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[P]
Loss of Rights During Wartime

By bayers in Op-Ed
Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 10:33:42 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Not surprisingly, rights are lost during every war. Surprisingly, they are quickly reinstated after the war is over. What it comes to is this: do you have faith in the American people?


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During the Civil War, Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. As you can imagine, he had an enormous espionage problem and locking suspects up without due process of the law was convenient. Lincoln even ignored a writ of habeas corpus from the Supreme Court. Jefferson Davis, Lincoln's counterpart, wanted to suspend habeas corpus, but the Southern States wouldn't let him.

Habeas corpus was reinstated soon after the Civil War was over. In fact, the US has long history of imposing restrictive laws during war and repealing those same laws after the war is over.

In World War I, Congress passed the Espionage and Sedition Acts, putting sharp restrictions on speech and writing. Local governments went even further. Michael Klarman wrote, "The city of Pittsburgh banned Beethoven music; the Los Angeles Board of Education forbade discussion of peace in the schools; and many states prohibited German language instruction."

Here's a trivia question for you: what famous organization did the Espionage and Sedition Act bring about?

The American Civil Liberties Union.

We locked our ethnic Japanese citizens up during WWII, an act that I consider our nation's greatest wrong since the last hundred years. The Japanese-American sacrifice wasn't for naught: we aren't talking about locking up Muslims--we do learn our lessons.

The Cold War lasted half a century, but we actually gained some rights during it. The 'right to privacy' comes to mind along with the Freedom of Information Act.

Britain is considered fairly free. Back in the 70's when they had all the IRA trouble, they passed the Prevention of Terrorism Act. They seemed to have recovered from it.

What it boils down to is: do you have faith in the American people? If you don't, then I can understand your fear. If you do have faith in the American people, there's nothing to worry about. History shows the wartime laws will be repealed once the war is over.

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Display: Sort:
Loss of Rights During Wartime | 197 comments (177 topical, 20 editorial, 0 hidden)
Don't you know? (2.57 / 19) (#1)
by Hired Goons on Mon Dec 09, 2002 at 07:50:46 PM EST

America has always been a nation of hypocritical government.  "All created equal"?  Only if you're a WASP.

What a joke!
You calling that feature a bug? THWAK

Bullshit. (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by Canthros on Mon Dec 09, 2002 at 10:24:25 PM EST

You have one vote and only one vote. Just like everyone else, neh?

--
It's now obvious you are either A) Gay or B) Female, or possibly both.
RyoCokey
[ Parent ]
But if you can afford a congressperson (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by Greyshade on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 03:36:39 AM EST

Your ideals and agenda get much better sponsorship than say... Joe the garbage man or Jack the IT guy.

[ Parent ]
For that matter, (1.00 / 1) (#48)
by Canthros on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 07:44:57 AM EST

You don't necessarily need money if you're photogenic and can make enough noise.

--
It's now obvious you are either A) Gay or B) Female, or possibly both.
RyoCokey
[ Parent ]
Or build a bomb big enough ... (NT) (1.00 / 1) (#76)
by RoOoBo on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 10:35:14 AM EST



[ Parent ]
No (none / 0) (#128)
by Greyshade on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 12:18:36 AM EST

Then you get painted as an American-hating, psychopatchic terrorist and your political message gets ignored.

[ Parent ]
But (none / 0) (#137)
by RoOoBo on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 09:38:40 AM EST

if you say you're bombing because of the opposite reason you really want to ...

[ Parent ]
All men are created equal (3.00 / 2) (#67)
by jayhawk88 on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:48:25 AM EST

But some are more richer..er, equal than others.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
[ Parent ]
A vote is a vote is a vote. (none / 0) (#91)
by Canthros on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 02:01:10 PM EST

That the politicos themselves are corrupt is an entirely different thing.

--
It's now obvious you are either A) Gay or B) Female, or possibly both.
RyoCokey
[ Parent ]
And? (4.00 / 1) (#109)
by jayhawk88 on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 05:15:14 PM EST

So it's the people that are corrupt and not the system itself. What's your point? It's not as if Democracy was running free and perfect in a meadow before all us evil Americans came round and ruined it.

And for that matter, it's not "A Vote is A Vote is A Vote". Go ask Al Gore. Rants about Bush stealing elections and recounts aside, the fact remains that Gore had more actual votes than Bush, and it's only the Electoral College that enables Bush to win the election. And Electoral College that has been in place since the beginning, mind you, indicating that clearly even the Founding Fathers didn't think much of the common mans ability to elect "the right candidate".

The original point here is that America is a hypocrite for trumpeting the virtues of our Perfect Democracy to the rest of the world, when it's pretty clear that it's the rich and their special interest groups that really run this country. A system of government is nothing but an imaginary construct without the people behind it, so I fail to see the point in trying to draw a line between them.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
[ Parent ]
By which I meant (none / 0) (#133)
by Canthros on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 08:04:11 AM EST

That your vote carries as much weight as mine (little or none). As the system currently stands, we vote for people based on how well we agree with their position, rather than how well we think they will represent ours, we allow corporations, lobbies and organisations to purchase influence by not having a term limit on congressmen...

--
It's now obvious you are either A) Gay or B) Female, or possibly both.
RyoCokey
[ Parent ]
I tend to agree (2.00 / 2) (#29)
by carbon on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 03:40:03 AM EST

The US is in a pretty good position, civil rights wise, but it's silly to think it was a nation founded on the same ideals it has currently. Washington, Jefferson, and friends probably would've scoffed at things like repealing slavery, womens' suffrage, and the like. Can someone with more historical knowledge than me back this up, or refute me?


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
Refutation (4.00 / 1) (#79)
by wiredog on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 11:02:43 AM EST

Well, partial. Jefferson, anyway, wanted to repeal slavery, but couldn't see how to do it. He couldn't even see a way to freeing his own slaves.

During the debates that led to the writing of the Constitution there was a strong push for outlawing slavery, but an equally strong push for not doing so. Since it was felt the unity among the States was vital, to keep European governments from meddling, it was settled with the '3/5ths compromise', among others. This didn't really settle the issue, but merely put it on the back burner. Jefferson, among others, could see the Civil War looming over that issue. The compromises just meant that it was fought in the 1860's rather than in the 1790's.

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

[ Parent ]

Jefferson & Slavery (4.00 / 1) (#88)
by Merk00 on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 01:12:16 PM EST

As another point about Jefferson being anti-slavery, in the Declaration of Indepedence, Jefferson wanted to (and did so in an initial draft) include slavery under the list of abuses by the King of England. It was eventually removed so as to not offend southern states.

------
"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 ]

Ignored a major point of difference (4.72 / 22) (#3)
by goonie on Mon Dec 09, 2002 at 07:53:02 PM EST

Previous wars have been finite against clearly defined enemies - usually nicely wrapped up in nation states. Big honkin' battles are fought, one or the other side wins (or a stalemate is reached), some sort of peace treaty is signed, we all go home.

This "war" involves an ever-changing array of enemies (varying from al-Queda which seems to be more of an idea than an organisation, to a collection of various admittedly very nasty nation-states that don't have a great deal in common), fought by a fair degree covertly, and most importantly no clear endgame exists. Is it supposed to be when everybody who wants to do nasty things to the US is either dead, in jail, or has been cleansed of such impure thoughts? If that's the case, the war will *never* end. Does that mean we have to give up freedoms (such as the freedom to due process when detained which is currently denied to those guys at Gitmo) permanently?

You can't be "at war" permanently against an ethereal target, as amply demonstrated by the "War on Drugs".

Ummm, he mentioned (4.00 / 6) (#6)
by wiredog on Mon Dec 09, 2002 at 08:22:41 PM EST

the Cold War. It felt extremely permanent until the late 80's.

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

[ Parent ]
The "Cold War" wasn't a war... (4.28 / 7) (#16)
by goonie on Mon Dec 09, 2002 at 10:02:45 PM EST

The Cold War (I'm just old enough to remember the tail end of it) was also not a war. Calling it a war stretched an analogy that didn't really apply too far.

The current situation is even less like what is commonly understood by a war. At least the Cold War had a clearly identifiable enemy and clear goals (prevent the Soviets from bringing their style of government to the rest of the world, and eventually remove it from them). Here the enemy is really an idea whose backers largely don't have a nation state (except for the Saudis, who are supposedly our allies???), or indeed much of a visible organisation, backing them up.

I'm not denying that "the West" faces a serious problem with terrorism. But calling it a war brings a tactical mindset which really doesn't apply to the situation at hand.

[ Parent ]

Not a war? (3.50 / 2) (#46)
by wiredog on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 07:26:41 AM EST

Except for Korea and Vietnam. And read up on the Berlin Airlift. The missiles of October. Also, I'm sure the people of Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador would disagree with "not a war". It was fought in Indonesia and Burma. The Phillipines. Afghanistan was a Cold War battlefield.

It wasn't a World War 2 type of war, but it was a war. Battles were fought, people died.

As to "a clearly identifiable enemy and clear goals". Well, in my view the US has those now. Violent fundamentalist Islamic terrorists, Al Qaeda primarily, and the countries (and people) that support them are the enemy. The goal is to make it clear that blowing up buildings in the US, doing the same to US embassies and warships, and otherwise attacking the US, will not be tolerated.

Iraq is not a country that has attacked the US, nor is it likely to, so there is no reason to go after Iraq.

If Iraq is a threat to its neighbors, let them deal with it.

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

[ Parent ]

the difference (4.50 / 2) (#61)
by aphrael on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:32:41 AM EST

the difference as I see it, though, is that this war has no clearly defined end. The cold war was over when the USSR collapsed. What are the criteria we can point to to say, OK, we've won, the war on terrorism is over?

Absent a method for defining the end of the war on terrorism, how can you have confidence that the emergency legislation passed to fight the war on terrorism will ever be taken off the books?

[ Parent ]

The end (none / 0) (#77)
by wiredog on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 10:41:25 AM EST

But during the Cold War there was no clearly defined end either. It ended when the USSR collapsed, but we didn't know when, or even if, that would happen. We didn't know how to bring it about without triggering a hot nuclear war.

I remember, in high school, hearing the air raid sirens being tested the second Wednesday of every month at 11 AM. That was in the early 80's. I have no idea when the testing stopped, but I do know that the sirens are now gone. Removed.

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

[ Parent ]

Really? (none / 0) (#92)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 02:01:39 PM EST

We still have our sirens here in Baltimore. They were, and are, for emergencies. Air raids were one possibility, but floods, tornadoes, flying saucers, gas leaks, or anything else that might require evacuation of the populace are still an issue.

You can't be certain that everybody will be watching TV, unless maybe something terrible happens during the Superbowl.

[ Parent ]

Defined Enemies vs Defined End (5.00 / 3) (#96)
by Elkor on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 02:43:56 PM EST

I don't think we need a Defined End so much as a Defined Enemy. And you can't really say that the Islamic Terror Groups qualify as a Defined Enemy.

All of Communist Russia wasn't likely to move to Brazil. We knew that the Big Bad Commies were in Russia, and that is where we needed to watch. When Communist Russia went away, our enemy went away. That was the end.

Right now we're fighting Terror. And we don't know where the Terror Groups are hiding. Especially since everyone is saying "Don't blame all Islam!" (which I agree with, btw)

But, geez, how can you say we have a defined enemy if we can't do that? Who're we supposed to blame? What do they look like? Where do they come from?

We could at least blame all the Russians during the Cold War (except the ones that defected, thus demonstrating they were on Our Side).

Compared to the Cold War, this is a bit more nebulous.

Anyway, enough Devil's Advocate.

Regards,
Elkor


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
yes we do (1.00 / 1) (#142)
by cyberbuffalo on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 10:07:41 AM EST

Right now we're fighting Terror. And we don't know where the Terror Groups are hiding. Especially since everyone is saying "Don't blame all Islam!" (which I agree with, btw)

We know where they are hiding. We just blew a guy up in Yemen. It is an islamic fundimentalist terror organization centered in the mideast. This is news?

[ Parent ]

So are they all dead, or not? (none / 0) (#183)
by ethereal on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 05:45:46 PM EST

If the enemy is so defined, how will we know when we've beaten them? Because to me it seems that the threat of terrorism will always be with us. You can't prove that you've gotten all of them, so there's always a justification for a wartime atmosphere. Whereas it was pretty obvious when the USSR ended.

--

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

I'm not quite sure about this (2.50 / 4) (#9)
by HidingMyName on Mon Dec 09, 2002 at 08:55:51 PM EST

Previous wars have been finite against clearly defined enemies - usually nicely wrapped up in nation states. Big honkin' battles are fought, one or the other side wins (or a stalemate is reached), some sort of peace treaty is signed, we all go home.

This "war" involves an ever-changing array of enemies (varying from al-Queda which seems to be more of an idea than an organisation, to a collection of various admittedly very nasty nation-states that don't have a great deal in common), fought by a fair degree covertly, and most importantly no clear endgame exists.

One possibility is that the countries hosting the terrorists would like to directly attack the U.S. but are afraid to step up and directly confront the U.S. If we find out a government is actively supporting Al Qaeda, the U.S. may declare war on that countries leaders, like we did with the Taliban. Remember, it wasn't just some idle thoughts that destroyed the WTC and bombed the Pentagon. This is a well organized, and funded organization, it isn't like 20 suicidal guys got together at the pub and said "let's do this.". The U.S. govt. has a very high priority duty to protect its citizens, like every other government. Part of the problem is that technology is making things easier, stuff that would have taken a large army can be done by a carefully coordinated group of a few dozen opeartives. Additionally, destruction is generally easier than construction.
You can't be "at war" permanently against an ethereal target, as amply demonstrated by the "War on Drugs".
First off, we know the head of Al Qaeda and the top leaders. If a U.S. citizen organized a private (i.e. not sponsored by the government) attack on another country (e.g. crashed planes into Buckingham Palace, the Kremlin or Beijing), we would put the perpetrator in jail. The countries hosting Al Qaeda won't do this, interpol cannot do this (they had years to get Bin Ladin), so what should we do? Going after them directly seems to make sense (how we do it is a different issue). However, our leaders have made kind of open ended sounding threats, which could come back to haunt us.

On a side note, I suspect there are completely different reasons why the war on drugs fails. The war on drugs fails because it does not target specific people, and because our own citizens want to take drugs. The U.S. tends to focus on the supply side and less on demand. Perhaps it would be better to focus on giving people exciting opportunities so that they don't piss their lives away. Why was drug abuse so rare say until 40-50 years ago, and so prevalent over the last 30 years? Perhaps if people thought that they could do something important if they avoid drug abuse, drug use would diminish. I'm not sure if legalization is necessarily a bad idea, I'd like to hear feedback on that score from citizens of countries with legalized drugs and what they think.

[ Parent ]

Perspective (5.00 / 4) (#10)
by Lord Snott on Mon Dec 09, 2002 at 09:17:09 PM EST


Sorry, I think you're a little too close to be objective.

The war on drugs fails because it does not target specific people

No, it targets specific drugs. If you take out a terrorist, what makes you think there aren't a hundred other people to take his place?

You were on the right track, though - The war on drugs fails because people WANT to take drugs. Take away the need for drugs and the flow stops. Take away the need for people to die, defending their homeland, and the terrorism stops. People don't WANT to die, but they will if they feel it's the right thing to do.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This sig in violation of U.S. trademark
registration number 2,347,676.
Bummer :-(

[ Parent ]
Too much distance can hide the point :-) (4.00 / 2) (#100)
by HidingMyName on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 03:58:35 PM EST

Sorry, I think you're a little too close to be objective.
Sorry, I think you are too removed from the situation to see clearly :-)
The war on drugs fails because it does not target specific people
No, it targets specific drugs.
Let's separate the issues, we are now talking about a side issue which is fundamentally different. Besides, people go to jail and get punished, so it does target people.
If you take out a terrorist, what makes you think there aren't a hundred other people to take his place?
Drugs and terrorism are different issues (although drug money sometimes sponsors terrorism). Terrorism is a non judicial process used by private citizens to illegally deprive other citizens of their rights. These particular terrorists are murderers, when a normal murder occurs do we ever bother to ask ourselves the question, "If you take out a terrorist, what makes you think there aren't a hundred other people to take his place?"? No, and the reason we don't is because the moral imperative of stopping murder is sufficiently strong that governments the world over (with the support of the citizens) investigate murders, detain suspects, and punish them if found guilty (typically with prison or death).

Terrorism is the adult equivalent of a temper tantrum, where instead of trying to resolve a problem, the terrorists threaten and destroy. There is no point in negotiating with such people, it can only make things worse, since terrorists would then get a positive reinforcement. One thing that nations generally agree upon is that lawless terrorist activities should generate positive reinforcements for the organizers and sponsors. Otherwise, if you give into a terrorist, what makes you think he/she won't try again AND there won't be far more than a hundred other people to take their place.

You were on the right track, though - The war on drugs fails because people WANT to take drugs. Take away the need for drugs and the flow stops.
The positive reinforcement for drug users is getting high, and the sense that they are escaping their problems. Although we cannot do it, if drugs no longer made users high, drug abuse would stop.
Take away the need for people to die, defending their homeland, and the terrorism stops. People don't WANT to die, but they will if they feel it's the right thing to do.
But here we can take away the positive reinforcement. The financial rewards for surviving family members should be eliminated. People and organizations who sponsor, aid or abet terrorism should be scared of repercussions, not thinking about how their negotiations are going to improve, or how they can thwart negotiations and stay in power.

[ Parent ]
Too Close, Too Far (none / 0) (#121)
by Lord Snott on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 07:37:21 PM EST


You've missed the point, again.

if drugs no longer made users high, drug abuse would stop.

Yeah, but why do they WANT to get high? All you are talking about is the symptoms. Instead of trying to stop people detonating bombs, take away the reason for detonating bombs. You keep referring to money, like it matters to them. It ENABLES them to do what they do, but it's not WHY they do what they do.

Al Qaeda (sp?) want the US out of their homelands. They feel the US's actions are insulting, sacreligious and detrimental to their well-being as a people. What is the US doing about THAT? Whether or not you agree with their point of view is irrelevent - You can disagree from within your own country, not from within theirs.

Take away their need for action (by removing yourselves from their homelands), and people are no longer willing to die in an effort to hurt you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This sig in violation of U.S. trademark
registration number 2,347,676.
Bummer :-(

[ Parent ]
Human condition and Accepting Responsibility (1.66 / 3) (#126)
by HidingMyName on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 11:52:14 PM EST

Yeah, but why do they WANT to get high? All you are talking about is the symptoms. Instead of trying to stop people detonating bombs, take away the reason for detonating bombs. You keep referring to money, like it matters to them. It ENABLES them to do what they do, but it's not WHY they do what they do.
They do it because they are intellectually weak and lack any other concept of how to better their lot in life. Perhaps this is presumptuous, but the thought just struck me as I wrote this, that if the general population had a real leader and were serious about change they could follow other models of defeating oppression, including the excellent model of Mahatma Ghandi.
Al Qaeda (sp?) want the US out of their homelands. They feel the US's actions are insulting, sacreligious and detrimental to their well-being as a people. What is the US doing about THAT? Whether or not you agree with their point of view is irrelevent - You can disagree from within your own country, not from within theirs.
Well if they harbor criminals and won't deal with it then the U.S. will have to straighten out this problem. I'm telling you that the moral imperative that the average citizen feels about this in the U.S. is not going to let this be swept under the rug. They killed more people on September 11 than died in Pearl Harbor. (this link has very preliminary 9/11 statistics, I think the currently accepted number around 3500 or so dead)
Take away their need for action (by removing yourselves from their homelands), and people are no longer willing to die in an effort to hurt you.
This is just passing the buck. If they are so keen for change, change comes from within. Ghandi made tremendous changes in India, and reformed some highly oppressive Indian institutions to show that the Indians were far more capable and competent at self management than the colonial powers indicated. If an Islamic leader could take that level of leadership and reform, that would really shake things up, and perhaps drive the colonizing powers out. The method works, and has provided some very favorable longer term benefits for India.

[ Parent ]
Aargh! (none / 0) (#125)
by HidingMyName on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 11:26:05 PM EST

One thing that nations generally agree upon is that lawless terrorist activities should generate positive reinforcements for the organizers and sponsors
This should instead read:
One thing that nations generally agree upon is that lawless terrorist activities should NOT generate positive reinforcements for the organizers and sponsors

[ Parent ]
Declaration of war? (5.00 / 2) (#32)
by AE 35 on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 03:46:58 AM EST

If we find out a government is actively supporting Al Qaeda, the U.S. may declare war on that countries leaders, like we did with the Taliban. I think i must have slept when the U.S. declared war on Taliban/Afganistan, because i can't remember it...

[ Parent ]
Good Point (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by HidingMyName on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 08:52:15 AM EST

The normal congressional declaration of war was not officially issued. However, this time he went in with general congressional and international support. Congress gave the President very broad authority to do what he considered best militarily in this legislation, including:
...the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons,
This unusual legislation came about because:
  • The average U.S. citizen wanted to stop the terrorists from ever doing that again.
  • The Taliban was not officially recognized as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.
  • The "private citizens" in Al Qaeda seemed a little too well finananced and organized, perhaps they had some help from the governments of some countries.
So, while it is not perhaps a traditional war, the President was endowed with several war-like powers.

[ Parent ]
not this time (4.25 / 12) (#4)
by gps on Mon Dec 09, 2002 at 08:01:32 PM EST

the patroit act and similar things shoved through and signed without much more than a thought were nothing but laundry lists in the waiting of powers that agencies desired.  good luck getting those changed if an end is ever settled upon in this "war."

everyone in the country better hope that they don't end up on the bush administrations blacklist of people not allowed to lead a normal life because they post a threat to the republican war party.

The Patriot Act has a sunset clause (3.66 / 3) (#19)
by thenick on Mon Dec 09, 2002 at 11:02:45 PM EST

I believe that in either two or four years the Patriot Act will expire. Congress would have to pass another version of the Patriot Act. This vote would take place during a time when the country wasn't fueled by the anger of massive terrorist attacks.

 
"Doing stuff is overrated. Like Hitler, he did a lot, but don't we all wish he would have stayed home and gotten stoned?" -Dex
[ Parent ]

Sunset clause does not apply to the whole bill n/t (4.50 / 6) (#33)
by FlipFlop on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 03:49:09 AM EST

I believe that in either two or four years the Patriot Act will expire.

Parts of the bill had a sunset clause. Other parts did not

AdTI - The think tank that didn't
[ Parent ]

Bush has declared permuwar (4.20 / 10) (#11)
by QuantumG on Mon Dec 09, 2002 at 09:26:40 PM EST

So how can it ever be "over".

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
War is not a solution (4.51 / 52) (#12)
by QuickFox on Mon Dec 09, 2002 at 09:29:32 PM EST

History shows the wartime laws will be repealed once the war is over.

How could the war ever be over? This war cannot end. There is no point in time when this war is over and your rights are reinstated.

This is because war cannot eradicate terrorism.

How are you going to stop the eternal cycle of violence begetting violence? What fantastic miracle cure are you going to use to make every individual in every enemy nation bow down to you?

Without this miracle cure, violence will still beget violence. There will always be at least a few individuals who will respond with violence. This violence is called terrorism.

Are you Americans aware of how many countries there are in the world? If you want to take on all the corrupt and backward places, how many generations are you ready to wait before demanding your rights back?

There's always been terrorism somewhere. Always. I get the impression that American news media give an extremely limited view of what happens in other countries. I think many Americans don't realize how pervasive terrorism has been, always, at least for many decades. The notion that this could somehow be eradicated by military force is quite fantastic. This has been tried with failure an endless number of times. If it were possible, it would have been done before. Terrorism is such a horrible thing, of course it would be defeated by military if that were possible.

Sometimes fantastic deeds can be done. But when this happens there is always something radically new or radically different. I don't see anything like that in this so-called war effort.

In fact, I see the opposite. Very often war can have an effect that is the opposite of what you intend.

Attacks on a nation usually make the people of the nation unite behind their leaders. You may have noticed that the attacks on the US made the people of the US unite behind your President. Criticism against him was pervasive before 9/11 but quieted afterward. Similarly, boycotting and attacking Iraq helps Saddam Hussein get the people of Iraq to unite behind him.

Let me give another example. Just like Americans unite when the US is attacked, the boycotts against Cuba help Castro get the people of Cuba to unite behind him. Cubans are a very proud people, they will not bow to a foreign power. In this they resemble the people of the US. I can't imagine the people of the US bowing to a foreign power either. I know some Cubans who detest Castro with all their heart, but bowing to the US is completely unthinkable, they'll rather suffer hell than bow to a foreign power. For that reason they reluctantly support the regime that they detest. They really do choose hell over bowing. In fact, if the US could only see this they could de-throne Castro quickly with some simple neighborly foreign trade.

Iraq is a very different problem, but on that one point it is similar. When the nation is attacked, the people unite behind their leaders. In the US, in Iraq, in Cuba, anywhere.

There are a few notable exceptions, like Afghanistan and the former apartheid regime of South Africa. This happens if the nation is already more or less falling apart. Then a boycott or an attack may help bring about the change. But Iraq does not seem to be falling apart in that way. Iran maybe, just barely, a very long shot, but not Iraq. Of course I may be wrong but there seem to be no indications of that, on the contrary.

What it boils down to is: do you have faith in the American people?

Faith? I want a democratic say, not faith. I'm a subject to a power where I have no democratic say!

Here in Sweden I have the right to a fair trial. I have this right even if someone with a grudge should accuse me of terrorism. But I have this right only as long as the case remains Swedish or European. If the US gets involved I may lose the right to trial. Then I may be punished on mere hearsay, without any proof, without being heard. This has happened to a few Swedes. We have seen no evidence that this was necessary. They could have have gotten some kind of hearing. They just didn't.

Only the US has both the clout and the will to impose such things on people in other democratic countries. Only the US can take away my rights, there is no other way I can lose them, not even my own government can take my rights the way the US can take them.

And I should accept this silently on faith? If I am to be a subject I want a democratic say. If not, then let my government have that power.

You ask me to put my faith in a people that seems very naïve about what happens abroad. They are not competent to vote on my behalf. How could they be competent when they care so little about my people? When they care so little about international treaties? The US seeks aggression even when aggression is not called for.

This is reasons enough to be nervous about what is happening to my freedom and to freedom around the world, This is reason enough to have reservations in my faith, and prefer democracy.

Ironically, with the enormously high costs of war, if instead the US should spend that same money to buy Iraq, it could win. It could buy and modernize a few industries, maybe buy a radio station, maybe buy a newspaper or magazine, one or two schools and libraries, and so on. This way it could get trade going and bring in some democratic debate, and this could spur essential change, making the country far more modern, far more free of fundamentalism and corruption, educated in freedom, democracy and trade. A development that would beget peace and trade rather than violence.

That solution is called imperialism. Imperialism has many important drawbacks. Even so, it's far, far better than war. If done right, with careful respect toward the other culture, you could stand a real, substantial chance to win this struggle against terrorism.

I feel a deep respect for the US in many ways. I really do! But in this so-called war on terrorism I think some very serious and risky mistakes are being made.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi

Wow (1.30 / 26) (#20)
by RyoCokey on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 02:47:12 AM EST

I'm dumbfounded. This post simply beggars belief. The fact that you could find 13 people with a negative IQ to vote 5 on your post is a stunning damnation of the entire human race. You fail so much as to make a logical point to refute.

I'm gonna have to paraphrase Billy Madison here:

Mr. QuickFox, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.



"Like all important issues, gun control is an emotional issue that will be resolved by politics, belief, and conviction, not by a resort to "facts'." - [ Parent ]
Do you have a rebuttal? (4.42 / 14) (#24)
by Cloaked User on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 03:25:19 AM EST

Or are you just going to hide behind insults?

I'd love to hear a reasoned response, but a childish "you're so stupid, everyone who agrees with you is stupid, so ner!" isn't it.

Oh, and even if you do disagree with a post, and know that the poster is wrong, you can still give it a 5, in order to draw attention to it and the resultant refutations. It's in the comment rating FAQ, here - see the third bullet point. (For the record, I agree with QuickFox)
--
"What the fuck do you mean 'Are you inspired to come to work'? Of course I'm not 'inspired'. It's a job for God's sake! The money's enough and the work's not so crap that I leave."
[ Parent ]

Thank you (none / 0) (#26)
by carbon on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 03:33:50 AM EST

I was just about to say what you said, but you saved me the trouble. A five for ye.


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
Why a rebuttal is impossible. (none / 0) (#171)
by Calledor on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 08:22:25 PM EST

First no factual information is contained in the article. He makes assumptions and uses theories that although have a good deal of "common sense" are rendered useless because of the subject they concern (Iraq) or by past historical occurances that disprove his thoughts outright.

He has both approved of military aggression and said that it is never a solution in his comments. I'm not sure he has a short term memory capable of analyzing any series of events or of successive comments for that matter.

This makes the act of argueing with him plainly wrong points futile and at the least annoying.

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

Rebuttal of What? (3.00 / 2) (#53)
by RyoCokey on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 08:55:35 AM EST

He fails to make a single factual point. No where during that entire rant does he try to give any evidence of his assertions, justify his viewpoints, or do anything other than state that people are not qualified to vote on his behalf.

Writing a rebuttal to this post is like trying to factually refute someone's repeated playground assertion that your mother wears army boots. If you want to see an example of someone poking at some of the enormous holes in his argument, see Calledor's response.



"Like all important issues, gun control is an emotional issue that will be resolved by politics, belief, and conviction, not by a resort to "facts'." - [ Parent ]
Philosophical vs Factual Argument (3.66 / 3) (#95)
by Elkor on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 02:36:12 PM EST

I think the "problem" is that he is arguing a philosophical stance and you desire/demand a factual one.

An opinion without any supporting facts isn't a stupid opinion. It's just unsupported. It doesn't mean that it is a bad opinion, or even a good one. But it can be written well, and people can agree with this opinion without needing supporting argument.

So, if you don't like the warm fuzzy extrapolation, then counter argue with your own warm fuzzy extrapolation. But calling him names doesn't really offer a counter position.

Regards,
Elkor


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
Not philosophical at all (3.50 / 2) (#107)
by RyoCokey on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 05:08:31 PM EST

He makes a completely invalid factual argument. Take a look at his examples:

This is because war cannot eradicate terrorism.

Incorrect, plus in no way does he cite examples or evidence of this.

Without this miracle cure, violence will still beget violence. There will always be at least a few individuals who will respond with violence. This violence is called terrorism.

Misidentification of terms.

Criticism against him was pervasive before 9/11 but quieted afterward.

Where is he living? Next to Cheney on the couch in the Undisclosed Location? It's rare in the US media to find a positive reflection on Bush in any way.

Cubans are a very proud people, they will not bow to a foreign power.

No idea where he's getting this from. Is there a people in the world who he wouldn't identify as a proud people?

He doesn't try to assert a coherent political philosophy, he just attempts to say "No, things won't work that way." in a completely unsubstantiated and contrarian way. I stand behind my original comment and deeply regret that I was provoked into writing even this much of a rebuttal.



"Like all important issues, gun control is an emotional issue that will be resolved by politics, belief, and conviction, not by a resort to "facts'." - [ Parent ]
Your thoughts on imperialism... (3.50 / 4) (#23)
by Calledor on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 03:12:40 AM EST

Are rather positive I must say. I thought imperialism involved taking advantage of natives in colonies or extending one's power in another insidious way. I have never heard of buying schools and libraries as a sort of imperialism.

However, I'd have to point out that buying schools and other media venues is a moot point in a country without free speech. That's actually a freedom that the United States still has largely. I can read your comment and not be picked up by some outback nazi police force. Unfortunetly your average Iraqi can't read much of anything that influences him in any way contrary to what his government wants him to think. In that way Saddam actually can prevent revolts in his own country, "terrorism" from his viewpoint. So that would be one example of a lack of freedoms preventing terrorism. Luckily the United States can get by without arresting everyone who has different views than them.

An example of military might erradicating terrorism is the Roman extermination of all pirates in the Mediteranian. The U.S. has examples that included the Native Americans and the Barbary Pirates.

In closing, I'm sorry if you or your friends havve been accused of being a terrorist and if they have lost their rights due to the United States present stance on terrorism. Generally if you didn't do anything they aren't going to waste time with you because well the U.S. government is stretched rather thin. Believe it or not the U.S. does not have the manpower to take away the rights of the free world. We'd try but we are just way to lazy.

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

Native Americans != terrorists (4.25 / 4) (#37)
by fraise on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 04:01:36 AM EST

An example of military might erradicating terrorism is the Roman extermination of all pirates in the Mediteranian. The U.S. has examples that included the Native Americans..."

Whoa Nelly!! Lemme take a stab at this one here. You're saying that some Native Americans, i.e., the native peoples, were terrorists, because they tried to fight off people who came from just about the other side of the planet? Methinks your example needs a bit of work. If anything, those Native Americans would have been more correct in calling European immigrants terrorists, not the other way around.

As for comparing the US to Iraq, isn't that like comparing apples to oranges? Why not pick another democratic republic for comparison, as the Swede was doing?

[ Parent ]
They most certainly do (5.00 / 3) (#55)
by RyoCokey on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:08:04 AM EST

You must need some brushing up on history. Native American attacks on European outposts certainly were acts of terrorism. Often their attacks on civilian outposts served little function but to terrorize the settlers here. 1 2

These acts were only finally stopped by military force, continuing up until roughly 1874, which marks the last great "indian war." While you may sympathize with the Indians as repelling a foreign invader, they most certainly resulted to terrorism and barbaric acts upon the defenseless.



"Like all important issues, gun control is an emotional issue that will be resolved by politics, belief, and conviction, not by a resort to "facts'." - [ Parent ]
Actually... (4.50 / 4) (#59)
by Calledor on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:25:59 AM EST

If you considered my statement about people who can't revolt in Iraq you'd realize that I believe terrorism to be quite relative. As in a revolutionary in Iraq would be a freedom fighter to the US rather than a terrorist, which is what the Iraq government would consider him. Now if you're asking the question, "Were Native Americans that kidnapped frontier women and cut of their ears,noses, and other body parts, terrorists?" I'd have to say yes. I'd also say that killing innocent native americans with a gatling gun or raping native american women is also terrorism. Go figure.

And as for comparing the US to Iraq maybe you failed to see the point the Swede was making. He said the United States should buy libraries, schools, and other media forms in Iraq. That doesn't make any sense in a place that doesn't have free speech. It's a paragraph dedicated to something that doesn't make sense. He also calls it imperialism, which is the most interesting form of imperialism I have ever come across. I wish Europe would revert to imperialism if they started buying schools and libraries in other countries. I mean last time they resorted to plundering the world's resources concentrating the bulk of the world's wealth in the west. When it came to imperialism that is.

In any event I'm glad you grasped on to the relative nature of the one example and ignored the other two at the same time completely missing whatever point I was trying to make. Two points dodged and a stab made, do you fence much?

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

Cultural imperialism (none / 0) (#85)
by QuickFox on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 12:42:54 PM EST

I have never heard of buying schools and libraries as a sort of imperialism.

Oops, what I meant was of course cultural imperialism. I don't know why I missed the word cultural. Still, I'm surprised that it isn't clear from the context. If you'd like a definition of cultural imperialism there is one here.

or extending one's power in another insidious way.

Cultural imperialism is in fact an insidious extension of power. That's one of its important drawbacks. Still, if done with care and respect for the other culture I think it would have very few bad effects and should be better for all concerned.

is a moot point in a country without free speech.

Not at all. Free speech would be needed if the intent was to spread propaganda. But spreading propaganda is extremely unlikely to work, so that point is moot.

Try to view it in a different light and with a different attitude. It's not a matter of barging in to impose your views and tell everyone how to do things. Try to view this with a much more refined and careful attitude.

It's a matter of building a good reputation and good relationships. Meanwhile you establish healthy, vigorous flows of communication and trade. When these flows are flowing well, then along them ideas will flow too. Then it's just a matter of time.

If you build up a good reputation, people will have positive attitudes toward your culture, and thereby be open to ideas from your culture. Therefore you come with friendly, respectful attitudes and start to build a good reputation. You offer a number of job positions, you offer good health care for the people you reach, improved schooling, good quality products at reasonable prices, an interesting magazine, a well-assorted library, things like that. You build a reputation of providing things of value.

In all this you take great care not to clash with local traditions or local laws. Therefore you don't spread propaganda. All you do is build a good reputation, have a careful beneficial effect -- and promote trade.

You also promote personal relationships between individuals across the cultural chasm. This is important since ideas spread through these relationships.

This way you establish a situation where cultural influence gradually seeps in. You don't impose anything, you just let people pick and choose among what they find in this commercial and cultural flow. People will want your freedom and comfortable life. They can't get that, at least not right away, but they can pick and choose such ingredients as are acceptable at the moment in their country. They pick this up, and it spreads. As it spreads you get gradual change and development, where more and more ideas from your culture are considered acceptable and are accepted.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Nice link (none / 0) (#160)
by RyoCokey on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 10:53:47 PM EST

...although one should take care not to link to articles that pretty much disprove most of your post. If you read the second to last paragraph, it points out that cultural imperialism is a probably an inconsistant and invalid term.

Even if you use the more militant version, that's not what the US has been doing. US businesses and culture has permeated countries because that's what the citizens want. Al Qaeda, if reacting to so called "cultural imperialism" is fighting an inevitable consequence of free trade.

I believe "assimilation" or "cultural assimilation" would be a more correct term. Which, may I add, is one of the ideas central to the American "melting pot."



"Like all important issues, gun control is an emotional issue that will be resolved by politics, belief, and conviction, not by a resort to "facts'." - [ Parent ]
Astonishing (none / 0) (#165)
by QuickFox on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 02:58:10 AM EST

...although one should take care not to link to articles that pretty much disprove most of your post.

The article can't disprove that post. It can only prove that the term "cultural imperialism" is a bad choice for what I wanted to say. The article can't say anything about the rest of the post since it only talks about the term.

Here in Sweden this term is often used with this meaning. If it's not adequate, replace it with a more suitable term, maybe then my text becomes more readable.

Even if you use the more militant version, that's not what the US has been doing. US businesses and culture has permeated countries because that's what the citizens want. Al Qaeda, if reacting to so called "cultural imperialism" is fighting an inevitable consequence of free trade.

I believe "assimilation" or "cultural assimilation" would be a more correct term. Which, may I add, is one of the ideas central to the American "melting pot."

You have written two entire paragraphs that make perfect sense to me and where I agree fully with you on every single point. I'm amazed.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

I'm amazed. (none / 0) (#161)
by Calledor on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 11:15:48 PM EST

I thought most people knew that in a totalitarian state schools, libraries, and the media are controlled by the state. Now I'm sure Iraq says they are not a totalitarian nation, but they don't happen to be the most trustworthy of governments at the moment. I mean Saddam has a best seller in Iraq, wrote the most popular play there, and won the election by a landslide. How? He controls the nation and in the past has executed people with different ideas.

So let me draw a conclusion from my knowledge that Iraq is a totalitarian state and your suggestion that the United States buy media, schools, and libraries there. Well first he probably wouldn't let us buy schools there. It's just a hunch of mine. If we did, once they were built he'd promptly nationalize everything we built effectively stopping "cultural imperialism".

To further comment though on cultural imperialism let me quote from the link you provided.

"It should be noted that 'cultural imperialism' can refer to either the forced acculturation of a subject population, or to the voluntary embracing of a foreign culture by individuals who do so of their own free will. Since these are two very different referents, the validity of the term has been called into question."

Since the article lists only one example of cultural imperialism occuring without military imperialism and since the validity of the term has been called into question, it's not at all hard to understand how anyone could have misunderstood what you meant.

In any event, knowing that Iraq is a tolitarian state and that it can prevent cultural imperialism how would you go about influencing them if you were the U.S.?

Try to view this with a careful attitude. If a government controls all the schools and media how can culture spread unless the government allows it to?

If it sounds like I am repeating myself it is because I am. You seem dense. I think your name is sarcasm. You appear to have a mind as sharp as a wax butter knife and as quick as a turtle in a tar pit. In no way do I think you're going to understand anything I have said nor do I believe you will have any delay in replying with another "how cultural imperialism works" post. Everyone understands how it works, no one understands how you fail to realize that circumstances exist that prevent it from working in Iraq at the present time. I sincerely do not care if you rate all my comments a 1 henceforth, you are an idiot and by comparison pathological invalids are a boon to society.

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

Me too (none / 0) (#164)
by QuickFox on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 02:22:43 AM EST

I thought most people knew that in a totalitarian state schools, libraries, and the media are controlled by the state.

Ever heard of the Marshall Plan? After the Allies won World War II, the US instituted this brilliant plan to get the totalitarian Nazi state back to humanity. The Marshall Plan helped bring about a complete cultural reversal, away from totalitarianism and back to democracy and decent human values.

The US fought the war against Iraq brilliantly, people all over the world were stunned by this fantastic new way of fighting a war. But after winning the war the US did nothing to make the win permanent and reap the possible benefits, such as peace. Instead of a healthy solution such as the Marshall Plan, a situation of permanent crisis and humiliation was instituted.

This is where the US needs a great shift in focus, in goals. It needs not just to win a war, but also to make the benefits of the win come alive. It needs not just to fight brilliantly, but also to win brilliantly.

Or if not win brilliantly, at least do something with the win. Not just leave it unattended, and especially not just create tension and humiliation that are worse than the situation a year before the war started.

The tension is perpetuated with a boycott that makes it very easy for Saddam Hussein to make propaganda pointing at the US as an all-purpose evil that is to blame for every single hardship in the country, thereby uniting the people against this common enemy. The US and the Iraqui regime help each other strengthen and perpetuate the tension. This is where the US needs a change in strategy, so that it stops perpetuating and worsening tensions and instead works toward viable long-term solutions.

Of course with all this tension building up, many possibilities have been destroyed. But that doesn't mean that nothing at all is possible.

If the US reverses the boycott and instead offers trade that would profit the people of Iraq, the regime has two choices, accept or deny. If they accept the trade, the country and the people will be richer and there will be a cultural influence that they don't want. If they deny the trade, they can no longer point at the US as the common enemy that causes hunger and hardship, so the regime is weakened.

It is somewhat unlikely that they will deny trade forever, since they can't afford to do this. Even if Iraq should persist in denying, if the US had a general policy of trade rather than aggression there would be lots of such trade and cultural excange going on around Iraq, and the influence would reach it through the other countries. Also, if the regime denies trade when the people desperately wants the trade, under certain conditions this might lead to internal turmoil and a change in regime.

Try to view this with a careful attitude. If a government controls all the schools and media how can culture spread unless the government allows it to?

You get permission.

Other countries do this all the time, through regular trade, foreign aid etc.

The solution for how to do this is you don't institute arrangements for permanently rising crisis and humiliation. Instead you take pains to reduce tension. And in the slightly friendlier atmospher that you then have, you present them with offers they can't afford to refuse in the long run, offers that are genuinely good for them.

It's a completely different attitude. To understand it you'd need to change your attitude. You won't see it unless you look at the situation with a completely different attitude.

no one understands how you fail to realize that circumstances exist that prevent it from working in Iraq at the present time.

The cirumstances that prevent it from working in Iraq at present are to a great extent maintained and encouraged by the US, through the boycott and other measures. If the US should have the opposite attitude and strategy, over the years you would get a completely different situation.

I sincerely do not care if you rate all my comments a 1 henceforth,

What? Do you really mean that? How can you say such a thing?

you are an idiot and by comparison pathological invalids are a boon to society.

This argument does not seem to clarify your position on the Iraq issue. It also seems to lack a clear scientific justification, bercause you show us no evidence that you have seen the typical symptoms of this neuropsychiatric condition. Therefore I must conclude that you're making this up.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Media attention (none / 0) (#87)
by QuickFox on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 01:02:14 PM EST

I'm sorry if you or your friends havve been accused of being a terrorist and if they have lost their rights due to the United States present stance on terrorism.

Thank you for your concern but I don't know any of the people involved. But they've evoked quite some media attention here. I'm sure you know that the most important role of the media in any democracy is to check government and authorities and make a ruckus whenever they misbehave. Obviously this kind of thing will make the media drool in any democratic country.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Uhh... Keep watching... (4.00 / 2) (#28)
by Skywise on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 03:37:16 AM EST

If the US goes to war with Iraq (probably should just say "when the US...") You'll be seeing Imperialism in action.

Just like the US did and is doing with Afghanistan.

The US will be more than happy to throw money around for schools and what not instead of war... But first you have to have somebody amicable to "receiving" that funding.

[ Parent ]

nice, except for the end (4.33 / 6) (#36)
by martingale on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 03:53:29 AM EST

I think your comments about imperialism are much weaker than the others. This is probably because you misunderstand the meaning of imperialism. In essence, it means that another country has control over the political and economic life in your country, exactly what you are complaining about.

British imperialism, perhaps considered the most benign historical example, was really not such a great thing. Most colonial countries were destroyed first, rebuilt to optimize British control, and then left to pick up the pieces after struggling for independence. French imperialism was the same. Roman imperialism was so bad that the capital was eventually burned and sacked several times.

Perhaps what you were thinking of was closer to mercantilism,

[ Parent ]

Riposte (4.40 / 5) (#120)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 07:27:49 PM EST

There's always been terrorism somewhere. Always. I get the impression that American news media give an extremely limited view of what happens in other countries. I think many Americans don't realize how pervasive terrorism has been, always, at least for many decades.

So we should simply lie down and accept terrorism as a fact of life? I don't think so, and if refusing to adjust and simply live with political violence makes me an arrogant American, well then so be it, I'll gladly accept the label. I can't speak for all Americans, but the fact of widespread global terrorism comes as no surprise to me. In fact, it is as a direct result of that awareness that I am compelled to endorse extreme measures to ensure that our political system is not hijacked and held captive by base thuggery. If there is a lesson to be learned from the history of terrorism over the last 50 years, it is that the half-assed measures employed by the French, Italians, and Germans were woefully ineffective and an agressive policy of zero tolerance is required.

The notion that this could somehow be eradicated by military force is quite fantastic. This has been tried with failure an endless number of times. If it were possible, it would have been done before. Terrorism is such a horrible thing, of course it would be defeated by military if that were possible.

Let me suggest that you are confusing jingoistic soundbytes for policy. Of course it is impossible to eliminate terrorism itself (a method) with the application of military force, but nobody has ever suggested that that should be goal of American policy. In the first place, the scope of the problem is much more narrowly defined than just "terrorism". There exist known and unknown groups that have as an objective attacking American targets, domestic and foreign. Further, these groups have obtained assistance, explicit and covert, from known nation states as well as ostensibly civilian NGOs (charities and religious organizations). These groups and those that assist them represent the immediate threat and the foremost target of American policy. Additionally, in the long term, it is necessary to assess the root causes of the current anti-American hostilities and make some attempt to minimize their effects in the future.

To this end American policy has thus far been to employ military capability where deemed appropriate, as well as a variety of other less spectacular means as has been demanded by the circumstances. For instance, international banking rules have been enforced much more rigidly since 9/11. While this aspect of the "War on Terror" fails to provide the sensational photo-ops preferred by the press corps, it is an essential element of the overall strategy aiming at the financial deprivation of those targeted groups.

Here in Sweden I have the right to a fair trial. I have this right even if someone with a grudge should accuse me of terrorism. But I have this right only as long as the case remains Swedish or European. If the US gets involved I may lose the right to trial. Then I may be punished on mere hearsay, without any proof, without being heard. This has happened to a few Swedes. We have seen no evidence that this was necessary. They could have have gotten some kind of hearing. They just didn't.

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but the Swedes in American custody were captured on the Afghani battlefield acting as foreign mercenaries in war they had no business being involved in. They, along with the legions of other foreign mercenaries (mostly of Arabic extraction), were one the primary American targets in the recent campaign in Afghanistan. As far as I can determine, America had three objectives in Afghanistan: 1) the destruction of the extensive network of para-military training facilities operated by Al-Queda and other like minded organizations; 2) the elimination of the safe haven provided to Al-Queda (and others) by the, admittedly suspect, rights of sovereignty possesed by the Taliban regime; and 3) the restoration of some semblance of civil order in Afghanistan, so as to prevent the emergence of yet another regime inclined to cooperate with the radical Arab groups targeted by America.

Pardon me if I can't muster up a whole lot of sympathy for the fate of some mercenaries. As it is, they are extremely lucky that they weren't captured by the ethnic Tajik factions, as they've been inclined to lock up captured foreign mercenaries in rail cars and leave them for dead. Perhaps it is all a misunderstanding and your fellow countrymen were really just there as observers, but, to put it bluntly, war is a bitch and they knew that going in. A battlefield is not a courtroom and the only rights that apply are those that are convenient.

Only the US has both the clout and the will to impose such things on people in other democratic countries. Only the US can take away my rights, there is no other way I can lose them, not even my own government can take my rights the way the US can take them.

Nonsense. If you don't want to find yourself on the losing end of America's creative interpretation of international law, don't enter a battlefield in support of her enemies. So long as you remain in Sweeden (or most anywhere else, for that matter) your rights remain perfectly intact.

You ask me to put my faith in a people that seems very naïve about what happens abroad. They are not competent to vote on my behalf. How could they be competent when they care so little about my people? When they care so little about international treaties? The US seeks aggression even when aggression is not called for.

Get back to me when the US has landed an invasion force on your shores and is heading toward Stockholm, until that point your position is more than just a little bit on the histrionic side.

That solution is called imperialism. Imperialism has many important drawbacks. Even so, it's far, far better than war. If done right, with careful respect toward the other culture, you could stand a real, substantial chance to win this struggle against terrorism.

Here I agree with you, but I believe that in large part you've described the circumstance that already exists. American imperialism, such as it is, already operates with the complicity of a substantial part of the population. We, meaning America considered monolithically, haven't forced anyone at gunpoint to buy a satellite dish and tune into Baywatch when what they would rather being doing is studying the Koran. For that matter, we haven't forced any poor hapless Parisians into the doors of a McDonalds or a Starbucks against their will. Yet, in each case America is villified by elements of the local culture and has become a proxy target for dissatisfied elements in what is essentially an internal conflict.

Allow me to venture a bold guess. Were we to line the roads to Mecca with titty bars, gin joints, and burger shacks they would soon be overwhelmed by the latent demand. And we would be hated for it by puritanical reformers, many of them cursing us with the smell of beer and a bacon cheese burger on their breath and barren pockets recently emptied into the G-String of some comely lass. So whom should we side with and be respectful of?

I feel a deep respect for the US in many ways. I really do! But in this so-called war on terrorism I think some very serious and risky mistakes are being made.

Agreed. The Jose Padilla case really infuriates me and gives me sufficient reason to contribute my vote to the futile task of un-electing Bush in the next election.

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


[ Parent ]
Re: Riposte (3.75 / 4) (#163)
by QuickFox on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 11:34:32 PM EST

Very good argumentation. Thank you.

So we should simply lie down and accept terrorism as a fact of life?

Absolutely not! Definitely not! Most vehemently, no! On the contrary, I'll be among the first in line when the world thanks you, if you can diminish this abominable curse. I'm not saying "Lie down," I'm saying "Do things that have an effect," "Choose strategies that may work," "Don't make it even worse than it already is."

[...] I am compelled to endorse extreme measures [...] the half-assed measures employed by the French, Italians, and Germans were woefully ineffective and an agressive policy of zero tolerance is required.

I think Russia's strategy toward Chechnya can be aptly described as extreme measures and an aggressive policy of zero tolerance. Russian strategists would probably consider the measures employed by the French, Italians, and Germans "half-assed" and "woefully ineffective". Unfortunately, however, the aggressive Russian strategy has not had the effect that they wanted, as we could see in the recent occupation of a theater in Moscow.

Is that surprising? Is it surprising that Chechnyans respond with violence?

What if the people at the receiving end of the Russian strategy were not Chechnyans? What if they were Americans? If the US were for some reason as subdued as Chechnya, and the Russian treatment were directed at the US, can you then imagine that every single American would bow down to Russia? Can you imagine that not even one American would respond with violence toward the aggressor?

I claim that Americans would respond, and on the same grounds I claim that Chechnyans will continue responding, and that Iraquis will respond.

If the US were subdued like that, and a number of American groups and individuals were responding with violence toward Russia, then what strategy could Russia employ to successfully subdue every American? What extreme measures and aggressive policy of zero tolerance could get every American to bow down to Russia?

the scope of the problem is much more narrowly defined than just "terrorism". There exist known and unknown groups that have as an objective attacking American targets,

Fine, but the argument remains the same. In the above scenario, if Russia is only interested in subduing the violence that is directed against Russia and none other, I still can't see any strategy of war-type aggression that will subdue every American.

Additionally, in the long term, it is necessary to assess the root causes of the current anti-American hostilities and make some attempt to minimize their effects in the future.

In the above scenario, is it realistic for Russia to have this as a long-term goal after a campaign of war-type aggression? Wouldn't there be too much animosity created by the war-type aggression? Wouldn't it be too late?

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but the Swedes in American custody were captured on the Afghani battlefield acting as foreign mercenaries

Yes, I'll have to correct you, you are wrong. If they had been captured like that I'd never protest.

The one Swede at Camp X-Ray was visiting some school. As far as I know there have never been any claims or allegations that he was in any kind of battlefield, or that he in any way showed that he sympathised with such groups or such ideas. It seems the only allegation against him is that he was visiting a school. That school was the wrong place to be. (This case was discussed here.)

The three other Swedes that were punished without trial were simply at home in Sweden minding their own business. Moreover, the fact that they all worked for local branches of an American company proves that they sympathise with the US and with American ideals. Right?

Doesn't it prove this?

Of course not. It proves no such thing. Working for Western Union Money Transfer only proves you're competent at some tasks needed for money transfer. It proves nothing about your sympathies and ideas.

However, it wasn't Western Union they worked for. It was Al-Barakaat. So the fact that they all worked for local branches of Al-Barakaat proves that they all sympathise with Al-Qaeda and their ideas. Right?

Doesn't it prove this?

Of course not. It proves no such thing. Working for a money transfer setup only proves you're competent at some tasks needed for money transfer. It proves nothing about your sympathies and ideas.

As far as I know there have never been any claims or allegations that these individuals had any contact with Al-Quaeda or that they have shown in any way that they sympathize with such ideas. It seems the only allegation has been that they worked for this outfit. That was the wrong place to work.

Because of this they were blacklisted by the US in such a way that they could not possess or dispose of any money, not even tiny welfare sums for subsistence. They were essentially ruined. No trial, no investigation, nothing. After ten months two of them were cleared. Then it was finally recognized that they had done nothing. Ten months of ruinous punishment of innocent people. The third case is still not decided, as far as I know. (Here's a news story and here's a list.)

So, the punishments are based on assumptions. Perhaps many of these assumptions are right. But nobody knows if they are right or wrong, as there's no trial, no hearing. It's all based on assumption.

Pardon me if I can't muster up a whole lot of sympathy for the fate of some mercenaries.

On this point we agree. As I said in a comment some time ago, actual heinous-crime terrorists should be grateful that their captors will not cut off their hands, like the regime that they promote sometimes does.

Really, I don't care at all how terrorists are treated. The only thing I care about is what happens to normal people, to good citizens, to people whose only mistake is that they happen to be in the wrong place.

Nonsense. If you don't want to find yourself on the losing end of America's creative interpretation of international law, don't enter a battlefield in support of her enemies. So long as you remain in Sweeden (or most anywhere else, for that matter) your rights remain perfectly intact.

I wish that were true. I hope I've clarified that reality is not as rosy as that.

Get back to me when the US has landed an invasion force on your shores and is heading toward Stockholm, until that point your position is more than just a little bit on the histrionic side.

A strawman. I'm not claiming that the US is attacking countries like Sweden, I'm claiming that in situations where trade and cultural exchange could successfully accomplish the desired goals, the US is ruining this possibility by instead chosing aggression.

We, meaning America considered monolithically, haven't forced anyone at gunpoint to buy a satellite dish and tune into Baywatch [...] we haven't forced any poor hapless Parisians into the doors of a McDonalds or a Starbucks [...] America is villified by elements of the local culture [...]

Another point where we agree. This is a digression, but it matters here. If I may again quote an earlier comment of mine, if I feel that my TV channel sends too much American material I might complain to my TV channel. Why should I blame the US for the choices that my TV channel makes? If I'm too lazy to contact my TV channel I might simply switch to a different channel. I wonder if there are people who blame the US for not pushing the channel-switch button for them.

Were we to line the roads to Mecca with titty bars, gin joints, and burger shacks [...] So whom should we side with and be respectful of?

This is very simple. You don't side with any extreme. Basically, just do as the locals do. There are local establishments that do not raise conflict. Arrange solutions similar to existing local solutions.

Another consideration, more difficult but very important, is that you must not outcompete local companies, ruining them and upsetting the local economy. Some decades ago many foreign aid organizations failed miserably on this point, again and again, ruining the people they wanted to help.

There are a number of complications and pitfalls. But the US has fantastic resources in the form of people and companies with the necessary skills and cleverness and diplomacy. And if you should lack some of this in some details, you have inventiveness to cover up the slack, you have a culture of inventiveness. This is something you could do very well if you put your mind to it.

In addition to this, many countries are your friends and might contribute. Like little Sweden, a people almost obsessed with avoiding conflict and looking instead for discussion, for bargaining, for the common ground. Obsessed and therefore good at it, from generations of practice. And there are other countries with other skills. I'm sure with the right kind of effort some very good results could be achieved in this difficult struggle.

Agreed. The Jose Padilla case really infuriates me and gives me sufficient reason to contribute my vote to the futile task of un-electing Bush in the next election.

On several points our standpoints are very similar.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Re: Re: Riposte (none / 0) (#181)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 04:43:44 PM EST

Very good argumentation. Thank you.

Same to you. And apologies if my previous response was bit on the condescending side, but I am accustomed to encountering worst sort of unthinking anti-Americanism here and I am inclined to be a bit more agressive than is proper in a polite conversation.

I'm not saying "Lie down," I'm saying "Do things that have an effect," "Choose strategies that may work," "Don't make it even worse than it already is."

I couldn't agree more, but I do believe that there is an awful lot of room for honest disagreement as to what strategies will prove effective, no?

Is that surprising? Is it surprising that Chechnyans respond with violence?

Not at all, and you make a very good point here. I am very sympathetic to the Russian's point of view, but the brutality and total war scenario they are persuing in Chechnya is probably doomed to end poorly for all involved. But the failure of the Russian's to effectively deal with their Chechnya problem by use of military force cannot be taken as a blanket condemnation of all possible military solutions to the problem of terrorism. If you compare the Russian campaign in Chechnya to the US campaign in Afghanistan I think you'll find substantial differences that make American success far more probable. Most importantly, your average Afghani, while certainly not being among America's greatest fans, must surely have some sense that their interests (like ending the multi-generational state of near constant war which has destroyed there country) are best served by working with the US. I don't think the average Chechnyan has a sense that the Russian's have more to offer them than total annihilation (I think the situation is much the same for the Palestinians with respect to Israel). I think history clearly demonstrates that military conquest has been most successful when the the conquered are treated with compassion and given reason believe that complicity holds a better future for them than resistance (consider: Alexander's conquest of Persia, Saladin's conquest of Palestine and Syria, and the US's conquest of Japan, for just a few examples).

As concerns Iraq, I remain unconvinced that military action is the best possible course. It is apparent to me that Hussein's regime either must be replaced or it must be contained, but both solutions seem to be fraught with peril. The sanctions are cruel, if effective, and contribute greatly to Iraqi impression that the US wishes only the destruction of the Iraqi people. On the hand, while military victory in Iraq seems to me a foregone conclusion, I highly doubt that we have the political will to successfully manage the aftermath (it will be many orders of magnitude more complicated and expensive than in the case of Afghanistan).

Yes, I'll have to correct you, you are wrong. If they had been captured like that I'd never protest.

Sorry, I thought Sweden was one of the countries that had foreign born citizens captured among the armies of the Taliban. As for the cases you present, I can only offer a weak defense of American policy. In the case of the person captured while attending a school in Afghanistan, I must say that I am more than a bit suspicious.  Afghanistan is not recognized anywhere in the Islamic world as a scholastic center, but has long been reknowned for its overabundance of opportunities in the area of radical jihadist theology and military training. The Madrasses of Afghanistan and the tribal regions of Pakistan may be, in some narrow sense, schools, but there instruction is more of a call to arms than a call to study. As there is not any real information available as to why this person was detained by the US, I can only assume that they had reason to believe he was a participant with relevant knowledge of Al Queda. Of course, as evinced by the stories of some of the detainees recently released back to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the US has made mistakes in this regard and may have done so in the case of your countrymen. It is unfortunate, but, as I said before, a battlefield is not a courtroom and the exigencies of the circumstances can compell behavior which would not otherwise be defensible.

As for those who were a part Al-Barakaat, I have strong sympathies for them, but keep in mind such stories have long been common even outside the context of the "war on terror." Banking is an extremely regulated field and when an organization is found to be complicit in illegal activity, the response is often to shut down the entire operation. Similar incidents have occured when organizations were found to have some complicty in the transfer of funds associted with organized crime. It may be the case many of the individuals involved were not guilty of any wrongdoing, but the organization as a whole was corrupt and had be dismantled wholesale. Perhaps it will make you feel better to know that US citizens have had their assets frozen in the past at the request of a foreign authority.

On this point we agree. As I said in a comment some time ago, actual heinous-crime terrorists should be grateful that their captors will not cut off their hands, like the regime that they promote sometimes does.

Agreed, but I wasn't really addressing the case of "terrorists", rather I was discussing the treatment of mercenaries. The vast and overwhelming majority of the foreigners training in Afghanistan were not ever likely to be used to carry out terrorist operations against the US. The condition of perpetual war in Afghanistan was a significant problem in itself, in that such a circumstance has given rise to a virulent form radicalized Islam that has spread throughout the world. Think about the spread of Islamism over the last 30 years and the places in which it originated and took shape: Algeria, Lebanon, Palestine, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and more recently Bosnia and Chechnya. Each of those locations has served as context in which a radical theology was wed to armed conflict in exceedingly brutal conditions and in each of the above cases the conflict was not strictly local, as large numbers of mercenary soldiers were brought in from across the Islamic world. Most moderate Arabic countries have long had a problem with the "Muhajaddin"; those who returned from Afghanistan radicalized and promoting violence and unrest in their home countries. Chechnya is an especially good example of this problem. Historically it was home to a very liberal brand of prodominently Sufi Islam, but after the armed conflict with Russia began money, military advisors, and radical theology began pouring in from Saudi Arabia. Eliminating such breeding grounds (and the predominantly Saudi provacateurs) must be a part of any successful attempt to end the terrorist threat coming from the Middle East.

This is very simple. You don't side with any extreme. Basically, just do as the locals do. There are local establishments that do not raise conflict. Arrange solutions similar to existing local solutions.

I don't think it is so simple, as even a moderate American presence seems to give rise to radicalism which defines itself by its resistance to American (actually western) influence. Across the developing world there are some, often among the powerful elite, who whole heartedly believe that westernization is the solution to their countries problems. On the other hand, an equally well connected and elite group, see westernization as the source of their country's problems. Trapped in the middle are the masses who most often have rather ambiguous feelings about the subject.

If you take a look at the recent Pew polling of how people around the world feel about America you'll see the extreme ambiguity. Asked whether people like American popular culture the responses are overwhelmingly positive (even in Islamic countries), but when asked about American cultural influence the responses are overwhelmingly negative. Interestingly, the questions are nearly substantively identical. People like American culture, but they are concerned about the affects it will have upon there own. That is very understandable, and, I'll happily admit it, American popular culture can be a lot like crack cocaine (highly addictive and very bad for you). Much of our popular culture panders to the lowest common denominator: sex, gratuitous violence, and greed. It's no wonder America is percieved so poorly in much of the world; we package up our worst side and sell it around the world. We don't put our best foot forward, but our ass end.

Trust me, I can understand the outrage a Frenchman must feel when his children clamor for McDonald's or Kraft Macaronni and Cheese. But, and this something many people don't seem to realize, we Americans, despite the fact that we are a deeply flawed people in some respects, are both deeper and more diverse than our cultural exports would indicate. Even our crass and vulgar comodified culture is balanced by a deeply felt, if inconsistently so, sense of reverence in the face higher ideals (making us susceptible to a sometimes nasty variant of sentimental politics).

Another consideration, more difficult but very important, is that you must not outcompete local companies, ruining them and upsetting the local economy. Some decades ago many foreign aid organizations failed miserably on this point, again and again, ruining the people they wanted to help.

Here you are absolutely correct, but the problem is not so much that we out compete the locals, rather, all too often, assistance and market reforms are a none to subtle shorthand for the installation of the govenment enforced monopoly of an American corporation. I sincerely believe that liberal markets and capitalism represent the best hope for the developing world and, unfortunately, often it the largest companies (and the US or a European government) doing the most to prevent the real development capitalism in those places that need it the most.

On several points our standpoints are very similar.

Indeed, moreso than I would have first guessed.

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


[ Parent ]
Re: Re: Re: Riposte (none / 0) (#190)
by QuickFox on Mon Dec 16, 2002 at 01:38:15 AM EST

Once again, we agree far more than we disagree. And on the points where we disagree the discussion becomes interesting, inviting to thought. If all discussions could be like this, we'd all learn a lot through discussion, and many valuable ideas and solutions might spring forth.

And apologies if my previous response was bit on the condescending side, but I am accustomed to encountering worst sort of unthinking anti-Americanism here and I am inclined to be a bit more agressive than is proper in a polite conversation.

No need to apologize. In fact sometimes I feel offended by the anti-Americanism. I can well understand that it gets on your nerves.

but I do believe that there is an awful lot of room for honest disagreement as to what strategies will prove effective, no?

Indeed. And with luck, constructive discussions like this one might sometimes lead to valuable new ideas, which might then spread if the right people find them interesting.

But the failure of the Russian's to effectively deal with their Chechnya problem by use of military force cannot be taken as a blanket condemnation of all possible military solutions to the problem of terrorism. If you compare the Russian campaign in Chechnya to the US campaign in Afghanistan I think you'll find substantial differences that make American success far more probable. [...] As concerns Iraq, I remain unconvinced that military action is the best possible course.

My criticism is against war on Iraq, not against the war on Afghanistan. Afghanistan is one of the notable exceptions I mentioned in a parent post, it seems to me that that war was a good choice. I agree with you on what you say about both wars, though my opposition to a war on Iraq is probably much stronger than yours.

In the case of the person captured while attending a school in Afghanistan, I must say that I am more than a bit suspicious. [...] I can only assume that they had reason to believe he was a participant with relevant knowledge of Al Queda. [...] a battlefield is not a courtroom and the exigencies of the circumstances can compell behavior which would not otherwise be defensible.

Certainly his presence there is suspicious, and certainly there is every reason to assume that they had good reasons, I'm pretty sure they did.

But when the police arrest a suspected thief they also have good reasons. He still gets a trial. And fairly often it turns out the suspect is provably innocent. You just don't let a policeman judge the subject based on a momentary impression. You just don't.

In the chaos and horror of the battlefield they could not hold trials, but in the many, many months afterward they could have arranged at least some kind of hearing somewhat similar to a trial.

I get the impression that the only reasons given for not holding even some primitive kind of trial are that the prisoners are not any ordinary kind of prisoners and that technicalities of land lease where thay are held mean that the authorities that hold the prisoners are not responsible for holding them. That kind of explanation simply isn't dignified. We don't recognize the good old US. This makes some of us very nervous.

Oops, I'm getting started again.

It may be the case many of the individuals involved were not guilty of any wrongdoing, but the organization as a whole was corrupt and had be dismantled wholesale.

True, but I'm not upset by the dismantling the organization, only by the extreme measures against individuals and the lack of trials.

has given rise to a virulent form radicalized Islam that has spread throughout the world.

This is true, though I find it unfortunate that it's always called a form of Islam. The truth is that it's a form of primitivism, where Islam is misused to whip up fanatic passion. Europe in the Dark Ages had very similar attitudes, with the Crusades and the witch hunts. The similarities are very striking, and they include the grotesque misuse of a religion for purposes that go against all the core ideas of that religion. I'd call it Anti-Islam. It's primitivism, medievalism, Dark Ages, faniticism, fundamentalism, and humans manipulating and usurping each other and reinforcing each other's frenzy.

If we use the word Islam to denote this, it's the same thing as using the word Christianity to denote witch hunts and torture.

But I do agree with you that this primitivism must be dealt with. And the problem is immensely difficult.

I don't think it is so simple, as even a moderate American presence seems to give rise to radicalism which defines itself by its resistance to American (actually western) influence.

This is illogical and unfair. But I think there are solutions. I think some of these problems could be greatly alleviated by letting a significant part of the actual hands-on work on location be carried out by aid organizations of other countries that have a better relationship with the receiving country. You allow these organizations to adapt arrangements according to what they know about the receivers, so that the receivers know that it has been adapted for them by those who know them and whom they trust.

Even our crass and vulgar comodified culture is balanced by a deeply felt, if inconsistently so, sense of reverence in the face higher ideals (making us susceptible to a sometimes nasty variant of sentimental politics).

All the people I've met who have been to the US tell me that your culture is much deeper and much finer that what we get to see. This does not surprise me. Some day I must go myself.

but the problem is not so much that we out compete the locals,

All that paragraph: Yes, exactly! Although I get the impression that it can be any Western corporations, not just American.

This has been an interesting conversation.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Ironic (2.75 / 4) (#21)
by jonathanwilson on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 02:54:23 AM EST

It is precisely because so many of the good citizens of America are afraid of losing liberties that this article reasons that we don't need to be afraid. The upshot is that America needs to clamp down for a while. Some freedoms will have to be relinquished temporarily. Americans will wring their hands, moan and groan and speculate on whether or not they will end up just like their enemies. Nobody will be very happy about it and everybody will worry about it. But it will happen none the less.

ah hem (none / 0) (#108)
by WebBug on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 05:14:28 PM EST

those who would give up freedom for temporary security deserve neither.

Now who said that?

A: Ben Franklin
-- It may be that your sole purpose is to server as a warning to others . . . at least I have one!
[ Parent ]

Faith in people vs. Faith in Government (3.85 / 7) (#22)
by nomoreh1b on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 03:00:44 AM EST

I personally have very little faith in the US government at this point. The United States has gone from a nation of people that felt a real stake in their country to a nation where the value of citizenship has become degraded-I don't think we'll see a a lot of serious sacrifice in the next war-and we will see some angry troops coming home(ala McVeigh the Gulf War vet).

We locked our ethnic Japanese citizens up during WWII, an act that I consider our nation's greatest wrong since the last hundred years. The Japanese-American sacrifice wasn't for naught: we aren't talking about locking up Muslims--we do learn our lessons.

Something a lot of folks don't realize here:

Part of what sparked the internments was discovery of some pretty serious weapons caches(one of my father's cousins was involved in such searches in California). This was kept out of the press so far as I know. I wouldn't feel too smug on this one. This war is in the early stages. Think a bit what might happen after say the entire congress gets wacked--or the academy awards ceromony gets bombed(I'm thinking the latter so these folks can show they can operate on the west coast and because of the symbolic value of killing people worshiped by a big share of the public). Also ask yourself what kind of mess the US will have on its hands if it necessary to expell illegal immigrants(i.e. I suspect that operation will make the Japanese internment look nice and clean because of the differences in scale).



Japanese Internment (4.33 / 3) (#68)
by Merk00 on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:49:23 AM EST

Your's is the first allegation I've ever seen that there was any Japanese underground in the west coast during World War 2. Can you please provide some sort of citation to back that up?

------
"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 ]

Oral tradition/hysteria of war (none / 0) (#90)
by nomoreh1b on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 01:29:22 PM EST

What I said is that this was part of my family's oral tradition. The man in question is now dead. I didn't depict this as something around which I could provide exhaustive documentation.

What I would keep in mind is that in wartime, folks can get hysterical. It is really easy to say that in other people-it is hard to see this in yourself or people you identify with.

What I've personally noticed in this war is the people among whom I've seen the biggest shift are include some of those that were the most politically correct to start with-these were folks that were "open border" liberals to start with and are now joking about things like use of nuclear weapons. If these folks had high rates of military service-it would be a little scarier(not to say the present situation isn't a bit scary).

I don't know if my relative really saw something that was kept out of the press or if he was someone that got caught up in the hysteria of war. He always struck me as a responsible, level headed fellow(though I didn't know him well). He ran a substantial business-which says something.

The US press is biased in all kinds of ways-just because something is in or isn't in the press doesn't provide real certainty(remember, the New York times are the folks that claimed Goddard was a crackpot). Even the most authoritative sources have good, but limited reliability.



[ Parent ]

Hmm. (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by talorin on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:55:10 AM EST

Think a bit what might happen after say the entire congress gets wacked

Dancing in the streets?

[ Parent ]

Rights during Wartime. (4.60 / 5) (#30)
by Craevenwulfe on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 03:44:57 AM EST

But when exactly will this "War on Terror" end, loss of rights for an infinite period is what you call a dictatorship.

+1, non-depressing (1.83 / 6) (#31)
by YelM3 on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 03:44:59 AM EST

I'm just happy to read something that offers even a tiny little bit of hope in this decidedly shitty situation.

Where's the war ? (nt) (4.14 / 7) (#34)
by john priest on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 03:49:46 AM EST



Exactly!!! (none / 0) (#116)
by failrate on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 06:30:41 PM EST

Bill Hicks "The Persian Gulf Distraction" It's not really a war... a war is when TWO armies are fighting... <Regarding Saddam Hussein's army>...The Elite Republican Guard... to the Republican Guard... to the Republicans made up this shit about there being a guard at all.
Voodoo Girl is da bomb!
[ Parent ]
The words of senator Russ Feingold (4.81 / 22) (#35)
by sesh on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 03:52:13 AM EST

Russ Feingold, a Democratic Senator from Wisconsin, was the only Senator to vote against the USA PATRIOT Act as it swept through the senate. You can find excerpts from his speech in response to the bill here

It is interesting because (among other reasons) he upholds that the constitution should be upheld especially in times of war, as that was largely its purpose. To quote the senator:

The Founders who wrote our Constitution and Bill of Rights exercised that vigilance even though they had recently fought and won the Revolutionary War. They did not live in comfortable and easy times of hypothetical enemies. They wrote a Constitution of limited powers and an explicit Bill of Rights to protect liberty in times of war, as well as in times of peace.

There have been periods in our nation's history when civil liberties have taken a back seat to what appeared at the time to be the legitimate exigencies of war. Our national consciousness still bears the stain and the scars of those events: The Alien and Sedition Acts, the suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War, the internment of Japanese-Americans, German-Americans, and Italian-Americans during World War II, the blacklisting of supposed communist sympathizers during the McCarthy era, and the surveillance and harassment of antiwar protesters, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., during the Vietnam War. We must not allow these pieces of our past to become prologue."

Patriot Act (5.00 / 2) (#131)
by cam on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 07:07:15 AM EST

was the only Senator to vote against the USA PATRIOT Act

Neither the US Constitution nor Bill Of Rights defines liberty and rights in terms of national citizenship. They can be read that the Bill Of Rights pertains to anyone under the US Governments jurisdiction. The PATRIOT Act defines those deserving of the Bill of Rights protections from government only if they are US Citizens.

The Bill of Rights represents a higher ideal and Legislators should hold themselves to that promise. Liberty isnt like culture where it is a little bit different everywhere you go. Liberty is the maximum freedom you can have in society. It is a constant, I should be able to stand in Northern Sydney or Northern Virginia and have the same liberty. I currently cant.

Simple and basic protections from governmental tyrnnay and oppression such as habeous corpus should not be decided because of which country i was born in or which country I am a citizen of. They are fundamental and inalienable rights of any human under any government jurisdiction.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

War, what war? (4.40 / 10) (#38)
by rdskutter on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 05:20:33 AM EST

The war on terror?

I don't see the ending anytime soon. It could be a neverending war, similar to the situation in "1984".


Yanks are like ICBMs: Good to have on your side, but dangerous to have nearby. - OzJuggler
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

Why I voted it up, even though I don't agree (4.75 / 33) (#39)
by MichaelCrawford on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 05:36:31 AM EST

I've heard this argument raised before, and I don't buy it, but I voted it +1FP because I think it will generate some useful discussion, and hopefully some posts will be able to clearly demonstrate why this is the wrong position to take.

So I ask you, even if you disagree with the author's thesis, to consider whether the discussion could shed some much needed light.

I'd like to refer you to George Orwell's book 1984, where he discusses how eternal war helps to support a state where people are repressed.

I don't think that there is any credible plan for winning or even ending the war on terrorism. I don't think Bush really wants the war to end. That's one reason why he is pushing for war in Iraq now that the war in Afghanistan is no longer buying him the credibility he needs to continue progress towards fascism. The war in Afghanistan isn't even done yet, but it has faded so much from public consciousness that Bush needs a new war.

And consider how many people had a great deal to gain from the continuation of the Cold War against the Soviet Bloc. The manufacture of armaments is a huge business in the U.S. I read once during the Cold War that the U.S. had (if I read it correctly) a larger defense budget than the whole rest of the world put together, and definitely a budget ten times greater than the next highest budget (Germany's). The Soviet defense budget didn't even come close.

My source for this dubious information was a certain leftist publication called The World Factbook that is published by a well-known radical organization..

While the military-industrial complex claimed that they wanted to beat the Soviet Union, I don't think any really wanted to win. They wanted to maintain a state of eternal military and diplomatic tension, because that allowed thousands to reap fortunes from defense spending.

Look at what happened after the collapse of the Soviet Union - widespread base closures, cutbacks in armaments procurement, banning of nuclear tests (do you know how much a bomb costs?). Manufacture of new nuclear weapons stopped and they even began dismantling the existing bombs.

There was economic stagnation in areas that once boomed because of defense spending, such as Southern California. Not only was there widespread displacement of defense workers, but the people in charge of defense industries weren't making money anymore.

But now we have a frightening, vague and to be blunt, unbeatable enemy. The people in power know very well that even if we capture or kill bin Laden, even if we wipe out every terrorist cell, that the international environment these days is a breeding ground for terrorism. Terrorism is a better enemy than communism, because you can always be killing some to keep the public happy, but there will always be more to fight after that.

I don't think there is any real desire to actually wipe out terrorism. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfield do not personally have anything to fear from terrorism, they are very well guarded. And the average American really does not have so much to fear, as has already been pointed out in a current front page story.

Cigarrettes kill 400,000 americans each year, where's the war on cigarrettes? Where's the war on automobiles?

No, the war on terrorism has given the military industrial complex a gift beyond their wild expectations. September 11th was the goose that laid the golden egg, and unless we work together to stop what is happening now, the goose will continue to lay.

How did I figure this out? For a while I've had some job search agents running at Hotjobs. I get email this evening on new job openings that match various search criteria. A little while after September 11th, I started getting a lot of job announcements from such companies as Lockheed and Raytheon. Sometimes dozens of new jobs every day from each company. Increasing numbers of jobs that require Top Secret security clearances.

I have even seen openly advertised positions for cryptologists - not someone to write encryption software, but someone to crack codes.

My friends, we have returned to the National Security State. Yes, America does have a history of restoring rights after the wars have ended. But what if the people in charge have no desire to finish the war?


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


Well said, and further to that: (4.20 / 10) (#54)
by Rogerborg on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 08:58:27 AM EST

    "continue progress towards fascism"

Fascism is dependent on strength through unity, and on unquestioning obedience to catechisms.

To outside observers, brainwashing your kids to "pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" is already half way there, especially when - de facto - liberty and justice is demonstrably dependent on skin colour, and the ability to buy lawyers or politicians.

Really, the very idea of a "pledge of allegiance" is frightening to me, especially so from a nation that spends $400 billion a year on military toys.

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

Cold War (2.00 / 1) (#65)
by Merk00 on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:43:51 AM EST

The main reason most of the military and government didn't want the Cold War to end is a simple conclusion: the only acceptable way to force an end to the Cold War was to make it a hot war. A hot war was definitely something that just about everyone wanted to avoid, not only because war is something terrible, but because there was a high likelyhood of the war turning nuclear.

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"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 ]

We are, in fact, locking up Muslims unlawfully (4.33 / 9) (#41)
by MichaelCrawford on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 05:46:47 AM EST

Please read my comment Unlawful Secret Detention of Immigrants about how the ACLU is suing to stop the imprisonment of largely Muslim immigrants.

But please, vote the story +1 because I think it's important this this argument be refuted by the discussion.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


Abuse of the word "unlawful" (3.33 / 3) (#56)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:11:59 AM EST

The treatment of detainees may be unethical or immoral, but people have been throwing around phrases like "unconstitutional" and "unlawful" a lot when describing detention of immigrants and prisoners of war.

Given that the supreme court ruled long ago that the constitution doesn't apply to people who aren't citizens and not on US soil, which laws are being broken, exactly?


--
Now, where did I put that clue? I'm sure I had one a minute ago....


[ Parent ]

two possible answers. (none / 0) (#58)
by aphrael on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:21:43 AM EST

We're probably technically violating the law of whatever country these guys were taken from. In the case of Afghanistan, it's an interesting question, because it's totally unclear whether or not the laws in question are in force.

Part of the legal problem there is that because the US never actually declared war on the government of Afghanistan, there is no legal reason for the US to consider itself not bound by the laws of that country; on the other hand, once the previous government collapsed, if the US was granted permission to do this by the new government, it's possibly legal, provided you believe that the new Afghanistani government had the legal authority to grant such permission.

But there's a more abstract concept. Various legal and political documents dating back to before the revolution refer to the nebulous 'law of civilized nations', usually with respect to the law merchant. If the phrase has meaning beyond the law merchant, then it is certainly arguable that the US impounding without trial of people seized during the fighting in afghanistan is contrary to the law of civilized nations.

[ Parent ]

Right. (4.50 / 2) (#60)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:27:27 AM EST

So, can you sue someone under the "law of civilized nations"? Which court?

"Law" has a very specific meaning, or else it is useless. Something can be very wrong without being covered by laws - just as something can be moral or just and still be illegal.

As for Afghanistan laws, that would be a matter for the Afghani government - except there wasn't one at the time we invaded, was there? The current government doesn't seem inclined to press the issue, but it would still be a matter of two nations negotiating rather than "legal" violations.


--
Now, where did I put that clue? I'm sure I had one a minute ago....


[ Parent ]

thought experiments with the law (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by aphrael on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:37:46 AM EST

So, can you sue someone under the "law of civilized nations"? Which court?

As applied to maritime law, the court of any civilized nation. At the time there was a wide corpus of law that was in force in every western european country (this is pre-revolutionary times, remember), and the courts of each nation would enforce the rules, for the most part.

As to Afghanistan --- well, see, when we invaded there was a government. The fact that the government has since changed complicates the picture, of course.

Also, your position seems to be that it is impossible for the US to violate the law of another nation and be taken to task for it --- it would be "a matter of two nations negotiating". Which suggests that if the US were to kill Gerhard Schroeder (as a ridiculous example), it would not have violated German law --- which is absurd. It may not be prosecutable for the exact same reason that IBM could not be prosecutable for the same crime, but the guy who carried out the order would be.

Which may mean that the US is not itself violating the law, but is paying people (US soldiers) to violate the law.

[ Parent ]

Okay, it's starting to sink in... (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:43:24 AM EST

Which suggests that if the US were to kill Gerhard Schroeder (as a ridiculous example), it would not have violated German law --- which is absurd.

Absurd, maybe, but nonetheless true. It would not be a violation of German law as such - the gunman might have violated German law, but the US did not. The US, in fact, commited an act of war - not an act of crime.

And I am unaware of what Afghan government you are thinking of - parts of the country were controlled by the Taliban, but nothing was left of either the pre- or post- soviet invasion governments.


--
Now, where did I put that clue? I'm sure I had one a minute ago....


[ Parent ]

War Time (4.66 / 3) (#66)
by Merk00 on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:43:56 AM EST

Despite the fact that US never declared war on Afghanistan, a state of war or conflict did exist. Because of that and the fact that it was a military operation, it comes under military law. In this case, the actions of US military personnel would come under Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Laws of War. The rights of those captured in Afghanistan would only be those rights allowed under the Geneva Convention. However, because the captured combatants were declared to be illegal combatants, they have been ruled to not fall under the auspices of the Geneva Convention. Also, the fact that they did not follow the Laws of War themselves (see September 11, etc.) would seem to exempt them from the protections of the Geneva Convention.

------
"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 ]

You've stated the party line nicely (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by buysse on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 11:37:22 AM EST

So, your position (and the administration's) is that US troops have all the rights and protections allowed under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions, because we were fighting a war. Yet, the people US troops were killing and capturing were not fighting a war -- they were illegal combatants. There was a state of war, yet there was not a state of war. This doesn't seem logically consistent to me at all.

Another thing that I'd like to point out is that there has been no evidence shown that the troops on the ground in Afghanistan had any involvement in the events of 2001-09-11. Perhaps the administration has evidence that the Afghani government was involved, but if that is the case, then the government acted against the US in an act of war.

My last point is a question to you: if I violate US law, say by providing sensitive intelligence information to a hostile entity (espionage), would I lose all of my rights that are guaranteed under the constitution? If you do think that I would, why doesn't this scare you?


WAR IS PEACE | FREEDOM IS SLAVERY | IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
[ Parent ]

Sometimes the party line is right (4.00 / 3) (#82)
by Merk00 on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 11:50:47 AM EST

So, your position (and the administration's) is that US troops have all the rights and protections allowed under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions, because we were fighting a war. Yet, the people US troops were killing and capturing were not fighting a war -- they were illegal combatants. There was a state of war, yet there was not a state of war. This doesn't seem logically consistent to me at all.
The US government never declared that all those on the ground were illegal combatants. That'd just be silly. However, there were certain members of Al'Qaeda (as opposed to the Taleban) who were engaging or training to engage in terrorist activity. Terrorist activity isn't a lawful means of war. Because of that, they gave up their rights to qualify as POW's. Because they tried to engage in illegal warfare, they are illegal combatants.

US troops have rights under the Geneva Convention because they were fighting in a conflict under the Laws of War. There were many in Afghanistan, who are not currently held by the US government, who were fighting legally. Because of that, they aren't illegal combatants.

My last point is a question to you: if I violate US law, say by providing sensitive intelligence information to a hostile entity (espionage), would I lose all of my rights that are guaranteed under the constitution? If you do think that I would, why doesn't this scare you?
Basically, it depends. If you are conducting espionage during time of war in a combat zone, you've lost all your rights under the Constitution (as well as the Geneva Convention). Why? Because you are in a combat zone. There's a large difference between doing it during war time and peace time as well as whether or not it's in a combat zone. In general, the penalty for spying in a combat zone is immediate execution.

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"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 ]

It's just an assumption (5.00 / 2) (#97)
by QuickFox on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 02:52:55 PM EST

there were certain members of Al'Qaeda (as opposed to the Taleban) who were engaging or training to engage in terrorist activity. Terrorist activity isn't a lawful means of war. Because of that, they gave up their rights to qualify as POW's. Because they tried to engage in illegal warfare, they are illegal combatants.

This has never been verified, it's just an assumption.

Nothing has been done to verify if those particular persons were members of Al'Qaeda or if those particular persons were training for that kind of activity. Those who are now at Gitmo just happened to be found in the wrong place. Based on this, they are assumed to be terrorists. It's just an assumption. There is no effort to find out if this assumption has any base in reality.

And why is nothing done to verify this? It seems this is based on a circular argument. They are assumed to be terrorists. This assumption means that they have no right to be heard. They may be innocent, but that makes no difference, the assumption is enough. The assumption means they don't have the right to be heard.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Al'Qaeda (none / 0) (#152)
by Merk00 on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 02:02:59 PM EST

While it may not have been verified in a court of law, there's nothing to indicate that it hasn't been verified that those held in Guantanmo Bay are actually Al'Qaeda members. It is true that an unbiased source hasn't looked at the information but it seems unlikely that the US Military would single out this group of individuals to hold, out of the thousands that they could have held, if there was nothing to indicate that they were Al'Qaeda members.

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"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 ]

You're renouncing your right to a fair trial (none / 0) (#174)
by QuickFox on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 12:16:57 AM EST

If that's enough, then why bother with lawyers and judges and the right to a fair trial when the police arrests you?

Suppose the police suddenly arrests you. According to your argument, the police can decide your case and send you directly to prison.

While it may not have been verified in a court of law, there's nothing to indicate that it hasn't been verified by the police that persons arrested by the police are actually criminals. It is true that an unbiased source has not looked at the information but it seems unlikely that the police would single out this group of individuals to hold, out of the thousands that they could have held, if there was nothing to indicate that they were criminals.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Fair Trial (none / 0) (#178)
by Merk00 on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 10:59:31 AM EST

Try to read it in context. I never said that civilians under civilian authority should give up the right to a trial. All I said was that in a combat zone under military authority, it makes sense to give leaway to the military to make decisions (which means the President as Commander-in-Chief). Again, I never implied in any way that this should apply in a non-combat area. This is not the way things should normally operate. This is not the way things will normally operate.

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"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 ]

Loss of constitutional rights... (5.00 / 1) (#101)
by buysse on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 04:02:12 PM EST

If you are conducting espionage during time of war in a combat zone, you've lost all your rights under the Constitution (as well as the Geneva Convention). Why? Because you are in a combat zone. There's a large difference between doing it during war time and peace time as well as whether or not it's in a combat zone. In general, the penalty for spying in a combat zone is immediate execution.
As I understand it, the reason for immediate execution is because of the clear and present danger should this person escape. If the government busts in your door and captures you, there is no clear and present danger to justify use of lethal force. If someone has information that is vital to security and it would be dangerous to allow escape, immediate execution would be justified (rifle shot). This is similar to how police (are supposed to) operate -- if someone is an immediate danger to the others, use of force is justified.

If that person is captured and handcuffed, is it still justified to execute that person? Once a spy has been captured, do they have any rights under the constitution, such as due process? I would argue that they still do.

I will stand firm on this, that a person cannot lose their rights that are guaranteed under the constitution. Article III, section 3 of the constitution defines treason as "consist[ing] only in levying War against [the state], or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort." This sounds a hell of a lot like espionage or Bush's nebulous criteria for an enemy combatant.

However, the article goes on to state that the person would be convicted, without taking that outside of the normal rules for due process or anything else. There are no constitutional amendments that can take away the right to due process and to confront your accusers in a court of law.
WAR IS PEACE | FREEDOM IS SLAVERY | IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
[ Parent ]

Rights (none / 0) (#151)
by Merk00 on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 02:01:10 PM EST

Again, it's quite possible to lose all your rights under the Constitution. However, it's not particularly legal for it to occur when an area is under civilian jurisdiction. Given that we were talking about Afghanistan, which is under military jurisdiction during war time, it's a completely different story. In that case, given that an area is under military jurisdiction, in a war zone, during time of war, really, all bets are off. If you're an actual soldier you are still protected by the Geneva Convention. If you happen to be a civilian, you're also protected under the Geneva Convention. If you happen to be a civilian who's acting as a combatant, then you have no rights whatsoever. This is the case that those in Guantanmo Bay find themselves.

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"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 ]

So... (none / 0) (#162)
by buysse on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 11:21:15 PM EST

What you're saying now is that if a Polish citizen (not a soldier) acted to defend his home and his country against an invasion, say, in 1939, that under the current rules, he would not be covered by the Geneva Conventions as a civilian or as a soldier, but could be tortured, held, interrogated and killed without it qualifying as a war crime? I don't see any such exception in the documents I've read (or in any commentary on the Nuremberg trials).

The problem with the "enemy combatant" designation is that it's so vague. Would a civilian air traffic controller who guided in a bomber be a combatant? How about the man defending his home and his family with his grandfather's shotgun? It's a loophole that you could drive a fucking tank through.

Also, the other issue that I have is the idea that non-US citizens do not have any rights. The founders seemed to believe that all men had several basic rights, which they attempted to quantify in the Constitution. I've based this assumption on the Declaration of Independence -- while not part of the Constitution, it could be used to help determine the intent of the framers. My opinion (take it for what it's worth) is that the Bill of Rights applies equally to citizens and non-citizens. The courts may (and I believe do) disagree.


WAR IS PEACE | FREEDOM IS SLAVERY | IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
[ Parent ]

Illegal Combatants (none / 0) (#176)
by Merk00 on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 10:54:26 AM EST

A Polish citizen fighting to defend his home, if not part of an organized militia, would then be an illegal combatant (the term isn't "enemy combatant"). If they were part of an organized milita, then they would be entitled to POW status. The key issue is that they have to fight as a military unit, including such things as only attacking military targets and have a chain of command. Attacking civilians, intentionally, would really deprive you of the rights to POW status (there is a gray area here but it's fairly clear that Al'Qaeda has intentionally attacked civilian targets). Also, torture is always banned. You never lose all your rights, no matter what actions occur. You can, however, be executed but it has to be in a humane fashion.

As to whether or not non-US citizens have rights, they do under the US Constitution. However, those rights really only apply when they are inside the United States (it'd be a bit strange to apply them outside US territory). Most of the rights that the framers of the Constitution held, we're relevant to peace time. War time is a completely different issue. There's a reason that military law was and is different from civilian law. Please recognize the difference.

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"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 ]

Technical nitpick on whether we're at "war&qu (2.00 / 1) (#80)
by Vygramul on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 11:05:18 AM EST

International Law doesn't care what your nation's laws are regarding declarations of war. A statement to that effect from a recognized leader of the country is enough. So Bush fulfilled the International Law requirements for being considered at war.

This isn't to make any ethical or even operational truth assertions. Merely the technical aspect.


If Brute Force isn't working, you're not using enough.
[ Parent ]

War (5.00 / 1) (#83)
by Merk00 on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 11:53:34 AM EST

Actually, international law never requires a declaration of war for any provisions of international law to take place. Instead, they merely specify an "armed conflict." The main reason this happens is that it's impossible to declare war against a government you don't recognize. Frequently, wars are fought between governments that don't recognize each other (Korean War and US Civil War are just two examples). International law applies any time there's a conflict.

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"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 ]

International law (none / 0) (#89)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 01:24:41 PM EST

International law applies any time there's a conflict.

Right.

Huh?

"International Law" only exists when two countries both sign treaties and agree to obey the those treaties. What international law applies to a country that hasn't signed such a treaty? Who enforces it?

"Law", like government, only works with the consent of the governed. Otherwise, it's just a noise liberals make because they hate to use words like "ethics" and "morality".


--
Now, where did I put that clue? I'm sure I had one a minute ago....


[ Parent ]

Laws of War (none / 0) (#150)
by Merk00 on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 01:47:05 PM EST

Actually, the Laws of War are applied to any combatants, no matter whether or not they are contracting parties to the Geneva Convention. These are generally called "War Crimes" or "Crimes Against Humanity." It has been the international consensus that these crimes are henious enough that they should apply to anyone. There is no need for agreement by any countries.

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"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 ]

Who gets to apply them? (none / 0) (#154)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 04:19:37 PM EST

You say the laws of war are applied to any combatants - so if two 3rd world countries decide to go at it - who exactly arrests the war criminals and brings them to justice?

When do the Rwandan genocide crowd get their day in court?

And what gives you the right to haul my ass into a war crimes court if I have never recognized the authority of the body that created that court?

As I said before - law, and government, exists only with the consent of the governed. To put it another way: Who died and left you boss?


--
Now, where did I put that clue? I'm sure I had one a minute ago....


[ Parent ]

United Nations (none / 0) (#155)
by Merk00 on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 04:34:04 PM EST

In general, for Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes, it's the general body of nations who's job it is to prosecute. In most cases, this ends up being the United Nations. Specifically, there is a UN Tribunal for Rwanda. This was also the whole point of the International Criminal Court.

As I've said before, the whole idea behind Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes is that all civilized nations and individuals should obey them. They are the basic rights of all mankind. It has nothing to do with national sovereignty. It has everything to do with the most basic universal human rights.

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"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 ]

I see. (none / 0) (#167)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 06:26:44 AM EST

So, even if my nation never joined the United Nations, they can bind me to their laws? How is that just or fair? How is it morally any different from any other protection racket?

What right do you have to force us to live the way you want us to?


--
Now, where did I put that clue? I'm sure I had one a minute ago....


[ Parent ]

International Law (none / 0) (#177)
by Merk00 on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 10:57:07 AM EST

Yes, the UN can apply certain rules to a country or area without the consent of the government (or people) of that area. These are the most basic of human necessity. Things such as freedom from torture, freedom from genocide, etc. These are problems that are so bad and harmful, that it is humanities job to prosecute them. The right taken by the UN is to prevent those in power from corrupting there rule and using it to inhumane ends. This is morally different than a protection racket as you aren't required to pay anything.

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"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 ]

the funny thing about rights (3.66 / 6) (#43)
by martingale on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 06:29:40 AM EST

There's a funny thing about getting new rights, it doesn't always mean that you are better off... When you're explicitly granted a new right, it often comes bundled with a specific boundary: from now on, you've got the right to do such and such, but not that.

In one of Lawrence Lessig's talks, there's a nice graphic which shows how this is happening with copyright, but the principle certainly applies more generally.

Timeo danaos et dona ferentes.

Constitution & rights (5.00 / 2) (#57)
by Dphitz on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:13:57 AM EST

That's partly the reason some of the framers of the constitution didn't want an enumerated list of rights.  They feared that any right left off the list would be a right denied to the people.  That's what the 9th amendment was supposed to solve but we've all seen the problems there, such as the right to privacy which is always being debated.


God, please save me . . . from your followers

[ Parent ]
I think it gets a lot more complicated than this.. (4.00 / 6) (#50)
by theforlornone on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 07:58:44 AM EST

you mentioned the Civil War and the loss of habeas corpus. This war was on home soil, involving two opposing forces, an entire country divided and fighting. Wars that the US is involved in now are quite different. What are the movitvations and reasons for restricting American rights now? Does it matter if this war's not being fought literally on our soil? Should we be less or more willing to give up our rights in wartime because it's not on our soil? You can argue (racial) profiling as a reason for restricting American rights, but should ALL Americans be willing to give up their rights or should we target only those who are here on visas, etc. to be subject to loss of rights? It appears a bit more complicated when looking at it in a global context, the standpoint from which we have to view everything we do now. Hmmm, I was trying to make a point here somewhere, I hope someone gets it!

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It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!
-Nietzsche
On US Soil (none / 0) (#62)
by Merk00 on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:35:41 AM EST

I would think that the events of September 11 seem to indicate that the fight has been taken to US soil. Also, the writ of habaes corpus was suspended during World War 2 but only for the German saboteurs that were caught by the FBI. They were eventually tried by a military tribunal.

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"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 ]

you're right, but... (5.00 / 2) (#72)
by theforlornone on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 10:08:27 AM EST

in this particular case, the enemy is spread out all over the world, and we targeted one particular country to "punish". i think i was trying to bring up the fact that the threat inside the US as far as a "war" or terrorists acts being commited by full citizens of the US is not as great as the threat coming from persons who are citizens of another country. Does this change citizens willingness to give up rights?

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It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!
-Nietzsche
[ Parent ]
Threat (4.00 / 1) (#75)
by Merk00 on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 10:23:23 AM EST

Unfortunately, the threat of terrorist attacks is mostly directed at the United States itself (or at least those that we are most concerned about). Given that it's next to impossible to tell a citizen from a non-citizen and that for many purposes, the law is blind as to actual citizenship, it becomes irrelevant that a terrorist is a US citizen or not.

------
"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 ]

Bad analogy. (4.42 / 14) (#69)
by kitten on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:54:22 AM EST

During the Civil War ...
In World War I, ...
during WWII, ...


The key difference in today's situation and the historical ones you mention is that there was a clearly defined enemy, and a clearly defined time when the war would be over: When one government or the other surrendered.

Not so today. The enemy is a vague spectre; an idea rather than a tangible foe. When will we have defeated this idea, this thought? At what point will we be able to say, "Okay, everybody, the idea is gone now, so let's repeal all those laws that we had while we were fighting the idea." When will we know the idea has been vanquished? At what will we point to and say, "As VJ Day was the end of our war with Japan, so is _______ the end of our War on Terror"?

I can't fill in the blank. Can you?
It's an undefined enemy; a war with an undefined goal. There is no way of knowing when it will be over, and Bush - and people of his mindset - can continue trampling our civil liberties virtually indefinitely under the guise of "defeating terror".

Whatever that means.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
i dont agree with you (2.66 / 3) (#74)
by turmeric on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 10:14:27 AM EST

most wars are trussed up in this 'we are figthing an idea' thing. germany and japan were fighting against fascism and after they had been smashed and their cities turned into burnt toast, the US poured money all over them hoping fascism wouldnt come back.

vietnam, korea, chile, argentina, panama, cuba, iraq, iran, afghanistan, zaire/congo, south africa, etce etc etc, all our involvement in these places was about fighting 'the idea of communism'.

the native american battles. the US government was supposedly battling 'savagery' and 'heathenism'. there was no clear cut winning of this battle. and since there are still native americans surviving and lots of white people seem to admire their culture, i guess the US government didnt 'win its battle'... because its 'battle' was stupid bullshit in the first place, completely idiotic and crazy... there was no savagery or heathenism, any more so than murdering 500,000 of your own brothers, sisters, and country fellows in a civil war. that was savage and heathen.

so how is this new one any different from those? they were all ill defined, if you ask me. we still have nazi parties in austria and germany. as well as the United States. we have people in the US government who want to destroy civil rights and implement fascist policy. oh wait, who the hell are we fighting anywyas? what were we fighting? what ideas were we fighting against?



[ Parent ]

fighting an idea (5.00 / 2) (#84)
by llimllib on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 11:58:35 AM EST

The fundamental difference between the aforementioned wars and the current "war" (how exactly do you define war that this fits?) is that we are now in a position of defending ourselves from...ourselves. What we fear is that an everyday citizen has the ability to cause severe damage, and this fear can conceivably not end, unlike a war in which we're aggressing against some nation, or at least against some idea we can measure.

We were able to measure the fall of communism, measure the retreat of the nazis, measure the retreat of the germans, measure the battles against the south, but how do you measure our war against terrorism? It's fought secretly, around the globe, including here at home. It relies on stealth and deceit, and the government's ability to ignore civil rights.

That, to me is how these wars were different from our current "war".


Peace.
[ Parent ]
deep but (none / 0) (#122)
by turmeric on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:31:00 PM EST

the KKK? the loyalists vs the brits?

even if it is relatively new to us, its nothing new to , for example, germans. french. russians. chinese. japanese. millions of whom emigrated here to get away from that bullshit.



[ Parent ]

huh? (none / 0) (#127)
by llimllib on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 12:16:07 AM EST

alright, I'll bite. What are you talking about? I don't understand a word of your reply.


Peace.
[ Parent ]
Redundant. Geez. (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by jmzero on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 12:51:40 PM EST

We can't let K5 become /. - a place where reading other people's comments is done sometime after posting your own identical comment.  I'm not even finished reading the comments, and I've already seen 4 or 5 with pretty much this same theme.  

If there was a couple, I'd chalk it down to lag time during writing comments - but the number here is pretty silly.  If you (kitten) are innocent here, then fine - I just want to make a general plea:

If someone else has already said what you're saying, don't say it again in a parent comment.  If you have something to add, add a reply to the other person's comment.  Read other comments before posting.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Actually, (none / 0) (#93)
by kitten on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 02:07:22 PM EST

I had FIRST POST (okay, second) with this comment, the first time this story was submitted. It got killed almost immediately, though, so I wanted to make my comment known when it came back.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
As I said, fine... (none / 0) (#94)
by jmzero on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 02:13:18 PM EST

There's always going to be redundant comments that sneak through for some legitimate reason.  As I said, it was a general plea - certainly we could have avoided at least 1 or 2 of the 4 or 5 similar comments.  I put my comment on your version simply because its number was pretty high (#69 vs. #3 for the first one), so there seemed a fairly good chance that it really could have been either left unsaid or attached as a reply to another comment.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
Possible reason for declining liberties (3.62 / 8) (#71)
by Timandra on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 10:06:56 AM EST

For many people, especially those in the media, the restriction of liberties in the name of the War on Terror is a non-event. Those in power are on the Bush administration's side and do little to cover this, lest they be seen as unpatriotic, one of the most damning "crimes" an American can be tarnished with.

Any protest or contrary view on a possible war in Iraq is pushed almost to the Lifestyle section; it's just not being covered. Futhermore few are decrying the decline in civil liberties.

With so much pro war sentiment why are people surprised about the declining liberties that American face every day? I'm glad I live in Canada.

Ted
Ted

exactly (3.60 / 5) (#73)
by fhotg on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 10:13:05 AM EST

History shows the wartime laws will be repealed once the war is over.
what would make me think, if I had to put up with this, is that the "war" on terror declared by the US-government is pretty fuzzy defined, without an enemy and without a clear-cut goal. And I believe having heard from someone who must know that "this war will last a looong time." Like 1000 years or something.

There is a continuous give-and-take here. (4.00 / 3) (#98)
by mesozoic on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 02:59:18 PM EST

The need to protect the national interest and the need to maintain basic civil freedoms have repeatedly clashed, and there is rarely a single good answer to the problems our nation faces.

A perfect example is the problem facing the American intelligence community right now. Counterterrorism efforts have been hampered significantly by a reluctance to share information, an inability in many cases to spy on civilians (who may or may not be aiding terrorists), and a number of similarly complex issues. Obviously, the way our intelligence apparatus has functioned in the past several years is not working the way it should. Something needs to change.

So what gets changed? Where do we draw the line between reasonable espionage and invasion of privacy? Which agencies get to share what kinds of information? And, most importantly, who will make these decisions when they cannot be agreed on?

If there is one thing history can teach us, it is that America's first reaction to a problem is neither the best solution, nor the final one. In addition, we have a Judiciary that has never been reluctant to strike down unconstitutional exercises of Executive of Legislative power. The beauty of a nation like ours is that when something doesn't work, we fix it, even if it takes a while for us to do so.

"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right." -- Salvor Hardin, Isaac Asimov's Foundation

Do I trust the American people? (3.00 / 8) (#102)
by Jizzbug on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 04:08:43 PM EST

Some of them? Yes. Most of them? No.

I was born in 1981. Not very many good things have been going on in the world since my birth. Soon after my birth, Iran-Contra--a covert operation to launder money to arm the Contras--started up. Iran-Contra--and other frauds perpetrated against the American people by its leaders--wreaked havoc on the American economy (the current economic situation in the U.S. is very much a result of these many financial frauds [which all took place during the 12 years of Reagan/Bush reign]), and certainly destroyed many lives in South American. Also during the '80s, America was busy propping up and supporting the Taliban, supporting Saddam, supporting and arming Israel, supporting South Africa, etc., etc. The list is almost endless.

At least in my lifetime, and from my readings in history, all I see is perpetual war for perpetual peace.

I tend to think this can only go on so long. If all people know is war and erroded freedoms, how will we know what to go back to when its all over with? And when will it all be over with? To me, it seems there's no end in sight.

But I suppose that's why humans invented revolutions. Too bad America is so conditioned and so apathetic, 'cause the circumstances here are ripe for revolution (or at least ought to be soon enough).

I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves.
 -- Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None

Glad to see your twenty one years of experience (3.22 / 9) (#103)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 04:28:41 PM EST

Has given you such an all-pervasive knowledge of how the world works.

In case no one pointed it out to you - the actions of the USA for the past 50 years were successful. It prevented Europe and South America from being invaded or overthrown by the communists. The fact that you seem have no awareness of what kind of a threat they once represented is, I suppose a left-handed compliment to the men and women who worked so hard for it.


--
Now, where did I put that clue? I'm sure I had one a minute ago....


[ Parent ]

Oh, "the communists". (1.66 / 3) (#105)
by Jizzbug on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 04:51:30 PM EST

Yes, "the communists", I forgot about them. Those pesky lil' rascal communists.

Actually, you kinda proved my point.

I may be young, but that doesn't mean I'm dumb. In fact, throughout grade school my teachers would tell my parents that I was the smartest kid they'd ever taught. I'm not trying to flaunt my ego, I'm just sayin' I'm not an idiot. (Since I'm talkin' about my teachers, one o' my teachers from high school told me once that she thinks my problem is that I'm too ahead of my time, that I remind her of a modern Socrates. I can't say how much I agree with her [*smile*], but it was certainly the best compliment I've ever received [and she's one of the most highly respected teachers in the district].) Anyways, I'm just as capable of reading and understanding things as you are, even if I'm "only 21" [soon to be 22, in a month].

But seriously, your fear and loathing of "the communists" is quite ignorant, as any cursory glance at the global history of the last 20 years will prove. Ain't it amazing how easily the American populace can be controlled by mass media and government through such poorly constructed strawmen as "the communists"?

I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves.
 -- Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None

[ Parent ]

Thank you for proving my point. (none / 0) (#106)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 04:57:48 PM EST

And go and read a book, why don't you? In particular, check out something on what happened to Eastern Europe in the years after the Yalta Conference.


--
Now, where did I put that clue? I'm sure I had one a minute ago....


[ Parent ]

East/West & North/South (5.00 / 2) (#114)
by influx on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 06:08:43 PM EST

So you find in your infinite wisdom that two countries, Korea and Germany when split between Communist and Capitalist/Democratic governments didn't end up with extreme differences?

It's easier to see why the United States wanted to step in after the French failed in South Vietnam when you compare the living conditions today of S. Korea vs N. Korea. In North Korea people are starving, and in South Korea they have some of the highest penetration of broadband access in the world.

Similar differences can be found between what was East Germany and West Germany, and in fact those differences are having a profound effect on a re-unified Germany.

I'm not that much older than you are, but I do recall living in West Germany when their was a real threat of the Soviets rolling their tank divisions through the Fulda Gap.

It is clear that the Cold War was necessary and it is a tribute to the restraints on both sides that it didn't develop into another war to end all wars. Many of the things that the United States and other countries did during the Cold War that has come to light is disgusting, but in the end many of its aims were noble. In fact, those people now living in a unified Germany and those people living in South Korea are living a better life than they would have with Communism.

To trivialize the struggles that happened during the years between the end of WW2 and now is to show a profound ignorance of history. I wonder if those Germans risking death to escape East Berlin would agree with you that their fear and loathing of "the communists" was misplaced.

---
The more you know, the less you understand.
[ Parent ]

Socrates (5.00 / 1) (#135)
by claudius on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 08:54:49 AM EST

I was the smartest kid they'd ever taught....

You were home-schooled?

If you were indeed as astute a student of history as you claim to be, then you would recognize that the Cold War was not played out against a "strawmen" as you say, but rather between adversaries who each had the power to launch ICBMs and obliterate the other on a moment's notice.  To the USA, the Soviet Union was no ephemeral beastie, but rather a genuine threat to the survival of the State, a threat whose leader pounded his shoe in the U.N. and spoke of burying the West.  A threat that placed nuclear weapons in Cuba and was all but ready to authorize Castro to launch the weapons.  From the point of view of the American people at the time, this was a very real issue that deserved attention, and any analysis of the geopolitics of the era must acknowledge Cold War implications.  

Of course, the West posed an equally terrifying threat to the Soviet Union.  Consider the placement of nuclear weapons in Turkey and western Europe, normalized relations with China, U2 flyovers, satellite reconnaisance, a technological lead that the West never really lost over the duration of the Cold War, SDI R&D, and Reagan's speaking of a "nuclear warning shot."  These were very real threats to the USSR, threats that bankrupted the nation and ultimately contributed to its implosion.  You do neither side a service by pretending, through your ignorance and revisionist historian tendencies, that the threats were nonexistent.  

[ Parent ]

No, you're not an idiot (none / 0) (#187)
by epepke on Sat Dec 14, 2002 at 09:15:20 PM EST

And at least you put a good Nietzsche quote in your sig. But you do lack a personal experience of history.

It's sometimes said that people become more conservative as they get older. I don't think that's true, per se. What happens is that they get a longer memory. They are less likely to conclude that the latest idea that looks good on paper is going to be the saving of humanity. They have seen entire blocs of people vigorously defend a proposition, and then, ten years later when it didn't work out so hot, vigorously deny that they had ever once defended it.

You can laugh at the wascally Communists; it's a big joke, isn't it? Of course, it's good that it's a big joke. You didn't have to go on drills to the fallout shelter when you were in school. You didn't go to sleep wondering if the next day might be a nuclear dawn. You weren't in Florida when the Cuban Missile Crisis was played out. Believe me, it wasn't a big joke then. Yes, I too thought Iran/Contra was heinous, and I though that the brinkmanship of the military buildup at the time was ridiculous. But it worked, and you get to live in the world where it worked.

You didn't live through the time when the U.S. was actively hostile to Israel. You can read a book, but you don't have the personal experience. And you can laugh at the "propaganda" at the same time, cheerfully oblivious to the fact that it's all propaganda, even the bits you like and think are true.

You essentially have a single point view of history and ideology. You're at the age where people don't grasp the past or the future all that well, but they are very excited at what they are learning, so long as they don't get into a car wreck because they haven't quite grasped the fact of their own mortality. This is not a bad thing; it's good. The energy of youth perpetually invigorates the human race. However, eventually you'll start to notice some things, like how many liberal professors tend to live in all-white neighborhoods. Or something you support or even march for might eventually get adopted but not work out the way you imagined. Then you'll be the Nazi to a new generation.

You could probably derive some benefit from watching Good Will Hunting.


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


[ Parent ]
The Wonders of South America (none / 0) (#146)
by cgenman on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 11:06:05 AM EST

In case no one pointed it out to you - the actions of the USA for the past 50 years were successful. It prevented Europe and South America from being invaded or overthrown by the communists. The fact that you seem have no awareness of what kind of a threat they once represented is, I suppose a left-handed compliment to the men and women who worked so hard for it.

Yes, the wonders of South America. Thank you Porkchop D. Clown for pointing out how skillfully we shaped the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Paraguay into the tropical island paradices they have become. And your implication is right - 21 years is not enough time for Jizzbug to have read of all of our incursions into South America. If he wants to study what he calls the "frauds perpetrated against the American people by its leaders," he's going to have to stop posting on Kuro5hin, or many will pass him by.

/sarcasm

.
- This Sig is a mnemonic device designed to allow you to recognize this author in the future. This is only a device.
[ Parent ]

You best climb down from that soapbox... (5.00 / 1) (#153)
by cr8dle2grave on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 04:09:11 PM EST

...as the rarefied air up there is causing you to see things which simply aren't there. If you return to porkchop's comment and carefully reread it, you'll surely find that nowhere did he claim that the US involvement in South America resulted in the creation of "tropical island paradices (sic)." His claim was simply that US was largely successfully in accomplishing its stated goal of impeding the spread of a Soviet aligned bloc in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. On that point, he is indeed correct.

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


[ Parent ]
What drugs are you on? (3.20 / 5) (#117)
by godix on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 06:43:26 PM EST

"the current economic situation in the U.S. is very much a result of these many financial frauds [which all took place during the 12 years of Reagan/Bush reign])"

Right. Like the frauds of Enron, Worldcom, etc during the 90's didn't have anything to do with it. Or the dot come bust. Or 9/11. If you're so eager to insult republican presidents could you make an effort and be at least somewhat close to reality?

"Also during the '80s, America was busy propping up and supporting the Taliban, supporting Saddam, supporting and arming Israel, supporting South Africa, etc."

The fact that you threw in Israel in the same lot as Iraq, Taliban, or South Africa says more about your intelligence than your teachers ever could. If you can't understand the difference between a demcracy that has killed less civilians in a year than Osama did in two hours and a dictatorship that gases their own people, supports flying civilian planes into civilian targets, or institutionalized racism then you're just stupid.

"all I see is perpetual war for perpetual peace."

Welcome to reality. The fact the US is willing to fight for peace and build up it's former enemies after it defeats them damned near makes the US unique compared to Rome, Persia, Germany, Japan, England, Spain, France, China, Russia, etc; all of which tried to take over the world or commited wholesale genecide on defeated enemies.

"And when will it all be over with?"

Either when humanity is dead or when some magical being takes away all warlike feelings from every single person in the world. Until one of those two things happens freedom and peace are things men will have to be willing to fight to keep.

"Too bad America is so conditioned and so apathetic, 'cause the circumstances here are ripe for revolution (or at least ought to be soon enough"

BWAHAHAHAHA! This isn't even worth a rebuttal. Go look at the conditions of countries that have revolted in the last 100 years. I guarentee every single one of them had less freedom and more oppression than the US at it's worst (American Civil War if you don't know).


Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.

[ Parent ]

Ummm you make assumptions.. (4.62 / 8) (#104)
by redwolfb14 on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 04:43:00 PM EST

Based on wars.. The war on terrorism? Who is the enemey? When will it end? You need to get your facts straight and when you do you'll realize that this is a battle the US can't win. This isn't a war, it's a farce. When will the President come to a podium and say "Gladly, the war on terrorism is over". NEVER because it'll never be over. This is like trying to conform the world; they don't like it. The only thing this is doing is increasing hatred towards the American public. I can't believe you even compared this to the Civil War or even the World Wars. That has to be the siliest thing I've read. Each and every war in American history has had a defined GOAL and AGENDA. We have none of these against the "War on Terrorism". The wars you mentioned had defined goals.. We even had to be forced into one because we DID NOT want to fight a war. We left the world alone until they brought the shit onto home turf. Ever since "The Cold War", war isn't about protecting your own country it's about politics. This is more of the same. -1 man, go do some research and come back with something informative that actually makes sense.
Say what you want because I already have.
You are so kidding (3.50 / 2) (#110)
by SanSeveroPrince on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 05:25:57 PM EST

Who exactly gave a pox-ridden moron from Texas the right to take MY rights, 5000 miles away? Not me.

-1 for presumption, lack of arguments and lack of a point. Resenction to Diary where we can tell you where you can go with ease...

----

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


Huh? (5.00 / 2) (#118)
by nsgnfcnt1 on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 06:53:35 PM EST

Please provide examples of a pox-ridden moron from Texas taking away your rights in a country 5000 miles away. Really, I want to know.

[ Parent ]
Examples (none / 0) (#175)
by SanSeveroPrince on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 05:38:41 AM EST

Example in character: George W. Bush <- pox ridden and Texan;
Example in the news: the reforms and wars that the white haired moron wants to spill over to Europe.
Example on the net: people like you who let him.

----

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


[ Parent ]
what about Europe's disregard for rights? (4.00 / 1) (#189)
by Godel on Sun Dec 15, 2002 at 07:28:51 PM EST

Example in the news: the reforms and wars that the white haired moron wants to spill over to Europe.

Do you have anything besides mindless propaganda? Name one specific thing that the US has done to take away your rights. Hey, how about the new net hate speech laws that Council of Europe passed that they asked the US to go along with. The US refused because it would violate our first amendment which guarantees people the right to freely speak their minds without being censored by the government. You see, once you give the government the power decide what speech is acceptable, then you have no free speech at all. Unpopular speech is the kind that needs protection the most. The US is standing firm protecting the most important freedom that exists while Europe, after already taking away most economic freedoms and instituting socialist welfare states, begins to take away freedom of dissent. If you want to look at a police state, look at the Union of European Socialist Republics, not the USA.

I have nothing against the people of Europe, I want them to live in freedom, that's why I think it's so sad that they've chosen to enact "thought-crime" and other burdensome, unfree laws.

[ Parent ]

Lack of historical perspective. (4.00 / 2) (#111)
by Tezcatlipoca on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 05:30:44 PM EST

To even seriously consider the shameful detention of US citizens of Japanese origin the worst thing the US has done the last century just shows a complete lack of historical perspective.

Just for starters we have Vietnam, and the US colonial rule of the Philliphines.

-1 for that.

European? Say no to software patents.

US colonial rule of the philippines (none / 0) (#115)
by aphrael on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 06:16:49 PM EST

The US colonial rule of the philippines seems, in general, to have been much lighter than the previous Spanish colonial rule thereof.

[ Parent ]
Fine reasoning. (none / 0) (#172)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 10:02:11 PM EST

The US was less bad, that must be something positive.

Google a bit, you will be horrorized.

European? Say no to software patents.
[ Parent ]

Phillipeans (none / 0) (#147)
by bayers on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 11:13:31 AM EST

The Phillipeans is one of the few nations where we got a positive rating in that recent poll. Relations between the Phillipeans and the US are amiable and have generally been so.

[ Parent ]
Your point being? (none / 0) (#173)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 10:05:50 PM EST

Mexico has excellent relations with Spain. Still Spain commited horrible crimes against the indigenous population. I could go on but I think I have made my point.

Forgiving without forgetting....

European? Say no to software patents.
[ Parent ]

And we're saved? (4.66 / 6) (#113)
by debolaz on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 06:01:00 PM EST

The Cold War lasted half a century, but we actually gained some rights during it. The 'right to privacy' comes to mind along with the Freedom of Information Act.

<troll>So it took communism to make the US realise freedom of information and privacy are good things? :)</troll>

History shows the wartime laws will be repealed once the war is over.

I assume you're talking about the war on terror here...

When exactly is this war scheduled to be over? When the US beats Saddam? When they discover that Bin Laden has been hiding in the white house basement? There's a slight difference between this "war" and previous wars: This one doesn't have a realistic goal. There's no set timeframe either.

This isn't a real war by any sane mans definition, and the laws introduced will not be repealed.

-
--
If they can buy one, why can't we?
realistic goals (none / 0) (#140)
by cyberbuffalo on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 09:52:13 AM EST

Do you think "defeating communism" was a realistic goal in the 50s?

[ Parent ]
War on Terror (4.16 / 6) (#119)
by coljac on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 07:17:45 PM EST

I voted +1/FP because a discussion around this topic is important, but you really should have asked the question, is the "war on terror" the same as the other wars? To me it looks like a permanent state of emergency that can be used to justify all sorts of unpleasantness without actually fighting a war. The "war on terror" is as rhetorical as the "war on poverty".

Coljac

---
Whether or not life is discovered there I think Jupiter should be declared an enemy planet. - Jack Handey

not really (3.00 / 1) (#139)
by cyberbuffalo on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 09:50:37 AM EST

When Bush says "War against Terror" we are talking about very specific groups. The US doesn't care about the IRA. We don't care about the Basques. What we do care about are the Islamic fundamentalist terror groups that are attacking the US.

We are fighting Al Queda and the groups that are related to Al Queda.

[ Parent ]

You really think so? (none / 0) (#186)
by Kwil on Sat Dec 14, 2002 at 04:01:37 AM EST

Bush doesn't.

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


[ Parent ]
It will go on a long time (4.00 / 1) (#157)
by DodgyGeezer on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 06:29:17 PM EST

Agreed.  I highly doubt that the war on terror will be won without some fundamental changes by the US.  Even if Al Quaeda is wiped off the face of the planet, some other group will step in to the void.  One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

[ Parent ]
dude wheres my post (4.50 / 4) (#123)
by turmeric on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 09:34:40 PM EST

anyways i tried to say that rights are not something that governmetns can take away. we are born with them, we die with them... we are human beings, this alone gives us rights. simply because we are human beings.

or as others might say it, 'we were endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights'. course that toilet licker had slaves. ... ugh.

but that rat bastard was still correct, and not the first person to say it, frankly i think most indigenous cultures had the belief in individual rights if you look at the quotes from meetings they had w brits.

What are "rights"? (none / 0) (#132)
by Pikachu with an Axe in his Head on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 07:08:38 AM EST

Certainly nothing as magical as you say they are. Your "rights" are those freedoms and powers you're willing to work all your life for and fight to the death for. No more, no less.

The founders of the US government tried to set it up so that you wouldn't have to do so much work to keep your rights: just vote the right people in, and they'll do it for you. Throughout history, it has worked better than most systems, but still not terribly well. When it fails, it is mostly because people aren't willing to put in even a small amount of effort finding someone to vote for who will uphold their rights; instead, they just take what they are offered by the ruling parties, however vile.

As a coward by trade, I have such rights as someone else is willing to fight for on my behalf. So do you, I'll wager.



[ Parent ]
Why Jefferson owned slaves (5.00 / 1) (#136)
by kurtmweber on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 09:25:12 AM EST

Jefferson obtained slaves by inheriting them from his father. The only reason he kept them was because at the time, he was in such debt that his creditors would not allow him to set them free.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
thats what i told the jews (none / 0) (#168)
by turmeric on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 10:29:16 AM EST

look, i didnt want to run that concentration camp, but you know, my creditors wouldn't allow me to quit my job.

[ Parent ]
Your point? (none / 0) (#182)
by kurtmweber on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 04:54:41 PM EST

That fails to alter the truth of what I said.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
truth truth truth (none / 0) (#185)
by turmeric on Sat Dec 14, 2002 at 02:17:00 AM EST

truth schmuth! everyone knows the nazis were wrong and we should nto act like them. even if our creditors are on our ass.

[ Parent ]
we are born with them (none / 0) (#149)
by the on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 01:43:37 PM EST

Precisely which rights were we born with? And what is the criterion you use to determine, of a particular baby, which rights it was born with?

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]
WWII *IS* a good analogy (3.50 / 6) (#129)
by Genady on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 12:35:37 AM EST

Really. Look at it this way. A single party has risen to power in a state that has energized it's populous against a nebulous boogyman of an enemy that can be trotted out whenever needed. Now it is making noises about attacking another nation that has done little if anything to provoke it. The populace lives in fear as a police state is constructed that can arrest, question and kill them without writ of law. They've even set up camps to send the boogymen, where these boogymen are never seen or heard from again.

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you."

The true irony is that Nietzsche was German.

--
Turtles all the way down.
boogymen? (4.00 / 1) (#138)
by cyberbuffalo on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 09:40:08 AM EST

Really. Look at it this way. A single party has risen to power in a state that has energized it's populous against a nebulous boogyman of an enemy that can be trotted out whenever needed.

What energized the populous against the "nebulous boogyman" is when the "nebulous boogyman" flew planes into the WTC and Pentagon.

Reminds me of the "nebulous Japanese" that bombed Pearl Harbor.

Now it is making noises about attacking another nation that has done little if anything to provoke it.

That's an opinion. But let's not pretend as if we are doing anything except liberating Iraq from a dictator. Do you not favor the liberating of people from dictators?

The populace lives in fear as a police state is constructed that can arrest, question and kill them without writ of law.

Right. I live here and I'm not living in fear.

They've even set up camps to send the boogymen, where these boogymen are never seen or heard from again.

The boogymen can't be so nebulous if we are catching them and sending them someplace.

[ Parent ]

liberation from dictators (3.00 / 2) (#141)
by Genady on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 09:57:03 AM EST

Do you not favor the liberating of people from dictators?

I do favor libertating people from dictators. Let's start at home.

--
Turtles all the way down.
[ Parent ]
that's cute (none / 0) (#144)
by cyberbuffalo on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 10:28:13 AM EST

But really, do countries deserve to be free of dictators?

[ Parent ]
I don't know about countries (none / 0) (#166)
by Greyshade on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 06:02:11 AM EST

But I deserve to be free of dictators.

[ Parent ]
boogymen (4.66 / 3) (#145)
by cgenman on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 10:40:29 AM EST

What energized the populous against the "nebulous boogyman" is when the "nebulous boogyman" flew planes into the WTC and Pentagon.

Reminds me of the "nebulous Japanese" that bombed Pearl Harbor.

Right, so we should respond by locking up all of the Muslims in camps and Nuking their cities, thus making the world safe for Christianity.

Now it is making noises about attacking another nation that has done little if anything to provoke it.

That's an opinion.

That's a pretty established legal definition. A pre-emptive attack requires an estimated attack date. We don't even have a date when the enemy would finish building the weapons to attack us with.

But let's not pretend as if we are doing anything except liberating Iraq from a dictator. Do you not favor the liberating of people from dictators?

Now who is pretending? Has Iraq been connected to the terrorist attacks in 9/11? Has Saddam been more connected to the terrorist attacks than the Saudi Arabian royal family has? Is our fear of domestic Iraqi agression the reason we have created the Homeland S.S.ecurity department? We are in a war with any of those who disagree with our foreign policy enough to be suspected of wanting to commit agressions on our land. This cloud has been given the name of Al-Queda. Iraq is a sideshow, engaged upon because of Bush Junior's responce to Saddam Hussein's attempt to assassinate Bush Senior.

The populace lives in fear as a police state is constructed that can arrest, question and kill them without writ of law.

Right. I live here and I'm not living in fear.

Congratulations. You must not be Muslim, South American, or Japanese.

The boogymen can't be so nebulous if we are catching them and sending them someplace.

Actually, the more nebulous your definition of your chosen boogymen, the easier it is to catch them and send them places.
- This Sig is a mnemonic device designed to allow you to recognize this author in the future. This is only a device.
[ Parent ]

nebulous! (3.00 / 1) (#159)
by fenix down on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 08:01:54 PM EST

The Japanese weren't nebulous. They were a country. They had an island. If you took over their island, you won. "Terror" doesn't have an island. It doesn't even have a continent. Not that the guy you're refuting has much of a point, but terrorism is pretty damn nebulous by my standards.

[ Parent ]
Consider. (none / 0) (#197)
by vectro on Tue Dec 24, 2002 at 07:12:11 PM EST

World War II was fought by more than one country. When he says the war on terrorism is like World War II, he's not necessarily talking about the American experience of the World War.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
fuck no (1.12 / 8) (#130)
by chimera on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 03:38:28 AM EST

I ain't trusting you a goddamn you sons of bitches. let's nuke you before you nuke me. it's preemptive and I have the right, nowadays, to be pre-emptive to. so fuck off or get nuked.

Wrong - they are not always repealed (4.50 / 4) (#134)
by seb on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 08:19:19 AM EST

You are mistaken: in the UK, the Prevention of Terrorism Act was intended as a temporary measure against terrorism, and had to be renewed each year.

Amongst other things, it included provisions to detain people suspected of being terrorists for up to 7 days without access to a lawyer.  It was intended to target only Irish terrorism.  It was pretty controversial and a lot of Irish people were deported or harrassed on flimsy evidence.  I have been searched (apparently randomly) under the PTA.

As I say, this was intended as a temporary measure to be renewed each year if it was still considered necessary, yet was still in place 28 years after it was introduced, and 6 years after the IRA ceasefire.

Instead of restoring the civil liberties which it 'temporarily' suspended, in 2000 / 2001 the UK government decided to replace the PTA with a new anti-terrorism act, which is (a) permanent, and (b) full of dangerous new generalisations which could criminalise various forms of legitimate protest.

For more information about the new legislation, see

http://www.statewatch.org/news/2001/sep/15ukterr.htm

Historically Justified Fears (5.00 / 6) (#143)
by cgenman on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 10:19:44 AM EST

We locked our ethnic Japanese citizens up during WWII, an act that I consider our nation's greatest wrong since the last hundred years. The Japanese-American sacrifice wasn't for naught: we aren't talking about locking up Muslims--we do learn our lessons.

We are locking up Muslims. Guantanamo Bay? The unmitigated incarceration of thousands of suspects suspected of dealing with other suspects? Or the outright torture of uncharged human beings in INS custody?

As an ethnic japanese, I'm not particularly happy about what our government did to 3 generations of my family in 1944. But quite frankly, that is nothing compared to the genocide in Vietnam (over 2 Million dead, an official policy of ethnic cleanising, all to stop a fair democratic referrandum that our corporate and french colonialist interests disagreed with). The CIA has also committed coups and killings in Guatemala, El Salvador, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, Grenada, Chile, Guyana, Argentina... and that's just part of South America. The list goes on and on, yet most Americans have no idea what our government does in our name abroad. Mention the infamous School of the Americas and most Americans will stare at you blankly. Most of the people in the rest of the world, ESP South America, know exactly the atrocities of which you mention.

This is what we fear. The War on Terror (tm) has taken several large steps toward treating Americans like we treat the rest of the world. And we treat the rest of the world pretty badly.

American State Terrorism is a good resource to look up what the rest of the world percieves America to be. You can argue several of the incidents they mention as without sufficient grounds of proof, but most are irrefutable.

The Cold War lasted half a century, but we actually gained some rights during it. The 'right to privacy' comes to mind along with the Freedom of Information Act.

The 'right to privacy' is a legal interpretation, not a legal construct. No law anywhere created the right to privacy, it has been extrapolated by the court system that the constitutional right to avoid unreasonable search and seizure implies a reasonable right to privacy. It did not come out of WW2, though it has been used in reaction to some of the more agregious policies of said war. The Freedom of Information Act was a good step ahead, but didn't come out of the war so much as the abuses our government officials made of our trust. Neither bode well for the behavior of our government.

What it boils down to is: do you have faith in the American people? If you don't, then I can understand your fear. If you do have faith in the American people, there's nothing to worry about.

If you have faith in the American people, and you do nothing to recover your rights, then you simply won't have them. Right up until the Vietnam war we had many rights WRT what we put in our bodies... those rights are so lost that they are no longer considered inalienable. The right to protest was a hard-earned victory by the workers just 100 years ago, yet BEFORE 9/11 protesting outside of so-called free speech zones - 100 ft by 100 ft wire cages - has become an incarceratable offence. Now the government has the right to pre-emptively kill American citizens without trial, the right to privacy is officially VERY gone, protection from unreasonable search and seisure is gone, a warrant is no longer a needed check or balance... How many more do you think we will lose before this "war" is over? How sure are you that we will get them all back.

Britan, Ireland, Colombia, Russia, and Jerusalem have all proven the futility of a "war" methodology against terrorists, and have proven that such problems do not go away quickly. As our government set against addressing any of the grievences the rest of the world has against us, how long do you think this misplaced war will take? Ten years? Twenty? Will we even have a concept of the rights we have lost by then?

-Chris
- This Sig is a mnemonic device designed to allow you to recognize this author in the future. This is only a device.

Divergent Views (4.00 / 1) (#148)
by bayers on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 01:39:24 PM EST

Our views are so divergent that I wonder if I'm wasting my time. I'll just take one tiny point.

Why do you take Cold War actions out of the Cold War Context? Korea, Vietnam, Iran, Guatemala, Cuba, were conflicts that can only be viewed under a Cold War context. The US is shown under a very negative light if you remove the Cold War context. Why would you do this? Are you a propagandist?

[ Parent ]
Divergent Views? (5.00 / 2) (#169)
by riptalon on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 03:12:35 PM EST

Are you divergent in the sense that you agree with what the US does or disagree that it does what it does? Obviously a "Ghengis Khan" mentality, while not very humane, may be logically correct for some people. However it seems to me that most people don't ascribe to this veiw, at least publically, but instead are either blissfully ignorant of the facts of US foreign policy or do their best to ignore them. They have faith in their government. Faith as in Nietzsche's definition: "not wanting to know what is true".

Perhaps you should do some critical reading on the subject and explore whether you fall into this catagory. Obviously, as can be observed by the popularity of religion, astrology and the like, there are plenty of people who will believe anything they are told to but the exact reason for this is unclear to me. Laziness, lack of exposure to other ideas, inability to think critically and plain stupidity are all possible candidates. One would hope that given enough exposure the facts most people could be persuaded to alter their veiws, but that may be wishful thinking.

On this particular issue, as with many others, simply watching CNN and reading the New York Times is not all that it takes to know what is going on. At it's very best such coverage is extremely selective and at worst blatant fabrication. Not that there is any one source that will tell you the whole and perfect truth, if only because no one source can ever know the whole truth. It is therefore necessary to consult as wide a variety of sources as possible and critically compare them in order to stand any chance of constructing an accurate picture of events.

For instance to take an example from recent news consider the reports of the continuing problems in Venezuela. The BBC news website reports that the "general strike in Venezuela has entered its 10th day" but Narco News questions the used of the word "strike" to describe "an action imposed by management against workers", i.e. a lockout. Is this a popular revolt against the government or an attempt at a business and media led coup against a popular democratic governmant? You need all the facts before you can decide for yourself but since big media is basically one source (one person will write the story and then it is sold around and repeated in dozens of different packages) you will, at best, only get the facts they want you to know.

What exactly is the "Cold War Context"? How does the "Cold War Context" make it alright to kill millions of people anyway? If you are talking about the idea that the Soviet Union was poised to take over the whole world, that is real propaganda. The Soviet Union was surounded and under siege. Since the US had access, directly or indirectly, to the majority of the worlds resources and as a result the Soviet Union had to use a much larger fraction of its resources on defence in an attempt to keep up, it was just a matter of time before it lost the race. There was never any real "Red Threat". The cold war is most correctly viewed as an offensive action by the US to destory the Soviet Union and increase the fraction of the world resources under its control.

If the your world view was correct then as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union the US would have stopped attacking other countries. Instead it has continued to do so and has in fact scaled up its efforts. Attacking Iraq or Yugoslavia would not have been possible twenty or thirty years ago. However if the cold war is an offense action then this is to be expected as the cold war has not really ended. Instead the sharks now smell blood in the water and are moving in for the kill. The resources of the former Soviet Union and those of its allies and neutral countries are now up for grabs since there is now little in the way of opposition to US.



[ Parent ]
Narco News? (none / 0) (#180)
by bayers on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 02:47:16 PM EST

The Narco News? Are you serious?

Who killed millions? Stalin, Mao, and Hitler are the only people I can think of that killed millions and in the case of the first two, it was mainly their own citizens.

The Cold War started in 1947. Nearly all of the US's actions overseas were dictated by the Cold War. A country could take one of three positions, Soviet, US, or neutral. If you took one of the first two, you made an instant enemy.

[ Parent ]
American State Terrorism? Let's discuss. (5.00 / 2) (#156)
by phybre187 on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 06:03:01 PM EST

American State Terrorism is a good resource to look up what the rest of the world percieves America to be. You can argue several of the incidents they mention as without sufficient grounds of proof, but most are irrefutable.

Maybe you're talking about some other American State Terrorism website, but the one *I'm* reading is full of ad hominem anticapitalist rhetoric, and justifies everything, not with corroborating evidence, but by constantly quoting people as incredible as Ramsey Clark and Slobadan Milosevic.

As a matter of fact, the author of the website is so out there that they're not actually blaming the US government for all these things. No, it seems to me they're blaming capitalism itself.

Speaking of "out there", do you really want to reinforce your argument with a website that claims it can "prove" that the planes involved in the September 11th attacks "were controlled by advanced robotics and remote-control technology, not hijackers". That's a direct quote from the website.

Or hey, how about something closer to home?

"The formerly Imperial Japanese military and government have of course been nuclear-terrorized into utterly slavish (though deeply resentful) obedience. No doubt the long-suffering servant dreams of the day when his American master will reward his obedience with local fiefdoms, and again the heads of helpless people in Korea and Nanking will roll beneath the sword of the heroic Samurai."

Do you seriously believe that Japan is controlled by the United States? Give me a fucking break. Do you know what the two largest exports to Japan are, from the US? Golf supplies and pickles. OOHH! MASTER PLOT! SHOCK! HORROR!

Here's another choice quote:

"The formerly Imperial, Royal British government is now America's loyal little pet lapdog, Poopsie, yapping indignantly at anyone who dares to criticize his beloved master. Poopsie has no shame whatsoever, and will eagerly roll over and play dead and sit up and beg and do backward somersaults and any silly trick Uncle Sham requires, all the while barking importantly to the world as if he were still one of the big dogs."

So apparently Britain is a puppet of the US, just like Japan, right? Did anyone mention this to Tony Blair? You might want to make sure he knows.

Look, guy, I gave your post a +5, because I essentially agree with you on all points. But backing up your points with a source as questionable as "American State Terrorism" is ridiculous, and does nothing but hurt that point. If I wanted to read a bunch of anticapitalist bullshit, I'd reread the Communist Manifesto.

[ Parent ]
Out there? (4.00 / 1) (#184)
by riptalon on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 06:51:44 PM EST

How is this site any different from CNN? The anwser is the US army doesn't send personel from its psychological warfare units to this site as interns, to learn how to lie to people. While I agree that some of the content appears slightly amateurish, all the CNN style polish in the world will not make it any more or less true. The idea that the 11/9 planes were hijacked electronically is pretty unlikely, but the main stream media is full of just as much rubbish, but because it is the main stream media, people actually believe it rather than using it as a stick to beat them with.

For example the idea that the Iraqis are in anyway associated with al Qaeda is about as likely as Louis Farrakhan being a member of the Klu Klux Klan but this doesn't stop most of the main stream media uncritically repeating this rubbish. The main stream media is littered with such preposterous bullshit, especially when a war needs to be justified, and nowdays makes a habit of using uncorroborated anonymous sources ("a defense department officals says"), allowing the government to plant false information with no comeback if it is proved untrue.

How exactly is blaming US foreign policy on capitalism "out there"? Last time I looked the US was run by a bunch of rich capitalists and most of its actions are much more easily explained by greed than altruism. It is common for people to accuse alternative media sources of being biased by some agenda but the same people refuse to see the main stream media's own pro-corporate/pro-government agenda or consider how it affects their reporting. Numerous obvious examples of this bias can be seen in recent coverage of Venezuela or of Afghanistan last year.

Another huge defect in the main stream media is laziness/cost cutting. The quality of journalism (in the US in particular but it is a world wide phenomenon) has plummeted during the last century and this trend seems to be accelerating. Where once large news organisations maintained "salaried bureau chiefs" around the world waiting for news to happen, reporters now fly around the world from one trouble spot to the next and have little in depth background knowledge of the stories and places they cover. Also a culture of just attending press conferences and accepting the "news" that is spoon fed to them is now rampant.

There are also many fewer journalists covering foreign affairs than there used to be and many stories will only be reported by one person from AP or Reuters but then that report will be bought and repeated hundreds of times by different news organisations. This gives an artifical impression of agreement and consensus that does not in fact exist. While superficially it might appear like many people agree on this version of events, in reality the report is the work of a single individual and there are no cross checks or concensus on its reliability and the story has no more significance whether one newspaper runs it or a hundred. It is simply as cost saving measure.

These problems are amplified by the process of editing. Even if there are a few good reporters among all the dross, it matters little unless the editors run the reports they submit. If on a particular issue the editor is biased (or is under pressure from his boss), unless you have a very high percentage of good reporters, the editor will have plenty of biased and sloppy material to use in preference to what the good reporters submit. The editor can also excise critical sections of otherwise good work, such as the notable lack of any mention of civilian causalties in US reporting of Afghanistan.

Perhaps the most important bias in the main stream media is simply in the selection of what is and is not news. With limited time and space any news organisation is necessarily biased in its coverage. While this is to be expected for any media, with all major news outlets owned by the same small group of very rich people, this bias is the same across the mass media. There are therefore many stories that are simply never covered, and alternative media sources are necessary to even get any information on them, let alone cross check the accuracy of mass media reporting.

While your scepticism and critical examination of the agenda of this website is a good thing in and of itself, I suspect that you do not apply the same standards to the main stream media. Would you criticise someone for supporting their arguements with a link to a CNN story with no other corroborating evidense? All sources have some bias but there exists a worrying lack of scepticism when it comes to the mass media, with most people treating any crap done up in a glitzy package and with the stamp of a major corporation on it as the gospel truth. The inverse behaviour of disbelieving everything that does not have the blessing of a major corporation is equally damaging.

Also while the interpretation may be somewhat off, the UK certainly acts like it is taking orders from the US on foreign policy matters. Personally I think this is more to do with both governments being bankrolled by the same transnational corporations and having very similar agendas, rather than Bush phoning up Blair and telling him what to do, but there is certainly a link there of some kind.



[ Parent ]
I don't know (4.50 / 2) (#158)
by inerte on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 07:29:16 PM EST

  If anyone already said this, I am so sorry if I will repeat what someone already pointed out, but I am short on time and just wanted to stop by and comment:

  History shows the wartime laws will be repealed once the war is over

  How do you eliminate terrorism?

  A State has boundaries, cultural characteristics, language, currency, history. It's easy to say when you defeated the enemy: The social and governmental machine that supports it is over.

  When will the War On Terrorism be over? Who is the enemy? Who can be the enemy? Will it be possible to awake up someday, get the newspaper and read the WE WON headline?

  I don't think so. The first few months after 9/11 many said the War On Terror wouldn't be conventional. It requires unusual war strategies. Traditionally, war was something much more complex. The main problem is that it is easy to practice terrorism (as defined nowadays). You don't need much formality: You buy a gun, walks down the street, and open fire.

  It's so simple to practice terrorism, that its reprehension needs to have omnipresence. You MUST be aware of everything so terrorists can't act.

  So, civil rights cannot exist with the way that USA has chosen to defeat terrorism.

--
CID 4596201: Of course power users can always use another distro, or just

ve day? (none / 0) (#188)
by sharth on Sat Dec 14, 2002 at 10:17:50 PM EST

get the newspaper and read the WE WON headline? and then realize that it is a ve (victory in europe) day celebration.

[ Parent ]
Wartime, already? (4.50 / 2) (#170)
by Gooba42 on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 06:50:33 PM EST

No matter the faith I put in the American people, the fact of the matter is we're still passing things like DMCA which almost no individual citizen agrees with but taken as a whole, we don't care.

The current administration is *not* framing any of their actions as temporary, wartime measure. They have called for a permanent reorganization of our intelligence agencies, such that say, the CIA should now have greater access to persons inside the US where they have previously had no jurisdiction. The FBI should have more access outside the US.

Better yet, we're working, quietly, on measures to make it easier to pick out any given individual from any given location. This is not monitoring airports for known terrorists, this is monitoring your local convenience store for suspicious characters.

Don't confuse our current loss of liberty with previous wartime restrictions. This war will not end and these restrictions aren't bound to end even if the war does. We are up against extremists who believe it is better that we all die than the US lives. No threat on their liberty or lives will end this war because they'd rather die than let us win.

Loss of liberty? (none / 0) (#191)
by awyeah on Mon Dec 16, 2002 at 12:42:59 PM EST

I agree with you on your DMCA comment - our government is (supposed to be) just that - ours, and should represent us.

However, why do you consider extra surveillance in public places to be a loss of liberty?  Do you consider it to be an invasion of privacy?

I don't consider it to be either of the two.  I know that I have no privacy in a public place.  When I'm driving  my car to work and, say, picking my nose, I'm doing it knowing full well that anyone inclined to look in my direction will see me doing it (which is why I don't often pick my nose on the road).

I remember a news story I saw (probably on a cable news network) a few months after the 9/11 attacks.  They were talking about putting more security cameras in airports, I believe the goal of this plan was to make every inch of this airport visible to the control room.  Including the bathrooms (not in the stalls, of course).

They interviewed some people waiting for a plane that was (surprise!) an hour behind schedule.  I remember one woman they interviewed that was outraged that they would do something like that.  God forbid a security guard watches her sitting in a chair waiting for her plane - or worse yet straightening her hair or putting on lipstick in the bathroom!  Oh the humanity.

Or better yet, a local town near where I live wanted to install security cameras at some of the more major intersections to catch the license plate numbers of people running red lights.  Uh oh, Big Brother is watching.  One of the people the local news interviewed on this story actually said she would be afraid to drive through those intersections!  I know I'd be afraid to drive near a camera that could take a picture of my license plate.

Seriously though, I still have a bit of faith in my belief that no matter how much they* watch me, I have nothing to worry about since I don't break the law.

*They can be whoever you want them to be - the man, the po-po's, Big Brother, the NSA, Upper Echelon, or the 5-0's.

[ Parent ]

But everyone does... (none / 0) (#192)
by Gooba42 on Mon Dec 16, 2002 at 04:00:14 PM EST

About 3 blocks from my house is a section of road with a broken "grid" where one block extends further into the road than the block across the intersection so there are 2 more lanes of traffic on the other side of the intersection. It is illegal to change lanes in the intersection. It is illegal not to signal for, what, 150 feet? It's also illegal to turn from anything but the far right lane or to cross a solid white line. This block is perhaps 250 feet long. You can make *one* legal lane change in that distance but that doesn't put you in the legal turn lane. To make the additional lane change you cross the solid white line and didn't signal properly.

I've never seen anyone busted for this, but if say, the quotas aren't being met then this corner would be a great place to ticket every single person who makes a right turn for one or two violations each.

This is an easy example and of course since you may or may not live in my area it might not specifically apply to you. In all, the extra surveillance will decrease what little privacy we had and increase the number of us who get "busted" on trivialities. If you don't have a record now, just wait until that camera catches you not *quite* stopping before making your turn, or pulling up past the line into the crosswalk. From then on, you've got a "record".

[ Parent ]
Does that matter? (none / 0) (#193)
by awyeah on Mon Dec 16, 2002 at 04:37:25 PM EST

That doesn't matter.  You are supposed to stop completely at a red light before making a right turn.  You are supposed to make narrow left lane turns.  These are traffic laws.

The only reason right now that not everyone gets busted for doing it is because the police don't usually have the resources to physically watch every street and intersection.

Most places here you can go 7-10 miles over the speed limit past cops that are actively clocking traffic and they won't bother you.  Other areas, they'll pull you over for going 3 miles over.

That doesn't make it "more okay" or "less illegal" - whether the cops want to pull you over for it is really their discretion.  Every time you don't come to a complete stop at a stop sign, you are in violation of traffic laws regardless of whether you get pulled over or not.

"Trivial" laws like this are there for your safety and the safety of the others around you when you're on the road.  While you and I may or may not think they are reasonable, that doesn't make it okay to break them.  If you don't want to get busted for making an illegal turn, don't make an illegal turn.  If you get away with it, great, but if you don't, you have no place to complain about it since you knowingly broke the law, trivial or not.

You mention these cameras decreasing "what little privacy we had" - what privacy did you have?  You have absolutely no right to expect any privacy in a public place.  Any privacy you do get in a public place is incidental.  There are a few exceptions for this, for example in a department store dressing room.  But traffic intersections? There is no right to privacy.

[ Parent ]

"Triviality" in the eye of the beholder. (none / 0) (#194)
by Gooba42 on Mon Dec 16, 2002 at 05:00:20 PM EST

I agree that many of these laws are for the common good. However my intention was to illustrate that those laws which people don't even think about breaking are going to suddenly become the most common busts. While people think that the new monitoring won't affect them, it has great potential to change their driving and/or criminal records for the worse.

As far as privacy goes, even the relative privacy of a quick kiss in a parking lot is valuable I think to a lot of people. Would it be okay for microphones to be added to those cameras? It would give the authorities a much better idea of what was going on, however we do have laws already concerning the notion of a "private conversation". The general idea of such laws is that between two people at least one of them has to give consent to be recorded. Video recording is only one step from audio recording.

And if not privacy, how about free speech? I am supposedly allowed to express myself in any manner I want, short of causing harm to another person. We haven't always had our interests upheld in this regards by the powers that be. do you want to give them yet *more* power to restrict that on an arbitrary basis?

[ Parent ]
A word on free speech. (none / 0) (#195)
by awyeah on Mon Dec 16, 2002 at 06:49:20 PM EST

How has the first amendment not been upheld by the powers that be?  And do you really believe that the first amendment protects all expression other than defamation?

The first amendment, as it has been interpreted by the supreme court, does not protect against the following forms of expression: Defamation, causing panic, fighting words, incitement to crime, sedition (speech that incites violence to the government or advocates a violent overthrow of the government), obscenity, establishment of religion (i.e. teach darwin in public schools), and probably some others that I can't remember.

[ Parent ]

Aren't these all based on causing harm? (none / 0) (#196)
by Gooba42 on Tue Dec 17, 2002 at 05:28:58 PM EST

These aren't all causing physical harm or even directly causing harm, but they are forbidden for their harmful effect on other persons of instituitions.

While any wrongs may be eventually "righted", we haven't always had the full protection of the first amendment. People at a rally or some such who get arrested and then released without being charged with anything in particular are fairly common. It may be a temporary violation, but it is nonetheless a violation.



[ Parent ]
Inherently unwinnable (4.00 / 1) (#179)
by pla on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 01:15:19 PM EST

I know a number of people have already commented that we have a rather ill-defined war on our hand that, arguably, will NEVER end. I would just like to expound upon that a wee bit.

First, relating to "learning from our past"... We have an entire camp full of Islamic "detainees". We have (I don't even know if the press knows about this one) a SEVERE restriction on Chinese student visas (and obviously, Middle Eastern student visas as well). We have people (ordinary, random US citizens, mind you) detained and strip searched at thousands of access points to mass transportation across the country. We have forced (proven dangerous) smallpox vaccinations for certain groups, the specific groups quite likely to widen to the entire US population once a sufficient supply of vaccine exists.We have "classified" blasting of a really deep tunnel at the VP's house, people detained for "real" crimes but without access to a lawyer, and I pity anyone working as a photographer of any political nature at the moment. The argument about Lincoln's suspention of Habeas corpus sounds almost warm and fuzzy by comparison.

Our "enemy"... Who? Osama... Damn, killed him, or at least he seems to have vanished. Afghanistan... Okay, we seem to have a puppet government in place. Iraq, no, just Saddam (yeah, sure, with a fully armed populace)... Uh-oh, looks like they actually managed to comply with a nearly impossible UN demand. North Korea? Hmm, might work, but do we really want to piss off China, a *real* power who could conceivably defend themselves against the US? Probably not, them good 'ol Texan boys know enough wimp out of any fight where you don't have a guarranteed victory. How about Iran? Saudi Arabia? Italy (hey, some Italian group will bring the first human clone to term in February, sounds like a direct assault on good Christian(tm) values).

And speaking of Good Christian Values, who else thinks the US will have a national religion by the time we manage to vote our king into obscurity?

No, things look bleak, and unlike any good example we can make from the past, our problems will not just vanish after some magical victory. Anyone else see the similarity between the old sci-fi movie "Forbidden Planet" and our current situation?

So, as a US citizen, I would like to ask the UN to come in and save us from the present tyrranical regime that has quite undemocratically usurped power, and seems hell-bent on nothing short of forcing the rest of the world to turn us into the glowing crater we so often joke about "doing unto others".

Heh... Now, before anyone calls me a troll for that comment, I would like you to really consider it for a minute. A bit over the top, perhaps, but how far off from the flimsy reasons we *do* go in and "save" a populace for?


Loss of Rights During Wartime | 197 comments (177 topical, 20 editorial, 0 hidden)
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