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[P]
US Soldier Defies Order, Upholds Principle of Free Speech in Iraq

By greenrd in Op-Ed
Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:38:36 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

According to the Wall Street Journal, in Iraq last week, "The U.S. Army issued orders for troops to seize Mosul's only television station", after the station began rebroadcasting al-Jazeera for short periods.

I'm pleased to report that an officer charged with implementing this order, one Major Charmaine Means, refused to follow orders, arguing that it would be intimidating to the station and would therefore undermine free speech. Good for her.

Unfortunately, as might be expected, the Major was relieved of her command, and therefore it seems the order was carried out anyway.


Many readers will remember al-Jazeera, the station which was being rebroadcast, is that very same station which was bombed earlier on in the war. (After bombing a Serbian TV station and thereby killing a cleaner during the Kosovo conflict, the US almost seems to be making a habit of bombing TV stations, shooting and killing even "allied" journalists, and generally undermining freedom of the press in war scenarios.) Perhaps the US military is afraid of the material that al-Jazeera, and other non-subservient stations, are putting out there?

The military attempted to justify their decision to occupy the Iraqi TV station by citing standards of impartiality, which, if breached, would be just cause to shut a TV station down.

But of course this argument would never fly in a country which supports freedom of speech. Indeed, it is somewhat striking that this argument, which would presumably have caused major outrage if applied to a popular channel in the States, caused barely a ripple in the US mainstream media.

The argument only vaguely flies in Iraq because Iraq is currently under martial law. But that's like saying if you have a dictatorial regime, what the dictator says goes. Yes, true, but, well, we're supposed to have moved on from the medieval period. Even under martial law - even if martial law itself can be justified (which is doubtful in this case, due to the illegal nature of the invasion in the first place and the fact that the Iraqis want self-determination, not some occupying army) - shutting down TV stations which criticise the United States too much, looks more like naked imperialism than any justifiable kind of protective measure towards the people of Iraq.

Free speech is an important ideal - if anything it is more important in a completely undemocratic occupied country, where, if the occupying force is in any way abusive, the only realistic route for accountability is public protest/action - non-violent or violent. (Let's note in passing that the occupying forces have been not exactly lenient towards Iraqi protestors, either, unless "lenient" includes shooting intro crowds with live bullets, killing 10 and injuring dozens.) Free spech is not something that can just be vaguely waved away on some feeble pretext. The question that must be asked is, is (a) bombing al-Jazeera and then (b) taking their rebroadcaster off the air, absolutely necessary to prevent some kind of massive, clear and present danger to the people of Iraq?

And the answer, it should almost go without saying, is no. The only threat really posed by al-Jazeera is the threat of provoking the Iraqi people to rise up against the army currently occupying their country. Of course that would be (and, indeed, is) highly embarassing for the US - but more importantly, it would threaten the US's desire for, firstly, direct control, and in future a compliant puppetlike regime in Iraq. That is why the US is so insistent on preventing al-Jazeera broadcasting, directly or indirectly, within Iraq.

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Poll
Was the Major right to defy her orders?
o Yes 67%
o No, because it was right for them to occupy the TV station 10%
o No, because she should have obeyed her orders without question 21%

Votes: 295
Results | Other Polls

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US Soldier Defies Order, Upholds Principle of Free Speech in Iraq | 618 comments (564 topical, 54 editorial, 0 hidden)
the country is under martial law (3.45 / 11) (#1)
by zzzeek on Wed May 14, 2003 at 10:56:24 PM EST

...and barely, if that.  a free press is the last thing they need right now, to insure the success of military control.

of course, is it right ?  its more like, the whole issue of martial law being right or not.  shutting down the press is incidental to that bigger issue.

This is where my question comes in (4.08 / 12) (#6)
by greenrd on Wed May 14, 2003 at 11:37:44 PM EST

a free press is the last thing they need right now, to insure the success of military control.

But that's where my question comes in. Suppose Iraq "slips out" of military control, and the Iraqis start governing themselves. What's the problem?

After all, this was a "war of liberation", right?

Is there a clear and present danger to the Iraqi people created by al-Jazeera?

I could see how you could begin to argue that, using the word "anarchy" somewhere in there, but the onus is on the tyrant (and his apologists) to justify his actions. Freedom of speech should be the default position, requiring a very strong argument to even make a dent in it.


"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 ]

Yes! (4.33 / 12) (#12)
by valeko on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:13:02 AM EST

Is there a clear and present danger to the Iraqi people created by al-Jazeera?

Yes! Do I even need to elaborate on the profound danger of Arabs believing al-Jazeera and not CNN and Voice of America?

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

War of liberation (3.45 / 11) (#47)
by Djinh on Thu May 15, 2003 at 05:09:29 AM EST

You don't quite understand. Here, I'll explain it for you:

The war in Iraq is indeed a war of liberation. Not liberation of the Iraqi people, but liberation of the Profits locked in the Iraqi soil. Profits for US Big Industry.

Freedom of speech or any kind of self-governing by the Iraqi people are not required to bring home what rightfully belongs to the American People. In fact, they might slow down or otherwise compromise the important mission of the US Armed forces there.

So let this be a lesson to all would-be Iraqi press: Behave yourselves! We're really here for your own good. Really.

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

Back to the oil... (1.80 / 5) (#420)
by codepoet on Sat May 17, 2003 at 12:05:12 AM EST

I've heard whiner after whiner talk about the oil. Hey, bub, prove it. Give me conclusive proof that this was about the oil. Otherwise, just shut the hell up already. It's a nice bandwagon, surely, but it has never had anything backing it.

"The French will only be united under the threat of danger. Nobody can simply bring together a country that has 265 kinds of cheese." - Charles De Gaulle,
[ Parent ]
Modded to 1? (3.00 / 2) (#492)
by codepoet on Sun May 18, 2003 at 12:15:14 AM EST

Modded to 1 for asking a question? Holy mod-points Batman! Can't you take a question?

"The French will only be united under the threat of danger. Nobody can simply bring together a country that has 265 kinds of cheese." - Charles De Gaulle,
[ Parent ]
hey, smart guy (1.00 / 1) (#507)
by zzzeek on Sun May 18, 2003 at 01:29:15 PM EST

try this on and quit trolling.


BAGHDAD, May 16 -- The U.S. executive selected by the Pentagon to advise Iraq's Ministry of Oil suggested today that the country might best be served by exporting as much oil as it can and disregarding quotas set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. His comments offered the strongest indication to date that the future Iraqi government may break ranks with the international petroleum cartel.



[ Parent ]
youre saying the martial law should be lifted (4.50 / 2) (#128)
by zzzeek on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:17:13 PM EST

im keying the freedom of press issue to the existence of martial law, saying that, make the press free and al jazeera can come in and speak in opposition to the us military (however rightly or wrongly), you then dilute the effectiveness of the martial law.   so i still believe the real issue is, if they are "liberated" (ha, yes), why are they under martial law ?  

in fact, they are not really "liberated" at this moment, the military is trying to establish a new government.  with the notion that, if we just left them in an anarchic state, it would a.) probably be very bad for them, at least in the short term and b.) lead to another government that does not pay lip service to the united states.   so the "liberation", at this point is, they dont have to kiss saddam's ass.  they have to kiss ours instead.  but theyre not really "liberated".  

if you want to make a big article that keeps rallying, however sarcastically, on the word "liberated" and try to bait conservatives to admit that its a misleading and propagandistic term, its not very interesting because left wing and right wing alike already knows what it really means.


[ Parent ]

It was never a war of liberation (2.50 / 4) (#255)
by Silent Chris on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:16:26 AM EST

Everyone knows that.  But just because Bush used that as his argument for the populace, doesn't mean we can now use it against him.  Everyone's lying.  What's the point of using another lie as a backdrop for real debate?

[ Parent ]
interesting... (3.50 / 6) (#26)
by martingale on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:31:59 AM EST

It seems to me that, under Hussein, the country was under martial law too. Now should the Americans and Britons be regime changed by the Islamists for treating the population badly? Oh what a tangled web we weave...

[ Parent ]
Yea, maaan. (2.00 / 38) (#2)
by A Spineless Liberal Commie on Wed May 14, 2003 at 10:58:32 PM EST

Fight "da Man", duuude. Hellz ya!

Pass the bong, and then come join me as I sing assorted hippy tunes and defecate in the street... dude.

maccas (3.90 / 11) (#43)
by gdanjo on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:55:40 AM EST

I was at a McDonnalds once where the guy in front of me was absolutely wasted.

The person serving him began to mimic and mock him as he ordered. When he was finished he said "suuure, duuude" under his breath. A chuckle rippled through the place.

When he came back with the order, he was grabbed by the scruff of the neck and pulled in towards the stoned "dude." He said "Just because I'm stoned doesn't mean I can't smash you." The person serving went pale-white, and all his colleagues suddenly found something else to do.

I wonder how you'd react in that situation? I reckon they'd have to call for the mop.

Mock face-to-face mocking is the lowest form of online put-down.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Considering the guy was probably thin/malnourished (2.00 / 1) (#253)
by Silent Chris on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:13:13 AM EST

I doubt I'd need a "mop".  More than likely, I'd be the one beating him senseless.

A person has every right to insult someone who's stoned.  It's freedom of speech.

[ Parent ]

stoner (2.00 / 1) (#387)
by gdanjo on Fri May 16, 2003 at 06:53:34 PM EST

A person has every right to insult someone who's stoned. It's freedom of speech.
And a stoner has every right to re-arrange your face. It's freedom of fist-thrust.

"Freedom of speech" only flies online.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Stoners aren't strong (1.00 / 2) (#516)
by Silent Chris on Sun May 18, 2003 at 09:48:00 PM EST

And a stoner has every right to re-arrange your face. It's freedom of fist-thrust.

Most stoners I've met are junkies engaging in a variety of substances.  They're thin and weak and couldn't hold up in a battle, even if the worst you did was pinch them.

Besides, even if you found one with a modicum of fitness regimen, how the hell are they supposed to fight when they don't even know what reality they're in?

[ Parent ]

fucky yeah, dude (1.00 / 4) (#213)
by juln on Fri May 16, 2003 at 02:43:20 AM EST

Fuk 'em. Fuk'em Yiih I ain't takin no orders from da n0 - one.

[ Parent ]
God-damn hippies. (2.33 / 3) (#214)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Fri May 16, 2003 at 02:51:46 AM EST

You show those good-for-nothin' idiots!

Pass me another beer, man. And come join me as I try to pick up one of those sleasy girls across the room....Hey, look! Jonny just chucked up all over floor! Cool!

[ Parent ]

More. (3.00 / 13) (#3)
by Mr Hogan on Wed May 14, 2003 at 11:03:07 PM EST

Here.

Thing is you can't forcibly impose liberalism unless you muzzle Islam first - the two can co-exist I guess if they are permitted time to develop naturally - perhaps lots of time - Jesus what's the rush it took America 250 years to get a C in civilization - but if you're going into an anarchic situation people desperate for law and order RIGHT NOW then you're going to have smite the local competition see how that goes then finally give up leave the place worse-off than you found it. Jesus good luck to the Iraqi people they'll need it - it isn't Paul Bremer will wean them off Allah that's for sure - not that the oil cares but whatever.

--
Life is food and rape, then tilt.

Muzzling Islam (4.20 / 10) (#5)
by greenrd on Wed May 14, 2003 at 11:32:30 PM EST

Thing is you can't forcibly impose liberalism unless you muzzle Islam first - the two can co-exist I guess if they are permitted time to develop naturally - perhaps lots of time

I do agree that Islamic fundamentalism is a problem because it conflicts with democratic values (Bin Laden's brand, for example, is basically theocratic fascism). I don't necessarily agree that all Islam needs to be "muzzled" - and nor does that seem realistic in such a Muslim-dominated country as Iraq.

But there is an essential democratic paradox here, anyway. If the Iraqi people want to elect some repressive religious leader, what right do we have to stop them? (Assuming this leader is not an international terrorist or war criminal, of course.) Shouldn't we let the Iraqi people elect themselves out of democracy if they so choose? Isn't it incredibly paternalistic to suggest otherwise?

But let's get back to reality. The occupation force is there to stay - for a year at least, and probably much longer. I don't know what you mean about "developing naturally" exactly since how can democracy develop "naturally" under an occupying power? I think the best we can hope for is that proto-democracy can develop, very "unnaturally". If the US is serious about "educating" the Iraqi people in liberal democratic values in preparation for a democracy (which I don't believe the facts suggest it is!) then why wouldn't it introduce a completely free press? Isn't the best antidote to religious bullshit, secular reason - rather than trying to censor the religious bullshit?


"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 ]

Well that's the question isn't it. (4.40 / 5) (#13)
by Mr Hogan on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:28:09 AM EST

Well I think it is an open question whether America is occupying Iraq or conquering it. If US forces are merely occupying Iraq then they should provide the means to facilitate the will of the Iraqi people - that being the responsible thing to do after bombing a functioning nation-state into anarchy. But if they are intent on subjugating a foreign people subduing opposition by force - well then they are conquering Iraq aren't they which would explain much of the news and events and the presence there of an anti-Islamist like Bremer.

But I don't know American intentions see because - well let me ask you: is there a plan on paper somewhere? Has there been or will there be public debate? Has someone made commitments can be held accountable or will they stumble around raping the country ignoring the UN shrugging their shoulders blaming the victim and finally leave thanking God for Ari Fleischer a promotion stateside and the American public's fickle attention?

I don't know. Good luck finding out.

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

Developing democracy naturally... (4.42 / 7) (#16)
by opendna on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:51:26 AM EST

...means it follows the same path as the U.S. did:
Rising up in revolution and driving the foreign imperialists from the country, lynching their sympathisers in their wake.

That's what happened with the British and the Loyalists in the 13 colonies, isn't it? There you go: for democracy to natually occur in Iraq requires that the U.S. troops be slaughtered and America be shamed on the battlefield.

Oh.

Wait.

That's not good at all.



[ Parent ]

yep, this is the general pattern (4.40 / 5) (#34)
by martingale on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:03:28 AM EST

This is more or less the pattern all colonizing powers have been faced with. Why do you think European post colonial powers (well, except for the British now) have been so against this new American colonization program? The full social costs aren't worth the trouble in the long run.

Well it's early days. Americans and Britons will be regretting their folly yet. I just hope that the sensible nations won't get dragged into this by the two reckless adventurers, B and B.

[ Parent ]

For the sake of honesty... (none / 0) (#192)
by linca on Thu May 15, 2003 at 08:21:11 PM EST

The post-colonial powers in Europe being mostly France, Portugal, England, Spain and the Netherlands, only one opposed the war... Of course, the population of each of those countries were against it.

[ Parent ]
And the others (none / 0) (#250)
by bil on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:06:53 AM EST

And Belgium (they used to rule the Congo untill they were driven out in the 60's), and Germany (they also had African possesions untill they lost them at the end of WW1).

I'm not sure if you'd classify Russia as colonial exactly but they did have a large land empire, all those ex-soviet republics (kazakstan, turkmenistan etc) were independant states conquered (and I guess colonised) during the 19th century.

bil

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

National trauma (none / 0) (#556)
by linca on Mon May 19, 2003 at 11:04:18 PM EST

Belgium and Germany were relatively minor colonial powers, the populations didn't get the kind of national trauma of France, Portugal or England had with decolonization. And given Russia's attitude towards decolonization in Chechnya, it's opposition to Iraq war is probably not based on that principle...

[ Parent ]
you liberals fail to understand (1.48 / 37) (#7)
by freddie on Wed May 14, 2003 at 11:46:34 PM EST

that saddam hussein gassed his own people.


Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein
Haha, good one (3.18 / 11) (#9)
by greenrd on Wed May 14, 2003 at 11:53:03 PM EST

I can't actually tell if you're being sarcastic or serious.

If you're being serious, I understand very well that Saddam gassed his own people, I assure you.

Fortunately, Saddam Hussein is no longer in charge of Iraq. So perhaps the right-wing can finally move beyond that argument. No amount of logical leaps can use that argument to justify current decision making on running Iraq.


"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 ]

Neither (4.83 / 6) (#17)
by epepke on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:00:28 AM EST

He's being in loco Turmeric.


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


[ Parent ]
YHBT (5.00 / 4) (#94)
by Negative One Fiction on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:44:54 AM EST

Wow, you fell for a blatantly obvious turmeric troll. Congratulations.

[ Parent ]
Ye gods! (4.50 / 10) (#11)
by carbon on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:01:42 AM EST

Has Turmericism become trendy? I'm scared!


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
and north americans (1.00 / 2) (#307)
by Hillman on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:51:11 PM EST

killed their native people, one of the biggest genocide in history.

[ Parent ]
Eh? (3.00 / 1) (#523)
by tacomacide on Mon May 19, 2003 at 04:31:20 AM EST

That's true if you consider "his own people" to be anybody with brown skin and straight hair. Otherwise, he gassed the Kurds, who are not "his own people".

*** ANONYMIZED ***
[ Parent ]

Missing context (2.95 / 24) (#10)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:01:08 AM EST

Many (certainly not all) Al Jazeera reporters were also Ba'ath party secret agents. In such a picture, the closing of a station committed to broadcasting Al Jazeera makes a bit more sense.

I don't find this nearly as disturbing as the way Al Jazeera's English website was dropped by one ISP after another.

Yes (4.10 / 20) (#14)
by wji on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:29:53 AM EST

And it's perfectly legitimate for me to shoot Tony Blair, as he's clearly a chimpanzee genetically engineered by Martian Communists. What the fuck?? WHAT THE FUCK?? ARE YOU INSANE??

I don't even know where to begin with this one. Not only is the idea that the most liberal, pro-Western Arab TV station is working for Saddam Hussein (by accurately reporting his downfall) ridiculous, you haven't provided so much as a link to Newsmax to back this up.

Never mind the facts that:
Even if this was the case, it is illegitimate to act arbitrarily without any due process
Even if this was the case, if you believe in free speech, you believe in the right to speak in favor of Saddam Hussein and Ba'athism
Even if this was the case, the Americans have no problem with state-run propaganda radio beamed into Iraq, if it's their own

I mean, I can't believe you're serious. It seems the less evidence comes up in support of these wild pro-war claims, the more extreme they become and the more readily they're lapped up. In a few months I guess we'll be reading about Saddam's mind control lasers on the Moon.

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

Points (3.85 / 7) (#18)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:03:13 AM EST

Not only is the idea that the most liberal, pro-Western Arab TV station is working for Saddam Hussein (by accurately reporting his downfall) ridiculous, you haven't provided so much as a link to Newsmax to back this up.
The fact that Iraqi secret agents worked for Al Jazeera was so widely reported that I didn't see any need to link. But as you've not seen these stories, I'll provide a few links.

Al Jazeera workers linked to Saddam
How Saddam's Agents Targeted Al-Jazeera
Iraqi Spies Infiltrated Al-Jazeera

Even if this was the case, it is illegitimate to act arbitrarily without any due process
In certain circumstances, it is perfectly legitimate. In the immediate aftermath of the invasion of a hostile nation is one such circumstance.
Even if this was the case, if you believe in free speech, you believe in the right to speak in favor of Saddam Hussein and Ba'athism
Is free speech an absolute in all circumstances? Is it wrong for the US to have a law forbidding the Communist Party USA to advocate violent overthrow of the US government? Is it wrong for France to ban any depiction of Third Reich emblems? Is it wrong to outlaw libel and slander?
Even if this was the case, the Americans have no problem with state-run propaganda radio beamed into Iraq, if it's their own
Compare apples to apples. I doubt much would be done for a pro-Ba'ath radio station that beamed into the country from elsewhere. I suspect that Al Jazeera radio broadcasts can picked up within Iraq from both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
I mean, I can't believe you're serious. It seems the less evidence comes up in support of these wild pro-war claims, the more extreme they become and the more readily they're lapped up. In a few months I guess we'll be reading about Saddam's mind control lasers on the Moon.
If you think I supported the US invasion of Iraq, you're sadly mistaken. But in this case there seems to be very good documentation concerning the claim that Ba'ath party agents had infilterated Al Jazeera.

[ Parent ]
I can't believe you linked... (2.16 / 6) (#21)
by opendna on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:18:26 AM EST

...to David Whore-o-Whiz.

I was with you, and with you, and then the frontpagemag link and the credibility of the story went [poof!] I mean, that's almost worse than relying on Indymedia.

If a member of Hitler Youth joined the Stalinist Communist Party, Horowitz would be the reverse.



[ Parent ]

Did you notice that ... (5.00 / 2) (#22)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:27:13 AM EST

The Front Page Mag article contained essentially the same information as the Agence France Presse article on Arab News and the article on Hi Pakistan? Search news.google.com and you will find more details in everything from The Times to the NY Times.

Although you might not find anything on Al Jazeera.

[ Parent ]

Also (4.00 / 3) (#25)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:29:39 AM EST

I forgot to mention that the Front Page Mag article was a reprint from The Times by Marie Colvin. I'm not certain as to the relevancy of your David Horowitz comment.

[ Parent ]
O brother. (4.10 / 10) (#31)
by Mr Hogan on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:57:20 AM EST

Even if the allegations are true - Jesus spies are everywhere CNN is compromised a lot worse than that - I'm not talking embedded hacks or editors that like to fellate the boot - although that is both true and worse - I'm referring you to the 4th PSYOP group had - maybe still has - an office in CNN headquarters Atlanta. Look Al-J is not three reporters the conquerors say were "spies" - that don't even make sense hardly unless Al-J is in possession of state secrets or something - it is the established voice of Muslims in the Middle East. You censor Al-J well that is a big deal - it is like censoring CNN or FOX in America except Al-J is more informative and objective believe it or don't.

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

Oh boy (4.23 / 13) (#35)
by wji on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:03:50 AM EST

So, the Sunday Times reports that the Iraqi National Congress claims to have retrieved documents where Iraqi intelligence boasts to "control" al Jazeera (even though the Iraqi government blasted al Jazeera, calling it an agency of the AMERICANS, and eventually closed them down!)

In case you miss the point: think of it as a posting on Indymedia reporting that the US Revolutionary Communist Party has retrieved documents from the FBI taking credit for manipulating the media. That's about the scale of your "evidence", and the multiple links are meaningless as they all go back to the Sunday Times article (echo chamber journalism).

I should mention in passing that CNN admits to having allowed military intelligence officers to work undercover in their newsroom, though they claim it no longer happens.

But even if you account was true, so what? Your comments about libel and national security have no relevance; those pertain to charges brought in open court with procedures designed to ensure fairness, an appeals process, and corrective measures that fit the crime.

The fact that the US has recently invaded and occupied Iraq has no moral relevance, anymore than if the Taleban invaded and occupied New York and shut down CNN.

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

ah yes (2.90 / 10) (#28)
by martingale on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:40:07 AM EST

Are these the Ba'ath secret agents who also made the fourty thousand(!) tons of biological and chemical weapons disappear in a puff of shock and awe?

Please tell me you have credible sources, and I'm not talking about C{NN,IA}. If you can show me some Russian intelligence, or maybe French, on this, perhaps even Chinese, well that could constitute justification.

[ Parent ]

The source is the INC (4.33 / 3) (#29)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:50:04 AM EST

As reported in virtually every major news source around the world. Hit news.google.com or see the links I supplied in my reply to wji.

[ Parent ]
allright (3.50 / 6) (#39)
by martingale on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:15:59 AM EST

I'll accept the evidence of a possible infiltration, or at least an attempt at one. I'm not convinced closing the station because of one or two compromized people may be warranted, though, but it's a debatable point of view.

[ Parent ]
from one of the articles (5.00 / 1) (#111)
by Wah on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:56:04 PM EST

In addition to Jazeera 2, the intelligence officers apparently notched up two other successes at Al-Jazeera's headquarters, both of them cameramen.

Neither of them would have been able to wield any significant influence on the channel's overall coverage but, according to the documents, one of the agents was used to provide information on his colleagues' views at the station.  The other provided the regime with some film of the Iraqi military in the 1991 Gulf conflict, state the files.

So there certainly could have been some influence by Iraq on A-J's coverage.  There definitely was at CNN, altough for a seemingly different reason.  Who needs spies when you have market forces?
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

The way I heard it was... (4.75 / 4) (#49)
by Gully Foyle on Thu May 15, 2003 at 06:49:02 AM EST

It was three staff members. Two cameramen and a secretary. No reporters.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

A different take (4.06 / 15) (#15)
by ph317 on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:49:01 AM EST

Regardless of your stance on the war... the US has repeatedly promised to leave Iraq to self-determination when the situation has settled down.  Right now the country is under martial law for good reason.  Shortly after a military action is not a good time for free press or any other basic freedoms - it's a time to get things under control under martial law, rout out the last soldiers, get basic human needs met efficiently, etc.  Once things are running a bit smoother the martial law will transition to a more civilized law, which will transition to a local self-determined government.  These things considered, it is not unreasonable for the commanders in charge in this currently validly martial law state to wish to control press and demonstrations, that's part of the martial law package, they're trying to get shit under control and they don't need anyone riling people up.  The officer deserved to be relieved of command.  There are times you disobey orders, and they are obvious.  If she disobeyed an order to kill an innocent child, or kill a large number of peaceful civilians, I would understand.  In this case however, she disobeyed based on some constitutional concept that doesn't even apply to the situation and has no direct bearing on anyone's life or limb.  Her job is to follow orders, that's what makes a military work.


To defend the Constitution of the... (3.70 / 10) (#20)
by opendna on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:10:56 AM EST

...United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. To bear true faith and allegiance..."

Your point is well made, EXCEPT as it applies the officer relieved of her post. She has a higher duty than "following orders" and that duty is to defend the Constitution - including the Bill of Rights.

When accepting the projection of American power abroad you are also accepting the projection of American values, that is the Constitution, or you invalidate any justification but aggression for domination's sake - the foreign policy of monarchy.

Exporting the principle of freedom of press (freedom of assembly, etc), at home and abroad, is required of American Imperialism for it to be American. (If it is anything other than American we should be referring to the Emperor, not the President.) It is also the only appropriate - by which I mean faithfully American - policy for a nation defined by its social contract. Anything else subverts American authority abroad and, worse, undermines the Constitutional foundation of the Nation.

"I was just following orders" has never been a good defense.



[ Parent ]

She had no higher order (4.37 / 8) (#30)
by BushidoCoder on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:50:12 AM EST

She's not defending the Constitution because the Constitution does not apply outside the United States. For the same reason that Iraqi's born during the American occupation of Iraq are not US citizens. If US commanders ordered troops to disarm all ex-Bhaath loyalists and you refused based on the second amendment, you'd be court martialed (but not until after every other soldier in your outfit beat the shit out of you)

Military law is a little odd in terms of refusing orders. The fact of the matter is, you can't. If you do, you're going to be prosecuted or punished in some manner. If it turns out that the order you refused to carry out is so immoral that it offends the sensibilities of your commander or a military court, than you are exhonerated and may return to duty as normal. The closest similarity in civilian law is the process that you undergo if you commit a justifiable homicide (killing in self defense, for example). In this case, she is not justified to refuse to carry out this order. Her duty to the Constitution of the United States is embodied in her carrying out the lawful orders passed down from a properly functioning chain of command.

\bc

[ Parent ]

well then (3.00 / 3) (#40)
by martingale on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:20:49 AM EST

Sounds to me like she should have resigned her commission before refusing the order then. Fair enough, giving notice is a professional courtesy.

[ Parent ]
Not quite (5.00 / 4) (#73)
by BushidoCoder on Thu May 15, 2003 at 10:54:56 AM EST

You can't carry what's professional courtesy in the civilian world over to the military. Servicemen have no right to resign their commissions when deployed. Even in peacetime, the resignation must be approved by command staff, and any soldier who tried to resign now would be denied.

\bc

[ Parent ]

surely this is incorrect (2.66 / 3) (#210)
by martingale on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:19:05 AM EST

I find it hard to believe that entering the employ of the military reduces one's human rights, as you're implying.

Every human being has certain universal rights, which cannot be forfeited for any employer or organization. While not all governments abide by all human rights, the US constitution guarantees a certain number of them.

What you're suggesting is that, by signing a form to enter the US military, she forfeited her right to self determination, since she cannot leave the military, ever, without approval out of her control. She basically voluntarily became a slave. That's simply impossible, and I doubt very much that any organization in the US has, legally, that kind of power.

On the other hand, a delay in processing the resignation is certainly possible, and there may be other US laws which can temporarily have delaying consequences, such as conscription, but there is simply no way for anybody to legally sign over their human rights.

[ Parent ]

Think about it (4.66 / 3) (#245)
by BushidoCoder on Fri May 16, 2003 at 08:18:35 AM EST

From a practical perspective, what shape would the military be in if a major ordered a couple troops to run up that hill and disable the fortified gun nest on top if those soldiers could resign their commissions? What expecting father-to-be in his right mind wouldn't resign when he's gets orders out to sea for 6 months 2 weeks before his baby is due? He can't resign.

The fact of the matter is, your civil rights are significantly diminished in the military. Its one reason we Americans love our soldiers so much: Even when they're not risking their lives in defense of our country (or its economic interests), they are always sacrificing of themselves. It is the only job in American where you can (and will) be criminally prosecuted and sentenced to jail time for showing up to work late. Your mom is sick in the hospital and you're supposed to participate in a meaningless war game tomorrow so you skip it? Expect to spend 5 years in federal prison for missing a movement. Exercise your civil right to cheat on your wife? Depending on how liberal your superior officer is, you might be denied your next promotion and had a permenant black mark placed on your record for something that rests 100% fully in your private life. If it doesn't happen, its because your superior officer didn't want to make it an issue, and not because he doesn't have the legal authority to.

\bc

[ Parent ]

historically (3.00 / 3) (#249)
by martingale on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:01:37 AM EST

From a practical perspective, what shape would the military be in if a major ordered a couple troops to run up that hill and disable the fortified gun nest on top if those soldiers could resign their commissions?
Most historical examples of such cases have involved conscripts. The other (smaller) pool of soldiers have historically been mercenaries.

In the first case, the soldiers have had their rights trampled on, although thankfully modern western democracies don't conscript anymore. In the second case, the mercenaries have an incentive, coupled with what I expect is a certain interest in running up hills, at least if the odds aren't too bad.

The modern US military (as for that matter, European militaries too) no longer uses conscription, and recruits by offering a career. Now this is admittedly a weaker incentive than the mercenaries have (except for the few who take patriotism more seriously than their baby), but this can't be helped. A military like the US could not get by with the relatively small numbers of mercenaries available world wide, so by increasing the intake, it must lower the average dedication.

Now, there are some rights you just cannot forfeit, even if you wanted to. Voting comes to mind. We can make a deal on the side that I'll sell you my vote for $AMOUNT, and I may or may not abide by the deal, but it cannot be enforced. You just cannot be stopped from resigning the military if you want to (in the absence of conscription), although there may be costs in breaking the contract, and if you entered voluntarily, chances are you wouldn't want to leave on a whim.

The examples you've given me highlight the stringent code of conduct that military personnel accept to follow, however they cannot trump civil and human rights. Say I resign and not show up the next day. I can conceivably be held responsible for losses incurred due to my absence at a crucial moment, which may ultimately yield jail time depending on the circumstances, but not for the act of resigning itself. Same thing as for any other job (remember, this is in the absence of conscription). Cheating on my wife and being denied promotion would certainly be cause for a discrimination lawsuit against the superior officer, unless the military had covered themselves by making character strength an important part of the requirements for the promotion (I'm sure they would have).

So I may agree with the end effects, but not the causes. Unless there are examples of actual resigning being prohibited.

[ Parent ]

(more) (5.00 / 2) (#353)
by BushidoCoder on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:37:34 PM EST

I don't have an examples off the top of my head of recorded cases of people being denied the right to resign, and the machine I'm on doesn't have access to the military law library. That said, there aren't many modern cases at all, because the issue never appears in court. Soldiers who attempt to resign are routinely told "No", and they have no legal discourse. If they take it to court, the court will rule without even hearing the case. From personal experience; I have a second cousin who was offered a high paying job outside the army during the dot com era, and he attempted to resign his position after 15 years of service. He was denied, and is still in the army to this day.

During peacetime, they usually only block resignations for specific reasons (the person is mission critical to this project, etc). In times of war, almost all resignations are blocked. In peace or in war, deployed persons are almost never allowed to resign without a fantastic reason. This is, of course, different for political positions in the military. In these cases, the power that be almost always allow the resignation, but they certainly have the authority to deny it.

As for your statement that the examples apply to the past when the army was conscripted... People don't join the army for money (smart people, anyway). Yes, they advertise as being career-oriented, but they mean in the long run, you'll learn a work ethic like no other, receive free fantastic training, gain educational oppurtunities, and walk out with a badge of honor that many employers respect. They also get a chance to see the world, and serve their country, and join a tightly-knit and loyal community. Those are the motivations for joining the military. Sure, its a volunteer army, but that doesn't change that a sailor can't resign when he receives orders to head out to sea and leave his family behind.

Most importantly...

Military law does not allow you to resign willy-nilly or to avoid having to perform a duty.

As for the cheating on your wife (or husband thing). Most modern commanders are liberal thinking enough that they don't interfere in your home life, but they can. You're right: Its based on the accepted argument that a huge part of being a soldier is character, and based on the somewhat sexist romantic notion of chivalry. In general, soldiers think that other soldiers who drag a wife around the world to different spots every three years and have to put up with the stress and frustration of having a military husband for a pretty low standard of living and then turn around and cheat on her are pretty low. I had a neighbor once who's ex-husband was a career sailor; The day after he retired, he delivered divorce papers, and it was found that he had a woman on the side for some time. When his ex-commander heard about this, the commander called an got three-quarters of his pension allocated to the wife as alimony without judicial approval - It was within his power. I think the court could have overturned the commander's decision since the sailor wasn't actually in the military anymore, but despite the pleas of the sailor to do so, the judge didn't touch it with a ten foot pole.

\bc

[ Parent ]

Nope, very correct. (none / 0) (#581)
by ceallach on Wed May 21, 2003 at 02:41:08 PM EST

The military commission/enlistment overrides any other rights you may have as an american citizen and this has been supported in various court cases. Until such time as the military releases you from servitude your ass is theirs ;-}

--
More smoke! The mirrors aren't working!!!
[ Parent ]

A quote (5.00 / 3) (#132)
by Cro Magnon on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:25:28 PM EST

"This isn't a country club" -M to 007 in License to Kill.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Being American Ends at the Border? (3.66 / 3) (#148)
by opendna on Thu May 15, 2003 at 03:54:30 PM EST

She's not defending the Constitution because the Constitution does not apply outside the United States. For the same reason that Iraqi's born during the American occupation of Iraq are not US citizens.

If the Constitution does not apply outside the U.S. then we run into some very serious problems. The most serious, IMHO, is that if the Constitution ends at the border then the legitimate power of the President and Congress must likewise end at the border. Remember: any powers not delegated to the federal government belong to the people and the States.
Thankfully, the Constitution includes allowances for treaties and wars. While granting the Senate permission to declare war it grants the President the highest commander's post. This implies that American wars are, in fact, waged under the authority of the Constitution. Likewise, the Geneva Convention and other rules of war are binding on American troops, not (as some insist) out of some perverse L/liberal-D/democratic tradition, but as legal treaties carrying the full force of the Constitution. Had NATO or the UN decided to act in Iraq, those respective treaties would have allowed a Constitutional legitimacy to U.S. involvement. To determine whether the Constitution applies outside the U.S. consider just this: if the President ordered the invasion of another country without consulting Congress, would that be a Constitutional act?

For the same reason that Iraqi's born during the American occupation of Iraq are not US citizens.

History isn't really on your side here. People born in Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other territories have ju soli claims to American citizenship or nationality. Likewise, people born in the Phillipines and Cuba during American occupation had claims to U.S. citizenship or nationality. Any lawyer inclined to shake things up could launch a very interesting case, based on the Immigration and Nationality Act. These people are usually stripped of their claims upon independence, but their claims are still very sound.
The argument that Germans and Japanese born during occupation weren't citizens or subjects, and therefore that Iraqis aren't doesn't really fly because the citizenship laws were very different in the 1940s-50s. Among other things, "non-whites" could not naturalize.

If US commanders ordered troops to disarm all ex-Bhaath loyalists and you refused based on the second amendment, you'd be court martialed...

The U.S. still has an assault weapon ban, doesn't it? There's nothing wrong with enforcing the law...

Military law is a little odd in terms of refusing orders. The fact of the matter is, you can't. If you do, you're going to be prosecuted or punished in some manner.

Well, sure! That's true of following orders from anyone. If you don't follow a mugger's orders you'll be punnished too. That much we expect, from military law or any other. The question is are the orders lawful?

If it turns out that the order you refused to carry out is so immoral that it offends the sensibilities of your commander or a military court, than you are exhonerated and may return to duty as normal.

When your commander has no shame or human decency you will be punished for refusing to carry out the most horrific acts. Then you'll have to wait for a human rights tribunal to exhonerate you. Alternatively you may find yourself defending your genocidal/criminal actions before a human rights tribunal or Congress with the phrase "I was following orders."

Her duty to the Constitution of the United States is embodied in her carrying out the lawful orders passed down from a properly functioning chain of command.

What is a "lawful order"? Is it sufficent that it comes from a qualified authority or does it actually have to pass a legal test?
If the chain of command orders her to shut down a radio or TV station critical of American policy, and she does, is she carrying out her duty to the Constitution? If the chain of command orders her to jail the legislature or neutralize any demonstrations, and she does, is she carrying out her duty to the Constitution? If the chain of command orders her to intimidate voters at polling booths, are they legal orders?

If they are legal orders outside the United States, when waging war according to the Constitution, then they are legal orders within the United States when waging War on Drugs or War on Terrorism.

It is ludicrious to suggest that massacring Americans and overthrowing American democracy -while following orders - would be fullfilling one's duty to the Constitution. Overthrowing the Constitution by force is something quite different from duty.



[ Parent ]

You make some good points... (4.75 / 4) (#191)
by BushidoCoder on Thu May 15, 2003 at 08:07:26 PM EST

... but in the end, the Constitution ends at the border. The Supreme Court has upheld time and again that the Bill of Rights does not apply outside the United States. This is why, despite the fact that it is morally deplorable, the US has placed its terrorism-related prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

In United States v Alvarez-Machain, the Supreme Court found that DEA agents who travelled into Mexico, kidnapped a suspect in the murder of another agent, and transported him back to the United States for trial did NOT violate the Constitution of the United States. This is despite the fact that Alvarez was mishandled and wasn't mirandized, and the United States was violating its extradition treaty with Mexico!

Iraq is significantly different than other US territories in that it has not been afforded territory status. Our presense there is transitory. The Iraqi people are subject to martial law as imposed by the controlling forces, but are not subject to the laws of the United States.

When your commander has no shame or human decency you will be punished for refusing to carry out the most horrific acts. Then you'll have to wait for a human rights tribunal to exhonerate you. Alternatively you may find yourself defending your genocidal/criminal actions before a human rights tribunal or Congress with the phrase "I was following orders."

Yeah, that's a sticky point. Basically, military law states that you have to believe in something so deep in order to morally object to performing it, that you would be willing (and often end up doing) to go to jail rather than commit the act. Its a bad spot for the soldier. Luckily, you don't have to wait for a tribunal most of the time; Rather, you just have to wait for someone a bit higher up in the chain of command to get wind of it, and they amend the situation.

For a soldier, a lawful order is any order which comes from the chain of command that is does not directly contradict a standing order from a higher ranked commander.

An fictional example; In the movie A Few Good Men, the Secretary of Defense issued an order that "code reds" were no longer valid and legal forms of disciplining a soldier. Jack Nicholson tells two soldiers to do it anyway. Is the order lawful or illawful? Due to the strange nature of military law, it is both at the same time. From the perspective of the soldiers receiving the order, it is a lawful order. From the perspective of command staff or an judging body, it is illawful. The soldiers are expected to be able to discern that the order is morally wrong and in contradiction to a standing order from a higher officer. They act illawfully by ignoring the legal (and illegal order), and are brought up on charges. The Tribunal that judges them investigates their claim that they believe the order to be illawful or immoral, and rules based on its judgement.

Military law is a pain in the ass, because its designed to work in the absense of other laws.

\bc

[ Parent ]

It's hard to get "out of the box"... (none / 0) (#450)
by opendna on Sat May 17, 2003 at 04:11:36 AM EST

Thanks for taking the time with the military law. I think I kind of understand the logic, though the concept that this somehow constitutes a body of "law" is still difficult to wrap my mind around. It's been so many years that I attached "American" to the Constitution that it's difficult to accept the legitimacy of anything claiming to be both American and independent of the Constitution.

Part of the problem is that I, quiet frankly, am willing to let the military do whatever it wants outside the United States. Increasingly, however, the military is being called up to conduct duities within U.S. borders (examples include the L.A. riots, Customs-DEA actions and border patrol). In these situations soldiers go by their training and military law with serious problems resulting: from mere language like cop-vs-mil meanings for "cover me" to marines being brought up on murder charges in Texas.

I guess I shouldn't look for any reconciliation of the two: It's just as inappropriate for me to project American law outside as for the higher-ups to bring military law inside.



[ Parent ]

basic rights (3.90 / 11) (#23)
by slothman on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:28:20 AM EST

Shortly after a military action is not a good time for free press or any other basic freedoms.

It's always a good time for basic rights.

[ Parent ]

Not necessarily (3.00 / 1) (#260)
by Silent Chris on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:26:36 AM EST

If you're a rifle-toting madman cutting down college students, I feel pretty confident that your most "basic rights" are moot at that point.  You're effectively taking them away from others.  There's no just cause.  Therefore, the police have every right to mow you down without a trial.

[ Parent ]
promised (4.46 / 13) (#32)
by Oh Man on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:57:24 AM EST

the US has repeatedly promised to leave Iraq to self-determination when the situation has settled down.

Oh, they promised that? Well then it will definitely happen

[ Parent ]

Hahah, you are correct my friend (1.00 / 1) (#64)
by nidarus on Thu May 15, 2003 at 10:27:53 AM EST

The infidel desert-donkeys do lie a lot.

[ Parent ]
q's (4.14 / 7) (#42)
by gdanjo on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:33:01 AM EST

Shortly after a military action is not a good time for free press or any other basic freedoms - it's a time to get things under control under martial law, rout out the last soldiers, get basic human needs met efficiently, etc.
It's not a good time for free press because now is the time to establish the foundations for the future of Iraq? Surely they have a say in it, no?

These things considered, it is not unreasonable for the commanders in charge in this currently validly martial law state to wish to control press and demonstrations, that's part of the martial law package, they're trying to get shit under control and they don't need anyone riling people up.
Do you think that, perhaps, maybe, turning off the TV stations will create the conditions for more disruptions by the Iraqi people? Do you think that maybe this act will be viewed as a way to make the job easier for Americans, to the detriment of Iraqi's?

Do you think that, maybe, advocating free speech as an absolute right, then arguing against it when the conditions aren't going your way, is somewhat disingenuous?

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

It's simple: Free speach IS an absolute right (4.00 / 3) (#45)
by Viliam Bur on Thu May 15, 2003 at 03:40:02 AM EST

but only inside the territory of USA.

[ Parent ]
Human right not American right (4.33 / 9) (#51)
by cam on Thu May 15, 2003 at 07:05:27 AM EST

but only inside the territory of USA.

Wrong, like the American founding fathers twigged, it is an inalienable right of all humans, the first congress was just more paranoid about government crossing the boundaries of inalienable rights and formalized it explicitly into the US constitution through the bill of rights.

Not so long ago the Australian High Court ruled that the Australian Constitution in all its vague, aged and non explicit mess had an implied right to free speech. The decision decided that the Constitution implied free speech which means Australians have a constitutional legal means to pursue and defend any restriction, or curtailment of free speech in Australia by the Commonwealth or State Governments.

The UN also recognizes freedom of speech and expression in the Convenant on Civil and Political rights;

1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

Freedom of speech and expression is an inalienable human right. Any government that overrides that right is oppressing an individual or society. Natural rights do not end at a border.

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

He was being sarcastic (nt) (5.00 / 4) (#66)
by Blah Blah on Thu May 15, 2003 at 10:28:49 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Absolute? (5.00 / 3) (#129)
by Cro Magnon on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:22:00 PM EST

Try yelling "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater. Particularly if there isn't one.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Consequences (4.66 / 3) (#137)
by Richard Henry Lee on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:41:28 PM EST

Something American children are not taught about in school. Citizens have rights, but also responsibilities. The right to free speech is absolute. Exercising it however, can have consequences. Just ask the Dixie Chicks.


Let this happy day give birth to an American republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to reestablish the reign of peace and of law. - June 7, 1776

[ Parent ]
no it's not (4.00 / 1) (#396)
by taniwha on Fri May 16, 2003 at 07:50:00 PM EST

There's nothing in the constitution that gives you an absolute right to free speech - you can't come into my house and harange me - nor do I owe you time in my newspaper or on my TV. What we do have is a limitation of the goverment - one that stops it from shutting you up, not me. And that limitation applies to the US govt everywhere in the universe.

[ Parent ]
Get a grip (2.50 / 6) (#69)
by ph317 on Thu May 15, 2003 at 10:36:01 AM EST


Believe me, I'm lberterian minded, I'm all about preserving the rights of individuals and groups of individuals anywhere.  However, you have to understand the nature of wartime dealings.  We are close enough to the conflict still that martial law is a valid part of the process.  Rights of free speech are not universal even here in the united states.  Try to exercise your right to free speech over the judge's voice in a courtroom, and you will promptly be thrown out by an armed officer.  It's the same type of situation.  This martial law period is the judge dropping the gavel and saying "shut up, now's not the time, we have business to deal with here to restore order".

As with All things about the war you bleeding hippies have contested and been proven wrong on throughout this sequence of events, so too will you be disproven on these points of Iraq's occupation - but I'm sure like the rest you'll just drop it and move on to some other pressing issue without admitting loss.

[ Parent ]

Really. (4.50 / 2) (#135)
by Richard Henry Lee on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:39:01 PM EST

s with All things about the war you bleeding hippies have contested and been proven wrong on throughout this sequence of events, so too will you be disproven on these points of Iraq's occupation - but I'm sure like the rest you'll just drop it and move on to some other pressing issue without admitting loss.

Kind of like the administration and WMD?


Let this happy day give birth to an American republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to reestablish the reign of peace and of law. - June 7, 1776

[ Parent ]
Give me a break (1.00 / 1) (#142)
by ph317 on Thu May 15, 2003 at 03:21:59 PM EST


I'll grant you that the "clear hard evidence" has yet to materialize in the press, but then again if and when it does you'll call it faked and planted anyways, so it's a moot point.  We've got names, descriptions, relatives, pictures (and even captivity of the subject in one case) of top biochem weaponry scientists, we've got mobile labs - why did this stuff exist if not for a working chemical weapons program?  For that matter, it's a known fact that at multiple times in history they had chemical and biological weapons, and used them to great (and well-documented) effect in the Iran-Iraq war and against the Kurds.  Furthermore, it's suspected some of the agents used against Iran during that war may have been supplied by the US military itself... if that's true there's further evidence that it existed, I'm sure the military types remember doing so.  Why would anyone suspect them to have dismantled those programs and thrown the technology away? Because Saddam's such an altruistic world-peace-loving guy?  If he had destroyed with biochem weapons programs, surely he would have done so publicly in front of UN inspectors sometime in the last 12 years to gain some capital with the rest of the world.

In other words, it makes very clear logical sense that he did possess biochemical capabilities, and I would hold him guilty until proven innocent on those counts.

I don't understand what you mean by "the administration", but please elaborate.

[ Parent ]

Elaboration (5.00 / 1) (#149)
by Richard Henry Lee on Thu May 15, 2003 at 03:59:35 PM EST

I don't understand what you mean by "the administration", but please elaborate.

Ian Lustick

Middle East Policy Council

October 1, 2002

" ...[T]he war is not developing in response to a demand. It is not a demand-side war; it is a supply-side war. What do I mean by that, a supply-side war? Well, we've got to go back to this cabal of neo-conservative warriors that we know about who've been around, were around for a decade before 9/11 and who were fully committed then, as they are now, to an American military enforced new order in the Middle East with pretensions and fantasies of democratization of the region of an American rule, domination of the oil wealth there, establishment of large, semi-permanent military bases in the heart of the region and the elimination of all pressures on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza."

This administration. Its primary intellectual architects -- Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Douglas J. Feith. William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, Joe Lieberman and Marty Peretz make up the cheering section.

Any country that suffers idealogues such as these in the halls of power needs to be afraid.


Let this happy day give birth to an American republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to reestablish the reign of peace and of law. - June 7, 1776

[ Parent ]
US claimed Iraq had a huge amount of this stuff (3.66 / 3) (#204)
by fifi on Thu May 15, 2003 at 10:50:48 PM EST

...and that they knew were it was.

Then how come they haven't found anything?

Of course they'll find token amounts of chemical, labs, etc, but not the huge arsenal that was claimed to justify the war.

[ Parent ]

On justifying war (5.00 / 1) (#400)
by ph317 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 08:27:08 PM EST


There's really no justifying war, there never has been, although the historical fiction writers that make US textbooks would like us to think so.

In a larger meta sense, this is all wrong.. this being about everything since the first human gained consciousness and self-awareness.

Back to the real world we can deal with, there's a lot of touch choice out there, and a lot of imperfect situations.  Some will be dealt with by war, and that's ok by me.  I know damn well that writing a book or attending a protest never solved anything major, at least the warmongers are fighting for what they believe in, instead of bitching about what they believe in.

So, back to the simpler facts about Iraq.  There are multiple supposed justifactions of varying degrees:

  1. The biochem weapons are real.  You can't prove anything on this earth with 100 percent certainty, but any reasonable person can look at the objective evidence from before the war and know that it's highly likely they had sufficient biochem weapons to cause problems.  I won't restate anything from my parent comment - cmon, they had the damn weapons - they've had them for a long time, they've used them and it's been documented, and we have scientists in captivity whose sole purpose in life is to work on such implements.
  2. The nuke threat is bullshit.  It's just fear-mongerering.  It's remotely possible they could've bought a ready-made nuke that slipped out of the USSR as it fell or something, but overall nukes are unlikely.  They sure as hell couldn't have engineered it themselves in Iraq.  The complexity of engineering your own nuke from scratch that works is orders of magnitude above biochem programs.
  3. Saddam is a psychotic evil dictator who oppresses his population in ways that would make Hitler squirm.  It's a fact, and even the lefties know it.  Amnesty International, hardly a Dubya or War backing organization, has documented the atrocities in Iraq, including Saddam's sons feeding political dissidents (not militant ones, we're talking alternative news/press that doesn't favor saddam) into a plastic shredder feet first and having a ball with it.  He has been know to walk into his "parlaiment" in the middle of some lawmaking session and shoot a random politician dead in their tracks just to make a point and increase fear among the structure beneath him.  You could write whole books about the evil and psychoses that must exist in Saddam, I'm sure people have.
  4. He's a member of the militantly but too scared to do anything about it anti-west coalition in the middle east.  Iraq and several other states in the region would've blown us up and invaded us long ago if it wasn't for the fact that they knew they couldn't win.  Yes, Al'Queda and Saddam are at opposite poles of the middle-eastern political scene (AQ being religious and fundamental, S being a secular powermonger who doesnt give a rats ass) - but they share common goals, and it's extremely likely they help each other out all the damn time, so do lots of ne'er-do-wells in the region.


[ Parent ]
Why is free speach needed? (3.81 / 11) (#44)
by Viliam Bur on Thu May 15, 2003 at 03:38:16 AM EST

If she disobeyed an order to kill an innocent child, or kill a large number of peaceful civilians, I would understand.

Instead, she disobeyed to destroy the only TV that would report a killing of an innocent child or a large number of peaceful civilians, in case that such thing would happen.

Now, if tomorrow any bad thing happens in Iraq, you will be free to say: "Sorry, but you have no proof about it... only some rumours, which is not enough. If we could see a record of it on TV... but unfortunately there is none."

I commiting a crime so much morally different from preparing circumstances to make it happen easily?

[ Parent ]

Try Bush for War Crimes (2.42 / 19) (#19)
by mideast on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:07:00 AM EST

We must try George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Tommy Franks, and Colin Powell for war crimes and crimes against humanity at the ICC (and also in Belgian courts) for ordering these actions. If this is not done, then the Iraqi people can expect to lose even more rights, like the right to assemble at Baath Socialist Party rallies and oppose American imperialism! Justice must be served. These people, who have done the Iraqi people the most harm, must pay for their actions.

Join the Revolutionary Communist Party and help us CREATE PUBLIC OPINION and SEIZE POWER!
They cannot be tried. (none / 0) (#90)
by Stavr0 on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:36:34 AM EST

Here's why.
- - -
Pax Americana : Oderint Dum Metuant
[ Parent ]
The Americans Signed that Treaty (1.00 / 2) (#156)
by mideast on Thu May 15, 2003 at 04:51:53 PM EST

Loopholes in their local law can't save them.

Join the Revolutionary Communist Party and help us CREATE PUBLIC OPINION and SEIZE POWER!
[ Parent ]
US never ratified it. (3.00 / 2) (#264)
by Skywise on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:01:43 AM EST

No ratification = non-acceptance of the treaty = not bound by its actions.

Why Clinton ever allowed the thing to be signed while simultaneously saying the treaty is "seriously flawed" and refused to have it ratified is... well... par for the course for Clinton...

[ Parent ]

Yes they can N/T (3.00 / 2) (#230)
by Quietti on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:04:21 AM EST



--
The whole point of civilization is to reduce how much the average person has to think. - Stef Murky
[ Parent ]
whine whine whien (1.90 / 31) (#24)
by turmeric on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:28:58 AM EST

looke, if you werent so busy telling your mom she doesnt wash your clothes good enough, you could maybe stop and think for a minute about what you are saying. you are saying us soldiers can disobey orders whenever they feel like it.

now you sire, well that puts you right up there with the terrorists. because in the army you have to defend freedom, which means following orders.. not making things up as you go along.

i think she is lucky she was not shot on the spot. thats what woulda happened in the workers paradise of north korea if you resisted an order.

They have a duty to (4.57 / 7) (#27)
by Wateshay on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:38:10 AM EST

I know you're being sarcastic there, but the truth is that there's actually a long tradition (and I believe codified law) that states that it is a soldier's duty to uphold the constitution and his/her own concience. She can (and was) removed from her command, but I doubt you'll see her court martialed and thrown in prison, and I also doubt you'll hear many people (including those in the Military) describe her as a traitor or unfit soldier.

"If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for everyone else."


[ Parent ]
lies lies lies (1.60 / 5) (#36)
by turmeric on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:07:05 AM EST

ever heard of chuck yeager or any war hero? they do what they are told, extremely well. that is how they get to be heroes.

people who disobey orders do not become heroes. they become has been washed up drunks.


as yeager states in his book. they did war crimes, killing lots of civilians. because they won, it was OK. everyone did it because they were afraid of being court martialed. you dig?

[ Parent ]

Nuremburg (4.62 / 8) (#53)
by squigly on Thu May 15, 2003 at 07:37:15 AM EST

It has long been held that "I was only obeying orders" is no defence in war crimes trials.  It is the responsibility and duty of solidiers to disobey orders that they believe are illegal.

[ Parent ]
only (5.00 / 6) (#54)
by fhotg on Thu May 15, 2003 at 07:42:10 AM EST

if you turn out to be on the loosing side.

[ Parent ]
it is fine if you are on the winning side (2.50 / 2) (#187)
by turmeric on Thu May 15, 2003 at 07:41:51 PM EST

because you are never on trial. see?   

[ Parent ]
sorry tumeric (4.33 / 6) (#48)
by the sixth replicant on Thu May 15, 2003 at 05:34:00 AM EST

but a lot of soldiers, in different countries, are trained in "intellectual disagreement". Some countries even remind themselves each year about it (ANZAC Day anyone :).

Discipline and following orders blindly are two different things. It also takes discipline to counter act your given orders.

So stop watching movies and start talking to army people and see what they say, you'll be surprised by what gets rewarded in military life.

Ciao

[ Parent ]

Turmeric (none / 0) (#56)
by elpollodiablo on Thu May 15, 2003 at 08:56:15 AM EST

Why does anyone even bother spending the time formulating cogent responses to turmeric's obvious trolls? He obviously just has fun fucking around with the serious people on k5.
------------
"While we can't be sure that they meant us any direct harm, never let it be said that I took the monkey menace too lightly." - Tycho
[ Parent ]
Unaccounted teen stereotype (none / 0) (#57)
by 3ebnut on Thu May 15, 2003 at 08:56:59 AM EST

On account of that "if you werent so busy telling your mom she doesnt wash your clothes good enough" remark, I'm giving you a 1.

[ Parent ]
I'm 24, my mum still washes my clothes (none / 0) (#58)
by Afty on Thu May 15, 2003 at 09:40:32 AM EST

I moved out 4 years ago, but she still helps out with washing and ironing.

Course, if you weren't so wrapped up in oedipus problems, you'd be OK with it.

[ Parent ]

Do you pay her? (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by davidmb on Thu May 15, 2003 at 10:27:20 AM EST

If you're paying her for the service, then fine. Some people are far too busy/lazy to do their own washing. However, if she's doing your clothes for free at the age of 24, well, that's pretty sad.
־‮־
[ Parent ]
But (none / 0) (#181)
by cdyer on Thu May 15, 2003 at 06:57:57 PM EST

You don't seem to understand....

[ Parent ]
you liberals fail to understand (1.00 / 1) (#268)
by kraant on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:09:50 AM EST

that saddam hussein gassed his own people. where is the 'value' in denying that?
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]
Come on (2.29 / 17) (#33)
by skim123 on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:59:08 AM EST

Put yourself in the shoes of the military in Iraq right now - would you want the TV station saying things like, "Rig up a bomb, hug an evil US solider, and blow yourself up?" Removing propoganda from those that wish you harm is analogous to removing weapons from those that wish you harm.

Iraq will be granted its democracy eventually. And when this time comes, they will enjoy the freedoms their neighboring countries do not. But now is not the time, not when the lives of the soldiers there to maintain order are put in jeopardy by such propoganda.

Jeebus, let's do things one step at a time.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


So al-jazeera suggests blowing up soldiers? [n/t] (4.80 / 5) (#55)
by melia on Thu May 15, 2003 at 08:52:28 AM EST


Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]
The nature of al-Jazeera (4.55 / 9) (#67)
by greenrd on Thu May 15, 2003 at 10:32:14 AM EST

Put yourself in the shoes of the military in Iraq right now - would you want the TV station saying things like, "Rig up a bomb, hug an evil US solider, and blow yourself up?"

Wasn't al-Jazeera started by a bunch of ex-BBC folks?

Saddam hated it for being too "Pro-Western", but that's not saying much I suppose...

The thing is, yours is an incredibly dangerous argument. By argument from "they're a bunch of anti-americans who wish the US harm" to what you're implying (which is "they're lying, pro-terrorist pigs"), you're effectively stepping on all dissent.

Do you have any evidence that they make up stories, or advocate terrorism? Or is that just your prejudice talking?


"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 ]

Hello (2.66 / 3) (#101)
by skim123 on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:15:38 PM EST

The thing is, yours is an incredibly dangerous argument. By argument from "they're a bunch of anti-americans who wish the US harm" to what you're implying (which is "they're lying, pro-terrorist pigs"), you're effectively stepping on all dissent.

I advocate stepping on dissent that puts the lives of our servicemen at risk while they're in this role. Perhaps you should look back at the US's own history. During times of war, civil liberties aren't, how shall I put this, adhered to as tightly by governments. It's just a fact, and part of the reason that fact holds is in order to protect the army. Kind of like how the army won't let imbedded reporters broadcast sensitive information like their location, the troop movements, etc. Doesn't this squash freedom of the press?

Now, I would be upset if the US troops stay in Iraq indefinitely, and make it a martial law state indefinitely, and ban alternate forms of free speech indefinitely. But, I will bet you cold hard cash that they don't. But, for now, when our troops are still vulnerable, I don't have a problem with this behavior.

Do you have any evidence that they make up stories, or advocate terrorism?

The advocate terrorism indirectly by showing, for example, pictures of a market that has been damaged by some ordinance and saying, "An American bomb kills more civilians." They spread false information by showing a downed American helicopter and saying, "Iraq gets one!" and then later show that same helicopter after it has been hit by US ordinance, and saying, "Iraq gets its second helicopter!"

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
I'd be more worried about this country. (4.66 / 3) (#112)
by Richard Henry Lee on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:06:44 PM EST

Perhaps you should look back at the US's own history. During times of war, civil liberties aren't, how shall I put this, adhered to as tightly by governments.

So I guess this explains the suspension of civil liberties in the US. The War on Terror will continue for at least the next fifty years. By refusing to address the causes of terrorism and only treat the symptoms (kind of like the "War on Drugs"), the US government has assured itself of public support from people who think like you. While it systematically dismantles all of the freedoms that generations of Americans fought and died for, the silent majority will simply sit back and let it happen. After all, as long as their 401k's are doing OK, they really have nothing to worry about.


Let this happy day give birth to an American republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to reestablish the reign of peace and of law. - June 7, 1776

[ Parent ]
It's never been worse than it is now? (3.50 / 2) (#123)
by skim123 on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:50:51 PM EST

If you think civil liberties now are worse off than they were in other times of war, you are terribly mistaken.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Better or Worse (5.00 / 1) (#127)
by Richard Henry Lee on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:14:07 PM EST

By using the word "War" as in "War on Terror", the government is playing on peoples nationalistic (not patriotic) tendencies. People are afraid. In their fear, which the government is doing its best to enhance, they are giving away their civil liberties. The government has achieved a state of perpetual war. Therefore, a state of "perpetual suspension of civil liberties" during wartime.

If you think civil liberties now are worse off than they were in other times of war, you are terribly mistaken.

I do not think that. Stop clouding the issue. In every other time of war in this country, when the end of the war came, so did the end of the suppression of civil liberties. With the open ended nature of the "War on Terror", we will never have an objective measure of "when it's over". The government will therefore have no reason to stop suppressing civil liberties. Ever.


Let this happy day give birth to an American republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to reestablish the reign of peace and of law. - June 7, 1776

[ Parent ]
This is where we disagree... (2.00 / 1) (#139)
by skim123 on Thu May 15, 2003 at 03:10:52 PM EST

I think (hope) there will be an end to this war on terror. But, yes, it could go on a very long time, it's just the nature of this warfare. Yes, the war right now is open ended, but that's because we are in the midst of the conflict! Our interests in Saudi Arabia were terrorized just a short few days ago, mind you. Don't you think that in 1943 WWII seemed pretty "open-ended?"

By using the word "War" as in "War on Terror", the government is playing on peoples nationalistic (not patriotic) tendencies. People are afraid. In their fear, which the government is doing its best to enhance, they are giving away their civil liberties. The government has achieved a state of perpetual war. Therefore, a state of "perpetual suspension of civil liberties" during wartime.

Again, I contend that this may seem open-ended because we are in the midst of the conflict. Who knows what the future will hold. Maybe Iran's reformists will kick out the radical Islamic leaders shortly. Maybe we'll go into Syria. And one day, fundamental terrorism might not have nearly the funding and protection it does today.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
How We Will Know. (5.00 / 3) (#194)
by Richard Henry Lee on Thu May 15, 2003 at 08:45:29 PM EST

In the US neo-conservative quest for empire, or the "War on Terrorism" as it is known in the USA, this is a list of countries that will need to be controlled before the "War on Terrorism" will be over.

Afghanistan
Iraq

Two down, then we have the next bunch on deck.

Iran
Libya
Syria
Saudi Arabia
Egypt

Of course, by the time we get through these countries, the rest of the world will be mounting terrorist activities against us. They will see the writing on the wall.

Albania
Algeria
Andorra
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzergovina
Brazil
Bulgaria
Canada
Cambodia
Cameroon
Cayman Islands
Chile
China
Colombia
Congo (Zaire)
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Ecuador
El Salvador
Estonia
Ethiopia
Finland
France
Gambia
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Guatemala
Haiti
Honduras
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Korea (North)
Korea (South)
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Latvia
Lebanon
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Macedonia
Malaysia
Maldives
Malta
Mexico
Moldova
Monaco
Mongolia
Morocco
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Nigeria
Norway
Pakistan
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Russian Federation
Senegal
Singapore
Slovak Republic
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan
Tajikistan
Tanzania
Thailand
Tunisia
Turkey
Uganda
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Venezuela
Vietnam
Virgin Islands
Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)
Zambia
Zimbabwe

Once we have contol of all countries on this list, we will have succeeded in the "War on Terrorism". We will then be able to lift the restrictions on civil liberties in the USA. I estimate around 2060 or so.


Let this happy day give birth to an American republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to reestablish the reign of peace and of law. - June 7, 1776

[ Parent ]
It'll take them a lot longer than 57 years (none / 0) (#393)
by Drooling Iguana on Fri May 16, 2003 at 07:34:34 PM EST

to conquer Canada. Not to mention the other countries on your list.

[ Parent ]
Does Canada Have A Military? (none / 0) (#399)
by Richard Henry Lee on Fri May 16, 2003 at 08:07:21 PM EST

Controlling a country doesn't have to be done militarily. Economic and cultural control seems to be going relatively well. Of course if the Canadians continue to insist on sovereignty in matters of war support and drug legislation, the US will be forced to take action.

Considering that 90% of the Canadian population lives within 100 miles of the US border and the huge disparity in military budgets, I'd think closer to 5-7 months.


Let this happy day give birth to an American republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to reestablish the reign of peace and of law. - June 7, 1776

[ Parent ]
Humm (5.00 / 3) (#222)
by Betcour on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:50:05 AM EST

"War on terror" is like "War on crime". It only takes one person to make a terrorist attack. There'll always be crime on earth, and there will always be peoples ready to make a bomb and kill peoples. Terrorism has existed all through history, it amaze me that some peoples think it is something new and temporary !

[ Parent ]
[OT] Nationalism vs Patriotism (4.00 / 1) (#363)
by zerblat on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:29:32 PM EST

By using the word "War" as in "War on Terror", the government is playing on peoples nationalistic (not patriotic) tendencies.

I've never understood how patriotism (American style) differs from nationalism. Anyone care to enlighten me?



[ Parent ]
Patriot vs. National (none / 0) (#389)
by Richard Henry Lee on Fri May 16, 2003 at 07:03:04 PM EST

The dictionary definitions?

Patriotism: Love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it.

Nationalism: The conviction that the culture and interests of your nation are superior to those of any other nation.


American Style?

Patriotism: Love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it.

Nationalism: The conviction (faith) that the president and his unelected advisors have the best interests of your nation at heart. All dissent will be squelched and they will be followed blindly, regardless of the cost in human life and international esteem.


Let this happy day give birth to an American republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to reestablish the reign of peace and of law. - June 7, 1776

[ Parent ]
ADVOCATE terrorism? (5.00 / 2) (#154)
by greenrd on Thu May 15, 2003 at 04:36:24 PM EST

The advocate terrorism indirectly by showing, for example, pictures of a market that has been damaged by some ordinance and saying, "An American bomb kills more civilians."

Ah, so now reporting the truth equates to "advocating terrorism indirectly". Your words scare me.

I think what you mean is "stir up anger". But who is primarily responsible for provoking that anger? US forces or the messenger?

I advocate stepping on dissent that puts the lives of our servicemen at risk while they're in this role.

That's a good point.

But what worries me is, this doesn't seem to limit itself to either free speech, or even to Iraq. If that's a valid argument, then surely mass anti-war and anti-occupation demonstrations should also be "stepped on" - whether they occur in Iraq or the US or wherever the US wield influence - because they might "provoke terrorists"?

Where do you draw the line? What kind of dissent should be permitted in Iraq? None at all?

Should certain kinds of dissent in the US be prohibited, in order to "save American lives"? If not, why the double standards?


"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 ]

Off your soapbox! (3.47 / 23) (#37)
by BushidoCoder on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:08:42 AM EST

Even under martial law - even if martial law itself can be justified (which is doubtful in this case, due to the illegal nature of the invasion in the first place and the fact that the Iraqis want self-determination, not some occupying army) - shutting down TV stations which criticise the United States too much, looks more like naked imperialism than any justifiable kind of protective measure towards the people of Iraq.

You can argue that it is immoral, but stop pretending its illegal. The fact of the matter is, US law gives the President the authority to do this, and Congress has given its blessing. Like it or not, when the military occupies a territory outside the United States, the decision to declare martial law is within their right. No US law prevents it, and no Iraqi law is valid. Martial law is, by definition, law who's authority is rooted in power. Martial law doesn't need to be justified, because by nature, it is self-justifying. Do the Iraqi people like it? Of course not. If they were happy and fully cooperative, the military wouldn't have needed to invoke martial law.

I'm not making a moral argument - Personally, I think the whole thing is fucked up, and I don't believe that might makes right - but I am saying that to call it illegal is silly. Similarly, when Stalin and Hitler murdered millions, it was the most immoral act of the century, but it wasn't illegal.

\bc

illegality (4.20 / 5) (#41)
by gdanjo on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:22:03 AM EST

He was talking about the illegality of the invasion in the first place. Talking of il/legality in Iraq's current situation is, as you point out, pointless.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Yes (4.60 / 5) (#60)
by greenrd on Thu May 15, 2003 at 10:14:45 AM EST

And I was talking about international law - which does not allow unilateral, "preemptive" invasions against enemies who are a "suspected threat" - not US law.


"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 ]

But that's the point (4.33 / 3) (#77)
by BushidoCoder on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:06:42 AM EST

The invasion, no matter how you cut it, is legal.

Sovereign power is greater than international law, for every nation (including Iraq, btw). In the same manner that in the United States, contradiction federal and state laws default in favor of the federal government until the courts can sort out whether or not the federal government is overstepping its Constitutional authority, international law is really only a guideline. The Constitution of the United States does not define the powers of the international court.

From the perspective of a sovereign nation, the United States is acting in a legal manner. It is simply in violation of a whole slew of treaties. When Iraq refused weapons inspectors, it was simply violating a bunch of treaties, not violating Iraqi law.

It seems like a semantic difference, but honestly, something cannot be illegal if it cannot be prosecuted. The United States cannot be prosecuted in Internation Court due to its actions. Complicating the matter of International Law, even if the United States was in violation, if it refused to accept the reprocussions of its actions and withdrew from the treaty or body in question, the act wouldn't be illegal anymore.

\bc

[ Parent ]

um... (3.00 / 1) (#91)
by Run4YourLives on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:37:54 AM EST

the whole point of international law is to trump soverign power... otherwise, what's the point?

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
well... (1.80 / 5) (#95)
by bke on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:58:15 AM EST

The point of international law enacted through the UN was to make sure the USA and the USSR didn't need to blow upeach other and the rest of the world. Now international law is mainly about pretending to get along so that international trade doesn't get obstructed too much becuase then everybody looses.

--
Read, think, spread!
http://www.toad.com/gnu/whatswrong.html
[ Parent ]

Article 6! Article 6! (4.00 / 2) (#140)
by baron samedi on Thu May 15, 2003 at 03:11:49 PM EST

Once again, for those of you who missed this lesson in civics class: Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that treaties are part of the supreme law of the land. Hence, 'Sovreign power' as you put it, is at the very least on par with international law. When we violate treaties, we violate U.S. as well as international law.
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]
Ahem (none / 0) (#350)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:21:49 PM EST

Article 6 does NOT state that treaties "are part of the supreme law of the land.". It states that they are given the force of law (if ratified by Congress). That's regular old Federal Legislation (the kind passed every day) which is an entirely different animal then "the supreme law of the land" (i.e. the Constitution).

The key difference is that in order to negate or create an exception to Federal law all Congress has to do is pass another law which contradicts it. Which is exactly what Congress did in this case when it passed the resolution authorizing President Bush to use force against Iraq... which created an exception to the treaty (i.e. the U.N. Charter) which the U.S. signed restricting the conditions under which it would use force against another nation... which up UNTIL then did have the force of U.S. law.

Once Congress passed the Resolution, the President was acting fully within the bounds of U.S. law by ordering the attack...irregardless of whether it abrogated the U.N.Charter.

Now if the Constitution gave treaties the force "the supreme law of the land", then we'd have a problem...since it requires a Constitutional Ammendment to modify Constitutional Law.

I've had this discussion before.

Personaly I think we should just repeal the ratifaction of the Charter and withdraw from the U.N. but that's another arguement entirely.

[ Parent ]

I quote... (none / 0) (#355)
by baron samedi on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:56:43 PM EST

Excerpted from the constitution:

"...and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every state shall be bound thereby..."

It would seem that it is, in the language of the constitution, that treaties are on par with the Constitution itself. Now, I guess we can argue about what the "supreme law of the land" actually is, but it is pretty clear that the framers intended to put treaties, and the existence of international law is by treaty, pretty high up there.

The interesting question that you bring up is that apparently congress, if it wants to, can decide to disobey international law, and so therefore, what good is it? As you believe that the US should withdraw from the UN, I guess you think it's all bunk.

The term "sovreign power" is usually used as a code word for "we can do whatever we want, and no-one can stop us". If there's one concept that should fall to the wayside in the future, it's this notion that sovreignty is a license to justify "might makes right (when it's us who is the might)". It more or less installs Nationalism as the primary transcendant value in a society, which then sets you on the path to fascism. For this reason, I am always wary of those who place more of a primacy on this thing called "sovreign power", because I believe that they perceive the US's role in the world as one of domination over all, which I find objectionable.
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]

That's great (none / 0) (#374)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:34:15 PM EST

Except you took your quote out of context and only selected a portion of the relative clause which when looked at in isolation completely changes it's meaning. Lets try looking at the ENTIRE clause shall we?

"2. This constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding."

Put's things in a little clearer light when we look at the full clause doesn't it?

This is called "The Supremacy Clause" by scholars.

When you boil it all down what it means is this... The Federal Constitution AND Federal Laws AND Ratified Treaties all have precedence OVER STATE CONSTITUTIONS AND STATE LAWS.

To simplfy the situation for you:

Federal Constitution > Federal Law > State Constitutions > State Law

Got it?

[ Parent ]

Condescension notwithstanding... (none / 0) (#380)
by baron samedi on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:50:07 PM EST

I get it. What I don't get is how your quote somehow disproves my point about how international treaties, which are the source of international law, are also the law in the U.S. I mean, I can quote the entire Article in my post, but it still means what it means, which is that international law is also U.S. Law.

Just because congress authorizes the president to use force, in contravention of international law, their decision to do so nullifies the treaty? I don't think so. Just because they can get away with it doesn't make it right.

I assume that from your arguments, you do not believe in international law?
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]

International Law (5.00 / 1) (#384)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 06:29:05 PM EST

I believe in government by consent and representation.

Since I have no representation among the government of the Sudan and have never given my consent to be governed by it laws I don't believe it (or other foreign nations) should have any say in determining the laws which govern me (or my fellow citizens).

I believe in exactly what the Constitution says which is that International Treaties (or international law) only apply to the U.S. if Congress (the elected representatives of the citizens of the U.S.) ratify them. In which case such laws hold the same weight as any other piece of Federal legislation.

I also happen to believe that Congress has the ability to nullify, negate, repeal, ammend, create exceptions to, etc any laws that it passes (including ratified treaties).

There are procedures for doing so. Federal legislation has one set of procedures. Constitutional Law has another set.

When Congress passed the Resolution authorizing the President to use force against Iraq that ALSO carried the weight of U.S. Federal Law.... and was in fact, the correct procedure for ammending (creating an exception to) a previous Federal Law which it passed.... namely the ratification of the U.N. Charter.

Whether it was "wise" or "moral", etc can be debated.... but clearly it WAS LEGAL according to U.S. law.....which is the only law which the U.S. government is required to adhere to.

[ Parent ]

I see... (none / 0) (#388)
by baron samedi on Fri May 16, 2003 at 06:58:25 PM EST

Since I have no representation among the government of the Sudan and have never given my consent to be governed by it laws I don't believe it (or other foreign nations) should have any say in determining the laws which govern me (or my fellow citizens).

That's not what treaties are. Putting aside your hyperbolic example, they are agreements between nations, sometimes it involves legislation. The U.S. membership in the UN, for instance, was ratified.

I dispute the claim that it was legal. For one thing, many who voted in favor of granting the war powers did so because they believed the administration's case about WMD (both my senators, for example, Boxer and Feinstein). For many, it was the only reason they voted for it. So what happens when it's revealed that they were deceived, that Iraq didn't have the weapons that made them such a threat? Acts of aggression are definitely illegal under international law, as ratified by the congress. So we have two actionable situations: fraud in the inception and the violation of international law based on that fraud.
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]

In that case (none / 0) (#413)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:32:14 PM EST

How is it not legal? A vote was taken, a resolution was passed. Whether the Senators were correct or incorrect about thier assumptions doesn't change the legality of thier votes.

If there was fraud in the facts given to Congress then the action authorized by the resolution(using force against Iraq) was legal but the act of giving fraudulant facts was not.

If that is the case, and there was fraud then Congress has the option of impeachment (and likely prosecution given the gravity of the situation). However, I really think that you are jumping the gun here. We really don't know that status of WMD in Iraq yet...nor what evidence the Administration actualy had in making thier decisions. Most of the anti-war crowd was willing to give Saddam the benefit of the doubt and years of time to prove that he was complying with the Cease Fire agreement.... but you are unwilling to give your own elected President a few months to prove his case?

Give it till September, if nothing is forthcoming by then, then you can start pushing about fraud.

Conversely, I would very much support international monitoring of the WMD search. However, I'd like to see truely neutral monitors in the process. I really don't trust Hans Blix or some of his current team. They strike me as too political and have too much stake in the outcome to be truely objective now.

[ Parent ]

That's the thing with law... (none / 0) (#571)
by baron samedi on Tue May 20, 2003 at 05:33:19 PM EST

You can try to use the law to do anything.

In light of the Mobile Exploitation Teams pulling out of Iraq, I think it's safe to say that the WMD thing was pretty much a scam. Recent comments from the White House seem to confirm that notion.

Not that President Bush would ever be impeached. Haven't you been paying attention? He's the greatest president in the history of the United States!

The only problem with Hans Blix is that he failed to deliver the right answer. The CIA and DIA didn't come up with the right answer, either. Rumsfeld had to create a special group at DoD to deliver the proper answer about WMDs and Iraq.

As to who would be in charge of an international effort, Blix probably wouldn't do it anyway. He's probably as disgusted as I am about the whole process. The trouble with advocating international efforts to control WMDs is that the neo-cons are now totally drinking their own Kool-Aid, and are convinced that international efforts are worthless, unless the US can dictate precisely what will happen. They only seek international cooperation in order to achieve a veneer of legitimacy, but they will act without it, because at the end of the day, they believe that the rules just don't apply to us.
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]

Hmm... (none / 0) (#589)
by CENGEL3 on Wed May 21, 2003 at 06:06:54 PM EST

Sounds to me like you've already rendered a verdict before the trial has commenced.

I guess you'd describe me as one of those "neo-cons". I happen to believe Bush's motivations to go into Iraq were geuinely about WMD, Terrorism links and stability of the region. I happen to believe that Iraq did have WMD, links to terrorism and was actively working on destabilizing the region. I also happen to believe that the U.N. efforts to disarm Iraq(and the U.N. in general) were an innefectual joke..

On the other hand, I'm willing to accept the possibility that I'm wrong if the facts ultimately turn out to prove otherwise.

I just think too many people on the other side of the aisle simply hate Bush (and Conservatives in general) with a partisan rancour that they would refuse to believe 2 + 2 = 4 if Bush was the one making the claim it did. That is not to say that those people might not ultimately prove right... I just happen to get the impression that they are too close minded to admit even the possibilty that Conservatives can be right and they wrong about ANYTHING. That's a problem.

As a self-proclaimed conservative, I don't believe that international cooperation should be used as a vehicle "to achieve a veneer of legitimacy". However, I also recognize that in the international arena people (U.N. bearucrats as well as nation states) look after thier own self interests. Those interests are often at odds with what's best for the U.S., sometimes at odds with whats best for the World as a whole and often at odds with what is "right".

I think wise policy is to find as many areas of common interests with as many nations as possible and cooperate (including making some compromises) with them where we can. However, at the same time we should not allow our hands to be tied if we are unable to achieve concensus on an issue that is of vital interest to us. There are times when it is appropriate to act unilaterlarly if we have both the capability to do so and a pressing need.
If we aren't willing to do that then we might as well slit our own throats right now, because the rest of the nations of the world DO ENGAGE in such practices when they are able to.


[ Parent ]

Very well... (none / 0) (#590)
by baron samedi on Wed May 21, 2003 at 06:42:08 PM EST

Let's get one thing straight about the term "neo-conservative". They are folks who at one point were very leftist in their political views, but have now swung to a different region of the spectrum, one that is popularaly referred to as "right".

That being said, if you do indeed fall into that category, then you may be a neo-conservative, not that there's anything wrong with that.

I'm referring to Paul Wolfowitz in particular, who can certainly be clssified in that way. I don't really think Dick Cheney or even President Bush fall into that category, I think in their hearts, they are fascists. I don't think they think they are, but I think they are.

I think they lied, for whatever reason, to us about Iraq in several ways. They lied about how strong they were, they lied about the threat they presented to the region, and they lied about the weapons.

They were lied to, as well. The Iraqi National Congress mixed lies with the truth, as the devil does, in order to achieve their dream of power in Iraq, and the lucrative oil and water resources it has. (We have this image of Iraq as this big desert, but there are two enormous rivers and several large lakes there.) Their leader, Ahamd Chalabi is an outright con man, and everyone in Iraq knows it.

I have no problem with the U.S. acting in its own interests internationally. There are times when we might have to use military might. I just have a problem with an administration that can't just level with us about why they did what they did. It turns out that there wasn't an arsenal of WMDs in Iraq. The fact that they are no longer looking for them pretty much indicates that they didn't have them. Therefore, the Administration lied.
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]

The worst is yet in store for Iraq (4.41 / 24) (#46)
by damage0 on Thu May 15, 2003 at 04:11:54 AM EST

The Pentagon doesn't just want to get Al Jazeera off the air. It has a whole season of US network television to broadcast. Those poor Iraqi bastards don't have any idea of what they are in for.

can you image the bachelor - iraq.... (4.11 / 9) (#88)
by Run4YourLives on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:35:08 AM EST

Hmm, I can't make up my mind... damn it, I'll just marry all of them.


It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Oh please (4.00 / 3) (#126)
by Cro Magnon on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:14:00 PM EST

Introduce (un)Reality TV to Iraq? Haven't the poor Iraqis suffered enough?
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Why do you hate America? (nt) (1.83 / 30) (#50)
by BinaryTree on Thu May 15, 2003 at 07:01:05 AM EST



Shouldn't it be quite obvious at this point? [nt] (3.33 / 9) (#52)
by tmenezes on Thu May 15, 2003 at 07:06:18 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Actually no it isn't. (2.50 / 6) (#178)
by BinaryTree on Thu May 15, 2003 at 06:41:25 PM EST

The official reasons that I'm told by most kurofucks are the dislike of the Government and various foreign policies, but I find that very hard to believe now.

[ Parent ]
Because you write the rule book (5.00 / 1) (#305)
by Hillman on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:49:50 PM EST

with other countries, then you shit all over it and burn it.

[ Parent ]
Me personally? (3.66 / 3) (#364)
by BinaryTree on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:36:33 PM EST

I am not America.

[ Parent ]
you as a country (none / 0) (#547)
by Hillman on Mon May 19, 2003 at 06:46:07 PM EST



[ Parent ]
who's hatin'? (none / 0) (#530)
by raukea on Mon May 19, 2003 at 09:44:41 AM EST

Okay, many people are, although I think hate is not the most common feeling. Personally, for me it's mistrust. I agree that Saddam's Iraq was a scrwed up place and it's gonna go better for people there (at least I think we can be optimistic on this point at this time), but not the way Bush Admin. managed to destroy so many relations at the same time. And what's on with this bashing of the French? If you're a big bad superpower and right in all things besides, you'd think you could manage some manners. And on another note, this war against terror worries me, because I don't know what it means. And it seems nobody does, not even Bush admin. Just like the war on drugs, the war on terror can't be won by strong arm methods alone. I mean come on the Israeils have been trying for a long time. So what's going to happen, what are you gonna do? And I think that people, at least me, don't trust the United States on this point, because it is clear that the US does not want to listen to anybody. Who's gonna be collateral damage next? What will end the war on terror?
Quod me nutrit, me destruit.
[ Parent ]
Thank you. (5.00 / 2) (#575)
by BinaryTree on Wed May 21, 2003 at 01:52:47 AM EST

That's the straightest answer I've received, ever.

[ Parent ]
Bang on (none / 0) (#612)
by theanorak on Tue May 27, 2003 at 07:23:45 AM EST

I think you've pretty much summarised it for me.

I wrote a long rant about disagreeing "politely" and how important it was, but I've changed my mind about posting it. Suffice to say, perhaps if people could try and steer themselves away from words like "hate" and "evil", we could have a more reasonable discussion, without inflaming people's sense of patriotism, justice, "right" or whatever.
rants, raves, photographs
[ Parent ]

-1, Al Jazeera is Not Legitimate (2.62 / 29) (#72)
by thelizman on Thu May 15, 2003 at 10:50:44 AM EST

Okay, what is wrong with you people? We saw where Al Jazeera lacked any bit of impartiality (even CNN pretends that much). They are a mouth piece for Arab extremism, and the are a tool of Saddam Hussein's regime. Free speech does not mean inflammatory propaganda meant to incite public unrest. You've gotten rather used to the idea that FS means "saying whatever you want", but reality checks in with a whole different story.


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
Impartiality != Free Speech (4.50 / 8) (#78)
by Mr.Surly on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:14:18 AM EST

"Free speech does not mean inflammatory propaganda meant to incite public unrest."

Sure it does. One man's "inflammatory propaganda," is anothers truth.

There is no requirement that news agencies be impartial. Some people might argue that Al Jazeera provides balance by showing another side of the issue not seen in 'acceptable' media.

[ Parent ]
Is this reason to vote the article down? (none / 0) (#81)
by jolly st nick on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:17:31 AM EST

I don't think so.

It raises a number of questions, including the one you have about whether rebroadasting Al Jazeera (among a number of other news sources) constitutes free speech.

Here in the US, we went through a similar issue with the Alien and Sedition Acts. President Adams still gets a lot of criticism for supporting it. In fact a principled and fair-minded man, he didn't use it as a weapon to broadly silence his political enemies, he used against the scurrilous campaigns of character assasination. Yet, the country, and history, decided that the power to determine that political speech is scurrilous is a power that no government should be entrused with. Adams was wrong, and we have judged him so wrong that he has never had a monument erected to him, despite the fact that he was one of the primary motivators behind the Declaration of Independence (although he wisely allowed the more eloquent Jefferson the wording), and played diplomatic roles key to the success of the War of Independence.



[ Parent ]

Yes (none / 0) (#257)
by Silent Chris on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:18:06 AM EST

I vote articles up and down that I sometimes don't even read.  Welcome to "democracy".

[ Parent ]
I'll bite... (4.25 / 4) (#82)
by Run4YourLives on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:23:13 AM EST

If Saddam's regime is non existant, then it's pretty hard for Al-Jazeera to continue to be "a tool" of it, isn't it.

Free speach is saying whatever you want. See American laws that continue to allow the KKK to exist, for example.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Biting back... (none / 0) (#89)
by Skywise on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:35:49 AM EST

But it is illegal (at least in the US) to incite the overthrow of the US government or to threaten the life of the Preisdent.

In the EU Constitution it is illegal to even talk NEGATIVELY about the EU.

[ Parent ]

Link? (5.00 / 1) (#92)
by Cloaked User on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:42:03 AM EST

In the EU Constitution it is illegal to even talk NEGATIVELY about the EU.

I live in the UK, and I've never heard that one. Given that we are subject to European law (on some matters at least), the editors and most of the journalists of every tabloid newspaper in the country should be in jail...
--
"What the fuck do you mean 'Are you inspired to come to work'? Of course I'm not 'inspired'. It's a job for God's sake! The money's enough and the work's not so crap that I leave."
[ Parent ]

Here... (5.00 / 4) (#97)
by Skywise on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:58:41 AM EST

Unfortunately, the link is outdated...
----

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/et?ac=001851641145319&rtmo=3SSxHwYM&atmo=99999999
Euro-Court Of Justice Outlaws Criticism Of EU
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
The Electronic Telegraph
3-8-1

 The European Court of Justice ruled yesterday that the European Union can
lawfully suppress political criticism of its institutions and of leading
figures, sweeping aside English Common Law and 50 years of European precedents
on civil liberties.

  The EU's top court found that the European Commission
was entitled to sack Bernard Connolly, a British economist dismissed in 1995
for writing a critique of European monetary integration entitled The Rotten
Heart of Europe.   The ruling stated that the commission could restrict
dissent in order to "protect the rights of others" and punish individuals who
"damaged the institution's image and reputation".

 The case has wider implications for free speech that could extend to EU
citizens who do not work for the Brussels bureaucracy.   The court called the
Connolly book "aggressive, derogatory and insulting", taking particular
umbrage at the author's suggestion that Economic and Monetary Union was a
threat to democracy, freedom and "ultimately peace".

  However, it dropped an argument put forward three months ago by the
advocate-general, Damaso Ruiz-Jarabo Colomer, which implied that Mr Connolly's
criticism of the EU was akin to extreme blasphemy, and therefore not protected
speech.

       Mr Connolly, who has been told to pay the European Commission's
legal costs, said the proceedings did not amount to a fair hearing. He said:
"We're back to the Star Chamber and Acts of Attainder: the rights of
defendants are not respected or guaranteed in any way; the offence of
seditious libel has been resurrected."

  Mr Colomer wrote in his opinion last November that a landmark British case
on free speech had "no foundation or relevance" in European law, suggesting
that the European Court was unwilling to give much consideration to British
legal tradition.

  Mr Connolly now intends to take his case to Europe's other
court, the non-EU European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

[ Parent ]

now that's fricken scary (nt) (none / 0) (#130)
by Run4YourLives on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:23:28 PM EST



It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Man faces jail for writing on his own car (5.00 / 2) (#145)
by Skywise on Thu May 15, 2003 at 03:33:08 PM EST

30/04/2003

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_775608.html?menu=news.quirkies.unlucky

Man faces jail for writing on his own car

A German man who staged a political protest by writing "The Government is crap" on his own car, has been told to remove it or face jail.

Police failed to see the funny side of 33-year-old Stefan Lukoschek's protest at the policies of Gerhard Schroeder.

Officers said they had received complaints from several people about protest on his yellow VW. The words were stenciled on the rear and side windows.

Lukoschek said: "I put it on there because my father who worked all his life, has seen his pension reduced to nothing by the current government."

[ Parent ]

Take the plank out of thine own European eye (none / 0) (#465)
by A Trickster Imp on Sat May 17, 2003 at 11:16:05 AM EST

> The ruling stated that the commission could
> restrict dissent in order to "protect the
> rights of others" and punish individuals who
> "damaged the institution's image and
> reputation".

It's really disturbing how much "protecting the rights of others" is used as justification for "the European government(s) can do whatever they damned well please to protect those in power."

Take it from the US.  We have an unfortunate phrase, innocent sounding enough, "promote the general welfare", that has been used as the basis for flat-out property grabs and ever increasing governmental control over private activities and business.  Given that Europe already does all this, and more, you do not want to go down this road with two jet engines powering the government's activities.

[ Parent ]

Microwave Mentality (none / 0) (#262)
by thelizman on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:39:57 AM EST

If Saddam's regime is non existant, then it's pretty hard for Al-Jazeera to continue to be "a tool" of it, isn't it.
Who is Saddam Hussein? He's the [former] head of the B'ath party. There's at least a dozen more of him where he came from. It's wholly more complicated than that as well, but just because he is likely rotting below ground somewhere doesn't mean his murderous doctrines aren't being effected by others.
Free speach is saying whatever you want. See American laws that continue to allow the KKK to exist, for example.
I see someone slept during civics 101. You do not have the right in America to incite riots or individual acts of violence. You don't have the right to slander or libel a person. Free speech is not "saying whatever you want", and was never meant to be.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
CNN is anything BUT impartial (3.60 / 5) (#229)
by Quietti on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:01:43 AM EST

CNN is clearly a pupet of the US administration and has abundantly demonstrated that in the past. From that perspective, I couldn't give a damn about what CNN says of Iraq or anything else for that matter.

--
The whole point of civilization is to reduce how much the average person has to think. - Stef Murky
[ Parent ]
Cognitive Dissonance (4.00 / 2) (#261)
by thelizman on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:33:35 AM EST

I never said CNN was impartial, I said they pretend to be impartial.
CNN is clearly a pupet of the US administration and has abundantly demonstrated that in the past.
Here's the rub: The US "administration" changes every four years. CNN doesn't. You can't have it both ways - CNN is biased the way CNN wants to be biased, not the way the US "administration" wants it to be.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Ever heard of "pleasing every king"? N/T (none / 0) (#606)
by Quietti on Sat May 24, 2003 at 03:54:38 PM EST



--
The whole point of civilization is to reduce how much the average person has to think. - Stef Murky
[ Parent ]
CNN is the mouth piece for american extremism (4.00 / 1) (#303)
by Hillman on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:48:28 PM EST

Just listen to canadian news or european news. Makes CNN look like Al Jazeera.

[ Parent ]
That works with Fox too! (4.00 / 1) (#339)
by ghosty on Fri May 16, 2003 at 02:15:18 PM EST

Okay, what is wrong with you people? We saw where Fox News lacked any bit of impartiality (even CNN pretends that much). They are a mouth piece for American extremism, and the are a tool of George W. Bush's regime. Free speech does not mean inflammatory propaganda meant to incite public unrest. You've gotten rather used to the idea that FS means "saying whatever you want", but reality checks in with a whole different story.

Hmmm. That works pretty well.

[ Parent ]

right (4.00 / 18) (#79)
by SocratesGhost on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:14:42 AM EST

"The only threat really posed by al-Jazeera is the threat of provoking the Iraqi people to rise up against the army currently occupying their country. "

And since the country is under martial law, they are treating this threat as seriously as they would a person who was distributing bullets to the Fedeyeen.

War does not come with any rights, least of all the right to life. And yet, speech is somehow precious in comparison?

-Soc
I drank what?


ah but war does come with rights (5.00 / 2) (#153)
by Delirium on Thu May 15, 2003 at 04:34:42 PM EST

There are rights for civilians explicitly protected even during wartime. If war came with no right to life, the Holocaust would've be A-OK, because hey, it's war right?

[ Parent ]
Consent of the people (4.00 / 6) (#165)
by greenrd on Thu May 15, 2003 at 05:31:18 PM EST

And since the country is under martial law, they are treating this threat as seriously as they would a person who was distributing bullets to the Fedeyeen.

So basically, you're saying that anything or anyone that would cause the Iraqi people to think twice about the desirability of the US running Iraq, must be squashed as a seditious threat? Is that correct?

I could never support such an extreme policy, in any context, under any circumstances.

But anyway, isn't the whole (false) premise of the continuing US/UK occupation - and the huge splurge of corporate welfare paying for US (and only US) corporations like Dick Cheney's former outfit Halliburton to "reconstruct" Iraq - that we are "needed" in Iraq to establish a "stable" regime, for the benefit of the Iraqi people?

But if most of the Iraqi people end up wanting the US to just get out, and think they can run their own country quite well by themselves thank you very much - then the US/UK no longer have any legitimate reason to stick around, in my opinion. Government should only rule subject to the consent of the governed.

The point I'm trying to make is that:

(a) If we are there to "liberate" Iraq,

and (b) The Iraqi people, if freely allowed to speak, protest and receive and exchange information, might reject the US occupation, and choose to forge their own path of liberation.

then (c) To suppress (b) in order to prevent the Iraqis making their own choices about liberation, is not consistent with "liberating" Iraq. That's not liberation, it's slavery.

But let's face it, we're there for the oil, and for the control - and to set an example of what could happen to any country that doesn't toe the Washington line. The invasion was never about weapons of mass destruction, and was never legitimate.


"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 ]

A humble suggestion (3.00 / 3) (#177)
by TheModerate on Thu May 15, 2003 at 06:30:54 PM EST

So basically, you're saying that anything or anyone that would cause the Iraqi people to think twice about the desirability of the US running Iraq, must be squashed as a seditious threat? Is that correct?

Sure. Why not?

I could never support such an extreme policy, in any context, under any circumstances.

That says more about yourself than the policy. And what does your support mean exactly? Do you have any influence whatsoever?

The invasion was never about weapons of mass destruction, and was never legitimate.

Legitimacy sounds to me to be a hold over from the idea of natural rights. And since I don't believe in God personally, I can't see how such a term makes sense.

You seem to be sincerely concerned about your principles of justice. But how does the Iraqi situation affect you? Here's my suggestion---make lots of money, become really good at something that the rest of us can't do without: this will eventually put yourself in a position of power. From there, aim at becoming even more powerful and influential among the right people. Only then do you have the perogative to carry out your whimsical notions of justice.

"What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness." -- Schopenhauer
[ Parent ]

The bigger picture (3.00 / 5) (#190)
by greenrd on Thu May 15, 2003 at 08:06:23 PM EST

Sure. Why not?

Have you ever read Nineteen Eighty Four?

A society in which no-one can speak their mind for fear of being arrested by the military police is not a society any civilised person should be in favour of.

What does your support mean exactly? Do you have any influence whatsoever?

I live in a democratic country. So do many other kuro5hin readers. So, yes, I have an influence.

Also, I think the US's general pattern of behaviour on the international stage - of which this story is just a miniscule part - gives a picture of what US imperialism is really like, in practice. Very brutal and not at all democratic.

I could have picked a more striking example, but it was a spur of the moment thing. I saw this story and thought "Hmm, that's one for k5!"


"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 ]

Yes, I've read 1984 (2.66 / 3) (#216)
by TheModerate on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:06:55 AM EST

And just like utopias, dystopias aren't going to happen.

A society in which no-one can speak their mind for fear of being arrested by the military police is not a society any civilised person should be in favour of.

And here you have included the moral "should" as if what is immediately obvious to you is obvious to everyone else as well. And that is the flaw with the article you posted as well---when you went from relaying some information, to interpreting that information, and then preaching to us what should be and how wrong we are.

And you might be right. I am not civilized---or at least my opinions aren't---my opinions are savagely independent. But in this electronic discourse you and I must agree to disagree, I suppose---since we will never meet in person.

I live in a democratic country. So do many other kuro5hin readers. So, yes, I have an influence.

I suppose you don't live in the US then. But since Bush is the person in power, what he says goes for now until someone actually does something about him.

Also, I think the US's general pattern of behaviour on the international stage - of which this story is just a miniscule part - gives a picture of what US imperialism is really like, in practice. Very brutal and not at all democratic.

What use is imperialism if it had to be democratic? :)

"What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness." -- Schopenhauer
[ Parent ]

Dystopias (none / 0) (#273)
by greenrd on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:48:27 AM EST

And just like utopias, dystopias aren't going to happen.

How can you be so sure? Given: the US's record of supporting human-rights-violating regimes (Suharto's Indonesia, the Greek dictatorship, Pinochet, etc.), all of whom employed murder and torture as tools of repression; the fact that there is a positive (i.e. bad) correlation between increases in US aid to many regimes and increases in repression; the fact that they are employing elements of the old regime; and the fact that they are there for the oil and don't care about the Iraqi people... what makes you so sure that Iraq is going to be a place of freedom and human rights?

I mean, it might be. Japan post-occupation is a good example, as others have noted. But the US has basically historically regarded Europe and Japan as full-fledged (potential) trading partners, and Arab Middle East countries as merely sources of oil, and strategic influence (basically). It's a self-fulfilling prophecy - the Arab Middle East is populated with US-backed regimes which don't support much economic development, and therefore those countries aren't very interesting to the US as economic partners (beyond their raw natural resources.) So, I have my doubts about the US's preferred destination for Iraq.

The Emperor's Clothes have an interesting take on it. They think all this anti-fundamentalist talk is blather, and what the US actually wants in Iraq is a fundamentalist state to bolster Iran, and thereby bolster US-supported Islamic terrorist operations elsewhere, e.g. in the Balkans.


"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 ]

Response (5.00 / 1) (#365)
by TheModerate on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:36:58 PM EST

"How can you be so sure (that dystopias can't happen)?"

Because, just like utopias, dystopias need to be perfect systems.

"...what makes you so sure that Iraq is going to be a place of freedom and human rights?"

You do realize that a dystopia isn't simply whatever isn't a utopia, right? Will Iraq be a place of freedom and human rights? I'm not certain. I hope it will be, of course. But the trend in the Middleast is for dictatorships to rise to power and slaughter their own. The women have no rights. Societies are run by theocratic fascists, more or less. And this is all done without US involvement. Don't you think that our involvement might just be the lesser of all evils in this case?

But I wish you would make a more careful judgement, weighing all the factors and forces in the world. But I don't think that is your aim. You wish to convince people about how bad the US is because in your mind the US represents power, and that drives you crazy that one force can overpower another. But we all possess a basic drive for power---it is as necessary as any other biological function.

And that is the common case among all the liberals---if I might consider you a liberal---that if the superpower of the world were Egypt or Great Britain, that you would collectively turn your scorn onto them instead, no matter what actions they take, no matter what their intentions are because it is not what they do with their power that riles you up but rather the existance of power itself. This past war in Iraq is case enough, since I've heard so many often repeated and never verified and barely questioned speculations and all out conspiracy theories--all incompatible with one another--about what our true motivations are, but none of them would bare the humility in saying they aren't certain or that they are plainly justing making all this up: blood for oil, some nonsense converting from dollars to the euro, people who seriously believed we were losing the war,---and then all the blood red terms were brought out "imperialism", "dictatorship", "fascist", references to Nazis, references to Stalin,---and these likenesses were never questioned because while in the minds of most people these terms and the current event bares no likeness at all, but to the liberals they all represent power---and not quite an excess of power, but of a disportionate amount of power between the strong and the weak, between the ruling class and the ruled. But never was the thought seriously considered about taking Bush on his word because it is not his actions that count to you but it the fact of him having power and even worse---using it---is enough to see his every move and expression as sinister.

But yes, your reply to this has already come to mind, and I agree that Bush has contradicted himself several times on his own intentions of this war---why would I trust him? But out of context you would always put things, that is in its least desireable state. But Bush knew that if you liberals knew his true intentions that you would mindlessly use that against him---so instead you just make up stuff of your own and use that against him---but at least it doesn't have the legimacy of his own words. Welcome to the world of real politics where a President must leave his citizens in the dark because of people like you who don't just hate him but you hate what he stands for---that is to say, you hate your own conception of who he is.

But if you've read even this far, I might as well go on as to my own opinion, what I think this war is about---at least I have the integrity to admit that I am making this up, but at least its based on a judgement that isn't made out of spite. I think Bush and his administration are pursuing their own values, what he would consider to be American values, and I think he is a truly good Christian and these are the values that he has. And I think you and Bush would agree on so much if you could get out of the bad habit of hating him so much, such as Bush doesn't like dictators either, at least not un-Christian dictators, and at least from this angle it is easy to see why Saddam had to go. And what of the other tyranical---and untyranical---regimes that we supposedly support? You've said it yourself: they are obligated to us, we support them so the hope is that eventually we will control them only so much such that they adequetely express the administration's values---and as long as the majority of voters are Christians or at least identify with Christians, this will continue to be the case.

But you liberals are always barking up the wrong tree. You attack the sources of power in the world and that makes you helpless to effect any change in it. You naturally fear any one set of values overpowering the world yet don't realize that this in itself is a set of values, and the public you suppose to speak to recognizes this contradiction as soon as it hits their ears.

You want the conservatives out of power? Then attack the Christian morality upon which it is based on. This---more than anything else---will rile up those in power and expose the American public to their fanatical and zealous side. And thankfully, Americans are for the greater part unreligious and the conservatives in power, along with the churches, are covertly trying to keep younger Americans along the good Christian route. And this works because there is no real opposition to these acts since they are usually done outside of the usual watchdog territory, in local Church campaigns and even in the schools.

But the difference between you and those in command is that you are twisted in a kind of knot such that you express your drive for power by denying power from others.

Gah...sorry for rambling so much but you expressing the liberal line has caused me not to expose your superfiscial flaws---since you obviously can't see them---but to dig deeper into the liberal condition, and then at each turn on the keyboard I was compelled to write more until I felt I had most of the issue adequetely addressed.

But no man likes to be analyzed like this and you will probably ignore me. Yet somehow I feel all the better for writing it.

"What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness." -- Schopenhauer
[ Parent ]

good, but misplaced point (4.33 / 3) (#182)
by SocratesGhost on Thu May 15, 2003 at 06:58:08 PM EST

MacArthur governed Japan for six years before the US returned control of the country completely back to the people of Japan. I wouldn't call them slaves.

This occupation is following many of the same patterns of the occupation of Japan, including an early tight control of the media that is gradually relaxed.

Nothing new here, really, just a little bit of history repeating. If Iraq follows the way of Japan, there's reason to be hopeful. Even at the time of it's adoption, the constitution handed down was called an "ill-fitting suit of clothes". But from it came the right for women to vote, and the prohibition of Japan from war which the Japanese people loved even back then. It's easy to hate war, especially if you're the loser, and freeing them from the ability to war has allowed Japan to flourish economically.

I'm not saying to stop being wary, but since the war isn't even one month cold, I'd give it time before you consider actions which are perfectly ordinary under martial law be considered human rights abuses.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
japan (3.50 / 2) (#221)
by gdanjo on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:37:19 AM EST

Your comment leaves no consideration for comparative potential danger - Japan showed its colours by attacking. No-one beleives Iraq is a direct threat to the west.

And as for history repeating, I doubt the men in charge now have even a fraction of the moral fibre that lead Japan to the conditions you describe. They say, outright, they are not in the business of nation building. So where's the line? Are they nation-building, or simply making their jobs easier?

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Just how do you define "direct threat"?! (none / 0) (#464)
by A Trickster Imp on Sat May 17, 2003 at 11:09:16 AM EST

> No-one beleives Iraq is a direct threat to the west.

Unless you count supporting terrorism both financially and with training and with supplies, perhaps even WMD a "direct threat".

[ Parent ]

direct threat (none / 0) (#515)
by gdanjo on Sun May 18, 2003 at 07:48:41 PM EST

A country is a "direct threat" of another country if they have similar capabilities. An "indirect threat" is where one uses psychological and other "multiplier" methods to inflate a small annoyance to be seen as a credible threat.

Your definition of "direct threat" kind of misses the meaning of the word "direct".

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

speech (5.00 / 1) (#220)
by gdanjo on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:28:46 AM EST

War does not come with any rights, least of all the right to life. And yet, speech is somehow precious in comparison?
Shooting a person has consequences for the shooter, and the target.

Shooting down free speech (or more precisely, freedom of the press) has consequences for all of us - especially for those that cherrish it.

The military should not be spreading its target-marketing roots, lest we forget the meaning of their actions.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

-1 (1.03 / 32) (#80)
by Adolf Hitler on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:17:04 AM EST

Those fuckers beat my Reich, which will return, btw.

Proving once again... (3.44 / 9) (#84)
by Skywise on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:30:49 AM EST

That the US Media is nothing more than the lapdog for, and completely under the control of, the Bush Administration and will only promote positive views of the w...

Er...

I respect the major for taking her stand (I think her military career is finished however).  After some thought though, I think I grudgingly have to side with the military.

From what little information is being released, the civil unrest is getting pretty bad over there.  Looting is still going on (See Bush' orders to shoot to kill looters) Roving gangs are forming up and stealing resources, raping women, etc.

The only source of authority there is the US, and the Al Jazeera is broadcasting messages of open disobedience to the US.  Which certainly will not help the US try to get the situation under any sort of civil control.


Maybe... (3.50 / 2) (#87)
by bobpence on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:34:10 AM EST

... Al Jazeera didn't like the piracy of someone rebroadcasting their stuff to people who aren't paying for satellite service.
"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender
Re: Maybe... (5.00 / 1) (#234)
by EiZei on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:25:21 AM EST

Yeah, think of all the iraqians who are willing/able to pay for al-jazeera news. </sarcasm>

[ Parent ]
criteria for shutdown (3.16 / 6) (#99)
by Dphitz on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:11:49 PM EST

Regarding this statement:
"The military attempted to justify their decision to occupy the Iraqi TV station by citing standards of impartiality, which, if breached, would be just cause to shut a TV station down"

If lack of impartiality is the criteria, is FOX next?  Or MSNBC?

On a more serious note; It's probably wise to shut them down for now.  As unstable as the country is right now, it's best not to have the bullshit that al-Jazeera calls news broadcast over Iraq.



God, please save me . . . from your followers

International Law (2.70 / 17) (#100)
by jd on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:15:13 PM EST

The Hague ruled, in the Nazi war-crimes trials, that a soldier was ultimately responsible for any order he or she carried out. That if the order was illegal, and executed anyway, "just following orders" was not a valid excuse. Many Nazis went to the gallows by claiming that orders were to be obeyed, not questioned.

When the Berlin Wall fell, many East German guards, accused of shooting civilians in no-man's land, were found guilty of the same crime. The ruling again found that officers have a duty to disobey any order that is illegal.

The question then changes. A US soldier has claimed the right to ignore an order, on the grounds that it violates freedom of speech (a 1st Amendment issue, which the Supreme Court has ruled does apply to US citizens overseas).

Under the ruling from The Hague, and the US ruling that the US Constitution applies to US soldiers (which is why they can't be tried for war-crimes in courts which don't acknowledge the 5th Amendment), it would appear that this soldier is in the right.

She upheld the Constitutional prohibition on Government interference in speech, and she acknowledged that she was responsible for her actions, whether she was under orders or not.

Thus far, the case seems simple. Under the US Constitution and International Law, she is unquestionably in the right. There is no doubt about it. The contents of any TV channel being shown are not the concern of either the Constitution or International Law, and therefore not the concern of the soldier in question. The sole concern to her should have been "is this order legal or illegal?" and she made the apparently correct decision that it was illegal.

However, nothing is ever that simple. Politics plays a big part in things, and what she did was to slap - hard - the face of the political intrigue going on in Iraq, in favour of the law.

In wartime - and this is still wartime - she could very well be executed for her choice. The US reserves the right to shoot those it regards as traitors or subversives, in times of war. Yes, this is in violation of the Geneva Convention, which limits the shooting of prisoners to very specific situations, but the US has never paid much attention to that.

Most likely, this won't happen, but not through a lack of willingness on the part of the upper echelons of the US Government. If she survives, it'll be because the risks of sparking major outrage are deemed too great. For now. On the other hand, if she's dishonorably dismissed, and then suffers a fatal car accident or mysteriously "commits suicide" a few weeks later, it's unlikely anyone'll pay much attention. Besides the conspiracy theorists, but they see conspiracies in everything, so nobody pays them any attention even when they're right.

Incorrect... (3.66 / 3) (#103)
by cribcage on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:28:40 PM EST

The Hague ruled, in the Nazi war-crimes trials, that a soldier was ultimately responsible for any order he or she carried out. That if the order was illegal, and executed anyway, "just following orders" was not a valid excuse.
Respectfully: Your rating of 1 (so far) is well-deserved. Aside from your horrendous moral comparison of stifling free speech to genocide, your statement above is incomplete, and misleading.

A soldier -- according to international law, which we can debate all day -- does have a duty to disobey any order which is illegal under international law. Clearly, genocide violates international law. But the US Constitution is just that: the United States Constitution. It carries no international weight. There is no international right to free speech. As such, your argument is irrelevant to this case.

crib



Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]
A correction to your correction (2.33 / 6) (#120)
by jd on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:44:05 PM EST

The US has repeatedly made clear that the US Constitution applies to ALL US Citizens, including troops who are stationed overseas.

Thus, in the eyes of the US Government, the US Constitution has an International, NOT a National basis, and must be considered International Law from the position of US soldiers. (As mentioned, this is precicely why US soldiers cannot be arrested for war-crimes, because the US has decreed the US Constitution a superior International Law to any and all others, with regards to US citizens.)

[ Parent ]

IRAQIS ARE NOT AMERICAN CITIZENS!! [nt] (5.00 / 2) (#107)
by hamsterboy on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:38:42 PM EST


Hamster
[ Parent ]

True, but... (1.50 / 2) (#119)
by jd on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:41:17 PM EST

The officer relieved of duty was. And thus the Constitution applies to her.

[ Parent ]
Great (5.00 / 2) (#121)
by hamsterboy on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:44:29 PM EST

That TV station was not on American soil, and so is not protected by the First Amendment. She, however, disobeyed an order, and as a member of the US armed forces, that's a punishable offense.

Hamster
[ Parent ]

As I've already said... (2.00 / 2) (#125)
by jd on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:03:37 PM EST

US citizens fall under the Constitution, whatever soil they are on. Thus HER OBEDIANCE to that order is covered by the Constitution. The TV station is irrelevent, as it was not involved in the interaction between the officer and her superiors.

The Government is PROHIBITED for interfering with free speech. As a representitive of the US Govt, that prohibition applies to her. THERE IS NO ESCAPE FROM THIS!

[ Parent ]

THERE IS NO ESCAPE FROM THIS! (2.00 / 1) (#133)
by Richard Henry Lee on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:28:42 PM EST

Suspend the Constitution.


Let this happy day give birth to an American republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to reestablish the reign of peace and of law. - June 7, 1776

[ Parent ]
Done [n/t] (5.00 / 1) (#141)
by skim123 on Thu May 15, 2003 at 03:15:56 PM EST


Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Incorrect (4.00 / 1) (#345)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 02:53:07 PM EST

There are limitations on Free Speech, even for U.S. citizens.

For instance a soldier could publicize millitary codes under the guise of free speech.... this would not protect them from a treason charge.

A person could threaten to break some-ones knee caps unless they were given a certain amount of money...the threat is merely words and therefore could be construed as just "free speech" however it would not protect them from extortion charges.

The classic example, a person who yelled "Fire!" in a crowded theatre could not use the 1st Ammendment to protect them from the legal consequences of thier actions.

Incitement to riot is also not speech protected under the 1st Ammendment.

In this case the Major didn't just engage in speech she engaged in an action. Specificly she refused to obey a LAWFULL order. The order clearly was LAWFULL. Check the Uniform Code of Millitary Justice if you don't believe so.

The TV station in Iraq was not governed by the Constitution, therefore it enjoyed no Constitutional protections. Therefore the majors oath to defend the Constitution was not affected by the order to shut it down.

Her only defense is to argue that the order was somehow ILLEGAL....I believe she is going to have a very tough time trying to make that point (mostly because it wasn't).

Heck, even if the station was in the U.S. (and therefore protected by the Constitution) she would have to prove that there was no legal justification (i.e. The fire in a crowded theatre example) for shutting it down... in order to LAWFULLY (and ethicaly)refuse the order.

[ Parent ]

Of course not ... (none / 0) (#398)
by taniwha on Fri May 16, 2003 at 08:03:59 PM EST

But the 1st ammendment doesn't grant anyone a free speech right so it doesn't apply to Iraqis - it limits which rights the govt can take away. It doesn't say from who - it just sais that the govt can't 'abridge the freedom of speech or the press" - any speech, any press anywhere.

[ Parent ]
Historical and Legal Illiteracy Combined (4.00 / 4) (#108)
by Grognard on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:46:46 PM EST

"The Hague" (I assume you're referring to the Hague Conventions) had no part in "ruling" on anything at Nuremburg.  Rulings were handed down by judicial representatives of the Allied powers.  

And while the "just following orders" defense was found to be inadequate, the tribunal in question was concerned with war crimes and crimes against humanity, not civilian or constitutional law (which is irrelevant in an international setting).

Accepting at face value your contention that the US Supreme Court has upheld the 1st Amendment rights of US citizens while overseas, that doesn't apply here in that those whose rights were "violated" are not US citizens.

I won't accept at face value your contention that the Hague Conventions requires freedom of the press in an occupied area - show us a link.

In the same department - show us a link that says the Geneva Conventions prohibit the execution of offenders belonging to your own military - confusing them with enemy POW's, perhaps?

The US Constitution applies to US citizens and residents of the territory of the US - not Iraqis in Iraq.


[ Parent ]

US citizens (1.50 / 2) (#118)
by jd on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:40:39 PM EST

Are the ones involved. Or, nore specifically, a US citizen refusing to obey an order which would have caused her to violate the 1st Amendment (which prohibits Government interference with free speech).

It is irrelevent that the order involved an Iraqi TV station, as the TV station wasn't the one arrested for disobeying an order.

[ Parent ]

You really are thick aren't you? (4.00 / 1) (#252)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:11:53 AM EST

Violating the free speech rights of an arab tv station may be immoral, but it doesn't violate the first ammendment of the US constitution because the victims are not US citizens.

Give it up. There is a difference between law and morality. If the story is true, I agree that the Major morally did the right thing. I also expect that she will pay a high price for doing the right thing. She's not the only one.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
why? (none / 0) (#401)
by taniwha on Fri May 16, 2003 at 08:28:27 PM EST

The 1st amendment sais what the govt can't do, not what the Iraqis can - as the representative of the govt ordered to do it she said "I can't because of the constitution" - very legal and very moral - I hope she wont be railroaded into oblivion

[ Parent ]
bah... (none / 0) (#138)
by joto on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:51:01 PM EST

In wartime - and this is still wartime - she could very well be executed for her choice.

Yeah, right! Just as you can be executed for not polishing your shoes correctly, or failing to take proper care of your rifle.

Ok, refusing to carry out an order is actually quite serious within the military, but you are not getting executed for it. Dismissed? Most likely...

[ Parent ]

Reenactments from history (4.19 / 41) (#104)
by K5 ASCII reenactment players on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:30:20 PM EST

George, should we stand up
to teh British for our Freedom? 
|
|                 Fule!  They are teh proper Authorities
|                 and they are here for our protection, as 
|                 they keep telling us.  It would be teh illegal
|                 and teh stupid for us not to obey teh orders.
|   God save       \  
\   teh Queen!      \              
 \    \              \  
  \   ~~~~~           \    ~~~~~
     ~~~  \            \   /  ~~~
    ~~~ o o                - - ~~~ 
    ~~~   _\              /_   ~~~
   ~~~   O                  =   ~~~
  ~~~~ \__/                \__/ ~~~~


Indeed. (4.80 / 5) (#167)
by tkatchev on Thu May 15, 2003 at 05:50:01 PM EST

      _
 ` ` / \ ' '
 `  /<O>\  '
   /,----\
  //      \
 ''--------`
NOV       RUM
  USO   CLO
    RDOSE

Brought to you courtesy of your local $100 bill.

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

Best use of ASCII graphics. Ever. (N/T) (none / 0) (#233)
by EiZei on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:23:56 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Think a minute (3.25 / 20) (#106)
by hamsterboy on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:35:41 PM EST

First, let's address the "puppet regime" comment. Do you really think that the world would let the US install a puppet regime? After Bush has repeatedly said that the new Iraqi government will take a form that the Iraqis choose, do you think he would turn around and install a blatantly pro-western state? No, and I'll tell you why: Bush has an election coming up. Every broken promise, every mistake, misstep, mispronunciation and misspelling will be thrown at him by his opponents; he can't afford any big face changes right now. So that's that: the Iraqis will choose their own government.

Secondly, "free speech" is an AMERICAN value. There aren't really all that many countries that guarantee free speech to their citizens, even those with stable governments. So why should a country without a stable government, a country that is under construction, guarantee freedom of expression to its citizens? All those freedoms are on hold until the new Iraqi government decides if they want them. Saying this is a violation of free speech is like saying a skyscraper that's under construction doesn't meet the local building code. Of course it doesn't. It's not finished.

Thirdly, this is a Major in the US Army. She should know better. She disobeyed orders, and that's unacceptable, unless you're being ordered to murder unarmed civilians. I don't think this point needs further discussion.

Fourthly, I think the American forces have been remarkably lenient with the Iraqis. In all past wars, what was the percentage of civilian casualties? Pretty high; think of all the carpet-bombing that took place in Vietnam and WWII. In what historical war were water, sewer, and electrical utilities left intact? This has been the most humane war in history.

Hamster

Hahaha (3.50 / 2) (#114)
by marx on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:26:26 PM EST

So why should a country without a stable government, a country that is under construction, guarantee freedom of expression to its citizens?
Fourthly, I think the American forces have been remarkably lenient with the Iraqis.
What can you say.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

nitpicking (4.66 / 3) (#115)
by mikpos on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:29:41 PM EST

Points responded to out of order, since I like the meat to go at the end.

"free speech" is an AMERICAN value
Err, more accurately, it's a Western value. The US didn't come up with free speech; it wasn't the first to have it; it's not even the best at it. Though it is pretty good, I guess.

This has been the most humane war in history.
Does the Cold War not count? :) Unless you consider wars like Vietnam to be part of the Cold War, I guess....

She should know better. She disobeyed orders, and that's unacceptable, unless you're being ordered to murder unarmed civilians. I don't think this point needs further discussion.
Well yes, of course it needs further discussion. Who made you King of All Unlesses? You can't just bring up one unless and then say "that's it, there obviously aren't any more unlesses". If I were a soldier, I might think up some other unlesses. Follow orders, unless it involves torturing POWs. There, there's another possible unless. How can you say this needs no further discussion?

I'm fully sure she knew what she was getting into when she acted. It has nothing to do whether "she should know better".

And this is the crux of the matter, I think. Military brass are perfectly within their authority to reprimand soldiers disobeying orders, but when it comes down to it, the soldier ethically should be able to come up with his own unlesses. It's a trade off: if I do something I believe is right, I could lose my career; is it worth it? This is like her own personal unless. Though she deserved to what she got, she was in the right, I think.

[ Parent ]

Good point (2.00 / 2) (#117)
by hamsterboy on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:39:27 PM EST

True, there are more unlesses. I meant to say "That's all I'm going to say," but I guess I worded it wrong. And you're also right about the distinction between American and Western values.

But I disagree that she was in the right. Leaving that TV station running would mean endangering both her fellow soldiers as well as bystanders. She obviously believed that she was right though, so having made her choice, she needs to pay the consequences.

Hamster
[ Parent ]

Oh really? (5.00 / 4) (#122)
by forager on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:49:26 PM EST

After Bush has repeatedly said that the new Iraqi government will take a form that the Iraqis choose, do you think he would turn around and install a blatantly pro-western state? ... the Iraqis will choose their own government

The US is going to let the Iraqi people pick a government, sure. Yeah, just like we let Afghanistan pick a leader. Iraq is more than welcome to select their own government, provided this government is 100% US friendly.

From USAToday.com (http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2003-05-11-shiite-forces_x.htm):

Washington opposes an Iranian-style theocracy taking control in Iraq, and particularly fears the possibility that a democratic vote might produce a conservative, Islamic-oriented government with close ties to Iran's anti-American Shiite clerics.

Last month, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that a government dominated by hardline religious clerics "isn't going to happen."

From Warblogging.com (http://www.warblogging.com/archives/000636.php):

The United States will give Iraq self-determination to a point -- but it will not allow any kind of government it doesn't like to flourish in its new protectorate. It has already told Iraqis what it wants in return for "liberation": military bases, oil, a Western-style secular democracy and stability for the region. What if the Iraqis don't want to give us military bases? What if they want an Iranian-style theocracy instead of a Western-style democracy? Well, as Defense Secretary Rumsfeld says, that "ain't gonna happen."

So we find ourselves in a position where we are occupying a country that is teetering on the edge of outright rebellion against its new American masters. Almost every Iraqi is thankfull that we liberated them from Saddam, but almost no one wants us to stick around to dictate the shape of the New Iraq. They say "Thank you very much, now get the hell out of my country."

And wouldn't you? Would you want Iraqi troops occupying New York City or Louisville, telling you that you will build an Iranian-style theocracy and that a Western-style democracy "ain't gonna happen"?

[ Parent ]

Puppet Regime (4.50 / 2) (#136)
by bodrius on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:41:21 PM EST

I'm afraid your first point is very weak, and practically self-defeating.

The American electorate, like any electorate, will be happy with a new "ally" government, and unhappy with an "enemy" government, regardless of the methods.

The more pro-American the better; they'll be sure to rationalize the undemocratic compromises, just like they always have rationalized their conflicts of ideology with the rest of their allies, when they're even aware of them.

This is not because of any Imperialist tendencies per se, it's just the way nations are. Foreign policy successes are foreign policy successes, worth brownie points at elections time. Foreign policy failures are failures, and no "proof of our commitment to democratic principles" argument will make anyone vote for a president because he/she helped to create a brand new enemy state.

Of course, the public (and the politicians) will be much happier if they can believe that "the people" did all the work, and it certainly makes things cleaner and easier in the long term.

But if worse comes to worse, all it takes is an "election" to legitimize the new government and give it a democratic image, regardless of the form of the electoral process or the constitutional rules. They could all be happy with a pretense of democracy ruled internally by whatever is the real power base.

This may not be necessarily a bad idea. I'm not sure a nation in general is ready to rule its own destiny in a democratic fashion because of the instant blessing of Western approval. Democracy has its own perils in a country that has not seen in many generations any of the principles of balance of power, rule of law, democratic participation and representation, and all those other vices of Enlightenment which we appreciate so much in the West.

Complete freedom choosing a form of government at this point sounds like a great way to get another all-powerful dictator in power for life. Choosing a new tyrant is easier and more familiar than building a government that will outlast its leader-du-jour and bring progress to its people.
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]

Welllll... (4.33 / 3) (#150)
by lb008d on Thu May 15, 2003 at 04:02:04 PM EST

Do you really think that the world would let the US install a puppet regime?

Are you completely ignorant of Central American history?

[ Parent ]

It's different (3.00 / 1) (#176)
by hamsterboy on Thu May 15, 2003 at 06:24:54 PM EST

We went openly to war with Iraq. It was on CNN, Al-Jazeera, the BBC. Everybody and his second cousin (twice removed) knows we invaded Iraq.

How many people know exactly how many US soldiers went into, say, Colombia? You can't just google for it, like you can with Iraq. Colombia wasn't on CNN or the Beeb, so it was easier for the US to get away with some shady tactics. Not so with Iraq.

Hamster
[ Parent ]

It's not so different. (5.00 / 1) (#225)
by ti dave on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:30:02 AM EST

He did mention "History", so here are some examples of the overt actions we've undertaken there.

I don't think he was referring to post-Clinton "History".

I'd like to put a bullet in your head, Ti_Dave. ~DominantParadigm
[ Parent ]

Wellll... (none / 0) (#258)
by Silent Chris on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:21:34 AM EST

Are you aware that this was roughly 40 years ago, and we haven't installed a puppet regime since?

[ Parent ]
Bush cannot afford a democratic Iraq (3.66 / 3) (#318)
by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:11:10 PM EST

A democratically elected government in Iraq would be an anti-American Islamist Shiite regime. Bush cannot afford an Iraq that is basically just West Iran. He *HAS* to install a "democratic" puppet government if he allows a civilian government to be formed before the November 2004 election, otherwise he will be accused of re-enslaving the Iraqi people to the Ayatollahs rather than to Saddam.

However, Bush's actions, and the actions of our military in shooting protesters and being woefully inept at governing a nation, are having an unexpected effect in unifying Iraq right now. For example, last Friday a major protest happened in Baghdad that was led by a Sunni *AND* a Shiite cleric, both of whom called for a free Iraq with a constitution that respected the rights of all, no matter what religion they were -- but which also called for the U.S. to get out of Iraq, and for that constitution to have Islamic principles written into it (much the same way that the Israeli constitution has Judaic principles written into it). When asked about this, Rumsfeld brushed it off, "Just ayatollahs being ayatollahs" basically being his whole rejoinder, but the fact that we're managing to unite the Sunni and Shiite -- and soon, perhaps, the Kurds -- into a single anti-American front is not something to be dismissed so lightly.
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

To let or not let, that is NOT the question (none / 0) (#546)
by svampa on Mon May 19, 2003 at 04:17:48 PM EST

do you really think that the world would let the US install a puppet regime?

The world can't do anything about.

Iraq war with unproved accusations, false documents and jumping over the UN, is the best demonstration that USA can and does what it wants, and the rest of the only can complain.



[ Parent ]
Troll Poll (4.50 / 22) (#109)
by grout on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:50:11 PM EST

There are more possible reasons for thinking that the soldier should have obeyed orders. The one I'm thinking of is that a lawful order must be obeyed, even if it is "wrong" in the judgement of the soldier. That's part of the deal of soldiering.

Whether or not the station occupation was "right", it was almost certainly a lawful order, and as such should have been obeyed.

Now if the order was stupid, as this one may well have been, then the person giving the order should be on the hot seat, not the soldiers obeying it.

The poll forces the "yes" voters to split on two inadequately expressive alternatives while letting the "no" voters appear to agree without having to explain why. Not really a surprise from greenrd, but hey, this is k5.
--
Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

Oops; reversed polarity on poll description [n/t] (none / 0) (#110)
by grout on Thu May 15, 2003 at 12:51:55 PM EST


--
Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

[ Parent ]
Fair point (4.00 / 3) (#151)
by greenrd on Thu May 15, 2003 at 04:05:03 PM EST

There are more possible reasons for thinking that the soldier should have obeyed orders.

You're right, of course. Not having been exposed to arguments for "no", I wasn't really in a position to correctly enumerate them. If I'd left it in edit mode for a bit longer I could have fixed this...


"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 ]

Nuremberg (3.42 / 7) (#219)
by Julian Morrison on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:21:00 AM EST

Nuremberg established what any moral person should already know: soldiers have no duty nor right to follow immoral orders. The proper action is to refuse the order (and take whatever grief you get for doing so).

[ Parent ]
Red herring (4.57 / 7) (#224)
by grouse on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:19:40 AM EST

Soldiers must follow lawful orders, even those they disagree with. Crimes against humanity are not lawful orders whether they are authorized by the statute of some state or not. But shutting down a television station is not a crime against humanity.

You sad bastard!

"Grouse please don't take this the wrong way... To be quite frank, you are throwing my inner Chi out of its harmonious balance with nature." -- Tex Bigballs
[ Parent ]

Who says?! (3.00 / 4) (#237)
by synaesthesia on Fri May 16, 2003 at 06:07:30 AM EST

But shutting down a television station is not a crime against humanity.

Whose law are you talking about? Was it lawful for the United States to invade Iraq? Is everybody agreed on that? What does article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights say?


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

What gives the "Universal Declaration" (3.66 / 3) (#248)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri May 16, 2003 at 08:55:07 AM EST

authority over the US?

How can you claim that shutting down a transmitter is the same thing as genocide? Because as far as I know, genocide is the only recognized "crime against humanity".


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
What gives the "United States" (3.50 / 6) (#300)
by synaesthesia on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:40:17 PM EST

authority over the Universal Declaration?

I didn't say that shutting down a transmitter is the same thing as genocide. Julian Morrison said "immoral orders", then grouse said "crimes against humanity" and now you're saying "genocide". Who decides which orders are immoral and which are not? Whoever's got the biggest arsenal and wins the war, of course.

Because as far as I know, genocide is the only recognized "crime against humanity".

You don't know enough. What about terrorism or torture? The best definition of "crimes against humanity" is probably "serious violations of international humanitarian law". Law has everything and nothing to do with morality, though.


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

Keep dancing (4.50 / 4) (#326)
by duffbeer703 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:23:00 PM EST

You still never answered the question.

You've asserted that genocide, terrorism and torture are crimes against humanity. How does turning off a radio station apply?

Occupying powers have a right and an obligation to maintain order. Shutting down outlets that can disrupt order is a part of that. Why do you think in the 19th century military folks went for the post offices and telegraph stations first?

[ Parent ]

how does it apply? (5.00 / 2) (#392)
by crayz on Fri May 16, 2003 at 07:22:15 PM EST

Because freedom of the press is a right protected by both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which the US has agreed to(the latter is essentially a treaty like any other, the former is not as much).

So the US has agreed that freedom of the press is a human right. One which we are now violating.

Please clarify for me, again, why our soldiers on a peacekeeping mission are supposed to follow orders which violate the human rights of innocent civilians?

[ Parent ]

Wartime exceptions (none / 0) (#414)
by duffbeer703 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:37:12 PM EST

Two thousand years of western civilization have established that exceptional conditions (ie warfare)  warrant exceptional measures (martial law)

Martial law is transitory, it occurs as part of the aftermath of war or a breakdown of civil government. The role of martial law is to establish order so a civil government can again take control. That's been how the world has worked since history was written.

If you want to perform a moral tapdance, just trace your innane logic down to the root and declare all human conflict immoral.

[ Parent ]

uhh no (3.00 / 2) (#431)
by crayz on Sat May 17, 2003 at 01:12:40 AM EST

Nice try. Bush declared the end to the war. Not a war anymore, and thus human rights are being violated

[ Parent ]
Whatever (1.00 / 1) (#488)
by duffbeer703 on Sat May 17, 2003 at 09:59:35 PM EST

It's not really possible to carry on a discussion with someone who has plugged ears.

[ Parent ]
Re: Wartime exceptions (5.00 / 3) (#493)
by p1nko on Sun May 18, 2003 at 12:30:11 AM EST

I ain't an expert in international law but seems to me that martial law doesn't justify the action.  If we accept crayz's evidence stating that freedom of the press is internationally considered a human right then it follows that violation of these rights would be a violation of human rights thus making the Geneva Convention applicable in this situation.  It would then follow that even though martial law has been declared the individual soldier has a duty to not to violate human rights.

For example, if committing genocide would help bring about order, a soldier would still be required to disobey that order because the Geneva Convention requires them to do so.   I'm not trying to say that the suppression of freedom of speech is tantamount to genocide; rather that once a certain line is crossed there is no way to justify the act.  The question is where is this line.


[ Parent ]

Caveat (5.00 / 1) (#503)
by duffbeer703 on Sun May 18, 2003 at 10:24:09 AM EST

Is that you need to accept crayz's assertions, which are weak at best.

There is no mention of the press in the Declaration of Human Rights:
http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/eng.htm

The Covenant on civil and political rights supports my argument as well:

Article 4, Section 1:

In time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed, the States Parties to the present Covenant may take measures derogating from their obligations under the present Covenant to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with their other obligations under international law and do not involve discrimination solely on the ground of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin.

The treaty is available for viewing at:
http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/a_ccpr.htm

I would say the state of anarchy that exists in Iraq today qualifies as a public emergency.

crayz and his compatriots have a deep hatred of the current political administration and of the US political system in general. Their hatred, which approaches the level of mental illness.

Fortunately, it is rather easy to dismiss their wild claims, if you have the time to do a little digging.

[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#528)
by synaesthesia on Mon May 19, 2003 at 08:45:48 AM EST

I would say the state of anarchy that exists in Iraq today qualifies as a public emergency.

...you'd be wrong. Read it again:

In time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed

The nation of the US is not threatened by a free press in Iraq. Merely its hegemony in Iraq is threatened.


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

What are you smoking? (none / 0) (#531)
by duffbeer703 on Mon May 19, 2003 at 09:45:40 AM EST

What the hell are you smoking... Iraq is not part of the United States.

The current situation in Iraq is threatening the life of the Iraqi nation, as it has delayed the creation of a civil government.... The longer the current situation persists, the more likely that various ethnic and political groups will seek to carve up Iraq.

[ Parent ]

Learn to read: (none / 0) (#532)
by synaesthesia on Mon May 19, 2003 at 10:28:18 AM EST

The nation in question is the signatory, not the nation that the signatory has decided needs a 'regime change'.

The longer the current situation persists, the more likely that various ethnic and political groups will seek to carve up Iraq.

What's your problem with giving the people who actually live in the region sovereignty over their own country (or countries, if they decide to go that way)?


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

You don't understand what occupation means... (5.00 / 1) (#545)
by duffbeer703 on Mon May 19, 2003 at 03:21:27 PM EST

From the article "What are some of the specific legal aspects of occupation?" at the international committee of the Red Cross website (www.icrc.org)


The rules of international humanitarian law apply whenever a territory comes under enemy control during an armed conflict.

Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Regulations states that a "territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised." While the Geneva Conventions do not define occupation, the Fourth Convention nevertheless contains provisions applicable in occupied territories.

Since occupation does not imply sovereignty over a territory, the occupying power may not alter the legal status of protected persons. Occupation confers certain rights and obligations on the occupying power.

The duties of the occupying power include restoring and ensuring, as far as possible, public order and safety; providing the population with food and medical supplies; agreeing to relief schemes undertaken by other States or impartial humanitarian organizations if the population is inadequately supplied; maintaining medical facilities and services; ensuring public health and hygiene; and facilitating the work of educational institutions.

The occupying power must uphold the criminal laws of the occupied territory and may suspend them only when they constitute a threat to the occupying power or an obstacle to the application of international humanitarian law. Should legal proceedings be instituted against protected persons, the occupying power must respect all judicial guarantees and ensure a regular trial for such persons.

Prohibited actions include forcibly transferring protected persons from the occupied territories to the territory of the occupying power; compelling protected persons to serve in the armed forces of the occupying power; and looting.

Note that occupation does not imply sovereignty over a nation -- only administration until a civil government is organized. This is why rights granted by the US Constitution do not apply to Iraqi citizens.

[ Parent ]

Stop trying to change the subject. (5.00 / 1) (#567)
by synaesthesia on Tue May 20, 2003 at 06:05:27 AM EST

Who said anything about the US constitution? We were talking about the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The CCPR protects freedom of the press; the US must abide by the CCPR; the situation in Iraq does not present any of the exceptions which would mean that the CCPR does not apply. Which part of this do you not agree with?


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

I apologize (5.00 / 1) (#569)
by duffbeer703 on Tue May 20, 2003 at 11:38:32 AM EST

I mistakingly was in the mindframe of another thread, where someone was suggesting that we were violating the 1st Amendment rights of Iraqis.

Since US forces occupy Iraq, which is under martial law, the US military is a kind of proxy Iraqi government. So until such time that a civil government is established, the US Army is administering Iraq during a time of crisis where the nation (of Iraq) is threatened. Which is what makes actions such as taking that tv station off the air legal.

The bedrock of political rights is stability, without it, there is no democracy or any other form of civil government that can effectively rule a nation.

[ Parent ]

The US never agreed to the UDHR (none / 0) (#607)
by elladan on Sun May 25, 2003 at 03:49:22 PM EST

The US has never agreed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The document has no standing at all in the USA. Look it up.

This should be fairly clear just from reading it. If the US had really agreed to uphold it, you could sue the government right now for violating, uh, like:

Articles 2, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 20, 22 (!), 23 (!), 24 (!), and 25.

The US doesn't support the UDHR within its own borders. It just criticizes other countries for violating it when it's convenient.



[ Parent ]
Not equivalent (4.50 / 2) (#342)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 02:27:16 PM EST

Nuremberg was about genocide, not about shutting down broadcast stations.

The Uniform Code of Millitary Justice cleary gives U.S. soldiers the ability to lawfully disobey Nuremberg style orders.... clearly shutting down a broadcast station doesn't rise to that level. At worst it is a moraly questionable decision given the situation.

If the major feels that strongly that shutting down the station rose to the level of immorality that Nuremberg dealt with then I would say her judgement is questionable.

Jaywalking could be construed as "immoral" as well .... but I wouldn't expect a millitary officer to use it as an excuse to not follow orders.

In any event, she'll likely have the opportunity to present her case before a Court Martial, if it comes to that.

[ Parent ]

-1 too US-centric NT (2.16 / 24) (#113)
by BankofAmerica ATM on Thu May 15, 2003 at 01:21:42 PM EST

NT

STOP PROJECT FAUSTUS!

I don't think the iraqis will miss it that much (4.25 / 8) (#131)
by asad on Thu May 15, 2003 at 02:24:41 PM EST

I know that wasn't the point of your article but according to the BBC they are getting more than enough media.

smells like (none / 0) (#218)
by gdanjo on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:15:45 AM EST

retribution to me. Were there any other news sources targetted?

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

True faith and allegiance to the constitution (4.30 / 13) (#144)
by imrdkl on Thu May 15, 2003 at 03:33:05 PM EST

Comes before obedience in the army oath, as does defending the constitution from enemies, both foreign and domestic. Only after one carries out these duties, is one sworn to obey superior officers, and follow regulations.

Now she just needs a good lawyer.

Except that the Constition... (2.75 / 4) (#152)
by Jennifer Ever on Thu May 15, 2003 at 04:33:58 PM EST

Doesn't apply in this case.

[ Parent ]
Read the oath (5.00 / 1) (#155)
by imrdkl on Thu May 15, 2003 at 04:39:40 PM EST

When the good Major swore to bear true faith and allegiance to the constitution, I suspect that she took that to be independent of location.

[ Parent ]
How is this... (3.83 / 6) (#158)
by Jennifer Ever on Thu May 15, 2003 at 04:56:27 PM EST

A Constitutional issue anyway? The Constitution protects the rights of American citizens, not conquered peoples.

[ Parent ]
I think it's quite clear (5.00 / 2) (#169)
by imrdkl on Thu May 15, 2003 at 05:54:05 PM EST

She was being faithful to the constitution, above all.

[ Parent ]
Well now I'm convinced. (3.66 / 6) (#171)
by Jennifer Ever on Thu May 15, 2003 at 06:10:40 PM EST

No, really, it doesn't apply here. Non-citizens in foreign war zones where martial law has been declared are afforded no rights under our Constitution.

[ Parent ]
Of course they are afforded these rights. (1.50 / 2) (#174)
by jmzero on Thu May 15, 2003 at 06:22:59 PM EST

That explains why all those soldiers were court-martialed after World War II.  You see, they had bombed German communications posts - clearly denying their free speech rights.  Of what value is any "victory" if you've won by taking away freedoms?

...

I'd suggest this person probably has a fair chance of being cleared (and I don't know that she'll be prosecuted too vigorously, especially if this becomes well-reported) - but it is sort of silly to pretend that soldiers are bound to uphold constitutional freedoms in this situation.

.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Those were military targets (none / 0) (#335)
by ethereal on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:56:28 PM EST

Nobody's saying not to attack communications centers during military action, but the military action is pretty clearly over and this is a civilian facility that is being shut down. There is a significant difference.

--

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

I am 100% in disagreement with you. (none / 0) (#340)
by jmzero on Fri May 16, 2003 at 02:16:46 PM EST

I believe you should behave in war exactly the same you behave in peace.  Otherwise, it's not truly peace.  It's "piece", as in a big piece of suck.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
is that a non sequitur? (5.00 / 1) (#537)
by ethereal on Mon May 19, 2003 at 01:27:05 PM EST

If you behaved in war the same as during peace, it wouldn't really be a war, would it? I guess I don't see how far you expect to take that analogy - do you think communications should never be disabled, or that they should always be disabled even if clearly civilian in nature?

I knew as soon as I said "nobody's saying that..." that I would offend someone who felt that particular way :)

--

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

Sorry. (none / 0) (#568)
by jmzero on Tue May 20, 2003 at 11:36:56 AM EST

I was going to come up with some excuse for being silly, but truthfully I just enjoy writing nonsense sometimes.  It's rare that this is noticed on K5.

Have a good day.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

That doesn't change the oath (5.00 / 2) (#175)
by imrdkl on Thu May 15, 2003 at 06:23:50 PM EST

Nor the Major's faithfulness.

[ Parent ]
Trolling? [nt] (1.00 / 2) (#179)
by Jennifer Ever on Thu May 15, 2003 at 06:48:27 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Bootlicking? [nt] (5.00 / 2) (#180)
by imrdkl on Thu May 15, 2003 at 06:55:30 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Citizens... And Nationals... (5.00 / 1) (#170)
by opendna on Thu May 15, 2003 at 06:06:12 PM EST

...and Permanent Residents...

...and non-resident aliens...

...and yes, even cappichino-swilling pinko-liberal heathens.

The only people not protected by the Constitution are those poor souls nobody wants to stand up for, and they can be in the U.S. or outside. It doesn't really matter when nobody else wants to help defend your rights, does it?



[ Parent ]

Alright, I'll amend what I said... (2.00 / 1) (#479)
by Jennifer Ever on Sat May 17, 2003 at 05:02:16 PM EST

It protects the rights of individuals in areas under control of a US civil authority. Ergo, it does not protect the rights of individuals in Mosul, as it is under military authority.

[ Parent ]
"unalienable" (nt) (5.00 / 1) (#172)
by djotto on Thu May 15, 2003 at 06:10:51 PM EST

Not that I care about the declaration of independance, or the US constitution. Talk about a millstone.

Hmm. Maybe I should use a troll account to post this.

[ Parent ]

Not always (none / 0) (#395)
by taniwha on Fri May 16, 2003 at 07:43:01 PM EST

In some cases (the 1st ammendment forexample) it LIMITS the powers of the US govt - and this issue can be interpreted as to whether agents of the US govt have the right to shut down a TV station

[ Parent ]
You can't be serious. (none / 0) (#429)
by Jennifer Ever on Sat May 17, 2003 at 01:01:15 AM EST

Let me get this straight...

After invading a sovereign nation, killing thousands, including many innocent civilians, blowing the general fuck out of anything that stood in our way, and largely plunging the country into a state of chaos, you're going to argue that the First Amendment prevents our military from siezing a fucking television station to prevent it from broadcasting incendiary material designed to provoke further violence?

[ Parent ]

ummm ... (none / 0) (#539)
by taniwha on Mon May 19, 2003 at 01:36:25 PM EST

I don't think they were worried that the TV station was going to provoke the US troops into further violence ...

[ Parent ]
The good Major was wrong. (3.60 / 5) (#228)
by ti dave on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:44:06 AM EST

Yeah, it's somewhat independent of location, but not independent of the status of the people it's being applied to.

Be an American overseas and you have First Amendment protection.

Be virtually anyone in the U.S. and you have the same protection.

Good intentions, Poor rationale on her part.

I'd like to put a bullet in your head, Ti_Dave. ~DominantParadigm
[ Parent ]

Erm... (1.00 / 1) (#159)
by Jennifer Ever on Thu May 15, 2003 at 04:57:42 PM EST

Constitution, that is.

Yeah, this is what happens when I try to multi-task.

[ Parent ]

that depends on how you interpret it... (3.50 / 2) (#281)
by pb on Fri May 16, 2003 at 11:28:37 AM EST

If you accept the premise--as the founding fathers did--that all people naturally have certain rights, and The Constitution exists to define what rights a state should and should not have to balance these freedoms, and protect the natural rights of the people, then I'd say she was precisely upholding the spirit of The Constitution, and I respect her greatly for taking a stand, to help "restrain the urge to provide censorship to a budding Democracy", and protect the natural rights of the people of the proposed future democracy of Iraq.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
No, it doesn't. (none / 0) (#478)
by Jennifer Ever on Sat May 17, 2003 at 04:56:05 PM EST

I accept that premise, as do most Americans, but I also accept and recognize the necessity of US law allowing for the temporary suspension of those rights in favor of martial law. It's allowed for in a few circumstances, such as when there is no proper civil authority present in a region to administer law according edicts of the Constitution, or in conquered enemy territories. It seems that the situation here fits both of those criteria, so Constitutional protections do not apply. And if the material being broadcast is obviously inflamatory, there's no guarantee it would be protected speech anyway. Now, obviously, if we're striving to install a democracy in Iraq, we should always try to abide by the principles laid out in our constitution, but when it comes down to a choice between pursuing an ideal of absolute freedom of speech and press or preventing further bloodshed in an already-war torn area, I'd say our military is completely justified in choosing the latter.

And, if I may ask, did you even read the article you linked to? It specifically says that the Major was not relieved of her duties for refusing to sieze the station, but for refusing to create and deliver a frickin' PSA. Some fucking hero.

[ Parent ]

natural rights vs. martial law... (none / 0) (#497)
by pb on Sun May 18, 2003 at 03:19:06 AM EST

First, I don't think that a person's "natural rights" can be suspended; that's the whole point here. I recognize that under martial law, things are a bit different, but even martial law doesn't extend to imposing your own state-controlled media, or suppressing the local independent media. At least, not unless you want to set up a communist government.

I did indeed read the article I linked to; it does not specifically say that's why she was relieved, unless you enjoy hearsay. But I'd consider her a hero for refusing to intimidate an independent news source into being a mouthpiece for the enemy occupying forces. That's just the sort of abuse of power that she's sworn to prevent; if only everyone in our military could be so patriotic.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Bah. Semantics (1.00 / 1) (#512)
by Jennifer Ever on Sun May 18, 2003 at 05:34:48 PM EST

A person's natural rights cannot be suspended, per se, but the state's obligation to protect them can be, and if you're a pragmatist like myself, it amounts to basically the same thing.

And yes, martial law does allow for occupying forces to control the media. You can argue that it was not necessary, or that such control is contrary to the democratic values we are trying to adhere to in our conduct with Iraq, but you cannot argue that it is illegal.

Now, quoting from the article...

The Journal reported Thursday that Maj. Means, who headed a public-affairs team, had refused an order to seize the station.

But Gen. Petraeus said a colonel working for him had actually ordered Maj. Means to produce a public-service announcement reassuring Mosul residents that rumors about 10,000-dinar bills becoming valueless were false and to deliver it to the station. She refused, telling colleagues she thought the presence of armed soldiers could make the station's employees feel pressured to run the announcement.

"When a major refuses a direct order from a full-bird colonel," said Gen. Petraeus, "that's not the kind of person you keep around.

That's not hearsay--it's right up the chain of command.

[ Parent ]

they're quite common around here :) (none / 0) (#518)
by pb on Sun May 18, 2003 at 11:55:44 PM EST

I am indeed a pragmatist, and I'd argue that it was not necessary, that such control is contrary to the democratic values that we are trying to adhere to (we are?), and that the whole operation is and has been illegal from the beginning, martial law or no. Not that it matters so much now, necessarily; what's done is done. That doesn't justify it in the least, however, and it certainly doesn't make it any more democratic, or any less objectionable.

Also, what you quote--"But Gen. Petraeus said a colonel working for him"--is the definition of hearsay, something on the order of "I heard that this guy said that this other guy said that she said..."--that information is third-hand at best. I'm not saying that it isn't true, but I'd trust it just about as much as what immediately came before it in the article, and the truth might very well lie somewhere in between.

Cheers.  :)

---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

I tried to see what the constitution says (5.00 / 4) (#183)
by HidingMyName on Thu May 15, 2003 at 06:58:10 PM EST

Unfortunately for the Major, from what I can tell, it doesn't appear to support her actions, it appears to suggest that she violated a direct order and will be hard pressed to get the charge dismissed on constitutional grounds.

In Article II Section 2 it says:

Section 2. The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.
Now that makes it sound like the constitution says she must obey the President unless charges leading to impeachment (or treason) are brought against him/her.

Regarding the First amendment which some people want to apply (including the author of the article), which states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
But that applies to congress not the military or executive branch. The fifth amendment appears to apply to executive branch military actions.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
However, in the context of the Constitution of the United States, the preamble actually defines what the word "people" (without further qualification) means when it states:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
what it really means by people (unless otherwise stated) are citizens of the United States.

[ Parent ]
I appreciate the clarification (3.50 / 2) (#184)
by imrdkl on Thu May 15, 2003 at 07:16:30 PM EST

But the point is not whether the constitution applies to Iraqis (or even foreign journalists in Iraq), but rather that the Major swore to bear true faith and allegiance to the constitution.

Arbitrary seizure of press facilities, in the opinion of the Major, required her to prioritize her faith and allegiance to the constitution above her obedience to her superiors, in order to hold to the Army oath, to which she swore.

Her oath came first.

[ Parent ]

You people are mangling this concept. (3.66 / 3) (#226)
by ti dave on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:37:42 AM EST

Arbitrary seizure of press facilities, in the opinion of the Major, required her to prioritize her faith and allegiance to the constitution above her obedience to her superiors, in order to hold to the Army oath, to which she swore.

No, no, no. Try this version on for size, then think about it for a moment;

Arbitrary seizure of American [owned/operated] press facilities, in the opinion of the Major, required her to prioritize her faith and allegiance to the constitution above her obedience to her superiors, in order to hold to the Army oath, to which she swore.

If this version was the case, then you would be correct.
These Iraqis in Mosul are not afforded protection under the First Amendment.

If they got off an airplane at the Atlanta airport and started handing out pamphlets, then they would be protected.

This isn't that difficult to understand.

I'd like to put a bullet in your head, Ti_Dave. ~DominantParadigm
[ Parent ]

We people (5.00 / 1) (#272)
by imrdkl on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:39:19 AM EST

Which is to say, We the People, are doing no such thing. Your tiresome clarifications on the legal minutae in this incident are really quite peripheral to the issue at hand. To wit, that the Major was sworn to faithfulness and allegiance to the precepts of our (we the people's) constitution.

In my book, she kept her oath.

[ Parent ]

Peripheral? (5.00 / 1) (#282)
by ti dave on Fri May 16, 2003 at 11:41:25 AM EST

She is using the Bill of Rights as a defense for her actions, so I would expect that she and you understand under which circumstances the First Amendment applies.

That's not minutae. She has the duty to learn and understand that document.

I'd like to put a bullet in your head, Ti_Dave. ~DominantParadigm
[ Parent ]

I guess some truths (none / 0) (#330)
by imrdkl on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:39:48 PM EST

Are just self-evident. Would you not agree?

[ Parent ]
Congress (5.00 / 1) (#231)
by Sciamachy on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:11:00 AM EST

Can the President make a law without the aid of Congress?

Does the First Amendment only cover the making of laws or are there legal precedents extending that to general protection of freedom of speech?
--
Fides Non Timet
[ Parent ]

There are legal precedents (5.00 / 4) (#247)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri May 16, 2003 at 08:53:04 AM EST

that limit the freedom of speech of soldiers; mostly to prevent the armed forces from taking a role in US politics. Soldiers are permitted to vote, but are forbidden to publicly endorse candidates, for example.

And, no the president cannot make laws at all. On the other hand, he has authority over the armed forces, so he doesn't need special laws in order to tell them what to do.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Doesn't apply (none / 0) (#302)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:46:13 PM EST

The Constitution does not apply to Non-U.S. citizens on foriegn soil. Therefore the majors oath does not apply in this case.

In order to make that arguement and be consistant you would also have to argue that the U.S. should use force to make all foriegn peoples on foriegn soil adhere to the provisions of the U.S. Constitution. As jingoistic as I am, even I am not prepared to make that arguement.... and I'm betting it isn't your intent either.

The major swore an oath to defend the Constitution, (which itself strictly proscribes the limits of who it purports to govern) not to defend "Constitutional Principles everywhere".
I think the major was correct in questioning the order since it was (IMO) wrongheaded, but she was NOT correct in REFUSING to obey the order.

If this was happening on U.S. territory then she may have been justified in doing so.... but it wasn't.

[ Parent ]

Constitution applies to all U.S. actions (2.00 / 1) (#311)
by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:00:37 PM EST

The Bill of Rights is a restriction on what the U.S. government can do -- anywhere. It is not a list of rights that only U.S. citizens have. Indeed, the 9th Amendment specifically rejects that notion. The Founders of this nation believed that rights were granted by the Creator, not by Man, thus their duty was to list actions that the U.S. government was specifically prohibited from doing, then putting in a catch-all (the 10th Amendment) for any other actions affecting rights granted by the Creator.

The word "citizen" appears not a single time in the entire Bill of Rights. Read it yourself.
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

Wrong, read it yourself (5.00 / 1) (#338)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 02:02:02 PM EST

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

The Consitution was established BY "the People of the United States" FOR "the People of the United States". It does not purport to apply to foreign nationals in foreign territory....neither in it's obligations nor in it's protections.

This principle is entirely within accepted international law as well as the principle of the Framers. The Framers believed in consentual, representative government. Under those principles the Constitution can not be extended to foreign nationals in foriegn territory because such individuals are neither represented in the U.S. government nor have they given thier consent to be governed by it's laws (implicit in entry to U.S. territory).

Whenever the Constitution refers to "the people" it refers to "the People of the United States". This was not only the intent of the Framers but the consistant interpretation of the Consitution in over 200 years of jurisprudence. It is implicit throughout the Constitution.

The 1st Ammendment, which is what provides Free Speech protection constrains "Congress"... however "Congress" has no jurisdiction one way or the other to make laws outside the U.S.

The 9th and 10th ammendments specificaly mention "the people" but again this refers to "the People of the United States".

You are right that it does not mention "citizens" this is by intent since "the People of the United States" does not refer to just "citizens" but to Resident Aliens and legal visitors to the U.S. as well. Under no circumstances can it be twisted to refer to Iraqi's in Iraq...nor should it.

You can try to twist an apple into an orange all you like, however it still remains an apple no matter how much spin you put on it.

[ Parent ]

*READ*, moron (2.00 / 2) (#360)
by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:20:45 PM EST

Here is the full text of the Bill of Rights. Note that it says "No person shall ...", "the accused shall" .., "... shall not be required"... "shall not be construed..." .. "No warrants shall issue ..."

You quoted from the BODY of the Constitution, but not from the Bill of Rights. I repeat: The Bill of Rights is a list of things that the government is absolutely prohibited from doing. You can waffle all you want, you can pull crap out your ass all you want, but that doesn't change the Bill of Rights.

Not that it matters, when our criminal Attorney General wipes his ass with the Bill of Rights every time he arrests someone in the Chicago airport and puts him in a military brig as an "enemy combatant" without trial, without lawyer, without indictment... it's clear that our government no longer cares about the Constitution or any of its contents, especially not the contents of those first ten amendments. But that still does not make those first ten amendments say what you tried to bullshit us into believing they say.
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

Earth to Eric (none / 0) (#377)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:45:21 PM EST

The Bill of Rights are Ammendments to the Constitution.... it is NOT a seperate entity which stands by itself. It is part and parcel of the Consitution...in less glorified terms it's an addendum.

Now I happen to believe it is a VERY important part of the Constitution.... probably THE most important part. However it is still a PART of the Constitution..... all the strictures which apply to the rest of the Constitution also apply to the Bill of Rights. That is why the Preamble happens to be relavent.

Am I talking to a wall or is this concept starting to sink in?
 

[ Parent ]

freedom of speech (none / 0) (#394)
by taniwha on Fri May 16, 2003 at 07:40:57 PM EST

The first amendment doesn't apply to people or 'the people' or 'american people' or "Iraqi people' - it limits what the US govt can do - not in the US, or out of the US, or on the moon - it just limits what it can do period. It cannot abridge the freedom of speech or the press. It doesn't say "the american press" or the "speech of americans" - it applies to the actions of the US Govt. Congress cannot make a law (which are what empower the executive branches to act) that does this - and as a result any attempt by any part the executive branch to enforce such a law, or even to make one up out of whole cloth is also unconstitutiuonal.

What the constitution doesn't give is a private freedom of speech (if you own the radio station I'm speaking on you can shut it down), or rights over other country's governments - an Iraqi govt can shut down an Iraqi station operating in its country, or an american one for that matter. It's a limit on the power of our govt

[ Parent ]

I can only assume... (none / 0) (#403)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri May 16, 2003 at 08:40:15 PM EST

...that you would likewise maintain that, as the second amendment prohibits the federal government from infringing upon the right to keep and bear arms, it would be an unconstitutional act to disarm an enemy in time of conflict? Come to think of it, that whole business about quartering soldiers would be problematic as well. Unless, of course, the military first secured permission from its enemy to set up shop on their territory. And what of holding prisoners of war without first affording them the protections of due process?

This line of argument is exceedingly silly. Where is the court of competent jurisdiction? On the basis of what judicial precedent are you asserting that the constitution limits the executive branch in its role as Commander in Chief in a state of war?

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


[ Parent ]
I think what they're trying to argue is ... (none / 0) (#409)
by pyramid termite on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:01:46 PM EST

... that seeing as wars of foreign occupation make acts necessary that are prohibited for our government to do to "the people" that only wars of self-defence, on our own territory, can be Constitutional.

I don't think I'd care to defend that view, so I won't.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
No .... (none / 0) (#541)
by taniwha on Mon May 19, 2003 at 01:47:58 PM EST

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. " - The 2nd ammendment limits the rights of the govt to bar the people ('the people' is pretty well defined earlier in the document) from owning guns for the purposes of maintaining a militia in order to protect state security.

Here the bill of rights does limit under which circumstances the govt is prohibited from barring people from owning guns. The 1st amendment doesn't have have any of the "A well regulated militia ..." and "the right of the people" stuff to muddy the waters (at least so far as free speech and the press is concerened) it just sais that "Congress shall make no law ..."

Under international law however the US is on pretty shaky ground - they didn't formally declare war (I still don't see why not? it's not hard, just takes a vote in congress) so what they've done in Iraq is technically an illegal invasion

[ Parent ]

You obviously have a poor understanding... (none / 0) (#544)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon May 19, 2003 at 03:13:07 PM EST

...of both US constitutional law and international law. The point I was making is that there exists no civilian court of competent jurisdiction to adjudge the actions the actions of the military in a time of war. SCOTUS has historically been consistantly clear that it does have jurisdiction over military actions in a time of war, as that is a power reserved exclusively to the Executive. I could pull the cites for the relevant decisions, but I doubt you're much interested. Actually, it would do you some good to look them up yourself and attempt to understand the rationale behind the judgements.

Given that your mistaken paradigm for the applicability of constitutional restraints upon government authority in a time of war were correct, your point about the second would be worth entertaining. Although, that would still leave unaddressed by you the objections concerning the fourth and fifth.

My point in raising these issues was to demonstrate that even engaging in warfare necessitates actions that are beyond the powers granted to the government by the constitution. Your view leads to the conclusion that engaging in war is then itself unconstituional, which historical precendent and internal constitutional evidence indicates is clearly not the case.

As for international law, it is unconcerned with declarations of war. What matters are acts of war and states of war. It is entirely irrelevant in the context of international law whether the US had declared war, or if -- as was the case -- in accordance with its own domestic laws, it authorized the use of force against another nation. The difference between a "declaration of war" and a "congressional authorization for the use of force" exists only within the US's legal system.

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


[ Parent ]
There's a problem here (none / 0) (#402)
by pyramid termite on Fri May 16, 2003 at 08:31:00 PM EST

It does not purport to apply to foreign nationals in foreign territory....neither in it's obligations nor in it's protections.

I would say you're right about that - however, it is only fair to point out that the people who wrote and ratified this document never imagined that they would be occupying a foreign country or ruling foreign nationals.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Erm... (none / 0) (#405)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:15:11 PM EST

They not only imagined it, they did. Think T.J. & Louisiana Purchase for starters.

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


[ Parent ]
Ahh, but that was purchased ... (none / 0) (#407)
by pyramid termite on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:55:48 PM EST

... and I'm afraid that Americans at that time did not recognize the inhabitants as being anything more than "savages". Did T.J. ever dream that America would occupy parts of the "civilizied world" as well? To conquer what were recognized foreign nations? No.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
I'm not so sure that matters (none / 0) (#411)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:25:16 PM EST

And they were recognized as nations, at least insofar as they were officially recognized as parties to treaties (not that the treaties were ever observed). Also, it was also under the reign of T.J. that the US launched its first "war" against stateless agents in Islamic lands and had its first military misadventures in North Africa.

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


[ Parent ]
True ... (none / 0) (#416)
by pyramid termite on Fri May 16, 2003 at 11:08:32 PM EST

... still, my only point is that I don't think anyone of that time anticipated that countries such as Germany, Japan, Iraq, etc. etc. would be occupied by the American government and actually rebuilt by them. Aside from providing that Congress should declare war and the President should be the Commander-in-Chief, it doesn't seem as though the Constitution gave a great deal of thought as to how this country should conduct itself internationally. Since then, we've been making it up as we went along, with definitely mixed results.

In short, it doesn't seem that the Constitution is helpful here and both sides of this flame war others have been having on it are lacking.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Not sure about that (none / 0) (#418)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 11:22:36 PM EST

Most were pretty astute students of history and would have realized that nations did occasionaly have a need to carry wars onto enemy soil in order to successfully conclude them (even when such nations were not the origional agressors).

In fact, if memory serves there were abortive attempts at campaigns into Canada during the revolution and there were definately breif raids on England proper. Certainly the U.S. engaged in a campaign against the Barbary pirates under Jefferson and an expedition against Canada during the War of 1812.

I can't imagine the Framers were blind to the possibility of at least a breif occupation of foreign territory no matter how much they might have wished to avoid such.

[ Parent ]

The people (5.00 / 1) (#475)
by imrdkl on Sat May 17, 2003 at 02:48:35 PM EST

I guess those are different from the the people mentioned in the declaration, then. Perhaps you recall the ones that are all created equal? The ones endowed by the Creator with liberty? Were those also only Americans, lad?

[ Parent ]
You can't have it both ways (none / 0) (#536)
by jungleboogie on Mon May 19, 2003 at 12:36:04 PM EST

If congress has no jurisdiction in Iraq then how can they declare war there to begin with? Seems to me you can't have it both ways. You can't declare war to "free" people and later deny them the very tenets of freedom that your own country relies on! Call me crazy, but this seems like the typical self-serving double talk I've come to expect over the past decade of my own political awareness. (Film at 11)

[ Parent ]
Hmmm (3.28 / 7) (#163)
by jmzero on Thu May 15, 2003 at 05:22:47 PM EST

Free speech is an important ideal - if anything it is more important in a completely undemocratic occupied country, where, if the occupying force is in any way abusive, the only realistic route for accountability is public protest/action - non-violent or violent

Yeah, and if domestic public violence doesn't work to get rid of the Americans (which I'm sure it will), then the only option is to have someone else go in to liberate them.  Sure it will cost lives - but free speech is an important ideal that justifies violence (at least as long as its the Americans who are the ones denying the free speech).

.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife

Difference (4.00 / 3) (#189)
by greenrd on Thu May 15, 2003 at 08:00:54 PM EST

Yeah, and if domestic public violence doesn't work to get rid of the Americans (which I'm sure it will), then the only option is to have someone else go in to liberate them. Sure it will cost lives - but free speech is an important ideal that justifies violence (at least as long as its the Americans who are the ones denying the free speech).

We would both agree, I hope, that any nation (such as Iraq) has the inalienable right of self-defence. Right?

If the Iraqis regard America as a cancerous influence on their country, then they have the moral right to attempt to drive them out with force (I don't think they'd be very successful, but that's another matter.)

Just as Americans freed yourselves from the yoke of British imperialism. Of course they had the moral right to rebel. So do the Iraqis.

The difference between Iraqis attacking American troops and the US invading Iraq is the difference between a struggle for national liberation and a war for oil and control. The two cases are not at all alike.

So no, "free speech" does not justify invading another country and stealing their oil to pay for corporate welfare (*ahem*, sorry, "reconstruction").


"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 ]

Perhaps you can clarify.... (none / 0) (#274)
by jmzero on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:50:02 AM EST

Free speech is an important ideal - if anything it is more important in a completely undemocratic occupied country, where, if the occupying force is in any way abusive, the only realistic route for accountability is public protest/action - non-violent or violent

So no, "free speech" does not justify invading another country and stealing their oil to pay for corporate welfare (ahem, sorry, "reconstruction").

If the Iraqis regard America as a cancerous influence on their country, then they have the moral right to attempt to drive them out with force

So free speech is a valuable ideal - worthy of deaths in order to get, but only when:

A) Those causing the violence are citizens under the free-speech denying regime (and thus are not invading)
B) Those doing the violence have nothing to gain from it except the aforementioned free speech (and thus are not tainted by oil money)
C) The free-speech denying regime is viewed as cancerous
D) The violence causers are not American, and the oppressors are

Was it just one of the above that make the rule, or is it a combination?

.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

this is a bit iffy (4.00 / 7) (#173)
by yammering communist on Thu May 15, 2003 at 06:12:46 PM EST

I'm not going to call you on any flawed interpretations of international law or historical trivia, as comments below have done an admirable job and I would just be rehashing their thoughts.

I'll admit that I was opposed to this war ever getting started, and I am sympathetic to your viewpoints. But that's irrelevant now, because we have thousands of US troops on the ground who are in a fragile position, at best, in terms of popular support among Iraqi civilians. It is imperative that the American military create a functioning administrative organization in Iraq without any outside interference. There is no law and order in this country; violence and looting are still widespread. Government employees - like police - are off the job, and haven't been paid in some time. Most people in even highly-developed Baghdad still don't have steady electricity and other basic services, to say nothing of outlying areas, even as it's been weeks since any large-scale Iraqi resistance was eliminated. The whole goddamn country is one massive shitstorm.

I feel that Maj. Means has displayed courage by defying the order; unfortunately, it's also foolish and counterproductive. Free speech is nice and all, but if I might co-opt Maslow for a moment, there is a certain "hierarchy of needs" at play here: I would worry about giving people food, water, electricity, freedom from fear of robbery, rape and murder, before I fret too much about their lack of constitutional rights. It goes without saying that if a commander believes that a TV station broadcasting material which incites anti-American feeling is an obstacle to the work that needs to be done, then so be it. It's an obstacle, and it needs to be removed. Nobody is hurt by this; in fact, lives will probably be saved by this action, on both sides.

I take offense to some of the Administration's methods in Iraq so far, this is true. I believe that military units should not be used as police. The fact that some mid-level members of the former Ba'ath party are likely to be integrated into the new Iraqi government is somewhat troubling. I am more than a little uneasy about what will happen after preliminary reconstruction is finished. But for now, we should be mindful of our priorities, and concentrate on restoring law and order and basic services to the Iraqi people.

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


Quoting back at you (4.00 / 5) (#195)
by greenrd on Thu May 15, 2003 at 08:47:49 PM EST

... we have thousands of

trigger-happy

US troops on the ground who are in a fragile position, at best, in terms of popular support among Iraqi civilians...

... Government employees - like police - are off the job, and haven't been paid in some time...

Oh, that's right, there's a shortage of money in Iraq, isn't there? The US can't spare any pocket change, and the oil wells are all dry.

I would worry about giving people food, water, electricity,

Which the US hasn't bothered to restore yet. They couldn't even be arsed to remove the bodies of "accidentally" shot civilians from the streets - even though they promised reporters they would do so.

freedom from fear of robbery, rape and murder,

Yes, robbery from looters probably paid for by the US.

Rape and murder from US soldiers and local officials... that's what I would be afraid of if I thought I was living in a police state with no fre speech or accountability.

I think these all add up to a major potential for repression and injustice, don't you?

Which suggests that greater accountability would be a good thing.

... The fact that some mid-level members of the former Ba'ath party are likely to be integrated into the new Iraqi government is somewhat troubling...

... But for now, we should be mindful of our priorities, and concentrate on restoring law and order and basic services to the Iraqi people.

Hello? I just don't think this is a big US priority. At all. Just look at how they stood and watched by while the country was trashed (except for the interior ministry [oil ministry], which is heavily guarded by US troops).

I think that again, that's another reason why free speech is desirable. To give the US administration a bit more accountability (translation: a kick in the arse) in terms of fulfilling their basic duty of care obligations.


"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 ]

Well... (none / 0) (#372)
by yammering communist on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:19:12 PM EST

...I agree.

Suprised?

This doesn't change the fact that shutting down the station was the right thing to do for everyone involved - to limit anti-American sentiment in a military occupied population - and that Major Means's defiance of her orders was a rather short-sighted (if noble) decision.

Anyway, yeah. The Bush administration, and/or Gen. Franks and his staff, have made some extremely irresponsible choices lately - at least I'd prefer to chalk them up to incompetence, rather than malice, but the reality of it is anyone's guess at this point. I find it hard to believe that we are aiding and abetting looters (it would help the Bushites if poor Iraqis stayed poor), but I wouldn't put it past the American military to ignore attacks on civilians when it might serve their interests to do so. Tens of thousands of Marines on the ground, and looters are still running amok... tribal bandits are raiding aid convoys on major highways... half the goddamn Ba'ath party's commanders, including the Big Man himself, are still at large... What the hell? And we sure did a great job protecting all of the priceless relics in that museum, didn't we?

Even so, I don't think allowing a TV station in Mosul to rebroadcast Al-Jazeera will do anything to increase their accountability. For once, the US military command structure made a decision that will save lives and do no damage. You've picked the wrong battle to fight. We'd do much better calling Them on their larger fuckups: like getting us in this mess in the first place, by sending a couple hundred thousand hapless jarheads to invade a sovereign nation for no reason and trot around some Allah-forgotten desert shithole looking for WMDs that don't exist.

Incidentally, we've just had a big shakeup in the reconstruction command structure; Gen. Garner is out, some suit from D.C. whose name evades me is in. I hope that it's a change for the better, but hope's all there is. My confidence is kind of low at this point.

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


[ Parent ]
Looting whose stuff? (none / 0) (#463)
by A Trickster Imp on Sat May 17, 2003 at 10:58:47 AM EST

> I find it hard to believe that we are aiding
> and abetting looters

The "looting of cultural treasures", exaggerated, is more of concern to those in ivory towers in the west than to the people themselves.  If I were just freed from 30 years of brutal, brutal thuggery, the fate of that thug's loot (really just show for foreigners, ain't we a great and civilized country?) would be the least of my worries.

Hell, I might even try to get me some.

[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#473)
by Lai Lai Boy on Sat May 17, 2003 at 02:07:09 PM EST

"Yes, robbery from looters probably paid for by the US."

I don't agree with that.  Don't attribute malice to what easily could be shear ineptiude and sloth.

But I agree with everything else.  

[Posted from Mozilla Firebird]
[ Parent ]

This is not the complex problem... (4.39 / 33) (#186)
by gr3y on Thu May 15, 2003 at 07:32:22 PM EST

you've made it out to be. And it may not even be true.

I've searched Google News for "Charmaine Means" and only come up with three hits. "Mosul seize television" yields considerably more, but I was not able to find one that confirms the events described in the WSJ article you linked to. "Mosul seize television Means" doesn't turn up anything interesting, nor does "Mosul seize television Charmaine".

You argue that Major Charmaine Means was relieved for cause. I contend that this is exactly as it should be, and commend her for her decision, but not for the reasons you might expect.

The major was given a lawful order, and refused to obey it. She was relieved for cause immediately.

That's pretty simple, actually, and not some terrifying assault on free speech. Soldiers are expected to obey lawful orders, not debate them. The time for debate is before the orders are given - not after - and the article states there was a "contentious" meeting so there was debate before the order was given.

The major's decision not to obey the order might have been because it went against every grain of her being, personally and professionally. In my opinion the order to seize the television station should not have been given to an officer in the civil affairs branch (the article refers to the "public affairs office", but this is most likely civil affairs), but to regular marines or infantry. The civil affairs corps is expected to act as liaison between the citizens of an occupied country and the U.S. military, and they can't do that and occupy Iraqi television stations (like infantry) at the same time. The civil affairs corps does not enforce the king's will. Anything which interferes with the primary mission of the corps should be avoided. To do otherwise is to invite trouble. The major probably recognized this.

So she made the right decision for the corps, maybe for personal reasons, and I think the commanding general made a bad decision, failing to know his people, and asked her to carry out an order he should have known she would likely refuse (and should have professionally). She made her stand and was relieved, not being able to convince her superiors that her point of view was the most correct one.

In fact, I'll do better than that, and predict how it actually went down: the major didn't just "respectfully disagree", she violently disagreed - maybe said, "with all due respect, you don't know what you're talking about" (this is pretty violent among the landed gentry) - and the general, to save face in front of his subordinates, told her to take care of it "personally" to show everyone he was still in command, and then relieved her when she didn't, as he knew she wouldn't, as "an example to others". I wouldn't be surprised if we later learn the order to "relieve" her was rescinded by someone who understands this.

This is is not a constitutional issue. Iraqis do not enjoy the protection of the U.S. Constitution. Would that they did. The war might never have been necessary if the Iraqis: were protected from jack-booted thugs kicking in doors in the middle of the night on whispered charges of "treason", "suspicion", or "conspiracy"; were not subject to "cruel and unusual punishment" (read: torture); had a free press.

At least the major refused the order when it was given to her, instead of hours later at the television station.

The real issue here is why the U.S. military is closing an Iraqi television station, and the answer to that is pretty simple too: to prevent it from being used as a pulpit from which Al-Jazeera can broadcast, without fear of retribution, incendiary remarks that would incite the locals to take up arms against American troops in the region (again) by someone like, I don't know, bin Laden. You're right about that, but you suggest that it would be merely embarrassing.

No. It would require the U.S. military to shoot its way to the coast (or Turkey) with weapons that would punch dozens of tiny little holes and some big ones in every Iraqi body in the way - be it man, woman, or child - and maybe killing thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Iraqis. I thought we were all happy that the shooting has, for the most part, stopped in Iraq.

I want civilian government in Iraq as soon as possible, and I want our soldiers, airmen, and marines out of there as soon as possible - all of them. And if muzzling Al-Jazeera, mouthpiece of fundamentalist Islam in the Middle East, is what it takes, I fully support it. Al-Jazeera will get the last laugh, surely. The U.S. military cannot occupy Iraq forever, and it can broadcast whatever it likes everywhere else.

-1 because you didn't find corroborating sources for your story, forcing me to attempt it (and fail), and because you have no perspective.

I am a disruptive technology.

Incendiary remarks (2.53 / 13) (#198)
by greenrd on Thu May 15, 2003 at 09:27:07 PM EST

The real issue here is why the U.S. military is closing an Iraqi television station, and the answer to that is pretty simple too: to prevent it from being used as a pulpit from which Al-Jazeera can broadcast, without fear of retribution, incendiary remarks that would incite the locals to take up arms against American troops in the region (again) by someone like, I don't know, bin Laden. You're right about that, but you suggest that it would be merely embarrassing.

It would require the U.S. military to shoot its way to the coast (or Turkey) with weapons that would punch dozens of tiny little holes and some big ones in every Iraqi body in the way - be it man, woman, or child - and maybe killing thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Iraqis.

From a military point of view, your analysis makes sense.

From a moral point of view, it sucks.

Oh, that's right, killing is really bad, therefore we can't raise a finger to hurt another. Obviously, then, anything which would result in deaths - such as an Iraqi people's rebellion - would be double-plus-ungood.

I disagree. I don't think that a successful rebellion - or, what is far more likely, civil unrest - would be necessarily a bad thing in the long run! I believe the US forces are the agents of a brutal imperialist power that needs to be resisted. If not now, then when?

We are all Iraqis now.


"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 ]

Maybe you're a victim... (4.83 / 6) (#206)
by gr3y on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:24:00 PM EST

but I'm an American. I was opposed to military action in Iraq, pending concrete proof of a biological or chemical weapons program, but George W. didn't ask me how I felt about it. He's the President and Commander in Chief, so he doesn't have to. But I get the last laugh. I get my say during the next general election - along with three hundred million other Americans - and I can definitely say that my vote will be entirely decided by the politics of the individual the Democrats choose to be their candidate.

But I digress... Now that the war is over, I want civil order returned to the people of Iraq and American troops to leave the region as quickly as possible, with no further loss of military or civilian lives... That's perfectly moral, in my opinion.

I understand perfectly what the expression, "we had to destroy the village to save it" really means. I would prefer that no American commander ever again utter those, or similar, words. That is also perfectly moral, in my opinion.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Please explain (3.66 / 3) (#277)
by greenrd on Fri May 16, 2003 at 11:12:57 AM EST

I understand perfectly what the expression, "we had to destroy the village to save it" really means.

Please explain what it means.


"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 ]

Imagine... (5.00 / 1) (#448)
by gr3y on Sat May 17, 2003 at 02:26:57 AM EST

you're in command, meaning you're directly responsible for the deaths of those under your command, by action or inaction - a lieutenant or captain maybe. Imagine you have to write the letters explaining why someone's son or husband will not be coming home alive. Preventing these deaths is therefore your motivation.

Imagine also that you wish to prevent the enemy from infiltrating the civilian population in villages to your rear and flanks because you're concerned about harrassment operations (guerilla warfare) or the enemy cutting your supply lines. Imagine also that partrolling these villages and defending your supply line consumes an inordinate amount of your resources, resources better spent carrying the war to the enemy. This defines the problem.

The decision to order the villages detroyed therefore becomes an easy one. That way, anyone present in those areas can be assumed to be the enemy, because the civilian population will have moved on. In the meantime, you assume those civilians will carry on their lives elsewhere, and remind yourself that it's all for a good cause - maybe ending communism - and that they will thank you later.

You had to destroy the village to save it.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

This makes a lot of sense, anyway (none / 0) (#510)
by Viliam Bur on Sun May 18, 2003 at 04:05:53 PM EST

a lot of bad things are motivated by a "good cause"...

There is always some bright goal in the future: be it destroying communism (or destroying capitalism), stopping Islamic fundamentalism (or stopping Christian fundamentalism), anything... so you can forever destroy things and kill people around, and still hope for the good future... until at some point you suddenly stop believing it all.

[ Parent ]

Of course... (none / 0) (#555)
by gr3y on Mon May 19, 2003 at 10:38:11 PM EST

and, for the record, I said: "I understand perfectly what the expression, "we had to destroy the village to save it" really means. I would prefer that no American commander ever again utter those, or similar, words. That is also perfectly moral, in my opinion."

It would be better for the U.S. and Iraq if such a thing were avoided. That is the superior choice. Better to avoid having to make that decision, because we already know where that leads.

The war is over. Let there be an end to it.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

You're being stupid. (n/t) (1.00 / 5) (#241)
by Kax on Fri May 16, 2003 at 07:21:39 AM EST

.

[ Parent ]
wtf (2.75 / 8) (#199)
by marx on Thu May 15, 2003 at 09:33:08 PM EST

The real issue here is why the U.S. military is closing an Iraqi television station, and the answer to that is pretty simple too: to prevent it from being used as a pulpit from which Al-Jazeera can broadcast, without fear of retribution, incendiary remarks that would incite the locals
Who are you? Were you educated in some military academy in the Soviet Union by any chance?

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

No. (4.33 / 3) (#207)
by gr3y on Thu May 15, 2003 at 11:52:02 PM EST

I was educated in the U.S. military.

And I was hoping that cooler minds would prevail in Iraq, and that diplomacy would succeed, but it did not.

What are you implying?

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Implications (3.66 / 3) (#256)
by marx on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:17:09 AM EST

I'm just saying that you apparently do not subscribe to what we in the west consider to be free speech and democracy. You seem to think that free speech must be suppressed, or it could "incite" people.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Do you have the right (none / 0) (#441)
by gr3y on Sat May 17, 2003 at 02:08:48 AM EST

to yell "FIRE!" in a crowded theater?

Not knowing what country you're from, I won't make the assumption your "rights" are curtailed as mine are. In the U.S. Amendment I is no defense against such an act, and that is as it should be.

I'm an advocate of free speech as interpreted by the courts, but this isn't a free speech issue. It's about restricting speech to prevent avoidable and unnecessarily deaths for the time being. It will end. The U.S. military will not occupy Iraq forever. The Iraqis can show whatever they want on television then, including mass "marg bar Emrika!" protests if that makes them happy. Iran does it all the time.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

No, but... (5.00 / 1) (#509)
by Viliam Bur on Sun May 18, 2003 at 03:58:32 PM EST

Imagine this:

"Sir, you were preemptively arrested in the theater, because we believed that without doing so, sooner or later you would start yelling: "FIRE!". And you know that you have no right to do this."

[ Parent ]

I'm not referring to... (none / 0) (#554)
by gr3y on Mon May 19, 2003 at 10:23:37 PM EST

a "pre-emptive arrest". We're still safe from thoughtcrime.

Instead, I offer an alternate point of view: the bouncer at the front door puts his hand on a man's chest and says, "Sir, you are not allowed in. The last time you were here, you started a fire that caused damages in excess of two thousand dollars, and resulted in the death of one of our patrons."

That's the more correct interpretation, in my opinion.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

freedom (5.00 / 2) (#215)
by gdanjo on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:04:10 AM EST

The real issue here is why the U.S. military is closing an Iraqi television station, and the answer to that is pretty simple too: to prevent it from being used as a pulpit from which Al-Jazeera can broadcast, without fear of retribution, incendiary remarks that would incite the locals to take up arms against American troops in the region (again) by someone like, I don't know, bin Laden. You're right about that, but you suggest that it would be merely embarrassing.
So this is preventative action? I've heard this before.

When do we get a copy of the transcript that would have "incite[d] the locals to take up arms"?

And if muzzling Al-Jazeera, mouthpiece of fundamentalist Islam in the Middle East, is what it takes, I fully support it.
If we discriminate between good and bad "freedom of the press", we surely dilute the meaning of "freedom."

Is that the message we want to send?

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Absolutely. (4.00 / 1) (#438)
by gr3y on Sat May 17, 2003 at 01:56:09 AM EST

The message I want our military to send right now is: "Order will be maintained." It is not the job of the commanding general to discrimate between good and bad "freedom of the press", but to maintain order in accordance with regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. I'm sure he has considerable latitude; the job is not an easy one.

But the station was not seized. Even so, the U.S. military will be blamed for a clumsy attempt to win the Iraqis hearts and minds by exercising some control over what is allowed on the air.

I also find it ironic that you're defending someone's right to stand up in a crowded theater and yell "FIRE!"

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

I second that (4.66 / 3) (#223)
by Quila on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:12:06 AM EST

Having worked in a few general officer headquarters, including working closely with civil affairs at one place, I can say that so far he is the only one who knows how things work in the military.

If anyone has a problem with how things went down, the people to talk to are the civilian leadership above the military. The military was ordered by the civilian leadership to establish order, and absent any further guidance from the civilian leadership, this is how the military works -- if you are threatening that order, you are stopped, no further debate neeeded.

[ Parent ]

Legal order? (5.00 / 2) (#227)
by Sciamachy on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:44:05 AM EST

In what way was the order a legal one? I thought the US military pledged allegiance to the flag and constitution of the United States? This would seem to suggest that they are pledged to uphold that constitution, and all its ammendments, including that of Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press etc. As the Nuremburg war-crimes trials proved, a soldier given an illegal order is duty-bound to disobey that order, or he or she will face war-crimes charges. Following orders is no defence. Of course I could be wrong - I'm asking so that those who know for sure can enlighten us.
--
Fides Non Timet
[ Parent ]
As a practical matter (5.00 / 5) (#246)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri May 16, 2003 at 08:49:49 AM EST

During my extremely brief stint in the USAF, there was one thing our captain told us several times: a soldier is expected to follow orders at all times and to act honorably at all times. When the two conflict, you are expected to Do The Right Thing. You can also expect to sacrifice your career by doing so. He referred to it as "Falling on your Sword."

It's the fundamental conflict between ideals and what happens when you piss off a hard-nosed testosterone-driven alpha male who happens to have power over your future.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
why bother to reply? (5.00 / 1) (#270)
by Shren on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:29:09 AM EST

Are people here really having trouble understanding the fact that a US soldier's job is to protect the freedoms of US citizens as a first priority, and only defend the same freedoms for citizens of other countries as thier superior officer sees fit? Is that really so difficult? Are people intentionally misunderstanding that the military doesn't defend the citizens of foreign countries, it defends *from* the citizens of foreign countries? It's not complicated. Coldly pragmatic, but not complicated. Denying whatever anti-US forces still exist a common rallying voice is good tactics. Deal or get a helmet.

I don't see how anything in this article suprises *anybody*, or brings up anything relevant for debate. Unless, of course, it's yet another cloak for arguing about the validity of Dubya's comments. Yawn.

Stupid article. And I've come to realize that this is actually a pretty stupid site. Step one bit out of line and bang - there go all your privelages. Looks open. Isn't. Glad to see my reward for about a year of editorial advice and sundry is revocation of all rights without so much as an email explination. Makes you understand why all the trolls are the way they are.

I used to love this site - now I'm only poking it because I'm bored, tired, and waiting for a download to finish. I deal with enough admiistrative-facists at work - I don't need to deal with them recreationally.

[ Parent ]

What privileges? (none / 0) (#294)
by epepke on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:22:56 PM EST

Step one bit out of line and bang - there go all your privelages.

What privileges? Seeing a page of comments all of which are entitled, "YOU FAGGOT!"?


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


[ Parent ]
funny enough, i still have that one. (none / 0) (#453)
by Shren on Sat May 17, 2003 at 07:08:24 AM EST

I can't moderate, but I can see hidden comments.

[ Parent ]
Not according to the President... (4.00 / 1) (#333)
by ethereal on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:50:39 PM EST

To hear his last speech (the $1 million aircraft carrier bit), the U.S. military is a liberation force. They haven't found any weapons of mass destruction to defend against, so there's precious little defending of U.S. citizens that they're doing. Don't you think a force of liberation should be respecting the tenets of liberty, like freedom of speech?

--

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

congratulations, you bought the propaganda (5.00 / 1) (#452)
by Shren on Sat May 17, 2003 at 07:07:33 AM EST

Unless you're a presidential aide or other member of the presidential staff, upon whom he relies upon to make decisions, you should assume that every word out of the president's mouth is custom-spun to encourage you to think the way he wants you to think. Do you really believe that Bush called for an invasion of Iraq because he felt, in his gut, that the US military should liberate the Iraqui people from the boot which trod upon them?

And if so, would you like to buy a bridge?

[ Parent ]

did you think that after reading my comment? (none / 0) (#538)
by ethereal on Mon May 19, 2003 at 01:33:32 PM EST

Check your sarcasm detector, it may not be working correctly :)

Of course I don't think liberation is the prime driving force of the U.S. military; otherwise we would have rolled right into Saudi Arabia by now, and China would be on the roadmap for next year. Although that might be risky too, at least it would be a consistent foreign policy.

Instead, I just enjoy pointing out the contradictions in U.S. foreign policy that come about from our history of speaking out of multiple sides of our mouths to different people. Our willingness to trade principle for momentary friendship is what has created our current foreign policy mess; it's good to see that the current administration is helping create future foreign policy disasters of the next half-century.

I think it's fair to hold the current administration to the principles that they espouse so publicly; either it forces them to reexamine their statements, or their principles, or else they have to admit to cognitive dissonance. Any of those alternatives would be good.

--

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

Uniform Code of Millitary Justice (5.00 / 2) (#290)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:15:34 PM EST

As I understand it, the LEGALITY of an order is determined by the Uniform Code of Millitary Justice.

Purposefully shooting a non-combatant would be ILLEGAL, shutting down a TV station isn't.

It isn't a soldiers job to directly interpret the Constitution or international treaties anymore then it is for a police officer to determine whether a local law is Constitutionaly valid.

They have very strict codes of behavior which they follow and which are documented for them by people who do have training in interpreting those laws.

Of course, there might be some situations where an individual is asked to do something which while technicaly LEGAL is so egregiously wrong that they simply make the moral choice to refuse.
In my opinion, this incident would be stretching that far too thinly to qualify.

As an aside, if memory serves I think the oath is to "defend the Constitution against all enemies foriegn and domestic", I don't think the flag is metioned at all.

 

[ Parent ]

Constitution of the United States (4.50 / 2) (#328)
by duffbeer703 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:28:48 PM EST

What part of the Constitution covers the rights of Iraqi citizens?

US Soldiers swear an oath to "protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic". That has nothing to do with Iraqi citizens.

[ Parent ]

Constitution (none / 0) (#390)
by taniwha on Fri May 16, 2003 at 07:03:08 PM EST

The constitution's main job, esp. the bill of rights which the 1st ammendment is part of, is to restrict the actions of the US govt. Last time I checked the US military is part of the govt.

The constitution doesn't say anywhere that it only applies to the US govt when acting in the US - it just unconditionally sais that the US govt may not "abridge the freedom of speech, or press".

The problem of course is that the owners of the TV station in Iraq are not really in a position to take the US Army to court - it would make a fun court case if they could get say the ACLU to pick up the case

[ Parent ]

Absurd (4.00 / 1) (#415)
by duffbeer703 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:54:52 PM EST

The Constitution is the fundamental laws which govern the United States.

The sovereignty of the United States extends across all US states, territories, mandates and embassies. It does not govern the actions of military expeditions outside of the US and does not guarantee citizens of other nations who happen to be near US soldiers any rights.

Your grasp of this subject is about as sophisticated as the 14 year olds on "the other website" who want to build beowulf clusters of TI-81 calculators. Try reading something other than liberal war blogs to learn about these things.

[ Parent ]

I recommend (5.00 / 2) (#435)
by gr3y on Sat May 17, 2003 at 01:43:56 AM EST

that you read the relevant document (Manual for Courts Martial) yourself.

I've done a simple search and consider the following paragraph relevant:

Paragraph 14.c.(2)(a)(iii): "However, the dictates of a person's conscience, religion, or personal philosophy cannot justify or excuse the disobedience of an otherwise lawful order."

Soldiers take an oath, which I notice no one else here has quoted and many seem to misunderstand, which follows:

"I, [state your name], do solemly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

I took that oath, and I would have considered the order a lawful one. The Iraqis do not have the rights, privileges, and protection offered by the U.S. Constitution because they are either enemy combatants or civilians under martial law, whose rights are justifiably curtailed.

I'll also make the bold prediction that any attempts by the U.S. military or government to leave the Iraqi people with a "western" constitution will be met with stiff resistance from almost (but not quite) every country in the Middle East, and most of the EU (with the exception of Britain and possibly Germany, but certainly France).

It's strange, isn't it? The people of Iraq haven't had any rights at all for decades, yet the world expects the U.S. military to simply step aside two weeks after the shooting stops and let the fundamentalist religious leaders who supported Hussein do any damned thing they want.

I find it odd that there wasn't more protest before the war, and that the United States will ultimately be accused of "nation building" for attempting to deliver the very rights you claim it is suppressing to the Iraqi people, but that's the way of things...

"I was just following orders" is no excuse. However, the burden (and risk) is on the soldier to defend their decision (the Manual for Courts Martial says this as well). Also, the general in question has allowed the station to remain on the air. In my opinion he was justified in preventing the station from being used as a platform from which Iran or Al Qaeda could incite people to violence, which would only result in a great many more Iraqi deaths, and American and British deaths as well.

If the parent link relates to true events, I'm also of the opinion that it was handled badly, but I'm sure everyone is feeling a little frayed in theater. More so than I ever experienced, and hopefully ever will.

I'm not a lawyer, so I leave the ultimate interpretation of "lawful order" to someone else, but I would have considered this a lawful order, and a good one, but poorly implemented. You may be of a different mind.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Al Jazeera (4.66 / 6) (#239)
by LeftOfCentre on Fri May 16, 2003 at 06:52:19 AM EST

Have you actually seen Al Jazeera? What makes you say it's the "mouthpiece of fundamentalist Islam"? My impression is that it's rather the other way around, a very moderate Arabic news source which often infuriates leaders in Arabic countries. Their constantly stated goal is objectivity and to present things from all sides and I doubt they are significantly less successful at that than, say, CNN.

[ Parent ]
Let me guess. (4.00 / 5) (#240)
by jjayson on Fri May 16, 2003 at 07:03:34 AM EST

You only read the English version of Al Jazeera or the small segments marked for export. The true nature of the source is much different. There was calls from all over the Islamic world after the Iraq was about how Al Jazeera was broadcasting lies, taking the side of Saddam, and fiercely anti-American.

_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
Not what I heard (4.80 / 5) (#251)
by seb on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:07:19 AM EST

I have read in a few sources that Al Jazeera is hardly more biased than, say Fox...that despite its drawbacks, it is a good thing for Arab media in general.  I have seen it strongly criticised for its sensationalist reporting, but also highly praised as one of the only Arabic news sources to sniff out stories critical of the Saudi and Egyptian governments, for example.

Is this not actually the case?

[ Parent ]

But Rush said otherwise! (3.66 / 3) (#309)
by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:56:07 PM EST

And Rush is never wrong! Rush wouldn't lie to me!

Oops, gotta go, Rush is on and I gotta go listen so I know what to think and believe today.
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

I don't even listen to Rush. (4.00 / 2) (#370)
by jjayson on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:00:55 PM EST

But the thought that some people disagree with you, particularly that Arabs and Muslims disagree with you, kills you inside. They are supposed to be rapid Bush-haters too. What is the world coming to? Some of us acaully read some of the Islamic media

Wait, don't type that response, yet. The favorite K5 posted M.O. right now is this passive agressive, argument by accusation shit. Now you will post saying that you never said I listened to Rush. Don't both saying it, since everybody can see through the insinuation of your previous post.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]

depends on who you listen to (4.50 / 2) (#371)
by jjayson on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:12:18 PM EST

I have read in a few sources
Who are these sources?

You can find some coservative Arab media trying to bolster the credibility of Al Jazeera because many of them were complicit in the same schemes. CNN reports "the Pentagon claims" and then laughs at the Iraqi Information Minister and this is fairly truthful reporting. However, when a station reports what the Information Minister says as factual and then reports "the Pentagon claims" it is not the same degree of slant, like many would like you to believe. The truth didn't lie at some half-way point beteeen the two sides.

As we have seen in America with the NY Times incident, no news organization is really going to attack another. None of the other major outlets investigated futher and they left the Times to go through their own dirty laundry. Would you really expect other news sources in the Arab and Muslim world to do any different. To get some for of critique you have to turn to the Op-Ed sections and this makes sense somewhat. You want to see what people are thinking about about the coverage they saw.

There was an excellent article in a Persian daily the went over the faults of the Arab media (exempting Kuwait, since the Kuwaiti media seemed to not fall into what it called the "Islmaic trap" of supporting their ruthless leaders). I'll try to find a translated version for you.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]

That's interesting (4.00 / 4) (#280)
by greenrd on Fri May 16, 2003 at 11:27:13 AM EST

There was calls from all over the Islamic world after the Iraq was about how Al Jazeera was broadcasting lies, taking the side of Saddam, and fiercely anti-American.

I'd like to see those. Links?


"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 ]

give me a few days (5.00 / 2) (#368)
by jjayson on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:57:06 PM EST

I'll try to dig them up for you, but this weekend isn't a good (I'll be gone). I'll try to round them up and post them in a diary some time at the end of next week.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
This is the scary part. (4.66 / 3) (#267)
by Richard Henry Lee on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:07:57 AM EST

I've searched Google News for "Charmaine Means" and only come up with three hits. "Mosul seize television" yields considerably more, but I was not able to find one that confirms the events described in the WSJ article you linked to. "Mosul seize television Means" doesn't turn up anything interesting, nor does "Mosul seize television Charmaine".

This story must be one of two things: extremely non-newsworthy or censored into oblivion. Either way, the press in the United States has some serious problems. Freedom of the press is a key component of any free country. Only by holding politicians to account can we hope to build a just society. When events like this are swept under the rug, who benefits? Certainly not the populace.

Freedom of speech, freedom of the press and more generally, the freedom to be free are all great privileges. With these privileges comes responsibility. As a nation, why are we abdicating this responsibility? Is it fear? Is it apathy?


Let this happy day give birth to an American republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to reestablish the reign of peace and of law. - June 7, 1776

[ Parent ]
Interesting (2.90 / 11) (#200)
by marx on Thu May 15, 2003 at 09:44:28 PM EST

So what we basically have here are several so called Western people starting to ask "is freedom of speech really such a good thing after all?"

If there's one good thing this whole 9/11-Afghanistan-Iraq thing has brought with it, it's that people have had to come clear with what they really think. And what we have seen is that many people do not think democracy and freedom are good.

If democracy and freedom were good, then shouldn't the best way to fight a crisis be to increase democracy and freedom? Instead, what we are seeing is that people consider democracy and freedom some kind of luxury parlor games, and what is really important is militarism and military power demonstrations.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.

Freedom of speech (3.00 / 3) (#208)
by JayGarner on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:29:17 AM EST

You have to break a few eggs to make omelettes, you know that.

We are here to introduce democracy, but not too much democracy, and not too early.

If elections were held today, it would be the 'Fuck America Party' candidate versus the 'Yankee Go Home Party' candidate versus the 'Scary Raving Religious Loon Party' candidate versus the US approved candidate versus the other US approved candidate.

As you can clearly see, that's too many candidates. Too much democracy. Two candidates are enough, like we do it in the USA. When the time is right, we'll get enough democracy in here to get the job done, believe you me. Bremer and I are committed to ensuring the safety and security of the Iraqi people.

For a transcript, please write to me at the e-mail above.

Thank you.

[ Parent ]

I don't quite see (4.50 / 6) (#212)
by Greyshade on Fri May 16, 2003 at 02:25:02 AM EST

Why you can't have democracy with more than two candidates.

[ Parent ]
Re: Freedom of speech (4.66 / 3) (#232)
by EiZei on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:18:16 AM EST

Guess that makes most of the EU totalitarian states since they have several somewhat different candidates instead of two practically identical ones?

[ Parent ]
However (4.33 / 3) (#244)
by transport on Fri May 16, 2003 at 07:48:04 AM EST

The interesting thing is that, just because there are a lot of political parties, most of the time, the political spectrum is dominated by two parties, or at least two factions. Often these are approximately of the same size, which gives small parties a disproportionate amount of power, since both sides are trying to win their votes.
 
Only in special cases does something interesting happen. For instance, in the Danish elections in 1973, the newly founded party which would since become the spearhead of a nationalistic wave gained 28 out of 179 places in the national assembly.

[ Parent ]
I don't think it's that simple (4.00 / 1) (#242)
by transport on Fri May 16, 2003 at 07:38:24 AM EST

Freedom of speech and democracy are great responsibilities. As with all other responsibilities, you need proper preparation in order to be able to shoulder it. You don't handle a multinational corporation to a five year old child to handle, either. So, in principle, I'm saying that a totalitarian regime which teaches its people how to handle democracy (if such a thing could be envisaged) would be far superior to just handing the reins to people whose only experience of democracy is that it's what "the other side" uses.
 
In other words, this incident does not (necessarily) spell disaster, IMHO.

[ Parent ]
Stalin would agree (none / 0) (#287)
by marx on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:10:40 PM EST

So, in principle, I'm saying that a totalitarian regime which teaches its people how to handle democracy (if such a thing could be envisaged) would be far superior to just handing the reins to people whose only experience of democracy is that it's what "the other side" uses.
This is exactly what I mean. You are reasoning the same way as Stalin, Mao, Castro. The people are not ready to handle the responsibilities of democracy, so it's better to have a dictatorship until the population matures.

So again, what exactly was it that you thought was wrong with the Soviet Union?

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

You know... (4.00 / 1) (#293)
by Grognard on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:22:37 PM EST

you'll have a very valid point if the US is still occupying Iraq 70+ years from now.

[ Parent ]
Bah (none / 0) (#299)
by marx on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:38:26 PM EST

In the 40s and 50s, what was wrong with the Soviet Union? It obviously could not implement democracy safely because of the unstable situation in the world, so what exactly was wrong with it? Why did McCharthyism happen?

I think I am starting to realize something which makes me a bit sick. The Soviet Union was never hated or criticized by the US because of its totalitarianism or brutality, it was only because of its communal ownership policies. Totalitarianism is actually considered to be pretty ok by the US. See Pinochet for example.

So all this talk about freedom and democracy has always been bullshit. It's always been about business opportunity.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Absolutely (none / 0) (#316)
by Grognard on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:07:05 PM EST

that's why we so heartily embraced the Fascist powers - they being fellow corporatists and all.  What's a little genocide as long as trade flows.

The Soviet Union couldn't implement democracy in the 50's (or any time after that) simply because it wasn't in the interests of those running the show.  You see, "Soviet communal ownership policies" translated to the party apparatus saying "the government owns things, not individuals and since we are the government, everything is ours"


[ Parent ]

Eh? (none / 0) (#337)
by marx on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:59:16 PM EST

That's why we so heartily embraced the Fascist powers - they being fellow corporatists and all. What's a little genocide as long as trade flows.
Was this supposed to be funny? The only fascist power the USA has opposed was during WWII, and that was after a direct attack on US soil.

Afterwards, the USA has supported and helped to power a long string of fascist governments, Pinochet's being a prime example. The genocidal attacks perpetrated by Saddam were committed during the period of US support, and were unopposed by the USA.

The Soviet Union couldn't implement democracy in the 50's (or any time after that) simply because it wasn't in the interests of those running the show.
That wasn't my question though. Since totalitarianism and brutality is acceptable for the USA, why did it oppose the Soviet Union?

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

There's a question here? (none / 0) (#362)
by Grognard on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:27:15 PM EST

The Soviet Union was never hated or criticized by the US because of its totalitarianism or brutality, it was only because of its communal ownership policies.

Saying that totalitarianism and brutality is acceptable to the US is stretching things.  The US did have some rather dodgy allies during the cold war, but making deals with the devil (or at least what is perceived as the lesser of two evils, eg. US with Stalin during WWII) has a long history.  When faced with a threat, temporarily overriding distaste may be necessary.

[ Parent ]

Finish the sentiment, please (none / 0) (#462)
by A Trickster Imp on Sat May 17, 2003 at 10:48:28 AM EST

You left out the finish to your sentence.

> [like] Stalin, Mao, Castro. The people are not
> ready to handle the responsibilities of
> democracy, so it's better to have a
> dictatorship until the population matures.

...with, umm, me as the dictator.  See?  We're here in the Name of the People!

Ironically, we did the "right" thing with Castro.  We refused to support the new dictator.  So he goes Communist.  Last time we fall for that one.  If they're gonna be a thug anyway...

[ Parent ]

god damnit (3.11 / 9) (#211)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:32:27 AM EST

that is what happens when you have the millitary running things. the millitary is not a democracy so why would they have any idea on how to run one or police one?

we need civilian police over there training the new Iraq police force and we need civilians making the decisions.

there is a reason that the millitary cannot conduct millitary operations on our cities and there is a reason that civilians are in charge at the top. we need more civilian control over the situation so shit like this doee not keep happening.

Japan 1946 --> Iraq 2003 (4.80 / 15) (#235)
by idiot boy on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:25:39 AM EST

There is an interesting comparison to be made between the US occupation force that operated Japan after WWII and that in Iraq today.

At the beginning of the occupation of Japan, the US encouraged wholeheartedly, the creation of newspapers, trade unions, political parties and actively pushed for the Japanese people to become politicised.

At first, they made a strong show of ensuring that those who ran the old regime did not take power in the new Japan.

Sadly for the US however, the result was the emergence of a militant and fast growing far left in the country. General Strikes and calls for revolution (albeit the latter were distinctly less popular than striking for both economic and political aims) made sure that the US began to fear the prospect of communism far more than that of a slightly less democratic than hoped for Japan.

As a result, the left was (fairly strongly) suppressed (newspapers shut down, some TUs and PPs banned - I think, it's been seven years since I read this stuff) and a constitution was adopted that conformed pretty closely to the desires of the right (and far right remnants of the war time fascist regime). The result was government that was to all intents and purposes run by the same bureaucrats that ran Japan during the war with figureheads from a "modern" Japan. The power of such elements was cemented over the years into entities such as MITI which had far more power over the economy than the government.

The other side of this was the co-option of the majority of the Japanese workforce behind the new workplace unions and "seniority deals" whereby workers earned more each year they worked for their firm. This is the sort of stuff that's killing the Japanese economy today but which enabled it to achieve the meteoric growth rates that it did in the 50s and 60s.

All in all though, it's difficult to argue that the end result of the US' fiddling didn't benefit the Japanese people greatly. They didn't end up with the most free country in the world but they certainly got one of the most stable. At least until quite recently.....

Either way, what does this mean for Iraq. I wonder if we won't see much of the old regime back in power. We're already seeing in the return of the police force and we're likely to see it in the Civil Service also. The heads of government will be different (perhaps even Islamist) but the levers of government will be elsewhere. In effect, they'll possiby end up with the only people in Iraq who have any experience with dealing with them.

It seems to me that in Iraq, the lessons of Japan are being learned a lot faster. The initial anarchy is getting stamped on pretty sharpish and total freedom of expression is being curtailed in favour of a lesser version of the curtailed freedom of speach that we have in the west.

In Japan, it meant that a lot of war criminals got off scot free. It might mean the same in Iraq.

Is that worth it if the end result is a generally free, democratic and enriched Iraq?

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

MITI (4.00 / 1) (#352)
by grouse on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:29:23 PM EST

The power of such elements was cemented over the years into entities such as MITI which had far more power over the economy than the government.

MITI is part of the Japanese government.

You sad bastard!

"Grouse please don't take this the wrong way... To be quite frank, you are throwing my inner Chi out of its harmonious balance with nature." -- Tex Bigballs
[ Parent ]

Sigh (4.66 / 3) (#359)
by idiot boy on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:19:07 PM EST

For Government, read Executive.

MITI is part of the Civil Service. It's composition does not change significantly between governments.

--
Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself
[ Parent ]

Professor compares Means with Ghandi (4.00 / 7) (#236)
by Jozefs on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:53:51 AM EST

Read what a Boulder, Colorado professor of religious studies has to say about the courageous act of Major Charmaine Means.

- "It is important to be certain, especially if you're wrong." - Kinky Friedman
Lunatic compares Means with Christ! (5.00 / 1) (#322)
by duffbeer703 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:15:01 PM EST

Can't find the link.

[ Parent ]
Poll results (3.71 / 7) (#238)
by Aimaz on Fri May 16, 2003 at 06:22:47 AM EST

I'm glad to see that majority of people said that seh right to do as she did. However I am somewhat perplexed to how anyone, let alone the current 25%, could say that all orders should be obeyed. All authority should be questioned, if after questioning it you wish to agree with it, then it is legitimised and better understood.

Granted in act-or-die situations in conflict it is probably best you act without questioning otherwise your questioning time might be enough to get you shot, but this isn't a situation like that so the questioning and independent thought is valid.

Aimaz

Actualty (5.00 / 2) (#283)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 11:45:20 AM EST

The Poll isn't very good because it is missing the most relevent answer:

"The major should have followed the order regardless of how she personaly felt about it because it was a LEGAL order and as a millitary officer she is required to follow all LEGAL orders"

They order may (or may not) have been wrong headed. It certainly violates ideals for which our nation is supposed to stand. It certainly turned into a SNAFU but it was a completely LEGAL order and even (I would argue) a moraly neutral one, given a state of martial law.

The LEGALITY of a millitary order is determined in only one place... The Uniform Code of Millitary Justice. That Code defines what orders are legal and what ones aren't. It does contain prohibitions against most of the things we would find as egregious behavior (i.e. purposefully shooting non-combatants). A soldier can lawfully disobey any order which violates the Uniform Code of Millitary Justice (in fact they are required to) but they may NOT refuse to carry out an order which is legal.

Now there is absolutely nothing in that Code about shutting down broadcasting stations (or Freedom of Speech for that matter). The major was right to question the order (because it WAS against the ideals which we are supposed to represent, not to mention being a PR nightmare) however she was wrong to REFUSE to carry it out...because the decision wasn't hers to make.

Imagine a situation where your boss tells you not to give a customer a refund. Now you may think it's a stupid decision. You may think the customer is due a refund. You may even think it violates the principles on which your company is founded. However, if you refuse to follow your bosses orders you should expect to be replaced. That's because it's your boss that bears the ultimate responsibilty for the consequences of the decision...therefore they're the ones who get to make the call. This situation is really no different then that.

[ Parent ]

Who's law are soldiers enforcing? (4.00 / 4) (#243)
by slaida1 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 07:45:00 AM EST

Soldiers on foreign soil, friendly or hostile, act on given orders but I'm baffled about what laws, if any, are their superiors following?

We're seeing that it isn't US law because "freedom-to-whatever doesn't apply to outsiders", it isn't international law since US is disregarding that (Quantanamo) and it surely isn't Iraq law. So who's law, even if it's martial law, are they following?

I can't understand anything about international laws or politics anymore unless it's a clear case of strongest participant dictates the rules.

Should we follow the example of US govt in our daily lives, adopt their morals and justifications to guide our personal choices and actions? OR are they operating on some different level of existence where necessities and duties come before morals?

I'm getting the feeling that we (ordinary people) don't see the real political decisionmaking about important stuff, only rhetorics and things of small importance. And when/if someone in-the-know visits these forums, read these wonderings, he/she is under oath/NDA and can't tell anything.

Other explantion would be that there is no secret politics, but decisions are made on reasons pulled out of thin air.

BTW, have you ever been frustrated about filling forms and posting seemingly useless papers around just to get simple things done? Have you thought that we all, even officials at govt are just as frustrated about it and would like to cut corners here and there to make things go more smoothly? When laws make things complicated and there's easier way to go (lobbyists, sponsoring, donations, etc.) wouldn't anyone do the same thing and support the system (by using it, making demand for it) which conveniently sidesteps the hard bits? Wouldn't there inevitably grow these new more powerful ways to do things "behind the scenes" wherever adequate auditing doesn't exist?

Isn't it more than possible that there is two fronts of action in every political system: the public one and "behind the scenes" and because publically one must strictly follow rules, the BTS-way increasingly gains power until all real action happens BTS? You know, "national security" and stuff?

Martial Law (5.00 / 2) (#276)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 11:10:27 AM EST

Martial Law is precisely the suspension of normal civilian laws during states of emergency. It a pretty extreme situation intended to be used to restore order and of very limited duration.

Given the fact that Iraq currently has no civilian givernment and was an active war zone just a few weeks ago, I don't think Martial Law is out of line for Iraq for the moment. Hopefully they'll be able to put together thier own civilian government very soon and we'll relinquish control. We have stated that is our intention. In fact the recent apointment of a State Dept. official as interim governer of Iraq, replacing Gen. Garner is probably a positive step in that direction.

Under martial law, the only "law" (as you put it)that is followed are the orders of the millitary command as directed by the President and governed by the Uniform Code of Millitary Justice. Regular Constitutional protections don't apply (wouldn't even if it WERE U.S. territory) and we don't actualy recognize the authority of "international law" beyond a few Conventions to which we are a signatory.

It's pretty harsh, but it's designed to be. It is intended for major emergencies, not every day use.
It's why there is difference between our millitary (whose mission is to win conflicts not enforce laws) and our police (whose mission is to enforce laws not win conflicts).

The millitary is lousy at law enforcement. It is SUPPOSED to be lousy at law enforcement. It isn't trained for it, it isn't equiped for it... that's not it's mission. Likewise the police are lousy at armed conflict, they aren't trained or equiped for that.. it's not thier mission.

In fact the methods one has to use to be effective at the 2 respective missions are mutualy exclusive. You try to deal with an armed conflict situation in the same manor you would a law enforcement situation and you'll get your arse handed to you.

Unfortunately, far too often the millitary has gotten shoe horned into law enforcement situations. The fact that they end up being a little heavy handed really isn't thier fault... they're supposed to be heavy handed. It's the fault of public policy for assigning missions to the millitary which it isn't designed to handle.

Think of the millitary as a big nasty Rottwieler. You keep it chained up until your life is threatened, then you release it as a last resort because you've got no choice. You're relying on it to be as vicious and deadly as it possibly can because if it's not then you might end up dead.

You can't really blame the Rottwieler if you tell it to herd sheep (even ones with fangs) and it ends up mauling a couple while trying to do so.


[ Parent ]

To all those who are pointing out.... (3.85 / 7) (#254)
by MickLinux on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:15:48 AM EST

To all those who are pointing out that Iraqi citizens are not American citizens, I would like to respectfully point out that blacks are not whites are not Oriental are not American Indians are not South Sea Islanders.

There are just too many posts about that, for me to be able to post under one.

Constitutionally speaking, she may not have strong support, especially for those who are strict constructionists [though we would never have been in the war if we had kept to strict constructionism.  I love the way a person can flip between one side and another in a discussion, and the same goes for governments with regard to freedoms.]

And both international law and the war crimes court won't apply until such time as the US loses on its own soil, at which point US soldiers who "just followed orders" will be liable to the death penalty under international law.

Before that point, US soldiers who just say no are liable to the death penalty under American law.

Does anyone, besides me, see that something in our structure of law is just slightly disordered?  I'm not going to say what right here and now, but at the moment it looks to me like the best answer, for those who want to survive, is "stay out of the army."

For those who are better than that, and in the US Army, follow your conscience and your morals as you see them, and hope that those in our Army's power structure will see them, and value them enough to spare your life.

That said, our heroine definitely was upholding the spirit of the US Constitution, and to me that is far better than upholding the Army of the US Constition.  Even if, especially if, she was in the Army.

If feel like I'm having an out-of-body experience, and you're looking right at me.

Bill Rights never mentions "citizen" (5.00 / 1) (#291)
by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:20:19 PM EST

A point: The 1st Amendment limits what the U.S. government can do to *ANYBODY*, citizen or not. The word "citizen" is mentioned not at all in the 1st Amendment -- nor, indeed, anywhere else in the Bill of Rights.

Indeed, the Bill of Rights is not a list of rights (it even says so, in the 9th Amendment). The founders of this nation believed that all rights were granted by the Creator and were inherent in Man, rather than being something granted by Man. The Bill of Rights is, rather, a list of restrictions upon what government can do regarding those rights granted by the Creator.
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

The drawbacks of a military government (3.42 / 7) (#259)
by karb on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:25:40 AM EST

Military priorities (roughly) :
  1. Honor the geneva convention.
  2. Protect yourself and your fellows.
  3. Protect iraqi people.
  4. Protect order.
  5. Protect rights of the iraqi people.
Police priorities (roughly) :
  1. Protect the people.
  2. Protect the rights of the people.
  3. Protect order.
  4. protect yourself and your fellows.
That's why civilian governments are superior. That's also why we have soldiers fight wars. Each set of priorities is necessary for the military and police, respectively, to do their jobs. A military unit which forgets these priorities puts itself in severe danger. If those actions do not put a military unit in danger, then their presence is irrelevant.

Unfortunately, at the moment, iraq has a military government out of necessity ... the groundwork for a civilian government will take time, and there is still significant threat. Until that civilian government takes control it is reasonable to expect the military to follow their own list of priorities.

And, on a totally different note, it's probably nobler to deny the iraqis a totally free press for a year or two if it keeps them from attacking you, which typically doesn't end happily for them. When american troops are out of the country (hopefully very soon), they can watch the al-kill-america channel, for all I care ... and if they have a free press, I'm sure they'll end up with something like that.
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?

tell that to the LAPD... (none / 0) (#284)
by joemorse on Fri May 16, 2003 at 11:55:20 AM EST

...or the SFPD these days (I won't even delve into the NYPD). Cops have become militarized over the past 30 years, and I think their priorities have changed to resemble more closely the military's. At least in the US. Many countries (e.g. Italy) have both police and paramilitaries (in Italy, they're called the Carabinieri). I wonder how blurred the lines are there. One would hope that the paramilitary is called in only as a last resort (like SWAT in the USA).

Now let's you just drop them pants!
       -Don Job, from Deliverance
[ Parent ]
Flawed logic... (5.00 / 1) (#319)
by duffbeer703 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:12:20 PM EST

There is a big difference between a warzone and a nation at peace.

When a country is in a state of anarchy, other priorities supercede certain rights. A democratic civil government can succeed only in an environment of security and order.

A simple example of this would be the Roman Republic. During times of peace, the democratic (by the standards of the day) Senate ruled Rome. During a crisis, a dictator with absolute authority was elected for a 3-year term.

Modern republics have moved to various executive-legislative-judicial models to avoid the obvious problems inherent in the Roman model.

[ Parent ]

This on the front page? What a disgrace. (4.00 / 20) (#263)
by duffbeer703 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:42:00 AM EST

This "story" is nearly as absurd as the Iraqi Information Minister predicting the imminent demise of US forces as US tanks were rolling into Baghdad.

If you want to critize the policy of the current martial law administrators, do so... but spinning this into some vast US conspiracy to kill all journalists and put Al-Jazeera out of business turns this story into yet another K5 front-page troll.

Its likely that the rebroadcast of Al-Jazeera brought the other programming on the station (ie political propaganda of an Iraqi militia leader) to the attention of the commander of the 101st Airborne.

Major Means disobeyed a lawful order, and will soon get booted out of the Army, which is a good thing for the soldiers who had to serve under her command.

You Go Girl! (5.00 / 2) (#265)
by bobzibub on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:04:28 AM EST

Her court martial will be interesting...
I'd bet that a good case could be made that she was upholding international law.  

What are the chances for Iraqi democracy if they won't even let Al-Jazeera broadcast -- mainstream news media in the Arab world?

What Iraqi militia leader?  

Well, thank God the oil is secure!  ; )

-b


[ Parent ]

This has nothing to do with free speech (3.66 / 3) (#275)
by DDS3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 11:04:21 AM EST

Ya, you should wouldn't want a major source of conflict and insurrection taken off the air.  This is pretty much the same thing as what we do here.  People that attempt to insite a riot are arrested.  If it's on the air, it's taken off.  This has nothing to do with free speech.  It has everything to do with establishing a safe environment for both the Iraqie people and the soldiers that are there.  Thankfully that stupid person was relieved of her command and will be booted from the military.

I have no doubt that once a stable government is in place, the Iraqie people will be free to listen to that BS, total propaganda channel, all they want.  In the mean time, it only serves to add fuel to the fire.  Not a good thing when you're trying to establish law and order.

[ Parent ]

Try reading the article.... (none / 0) (#310)
by duffbeer703 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:56:54 PM EST

If you had actually read the article, instead of relying on the shitty interpretation of whomever wrote the K5 story, you'd know that some Iraqi Shite or Kurd militia general was using this TV station as a propaganda platform.

Also, there is no international law regarding taking a television station off the air.

[ Parent ]

Try a bit of reading yourself, there (none / 0) (#451)
by Homburg on Sat May 17, 2003 at 06:46:56 AM EST

From the WSJ article:
The officers said they were particularly incensed that the military had allowed the Iraqi militia leader, Meshaam Jabori, to broadcast political messages for weeks without interference, only to seize it Wednesday after it occasionally showed al-Jazeera programming.
Leaving aside the question of whether it would have been legitimate for the US military to stop someone broadcasting political messages, the article makes clear that the objection was to al-Jazeera, not to the militia leader.

[ Parent ]
-1 Flamebait (4.05 / 17) (#266)
by Silent Chris on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:07:24 AM EST

Before you mod me into oblivion, recognize this: I'm not going to question the validity of this article, but I will recognize it is no better than the propaganda and posturing the right spouts.  It is here to rile, with little facts, a lot of unnecessary emotion ("pleased to report"?) and no validation.

Doesn't Jive (3.70 / 10) (#269)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:25:44 AM EST

I'll ignore most of the obvious bias/inaccuracy in your post and simply comment on the "bombing" of the al-Jazeera station you mentioned.

Firstly it was not thier "station" that got hit but thier offices, and a hotel where some of thier journalists were staying. (2 seperate incidents)

While al-Jazeera (not surprisingly) has "claimed" there were no valid millitary targets in the area, the U.S. millitary has maintained that it believes there was, but is investigating the incident anyway to determine the facts.

It's true that both locations were in areas that didn't have FIXED millitary targets nearby... but that's the funny thing about conflicts, millitary targets MOVE (precisely because they don't want to be where everyone knows they are). As an aside the hotel itself wasn't actualy hit by a missle it was shelled by a tank.

None of this actualy jives with what happaned to Iraqi state TV during the war. Which we DID, eventualy deliberately target. However, we avoided targeting it and let it broadcast for a considerably long time (people were actualy complaining about it) because we KNEW that non-combatants were being kept at the location.

We eventualy did target it and take it out (after a couple of tries) but it was even rumored that we first tried (unsuccessfully) to hit it with an experimental EMP weapon. I don't know if that's true but the point is that the U.S. millitary (and the Brits) bend over backwards in an attempt to AVOID uneccesary civilian casualties.... at considerable risk to themselves.

Now if you maintain the situation is different lets see some evidence presented by a neutral investigatory agency.

There is film footage, my friend. (1.33 / 3) (#301)
by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:44:00 PM EST

There is film footage of the attack upon the journalists in the Palestine Hotel. It has been shown all over Europe, but, mysteriously, has never been shown by any American "news" (propoganda) media. It shows a tank. All is quiet -- there is no gunfire anywhere. The tank turns its turret towards the Palestine hotel. The gun moves up and down, as if seeking something. Then there is a loud 'boom' as the gun fires.

The film ends then, because the cannon shell blew up the cameraman.

The U.S. military first said that they came under fire from the roof of the hotel. But a Reuters photographer and his team were on the roof of the hotel, and said that there was nobody up there but themselves. The U.S. military then said that they were under attack, and thought there was a spotter in the hotel. But the film shows that there was no attack -- the tank was sitting there with its cannon pointed at the bridge, not a gunshot to be heard both on the film and by the journalists on the ground, until its turret moved towards the hotel and it opened fire. The U.S. military then says "the event is under investigation".

Lies. We are lied to by our military. Twice, in this case, twice, my friend. And nobody gives a shit, and nobody cares, because to care would require asking hard questions about our nation and our leaders and our complicity in their crimes. No no, far better to sooth ourselves with lies, for truth is cold, and hard, and tells us things we'd rather not know about ourselves and those around us.
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You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

Selective (3.50 / 2) (#325)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:22:42 PM EST

Just like the film that showed the Rodney King beating over and over again.... what it neglected to show was the few minutes (also caught on film) of King violently attacking the police BEFORE they started beating him.

Now I've actualy seen the film of the hotel incident (Yes, in the U.S.) and it is short enough that you don't really know what happaned a little BEFORE the camera started rolling.

Now snipers DON'T FIRE CONTINIOUSLY. If they did they'd be dead meat in short order since it'd give away thier position. They usualy fire once and then wait some time until the enemy is no longer as alert before firing again. If they have the opportunity then they even shift position in between shots.

Now a spotter wouldn't fire at all, they'd wait until they had a good target and then radio for artillery. Normaly a single spotting round would be fired first and then adjusted before firing for effect (although our artillery tech is a little more advanced and we don't always need this).

Now, I don't know whether a spotter or sniper was present and neither do you. You're just engaging in propaganda conspiracy theories. There is an investigation under way, lets see what it turns up.

What I do know is that if the millitary really intentionaly targeted that hotel then they did it in a manor which was far BELOW thier capabilities.

If they really wanted to target the hotel it wouldn't be a single tank firing a shell.
You'd have someone quietly paint the hotel with laser target. You'd have a battery of artillery (or high altitude guided air munitions) open up on that target, timing thier shots to all land at once. The hotel would be completely leveled, no survivors, no evidence. Then afterwards you'd have them fly reporters out to take a look at a couple of slagged Iraqi artillery pieces 10-15 miles away from the site and noone would ever be the wiser. If our millitary really was what you say it is, that is exactly what would happen. If I'm smart enough to think that up, you can bet the millitary is.

Heck, you wouldn't even need to go through all that bother... just have a couple demo experts walk into the hotel in native garb with a couple backpacks full of C4... plant it underneath the room you wanted to target...and boom. Headline... "Suicide Bombing in Bahgdad, news at 11".

[ Parent ]

The film was longer than what you saw (none / 0) (#357)
by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:02:33 PM EST

And besides, I am not the person who says that the U.S. tank deliberately targeted journalists. I am the person who says that the U.S. military lied -- at least once, anyhow. It may well have been a case of a guy on the tank looking around, seeing a glint off the cameraman's camera lens, and deciding that it was a spotter... if so, well, mistakes happen in wartime. Big whoop. But don't *LIE* about it and claim to be under fire at the time, or claim that there was a sniper on the roof of the hotel, for cryin' out loud! Now *NOBODY* will believe the military when they trot out yet another story -- even if it's the truth -- under the "fool me once... fool me twice..." principle. Honesty is always the best policy in these kinds of things -- unless it really *was* a conspiracy to "get" the journalists.

BTW, while I do not personally believe that the journalists at the Palestine Hotel were specifically targeted by the American soldiers, I have a strong suspicion that al Jazeera's offices were specifically targeted, this suspicion being based around the fact that its generator and antenna tower appear to be what was specifically targeted by the fighter jet that attacked it. Before the war, the Pentagon warned independent journalist that their transmissions were likely to be bombed when the U.S. decided to take out the Iraqi transmitter facilities. The bombing of the al Jazeera office happened just as the transmitter went live for a live report from the reporter on the roof about the situation in Baghdad, only moments after a British journalist had done a (taped) interview at those very offices and left (hearing no sniper fire or anything BTW).... and again, y'know, sh*t happens. One transmitter looks pretty much like another when you're bombing every transmitter you can get a lock onto.

But for cryin' out loud don't *LIE* about it and say that the building was bombed because it was being used by combatants! It wasn't -- we have a half dozen reputable journalists who will report otherwise, if anybody cared on this side of the atlantic.

Really, I don't even understand the PURPOSE of all these lies we've been hearing from the military and from the Bush administration. Sh*t happens in war. Everybody knows that, especially when you're dealing with tired GI's who haven't slept in three days. Why lie and invent mythical snipers or mythical artillery fire in order to justify a mistake? Why not just say "Oops, we made a mistake" and move on? All I can think is that lying is so engrained in the Bush Administration that they lie reflexively and automatically, even when it's not necessary. Even Richard Nixon lied only when he felt it necessary to protect his buns (e.g. his famous "I am not a crook" statement). But the Bushies appear to be less scrupulous than Richard Nixon. Which is scary, when you think about it.
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

What makes it a lie? (none / 0) (#381)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 06:07:23 PM EST

Firstly, did the millitary claim that position came under sniper or artillery fire or did they merely claim they believed there was a sniper or spotter in the building? I honestly don't know, so you tell me.

Certainly some-one with a zoom lens could be mistaken for a sniper or a spotter.

Secondly how do you know there wasn't a sniper or spotter in the building?

How do you know that the millitaries position hadn't come under sniper fire?

Exactly how long was the tape rolling for before the segment shown and what did it show?

What was the sound quality like? Are you even certain that the recording would even pick up the report of a sniper rifle (presumably with a muzzle break) if it had come from some other direction.

How do you know the reporters were actualy telling the truth?

From my own personal experience with reporters I'm not willing to give them greater credability then the millitary.

It seems to me like you are making an assumption that the millitary is lying.

My take is, that the millitary said it thaught there was a sniper or spotter in the building... that was the reason for the incident. It's not really sure that's the case however and it's conducting an investigation. Given the kind of chaos that does ensue in a war zone, I'm not surprised the millitary is a little confused about what happaned. No need to attribute that to falsehoods or sinister motives.

[ Parent ]

Military said that tank was under fire (none / 0) (#383)
by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 06:23:12 PM EST

The original statement of the military was that the tank was under fire from the hotel, and returned fire upon the hotel. The original statement of the military was that the tank came under fire from the roof of the hotel and returned fire.

Then reporters pointed out that the roof of the hotel was a long ways away from where the shell hit the hotel. Then the story changed to the tank being under fire from mortars, and taking out a spotter who was spotting for the mortar fire.

Then the film, which runs for several minutes prior to the little exerpt that you apparently saw, shows that there is no mortar fire, only quiet.

Then the military line changes to "The incident is under investigation", with no further details. Which is what it should have been to begin with, intead of the Pentagon lying *TWICE*.

Like you, I know that sh*t happens in war. Like you, I don't believe that journalists in the Palestine Hotel were specifically targeted. (On the other hand, I *DO* believe that the al Jazeera transmitter was specifically targeted, though no more so than any other transmission facility in Baghdad at the time, as orders had come down the chain to shut down Saddam's radio network -- and one transmitter looks pretty much like any other at Mach 0.9). I don't have any problems with actual U.S. military actions here. From all accounts, our forces performed exactly as they were trained to perform, and they had already issued a warning about targeting transmitters, so it isn't as if al Jazeera hadn't been warned that using a transmitter in Baghdad on that day was a risky business.

What irritates me are the *LIES* -- and about inconsequential things, no less, things where the truth would be no more harmful to the U.S. interests than the lies! It hurts the credibility of the United States, and makes others less likely to believe any other statements coming out of the Pentagon. And insofar as that leads to U.S. troops getting killed in the future, that's a big deal indeed.
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

Fog of war reporting (5.00 / 1) (#461)
by A Trickster Imp on Sat May 17, 2003 at 10:41:37 AM EST

> The original statement of the military was that
> the tank was under fire from the hotel, and
> returned fire upon the hotel.

Jessica Lynch was shot to cause her broken bones, then they weren't from shots, then they were again.  Don't assume sinister intent on the first few releases.  A brief "We thought we were being shot at." can go a long, long way as it is passed up the chain and broadcast around the world.

[ Parent ]

Doh. (none / 0) (#580)
by Anonymous Hiro on Wed May 21, 2003 at 12:35:16 PM EST

Fog of war? That's a poor excuse you're making for the military.

Staying silent or saying you're not sure is better then telling lies.

Staying silent or saying you're not sure is better than accidentally spilling the beans.

They lied. Bush lied (what happened to his hard evidence of tons of WMD? What's with the "Iraq and 9/11" in one breath). And they're all getting away with it, with all the jingoistic US media and press cheering them on, making it particularly galling. And the US sheeple are just going BaaaBaaa.

Look many of us would rather be on the US's side - largest economy, most powerful etc. But you guys are making it really hard, and worse - we don't even know why you did it - the story has changed from WMD to liberate Iraq, not that I found any of the excuses given believable in the first place.

[ Parent ]

Well, I live in the US and I've seen it (none / 0) (#332)
by Jennifer Ever on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:49:51 PM EST

On US stations, even.

[ Parent ]
Oooooh! Those evil Americans! How I hate 'em! (none / 0) (#460)
by A Trickster Imp on Sat May 17, 2003 at 10:35:39 AM EST

Golly!  They must have been firing for no reason, or to shut those danged journalists up!

I can see the rabid worldviews buttressing inside the minds of those whose hate for America is so great anything that remotely supports it is greeted not just with credulity, but outright joy.

It never occurs to anyone that maybe some Iraqis were shooting out of the hotel, then ran away, just as they did with, oh, I don't know, dozens of mosques and schools and so on, hoping the US would fire back so it could get plastered nonstop on a loop on Al Jazeera for the next 36 hours?

[ Parent ]

It's just one farce... (2.28 / 7) (#278)
by DodgyGeezer on Fri May 16, 2003 at 11:18:43 AM EST

... after another.

After what happened in Afghanistan when that wedding was bombed, I don't know why people are surprised nor why they were so naive to carry on trusting what comes out of the mouths of the American administration.

For those who don't remember: it seems the US bombed a wedding in Afghanistan, and then sent soldiers within hours to destroy the evidence.  Apparently they tied up the women, etc whilst they cleaned up the blood other bits of evidence.  The UN report on this some how never got released.


Whiners never quit, nor win. (2.12 / 8) (#288)
by StrifeZ on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:11:17 PM EST

Wah! Wah! Wah! Cry! Cry! Cry!

We're not perfect. We make mistakes. We bomb a few innocent people. Live with it. This is war, not Warcraft III.

If you want us to be monsters, and we actually were you wouldnt be typing. We used 5.5% of our military might by most estimates in Iraq. But we're American. We're not monsters. We're the good guys. We fight for defenseless people who can't stand up for themselves while the rest of the world cowers in fear of "risk". I mean, the US has been a frontier nation since its founding, both litterally and technologically. While we are no longer a physical frontier, we are always on the technological frontier, producing over 51% of the world's R&D annually. We thrive on risk. Everyone one else worries about consequences.

We're far more lethal.

We fought the war. We won. Get over it. We're nation building and all your whining in the world doesn't matter because no one cares. At the end of the day, we're going to do it anyway and make Iraq a better place. Afghanistan certainly has its problems, but its getting better by the day and is far better than what the New York times would have you believe. There was a show on TV a week ago about Afghanistan and it interviewed some poor Afghan family in a remote villiage. They said that times are tough, but since the Americans came, they've had more food and money and hope than they've had in memory. Critisize it about its pace all you want, but its not as bad as the NYT pretends it to be for their own partisan purposes.

While you whine, talk about how "war sux" and how to configure lunix servers, or if I should code program X in C++ or Java, people with, you know, actual life experience are getting shot at over in Iraq trying to make the lives of strangers better.

People who live in the uniform are true heroes. This Kuro5hin stuff is pure nonsense.

That is why freedom of speech and democracy is great... it allows assholes to speak their mind.


KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
[ Parent ]
Apologists for tyranny never quit (2.71 / 7) (#298)
by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:37:14 PM EST

It's always one excuse after another for the misbehavior of the Busheviks and their illegal unelected criminal regime, a regime that has seen the Secretary of Interior repeatedly found guilty of contempt of court for lying to the courts, the Attorney General regularly cited by the courts for defying court orders, a regime which was selected, not elected, by the Reagan/Bush I majority on the Supreme Court, a regime which is fundamentally anti-American and anti-Republican with its wars of foreign conquest and the economic devestation that it is wrecking upon ordinary Americans in order to enrich the unelected plutocrats behind the Bushevik regime...

I pity little tools like you, who are ignorant and know nothing that you did not learn from Fox TV or Hate Radio. But I do not respect you. You are an apologist for evil, and apologists for evil get the same respect from me that any other filth gets.
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

A few things. (3.00 / 5) (#313)
by StrifeZ on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:02:50 PM EST

Sweet jesus... where to start.

Bush won. By Constitutional rules, it is the electoral collage that counts, not the popular vote. If I have to explain why this matter, then you wouldnt get it. But I will say that if you did away with the electoral collage, it would make the problem of Presidential Campagining in only the most populated states far worse. The Electoral Collage was devised by the framers to provide a fair compromise between the popular vote and the "informed" opinion because they realized how dangerous mob mentality could be. It has stood for 227 years. It will stand for another 227. Under the law, Bush won. Live with it.

I don't like Ashcroft. Few people do. But so?

Regime. Wow, you really actually believe the pure nonsense you're spewing.

Dont critisize Reagan. He gave this country its confidence back after Carter, for the first and only time in American History, actually managed to make the American people think that the best days were BEHIND them. Do you have any idea how nightmarish that is? There was a reason Carter was so pounded in his reelection. He didn't give the American people reason to believe in themselves anymore.

Wars of Forigen Conquest. LOFL. If you want to see conquest, we'll kill every living thing from Egypt to Iran and there would be nothing anyone in the world could do about it. Save your cookie cutter accusations. Lets see. We were attacked on September 11th. 3021 people died, including a few people I know. Thats right. Afghanistan was a real war of forgein conquest. For Iraq, we helped people who can't help themselves.

But I guess for you, Freedom is exclusivly the privy of the Westerner, and not worth fighting for for other people. Call it the counter-white mans burder. I see nothing but international eliteism and racism in what you've been saying. What you've sent me the message is that we shouldn't fight for the freedom of other people. Do I hear you correctly?

Is fighting for freedom for others who cant fight for it themselves wrong? Yes or No. I expect an answer.

The rest is just nonsense. lol


KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
[ Parent ]
Who's the racist? (2.62 / 8) (#323)
by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:17:55 PM EST

You apparently believe that foreigners are too stupid to fight for their own freedom, and need the Great White Father to free them. Gosh, how racist can you get? The people of Russia freed themselves without a single U.S. boot touching their soil. The people of Poland freed themselves without a single U.S. boot touching their soil. The people of Czechoslovakia freed themselves without a single U.S. boot touching their soil. The people of Hungary freed themselves without a single U.S. boot touching their soil. The people of Romania freed themselves without a single U.S. boot touching their soil. But I forget, these are all WHITE people, they're not ignorant darkies like in Iraq, so we have a duty to go free all these ignorant darkies who are too weak and ignorant to free themselves!

Who's the racist, again?
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

Don't put words in my mouth (2.66 / 3) (#331)
by StrifeZ on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:43:40 PM EST

No. I beleive that when people can't fight for freedom themselves because the regimes they live under are so totalitarian (like North Korea, Iran, Zimbabwae and Iraq 2 months ago), we should help them. Where they can help themselves, they should... and we should offer help in setting up institutions. But when the government keeps its own people prisoner, we should fight. Its the right thing to do. Its like a man (the totalitarian government) raping a girl (the populace) in a corer and her crying for help. Who will go help her. During the recent war, only the coalition did, and it killed the man.

At no point did I say Foreingers were too stupid. You fabricated that in an attempt to left hook me, so to speak. Bad job. It doesn't make you right if you put words in my mouth. What I've clearly stated is that when people are so oppressed, we should help them by obliterating the oppressors.

The people of Russia are free, because the United States engaged in a 50 year Cold War which bankrupted their country as they tried to keep up with the US. The US and Soviet Union fought that war against eachother and the Russians are free because we created the conditions by which changes had to be implimented and the old system broke.

But most people call Russia a single party Autocracy these days, anyway. Russia has a long road ahead of it, but its come far.

The Czech Velvet Revolution Occured because the US won the Cold War, allowing the Soviet Union to wither. If there was no Cold War and the Soviet Army remained strong, the Red Army would have crushed the Velvet Revolution. Same with Hungry, Romania, Poland and the rest.

So don't put words in my mouth, and if you're going to TRY to at least do this with me, get your facts right, because i just found hole after hole in your argument up there.

The Iraq people couldnt free themseleves because Saddam had such control over the people. Thats that. It was impossible for them with no weapons and Saddam having such a military that he did. We had to do it. And theres nothing wrong with that.

Its really irrelevant whether you agreed with the war or not, because it happened and the vast majority of Americans are glad it did and are happy with the results.

So live with it.


KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
[ Parent ]
So who appointed you as God? (3.00 / 4) (#382)
by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 06:12:57 PM EST

You're a typical ignorant, self-centered American who knows nothing about the world beyond his shallow self-satisfied little world. All you know how to do is attack those who disagree with you by giving them low comment ratings and calling them "racists", when in fact it is you who are the racist -- you believe that Americans are the "master race" and the "Chosen People" who have been chosen by God to embark upon a crusade to free the world, whether or not by God they want to be freed or not.

You wish to spend American gold and American blood on wars of conquest to free peoples who are perfectly capable of freeing themselves -- then you deny that they are capable of freeing themselves. After all, they're just ignorant darkies, they're not perfect, God-like Americans, no no, the Russians could free themselves because they're white people, but those darkies in Iraq and Iran and North Korea and, uhm, CUBA, yeah, that island 50 miles offshore? Why, they're just not capable enough to free themselves.

Then you deny that you're a racist.

You are either a fool, delusional, or a totally propoganda-fed tool of forces that, in reality, care nothing for the values that made America great, but, rather, care only about one thing: The looting of the wealth of nations for the benefit of a Party elite.
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

they didn't kill the man ... (none / 0) (#529)
by drgonzo on Mon May 19, 2003 at 09:15:47 AM EST

he took all the money from the girl and lives now a happy life (maby chilling out with bin laden on a nice beach ...)
while you killed a lot of inocent bystanders and procedet to take over the water sources of the neighborhood ...

oh and when are you going to free those poor ppl in North Korea, Iran, Zimbabwae ... ?

and do you understand with 'free them' to put an non-democratic regime instead of the previous one?

so long

[ Parent ]

Ehhh (none / 0) (#459)
by A Trickster Imp on Sat May 17, 2003 at 10:27:45 AM EST

> The people of Russia freed themselves without a
> single U.S. boot touching their soil.

And with a thousand well-armed bruisers standing around, bumping into them every time they left their post-WWII borders, saying, "Hey, you goin' somewhere?"  They couldn't keep up, enough is enough, and seeing Iraq pounded through the floor in GWI was the final nail in the old Soviet government.

As for the other European countries, god knows how much the US spent screwing around with their regimes covertly.

As for Iraq, freeing them was a pleasant side effect of protecting ourselves from WMD and terrorism.  In case no one is paying attention to history, strong, iron-fisted rulers happen to remain in control until they die.  This could have been another 20 years or more for Iraq.

No one seriously doubts the number of Iraqis killed by Saddam (to say nothing of maimings and tortures) would exceed the number of civilians killed in GWII by several orders of magnitude.

If I were being held hostage along with 25 million of my closest friends, and someone said, hey, we'll free you, but you'll take a 1/5000 chance of getting killed, and some ass like you came along and said, NO, YOU CAN'T FREE THEM!, I'd punch you right in the nose.  Free me.  Thanks, US.  Saddam lovers, eat me.

[ Parent ]

Then stop whining. (5.00 / 2) (#385)
by Amesha Spentas on Fri May 16, 2003 at 06:41:42 PM EST

"Wah! Wah! Wah! Cry! Cry! Cry! We're not perfect. We make mistakes. We bomb a few innocent people. Live with it. This is war, not Warcraft III.

You know, I heard a lot of this after 9/11, from people like you. "Look at all the innocent people who were killed by those Evil Arabs. How could they do something so evil, so vile?" Then you turn around and say, "We bomb a few innocent people. Live with it." Well obviously they are not living with it, because they are dead. But their relatives are remembering it, living with it. These are the people that have declared war on the US. Because they know that they cannot win with a direct confrontation they have resorted to terrorism. You had better believe that if Al Qaeda had "Stealth Bombers" and "Smart Bombs" they would be using them. Instead they have "Stealth terrorists" and "Human guided bombs" and they like you believe that if "We bomb a few innocent people. Live with it. This is war".

Let me explain something to you. What Bush has done will not make America more secure. It may make America more powerful, but the people who will enjoy that power will not share it with you. The people who will pay to make America more powerful will be you, your family, your friends and any who believe like you. You will pay with your lives, with your children's lives and still you will not know the security your grandparents had. They, who lived before WWII; Could decide to join in a war if they felt it was worth the price in lives that they would have to pay for it. Now we have wars that our president says we must fight for our security. But fear not, America has gotten so powerful that no army can hold out against us for longer than a month, and yet they are a threat so great that if we do not destroy them now they will kill/hurt/insult us.

Let me make this argument Very clear for you StrifeZ, You either believe that "All is fair in Love and War." Where America is justified in fighting any war in any way that allows us to win that war. If you believe that, then you must also understand that this also applies to our enemies. If you reject that line of reasoning then you are a believer in "The Geneva convention of civilized war." Otherwise known as Napoleonic warfare. If you are a follower of the first principal of war then both attacks, 9/11 and GWII were "Preemptive Strikes" against targets that could prove to be threats in the future for their respective sides. If you are a follower of the second, then neither strike was justified and moral outrage against both acts would be anything but hypocritical whining.
So StrifeZ, what's it like to have the same mindset at Osama?

Secondly, you claimed that "We fought the war. We won. Get over it. We're nation building and all your whining in the world doesn't matter because no one cares. At the end of the day, we're going to do it anyway" Let me tell you something and I hope that you are capable of understanding it. If the United States pisses off the reset of the world it will not be the rest of the world whining. There are people who don't believe in this war who don't want idiots such as yourself bitching in 5,10, 15 years after you and your ilk have managed to piss off the rest of the world and this entire country is suffering because of it. Of course by then you will not just be blaming the French, Germans, and Russians, but everyone else who will be showing you that "Might makes right" for everyone, not just when you're the one with the might.

You quoted "a show on TV a week ago about Afghanistan" Could that have been an American show? Do you believe that it could be slanting its views to support American Policy? If your answer is "No" then once again I would have to ask you why you believe that al-Jazeera could be slanting it's views to support another view but not American television. Why would you believe that one could happen but not another?

"We're not monsters. We're the good guys. We fight for defenseless people who can't stand up for themselves while the rest of the world cowers in fear of " "Americans."

I'm sure this is what Osama says to himself and those people who follow him also believe in. I'm sure they believe that they are solders fighting the "Just" and "good" war. This is a dangerous delusion to believe in because it will never allow you to live in peace with others. It will instead drive you to believe that more and more immoral and evil acts are justified in your crusade to rid the world of "Evil". (Interesting, that both sides call the other "Evil.") This type of thinking led to the crusades, The Inquisition, World War II. It is the justification of the tyrannical.

"We're far more lethal."
Is this something to be proud of?

"people with, you know, actual life experience are getting shot at over in Iraq trying to make the lives of strangers better. People who live in the uniform are true heroes. "

Would this be the Iraqis, Who believe that they are trying to repel a foreign invader? Or is it people who believe that self sacrifice in invading other countries and blowing things and people up (For Freedom) is a good idea, people like, you know, Bush and Osama.

Let me tell you about "People who live in the uniform." They are just like you and me. There are good people and bad people in every army on every side, and it is the same with civilians.

"This Kuro5hin stuff is pure nonsense." Then why are you participating in it, if it has no worth?

"That is why freedom of speech and democracy is great... it allows assholes to speak their mind. "

Then is it freedom that we are fighting for if we don't let their assholes speak their mind? If we shut down anyone who says anything we don't like?
Have we won them anything? Or have we just changed the names and actors? This would be the ultimate litmus test, if the United States leaves because of a majority vote in Iraq demands the US to leave and if they then restore Saddam to power. Would the United States allow this? Would the United States allow real Democracy in Iraq? Or will Iraq just become another puppet government that does whatever the US demands?.

Do you recognize the difference?

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

An important distinction. (5.00 / 1) (#500)
by drsmithy on Sun May 18, 2003 at 09:13:55 AM EST

You know, I heard a lot of this after 9/11, from people like you. "Look at all the innocent people who were killed by those Evil Arabs. How could they do something so evil, so vile?" Then you turn around and say, "We bomb a few innocent people. Live with it."

Open up your trusty dictionary and look up the word "intent". The definition of that word is why what happened to the Americans on September 11 and what happened to an unfortunate number of Iraqis during the war are poles apart.

The objective of the planes that hit the WTC was to kill as many "innocent civilians" as possible. It wasn't an accident that happened in the process of trying to attack less-than-innocent "combatants" (or close company thereof - I'd consider the president of the US, Join Chiefs, etc to be legitimate military targets).

The poor unfortunates who happened to have bombs dropped on them while they were tilling the fields, walking to work, etc, OTOH were accidental. The objective of the attacks that killed them was not to target them.

This is a critical difference. It is as important as the difference between manslaughter and premeditated murder - the end result is identical, but the intent is very different. To try and equate accidentally killing civilians in the process of attacking military targets to deliberately trying to kill as many civilians as possible, is simply gross dishonesty.

[...] and they like you believe that if "We bomb a few innocent people. Live with it. This is war"

No, the difference is when "we" bomb a few innocent people we are remorseful and sorry. When "they" bomb a few innocent people they are triumphant and happy.

If my country happened to go to war with the US tomorrow, I could remain at least somewhat confident that as long as I stayed away from any military targets I would have a good to excellent chance of being able to continue living my life as normally as possible and surviving the conflict - because I'd know that none of those toys of destruction were being actively targetted at me or any place I'd be.

However, if my country were to have "war" declared on it by some radical extremist group, then I would be in much greater fear for my life - because I'd know that there were hundreds of martyrs out there trying to get onto the same bus as millions of other people like me and blow it up.

"Do you recognise the difference ?"

If you reject that line of reasoning then you are a believer in "The Geneva convention of civilized war." Otherwise known as Napoleonic warfare.

Well, I don't believe in any sort of war. I do, however, accept that sometimes the world isn't a rose-tinted warm, fluffy place where everyone is all touchy-feely and spends their time on endeavours to better the lives of all humanity.

And during those times, people die. The underlying objective should be to keep the number of people dying as low as possible. Waving signs in the air and writing letters to the Editor does little to achieve this objective unless your opponent just happens to be on roughly the same moral ground as you - a very unlikely occurrence. Going out and acting against the people doing the killing, OTOH, has a much better chance of success against a wider range of opponents.

I don't believe Iraq was a "threat" to the US in the slightest. Nor do I believe there was even a hint of compassion in the hearts of the people that had it attacked (except perhaps "W", but that's just because he's simply too dumb to really be suitably ruthless). I do believe, however, theat one of the side effects of those people's power-grabs and greed will be a better life for the vast majority of the Iraqi people. No, it won't be ideal - but it will certainly be better than it has been for the last few decades.

And if preferring the results of that direct and agressive action over the results of years of hand-wringing and aimless bleating about how nasty a place Iraq is supposed to be the wrong thing to do, then excuse me, because I'd rather not be right.

[ Parent ]

No distinction, just a question of ability. (none / 0) (#550)
by Amesha Spentas on Mon May 19, 2003 at 07:36:34 PM EST

Open up your trusty dictionary and look up the word "intent". The definition of that word is why what happened to the Americans on September 11 and what happened to an unfortunate number of Iraqis during the war are poles apart.

Actually the intent was similar if not identical; to force a change in an opposing government through a means of organized violence.
The nature of the means (Terrorism vs. Direct Warfare) is the only difference.

The objective of the planes that hit the WTC was to kill as many "innocent civilians" as possible. It wasn't an accident that happened in the process of trying to attack less-than-innocent "combatants" (or close company thereof - I'd consider the president of the US, Join Chiefs, etc to be legitimate military targets).

This is where we differ. During WWII it was acceptable to bomb civilian cities. It was acceptable military doctrine and both sides participated (The Germans bombed London in the Blitz, The British and Americans bombed Berlin and other major cities during the closing years of the war. Indeed the Dolittle raid on Tokyo was never meant to seriously damage military targets, it was meant to demoralize the Japanese civilians and to encourage the American war effort. Later the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both cities that were largely spared the daily bombing raids by the allies, which was done to make the demoralizing effects of the nuclear strikes more effective.
And again during the Cold War, both sides targeted major cities with the majority of their Nuclear weapons. Not because of any military value but because the underlying premise they were working under was one of "Total War." A premise that states that to win one must be prepared to do anything. The flip side of "Total War" is one of "Limited Warfare" This is what the US tried to engage in during Vietnam. Unfortunately for the US the North Vietnamese were not playing by those rules. The process of moving towards "Limited Warfare" was an offshoot occurrence of nuclear weapons. When military planners realized what the outcome of "Total War" would be when used with nuclear weapons, namely MAD or global annihilation. They were left with two options;
One, remove warfare as a means of resolving conflict. This was implemented in the creation of organizations like the UN. Organizations that mankind never had a reason to create or support before. Suddenly to a great many people it became a very good idea and was embraced globally.
The other option was "Limited Warfare" which all of the superpowers indulged in. With "Limited Warfare" we were back to rules of warfare. Back to things that were permitted and things that were not. The side that broke these rules would often prevail in whatever conflict it was involved in. (Such as the Vietnam Police Action or the Afghanistan Conflict.) Because breaking the rules definitely gave the breaker the advantage. However there was an understanding that if any Superpower relied too heavily on their disavowed forces, it would escalate the underlying global conflict, possibly leading to global war conditions.

So what is the point of all of this sociopolitical history? To explain why Americans, British, Russians and any other nuclear Superpower now finds itself dealing with terrorism and the reasons for the degree of violence that they experience.
If you are a nuclear power you no longer have to worry about a military defeat of your country from an outside force. (Internal military coups are still possible, however unlikely.) Since no country would risk complete annihilation over a probably originally minor conflict. (Usually over resources, Land, Oil, etc...) The buildup of large and advanced military forces within these superpowers then no longer exists for purposes of self-defense but instead for projecting force.

So what do you do if you have a beef with one of these superpowers? What do you do if you are a province that wants to cede from your union? If the power that be wants to annex/keep you has nuclear weapons and/or a strong/invincible military, and the ability to control what their populace believes? What do you do if you are Northern Ireland, Iraq, Chechnya?
If your concerns are serious enough to provide you a large degree of backing, either a country or large populace of a country, then you will most likely resort to some version of asymmetrical warfare, and you will play by the "Total Warfare" rules. You will do anything in your power to first make that superpower aware of your grievances and second to force them to cede to your demands by showing them that a quick resolution does not exist and that you will force them into a long drawn out battle for control.
In human history "Terrorism" has been very good at the first of these two goals and in recent times very poor at the second.

Terrorism has almost always been the selected choice when dealing with a powerful foreign military presence. The reason for this is that the greater the military response to terrorism the more successful the terrorism becomes. The only other choice for these people would be the Gandhi option. Unfortunately that option requires a level playing field in the area of persuasion of public opinion. In recent decades government intuitions have gotten better and better at controlling the public debates and thereby opinions of the people. If the government supporters can claim any dissension of it's foreign relations policy as unpatriotic, I would argue that the government institutions have gotten very good at controlling public opinion.

The United States military has proven useless in defending American Citizens from terrorism. If you look at all of the terrorist attacks on Americans not one of them have been prevented or even hindered by the military. On 9/11 the military took to the air to fly CAP only after all of the hijacked planes had been crashed. The only failure of the final aircraft was because an informed civilian populace was determined and capable to prevent it. This action cost them their lives but saved an untold number of others. Again when the shoe bomber attempted to detonate his sneakers, not one of the "Increased military presences" around the airports did anything to foil his plot. Instead he was prevented from carrying out his act by well-informed and valiant efforts of the civilian populace.
Lastly the only other actions of the government were to intern large numbers of Arab and Persian people in prisons for extended periods of time, without any evidence or proof of crimes. Most of these people have since been quietly released back to their damaged lives. What value did the government get for these actions? How many terrorist plots were foiled? None, not one. Instead we get Orange alerts to beware of shopping malls. (Useless, and damaging to the American psyche, trying to recover from the terror which was the intent of the terrorists.) So what did our military do? The only thing with was designed to do. Take out any country that was military weaker than it. Which for the US is just about everybody else. So what does the government do? It used that military might to remove a government that the US didn't like. The government followed the old adage of "In an emergency take action any action, just as long as the people believe that you have everything under control." Did this war make Americans safer, more secure? No.

But to return your points.
This is a critical difference. It is as important as the difference between manslaughter and premeditated murder - the end result is identical, but the intent is very different. To try and equate accidentally killing civilians in the process of attacking military targets to deliberately trying to kill as many civilians as possible, is simply gross dishonesty.

No, The difference is that the United States is capable of avoiding killing civilians. Suicide bombers are unfortunately not so precise.

Was the intent of the terrorists to just kill civilians? Well let us look at their targets and ask why. The terrorists, who the US believes are responsible for attacks on the WTC are also reportedly responsible for attacks on the Cole, Two American Embassies in Africa and the Pentagon. These are all government institutions. The WTC is the one difference. The question is why was that a target? The first attempt (The parking garage truck bombing.) was unsuccessful and it did not involve hijacking civilian aircraft. So we can eliminate the use of aircraft as a target in and of itself. Most likely it was just a means to damage/destroy their target, the WTC. Why was the WTC itself a target? If the intent was just to kill American civilians, then any number of other more accessible targets present themselves. What did the WTC symbolize to the Terrorists so strongly that they would make multiple attempts to destroy it?
Many Americans believe that large Corporations run the United States. Multinational corporations are widely believed to control governments through the influence their money can buy. The United States by extension influences or can influence the rest of the world. There exists a strong possibility that the terrorists thought they were attacking the driving force in American decision making.

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

Evidence? (none / 0) (#376)
by Yanks Rule on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:38:24 PM EST

I'm not doubting what you said (yet), but I'm curious as to where you got the information that people were tied up so that the military could attempt to cover it up. From what i remember, the bombing was reported almost immediately after it happened.

Thanks.

"I do think we live in dangerous times, and anybody who looks at the world and says this is the time to be a wuss--I can't buy that anymore. " -- Dennis Miller
[ Parent ]

De-Saddamization (3.78 / 19) (#285)
by StrifeZ on Fri May 16, 2003 at 11:57:37 AM EST

The argument only vaguely flies in Iraq because Iraq is currently under martial law. But that's like saying if you have a dictatorial regime, what the dictator says goes. Yes, true, but, well, we're supposed to have moved on from the medieval period. Even under martial law - even if martial law itself can be justified (which is doubtful in this case, due to the illegal nature of the invasion in the first place and the fact that the Iraqis want self-determination, not some occupying army) - shutting down TV stations which criticise the United States too much, looks more like naked imperialism than any justifiable kind of protective measure towards the people of Iraq.

What do you mean it doesnt vaugley fly at all - it flies completely. Iraq is OCCUPIED by us. It is OUR responsibility. Making it peaceful, prosperous and free of baathist fighters is only part of our job. Since Iraq now belongs to us, anything the Iraqi people say, do, hear or see is completely up to what the US Administrators want them to. Period. We control it, we do with it as we see fit.

Now we have to do the equivalent of de-Nazification in Iraq. Just like regular old de-Nazification, this de-Saddamization is going to be very messy and take a while. The last thing that the Coalition forces need is people listening to Al Jazeera and its constant anti-America, Israel runs the US, always emphasising the negative, bullshit. It makes our job tougher and fights exactly what we are working to destroy - the old arab mindset. During the war, Al Jazeera consistenly lied about facts and events and was in the pocket of Saddam Hussein according to some reports. Now that we won an overwhelming victory and given the intolerable Arab Establishment their worst defeat since 1967, what is to think that Al Jazeera would stop their Hate TV? The answer is of course they wouldnt. By banning Arab Media which takes the line of the Establishment (including praising suicide bombers as freedom fighters), we make the jobs of Coalition forces and de-Saddamification much easier.

Now you can get all whiny about civil liberties and equal rights and all sorts of stuff like that but consider this.

  • Iraq is still a warzone and the preservation of allied life and the further establishment of our supremacy is paramount. The Iraq people must know we are the law and the old regieme is gone.
  • The Constituion applies to only American Citizens. The people of Iraq are under our care, but are not American citizens. They will have their own liberties and constitution, probably much like ours, when their collective mindset is ready for it... it is not yet.
  • Free Speech is important of course, but the people have to be mature enough to handle it. If we let traditional arab media flood the airwaves, they would make every tiny urban pacification operation look like a major assault on the Iraqi people, inflaming tempers in Iraq.


  • So in short, for what we want to do, we have to keep the Arab media out for now because they are precisley the problem. They will refer to Coalition forces as "Israeli like occupiers". They will glorify suicide bombers against israelis (eventually some idiot will make the logical conclusion that he could be a "hero" too but in Iraq not Gaza and start launching suicide attacks against us). They will show an angry traditional arab street, angered at the hard but necessary changes we're making to the region.

    Make no mistake about it. Iraq is going to be a democracy in the fullest, but before we can make that happen, we have to cure the nation of decades of pshycological torment and suffering. We have to emphasis the good and make them understanding that with hard work and effort, the bad will eventually turn into the good and they will have their country. It won't happen over night, and the Arab media would do nothing but let that be known day in and day out, making the Coalition's job harder. We're here to build a country from scratch. We're going to do it intelligently.

    Thats that. Now I want to get to a side point.

    I'm getting a little bit sick of stories like this. They are always about whats we're doing wrong and not what we're doing right. This site had massive anti-war beliefs before the war. All I have to say is get over it. It happened, we won and we didnt even suffer more than a few scrapes. While you post about civil liberties in Iraq and I quote "future a compliant puppetlike regime in Iraq", the best and brightest Americans are getting pot shots taken at them in Iraq. While you intellectualize, they do the hard work and actually building the country. While you talk about why they should be showing Al Jazeera, they are working to get that old Arab Mindset out of the populace's head. . They are the heroes of this war and unlike you, they genuinly believed in their mission - to help the Iraqi people. If you didn't, thats your perogative, but they aren't 6'6" grunts with swastikas on their arm and iron crossess on their helmets. We may be occupiers, but we're also the first nation in history to occupy for some one elses benefit. To anyone too sarcastic to see it, I highly suggest actually going to a third world country (I have) and seeing people who are oppressed.

    Me? I'm getting sick and tired of this elitest talk.


    KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
    Great Newspeak, dude! (3.33 / 9) (#286)
    by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:10:17 PM EST

    "Democracy: Rule by the Military."

    From: Bushevik Newspeak Dictionary, 1984+19

    BTW, calling al Jazeera "a tool of the Baathists" is as ridiculous as calling Fox TV "a tool of the Democratic Party". In fact, the Iraqi propoganda minister spent most of his last press conference on a tirade about al Jazeera because they were showing pictures of U.S. tanks in Baghdad... "Lies, all lies! al Jazeera is a network of liars!"

    What they are, is a network that tells truths that little minds like yours do not want to see or hear. So go back to your little flag waving group jerk and listen to your favorite guys on Hate Radio. Meanwhile, those of us who value liberty and freedom willl tell the truth: people like you are the biggest threat to this nation and the values and principles that made it great, values like liberty, freedom, justice, and truth.

    I mean, the very *NOTION* of saying "freedom" means "shutting down television stations that play content you don't like" is so... so... ORWELLIAN! Man, you Busheviks are just so astounding, Orwell would be impressed at how well you guys are using his game plan to re-write the very *language* of democracy to mean "military dictatorship" rather than "freedom".
    --
    You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
    [ Parent ]

    Actually... (3.40 / 5) (#292)
    by StrifeZ on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:22:07 PM EST

    Actually it was widley reported in the news earlier this week that Saddam Hussein payed off some producers and anchors for Al Jazeera before and during the war to try to help the Arab Street explode. Heres Reuters on it.

    The rest of your post isn't worth responding to.

    I stop responding to people when they drag out the battered whore known as the "Orwellian" escape phrase. I actually wonder what percentage of people on this site who invoke Orwell have actually read 1984. The way some people invoke it, you'd think they'd consider it the only "history" book worth reading. I'm pretty sure only lime 25% of the people i've seen invoke it have actually read the book.

    Regardless, if you value liberty and freedom, you'd enlist and fight for those who need it but dont have the power to get it themselves. You arent a Patriot by just being born American (people love to believe that). You're a Patriot when you are willing to fight and spread the ideals America stands for. You my friend, are most certainly not a Patriot.

    Me? I'm doing Air Force ROTC, so my path is clear.


    KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
    [ Parent ]
    I enlisted long ago, little child (2.75 / 8) (#296)
    by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:32:07 PM EST

    I enlisted in the cause of liberty, justice, and freedom long ago, little child. I have nothing to prove to sniveling little tools of the Busheviks like you. When you have guts enough to walk up to a crack house armed with nothing more than a note to a mother that her child needs help with reading, I'll respect your cracks about "fighting for the values that made this nation great". When you walk up to a house where you are met by a man with a shotgun, and tell this man what he needs to do in order to help his child succeed in school, armed with nothing except a small notepad, I will have respect for you. When you stand up proudly for the ideals that made this nation great despite the risk of being beaten, jailed, and even killed, then I will have respect for you. But being a pathetic little tool of propoganda and Hate Radio... no, I have no respect for you. You are a pathetic tool in the hands of a regime that is fundamentally anti-American and against all principles of liberty and justice. I have enlisted in this war for America, and enlisted in it many years ago. I pity the fact that you have enlisted in the war AGAINST America and the ideals that made this nation great. Don't expect me to respect you, for I have no respect for tools of tyranny and injustice, my friend, no matter how well-meaning they may be in their deluded notion that military rule is democracy.
    --
    You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
    [ Parent ]
    Oh really.... (3.71 / 7) (#304)
    by StrifeZ on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:49:21 PM EST

    I enlisted in the cause of liberty, justice, and freedom long ago, little child. I have nothing to prove to sniveling little tools of the Busheviks like you.

    You claim to love liberty, yet won't fight for those who need it? Sounds like a hypocrite to me. And who said anything about me being a Bushevik (which in itself is a betrayal of your position). For fighting wars, Bush is the right guy and Rumsfeld is a genius. Hes done more to move the world from a Faux Peace in the 1990s to a real peace in 2 years than his predacessors did in 8. Bush's economic policies are hilariously stupid and he shouldn't be cutting taxes. So I agree with him on the military but not the econony. Does that make me a Bushevik? No. It makes me just like most Americans.

    When you have guts enough to walk up to a crack house armed with nothing more than a note to a mother that her child needs help with reading, I'll respect your cracks about "fighting for the values that made this nation great".

    Actually I work at the boys and girls club in inner city Lawerence, Ma once a week to get poor kids using computers and making 3D computer art. I walk right past drug dealers.

    But being a pathetic little tool of propoganda and Hate Radio... no, I have no respect for you. You are a pathetic tool in the hands of a regime that is fundamentally anti-American and against all principles of liberty and justice. Thats an interesting conclusion, especially when nothign I've said connotated me being anything but a centrist. I question, do you call it propganda just because you don't like what you hear? That doesnt make the news propaganda. That makes you close minded and ignorant... and thats your fault. No one elses. So we have evading responsibility and evading truth for your short comings...

    I have enlisted in this war for America, and enlisted in it many years ago. I pity the fact that you have enlisted in the war AGAINST America and the ideals that made this nation great. Don't expect me to respect you, for I have no respect for tools of tyranny and injustice, my friend, no matter how well-meaning they may be in their deluded notion that military rule is democracy.

    You've enlisted in nothing. You whine about, and make points about that silly little book (1984), but you have said practically nothing of substance besides calling me a "tool of the system". We are a nation of soldiers. We've always been. We always will be. Its on the path to freedom, paved in the blood and bones of those who have defended it, that you can say such remarkably ignorant things.

    I saw a great shirt. It said "War has never solved anything * .... * except Colonialism, Slavery, Facism, Nazism and Communism. " Maybe by 2010, you can add Terrorism to that list too. Those who fight for freedom of all humanity are the heroes.

    You, a self proclaimed elistee in the fight for America is nothing but a K5 user with something to bitch about.


    KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
    [ Parent ]
    Liberate America First (2.00 / 3) (#308)
    by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:51:59 PM EST

    Like I said, I have put my body on the line many a time in the cause of liberty and justice. Do you mean that only if I want to liberate foreigners can I be a "real" American?

    How many times have *YOU* put your body on the line for the cause of liberty and justice?
    --
    You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
    [ Parent ]

    Racism (3.00 / 5) (#315)
    by StrifeZ on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:06:43 PM EST

    They arent foreigners. Thats irrelevant and artificial. They are human beings. They are the same race as you. They are as entitled to freedom and human rights as you are, except they live in a regime and atmosphere where its impossible.

    So we rectified that situation...

    No. You can be American just by being born here. But you can only be a Patriot by fighting and spreading the fundamental American ideals to those who need and desire it, yet can't get out under the boot that holds them down.

    To say otherwise is nothing but elitism and, worse, even racism.

    Are you a racist?


    KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
    [ Parent ]
    I'm white, and taught in black schools. (3.00 / 7) (#321)
    by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:14:19 PM EST

    LOL!

    I repeat: Liberate America First. The first task of all Americans has to be to liberate America first. Then, and *ONLY* then, can we talk about liberating other nations.

    BTW, the ACLU just released a report on government suppression of free speech in the United States in the wake of September 11.

    But Rush didn't mention it in his radio show, so of course the ACLU is lying.

    Oops, sorry, Rush is on, I gotta go, gotta find out what I'm supposed to think and believe today.
    --
    You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
    [ Parent ]

    Liberate America... eh? (2.85 / 7) (#329)
    by StrifeZ on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:32:47 PM EST

    Liberate America from what? A government YOU don't like. Bush has 70% approval ratings. He is clearly liked. If you dont like him thats YOUR problem. In this country, majority rules. If you don't like Bush, don't vote for him. Lets see what we have to liberate America from...

    ... a growing an improving economy (which it is by all recent reports)
    ... increase productivity
    ... rising standard of living
    ... increasingly powerful military
    ... incureasingly dominant stand in international affairs?

    And whats wrong with all of those?
    You know what I think your malifunction is? I think you are too much focus in the "micro" and not the "macro" without realizing its actually he "macro" that matters more.

    Ok, the FBI has more survallience powers. Thats micro. Will this last forever? No. It wont. Thats Macro.

    Iraq and Afghanistan are moving slowly. Thats Micro. Have historical precedents shown it always starts slowly and then picks up after a 5 years? Yes. Thats Macro.

    Think of the big picture. Not the small one. Your problem is, you've gotten so caught up in the Macro, you see nothing but the negative and not the positive.

    the ACLU has been releasing documents on how evil the government is for years. This is something new? I can't even remember the last time some one actually took the ACLU seriously.

    Rush who? Rush Limbagh? I've never listened to that psychotic jackass in my life.

    Just because you help African Americans but dont want to help Africans or Iraqis or Afghanis, doesn't make you any less of a racist. Something i'm pretty sure you are.


    KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
    [ Parent ]
    Are you delusional? (3.33 / 6) (#358)
    by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:13:36 PM EST

    "A growing economy"... the economy has *LOST* 2,000,000 jobs during the current Bush Depression, the first time this has happened since 1929. Shall we just call him Herbert Hoover Bush and get that over with?

    "Increase productivity"... productivity is flat.

    "Rising standard of living" ... real wages are *DECLINING*, and have been ever since Bush took office.

    "Increasingly powerful military". True. True. What's that got to do with democracy? The Soviet Union had a powerful military too.

    "Increasingly dominant stand in international affairs" LOL! If by "dominant" you mean that "Everybody hates our guts and goes along with us only insofar as we bully or threaten or bribe them"! About the only friend we have left in the world is Great Britain -- the rest either hate our guts or go along with us only because Bush said "Go along with us... or else."

    "Nobody takes the ACLU serious"... but I note that you refute not a single fact in the ACLU report.

    Finally: I am an American. I believe that the job of the American government is to protect and serve *AMERICANS*, not to protect and serve the *WORLD*. I don't pay over $50,000 worth of taxes every year to protect IRAQIS, for cryin' out loud! I know that a young child like you doesn't "get" this since you've never paid a dime of taxes in your life, but those of us who actually pay taxes definitely do. If you love Iraqis, fine. Go volunteer to serve in Iraq, and get your friends and neighbors to pitch in the dollars you need to protect and serve Iraqis. But what gives you the right to take tax dollars from *MY* pocket to protect and serve them? Other than the fact that you (and the United States Government) have the atomic bomb?
    --
    You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
    [ Parent ]

    Selfish (3.50 / 6) (#366)
    by StrifeZ on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:46:10 PM EST

    Wehave 6 % unemployment. I'll remind you that in 1992 we had 8.5% unemployment. Germany has 10.5% unemployment in western germany, 20% in easter. France has 11% unemployment. We have very low unemployment. Besides, Tech spending is at its highest level since the peak of the .com boom, which means money is going into the market. Give the market money, jobs will come. Happens every time. Watch May unemployment by 5.8% again.

    Net productivity has been up for nearly 8 straight quarters. What are you smoking? The American economy has LEGENDARY productivity. Your point here makes me consider that you're pulling this out of your ass.

    Rising standard of living - real wages increased by 2% last year and until the war drums started(many economists conisder Q1 an anomoly), consumer spending was way up. Reports coming out the past few days show strong consumer spending. People spend when they have money.

    The Military is strong - its something important to have. It maintains our position of supremacy in the world. With out 9 (soon 10) aircraft super carrier battle groups, our 10 divisions and our 5,000 planes, we patrol the world, creating stability and fighting terrorism. Our position of military supremacy will never recede. We're simply too far ahead. We have 75 nuclear submarines. Russia has 2. China scrapped building their 1 and only. Thats how far ahead we are. We have great power... and you know what spider man says... comes responsibility. it makes a lot of sense. I'll touch on that in a moment.

    Increasingly dominant. Lets see. The French are trying desperatly to reconcile, knowing we're going to punish their already nearly recessed economy. The middle east peace process is restarting, slowly but surley. Syria is getting the point. Saddam hussein is gone. Germany is trying to reconcile. The US and Russia will have a massive treaty signing ceramony on June 1st. North Korea had multi-lateral talks with us and the players in the region have come around to our position. Eastern Europe is forging closer ties with the US. We're fighting AIDS in africa with a $15 billion package. Everything really checks out. We're stronger than ever.

    The job of the American government is to protect and serve the Americans, but as human beings it is our responsibility help those who can't help themselves. Its called being a decent human being and making the world a better place. Its something that every man and woman should endevour to do in their short time on this planet. The United States went to war against Nazi Germany not because it was a direct threat, but because it was the right thing to do and 290,000 Americans gave their lives for the cause of freedom and liberty of Europe. They died for strangers. No nation is an island and it is the American mission to help oppressed people to form democratic governments. We've been doing it for 227 years, and we'll do it for another 227 years. Its our mission in existance as one people. To shirk from that responisibility is to become weak and cowardly like the French. An America that does not care about others is an America in decline. We didnt care about others after World War I and we got World War II in return. Your suggestion that we shouldnt care about others has been proven disasterous.

    Frankly, you strike me as the kind of American i'm embarassed that exists - the racist, selfish American who forgets that we are the United States, there is no nation in history like us, and we are the template for the future of the world. Our example has proven that democracy out of humble beginings is possible through hard work, discipline, the rule of law and planning. Since we did it, it is our responsibility as the world's freeest, oldest and most powerful democracy to help smaller ones or ones that would emerge save blocking factors (like a dictator).

    And you care about your tax dollars. My god, thats sad. You tried to strike me as a humanitarian, but you come off as nothing but selfish, not even worthy of the great seal on your passport. You are paying for the freedom of the Iraqis. Why? Because its the right thing to do and thats enough. If you don't like it, move to Canadda. They are well off like we are, yet help no one in need.

    You don't have to agree, but then again, no one ever cares about the opinion of the irrational, as some one else in this thread put it so eloquently.


    KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
    [ Parent ]
    Propoganda sound bites (3.28 / 7) (#378)
    by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:47:56 PM EST

    Sounds like you got your education through propoganda sound bites, and are a believer in American Exceptionalism. You know nothing, but like a typical teenager think you know everything.

    The fact of the matter is that this nation has a long history of killing people in order to "free" them. We killed 500,000 Filipinos in order to "free" them from, uhm, well, rule by Filipinos. We killed probably 500,000 Chileans to free them from, uhm, rule by Chileans. We killed over 1,000,000 Iranians to free them from, uhm, rule by Iranians. We killed over 1,500,000 Vietnamese to free them from, uhm, well, we didn't free them. Any student of history can see that this nation has been a woefully inept conquerer, and that every time we screw around overseas we screw things up because we are ignorant, inward-looking, and have this irrational belief that America is right and the rest of the world is wrong -- and a refusal to believe it when reality smacks us upside the head, as is happening in Iraq right now as the Sunni and Shiites put aside their 1500 year old religious differences in order to face a common Crusader enemy much as in the day of Saladin (who, BTW, was a Sunni Kurd -- in control of forces largely comprised of Shiite Arabs and Sunni Arabs).

    But I forget, history doesn't matter, only sound bites do.

    I suggest you look up the history of the British conquest of Iraq, and get back with us. The British created Iraq as an artificial state, perhaps... but they also created Iraq as a united nation, in much the same way that the United States is currently doing, via inadvertantly uniting the various groups in a common cause (kicking out the Brits).
    --
    You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
    [ Parent ]

    Facts and friends (1.00 / 2) (#458)
    by A Trickster Imp on Sat May 17, 2003 at 10:14:34 AM EST

    > Your point here makes me consider that you're
    > pulling [economy is horrrrrrible stats]out of
    > your ass.

    Never let the facts get in the way of a good, cathartic rage based on a warped world view.

    [ Parent ]

    Sheesh.. (4.50 / 2) (#367)
    by biggeezer on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:54:03 PM EST

    I believe that the job of the American government is to protect and serve *AMERICANS*, not to protect and serve the *WORLD*.

    Well... I think taking out a asshole like SH who supports and does pay for terrorism is protecting Americans. Or should we just wait and get them as they fly another plane into a building?

    I don't pay over $50,000 worth of taxes every year to protect IRAQIS, for cryin' out loud!

    For someone that seems somewhat smart, you might want to learn about a tax shelter or higher a better CPA, unless you are making a wooping quarter mill.. chances are you are paying way to much in taxes.

    And if you are making that much money.. wtf are you complaining about. Seems to me you are already living it up. I myself bearly make what you put in taxes, and I raise 3 kids. Served in the military 12 years(3 conflict tours), and even spend my spare time coaching sports and am on 2 sport assoc boards.

    If you are or were ever a teacher you need to be commended. But, by making comments like Al-Jazzera is honest reporting is just like saying fox is. Al-Jazzera only reported on what bad things American's did, not the good things. In other words, they didn't tell the "whole" truth. Only the truth they felt the 6 million viewers of Al-Jazzera needed to hear. Lets not forget that Al-Jazzera is also a state owned station, owned by the country of Qatar.

    So if your beaf is that, our troops shouldn't have been used, then that is a point I can see, yet don't agree with personally. And if these other countries don't want to go along with us.. fine, but.. when they need our support, I hope they don't complain when we go, ummm "BLOW ME".



    [ Parent ]
    Try again (2.75 / 4) (#404)
    by pyramid termite on Fri May 16, 2003 at 08:43:58 PM EST

    Lets see what we have to liberate America from...
    ... a growing an improving economy (which it is by all recent reports)
    ... increase productivity
    ... rising standard of living
    ... increasingly powerful military
    ... incureasingly dominant stand in international affairs?

    Germany in 1939 had all of those. Perhaps you should find some better reasons ...

    On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
    [ Parent ]
    Sucker (5.00 / 2) (#314)
    by duffbeer703 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:06:24 PM EST

    Do you take everything at face value?

    Do you buy extended warranties on used cars?

    Salesmen love ignorant, arrogant people like you.

    [ Parent ]

    Hate Speech (5.00 / 3) (#354)
    by Brandybuck on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:39:40 PM EST

    What they are, is a network that tells truths that little minds like yours do not want to see or hear. So go back to your little flag waving group jerk and listen to your favorite guys on Hate Radio. Meanwhile, those of us who value liberty and freedom willl tell the truth: people like you are the biggest threat to this nation and the values and principles that made it great, values like liberty, freedom, justice, and truth.

    I don't visit K5 much anymore, and people like Eric are one of the reasons.

    It saddens me to see people with the false patriotism of "my nation and president can do no wrong." But that's mere sadness. To see genuine loathing and disgust, show me the anti-patriot with their philosophy of "my nation and president can do no right." These people are so filled with hatred that they have simply lost all capacity for coherent thought.

    Look at Eric's sig. He's suggesting that the 2003 US is analogous to 1984 Oceania. And he titles his post "Great Newspeak, dude!". Yet it is Eric that is engaging in "newspeak." He uses the word "bushevik" continually here and in other posts. I'm wondering if it's even possible for him to write a post without it. And then he uses the term "Hate Radio". There are radio shows out there that foment hatred, but the particular show he is referring to (and mentions by name in another post) does not. He is inventing words to make you associate conservative opinion with hatred.

    But the true indicator of his lost rationality is this post. The parent post contained logic, reason and weighed opinion. I might not necessarily agree with it, but I can certainly recognize that the poster used more than a handful of braincells to craft it. But Eric's post addresses none of the points of the parent post. He provides no points of his own. It is devoid of logic and reason. It's almost as if he's just showing off the fact that he isn't a conservative. As if we didn't know! His post is full of shouts and rage, but means nothing. This post could have been lifted and dropped in whole as a "response" to any other post, and no one would have known the difference.

    I'll probably keep my visits to K5 just as infrequent. Because each time I come back, it keeps reinforcing my opinion that it's nothing more than a sounding board for people with nothing to say.

    [ Parent ]

    oh, meriadoc! (4.00 / 1) (#433)
    by vinayd on Sat May 17, 2003 at 01:23:05 AM EST

    I for one urge you to visit kuro5hin more often --- it is the only way to raise the level of discourse. Eric's pathetic personal attacks are certainly heartfelt, if misguided. I don't think they should be rejected out of hand; nor do I think they should drive you from kuro5hin.

    addressing them as you have is the proper response. addressing things like this less frequently or not at all... will lead to bedlam and to illiterate dolts running discussion boards everywhere

    I would likely agree with more of his sentiments than I would with the 'america first' flag-waver he responded to, but I must say the tone and timbre of his dialogue is disgusting.

    Eric: you're obviously capable of educated speech; your current method of delivery only does you and your audience a disservice.




    One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one chatters and quarrels. - Nietzsche
    [ Parent ]
    Peddling Hate (5.00 / 3) (#410)
    by CENGEL3 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:11:40 PM EST

    Eric I suggest you take a good, hard look at your posts when considering who it is that is peddling hate and intolerance.

    I know that this post might come out looking like it's attacking you but that's not my intent. Seriously, look at your posts, look at the language you use. To wit:

    "little minds"

    "little flag waving group jerk"

    "people like you"

    "Orwell would be impressed"

    "Busheviks"

    Do you honestly believe that everyone who disagrees with you is either ignorant or some sort of Machievellian bastard?

    Do you honestly believe that everyone with a conservative viewpoint is either a troglodyte or some sort of Big Brother wanabe?

    Do you honestly not think that a decent, intellegent, even patriotic person can simply have a differing viewpoint?

    If you really believe that then I invite you to consider what it is that you find so objectionable about "Hate Radio".

    Is tolerance in your book something that should be applied to everyone BUT conservatives?

    I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and believe that you are not that closed minded. I'll just chalk it up to you maybe having a bad day..... but seriously you might want to examine your posts. (I know sometimes in a heated discussion I'm guilty of getting a little acerbic... but it is really not a good thing).

    Now about al Jazeera, I'll fully admit that they are alot more objective then most of the (largely state run) media in the Middle East. However that is a remarkably low bar.

    I'd hardly call what they practice honest and objective reporting...or even what attempts to pass for such among most of our own media.

    Is shutting them down for the moment the right thing to do? I honestly don't know. My gut instinct would say no. But clearly a case can be made that anything which inflames tempers in Iraq right now is not a good thing either for us or the Iraqi people (or the World in general).

    What's really needed in Iraq right now is for calmer heads and cooler tempers to prevail so that the Iraqi's can move toward rebuilding thier country and transition toward civilian self-government.

    I for one, don't want to see us denying the Iraqi's rights that we enjoy... nor do I want to see our troops there long term acting as some sort of foreign police force. However, I also don't want to see us leaving the place as a worse powderkeg then before we went in.
     

    [ Parent ]

    That's exactly why .... (2.25 / 4) (#317)
    by shaunak on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:10:05 PM EST

    "We control it, we do with it as we see fit. "

    That's exactly why half of the rest of the world wants to kill you and the rest wouldn't give a flying fuck if that happened.

    [ Parent ]

    Perhaps... (3.66 / 3) (#320)
    by StrifeZ on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:12:36 PM EST

    Perhaps you should try reading the rest of what I wrote before responding.


    KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
    [ Parent ]
    No, he's right. (2.66 / 3) (#324)
    by Blah Blah on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:21:53 PM EST

    It's attitudes like yours that make the rest of the world hate the U.S., it's leaders, and its citizens. My only regret is that you, StrifeZ, won't be alive to see the American Empire come crumbling down hundreds of years from now, just as every other empire in our world's history eventually did.

    [ Parent ]
    O_o (2.75 / 4) (#327)
    by StrifeZ on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:23:09 PM EST

    Right.............


    KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
    [ Parent ]
    Excellent reply (1.00 / 1) (#334)
    by Amesha Spentas on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:54:11 PM EST

    StrifeZ your capacity for intelligent debate amazes me. Your ability to, in one word, completely make your point about why Blah Blah's arguments were unsound surpassed that of a first grader, possibly even a second grader.

    Truly StrifeZ you have excelled yourself.
    To think, a second grader, where normally you can only conduct debates with mold and lichen.
    Somebody has obviously been studying.

    Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
    [ Parent ]

    How about. (2.75 / 4) (#336)
    by StrifeZ on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:57:42 PM EST

    How about reading everything else i've posted in this story, jackass.


    KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
    [ Parent ]
    Well then (3.00 / 2) (#356)
    by juhcubed on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:59:49 PM EST

    Well then why don't you reply to shaunak who offered point by point rebuttle of your entire comment?

    [ Parent ]
    so what? (5.00 / 1) (#346)
    by snodgrass on Fri May 16, 2003 at 02:57:36 PM EST

    I don't see what was in Blah Blah's little spout that was worth replying to.  It was just another K5 anti-American troll.

    And your little reply was nothing more than a personal troll.  So where's this "intelligent conversation" that you're preaching so much about?

    (And yes, I realize that this reply is a meaningless rant with no real intellectual value too, but it seemed to fit right in for this thread)

    [ Parent ]

    Ask, and you shall receive. (1.00 / 1) (#397)
    by Amesha Spentas on Fri May 16, 2003 at 08:01:23 PM EST

    Is this what you had in mind?
    I mistakenly posted this response to the wrong person, so I am correcting that.

    Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
    [ Parent ]

    Pot, meet Kettle. (5.00 / 1) (#349)
    by Mohammed Niyal Sayeed on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:13:51 PM EST

    And your ad hominem attacks and allegations of diminished intellectual capacity via comparison to grade schoolers is, of course, the pinnacle of argumentative logic.

    Do you feel better about yourself? Because you've contributed absolutely nothing to the discussion.

    Just like me. Save yourself the time and bandwidth of responding, I beat you to it, you fucking sarcasm amateur.


    --
    "You need to get your own point, then we can have an elaborate dance fight." - jmzero

    [ Parent ]
    Ask, and you shall receive. (1.00 / 1) (#386)
    by Amesha Spentas on Fri May 16, 2003 at 06:46:41 PM EST

    Is this what you had in mind?

    Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
    [ Parent ]

    Well, yes. (none / 0) (#427)
    by Mohammed Niyal Sayeed on Sat May 17, 2003 at 12:45:59 AM EST

    It's still a little personal as opposed to factual ("people like you" straw man constructs, and the like), but yes. Precisely that. Arguing. All verbosely and stuff.

    I'd still argue the point that you're attacking the person rather than the argument, by wanting to ascribe traits to what he actually wrote to further your own counter argument, and that your counter argument leans a little heavily on what many would consider pointless self-congratulatory (with regards to the insight to be able to see "what's really going on", while being demonstrably wrong and paranoid in many assumptions) moral chest-thumping, which does, in my opinion, nothing to change the situation.

    For instance, I'm guessing you would assume that I agree with USian current foreign policies, based solely on the fact that I disagree with you. You would be mistaken, were you to actually harbor that belief. I intend to do one thing about it specifically, come election time. I'm going to vote for the same person I voted for in the last election, provided he's running again, and hope that people do the same. But I know most of the people who might be prone to doing it will be too busy patting themselves on the back in online discussion sites about how dumb that old evil Bush is, and how if we don't watch out, the rest of the world is going to gang up and give us a taste of our own medicine. If not that, they'll be mindlessly voting for whatever this election's Not George Bush candidate is, under the assumption that the Right Person For The Job could never possibly be elected. And I thank you for that.


    --
    "You need to get your own point, then we can have an elaborate dance fight." - jmzero

    [ Parent ]
    Thank You (none / 0) (#543)
    by Amesha Spentas on Mon May 19, 2003 at 02:56:53 PM EST

    It's still a little personal as opposed to factual ("people like you" straw man constructs, and the like), but yes. Precisely that. Arguing. All verbosely and stuff.

    The purpose for the "straw man constructs" in my argument were to prevent my verbal opponent from concocting one word responses and moving on as he has been shown to do. My own were not intended to reduce the level of intellectual debate about this subject but to merely focus it at a level I believed the intended audience would understand. I am, quite capable of holding a debate without resorting to these tactics. Unfortunately it has been proven to me repeatedly that those methods of discourse go largely ignored.
    I.E. Their needs to be some rabble rousing if you wish to incite the rabble.

    while being demonstrably wrong and paranoid in many assumptions) moral chest-thumping, which does, in my opinion, nothing to change the situation.

    I don't believe that I was moralizing without cause. But once again I would respond that I was flavoring my responses to the original arguments. StrifeZ was claiming that Bush and the United State's actions were justified morality but showed callous disregard for morals in the presentation of his limited arguments. My attempt was to show how and why Bush's actions and by extension the United State's actions in regards to this war were not moral and would most likely further violence in that region and in ours. (Domestic Terrorism) There are conflicting ideologies involved, so a level of moralizing becomes an unfortunate necessity.

    I would be very interested in reading your arguments, either for or against the current and past actions of this present United States Administration, either in this thread or another forum. Plotting a course of action or an appropriate response however would be an entirely different discussion.

    Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
    [ Parent ]

    Ok, here's more ... (4.20 / 5) (#347)
    by shaunak on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:06:58 PM EST

    Now you can get all whiny about civil liberties and equal rights and all sorts of stuff like that but consider this.

    In one deft stroke, you reduce your opponents in this debate to a bunch of 'whiny civil libertarians'. Genius. I'm sure Socrates would've been pround. Wasn't it your Ben Franklin who said 'Those who give up liberty for security deserve none,' ? But then, of course, he was a 'whiny civil libertarian,' wasn't he?

    Iraq is still a warzone and the preservation of allied life and the further establishment of our supremacy is paramount. The Iraq people must know we are the law and the old regieme is gone.

    Right, without getting into the shades of grey (very dark shades) this was represents, let's just talk about your sentence. You want to establish your supremacy on a foreign and sovreign land. Someone please tell me how imperialism of the 18th century was any different.

    Further, you mention that preservation of allied life is paramount. So for you, an allied life is more precious than an Iraqi life. What's the equation? one allied = ten Iraqis? And you consider your culture civilised? Right, maybe it is. Maybe 8000+ years of other cultures were uncivilised.

    The Constituion applies to only American Citizens. The people of Iraq are under our care, but are not American citizens.

    That's like saying, "We own your sorry asses, but sorry, you're not one of us." Again, how was imperialism different?

    They will have their own liberties and constitution, probably much like ours, when their collective mindset is ready for it... it is not yet.

    They did.

    Free Speech is important of course, but the people have to be mature enough to handle it.

    Oh, if I may generalise people to mean culture, in your sentence. You are implying that a 300+ year old culture (by a stretch) is more mature than a 3000+ year old culture? Man, I must brush up on my language. I seem to have gotten the meaning of mature totally wrong.

    tiny urban pacification operation

    Except, if it had happened to American citizens, it would be an assault on "OUR WAY OF LIFE," on "DEMOCRACY," and "ALL THAT IS GOOD AND DECENT IN THIS WORLD." They will refer to Coalition forces as "Israeli like occupiers".

    Because for them, you are. Every person speaks from his point of view. And many cultures respect that. Unfortunately, some don't.

    eventually some idiot will make the logical conclusion that he could be a "hero" too but in Iraq not Gaza and start launching suicide attacks against us

    Have you read "The Moon is Down" by John Steinbeck? Were the residents of the Scandanavian town idiots?

    They will show an angry traditional arab street, angered at the hard but necessary changes we're making to the region.

    These changes are necessary from your point of view. When you realise that points of views cannot be right and wrong, read your article again for some perspective.

    Winston Churchill said 'Democracy is a very bad form of government. Unfortunately all the others are so much worse.' I don't hold Churchill to be a God or infallible. That was a west european, a hero (this quote is for you).
    Please don't behave as if democracy is sacred. It is not. We have to emphasis the good and make them understanding that with hard work and effort, the bad will eventually turn into the good and they will have their country.

    What is it with you? Why do you see everything as black and white while most of the rest see it as grey?

    We're here to build a country from scratch. We're going to do it intelligently.

    To build Iraq from scratch, you have to make sure the Mesopotamian culture never existed, or its memory doesn't exist. How will you do that? McDonalds? Pizza Hut?

    They are always about whats we're doing wrong and not what we're doing right.

    Take a hint.

    It happened, we won and we didnt even suffer more than a few scrapes.

    But Iraq did.

    While you post about civil liberties in Iraq and I quote "future a compliant puppetlike regime in Iraq", the best and brightest Americans are getting pot shots taken at them in Iraq.

    Well, if the best and brightest of America enter the Armed Forces, and if those I saw on TV are the best of the Armed Forces, well, .....

    While you intellectualize, they do the hard work and actually building the country.

    Yes, we intellectualise. You say it as if it's a crime to use your intelligence. I do this because I want to do it. That is a freedom I enjoy.

    While you talk about why they should be showing Al Jazeera, they are working to get that old Arab Mindset out of the populace's head.

    Again, how is this different from imperialism? Imperialism did destroy quite a few cultures and economies.

    They are the heroes of this war and unlike you, they genuinly believed in their mission - to help the Iraqi people.

    That's the saddest part of this whole mess. The people who were the actuators actually believed they were doing 'THE RIGHT THING'. There are no heroes of any wars. These people were a part of an invading force which caused this war under a pretext which hasn't been proven to any degree of satisfaction of anyone yet. They cannot be heroes. They killed Iraqis in Iraq.

    We may be occupiers, but we're also the first nation in history to occupy for some one elses benefit.

    Occupation is a hassle. Nobody occupies without chances of immediate gain. Political and Economic.

    I highly suggest actually going to a third world country (I have) and seeing people who are oppressed.

    By your definition, I live in a third world country. But before you set your gunsights on us, let me add, most of us are happy as we are. So bugger off and sodomize someone else.

    An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

    [ Parent ]
    Errata (5.00 / 1) (#351)
    by shaunak on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:24:25 PM EST

    Right, without getting into the shades of grey (very dark shades) this was represents, let's just talk about your sentence

    Should be

    Right, without getting into the shades of grey (very dark shades) this
    war
    represents, let's just talk about your sentence.

    [ Parent ]
    Best & Brightest? (2.33 / 3) (#375)
    by Chasuk on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:35:51 PM EST

    the best and brightest Americans

    Did you ever serve in the military? If so, you would know how laughable that statement is... I served, and I will cheerfully admit that the words "best and brightest" do not apply to ANYONE serving in the US military.

    Okay, it might have applied, and may still apply, to a few, but no more or no less than it applies to the guy or gal who serves you burgers at McDonalds.

    Soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines deserve neither exaltment nor denigration. They are performing a job that they chose, much like plumbers, dentists, firemen, bus drivers, and taxidermists. Much of the time the job involves tedium (sitting in a foxhole, stacking sandbags). Sometimes it is more rewarding (calibrating laser guidance systems on fighter aircraft). Sometimes, it requires bravery, or even heroism.

    Most of the time, it barely requires possessing two brain cells to rub together.

    Don't use a cliche to make a point, especially when that cliche is largely false. It's only embarrassing.


    Neopets - the best free game on the Internet.
    [ Parent ]

    And you would know? (none / 0) (#533)
    by shaunbaker on Mon May 19, 2003 at 10:42:54 AM EST

    Take your average corperation, let's say IBM. Now you have a fair share of genius level people, you have a healthy dose of those with above average intellegence and you have the rest. Now many of the "rest" will be doing everything from answering phones, cleaning and even doing jobs that more intellegent people should be doing. Now saying "best and brightest" in reference to a corperation like IBM would be no more correct than saying it in reference to the U.S. Military.

    Nevertheless, you come of sounding arrogant and elitest. For you to assume that the military is filled with only half-wits only shows your myopic perception based on whatever unit you happened to be in at the time. I assure you, the military is filled with many capable and competent individuals. And reserving the term "best and brightest" for only those that match your obvious supreme intellect would be wrong. Just becuase PFC Jones does not understand quantum mechanics does not mean that he/she doesn't have the character, commitment, dedication and knowledge in his/her craft to qualify as best and brightest

    [ Parent ]

    And you would know? (none / 0) (#564)
    by Chasuk on Tue May 20, 2003 at 04:02:43 AM EST

    The usage to which I was objecting referred to members of the US military as being "the best and brightest Americans," which requires a rather unique form of myopia to hold as a tenable position.

    The term the "best and the brightest" refers to the elite. The term is not "the second best and the extraordinarily clever," after all.

    I concur that the American military probably contains individuals who can be described as "the best and the brightest," as I indicated in this sentence:

    Okay, it might have applied, and may still apply, to a few...

    I use the qualifier "might" because I believe that superlatives should only be applied where the usage is unequivocal, and whether the US military currently has members who might be called "the best and brightest Americans" is beyond knowing.

    If objecting to thoughtless cliché makes me "arrogant and elitest [sic]," then I accept your judgment as a compliment.


    Neopets - the best free game on the Internet.
    [ Parent ]

    lawful orders (4.23 / 13) (#295)
    by dh003i on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:28:57 PM EST

    Like them or not, these were lawful orders. Shutting down a radio station is *not* a crime against humanity, and it is an order that *can* be lawfully obeyed.

    Only if the order is unlawful (e.g., genocide, using civilians as shields, getting children to take up arms, and other crimes against humanity) can it be disobeyed without any legal consequence regarding military status.

    Now, if the Major feels that this order was morally wrong, then she is welcomed to disobey it. Anyone who feels strongly enough about a moral position should act on it and not deviate from it. However, you must accept the consequences when you decide to follow your conscience instead of the law or orders. In her case, the consequences may be a discharge from the military.

    But let's not blame this on her commanders. Her commanders are being forced to take this job as temporary enforcers of order (police), which is not what military people are trained to do. It is unfair to put someone in a situation that they are completely untrained to handle and expect them to perform flawlessly. If we want the rights protected by *our* constitution to be upheld in Iraq, then we need to train *officers* to do that -- not soldiers.

    Social Security is a pyramid scam.

    Training (none / 0) (#312)
    by duffbeer703 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 01:02:44 PM EST

    Maintaining order in the wake of conflict is an integral part of military operations and always has been.

    If US military officers are not trained to serve as civil administrators after the smoke of battle has cleared, then the military is guilty of gross negligence.

    Maybe that is why the British army is administering the most politically sensitive area of Iraq.

    [ Parent ]

    assumptions (none / 0) (#341)
    by dh003i on Fri May 16, 2003 at 02:22:53 PM EST

    Integral? An integral part of the conflict is winning and incurring minimum casualties on your side while not committing crimes against humanity, and preferably minimizing causualties on their side (especially civillian deaths).

    Anything after the war is over is not an "integral part of military operations". Even if you argue they should receive training for this, it is certainly last on the list of priorities. Staying alive takes a higher priority than administration of rights-based justice after a conflict.

    Social Security is a pyramid scam.
    [ Parent ]

    Absolutely not (none / 0) (#412)
    by duffbeer703 on Fri May 16, 2003 at 10:30:28 PM EST

    Maintaining order and avoiding prolonged periods of anarchy must be of prime importance to a civilized nation.

    How safe are the soldiers going to be when gangs of armed vigilantes and criminals form to impose their own order/security?

    [ Parent ]

    not a soldier's job (none / 0) (#421)
    by dh003i on Sat May 17, 2003 at 12:27:13 AM EST

    In modern society, there is a separation between the military and law-enforcement, and for good reason. Maintaining law and order is not the normal job of soldier's, is not what they're trained for, and isn't what they're good at -- so it doesn't make sense to expect them to do such. Also, while we're sitting back here judging them with perfect hindsight, it would be worthy to note that they have to make instant decisions which will mean their own life or death, or that of their comrads.

    Social Security is a pyramid scam.
    [ Parent ]

    Not in a warzone (none / 0) (#487)
    by duffbeer703 on Sat May 17, 2003 at 09:58:02 PM EST

    The is no civil law enforcement without civil government ( or laws for that matter.)

    [ Parent ]
    There are laws governing warfare (none / 0) (#361)
    by kinnell on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:26:45 PM EST

    Like them or not, these were lawful orders. Shutting down a radio station is *not* a crime against humanity, and it is an order that *can* be lawfully obeyed.

    It's not quite as simple as that. Soldiers are bound by military law of the force they serve in and by the Geneva Convention. These both go well beyond covering crimes against humanity. Attacking TV stations is not prohibited by the Geneva Convention as far as I'm aware. Whether "occupying" counts as attacking is probably open to interpretation.

    I won't pretend to know anything about American military law, but don't soldiers swear to uphold the constitution? If this applies overseas, during armed conflict, she might have a legal standing on this count too. In the british army soldiers have every right to disobey an order they consider to be illegal.

    In the end, I think if she did this on legal grounds, good for her, but if she did it purely on a matter of principle, she is a fool. When signing up, you explicitly forfeit the right to make value judgements by agreeing to obey your superiors.

    [ Parent ]

    constitution does not apply to foreign nations (none / 0) (#422)
    by dh003i on Sat May 17, 2003 at 12:28:10 AM EST

    The US Constitution only applies within the US to US citizens. In some cases, overseas in US-controlled regions, it also applies to US citizens. It, however, does not apply to non-citizens in other nations.

    Social Security is a pyramid scam.
    [ Parent ]

    Re: constitution does not apply to foreign nations (none / 0) (#494)
    by p1nko on Sun May 18, 2003 at 12:36:39 AM EST

    Is iraq as it is considered a nation right now.  From what i've read it appears that the US militiary and by extention the US is in control of just about everything.  The US military seems the be the only government over there.  I would be inclined to believe that as long as the military is effectively the government then the constitution applies.  Then again, I know nothing about international law.

    [ Parent ]
    nope (5.00 / 1) (#504)
    by dh003i on Sun May 18, 2003 at 11:18:58 AM EST

    Not only does the US Constitution not apply in Iraq, but furthermore, our soldier's are incapable of enforcing it. The US Constitution requires constitutional judges, division of power, supreme court justices, and so-on and so-forth -- none of which we can supply in Iraq.

    Social Security is a pyramid scam.
    [ Parent ]

    Am I reading you right? (none / 0) (#603)
    by Fell on Fri May 23, 2003 at 12:51:05 AM EST

    Iraq, as a nation, doesn't really exist, except potentially.  The U.S. military pretty much put an end to it and at this point is attempting to put the pieces back together again.   To the extent to which it is able to do so U.N. security council has just given the U.S. (and Britain) broad authority to carry out its plan of "nation building."  The point of this is that the U.S. is in charge of this task and unless the military is operating as a rogue force, it has to be bound by the laws which give it the authority it has.  The U.S. constitution represents the foundation of the laws from which the U.S. government is constructed and in which its military stands.  Of course, the military, as part of the Executive Branch of the government, has its own set of laws that delegate the chain of command as well as the conduct of each of the members of the military.  These lawful orders have special significance since, in a war, the military kills people and as such has to be justified by a process that undergoes the strictest of scrutiny.  The question that is being debated here, it seems to me, is whether or not such special orders emanating from a command structure that serves on the battle field should also be applied to the task of "nation building."

    Fell

    [ Parent ]

    Well... (none / 0) (#495)
    by cpt kangarooski on Sun May 18, 2003 at 02:12:11 AM EST

    To be a little more accurate, the US Constitution also may be invoked by non-US citizens within the US. In fact, very little in the Constitution involves citizens specifically. Usually it refers to 'persons.'

    --
    All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
    [ Parent ]
    Military Intelligence? (2.50 / 12) (#297)
    by The Devil on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:34:54 PM EST

    I find it funny that a soldier would feel it necessary to defy orders based on their own thoughts of right and wrong. This is indeed ironic. Following orders is one thing, and the only exception is if some more profound law is about to be broken. Freedom of speech is not such a law, especially in wartime. Refusing a direct order to kill children might be, but shutting down al-Jazeera? Hardly.

    This soldier threw away her career for nothing, and only demonstrated a lack of military cohesion with her superiors, and that she was not suitable for the military anyway. That's a purely civilian attitude - to pick and choose what order you follow from a higher up.

    This al-Jazeera was a component of the Saddam regime, and it was therefore integral in the broadcast of Saddam's message (mind-meld, whatever). The US Military will not allow this institution to come back - ever, because it was a military target.

    al Jazeera was *BANNED* by Saddam (5.00 / 12) (#306)
    by Eric Green on Fri May 16, 2003 at 12:50:15 PM EST

    It was illegal to receive al Jazeera broadcasts in Iraq under Saddam's rule, and Saddam's propoganda minister spent the majority of his last press conference blasting al Jazeera for showing footage of U.S. tanks in the center of Baghdad... "Lies, all lies! al Jazeera is the network of liars!".

    al Jazeera was allowed back into Iraq shortly before the recent Crusade primarily because Saddam had no choice -- if he wanted any coverage at all in the Arab world, if he wanted anybody other than the U.S. propoganda press to cover the war from the Iraqi side, it was al Jazeera or, well, al Jazeera. And even there, al Jazeera was only barely tolerated, because it showed Iraqis a side of the war that Saddam did not want them to see, such as footage of Iraqi soldiers surrendering to U.S. troops in the south of Iraq, or, in the end, footage of U.S. tanks in the middle of Baghdad.

    Methinks al Jazeera has to be doing something right if both Saddam and the Busheviks hate them. Mouthpieces never get that kind of bilateral condemnation... only news outlets with the guts to cover the stories that the world's leaders don't want covered receive that kind of universal condemnation from those in power (and the propoganda press of those in power).
    --
    You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
    [ Parent ]

    Ok (5.00 / 4) (#369)
    by marx on Fri May 16, 2003 at 04:59:50 PM EST

    This al-Jazeera was a component of the Saddam regime
    Yes, and Bush rapes little boys.

    Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
    [ Parent ]

    Nice Troll (n/t) (none / 0) (#506)
    by The Devil on Sun May 18, 2003 at 01:26:03 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Clear and present danger (3.57 / 7) (#343)
    by mstefan on Fri May 16, 2003 at 02:41:42 PM EST

    The question that must be asked is, is (a) bombing al-Jazeera and then (b) taking their rebroadcaster off the air, absolutely necessary to prevent some kind of massive, clear and present danger to the people of Iraq?

    That's the wrong question. You should be asking if the anti-American propaganda that outlets like al Jazeera broadcast present a clear and present danger to the allied forces in Iraq. The answer is an unequivocable "yes". At this stage, our job there is to pacify the general population, disarm them and restore law, order and the basic structure of government.

    Free speech and other personal freedoms are something that the Iraqis do deserve, and will eventually enjoy, but right now there are more important things to do. Minimizing social unrest and keeping our soldiers safe trumps the "right" of al Jazeera to broadcast into Iraq.



    So what? (4.00 / 1) (#348)
    by epepke on Fri May 16, 2003 at 03:08:39 PM EST

    So far, only gr3y has come up with a cogent analysis of the situation. Whether shutting down the station was the right or the wrong thing to do is a peripheral issue.


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


    [ Parent ]
    Copyright violations (3.00 / 4) (#344)
    by jmc on Fri May 16, 2003 at 02:44:07 PM EST

    According to the article, the TV station is "near the city's university" and had been airing "programming from other Arabic news channels, as well as from NBC".

    Conspiracy theorists all know who really runs the US government... the decisive military action in Iraq sends a message to home-grown terrorists like Jesse Jordan as well as other supporters of piracy.

    Iraq wants to be free (3.50 / 6) (#373)
    by CmdrTroll on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:31:01 PM EST

    due to the illegal nature of the invasion in the first place and the fact that the Iraqis want self-determination, not some occupying army
    How much self-determination did they have when a brutal dictator ran their country?

    This place sounds a bit more like yellowtimes.org every day. Grow up and stop bitching. What we did was for the best; in a few short years you will realize just how wrong you were to criticize our liberation of the Iraqi people.

    And moreover (1.00 / 2) (#379)
    by A Trickster Imp on Fri May 16, 2003 at 05:49:49 PM EST

    I'm pleased to report that an officer charged with implementing this order, one Major Charmaine Means, refused to follow order

    Why are you pleased to report a soldier continued to allow a charlatan organization most likely still infiltrated with Saddamites run programs by another charlatan organization, similarly infected?

    Media outlets in government controlled countries are not to be given the same degree of credence that free organizations in free countries should be.  You can if you want, of course, at your own intellectual peril.

    One would hope that one's critical thinking ability would prevent that.

    This station is not a "free" station practicing "free speech", and the limited number of stations in the area certainly emphasizes the problem.

    Letting Al Jazeera broadcast would be like letting Nazis immediately after WWII start broadcasting "You Jews better stay in hiding!"

    Sorry, no.  Go pick another target rather telling someone lying, bloody and near death, in the hospital that you have to let their attackers have free range to stir things up.

    [ Parent ]

    hussein banned al-jazeera (5.00 / 2) (#425)
    by vinayd on Sat May 17, 2003 at 12:40:21 AM EST

    One would hope that one's critical thinking ability would prevent that.

    and what about your critical thinking? or have you not bothered at all with such things as facts --- as in the fact that the hussein regime and al-jazeera were bitter antagonists?

    this line of yours --- Letting Al Jazeera broadcast would be like letting Nazis immediately after WWII start broadcasting "You Jews better stay in hiding!" --- is stunning in its ignorance and a brutal indictment of the american education system.

    I advise you to avoid admonishing others about intellectual peril.




    One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one chatters and quarrels. - Nietzsche
    [ Parent ]
    Gosh (1.00 / 2) (#457)
    by A Trickster Imp on Sat May 17, 2003 at 10:01:59 AM EST

    <blockquote>as in the fact that the hussein regime and al-jazeera were bitter antagonists? </blockquote>

    Golly, you make it sound like they weren't a mouthpiece for Saddam's regime during the war, deliberately stirring up anti-American sentiments while deliberately minimizing or ignoring pro-American or anti-Saddam events.

    [ Parent ]

    good golly (5.00 / 1) (#468)
    by vinayd on Sat May 17, 2003 at 11:48:19 AM EST

    that makes it seem like I'm declaring they don't have a slant? they have an Arab audience! do you think they're going to be pro- american? in any case they certainly weren't "mouthipieces" for the hussein regime. again: you are overlooking basic things like facts.


    One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one chatters and quarrels. - Nietzsche
    [ Parent ]
    More truth from them than the US media (none / 0) (#579)
    by Anonymous Hiro on Wed May 21, 2003 at 12:19:22 PM EST

    OK show me the lies that Al Jazeera told during the Iraq war.

    Sure they have their slant - suits their target audience. But Al Jazeera was definitely NOT Saddam's mouthpiece - Saddam had his own station. They were the ones with the scoops in the Afghanistan war.

    I can tell you that the US media was full of propaganda during the war (noticed they can state the number of Iraqis killed, but hardly ever have figures for the coalition forces). Had to resort to BBC, some German stations and Al Jazeera for less propaganda.

    Talking about mouthpieces, how about the US media?

    No WMD found and the US media mostly downplaying the issue. Not important, and it's Saddam's fault etc etc. And I thought the WMD were THE MAIN ISSUE?

    Bush et all were so convinced by the "evidence" they had that Iraq had tons of WMD, and now it's so hard to find them, and it doesn't really matter at all?

    Sure the Russians and French are self serving crooks. But the US tops them because of its sheer hypocrisy and deceit. I won't be surprised if anti-US sentiment has increased worldwide. And since the rest of the US are playing along with Bush they are culpable and take some responsibility.


    [ Parent ]

    we didn't go there to liberate anyone (4.50 / 2) (#437)
    by vinayd on Sat May 17, 2003 at 01:50:14 AM EST

    although the bush administration is certainly keen to capitalize on the 'cheering, liberated throngs'.

    ostensibly, we went there to enforce UN resolutions regarding weapons of mass destruction and our own security concerns. liberting iraqi civilians from tyranny (tyranny which we supported for decades) literally had nothing to do with it.

    further, never forget what karl rove said: "use the war". he meant the war on terror, of which this is one battle. he meant "use the war for domestic political gain". that's really what all this was about. a quick easy win...for domestic political gain.

    in a few years you'll understand that --- when we're still there taking casualities while rummy and cheney are sipping drinks poolside with carbombs going off --- in Casablanca, Basra, Beirut, Jerusalem...New York...




    One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one chatters and quarrels. - Nietzsche
    [ Parent ]
    The US people seem to have forgotten (none / 0) (#578)
    by Anonymous Hiro on Wed May 21, 2003 at 12:05:28 PM EST

    The US people are letting Bush get away with all the deception and charades.

    Even if Bush was misled himself, he should admit it and sack those who misled him.

    The fact that he continues to avoid or deny the hard questions (where's the WMD that they had such convincing evidence of before, what's with trying to link Iraq with 9/11) and the US continues to let him do so looks very bad to the rest of the world.

    Most of us aren't going to say much more - we've said it all before the war even started (where's the justification for the war, etc etc) and were ignored.

    You think this makes the US safer? All the extreme Arabs now have more "proof" that the US is the Great Satan. Satan after all is the great deceiver.

    [ Parent ]

    You are so ignorant. (none / 0) (#472)
    by Lai Lai Boy on Sat May 17, 2003 at 02:03:51 PM EST

    God bless us Americans, for going over and doing what's right.  We are truly God's chosen people.

    So, when are we liberating the North Koreans, Chinese, Chechans, Kashimiris, Palestinans and giving better lives to Indians, Bangladeshis, all of Central Asia, Russians...oh wait none of those fit into our "stategic insterests."

    God bless us.  

    [Posted from Mozilla Firebird]
    [ Parent ]

    Stupid argument (4.14 / 7) (#391)
    by golrien on Fri May 16, 2003 at 07:16:33 PM EST

    If you don't want to blindly follow orders which you may or may not agree with, don't join the fucking army. It's a very simple rule.

    Stupid reason (2.00 / 1) (#417)
    by Pig Hogger on Fri May 16, 2003 at 11:12:11 PM EST

    If you don't want to blindly follow orders which you may or may not agree with, don't join the fucking army. It's a very simple rule.
    What part of "to uphold the constitution" and "abridging the freedom of speech" don't you understand?
    --

    Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing it's idiot
    [ Parent ]

    Oh, I dunno... (none / 0) (#426)
    by Jennifer Ever on Sat May 17, 2003 at 12:43:45 AM EST

    The part where it to applies to foreigners in occupied territories where martial law has been declared?

    [ Parent ]
    so just do as you're told? (none / 0) (#430)
    by vinayd on Sat May 17, 2003 at 01:04:41 AM EST

    kill their children, it'll keep the villagers quiet --- should american soldiers follow those types of orders too, just because martial law has been declared and the victims are "foreigners"? (odd that the iraqis could be foreigners in their own country...) and what about the geneva conventions? or do we whine about that only when it affects us?

    has martial law even been declared? last I checked we were trying to install a civilian government while ineptly "policing" the country with an under-armed, under-paid force which will return home to slashed veterans benefits.




    One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one chatters and quarrels. - Nietzsche
    [ Parent ]
    Pfft. (4.00 / 1) (#436)
    by Jennifer Ever on Sat May 17, 2003 at 01:48:30 AM EST

    Wow, what a surprise--resorting to strawman tactics. Congrats, you're an idiot.

    Martial law means that Constitutional protections of speech, religion, etc, are suspended, which in turn means that an order that could questionably be construed as suppressing free speech is lawful, and American soldiers are expected to obey it. Crimes against humanity, such as murder, are unlawful regardless, so American soldiers are not expected to carry them out. The issue of foreigness goes to whether the Constitution ever protected free speech in Iraq in the first place, not the question of whether it is acceptable to kill a child.

    [ Parent ]

    indeed (none / 0) (#439)
    by vinayd on Sat May 17, 2003 at 01:56:38 AM EST

    the real surprise is to hear personal insults instead of argument of any kind.

    and again --- have we even declared martial law? and upholding the constitution means supporting the law of the US --- which means that treaties and international laws the US has agreed to, by extension, barring specific retraction of that support by the government, which to date has not been forthcoming.

    so is it ok to flout the geneva conventions regarding occupying forces? no, it isn't. and I don't think you're an idiot.


    One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one chatters and quarrels. - Nietzsche
    [ Parent ]

    The original poster asserts that we have (4.00 / 1) (#442)
    by Jennifer Ever on Sat May 17, 2003 at 02:13:20 AM EST

    And the linked article implies as much. I don't honestly know for sure, I'm just taking their respective words for it. It's not an issue I've paid much attention to.

    Care to explain how siezing a TV station violates any provision of the Geneva Conventions?

    [ Parent ]

    well maybe this? (none / 0) (#447)
    by vinayd on Sat May 17, 2003 at 02:26:45 AM EST

    the occupying force will 'restore and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety.'

    are we really planning to install a civilian government while arbitrarily silencing dissenting political voices? this can be construed as political persecution, which will take us many steps backward and can't foment 'public order and safety'.

    ok, a bit weak. no I haven't done any research, that was off the top of my head.

    so back on topic: the army was wrong to close that station, and three cheers for that hapless young major.


    One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one chatters and quarrels. - Nietzsche
    [ Parent ]

    Weak? You bet. (none / 0) (#474)
    by Jennifer Ever on Sat May 17, 2003 at 02:39:38 PM EST

    No court of law, domestic or international, would buy that. The broadcast of content potentially designed to incite further violence is a risk to public order and safety, and our military responded accordingly. It's only been a matter of weeks since we took control of Mosul, and we're still very much in the process of restoring the basics of safety and order. You can argue all you want that, sometime down the line, this action may be taken for political persecution and that this in turn will somehow put public order and safety at more of a risk, but I'm pretty happy that our military is responding to immediate threats and concerning itself more with preventing violence now than with who it might offend.

    [ Parent ]
    maybe... (none / 0) (#480)
    by vinayd on Sat May 17, 2003 at 05:29:30 PM EST

    you may be right, but I think it's a stretch to suggest that the broadcast of free press is something that would incite violence.

    it's moot at this point anyway, if the clarification given above (new post) is accurate.


    One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one chatters and quarrels. - Nietzsche
    [ Parent ]

    okay breathe (5.00 / 1) (#455)
    by GfreshMofo on Sat May 17, 2003 at 08:51:16 AM EST

    Now everyone say it with me it's just a TV station.

    He also took from American books ... Shakespeare ... Classic
    [ Parent ]

    breathing (none / 0) (#467)
    by vinayd on Sat May 17, 2003 at 11:39:47 AM EST

    and duh, of course it's "just a tv station" ... er wait, then why would the United States Army need to .... oh whatever.


    One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one chatters and quarrels. - Nietzsche
    [ Parent ]
    Fellow all orders? (none / 0) (#534)
    by hoytt79 on Mon May 19, 2003 at 11:17:13 AM EST

    If you don't want to blindly follow orders which you may or may not agree with, don't join the fucking army. It's a very simple rule.

    So you'd expect the US army to follow all orders coming from the top? After WW2 it was established that "Befehl ist Befehl" doesn't hold water. Servicemen can be individually charged with crimes if they follow orders. Or do you think that the GIs that follow orders to shoot at an unarmed number of people shoud get away with it.

    [ Parent ]
    I need to re-read the article (none / 0) (#561)
    by godix on Tue May 20, 2003 at 01:33:15 AM EST

    apperently I missed the part where it says the orders were to go kill unarmed people.


    "A disobedient dog is almost as bad as a disobedient girlfriend or wife."
    - A Proud American
    [ Parent ]
    Shut up! (2.71 / 7) (#406)
    by GfreshMofo on Fri May 16, 2003 at 09:35:44 PM EST

    You're way off base. Undermining of free speech...maybe but when you're a soldier in an army, and that's any army, no matter how much you disagree with an order you have to follow it. (Was the k5 populace all on crack when this got voted up?)

    He also took from American books ... Shakespeare ... Classic

    Unless... (2.00 / 1) (#419)
    by jefu on Fri May 16, 2003 at 11:54:20 PM EST

    Unless you believe in that odd and interesting principle of law that was enforced by the United States, oh, about 60 years or so ago - at the Nuremberg War Crimes trials.

    Where, it was made very clear, "Just following orders" was not considered a reasonable defence.

    Of course the US army has never paid much attention to those rules and since for the most part they've been on the winning side - or at least able to get out before War Crimes trials could be held - this has not been really put to any serious test.

    [ Parent ]

    citizen soldier defends free speech (5.00 / 1) (#423)
    by vinayd on Sat May 17, 2003 at 12:30:34 AM EST

    who let all these illiterates onto kru5hin to spout off about "shut up and follow orders" and that al-Jazeera is an Iraqi mouthpiece?

    Hussein banned al-Jazeera because they practice free speech. al-Jazeera is not broadcast out of Iraq; they are independent and don't produce propoganda --- anymore than MSNBC or Fox does....

    And hooray for that courageous major who defied the draconian orders to silence speech --- a true citizen soldier who understood that the first duty of an american soldier is to uphold and defend the constitution.

    clever, self-absorbed tag line


    One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one chatters and quarrels. - Nietzsche
    [ Parent ]

    Can we all stop throwing that around? (none / 0) (#444)
    by Jennifer Ever on Sat May 17, 2003 at 02:19:07 AM EST

    The fact that Saddam banned Al-Jazeera hardly means they are objective, impartial journalists. Christ, Saddam and Al Queda didn't have any love for each other either--doesn't mean that Al Queda has any interest in upholding any of the democratic principles that Saddam also opposed.

    [ Parent ]
    ok (none / 0) (#446)
    by vinayd on Sat May 17, 2003 at 02:23:13 AM EST

    I'll stop "throwing that around". al-jazeera is not impartial..like fox news ... but my point is that some posters have asserted outright collusion between baathists and that network, which is wholly wrong. and al-jazeera is the brightest point of light in the democratic arab world, as far as I'm concerned --- they have raised the blood pressure of every authoritarian regime in the region. every one.


    One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one chatters and quarrels. - Nietzsche
    [ Parent ]
    Good fucking God (4.50 / 2) (#424)
    by Jennifer Ever on Sat May 17, 2003 at 12:36:24 AM EST

    Shut up. Really, just shut up. If you don't see the difference between the insane genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany and the most-likely bloodless siezure of one god damned television station by US forces in Iraq, then you have absolutely no perspective, and I strongly encourage you to find a cliff, convince yourself it's a curb, and step off it.

    [ Parent ]
    of course there's a difference, jennifer (none / 0) (#428)
    by vinayd on Sat May 17, 2003 at 12:52:44 AM EST

    but the point isn't to equate genocide with the american decision to silence free speech; the point is that "just following orders" is not a legitimate reason for defense of one's actions, and that is what nuremburg decisively demonstrated.

    american soldiers --- in many ways above all others in the world --- are citizen soldiers.

    their job is to defend the constitution, and as free-thinking citizens, they have the right to refuse orders if they so choose. there are of course consequences in the military for doing so, but as citizens they have that right.

    in other countries, such as the formerly US-backed regime in Iraq, led by Mr. Hussein, soldiers were simply shot for refusing orders.




    One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one chatters and quarrels. - Nietzsche
    [ Parent ]
    I don't think you particularly understand (none / 0) (#432)
    by Jennifer Ever on Sat May 17, 2003 at 01:18:50 AM EST

    What you're talking about. Nuremberg established that 'just following orders' was not justification for an individual's complicity in war crimes, crimes against humanity, and so-called crimes against peace. You can read it yourself, if you like, as I've attached the specifics below.

    (a) Crimes against Peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing:

    (b) War Crimes: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder ill-treatment or deportation to slave labour or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity:

    (c) Crimes against Humanity: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.

    [ Parent ]

    you've missed some particulars (none / 0) (#434)
    by vinayd on Sat May 17, 2003 at 01:32:51 AM EST

    Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder ill-treatment or deportation to slave labour or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory

    it isn't difficult to perceive censorship of free press as the ill-treatment of a civilian population in an occupied territory --- which itself mandates specific behavior by the occupying power under international law. I won't bore you with a pedantic cut and paste of something I've grabbed off the internet....

    but again, the point isn't to equate the closure of the station with genocidal war-crimes. the point is that soldiers do in fact have a right to disobey orders and that 'shut up and follow orders' is not something a citizen soldier has to accept.




    One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one chatters and quarrels. - Nietzsche
    [ Parent ]
    Christ, look at the damned context (none / 0) (#440)
    by Jennifer Ever on Sat May 17, 2003 at 02:04:16 AM EST

    ". . . murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labour." It's bloody fucking difficult to conclude that the temporary siezure of one television station constitutes ill-treatment.

    [ Parent ]
    read your excerpts more closely (none / 0) (#443)
    by vinayd on Sat May 17, 2003 at 02:13:32 AM EST

    again -- I'm not suggesting it's a war crime, just that american soldiers have a right to disobey orders and that 'just following orders' is not a legitimate excuse.

    however, the specific context of the excerpt you've chosen should be read as ill-treatment [...] of civilian population of or in occupied territory as it is one item among many. deportation is not the same as murder --- far from it. but it's an item on the list. along with 'ill treatment'. and ill treatment would be sufficient, if, as a soldier on the ground, I felt it was 'ill treatment' to silence an independent news organization for capricious political reasons.


    One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one chatters and quarrels. - Nietzsche
    [ Parent ]

    Under the precedent established by Nuremberg... (5.00 / 1) (#476)
    by Jennifer Ever on Sat May 17, 2003 at 03:33:51 PM EST

    Soldiers have an obligation and right to disobey orders directing them to commit war crimes, crimes against peace, or crimes against humanity. So yes, if you want to argue that Nuremberg provides the Major an out, then you are indeed suggesting that the siezure of this station falls into one of those 3 categories.

    Ill-treatment, insofar as Nuremberg was concerned, was a reference to the tortuous conditions at Nazi death camps, the experiments performed upon prisoners, etc. Given that, I don't think that any reasonable person would conclude that the temporary siezure of a television station could be considered ill-treatment, especially as the whole point of taking the station was to prevent its broadcasts from escalating tensions in the area to the point of violence.

    [ Parent ]

    I Await The Trial. (5.00 / 1) (#483)
    by Richard Henry Lee on Sat May 17, 2003 at 07:41:03 PM EST

    (a) Crimes against Peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing:

    Oh wait, I forgot. We won. There won't be a trial. As long as we keep winning on the battlefield, we're good to go. On to Syria then.


    Let this happy day give birth to an American republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to reestablish the reign of peace and of law. - June 7, 1776

    [ Parent ]
    "peace" (none / 0) (#485)
    by emmons on Sat May 17, 2003 at 08:19:27 PM EST

    The only problem with that is that a state of war already existed, as initiated by Iraq's aggression against Kuwait thirteen years ago. We stopped fighting as our end of a cease-fire agreement, which also placed requirements on Iraq. Requirements that it did not meet, thus violating the cease-fire and giving the US opportunity to start firing again.

    ---
    In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -Douglas Adams

    [ Parent ]
    You're Right. (5.00 / 1) (#486)
    by Richard Henry Lee on Sat May 17, 2003 at 08:29:40 PM EST

    I guess I'll have to hold my venom until after the tanks roll into Syria.


    Let this happy day give birth to an American republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to reestablish the reign of peace and of law. - June 7, 1776

    [ Parent ]
    yep (none / 0) (#525)
    by emmons on Mon May 19, 2003 at 04:54:38 AM EST

    And I'll be out there marching with you for that one.

    ---
    In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -Douglas Adams

    [ Parent ]
    Oh yeah... (none / 0) (#584)
    by Kintanon on Wed May 21, 2003 at 03:45:18 PM EST

    Cause Iraq was just FILLED with chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. We found tons of them laying around everywh- Oh what? We didn't find ANY? Not a one? Well, now I'm confused... How were we justified in reopening hostilities?

    Kintanon

    [ Parent ]

    We stopped fighting? (none / 0) (#588)
    by lunatic on Wed May 21, 2003 at 05:17:39 PM EST

    When did the US stop fighting? The US has been running bombing missions in Iraq since '91.

    [ Parent ]
    What? (5.00 / 1) (#454)
    by GfreshMofo on Sat May 17, 2003 at 08:44:10 AM EST

    This has nothing to do with war crimes

    He also took from American books ... Shakespeare ... Classic
    [ Parent ]

    Geneva Convention (none / 0) (#499)
    by elgardo on Sun May 18, 2003 at 07:22:36 AM EST

    Actually, it is a war crime situation; according to the Geneva Convention, of which the US is a signatory, supressing/bombing/killing the media is considered a war crime.

    Since the Nuremburg Trials conclueded that "just following orders" is not a good enough defence, particularly when the order is a crime (kill a journalis, gas some non-combatant jews), the officer is in the right to deny these orders.

    [ Parent ]

    Unless theyre not supposed to be there (5.00 / 1) (#517)
    by GfreshMofo on Sun May 18, 2003 at 11:14:13 PM EST

    Which I believe is the case here

    He also took from American books ... Shakespeare ... Classic
    [ Parent ]

    Bush is a dictator (1.41 / 17) (#445)
    by ScumericanNazi on Sat May 17, 2003 at 02:20:34 AM EST

    The NEO-CONstitution of the United States of Scumerica

    We the NEO-CONservaties of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union with God and His Nation of Israel, establish justice in His Almighty Name, override domestic election results, diminish civil liberties in the name of National Security, promote the Defence Budget and Haliburton Inc., and secure the kickbacks from Premium Unleaded to ourselves and our coterie, do ordain and establish this NEO-CONstitution for the United States of Scumerica.

    Bush has:
    1. scammed elections.
    2. protected the bin Laden family from post 9-11 investigations.
    3. bombed 5000+ innocent civilians in afghanistan.
    4. bombed 5000+ innocent civilians in iraq.

    all for a few dollars more.

    And Scumerica is still wondering why people all over the world hate it ? If you say that Iraqis dont "deserve better" cos they "tolerated" Saddam, then Scumericans dont deserve better than 9-11 cos they tolerate Bush in power.

    If you want PROOF of Scumerican war crimes outside Scumerican borders, dont worry, some innocent Iraqi somewhere who has lost his family and has nothing left to lose is probably flying in on a Scumerican Airlines flight. nuff said!


    stupid (1.00 / 1) (#469)
    by vinayd on Sat May 17, 2003 at 12:01:32 PM EST

    inflammatory and wildly inaccurate statements; you have contributed nothing to the discussion.


    One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one chatters and quarrels. - Nietzsche
    [ Parent ]
    And for doing your patriotic duty (1.00 / 1) (#470)
    by DominantParadigm on Sat May 17, 2003 at 01:41:17 PM EST

    You are a proud American.

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


    [ Parent ]
    I am suprised (none / 0) (#471)
    by Lai Lai Boy on Sat May 17, 2003 at 01:59:39 PM EST

    to be defending Bush, but the rest of the Bin Laden family has nothing to do with Al Qaida. They're a building/contractor family of quite some wealth, not cave dwelling zealots.

    [Posted from Mozilla Firebird]
    [ Parent ]

    two sides of the same coin [nt] (none / 0) (#501)
    by chu on Sun May 18, 2003 at 09:15:43 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Latest news on the subject (4.83 / 12) (#449)
    by Torgos Pizza on Sat May 17, 2003 at 03:15:38 AM EST

    Yeah, I know I'm a bit late to the party, but my cousin is in the 22nd MPAD and Maj. Means was his commanding officer. He explained the whole blowup in his latest email back to us. The 22nd MPAD is there to assist the internaltional media and to rebuild the television station in Mosul and get things up and running again. They have very little equipment as most of it has been looted. They also try to build relationships with the station workers and help them where they can.

    The 101st Airborne was a little miffed at the al-Jazeera and wanted to place some PYSOPS at the station. Maj. Means objected because this placed her unit in conflict with their goals. The 22nd MPAD does not do propaganda. They would lose all credibility with the international community and with the folks at the station. This is why she was fired.

    To sum up what happened next (and not to get him into trouble or anything, he wrote that they been assigned Major Purvis, who he seems to like. All this has caused enough of a stir that they continue to do their mission they were doing all along, without the threat of a station takeover or PSYOPS programming... minus Major Means.

    I intend to live forever, or die trying.

    Somehow... (4.50 / 4) (#456)
    by Wespee on Sat May 17, 2003 at 09:30:59 AM EST

    ...I suspected things went something like this (and thank you for a bit of confirmation that it actually happened!).

    As far as I'm concerned, Major Means was right to demur if she felt the orders ran counter to her morals and/or her mission, but her commanding officer was right to relieve her from command for it.

    Paul



    [ Parent ]
    Exactly. (4.00 / 1) (#502)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Sun May 18, 2003 at 09:48:16 AM EST

    First, Means did the right thing but, second, a military organization operates on the principle of obedience, and so she could not be shown to have been "rewarded" for a refusal to obey orders.

    OTOH, I hope she pushes hard enough to force her commander to be relieved of his command for having issued the order in the first place....


    --
    Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


    [ Parent ]
    Good point (4.75 / 4) (#505)
    by epepke on Sun May 18, 2003 at 11:34:12 AM EST

    OTOH, I hope she pushes hard enough to force her commander to be relieved of his command for having issued the order in the first place....

    gr3y gave the only cogent guess about what had happened, and it's been largely confirmed. But there's something that's more important than whether this or that Major gets relieved or whether a television station that is hard pressed to transmit anyway gets closed for a few weeks. That something is, why the hell is the 2nd MPAD being given these kinds of orders in the first place? At best, it means that the command structure of the U.S. forces in Iraq is a massive clusterfuck, and this is way the hell more important with respect to what happens to Iraq.


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


    [ Parent ]
    Guess what (4.10 / 10) (#477)
    by fluxrad on Sat May 17, 2003 at 04:06:11 PM EST

    She should have been relieved!

    The military is not the "feel good" army of the people. It's a lethal tool employed by a nation to destroy, occupy, and otherwise control territory (in this case, Iraq). Now whether you like it or not, a military can only function if the chain of command is followed without question. This goes back to the old cliche, "We're here to preserve democracy, not to practice it."

    I believe the order given was stupid, but as has been stated in a million other posts in this thread, it was a lawful order. She had no right to question it and should be thrown in the stockade for doing so.

    And to head off any replies of "well this was bullshit, she would have been taking away freedom of speech, yaddah yaddah" - That's exactly why you don't want war! Because shit like this happens. It's not some foreign concept where people a long way away are dying. People lose their rights! People lose their lives! People get angry at the occupying force, even if they're handing out little debbies for all the boys and girls. Disobeying an order doesn't make that go away.

    I weep for those who didn't see this coming.

    --
    "It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
    -David Hume
    without question? (2.00 / 1) (#482)
    by sgtron on Sat May 17, 2003 at 07:34:37 PM EST

    The military does not function on blind obedience. If you are ordered to do something illegal or immoral you can refuse to obey. You will not be "thrown in the stockade".

    It all goes back to a place called Germany, a war called WWII and a group of people called the Nazis.

    When the Nuremburg trials were going on the often heard defense was "we were only following orders" and "a military can only function if the chain of command is followed without question". It didn't work for them, they were all convicted. It shouldn't work now either.

    Oh, it also didn't work in that movie... the one with Jack Nicholson where those two Marines killed that kid accidently.. they said they were only following orders too... remember that one? They got convicted too.

    [ Parent ]

    There's a big difference (5.00 / 2) (#484)
    by emmons on Sat May 17, 2003 at 08:06:00 PM EST

    between stifling free speech and commiting genocide. The first is rather annoying and authoritarian, the second is.. well, genocide.

    Shutting down (or rather, taking over) a television station is a perfectly legal, morally legimate military exercise. Systematically murdering an entire race/ethnicity of people is just a tad less morally acceptable. It's also illegal under the Geneva Conventions, now as it was during WWII. Any officer can legally disobey an order that violates the Geneva Conventions. One may not disobey an order simply because s/he feels that it's a bad choice.

    While the order was a poor decision in my opinion, it was right that the officer was relieved of duty for disobeying it. The military isn't a democracy.

    On the side.. you're quoting a movie as an accurate portrayal of real life?

    ---
    In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -Douglas Adams

    [ Parent ]

    The point is (none / 0) (#511)
    by Fell on Sun May 18, 2003 at 05:06:08 PM EST

    that it isn't just a question of following orders, but of following lawfully given orders.   If the war is legally justified, it makes sense that orders given by that authority are lawful orders.  The problem occurs when we have to define what a lawful order is (or if it was the case that the Nazi regime was lawful, that the laws were legitimate in some way).  The case for the Nazis being legally entitled to go to war against communist regimes and to exterminate what it considered its enemies has to be seen in the context in which the Nazis came to power.  It is true that the Nazis (as well as the communists) benefited by the global recession of the thirties and that Hitler's political prowess was undeniable but one must also consider that it waged its battles through intimidation.  Though he had substantial support among the populace, his rise to power included what many Germans believed were immoral actions.

    In any case, to support the "just following orders" defense, one has to make sure the orders are legitimate (or legitimately lawful).

    Fell

    [ Parent ]

    legality (none / 0) (#524)
    by emmons on Mon May 19, 2003 at 04:53:32 AM EST

    Whether the war itself is legal or not is an entirely different debate. Please don't bring that into this one unless you intend to obfuscate the topic.

    The argument is whether or not the relief from duty of the commander who refused to carry out the order is acceptable or not. I argue that it is, since the order was in fact a legal one according to the Genova Conventions and other international law and customs concerning the conduct of war. Her superior acted as he should, the chain of command must be maintained.

    However, whether or not it was a stupid order is different. Perhaps it was, and perhaps the commander was right to take reservations against it, but that does not mean that she has the right to disobey it.

    ---
    In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -Douglas Adams

    [ Parent ]

    The lawful order. (none / 0) (#572)
    by Fell on Tue May 20, 2003 at 08:52:35 PM EST

    What being a lawful order means is that there is legal authority for the command (order).  This is important because military action involves killing.  And killing is not generally sanctioned.  It is true that the Geneva convention attempts to govern the conduct of war, and, in a sense, gives its blessing to those actions taken by combatants that are consistent with it, this does not mean that the orders given by a command structure are thereby lawful.   Clearly, obedience to the command structure is vital to the conduct of war.  We don't want a culture of argumentation when orders are given on the battlefield.  However, this is not a call for blind obedience either, particularly when the military is not actually engaged in a war, but instead attempting to bring peace to a troubled area.  All this may be moot to you, since this does not, I gather, address your point.

    Your (rather limited) point seems to revolve around the issue of whether or not the commander had the right to relieve an officer who refuses to obey an order given.  For this I should say so.  His or her credibility as a commander is in jeopardy.  And this is the case whether or not one is in the military.  Insubordination is often considered a dismissible offense.   As to whether or not such action is advisable or whether or not it actually works out in the commander's favor, this will be left for others to judge.

    Fell

    [ Parent ]

    they *are* seperate topics (none / 0) (#573)
    by emmons on Tue May 20, 2003 at 09:18:40 PM EST

    The arguemt about the legality or legitimacy of the war itself is a different topic, one that in no practical way affects the officer and the order. For this article it's irrelevant. So, I don't wish to argue the legitimacy of the war here because it's not the topic. That discussion can be found in hundreds of other threads on k5.

    One of my pet peeves is when people find it necessary to blur the topic of discussion because they don't agree with something which may be related and wish to make their opinion known. Stick to the point, otherwise you look like a rambling complainer.

    ---
    In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -Douglas Adams

    [ Parent ]

    Toward a reconciliation (none / 0) (#592)
    by Fell on Wed May 21, 2003 at 10:55:08 PM EST

    You are annoyed.  Though I don't ordinarily do this, let me attempt to redress this by taking the time to re-read our responses and see if I can fill in the argument you seem to be making coupled with attempting to explain where my position differs as well as how I think we've each been misunderstood by the other.

    Your view: It was right (acceptable) for the commander in this instance to have relieved the officer of her command on the basis of her insubordination.

    You support this with the premises:  The order that was disobeyed was legally permissible.   (It did not violate any Geneva convention or international law.)

    And: The officer has no right to disobey orders.

    And: Insubordination has to be dealt with in this way because it is not a democracy.

    My view:  It is not necessarily right (acceptable) for the commander to relieve the officer of his command merely on the basis of insubordination and that the order was consistent with international law and the Geneva Convention.  (Note that I'm not suggesting at all that the order was unacceptable.  I'm merely suggesting that not all orders consistent with international law and the Geneva convention must of necessity be obeyed.)

    I support this with:  Orders need to be legitimate. To be a legitimate order requires that it be lawful, which in turn means that the orders derive from a command that has the authority to issue it.  (One way of showing this is  to become familiar with the chain of command and the orders that each commander is obliged to follow and the digression each is given within that chain and that the order falls within that authority.)

    Now, since I'm not familiar with the positions and knowledge-base of the participants of this forum, I started off feeling a need to consider that we might have to delve into the concept of law itself, especially considering that the lawyers in the Nazi regime worked hard to establish a legal grounds for all its subsequent actions.  It was here that, from your perspective, I got side-tracked.  Apparently, for you, this is not an issue that is germane to the subject at hand.  Whereas I thought we might get into a discussion in which the trials at Nuremburg were brought into the picture -- i.e., where the issue of "just following orders" was paramount -- you took what I wrote to mean that I was trying to redirect the discussion to be about the legality of the war.  (This may have been because I specifically mentioned this as a way of considering the lawfulness of the order.  In actual fact, I was only laying the groundwork for a larger discussion of the legitimacy of military orders.)

    Now, in my last post I had drawn a distinction between the rightness of orders to inferiors in a command structure and the right to dismiss an inferior for insubordination.  I had done so from a quick read of your prior response.  In the subsequent post you seemed to think what I said justifies separating the issues you believe need separating: legality of war and the rightness of the dismissal.  However, I had erroneously attributed to you that your position was that the commander had the right to dismiss.  Though we both agree with this, this is not in fact what you'd been arguing for.  You were arguing that it was right or acceptable to dismiss, not just that there was a right to dismiss. The reason I entered the discussion is that I felt you had not considered what I believe were additional criteria that needed to be met.

    It may very well be the case that the order was lawful (by the criteria which I was trying to establish).  I have no axe to grind one way or another.  My issue was rather on the larger one of whether or not you had adequately covered the authority of the command structure itself.

    As to your being peeved by what you think I'm about, I hope the above rectifies this in some small way.

    Fell

    [ Parent ]

    It didn't work for them . . . (none / 0) (#513)
    by Donblas on Sun May 18, 2003 at 06:09:42 PM EST

    . . . because Germany lost. The victors always decide what justice will be.

    [ Parent ]
    The military's role (none / 0) (#585)
    by lunatic on Wed May 21, 2003 at 04:06:57 PM EST

    The military is not the "feel good" army of the people. It's a lethal tool employed by a nation to destroy, occupy, and otherwise control territory (in this case, Iraq). Now whether you like it or not, a military can only function if the chain of command is followed without question. This goes back to the old cliche, "We're here to preserve democracy, not to practice it." Which is precisely why the military ought not to fill the lead role in administration of civil affairs in an occupied nation. It is a tool, and it has an appropriate role. That role is not acting as a government in an occupied nation.

    [ Parent ]
    Bingo! (none / 0) (#615)
    by bwcbwc on Thu May 29, 2003 at 04:29:43 PM EST

    I'm going to completely lose credibility with the die-hard liberals here, but this was a lawful order in the context in which it was issued. It wasn't an order to kill civilians, it was an order to stop a particular broadcast.

    That said, this ban of Al-Jazeera can't stand for the long term. At some point, we have to defer these types of decisions to the local government, whether interim or elected.

    [ Parent ]

    The US as a person (4.25 / 8) (#489)
    by Armada on Sat May 17, 2003 at 10:58:43 PM EST

    Greenrd is perhaps the best K5 example of a 'nationist'. Like racists, they assign stereotypical attributes to citizens of a nation, regardless of the opposing views. They even go so far as to express what the intent of an entire (democratic or otherwise) nation is, as if the nation was itself just one person.

    While they will state that (of course) they know that a democracy has opposing views within itself, they seem only focused on the final decisions, as if the intent all along was to arrive at that choice and that choice only. It become especially evident to what extreme the nationist is skewed based on which outcomes or choices they find the most appalling. They take all the best examples of "atrocities" that the nation partakes in, and use it to judge several million people.

    I quote:
    ...it would threaten the US's desire for, firstly, direct control, and in future a compliant puppetlike regime in Iraq.

    I challenge Greenrd to support the assertion. Good Op-ed pieces don't assume that everyone agrees with you to begin with.

    If one were to take this same kind of zeal and have actually applied it to a nation like the former Iraq under Saddam Hussein, there would have been a wealth of brutal attacks to cover.

    When you focus constantly and consistently on only one nation as being corrupt, evil, and atrocious, you are a nationist, and of a democratic nation.

    Good Point (3.66 / 3) (#491)
    by iguanaphobic on Sat May 17, 2003 at 11:36:06 PM EST

    ...it would threaten the US's desire for, firstly, direct control, and in future a compliant puppetlike regime in Iraq.

    ...it would threaten the current US Administration's desire for, firstly, direct control, and in future a compliant puppetlike regime in Iraq.

    This would have been a much more accurate statement.

    [ Parent ]
    your final statement (4.00 / 3) (#498)
    by dzimmerm on Sun May 18, 2003 at 03:58:38 AM EST

    Is not totally accurate. Gun sales went up in the U.S.A. after 9/11/2001. The more weapons in the hands of U.S.A. people makes it less likely that the governement will do anything that would cause the population to decide to remove that government.

    There is good likelyhood that the ban on so called assault weapons will be allowed to expire. This would be a plus for those who wish to have the ability to defend themselves from agression, both domestic and non domestic.

    Sometimes it takes a supression of a freedom to make that freedom more desirable.

    I am not a believer in natural creator given  rights but I do think we have a good thing going here in the U.S.A. . I am very likely to get upset if the good thing we have is made into not such a good thing. Multiply me by over 80 million other gun owners and realize that we are a force to contend with. Most gun owners have several weapons.

    This little fact helps keep my country capable of dealing with non domestic issues also. While I may not be able to stop an airliner that has been commandeered I could and would stop a person from hurting others by killing them quickly and effeciently.

    dzimmerm

    [ Parent ]

    This makes me curious (4.66 / 3) (#508)
    by Viliam Bur on Sun May 18, 2003 at 03:33:12 PM EST

    I have often heard this kind of thought:
    It is good for democracy if people have guns, because then they could remove the government, if they would not like it. And in USA many people have guns, which makes the country very democratic, etc...

    My question is: Have anyone ever tried it - or do you just believe it? Has ever in USA (after 1776; because that was not yet USA) any group of people use guns against government, with other result than their de facto suicide?

    Perhaps I am just ignorant of some historical event, but I think that people who believe this might be very unpleasantly surprised if they once tried it for real.