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[P]
Differences between now and WWII

By turmeric in Op-Ed
Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:14:25 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Last night I accidentally stepped in a pile of right-wing AM talk radio. He said that Churchill's thesis, that Britain had been lulled into pacifism by money, was applicable to modern times. I must disagree, and state that it is the other way round: the only people who have been profiting off the tyrants that bred the 9/11 terrorists are the same people who are now calling for war.


Somehow I assume this 'lulled into pacifism by money' talk is about British (and perhaps US) companies making lots of income from pre-war German industrialization efforts. Somehow the host implied that modern day anti-war folks wanted to continue to make money off of oil deals with the likes of Saddam Hussein.

In fact, the only people who were against making deals with the terrorist breeding grounds for the past 20+ years have been human rights type of people, You know the kind, they write letters for Amnesty International and won't shut up about the human rights abuses in some obscure country you've never heard of. They also tend to be pacifists, against violence and warfare on principles that it doesn't solve anything and mostly harms civilians. They also tend to go on and on about the evils of American capitalism, and will organize boycotts of products they believe support foreign dictators.

The opposite of this are the likes of Dick Cheney. Throughout the past 20 years we have a pattern of leaders who cross pollinate the highest levels of American industry and government to make deals with the devils who became the 9/11 terrorists. People like George Bush I, a well connected oil businessman, became head of the CIA, then Vice President, then President, and then helped his son become President. Dick Cheney, after helping head up the Gulf War in the 1990s, became president of Halliburton Oil, and is now Vice President and is running the countries energy policy. These people also happen to be the same sort of people who are now calling for warfare and global military action.

How have the hawks been making money off the terrorist breeding grounds? Well, let me pull out three examples: Saddam Hussein, the Mujahidin, and the Taliban.

Saddam Hussein was brought to power in a bloody coup with the help of the CIA because the existing dictator was pro communist.

The money came from oil and from selling weapons and aid to him during the cold war, because even though he slaughtered his own people and built mounds out of skulls, by god he was against communism. From the PBS link above: " But during those years, the oil companies continued to deal with Iraq, and there were a lot of American business interests."

Second off, there is the Mujahidin. Like other 'freedom fighters' round the world, they helped provided a market for US weapons like stinger missiles, which kept all mechanical and electrical engineering graduates busy for the 80s in US defense contracting companies. It was also supported by the US government, including the CIA, during the late 70s and 80s in order to fight communism in Afghanistan. Reagan was quick to call these folks 'freedom fighters' , folks like Osama Bin Laden, and countless other rejects from civilized Arab society who made theirway to join the wonderful fanatical jihad against the atheist Soviets.

I must admit those last two are not intensely profitable ventures, and that a large impetus for US involvement was anti-sovietism. However, a large part of anti-sovietism was about profitability, not about human rights. After all, communism repression doesn't seem to bother the US government and US industry if it can make a buck off of it, like it has been doing in China for the past few decades.

Then of course there is the Taliban. The US government/industrial leadership was not exactly pleased to see the Taliban rise out of the ashes of the cold war, but it wasn't exacty unhappy either. For many many years American companies and government leaders had been eyeing the prospects of natural gas/oil exploitation in the region. Some of these good ol' red blooded American Texas boys invited the Taliban to their homes to talk about making pipeline deals.

Oil people like Dick Cheney, who was president of Halliburton oil company.

"June 23, 1998: In a speech to the "Collateral Damage Conference" of the Cato Institute, Cheney said, "the good Lord didn't see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratically elected regimes friendly to the United States. Occasionally we have to operate in places where, all things considered, one would not normally choose to go. But, we go where the business is."

Of course Cheney wasn't just whistling dixie. While he was running Halliburton it was involved in a multi-company deal with theBurmese military dictatorship to use slave labor to build pipelines. Who else was in that deal? Unocal, among several other oil companies, which often cooperate (as often as they compete) when they view it as mutually beneficial. Unocal was the company that was courting the Taliban most eagerly.

" For its part, Unocal announced that it would give humanitarian aid as "bonuses" to Afghan warlords if they formed a council to supervise the pipeline project. The Taliban captured Kabul in September, 1996. Chris Taggert, a Unocal spokesmen told reporters that the pipeline would be easier to develop, now that the Taliban had captured Kabul. "

Iraq, the Mujahadeen, and the Taliban were all breeding grounds for the insane fanatics that committed 9/11. But the modern day anti-war types have traditionally been the only voices opposing the deals that the US leaders have made with these tyrants. For example, the National Organization of Women was opposing the Taliban for its record against women. They were putting pressure on Unocal to not do business there and to not give the Taliban any money. Many people in NOW are currently against war. Same for Amnesty International, or the AFL-CIO, or the Green Party, or countless others.

Thus, the analogy with World War II pacifists is false. In WWII, according to this radio talkshow interpretation of Churchill, people were lulled into pacifism by money. They were 'soft on Hitler' because they wanted to do business with him. In modern times, the only people who have been soft on tyranny have been the CIA, the oil companies, and the American State Department, beacuse they wanted profits.

Of course nowdays most of the Cheney and Bush type of people, the oil folks and the CIA and so forth, have changed their stripes. Now if you ask them what they think of the Taliban, they will not say 'we should do business with those folks' . Now they are saying, instead, that the US must eradicate evil in the world, promoting democracy and freedom, etc etc etc, and for them this means bombing the crap out of some place that is probably rubble to begin with.

Therefore, I am not convinced that modern pacifists have been profiting from economic deals with enemies of freedom. Rather, modern pacifists have been saying, almost alone, for the past 20 years that the US government and US industrial leaders should stop aiding and abetting the human rights criminals in order to make a profit.

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o with the help of the CIA
o pro communist.
o Reagan was quick to call these folks 'freedom fighters'
o invited the Taliban to their homes to talk about making pipeline deals.
o "the good Lord didn't see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratically elected regimes
o While he was running Halliburton
o " For its part, Unocal announced that it would give humanitarian aid as "bonuses" to Afghan warlords if they formed a council to supervise the pipeline project.
o Also by turmeric


Display: Sort:
Differences between now and WWII | 201 comments (171 topical, 30 editorial, 0 hidden)
Campfires (3.00 / 2) (#8)
by SanSeveroPrince on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 09:30:47 AM EST

This one should generate some 'animated discussion'.

Good effort, +1FP.

----

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


+1 FP great food for thought (3.80 / 5) (#12)
by SaintPort on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 09:40:56 AM EST

Politics and business makes for strange alliances.  George Washington warned us about this, by God he did.

However, I refuse to demonize Dick Cheney or any of the administration.  I totally understand that business is business and it makes good economic sense to do certain things.  When you buy crude, you buy from the cheapest source.  As to how much was orchestrated with evil intent, I have no idea.  It certainly does not look pretty.

What really grieves me is that American tax money was used to provide Islamic textbooks for schools in Afghanistan, which helped raised a generation of Jihadists.

Americans buying gasoline and paying income tax helped finance the 9/11 attack.  Are we to blame?  I think not, more like victims of irony.

You are responsible for what you know.

 

--
Search the Scriptures
Start with some cheap grace...Got Life?

Grieve some more (4.90 / 11) (#23)
by spcmanspiff on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:48:49 AM EST

We also paid for much of the Taliban's weapons.

And helped finance many of Saddam Hussein's military buildup during the Iran-Iraq war.

And cut off secular democracy at the knees in Iran to install a military dictator, who was later overthrown by the ultra-fundies now running the country -- who we then gave (guess what?) weapons to in Iran-Contra. (Side note: Cheney, Bush Sr., and most of Bush Jr.'s advisors/buddies were all deeply involved.)

Don't forget our unwavering support for the House of Saud, a dictatorship that has consistently quashed any sort of democracy movement -- one of the prime reasons Bin Laden issued his fatwah against Americans.

I could go on, but I won't.

Textbooks? Textbooks never had anything to do with whether someone was a Jihadist or not; where the hell do you get that idea?

I think you've been brainwashed into believing that Islam equals Evil and overlooking all the legitimate motivations (revenge, frustration, rage, glory, political gain) that might create terrorists... and the actions of the US that continually stir up those motivations.

You are responsible for what you know, but most Americans including you don't seem to know very much. Sad, because we continually elect and encourage leaders who fight their battles against (communism, and now terrorism) with no thought for any principles or consequences.

Are we to blame? Yes, because we created the circumstances that led to terrorism. No, because the decisions to commit terror and murder were made by Bin Laden et al.

Finally, please look up "irony" in the dictionary. You will find no mention of victims. This is because there is no such thing as a victim of irony.

 

[ Parent ]

Aha...ignorance is bliss! (3.50 / 4) (#25)
by bayankaran on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 12:09:19 PM EST

However, I refuse to demonize Dick Cheney or any of the administration. I totally understand that business is business and it makes good economic sense to do certain things.

Ignorance is indeed bliss when mainstream American media completely ignores what a senior statesman like Nelson Mandela has to say.

[ Parent ]
Mandela a statesman? (1.00 / 4) (#52)
by DigitalRover on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 04:44:23 PM EST

Hardly. Yes, he took a courageous stand against appartheid but that does not instantly endow him with an all-knowing grasp of US Foreign Policy. He built up quite a bit of world-wide political capital every day he spent sitting in a South African prison cell, but he's rapidly spending it with these sorts of banal statements. Last I checked, Islamist terrorists weren't flying planes into South African skyscrapers or declaring that South African citizens and installations world-wide were legitimate military targets.

[ Parent ]
Nelson Mandela (none / 0) (#62)
by bayankaran on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 06:43:16 PM EST

Hardly. Yes, he took a courageous stand against appartheid but that does not instantly endow him with an all-knowing grasp of US Foreign Policy.

Even the people who were ridiculed by Mandela in that particular newsreport will not say 'Nelson Mandela is hardly a statesman'. And an all-knowing grasp of US Foriegn policy or lack of a viable and applicable US Foreign policy is definitely within his intellect.

I am amazed you can so belittle someone who went through a lot of pain and personal sacrifice for just causes for his people.

Last I checked, Islamist terrorists weren't flying planes into South African skyscrapers or declaring that South African citizens and installations world-wide were legitimate military targets.

Now you are missing the point. War against Iraq is because of Iraq is accused to have accumulated Weapons of Mass Destruction not because of terrorism or terror. United Nations chief weapons inspector was quoted saying ""My government is making a case for war against Iraq that is built upon fear and ignorance," and Iraq does not posess a security threat to the west. Was any Iraqi in those terrorist lists you compiled? Fifteen of the ninteen terrorists were Saudi citizens...the so called staunch ally of US.

[ Parent ]
one could argue (none / 0) (#77)
by speek on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 10:04:53 PM EST

That Mandela is just speaking out for some fellow terrorists buddies, since that is, after all, what he was.

It would be a controversial argument, but not without merit.

--
Perhaps the State of Hawaii could countersue the woman that gave birth to and raised a
[
Parent ]

If that is the case... (none / 0) (#94)
by bayankaran on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:12:55 AM EST

...even Gandhi would qualify to be a terrorist.

Also any violent or non violent struggle for independence and against colonial oppressors in the 20th century would be terrorism.

It is very easy for a state to denounce a violent struggle (usually made violent for inaction and 'I dont listen to you' attitude) for a legitimate cause as terrorism.

Look at Sri Lanka. Both Tamils and Sinhalese now realise violence and armed struggle do no good. But it took the lives of almost 60,000 human beings for that realisation.

As a pre-condition to talks Sri Lankan goverment deleted LTTE from the terrorist list. LTTE remains a terrorist organization in almost all other countries.

One day you are terrorist, one fine day you are not.

[ Parent ]
that is exactly the point (none / 0) (#100)
by speek on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:59:44 AM EST

If the only difference between terrorism and freedom fighting is the legitimacy of the cause, then one should be able to see the necessity that talking, yes, even negotiating with "terrorists". At least to determine what their cause is and how much of it might be legitimate.

--
Perhaps the State of Hawaii could countersue the woman that gave birth to and raised a
[
Parent ]

One missing section (4.66 / 6) (#13)
by bayankaran on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 09:43:07 AM EST

About Saudi Arabia and how US support in preserving that monarchy can be traced to allmost all problems US is facing now.

William Safire on NY Times (usually his writing is banal, but todays better) summarises the issue.

Violence and War do solve problems (3.07 / 14) (#14)
by RyoCokey on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 09:43:19 AM EST

Generally very concretely and quickly. That's why people are so fond of them, in spite of terrible toll associated.

Do you really think things would have been better had the Civil War not been fought? (Well, maybe if you hate the US and would prefer to see it in several pieces) The US's first response to the Barbary pirates was another good example. The pirates were crushed, and never returned, allowing the free trade of shipping.

This is the reason that even Einstein in the end had to reject pacifism as unfeasible. War is an unpleasant necessity.



"...the average American finds it hard to accept all the hand-wringing over America's behavior we're hearing in Europe's two dozen languages given that
Consequences (4.85 / 7) (#16)
by Alias on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 10:11:05 AM EST

The problem I see with war as a problem-solving tool, is that warmongerers forget -- often quite conveniently -- about consequences.

WWII left Europe in ruins, facing an increasingly-powerful Soviet Union. The Marshall Plan and the "containment" doctrine were conceived almost as an afterthought.

I'd be less wary about a possible war against Iraq if I did not fail to see the mere hint of a "phase two" plan that would bring stability to the region. On the contrary: everything indicates that a military operation against Iraq -- however fast and smooth -- will cause massive discontent in an already hostile Arab population.

Yes, war may solve this problem, but ultimately, it will not help Arab hostility towards "The West". In ten years' time, you'll probably get some Saddam Hussein clone in Egypt, Syria -- even Turkey.

Rinse, repeat?

Stéphane "Alias" Gallay -- Damn! My .sig is too lon
[ Parent ]

The problem I see here (3.80 / 5) (#19)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 10:55:21 AM EST

Is that you conveniently forgot that WWII wasn't started by the people who created the Marshall plan. OF COURSE the Marshall plan was an afterthought. OF COURSE containment of the USSR was an afterthought - we didn't think of them before WWII because we didn't plan on STARTING WWII.


--
I lost my job, my friends and my wife in just one evening. Ask me how!


[ Parent ]

Your point? (4.00 / 3) (#26)
by Alias on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 12:15:37 PM EST

So you're saying that, since the US is starting this war (which is highly debatable, but I'll let it slip), they should not care about the consequences?...

Stéphane "Alias" Gallay -- Damn! My .sig is too lon
[ Parent ]
We do care, but other solutions are poor (3.25 / 4) (#36)
by RyoCokey on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 03:02:15 PM EST

Our options regarding Iraq aren't exactly all roses here. If we invade, we at least get a say in what the government will be. I'm sure we really need another Iranian-style theocracy sitting down there. We're in no position to bluff and threaten Saddam as he's ignored our threats for 10 years without consequence.

Iraq did try to assassinate President Bush after the Gulf War. Obviously he's not all that afraid of us if he's willing to do something like that. Saddam has been an expert at doing the most deprived thing he can get away with, and nothing more. His only serious misstep was Kuwait, and that happened only after he was lead to think we wouldn't interfere.



"...the average American finds it hard to accept all the hand-wringing over America's behavior we're hearing in Europe's two dozen languages given that
[ Parent ]
that's just it... (4.83 / 6) (#37)
by trener on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 03:30:48 PM EST

why should you guys have a say in what the government will be? do iraqis have a say in what american government should be like? and why shouldn't iraq be able to build chemical weapons? i'm sure you guys have more than your share...

why is it that americans think they can bounce through all of these dark-skinned countries and just arbitrarily take down governments and replace them with new ones?

seriously.. listen to your news, and see if you can hear that sense of entitlement you guys have. that sense of "we're the de facto government of the world - what we say goes." even when all of your allies say "no, fuck off, we're not going to support you on this one," they're almost treated as though they're just the opposition party in parliament - the 'government' still has final say.

[ Parent ]
That is just it. (1.75 / 4) (#40)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 03:44:38 PM EST

Since Saddam is apparently still intent on dominating the region, and still funding direct and indirect attacks on the USA itself, and refuses to disarm, why shouldn't we kick him out and replace him with a government that won't attack the USA at every juncture?


--
I lost my job, my friends and my wife in just one evening. Ask me how!


[ Parent ]

i missed the part (4.66 / 3) (#44)
by trener on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 03:56:51 PM EST

where saddam attacked the US.

[ Parent ]
I missed the part (1.50 / 2) (#49)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 04:34:47 PM EST

where that has anything to do with claiming that a lack of planning for the post-WWII era has some bearing on Iraq.


--
I lost my job, my friends and my wife in just one evening. Ask me how!


[ Parent ]

awww (2.66 / 3) (#53)
by trener on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 04:46:52 PM EST

there, there.

everyone's wrong once in a while, don't beat yourself up about it.

[ Parent ]
Chuckle. (4.50 / 2) (#65)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 06:52:27 PM EST

For what it's worth, you don't deserve a 1 for that.


--
I lost my job, my friends and my wife in just one evening. Ask me how!


[ Parent ]

hehe.. (none / 0) (#68)
by trener on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 07:44:52 PM EST

kudos.
most people would have seen that and 1'ed it. i like people that can recognize a joke.

cheers.

[ Parent ]
Cause... (3.20 / 5) (#42)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 03:52:09 PM EST

...here in the real world, we've all come to terms with the fact that, for the most part, life just plain isn't fair. Iraq, or anyone else for that matter, can tell the US that they have no right to possess WMDs and they'll be ignored, but when the US tells Iraq it can't possess WMDs it had better damned well listen up and comply; the consequences for failing to assent will surely exceed a haughty shaming.

The world will make much more sense to you once you dispense with silly notions like fairness.

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


[ Parent ]
okay. (4.50 / 4) (#46)
by trener on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 04:22:45 PM EST

good point. life's not fair.
gotcha.

but americans really should learn to stop looking all shocked and sad when they realize the rest of the world hates them. 9/11 is just the bullied-kid punching the bully in the arm.

(which, of course, was a bad idea, because now the bully is beating the shit out of the bullied-kid, his family, his neighbours, and his pet turtle).

anyway, i'm getting futher and further from the original topic. sorry.

[ Parent ]
Further simplifications (4.66 / 3) (#59)
by pyramid termite on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 05:53:40 PM EST

The world will make much more sense to you once you dispense with silly notions like fairness.

It would even be a lot more easier to understand if we did away with silly fairness-related concepts such as democracy, human rights and liberty, wouldn't it?

I'm just pandering to the lowest common denominator here.

- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Yeah...guess why... (5.00 / 1) (#164)
by kcbrown on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:23:27 PM EST

...here in the real world, we've all come to terms with the fact that, for the most part, life just plain isn't fair. Iraq, or anyone else for that matter, can tell the US that they have no right to possess WMDs and they'll be ignored, but when the US tells Iraq it can't possess WMDs it had better damned well listen up and comply; the consequences for failing to assent will surely exceed a haughty shaming.
Absolutely correct.

But do you want to know why the world isn't fair in the world of politics? Because we make it that way. All of us.

Because in almost every single case, the people who end up at the top are greedy, selfish bastards that don't give a shit about anything but themselves and theirs. In "democracies" like the US, they get there in part because the people who elect them don't give a shit about anything but themselves and theirs, but also because the corporations that give them money and media exposure (thus making it possible for them to get elected at all) don't give a shit about anything except their own profits.

And the world will continue to remain unfair as long as the people who are in a position to change things don't give a shit about the well-being of the rest of the world.

[ Parent ]

It is very hard, to sit still and watch a bunch (3.42 / 7) (#73)
by mingofmongo on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 08:46:28 PM EST

of crazy morons bite each other in the ass on a continuing basis, while they call your country the "Great Satan" and make threats against it all the time, and watch them aquire the means to make good on those threats, and not do anything to stop it.

There was once a time, long ago, when Islamic countries were the height of civilization. Not long after Mohamud started the whole thing, they were more advanced in science, art, philosophy, and about anything else than any other society except for maybe some bright moments in China.

This was VERY long ago. They have been acting like a bunch of fucking morons since they won the crusades. And once the oil thing started, all attempt to recivilize themselved vannished.

Islam went from being the most reasonable religion on earth, to something resembleing nothing more than Monty Python's Fish-slapping Dance. They whip themselves up into a frenzy about things Mohomud would laugh at, and then start shooting each other.

And the only thing they like to do more than shoot each other, is bitch about the largest economic power they can see, which at the moment is the US. and now they are starting to actually back up their bitching.

The USA is not helping it's image by bombing some of the most oblivious countries in the world into further oblivion, but it ers in form and execution, not in purpose. When mosquitos suck your blood, do you flatten them, or talk about their right to suck blood?

I've often thought that if Jesus ever met a Baptist, he'd buy a gun. I'm convinced that if Mohamud met a member of the al-Queda, he'd be looking for much more firepower.

Maybe there IS a god, and all this is his way of saying FUCK RELIGION.

Anyway, I think that answers your question. You can't let crazy morons suck your blood.

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion
[ Parent ]

that (2.50 / 2) (#74)
by trener on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 09:04:43 PM EST

was just a touch too racist for me.

cheers to that, though. racism and all. good stuff.

on an unrelated note, the lights just dimmed in my office. but they don't actually do that (can't actually do that). does it mean i'm going blind? i should leave. i've been working for too long.

[ Parent ]
That is not racism, it's cultureism (3.00 / 1) (#136)
by mingofmongo on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 03:12:01 PM EST

There's nothing in the genetic code of arabic people that makes them stupid. It's their religion and culture. Same thing happens with any culture that lets its religion get out of hand, such as the American southern states.

Religion is a waste, and fundamentalism is stupid. And when a whole society is based on a stupid waste, it is an inferior society.

And I really hate people who use racism as a catchall argument. You know damn well there was nothing racist in my comment. What makes you write things like that?

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion
[ Parent ]

it was the lights... (5.00 / 1) (#145)
by trener on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 04:06:15 PM EST

they dimmed.

but anyway. racism, cultureism -- same difference to me when you basically called all of the middle east 'mosquitos' to be swatted.

you've mistaken a symptom of the problem for the problem itself, and then FURTHER mistaken the problem itself as the SOLUTION! iraqis calling the US 'the great satan' and blowing shit up is NOT the problem1. the problem is US intervention in foreign countries that DON'T WANT THEM. terrorists aren't simply born out of a void, they are created. that hatred is a result of your meddling in countries that want you to leave them alone. yet, still, you choose to deal with the symptom by compounding the problem. instead of leaving them to their own business, you guys are going to send in jets, tanks, and bombs. you're going to piss them off more, and make them MORE inclined to slam planes with lots of jet fuel into your buildings. good call.

it's like this: you poke a bees nest with a stick. a few bees come out and you get stung. what do you do? leave it alone and walk away? no, apparently, if you're the united states, you grab a bat and start kicking the shit out of the bees nest. well, don't be surprised when you get stung again.

1: by the way, you'll note that iraqis have blown nothing up, and have never attacked the united states.


[ Parent ]
DEPRAVED, the word is DEPRAVED not DEPRIVED (1.00 / 1) (#110)
by Kintanon on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 11:51:44 AM EST

Thank you, that is all.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Assassination (none / 0) (#118)
by Dephex Twin on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 01:13:00 PM EST

I'm looking up more details on the aborted assassination attempt on Bush I, but it's hard to filter out things talking about the current situation and assassinating Hussein.

Are there any good websites with info on this?


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

Let me get this straight. (3.00 / 2) (#39)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 03:42:51 PM EST

Your point is apparently, that because the USA didn't plan the reconstruction of Europe before getting involved with WWII, we shouldn't get involved in Iraq?


--
I lost my job, my friends and my wife in just one evening. Ask me how!


[ Parent ]

As far as i can tell: (4.75 / 4) (#48)
by mcc on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 04:29:42 PM EST

Actually, as far as i can tell, the viewpoint Alias is pushing is something closer to:

"Because the USA didn't plan the reconstruction of Europe before getting involved with WWII and many very nasty problems occurred as a direct result*, America shouldn't get involved in Iraq without first having a definite and realistic plan for the reconstruction of Iraq**."

Of course, i could be wrong.. i can never quite seem to really follow the political arguments around here :)

_____
* At the very least, most of the cold war would have been quite a lot nicer for quite a lot of people if the "West" had walked into the Yalta conference with a more clearly-defined plan of what they wanted the post-war landscape to look like. (As it was, Stalin, who had a very clear idea of what he wanted post-war europe to look like, was able to play England against America, exploit FDR's poor health and Truman's inexperience, and basically able to steer the end-of-war conferences to run entirely on Stalin's terms..)

** Keeping in mind that there was a very real urgency and necessity to America's entry into WWII, and that with any forthcoming American-Iraqi conflict.. well, there's definitely no urgency, and necessity is debatable. At the least, there's quite a lot of spare time to plan things out.

---
Aside from that, the absurd meta-wankery of k5er-quoting sigs probably takes the cake. Especially when the quote itself is about k5. -- tsubame
[ Parent ]

That would be a more reasonable position (nt) (none / 0) (#51)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 04:39:25 PM EST


--
I lost my job, my friends and my wife in just one evening. Ask me how!


[ Parent ]

My point is... (4.50 / 4) (#54)
by Alias on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 04:55:43 PM EST

Making war on Iraq is, in my opinion a bad enough idea. Making war on Iraq and not cleaning up the mess afterwards will only make things worse.

Stéphane "Alias" Gallay -- Damn! My .sig is too lon
[ Parent ]
As far as I know (2.66 / 3) (#64)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 06:51:38 PM EST

Bush hasn't suggested that. The presumption is that Iraq would be another Afganistan - we would stay and rebuild the country.


--
I lost my job, my friends and my wife in just one evening. Ask me how!


[ Parent ]

half-assed imperialism (4.00 / 3) (#70)
by louboy on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 07:55:43 PM EST

Except that we haven't done much rebuilding...Sure we've kept the central "government" secure, and have patrols hunting down remnants of Islamist factions. But from the articles in the NYT I've read, it sounds like the US has done almost nothing to help create a viable state in Afghanistan.

I agree 100% with Alias. I'm not in support of invading Iraq. But, if the US is going to take on a more explicitly imperial role in the world, it cannot be done in a half-assed manner. History has shown that the US can do imperialism right (witness postwar Western Europe and Japan). So far we haven't done this in Afghanistan, and I don't have much faith that the US would succesfully build a liberal democratic state in a conquered Iraq.



[ Parent ]

They're trying. (3.00 / 1) (#101)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 10:15:45 AM EST

Yeah - a lot of the aid has been short term stuff, and a lot of other "aid" has been things the Afghanis don't need (who needs a computer for their school when they don't have a school building, let alone electricity?)

But - that is starting to change. I think it was this week they announced an aid package for the purpose of rebuilding the roads.


--
I lost my job, my friends and my wife in just one evening. Ask me how!


[ Parent ]

imperialism = facism (5.00 / 1) (#182)
by drquick on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 08:47:38 AM EST

"US can do imperialism right"
Oh, what an oxymoron! Imperialism as such cannot be done "right" since it's a form of facism. It's against basic humanist principles not to mention international law. The international community has struggled since the enlightnment to come this far in a standard on human rights. Imperialism, no matter how good the intentions, is wrecking centuries of achievement.

Well, don't worry: "one step backwards and two steps forward"

[ Parent ]

give me a break (4.00 / 1) (#196)
by louboy on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 10:07:51 PM EST

By "imperialism", I merely mean the conquest and administration of one country by another. I don't see how this is neccessarily "fascism". Was it "fascism" for the United States to conquer, install liberal democracies in, and militarily occupy Germany and Japan for the last 55 years?

Please not I am not saying we should invade Iraq. But if we do, we need to do some serious nation building (meaning military occupation, meaning forcible imposition of decmocracy, meaning "imperialism"). Destroying a state and then just leaving will lead to only more trouble.

[ Parent ]

it looks like he said exactly the opposite... (none / 0) (#72)
by mingofmongo on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 08:15:26 PM EST


"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion
[ Parent ]

Still plenty of pirates out there (5.00 / 1) (#22)
by railruler on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:21:51 AM EST

just not as noticeable.

Now the pirates are typically underpaid coast guard employees of third world countries.

Piracy is endemic in the South China Sea. Gasoline is the favorite target.

[ Parent ]

Indeed there are (none / 0) (#35)
by RyoCokey on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 02:58:21 PM EST

Somalia is another hotspot. However, it destroyed the Barbary pirates and made those trade routes noticably safer. It's unfair to judge actions on an infinite timescale... after all, almost nothing makes any effect, given enough time.



"...the average American finds it hard to accept all the hand-wringing over America's behavior we're hearing in Europe's two dozen languages given that
[ Parent ]
Not always (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by pyramid termite on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 05:48:03 PM EST

Do you really think things would have been better had the Civil War not been fought?

Do you really think things would have been better had WW I never been fought? Wars don't always solve problems concretely and quickly - in fact, WW I solved few problems and created quite a few more - one of which required another world war to solve, the other of which didn't get solved until the Berlin Wall came down in the '80s.

If war is an unpleasant necessity in a nuclear armed world, we are screwed.

I'm just pandering to the lowest common denominator here.

- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Meh (5.00 / 1) (#106)
by jw32767 on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 11:32:56 AM EST

World War One did a lot more good than its given credit for.  It started the end of colonialism, lead to the overthrow of the last monarchs in Europe (Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia), brought the US out of its isolationist shell, spurred technological advancements in radio, aerospace, and automobiles, and allowed the self determinism of a host of European states.  

The problems orginating from WWI came about mostly due to the way it was ended.  If they allies had marched into Germany before the war ended, then lessened the reparations Germany had to pay after the war, things would have turned out much differently.

--
Krups, not only can they shell Paris from the Alsace, they make good coffee. - georgeha

These views are my own and may or may not reflect the views of my employer.
[ Parent ]

European monarchs (none / 0) (#114)
by Cloaked User on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:13:47 PM EST

I can only assume that you're not considering the UK to be part of Europe.

That's okay, a lot of my fellow UKians make that mistake too. :-)
--
"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 ]

Don't forget the others (none / 0) (#177)
by Hektor on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 04:37:39 AM EST

Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Spain and Greece (kicked out the king in ~'73).

I might even have forgotten some countries.

[ Parent ]

Alright, alright... (none / 0) (#198)
by jw32767 on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:52:24 AM EST

I really ment to say the last monarchs not constrained by some form of republician machinery.  However, I'm not sure if that's the case with all of those nations.  If not, consider it to say the last monarchs of important nations not constrained by some form of republician machinery. =)

--
Krups, not only can they shell Paris from the Alsace, they make good coffee. - georgeha

These views are my own and may or may not reflect the views of my employer.
[ Parent ]
You picked the wrong example. (4.00 / 2) (#71)
by mingofmongo on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 08:09:59 PM EST

If the civil war hadn't been faught, slavery would have died a natural death in about the same amount of time it took to fight the war. The southern states would not be as impoverished, and therefore as backward as they are now. They would probably have rejoined the union within twenty or thirty years, and state's rights wouldn't have been dealt such a crushing blow. And, of course, there wouldn't have been so many dead people laying about.


"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion
[ Parent ]

Slavery never met industrialization (5.00 / 2) (#107)
by RyoCokey on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 11:39:25 AM EST

Such is the problem with forecasting alternate futures? Would we see sweatshots in the US, powered by "free" slave labor, rather than slaves laboring in fields? We'll never really know.

My argument had nothing to do with slavery, though. There was a sharp rift between the states which would have only grown wider with greater separation. Without war, there would be two Americas, or perhaps even more after the further civil wars that would have likely followed. Constant war would have left the country an impoverished mess. We've seen that concept demonstrated around the world time and again.



"...the average American finds it hard to accept all the hand-wringing over America's behavior we're hearing in Europe's two dozen languages given that
[ Parent ]
I don't belive so. (5.00 / 1) (#135)
by mingofmongo on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 03:05:24 PM EST

The big rift is still there. It might not have been if they could have opted out. In fact, if there wasn't such resistance to their seccession, they might not have felt the need to leave.

And anyway, it is far more likely that rather than having many smaller civil wars following, there would have been states leaving the Confederacy one by one to rejoin the more prosperous north. And if Arkansas never came back, would it really matter?

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion
[ Parent ]

...then Moran is a moron (none / 0) (#132)
by wilson on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:56:36 PM EST

"...the average American finds it hard to accept all the hand-wringing over America's behavior we're hearing in Europe's two dozen languages given that, without us, the only lingua franca there right now would be German." Michael Moran, MSNBC

Why do so many Americans believe this? When we entered the European war, we definitely shortened it, but it would have been won without us. The Soviet Union was wearing Hitler down just fine without us. If any one nation deserves credit for saving Europe from Germany it is the Soviet Union.

[ Parent ]

Not Exactly (2.00 / 1) (#137)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 03:39:56 PM EST

You underate:

1) The importance of Lend Lease to the Soviet war effort. (Why do you think the Germans tried so hard to close down Archangel)

2) The amount of German war effort tied up by having other fronts beside the East to worry about. This includes trying to choke off Britain,  Occupying then fighting in France, the North Africa and Itallian campaigns, Air Defence of Germany itself and all those divisions tied up holding occupied territory like Yugoslavia.

3) The amount the German war machine was hampered by Allied bombing.

If it was just a straight up fight between Germany and the Soviets.... I would hazard it could easly have gone either way. It was the combined effort that made the difference.

The Soviets definately did more of the ugly fighting then us... but lets not forget that they weren't doing it to "save Europe"... They were Hitlers allies right up until the time he stabbed them in the back. Don't forget Soviet troops invaded Poland just 2 weeks after the Germans did.
They bear a good chunk of the responsibilty for starting the war.

But yes, in all accuracy Morans statement would have been truer had it been "....the only lingua franca there right now would be German OR RUSSIAN" , I guess it just wasn't as good a sound bite.


[ Parent ]

You're right (5.00 / 1) (#147)
by wilson on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 04:53:12 PM EST

Okay. I agree with you. I oversimplified things. I didn't really mean to diminsh the US' role in WWII. The point I was trying to make is this: If it had been Germany vs. Western Allies or the Soviet Union (you are only allowed to pick one!), the smart money would have been on the Sovs.

The oft-repeated claim that the US won WWII ignores the incredible significance of the Soviet role in the war.

[ Parent ]

You missed others. (4.62 / 16) (#17)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 10:12:24 AM EST

Condoleeza Rice was member of the board of directors of Chevron.

The current Bush Administration is protecting oil pipe lines in Colombia (Google for Plan Colombia) belonging to Occidental Petroleum (by tagging "aid" money for Colombia specifically for this purpose).
And do I need to remind anybody that one of the first measures of Mr Bush was to suggest to drill in a natural reserve for more oil. This man knows his priorities.
What? Is anybody suggesting that there may be a conflict of interests?

No way. How could anybody think that...
---
"Every duck should aspire to be crispy and aromatic." sleepyhel

thanks (none / 0) (#81)
by turmeric on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:45:43 PM EST

very interesting

[ Parent ]
You are clueless about Colombia (4.00 / 1) (#108)
by snowcold on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 11:45:00 AM EST

Your idea that the Plan Colombia is about "protecting oil pipe lines in Colombia" is one of the most amazingly ignorant statements I've ever read about this topic.

The Colombian governments have been lobbying Washington for a long time in order to raise the money to continue the (useless) Drug War there.

There are more things out there than the political interests of corrupt U.S. politicians and the economic interests of corrupt U.S. corporations. There are plenty of vested interests in Colombia itself for the Plan Colombia, including those of the Colombian politicians who are using the money to lull voters into electing them, of policemen who are stoling the money which they have received to fight against drug lords, of government contractors who want to provide services to the government in exchange for those dollars, as well as the interest of many (more or less honest) politicians who want the money to help the Colombian economy (one of the most depressed areas of the world right now, with unemployment figures as high as 22%)



---
Freedom is not free; free men are not equal; and equal men are not free.

[ Parent ]

Re:You are clueless about Colombia (none / 0) (#171)
by RoOoBo on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 02:49:30 AM EST

Your idea that the Plan Colombia is about "protecting oil pipe lines in Colombia" is one of the most amazingly ignorant statements I've ever read about this topic.

The Colombian governments have been lobbying Washington for a long time in order to raise the money to continue the (useless) Drug War there.

Nice statement, you are saying that who receives the aid is who have the control over who give the aid. Perhaps we should damn Colombia for the US international policy as they have the 'real' control over it.
Obviously is the US government who is interested in helping Colombian government in the 'Drug War' because of its own interest, not because any stupid Colombian lobby.

[ Parent ]
Many people disagree with you.. (none / 0) (#191)
by Tezcatlipoca on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 04:08:16 PM EST

Did you do the search for "Plan Colombia"?

That money is  tagged to protect a pipe line.
---
"Every duck should aspire to be crispy and aromatic." sleepyhel

[ Parent ]

Maybe if we drilled at home .. (none / 0) (#124)
by pgrote on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 01:57:50 PM EST

We wouldn't have to worry about securing oil from the middle east.

Who cares about the Caribou? Really. I care about jobs in America and making sure we can provide the resources that keep our economy rolling.



[ Parent ]

hmmm (none / 0) (#155)
by fluxrad on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 08:12:25 PM EST

way to be short-sighted.

have you ever thought about running for office?

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
It's not short sighted at all ... (none / 0) (#158)
by pgrote on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 08:31:09 PM EST

It's called being realistic. Our need for oil demands that we look at home for it. If we can reduce the amount of oil we need from other countries our demands against their governments lessens.

[ Parent ]
It *is* short-sighted (none / 0) (#172)
by Caton on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 02:56:56 AM EST

The U.S.A. oil policy of the last fifty years has been to consume other countries reserves and preserve its own. Remember, there's a finite amount of oil...

The higher the need, the smarter it is.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
I still disagree ... (none / 0) (#183)
by pgrote on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 09:35:33 AM EST

It's not short sighted to look at home first and to limit your exposure to others.

[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#185)
by Caton on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 10:32:49 AM EST

You would be able to limit exposure only as long as you have oil. When the U.S. domestic oil reserves are exhausted it would become impossible to limit exposure. And the U.S. would be in a difficult position to negotiate anything, without any oil of its own. While by consuming their reserves first...



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
You're both wrong! (none / 0) (#192)
by fluxrad on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 09:40:17 PM EST

This wasn't the type of short-sightedness I was speaking of, although it is definitely another reason why the other poster is so short sighted.

But neither of you guys are thinking in the long run. I'm talking about the fact that right now the US is hooked on non-renewable energy like a crack addict willing to suck anyone's dick for another hit. And, although the United States is an extremely oil rich country (we could technically join OPEC if we actually exported the stuff), we're screwed if the middle east cuts us off. The reason is simple; Laypersons believe that we're dependant on countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for our oil.

So, now we're stuck in a situation where perception becomes reality. OPEC cuts the US off and we start paying $6 a gallon for gasoline. And all the while, the oil is actually cheaper to produce here in the states, and we have plenty of it. The economy falls flat on it's ass because people are sinking all their cash into their cars, and energy costs skyrocket.

Of course, if you'd like an example of this perception becoming reality, think Diesel. Did you know that Diesel engines are cleaner burning and more fule efficient than your standard unleaded engine? I'll bet you didn't because the public perception is that Diesel is that sooty crap you see spewing from 18-wheelers pulling 30Mph on the highway. Of course, those engines were manufactured about 20 years ago.

So, what do we do about this "short sightedness"? That's simple. We bust our asses to find ways to make things like wind, water, and sunlight work for us. To this day, i don't think we've been looking at it seriously enough. I'm also talking about taking another serious look at nuclear energy. Keep in mind that a lot of scientists believe that fusion will be viable by 2010 or so, and that we could get most of our energy from it by as early as 2020, or maybe 2030.

And I didn't even mention all of the shit we're doing to the environment by using as much oil as we do, which is the real folly. Question: Who gives a fuck how cheap or expensive oil is when we've destroyed our atmosphere, we all have skin cancer, and all of the coastal cities in the world are flooded?

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
Well... (4.00 / 1) (#193)
by Caton on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 03:24:04 AM EST

You are absolutely right about the perceived dependence on Persian Gulf oil. U.S. gas could reach European price and the average Joe American wouldn't notice he's getting screwed.

Modern diesels: don't make me start about diesel. I live in France, where half of the cars are diesel. Modern, Turbo-charged, direct-injection, common rail diesels do not leave any black soot. How nice. Instead, the particles they produce are small enough to be invisible and too small to be filtered by human respiratory system, i.e. they go straight to the lungs. And those particles are a lot worse than primary smoke. Who gives a shit about skin cancer when lung cancer kills faster, cannot be cured and is much more painful. So go on, get a modern diesel, then keep whining about secondary smoke. If you really want to reduce pollution and increase your mileage, check Miller-cycle engines instead.

Wind, water, and sunlight, sure. Great ideas. Clean, renewable, politically correct, green energy. Now do the math: how many square miles of photoelectric cells, how many windmill would be required?

Even if you could produce enough energy that way, then what? You think that'll solve the problem? Of course not. Hydrocarbons offer weight-efficient and volume-efficient energy storage. Storage is the problem, not production. So stop whining about how green energies should be researched blah blah blah. Lobby to get more funding for room-temperature superconductors instead. Without efficient storage, controlled fusion will not replace oil.

Last but not least, the obligatory doomsday bull about global warming. The jury is still out on global warming. There are just as many facts supporting that theory as facts supporting the theory that we are heading into a mini-ice age. So it's just propaganda. It destroys your credibility when people see through it.

It's Sunday morning, so I got the usual "Wake up, the end of the world is coming!" at 8 a.m. I should have asked if it was the tree huggers or the Jehovah witnesses -- they use the same advertisement and marketing strategies nowadays.

PS: You are absolutely right about nuclear energy. It's time to forget prejudices and have a hard, pragmatic look at the issues.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
err....credibility? (none / 0) (#200)
by fluxrad on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 08:00:17 PM EST

There are just as many facts supporting that theory as facts supporting the theory that we are heading into a mini-ice age. So it's just propaganda. It destroys your credibility when people see through it.

um...last time i checked, we're still in an ice age, brother. and most scientists believe that we'll be headed in to another ice age as soon as we melt the polar ice-caps too much. global warming generally causes global cooling on a massive scale (think thermal currents).

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
Yeah, credibility (none / 0) (#201)
by Caton on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 02:29:36 AM EST

There is a current, short-term (a century or so) trend in climate change. At the moment, there is evidence both for a cooling trend and for a warming trend. When someone discards half the evidence to further a political agenda, s/he is not credible.

By the way... check again. The most recent period of glaciation, which many people think of as the "Ice Age", was at its height approximately 20,000 years ago. Our climate today is actually a warm interval between periods of glaciation. However, there is a slow, long-term cooling trend that started about 60 million years ago. Read this article for more information.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Uh-huh. (4.16 / 6) (#20)
by Ken Arromdee on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 10:59:04 AM EST

A full rebuttal would take forever, but off the top of my head:

In fact, the only people who were against making deals with the terrorist breeding grounds for the past 20+ years have been human rights type of people

First, that's not true. There were plenty of non-pacifists who didn't like the Taliban, or Yasser Arafat, or Saddam, before September 11 2001, and rejected the idea of making deals with them. (Just the fact that you just claimed Israeli right-wing hawks are pacifists should make you pause.)

Second, even if you ignore the exceptions, it's meaningless, because "all X are Y" doesn't mean "all Y are X". Even if the only people opposed to deals with terrorists were human rights advocates, that doesn't mean that most human rights advocates were opposed to deals with terrorists--and they weren't. Even today, a lot of them think that Israel should make deals with Arafat, for instance.

After all, communism repression doesn't seem to bother the US government and US industry if it can make a buck off of it, like it has been doing in China for the past few decades.

This is a very clear case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't". Try to isolate Communists, you're evil. Trade with Communists, you're evil.

Right-wing Israelis and terrorist breeding grounds (5.00 / 2) (#24)
by wji on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:57:55 AM EST

Yeah, right-wing Israelis supporting fanatical Lebanese militia groups who slaughter civillians isn't making deals with terrorists. Because the State Department always tells us who terrorists are, and nobody else!

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
Lebanese Militias (none / 0) (#128)
by Bad Harmony on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:33:12 PM EST

… fanatical Lebanese militia groups who slaughter civillians …

That narrows things down.

54º40' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

Your attempted rebuttal is laughable (3.75 / 4) (#30)
by marinel on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 12:38:34 PM EST

You only managed to get two nitpicks on some tangential issues to his exposure of the chicken hawks duplicity and amorality. Try picking on the central theme and then you have a point.
--
Proud supporter of Students for an Orwellian Society
[ Parent ]
Simple answer (4.78 / 19) (#28)
by phraggle on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 12:19:17 PM EST

"Peace is good for business." - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition no. 34

"War is good for business." - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition no. 35

Yes (4.00 / 5) (#43)
by greenrd on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 03:52:46 PM EST

Funnily enough, I find it a little odd though that the Ferengi are seen as slimeballs, albeit humorous ones (right?) and yet many Americanised/brainwashed/capitalist people don't see their real-world equivalents as equally slimy.


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

idiot (3.18 / 16) (#29)
by trhurler on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 12:32:00 PM EST

Warmongers: "We will oppress this tyrant using economic might by not letting him sell anything!"

Peacelovebrainsfalloutniks: "No, you must let him sell, so that he will quit deliberately starving his people!"

turmeric: "Obviously warmongers are profiteering through lucrative deals with this tyrant. Peacelovebrainsfalloutniks have been begging them not to do so for years!"

Mo-ron.

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

Me: (4.50 / 2) (#34)
by spcmanspiff on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 02:52:02 PM EST

Sanctions hurt the people  not only by reducing their ability to make a living, but by giving the tyrant a central point of control over their economic activity as well.

Warmongers profit because they can steer any sanction exceptions to themselves / their buddies.

Tyrant profits because he has increased control over people on the street and can easily skim off the top of any allowed economic activities.

Peaceniks get their panties in a confused but in-the-general-right-direction knot.

trhurler profits because confused peaceniks make easy targets.

Life for the everyday Joe Iraq gets much worse.

 

[ Parent ]

not quite (5.00 / 3) (#56)
by trhurler on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 05:18:03 PM EST

Saddam has had absolute power in Iraq for a lot longer than there have been sanctions. Businesses operate at his whim; people live at his whim. Any profitable business is going to attract his attention, regardless of sanctions. He can well afford today to feed and care for the Iraqi people; the fact is, he prefers to use them as a bargaining chip; the implied message is, "let me do what I want, or I'll shoot this kitten!"

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

[ Parent ]
Nuance (5.00 / 1) (#88)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:30:47 AM EST

Saddam has had absolute power in Iraq for a lot longer than there have been sanctions

Not quite. Saddam has only been able to maintain power in Iraq the last 20 years by being in a perpetual state of war. (War against an external enemy is a very handy tool for internal control. As you USians are finding out.) It was how he maintained power in the war against Iran. It was part of the reason for his attack against Kuwait. And it is the sole reason behind his brinkmanship with the US-led coalition since 1992. If Bush Junior doesn't finish him off completely this time, as in deader than a doorknob, he will have strengthened Saddam's grip once again, just like his Daddy did.

[ Parent ]

Saddam, the all-knowing, the all-powerful! (5.00 / 1) (#103)
by spcmanspiff on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 11:09:05 AM EST

So what?

Sanctions made his rule easier and more complete. (Example: families that refuse to have their pre-teenage sons enrolled in "Army Summer Camp" get their UN ration card taken away, which means starvation.)

Sure, people live or die at his whim just as before; but now he can:

  • Use the sanctions as a legitimate-sounding excuse for further repression and maintain some level of domestic support.
  • Use more subtle and varied techniques to maintain control (like the ration card thing).
  • Have a set of enemies that it's easy to rally his nation around.
Furthermore, it's hard to prove that sanctions made life for Hussein himself any more difficult; even if there are less goodies coming into the country he still gets his piece of the pie -- there's just less left for everyone else.

As to warmongers profiting, well, Haliburton was making a bundle off of the oil-for-food program, for one.

On the other hand, just lifting sanctions completely wouldn't have been a good idea either, since the main export of Iraq is oil; and all the oil companies are controlled directly by Hussein. I'm not sure where the balance lies, but I believe we definitely went too far.

 

[ Parent ]

Not quite ... (3.50 / 4) (#61)
by pyramid termite on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 06:11:33 PM EST

Warmongers - "That ungrateful bastard - we did business with him, gave him everything a tinpot dictator could ask for, and now he's stabbing us in the back by making up his own game instead of playing ours!"

Peaceniks - "That's justice - set the son of a bitch up and bomb and starve his people when he acts up."

turmeric - "All they want to do is replace one bastard with another - it's business as usual and business is good."

trhurler - "I'm going to ridicule your argument and call you a moron." (even though it's remarkably similar to what libertarian leaning conservatives on sites like antiwar.com have been saying.)

Me - "Maybe, just maybe, if we stopped screwing around with these bastards, the world might be a better place and might hate us less? It's one thing to want Bin Laden and friends nailed to the wall - they asked for it. But now we seem to be making a long list of people and countries that we want to do the same to. Is that wise?"

I'm just pandering to the lowest common denominator here.

- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Still not quite right (4.60 / 5) (#76)
by epepke on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 09:41:50 PM EST

Peaceniks - Whoa, dude, I can't be expected to remember that ten years ago I supported sanctions. Down to the fascist, imperialistic--hey, dude, don't bogart that.

But, seriously, folks, economic sanctions were supposed to be the Nu-Perfect Liberal-Approved Means of Fixing EverythingTM OK, so they didn't work. Fine. Now something else has to be tried. Also fine. Hey, that's life. But barbers, taxi cab drivers, and dopers always seem to know what's wrong with the world and know exactly how to fix it, if only they could. It's a different set of rules when you actually have to do something, though.

Me - "Maybe, just maybe, if we stopped screwing around with these bastards, the world might be a better place and might hate us less? It's one thing to want Bin Laden and friends nailed to the wall - they asked for it. But now we seem to be making a long list of people and countries that we want to do the same to. Is that wise?"

I have a mixed reaction to this. I strongly agree with the second part. It's obviously completely and totally stupid to think about invading Iraq. The only explanation I can come up with is that Dubya wants some "good son" points. Yes, Saddam Hussein is a menace and evil, but we've lived with menaces that make him look like a Teletubbie by comparison. Besides, the Bush administration has not shown the inclination to finish the job in Afghanistan, by setting up a modern government there. Even if one were convinced that it were imperitive to get rid of Saddam Hussein, it would take maybe two weeks, tops, but it would be like 1% of the job. The other 99% of rebuilding the nation is the important part, and there is no evidence that Bush is even remotely interested in that. Otherwise, he would have done it in Afghanistan, and Iraq would be far more important.

The first part just seems to me unutterably naive. Like it or not, during the Clinton years, "we" tried very damned hard to stop screwing with "these people." There were also the Oslo accords and the work with Ireland, that nobody seems to remember at all. There was the rule that the CIA couldn't deal with people who had criminal records. I'll grant that blowing up a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant was heinous. But after the Cole and the embassy bombings, the only clear response was one cruise missile directed at one camp that bin Laden had vacated two hours earlier, and even for this, the U.S. was pilloried. Not to mention that the assumed model of "why people hate" goes against everything we know from behavioral and cognitive psychology.

Not totally nice, nor totally gentle, nor totally not "screwing around with these bastards," but certainly, clearly in the direction of that goal. And look what happened. Maybe because of, maybe in spite of, but still, look what happened. And since then, I've been hearing every day, for a fucking year now, how those policies, which did not involve major war on people in the Middle East, were bad and forced people to do justifiable things.

Well, guess what! Policies have changed, at your insistence. It's the cosmic cement pie in the face! Yuk, yuk, yuk!

Part of me doesn't like the fact that policies have changed. I still think that 9/11 was an outlier, and even with it, the U.S. has seen remarkably little international terrorism compared with--oh, just about everywhere else. I think that 9/11 was a trick that could only work once, and furthermore, one that took several years and a lot of money to pull off. I haven't been afraid since then; I didn't thing something bad was going to happen this year; I think that the airline security measures have no effect except to annoy people; and I think it's just as safe (or as unsafe) to fly as it ever was. We don't need a war on terrorism. When terrorism exceeds drunken driving as a cause of fatalities, maybe we will, but there's at least one order of magnitude to go.

Another part of me is really, really tired of wanting to please people who are proud of the fact that they can't think their way out of a paper bag. People don't like sancions, well fine. It isn't my job or the job of the U.S. to teach remedial logic and explain what the alternatives are. I don't really know if it matters whether Saddam Husein has weapons of mass destruction. I do know that if he uses them, it won't be on me. Or maybe it will be. If it is, then I'll deal with it, or I won't. If it isn't, well, my personal sympathy for those who define their lives over telling me I'm shit no matter what happens, every day, is growing incredibly thin.


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


[ Parent ]
It's more complicated than that (none / 0) (#89)
by pyramid termite on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 05:59:17 AM EST

The first part just seems to me unutterably naive. Like it or not, during the Clinton years, "we" tried very damned hard to stop screwing with "these people."

Not really; you're kind of looking at the major events of his administration, one of which has been the continuing economic sanctions against Iraq. I was speaking more of the steady, unexceptional integration of our country's financial and military resources with those of foreign dictators who often have their own agendas - Saudi Arabia and Pakistan definately come to mind, Saudi Arabia being the spiritual home and financial backer of the Bin Laden types, Pakistan being the initial sponsor of the Taliban. There are elements in both of these countries governments that have acted directly against our interests with greater effect than anything Iraq's ever done to us. Yet oddly enough, we've chosen not to play hardball with them and insist upon their cleaning up their act. It's not just a matter of us doing things that piss people off - it's also a matter of us supporting people who already hate us and put up a false front. If we can't tell our friends from our enemies in that part of the world, maybe we need to take a step back and not be so involved in it.

I'm just pandering to the lowest common denominator here.

- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Thanks for proving my point (none / 0) (#134)
by epepke on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 03:02:08 PM EST

Not really; you're kind of looking at the major events of his administration, one of which has been the continuing economic sanctions against Iraq. I was speaking more of the steady, unexceptional integration of our country's financial and military resources with those of foreign dictators who often have their own agendas - Saudi Arabia and Pakistan definately come to mind, Saudi Arabia being the spiritual home and financial backer of the Bin Laden types, Pakistan being the initial sponsor of the Taliban.

Thanks for proving my point. A decade ago, I used to hang out at the Miccosukee Land Co-Op, which is basically a good old 60's community, with enough sops to capitalism to enable it to have survived and thrived for four decades. The political beliefs there make almost everyone on K5 seem positively right-wing by comparison. And practically all I heard was that economic sanctions against Iraq were a wonderful thing, and so we should give them time to work. So we did. And they didn't work. OK. That's the point where you have to say OK, we were wrong, they didn't work, time to figure out something else. But I don't hear that a lot. What I hear is revisionist history based on the assumption that economic sanctions were the brainchild of Oliver North or something. Pheeuw!

OK, maybe we should not be so involved with the Middle East, and it's probably a bad thing to have become so entangled with places like Saudi Arabia. In fact, almost certainly.

But how in the hell do you expect anybody in the government to listen to you, at all, when they know for a fact that if they give in to pressure, and it doesn't work perfectly, that ten years from now you're going to be strutting around like your shit don't stink? Somewhere along the line, political activists have voluntarily and self-righteously given up all their credibility.

Look, political activism, if it is to work, works like an engine. There has to be a hot side and a cool side, and, metaphorically, the engine moves doing work from the hot to the cool. Political activists can make the engine go by selectively and specifically heating up certain areas, so the engine moves away from that. But there have to be cool sides, too; otherwise, nothing goes. It's the differential that makes it work.

Back in the 70's, when I was a teenager, there were a number of issues. One of them was a practice by the Nestle corporation aggressively to push formula onto developing countries and displace breast feeding. I participated in the boycott of Nestle products but, even then, I was cynical enough to realize what would happen. I was right. Nestle abandoned the practice more than a decade ago, before the World-Wide Web. I read a small article on this in a left-wing newspaper; the pressure groups and the Nestle executives toasted the occasion with Nestle candy bars. Yet there is still a web site urging people to boycott Nestle. And I'm sure they have all sorts of reasons why it's still a problem, like maybe it is still possible to get Nestle products in developing countries, and I'm sure they have people that go around and say, "Hah! Hah! I bought this bottle of formula in Botswana! Nestle bad! Nestle bad!" After a while, the only reasonable conclusion of the board of directors is that they are dealing with a bunch of morons. This may not be the case, but they are dealing with a bunch of people who have voluntarily given up their credibility. It should also be obvious to them that boycotts have nothing to do with anything they do but rather with what makes a good story.

Same thing goes with activism to change U.S. foreign policy. You can criticize, but you also have to give credit where credit is due, and you have to admit mistakes. It's not terribly hard. Here, I'll do it. I thought that giving sanctions time to work was a good idea, but I was wrong. See?

Otherwise, it's just moralistic masturbation. And, sure, you can write a nice screed about Doing Right and all that jazz, and I'm sure it will be morally satisfying, but it would be irrational to think that it would work. If having something work is not the point, well never mind; carry on. Spoo!


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


[ Parent ]
Not really disagreeing with you here ... (none / 0) (#139)
by pyramid termite on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 03:54:48 PM EST

But how in the hell do you expect anybody in the government to listen to you, at all, when they know for a fact that if they give in to pressure, and it doesn't work perfectly, that ten years from now you're going to be strutting around like your shit don't stink?

I'm not sure I expect the government to listen to me or anyone else that doesn't have a good deal of economic influence to throw around. Be that as it may, I think you're right about sanctions not working and I'm not really surprised that they didn't work.

And, sure, you can write a nice screed about Doing Right and all that jazz, and I'm sure it will be morally satisfying, but it would be irrational to think that it would work. If having something work is not the point, well never mind; carry on. Spoo!

Well, that's one of the problems with a lot of people all over the political spectrum - they want to Do Right and Police the World to Do Right and end up making all sorts of messy compromises with people who aren't really interested in Doing Right but are fighting others who are even less interested in Doing Right. I think we need to be a lot more picky about who we support.
I'm just pandering to the lowest common denominator here.

- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Still skirting the issue (none / 0) (#146)
by epepke on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 04:19:40 PM EST

Be that as it may, I think you're right about sanctions not working and I'm not really surprised that they didn't work.

Come on now; you're still distancing yourself. I'm not asking for a personal admission, because you're probably too young. Although it's obvious that you're still reluctant, I'd like you to admit, in writing, without qualifications and yeah-buts, that honest, honorable, socially conscious, well meaning, liberal, caring, compassionate people, people not interested in making money off of oil or arms or whatever, people after your own heart and not incidentally mine as well, people whose cultural legacy you are trying to continue, acting on the best information they had available at the time, believed that sanctions were a good idea and would work, and they were wrong.

It's not that difficult, technically. I've done it. Now it's your turn.

Come on. It's a liberating experience.


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


[ Parent ]
Oh, phooey (none / 0) (#156)
by pyramid termite on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 08:16:42 PM EST

Come on now; you're still distancing yourself.

Could it possibly be because I am distant from them?

I'm not asking for a personal admission, because you're probably too young.

Oh, the assumptions you make ... Free clue, I haven't met too many people like that since 1977 ...

people after your own heart and not incidentally mine as well,

Don't be so sure about that ... I remember the Nestle boycott. I thought it was a dumb idea.

people whose cultural legacy you are trying to continue,

Bleh. The Shaggs say more to me in one song than Joan Baez said in her entire career.

believed that sanctions were a good idea and would work, and they were wrong.

Yeah, your old pals at the Co-op were wrong. They should immediately burn their remaining bars of Dr. Bronner's soap, cut their hair, put Dale Earnhart's picture over their sofas in repentance, and eat a real hamburger, for Pete's sake! And listen repeatedly to Madonna's last two albums until they get it. "Music makes the bourgoisie and the rebel dance together ..."

Come on. It's a liberating experience.

Being asked to defend or deny people you never stood up with is not liberating - it's annoying. Knock it off. Pick on turmeric - he's more the type you're looking for ...

I'm just pandering to the lowest common denominator here.

- thelizman
[ Parent ]
OK, fair enough (none / 0) (#157)
by epepke on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 08:30:15 PM EST

Now I know better where you're coming from. Have fun and be yourself!


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


[ Parent ]
Confusion (4.00 / 2) (#90)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 06:45:24 AM EST

The rational part of your rant is strongly clouded by emotion. The end result is that you wind throwing a bunch of related, semi-related, and unrelated issues on the same heap, labelling that heap "Them", and then complaining about inconsistencies. I don't see why that surprises you; you are comparing oranges with apples and declaring the results inconsistent.

First, Al Qaeda (an entity unconnected to Saddam Hussein) has stated their reasons for enimity of the US, their goals, and the means which they were prepared to utilise to attain those goals. And contrary to what you claim, the Clinton administration did very little to appease or placate Al Qaeda, or initiate any action that furthered their interests. The Clinton administration did play an important role in defusing Israel-Palestinian tensions, which may have reduced grassroots support for Al-Qaeda in the Middle East somewhat, but the Bush and Sharon administrations succeeded in completely reversing Arab perceptions of the US's role in that conflict. Note: So far I have made absolutely no moral or value judgements, and please refrain from reading them in.

In the matter of Iraq: as I have stated elsewhere, the brinkmanship that Saddam has displayed the past 10 years has been in his own direct interest. By continually inviting Western aggression but stopping just short of actual warfare he has maintained his country in a state of martial law for a decade, and has focussed his people's anger outward, instead of inwards where it otherwise would be. Saddam has been in the driving seat, not the US administration, and the current outcome is precisely what he wants, as long as an actual war is not the final result.

You claim that pacifists are incapable of rational thought because (1) they first supported sanctions instead of war (2) then opposed sanctions (3) now oppose a war whose ultimate result will eliminate the sanctions they oppose. There is a paradox only if you assume people who have held all three stances share the same goal as the US administration: namely the elimination of Saddam's influence at all costs, either through Clintonian "containment policy" or Bush's war. If one's goal is, after having driven Saddam out of Kuwait, to leave him further be within his own borders as long as he makes no further aggressive act towards his neighbours, then the position of opposing both sanctions and war becomes a lot more rational. Again, I have made absolutely no moral or value judgements, and please refrain from reading them in.

It is important to distinguish between the problems posed by Iraq, Iran, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan/Afghanistan, and also to recognise that there exist differences in opinion and attitude towards the US between the ruling classes, the clerical classes, moderates, and the discontented poor, in each of these countries. There is some overlap between them all, but enough differences that "being nice to the Palestinians" for instance has less impact on the other problems (Al Qaeda, Hussein, Saudi malcontents) than your rant acknowledges.

Finally, you overestimate your personal importance when you say "my personal sympathy for those who define their lives over telling me I'm shit no matter what happens, every day, is growing incredibly thin." Either that, or you should change your circle of acquaintances.

[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 0) (#97)
by KilljoyAZ on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:39:55 AM EST

If one's goal is, after having driven Saddam out of Kuwait, to leave him further be within his own borders as long as he makes no further aggressive act towards his neighbours, then the position of opposing both sanctions and war becomes a lot more rational.

It becomes a lot more rational, if the have a mental blind spot to his history of military adventurism over the last two decades. The only evidence that Saddam has changed his expansionist ways is that he hasn't made much noise in the last 10 years. To make the case that this proves Saddam won't threaten his neighbors is to ignore that sanctions and military strikes are the reason he's been so quiet. That little jump in logic doesn't seem to stop the "Sanctions Cause Dead Babies" crowd from making that argument.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]

The case can also be made (none / 0) (#102)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 11:08:19 AM EST

that a strong armed presence among Iraq's neighbours (as is now the case with stationed US troops) is enough to dissuade Saddam from military adventures. Strongly armed neighbours should keep Saddam from venturing outside his borders, and Saddam himself will eventually die of natural or semi-natural causes or be deposed.

Of course, Saddam needs military adventures to keep his subjects under control, so peace is not necessarily guaranteed. And the very presence of US troops in the Middle East is a source of anti-US sentiment, because there are those who would welcome Saddam deposing their theocratic, feudal monarchs. There will be some Saudis at least who will cheer if Saddam's tanks were to roll into Riyadh.

It's a nice situation.

[ Parent ]

Catch 22 (none / 0) (#109)
by KilljoyAZ on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 11:47:42 AM EST

But according to much of the same crowd, building up the militaries of autocratic regimes ( Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan ) is something we should try to avoid, since it's apparently the cause of US resentment of the "Arab street."

It's difficult to win, really. I think there's no good solution, just a "least bad" one.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]

Good point (5.00 / 1) (#167)
by epepke on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:46:44 PM EST

But according to much of the same crowd, building up the militaries of autocratic regimes ( Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan ) is something we should try to avoid, since it's apparently the cause of US resentment of the "Arab street."

You're right.

It's difficult to win, really. I think there's no good solution, just a "least bad" one.

Hmmm... Although you're right, my point is somewhat different. It's that the good solution (or at least the solution that is in the direction of good) is not necessarily the same as the popular solution (or at least the solution that is in some average of what the people think is good).

There's something I've been pointing out for a while, much to the detriment of my mojo, and that's that the U.S. foreign policy (capricious, inconsistent, incomplete, poorly orchestrated, ill defined, etc.) is exactly what one would expect from a democratic government that is working properly. This is because the people are, well, a bunch of people, each of which has ill-thought-out ideas, all pulling at various ropes demanding to be satisfied at the same time. Even three people, voting, each making perfectly rational decisions, can come up with an irrational group decision. So, if three can do it, what do you expect from a quarter million, let alone plus an electoral college, various polling organizations, the press, the Supreme Court, etc.?

The absolute superiority of Democracy seems to be an article of faith for many. But what if it just doesn't work in certain situations? I think that Democracy works very well with respect to domestic policy but rather poorly with respect to foreign policy.

I think it's worth thinking about whether the right thing to do (in the pragmatic, phenomelogical sense) might not be the same as the popular thing to do. Not that it will necessarily affect foreign policy, but hell, there is some value in just thinking about things.

Personally, if I were dictator, I'd do this. First of all, I'd abandon all Federal taxes for oil companies that could prove that all their oil came from NAFTA countries. Naturally, it would take an act of God, who doesn't exist, or if he does exist couldn't be bothered, to get rid of state taxes. Peaceniks would switch to complaining about poor starving Saudis in a quarter of a nanosecond, but I'd ignore them. I'd double the taxes on oil imported from the other hemisphere. This would do two things. First, it would put pressure on companies to get away from Middle East oil. Second, and far more importantly, it would encourage niche markets for small energy companies that could make a profit not only from oil but from various other sources. One of the big problems with oil is not that it's oil, but that the companies are centralized and therefore can't deal with disruptive technologies.

Second of all, I'd get the U.S. out of the Middle East. This couldn't be accomplished overnight and would take several years. I would encourage trade but make aid go away. Isreal wants weapons, fine, but sell enough oranges to pay for them. Now, I'm well aware that Israel is perfectly capable of making their own weapons that are more lethal than American weapons, and the first result of this would be very much not fun for the Arabs. And they have about a hundred nuclear warheads. I'm also well aware that most of the people who want the U.S. to stop supporting Israel aren't bright enough to figure this out. But, hey, we're assuming I'm dictator, and it won't be my job to make up for people's stupidity.

I wouldn't do jack about Iraq, beyond taxing the snot out of people who imported their oil. If people want to take up collections for the famed Iraqi Baby Milk Factory, fine with me, but it's on their nickel.

Maybe this wouldn't work, but if it didn't, at least people would know whom to kill in revenge. Won't happen anyway, of course.


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


[ Parent ]
Not a good move (none / 0) (#175)
by Caton on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 03:02:43 AM EST

First of all, I'd abandon all Federal taxes for oil companies that could prove that all their oil came from NAFTA countries.
Why? Better to deplete other countries' resources first. The best middle-term oil policy move for the U.S. would be to encourage everybody to drive SUVs.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Not really (none / 0) (#179)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 05:07:45 AM EST

About 50% of the US petroleum market is supplied from domestic sources. About 20% is supplied from North and South American sources. The remaining 30% is supplied from Africa and the Persian Gulf. The US is going to begin burning through the oil reserves of North and South America somewhere in the next 15 years and thereafter it will become increasingly dependent upon Persian Gulf reserves (absent a technological revolution).

No matter how you cut it, the Persian Gulf region wins the oil end game.

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


[ Parent ]
You prove my point (none / 0) (#184)
by Caton on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 10:28:56 AM EST

With proven reserves (as of 2000) of more than 22,000 million barrels, the U.S. could be energy-independent for a while. It is smarter to keep as much of those reserves intact while consuming the OPEC's 800,000 million barrels reserves.

North & South American proven reserves were: Venezuela, 77,000; Mexico, 28,000; U.S.A., 22,000; Brazil, 8,000; Canada, 5,000; Total, 140,000 million barrels out of a world total of 1,028,000 million barrels. It is going to take more than 15 years for the U.S. to consume the North & South American reserves.

Figures available here.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
I really... (none / 0) (#186)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 12:01:07 PM EST

...need to resist the urge to post after coming home from a night in the bar ;).

Yeah, you're correct. N and S American reserves will hold considerably longer than 15 years and it does make sense to purchase as much Gulf oil as possible to extend the life of those reserves.

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


[ Parent ]
Even more confusion (none / 0) (#140)
by epepke on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 03:59:56 PM EST

The rational part of your rant is strongly clouded by emotion.

Actually, there's even more confusion. I didn't think there was a "rational" part of my "rant" at all. What happened was this. I work at home, so I was able to see all the 9/11 hoo hah all day. Now, one of the few things I'm good at is ethnography; participant looking at behavior and distilling the elements that make it up. So, I decided to take what I had learned and present it in the best way I know how: the burlesque, a first-person account that never admits it's a burlesque, sharpened and clarified to enable understanding. Goldie Hawn, Richard Pryor, and Andrew Dice Clay all did this. I'm probably not as good as they are, but they're not here, and I think I'm pretty good. If you think I'm not so good, that it was unrepresentative or insufficiently articulated, you're welcome to criticize on that basis. But I still think it contains more actual information about a very important kind of American reaction than you'll get from watching a month of Fox.

Although it is possibly a futile exercize, the reason I did this is in the optimistic hope that some of the activists here might want to go beyond the cardboard stereotype of the stupid American. The point is that, if you wish to affect people, it is important to understand how they think and feel even, and this is the kicker, they don't think and feel the same way that you do. Without this understanding, it's all just masturbation. You have to understand how people work and at least accommodate how they work in order to get anywhere.

Quite frankly, the more vocal activists here don't strike me as being that smart, although greenrd impressed me a few months ago. However, I've been on online communities for twenty-four years, and one thing I know is that there are always people lurking in the wings who do have smarts. They're the ones who matter. Smart people are the ones who do things in the world.

Finally, you overestimate your personal importance when you say "my personal sympathy for those who define their lives over telling me I'm shit no matter what happens, every day, is growing incredibly thin." Either that, or you should change your circle of acquaintances.

Oooh, he shoots, he scores! What a put-down! Now, what do you gain by that? Are you now in charge of the U.S. Government? Are they going to listen to you more? Do you have better access to the mainstream media? Are you even any better, at all, at communicating outside your circle of acquantances? Or do you even care?

Goodie! I'm not important! That must mean that everything's all perfect in the world! What, it isn't? Well, I'm sure you can find someone to blame. And the world still won't be all better, but you'll be able to be more self-righteous about it.


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


[ Parent ]
Natural consequence (4.66 / 3) (#92)
by pyro9 on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 08:51:35 AM EST

The situation in the middle east is nothing more or less than the natural consequence if pumping many billions of dollars into the warchests of a less developed region, then selling them the latest and greatest millitary hardware to try to get some of the cash back.

While the problem is now deeply rooted and would take some time to die off, what we must do is stop importing oil from and selling weapons to the middle east. Osama made his billions on oil trade. The weapons he uses were provided by the U.S.

This is a strong repeating pattern: U.S. gives A top of the line training and weapons so they can kill B. A kills B. A becomes a problem. U.S. gives C top of the line training and weapons to kill off A. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The vast majority of modern bad guys (from the U.S. perspective) are examples of that pattern in action.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
iraq? (4.85 / 7) (#57)
by zocky on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 05:25:53 PM EST

Have you done any research before including Saddam's Iraq in the breeding grounds of September 11 terrorists?

It's my understanding that fundamentalists like Ossama (and islamic states like Saudi Arabia) don't care much for Saddam and his secular state and ideology. And vice versa.

---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?

True. (3.00 / 1) (#66)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 06:56:57 PM EST

And I don't think Bush has produced the photoshop^H^H^H^Hgraph of Hussein and bin Laden shaking hands and exchanging cash and weapons. However, while nobody in the region seems to much likes Hussein, both he and they use each other when convenient and they both have axes to grind against the US.


--
I lost my job, my friends and my wife in just one evening. Ask me how!


[ Parent ]

Suggestions (2.42 / 28) (#60)
by ubu on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 05:59:38 PM EST

You don't write well, you're unconvincing, you're poorly organized, you're a morally-ambiguous person in the first place, and finally, it doesn't make any difference whatsoever whether you convince anyone on Kuro5hin.org of anything. Not that you will.

You're welcome.

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
and u are screwing up my 36 hour tiebreaker (5.00 / 4) (#75)
by turmeric on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 09:09:22 PM EST

with your 1.2/7 comments.

[ Parent ]
will attempt to fix ;) [nt] (none / 0) (#84)
by infinitera on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:06:00 AM EST



[ Parent ]
oh my (5.00 / 2) (#85)
by turmeric on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:12:07 AM EST

what on earth are you talking about.

[ Parent ]
oh thanks (5.00 / 1) (#96)
by turmeric on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:20:49 AM EST

i think.... otoh i believe the ratings comment system influence on stories is inherently flawed and undemocratic so how do i feel about profiting from it!!!!

[ Parent ]
next player, please (none / 0) (#117)
by RevLoveJoy on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 01:05:34 PM EST

Those are not suggestions; those are oppinions. Follow with me...

Suggestion:
Perhaps your article would be more convincing if you further empasized points 1 and 4 with more concrete examples.

Opinion:
You suck ass.

See?
-- RLJ

Every political force in the U.S. that seeks to get past the Constitution by sophistry or technicality is little more than a wannabe king. -- pyro9
[ Parent ]

Maybe you skipped the world WAR II part in school. (4.70 / 10) (#78)
by Calledor on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 10:07:03 PM EST

They were 'soft on Hitler' because they wanted to do business with him. In modern times, the only people who have been soft on tyranny have been the CIA, the oil companies, and the American State Department, beacuse they wanted profits.
Your point is that the radio program was wrong because you do not believe that we were lulled into pacifism by the trading of a critical componnent of our society (oil) with those who are now our enemies. I haven't read most of the comments yet, but I hope this logic fault was pointed out earlier though I'm sure it is possible it wasn't.

Before Hitler invaded poland, everyone in the Western Europe really wanted to have peace with him because he was creating industry and making lots of people not in Germany rich. However, he invaded Poland. See we didn't have a war on Terrorism before 9/11, and we went to war with Saddam Hussien because he hindered our ability to do business with the region. I guess what I'm trying to get to is, that if there's a point to your statement, it is dull and buried under many feet of irrational rock. Britain went to war. We went to war. Before a war there are no pacifists. Now you can argue that we've been waging a secret war against them for half a century, but it would be considered a stretch. Hitler had the support of other European leaders, so how is he different than Saddam Hussein in that respect before war? He's not.

Churchill's thesis is very applicable. Everyone did business with Hitler and everyone did their best to avoid war until he ATTACKED. And I don't mean attacked as in he made hostile aggressions towards anyone, I mean they went to war when he attacked someone the powerful nations of Western Europe objected to him attacking. Kinda like when Saddam attacked Kuwait. We really didn't care when he went to war with Iran (go figure).

Now that I've pointed what has probably already been pointed out in another comment let me assert that you are wrong. Wrong wrong left-handed special-ed-child-using-righthanded-scissors wrong.

-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

pacifists before wars (4.75 / 4) (#80)
by turmeric on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 11:43:53 PM EST

Actually there are pacifists before war, because pacifists understand the cyclical nature of conflict and the need to be eternally vigilant. They are against dictatorships making war on their own people, ie like saddam , burma, etc, and that is why they strenuously object to US corporations supporting these dictators in their wars. That is the sort of pacifism of which i meant to speak. The pacifism that you dont need to slaughter people or team up with murdering thugs in order to have a successfull competitive business venture.

[ Parent ]
Ok (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by Calledor on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:26:23 AM EST

Allowing for the fact that there are pacifists before war, you're arguement still doesn't make sense. We were lulled into pacifism because we did not believe war would was an eventuality and they had something we wanted. It is very easy to make the arguement that Britian did the same thing with Hitler. It's far easier to make that arguement infact than it is to debate against it.

-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 ]
had something some of us wanted (5.00 / 2) (#95)
by turmeric on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:13:51 AM EST

and now that some of us is calling those of us who didnt want it in the first place a bunch of 'cowards' for not wanting to clean up their mess

[ Parent ]
I know it's not PC to say... (4.00 / 5) (#98)
by Wah on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:40:53 AM EST

...but your analogies are rather scary.

Hitler had the support of other European leaders, so how is he different than Saddam Hussein in that respect before war? He's not.

That's a tough line to draw a parallel with.  So anyone who has the support of their contemporaries before enacting agression is akin to Hitler?

Churchill's thesis is very applicable. Everyone did business with Hitler and everyone did their best to avoid war until he ATTACKED. And I don't mean attacked as in he made hostile aggressions towards anyone, I mean they went to war when he attacked someone the powerful nations of Western Europe objected to him attacking.

You do see the incredible irony here, right?  This is one of main reasons I'm against a pre-emptive (U.S.) war with Iraq.  Now I'm not comparing Bush to Hitler (well, Ashcroft maybe), but from the model you've drawn that would seem to be where the similarities lie.

And speaking as a left-handed person, it doesn't matter if you're retarded or not, right-handed scissors just don't work.

Please don't take this too harshly, I'm only replying to what I read between the lines of your criticism
--
You didn't know we had cameras in your room, Parent ]

to point out the obvious... (4.60 / 5) (#115)
by Calledor on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:30:59 PM EST

It was an ironic situation. Western Europe should have stopped Hitler when he was obviously breaking treaties and was openly mobilizing for large scale war. Now I'm not saying we should go to war with Iraq, I'm saying we did go to war previously because he attacked Kuwait. I'm not a fan of pre-emptive strikes mainly because I'm old fashion (logic would state that a pre-emptive strike is better though usually it's not good to let them know you're coming).

As for likening Saddam to Hitler and there by saying anyone who has the support of his contemporates before he attacks them is like Hitler.... Well damn you have me there. See that's not something that is generally done very often. I mean historically. Rarely infact in the thousands of battles and wars that have been fought in the recorded history of mankind has that happened. Treachury is nothing new, but usually it was never done when both sides were benifiting greatly. But to further liken Saddam to Hitler let me say that both were incompetant military leaders, they both commited massacres and both had their countries severely weakened because of their aggression. The main differences of course are scale and the fact that Saddam did not kill himself. So calling him a little Hitler wouldn't exactly be without just cause.

As for Bush alike to Hitler, lets not go insulting Hitler now. I mean I'm already comparing him to Saddam who was perhaps the first person in modern warfare to use blitz krieg tactics against an enemy and yet gain absolutely no ground (Iran, Iraq war). Seriously though you're just upset at Bush for other reasons and you think he's a Nazi even without my comment. So don't read what's not there, and follow the lines that are clearly drawn. I'm not good at criss crossing ideas accept when I'm completely baffled by someone else. How did you get Bush alike to Hitler? Where? You didn't even quote, and if you used one of the quotes you previously commented on you're hallucinating. Do you mean Bush is alike Hitler in a pre-emptive strike? Hitler's only pre-emptive strike was against Poland (well Russia too I suppose). And that's what I meant when I compared Saddam to Hitler (I'm not going to go over the whole similarities in history of a country going to war when it's allies are invaded... it seems redundant). Later when Hilter blitzkrieged through france. Well that was France's fault because they were AT WAR with him and unfortunetly happend to be incompetant. Poland didn't have a military or a history of making weapons of mass destruction. They also didn't have a history of invading their neighboring countries. Iraq has a little of both, or a lot depending on who you believe. So Bush attacking Iraq isn't quite comparable to Hitler attacking Poland. I guess you could say Bush is like Hitler when Hitler attacked Russia, but then again that made sense because Stalin was planning to eventually invade anti-communist Germany. Such a situation generally lies in favor of a pre-emptive strike. I'm sure all you are hearing is "Bush is like Hitler, that's so ironic," at least that is what you've demonstrated so far.

To recap. Yes if you are supported by countries economically and then turn around to go to war with them, then you are like Hitler. He's pretty much the most well known historical figure who has done that. You can argue other people in history have done it, but he's the most well known. And as for the irony part, well alliances are formed allies are attacked and people go to war. Shit happens, go figure. Maybe if France and Great Britian had attacked Germany before he attacked their allies, millions upon millions of people could have lived. That sounds like a freakishly good reason for a pre-emptive strike, don't you think?

-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 ]

It's a good thing (1.00 / 1) (#87)
by medham on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:20:02 AM EST

Fascism was defeated in WWII...oh right.

Anyway, I'm sure Dominus Blicero is still around somewhere. Look high, not low, as the man always sez.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

These is ridiculous (3.80 / 5) (#91)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 07:14:40 AM EST

Ten years ago everyone was hollering that career politicians were evil, we need to get fresh blood in there, businessmen should run the country. Yay yay Ross Perot.

And surprise! We got just what we were asking for, career politicians who are businessmen.

-Soc
I drank what?


Perot (5.00 / 4) (#99)
by kableh on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:51:20 AM EST

Ross also had a sound plan to get rid of the national debt, which we are now delving farther into because of Dubya's tax cut.

He may have been a businessman, but at least he was his own man, and not beholden to the GOP or Democrats.

[ Parent ]
Indeed (none / 0) (#152)
by epepke on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 06:30:33 PM EST

Nothing much of good is ever going to happen until people start realizing that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Unfortunately, it's far easier for the well intentioned, socially conscious Young Person of TodayTM to have a nicely delineated cast of Good Guys and Bad Guys.

To paraphrase the Boomer Bible, do not attempt to see the other person's point of view, even for a moment, for that could lead to Thought, and Thought is the enemy of happiness.


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


[ Parent ]
Hell has frozen over. (3.40 / 5) (#104)
by BinaryTree on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 11:13:03 AM EST

A turmeric rant has made it to the front page.

I would say (3.62 / 8) (#105)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 11:26:13 AM EST

That Britain was lulled into pacifism by the memory of WWI more then anything else.

What pacifists seem to forget is that it takes 2 reasonable parties with mutual respect for each others basic rights in order for pacifism to work.

It only takes one unreasonable party with no respect for the basic rights of others in order for war to happen.

Call me a pessimist but the ratio of unreasonable people to reasonable people in the world seems exceedingly high.

In other words, Peacefull resolution to problems are by far the most desirable and beneficial course of action but they are only applicable to a fraction of all the problems which arise.

Pacifists in Europe before WWII simply refused to accept the reality that the Nazi's were neither reasonable nor did they have any respect for the rights of others. They refused to accept it because the alternative was too horrible for them to face upto. Simply put, they were so afraid of war that it clouded thier judgement. Considering the experience of WWI, I can't say that I blame them overmuch.... but that apprehension would cost the world dearly.

We MAY now be faced with a similar situation with Iraq, albeit on a much more regional scale. Clearly Iraq is not a direct threat to the Continental U.S., but just as clearly it has the propensity to be a threat to other nations in the region (as past history has shown). The problem with that is the region happens to contain a very large proportion of the worlds oil supply.
Unfortunately (at the current moment) fossil fuels are to a modern industrialized nation as food is to a living organisim.

That may not be particularly ethical or moral, but it is a survival instinct... nothing more, nothing less. Nations (just like living organisims) will do what is neccesary to secure the resources that they percieve are required for them to survive.

Right now the U.S. percieves Middle Eastern Oil as a required resource for us to survive. We vehemently wish that wasn't true, but it's the current reality.

The U.S. is happy to trade for or purchase that resource (even at a very disadvantageous rate) but we are very concerned (with reason) that resource could be totaly witheld or used for extortion purposes by a rutheless dictator (Saddam) to further his own agenda.

You folks can spout all the conspiracy theories you like about drumming up support for 2004 election, corporate greed and ties to big oil or personal vendettas but as far as I'm concerned the issue is much more basic. It's a survival instict... which is a much stronger motivation then all the other ones combined.

The Administration believes (with some reason) that Middle Eastern oil is a resource which is neccesary for the continued survival of the U.S. as a modern nation... and they believe (with some reason) that Saddam Hussien poses a very real threat against access to that resource.

The very important question at the moment is not whether force is neccesary against Iraq... it is whether that force should be unleashed. Do we need to unleash that force against Iraq now to eliminate the current threat while is is relatively easy and the damage it can do is minimized? Or do we simply hold that force in readiness as a cheque against any potential moves Iraq might make which threaten us (as we did with the Soviets).

Make no mistake, pacifism was NOT responsible for the relative peace that Europe enjoyed since WWII.
It was the very real and credible threat of destructive force from NATO that kept the Soviets from attacking western Europe after WWII, nothing else. That kept the U.S.S.R. in cheque long enough so that it fell apart from the strain of trying to maintain itself as a represive system.

It worked with the Soviets, it might work with Iraq as well.... but there is no guaranty that would work. It is a very risky game to play, and one which we can not control. Saddam might make the same calculation that Hitler did when he attacked Poland.... that the Western Allies would not be willing to go to war over that... and would not be willing (or able) to do what it takes to prosecute a war that would oust him.

Saddam at the very least has to believe that we have both the ability and the will to do that to him, if he takes certain steps.... nothing else holds him in cheque.

That isn't neccesarly an arguement for attackin Iraq right now.... but it IS a definite arguement for maintaining both the ability and posture that we will attack Iraq if they undertake certain provocations.

i dont agree (5.00 / 1) (#113)
by turmeric on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:08:06 PM EST

your logic is interesting but does not even apply in the most lowly of bars. when someone is misbehaving and beating up people, a bouncer comes and removes that person. customers do not take it upon themselves to beat up the troublemaker, if they do they get kicked out by the bouncer as well.

survivalism is what drove hitler to become an empire. its what drove england to become an empire, and france, and spain, and japan in WWII, because they felt that without oodles of resources the other empires would crush them. which is rather evident.

that is why i think violence is a circle and not something built by 'evil people', rather it is normal people trying to prevent evil who seem to perpetuate it indefinitely.

pacifists do not advocate 'doing nothing', they merely seek alternatives to brutal civilian-slaughtering tactics that are traditionally used by military powers. the conspiracy theories are tools with which we can prevent warfare for they reveal the 'larger picture' of why conflicts arise. yes 'evil people' will always be around, and so will viruses and whatnot. but we can try to make it so that we do not aid and abet this evilness... just as people learned over time to shit into sewer systems instead of into their front yards, people can learn not to support and help the existence of these dictators in the first place.

short term solutions, such as whatever vague military actions bush wants against iraq, will solve nothing in the long run, and in my opinion if you want to get rid of alot of the short term problems we keep having over and over again, you need to keep your eye 50-100 years down the road, and remember hwo long people's memories can be.

[ Parent ]

One Question (none / 0) (#122)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 01:36:08 PM EST

"your logic is interesting but does not even apply in the most lowly of bars. when someone is misbehaving and beating up people, a bouncer comes and removes that person"

My question: Who exactly is the "bouncer" and how do they "remove" the person if not with the use of force?

[ Parent ]

a bouncer is accountable (5.00 / 1) (#143)
by turmeric on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 04:04:30 PM EST

for their actions. they do not put personal issues into the battle. their job is to protect the people in the bar from violence.

[ Parent ]
ok just kidding (none / 0) (#144)
by turmeric on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 04:05:18 PM EST

actually i have no idea, i dont go in bars much.

[ Parent ]
That was my point (none / 0) (#151)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 05:19:52 PM EST

As far as World politics, there really is no "bouncer". No neutral fair 3rd party that keeps the house in order.

I'm not sure that there every really could be... since even a "bouncer" has an agenda that might not neccesarly be fair or in the best interests of everyone.

When you do have a "bouncer" they use force (or at least the threat of it) to keep the peace.

Usualy the "bouncer" happens to be the biggest, meanest, ugliest, SOB in the establishment. He's so scary looking that no one wants to tangle with him... and if they do they get destroyed in short order.

Thats what makes a good "bouncer", the inclination not to use force unless it is neccesary combined with the ability to apply an overwhelming amount of force when it is.

Right now if the world did have a "bouncer" it would pretty much have to be us. We're the only ones that could amass the kind of firepower neccesary to do that job.

I'm not sure I'd either want (or trust) us to do that job. All in all, I think we try to behave pretty decently... but like any other nation, we have our own interests and agenda at heart.

[ Parent ]

The U.S. is not like a bouncer (5.00 / 1) (#161)
by J'raxis on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:01:25 PM EST

The U.S. is not like a “bouncer.” A bouncer is hired by the owner/manager and the customers generally consent to his presence, or they would go somewhere else. The U.S. is the surly customer who walks in and beats the crap out of the first customer he sees who’s sitting at “his” table, and ends up injuring a few other customers in the process.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Another question (none / 0) (#123)
by Cro Magnon on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 01:53:13 PM EST

What if this barroom thug is causing trouble, and the bouncer is just sitting there filing his toenails? THEN should the other patrons stop this miscreant? Or should they just let him beat them up?
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
then the bouncer gets fired by management, (5.00 / 1) (#142)
by turmeric on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 04:03:32 PM EST

which in the case of a democracy, means that the general public is management.

which is weird because we dont have a democratic 'world government' ...... yet.

[ Parent ]

Another Point (none / 0) (#125)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:12:04 PM EST

"pacifists do not advocate 'doing nothing', they merely seek alternatives ........people can learn not to support and help the existence of these dictators in the first place."

That's great ... and I fully support that sentiment. However, what do you do when you DO HAVE such a dictator in your face?

You can't just close your eyes and pretend he is not there, because he is going to knife you in the belly while you do so.

You can't just tell him to "play nice" or you will pout.... because he really doesn't care.

So answer me, what do you do when you are faced with such a dictator... right now, today?

It's wonderfull to have some pie in the sky notion that if we were all just nice and reasonable to one another and agreed to "all just get along", the world would be much better off... and I agree it would.

However, over 10,000 years of recorded human history has proven that just isn't a realistic expentation.

History has shown that brutal, repressive, aggressive dictators do come to power occasionaly. So what do you do when you happen to be faced with one?

Don't tell me that you'll never be faced with one, because history has proven you wrong.

If in the last 10,000 years human beings have FAILED to "learn not to support and help the existence of these dictators in the first place."
what makes you assume the next 10,000 years will be any different?

[ Parent ]

oh (5.00 / 1) (#141)
by turmeric on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 04:01:22 PM EST

That's great ... and I fully support that sentiment. However, what do you do when you DO HAVE such a dictator in your face?

Well, here are a few clues:

  • 1. they live in a mansion while their people are starving to death and drive a fleet of mercedes (mobutu sese seko)
  • 2. they gas their own people killing thousands (saddam)
  • 3. they come to power by assassinating rivals (saddam)
  • 4. they use forced labor to do public work projects (burmese military dictatorship)
  • 5. they dont have elections (saddam, mobutu, etc etc etc)
  • 6. they beat women for not wearing head-to-toe clothing (taliban)
  • 7. they ban girls from school (taliban)
  • etc etc etc

Why are conservatives such moral relativists? there is right, and there is wrong.

You can't just close your eyes and pretend he is not there, because he is going to knife you in the belly while you do so. You can't just tell him to "play nice" or you will pout.... because he really doesn't care. So answer me, what do you do when you are faced with such a dictator... right now, today?

I asked you first.

It's wonderfull to have some pie in the sky notion that if we were all just nice and reasonable to one another and agreed to "all just get along", the world would be much better off... and I agree it would.
its nice to have some pie in the sky notion that you can profit from slave labor and banning labor unions and exploiting people and stealing land, and the world would be better off. I agree it gives us lots of cheap goods, but i dont think it is 'better off'.

However, over 10,000 years of recorded human history has proven that just isn't a realistic expentation.
i disagree, 10,000 years of recorded human history to me proves that in general people despise violence and warfare, that all major religions in theory embrace this ideal, and that over the centuries warfare and violence have become less and less glamorous, less well respected, and less part of people's everyday life. On average, i mean. obviously that is not true for people in Afghanistan or for native people under conquest, or for Jews in Israel... but in general it is realistic to expect that countries become ruled by laws and by people will learn to work out problems without killing each other.

History has shown that brutal, repressive, aggressive dictators do come to power occasionaly. So what do you do when you happen to be faced with one?
  • do not fund them
  • do not give them weapons
  • do not lend them political support
  • do not propagandize them as 'freeedom fighters' to the american public
  • do not overthrow democratically elected presidents and install brutal repressive aggressive dictators in their place (chile)
Don't tell me that you'll never be faced with one, because history has proven you wrong. If in the last 10,000 years human beings have FAILED to "learn not to support and help the existence of these dictators in the first place." what makes you assume the next 10,000 years will be any different?
Well, let me take for example the Taliban. Womens rights groups were protesting unocal for trying to build a pipeline in afghanistan. This is a fringe movement, the NOW and suchlike, but then the secretary of state decided that it was important, and next thing you know you have right wing republican christians on television saying that we have to take out the Taliban and liberate the women of Afghanistan.

Now, of course these folks were probably just using this idea to gain credibility and support for the military actions in Afghanistan. But think about it, why do they even care enough to get this credibility, and who gives this credibility to them? The very idea of democracy is that the general public tells the rulers what to do, not the other way around, and in general the public tells the rulers they want good moral things to happen in the world, because that is what the rulers have to pretend to be in order to get votes. If people were really cynical evil bastards, then politicains would have to pretend to be cynical evil bastards on their advertisements in order to win elections, but they dont.



[ Parent ]

Read Again (none / 0) (#148)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 05:00:19 PM EST

I said:

"That's great ... and I fully support that sentiment. However, what do you do when you DO HAVE such a dictator in your face? "

You replied:

"Well, here are a few clues:
1. they live in a mansion while their people are starving to death and drive a fleet of mercedes (mobutu sese seko)
2. they gas their own people killing thousands (saddam)
3. they come to power by assassinating rivals (saddam)
4. they use forced labor to do public work projects (burmese military dictatorship)
5. they dont have elections (saddam, mobutu, etc etc etc)
6. they beat women for not wearing head-to-toe clothing (taliban)
7. they ban girls from school (taliban)
etc etc etc

Why are conservatives such moral relativists? there is right, and there is wrong. "

My Reply:

You were replying to a statement I never made. I never asked "How do you reckognize a dictator" and I never said "It's ok to support dictators who work in your interest". I asked "what do you do when you DO HAVE such a dictator in your face? "

-------------------------------------------------

I said:

"You can't just close your eyes and pretend he is not there, because he is going to knife you in the belly while you do so. You can't just tell him to "play nice" or you will pout.... because he really doesn't care. So answer me, what do you do when you are faced with such a dictator... right now, today? "

You answered:

"I asked you first"

My Reply:

1) No you didn't

2) That's not an answer to my question

3) Are you sure you're not in political office?

4) If you really want MY answer it is exactly what the U.S. is doing right now with Iraq and the Taliban. Now what's yours?

-----------------------------------------------

I said:

"It's wonderfull to have some pie in the sky notion that if we were all just nice and reasonable to one another and agreed to "all just get along", the world would be much better off... and I agree it would."

You replied:

"its nice to have some pie in the sky notion that you can profit from slave labor and banning labor unions and exploiting people and stealing land, and the world would be better off. I agree it gives us lots of cheap goods, but i dont think it is 'better off'."

My reply:

I never said it would. I also never said I supported any of those things. What I did imply (perhaps you weren't able to draw the inference)
was that doing the "right thing" (lets assume we have a common definition of what that is) WILL make the world a better place for everybody.... however people RARELY have any interest in making the world a better place for everybody and rarely seek to do the right thing. Therefore it is UNREALISTIC to base your world view and plans on the assumption that everbody will do the "right thing"

People will most often act either:

1) based upon what they believe is in thier own immediate short term, selfish interests (and usualy they are mistaken about what actions will actualy achieve those)

2) passions and emotions which have absolutely nothing to do with logic, reason or even the situation at hand.

-------------------------------------------------

I stated:

"However, over 10,000 years of recorded human history has proven that just isn't a realistic expectation"

You replied:

"i disagree, 10,000 years of recorded human history to me proves that in general people despise violence and warfare, that all major religions in theory embrace this ideal, and that over the centuries warfare and violence have become less and less glamorous, less well respected, and less part of people's everyday life"

My reply:

The "major religions", you mean ones that have sponsored such wonderfull events as:

The Spanish Inquisition
The Crusades
The Persecution of Catholics in England
The Troubles in Ireland
The Salem Witch Hunts
The Jonestown Massacre
The Arab-Israeli wars
Countless Jihads
The World Trade Center Bombing in '93
The Sept 11th attacks
Countless terrorist attacks and kidnapings
The Thugi Revolt
The Divinity of the Emperor of Japan and subjegation of all lesser races to his rule (i.e.
Pacific Theatre in WWII)

Just to name a few.
I have news for you pal, the "major religions" of the world are steeped in more blood then any secular regieme could ever hope to amass.

The world (unless you happen to live in Sweden maybe) is every bit as violent as it was 500 years ago. Your particular part of it might just be a little more insulated from it.

------------------------------------------------

I asked:

"History has shown that brutal, repressive, aggressive dictators do come to power occasionaly. So what do you do when you happen to be faced with one? "

You replied:

"do not fund them
do not give them weapons
do not lend them political support
do not propagandize them as 'freeedom fighters' to the american public
do not overthrow democratically elected presidents and install brutal repressive aggressive dictators in their place (chile"

You didn't answer my question. Those are all really great ways of trying to keep dictators from coming into power... and I agree with them.
However I asked you...what do you do with a dictator who ALREADY is in power?

Furthermore, believe it or not, plenty of Dictators have come into power in the world without any support from the good ol' U.S.

History has shown that Dictators do happen occasionaly. Even if you assume everyone is acting with the best of intentions.. the fact that human beings are fallable (i.e. we make mistakes) means that you'll occasionaly get them.

So what do you do once you do have one in power?

You still haven't given me an answer to that question (at least one that will actualy work).

[ Parent ]

No, not really (none / 0) (#154)
by epepke on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 06:48:12 PM EST

Right now the U.S. percieves Middle Eastern Oil as a required resource for us to survive. We vehemently wish that wasn't true, but it's the current reality.

Honestly, no. The U.S., for the most part, doesn't give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut about Mideast oil. Gasoline is about one quarter the price in real dollars that it was a quarter of a century ago. The price of oil is so incredibly unimportant that a lot of people drive bloody tanks on the road, because they simply don't care. And when did you last hear of someone dying in the U.S. for a lack of heating oil? The last time I heard that was more than a decade ago.

I live in a college town, and there are a lot of leftist activists here, and most of them seem to drive old beater Toyotas badly in need of a ring job (often as not with "Boycott Japanese Goods" bumper stickers), so I imagine they're very interested in money and oil. Nobody else really cares. We may bitch about gas prices, but we bitch about the weather, too. But we'd be pretty much as happy with NAFTA Mexican oil, and the Mexicans would be happier.

Make no mistake, pacifism was NOT responsible for the relative peace that Europe enjoyed since WWII.

This, of course, is true. However it has also borne a generation of Europeans who, confident of their ability to avoid not only the gulag but the gas chamber, have some rather strange ideas about history.

There seems to be a strange feedback loop. Peace seems to create the kind of people least able to figure out how to preserve peace. This would be OK if peace were a given, but unfortunately, it isn't quite yet.


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


[ Parent ]
Europe (none / 0) (#168)
by tjb on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 11:52:11 PM EST


Make no mistake, pacifism was NOT responsible for the relative peace that Europe enjoyed since WWII.

This, of course, is true. However it has also borne a generation of Europeans who, confident of their ability to avoid not only the gulag but the gas chamber, have some rather strange ideas about history.

There seems to be a strange feedback loop. Peace seems to create the kind of people least able to figure out how to preserve peace. This would be OK if peace were a given, but unfortunately, it isn't quite yet.

Well shit, at least 2 people at K5 agree with me :)

I was discussing this last night with two (flemish-)Belgian friends of mine.  In their attempt to defend the actions of Dutch troops in Srebenicia, hey were claiming "had those troops been French Pakistani, Algerian, or Chinese" the same thing would've happened.  I asked what about if they were US or UK troops - and my friends conceded immediately that if if it were US or British troops there, 15000 muslim men would've survived because it would be exceedingly unlikely the Serbians would've even bothered and if they had, they would've been bombed out of existence by F-16's and a a large Ranger(or SAS)detachment would've arrived shortly afterwords to clean up.

And, to me, Srebenicia represents the fundamental problem with Europe today.  They have the military power to accomplish what needs to be done, but lack the political will to do so.  It was a French General that told the Dutch force not to do anything, but why was that order given?  France has a very powerful airforce that could've pinned the Serbians down while their well-trained (amongst the best in the world) commando units were airlifted into the theater.

But, unfortunately, that isn't the thought process in Europe (UK excepted).  Following the UN mandate was considered a higher priority than what was right, and that's a shame.  Europe has the military power to do the right thing, but refuse to do so even when they already have troops in the area.

Tim

[ Parent ]

Three people agree with you (none / 0) (#174)
by Caton on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 02:59:46 AM EST

But that's ok, as long as we all disagree on the causes.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
I found this on OIL (2.62 / 8) (#111)
by drquick on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 11:56:24 AM EST

This piece has been circulating on the web (not my words):
Did you know that... we supported Bin Laden and the Taliban for years, and viewed them as freedom fighters against the Russians?

As late as 1998, the US was paying the salary of every single Taliban official in Afghanistan?

There is more oil and gas in the Caspian Sea area than in Saudi Arabia, but you need a pipeline through Afghanistan to get the oil out.

UNOCAL, a giant American Oil conglomerate, wanted to build a 1000 mile long pipeline from the Caspian Sea through Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea.

UNOCAL spent $10,000,000,000 on geological surveys for pipeline construction, and very nicely courted the Taliban for their support in allowing the construction to begin.

All of the leading Taliban officials were in Texas negotiating with UNOCAL in 1998.

1998-1999 the Taliban changed its mind and threw UNOCAL out of the country and awarded the pipeline project to a company from Argentina.

John Maresca VP of UNOCAL testified before Congress and said no pipeline until the Taliban was gone and a more friendly government was established.

1999-2000 The Taliban became the most evil people in the world.

Senior American officials in mid-July told Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October.

9/11 WTC disaster...

Bush goes to war against Afghanistan even though none of the hijackers came from Afghanistan.

Bush blamed Bin Laden but has never offered any proof saying it's a "secret". (DUSTY's note: This is the same reason he's offering for invading Iraq)

Taliban offered to negotiate to turn over Bin Laden if we showed them some proof. We refused; we bombed.

Bush said: "This is not about nation building. It's about getting the terrorists."

We have a new government in Afghanistan.

The leader of that government formerly worked for UNOCAL.

Bush appoints a special envoy to represent the US to deal with that new government, who formerly was the "chief consultant to UNOCAL".

The Bush family acquired their wealth through oil?

Bush's Secretary of Interior was the President of an oil company before going to Washington.

George Bush Sr. now works with the "Carlysle Group" specializing in huge oil investments around the world.

Condoleezza Rice worked for Chevron before going to Washington.

Chevron named one of its newest "supertankers" after Condoleezza.

Dick Cheney worked for the giant oil conglomerate Haliburton before becoming VP.

Haliburton gave Cheney $34,000,000, as a farewell gift when he left Haliburton.

Haliburton is in the pipeline construction business.

There is $6 Trillion dollars worth of oil in the Caspian Sea area.

The US government quietly announces Jan 31, 2002 we will support the construction of the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline.

President Musharref (Pakistan), and Karrzai, (Afghanistan...ex-Unocal) announce agreement to build the proposed gas pipeline from Central Asia to Pakistan via Afghanistan.

Isn't that strange?



would be better with references (3.00 / 1) (#112)
by turmeric on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 11:57:54 AM EST

which are readily available

[ Parent ]
Thank you (3.50 / 2) (#116)
by Calledor on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:38:20 PM EST

I'm not saying I believe the article without the references. I'm saying that sounds like something we do historically (Cuba, Spanish American War, The Mexican-American War, the Panama Canal). Makes sense all and all.

-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 ]
I dont think so (none / 0) (#119)
by djmann88 on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 01:22:51 PM EST

You claim: "As late as 1998, the US was paying the salary of every single Taliban official in Afghanistan?"

Yep... also american aid makes 15% of israels gdp, and pays for its welfare and military.

For some reason I dont think so.

[ Parent ]

Actually *I* don't claim (none / 0) (#176)
by drquick on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 04:14:47 AM EST

I just copied the statements point blank from the net

[ Parent ]
The Martians did it (4.00 / 5) (#121)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 01:28:55 PM EST

Nice collection of random (and unreferenced facts). However I could work in a similar vein to attempt to prove that the Martians were behind the construction of the Panama Canal.

Now before you rate my post a 1 again, as you have done to every single post I have made regardless of it's content let's examine some things:

"Did you know that... we supported Bin Laden and the Taliban for years, and viewed them as freedom fighters against the Russians? "

As we did for Karrzai, Abdul Haq and every Afghan that was willing to fight the Soviets.
-------------------------------------------------

"As late as 1998, the US was paying the salary of every single Taliban official in Afghanistan?"

Reference Please

------------------------------------------------
"1999-2000 The Taliban became the most evil people in the world."

The Taliban have been viewed as "evil" in this country long before 1999.

Perhaps that has more to do with thier public executions of people for the crime of flying kites... rather then big oil secretly using the orbital mind control lasers to brainwash the entire American populace, eh?

----------------------------------------------

"Bush goes to war against Afghanistan even though none of the hijackers came from Afghanistan."

1) None of the hijakers were BORN in Afghanistan. None of the people sitting in camp X-ray were born in Afghanistan either... they were all captured under arms in Afghanistan, however.

2) Where do you claim Bin Laden was based if not Afghanistan.... the moon?

------------------------------------------------

" Bush blamed Bin Laden but has never offered any proof saying it's a "secret". (DUSTY's note: This is the same reason he's offering for invading Iraq)"

I guess the video tape Bin Laden had made of himself threatening to "rain down more airplanes on american soil" was a freindly reference to an Al Qaeda sponsored air show in Kansas rather then the WTC attack? Or would you have us believe it was filmed in a Hollywood backlot and that was actualy Dustin Hauffman in a fake beard and elevator shoes.

-----------------------------------------------

"Taliban offered to negotiate to turn over Bin Laden if we showed them some proof. We refused; we bombed"

If we could prove it in an "Islamic Court"... gee why would we ever refuse?

We showed the evidence to Musharref of Pakistan, the only government in the world prior to 9/11 to actualy recognize the Taliban as a legitimate government. Musharref said he was convinced.

-------------------------------------------------

"The leader of that government formerly worked for UNOCAL"

He also happens to be the only man all the Afghan factions (other then the Taliban) were THEMSELVES willing to agree should lead an INTERIM government until elections could be held (Haq might have qualified but the Taliban summarly executed him before that could happen)
-----------------------------------------------

"The Bush family acquired their wealth through oil? "

1)
Our problems with Bin Laden started under the CLINTON administration. Remember that Cruise missle aimed at an empty tent (in Afghanistan) that hit a camel in the butt?

Clinton was a lawyer not an oilman. Clinton and big oil tended to not get along because big oil tended to support Republicans.

2)
Basic Rule of Bussiness. Profits increase when DEMAND for a product increase. Increasing the SUPPLY of a product does nothing but drive down prices... which reduces profit margin. It's why OPEC doesn't produce all the oil it is capable of.

If Bush really wanted to help his buddies in the oil bussiness he could do so FAR more effectively by convincing car manufacturers to start producing 1970's gas guzzlers again then building a pipeline in Afghanistan would.

Conversely he is one of the biggest proponents of fuel cell research... which would dramaticly DECREASE the demand for fossil fuels.

--------------------------------------------------

"Condoleezza Rice worked for Chevron before going to Washington"

She was also a concert pianist... Aha we have discovered the REAL reason for the war in Afghanistan. The Taliban outlawed the playing of muisic in Afghanistan.... clearly the RIAA is behind the war!

------------------------------------------------

"Chevron named one of its newest "supertankers" after Condoleezza"

I named my dog "Skippy"... ergo I must be trying to get some-one to go to war with the state of Georgia.

--------------------------------------------------
"Haliburton gave Cheney $34,000,000, as a farewell gift when he left Haliburton"

Reference Please
-------------------------------------------------

"Isn't that strange?"

Isn't it strange the Dustin Hauffman and Osama Bin Laden have names that rhyme... and they have never been seen together at the same place at the same time..... allright you've convinced me, it IS a conspiracy!

[ Parent ]

Bullshit from top to bottom (4.00 / 4) (#126)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:14:00 PM EST

A few of the real howlers:

There is more oil and gas in the Caspian Sea area than in Saudi Arabia, but you need a pipeline through Afghanistan to get the oil out.

Complete and unadulterated bullshit! The Caspian Sea is rich in natural gas, but it doesn't even begin to compare to Persian Gulf reserves. Further, a pipeline through Afghanistan is not the only means of getting the gas out. A pipeline through Russia has always been the preferred solution (preferred by the Russian's and not American companies of course).

UNOCAL spent $10,000,000,000 on geological surveys for pipeline construction, and very nicely courted the Taliban for their support in allowing the construction to begin.

Uhhh, somebody needs a lesson in extremely basic math.

1998-1999 the Taliban changed its mind and threw UNOCAL out of the country and awarded the pipeline project to a company from Argentina.

Somebody needs a remedial geography lesson. Please tell me where Afghanistan borders the Caspian Sea?

The leader of that government formerly worked for UNOCAL.

Complete fuckin' bullshit! Karzai never worked for Unocal in any capacity. This is an urban legend started by Le Monde who has never backed it up with any proof.

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


[ Parent ]
So? (none / 0) (#159)
by J'raxis on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 08:31:49 PM EST

Somebody needs a remedial geography lesson. Please tell me where Afghanistan borders the Caspian Sea?
Your statement is correct however it seems to be refuting something the author didn’t say. Afghanistan is between two countries that are favorable to the project ’ one borders the Caspian (Turkmenistan) and one borders the Arabian Sea (Pakistan).

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Understood, but... (none / 0) (#166)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:42:14 PM EST

...the original statement is phrased as if the pipeline was a public works project for which the Taliban were soliciting bids. It wasn't their project to control. The Taliban could have " awarded the pipeline project to a company from Argentina", but as they had no control over the source or the destination they would have ended up with just a big empty pipe.

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


[ Parent ]
Most of it appears to be true -- here's research. (5.00 / 1) (#169)
by sizban on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 02:14:48 AM EST

A little research turned up the following:

Complete and unadulterated bullshit! The Caspian Sea is rich in natural gas, but it doesn't even begin to compare to Persian Gulf reserves. Further, a pipeline through Afghanistan is not the only means of getting the gas out. A pipeline through Russia has always been the preferred solution (preferred by the Russian's and not American companies of course).
In fact, UNOCAL very much wanted to build the pipeline (link to their corporate website - press release updated on May 20, 2002). It even entertained members of the Taliban here in the states. It must have seemed mighty profitable to them. UNOCAL must be an American company with little interest in working with Russia on a pipeline in the region? Regardless, the pipeline was to transport oil "from the petroleum-rich Caspian Basin in Central Asia" (The article is from a sketchy site, but it's just basic geography at work here with regards to the Caspian Basin, right?).

An article at the BBC (May 13, 2002) states that Hamid Karzai is holding talks on the pipeline, and that UNOCAL is bidding for the business. On the same token, this article at the Green Party describes Karzai's relationship with UNOCAL as a top consultant in the past. And here's an article that ties it all together really nicely, including Enron, Bush, Cheney, and the entire crew. "Studies have placed the total worth of oil and gas reserves in the Central Asian republics at between $3 and $6 trillion."

Almost more disturbing was the fact that Bush already had warning of the attacks [second article]. Did he need the attacks to pose a reason for an invasion of Afghanistan? Ok, maybe I'm just a little suspicious and paranoid of this whole thing. If not, Bush didn't do a very good job of keeping a hidden agenda.



[ Parent ]
Totally false, in all but the most minor facts (5.00 / 1) (#173)
by RyoCokey on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 02:59:44 AM EST

The only thing true about that whole thing was that at one point UNOCAL was interested in a pipeline through the area.

The pipeline was a gas pipeline, not oil.

UNOCAL abandoned the project before the so-called list has it even starting and being thrown out of the country. It wasn't even the main actor in the pipeline. (Same link he provided)

The BBC link talks about the Afghans planning this pipeline. They had suggest UNOCAL from previously, but the company hadn't shown any interest. What's more, this is an unrelated gas pipeline. Not even near the same route as the one mentioned by the poster.

Why would you put a pipeline through Afghanistan for this supposed transit when Afghanistan doesn't border the Caspian Sea?

$10 billion USD is more than twice the cost of even the most expensive offshore rig. It's almost twice the profit even the largest US oil company sees. And it's an incredible rip-off for a basic geologic survey.

Halliburton does not build pipeline. A tiny division of it does do pipeline, but not the large scale ones we're talking about here.

There is already a pipeline for moving the Caspian sea oil, also by UNOCAL. It goes through Turkey and you can find it on their website. Not even close to Afghanistan.

UNOCAL has no operations east of Azerbaijan. What great resources of their's would they be exploiting? The earlier project was probably just an attempt to get some interest in the area for the possibility of future expansion.

The rest of the points are almost all completely unsupported. Just made up of thin air as far as I can tell. This one ranks right up there in believability with the Moon Landings being "faked."



"...the average American finds it hard to accept all the hand-wringing over America's behavior we're hearing in Europe's two dozen languages given that
[ Parent ]
BFD (none / 0) (#178)
by cr8dle2grave on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 04:47:53 AM EST

In fact, UNOCAL very much wanted to build the pipeline (link to their corporate website - press release updated on May 20, 2002).

Uh, so what? Of course Unocal thought a pipeline though Afghanistan would be profitable venture, why else entertain the notion? That doesn't change the fact that the Caspian Sea region has nowhere near the amount of petroleum and natural gas reserves as the Persian Gulf region.

It even entertained members of the Taliban here in the states. It must have seemed mighty profitable to them.

No shit! So what?

UNOCAL must be an American company with little interest in working with Russia on a pipeline in the region? Regardless, the pipeline was to transport oil "from the petroleum-rich Caspian Basin in Central Asia" (The article is from a sketchy site, but it's just basic geography at work here with regards to the Caspian Basin, right?).

Again (I know this is getting old), so what? The Caspian Sea region is rich in petroleum when compared to Ohio, but it doesn't compare to the Persian Gulf.

An article at the BBC (May 13, 2002) states that Hamid Karzai is holding talks on the pipeline, and that UNOCAL is bidding for the business.

Oh my god! You mean he is entertaining the only possible source of foreign capital investment Afghanistan has (other than opium speculators). Call the National Enquirer!

On the same token, this article at the Green Party describes Karzai's relationship with UNOCAL as a top consultant in the past.

Again, it is unsubstantiated. Anyone can repeat rumors. It is bullshit, plain and simple. Le Monde originally made the claim, but has since backed away from it because there exists absolutely zero proof and it is disputed by all parties who would be in a position to know.

Almost more disturbing was the fact that Bush already had warning of the attacks [second article]. Did he need the attacks to pose a reason for an invasion of Afghanistan? Ok, maybe I'm just a little suspicious and paranoid of this whole thing. If not, Bush didn't do a very good job of keeping a hidden agenda.

No, you're just being stupid and gullible. Don't feel bad you're not the only one.

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


[ Parent ]
Some obvious lies in that list... (4.16 / 6) (#129)
by Caton on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:35:18 PM EST

...so the credibility of the text is not very high.

Did you know that... we supported Bin Laden and the Taliban for years, and viewed them as freedom fighters against the Russians?
Lie. The U.S.A. supported the Mujahidin against the Soviets from December 1979 to February 1989. The Red Army had completely left Afghanistan in 1989. The Taliban appeared for the first time in September 1994 as a new faction in the Mujahidin's Civil war (1992-1996).

Bush goes to war against Afghanistan even though none of the hijackers came from Afghanistan.

Bush blamed Bin Laden but has never offered any proof saying it's a "secret".

Taliban offered to negotiate to turn over Bin Laden if we showed them some proof. We refused; we bombed.
Three-parts lie. To start with, last time I watched, the U.S. led a coalition into a U.N.-sanction insternational police action in Afghanistan.

The U.S. administration blamed an international terrorist organization called Al-Qaeda and led by a Ussama bin Laden. The proofs were presented by the U.S. to the U.N. and led to the U.N. sanctioning the international police action in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan refused to extradite Al-Qaeda members, including bin Laden. At most, Afghanistan agreed to extradite such members to another Islamic country provided they would only appear in front of an Islamic court of justice.

In my experience, resorting to lies when throwing dirt on someone means there's not enough dirt available. Think about that.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Bush family got rich trading with the Nazis (4.00 / 1) (#133)
by mingofmongo on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:57:40 PM EST

The Bush and Walker families were well off and prestigious before, but they got stinking rich arranging financing for Nazi armaments and other supplies. Actually, oil is something they aren't all that good at.

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion
[ Parent ]

Oil myths. (3.66 / 6) (#120)
by djmann88 on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 01:28:26 PM EST

Currently oil production capacity (the amount the world is able to produce) is at 630% of consumption.

This is one reason why oil is rather expensive, because of the cost of oil equipment capitalisation.

And of course, the lifetime of the worlds oil reserves have increased from 30 yrs (in 1970) to around 110yrs (estimated in 1999).

So I guess oil is not a reason countries go to war. :)

Sources? (4.50 / 2) (#127)
by Egore on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:29:47 PM EST

Do you have any sources ('Net links or book references) that support this, or did you just make this stuff up to improve mojo?

[ Parent ]
It is not the catestrophic shortage... (none / 0) (#130)
by mingofmongo on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:37:58 PM EST

Its the fact that many world leaders (not just the US) are involved in the oil industry. We don't need to be in danger of running out for these bozos to start a war. They will do it just to bump their stock prices.

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion
[ Parent ]

Oil is expensive right now? (none / 0) (#131)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:42:54 PM EST

And here I thought oil prices had been at historic lows for the last couple of years. Is it back to $40 per barrel?


--
I lost my job, my friends and my wife in just one evening. Ask me how!


[ Parent ]

Does that include inflation? (none / 0) (#149)
by DodgyGeezer on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 05:08:06 PM EST

Is that $40 at today's prices, or 1970's prices?

I seem to remember when the prices went up really high recently that the media was scare-mongering by comparing directly with the prices in the 1970's.  That's comparing apples to oranges.

[ Parent ]

The Alberta Tar Sands (none / 0) (#165)
by bob bobbish on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:39:45 PM EST

Have more reserves than Saudi Arabia. 300 billion barrels. Who fuckin needs any of those Mid-east bastards.

[ Parent ]
Look at it this way... (none / 0) (#170)
by Caton on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 02:45:46 AM EST

...the U.S.A. has more than enough oil for its needs and does not need to import oil. That is the reason the U.S.A. are importing much, if not most of, their oil. Actually, it would make sense to import all of it. Think "thirty years from now"...

Sometimes, the really smart ideas look dumb.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
how long do you think (none / 0) (#194)
by bob bobbish on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 12:42:43 PM EST

300 billion bbls would last. Most certainly long enough to convert over to a less polluting method of fueling cars and providing nrg, which is something that we in NA need to do

[ Parent ]
Difficult to know... (none / 0) (#195)
by Caton on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 02:48:05 PM EST

Hydrocarbons advantage is energy storage. Look at the weight of batteries (and the recharging time) for electric cars...

The only known energy storage method that would be as efficient as hydrocarbon requires room-temperature superconductors. Research is on-going, but a breakthrough is not something that can be planned. (No, hydrogen is not an alternative: any gas is way too dangerous).

So, well... my feeling is that the oil sands reserves should be enough. But I wouldn't bet my life on it, let alone a whole country life.

PS: The estimated recoverable oil in the Alberta Oil Sands is 311,000 million barrels out of a total 1,600,000 million barrels, but proven reserves are lower than that - 177,800 million barrels IIRC. About 10% are recoverable with current technologies. And less than 3% are economically recoverable. So oil sands, as other non-conventional oil reserves, are more a long-term insurance than an immediate resource. Still, 650,000 barrels a day are a nice production. Too bad bitumen requires dilution with lighter hydrocarbons to make it transportable by pipelines: it means Canada will need to import light crude whatever happens.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
No import (none / 0) (#197)
by 0xA on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:48:13 AM EST

Having worked for a pipeline company involved in that region for a while I don't understand what you mean by "import".

Canada produces plenty of light crude, the current production of sweet crude is much larger than the output of the tar sands.

The dilution thing is also a little strange, the Athabasca pipeline is designed to move heavy oil. It's a big mother, 36". They may dilute now to move it but I don't recall ever hearing about it. Given what I was doing at the time the line came online I think I would have noticed it. Do you have a reference?

[ Parent ]

Reference. (none / 0) (#199)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:22:22 AM EST

I found that information on the Alberta Department of Energy website. The exact text is:

Oil sands are substantially heavier than other crude oils.Technically speaking, bitumen is a tar-like mixture of petroleum hydrocarbons with a density greater than 960 kilograms per cubic metre; light crude oil, by comparison, has a density as low as 793 kilograms per cubic metre.
Compared to conventional crude oil, bitumen requires some additional upgrading before it can be refined. It also requires dilution with lighter hydrocarbons to make it transportable by pipelines.
But you have first-hand experience, while this has been written by 'crats, so please feel free to correct and expand.

Now, the Canadian production of light crude is 893,000 barrels per day against 645,000 barrels per day of bitumen. But the estimated reserves of light crude are 5,500 million barrels against 311,000 million barrels of bitumen. Those are not proven reserves, by the way. So with the required dilution, Canada will not be able to stop all oil imports forever while developing some kind of "green" energy.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
America hasn't been in a war since Viet Nam. (2.50 / 2) (#138)
by Noam Chompsky on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 03:53:01 PM EST

And even then, there was no real risk in an American defeat. But at least Americans died. This is important for people to understand. It's not war unless both sides get hurt. A slaughter is one thing, a war is quite another. Nevertheless, when Muslims refer to Western liberalism as the House of War, they are correct; and when they refer to Islam as the House of God, they are two for two.

I'm sorry but this comment is not a troll.

--
Faster, liberalists, kill kill kill!

Troll (none / 0) (#150)
by icastel on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 05:14:27 PM EST




-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]
If you are not going 2 put any text in ur comment (none / 0) (#188)
by PotatoError on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 01:26:36 PM EST

at least put [nt]

My 14.4K modem takes ages to load pages and it sucks heavily when there is nothing on them.

[ Parent ]

Shoor, shoor, a troll. (none / 0) (#189)
by Noam Chompsky on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 02:06:08 PM EST

"Today, when some dare to neo-evangelize in the name of the ideal of liberal democracy in which the ideal of human history has been realized, it is necessary to shout: never have violence, inequality, exclusion, hunger and therefore economic exclusion affected so many human beings, in the history of the Earth and of Humanity."

"Instead of singing to ourselves the arrival of the ideal of liberal democracy and of the capitalist market in the euphoria of the end of history, instead of celebrating the end of ideology and the end of the great emancipatory discourses, let us never forget this macroscopic evidence, made up of countless individual sufferings: no progress allows us to ignore the fact that so many men, women and children were conquered, condemned to hunger, or exterminated on the Earth."

Do you know who said that? Mortimer J. Adler, the greatest philosopher since Aristotle! And even if he did not say that, he surely must have thought that when he was alive. And even if he didn't think that, he should have, don't you think, what with him being a critical thinker according to the definition of his occupation? Don't worry, it'll get better once the Muslims finally convert to liberalism.

--
Faster, liberalists, kill kill kill!
[ Parent ]

Churchill thesis? What thesis? (5.00 / 9) (#153)
by HanafiH on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 06:41:49 PM EST

How would Americans feel today about Vietnam if 17 million American men had died there, and a further 28 million returned home so disabled by chemical warfare, trauma and shock syndrome as to be incapable of work? That unthinkable scenario, adjusted for population numbers, is the exact effect World War I had on the British people. That holocaust of national loss was entered into in the belief that WWI would be the war that would end all war in Europe. It was less distant in time than Vietnam is now from today when the British government, acting in a cause genuinely representative of its people, sought any other possible outcome with Nazi Germany other than bombastically to go into another war, in which some of the men who returned from the Somme, would be conscripted to fight and die, alone and unallied, at Dunkirk. The very essential premise of this tawdry and disreputable argument is based upon a fantastic distortion of Winston Churchill, his extraordinary hatred of warfare, and his determined intention that the English speaking peoples should never again fight a conflict in a global theatre. The invocation of him and his struggle to wake Britain into re-armament, by George W Bush and his odious cohorts borders upon infamy in its own right. "The Americans will always do the right thing... after they've exhausted all the alternatives. " Sir Winston Churchill.

Check your facts (2.50 / 2) (#160)
by brit on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 08:43:50 PM EST

Saddam Hussein was brought to power in a bloody coup with the help of the CIA because the existing dictator was pro communist. Actually, the coup was in 1963. Saddam didn't become leader until 1979. While I don't know if the 1963 coup was supported by the US (the link you posted looks like propaganda), I think the fact that NO ONE knew the US was involved in the coup until "A Brutal Friendship" appeared in 1997 (the website's information is based purely off of this one book) may be a hint that it is a fabrication. the only people who have been profiting off the tyrants that bred the 9/11 terrorists are the same people who are now calling for war. Not entirely. Russia opposes war against Iraq. Unsurprisingly, Russia and Iraq have recently been negotiating trade deals worth an estimated $60 billion. The French are the same way: opposing war, supporting lifting of sanctions, and very interested in trading with Iraq (they've been heavily involved in the past). Hence, there are plenty of people who are urging "peace" and standing to make a profit from it. I guess the US isn't the only one to look the other way when it comes to making a profit, huh? When it comes to peace activitists, it isn't that they are urging peace so they can make a profit, they are urging peace because they really do believe in human rights. Unfortunately, they aren't willing to do the things that need to be done in order to improve the world. I think it's a good thing that Afghanistan is finally out from under the control of the Taleban. Even if it cost some innocent lives. The people there finally have hope. If we followed the lead of the human-rights organisations, they'd be under the heal of the Taliban for a long, long time to come. If the Afghanis ever decided to fight their own war of liberation against the Taliban, you can rest assured that casualties would have been hundreds of times larger.

International poker... (4.00 / 1) (#162)
by Cougaris on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:05:25 PM EST

Russia is not really opposed - they are just playing their cards as well as they can to get more money from the IMF, of which America is the largest stakeholder, so to speak. Im sure there is much more to it then this. In fact, I believe today Russia came out and said "Iraq must comply, or face the repercussions". Obviously some deal was reached.

The same can be applied to France. albeit with different motives. The world stage is really a corrupt game of poker, where power players play their cards for every penny they are worth. In this game, the cards have different names like "uireproachable support" and "keeping face"...

I wouldn't try and rationalize "What if" scenarios. Your "rest assured" comment may not have turned out to be true if such action came about. For all we may ever know, a great leader may have arose and led an amazing ware with no casualties on his/her side. Not realistic, but not impossible either.

_______________________________________

[ Parent ]

Gen. Wesley Clark: Israel's War (3.00 / 1) (#163)
by Baldrson on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:17:27 PM EST

General Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, recently
acknowledged: "Those who favor this attack now tell you candidly, and
privately, that it is probably true that Saddam Hussein is no threat to
the United States. But they are afraid at some point he might decide if
he had a nuclear weapon to use it against Israel." (The Guardian, Aug.
20)

-------- Empty the Cities --------


You may be onto something. (none / 0) (#190)
by Noam Chompsky on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 02:40:46 PM EST

Nobody can believe that persecution of the Jews is possible in contemporary America, a strong, long-established pluralist democracy, where the rule of law is better defended and safeguarded than in any other polity. What [we] have to keep in mind is the possibility that, at some future time, in some unknown and barely imaginable circumstances, the United States might experience a national disaster comparable in scale and effects to that sustained by Imperial Germany in the second decade of the 20th century. Under such conditions, might not similar reactions occur: the search for scapegoats, the finding of the Jews?

Conor Cruise O'Brien, The Siege, p. 318.

Well, let's see: the majority of the World's Jews live in the United States; the Jewish lobby in the United States is resented for its power, size and influence; when Hubris and Euphoria finally spread their wings and desert the United States in the Crade of Civilization, her fall shall challenge her former glory in the length, breadth and depth of its scope. The harder they come, etc.

--
Faster, liberalists, kill kill kill!
[ Parent ]

What has Iraq got to do with the 11th Sept. attack (3.50 / 2) (#180)
by mr strange on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 05:08:17 AM EST

Nobody is seriously suggesting that Iraq was involved with the attack in any way. The arguments for invading Iraq revolve around his nuclear weapons program. In order words they are all about what he MIGHT do in the future, not what he might HAVE done in the past.

So why do you Americans continue to mention Saddam Hussain and the 11th September terrorists in the same breath?

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus

Because (1.00 / 2) (#181)
by kholmes on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 06:23:27 AM EST

Because they are both bad guys?

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]
Oh come on (none / 0) (#187)
by PotatoError on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 01:24:01 PM EST

Who the hell said Saddam was bad? :P

[ Parent ]
Differences between now and WWII | 201 comments (171 topical, 30 editorial, 0 hidden)
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