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[P]
American Stupidity and Iraq

By Spork in Op-Ed
Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 12:13:35 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

If you are an American like me, chances are that the rest of the world thinks you're stupid. During the last year, our countrymen have developed a reputation for being apathetic, naive, ignorant, and just plain dumb. Well, I am an American with some dignity, and I happen to think that average Americans are not significantly dumber than anyone else. But then how can we explain our baffling support for G. W. Bush's pretense for starting a war in Iraq? Two explanations are usually offered: Ignorance and stupidity. I've witnessed several debates about which of these plays the larger role. However, I think it's neither. Our ignorance and stupidity have been grossly overestimated.


It is easy to watch the popular debate about Iraq and feel like it just doesn't add up. Taken at face value, it really doesn't. George W. Bush claims that the reason why we must urgently attack Iraq is for our safety. In Bush's speechwriter's own words: "The Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons" (source). Of course, anybody who is even casually acquainted with the issues of the region knows that the chance of Saddam Hussein launching an attack against anyone is essentially zero. Saddam picks on states that are weaker, and right now nobody in the region is more crippled militarily than he. Despite absurd claims to the contrary, Saddam is not a fanatic. He is a bad guy and a leader prone to miscalculation, but he has no intention to martyr himself. His dreaded gas weapons were never deployed without the knowledge and at least tacit consent of the US. Even a casual observer should know Saddam is not volatile in this regard.

What's worse for Bush's argument, George Tenet, the director of the CIA, recently released some thorough research which concluded that an undisturbed Iraq posed a "low" threat to our interests, and that the only plausible scenario in which Saddam actually deploys gas and biological weapons is one where he is attacked and senses he has nothing to lose. (Google's sources) Many CIA resources have been diverted from the search for Al Quaeda and put on the task of finding links between Saddam and international terrorists. This effort has produced nothing but evidence that Saddam is actually refusing to cooperate with terrorists. Of course, Tenet warns this is unlikely to stay that way once Saddam feels an attack is inevitable. While his gas weapons are not very effective in a modern war, they would be ideal tools for terrorists. Think of the many places where crowds gather, and then think about how much damage could be done if those crowds contained a suicidal fanatic with a vial of nerve has. This nightmare scenario is pretty likely once Saddam becomes less discriminating about who he sells these things to--and sell he will if war and his subsequent demise appear inevitable.

We don't need the anal-retentive research of the CIA to realize that we and the world are in much greater danger if we fight a war in Iraq. However, the report should erase any lingering doubts. What is more, a war in Iraq will inevitably divert resources from the dragnet on known Al Quaeda operatives, it will alienate our allies, it will drive recruits to radical terrorist organizations, it will create general sympathy for terrorists in many Moslem countries, making it easier for them to hide, and it will invite a severe retaliation. In short, no reasonable person could possibly doubt that we Americans, or anyone else, would be in much more danger if our government decides to attack Iraq.

With all reasonable people agreeing on this premise, the debates about American credulity begin: Do we buy this ridiculous "Attacking Iraq will ensure our safety" argument because we are ignorant, or is it because we are stupid? It seems on the face of it that one of the two must be the right answer. After all, no further justification has been given, and no further justification gets cited in polls that show at least two thirds of all Americans support this attack.

I want to propose an alternate explanation, one that hopefully leaves Americans looking a bit less stupid and ignorant, perhaps at the expense of appearing somewhat evil. At the core of this explanation is the thesis that we are not really scared of Iraq. Some evidence for this is that when George Tenet stuck out his neck and declassified research which makes the man who appointed him look insane, the country reacted with a shrug. It would be different if we really thought we have an urgent need to protect ourselves and then found undisputable research that shows the action we support will put us in much more danger than the alternative. A second part of my thesis, and the more interesting part, is that the public's actual reason for supporting the war is largely unspoken and undebated.

To understand the latter claim, it might help to recall another instance where a large segment of the American public was motivated by reasons that were never debated openly. In the 60's, the Democratic party underwent a profound transition in the southern states. In the south, Democrats were once the party of the racists, the supporters of segregation and white supremacism. However, northern Democrats, along with the powerful civil rights movement, succeeded in purging most of these racistic elements from the party by 1968. There is even recently-uncovered evidence that Robert F. Kennedy's intended vice presidential candidate was to be Martin Luther King himself. However, this purge of racists alienated a large proportion of the traditionally Democratic southern voters who agreed with the racist views of the old southern Democrats. Richard Nixon's campaign picked up on this dissatisfaction, and thus was born Nixon's infamous "Southern Strategy." Nixon had enough political savvy to know he can't just get on TV and say "I'm going to make sure the Negroes stay in their place." Even people who thought this is exactly what a president should do didn't want to hear it explicitly, because it doesn't sound nice. Americans like to think of themselves as progressive and tolerant, even those who are the absolute opposite. Nixon's Southern Strategy consisted in figuring out how to communicate to the southern voters that his party intends to gratify their racist prejudice, while not actually saying this, and while giving them other "sham" reasons for why they should vote for Republican--reasons that people repeated but very few were actually moved by. Well, the Southern Strategy succeeded brilliantly, and the South has basically been a Republican stronghold ever since.

The proposed war against Iraq is another issue whose supporters don't say what they actually think. Bush gives us a sham pretense like "we must do it for our safety" and people say "Yeah, safety! That's it! Attack!" But we are not stupid. If we really were scared, we would not support action that dramatically increases the danger for us and our allies. History teaches us that when we say what we do not actually think, the thing on our minds is something that sounds bad--perhaps bigoted, certainly politically incorrect, perhaps intolerant, perhaps unjust. So what is it? What is the unspoken reason why Americans support the invasion of Iraq? Of course, what I propose is a guess, and I welcome others. My guess is that without explicitly saying it, Bush is communicating the following message: "Our access to oil and the stability of oil prices is vital to our economy. We can't get nearly enough from domestic wells, and foreign governments can bully us with threats of price gouging... unless we basically make a colony on top of the world's second largest oil reserve: Iraq! This move will put us in control of our economic destiny and we will all profit from it." When this idea is put explicitly, it sure looks pretty ugly. It requires a great hypocrisy, a moral ambivalence, and maybe even a tinge of evil. Yet, for all that, the conclusion might be right--the citizens of USA really might benefit from a gulf state colony. George W. Bush's apparent irrationality is not putting people off because real communication between the president and the public is now done with nudges and winks, much like it was in the 1968 election. The Bush crew's enthusiasm for the invasion must have a source other than the one he cites. The American people are not too dumb to realize this. The majority here takes Bush's gung ho attitude to be a sign that the research has been done, and its conclusion is that the USA will indeed profit substantially if we put a colonial proconsul in charge of Baghdad. All that talk about Al Quaeda links and nasty weapons is just a part of a ceremony, the "officially stateable motive" for what is actually a war of colonization. And this is not a conspiracy theory. I claim that Americans actually understand this! We understand it as well as the former southern Democrats understood that a vote for Nixon was a vote for apartheid. It is also quite understandable that we are not free to communicate the fact we understand this. Nobody wants to say "we want a colony where there is now a sovereign state" - not only because it sounds bad, but also because it sets a bad precedent for other countries who might get similar ideas. There is instead something like a gentleman's agreement that if we think colonization is a good idea, we don't say it. If people ask, we play stupid. Apparently, we play stupid well enough that most of the world thinks that stupid is what we are. I have more faith than that. I think we're ambivalent, insensitive, amoral, unenlightened and maybe even a bit evil, but nowhere near as stupid as is popularly believed. What's more, I expect that citizens of many "civilized" countries would act in very much a similar way if they saw an opportunity for their state to make a puppet out of another, get away with it, and reap a great profit for themselves. But again, that's just another educated guess, one that I hope is dead wrong.

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Poll
Americans support the Iraq war because:
o They honestly believe it will make them safer (so they ARE stupid). 20%
o They honestly believe it will make them safer (and it will!). 10%
o Americans like wars (when victory is certain). 18%
o The president wants to do it. 11%
o They are closeted imperialists, and understand Iraq will be a valuable piece of the empire. 14%
o Americans just hate Arabs. 6%
o ...actually, Americans don't really support the war! The published polls are misleading and out of date. 18%

Votes: 311
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Google
o source
o Google's sources
o Also by Spork


Display: Sort:
American Stupidity and Iraq | 366 comments (308 topical, 58 editorial, 0 hidden)
various things.. (2.85 / 7) (#2)
by Platy on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 11:54:25 AM EST

Some things which came to my mind while reading your article:
  • Thanks for providing historical details (e.g. about this democrat thing) - I guess most people from abroad (i.e. not the US in this case) would not have known them otherwise. Thanks!
  • As far as I can judge it it is not popular opinion that Americans are stupid since GW Bush is president - this opinion existed even before.
  • In my personal opinion not just the American people is stupid - every people is. In every country the voters let themselves be taken the piss out of them (grammar?)
  • Why do you have to guess what the reason is if at the same time you say most Americans know it? - This seems to be a weak point to me :)

All in all I like your ideas, it's a good read!
--
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit, I.
A couple points (5.00 / 3) (#33)
by krek on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 02:03:34 PM EST

about your second and fourth points.

True, the opinion was there before Dubya, but that was all it really was, an opinion, but after Dubya was 'elected', it has now become a something more of a fact than it used to be. It has gone from sneaking suspicion to solid conviction, the last of the hope was dashed when George Jr. obtained control of your nation. (admittedly a bit melodramatic, but that just seems to be the mood I am in today)

It is the difference between conscious motivation and unconscious motivation. Conscious motivation being when you decide to work harder to remedy a disfuctional relationship, and unconscious motivation being when you can't help but sabotage a personal relation ships due to an unconscious fear of dependance or some such thing.

[ Parent ]
thanks (5.00 / 3) (#54)
by Platy on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 03:45:28 PM EST

About my second point: Yea, that's true too.

But I am wondering whether unconscious motivation is possible for such a "complex" issue. Well, just thought strange to me :)

Cheers
--
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit, I.
[ Parent ]
Extremely well written (2.50 / 12) (#3)
by Rogerborg on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 11:58:30 AM EST

As in, it tempted me to read to the end, even though I think we've already made up our minds regarding the reasons behind Gulf War II (or the third act of the ongoing Gulf War I, depending on your point of view).

One thing though: if USians are so smart, why are Oprah and rasslin' so popular?

This is not a troll, nor a rhetorical question.  K5 represents an extremely limited view of the world, as do the environments in which many of us work.  It's easy to get the mistaken idea that people are generally smart rather than generally stupid, especially as most of them can use language and make and use tools.  But on that basis, we should let parrots and corvids vote.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs

Do you really think this is well written? (5.00 / 4) (#7)
by zaphos on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 12:03:28 PM EST

I got totally lost in his last paragraph -- the most important one -- which happens to take up my entire screen. Maybe I need to change my resolution.

Or maybe this guy needs to tighten up his writing style from "rambling" to "coherent".

--
So few people seem to realize that what seems fascinating and meaningful to them is utterly meaningless and dull for the listener. -rusty
[ Parent ]

Could have been laid out better (5.00 / 4) (#10)
by Rogerborg on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 12:20:01 PM EST

But the use of language was fine, and the points were made clearly.  Or maybe I'm just drunk.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Wrestling. (5.00 / 3) (#11)
by haflinger on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 12:21:09 PM EST

You have to consider professional wrestling as an entertainment form, not a sport. With that in mind, it bears close resemblance to your typical soap opera, except that the plots are (only a bit) less complex and there are a lot more stunts.

That's what the fights are, stunts. It's not a sport. I know several hardcore wrestling fans, and they know it's not a sport. They enjoy watching the stunts, and the over-the-top, somewhat comedic acting.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

My brother watches WWF (4.50 / 4) (#19)
by Rogerborg on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 12:43:22 PM EST

Unfortunately, he also genuinely believes that Saddam Must Be Stopped.  And much as I love him, he does like to run with scissors.  Not conclusive, but persuasive enough for me.  My point stands.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Well, of course there are the stupids too. (5.00 / 3) (#98)
by haflinger on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 07:35:06 PM EST

But some of them watch Buffy, and I still think it's a great show nevertheless. :)

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]
buffy (none / 0) (#365)
by babbling on Thu Oct 31, 2002 at 01:47:53 PM EST

Everybody hungers for some sweet slayer love. If I were at full slayer strength, I'd be punning right about now.
If I were at full slayer strength, I'd be punning right about now.
[ Parent ]
This is what Russia and France suspect... (2.27 / 11) (#6)
by DLWormwood on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 12:01:09 PM EST

They, like the USians, are hungrily eyeing the oil in Saddam's backyard.

While your thesis on colonization is overstated, there is definitely oil politics at work here. After all, why waste money to make enforced settlements when corporate hegemony is more effective?
--
Those who complain about affect & effect on k5 should be disemvoweled

Hummm (5.00 / 2) (#17)
by Betcour on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 12:38:23 PM EST

Russia has more oil than you can imagine and probably more than in Iraq either. They couldn't care less about the one in Iraq.

[ Parent ]
Except (5.00 / 2) (#26)
by KilljoyAZ on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 01:12:07 PM EST

Much of their oil is in remote regions and isn't feasible to extract unless the price of oil remains at a certain level. Russia's concern is a US-controlled Iraq will flood the market, driving the price down.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
The U.S. (5.00 / 2) (#69)
by nustajeb on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 04:34:43 PM EST

has a large quantity of oil as well, it's just cheaper to import it. We're not even as highly dependent on Arab oil for our energy needs as certain European and Asian islands that will remain nameless, our oil oligopoly simply has no qualms with exploiting every crisis in the region to make more money. Not that oil products wouldn't increase in cost if we were to have to stop buying from the Arabs, but we'd just forget the ecozealots in this country and start getting oil from our capped wells. Or there're always other countries that would eventually break down and trade oil for those prized American dollars.

[ Parent ]
amen (4.00 / 3) (#93)
by Lode Runner on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 07:01:40 PM EST

Look at the picture in this BBC report. What do you see? A guy driving a new Peugeot firing a Kalashnikov. Although the gun may or may not have been manufactured in Russia, one can say for sure that the Peugeot translates directly into more money and jobs for the French.

It would be nice if the French would come forward and acknowledge their economic motivations for preserving Iraq's status quo instead of lecturing Americans about morals and power.

[ Parent ]

Not French then (none / 0) (#349)
by tekue on Tue Oct 22, 2002 at 09:16:17 AM EST

I guess the possiblity of the Iraqui in the picture possesing anything of Polish origin is quite slim, yet I too think that the planned US invasion on Iraq is almost purely financially motivated, the other motive being ignorance.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]
not stupid (4.50 / 4) (#12)
by tichy on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 12:21:43 PM EST

I don't think in general americans are perceived as stupid. In fact i would say they are perceived as believing the rest of the world is stupid... In any case your point is interesting because if true it would mean the american rhetoric (self defense war, 'axis of evil', etc) is primarily intended to 'deceive' themselves. Non-americans rarely buy into it.

agree (5.00 / 2) (#14)
by thekubrix on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 12:32:18 PM EST

Exactly, its the other way around, the rest of the world perceive us as being arrogant, spoiled, and highly meddling. I sorta see the world as a suburban highschool....and the US is that rich preppy girl trying to meddle into everyon'es business and has her nose in the air, but means well.

I think its all crap anyway, you simply can't generalize 200+ million people. The US, by far, has the most diverse culture on this planet, and thats what drives all the hub bub,....bub.

[ Parent ]

I disagree (5.00 / 3) (#30)
by krek on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 01:38:28 PM EST

But only with the second part; there are many countries in the world who are considerably more culturally diverse than the USA. In fact, I think that the US us viewed as one of the more homogenious cultures around by those in those "countries of greater diversity".

It is the 'great melting pot' after all, and that implies a process by which people are 'melted' together to acheive a cultural average, or 'cultural alloy' if you want to extend the metaphor.

[ Parent ]
no no no (5.00 / 1) (#38)
by thekubrix on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 02:26:38 PM EST

I dunno about that....first of all you got to realize this country is Maaaaaaaaaaad huge. And each knook in this might crany is so different. I don't know about all the knooks in this country, but here in SoCal its very diversed, and it goes far deeper than one collective culture. A variety of ethnicities bring their own culture and way of life and stick to them and pass them along to the next generation......I don't know any other place on this planet where you see this, people from just about EVERY country live here, and they bring and keep their culture while living here.....

[ Parent ]
A nation of immigrants. (none / 0) (#275)
by Jacques Chester on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 12:57:42 AM EST

Australia is in a similar boat. But Sydney is quite tribalistic, very little mixing. I live in Darwin. Everyone pretty much just gets along, much to the amazement of people from supposedly-multicultural Sydney.

--
Well now. We seem to be temporarily out of sigs here at the sig factory. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
[ Parent ]
I think...... (5.00 / 2) (#39)
by thekubrix on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 02:28:00 PM EST

another problem is that even those there's diversity, the majority of this country is white and simple folk, so that doesn't really add much :\

hehe white people.....

pasty

pasty

pasty

[ Parent ]

whic country would you be in then? (4.50 / 2) (#41)
by br284 on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 02:30:11 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Look up (5.00 / 2) (#43)
by krek on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 02:48:02 PM EST

Look waaaaaaay up.

[ Parent ]
Depends on where in the country you are. (5.00 / 2) (#45)
by aphrael on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 02:54:05 PM EST

I live in the SF bay area, which *is* markedly culturally diverse, and seemed more so (to me) than the communities on Vancouver Island.

[ Parent ]
Wrong side of the country (3.66 / 3) (#47)
by krek on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 03:07:53 PM EST

I have never been to a place more open and accepting than the city of Montréal. Although the SF Bay Area and New Yok City would be close runners up.

SFBA and NYC are indeed very culturally diverse, and because of this, I do not really consider them as true parts of the United States, they just do not fit. Any multiculturalism that may seem to exist in the rest of the US is most likely derived from the media portrayal of these two urban centers in sit-coms, and thus, lived vicariously.



[ Parent ]
Oops (5.00 / 2) (#48)
by krek on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 03:12:41 PM EST

I would like to add something, I wish I could have spent more time there, but in my three weeks in Amsterdam, and the surrounding area, I became very impressed with the incredibly open-minded attituide that is prevalent throughout. In my mind, Montréal is a close second to the land of tulips.

[ Parent ]
Not true parts of the US? (3.25 / 4) (#65)
by etherdeath on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 04:24:32 PM EST

Why not?

As a native New Yorker who visits relatives in the middle of nowhere and all over the heartland, I don't find the rest of the country all that culturally monotonous.

[ Parent ]

Nah (5.00 / 2) (#160)
by krek on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 09:41:56 AM EST

You're just zapped by all the open space and trees and stuff.

[ Parent ]
Your comments... (5.00 / 2) (#67)
by nustajeb on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 04:27:52 PM EST

Are just so absurdly retarded it makes my head hurt. The U.S.'s only cultural homogeny lies in the media. You'll find vastly different peoples from individual towns in rural mostly-white States, and the only places you can find diversity is in two large urban centers? You're clearly an expert on the U.S.'s range of cultures.
And I have no idea what being "open and accepting" has to do with diversity.

[ Parent ]
I'm sorry (5.00 / 2) (#73)
by krek on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 05:08:20 PM EST

but that was essentially my point, US culture = US media, and there is only one 'Media', thus, one culture.

But, I do apologise, I had written a reply to an earlier comment and then decided that I did not really want to post it, so I cancelled it, and then went on to post another comment as if I had posted the first... sorry.

While I would not say 'expert', I would say 'quite familliar with'. I have managed to cover both sea-boards and the northern mid-west, visiting here, stopping there, and in my travels I have only failed to visit those states in the triangle between, and including, New Mexico, Missouri and Kansas. The one thing that can be said about the US is that it is very homogenious, HoJo's and Mickey D's, and the only places that I have been that truely felt different, was NYC and SF.

As for being 'open and accepting' being equated with diversity.... In Montréal, and perhaps elsewhere, the Gay Pride celebrations are entitled 'Divercity' in english and 'Divercité' in French. Montréal, being, in my mind, the most open and accepting spot on this continent, has one of the largest, and best thriving, Gay Pride celebrations in the world. As a result, Montréal has a strong and thriving gay community, a community that is supported and celebrated by almost all Motréalers, thus, diversity.

If you cannot see how being 'open and accepting' actively promotes diversity, well, I suppose nothing I say will ever convince you.

[ Parent ]
Your point... (5.00 / 2) (#114)
by nustajeb on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 11:47:47 PM EST

is that U.S. culture is reflected by the media, and therefore, since the number of media companies tend towards homogeneity to capitalize on trends in entertainment, the U.S.'s culture is homogenous. Your foundation is absurd. The U.S. is composed of numerous cultural nuances that aren't be found on Dawson's Creek, or Law and Order. Those shows are fiction, and are meant for entertainment, not a portrayal of the multitudes of divergent lifestyles. It's really like pretending that 50s lifestyles were like Donna Reed, which as much as many folk wish was true, it's not.

That you equate the actual culture of the U.S. with the means it uses to entertain itself, forces me to realize that you're not familiar with it in the least bit. It must be the omnipresent McDonald's that defines a culture. They don't even serve the same foods everywhere, so surely they're representative of the U.S.'s heterogenous culture. When you find peas and corn in your breakfast burrito in the South (I don't even know if McDonald's even still sells them), you can ignore the subtle differences that you find when traveling through the U.S., even what people see as culture-less as a fast food establishment.

You're also right, in that you'll never convince me that Gay Pride parades equates at all with diversity. If you think there aren't such parades outside of the NYC or SF, you're rather mistaken. I can't speak for people "celebrating" homosexuality or whatever retardation seems important to you. There are numerous highly-liberal pockets of the country where there are homosexuals that go out of their way to offend the less accepting members of this country, if that's what you mean by 'celebrating.' No, whether or not the citizens of the U.S. want to accept it, they're quite forced into worlds of diversity. Disliking blacks, hispanics, homosexuals, etc doesn't get them out of Albany, Troy, Houston, Miami, Kansas City, or any of the other urban centers you don't feel are up to NYC's "acceptance" (rofl, btw), and there tens of thousands of smaller communities.

[ Parent ]

You have proved my point well (4.66 / 3) (#161)
by krek on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 09:44:38 AM EST

A breakfast Burrito is a Breakfast Burrito, regardless of whether it has peas or corn in it. The fact that you measure your 'numerous cultural nuances' by Breakfast Burrito ingredients just seems so ironic. In fact, your whole comment is ironic to an extreme degree.

The curse of the American is to live life in utter irony, while, at the same time, being oblivious to the nature of irony.

[ Parent ]
I'm sorry... (5.00 / 2) (#167)
by nustajeb on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 01:25:20 PM EST

Do they hold gay pride parades at McDonald's in Montreal?

For that matter, do you even know what irony is?

They certainly don't hold reading comprehension very high from wherever you originate, that's for certain.

And while we're at it, guess why they serve different foodstuffs around the country even at fast food places. Here's a hint, you won't find the answer on Dawson's Creek.

[ Parent ]

Congratulations (4.00 / 3) (#174)
by krek on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 03:22:55 PM EST

You are the very first being in existance to have ever questioned my reading comprehension, I can only laugh.

They often go past McDonalds Restaurants.

Irony is Bush Jr. calling the war on terror a "Crusade".

If you are going to insist on measuring diversity by Fast Food Fare, then I will wait until I can get some Hummus or Dahl on my BigMac before I even begin to consider it.

[ Parent ]
The day is mine... (5.00 / 3) (#178)
by nustajeb on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 04:17:03 PM EST

I relish being the first being in existence to point out the obvious.

You insisted on measuring diversity by fast food chains and Britney Spears, I simply pointed out that you're quite clueless, within your own domain. You haven't and you won't actually make any point or further your cultural analysis, since you don't know anything of U.S. culture. Simply admit that you're an ignoramus and save us both a lot of time.

[ Parent ]

I know I am right (5.00 / 1) (#225)
by krek on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 09:53:07 AM EST

and, I know that you are wrong.... That is enough for me.

[ Parent ]
Ahh the anti-climatic retort... (5.00 / 1) (#248)
by nustajeb on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 03:11:20 PM EST

Surely you could come up with some more elaborate, or at least more amusing. Something on the scale of U.S. culture = U.S. media at least.

Tell me how I dress.
Predict my religious affiliation if any.
What is my ethnic heritage?
What does my diet consist of?
What is my sex and how does it influence who I am, where I live?
What region am I from?
What do I do after work?
What do I do for work?
What if any arts do I enjoy?
Do I have an accent or use regional slang in my speech?
If so describe the accent or list the regional slang used.
How would a Gay Pride parade be received here?
How would it be received 20 miles from here?
How would it be received 40 miles from here?
What is the predominant form of musical entertainment here?
What is it 20 miles from here?
What is it 40 miles from here?
What jobs are most valued here?
What does the environment consist of? How is it seen by the people that live here?

Surely these all easy questions that any small Canadian or European child can answer from a perusal of Friends or ER.

[ Parent ]

We don't want oil. We want control. (4.00 / 10) (#23)
by jabber on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 12:58:44 PM EST

We don't want Iraqi oil. If we had it, gas prices would have to drop, and that wouldn't be profitable to the companies which own the government.

We want control over the oil. We want to ensure it's scarcity, while maintaining a degree of clandestine control over the remaining supply.

We want to turn Iraq into another Iran.

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

Iraqi Oil (none / 0) (#243)
by Boronx on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 01:54:38 PM EST

Sir or Madame, if they control the second largest reserves in the world, they have more control over the price of the oil, up or down. That means they can maximize profits, it means they have more leverage against the Saudis and the entire oil consuming world.
Subspace
[ Parent ]
Yes (none / 0) (#272)
by jabber on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:01:14 PM EST

  1. "They" are also banned from selling oil for profit by the United Nations. "They" are only permitted to trade oil for food.
  2. This is exactly why "we" want to replace "them" with an "us"-friendly regime. Since "we" are on the UN Security Council, "we" can, after the regime change, put pressure on the UN to allow the "new them" to actually deal in oil in a less/non-restricted ("us" favorable) manner.

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

Its not oil, its anti-islam (3.92 / 13) (#24)
by StephenThompson on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 01:03:00 PM EST

I have pondered similiar logic to yours, however I say Americans are not secretly desiring oil wells. Actually, they secretly hate muslims and want a crusade.

Also,generally using the word 'stupid' in a title and calling people 'stupid' just isn't going to get many supporters. You need to be more subtle about your name calling ;)

here (5.00 / 2) (#59)
by speek on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 04:00:56 PM EST

Yes, I like the reasoning behind thinking the "real" reason for support is as yet unspoken, but, I don't think oil is much of a motivator for average people. After 9/11, though, I think there is an unspoken agreement amongst many americans that the rest of the world (and particularly the third world) is barbaric and not to be trusted, and that, what we really need to do is civilize them, through force.

Arabs and Muslims first, as they seem to be the worst problem. I think there's always been a basic perception that this "third world" crap would eventually go away as these places "grew up" and became more like us. It's not happening, or at least not fast enough, and I think there's this idea to take matters into hand and make it happen.

If I'm right, the US won't stop at Iraq, and things are going to get very bad.

--
I'm full, but I'm going to eat these cookies anyway. That's my whole problem right there, in a nutshell.
[ Parent ]

Calling USians stupid (3.50 / 6) (#62)
by zaphos on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 04:03:27 PM EST

I would be willing to bet that having a title that calls USians stupid is about the only thing that has kept this story from getting shot down. Many K5 readers will vote for anything anti-US. They won't admit it, tho. Must fall under the same category as USians not admitting that all we want is oil, I guess.

--
So few people seem to realize that what seems fascinating and meaningful to them is utterly meaningless and dull for the listener. -rusty
[ Parent ]

You might be right (5.00 / 4) (#128)
by Spork on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 01:15:00 AM EST

... although I wasn't saying exactly that USians are after oil wells specifically. I honestly think that USians believe the Republicans are gung ho about this issue because they figured out a way we can profit from this war, but they can't explain to us how, because if they did, it would sound dirty and repressive. But then we think: We don't really mind being dirty and repressive to people in the Middle East, especially if there is profit involved. Of course, this sort of reason is unable to rise to the surface in a public debate.

Also, about calling Americans "stupid": I was pretty clear in saying that Americans are not acting out of stupidity when they support the war, that instead, the only look stupid, because the only reasons they are willing to state for their support really are stupid. But I think it's obvious there are other, non-stupid (but immoral and egotistical) reasons to support the war. Most of the supporters, I claim, are actually moved by these reasons.

[ Parent ]

MIssing poll option - Fear mongering. . . (4.41 / 12) (#25)
by Pop Top on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 01:05:29 PM EST

to give Dubya the authority to clean up his Daddy's mess.

Sadly, the US/UN back in 1989-1990 was unwilling to invest the vast sums neded to rebuild Iraq properly and I fear such sums will not be invested in 2003-2003 either.

military conflict... (4.33 / 3) (#27)
by rachsumat on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 01:16:44 PM EST

Saddam picks on states that are weaker, and right now nobody in the region is more crippled militarily than he

At least it will be quick.
--
"Be the wire. Shhhh. Wires don't talk..."
Not quite (3.66 / 9) (#28)
by krek on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 01:29:19 PM EST

Americans are not regarded as stupid in an intellectual sense, the US, in fact, probably has one of the most educated populations of the entire world. No, you guys are not stupid in that way, instead, you guys are stupid in the sense that you just don't "get it". The way that America seems to blunder along, ignoring, or being insensitive to, the warning signs all around, the signs that feel so very evident to most of the rest of the world. The way that Americans seem completely oblivious to the irony of their foreign policies, doing one thing, saying another, and telling the rest of the world to do a third. The extreme hypocrisy of your stance on human rights and freedoms, a sort of "all animals are equal, but pigs are more equal" sort of schtick. Oh yes, and we cannot forget your disturbing fascination with gloves that do not fit and misapplied smoking materials, which, would not be so bad if the pay-per-view aspect of the whole thing was abandoned.



Teflon Slope (5.00 / 6) (#124)
by Peahippo on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 12:57:05 AM EST

I define "stupid" as "being ignorant too long". Having said so, I assert that Americans are extremely stupid about their foreign policies. Americans are the best educated morons the world has ever seen -- long on carefully censored facts, while also short on socially-conscious judgment.

The USA is an empire by rational measures, but refuses -- through the process of "willful ignorance" -- to acknowledge it. The American people think that sovereignty is a wonderful idea ... for Americans, but not for anyone else. (Note the recent news about America's demand to have American citizens exempted from the War Crimes provisions of the World Court.) The use of the US military upon foreign soils to secure resources is a basic, standard and unquestioned assumption for the modern American. I know this is true -- I used to think that way too, before I pulled my head out of my arse. (Stopping the watching of TV helped immensely, too.)

I am unable to convince my countrymen that continuing to brute-force the rest of the world is a sure-fire recipe for (conventional) world war at best, and extinction of the American nation and lifestyle at worst. America's 5% population share can't win out in dominating the world stage, especially so considering the vast outflow of wealth in the last generation or two. The manufacturing of capital equipment -- not junk bonds, websites and strip malls -- is the veritable basis of wealth, but such things have fled, leaving a shell of a nation where at least a worthy dream of a Constitutional Republic once stood.

America is doomed, as if the latest Congressional vote for war in Iraq wasn't enough of an indicator.

Soon enough, America's offshore military will have to become actually and obviously mercenary as the homeland's entire economy sinks to Third World levels (or at least to half of America's 1940-ish standard of living). All those troops can't or shouldn't come back home ... vast joblessness will await them, thus they will try to adapt to the new conditions overseas. The rest of the world will have to get used to thousands of uniformed and armed Americans in unit groupings; they will be the new Diaspora across the world.

As for the parent article ....

It's never going to get voted in; the cranioanally-inserted Americans take great offense at anyone telling them the truth about their empire. (What "truth"? Things like how the USA violates national sovereignty, exploits foreign slave labors, and has essentially traded all moral codes for access to oil.) This kind of thing is much worse in the American Midwest, where I live now. Take the basic coastal American; add the most unthinking elements of religions and the Democratic party; the result is plainly a useless political conversationalist, which is the hallmark of an Ohioan. Bovine-like glassy eyes are the norm around here; don't expect much useful critique from the Midwest. (Don't worry that you'll be alone in that regard; the Congress doesn't expect anything out of the Rust Belt either.)


[ Parent ]
"most educated"??? (5.00 / 1) (#256)
by bolthole on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 04:52:39 PM EST

Where are you getting this from? out of your...erm.. hat?

Did all the polls about US schoolchildren ranking WAAAY behind european children, just pass you by? I dont think that those US schoolchildren magically become smarter when the reach adulthood. Particularly considering the drop-out rate of US schools.

[ Parent ]

_????????_ (none / 0) (#344)
by krek on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 03:01:51 PM EST

Did the words 'probably' and 'one of' just pass you by?

Dumbass!

[ Parent ]
Evidence (4.48 / 31) (#29)
by Pac on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 01:35:27 PM EST

These photos show conclusive proof that Iraq already has functioning yellow arrows. What should we do, wait until Saddam develop blue arrows or, God forbid, red arrows?

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


Yellow arrows are a generation behind modern tech (4.63 / 11) (#32)
by kaemaril on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 02:02:35 PM EST

I've heard rumours that Saddam is working on a whole new generation of arrow technology, one that allows him to paint the arrows any colour he feels like. We really need to stop him before he introduces fuchsia arrows into an already unstable region...


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
But the U.S. has: stealth arrows! (nt) (4.00 / 2) (#250)
by ethereal on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 03:15:07 PM EST


--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

tPolicy Makers vs USians (2.64 / 14) (#34)
by exoduz on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 02:04:30 PM EST

American policy makers are IMHO the smartest in the world. They are the masters of looking after the interests of America and history shows that they are adept at predicting and preempting future events years before they happen. From their perspective this whole issue probably is about oil. All this bio, chemical and nuclear crap is just a smokesceen.

As for the average american as it is for all other nations and throughout history, they are sheep! And sheep will follow their master as long as the master promises them what they want. You may be right about the public having an ulterior motive but I doubt its something as 'intelligent' as what you've described.

It's more likely an outlet of insecurity and fear from 9/11 and the fact that someone has dared to challenge the US and therefore the USians of their number 1 position in the world.

I hate to say it but while we're on the topic, lets be frank. We all feel good when our local sports team wins or if our atheletes bring home the goods from an international sports event. Its irrational but we feel by our association with the 'winning' team we are superior to the people associated with the 'losing' team. A bit of chest thumping and flag waving goes a long way to boost the ego.

Likewise, this may be a case of USians desire to prove to themselves and to the rest of the world that they are still number one and dare I say 'superior' (I know its ugly but its human nature).

By simple association:

  1. 'Terrorists'
  2. 'Al Queda'
  3. 'Nameless, faceless and Hard to Destroy'
BUT:
  1. 'Terrorists'
  2. 'Al Queda'
  3. 'Arab Muslims'
  4. 'Iraqis and Saddam'
  5. 'Let's get them, Show'em who's boss'
Ofcourse this may all be me talking out of my ass but your post got me thinking...

--

exoduz

DOH (4.50 / 6) (#40)
by exoduz on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 02:29:01 PM EST

Damn, I'm replying to myself but I left something out. Looks like you're not going to make FP but just in case you plan on resubmitting and changing stuff.

Its not that anyone has dared to challenge the US but its that a bunch of 'lowlife' arabs from the backwaters of nowhere that Americans are suppose to be superior to has attacked at the very heart. The Bush speech about 'Them hating us because we're better' sums this up very well. Its self-rightous indignation.

The highschool jock was sucker punched by a geek (now hiding) takes it out on the first geek he can pick a fight with.

--

exoduz


[ Parent ]

interesting subtext (4.66 / 3) (#97)
by Lode Runner on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 07:19:28 PM EST

3000 innocent people massacred while working = swaggering high-school jock

atavistic, mysogynist, genocidal kamikaze zealots = geeks

Taliban = other geeks

[ Parent ]

no no! (4.33 / 3) (#36)
by johwsun on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 02:11:19 PM EST

If you are an American like me, chances are that the rest of the world thinks you're stupid.

No no, I do not think you are stupid..actually I consider american people a very smart one. I mean, americans are smart, and they also (and thats why) have the bombs.

I do not dare to think what could be the results in case another, more dump group of people, owned the bombs.

Of course I do not claim also that americans are the smartest group that can be formed. k5 may be, especially if you ostracize rusty.

Knowledge versus intelligence (4.75 / 4) (#42)
by evilpenguin on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 02:47:54 PM EST

The ability to design, manufacture and deploy complex tools of war (read: elaborate ways to kill people) simply requires knowledge.  That is, understanding the scientific to the ends of manipulating variables and deriving equations.

Intelligence is more than just knowledge.  A computer can store a quadrillion bytes, but is it intelligent?  No.  I believe this is precisely what most Americans lack.  We may have the ability to create the bombs, but we don't even feign to know the repercussions of using them.
--
# nohup cat /dev/dsp > /dev/hda & killall -9 getty
[ Parent ]

Intelligence vs wisdom (5.00 / 3) (#81)
by Happy Monkey on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 06:01:48 PM EST

Knowledge is required to manufacture weapons of war.
Intelligence is required to design weapons of war.
Wisdom is required to deploy them wisely, considering repercussions.

The multitude has knowledge.
Many have intelligence.
Few have wisdom.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Well said (n/t) (5.00 / 2) (#85)
by evilpenguin on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 06:09:25 PM EST


--
# nohup cat /dev/dsp > /dev/hda & killall -9 getty
[ Parent ]
So true! (5.00 / 2) (#118)
by tftp on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 12:31:37 AM EST

I do not dare to think what could be the results in case another, more dump group of people, owned the bombs.

Indeed, it's really frightening to even think what would happen if, for example, France or UK - or even China - had the bomb, because they'd use it on, say, Japan, as soon as they could only make it work :-(

I do not claim also that americans are the smartest group that can be formed

Americans on average are definitely not the smartest group. If anything, as a random guess, germans or israelis are far smarter on average, as a whole population, by virtue of culture, customs or simply genes. But smaller groups of well-educated americans probably exceed in numbers comparable smaller groups of citizens of other countries, in part due to good universities and presence of many high technology companies.

[ Parent ]

My theory on the endgame (4.58 / 12) (#46)
by dissonant on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 03:05:20 PM EST

The reason why my fellow Americans seem to support this war eludes me, but I do have a theory about the real reason G.W. & Co. wants it.

They're sick of pampering Saudi Arabia. Most of the terrorists from 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabian state, while not ostensibly encouraging extremist views, certainly doesn't frown on the more extremist Islamic schools and teachings. The US government is tired of the necessity of supporting and defending the Saudi royal family and their increasingly anti-American stances due to our dependency on their oil.

I believe that by deseating Saddam and installing a friendly power in his place, they hope to gain access to the oil they need while simultaneously setting the stage for withdrawing support for the current Saudi regime. Furthermore, by setting up a "modern democratic" government in a rehabilitated Iraq, they hope to further destabilize Saudi Arabia and possibly Iran by demonstrating to the region the prosperity and freedom possible in a modern democratic state.

If I'm right, you can bet that the US will make damn sure things are rebuilt properly after any engagement in Iraq. On the downside, it's more arrogant neo-colonial misadventures.

Democracy (5.00 / 3) (#55)
by the on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 03:50:24 PM EST

Furthermore, by setting up a "modern democratic" government...
Not only is that not going to happen. I don't believe that anyone thinks it will happen. Democracy needs more than a constitution and a few rules. It needs an entire culture of democracy to support it. I don't see that existing in Iraq. (It might already be coming into existence in Iran however.)

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]
wrong. (5.00 / 3) (#109)
by influx on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 09:56:46 PM EST

Look at what happened to post World War 2 Japan. Unless you consider worshiping an divine leader as a democratic tradition, I'd say you are flat out incorrect.

---
The more you know, the less you understand.
[ Parent ]
Japan has had a parliamentary democracy since... (5.00 / 3) (#113)
by the on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 11:29:31 PM EST

...well before WWII. The upper house was originally unelected but then so is the upper house in the UK. There had been a drive towards democracy for many years before WWII. In fact Japan had been driving hard for modernization and industrialization for centuries and Hirohito was something of a temporary abberation. When the US stepped in there was a culture ready and waiting for more democratization.

I have grave doubts that the situation in Iraq is anything like this.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]

Iraqi Democracy (5.00 / 1) (#246)
by Lemur on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 02:39:55 PM EST

[...] When the US stepped in there was a culture ready and waiting for more democratization.

I have grave doubts that the situation in Iraq is anything like this.

Didn't you see the reporing from CNN and Reuters? They just had a `free' and `democratic' election where 100% of the population `voted' for Saddam. With that kind of turnout they must love `democracy' (or else).



[ Parent ]
No (5.00 / 3) (#108)
by Weezul on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 09:50:36 PM EST

What you describe would be a good plan.  I don't think Shrub and Co. would/could implement anything like that, especially not anything that involved setting up a democracy.

Now, what would be good is if War chat went on for a while longer and Bush started a war to keep himself in office, but was somehow defeated anyway.  A presedent less beholden to oil could perhaps set up a democracy in Iraq and execute your suggested plan.  thats not to say that I think a democrat would, he would most likely just use Iraqi oil to buy himself a 2nd term from the oil companies, but its still a though.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini
[ Parent ]

Unstable Saudis (4.75 / 4) (#148)
by LQ on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 04:58:42 AM EST

The current Saudi regime is looking increasingly unstable. There is a great risk that it could be deposed and replaced with an even more extreme Talibanesque faction. That regime would no longer tolerate US military presence in the region.

[ Parent ]
This is one reason why I support the war (none / 0) (#361)
by acronos on Sat Oct 26, 2002 at 11:44:21 PM EST

[disclaimer: I know there is lots of "I believe" without lots of evidence here.  These "I believe"'s significantly affect my support of Iraq, but I would not usually use them in an argument because these beliefs cannot be adequately supported.  I agree with you and the author of the article that it is these unstated beliefs that cause America to support the war.]

I believe we will install a friendly power and that Iraq will thrive under it.  I believe war will destabilize the region but in a good way toward democracy.  I believe the Iraqi people will be better off if we go into Iraq.  I would rather be partners with such an Iraq than be partners with Saudi Arabia as it now exists.

I also believe that war with Iraq is nearly inevitable.  I believe Saddam desires much more than Iraq.  Right now he is not much of a threat.  Right now he would be a fool to use any weapons against any other country.  All that changes rapidly if he gets nuclear weapons and with the passage of a little time for the world to look the other way.  I believe he is trying to get nuclear weapons.  I am tired of paying for air-strikes to control his military.  It is better to fight Iraq now while it is still weak.

I believe a partnership with terrorists and Saddam with nukes would allow Saddam to strike the US without a trail back to himself.  I believe a nuke carried in on a ship into New York harbor by some terrorist could absolutely destroy the US economy.

I believe the best way for us to fight terrorism is the creation of a worldwide democratic free society.  Diplomatic policy is not going to create a democratic free society in the middle east.  War with Iraq might.

I am an American.  I believe the best thing for the world is pax americana.  That is the real reasons why I support the war.  Yes, I have switched from an isolationist stance to a fix the middle east stance due to 9/11 and it's demonstration that the US cannot stand on the sidelines and wait for the world (middle east) to become economically stable.

But, if someone asks why I support the war, I say things like Saddam never kept the terms of his surrender and now it is time he paid the price for his decision.  I say this because my real reasons would only start an argument of opinions that is unlikely to have any resolution.


[ Parent ]

Why many support the Iraq war... (3.14 / 7) (#50)
by dipierro on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 03:38:16 PM EST

Saddam is an evil dictator. Dictatorships are bad. (I guess that falls under the "closet imperialist" argument)

Wow (5.00 / 2) (#61)
by bayankaran on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 04:02:38 PM EST

Saddam is an evil dictator. Dictatorships are bad.

Aaha, now I know the reason. I was so ignorant.

[ Parent ]
Please explain (5.00 / 2) (#63)
by dipierro on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 04:04:09 PM EST

What are you trying to say?

[ Parent ]
Explanation (5.00 / 3) (#121)
by tftp on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 12:38:26 AM EST

In my opinion, he is simply astonished with the depth of your analysis - which can only be compared with Bush's own :-)

[ Parent ]
The depth of my analysis (5.00 / 2) (#171)
by dipierro on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 01:50:15 PM EST

was meant to reflect the depth of the analysis of "many people". The poll question asked why "Americans support the Iraq war," not why I support the Iraq war.

[ Parent ]
I think some people misunderstood me... (4.50 / 2) (#94)
by dipierro on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 07:04:56 PM EST

I didn't say this was a good reason to support the Iraq war, I merely said that it's a reason held by many Americans.

[ Parent ]
Exactly. (none / 0) (#283)
by magney on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 03:12:32 AM EST

I think this, much more than oil, is the reason Americans as a whole aren't so opposed to this war. Remember that stopping the spread of "communist tyranny" was what kept the US in the Cold War. Americans like to think of themselves as fighting for freedom, whatever our policies may actually be doing to the world.

What I don't quite get is why Americans might want to pretend this isn't the "real" reason. Maybe it's because "we" think the rest of the world isn't as interested in freedom as we are, and that we have to sell them on this as a matter of self-interest? I don't know.

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

the fine line between humanitarian and imperialist (none / 0) (#295)
by dipierro on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 04:08:29 PM EST

What I don't quite get is why Americans might want to pretend this isn't the "real" reason. Maybe it's because "we" think the rest of the world isn't as interested in freedom as we are, and that we have to sell them on this as a matter of self-interest?


Yeah, pretty much.  The U.N. doesn't like it when you bomb other countries simply because you don't like their form of government.  This in turn forces Bush (or Clinton, or any other President) to come up with some "self-defense" reasoning in order to take Saddam out of power.


And that's why I said this is essentially the "closet imperialist" argument.  Is it justifiable to initiate force against a country which is killing its own people?  I say certainly it is, in some cases, but it's also a very dangerous thing to do.  It's certainly starting to make 9/11 sound a lot closer to 12/7.  Should the U.S. have tried to stop the Nazis out of pure humanitarian interests, or did they need the self-defense argument given to them by the Japanese?


I don't know.  I hope we don't go to war.  And I really hope that if we do go to war, that we dot all the i's and cross all the t's with the U.N.  Because we clearly have the power to change the Iraqi regime, but if this becomes World War III, a whole lot of people are going to die.



[ Parent ]
Ah, but... (none / 0) (#334)
by magney on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 01:34:24 AM EST

The U.N. doesn't like it when you bomb other countries simply because you don't like their form of government. Are you saying that Iraq's form of government is anything even remotely resembling tolerable? Or are you just pointing out that there are a lot of powerful nations whose governments aren't much better and that we can't hope to fight all of them?

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

Based on the little information I know about Iraq (none / 0) (#341)
by dipierro on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 11:51:39 AM EST

I'd say its government is intolerable, but the U.N. nations as a whole seem to have a more lenient view of what is tolerable.  Also there are the non-U.N. nations many of which would take the side of Iraq.  So essentially yes, I'm pointing out that there are a lot of powerful nations whose governments aren't much better (or for strategic or moral reasons would support Iraq anyway), and while we could fight them, and depending on the support we got even win, it would be extremely bloody and not worth it.


Of course it doesn't have to come to that.  I think Saddam can and probably will be taken out of power without starting World War III.  But we need to be careful while still being forceful.  GWB is actually doing a pretty good job so far in my opinion.



[ Parent ]
Sure. (5.00 / 1) (#323)
by tkatchev on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 05:15:06 PM EST

I like your logic.

Let's go kill George Bush.

SPECIAL NOTE TO THE HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICE: PLEASE COME GET MY ASS.

I LOVE THE SECRET POLICE.

YES, YOU HEARD ME: I SAID "LET'S GO KILL GEORGE BUSH".

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Americans don't think about oil (3.50 / 8) (#52)
by Sloppy on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 03:41:43 PM EST

The "we want the oil" argument is something that may be on the minds of the leaders, but it is not what the man on the street is thinking, even subconsciously. We just don't worry about the future in that regard, even if we should.

No, it really is just simple gullibility. People are buying the idea that Saddam has (or is close to having) WMD, and that it's somehow our problem. Bush is both deceiving and talking plainly, at the same time. There is no unspoken subtext in his messages.
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."

Man on the street (5.00 / 4) (#60)
by bayankaran on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 04:01:04 PM EST

If I am the man on the street, I am getting a bit worried over the price of extra virgin olive oil.

America should bomb Italy and control the olive supplies. They are a threat with all their mafiosi. Mafiosi feasts on virgin olives.

[ Parent ]
Tony Blair (4.71 / 7) (#53)
by drquick on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 03:44:49 PM EST

So what makes Tony tick then? He talks about safety too, does he also not mean it?

I don't know what it is, but the US government... (4.25 / 4) (#56)
by the on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 03:54:44 PM EST

...knows a secret about the UK government that the latter doesn't want revealed. They use this to control the UK government which is why no UK Prime Minister has ever disagreed with a US President since, oh, I guess the end of WWII. If not that, then some other variant on the theme of blackmail.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]
Suez (4.75 / 4) (#64)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 04:17:41 PM EST

The Suez crisis proved to the British government once and for all that if they step out of line, they'll be publically humilliated in front of the French. Since no Brit can think of a worse fate, our governments have slavishly followed the American line ever since.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
no (4.66 / 3) (#95)
by Lode Runner on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 07:09:21 PM EST

The Suez Crisis was about the USA and the USSR humiliating both the British and the French. Remember, the French blamed Nasser for the Algeria uprising.

[ Parent ]
Metaphorically, (5.00 / 5) (#83)
by _Quinn on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 06:06:50 PM EST

Tony knows that George is going to drive after he's been drinking (and may think that George is drunk); but George -- who's armed to teeth -- isn't going to let anyone take his keys.  So rather than just shout at him from the parking lot, Tony's hoping that if he becomes George's drinking buddy, he can talk him into driving someplace closer by, or on less-busy roads, so that maybe he'll have fewer and less severe accidents.  Tony may even get in George's car and try and be ready to jerk the steering wheel around if George doesn't see something coming...

- _Quinn
Reality Maintenance Group, Silver City Construction Co., Ltd.
[ Parent ]

Yes (5.00 / 3) (#238)
by hypno on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 12:38:56 PM EST

I think and hope that you are right, and luckily the signs are becoming more encouraging that Blair's tactic is working.
Already the Bush administration has started to bluster "Regime change means a change IN the regime, not THE regime". Heh. They must think we are as stupid as they are if they expect us to believe that they meant this all along.

[ Parent ]
UK is a totally different story! (5.00 / 5) (#125)
by Spork on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 01:06:56 AM EST

My article was about why the US population support the war in Iraq. If I were writing about the government, it would be nothing more than the boring "we're doing this for the oil" article. No, I was trying to examin the source of the public support behind this war.

I'm not going to speculate what Blair's personal/political motivations are, and why he is willing to do so much to maintain the "special relationship." One thing is clear, though: the population of England are squarely opposed to this war. In fact every single population in the world opposes the war, except two: Israel and the USA. You don't have to be very clever to figure out why the Israeli people want us to bomb Arabs. However, trying to figure out why the American people are behind this project is not so easy!

So again, let me repeat (lest I be accused of being unclear again): The British people do not support the war, for understandable reasons. Americans do support the war, and I claim this is because of a perception they have something to gain--a perception that the Brits (correctly) do not have.

[ Parent ]

there's population, and then there's population (5.00 / 1) (#249)
by ethereal on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 03:14:14 PM EST

The population in support of unilateral immediate action to conquer Iraq and install a puppet oil colony is, at the moment anyway, limited. The number of people who support some sort of action as long as it is coordinated with the UN and various allies is a majority of the populace. It's inaccurate to say that the U.S. population support's Bush's war plans, but it would be accurate to say that the U.S. citizenry doesn't immediately rule out war if there is sufficient cause and coordination. Unfortunately, the U.S. Congress is a lot easier to bully, especially right before an election, than the population at large.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

wrong (3.50 / 2) (#254)
by bolthole on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 04:50:04 PM EST

I'm a member of 'British people'. I support the war. And its not about "something to gain". it's about doing what is right.

[ Parent ]
Good! (4.25 / 4) (#58)
by boxed on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 03:58:48 PM EST

You're right on all accounts except the final point. Nixon got votes for being a rascist and a bigot. Hate is what drove the voters to him, and nothing less can be the base of the support for Bush. Look for hate, not for some bogus need to lower gas prices by 1 cent a gallon. No american will care enough about this to doublethink like that. Hell, even your article suggests you doublethink your way out of thinking really bad things about the US.

Hate of what? (5.00 / 1) (#66)
by DLWormwood on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 04:27:26 PM EST

Hate is what drove the voters to him, and nothing less can be the base of the support for Bush.

I'm probably being naive, but what is it that the USian people hated that put Bush in the Oval Office ahead of Gore? Rememeber, Bush was elected almost a year before the WTC/Pentago attacks.

Don't try saying it was hatred of Clinton... Despite his questionable behavior in office, he had high public support, even during the impeachment. So something deeper must be at work...
--
Those who complain about affect & effect on k5 should be disemvoweled
[ Parent ]

Iraq War (5.00 / 2) (#70)
by dcheesi on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 04:43:32 PM EST

I think you're misunderstanding him. He's doesn't mean support for Bush in the election, but rather in the Iraq War agenda.

[ Parent ]
Bush hardly had support in the election (4.50 / 2) (#72)
by boxed on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 05:06:07 PM EST

It is NOW that his support is great, supported by the angred, hate and fear of the US population. This diary shows clearly what I'm talking about. "Kill them muslims! Kill them all!" he practically screams. And yet, there is no evidence of any involvement of islamic groups in that perticalar act of terrorism.

[ Parent ]
Support is relative. (5.00 / 1) (#221)
by stinkwrinkle on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 09:04:26 AM EST

Remember, Bush didn't even get a majority of the voters.

[ Parent ]
Nixon (5.00 / 3) (#104)
by nomoreh1b on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 09:19:18 PM EST

There was a lot more to Nixon than bigotry. I would put him more in the camp of a religious warrior than a racist. Nixon was an arch-anti-communist. Wallace was the focuse of racialist sentiment at the time(and look what happened to him).

[ Parent ]
More than just War for spOILs... (4.80 / 20) (#68)
by maynard on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 04:31:27 PM EST

Many assume the US will invade Iraq primarily to siphon off the oil from it's fields. This is partly right, though many proponents of the Iraq invasion point out that if oil was all we wanted we could just capitulate to Saddam and arrange a huge oil buying spree for British and American oil interests. They make a good point. It's clear that if all we wanted was access to the oil we could simply drop the security council resolutions and negotiate a trade arrangement. Given that we're already buying substantial amounts of oil from Iraq using the oil for food program, and given that any middle east war will likely cause serious oil price fluctuations, that British and American oil conglomerates would likely prefer a negotiated settlement over even a short war.

I think Bush has something else up his sleeve. I don't think this is about gaining access to oil as much as it's about controlling who is denied access to middle east oil. More importantly: China and India. They are both quickly industrializing, and given their huge human resource advantage over the US and Europe, each with over a billion (one thousand million for you Brits) in population, it's clear that in a protracted economic war with equal access to energy they would likely win. They are building infrastructure with the latest in technology while the US and Europe are saddled with technology going back a century or more. They have four to five times the human resources of both Europe and America. Their industrialization is happening quickly, and it's interesting to note that China's GDP growth has been sustained while American and European GDP has substantially diminished and even contracted during post '90s tech bubble.

If we can control their access to energy, we win the economic war -- period. It's interesting to note that while Russia has been holding out on their support for a security council resolution in support of tough new sanctions against Iraq, including the threat of military action, they have also made it known that for a price their vote can be bought. Iraq owes Russia substantial sums of money, if we make certain they get paid back and them some, Russia will likely step aside. Also note that while Russia would like to sell their oil to western nations, they don't have anywhere near the capacity of the middle east, nor the transport infrastructure to deliver. Given Russia's nuclear threat, one would think they represent an even greater challenge to US hegemony. But their economy is in tatters, and they appear quite willing to appease western interests in order to gain back some influence over their eastern bordering states. The threat of invading Georgia to fight Chechen rebels is but one more rationale of trading middle east interests and influence for greater autonomy over their local region. They might also demand less NATO expansion.

So, where does this take us ten to fifteen years from now? Likely, this means that America will still be heavily dependent on foreign oil instead of investing in renewable and nuclear energy sources. Given this our economy will continue to be heavily susceptible to oil price fluctuations, which if the newly industrializing nations avoid through local generation could give them a substantial long term economic advantage at the price of high energy costs short term, as well as the high capitalization costs associated with solar tower, wind, and nuclear generation. However, should China and India successfully build out along those lines, they will be unstoppable while the west will have spent huge sums maintaining control over a dwindling energy supply.

Ask yourself, does it make sense to spend 5% GDP on the military in order to subsidize energy prices across the economy, given the extreme bad will it will generate the world over? Not if you own oil interests it doesn't. But more importantly, by controlling these oil fields will the US actually gain control over the industrialization of newly emerging markets? Not if by doing so, it creates an incentive toward making alternative energy sources economically viable. Especially when these emerging markets will have to spend the capital to create new infrastructure anyway. For these reasons, I think Bush's policy is short sighted and stupid. JMO.

Cheers,
--Maynard



Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.

Well.. THAT makes sense. (4.40 / 5) (#89)
by gauntlet on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 06:22:29 PM EST

That's the first suggestion I've heard for the motivations of the US government that actually makes sense to me.

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

time to jump ship (4.50 / 4) (#101)
by Lode Runner on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 08:36:17 PM EST

Interesting comment, but this article is dying. You may want to consider moving your comment --not verbatim, of course-- over to Pop Top's new article (now in the edit queue). I think it would nice to see how you would contextualize your West vs East comment in the framework of Pop Top's US vs EU article. I really like how your (ie you and Pop Top) arguments complicate each other.

[ Parent ]
one of the things I hate most about this world (none / 0) (#263)
by twi on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 07:13:26 PM EST

> ... economic war ...

Damn, how much I hate this. Why the hell do we (anybody realy) need to have bigger and faster growth than other nations ? Why can't we be fat and happy if our industry/science/whatever get's better and better, only because those of the others gets even better than ours ? This makes no sense to me and a world dominated by this principle will never ever be at peace.

[ Parent ]

I disagree, but I like it. (3.77 / 9) (#79)
by Malaclypse the Younger on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 05:48:17 PM EST

Even though the formatting needs work, I didn't have too much trouble following it.

I think you're right that there's a hidden agenda, but I think you're wrong about what the hidden agenda actually is. If Bush et al. think that invading and occupying Iraq would have any positive effect on the oil supply, they're stupider than even I think they are (and I have grave doubts about whether Dubya can tie his own shoes).

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The American people have become corrupt. I can see no other reason for getting into this war than that we think our collective penis is too small, and a good ass-whuppin' is the best way to add a couple of inches--and that's the long and short of it (pun intended).

It's not about oil. (3.70 / 10) (#84)
by Demiurge on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 06:08:12 PM EST

I posted a lengthy article about this(it was, surprise surprise, voted down), but the proposed Iraq war is simply not about oil.  American oil companies have been pushing for an end to sanctions and to government restrictions on American companies dealing with Iraq.  For its part, Iraq has been happy to work with American companies through middlemen.  Texaco and Chevron certainly don't want a war, which will drive the price of oil skyward.


There are a number of reasons the administration wants to go to war, but Iraq's WMDs are chief among them.  In particular, nuclear weapons.  In all likelyhood Iraq would have nukes today if Israel had not attacked the Osirak power plant.  There is plenty of evidence out there to support this.  Defecting Iraqi nuclear scientists have repeatedly stated that Saddam has a nuclear weapons program.  The big noise over those aluminum tubes took place because they were precisely the type of equipment you would need if you were creating centrifuges to enrich uranium for a bomb(which verifies the claims made by former Iraqi scientists).  After the Gulf War, inspectors found detailed plans in Iraq for a working fission bomb.  Whether or not you think that this is enough to go to war, the evidence is there, and this is the primary motivation.

Two points: (4.60 / 5) (#91)
by maynard on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 06:25:56 PM EST

a) While Iraq may have been in a position to enrich uranium ore some time back, they are not in a position to do so now. Nor are they in a position to obtain either the material or a weapon in the near future. Plans for such a weapon are available online and in libraries. So, that they had detailed plans says nothing about the potential for building and obtaining the material and equipment necessary to construct such a weapon. Nor do they possess the means by which to deliver such a weapon to the US, nor will they ever likely have such means. The US has satellite technology which will detect nuclear weapons grade material even through many feet of lead. So, they don't have the weapon, and even if they did they couldn't deliver it. Even our CIA accepts this as fact. The rest of their weapons technology: chemical, biological, and conventional is long obsolete and will have little impact on preventing a US invasion.

b) If we're going to war to prevent Iraq from gaining nuclear technology, just what do we then do about Pakistan, should its current government fail? How about Iran, which is actively pursuing a nuclear weapons program far better funded and far closer to fruition than Iraq? How about India? They have nukes too. How far do you think Syria is from obtaining nuclear weapons? If this is the justification, does that also justify the US engaging in war throughout the middle east to prevent nuclear proliferation? And if so, what do we do about those states that have already obtained such weapons?

Cheers,
--Maynard



Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

Responses (5.00 / 3) (#122)
by Demiurge on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 12:47:04 AM EST

a) I agree that it's only nuclear, not chemical and biological weapons that are worrying.  But Iraq still has the most advanced nuke program in the region(with the exception of Israel).  And while you can find information about building a nuclear weapon in a library, you're not going to find detailed schematics like the ones recovered from Iraq after the Gulf War.  While Iraq is still working on enriching bomb material, that's the last hurdle to Saddam having a working nuclear weapon.  And enriched uranium has been sold on the blackmarket before, however the amounts that have been caught have been less(individually, at least) than would have been needed to make a bomb.  Even without outside help, Saddam's Iraq could easily complete a nuclear weapon within five years to ten years depend on how things go.



b)While many other nations have nuclear weapons, and others are pursuing them, none as close as Iraq are so violent and unstable.  Mark Bowden wrote an incredible analysis of Saddam for Atlantic Monthly a while back, really showcasing his incredible paranoia and megalomania.  He's the kind of person who would indiscriminately nuke Jerusalem or Tel Aviv because he would think that it would mean he'd go down in the history books as a second Saladin.

[ Parent ]
A few quotes (5.00 / 1) (#258)
by broken77 on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 05:22:15 PM EST

Just because I like quotes...
While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein. -- Excerpted from the PNAC (The Project for a New American Century) document, "Rebuilding America's Defenses", Sept 2000
Oil is much too important a commodity to be left in the hands of the Arabs. -- Henry Kissinger, quoted in The Guardian (The Guardian, 2001)
Even a dolt understands the principle - we need the oil. -- An advisor to George H W Bush, quoted in Time magazine (Time, 1990)
[Television was] our chief tool in selling our [Persian Gulf War] policy. -- Richard Hass (National Security Council) (New York Times, Nov 5, 1991)
When a research team from the communications department of the University of Massachusetts surveyed public opinion and correlated it with knowledge of basic facts about US policy in the [Persian Gulf] region, they drew some sobering conclusions: The more television people watched, the fewer facts they knew; and the less people knew in terms of basic facts, the more likely they were to back the Bush administration. -- Report, cited in "Toxic Sludge Is Good For You" (John C. Stauber & Sheldon Rampton, 1995)

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

A thesis/antithesis analysis from the London Times (4.88 / 17) (#86)
by Pop Top on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 06:12:24 PM EST

The entire column is here.

An extended quote captures much of the argument.

The thesis is simple. The growth of sophisticated terrorism can brook no compromise. The explosive force of September 11 has been repeated in less dramatic incidents in Yemen, Kuwait and Bali. States that house and train terrorists must be crushed. States that might do so in future must be crushed as well. America has the power. It must do the deed.

The thesis holds that the United Nations concept of national sovereignty is defunct. Might grants America the right of entry, search and arrest. Even a putative threat, as in Mr Blair's Iraq dossier, justifies a pre-emptive attack. The War on Terror is, said George Bush a year ago, an all-out war, a world war, a war possibly without end.

Last month the thesis was restated in the White House's astonishing and little-noticed National Security Strategy. This asserted America's right to stop any other country "from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing or equalling the power of the United States". It also asserted America's generalised right to take pre-emptive action in support of that hegemony. The assertion acknowledged no external authority. Instead it required a large military budget -- "full spectrum dominance" -- because pre-emptive attack needed more power than mere deterrence.

The antithesis regards this thesis as dumb. It holds that terrorism is fuelled not by the warrior's zeal for territory but by a messianic yearning to give a bloody nose to the rich and powerful. Such resentment is encouraged rather than diminished by talk of war. Anti-Western sentiment has long underpinned Third World politics. It will do so as long as wealth coexists with poverty. But the terrorist's power lies in his capacity not to kill but to incite fear, to play on Western cowardice and paranoia.

This piece seems rather insightful, at least to me.

The real conflict is not between the USA and Saddam - it is betwen the USA and the EU over the framework of international law and nation to nation relations for the 21st century.

Bottom line: Many in Brussels, Paris and Berlin fear Pax Americana more than they fear bin Laden or Saddam.

Nice article, thanks! (5.00 / 4) (#123)
by Spork on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 12:55:08 AM EST

Yeah, I happen to agree with the government-level analysis in that article. However LT makes it sound like the government is doing all this behind people's backs, so in my sense, I suppose they're arguing that Americans are ignorant of all these imperial ambitions. In my article I am arguing that there is a different explanation--that we are not ignorant but instead complicit. The switch into imperial mode is not done out of sight, but instead, it's done with our knowledge and approval. This approval, however, is neither requested nor given in a public-debate setting, because talking about this explicitly would ruin the whole project. Sort of like WW2 concentration camps....

[ Parent ]
Antithesis is weak (5.00 / 1) (#253)
by bolthole on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 04:45:54 PM EST

the gaping hole in the antithesis, only looking at the stuff you quoted, is:

there will always be people unhappy with the way things are. there will always be people willing to go to extreme measures about it.

The difference is when those people get substantial backing to GO to 'extreme measures'. IE: people with vast amounts of wealth, and governments. Of the two, government funding of terrorists is somewhat more of a threat, since they have land for training, guaranteed protection of those areas, and lots and lots of money/weapons/resources/etc.

This justifies the 'thesis', and repudiates the 'antithesis'.

[ Parent ]

Nothing Stupid About It (3.86 / 15) (#87)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 06:17:03 PM EST

There is nothing stupid about doing everything we can to prevent Iraq from getting Nukes.

It's very simple and it makes sense to me.

It's not about Iraq threatening the U.S. directly with W.M.D's or giving them to terrorists. That proposition is stupid.

It's about Iraq being able to use a nuclear shield to protect it's ability to wage war against weaker Gulf States... and thus gaining even greater control over oil resources.

It's the same reason why the Soviets were willing/able to invade Afghanistan in the 80's but not West Germany.

The M.A.D. calculation works like this:

1) Side A and Side B both have conventional and nuclear forces.

2) Side A and Side B get involved in a conflict and start fighting each other with conventional forces.

3) Side A's conventional forces start loosing the conflict... Side A starts targeting Side B's forces with Theatre W.M.D. to prevent loosing the conflict.

4) Side B retailiates with a full scale W.M.D. against Side A

5) Side A counters with it's own full scale launch.

6) Armagedon

The calculation effectively works to prevent Side A and Side B from ever becoming directly involved in any sort of major conflict with each other because niether one is willing to risk slipping down the escalation path that would lead to #6.

The calculation breaks down when Side A attacks Country C which it BELIEVES Side B doesn't care enough about to risk intervening.

The Soviets were able to invade Afghanistan because they knew the U.S. didn't care about it enough to risk taking a stroll down the escalation path. The same was not true for Western Europe... believe it or not, the U.S. cared enough about protecting it from the Soviets to risk a Nuclear war.

Now clearly even if Iraq did develop Nukes, it wouldn't be able to threaten U.S territory with it. Likely it couldn't threaten any targets much outside the Gulf Region... and even then it would be a very limited attack.

However that still leaves any potential staging areas for U.S. conventional troops in the region (which would be neccesry for the U.S. to interevene in any Gulf conflicts) well within range.

A Theatre Nuke hitting one or two of those staging areas at the right time could cause massive casualties.... say 30,000 - 40,000 U.S. troops dead. It would also leave the U.S. no choice but to respond with it's own Nuclear Strike.

Aha, I hear you say... Saddam knows this... he values his own skin.... he would never launch a strike against U.S. troops knowing that he would be obliterated in return. All absolutely true.

But there is one other thing Saddam knows very well.... something you might not have stopped to consider....

What U.S. President is going to be willing to explain to the American public that we sacrificed 40,000 U.S. lives and a nuclear exchange with Iraq all to protect the Emir of Kuwait?

Because if Iraq does get nuclear weapons that is the exact calculation that an American President will have to make any time he considers intervening in a conventional struggle between Saddam and one of his neighbors.

Saddam knows what kind of deterant that would be to U.S. intervention in the region... so does the current Administration. That (I truely believe) is why they want to take Iraq out now.... before they can build an effective nuclear program, because we never want to see an American president put in that situation.

So why aren't the Gulf States full steam in support of U.S. action against Iraq?

Because they don't really care how awkward a position an American President has to be put in to insure thier defence and they are convinced (perhaps correctly) that we would be willing to extend our nuclear shield to protect them.... a decision we desperately don't want to be put in a position to consider.

At the very least, developing nukes would give Saddam a "get out of jail free card".... because as you rightly point out... if he were ever put in a position where he had nothing to loose.... what would prevent him from launching? So he gets a license to go adventuring any time he wants... and the most he stands to loose is alot of conscripts he doesn't care about. That alone is something worthwhile preventing.

You ask. . . (4.50 / 6) (#90)
by Pop Top on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 06:23:42 PM EST

> So why aren't the Gulf States full steam in support of U.S. action against Iraq? <

A better question:

So why is Paris and Berlin so opposed to whacking Saddam?

[ Parent ]

Trade (5.00 / 2) (#163)
by CENGEL3 on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 10:22:44 AM EST

Paris and Berlin care alot more about potential investments in Iraq then they do about the U.S. being put in an awkward position.

They both know that if anyone gets asked to intervene in a conflict between Iraq and one of it's Gulf State neignbors it will be the U.S., it will be U.S. troops that are primarly at risk and it will be the U.S. has to respond to any W.M.D.

Germany doesn't deploy any combat troops (or many support troops for that matter) outside it's own border.

While France does occasionaly supply combat troops it's never been particularly fussy about supplying weapons to people it might well have to fight.

France, historicaly has been the #2 supplier of millitary aid to Iraq (right behind the U.S.S.R. and far in excess of the U.S.)

[ Parent ]

uhm (4.80 / 5) (#96)
by psinpsycle on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 07:16:45 PM EST

So, you are saying that if both countries have WMD it actually encourages neither country to invade the other country? If Iraq has them, and the other countries over there don't this is a risk? And if Iraq when Iraq has WMD they decide to invade a country that US cares about this is dangerous because they could use WMD to prevent the US from protecting their friends? And this is dangerous because then two countries (US and IRAQ) who have WMD are involved in a war and there is a risk someone will use them and we all go boom?

It's about Iraq being able to use a nuclear shield to protect it's ability to wage war against weaker Gulf States... and thus gaining even greater control over oil resources.

There are at least two possible solutions to this problem, other than waging war on Iraq.

  1. Don't invade Iraq now or ever, even if they do invade someone else
  2. Make sure all countries have WMD

I realize both choices have their own risks - in one case you may have a rogue nation that keeps conquering and killing and nobody is there to stop them. In the other case crazy people may end up with WMD and use them without being provoked. In regard to case #2, I have one question: what's to stop crazy people from the US using WMD without being provoked? (see dr strangelove). To make a proper decision (ie. invade now or help everyone get WMD) we would need to measure the risks and benifits of each and then come to a conclusion.

I'm still not convinced it is wise to attack Iraq when they are not actively doing anything wrong



[ Parent ]
Point of information (5.00 / 2) (#164)
by daragh on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 10:52:06 AM EST

and thus gaining even greater control over oil resources.

As far as I can tell the Americans don't actually own the oil in the middle East. Sure you may depend on it but that does not give you an automatic right to say how it is controlled...

No work.
[ Parent ]

Realism (5.00 / 2) (#257)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 05:13:43 PM EST

We're not talking about rights we're talking about practicalities.

I agree with your asessment about rights. However whenever an organisim is concerned about it's own survival the rights of others often take a distant back seat to practicalties. This is particulary true when said organisim is a nation state and the environment is international politics.

The U.S. considers access to oil reserves vital to survival. Considering the importance of oil to a modern nation state that isn't an entirely unfounded concern.

When we see a risk for a large proportion of those reserves to fall under the sway of a single agressive millitary dictator who has reason to dislike the U.S. we get a little paranoid.

Saddam doesn't have any more "right" to say who controls the resources outside his own border then the U.S. does. However Saddam doesn't give a rats ass about "rights" he cares about firepower. Right now we're using our firepower to prevent him from being able to use his. That's a matter of practicality for us.... rights don't even enter into the equation.

This may come as a surprise for all you idealistic college kids out there but 90% of the world (including most of the U.N.) doesn't give a rats ass about your rights unless you have a big enough stick to enforce them. That's the playground the U.S. has to survive in.... and we are far, far less of a bully then the vast majority of other nations would be in our place... far less then any other superpower in history... but don't make the mistake of thinking we won't use a stick if we think we need to in order to protect our vital interests

[ Parent ]

Domestic oil needs (3.83 / 12) (#92)
by wji on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 06:28:10 PM EST

Do the math sometime; with some hardship and adjustments we could do without *ALL* Mideast oil, Iraq included. Oil prices would go up but not insanely up, and when you factor in the huge amounts of public money spent on arming Israel and propping up friendly dictators, well, I'm no economist but I suspect it'd be a good deal.

But the importance of oil goes beyond this.

For one thing, oil represents a great way to make a lot of money. And "unfriendly" governments could use that money to develop independent of America. That has to be stopped -- that's why we opposed Nasser in the 60s and Iran today.

For another, oil has strategic value. The immediate cause of the Pacific War was Japan's access to Indonesian oil. And after the war, the Japanese commercial empire was reconstructed as an autonomous part of the American one, but with the US holding on to Japanese oil supplies for what Kennan called "veto power". Deny your enemies oil and you destroy their capability to fight war without firing a shot. That has a lot to do with it.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the US doesn't need good strategic reasons to go to war. Vietnam was not fought over freedom and democracy, but it wasn't fought over some rice paddies and tungsten either. Going to war is not, as misguided libertarians always assert, costly to the economy. It's a tremendous boost to the economy.* It's the ultimate in conservative Keynsianism -- massive spending on costly goods which don't benefit the public and which are designed to be destroyed. That's what Reaganite military spending was all about.

Going to war is great for approval ratings, of course. That might not be true if Americans were allowed to realize the facts about their one-sided "wars", but with a loyal media-military complex working to obscure that many Americans really do think criticizing the leader in time of war could lead to defeat.

In the same vein, war is a great way to distract people from... umm, what was that issue we were all talking about before the Iraq thing... well, I remember it was something going down the tubes and people were blaming Bush.

Finally it's also a great excuse for repression, or whatever the appropriate word is for idiotic laws which don't contribute to public safety but push forwards the gradual loss of civil liberties -- I'm sure we're all familiar with the current example, though I'd remind liberal K5ers that the Clinton "anti-terrorism" bills were probably worse.

So war is always a good thing for Western elites unless there's any serious chance of losing (hah!), and control of oil is a good thing for them even if it's just going to sit in the ground. Note that none of this benefits the public and a lot of it harms them. That should be made clear. Bush is not going to war so you can save at Shell.

* Where 'economy' is understood to refer to how much money rich people have, not how the general population is doing. Conventional usage.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.

Who is we? (4.00 / 3) (#99)
by sonovel on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 07:40:45 PM EST

Is we the world? Or just the U.S.?

If it is the just the U.S. then your argument falls apart.

Do you understand the concept of a fungible resource and why it lays you argument to waste?

[ Parent ]

Well, that's the way to win an argument. (4.00 / 4) (#112)
by wji on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 11:20:15 PM EST

Don't explain what the hell you're talking about and patronize the person you're responding to. Shall I give you the definition in the book, or do you want it in my own words, professor?

But really, I would be interested to hear why I'm wrong. Like, the whole explanation.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

So who is we? (5.00 / 3) (#117)
by sonovel on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 12:28:58 AM EST

If we is just the U.S., all the Middle Eastern problems will still be there.

If the U.S. buys more Canadian, Argentinian, and Russia oil (for example), then someone else will buy more Middle Eastern oil. So any problems caused by buying ME oil will still exist.

In fact, that is really the case today. Many people say that the U.S. policy in the ME is all about oil. Yet the U.S. is considerably less dependent on ME oil than most of Europe. Yet somehow Germany's and France's ME policies aren't based on oil, even though they oppose Israel (which has no oil) and want to appease the rest (with oil). Yet the U.S. is all about oil when it supports Israel (pissing off the oil producers) and supports regime change in Iraq (pissing off the oil producers).

So even if the U.S. buys less or no ME oil, the problems still remain.

[ Parent ]

True but not my point. (5.00 / 2) (#170)
by wji on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 01:38:57 PM EST

If the U.S. buys more Canadian, Argentinian, and Russia oil (for example), then someone else will buy more Middle Eastern oil. So any problems caused by buying ME oil will still exist.

Agreed. but my point was that America does not need Middle East oil. The Middle East could have a massive war killing a million people and America would not care if it did not care about the oil (actually, the American Israel lobby would probably change that, but ignore that). If you don't believe me on that, look at Rwanda or Angola, sites of massively destructive wars where the US has mostly ignored or encouraged the conflicts.

In fact, that is really the case today. Many people say that the U.S. policy in the ME is all about oil. Yet the U.S. is considerably less dependent on ME oil than most of Europe. Yet somehow Germany's and France's ME policies aren't based on oil, even though they oppose Israel (which has no oil) and want to appease the rest (with oil). Yet the U.S. is all about oil when it supports Israel (pissing off the oil producers) and supports regime change in Iraq (pissing off the oil producers).

This is something which amazes me. Every discussion of France, China, Germany, etc's foreign policy is always dripping with cynicism. France used to sell arms to Iraq, Germany's government is shamelessly pandering to the will of its people, China wants the oil, etc. This is all very appropriate, or at least it would be if it was actually applying an honest analysis. France really did used to sell arms and it's mainly opposed because it wants influence in Iraq. But these same appropriate standards are somehow left behind when it comes to talking about the US, in favour of ridiculous pieties about gassing his own people and bringing freedom and democracy.

American "support for Israel", an insane term for supporting the Israeli government's ongoing policy of risking its citizens and even Israel's existence, exists for pretty obvious reasons. Israel is what Nixon called America's "local cop on the beat", a violent terrorist state. It's used to attack and destroy threats to American neo-colonial rule, which primarily means destroying any Arab government which may start to care about its own people. The conventional wisdom is that Israel and the Arab states are mortal enemies, but it's more complicated than that. The Arab states use Israel as a convenient boogeyman and a lightning rod to deflect criticism of their own corrupt and totalitarian regimes. Egypt after the "peace process" is an obvious example, though a Jordan-Israel alliance of convenience existed as far back as '47.

This role of "cop on the beat" is also taken by Turkey, another terrorist state committing even more horrible repression against ethnic minorities in its territory. Israel and Turkey are extremely close allies, and of course, the US is pulling the strings.

As for the other states, of course their ME policies are based on oil. France in particular is eager to get its hands on Iraqi oil and has flirted with alliance with Arab states in the past for similar reasons. Germany may be somewhat different, do to popular awareness and its history (Germans are a little leery of militarism, eh?). And of course China isn't in it for socialist democracy and international prolitarian solidarity. But as it happens France and China have accidentally found themselves in a moral position as well as a strategic one.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

I wouldn't have believed it when I was younger but (4.62 / 16) (#100)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 08:04:06 PM EST

I do now. There are a lot of people in America who think like that. (Not all of them though.) In fact, I was talking to a guy know. He essentially said we should invade Iraq for the reasons Spork said people support it for. He even refered to it as "our manifest destiny" to control Iraqi oil.

About Nixon's southern strategy. When I was young I was under the impression that racism in America had become quite rare. As I reached college age, I became aware of what you might call "quiet rascism."

There's lots of white people (and I live in the city, too) who usually keep their racial opinions to themselves but do not like minorities at all. When they are drunk at the bar they'll start talking about how the niggers have all the jobs at the post office and what have you. It's really a pretty amazing phenomon. I believe the "southern strategy" is still at work. Racists think social services are protections for minorities who can't contribute to society and so they support Republicans. Well, long and offtopic, I think I'll stop here.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour

Trust (3.50 / 4) (#103)
by bayankaran on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 09:05:26 PM EST

I am opposed to this war. If America is fighting the war against terror and wants to bomb places and change leadership, it should start with Saudi Arabia.

But in the long run, it might be good. If a regime change happens in Iraq, and if America stays there to rebuild the nation, the trust and gratitude of the so called Arab street should follow. And that may start a much needed cleansing process in the whole of middle east...not limiting to introduction of democracy or having elections...but something more than that.

Can America be trusted? It supported or worked with or created some of the most 'evil' and dangerous dictatorships/regimes of post WW2...including Saddam Hussien and Taleban.

gratitude (5.00 / 1) (#206)
by NFW on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 04:37:54 AM EST

If a regime change happens in Iraq, and if America stays there to rebuild the nation, the trust and gratitude of the so called Arab street should follow.

You mean like the gratitude of the Chileans followed the installation of Pinochet?

Or like the gratitude of the Iranians followed the installation of the Shah?


--
Got birds?


[ Parent ]

Lies (4.50 / 16) (#110)
by localroger on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 10:13:53 PM EST

At the core of this explanation is the thesis that we are not really scared of Iraq.

Well that's certainly true.

We can't get nearly enough from domestic wells, and foreign governments can bully us with threats of price gouging...

But this is not. There is enough oil under the Gulf of Mexico alone -- without Iraq, without the Middle East, without ANWR, just off the Gulf of Mexico, to keep us going at least 300 years.

My source on this is a geophysicist who actually worked for Gulf Oil in the early 1980's mapping these reserves. The figure is probably in error today, as every time they go further offshore they find even more.

So it's not that our economy and our culture are in danger because we need Iraqi oil. It's because we are so fucking cheap we can't stand spending a little more to drill it offshore -- or more sinisterly, as my friend has proposed, that we have a policy of deliberately using up everyone else's reserves before dipping into those under our more direct control. On the theory, you know, that there will be an end one day, and we should make sure it comes for everyone else first.

But we're not supposed to be looking that far ahead. If we did, we might see things like global warming that the folks behind these fun plans don't want us thinking about.

I can haz blog!

Pretty far fetched! (5.00 / 4) (#120)
by Spork on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 12:35:27 AM EST

I'm sorry, I'm not a geologist, but I like to think I pay enough attention to world events that this wouldn't have slipped under my nose. If you're right that I will certainly have learned something. Please either give me a credible source or, failing that, at least describe the data and method you are using to come to this conclusion.

I took it that the standard figure is that we will exhaust the known global reserves in 60 years if global oil consumption follows the present trends. Now the USA does not have the largest oil reserves in the world. I don't think we are among the top five. (Is this what you are disputing?) Yet we are by far the largest oil consumer. This leads me to think that if we limit ourselves only to domestic reserves, the figure would be less than 60 years of reserves.

Anyway, I'm not saying that I know I'm right, but I'd like more detail about what mistake you think I'm making in my assumptions--again, preferrably with some evidence.

[ Parent ]

Global oil reserves (5.00 / 3) (#155)
by localroger on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 08:24:05 AM EST

Global oil reserve estimates do not include undeveloped tracts in the Gulf of Mexico. I believe some other areas, such as the North Sea, also are not factored in, but it's the Gulf of Mexico my friend was busy mapping back in the early 1980's.

I'm sorry, I'm not a geologist,

Obviously. I am given to understand, again by someone who is, that this is pretty common knowledge among people who are.

Back when my casino article ran someone made the comment that, if you were to ask about conditions on the Moon, you'd be better off talking to Neil and Buzz than some armchair astronomer. Well, I've talked to someone whose job for 3 years was mapping the oil deposits in the Gulf of Mexico, and she said it is common knowledge in the industry that there is way more oil out there than anyone ever admits publicly. That's the account I am going to believe unless you can come up with some credible refutation which specifically addresses the issue of Gulf of Mexico reserves.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Huh?!?!?! (5.00 / 5) (#195)
by maynard on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 10:06:20 PM EST

OK... let me wrap this around my head here... you're asking him to refute your unsubstantiated claim?!?!?! Did I read that right?

OK....

Hey, I know this guy who's -- like, in the know -- he says the government is actually controlling people's minds; with microwaves! He warns, tin foil hats don't help. Watch out. Kust giv'n you the 411... shhh... hey, you ever see a UFO? Just asking. *cough!*

Anyway, I sure would love to see something supporting your assertion that, unbelievably huge oil deposits available in the Gulf of Mexico exist and can be exploited. And dude, if it's been published in a peer reviewed journal -- heh, that would be cool. hehheh. :)

Cheers,
--Maynard



Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

Unbelievably Huge Oil Deposits (3.20 / 5) (#198)
by localroger on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 11:24:24 PM EST

you're asking him to refute your unsubstantiated claim?

Yep. It's only unsubstantiated for him. I have access to an inside source, who has never, ever been wrong about anything else in the oil industry. I've got news for ya Maynard, in the end it's all a big pissing contest of words, and it all comes down to who you believe. This is one of those times when I'm not "playing the game." I know my source.

Anyway, I sure would love to see something supporting your assertion that, unbelievably huge oil deposits available in the Gulf of Mexico exist and can be exploited. And dude, if it's been published in a peer reviewed journal -- heh, that would be cool.

Yeah, that sure would be cool. It hasn't happened for reasons that would give the tinfoil hat crowd orgasms. Back in '82 when my friend was working, Gulf Oil was at the forefront of 3D seismic imaging -- and all of it was secret. It was waaaaaaaay ahead of anything being done in the light of public day at that time. As I understand it the stuff in the public domain still hasn't caught up to some of that technique -- but the industry is using it and has been for a long time.

In making those estimates of "how long our oil will last" only proven reserves are included. Most of the Gulf isn't proven because it isn't mapped. But the parts that have been mapped are incredibly oil-rich. The original estimate I quoted, that the Gulf of Mexico would keep us going for 300 years, was based on assuming the whole Gulf was as rich in oil as the continental shelf region. The limited deep-water exploration done at the time supported that assertion.

But it was wrong. What we have heard is, basically, the further out you go into the Gulf the more oil there is. This is not entirely unexpected considering what happened in this part of the world 65 million years ago. But it does take some technology to get that oil to the surface. We have been doing *just enough* *cough* exploration to make sure we have the techniques down pat, without actually making a major effort to acquire those resources.

If we did, even based on the mapping that my friend knows was actually done a long time ago, there is one fuck of a lot of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

I'd suggest that if you want to know what my friend knows you should go get the same job, but it's not available now. It's been automated. Those maps are now drawn by computers, so there aren't nearly as many people who know what they say before the all-important bid date and the decision whether to drill.

hey, you ever see a UFO? Just asking.

Go fuck yourself, Maynard. Preferably without lubricant and with an instrument that has thorns. Just a suggestion.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

From my understanding... (5.00 / 1) (#207)
by alexdw on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 04:52:06 AM EST

...of this situation the stated "reason" why the Gulf oil reserves (and other similar reserves) have not been fully tapped was because it is cheaper to get it from existing operations. My memory is a little sketchy, but I think it had to do with the sulphur content of the oil?

Just my $1.298...



[ Parent ]
OT <-- off topic (none / 0) (#366)
by Spendocrat on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 12:03:38 AM EST

You rated my comment recommending Arthur C Clarke's Ghost from the Grand banks at 3. I'm curious if this is because you're not down with the book, or for some other reason.

[ Parent ]
I'm still skeptical, but intrigued (5.00 / 1) (#214)
by Spork on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 07:07:51 AM EST

Well, this would be very interesting if it were right. I mean, all sorts of pieces would fall into place: The reason why the USA does basically nothing to research alternative fuels is because they're banking oil to remain the fuel of the forseeable future. First they want to pump the Persial Gulf dry and then, when everybody is jonesing for oil, reveal our secret super-source.

The advantage of this strategy is that we can pump most of that oil when we have pretty much a monopoly on the market.

Well, this would be devious and all, I still think it's very unlikely. For one thing, why would be going through all the trouble of drilling up the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge for six months of oil if we have 300 years worth in a much more ecologically forgiving location?

Anyway, I know some geology Ph.D's and I'm willing to embarass myself by asking about this. I know what they'll say: "Oh no, have you been talking to people on the internet?"

[ Parent ]

Secret Oil Reserves (5.00 / 3) (#236)
by Ngwenya on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 12:08:47 PM EST

Back in '82 when my friend was working, Gulf Oil was at the forefront of 3D seismic imaging -- and all of it was secret.

You may be right, but it's hellish hard to refute something for which there is no published evidence. And given that the Western governments have never been able to keep any secret worth a damn, the worlds biggest oil reserves being a global secret seems a tad far fetched. I know a few guys who work for Shell Oil and BP, and this "well known story" has never cropped up. I must ask them now!

One more thing, if the intention is to wait until the US controls all the world's oil, which is due to run out in about 50 years, wouldn't it make just as much sense to drill the secret stuff now, since there's 300 years of it to play with? What's 50 years? I can't believe Dubya is thinking that far ahead.

I'm not mocking you, but it sounds a lot like the "Y'know the Falklands? Well, it's absolutely swimming in oil - enough for a century or more. No, really!" line, which the British press spun for a while to cover up the fact that we went to war in 1982 primarily to save 1000 sheep and a few penguins.

Now, I'm not too familiar with Argentinian sexual practices, but it seems to me that a multi-million dollar annual expenditure to protect the virtue of our wooly covered friends is a little ... excessive.

--Ng

[ Parent ]

Definition of Reserves (none / 0) (#281)
by RyoCokey on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 02:47:13 AM EST

Digging around in my notes, as I recall:

The Definition of Reserves is Oil that can be recovered economically at projected prices at completion date. Thus the actual amount of recoverable oil using any means is not considered, and would be orders of magnitude greater.

However, this amount is completely irrelevant. The reason oil is important is that it's indispensible in modern society, from plastics to fertilizer to power and fuel. Thus, the base price of all kinds of goods is affected. It's not so much how much oil we have, it's how much we can get without raising the prices of goods everywhere.



That, till the end of time, / Their remnant shall recall / Their fathers' old, confederate crime / Availed them not at all. - Parent ]
Falling rate of discovery (5.00 / 1) (#209)
by LQ on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 05:54:42 AM EST

The 60 year oil projection is based on the falling rate of discovey of new supplies. Googling around, I came across this as supporting material. I particularly liked the prophetic the sooner stability breaks down [in the Gulf], the sooner the final oil crisis will begin.

[ Parent ]
Unspoken... (4.28 / 7) (#129)
by vbpdjoe on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 01:55:44 AM EST

The US was one of the first countries to demand that the actions of a country should be judged by the same criterion as the actions of individuals. The US public still would *like* to believe this--that a state's actions can be judged like any individual's actions. The fact is: Most people don't *really* believe this is best for the country. So they support action by claiming ridiculous claims ("for our protection") to uphold their state's "ethics," and act in a way that is in their best interest and, in reality, against individual ethics. It's a dillema the US-public has been dealing with for a long time. And this is a tactic that the government has used for a long time. (At least, by my recollection, for the past 40 years)

Not quite (3.66 / 9) (#132)
by epepke on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 03:06:07 AM EST

The rest of the world doesn't think Americans are stupid. Actually, they often think we're smarter than we are. It's Americans who think Americans are stupid. The U.S. is the disarming shuck-and-jive capital of the world.

For that matter, the rest of the world doesn't hate Americans. Oh, sure, some people do, but not as many as hate a lot of other countries, and the ones that hate Americans aren't the ones that we have to worry about.

Speaking in gross generalities, most of the rest of the world's attitude toward Americans is a combination of four basic attitudes:

  1. Contempt
  2. Awe tinged with fear
  3. The belief that they understand Americans
  4. The fact that they don't understand Americans at all

Coincidentally, this is very similar to how a lot of women view men and stems from very similar reasons.

They'd understand Americans much better by reading The Boomer Bible, but most of them won't.

No offense intended against the rest of the world; most Americans don't understand the rest of the world, either. Although I've been reading a lot of post-war European history, and I think I'm starting to get a handle on at least the European mindset. And I'm pretty good on Mexico. But then again, I'm weird.

But seriously and to the main point, your thesis about ulterior hidden motives is quite interesting, though you ruin it with the "oil" shibboleth; it isn't 1978 any more. It's far more likely that the general strategic location of Iraq in a part of the world that's a pain in the neck and the desire not to worship the Saud family's panties any more is the hidden motivation. Or maybe it's like the Saturday Night Live skit: "America is mad. Maybe not exactly at you, Saddam. But you'll do."


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


Hmmm - I disagree (3.80 / 5) (#135)
by starsky on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 03:22:34 AM EST

The rest of the world doesn't think Americans are stupid. Actually, they often think we're smarter than we are.

I would say the rest of the world holds contempt for Americans because they think they're smarter / bigger / more important than everyone else.

[ Parent ]

Doesn't sound like a disagreement to me (5.00 / 3) (#137)
by epepke on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 03:32:09 AM EST

That seems consistent with what I said; you just propose a mechanism for the contempt.


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


[ Parent ]
Stupid (4.57 / 7) (#136)
by Djinh on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 03:26:54 AM EST

I hate to burst your bubble, dude...

Over here in Europe we really do think most Americans are too stupid to tie their shoes or realise that hot coffee is, in fact, hot. Neither do they realise that bombing the wives and children of terrorists will do nothing but breed more of them.

Reading things like this only confirms this notion.

--
We are the Euro. Resistance is futile. All your dollars will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

Nah (3.83 / 6) (#139)
by epepke on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 03:37:00 AM EST

If you really thought Americans were that stupid, you wouldn't worry about Americans flying bombers, let alone building them. You'd just laugh.


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


[ Parent ]
no, that's not correct (5.00 / 4) (#244)
by Hakamadare on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 02:00:59 PM EST

you've made this argument several times, and it keeps on being fallacious.  you're taking the word "stupid" to an extreme, and thus overlooking a valid point.

i don't think any significant number of people worry that Americans are literally too stupid to tie their shoes; the stupidity in question is not that of a drooling idiot, or a turkey who must be chased indoors when it rains, lest rain fall down his nose and drown him.  the stupidity in question is that of a person who does not have the judgment or foresight to be trusted with power and authority.

America, right now (and i mean the entire nation, not just the policymakers), reminds me of the out-of-work guy who walks into his local savings and loan armed with a sawed-off shotgun and demands that the cashiers empty the tills.  he knows he's out of work, and he's not likely to get work anytime soon (he attributes this fact to "the system", or "the government", or "the unions", or whatever outside force he chooses), and he knows that his unemployment checks will stop coming very soon.  he knows he's got a wife and kids who depend upon him, and he's determined to provide for them, legally or illegally.

but he hasn't thought his plan through at all.  if he had, he'd have realized that as soon as he walked through the door, one of the tellers would press the silent alarm; in fact, the police are already on their way, and will surround the building while he argues with the bank manager.  he'd have realized that his getaway car is the family sedan, registered in his name, and that he'll be picked up at the first roadblock if he even makes it out of the parking lot.

now, just because this guy can't put together a halfway decent plan to rob a bank, does that make him stupid?  perhaps, but that doesn't mean he's not dangerous, and shouldn't be treated with the utmost respect and caution.  this is how i see America now (though, to be fair, it was much worse in the initial months after 9/11).  we know that we want to hit someone, and we are more than capable of hitting good and hard, but we don't seem to be capable of foreseeing the consequences of our actions.  we're like a giant, superhumanly strong toddler, and we're about to throw a very destructive tantrum, because there's nobody with the ability to stop us.

that's the kind of stupidity others attribute to us, and i think it's quite warranted.

-steve
---
Schopenhauer is not featuring heavily on the "Review Hidden Comments" page at the moment. - Herring
[ Parent ]

Fair enough (5.00 / 1) (#265)
by epepke on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 07:51:28 PM EST

i don't think any significant number of people worry that Americans are literally too stupid to tie their shoes; the stupidity in question is not that of a drooling idiot, or a turkey who must be chased indoors when it rains, lest rain fall down his nose and drown him.  the stupidity in question is that of a person who does not have the judgment or foresight to be trusted with power and authority.

Oh, sure, I'd agree with that. However, "too stupid to tie their shoes" is what people say. I mean, that's practically a direct quote from one of the responses to my posting. I'm not the one taking the word "stupid" to an extreme; I'm reacting directly to others who do. I think people say "Americans are too stupid to tie their shoes" because it's a convenient, pithy form of insult, but it's an expression of a more complex perception. I'm not going to argue whether or not "stupid" is a good term for this perception; I'm just trying to discuss it. I'm also trying to provoke discussion in a direction I find interesting and revealing.

I like your analogy with the bank; the first part at least is a lot like the Saturday Night Live skit I menioned, which I'll repeat: "America is mad. Maybe not at you, exactly, Saddam. But you'll do." And, I think it's telling, extremely so, that your analogy is much nearer the bone than anything I've heard so far from overseas.

There are only a couple of problems with it. (I know that dissecting analogies is a parlor game, but humor me.) Are the police on their way, or is it instead a mob who are going to shout at him? If it's a mob, is it the mob that has shouted at him every day as far back as he can remember?

Now, I'm one of the only 8% of Americans who have traveled overseas. I've lived and widely traveled in Europe. I can at least get by with German and Spanish in addition to English. I don't support an invasion of Iraq. I didn't support a massive bombing of Afghanistan. I think that the bombing of the pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan, the bombing of a civilian television station in Bosnia, and the bombing of the Chinese embassy were all atrocities. (Notice, however, that nobody has tried to find out what I actually think about invading Iraq--I'm just a fuckwit. And if that be so, then maybe opposing the invasion of Iraq is fuckwitted?)

But, let's pretend that I weren't. Let's pretend I were just trailer park trash, a sterotypical insular, isolationist American.

What would be my motivation for opposing what is effectively a colonial, imperialist policy? I know people outside the U.S. are going to tell me I'm bad, to expect self-abasement for the sins of America. But I also know they've been doing that every day for my entire life. I know the ones who do this have at least virtual scrapbooks and magic-markered histories with a list of things to throw at me. I also know that they can dish it out, but they can't take it (for evidence, see this thread). I know it's going to be a shotgun accusation, no matter what. I may be stupid, but I understand that time goes forward, and I remember that I got vivisected for deserving the 9/11 attacks, presumably because of all the bad things that Clinton did. But I also remember that, overall, the Clinton years were a time of relative military restraint. So I get a not-entirely-unreasonable damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you don't feeling about the whole mess. And it seems to me more than a little dishonorable and opportunistic that more was thrown at me just during the time I was shocked and in grief. Why should it be clear to me that there is benefit to be had from succumbing to pressure?

Now, I have to reiterate here that I don't support this approach personally, but I'm trying to focus some understanding on how all those people you read about in the polls may be operating, in terms of functional psychology. This is, I think, in the spirit of the original article. Although I may disagree with the ultimate conclusion, I think it's an interesting and multifaceted discussion. So, I'll go back to being me.

I think that there's a fundamental difference between the worldviews and opinions of Europeans and Americans that causes an awful lot of misunderstanding. I'd like to talk about those perceptions rather than arguing which perceptions are right or wrong for a little bit. For one thing, Europe is made up of a bunch countries, most of them pretty small, and the E.U. is still fairly new. The U.N. has hardly been an untarnished success and seems these days more like the League of Nations than ever, and NATO doesn't seem to work too well unless everyone plays a role, including the U.S. So there's a flexibility of switching between a European identity and, say, a French or German or Dutch identity. On the other hand, the U.S. is viewed as somewhat of a monolithic entity, at least in Europe. But the U.S. really not a nation in the sense that, say, France is a nation. It's too loose. Not as loose as the E.U., but there are still echoes of the individual states of the Union as once having been separate countries, and it still affects the character of the people. So, for example, you get the City of New York, which has a strong anti-war sentiment, while some place like Alabama might have a strong pro-war sentiment.

Recognizing this might lead to some interesting analyses. For example, it has somewhat accurately been said that if you live in NYC, you're Jewish, even if you're Italian- or Irish-Catholic. By that is meant that the Jewish cultural presence in NYC is extremely strong. So, what does that, coupled with the antiwar sentiment, say in response to those who say the U.S. acts this way because of support of Israel?

But, you're not allowed to say this, or at least it doesn't fit in with the perception of the U.S. as a monolith. The U.S. must do everything because they support Israel and want oil, and that's because they're evil and greedy. End of discussion.

On the other hand, look at the other response in this subthread. The mess in Srebrenica is percieved as a Dutch fuck-up and that is, it seems, rather vigorously believed as the appropriate way to view it. But it doesn't address the question of why everyone else dropped the ball so that 600 lightly armed Dutchmen had to deal with a situation they couldn't. It's like sending the Texas Rangers or something. This is no insult to the Dutch. Frankly, I feel sympathy for them, and I see the inquiry as a form of scapegoating. The whole process reminds me of action by committee, which primarily works to facilitate scapegoating and hand-washing.

On the other hand, I can't say that the Gulf War was an action by a coalition of Washington and Florida, even though most of the command emerged from Florida in response to decisions made in Washington. It is, I think appropriately, considered a U.N. action with the U.S. a big chunk, and Florida just got assigned to it.

And, so, responsibilities get assigned to the U.S. as a whole when analogous responsibilities wouldn't get assigned to Europe as a whole, because Europe and the U.S. are differently organized entities. However, nor is America truly analogous to a single European country. (The U.K. comes closest to the organization of the U.S., not necessarily in the sense of governmental structure but in a cultural sense. So, perhaps "Continental Europe" would be a better term.)

One of the disadvantages of the structure of the U.S. is that a President whom a large number of people think is illegitimate can have pretty much free reign over foreign policy. But even by the polls, only a minority of people would support attacking Iraq without support beyond the U.K. (something like 45%, last time I looked), and a rather small minority (something like 25%) would support it without even the U.K. You only get a clear majority for support if there is a wide coalition, not too unlike for the Gulf war. (Even the polls I question in general, because my father once had a beer in New Jersey with a guy whose name would be instantly recognizable if I mentioned it. He said, basically, they give the commisioners of the poll what they want.)

Not that this means it won't happen, of course. The President has a great deal of power, and this is a weakness in the Constitution and the way it has been interpreted. The checks and balances of the U.S. are in shambles or at least are close; the judiciary remains pretty good, but they don't have much power over foreign policy, and Congress hasn't been much more than a rubber-stamping body recently. But Europeans are, I think, going to look at the U.S. and interpret it in terms that would be more appropriate to a parliamentary government, where the Prime Minister is by definition of the winning party, or like some other form of European government that owes more to the idea of personifying a country than the U.S. does.

At least that's the impression I get from reading up a lot on European history after the War. As I keep saying, I may be wrong, or I may be right.


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


[ Parent ]
hot coffee (5.00 / 1) (#268)
by twi on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 08:24:42 PM EST

My first reaction to laughable court-decisions like the hot-coffee-story (or the recent phillip-morris-bullshit) is "man, them Americans sure are stupid!". But realy I believe that's besides the point. Of course they all know that hot coffee is indeed hot and that smoking causes cancer. But the people who bring these suits CLAIM to be stupid to get at other peoples money. They are greedy, but try to pass as something that everybody would consider stupid, but can't be called stupid with a judges backing. And because such decisions are so ridiculous they get frontpage even in overseas-press. They thereby form the image others have of Americans. These greedy fuckers are doing the USA a great disservice, they realy give all Americans a bad name which they probably do not deserve. Only "probably" because they should all strive to prevent such stupid laws/rulings, which, obviously, they are not doing hard enough. (Not that other people are doing the same hard _enough_).

[ Parent ]
it's just American arrogance that makes you... (3.25 / 4) (#138)
by boxed on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 03:34:21 AM EST

...believe that people would envy a country with such huge economical and social problems. If we were envious towards the US, we'd have to be envios towards say Colombia or Argentina. Not to mention Iraq.

[ Parent ]
What is it then? (5.00 / 3) (#142)
by epepke on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 03:50:06 AM EST

What is it that makes you claim I said "evny" when I neither said nor implied it?

Come on, people! Straw man arguments just make me think I hit a nerve or two. What, do you think you're going to surprise me by being annoyed? I knew that when I wrote it. But I also think I said something with a great deal of truth in it, and it would be nice to see some actual arguments after the knees have settled down.


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


[ Parent ]
ooops, heh, sorry (5.00 / 3) (#144)
by boxed on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 04:04:56 AM EST

I misread like bigtime. My bad.

[ Parent ]
Fair enough (5.00 / 3) (#146)
by epepke on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 04:42:30 AM EST

But that's close to my point, isn't it? Germany misread Americans when they bombed the Lusitania, too. The apparent support for a war on Iraq (which I personally do not share, by the way) has to do with something deep in the American character which is generally not understood outside America. I'm not sure that it's terribly well understood inside America, either, but I think the Boomer Bible comes awfully close to explaining it.

I've seen quite a lot of the criticisms of the U.S. from outside, and my impression is that all of them miss the point in a way that may seem subtle or invisible from certain perspectives but which make all the difference if one is trying to figure out how the U.S. will respond to certain actions.


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


[ Parent ]
i dont agree either... (4.00 / 4) (#149)
by sesh on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 04:58:43 AM EST

first of all; as you noted, claiming to be able to classify the entire population of the world into four categories is preposterous.

secondly, claims that the world feels 'awe' towards americans (american citizens, i presume) is simply inflammatory.

finally, claiming that the oil motive speculation is a shibboleth (which i assume means you dont find it a valid argument) implies a certain level of naïvete on your own behalf.

dominant emotions of most of my friends (in .au) have recently been more frustration at US administration and the many obvious social engineerings employed to garnish local and international support.

i dont think anyone really thinks americans are smarter than they are, though. if there were a dominant feeling in australia towards an average american intelligence level, it would probably lean the other way (.us k5 readership excepted of course ;) for reasons i am not even going to try to tackle (through lack of expertise).

i'm not trying to attack you directly, but i found your remarks to be fairly closed-minded.

[ Parent ]

Hmm... (4.66 / 3) (#150)
by epepke on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 05:53:28 AM EST

secondly, claims that the world feels 'awe' towards americans (american citizens, i presume) is simply inflammatory.

Why? "Awe" was the most neutral word I could come up with; I didn't want either a positive or negative connotation. I thought of "astonishment," but that's a bit too acute. I also thought of "amazement," but that has a positive connotation that I didn't want to have. What else is there? "Gob-smackedness?" "Bogglement?" "Semantic overvalence?" "Awe," on the other hand, is just "dread" with most of the negative connotations removed.

I may be wrong or I may be right, but even if I used the stronger form "dread," why would that be inflammatory? The opposite of dread would, I guess, be a happy-happy joy-joy feeling, or maybe a feeling of Buddha-like acceptance. The opposite of awe would, I guess, be boredom or apathy or a feeling of "whatever." So are you saying that this is the case and asserting otherwise is inflammatory?

finally, claiming that the oil motive speculation is a shibboleth (which i assume means you dont find it a valid argument) implies a certain level of naïvete on your own behalf.

My use of the word "shibboleth" means that I think it's an automatic response, fired off regularly. Now, perhaps I'm being a bit sharp about this, and, after all, the original article only gave it as one possibility. But I think it's far from compellingly obvious, given that the price of oil in real dollars is about a quarter of what it was when I was growing up and that it is so low that people in the U.S. have gone back to buying gas guzzlers, that everything is simply about oil. I agree with some of the other posters: the average Joe on the street really doesn't spend a lot of time worrying about the price of oil these days, and on the occasions when he does, he blames gasoline taxes, not Saddam Hussein. Since this whole thread is an analysis of Joe, not an analysis of Bush or some hypothetical monadic U.S. Foreign Policy, his perceptions are the important ones.

I'm not going to argue the point here, though, especially as others have made more complete analyses. The only relevant factor in response to your objection is that I think it should be amenable to discussion. I don't say that oil cannot be considered a factor, but nor do I automatically admit that it's the obvious and only factor. If you think that's naive, there isn't much I can do about that.

i dont think anyone really thinks americans are smarter than they are, though.

I'm not sure how you can know this. You'd have to compare how smart Australians think Americans are with how smart Americans actually are. But how are you going to find out the latter piece of information? It seems to me that you only have access to how smart you perceive Americans to be, which is not obviously more accurate than how smart Australians perceive Americans could be. Americans could be stupider than you think.

Of course, it's also possible that as an American who thinks Americans are stupid, I underestimate their intelligence as well. So, you might be right. On the other hand, I have to put up with American television and radio evangelists every day, and you don't.


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


[ Parent ]
sorry, mistook your tone (5.00 / 1) (#189)
by sesh on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 08:36:41 PM EST

I didn't want either a positive or negative connotation. I thought of "astonishment," but that's a bit too acute.

perhaps i misunderstood you... i took the word to mean more 'reverence and respect' than dread...

But I think it's far from compellingly obvious, given that the price of oil in real dollars is about a quarter of what it was when I was growing up and that it is so low that people in the U.S. have gone back to buying gas guzzlers, that everything is simply about oil.

perhaps; i suppose it depends on when you grew up. as i understand it, there was a terrible fuel crisis in the mid 40s before texas oil fields entered the picture, and consequently there was a lot of attention focused towards the middle east (iran).

Since this whole thread is an analysis of Joe, not an analysis of Bush or some hypothetical monadic U.S. Foreign Policy, his perceptions are the important ones.

about the average non-USian Joe... i think that their perceptions are largely influenced by the foreign politics of the Bush administration (for obvious reasons) and these are probably more obvious to foreigners than locals... (of course, my opinions, and those of my friends, are probably more academic than the average Australian Joe)

I don't say that oil cannot be considered a factor, but nor do I automatically admit that it's the obvious and only factor.

once again, the hastiness of my article shows through my lack of preview and editing. i misinterpreted your comment to imply that you were discounting the theory because it was too popular.

I'm not sure how you can know this. You'd have to compare how smart Australians think Americans are with how smart Americans actually are.

you are, of course, correct... i have tried to counter your blanket statement with one of my own. of course, i can and do speak only from my own experience.

I have to put up with American television and radio evangelists every day, and you don't.

hehe... unfortunately, we get our own fair share of daytime drama, talkshows and conservative demagogues (though we have our own share of those), evangelists and infomercials (on television, at least). i have often thought that many negative stereotypes are largely based on these things, actually.

in fact, there is probably a case to be made that international presence is a large cause for ill-will. i have heard that there has been a growing resentment in the last 20 years or so owing to the invasion of american culture into non-western (and western, for that matter) civilisations, lead by multinational corporations (i know microsoft came under fire by afgnan citizens last decade for several contraversial advertising campaigns in afghanistan)

[ Parent ]

Fair enough (5.00 / 1) (#196)
by epepke on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 10:13:14 PM EST

perhaps i misunderstood you... i took the word to mean more 'reverence and respect' than dread...

Actually, I meant something more neutral between them. But it's still hard. English has more words than any other language, but it's still a trick to find the right one, nicht wahr?

perhaps; i suppose it depends on when you grew up. as i understand it, there was a terrible fuel crisis in the mid 40s before texas oil fields entered the picture, and consequently there was a lot of attention focused towards the middle east (iran).

The 40's? That's ancient history. We don't remember that far back. Maybe we remember the fuel crisis in the 70's, but it's effectively a quarter the price it was then.

in fact, there is probably a case to be made that international presence is a large cause for ill-will. i have heard that there has been a growing resentment in the last 20 years or so owing to the invasion of american culture into non-western (and western, for that matter) civilisations, lead by multinational corporations (i know microsoft came under fire by afgnan citizens last decade for several contraversial advertising campaigns in afghanistan)

OK, but consider this. Almost every year for the past decade and a half, I've visited the U.K. I see McDonalds there. Now, I don't know why the fuck there are McDonalds in London. I tried one just as an experiment, and it's not as if anybody in England knows how to make a hamburger anyway. I'll go get a nice kebab with hot sauce and garlic sauce at the Crimini in Leciester Square, or fish and chips at the Rock and Sole Plaice in Endell Street, or even some shepherd's pie or a nice ploughman's in a pub, but McDonalds? I go over there and meet a friend from the internet and, when it's time to eat something, he suggests Pizza Hut. Do you understand what I am saying, here? Pizza. Fucking. Hut. I manage to shift it over to Pizza Express, which at least has real pizza. I mean, Pizza Hut isn't even good Americanized pizza like the New York and Chicago varieties.

So, why are they there? The only possible reason is that somebody wants it. It's not like any of the McDonalds or Pizza Huts lack for customers, either, unlike the great little pubs they have over there, many of which seem sparsely filled most of the time.

What does this reduce to, then? Some people getting pissed of at America because other people want some American things that they don't happen to approve of. That's it. And they do this, presumably, not because it makes sense, but because it's handy and fun. Take it up with the people who make up the market.

Sure, there's advertizing. But is it really a prideful nationalistic claim to present oneself as a mindless zombie who is incapable of making actual choices?


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


[ Parent ]
hrm: macdonalds [drifting off topic] (5.00 / 1) (#197)
by sesh on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 11:00:23 PM EST

Just on a technical note: i think macdonalds was originally (late 70s) a UK franchise.

So, why are [MacDonalds] there? The only possible reason is that somebody wants it [...] Take it up with the people who make up the market.

I'd say this is probably heading way off-topic, but i would like to present an argument against this...

It is difficult to argue against the fact that multinational brand popularity (be it MacDonalds, Nike or Tommy Hilfiger) is highly derived from the fact that they are allowed to step so far outside their boundaries that they begin to infringe upon public freedoms, choices, public space, cultural space and even gain significant political influence.

i'm just trying to point out that its not a matter of supply and demand, but a matter of hyper-marketing causing brands to becoming a way of life instead of a simple product. people buy nikes because they want to be better athletes, not because their feet need protecting, and kids want macdonalds because of the happiness and good feelings associated with it. (blanket statement, i know, bit it offers a better alternative than the explanation somebody wants it.)

So when 20 Starbucks move into my neighborhood, ill be fairly certain that they will be packed out every morning as well, even though there is no significant demand for them. Their marketing strategies are so ruthless and complete that it could be no other way.

if you havent, i would highly recommend reading naomi klein's book no logo. this is a very well researched and in depth read that explains what i was bumbling around.

[ Parent ]

Nope, you are wrong (4.42 / 7) (#152)
by WildDonkey on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 08:03:36 AM EST

Many Europeans really do genuinely think Americans are stupid.

It's becoming quite trendy and almost politically correct to label Americans as stupid, fat and arrogant, to claim that they don't have a real democracy, and claim every political problem in the world is caused by American oil corporations.

Usually propogated by people without a clue, who read it somewhere like kuro5hin, don't bother checking the facts or are too stupid to understand any mitigating circumstances and then became a little preacher of the word cos it conformed to their already stereotypical view.

I find it quite worrying really and i'm not even American.

David

[ Parent ]

Really? (4.14 / 7) (#201)
by epepke on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 12:09:41 AM EST

Many Europeans really do genuinely think Americans are stupid.

One problem I have with this is that if Europeans really genuinely think Americans are stupid, or at least stupider than Europeans are, then they wouldn't be particularly concerned with, say, a war on Iraq because we'd obviously be too stupid to do it. Otherwise, it doesn't make sense.

Of course, this logic would fall apart if it actually be case that the Europeans are stupid, but I wouldn't assert something like that in general without more evidence.

I think it's more likely that Eurpoeans look at Americans and get conflicting impressions, leading to cognitive dissonance a bizarre mixture of contempt (#2) and awe (#1), because they don't understand Americans (#4). In an attempt to resolve the cognitive dissonance and because they think they understand Americans (#3), they generate accustions of stupidity (to satisfy the contempt and ameliorate the awe) and accusations of evil (to satisfy the awe). Although it isn't a European term, "The Great Satan" is telling because of the word "great." (Isn't being the ordinary Satan bad enough?)

A European who says "Americans are stupid" is essentially saying, "I want to believe Americans are stupid, because if they aren't, fuck! and I can't deal with that."

I may be wrong or I may be right, but that's my thesis, and I think it's good to try to look under the surface. Even if what you find isn't accurate, the exercize is useful and can generate interesting discussion.

To stir the waters a bit more, I'm sure you've heard the "US is bad because the invasion of Afghanistan killed several hundred civilians." One might take that at face value and assume that the speaker objects to the killing of civilians, or even the killing of Muslims.

On the other hand, you have Srebrenica, where seven thousand Muslim men and boys were killed and 600 Dutch soldiers assigned to the area did essentially nothing to stop it, on fears that 14 peacekeepers held hostage might be killed if they did. And the request for air support was rejected initially because it was submitted on the wrong form. And, most ironically, Srebenica had been declared the world's first U.N. "safe area."

Now, if it were true that the European objection were to slaughtered Muslim civilians, then one would reasonably there to be a great deal of soul-searching about this as a failure of European "foreign policy," which of course it was. (If you consider Bosnia a part of Europe, it would be a failure of domestic policy, which would be even worse.) I'm sure that some Europeans did some soul-searching, but is there evidence of anywhere near as much as the US-bashing? Hardly. There are inquiries and indictments, but they're always directed toward the "other." Well, I could blame Washington as easily, but I don't think the US-bashers would buy that.

So, it makes more sense to assume that those particular Europeans who do the bashing don't really care about slaughtered Muslims so much as they care about having a handy, effective bludgeon to try to make people in the U.S. feel bad.

Of course it's possible that Europeans may not care about the slaughter of males. European sex roles are in some ways more traditional than American. However, plenty of women were killed, too; there's just not a good number. Also, one would think they'd break out the women if this were the case.

Now, I may be wrong or I may be right, in the words of Johnny Rotten, but at the very least it raises a number of questions that Europeans deserve to be confronted with. One is obvious from what I've just written. Another is the question of why there hasn't been a flood of Europe-bashing because of this. (Or maybe there has and I haven't seen it.) Another is, if permitting the slaughter of Muslims is a bad act of the bad U.S. that made 9/11 inevitable and deserved, why haven't any planes flown into the red-light district in Amsterdam?

I find it quite worrying really and i'm not even American.

It's certainly disturbing, and I think it would be more disturbing to a thinking non-American than to a thinking American. Myself, I have been worn down over the past year into a Buddha-like acceptance and amusement. I've realized since a year ago that most of the hypothesized motivations of terrorists contradict what we know from cognitive and behavioral psychology, although they fit in nicely with what someone who isn't a terrorist might say about terrorists.

Perhaps, though, you could expand as to what you're actually worrying about. What, for instance, do you anticipate happening as a result that you don't want to happen?


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


[ Parent ]
Are Americans Stupid? (3.33 / 6) (#208)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 05:44:42 AM EST

I'm sure that some Europeans did some soul-searching, but is there evidence of anywhere near as much as the US-bashing? Hardly. There are inquiries and indictments, but they're always directed toward the "other."

You are a misinformed, fucking idiot, and let me tell you why:

A Dutch inquiry into the Sebrenica massacre put a large portion of the blame on the inadequacies of the Dutch military chain of command, who ultimately answer to the Dutch government.

The entire Dutch cabinet including the Prime Minister resigned as a direct result of the commission's findings. Just before the cabinet resigned, the Dutch army chief, deputy commander during the Sebrenica massacre, handed in his resignation.

Is that enough "soul-searching" for you? Is that enough pop-psychological fodder to use as contrast with the behaviour of the US government - "I will never apologize for the United States of America - I don't care what the facts are." (Bush senior, commenting on the shooting down of an Iranian airliner by the U.S. warship Vincennes, killing 290 passengers)?

Where in fucksname do you and the other fuckwits debating this issue actually get your news from?

[ Parent ]

Re: Are Americans Stupid? (5.00 / 2) (#228)
by Ngwenya on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 10:10:33 AM EST

I'm sure that some Europeans did some soul-searching, but is there evidence of anywhere near as much as the US-bashing? Hardly. There are inquiries and indictments, but they're always directed toward the "other."

You are a misinformed, fucking idiot, and let me tell you why

Aw, come on! OK, so he's made an error. God knows, we all do. You can't call him a "fucking idiot" because of that.

Can't you see that it's that level of language which confirms the "Europeans are whiny losers" mindset? And he gets his information from the same place that the rest of us do - from the TV, papers, books and the web. And guess what? Some of those media are authored by fucking idiots.

Some Europeans know about the resignation of the Dutch cabinet over Srebrenica, but I'll wager that the majority don't. They just believe that the chickenshit Dutch troops were too scared to stop a slaughter. Point out the truth - but don't insult folks while you're doing it, because they'll never accept your facts if you do.

--Ng

[ Parent ]

too scared (none / 0) (#266)
by twi on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 08:13:42 PM EST

I don't know the facts either but if soldiers were "too scared" (or incapable, or too stupid) to stop a massacre carried out by somebody else then that's something completely different to an attack-war on a souvereign country. Yes, in both cases people die, but who might be more to blame ? Who could be accused of not valueing the human life ?

[ Parent ]
Not exactly my point (5.00 / 1) (#277)
by epepke on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 01:26:42 AM EST

Some Europeans know about the resignation of the Dutch cabinet over Srebrenica, but I'll wager that the majority don't. They just believe that the chickenshit Dutch troops were too scared to stop a slaughter.

This, on the other hand, is very close to my point.

When I did the web search looking for this, I found quite a lot of sites in Nederlands about it. I'm not too strong in Nederlands. I only took a little cassette travel course in it, but working through similarities with English and German, it seemed to me that there is a fair abount of Dutch soul-searching. (Once you get over the spelling, Nederlands isn't too strange.) Also, there were some links on the French inquiry, which fortunately were in English. I'm sure a lot of Europeans are aware of Srebrenica, but do they think "we fucked up," or do they think "the Dutch fucked up?" I get the impression it's the latter. Now, maybe I'm wrong about that, but StrontiumDog's response doesn't do much to convince me that I am.

But, why is that? Why was Srebrenica a particularly Dutch problem? It's not as if the former Yugoslavia exactly shared a border with the Netherlands. I feel great sympathy with the Dutch; it feels to me a lot like they were left in a situation they couldn't deal with by others who dropped the ball. It's not as if the U.N., the E.U., and NATO had nothing to do with it.

Why were 600 lightly armed, frightened Dutch troops left holding the ball in the first place?

With respect to what I wrote, the "other" in question largely means the Dutch, who IMO should not have been in the potition in the first place. When something bad happens, you can always blame the damned Dutch. Or somebody. Which sucks if you happen to be Dutch or German or whoever the fall guy is this week, but if you aren't, it's pretty sweet. As I said in another reply, it's what you'd expect from a committee with the concomitant blaming mechanisms. Which, of course, is largely what it is.

Can't you see that it's that level of language which confirms the "Europeans are whiny losers" mindset?

OK, but we still have a small sample here. Maybe he was just in a labile mood. I am keeping track, though.


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


[ Parent ]
The Netherlands, UN, NATO and the EU (4.00 / 1) (#285)
by Ngwenya on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 04:12:29 AM EST

But, why is that? Why was Srebrenica a particularly Dutch problem? It's not as if the former Yugoslavia exactly shared a border with the Netherlands. I feel great sympathy with the Dutch; it feels to me a lot like they were left in a situation they couldn't deal with by others who dropped the ball. It's not as if the U.N., the E.U., and NATO had nothing to do with it.

Now this is getting closer to the real heart of the matter. It's where the difference between the EU and the USA starts to show.

The EU is (for the moment) a political and economic entity - a customs union in many ways, a superstate in others. Until very recently, it didn't have any military power at its disposal - right now it has 60,000 troops from member states in the RRF. However, many (including the Netherlands) of the EU-15 are committed militarily to NATO (and some, like Sweden or Ireland are committed to military neutrality - damn hard to square with an EU military), and see it as the logical fighting machine. However, NATO is a defensive alliance, many didn't see it as the logical peacekeeping authority. The UN, of course, is supposed to do all of this. I think all of this buck-passing (after all, who wants to be the one who sends troops in to a dangerous place?) ended up with the confused orders, and the placing of these troops in a situation where they should not have been without massive backup.

Now, the USA, on the other hand, is a self contained country, with an integrated military command structure, a single foreign policy unit (well, two, if you count the CIA). Of course it can make decisions (especially military ones) more quickly.

I believe - although I cannot substantiate - that it was the EU embarassment over the Balkans which has set the pace of politico-military reform in the EU. I think the unspoken goal of the EU architects now is the creation of a unified political and military command structure, with a rebuilding of NATO such that it is primarily two -member entity (the USA and the EU, with Canada and smaller nations making up the rest of the command structure). This will take about 30 years to accomplish, because there are centuries of member state traditions to square with this goal - and like all huge projects, it has to proceed stealthily.

And there is also the fact that the EU is developing in a world where competing institutions already exist - somewhat unlike the formation of the USA.

--Ng

[ Parent ]

Yep (4.00 / 1) (#289)
by epepke on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 04:46:25 AM EST

I think all of this buck-passing (after all, who wants to be the one who sends troops in to a dangerous place?) ended up with the confused orders, and the placing of these troops in a situation where they should not have been without massive backup.

I agree.

I believe - although I cannot substantiate - that it was the EU embarassment over the Balkans which has set the pace of politico-military reform in the EU. I think the unspoken goal of the EU architects now is the creation of a unified political and military command structure, with a rebuilding of NATO such that it is primarily two -member entity (the USA and the EU, with Canada and smaller nations making up the rest of the command structure). This will take about 30 years to accomplish, because there are centuries of member state traditions to square with this goal - and like all huge projects, it has to proceed stealthily.

That's a very interesting thesis. I won't ask you for links, because you admit you can't substantiate it. However, I would be very interested in reading an Op-Ed piece about this, if you were to write one.

The main thing I wonder about is whether there is the will and the cohesiveness to get this accomplished.

Another aspect is whether perception that there is a common enemy (like maybe the U.S.) will accelerate the process. That is, can the E.U. emerge as a non-pathological counter to the U.S., as the Soviet Union was a pathological counter? Of course, this wouldn't exactly fit into NATO, but NATO seems to have lost much of its oomph and reason for existence anyway, such as with the recent discussions about admitting Russia into NATO. (The Soviet Union actually made noises about wanting to join several decades ago, which itself is very interesting.)


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


[ Parent ]
let me spell it out for you (4.50 / 4) (#282)
by martingale on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 03:11:57 AM EST

Many Europeans really do genuinely think Americans are stupid.
Stupid, as in stupid to let their government put them and the world in danger unncecessarily. Stupid in the same way Europeans were stupid before World War II. Not stupid as in incapable of acting dangerously.

I think it's more likely that Eurpoeans look at Americans and get conflicting impressions,
That's certainly true. For every American I mod up, there's another American I mod down. Up, down, up, down, up, down.

A European who says "Americans are stupid" is essentially saying, "I want to believe Americans are stupid, because if they aren't, fuck! and I can't deal with that."
It's not that we can't deal with that, it's that we really don't want to deal with that. Because if Americans aren't stupid, then they're incredibly evil, to use US-speak. It means Europe and the rest of the world will have no choice but to nuke your sorry ass. And certainly get nuked in return. We can nuke through ICBMS, submarines, suitcases. We can WMD your population. We'll all have a really bad day.

Because as evil bastards you will not stop until we make you pay so much that you won't have the will to get up again, those who will still be around.

And it will cost us dearly. All because your reason to attempt to take over the world is "because we can". You cannot win this. The US has 1/20th the population of the world. Even if you managed to "occupy" the world's countries, you have no experience of warfare against your population. Heck, you practically panicked with a couple of fully fueled up airplanes. Just think how bad it is going to get, for you and us, if you make some real enemies.

As Europeans, we think that Americans can't be so daft as to willingly push the world into this, "because they can". As Europeans, we think that Americans are stupid to let some imbecilic president, who changes his mind every time he speaks, push us all to this. As Europeans, we think that Americans can be persuaded to see the dangers and eschew being a rogue nation in favour of being a good, respected world citizen. A citizen which is dependable, acts according to international law, not one which attacks other countries on a whim, "because they can".

That is why it's important to justify properly war on Iraq. That's why it's important to follow the UN rules, and not simply call it irrelevant. That's why you can't do it alone.

Well, I've spelled it out for you.

[ Parent ]

OK (4.00 / 1) (#284)
by epepke on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 03:54:52 AM EST

Because if Americans aren't stupid, then they're incredibly evil, to use US-speak.

Hey, I like that! I really do. It's pithy and to the point and much clearer than what I wrote. Yes, I agree; I think that is the impression. Couple that with an inability or unwillingness to distinguish between a government and a people, and I think you've hit the nail on the head. Thanks!

I'm curious, though. What about that is US-speak? Is "incredibly evil" considered an American colloquialism in BSE or something? I try to keep track of differences between British and American usages.

Even if you managed to "occupy" the world's countries, you have no experience of warfare against your population. Heck, you practically panicked with a couple of fully fueled up airplanes.

Absolutely. I keep pointing out that, though 9/11 was certainly shocking, more people died in automobile accidents that month, and it's been more than a year. Yes, we were in shock for a while, but it's time to get over it already.

Because as evil bastards you will not stop until we make you pay so much that you won't have the will to get up again, those who will still be around.

It would be interesting if that were true, and it might act as a deterrent. Some days, I wish there were still a Soviet Union. Not that I like anything about the Soviet Union, but least there was a balance of power. And, it almost seems like they did us a lot of big favors, such as Yugoslavia. And yet, there's a big question as to whether the Russian nuclear arsenal even works any more, without the proper maintenance.

As Europeans, we think that Americans are stupid to let some imbecilic president, who changes his mind every time he speaks, push us all to this.

Of course, that goes for Blair, too, but you probably already thought of that.

Just think how bad it is going to get, for you and us, if you make some real enemies.

Well, we'll see, won't we?

That is why it's important to justify properly war on Iraq. That's why it's important to follow the UN rules, and not simply call it irrelevant. That's why you can't do it alone.

Oh, I totally agree. I don't even support invading Iraq, with or without U.N. channels. But, honestly, tell me--do you care or even notice?


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


[ Parent ]
perceived stupidity (5.00 / 3) (#182)
by fhotg on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 05:58:06 PM EST

I see four main phenomena here.

1. stupid antiamericanism, following the formula America = evil & dangerous. That says enough about the intellectual capabilities of its proponents and needs no comment.

2. What we know, we usually know from the media. Regarding the current war-stuff, intelligent American voices are very much underreported. If you let define your perception of general American attitude by the media, you have to think they're all dead-dumb and believe everything the administration throws at them. Of course, anybody with half a brain, even without finding out more about America, must and does realize that over there must be a fraction of highly intelligent and educated people too.

3. Cultural differences. Even smart and educated Americans often come across somehow dumb, at the first glance. This has to do with cultural imprints. Normal American attitude / behaviour often corresponds to one that in European society is only showed by simple minded folks, who can't control the obvious showing of negative and primitive traits of charater. I'm not saying the Americans in his case had those traits, it just looks like. It's a misunderstanding, much like the proverbial signalling screw-ups between cats and dogs. The only remedy here is the development of inter-cultural skills.

4. Real differences in value systems. Remedy: tolerance.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]

But this still doesn't explain something (5.00 / 1) (#216)
by Spork on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 07:25:34 AM EST

What I'm wondering then is why all these non-dumb and reasonably informed Americans support this war. We are one of only two countries whose populations are even remotely in favor of this attack, and that requires an explanation. This is especially weird when you consider that we would be financing all of it despite our sudden slip from a trillion dollar surplus into a trillion dollar debt. So why are we for it?

I don't like the simple explanation that we have merely been manipulated by the media and politicians. This is inconsistent with something you say (which I also believe), that Americans are not as dumb as we look. Well, maybe we are. I was just trying to see if there might be an alternative explanation.

[ Parent ]

yes, you explained the rest (5.00 / 1) (#219)
by fhotg on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 08:08:40 AM EST

That gap between reason and maybe 'should know better American's' average opinion is wll explained by your thesis, I believe. But as you say, all nationalities are vulnerable to this, and I was more aiming at the America vs. the rest of the world problematic.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]
They don't think we're stupid (4.90 / 11) (#133)
by Quila on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 03:18:28 AM EST

In Germany at least. They think George Bush is stupid. They know how well an internal propaganda machine can sway public opinion, so they're not so much against Americans, just Bush.

exactly (5.00 / 2) (#264)
by twi on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 07:20:26 PM EST

It's rather that we're sorry for the poor Americans which find themselves in a rather nasty situation, i.e. having a stupid/evil/arrogant president (or government, doesn't matter for this post). But to get there they need not be stupid or evil themselves. Just as we don't think of the majority of our own ancestors, 2-3 generations ago, as stupid or evil, and they got into much bigger shit than the people of the USA.

[ Parent ]
Our nasty situation... (4.00 / 1) (#325)
by slur on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 05:24:02 PM EST

The nastiest part about this situation is how little influence reasonable people have here in the US. The Conservatives use ridicule, outright lies, and histrionics to push policies while all reasoned debate is just plain ignored, both by policy-makers and the mass-media. Turn-out for protests here in the US is pathetically miniscule compared to typical protests in major European cities, and even when protests do occur they are diminished as fringe by the media. This leads the liberal front here in America to feel marginalized and powerless.

|
| slur was here
|

[ Parent ]
We'll see (none / 0) (#343)
by Wah on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 02:27:17 PM EST

Turn-out for protests here in the US is pathetically miniscule compared to typical protests in major European cities, and even when protests do occur they are diminished as fringe by the media.

I was up in NYC this weekend and saw tons of infor for this protest site.  It might get mentioned, but will get the requisite spin in anyone so much as picks up a brick.  It's on October 26th if you want to see how your local coverage spins it, or if by some remote chance you want to join in.
--
Life is a strange state of matter.
[ Parent ]

It was on UK (4.37 / 8) (#134)
by starsky on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 03:19:25 AM EST

news this morning about the US just finding out that North Korea has a secret (not so secret any more) nuclear weapons program.

I put forward the assertion that GWB will look a bit of a prick (political term) if he now doesn't urgently ask for a war on North Korea.

Bloody Hell.. (4.33 / 3) (#145)
by ajduk on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 04:21:10 AM EST

I thought that it was common knowledge the North Korea was developing nuclear weapons.

Their main problem will be that by the time thay get a working one, the 17 people in the country who haven't starved to death won't be enough to stage a launch..

[ Parent ]

north korea (5.00 / 2) (#153)
by jolt rush soon on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 08:04:22 AM EST

can someone please give me a list of who's next after north korea and who's to be attacked after that? i remember when everyone was saying 'oh yeah i bet we'll be bombing iraq next' and now we are and talking about north korea so if someone could please post a list of all the countries to be bombed for the next fifty years, i'd be very grateful. thanks.
--
Subosc — free electronic music.
[ Parent ]
Iran, China ... may be France after that :) (NT) (5.00 / 2) (#162)
by RoOoBo on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 10:02:30 AM EST



[ Parent ]
France (4.00 / 4) (#199)
by Merk00 on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 11:38:51 PM EST

But the French will surrender before we get around to it.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Just like on the Simpsons... (5.00 / 1) (#215)
by Spork on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 07:18:16 AM EST

Scorpio: Homer, if you had to destroy either Italy or France, which one would it be?

Homer: Well... France.

Scorpio: Nobody ever says Italy!

[ Parent ]

Perhaps the best thing (5.00 / 2) (#166)
by salsaman on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 12:44:32 PM EST

...is for the US to just nuke the rest of the world.

At least then they can feel safe in their homes.

[ Parent ]

but not... (5.00 / 5) (#202)
by crazycanuck on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 12:17:00 AM EST

...safe at their local gas station.

[ Parent ]
Why? (5.00 / 2) (#173)
by wiredog on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 02:47:13 PM EST

Nothing he's said indicates that he thinks every country that gets nukes, or might do so, should be attacked. Rather the opposite, in fact.

Earth first! We can strip mine the rest later.
[ Parent ]
the problem that i have (5.00 / 5) (#184)
by aphrael on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 07:21:48 PM EST

is that he hasn't made the case for why Iraq potentially having nuclear weapons is somehow more threatening to the US than N. Korea having nuclear weapons.

Hell, i'm *far* more worried about N. Korea --- i live near San Francisco; we're within missile range of Korea, and not of Iraq.

So, absent some sort of explanation for what makes Iraq more dangerous and threatening than North Korea, the entire notion that we have to take out Hussein because of the danger of Iraq having WOMD is undermined.

If the reason for going after Iraq is that it's dangerous for Hussein to have WOMD (because he's 'insane'), and we know that N. Korea has WOMD and a leader who is 'insane', then what's the reason for not going after N. Korea?

Absent a justification for the difference in treatment, it becomes really easy to assume that the official justification for attacking Iraq is a smokescreen, hiding some other, more pertinent, justification.

[ Parent ]

Distances (none / 0) (#255)
by nosilA on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 04:50:35 PM EST

The distance from New York to Iraq is about the same as the distance from San Fran to Korea.  Of course, both distances are so great that you really need an ICBM, and by the time that's in space, it really doesn't matter which coast it's going to hit.  

The difference to look at is how stable and/or democratic the country is.  Not that either of them score highly in that category, but I think Iraq has more of a vendetta against the US.  

-Alison
Vote to Abstain!
[ Parent ]

No rush (3.66 / 3) (#175)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 04:00:02 PM EST

We can just wait 12 years while the UN waggles their fingers at NK and says "Don't do that". THEN they'll be caught up to Iraq.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Uh, let's put that assertion back. (3.40 / 5) (#181)
by Torgos Pizza on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 05:48:10 PM EST

Saddam: Weapons? We have no weapons. Just come look. Just not over there in the corner.

Kim: Uh, yeah, uh we've got this little program ya know and uh, it's about nukes. Oh and here's the details.

See the difference? North Korea is taking amazing steps in the past few weeks towards joining the rest of the world. (Not enough space or time to go into detail. Just watch the evening news.) This portion of the Axis of Evil is actually doing something constructive. There's no reason at this time to ask for a war on North Korea. The two situations are different in so many ways.

I intend to live forever, or die trying.
[ Parent ]

the diffrence is (5.00 / 1) (#205)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 12:53:21 AM EST

China, South Korea, and Japan do not want North Korea to do anything with those weapons and are activly detering them....in the middle east, there are no countris interested in detering Sadam

[ Parent ]
Let's have a look at the map (4.00 / 4) (#213)
by Wudbaer on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 07:00:59 AM EST

Hm. Neighbouring states to Iraq:

- Turkey: NATO partner, strong, modern army
- Iran: Fought a fierce yearlong war against Iraq in the 80's, should still sufficiently hate them and be militarily strong enough to fight them successfully
- Saudi-Arabia: Perhaps not too strong an army, but currently having a pro-western government, which is making an excellent living on oil and would be strongly opposed to be removed by Saddam. Also everyone trying to get near to Saudi-Arabia and its oil reserves would get a heavy smacking by all western nations
- Kuwait: See Saudi-Arabia

Jordan used to be pro-Iraq in the last Gulf war, but in the meantime I think they learned the hard way that they were on the wrong side and should now be at least neutral. I don't know about Syrias current stance against Iraq, but altogether I wouldn't call this no countries interested in deterring Saddam...

[ Parent ]

I was not listing allies, (5.00 / 1) (#223)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 09:06:51 AM EST

 I was listing nations that want to stop N. Korea.

none of the nations you listed want to do anything.

[ Parent ]

Depends (5.00 / 1) (#224)
by Wudbaer on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 09:19:24 AM EST

Depends on what you count as doing something. Turkey is constantly invading Iraq territory, not so much because of Saddam but of outposts of Kurds that are fighting the Turkish army, but it is said that Turkey wouldn't mind cutting their piece from the cake, if there was an opportunity.
I also assume that Iran has a very strong interest in stopping Iraq, but they certainly are a party of their own as they are anti-western, so they are not counted as an ally by the West.
Admittedly smaller countries like Kuwait and militarily weak ones like Saudi-Arabia mostly bitch about Iraq and cry for Western help and protection.
OTOH I don't see Japan and South Korea doing much about North Korea besides bitching either. China is another story, but at least theoretically N. Korea is backed by China and was helped by them militarily for quite some time. I think that they got tired of those crazy old men that are the N.Korean leaders, as China apparently tries to find a more or less pragmatic approach combining their breed of socialism with capitalistic efforts.

[ Parent ]
well, (5.00 / 1) (#235)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:40:25 AM EST

turkey invading to kill jurds is hardly doing anything about Iraq, and S. Korea, as well as Japan do not have the super strong power nessisary to physicly deter they do however politicly deter through diplomace. China, while "backing them" does not want N. Korea to have more power than they do, otherwise, China loses its regional super power-hood.

look at it like the US nudging Mexico and hinting to them not to over step there bounds in the region.

[ Parent ]

For 'secret' (4.50 / 4) (#147)
by starsky on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 04:55:13 AM EST

read 'says they don't and outsiders have no solid proof' ;-)

Excellent Article (4.00 / 5) (#151)
by rdskutter on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 07:04:25 AM EST

I'm going to vote it up just for the first sentence:

If you are an American like me, chances are that the rest of the world thinks you're stupid.


If you're a jock, inflict some pain / If you're a nerd then use your brain - DAPHNE AND CELESTE

Oil comment (4.83 / 6) (#177)
by X-Nc on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 04:15:46 PM EST

You know, there's more than enough oil under US soil to make the middle east many times over. The problem is that the global oil companies make more money if they import it here rather than drill it here. (Yes, I'm a USAian). My mother owns land in PA that we know has a nice oil field under it. Think anyone wants to buy it? Or drill it? No. It's more profitable to use the land as a dump (she hasn't sold it, though).

Side rant: Did you know that the US imports it's table salt from Canada? Did you also know that the largest salt mine in the world is in the US? Did you know that said salt mine is used as a toxic chemical dump? It's all about money.

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.

"imports it's table salt from Canada"??? (5.00 / 5) (#180)
by jepler on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 05:41:33 PM EST

According to http://216.239.37.100/search?q=cache:XEuokT3nj9UC:minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pub s/commodity/salt/580398.pdf++%22table+salt%22+import+%22united+states%22&hl= en&ie=UTF-8
(which does not break out table salt from other salts), Canada is the largest source of imported salt, with 41% of all imported salt, but the "Net import reliance as a percent of apparent consumption" was only around 15% during the years studied.
-- 
rottenflesh, a parody of freshmeat
[ Parent ]
Good story, however... (5.00 / 6) (#183)
by Sleepy on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 06:54:13 PM EST

...I'm not so sure about your oil theory. I do believe the oil issue plays a major part in why the US is pushing for this war, but I don't really think that's the reason why people so eagerly support it. Well, you asked for other theories, so I'll give you mine.

First up, let me say that I'm swedish. I don't propose to be an expert on american society (I actually have some education that might be relevant, but hardly enough to qualify me) and how americans think. But I do however think this is a plausible theory.

I think you were right the first time: Americans support a war on Iraq because they are scared. Not of Saddam Hussein, though. But of feeling vulnerable. This feeling of vulnerability being, of course, invoked by the events of september 11th last year. Attacking and defeating Iraq would make people feel safer. Feel that the US is still in control. That they are still invulnerable. In short, I think people support this war because their fear is being used to rally support for it.

I think I know exactly what kind of comments this will recieve, of course. But hey, I could use a little excitement...



I like your theory (5.00 / 4) (#192)
by Lord of the Wasteland on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 09:42:09 PM EST

I think your hypothesis makes much more sense than the oil hypothesis. It's true that the US only notices Iraq because of oil. The same is true for the EU. However, as I pointed out in an editorial comment, everyone is already talking about oil and the economy as reasons for or against the war. Not only that, but the general consensus is that it will hurt the US economy--just follow the stock market.

However, I would agree that my fellow Americans are scared. I think it's plausible that people want a boost like Dessert Storm gave, with yellow ribbons everywhere and the undeniable satisfaction of beating someone who really deserved it. Of course, that means forgetting that Saddam really isn't personally hurt, while the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi conscripts that will be carpet-bombed are mostly just unlucky. But we're good at that.

[ Parent ]

Maybe... (4.75 / 4) (#212)
by Spork on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 06:46:12 AM EST

I do agree that much of the rhetoric really does have this "scare you into agreement" element. I bet this does motivate some people.

What I find strange about this is that if you're right (and maybe you are), the majority of this nation is gripped by an irrational fear. I think the evidence is indesputable: we are (personally) in far more danger if we kick this anthill than if we don't.

So in order to feel safer from attack, we want to take the very actions that make that attack more likely? Again, maybe. But I hope there is more to it. I don't like this theory because it makes us look more stupid than I think we are.

I mean, it's not like your suggestion is unprecedented. It's well documented that Americans who fear being shot tend to buy guns--which makes their chances of being shot increase astronomically. So maybe this is just one of those things. Maybe we really are stupid. I tried to argue something else is going on behind the scenes, but I might be overestimating our savvy.

[ Parent ]

It's not the first time... (none / 0) (#312)
by GuruWannabe on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 08:25:09 AM EST

that we started a war based on irrational fear that only made things worse. Take the war on drugs, for example. By the way, do you have a cite for the gun thing?

[ Parent ]
We may or may not need . . . (4.00 / 9) (#185)
by acceleriter on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 07:28:25 PM EST

. . . to go to war with Iraq. (I would be more comfortable with this idea if the draft were returned, and the sons and daughters of those casting the votes and making the money supplying the equipage got their chance to go.)

But one thing is certain: Americans should support a policy of regime change. In Washington.

Hmmm... you seem a bit behind the times (5.00 / 2) (#193)
by RyoCokey on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 09:45:19 PM EST

The Draft is still in affect, we're simply not in wartime or in need of soldiers. As for regime change in Washington, I'd wait until after this November to see if it's likely, or whether Bush is looking at two terms.



That, till the end of time, / Their remnant shall recall / Their fathers' old, confederate crime / Availed them not at all. - Parent ]
My understanding is . . . (5.00 / 1) (#194)
by acceleriter on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 09:50:48 PM EST

. . . that while there is a Selective Service System, there is currently no draft. See SSS's FAQs where it says, in part (emphasis mine): Disabled men, clergymen, and men who believe themselves to be conscientiously opposed to war must register because there is no draft in effect, nor is there a program to classify men at this time.

[ Parent ]
But the point still stands (5.00 / 1) (#280)
by RyoCokey on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 02:39:42 AM EST

I.e. those voting to go to war could indeed serve, as the draft is still "in effect" in that the entire system is ready to spring into action if needed.



That, till the end of time, / Their remnant shall recall / Their fathers' old, confederate crime / Availed them not at all. - Parent ]
But . . . (5.00 / 1) (#292)
by acceleriter on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 10:53:24 AM EST

. . . those voting to go to war would also have to vote to reinstate the draft. At that time, they could ensure that they and theirs were protected from going, by law. (Obviously, they'd have to be a bit subtle about that, but you can bet the mix of deferments and exemptions they would pass would serve them well.)

[ Parent ]
Saddam (2.38 / 13) (#188)
by Keeteel on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 08:34:15 PM EST

He has demonstrated that he is willing to call a "Jihad" or ALL OUT BAR NONE HOLY war to the death to simply to defend his justification of plundering an ajacent county thru force. And launch attacks on a "neutral" country at that point (Israel ) in order to try to invoke a response that might gain favor from other Arib nations.

I personally don't think it is to far out to see a time in the near future, given some time to attain nuclear weapons, that Iraq under its current leadership would declair another "holy war" against the infidels of the US or another country like Israel. And in doing so kill millions and invoke an almost certain destruction for his own country as well as bringing the wolrd in general to the possible brink of nuclear war.

With these previous thoughts in mind ... as well as a few others, Im "OK" with being viewed as the "big bad USA" by other parts of the world.

Let me throw another scenerio out that some of the pacifists of the world may have over looked ... Lets say we DONT attack Iraq and leave it to it's own, or even w/UN overseeing it's current government. Who do you think Iraq will go to war with most likely with it's next "holy war"? It most likely will not be the US. It will most likely be Israel. Im not sure if you know Israel's current military "condition", but it is VERY strong. If Israel is attacked in a "holy war", by way of biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, I think Israel WILL turn to the use of it's nuclear arrsinal without hessitation to defend it's country. It would do so MUCH faster then the US would ever turn to weapons of mass destruction. Israel is not a country that "puts up" with much. And as such is a PRIME target for Iraq to try to win favor, as it did in the last war, by attacking it.

The US, imho, needs to eliviate that threat, period. I dont care if we're viewed as being in the wrong or not, it simply HAS to be done so that my son (metephorically speaking) has a world to grow up in. The world will be pissed off for a while and call us names (does that anyways), similar to when Russia invaded Afganistan, and when China had it's Tiaman Square masicure. The world "cry'd" out in outrage ... then moved on. The same will be done when Iraq has a new government.

I view the situation similar to that of someone breaking into my home ... I can not afford the threat to my family and as such will use immediate and overwelming lethal force ... and then deal with the courts and lawsuits later ... ONCE my family is safe.

I think the President is doing as much as he can by the books, and also showing a VERY strong focus, by showing the world he can and WILL go to war with or without the congressional approval, if he in his position feels that Iraq is a clear and present danger. I also think he has pretty well shown that is exactly how he views the current situation. That sends a VERY strong signal to the UN to either put up or "become irrelevant" ... ouch those were strong words comming from a President of the United States.

Im not sure if your familiar with the history of the UN ... but before the UN was the "League of Nations" (I think that was it's name) ... it was exactly what the UN is today, per sae. It was created after WWI. One of it's main resolutions was to oversee the rebuilding of Germany and to MAKE SURE it didnt re-arm it's military. It "became irrelevent" when it was unable to prevent Germany, thru international sanctions and preasure, from re-arming it's military. It was dismantled when Hitler started WW2.

I am not privilaged to know what our President knows, and in all honesty I dont want that responsibility. But WHAT IF he currently has evidence Iraq has or is trying to secretly purchase nuclear weapons? ... Does that change your view at all on the Iraq situation? I dont know if they do or dont ... but r you willing to risk you childrens lives on it? Im not.

Similar to a person breaking into my home .. I dont know if they are intending harm, but I simply am not willing to risk my family for the benifit of the doubt of someone who has ALREADY shown a disrespect for the law.

Hmmmm, that's funny... (4.75 / 8) (#190)
by maynard on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 09:13:15 PM EST

I always thought the Ba`ath party, the one Saddam represents as leader, was a SECULAR political party. In fact, Iraq is separated by three cultural groups, the Hashemites (of which King Fiesel was the leader, and whom was portrayed by Sir Alec Guinnes in Lawrence of Arabia), the Kurds near the Turkish boarder, and Sunni. Each are distinct cultures which previously had little to no relation to one another, but were forced together by British dictate after World War I. In 1958 King Fiesel was overthrown in a coup, which lead over time to Hussein's rule by his working up through the Ba`ath party.

The point here is that Iraq has never been a Muslim state ruled by Muslim law. They have never declared holy war against the United States because the government is not a theocracy, unlike Iran. Again, point: they are culturally SECULAR. None of which, in any way, discounts the horrible things Saddam has done while ruling Iraq. But, like Russia, he didn't do it for God.

Cheers,
--Maynard



Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

Formation of Iraq (4.75 / 4) (#226)
by Ngwenya on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 09:54:03 AM EST

[The Iraqi cultures] are distinct cultures which previously had little to no relation to one another, but were forced together by British dictate after World War I.

The British and the French (under the Sykes-Picot agreement). Sorry to be nitpicky, but as a Brit, I don't want us to take all the blame for all of the balls up that post-colonial life has given us! :-)

--Ng

[ Parent ]

Wrong (1.00 / 2) (#327)
by Keeteel on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 07:17:06 PM EST

Those who dont know history are bound to repeat it. The League of Nations (pre-WW2 UN) was unable to control the post-WW1 re-armerment of Germany, by a PARANOID lil man by the name of Hitler. As such it proved itself useless, and became irrelevent. The UN of today is in trouble of following the same route as the League of Nations did b4 WW2. If it is unable to maintain it's own voted resolutions then it will by default become useless. The legislative body of the UN is only as effective as it's ability to enforce it's descisions.

1 - Iraq invades Kuwait

2 - UN calls for an immediate Iraq retreat (not US)

3 - UN is ignored by Iraq on all fronts

4 - UN declairs war with Iraq (not US), with support from all nations (per sae)

5 - Iraq launches missile attacks on Israel (who was NOT involved in the war, declaring "Jihad" or ALL OUT BAR NONE HOLY war against the "infidels")

6 - War ends to unconditional surrender

7 - UN lays down sanctions (not US) and conditions (inspectors have unlimited access to Iraq for weapons inspections)

8 - UN makes resolutions preventing the re-armerment of Iraq, specifically noting the production of weapons of mass destruction

9 - UN insectors (not US) are denied access and thrown out of Iraq

10 - UN does NOTHING and by defacto proves itself ineffective

11 - 9/11 happens, world as a whole denounces terrorism (with a few exceptions who dance in the streets)

12 - US links Osama and Afganistan

13 - US goes to war with Afganistan

14 - US president says Iraq is re-arming and building WOMD, and has ties to terrorism

15 - US president says that if the UN is unable to deal with Iraq the US will

I dont think any of these events are in question to validity or even in real dispute at the moment.

It was mentioned that Iraq wouldnt be stupid enough to attack the US. I think that is probably true, openly ... I think it would simply attack the US using fueled hatreds and private terristic wars (not directly linkable to the government). I also think it that Iraq would however in time launch a "Jihad", holy war against Israel. I also think that Israel would defend itself to the best of it's abilities. This would bring the entire region into MASSIVE termoil.

The current discussions of a post-Iraq war are being layed out similar to post German war occupation. I know many ppl have said that if the US occupies Iraq, it would only fuel MUCH more terrorism from the supressed masses. I have to look back to history and ask how much back lash did the US and USSSR have from post-war German occupation? Once Germany's government was removed and the German people were allowed progress in thier own way, Germany has become one of THE most productive and greatest countries of all time. The same goes for Japan (although, of course there was no occupation of Japan).

Countries throughout history have become very agressive when thier Rulers (almost always dictators) have become deluded with power. This is exactly the reason the US has limited terms for presidencies, so that the US, which could very easily fall into a dictatorship, does not fall under the spell of a single individual.

There of course is a ton more that can and Im sure will be said ... but I want to wait for reactions to reply to before saying to much more

PS: I beg to differ with you but:

"The Iraqi government, in its first reaction to several days of bloodshed in the Palestinian territories, called on Sunday for "a jihad (holy war) to liberate Palestine".

AFP

"If little Bush considers his aggression a message to Iraq, then we have the answer, which is the formation of al-Quds army ... ready for jihad (holy war) and liberating Palestine," the official Iraqi daily Al-Thawra said in a front-page editorial."

Proved your wrong, you can't dispute that. He declared a Jihad



[ Parent ]
Not quite the whole truth (4.00 / 7) (#200)
by cafeman on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 12:09:33 AM EST

He has demonstrated that he is willing to call a "Jihad" or ALL OUT BAR NONE HOLY war to the death to simply to defend his justification of plundering an ajacent county thru force.

Be fair - one of the big reasons for the Iraqi invastion in Kuwait was that Kuwait had ignored Iraqs public cries to stop stealing oil from shared reserves along the border of Kuwait and Iraq. When the "international community" wouldn't do anything, Iraq invaded.

I'm not supporting Saddam, I'm merely pointing out that the situation is more complex that you originally implied. Kuwait was not the innocent nation as portrayed by the American media.

Also, there were substantial differences between the LoN and the UN, one of which was the inability of the LoN to act without close to unanimous support. That meant that the LoN was unable to act in 99% of cases. The UN is still highly bureaucratic, but is nothing compared to the LoN.

But WHAT IF he currently has evidence Iraq has or is trying to secretly purchase nuclear weapons?

WHAT IF the US government is interested in reinstating colonialism? Unsupported hypothsising can lead to conspiracy theories, simply because it's easy to support any conclusion you want to when you're guessing. Incidentally, the US has also shown flagrant disregard for other countries laws - Bay of Pigs, Noriego, Iraq last time, so on, so on, so on. Personally, I find the US more of an immediate threat than Saddam - Saddam is unlikely to move beyond the Middle East, the US has demonstrated that they'll happily intervene anywhere around the globe if they want to.


--------------------
"No Silicon heaven? But where would all the calculators go?"


[ Parent ]
You are confused about some facts (4.66 / 6) (#211)
by Spork on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 06:27:03 AM EST

I don't think Saddam ever called for a holy war, nor does he have anything to do with that sort of crap. From his point of view, his greatest enemies aren't the Americans. US policies are annoying and cost Iraq some money, but especially thanks to the sanctions and the isolation they provide, Saddam has been able to crush just about all domestic opposition to his rule.

He is counting on the USA getting bored with Iraq after a few bombs fall, and we probably will. His real enemies are the domestic Islamicists, people who want to turn Iraq into an Islamic state a la the Taliban. Saddam hates these people. He wants a modern and secular Iraq.

Right now, the women have more rights in Iraq than any other Arab state (expect this to end if there is a regime change). I know this is a bit of a digression but I'm trying to underscore my point that as bad as Saddam is, he has nothing in common with "jihad"-yelling Islamic fundamentalists, and he hates them more than he hates anyone. He is trying to drag Iraq into the modern age, and he thinks (rightly) that if these clerics have their way, Iraq will never catch up to the rest of the world in terms of research and technology.

But of course, his notion that Iraq needs modern technology and a modern army is what makes Saddam so hated by the US government.

[ Parent ]

You're wrong (1.00 / 2) (#326)
by Keeteel on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 07:16:44 PM EST

Those who dont know history are bound to repeat it. The League of Nations (pre-WW2 UN) was unable to control the post-WW1 re-armerment of Germany, by a PARANOID lil man by the name of Hitler. As such it proved itself useless, and became irrelevent. The UN of today is in trouble of following the same route as the League of Nations did b4 WW2. If it is unable to maintain it's own voted resolutions then it will by default become useless. The legislative body of the UN is only as effective as it's ability to enforce it's descisions.

1 - Iraq invades Kuwait

2 - UN calls for an immediate Iraq retreat (not US)

3 - UN is ignored by Iraq on all fronts

4 - UN declairs war with Iraq (not US), with support from all nations (per sae)

5 - Iraq launches missile attacks on Israel (who was NOT involved in the war, declaring "Jihad" or ALL OUT BAR NONE HOLY war against the "infidels")

6 - War ends to unconditional surrender

7 - UN lays down sanctions (not US) and conditions (inspectors have unlimited access to Iraq for weapons inspections)

8 - UN makes resolutions preventing the re-armerment of Iraq, specifically noting the production of weapons of mass destruction

9 - UN insectors (not US) are denied access and thrown out of Iraq

10 - UN does NOTHING and by defacto proves itself ineffective

11 - 9/11 happens, world as a whole denounces terrorism (with a few exceptions who dance in the streets)

12 - US links Osama and Afganistan

13 - US goes to war with Afganistan

14 - US president says Iraq is re-arming and building WOMD, and has ties to terrorism

15 - US president says that if the UN is unable to deal with Iraq the US will

I dont think any of these events are in question to validity or even in real dispute at the moment.

It was mentioned that Iraq wouldnt be stupid enough to attack the US. I think that is probably true, openly ... I think it would simply attack the US using fueled hatreds and private terristic wars (not directly linkable to the government). I also think it that Iraq would however in time launch a "Jihad", holy war against Israel. I also think that Israel would defend itself to the best of it's abilities. This would bring the entire region into MASSIVE termoil.

The current discussions of a post-Iraq war are being layed out similar to post German war occupation. I know many ppl have said that if the US occupies Iraq, it would only fuel MUCH more terrorism from the supressed masses. I have to look back to history and ask how much back lash did the US and USSSR have from post-war German occupation? Once Germany's government was removed and the German people were allowed progress in thier own way, Germany has become one of THE most productive and greatest countries of all time. The same goes for Japan (although, of course there was no occupation of Japan).

Countries throughout history have become very agressive when thier Rulers (almost always dictators) have become deluded with power. This is exactly the reason the US has limited terms for presidencies, so that the US, which could very easily fall into a dictatorship, does not fall under the spell of a single individual.

There of course is a ton more that can and Im sure will be said ... but I want to wait for reactions to reply to before saying to much more

PS: I beg to differ with you but:

"The Iraqi government, in its first reaction to several days of bloodshed in the Palestinian territories, called on Sunday for "a jihad (holy war) to liberate Palestine".

AFP

"If little Bush considers his aggression a message to Iraq, then we have the answer, which is the formation of al-Quds army ... ready for jihad (holy war) and liberating Palestine," the official Iraqi daily Al-Thawra said in a front-page editorial."

Proved your wrong, you can't dispute that. He declared a Jihad



[ Parent ]
Er.. (5.00 / 3) (#237)
by hypno on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 12:30:40 PM EST

Russia invaded Afganistan, and when China had it's Tiaman Square masicure
"And when the US invaded Iraq"...

Umm, see a pattern? *cluestick*

Only the ignorant would suggest that Iraq would blatantly attack Israel (as much as he and many others would like to do so, for reasons which are doubtless too complex for you ever to understand)

[ Parent ]

Saddam's nowhere near your house. (5.00 / 1) (#259)
by misterluke on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 05:25:08 PM EST

And he didn't have much to do with the guys who did break in to your house either. Your president is talking about going in to Saddam's house and getting rid of him just in case he thinks about maybe one day strolling over to your side of the street and causing some shit ( not now - it's pretty apparent from the reports of former arms inspectors and current intelligence that he doesn't have that kind of capability anymore, if he ever did ).

Also - a question: have you signed up to go fight? If not, then stop warmongering; those who would have to fight will thank you for it.

[ Parent ]
It wouldn't even get that far. (none / 0) (#309)
by GuruWannabe on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 08:19:28 AM EST

Israel has already demonstrated that they wouldn't wait until Saddam actually had nukes. Last time they thought he might have had nukes, they sent fighter jets over and made sure that he couldn't. I fully expect them to do so again if needed.

[ Parent ]
A good reason to go to war with Iraq (5.00 / 8) (#191)
by IHCOYC on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 09:24:08 PM EST

What planet is Iraq on?

Earth, did you say?

Oh, goody.  It's already on my list of places to conquer!
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy

we understand this (4.80 / 5) (#203)
by dirvish on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 12:30:29 AM EST

I think you nailed it. I am glad this story was voted for. Hopefully it will open a few more eyes to the only logical explanation for a war with Iraq.

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
why we need to do somthing in Iraq (2.83 / 6) (#204)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 12:48:26 AM EST

for the very simple reason of :

he is ignoring the authority of the UN.

if the UN does not have authority with its resolutions, then Israel has very little right to be where it is, and future problems might never get resolved except through a World war (if you remember, a purly diplomatic institution existed before WW2, it was called the league of nations and was a spectacular flop.

the UN was created as a diplomatic body that had powers to make war with rouge nations who threatened the peace of the world. now, the USSR and the US did misuse the UN as its own little playground to fight the cold war, but that was then, this is now, and the UN needs to remain relevent.

Actually it's the reverse. (3.75 / 4) (#217)
by joonasl on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 07:43:09 AM EST

if the UN does not have authority with its resolutions, then Israel has very little right to be where it is

According to UN resolutions, Israelis don't have the right to be where they currently are. West Bank and Gaza and East Jerusalem, that is.


Writing a poem / with just seventeen syllables / is very diffic.
[ Parent ]

I am talking about Israel proper, (5.00 / 1) (#222)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 09:05:24 AM EST

not the west bank and gaza.

don't twist the intent of the words.

[ Parent ]

Israel and Iraq... (3.33 / 3) (#229)
by talorin on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 10:13:39 AM EST

So we need to force Iraq to comply with the UN, but not Israel? I'm not following your logic here.

[ Parent ]
arg (5.00 / 2) (#234)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:36:33 AM EST

1948, the UN wrote a resolution that forced the state of Israel into formation in the middle east.

if the UN has no authority, then Israel has no right to even exist at all.

we need to enforce the UN resolutions with force or a credible threat of force otherwise no one will listen to the UN.

[ Parent ]

Point of His (Hers) and Mine (2.50 / 2) (#241)
by virg on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 01:15:38 PM EST

> 1948, the UN wrote a resolution that forced the state of Israel into formation in the middle east.
> If the UN has no authority, then Israel has no right to even exist at all.


His point stands. According to the 1948 UN resolution, Israel doesn't extend into the Gaza strip or the West bank, so they're overstepping the lines drawn by the UN in 1948. Hence, they are in violation of that resolution, and your call for enforcement applies to them, barring any subsequent modification of that resolution.

> We need to enforce the UN resolutions with force or a credible threat of force otherwise no one will listen to the UN.

Who listens to the UN now? Heck, the U.S. doesn't even listen to the UN on occasion. So, back to his point, why do you advocate selective and inconsistent enforcement of UN resolutions? If Iraq is in violation, and that violation requires enforcement, then why does the Israeli violation not also require enforcement? Why don't the U.S. violations require enforcement?

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
there are diffrent resolutions though (5.00 / 1) (#242)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 01:46:11 PM EST

Israel does not have an or else clause in the resolutions levied against them, Iraq does.

[ Parent ]
Or else? (2.50 / 2) (#247)
by talorin on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 03:07:09 PM EST

Ah, I understand, if there's an or else clause in a resolution, it's good and right, if not it can be safely ignored. I'm curious, does Israel's charter have an or else clause? I'm trying to follow your logic here, really I am.

[ Parent ]
here is my logic (5.00 / 1) (#260)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 05:52:31 PM EST

1. UN says "Sadam do this or else"
2. sadam ignors them for 12 years
3. UN says "this is your last chance, and I mean it"
4. sadam capitulates or UN blows his up else the UN loses its relevence and credibility

with Israel, everything is blured and is therefore NOT a good choice to make any case.

yes Israel does cross the ethical line some times, and Yes the palistinians do cross the ethlical line.

but, the UN is having a hard time trying to find a group to blame. the Israelies antagonise the palistinians, the palistinians antagonise the Israelies. in 1948, the Israelies entered the region with UN approval, the Palistinians attacked, Israel defended and conqured the nothern territory and then 1968 war and the 1972 war and now this crap.....

my basic point was that IF the UN did not do anything with Iraq after Iraq ignores the inspectors, the UN will have damaged any real authority it had and resolutions like the declaration of East Timor being a recognised nation, and the declaration of Armenia being a recognised nation, the declaration of israel being a recognised nation, etc. will have no relevence to other nations who do not want those nations to exist.

the UN losing relevence and authority is bad for peace in the world.


[ Parent ]

You're still not following... (1.00 / 2) (#270)
by talorin on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 09:13:11 PM EST

If we start enforcing the UN's policies, shouldn't we enforce them all? Say we stomp on Iraq but ignore Israel's occupied territories. How is that not damaging to the credibility of the United Nations? Because they're our ally?

[ Parent ]
if the UN were to get a tough (none / 0) (#271)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 09:54:15 PM EST

with Israel as they are getting and have been with Iraq, then I would say yes we should.

I even have agreed that the US should get a coalition to plant themselfs onj the boarder and stop anyone from either side from passing.

[ Parent ]

which is why the USA repudiated two treaties... (none / 0) (#363)
by israfil on Tue Oct 29, 2002 at 02:07:53 PM EST

... the international criminal court and the Vienna convention.

You're right, this is all about UN validity and credibility.  By that argument, the entire world (less some countries) should have the "moral" right to up and oust the american President because his policies have indeed struck at the very core of the evolving international agencies of global diplomacy.

Good for the goose...
i. - this sig provided by /dev/arandom and an infinite number of monkeys with keyboards.
[ Parent ]

Domestic causes. (4.80 / 5) (#210)
by apteryx on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 06:00:04 AM EST

I don't think Americans are any more stupid than anyone else. A moments thought will show that a population that big and diverse is unlikely to be any more or less intelligent on average than any other. However...due to a unique set of cultural and political circumstances they have ended up with a leader who is amoral, venal and demonstrably thick as pig shit. I think people are overestimating Dubya's cunning. His actions in the defense of his illegitimate leadership have been largely opportunistic. He got into power controversially and narrowly, he appears to have no interest or ability in foreign affairs and is associated (apparently) with the Enron fiasco. The economy is looking shaky. Then suddenly...WHAM! 9/ll. He's handed a tragedy on a plate. Even Dubya can figure out (or maybe his advisors can) that what the American public wants to hear is tough talk. So far, so human. However, dear old George comes up with the moronic 'War On Terrorism'. Initially the response was largely positive - empowering, taking the initiative etc. However, after a time of more sober reflection, a lot of people started to realise that this was about as sensible and effective as putting out a fire with petrol. Ethics aside, people were starting to twig that this was more likely to lead to more American deaths rather than fewer. Bombing the crap out of Afghanistan worked for a bit - the nasty Taliban were chucked out and a lot of Afghanis seemed pretty happy about it all...Americans were the shining light, bringing democracy to the world ! But the Afghanis didn't immediately become settled and peaceful. The poppy fields started to bloom again... Then someone bombed a wedding party...and _still_ no sign of bloody Osama. So George thought and thought...bingo ! "We'll go to war with a real country !" It worked electorally for Maggie Thatcher when she attacked the Argentinians over the Falklands. It even worked (for a while) for the Argentinian leadership...It's a tried and true technique for morally bankrupt leaders in trouble at home. Of course, this is not to deny that other factors are involved. I'd guess oil politics plays a part, and maybe in some deep niche in his simian brain, Dubya actually believs the nonsense he spouts.But I'm sure that the main motive of Dubya's is to secure his high paying and prestigious job. Sadly, many unthinking (but not unintelligent) Americans are falling for this dangerous nonsense hook, line and sinker.

moot post (5.00 / 1) (#252)
by Lenny on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 04:00:33 PM EST

illegitimate leadership
Can you support this claim? Huh? What? Oh yeah, he won in every recount. Even the ones done by the extreme liberal media outlets. The story about voters being turned away was completely debunked. There was not one documented instance of a voter being turned away. Like it or not, he is the legitimate leader. That kind of makes the rest of your post moot.


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
moot ? (4.00 / 1) (#262)
by apteryx on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 07:10:07 PM EST

Well... I guess it hinges on how you define legitimate. Certainly I'm not up with the details of the legal challenges and I suppose you could make the argument that as he's still in power, challenges to his legitimacy have failed.

Check out 'Stupid White Men' by Michael Moore to see why I think the way I do on this issue.

However, legitimate or not, I don't see how this affects the validity of what I said. Dubya was on an electoral knife edge from early on and the future for him was not looking rosy. He used a time honoured technique to boost his ratings and lots of people all around the world are going to suffer because of it.

[ Parent ]

You may have noticed this, but: (none / 0) (#276)
by Jacques Chester on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 12:59:03 AM EST

That "thick as pig shit" leader has advisors. If he's so dumb, it wouldn't be hard for them to lead him around, now would it?

--
Well now. We seem to be temporarily out of sigs here at the sig factory. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
[ Parent ]
Yep, I'd noticed... (none / 0) (#286)
by apteryx on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 04:20:37 AM EST

Agreed.And I'm sure they're largely why George is still centre stage. Same deal with that other spectacular moron Reagan.

I'm not sure of the balance of the various advisors motives for this appalling mess, but from where I am their main spokesperson is still Dubya and I'm sure he's driven primarily by self interest. And it's his rhetoric that's affecting the American people.

[ Parent ]

Salary.. (none / 0) (#328)
by ThreadSafe on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 07:55:35 PM EST

I'm not exactly sure but I think you'll find that the presidancy isn't actually a particulary high paying profression

Make a clone of me. And fucking listen to it! - Faik
[ Parent ]

Salary... (none / 0) (#338)
by apteryx on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 06:44:58 AM EST

I have no real idea of an American presidents salary, however I'd be surprised if it wasn't pretty colossal by most workers standards. If I'm correct that this is an implicit arguement against my reading of Dubya's motivation, I'll make a couple of points:

Besides the money there's the prestige. One way or another, he'll be in the news until he dies. He'll be invited to talk (?) all over the place. He'll be _noticed_. Some people (among them, the people who run for public office), love that stuff.

The fear of ignominious public rejection is a pretty big motivator...

What else, besides being some kind of figurehead, could this fool do ?

[ Parent ]

What polls? (5.00 / 1) (#220)
by Silent Chris on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 09:03:26 AM EST

I'm curious where these "published polls" supporting Iraq are from (the vote).  I certainly have never seen them.  (If you're counting CNN, don't bother -- most votes there tend to take a conservative swing).  

I consider myself middle of the road, but if I was ever asked my opinion on George W. Bush and his Iraq goals, I would go against them.  There's no plausible reason for a regime change, although I agree inspections are necessary.  Afghanistan was a different story: we were reacting to a problem.  To consider terrorism a "worldwide threat", then to go it alone against Iraq, is foolish.

see, for example (5.00 / 3) (#227)
by aphrael on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 10:02:06 AM EST

The Christian Science Monitor, normally a somewhat left-of-center publication. Then there's the Harris Poll, often a bellweather polling agency.

The numbers may disagree a little bit, says Newsweek, but ABC's poll disagrees with that conclusion.

The Gallup poll suggests that even if a majority *does* support the war, the people who are opposed care more about it.

[ Parent ]

Missing choice on the Poll (5.00 / 4) (#231)
by DaChesserCat on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:08:37 AM EST

When I looked at the poll, my first thought was, "they missed the real answer: oil." Then I read the article.

Why do the majority favor (assuming they actually do) a war with Iraq? Oil, and unfinished business, in that order. Throw in "higher approval ratings" and "distraction from the economy" and it's an absolute must-have for G. W. Bush and Co.

Bush will do ANYTHING to ensure that we have a good supply of petrol flowing into this country. We consume more than we supply, so we HAVE to import. Anyone who remembers what happened when Iraq invaded Kuwait, remembers the major effect of it over here. The price of gasoline jumped 25% in that one day. That was the day I went out and bought a bicycle so I wouldn't have to drive my old gas-guzzling beater to work every day.

When Iraq took over Kuwait, over half of the OPEC supply of oil went into the hands of countries who were NOT friendly to the US. The Kuwaiti government was friendly; as long as they were in control of their oilfields, the majority of OPEC oil supply belonged to friendly nations. Taking over Kuwait was enough to tip the balance. That's why we fought. Our economy is so COMPLETELY dependent on cheap petroleum that a major jump in oil prices would put us into a recession (well, a worse one than we've got right now). This fact has not escaped Bush and his advisors. Heaven forbid that we should do something like reduce our dependence on oil. If you had any doubts about G. W. Bush's energy policy look no further than here.

What do I mean by "unfinished business?" I mean, Saddam is still in power, yes? A considerable number of people are rather disappointed by that fact. They feel like we didn't finish what we started, and we need to correct that error.

The fact that stomping Iraq did WONDERS for his father's approval ratings, I'm sure, hasn't escaped "the Shrub" (little Bush). A nice military victory did wonders then, it certainly couldn't hurt right now. There were plenty of problems at home, at the time, but people were distracted from those problems when they could watch CNN and see how we were WINNING. If the Shrub can keep people distracted now, they might not be quite so ticked off by the economic mess we're in, and he MIGHT get what pretty much every first-term president wants: a second term.

Trains stop at train stations Busses stop at bus stations A windows workstation . . .
Approval Ratings (4.66 / 3) (#232)
by DLWormwood on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:20:32 AM EST

The fact that stomping Iraq did WONDERS for his father's approval ratings, I'm sure, hasn't escaped "the Shrub" (little Bush). A nice military victory did wonders then, it certainly couldn't hurt right now.

Approval ratings mean squat. Bush The First got defeated by Clinton less than two years after the Gulf War. The only way a war with Saddam will work in this "manner" is if Junior can keep the war going for over two years straight. But by then the length of the war will cause it to be perceived as a "quagmire" in post-Vietnam USia.
--
Those who complain about affect & effect on k5 should be disemvoweled
[ Parent ]

Oil Imports... (4.50 / 2) (#304)
by VivianC on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 12:59:10 AM EST

Bush will do ANYTHING to ensure that we have a good supply of petrol flowing into this country. We consume more than we supply, so we HAVE to import.

You've got to admit that Bush is in a tough position. We consume more oil than we produce, but every option is wrong. We can't use force to keep OPEC friendly. We can't drill more in our own coutry because the enviros don't like that. And can you imagine if we went to fuel cell or electric cars over the next ten years? How many arab countries that depend on oil sales will simply collapse? Picture all the Persian Gulf nations deprived of oil income like Iraq has been (mostly) for the last 10 years. What do you do with oil if you can't sell it? Drink it?

I'm all for increased domestic drilling (with a special tax added to fund alternative fuel research) until we can eliminate every oil tanker unloading in US ports. I somehow have the feeling that the EU and Asia will follow our lead (if not lead themselves) and there will be a serious drop in OPEC exports. Let them become farmers or something.

But we have to break the eggs to make the omlete. If you like status quo, we need to deal with Iraq. If you want to eliminate foreign oil, we need to drill here. Either way, we need to find a new fuel source to cut down on total oil useage. Maybe someone else here can point out a realistic way we can do this with none of the above. Go to it. the future of the world is at stake....

VivC

[ Parent ]
But this article isn't about Bush (none / 0) (#310)
by Spork on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 08:20:12 AM EST

I think I know why Bush wants the war, and yes, oil plays a big role. But when Americans who want the war say why they want it, so few say that they want Iraqui oil that it doesn't even register in the polls. So I was trying to explain the public's motivation. I think the current president's motivation is pretty transparent, so wouldn't be very interesting to write yet another article about that.

[ Parent ]
[OT] Idea for a poll (5.00 / 1) (#233)
by DLWormwood on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:29:36 AM EST

This and other recent articles about USian policy has given me an idea for a poll. However, I haven't been here long enough to come up with an idea for an actual article.

Is there a way to submit a suggested poll without having to attach it to a specific article? I've noticed that Scoop supports this, but there's no UI for it. I know That Other SiteTM takes poll suggestions, but I've never done it there so I'm clueless about the etiquette or protocol to do so.
--
Those who complain about affect & effect on k5 should be disemvoweled

Excellent. Why no FP? [n/t] (2.50 / 2) (#239)
by hypno on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 12:43:36 PM EST



Well... (3.25 / 4) (#240)
by aluminumaloi on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 01:01:50 PM EST

Based on some of the conversation attached to this and other stories, I have to say I disagree with your conclusion. Many Americans really are just ignorant.

Trust (4.20 / 5) (#245)
by k2r on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 02:06:04 PM EST

> reputation for being
> apathetic, naive, ignorant, and just plain dumb.

Luckily I have some American friends to have a reality check from time to time. Thus I know that there definitely are intelligent Americans :-)

But:

It's not only that a lot of (I tend to say most) Europeans perceive the US-Regime as dumb and ignorant, but as absolutely not trustworthy.

And that's just the plain truth. The US-Regime doesn't care about any international treaties at all and will only rely on being the bully on the schoolground. (America first)

They will just fsck you if they feel like doing it just because they are stronger than you.

And now they even promise to kill you if you could become strong enough to keep them from fscking you.

I'm not Anti-American, there are of course a lot of fine people over there, but I'm strictly Anti-Bushs-own-Country and I don't like people who can't see that this makes a difference.

k2r

I don't understand this (2.50 / 2) (#279)
by RyoCokey on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 02:37:12 AM EST

This seems to be actually a European problem rather than a Bush one. They started all this with the ICC, attempting to impose rules on people who never signed the treaty in question. Then when we refuse to ratify their treaties they accuse us of disrepecting "international law."



That, till the end of time, / Their remnant shall recall / Their fathers' old, confederate crime / Availed them not at all. - Parent ]
International treaties and the US-Regime (none / 0) (#356)
by k2r on Wed Oct 23, 2002 at 12:07:24 PM EST

Sorry, I did miss your posting.

1st:
Clinton signed the Statute Of Rome.
GWB declared the signature as invalid.

2nd:
The ICC isn't a idea some stupid Europeans came up with.
Do you know the Nueremberg Trials (Nuernberger Prozesse) that judged about the Nazis or the international tribulal that is now judging about Milesovic and other people?

The ICC is basically nothing more or less than a permanent institution for cases like this.
It basically only stands in if a person comitted genocide and similar.
And only if this isn't prosecuted either in the country the person comes from or in the country the crime was committed.

What I see is that the US doesn't want to the same norm applied to itself that it applies to other countrys.

So it withdraws even from the "mother of all treaties", the Vienna convention:

"In addition, other officials said, the United States will simultaneously assert that it will not be bound by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a 1969 pact that outlines the obligations of nations to obey other international treaties."

(NY-Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/05/international/05TRIB.html, free-as-in-beer registration required.)

Do you now understand better why there are Billions of people on this planet who can't stand your country's regime?

k2r

[ Parent ]

Guess what... (none / 0) (#362)
by israfil on Tue Oct 29, 2002 at 01:47:08 PM EST

You did sign... and then repudiated it.  (and don't give me that clinton signed, george unsigned and that's fine with me garbage - you're trustworthy or not, you honour your word or not.)

The logic of backing out of the ICC and the Vienna treaty were such that the equivalent would be:

I don't really want to risk being subject to the US Supreme Court, because if my state militia does something that another state militia doesn't like who migh win a conflict, or even just gain some extra measure in the federal government, they might then try my favorite general, or brother, or whoever with a war-crime.  And since the Constitution requires me to abide by the Supreme Court since I signed on, well I'll just repudiate the consitution.

It's not an exact analogy of course, because we're in new political territory, but the overall tone is applicable.  It's a complete territorial nationalism that was shown to be bankrupt in the last century.  You would think the USA would get that, since it had to bail out Europe from the merciless grip of extreme nationalism in the last World War.

-i
i. - this sig provided by /dev/arandom and an infinite number of monkeys with keyboards.
[ Parent ]

Allow me... (3.25 / 8) (#251)
by SPYvSPY on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 03:25:10 PM EST

I will focus on the following paragraph in your story to illustrate your total, utter failure to persuade me:

Many CIA resources have been diverted from the search for Al Quaeda and put on the task of finding links between Saddam and international terrorists. This effort has produced nothing but evidence that Saddam is actually refusing to cooperate with terrorists. Of course, Tenet warns this is unlikely to stay that way once Saddam feels an attack is inevitable. While his gas weapons are not very effective in a modern war, they would be ideal tools for terrorists. Think of the many places where crowds gather, and then think about how much damage could be done if those crowds contained a suicidal fanatic with a vial of nerve has. This nightmare scenario is pretty likely once Saddam becomes less discriminating about who he sells these things to--and sell he will if war and his subsequent demise appear inevitable.

Can you please point me to your sources that indicate that the CIA is convinced that Iraq will not 'cooperate' with terrorists? I ask, because, according to a recent Frontline on the missile defense efforts, the CIA (along with all the other U.S. intelligence agencies) reported that there was a very low likelyhood of ballistic missile attacks from countries like Iraq, and that the threat of Saddam Hussein using terrorists as proxies without visible links back to Baghdad was vastly greater. Another reason that I ask is that it is well known that Saddam Hussein bankrolls the terrorists in Palestine, and is in open cooperation with the terrorist organizations that also support Palestinian terror attackers. Even if there is no demostrable link between Hussein and bin Laden (incidentially, there *is* such a link, in the form of known al Qaeda operatives trained at Hussein's facilities inside Iraq, as reported by numerous defectors from inside Iraqi intelligence's inner circle), it would take a lot to convince me that Hussein is not working with the Hamas/Hizbullah contingencies -- if for no other reason than their alignment against Israel and support for Palestine. These organizations are, in my mind (and in the minds of many informed insiders), are a greater threat than al Qaeda ever was or will be. How can you be so certain that there is no clandestine linkages with Hussein, especially in light of the obvious line of reasoning (and evidence, both circumstantial and eyewitness) that puts them in cahoots? And why would you so readily discount what is, again IMO, a massive threat from the possibility of Hussein bankrolling these terrorists (just as he does openly in Palestine) in order to encourage and facilitate their campaign against American interests? And why would you assume that the threat of these things happening is only urgent once Hussein is attacked, but not before? These are the questions that you cannot answer. Here's another: why do you assume that you know more than the people that are privvy to classified intelligence in these areas? What makes you so special?

It has been said again and again, and it will be said again when it is too late and thousands more innocent Americans are dead at the hands of terrorists, that you cannot defuse a bomb after has exploded. You cannot find a smoking gun until it has been fired. What you can do is look down the barrel of the gun, at the man that is pointing it at you, and decide whether or not you have the balls to act in defense of your own life.
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Only a minor point (2.00 / 1) (#267)
by epepke on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 08:14:31 PM EST

I voted a +5 on this comment because it contains, in a nicely laconic form, a lot of true statements that many people seem to get bugged by.

However, at best it addresses only minor points of the article. The main point is about popular perception, not the government's perception.


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


[ Parent ]
wrong analogy (4.33 / 3) (#269)
by twi on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 08:47:17 PM EST

Iraq doesn't point a gun at the US, so you can't look down the barrel of it's gun. It might, however, carry a knife, and with that it might intend to stab some other people, some of whom might be your friends or business-partners. Being threatened with a gun is a rather clear-cut scenario. I would shoot first too, if I could. But this war is not about such a simple or direct threat.

[ Parent ]
Actually, it's quite an apt analogy... (2.00 / 1) (#339)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 10:33:00 AM EST

...considering Saddam's long-standing interest in the 'Supergun'.
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[ Parent ]

I don't buy it (4.00 / 1) (#308)
by Spork on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 08:11:33 AM EST

Look, I'm not trying to make a research project out of this. There is no secret that Bush is desparately looking for evidence of an Iraq-Terrorist link. I've been keeping my eyes open, and so far, the millions he invested in that research has turned up longshot allegations like the ones you suggest, things that are impossible to falsify. It's not secret that Saddam hates the "Zionist Entity" as he calls it, and that he might support Palestinian organizations, but this does not make him a terrorist supporter. If I had the resources, I'd support Palestinian organizations too, because the Palestinians are being fucked over in a very gruesome way and need all the support they can get.

The best Iraq - al Quaeda link, the "secret meeting in Prague" has turned out to be 100% bullshit, and even the US has finally admitted it. Either Hussein's tactics are so sophisticated that his support for terrorists have slipped under the radar of the massive CIA hunt, or he is just not supporting the terrorists.

I think the latter is more likely, especially when you consider what kind of guy Saddam is. Most Moslem terrorists are fundamentalists, and these are Saddam's worst enemy. His whole project has been to secularize the Arabic people, starting with Iraq. He has nothing to gain from supporting Islamicist terrorists, the very people who pose the greatest danger to a the modern, secular Iraq that Saddam desires. He knows that he gains nothing when the West gets pissed off, and that's the most that a terrorist can accomplish.

There is a common perception that out Middle Eastern "enemies" all strive for our downfall. Well, that's a terribly egotistical view, and it's false. Saddam doesn't care much about what the USA does, as long as we stay out of his way. He is doing all he can to drag Iraq straight from the 19th to the 21st century, to make Iraq a player on the world stage. A part of this is, of course, that the government can't be some sort of fundamentalist throwback or some sort of royal patriarchy like you find in other Arab states. It also has to be up to date in technology, including defense technology. None of this has anything to do with the USA, so of course Saddam has no reason to do anything to piss off the USA. US sanctions are preventing the sort of modernization he is so desparate to achieve, but there is no way that terrorism is going to get those lifted. That's why Saddam has no reason to help any terrorists. So he doesn't, your unsubstantiated accusations aside.

So let me repeat: Saddam is nothing like a suicide bomber. He has no desire to martyr himself. He is all about trying to fix Iraq, partly to acheive parity with Israel, partly for its own sake, and partly for self-aggrandizement. He is as far from a religious fanatic as any Arab leader. He has nothing to gain from the support of terrorism.

But remember Tenet's report: things change once he starts to think his days are numbered: you know that there must be dozens of terrorist organizations who'd love to buy a few kilograms of activated anthrax spores and a few tanks of nerve toxin. This stuff, unlike explosives, is very easy to smuggle, and pretty effective. You can bet that if Saddam gets taken out, he wants to go down in Arabic history as the leader who make his enemies regret their actions. So, now he gets a motivation to deal. Anyway, I'm just paraphrasing Tenet's report. The logic makes sense to me, and your comments seem totally beside the point.

[ Parent ]

The irony is... (1.50 / 2) (#340)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 10:44:23 AM EST

...when Rumsfeld/Gingrich spent billions on missile defense, the research that kept coming back from the intelligence community was that terrorism was a more pressing threat than ballistic missiles. Now, everyone is claiming that Bush is spending tons of money to prove that same hypothesis that kept foiling his missile defense hypothesis. Which is it?! I know: it's both. Wolfowitz has been saying it all along -- as soon as you neutralize the ballistics threat, the terrorist threat becomes more attractive to our enemies. However, please note that the converse is not true -- by eliminating terrorist threats, you do not necessarily increase the odds of a ballistic missile attack. Does all of this mean that Saddam is going to use terrorist proxies? Well, considering that he wants ballistic missiles (and/or a 'Supergun'), he is presumably also interested in the cheaper, more effective terrorist option as well. Ask yourself -- what keeps nations like the USA from using ballistic nuclear weapons at the drop of a dime? The answer is: the same commitment to a 'keeping the peace' that keeps us from engaging in terrorist activities. And before anyone accuses the USA of being a terrorist organization, let me preempt your game of semantics by pointing out that we sentence our suicide bombers to death, rather than pay them a stipend.
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[ Parent ]

Huh? (4.00 / 1) (#347)
by Spork on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 07:06:00 PM EST

You have not even addressed the core issue: what is Saddam's motivation for having anything to do with terrorism? It seems dead obvious to met that he has no reason to support it.

About your terrorism defense vs. missile defense funding question. I don't think we need either (the former because it's Orwellian and pourous, the latter because it's very easy to defeat, escalates the arms race, and puts us in greater danger). We need to stop acting like assholes and drawing everyone's fire, that's my policy idea.

[ Parent ]

If he has no interest in terrorism... (1.00 / 2) (#350)
by SPYvSPY on Tue Oct 22, 2002 at 09:44:27 AM EST

...then why does Saddam bankroll Palestinian suicide bombers and their families?

Also, telling me that terrorism/missile defense is futile because it won't work 100% of the time is like telling me not to make coffee because the filter will keep the grounds out.
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[ Parent ]

A few Predicitions. (4.42 / 7) (#261)
by BackSlash on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 05:57:50 PM EST

Make no mistake. This is World War III.

Allow me to make a few predictions....

1. UN Security Council vote authorizing an invasion of Iraq gets voted down 2-1. US, UK yea, France nay, with Russia and China abstaining.

2. The US scores a minor victory with a broadly worded UN resolution condemning Iraq which passes in the General Assembly with a modest margin.

3. January 2003, US invades Iraq amid protests from the Arab League and OPEC.

4. Sometime before March, 2003, after a highly successful suicide bombing in Israel (150-200 people), Ariel Sharon captures Yassar Arafat to put him on trial for crimes against humanity; Arab League vowes retaliation.

5. Pakastani Presidant Mussarif is ousted in a coup, as he is seen as the lap-dog of the Americans.

6. March 2003, American forces close in on Baghdad. Saddam launches a massive volley of SCUD missles equipped with chemical (NOT biological) weapons at Israel, hitting Tel Aviv and the West Bank. US begs Israel to exercise restraint.

6. Hours after the attack, a large Arab force, made up of a coalition of Arab League members, invades the West Bank from Jordon. Several nuclear warheads are smuggled around the American naval blockade into Jordon. Probably through Russia.

7. March 14, 2003 - Beware the Ides of March - Saddam Hussein is shot by a American Special Forces, while the Army is 20-30 miles outside of Baghdad. Iranian tank divisions race to Baghdad.

8. March 14, 2003 - Pakastan invades Kasmir. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moves the Doomsday Clock to 3 minutes to midnight - the closest its been since 1953.

9. Israel threatens the nuclear elimination of Medina, the second holiest site in the Muslim Religion, unless the terrorists immediatly withdraw.

10. May, 2003 - Pakastan is near defeat - launches a nuke against New Delhi. Millions die.

11. Doomsday Clock moves to 2 minutes to midnight.

That's as far as my crystal ball goes.

It's a baaaad situation, but - I feel - a necessary one.

Medina probably gets nuked, Palastinians are forced to Syria and Jordan, and the beautiful paradise of Kashmir becomes uninhabitable for 1000 years.

BUT, the world's oil production gets halved for at least 2 years - birthing a new era for alternative fuels. AND Wahabbism goes the way of the Kamakazi.

Possible complicating factors:

1. China needs to stay the fuck out of the war. If China enters the war, the planet may not survive.

2. Russia sides with the US/UK coalition.

3. Every terrorist cell in the US activates and peppers the country with suicide attacks.

4. Democrats win the Presidancy in 2004.

Thanks for putting your ass on the line here (3.00 / 1) (#273)
by nomoreh1b on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:01:22 PM EST

With your predictions. I personally disagree BTW. I tend think this is the opening round of WW III. March 2003, American forces close in on Baghdad. Saddam launches a massive volley of SCUD missles equipped with chemical (NOT biological) weapons at Israel, hitting Tel Aviv and the West Bank. US begs Israel to exercise restraint.

This is the major point where I depart from you on this one. I personally think what is far more likely is an attack on the Jewish communities in the United States and Britain. This could weaken Israel just as much as an attack on Israel itself. If US troops were occupying Iraqi cities, retaliation against Iraq could be rather tricky---more so if there are plausible official denials that Iraq had anything to do with the attack.

Also, the Indian/Pakistan thing here is a bit off. Questions you need to address:
What role is played by Indian/Pakstini nationals in the US here?

Now, I don't place a lot of stock in my own scenario, but here's my stab at one.
1) 2003-Massive cyber-warfare in the US--major portions of US infrastructure frozen. Foreign nationals largely blamed. 2) Hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals expelled from the United States. 3) Mubarak Government overthrown by Islamic fundamentalists. 4) Surprise Peace treaty between India and Pakistan. 5) Neutron bombs used in wealthy neighborhoods of major US cities/suburbs(i.e. New York,Philadelphia,Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami). 200,000 dead. 6) 2004-US withdraws from Iraq-implores oil states to help with rebuilding of region. 7) Chaos in US. Martial law declared in major urban areas. Broadcast media placed under direct presidential authority. 8) Pipeline construction form Middle Eastern Oil fields to China/India announced. 9) China seizes Taiwan. Japan,Korea, Phillipines order US troops out of their territory. 10) Major domestic acts of terrorism against US Federal government and multi-national corporations in the US. Mine get fuzzy here Option A: 11) 2004-George Bush, Cheney and other major members of the executive branch assassinated-Islamic terrorists blamed but not apprehended. Colin Powell assumes presidency or chooses president of his liking. 12) US announces dramatic curtailment of aid to Israel--arrest and execution of Mossad agents operating in the US. 13) Dramatic restructuring of US government under Powell. Mass amnesty of prisoners indicted for victimless crimes. Corporate executives executed for treason involving wartime corruption. Affirmative action replaced with enhanced need based educational programs/medical programs-first effective enterprise zones. 14) Massive prize awards for US energy independence,life extension put in place. 15) Powell is declared creator of "economic miracle" by Time Magazine, re-elected with a landslide in 2008. 16) US corporations launch private space stations. Major movement of US population to Alaska, Northern Rocky Mountain states. 18) 2010-Jewish population of Israel declines by 10%. 17) Israel's nuclear arsenal forcibly siezed by UN. Jerusalem placed under UN administration. Majority of Israel's Jewish population moves to Western countries. 18) 2014 First child born in space. Option B: 12) Bush looses 2004 race to Joe Leiberman 13) Leiberman institutes school voucher reform/major immigration reform 13) Leiberman re-elected admidst widespread accusations of vote-fraud. 14) Social security age for benefits raised to 75 except in cases of disability. 15) 2010, US, EU and Israel involved in nuclear exchange with Islamic countries, China, India. 16) US breaks up, Israel disbanded. Arabs try Israeli government officials for "crimes against humanity" relating to wartime atrocities.

[ Parent ]

Ah yes, the Sky is Falling!! (2.00 / 3) (#288)
by tkatchev on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 04:36:00 AM EST

Chicken Little Is Your Ghod! Worship Him!

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Nope with the Pakistan nukes (none / 0) (#278)
by RyoCokey on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 02:35:00 AM EST

The US already occupies military bases near there, and knows where the nukes are. In the event of a coup, it's very unlikely Pakistan would have any functioning nuclear weapons left.

Interesting post altogether though. Think it's a little early to make anything like a accurate prediction of what will happen. Well, it's our "gift" to live in interesting times.



That, till the end of time, / Their remnant shall recall / Their fathers' old, confederate crime / Availed them not at all. - Parent ]
Ah yes... (2.00 / 13) (#274)
by VivianC on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:49:48 PM EST

Your are so incredibly right! We ARE all idiots.

We should follow the lead that the far superior Europeans set in 1939 when they knew standing up to Hitler would only cause trouble. After all, their inspections that had been on-going since 1919 hadn't turned up a single panzer or plane. Come on, 20 years of inspections has to count for something, right? No way Hitler would lie or hide anything. That just wouldn't be cricket!

So then I ask, which dummies will come and bail our asses out? The French? They roll over faster than a trained dog. The Italians? They are the only nation to be on both sides of both world wars! The Brits will be there with us. Guess that makes them dummies too. Of course, they didn't have to spend the teens and forties learning German like our other 'allies.' I guess maybe they were dummies all along. Or maybe they just have a soft spot for their former colonies.

Another question: Where is the mighty French navy now that one of their ships has been attacked in the Persian Gulf? I can just see Iraq cowering in fear. Where do you think that boat's crew came from? Was that phone ringing in the Pentagon France asking for help again? Leave a message and we'll get back to you.

Oh, and thanks for the WWIII comment. It's nice to see you updated the names and (some) of the dates from the original Newsweek story. Isn't it swell you didn't have to change the name Bush?

Yes, I am a stupid American. You know what? We over here think that you are pretty stupid too.

Dude, (3.66 / 3) (#287)
by tkatchev on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 04:34:36 AM EST

...if you're so intelligent, might I suggest that you invest your reliable American dollar into a middle-school history book?

You might learn interesting facts about interesting places that aren't in Alabama.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Yeah, really (none / 0) (#290)
by Josh A on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 07:16:11 AM EST

VivianC, did you READ the article?

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Yes (1.50 / 2) (#303)
by VivianC on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 12:35:41 AM EST

Yes I did, but my rant took on a life of it's own after I started typing. Sorry, but I do know my WWII history.

VivC

[ Parent ]
lol well (none / 0) (#337)
by Josh A on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 05:40:23 AM EST

I can certainly see that your rant has its own mind and a will to manifest itself as a comment to an almost completely unrelated subject. I suggest you kill it before it breeds.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Yeah... (none / 0) (#346)
by VivianC on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 05:25:10 PM EST

I'll keep taking the medicine and hope the voices go away. I need less stress...

VivC

[ Parent ]
Uh huh. (2.66 / 3) (#305)
by VivianC on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 01:15:27 AM EST

I'm sorry, your message was cut off. I didn't get to see the part where you actually expose my alleged facts to be incorrect. I am willing to admit I made a mistake, but first you need to point one out.

And I've never been to Alabama although it is on my list to visit someday.

VivC

[ Parent ]
Quite cute. (3.00 / 2) (#324)
by tkatchev on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 05:19:33 PM EST

Pointing out all your errors is a bit like trying to explain why the sky isn't pink to a retared person.

That is, it's not something I'm likely to be doing unless very much forced to.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Fine. (1.66 / 3) (#331)
by VivianC on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 11:50:19 PM EST

You argue like my two year old daughter. You can't find any incorrect facts (just opinions you don't like) so you stomp your little foot and say "I don't want to." I may not have all the answers or even the right one, but you've got nothing.

Reply again when you get out of grade school. You are the weakest link. Goodbye.

VivC

[ Parent ]
Dude, (3.00 / 2) (#336)
by tkatchev on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 04:18:56 AM EST

everything you said is an "incorrect fact".

Think about it. If you're too stupid to realize just how massively stupid you are, how can we have productive dialogue?

I suggest you find someone more on your intellectual level to bicker with. You're out of your depth.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Yes, and.... (none / 0) (#345)
by VivianC on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 05:23:17 PM EST

Being contrary does not make you right. You seem to think that if you keep saying that I'm wrong, it will become so. If EVERYTHING is wrong, then pick one fact and prove me wrong. Show everyone that I'm an American Idiot. I'll give you a push: discredit my statement of arms inspections in Germany. Go ahead, give it a shot.

Or maybe I am missing the point. Maybe you are an American and just want to show that you are an idiot. I guess I stand corrected.

VivC

[ Parent ]
you stupid monkey (none / 0) (#348)
by adequate nathan on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 09:12:52 PM EST

For one thing, the Allies were perfectly aware of German rearmament prior to 1939. Hitler didn't even try to conceal it. Hell, it was a Nazi platform plank.

Either you know this (troll) or you don't (fucknut,) but either way, plonk to you.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Yes but... (none / 0) (#351)
by VivianC on Tue Oct 22, 2002 at 01:03:13 PM EST

They obviously didn't know the extent hence the failures of the Maginot line and the evacuation at Dunkirk. The reconstruction of the Wehrmacht started before Hitler gained power, right under the noses of Allied arms inspectors.

VivC

[ Parent ]
pull the other one (5.00 / 2) (#352)
by adequate nathan on Tue Oct 22, 2002 at 03:00:22 PM EST

[Arms inspectors] obviously didn't know the extent hence the failures of the Maginot line and the evacuation at Dunkirk...

This is such an obvious error that you have got to be kidding me. The WWI-vintage French officer class didn't have a theory of mechanized cavalry (tanks) supported by dive bombers. France was in a great position to fight WWI over again, but the French were tactically outclassed and outdated.

This has nothing to do with arms inspection, as you know very well.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Dumbness (5.00 / 3) (#293)
by Betcour on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 01:04:58 PM EST

Where is the mighty French navy now that one of their ships has been attacked in the Persian Gulf?

If you are talking about that oil tanker, it was attacked with a tiny boat loaded with explosive. The French are not stupid : they know you can't stop 10 terrorists hiding in a foreign country with a carrier, cruse missiles or a whole fleet. Finding the terrorists and taking care of them requires to actually send real peoples in there and do a regular police/secret service job. It cost less, is more effective, avoid civilian deads, and the icing on the cake : you don't get the whole world to hate you even more.

Meanwhile, Bin Laden is probably alive and kicking, thousands of inocent Afghanis have been killed, and Afghanistan is even more of a wasteland ... guess the whole US army isn't good enough to find and kill just one guy. Could it be that it's actually not the right tool for the job ?

[ Parent ]
Please: actually read the article before venting! (3.00 / 2) (#306)
by Spork on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 01:49:22 AM EST

Your comments make it obvious you didn't even make it to the end of the first paragraph. Your ego must be so delicate that even the mere explectation that someone was going to say something bad about an idiot like you sends you into "defensive biggot mode." Well, once you master reading, please come back and practice here. I think you'll find that the conclusion I argue for is that the "stupid American" stereotype is a myth.

Of course, comments like yours make me think I should reconsider.

[ Parent ]

The Article (none / 0) (#332)
by VivianC on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 11:55:05 PM EST

I was more responding to some of the other posters than your story. I just lumped it all in one ranting message. My reading comprehension is quite good, actually. It's my spelling that suffers. That and my mind tends to wander sometimes.

VivC

[ Parent ]
Proving interpretation of article correct (3.00 / 2) (#313)
by hypno on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 08:54:53 AM EST

Guess what? Blurting out insults makes you look STUPID.

Also, exactly HOW does Iraq have any resemblance to Germany in the two wars?

Firstly Iraq is not a threat to the US. Secondly the country is crippled and impoverished from years of sanctions.

Do you think that a world where at the first hint of a threat all out war is fought against this "threat" would be a better and more peaceful one? If so you're sorely mistaken.

The world is NOT standing behind the US, because this is an unjust, inhumane and a war based purely on self-interest, not defence.

[ Parent ]

Hmmm... (1.00 / 1) (#333)
by VivianC on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 12:26:30 AM EST

Also, exactly HOW does Iraq have any resemblance to Germany in the two wars?

Simple, Germany was agressive towards their neighbors and had a decent chance of coming over here and raising a ruckus. I don't recall at any time that German forces landed in the US or that they ever shelled the coastline. Don't recall any bombers coming by either. I suggest you read up on PM Chamberland, Appeasement and arms inspections required by the Versailles Treaty. Get back to me on what you find out. You might be able to see some connections. Tell me the results of the 'Peace at any cost' philosopy of France and England in the 1930s.

war based purely on self-interest, not defence.

Yeah, I guess you got me there. We'd have a problem if Iraq controled over 50% of the world's oil reserves. But I'm sure you don't see a problem with that. After all, BP only buys 3,000,000 barrels of oil a month for the US from Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. No effect on Europe if a madman controls all of that next year. (I will not debate that madmen already control all that. But three rulers is better than one. Competition.)

The world is NOT standing behind the US

You are correct but your address seems to be from the UK. They are with us, maybe for the reasons above. Heck, you are the only other country that has been bombing Iraq this year. Good show, I say. But I guess you feel responsible since you helped draw many of the boundries in the middle east as your empire waned. Or maybe you just want another crack at Pax Britainia. You tell me why the tornados are flying and the SAS is gettng their boots dusty. I'd love to know.

VivC

[ Parent ]
The problem is not stupidity ... (4.00 / 2) (#291)
by jope on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 08:22:16 AM EST

You know we Europeans, along with pretty much the rest or the world wouldn't really care about the dumbness of the U.S. president (well OK, it's good for an unbelieving chuckle now and then), or his voters/supporters, or the dumbness of the U.S. public, as long as they just mind their own business and leave us alone with it. The problem is that the U.S. have that neurosis of trying to enforce their dumbness on others. The U.S. have caused an endless chain of instability, suffering and millions of deaths throughout the world - whatever the reasons - dumbness, striving for power, striving for profit - really are, the U.S. will have to live with the fact that the rest of the world is not too thankful for that, and in some cases, will rebel against it. Standard disclaimer for the logic-impaired: pointing out something about one party does *not* logically imply that other parties don't share those qualities.

Fine with me... (3.00 / 3) (#301)
by VivianC on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 12:22:37 AM EST

You know we Europeans, along with pretty much the rest or the world wouldn't really care about the dumbness of the U.S. president (well OK, it's good for an unbelieving chuckle now and then), or his voters/supporters, or the dumbness of the U.S. public, as long as they just mind their own business and leave us alone with it.

Fine with me. I've been saying the same thing for years. Bring all our troops home and only send them out when something directly effects us. I mean, every time the UN decides to use force, why does it always have to be America that ponies up the troops?

So if Turkey decides it wants to take out the Kurds in Northern Iraq and Saddam wants to act as a blocking force, screw 'em. Let the EU figure it out. And if Saddam doesn't like Turkish troops on his soil and decides to lob a few SCUDs, maybe with a nuke or VX gas, into Istambul, let our NATO allies in the area deal with it.

My taxes will go down from the elimination of foreign aid and having to support bases overseas. And when the first plane hits the Reichstag, we'll gladly send over a team of medics and cooks when they go to retaliate.

Of course, everything here will still be for sale. Cash only.

VivC

[ Parent ]
US troops for UN (none / 0) (#322)
by slur on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 04:52:44 PM EST

I mean, every time the UN decides to use force, why does it always have to be America that ponies up the troops?

We aren't required to pony up troops by law. I would assume that the US only sends troops into places where it wants some kind of foothold - to gain mindshare and further its own interests.

|
| slur was here
|

[ Parent ]

Missile go BOOM! (4.00 / 4) (#294)
by Rock Joe on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 03:32:05 PM EST

Americans are brainwashed to be the way they are. And even though I have no idea if what I'm about to say is true, I'm pretty sure the Romans raised their kids the same way.

Reciting the pledge of allegiance every morning from childhood instills a great sence of patriotism in an individual, and with the way you TOTALLY glorify your military (They're never "Soldiers", they're "Those brave souls who are risking their lives fighting for our rights"), that instills a notion that military action is the only kind of action. And to top things off, with 9/11, Bush-bashing became all but illegal, and anyone who disagrees with anything the president says is labeled un-patriotic. It's funny how people forget that two years ago, MOST americans didn't want Bush as their president to begin with. (Who won the popular vote again?)

But I digress. I take my hat off to Bush. He got screwed up the butt in a way that no country should ever have to live through, and instead of leading his country in an era of self-examination and maturity, he played his cards just right in order to guarantee that he'll be able to do whatever he wants as long as he sits in the White House by manipulating the very sensitive emotions of his country and riding on that wave. He even succeeded in instilling the ABSOLUTELY FALSE notion that you can fight terrorists with an army. You need POLICE to fight terrorists, not brave souls who risk their lives to fight for your rights overseas. But a country at war is a united country that stands behind its president. And a public that fears attack is a public that cries out to its leader "Please protect us!" I mean even when a mad man decides to snipe people at random, we have conspiracy theories about terrorist cells (I'd look pretty stupid if it turns out the sniper really IS a terrorist).

The whole Irak thing is about politics. Bush wants to lash out at an established american enemy just in time to make sure his buddies get voted into congress, and why not make a lil' green on the side with some of that black gold? But accusing the president of this is un-patriotic, of course.

Anyway, in a more direct response to the article, I don't think americans are dumb. I just think they're extremely patriotic. That's a good thing. But if you let your patriotism get in the way of your better judgement, then it's a not-so-good thing. And it's very easy to glorify your brave men in uniform and the job they do when you're not the one who actually has to go down in the trenches and look war in the eye.

Oh. And just one request. In 2004, Bush is gonna try and get re-elected, and he gonna come on REALLY strong. He's gonna talk about how he led the post 9/11 USofA into a glorious war on terrorism and how he created the homeland security council and how (if he gets his way) he ridded Irak of a horrible man who used gas on his own people. If Bin Laden gets caught from here to then, he's gonna have another very strong argument. Please, please PLEASE don't re-elect this madman. He's gonna lead all of you, with the rest of the world in tow, to places where we simply don't belong...

Ah! What the hell? Since I'm getting stuff off my chest, I might as well let you know that the USA has the power to CONSIDERABLY reduce the fighting that goes on in the world, and especially Israel: JUST STOP SELLING WEAPONS!!!

Signatures are for losers!
--Rock Joe

all but illegal (3.25 / 4) (#299)
by cyberbuffalo on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 08:30:11 PM EST

Bush-bashing became all but illegal, and anyone who disagrees with anything the president says is labeled un-patriotic. He still gets bashed all the time. And no one has been sent to jail or charged with a crime. Where do you guys read this crap?

[ Parent ]
You wrote it yourself... (1.00 / 1) (#320)
by Rock Joe on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 04:35:45 PM EST

...so I'm assuming you read it too. Did you know that "all but illegal" means that it's legal? There that "but" word in the middle indicating a negation in this context. I'm reffering to the comments of the kind: "It's inappropriate to make fun of our president when we're at war".

Signatures are for losers!
--Rock Joe
[ Parent ]
Sorry... (2.80 / 5) (#302)
by VivianC on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 12:27:38 AM EST

I might as well let you know that the USA has the power to CONSIDERABLY reduce the fighting that goes on in the world, and especially Israel: JUST STOP SELLING WEAPONS!!!

As an American, I apologize to all developing nations for our greed in making the AK-47 the most prolific assault rifle in the world. Oh wait. Was that us? Umm. Then I'll apologize to the FN rifles. Not us again? Damn. Which ones are we dumping again?

VivC

[ Parent ]
Nice text (none / 0) (#317)
by Ctugha on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 10:59:57 AM EST

I just wonder how somebody can listen seriously to Bush´s discourse, how somebody can still believe in a constitution that allows people to buy automatic weapons created only to kill people, and so on. I read a couple of days ago that the funds that the USA are going to employ to attack Irak could be enough to make RICH all the hungry ones of our planet.

[ Parent ]
What can I say? (none / 0) (#354)
by Rock Joe on Wed Oct 23, 2002 at 11:08:12 AM EST

Americans love their guns. Well anyway, the founding fathers loved their guns. They loved them enough to include them in the constitution, and everything the founding fathers did is above reproach.

Bush loves his army. He loves it enough to use it to do absolutely everything overseas. He loves it enough to use the word "war" to describe pretty much any conflict that the US has with non-americans. I wouldn't be surprised at ALL to see good ol' Dub-Yuh declare war on world hunger and send troops into third world countries to liberate them from this horrible killer that is hunger.

Signatures are for losers!
--Rock Joe
[ Parent ]

Humanitarian war? (none / 0) (#355)
by Ctugha on Wed Oct 23, 2002 at 11:38:09 AM EST

Maybe that´s the point. Before this, Bush had a strategy to stop forest fires: just chop down the woods. Easy and cheap, anyone could understand the point. Maybe now is the same: to stop hunger in the third world, just throw wars bomb after bomb to small hungry countries. As there is more food per head, you have finished with the hunger.

[ Parent ]
Good ol' Dub-Yuh. (none / 0) (#357)
by Rock Joe on Wed Oct 23, 2002 at 01:36:28 PM EST

The worst part is that I wouldn't be that surprised to hear such a proposition made by Bush. I can see him giving a touching speech about how "our brave men and women in uniform" would be putting those poor souls out of their misery, and making Unicef's job easier all in one swift move. I can see the UN strictly opposing such a resolution. I can see Bush not giving a rat's ass what the UN thinks, and sending Mr. Powell to say shit like "The issue isn't saving lives. The issue is ending world hunger." I can see Republican congressman blindly supporting Bush and calling any Democrate who opposes such a resolution un-patriotic. Saying stuff like "We need to be behind our president in this time of war. It's a different kind of war (maybe because the word "war" is mis-used), but it's a war we need to win!"

Then again, I've been known to have an over-active immagination. :o)

Signatures are for losers!
--Rock Joe
[ Parent ]

Alternative words for "war" (none / 0) (#358)
by Ctugha on Thu Oct 24, 2002 at 05:25:06 AM EST

Allways you can find words to mean "war" in a indirect manner... "maneuvers for peace", "human life redistribution"... who can find the most?

[ Parent ]
I don´t know what is worst...... (none / 0) (#296)
by Niha on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 05:55:36 PM EST

...if to be idiot or to be evil.Anyway, I had never thought that people from USA were all idiots.I thought that some of them where idiots,some evil, and the rest as anyone can be.

What differences America from dictatorship? (5.00 / 1) (#297)
by Ctugha on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 08:01:36 PM EST

Ok, let´s say that there is a majority of americans that do not support an attack to Irak. If they are in some way concerned with it they should raise their voice, as a country should be governed listening to those that are part of it. If there exists that voice that is not listened to, then Bush is a dictator as Saddam, but just more powerfull and maybe evil as somebody said. From Europe all this sounds quite incredible; maybe one day i´ll just get bored of hear new things of Bush, and that´s all. A friend a couple of days ago told me that the police suggesting citizens to carry paper and pen to get clues about the Washington sniper remembered him 1984. I think all this has remembered Orwell´s book for years.

let's see .. (3.00 / 1) (#298)
by cyberbuffalo on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 08:25:15 PM EST

Bush isn't a dictator because he was elected. And because Congress gave him the authority to use force against Iraq.

[ Parent ]
let´s see (5.00 / 1) (#307)
by Ctugha on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 07:44:12 AM EST

Ok, let´s say that Saddam was not elected, but if I remember well, he was re-elected a couple of days ago. Iraki´s had 50% of chance to not-elect him. Maybe Bush had even less suppourt in the last democratic elections. Who says that Irakis can not change their dictator?

[ Parent ]
No (5.00 / 1) (#315)
by cyberbuffalo on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 10:00:00 AM EST

Yes, Saddam was relected. There wasn't anyone running against him. Saddam says Iraqis can't change their dictator.

[ Parent ]
No? (none / 0) (#316)
by Ctugha on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 10:50:10 AM EST

There was nobody running against him, but if you wanted you could vote "no". If Saddam was really a dictator, then you would see what could happen. If the majority of Iraki citizens wanted to continue with Saddam (the alternative was "let´s see what happens"), then Saddam is in equality with Bush.

[ Parent ]
not an option (none / 0) (#329)
by cyberbuffalo on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 10:56:47 PM EST

I don't think No was an option. When they have elections in your country does anyone ever get 100% of the vote?

[ Parent ]
"No" was a vote for death (none / 0) (#342)
by Wah on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 11:55:33 AM EST

the ballots had a box for "yes" and "no" on them.  There was also a place for name, address, and phone number, IIRC.

Even with the sham of democracy (and the hugely mistaken assumption that voting==democracy) I would think that enough people, if they were truly a repressed people yearning to breathe free, would have taken the chance to get brutally murdered in front of foreign correspondents (and the gov't handlers) and some story stating as such would have come out.  Maybe it has, there has certainly been stuff like that happening in the past, but I didn't see one for this last "election".

After all, many don't have children to worry about1 and could happily give their life to move their country toward true democracy where the candidate with the most votes wins, err, most "electoral college" votes.

1since they died of easily preventable gastro-intestinal illnesses because the same technology that is used to provide clean water can be used to create WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION!!!11, and we can't have them having that stuff around, now can we?
--
Life is a strange state of matter.
[ Parent ]

Really? (5.00 / 3) (#311)
by Spork on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 08:24:40 AM EST

Bush isn't a dictator because he was elected.

That's not how I remember it...

[ Parent ]

Then you remember it wrong (none / 0) (#314)
by cyberbuffalo on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 09:58:28 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Does he? (5.00 / 2) (#335)
by Pac on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 02:39:42 AM EST

In my oh so averagely poor long term memory, that always remembers only what TV says I should, I somehow recall something about a brother, a sunny place, a dragon woman and battling elders dressed in black robes. There are images of elections, yes, but they are mixed with images of endless wrong countings and recountings, an African man saying something about how Chad was stuffed and millions upon millions around the world laughing for weeks and screaming "Too close to call" every time they saw an American in the street.

But it maybe me. I think I should stop skipping the medication these kind people around here offer me.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
There is one difference... (4.50 / 2) (#300)
by GuruWannabe on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 09:20:55 PM EST

In another two years, we can choose a different dictator!

[ Parent ]
Attacks on Iraq (2.50 / 4) (#318)
by ishnaf on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 11:57:11 AM EST

I believe personally (with no real proof), that the real reason America is 'attacking' Iraq is pure racism. Just as certain muslims have declared a 'jihad' on America, america is declaring 'jihad' on Iraq. It recently came to surface that North Korea has nuclear capabilities, but this has been largely ignored (from what i can gather here in Australia) and the focus has been placed upon Iraq. I would posit that George W. Bush's views are instilled by his father, and that some Americans are following him from their views upon muslims. I don't think that you can say that people are not ignorant, they are (in my opinion).
An example of this is the refugee situation here in Australia. John Howard recently won an election from sheer racism, he held strong against illegal immigrants (which is a violation of the UN). And we are apparently a multicultural country ;).
Recently, Bali was attacked, which can be seen as a direct attack upon Australia, in retaliation for our Prime minister assf**king George Bush. Whatever the reasoning behind the attack truly is, we can see that we dislike 'muslims' as much as they dislike us (enough to bomb civilians).

I completely Agree :P (none / 0) (#319)
by ishnaf on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 11:59:50 AM EST

This person is completey correct :)

[ Parent ]
racism (none / 0) (#330)
by cyberbuffalo on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 11:38:17 PM EST

Yeh, that's it. Bush is a racist and wants to go to war with all the darkies of the world. Typical of a those Texans, they have racist tendencies.

[ Parent ]
Oh my. (none / 0) (#359)
by Iron Chef on Fri Oct 25, 2002 at 04:58:00 AM EST

The cussing, the name calling and let us please attempt to forget the lack of faith in America!
We are melting pot not perfact but with enough hope and determinism the approach is there. The silver linings of American patriotism are here waiting for you to join the most of us all.

Your opinion is sad, I feel very sorry for you.
But it's in my belief a proper objective approach is where if truth is what rule of character you are searching for can be found.
Viewing the matters of life with this type of  subjective opinions will only increase the imperfections of the few not fitting with the many of America the Beautiful.

In times of strife, the battles are hard, life appears fierce and inillumious, but concentrating on the few, the ugly It forces that the true beauty of our freedom will never be seen.

It seems apparent you are passionate, this I can respect, although obvious your take I do not believe in.

It is my hope you are as willing to turn that passion for what is beautiful about our country verses encouraging the ugly.

[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#360)
by Sairon on Fri Oct 25, 2002 at 12:12:36 PM EST

I am not the king of proper argumentation, but I seem to recall that several things could help you elucidate the desired reaction from your audience:
  1. Stick to one subject.
  2. If you don't have evidence, you have no argument but an emotive one. Would that be 'pathos' to those more in the know?
uh, yeah. I'm as bad at this as you. I wanted to reply emotionally to your post, but, I couldn't figure out what the central point was for me to attack.

[ Parent ]
Partially Right (5.00 / 1) (#321)
by RyoCokey on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 04:45:47 PM EST

The writer of this story makes a good point in saying that the true reason is rarely the one that Bush makes in speaches. However, he veers completely off the path when he attributes it to racism. The actual reason is straightforward, justified, and rarely discussed.

We signed a ceasefire with Iraq at the end of the Gulf War. Iraq has proceeded to break that ceasefire in nearly every possible way, and actively attacks our assets, to the point of shooting down one of our planes earlier.

This is the defacto reason for war with Iraq, and the one I generally here from people here in Texas. However, it's just not very inspiring. It's in this that the real problem of arguing about Iraq comes to light.

You see, the coalition signed the ceasefire, not just us. However, the coalition has since been revealed to be a bunch of self-interested cowards, to put it mildly. They ask for a UN resolution, of all things! Since when did one need a resolution when a foreign country attacks your planes and attempts to assassinate your president?

The US tried to settle the Gulf War without a military victory, through the path of UN sanctions. What was our reward for this "multilateral" path? Our allies trading secretly with our enemy, and then opposing action against it when we finally get a leader who doesn't roll over on every international issue possible.

The reason that Bush doesn't discuss the real reasons for Iraq is thus:

A) It reveals the obvious fact that Clinton's tenure as president has been an unmitigated disaster in terms of foreign relations. Additionally, it shows his father made a grave error of judgement when it came to the resolution of the Iraq war, and by extension that Colin Powell did as well, being a major advocate for that settlement.

B) It casts our allies in a terribly poor light, which isn't a wonderful way to gain their cooperation. Like it or not, many poor souls still see the UN as being some kind of moral body, who's opinion matters.

We can hardly go before the UN and state: "Ok, we want authorization to go to war with Iraq, since you're going to blackmail us about it if we go with the authority we already had from the ceasefire. We need to do this because you'd rather help Saddam procure the weapons to do us harm than enforce the documents you signed your name to for the sake of your own economy."



That, till the end of time, / Their remnant shall recall / Their fathers' old, confederate crime / Availed them not at all. -
American Intelligence and Iraq (5.00 / 2) (#353)
by OldCoder on Wed Oct 23, 2002 at 07:38:02 AM EST

I'd just like to point out that it isn't the Oil. Iraq wants to sell us oil, it's the US that is sanctioning Iraq to prevent this. I suppose you could propose that Bush is getting rich off of the higher oil prices, but we have laws that prevent this.

If it ain't the oil, what is it? It's the weapons. The oil pays for the weapons, so there is a connection, but that's it. To see this, compare Saudi Arabia to Iraq. The only difference is that Saudi Arabia is not trying to conquer anything militarily or oppose the US. Iraq is setting itself up as a military enemy of the US and its interests. That's the only difference, from an American perspective, between the two countries.

In both cases, the oil sands reside beneath a few tribes of Arabs who were dirt poor before the Western Powers started throwing money at them. In one case, the country is run by an evil dictator who clearly would have no compunctions about using his WOMD, in the other case, the country is run by a moralistic dictatorship that doesn't even want WOMD.

Further, Saddam has, by his behavior, shown that he is also willing to use his weapons to conquer his oil-rich neighbors, so he can create a true Empire. The only reason Saddam Hussein is not an Imperialist is that he has run into opposition and hasn't conquered much. It's not for lack of trying.

Also, the main thrust of the "American Stupidity" argument fails to highlight that the reasons the American people support the war may be somewhat different from the reasons that Bush is pushing it. Bush is pushing it for several reasons. The attack on September 11th was just the last straw, as it changed Bush's perception of the world. His administration was isolationist before Sept 11, and that is no longer tenable. Those airplanes could have had WOMD on board! Say what you will about Clinton, he was no isolationist.

The other reasons are more than a well known list, they paint a picture, a geshtalt, a series of indictments, that mutually reinforce each other in the light of the end of isolationism.

  1. The gas attack on the Kurds shows us Saddam will not hesitate to use WOMD. It isn't about punishing him for being a bad boy, it's about predicting his behavior.
  2. The invasion of Iraq likewise is an X-Ray into his personality and goals. He seeks more Oil for his Empire.
  3. The massive spending on weapons shows us what he wants the Oil for. This is important. Some people just want to be rich. Not Saddam, he wants to conquer.
  4. Saddams addiction to torture also gives us a good hint about what he would be willing to do with WOMD.
  5. The political benefits of war fever in October have probably not escaped the Bush camp, but this isn't just a pure "Wag the Dog" ploy. I'm not claiming Sainthood for the guy, but politics is still politics.
  6. Saddam has seen that he has gained some political milage by supporting Palestinian terror. This might be giving him a taste for providing more support. After all, what better way to use his expensive weapons without blowback?
  7. The combination of WOMD and Terrorism is going to face the US for quite some time to come. It clearly isn't safe for the US to just ignore the problem, and neither Hamas nor Saddam are amenable to American diplomacy.
In sum, Bush is not leading us to war to conquer Iraqi oil -- we could buy oil more cheaply than waging war.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2004 OldCoder
huh (none / 0) (#364)
by babbling on Thu Oct 31, 2002 at 01:08:54 PM EST

what the hell is a geshtalt gestalt maybe, but what is that
If I were at full slayer strength, I'd be punning right about now.
[ Parent ]
American Stupidity and Iraq | 366 comments (308 topical, 58 editorial, 0 hidden)
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