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[P]
Opposing the Iraq war in pro-war terms is absurd.

By valeko in Op-Ed
Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 12:50:29 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Anyone that sees through the infantile thumb sucking that passes for public discourse in the United States can agree that the "debate" surrounding this war of imperialist aggression in Iraq conforms strictly to a routine no different from the past.

The ruling class sets all parameters of the "debate," and hands down a specific, dumbed-down language which it deems suitable for public consumption, kind of like making an "age-appropriate" G-rated film specially tailored for the "immaturity" of the audience.


In this case, the prescribed spectrum of "debate," which has all the sinister characteristics of the theatrical, manufactured public discourse that makes up the respectably "democratic" facade of an Orwellian society, is one that encapsulates the "moral" question of Saddam Hussein and little else. Thus, when we discuss the question of whether this war and this occupation, complete with all its implications, is just, we are made to grapple with the "moral question" of Saddam Hussein's undeniably brutal, terroristic regime.

This is nothing new, even in very recent times. During the "outbreak"[1] of the Kosovo situation and the bombing of Serbia, virtually all American public discussion, in the mainstream media and otherwise, spun about the singular axis of whether the U.S. should be so altruistic as to sacrifice its resources and compromise the lives of its troops just to defend some Albanians somewhere from getting slaughtered. It was seriously -- if rhetorically -- asked whether it was the U.S.'s job to be "world policeman." And after intense "soul searching" and "deliberation," the people apparently heaved a collective sigh and agreed that yes, if Europe, the UN, etc., can't do the world's "dirty work" of putting "horrible dictators" like Milosevic out of business, someone has to do it. Spectacular imagery of Milosevic as Hitler Reincarnate was conjured to explain why the U.S. had, despite its "reluctance" to intervene everywhere, just had to do something this time. Discussion of the larger strategic picture and/or the overall nature of that conflict did not fall within the prescribed play pen nor within the general limits of acceptable political culture, and so like anything else of substance was relegated to the shadowy ranks of "fringe leftists" and other unpatriotic, America-hating traitors. Of the "liberals," Democrats, and anti-war protesters, many suggested that although it was necessary to alter Serbia's conduct and remove Milosevic from power, it could be done without bombs. In other words, the society as a whole accepted the basic premise of the official line.

To some extent, this was definitely true of the Afghanistan war as well, although such moralising played a more secondary role there, overshadowed by the awesome potency of the claim that justice was being done for 11 September. Nevertheless, much propaganda mileage was squeezed from the Taliban's oppression of women, whose burqas, seemingly out of nowhere, became a cause worth militarily fighting for in and of itself.

The political climate of this latest conflict was no different. While focusing mainly on the tenuous Al Qaeda "connection" and the alleged weapons of mass destruction, which Iraq's ruling regime supposedly sought in large quantities in order to threaten world peace and destroy America, there was the routine punctuation of the "moral imperative" for toppling Hussein. Conservative commentators fumed at questions about the justification for this latest military adventure, asserting that the "moral superiority" of the U.S. and the "new situation"[2] were the justifications, requiring no further elaboration. To suggest otherwise was not just unpatriotic and sinful, but somehow inhuman.

It's obvious enough that no rational person, whatever his granular political sentiments, would uphold Saddam Hussein's murderous regime. To oppose the launching of this war is not to be "pro-Saddam" or to whitewash, downplay, or in any way deny the horror that his regime has brought. But just as with Kosovo, there is a much larger problem here that goes far beyond the straw men and slanders of reactionaries. The problem is that the impotent American Left, meaning the usual menagerie of Democrats and other "liberals," has had the parameters of discussion dictated to it; it has acquiesced to the circumscription of "officially sanctioned" discourse. This has resulted in an inconsistent, castrated opposition that has not pursued the correct interpretation of the matter, while falling victim to accusations of jadedness and confusion that are not entirely unfounded.

The mainstream anti-war crowd, by and large, appears to have accepted that vital tenet of American political psychology that says to treat entirely amoral political machinations as some kind of moral question. It has forced the discussion of this war into one single corner: isn't removing Saddam Hussein a good thing? Or, put another way: Yeah, U.S. empire is bad, but Saddam is bad too. Many staple opponents of the war are backed into this corner, compelled to defend alternatives to the military "liberation" of Iraq. One archetypical example is Win Without War, an organisation that internalised the premise that we must "win," that there is something to "win," but simply urged not doing so through outright military action. Grappling with this moral perplexity is difficult; after all, what, are you really saying such a horrible man as Saddam Hussein should be left in power? What does this say about your own virtue, this crass contempt for the welfare of the Iraqi people? This has led to frequent defensive assertions like the one made in this Kuro5hin comment[3]:

[W]as removing Saddam a good thing? Perhaps -- time will tell. Was the war m orally justified? Even if Iraq becomes a paradise, the answer is still no.

Evil intentions still sometimes lead to good results. That does not excuse the evil intentions, or justify the acts. The (unintended) end result cannot justify the evil means used to achieve them.

The war in Iraq is not a war for the liberation of the Iraqi people. To be sure, the goal was the overthrow of the Ba'ath regime, but not for the purpose of liberating the Iraqi people from it. One need not dig far into the United States' illustrious history of military interventions and coups throughout the last century to understand that if it would have been more suitable to its aims to replace Saddam Hussein with an even worse dictator, it would have done exactly that. The last sentence of the quoted text alludes to this somewhat: "The (unintended) end result cannot justify the evil means used to achieve them." The effect of the regime change on the Iraqi people, positive or negative, is a red herring -- it is irrelevant here, because the welfare of the Iraqi people was not a consideration in initiating this war beyond (a) its propaganda value and (b) the extent to which its improvement is conducive to American strategic objectives. There is no altruism here, no self-sacrifice, no generosity on the part of the American state. We cannot simply accept the premises that are given to us, for this is a rejection of critical thought. We should not be forced to define our anti-war stance in pro-war terms, for that is allowing the enemy to define the language in which we will speak.

Apart from doing the bidding of the ruling class by harping on a red herring, there is a larger metaphysical error here, and one that seems to be a fixture of American political culture as shaped from above. It is the tendency to view the machinations of politics as moral questions, when it is convenient to do so, of course. As indicated, the substitution of a different regime for that of Saddam Hussein is not a "moral" or "immoral" act in and of itself; it is a function of politics -- of the secular politics of imperialism. There seems to be a compulsion among many mainstream left-liberals (as well as conservatives, certainly) to literally try to quantify the benefits of regime change in Iraq, to express not intervening as some kind of "opportunity cost" to the Iraqi people, perhaps expressed in terms of "additional deaths," as though this were an economic transaction. One reader of my home town newspaper, apparently "morally outraged" by an editorial that pointed out the Turkish government's atrocities against its Kurdish population, gave a figure for the number of Iraqi Kurds that Saddam Hussein's regime has killed and asked whether the author really thought that Turkey's government could have killed more. This urge to quantify is misplaced, and confounds the trivial with the significant. The actions of imperialist states are not defined by numbers or by a related all-around morality. Perhaps American "liberals" can be fooled into believing that there is a moral calculus of some kind involved, but to the politically conscious people of the world it is abundantly clear that "military humanitarianism" is nothing more than a cynical lie.

A related fallacy lies in the separation of this war from the world-historic conjuncture of which it is part. This is not an isolated event, nor some kind of exception to a rule or departure from the norm. Military aggression is endemic to the imperialist system, and acts in spasms according to its imperatives. In other words, it is endemic. It is disheartening that the anti-war movement is accepting, by and large, the notion that this war is "over." None of this is over.

And while the ruling class may be handing down this absurd lexicon of moral imperatives, liberation, freedom, and democracy, this is not the language they speak inside their own circles. This war is intended to facilitate the restructuring of power relations in the Middle East and the extension of American geostrategic influence into unprecedented spheres. This may seem outlandish to worldly "liberals," but it is a dead-serious proposition within the halls of power. The language of lesser-known documents like the National Security Strategy illustrates this quite well, as does a paragraph from the Pentagon's famed Defense Planning Guidelines for the Fiscal Years 1994-1999:

Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. ... we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. ... we must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.

The same document, which also made clear in no uncertain terms that it is imperative that the U.S. "remain the predominant outside power in the region and [to] preserve the U.S. and Western access to the region's oil," speaks in a language more reflective of the authentic basis of American foreign policy. Perhaps the American Left should study it, instead of stubbornly clinging to its conciliatory, reformist vernacular.

[1] Such neutral language serves to give us the impression that the American leadership was "confronted" with the "Kosovo crisis" rather than chose to create it. This fits well into the mythos of the "reluctant empire," the American "benevolent hegemon" that "reluctantly" accepts the "burden" of empire.

[2] e.g. The post-September 11th new strategic climate/new security situation that called for living in an "entirely different world" from "yesterday."

[3] I'm sorry alleria. I am not picking on you; your comment was just suitable for my example. It could well have been anyone else's.

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Display: Sort:
Opposing the Iraq war in pro-war terms is absurd. | 496 comments (371 topical, 125 editorial, 0 hidden)
Too late for moral arguments. (2.88 / 9) (#5)
by Mr Hogan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:17:55 AM EST

It would have been moral to intervene on behalf of the Kurds being slaughtered - ten fucking years ago before the Kurds set up their own autonomous region in Northern Iraq. They turn on their CNN see Kurdish soldiers celebrating fall of Baghdad think "awesome we are liberators" but those soldiers would celebrate fall of Ankara even harder if only the US would liberate the Turks. I keep telling people the situation in Iraq ca. the invasion was worse than that in Gaza and the West Bank but people don't want to compare human rights reports - they think everything happens in Iraq is one evil act thing after another presumably committed in secret.

We know very well the US its CIA the cone of silence and poison darts could have eliminated Hussein - Jesus they probably killed him in the second if not the first decapitation attack - but Hussein is incidental it is Iraq they want because the Iraqis are benighted people need the white man's help.

Fuck 'em and their arguments they are cunts - they'll kill you too, Yanks.

--
Life is food and rape, then tilt.

oops should be: NO worse (4.00 / 4) (#10)
by Mr Hogan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:27:09 AM EST

Ok some people they think lurid details are important - antiseptic violence and oppression is more moral than Saddam's primal ferocity - it is moral to bomb an apartment building in Gaza accidentally bulldoze Rachel Corrie shoot at terrorists in the larval stages of their development but it is evil to pull fingernails. That is bullshit - Palestinians die every day for being alive - their very life is a political threat - and the rest are systematically oppressed. You can invade Israel if you want there is lots of documentary pretext - the resolutions of the UN Sec. Council you are fond of.

--
Life is food and rape, then tilt.
[ Parent ]

So morals have no place in politics? (3.71 / 7) (#6)
by Demiurge on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:21:25 AM EST

In which case, what's left other than national self-interest? I bet you and Kissinger would get along just fine. He even pursued detente with the Soviet Union, which should make an unrepentant Marxist like you giddy!

No, but. (4.00 / 4) (#7)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:23:01 AM EST

Morals are not what guides the politics in question.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

How do you know? (none / 0) (#17)
by jjayson on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:44:18 AM EST

Yes, I will keep asking this question, evertime sometimes tries to say that morality played no issue in this war. A few months ago people were complaining that President Bush was using is Biblical morality to make decisions, now the opposite it being claimed.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
No, nobody claimed that. (5.00 / 4) (#21)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:50:58 AM EST

It is implied that Bush used a certain interpretation of Biblical morality to make decisions. The thrust of the argument is that it is a twisted, warped interpretation. Were I a theologist, I'd weigh in.

Moral considerations do not govern the American leadership's decision because it is clear from the occasionally genuine statements of broad policy (not to mention occasional doses of reality that slip by) that they are not a factor. As you may or may not be aware, the Planning Guidelines was a leaked document.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Morality is subjective. (4.66 / 3) (#23)
by Mr Hogan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:59:58 AM EST

Every war ever fought was moral even the immoral ones. But if you insist on moral clarity I think you should defer to the Pope on this matter Bush is just a sinner.

--
Life is food and rape, then tilt.
[ Parent ]

No, it's not you cretin. (none / 0) (#30)
by Demiurge on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:22:32 AM EST

A common mistake of idiot armchain philosophers is to assume that because different societies at different times have possessed different moral codes, there can be no universal morality. This is painfully wrong, as there are numerous ways to judge whether an act is moral or immoral, like Kant's categorical imperative.

[ Parent ]
Yes it is, you fru-fru intellectual. (4.33 / 3) (#40)
by Mr Hogan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:37:04 AM EST

A common mistake of bookish monkeys can't catch a football or sew a dress to name two of an infinite number of human talents have equal claim to "truth" is to assume that just because someone arranged words into a sentence the sentence must be true even though another frilly fru-fru poodle - one of billions who could have if they tried - just wrote a trite and colorless tract "proving" Kant was wrong and so it goes philosophy is not more useful than solving crossword puzzles.

--
Life is food and rape, then tilt.
[ Parent ]

O! On reload... (5.00 / 4) (#50)
by Mr Hogan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:49:04 AM EST

Pre-emptive invasion fails Kant's categorical imperative quite spectacularly thanks I suppose I should be grateful to you for feeding me my lines.

--
Life is food and rape, then tilt.
[ Parent ]

Once again, you have been spotted (5.00 / 2) (#78)
by DominantParadigm on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:41:58 AM EST

You are the most vicious of trolls. I can only assume that you grow in the same conditions as a mushroom.

Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


[ Parent ]
I'll sign that! (nt) (none / 0) (#471)
by Kuranes on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 03:39:56 PM EST




Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
So are you saying that you actually like Hussein? (2.00 / 17) (#11)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:31:42 AM EST

How could you like such a brutal dictator? You know if you lived in his country he'd kill you if you disagreed with his policies. You should be glad you live in a country that takes free speech so far as to tolerate unrepentant treason such as yours.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
Rumsfeld likes Hussein too (3.90 / 10) (#29)
by morkeleb on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:20:46 AM EST

Or at least he used to.

And I am pretty sure the author of this particular article never sat down to have tea with Saddam or shook his hand.


"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 ]
Shut up, traitor (5.00 / 7) (#130)
by Filthy Socialist Hippy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:55:19 PM EST

Saddam is our enemy.  He has always been our enemy.

--
leftist, you don't love America, you love what America with all its wealth and power can be if you turn it into a socialist state. - thelizman
[ Parent ]
Except... (2.50 / 2) (#166)
by ajdecon on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:23:14 PM EST

for when we supported him.

Just a quick note, sir: statement of fact can never be traitorous, at least not in this sort of discussion. It can be inconvenient, or it can distract from more important points, but sooner or later it must be addressed.

A better response would have been: "We made a mistake. Saddam was not a good man then, and we probably shouldn't have supported him. Clearing up that mistake was one reason for removing him."

See? Much more polite, and more likely to sway all those evil leftist idiots....


--
"Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself."
-Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Hear that sound? (5.00 / 4) (#174)
by tkatchev on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:47:03 PM EST

The sound of allusion flying way over your head.

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

Read 1984 (none / 0) (#445)
by c4miles on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 11:44:30 AM EST

If you want to know why that comment was highly rated and why yours was marked down.
--
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.
[ Parent ]
Liken it to this (3.50 / 2) (#416)
by mayo on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 09:45:44 PM EST

My mate John used to be best mates with Ken even though Ken was crazy as a cut snake. He was a good mechanic who'd help you where he could and could be good company at times, intelligent and funny, but he was also bloody unpredictable. Anyway, eventually John found out Ken was sleeping with his wife. Should John still like Ken too?

My point is, whether it's a mate sleeping with your wife, beating his wife, starting a cult, wearing underpants for three days at a time, invading Kuwait, gassing Kurds or whatever, it seems to me that we're free to choose not to like people when they start behaving more like assholes than usual...

[ Parent ]
Reasons for the war... (4.41 / 24) (#14)
by pb on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:33:55 AM EST

The original justification for the war on Iraq was to enforce UN resolution 1441. Disregarding the fact that the US took it upon itself to be judge, jury, and executioner here, rather than risk a veto in the security counsel, this is the most valid reason the US has stated for this war. This war is officially not about any humanitarian concerns for the Iraqi people; it is not about supporting humanitarian causes, nor is it about supporting UN resolutions that support humanitarian causes. If it were, the US would be at war with Israel right now, not Iraq.

I've heard other reasons given for this war, some stated by the US government, others viciously denied.

  • To make a world that protects America's interests (PNAC)
  • To pre-emptively protect the USworld from Iraqi aggression
  • To remove Saddam Hussein from power
  • To liberate the Iraqi people
  • To spread democracy
  • To combat terrorism
  • To protect Israel
  • Oil
Obviously the US is only interested in the US having the power to pre-emptively declare war on people; they aren't too keen on giving that power up to India, for example. Similarly, they're only interested in deposing governments they don't like; they wouldn't approve of the rest of the world doing the same.

The message I've been hearing from the US on this issue is quite clear, it's "Do as I say, don't do as I do". The US has been doing more sabre-rattling than North Korea in an attempt to intimidate other governments that it may plan to attack next, like Syria. This sort of activity will not reduce terrorism, nor will it improve foreign relations. So this shortens our list somewhat.

  • To enhance America's power and influence in the world / extend its dominance
  • To stabilize the Middle Eastprotect Israel
  • Oil
That's it; this war isn't and wasn't justified at all, and the stated and unstated reasons are not good enough for the world. It's all based on greed, lies, and faulty reasoning, which soon becomes clear once others try to (1) argue against such insanity, or (2) use the same faulty reasoning.

I'd be interested in any other (unstated) reasons for war here, as well as why such reasons (if they're so good...) remained unstated in the original pursuit of war.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall

Yeah, we should install Saddam as ruler again. (2.16 / 12) (#15)
by Demiurge on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:40:17 AM EST

As a way of making amends, and all.

This war saved lives. You can still oppose it, but you do so with the knowledge that you're placing your opposition over the lives of innocent Iraqis.

[ Parent ]
How do you know this? (4.22 / 9) (#20)
by Mr Hogan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:50:25 AM EST

You do not - we know very well a hundred thousand died from secondary causes after the first Gulf War and we can see on our TV screens the US forces are not prepared to deter internecine and religious strife medicate and feed a sick and hungry people so your side better start resurrecting the dead if you expect anyone to swallow the conqueror's we did it to save future lives rhetoric.

--
Life is food and rape, then tilt.
[ Parent ]

how did you come up with that one? (3.77 / 9) (#24)
by pb on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:03:02 AM EST

And, while you're at it, please tell me how many lives this war saved. Did it save more lives than the 8,000 people who have died so far? Did it result in less property damage? Were less precious artifacts destroyed in the long run?

Please, keep us posted as to how successful we've been here, as opposed to the less fortunate but more peaceful alternate universes that you are apparently keeping tabs on...
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

How many cans did it take to whitewash Saddam? (2.80 / 5) (#28)
by Demiurge on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:17:55 AM EST

He was a monster, a brutal, murderous tyrant. Scott Ritter, hardly a "warmonger", said ""The prison in question was inspected by my team in Jan. 1998. It appeared to be a prison for children - toddlers up to pre-adolescents - whose only crime was to be the offspring of those who have spoken out politically against the regime of Saddam Hussein. It was a horrific scene. Actually I'm not going to describe what I saw there because what I saw was so horrible that it can be used by those who would want to promote war with Iraq, and right now I'm waging peace."

Oh that's right, I forgot, your multilateral illusions are far more important than the lives of millions of Iraqis.

And since you're so dead-set on protecting national sovereignity, I bet you're a fierce opponent of both the UN and the ICC, both of which represent intrusions upon that sovereignity.

[ Parent ]
Uh huh... (4.66 / 3) (#34)
by pb on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:29:50 AM EST

Iraq has a population of approximately 23 million people, with a growth rate of 2.86%. The death rate is about 18% of the birth rate. You can't honestly tell me that Saddam's rule endangered the lives of millions of Iraqis, then? If so, I would expect to have seen this reflected in their population.

In any case, it would be nice if this war had been about the Iraqi people, but as I originally stated, it wasn't. It was about finding weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps the US could have gotten more support from the UN if this had been about humanitarian issues, but it wasn't.

I think that the UN and the ICC--or something very much like them--is necessary to help protect national sovereignty from countries that have been known to violate it--countries like Iraq and the US. Note that the US agreed to the UN charter long ago, and is theoretically bound by it under its own Constitution. This was voluntary, and was done out of respect for the sovereignty of other nations. That is the sort of peaceful diplomacy that the US so desperately needs to rediscover.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Hmmm? (3.00 / 2) (#36)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:32:50 AM EST

It was about finding weapons of mass destruction.

It was?

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Theoretically, I covered this earlier... (5.00 / 4) (#39)
by pb on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:36:30 AM EST

If the US had any better reasons for war, maybe it should have mentioned those reasons to the UN?

In any case, I'll take them at their word, and assume this was about weapons of mass destruction, and enforcing UN resolution 1441. Otherwise, it might end up looking at some sort of opportunistic power grab in the Middle East, and I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't approve of that.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Er? (3.00 / 3) (#45)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:45:55 AM EST

If the US had any better reasons for war, maybe it should have mentioned those reasons to the UN?

What do you mean by "better"? And what's the UN got to do with this? You think that it would further their goals to make a case for naked imperialism to the UN? Huh?

I'll take them at their word, and assume this was about weapons of mass destruction, and enforcing UN resolution 1441.

Well, I won't.

Otherwise, it might end up looking at some sort of opportunistic power grab in the Middle East, and I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't approve of that.

Sure, they'd approve, as long as it's painted as something else (i.e. enforcement of some UN resolution, weapons of mass distraction, Saddam is evil, etc.) Or the ones that simply think there's nothing wrong with this, no matter the motives. Dinesh d'Souza is an example.

Here is a better analysis.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

That's also quite possible. (none / 0) (#51)
by pb on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:52:42 AM EST

But I prefer to stick to the here and now, so people don't dismiss me out of hand as some nutcase who thinks the US is on the road towards WORLD DOMINATION or something. Well, to an extent, at least.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Well, that's also wrong. (3.00 / 2) (#52)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:55:10 AM EST

That's a little too secular. Makes it sound like a literal corporate conspiracy where some oil executives wanted some oil so they enlisted the help of their buddies in the Bush administration. Or, perhaps, that they all met in an FBI-guarded underground bunker to discuss conquest.

That's the kind of "conspiracy theory" imagery that "WORLD DOMINATION" evokes. And that's not at all what I -- or Raymond Lotta -- mean.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Where did you pop numbers actually come from? (1.00 / 1) (#113)
by ph317 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:07:42 PM EST


Ultimately an official state census conducted by the opressors?  Hah.

[ Parent ]
The CIA World Factbook. [nt] (none / 0) (#368)
by pb on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 11:51:09 AM EST


---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
hmm (none / 0) (#496)
by ph317 on Mon May 05, 2003 at 01:07:16 PM EST


I was perusing old comments and caught this, I guess it's far too late but I'll respond anyways.

Where did the CIA World Factbook get it's numbers (and I dont just mean the raw pop, but also the prison totals, etc)?  I highly doubt the CIA gathered the data itself - these numbers again probably come from a state organization inside China, and should be viewed with a political slant like any "facts" they publish.

[ Parent ]

Saving lives (3.00 / 1) (#360)
by Znork on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 09:44:01 AM EST

Wether or not this war saved lives is far too early to tell. Come back in a decade or two.

Iraq may be the first successful democratization by force in history (note that re-democratizing prior democracies or pre-stage democracies doesnt count). Or it may not. Most other attempts at regime change usually end up as bad as, or worse, than the ousted regime. The Baathists are quite atrocious but as far as atrocious regimes through history go it can get quite a lot worse.

The problem is we wont know what course history will take until in a decade. We only know it usually doesnt turn out very well.

[ Parent ]

Innocent lives... (none / 0) (#470)
by Kuranes on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 03:10:58 PM EST

...is exactly what you are placing your support for the war on.

But I bet it's fun for you seeing yourself as the Iraqi's advocate here: War for freedom is a cool thing if you know you won't die. Those 8,000 killed aren't free; they're dead.


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
I think I got a few reasons... (3.80 / 5) (#217)
by biggeezer on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:12:41 PM EST

1. The poliferation of WMD. Proof - Risen was found at the terriost camps in the north. This is streching it a bit I know.

2. A Cease Fire agreement is not a Treaty. That is what we had with Iraq, we tried the UN resolution course, and after 17 resolutions nothing helped. Only when we started massing forces did he start destroying his missles that he said he never had. And the only reason for that is because the UN inspectors found them. They weren't declared like they where supposed to be. So.. we are to believe he destroyed the WMD he said he destroyed, which even that nut Blitz said he most likely has, but we can't find them.

3. Who cares if we helped him. EVERY country with a interest helped SH, to include France,Britian,Germany,China,Russia,N. Korea. They where fighting a common foe, IRAN.

4. He wanted to dominate the region, at all cost. He wanted to curtail the oil market for himself(my personal belief) which would have lead to not only a invasion of kuwait(which he did) but also Saudi. Which would have put the whole world, not just the US into a economic blackmail.

5. And yes.. Because we wanted to protect Israel. Lets not forget it was the Palistinains or the UN your choice, fault that lead to there downfall. Everyone is keen on saying that Israel has ingnored UN resolutions, And I will be the first one to admit they are one if not the biggest vilators. But.. the very first UN Resolution that was passed and everyone on this board ingnores..

General Assembly resolution 181, of Nov. 29, 1947:

It calls for the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem to be controlled by a "special international regime" to protect its holy places. The Zionist movement seeking to establish a Jewish state accepted the partition, the Palestinians rejected it. After Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, war broke out pitting the nascent state against Palestinians and the surrounding Arab states that invaded. Israel gained more land than it would have had under the partition resolution. Neither Israel nor Jordan, which controlled the divided parts of Jerusalem after the war, accepted control of the holy city by an international body.

What this resulted in is Arab countries getting there ass kicked losing land.. and crying to the UN for it not going there way. I don't know.. if I did exactly what the UN said I could do, then get attacked and the other parties lost and the UN is backing the side with the loser who ignored the very first UN resolution. But, wait now we want that UN resolution that gave us land back in 47, because we lost. I think I would be telling the UN to suck a fatty and do what I believe is in my best interest.

And on the Syria thing.. if you have noticed we have already started pulling forces out of the region to include a whole Aircraft carrier battle group. If we where going to attack Syria, I assure you we wouldn't have done that.

These are just a few, and I could also go on and on, on good reasons to attack Iraq, But.. the best one is. Because he didn't follow any of the resolutions, and every country with a business dealing in Iraq.. (France, Germany, Russia, China) was going to veto. Not that I blame them, they are doing what is in there best interest, which every country in the UN does.

[ Parent ]

Give it up - you lost (1.66 / 30) (#31)
by Keeteel on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:26:53 AM EST

I know how much you guys resent the fact President Bush with his judgemental and moral clarity proved you self-believing intellects 110% wrong, but the game is over. Let this be a history to humanity, a man with faith to God and strong moral values who acts on what he knows is right, is far superior to those who seek to debate through moral relativism, philosophy, and other useless subjects that have NO RELEVANCE to the real world. You people need to simply let go and stop being so bitter, even when blatantly proved wrong you are grasping for ways to yell to everyone "no no, we weren't wrong, please, listen." What has happened as the academic, philosophical, and 'intellectual' liberals have just been made irrelevant - your voices have no legitameacy anymore, this is something you will have to accept and comes to terms with.

President Bush has over 80% of the American people supporting him, I suspect the numbers are more like in the 90s when taking in to account the liberal bias. The American people have given him a mandate to use his judgement and widsom to lead this country, and humanity to the peak of its goodness. President Bush will unit humanity, destroy evil, and go down in the history books as the finest and definitive moment and turning point in human history. His critics will be forgotten in a matter of months and their names will be tarnished for years.

Now that you've been proven wrong, show some wisdom and TRUST PRESIDENT BUSH - He has earned the world's trust, he has proven he has what it takes to back his words with action, he has proven he knows what is RIGHT - show the trust he deserves.

Get over it - You lost. Whinning about it won't change it.

here are the actual numbers... (4.40 / 5) (#38)
by pb on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:34:31 AM EST

...if you're interested.

As for your assertion that "a man with faith to God and strong moral values who acts on what he knows is right, is far superior to those who seek to debate"--well, the problem with that is, it supports Saddam and Osama just as well as it supports Bush. Therefore, I'd rather the rest of the world has some say in what goes on in... well, the rest of the world, instead of leaving it up to the whimsical nature of one zealot who may or may not have the best interests of the world in mind.

I bow to your insight into the future, however. Perhaps you could take a few notes from your crystal ball, and enlighten us all with your predictions? What will happen in Election 2004? Will Bush unify the world under his rule? Inquiring minds want to know.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Classic liberal fallacy (1.84 / 13) (#41)
by Keeteel on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:38:50 AM EST

Why can't you libeals just tell the difference between right and wrong? Here you go again saying that Saddam and Osama are equal to President Bush. Let me explain the difference calmly so you can understand. President Bush acts out of good, for humanity, for America, and for the oppressed - what we're doing is good and morally right. What Osama and Saddam do is morally wrong, it's murdrer and terrorism. You see, this is why Americans are tired of arguements like this - when someone says President Bush should stop evil, you pipe up saying then everyone else should stop evil "they see America as evil." Can't you see the difference? I don't care how Osama or Saddam kid themselves by saying "We're doing it for the greater good" they are wrong, they are evil, and they are not doing it for the greater good. President Bush has proved he is - you can either accept this or reject it, but it's of no relevance. Till you realize Americans feel this way your arguements will fall against a blank wall. Get a job

[ Parent ]
"Can't you see the difference?" (3.66 / 6) (#46)
by Eater on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:47:02 AM EST

No. And I like my trolls to be more convincing than this. For one thing, you could allude to Christianity a bit more - it would really suit the tone of your comment, and add some of that "good Christian" feel to it - the "morally wrong" part is good, but it just needs more religion - you see what I'm saying? And the "Get a job" part, without even a period at the end, really spoils the mood - leave it out in the future.

Eater.

[ Parent ]
You are not being constructive. (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:48:54 AM EST

If you keep lamenting Keeteel like this, he'll decide to get a job instead of doing stand-up comedy, so to speak, on K5.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

I'm so sorry... (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by Eater on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:00:57 AM EST

I do very much appreciate the effort Keeteel is clearly putting into this, and did not mean in any way to discourage him. I was merely offering some constructive criticism.

Eater.

[ Parent ]
modding down... or up?! (5.00 / 2) (#382)
by Hana Yori Dango on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 02:26:35 PM EST

At first I was going to mod Keeteel down because his "arguments" were bullshit. But the further down I get in the thread, the more his Pure Trolling Goodness (tm) shines through. Should we be modding him UP instead?

(Damn, aren't a bunch of jaded pomo hipster hippies, reacting to trolls so drolly?)



[ Parent ]

yeah, I ignored that one. (5.00 / 2) (#49)
by pb on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:49:02 AM EST

Since I have a job, I figured maybe it was some sort of "note to self" that slipped in there by accident or something.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Excellent. (4.33 / 3) (#47)
by pb on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:48:05 AM EST

In that case, I'm glad you know what's best for the world. Now why don't you work on explaining it slowly, in terms that everyone else can understand. I suggest you start with the UN. Until then, Bush has proved nothing, except perhaps to you.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
I disagree (2.75 / 8) (#54)
by Keeteel on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:00:52 AM EST

First of all I do not appreciate your tone and rudeness, if you want a debate that's fine, but if you just want to throw out opinions and anger please take it up with someone else.

President Bush has made the case several times with solid evidence, objective fact, and moral clarity to demonstrate to the world and America why we must act on behalf of the U.N. since they are unwilling to. The American people trust President Bush because he has earned our trust, he has time and time again proven that he is a man not of debate, but of action. He will not hesitate to do what is right when the moment strikes (Targets of opportunity.) American's tend to be some of the best educated people in the world, that's not to say through college (which is utterly useless) but our high school system prepares the majority of American's for the responsibility of being educated members of this country. Through our reason we have heard President Bush's case, and have intelligently supported him. The rest of the world has heard the case, and though convinced they have chosen to ignore their responsibilities to humanity to take arms against evil.

It is clear to the American public that action is necessary. The time for debate has long since passed, tell me, what is left for there to prove? President Bush has clearly established Saddam Hussein is building weapons of mass destruction. You may try to pull the liberal defense that "we haven't found any" but that's because Saddam Hussein has given them to Syria and Iran to prepare war against American and Israel (Or the infidels as they call us.) Secondly Saddam Hussein is training terrorists and is associated with Al Qaeda to launch further attacks against our friends, family, and neighbors. The United Nations knew this, they agreed to resolution 1441 promising serious consequences for Iraq when they violate their terms of disarmament. The U.N. has been corrupted with countries like Russia, France, Germany, who have their interests not for the greater good of humanity, but for oil contracts, for profit, for money, and worse of all for resentment against America, its citizens, and its President. I'd say the case is clear, the United Nations is irrelevant.



[ Parent ]
Ah, I see. (4.25 / 4) (#61)
by pb on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:43:54 AM EST

In that case, I'm glad that Bush got the best high school education in the world to prepare him for international affairs. I'm also happy to find out that the world actually has been convinced by America, but saddened to hear that they have ignored their responsibilities to humanity.

Of course we know that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction--we sold them to him in the 80's! Also, he had those missles that he was destroying, thanks to the UN's policies of peaceful disarmament. I've noticed that the US has been directing some pointed words at Syria lately; is that related to your (apparently classified) information about Iraq's weapons shipments to Syria? And since when was Iraq in cahoots with Iran, I thought they couldn't stand each other?

The UN knew about Iraq's involvment with terrorism? Well I wish they could have told some people. In the meantime, don't tell the US about Saudi Arabia! (you know, with their connections to 9/11 and all...)

Oh, I see; it's Russia, France, and Germany that are going after the oil contracts, and not the US! Thanks for clearing it all up for us.

Maybe you should start your own blog, where you can post these little tidbits to help keep the rest of us informed. And if you could cite your sources for this newfound wealth of information, that would be much appreciated as well!
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

yeah, always fascinated by that (4.57 / 7) (#71)
by infinitera on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:25:47 AM EST

Other evil countries are guided by self-interest, but the US is special, a shining beacon of moral & manifest destiny light. Can we say perfect illustration of valeko's limited debate? Let's all give Keeteel a round of applause, folks.

[ Parent ]
It's not a philosophical question. (2.33 / 3) (#238)
by Keeteel on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:02:09 PM EST

We have proven it through action and history. Other nations have proven their actions are more cynical and evil. America is the only nation to continually prove it is willing to help humanity and uphold our moral Christian values in defiance of overwhelming evil.

[ Parent ]
This one's too round, should sound more frantic!NT (none / 0) (#433)
by tekue on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 04:39:54 AM EST


--
A society that puts equality ahead of freedom will end up with neither. -Milton Friedman
[ Parent ]
about rumsfeld (none / 0) (#96)
by google on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:50:52 AM EST

I once saw Rumsfeld in an interview with Larry King where he kept rattling on and on about WMDs -- What strikes me now is that Larry King did'nt even confronted him with the fact that Rumsfeld himself sold WMDs to Saddam in the 1980s! Just a quick thought ...

[ Parent ]
And that matters how? (5.00 / 1) (#108)
by Grognard on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:49:02 AM EST

If the US sold chemical weapons to Iraq, that would seem to cement the moral case for disarming him, not the reverse.

[ Parent ]
sure. (5.00 / 1) (#116)
by pb on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:19:31 PM EST

In the future, an easy way for the US to avoid having to disarm other countries...

* Don't sell them weapons!

In fact, if the US keeps selling weapons to countries that support terrorism, the US had better watch out, or the US might pre-emptively wage war against the US to destroy its WMDs and stop it from supporting terrorism!
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Yes, of course (none / 0) (#122)
by Grognard on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:33:03 PM EST

paralysis is much preferable to any action which may not work out.  

Although arms provided to the mujahadeen could have posed a problem to US forces, the benefits outweighed the risk - particularly at the time they were provided.

Iran's descent into fundamentalism threatened what little stability the Middle East had - at the time, supporting Iraq made sense to keep Iran contained.

Political climates change over time.  You can't expect prescience from a government any more than you can from an individual.

[ Parent ]

I agree. (none / 0) (#144)
by pb on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:24:06 PM EST

Which is why the US, in their current quick and decisive actions, scares the shit out of me. Because they have the will and the means to truly fuck things up on a grand scale.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Fallacy? (none / 0) (#194)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:27:06 PM EST

A philosophical term? I thought you said philosophy was useless.

Telling the difference between right and wrong is one of the classic philosophical questions. Your moral rulebook doesn't have a leg to stand on - it's based on blind trust of a leader who speaks in soundbites and a god you've never met.

Bush lied about Saddam Hussein's connections to al Qaeda. Tell me why Bush had to lie to the American people in order to increase support for the war. Do you trust him to the point that he is not accountable to tell the truth to the American people? If so, what's the difference between him and another liar, Clinton? I guess in your opinion God blesses the GOP, but talk about a moral double standard.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Why are you so angry? (1.00 / 2) (#233)
by Keeteel on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:49:44 PM EST

Please, I'd love to debate this but it must be done in a civil, rational manner. Philosophy is useless because it is a institution that has become saturated with liberals and left-wing thinkers who have instituted their agenda in to what once was a respectable field. I don't think all philosophy is useless, in fact I wish the left-wing, democrats, and people on K5 would study a logic course to help their arguments. The problem lies in academics, post-modernism has shifted our schools in to institutions more interested in destroying America's social fabric and moral solidarity by educating college students with terms such as moral relativism, histories of nations that have no relevance to America, and the personal views of liberal professors and administration staff who are relics of a by-gone-era (the hippie 60s.)

I can tell the difference between right and wrong, Americans can tell the difference between right and wrong, but most importantly President Bush knows the difference between right and wrong. You can argue all day that 2+2=3 till your face is blue, but that does not make it true. What is impossible for you to understand is that Americans trust President Bush not through faith, but through intelligence. He has proven time and time again with his moral clarity and faith in our God that he is a man of conviction and honor. Liberals can't understand this, they toss up arguments such as "Then why didn't you support President Clinton?" Because President Clinton was one of history's worst leaders - his actions proved he could not be trusted, and that he had no honor. President Bush represents what it is to be a true American and a man. He is a man I aspire to be, a man I hope my children one day will be like, a man that everyone can look up to and proudly swear allegiance to. That's what irritates you liberals, you resent the man he is, and resent that he represents what the American people want.

You cannot compare murder and terrorism to the liberation of an oppressed people. You cannot compare refusing to go to war because of oil contracts and greedy profit (France, Germany and Russia) with America being willing to liberate the people of Iraq and handle the costs and responsibilities because we know it is the right thing to do. What liberals don't understand is that something's are just right to do, these are more important than money and profit.

President Bush has not lied about Saddam and Al Qaeda, how can you continually ignore the facts? Al Qaeda has been in Iraq training and fighting our troops on a mandate from all Muslims to Jihad America. Till we bring Christianity and American values to the middle east we will face Jihad from these extremist groups who wish to destroy my friends, family, and way of life. While you may be content to let that happen, I am not. I will gladly give my life to defend the American way of life - if you're not willing to do the same you don't deserve to live in this great country.

Your argument is based on a false premise, that President Bush lied. Therefore the conclusion is invalid and unsound. President Clinton is one of history's worse leaders because he has no moral strength, no faith in God, no wisdom, and doesn't understand the pulse of the American people. He is a coward who prefers to let our enemies exploit us and take advantage of us. The reason these nations attacked us is because they believe the lies the liberal media puts forward, that we Americans are weak and will let them destroy us because they have "just as much right to live as we do." No - when you attack us, you lose your rights to live. We are the most civil nation on this planet, we deserved this war less than any other nation on the planet. Now it's time to respond under the leadership of President Bush.

This is just the beginning, let us take the future of humanity in to our own hands. Let us show the world the true spirit of America. Let the world understand and have the chance to share our way of life. It is either our way of life, or their way of life. We have proven time and time again we have what it takes to handle our power with responsibility. They have proven time and time again they prefer to use their power for destruction.

[ Parent ]
Angry? (5.00 / 1) (#240)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:04:23 PM EST

I'm not at all angry, I just enjoy making you type. Rest assured that I didn't read a single word you wrote.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Thank you for proving my point. (2.00 / 4) (#244)
by Keeteel on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:13:12 PM EST

Classic liberal thought-process. Strong minded opinions based on no fact, no relevance, and with only the ability to insult the person instead of their message. This is the problem with liberals, this is why you have no relevance outside of a liberal message board. Instead of proving President Bush wrong on his points, you simply insult him as a person. This is why we're tried of you, this is why you no longer have a place in America.

I just wish you people would leave this country, you've done more damage to it than good. It's going to take us years to fix the damage of post-modernism and left-wing thinking. But rest assured, it will be fixed.

[ Parent ]
I'm not a liberal (4.00 / 2) (#248)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:22:44 PM EST

I'm not a liberal, I'm just against the war. Outside of your curious mind those two concepts do not mean the same thing.

On a side note, if the anti-war crowd is so irrelevant why can't you resist debating us? Surely we'll all see how wrong we were when we burn in hell.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Listen to yourself. (2.00 / 5) (#249)
by Keeteel on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:26:29 PM EST

To be against the war is to be in support of the oppression of the Iraqi people - this is a trait common to the liberal mindset. To be against the war is to stand against President George Bush, a conservative. Sounds liberal to me.

The reason I still debate you is because you can't just give it up and admit you were wrong. The war of liberation will continue to Syria, Iran, and North Korea. These debates will gone on. I'm hoping by the time we get to Syria you can at least admit you were wrong. As for your last rude comment I didn't say anything about burning in hell for being against the war? You have a lot of anger you need to deal with. If it really bothers you too much to rationally debate based on facts then we should end this little conversation.

[ Parent ]
Philosophy time (5.00 / 6) (#260)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:53:00 PM EST

  1. If one shares a single belief with the liberal mindset, they are themselves a liberal (Keeteel said it!)
  2. Keeteel believes that leaders should be chosen by a popular vote
  3. Liberals believe that leaders should be chosen by a popular vote
  4. Keeteel shares a belief with the liberal mindset (2,3)
  5. Therefore keeteel is a liberal (1,4 MP)
Welcome to the club! We're mailing out your membership card next week. I've also taken the liberty of slaughtering a baby in your honor.

Here's another one!

  1. Those who disagree with a politician are opposite of that politician on the political spectrum (i.e. those who disagree with President Bush are liberals) (Keeteel said it!)
  2. CaptainSuperBoy disagrees with President Bush
  3. President Bush is a conservative
  4. CaptainSuperBoy disagrees with a conservative politician (2,3)
  5. Therefore CaptainSuperBoy is a liberal (1,4 MP)
  6. CaptainSuperBoy disagrees with Senator Fritz Hollings
  7. Hollings is a liberal
  8. CaptainSuperBoy disagrees with a liberal politician (6,7)
  9. Therefore CaptainSuperBoy is a conservative (1,8 MP)
  10. CaptainSuperBoy is both a liberal and a conservative (5,9)
This isn't even taking into account your false dilemma.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
This is the longest troll ever =) (longer answer) (5.00 / 1) (#474)
by funklord on Fri Apr 18, 2003 at 01:56:50 AM EST

I can start out by stating my opinion: that I do not like President Bush
the words that come out of his mouth have made me shiver with disgust each time I hear them, and sometimes he gives you the feeling of "WTF am I saying?" but continues without pausing..
I truly hope he as the most powerful man in the world does not believe in those smalltown sheriff BS speeches given to him.

I think the main problem with him is christianity, a president should always be an atheist as to be impartial to all of the religious rubbish.
Weak people need religions, it's good for them, but a leader should not emphasize their weaknesses by mixing up religious speeches with real-world politics.

Most intellectual people will immediately react to the (by nature hollow) words like "good", "evil", "liberation" etc.
Because they can never be used to justify an action, anyone who falls into this kind of a propaganda trap is probably more gullible than people were before the building of pyramids.
This is what schools are for, and obviously they seems to have failed in a certain big nation, if people are less intelligent than over 4000 years ago.

"Freedom" is a relative term too, although US peeps consider their country free enough, most europeans find it extremely limited.
(A reason why people stopped moving there from Europe like 40 yrs ago?)

Liberals are trying to change this, fighting against the higher odds and hordes of stupid people, who in their sane? minds believe that a government is good for the people without the interaction or feedback of the people.

Never forget that the government might as well be another country if you aren't sitting in congress. They do not care about you unless you have the power to give them a slap on the bottom.

[ Parent ]

Wow (none / 0) (#340)
by kraant on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 06:51:36 AM EST

Just as his popularity was going to slide down to pre-S11 days levels the Iraq war kicks in and gives him another boost.

It'll be realy interesting to see this again in several more months.

--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]

No one's voice really matters (4.57 / 7) (#43)
by Eater on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:40:50 AM EST

Both the "liberal" intellectuals and "conservative" intellectuals are completely and utterly irrelevant in a modern, media-influenced democracy. The only people that matter are people with money, people who control the media, and people who control the government. Everyone else can only talk about what those listed above are doing, rant about it, praise it, but in the end do nothing to influence it. It's just like the despotisms of the past, only less intrusive on the meager, meaningless life of the average person. While a constitution may keep the police from arresting you for saying your leader is wrong, it will not keep your leader from killing in your name.

Eater.

[ Parent ]
so those boxcutter guys had no effect [nt] (none / 0) (#88)
by chu on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:24:32 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Sure (none / 0) (#132)
by Filthy Socialist Hippy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:59:51 PM EST

But they got off their lazy socialist sand monkey asses and did something.

Whining on K5 doesn't count, not from either side.

Note for the easily confused: I'm not whining, I'm gloating.  This inability to comprehend that we don't live in a consensus democracy is cracking me up.

--
leftist, you don't love America, you love what America with all its wealth and power can be if you turn it into a socialist state. - thelizman
[ Parent ]

You don't (5.00 / 1) (#68)
by inerte on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:02:00 AM EST

Know how to troll.

He (Bush) has earned the world's trust

--
Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.
[ Parent ]

You don't know how (3.00 / 2) (#131)
by Filthy Socialist Hippy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:57:04 PM EST

To interpret opinion polls.

You and your liberal buddies are in a minority.  Add up all your kind: hippies, socialists, communists, middle class whiners, and you still couldn't stop President Bush leading this country to long deserved greatness.

You lost.  Try and understand that.  Please, for the sake of your sanity.  Get on the bandwagon with us.

--
leftist, you don't love America, you love what America with all its wealth and power can be if you turn it into a socialist state. - thelizman
[ Parent ]

Sure we know how to interpret polls (5.00 / 1) (#158)
by epcraig on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:15:10 PM EST

Polls are rigged. The questions are biased, and the answers are counted at the whim of the poll sponsor. This would include elections. Why do you think half the population never votes?

I'm trying to figure out if this is all Sales and Marketing run amok, or is George W. Bush preaching the first Protestant Crusade to Free the Holy Land? We get to smite the paynim now, huh?

What ever happened to that Bin Laden fellow and his merry Al Qa'eda? Wasn't that the point of the War on Terrorism?
There is no EugeneFreeNet.org, there is an efn.org
[ Parent ]

I didn't know (5.00 / 1) (#162)
by inerte on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:53:45 PM EST

That your country was the world.

--
Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.
[ Parent ]

Hear Hear! Well said. (1.60 / 5) (#236)
by Keeteel on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:00:22 PM EST

They just don't understand that there's under 15% of them who are against President Bush. The polls for those who support the war and those who support President Bush are exactly the same. To not support the war is to not support President Bush - which proves their objections are only because of their hatred of the man President Bush is.

They're the type of people who try to argue that 2+2 is 3 because there is no "absolute." Even when you show them 2 rocks with 2 more rocks is four rocks, they still object and try to use every word trick to "win." What's sad is they see this as some sort of game they have to win, they can't accept that us true Americans aren't doing this to "beat" the liberals, we're doing it because it's morally right.

[ Parent ]
That isn't stopping y'all from biting (nt) (5.00 / 1) (#213)
by pyramid termite on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:59:40 PM EST


On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Question (4.66 / 3) (#182)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:08:23 PM EST

His critics will be forgotten in a matter of months and their names will be tarnished for years.

I don't understand. If they are forgotten, then how would their names be tarnished? How can that be?

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Their family names.. (1.60 / 5) (#235)
by Keeteel on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:56:27 PM EST

This sends a message to American's that your accountable for your actions and words. You may have freedom of speech, but you also have a responsibility to behave in a way that respects the law and country. If you're not willing to abide by that responsibility your reputation will carry through your family name for your abuse of our rights that our soldiers have died for. The act of sedition states that those who give aid to the enemy even through means of intellect are violations of treason - the words that cross the line are nothing short of acts of treason which seek to degrade American solidarity and support of our troops. The government may not enforce it, but you can bet us Americans will know of what you say. Thanks to google we can look up your name and see what you have said, and you can rest assured we won't hire you, be associated with you, or support you and your bloodline when you believe in treason against America.

[ Parent ]
Oh? (5.00 / 1) (#242)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:06:09 PM EST

Why not post your real name then, if you're so sure of your own 'moral clarity'?

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Because of liberal extremists (1.75 / 4) (#243)
by Keeteel on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:10:51 PM EST

Liberals have proven time and time again that they would use that information to harm me and my family through physical means. Their intentions with that information would not be patriotic, but would be acts of crime.

[ Parent ]
Special pleading (5.00 / 1) (#246)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:21:15 PM EST

Don't hold your opponents to a higher standard than you hold yourself.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Yay double standards! (5.00 / 1) (#371)
by TrentC on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 01:02:44 PM EST

And of course there's no chance that anyone in the right wing would think of harming those "unpatriotic" and "seditious" pinkos, huh? Like that brave, brave man who shoved an American flag into a young woman's face because she chose to express her views on the war by turning her back on it?

I've seen the vitriol that the right wing can spew first hand, thank you very much; don't pretend that the "liberals" are the only ones capable of that, you coward.

Jay

[ Parent ]

+5 Funny. (none / 0) (#364)
by Tezcatlipoca on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 10:39:58 AM EST

You are a genius!

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]
Ethics, Morals, Philosophy Not Relevent? (5.00 / 2) (#451)
by EXTomar on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 04:35:57 PM EST

But by posting this you claim that these are:

  • Being a leader makes one right
  • Being popular makes one right
  • Having faith makes one right
  • If you win, you were right

Sorry but reguardless of the topic in hand, you should never EVER take the leader, the popular guy, on the winning side, or the blindly faithful at face value. Do you know why? Because the leader, the popular guy, the winner, and the blindly faithful can be wrong. Very very wrong.

Morality, ethics, and philosophy should be used all of the time during serious decisions. Ignoring them is blind nationalism and jingoism. They are always relevant and often applicable. Tossing them aside because it doesn't fit your arguement is just as silly as stating the points above. There is nothing about being President Bush that makes his actions automatically right.

Besides, take a look at history. There are plenty of wacko leaders who were charismatic and blindly true to their belief systems who on occations won. Unfortunately they were also very very very bad people.



[ Parent ]
Good vs. Evil (5.00 / 1) (#457)
by Fell on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 10:02:59 PM EST

It's understandable that you find compelling the argument that Bush represents the Good and Saddam represents Evil.  Many folks support your view, as you've pointed out.  Those opposing you are, as you've also pointed out, necessarily wrong, which implies that the peoples of Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Russia, China, and the entire catalog of nations, excepting perhaps Britain and Israel must be wrong.

The problem with the Good vs. Evil model is that it is medieval and unthinking, and, as CaptainSuperBoy recognizes, it has been responsible for most if not all the holy wars that have littered history.   When both sides believe they are in the right and are good, as, for example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, what we have is a 75 year holy war with no end in sight.   Moreover, the winning side always assumes its goodness was vindicated, because God is on the side of Good.  Each victory, instead of bringing about peace, makes the victor thirst for more.  This is precisely why it is reason Bush is considered a crusader.  The new order is the dawning of a new Crusades.

One of the more important advances of modernity over medieval thinking was the realization that it is actions that are moral or immoral, right or wrong, good or bad and not people themselves.  This is not to say, of course, that this advance has equally percolated throughout the populace.  Indeed, one would think that Bush himself believes it in so far as he, like Reagan, painted a scarlet letter on his enemies, where in the case of Bush, he tainted certain nations as belonging to an Axis of Evil.  I'm  not really sure.  He could be just playing a part.

Now that he has vanquished Iraq, one of the nations on his hit  list, notwithstanding that 1000s of Iraqis died, that many more are severely wounded, and that an incredible upheaval of much of Iraq occurred, leaving in its wake a vacuum of law and order, of the necessities of life, it will take an enormous effort to restore life to what it should be.  There already has been a significant loss of Iraqi cultural treasures that some say steal the very history from them, and some would say steals the history of our own heritage, setting the stage for a new indoctrination.

But you have time on your side.  No one will remember the promises that Bush gave the Iraqi people.  By this time next year, Iraq will probably be off the radar.  Whether or not democracy was achieved, no one will care.   One thing I'm pretty sure of is that the U.S. will have a new staging ground for its military, its covert activities, and its oil interests.   When all is said and done, I suspect that the Iraqis will be little better off in a year than they were before the war began.  All that bloodshed for what?  We will be in the race for the next presential election.

BTW, the principle reason why the war is being supported is that its troops are in the theater of action.  This is the reason that the Brits found they had to back Blair.  Perhaps you recall the popularity of elder Bush during the first Gulf war.

Fell

[ Parent ]

Swimming upstream (3.62 / 8) (#35)
by dzimmerm on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:31:05 AM EST

Let us suppose that we are intelligent enough to understand that the USA does not have a legitamate reason nor does it have license to pursue a war on another countries land.

If you continue to try to buck the flow of power you will be destroyed. For my part I will hum the Imperial music from Star Wars, Dum dum dum , dum de dum, dum de dum and follow the lockstep into imperalism that the USA has undertaken.

Not because I have blinders on my eyes about the intentions but because to oppose those intentions is not profitable for me.

You can whine all you want but until you can make it possible to defeat the power structure that now exists in the USA you will be whining inefficiently.

It is also impossible to oppose violence effectively with more violence.

As a thought experiment, I may be able to defend myself against an attacker and kill that attacker. That act of self defense will forever change my life. If the hope is to be able to defend oneself and at the same time stay the same the hope is futile.

I see no reason to oppose the USA imperlism unless you have the force to stop it. Yet, by using such a force you will warp your sensibilities to the point where you will be the evil force rather than the good force.

I see no way out of the situation as we have not destroyed the ring, rather we have put it on and have assured the foundations of tyranny will stand firm.

I would rather not attract attention to myself in any official way so I will hum the imperial theme song and remember that once the USA was the land of the free and the home of the brave.

If you really wanted to stop the USA from becoming the empire you need to vote Libertarians into office so they can reduce the size of the USA government and remove the presense of USA troops on other countries lands. It all boils down to money. If the "defense" budget was less, which it would be under libertarian guidance, then we would not be able to afford to attack others that are not actively attacking us.

Voting for Liberals or Conservatives will not help as both of them are Pro Authoritarian and as such they will both increase government which means government will have the money to wage war.

dzimmerm

Oh, plus 1 to section as this is important thought material for those who fail to see the obvious.

If all that is left me is to whine, (5.00 / 4) (#101)
by flo on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:11:58 AM EST

then whine I shall. If I have to take it up the arse without vasiline, then I can at least complain about it. As long as complaint is still legal. Which, soon, it might not be. So complain now. And vote.
---------
"Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
[ Parent ]
-1 and here's why: (3.50 / 12) (#56)
by j harper on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:06:14 AM EST

1) It's an angry rant, not an Op-Ed, 2) you try to hard to sound intelligent (i.e. throw away the thesaurus), and 3) you make a lot of brash statements without specific examples.

Stop, catch your breath, and rewrite.

"I have to say, the virgin Mary is pretty fucking hot." - Myriad

The official ethical system of western culture (4.50 / 18) (#60)
by Skwirl on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:06:35 AM EST

We may be living in the postmodern era, but all that really means is that there's a constant clash between the modernists and anybody with two brain cells to rub together who's seen that the world is neither rational nor deterministic.

That is to say, a very large number of people subscribe almost entirely to the utilitarian system of ethics. This tenet is so deeply ingrained in their conscience that they have to suffer a hell of a lot of congnitive dissonance to give it up. Why would anyone ever question Spock's dying words, "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?"

Well, here are some reasons why: a) You're not Miss Cleo, don't even try to tell me that you can see the future, okay, because I'm not buying. b) You're not God. You could probably revive human medical experimentation and save billions of lives for the cost of a few. Sounds like a good idea, doesn't it? c) You, and everyone in the world, is an individual. Can you honestly say you'd give up your life for another person's? Why the heck are you still alive, then? I mean, seriously, there are hundreds of thousands of places and ways where your small sacrifices would save a life and yet you somehow have enough disposable income to buy a computer? What's wrong with you?

In Crime and Punishment, the highly moral Raskolnikov uses utilitarian ethics to rationalize a murder. His argument is entirely consistent to this ethical system.

And yet, Raskolnikov does not live happily ever after. I believe in utilitarian ethics. In fact, I believe in care-based, absolute and universal imperative based ethics, too. However, it's only been until very recently that I've had the mental vocabulary to judge my own actions the way I do today and I tend to find more often than not that I base my decisions on virtue based ethics. The world is non-deterministic because it contains an uncountable number of feedback loops. The things I do today don't only affect my world, but, also, myself. Existence preceeds essence. My only inescapable duty in this world is the duty to define who I am and what I stand for. Not with philosophical wankery and moral debate, but with actions. Every action. Every moment. Every day. What I do defines who I am and I, for one, do not want to be the type of person that supports this war.

In conclusion, read my sig.

--
"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse

Your problem (5.00 / 5) (#80)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:52:00 AM EST

The problem with basing decisions on one ethical system or another is that the system only works when everyone plays the game.

The appeasement with Hitler in the late 30's by Britain and France is the best well-known example of this. Chaimberlain negotiated a peace with the Nazi regime in good faith, and honestly believed that he had averted war. The only problem is, the Nazis were playing a different game, and used Chaimberlain's ethics as a tool of conquest.

The vast majority of human organizational units, whether they be individuals, families, towns, or nations, act in their own best interest. These interests may or may not fit into some moral/ethical system.

I admire your decision to base your life and actions on a system of morality. Just don't let strict adherence to a system give you tunnel-vision.

[ Parent ]

You have a point, but... (none / 0) (#106)
by greenrd on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:46:59 AM EST

The problem with basing decisions on one ethical system or another is that the system only works when everyone plays the game.

Not really. A sensible ethical framework or system should really take that into account. There has never been a time in human history when "everyone plays the game" of a system recognisable as ethics, has there?


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

Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#124)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:37:37 PM EST

Which is why ethical systems go in and out of style.

[ Parent ]
It's a non issue (3.50 / 2) (#262)
by x3nophil3 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 07:00:22 PM EST

Most systems of ethics try to dictate what you should do. How to prevent yourself from being mollested by all the people who don't bother thinking about ethics doesn't enter into it.

Hence the war. "Utilitarianism" certainly doesn't allow you to morally go and kill people. Unfortunately it doesn't address the fact that not all people subscribe to "Utilitarianism", so you're left with a situation where a decent ethical system can be used to justify acts which it strictly considers immoral just as easily as a religion can.

[ Parent ]

Utilitarianism (none / 0) (#346)
by greenrd on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 07:31:13 AM EST

"Utilitarianism" certainly doesn't allow you to morally go and kill people.

Uh, yes it does. Self-defense and just wars are allowed.

Unfortunately it doesn't address the fact that not all people subscribe to "Utilitarianism", so you're left with a situation where a decent ethical system can be used to justify acts which it strictly considers immoral just as easily as a religion can.

You clearly don't know anything about utilitarianism.


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

Er (none / 0) (#376)
by x3nophil3 on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 01:44:59 PM EST

Yeah, ok, that wasn't a great comment. However Mills' theory are pretty restrictive about what constitutes a just war. And war is never morally good, it can only be a lesser evil, and serve to increase long-term hapiness:

`Nobody is now so profligate as to vindicate war on the ground of its being a
positive good. It is spoken of as at best a necessary evil. It is a painful means,
only to be endured for the sake of the end; namely, protection against the
injuries of other nations.'

There is also the restriction that any war, for any reason, must satisfy the principle of utility in order to be just. I don't think there are many examples where war is utilitarian, nor did Mill:

`When it has suffered real injury, and when there is no doubt about the matter,
the principle of utility says, Consider whether the evil which you have suffered
is likely to be compensated by war. If the evils of the war are likely to outweigh
the gains, it is better to abstain fromwar, and to pass by the injury. When the
happiness of the people is the object in pursuit, this is the rule which will be
followed.'

And particularly salient in the context of this war:

`in proportion as we recede from a system of neutrality, we shall find daily more
causes for interference, fresh claims for protection, and new wrongs to revenge.
Who is there so blind as not to perceive that it leads, by a natural but inevitable
progression, to the entire subjugation of all India?'


[ Parent ]

Oops (4.00 / 2) (#82)
by lb008d on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:03:22 AM EST

What I do defines who I am and I, for one, do not want to be the type of person that supports this war.

Paying your taxes today?

[ Parent ]

As a matter of fact... (none / 0) (#259)
by Skwirl on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:47:46 PM EST

I plead the fifth, if only because I'm wondering how long it's going to be until the Feds decide to start taking down peaceniks the same way they took down Al Capone.

--
"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
[ Parent ]
Muddled (3.00 / 1) (#196)
by x3nophil3 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:31:53 PM EST

You seem to be confusing your ideas. Virtue based ethics, along with all ethical theories are firmly within the set of 'philosophical wankery'.

If you had a better grasp on 'philosophical wankery' you might also realise that ethical debate in a non-deterministic Kosmos is completely absurd in the scope of your comments.

An uncountable number of feedback loops do nothing at all for the determinism debate. This reminds me of a friend of mine who once looked at me wide eyed over his fifth double scotch and said: "It's all about the collpasing waveforms man! It's all about the waveforms".

Uh yeah. The universe is non-deterministic at sub Planck-length space-time scales only. It's proven within the framework of quantum physics that that non-determinism decays at any scale interesting to moral debate.

Imagine a turing machine running over a looped tape. This tape may cause the machine to execute an inifinite number of feedback loops in space-time, yet you don't expect the turing machine to ever fail to be at a predictable and well-defined place along the tape.

There are plenty of value-based ethical systems which presuppose determinism but also do not rely on deus ex machina in their arguments. Not all of them are consistent with eastern logic, though.

[ Parent ]

s/eastern/western/g (none / 0) (#206)
by x3nophil3 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:44:42 PM EST

Dsyleixa


[ Parent ]
Great! You ever read the Nikomachaean Ethics? (nt) (none / 0) (#469)
by Kuranes on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 02:58:20 PM EST




Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
Absolutely correct (2.70 / 10) (#62)
by Filthy Socialist Hippy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:46:58 AM EST

    The ruling class sets all parameters of the "debate,"

That's right, we do.

So, having acknowledged that, why do you persist in your liberal hand wringing?  Is it that you don't believe what you just said, or is it that you think you can change it by preaching sanctimoniously to the choir?

Did you not get the memo?  We won already.  The Iraqis are free.  Worthless cowardly riot monkeys, but free ones.  Saddam is dogmeat.  Who cares what it was for; what matters is that we achieved our goals, and we'll be pulling out soon and letting the suddenly brave Eurotrash sniff around for any scraps.  This debate is past tense.

What we need to talk about now is who we stabilize next.  Syria, for sure, but can't we liberate Cuba while we're at it?  Will Iran cave in, or do we need to stabilize them on the way to North Korea?

For the love of sweet baby Jesus, move on already.

--
leftist, you don't love America, you love what America with all its wealth and power can be if you turn it into a socialist state. - thelizman

You've missed the point entirely (none / 0) (#70)
by Dphitz on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:13:13 AM EST

of what he said in the article.  For the love of sweet baby Jesus, read it again.  The point wasn't whether we won or lost, but the truth of why we played the game, why we were there and how no one in the mainstream was "allowed" to discuss it.

You seem to think that our goals in Iraq were for freedom and liberation.  That itself is a good example of why he wrote this article.


God, please save me . . . from your followers

[ Parent ]

No, you need to read what I wrote (1.00 / 1) (#128)
by Filthy Socialist Hippy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:51:31 PM EST

It's absolutely fucking irrelevant what our goals were.

We went in to kick ass.  We kicked ass.

That's it.  That's all you need to know.  There is no popular desire to debate this, or to know the reasons.  Joe Sixpack got his war porn, and he didn't get another Vietnam.  The military got to try out their new toys.  Vice President Cheney's buddies got their kids' college tuition secured.

Everybody wins, except some sand monkeys, but who cares about them?  Not Joe, and not even other sand monkeys, despite their protestations.  What are they going to do, kill us by waving their AKs in the air even harder?

We won.  It's over.  There will be no debate, no holding to account.  Get over it already.

--
leftist, you don't love America, you love what America with all its wealth and power can be if you turn it into a socialist state. - thelizman
[ Parent ]

When trolling ... (5.00 / 2) (#214)
by pyramid termite on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:07:09 PM EST

... try a little harder to hide your feelings of disgust and cynicism over the whole business. Your true feelings are showing through.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!! (nt) (none / 0) (#477)
by Baby Jesus on Fri Apr 18, 2003 at 04:08:55 PM EST



[ Parent ]
feeding the troll (none / 0) (#84)
by chu on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:17:44 AM EST

Who cares what it was for; what matters is that we achieved our goals

er...what?

What we need to talk about now is who we stabilize next

of course the whole country is now so destabilized that we are putting the baathists back in charge - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2943629.stm

[ Parent ]

OK, I'll spell it out (2.00 / 1) (#126)
by Filthy Socialist Hippy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:47:37 PM EST

It doesn't matter what excuse we used to go in.  What matters is that we went in, and we kicked ass.

That's the way the majority of US voters will view it.  And that is all that matters.  Not the whiny Eurotrash, not the impotent Ruskis, not even the "don't do as we'd do if we could" Chinese.

The American voter is content.  He got his war porn.  Syria is next.

Oh, and let me re-iterate once more: it doesn't matter what happens next.  Nobody but a tiny liberal minority in the US will care.

Don't believe me?  Go out onto the streets and do a vox pop.  See how many people know what a shithole the majority of Afghanistan still is, and of them, see how many care.

OK, you care, but you're not statistically significant.  You were going to vote Democrat or throw your vote away anyway.

Is that clear enough yet?

WE WON THE WAR.  MORE TO COME.

--
leftist, you don't love America, you love what America with all its wealth and power can be if you turn it into a socialist state. - thelizman
[ Parent ]

On the contrary, US looks weak now (none / 0) (#343)
by chu on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 07:02:09 AM EST

I don't believe anyone can seriously think that the opinion of the average voter is a factor in US foreign policy. In any case, if a few guys with boxcutters can do so much damage, then the Europeans, Russians or Chinese could bring Bush down quite easily if they applied themselves. All it really takes is some ingenuity, luck and a willingness to be reckless. The Europeans can be relied on to abhor recklessness but this is a favourite Russian approach for example. And the more the US continues its violent thrashing, the more it shows its vulnerability - it's a very desperate security policy and doesn't fit a first world country. It's a classic response to being backed into a corner.

[ Parent ]
furthermore... (none / 0) (#361)
by chu on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 09:55:54 AM EST

it is far from over

[ Parent ]
Could you *please* liberate yourself now? (5.00 / 1) (#171)
by tkatchev on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:41:26 PM EST

I think the ethnic ghetto of South-Central is suffering under the despotic ethnocratic thumb of Imperator Bush at this very moment.

Millions and millions of potential crack babies are crying out for your conscience.

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

waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!! (nt) (none / 0) (#478)
by Baby Jesus on Fri Apr 18, 2003 at 04:09:11 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Lack of alternatives (4.50 / 18) (#66)
by br284 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:39:37 AM EST

First of all, nice article. Made me think about a few things.

(First of all, disclaimer: I was and remain in support of actions in Iraq.) I do agree that the debate over the war has been framed in mostly administration and media-driven rhetoric. However, I think that the failure of the Left in this case was not that they adopted the terms and conventions set forth by the media and gov't with respect for the war, but that they really failed to offer any sort of alternative or compelling reasons that the war should be opposed, given all the fuzzy warm reasons presented on venues such as Fox News and CNN. Given our past conversations, the criticisms that I have for the anti-war camp are:

  • They failed to effectively show that they had any plausible alternatives for the war that did not enhance Saddam Hussein's power and prestige in the Arab world.
  • Lacking any real alternatives, they failed to effectively present their reasons for opposition in any sort of digestable manner that could be spun by talking heads on the media.
  • Lacking any sort of coherent (to people outside the Leftist ideological machine) alternatives or reasons for opposing the war, they continued to worsen their position by trying to persuade that Bush was actually worse than Saddam, that the liberation of the Iraqi people from the Hussein regime doesn't really matter given the original motivation of the invasion, and so forth. It became real easy then for the centrist and right-wing commentators to portray the anti-war group as a group of pro-Saddam and anti-Western protestors whose goal was not an increase in the justice in the Middle East, but rather a group that was working towards the eventual downfall of the American nation.
Now, I'm not throwing those reasons on the table for argument and debate -- some I agree are correct and others not so -- but to the people where Bush and Co. draw their power, that's how the anti-war crowd has been portrayed. I realize that distilling a message such as the anti-war group's is not a simple matter and can be quite complicated. However, to me it seemed like the messages that got out to the people that matter were either too crouched in Leftist rhetoric (see our previous conversation and how I had to get you to tell me what you meant) that goes above and beyond the heads of those who matter, or it was so dumbed down for the populace that it was easily refuted by centrist and right-wing commentators. There was no middle-of-the-road message from the Left that was both comprehensible and didn't speak to people like they were idiots.

So, if I may now indulge myself, here are a few questions of my own:

  • What was a positive and credible alternative to the war? In my eyes, the status quo was unacceptable as it was generating resentment in the eyes of the Arabs and the population was suffering too much under the sanctions. However, lifting the sanctions would also be unacceptable as it would increase Saddam's power over his population (the oil industry was nationalized, and I expect that the foreign companies that would have come in to run the industry after the fall of the sanctions would exploit the resource as much as the regime). Furthermore, by providing Saddam with more porus borders and avenues for materials, sanctions would only increase the speed and lethality of his weapons program. So, without going to war to topple the regime or give the regime a pass by lifting the sanctions, what should have been done?
  • Many talk about how the US has effectively crippled the United Nations. My question here is why should the United Nations even matter, given that with respect to Iraq, all countries that matter have a conflict of interest and are unable judge the situation from a neutral position. The US is interested in using Iraq as an example for imposing Western democracy on the Middle East and has strategic energy interests, the French were interested in using the UN to cripple US power and increase their power and standing not to mentioned their inherent interest in making Iraq a client state for weapons and French technology, ditto for Russia and Germany, Syria is a brother regime to the Iraqi regime, and so forth. If a neutral and impartial view of the situation was to be found, it was not at the UN. Who then should have made a decision about when and what to do about Iraq?
  • If your audience is an American one (remember the ones who voted Bush into office?), why is a dominant American power not a good thing? Why should Americans even worry about the considerations of bankrupt societies in the Middle East, Europe, and China? (I'm simultaneously refering to the anti-Americanism in the Muslim world, the Eurpoean desire to unseat the Americans as the dominant economic power, and China's rational opposition to growth of American power and influence.) To me and many others, if someone is going to be the top dog, it might as well be the Americans. Why should this not be the case? Can a more credible and just regime be suggested? (Not that I'm saying that the US is a super just nation at this point, but the majority are far less so.)
I'd better wrap that up there. These are the clincher questions that I had, and the anti-war group failed to answer them and gain my understanding and support. I sincerely hope that they learn from this episode and are able to provide a more persuasive and coherent front the next time around.

-Chris

A clear alternative (3.83 / 6) (#79)
by freddie on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:51:53 AM EST

Would have been to lift sanctions on Iraq. The inspectors had found no WMD, and Iraq was in compliance with the UN. If it would have enhanced Saddam power, so what? Why should I care, why should anybody care? In fact it would have been to our advantage, since Iraq would have put more of its oil on the market.

The neocons rooting for war failed to find any reason whatsoever to go to war with Iraq. Any reason that could be talked about at least. The real reason was probably something more insiduous like distracting the population from the bad economy, or colonizing the Middle East for the benefit of Israel.

The argument that it was to 'free' the people of Iraq Iraq is a total lie. Nobody welcomed the U.S., so they had to stage the pro-US demonstration pulling down the statue. Nobody expects the U.S. to put in a democratic regime after Saddam is gone.




Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein
[ Parent ]
hmm, that's a tough one. (5.00 / 8) (#83)
by pb on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:09:56 AM EST

So you're wondering why the US should even care what the rest of the world thinks in its foreign diplomatic affairs? That's the impression I've been getting from Bush and friends all along, and it scares the crap out of me.

How would an authoritarian US decrease terrorism, help the spread of democracy, or do anything besides cause the rest of the world to fear for their lives, and give them ample reason to work on their secret nuclear weapons programs and bunkers, and plan for World War III?

I mean, really, those are the two options I see, not mutually exclusive, if the US goes this route:

  • The US attempts to cow the world by displaying its military might and total disregard for foreign rights and law.
  • World War III
So there you have it; if that's what US foreign policy has come to, then Bush is indeed worse than Saddam, and will be remembered as such. I, for one, hope I never see the day, but things don't look so cheery right now.

Also, I have to say that there was no middle-of-the-road message from the Right that was both comprehensible and didn't speak to people like they were idiots. For example, anyone who believed their rhetoric about this war being about "the liberation of the Iraqi people" would have to qualify as an idiot; either that, or they'd have to accept that the Right enjoys deceiving the world to achieve its goals...
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Substitute (1.00 / 1) (#90)
by Grognard on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:31:02 AM EST

'Reagan' for 'Bush' and 'the Soviets' for 'Iraq' and 'Saddam', and this could have been written 20 years ago.  

It was a chicken little rant then, it continues to be now.

[ Parent ]

hmm? (4.50 / 2) (#93)
by pb on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:48:49 AM EST

I seem to have missed the part where Reagan bombed the USSR--that was what we all didn't want to happen, right? Also, I missed the part where the US overthrew the old regime, and set up a democratic form of government.

No, I think what we're seeing now is totally new, different, and scary. If it ends up being as peaceful as The Cold War in the future, I'll be scared then too, but less scared than I am now.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Then you weren't paying attention (1.00 / 1) (#105)
by Grognard on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:46:05 AM EST

Nicaragau, Grenada, the Pershings, supporting the mujahadeen, etc. were all "bombs" dropped on an increasingly overburdened USSR.  The realities of dealing with an equivalent nuclear power meant that there were no direct attacks, but the "Cold War" generated plenty of heat via proxies.

The end result was regime change via the implosion of the Soviet system - no thanks to the Euro "peace" lobby.


[ Parent ]

No. (5.00 / 2) (#286)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:56:04 PM EST

The Soviet Union met its demise for a variety of internal and external reasons, some of which are very complex. It was not the simple matter of its economy unable to sustain another long-term, spasmic arms race or project another war.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Contradiction is a start (none / 0) (#291)
by Grognard on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:30:41 PM EST

but care to expand on the "variety of internal and external reasons"?

The pressures put on the Soviet government by its Afghan adventure and the disastrous effect on the domestic economy of the on-going arms race are pretty well documented.

They reached the decision point where the choice was harsher repression or loosening up a bit.  Just like the Czar, they found that loosening up a bit leads to collapse.

[ Parent ]

so you're now saying... (none / 0) (#336)
by martingale on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 05:27:53 AM EST

They reached the decision point where the choice was harsher repression or loosening up a bit. Just like the Czar, they found that loosening up a bit leads to collapse.
So you're now saying that the USSR's destruction was inevitably of their own making? Sounds to me like you've just argued valeko's case: the fall of the USSR and Reaganism isn't analogous to the fall of Iraq.

[ Parent ]
The fall of the USSR (none / 0) (#341)
by Grognard on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 06:55:01 AM EST

was "of their own making" in the sense that it was the bad decisions of the leadership that brought it to that pass.  The Reagan administration certainly took advantage of those decisions (Afghanistan and the arms race being the two biggest examples) to speed their collapse.

The original analogy was not between the fall of the USSR and the fall of Iraq, but between the sky is falling rhetoric during Reagan's time and now.

[ Parent ]

So the USSR would have crashed on it's own? (none / 0) (#436)
by Kuranes on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 07:52:55 AM EST

...i'm only quoting you:
[The fall of the USSR] was "of their own making" in the sense that it was the bad decisions of the leadership that brought it to that pass.



Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
No, you're selectively quoting me (none / 0) (#448)
by Grognard on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 12:54:12 PM EST

the rest of the story:

The Reagan administration certainly took advantage of those decisions (Afghanistan and the arms race being the two biggest examples) to speed their collapse.

In other words, by capitalizing on the Soviets' mistakes, the Reagan administration "pushed them over the edge", causing that collapse to occur. Without the additional pressure applied by the Reagan administration, they might have been able to prevail in Afghanistan or devote more resources to domestic uses.

It was not impossible for the Soviets to avoid disaster (they could have withdrawn from Afghanistan or refused to play the "my arsenal is bigger than yours" game), but they didn't make that choice.

To twist that into saying "the Soviets would have crashed on their own" is like saying someone who pushed a person dancing on the ledge of a skyscraper isn't responsible because the dancer would have fallen on their own.

[ Parent ]

Of course, I was exaggerating... (none / 0) (#468)
by Kuranes on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 02:09:57 PM EST

...I'm just a bit in sorrow about the tendency to see those big problems with "deviant behaviour", as it is in current world politics. In my opinion, it was a bit like that during the Cold War:

|Insert US/USSR as you like it]

A: They are not doing like we do! Let's build some nuclear weapons to threaten them!

B: They are not doing like we do AND they are building nuclear weapons! Let's build some of them ourselves!

A: They haven't quit their nonsense AND are suddenly building nuclear weapons, too! Let's have some more!
[etc.]

By the way, that thing with the skyscraper was a good metaphor ;-).


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
My attempt to answer your questions (4.53 / 13) (#95)
by flo on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:49:46 AM EST

First off, thank you for a very valuable contribution. I am personally anti-war, which I will try to justify below, but you are prefectly right in highlighting the many failings of the anti-war movement. You have addressed serious issues, which deserve to be debated on logical, rather than dogmatic or emotional grounds.

What was a positive and credible alternative to the war? In my eyes, the status quo was unacceptable as it was generating resentment in the eyes of the Arabs and the population was suffering too much under the sanctions. However, lifting the sanctions would also be unacceptable as it would increase Saddam's power over his population (the oil industry was nationalized, and I expect that the foreign companies that would have come in to run the industry after the fall of the sanctions would exploit the resource as much as the regime). Furthermore, by providing Saddam with more porus borders and avenues for materials, sanctions would only increase the speed and lethality of his weapons program. So, without going to war to topple the regime or give the regime a pass by lifting the sanctions, what should have been done?
What is the alternative to war? Peace. Let me elaborate. I agree that the current situation was, in the long run, untenable. However, there was no particular hurry. In the last few months, we kept hearing about the "Iraq crisis". But this crisis didn't suddenly happen, as it had when Saddam invaded Kuwait (which is another story for another day). The only thing that was changing over time was the Bush administration's attitude to Iraq, due to the realization that Bush needed a war to be reelected (amongst other reasons, oil, imperial strategy, whatever). And the war had to come soon: the reelection campaign starts in the fall, and the summer is too hot to fight, so the war had to begin before summer. That's where the urgency came from. So my first gripe is that the people should have been in less of a hurry to settle the situation. This is exactly what the rest of the world wanted when they demanded more time for the weapons inspections. Next, in the medium term, the sanctions - in their current form - had to end. They were completely ineffective at undermining Saddam's regime. The sanctions only hurt the people (and very badly at that: there is a credible estimate that 500,000 Iraqi children died of causes which would have been prevented in the absence of sanctions). Saddam's iron rule over the Iraqi people was in fact strengthened by the sanctions; as the people themselves became weaker, Saddam's propaganda became more effective. He just needed to tell them "the Americans are doing this to you", which is in fact mostly true. The only success that can be chalked up to the sanctions is that Saddam's army was weakened, and that he was unable to produce any significant WMDs. None have been found, and even if he had some chemicals, then, despite them being banned and nasty and all that, a good bombing run with conventional (i.e. legal) weaponry would still do far more harm than a handful of mustard gas grenades. Remember that the firestorms in Tokyo, Hamburg and Dresden were not caused by WMDs in the dictionary sense, but by (large amounts of) conventional explosive and incendiary bombs.

So I agree that sanctions had to end, but I claim that this should have been approached with less of a hurry. Next, you claim that lifting the sanctions would also be unacceptable as it would increase Saddam's power over his population. I disagree, indeed I have just argued that Saddam's strength was in fact reinforced by the sanctions, so lifting them would not have made him stronger (as a ruler over his people, anyway). So what should have been done? I propose that we should have cut a deal with him: He abstains from producing WMDs and agrees to a permanent UN monitoring presence, and agrees not to attack his neighbours. In return, we promise not to topple his regime, and lift (most of) the sanctions. And we make it perfectly clear that if he molests his neighbours, or gasses more Kurds, then he WILL be toppled. Sounds naive? Remember that Saddam is (was?) neither stupid nor insane, just very nasty. His only interest is power, and if we can make it clear to him that he can keep his power provided he behaves reasonably well towards the rest of the world, then he just might play along. Not completely, to be sure, and his heart wouldn't be in it. I agree also that he would try all sorts of schemes to build his WMDs anyway, but the point behind the UN monitors is that they would be able to foil his grandest schemes (nukes in particular). And if some of his lesser schemes succeed, then that is not the end of the world. As long as he doesn't use (or sell) his WMDs, he's not doing too much harm. I believe the biggest reason for his belligerence was that he felt cornered, he felt that he desperately NEEDED his WMDs in order to keep his power. If we could somehow convince him that he was not threatened - provided he played along to some extent - then he would not have been a problem.

At this point some people will call me a heartless monster for abandoning the poor, oppressed Iraqi people. But remember that (a) there are LOTS of similarly oppressed people in the world, and the Bush administration doesn't even pretend to shead any tears for them, and secondly, I don't think the Iraqis lot will improve much because of this war. There simply is not quick fix for their suffering. We would have to put our hopes on long-term and subtle UN initiatives to improve Iraqi standards of living. And then, maybe, they might even overthrow Saddam on their own one day. So here my "moral calculus" is that, in this situation, peace is bad, but war is even worse.

Many talk about how the US has effectively crippled the United Nations. My question here is why should the United Nations even matter, given that with respect to Iraq, all countries that matter have a conflict of interest and are unable judge the situation from a neutral position. The US is interested in using Iraq as an example for imposing Western democracy on the Middle East and has strategic energy interests, the French were interested in using the UN to cripple US power and increase their power and standing not to mentioned their inherent interest in making Iraq a client state for weapons and French technology, ditto for Russia and Germany, Syria is a brother regime to the Iraqi regime, and so forth. If a neutral and impartial view of the situation was to be found, it was not at the UN. Who then should have made a decision about when and what to do about Iraq?
I agree that the UN is fundamentally marred by conflicts of interest, that the UN isn't perfect, nor even very good. And I do not believe for an instant that France, Germany or Russia were arguing against the war simply from the goodness of their hearts. But the UN is all we've got. The alternative is anarchy. I believe that the UN is simply the lesser evil. You are right that the UN security council would never, under recent circumstances, have approved of a war against Iraq. But currently that does not expose the UN's (very real) weakness, because I believe that in this case war is wrong, anyway.

That the UN was weakened by America's (effectively) solo adventure is a very serious problem. You see, it is not so much the UN itself that has been most damaged, but a very specific aspect: the fundamental premise that preemptive war is unacceptable. This is EXTREMELY important. Recall that Germany's 1939 invasion of Poland was officially justified as a preemptive war, as Poland was allegedly planning terrorist (anarchist, in the old terminology) attacks on Germany. Sounds familiar? Now we all know that the real reason Germany attacked Poland was to get at the reasources (specifically: land) and to expand the German Empire (that's what "Reich" means). Now it looks like America is doing the same, for the same reasons, except that the coveted resource here is oil, but I digress. A central premise of the Nuremburg trials was that Germany was responsible for WW2 precisely because preemptive war (real or claimed) was not acceptable. And today this is still a valid point. Imagine what would happen if India and Pakistan get it into their heads that the other side might seriously consider a first strike (as if their current game of nuclear chicken isn't bad enough). Precisely this scenario has become more likely, thanks to Americas preemptive strike against Iraq. For this reason alone it is worth sticking to the UN and its underlying principles despite its failings.

If your audience is an American one (remember the ones who voted Bush into office?), why is a dominant American power not a good thing? Why should Americans even worry about the considerations of bankrupt societies in the Middle East, Europe, and China? (I'm simultaneously refering to the anti-Americanism in the Muslim world, the Eurpoean desire to unseat the Americans as the dominant economic power, and China's rational opposition to growth of American power and influence.) To me and many others, if someone is going to be the top dog, it might as well be the Americans. Why should this not be the case? Can a more credible and just regime be suggested? (Not that I'm saying that the US is a super just nation at this point, but the majority are far less so.)
If somebody must be top dog, then why not the USA? The point that many non-Americans are trying to make is that the world would probably be better if nobody was the hands-down top dog. Right now the USA is top dog, and this is certainly better than if, say, China were the current top dog. All empires exploit their power ruthlessly. I don't think the Americans today are any worse than the Romans were 2000 years ago, for example. In fact, they may even be better. The alternative is not a different top dog, but no top dog at all. It is a world in which power is balanced between two or more great powers, mediated by the UN, and linked by such lucrative trade alliances as to make war between them too expensive. This, in small, in the idea behind the European Union. The central goal of the EU is not to be an economic superpower (though that would be considered a positive side-effect), but to make war impossible between France and Germany. I would like to see something analogous to hold for the rest of the world. I would like to see a balanced international community that has too much to lose by going to war.

Of course, that is pure, blue-eyed naïvité. The world is a dog-eat-dog place, and the strongest dog will fight its way to the top, mauling the others to get - and keep - its alpha position. All we can hope for is some credible counter-blance (EU, China) to stop this top dog from flipping out completely in a power-frenzy. So basically, I don't mind the USA being top dog, I just don't want the USA to have absolute power. After all, power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
---------
"Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
[ Parent ]
Impotent Left (3.00 / 2) (#111)
by OldTigger on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:01:21 PM EST

Lifting sanctions is a reasonable but unsellable alternative.  Remember, from 91 on, Iraq is a guilty state, in violation of its own signed agreements.

The "legal" justification of war was UN 678, and 687 ... through to the final chance 1441.
The fear was WMDs getting into the hands of terrorists.  Still a fear, but now less.

The simplistic equation: anti-war == pro-Saddam was known to most anti-war folk, and denied, repeatedly.  They, like the French, repeatedly agreed with regime (behavior) change.  After 9/11 there was little or no credible "lift the sanctions" movement.  It is (almost silly?) fantasy to analyze as if that was a real choice.

Another choice, really tight sanctions, was also not widely supported.  But the crux of the problem was stated in the article:

The problem is ... the impotent American Left, meaning the usual menagerie of Democrats and other liberals...

What to do about dictators?  Leave them alone and trade with them, like China (many leftists oppose this)?  No trade, like Cuba (leftist opposed)?  Sanctions, like Iraq 91-03 (leftist opposed)?
or War? -- leftists did support war for "humanitarian reasons", like Clinton in Kosovo.

Or, perhaps, leftists will only support a leader with the balls to get an intern's blowjob in the White House? Nah, the leftists were going to be anti-Bush no matter what he did, after his near success (missed Bin Laden) in Afghanistan.

Because the Left can't stand a conservative President who IS "potent".
Freedom with responsibility
[ Parent ]

Some questions... (none / 0) (#441)
by Kuranes on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 08:33:18 AM EST

...what is a "guilty state"? I thought only people could be convicted, and I never met a state on the street.

Is it per se a "silly fantasy" to discuss about altering (not necessarily lifting) the sanctions, after seeing that they didn't help in making the Iraqis hate Saddam enough to rebel?

Was the option of empowering Iraqi opposition sufficiently considered? I think not.

I agree with you that the American Left is impotent because it is scared to stand up and risk something for the things they love. But that doesn't make automatically the Right the side with valid arguments. Or, as martingale put it:
One of the bothersome "debating" tactics used to great effect by the Bush administration seems to be this: claim an ideal situation where you place yourself in the best light possible ('in theory, if one knows one is going to be shot, one can conceivably shoot first') and refuse to answer valid criticism of the actual situation. Let the rightly confused populace infer that because you stubbornly cling to a completely inappropriate analogy, you must be right (otherwise you wouldn't be so stubborn...) and they just haven't figured the connection yet.
[Emphasis by me]


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
Great byline, but no longer true. (none / 0) (#444)
by OldTigger on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 09:20:35 AM EST

With the current US tech, there is a valid question of deaths:
overwhelming force in a US war, hundreds, a few thousands die, vs. hundreds of thousands being murdered by a tyranical ruler.

"Minimal (insufficient)" support for the rebels had already been tried; the non-liberation response in Basra & Um Qasr show that there was no real hope of another popular uprising (at least for this generation).

I agree that many of the arguments pro-war seemed weak, but after 9/11, the one terrorist argument was really strong.  Saddam has some weapons, even with sanctions he is developing more.
When/ if he gets them, he'll support terrorists getting them and using them.

Most pro-war folk genuinely believe this, and most anti-Bush folk seem to genuinely believe it wouldn't be a problem because a) he won't get them, or b) he won't use them.

Only a tiny few accept the idea that we should wait until he does get them (if ever), and he does use them.

Did you feel the same about Afghanistan?  And Kosovo?  Just checking consistency.  I thought Afghanistan was defensively necessary; Kosovo was great humanitarina.
Freedom with responsibility
[ Parent ]

Why are you so sure? (none / 0) (#462)
by Kuranes on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 05:23:11 AM EST

I agree that many of the arguments pro-war seemed weak, but after 9/11, the one terrorist argument was really strong. Saddam has some weapons, even with sanctions he is developing more. When/ if he gets them, he'll support terrorists getting them and using them.
What has Saddam to do with 9/11 except that he is Arab and hating the U.S. and that the terrorists were (by the way, mostly Saudi) Arab and hating the U.S.? I don't see that connection.

Proof for connections with Al Qaida or other terrorist organisations was not found, and for the weapon problem, there was finally an opening of cooperation. Nuclear weapons were not found, and the chemical ones were mostly beyond usability.
Only a tiny few accept the idea that we should wait until he does get them (if ever), and he does use them.
You assume a priori that Saddam Hussein has nothing better to do than maniacally building up a nuclear arsenal to kill Americans instead of concentrating on staying in power (with brutal force, I agree), which is more likely to have been his main interest.


As for Afghanistan: This was in part justified as the Taliban were known supporters of terrorism (and bin Laden) and sustained a fanatic regime. But convincing proof for bin Laden/the Taliban being behind 9/11 were never found. If you ask me, the people really responsible for it are still free laughing their ears off. But after all, so much crime goes on with no one taking the blame... so what? My main concern with Afghanistan is that the U.S. has not really done much to keep things tidy over there.

Stepping in Kosovo was a different thing as in Iraq because this was obvious genocide in progress (Srebrenica etc.).

Don't get me wrong: I'm certainly in favor of (carefully) fighting to bring freedom to the world, but with oil magnates sitting in the US Admin, I wouldn't trust them to babysitting my niece without selling her to some Saudi Sheik, not talking of trusting them to "free the world".
(By the way, I'm Austrian)


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
Thanks (4.00 / 1) (#188)
by jmzero on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:16:10 PM EST

I disagree with some of what you had to say there, but I enjoyed reading your comment.  Too much of the debate around this war devolves into wackiness and name calling.  

I would like to see a balanced international community that has too much to lose by going to war.

I particularly like this idea.  In general terms, I think prosperity, employment, and equality naturally engender peace.  If more people in the world had "something to lose", the world would see many fewer tyrants and many fewer wars.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

incompleteness (none / 0) (#338)
by martingale on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 05:56:51 AM EST

I would like to see a balanced international community that has too much to lose by going to war.
Unfortunately, that idea is incomplete. It misses the equally important issue of what going to war will gain you. The calculation is always (benefit - cost), which makes the whole proposition a relative one.

For example, the US has clearly much to lose, as countries go, but it certainly perceived that the material gains are higher in the case of Iraq, which is why the aggression couldn't (wouldn't) be stopped. So long as crime pays, criminals will be found.

The obvious prerequisite for breaking this calculation is to assume a world in which the benefit of any given crime is capped at some common maximum for everyone. In that case only would we have a situation where the quote above would make sense, since the benefit part of the (benefit - cost) calculation could be essentially ignored. Funnily, such an ideal dreamworld would be quite close to the Marxist limiting case where private property is abolished. The trick would be to prevent any one person from benefiting by more than their fair share of anything...

[ Parent ]

Thank you for making a point out of Marxism. (nt) (none / 0) (#438)
by Kuranes on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 08:06:59 AM EST




Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
I second jmzero... (3.50 / 2) (#257)
by br284 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:44:52 PM EST

... about your comment being a good one.

A few more ideas and explanations...

The reason that I think that lifting the sanctions on Iraq would only serve strengthen Saddam is because the big export of products and infusion of capital is through oil. There may be other industries, but the sheer economic value of the oil trade in Iraq would dwarf anything else. The problem with this is that the Iraqi oil infrastructure was nationalized some time ago and that vast conduit of wealth would be flowing right through Saddam. I do agree that the increased economic activity would have been good for the Iraqis, but I fear that the effective distance in power between the regime and anyone willing to do anything about it would only grow. Sort of like the idea of how the rich get richer. While the Iraqis would have been better off somewhat economically, Saddam would have been even more able to establish a police/intelligence infrastructure that would only have cemented his power. I agree that the sanctions did help his power, but I don't think that they helped him to the extent that an unsanctioned oil industry would have.

I agree with you that economic interdependence is key to preserving the peace. There is a saying that goes something like no two nations that have a McDonalds has ever gone to war. I don't know if it's strictly true (Argentina and the UK?), but the idea is sound. I guess that my problem with Iraq in this case is that I don't know that we could have integrated Iraq into the world economic community while Saddam or his regime was in power. I also don't know if it would have been wise, given the potential for economic harm that he could have inflicted by manipulating the oil prices and supplies. (This criticism goes for the US also, should it attempt to control the Iraqi oil.) I do think that Saddam was interested and trying to obtain WMDs, and the situation in Iraq would have played out like the crisis in North Korea about the standoff. Instead of the US/UN being unwilling to do anything about the problem because thousands of missiles are pointed at Seoul, Saddam controlling a large part of the oil economy could have majorly fucked over many societies on the economic edge. The United States has a strategic petroleum reserve, but can the same be said about Europe and countries in Asia? I'll also admit that this is speculation on my part, but this is the problems that I see with an unsanctioned Iraq.

I have other ideas, but I'll save them now for the sake of time.

-Chris


[ Parent ]

What about sanction alteration? (none / 0) (#442)
by Kuranes on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 08:38:20 AM EST

The UN could have altered the sanctions if Hussein would have "privatized" the oil wells, or maybe divided them among the clans. What about that possibility?


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
Experience? (none / 0) (#452)
by br284 on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 04:49:21 PM EST

How many of the clans would have experience drilling and exporting and processing the oil? Or, are you advocating that the UN should have forced Saddam to denationalize the Iraqi oil industry?

It's an interesting idea, though I don't know how anyone could implement it without funneling some funds to Saddam (for instance, could the Iraqi gov't set a 99% tax on the private oil folk), or bringing in those evil multinational oil corporations such as Halliburton or TotalFinaElf.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

I propose that we should have cut a deal with him (5.00 / 1) (#261)
by OldCoder on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:57:10 PM EST

The deal you specified is exactly the deal that he was offered in 1991, after he invaded Kuwait. Saddam declined.

Consider
Saddam refused to withdraw from Kuwait even when presented with overwhelming force.
Saddam refused to cooperate with the demands of Security Council Resolution 687 for 12 years even when presented with the threat of a new invasion.
Saddam, in effect, asked the Security Council to believe that he had destroyed his WMDs in secret, instead of in front of UN inspectors, as required.

Saddam turned down the very deal you have suggested.

Agrees to a permanent UN monitoring presence
And what do we do when he blocks the inspectors from entering the military sites as he did in 1997? Send in the troops? Only to have Saddam let the inspectors in for a few months, until we send the troops home? And go back and forth with this forever?

Sanctions and embargoes require world unanimity, which no longer exists, and in any case, a US that cannot keep Mexican fruit pickers or illegal drugs out of its own country cannot keep things out of Iraq if major world governments are helping to smuggle them in.

And we could not wait to see if Saddam would keep his promise not to molest his neighbors. He spent decades working on getting nukes and with resumed flows of oil money he could reconstitute the program in no time. The first sign would be a nuclear holocaust in Kuwait City, Teheran, or Tel Aviv. Humanitarian concerns alone forbid that we make this experiment. The geopolitical fallout of an Iraqi first strike would be unknowable, but possibly more catastrophic than the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarejevo in 1914.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]

1991 vs 2003 (4.66 / 3) (#310)
by flo on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:14:17 PM EST

Things were quite different in 1991. Remember that until then, Saddam was the USA's pet dictator. The USA (and Britain, France, Germany, Russia etc) helped him build chemical and biological weapons, and the USA cheered him on when he attacked Iran. They cheered him on when he gassed the Iranians. They turned a blind eye when he gassed the Kurds. Saddam must have believed that he had an absolute fool's license to do as he pleased. He was truly surprised when the USA objected to his invasion of Kuwait (he must have overlooked the fact that the Bush family had major oil dealings there). So in 1991, Saddam was extremely angry at what he must have perceived as the USA's betrayal. What's more, there was no way for him to back down without losing face back home. Understand that for an iron fist dictator, face at home is evrything. If he suddenly appears weak, if he allows his people a glimpse of the fact that he's just the USA's lapdog, then soon enough people will start challenging his authority. He didn't want that.

Secondly, he may very well have believed that the USA was bluffing, and called their bluff. After all, would you expect your best friend to really shoot you if he's pointing a gun at you in a sudden (and in your mind unreasonable) rage? Thirdly, Saddam may not have quite understood just how superior the USA's firepower was.

I think that by the beginning of 2003, Saddam knew perfectly well that the USA could wipe him out. He had lost his own illusions as to the intentions and capabilities of the USA. And he wanted more than just not being bombed. He wanted the sanctions to be lifted. I reckon that he was indeed desperate to play along with the UN and the USA, as he had realised that this was his only hope for survival. Even Hans Blix certified that the inspections were working reasonably well - and before you put him down, he is the guy who was chosen by the UN and approved by the USA. The USA only started trying to discredit Blix when it turned out that the Iraqis really were (to some extent) cooperating with the inspectors, thereby robbing them of an easy justification for the war they so desperately wanted.

This is why, in 2003 Saddam would probably have accepted a deal similar to the one he refused in 1991. But we will never know, as the US/UK attacked well before we could find out whether or not Saddam really was going to play (comparatively) nice in the long run. I repeat my gripe: the USA were in too much of a hurry, and that this hurry was do to the timing of the reelection campaign. Had they tried diplomacy and inspections for a few more months, maybe even a year, we would have known more. Either the situation might really have been resolved peacefully, or the USA might have received a legitimate jutification for war. Now we just got the worst of both worlds, a war without justification.

Lastly, concerning WMDs. I agree that even after a 2003 deal, Saddam would have tried to get hold of WMDs. However, the only WMDs that are REALLY dangerous are nukes, and those cannot be produced in the back yard. A UN monitoring presence would have been capable of stopping Saddam from producing/acquiring nukes. He would certainly have obtained some chemical weapons, maybe a little Anthrax, too. But I believe, as I had stated in my previous post, that non-nuclear WMDs are over-rated. Yes, they're bad, but are they really worse than a war against Iraq and all the fall-out that will result?

And would Saddam really have attacked Israel with WMDs, this time knowing full well that he WOULD be wiped out first thing on the morning after? I rather believe that he wanted WMDs for their MAD (mutually assured destruction) capability, i.e. as a deterrent against a US attack. I'm not saying this is a good thing, but it is not as bad as an intention to actually use them in a first strike. Again, if Saddam did not feel threatened, he would not need his WMDs in the first place.
---------
"Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
[ Parent ]
Points of Contention on Saddam and Nukes... (5.00 / 2) (#329)
by OldCoder on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 04:20:25 AM EST

However surprised and angry Saddam was at the opposition he got from the US/UK/UN at his invasion of Kuwait, a smarter, less-suicidal person would have found a solution that did not involve him losing a war. Losing a war loses more face, I would think, than backing down. Saddam controls the press, he could have claimed that the imperialistic US was threatening to nuke Baghdad and he was agreeing to negotiate, now that he had "accomplished his goal" of getting the Kuwaitis to the negotiating table. The Kuwaitis would have been very happy to go to a negotiating table, genuine or fake, in return for getting rid of the Iraqis.

Rushing to war? Read Security Council Resolution 1137 of 1997. Go down to the numbered points. This is the one where the UN inspectors are blocked access to the inspection sites. This problem persisted until late 2002, when the US/UK/UN passed Security Council Resolution 1441 of 2002. You can scan down past the press release by searching for the string "full text of resolution 1441" in your browser. It was only when there were troops beginning to arrive that Saddam began to allow inspections. Five years later. The US can't keep ferrying troops to and from Kuwait forever, threatening to invade Iraq if it blocks inspections.

Nuclear Restraint? The whole point of bringing up the use of gas on the Kurds and the Iranians was to point out that Saddam was not going to use WMDs for deterrance or for balance. Saddams use of gas and his recreational murder and torture of Iraqis told all of us that he would use nuclear weapons if he had them. And the crumbling sanctions would raise his oil income to the point where he would have them. See this description of the Iraqi nuclear program by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Read especially the second item, "Inside Saddams Secret Nuclear Program". Saddam had gotten really good at hiding nuclear weapons development by volunteering his nuclear scientists to work on the IAEA itself. Those scientists still exist and much of the equipment probably does too.

You may be willing to sacrifice Kuwait, Tel Aviv, or Tehran in a nuclear gamble, but why should the rest of the world? If Saddam were the type that responded to deterrence, he would have withdrawn from Kuwait and he would have cooperated with the inspectors years ago. All he was required to do was to let the UN Inspectors watch as the Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons, and the Missiles to deliver them, were destroyed. Entirely reasonable. Check out the text of Security Council Resolution 687 for yourself. See especially points 7 through 9.

Was it Safe to Lift the Sanctions?
The movement to lift the sanctions, and the breaking of the sanctions by Syria and Russia, and probably by France and other countries, was one of the precipitating factors in starting the war.

If the UN goes home and the sanctions are lifted, and the oil money flows once again into Saddams pocket — What's he gonna do? I'll tell you what! He's gonna build himself a big pile of nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them with. Saddams multi-decade devotion to developing a nuclear program, combined with his history of serial invasion, threatening to destroy some of his neighbors, declared intent to dominate the Middle East, and a retrospective analysis of all of this in the light of 9/11 and US vulnerability, mean that letting Saddam get his hands on the Iraqi oil revenue stream is a recipe for nuclear holocaust. We don't know for sure which country would have been the first to be attacked, or for sure whether Saddam would threaten first or shoot first. But we knew that this was not an experiment we could afford to make.

Think about it this way. All over the world, there are tyrants and dictators who manage to get along fine with the US, the UK and the UN. They suppress their people and deny their freedom. None of these guys gets themselves invaded by the US. In order to get taken down the way Saddam was, you have to realistically threaten violence, or otherwise threaten the interests of the US.

Islamist Iran and super-Islamic Saudi Arabia both have a whole lot of oil and differing forms of antipathy to the US. Neither one of them got invaded. Saudi Arabia spends its oil money on radical Islamic schools, fancy cars, big houses, Los Angeles real estate, diamonds and other toys. Saddam spent his oil money on Weapons of Mass Destruction. That's the difference.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]

I don't agree (5.00 / 1) (#347)
by flo on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 07:44:46 AM EST

However surprised and angry Saddam was at the opposition he got from the US/UK/UN at his invasion of Kuwait, a smarter, less-suicidal person would have found a solution that did not involve him losing a war. Losing a war loses more face, I would think, than backing down.
I argued earlier that Saddam probably thought the USA were bluffing in 1991. He called their bluff, and was proven wrong. Too late for him. As for losing face, I recently saw a remarkable interview with Saddam by some American journalist, where Saddam claimed that he did not lose the 1991 war. He claimed it was a strategic retreat. This may be total nonsense, and I suppose Saddam did not believe it himself, but that sure is what he told his people. And, as we saw, he survived well politically after the war. Not least thanks to the USA and UK, who advised the Shias to rebel, and then sat back and watched Saddam crush them.

It was only when there were troops beginning to arrive that Saddam began to allow inspections. Five years later. The US can't keep ferrying troops to and from Kuwait forever, threatening to invade Iraq if it blocks inspections.
I acknowledge that the recent progress made by the inspectors was to a large extent, maybe even entirely, due to the American military presence at Iraq's borders. The deterrence really worked. It's just a pity that the USA decided to abort the first real progress in five years because the reelection was approaching. It is true that the USA cannot keep ferrying its troops around, but they should have waited longer to see whether or not the new inspections were going to work. Keeping the troops there for a year would still be cheaper than a war. And maybe the USA would have gotten a legitimate justification for war after all. Rushing to war? Absolutely. I stand by that. As for the often touted argument, "but he's been defying the UN for years!", it holds equally well for Israel, yet somehow I don't see the USA bombing Jerusalem to dust anytime soon.

The movement to lift the sanctions, and the breaking of the sanctions by Syria and Russia, and probably by France and other countries, was one of the precipitating factors in starting the war.
I don't think this statement is justified. But I agree that breaking UN-imposed sanctions is wrong - precisely because one should respect the UN. Even though I don't agree that the sanctions themselves were justified in their current draconian form.

In order to get taken down the way Saddam was, you have to realistically threaten violence, or otherwise threaten the interests of the US.
Delete the part about "realistically threaten violence" and you're dead right.

And please spare me the tirade on how amazingly evil Saddam is. I've heard it all before plenty of times, and I know he's really bad. But he is no worse than many other dictators today. And he was no worse at the beginning of 2003 than he was in 1989, yet in 1989 you would not have lectured me on how evil this guy is. I also stand by my belief that a UN monitoring presence would have prevented Saddam from acquiring nukes.
Nuclear Restraint? The whole point of bringing up the use of gas on the Kurds and the Iranians was to point out that Saddam was not going to use WMDs for deterrance or for balance.
Actually, at the time he used his gas he did so with the USA's blessing. Nobody was looming over his shoulder saying "we'll wipe you out if you use your WMDs". I still believe that Saddam's instinct for self-preservation (which was, in fact, his strongest point) would override his sadistic tendencies or imperial aspirations.

And the only country with a recent "history of serial invasion" is the United States of America.
---------
"Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
[ Parent ]
I wonder if these two conclusions are correct (3.00 / 1) (#362)
by mami on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 10:31:00 AM EST

Saddam's use of gas and his recreational murder and torture of Iraqis told all of us that he would use nuclear weapons if he had them.

I doubt that this conclusion is really correct. Even regimes like Saddam's, based on the "lust" to scare people into submission by recreational murder and torture, makes a difference between weapons.

You can't torture someone into submission with nukes. The reasons why regimes want nukes is for their "threatening power", not for their "usage power". I think nothing would be less exciting for Saddam than to throw a nuke on to Iran or his own people or direct neighbors. What would he get out of it? His own regime's death. Nothing he is interested in. So, why do you think that his usage of chemical weapons, which still are containable in their usage to a limited geographical area, proves his willingness to use nuclear weapons?

Losing a war loses more face, I would think, than backing down.

I doubt that very much. For most people, losing a war, means you "did what you could to defend your point of view" and when you lost, you lost with honor. Backing down means, your spirit and argument was broken. Nothing a narcisisstic, fearful, sadistic despot, who wants to be the "benign" dictator of his nation, would ever allow.

Remember, Saddam wanted to have a "man-to-man", a duel with Bush. Just look at his minister of information, how far this mentally could even be enforced in his subordinates. Never lose face, that's the doctrine. And in this sense you would only have lost a the war, when the "spirit" of Saddam is dead as well as his body. Same with Osama.

So, in Saddam's mind, even the war is not lost yet. His spirit is still in many people's mind. Osama's as well. All what might have been gained right now that you have oppressed Saddam's spirit into the underground. The war is won, when people have to look up the dictionary to understand who was Saddam.

[ Parent ]

Points to consider (none / 0) (#381)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 02:23:39 PM EST

You can't torture someone into submission with nukes. The reasons why regimes want nukes is for their "threatening power", not for their "usage power". I think nothing would be less exciting for Saddam than to throw a nuke on to Iran or his own people or direct neighbors. What would he get out of it? His own regime's death. Nothing he is interested in. So, why do you think that his usage of chemical weapons, which still are containable in their usage to a limited geographical area, proves his willingness to use nuclear weapons?
One possibility that occurred to me is that Saddam gets nukes, builds up his conventional forces, and marches on Kuwait & Saudia Arabia and threatens to nuke anyone who tries to stop him. I could see that happening, and with his "death before dishonor" mentality, he'd be far more dangerous than the Soviets! At least they could be deterred.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
well yes, if that would happen, (none / 0) (#391)
by mami on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 04:32:59 PM EST

then anybody would have a right to stop Saddam no matter what.

There wouldn't be much doubt in many countries that such an act is unacceptable. You would have a coalition of the truly willing in no time. The Russians had conventional weapons and nukes. They could have decided to invade West Germany and West Berlin with conventional weapons and threaten to nuke anybody, who would have tried to stop them.

But they never did invade, even not with conventional weapons not to mention with nuclear ones. So, in hindsight, that was a really beautiful set-up. The MAD threat doctrine worked.

If Saddam would use his nukes in order to make his military aggressions with conventional weapons, including chemical ones, against his neighbors more likely to succeed or unstoppable, then one wouldn't hesitate to stop him to start a conventional aggression in the first place, no matter what.

I think the real problem is that you have nuclear weapons that are considered small. That makes people play with the thought to use them, because they believe the destruction would still be limited to a smaller geographic area and would not lead to the destruction of world wide civilization.  

The other problem I see is that those smaller or dirty nukes are a terror threat weapon of choice for anyone, who wants to get heard and wants his will enforced by extortion.

The MAD threat doctrine doesn't work anymore because of it. If the MAD doctrine doesn't work anymore, people's fears rise sky-high. That fear will result in oppressions unimaginable so far.

President Bush's policies right now are based on fear. That's why people instinctively oppose them, because they know that fear is the thing you should fear first as a motivator for anything.

I think there is no need to support policies that are based on the promotion of people's fears. You are born with fear of death, fear  comes without saying when it's needed. No necessity to cause any more fear as people will have naturally. If you purposefully support fear causing policies, then your motivations are not morally acceptable, IMO.

Then there is another problem I see. What happens, if you use military aggression inside your own country against your own civilians. If you already have sucessfully oppressed the majority in your own country in using torture, a totalitarian police force and usage of chemical weapons etc., you can't "beef" this up with a nuke, because nothing would be left to oppress after that.

So, the question is then, how can you really  dispose an oppressive, totalitarian regime successfully other than by a stronger conventional military force from the outside?

If only an outside mightier military power can dispose a dictatorship in another country, then that leaves open the question, who is going to decide, if the regime in question is really oppressive enough to merit to be disposed by outside military force. Should this be simply, as it is right now exercised by the US, the country, who has the strongest military power, or should it be a decision made by the world community?

I can't see that the world community will allow the mightiest military power to decide about other countries totalitarianism alone without being opposed. So, I can't foresee ever for the US pursueing policies, where they would function as an unelected world supreme court judge, who decides which country has behaved oppressive enough to merit to be disposed by the US.

If our weapons and wars are so dangerous that they threaten the world community, then you need a world government - a democratic one - and an unanimous vote over which countries' regimes are a world threat and therefore need to be overthrown, contained, penalized etc.

[ Parent ]

There's a decent article in that comment (5.00 / 1) (#136)
by wiredog on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:09:20 PM EST

As I was anti-war but certainly not a leftist, my answers to those questions you ask are along the lines of "It's not our problem if he oppresses his people, invades his neighbors etc, etc." As long as he doesn't shoot at us, we shouldn't shoot at him.

I felt the same way about Yugoslavia, until it became obvious that Yugoslavia's neighbors were about to step in, whereupon US intervention went from bad alternative to least bad alternative.

And why were we in Somalia? Saving the hungry? Let the UN do that and, if it won't, let the hungry starve. Not Our Problem.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

Ruthless and Pragmatic... (none / 0) (#308)
by br284 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:00:24 PM EST

... there's a good bit of appeal in that one. Of course, it won't win you many friends...

Just curious, but how would you feel about a preemptive strike when you have evidence and know that your country is going to be attacked? (Not that this was the case here.) For instance, if you knew that the evil Leprechauns (Ireland joins Axis of Evil to replace Iraq) were planning on using their super-weapon on your nation, though it took weeks for the weapon to charge. So, they have started the countdown and you have to do something. Is preemption out of the question here, or does it become the least bad option in this case and you strike first?

Not that this has much to do with anything else, but I'm curious if I understand your philosophy.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

least bad option (2.00 / 1) (#350)
by wiredog on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 08:15:27 AM EST

Under international law, and common practice, it's understood that shooting first, when you know the other guy is about to shoot, is acceptable. And "The best defense is a good offense." Certainly, if we know that Frredonia is about to attack Peake's Isle Maine, we would hit them (the Freedonians) first. Better dead Freedonians than dead Mainers (Mainiacs?)

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
wrong answer, perhaps (5.00 / 2) (#415)
by martingale on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 09:00:57 PM EST

One of the bothersome "debating" tactics used to great effect by the Bush administration seems to be this: claim an ideal situation where you place yourself in the best light possible ('in theory, if one knows one is going to be shot, one can conceivably shoot first') and refuse to answer valid criticism of the actual situation. Let the rightly confused populace infer that because you stubbornly cling to a completely inappropriate analogy, you must be right (otherwise you wouldn't be so stubborn...) and they just haven't figured the connection yet. It's really a kind of brainwashing.

I think the anwser to this sort of question should be an emphatic mu.

[ Parent ]

flo (#351) says it all... (none / 0) (#434)
by Kuranes on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 07:44:30 AM EST




Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
According to the UN charter (5.00 / 1) (#351)
by flo on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 08:21:56 AM EST

A preemptive strike IS allowed if an attack by the offending country truly is imminent, which would be the case if your Leprechauns start their countdown. But the UN isn't kidding about the "imminent" part, precisely so that countries like India and Pakistan don't go nuclear by default.
---------
"Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
[ Parent ]
There's a few common fallacies in there. (4.88 / 9) (#159)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:16:36 PM EST

For example, the fallacy that if there is a bad situation, we have to do something about it. But it may perfectly well be the case that all of the courses of action available to us are worse than doing nothing, in which case, we just fuck up things worse by intervening. E.g. this was arguably the case in Kosovo-- the Kosovar population was massively expulsed after NATO attacked.

There's also the "thinking inside the box" fallacy. That is, there is too much of a tendency to keep all other factors equal when considering such questions as you pose. "What can we do about Iraq?" seems to limits the answer to courses of action that involve Iraq directly, while there may be plenty that one can do indirectly. In fact, this is a big point behind progressive politics: the major powers need to adopt a completely different style of foreign policy. That involves all kinds of smaller actions for many countries that foment the well-being of their less fortunate populations: e.g. more money for alleviating hunger and disease in the third world, without being tied in to corporate interests such as GMOs, and instead seeing to it that the aid is in the best interest of those who receive it.

Yes, you're now thinking "but I asked you what to do about Iraq, and you're telling me to feed the poor in Africa!" This is what I mean by thinking outside the box. The point is that much of politics is about people's perception, and the political options for Iraq are intimately tied to how people perceive the US.

The point is you're trying to solve political problems piecemeal, keeping every factor outside the box constant, you're likely not to have a lot of success. And the seeming "incoherence" of progressive groups, tying together all sorts of issues that the mainstream finds irrelevant to the issue at hand, stems directly from this realization-- that you don't solve these problems by applying local remedies, but by changing the whole way one does things.

--em
[ Parent ]

In other news... (1.75 / 4) (#178)
by jmzero on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:01:10 PM EST

We can help the homeless by giving tax cuts to the rich.  

But back to the subject: the real way to solve problems in Iraq is to reform the US prison system.  You may not understand how this will trickle down to Iraq, but that's because you're not thinking hard enough.  Take off your blinders and put down the buggy whip!

The point is you're trying to solve political problems piecemeal, keeping every factor outside the box constant, you're likely not to have a lot of success

Similarly, my wife doesn't understand that "cleaning the toilet" would be a piecemeal, "ad hoc" method of getting the house cleaner.  The first step to cleaning is not getting things dirtier - and me playing Zelda is a great way of doing that.

Iraq has been stinking up our house for years.  Maybe the crap was too hardened, and maybe our plunger was the wrong shape.  It could be that we just broke the toilet.  

But to say now that we should have been cleaning the sink seems a little silly.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Got $75,000,000,000 billion to spare? (5.00 / 5) (#198)
by swr on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:32:39 PM EST

There's also the "thinking inside the box" fallacy. That is, there is too much of a tendency to keep all other factors equal when considering such questions as you pose. "What can we do about Iraq?" seems to limits the answer to courses of action that involve Iraq directly, while there may be plenty that one can do indirectly.

Also, it excludes courses of action that have nothing to do with Iraq.

The pro-war line has gone from WMD to terrorists to humanitarianism. It all seems to be about saving lives, and who can oppose that, right?

But when you consider that $75 billion was alloted for regime change (not including reconstruction), the end result doesn't really seem worth it from a humanitarian perspective, compared to other ways such a huge sum of money could have been spent.

How many lives could have been saved if the Bush administration had an actual humanitarian bent, instead of using humanitarianism as a smokescreen for their own interests? $75 billion could buy a lot of actual humanitarian aid.



[ Parent ]
One laughable counterpoint. (none / 0) (#221)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:24:49 PM EST

This one is more likely to come from the direction of bc & co. It is that humanitarian aid would simply be "handouts," whereas overthrowing Saddam Hussein and installing a capitalist democracy would empower the Iraqi people to rise up and master their own destiny.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

I couldn't agree more (2.00 / 4) (#241)
by adequate nathan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:04:25 PM EST

Rather than the US overthrowing Saddam, all those [dead] Iraqi Marxists [with singed genitals] should have overthrown him in a glorious socialist revolution, at which point they could have liquidated the bourgeoisie and established some reeducation camps.

Rather than using the primitive methods of Lenin, they could use those modern methods of Pol Pot.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

For just one billion. (none / 0) (#231)
by Mr Hogan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:46:54 PM EST

I would have travelled to Iraq killed Saddam with a dirty look, then the party with Uday we share the virgins.

--
Life is food and rape, then tilt.
[ Parent ]

How about this... (4.80 / 5) (#220)
by JahToasted on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:21:43 PM EST

Rebuild Afghanistan like promised? Look at what could result from this:

  • No more terrorist attacks originating from fanatics in Afghanistan (remember that thing that happened a while back in NYC?)
  • Give a lot of support to reformists in Iran, encouraging democracy there (the "Axis of Evil" speech did NOT help the moderates there)
  • Could have a lot of influence in Pakistan, and may restore democracy there and decrease the likelihood of a nuclear war
  • Show the world that the US really is the bringer of Peace and Democracy, less hate means less violence
  • Strengthen relations with every nation of the world (in the Middle East, Europe, etc)

All those lives, billions of dollars, diplomatic capital, and general goodwill, tossed away for this stupid war. I guess rebuilding nations require a longer attention span than a lot of American viewers have. Dropping bombs is always a crowd pleaser though.

[ Parent ]

Some thoughts (3.75 / 4) (#222)
by pyramid termite on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:31:53 PM EST

What was a positive and credible alternative to the war?

1)Assassination. If we had really wanted to, we could have done him in - the reaction and results couldn't be worse than anything we have now.
2)Continued pressure on Iraq and cajoling of European states - Iraq would have only gotten weaker and our "allies" may have been more willing had we waited a year.
3) Insurgency. Yes, a civil war in Iraq would have been bloody and ugly - but on the other hand, we may have one yet. Our fatal mistake in this business was not supporting the people who rebelled in 1991. Why not? Is it freedom only when American guns are used to secure it?

I'll pass over the UN in silence - at best, it allows people to talk to one another in public before going to war - which has prevented some trouble, but not all trouble. Still, a regard for what other important countries think is important in today's world, and we have failed at this.

To me and many others, if someone is going to be the top dog, it might as well be the Americans. Why should this not be the case?

Why? Because, as any look at history will inform you, it will not always be the case. Within 100 years we will live in a world with powers equal or greater than ours - whether these powers regard us cooperatively, warily or with great hostility will depend much on how we use our power now. Japan, for instance, abused its power horribly 60-70 years ago and is still regarded with mistrust by its neighbors. The US, during this time, used its power more wisely and selflessly and we still have some good will left from that. However, that good will is running out. If we want to build on it, we are going to have to be much more careful about how we act.

Otherwise, resentment will grow. And in the world of the future, where China or India or a United Europe is as powerful as we are, that resentment could cause another Cold War. This is not a desirable future for our country or the world.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Lack of credibility (5.00 / 3) (#247)
by br284 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:21:27 PM EST

Here's why your alternatives lack any sort of credibility to being a true alternative to the war and why they are unrealistic:
  • Assassination: We've been trying to get a fix on Saddam for quite some time and have failed at even locating where he is at a given moment. Given the complication of body doubles, Saddam would have to be killed on the first attempt, as your intelligence assets used to get that first shot would be useless after the first attempt as the regime would find and execute those responsible for the leak (witness the execution of the Iraqis who provided the initial intelligence for the bombing that started the conflict). Furthermore, even if you managed to knock off Saddam, there were his sons and any number of just-as-ruthless people waiting in the wings to replace him. You wouldn't have to assassinate just Saddam, you would have to assassinate the entire upper echelons of the Ba'ath party.
  • Continuing pressure on Iraq could have continued to weaken them as the destruction of the Al Samoud II missiles undoubtedly did. Hussein would still be free to bulk up his conventional forces, though. However, given the benefits that would be reaped by the dominant European powers in terms of increased influence, weapons sales, debt, and so forth -- there's no chance that France, Germany or Russia would have backed any action against Iraq. They are now in the process of playing "cover their asses" as we start to find out now how badly broken the sanctions were. The problem here is that any country that would have to sign off on any action was too cozy with the current regime to allow the United States to disrupt those relationships.
  • Insurgency would also be implausible as the Ba'ath intelligence apparatus was too embedded in the Iraqi population for any sort of insurgency to start up. 1991 was possible as a revolt year as the regime was already smarting from the American repulsion from Kuwait and the airstrikes over Baghdad. After 1991, Saddam very clearly demonstrated that he was not going to allow the prerequisite conditions for an insurgency to exist in the first place. Witness the fear of the regime from the population, even after it had been decisively driven out of areas such as Umm Qasr and Basra.
I do agree with your assessment that the US needs to be better behaved for the day when things may be better balanced. However, I think that this is the case with dealing other nations outside of situations such as Iraq. It is true that the US should be more sensitive to things like the ABM and Kyoto treaties. But why bother giving the French the illusion that they can influence the Americans' decision when we know that their "consideration" is only an illusion and the French will not support the US in the matter in any case? I'm not a fan of Bush by any means, but I am happy that he did decide to finally destroy the pretenses that had been surrounding Iraq for the past decade from all sides. The US had the pretense of WMDs and the Europeans had the pretenses that they were opposed to WMDs in Iraq. It was about time that all the cards were laid on the table so we could get past this episode.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Well .... (4.33 / 3) (#267)
by pyramid termite on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 07:21:49 PM EST

Assassination - in spite of the obstacles, I submit that if we had put some real effort into it, we could have done it. Perhaps it may have been more effective if we had simply targeted other central figures - as in bombing a building where an important meeting was, which is what our first step in the war turned out to be. Yes, I'm being a bad person for suggesting it, but there were possibilites there we didn't explore.

Continued pressure would have worked - Saddam's army was obviously weak and would have only gotten weaker with time. More time would have not just given our "allies" more opportunity to think the thing through - it would have also given them more time to save face and cover their asses. There was nothing in the WMD aspect of the situation that required immediate action - we had time and could have waited. One might argue that the Iraqi people deserved to be liberated, period - but that's not the argument that was presented to the world and raises the obvious question of just how many countries in the world also deserve such liberation and why it has to be the US' responsibility to do so. One of the real problems I have with any argument for the war is - why the US? Why not an alliance of Turkey and other directly concerned countries - and if it's not important enough for them to take action, why should it be for us?

As far as insurgency is concerned, 1991 was the time - but even so, it was not an impossibility afterwards. The main reason that we didn't, I think, is that we were fearful of Turkish reaction to Kurdish rebellion and Iranian interference in Southern Iraq. It was still more important to us to keep Saddam as a counterweight to other forces in the area. It is true that Baathest forces were so integrated into Iraqi society that rebellion would have been difficult - but, as we are finding out, reconstruction will be just as difficult for the same reason. Yes, many (not all) Iraqis hate Saddam. Many (not all) Iraqis like America for what we've done. But the big problem is many Iraqis hate each other - and our relying on Baathest police and political figures to keep order, because we don't have enough troops to do it and they're the only other ones with the power to do so, raises disturbing questions. What would be the difference between our assassinating Saddam and bribing other Baathests to take his place more moderately and what we are doing now? We've taken out the top leadership and we seem to be planning to put the mid-level leadership in control, along with opposition figures above them. Is this a recipe for a democratic Iraq, or a factionalized, semi-feudal one?

Yes, many of the cards are on the table - but many players, including Turkey and Iran, are still holding on to theirs. It's not over yet - in fact, the game's barely begun.

It's not been the war I've really worried about - it's the peace.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
A cynical thought (5.00 / 4) (#328)
by bil on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 04:09:00 AM EST

3) Insurgency. Yes, a civil war in Iraq would have been bloody and ugly - but on the other hand, we may have one yet. Our fatal mistake in this business was not supporting the people who rebelled in 1991. Why not? Is it freedom only when American guns are used to secure it?

If I was feeling cynical I would point out that if the 1991 revolution had succeded Iraq would have had a governemnt with ties to Iran (US traditional enemy) and the Kurds fighting in Turkey (NATO member and US ally) that owed its existance to its own people, a popular revolution leading to a strong independant wealthy government. Whereas this way Iraq is left with a weak government (remeber all the strong leaders rose up and were killed, those left are all compromised by collaberation or not having been in the country for decades) that owes its entire existance to the US and will need US support and troops to prop it up for some time to come.

In 1945 there was an uprising in Warsaw against the Nazis, the Russians deliberatly halteed their advance to give the Nazis time to crush the rebels and then moved in to a city that had had all its independant leadership killed and owed its liberation to the Soviets who could re-make the post-war Poland in any form they cared to without those pesky Poles being able to object.

bil

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

Hmm (3.00 / 11) (#72)
by bc on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:28:33 AM EST

It is only the American Left that opposes War? Funny, I always thought of the American Left, and the Left generally, as being among the most bloodthirsty folks around. One only has to look at the history of all the neoconservative Likudists in the War party in charge of US Foreign Policy to see that many of the hail from left wing and especially Trotskyist origins, and consider the "Christopher Hitchens" style ex-Trot warmonger, and perhaps take a look at what sort of governments in the rest of the world support this action - the instinctively leftwing Labour Government of Britain, perhaps, or the "ex-Stalinist" (haha) eastern European regimes. I wonder if these Democrats had been in power during this period of history, or these American leftists you speak of, if history would have worked out differently? I for one doubt it.

Opposition to wars like this come from people who are instinctively anti-Imperial, and I don't think the left has a remotely better track record in being "anti-Imperial" than the right, and I don't think most opposition comes from the left more than any other segment of political opinion.

Socialists tend to oppose war perhaps because they think the resources of the state, the whore creating all these problems, can be best spent in other ways, and many support war for various so-called progressive reasons. The relationship between people like Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Perle etc and their intellectual ancestors and the left is a lot closer than you might like, and arguably closer than it is to the right.

In any case, opposing or supporting war on the basis of "what is good for the Iraqi people" is intellectual shallowness at its worst, which is why otherwise smart people bringing up their plight are clearly using it for propaganda purposes, and why people who seriously bring that up as an example of why the war is good are complete dumbasses.

♥, bc.

Re: Liberation and "save the children" (4.33 / 3) (#73)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:30:38 AM EST

You spent a signifigant amount of time expressing discontent with the current US line that we are engaged in a conflict to liberate the Iraqi people.

Your interpetation of that as secondary consideration is correct, but this justification for war has proven to be an overwhelmingly successful propaganda campaign.

The reason for this success is the shallow, pseudo-intellectual nature of the anti-war "movement". Very, very few of the people on the streets protesting have any knowledge or have put any thought into what is going on in Iraq. All they know is that they've been told that "war is bad" (just like they heard that "WTO is bad") and took to the street screaming like apes.

Silencing the shrill cries of protest was a simple matter of announcing on TV: "We are saving Iraqi children, and btw look at the cute dolphins clearing mines."

I don't share valenko's disdain with US policy in the mideast, but I applaud his excellent article and interesting analysis. +1 FP.


My compliments to your psychic abilities (4.00 / 1) (#91)
by Sleepy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:33:41 AM EST

Very, very few of the people on the streets protesting have any knowledge or have put any thought into what is going on in Iraq. All they know is that they've been told that "war is bad" (just like they heard that "WTO is bad") and took to the street screaming like apes.

And you know this... how, exactly?



[ Parent ]
Let's look at it from a different angle. (5.00 / 1) (#153)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:54:42 PM EST

The reason for this success is the shallow, pseudo-intellectual nature of the anti-war "movement". Very, very few of the people on the streets protesting have any knowledge or have put any thought into what is going on in Iraq. All they know is that they've been told that "war is bad" (just like they heard that "WTO is bad") and took to the street screaming like apes.

I will be so nice so as to spare you the question of how you claim to know this. Instead I'll ask you to go into further depth about the vast stores of knowledge possessed by your average USian war supporter, who seriously believes that Saddam was behind 9/11. (And before you ask me how I know this, the answer is from surveys published in the mainstream press.)

--em
[ Parent ]

Let's go back and read the comment... (5.00 / 2) (#160)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:17:38 PM EST

The fact that two of you choose to take exception to that passage serves to validate my point further.

I'll spare you the frustration of explaining the relevance of pointing out that many war supporters are misinformed dolts.

The undeniable success of the US propaganda campaign speaks for itself. Once we changed the tone of this war to "Let's free the Iraqis", the antiwar movement folded like a house of cards.

I was complimenting the poster of this story for providing an accurate and unemotional analysis. This story is one of the few anti-war stories that actually explore this war as an Imperialist act.

[ Parent ]

America has one thing in common with Russia (4.31 / 19) (#75)
by MSBob on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:33:34 AM EST

You love your president. You elevate him to a deity figure. This is a phenomenon that is usually reserved to most oppresive regimes and... the USA.

I cannot understand why this is the case. The US has a long history of democracy while Russia or North Korea don't. There is no other democratic country in the world where president's approval ratings exceed 80%.

Just look at Tony Blair and the opposition he was up against. The guy aged 20 years in the course of the last three months. And he's not out of the woods yet.

I think that the issue is not the arrangement of your political system. It is a societal issue. If Americans don't put their leaders under more scrutiny the result will be dictatorial rule where dictators change seats every four years.

I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

Let me guess... (1.00 / 14) (#89)
by mstefan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:30:16 AM EST

You're French-Canadian, and the "French" has been rubbing off on you lately...



[ Parent ]
Polish actually (4.50 / 2) (#107)
by MSBob on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:47:24 AM EST

So yeah, my government is in the "coalition of the willies"... That doesn't mean I'll follow everything they say like a fucking lemming.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
Duh he is Polish. (2.00 / 1) (#169)
by tkatchev on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:30:24 PM EST

Look at him gratuitously kick Russia.

(Not minding the fact that the long history of democracy in Poland never lead to anything beneficial.)

(Yes that was a troll.)

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

How am I kicking Russia? (none / 0) (#223)
by MSBob on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:36:10 PM EST

I have Russian friends and colleagues and like them a lot but I do think that they exhibit certain degree of naivette and unfounded trust in their leaders who have failed them so many times in the past. And I do believe this is a trait that's very common in both the Russian and the American society.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
"Leaders" (5.00 / 1) (#324)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 01:50:03 AM EST

You should realize that the figure of the President is mostly a symbolic one.

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

Why is the president so visible? (none / 0) (#356)
by MSBob on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 08:54:45 AM EST

Why is the Russian president so visible and not the prime minister? Usually in countries where the president's role is only symbolic (such as Poland) it is usually the prime minister who does all the working visits and so on. In Russia it's almost always Putin who visits foreign leader or is hosted by them. Why the dissonance?
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
"Symbolic" (none / 0) (#363)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 10:37:32 AM EST

"Symbolic" doesn't mean "powerless".

"Symbolic" means that the President is a spiritual and national leader. An ersatz monarch -- somebody who takes responsibility for the nation as a whole.

Whether or not that status carries political power along with it is a whole other question.

Anyways, what's interesting to me is why the U.S. happened to end up with a government model like that. A "presidential republic" is most often something that goes along with a culture that is heavily biased towards monarchy.

Strange.

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

You , like most euros (2.33 / 3) (#176)
by jubal3 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:57:15 PM EST

clearly have no concept of the complexities of American politico-social dynamics.

I really wish you Euros would drop the simplistic way in which you view the US. Your ignorance, while at the same time condeming American ignorance (just as real) does not add to the debates of the day.



***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

You, like most yanks. (3.50 / 6) (#187)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:12:47 PM EST

Assume that American politico-social dynamics are very complex -- so complex, in fact, as to be infinitely more complex than European ones.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Huh? (2.00 / 1) (#224)
by Sloppy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:38:55 PM EST

You love your president. You elevate him to a deity figure.
What makes you think that?
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."
[ Parent ]
Multiple things (5.00 / 4) (#230)
by MSBob on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:46:16 PM EST

First case: Insane approval ratings of George W. Bush i.e. a president who lacked a program to drag America out of economic stagnation, a president who took you to a war you didn't approve of to begin with and who could not successfully capture the perpetrators of 9/11. In other words a president whose only redeeming value is the fact that he's still in the office is has the whole nation behind him even when his decisions never seem to produce anything good for America.

Second case: Impeachment trial of Clinton. Why the fuck would you care who your president sleeps with? He's just a person like everyone else. He's not supposed to be the moral beacon for all Americans. Why bother dragging the guy through such mud if he's doing more than adequate a job of being a president?

There is a fair amount of cult behind every president in the office and presidents' decisions are (seemingly) only questions long after their terms are finished.

I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
Why I supported impeaching Clinton (3.00 / 2) (#449)
by Robin Hood on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 01:20:17 PM EST

Second case: Impeachment trial of Clinton. Why the fuck would you care who your president sleeps with?

Two reasons. First, unless he had a *very* unusual wedding when he married Hilary Rodham, they probably made an exchange of vows that included something like "... forsaking all others ..." -- that's the traditional language used in Protestant wedding ceremonies. And unless things have changed while I wasn't looking, that's supposed to be a promise that you won't go sleeping around behind your spouse's back. (If you've got a so-called "open marriage", that's different -- there's no betrayal of trust involved.) When I see a man who's willing to ditch an oath like that just for a little bit of pleasure, I've got to wonder how seriously he took that oath to uphold the Constitution.

If Clinton had not been married, there would still have been questions about possible abuse of power: did he threaten Lewinsky with losing her job if she didn't give him what he wanted? Classic sexual-harassment type questions. But not grounds for impeachment unless you've got proof of abuse of power.

And even if you don't agree with my first reason for impeaching Clinton, even if you think that he'll somehow treat his oath to a country (an impersonal thing) better than his oath to his wife (whom he sees just about every day), there's another reason to impeach him. He lied under oath. I'll repeat that. He *LIED* under *OATH*. In sworn testimony, he said (going from memory here): "I did not have sex with that woman." (Meaning Monica Lewinsky). It was obvious to me that this man didn't take oaths seriously; do we really want this weasel in office? He's not going to uphold the Constitution, he's going to do whatever he can to stay in power.

He's just a person like everyone else. He's not supposed to be the moral beacon for all Americans. Why bother dragging the guy through such mud if he's doing more than adequate a job of being a president?

The President takes an oath to uphold the Constitution. Clinton is not a man who can be trusted to keep his oaths. Therefore Clinton cannot be trusted to keep his oath as President. Therefore we should kick him out of office.

That was my reasoning; that was why I supported impeaching Clinton.

[ Parent ]

Hey, wait a sec... (none / 0) (#492)
by baron samedi on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 10:35:17 PM EST

How do you know the details of Bill and Hilary's relationship? For all you know, they could have an *understanding* as many couples do. So being personally offended by his violation of *your* definition of a marriage is just a spurious argument, and hardly one of the "high crimes and misdemeanors" discussed in the constitution.

Oh yeah, he committed *perjury* by saying that he did not have sex with that woman. Compare this to secret slush funds contributing to death squads as Reagan did in explicit violation of congress, or the arms for hostages deal, and then come back to me talking about someone who doesn't keep their oaths.

Dress it up however you like. They were out to get Clinton for anything they could find, and this was the only thing that they could get on the guy who has replaced Jimmy Carter as "History's greatest monster."
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]

Rally Round the Flag (3.00 / 1) (#271)
by Merk00 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 07:47:53 PM EST

There is a Rally Round the Flag trend in American history. Basically, in times of national trouble (like, say, people flying planes into buildings or in the midst of a war), the President receives high approval ratings. This doesn't always happen but generally does as long as the President at least competently handles the situation (as I would say Bush has done; not well but at least competenetly).

As to whether American's support the President in peace time, it really depends on the President. In general, approval ratings float around the 50% mark. Often times they dip lower. So this idea of a "cult of the Presidency" isn't really that correct.

------
"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 ]

Peace time? (5.00 / 1) (#432)
by drquick on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 04:07:13 AM EST

As to whether American's support the President in peace time, it really depends on the President.
So, it's war time now? That's how one rules the people! It's an old trick.

[ Parent ]
The best would be perpetual war. (none / 0) (#472)
by Kuranes on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 03:41:17 PM EST

At least until there's elections.

The enemy is Saddam, and Saddam has always been our enemy. <<br>Doesn't that strike you as odd?

If you're interested, you can read it all here.


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
This same phenomena happens in other areas (4.57 / 7) (#100)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:02:51 AM EST

Many apologists for a given point of view often get swindled in arguing on the terms of its critics.

While recognizing that there is a need for common understanding for meaningful communication to occur, once one accepts the presuppositions of the opposing side in a debate, that debate has already been lost.

Any good dialogue should start with discussion over the fundamental principles involved in order to see where there is agreement and disagreement. Then a dialogue can be productive in that it will bring to light where the true differences between the sides lies. Even if neither side convinces the other, at least both sides then have a fair chance of really understanding what the other really thinkgs.

Doesn't work w/ GF (5.00 / 2) (#142)
by snowlion on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:23:33 PM EST

Any good dialogue should start with discussion over the fundamental principles involved in order to see where there is agreement and disagreement. Then a dialogue can be productive in that it will bring to light where the true differences between the sides lies.

Yeah, I agree w/ that;

Problem is, my girlfriend always shouts, "Will you just get to the point??!"

That, or she flat out says, "I'm not going to agree with you on anything!"
--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

that calls for a new GF (nt) (none / 0) (#414)
by mami on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 08:32:08 PM EST



[ Parent ]
gf says: (none / 0) (#495)
by snowlion on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 02:26:47 PM EST

if you had to listen to his long winded introductions to a three word question, youd be on my side.
--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
Answer: (4.66 / 6) (#110)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:58:34 AM EST

You're presuming that those who oppose the war are anti-war first and foremost and only liberal 1 by consequence of some rhetorical ruse, whereas, at least within America, the truth is that most of those opposed to the Iraq war are such within the context of liberalism. In effect, they differ only on the question of the means by which the agreed upon goal of "liberation"2 should be accomplished; no rhetorical trickery required3. On the other hand, you would have the pedestrian anti-war proponent jump out of her skin in pursuit of some nebulously articulated upper hand. But I suspect that you already knew that. Who knows, perhaps you'll turn a few lost souls.

[1] No irony, no quotes required.
[2] Circumstances demand that the term "liberation" be used with only the most acute sense of irony.
[3] Or no more trickery than is part and parcel of political rhetoric in the first place.

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


Let's not forget ... (5.00 / 3) (#225)
by pyramid termite on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:40:39 PM EST

... there have been conservative voices against this war, too - and in some ways, they've made their case better than the Left has.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Which conservatism? (5.00 / 1) (#265)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 07:08:45 PM EST

I was using liberal in the sense which covers most of political spectrum in America -- as in the ideological heirs of the Rationalist Enlightenment. Nearly all of the so called conservatives in America fit within that mold, unless you were speaking of that perverse offspring of some unholy and clandestine circle jerk involving Jed Clampett, Bishop Newman, Locke, and Burke whom we all know as Pat Buchannon. Perhaps it's just my predjudice shining through, but I can't bring myself to acknowledge that Buchannon has ever spoken an intelligent word in his life.

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


[ Parent ]
Unfortunately ... (5.00 / 4) (#268)
by pyramid termite on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 07:30:37 PM EST

... the definitions of liberal and conservative have been so corrupted by our current political discourse that I often miss references to the real things. Sorry about that.

And Pat? He's an annoying mix of intelligence, bigotry and rank stupidity. Let's put it this way - it would only take 10000 Pat Buchanans to produce Hamlet as opposed to a million monkeys. He has had some good thoughts about this war - but he probably had help.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
-1 Don't feed the trolls! (2.33 / 15) (#114)
by omegadan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:10:30 PM EST

People, the only way we are going to beat the trolls is to stop paying attention to them. When you see a troll VOTE IT DOWN and DO NOT REPLY. Now you may be thinking "But I hate the US, so even though I know this is a troll, +1" -- that makes you a troll to.

Any article that starts "Anyone that sees through the infantile thumb sucking" does NOT deserve our time ....

Religion is a gateway psychosis. - Dave Foley

valeko ... (4.16 / 6) (#115)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:14:45 PM EST

... is not a troll. He's a genuined-article Marxist. It can be hard to tell the difference between trolls and genuinely odd people, but this is one of the latter.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
I thought such folk were extinct. . . [n/t] (none / 0) (#119)
by Pop Top on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:24:36 PM EST



[ Parent ]
They kept a few around (4.75 / 4) (#125)
by Grognard on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:42:53 PM EST

for entertainment purposes.  They're mainly found frolicking in the Ivory Towered Jurassic Parks.

[ Parent ]
Marxists can still be respectfull [nt] (3.00 / 5) (#120)
by omegadan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:25:39 PM EST


Religion is a gateway psychosis. - Dave Foley
[ Parent ]

True (5.00 / 2) (#164)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:54:36 PM EST

But being rude does not make him a troll.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
I am no Marxist. (4.00 / 1) (#183)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:08:39 PM EST

At the very best, I am a student of Marxism.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

You coulda fooled me (4.50 / 2) (#202)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:41:38 PM EST

Anyway, where exactly is the boundary ? Your political beliefs seem, roughly, to run along lines derived from Marx, which would be my definition.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Well. (4.50 / 2) (#215)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:11:25 PM EST

If you conferred upon me the title of Marxist purely on the basis of my political beliefs, then I accept. However, the scholarship required to attain a correct understanding of things through the application of the Marxist outlook is a lifelong process, and I assumed that by Marxist you meant someone capable of doing this.

In this sense I am not mature, nor a Marxist. I emphasise this to underscore that my incompetence (in your eyes, others', etc.) is not representative of the Marxist forces of today.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

So is Sowell... (4.33 / 3) (#226)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:42:00 PM EST

...but you don't see anybody calling him comrade.

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


[ Parent ]
That is correct. (none / 0) (#253)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:30:12 PM EST

Because Sowell is not a comrade. He is a critic, mainly of classical 19th century Marxism. Not without his good points, but also not someone that issues modern, worldly critique.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

He is an uppity Russian. (1.00 / 5) (#216)
by Mr Hogan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:12:32 PM EST

16-yo going on 40 phd social science & theatre. Jesus!

--
Life is food and rape, then tilt.
[ Parent ]

I do not agree with all that is said, but (3.42 / 7) (#117)
by Pop Top on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:22:33 PM EST

but even the parts I disagree with are well written and this article does demonstrate the Machiavelian mastery of Karl Rove.  +1FP

When will we ever learn not to disunderestimate George W. Bush?

 

Niche audience (4.40 / 5) (#121)
by lurch on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:32:28 PM EST

Rephrase your title to:
'Opposing the Syria war in pro-war terms is absurd' and you will get votes from all the people agreeing that the iraq war wasnt justified but now that the 'fait is already accompli' lets just get back to business and make the best of it.
Mind you, only to help the poor suffering iraqies of course and not because we want to sell every iraqi a mobile phone.

Hearing the kind of noise emitted by those in charge, Syria's gonna get a treatment of the same medicine.
Same diagnose, same medicine, same outcome.


A mirror (4.44 / 9) (#135)
by SocratesGhost on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:09:15 PM EST

It's interesting that the author, in his criticism of American uniformity in social norms and language is just as guilty of using rhetoric that is highly reminiscent of Marxist philosophy.

This article is a jeremiad that critiques modern thought and ultimately damns itself.

I like it.

It's a good article, valeko, and thought provoking, but toning down the rhetoric maybe will offer you greater balance in your critique. As it is, it's a well placed critique but we have to wonder whether this critique equally applies to the uniformity of protesters in Spain and Germany. Address that as well as the groupthink that you may subscribe to and you probably have a much more insightful and universal article. In particular, now that we recognize it, what do we do about it?

-Soc
I drank what?


Hmm. (3.33 / 3) (#181)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:06:38 PM EST

the author, in his criticism of American uniformity in social norms and language is just as guilty of using rhetoric that is highly reminiscent of Marxist philosophy.

And this is bad, how? What are you insinuating?

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

He's telling you ... (5.00 / 2) (#228)
by pyramid termite on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:42:56 PM EST

... that you haven't 100% achieved your own voice in political discussion. Keep plugging away, I know you'll get there.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
no judgment intended (none / 0) (#263)
by SocratesGhost on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 07:02:01 PM EST

I think of it as only a human phenomena. But you seem to find fault with the American instance of it. The good question to ask then is what strategies can we offer to ourselves to prevent harm from our rose tinted glasses. The answer is pretty obvious I think, but it would go a long way toward being a constructive critique instead of merely deconstructive.

Maybe that's your point, but I've never really been fond of deconstructionism. Never really saw the point.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Comrade Valeko is a Stalinist. What do you expect? (3.00 / 1) (#275)
by Demiurge on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:13:06 PM EST

He's the coelecanth of K5.

[ Parent ]
Valeko is a Stalinist? (5.00 / 1) (#285)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:53:36 PM EST

Well, if you say so!

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

If only I had saved your damning quotation (none / 0) (#320)
by Demiurge on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 12:25:02 AM EST

excusing Soviet use of wartime slavery to fill factories and forced conscription.

[ Parent ]
He's gone further than that (5.00 / 2) (#325)
by manobes on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 02:12:11 AM EST

on IRC.

IIRC he claimed that Stalin was on the right path, in certain (economic) respects. Kruschev was wrong to slacken the pace of collectivization, and the great famine of the early thirties was at least in part due to rich peasents hoarding grain. Also, while he didn't hesitate to call Pol Pot a butcher, he wouldn't do the same for Lenin, Stalin or Mao, claiming that they were "complex".

He's dodged my repeated offers to debate any of these points based on legitimate historical works (such as Let History Judge, by Medeev). While not a full blown Stalinist, he seems to skirt disturbingly close to being an apologist for the 20th centuries biggest murder.

No one can defend creationism against the overwhelming scientific evidence of creationism. -- Big Sexxy Joe


[ Parent ]
Bushevik rhetoric (4.33 / 3) (#374)
by Eric Green on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 01:19:06 PM EST

But are Bolshevik rhetoric and Bushevik rhetoric really that different? After all, both claim to be about saving the world from harsh and exploitive regimes, at gunpoint if necessary. Both are actually about the looting and plundering of entire nations for the benefit of a Party elite. Sure, they use a slightly different vocabulary, and the methods used by the Party commissars to get the words of the Great Leader out to the rank and file differ (the Bushevik commissars use Hate Radio rather than poorly-mimeographed broadsheets, mostly because the Bushevik rank-and-file is largely voluntarily illiterate, relying on Hate Radio and Faux News for its view of the world), but if the goals are the same, and the methods are the same, what is a bit of difference in vocabulary?
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]
Oops and Congratulations (3.80 / 5) (#138)
by gyan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:15:31 PM EST

I +1ed it. Wanted to -1 it but was distracted away from the monitor.

Anyway, congratulations. For achieving some maturity. You realized certain things. But, I didn't say complete maturity. Because you didn't realize that most of us already know what you just spouted in a triumphant prophetic tone.

********************************

I didn't what? (none / 0) (#211)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:54:28 PM EST

Because you didn't realize that most of us already know what you just spouted in a triumphant prophetic tone.

No, I realise(d) this perfectly well. The "triumphant prophetic tone," if there is one (not sure where you're getting that from), is not intended to herald my breakthrough discovery of the Left's errors or anything like that.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Yes, no, maybe (4.63 / 11) (#139)
by jd on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:17:17 PM EST

Bosnia was a recognised independent country, and the Serbian leadership undeniably sent troops and armor in to "assist" in the invasion. That much is all pretty much established. The war in Bosnia was in defence of an independent nation by an external aggressor who had previously sought to invade at least two other independent nations that had split from Yugoslavia.

The BBC (one of the least biased news services) were reporting rape camps and death camps, and een managed to get TV footage of one of the Serbian death camps.

Hey, in the case of Serbia and those forces under its control, I'm going to plead a special case. Serbia was not accused, by some shadowy figures, of attrocities. It was commiting them in broad daylight, right in front of UN peacekeepers in the "safe havens" (which weren't).

I believe that 99.999% of the time, war is unnecessary and stupid, but that was a case where I'm not sure there were too many choices. I'll fully accept that something did have to be done.

No, that does not mean I'll toe the line and agree with what -was- done. The military tactics employed were mostly whiz-bang showtime tactics, and NOT "let's go in there, let's get this right, and let's get this over with".

What do I mean? Let's take an example. The US bombed a lot of suspension bridges. Made some small holes in them, which the Serbs covered over with wood. The tanks continued to use them just fine. All it did was put civilians at a great deal of risk, for no gain. The navigable river, which the Serbs used to get oil to their troops, was unaffected.

What would I have done? Put a bomb at both ends, and sink the bridge entirely, but also largely intact. Totally unusable, and blocks the river to shipping. Once the war's over, use cranes to lift the bridge back into place, fix the cables and the support, and it's restored. Pretty much good as new.

Let's look at some other examples. Bombing the oil storage depots. Killed a lot of civilians, but didn't really do a whole lot. The difference was simply made up by the Greeks, who trucked in oil, ignoring the UN sanctions - and the UN checkpoints.

No, that didn't work, and did do a lot of harm. What would have been better, though? Special Forces bringing in phony sugar-laced oil would have been fairly interesting. No risk of civilian deaths, it would also have put the Serb military out of commission for a while, and (best of all) would have made the Serbs very wary of Greece. That alliance kept the war going, and possibly even pre-empted it. Breaking that tie would have been the best thing the allies could have done.

Now, onto the war with Iraq. The attrocities occured, sure, but they were history. No bomb on Earth could have "unkilled" a single person.

Iraq was accused of having chemical, biological and nuclear weapons AND of trying to obtain them. (Spot the contradiction. If they had them, then there's nothing to obtain, and no additional significance in trying to obtain more.) The proof offered turned out to be forged documents, so we really had no proof at all.

What we tried to do in Iraq was not save innocents in an illegal international war, but to change the regime, which actually IS illegal. Attempting to assassinate the ruler of a foreign sovereign power, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU HATE THE WAY THEY MAKE THEIR COFFEE, is a war-crime, for which President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld should be required to answer before a legally-recognised International court of law.

An attack on Syria, on the grounds that some of their men might have given Iraqi troops some gas masks and a few night-sights (although this is heresay, not proven) is very very dodgy.

This is not being an International policeman. This is being Emperor Nero, without the benefit of (extremely bad) music. I'm sorry, the world doesn't need a second Nero. One was quite enough.

Obviously, though, 80% of Americans feel differently. I pity them, and pray that they may be forgiven for what they do not understand, for I honestly can't see much difference between them and the Roman guards at the foot of the cross. They are acting in ways that are cruel, out of ignorance, and they should not be condemned.

Wrong (1.20 / 10) (#149)
by Keeteel on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:37:28 PM EST

Whether you want to believe the reality or not is pretty irrelevant. No matter how many times with moral relativism you say that the sky is neon green does not make it neon green. No matter how many times you defend Saddam Hussein and attack the actions of America does not make it so. Even if you had a majority (which you don't) of people on yourside, President Bush would still have the duty to protect America and humanity. Somethings supercede the will of the majority. The case is clear, Iraq posed one of modern history's must inhuman regimes and most dangerous threat. Whether he had weapons or not (which are now in Syria, which is justification to take them out) is irrelevant.

Dictatorships have NO right to claim authority over the land. Saddam Hussein's regime had no authority over his people - therefore there's no arguement that it's wrong of us to 'take their land.' It's not their land, it's not their oil, it's not their resources - it's the Iraqi people's (and now ours as the liberators to do as we please with, but unlike dictators Americans believe in doing what's right because we are a good people.) America facilitated the delieving of Iraq and its oil back to the Iraqi people - what a terrible thing, shame on us for doing what is morally right. Your blind hate for President Bush is astonishing, even after the war is over, the people of Iraq celebrate their liberation, you're still screaming for people to listen. The American people have made their decision, left-wing "intellects" have been marginalized because their empty debate and attacks against America have gone too far. We are proud of our country, we are proud of our soldiers, we are proud of President Bush.

Unlike you, we don't need to sit here and recognize these hostile regimes. The American people know we are a good, God loving people. We are guided by the light of God, and President Bush's moral clarity and faith to God. This is a President who prays for guidance everynight - a President who heard his calling from God to liberate the oppressed people of this world. That is why I love President Bush, he is a man who knows the truth. He is a man who won't stand by while left-wingers degrade the pride of America by defending these dictatorship's "Right to exist." The American people are people of action, not useless debate and word tricks.

Good riddance.

[ Parent ]

Bush == Dictatorship. (3.14 / 7) (#167)
by tkatchev on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:27:22 PM EST

Either you are with us or you are against us.

It is Bush's burden to prove that he is not, in fact, a dictator -- since I happen to have access to top-secret documents that undeniably prove that he is.

So, now that we got that out of the way -- is it OK if I storm your house now and rape your children?

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

Please stop with this. (2.66 / 3) (#207)
by Keeteel on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:46:00 PM EST

Give it up, he was voted in by the people of America who have given him a mandate to protect our lives and liberate those less fortunate than us. Since international law has failed, we must take matters in to our own hands.

[ Parent ]
I'll never forgive Adequacy for shutting down... (none / 0) (#209)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:52:35 PM EST

You're so perfect. I loved their humour, and I love yours.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Yes. (3.50 / 2) (#323)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 01:33:18 AM EST

Just like HITLER was.

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

Troll !!! (no text) (1.00 / 1) (#431)
by drquick on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 04:01:23 AM EST



[ Parent ]
That's a funny way to spell Putin. (1.00 / 1) (#330)
by Demiurge on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 04:22:19 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Am I arguing? (5.00 / 2) (#355)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 08:48:12 AM EST

I actually agree with you.

The difference, though, is that my government isn't invading foreign countries and isn't setting up puppet governments for the purpose of controlling oil transit.

In short, sit down and shut up.

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

really? (1.00 / 1) (#388)
by treetops on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 03:53:13 PM EST

The difference, though, is that my government isn't invading foreign countries and isn't setting up puppet governments for the purpose of controlling oil transit.

Some would disagree with you

--tt
[ Parent ]

Hello retard. (4.00 / 2) (#428)
by tkatchev on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 01:41:31 AM EST

Chechnya is by all rights (including every single international law known to man) and purposes is a part of Russia.

Look, just because some wanker in, say, Holland claims that Texas is an independent country doesn't mean that you can now believe that the U.S. is "oppressing" the valiant and freedom-loving Texan citizens.

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

Chechnya (3.00 / 2) (#430)
by drquick on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 03:45:36 AM EST

Chechnya is not a country. It was part of Russia even before the 1917 revolutions. Russia is not setting up a goventment in Chechnya. Chechnya had autonomy from Moscow (not indepencence) and a government of their own. Still terrorist activities continued. Russians were killed in numerous attacks, bombs and hostage takings. The wars in Chechnya might be unfair and cruel but I still think they were about the security of Russia and Russians, not about money or profit in any shape or form.

Having said that I feel to remind you about how the Tsar treated the Chechens. All of the people was deported to Siberia. Death toll - probably a world record - was 50% of the polulation. The Chechens sure have suffered.

[ Parent ]

For the sake of fairness. (none / 0) (#437)
by valeko on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 08:02:26 AM EST

Stalin didn't treat the Chechens much better.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Uh. (5.00 / 1) (#446)
by tkatchev on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 12:16:00 PM EST

OK. The history buffs crawl out of the woodwork. :))


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

Yeah, well (none / 0) (#482)
by ksandstr on Sat Apr 19, 2003 at 01:40:53 PM EST

In Chechnya it's about uranium along with other mining products and natural gas, not so much about oil.

The funny thing is that Chechnya had had an election for their parliament and were soliciting recognition as an independent state before a couple of buildings blew up and collapsed in a suburb of Moscow, giving the Russian govt ample opportunity to produce evidence about an attack by "chechnyan separatists", in turn allowing for an invasion of Chechnya.  This happened sometime in the mid-1990s.

Does anyone else see the pattern here?

--
Gegen kommunismus und bolschewismus und terrorismus, jawohl!

[ Parent ]

You missed the bit... (none / 0) (#486)
by tkatchev on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 09:53:25 AM EST

...where Chechnya tried to invade the neighboring Russian region of Dagestan with the purpose of installing a pan-Islamic dictatorship of Sharia law.

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

Hurray! (4.00 / 1) (#410)
by sramkrishna on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 07:54:57 PM EST

Great, can we have your support for the overthrow of Pakistan's govt too? Since you obviously believe that dictatorships are evil, I welcome your presence there and help alleviate the suffering of the Pakistanis who have been under one kind of military rule since inception (with pockets democracy). I'm eagerly waiting your response to my post with glee. sri ob PC comment: my objections are to the pakistani govt not the people themselves alas most people tend to react emotionally when their govt is attacked..

[ Parent ]
Quibble (none / 0) (#453)
by Crono on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 06:23:39 PM EST

"No matter how many times you defend Saddam Hussein and attack the actions of America does not make it so." Make it so? Make it so what? Grr that irritates me. Atlest you coulda done it in a Patrick Stewart voice so it woulda sounded cool.

[ Parent ]
Is that a troll?? (5.00 / 2) (#479)
by mr strange on Fri Apr 18, 2003 at 07:54:36 PM EST

...or are they putting something in the water over there?
The American people know we are a good, God loving people. We are guided by the light of God, and President Bush's moral clarity and faith to God.
You scare me more than a thousand Osama bin Ladens. Seriously.

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]
Wow (2.00 / 1) (#161)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:35:28 PM EST

You are one of the most amazingly inconsistent and incoherent people I have ever read.

First you tell us that the US should have dropped suspension bridges into the Danube rather than damage them... then comparisons to Nero... then Roman soliers who crucified Jesus....

Have you been drinking?

If not, how do you explain the chemical shells all over Iraq? How you explain Iraqi generals discussing where they should hide banned weapons from weapons inspectors?

[ Parent ]

chemical shells all over Iraq? (4.00 / 1) (#348)
by flo on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 07:58:31 AM EST

What movie have you been watching? To date (15 April 2003) NO chemical weapons have been found in Iraq. Zip. Nada. Nil. Nothing. Zero.

As for the general's discussion? That was so vague, that for all we know he was discussing how to hide the underwear his secretary forgot in his office, so that his wife doesn't find out about the affair ;)
---------
"Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
[ Parent ]
Empty chemical shells (none / 0) (#352)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 08:30:45 AM EST

Have been found in bunkers all over the place in Iraq, along with atropine and chemical suits.

SOP for chemical weapons is to load the weapons with the chemical of choice with 72 hours of when you want to employ them for a variety of reasons.

Since there is concrete proof that Iraq had chemical weapons (20,000 dead Iranians, 15,000 dead kurds), a rational person would conclude that the weapons would either have been destroyed or moved.

[ Parent ]

But no actual weapons (none / 0) (#481)
by ksandstr on Sat Apr 19, 2003 at 01:34:34 PM EST

None of the things you list were actually weapons. A method of deployment and a chemical or biological agent do not make a weapon of mass destruction unless they are combined into something that is both 1) a weapon and 2) credibly able to deliver mass destruction (among civilians or soldiers -- I suppose this includes infrastructure as well as people).

This pretty much means that no biological or chemical weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. Which sounds perfectly logical considering that the previous stint the U.N. weapon inspectors had in Iraq (the one before 2000 -- after the Gulf war, I'm not quite sure of the year) pretty much destroyed all means of N/B/C weapon production in the country. I'd also be quite surprised if things like atropine and chemical suits were included in U.N.'s "stuff you can't have" list -- that'd be akin to a ban on bomb shelters.

Personally, if I were a greatly reviled leader of a country with significant oil deposits, I'd be stocking up on antidotes and protective suits too. The U.S. is still has the largest stockpile of N/B/C weapons in the world, after all.

Though in the end, this tangent of the war debate has no meaning anymore -- the warmongers couldn't get sufficient evidence from Blix's teams to warrant a favorable U.N. resolution and so had to relegate that aspect to a mere propaganda tool. Remember, the name of the operation was "IRAQI FREEDOM [sic]" and the propaganda during the early stages of the U.S: bombing revolved around alleged Iraqi treatment of women etc etc.  The "chemical weapon" embarrassment is going to get swept under a convenient carpet soon enough.  Perhaps another war...?

--
Gegen kommunismus und bolschewismus und terrorismus, jawohl!

[ Parent ]

What? (none / 0) (#366)
by Ken Arromdee on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 11:00:36 AM EST

Attempting to assassinate the ruler of a foreign sovereign power, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU HATE THE WAY THEY MAKE THEIR COFFEE, is a war-crime, for which President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld should be required to answer before a legally-recognised International court of law.

Let me get this straight, attacking a military target in a war is a war crime?

Why not just say that participating in a war at all is a war crime. We're trying to assassinate all those enemy soldiers, you know.

[ Parent ]

No, but (none / 0) (#491)
by baron samedi on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 08:33:18 PM EST

going to war to change the government of another country because you "don't like the way the make their coffee" is.
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]
Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! (3.66 / 9) (#152)
by jabber on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:46:44 PM EST

Brilliant article. Absolutely fantastic. The fish-hook in my mouth not withstanding, this just made my day.

+1, front page!

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

Opposing the Iraq War (3.50 / 2) (#165)
by stormcrow on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:16:07 PM EST

While I am struck with the smooth rhetoric and persuaded by the reasonableness of your discourse, I would rather see your talents stave off our(official) opposition to the Iran government. They are in rapid flux and just need some elbow room right now. There's an opportunity to get in front of this one. Describe the trends in Iran and I believe you'll get a better audience.
stormcrow
Yes (none / 0) (#172)
by MajorMajor on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:46:33 PM EST

I agree with your remark to some extent. One of the criticisms of the anti-war movement is that they have presented no credible alternative to the war.

This argument goes hand-in-hand with the other argument - that the left is inconsistent - being against Saddam when the west sponsored him, but now pro-Saddam. Had the left's opinions held sway in the 1980s over US policy, it is likely that there would not have been sufficient pretext for the current war.

Therefore those of us against the current bunch of neo-conservatives should forget about Iraq, and concentrate on those parts of the world which are likely to become future targets. Unfortunately, finely nuanced diplomatic discussions (or not so finely nuanced at the moment :P don't make for exciting headlines, especially at a time when tanks and planes are whizzing about blowing things up.

[ Parent ]

Missing the point? (4.50 / 2) (#175)
by x3nophil3 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:55:10 PM EST

I think you blew it with this:

This argument goes hand-in-hand with the other argument - that the left is inconsistent - being against Saddam when the west sponsored him, but now pro-Saddam.

I think the most salient point this article made was how completely absurd that issue is. Any left-wingers who are 'pro-Saddam' should be sent off to the Gulags for crimes against reason.

Although I agree that trying to pursuade anyone that there are subtle arguments why 'liberating' Iraq can not be justified by some sort of 'moral imperative' or 'moral incumbancy' is rather an enormous up-hill battle.

[ Parent ]

Hmm (5.00 / 1) (#232)
by pyramid termite on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:47:45 PM EST

This argument goes hand-in-hand with the other argument - that the left is inconsistent - being against Saddam when the west sponsored him, but now pro-Saddam.

And of course, that argument also demonstrates that the West has been inconsistent - not just with words, but with deeds.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
+1 FP but... (5.00 / 8) (#170)
by x3nophil3 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:37:30 PM EST

I agree with others about the anti-war rhetoric. Would have been much better just damning ignorance and illogic on both sides, without making your own views explicit.

That is, it would have been much better is it addresed the evils in how the war was justified, without debating whether the war was justified.

+1 (3.25 / 8) (#180)
by jubal3 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:05:05 PM EST

Because I will so enjoy seeing this class-warfare, paranoid fantasy get ripped to shreds.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
Oh no! Not class warfare! (none / 0) (#195)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:29:49 PM EST

Oh *my* *God* did he just say "class struggle?" It's like, that is, like, WHOA - can you say WTR - Way Too Radical?

That's right, it must be wrong for that reason alone! Despite what fringe lunatic leftists will tell you, society is not composed of antagonistic groups of people with diametrically opposite interests. It can't be!

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Not way too radical (3.00 / 2) (#210)
by Grognard on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:52:49 PM EST

just wrong.

Class mobility within the US, in particular, has made Marx the Iraqi Information Minister of economists.

[ Parent ]

Class mobility? (5.00 / 1) (#212)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:58:03 PM EST

Marxist class analysis has little to do with social classes as you know them, those being lower, middle, upper ... rich, poor, etc. Sure, there's a broad correlation, but that is not where the demarcations line up.

On the other hand, don't neglect the extent to which the fabled social mobility of America (the American Dream(TM)) is overstated. To put it euphemistically.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

How about class duality then? (3.33 / 3) (#245)
by Grognard on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:14:13 PM EST

There's the traditional divide between workers and owners, however how to deal with those who are both?  I know a great many people who are both workers and part owners of business entities.  If these two classes must be in conflict, then a lot of people should be heavily conflicted.  

The fact of the matter is that the breakdown into exploiter and exploited is a simplistic sound bite that plays well at political rallies but certainly doesn't model reality.

As to the "fabled social mobility of America", you'll notice that I didn't state that that mobility was necessarily unidirectional (so you can put the "American Dream (TM)" back in the rhetorical toolbox).  For what it's worth, however, my own observation (admittedly unscientific, but based on more than 21 years of adult life) is that people tend to progress up the socioeconomic ladder as they progress through life (with greater or lesser results depending on a combination of effort, behavior and chance).

[ Parent ]

+1FP and a comment... (5.00 / 13) (#185)
by Kasreyn on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:10:02 PM EST

Nice write-up. I don't agree with 100% of what you've said, but you make a convincing case and it was an interesting read. +1FP.

As to my comment: It seems to me that in recent conflicts, the burden of proof in arguments over U.S. involvement has somehow been shifted. Instead of "prove why we need to go to war", it has somehow become "no, YOU prove what's wrong with going to war". It seems crazy and unreal when I put it like that, but that's really the way it seems to me these days.

Of course, I live in a state where, if you don't subsidize the booming U.S. flag sticker industry, you must be a traitor at heart. So maybe my viewpoint is skewed by my observations. =P


-Kasreyn


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

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
A few points (4.41 / 17) (#201)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:37:42 PM EST

I find this kind of rant about how the terms of debate are arrogated from on-high rather bizarre. If the discussion is entirely preconditioned by those in power, where did your ideas come from ? You know as well as I do that you didn't think them up all by yourself. So the terms of debate are set from on-high for everyone but ... those who agree with you ? If thats not what you're saying, what exactly is the problem ? That some ideas are not published in the "mainstream media" (ooh, look, scare quotes) ? I'll offer a challenge: describe one reasonable possible position on the war, and I'll show you an editorial supporting it in a well-known, easily-accessible, English-language publication.

Some of these positions are in purely moral terms, some of them are in purely pragmatic terms. Why exactly is it that you want to privelege those in pragmatic terms over those in moral terms ? Must the pragmatic ones necessarily be the real reasons ? Your writing certainly implies you believe that. I'd like to offer an alternative explanation: There is no justification for this war which everyone in the pro-war faction, including the US administration, agrees is sufficient in itself. Rather, somehow, it has managed to acquire sufficient momentum (in the USA, and to a lesser extent the rest of the "coalition"), even though each of the actors actually has a different motive. To be honest, I find this essential motivelessness (which I believe to be the true situation) much scarier than any neo-con fairytale you could quote about America's so-called interests.

Finally, regarding the "world-historic milieu" (if that doesn't deserve scare-quotes, nothing does): You surely must understand that most people do not accept Marxist models of imperialism, even if they're happy to use the term in a looser sense to described the arbitrary and cavalier use of power, so what is the point of harping on about it, let alone criticising others for not employing it, if you're not actually going to try to explain what it *means* ?  

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate

vareko's mistake (5.00 / 8) (#252)
by x3nophil3 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:29:16 PM EST

If the discussion is entirely preconditioned by those in power, where did your ideas come from ? You know as well as I do that you didn't think them up all by yourself. So the terms of debate are set from on-high for everyone but ... those who agree with you ?

By associating his Chomskyesque argument with his feelings about the war, vareko made a mistake. It's one thing to point out the manipulation of the media, and another thing to conclude (or indicate) manipulation means that one's own un(der)represented opinion is therefore correct.

I think the paramaters for debate were clearly set by Washington's notion of a 'moral war'. Unfortunately associating morality and war (quite the non-sequiter) means to many people that all arguments against war are a result of immorality. This is certainly very visible in the American masses' attitudes about the situation, and I think vareko captured it very well.

Saying America manipulated the media is consistent with both neo-con fairy tales, and motivelessness; nobody is going to be sold on a war with no real notive, therefore a motive needs to be manufactured.

[ Parent ]

Chomskyesque (none / 0) (#397)
by Simon Kinahan on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 04:50:48 PM EST

I think that these arguments, including those made by Chomsky himself, usually elide the issue of what really happened, how it happened and why. In this case, Valeko omits to make any convincing argument about the actual purpose of the war and just adds a few token words about the "world historic milieu" and "imperialism".

I'm not going to dispute that the media is influenced by those in power. I do dispute that that actively prevents the press from reporting valid views of what is going on, hence my challenge above. I can't comment on the state-of-mind of the American masses, since I have little contact with them. I can comment that the British masses are deeply uneasy.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

stuff (5.00 / 2) (#272)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 07:55:30 PM EST

I find this kind of rant about how the terms of debate are arrogated from on-high rather bizarre. If the discussion is entirely preconditioned by those in power, where did your ideas come from?

The discussion is not entirely controlled by those on high as the first amendment does protect people to some extent. That doesn't mean that those in power don't have a great deal of influence over the terms of debate. valeko is obvously influenced by Noam Chomsky but the general public is not familar with Chomsky.

I agree that the media does have an agenda and influences opinion. However, we don't live in the Soviet Union. Strong disent exists, but the media does its best to paint us as crazies while it puts out magazine articles about how religous Bush is. Under our system alternatives exist but are not as prominent as the "right" ideas and are not as well developed or accessable to the general public who is too busy to read Chomsky books and what not.

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

Influence. (4.66 / 3) (#284)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:52:29 PM EST

I don't think the institutional shaping of so-called public opinion precludes occasional political consciousness and dissent.

As far as my own influences -- if I've been shaped by one of Chomsky's theses per se, I certainly don't perceive it that way. I think Chomsky offers excellent analysis of the subject matter that I address and is right on the mark, but he isn't unique in this, nor did he arrive at such an analysis in a singular way. He is just one of its numerous exponents in the progressive community.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

The general public (4.50 / 2) (#399)
by Simon Kinahan on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 05:09:59 PM EST

I think it unlikely the general public is *ever* going to be familiar with Chomsky. I mean, Chomsky can get on TV here, which I understand he can't in the USA, but the majority of people are not familiar with his arguments. He writes in a style and on subjects intended for people with much-better-than-average educations, and a much, much greater interest in international politics than the average European, let alone the average American.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record: at some point in the last 20 years, the Left, especially the American Left, lost its ability to communicate with the people who are supposed to be its constituency, and took to complaining about how they were being excluded from the media instead.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

broken record again, eh? (5.00 / 1) (#401)
by infinitera on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 05:26:22 PM EST

Chomsky is not the voice of the Left, nor will he ever be. Honestly, an anarchist representing mainstream opinions? Are you daft?

[ Parent ]
It depends what you consider "Left" (5.00 / 1) (#402)
by Simon Kinahan on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 05:53:14 PM EST

If you think of the left-wing of the Democratic Party as being the "Left", then you're right, but when discussing American politics, I'd generally refer to Democrats as Liberal, and those who are not represented withint the mainstream as the Left, since there's such an obvious divide. There's more of a continuous spectrum in Europe.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Also, actually ... (none / 0) (#403)
by Simon Kinahan on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 06:00:29 PM EST

... this is not really about Chomksy. He's one of the more visible examples of a trend. However, if you think the trend towards complaining rather than persuading in leftish politics started elsewhere, please enlighten me.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Not the entire Left, of course. (5.00 / 1) (#405)
by valeko on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 06:45:44 PM EST

At the risk of sounding like a broken record: at some point in the last 20 years, the Left, especially the American Left, lost its ability to communicate with the people who are supposed to be its constituency, and took to complaining about how they were being excluded from the media instead.

This is not true of the entire left, of course (if by left you mean "left of 'liberal'"). I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you for a fact that most communist organisations have no aspirations of being represented in the media. They correctly recognise that this is not the media's institutional role, and have no desire to complain about it not giving them some kind of "voice."

These same people have done some very good (though largely unnoticed) grassroots organising and political education of the masses.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Blech. (5.00 / 1) (#280)
by Mr Hogan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:30:03 PM EST

Rather, somehow, it has managed to acquire sufficient momentum (in the USA, and to a lesser extent the rest of the "coalition"),

Ok replace "somehow" with Valeko's article or find another because you said nothing really - perhaps Holocaust explained by "motivelessness" too not a plan in sight? Who knows! I have no idea why people rating you so highly perhaps they think it is insightful to claim: "as many individuals that many views into the world and motives" but that is banal - dig: the USA is not an individual it is ant colony. Ants reflect its values interests are promoted elected told to sit in anchor's desk - this is how and why their voices are made credible. Everyone listens then the nodding and the sighs - "we had to do it tough love" - so it goes the colony preserves itself same as if we were ants. Science is all that is even the dissent - statistics hedging bets.

Understand?

Look 25 years ago America could not have done what it just did - it simply wouldn't have been possible - unthinkable - Wolfowitz would be teaching Jews frat boys Perle debating the psychiatrist. So something happened in the interim - the Muslims fell the USSR is what and they will fell the US next.

But I could be wrong.

--
Life is food and rape, then tilt.
[ Parent ]

A question ... (4.00 / 4) (#234)
by joegee on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:53:12 PM EST

By the way, I +1 FP'd this. This is the Valeko I admire, who sometimes pisses me off so much! Fantastic piece of work, attaboy! :)

Do you ever feel that military action can be justfied? If so, what to you would a situation look like where military action would be required? Are there any conflicts you could point to that might meet your criteria?

-Joe G.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
Defence Forces (4.66 / 3) (#281)
by cam on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:38:40 PM EST

Do you ever feel that military action can be justfied? If so, what to you would a situation look like where military action would be required? Are there any conflicts you could point to that might meet your criteria?

Australia renamed its military the Australian Defence Force leaving the impression it was for the defence of national sovereignty. Which IMO is what a military is for. In WWI and WWII the overseas volunteer force was called the Australian Imperial Force leaving no mistake what it was intended for. The militia's in Australia at the same time were called the Citizens Military Forces which in WWI and WWII were not allowed to serve outside of Australia. Only volunteers could do that. Since WWII the Australian Government has been happy to use Australian forces as trigger pullers for the UN, US, and UK diluting the power of the name.

Kuwait in 1991 was a good example of where force was used correctly. Iraq invaded Kuwait leaving no mistake that Iraq had contravened another nations sovereignty and hence international law. A proper coalition formed with the legimitacy of the UN and all the participating members including Kuwaits and Iraqs neighbours. Kuwait was returned to the Kuwaitee's.

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

Well. (3.00 / 3) (#283)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:46:56 PM EST

By this do you mean that you mistake me for one of those who bleats about peace as an end in itself and as the only acceptable option? That is another, perhaps even more serious error of line among mainstream, middle-class liberals.

I believe that military action is acceptable when it is in the service of the world proletariat. That is to say, wars of national liberation, such as the Vietnamese people's war, are just. Any war of which the aim is to expropriate colonialism/imperialism is just.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

The Vietnamese (4.00 / 1) (#290)
by Grognard on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:25:49 PM EST

felt so liberated that untold thousands hopped aboard leaky tubs, paying dearly for the privilege of risking drowning, rape, robbery and murder at the hands of pirates.  

The boat people just might take issue with the justness of the people's war.

[ Parent ]

Nope, I did not mistake you for one of those. :) (4.66 / 3) (#319)
by joegee on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 12:00:42 AM EST

I was actually interested in your belief.

A war in liberation of a proletariat, or a war to reverse colonialist actions is justifiable. I believe in the sanctity of the proletariat, so I won't quibble with you there. :)

I only wonder how far back in history we should go to make the judgement of whether or not a region has been subject to colonialism? If we set the clocks back a hundred years to correct a wrong or two in central Africa we suddenly have to worry about a state or two, a province or two in Canada, and several million hectares of central and South America. Those of us in the Americas might find ourselves hitching boat-rides back to nations whose languages we no longer speak.

I believe colonialism has to stop, and militarily I think it will, but in regards to political colonialism I am not certain that the U.S. is the only nation state looking out for its geopolitical interests by using its influence and money to create partnerships. Ambassadors Fischer and de Villepin have been very, very busy the past several months offering monies, offering nudges, and sometimes bullying ("now would be a good time to shut up") to defend what their countries feel are their national interests.

Is French pressure on any Ghana more palatable than American influence? Are euros for a vote any less treacherous to a nation's self-determination than dollars?

Is it improper for all nations to try to influence others to their point of view, or is it permissible for all? It's probably an all or nothing choice.

-Joe

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Now *that* (5.00 / 2) (#354)
by dipierro on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 08:42:31 AM EST

would have made for an interesting article. Your current one seems to use lots of words to say absolutely nothing.

[ Parent ]
Something that bothers me ... (5.00 / 2) (#447)
by joegee on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 12:35:34 PM EST

The U.S. has bragged all along about the use of precision munitions, and this war has been relatively "clean" when compared to previous conflicts. one of the keystone demonstrations of this "cleanliness" has been the military's supposed desire to spare from bombing civillian targets like mosques, hospitals, schools, and shops. Now Rumsfeld is saying that the U.S. expected the looting we've seen after the fall of the Baghdad regime. He calls it "untidyness."

My question would be, why did the U.S. bother giving lip service to the pretense of sparing civillian targets if they thought they were going to be destroyed anyways? These structures and institutions were worth protecting from bombs, but they're not worth protecting from lawlessness? This makes no sense to me.

-Joe

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Similarities... (none / 0) (#484)
by Kuranes on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 04:54:15 AM EST

War for freedom
Liberation war
War of the proletariat
War to liberate [insert people here]
War for democracy
Operation enduring freedom

"Proletariat", in my view, is just another term of pseudo-sociologic (i. e. all called "sociologic") theories subsumating the individual under "society" to have a justification for screwing it.

And, yes, the Vietnam uprising was a good thing, but for different reasons: It was the concerned people themselves who rose to fight, not some "benevolent" outer force. If my nation one day goes to war to "help the proletariat" in other countries, I know the interests lie elsewhere.



Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
Self defense (4.25 / 4) (#379)
by Eric Green on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 02:14:43 PM EST

As a Libertarian, I believe that the proper use of U.S. forces is for defense of the borders of the United States. Iraq? What's Iraq got to do with America? Syria? Who the crap cares about Syria? How many aircraft carriers does Syria have? How many ICBM's does Syria have? How many long-range intercontinental bombers does Syria have? What, you mean they don't have any of those? Let Syria be a concern of its neighbors then, not the United States.

I'll make exceptions to this, such as when Iraq invaded Kuwait. Kuwait was an ally of ours, and it's right and proper to help our allies. But I'm a firm believer in the notion that the best way to spread democracy world-wide is by being an example of democracy in action -- not by sending our military to the four corners of the world to impose "democracy" at gunpoint while destroying democracy within our own borders with crap like the Patriot Act and the upcoming Patriot II Act.
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

Curious to know... (none / 0) (#408)
by Francis on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 07:36:31 PM EST

you opinion about a conflict such as in Afganistan? Technically, Afganistan, as a state, did not pose a threat to the U.S. or the world; they did not have a military capable of launching an effective offensive against any other state. The justification for the conflict there was that they posed an indirect threat in the fact that they were harboring known terrorists. This was not an honest mistake either. The Taliban freely admitted that they were harboring terrorists, there only contention was that it was not THESE particular terrorists who were responsible for 9-11.

I agree that there is some room for debate as to whether 9-11 should be considered an act of war. It may be a matter of semantics, but it did not fit our tidy definition of what we consider conventional war to be. However, it should be said that the responsible party (and other terrorist groups) have made no secret of the fact that they consider themselves at war with the west.

So, to cut this short, I guess I'm just wondering how your self-defense position reconciles the uniqueness of the current war on terror, in which you have certain states who are sponsoring or supporting terrorist groups. These terrorists are inflicting casualties on civilians worldwide (not just Americans). Does it follow that these states are indirectly waging war on the world? Does it also follow then that these states are a threat to the national security of western nations? If so, does Afganistan fit your criteria for a war of self-defence?

[ Parent ]

Didn't have a problem with Afghanistan (5.00 / 1) (#412)
by Eric Green on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 08:02:29 PM EST

Given bin Laden's long history of attacks upon America, in my opinion going in after him was the right thing to do. The only thing that peeves me is that we relied on unreliable native proxies rather than our own soldiers to try to capture bin Laden, with predictable results -- he escaped.

The BS about "bringing democracy to Afghanistan"... pshaw. Utter drivel. As we've found out. But going in after a guy who'd already attacked us several times... well, I have no problem with that at all.
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

Can I assume then... (none / 0) (#419)
by Francis on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 10:03:06 PM EST

that you would not have a problem with an attack on Syria? After all, Syria is, aside from Saudi, the hottest bed of them all for terrorist organizations. I suppose you would have to accept a couple of premises... Firstly, that Israel is an ally of the United States; secondly that organizations such as Hizbollah and Islamic Jihad (which are based in Syria) are attacking the sovereignty of one of our ally's; and lastly that Syria knowingly allows these organizations to operate within their borders. These groups have also expressed their desire/intent to attack US interests, but have not yet done so with much success. So, in your view, is it permissable to launch an invasion of Syria, based on these premises?

[ Parent ]
The problem of Syria (none / 0) (#421)
by Eric Green on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 12:38:59 AM EST

None of the terrorists in Syria have struck the United States. They've struck Israel, but Israel has the power to handle that if they so desire -- I doubt if the Syrian military would last a week against the Israeli military. Getting U.S. hands dirty unnecessarily isn't something I support. It contradicts the goal of limiting government, since of necessity a government that is constantly meddling about unnecessarily is bigger than is necessary for the defense of America.
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]
I must sound starved for conversation or something (none / 0) (#426)
by Francis on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 01:29:14 AM EST

I keep going on and on. Anyway...

It sounds very much as if you are being careful not to allow for "pre-emptive" action. That is, regardless of the imminence of the threat posed, the US should not get involved unless there has been American blood spilled on American soil. In other words, in your view, if there had been more accurate intelligence indicating that al Quaeda was planning to take down the towers, that alone would not have been enough to initiate a conflict in order to capture or kill the leaders of that organization.

I'm sorry to have been so long-winded, but I suppose I have just taken the long way 'round to ask whether you support a course of pre-emptive military activity based on very sound intelligence that America's national security is at risk. At the risk of being presumptuous, it sounds very much as if you would be opposed to this sort of policy. There was a great deal of public debate in the States after 9-11 about how the intelligence community failed to anticipate the threat, but very little debate about what might have been done had they not failed. I guess that is the gist of my questions...



[ Parent ]

Argument by Quotation and Insinuation (4.68 / 16) (#251)
by OldCoder on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:26:40 PM EST

Your overall topic is a critique of the moralistic thinking and behavior of the anti-war movement, as being too moralistic and not grounded in an analysis of imperialism. I guess you're implying that's why the anti-war movement "lost". You don't specify what gains the anti-war movement would have received had it followed a more anti-imperialistic line. It seems to me that following a moralistic theme in a moralistic, religious society like the US, with a moralistic President, made a certain political sense. On pure economic or military grounds the US population might easily have decided that the war was a good idea. But you ignore all that. And you never quite say why you think this "Moral softness" is a bad idea.

This is the singly unifying theme of your document! You don't take a position! Your entire critique is the use of quotation marks to tell us what we are supposed to feel.

Prevent the Re-emergence of a New Rival
The Defense Planning Guidelines probably meant to say "Prevent the Emergance of a new rival". Unless they really meant the resurrection of the Soviet Union. But that is really minor...

Do you have a link to these Defense Planning Guidelines? Google gave me this doc but there are probably others.

You get a lot out of this quote. After thinking about it, I've decided you get more out of it than is there. You present this as the inner thinking of the Capitalists, as compared to the moralistic complaints of the soft left. But you are really presenting this type of hard-headed thinking as an example to be emulated. After all, if the ruling class ignores the moral aspects, shouldn't the movement? That argument, exposed, doesn't hold up.

Further, there is nothing in this quote that says to ignore the moral issues or the issues of the well-being of the various peoples of the world. Indeed, the National Security Strategy you link to indeed has a section on Championing Aspirations for Human Dignity. So if you're holding this up as an example of hard-headed realistic geopolitical thinking (in the interests of the ruling class, not the K5 readership), then that fails. Indeed, the NSS says:

"Some worry that it is somehow undiplomatic or impolite to speak the language of right and wrong. I disagree. Different circumstances require different methods, but not different moralities."

So apparently, according to the document you linked to, this 'absurd' lexicon of moral imperatives, liberation, freedom, and democracy, is the language they speak inside their own circles. The exact opposite of what you said.

It gets worse. This NSS document is not from the secret "Halls of power" of the capitalists, but is a document on President George W Bush's web site. Certainly if anything is 'handed down', this is. The "Defense Planning Guidelines" was apparently published, or written about, in the New York Times of 1992. Is this public newspaper the "Halls of power" or the "Handed down" pap in the primary organ of the Ruling Class?

The actual contents of the quote calls for a prevention of a new Cold War — fifty years of incredible fear and expense, with lives lost, that nearly destroyed human civilization in a nuclear holocaust. You object to this? You want a new Cold War? You think that because we missed nuclear armageddon once we will miss it again? Rolling the nuclear dice appeals to you?

You also carefully omitted the next portion of the DPG, which says, of potential competitive powers: "they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests". In other words, to avoid war by power-sharing, a form of appeasement. What's your alternative, knock-down drag-out war? Or should the US just immolate itself in flames of self-loathing?

The DPG goes on to say the US must "Promote increasing respect for international law, limit international violence, and encourage the spread of democratic forms of government and open economic systems." Oh, the Horror, the Horror!

The extension of American geostrategic influence into unprecedented spheres
You claim the documents support this. I haven't found it. What exactly are the "Unprecedented spheres"? Outer space? Tibet? Also, you completely fail to specify whose geostategic influence is to be preferred to the US. Or do you imagine that in the absence of US influence, the peaceful peoples of the world will sit together side by side in peace and loving harmony, holding hands as they move toward an ever more prosperous and peaceful tomorrow? You mean like Kashmir, Kosovo, the middle east, Rwanda, and so on?

The most amazing thing is, that the fundamental insinuation of your anti-moralism rant is that the whole American plan is — get this — Immoral!

What else could it be? You have no specific criticism of the Defense Planning Guidelines nor of the National Security Strategy. Nor even of the anti-war movement. Your whole piece moves along, using the language of a neutral observer, hardly commenting at all, except for the intensive use of quotation to indicate to us what attitude we are supposed to take without bothering to give us reasons.

This techniqe permits you to disparage the idea that getting rid of Saddam Hussein is a good thing, while relieving you of the burden of arguing against this, or even claiming that it's not a good thing. Well I don't accept that: Is getting rid of Saddam Hussein a good thing or not?

By the way, my own take on the war and the war arguments was that the moralistic balancing of George W Bush vs Saddam Hussein was no contest, but not central to the analysis. If Weapons of Mass Destruction are the issue, and the heated exchanges in the Security Council certainly indicate that it is, then preventing a nuclear holocaust or any other use of WMDs is worth the effort of the war. Basically, the requirements that the Security Council placed on Iraq were so reasonable, that only another Attila the Hun would choose not to comply. After all, who could believe that Saddam destroyed his weapons of mass destruction but instead of calling in the UN inspectors to watch, as required, he did it secretly?

At least I'm up front about what I believe.

Your entire criticism of the soft left is a thinly veiled attempt to recruit the scattering remnants of the anti-war movement into your Marxist way of thinking, probably into a specific Marxist organization. But since you have no argument, you limit yourself to satirizing your opponents with weak and ineffectual quote marks and a thick disguise of pseudo-intellectual phraseology. You have my sympathies.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder

The Irony (4.50 / 4) (#269)
by x3nophil3 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 07:39:28 PM EST

Your points aren't bad, but did you have to fall into the same trap as the target of your criticism?

Like vareko you start off with a strong rational argument. But by the middle we've decayed into bald rhetoric like:

You also carefully omitted the next portion of the DPG, which says, of potential competitive powers: "they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests". In other words, to avoid war by power-sharing, a form of appeasement. What's your alternative, knock-down drag-out war? Or should the US just immolate itself in flames of self-loathing?

"need not aspire to a greater role ... or more aggressive posture" does not in any way necessarily imply power-sharing. They are not opposites, and "need not" does not equate to "not", either way.

Furthermore, the only possible alternative to your dubious 'power-sharing' is not "knock-down drag-out war". Take, for example, the Cold war, which was certainly not 'power-sharing' nor was it a "knock-down drag-out war". This is clearly rhetoric, and a far worse form than any implied but unstated opinions in vareko article. He implied unsubstantiated opinions; you have failed in an attempt to substantiate your own.

You then go onto to parenthetically add your opinion, seperated from the rest of your argument by the impregnable intellectual barrier of 'By-the-way'. Do you mean to imply that your statements that preceed your opinion are not influenced by it? Do you just use rhetoric because you are unable to think clearly?

Finally, you lost me completely with: "At least I'm up front about what I believe". Well now, that would certainly explain why those opinions are merely an aside appended to the end of your unassailable logic.

[ Parent ]

O the Irony (5.00 / 3) (#289)
by OldCoder on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:24:29 PM EST

Firstly, here are the 2 paragraphs from the Defense Planning Guidance, so people can get their bearings:
Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia.

There are three additional aspects to this objective: First, the U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. Second, in the non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. Finally, we must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role. An effective reconstitution capability is important here, since it implies that a potential rival could not hope to quickly or easily gain a predominant military position in the world.

(emphasis added)

I think that, despite the fractured sentence structure, the DPG was trying to say that other nations will find that their own interests are sufficiently well met in a US-led world that they will conclude that taking down the United States is not at all necessary or beneficial. I think that this does amount to power-sharing and a constructive form of appeasement. My admittedly inflamatory questions (not inflammatory statements) was an attempt to get valeko to explicitly say what his plans and opinions are, rather than limiting himself to "Disparagement by Quotation" (!). Yes, other alternatives do exist, I was hoping to hear from valeko which specific alternatives, if any, he thought would be the correct ones.

I guess if that is "Bald rhetoric" I'll have to find a toupee.

By the way ... I'm up front with what I believe"
I can see I wasn't clear. That whole segment was me trying to live up to the standards I was imposing on valeko. That is, if I'm asking valeko to come clean and say what he really thinks, then I too should volunteer to show what I really think. Instead it seemed like a puzzling digression.

I'm gratified to learn that x3nophil3 feels my logic is "unassailable".

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]

Power Sharing (5.00 / 2) (#333)
by Argon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 04:53:54 AM EST

What power sharing did the US present to its allies on the Iraq war? None, they simply tried to impose their views and when confronted with a different opinion labelled it as Anti-American.

What democratic values did it defend? None, they tried to buy votes on the Security Council and when that didn't work they just simply ignored the Security Council and pushed their own way.
If you don't think that UN are a democratic forum, well you are right, but the current administration also ignored their own public opinion and the public opinion of their allies.

What did they have showed to the world? IMO they have showed that democracy will not prevent a determined leader to start a war. They also showed that Allies are welcome as long as they have the same opinion as All-mighty America.

Do you think this is power sharing or is it beneficial to all?


[ Parent ]

Power Sharing (5.00 / 3) (#335)
by OldCoder on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 05:16:39 AM EST

My claim is and was that the Defense Guidance document calls for power sharing and a form of appeasement. I didn't claim the US foreign policy was implementing this plan. I wasn't even the one who brought it up. My point was that the plan was being somewhat misrepresented.

This certainly isn't power sharing with Saddam. Truth is, the countries of Europe and of the Middle East and the Security Council in particular and the UN in general all know what the US wants and what the US position is. The US position is very close to a "Live and Let Live" position. None of these countries need to try to conquer or replace the US in order to be fat and safe. That's the point. The OPEC countries can continue to get rich by selling oil to the West, no questions asked. As long as they're not organizing terrorists against the US and not about to build up a nuclear capability to start terrorizing other countries, they can last forever, as far as the US is concerned.

It is true that if the Middle Eastern countries decided to stop living off of oil money and shut down the oil exports from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and Kuwait, the US and Europe would be forced to "Open the Doors". This is theoretically unfair. So sue me.

What democratic values did it defend?
More than Saddam did, that's for sure... What democratic values were France and Russia defending?

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]

Not quite (5.00 / 2) (#344)
by Argon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 07:05:07 AM EST

Well, no one would believe that a Plan to conquer the world would be publicly available. So I doubt that the defence guide would go as far as that, however it can be read as such, and so it is a strong tool on the hands of enemy propaganda.

Anyway, you are diverting a bit from focus. No one asked the US to share its power with Saddam Hussein. They were asked to listen to their own Allies and that is quite a different thing.

As for live and let live stand that you say the US has... Well we saw what that really means, it means you live well while under our thumb. If you disagree with us, or even voice your disagreement we will destroy you if we can, or if we can't we will mock you.
Which is just what happened to France and Germany, they got verbally admonished by the US. Someone even called the Germans Cowards!
Fortunately the leaders of those countries have better sense of humour and now they use the "old Europe" label with a proud feeling.

France, Germany and Even Russia and China were more democratic on this process than the US. They did not put down the system and attacked pre-emptively a sovereign nation. You cannot defend a system only when it suits your needs.

the US is now moving in unprecedented spheres and with unprecedented principles. That is raising alarms all thru the world. I would not advise to push Russia too far, or they will start considering a pre-emptive strike on the US.
Why? Well, US is pushing really hard on Georgia and that is their backyard. Russia had lots of economical interests in Iraq, and now all debts and all contracts are to be forgotten.

[ Parent ]

Valeko, dude, you oughta be above this. (4.42 / 7) (#266)
by Apuleius on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 07:12:01 PM EST

To echo a comment below, scare quotes and innuendo are not good ways to present an argument. Let's start with your footnote: Such neutral language serves to give us the impression that the American leadership was "confronted" with the "Kosovo crisis" rather than chose to create it. This fits well into the mythos of the "reluctant empire," the American "benevolent hegemon" that "reluctantly" accepts the "burden" of empire. Are you accusing the American leadership of creating the Kosovo crisis? If you are, state your case. Did the Clinton White House do anything to encourage heavy-handed tactics on part of Milosevic or the KLA? If you won't back up such an accusation, drop it. Arguing by insinuating an accusation of complicity in mass-murder is as valid as arguing by insinuating an accusation of pedophilia.




There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
nonsense (3.50 / 2) (#327)
by martingale on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 03:26:07 AM EST

Our Great Leader Of the Free World, Bush Jr has shown that semi-coherent arguments carry the day, at least in the US. I therefore think Valeko's essay is commendable and to the point. It shows he has an open mind and is willing to learn from the masters. Rather than criticize him, I think you should give him at least the benefit of the doubt.

[ Parent ]
But you see.. (5.00 / 1) (#418)
by Apuleius on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 09:49:22 PM EST

Valeko's in high school. There's still hope for him.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
No, (4.33 / 3) (#345)
by Akshay on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 07:10:06 AM EST

I don't think he was claiming that the US "created" Milosevic; rather, he's trying to describe the language through which that bombing was justified. A thin line, but one that's crossed very neatly, methinks.

[ Parent ]

He wasn't claiming anything. (5.00 / 1) (#417)
by Apuleius on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 09:48:43 PM EST

And that's the annoying thing. Insinuation is not a good debating tactic.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
No. (5.00 / 1) (#424)
by valeko on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 01:21:17 AM EST

I don't think there was any insinuation involved in what I was saying. No, the Balkan conflict was not initiated by the U.S., and no, the strategic superstructure of which it was composed wasn't erected for the sole purpose of demolishing it, in some kind of all-encompassing Grand Conspiracy. I have no idea what in my article could possibly suggest that, unless you're either deliberately misreading or just being trollish.

The footnote refers to the "imperative" that was manufactured by the U.S. government -- the suddenneed to mitigate some kind of atrocities somewhere. This really takes on a great importance against the backdrop of all the atrocities that have taken place in the Yugoslav civil war for a decade prior, from all sides, and in some situations well in excess of anything Milosevic could have orchestrated (i.e. the Croats).

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Then you miss an important issue. (5.00 / 1) (#429)
by Apuleius on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 02:26:20 AM EST

The Clinton administration honestly expected the EU to handle the situation. They first stepped in when Srebrenica showed the helplessness of the EU and UN, and expected the rest of Yugoslavia to handle itself. When Kosovo started going up, the CA panicked. Clinton's people had a very pro-EU bent. They expected Kosovo to be taken care of, and when they were proven wrong they freaked. Even a pathological Clinton-hater like me has to credit them with getting Kosovo right at the end. (At the time, however, I did not think so, to my shame.)


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Yeah, sure. (none / 0) (#440)
by valeko on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 08:11:22 AM EST

In other news, Bush honestly expected the UN to handle the Iraq "situation."

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Um, no..... (5.00 / 1) (#450)
by Apuleius on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 02:22:04 PM EST

Bush has allowed Rumsfeld to openly bash the UN from day one.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Doing the Wrong Thing for the Right Reason (3.14 / 7) (#270)
by localroger on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 07:45:20 PM EST

Let's say you are walking down the street, as it happens past my parked car, when you hear screaming. Ahead in the distance you see a woman being pulled into the back of a van, obviously against her will. The van speeds off.

You have a cellphone and you could call the police, but you don't know how fast they'll get here or whether they'll do any good if they come at all. Being on foot you must think fast to pursue, so you pick up a rock, smash one of my car's windows, let yourself in, and hot-wire it.

Minutes later you catch the van and in a daring confrontation that more than proves your skill at the wheel, you adroitly run him off the road. Some of the culprits flee; you catch one and conk him on the head to make sure he stays put to receive justice. The victim goes to the hospital where she will recover from the injuries she received both from her captors and in the crash you caused.

Did you commit a crime?

Was that in any sane estimation the right thing to do?

That is exactly where the USA stands right now, preparing to reach into its tax coffers for the money it will pay Halliburton to figuratively repair the damage to my car.

I can haz blog!

Let's say (4.00 / 4) (#273)
by x3nophil3 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:00:01 PM EST

Let's say your quietly reading kuro5hin, as it happens you read a post by localroger. Lured in by a long but promising analogy, you start screaming when you realise that is not only long, but incoherent.

Seriously, I won't even get into it, but if you think that anything regarding the Iraq war is analogous to breaking a car window or conking someone on the head, you're completely bonkers.

Minimally, for your analogy to work, it would have to contain the act of killing, which is rather a distinct act from your Gilligan's Island scene of rendering someone unconscious with a convenient and innofensive object while you wait for help.

Then again, I'm the one actually thinking about it ... so perhaps we're both bonkers.

[ Parent ]

Scale (5.00 / 1) (#287)
by localroger on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:56:17 PM EST

It's at a different scale. The crimes of the Iraqi regime were certainly more gruesome than a van rape, the crimes of the coalition more offensive than a smash-n-grab, the collateral damage of the war far more terrible than a concussion. But the relationships between the actors are preserved in the analogy, which is why it is an analogy and not news reporting.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

For the "perfect" analogy, simply add... (none / 0) (#485)
by Kuranes on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 05:15:36 AM EST

...the bystander you drove over during the chase who will at least lose a leg or two, if not die.

At least, that's a damage Halliburton can not repair.



Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
Alternate view: (2.75 / 16) (#278)
by regeya on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:25:46 PM EST

Let's say you are walking down the street, as it happens past my parked car, when you hear screaming. Ahead in the distance you see a woman being pulled into the back of a van, obviously against her will. The van speeds off.

Knowing the violent nature of policemen, you decide to not call the police, but one "sheeple" who was within earshot managed to call the cops. Thinking quickly, you call several of your tiedye-wearing friends to act as human shields and chase off after the van.

When the police catch up with the van and expertly run it off the road (managing to keep the casualties to a minimum) you and your friends jump in front of the van, with some of your friends vomiting to show their disgust at the vulgar display of power presented by police and SWAT team members in full riot gear, weapons drawn. "Think of the civilian casualties!" screams one. "How do you know she was going to be hurt, pig?" screams another. "What about the kids standing on the sidewalk???!? What if one gets shot? Don't you care about the children?" shrieks another of your friends.

In the meantime, the woman in the van has been gangraped, and in the time it took for police to dispurse you and your friends, one of the men in the van has slit her throat and she has bled to death.

That, my friend, is the anti-war alternative.


[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

That is the anti-war alternative? (2.66 / 6) (#282)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:42:29 PM EST

Why? Because the TV said so?

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Yeah, buddy. (4.00 / 3) (#293)
by regeya on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:57:22 PM EST

If I forward an opinion that you may have seen on FOX News, it most definitely means that it's something I saw on TV, and I've been told how to think. Wrong thinking means going to the Adult Re-education center for re-programming and purging of double-plus-ungood thinking.

If only I had read Angrydot more, I'd know how I'm supposed to think.


[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

No, comrade. (4.75 / 4) (#294)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:00:40 PM EST

Your assertion that "this is the anti-war alternative" came out in sharp relief to the total lack of evidence that this is, in fact, "the anti-war alternative" except your own judgements cast upon the anti-war movement.

It has the fowl stench of uncritical acceptance of the official line, despite your vituperative denial.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

s/fowl/foul/ [n/t] (5.00 / 1) (#295)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:02:29 PM EST


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Oh, vituperative. (5.00 / 1) (#297)
by BinaryTree on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:04:11 PM EST

I see you're using the V section of the dictionary to debate now, but not the F section.

[ Parent ]
That's right. (none / 0) (#301)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:40:03 PM EST

I'm flipping pages and churning out random V-words. Wanna make somethin' of it?

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Bah. (none / 0) (#302)
by regeya on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:40:44 PM EST

It has the fowl stench of uncritical acceptance of the official line, despite your vituperative denial.

How is being critical of the anti-war party line an uncritical acceptance of the "official" (and by that, I assume you mean "pro-war" party line?

You know, it's sad; despite your implication of the "party line" being in place to put a simplistic pro-or-anti-war slant on any war-related argument, your own arguments are remarkably one-dimensional.


[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

One dimensional? (3.50 / 2) (#306)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:51:02 PM EST

Well, what do you want them to do, these one-dimensional arguments of mine? Stand out in three dimensions? In hi-fi, dolby surround stereo? To sing? To dance? To perform?

Seriously though - whatever you think of my departure point, you cannot claim that it is toeing the official line. It represents entirely different interests, which are consciously acknowledged.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

BAH! (5.00 / 2) (#315)
by regeya on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:41:13 PM EST

Read your own work. Anything that's in opposition to you is "the party line." Your arguments are remarkably similar to other peoples' arguments.

You, Valeko, are merely conforming to a different party line.


[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

That's right. (none / 0) (#317)
by valeko on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:58:33 PM EST

I don't deny that.

But it's not the official party line of the imperialist pack. And that in and of itself radiates merit.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Everything is so black and white! (4.00 / 1) (#321)
by regeya on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 12:49:03 AM EST

Things must be so much simpler in your little world.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

How do you mean this? (none / 0) (#406)
by Francis on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 06:53:37 PM EST

...that in and of itself radiates merit.

You've assigned a value to your view, in conclusion, but the conclusion is not necessarily self-evident. I see nothing in your preceding comments that establishes that "not the official party line" = "radiates merit." I may, after all, find the official party line to be much more meritorious than yours.

Unless, of course, by "merit" you only meant "what you happen to prefer?" I infer the word merit to indicate something more objective and substantive than this, but perhaps it is what you meant nonetheless...?

[ Parent ]

LOL (2.12 / 8) (#300)
by coryking on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:21:23 PM EST

5 years from now when you actually have a real job, are doing the college thing, and are out of high school - you will look back on this and laugh. I thougt the same damn way in high school. Ya know what buddy? You grow out of it, you really do.

[ Parent ]
You know what else? (2.40 / 5) (#304)
by coryking on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:42:43 PM EST

You are pretty dammed inmature for somebody who uses such fancy sounding words. Thanks for the one. Thanks to ou and your little friend infinitra who will no doubt moderate both my comments to one, and just for the hell of it, back moderate some of my other comments to.

Grow up dude.

[ Parent ]

I think it was just a dumb comment <nt> (5.00 / 1) (#367)
by x3nophil3 on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 11:40:02 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Perhaps (3.50 / 4) (#373)
by coryking on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 01:11:15 PM EST

But it's against k5's "Unwritten Rulebook" to moderate somebody who is posting to your own thread. I will not even get into the number of immutable, time tested rules Valeko is breaing by moderating people in his own friggen story. Jez..

[ Parent ]
Err... (5.00 / 2) (#404)
by Francis on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 06:41:06 PM EST

Could I get a copy of this unwritten rulebook, please? Perhaps someone could write it down for me? Seriously. I may at any moment be breaking untold numbers of tacit rules of etiquette here on K5. Am I right now?

[ Parent ]
In A Word: (5.00 / 1) (#422)
by coryking on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 12:47:36 AM EST

Yes. However, since it's unwritten, I dont have to tell you.

[ Parent ]
What a relief... (none / 0) (#458)
by Francis on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 11:22:10 PM EST

I can continue in my blissful ignorance...
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Insults are the first and last arguments of fools. -- Unknown
[ Parent ]

Thought that I was the only one... (5.00 / 2) (#385)
by br284 on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 02:38:36 PM EST

... noticing the valeko / infintera thing. I'm almost convinced that the two usernames map to the same person given prior rating activities. Of course I could be wrong, but do two people ever agree so much all the time?

-Chris

[ Parent ]

valeko is not infinitera (none / 0) (#390)
by jjayson on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 04:25:44 PM EST

They are actually two seperate people and don't know each other in real life as far as I know.

http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2003/4/13/152337/559/94#94

_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]

Well. (none / 0) (#392)
by valeko on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 04:35:39 PM EST

There's always the RobotSlave/bc/ubu cabal, or the trhurler/beergut/other trhurler wannabe cabal, or the ceaseless iba/mideast/roam downrating federation, or the Demiurge/KilljoyAZ/occasionally RyoCokey union of lunatics. Take your pick. Infinitera and I, in our rating policies, mostly respond to external stimuli of the aforementioned nature, and are hardly the worst offenders.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

meh (3.00 / 2) (#394)
by infinitera on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 04:38:57 PM EST

KilljoyAZ is by no means a lunatic, or a chronic downrater. Perhaps you meant thelizman.

[ Parent ]
similar backgrounds, politics (5.00 / 2) (#393)
by infinitera on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 04:37:46 PM EST

I'm a bit older, we both speak Russian, and disagree on a number of fundamental issues; he's a marxist of sorts, I'm an anarchist. But yes, I gladly call him comrade. ;)

[ Parent ]
And after all that happens... (3.33 / 3) (#332)
by salsaman on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 04:45:02 AM EST

...you suddenly notice the van was stacked high with gold bullion. So you quickly load it into the stolen car, and quietly make your escape.

[ Parent ]
I misread this at first (5.00 / 1) (#353)
by dipierro on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 08:31:49 AM EST

I thought the U.N. was the police and the U.S. was you and your friends. I should have realized when I saw the "tiedye-wearing" part.

Anyway, you should substitute "police" for a vigilante justice team, and add in that the "police" refused to do anything (but that they won't be prosecuting the vigilante justice team either). Oh, and put a few hundred kilos of marijuana in the van to represent the oil. And add in the fact that members of the police administration were profiting off hush money.

Reality is always so much more complicated than analogies.



[ Parent ]
Sure, you're right.... (5.00 / 1) (#460)
by delducra on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 02:53:31 AM EST

No matter what I see, I should simply react within my moral judgement outside of the rule of law.  If I am incorrect -- chalk it up to a mistake and rely on Good Citizen Laws to protect me from prosecution.  A vigilante is someone acting within moral bounds, right?

[ Parent ]
another^5 alternate view (4.62 / 8) (#337)
by the sixth replicant on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 05:37:30 AM EST

You see this happen and you do nothing.

...time goes by....

You see this happen again and this time you help the guy.

..time goes by....

You see this happen and you do nothing.

..time goes by....

You see this happen for the 4th time. You go over there and kill the guy, save the girl and go on TV saying how brave you were and if you didn't do it who knows how many other women would have been abused by this guy.

Someone points out that you watched the guy do it before and, hell, you even helped him once. But lucky the media is on your side and just call the guy jealous or a traitor. You continue and talk about how much moral and ethical clout you have.....

Ciao

[ Parent ]

More like wife beating (3.50 / 4) (#389)
by riptalon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 03:58:12 PM EST

The analogy would be more accurate if you were sitting at home and heard your neighbour beating his wife. You go round, kick the door down and shoot him dead. You then proceed to take over his house, and lock his wife up in the cellar so you can abuse her at your pleasure. The Iraqis have not just been freed from the rule of the Baathist regime but subjected to US rule and presumably at some distant point in the future the rule of a US puppet government.

As a previous poster has noted your analogy also lacks the fact that similar incidents have happened before and you have done nothing or in many cases helped a husband beat his wife. In a more realistic senario you would be a corrupt local policeman who makes up the "law" as he goes based on who his friends are. For someone who is on his good side he will ignore complaints about wife beating etc. and will even come around and sort out someone's wife if they start making trouble.

However if someone gets on his bad side then they can expect to be in deep trouble. If their wife has any complaints about their behaviour they will be listened to most carefully but if necessary evidense can always be manufactured. The US may be the "policeman of the world" but its actions are like those of the most corrupt policeman imaginable who is driven only by greed and love of power.



[ Parent ]
gosh, I don't understand anything (3.00 / 10) (#274)
by mami on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:01:45 PM EST

neither valeko's piece nor OldCoder's rebuttal. Why don't you say clearly what you think instead of messing around with destracting complicated arguments that don't look like they are any.

Usually people are for a war or against a war out of very simple reasons (if they even get a chance to be for or against it - most people are served a war down their throats and seldom does their opinion about it  play any role).

I doubt morals play ever a major role in it. And being left or right is as unimportant as being female or male. I don't get it.

Sorry for the comment. It doesn't make sense to comment that one doesn't understand something.

But I hate it to force myself ot read through two long pieces and end with the feeling it was not worth the time.

 

the gist of the story is (3.83 / 6) (#292)
by RelliK on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:37:01 PM EST

That this war has nothing to do with self-defence (come on, US is attacking another country!), has nothing to do with "liberating" Iraqi people (US was happily supporting Saddam and other, even more brutal, dictators when it was in its strategic interests and continues to do so now), has nothing to with bringing democracy to Iraqis (at best it will be a side-effect). This is a war of conquest, designed to maintain and strengthen US hegemony throughout the world, and to gain control of oil. Some say it's also to protect Israel, but I think that was taken care of back in 1991. Iraq cannot realistically be considered a threat to anyone, particularly to Israel which is the only country in the region that has nuclear weapons.

What valeco is saying -- and I agree -- is that none of these arguments are being discussed in the mainstream press. All we get is the same old pre-packaged bullshit about self-defence, liberation, and moral superiority. You oppose the war? Why, you must be a Saddam-loving anti-American terrorist!
---
Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism it's just the opposite.
[ Parent ]

True (5.00 / 3) (#305)
by Anonymous 7324 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:45:49 PM EST

further, if I'm reading correctly, valeko thinks that those critical of the war should be more expansive in their criticism instead of being confined to the reasoning dictated by the administration and mass-media. As it were, while he is correct, IMO much of this is already being done, at least in publications like CounterPunch, CommonDreams, and YellowTimes.

[ Parent ]
But. (5.00 / 3) (#311)
by cafeman on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:19:52 PM EST

Not the New York Times. Or Fox. Which is the issue, as that's what controls the "hearts and minds" of the American public. Metaphorically speaking, anyway.


--------------------
"No Silicon heaven? But where would all the calculators go?"


[ Parent ]
But valeko's article (5.00 / 2) (#396)
by Anonymous 7324 on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 04:41:49 PM EST

isn't directed at the major media outlets. He's speaking to those who might actually listen to feedback: most specifically, those who read K5.  It's fairly obvious that barring extraordinary events, Fox and NYT and CNN won't suddenly reverse their editorial policies, you know. Nor frankly do even organized groups of people have much power and influence over said large media conglomerates, let alone a K5 article. So this is more really about what to do despite them.

[ Parent ]
Yes, of course, I got that, but - so what? (4.00 / 3) (#318)
by mami on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:59:43 PM EST

Any idiot can understand those arguments, independent of them being discussed or not in the official media or by the anti-whatever people. It's one thing to have media that is supportive in the official line of thought of the administration by being selective in the  reporting.

It's another thing to have actively propaganda fist fights going on. There are bad apples on both sides, unfortunately they are also the most noisy ones. Nothing simpler than to recognize propaganda. Remember it's propaganda, so it's designed to make my dead grandmother understand what is being promoted. Why would you fear something that is so easily understood as being propaganda. It's as easy to understand as spam and telemarketing. A nuisance. The healthy so called common sense makes it possible to have an understanding of the arguments of the other side all by itself.  

I just am amazed that people in general believe that the population is that easy to mislead. The population is not easily mislead, it just has no power through representation and therefore looks like dumb sheeps, when they have to accept things as they are. It looks as if everybody agrees with the promoted official line of thoughts, but I doubt it's actually what they think. It's just not worth to argue, if you know you have no power.

I simply think that many in the population have a made-up mind and simply  hear only that what they want to hear. They on purpose cut out any opposing argument. They are not forced to do so. So, it's their free will to be biased. Their own bias is much more a problem than the so called influence by biased media. The only thing that propaganda in the media does, I think, is  causing feelings of hate, which then causes even more pre-set minds in the listeners.

People have opinions set up for whatever reasons and they all have a hard time to even allow a counter argument mess up their beliefs, because it would mean they made a misjudgement. And who wants to admit that they were wrong with something? Seems to me the smarter the person the less willing to admit mistakes or misjudgements. That leads unfortunately to very smart people to be very prejudiced and biased.

[ Parent ]

my take (5.00 / 6) (#365)
by chu on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 11:00:03 AM EST

The gist of the article in my view is that it is not easy to recognise propaganda because everything you read and hear is self-replicating propaganda - you can't see the wood for the trees in such an environment. I think Valeko is using the war as a concrete example of how you do not have freedom of thought in America and that it follows that freedom of speech is entirely illusory. The way it works is that any notion of political debate or concepts like left/right are staged within a very narrow frame of argument - mainstream opinion. Any ideas lying outside this narrow spectrum are defined (by mainstream opinion) as cranky, paranoid etc. - so if you venture outside of the playpen you are automatically marginalised. This kind of tyranny of ideas through populism has been successfully used by many governments - it is basically the carrot to Joseph Stalin's stick. The Soviet communist party also had a lively buzz of internal debate and many sharp exchanges of views but if you wanted to be successful in society you wouldn't waste your time on the fringes. The fact that it was a one-party state turns out to have been just an implementation detail - the US could also be described as a one-party state having two main factions.


[ Parent ]
this just in (5.00 / 1) (#454)
by chu on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 07:17:58 PM EST

don't know if this a hoax or old news: http://tbrnews.org/Archives/a273.htm

[ Parent ]
Propoganda works. (none / 0) (#383)
by Fell on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 02:29:45 PM EST

Most thinking souls have realized that the administration has jumped from one justification to another in the hopes of finding one that works.  The last and most successful one has been the story of the liberation of Iraq.  There is now another set of justifications being considered for Syria.   Each of these attempts will be seen by those that are looking for some reason to support the administration's actions (since the troops are on the ground) as giving some comfort to them so that loss of life is for a just cause.   It takes a hard heart to go against this.

I just finished Len Deighton's "Fighter: The True Story of the Battle of Britain."  Britain's propaganda overstated the German aircraft kills, and Goering understated its opponent's reserves.  The running joke among German pilots: "It seems we knocked out their last 50 aircraft again."  In any case, the propaganda seemed to help the British cause despite the meddling of Joe Kennedy.  When finally the Germans got around to targeting London, the public felt it was doing its part to win and the U.S. began to believe there was something worth saving by entering the war itself.

Then again, maybe propaganda works only if the war is won.   If it weren't for the foolish way German command conducted this battle (or if Hitler had had a strong interest in it), it might have gone the other way.

Fell

[ Parent ]

Not quite it (5.00 / 1) (#466)
by epepke on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 12:53:00 PM EST

I just am amazed that people in general believe that the population is that easy to mislead.

It isn't that, so much as it is the following:

  1. People like to think there own opinions are correct and that anyone who disagrees must be a mindless sheep.
  2. Especially in the U.S., the lone beleaguered crusader is a popular myth.

So, those on the left tend to assert that everyone else just goes along with the official party line. Similarly, those on the right go on and on about the liberal bias of the media.


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


[ Parent ]
Governance by Soundbite (3.75 / 4) (#378)
by Eric Green on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 02:07:07 PM EST

Look, not every issue can be summed up as a 5 second soundbite. Only ignorant people believe that. You seem to be a typical American where, if it's more than a 5 second soundbite, you tune out and go "la la la I can't hear you la la la there's nobody talking la la la". Well, I got news for you, mister: there's a whole world out there, and it's a damned sight more complex than can be expressed in 5 second soundbites. Forgive those of us who are educated and who have actually read more history than the dismal jingoistic bullshit taught in the dismal American public schools for not giving you everything as a 5 second soundbite -- because you cannot sum up over 2500 years of written history in 5 seconds, my dear friend.
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]
Hrm (1.00 / 1) (#464)
by NDPTAL85 on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 09:48:33 AM EST

So you honestly believe that using unnecessarily ineffiecient forms of communication make you more educated? I thought simplicity was supposed to be geniuous not unneeded complexity. If you cannot make your points succinctly then do not make them at all.

[ Parent ]
Again: soundbites aren't arguments (5.00 / 1) (#473)
by Eric Green on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 05:14:14 PM EST

As I said: you cannot sum up 2500 years of history as a 5 second soundbite. Your notion "if you can't make the point in 5 seconds don't make it at all" is pure poppycock. Or as we know in the computer field: "For every possible problem there is a solution that is simple, elegant -- and wrong." I assume you know something about software engineering. Computers are far simpler than civilizations are. If there are problems whose solutions cannot be written without megabytes of text in the computer world, why do you assume that there are no problems in the physical worlds that similarly require complex texts in order to adequately describe and solve them?
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, because youre right (3.30 / 10) (#276)
by livus on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:21:36 PM EST

...it will make it all the harder to get this voted up. As soon as you took the debate out of the accepted parameters of discourse (which is necessary since those lines are what youre trying to discuss) you became incomprehensible to those who are thinking within the prescribed patterns.

And there's a language problem. I don't know how you could get round this but you've got stuff in there that clearly signposts the sort of Frankfurt school influence that antagonises all sorts of people. And gratitous use of scare quotes which will probably connote mockery. In short, you've got your unwillingnessto stick to the agreed Order of Things stamped all over this piece. So +1FP.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

"gratituous" - I should be on drugs n/t (none / 0) (#277)
by livus on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:22:49 PM EST



---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Discussion within the bounds (3.75 / 4) (#303)
by Anonymous 7324 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:42:31 PM EST

while it's obviously necessary to look at the myriad of unspoken but very real reasons why the administration went to war, it's no less important to refute the publicly-given reasons.

The refutations within the bounds defined by the controlling powers, are important because by remaining silent, one is assumed to be implicitly accepting and agreeing with the official line. This is especially the case given the nearly all-encompassing nature of at least the U.S. media. It's fine to give alternatives, but I think of "refuting" and debating within the confines of the official line as enhancing and giving more credence to alternative explanations that one might wish to offer.

Personally, I don't see refutations of the official line, and offering alternative (and one hopes more insightful) explanations of the rationales and plans of the U.S. government as being at odds: the two are largely orthogonal, except isofar as we all have a limited amount of time and energy.

P.S. Valeko: no offense taken, although as you can see from my comment, I stand by my comments. :)

Well, I voted -1 (3.00 / 2) (#307)
by Lode Runner on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:59:21 PM EST

because if valeko didn't think your response to my comment was adequate, he should've just jumped into the thread instead of sniping at me here in the queue.

If he'd been a real man, he'd've confronted me directly instead of putting you down.

[ Parent ]

imperialist (3.81 / 11) (#358)
by dipierro on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 09:17:37 AM EST

...this war of imperialist aggression in Iraq...

By that you're refering to the fact that this war started with the imperialist move of Iraq annexing Kuwait?



Wrong (4.25 / 4) (#372)
by freddie on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 01:07:25 PM EST

Arabia which ought to be one country encompasing everything from Egypt to Iraq and Saudi Arabia, was divided up by the British, and French, at the end of the colonial era, so that they could keep things under their control without having any troops there.

Creating small countries like Kuwait with no historical or ethnic basis for their existance that held a disproportionately large part of the world's oil was part of this scheme.

Calling Iraq's invasion of Kuwait imperialism is disingenious because it would have been a step in undoing the ravages of the imperialist era. Unfortunately imperialism seems to have made a strong comeback as of recent.


Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein
[ Parent ]
No (4.66 / 6) (#375)
by dipierro on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 01:29:45 PM EST

Iraq agreed to recognize the sovereignty of Kuwait. They can't decide later to take that back.

[ Parent ]
Sure you can (5.00 / 1) (#425)
by gregbillock on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 01:24:34 AM EST

The US decided recently to repudiate a nuclear arms treaty it had agreed to. This sort of thing doesn't happen all the time, but countries can come under different governments with different views. One would hope that in civilized states, controlling the government for a while doesn't obligate the country for all time to the positions held by that group!

[ Parent ]
OK, they can... (5.00 / 1) (#439)
by dipierro on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 08:09:03 AM EST

obviously, they did. But when they do, that's imperialism.

[ Parent ]
Escape Clause (none / 0) (#456)
by Merk00 on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 10:01:00 PM EST

You're referring to the anti-ballistic missile treaty which had an escape clause to void the treaty (why do people always manage to forget this?). So, in this case, it was completely legal for the US to do so.

------
"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 ]

A little bit true... (none / 0) (#493)
by gregbillock on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 12:13:49 PM EST

but the reason given by the American government was the doctrine of 'rebus sic stantibus,' which simplistically says 'times change.' Obviously this is soft, and the Vienna Convention attempted to reign it in by declaring that the changes must be 'fundamental,' but there is still room for a lot of interpretation. As with any international law issue, what you get away with determines legality.

(Link: http://www.asil.org/insights/insigh70.htm)

[ Parent ]

Of Course, America has never done that... (4.00 / 1) (#459)
by delducra on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 02:45:24 AM EST

To be brief...

America would never recognize the sovereignty of another peoples and then later retract it.  Just ask any Native American.

The real source of all of this Bull S$%t is that Americans seem unable to judge others by the same ideals they demand they be judged by.

[ Parent ]

Of course we have (none / 0) (#465)
by dipierro on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 12:09:41 PM EST

America would never recognize the sovereignty of another peoples and then later retract it. Just ask any Native American.

When we stole the land from the Natives, that was imperialism.

The real source of all of this Bull S$%t is that Americans seem unable to judge others by the same ideals they demand they be judged by.

How so? I never annexed Kuwait. Why can't I judge Saddam Hussein for doing it?



[ Parent ]
You're quite right. (4.00 / 2) (#377)
by valeko on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 02:01:23 PM EST

I'm not sure that this is a sufficient justification for Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, but it's a very important point to consider. Virtually all boundaries of that region are artificial lines drawn in the sand by the British imperialists, and it engenders seemingly perpetual problems and conflicts. It is not a question resolved by the application of some absolute, all-encompassing "morality" that is contextual (i.e. ignoring the stuff that doesn't fit the thesis).

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Can anyone confirm ? (5.00 / 2) (#400)
by alfadir on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 05:22:03 PM EST

I heard that Kuwait at the time was dumping oilprices, and that was one big reason of many reasons Saddam attacked. I guess longer coast lines, more harbours were other.

Does anyone know more about this ? It might be wrong, but I think it was reported in German tv. They often show history with a lot of details. CNN does never show any perspectives.

I can not belive the american newsmedia still uses the word "Coalition". Any journalist should be able to rip that word to shreds. In the 1990:ies there was a real coalition.

[ Parent ]

Confirmed (none / 0) (#413)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 08:02:34 PM EST

That's basically the story.

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


[ Parent ]
Invasion of Kuwait, confirmation. (5.00 / 1) (#475)
by socialism or death on Fri Apr 18, 2003 at 07:34:10 AM EST

According to the BBC:

"The invasion came amid an Iraqi economic crisis stemming from post-war debt.

Saddam Hussein accused Kuwait of keeping oil prices low and pumping more than its quota from the two countries' shared oil field.

Iraq had never accepted its British-drawn borders, which established Kuwait as a separate entity.

And when Kuwait refused to waive Iraq's war debts, Saddam Hussein invaded."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/middle_east/03/v3_iraq_timeline/html/kuwait_invasion.stm

---
If you bend the political horizon into a circle, you'll find me hanging around what used to be extremes.
[ Parent ]

There was also slant drilling (none / 0) (#494)
by drquick on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 06:13:39 AM EST

There was also Slant drilling:
May 1990 - At Arab summit Saddam accuses Gulf states of waging economic war against Iraq. The Iraq economy has been devastated by the war. Iraq had borrowed billions to wage war against Iran. Price of oil was down because Gulf states were dumping oil on world market. Kuwait was slant drilling with American equipment into Iraqi oilfields. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia at behest of U.S. demanded immediate repayment of loans to Iraq.

OPEC quotas:
July 16: Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz accuses Kuwaitis of "direct aggression" against Iraq by producing oil above OPEC quotas and slant-drilling into the Rumaila oilfield, which straddles the Kuwait-Iraq border.

Read also the infamous Glaspie comment:
July 25: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein meets with U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie. Glaspie, perhaps unfortunately, tells Hussein that the United States has no opinion on the border dispute between Iraq and Kuwait.

[ Parent ]

Uhm... No (5.00 / 9) (#407)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 07:30:50 PM EST

Arabia which ought to be one country encompasing everything from Egypt to Iraq and Saudi Arabia, was divided up by the British, and French, at the end of the colonial era, so that they could keep things under their control without having any troops there.

Where ever did you get that idea? It's true that the state of Iraq is an artificial construct comprised of what were three independently governed regions within the Ottoman empire, but the same is not true for most of the other Arab states. The idea that all the Arab states should be one country is laughable, as there is significantly more diversity than you are allowing for.

Syria: Has a national history going back to Hellenic era and the rule of the Selucids. It was recognized and governed as distinct region by the Romans, the Byzantines, the Umayyad Caliphate (seated in Syria), the Abbasid Caliphate, and the Ottomans.

Jordan: Somewhat like Iraq, it doesn't have a long history as an individual nation, but is a patchwork of bedouin tribal regions and ancient cities that have long historical ties to Syria. Under the Ottoman's the region the British recognized as Transjordania was closely related to Syria. Under the British the region became, along with Iraq, a Hashemite kingdom, the Hasemites being the tradional rulers of the Hajiz (now northwestern Saudi Arabia including Mecca and Medina) who had lost their traditional territory to a growing bedouin tribal kingdom united under the Sauds.

Lebanon: Has a national history which goes back to pre-Hellenic times as the home of the Phoenician culture. It was an important region within the broader Hellenic world and was governed as an independent region by the Romans and the Byzantines. After it's conquest by the Arabs control over the region has passed back and forth between Egypt, local Islamic dynasties, the Ayyubids, the native Druze population, the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, and the Ottomans. Under Ottoman rule central Lebanon was made an autonomous region under the control of the Maronite Christians.

Palestine/Israel: We all know how complicated this one is.

Kuwait: Has an independent national history dating to the mid 17th century when it was made an autonomous kingdom or Emirate within the Ottoman Empire. It was most certainly not created by the British.

The Gulf Arab States: Emirates which formed from traditional tribal allegiances in regions under British and Portuguese control.  

Yemen: Has been a distinct nation for around 4000 years and was even breifly ruled as Judaic Kingdom. In more recent times the North was very loosely ruled by the Ottomans and the South was under British rule. Since the South gained independence from Britain it has been involved in numerous wars with North and a recent period of unification. Yemen is home to the last remaining  population of the Twelver sect of Shi'a Islam, who represent the majority of its population.

Saudi Arabia: A vast bedouin territory that eventually came under the control the Saud dynasty who conquered the Hajiz and deposed the Hashemite Dynasty in 1920's. From 13th century forward much of this territory was claimed by either Egypt or the Ottomans, but was never really directly ruled by either.

Egypt: I assume I don't have to establish the ancient origins of the nation of Egypt? In the Hellenic period it was under control of the Ptolemaic Pharoes and was ruled as distinct region under the Roman and Byzantine empires. Alexandria, along with Antioch and Rome, was one of the original Christian Patriachates and an extremely important center of early Christendom. After the Islamic conquest it was under the rule of the Umayyad and then the Abbasid Caliphates before becoming home to the Twelver Shi'a Caliphate of the Fatamids. It then came under the rule of Ayyubids, heirs to Saladin, followed by the Mamluks, a Turkic military slave dynasty, who were eventually brought into the Ottoman empire. And finally, relatively brief periods of French and British rule.

Creating small countries like Kuwait with no historical or ethnic basis for their existance that held a disproportionately large part of the world's oil was part of this scheme.

Oil wasn't even discovered in Kuwait until after the British had assisted the Kingdom formalize it's borders with both Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Calling Iraq's invasion of Kuwait imperialism is disingenious because it would have been a step in undoing the ravages of the imperialist era.

Depends upon how you define imperialism, I guess, but Iraq definitely invaded Kuwait in order to gain direct control over its petroleum resources.

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


[ Parent ]
Kuwait. (4.00 / 1) (#409)
by valeko on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 07:42:40 PM EST

Kuwait: Has an independent national history dating to the mid 17th century when it was made an autonomous kingdom or Emirate within the Ottoman Empire. It was most certainly not created by the British.

As far as I know, pretty much the entire territory of Kuwait was part of the same administrative district of the Ottoman Empire as the Iraqi city of Basra and other parts of southern Iraq.

This is just a clarification; I am not attempting to argue that this vindicates any Iraqi claim that Kuwait is a separated Iraqi asteroid.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Nope (5.00 / 2) (#411)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 08:02:00 PM EST

The Sabah dynasty of was founded in the mid 18th century (oops, not 17th) and was ruled independently from the Ottoman Empire, although the Ottomans never relinquished their claim. The Ottomans tried to reassert control over the region with German help at the close of the 19th century, but failed largely due to the British assistance given to the Kuwaitis. Of course, exact boundaries (literally lines in the sand) are a modern phenomenon in the region. I'll see if I can't scrounge up some web resources to substantiate.

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


[ Parent ]
Links... (none / 0) (#423)
by cr8dle2grave on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 01:20:28 AM EST

The first search result from a quick google query confirms my claim and provides quite a bit more info besides. Other results to the query substantiate this.

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


[ Parent ]
-1, wrong section, belongs in Humor (3.66 / 6) (#386)
by Silent Chris on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 03:14:03 PM EST



So which section... (none / 0) (#455)
by walwyn on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 07:27:51 PM EST

... would you put this in?
----
Professor Moriarty - Bugs, Sculpture, Tombs, and Stained Glass
[ Parent ]
-1, Troll (none / 0) (#463)
by Silent Chris on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 09:39:18 AM EST

See goatse.cx.

[ Parent ]
I disagree. (5.00 / 1) (#420)
by Morally Inflexible on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 11:08:02 PM EST

Opposing the war on the grounds that the problems of a less fortunate nation are not our responsibility is completely logical. Not only does this argument preemptively eliminate all speculation on the true motivations of the government, it is also a subtle attack on the ideological foundations of imperialism.

Great article, just a few points. (4.20 / 5) (#427)
by mayo on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 01:36:27 AM EST

First of all, again, congratulations on writing a great article. Second HOLY CRAP you have generated a lot of discussion here so no doubt this will be lost in the tide of comments. Oh well, no matter...

One need not dig far into the United States' illustrious history of military interventions and coups throughout the last century to understand that if it would have been more suitable to its aims to replace Saddam Hussein with an even worse dictator, it would have done exactly that
A questionable assertion - the States have only really started exploring the possibilities presented by installing friendly dictators within the last century. It would seem fair to say that in all cases the world has reaped what the US government has sewn. Do you really think that they are that lacking in intelligence that they have not by now realised the negative long term ramifications these actions have? There may be many unadmirable terms available to describe the thinkers that guide the US but stupid is not one of them.

to the politically conscious people of the world it is abundantly clear that "military humanitarianism" is nothing more than a cynical lie.
Consider this: why does the enforcement of peoples' morality have a tendency to end at the borders of their own country? Although I take the US as my example, most every country in the world is guilty of maintaining this attitude to a degree, just the notice we take tends to be directly proportional to the power and thus global influence a nation wields. Taking the most powerful and thus prominent nation seemed appropriate although all countries are guilty of this to an extent. To continue, if we truly believe that our morality is right and there is evil in the world then should we not strive to remove it? What makes countries such as the US treat their own citizens in a reasonable manner but regard much of the remainder of the world as a dictator might his oppressed people? How can they justify taking liberties to impose their will on those that fall outside the invisible dividing lines we have dreamed up and called borders, via what basically amounts to threats and bullying, both purely economic and otherwise? Furthermore why should we behave as though the peoples of Africa, the Middle East or Asia fall under a completely different set of basic human rights, ignoring their plight when they are downtrodden, mistreated and abused by their governments? Should they not as human beings be extended the same privileges, the same mercies granted to us? Should their governments not be held to the same basic standards of human conduct expected within our own borders and be held accountable when these basic expectations are violated? Are their citizens' lives not equally worthy?

To an extent I agree with you. War is the bane of human existance, the unparalleled pinnacle of horror and misery - unfortunately due perhaps to a lack of imagination on behalf of the human race it seems that it is still sometimes necessary. Perhaps modern man's greatest failing is that we have failed to evolve to the point where we have been able to find or think up an effective, lasting catalyst for change as powerful as war. To use war to bring about a change as in Iraq is to undergo a masectomy or lose a testicle to remove cancer. As with cancer, once past the initial trauma, once the initial loss and pain have been accepted, a good prognosis can be achieved granted there is no remission.

Every war of this century has had a profound and lasting effect on the collective global psyche and has resulted in marked change within affected countries that have managed to struggle free of the mire of hatred and begin rebuilding in earnest. Let me state now that I do not necessarily believe or agree with any the US government's officially stated reasons for being in Iraq. That being said I cling to the hope that something positive may still be salvaged for the Iraqis from the terrible yet opportunity laden situation they now find themselves in.

Can you honestly say you would have been content to let a people with no avenue for respite languish in miserable oppression? I have a sneaking suspicion that your answer would be no. If so then are you able to you suggest an effective alternative that might have been employed by the anti war movement or could be in future situations, an answer that has evaded the millions of protsters worldwide? I only ask as you seem to have thought about the matter a great deal and realised that it was clearly in this regard that the anti war effort failed most spectacularly.

Suggestion (none / 0) (#476)
by Rho Eridani on Fri Apr 18, 2003 at 11:18:54 AM EST

In the future, try to "write" an "article" without "quoting" so many random "words".

[ Parent ]
That's cynical (1.00 / 1) (#483)
by Kuranes on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 04:44:07 AM EST

Comparing the deaths of thousands to a cut off testicle or breast is beyond all taste. What would you call the 9/11 victims? An ear bit off?
By the way, in medicine, there's something called "informed consent". I didn't see anybody ask those people if they wanted to die for the "noble cause".

Again: War is fun if you know you won't die.

The more harder thing to understand is that a "mission" to bring human rights and democracy everywhere lacks any legitimacy. People(s) can agree on human rights; has Iraq signed the UN chartas in question? If yes, there is some legitimacy to do at least something about it (not necessarily go bombing). But bringing your rules of good and bad to another country can not be right, since it is a form of coercion.

I know that by this, I tolerate the terrible circumstances before the war, but war is the worse alternative. The only way to make things better would have been patience and attempt of cooperation.


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
Maybe (5.00 / 1) (#487)
by mayo on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 11:33:53 PM EST

Comparing the deaths of thousands to a cut off testicle or breast is beyond all taste.
Perhaps. I had hoped that it would be clear that the intended thrust of the analogy was that after great loss and suffering a good outcome can be achieved. The reason for choosing a breast or testicle was to bring the idea back to a personal level - for the majority of people losing the part of their anatomy that is popularly seen as what defines a man or woman would be quite devastating. Out of interest, applying the analogy to September 11 it would remain unchanged.
War is fun if you know you won't die.
Here I have to disagree. War is never fun. War is fear and war is horror.
But bringing your rules of good and bad to another country can not be right, since it is a form of coercion
An interesting and eminently disputable assertion and one that the International Criminal Court for one may disagree with. Let me ask you, is it right for a government to murder its own people? Does the fact that they don't think it's wrong make it right? If not then are we not justified in attempting to alter the situation?
The only way to make things better would have been patience and attempt of cooperation.
The UN has been trying to get Saddam to cooperate for a long time now, since the last war in fact, but he is as sly as a fox, stubborn as a mule and his big brass balls on him.

[ Parent ]
Re: Maybe (2.00 / 1) (#488)
by Kuranes on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:05:29 AM EST

I still don't think that it is possible to bring the "fate" of a nation to a personal level. Nations and single people are different things altogether. That's it. And again: Those people didn't lose a ball or a breast, but their lives.

As for the terror of war: I don't think that Bush, Blair and Aznar were very terrified.

The International Criminal Court has also a member list. These are the countries which agreed on a set of "crimes" which lie in the Court's competence and a form of cooperation. Sadly, neither Iraq nor the United States of America are on this list (here's an US policy statement). Therefore, the ICC can not be part of the argumentation about the Iraq war.

For chasing Hussein out of power: The UN sanctions had the effect of maintaining his position - but what about the offer of removing sanctions if he steps down? That would have put him under the pressure of his people, no?

I would agree that the US' presence near Iraq did a lot to start disarmament, but it was wrong to attack. I presume that Bush's promise to get some Oil Wells for Halliburton did outweigh his "fear" and "terror" of war.


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
agreed (3.00 / 1) (#435)
by moksud on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 07:45:25 AM EST

I don't think this low IQ nerd BUsh is so smart. He's just dancing with the tune of the CIA. ppl, watch JFK by Oliver Stone, starring Kevin COstner. U might get a pictorial idea, easily.
God has created man in his own image. Because glory is always reflected glory.
the (5.00 / 1) (#461)
by auraslip on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 02:54:51 AM EST

ten shall rule the ninety. Forever.
124
Correct. (4.00 / 2) (#480)
by ksandstr on Sat Apr 19, 2003 at 12:54:00 PM EST

In noting the "don't let the opposition control the playing field" dimension of probably all debate, you've succeeded in putting into words what I'd been thinking about for quite a while.

Thank you.

--
Gegen kommunismus und bolschewismus und terrorismus, jawohl!

The answer is simple. (4.00 / 1) (#489)
by exa on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 06:28:40 PM EST

You are too smart to be an American. Go to a place where you will not be in isolation.

I mean it.

Why else do you think the general US public bought misinformation that even a secondary school student could detect?? It's simple, they are idiots. More than half of the US readers here are also idiots. They do nothing but keep repeating the propaganda that you talk about. They are unconscious animals, like fucking insects.

I still haven't decided whether George Bush in an idiot, though. I think he pretends to be an idiot and is in fact an intelligent person. However, many US friends insisted that he was indeed an idiot. It's really so hard to believe that there is a half continent of morons. US to  politics is like Britney Spears is to music, dumbed down, hollow. And unlike Britney your politicians are nobody but hypocrites! Maybe it's nurture over nature? There is no way you have all the mindless-ness and rotten-ness genes in the world!!! Or wait!!! Why are all the really good scientists from other countries??? I don't know, it's really a hard question...

Let me try to answer that. Oh, mind you. I am not politically correct. A few weeks before 9/11 happened, some of your morons said stupid things about Alan Turing. On slashdot. They cursed him "for being gay". I told the North American readers that they are imbeciles. Because I knew for a fact that only the American could be so arrogant and clueless to suggest such things. Guess what I don't regret what I said. Half of your country's public is white trash, and black trash, and yellow trash. I don't care about skin color. Yes, there is a very elite 5% maybe, but does it help you? Those among you who are not evil are not in control, and ones who do assume power *somehow* get converted immediately.

Note that I also think 90% of Turkish public is also foolish. But at least we were not so foolish and pride-less to fight a war in the name of US this time. Our parliment's decision in not sending troops to Iraq was the only victory that anti-war protests yielded in the world.

For the imbecile reading this. I am not anti-US, or anti-Turkey, or anti-X where X is a nation. I am anti-anti-intellectual. I am anti-imbecile. I take pleasure in calling an idiot an idiot because that's what you are!

And yes I fucking hate all you warmongers. I hope you all get a taste of your own medicine one day.

My deepest regrets,

__
exa a.k.a Eray Ozkural
There is no perfect circle.

About Kurdish issue (none / 0) (#490)
by exa on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 07:14:41 PM EST

(By you here I'm referring to that guy who wrote the editorial mostly and the like. I agree that comparing what happened in Turkey to what happened in Iraq is comparing apples to oranges)

First: I am a leftist but I am anti-ethnicist. I don't like separatists who are killing innocent people in the name of ethnicism. Turkey is a democratic country. We have nothing to do with Iraq, we are not brutal Saddams that would gas their own people.

You should understand that Turkey is ethnically very mixed. There isn't really anything as "Turkish race" any. It's all damn mixed up. More mixed up than you anglo-saxons, and in general we are not a society who is going to discriminate on the basis of race. We had a Kurdish president. Did you fucks have a black president yet? Or a woman president?

So, we have this really nasty problem of Kurdish terrorists who killed several thousands of our own people. The Kurdish minority was exploited by our enemies, including some of our neighbors and drawn into this war. Who knows, maybe even US? The Kurds became a tool. The fact is that there are Kurdish fascists. And in opposition there are Turkish fascists! What a great combination! This led us to the great many causalties of a long conflict of urban and country terror.

And mind you, all this happens on our own lands. We don't have planes coming from strange lands and crashing into our skyscrapers. That's not what happened. There are these young terrorists that somebody gave a Kalashnikof and made them believe they are killing in the name of freedom. So they go to villages, and slaughter babies and mothers. Maybe you leftist "Kurdish saviors" of USA didn't see *those* pictures. What do you think happened after Turkey allowed all those Kurdish refugees from northern iraq after the gulf war? We also received a lot of terrorism. Maybe we should have left them to die? How is that for morality? I guess that's what we should have done if we cared about "homeland security" more than we did for the condition of refugees.

Why didn't you imperialist fucks get the stone-age Pashmerges onto planes and made them 1st-class citizens in US? Maybe you didn't have any humanitarian goals, right?

So, implying that Turkish army would have killed innocent Kurdish civilians like Saddam's army is... I don't know what to say. It doesn't reflect the fact. We are not motherfucking Israel or Serbia. And last time I checked it was the US army bombing the cities, not Turkish army.

__
exa a.k.a Eray Ozkural
There is no perfect circle.

Opposing the Iraq war in pro-war terms is absurd. | 496 comments (371 topical, 125 editorial, 0 hidden)
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