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[P]
A pacifist goes nuclear: human shields to Iraq

By circletimessquare in Op-Ed
Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:57:36 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

I consider myself a leftist hawk, and consider action on Iraq unfortunate, but prudent. And in arguing my beliefs, I have have often butted heads with leftist pacifists. But no leftist pacificist I have come across before has left me in as much an apoplectic fit as one Kenneth Nichols O'Keefe.



Mr. O'Keefe's position, without a doubt, is the ultimate pacifist position that can be taken on the question of war with Iraq: go there and chain oneself to a military target.

The BBC Interview with Mr. O'Keefe is a veritable smorgasbord of talking points.

Well the way I look at it is this - in the West we have hundreds and hundreds of millions of people, most of them are against this war, most of them have governments that they democratically elected that are leading them into this war anyway. Now out of those hundreds of millions of people no one can convince me that we cannot get thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people who are willing to pick up their bags and head down to Iraq and stand with the Iraqi people.

Now if we get down there in the thousands or the tens of thousands we will stop this war and if we stop this war we can stop any war and after this war I want to go to Palestine and after Palestine I'd like to go to every other place where there's these crimes being committed. And if enough people will join this movement then we can spread out and go to all these areas that people are talking about and we can make a fair and just world. But as long as we trust our governments that's not going to happen. So please get up, stand up, let's get together, let's stop this madness but I cannot do it alone.

There is another interview with Mr. O'Keefe on a Turkish News Channel available online.

A pacifist news organization interviews Mr. O'Keefe (scroll midway down).

There is more to be found on the movement on the Universal Kinship Society's site, but be forewarned if you have a weak stomach: some of the dead Iraqi baby pictures, reminiscent of shock value propaganda from the anti-abortion movement, are quite graphic.

And of course, there is the main recruitment site for the project.

I won't add fuel to the fire by trying to debate the positions of Mr. O'Keefe point for point. I do not intend to stand on a soapbox or start a flamefest. I believe that his views are obviously quite deluded, and strike me as an interesting mixture of anarchist and pacifist rather than purely pacifist.

Instead, at the risk of actually promoting his views on kuro5hin, I wish people to view the thinking of Mr. O'Keefe for themselves, to come to better grips on how they feel about military action in Iraq.

I believe that the most prudent action on Iraq is regime change, through force, unfortunately, if necessary. And if I have confidence in my beliefs, then I must conclude that exposure to the fringe of leftist pacifist beliefs only advances my position. People can inspect for themselves where exactly the folly of pacifism on the question of war with Iraq leads.

But either way, it is fodder for some good discussion on kuro5hin, for I have found kuro5hin to be teeming with pacifists and hawks alike. I would hope that things don't run too emotional, but I think it is obvious that things are already running at a fever pitch as it is. On the question of war with Iraq, the whole world is fixated, for better or for worse.

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Display: Sort:
A pacifist goes nuclear: human shields to Iraq | 195 comments (177 topical, 18 editorial, 1 hidden)
I say go do it! (2.50 / 2) (#4)
by StephenThompson on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 04:26:22 AM EST

Charge the machine guns. I'll be right behind you..

The Opposing View? (4.54 / 11) (#8)
by supine on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 04:33:48 AM EST

IMHO I find the actions of people like this to be beyond reproach. I don't necessarily agree with everything they say, but a man who is willing to stand in harms way obviously believes 100% in his convictions and deserves the right to act on those beliefs.

Personally, I would like to see all countries wait for the UN to sanction any use of force. If we let one country, one man, drive the global political landscape then we are on shaky ground. At least Tony Blair had the honesty to admit this was about oil, not just weapons of mass destruction.

Another thought, why is North Korea not receiving the same treatment as Iraq?

marty


--
"No GUI for you! Use lynx!!!, Come back, One year!" -- /avant

re: The Opposing View? (2.25 / 8) (#9)
by srn on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 04:42:05 AM EST

> IMHO I find the actions of people like this to be beyond reproach. I don't
> necessarily agree with everything they say, but a man who is willing to stand
> in harms way obviously believes 100% in his convictions and deserves the right
> to act on those beliefs.

By this logic, Islamic suicide bombers also deserve the right to act on their beliefs.

I agree, though, about the UN - if the UN doesn't sanction it, nothing should happen.

Perhaps NK will be next, if they persist in their nuclear weapons program?

[ Parent ]

Don't put words in my mouth. (3.00 / 2) (#18)
by supine on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 06:15:53 AM EST

> By this logic, Islamic suicide bombers also deserve the right to act on their beliefs.

No. Acting on ones' beliefs does not give someone the right to break the law.

marty

--
"No GUI for you! Use lynx!!!, Come back, One year!" -- /avant
[ Parent ]

Quite right! (4.25 / 4) (#33)
by Rogerborg on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:29:04 AM EST

It's absolutely abhorent that so many vile Chinese domestic terrorists break the law by daring to express criticism of the Communist regime.

Care to amend your statement any, or are you really going to stick by it?

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

Silent enim leges inter arma. (3.00 / 1) (#97)
by I am Jack's username on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 03:28:54 AM EST

Here in South Africa the apartheid laws were broken because they were morally corrupt. Just because something is law doesn't make it right. The way to change a law when corrupt lawmakers make immoral laws, is to break it and take responsibility for your actions.

"The liberty of man consists solely in this: that he obeys natural laws because he has himself recognized them as such, and not because they have been externally imposed upon him by any extrinsic will whatever, divine or human, collective or individual." - Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bakunin, God and the state, 1871-03

"If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law." - Henry David Thoreau

"The greatest purveyor of violence on earth is my own government." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
--
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

That's not the same logic (4.50 / 4) (#24)
by morkeleb on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:30:20 AM EST

By this logic, Islamic suicide bombers also deserve the right to act on their beliefs.

Because suicide bombers are murdering innocent people. Implicit in the argument but not stated because it's obvious is that a pacifist standing in harm's way for what he/she believes in should be allowed to do that because his/her actions are not hurting others. Just themselves.

I don't know if I personally agree with that. If I was standing next to those Buddhist monks in Vietnam who set fire to themselves to protest the war, I would probably have stopped them. But still - his argument wasn't going down the logical path you are trying to take it down.
"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." - Emily Dickinson
[ Parent ]
Well... (4.00 / 4) (#46)
by Ken Arromdee on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:44:32 AM EST

I'm sure someone who's blockading an abortion clinic would make a similar sort of statement back to you.

Of course, the answer is that preventing something can be harm. Just because he is not harming people by actively beating them over the head doesn't mean he's not harming anyone.

If you believe that war with Iraq is justified, then someone being a human shield for Saddam is harming people just as much as the guy blockading the abortion clinic is harming people.

Of course, if you assume that the guy's politicial position is correct, then he's not harming anyone, but then that's true of the abortion clinic guy too.

[ Parent ]

abortion clinic guy (3.66 / 3) (#55)
by Happy Monkey on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 04:01:43 PM EST

Someone blockading an abortion clinic is indeed morally defensible, and that person is likely to go to jail for their beliefs. It is indeed similar to a human-shield pacifist. It is the abortion clinic snipers and bombers who are doing evil. The correctness of the cause is not relevant to this distinction.
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[ Parent ]
Well, that's my point (4.50 / 2) (#64)
by Ken Arromdee on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 06:01:41 PM EST

Or part of it, anyway. The two situations are similar.

But the other half of my point is that whatever you might want to say about the act's overall morality, morkeleb was wrong when he said that someone who commits the act is "not harming others". The guy blocking the abortion clinic is *clearly* harming others--he's just harming others in an indirect way instead of a direct one.

This doesn't *necessarily* mean that the overall act is immoral. One could argue as you do, that as long as the act is done according to pacifist principles and doesn't directly harm anyone, any indirect harm doesn't count. I do find that to be a rather odd position, though. On the other hand, if indirect harm counts, then the correctness of the cause matters.

[ Parent ]

Clearly? (4.66 / 3) (#67)
by Happy Monkey on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 06:30:41 PM EST

The guy blocking the abortion clinic is *clearly* harming others--he's just harming others in an indirect way instead of a direct one.

Clearly? From the guy's perspective, he is saving lives. He may be harming the clinic financially, and causing emotional distress to the prospective clients, but he is not causing physical harm, directly or indirectly. That is essentially the purpose of pacifist protest, to create nonviolent economic and emotional disincentives for a behavior they abhor. For example, Gandhi caused no end of economic and emotional distress to the British, and Martin Luther King did the same to segregationists. That distress resulted in a great deal of harm instigated by others, but that harm can not be laid at the feet of King or Gandhi. Likewise, while I disagree that the abortion protester's cause is good, I cannot fault his methods if he does no violence.
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[ Parent ]
And... (2.00 / 1) (#155)
by Ken Arromdee on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 05:13:13 AM EST

My main point was that if the cause is incorrect, then the people who are working for that cause are doing harm simply by virtue of working for an incorrect cause. That's what it means for a cause to be incorrect, after all--it hurts people more than it helps.

But there's also a related point: pacifists (at least this kind of pacifist) sometimes claim that they're not hurting anyone--but they've conveniently redefined "hurt" to not include any of the things they do. They're not beating people over the head. But they are hurting people. You can call it indirect harm, nonphysical harm, nonviolent harm, whatever--it's still harm. Harm doesn't mean the same thing as violence.

[ Parent ]

Harm (4.00 / 1) (#156)
by tekue on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 06:08:46 AM EST

You harm me by stating such oppinions. People are harming me by applying for jobs I'd like and getting them -- and the owners of those companies harm me by employing anyone but me. Companies are hurting my business by competing with my products, and consumers are hurting me by not buing them. USA hurts me by making me watch and listen to G.W.Bush on television, which is awful. The Christian pope is hurting me (and The Children!) by not stating that there isn't anything in the Bible about protected sex, and that it's not wrong not to want to have children every time one shags.

The aliens are harming me by not showing up to take me with them.

The only kind of harm that can really be quantized is physical harm, all others depend on the point of view and personal oppinion.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

NK (4.80 / 10) (#11)
by godix on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:17:23 AM EST

"Another thought, why is North Korea not receiving the same treatment as Iraq?"

Because as much as people drawing similarities hate to admit it, NK and Iraq are two different countries and two different situations.

  1. Iraq has recently invaded it's neighbors and our allies. NK hasn't (although it does occasionally screw around with SK).
  2. Iraq has actually used WMD's recently. NK hasn't.
  3. Iraq is getting enough money from oil that it can continue like it is indefinately. A strong arguement could be made than NK is failing and this is a last ditch effort on their part to get the US to prop them up a little longer.
  4. Iraq has oil. NK doesn't.
  5. Iraq has threatened other countries with oil, NK hasn't.
  6. NK is sitting right next to China and has defeated the US previously with Chinas help. Iraq hasn't.
  7. Iraq has a loathing of Israel, our ally, and is close enough to attack Israel. NK doesn't have that hatred and isn't close.
  8. NK hasn't tried to assinate a former President.
  9. No matter how often anyone claims that the population isn't behind an Iraq war, the polls prove them liars. At least in America, and we're the ones who would do the attack so our populations opinions have the highest influence. NK isn't quite to the point where we'd support military action.
  10. We've spent a lot of time/effort/money preparing for an Iraq war. We haven't prepared for a NK war.
  11. There are only so many dictators killing their population the US can oppose at once (although there seems to be an unlimited number that we can support).



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

[ Parent ]
Korean War (4.33 / 3) (#30)
by Merk00 on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:19:48 AM EST

The US didn't really lose the Korean War. The original goal was to preserve South Korea. That was accomplished. The goal was changed to reunify the Koreas and that was not accomplished. The North Koreans definitely did not win (as their original intention was to take over South Korean). I tend to consider it mostly a draw with a bit of an edge to the US and South Korea.

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

Um, OK, but in the long term (4.66 / 3) (#31)
by Rogerborg on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:25:30 AM EST

What it achieved was an isolated North Korea that's now nuclear capable, run by a nutso dictator, that is pre-emptively declaring war (de facto) on the USA.

I'm surprised we haven't seen more mention of this last point.  North Korea has declared that it will consider any sanctions an act of war.  Given the US predilection for sanctions, this seems like a foregone conclusion.  Who's going to back down from this one?

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

unsettling parallel (3.75 / 4) (#93)
by bluehead on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 12:53:23 AM EST

What it achieved was an isolated North Korea that's now nuclear capable, run by a nutso dictator, that is pre-emptively declaring war (de facto) on the USA.

Compared to a U.S. that is isolated (save a few diehard allies), nuclear capable, run by a nutso (de facto) dictator that is pre-emptively declaring war on Iraq...

Hmmm...

Hard like a criminal.
[ Parent ]
NK and China (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by squigly on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:59:12 AM EST

NK is sitting right next to China

I think this means that North Korea should be China's problem.  I'm sure they don't want an unstable loon with nuclear weapons any more than the rest of the world.  They're the only ones who can really.  Any other country risks China getting involved on the North Korean side.  

[ Parent ]

Huh? (5.00 / 3) (#15)
by Tom Brett on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:42:14 AM EST

Excuse me for being dumb, but when did Tony Blair "admit" this was about oil?


Outwar thugbuilder! get 500+ thugs a day! click here
[ Parent ]
BushBlair has completely denied such a suggestion (none / 0) (#191)
by melior on Sun Jan 26, 2003 at 11:06:15 PM EST

As a matter of fact, he called the very idea absurd. Many observers, including the Washington Post, Newsweek, and oil industry analysts think he's lying through his teeth.

(cough)Arbusto(cough)(cough)

- That's OK, I wasn't really using all of my Constitutional rights anyway...
[ Parent ]

North Korea (4.00 / 3) (#16)
by Bad Harmony on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:52:11 AM EST

North Korea is run by a sociopath with a very large army. Any war with North Korea, no matter what the justification, would inflict severe damage on South Korea and large numbers of casualties on everyone involved in the conflict. North Korea would lose the war, but it would be very bloody for the USA and South Korea.

5440' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

That's assuming they don't have any nukes at all (4.66 / 3) (#28)
by Lord of Caustic Soda on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:00:43 AM EST

If the North Koreans say biff a nuke into downtown Tokyo, you can pretty much kiss world economic recovery goodbye.

[ Parent ]
Then you could kiss N. Korea good-bye (4.50 / 2) (#94)
by samfoo on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 01:01:02 AM EST

There would be no more negotiations, there would be no more talks. N. Korea would cease to exist and would likely be unified with S. Korea. All their generals would be killed for warcrimes (made-up or true) and a new government would be put in place. All of their military rights would be taken away ala-WWII-Japan. In my opinion North Korea would never do it. I think they would threaten, but wouldn't actually do it.

[ Parent ]
Not only that... (none / 0) (#132)
by CodeWright on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 01:31:15 AM EST

...but the US wouldn't even have to lift a finger. The Japanese people would not in any way tolerate something like that.

A nuke of the type North Korea can make would at most, if detonated in Tokyo, kill a hundred or so thousand people.

After that, Japan would pretty much have world opinion backing them in carte blanche action against North Korea -- and there has never been any love lost between the two. Japanese armed forces would tear North Korea apart in a fit of righteous fury.

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
Shades of Imperial Japan? (5.00 / 2) (#152)
by Ether on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 11:46:34 PM EST

I'm sure that images of Japanese regiments vengefully rolling across North Korea, extracting rough vengance across the countryside would be the image to steady the already-nervous southeast Asian nations for whom the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" was more than a phrase in the history books- instead, relatively recent history for some of them. The South Koreans in the south and the Chinese from the north would both be unhappy with an invading Japanese army. This is aside from the constitutional issues Japan would have to deal with in using their Self Defense force in an offensive role, or the logistical issue in moving and landing a force in North Korea. And more than likely, NK's missles would be unlikely to directly hit Tokyo.

Now, if they were to instead strike at South Korea, either at Seoul or the DMZ is an entirely different scenario. With the current rhetoric coming from Seoul, it is a possibility that the SK gov't (or what survives after a nuclear strike on their capitol) may blame the US for provoking the attack. Or the response could go the other way, and we could see the continuation and possible conclusion of the Korean War (or Police Action, if you feel like speaking in the legal fictions of diplomacy).

The question is whether SK or Japan would request or demand the US retaliate. It has been US policy that an attack using WMD on American troops or allies (?) could result in a retaliatory attack in kind - as barbaric and inhumane targeting civilians is.

However, NK will not use their nukes. The primary goal of the leaders of NK is to remain in power- and starting a war would lead to their removal. So instead, they play a delicate balancing game of provoking a crisis (NK started this one by announcing that they had begun developing nuclear weapons again at a routine negotiation session), then leveraging the desire of involved parties for a peaceful resolution into increased fuel [and probably grain] shipments in exchange for a promise that they really have given up the program this time, honest, and will really abide by the treaty this time.)

The real reason that NK is not the primary item on the regime change list is that North Korea's northern neighbor (China) would not appreciate American troops on the Yalu river, as they didn't in in the early 1950s. And while they are lacking some of the finer points of American military technology, the sheer number of soldiers and supplies that China could send south would rapidly dwarf the American/South Korean presence, especially if this version's MacArthur is forbidden to attack north of the Yalu- while a prudent move in lieu of China's ballistic missle arsenal, would leave the Red Army's supply lines intact.

[ Parent ]

I don't disagree (none / 0) (#160)
by CodeWright on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 09:56:51 AM EST

I was just observing that *if* North Korea started tossing nukes (as unlikely as it is), the US wouldn't even have to take action against North Korea. In other words, NK really is a paper tiger.

So, essentially, I agree wholeheartedly with your entire assessment.

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
The problem I have.... (4.00 / 2) (#21)
by morkeleb on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:08:38 AM EST

IMHO I find the actions of people like this to be beyond reproach. I don't necessarily agree with everything they say, but a man who is willing to stand in harms way obviously believes 100% in his convictions and deserves the right to act on those beliefs.

Is that he's trying to talk thousands to go with him. Thousands of nice empathic socially conscious incredibly idealist and completely clueless people who may not have all their thrusters firing or be off their medication.

Since he's a Marine and served in the Gulf War - he knows what they could be in for. I'm not that sure his followers know.
"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." - Emily Dickinson
[ Parent ]
I'll get this one (4.00 / 4) (#34)
by Rogerborg on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:30:39 AM EST

"why is North Korea not receiving the same treatment as Iraq"

Iraq has desert.  North Korea has trees.

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

almost... (none / 0) (#119)
by Baldwin atomic on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 06:54:10 PM EST

its more like Iraq has _OIL_, NK has... umm.... nothing that we want to buy



=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+
Opinions not necessarily those of the author.
[ Parent ]
Read through his website... (3.50 / 4) (#86)
by mstefan on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 10:02:33 PM EST

This guy is not just a peacenik, he's insane. And I don't mean that as a figure of speech. I half expect to read an interview with him talking about how the US government is using chemtrails for mind-control purposes and that Ghandi speaks to him through a conch shell. Some of his quotes:

US is the greatest terrorist of the 21st century...

I consider myself an enemy combatant, not because I am a terrorist...

If I was born in Palestine I probably would have gone nuts, probably would have become a suicide bomber...

after Sept 11, I was being targeted.. I had to leave.. when I got to Holland, the Dutch government tried to get away from me...
Yeah, I'd try to get away from that moron too.

[ Parent ]
US is a terrorist!!! (2.00 / 2) (#178)
by seer on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 07:05:47 PM EST

Do you not believe that?  I mean, how many governments have we toppled?  How many have we installed?  Do you want me to list them off?  Do you think we really cared about the _people_ of those countries when we were raping them of their resources?

We have been using chemical weapons on Columbia for the past few years.  How is that not terrorism?

I'm not sure about the other statements, but I fully agree that US policy has been to terrorize people we don't like.

[ Parent ]

Wonder what US's reaction will be? (4.66 / 6) (#10)
by godix on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:04:36 AM EST

Hmmm, an American found on the battlefield near enemy positions. I wonder where I've heard this story before? It will be interesting to see Americas reaction.


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

Incidently (4.75 / 4) (#13)
by godix on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:23:59 AM EST

yes, I realize the guy has renounced his American citizenship. I doubt all of the people he hopes will follow him (a goal of ~500? Out of a population of millions? Oh yeah, what a massive show of support that is) will have done the same


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

[ Parent ]
Government? Hah! (2.00 / 1) (#41)
by kichigai on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 09:23:31 AM EST

If this isn't all over news papers, Bush won't notice it. Take this for example: no one noticed when it was announced that light had been stopped inside a crystal, and had opened the theoretical doors to quantum computing. Bush won't notice this, and the issue will be quietly forgotten.
"I said I was smart, I never said I was mature!"
-Me

[ Parent ]
Irony (3.87 / 8) (#14)
by gnovos on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:33:22 AM EST

Not that I am in ANY way supporting the inevitable colonization of Iraq, but I will find it terribly entretaining when Mr. O'Keefe shows up in Iraq to "stop the war" and instead find a hot poker being shoved in his eye sockets while Iraqi guards demand from the "spy" the time and location of the attacks.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
No, Saddam seems them as useful idiots. (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by Demiurge on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:56:00 AM EST

He may end up killing another journalist on trumped up charges of "spying", like he did back in 1990.

[ Parent ]
Funny how WWII phrases keep cropping up.... (none / 0) (#23)
by idiot boy on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:29:36 AM EST

It's a great way to get folks geed up for war but sadly, Saddam ain't Hitler no matter what Bush and Blair might want us to think so (notice that they leave it to the media to say it 'cos they know it's a barmy allusion).


--
Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself
[ Parent ]
Stalin (none / 0) (#32)
by Bad Harmony on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:26:48 AM EST

Saddam Hussein has been reported to have an obsession with studying the life of Joseph Stalin. His library contains many books about Stalin.

5440' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

Uh so. (none / 0) (#110)
by tkatchev on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 09:00:01 AM EST

Sir, you are a logic GHOD.


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

My grandpa... (none / 0) (#157)
by tekue on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 06:17:54 AM EST

...has many books of Stalin's works, and while not being obsessed with them, he reads them from time to time, for a few laughs, and even fewer insights. I say we nuke the old fart!
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]
Saddam and Stalin (none / 0) (#170)
by Bernie Fsckinner on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 04:23:54 PM EST

That explains a lot. His behavior is certainly very much like Stalin's.

[ Parent ]
His reasoning may be.. (4.75 / 12) (#19)
by kitten on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 06:29:42 AM EST

For now I won't go into whether war in Iraq is wrong or right. This man, however, is obviously unilaterally opposed to the war, and with that as a given, his thinking isn't "insane", but merely an impossible task.

He suggests that if he could muster American civilians by the thousands to engage his plan, the US would not go to war with Iraq. I submit that he is correct, with that contingent "if".

"If" such a thing were to happen, consider what the politicians would be up against. Can you imagine the hysterical uproar that would ensue as US missiles pummelled "innocent American civilians" into ash by the hundreds or more?

It would be well beyond political suicide, and let's face it - job security is really the only thing the politicians care about, and it's something they wouldn't have "if" Mr O'Keefe's plan came to fruition.

Unfortunately for Mr O'Keefe, it's merely a pipe dream.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
the hysterical uproar (3.33 / 9) (#26)
by wiredog on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:38:33 AM EST

Would probably be the hysterical laughter, with many references to the Darwin Award.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
This guy sounds like a K5 poster (3.70 / 10) (#27)
by Demiurge on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:46:28 AM EST

All the bizarre half-truths, misinterpretations, and outright lies that are floating around about Iraq and the US, all rolled up in one malfunctioning brain.

Someone should get him an account here. He'd fit right in.

[ Parent ]
Pacifism, the Left, Imperialism and War (3.16 / 6) (#22)
by idiot boy on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:23:54 AM EST

It's a shame that so many on the left consider themselves to be pacifists as fundamentally, it's a pretty stupid position.

Self defence sometimes means that you have to take violent action to defend yourself. Scaling up from the individual to a society, that means that you sometimes have to go to war.

Others on the left seem to live under the delusion that the societies they live in are somehow more oppressive and evil that those such as Iraq and North Korea. Of course, the capitalist-democratic world (not just the west) has a pretty sorry history of interferance and shows little sign of doing much if any good this time round. The bottom line though is that you are at least free to hold such views here. Give me an imperialist capitalism over an imperialist feudalism any day of the week.

All that being said, I think that the people offering themselves up as human shields are making a point beyond mere pacifism. They are tyring to get the message across that weapons of mass destruction are a side issue in this war. Whether or not a war is "simply" about oil or a mixture of oil and WMD, the fact remains that there are worse and more dangerous regimes on the face of the earth than Iraq (North Korea for example).

I'm against a war in Iraq but not because I don't think that deposing Saddam Hussain would not be a good thing (even if it were done militarily) but because I don't think that the end result will be pleasant. I feel that going to war is taking the "easy" way out of a very difficult problem, that being the question of the middle east and the ongoing march of capitalism in general.

If Iraq really were a major base for terrorist operations, I might feel differently, but as things stand, it is not. Indeed, Saddam has spent much of his time in power cracking Islamist heads (see Iran-Iraq war for examples, though he's been no less brutal to indiginous islamist organisations), and is hence pretty universally despised by the ruling bodies of his neighbors (if not their populace). It was only at the start of the last Gulf war that Saddam rediscovered Islam.

Finally, as I've said in posts to other discussions (http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2003/1/10/214328/333?pid=120#127), a war in Iraq that goes as far as Baghdad will be extremely messy. Civilians will die in their thousands if the Repuplican Guard decide to hole up in residential districts (which they will). This is not going to do anyone (least of all the Iraqi people) any good whatsoever.

If we do go to war then I can only hope that I'm very wrong. +1FP.

--
Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself

The principled pacifist: (3.33 / 3) (#35)
by aziegler on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:41:22 AM EST

Like many, you've demonstrated that you have little knowledge about principled pacifism.
It's a shame that so many on the left consider themselves to be pacifists as fundamentally, it's a pretty stupid position.

Self defence sometimes means that you have to take violent action to defend yourself. Scaling up from the individual to a society, that means that you sometimes have to go to war.

Pacifism isn't a stupid position at all; it is a cautious, reserved position that is usually well-informed. Since Korea and Vietnam, at least, it's also a position that is well-justified. Few, if any, pacifists would argue against the Allies's participation in World War II1. They may deplore that it was necessary, but few would argue that it wasn't necessary. Pacifism isn't about compromising one's beliefs -- look at Gandhi. He was an absolute pacifist, but he didn't believe in letting others take advantage of you, either.

The problem with war is that it doesn't really fit with the self-defence stance. If someone invades your home, you do not gain the right to invade their home -- but that's exactly what happens in war. Sometimes, as in the first Gulf War, you even have a friend invade the attacker's home. I do believe that the first Gulf War was justifiable because it was in response to a request from a sovereign nation which had been invaded by an expansionist power. Sadly, it shouldn't have been necessary had a strong stance been presented to warn the invading force off, but it was because of the violated sovereignty. (Frankly, the pre-GW actions seemed to me to be more along the Chamberlain model -- appeasement -- than anything else. It's also arguable that for the viability of the request of the invaded sovereign nation, it was merely a pretext for those with less justifiable reasons.)

War is a continuation of diplomacy by other means, but it should be viewed as the last choice (and most soldiers, despite being trained to kill for their country, don't actually want to go to war). There is no possible justification for a war with Iraq -- diplomacy has neither been tried nor exhausted since the end of the first Gulf War. (This I consider to be one of the failings of the Clinton presidency's foreign policy.)

Pacifism varies as vegetarianism does -- there's too many varieties, and there's too many principled pacifists out there for your statement to be taken with any level of accuracy. Are there stupid pacifists? Sure. But hawks are (at least IMO) dumber because they prefer conflict to peace.

Others on the left seem to live under the delusion that the societies they live in are somehow more oppressive and evil that those such as Iraq and North Korea. Of course, the capitalist-democratic world (not just the west) has a pretty sorry history of interferance and shows little sign of doing much if any good this time round. The bottom line though is that you are at least free to hold such views here. Give me an imperialist capitalism over an imperialist feudalism any day of the week.
Are we actually free to hold such views in an imperialist capitalism? I don't ask this idly -- the freedom to hold such views is present in a democracy, but there's nothing inherently more free about capitalism versus feudalism as economic models.

[snip: I think that the rest of your comment is fine. I just had a problem with your characterization of pacifism as stupid. That's like saying that Protestantism is stupid.]

1 Strictly speaking, one can be disgusted with how long it took the Allies to recognise the problem and that many of the actions were only in response to invasion, but Hitler was an immediate threat which needed dealing with.

-austin, principled pacifist -- war is never desirable, usually avoidable, but sometimes (RARELY) necessary

[ Parent ]

And the Darwin Award goes to .... (4.22 / 9) (#25)
by cyberbuffalo on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:32:39 AM EST

Kenneth Nichols O'Keefe!

Not yet (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by b1t r0t on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:43:22 AM EST

You've got to die or somehow injure yourself such that you will not propagate your genes. If he's had kids already, that could be enough to lower it to Honorable Mention status. And just talking about doing something isn't enough; he has to actually chain himself to a target. And good riddance.

Let's see what happens over the next month or two before we know for sure, eh?

-- Indymedia: the fanfiction.net of journalism.
[ Parent ]

Darwin... (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by levesque on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 03:56:38 PM EST

I'm not supporting or condemming O'Keefe's position, only trying to clarify Darwin's theory.

A trait can be perpetuate in a species general genotype even if all the individuals that have this trait as part of their phenotype never reproduce.

In accordance with Darwin's theory, even though altruism decreases the individuals chances of survival it can be perpetuated if it increases the species chances of survival.

[ Parent ]

Genetics? (none / 0) (#158)
by tekue on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 06:30:08 AM EST

A trait can be perpetuate in a species general genotype even if all the individuals that have this trait as part of their phenotype never reproduce.

In accordance with Darwin's theory, even though altruism decreases the individuals chances of survival it can be perpetuated if it increases the species chances of survival.

Ehm, no. The whole point of a genotype is that it perpetuates by directly passing the genes to your kids. There's no such thing as a species general genotype in the meaning you use it in. Also, altruism is not a genetic trait, it's a social construct. Indeed, social constructs are perpetuated if they increase the species chances of survival.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]
Not always (5.00 / 2) (#162)
by Happy Monkey on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 12:50:09 PM EST

"Altruism" is often used to describe genetically controlled behaviors of animals. In some species, certain individuals sacrifice their ability to breed in order to assist their community. This perpetuates "their" genotype, because the members of that community who do breed have genes more similar to the altruist than do members of other communities. An extreme example is ants, where the vast majority of the community has no chance to breed, but they work to support the colony. This promoted the genes of their queen, whose genes are closer to their own than any other queen.

Natural selection is often described as everyone for himself, but it is not that simple. Any behavior that ends up enhancing the survival of a species, no matter what it does to an individual, will be selected for.

A trait can be perpetuate in a species general genotype even if all the individuals that have this trait as part of their phenotype never reproduce.

This is counterintuitive, but true. If a genetic trait causes 10% of individuals with the genotype to have the "asexual guard duty" phenotype, and that helps the species survive, then that genotype will survive. On the other hand, if all members with the genotype don't reproduce, then the trait will die.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
I don't agree. (none / 0) (#175)
by tekue on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 04:03:28 AM EST

This is counterintuitive, but true. If a genetic trait causes 10% of individuals with the genotype to have the "asexual guard duty" phenotype, and that helps the species survive, then that genotype will survive. On the other hand, if all members with the genotype don't reproduce, then the trait will die.
It's not the species genotype! If -- using your ant colony example -- the queen has a genetic trait that makes 10% (or 99%, doesn't matter) of her children infertile, and if that trait helps the survival of hers, and her fertile children, she will pass this trait successfully to her children. It isn't the species that passes the gene, and it isn't the infertile workers and guards, it's the queen.

It's hard to understand the structure of an ant colony, because humans are all alike, unlike ants. The workers and guards don't choose to work for the good of the queen, they are genetically conditioned to perform certain tasks, and it's not altruism when you don't have a choice. Genetic material is passed on by those, who reproduce, it's that simple.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

Terminology (none / 0) (#176)
by Happy Monkey on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 08:31:09 AM EST

it's not altruism when you don't have a choice.

The term 'altruism' is used anyway. There are many evolutionary behaviors that are described using anthropomorphized terminology, because it is easy shorthand. For example, a gene does not actually want to survive - it just behaves as if it did, because only the ones that act that way actually do survive.

Genetic material is passed on by those, who reproduce, it's that simple.

Yes, that's true, and no, it's not that simple. The infertile guard is passing it's genes along indirectly if it helps its mother have more children. If the guard happens to have a unique mutation, then it will not be passed on. But it is still helping pass on the majority of its genetic material when it assists it's mother. Remember - it is the gene that is "trying" to reproduce, not the individual.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
There will be no conclusion. (none / 0) (#182)
by tekue on Wed Jan 22, 2003 at 06:47:18 AM EST

I don't accept the notions you are making — that genes are "trying" to do anything, and that helping someone to pass his genes is also passing your genes. I use the phrase "genetic material" in it's scientific meaning, you use it as a kind of metaphore.

Anyways, I certainly agree that "altruistic" mechanisms are indeed in some situations good for the species as a whole, but I think it's the society that encourages them, not genetic evolution. If there was a separated specimen of a species, that was altruistic (by way of having some altruistic gene or something similar) in a way that would stop it from breeding, it's genetic line would perish. Therefore the tendency not to have children can't be efficiently passed on genetically -- which seems rather obvious.

I think that the tendency to act socially can be passed on genetically -- there are some species, including humans, elephants, and wolves, that tend to create societal structures. Others, such as bears, or rabbits tend to live in solitude. If creating societal structures help the individual to survive, he will pass the genes encouraging to do so to it's children. Of course I'm talking about animals that are able to live in solitude, as well as in a society -- ants or bees couldn't do that because very few of them can reproduce, and those who can reproduce can't support themselves -- and they probably could be considered sociable if ant colonies formed a society.

And if you still think that there are genes for "altruism", consider this: lack of those genes allows you to profit on those who have them, so that it's (individually) easier to live and procreate if you lack them. Try reading some material on sociology, especially on social behaviours.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

An Explanation (none / 0) (#183)
by Happy Monkey on Wed Jan 22, 2003 at 12:09:43 PM EST

I don't accept the notions you are making — that genes are "trying" to do anything, and that helping someone to pass his genes is also passing your genes. I use the phrase "genetic material" in it's scientific meaning, you use it as a kind of metaphore.

No, I am speaking scientifically. Of course genes are not literally trying to do anything, which is why I used the quotes. It is shorthand for the concept that the genes that end up surviving are the ones that cause behavior in their carriers which propagates them. This concept is often oversimplified to the idea that every individual is trying to reproduce as often as possible. That simplified view is usually good enough, because it is the most common path that species have taken. But to truly understand evolution, you have to realize that there is more to it than everyone for oneself.

Here's an example of the 10% guard idea. Let's assume there are two flocks of snipes. Flock A has a gene which causes 10% of the male snipes to grow too muscular to mate, and they guard the nests. Note that ALL of flock A carries the gene, but it is only expressed in 10% of the males. Flock B does not have the gene. Both flocks have 100 male members. After one breeding season, each breeding male fertilizes 3 eggs. So flock A has 270 eggs, and flock B has 300 eggs. But then the voles come in. They eat half of flock B's eggs, but the guards in flock A manage to save 200 of their eggs. Therefore, the next generation of flock A has 200 babies, and the next generation of flock B has 150. So the "10% guard" gene is more successful.

Anyways, I certainly agree that "altruistic" mechanisms are indeed in some situations good for the species as a whole, but I think it's the society that encourages them, not genetic evolution. If there was a separated specimen of a species, that was altruistic (by way of having some altruistic gene or something similar) in a way that would stop it from breeding, it's genetic line would perish. Therefore the tendency not to have children can't be efficiently passed on genetically -- which seems rather obvious.
...
And if you still think that there are genes for "altruism", consider this: lack of those genes allows you to profit on those who have them, so that it's (individually) easier to live and procreate if you lack them. Try reading some material on sociology, especially on social behaviours.


Any gene which guarantees that carriers won't breed will fail. But if a gene gives an individual a low chance of no children or a high chance of very successful children, that may be an advantage.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
I cannot dispute this. (none / 0) (#184)
by tekue on Thu Jan 23, 2003 at 09:00:24 AM EST

This concept is often oversimplified to the idea that every individual is trying to reproduce as often as possible.
I don't support that interpretation. Reproducing as often as possible could be disasterous for species.
Here's an example of the 10% guard idea. Let's assume there are two flocks of snipes. Flock A has a gene which causes 10% of the male snipes to grow too muscular to mate, and they guard the nests. Note that ALL of flock A carries the gene, but it is only expressed in 10% of the males.
This is where my knowledge of genetics fails, so I cannot responsibly continue this discussion. I don't know if two individuals with the same gene, raised under the same conditions can express that gene in different ways in a reproducible way. If it depends on auxiliary conditions, the gene prevents species from adapting to different conditions — if the next genetration expresses that gene in 90% of population, it could be bad for species. If it's triggered by careful care of the rest of community (for example, stronger individuals are aquired by keeping the eggs in higher temperatures), it's social. And there are many possible scenarios in between. I'm sorry, but I have to assume you're right.

Thank you for taking the time, I find you a very reasonable and knowledgeable opponent, which unfortunately is a rarity nowadays.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

I cannot dispute this. (none / 0) (#185)
by tekue on Thu Jan 23, 2003 at 09:03:03 AM EST

This concept is often oversimplified to the idea that every individual is trying to reproduce as often as possible.
I don't support that interpretation. Reproducing as often as possible could be disasterous for species.
Here's an example of the 10% guard idea. Let's assume there are two flocks of snipes. Flock A has a gene which causes 10% of the male snipes to grow too muscular to mate, and they guard the nests. Note that ALL of flock A carries the gene, but it is only expressed in 10% of the males.
This is where my knowledge of genetics fails, so I cannot responsibly continue this discussion. I don't know if two individuals with the same gene, raised under the same conditions can express that gene in different ways in a reproducible way. If it depends on auxiliary conditions, the gene prevents species from adapting to different conditions — if the next genetration expresses that gene in 90% of population, it could be bad for species. If it's triggered by careful care of the rest of community (for example, stronger individuals are aquired by keeping the eggs in higher temperatures), it's social. And there are many possible scenarios in between. I'm sorry, but I have to assume you're right.

Thank you for taking the time, I find you a very reasonable and knowledgeable opponent, which unfortunately is a rarity nowadays.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

Would you also.. (none / 0) (#108)
by Alfie on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 07:33:37 AM EST

Give a Darwin award to every soldier who dies in battle? Do you consider fighting wars to be a good evolutionary decision for the soldiers involved?

ObMovie Quote: "We're going to fight, and we're going to win!"



[ Parent ]
actually yes (3.00 / 1) (#144)
by cyberbuffalo on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 01:10:21 PM EST

So long as we have a volunteer army.

[ Parent ]
Good indeed. (none / 0) (#159)
by tekue on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 06:33:44 AM EST

Do you consider fighting wars to be a good evolutionary decision for the soldiers involved?
Good for their species, yes. Anyone dumb enough to become a voluntary casuality in a war, should.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]
Stupid... (4.33 / 6) (#29)
by enterfornone on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:09:12 AM EST

..no, not the fact that he wants to be a human shield when Bush clearly shows no reluctance towards killing civilians.

Stupid because he attracts a bunch of lefties to his web site, then tries to make them install Flash.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.

tangent - flash (none / 0) (#57)
by wiremind on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 04:26:44 PM EST

Um...
I think almost EVERYONE has flash already installed.
Mozilla/Netscape, and IE support it, So flash is pretty much OS independant. No good excuses to not have it installed...
Kyle
[ Parent ]
Flash (none / 0) (#59)
by Kaeru the Frog on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:05:14 PM EST

No good excuses to not have it installed..
Because 99% of flash movies on the web are ads and the other 1% are sites like this I could easily do without.

[ Parent ]
Ok, fair enough (none / 0) (#77)
by wiremind on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:53:56 PM EST

That is a reasonable enough answer.
I do agree with you, LOTS of flash advertising.
Personally, I enjoy the silly little things like the flash animation that this story was about, enough to find other ways around the advertising.


Kyle

If we knew the day we were going to die, I bet Hallmark would make a card for it.
[ Parent ]
Flash (none / 0) (#85)
by DarkZero on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 09:43:48 PM EST

I think almost EVERYONE has flash already installed.
Mozilla/Netscape, and IE support it, So flash is pretty much OS independant. No good excuses to not have it installed...

Yeah, no good excuses, except for "It's incredibly fucking annoying", "I hate it", and "It's incredibly fucking annoying, I hate it, and it didn't come pre-installed with my computer because I'm not a mook that buys a low-end Dell every year and a half to 'keep up'".

And I believe that what the parent poster was trying to point out was that most leftist whackjobs probably don't have Flash, aka "The Animated Corporate Advertisement Plugin", installed on their computers. If it came pre-installed, they asked someone how to remove it.

[ Parent ]

How the U.S. can use these folks (3.00 / 4) (#38)
by bobpence on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:51:07 AM EST

The American military actually does have a compunction about killing civilians. We could keep down the numbers of bombing runs and munitions dropped by using bombs with bigger blasts. Instead we drop small bombs that are so accurate that when our enemy places a missile site next to a hospital or school or mosque, the missile site goes away but the neighboring buildings survive.

Like the Chinese embassy destroyed in the NATO bombing of Serbia, hitting non-legit targets will both be a mistake and a cause for embarrassment, to say the least. Of course these volutary human shields (VHS's) will think they are stationed in such non-bombworthy places, but of course Saddam wants the propaganda push of their deaths so will place them at valid bombing targets.

So put tracking chips in the VHS's and let 'em go to Iraq. Then give the CIA and NSA and [acronym deleted for reasons of national security] the week off and just bomb the places where you detect the VHS's by their tracking chips. Finally Saddam will show us where his weapons are and we can reveal "sources and methods" -- while we laugh our asses off.

P.S. What I really want to see is someone coming back after being a VHS during the liberation of Iraq and saying "I was at a hospital, but I didn't know there was a chemical research lab in the wing that was supposedly closed off because of sanctions, as well as a scud storage site across the street. American bombers destroyed the scud site and the other wing, but the main hospital where the patients were only suffered a couple of broken windows." Oh, and "Scott Ritter is a whore."
"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender

Here on the Sidelines with Sean Penn (4.33 / 3) (#40)
by On Lawn on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 09:04:24 AM EST

With all the overtones of Hanoi Jane, Sean Penn recently visited Bagdad on a simular mission to Kenneth. He wasn't going to strap himself to military equipment, and I think his publicist told him "don't get any pictures of you in an AA gun". But he did go in an honest mission to show people that things weren't that bad in Iraq.

I respect his attitude towards the event. I wish I could have seen Iraq personally. I don't however think that I would make a judgement on whether or not they had WOMD after three days though.

Larry King Interview

''I think there's probably two legitimate places for Saddam Hussein: it's either Bellevue or a meat grinder,'' he said. ''This man's a horror and a criminal, there's no question about it.''

...Penn said he undertook the fact-finding trip out of an ''increasing feeling of shame on my own part in not participating in what, for me, was not necessarily so much a political but a - to the degree that humanitarianism and civic responsibility are the same thing.''

Another report on the radio said that he felt that he was used unfairly by the Iraqis, and regretted the trip.

I've heard plenty of commentary about the war in Iraq, and the celebrities that would oppose it. Maybe out of some existencial dispair, or maybe out of faith in Bush, I've relelgated myself to the sideline to wait and see what happens. I think I moved there after the UN Security council and Congressional resolutions on the matter.

And nowadays when I hear this kind of commentary I (if the analogy isn't misguided) feel like the playoffs are over and we're watcheing the pregame Superbowl show. Everyone is saying what each side will do in the big game, and everyone sounds pretty knowledgable.

But when the game starts, and your not a player, referee, or coach its time to watch and judge actual events. The US will look really stupid if it attacks, and we find out that Saddam has turned a new leaf (by the way his rhetoric and stance with his own country would lead me personally to believe that isn't true).

Simularly, Iraq will look stupid if after a war we find out they lied. When the kickoff happens its time to choose a team and see if they win.

Actually, to say its pre-game may be even too late (although plenty of commentators are stuck in pre-game mode). The inspectors *are* in Iraq, the UN and congress did pass a resolution. Perhaps that is the biggest reason I'm on the sidelines.

.

The resasons for war (3.33 / 3) (#43)
by AtADeadRun on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:12:37 AM EST

I think you're under something of a misapprehension about the goals of a war, at least from a military standpoint.

The problem with war is that it doesn't really fit with the self-defence stance. If someone invades your home, you do not gain the right to invade their home -- but that's exactly what happens in war.

These examples aren't really parallel. A better example would be if a burglar broke into the homes of the local sheriff and judge; they have the authority, under the power granted to them by the state, and more importantly the responsibility, to not only kick the burglar out of their houses, but also to keep him from doing the same to self or others. If the burglar flees the jurisdiction of that sheriff and judge, they can ask the help of other sheriffs and judges in doing the same. Since the victim of the invasion, in this case, is the state, the state should, if at all possible, not only kick the invader out, but also make it such that the invader cannot repeat his acts. If the victim state cannot do that, asking another (or group of others) is perfectly legitimate.

You're spot-on right that most of my fellow military members have absolutely no desire to go to war. That's the reasoning behind counter-invasion: we don't want to have to fight the same war twice if we can avoid it. Unfortunately, the first Gulf War didn't finish the job by removing the Hussein regime and replacing it with some state-building institutions, so it looks likely that we'll be going back. As MacArthur said, "There is no substitute for victory."

I'm no more enthused about going into the Gulf than anyone else is, but if we do it right this time, and remove that threat to everyone, then let's go ahead and do it.

As always, my opinions are my own and do not reflect those of DoD.



-------
Pain heals. Glory is forever. Keep running.

We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
Should be a reply to azeigler's "principled.. (none / 0) (#44)
by AtADeadRun on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:26:51 AM EST

pacifist" post; my ISP is having all sorts of weather-related issues.

-------
Pain heals. Glory is forever. Keep running.

We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
[ Parent ]
Dangerous proposition (none / 0) (#47)
by anno1602 on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:53:12 AM EST

Since the victim of the invasion, in this case, is the state, the state should, if at all possible, not only kick the invader out, but also make it such that the invader cannot repeat his acts.

Been there, done that, don't wanna do it again. That kind of thinking lead to the contract of Versailles which, by means of ludicrously large payments, was designed to keep Germany on its kness after the WW I. The problem was that it completely ruined the economy, leading to poverty, which lead to frustration, the whole thing turning into a prime setup for a certain radicalistic popularistic emigrated Austrian to stage his rise to power...

Now I'm not saying that that was what you proposed, but you have to be very careful how you do the "[making] it such that the invader cannot repeat his acts". What Europe and the rest of the world learned the hard way is that it is better not to make sure that the invading country cannot repeat his acts, but that it doesn't want to do so. The model followed in West Germany was helping the country to get back on its feet and firmly integrating it in the NATO and the EU. Just dropping bombs doesn't solve anything in the long run, it tends to make matters worse.
--
"Where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit." - Murphy
[ Parent ]

Good point. (none / 0) (#56)
by AtADeadRun on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 04:06:25 PM EST

You've pointed out what my real intent was; that's why I mentioned state-building institutions and such. Putting together a friendly state out of the ashes of the defeated is always a better option. Observe the difference between post-World War I Germany and post-World War II Germany.

The criticism of the reasons of war still stands, however; I and mine don't want to go in again and again when one properly done victory, which smashes the opponent sufficiently flat to enable us to replace the aggressor regime with those state-building institutions. That cannot be done if the politico-military victory isn't a complete one.

I think I'm going to put the bit about my own opinions and not DoD in my sig if I keep having to make comments about war.



-------
Pain heals. Glory is forever. Keep running.

We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
[ Parent ]
Except (none / 0) (#116)
by Znork on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 02:20:43 PM EST

Germany was already a nation with a tradition of democracy, and Hitler had the grace to shoot himself bereaving any supporters of a platform.

Iraq has no such recent working tradition, making it far more difficult to establish any form of democratically elected government. What will prevent the next installed government from developing WMDs to protect themselves from enemies? What's to prevent a military coup with another madman to replace the current one? Will the new government be 'clean' or will it need to protect itself from the populace due to their own skeletons-in-the-closet?

The various attempts to establish working democracies by force have a very bad track record.

The victory wont be complete even if you replace Saddam. Are you going to stay for the next several decades as an occupying force to ensure a proper democracy? Are you going to stay and enjoy being subject of a guerilla war?

In my opinion the war is pointless. Nothing will change except the names.

[ Parent ]

UN Charter (none / 0) (#134)
by Alan Crowe on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 04:53:40 AM EST

The charter is online

Chapter One, Article one, tells us (my emphasis):

The Purposes of the United Nations are:
1.To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
If Iraq invades Kuwait, we are not supposed to sit on our hands, saying "Poor old Kuwait, but its not our fight, Iraq doesn't threaten us." We as supposed to take collective action. It is right there, Chapter one, article one collective

So it is enough that enough that Iraq invades Kuwait, for the USA to make war against Iraq.

Anyone remember the signing of the peace treaty that ended the Gulf War? No, of course not. It never happened. There was a cease fire. The terms of the cease fire included a degree of dis-armament by Iraq. Looks like that cease fire is breaking down. Oh well. There is a lesson there. After a war, conclude a peace treaty. If you agree a cease fire, then piss about for a few years, shooting will start again



[ Parent ]
interesting.... (5.00 / 1) (#179)
by seer on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 07:25:27 PM EST

...do does that mean that if the US invates Iraq, that the rest of the world should "take effective collective mesures" to remove us?

I hope so...

[ Parent ]

Heh (4.66 / 12) (#45)
by trhurler on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:42:34 AM EST

Is there anyone besides this guy you're quoting who's actually stupid enough to think this will stop the US military from bombing the fuck out of things? After all, Bush will declare them all "enemy combatants," and then they'll die, and that'll be that. Any of them who live will probably be tried for treason, and their own kids will mostly regard them as nutjobs.

All arguments about whether the above scenario is "right" or "wrong," while perhaps entertaining and maybe even interesting, are completely irrelevant to what I just said, which is more or less that a tiny minority group of protesters simply do not have the ability to change the course of US policy on this scale, even if they give their lives.

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

Yes, but what if it's not a minority? (none / 0) (#48)
by Kyle on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:07:18 PM EST

I've no doubt that what you say is true. He's in the minority, and if it's just him, it won't make any difference. Even a few more people won't make a difference.

However, I think that what he says is also true: if there were thousands of people doing this, I think it would make a difference.

If Bush declares a thousand or so Americans suddenly as "enemy combatants" and slaughters them wholesale, I can't believe that the people back home won't crucify him for it. People get pretty worked up over "friendly fire" as it is, and that's a mistake made against soldiers. We get outraged at police brutality at a peaceful protest where everyone goes home alive.

They could try to spin the mass murder some other way, and maybe avoid an outright riot, but I don't think that will keep the people from lynching the people responsible (or a designated scapegoat) one way or another.

[ Parent ]

The Ability Is There (5.00 / 1) (#49)
by Rand Race on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:55:25 PM EST

...a tiny minority group of protesters simply do not have the ability to change the course of US policy on this scale, even if they give their lives.

Well, that depends doesn't it; Those fruitcakes who flew airliners into our buildings managed to change US policy on an unimaginable scale. It's highly debatable whether they changed it the way they wanted it changed, but it is unquestionable that less than a score of men drastically altered US policy by giving their lives (and taking a bunch more).

I do agree that attempting to catch a guided munition with one's teeth isn't going to have nearly the same effect though.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Too bad... (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by steveftoth on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 04:57:52 PM EST

they didn't get to live to see the consequences of their actions.  They may have changed their minds about it.  Since it really hasn't changed a damn thing about our policys twords their people.

[ Parent ]
sadly (5.00 / 1) (#92)
by bluehead on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 12:36:19 AM EST

it has changed our "policys twords" our own people though...

Hard like a criminal.
[ Parent ]
My dear esteemed rigidnik, (4.50 / 6) (#50)
by Noam Chompsky on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 03:14:58 PM EST

The position of the revolutionary is humble: he is essentially a channel for history. A single man, if he is made of the right conductive material, can change the world, and has repeatedly done so.

[Things] are completely irrelevant to what I just said, ...

This is a pattern, I find.

--
Faster, liberalists, Parent ]

indeed (4.00 / 5) (#52)
by dr k on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 03:54:15 PM EST

trhurler often gets confused about how anything he says is relevant.


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

Not too sure about that... (none / 0) (#128)
by Elendale on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 10:28:43 PM EST

Is there anyone besides this guy you're quoting who's actually stupid enough to think this will stop the US military from bombing the fuck out of things? After all, Bush will declare them all "enemy combatants," and then they'll die, and that'll be that.

The thing with this is that the only guy where this has worked has been (at least portrayed as in the mainstream media) as much a part of the Taliban as the rest of them. I think if Bush said a bunch of pacifists who were sitting on top of a Tank manufacturing plant were enemy combatants and then fried the place, there would be a massive backlash. These people aren't combatants- they're not pro-Iraq, they're anti-war. I think it would be a bit too unsettling for most people.

Of course, the way he's going now is for one-term presidency... but i'll leave my insane conspiracy theories out of that one.
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


[ Parent ]
I kinda agree... (3.00 / 1) (#51)
by r00t on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 03:43:37 PM EST

If there are thousands of people, and I am talking greater that a 100,000 people then his plan may work, but if only a few go, the government will just label these people unpatriotic, defectors or whatever and bomb the shit out of them.

-It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to unlearn. - Isaac Asimov

sad but true (none / 0) (#102)
by President Saddam on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 05:27:44 AM EST

you are probably right...but will the allies, like britain, canada, australia, europe stand for it???
I hope not

---
Allah Akbar
[ Parent ]

Quite honestly (2.66 / 3) (#60)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:26:01 PM EST

Even though I don't think I agree with the war on Iraq, if he does this and survives he should be considered a traitor. He's not just opposing the war, he's actively supporting Saddam Hussein.

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."

Why give him martyrdom? (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by RyoCokey on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:12:18 PM EST

Let him walk the earth in full knowledge that he altered nothing.



"Like all important issues, gun control is an emotional issue that will be resolved by politics, belief, and conviction, not by a resort to "facts'." - [ Parent ]
Re: Quite honestly (4.00 / 1) (#82)
by mstefan on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 09:22:36 PM EST

... if he does this and survives he should be considered a traitor.

I don't agree with what he's doing, not by a long shot, but he's not a traitor. He's no longer a United States citizen. In the piece, he says that he's renounced his citizenship, returned his passport and swore an oath to that effect (presumably at a US embassy).

He claims that he's applied for political asylum in Holland, but without a passport from any country, I'm not clear on how he's going to be able to actually get anywhere. I can imagine Iraq will let he and his merry band of suicidal peaceniks in the country, but I don't know how he'd even get on a plane without papers. Not to mention how he'd get out when it's all over.



[ Parent ]
To answer my own question... (4.00 / 1) (#83)
by mstefan on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 09:33:59 PM EST

Looks like he's got himself a World Passport, but governments would have to be insane to accept that thing, particularly these days. If I were willing to fork over the cash, and "swear" (by signature) that the information I was providing was true, I could probably get a passport as Mickey Mouse.

[ Parent ]
"World Passports"... HaHaHa!!! (none / 0) (#106)
by SvnLyrBrto on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 05:49:07 AM EST

"World Passports" are just novelty items with NO recognised legal standing in the vast bulk of the world!  Even their own website admits that there are only FIVE countries that have given the thing ANY legal recognition.  It's like buying a shiney plastic "badge" in a novelty store and pretending that you're a cop.

In other words, you might fool a few people by useing the thing, but the first time someone's NOT fooled, you're gonna be in a world of hurt.

I like how they brag on their page about all the countries where it has been "accepted".  But the fact that some random customs drone has been sloppy or incompetent, and stamped it, does NOT mean that said "passport" is a legal document in that country.

I'd laugh my fool head off if this guy, on his way to iraq, got himself nicked by customs/immigration somewhere and got locked up as an illegal travelling on fake documents.

That's a bigger deal than most people realise actually; especially if he DID officially and legally renounce his US citizenship without being naturalized somewhere else.  Without a valid citizenship from a REAL country, immigration officials really can just throw you in a hole and basiclly forget about you.  For a funny (if somewhat tragic) example of such a snafu, read the story of the aslyum seeker who was/is stranded at de Gaulle airport in France for better than a decade.

cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

+1 SP (4.00 / 2) (#66)
by SanSeveroPrince on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 06:26:40 PM EST

Only because the guy's home page is more entertaining than the raelians'.

----

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


Help the people of Iraq (4.00 / 1) (#68)
by 5pectre on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:01:18 PM EST

That's crap, you aren't going to help people like that but neither is bombing them, instead that guy should go and fight for the kurds.

The current US/UK government doesn't care about the people of Iraq and I don't support the war, but equally chaining yourself to bomb targets is only going to help Saddam, which is something we all want to avoid.

I'd like to see the opinions of people who have fought on the side of 'freedom fighters' (a loaded word i know) but I can't think of any since the spanish civil war.

It is the job of the Iraq people to depose saddam, if you want to help them fine, go and fight with them to do it but don't bomb them and claim it is helping.

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

"Freedom Fighters"? Look no further tha (1.50 / 2) (#81)
by bandy on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 09:09:28 PM EST

In Israel, one may find "freedom fighters" of both stripes. Those who valiantly defend the State of Israel and Her Peoples, and those who valiantly fight against the Zionist Oppressors of the True People of Palestine.

In fact, the leftist human-shield concept did not begin with Iraq. Plenty of everyday people did this in the past year in various West Bank cities. I personally know someone who put his money where his mouth has always been and went there this summer. I respect the strength of his convictions, although I think it was a foolish action.


Marlboro: War ich Rindveh bin.
[ Parent ]

Suppose they actually make it to Iraq (none / 0) (#69)
by Myriad on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:05:50 PM EST

Suppose for a minute that O'Keefe actually does manage to corral a couple of dozen very devoted activists to his cause. Suppose then that he actually manages to make his way to Iraq, to an area that it considered a valid target, and sits down to 'stop the war'. The Iraqi people that he wants to stand with certainly won't want to stand with him, and what's worse, if war does come, and handful of pacifists become a handful of civilian hostages.

And despite the reaction of people to think that Bush would just as soon see them blown to bits, in reality it would never happen that way. There would be diplomatic negotiations, botched rescue attempts, and a constant media buzz about the state of our peace-loving compatriots who are trapped in a war torn hellhole.

But, as it's been said, this thing is just a pipe dream, and only makes for good conversation, and it allows a more moderate leftie like myself to reaffrim the fact that he is not a complete ivory tower pussy when it comes to issues like war and such. Compared to this guy anyway.


35. The Liberal hates you.

Fame. (none / 0) (#71)
by I am Jack's username on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:22:10 PM EST

O'Keefe would probably have to become as famous as Gandhi or Mother Teresa for him to have any effect. I don't think a thousand unknown pacifists killed in Iraq would be important enough for those who made the effort to find out about them, to not pay less for oil.
--
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
In another universe, maybe. (1.00 / 1) (#74)
by exceed on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:04:55 PM EST

I don't think a thousand unknown pacifists killed in Iraq would be important enough for those who made the effort to find out about them, to not pay less for oil.

You can be sure that the U.S. wouldn't kill any of it's citizens intentionally for the sake of oil. You have to remember: Bush's popularity (and second term is more important than oil. If he allowed the killing of innocent (well, I'm sure a case could be made that these pacifists were "with the enemy") citizens, he'd be kissing his second term as President good-bye.

All politics aside, killing my own citizens would sure place a huge burden on my conciensce.

void women (float money, time_t time);
[ Parent ]
I wonder... (none / 0) (#79)
by NFW on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 09:01:23 PM EST

I think it's equally likely that it would be rationalized as follows, then largely forgotten:

  • "We the people" of the US (through elected representatives) have chosen to go to war. Heck, the UN might even back that choice. These few demonstrators [have no right to | cannot be allowed to | are fools to think that they can] impose their preference upon the majority.

  • The Iraqi people have a chance to be freed from Saddam Hussein's oppression. If these people were allowed to succeed, they would continue to starve under the rule of a "leader" who suspended oil-for-food trade, just so he could try make a political point. His ego means more to him than their starvation. These people would perpetuate his tyranny. Who will sympathize with them?

  • The US is at war. These people in attempting to aid the enemy, are traitors. Bad things happen to enemies, allies of enemies, and traitors.

  • Bush said, "you're either with us or against us." These folks have very deliberately positioned themselves against us.

    Now, I'm not saying I agree with these things. In fact I had a hard time not heckling myself as I went along, especially on those last two points.

    But, I do think that these rationalizations have a strong chance of prevailing. History is written by and for the winners.


    --
    Got birds?


    [ Parent ]

  • unwarranted assumptions w/bullet points (none / 0) (#87)
    by mikelist on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 10:24:47 PM EST

    # "We the people" of the US (through elected representatives) have chosen to go to war. Heck, the UN might even back that choice. These few demonstrators [have no right to | cannot be allowed to | are fools to think that they can] impose their preference upon the majority.

    There is no official position that we are at war with Iraq, or are you still connecting Saddam Hussein with Al Quaida, which even Bush doesn't have the bombast to suggest? If that's the case, Saudi Arabia should be in ruins by now, since that's where the bulk of funds documented to have bankrolled 911 came from. (I'm not going to suggest that we actually do that, but consistent logic implies that it would have been done.)

    # The Iraqi people have a chance to be freed from Saddam Hussein's oppression. If these people were allowed to succeed, they would continue to starve under the rule of a "leader" who suspended oil-for-food trade, just so he could try make a political point. His ego means more to him than their starvation. These people would perpetuate his tyranny. Who will sympathize with them?

    I will agree with you on this one, but he is hardly the worst or only vicious, megalomanic tyrant head of state. I think that the civilian Iraqis are the ones who should be shielded from attack from SH's forces as well as US/UN ones.  

    # The US is at war. These people in attempting to aid the enemy, are traitors. Bad things happen to enemies, allies of enemies, and traitors.

    Once again, you've jumped the gun. We may be at war against "terrorism", but there is no official position of "being at war with Iraq", or we would already be in Iraq. I don't believe that Iraq can withstand a concentrated attack, even if the US goes it alone. These people are not traitors, they are principled, if misguided people who are acting on ideals that are mostly derived from their religious beliefs, and none are doing it for personal gain. You might look a little closer to home for the "traitors" who have no compunction about putting our military in harm's way over what is at this point unproven conjecture.

    # Bush said, "you're either with us or against us." These folks have very deliberately positioned themselves against us.

    I gotta say that I'm not surprised by ANYTHING he says. Which is not to say that I agree with it.

    There are cogent arguments for war with Iraq, but we haven't arrived at them, since a landgrab for mideast oilfields would bring us even more bad press.

    <adhominem>Now jump in your SUV and go get another rock</adhominem>

    .

    [ Parent ]

    Context... (none / 0) (#88)
    by NFW on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 10:38:49 PM EST

    From the post that started this thread:

      I don't think a thousand unknown pacifists killed in Iraq would be important enough [....]

    My point was that if war starts, and these people are killed trying to be human shields - in the hypothetical situation posted earlier - then their sacrifice may not achieve much for their cause.

    Sorry for the confusion, I guess I should have used future tense.


    --
    Got birds?


    [ Parent ]

    oops (4.00 / 1) (#90)
    by mikelist on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 10:50:08 PM EST

    As too often occurs, I missed a line in your post, I apologize for the adhominem.

    [ Parent ]
    Litmus test for human shields (4.50 / 8) (#75)
    by Lode Runner on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:11:11 PM EST

    Human shields frequently cite lofty ideals of universal human rights, so why not make them put their bodies where their mouth is?

    The test: Would the activists who're chaining themselves to Saddam's palaces in order to discourage American bombing also be willing to chain themselves to Israeli homes in order to discourage Saddam from dropping missiles on them?

    I strongly doubt they'd answer "yes;" and until I see the "Universal" Kinship Society pouring bodies into Israel I'm going to regard them not as broadly anti-war/pro-humanity but rather as narrowly anti-US and anti-Israel.

    anti-Israel != anti-US nt (2.75 / 4) (#76)
    by Big Sexxy Joe on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:19:50 PM EST



    I'm like Jesus, only better.
    Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
    [ Parent ]
    That's ridiculous (3.00 / 2) (#80)
    by zerblat on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 09:03:30 PM EST

    I too seriously doubt they'd do that. It would be pointless. Westerners chaining themselves to Israeli homes wouldn't discourage Saddam Hussein from anything.

    [ Parent ]
    You've missed his point (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by drsmithy on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 02:28:09 AM EST

    (Deliberately or not I can't tell). His point was that if these types of people really are just "anti-war" and not "anti-US" (or derivatives), then they should be just as happy to chain themselves to a potential Israeli target as a potential Iraqi one.

    [ Parent ]
    Sure (4.66 / 3) (#107)
    by zerblat on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 05:54:36 AM EST

    It's very possible that they're just a bunch of people hating the US, jews, christianity, apple pie and everything else that is good. But in any case, it's pure speculation, unless you or Lode Runner know something about these people that I don't (other than "I know their type").

    I haven't seen anything that would suggest that O'Keefe or any other human shield approves of innocent Israelis being killed or wouldn't do anything to prevent it.

    My point was that there is something one as an individual from the West can do to prevent war in Iraq. O'Keefe is doing that. There is no similar way for an individual to prevent a hypothetical Iraqi attack on Israelis. It's easier to affect your own democratic government than to affect a foreign dictator.

    [ Parent ]

    which begs the question: (5.00 / 2) (#117)
    by Lode Runner on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 05:38:19 PM EST

    Why is someone who claims to be an advocate for universal human rights acting in a manner that protects a regime that has no respect for those rights?

    Also, I'd hardly call Iraqi-sponsored attacks on Israeli commuter buses hypothetical. Saddam's made a big deal out of rewarding the bombers' families. Is it too much to ask for a few dozen human shields to volunteer to ride around in the buses Saddam is targeting?

    [ Parent ]

    You don't have a clue, do you??? (1.71 / 7) (#101)
    by President Saddam on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 05:26:35 AM EST

    You really have no brain. The whole point is that the US WILL bomb Iraq, no question, with massive destruction.

    believing that israel will be hit by weapons of mass destruction which weapons inspectors cannot find just  shows that you have eaten the propaganda whole.

    Just consider: Tens, if not hundresds, of thousands will die in Iraq.

    In the gulf war, scuds only killed a few israelis.

    Do some research, retard

    ---
    Allah Akbar
    [ Parent ]

    You're missing the incentive component (4.33 / 3) (#118)
    by anon1 on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 06:47:31 PM EST

    Innocent activists chaining themselves to Iraqi buildings provides Bush with incentive not to bomb those buildings. If Bush knowingly bombed Americans, for instance, in Iraq, there would be consequences to pay. There would surely be a negative public reaction - enough to cost him the next election, but there could also be more serious consequences. I don't know how the laws work out here, but it is possible he could be charged with murder. Regardless, public opinion should be enough. Now, throw in some British, French, Canadians, ..., and suddenly the risks are magnified beyond even murder charges. Take a look at how the Canadians are handling the freindly-fire incident.

    Now, for human shields chaining themselves to Israeli homes to actually work, you need the incentive component. Saddam would have no problem bombing Americans, Brittish, French, Canadians, .... He wouldn't even have a problem bombing Iraqi citizens. There really is no incentive there for him to leave them alone - he is already known as an international menance. I think the only people who could chain themselves to Israeli homes and provide incentive for Saddam to leave them alone would be close members of Saddam's family. Chain them up to the houses, and you might see him think about it.

    [ Parent ]
    Exactly (none / 0) (#151)
    by Dr Laura on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 10:18:12 PM EST

    Saddam would have no problem bombing Americans, Brittish, French, Canadians, .... He wouldn't even have a problem bombing Iraqi citizens.

    And this is why I can't understand this sick man's rationale. Why would he want to defend a madman who has been known to slaughter his own people? If you align yourself with evil, you are evil yourself. Imagine what the reaction to this would have been if in the 1930s, before WWII officially began but when Hitler was building up his armaments, and there was talk of impending war, someone American or Brit decided to go chain himself to German factories, or the smokestack of a concentration camp. I'd like to see how the media would have responded to that back in those times...

    Now, go do the right thing.
    [ Parent ]

    What is it really about? (none / 0) (#161)
    by anon1 on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 12:08:31 PM EST

    Fighting for basic human rights is certainly a noble thing, but you have to ask yourself if that is the reason for war with Iraq. Will the Iraqi people be any better off with a different dictator?

    Supposedly, Bush was going to rebuild Afghanistan after the Taliban were captured, but, last I heard, that has not happened.

    If basic human rights are what you want to defend, then you need to ask why so many other dictators are being ignored. North Korea currently runs at least 5 concentration camps which sell products to the U.S. via China. China has violated basic human rights for years, yet maintains Most Favored Nation trading status. There is "ethnic cleansing" in other countries, ....

    So what is the point of picking on Iraq, which seems tame in some of these cases? Is it the WMD? Well, we know other countries already have it. I believe I read somewhere that Pakistan was in the process of building nukes, and we know N.K. is building them (and, I think, has at least 6). There are five official nuclear nations: U.S., U.K., France, Russia, and China. The U.S. alone has 12,000 nukes. According to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement, the nuclear nations cannot fire on non-nuclear nations. So if Saddam does have the bomb, he is not likely to actually use it - doing so would be suicide, and he is not suicidal. On the other hand, if he is backed into a corner - if he is about to lose his thrown - he will use it. Think of the Kuwaiti oil fields that were blown up.

    WMD is a process of balancing terror. Why do you suppose the U.S. and the Soviet Union never went to war over WMD? It was a balance of terror.

    Ridding the world of terrorists, dictators, ..., and guaranteeing basic human rights everywhere is a noble cause, but it is not being persued. It would take a world-wide effort led by the U.N. to stamp out these evils. In many cases, it would require a change of government - something that does not always come easily.

    Ridding the world of WMD is also a noble cause, but it too is not being persued. There are many rogue nuclear nations that are being ignored, and the stock piles of arms in the offical nuclear nations are being maintained.

    The requested war is about oil. The Iraqi people will not benefit from it. Only some powerful people - corporate execs, certain politicians - in, mostly, the U.S. will benefit.

    And finally, as the Pope said, war is the last resort. Other processes can be amazingly effective; just think of what Amnesty International and others (Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, ...) have been able to accomplish - all without the ability to threaten anyone.

    Peace.

    [ Parent ]
    Saddam is different (none / 0) (#164)
    by Dr Laura on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 01:18:31 PM EST

    Here are some things Saddam has done that justify such action:
    1. Invaded another country
    2. Developed chemical warfare
    3. Added terrorists financially
    All nations that have done these three things will, hopefully, have to answer for their actions. This war is not about oil.

    Now, go do the right thing.
    [ Parent ]

    one more response (none / 0) (#172)
    by anon1 on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 05:04:04 PM EST

    >   1. Invaded another country

    Already paid for it.

    >   2. Developed chemical warfare

    And used it. But this still falls under the nuclear category. He would be a fool to try it again. Actually, I suggest permanent inspections, or something like that - a continuous checkup.

    >   3. Added terrorists financially

    So did Iran, Palestine, .... A LOT of bad countries do this.

    > All nations that have done these three things will, hopefully, have to answer for their actions.

    Not nations, governments. Only leaders can start a war. And yes, hopefully they will have to answer someday, but that is not what Bush is trying to do.

    > This war is not about oil.

    You would have a hard time convincing me it is not. Heres why:

      1) Iraq is sitting on the second largest oil supply in the world, and it is untapped (somewhere around 3% utilization, I believe).
      2) We have not heard a peep from Saddam in years.
      3) Oil corporations contributed huge sums of money to Bush's campaign. Remember when Bush wanted to tear up beautiful Alaska - eating up our emergency reserves - just to bring the price of gas down a few cents? That didn't work, so now he has his sights set on Iraq.
      4) We know N.K. is developing the bomb (if I read correctly, they said so, but later retracted their comment), and probably already have some. The evidence that N.K. already has and is building nukes is superior. Futhermore, that Kim guy (dictator of N.K.) seems to be much worse than Saddam. Someone here posted a link to some NBC articles about the concentration camps. Now take Bush's responses; he is openly threatening war with Iraq (but refuses to give us the evidence about the nukes), is actively seeking a diplomatic solution with N.K., and is ignoring the other rogue nuclear nations. Only Iraq has something of value to offer an occupying force, while the others do not.

    The propoganda machine says it is not about oil, but that does not add up. The Gulf War was about liberating Kuwait, but this time it is not. You can say Bush wants to go in to liberate the Iraqi people, but I would think the North Koreans are more deserving of our immediate attention.

    [ Parent ]

    Don't see it -- must not be happening (none / 0) (#177)
    by br284 on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 12:51:58 PM EST

    Just because the media isn't reporting on the rebuilding of Afghanistan as much as it is reporting on the missile casings, doesn't mean that Afghanistan isn't rebuilding. It's a slow process, but noone expected a shiny new Afghanistan overnight. Given that they are now establishing a new national currency and central bank in addition to other infrastructure, I'm optimistic about Afghanistan's eventual recovery. If the final result of the war on Iraq is a rebuilding like Afghanistan has been, I'm all for starting the war today and geting around to the rebuilding.

    -Chris

    [ Parent ]

    The Question is (4.00 / 2) (#78)
    by Wafiq Hamza on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:53:56 PM EST

    How close will Saddam let a bunch of westerners sit next to his military targets?

    as close as they want (4.00 / 1) (#112)
    by dwyn on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 11:39:46 AM EST

    so that he can later claim that Americans are so evil, they even slaughter their own people.


    [ Parent ]
    Paranoia? (none / 0) (#122)
    by Wafiq Hamza on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 07:52:42 PM EST

    I would be very edgy about a bunch of westerners wanting to be near my military installations.

    [ Parent ]
    stooooopid!!!! (3.60 / 5) (#84)
    by mikelist on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 09:39:26 PM EST

    I guess I misjudged pacifism all these years. If I were motivated to make a statement/relevent gesture against militarism, the LAST thing I would chain myself to would be a military target. I'd make myself publicly and loudly known to inhabit civilian centers, markets, mosques, Red Cross facilities or hospitals(presuming I was arrogant enough to think my presence would change anything), and let the warmongers do what warmongers do best, ie kill each other. I'm totally opposed to an assault on Iraq, Bush is becoming disillusioned with the UN inspectors continually not finding any smoking guns, and that says a lot about his motivation. I predict that with or without findings of WMDs, W will find a rationale to mount the attack anyway.

    Do you read the news? (3.00 / 2) (#89)
    by Demiurge on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 10:46:19 PM EST

    Then you'd realize that the UN inspectors have already found chemical weapons shells that Iraq never declared. Iraq has no WMDs, huh?

    [ Parent ]
    I don't even understand this news (none / 0) (#91)
    by brunes69 on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:20:09 PM EST

    Can someone informed please explain this news to me? It has been all over the media lately, but all I have heard the entire time is that they found some empty chemical weapon shells (i.e., the destructive chemicals have been removed making them thus ineffective. Why is this such awesome news and such a horrible thing? Obviously Iraq has removed the chemicals that were previously there. What did you want to find? Full and functional chemical warheads ready to launch? Why is this, in UN terms, a "material breach" ? If anything it seems to me that it would indicate Iraq is trying to comply with the UN resolutions. Can someone explain this to me?



    ---There is no Spoon---
    [ Parent ]
    Chemical warheads (5.00 / 2) (#99)
    by mstefan on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 05:10:58 AM EST

    Last I heard, they're not sure whether or not they've recently had chemical agents in them; tests were sent off for analysis, but Iraq is claiming that they "expired" quite a while ago. In any case, to answer your question:

    1. The warheads themselves are specially modified 122 artillery shells and the inspectors declared them to be in perfect condition. Even though they were empty, the obvious concern is that it would be trivial to refill them with an agent like tabun or cyclosarin.

    2. The warheads cannot be used as regular, explosive munitions. If Iraq has no chemical production as they keep saying, then why have shells which can deliver chemical agents? Of course, now they're saying that they "forgot" that the warheads existed; this is about as convincing as a kid claiming that the family dog ate his homework.

    3. They don't think those warheads were actually listed in Iraq's "full and complete" declaration to the security council. Some people think that's a violation in of itself, regardless if they actually have had chemical agents in them recently or not.



    [ Parent ]
    So many things, so little space (none / 0) (#113)
    by Perianwyr on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 11:44:42 AM EST

    OK. It's been estimated that Iraq once had over 10,000 of these things. It's conceivable that a few would end up somewhere.

    Think of it like Legos- let's say I have 500 Legos around my house. Now, I want to give them to my cousins because they could use them. It is completely conceivable, given that I used the Legos at all, that there are two or three under the bed or in the back of the closet.

    Iraq is probably run like any state of its type- inefficiently. No surprise, then, that a few errant devices were about (and mis-stocked at that.)

    [ Parent ]

    The theory... (none / 0) (#115)
    by mstefan on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 01:23:08 PM EST

    It could well be that the prevailing theory here is that the artillery shells are like cockroaches; when you find a handful, you know that there are thousands scurrying around in the dark where you can't see them and will have a devil of a time finding them.

    [ Parent ]
    The way chemical weapons are used (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Demiurge on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 05:33:08 AM EST

    Since chemical weapons degrade easily, they're not kept stored in artillery shells. They're stored separately, under more secure conditions, and only put in shells when they're ready to be used.

    [ Parent ]
    All those glass jars under my mums sink... (none / 0) (#109)
    by enterfornone on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 07:53:42 AM EST

    Who would of thought she'd have an arsenal of petrol bomb shells.

    --
    efn 26/m/syd
    Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
    [ Parent ]
    I love it! (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by Demiurge on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 07:38:42 PM EST

    We all have to hear the shrill radical left blather about how Saddam is a man of peace with nary a weapon of mass destruction in all of Iraq. But when they begin to show up? Well, he must have just forgotten about them. The inspectors could turn up a hundred fusion nukes and the inane peaceniks would twist their arguments to defend Iraq and its monstrous government.

    [ Parent ]
    happy to hear that you watch the news (4.00 / 3) (#103)
    by mikelist on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 05:30:52 AM EST

    but you should try to hear what they're saying. There is no question that Iraq has had chemical weapons in the past, the US gave some to them so they could kick Iran's ass for us. George Bush (senior)knows this, it's what the current brouhaha originated from, Iraq lost in spite of chemical weapons. The fact that Iraq got it's ass kicked doing the bidding of the US has likely not been lost on Saddam H. There's no doubt that he is a thoroughly unwholsome guy and an unfit person to rule, but there's a lot of that going around.
    The question of whether they still do is what the current panic is based on, and it's still conjecturable.

    [ Parent ]
    The bunker the weapons were found in.... (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by Demiurge on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 05:32:14 AM EST

    dated from the late 90s. In conjunction with the fact that these shells weren't on Iraq's declaration, I'd say they're hiding plenty.

    [ Parent ]
    damn shame you're not an inspector (3.00 / 2) (#114)
    by mikelist on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 12:35:51 PM EST

    since you are obviously a lot smarter than the UN inspection team. The shells were empty, may or may not have ever contained chemical weapons. But if you say they did, that's good enough for me. Fry those bastards!!!!!!
    | | no links from me, only my opinion, which I got in part from finding my own damn links.
    [ Parent ]
    "means of delivery" (none / 0) (#166)
    by ethereal on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 01:37:59 PM EST

    Apparently possessing the "means of delivery" of banned weapons is also verboten. So even if they don't have chemicals in them, Iraq may still be on the hook. Or at least I think that's the deal; the reporting on this issue is so dumbed-down and poorly researched that I'm amazed anyone can really follow what's going on through the news.

    --

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

    Oh, come /on/. (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by magney on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 04:04:51 AM EST

    Twelve shells. After months of looking. Oh, what a terrible arsenal. I'm quaking in my boots.

    I highly doubt the US could give an accounting of its artillery shells to an accuracy of plus or minus 12. Frankly, this is well within the limits of human error.

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

    Twelve shells (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by mstefan on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 11:12:49 AM EST

    I think you're missing the point. Those are shells that (a) were created and stored there in the late 90s, when Iraq claims that they had not been developing any weapons of this type; (b) were modified specially to deliver chemical agents that Iraq claims it was not developing.

    Here's an analogy. Your parents find out that you've been smoking dope, so they go through your room and throw out all sorts of paraphernalia: roach clips, bongs, pipes, rolling papers and so on. A few weeks later, they suspect that you're still smoking dope, just being more clever about hiding it. They voice their suspicions and you deny it, saying "No, I haven't smoked any dope since you threw all my stuff out. I'm clean and have absolutely no interest in dope; I haven't even seen anything remotely like dope in weeks." They ask you if you have any dope or paraphernalia in the house, and you swear that you don't.

    The next week, your mom stumbles across a bong in your closet, hidden behind some boxes. Now, the bong looks pretty new – like it's just been bought recently from the local headshop – but she can't tell if it's been used recently. There's no dope in it, and it's just one bong. So, your parents confront you, and your excuse is "I forgot about it". And you'd expect that to hold water?



    [ Parent ]
    The problem with Pacifism... (3.66 / 3) (#96)
    by drsmithy on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 02:44:53 AM EST

    Is that while it's all fine and dandy in concept, it's only feasible if everyone else is a pacifist as well. A short browse through nearly any random history book should demonstrate that pacifism is not something the human race is generously endowed with. Pacifism is a fundamentally unreliable and insecure method. It relies completely on the other party(ies) to keep their end of the "bargain" and not attack you. There is nothing you can do to protect yourself and remain a pacifist.

    On the more specific issue, if this twit does get himself a posse together and head over there, it will be one of the most irresponsible actions he could possibly take. Mainly because once he and his merry band of soon-to-be hostages gets over there, is taken into custody and gets to spend some quality time in a prison cell with some Iraqis, a car battery and some pliers, they'll be sqealing like little girls to be rescued by their (now not so bad, after all) Government(s) and/or the UN. This will entail diverting resources which would most likely be better used elsewhere violently deconstructing The Baddies' military equipment and, more importantly, will involve soldiers risking their lives going in on an (undoubtedly botched) rescue mission.

    I would certainly hope, on the slim chance such a chain of events ever did eventuate, that every single one of the surviving "pacifists" was forced into servitude for the families of every man and woman that was killed rescuing them. At the very least, I would want them locked up so as not to do anything similarly irresponsible and fucking stupid again.

    I think it's more likely... (none / 0) (#98)
    by mstefan on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 04:38:01 AM EST

    They will just be killed. O'Keefe calls himself an "enemy combatant" against US forces in Iraq (his words), and should be treated as such. And quite honestly, though it may sound harsh, he and and whomever he manages to drag along with him is doing the collective human gene pool a favor. If he does manage to get himself killed, I'd personally vote for a Darwin Award for him.

    And you're right, pacifism in this context only works when the other person (or government) has the same fundamental moral grounding, so to speak. It has worked in the United States and in India, for example, because at a fundamental level the Americans and British see themselves as moral people and have an interest in others seeing them as moral as well. Therefore, they're susceptible to external pressure which threatens that position of moral authority. Pictures of police or military beating down folks who aren't resisting only has negative repercussion if you actually think that beating unarmed people is wrong and care about how you are perceived by the world at large. If all people see is a fool too stupid to defend himself, then pacifism doesn't really get you anywhere.



    [ Parent ]
    Yeah, i have some suggested reading for you... (none / 0) (#125)
    by Elendale on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 09:45:16 PM EST

    Perhaps you should read up on a guy named "Ghandi"? I hear he was kinda cool. I think there's some nice material on some black pacifist freak named Martin Luther King Junior.
    ---

    When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


    [ Parent ]
    Ghandi and King (none / 0) (#127)
    by mstefan on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 10:21:40 PM EST

    Ghandi and King both depended on the fact that the people would empathize and object to the abuses of the British and American governments when it was presented using the stark contrast of non-violent opposition. By authorities reacting violently to their non-violent protests, and having that reaction held up to scrutiny by the rest of the world, both Ghandi and King attacked the fundamental way in which we saw ourselves: as just, good, moral people. And that prompted change.

    The problem is that pacifists think that approach will work everywhere, that non-violent protest and negotiation is the solution to all problems because we are all, fundamentally, good people at heart that want to do the right thing. This is wrong. Non violence would not have worked with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in the last century; it will not work with al Qaeda and bin Laden or Saddam Hussein today. It won't work because they, quite frankly, don't give a damn about world perception or the views of their own people when their power is threatened. And they will take any action, go to any lengths, to maintain that power and achieve their ends. With them, negotiation and diplomacy is not a tool for resolution, it is a tactical maneuver to delay and manipulate until they feel they can take action.

    People like Hussein are akin to rabid dogs: you put them down, or risk being bitten. Unfortunately, he is our rabid dog, created in the mid 1980s when Iraq was at war with Iran. That's why it's our responsibility to take him out.



    [ Parent ]
    Well... (none / 0) (#129)
    by Elendale on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 10:36:36 PM EST

    I don't think it'd work with people like Saddam, but remember- we created him. The way i see it, it isn't so much our responsibility to put him down- but rather, our fault (due to the sort of small-minded politics that are designed to work just long enough to get the next guy into office) that it's going to cost thousands of lives to do so.

    Also, prove to me that the only way to repair Iraq (or whatever) is by inserting craters into their landscape. It seems to me that violence should be a last resort- but it's being used as the second-to-first resort.

    The thing about non-violence is that it requires long-term thinking. Non-violence will always fail in the short term.
    ---

    When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


    [ Parent ]
    I don't disagree... (none / 0) (#130)
    by mstefan on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 11:09:59 PM EST

    Violence should be a last-resort tactic. But the situation with Iraq is not new; this is not the second-to-first resort. We've been playing cat and mouse with this moron for over 10 years, and now it's time for the games to stop. As I see it, there are six basic scenarios:

    • We continue solely with diplomatic efforts, effectively trying to talk him to death. This is the best option for Saddam. He remains in power, he puts on the fascade of "engaging in dialogue" and compliance; it strengthens his position and weakens ours.
    • Saddam takes his medicine. He fully and verifiably disarms, dismantles his totalitarian regime and submits to the will of the United Nations. Of course, the chances of this happening are are nil.
    • Saddam leaves in exile and let his government collapse. There's about the same chance that he'd do this as he would give in and give up his toys.
    • Saddam pretends to abdicate or exile himself, while attempting to maintain control of Iraq through back-channels. Extremely unlikely, and he would be eventually found out anyway. It's also complicated by the fact that he trusts virtually no one, and there's no way that the United States or Britain would accept someone like his son taking power, since we know they're both cut from the same cloth.
    • We assassinate Saddam. The problem here is that it creates a power vacuum and an extremely unstable situation in the region; I would argue moreso than an actual war.
    • We forcibly remove him from power and occupy his country, establishing the kind of government that we want to see in the region. Although the most costly (in terms of human life and dollars), engaging in multilateral nationbuilding has the best long-term chance for success, in my opinion.


    [ Parent ]
    The situation with Saddam (none / 0) (#131)
    by Elendale on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 11:23:04 PM EST

    Yeah, we've been putzing around with Saddam since forever. I don't think, however, that any big military action (unless we send troops to stand on top of Baghdad until Saddam flees the country) is going to have the desired effect, though. Honestly, i can't see a resolution for this whold Saddam thing that doesn't suck gigantic donkey dick, or equate some similar metaphor for badness.
    ---

    When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


    [ Parent ]
    It's "Gandhi" (none / 0) (#167)
    by ethereal on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 01:48:15 PM EST

    You should spell his name right if you're going to use it to win arguments :)

    --

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

    D'oh! (none / 0) (#174)
    by Elendale on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 03:20:55 AM EST

    Indeed i should...
    ---

    When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


    [ Parent ]
    It depends on what you mean by pacifism (none / 0) (#148)
    by Richey on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 05:12:28 PM EST

    If you mean that pacifism is not retaliating after you have been attacked then I agree pacifism is not a good survival trait.

    But that is not is what is being proposed by Bush et. al. The plan is a pre-emptive strike against a country on the basis of a vague suspicion that they may attack the West one day. Hussein, though admittedly not a healthy person to live near, has never, and has never shown any inclination to, attack a Western country (it would be suicide for one thing.) This cannot with any justification be called a war of self-defence.

    once he and his merry band of soon-to-be hostages gets over there, is taken into custody and gets to spend some quality time in a prison cell with some Iraqis

    That's just stupid. Hussein may not be the most stable person but he does know where his interest lies. Imprisoning protestors who are supporting his goals would be self-defeating.

    [ Parent ]

    Conditional Departure Contract (4.00 / 2) (#111)
    by kraft on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 10:54:42 AM EST

    I checked out the signup page for going, wanting to see how many people, if any, actually signed up. Well, it didn't say, but the page was only viewed 270 times, so go figure ;)

    The reason why I looked was because I might just consider signing up, if more than 10,000 people were committed to going. If there were less, I wouldn't consider taking the risk.

    And that leads to my suggestion: committing oneself to going by some kind of contract on the condition that more than 10,000 go. This way you get the power in numbers, but the option of not going, if the numbers don't add up. And other people would be stimulated to sign up, by my own conditional commitment to go.

    So, Mr. O'Keefe, make a conditional departure contract and I'll sign up.

    --
    a signature has the format "dash-dash-newline-text". dammit.
    Au-Revoir (none / 0) (#181)
    by Merriwether on Wed Jan 22, 2003 at 05:27:50 AM EST

    Don't forget tie-dye, it makes targeting oh so much easier!

    [ Parent ]
    congratulations (none / 0) (#187)
    by alizard on Fri Jan 24, 2003 at 01:51:10 AM EST

    You've just come up with the first reasonable rationale for "first use of nuclear weapons" in a war on Iraq. The opportunity to chlorinate the human genetic pool by getting rid of 10K+ certifiable idiots at once.

    I don't even support the war, believing that it's a misuse of resources better applied to rendering the civilized world forever independent of Middle East oil via use of conservation and accelerated development and deployment of alternaqtive energy technologies.

    However, while I don't regard the war as a great idea, anyone who thinks that Saddam Hussein's regime is worth supporting just because Bush doesn't like it and is willing to put his life on the line to protect it isn't someone I have any sympathy for, or someone I would miss if he got blown up by mistake.

    Saddam Hussein isn't a misunderstood advocate for peace, he runs one of the most vicious police states on earth, check out Amnesty International for more information. Torture and murder are routinely used on dissidents, and every informed person has known this for years.
    "The horse is dead. Fuck it or walk away, but stop beating it." Juan Rico
    [ Parent ]

    Weak wristed article (4.50 / 2) (#121)
    by QuantumG on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 07:46:01 PM EST

    I believe that the most prudent action on Iraq is regime change, through force, unfortunately, if necessary. And if I have confidence in my beliefs, then I must conclude that exposure to the fringe of leftist pacifist beliefs only advances my position. People can inspect for themselves where exactly the folly of pacifism on the question of war with Iraq leads.

    Jesus, so you advocate going into someone else's country and overthrowing the legitimate government but you refuse to make an argument for it? At least the "leftist pacifists" have an opinion that they're willing to debate. Instead of just stating your opinion and then giving shit to people who are trying to make a difference, why don't you propose a non-violent solution to this percieved problem in Iraq?

    This whole article is reminisent of the kind of trash you read in those "sceptics" magazines. Rather than make any real argument they just put forward other people's opinions in the worst possible light and say "you'd be stupid to agree with these people".

    Gun fire is the sound of freedom.

    ywan (none / 0) (#124)
    by circletimessquare on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 09:13:06 PM EST

    i said this...

    And if I have confidence in my beliefs, then I must conclude that exposure to the fringe of leftist pacifist beliefs only advances my position. People can inspect for themselves where exactly the folly of pacifism on the question of war with Iraq leads.

    i think i am trying to say that positions like mr. o'keefe's are exemplary of the folly of a pacifist approach to iraq.

    maybe it's not clear, but i think more exposure that guys like this get, and i am giving him exposure, then the more people will disregard pacifist notions on the question of iraq.

    i think it's like trying to suppress the klu klux klan (i don't think mr. o'keefe's ideology is anything remotely as repugnant as the kkk, i am merely using the analogy to illustrate an approach). why hide them? why suppress them? let them make enough noise as they can as publicly as they can, and more people will be exposed to how insane their ideas are rather than being attracted to their ideas if they are suppressed and seen as subversive and "cool" because they go against authority.

    some ideas seem attractive to you if you only get an idea of half of their true nature in semidarkness.

    but shine full sunlight on some ideologies, and their power to persuade completely evaporates when you see the fullness of their position from all sides.

    i honestly think exposing people like mr. o'keefe will reveal pacification no matter what to be empty and hollow and quite loony.

    but then again, i could be totally wrong and just giving him a lot of free PR. lol ;-P


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    and I said... (none / 0) (#173)
    by QuantumG on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 09:20:16 PM EST

    Jesus, so you advocate going into someone else's country and overthrowing the legitimate government but you refuse to make an argument for it? At least the "leftist pacifists" have an opinion that they're willing to debate. Instead of just stating your opinion and then giving shit to people who are trying to make a difference, why don't you propose a non-violent solution to this percieved problem in Iraq?

    The reply button is usually used when you want to post a reply to someone else's post, not avoid it.

    Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
    [ Parent ]

    I wouldn't follow this guy anywhere. (5.00 / 4) (#123)
    by Skywise on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 08:54:28 PM EST

    This guy's got too many screws loose.

    Check out his "political prisoner" court transcripts that he posts on his website (www.humanshield.com)  Near as I can tell, (because he doesn't tell the whole story, and the transcripts are sadly missing whole court appearances where things didn't go in his favor) He was ticketed for driving without insurance, argued that the court had no jurisdiction over him and refused to comply (implied), the court ordered a bench warrant for his arrest, and arrested him as soon as he appeared in court.  He then feebly argues constitutional law.  Then SOME MAJOR COURT APPEARANCE occurs that he doesn't put on the website, where he pleads guilty to not having insurance, even though he DID.  Then, when he goes in for sentencing he cuts a deal with the government to drop the charges (remember, he says he's a political prisoner, but the state is willing to drop the charges), but the court points out that legally, he's already said he was guilty of driving without insurance, and the court has accepted the admission and closed the trial, so theres no charges to drop!  Nitwit then cusses out the court, and can't figure out why "Woody" is trying to restrain him.

    And you want to follow this man into Iraq?

    complaints about my nonargument (4.40 / 5) (#126)
    by circletimessquare on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 09:48:24 PM EST

    some people are complaining about my nonargument, so here goes my argument:

    pacifists are morally autistic. they have a pit bull jaw's grip on this moral idea, that "war is wrong always" and they won't let go of that thought no matter what.

    to me they are reminiscent of the anti-abortionists. it's kind of ironic that both of their extreme websites feature pictures of dead babies! it's sort of the ultimate extension of the bullshit emotional heartstring pull: "doesn't anyone think of the children!"

    an anti-abortionist says "it is never right to take a life, even an unborn embryonic form." just like a pacifist, nothing will move them from this idealistic position that has nothing to do with the nuances of living in the real world. they are morally autistic. they have a deathgrip on their idealism, and they won't let go. their morality is that of a child's. and we all suffer their withering hatred because they have not grown up yet.

    the problem with pacifists and anti-abortionists is they "just don't get it." if you approach them with any rationalizaton to go to war, or to take a fetus, the only psychological reaction you get is a deeper deathgrip hold on their own idealistic morality. they will not budge. they are absolutists. and if life teaches us anything, it is that the middle road is always the best road, and absolutist, idealist attitudes lead to folly. at no matter what extreme you lie on the ideological spectrum, the truth is that the extremes are never superior appraoches than the middle, moderate, balanced road, on any question in life.

    i don't like war. i don't like abortion. but at least i'm level-headed enough to recognize when they are, unfortunately, necessary. i don't like taking out the trash from my house every week, but i recognize that it is a necessary job to do, or my house will stink. same with war and abortion. they are awful, ugly jobs, but they are necessary to maintain civilization.

    so the pacifists and abortionists go on with their deathgrip on their idealistic morality that has nothing to do with an appreciation of the real world, and everything to do with self-defeating idealism. and they scream at all of us who recognize when the middle road is best, and we get no thanks from them for maintaining the world they live in. in fact, we get viciously attacked by what amounts to people with the moral system of a child, with no appreciation for the real world and its nuances.

    it's like the hollywood celebrities who stand up and deliver their withering opinions on the world. as if the lives they lead amount to nothing more than an extension of childhood! yet of course, the other moral children of the world rally around their idealistic flag, delivering their teenage temper tantrums upon the rest of us, and we are supposed to think we are somehow morally inferior to them simply because they have not grown up yet and taken a more moderate measurement of real intractable problems in a messy world. we are hated because we recognize the world is messy, and try to clean it up.

    pacifists and anti-abortionists are morally autistic. they have a deathgrip in their minds on some form of moral idealism, and they will not budge no matter what the real world tells them about complex problems, they will not relax their grip on their idealism.

    to them i say, about other leftist hawks like myself, don't shoot the messenger just because you don't like the message.

    or continue on with your deathgrip on your idealism which on no way instructs us on how to make the world a better place. and you remove yourself from the struggle that is life. you think that running away from reality, removing yourself from the larger argument over complex questions somehow makes you morally superior. all that it means is that your opinions are malformed. they do not take all of reality into account, and are therefore less instructive on how to form real solutions to real problems.

    sometimes, war is necessary. it is always unfortunate.

    sometimes, abortion is necessary. it is always unfortunate.

    do not think that i don't care about iraqi women and children or the unborn. in fact, i care more about iraqi women and children and unborn than you do. my moral philosophy delivers more care to these people than your malformed idealism. after a war with iraq, the plight of the iraqi citizen will improve. in a world where the only babies that are brought into this world are babies that are wanted and can be cared for means happier children. do not confuse me with a bloodthirsty war monger or a morally nihilistic child killer. only in your mind that is so.

    i am a realist. you are an idealist. that is the basic difference between my moral philosophy and that of pacifists and anti-abortionists.

    let the teenage temper tantrums begin.


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    idealism (3.66 / 3) (#135)
    by dalinian on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 06:12:15 AM EST

    Your comment is full of ad hominem remarks. I try to skip past them.
    the truth is that the extremes are never superior appraoches than the middle, moderate, balanced road, on any question in life.
    This is actually wrong. Maybe you are following Aristotle's moral teachings that are pretty obsolete by now. For example, take human rights. Do you not support human rights absolutely? Is that not the only way they even mean anything? If you say that "yeah, maybe human rights are good but only in moderation", you find yourself agreeing with the nastiest tyrants in world history. There are other examples as well: freedom of speech, beauty, etc.

    Idealism can be bad, but so can conservatism.

    i don't like taking out the trash from my house every week, but i recognize that it is a necessary job to do
    But you don't dislike it for moral reasons. The analogy seems flawed. But the abortion one is slightly better. However, abortions are done voluntarily. War is never a voluntary operation: you haven't asked the Iraqi people whether or not they all want to have Saddam "aborted" even if it might cost them their own life. In abortion, there is one person on whom the operation is performed, and whether it is done or not depends entirely on her will. You don't support abortions that are done without asking the mother's permission, do you? I conclude that abortion is not a good analogy and it does not prove your point.

    [ Parent ]
    analogies (1.00 / 2) (#138)
    by circletimessquare on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 10:44:34 AM EST

    all analogies fail to one degree or another. of course the abortion analogy breaks down at some point. my deeper point was to get leftist pacifists to examine something they agree with, and see how the underpinnings of an onion they agree with also underlies an opinion they disagree with. in that regard, i think my analogy is successful in provoking open minds and novel thought on old assumptions of theirs.

    as for your points on the idea of everything in moderation... well you can say then that even moderation should be taken in moderation, no? lol ;-P

    i do consider myself a radical humanist. which is really not a moderate position. but i will allow you to criticize my points on moderation. to counter your arguments would be folly, for you are 100% right.

    however, your arguments do not counter the spirit of my point on moderation in this particular example. so i take your criticism in moderation. HAHAHAHAHAHA ;-P

    ad hominem? isn't an ad hominem attack an attack on the arguer rather than an argument? who did i attack? i think you meant non sequitur. ;-P

    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    ad hominem and moderation (none / 0) (#141)
    by dalinian on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 11:55:34 AM EST

    There were indeed a few (in my opinion) genuine ad hominem remarks. For example that pacifists are against wars because they are morally autistic and don't understand the real world, and that if they were rational adults, they would support wars.

    And about moderation: of course it cannot apply to itself, if it is to mean anything. Sometimes moderation works, other times it doesn't, and it's not a law of nature or the supreme moral principle that moderation should apply to everything. The moderates don't want things to change, and the idealists do; that's not an argument for idealism, but not against it either. Some situations demand idealism, and some moderation, and neither of them works all the time.

    [ Parent ]

    Absolute Positions (none / 0) (#140)
    by forii on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 11:54:52 AM EST

    Absolute positions make for fine rhetoric, but are also intellectually lazy. You use the example of "human rights". You say:

    For example, take human rights. Do you not support human rights absolutely? Is that not the only way they even mean anything? If you say that "yeah, maybe human rights are good but only in moderation", you find yourself agreeing with the nastiest tyrants in world history.

    Now of course, who could possibly argue with supporting "human rights" absolutely, right? But then again, you never say what "human rights" actually are... Maybe it's the "right to free expression". That is something that should be supported absolutely, right? But what if my "free expression" consists of running around accusing my (innocent) next door neighbor of molesting me as a child? Sure, it may ruin his life, but that's no reason to infringe on my "Right to Free Expression", right?

    Okay, so maybe you think that Slander shouldn't be allowed... but now you've lost your absolute position! On the other hand, maybe you have no problem with Slander, or statements purposely made to cause panic, harm, etc. In that case, you are interested in creating a Utopian society, which of course, can not exist.

    Perhaps "free speech" is an imperfect example, because it directly affects other people. So how about a right to not be engaged in servitude? That's an easy concept to defend absolutely. Nobody should ever have to live inside the confines of another, right? But now you have to admit that Prisons should not exist. For while prisons may exist for a reason, reason can't apply when you are taking an Absolute Position. So now you are advocating a society where there is no punishment available for anyone that breaks "the rules". I suppose that it could be argued that in your "Absolute Position" world, there are no rules to speak of, but again, I'm trying to stay within the confines of reality.

    I also take issue with your attempt to group anybody who attempts to take a moderate position with "the nastiest tyrants in history". You've set up the strawman here: "If you don't absolutely support huamn rights [whatever that means], then you are a nasty tyrant.". The "nastiest tyrants" are not that way because they did not absolutely support human rights, but because they absolutely did not support them. I propose that it is possible to do a better job of protecting human welfare rationally without having to resort to mass murder.


    Proud member of the ACLU, the NRA, and the EFF.
    [ Parent ]

    points (none / 0) (#143)
    by dalinian on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 12:52:35 PM EST

    Good points.

    Maybe human rights were a bad example. Beauty is better: do we prefer absolute beauty or beauty in moderation? If absolute beauty is the answer, then moderation does not work all the time, and its status as a supreme principle is shown to be inappropriate.

    The "nastiest tyrants" are not that way because they did not absolutely support human rights, but because they absolutely did not support them.
    No, that's only true for completely authoritarian dictatorships, who don't even pretend to care about people. I could easily imagine a totalitarian dictator saying that some human rights are OK, but the People don't want free speech. Genuinely authoritarian dictators are rare, and perhaps nonexistent. When a totalitarian regime changes into an authoritarian one, when each and every one of the dictator's lies comes out, it collapses almost immediately.

    I think you misunderstand human rights. They themselves are ideals. Every ideal is absolute, and the idea of an ideal is that we should try our best to reach the absolute, even if we know we can never succeed. Moderation suggests that we should not even try. There are situations in which human rights themselves are in conflict, and we cannot help it.

    The reason why we condemn a dictator is often that there is too much evidence that shows that she does not care about even trying to give her people all the basic human rights. But if reaching the impossible ideal is the standard, of course nobody can be said to support human rights.

    [ Parent ]

    Idealism vs. Realism and Dictatorships (none / 0) (#145)
    by forii on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 03:36:38 PM EST

    Thanks for responding.

    I think you misunderstand human rights. They themselves are ideals. Every ideal is absolute, and the idea of an ideal is that we should try our best to reach the absolute, even if we know we can never succeed. Moderation suggests that we should not even try. There are situations in which human rights themselves are in conflict, and we cannot help it.

    What you bring up is the classic question of idealism vs. realism. I don't think that "moderation" suggests that an ideal should not even be approached, but instead that, taking into account the fact that the "ideal" can never be reached, how to maximize the outcome.

    An example of this is the last United States presidential election, where voters were given the choice of George W. Bush, Al Gore, and Ralph Nader. Now if you were anti-Bush (as most Americans were), there was a serious choice between Gore, who was not Bush, but not different enough for some people, and Nader, who was about as different as a candidate could get. From a Leftist point of view, Nader was the "idealist" candidate, and Gore was a "moderate compromise" candidate. Now in an ideal (Leftist) world, Nader (or perhaps an even better candidate) would gather 100% of the vote, and all would live in harmony. But by taking into account the fact that Nader was un-electable (because enough Americans disliked him), a better act would have been to vote for Gore, so as to keep the worst-case candidate from being elected.

    Of course, about 4% of the voters decided to vote Idealistically, and G.W. Bush was elected. I think that, given a second chance to vote, Nader would have received a much smaller amount of votes, as people realized that their Idealistic positions cost them.

    Or to put it another way: A man may be a pacifist, but rape his wife in front of him and watch how quickly he becomes a realist.

    You also bring up authoritarian governments, and I think they are a good example of how even an "Ideal" position doesn't exist. Now the classic example is Singapore. Singapore has a government that is much more authoritarian and restrictive than a lot of Western democracies. From some points of view (including my own), their governmental system is inferior because of the relative lack of freedoms that the citizens enjoy. But I know of reasonable, rational people who believe otherwise. They believe that the increased security and safety is worth the loss of certain freedoms.

    So which system (American or Singaporean) is closer to an ideal? I think it depends on who is being asked. The fact that there is any debate at all shows that there is no single ideal. You mention beauty:

    [D]o we prefer absolute beauty or beauty in moderation?

    I think "beauty" is a perfect example of what I'm speaking of here. "More beauty" is always better, for sure, but what is the definition of beautiful? I'm sure you know people who have a differing definition of "Beautiful" than you do, and between countries and cultures this definition can change drastically. An idealistic position of "more beauty is better" becomes meaningless when faced with the fact that there are multiple ideals, for now one person's "ideal" is another person's "compromise".

    Finally, I want to return to your question of whether we should attempt to reach our ideals or not even try? I think that trying to reach an ideal state is fine, but at the same time I recognize that I live in a world where other people exist, and have differing (but still valid) concepts of "ideal". Knowing this, I realize that it is necessary at times to accept non-ideal solutions, so that, in the big picture, the greater whole improves.


    Proud member of the ACLU, the NRA, and the EFF.
    [ Parent ]

    voting, Singapore, abstractions (none / 0) (#147)
    by dalinian on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 04:54:21 PM EST

    I'm not sure what people hope to achieve by voting, since a single vote never makes a difference. So I don't really know whether one should vote for the candidate one really likes or for the compromise candidate. What's the end result? The compromise candidate doesn't benefit from my vote, because the margin between the winner and the second best is always larger than one. Of course, it's the same for the ideal candidate, but at least I know I have voted for the candidate I support. It seems silly to change your vote to compromise your ideals, since one vote never counts.
    A man may be a pacifist, but rape his wife in front of him and watch how quickly he becomes a realist.
    He might become traumatized as well, but that does not mean that being traumatized is better than pacifism. Maybe I don't get your point? What if a pacifist remains a pacifist even after this? It's certainly possible.

    About Singapore: I don't know that much about Singapore. I remember hearing something about restrictions on bubblegum in order to prevent littering, and perhaps that's a good example of the restrictions you mention.

    But the right to eat bubblegum is not a human right, or if it is, perhaps it should not be. Human rights should cover only the really important needs. And I believe the laws in Singapore are not really in conflict with human rights. Although you might have less freedoms in Singapore than in some other country, you have the basic rights. If there can be global human rights, they have to be general enough to work in different cultural contexts.

    The point is that although people may prefer some Western country to Singapore or vice versa, the choice is between two countries whose governments do support human rights. Maybe human rights can be seen as an abstraction or a model of a legitimate government, and actual governments have some room for improvisation according to local culture and traditions.

    The same could apply to beauty. It is an abstract concept that means different things to different people. But when they talk about the experience of beauty, they are likely to find some common properties in their experiences. And although it now becomes impossible to define a single absolutely beautiful work of art, these common properties of the experience of beauty could work as a guide to what properties beautiful works of art must at least have. Absolute beauty of a work would perhaps consist in being a perfect realization of an idea, having the force to trigger strong emotional reactions, etc. And again, there is room for improvisation, for styles and genres. But if you are an artist, you'll reach for the ideal.

    [ Parent ]

    Voting (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by forii on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 09:16:00 PM EST

    I find it interesting that someone who is idealistic enough to vote for a sure-losing candidate is also cynical enough to have no faith in the basic democratic institution of voting: ("I'm not sure what people hope to achieve by voting").

    Remember, the current President of the United States was voted in on a lead of less than 400 votes. Your single vote may not count for as much as you would like, but it still counts.


    Proud member of the ACLU, the NRA, and the EFF.
    [ Parent ]

    margins (none / 0) (#154)
    by dalinian on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 02:54:24 AM EST

    400? That's still 400 times the margin that it would have to be in order for one vote to make any difference. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that there is a very small change before the election that my vote will count, but usually this proves not to be the case, as the margins will still be too wide. But there is no counting more or counting less - the vote either counts or it doesn't, and in virtually all the cases it doesn't.

    The power is in convincing other people to vote how you want them to vote, not in voting yourself. For example, it's better to convince someone who would have voted for the other candidate to vote for yours than it is to vote yourself (it counts as two votes for your candidate in an election with two real candidates).

    [ Parent ]

    voting (none / 0) (#163)
    by forii on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 01:07:02 PM EST

    You're right, it is more important to have other people vote your way. This gives an individual a lot of power, because various other parties are trying hard to get your vote. They are willing to cater to your interests just because your vote is more important than their own individual vote. But that only matters if you do actually vote. By not voting, you've lost all importance.


    Proud member of the ACLU, the NRA, and the EFF.
    [ Parent ]

    individuals and power (none / 0) (#169)
    by dalinian on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 03:19:05 PM EST

    You're right, it is more important to have other people vote your way. This gives an individual a lot of power, because various other parties are trying hard to get your vote.
    I don't follow that reasoning. Political campaigns are not targeted to individuals but masses. The masses have power, not individuals. If you are an individual who is not controlling the masses, you have virtually no power.
    They are willing to cater to your interests just because your vote is more important than their own individual vote. But that only matters if you do actually vote. By not voting, you've lost all importance.
    Lost all importance as a customer or a unit of a focus group, yes. Then they just move on and try to sell their ideology to the next guy. But if we are talking about political power, I never had any importance at all. No individual is important in elections.

    There is always the next guy. If you can control him, you always win. If you can't, you always lose. Whether you vote yourself or not makes no difference.

    With all that said, I actually do vote. No candidate I've ever voted for has been elected to any position. The "realist" masses have voted for the compromise candidates, because each member of the masses lives in a delusion that his vote counts, that he has power. And because he thinks he is powerful, he thinks he has to speculate and settle for compromises in order to stop the worst candidate from getting in. But in reality, he cannot stop anything. What is sold to him as a compromise is not a compromise: only those with power can make compromises, and if you don't have any power, it seems to me that the only sensible things you can do is to be honest and say who you really support or not to vote at all.

    I do realize that my approach is a very cynical one. But at the same time, it is as far as I can see completely realistic as well.

    [ Parent ]

    Realism (4.33 / 3) (#136)
    by Znork on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 06:41:02 AM EST

    You claim to be a realist, yet you say that after the war the situation for the iraqi citizens will improve.

    I doubt that. More likely; the US makes a token rebuilding and democratization effort, pulls out, and the 'new' goverment either turns out bad or gets deposed in a military coup. Or, the suppressed people of Iraq turns to religion and promptly votes in a religious dictatorship that turns out to be somewhat like the Taliban. Or, the US tries to stay in and support the new government and gets stuck for several decades fighting a war against guerillas rather like the Soviet did in Afghanistan, eventually has to pull out due to costs and public opinion at which time the government is replaced with another religious or military dictatorship.

    You assume that Iraq is a country with a long recent democratic tradition that just needs some help to remove a psychotic madman. It's not.

    Sometimes war is necessary. Sometimes it is also pointless.

    [ Parent ]

    bets are made (none / 0) (#137)
    by circletimessquare on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 10:32:01 AM EST

    bets are made then. i have full confidence in the us on the question of instilling democracy in iraq. i don't see bloody turmoil like that for the soviets in afghanistan for the americans so far. and i think that iraq did have democratic tradions before the bath party massacres of saddam in 1979 (1979 i think).

    i also think that if it were 1945, you would be just as cynical about the us's abilities to instill democracy in germany or japan. not for the same reasons, but for the same cynicism. your cynicism on the question speaks volumes. that's the real issue here, not the details of your argument.

    you can sit on the sidelines of history if you choose to. watch it happen and pass you by. because progress really does happen in this world. and it is never because of negativity like yours, but because of passion. passion decides the day. alwasy has, always will. there is no passion behind saddam hussein, only cynical dictatorial fiat. democracy will flower in iraq, mark my words. watch history pass your negativity by.

    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    cynicism vs. realism (none / 0) (#190)
    by kaibutsu on Fri Jan 24, 2003 at 01:35:33 PM EST

    Hm. So it's just cynicism that makes us doubt the U.S.'s ability to install a democratic government after conq... er, liberating a foreign nation? I seem to recall that we've only in the rarest circumstances helped to bring about a democratic government after a war. Most recently, we can look at Afghanistan, but examples abound in American history: the Phillipines, any number of Central American countries, Vietnam, and so on. Zinn has a reasonably complete list. So is it cynicism that makes me doubt America's good intentions, or historical realism? The U.S. has made no major changes to its policy in the last year to make me think that we'll be treating Iraq any diffrently than Afghanistan.
    -kaibutsu
    [ Parent ]
    Nice comment (4.50 / 2) (#142)
    by Perpetual Coming on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 11:59:14 AM EST

    Even if I don't agree with you, you reasoned your position quite well. I would like to point out that there are absolutes on both sides. The persons or people who think that we should go to war are just as absolute/resolute about the idea that sometimes war is necessary. You notice the people that think war is unnecessary because it's a different opinion than the majority and you are paying more attention, and this is why you sense the absolute in that position but not in the other. Regardless, I don't agree with your parallel between abortion and war.

    I believe in the woman's right to choose. I hold somewhat of a libertarian viewpoint on it. I don't think it should happen, but I don't think it's the responsibility of a government to solve every social problem. Rather, I believe that personal responsibility is the only answer for some problems. In essence, I don't think you can legislate morality. Morality is a personal thing, which comes down to individual judgement, and nothing can substitute for it without prostituting itself. I know that abortion is not a good or desirable thing. It represents a breakdown in judgement of a number of people. I happen personally to think that there's not too big a problem with aborting a fetus in the early stages, but that late-stage abortions do represent a slippery slope. I still don't think it should be illegal. "Thou shalt not kill" is not to be legislated; it's to be understood and taught.

    I think it was Ghandi who said that the gains from violence are only temporary, but the damage is permanent. You say that war is sometimes necessary, but for what purpose? Is it necessary to vent some steam, some pent up aggression? Is it necessary to secure an empire and boost the economy? Or, is it absolutely necessary in order to stop violence.

    There's a brilliant idea! You need to act violently to stop other people from acting violently. That's the thing that really bugs me about war. It's really stupid. It's not necessary, but it happens, not because it's necessary, but because people act in their own self-interest to advance their own little cause, at the expense of everyone else. But what about crimes against humanity, what about genocide, what about this or that? The point is that violence does not pay. It's like stealing. You may get the results you want immediately, but it's not the right way to live.

    Your argument is much more like, "sometimes it's necessary to lie and steal". I would say that it's not only because those situations are avoidable. We, humans, can elevate our situation in this world to the point that those things are not necessary. That is why it's not necessary. We can collectively reduce the absolute need for those types of actions and remove the contexts that create them. We absolutely have to reduce the need for violence. It is the only hope for civilization.

    "And another reason that I'm happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point here we are going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demands didn't force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men for years now have been talking about war and peace. But now no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it's nonviolence or
    nonexistence. That is where we are today." -MLK

    [ Parent ]

    A difference between pacifists & anti-abortion (none / 0) (#153)
    by Verax on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 02:03:56 AM EST

    to me they are reminiscent of the anti-abortionists. it's kind of ironic that both of their extreme websites feature pictures of dead babies! it's sort of the ultimate extension of the bullshit emotional heartstring pull: "doesn't anyone think of the children!"

    You are painting with a very broad brush here. Not all people opposed to abortion are pacifists in your sense of the word. Further, not all people with anti-abortion views condone the use of the dead baby pictures. I find them needlessly offensive, and especially uncharitable when placed where they can be viewed by children.

    As a catholic I am opposed to abortion, yet understand that there can be just reasons for war (for defense when the damage of the aggressor is lasting, grave, and certain; all other means ending the aggression must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective; the military action has a good probability of success; and the use of weapons must not cause more evil than the aggression being defended against).

    You are correct that some members of each group may use the "think of the children" phrase. But there is a difference between the two. The reason for being opposed to abortion is that it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human. For both abortion and war, the babies' lives lost are innocent. In the case of just war, it is not the intent to kill the innocent. On the other hand, the sole purpose of the deliberate actions of an abortionist is precisely to bring about that death.

    I don't think anyone is truly a fan of dead babies. The crucial difference here is the matter of intent, which I believe has a much more subtle but powerful effect on society than we really give consideration.



    ----------------------------------------------
    "It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
    [ Parent ]
    You don't like taking the trash out? (2.00 / 1) (#165)
    by krek on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 01:24:55 PM EST

    Then, stop making trash!

    There are ways to live without producing mountains of stinky garbage.

    Sure, I believe that "war is wrong, always". May I ask what you believe in?

    [ Parent ]
    stop making trash? (none / 0) (#193)
    by circletimessquare on Mon Jan 27, 2003 at 06:50:00 PM EST

    thank you, idealist.

    when you figure out how to live without making trash, i think they could use you on the trip to mars space capsule design committee. life makes trash. you can reduce it, even to a great degree, but you can never eliminate it. recycling only takes care of so much, and if a given form of recycling is energetically or fiscally prohibitive, it is counterproductive in the end. it's called entropy. look at the big picture. welcome to the real world.
    C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
    [ Parent ]

    Exactly, no trash! (none / 0) (#195)
    by krek on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 09:32:35 AM EST

    The Native Americans were very good at living without waste, everything was used, nothing thrown away. Mind you, I will admit that it is much harder to live without watse when the entire system is designed to maximise waste as a means of increasing consumption and thus increase profits for the companies that generate the waste... but that is no excuse in my opinion.

    [ Parent ]
    Hatred and misrepresenting the views of a group. (none / 0) (#171)
    by Verax on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 04:27:30 PM EST

    an anti-abortionist says "it is never right to take a life, even an unborn embryonic form."

    Perhaps an anti-abortionist says that, but not all of us. :) The catholic position is that it is never right to deliberately take an innocent human life. Each of those words is important. If the killing is not deliberate, if the life is not innocent, if the life is not human, then the killing may be morally ok, although perhaps regrettable. For example, for legitimate scientific research, there would be nothing wrong with killing feline, canine, bovine, or avian embryos, since cats, dogs, cows, and birds are not human. A human embryo, a human infant, a human adolescent, a human adult, and a very old human are all human. The catholic position is that humans, at all stages of life, have the inalienable right to life and physical integrity.

    just like a pacifist, nothing will move them from this idealistic position that has nothing to do with the nuances of living in the real world.

    I don't believe that is accurate with respect to those opposing abortion. It's not a matter of nuances, it's a matter of objective truth. The square root of 2 is an irrational number, whether I like it or not. (And I don't but I have seen the proof, and it is solid, so I am obliged to either refute the proof or accept it's conclusion). "Nuances of the real world" do not change objective truth. The square root of 2 is still an irrational number.

    they are morally autistic. they have a deathgrip on their idealism, and they won't let go.

    I'm not anti-abortion because I enjoy a deathgrip on idealism. It's a matter of where the truth has led me. If you can show me that an embryo is not living, OR that a the embryo found in the womb of a woman is not human, OR that the human embryo is not innocent, then I'll change my mind. But can you really do that? If the embryo were dead, there'd be no need for the abortion. A pregnant women is human, and does not have cat or fish embryo in her womb. And lastly the human embryo has not had opportunity to do anything blameworthy, and certainly it is not so gravely at fault as to deserve the death penalty. I don't see how "nuances of the real world" change any of that. But please explain if you can. I am listening.

    their morality is that of a child's. and we all suffer their withering hatred because they have not grown up yet.

    I personally don't have any "withering hatred" going on. It seems that some members of any group will have hatred, and others will not; whether we're talking abouth athiests, or catholics, or doctors, or lawyers, or scientists, or republicans, or democrats. Just because some people in each of those groups suffer from hatred and cause others to suffer as well does not mean that everyone in all of those groups is unable to reason. As for the morality of a child, we come again to objective truth: 1+1=2 does not suddenly become untrue when a child understands it.



    ----------------------------------------------
    "It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
    [ Parent ]
    objective truth (none / 0) (#192)
    by circletimessquare on Mon Jan 27, 2003 at 06:46:20 PM EST

    your objective truth sounds like idealism to me.

    the real world is more than philosophy. your reductionist approach to morality does not take the complexities of the real world into account, and attempts to boil the real world down to a set of simple rules hurts life in more ways and to a greater degree than killing unborn fetuses does.
    C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
    [ Parent ]

    There's a lot more at stake than just the fetus. (none / 0) (#194)
    by Verax on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 10:10:57 PM EST

    your objective truth sounds like idealism to me.

    I don't own the truth. It just is. And perhaps truth does sound like idealism to you. That does not make it any less the truth.

    the real world is more than philosophy.

    I've never claimed otherwise.

    your reductionist approach to morality does not take the complexities of the real world into account...

    What does "reductionist approach" mean?

    It is never right to (1) deliberately (2) kill an (3) innocent (4) human. How is this failing to take into account the complexities of the real world? Can you provide a concrete example where you believe this is not the case?

    and attempts to boil the real world down to a set of simple rules hurts life in more ways and to a greater degree than killing unborn fetuses does.

    Really? Can you provide any concrete examples?

    The suicide rate for women who have produced induced abortion is double that of women who carry their babies to term. 30% of women who undergo induced abortion experience severe emotional distress, and that becomes 37% for those who have a second trimester abortion. [1] In that same study, of 854 women interviewed a year after undergoing induced abortion, 76.1% said that they would never consider an abortion if they were to become pregnant again. Furthermore, induced abortion causes a significant increase in breast and ovarian cancer rates of the mothers.

    Immediately after an induced abortion, the mother realizes what has happened, and sees clearly through the "pro choice" arguments. Of course, she has to live with what has happened, and the usual response to this horrible realization is a temptation to commit suicide. Often these women can't talk with anyone about what happened, and it chews away at them. They become withdrawn. After time, many of them start rationalizing and denying the evil that happened, at which point it is even more difficult for them to get help.

    If you are suggesting that a fetus is simply killed, and, outside of that, life goes on as usual, then perhaps it is you who are oversimplifying and not taking the real world into account.

    [1]European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, October 1998



    ----------------------------------------------
    "It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
    [ Parent ]
    I wonder... (none / 0) (#168)
    by ryochiji on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 02:24:19 PM EST

    > pick up their bags and head down to Iraq and stand with the Iraqi people.

    I wonder if he means he'll actually stand up against the Iraqi government to help the people get their freedom, or if he means stand up against Western invasion.

    Personally, I consider myself a liberal, but I'm not necessarily against war, per se. What I am against is war unsanctioned by the UN. But that's a whole different issue.

    ---
    IlohaMail: Webmail that works.

    Hamburgers and Video Games: Isolationist Dogma (none / 0) (#180)
    by Merriwether on Wed Jan 22, 2003 at 05:18:08 AM EST

    I pray that your trust in the UN Security Council's descisions does not equal your trust in the UN Human Rights Council, which is now under the leadership of a Lybian foreign minister. The inmates are in control of the asylum. My not-so-personal opinion is that the US should pull our diplomats out of the UN, pull our military out of Korea, Japan, the Phillipines, Puerto Rico and Europe, and our wallets out of NAFTA and stick to making hamburgers, movies and computer games which are, apparently, the only things we make that the rest of the world desires (a note to Japanese readers: Levis are not made in the US--thanks NAFTA, thanks Billy-Bob Clinton!). As for Iraq, I trust what the Germans tell us. Afte all, how could they possibly be wrong? Of course, that whole thing in Czechloslovakia, Poland, and France was all a big misunderstanding. The rest of world can go to Hell. I am tired of your whining. Umm, that hamburger tastes good.... Wishing we still had the Neutron Bomb, Merriwether (Currently Pissed-Off, ex-liberal, ex-union, ex Cub Scout and ex-exhibitionist)

    [ Parent ]
    Why is this even an issue? (none / 0) (#186)
    by epepke on Thu Jan 23, 2003 at 08:55:24 PM EST

    If he thinks that he can get thousands or tens of thousands of people to pack up their bags and head down to Iraq to side with the Iraqi people, then nobody is preventing him from doing it. If he can't, well, tough toenails.


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


    Sound like a perfectly good idea. (none / 0) (#188)
    by stockholm2003 on Fri Jan 24, 2003 at 08:08:14 AM EST

    I'll try to get hold of an elevated position so I can use my PSG-90 when the Nazi(oups... sorry... American!) troops arrive. The american flag makes a perfect fit in the cross-hair. /Swede!

    Nahh ... not really ... (none / 0) (#189)
    by stockholm2003 on Fri Jan 24, 2003 at 08:32:07 AM EST

    Wouldn't even want to kill americans - although they gladly kill iraqis. Noone should have to die.

    [ Parent ]
    A pacifist goes nuclear: human shields to Iraq | 195 comments (177 topical, 18 editorial, 1 hidden)
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