trhurler's opinion of taxation. Similiarly, anyone who gets ambushed by kuro5hin's libertarians and their anti-statist rhetoric in the future should quote liberally from their comments since 9/11 for evidence of gross hypocrisy.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

You idiot (5.00 / 1) (#269)
by trhurler on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 01:07:05 PM EST

If you think there is anything even remotely comparable between military action and the way a government treats its own citizens, ever has been, should be, will be, or could be, then you REALLY need to quit sniffing glue. I mean, come on man, this is lousy reasoning even by your half ass standards...

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

[ Parent ]
Because they weren't starving before the war (3.83 / 6) (#22)
by frabcus on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 08:02:07 PM EST

The figure of half a million starving children is derived by comparing infant mortality in the 1980s in Iraq with infant mortality in the 1990s in Iraq. So, by definition, the prime factor must be something other than the regime simply being in power. That means either the regime has changed policy, the war is to blame, or sanctions are to blame.

To decide which you think it is, one source of information is the answer to the question Isn't the problem that the Iraqi regime doesn't distribute the supplies it receives? on the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq website.

[ Parent ]

Well, (3.14 / 7) (#23)
by trhurler on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 08:10:40 PM EST

Let's see... you have a bunch of bureaucrats trying to protect and expand their turf by attacking other bureaucrats. Yeah, that's a reliable source. (I'm not saying it is entirely wrong, but just because something says "UN" on it doesn't mean it is true.)

If you said poverty caused by the conflict in the early 90s was responsible, I might agree at least in part. However, I have a hard time believing that Iraq would presently distribute any significant additional funds it received to its people given that it is presently trying to rebuild its military and resume its weapons of mass destruction programs. Saddam Hussein is the man known for having his guards kidnap village girls as he travels, raping them, and then having his guards kill and "dispose of" them. I don't think he much cares about his people.

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

[ Parent ]
put up or shut up (none / 0) (#167)
by otak on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 07:13:07 AM EST

Let's see... you have a bunch of bureaucrats trying to protect and expand their turf by attacking other bureaucrats. Yeah, that's a reliable source.
You haven't cited any actual evidence for your assertion that the UN's figures are dodgy in the whole of this thread, so I have to assume you don't have any. Or do you?



[ Parent ]
The Calculus of Massacre (4.11 / 9) (#18)
by localroger on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 07:16:20 PM EST

During the whole Nicaragua thing, I read an op-ed that stated something to the effect that "one American = 9 nuns = 1 village" when gauging the importance of a massacre. It seems the equation still holds.

I can haz blog!

er ... (2.00 / 1) (#77)
by Kalani on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:20:41 PM EST

Shouldn't that be "the algebra of massacre?"

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
[OT]RE:Calculus (none / 0) (#165)
by greenrd on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 04:28:27 AM EST

From dictionary.com - see meaning 4.

cal·cu·lus
n. pl. cal·cu·li or cal·cu·lus·es

1. Pathology. An abnormal concretion in the body, usually formed of mineral salts and found in the gallbladder, kidney, or urinary bladder, for example.

2. Dentistry. See tartar.

3. Mathematics.

1. The branch of mathematics that deals with limits and the differentiation and integration of functions of one or more variables.

2. A method of analysis or calculation using a special symbolic notation.

3. The combined mathematics of differential calculus and integral calculus.

4. A system or method of calculation: " [a] dazzling grasp of the nation's byzantine budget calculus" (David M. Alpern).


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]
[OT]That doesn't support calculus. (none / 0) (#204)
by eightball on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 07:38:36 PM EST

I agree w/ the algebra suggestion. The equation would be: 1 * xamerican = 9 * xnun = n * xvilliager

I only include the subscripts to make the difference clear. I think the point of the original poster is that there really isn't a difference, so it would be more of a straight 1x=9x=nx, or totally bogus math.

[ Parent ]
Simple. (3.87 / 8) (#29)
by Anonymous 6522 on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 11:10:44 PM EST

Many of us know people who were affected by the events in New York and Washington. Many of us know people who were killed. How many Iraqi children do you know?

Lets say that you live in a large city. Your next door neighbor gets shot dead, meanwhile, across town in a completely separate incident. some guy you've never laid your eyes on gets shot dead too. Which event concerns you more?

You must have heard this line of reasoning before. It's just a fact that you can't care in the same way about statistics as you can real human beings that you've met and talked with.

On a side note, let's say that UN lifts the sanctions on Iraq, do you really think that Saddam is going to be showering his people with food and medicine with the money he makes from his oil? I doubt that purchasing those things is anywere near the top of Saddam's "What to do when sanctions are lifted" list.

Mistaken assumption (3.25 / 4) (#52)
by generaltao on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 11:11:53 AM EST

Several good points. But your assumption that Saddam would not feed his people is not based on fact. Prior to the Gulf war, the Iraqi people enjoyed a pretty good standard of living. Saddam was actually doing a pretty good job of rebuilding his country after the war with Iran.

[ Parent ]
Mistaken facts. (5.00 / 2) (#102)
by physicsgod on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 01:03:00 AM EST

Before the war Iraq had the 4th largest army in the world. Now its...not. Which do you think is going to be Saddam's priority? Rebuilding his army, or feeding his people? Keep in mind he's already spent billions on anti-air systems that get blown up 15 minutes after being turned on.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
One minor point (none / 0) (#271)
by Merc on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 02:16:29 PM EST

In a big city you don't know your next door neighbor any better than you know the guy across town.

[ Parent ]
poll (4.90 / 11) (#31)
by Refrag on Thu Sep 27, 2001 at 11:47:57 PM EST

Why does it seem that no one on this site is capable of creating objective poll options?

Greenrd, you slanted every single option with your bias, which forced me to vote that it is 100% Hussein's fault when that is obviously note the correct answer. When a country's people are dying from disease, the majority of the blame lies within the borders of the same country. The blame lies mainly in the government and the people of Iraq. The USA's policies only seem to hurt Iraq, because everyone assumes the alternative solution is to give aid to them by default. That's a false dicotomy. Our policies aren't doing anything to the people of Iraq, they just aren't helping them. It's up to the people of Iraq to help themselves foremost, and secondly it's up the the government of Iraq. Anything further than that, and they should count themselves extremely fortunate.

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches

Totally (3.25 / 4) (#33)
by Neuromancer on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 12:07:11 AM EST

Yeah, I filled out one that I don't believe in... pretty much just because nobody had picked it yet. Perhaps there should be a blank 1) No, because there was already a war on. I certainly wouldn't feel nice about bombing them if they were playing nice and being peaceful.

[ Parent ]
Huh?? (2.50 / 6) (#42)
by greenrd on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:12:43 AM EST

No, because there was already a war on.

That doesn't explain why you don't care about them. Please elaborate.

I certainly wouldn't feel nice about bombing them if they were playing nice and being peaceful.

What are you talking about?? What have the vast majority of Iraqis done wrong? Nothing.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Dude... (3.00 / 5) (#64)
by Neuromancer on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 03:48:16 PM EST

The same logic applies to any war. I mean, what did the vast majority of any country do during any war, war is driven by governments, not the populace.

[ Parent ]
Face it... (none / 0) (#126)
by CyberQuog on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 02:34:07 PM EST

People die in wars. Lots of people. This is the reason it's called WAR. It is either kill the enemy or they kill you, there are no "innocent civilians" in a war. To the enemy, everyone in that country is the enemy, which was demonstrated recently with the Sept. 11 attacks. We carpet bombed the hell out of Germany in World War II, there werent any of these "precision" weapons, we bombed entire cities into nothingness killing thousands of people, but you know what? They were the enemy and we kicked the shit out of them. I'm so sick of this unfounded anti-US bullshit.

I think it's interesting how the Iraqi's forced the farmers, women, and children to stand around their military stations, so that when we bombed them they could claim civilian casualties. As I remember a favorite strategy of theirs was to surround their anti-aircraft guns with farmers and their flock.
-...-
[ Parent ]
some war (3.00 / 2) (#130)
by eLuddite on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 03:54:24 PM EST

Iraq was bombed around the clock for 42 days, 109,000 sorties, and 88,000 tons of bombs. On the 43rd day western troops moved in with ground forces. Between 100,000 and 200,000 Iraqis were killed during the war itself. Since then sanctions have taken their own distinct toll.

111 Americans were killed by Iraqi forces.

No chemical or biological weapons have ever been found, but if they existed, is there any doubt the US in Iraq's circumstances would have used them?

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Saddam's not dumb. (4.00 / 1) (#163)
by physicsgod on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 03:00:26 AM EST

No chemical or biological weapons have ever been found, but if they existed, is there any doubt the US in Iraq's circumstances would have used them?
Not if the US was staring at enough nuclear weapons to turn the entire country into glass inside of an hour. Not using WMDs 100,000 iraqi's die, but Saddam lives. Use WMDs and Saddam dies.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
that would require doublethink! (4.57 / 7) (#38)
by aphrael on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 02:44:10 AM EST

Why does it seem that no one on this site is capable of creating objective poll options?

#ifndef K5_WEARY_CYNICISM
#define K5_WEARY_CYNICISM
Because only a handful of people seem to be willing to take the time to try and understand the reasoning used by more than one side in a political debate, and look at how the reasonings relate and don't relate, before writing an article on a political issue.
#endif

[ Parent ]

Re:poll (3.00 / 6) (#41)
by greenrd on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:05:53 AM EST

Greenrd, you slanted every single option with your bias, which forced me to vote that it is 100% Hussein's fault when that is obviously note the correct answer.

Please go ahead and suggest better poll options. This is a discussion site. The main purpose of the poll was to make people think and provoke discussion.

When a country's people are dying from disease, the majority of the blame lies within the borders of the same country.

Uh, but what about if essential medical supplies and spare parts for technology cannot be obtained because the US government blocks their import? Did you actually look at the links I posted?

The blame lies mainly in the government and the people of Iraq.

Oh, here we go, knee-jerk blame the victim. The words "rape" and "short skirt" spring to mind. Answer me this - what exactly have the people of Iraq done wrong? Not managed to oust Saddam? (Hint: That's hard.) Maybe that's because last time, the US indicated it would help overthrow Saddam, and then didn't - leaving Saddam free to massacre dissidents.

Our policies aren't doing anything to the people of Iraq, they just aren't helping them.

In the real world this distinction just doesn't cut it for making moral judgements. Let's say I drug you unconscious by spiking your drink, and then imprison you, without the use of force. Then I leave you to rot without food or water in that prison. Obviously I was wrong to drug you unconscious, but it was even more wrong to let you die of thirst. Even though no physical force was used.

The effects of sanctions are comparable to the effects of an aerial bombardment like the Gulf War. Don't believe me? Read the links I posted.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Purpose of a Poll... (4.00 / 5) (#44)
by Elkor on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:24:48 AM EST

The purpose of a poll is to determine the demographic break down of opinions against a fixed number of points.

If your only options in a poll are "A" and "B" and most people want to say "C" that represents a significant breakdown in the process.

That is the same reason I don't participate in most polls, the questions and answers aren't objective, they are slanted to give the answer the pollster wants.

I can't come up with a better poll because I never would have written this article, and I am suprised it is getting voted up.

Regards,
Elkor


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
Polls (2.50 / 4) (#66)
by greenrd on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 04:02:55 PM EST

The purpose of a poll is to determine the demographic break down of opinions against a fixed number of points.

Internet polls are fraught with a variety of problems (self-selecting sample, relatively easy to ballot-stuff, etc.). They should not be assumed to be accurate.

I repeat, my main purpose was to make people think.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Re-categorization (4.55 / 9) (#34)
by Kashie on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 12:14:50 AM EST

This should be an Op-Ed piece.

Additionally, two binary opposite opinions spread over 5-6 poll entries does not allow for any opinions that do not reinforce your point, or justify your views on the subject. Please construct a non-biased poll.

Sanctions not responable for child mortality rates (5.00 / 14) (#39)
by codemonkey_uk on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 04:56:51 AM EST

The use of depleted uranium aside[1], the sanctions are not responsible for the child mortality rates in Iraq. I've you'd read this article last week you would have seen this link, to which I will be referring.

The facts of the matter are that Saddam is exporting baby bottles, and other nursing materials, rather than distributing them to his people, and despite increased oil export revenues, the Iraqi regime refuses to use them to buy food for its people.

Whilst his people starve, Saddam has:

been spending billions of dollars on the man-made lakes, waterfalls, marble, and other luxuries that make up his palaces and those of his supporters. At the same time, Saddam parades well-intentioned foreigners to gawk at the sick and hungry of Iraq, as he pleads that UN sanctions prevent him from buying or importing his people's most basic needs.
Why not see for yourself.

Now, whilst the sanctions cannot be blamed, for all this suffering, one does have to ask, what can be done about it? Should the US or UN intervene? Should Saddam be forcibly removed from power? That's another question altogether.

Note:

  1. I do not advocate the use of depleted uranium. Its is "a bad thing", but we can't "undo" it, and I want to focus on the issue of sanctions.

---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
Saddam is to blame, but so are we (4.50 / 8) (#46)
by dash2 on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:44:21 AM EST

Saddam Hussein is an evil monster. We know that.

The West's (well, the US's and UK's) policy is to use sanctions to oust him from power. But sanctions mostly hurt the people of Iraq, because Saddam can arrange it that way (by using money from imports to keep himself in power rather than helping the population.) In other words, the West's policy isn't working. It is also inhumane, because it uses the people of Iraq as a pawn in a power game between the West and Saddam.

See this FAQ question from the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

There's a related claim that sanctions aren't to blame because Northern Iraq is doing much better than Southern Iraq. This is dealt with in this FAQ question. Briefly, the CASI's response is (1) "yes, the North is doing better, but the South is still in trouble, and ending sanctions would help end that" and (2) there are other factors helping the North of Iraq (more international support per capita, more porous borders etc.) as well as the fact that Saddam's writ does not run there.

The fundamental point is: if the sanctions continue, innocent Iraqis will continue to die. Yes, Saddam is partially to blame. But we can't change his behaviour (short of outright military attacks, which may now be on the cards). We can change our own.


------------------------
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.
[ Parent ]

But would ending sanctions help? (5.00 / 3) (#47)
by codemonkey_uk on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 09:36:37 AM EST

Would ending sanctions help the people, or would they just provide Saddam with more resources to abuse?

IIRC Food and medicine aren't covered by the sanctions, only technical equipment.

It's a complex issue.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

we could always admit we're wrong... (4.00 / 4) (#49)
by bil on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 10:04:18 AM EST

Would ending sanctions help the people, or would they just provide Saddam with more resources to abuse?

I dont know, and neither does anyone else, but we do know that sanctions havn't toppled Saddam, and that many people are starving in Iraq.

Our current policy has failed miserably so why are we still trying it? What do we have to lose by admitting we were wrong and trying a different approach??

bil


bil
Where you stand depends on where you sit...
[ Parent ]

may not be possible (4.00 / 2) (#91)
by crayz on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 10:09:39 PM EST

As others have pointed out, the choice may not be between a good solution and a bad solution. It may be between a bad solution and an awful one.

You can't just say that we should try any damn thing, because it would have to be better than the current situation. If we lift restrictions and Saddam pumps money into weapons of mass destruction, and in 2005 50 million people die in the US because Saddam launched a biological attack...how much is anyone really gonna give a fuck about Iraqui children then?

[ Parent ]
Medicine (3.40 / 5) (#65)
by greenrd on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 03:59:42 PM EST

IIRC Food and medicine aren't covered by the sanctions, only technical equipment.

An oft-repeated lie. The truth is they are not banned in general, but medicines and medical equipment have been blocked in very many specific cases by the biggest bottleneck, the UN Sanctions Committee. See the Halliday link in the original article.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

They're not banned but impossible to buy (4.66 / 3) (#152)
by smallstepforman on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 07:38:42 PM EST

I've lived in a country subjected to international sanctions (Yugoslavia), and yes, food and medicine aren't banned but since the entire industry stops, people dont earn enough money to buy them. Hence, although pharmacies are full, you need a lot of money to buy imported medical supplies, since the local industry cannot purchase the chemicals needed to manufacture its own medicine. Hence, poverty, starvation, birth defects etc. The Iraqies are more likely to topple Sadam if they were free to travel the world (on business) and see for themselves alternative lifestyles. They'd demmand the same changes back home.

[ Parent ]
Intrigue... ing (2.00 / 2) (#48)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 09:48:46 AM EST

He said that the food distribution system in Iraq under the "oil for food" programme was "second to none", but that "in order to affect the overall livelihood and nutrition state of the people, of the children, you need more than food, of course".
Well, someone is lying. Do you know who?

[ Parent ]
Cannons to the left of us.... (4.75 / 4) (#73)
by jasonab on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:02:25 PM EST

The fundamental point is: if the sanctions continue, innocent Iraqis will continue to die. Yes, Saddam is partially to blame. But we can't change his behaviour (short of outright military attacks, which may now be on the cards). We can change our own.
But, if the sanctions are lifted, innocent non-Iraqis will die when Saddam perfects his weapons. I would argue that less people will die under the sanctions than under a WMD attack. That's more utilitarian than I prefer, unfortunately.

[ Parent ]
Broken links (none / 0) (#230)
by LQ on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 11:05:38 AM EST

Your links are broken. I assume you meant [distribution] and [north]

[ Parent ]
Safety of DU (4.50 / 6) (#67)
by Nick Ives on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 04:06:05 PM EST

* I do not advocate the use of depleted uranium. Its is "a bad thing",
Just a quick aside here, but why is DU so bad? So far all news stories I've heard about it have consisted of interviews with Kosovo soldiers who have developed lukemia and reporters saying the word "uranium" very loudly, because everyone knows uranium is radioactive. Which brings me to my point, isnt DU depleted? I heard that DU is about as radioactive as the soil and that the rate of lukemia amongst soldiers who served in Kosovo is actually the same as the general population.

These stats/facts were garnered from Number Watch and Junk science and whilst I cannot ascertain for myself wether or not they are correct I do feel inclined to believe them. After all, it is depleted uranium...

--
Nick
In search of truth....

[ Parent ]

Because... (4.16 / 6) (#103)
by physicsgod on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 01:14:33 AM EST

There are a whole bunch of idiots who get their panties in a bunch whenever they hear the words uranium, nuclear, radioactive, or atomic. They prefer the power of ignorance to the simple activity of thinking.

To answer your questions, yes depleted uranium is radioactive, but it's an alpha emitter and is only dangerous when ingested. Except the body is pretty good at getting uranium out. Also since it has a long half-life (4.5 billion years) it produces fairly little radiation, gram for gram. In fact 1 gram of U238 (AKA depleted uranium) would give off slightly less than twice the amount of radiation that the average human does.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

DU safety (4.00 / 2) (#112)
by trelane on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 04:29:03 AM EST

Whee. Back to the DU question.

It's interesting to note that people who cite Iraq as a place where DU has caused trouble seem to forget that Iraq was working hard on developing nuclear weapons. Hrm. We burned out a lot of his bunkers, equipment, and factories, our vets got sick, and there's an increase in cancer and leukemia afterwards. Sounds to me like someone should have been more careful before destroying stuff. Of courese, again, it was war and there's not always time to see if that depot with people shooting at you has nasty chemicals in it or not. A friend of mine from one of my exchanges to Germany used to vehemently cling to his hypothesis (apparently propogated in the Egyptian and other arabic press) that the US was using biological or chemical agents in their armaments (the Gulf War Syndrome was obviously evidence of this), and that the US futher used small nulcear weapons in Iraq (explaining the increase in cancer). Hmm. Knowing many U.S. soldiers involved, I'd have to give this a very low probablity. Having read lots of free press on Saddam, however, I tend to give credence to the theory that the GWS and increase in cancer and leukemia are rather related to Saddam's nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs. A friend of mine who is iraqi naturally disputes this. Ah well.

For the record, DU is also used as ballast on planes. Sure, it might be toxic, being a heavy metal, but what do we shoot in standard bullets? Lead. Fat lot of difference. Has anyone waxed anxious over the effects of lead dust and lead leftovers on a battlefield?

[ Parent ]

Credibility of source (3.62 / 8) (#90)
by M0dUluS on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 09:55:30 PM EST

The problem with your link is that it points to the government of a country that props up and installs dictatorial regimes. It is a link to the government of a country that has a partisan interest. So a report which contains no references and just asserts that it is "based upon publically available information" doesn't carry much evidentiary weight.
I could probably find you a report from the Iraqi news agency that says that Saddam is a beloved, democratically elected leader that threw his body in front of the bombs to save little girls.
Where's the proof?

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
Correct (2.66 / 3) (#111)
by Nyarlathotep on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 03:39:21 AM EST

You are absolutly correct that Saddam is the "primary" cause of the Iraqi situation, but it's still our fault too (along with the U.N.).. we let him keep power. We fought a war when we were not willing to finnish, forgive, clean up, and rebuild. Unfortunatly, the last world event that prompted any legitimate rebuilding efforts was WWII (you know death camps, kamakasis, nukes, etc.).

We could have made Iraq into the Japan of the middel-east (no army, lots of money and buisness, lot Americans), but we descided it would be easyer to work within stupid short sighted U.N.'s limits. The U.N. "democrasy" of nations may keep nations from going to war, but it dose not make for good long term thinking (or fairness).

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]
So what is the point of sanctions? (4.66 / 3) (#162)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 01:17:32 AM EST

Wow, so your post shows that the US government is aware that sanctions are having no effect on Saddams's lifestyle and instead only innocent Iraqi civilians and children are dying?

Exactly what is the rationale behind the sanctions again and is there really no alternative besides pointlessly making millions of people suffer in a vain attempt to hurt one man who doesn't care a whit about his subjects?

[ Parent ]
As Far As I Know (none / 0) (#216)
by codemonkey_uk on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:17:37 AM EST

The sanctions are in place to prevent Saddam from continued military build up. But this isn't a subject I know a great deal about...
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
Important issues being missed here (4.00 / 1) (#171)
by jamesm on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 10:21:23 AM EST

* I do not advocate the use of depleted uranium. Its is "a bad thing", but we can't "undo" it, and I want to focus on the issue of sanctions.

There are measures that could be taken to prevent further damage and "undo" existing DU issues.

  • Battlefield decontamination to prevent further environmental and human contamination
  • Import of equipment to detect DU for use in health studies, which are critical in dealing with the problem clinically
Sanctions are preventing both of the abvove.

Suffering of the population already contaminated with DU could also arguable be relieved by eliminating sanctions.

[ Parent ]

Failure heaped on failure (3.00 / 7) (#58)
by Best Ace on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 12:12:30 PM EST

The fact that over 500,000 Iraqi kids has died is outrageous, and the fact that no big fuss was raised when Madeleine Albright said this was a 'price worth paying' is equally grotesque.

We can argue over who is to blame for these deaths (Saddam or the US/UK) until we are all blue in the face, this is one of those issues which become polarized with no-one prepared to give way.

I would just like to add two things to the debate. Firstly, the embargo is against all international laws and treaty obligations that the US and UK have signed. They have treated the UN with contempt, and their whole policy towards Iraq is ILLEGAL (not that something as trifling as international law has ever stopped them in the past).

Secondly, the sanctions have blatantly failed as a policy of bringing Saddam to account. Not just 'failed' in the sense of a narrow miss that might bring success if we wait long enough; I mean 'failed' as in a catastrophic and absolute incompetence of a failure. Failure heaped on more failure. Failure that brings with it the systematic killing of a nation's citizens for zero gain.

A radical re-think is drastically required.


Re: Failure heaped on failure (4.66 / 6) (#63)
by DarkZero on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 03:12:51 PM EST

Firstly, the embargo is against all international laws and treaty obligations that the US and UK have signed.

The US broke international law without even blinking an eye?!?!?! My God, that must mean it's... a weekday! ;)



[ Parent ]
Failure? (4.75 / 4) (#83)
by DoomGerbil on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:46:29 PM EST

Since when is something right just because its the law? Slavery was legal for hundreds of years, people have been discriminated against (de jure, not just de facto), murdered, tortured, etc
and this was all supported, allowed, even required by the law. On a much less important (but, I'm sure, more close to home) note, we have the DMCA, and maybe soon the SSSCA. So it would be ok to put me in jail for life for portscanning you, would it?

My point here is that the law is not necessarily the right thing to do. If you don't believe that, have you ever read the newspaper? Watched the TV news? Read K5?

DG



[ Parent ]
law/morality (3.00 / 1) (#96)
by M0dUluS on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 10:46:36 PM EST

I agree that the law is not necessarily correct. But the US, UK and all those other entities base their entire existence on an assertion that The Law (which just happens to be what they, the powerful impose) is correct. This applies internationally as well as internally. Now, if they have agreed to a law and they then proceed to flout it, it brings their whole moral AND legal structure into question. It's like discovering that a priest is an atheist (for the believers that is...!).

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
What??? (3.00 / 2) (#114)
by Best Ace on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 06:53:18 AM EST

That is such an American [read arrogant] attitude. So killing half a million kids in a place far away is acceptable because its the same as portscanning? You seriously need a sense of perspective before you disappear up your own ass.

So there have been many bad laws made in the past (slavery, discrimination etc.. as you mentioned), but you seem to accept that the international laws which the US/UK breaks are just as bad. Well what are those laws? Mainly the UN charter (since when was killing Iraqi kids self-defense?) Also the universal declaration on human rights. The US is the only country to vote against a UN resolution calling for all countries to obey international law. And you defend the genocide of people in a foreign country on the grounds that you want to portscan!!?

have you ever read the newspaper? Watched the TV news? Read K5?

Fuck you. I find that offensive.


[ Parent ]

Iraq has decided it's worth it................... (4.00 / 6) (#60)
by Wing Envy on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 01:52:09 PM EST

Or they would destroy their long range missles per the UNSC like every other country that cares about their children. That's the only reason why they even have sanctions on trade to begin with. I found this all out the day of the attack.

What have you been watching? CNN? Do some research. Go to refdesk.com sometime to understand things a little better, or at least, to just have the facts.


You don't get to steal all the deficiency. I want some to.
-mrgoat

Compare and Contrast: US vs Iraq (3.57 / 7) (#68)
by greenrd on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 04:17:12 PM EST

Or they would destroy their long range missles per the UNSC like every other country that cares about their children.

Oh, like the United States, which still to this day pursues a "defensive" biological warfare research program. Yet even mainstream analysts admit it is impossible in practice to distinguish between defensive and offensive research. And this is from a department called the department of "defense", whose prime activities over the past 50+ years have been directed towards "defending" US profits and (as Noam Chomsky puts it) deterring democracy.

What have you been watching? CNN? Do some research. Go to refdesk.com sometime to understand things a little better, or at least, to just have the facts.

Based on a hell of a lot of reading of alternative sources, like the ones I linked to in the original article, I don't think the "facts" presented in the mainstream media or mainstream internet sites are always truthful.

The idea of CNN reporting this kind of stuff truthfully is kind of ludicrous.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Did you know(ot) (3.00 / 4) (#82)
by thePositron on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:42:43 PM EST

The Department Of Defense used to be called the Department Of War.

The Peace Pilgrim walked over 25,000 thousand miles for peace.



[ Parent ]
Offensive vs defensive biowar. (4.50 / 2) (#105)
by physicsgod on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 01:19:06 AM EST

When you're running a lab to culture innocuous substitutes to biological agents you're running a defensive biological setup. When you're loading biological agents into delivery systems you're running an offensive setup.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Assassinations, not sanctions. (3.62 / 8) (#62)
by Ialdabaoth on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 02:01:36 PM EST

Punishing entire nations for the actions of corrupt rulers is not only ineffective, but blatantly immoral. The 500,000 children did not order the invasion of Kuwait -- Saddam Hussein did. Why then are the children dead while Saddam still lives?

Truly wise leaders will learn from Hassan i Sabbah, who assassinated his enemies instead of wasting thousands of lives in war just to take out an enemy.
*******
"Act upon thy thoughts shall be the whole of the Law."

--paraphrase of Aleister Crowley

Assassinations (1.80 / 5) (#71)
by ronin212 on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 07:36:57 PM EST

But *those* are too immoral for our government to engage in. Especially the CIA, which, thankfully, knows its right from wrong well enough to steer clear of such activities and stays at home, feeding LSD to kidnapped American citizens, like it belongs.

--
Now is the time... get on the right side! You'll be godlike.
[ Parent ]
Amusing... (1.66 / 3) (#79)
by Ialdabaoth on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:32:06 PM EST

I suppose you refer to those foolish old men and women we call politicians. I have no respect for such pale, bloodless mediocrities as they are; they must assuage their impotence by seeking power over others.

Remember, all politicians are slaves as well as masters. While they might rule us, they themselves are ruled by their petty emotions and by the equally petty whims of their backers.

Of course, I do not see the problem with assassination. A politician seeks to rule others, and uses force to back his laws. Force must be countered with force, and politicians should consider assassination to be an occupational hazard.

If you seek power over others, somebody will decide to break your power by ending your life. It is better to be your own master than to seek mastery over others.
*******
"Act upon thy thoughts shall be the whole of the Law."

--paraphrase of Aleister Crowley
[ Parent ]

The alternatives: (4.16 / 6) (#70)
by Apuleius on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 07:35:55 PM EST

1. Just drop the sanctions. Downside: Saddam gets weapons of mass destruction, and turns Teheran and Isfahan into molten glass. Death toll same, but Iranian instead of Iraqi. 2. Kill Saddam. Downside: one of his lieutenants takes over. Same problems as before. 3. Kill Saddam and his power structure. Downside: nation will erupt into civil war, millions will die, and the order that emerges may include a Kurdish republic, which is a danger to the entire region (the Kurds sit on a bottleneck in the region's water supply), and a Shiite republic, which will increase Iranian power and endanger Saudi. 4. Kill Saddam and place Iraq under US occupation. Downside: many US casualties, and outcome unlikely to be much better than #3.

So, the US goes on dealing with the devil it knows. It doesn't mean the US is a murderous power. It means that the Iraqi people, unfortunately, are too racist and bigotted to give the problem a better solution. (And yes, they are. They Iraqis since 1918 have massacred every single minority within their borders.)




There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
There is an alternative (3.75 / 4) (#84)
by jmv on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:54:00 PM EST

After World War I, the allies imposed lots of sanctions (like paying for the damages) on Germany and that led us right to WW II. When WW II was over, instead of oppressing Germany like in 1918, they helped reconstructing it. See the difference? They could have done the same with Iraq. Why they didn't do that? I don't know, but for sure it's nice to have some well known vilain in the erea to justify every military action you want to do there (like sending bombs once in a while as "routine preventive strikes").

[ Parent ]
I'd wish. You'd wish. We'd all wish. (2.00 / 1) (#99)
by Apuleius on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 11:34:29 PM EST

Your assumption that a Marshal Plan would have the same effect on Iraq as on Germany has several problems. For one, Germany's a real nation. Iraq isn't.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
What? (none / 0) (#164)
by greenrd on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 04:21:26 AM EST

Why is Iraq not a real nation??


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

why Iraq is not a real nation. (none / 0) (#187)
by nsimington on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 02:37:44 PM EST

Iraq is a historical fiction. Real countries came to be in one of two ways, neither of which applies to Iraq; the Iraqi state has no historical legitimacy as anything other than post-colonial lines on a map.

Some nations are administrative districts of such long standing that a common language and national culture develops. Excellent examples of this are France and Spain, the first unified nations in Europe. Both countries were unified under single crowns in the fifteenth century. In each, there was already enough common language and culture for local differences to be glossed over. These old divisions are now starting to cause trouble again, because ethnic groups subsumed into the larger state are developing nationalism (eg, Catalonians and Corsicans.) It's true that in France, Parisian French (Ile-de-France dialect) is spoken nationwide, but the differences between it and the local dialects, like Bretogne, Aubergnois, etc., are extensive.

Some nations are defined by geography and ethnicity. Great Britain is a good example of this. The British are a cauldron of ethnicities, and English is a hybrid language (Norman French, assorted ancient Teutonic, and 8th-century Danish, along with loan words from every language imaginable.) Still, the geographic and political isolation of Britain made it a state. Japan is another example of a nation unified by geography and ethnicity. The USA may also be considered such a nation because of its geographic isolation from Europe.

Iraq, on the other hand, is some arbitrary lines. When the country's borders were drawn up after WWII, many ethnic groups were broken up; for instance, the Kurds. The lack of natural power foci within the country has led to unstable centralization, so that the country cannot counterbalance the power of the seat of government - which was seized by Saddam Hussein's village, which has run the country for a long time now.

That's why Iraq is not a real nation in either the senses of legitimacy or functionality. Its state serves very few of what we would consider the functions of a state. It's basically an institutionalized Asiatic despotism, 25 centuries too late.

-Nathan

[ Parent ]

silly (4.50 / 2) (#107)
by rehan on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 01:24:25 AM EST

Surely a silly comparison?

Maybe a better comparison would be if the allied invasion stopped a hundred miles from Berlin, retreated to the German borders and THEN poured in all the Marshall Plan money, to be administered by Hitler and the Nazis.


Stay Frosty and Alert


[ Parent ]
SAVE THE CHILDREN! (3.75 / 8) (#72)
by Sheepdot on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 07:52:20 PM EST

Why do we react relatively uncaringly to reports of 500,000 children dead due to the effects of the Gulf War and United Nations sanctions on Iraq, whereas we (most of us) reacted with anger at the news of the WTC terrorism?

I am not one of those that reacted in anger to the international mass murders of the kamikaze attacks on the WTC. In fact, 50 million deaths wouldn't sway my opinion on nearly *any* issue, including my own or my close friends and family.

Quite frankly, if you're looking for angry people, don't expect to find them on K5. Most of us are educated, and quite possibly your complaints should be targetted at the people that get their news from David Letterman, SNL, and their churches.

I will however, do my best to explain why they feel the way they do.

Firstly, it would appear to one such as yourself that death is something we must strive to prevent. In the same token, deaths that have greater numbers are all the more important to avoid. We should spend more resources preventing the deaths of large numbers of people rather than more on deaths of smaller numbers.

Have I said anything that doesn't sit well with you? Of course I have. I'd be walking into fire from one side or the other if I said that foreign lives are worth more than the lives of citizens of my country. Which is why I shouldn't claim as such. And you, with such a feeling, have not.

Instead you do what you can, saying something that is perfectly acceptable by questioning: "Are our priorities in line?". This is the cowardly way of approaching the subject matter. Why don't you just state, "Why don't we drop sanctions since they are killing so many children?".

That is the question I'll answer for the people you are asking it of.

It perfectly acceptable to impose sanctions on a country that is lead by a dictator. Because dictators have such a dominant presence in their country, they successfully convince people that their problems are a direct result of said sanctions, all the while hording massive amounts of wealth for themselves. It is a thick skull that doesn't see that the dictator is truly the one at fault.

Exceptional dictators like Saddam have the unique ability to convince not only their citizens, but citizens of other countries, like yourself, to question the sanctions. This is precisely what he wants, and he is winning. Eventually we *will* lift sanctions, and he'll go about creating more chemical and biological weapons.

Trust me, you're opinions will change when NYC gets hit with a chemical/biological weapon. We are already getting reports that OBL's mininons were toying with using crop dusters to spread biological and chemical warfare.

And don't think it won't happen either, it *will*, and it will in our lifetimes. Perhaps even within the year. Chemical weapons are plentiful, whereas nukes are not.

I predict a mass exodus of cities within the next decade, assuming that civilizations even exist as we know them now. World order has lost. You simply *cannot* build a defense against suicidal zealots, the Romans couldn't, so I can't imagine we can now.


I agree (2.71 / 7) (#76)
by M0dUluS on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:20:26 PM EST

I'd never thought of it this way until I read your interesting and insightful comment. Thank God someone has the moral and physical courage to come right out and say what you did! The world is a better place where educated, level-headed people like you can come out and call a spade a spade.
I now understand that the death of a million people is justified. Hey you know what...6000 is much less than a million so that must be even more justified.
Thank god for your educated, non-angry head. We really need people like you at a time like this.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
WTF!?! (4.80 / 5) (#95)
by inti on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 10:32:23 PM EST

I predict a mass exodus of cities within the next decade, assuming that civilizations even exist as we know them now. World order has lost. You simply *cannot* build a defense against suicidal zealots, the Romans couldn't, so I can't imagine we can now.

Are you somehow suggesting that the Roman empire fell to suicidal zealots? 'Cause if so you're nuts. They were militarily overwhelmed by invaders. There's really no comparison with any modern situation....


Claim your namespace.
Support the OpenNIC

[ Parent ]

Ha! What little you and those that rated you know. (none / 0) (#183)
by Sheepdot on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 02:16:51 PM EST

I suggest reading up on the Visigoths and Vandals in the near future.

Note that it wouldn't be an analogy if the suidical people were located *inside* of Rome. Indeed the invaders were located *outside*, in much the same way as fanatical Muslims are now.

Pressure was put on the Germanic tribes by the Huns, who basically forced them into the Roman Empire where they had no identity. They migrated and revoluted inside, killed Emporer Valens and just kept going all the way to Rome, without a care of death, for death certainly awaited them with the Huns.

The Roman Empire was weakend though, since it allowed these tribes to just march on in. Here are what some people think the reasons are for this:

1) Christianity's emphasis on a spiritual kingdom undermined Roman military virtues and patriotism.

2) Roman values were on a decline since non-Italians were becoming heroes in their own respects.

3) Lead pipes transferring water and plague mentally and physically killed many Romans.

4) Rome didn't have a workable political system and was unable to come up with one that convinced people it was worth it.

Ironically, the period just before the decline of the Roman empire saw tight restrictions on citizens liberties, much like we are seeing now in North America and Europe. Kind of makes you wonder now, doesn't it?


[ Parent ]
Yes, but ... (none / 0) (#209)
by inti on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 11:18:13 PM EST

... the Visigoths, Vandals, and other such displaced, marauding groups were neither zealots (there is no reason to suppose they were attacking Rome for any religious or ideological reasons) nor were they suicidal (big difference between having nothing to lose and actually trying to kill yourself). So what on earth are you talking about?


Claim your namespace.
Support the OpenNIC

[ Parent ]

500.000 (4.33 / 3) (#122)
by ooch on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 11:06:13 AM EST

It perfectly acceptable to impose sanctions on a country that is lead by a dictator.

So if a country is ruled by a dictator, then it is "perfectly acceptable" to kill 500.000 children because that dictator is so nasty? The sanctions on Iraq had two main effects:

  • The death of many thousands of civilians, perhaps millions, mainly children.
  1. The strengthening of the Baath regime.

What would be the consequences if the sanctions were lifted? Maybe UN inspection could come back into Iraq so we actually know whether Saddam is producing chemical and biological weapons. Saddam Hussein is a very nasty man who should be put out of power, but the current sanctions certainly aren't achieving that goal, they only resulted in the deaths of so many civilians.

Certainly, Saddam is partly to blame for all the misery the Iraqi people is suffering, but the sanctions made their suffering much worse.

[ Parent ]

Direct vs. Indirect (none / 0) (#181)
by Sheepdot on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 01:51:17 PM EST

There is world of difference between flying planes and killing civilians and imposing restrictions on a dictator who refuses to feed his people.

You realize that *he* is starving them, right?

There are known reports that he has been stockpiling food, money, weapons, etc. and generally preventing the people from making a living, thus leading to the deaths.


[ Parent ]
Save The Babies, Saddam! ..riiiiiight... (4.30 / 10) (#75)
by Namagomi on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:15:58 PM EST

Heh. I recall back a few years ago in my high school debate days, that the resolution was about the economic sanctions. This "500,000 Dead Babies" statisic was seen as flame bait, and was quite popular amoung the less-logical, more emotinal debates in rounds. The ones more prone to cognitation stopped using it in their cases for one reason - it's almost absoultely unfounded. This, of course, it not hard to understand. Imagine you're the dictator of a 'rouge nation', you pissed off some big western country, and then they applied trade and export sanctions. In an effort to decieve the global community into rallying behind your self-centered cause to embarass and disgrace the western country into lifting the sanctions in order to fatten your bank account, you fabricate an outlandish number of infant deaths, or just add some 0's to the already-third-world-level infant mortality rates you have, due to your general disregard for the health care of your people. It's also not suprising that old Saddamy tugs on the heart-strings of the more gulliable amoung us by announcing all the dead are poor, innocent children. Heck, why not take advantage of the unfounded preferance most people have over the lives of children, and an apathetic attiutude for anyone over 18. 500,000 dead 80-year-old males dosn't sound so tragic, does it? Anyway, I hope in the future, people think twice before they read everything they believe. That, or everyone becomes the nilistic socoipath I am ;)

----
There is no #nekomimi cabal.
So.....how many is acceptable then? (3.33 / 3) (#85)
by M0dUluS on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:58:47 PM EST

The ones more prone to cognitation stopped using it in their cases for one reason - it's almost absoultely unfounded

What about the ones that were cogitating? Did they understand that what the bombing of water, sewerage and electricity infrastructure has done, coupled with the sanctions has led to a UNICEF estimate of 500,000 more deaths of children under five? That Iraq had been lowering its infant mortality rate prior to this?

Just out of interest, how many deaths do you consider acceptable? One? None? 500,000? 6000? 5.5*10^6?

At least you're not gullible.

Here is an extract from the UNICEF report:http://www.unicef.org/newsline/99pr29.htm

The international community should provide additional funding for humanitarian efforts in Iraq. The Government of Iraq should urgently expedite implementation of targeted nutrition programmes. Both the Government of Iraq and the U.N. Sanctions Committee should give priority to contracts for supplies that will have a direct impact on the well-being of children.

The surveys reveal that in the south and center of Iraq -- home to 85 per cent of the country's population -- under-5 mortality more than doubled from 56 deaths per 1000 live births (1984-1989) to 131 deaths per 1000 live births (1994-1999). Likewise infant mortality -- defined as the death of children in their first year -- increased from 47 per 1000 live births to 108 per 1000 live births within the same time frame. The surveys indicate a maternal mortality ratio in the south and center of 294 deaths per 100,000 live births over the ten-year period 1989 to 1999.

Ms. Bellamy noted that if the substantial reduction in child mortality throughout Iraq during the 1980s had continued through the 1990s, there would have been half a million fewer deaths of children under-five in the country as a whole during the eight year period 1991 to 1998. As a partial explanation, she pointed to a March statement of the Security Council Panel on Humanitarian Issues which states: "Even if not all suffering in Iraq can be imputed to external factors, especially sanctions, the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such deprivations in the absence of the prolonged measures imposed by the Security Council and the effects of war."

Now, just remember, if gullible lil ol' me is being taken in then what happens is Saddam gets some more food which his population will be able to eat. But if you're wrong you just killed an extra 500,000 for no good reason. Choices, choices.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]

By that logic... (4.50 / 2) (#108)
by physicsgod on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 01:28:10 AM EST

Women marathon runners will become viable orbital launch systems by the end of the century. Extrapolation in general is very dangerous, not to mention there isn't any evidence that the sanctions are causing the increase in infant mortality.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
I don't follow your logic (3.50 / 2) (#136)
by M0dUluS on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 05:22:33 PM EST

there isn't any evidence that the sanctions are causing the increase in infant mortality.
This is a strong statement from someone who would be wary of extrapolation! Here is some evidence that the sanctions do cause infant mortality.

SANCTIONS IMPOSED: In August 1990 the Security Council adopted resolution 661, imposing comprehensive sanctions on Iraq following that country?s short-lived invasion of Kuwait. Throughout 1991, with growing concern over the humanitarian situation in Iraq, the United Nations and others proposed measures to enable Iraq to sell limited quantities of oil to meet its people's needs. The Government of Iraq declined these offers, contained in particular, in resolutions 706 and 712, adopted in August and September 1991.

Reference:UN

The ceiling on oil sales was eased during 1998 and finally lifted in 1999, enabling the programme to move from a focus on food and medicine to repairing essential infrastructure, including the oil industry.

Same reference

What this shows is that the UN (the body responsible for the sanctions) decided that there was a need to allow oil to be sold so that food could be bought. They increased the amount that was allowed to be sold at least twice on the basis of calculations that showed that Iraq could not possibly sustain its population on the revenue generated from the sales. Yet even now the revenue generated is insufficient to feed the population and rebuild the infrastructure. Rebuilding the infrastructure is essential to prevent disease. There is no running water or sewerage in huge areas of the country now. It has ineed been bombed back into the stone-age.

Please note that the 500,000 deaths is indeed the result of a UNICEF statistical sampling which has received much scrutiny, but which has not been challenged. Please also note that the last two directors of the Oil-for-Food program (who are possibly in a position to be able to assess the impact of sanctions) have resigned declaring themselves unable to bear being associated with these murders.(Hans von Sponeck was the other one)

One final point that you should consider: one of us may indeed be wrong. If I am wrong, then I have been a gullible fool and if you join me in this then you too are a fool. However if you are wrong and I join you in your belief then I have played a small and dishonorable part in killing innocent kids (not to mention all those that are over 5). Just something to think about.



"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
it must be wonderful... (5.00 / 1) (#156)
by physicsgod on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 10:49:32 PM EST

To live in such a simplistic little world. If you are wrong and sanctions are lifted the number of dead will easily top 500,000 from the various wars Saddam starts (think SCUDS with VX, antrax, or a nuke hitting Tel Aviv). You still haven't shown any evidence for a causal relationship between sanctions and the infant mortality. There is a much stronger case for the policies of the Iraqi government being the cause of infant mortality than for the policies of the US.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Re: it must be wonderful... (none / 0) (#178)
by M0dUluS on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 12:48:10 PM EST

You have talked a lot about evidence. I agree with you that we need to support our respective assertions with credible sources and not merely vehemently claim things. I have attempted to point you to sources that indicate that in the opinion of those that have been gathering data on this situation - namely two of the special bodies of the UN : UNICEF and the WHO there are deaths directly attributable to the actions of their own organization.

I would further point out that the creation of this dictator and others is the work of the West, especially of the U.S. I would argue that this was to defeat the nationalistic movements post-WW2 that were threatening Mid-East oil supplies. I would argue that the armaments are largely supplied by Western arms manufacturers. Therefore I would argue that the support, genesis and blame for this situation is squarely in our court. Mine and yours because we have not stopped our governments doing this.

You on the contrary have been rude, provided no information or evidence and argued alternately that the deaths of hundreds of thousands (as an underestimate) are unavoidable and justified. You have shown me no evidence for this. I want to see some. I have attempted to communicate with you, now it is your turn. I would like to know the following from you:


1.Under which principles of international law do you justify these actions
2.What do you want to do to stop these murders
3.What is the likely outcome of continuing the policies that the West currently pursues?
4.What evidence do you have that Iraq (a country bombed back to the stone age) is able to produce any sort of military action with missiles?
I feel that you owe it to me to provide a list of very good, convincing references in order to justify your proposed genocide.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
Look. (5.00 / 1) (#188)
by physicsgod on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 02:43:08 PM EST

You're the one making the assertion, namely there's a causal relationship between sanctions and deaths, it's up to you to provide evidence for it. All I have to do it poke holes in any evidence you provide (still waiting BTW).

Now to answer your questions:

  1. The priciple that sanctions are an acceptable means to enforce compliance with a UN resolution.
  2. I would send the US military into Iraq, get rid of Saddam, and rebuild the country. But that's going to cost lives. It's also against international law to use force to remove a national ruler (I know about Panama, I'm not saying international law would stop us, we'd just catch flak for it). BTW murder implies malice, while the lack of malice is called manslaughter.
  3. People will die, but Saddam will be seriously hindered in his rearmament program, resulting in far fewer deaths overall.
  4. Because prior to 1991 Iraq had missiles and used them in military action. Futhermore intelligence angencies and UN inspectors found evidence for WMD research both before and after the war.


--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Still no evidence from you? (none / 0) (#239)
by M0dUluS on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:19:55 PM EST

You're the one making the assertion, namely there's a causal relationship between sanctions and deaths, it's up to you to provide evidence for it

There is an undeniable correlation between the sanctions and the deaths. Yes, I know that correlation is not causation. In order to prove causation we have to do a series of experiments that control for other variables. But guess what? We are not living in a laboratory. So what we have to do are generate models that fit the data as well as possible. Then we try to falsify them with other data. A standard Popperian approach that ought to appeal to a physicist, no? Now, I cannot prove in the strong sense that sanctions were the cause of the deaths in Iraq. Similarly I cannot prove any of the non-reproducible, highly variable situations of history. So, what's left? Induction and model generation. That's what I'm doing.

All I have to do it poke holes in any evidence you provide (still waiting BTW).

If you are waiting then you must not have read the UNICEF report to which I gave you a link. Specifically what is it that you do not like in this report?. Exactly what have you rebutted? Where is your evidence?

You answer my question "Under which principles of international law do you justify these actions?" with
1.The priciple that sanctions are an acceptable means to enforce compliance with a UN resolution.
What principle is that? Give me a reference or a name of it?

What do you want to do to stop these murders
send the US military into Iraq, get rid of Saddam, and rebuild the country
How is this going to stop the murders? Provide evidence. Detail mechanisms.

What is the likely outcome of continuing the policies that the West currently pursues?
People will die, but Saddam will be seriously hindered in his rearmament program, resulting in far fewer deaths overall
How many people will die? How many fewer deaths? What expert evidence can you cite? Are you ignoring deaths such as the WTC which will result when other US-backed extremists then object to US occupation of yet another Mid Eastern country? What about Latin America? Will we see terrorism from that quarter as a result of US policy? Cite references, give evidence?

What evidence do you have that Iraq (a country bombed back to the stone age) is able to produce any sort of military action with missiles?
Because prior to 1991 Iraq had missiles and used them in military action. Futhermore intelligence angencies and UN inspectors found evidence for WMD research both before and after the war.
What does before the war have to do with Iraq's ability to produce weapons now? No one is disputing that the US, UK and France sold armaments to Iraq including components for weapons of mass destruction. The question is whether or not Iraq is now able to even feed its population let alone produce missiles.

You have signally failed to provide a single shred of evidence, reference or citation despite my request for it. Is it possible that you are advocating murder without properly researching your topic?

Note that if I were to apply your insistence for proof for each one of these proposed actions of yours then there would be absolutely nothing acceptable as proof. Instead I merely re-iterate my request for some evidence from you as opposed to bald assertion.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]

References (5.00 / 1) (#244)
by physicsgod on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 07:57:14 PM EST

So, what's left? Induction and model generation. That's what I'm doing.
But I'm postulating a difference causative mechanism, e.g. Saddam's policies, your model should show what that doesn't work.

If you are waiting then you must not have read the UNICEF report to which I gave you a link. Specifically what is it that you do not like in this report?. Exactly what have you rebutted? Where is your evidence?
The only link I remember from you was a history of caps on the oil-for-food program. That does not (as far as I can tell) have any relevance to the relationship between sanctions and the deaths. Maybe you posted the wrong link or I missed it, care to repeat it?

You answer my question "Under which principles of international law do you justify these actions?" with 1.The priciple that sanctions are an acceptable means to enforce compliance with a UN resolution. What principle is that? Give me a reference or a name of it?
As referenced in UNSC Resolution 661(PDF) chapter VII of the UN Charter. Specifically Article 41 which states

The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.

People will die, but Saddam will be seriously hindered in his rearmament program, resulting in far fewer deaths overall How many people will die? How many fewer deaths? What expert evidence can you cite? Are you ignoring deaths such as the WTC which will result when other US-backed extremists then object to US occupation of yet another Mid Eastern country? What about Latin America? Will we see terrorism from that quarter as a result of US policy? Cite references, give evidence?
It would be hard to determine how many people would die in a war, but given the Allied casualties in the Gulf War, I'd say less than 10,000. While the Iraqis might suffer on order of 2 million soldiers and a couple hundred thousand civillians. Of course the Iraqis could turn against Saddam as soon as they see the Abrams' coming over the dunes and have much fewer casualties. In contrast a 700 kiloton nuclear bomb dropped on the center of Tel Aviv would result in 2 million civillian dead. I don't think there would be much of an increase in Islamic terrorism, since the primary beef is with the US in the holy land, not the arab world. I also doubt there will be much terroism from Latin America, since they don't see us as threatening their way of life, just interfering. Also, it's harder to distort Catholic doctrine into suicide missions.

What evidence do you have that Iraq (a country bombed back to the stone age) is able to produce any sort of military action with missiles? Because prior to 1991 Iraq had missiles and used them in military action. Futhermore intelligence angencies and UN inspectors found evidence for WMD research both before and after the war. What does before the war have to do with Iraq's ability to produce weapons now? No one is disputing that the US, UK and France sold armaments to Iraq including components for weapons of mass destruction. The question is whether or not Iraq is now able to even feed its population let alone produce missiles.
Saddam's actions prior to the Gulf War are the only indication we have as to his actions if sanctions are lifted. My assertion is that his "inability" to feed his people comes not from the sanctions, but from his policies, such as the building of palaces and the acquisition of anti-aircraft systems. The lifting of sanctions would not change these policies, rather they would allow Saddam to start/increase the remilitarization of his country, with the end result of another war in the region.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
One difference... (3.87 / 8) (#78)
by seebs on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:26:26 PM EST

If Hussein wanted to do anything for his people, he could. Instead, he rebuilds his army and builds new palaces.

The big difference: (3.40 / 5) (#80)
by mindstrm on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:34:31 PM EST

The people have a choice. Their leaders also have a choice.

Saddam, and the Iraqi people, have a choice. Saddam has support through his people.. even if he uses his military power to enforce his rule.. he still requires the cooperation of the people in order to rule.

With a terrorist bombing, there was no warning, and no way to preven it. It was unforseen.

Sanctions can be removed; they always have conditions.


Choice and history (3.33 / 3) (#86)
by M0dUluS on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 09:15:34 PM EST

The people have a choice.
Unfortunately they are in the grip of a dictator. He routinely applies executions, disappearances, torture and genocide on his opposition. Until recently he had the support of most of the Western countries. Britain was the largest arms supplier, France not far behind and the US through the CIA had paid for his initial coup to take power of the Ba'athist party. Bleeding heart human rights groups like Amnesty International have been complaining about this for a long time before Saddam stepped out of line and started doing murders that didn't benefit us.
Anyway, the point is that he has a strong grip on his country thanks to us - they, the people have tried to revolt, but Saddam has got a lot of our technology to suppress them (ever hear about the Marsh Arabs...they were Shi'a we'll come back to that).
And those people that have a choice also have an example. There was a dictator in a neighboring country: Iran. The people DID get rid of him...he was another US/West installed dictator. Amnesty International complained about him too. He was the Shah. He protected our oil. He was good. He tortured and murdered people. The people got rid of him. So then the US decided to support another dictator next door...and guess who he was? Yes, he was Saddam. So right now we support the un-democratic fscking human rights abusing monarchies in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, Kuwait etc....
Yeah, they've a choice and so do we
Oh, yeah, the Shi'a thing - one of the most active opposition movements to Saddam is a fundamentalist Islamic one, sort of ironic.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
Monarchies (3.00 / 1) (#94)
by dadragon on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 10:29:35 PM EST

Are you talking about any monarchy, or just the abusive absolute monarchy? If somebody is going to overthrow an established government, one could just severely limit the power of the monarch, as is the case with such countries as: Canada, Austrailia, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweeden, Japan, the UK, etc. That would be quite a lot easier than installing a puppet republic.

[ Parent ]
Monarchy (2.00 / 1) (#97)
by M0dUluS on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 10:54:26 PM EST

I guess that I feel that constitutional monarchies like those that you mentioned are more acceptable than absolute monarchies. But I really don't accept either of them. If there is going to be a government I'd prefer it to be somewhat republican and federalist like the U.S. I think that having some family with inherited power over the country continuing on even in the largely symbolic role of those that you mention is wrong. I'd rather an elected President like France or Ireland. Also I don't like the British idea of the House of Lords. Is there a similar body in other European countries? I know that Ireland has a bicameral legislature with a Senate which is composed of people elected by university graduates (bit elitist) and various churches.
I guess the short answer is that I could see ignoring the monarchies that you mention, but I don't like them much.

Why does it have to be a "puppet" republic?

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]

Wow. (none / 0) (#119)
by mindstrm on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 09:16:38 AM EST

The thing is, speaking as a Canadian.. we are, on paper, a constitutional monarchy.. yes.
But when we talk of 'severely limiting the power' of the monarch... you must understand.

Our beloved Queen of England has *absolutely NO power whatsoever* in the governmental process. The Governer-General (Queen's representative in Government) has to give royal assent (sign) each new bill to pass it into law.
I suppose it's technically possible for him/her to bung up the process and refuse to sign something.. but it just doesn't happen. Perhaps if something truly atrocious were going on..
The people of Canada do not generally view the Queen as a 'leader' or any other such thing; we don't even sing God save the Qeen in school any more, I don't think. (haven't been to school in some years...)

It's a part of our history, and a symbol of our membership in the commonwealth... but beyond that..

How is a 'republican federalist' government any different? Certianly, there are procedural differences... but really, it's the same thing. Elected president? We elect a Prime Minister... and he has the same power as the President (if not more, in some cases). Canada doesn't have a House of Lords.
The House of Lords will probably be gone or severely limited from England eventually.. there is increasing pressure to do so. The Queen has no actual power there, either anymore.. it's all tradition.




[ Parent ]
How Canada Works (none / 0) (#132)
by dadragon on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 04:18:47 PM EST

Canada doesn't have a House of Lords.

Not techenically. But our Senate is not elected. They DO have the same power as the House of Lords in Britain, but they don't exercise it because its members are puppets of the House of Commons.

Our Prime Minister can't give royal assent. The President CAN give their equivalent of royal assention.

The Governor General is also given power to "Protect Democracy", called the Royal Perogative. She can refuse to sign bills that give too much power to the government, she can deny the PM's request to dissolve parliament.

Oh, IIRC, the House of Lords in Britain was there to represent the interests of the Aristocracy. Lords were not allowed in the Commons, so they had a second house of Parliament that could deny a bill, or generate one that could go back down to the commons.



[ Parent ]
Reply to dadragon and mindstrm (none / 0) (#140)
by M0dUluS on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 06:11:45 PM EST

I guess I dislike the idea of any governmental structures that are not controlled by the people. I don't even like the idea of "loaning" my authority to them by choosing between eg the Tories and the Liberals (lets forget PQ and NDP!). I especially don't like the idea of keeping on in style someone who represents the old days when you beat the crap out of people without any apologies. So, the Queen (who as I understand it has a huge personal fortune that I'd rather see spent on getting pensioner's hip joint replacements and urban parks and decent schools) is a symbol to me of the bad ole days.
True the Gov.General is a sort of rubber-stamp, but he still has that power theoretically.
I guess that the republican federalist structure has at least the idea that the ordinary people get to control things.
P.S. I think that we can see that is not what happens and that instead it's a plutocracy, so I don't argue for it - I just prefer its rhetoric to that of the monarchies.
All said and done though Canada is a really cool place. Out of places to live in the world I'd probably choose Sweden (north), Canada (only been to the Maritimes there) or Australia.
I wonder sometimes whether governmental structure is nearly irrelevant and the most important factor is culture or people's attitudes. I really liked Canadians - friendly but not in your face.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
Monarchies, Again. (none / 0) (#133)
by dadragon on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 04:44:09 PM EST

Personally, I prefer the constitutional monarchies. They have a head of state that represents ALL citizens of the country, not just the people who elected them. Their role in Canada, where I live, is simply to protect the democracy and comply with the wishes of the people. But then the monarchy doesn't assert direct authority over Canada, we have the Governor-General who is the Queen's representative to Canada. If we get our own monarchy, which some people (myself excluded) think would be a good idea, their role would replace that of the Governor-General. We would just have a King (or Queen, or Emperor, or Kaizer, or ....).

Another reason I like to have the monarchy, is that it gives neat names to parts of government. The superior court in most provinces is called "The <Province name here> Court of Queen's Bench". The prosecutors for the court are called "Crown Prosecutors". Government corporations are called "Crown Corporations". The names are just neat, I think.

But back on topic, I don't know if there is a similar body in other European countries. There IS a similar body in Canada called the Senate. Unlike the American Senate, our Senate is appointed by the Governor-General on advice of the Prime Minister, so it is very much like the House Of Lords. Each Senator serves until his/her 75th birthday. The Senate theoretically has quite a lot of power, but thankfully they don't exercise their power very often.

If I am not mistaken, upon Confederation, there was talk of instituting an Aristocracy in Canada. It was shot down though, as Canada East (Now Quebec) rejected the idea. That would have lead to the creation of the House of Lords in Canada. They instead settled on an appointed Senate, for "Sober Second Thought", Canada's Fathers of Confederation had very limited faith in Democracy.

If I ever decided to run for Prime Minister, and start my own party, here is what I'd change: The Senate would be elected. The British Monarchy would get the boot, in favour of the "Elected King" idea, where we would elect a King to serve until his 75th birthday and then elect another one, or he could be appointed by parliament. I personally think that would make this country better, except for the Elected King idea, that's just to be cool and unique in another way. The RCMP is a unique police force, and we would also have a unique monarchy.

It wouldn't have to be a puppet republic, that's just what I figured the US would do. They did that to West Germany (A republic before the war) after the second world war, and they put a puppet Parliament in Japan (An absolute monarchy before the war, now a constitutional monarchy). Iraq is already theoretically a Republic, there is only one choice for the President, so I figured the US would put in a puppet president.



[ Parent ]
Us vs Them and Saddam. (4.50 / 6) (#81)
by Kasreyn on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 08:34:39 PM EST

You are basically arguing Saddam's point for him. He claims it is the sanctions destroying his country. In reality, it is his despotic rule. He executes thousands upon thousands of dissenters, political prisoners, and other innocents every year. Food given to his country under the "oil for food" program has turned up on the black market elsewhere, rather than in the bellies of Iraqi babies. His sons each have a fleet of sports cars as toys, while Saddam throws vast birthday parties for himself with loudspeakers all over Baghdad shouting "happy birthday" for our fearless leader.

As to why Americans don't care, we've basically written Iraq off. Don't think that after watching our troops move in for a couple weeks on CNN, we suddenly start to magically care. We are US and Iraq is THEM. We noticed Iraq when they started cutting in on the oil, and shoved them angrily out of the way like a strong piglet forcing the runt of the litter away from the teat. Total self-interest. When we hear of 500,000 Iraqi babies dying, it doesn't affect us because your average person can't comprehend numbers like that, and besides it's "THEM" it's happening to. We are enraged at it happening to NYC, because we all only have a few degrees of seperation to someone lying dead under tons of concrete tuesday before last. But who are these faceless Iraqi babies to us? Most Americans believe each third world nation consists of one dictator and about 50 people living in tents and mud houses. We don't really believe all that suffering exists, because it would make it too hard to sleep at night.

I don't find it surprising that America doesn't care. I find it surprising that it took the WTC attack to bring it to your attention.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Saddam's point (2.40 / 5) (#89)
by M0dUluS on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 09:42:39 PM EST

may be correct as you argue. We are killing them for oil. Can you give me a source for the food turning up on the black-market? I'd just like to be able to evaluate it. Meanwhile here's a link to 11 Myths About Iraq . Evaluate them for yourself. Certainly the UNICEF report exists.
I think that people do care. I hope that if anything comes out of this it will be a realization that Iraqi and American deaths are a drop in the bucket compared to those happening so that I can throw away another half-eaten Arby's.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
Here's the link (none / 0) (#259)
by M0dUluS on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 04:28:21 PM EST

for 11 Myths about Iraq as promised in the above post. I don't know what happened to it there. Sorry. Now, what about some proof of the baby-milk stories?

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
What your comment is... (1.00 / 1) (#145)
by PhillipW on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 06:37:37 PM EST

...is the height of ignorance. I don't recall seeing Iraqi CITIZENS marching into Kuwait. Oh that's right. IT'S BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T. If you don't care about innocent people starving, then you yourself deserve to starve. May I reccommend you look at things from a different set of shoes? I find that the best way to get rid of stupidity. Good luck opening your eyes!

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Reread. =) (4.00 / 1) (#151)
by Kasreyn on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 07:37:37 PM EST

Did I say "I"? I said "Americans." I was explaining, in a non-apologist manner, as harshly as I knew how, why *America* doesn't care. As to whether I care, there is little I can say that matters. I see little point in tritely going with the crowd and mouthing sympathies I don't feel. I'd rather be a monster than a hypocrite.

I suggest YOU open you eyes, to learn to detect cynicism in posts.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
I hope (3.00 / 2) (#158)
by PhillipW on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 12:01:59 AM EST

That you have to go through the same CRAP that the Iraqi citizens do. Your lack of care certainly shows that you deserve it. I re-read your post at your recommendation, by the way. I find your them and us rhetoric to be pretty stupid. Other than geographical and maybe religious reasons, are you really different from them? Really you and they are just trying to survive and lead as good a life as possible. The difference of course being that they have not had everything handed to them on a silver platter.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Get it through your head! (4.00 / 1) (#203)
by Kasreyn on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 06:08:16 PM EST

"The views expressed in Kasreyn's posts are not neccessarily his own."

Cynicism! Do I honestly need a disclaimer for people who can't tell when I'm mouthing sentiments I don't believe, in order to mock the people who do believe them?


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
The price is wrong . . . (3.60 / 10) (#88)
by Robert Hutchinson on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 09:29:18 PM EST

First, my opinion. I believe that the economic sanctions on Iraq are terribly wrong. They should be lifted immediately. Restriction of free trade is idiotic. Person A is selling, Person B is buying, and Person C is butting in.

Now, to respond to comments I've seen scattered about:

Saddam would starve them anyway

Wow, there's some airtight ethics. "I'm going to murder this guy." "Don't you dare! I get to do it!" Sick. This also ignores the built-in propaganda device the sanctions give Hussein. If we lifted the sanctions, ol' Sad couldn't so easily blame the West for oppressing his people. The chances for rebellion, small as they might be, would undoubtedly grow.

Dictatorships deserve sanctions

Quite the Western response there. Repeat after me: a nation's government is not a nation's people. The idiotic justifications for democracy have become so pervasive that people are applying them to dictatorships. Yeesh. Some of you really should contemplate some remote shoe-filling. I like to talk a lot about abstract principles, but even I can easily imagine angry starving people.

We should end sanctions in order to turn down the boiling rage in the Middle East. We should end sanctions because voluntary trading should not be interfered with. We should end sanctions because they kill people. End them, right now, in Iraq and all over the world.

Robert Hutchinson


No bomb-throwing required.

What do you think? (none / 0) (#137)
by dazk on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 05:32:05 PM EST

Ok, let's assume the western world lifted all sanctions against Iraq. And I mean everything. Also there would be humamintarian aid flooding into the country large scale. Ok. What would happen. Do you really think the poeple of iraq would benefit?
On the contrary. It would be even easier for Saddam to get his high tech equipment for developing weapons. He'd have even more money to take for himself, his army and his followers. He'd become a lot more dangerous right away. I strongly believe the world isn't as ideal as it looks in many of the statements given here.
Of course it's a high cost seeing people, men, women, children die but if Saddam wasn't the way he is, Iraq's population wouldn't suffer as much. People (government people of western countries) would see it and sanctions were lifted immediately. Iraq could trade oil en masse and the economy would start to develop. Diplomatic relationships would develop and the works.
But that's utopia!
Of course the western world is imposing it's will on Iraq, of course nobody want's dead children because of decisions that were made but welcome to reality! What would you prefere? Do all of you complainers really prefere a strong Saddam Hussein with all the money he needs to do what ever he likes? I don't, really that thought frightens me.
Actually I think all you people complaining are completely wrong. You'd sacrifice a lot and endanger a lot more people than those that are dieing right now if you let leaders like Saddam Hussein do what they want to do.
What do you think would the world be like if Saddam wasn't stopped invading Arab countries? Do you really think you could live even close to like you do now? Of course it's questionable if you are willing to pay a price for not having to make too many sacrifices but you have to look at the situation completely. It makes no sense to look at 500000 children dieing without even trying to get the big picture. It's always easy to condemn certain parts of something. You can argue quite easiely against part of something but if you look at things as a whole the situation is different. Think of ALL the consequences of your proposed actions. If you still think the same way about that story, you don't seem to live on the same planet as I do.
----- Copy kills music! Naaah! Greedyness kills Brain! Counter: Bought 17CDs this year because I found tracks of an album on fileshare and wanted it all.
[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#144)
by PhillipW on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 06:32:54 PM EST

Do all of you complainers really prefere a strong Saddam Hussein with all the money he needs to do what ever he likes? I don't, really that thought frightens me.

You thought it was a good idea in the 80s when we had to get rid of those pesky Iranians...

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Sanctions Not Successful. Give Capitalism a Chance (3.75 / 4) (#92)
by quam on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 10:18:17 PM EST

The diplomatic 'sanction tool' is arguably the most ineffective diplomatic tool. Doing research, I have not found one instance where sanctions have brought an outcome meeting the objective of the nation(s) imposing sanctions. Saddam remains in power and Castro remains in power. Moreover, over the nearly forty years sanctions have been in place for Cuba, there has been no sign of a domestic uprising such sanctions were told to accomplish. As the posting demonstrated, the only parties harmed by sanctions are those at the bottom of the target nation's society. On the otherhand, where the US and other nations have lifted sanctions, productive outcomes have actually resulted. For example, China and Vietnam have a comparatively more open society than when sanctions were in place.

Instead of sanctions, I am convinced an outcome or result is easily at hand by a nation pursuing the opposite: flooding a nation's market with goods. The result of doing so may be seen in nations such as China and Vietnam where, mainly young citizens, have developed a strong desire for western goods and influences. This is also seen in other nations such as Iran. Certainly there is an argument such goods and influences are poor for a non-western culture, but my point is the US and other nations can accomplish its diplomatic goals by pursuing an international economic policy completely opposite of sanctions.

-- U.S. Patent 5443036 concerns a device for encouraging a cat to exercise by chasing a light spot.
Personal truths & consequences (4.50 / 2) (#104)
by Kapoor on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 01:17:37 AM EST

First my warmest thanks to all at kuro5hin for maintaining such a bastion of free thought, long may it live. I've been reading and reading.... And searching my soul I have. I've been walking the thin line between disgust for my fellow man and a realization of personal guilt. Time to change it is. We all seem to agree that there is no moral higher ground to stand upon. There is no clean finger left to point. It almost seems like we are at an evolutionary cusp, and as spokes people for the Western Hemisphere we have to ask ourselves some very basic questions about how we are to proceed. Some observations of my own: The American dream is quickly becoming a worldwide nightmare. Can you imagine an SUV in every driveway in China? India? Picture such a world. It sucks. The Afghanis' are really the only player in all of this who really need SUV's. One mans Terrorist is another mans hero. It always has been so, it shall always be so. Jesus was a terrorist. George Washington was a terrorist. If were to fight terrorism "root and branch" we need to stop watering the root. I'm new to this site and in my first readings of the posts here I found the most creative and hilarious idea for a solution to this problem i've yet heard. "Withdraw from the mideast fully, wait a bit, load up an aircraft carrier with arms of all kinds and have a huge yard sale in the Persian Gulf... sit back wait until there is a solid power and then hit them with everything 'merican "culture" has to offer.. let them eat Britney, n-sync, coke, coca puffs and Hollywood. A cultral nuke. The fallout in which Joe American can breath. Funny shit my brothers and sisters. But not too funny. One more observation before I bid you adieu: When are we going to declare war on Ireland? The terrorist grain belt of Western Europe? I'd really like to know so that I might warn my friends and relations so they might flee to America as did my Father. We know that America will accept all with open arms and without bias. right? -b

[ Parent ]
Jesus was a terrorist???? (none / 0) (#129)
by maveness on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 03:28:41 PM EST

OK, I'm succumbing to what may have been a troll provocation....

I'd just like to know how you figure this. There is NO story about Jesus that indicates he ever took violent action against anybody, never mind non-combatants.

Either you have an extremely unconventional definition of the word "terrorist" or you have some source of information about the life of Jesus that no one else has ever heard about.

*********
Latest fortune cookie: "The current year will bring you much happiness." As if.
[ Parent ]

it's rhetoric (4.00 / 1) (#150)
by hjw on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 07:29:45 PM EST

this is how the theory goes.. if someone has more facts, please post them.

Jesus was crucified by the roman appointed governer of Judea.<p>

The Romans were worried about the popularity of Jesus. After all, there was an expectation that the Messiah would restore Isreal as a nation.<p>

I am told that there is historical evidence that at the time crucifiction was reserved for people who were a threat to roman rule... you know terrorists etc... <p>

The difference between a terrorist and a freedom figher is victory, or so the saying goes<p>

Margaret Thatcher considered Nelson Mandela a terrorist, and a threat to democracy.<p>

All nations commit horrible attrocities in war.<p>


[ Parent ]
Bah, go read the Bible sometime ... (1.00 / 1) (#210)
by Dlugar on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 11:21:32 PM EST

Since it has the only history we have about this Jesus. Here we go:

Jesus was crucified by the Jews, his own people. The Roman appointed governor didn't think he was worthy to die, but didn't care too much about some random Jew.

The traditional Jews were worried about the popularity of Jesus, since he advocated "Love one another" as the highest law, didn't care much about Jewish laws such as Sabbath observance, and hung around with a rather immoral sort of crowd.

Dlugar

[ Parent ]
The bible isn't the only source (none / 0) (#217)
by hjw on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:21:08 AM EST

There are other accounts of the history. I'm not trying to disagree with the bible, I was just pointing out how the theory goes. I do not subscribe to the theory myself, but I would not reject it out of hand.

There is a hell of a lot of evidence to suggest that the bible isn't an accurate account of what happened anyway.

But the original point has to be considered anyway. We can get too bogged down in the nitty gritty of the example. The point the poster was referring to was that people can be remembered years later as being great heroes, when at the time they were considered terrorists.

In Ireland in 1916, a small group of men carried out an insurection against the British. It was supposed to be a nation wide event, but a large disagreement between the leaders of the republican movement left only the dublin brigade under the leadership of Padraig Pearse ready for action.

There was a few days of fighting in Dublin, which amounted to very little resistance. The British were quite effective at stamping out that wave of terrorism. As punishment for their actions, the leaders of the rebellion were executed. One at a a time. One day at a time. And the Irish public's sympathy for the leaders and their cause grew. 5 years later we gained our independence, and the terrorists of that time are national heroes today.

I think this shows the point that the poster is trying making.



[ Parent ]

It is for Jesus. (none / 0) (#235)
by Dlugar on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 02:35:57 PM EST

If not, can you show me another historical source that talks about the life of Jesus? Regardless of its historical accuracy, it's all we've got to go on.

At any rate, the poster's original point was a good one--some days they're "freedom fighters" and national heroes, some days they're "terrorists" which must be stopped at any cost. However, Jesus of Nazareth was neither. [... which was the point of this side-argument. Concede the point and let's get back to the original discussion at hand. Thanks.]

Dlugar

[ Parent ]
I concede (4.00 / 1) (#240)
by hjw on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:30:20 PM EST

Of course I concede. Although there are other sources that relate to Jesus christ, (e.g. the dead sea scrolls ), I have not seen any evidence that would convince me that Jesus ever took part or motivated activities that could be regared as terrorist. Therefore the example lends little weight to the argument.

However it still provides the useful example of how a person can be considered for the death penalty from mob mentality



[ Parent ]

OK! (none / 0) (#305)
by Kapoor on Sat Oct 13, 2001 at 03:31:21 AM EST

My thanks to hwj for manning the helm while I was away.

Yes. Let's not get caught up in the current TV definition of Terrorist. In fact let's talk about the term Terrorism. From what I can see now, the media and Government are basically defining Terrorism as tactics and ideology that are not consistant with those of the dominant "Super Power." In my mind... (and please bear in your mind that I take no joy from the events of 9/11) these are the tactics of oppressed peoples faced with an enemy that if confronted on the "conventional battlefield" would probably never even see a target, they'd be blown to his kingdom come before they could shout "for the love of Allah!!!" I think the first reaction for the US government when dealing with a people like this is to dissmiss them as inconsequential.. you can trust that they are not deep in thought about the plights and value of any message that is delivered through conventional diplomacy. If anything they are trying to devise ways of, for lack of a better term....shutting them up, lest they incite sympathy to causes that may interfere with the smooth flow of resources from "American Interests."
So what we have here is a nasty case of "Asymetrical warfare".... or as of late Terrorism. I would like to remind everybody reading this that The United States of America was bought with the blood of yes, you guessed it, asymetrical warfare.... somthing the British certainly would have termed Terrorism had that little meme been on the scene at the time.


Now to the debate on Jesus.... The J man... HAYsuess... Marys son and Josephs doubt.

The only source of information we have on the life and times of Jesus aside from the obvious biblical vingettes is from Josephus Flavius a Roman/Jewish historian who wasn't even alive at the time of Jesus (but shortly after) .... He tells of the usual things but with a twist. Josephus wasn't personally inclined to think of Jesus as a Holy man, he had strong sympathies to the Romans. One interesting thing of note. As we all know Jesus was "trained" by John the Babtist, an Essene Jew. Historically I think you could say that at least from a Roman perspective the Essenes were as close to Terrorist from a state view as they come and certainly fundementalist (even today).

Draw an analogy betwixt that and the ugly current state of global affairs.

No, Jesus didn't load up a donkey cart with the bodies of the diseased and ram a Roman barracks. He caused some strife for the money changers in the market place... he SPOKE OUT against oppression.... he died for his ideals... and if your of the devout ....he died for you.

ONE MANS TERRORIST IS ANOTHER MANS HERO.

If your interested in the writings of Josephus Flavius there are MANY books of not only just his writings but analysis thereof. You can also find a wealth of knowledge online, just search on his name.


A final note: I mean by no means to offend here. The teachings of Jesus as presented in the Bible have inspired many good and noble deeds. They have also inspired wars. They may just yet inspire another war. I cannot attest to the historical accuracy of Flavius' writings. They are simply all we have to go on save that book itself. Seek out your own answers.

Love and Light.
Peace.



[ Parent ]
Josephus... (none / 0) (#306)
by Kapoor on Sat Oct 13, 2001 at 04:22:19 AM EST

Oooops... never drink and type..

The mans name in order this time...

Flavius Josephus.


not... well you get it.

apologies.



[ Parent ]
depends on what "objectives" were (4.00 / 2) (#117)
by dimaq on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 08:07:36 AM EST

After all who said or who would be trusted to have said that the objective of cuba sanctions was making Castro go or get killed by rivals or by local uprising? Maybe the true objective was just to push Cuba down the drain far enough that it would no longer pose any real "threat", be it in military sense or more likely in sense that certain politicians would need to deal with it otherwise?



[ Parent ]
Goals, intent, and objectives (2.00 / 1) (#123)
by wolf256 on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 11:35:25 AM EST

To expand on your point a bit, I think that those who compare the WTC's destruction (and the loss of human life) to the results of actions by the US (including air bombing raids and the loss of those people as well) are missing an important point.

To an unbiased observer, there have been clear objectives and goals to most (but not all) of the actions taken by the US. Sometimes the show of US force has resulted in measurable good. Other times it has been less succesful. But rarely (if ever) has the US rained destruction solely for the purpose of destruction.

I would also like to remined many of you that the US took military action in the former Yoguslavia in support of Muslims. The US has also opposed Russia human right violations in Chechya (again, on the behalf of muslims). So to suggest that the US is systematically targeting muslims is at best rhetoric and at worst evil manipulation of facts.

Here is the difference: The WTC destruction served no purpose other than to kill. There will not be a single positive consequence from these acts. In short, the WTC destruction was evil.

You may disagree with US policy. You may also disagree with US goals. But if you are honest, and you look at the facts (especially with a broad historical context of other nation/states that have dominated an era) you must admit that the US policy and actions are consistant in the sense that they seem rational if you share those goals and have a similar model of how the world works.

In no case can the WTC actions be seen as rational or even non-evil. And that is a profound difference. Never forget it. And never trivialize it.

[ Parent ]

Your subjectivity vs their subjectivity (none / 0) (#248)
by eWulf on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 06:27:15 AM EST

A few points:

To an unbiased observer

Who is this man???

The US has also opposed Russia human right violations in Chechya

The Chechen rebels are TERRORISTS. They have bombed appartment buildings in Moscow killing hundreds of people. The Russians hope that this current "war against some terrorists" is going to include the Chechens as well as their Afghan mates.

By supporting the Chechens the US government are supporting TERRORISTS.

The WTC destruction served no purpose other than to kill

OK, heres a possible purpose. This is not my point of view. I agree that it was an evil and unjustified (as far as I am concerned) act but here's the train of thought.

It served the purpose of waking up the American government to the effects of their foreign policy abroad. The Bush administration was not behaving democratically in the international arena, backing out of conferences as and when they felt like it. They walked out on the conference on racism - WALKED OUT. They were refusing to listen to reason and to the voices of other countries hence something had to be done.

...you must admit that the US policy and actions are consistant in the sense that they seem rational if you share those goals and have a similar model of how the world works.

This sentence is very telling and could quite happily be reversed to show the other man's view.

E.g The world is a violent place where force is king. The US taught us this in the Gulf War when they stopped Kuwait from being repatriated to Iraq - of which it is rightfully the 19th province. The US is the most powerful nation on earth. When we try to talk to them about our concerns they just walk away and there is nothing we can do. How do we attract their attention? How do we make them appreciate our point of view?

So you see, by considering what other people have as goals, and considering how they think the world works, you can understand reasons why (perhaps), this all happened.

[ Parent ]
South Africa (5.00 / 2) (#128)
by maveness on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 03:25:07 PM EST

Economic sanctions and private boycotts had a terrific effect in South Africa.

It was one way that the ruling party in South Africa came to realize that they were increasingly marginalized in the international community, and it speeded one of the most successful peaceful transitions to a full democracy yet on record.

*********
Latest fortune cookie: "The current year will bring you much happiness." As if.
[ Parent ]

Aye, but ... (none / 0) (#211)
by Dlugar on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 11:27:51 PM EST

The people there were very Westernized, and there was already a very, very strong push from inside for change. The economic sanctions and private boycotts, as you said, speeded the transition, but I think we're simply deluding ourselves if we think that economic sanctions will work on a people and government who are entirely resisting any change.

Dlugar

[ Parent ]
Damned if you do, damned if you don't (4.45 / 11) (#98)
by datian2001 on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 11:28:11 PM EST

Why is Iraq suffering so much? Either a lot of you are too young to remember or you were otherwise mentally occupied at the time. We took Iraq on because they invaded Kuwait over an oil dispute. Remember? Saddam got mad because he thought an oil pocket that straddled the border should belong completely to Iraq. So he swept in with his army after the barest pretense at negotiation and within a month had completely looted Kuwait, down to the plumbing and wiring. And there he was with what was at the time one of the largest and best-equipped armies in the world, leering over at Saudi Arabia.

Now, whether or not we should have gone to war over oil is another conversation entirely (I for one would like to see us switch to something else like fuel cells or renewable energy so we can kiss off the entire Middle East for good), but at the time and still today the world economy depended on oil; and all of you many K5'ers who drive SUVs, live in the suburbs, and recoil from public transportation like a venomous reptile would have been SOL. So it was imperative to stop the guy before he steamrolled all over the region and held the world economy for ransom, apart from wanting to help the Kuwaitis out.

At the time, the US rushed troops to defend Saudi Arabia, and gave Saddam the option to withdraw or be forced out. He scoffed, so we kicked him out. We have nothing to apologize for in having done so. Yes, the victory was lopsided and many, many more Iraqi soldiers died than did Allied troops (remember that it was an international coalition, not just the United States). But that is what happens in war. People die. That's why it's a terrible thing, but if there must be a war then far better their soldiers die than ours. It's a pity that we couldn't have simply immobilized them, brought them back to Iowa and fed them milk and cookies until our gentle vibe counselors could convince them of the error of their ways, but this was the real world and not bleeding heart liberal fantasy land.

Which brings us to the sanctions and the "killing of Iraqi children." It all would have been much easier had we simply rolled the tanks another 50 miles to Baghdad and killed Saddam, but we didn't because we wanted to make a strong statement for international law, to say that it's not right for one country to impose its will on another by force (rather hypocritical for the US, but that was the story at the time); and all the liberals thought that was a good idea and applauded it at the time because they thought economic sanctions would surely convince Saddam to play nice in no time. After all, economic sanctions are a good, non-violent way to get the bad boys of the world to behave.

It didn't work out that way, Saddam is still in power, and either we keep the sanctions and the inspections, or we go in with the military and kill some more people. What's the alternative? If we just drop the sanctions and refrain from another conflict, then Saddam will continue on his merry way developing and distributing biological and chemical weapons. Any of you K5'ers Jewish and support Israel? That's one of the first places they'd hit, so be careful how you answer. And after seeing the dust pillar waft over Brooklyn two weeks ago, I'm personally mighty glad we cracked down on Saddam.

I'm not saying that so many Iraqi children dying is a good thing. It's a tragedy and a catastrophe. But it's also not our fault. It's not America's fault and it's not the fault of all the other countries who are also maintaining sanctions against them. The UN has repeatedly tried to funnel aid and medicine to the people of Iraq, only to see it diverted by Saddam's men. The UN has repeatedly offered to increase the amount of aid in exchange for full compliance with the weapons inspection teams. Saddam has refused every time. So the only person responsible for those children's deaths is Saddam. He could have played ball, and we would have destroyed his weapons of mass destruction efforts and lifted sanctions a long time ago.

The solution is therefore to get rid of Saddam or keep him bottled up forever. Are you willing to support another military action to take him out so a sane government can be installed and the children can get the food and medicine the UN has been trying to send them for 15 years? That's what it will take. If not, then the sanctions will stay.

how dare you (2.25 / 4) (#125)
by Ender Ryan on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 12:24:29 PM EST

<sarcasm>How dare you? Defend the actions of the UN when CHILDREN ARE DYING!!!</sarcasm>

Pardon me while I puke, this extreme liberal bullshit is making me sick. OF COURSE IT'S A FUCKING TRAGEDY that children are dying, but if Saddam would stop funneling all the aid coming into his country this wouldn't be happening there!

Do you really want to give in and allow Saddam to continue building up weapons of mass destruction?

This anti-U.S. (UN in reality...) rhetoric is uttertly laughable.

-
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!


[ Parent ]

erm... (5.00 / 2) (#149)
by hjw on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 06:55:59 PM EST

Extreme Liberal Bullshit?<p>

That's really scarey.<p>

We are talking about people here. They are no different from you and me. They are dying because of sanctions that the US refuses to drop. It is a UN sanction, but do you actually understand the structure of the UN? The US are *the* most powerful country in it. They US were able to stop the appointment of Butrus Butrus Gali to his second term as UN Secretary General.<p>

Do you understand the scructure of the UN security council?<p>

I'm fairly sure that if the US were to want to drop the sanctions, they would go. What's more, if it were possible for democracy to work and for the people of the US to convince ( tell ) their president to drop these sanctions they would go.<p>

Unfortunately that's the way it works.
But others see it that way. They blame the American people.<p>

Please try to see the middle-east in the context of it's history. The people who live there do.<p>



[ Parent ]
Middle East Perspective? (4.00 / 4) (#153)
by datian2001 on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 09:58:54 PM EST

The Kuwaitis, Saudis, and Iranians weren't terribly sad to see the US beat Iraq in the Gulf War, and they don't seem to be too upset that Saddam is bottled up by the sanctions. Last time I checked, those folks are all in the Middle East. Israel, too, is in the Middle East, and after Scud missiles falling on Tel Aviv during the conflict I'm sure they're not unhappy about the situation either. Despite your oversimplifying the issue, there is no "Middle East" perspective. There are just as many perspectives in the region as there are anywhere else.

Even inside Iraq, there are plenty who applaud the sanctions, like the Kurds. Since they were included in the no-fly zone and given protection by the allies they've been able to form their own government, currency, and set up a school system. They've had more chance to improve their lot than perhaps any other time in their history, and they're taking advantage of it. Given that Saddam has attacked them with chemical weapons, which slaughtered men, women, and children indiscriminately, they're probably hoping the sanctions and allied intervention in Iraq never end.

The sanctions are good, and they must remain in place until Saddam and the Baath party are gone. The alternative is something nobody wants to contemplate, and that includes most people in the Middle East.

Innocent Iraqis are dying because of Saddam's brutal despotism, but so did many innocent Germans during WWII; yet we still fought them because there was no other way to stop Hitler. The only way I can think of to end the sanctions and the suffering in Iraq now is to assassinate Saddam and his cronies. Would you rather we did that? I didn't think so.

To address your other point about how the UN works, I do understand how it and the Security Council work. The United States is the only superpower, but its vote is worth no more than that of any other Security Council member. It can veto a measure, sure, but it can't unilaterally approve one. Neither can it force other member nations to go along with whatever it wants. And just in case you were in doubt, the UN has consistently reaffirmed the sanctions. That is, a great many other nations also feel the sanctions should stay.

[ Parent ]

Lame... (2.00 / 1) (#157)
by PhillipW on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 11:56:54 PM EST

If they don't like Iraq so much then let them deal with it. We do not need to be sticking our noses into conflicts that have been going on for well over 1000 years. It is none of our business, and has proven to be disastrous for us.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
it is our business (4.00 / 1) (#160)
by Ender Ryan on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 12:20:27 AM EST

It is our business, because we do business in the middle east. How is it wrong to stop a dictator from taking over a country that we do business with? That is utterly ridiculous.

Iraq was the aggressor, don't forget that. Saddam keeps trying to build up weapons, don't forget that either. Saddam is blocking aid from getting to his starving people, don't forget that either.


-
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!


[ Parent ]

Remember this... (none / 0) (#176)
by PhillipW on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 12:27:19 PM EST

Iraq was the aggressor, don't forget that. Saddam keeps trying to build up weapons, don't forget that either. Saddam is blocking aid from getting to his starving people, don't forget that either.

A couple things for you to remembr. Kuwait is not some nation that is weak and unable to defend. They are a rich oil country, with plenty of money.

It is our business, because we do business in the middle east. How is it wrong to stop a dictator from taking over a country that we do business with? That is utterly ridiculous.

We gave them the guns. Saddam does need to be punished. But why now should we punish the citizens of that country for the actions of their leader? While US citizens can and should be held responsible for the actions of their leaders as the US is a democracy, the same standard does not apply to a military dictatorship. By giving Saddam arms, we have made it nearly impossible for these people to overthrow him. Perhaps you should think about that.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
I'm curious (none / 0) (#179)
by BurntHombre on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 01:22:48 PM EST

What do you mean by this statement?

"While US citizens can and should be held responsible for the actions of their leaders as the US is a democracy, the same standard does not apply to a military dictatorship."

In what ways and to what extent should citizens of a democracy by held responsible for the actions of their leaders?

[ Parent ]

you ignored everything I said (none / 0) (#224)
by Ender Ryan on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 09:43:11 AM EST

It is not the fault of the U.S. (UN) that these people are starving. There are people trying to feed them and provide aid, but Saddam is preventing them. Jesus Fucking Christ, how many times does that need to be said before people get that into their fucking skulls. Saddam IS STARVING HIS OWN PEOPLE BECAUSE HE DOESN'T ALLOW THEM TO BE GIVEN AID! WHEN HE GETS HIS HANDS ON MONEY/RESOURCES HE USES THEM TO BUILD WEAPONS! SADDAM PARADES MEDIA PEOPLE WITH CAMERAS IN FRONT OF HIS STARVING PEOPLE TO MAKE US FEEL BAD. SADDAM IS PROVIDING MISINFORMATION TO SKEW THE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE WE THINK ARE DYING IN HIS COUNTRY. SADDAM IS FUCKING RICH AND BUYS HIS KIDS SPORTS CARS, THROWS NATIONAL BIRTHDAY PARTIES FOR HIMSELF, ETC., BUT DOES NOTHING FOR HIS PEOPLE!


-
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!


[ Parent ]

Really? (1.00 / 2) (#291)
by PhillipW on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 01:50:17 PM EST

I do not see anybody sending food and medicine to the area.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
bullshit (2.50 / 2) (#159)
by Ender Ryan on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 12:15:47 AM EST

These people are not dying because of the sanctions, they are dying because their "leader" is blocking aid from getting to his people. This "leader" is using all his resources to buy his kids sports cars and to build weapons.
<p>

-
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!


[ Parent ]

Precisely... (5.00 / 1) (#174)
by Otter on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 12:15:14 PM EST

It all would have been much easier had we simply rolled the tanks another 50 miles to Baghdad and killed Saddam, but we didn't because we wanted to make a strong statement for international law, to say that it's not right for one country to impose its will on another by force (rather hypocritical for the US, but that was the story at the time); and all the liberals thought that was a good idea and applauded it at the time because they thought economic sanctions would surely convince Saddam to play nice in no time. After all, economic sanctions are a good, non-violent way to get the bad boys of the world to behave.

Exactly! Of course, whether a policy is good or bad has to be judged apart from who supports it, and when. But it's worth remembering who it was, when the coalition forces were gearing up to attack Iraq, who marched with "Give The Sanctions Time To Work!" placards while asserting as an objective fact that the racist, militarist, imperialist President Bush would launch an invasion of Baghdad. (This may all sound familiar.)

I remember thinking at the time that if we did rely on sanctions, the same leftists who were demanding them would be insisting that they be dropped as soon as they had any effect, and blaming everyone else for their imposition in the first place.

Of course, the same leftists keep telling me I'm a barbarian for thinking the use of atomic bombs against Japan was preferable to starving every last Japanese to death, so what do I know...?

[ Parent ]

So... (none / 0) (#177)
by PhillipW on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 12:29:00 PM EST

Your solution is to keep sanctions in place that are only strengthening the existing regime? I like that idea, too!

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Major Earthquake in China, Not Many Dead (3.71 / 14) (#100)
by jd on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 11:49:01 PM EST

This was a real headline in a British newspaper, albeit from sometime ago. What does it reveal? That's easy. One death down the road is "worth more" than one hundred deaths overseas, or ten thousand deaths the other side of the world.

We fuss and fidget over the few thousand who died in New York (and, yes, the figure is still going down), and ignore the tens of thousands dead or dying in Iraq. Far more to the point, we ignore the starving and dying MILLIONS in Africa, where AIDS is claiming one in every three, and either starvation or malnutrition-related disease usually claims the other two.

We cared. Once. In 1986. WTF?!?! We expect one day's worth of consideration to solve the problems of an entire continent??? In the meantime, we've all but ignored a multitude of wars, at least one genocide, famine & pestilence on a scale never before known by the human race, and more than half the world's dictators.

Yet we're all buggering off to kick the backside of some Saudi Arabian that we don't even know has done anything! Shows our priorities, doesn't it!

If we spent the $40 billion "relief money" on reforesting Africa, building reservoirs there, shipping over basic antibiotics & basic foods, and educating people on how to meet their daily needs, we'd save more lives and do more long-term good than all the anti-terrorist forces in the world could achieve.

But what DO we send over? Tractors, with no spare parts and no fuel. What a whole lot of bloody use THOSE are! We send over money, which the robber barrons then pocket for themselves. Besides, what use is a dollar bill to an African? Seen any 7-11's in Ethiopia, lately? Oh, and canned foods (yeah, right, anyone got a can opener?), and powdered milk (uhh - no clean water, remember??).

In short, the "aid" sent to Africa has been pathetic. We let millions die of trivial causes, and then bitch & moan over a few thousand getting squished when a building falls on them.

The Iraqis are being starved in an effort to force a rebellion, when all other methods have failed. It's never struck anyone that as evil and sadistic as Saddam Hussain is, he might be seen as a lesser evil than most of the alternatives.

(After all, we've butchered all the alternatives. Those were the draftees shoved onto the front line, in the Gulf War, that the Americans massacred with cluster bombs and missiles. The loyal troops were all kept well clear and were untouched. AMERICA, not the Iraqis, is solely responsible for Saddam Hussain still being in power.)

The truth is, America has ignored all the real humanitarian issues, and actually caused many of those issues that exist today, INCLUDING bin Laden, who was (and, for all we know, istill is) a product of American covert operations.

This is not to say America is entirely at fault. Just a good 90%. But it's about time America grew up and stopped blaming others for problems IT creates. Be mature for a change! And behave in responsible, civilised ways!

If America had kept out of Vietnam, then the current Vietnamese communist regime would never have arisen. It is a product of the vaccuum that American forces created, and the hatred of the West they engendered.

If America AND Britain had kept out of the Middle East, Iraq and Iran would not exist as they do today. But greed for oil, power and land caused both countries to interfere in the maturing of other nations, creating dysfunctional, paranoid, sociopathic nations, armed to the teeth, with a rabid hatred and suspicion of anything Western.

The evils of the world are a human creation. They do not arise naturally, they are by-products of evils that spill over from others. In the same way that the child of an addict is almost guaranteed to be an addict (although usually not in an identical way), the children of the greed and evil of the assorted super-powers, throughout history, have all been themselves greedy and evil.

We have a choice. The buck stops HERE, or it continues on through history. We're choosing to allow it to continue on. We don't have to. We CAN stop this cancerous tumor from spreading. We have the choice. This doesn't mean sitting down and doing nothing, it means actively fighting the tumor itself, and not the victims of it. It requires REAL strength, when fighting those devastated by it only requires cowardice and a long-range weapon.

Africa (3.25 / 4) (#121)
by Bad Harmony on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 11:06:07 AM EST

How patronizing of you. Millions of people are dying in Africa of poverty, war and disease. Of course, it is the fault of the West. For better or worse, Africans have self-determination. Rather than blaming their ills on outsiders, maybe they should take responsibility for their situation and institute social and political reforms to improve their situation.

54º40' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

Interesting perspective. (none / 0) (#237)
by jd on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 02:47:12 PM EST

True, they do have self-determination. But when you've no cohesion, no communication, no education and armed bandits prowling through the war-scarred remains of a continent, it's awfully difficult to implement any kind of decision.

It would be about the same as arguing that since cats and dogs have self-determination, one stray beagle could re-engineer Washington DC.

The West =HAS= to be involved, because the West has the resources that Africa doesn't. It has the food. It has the skills. It has the knowledge. It has the manpower. (Africa might have a lot of men, but if they're all dying from one terminal disease or another, or have had limbs blown off from landmines, the effective manpower is pathetic.)

To cut Africa loose, and say "it's your problem, you solve it" is to deny your humanity and theirs, it's to deny the consequences of your OWN actions (people with resentments generally act on them, and if someone sees themselves as dead anyway, they can be extremely dangerous), and it's to deny the impact on EVERYONE'S environment.

Yes, that last bit is important, too. For every tree cut down in Africa, for every change in the reflective properties of the continent, you will have an impact. If you were to reforest Africa, and dig reservoirs, do you really think it would only benefit them? The impact on the climate would be dramatic. Increased tree cover produces increased rainfall, which then makes that a self-sustaining ecology. But it also changes the way heat is transferred through the system. The air would be cooler, for example.

"So what?" you might ask. Well, the high temperature and LACK of humidity in Africa are key elements in the formation of the hurricanes which devastate America. As the deforrestation and drought continue, the risk of severe (Cat 4-5) hurricanes hitting the US goes UP. So, if we plant trees there, and manage the water resources, we can reduce the odds of the Carolinas, Virginia, DC, etc, being completely wiped off the face of the earth, through extreme weather.

It really is that simple. Should the African continent become primarily desert, you would be advised to abandon all property within a hundred miles of the US East Coast. Because, sooner or later, whatever was on that hundred miles won't be there.

Then there are other elements to consider. Africa is where a lot of new, deadly diseases are being discovered. Largely by people destroying natural habitats and ecosystems. By teaching people how to conserve and maintain, rather than slash & burn, you reduce the risks of new, deadly plagues being unleashed on the planet.

By providing the Africans with knowledge of medicine, the skills to produce it, the science behind it, and the rationale of keeping a healthy population, you not only save lives and increase skills, but you reduce the third-world debt, provide a means for Africa to fend for itself, and provide Africa with a front-line defence against such terrors as Ebola, etc.

(There's also the self-preservation factor, here, too. Since Africa -IS- a gigantic germ warfare lab, it's likely that less-stable countries will, or maybe even are, finding ways to exploit that lab. The more desperate Africans are, in general, for any kind of assistance, the more likely they are to help. This is NOT a safe situation.)

Finally, there's the financial impact of helping Africa. The third-world debt is even larger than the one GWB is running up, and may even be larger than Yeltsin's drinks bill. If they were given massive support, to the point of getting the entire continent on it's feet, that debt could start to be paid. As it stands, countries just throw away the tab every so often, and start again.

A poor Africa impoverishes EVERYONE, whether we help them or not. And the consequences of not helping them could range from merely destructive to totally catastrophic.

As for being in a country run by a dictator, I believe that the DMCA, the SSSCA, the case of Dmitri Sklyarov, the almost total abandonment of the Microsoft trial, the absence of any privacy laws, the possibility of a fraudulant Presidential election, the totalitarianism of the "anti-terrorist" bill, "justifiable homicide" in an increasing number of States, the use of the Death Penalty, a President who believes himself superior to God, and the exessive cost of learning anything different, suggests that the US =IS= a totalitarian regime, run by a dictator.

I'm not joking, when I say that, if there's a single major incident in the US in the next four years, we could easily see the President suspend the Constitution and claim absolute authority. As a protective measure, of course. If the current anti-terrorist bill hadn't faced such opposition, we might well have seen that this time around. There's still too much clear-thinking, though, for that to happen. But that was luck. Next time, we might not have that luck.

[ Parent ]

roll over and die (2.62 / 8) (#124)
by sopwath on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 12:15:40 PM EST

FUCK YOU I hope a plane lands on your mothers house and you get to go through that torment. The figure is not going down. It's not 20,000 like it was the first day, but when the mayor orders 6,000 more bodybags what does that tell you? BTW, did you lose any friends when the building didn't just fall down?

You're wrong. The US sends tons of food into africa every year. US Aid reports plenty of resources flowing into Africa. When the US tries to help African nations that don't seem to stop fucking even though AIDS is rampant, we are an evil capitalist nation. Why are we expected to feed everyone.

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Give a man a fish." Maybe tractor will help him grow his own food.

In Vietnam, trying to stop a domino effect from spreading communism to the rest of asia failed. we left and what happened? Communist governments took over Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. What have those governmnts done to help the people there? I suppose the fact that there's still people dieing there its our fault too.

When was the last time France or Germany or Italy or Switzerland or Norway or Spain or some other perfect liberal european government sent food into Africa or tried to help the people of Afghanistan? That's right, never! Why is it that whenever the shit goes down around the world, the US is to blame? If those countries are in such rough shape why don't they at least try to help themselves by not having unprotected sex, by not using slash and burn farming techniques, by fighting the warlords so the aid food gets where it needs to go? Why the fuck is it my fault?

When was the last time you heard China sending aid to Africa or helping all those poor inocent childeren in Iraq? Again, never! Why because that communist government europe seems to love is to busy building its own tanks and its own bombs so it can control the populace that it can't feed either. I bet people like you will blame that on the US too.

Wake up.

good luck, it sounds like you'll need it.

sopwath


Graduation, Sleep, Life: Pick Two
[ Parent ]

*beep* (4.60 / 5) (#131)
by henrik on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 04:16:15 PM EST

Wow.. I'm amazed. You're the one that need to wake up buddy.

When was the last time France or Germany or Italy or Switzerland or Norway or Spain or some other perfect liberal european government sent food into Africa or tried to help the people of Afghanistan? That's right, never!
US Foreign Aid has steadilly fallen since the early 1960s. From 0.8% of the GNP to 0.1%.

Sweden and Denmark give close to 1% percent of their GNP to aid (To put it another way: Each person in denmark and sweden contributes as much as 10 americans!). Out of the 10 top donor nations in the world, the first seven are european! (1)

And you come here claiming that the US is some paragon of virtue the rest of the world should look up to as the *only* unselfish nation that exists? Well fuck you - the US is more interested in maintaining status quo than acctually improving things. The US entire foregin policy is designed to keep the US on top no matter what the cost to the world. Fuck the enviroment - we have to keep our economy growing. The US is also a huge arms exporter - it sells weapons to anyone with money, always making the situation worse. Fuck the world.

I for one am sick of rich countries (The US isn't alone, though it's the largest offender) not doing anything to improve the world. If all the money spent on weapons.. is a classic but nevertheless accurate. We could fix the large problems, but the US isn't interested. Fuck the world.

And in the large scheme of things, a few airplanes crashing into New York isn't very significant. Tens of thousands die everytime there's a flood in Bangladesh. Do you care? No. Why should they care when New York gets blown up? Wake up! There's a lot more horrible things going on than terrorists. Millions die every year to keep pharmacutical companies profits up. In my personal opinion: Capitalism is a even worse system than communism because it so consistently fucks everybody who isn't rich. Fuck the world.

-henrik

(1) - http://www.globallearningnj.org/global_ata/USAID.htm

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!
[ Parent ]

There's gratitude for you... (none / 0) (#184)
by Silver222 on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 02:27:14 PM EST

You know, I'm really surprised at how often, on how many different message boards I've seen people from Scandanavia beating the drum over how great they are in the wake of this. It disturbs me a little bit.

The fact that you turned this into a rant on capitalism disturbs me even a bit more. Really, what's the point? If you think it's so damn bad, why don't you give your computer to an Iraqi who doesen't have one. Or go out and volunteer in the Peace Corps or something useful, instead of cackling about how great cradle to grave socialism is.



[ Parent ]

But we are! (none / 0) (#199)
by henrik on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 04:44:44 PM EST

But we are! We're the best nation(s) on earth - everyone should be like us. Heck, everybody wants to be us, even if they haven't realized it yet. And our cradle-to-grave socialism is very successful. If everybody tried to be like Scandinavia all the problems of the world would disappear.
  • Our people rarely have any material needs.
  • We're well educated, when compared to everybody else.
  • We dont engage in wars, we have no domestic terrorism, everybody likes us.
  • The odds of dieing a violent death are among the lowest on earth.
  • We don't pollute the earth nearly as much as comparable nations.
  • We're far ahead in almost all kinds of science and technology.
  • Equality is something all nations strive after, but Scandinavia has reached it.

And the fact that other nations are as convinced as we don't bother us one bit. After all, we know we're the best. Obviously everybody else is wrong. We're the pinnacle of human civilization.

Me, ironic? No way.

Come to think of it, I do give computers to Iraqi, food to the starving, and build houses in africa - although indirectly - comes automatically when i pay my taxes. :)

-henrik

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!
[ Parent ]

Yeah, but... (none / 0) (#207)
by Silver222 on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 09:25:56 PM EST

If it wasn't for Britain and the United States, you'd either be speaking German or Russian right now. If the United States and Britain took the attitude you just advocated, not engaging in wars, your little frozen Utopia wouldn't exist. Keep that in mind.

Don't start calling me an ugly American either, because I'm not and American :)

[ Parent ]

I can think of worse things in this world (none / 0) (#212)
by Dlugar on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 11:39:47 PM EST

I can think of far worse things in this world than speaking Russian. YMMV.

Dlugar

[ Parent ]
How about... (none / 0) (#213)
by physicsgod on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:18:26 AM EST

Being gassed for not fitting in amongst the "master race" or being sent to a slave labor camp for "crimes against the state". The US didn't save you from Germany and the USSR, we saved you from some rather nasty dictators.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
How about No? (none / 0) (#234)
by Dlugar on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 02:29:50 PM EST

The US didn't save me from Germany and the USSR, the US created those problems with their policies from WWI and afterwards.

If your excuse for meddling in the affairs of other countries is "to prevent another Hitler," as sometimes it appears to be, I would urge you to pull out that history book and take a look at why Hitler came to power. I'll give you a hint: it had nothing to do with the United States not sending enough military personnel overseas or not engaging in enough battles.

Dlugar

[ Parent ]
you're right. (none / 0) (#243)
by physicsgod on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 06:40:06 PM EST

WWII was caused by the short-sighted British and French trying to extract every drop of blood from Germany over the US's objections. After sending US soldiers over and administering the coup de grace europe then proceeds in the exact same path as before, ignoring all but 1 of Wilson's 14 points, you expect us to go along with it? If they had listened to Wilson in 1918 there probably wouldn't have been a Hitler. Also, how long do you think Britain would have held out without the lend-lease act and US support?

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Many ways of looking at numbers.. (none / 0) (#206)
by eightball on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 08:42:38 PM EST

First, relax, I am not saying we couldn't do more, but...

You do not mention that our GDP is 50 times larger than Denmark. So to say we are "not doing anything" is disingenuous as we are 'doing' 5 times more than Denmark.

Just keep a little perspective is all I ask, just say "not doing enough"

Thanks

ps - I agree with your that the poster you were responding to went too far in the other direction

[ Parent ]
You're right.. (none / 0) (#214)
by henrik on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:52:08 AM EST

ps - I agree with your that the poster you were responding to went too far in the other direction
Yup - that's the big problem with (online) discussions. You have to show that the person you replied to was so wrong you go to the other extreme instead of posting a more balanced view. Probably the same basic thing that's behind media sensationalism - a juicy story is more interesting. I'm obviously not capable of posting a balanced view, but atleast i know I'm not doing it :)

-henrik

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!
[ Parent ]

I guess you showed me (none / 0) (#290)
by sopwath on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 12:18:25 PM EST

So let me get this strait. Because we send a lower amount of money PER CAPITA somehow we are less generous than Europe is. What is the GNP of America compared to the GNP of Norway or Spain? I bet by we give a larger amount in total dollars than other countries.

You also said that the US never does anything to actually improve the world. Who went to Rowanda to try and give food to all the starving people there? Who provides almsot all the troops to keep WW3 from starting in Bosnia? Who has to make sure all that food and money gets to where it needs to instead of warlords controlling all those 3rd world countries? Umm that's right, US. Foreign aid is great, but who's gonna get it there?

If all those European countries were so fuckign great, they would give everything they have to help all those poor helpless souls who can't do anything for themselves. They don't do that. They don't help protect anything but themselves and it shows when the US asks for help they say they can't do anything. What is that? That's cowardice you fucktard! They are protecting themselves just like you say the US is. Only instead of just taking it up the ass when we get attacked, we stand up for ourselves. If we were the bullies that you seem to think we are beyond recognition. We didn't do that. We're still looking for help so we don't make things worse, but no one wants to stand up and fight.

I think I've been over this before. The US was not responsible for a flood or an earthquake or a volcano blowing up a villiage. The bastards that stole our planes and perposly killed 7,000 people were not an act of God! Don't you get the difference? When floods destoyed a large part of North Dakota, did any of those European countries come in and try to help us? Of course not, the US is expected to fend for herself.

Capitalism does suck sometimes, but at least I have a chance to get rich and make something of myself instead of having a select few in power (the corrupt people in a communist government) telling me how every aspect of my life should be done. Communism is worse than capitalism, because with Communism the army has to keep the populace down so that the rich can stay rich. With Capitalism everyone has a chance to be in the select few.
Graduation, Sleep, Life: Pick Two
[ Parent ]
Right on (none / 0) (#304)
by henrik on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 04:24:02 PM EST

So let me get this strait. Because we send a lower amount of money PER CAPITA somehow we are less generous than Europe is. What is the GNP of America compared to the GNP of Norway or Spain? I bet by we give a larger amount in total dollars than other countries.
Well.. duhh. Of course the US sends more money than denmark, in absolute dollars. 250million people has a lot more resources than 5. It only proves two things. 1) You can always use statistics to show what you wish (that's what keeps the discussions interesting. :-) 2) The US is 50 nations that got an illusion of grandeur and decided to band together to be more influencial. As soon as other countries figures out that this is a pretty good idea the US will cease to be the hegemony it is and the per capita numbers will start to be important.

I think I've been over this before. The US was not responsible for a flood or an earthquake or a volcano blowing up a villiage. The bastards that stole our planes and perposly killed 7,000 people were not an act of God! Don't you get the difference?
Yep. It's directly your fault, and mine, and everybody elses. If we weren't so damn selfish a lot fewer people would have to live short miserable lives. If countries had the resources, it could do a lot to minimize the damage done by natural disasters and almost eliminate human disasters. As for the WTC - i don't find it very interesting in the number of dead nor the amount of damage. It merely proves one thing - not all humans are created equal.

When floods destoyed a large part of North Dakota, did any of those European countries come in and try to help us? Of course not, the US is expected to fend for herself.
If you'd asked, we would have. That's how international aid works - a nation asks for aid and donors give it. If they don't ask, no donors will know help is needed, and thus, no resources will be given. It's as easy as that. The 1st world countries typically doesnt need help, we can take care of domestic "disasters" internally while others can't.

As for communism vs capitalism the argument can be summarized quite shortly: They both suck badly.

-henrik

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!
[ Parent ]

And... (4.00 / 1) (#141)
by PhillipW on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 06:15:47 PM EST

I hope that the country you live in becomes an unliveable desert with an authoritarian government, and that the world's super-power at that time imposes extremely harsh economic sanctions on your country causing you to be unable to buy medicine, which leads to the death of your children, parents, and/or yourself, which do nothing to harm your leader. Maybe then you would have some perspective :)

-Phil
[ Parent ]
on cambodia (5.00 / 2) (#147)
by hjw on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 06:41:50 PM EST

firstly, let me point out that I'm not into apportioning blame on a country for a few politician's decisions. I think even if the US has behaved in an innapropriately it's wrong to blame the citizens.

But if the wishes of the US population conflict with what the politicians implement, well.. I believe it's in the interest of your country to try to resolv this, and to reflect on the past activities of your politicians.


But anyway...

Cambodia was in a bad way at thh end of the vietnam war. We won't go into the Kissinger inspired order for covert wars ( breaking treaties signed by the US ) in Laos and Cambodia.. but anyway, the Vietnamese communists took over Cambodia after the Vietnam war ( or the Second Indo-China war as it's called in the region, reflecting the fact that *they* all know it wasn't confined to vietnam )


The Khmer Rouge were a freedom fighter organisation trying to overthrow communist rule. Most people in Cambodia who joined the Khmer Rouge are believed to have done so to liberate their country. Remember that the Vietnames 'stole' the Mekong Delta from the Khmer.

The Khmer Rouge are/were one of the most idealistically misguided forces to ever have walked this planet. Scarey people. I've been to Cambodia, I've seen the mess they've left behind.

The US and the UK have been implicated in support the Khmer Rouge against the vietnamese.

Now, I understand that there were important decisions to be made by the 'international community' and I do beleive that they were trying to do their best. But the facts speak for themselves. The decisions that were made were very bad ones.

Now I'm not going to suggest that the US should fix this mess because they helped cause it, but they should try to resolve the contradicions in foreign policy and work towards an implimentation of a world judicial system that can punish criminal behaviour ( which clinton vetoed due to not being able to get immunity for US citizens ).


one law for all. With independent scutiny of decisions.

I apologise for not including references. My lack of time isn't an excuse, but I believe the information on this is easy to find, and if you are interested you will look. If you can't find reliable sources, I can probably reccomend some reading.

That's the problem with statistics, people can find it all too easy to ignore the ones we don't like...

anyway, I'd still reccomend a visit to Cambodia. They are improving their situation.. slowly.. at least they don't live in fear of being dragged at gunpoint out into the coutryside and be forced to abandon their 'beurgios' ways.

good night,


[ Parent ]
Khmer Rouge ? (none / 0) (#170)
by drquick on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 09:36:19 AM EST

You write: "The Khmer Rouge were a freedom fighter organisation trying to overthrow communist rule."

The Khmere Rouge was lead by a notorious mass murderer called Pol Pot. Rouge is frech for 'red' anyhow and they were the most radical orthodox communists you can ever imagine. Khmere Rouge - The Red Khmeres - killed maybe 12 million people in their radical Marxist reform program before Vietmam invaded to stop the blodshed.

At this point the USA was still sore for loosing in Vietnam. Thats why the CIA started to support the Red Khmeres. So, Pol Pot and what was left of his army withdrew to the jungle near the Thailands borders.

And of course we have Ronald Reagan calling the greatest mass murderer ever a "freedom fighter". And all the time Pol Pot and Khmere Rouge tries to reinstall a flavor of communism.

You write: "I've been to Cambodia, I've seen the mess they've left behind."

The Khmere Rouge were cruel communists and not freedom fighters even if pres. R.R. says so. I don't get why you called KR fredom fighters!

You write: "The US and the UK have been implicated in support the Khmer Rouge against the vietnamese."

Like I said: Ronald Reagan called Pol Pot a "Freedom Fighter". It's clear enough.

--

About USA solving problems it's created. I think it would be just enough to stop makeing problems. Is there any dictator that hasn't been supported by the CIA? Shah of Iran received torture specialists from CIA, General Marcos of the Philippines had political opposition leaders assassinated by american agents (pres Aquinos husband). Talibans were supported by CIA of course. Saddam got at least some support against Iran (when USA was still sore at them). Pinochet, etc etc...

It seems the CIA have the tactic of use and forget, now we are paying for that.

[ Parent ]

my point is.. (none / 0) (#218)
by hjw on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:35:34 AM EST

Have you ever wondered how the Khmer Rouge became so popular?

When the Khmer Rouge started recruiting, they made a call to arms to liberate Cambodia from the Vietnamese. It was considered a great honour for a family to send the men to fight for freedom.

Most people had no notionof communism, but were seduced by promises of shared ownership and equality and fairness in law

Standard cries by all those who want personal gain in the name of Marx.

The strcture of the Khmer Rouge was so strict, that the leaders authority was absolute. Disobeying an order resulted in instant execution. By the time they had won the war, they had an army that could be used to ethnically cleanse Cambodia and commit all those attrocities. I've met people who were subjected to their death camps. I've met people who were in the Khmer Rouge.

So The Khmer Rouge gained popular support as freedom fighters ( in much the same way as Mao did )



[ Parent ]

You are so wrong (4.66 / 3) (#173)
by skipio on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 11:24:00 AM EST

"When was the last time France or Germany or Italy or Switzerland or Norway or Spain or some other perfect liberal european government sent food into Africa or tried to help the people of Afghanistan? That's right, never!"

Well, this is just so totally wrong.

The countries you mentioned are far more generous than the US when it comes to assisting poor countries. The table below shows how much the countries you mentioned give in aid as percentage of their GNP.

  • France: 0.40% of GNP
  • Germany: 0.26% of GNP
  • Italy: 0.20% of GNP
  • Norway: 0.91% of GNP
  • Spain: 0.24% of GNP
  • Switzerland: 0.32% of GNP
  • United States: 0.10% of GNP
Source: Unicef. Figures are for the year 1998.

Perhaps you notice that every one of the countries you mentioned gives far more in aid than the US. Norway, together with most of the Scandinavian countries gives almost 1% of it's GNP. Spain, not exactly a rich country, gives twice the amount of US.
The United States doesn't even give the same amount of money as Japan, which gives $10.6 billions in aid per year, compared to only $8.8 billions for the US.

[ Parent ]

Official Development Assistance (none / 0) (#182)
by Anatta on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 02:00:27 PM EST

Those figures are "ODA" or Official Development Assistance -- government aid. Due to the US having the smallest government of all those listed, wouldn't it make sense that the US gives the least official aid?

I don't have figures on how US Private aid relates to other private aid offhand, but this link shows the great increase in private aid to developing countries over the past years. I think it's a pretty safe bet to say that the US is leading the way.

This study discusses private aid. You can see on this chart that US aid to developing countries in 1997 was oohhh.... over $75 billion. Slightly more than Japan's $10b in public aid, though again, I don't know how much Japan gives in private aid.
My Music
[ Parent ]

Re: Official Development Assistance (5.00 / 1) (#208)
by skipio on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 09:36:34 PM EST

It is true that US private investment and aid somewhat make up for their country's abysmal official assistance. However, this does not change the fact that total US humanitarian aid as percentage of GDP does not reach the level of aid and investment by most other rich nations.

You mention that the US gave over $75 billion in total aid in 1997. I don't have figures for the total humanitarian aid for other countries for that year, but in 1996 the total aid and investment by US to developing countries amounted to $52,225 billion (0.69% of GDP). This isn't too bad, but is still much lower than the total aid and investment by many other rich nations in developing countries.
Below are the figures for total aid and investment in developing countries by few othe rich nations:

  • Japan: $36,908 billion (1.23% of GDP)
  • France: $18,566 billion (1.47% of GDP)
  • Britain: $21,395 billion (1.82% of GDP)
  • Norway: $1,605 billion (around 1% of GDP)
Sources: World Bank and CIA.

One should, of course, not forget that these are old figures and US aid to the 3rd world has increased somewhat (dramatically?) in the last few years.

However, my point isn't that the US doesn't give enough money in humanitarian aid and that it should increase it (opening up local markets and decreasing agricultural subsidies in US and Europe would help the 3rd world much more - in my opinion.) I was merely pointing out that the following statement by sopwath is totally inaccurate:

    "When was the last time France or Germany or Italy or Switzerland or Norway or Spain or some other perfect liberal european government sent food into Africa or tried to help the people of Afghanistan? That's right, never!"


[ Parent ]
I'm so confused... (none / 0) (#205)
by NovaHeat on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 07:53:32 PM EST

On one hand, the entire world likes to point the finger and scold Americans for "getting their hands into everything" and persuing "cultural imperialism" and all kinds of other horrible evils... but then.. theres comments such as If we spent the $40 billion "relief money" on reforesting Africa, building reservoirs there, shipping over basic antibiotics & basic foods, and educating people on how to meet their daily needs, we'd save more lives and do more long-term good than all the anti-terrorist forces in the world could achieve.

So... I'm REALLY confused now... does the world want our money, and all the strings that come along with that? Or do they want us to stay out of their affairs and mind our own business, which includes taking out money away? Because you know, you only have one choice... You can't say "Well, I think you need to give us $40 million, but stop being so greedy about our oil!". News flash: it doesn't work that way.

And a couple of other points:

If America had kept out of Vietnam, then the current Vietnamese communist regime would never have arisen. It is a product of the vaccuum that American forces created, and the hatred of the West they engendered.

You see, there exist these really neat things called "facts" and the "fact" in this case is that the Communist Viet Minh were operating in Vietnam long before the United States got involved. The reason the U.S. got involved in Vietnam in the first place was to placate France because we needed certain French concessions after the second World War. The whole "domino theory" thing came later. In the meantime, the Viet Minh were defeating the French on all fronts, the most famous example of which is the siege of Dienbienphu, but I suppose you wouldn't know that because you clearly haven't even given the most cursory glance to the subject. Now that we've established that you're speaking out of your hindquarters, let's examine another statement, shall we?

This is not to say America is entirely at fault. Just a good 90%. But it's about time America grew up and stopped blaming others for problems IT creates. Be mature for a change! And behave in responsible, civilised ways!

Yes... "a good 90%", another well researched number, I'm sure. And of course, we ought not be blaming our benevolent protege Osama bin-Laden for sending planes into the World Trade Center. After all, it's really our fault. But you're right about growing up. We should just cut off all of our "aid" to Africa, since, as you say, it's so pathetic anyways. Forget about all the vaccines we ship over there, and whatever food we send over there is better spent feeding the mouths of Americans. Those countries can fend for themselves, because, as you say, by giving them whatever humanitarian aid we do, we're just setting up a future international crisis... our dabbling in other nation's affairs is just going to boomerang back to us. Then again... as you say, we've ignored a "multitude of wars" a genocide or two, etc. I don't see what you're bitching about in this case... by staying out of those wars, we were avoiding that other 10% of problems that we might have created for ourselves!

All in all, I'm not terribly clear about what you're trying to say here... on one hand, you say that America needs to stay out of other nations' affairs, but then you chide us for not getting more involved in wars, stopping genocides, humanitarian aid, etc. So which is it? Get in or stay out? Before you go off on a rant about the evils of the United States, perhaps you should figure out which evil you're fighting against...

-----

Rose clouds of flies.
[ Parent ]

What are you biased toward today?[tm] (3.66 / 3) (#101)
by ShrimpX on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 12:15:57 AM EST

There are a couple of ways to look at this:

1) Power in the world does not belong to the masses. It becomes to the upmost individuals on the monetary scale, and governments--though this is becoming more and more symbolic. The masses have little to do with decisions concerning the country as a whole. If you look at this situation from this angle, then the U.S. is punishing Saddam and his government, not Iraq. I will not go into why this is happening, because I am not sure that anyone really knows. So, Saddam is getting punished here. Now if the masses are affected by this, well, that's not in this equation.

2) Power means jack-squat and it's human life that we value most. Well, as much as we'd like to think otherwise, this is an oxymoron. It's like saying that in modern U.S., racism is being eradicated, when racism is very much part of U.S. culture. (If you disagree, do an in-depth study on the meaning of "U.S. Culture.") If you're arguing that the value of life supercedes that of power, how do you put it into practice? How do you get around those in power, and how do you get them to spend their money on improving life on Earth?

I don't know who's wrong and right, and I have no opinion about conflicts in the world--though I could formulate one around the current construction of the meaning of "fair"--including acts of terrorism. I am deeply saddened by the loss of life, but I also truly believe that people cannot be "truly evil" the way ODL's crowd is portrayed in the media. It's a big cyclone that everyone is caught in, trying to deal with morality, rationality and fairness, where great decisions are also great blunders. It is EXTREMELY easy to pick one side and judge from that position.

Walk A Mile In Their Shoes (4.12 / 8) (#106)
by Carnage4Life on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 01:24:21 AM EST

This response goes out to the numerous people who have posted responses blaming the Iraqi people for the sanctions because they haven't ousted Saddam. Coming from a country where we lived under a brutal dictator which we all hated, here's an analogy that I feel would be rather apt
Arab terrorists have killed American civilains because of the policies of the government will promise of more attacks to come. How many people have pressed the government to get out of the Middle East based on these attacks or have called for a change in US foreign policy? Of these people, how many of them are willing to oust the government to avoid more attacks? What ratio of people blame the US government for the attacks versus those that blame the terrorists?
If you can answer these questions honestly then maybe you have a better understanding of the situation the Iraqi people are in and how they feel.

You fail to prove a point (3.00 / 1) (#180)
by Sheepdot on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 01:46:07 PM EST

Yes, the Iraqis should overthrow Saddam. And yes, the Muslims should overthrow the UN/NATO/OneWorldOrder in their countries. Granted, not as many people think as I do and think that the US should get out of the MidEast, but I'll explain why I think we should.

1) OBL and his associates declared war specifically on the US because of our countries occupation of the Saudi Arabian country and the pennisula.

2) They will continue to find mass amounts of Muslims willing to do suicide missions till the end of time.

3) We are now force with two options: Either go in, get OBL, eliminate the Taliban, and spend lives trying to set up a democracy in the country, or, go in, get OBL, get out, and leave them be.

4) It is known that 10% of Americans (indeed probably 10% of the world) is pacifist under all circumstances. These individuals, like the author of this parent, and the author of the article itself, will never advocate hostile action, even in the case of justifying a wrong. They are what I like to call closet anarchists, although some are quite open in their opinions, most just don't understand they advocate a pacifist anarchy. Quite simply, someone putting a gun to another's head and blowing it off means that we must debate with that person and try to use persuasion to convince them to not do that again. Pacifists generally don't trust any instution, including the government, and don't think the government is justified in offering security for its citizens.

Note: It should be made evident that C4L and the author of the article do not want you to think they are soft, but indeed they have no conception of using force. To think of such is to be immoral.

5) Because 10% of the US is pacifist, we would be better justified in going in, getting OBL, bringing him to trial, and then immediately moving any and all US troops out of Saudi Arabia. The current Saudi government does not want us to do this, because they'd be a sitting duck if we did, but I truly believe that in order to satisfy the desires of the pacifists in the US, we need to let someone else do the killing.

Basically what will happen is that al-Qaida, al-Jihad, Hizballah and more will all take over the penninsula, then immediately in-fighting will occur and we'll have another Saddam Hussein. Granted, the solution sounds like another problem, especially when you figure the numbers of deaths that will occur, but this would both please the pacifists *and* solve the original problem.

At this point, the various terrorist groups *will* have a state, and we *can* declare war. Around the time they start developing whatever fake looking democracy (see Cuba) they want for their people, the UN will have plenty of reason to throw restrictions on them and we'll generally have another dictator that can't do shit, but is happy where they are.

Both sides are happy, and we just wait for the dictator to die. Problem solved.

Oh, and as a side note, for a laugh, ask a pacifist how they intend to solve the problem then. Be prepared for them to ask you to just stomach the loss of 5,000 civilians, cause that's all they really have to offer.

And just so I can get a word in before they try to claim they aren't pacifists, I will, ahead of time, ask the following two questions:

1) How exactly do you *intend* to bring those responsible to justice?

2) How does your response differ from what the Bush administration is doing right now?

You gotta be honest, Bush is making sure he has international support from every angle before he responds, and he's defending the rights of Arab-Americans. I guess my question really boils down to: Are you bitching about what is happening right now or about what the "overbearing nasty right-wingers" are *going* to do? You lose a LOT of steam when you cry wolf like that, and for the sake of those of us, like myself, that are ready and waiting to cry wolf as soon as it goes bad, please don't spoil it by complaining now.


[ Parent ]
You completely failed to understand my post (3.00 / 1) (#191)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 03:10:45 PM EST

My post had nothing to do with Bin Laden and had everything to do with the Iraqi people who are suffering because of the continued sanctions on Iraq.

The sanctions serve no purpose but to make Iraqi civilians suffer. No matter how restricted trade becomes with Iraq, it is unlikely that Saddam will suffer directly or that he will be ousted (tegh point of my analogy). So instead American needs to shit or get of the pot.

The US needs to stop pointlessly putting Iraqis through hell and admit that sanctions have been a failure and either go to the next level and eliminate Saddam (and his family since his sons are supposedly worse than he is) or leave his country alone.

[ Parent ]
Subject: (3.00 / 1) (#193)
by Sheepdot on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 04:04:54 PM EST

You assume that Iraq is composed of free trade. It is not.

*He* is suffering. Not the businesses, because there exists no Iraqi businesses. Just as there exists no Cuban businesses, but rather institutions that Fidel owns.

My opinion would change if these dictators weren't involved in the economic affairs of these countries, but they are, and that is precisely the reason why the sanctions exist. There simply is no way to do this short of an act of war, and pacifism prevails in preventing such an action.


[ Parent ]
Pacifism? (4.00 / 1) (#195)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 04:19:39 PM EST

*He* is suffering. Not the businesses, because there exists no Iraqi businesses. Just as there exists no Cuban businesses, but rather institutions that Fidel owns.

So what? The average citizen is starving and disease ridden and the US pats itself on the back because they've slowed down (but not stopped) Saddam's rate of palace building. Yet Americans wonder why Bin Laden has supporters and why they are so hated by many in the Middle East.

My opinion would change if these dictators weren't involved in the economic affairs of these countries, but they are, and that is precisely the reason why the sanctions exist.

Sanctions are pointless. It's been about 10 years and all that has been achieved is that millions of Iraqis have suffered and thousands have died. Claiming that Saddam's potential wealth has been reduced from billions to millions is a pathetic return considering the scale of human suffering.

There simply is no way to do this short of an act of war, and pacifism prevails in preventing such an action.

Exactly. The US should either leave Saddam to his whims or eliminate him. Pointlessly torturing the Iraqi people and thus giving Bin Laden fodder for his recruitment campaigns is not fruitful in the slightest.

[ Parent ]
I don't wonder. (none / 0) (#264)
by Sheepdot on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 06:25:52 PM EST

So what? The average citizen is starving and disease ridden and the US pats itself on the back because they've slowed down (but not stopped) Saddam's rate of palace building. Yet Americans wonder why Bin Laden has supporters and why they are so hated by many in the Middle East

I don't know of anyone that is truly pleased with the outcome of the Iraq confrontation. In fact, I know more people that would have rather seen Saddam get pulled out of Iraq and brought to international court than I do those that thought we should leave him in power and just restrict him.

I even know more that said we should let him have Kuwait than those that agreed with simply restricting him.

Which is exactly what my point is. In an attempt to find a middle-ground, we actually instituted a policy that pleases neither side, and ultimately worsens the situation.

I've been a big fan of the phrase "Compromise only delays the inevitable". What the compromise in this situation has done has served to cause deaths because we cannot make up our minds. Eventually we'll either pull out entirely or go in and eliminate Saddam, but until support is garnered, we have absolutely no policy to go by. Which is why I say the pacifist reaction is hindering the accountability that Saddam *must* be held to.

Sanctions are pointless. It's been about 10 years and all that has been achieved is that millions of Iraqis have suffered and thousands have died. Claiming that Saddam's potential wealth has been reduced from billions to millions is a pathetic return considering the scale of human suffering.

Sanctions are not pointless, they restrict him from killing citizens outside of his jurisdiction by dening him the ability to repond. The problem is that the sanctions, brought about by this compromise, are leading to many Iraqi deaths that would not have happened had we went in and killed him or pulled out and released him completely.

Quite simply, pulling back sanctions now gives him the ability to once again go on the offensive. At this point if we give him that ability, not just Iraqis die, but virtually anyone in the world. He would not hesitate to respond, and it would be as viscious as he could possibly get.

Then we go back into action, stop him, and get caught up again in this vicious loop of compromising with pacifists. It quite simply isn't working anymore.

Exactly. The US should either leave Saddam to his whims or eliminate him. Pointlessly torturing the Iraqi people and thus giving Bin Laden fodder for his recruitment campaigns is not fruitful in the slightest.

No. NATO as a whole needs to eliminate him. Not leave to whims, because that just brings us back to square one. Yes, there will be people that get upset (once again) with the US and NATO. But at that point the world leader can work to establish a successful government in Iraq, one with democracy and the ability to express themselves in a peaceful way.

Its been done before. Aside from the Japanese Red Army, the US is adored in Japan. It took maybe a generation, but if we can show an overwhelming investment in the country, they will respect and side with us in the future. Indeed Japan is recognized throughtout the world as a solid power. It only takes time, and unfortunately for some odd reason our government can't seem to think in terms of decades and not months or years. I don't know what happened to foreign policy, but it sure has changed since the 1940's.

Too many people focus on the negatives and spurn the hatred of occupation, citing horrific accounts if we do. This really needs to stop. Iraq/Iran/Afganistan/etc. could be the next Japan if we have faith in the world government and our leaders.


[ Parent ]

but ... (none / 0) (#284)
by sonovel on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 09:08:53 PM EST

"Exactly. The US should either leave Saddam to his whims or eliminate him. Pointlessly torturing the Iraqi people and thus giving Bin Laden fodder for his recruitment campaigns is not fruitful in the slightest. "

But maybe it is stopping him from getting nukes, bioweapons and chemical weapons.

I think ten years of war is too long. I agree that sanctions won't get rid of Saddam. I think the U.S. screwed up by not supporting Saddam's enemies and letting them get wiped out after Bush Sr. told them to 'rise up'. I didn't support invading Iraq in 1991. Now I'm not so sure.

But will just giving up lead to a better, safer world?

Or would Tel Aviv end up glowing in the dark? Tehran too, possibly?

This isn't as simple as Iraq bad, get rid of Saddam or U.S. bad, get out of Iraq.


[ Parent ]
people of Iraq aren't to blame (4.00 / 1) (#190)
by sonovel on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 03:04:56 PM EST

Most of the people of Iraq aren't necessarily to blame for Saddam. However, this isn't an excuse to let dictators do as they please.

Your argument logically leads to the conclusion that the only governments we can oppose militarily are democracies.

I feel that we should (mostly) only get involved with extra border incidents and/or when invited by the government of a country involved with such an incident. So liberating Kuwait was ok. Preventing Iraq from obtaining WMD may be ok, since she has proven that she is willing to violate her neighbor's borders.

I think sanctions and "no fly zones" are legitimate responses to Iraq's actions. However, ten year of war is too much. Either the U.S. should have gotten rid of Saddam's fascist regime OR the U.S. should have planned an exit strategy. I do hold the U.S. responsible for her conduct durring the war. Iraq bears final responsiblility for causing a war, but the U.S. is responsible for not ending it.

I give "ultimate" responsibility for these deaths about 90+ percent to Saddam and the remaining percent to the U.S., her allies and the U.N.

The sanctions are a U.N. thing, not specifically a U.S. thing. The U.N. is big on things like sanctions since it doesn't much military strenght of its own. The "correct" military response could have led to a much preferable ending of Iraq's war against Kuwait. However, the U.S. is not fond of seeing her soldiers die, unless it is very strongly in her interests to do so.

["correct" is quoted because it is only in retrospect that this can be determined. I was one of those who thought that throwing Iraq out of Kuwait was enough, now I am less sure. It may have been better to end Saddam's dictatorship.]

-----
An aside on what make a government legitimate

Personally, I feel that legitimacy in government come from its response to the will of the people. This leads me to think that democracies are much preferable to dictatorships. Also, this leads me to prefer local control of political power as much as possible/reasonable. That is why I support a less intrusive/smaller federal government for the U.S. It is also why I don't support gun control even though I am not fond of guns (I own none).

[ Parent ]
OK than. Who is to blame? (none / 0) (#232)
by krbonne on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:01:19 PM EST

The sanctions are a U.N. thing, not specifically a U.S. thing. And who controls the UN-security councel -the only body inside the UN that has any 'real' power?

The U.N. is big on things like sanctions since it doesn't much military strenght of its own. Again, wo controls the UN security councel; who can make descisions on to start a militairy campain against a country or not?

The "correct" military response could have led to a much preferable ending of Iraq's war against Kuwait.
But, that would mean that they would have had to station soldiers in Iraq for a long periode; and after what happened in Vietnam; the US is not so keen on this kind of actions.

One of the things that striked me about official remarks on the attachs in the US; what that the US president called them 'cowardly attacks'. Just like launching a cruise-missile from a ship several hunderd kilometers away is such a show of bravery.
How do the US foreign policy expect to get any moral respect for their actions if they do the same things themselves!

However, the U.S. is not fond of seeing her soldiers die, unless it is very strongly in her interests to do so. Problem is that the situation has now changed (and has been proven) that even the US can be 'protected' by an ocean; it still can get a 'brick in its face' (to use the David and Goliath idea) for its foreign policy in the middle east.

Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.

[ Parent ]
Control of security council, US foreign policy (none / 0) (#238)
by sonovel on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 04:59:59 PM EST

The security council is made up of fifteen nations, not just the U.S. Any of the five permament members can veto. Hardly controlled by the U.S. Two of the other permament members are China and Russia. Neither of these have great love for U.S. policies. So in answer to your question, the U.S. doesn't control the security council and therefore doesn't control the U.N.
The U.S. doesn't get more votes just because it pays more dues to the U.N. than any other country.

The U.S. does have a great deal of power in the U.N., but it can't do anything unilaterally with the U.N. Look at the latest "conference supporting racism" in Durban for an example of the U.S. lack of power in the U.N.

On the Iraq thing, right on. We don't like seeing our soldier die any more than anyone else. Once we achieved the broadly supported goal of getting Saddam out of Kuwait, we didn't want to risk more. Should we have gone in unilaterally and removed him? Maybe, maybe not but the end result for all involved may have been better if we had.


I'm didn't cheer for the "get rid of Saddam" side then, and I'm not now. Note that I said the U.S. should have done one of two things. Either we get rid of Saddam or find another way to end the war. Ten years of war is too much. The price of ten years of war has been paid mostly by Iraqi civilians.


Also, I'm no supporter of indiscriminate bombing. I don't call the terrorist "cowardly" either. They are scum for the methods of attack. Had they wrecked just the Pentagon using a truck bomb, I might even consider them soldier in a war.

I wouldn't expect the "brick in the face" to make us "nicer" in the Middle East.

[ Parent ]
The US and the UN. (none / 0) (#256)
by krbonne on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 01:34:06 PM EST

The security council is made up of fifteen nations, not just the U.S. Any of the five permament members can veto. Hardly controlled by the U.S. Two of the other permament members are China and Russia. Neither of these have great love for U.S. policies. So in answer to your question, the U.S. doesn't control the security council and therefore doesn't control the U.N.

The facts are correct; but there are also other facts:
Check the statistics and count (of all permanent members of the security council) who has used his veto the most. Guess who?

Also, the US is still has to pay a lot of money to the UN; but still they get most of the most important jobs in its agencies. (Just browse through the website of the UN)

After the war in yougoslavia, some European countries had the idea to set up a permanent court at the UN for crimes against humanity? DO you know who objected?
Yep! The US. (According some European diplomant; the US didn't want to take the risk that a US citizen (or anybody else 'protected' by the US) would be get convicted; like Sharon, for one; so they only allow a system in which only a court is set up per CASE).

Also, imagine that Bin Laden would actually get caught alive and got convicted by a UN court. As the CIA had greatly worked with him in the past; I don't think the CIA would like it if Bin Laden would open a book on what they did overthere.

So, why do I always get the idea that the US foreign policy is one of dual standards; also when dealing with the UN.

Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.

[ Parent ]
I'm glad we agree (none / 0) (#262)
by sonovel on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 04:50:27 PM EST

I'm glad you agree that the U.S. doesn't control the security council. Whether or not the U.S. used its veto more or less than anyone else is irrelevent, four other countries have the same amount of power over the security council. And as I meantioned, two of them are often opposed to the U.S. point of view. I am not complaining that the U.S. pays too much to the U.N. Just pointing out that the U.S.'s paying the largest share of the U.N. budget doesn't buy us any more power in it than say, France. So what if the U.S. objected to a permament U.N. world court? Isn't it obvious from the recent "U.N. conference supporting certain kinds of racism" that the U.N. can be hijacked by radicals? Maybe this isn't a good enough argument to oppose it, but _maybe_ there is another point of view here with at least a little validity? I expect that the U.S. will do what it thinks is in her best interest. I expect other countries will act the same.

[ Parent ]
COOPERATION is more important than veto-ing (none / 0) (#275)
by krbonne on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 04:11:59 PM EST

I'm glad you agree that the U.S. doesn't control the security council
OK; the world isn't black or white. We partly agree, partly disagree; but then, that's what discussion-forums are for, aren't they?

Whether or not the U.S. used its veto more or less than anyone else is irrelevent
Well, a veto is a way to BLOCK things; not a way to PROMOTE something (so much for cooperative attitude); but your are correct that all 5 permanent members of the security council CAN do it!

(I am sorry; but I find this web-interface kind of tools a bt annoying to work with; so I'll cut out some parts.

So what if the U.S. objected to a permament U.N. world court?
It's not the fact THAT they objects; it's the REASON they object (because it didn't fit the US interest as you never know a 'friend' of the US might get procecuted). You do understand is like saying 'international law only applies when it is in the US interest'; which does sound ... euh ... rather arrogant.

Isn't it obvious from the recent "U.N. conference supporting certain kinds of racism" that the U.N. can be hijacked by radicals
Nope; I don't know what version you heard in the US press; but the fact is that the US step out of the cofference BEFORE the discussion had even started. The idea was 'this cannot be discussed or else we'll leave the conference and the conference will stop'.
Well, in the end, there was a text that was more-or-less accepted by all some 92 % of the world population (the US represent -IIRC- 350 million people; or some 7 % of the world population. Calling 5.4 billion people 'radicals' sound like a bit far-fetched; if you ask me.

I expect that the U.S. will do what it thinks is in her best interest. I expect other countries will act the same.
Nope; and that's exactly it. The UN is a super-national organisation; there to solve problems that are at supernational level. If you participate in such an organisation; the objective is FIRST to solve the problems; and secondly to make sure you do it in such a way that your interest as national country are maintained as good as possible.
National interest of your own country are important; but ALWAYS have to come at second place. If you don't agree with this; you have a SERIOUS attitude problem

The reason why these people want a permanent international court for war-crimes is as a deterence for EVERYBODY not to cross a certain line; NO MATTER WHAT SIDE YOU ARE ONE. Such a deterence will only work if it applies to EVERYBODY; and is a long-term plan to help bring stability and help the ordinary citizen who is always the first victim of a war.
This is in my opinion (and the opinion of the people who started this plan) MORE important than the short-term interests of a national country.

Look at the EU; it's an organisation that groups (at this time) 15 countries. If all countries would just be interested in their own national interests; nothing would happen.

The way the US has been behaving in matter concerning the UN has to a large degree been to put current national interest before trans-national interest of everybody (hence, the large number of veto's).
I hope you DO start to understand why a lot of people in the world do not really like the US.

But do take MY word for it. Just read this article from the BBC: (it's not concerning the UN; but it should help to show you what people think of you; and WHY!
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1552000/1552900.stm

Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.

[ Parent ]
World Court/conference promoting racism/pie in sky (none / 0) (#282)
by sonovel on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 08:18:24 PM EST

International courts aren't all good. The EU court recently decided the hours of operation of Heathrow Airport because of basic "human rights" issues!

Some people live near the airport and get woken up by planes. The court found this a violation of their "human rights". If this isn't a bit intrusive and arrogent of the court, I don't know what is. I would also call it an abuse of power.

I'd prefer that sovereign nations retain power, especially given the U.N.'s biases.

-----

I think you are a little confused about the Durban thing.

There was a draft proposal before Durban. Of all the countries of the world and all the evil things, one was specifically named. The worst country in the world for racism wasn't found in Africa where slavery still exists. It wasn't Afghanistan where Hindus have to identify themselves by dress just like the Jews in Nazi Germany. It wasn't India, where people are still valued by caste.

The most evil, racist country, the only one named in the document, is Israel.

The U.S. objected to this.

The draft document was not changed.

The U.S. decided to attend, but not have a high level official attend.

The conference goes on _with_ U.S. attendence.

The conference is used to bash the U.S. and Israel. The U.S. walks out.

Sounds like the U.S. tried to work within the system, but refused to be part of a lousy agreement that unjusty treats one nation very differently.

As far as 92% of the world agreeing with the Duban Conference, I call BS. One, other countries objected to the wording (though didn't pull out) and two, a U.N. conference doesn't really "represent" anyone in a democratic sense. Most of the deligations are not made of elected officials. They may represent (a faction of) their countries governments, but this is pretty far removed from representing actual people.

---

So name a country that thinks of itself second! You claim the the U.S. is wrong in thinking of itself first. You must have examples of other countries hurting themself to help others, so give me some examples.

As far as the EU goes, IMO it is an undemocratic super-government. I liked it better as an economic cooperative. Many Europeans feel the same way, but most don't get to vote on it.

Plus, it still doesn't show that countries think of themselves second. Consider that there are countries that want to be part of EU, but are not allowed. Why is that? Could it be because current members are thinking of their own self-interest?



[ Parent ]
supra-national organisations (none / 0) (#287)
by krbonne on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 07:34:24 AM EST

Greetings,

International courts aren't all good. The EU court recently decided the hours of operation of Heathrow Airport because of basic human rights issues!
Some people live near the airport and get woken up by planes. The court found this a violation of their human rights. If this isn't a bit intrusive and arrogent of the court, I don't know what is. I would also call it an abuse of power.

I'm not a legal expert; but this just looks like a normal 'constitutional court' would work (as also exists on national basis; like here in Belgium, in France, Germany and -I guess- also other countries).

Their job is to make sure that everybodys fundamental rights are respected (in this case, as stipulated by the European convension on human rights); and -in Belgium- the case would then be sent back to the lower court to be redone. I don't know how it works in-case of the EU court on human rights; but I doubt it that this court could just make out an order to shut down Heathrow; but it can make a very strong signal to the national courts that are very difficult to ignore by them; it could mean that the airport authorities have to work with the people involved to work on a solution that DOES protect the right to health (e.g. by subsidizing for sound-insolation in all building in the neighbourhoud of the airport).

BTW. What was proposed concerning the UN permanent court on crimes against humanity is not the same thing. IFAIK, is was a court with a limited 'scope' (crimes against humanity); not at all the same thing as the EU court on human rights (which does have a very 'broad' scope).
It is more or less the same as already exists for specific case (like for the war in ex-yougoslavia) and what certain countries have in their national laws (like the Spain who wanted to trial Pinochet and Belgium where people have been prosicuted for crimes against humanity in Ruanda).

I'd prefer that sovereign nations retain power, especially given the U.N.'s biases.
First of all, I want to have somebody who is there to protect my fundamental rights; and -if this happens at regional level (Flanders in my case), national level (Belgium) or European level (the EU); that's all the came for me, but the more 'protection' there is; the better.
The fact of having a supra-national court also means that the same rules apply to everybody, when dealing with problems in multiple countries. (like the closing-down of Marks and Spencers in multiple countries at once).

Second, both the EU, the USA and other countries are part of the WTO. Also, there, descision are made at 'transnational' level (which can have very direct inpact on hunders of millions of people)!

I think you are a little confused about the Durban thing.
There was a draft proposal before Durban. Of all the countries of the world and all the evil things, one was specifically named. The worst country in the world for racism wasn't found in Africa where slavery still exists. It wasn't Afghanistan where Hindus have to identify themselves by dress just like the Jews in Nazi Germany. It wasn't India, where people are still valued by caste.
The most evil, racist country, the only one named in the document, is Israel.
The U.S. objected to this.
The draft document was not changed.
The U.S. decided to attend, but not have a high level official attend.
The conference goes on _with_ U.S. attendence.
The conference is used to bash the U.S. and Israel. The U.S. walks out.

Well, there was an interview with Louis Michel (who represented the EU at the conference) on Belgian television just after the US walked out. He said he didn't understand the US at all, because the actual official round of discussions HAD NOT YET STARTED. There ONLY have been a proposal floating around, but that was about it. When I wanted the news on dutch television, some dutch journalists said pretty much the same thing.

Sounds like the U.S. tried to work within the system, but refused to be part of a lousy agreement that unjusty treats one nation very differently.
But, in the end, the DID was an agreement ad Israel was NOT mentioned by name; WITHOUT the US.

As far as 92% of the world agreeing with the Duban Conference, I call BS.
One, other countries objected to the wording (though didn't pull out)

Correct, IIRC Canada and Australia objected that the final document did 'point' to Israel (well, it actually named the Palestines as victims); while some Arabian countries objected it was not strong enough.

But, all countries have signed the final document and -althou all countries have the posibilities to add 'personal comments' to their signature; I don't think many (if any) did it. (Do correct me if I am wrong).
and two, a U.N. conference doesn't really represent anyone in a democratic sense. Most of the deligations are not made of elected officials. They may represent (a faction of) their countries governments, but this is pretty far removed from representing actual people.

True, but that's one of the problems of the UN; the fact that is based on the idea of the nation-state. Other groups of organisations (like regions or super-national organisations) are not officially part of the UN-structure. I guess this has a lot to do with how the world was structured when the UN was started.

The EU has started that way by it's counsel of regions (as there are some countries that have a very 'regional' structure; like Spain or Belgium); but that instititute doesn't have much 'real' power yet.

So name a country that thinks of itself second! You claim the the U.S. is wrong in thinking of itself first. You must have examples of other countries hurting themself to help others, so give me some examples.
OK, I already have the example of the WTO above.
Also, every country in the EU; as it is estimated that in Belgium some 30 % of all new laws are actually (directly or indirectly) of 'European' nature (and I guess the same applies to about any country in the EU); so all members of the EU have already given up a part of their 'freedom' to the EU.
At this very moment, in Belgium, the "national" airways-company (sabena) is in big financial problems; but the Belgium national governement is tied very strict to EU laws on what it can do financial (althou it IS the majority shareholder of sabena).
In Luxembourg, the system of bank-secret also has been largly dismantled on request of the EU.
If you look around you, you'll find sufficiant example of countries handing over certain powers to supra-national organisation (e.g. just take the example of arms-control and the organisation that checks on the test-ban on test of nuclear waepons).
As far as the EU goes, IMO it is an undemocratic super-government. I liked it better as an economic cooperative. Many Europeans feel the same way, but most don't get to vote on it.
Not correct. You actually vote for the European parlement; which is responsable for (IIRC) about half of the 'europan' laws.
The EP is actually 'different' in that it the only parlement where there is not the 'game' of majority against minority; and it does work on a large number of issues that do influence the European citizen very directly (ranging from safety, consumer-rights, media, enviroment, copyright on music, etc.).

But I DO agree with you when you talk about the 'democratic control' on the European commision and the European counsel; but that is because these organisations are still based to much on the model of the 'nation-state'. (Every country MUST have his own commisionar).

Plus, it still doesn't show that countries think of themselves second. Consider that there are countries that want to be part of EU, but are not allowed. Why is that? Could it be because current members are thinking of their own self-interest?

This my own impression, but I guess this has more to do with concerns of having members that are economically not 'prepared' to be ready. This has already been the case before (IIRC in the case of Portugal) and the EU want to be reduce the risk of it happening again.

Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.

[ Parent ]
world court/Durban/EU (none / 0) (#289)
by sonovel on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 11:12:41 AM EST

So whenever anything is a matter of "human rights" the super national court can step in? A little lack of sleep is a "human rights" issue?

That _is_ arrogant. Every issue could be framed as a "human rights" issue under those rules.

I kind of get it now though. You hate the idea of nations. You seem to prefer power be in the hands of some kind of undemocratic super-state.

----

On Durban again--

The conference was a year (or more) in planning. The U.S. was part of that.

The conference itself was a week long event. The U.S. was part of it for most of the week. I think we stepped out in day 5 of 7. So your 'US wasn't even there' statement is just _untrue_.

You should read a bit more about it before commenting on something you don't know. There was an awful lot of hate for a conference on tolerence. There was Nazi propaganda outside to censorship inside.

The U.N. has a web site that contains a lot of the speeches, and the draft document. It is very enlightening. Look to your favorite newspaper for even more odd things. You are really wrong on this.

There are many strong supporters of the U.N. who were not happy with what went on, and it wasn't just that the U.S. limited its participation. Many countries voted _against_ the final statement. The Arab nations voted against because the language didn't single out their enemy. That is, they voted it down because it didn't contain enough hate.

Also on the "representing thing" -- How the heck can you say a U.N. document is accepted by 90(or whatever) percent of humanity, when _at least_ a couple of billion people can't even vote for the leaders of their countries? If they can't vote for their leaders, how are they represented by these leaders appointees to the U.N.?

We don't know what say, China's people, think of Durban. They aren't allowed to express their thoughts due to a repressive regime.

I'm not a mindless U.N. basher. I think a group with all nations represented is a good thing. However, I don't think that repressive regimes deserve power over the free world. The liberal democracies shouldn't be dictated to by the likes of China and all the undemocratic and repressive states of the the world. How does giving repressive countries _more_ power over _more_ of the world help things?

The Durban thing is just one example of that. The Human Rights commission is another. I'll let you judge whether or not the U.S. belongs on it. But if the U.S. doesn't, how the heck does Sudan, Libya, and Saudi Arabia?

I don't think _any_ unfree countries belong on the U.N. human rights commission, but there are several very repressive regimes represented there. How is the human rights commission anything but a joke?



When the rest of the world supports human rights like the liberal democracies, then maybe the U.N. can be trusted with real power. The liberal democracies don't have a great history with human rights, and still have some blemishes. However, most of the rest of the world is much much worse.

----

EU --

so joining the EU isn't in the best interest of European countries yet they are doing it anyways?

Surely you don't mean this?

The EU was formed because Europe countries thought it would be a good idea to become a single market. This would allow it to compete more effectively in the world economy.

Even though it meant giving up some autonomy, it is presumed that it would be better to do it than not. This is and was percieved as being in the member nations best interests! So this loss of autonomy was a trade for something desired more, not a "noble sacrifice for humanity".

As far as treaties on arms control and nuclear testing, they are in the signatories best interest, or at least they think so. Most people support these because they think it leads to a safer world for everyone, including the signatories. Hardly an example of nations thinking of themselves second.

Just because a country agrees to limit its powers doesn't mean they are not acting in their own self interest.

On the "not ready" comment -- so Greece's and Germanies opposition to Turkish EU membership had nothing to do with Greek/Turkey history and German dislike of Turkish immegrants? Yeah, right, they were thinking of how poor Turkey wasn't ready yet. Give me a break!

----

It has been fun, but your insistence of falshoods (Durban) and apparent support of despotic power leads me to conclude that this discussion is pretty much done for me. See you in another thread sometime.

[ Parent ]
a multitude of organisation; on different levels (none / 0) (#294)
by krbonne on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 05:24:46 PM EST

Greetings,

As you said "the discussion ends here", I'll just make a short reply.

I kind of get it now though. You hate the idea of nations. You seem to prefer power be in the hands of some kind of undemocratic super-state.

???? Where on earth did you get this idea? No, not at all!

No, nodays, you have all kind of 'gouvernements' and 'organisations' that operate on all kind of levels: stricktly local/city, regional, national, European, worldwide.

And, next to these, there are also all kind of 'specialised' organisations; like grouping regions or countries that speak the same language (e.g. the 'nederlandse taalunie', the dutch-language union), who have a simular culture (e.g. the arab league); who have very dense economic cooperation (the so-called 'euroregions' in the EU: sub-national regions that cooperate across the borders of the national states); regions and countries that share a common 'enviroment issue' (like the north-sea conference or the alp-countries); countries that group together to present themself as a single 'voice' on the higher level (like the benelux: belgium, netherland and luxembourg who also have a common defence-issue); etc. etc.

I've always had a principe of 'always use the best tool for every job'; and I think the same applies to this. The nation-state is just one of the levels on with issues can be solved; but by far not the only one.

I just think that the nation-state as a "one-size fits it all" solution on which the complete societe should be based is a product of the 19th and the early 20th century; and is not practicle anymore nowdays.

So, putting the short-term 'national concerns' before these of a super-national organisation is counter-productive as a lot of the problems we now face CAN be better dealt with at these higher levels. (A concequence of the evolution of the technology and the worldwide economic we now live in).

Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.

[ Parent ]
You make dangerous assumptions... (4.00 / 1) (#194)
by CyberQuog on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 04:07:19 PM EST

Arab terrorists have killed American civilains because of the policies of the government will promise of more attacks to come.

I figure your talking about the WTC attacks. First of all, and this is my main point, no one credible has taken credit for the WTC attacks. Don't you find that a bit strange? A group who wants to get their "message" across doesn't even admit that they did it. Right now Osama is our main suspect we're not even sure he did it, and he is still denying it. People assume that it was Arabs, assume that they must be angry at our international policies, assume that we must pull out. When you start piling assumptions based on assumptions things can get messy. What if some <insert country here> militant group did it simply because they drank too much and thought it was fun; oh wait, your entire argument is gone...


-...-
[ Parent ]
What is your point? (4.00 / 1) (#197)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 04:25:58 PM EST

First of all, and this is my main point, no one credible has taken credit for the WTC attacks.

Let's assume that someone else besides Bin laden did it. Does this somehow nullify the current situation in Iraq or cancel out Bin Laden's attacks and greivances against the US?

People assume that it was Arabs,

Also how do you explain that all the hijackers were of Arab decent with a few known terrorists mixed in? Maybe Bin laden isn't responsible but this is still an Arab affair.

[ Parent ]
two things. (4.16 / 6) (#110)
by luethke on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 02:52:28 AM EST

First the number of children that die per year. according to the population reference bureau the total population of iraq is 23,600,000. The number of deaths per yer a 10 per 1000. so there are 23,600 thousands people, 10 deaths per thousand - that means roughly 236,000 thousand people die per year - less than 500,000. Even assuming that most of those deaths were children (usually not, it's usually the old) it would require that around %50 of the deaths and births go unreported - very hard to beleive. The article quoted said they heard the number was that high - not the most reliable information in the world. 10 per 1000 is relativly high for a defeloped country but look at most of the undeveloped countries, many of them are in the 20's per thousand.

of course in the context of the question asked it is irrelevent because albright accepted the 500,000 figure as close. I would have to say that she may be right. I do not purport to know everything about the situation but I have always found the line of reasoning "500,000 children die per year because of this - stop it" to be invalid. What needs to be done is a cost benefit analysis. It's worth those 500,000 if it saves 500,001 children. It might in this case - it is possible one of the main things keeping saddam from moving militarily again is the sanctions, many people, including children, would die because of this. I don't know if he would move or not, I don't have access to the intelligence reports the the govt has. It could be that what we are doing is a waste of time. I tend to ignore many politicians that have an ax to grind so to speak. One of the things I would be interested to know if this UN person is one of the people who belive "peace at any cost". This person biases need to be know. This of course also applies to someone supporting the sanctions. From the quote given from the UN there is no real evidence that lifting the sanctions would help from a global standpoint - and conversly there was no evidence to support that it would help. The report from the UN cited is on a pro iraqi site and tends to quote UNICEF, a part of the UN that is not always know for thier unbaised (they regularly do things like "23 children die of this per year on record, we know some, maybe many, are not on record so lets say 5 million and ask for funding" Would have to look for cites and am not motivated enough). anyway I don't feel there was enough information to really base an opinion. The cites on the iraq site and the question on 60 minutes seem to be coming from a incorect base so I would have to question the rest of thier conclusion.

Not 500,000 a year (5.00 / 1) (#115)
by Best Ace on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 07:37:54 AM EST

OK. First off, no-one is saying 500,000 deaths a year. The UNICEF figure, which dates from around 1996, was a total figure of 500,000, which at the time was around 5000 deaths a month, as a direct result of the sanctions. That figure has since increased to around 7500 deaths a day (also from UNICEF). Even if your figure from the PRF of 236,000 deaths a year is correct (I notice you accept this figure as gospel truth, despite rejecting that of UNICEF).

Secondly, your cost-benefit analysis idea. Great in principle, but do you have some great and secret intelligence source to tell you that the sanctions are saving more than 500,000 Iraqi kids, and thereby the sanctions are totally justified? As you go on to say, there just isn't enough information, which would suggest to me that if a policy has killed over half a million people (out of a population of 24 million) and brought a country (the people, not the government) from relative prosperity to the depths of poverty, and has gone on for over ten years with no sign of success in sight, then that policy must be considered a failure. Something else must be tried.

bA

[ Parent ]

Oops (4.00 / 1) (#116)
by Best Ace on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 07:40:56 AM EST

I meant 7,500 deaths a month , not per day. The 5000 deaths a month was correct though.

bA

[ Parent ]

number still don't add up (2.00 / 1) (#139)
by luethke on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 05:40:09 PM EST

First off I did not say that the cost benefit analysis said that the deaths were good. I said there was not enough information to form much of an opinion - just be aware that just looking at 500,000 deaths only does not give enough of a picture to make an opinion on. Also 500,000 thousand children qould be 50,000 children per year (desert storm was 10 years ago I think) at 12 months per year would be aroung 4200 children per month. If the average number was 5000 children per month that would be 60,000 per year or 600,000 thousand children - again the number quoted don't add up. Now then, if the total of 500,000 was in 1996, five years after the war the numbers come out much worse.

I also don't take the second figure as gospel per se but UNICEF has a reason to blow the numbers up - that is how they get funding. the PRF has no real ax to grind and would tend to give a better picture of population trends than UNICEF would (they would get funding no matter what the numbers were). The other question that was not enswere is assuming 7500 a month (around 90,000 a year - the figure is low enough that I would buy that) how many of those are directly accountable to the sanctions. What was the death rate before the war. Untill those questions are also answered any conclusions made are irrelevant

As you go on to say, there just isn't enough information, which would suggest to me that if a policy has killed over half a million people (out of a population of 24 million) and brought a country (the people, not the government) from relative prosperity to the depths of poverty, and has gone on for over ten years with no sign of success in sight, then that policy must be considered a failure.
not the point I was making. I said I don't have enough information. I would bet the government has more than enough information about the effectiveness of the sanctions. How detrimental it is to iraqs military - keeping thier military weak was the main goal of the sanctions - just like oil was the main reason behind the war. I am sure the govt has analyst working on projections on things like that. In many ways what sanctions are supposed to produce are a general pooring down of a country. If you took an affluent country - imposed sanctions - and they became richer then the sanctions have really failed. Have the sanctions ousted saddam - no - but I would argue that if that was the main goal then we could have blown his ass up in 91.

[ Parent ]
From the Horses Mouth (5.00 / 1) (#161)
by MemeTransport on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 01:14:17 AM EST

The problem with ideologically driven arguments is that people are very prone to respond with what they "know" without ever trying to find actual facts. That said, the facts in this case are tough to find. I went to the web site of the UN department responsible for compiling statistics about countries. If one goes to their list of countries for whom they have statistics you will notice that there is a curious absense of Iraq. Is it not cooperating? I wonder why? Anger? Something to hide? Security?

Some UN documents that have information pertinent to this discussion:

United Nations Office of the Iraq Programme
From here there are many links concerning the Oil for Aid Programme. Please note that Iraq refused to participate in this programme for five years.

Compendium of 2001 emergency activities and priority funding requirement at mid year
This covers every major region in the world but has a section specifically on Iraq. It is worth noting differences and similarities with other disaster relief areas.

Caring for the nutritionally vulnerable during emergencies: an annotated bibliography
An excellent bibliography useful for those who have an interest in relief care in Iraq and elsewhere.

Services for the Prevention and Management of Genetic Disorders and Birth Defects in Developing Countries: Report of a joint WHO/WAOPBD meeting
This is not specifically about Iraq but the information is topical to the Depleted Uranium argument.

Depleted uranium: sources, exposure and health effects
This is the executive summary of a much longer study. It is still several pages long. The summary discusses many of the DU questions that have been asked here.

I hope this is helpful. It is a very cursory search for such documents; no doubt there are many more.

[ Parent ]

Reason why they did not finish the job (3.00 / 4) (#118)
by dollyknot on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 09:08:18 AM EST

Isreal did not want Saddam deposed because Saddam is a Sunni moslem and the majority of people in Iraq are Shiite moslems. If the job had been finished like Swartzkof and the Brits wanted to do they would have had elections in Iraq and they would have elected a Shiite president. This would have lead to an alliance between Iran and Iraq. Isreal did not want this, the old policy of divide and rule really. The really interesting thing is, how did the Jewish lobby in America manage to put pressure on Powell, to make him stop the Allies finishing the job and make the world a better place.
They call it an elephant's trunk, whereas it is in fact an elephant's nose - a nose by any other name would smell as sweetly.
conspiratorial (none / 0) (#127)
by shellac on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 02:39:04 PM EST

This is quite conspiratorial. It is an thought-provoking theory, and I would find it interesting to see evidence backing it up.

But perhaps the answer to why the us didn:t finish the job is simpler. Maybe they did not want to offend other muslim states and do something that smacks so much of imperialism by deposing the ruler and putting up their own. That seems more likely to me.

[ Parent ]
Conspiracy sound better than the truth... (none / 0) (#134)
by coward anonymous on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 04:47:33 PM EST

If you go look up some facts (like old news reports), you will find that it was Saudi Arabia and Egypt that called for the early termination of Desert Storm. That and that Bush Sr. was so enamoured with a "100 hour" war...
However, Jews controlling America always sounds more interesting...

[ Parent ]
USA did not support uprising against Saddam (5.00 / 1) (#172)
by jamesm on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 10:46:20 AM EST

This is almost completely unreported in the mainstream western media. In 1991, there was a popularist uprising in the south of Iraq, in response to Bush's public call for the people of Iraq to rise up and depose Saddam.

The uprising was squashed by the Republican Guard, and US forces actually bombed the ammunition dumps of the uprising forces. I've seen snippets of film of this incident, and they are distressing to say the least. Those involved in the uprising had expected the US to provide support, based on Bush's statements. Instead, many were taken away, tortured and killed by Saddam's forces.

The US govt has recently admitted to the facts of this event, stating that their position was that they didn't want Saddam's regime to be toppled, just Saddam.

There is a lot more to the events and politics than I can describe here, but a good starting point for research is Pilger's Site.

[ Parent ]

Yes (3.50 / 2) (#135)
by tjh on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 04:53:48 PM EST

If we want them to stop killing us, lets stop killing them.

I'm sure that would have worked with Hitler (3.00 / 1) (#142)
by evro on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 06:17:07 PM EST

We stop killing them and they'll just stop killing us. Really, are you that naïve? There is such a thing as evil in this world and nothing except force can stop it. I'm not saying that's the case here; but there are situations where pacifism will lead us all the our deaths, and this is one of them.
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"
[ Parent ]
Hah! (4.00 / 1) (#143)
by PhillipW on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 06:24:38 PM EST

I do not think that to say pacifism will lead to our deaths here. I mean in reality, it is our lack of military restraint that has us in the current mess. Let's think before you act like fools yet again. Thanks!

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Thinking... (none / 0) (#200)
by zeda on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 04:45:44 PM EST

Okay we think. The terrorists will kill us if we act or don't act, so we defend oursevles. The best defense is a good offense. Done.

[ Parent ]
Iraq (3.25 / 4) (#138)
by kpeerless on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 05:36:55 PM EST

How the hell a discussion about the WTC and American responsibility for terrorism degenerated into a discussion of the evils of Saddam is beyond me.


The US supported and armed the monster and pointed him at Iran, whose affairs they'd interfered in when they colluded with the Brits to overthrow the duly elected president of that country and install the Shah. Things got out of hand with the revolution led by the Mullahs and now Iran is saddled with that.


I was sitting in a bar in Manila with two bureau chiefs for two international newspapers when Saddam waltzed into Kuwait and George sr. began to rum his mouth. Both bureau chiefs scoffed at the rhetoric and concluded that this was the beginning of Bush sr.'s attempt to get re-elected. Saddam had
, up to that point, been a US client, and I seem to recall that the US administration had some forwarning but blew it off for whatever reasons.


It would seem that these same happy cold war warriours from the Gulf War days had some intimation that something was up prior to the WTC going boom. Strangely they chose to ignore this also and it looks like we will have the same results, more or less.


The litmus test for world reactions US actions is not to be found on CNN. I suggest that folks access world newspapers and check out the columnists. Usians will be shocked to find out how little sympathy there is for the US administration, given the horrors that it has inflicted on the rest of us for the last fifty to a hundred years, and how much there is for the folks that lost their lives due to such niceties as the US ignoring international law and attacking or interfering with governmenst it fells threatens American INTERESTS..

As I understand it... (3.28 / 7) (#146)
by evro on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 06:38:27 PM EST

As I understand it, the conditions for the US lifting its sanctions were pretty simple: Saddam Hussein steps down as dictator/president/whatever of Iraq and the santions will be lifted. I think we have a similar policy with regard to Cuba. So I really don't think the US bears the brunt of the guilt for this, since the leaders have the ability to lift these sanctions immediately. Additionally, the author of this post seems to have left out the fact that medical supplies and food are not included in the sanctions. While I'm sure that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of problems getting them, they're not being blocked.

While I'm not saying that the sanctions are good, or even justified, or that the U.S. is merely trying to do good in the world, to the best of my knowledge, Saddam himself has had the power to lift these sanctions all along and has chosen not to do so. If this is not the case (that Saddam's relinquishing power is not the condition for the sanctions to be lifted) then please let me know.


---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"

Backwards logic (4.80 / 5) (#155)
by Rylian on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 10:41:13 PM EST

What the hell? If I decided that I didn't like the US Government and I'd starve its people to force them to stand down, is it then the government's fault for not doing so if people die? Or would it be my fault for my aggressive actions against a sovereign nation?

If I mug you in the street and you do the right thing and refuse to hand over your wallet and I kill you to get it, is it your fault? Or is the moral responsibility mine?

Think about what you're saying. It doesn't make sense. The US does not have the right to determine policy for other governments. The widespread belief that it does (and worse, the ignorance of such actions) is a major cause for anti-US feeling around the world. Yes, even in other Western countries.

FYI, the sanctions were designed to force the civilians of Iraq to rise up against Hussein and overthrow him. I'm not sure why Albright thought that making people starve would make them capable of overthrowing a harsh military dictatorship. No one is suggesting that the regime in Iraq hasn't made things worse than they'd otherwise be. They have, and part of the responsibility for the human suffering in Iraq lies with them. But the sanctions are the primary cause.

You might want to look up the dictionary definition of terrorism, too. It's generally defined as hurting civilians in order to force a change in government policy. Sound familiar?

[ Parent ]

Forward logic (2.00 / 3) (#168)
by zeda on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 07:15:16 AM EST

The US does have the right to determine policy for other countries. The UN does have the right to determinte policy for other countries. You cannot argue abstractly about this.

We fought a war with Iraq, we had enough reason to kill Iraqi soliders, that gives us a pretty big precedent for using force against the Iraqis.

You comments seem to imply that there is justice or a force outside of the context that judges things. There isn't. The only justice in the world is that which we and the UN make. If you don't think we have the right to correct wrongs around the world, then the same arguement must apply for human rights abuses. Who are we to stop the famine in Somalia, or the ethnic cleasning in Bosnia? We are either the global police or not the global police. Actually that is a lie also, there is this thing called a gray area that the majority of the world operates in. We make judgements because we are capable of reason. We can and must pick our battles, and manipulate situations in order to do the most effective good, we stribe to maintain our principles but we have enough reason to override them in necessary, we are the traction on the slippery slope, we can slide down and climb back up.

We know Saddamn is bad, most people argee, therefore we do things to try to contain him and force him out of power. If you are so damned concerned about these children then lets all get up and go over there and kill Saddamn and take over the fucking country, and not cry when the parents of these children shoot at us and are killed, because they are made to by Saddamn. Because our attempts at justice are better than what they suffer under Saddamn.

[ Parent ]

Are you serious now? (5.00 / 1) (#169)
by ckotso on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 08:41:57 AM EST

The US does have the right to determine policy for other countries. The UN does have the right to determinte policy for other countries. You cannot argue abstractly about this.

ARE YOU SERIOUS? Since when has the US this right? Who gave it to you? The only organization that has the right to intervene in a diplomacy level (and sometimes with military means by having its security council prividing permission) is the United Nations and noone else. NOBODY GAVE YOU THE RIGHT TO MESS WITH OTHER COUNTRIES INTERNAL AFFAIRS, never forget that.

We fought a war with Iraq, we had enough reason to kill Iraqi soliders, that gives us a pretty big precedent for using force against the Iraqis.

You're driving me crazy. Your position is totally irrational, inhumanitarian and fascist. Your only reason to kill Iraqi soldiers was that your administration told you to do so. I can remember the US-americans cheering over bombs falling on Bagdad (those bombs also killed innocent children, which of course does not matter to you -- well, I guess the Al Quida does well not caring about your loss of innocent people, doesn't it?). Well, you'd better wake up. The reason you faught in Iraq was that your government tried its best (or worst, depends how you see it) to keep the oil price from exploding after Iraq entered Kuwait. These 500.000 dead Iraqi children (actually much much more, this report is dated back to 1996) have died so that you pay less for gasoline. If you believe that the good US administration has killed so many children just to free the Iraqis from the mad dictator, you're not only naive, you must be deaf and blind.

You comments seem to imply that there is justice or a force outside of the context that judges things. There isn't. The only justice in the world is that which we and the UN make. If you don't think we have the right to correct wrongs around the world, then the same arguement must apply for human rights abuses. Who are we to stop the famine in Somalia, or the ethnic cleasning in Bosnia? We are either the global police or not the global police. Actually that is a lie also, there is this thing called a gray area that the majority of the world operates in. We make judgements because we are capable of reason. We can and must pick our battles, and manipulate situations in order to do the most effective good, we stribe to maintain our principles but we have enough reason to override them in necessary, we are the traction on the slippery slope, we can slide down and climb back up.

You are so ignorant of international matters! But then again, you're watching the CNN -- the very same network that made you all think that the Palestinians were cheering at your loss by showing 1991 takes. Never, ever, has the US intervened in another country's affairs for the general good, or to free its people and so on. These are just excuses provided to you by your administration so that you keep quiet and happy. Every time the US faught a war outside its territory, it was in order to protect its interests and the "american way of life" -- no matter that some millions of people should die for this reason, in the 20th century. The only case that the above does not apply is the World Wars.

We know Saddamn is bad, most people argee, therefore we do things to try to contain him and force him out of power. If you are so damned concerned about these children then lets all get up and go over there and kill Saddamn and take over the fucking country, and not cry when the parents of these children shoot at us and are killed, because they are made to by Saddamn. Because our attempts at justice are better than what they suffer under Saddamn.

If their parents shoot at you, it might well mean that they do not want Saddam Hussein overthrown, did that ever occur to you? Of course this statement is untrue; Hussein is a dictator after all. But it is a fact that more people are fond of him now, although they suffer, and that's because of your bombing and most importantly the sanctions forced by you. It is also a fact that nobody asked you to kill millions of Iraqis in order to get Hussein out of his position. On a final note, if you believe that the US has been the good cop of this world that overthrows dictators around the globe, I have to tell you that here in Greece we have suffered a dictatorship from 1967 to 1974. The US *SUPPORTED* this dictatorship, which imprisoned and killed thousands of people. It was not the US that brought back democracy in this country; it was its people, and the junta leaders' stupidity.

I really hope you get well soon, you and all other people that carry the same obsurd opinions as you do.

(Forgive any grammar/syntax errors, this is not my mother language).


--
Yes, I *am* biased against the US; stop bitching about it, and start thinking why it is so.


[ Parent ]

Power _always_ fill a vacuum (2.00 / 1) (#186)
by sonovel on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 02:37:06 PM EST

Utopians beware!

Someone will always step in to fill a vacuum of power.

The U.S. may or may not have any "right" to do so, but so what?

In the Iraq case, the U.N. would have done nothing without the U.S. driving the effort. I doubt any other group would have been able to remove Iraq from Kuwait.

The recent genocide in _Europe_ indicates the Europeans won't step up to the plate, even when extreme crimes against humanity are performed right on their borders.

So who do you want to have power? Would you prefer that the U.S. became isolationist?

If so, who would have done anything in Eastern Europe?

Israel would have either been wiped off the face of the earth and Jews massacered (again) or Israel would have nuked her enemies. Would that have been better what is going on now?

Iraq may have taken over Saudi Arabia by now. Is that a preferable outcome to the U.S. liberating Kuwait?

Many groups want the U.S. to 'pick up its marbles and go home'. Would this really lead to a better world?

Would the world have been better off had the U.S. stayed out of WWII and any reconstruction after the war? In that case, even had the Axis lost, there would have been no Marshall plan. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to consider what Europe would be like under a triumphant Hitler.

Sounds good to all you "the U.S. has no right!" people?

I guess you would be happy had the U.S. conceded the Cold War? Nice happy world under the hegemony of the U.S.S.R.?

What the U.S. should do now, and whether the U.S. did the right thing in Iraq, is debatable. But this "U.S. go home, you have no right to be here" stuff is absurd. If the U.S. weren't doing it, someone else would. It most likely wouldn't be a western democracy. It would more likely be a Taliban or bin Laden, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, or Milosavic. I guess these would all be better than the U.S., right?




[ Parent ]
a few notes (5.00 / 1) (#192)
by ckotso on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 03:54:28 PM EST

What the U.S. should do now, and whether the U.S. did the right thing in Iraq, is debatable. But this "U.S. go home, you have no right to be here" stuff is absurd. If the U.S. weren't doing it, someone else would. It most likely wouldn't be a western democracy. It would more likely be a Taliban or bin Laden, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, or Milosavic. I guess these would all be better than the U.S., right?

Let me tell bring a few examples to you, to see how untrue this is. I live in Greece, a highly unstable area for the past centuries, for plenty of reasons, but most of all the fact that it is part of the Balcans: the cross between Europe, Asia and Africa as many will point out. We fought a world war, and have been under occupation by the Germans for 4 years. Before than that, we beat the Italians that tried unsuccessfully to take over Greece by themselves. Unfortunately we did not have the same luck with the Germans, and it was until they were defeated that we were freed. Yet, they were defeated mainly by the Russians (who also suffered huge loss of men), not the USians. I AM NOT SAYING THAT YOUR HELP WAS NOT OF GREAT VALUE. But I *am* saying that you did not win this war by yourself, nor did anyone else.

Then we had a civil war, to which your help was none. Nadda. Zero. Then a junta which your country supported blindly. It only fell when the Turks invaded and occupied Cyprus; to which your response was, well... none. Northern Cyprus is still occupied, but there is nothing the US does about that (although it gives promises daily about soilving this problem).

Yet, Greece is still a democracy and also what you call a western country. Our only fear at the moment seem to be the Turks again; the same Turks that the US has been arming and supporting for decades, because of its position near the middle east, thus its ability to provide intermediary stations to your flights towards that area, as well as some handy bases to bomb whomever you wish each day.

So spare me the good american administration that preserves stability of this world and protects us weak. That is science fiction. I am pretty sure that the US-americans are very nice people; some very good friends of mine are studying in your country, and keep telling me about how kind and nice the population of this country is, and franky I do not have one single reason not to believe that. But when it comes to the US foreign policy, the story becomes a mess and no excuse can make things better before the eyes of the rest of the world.

--
Yes, I *am* biased against the US; stop bitching about it, and start thinking why it is so.


[ Parent ]

past acts (none / 0) (#198)
by zeda on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 04:34:57 PM EST

We can learn from our mistakes. But that does not make future decisions simple. Even though we have bargained with the devil (Afghanistan, Sadamm, etc.) in the past we might still have to interact with questionable countries if for no other reason then to prevent them sliding backwards (Pakistan). For example Pakistan has a military dictatorship, the product of a coup, but this is better than the democratic Taliban supporting past administrations.

We did bad things in the cold war, but this is all hindsight and some things could have been worse. The operating principle in most of these things is "A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow."

But all of this is about that past. We are, right now, trying to make the same decisions correctly. And part of those decisions involves relaxing our stance on human rights abuses in order to clarify our stance on intervention.

We have to have some engagement with bad countries, we wish to have black and white and only end up with all grey.

[ Parent ]

don't misquote me (none / 0) (#202)
by sonovel on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 04:49:14 PM EST

Maybe you should read what I wrote and respond to it. You seem to be responding to things I didn't write.

I never said the U.S. won WWII single handedly. I even suggested an outcome where the Allies won without the U.S.

I also didn't call the U.S. the protector of the weak or the ensurer of world stability.

I never said the U.S. didn't do bad things.

Read what I wrote and respond to it. Don't just respond with your anti-U.S. biases. If you have a point related to what I wrote, respond with it. I don't give a damn about your whining about the "big bad U.S."

Once again my point is that the argument that the U.S. has no "right" to get involved with the world is specious.

Some power will get involved.

If it isn't the U.S. it is very likely to be someone worse, like those nice Chinese who are currently colonizing Tibet. Or perhaps an Islamic revolution is more to your liking? Imagine the effect on Greece if Turky had a government like the Taliban? Nice thought, huh?

I guess Greece would be better of had the U.S. not been involved in Europe. How's your Russian? If the west, especially the U.S., not oppossed the U.S.S.R. where would the capital of Greece be now?

My point once again: It doesn't matter whether or not the U.S. has any "right" to "interfere" in the world. Power always, always, always fills a vacuum. There seems to be no alternative to someone being involved. So, who do you prefer gets involved _besides_ the U.S.?

This doesn't put the U.S. above criticism. It just means that the argument that "the U.S. should stay out of the rest of the world's business" is silly. U.S. isolationism wouldn't make the world a better place.



[ Parent ]
half-true. (none / 0) (#219)
by ckotso on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:58:49 AM EST

You are correct in a sense. Someone will always intervene, that's what history teaches us. My points, which you did not seem to consider at all, is that:
  1. The fact that SOMEONE will intervene, does not make you right intervening.
  2. The US has also intervened in situations that required no intervention at all. There are examples of countries with citizens leaving a prosperous life, and the CIA going in and turn over their legally elected governments with insidious means.
It is this last situation that created my anti-US bias, as you called it, in the very first place. I think you should seriously consider what makes so many people have this bias. I really don't believe we are all jeallous that we are not citizens of "this great nation", "the land of the free" (see the article today about that TV guy that was kicked out for expressing his opinion), and so on. I repeat, I do not have anything against the american people, other than they elect the governments they elect (or do not, as the latest elections proved).

To answer your questions, no I would not prefer China to intervene in crisis situations around the world; but then again they have not tried, so I can't really be sure if it would be for better or for worse. On the other hand, the US has never stopped trying.

--
Yes, I *am* biased against the US; stop bitching about it, and start thinking why it is so.


[ Parent ]

China and intervention (none / 0) (#236)
by sonovel on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 02:46:24 PM EST

China doesn't intervene in other countries?

Tell it to Tibet and Taiwan.



[ Parent ]
right (none / 0) (#277)
by ckotso on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 05:04:55 PM EST

Yeah, they are so far away from China. On the other hand, Serbia/Iraq/Iran/Libya/Korea/Chille/(the list goes on indefinitely) are right next to your borders.

Of course, that does not make China right. But how does you point makes the US right?

--
Yes, I *am* biased against the US; stop bitching about it, and start thinking why it is so.


[ Parent ]

Strawman. (none / 0) (#280)
by sonovel on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 07:43:15 PM EST

You downplayed Chinese intervention. I pointed out that China does intervene in other countries.

You then respond with a non sequitur. Unless your point is that intervention is ok if you do it near your borders, your comment isn't a reply to mine.



[ Parent ]
Multi-lateralism is good (5.00 / 1) (#228)
by Rylian on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 10:44:21 AM EST

I'm not for a moment suggesting that the US be isolationist. That would be a bad thing for everyone.

What I am suggesting is that the US should act as a world citizen, not a lone ranger. The CIA has been caught tampering in other countries' democratically elected governments many times. That just isn't on. Apart from anything else, it causes great resentment that eventually comes back to bite you.

The other 5.7 billion inhabitants of planet Earth generally welcome American interest and involvement in their affairs, as long as it is by invitation and genuine. Most of the anti-US resentment would disappear instantly if the US pursued its foreign policy objectives through the UN and other international bodies instead of supplying weapons to US-friendly groups, etc.

What I'm saying is that US involvement in the world is important. It's just when the interests of the US are advanced to the detriment of others that we get annoyed. :)

(Side note: I suspect Nazism would have fallen to pieces quickly even if it had conquered Europe. It's an unstable ideology built on fear and propaganda. Those kind of societies tend not to last long. There were several German attempts on Hitler's life well before the end of the war. Had they been successful, the war would have been over much quicker...)

[ Parent ]

Seventy Years (4.00 / 1) (#242)
by sonovel on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 06:31:42 PM EST

Seventy years is how long it took the Soviet Union to 'fall to pieces'. Even this was shortened by U.S. opposition to totalitarian communism throughout the world.

I agree that it is possible that an evil empire like a triumphant Nazi Germany could eventually fall apart. However, we have an example of an equally evil system taking many decades of conflict to end.



[ Parent ]
That's true, but... (none / 0) (#247)
by Rylian on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 04:35:32 AM EST

my history teacher used to say that whereas Nazism defined itself by who it hated, Communism defined itself by trying to advance the human cause of equality. (That's best possible case of course; it never works out that way...) There's no doubt that Marx and Engels weren't sincerely trying to redress social injustice. Hilter on the other hand had no such noble aims.

From that point of view, once Nazism ran out of enemies, its reason for being was gone. Social unrest in Germany increased significantly after the Wehrmacht was stopped at St Petersburg and the tide of the war turned. The Communists could at least think that they were trying to achieve social equity, or something.

Maybe the fact that the Soviet Union had a command economy helped them retain control as well. Nazism was at least sort-of capitalist; the businesses would continue to support it only as long as it was good for them. Under Communism, there was no business and as such there was one less challenge to the goverments power.

It's an interesting subject. I need to learn more history, economics and politics :).

[ Parent ]

Soviet Communism was Stalinism (none / 0) (#252)
by sonovel on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:07:49 AM EST

The worst evils of Soviet Communism were due to Stalin. Stalin was literally as bad a Hitler. So the intentions of Marx and Engels don't really matter.

The (admitedly right wing) historian Paul Johnson provides evidence that Marx wasn't a particularly nice person, so maybe he wasn't just interested in advancing humanity. Either way though as far "well intentioned" Communism goes, it is like the song says "it didn't turn out that way".

My biggest gripe with some on the left is that many times they claim to be acting out of love for humanity, but their actions show that they actually fear and/or dislike actual human beings.

Bash capitalism if you like, but point out a system that shows more respect for human rights than the western capitalistic democracies. Show me any communistic democracy that respects human rights. Heck, just show me a democratic communist government.

To paraphrase a Churchillism 'capitalism may suck, it just sucks less than all the alternatives we've tried so far.'

---
As an aside on "corporate power", it is my belief that corporation gain too much power with the help of an overreaching government. A large burden of (somewhat justified) government regulations on business _favors_ large companies.

For example, the ADA and other anti-discrimination laws effectively require that every company have good legal council. This is a higher burden on a small company. Large companies already have the legal "infrastructure" (legal departments). So the impact to the megacorp is effectively less. Also, bad copyright and patent laws favor the big guys as well.



[ Parent ]
Corporate power oops, wrong post. (none / 0) (#253)
by sonovel on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:30:13 AM EST

The corporate power comment really belongs as a reponse to "not even close".

[ Parent ]
Not even close (none / 0) (#250)
by Ami Ganguli on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 09:06:28 AM EST

Comparing the Soviets to Nazis is way off base. The Soviet system had it's flaws, but it wasn't racist and it didn't attempt to exterminate it's own people.

The whole idea that communism is "evil" is really bizarre. It's fair to say that it doesn't work, but that's really not the same thing. If it's foreign policy you're talking about, then I don't see any evidence that American foreign policy during the cold war was any better (read "less destructive") than Soviet foreign policy.

Given the amount of power large corporations now enjoy (especially within the U.S., but increasingly around the globe), I would suggest that capitalism hasn't been a great success either.

Who knows, maybe in a few hundred years both capitalism and communism will have been written off by economic historians as noble experiments that were doomed to failure due to naive assumptions. Maybe feudalism is the one true economic system after all :-).



[ Parent ]
troll? (none / 0) (#251)
by sonovel on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 10:49:39 AM EST

Whether communism is evil in principle is debatable.

Soviet Communism was evil. Have you heard of a guy called Stalin? Seriously, you are very very confused about history if you don't know that Stalin exterminated tens of millions of his own people.

Chinese communism has done about the same.

Maybe I just fell for a troll, but _wow_! If it isn't a troll, your ignorance of history is appalling. Are you an example of the failures of the U.S. education system?




[ Parent ]
Stalin != Soviet Communism (none / 0) (#286)
by Ami Ganguli on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 04:35:59 AM EST

Really your comment sounds a lot more Troll-like than mine, but ok, I'll bite...

Stalin was a single leader and a dictator at that. He died in 1953. The "modern" Soviet Union that was recognized as a superpower developed mostly after that period.

Basing your entire view of Soviet history on the Stalin era would be like basing your view of American history entirely on the decimation of America's aboriginals during the pioneer days.

My objection to the word "evil" stems from the reality that the citizens of Russia were better off under communism than they were before or have been since. The individuals who ran the system, like those who run America, beleived it was the best one for their people.

In any case, I wasn't claiming that Soviet Communism or Communism in general is workable in the long term. I was simply making the point that it's a little too soon to pass judgement. American-style capitalism may yet collapse. (In fact I hope it does collapse, or at least takes a different path, I just don't know what that path might be).



[ Parent ]
not a troll, Soviet Union was evil (none / 0) (#292)
by sonovel on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 02:29:25 PM EST

Massive violations of human rights didn't stop after Stalin. Even if it did, Stalin's despotism was almost half the history of the regime. To dismiss Stalin as an abberation in the history of the USSR is absurd.

My view of the Soviet Union is that it was just as bad a Nazi Germany. I suspect that had Nazi Germany won WWII they would have eventually mellowed too. This wouldn't have decreased by one bit the evil done by their ideology.

As far as being "better off", economically, maybe _Russians_ were a little better off _late_ in the regime. Most of the oppressed peoples of the Soviet empire were not better off then.

Certainly the tens of millions killed weren't better off than they were under the Czar. They're still dead, so we can't compare to today. More people were killed by the Soviet Union than were killed by Nazi Germany.

Those jailed for "subversive" sentiment certainly weren't better off. I believe there were still gulags opperating at the end of the USSR.

Unionists in Poland certainly weren't better off, even though their repression lasted much longer than Stalin.

East Germans are far better off today.

Anyone who wanted to worship their god of choice is far better off today.

Freedom of religion, the press, speech and all other fundamental human rights were held in contempt right until the end of the "evil empire". What human rights existed in the USSR in say 1983, thirty years after Stalin's death?

Of course, it is _never_ communism's fault. Just because 2 out of 3 of the most bloodthirsty governments _ever_ were communist doesn't mean a thing, correct? The lack of any liberal democratic communist governments doesn't indicate a problem, right?


Show me one example of a communist government that respects human rights!




[ Parent ]
Way to black and white... (none / 0) (#293)
by Ami Ganguli on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 04:28:16 PM EST

First of all you need to define "massive". There were appalling human rights violations under Soviet rule, but the average person didn't live in fear. The same goes for China today. Yes there are problems and yes they need to be addressed, but you also need to keep things in perspective.

Also keep in mind that the U.S. isn't a utopia either. If we're taking the entire century into account, then we can't forget race riots and lynchings. To this day the U.S. has a disturbing habit of executing black people. When your government isn't killing people, then your citizens have an odd tendancy to kill each other. China, oddly enough, doesn't seem to have that problem.

As far as killing people through foreign policy, it would be interesting to add up the deaths due to the Korean war, Vietnam war, Persian Gulf war, and the miscellaneous smaller squirmishes the U.S. has been directly involved in. Then add to that the various wars the U.S. has supported financially or through arms. The numbers could get pretty ugly.

Anyway, I'm not trying to say that the U.S. is evil, or even that it's more evil than the Soviet Union. I'm saying that you have a very one-sided perspective.

Hitler and the Nazis were in a whole different league from the Soviets. Hitler targeted people for their race and beliefs. Individuals who had done nothing against the regime were killed or lived in fear because of who they were. That never happened in the Soviet Union. While there were human rights violations, never was an entire people systematically exterminated.



[ Parent ]
Soviet Communists were mega-murderers (none / 0) (#295)
by sonovel on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 06:50:37 PM EST

"Hitler and the Nazis were in a whole different league from the Soviets. Hitler targeted people for their race and beliefs. Individuals who had done nothing against the regime were killed or lived in fear because of who they were. That never happened in the Soviet Union. While there were human rights violations, never was an entire people systematically exterminated."

Once again, you need to look at history. The Soviets _absolutely_ targeted people because of their beliefs. They also killed lots of people for just for being landlords and peasants in the Ukraine. Strangly, communists of the wrong type were also victims of communists. The USSR mass murdered more people than Nazi Germany. This isn't a little "human rights" abuse.

So you are a little off in your defense of the Soviet Union.

As far as not living in fear in China, what about the Falong Gong? I imagine they are pretty afraid. Anyone there who says bad things about their government has reason to be afraid too. Remember Tianamenn Square? How about the cultural revolution?

I guess they weren't trying to scare Tiawan during its last elections either! The million+ dead in Tibet had nothing to fear from the Chinese either, right?

Oh and China executed more people in in the last few months than the entire world does in a corresponding amount of years! Sounds pretty scary to me!

Oh, who are you responding to about the U.S.? I don't believe I mentioned that country. Did I say the U.S. has no problems? Did I say it had the perfect government?

Perspective is that there is no moral comparison between the liberal western democracies including the U.S. and the viscous totalitarian communist regimes.

But hey, defend these mass murdering dictatorships if if you like. You want to defend mass murderers, that is your business. Don't let facts get in the way.

So once again, can you name any communist liberal democracies, or even one that supports human rights?


[ Parent ]
policeman of the world: a SERIOUS job (3.00 / 1) (#231)
by krbonne on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 11:20:36 AM EST

Utopians beware!
Someone will always step in to fill a vacuum of power.
Utopians beware! Someone will always step in to fill a vacuum of power. The U.S. may or may not have any "right" to do so, but so what? In the Iraq case, the U.N. would have done nothing without the U.S. driving the effort. I doubt any other group would have been able to remove Iraq from Kuwait. The recent genocide in _Europe_ indicates the Europeans won't step up to the plate, even when extreme crimes against humanity are performed right on their borders. The U.S. may or may not have any "right" to do so, but so what?


In principe; there is nothing wrong with having a 'policeman of the world'; and the US -as the remaining superpower- does look like the 'natural' candidate for it. Actually, a lot of countries WANT to have such a state

BUT, there is ONE MAJOR condition: that the police-man is NEUTRAL and OBJECTIVE.

When you have a objective look at the current foreign policy of the US; this is not at all the case. Just look at the way it applies UN-resolutions to (say) Israel vs. to Iraq.

The thing is that the US is located in-between two oceans and has not had a war on it's own soil for over two-hunders years. It has the mentality of a 'isle-people' who think they are 'safe' as they are protected by these two oceans.
But, the 'technology' of warfare has changed in such a way that this is not the case anymore; as "proven" two weeks ago.
This may sound a bit 'sarcastic' but -in itself- this can be a good thing; and make the US foreign policy more 'sensative' to the concequences of what it does (via the public opinion in the US).
(But I do not want to minimise the personal suffering of the people that where the victims of this; and not much to do with it; but -on the other hand- I don't want to minimise the personal suffering of the people on 'the other side' neither. Death and sufferning makes us all equal).

In the Iraq case, the U.N. would have done nothing without the U.S. driving the effort. I doubt any other group would have been able to remove Iraq from Kuwait.
The question is if this would have been necessairy of the US would not have 'hinted' Saddam that is was "OK" to invade Kuwait.

Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.

[ Parent ]
We declared our _neutrality_ (none / 0) (#241)
by sonovel on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 06:23:05 PM EST

I thought you wanted the U.S. to be neutral!

The wording of our message to Iraq was something like the U.S. had 'no opinion on Arab-Arab conflicts, like border disagreements with Kuwait'.

This is no invitation to invade! We expressed neutrality and Iraq invaded. No rational person could think that the U.S. wouldn't care about on oil producing state invading another.

I bet we wouldn't have responded militarily to any act less than invasion. Had Iraq shelled Kuwaiti oil wells or done some other limited military response, we would have done nothing.

Only a full scale invasion allowed the U.S. to get the agreement of Saudi Arabia to having U.S. forces on it. Only the invasion let the U.S. convince a great coalition of countries that military action was needed against Iraq.

You are starting to sound like a conspiracy theorist.

[ Parent ]
sorry 'objective', not 'neutral' (none / 0) (#249)
by krbonne on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 08:04:23 AM EST

I thought you wanted the U.S. to be neutral!

OK. I am sorry, but english is not my native language (it's actually my 3th language). I meant 'objective', not 'neutral'.

The US is at this time, the only superpower and acts as the 'policeman' of the world; but it should be more 'objective' in their actions.
Eg. when applying the resolutions of the UN security counsel to ALL countries, including Israel.

BTW. The remark made concerning Iraq had to do with the Iran-Iraq war which was (as appartently believed by many Iranians) 'helped to start' by the US.
If that is true; is a different matter, but it seams to be what is believed by the people in Iran.
The problem for the US in the middle-east is a very large 'credibility' problem; as THEY view the US-policy as being very one-sided.

Cheerio! Kr. Bonne

[ Parent ]
Not really... (5.00 / 1) (#175)
by PhillipW on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 12:20:03 PM EST

We know Saddamn is bad, most people argee, therefore we do things to try to contain him and force him out of power. If you are so damned concerned about these children then lets all get up and go over there and kill Saddamn and take over the fucking country, and not cry when the parents of these children shoot at us and are killed, because they are made to by Saddamn. Because our attempts at justice are better than what they suffer under Saddamn.

This bit is quite ignorant of history. Remember, the world does not function in a vacuum. Saddam sure is bad, I agree. So why should we punish his citizens? <sarcasm>Well if they don't overthrow someone who we gave massive amounts of arms to than they MUST deserve to STARVE!</sarcasm> Now, you say that our attempts at "justice" are better than what they suffer under Saddam(which you spelled wrong). Please explain this, since we are the ones who have given Saddam all of his power.

The US does have the right to determine policy for other countries. The UN does have the right to determinte policy for other countries. You cannot argue abstractly about this.

Why not? None of this because we have bigger guns reasoning please. Also, none of the "We are more enlightened than they are, so we know more. Therefore we can tell them what to do." A truly enlightened society is understanding of other societies, and does not poke their nose in the business of others. We fought a war with Iraq, we had enough reason to kill Iraqi soliders, that gives us a pretty big precedent for using force against the Iraqis.

Awesome logic! So if I say that I have a reason to kill you, say you were siphoning gas from my gas tank, then I go and take a gun and blow your head off, I was justified. Furthermore, I would have the right to call your father a dirty fascist, even though I gave him money to buy you a siphon in order to get back at your neighbors who I hated, and told him that the rest of his family has to starve until he steps down as head of your household and leaves. I see what you are saying, and it makes perfect sense!

You have extremely flawed logic.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Further logic (3.00 / 1) (#196)
by zeda on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 04:21:29 PM EST

$S = Saddam

So how do we free the people of Iraq? If we can't kill a single of the innocent Iraqis, including all of the innocent members of the Iraqi army, and $S himself must be innocent too because we made him what he is. Do you understand the concept of hostages and human shields?

So naturally because of mistakes in the past we cannot do anything.

I should have said our future attempts at justice are going to be better than what they suffer under $S. Or do you think that if $S is left alone he would turn Iraq into a constitutional democractic capitalist society, also known as the worst form of government except for all the others.

A truly enlightened society does not hide its head in the sand. So should we "understand" other countries human rights abuses. There are certain activities that are universally bad. Do we understand those societies that still allow slavery?

Man only has those rights which he can defend.

Siphoning gas is not even a remotely relevent analogy.

Do we have to wait before Sadamm invades another country or does something else evil before we address him again, or do the reasons we fought the war still allow us to maintain no-fly-zones and other activities to maintain the goals we had set forth for the war.

[ Parent ]

6000 Americans? (4.40 / 5) (#154)
by Jave on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 10:26:23 PM EST

Not sure if it was posted above in the 150 or so comments above mine... But the current news stories that a majority of the dead weren't American. Meaning, this is apples and oranges. The attack was on US soil, but the terrorists knew what they were doing and they killed people from over 50 nations. Their attack was on the world. There isn't much to defend 500,000 children dying. Perhaps if we had destroyed the Iragi regime and replaced and avoided the results of the sanctions... In any case Saddam has no doubt killed or caused the death of more people than the sanctions have, and his actions are the direct cause of the sanctions in the first place. These "extreme regimes" do not rule for the people. They rule for their own reasons and gains. A preponderance of the blame rests on them. They'd sooner have millions of their own people die than give up their power. Our opposition may be part of any deaths that happen, but the regimes care very little for the consequences of their rule. They hold the primary responsibilty for any deaths with or without our influence.

WTC: a symbol of world trade; and now of vunerabil (none / 0) (#225)
by krbonne on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 09:59:43 AM EST

Not sure if it was posted above in the 150 or so comments above mine... But the current news stories that a majority of the dead weren't American. Meaning, this is apples and oranges. The attack was on US soil, but the terrorists knew what they were doing and they killed people from over 50 nations. Their attack was on the world.

Nope. The attack where on SYMBOLS: a symbol of the international business and the symbol of the American militairy power.

From a militairy point of view: terror is a phychological warfare.
By this; I do not want to minimize the personal drama for the INDIVIDUALS involved in ANY war (conventional or terror) on whatever side they are on.

Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.


[ Parent ]
WTC: a symbol of world trade; and now of vunerabil (none / 0) (#226)
by krbonne on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 10:00:17 AM EST

Not sure if it was posted above in the 150 or so comments above mine... But the current news stories that a majority of the dead weren't American. Meaning, this is apples and oranges. The attack was on US soil, but the terrorists knew what they were doing and they killed people from over 50 nations. Their attack was on the world.

Nope. The attack where on SYMBOLS: a symbol of the international business and the symbol of the American militairy power.

From a militairy point of view: terror is a phychological warfare.
By this; I do not want to minimize the personal drama for the INDIVIDUALS involved in ANY war (conventional or terror) on whatever side they are on.

Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.


[ Parent ]
Because they are not your own (4.33 / 3) (#189)
by coward anonymous on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 02:51:32 PM EST

I will venture a small theory that might actually answer your question instead of promoting a political agenda - in contrast to most of the postings I've read so far.
For the sake of brevity I will sometimes omit using qualifiers such as `it seems', `most', `average' etc. However, this doesn't mean I pretend this theory to be a certainty or that it applies to everyone. It is only a theory based on my observations and, I think, applies to the majority.

The reaction disparity stems from three tightly inter-related factors:
1. Identity.
2. Perceived threat.
3. Level of abstraction.

1. Identity is a self-association with a particular social group contrasting with other social groups. It usually stems from a set of shared interests in the most general sense - blood, hobbies, language, beliefs, life styles, etc. It can be anything from your siblings vs. other kids on the block, family vs. strangers in the street, your church vs. your neighbor's church, K5 vs. Slashdot to the U.S. vs. Iraq and West vs. East. Part and parcel of identity is the human habit of people empathizing with others in their group. Like it or not, people in your group are "worth" more than people in another group. That is human nature.

Unsurprisingly enough, most people in the Western world associate themselves with the U.S. and not with Iraq. An individual in the West simply has more in common with another Westerner than with an individual in Iraq. Hence more empathy is extended towards an American than afforded an Iraqi.

2. X children dying of starvation in Iraq doesn't sound threatening to the average suburban Westerner - European or American. There is plenty of food in the super-markets, the economy is not doing so badly and the world is still the peaceful, orderly place it was yesterday. Y people dying a fiery death in a skyscraper by way of two jetliners, is a whole different matter. That same Westerner suddenly dreads the 30th floor office he works in, feels queasy when boarding a trans-Atlantic flight and is afraid he might be killed at random by a raving lunatic. It could have been him in the WTC. Someone sharing his identity was killed because of this identity and he doesn't feel very safe anymore.

3. Abstract concepts do not engender emotions. People need something tangible to elicit an emotion. Where is Iraq? Most Westerners didn't know Iraq existed prior to the Gulf War. I still doubt most people could locate either Iraq or Afghanistan on the globe. What language do they speak? What are their customs? The truth is most Westerners know nothing about Iraq except that it exists somewhere and grabs headlines daily. Without these mental scaffoldings Iraq and its citizens remain an abstract concept that is difficult to relate to emotionally. On the other hand, Westerners know where New York is; Americans speak English and have familiar customs that can be related to. Many have even been to New York and have seen its inhabitants - they are human. The rest see the similarities between New York and their cities and towns, they can picture it. New York and its population are not abstract.


I don't believe it is difficult to see how these three factors are related and intertwined.

In conclusion, yes, it is all nice and intellectually elegant to claim all people are equal and should be treated as such. But in the reality of the human condition, it is meaningless.



Food for thought (3.50 / 4) (#201)
by adamsc on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 04:47:29 PM EST

From the New Republic:
For years Saddam Hussein has loudly complained that U.N. prohibitions on the sale of Iraqi oil, imposed when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, are starving his people. To prove his point, Saddam has taken foreign reporters and diplomats on tours throughout greater Iraq, where the citizenry does indeed seem to be suffering mass deprivation. And his public relations campaign has borne fruit, eroding public support for sanctions in Europe and in the United States and contributing to the Bush administration's recent proposal to radically scale them back.

But Sulaymaniyah, a city in northern Iraq with approximately 500,000 inhabitants, tells a different story. Indeed, across a crescent-shaped slice of northern Iraq, the picture is the same: The shops are stocked, and the people are eating. Northern Iraq lives under exactly the same international sanctions as the rest of the country. The difference here is that local Kurdish authorities, in conjunction with the United Nations, spend the money they get from the sale of oil. Everywhere else in Iraq, Saddam does. And when local authorities are determined to get food and medicine to their people--instead of, say, reselling these supplies to finance military spending and palace construction--the current sanctions regime works just fine. Or, to put it more bluntly, the United Nations isn't starving Saddam's people. Saddam is.

I would also be very dubious about any UN report until it's been confirmed by reliable sources. The UN is increasingly made up of the sort of people it allegedly works against - e.g. kicking the US off of the Human Rights commission and installing Sudan - a nation where slavery is still common - or ignoring the Rwandan massacres because of political ties between UN officials and the Hutu leaders. In the world of international realpolitik life for the average person improves only by coincidence...

Scepticism (5.00 / 2) (#215)
by crealf on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 03:11:09 AM EST

I would also be very dubious about any UN report until it's been confirmed by reliable sources.

The average UN report is still more reliable than the average US report (for US have strategical, political, economical interests about everywhere in the world). Especially on a subject like war against Iraq.

While the article you quoted has some points, some facts are the following:

  • Before the war, but still under Saddam Hussein's governement, the death rate of children was slowly decreasing.
  • The war came, with the sanctions.
  • The death rate of the children is nowadays more than doubled (yielding the 500,000 estimate, only but certainly, a part of which, can be attributed to the war and/or the embargo).

Now, if Saddam, and Saddam alone was the cause of starving children, I wouldn't expect the above scenario to have occured, although certainly Saddam policy can have increased the effects of the embargo.
But generally, I'm sceptical about explanations why an embargo doesn't create problems to find vital goods (sounds like a non-working embargo), and although "oil for food" can explain why *now* the Iraqi people situation could/should improve, I think that looking to other non-American sources would be better to confirm this.

[ Parent ]

Scepticism (none / 0) (#266)
by adamsc on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 08:58:59 PM EST

The average UN report is still more reliable than the average US report
I would disagree - I don't trust either the UN or the US government. Both have a history of reporting what influential people / groups want to hear.
Now, if Saddam, and Saddam alone was the cause of starving children, I wouldn't expect the above scenario to have occured, although certainly Saddam policy can have increased the effects of the embargo.
The amount of oil allowed to be sold under the embargo was calculated based on food / medical needs with a small amount of overhead. If, as seems to be the case, a substantial fraction of that is being redirected to the military and royal family (as per all those news articles about food and medical supplies being sold to buy arms or fund the royal family's palaces), it's entirely reasonable to blame Saddam for the plummeting public health standards. The Kurd's different fate supports this theory - they're doing better, despite starting from a significantly worse position.

[ Parent ]
Rwanda comment (5.00 / 1) (#229)
by Malatesta on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 10:46:33 AM EST

The UN recently released the transcripts of the security counsel debate over Rwanda. The US and Britain plain refused to use the word 'genocide' as this would have forced the UN to act. They eventually compromised after an all night session with the (Belgian?) proposer almost in tears. They quoting from the definition of genocide, then did nothing. Why did the good 'ol US want this? The Interahamwe (Hutu militia) were backed by France and the RPF (Tutsi) were backed by the US. The US knew that the RPF were going to win and any UN intervention would have allowed the French to continue their old influence, better let hundreds of thousands die than lose a morsel of power! Everything else that you cite is similarly misinformed. If you are going to really understand anything you must go beyond the pat summaries presented in the mainsteam media.

[ Parent ]
There's plenty of blame to go around (none / 0) (#267)
by adamsc on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 10:06:32 PM EST

Everything else that you cite is similarly misinformed. If you are going to really understand anything you must go beyond the pat summaries presented in the mainsteam media.
I would just like to point out that disagreeing with you does not mean I'm only listening to CNN. You'll get no argument from me that the US government acted in a disgraceful fashion.

Clinton was trying to avoid a mediapathic event like Somalia - have to keep the polls up, right? - and that meant avoiding sending troops in. Questions about evaluating potential actions in the context of how they'd fare in the November elections are simply disgusting.

However, I don't think that blaming the US precludes finding fault with UN leadership, either. This article discusses how, while the US / UK have certainly contributed to the problem, they were by no means the only factor.

[ Parent ]

Rwandan Intervention (none / 0) (#288)
by Malatesta on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 09:39:04 AM EST

Your article posited US leadership as an alternative to UN leadership, I was merely pointing out that in the case you described the US was actually leading the UN! By the way I have no love for the UN either, nor do I blame the US for everything (not even Rwanda). I was however arguing against your implication that the US would have done better.

Also it is worth noting that the threat of a Somalia like situation is not a credible explanation for the US/UK blocking of UN action. Because the US and UK rarely supply troops for peacekeeping and there would have been no requirement for either to have supplied anything more than funding for any UN intervention in Rwanda. To explain the situation you simply have to look at the imperial politics of central Africa, which are very obvious when you spend any time in the region.

[ Parent ]

You're no longer "safe" between your two (5.00 / 1) (#221)
by krbonne on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 08:19:38 AM EST

How would you feel if bin Laden said 6,000 American lives were "a price worth paying"? Ed Herman points out in this article that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once said on 60 Minutes that "we think the price is worth it", answering a direct question about 500,000 dead Iraqi children (evidence available on video here).

I find it 'interesting' to see this kind of articles in the press now.
Everybody who has some interest in the international polics in the middle East can't help to notice that US foreign policy is far from "balanced"; this article just being of the examples of it.
For a lot of people -and especially people living in the middle east themselfs- this is nothing new.(I DO advice US citizens to take the time and list en to the international radio- and TV-broadcasts of countries in the Middle-east and start to understand what people in these countries really think of the US).
The US-foreign policy had a simple idea: we can do about anything we want; as "joe-average" doesn't have any idea where the Middle-east is and -as long it doesn't turns out into a full war and American soldiers come back in bodybags- nobody in the US really cares.
This is a very sad things; as the US is -at this time- the only superpower left in the world; and is -in that role- a bit the 'police-man' of the world. But, a 'police-man' needs to be neutral, and -it it's current behavious- the US foreign policy isn't neutral as all.

We in Europe have learned more-or-less that if get to much people against you; you have a great risk that you'll end up with your own people getting killed by a bomb in a subway-station, an amusement-park, etc. And now, the american people have learned the same thing: you are not safe just because you are located in-between two oceans.
If there is one thing the US people will have to learn, is that their lives can be directly effected by the international politics of their own federal gouvernement; and it is time they tell them what concequences and risks you are prepared to take. The earlier you do that, the better for you, for the poeple in the middle east and for the whole world!

Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.

Hmmph. (2.00 / 1) (#265)
by jolly st nick on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 06:38:26 PM EST

The US-foreign policy had a simple idea: we can do about anything we want; as "joe-average" doesn't have any idea where the Middle-east is and -as long it doesn't turns out into a full war and American soldiers come back in bodybags- nobody in the US really cares.

This is elitist bullshit. Most Americans know where the Middle East is. Not only did we learn this in school, like you did, many Americans went there in Desert Storm, or had friends or family that did. Just ask the many Europeans that were there. And nobody, American or European, wants to see his country's children coming back in body bags, so I don't see why this singles us out for your contempt. Anybody in his right mind wants the rest of the world to take care of their own problems if they possibly can.

We in Europe have learned more-or-less that if get to much people against you; you have a great risk that you'll end up with your own people getting killed by a bomb in a subway-station, an amusement-park, etc.

I never thought I'd say something that sounds so jingoistic, but people like you in Europe have the luxury of staying on the sidelines and carping about the US while we take the lead in the dirty work. Let me tell you, it sucks. Lots of folks here would like to take our ball and go home. Just think about that for a moment: Sadaam Hussein building his pan-arab empire with weapons of mass destruction; the Balkans erupting into continental war; Japan frightening the shit out of its neighbors by rearming against China. We don't want to be the country that stands between these nightmares and the world, but nobody else can. Fortunately, most Europeans and their leaders are honorable enough to pitch in and do their share. And we Americans deeply appreciate it when men like Mr. Blair step up and do their part, because we don't want to be the world's policeman, judge, jury and executioner.

You resent the United States for throwing its weight around, but then you resent it for not being some impartial agent who fixes the world's problems up for it. I think this a horrifying idea, and not just for Americans. US foreign policy works like every other country's foreign policy ever has and continues to do: we protect and advance our interests. And I might say we do it with more humanity than most countries have, given the chance. I'm not saying we couldn't do better, but you're talking like somebody with no historical perspective at all. The world would be a different place if we were half as amoral as you think we are.

And, as for people not liking us, well, I won't say this doesn't matter at all, but it's hopeless to hold out for universal popularity. The world is small and we're all interconnected. That means we're all connected to many places where people are playing out deadly zero sum conflicts. You can't avoid hatred in the world, you can only hold you head up and do your best.



[ Parent ]

the image of the US (none / 0) (#278)
by krbonne on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 05:07:13 PM EST

This is elitist bullshit. Most Americans know where the Middle East is. Not only did we learn this in school, like you did, many Americans went there in Desert Storm, or had friends or family that did. Just ask the many Europeans that were there.

OK, let le refrase; '... don't know there the Middle east is UNLESS THEY ARE PERSONLY INVOLVED'.

OK, let met explain:
I'm originaly from Bruges (one of the main historican and touristic cities of Belgium); and I use to go practice my english in one of the youth-hostels in Bruges where there where a lot of english-speaking tourists. Most of them where about my age (early 20s), a lot of them people who had just finished university and where their parents payed them to 'go and visit Europe for 3 months' (so actually above "joe-average").
At first; I thought that the famous 'single mindedness' of the American was just hear-say; but it DID turn out true. If I would compair to other people from belgium or (say) Ireland, Australia or New Zealand; almost all American I met had noticibly less 'general knowledge' from the world then these outer people (althou almost all tourists had about the same age).
A typical example was (e.g.) Libanon. This was the time of Israeli occupation of Libanon; and the only thing these American kids know was the fact that a camp of US marines was blown up in Libanon by some suicide bommer; but (say) the fact that there actually christians in Libanon (and Israel and Egypt, etc.); and actually have/had most of the power in that country; no one of them knew this.
Althou, if you hear the international news; the word 'christian militia in Libanon ...' shouldn't have been strange in these days and it DOES is vey important to understand the situation overthere.
The idea of most of these Americans whas 'middle east = Israel (jews) + Araba (=muslim) countries)'; so a very "simplistic" (and wrong) idea.

Now, I'm not making this up. For as far as I see, this might have to do with the way your educational system is build (around a very limited number of 'majors';
while in a most other countries, the educational system is a lot wider; dealing with more of different kind of subjects.


I never thought I'd say something that sounds so jingoistic, ...
I am sorry; but english is not my native language; what exactly is "jinhoistic"?
... but people like you in Europe have the luxury of staying on the sidelines and carping about the US while we take the lead in the dirty work.
I hope you know this sound like saying "We know what's best for you; and you don't need to judge us on that"; or 'we cannot be missed'.
Doesn't this sound a bit 'arrogant'? It's like saying "we will salvice you from the evil of <fill-in>".
Haven't you yet understood that what happened the 11the of september is to a large degree do to your (or actually of the foreign policy of your governement) actions".

...Just think about that for a moment: Sadaam Hussein building his pan-arab empire with weapons of mass destruction;
By waepons provided by who and for what purpose where all they provided to him?
the Balkans erupting into continental war;
Don't exagurate. The situation in the balkan is the result of the fact that yougoslavia was a 'artificial' country; and that the powers that held that country together had disappeared.
BTW, The EU did notice that they did not have the military strenght to deal with this kind of situations; so it plans to build it own 'supra-national' army to deal with this kind of wars. Guess who objected as this would lead to a deteriation of the power of NATO?

Japan frightening the shit out of its neighbors by rearming against China. We don't want to be the country that stands between these nightmares and the world, but nobody else can.
I am sorry but I don't know enough of the 2nd world war to comment on this.

You resent the United States for throwing its weight around, but then you resent it for not being some impartial agent who fixes the world's problems up for it. I think this a horrifying idea, and not just for Americans. US foreign policy works like every other country's foreign policy ever has and continues to do: we protect and advance our interests.
I am sorry, but you urgently need some info on the purpose of international organisations (like the UN, the EU, the arab legue, ...).

I don't know if you read the text about the situation in Afhanistan from the Iranian movie-maker. (it's also one of the article her on kuro5hin) and the fact that Afhanistan never reached the 'modern times' (including a 'national state') because of the tribal organisation of the society overthere.
While reading this; I thaught this was just like the US; but on a different scale.
The 'tribes' is in this case the US, the 'nationional' state is the world; and the 'valleys in which the tribes live and differenciate themselfs frmom the rest of the world; as the atlantic and the pacific Ocean'.

The US has -in essence- still this 'island-mentality' (just like the British also have).

because we don't want to be the world's policeman, judge, jury and executioner.
The problem is that your are acting in that way (or, at least, your governement is). This may not feel like to for you, but for a lot of people 'out there' you do. (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1552000/1552900.stm).
And, in the end, this is the most important as it are THESE people who do the kind of things that happened on the 11th of september.

And, as for people not liking us, well, I won't say this doesn't matter at all, but it's hopeless to hold out for universal popularity. The world is small and we're all interconnected. That means we're all connected to many places where people are playing out deadly zero sum conflicts. You can't avoid hatred in the world, you can only hold you head up and do your best.
Amen to that!

Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.

[ Parent ]
Forgotten (none / 0) (#276)
by orichter on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 04:31:21 PM EST

Apparently you have forgotten what WWII was about. The US has a history of helping and not causing problems.

The US is not the problem here, the internal problems within middle eastern countries are the problem. Palestine is an internal problem of Palestine and Israel. Much of it is an internal problem within the Palestinian organizations themselves, and thier inability to control militants who claim it is all someone elses fault. Then the militants can take over and control the Palestinians, which to a large degree they already do. But what is it that the militants want? They want to take over Palestine, kill everyone in their way (Palestinians and Israelis both), then attack everyone else around them to take over whatever else of the Middle East they can.

You cannot blame the US for this since the US has given foreign aid to both sides and tried diplomacy with both sides in an effort to get them both to agree to something, anything.

The rest of the middle east is also fraught with country-internal problems which any party in power which wants to dictate to the rest of its country will blame on outside sources.

This is the famous history of dictators all over again. This is not the history of democracy. The US is the way to democracy not the destruction of democracy.

How arrogant of others to blame all their problems on the US. Certainly the US has not caused the thousands of years of tribal hatreds, internal hatreds, and dictatorships in the middle east. The people of the world need only look at the peaceful democracies that appeared in Eastern Europe without bloodshed, of their own choice. This is what the US wants and tries to support.

Can they not rule themselves? If they can't it is always somebody elses fault. While they build a dictatorship at the expense of everyone else in their country.

Next they will say it is all your fault.

[ Parent ]
The REAL issues in the middle east (none / 0) (#285)
by krbonne on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 03:41:46 AM EST

Greetings,

Apparently you have forgotten what WWII was about. The US has a history of helping and not causing problems.

I am sorry, but the situation during and shortly after the WWII is very different. The US did yet not have the economic and militairy power it has now and it was 'competing' with the USSR.
The reason for the Marshall-plan was to stabilise Europe AND to make sure it didn't fall into the power of the USSR. (which one was the most important is something for historians to sort out).
OK, the nett-result for Western-Europe was quite positive; so I am not complaining ;-) .

The US is not the problem here, the internal problems within middle eastern countries are the problem. Palestine is an internal problem of Palestine and Israel. ...
Read the article from the BBC (URL in other messages) concerning 'understanding Arabs hate towards the US'.
A lot of arabs do have the idea that the US UNCONDITIONAL support for Israel also has a lot to do with it; as this has -more or less- given Israel 'carte blanche' to do what-ever it likes.
If you look at this objectivily, it's very hard to explain why the US acts so 'easy' on violations of UN security resolutions by Israel.
By this; I don not want to say the arabs are harmless and it's all Israels fault; but it's mainly the different approuch by the US of the two parties that have 'hurt the feelings' of (apparently) a lot of Arabs.
It's like saying 'Israel can do this, but you cannot'; which is the same as saying 'you are 2nd class citizens'. You DO understand this is NOT a good way to build friendship, is it?

You cannot blame the US for this since the US has given foreign aid to both sides and tried diplomacy with both sides in an effort to get them both to agree to something, anything.
Apparently, you have a serious problem convincing the people involved of this. (see above)

This is the famous history of dictators all over again. This is not the history of democracy. The US is the way to democracy not the destruction of democracy.

Hmm. Again, the facts seams to be very different. The US has for years supported Iraq when they needed them to fight Iran. Their greatest ally is Saodi Arabia (a non-democratic theocraty that doesn't have a constitution but the Coran), which Iran (which DID have free elections) is still entited one its the 'enemies'.

How can you explain this; and still say the US stands for democratie.

How arrogant of others to blame all their problems on the US. Certainly the US has not caused the thousands of years of tribal hatreds, internal hatreds, and dictatorships in the middle east.

OK, let's look at some of the reasons for the problem in the middle- east (very basic of rough ideas, but do try to find the purpose of the current US reaction into this):
- One is just basic poverty and social inequality. A lot of these countries have a lot of natural resources (like oil and gas); but most of the income goes to a very small section of the society.
Did you know (a couple of years ago) there where 'bread-riots' in Algeria. Can you imagine how it feels not having sufficiant money to buy your daily portion of basic foods; while your country sells very large quantities of gas to Europe.
Actually, these riots where the direct result of a "request" by the worldbank to cut subsidies to agriculture or Algeria would not get any more new loans.
This resulted into the idea 'west = poverty'; and resulted in a swing back to more 'historical values' (read: fundamentalist).

- Two is a number of countries (like Iran and apparently also Afhanistan) where there has been a very quick modernisation of the country without any social structure and 'history' for it; which 'back-fired' into a fundamentalist revolution.
This was plain stupid of the people involved; one of them is the former king of Afhanistan that is now preparing to go back to his country. I DO hope he will a bit more clever this time. (Do read the article here at kuro5hin from the Iranian filmmaker concerning Afhanistan).

- Three has to do with water; as this is the main properties which can mean the difference between living or dying from famine. I don't know the exact details from this; but apparently, a lot of the conflicts in the region have to do with the control over water (I read somewhere that the Kurdistan problem has a lot to do with this, and I guess the same applies for Soudan).
The situation will only get worse due to the (expected) warming up of the world climate. (Kyoto, remember?)
- Four is the fact that a unified and prosperes arabic world is actually very powerfull; as it 'sits' on a large portion of the world energy resources.! (remember the oil-crisis in the 70s)
This was countered by the US with (what the romans called) 'divide et empire' (divide and rule); or at least, that's how a lot of the people in the middle east view the 'dual standards' of the US foreign policy.
(Perhaps, its time we start to look for a 'cooperate and rule together' kind of doing things)

OK, this is a VERY 'rough' scetch; but these are actually problems that are not that special; and that are simular to a lot of other regions in the world.
So I DO advice to view people in the middle east as any other people in the world who act on simular social and economic events as everybody else in the world, INCLUDING YOU AND ME; and NOT as 'just a bunch or wilds who do nothing but fight eachother as that's the only thing they know'.

And you DO have to understand that 'the west' IS largly involved in this; and because, if it DOES backfire; we can all be involved, and this does include the US citizen AT HOME (as proven at september the 11th; (and that's the only think that is 'new' here).
This will only get more hard when the oil-reserve starts to get dried up; and the change in the worlds climate will make feeding all people in the middle east even more dificult.
The people of the world need only look at the peaceful democracies that appeared in Eastern Europe without bloodshed, of their own choice. This is what the US wants and tries to support.

Well, the situation overthere is very different (see above); mainly because a unified eastern Europe is NOT "a thread to international oil supplies".

Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.

[ Parent ]
The west is involved (none / 0) (#301)
by orichter on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 04:13:30 PM EST

The west is involved. We have spent much money to try to help. Even as we speak there is US aid flowing to Afghanistan. It never stopped. Yes, there are problems with social modernization, but they have been overcome to some degree or completely in many countries. No matter how much they want to they cannot go back to the old ways (even the Taleban are disliked in Afghanistan for this reason, read the article you mentioned). Yes, I have read the articles you mention, and a lot more.

No, you are still wrong to blame the Americans. It is a case of blaming internal problems on others so that whatever social, political, moral, religious, fiscal agenda you have can be pushed forward without argument. It is propaganda that the US has only been one sided with regard to Israel. Look at the US State Department figures for how much was given to the Palestinians, as well as to the Israelis, not to mention almost all middle eastern states. Except to a few countries that have been especially anti-west, terrorist supporting, rabidly anti-American, etc. There have been many times when the US has forced the Israelis to be restrained, even give back territories. How many countries have peacefully given back conquered territories in the last 1,000 years? Very Few. In fact, Israel is one of the few to have ever done this, when in a military superior position. And yes, the Middle Eastern propaganda mills have been creating Hate and espousing the doctrine of blaming the West.

Last I looked Iran was not a democracy by any means (unless you disregard the veto and oversight powers held by the Mullahs for practically anything the elected government does). And yes, at one time we supported Iran, at another Iraq, today neither. Also is not Iraq a dictatorship? (History Lessons)

It is naive to assume that the US, or the West is to blame for all the internal problems. In fact the West and the US have paid many billions in aid, in industrial expertise, in giving technology to these countries (look at what Iraq has done with it), we have spent billions educating people who have gone back to their homelands to improve them, we have paid billions for the oil and other resources and goods they have sold us. What have they done with this money? What does Iraq buy with this money? Yes a small elite in many countries has taken what they can from the people, but in Saudi Arabia the common man or woman can get a subsidy (full by the way) to travel to, live in and go to college in any nation in the world. You blame the US for this?

Many of the people who wish to become the next small power-controlling elite in these countries have also then blamed it on the US as the culprit so the people would not attack them, but make common cause with them. Very clever.

It is in many governments eyes important to blame someone external so that they are not blamed for internal problems such as lack of education, lack of food, lack of distribution of living standards, lack of jobs, lack of water, lack of distribution of profits from national resources such as oil. If the blame falls on them they will be pushed out of office. Very clever to blame someone else. (History lesson)

So, the propaganda machines do their work for their local governments blaming the outsiders, the West, the US, the western ideas, whatever the local populace will believe. Especially if the people are uneducated or trained to listen only to their Imams, and government and no one else, and the people cannot read or understand foreign newspapers, and foreign radio, and foreign TV. Or are not allowed to as in Afghanistan under the Taleban. Just so that they can retain power. (Yet another thing history teaches us.)

And yes, the situation after WWII is relevant to today since many new boundaries were made then. Many of the new states were supported even back then with modernization efforts. The West did not in many cases interfere in the formation of these new governements and so some became fiefdoms, some warlord dominated states, some into kingdoms, some into democracies. Then many were overthrown for whatever reason and by whomever and made into dictatorships, etc. How can you blame the west for this? Because the West left them alone? Should we have moved-in and annexed them and made them into our image? These are internal problems which many internal governments have not solved, only blamed on others. It is convenient to blame others rather than face what must be done to fix it. (Hsitory lesson 3)

It is also very convenient to overlook all the aid that has been given by the US and the West. Can't blame people who look good can you?

Also the eastern european countries formerly vassals of the Russians have peacefully become democracies, without US or Western intervention. This proves my point that the US does support and encourage democracy but not by direct intervention. Why have not the Middle Eastern countries, is this a cultural thing, or is it just that small power-controlling elites keep taking over?

Remember small power-controlling elites rarely stay in power if there is a democratic alternative, except by force and by propaganda.

The oil crisis you mentioned was manufactured by some people and companies, lets take a look at what the middle east is charging you for your oil (yes that is cost to Americans as well): Oil in Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf is under extreme pressure, so once you have drilled a well and run a pipe out to a ship it pumps itself out to the ship and costs nowadays 2 pennies a barrel to put it on the ship. The rest of the cost per barrel is passed on to you by the oil countries and the oil companies (what is it today $20 a barrel?) for their own profit. Yes I know this because I worked on these numbers for the US government in the 70's. (Another history lesson)

Did the US invade as in WWII europe and divide and rule the middle east to change this? No! The US like everyone else paid the billions in profit to the oil countries and oil companies (many of these oil companies are owned by non-Americans by the way). (Another history lesson.)

A unified and prosperous Arab world is exactly what the US wants so that trade can be equally experienced both ways. The equality of trade balance idea was first espoused by the Americans. That is one reason America chose to split from England as far back as the 1770's. (Yet another history lesson.)

The West has always wanted trading partners - equals in the financial and goods export/import. The West has never been, as the Communists once asserted, interested in captive markets, as shown above (though the Communists were). Especially not the Americans who were once under the British in the 1700's in such a captive market. (Read your history books)

The West has always wanted equals in the middle east, equals in a prosperous and educated and trading partner way. The US has always wanted the middle east to improve their lot and become more modern in not just social, religious, but also in financial, education, and in productive capacity. To say that is not the case is true propaganda. The only way to do this according to the Americans is bettering the lot of the common people, that is what the US stands for, and tries to accomplish. There are many who are in power now who do not wish this, since it means giving up power to the people, E Pluribus Unum.

Another indication that the US does not interfere in the way you imagine is the fact that the US has not invaded, divided, and ruled Europe which is becoming more united as we speak.

You make plenty of statements based on propaganda, not based on history, not based on even the articles you pointed out. I will not accept that you will remain as naive as you have been in reciting outright propaganda. So, start reading. So, start learning history. So, start learning how to analyze the many sources you need to make an educated argument. You have much to learn so get started.

[ Parent ]
The US is definately NOT the way to democracy (5.00 / 1) (#299)
by pdion on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 10:58:38 AM EST

This is the famous history of dictators all over again. This is not the history of democracy. The US is the way to democracy not the destruction of democracy.

Maybe that's what they teach you in school and what the CNN and Hollywood plays but if you studied real history, especially after WWII you'd know better. But of course no real American cares about world history. So do me a favour and count some examples of US destroying democracy. There is also a bonus at the end

1. In Italy, in 1948 -the first elections after the war- the Communist Party had a real chance of winning. The newly formed CIA together with the other parties and in cooperation with organizations like the Mafia organized a campaign of terror so that communists did not win.

2.In Greece there was a brutal military regime from 1967 till 1974. The military leaders of the junta were trained by the CIA and they had connections up to Nixon's vice president. At that time all political parties (not only communists) were banned, there were tortures, no freedom of speech etc. All this in the name of fighting communism.

3.In the beginning of the seventies Chile became the first country to elect a Communist president, Salvador Alliente. In a few months the CIA had organized a military coup, led by Augusto Pinocet. The duly elected president of Chile was killed and the US-backed dictator led the battle against communism for more than a decade using the same methods every real democrat uses: killings of the opposition, executions without a trial, banning of the press, kidnappings etc. What a victory for democracy!

And the Bonus: Which American president apologized for items like the above. In his recent visit in Greece he admitted that the US in their fight against communism had repeatedly forgotten that they should also abide by democratic principles and went on apologizing for that. He didn't, fortunately, say it was worth it ? Which American president said that?

I don't what the US stands for inside the US and I don't really care. It doesn't really affect me. Maybe there is true democracy there. Maybe not. What it matters to most of the world is that outside the US, in our countries, US does not necessarily mean democracy. And for some people most of the times it does not mean democracy and freedom at all. This is the problem



[ Parent ]
The lack of options (4.00 / 1) (#222)
by nichughes on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 09:10:26 AM EST

The main issue with Iraqi sanctions has been the lack of options available.

The original intent of the UN, signed up to by Iraq after Desert Storm, was that weapon inspectors would ensure that Iraq's capability to produce weapons of mass destruction would be dismantled on the ground. When Iraq started to use misdirection and obstruction to stop this happening a sanctions regime was cobbled together. The sanctions were clearly poorly designed and suffered the usual UN administrative problems, although not nearly as restrictive of food and medicine as the Iraqis claim. The food for oil program is nowhere near as crippling as the Iraqi regime claims, its implementation in the Kurdish areas is just as poor yet child mortality there is below pre-1990 levels.

There was a big debate earlier this year about replacing the blanket sanctions with what was effectively an arms embargo along with a total lifting of restrictions on civilian items. This failed due to a combination of the built-in weaknesses of the UN and the public position of the Iraqi regime that they would not cooperate with any form of embargo anyway. Clearly the west will not and should not condone the selling of weapons materials to the current regime in Iraq, equally clearly the regime has no interest in any lifting of restrictions unless that would allow them access to weapons materials. It is deadlock.

As someone who has opposed the arms trade for a long time I find it almost impossible not to support an arms embargo on one of the few countries with a known readiness to use weapons of mass destruction against civilians. Any system that gives Iraq free access to world trade will result in them eventually obtaining these weapons by deception, it is what they did under previous restrictions and the regime has certainly not softened its attitudes since then. Any system that does not give them free access has been publically rejected by the Iraqi regime and they will refuse to cooperate with it.

So your choice is to either carry on with some form of arms embargo (you can fix the defects in the system of restrictions but it will make zero difference to the ordinary Iraqi) or you can hand the freedom to manufacture weapons of mass destruction to a regime with a history of using them against civilian populations.

It is not that people do not care, that would be easy enough to remedy, it is that all of the options available have unacceptable consequences.

--
Nic

The lack of EASY options (3.00 / 2) (#223)
by krbonne on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 09:43:01 AM EST

The main issue with Iraqi sanctions has been the lack of options available.

Or the lack of EASY options

The option would have been to sent US soldiers to Iraq and keep them there for a couple of years; but -after what happened in Vietnam- the US does NOT want to do that. Dead GIs in bodybags are no good publicity!

Two weeks ago, there was the ex-ambasador of the US to Iraq on fox News. He said himself "economic embargo's against oppressive regimes (like in Iraq) do not work. They where meant to make people revolt against Sadam Houssein; but this does not work incase of a oppresive regime.". This was already know for years by most people in international politics."
To me, the thing is that the US foreign policy did not want to admit they where wrong (you never know somebody in Iraq would take the US to court in this).
So they kept on pushing for these sanctions; so the would not have to take be responsable for their error which costs I-don't-know-howmany casualities.
It's just some poor iraqi who's dying. Who cares; there's nothing he can do about about because we (the US) are protected by two oceans. WRONG!

(Sorry to be so hard on you; but this is actually what a lot of people on the world (and especially in the middle east) think of "the US". I know there is a difference between 'the US people' and 'US international policy' but -when you push people deep enough- some people tend to forget this difference, with the results we've seen on september the 11th.

Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.


[ Parent ]
Re-winding history (none / 0) (#245)
by nichughes on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 04:01:51 AM EST

If the US government had the chance to re-wind history and make different decisions at the end of Desert Storm I strongly suspect that they would, so what? Nobody can re-wind history and nobody can always accurately predict the outcome of actions. The US believed that they had damaged Iraq enough to force compliance with the UN, it so happens they were wrong.

The problem is that politicians have to deal with reality as they find it, not as they would like it to be. Reality includes a genocidal regime that refuses to cooperate with the world community and refuses to obey the laws of the world community and which refuses to go away. So the benefits of that world community (trade, western technology and medicines) have been severely restricted to limit the damage they can do to the rest of the world community.

One might ask why Iraq cannot feed its own people, a clue can be found by looking at satellite photos of the marshes of southern Iraq. The Iraqi regime deliberately destroyed the ecosystem in order to ethnically cleanse the Shia muslims who lived there.

--
Nic

[ Parent ]

Who's wrong? You BOTH are! (none / 0) (#254)
by krbonne on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 01:07:40 PM EST

If the US government had the chance to re-wind The US believed that they had damaged Iraq enough to force compliance with the UN, it so happens they were wrong.history and make different decisions at the end of Desert Storm I strongly suspect that they would, so what?

Amen to that! (And I do will agree that it's always easy as an 'outsider' to kick at the people who have to do the actual 'dirty work'.

The US believed that they had damaged Iraq enough to force compliance with the UN, it so happens they were wrong.

Problems is that the fact that the embargo didn't work was already know for years; and some countries like France and Russia have asked the several times if it wasn't time to stop it and look for other solutions; and it was always the US who said 'no'. (information comes from some interview on BBC world I remember).

I don't really hold much respect for Iraq neither (for one, he used chemical weapons against his own people); and IMHO, that is more important then the fact that he invaded another rich oil-country over some dispute over some oil-whele!

But, if you want to deserve some credit; you have got the brave enough to admit that you can be wrong. The US has IMHO, mainly a very large 'image' problem in the middle-east; and -if they want to do something about it- they are going to have to clean up their act.

Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.

[ Parent ]
And this you would have liked? (none / 0) (#261)
by SeaCrazy on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 04:46:12 PM EST

The option would have been to sent US soldiers to Iraq and keep them there for a couple of years; but -after what happened in Vietnam- the US does NOT want to do that. Dead GIs in bodybags are no good publicity!

And what would have been the international reaction to this? Noone would be pointing fingers and complain about American imperialism and meddling where they have no business? Getting rid of Saddam would probably have helped, but reducing Iraq to be a US colony per your suggestion would not have made anything better, it would only have created more bad blood.

Right or wrong, whatever the US did or does, there is always going to be people complaining about it.
Yes there is a lot of people in the middle east that doesn't like the US, but there is alot of people that do as well (I believe especially in Israel).
It doesn't matter what side you take in that conflict, if the US stopped supporting Israel that would not be the end of that conflict. The conflict didn't start with the US starting to support Israel and it's not going to end by the US ending their support.

[ Parent ]
No Justification (3.66 / 3) (#227)
by Malatesta on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 10:39:03 AM EST

However you want to 'spin' this story you can't avoid the fact that the US government (who have almost single-handedly brought about these sanctions by twisting a lot of arms over trade issues) has been responsible for 100's of thousands of innocent deaths because they say that there is a threat of innocent deaths if Sadam gets weapons. It seems their strategy is to kill all the potential victims first so that Sadam won't have anybody left to kill. Good strategy, great global cop, I'll definitely vote for them next time the global cop election is on. What? I don't have a vote on this? The position is self-elected? Well at least the single elector has such humanitarian principles! Go CIA, go Dub, go G-I's make the world safe for democracy, pre-emptively kill all those potential victims!

[ Parent ]
Facts are not spin (4.50 / 2) (#246)
by nichughes on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 04:21:02 AM EST

Presenting facts is not spinning the story, even if they happen to be facts that you are uncomfortable with. It is a fact that the Iraqi regime has used weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations. It is a fact that the Iraqi regime has used oil money to circumvent "conventional" arms restrictions to obtain weapons of mass destruction. It is a fact that they have pursued policies of ethnic cleansing during the 1990s. It is a fact that Iraq has access to both food and medicine yet these somehow are not making it to the people who need them in the areas under the control of the regime whilst there is no such shortage in autonomous areas.

--
Nic

[ Parent ]

What exactly is the US interest here? (none / 0) (#255)
by jolly st nick on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 01:10:46 PM EST

That's the important question. Why exactly does the American government want to starve Iraqi children?

Oil is the simplistic answer to everything the US does in the Middle East other than support Israel. However it doesn't really make sense as an answer here.

If you look at the US historical actions, it is clear that the US has been pursuing a program of maintaining regional stabiblity.

Sadaam Hussein is bent on a program of creating a neo-Baathist pan arab empire -- Baathism minus the democracy and socialism. The US has no real interest in Kuwait, but Kuwait was an Iraqi step towards a program of regional conquest. Widespsread warfare in this region is definitely against the US interest; oil supplies would be disrupted, and the US and its allies would be drawn into the war on unfavorable terms if they waited. So, they reversed this step while it was still relatively easy.

Once this step was taken, the next question is whether to remove the Baath party (really Hussein and his cronies) from power. The only way to do this was to mount an invasion of Iraq. It wasn't just aversion to casualties that prevented this. Wiser heads asked the question of what happens next. The only viable option would be the effective reduction of Iraq to an American colony -- with all the headaches and bad blood that entails. A fatally weakened Iraq is almost as bad as an insurgent Iraq from the US policy point of view, because this will tilt the balance of power in favor of the other regional power -- Iran. Perhaps this might not have been as bad as we thought, but who can say? I think it is something today which we might hazard, given the costs as they have proven.

Instead, we elected for a policy of containment. I suppose history has shown these half measures to be dirty and harmful to many innocent people. In particular it involved an immediate and shameful betrayal of the Kurds, ironically for the purpose of propping up Hussein's regime. But it did not seem so impossible then that by making the Iraqi regime submit to various limitations on their sovereignty, we could restrain Hussein's expansionist military ambitions while maintaining enough of his strength to provide a counterbalance to Iran.

This was a fatal underestimation of Hussein's determination. When he did not submit to the loss of his offensive weaponry, and kicked the weapons inspectors out, the only way to maintain containment was draconian sanctions, with their humanitarian consequences.

And here is the horrible moral failure comes in (and Mr. Hussein's part in this shouldn't be minimized). Sanctions were a "good enough" solution. We have stalemate, in which each side finds the humanitarian costs preferable to loss -- on one side of its designs of containment on the other of its designs for expansion. If either side gave up its plans, then the humanitarian problem would easily be solved, but at a price we can't simply dismiss.

I think the case can be made that both sides are colluding to maintain Sadaam Hussein in power. Hussein's side for obvious reasons, ours because we can't think of a better solution. The golden opportunity for decisive military action was lost, for reasons that looked good at the time. It would have shattered the alliance, but as it stands the alliance is no more and couldn't be put together again unless we can implicate Iraq in the events of September 11.

But I think tolerating this situation is in the end this is bad policy as well as being immoral. The stalemate is not going to last forever and I feel time is on Hussein's side, given the proven ability of people to endure suffering if they can nurse a grudge. It's gone on too long, but none of the options are very attractive.

So, what is the interest of the US in starving Iraqi children? None whatsoever. It represents the results of our being outmaneuvered by the Iraqi regime. The US has no objection to Saudi or Kuwaiti affluence; why should we want to impoversh Iraqis? An ideal scenario from our standpoint would be a bourgeois Iraq growing fat on oil revenues and reluctant to rock the boat.



[ Parent ]

A Telephone Conversation with Saddam... (3.50 / 2) (#233)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:17:18 PM EST

*brii-iing* *brii-iing*

SADDAM: Hello?

ME: Hell-o! Is this Saddam Hussein?

SADDAM: Why, yes. It is.

ME: Okay. Mr. Hussein, may I ask you a quick question?

SADDAM: Shoot.

ME: Have you ever missed a meal?

SADDAM: No. I have not.

ME: Okay. Thank you. Have a nice day. Tell Satan I said "what's up."

*click*
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American rhetorics and arrogance (1.00 / 3) (#257)
by slashdotterz on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 01:34:16 PM EST

I am very dissapointed by the americans reaction and stance. As we all mourn for the 6000+ victims of the blast in the world trade centre, sanctions and call for war have only cause the world to be a very unstable nature. In this world when we all thrive for peace (atleast for some of us), americans have reiterated for war and war and war. american talks about compassion. havent americans got any compassion? i know the anger, at a time of anger, there should be understanding on the root of the problem. i'm fairly dissapointed. now 3 million people are refugees and dying and many more from poorer countries have been in similar shape because of american so called sanctions. pope john paul is a man to be respected. despite all the worldly problems he has asked for peaceful solution and only peaceful solutions can we gain respect. i think we have to understand the problem that the more american continues with arrogance certain faction of people will grow in hatred. american should stop trying to dictate what the world should do and dont. otherwise, disaster like this will happen. only diplomacy shall bring people together. i think the main issue here is the palestinian and israel conflict. i cant believe international community could just look at israel committing attricities seizing land from palestinian. only if that would stop and all land is returned then i think we should see a lasting peace. the more tit or tat will get no where. more suicide bombers are still going to comeout. imagine this that someone would just bulldozed your house and your whole family have nowhere else to live. there's going to be a lot of anger. to tame this is to forgive and give back what you have taken. so, i urge the american to look at the world as a whole and do not act unilateral. many americans are so engrossed by american superiority but there's more than just america in the world. there's asia, europe, africa as well. i urge americans to help israelis and palestinian live together peacefully. for goodness sake, stop any arrogant behaviour and be a kinder self. then only u will win lots of hearts out there.

Ugh... (none / 0) (#270)
by SPYvSPY on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 02:12:53 PM EST

Why is it that any comment with the words "American" and "Arrogance" in it is always written by an arrogant European?

How can you talk about peace when there are planes falling from the sky into our cities? It's because it's not your city burning, so you have somehow confused the threat from terrorism with the threat of instability in your own part of the world, which you (wrongly) attribute to American policy.

Do you have any specific ideas about how to broker peace with these people? Or do you still have your head in the sand, saying (in a muffled voice) "but we don't really know who did it?"
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[ Parent ]

The US is diplomacy (none / 0) (#274)
by orichter on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 04:05:59 PM EST

In case you have not noticed the US has only rarely intervened in foreign countries.

The US is always there, perhaps too often, with diplomacy and foriegn aid. We cannot give back what is taken from others by internal wars, tribal wars, we have only acted militarily when someone has invaded another country.

Yes, I realize it is a difficult concept for those who want to blame someone else for their own failures, and problems, and internal wars. But the US is most often NOT the cause of your internal hatreds, internal wars, tribal wars.

Yes, we acted when the Russians invaded Afghanistan, we supported the Afghans with equipment, training, foreign aid. They threw off their Russian invaders only to kill oneanother in many internal wars. I do not see how this is caused by the Americans. It was not. In fact the US is still the biggest foreign aid source for Afghanistan. Where were you? Did you give them foreign aid? It does not look like it.

What did you want? The implementation of American solutions to every internal Afghan problem? Can't you govern yourselves? Do you have so many hatreds, splinter groups, tribal differences, societal differences, religious differences, that you cannot get along within your own countries, except by killing? Should the US invade and impose a democratic government? Should the US be imperialistic like the Russians were? Is that what you want the Americans to do? Solve all of your internal problems with force? When your own internal diplomacy has failed?

We Americans have tried to help you without using force. But you have to overcome your problems by yourselves.

America has shown the world the way to do this. How many civil wars have you had? The US has only had one. It is diplomacy and a free democratic government that has allowed this freedom to grow in America.

Where is your free and democratic government? What did you do to it? Why do you not make one?

The US would welcome it if you did. But you have always blamed others when you did not create one. What has held you back from creating one, without a dictatorship, without internal warfare, without internal problems?

If you could solve these internal issues without blaming outsiders for all of your internal problems then maybe you will have democracy some day. Your countries must mature to the point where this can happen. Look at Eastern Europe, recently they went from dictatorship to democracy, at their own choice, without bloodshed. Whenever you can do this you may enter the world community as an equal. The US has intervened to prevent ethnic cleansing, to prevent invasion of other countries, to prevent terrorism. Did you do this? No you sent terrorists to attack the symbol of all that you wish to be - free and democratic.

Those who want to take over a country always blame external, outside attacks as the problem. This covers-up their dictatoship so that they can forcibly get rid of any democratic or opposition leanings within their country. Notice the difference of outside and within. Outsiders can only intervene militarily with armies from afar, insiders do whatever they want to oneanother to control oneanother, they could build a democracy, why haven't they? Do you want a free and democratic government in which you only have one vote or do you want a government in which you are the dictator over all the rest?

Do not blame the Americans for not building your democracy, that was up to you, and you failed. The Americans would be arrogant if they tried to force democracy on everyone else. They have not, they have relied on internal people in other countries to build their own democracies. It is hard to unseat dictators once they have taken over a democracy. Do not blame America for that.

Maybe you should realize it is internal problems that are the root cause and address those instead of blaming others yet again.

[ Parent ]
A price paid or a price won? (2.50 / 2) (#258)
by SeaCrazy on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 03:53:38 PM EST

How would you feel if bin Laden said 6,000 American lives were "a price worth paying"?

I would be very surprised if bin Laden sees 6,000 American lives as a price that is somehow paid.
More likely it's like a price he just won.

The UN's--and it is the UN and not the US (a lot of people, including the article writer, seem to have those two confused, but then again blaming the UN would be a little bit of blaming yourself and we can't have that can we?)--sanctions are not intended to kill Iraqis. Iraq can buy as much food and medecine as they would like to help it's people, but does it?

Certainly the media portrays the effects of the sactions as all Saddam's fault

The media, yes it's all the US media that is twisting the truth to blind the American citizens. They are all part of the conspiracy right?

That is also, of course, the reason that the only links you supply support your own opinion while making blatant accusations against "the media" with no support or facts. Places like the United States government information office are just a bunch of liars so there is no point in considering their researh. They are just trying to brainwash you anyways right?

UN is dictated by US (5.00 / 1) (#260)
by slashdotterz on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 04:31:38 PM EST

As you can see in many of the policies in UN, although other permament member countries have veto power but US usuallt asserts with military and capitalism might to impose policies into UN. of course unless it is UN resolutions that is voted by all member states then i consider it fair. i dont believe american life is somehow justified to somehow paid. but as i see it, understanding why this take place will only help solve problems instead of dealing with it in an ignorant way. saddam and osama bin laden are basically some of the terror suspects and i do hope they are apprehended soon to avoid military action. but if they are not, military action will only cause chaos and certain people who feels injustice will bring about hatred and this cycle will never end. i do not believe imposing sanctions and embargo will do any good. when you have openness you are also opening the country market and acceptance to the globalize world we live in. you are bringing properity to these people who deprive of many basic necessities. take for example africa, americans only cares about intellectual properties where there's more life at stake in the AIDs crisis where medication should be given at a reasonable rate to safe life. as a super power comes with responsibility. until america tones downs it rhetoric and help solve some of the major diplomatic challenges than only we all can live in peace.

[ Parent ]
Just another day in utopia... (none / 0) (#263)
by SeaCrazy on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 06:05:06 PM EST

As you can see in many of the policies in UN, although other permament member countries have veto power but US usuallt asserts with military and capitalism might to impose policies into UN.

I am sure that the US throws it's weight around a little more than it should in the UN, but are you trying to tell me that the UN is totally under US control?
Unless I am completely misstaken the US wanted to reform the UN sanctions against Iraq recently but it was voted down, this doesn't seem like dictating the UN to me.

unless it is UN resolutions that is voted by all member states then i consider it fair.

Yes, that would make us all feel warm and fuzzy wouldn't it. But honestly, what kind of decisions do you think you are going to get all the member states to agree on? If the UN required total consesnsus for all it's actions it would be a very crippled and useless organization indeed.

i do not believe imposing sanctions and embargo will do any good. when you have openness you are also opening the country market and acceptance to the globalize world we live in. you are bringing properity to these people who deprive of many basic necessities.

In a perfect world maybe.. But unless you count weapons of mass destruction as basic necessities I don't see what the UN sanctions are depriving the Iraqi people of, Iraq could buy as much food and medecine as it wanted. Saddam on the other hand, is dipriving his people of a lot of things, basic rights and necessities being some. However openness is not going to stop him from doing that, just like it is not going to make him give up his ambitions for the rest of the middle east.

americans only cares about intellectual properties where there's more life at stake in the AIDs crisis where medication should be given at a reasonable rate to safe life.

No my friend, Americans do not only care about intellectual property, have you ever heard of Napster? Greedy companys (American as well as international) care about intellectual property. Not all Americans. But IP and patent laws are flawed all over the world and are being used by corporations to leverage themselves. This is not only in the US.
Aside from that, since there are not yet any drugs that can cure AIDS I believe that the main focus of the struggle agains AIDS and HIV must be in stopping its outbreak. Drugs can help people to live a little longer, but the only way to really save people from AIDS is to make sure they do not get infected with HIV in the first place.

until america tones downs it rhetoric and help solve some of the major diplomatic challenges than only we all can live in peace.

So basically you are saying that it is the US's to blame that there is not peace on earth? If only America toned down its rhetoric then Saddam would drop all his ambitions of a Bahti empire in the middle east, the Palestinians would start loving the Israeli (and vice versa), Russia would stop fighting with Chechnya, China would start observing human rights and stop bickering with Taiwan, the Red Khmers would stop taking hostages and killing them...

The US IS trying to solve some of the major diplomatic challenges (I emphasize trying and I don't say averyting it does is good, but it is trying), but not everybody is going to like the way it's being done, and not everybody is going to want them solved. There are many things that I think is wong with the US, but there are also things that I think are good. Other people will have different opinions.

So, until everyone in the whole world can think the same way, have the same opinions, and have all the same things (hey didn't someone try that already?), until the will there be conflicts. All we can do is try to solve them as best we see fit.. There are going to be misstakes along the way, and everybody is not going to be happy, but I am afraid that is the way it will have to be.

[ Parent ]
US/UN (none / 0) (#296)
by M0dUluS on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 08:37:21 PM EST

are you trying to tell me that the UN is totally under US control?

I didn't see him make that claim. However the UN has a fundamentally undemocratic structure. The General Assembly can be over-ridden by the Security Council. The Security Council consists of only 15 members. Of those there are 5 permanent members: (US, France, UK, China, Russia). These 5 permanent members possess "The Great Power of Unanimity", that is: veto power. If you look at the history of the voting record of this body you will see that the US has been shameless in using its veto to protect its short-term interests.

So, no it doesn't have complete control. It has more than it should. That, coupled with its huge military and economic power has allowed it to ignore the UN when it doesn't suit it.

Some links you might find interesting:
Center for UN Reform
Critical Article
CASI

It seems that the US is prepared to back the UN when it is in its interests and to oppose it when it is not. Similarly the US is prepared to back the Taleban when it is in its interests. Similarly the US is prepared to back Hussein. Similarly the US is prepared to back Noriega. Similarly the US is prepared to back Pinochet. Similarly the US is prepared to back Suharto...............you get the picture.

Now, a question. It seems from your post that you are arguing that this is just the way things are? Is that correct or do I mis-interpret you? If not, then what is your proposal to avoid atrocities like the one that we have seen in NYC/Pittsburgh and have seen in Iraq and are seeing in Afghanistan?



"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
You believe the propaganda (none / 0) (#273)
by orichter on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 03:14:00 PM EST

The US has less control of the UN than you may believe. The UN has done many things the US does not agree with. That seems to fall out of your argument.

Oh well, long live propaganda!

Fill in the blanks:

The evil ______________ has caused us to have to fight internal _____________ (opposition parties) and external threats ____________ because they have put sanctions on us. We have many people dying because of these evil people ____________ bringing sanctions against us. All of our money has been used up defending ourselves against these internal _______________ and external _____________ threats. We have religion on our side, all ___________ are united with us under GOD to destroy these threats to us and all of our religious ______________ allies. We are forced to kill those of our countrymen who disagree with us because _______________ and they would cause our country and people harm.

All of our resources are arrayed against these threats but because of outside support of these threats by the evil ______________ and ______________ we must continue to be poor and starving and are constantly attacked by the evil __________.

We have no money from sales since they are sanctioned by the evil _________. We have no food since it is rationed to us by the evil _______________ outsiders. We have no peace in our country because of the supported _______________ (opposition parties) that are constantly killing our people and destroying our country and infrastructure and attempting to overthrow the legitimate _________________ dictatorship here.

Signed, the aggrieved ________________ dictator.

P.S. Oh, I forgot to say, the ethnic cleansing is going well, the outsiders believe that we have starving people (I counted all of the ethnic cleansed ones as starving). I have spent billions on weapons to continue the ethnic cleansing, I have spent millions on supporting terrorism overseas. I have rerouted the food from outside sources to my internal allies. I have sold oil at a profit of billions. I have used this money to buy weapons since I don't want to feed our internal enemies (I don't have to shoot those I can starve to death first). I control industry, medicine, and food production and its distribution to ensure that it is only used for my approved purposes and by the people I approve it for. My control of the internal and foreign press gives the outside world just the propaganda that I wish them to hear. The internal peoples are educated in school to believe only what I tell them. My secret police arrest and eliminate anyone caught talking to the foreign press and close any non-propaganda news agencies, newspapers, radio and TV stations. I have the entire world bluffed. I win, they lose!

[ Parent ]
Context-dropping (5.00 / 1) (#268)
by rgrow on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 04:03:21 AM EST

Claims like this drop context completely.

The context is that the Gulf War was about the U.S. defending its ally, Kuwait, from an invading and then occupying force.

Iraq was the aggressor. It attacked Kuwait and threatened to attack Saudi Arabia. Once the U.S. counteroffensive began, it did attack Saudi Arabia and Israel with SCUD missiles. Before, during, and after the war, it developed weapons of mass destruction and encouraged and harbored terrorists. All of these are hostile actions towards the U.S. and its allies and interests.

The right to self-defense includes the right to use whatever force is necessary to neutralize and destroy the threat. "Innocent" civilian deaths are on the hands of the aggressor, period.

Those killed in the Gulf War were on Saddam's hands. Those "killed" by sanctions since then are on Saddam's hands as well. The U.S. did not kill these people. Saddam did.

Let's work through a simple example that everybody can understand. An armed criminal grabs an innocent bystander, uses him as a human shield, and begins shooting at you. You have a gun. Are you going to:

a) refuse to shoot and be killed
b) shoot and kill both the innocent bystander and the aggressor

You're an idiot if you choose a), and if you choose b), none of the culpability for the death of the innocent lies with you.

The goal of those who claim otherwise is to deprive the U.S. of the right of self-defense. This is evil, and those who do it aid and abet those who would tear us down.

Understanding the context (none / 0) (#281)
by gampid on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 08:05:29 PM EST

Throughout the 1980's Iraq was a solid ally of the US while it was attempting to invade Iran durring a decade long war. The US and Brittan funded Iraq's military as at attempt at Iran which had taken some anti-western steps. This included nationalizing the western owned oil companies, being very 'anti-american', and generally trying to become an independent islamic power in the region.

Iraq more pliant to western interests and became a solid ally in the region. After the Iran Iraq war, Iraq got in a conflict over an oil field that spaned the Kuwait Iraq border. Actually the field was in Kuwait and Iraq was drilling at an angle to get at the oil. Iraq massed tanks and other weapons on the border demanding it's right to the share of the disputed oil field. Kuwait told iraq to fuck off. Kuwait also told the world that they didn't want anybody coming in to protect them from iraq, but they were also told to fuck off.

Iraq is a one party state that was setup by the US after they ousted the previous government, in the 60's I believe. Kuwait on the other hand is a monarcy with a symbolic parliment.

Iraq thought it had tacit US approval when it invaded Kuwait. The US had backed it's long war against Iran and there wasn't any major cut of US aid to Iraq leading up to the war. After the invasion Iraq clearly pissed off the US, but they wanted to be a regional power broker so they stood firm. They wanted Kuwait's oil fields and port. Iraq borders the Persian Gulf but their coastline is a swamp and not good for loading oil tankers. Fighting the American's played quite well in Iraq as well as among the general population of the middle east.

Once the war started the US and it's allies, most notably the British, kicked Iraq's butt. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi soliders were killed and much of iraqi infrastructure was destoryed. The US invaded parts of southern Iraq but stopped short of total victory. There were also ethnic rebellions in the north among the Kurds and in the south. It's not a 100% clear why the US left Saddam in power. The offical line is that the US wanted to drive Iraq from Kuwait and they'd suceeded. Another story that has floated around is that the killing if Iraqi soliders retreating along the 'highway of death' was too much for the weak hearted american military machine to bare witness to and they had to stop for humanitarian reasons.

Since then, the US has maintained sanctions through the UN. These have been broken by Jordan and others so luxury goods are still getting in to the Iraqi elite. Most of the population can't afford the expensive gray market goods so they starve. The US and Brittan have also maintained a totally illegal 'no fly' zone in the north and southern parts of the country. They have been keeping figher jets in the air over iraq for the last decade. Every few days they bomb iraq.

The sanctions which are doing such harm are there in theory to protect Iraq form possessing and developing chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons of mass destruction. All of these programs date back to when the US and Brittan were funding Iraq's military. Yes, Saddam is a nasty terrible dictator. Yes he has used the weapons the west helped him get against 'his' own dissent ethnic minorities. The point is that he did some of those attrocities WHILE he was backed by the US.

The sanctions are offically about these weapons of mass destruction, but if you look at the history this becomes obsurd. So, why does the US have these sanctions? It's got to with wider geo-politics of the region and oil. The US and British want to dominate the region because they need oil. This is the reason the Middle East is importiant and Central Africa (also having major wars at the moment) isn't importiant.

The US has some solid allies in the Middle East, Turkey, Israel, and Egypt. Iran is the biggest threat. It has huge amounts of oil, is in a stragitic location, and is powerful enough to want to be the dominate player in the region. Israel is a colonialist state which doesn't have much oil, but it has an advanced economy and military. Also the rest of the middle east, with the exception of Turkey, hates Israel. The US has been playing all these countries off eachother. Anytime any country tries to get too out of line, all they need to do is look at what's happened to Iraq.

Why Iraq and not Iran? Well the US has sanctions against Iran also. Infact the Helms Burton Act states that the US can fine any company in any country that does business with Iran or Cuba. They are trying, unsucessfully and illegally, to inforce international sanctions on Iran also. The problem is Iran is a much more powerful country than Iraq. It's got a stronger societal base, better military, and it's richer. Iran has also been able to give contract to non-american oil companies which has helped them.

Saddam is a petty tyrant and murder. But, the US had no problem with that when he served US interests. When that stopped happening then the became the new hitler. Saddam has tried to fuck with weapons inspectors. He even went so far to claim that the inspectors where US spies. A claim the US has later admitted to being true. There is nothing Saddam could do, even if he let the US walk all over him that would lift the sanctions. Eventually the Baath party which Saddam leads will loose it's grip on Iraq and a new US friendly government will be put in to place.

As it is, the price that iraqis pays is worth it to US policy makers like Albright. With that price the US is buying geo-political dominace in the region, not an Iraq free of weapons of mass destruction. For this dominance, the price of half a million Iraqi children's lives is what the US is willing to pay.

Given this and many other policies like this. Is it any wonder there are people hate the US enough to brutally kill thousands of americans in World Trade Center?


Protest.Net: Seizing the means of communication!
[ Parent ]

The problem is Saddam Hussein (2.33 / 3) (#272)
by orichter on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 02:42:59 PM EST

The problem is with Saddam. He chooses to pay for missiles and military equipment and to finance terrorists with his nations's money, not buy food. Then he uses the West's propaganda machine to claim millions of children are dying in Iraq because the West has put sanctions on him. What hubris! Yet, at the same time he is still allowed to sell some oil at a profit in the billions of $s.

You choose to believe him when he has carried out campaigns of "ethnic cleansing" against millions of Kurds and the southern Islamics of Iraq (Mr. nice guy to his fellow Islamics isn't he?)? Mainly because they are against him politically. He is a dictator, he does what dictators do. They kill all of those in their way to power. And you have fallen for his propaganda.

Where is your brain? Can you not see between the lines? He wants you to think: The evil UN has caused me to have to eradicate the bad people inside (Kurds, opposition parties, Southern Islamics) and outside of Iraq (via his support of terrorism). He states that it is all their fault that he has these internal problems and that the people of Iraq must suffer.

LOL..... if it weren't so funny that you fell for it I would be crying for the people he has ethnically cleansed. He is including them in the figures of the 500,000 unfed, starving children.

If one sees it this way one gets a full and realistic perspective of what is truly happening in Iraq. You see it is very easy for a dictator to deny this food to his enemies in his own country, then turn around and declare that all these people are dying because of sanctions. While at the same time he makes a profit selling the same food to his beloved comrades within Iraq. Then he takes this profit to buy arms to attack the groups he has singled out for ethnic cleansing. This is what Stalin did, and Hitler did, as have many other dictators. Remember he has COMPLETE control of all propaganda and news that issues from Iraq. You will only hear what he wants you to hear about Iraq (this is another characteristic of dictators).

These are not a new concepts, they are the nature of dictators who want to crush the opposition while claiming that it must be done, or that he is forced to do this because of, or this is caused because of outside persecution and sanctions by the UN or the world or America (chose one of the previous wordings and fill in the blank: the outside threat is the evil ________).

It is the oldest political trick in the world ... congratulations you have fallen for it! Congratulations! By implication you thereby support ethnic cleansing in Iraq!
Mr. Saddam must be very proud of you! Has he paid you yet? Given you the honorary medal of Iraqi heroes? Or are you just not capable of seeing his dictatorship, propaganda, and ethnic cleansing for what it is?

Funny how his own kids get milk and food. Why not the rest of Iraq, when he controls all industry and milk and food production and distribution centrally? Did you fall for that one also?

Less rant more fact (5.00 / 2) (#283)
by M0dUluS on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 08:35:58 PM EST

You seem to not understand that the problem that most people have with the sanctions is that they do nothing to remove Hussein from power. In fact they can be argued to have weakend his internal opposition. They (sanctions) are targetted specifically at the civilian population in probable contravention of the Geneva Convention (Protocol I) weakening the moral leadership that democracies should be providing in the world. This heinous warcrime is built on top of the fact that we have financed this monster and others in the past and continue to do so with others in the present. That's why the sanctions are bad.

He chooses to pay for missiles and military equipment sold to him by the US and the UK and France(!) and to finance terrorists with his nations's money, not buy food.

Let's see a reference for Hussein spending money on terrorists rather than food? Otherwise this is just assertion. And anyway, if this is true then doesn't this just show that Hussein is able to profit from the sanctions and we're just hurting the people of Iraq?

You choose to believe him when he has carried out campaigns of "ethnic cleansing" against millions of Kurds and the southern Islamics of Iraq (Mr. nice guy to his fellow Islamics isn't he?)? Mainly because they are against him politically. He is a dictator, he does what dictators do. They kill all of those in their way to power. And you havehave fallen for hisWhile at the same time he makes a profit selling the same food to his beloved comrades within Iraq. propaganda

Agreed that he is a dictator, agreed that he is reponsible for genocide, for human rights violations. All these things have been argued by what you would call "leftists" long before there was any admission on the part of people like you that Hussein was a problem.
Now, about the deaths being Hussein's propaganda: here you are completely incorrect. There is a very clear UN report which says that at least some deaths are caused by sanctions

Ms. Bellamy noted that if the substantial reduction in child mortality throughout Iraq during the 1980s had continued through the 1990s, there would have been half a million fewer deaths of children under-five in the country as a whole during the eight year period 1991 to 1998. As a partial explanation, she pointed to a March statement of the Security Council Panel on Humanitarian Issues which states: "Even if not all suffering in Iraq can be imputed to external factors, especially sanctions, the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such deprivations in the absence of the prolonged measures imposed by the Security Council and the effects of war."

and there is an admission that the oil-for-food program was not providing enough revenue to support the population of Iraq, let alone rebuild the infrastructure. Hence the need to restructure the program multiple times.

It should also be of interest to you that the use of sanctions aimed is an act which is condemned in several parts of International Law (such as that imperfect instrument is - but at least it reveals a concern). The most recent instance of this is

UN General Assembly Resolution 44/215 (22 December 1989) "Economic Measures as a means of Political and Economic Coercion against Developing Countries". `Calls upon the developed countries to refrain from exercising political coercion through the application of economic instruments with the purpose of inducing changes in the economic or social systems, as well as in the domestic or foreign policies, of other countries; Reaffirms that developed countries should refrain from threatening or applying trade and financial restrictions, blockades, embargoes, and other economic sanctions, incompatible with the provisions of the charter of the United Nations' ...

And before you respond to this, I am only interested in seeing supported statements from you.


Also, some questions:
1. Given that you condemn Hussein's massacre of the Kurds/MarshArabs/Shi'a, do you also condemn the actions of yet another US-backed state: Turkey? Using F-16 manufactured with our aid they have been doing their own little bit of ethnic-cleansing of the Kurds. Funny the way US-backed regimes seem to be so rotten.
2.What reference can you give for your statement: While at the same time he makes a profit selling the same food to his beloved comrades within Iraq.?
3.Do you support the continuation of the sanctions?

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
The General Assembly does not set law (none / 0) (#298)
by nichughes on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 07:35:47 AM EST

The UN General Assembly does not have the power to set or amend international law. If it calls on developed nations to stop using sanctions that has no more force of law than if my cat does.

As the imposition of sanctions is one of the powers granted to the UN security council by the UN charter it would be quite bizarre for sanctions to be illegal under international law and indeed they are not. The sanctions against Iraq have been agreed by the UN security council, they are compatible with the UN charter which states that the security council has the power and responsibility to do so.

--
Nic

[ Parent ]

Bizzare? Yes, but true. (none / 0) (#303)
by M0dUluS on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 05:29:50 PM EST

Article 54.-Protection of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population
1. Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited.
2. It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive

The UN General Assembly does not have the power to set or amend international law. If it calls on developed nations to stop using sanctions that has no more force of law than if my cat does.

I believe this to be true and it is one of the reasons why I am opposed to the current structure of the UN. It is in effect a legitimizing body for the Security Council, which itself is dominated by the 5 powers, all of which have appalling records.
However, it is the closest thing that exists to an international mediation mechanism. So, I like to draw attention to the lofty and admirable principles which are enshrined in some of its articles and to how those are violated. Occasionally they (or some of them) do this themselves. International Humanitarian Law is indeed separate from the UN itself. It exists only as a series of Treaties and Protocols signed by some states. The most important ones with regard to sanctions are the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions (1977), the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and the Nuremberg Principles.

So, just to be clear. I like some of the principles of the UN and call for those principles to be upheld, but I do not support it as a body in its current construction

As the imposition of sanctions is one of the powers granted to the UN security council by the UN charter it would be quite bizarre for sanctions to be illegal under international law and indeed they are not. The sanctions against Iraq have been agreed by the UN security council, they are compatible with the UN charter which states that the security council has the power and responsibility to do so.

Apparently the Secretary General of the UN disagrees with your interpretation.

[I]n his statement to the Security Council on 24 March 2000 the Secretary-General of the United Nations said that the humanitarian situation in Iraq confronted the United Nations with a serious moral dilemma; expressing its concern at the deterioration in the situation of the civilian population, particularly the children whose suffering led in many cases to untimely death; noting with concern the delays reported by the Secretary-General in the implementation of the "oil-for-food" programme and the statement by the head of the programme that the stocks of vaccines against a number of diseases were at very low levels, thus exposing the civilian population to serious illness; Economic and Social Council

Of course the Secretary General may not be correct in his interpretation, but I would imagine that he is thinking of the provision at the head of this post and of the following.

Article 55
To the fullest extent of the means available to it the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate. [...]


"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]

We can stop it! (none / 0) (#297)
by jynx on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 04:55:32 AM EST

There has been a fair bit of debate as to whether these deaths are the fault of Saddam or of the US or UN.

But it doesn't really matter who the aggressor is. The point is, we have the power to lift the sanctions and stop the deaths. Yet we choose not to. Does that not make us at least partly responsible?

If someone is going to be killed, you have the power to prevent their death, and you choose not to exercise that power, in my mind your are in part responsible.

(I'll admit, I'm talking about responsibility here - this argument says nothing about whether such things are justified.)

--

Facts (3.66 / 3) (#300)
by orichter on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 02:48:32 PM EST

Read. Read. Read. You must have read more than 1 or 2 pieces over the last 10 years. I would hope. You must have read more than just the UN viewpoint, the Iraqi official viewpoint, the Kurds viewpoint, the Iraqi people's viewpoint, the intelligence estimates of what is going on in Iraq by Iran, the US, the UK, the Russians, the Israelis, the Jordanese, etc. There are many, many sources, it is only by reading more than a few that you begin to put together a picture of what is really going on.

I should not have to teach you how to read and analyze what you read. As for history I should not have to give you a history lesson as well.

But, there are many, many cases of dictators misleading the world simply because they have ultimate control of such sources of information as the internal press, access by external press to what is only approved material, access by foreigners to only what is allowed to be seen and sampled.

Iraq has a history of this, even admitted to by your beloved (or is it hated?) UN about weapons of mass destruction. I should think that such a small country as Iraq, if they did not put all their money into the military, would have no problem feeding its populace using the profits it is known to be receiving from current UN approved oil sales.

Only what Mr. Saddam wants you to think is what you will find, at first glance. You need many other sources to get underneath that view.

For example:

http://www.thenewrepublic.com/061801/rubin061801.html

Posted in a response to this same article (below) called: food for thought.

Notice that Iraq has been able to build new, and maintain existing anti-aircraft systems (one of the most expensive of weapons systems). The UN itself reported that Iraq is still trying to build weapons of mass destruction (also among the most expensive weapons systems because of the research effort involved).

What external threat or internal threat is there today to Iraq that requires such expensive systems? Iran is no longer interested in war, which Iraq started by the way, the Kurds are virtually guaranteed the northern part of Iraq, the Shia (what few remain after the eradication campaign) are virtually guaranteed the southern part. Why can't Saddam accept this and be peaceful, and nice to his countrymen and neighbors, why must he continue to impoverish his country with weapons acquisitions and threaten his own countrymen with weapons of mass destruction? Because he has megalomaniacal desigins on not just Iraq but the rest of the Middle East. A pattern we have seen with Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, etc. They got weapons from anywhere, why do you not judge China, Russia and others for selling Saddam weapons as well? Why just the US?

Maybe you need to re-examine your need to apologize for the Saddams' of the world and stop blaming the US for how technology or foreign aid is used by these dictators, or others. One cannot tie a promise to the use of weapons or technologies sold to others, even though in your utopian world that would happen.

In fact, if we go into Afghanistan be assured the Taleban will try to use their last US Stinger missiles against the US, which were given to them with the express understanding that they would only be used against the Russians, and not against other Afghanis, or other countries in general. We should have built in promise chips so that we could disable them remotely, right? Do you really think they would have accepted them then?

Next you will have us believe that since the computer chip was invented in the US the US must be blamed for every weapon using one or every computer used against someone else militarily, politically, or otherwise. Even when others build them, others authorize the use, not Americans? Maybe you will give up the use of computers so that we no longer have to hear your propaganda. You are very good at repeating the party line.

Oh well. You need a reason to blame America because you are jealous of what the US stands for. You are jealous of the education and opportunity that America represents, jealous of the freedom and way of government that America has shown works. You are jealous of the help, foreign aid, and diplomacy the US has extended to almost all others. You want to believe that the US is behind some giant conspiracy to attack and dominate the world. That is furthest from the truth.

You have fallen into the same trap as the terrorist sympathisers, blame the US for the problem and my problem will magically go away. The terrorist is using the "blame the US" thing just as a simple way to justify any aggression he wants to make whether it be against the US, anyone else, or against YOU personally.

Do you really think that the terrorist cares about what you think? No, he just wants your support and money, if he can't get that from you or if you are in the path of his next attack, guess what? You die first! So all that you are succeding in doing is perpetuating the terrorists' arguments in support of his cause, and his cause is killing. Nothing more. Doing evil is all that he wants to accomplish. He will use any justification he can get away with, and get support with.

You are doing a good job of supporting their cause by apologizing for them, saying the US is at fault, the West is at fault. You are an efficient propaganda source for them. Is that your aim? I should think you are very appreciated by the Iraqi government and Bin Laden at this time. Maybe you ARE being paid by them to say these things. What you write sounds so much like what the Iraqis or Bin Laden are saying in their propaganda. You never make any mention of other viewpoints, hmmm.

You still do not see that US style freedoms are what allows you to even discuss this topic. Notice that the Taleban have banned the use of computers and the Internet by civilians in their territories. What do you think the world will be like if they take over the world? Remember that bin Laden wants all of the West to be dead first. You don't live in the West or a Westernized country do you? Fear him. Just remember he wants you to go to heaven BEFORE he goes to hell, even IF you want to be his subject.

"500,000 dead Iraqi children" eh? (5.00 / 1) (#302)
by ennui on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 04:17:15 PM EST

You know, news magazine interviewers are certainly not above being trolls. As a matter of fact, on TV "news" shows like 60 minutes trolls are the norm, they generally bring ratings.

"You can get a lot more done with a kind word and a gun, than with a kind word alone." -- Al Capone
500,000 Children Dead - "The Price is Worth it" - Who Said This? | 306 comments (301 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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