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On the Validity of War, from a Liberal POV

By circletimessquare in Op-Ed
Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 12:00:00 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

I've always viewed the war in Iraq in a positive, liberal light: the defeat of authoritarianism, the extension of democracy. Of course, that makes me a very minor liberal voice in contemporary Western discussions. However, I realize something: my POV is not going away in the left, it is in fact growing.


I am a Western liberal. I believe marijuana should be legalized, that gays should have the right to marry, that euthanasia is valid for medically hopeless cases, that women should have an unfettered right to abortion, that evolution should be taught to our children unimpeded by religious claptrap, that access to sex education and contraception should be strong and vigorous, etc.

And I believe that war should be waged on authoritarian states. Like Myanmar, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Iraq. And I believe this is a great liberal instinct that I have.

Special Cases

Please note something about my four examples: the most intransigent of cases only, where authoritarianism is longstanding, where change from within- bloody or bloodless, is near impossible, and where the actual amounts of atrocities committed by the kleptocracies are worse than the reasonable amounts of suffering caused by invasion. So there is no slippery slope. I am being very cautious in my determination. I am talking about those regimes, and only those regimes, where the illegitimacy of the government is well-agreed upon, by both those outside, and inside the country, by a large majority. It is "invade, only in the most hopeless and horrible and longstanding of cases", not "invade, at the slightest hiccup". I do not mention Iran or China for example. Change from within is a real possibility in those countries, and the suffering is abstract, not concrete.

I believed in invading Iraq before 9/11. And I believe that the balance of the American middle have come to see what I see only after 9/11 because a simple truth was demonstrated by that event: suffering somewhere is suffering everywhere. This is a liberal notion. The great middle in other rich Western countries have not come to see the war on Iraq as valid, because they were not the direct targets of 9/11. They are targets of plenty of similar atrocities, but none so great and sudden, and so there is no momentum behind the desire and reason to fight for the extension of their democratic principles to places where such principles are not enjoyed.

No one realizes that suffering somewhere is suffering everywhere until they actually start suffering. This is the blindness of selfishness. 9/11 demonstrated this to the American people: their happiness is tied to the hopelessness of nondemocratic regimes in the Middle East. They didn't see that before. So the odds of invading Iraq were zero on 9/10, but were much better than zero on 9/12. The inevitable was demonstrated to the American people. It wasn't demonstrated to the Danes, so the Danes didn't invade Iraq. But this doesn't make the Danes' anti-war stance smarter, just more inert. The moral authority always was, and always will be, with those who will fight to relieve the suffering of others. The moral authority does not belong to the Americans, but simply to those who act. It has nothing to do with the United States. It is a global, moral, and liberal ideal in play here, not a geopolitical one.

Unfortunately, in this world, it takes the collusion of your own selfish interests to bring that moral authority to bear. It is a shame then that no one except the USA and its coalition acted. However, others who defied the USA in 2003 would act with the USA, undeniably so, should their own suffering be increased greatly by suffering elsewhere in the world in a cataclysmic event similar to 9/11 in their own land. But right now, the Germans and the French just don't have a 9/11 style event yet to demonstrate to them how suffering in Zimbabwe or Myanmar or North Korea relates to suffering in France or Germany. Sure they have horrible events propagated on their countrymen related to foreign suffering, but nothing of the scale and suddenness to focus their attention like 9/11 focused the attention of Americans.

I don't think anyone will act unless their immediate selfish interests can be demonstrated. I'm just saying that everyone's selfish interests are tied to suffering elsewhere, even very far away, whether they realize it or not. It is a shame then that it takes something like 9/11 for people to realize this, but the fact that the necessity to act on Iraq existed before 9/11 is indisputable. Just like the need to act on Zimbabwe, North Korea, or Myanmar is indisputable right now, but won't happen, until the truly atrocious happens because of the suffering in those places that is happening right now. Welcome to human shortsightedness: problems don't get fixed until cataclysms occur, no matter how many warnings you get. Misery breeds more misery, it grows and spreads. You will either fight it now, in its weaker state but when how it affects you is not clear, or fight it later, when it is stronger but how it affects you is clearer. Wisdom, learning from history and not wanting to repeat our past mistakes, that is what motivates my liberal global notion to invade truly bottom-of-the-barrel basket case regimes where the chance for internal change is hopeless (and ONLY those regimes).

Global Concerns, not American Concerns

I don't want the USA to be the world's policeman. Because I don't care about the USA. Fuck the USA. I repeat: fuck the USA. I care about an idea, not a place. The idea is that those who benefit from democratic principles and freedoms should extend them to those who don't. This is a liberal idea, this is a moral idea. And it has nothing to do with the United States whatsoever.

The governments in these 4 countries alone: Myanmar, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Iraq, are (were) not legitimate in the eyes of their own people, or anywhere else in the world, for a long time, even as great atrocities are (were) committed by these governments on their own people. It is not valid to wage war on China, for example, simply because the yardstick of great suffering, for a long time, unpopularity in the eyes of its people, etc., has not been met. That may change for China, and if it does, peaceful change from within is superior, and patience should be allowed to see if such internal resistance is fruitful. Likewise with Iran. But in many places, like North Korea, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Iraq, the callousness of the authorities precludes (precluded) the possibility of change from within. The world cannot and should not stand by, but it does, simply out of inertia. Events like 9/11 wake the people up from such inertia.

The world should act on clearly, well-established illegitimate governments. Ideologically, this idea is a liberal one. But if the will of the world is not as one, the liberal necessity to act does not go away. When the will of one country, such as the USA, to act, goes against the conventional wisdom and inertia of others, it does not invalidate their right to act, because they are married to a principle that is still sound, even if the will of the world is not with them. The rest of the world is simply not focused on what really matters. And even if other agendas are the impetus for the action, such as conservative ones in the USA, that a liberal cause is served should still prevail as the overriding indication.

I believe that fighting for those suffering under clearly corrupt, illegitimate, nondemocratic governments is a noble, liberal cause. I believe that the extension of democracy is a valid reason to wage war, for liberal reasons. And yet I am a drop in a sea of liberal opinion that flows the other way. I believe though that my position will only grow over time, and eventually, rightfully, gain steerage of liberal causes again, and take control away from liberal thinking that is driven more by disillusionment and malaise than any real ideological conviction.

The Ivory Tower

There is a school of thinking that says you never have to lift arms against anyone to improve this world in terms of peace and prosperity. But the American middle understands the truth: progress is a struggle. It's messy and ugly, and replete with good intentions gone bad, innocent bystanders hurt, and choices between plans of action that are subtle shades of grey in difference between the negative effects of both. There are no clean choices. This observation is independent of ideological intent. Whether you have a leftist agenda, or a rightist agenda, these observations apply.

There is no valid leftist school of thought that says the leftist agenda is served by not fighting at all. Because there is no such thing as a plan of action that is simple and hurts no one. If your standard for action is exactly that: only act when it's simple and hurts no one, then you will never act on anything, ever, and you will not serve your agenda, or any other agenda for that matter, ever. In fact, in a world where a lot of leftists think their agenda is served by not fighting at all, you get exacty what is happening in the world: the rightist agenda gets served and expands in influence, the leftist agenda withers.

It is simple naivete and ignorance to think that peace and prosperity in this world for the downtrodden is achieved by doing no war. You either really don't care about Iraqis or Burmese, or North Koreans or Zimbabweans, and you use their struggle as a shallow propagandistic prop to those already indoctrinated into your worldview, or you really believe in helping Iraqis, etc., and you simply don't understand that the world is actually populated by people with bad intent who will easily repel you.

Of course those in the ivory tower in the West will look down on those in the mud in a bitter ugly struggle and bemoan all of the struggle, both sides of it, simply because it is ugly. Such a position makes sense to them because life in the rich Western ivory tower is all they know. The real world isn't as cut and dry and simple as it is up in their hermetically sealed, climate controlled ivory tower. But they don't know that. So they open their mouths with great conviction and high holy withering caustic contempt. Just like any teenager knows the answers to all the problems in the world simply because they don't know what real life is like at all.

Such rich Western coccooned individuals aren't helping anyone in the Middle East, at all, in any way whatsoever. And yet these are the first people to appeal to the suffering of Iraqis. This phenomenon: appealing to the suffering of the downtrodden to justify not helping the downtrodden is inconceivable, but very common. It's alternatingly humorous and maddening, such loud, righteous ignorance of the reality of the dynamics of real progress in the real world.

I Fucked Her, and Made Her a Virgin

It is a frequent refrain: "You can't fuck for virginity" as a call against waging war for peace. Except that, you CAN fuck for virginity. The real world is replete with phenomena that appears to be logical contradictions or enigmas on the surface, but make sense when you understand the dynamics of how the real world and real human nature works. In other words: you abort unwanted fetuses to help children. You allow gay marriage to strengthen family values. Both of these statements are true, and are liberal notions, and yet, are surface contradictions.

A mother who can't support an unwanted and therefore unloved child should be allowed the option to abort an unwanted fetus so that she can arrive at a more economically and emotionally supportive environment to bring into this world a wanted, loved child. She shouldn't be forced to support an unwanted mistake, while the father is simply unseen and allowed to get away with impregnation and then desertion. Likewise, a loving gay couple can raise an adoptive or alternatively conceived child in a superior fashion to plenty of heterosexual couples who, for many common reasons, make awful dysfunctional parents. Why should one be allowed to exist and the other denied? The bottom line is the raising of healthy, happy, well-loved children, not simple biology of conception.

And so the surface contradiction goes: peace is achieved by the outward exertion of ideologically superior ideas. Peace is not achieved when ideologically repugnant ideas like authoritarianism are allowed to exist and blossom unopposed. An ideology exerts an outward pressure, and blossoms, or it doesn't exert an outward pressure, and it dies. In other words, believe it or not, peace is served by war. You can fuck for virginity. Virginity is not a stable state of existence: you eventually have sex, just like never fighting for your beliefs is not a stable state of existence: your beliefs will be challenged some day, and you must fight for them, or change your mind, or submit to inferior ideas. People who never fuck die leaving no children, and fade from the earth. Just as those who don't fight for what they believe leave no ideological offspring, and fade from the Earth.

Bush: the Liberal's Tool

9/11 simply made it apparent to people in middle America that peace and prosperity in the Middle East affects them as well. Let those in the ivory tower bemoan the fact that there are people suffering and struggling for peace and prosperity in this world. But standing on the sidelines, and proclaiming that you will do nothing for or against the struggle in the Middle East, simply means you don't matter to that struggle. The American people: they matter, and they know it.

That is why we had 4 more years of Bush in 2004: Bush is a retarded fratboy, but he's a retarded fratboy who will fight. Those who oppose him offer nothing superior, because they offer nothing at all. That is why Bush won 4 more years in the eyes of those who voted for him. 10,000 geniuses, whose sum total of their intelligence amounts to "do nothing" are worth less in this world than one retarded fratboy who says "we should fight". Because acting MAKES A DIFFERENCE, and making a difference is what matters. In this world, there is being right, and there is acting. Being right and acting in this world are positions that are often at odds. But the unfortunate truth of reality is that acting always defeats being right.

If your intent is good, even if your intelligence is lacking, you matter more in this world than 10,000 geniuses who have no intent at all. Because good intent can be reeducated. What can you do with no intent at all? Nothing. You're irrelevant. So dear left: do you want to control the White House in 2008? Then have the backbone to fight. Fight for what? YOUR OWN AGENDA. There is no left or right struggle in the Middle East? You don't want to matter to it or think you can't matter to it or shouldn't matter to it? Well there are bad intentioned people in the Middle East who think they can matter to the left or right struggle in the West: they flew airplanes into buildings on 9/11, they try to influence. Don't you think influence flows both ways? Or is it your position that it is ok for bad ideas from the Middle East to try to influence the West, but that the West, for good or bad, shouldn't try to influence the Middle East, that is a sin. Huh?

The American people know that there is a fight in this world, and they matter to it, and they will suffer for it: the lessons of 9/11. Simply proclaiming to them that all the American people should do is retire from the world and go to sleep is a line they don't buy. So try a new line: fight, but fight for (these) ideals, and fight in (this) way. Then the American people will listen to you, and vote for you. But saying "don't fight" simply dooms us to 50 more years of conservatives in the White House. Do you like that idea? No? Then FIGHT damnit!

Do you want to defeat conservative assholes? Then proclaim an alternative course of action. But proclaiming that no action in the Middle East at all is a superior position is something the American middle does not buy, and they would be correct not to buy it, because it's an invalid position, no matter WHAT your ideology. Ideology exerts an outward pressure on the world, or it withers.

Let me say that again: ideology exerts an outward pressure on the world, or it withers. Do you disagree with that? Do you dislike this fact? I'm sorry. You're also going to die someday. I'm sure you don't like that idea either. But not liking the fact that you will die someday still won't change that simple truth. Likewise, no matter how much you don't like the fact that you fight in an ugly struggle for your ideology or your ideology withers, does not change that simple truth of reality. I'm sorry you don't like to fight war, I'm sorry it's ugliness repels you. Guess what: there's no valid alternative.

So please, condemn me, shoot the messenger. It does not matter. By doing so, you simply wall yourself off some more from reality in your high holy ivory tower, where you can simply snap your fingers and everyone lives in peace and harmony. But when you actually want to make a difference to the great struggles in your world for progress, listen to me, a fellow liberal, and fight. I don't lose if you don't listen to me, you do. Your position on fighting in the Middle East: do nothing, simply means that you are irrelevant to what you say you care about. I think you want to matter. So wake up.

The Ancient Liberal Tradition

Who am I? I am a liberal. A real liberal. A liberal in the mold of the great liberals who cut their teeth in the 1800s, in the struggles for the right of women to vote, against slavery, against aristocracy and class structure and unfettered predatorial social darwinistic capitalism, etc. Great struggles that the left has won against the right in times past.

Unfortunately, the left wasted it's energies in the struggle for a bad liberal idea in the 1900s: communism, and so a lot of them are filled with disillusionment and malaise about fighting for anything today. All of that effort for nothing but some laughing Reagan worshipping conservative assholes who won the fight against communism not so much because they fought the fight well, but because the basic idea of communism is flawed. Communism as an idea goes against a simple, ugly, but undeniable fact of human nature: greed. However, the malaise of those on the left who can not or will not fight for leftist ideas because of the (deserved) defeat of communism I believe is a temporary state of affairs.

I believe the great liberal thinkers and actors of times past are an inspiration to me, and the left will rise again. And to do so, there has to be more liberals like me: those who will fight. And so me, a liberal, I find myself in an absurd situation. On the issue of war in Iraq, I hitch my wagon to retarded Bush in the White House. Conservatives are evil, but conservatives are a known quantity, easily defeated. The left has trounced and defeated stingingly and mopped the floor with the right in eras before, and we can do it again. Fuck the evil conservative right I say.

But I know what I am fighting for in the Middle East: the extension of democracy, the defeat of theocracy and authoritarianism. That is a noble, liberal, conviction. And unfortunately, in this world, my closest allies are assholes on the right who will fight for their convictions. Why? Because they will FIGHT, and so they are closer to me than the naive on the left who will simply not fight, and think that their position somehow is supposed to matter in the real world outside their insulated rich, Western ivory tower.

When the sleeping great left wakes again, I will celebrate. Until then I must suffer the deluded ignorant teenaged fools who are liberal by classification, but not truly liberal by intent. This is the great victory of conservative propaganda and right wing demagogues: that pessimism, nihilism, indifference, and cynicism are liberal notions. Oh how I wish we could jettison the pointless uncaring unknowning cynics, and how I wish real liberals could recognize how little they have in common with these empty malcontents.

I write these words after drinking a strong espresso. Forgive my bombastic words. But Lenin and Marx and Trotsky would nod knowingly and roll their eyes and smile, as the same enervating brew fueled their exaltations in coffeehouses so many decades ago. At the dawn of the 1900s ideas that were brewed in Vienna's Cafe Central started some of the greatest struggles of that century:

A well-known story states that an Austrian politician, asked about the possibility of a revolution in Russia, remarked sarcastically: "Who is going to make a revolution? Perhaps that Trotsky from the Café Central?"

We are still feeling the ripples of thoughts that started in a few great liberal's minds in the early 1900s and late 1800s and cascaded across continents and billions of lives. The great liberal struggles of this century, let it begin in the same coffee-fueled humble ways. The communists of the 1900s made a difference, unfortunately founded on a bad liberal idea. Those in the 1800s made a difference, and on good ideas: suffrage, emancipation. Let the liberal struggles of the 2000s be the same as the 1800s.

The Great Liberal Future

The left is not dead, only disillusioned and temporarily drained of strength. Let it find the will to fight again. The deluded ones on the left who believe in not fighting have the strongest signal today, simply because liberals like me are divided and drained. That will change. As the corpse of communism withers away, a new liberal strength will emerge, with its energies focused on true, valid global liberal causes in this world, unfettered by the corpse of the bad dead liberal idea of communism and the disillusionment and malaise it delivered on the validity of the call to liberal action.

Keep laughing Conservatives. But make it last, because you won't be laughing long. I know what delight and glee it fills you with to see so much of the left so hopeless and nihilistic and easily defined by your own stereotypical propaganda. I know how successful you've been in equating pessimism and cynicism with liberalism, mainly because so many pessimists and cynics actually believe themselves to be liberal, and so many liberals believe nihilists and hopeless helpness cases are of their kind... when none of this is true. Your propaganda has been very effective at attaching these sycophants to the definition of liberalism in the minds of the great middle. But the spirit of true liberalism is not dead. I will fight you. I will wage the war you know how to fight. I will use your tactics. I will grow in influence.

And I will defeat you. As I have done so in so many decades and centuries past. Conservatism is evil and immoral. Unlike many of my liberal brethren, I know the conservative agenda does not have a monopoly on the definitions of or the conceptions of good and evil, morality and immortality. I know how your aristocracy-creating, common man-punishing policies and simplistic social precepts and fundamentalist religious edicts are evil, in the true sense of the word, and immoral, in the true sense of the word.

This world is populated by doers, and talkers. Let the dead weight of the talkers be lifted from liberal convictions, and let liberal doers prevail. Ideology is war. Rich western liberals don't know what I am talking about when I say that. Global liberals, those suffering and fighting in Zimbabwe, Myanmar, North Korea, Iraq, they know who I am and what I am talking about. Leftists in Bolivia and elsewhere in South America know what I am talking about. Che Guevara would know what kind of liberal I am.

The moron Bush frequently talks about the fight for freedom. Have we forgotten what a great liberal dream that was? Are we so overwhelmingly cynical? The conservatives do not own the word freedom, it is a liberal notion. Let us wrest that notion back from their empty propaganda, and give birth to the real global fight for freedom, free of the many local idiocies, "liberal" and conservative, that mire a true interpretation of the word. Neoisolationism, provincialism: these are conservative ideas, so let us real liberals free ourselves of the do-nothings who are supposedly liberal, but only make themselves busy with domestic affairs. Liberal and global and freedom-loving. Willing to fight for liberal beliefs on the global stage. The REAL anti-Al Qaeda.

Viva La Revolución

I believe that the solution to the world's problems lie in people's citizenship being to that of the world, not to a particular country. I am not an American citizen, I am a citizen of the world. Therefore, I don't see it as Iraqis or Americans fighting tyranny, but human beings fighting tyranny.

If Canada invaded the American state of New York, and an army battalion from Texas rushed to the aid of New York, would it matter that the army battalion came from Texas instead of New York? No. All citizenship within the borders of the USA is the same. So why should it matter, if the world were a truly just place, whether or not those who aid Iraqis fighting Saddam are their fellow Iraqis, or Americans, or Danes, or Guatemalans, or Filipinos, or anyone? It should make no difference. Do human rights end at the Rio Grande or the Rock of Gibraltar or the Straits of Bosporus?

I know that nationalism does make a difference though, in today's world, but I don't think anyone is going to tell me that today's world has no room for improvement. I also believe that the arc of history is on my side, that nationalism grew from tribalism, just as my brand of liberal globalism will grow from nationalism. The EU and ASEAN and the UN are protohistorical examples of this crystallization at work. Time and history are on my side. The salvation of the world lies in globalization, and not globalization as defined in the bogeyman nightmarish ways those who fight the IMF or the World Bank or the WTO or multinational corporations imagine, but globalization meaning the universalization of truly liberal notions, and a willingness to fight for them, regardless of a country's borders. Liberal ideals are stateless, and depend upon no nationality.

For the only morally or intellectually defensible position, on any issue in the world, in an age of jet air travel and the Internet and cell phones, is a global one. And we are all just beginning to realize that as a human race. Celebrate with me then the great liberal movements to come in the decades and centuries ahead of us, only now beginning to wake up and rumble.

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On the Validity of War, from a Liberal POV | 305 comments (280 topical, 25 editorial, 0 hidden)
i liked this part: (2.50 / 2) (#1)
by bustay rustay on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 10:05:31 PM EST

The governments in these 4 countries: Myanmar, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Iraq, are not legitimate in the eyes of their own people


were (nt) (1.50 / 2) (#3)
by circletimessquare on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 10:36:10 PM EST



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

[ Parent ]
so it's a repost? $ (none / 0) (#4)
by bustay rustay on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 10:38:01 PM EST



[ Parent ]
no, i fixed it (1.50 / 2) (#5)
by circletimessquare on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 10:41:04 PM EST

so thanks for your comment, so others won't have the opening to be as smarmy as you ;-)

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox


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

[ Parent ]

fix this too: (none / 1) (#7)
by bustay rustay on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 10:42:20 PM EST

But in many places, like North Korea, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Iraq, the callousness of the authorities precludes the possibility of change from within.

[ Parent ]
fixed, thanks ;-) nt (1.50 / 2) (#8)
by circletimessquare on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 10:45:10 PM EST



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

[ Parent ]
sloppy cut+paste (none / 1) (#9)
by bustay rustay on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 10:49:21 PM EST

but i'll still vote it up

[ Parent ]
I too look forward to being freed (3.00 / 6) (#10)
by destroy all monsters on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 10:55:27 PM EST

from an authoritarian and theocratic state. The problem is that Holland and Sweden are not likely and are ill-prepared to invade us.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
why do you think that resembles reality? (nt) (none / 1) (#11)
by circletimessquare on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 11:07:06 PM EST



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

[ Parent ]
Which? (none / 0) (#14)
by destroy all monsters on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 11:24:31 PM EST

Social democracies or did you mean something else?


"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
not that (1.33 / 3) (#15)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 12:02:04 AM EST

you snidely equated the united states with authoritarianism and theocracy. why do you think that is a valid comment? the united states is a democracy. i'm asking you to get serious, and stop thinking your joking cynicism is somehow valuable to the concepts we are talking about


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

[ Parent ]
A better question is where do I start (none / 1) (#18)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 12:29:29 AM EST

Despite the fact that there is a constitutional separation between church and state ours is essentially a christian one. There are no federal holidays for any other religion's holy days. Creationism and its mirror image intelligent design are being successfully pushed many places in the U.S. - neither of which in any way supports other religions other than christianity. Only a few tenuous constitutional strands keep us from being another Iran in many parts of this country.

How you have to ask how we are authoritarian in a country where the PATRIOT act can be passed sans significant discussion - or even the majority of Congress having read it at all boggles. Many of our most precious constitutional rights have been compromised to the point of nearly being irrelevant.

You discuss wars and fighting. Yet the drug war, the war against crime and the war against terrorism are all dismal failures. If we are to have the moral high ground and presume that we can tell other nations what they're doing wrong we should damn well make sure our own house is in order. Until there's universal health care, an end to homelessness and other basic human needs being taken care of at home I will not and can not support any further incursions abroad.

Not that I think the Iraqis will forget who caused millions of their childrens deaths since the 1990s due to embargos and the like.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

find me a country (1.33 / 3) (#20)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 12:39:22 AM EST

that does not have the same quantity and quality of imperfections, including your much vaunted northern european ones, and you have a point

but focusing on the imperfections of democracies, while ignoring the vile, spreading rot of REAL STATED theocracies and REAL STATED tyrannies is not a valid pov

i'll say it again: your pov is invalid. you make yourself busy with minor imperfections of democracies, while ignoring vile evil states in this world that spread the vile evil consequences of fundamentalist and megaomaniacal propaganda onto the democracies

you fight for and establish democracy first, then you polish it

you apparently care more about polishing the democracies that already exist

this means that you are locally-motivated, and locally-focused

but i am talking about global concerns, a global agenda, and so you have injected yourself and your local agenda into a discussion you are not a part of

get with the subject matter, or stop commenting on a subject matter you are not really concerning yourself with, whether you realize that fact or not

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

[ Parent ]

How about this country (none / 0) (#22)
by richarj on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 12:45:36 AM EST

Australia? Or maybe New Zealand?

"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
[ Parent ]
rather than debate you (1.33 / 3) (#23)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 12:53:37 AM EST

although i'm sure an ozzie or a kiwi could find some noxious governmental policies that would render your point moot, let us say for the sake of argument you are 100% correct, that the usa has worse problems in quantity and quality than democracies like australia and wetaland

rank the usa, in your own mind, in terms of its commitment and faithfulness to democracy, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, etc.

is it in the upper echelon of countries? or the lower?

what i am getting at, dear provincial fool, is that from a GLOBAL point of view, from a GLOBAL agenda on the issues YOU care about (albeit from a provincial pov), is that the usa is not even remotely a problem to deal with

do you understand that concept?

global versus local focus?

now: myanmar, north korea, zimbabwe, pre-war iraq

from a GLOBAL (G-L-O-B-A-L) point of view, where do those countries rank in the agenda?

am i waking you up yet?


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

[ Parent ]

one might argue that (none / 1) (#26)
by richarj on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 01:15:28 AM EST

the USAian approach to global policy is a selfish one compared to some other countries.

"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
[ Parent ]
fuck the usa (1.33 / 3) (#27)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 01:20:50 AM EST

i'm talking about the liberal, global notion of exporting democracy

i'm talking about the IDEAS, not the places

i don't care if the usa or svalbard engages in the practice, whoever engages in the pracitce of exporting democracy gets a cookie from me

meanwhile, the inertia of those who do not export democracy is grounds for castigation by me

you talk about selfishness? well i talk about selfishness: i think it is selfish not to care about relieving the suffering of those in nondemocracies


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

[ Parent ]

so does the ends justify the means as well? (none / 1) (#28)
by richarj on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 01:24:06 AM EST

Are there not better methods than full-scale invasion of countries to promote democracy?

"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
[ Parent ]
with iraq, north korea (1.00 / 3) (#29)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 01:31:50 AM EST

myanmar, zimbabwe... no, there is no better way

you fail to understand the intransigence of megalomaniacs


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

[ Parent ]

at what point do we stop (none / 1) (#30)
by richarj on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 01:57:04 AM EST

Nuclear war, torture? How much war do we need to wage in order to gain Democracy for those who need it? How many of them must die and how brutally for us to achieve it? Should it always be like Iraq or Vietnam? Isn't there a better option!

"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
[ Parent ]
no (1.33 / 3) (#31)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:01:21 AM EST

not for iraq, north korea, myanmar, zimbabwe

what i am proposing only applies to the most intransigent of cases

notice i didn't say china, even though it is a nondemocratic state

because china has a real chance for nonviolent change to democracy, from within, bloodily or peacefully

iraq (prewar)? zimbabwe? north korea? myanmar?

the inability of the citizens to effect internal change is well-establshed and clearly demonstrable

so we invade those SPECIAL CASES

why?

because of everything you just said that bothers you!

it is going on there already!

(smacks forehead)

the point is to stop exactly what bothers you by replacing the governments that do what bothers you

get it?


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

[ Parent ]

At what point in human history (none / 0) (#36)
by richarj on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:27:23 AM EST

Has invasion ever imbued the invaded population with a better democracy?

"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
[ Parent ]
germany, japan, circa 1945 (1.50 / 2) (#42)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:52:25 AM EST



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

[ Parent ]
I meant countries (none / 0) (#46)
by richarj on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:03:32 AM EST

That didn't start wars. You know like Iraq.

"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
[ Parent ]
ever hear of iran? kuwait? nt (none / 1) (#49)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:15:12 AM EST



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

[ Parent ]
Japan, Germany (none / 0) (#51)
by richarj on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:29:40 AM EST

were attacked in retaliation for their attacks on other countries, that is not your point. Your point is that we should attack countries that are not currently at war in order to propogate democracy. I was asking for an example of such a historical event. Also there is no proof yet of an emerging democracy in Iraq. Besides how many wars have been fought which have bought about the inverse effect?

"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
[ Parent ]
you asked and i answered (none / 1) (#58)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:00:27 AM EST

iraq invaded it's neighbors, and past belligerent nondemocracies have been successfully converted. and the verdict on iraq is far from near

and yes, i am extending the principle: invade SPECIAL CASES ONLY where the corrupt government is illegitimate in the citizens eyes and international eyes, for a long time, where the chance for bloody or bloodless internal change is near impossible, and where war IS being waged: on the country's own people, by its own government

this is the liberal notion i am putting forth, to LESSEN suffering, not extend it

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

[ Parent ]

I'm only checking (none / 1) (#62)
by richarj on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:22:31 AM EST

That you have really thought this through, it appears you have.

"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
[ Parent ]
thank you ;-) nt (none / 1) (#65)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:28:31 AM EST



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

[ Parent ]
Japan, Germany (none / 0) (#254)
by Znork on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 07:28:07 AM EST

...were also already more or less democracies, as far as the concept went in those days, that had been temporarily taken over by other interests. The foundation had already been laid.

Not entirely unlike the US.

So they're mostly examples suggesting that military intervention could restore democracy in the US.

[ Parent ]

Yes of course (none / 0) (#95)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 08:06:49 AM EST

the removal of Mossedeq for the Shah made for a much better democracy in that country...

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
Yeah, the US really do love them their dick- (none / 0) (#277)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 12:27:47 PM EST

-tators. Right-wing strongman, I believe the palatable phrase is.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

seriously? (none / 1) (#45)
by swifty on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:54:21 AM EST

germany, japan, the balkans...

Freiheit ist immer auch die freiheit des anderen.
[ Parent ]
At what point (none / 0) (#96)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 08:09:36 AM EST

are you referring to the invasion of the Balkans?

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
Come on, cts, we've got to fight smarter. (none / 0) (#276)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 12:24:16 PM EST

To invade Iraq, we didn't need to destroy the phone, water, electric and sewerage systems. Yet we did, like total fucking children.

I agree with you, we should destroy the old corrupt regimes everywhere they squat over their victims. Bush and his bunch of know-nothing yahoos are not the ones to do it, though. They dropped cluster bombs on towns, for chrissake.

Incidentally, if you calculate how many Iraqi people have been killed by the US and the UK or by US/UK-mandated UN sanctions in the last twenty years, the numbers are staggering. Over a million. Add to that the startling tendency by US forces to destroy Iraqi infrastructure that stops people dying of cholera and such, and you can start to get an idea why the Iraqis really just want us to fuck off.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Very much on topic (none / 1) (#24)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 12:56:09 AM EST

since you're discussing the exportation of democracy. I do not believe that at this time we are a democracy. I also disagree with your notion that this nation's litany of ills is at all comparable with those of many, if not most, social democracies.

Most of them aren't arrogant or stupid enough to go out invading elsewhere knowing full well that their quality of life at home will suffer as a consequence. That is left for those that would build empires - the entire reason we went to Iraq in the first place. Your entire thought process that the U.S. went in there to promote democracy is wrong.

Global quality of life issues are a deep concern. However, exporting democracy isn't a way to do that. Reducing greenhouse gases as well as local quality of life issues do impact the entire world whether you choose to believe so or not.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

you're insane (1.00 / 3) (#25)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 12:58:03 AM EST

you export democracy

from a global, liberal pov

that's my whole point

fuck the usa

an ideology exerts an outward pressure, or it declines

i don't care about the usa, i care about the IDEAS

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

[ Parent ]

In that case pot meet kettle (none / 1) (#86)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 06:58:00 AM EST

and while you're at it you've given no reason as to why cases such as Japan and Germany could possibly work now under the present circumstances. Don't forget that we haven't yet begun to see the global fallout from our little incursion into Iraq (though from appearances it seems as though it will become a theocracy and subdivided. Civil war looms large on their horizon.)

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
huh? (1.00 / 3) (#90)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:27:26 AM EST

why do you think that your cynicism is intelligent?


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

[ Parent ]
Why (none / 1) (#92)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:44:12 AM EST

do you think that not providing reasons for your conclusions is a winning debate/conversation/argument strategy?

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
there are questions you cannot provide reasons for (1.33 / 3) (#93)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:50:13 AM EST

for example, open ended issues where the intent of those involved matters, and that which in kind depends upon the intent of others, in feedback

in such situations, what people believe, the ideas they have faith in, who or what they trust, these things matter

positive or negative intent, pessimism or optimism therefore has bearing

complex sociodynamic problems like the subject matter here are not rote math equations, nor can they ever be, or ever were

therefore the facts at hand can be eclipsed in value what the player sinvolved actually believe

and then psychological and sociological dynamics come to dominate over hard cold facts

this is not a good thing, or bad thing, it just is

welcome to reality


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

[ Parent ]

The road to hell is paved (none / 1) (#94)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:58:25 AM EST

with good intentions. Regardless you didn't answer my question.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
Additionally (none / 1) (#87)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 06:59:01 AM EST

Ideology not practiced at home makes one a hypocrite. Not everyone is as easily led as the US public.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
what are you talking about? (1.50 / 4) (#91)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:31:35 AM EST

what ideology is not practiced at home in the us that is extended to iraq?

i wish to refute this particular assertion you just made, however, i do not wish to be led astray. i want to make myself clear: my concern is with the ideas of extending democracy by existing democracies, not defending the united states

fuck the united states, i don't care about the us. i care about ideology. ideology that does not depend upon any particular country, that is valid for all human beings

i don't care about geopolitics, i don't want to defend the united states. i want to defend ideas, so don't turn this into a nationalistic pissing contest. this isn't a football/ soccer match


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

[ Parent ]

In other words (none / 0) (#294)
by destroy all monsters on Sun Jan 01, 2006 at 07:23:24 AM EST

it isn't a pragmatic view or argument that you're making at all.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
Hmm... (3.00 / 2) (#135)
by TheNoxx on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:47:32 PM EST

Not that I don't respect your perspective, however, it seems you are operating from a point of view outside of the poverty that grows within the United States as a result of massive military expenditures at the cost of social programs. That millions of children go to bed hungry every night and wake up without health insurance in the U.S. cannot be categorized as a "minor imperfection".

I honestly do not see the logical reasoning behind ignoring the glaring faults in the most powerful democracy in the world and focusing solely on the more despotic governments. While your intentions certainly are honorable and selfless, you must realize that it is the military-industrial complex that benefits from violent intervention throughout the world, not the world itself. Certainly, the powers that be need to take a more aggressive diplomatic approach to stopping the atrocities committed against humanity; however, with so much experience in global politics, one would expect that the heads of the world powers would be able to come up with a solution that didn't cost 30,000 innocent lives.

Merely my two cents in the matter. Let me finish simply by saying that I have great respect for your position, and at times feel myself leaning towards it; however, my devotion to theology and philosophy keeps me looking for a better way.

[ Parent ]

Christmas is a holiday in Sweden (none / 1) (#33)
by nlscb on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:12:28 AM EST

Just saying. Oh, and try being black and/or muslim in Scandanavia - have fun.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

actually it kinda isn't (3.00 / 3) (#67)
by boxed on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:53:21 AM EST

It's "jul", an originally pagan holiday. The christians failed pretty miserably to hijack it. Oh, and black and muslim in Sweden is better than in the US. It's probably worse in Denmark than the US though, but we've been talking about invading thos motherfuckers anyhow.

[ Parent ]
how is it better than the us? (none / 1) (#80)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:31:12 AM EST

i don't see how a historically monocultural society, and still largely monocultural society, can be more tolerant than a historically multicultural society, and one which is light years ahead of any nordic country in terms of the ethnic variety of its citizens

we even have a lot of scandinavians, in the midwest ;-)

if you were brazilian, any such nationalistic boasts like yours i might take seriously, but as it is, i don't see how i really can take you seriously, simply as a matter of demographics

monoculture is what it is


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

[ Parent ]

monoculture it is, but also largely tolerant (3.00 / 3) (#88)
by boxed on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:15:24 AM EST

Monocultural societies can fall into two traps: 1. extreme distrust of outsiders 2. forgetting about the concept of outsiders The last case has been the rule in Sweden for a long time, and only recently the monoculture is fracturing as a result of immigration and political focus on multiethnicity. Sadly it is true that mixing ethnic groups in large swaths produces intolerande and racism, rather than containing it like the proper PC propaganda machine says it should. I'm not arguing Sweden isn't a monoculture, far from it, I'm arguing that it IS a monoculture and that this plays a large part in control of exophobic ideas. Also Sweden had the "laser man" incident that provided a sort of release valve to the pressures, which for example Denmark did not have.

[ Parent ]
what's the laser man incident? (none / 1) (#89)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:26:25 AM EST

i think you can say all these wonderful things about nordic societies because, i believe (correct me if i am wrong, i haven't done any internet lookups but i believe my impression is sound) that your immigrant populations are quite small and exotic, nothing like france's for example (and look at their wonderful race riots)

by the same token therefore, i must concede that you are correct to point out to me that more multiethnic diverse populations, especially those with competing large blocs, can actually be more intolerant, due to competition for economic resources or power

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

[ Parent ]

Swedish demographics (none / 1) (#97)
by marx on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 08:20:14 AM EST

Sweden actually has a large immigrant population. This is from Wikipedia:
Sweden has been transformed from a nation of emigration ending after World War I to a nation of immigration from World War II onwards. Currently, almost 12% of the residents are born abroad, and about one fifth of Sweden's population are either immigrants or the children of immigrants. The largest immigrant groups are from Finland, the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and then other Nordic Countries, in that order.
About 4% of the population is Muslim. Compare that to France, where about 5-8% of the population is Muslim.

The reason France and Australia has immigrant riots and not Sweden (or Holland, which also has a huge immigrant population) is because France and Australia have right-wing governments with semi-racist ministers. Sweden also has some problems integrating immigrants (immigrant unemployment is high for example), but there is zero racism in the Cabinet (executive) and at most one or two closet racists in the Parliament (legislative).

The "laser man" was a Swedish attempted serial killer in the early 90s who went after people with dark skin or hair. Perhaps he acted as a vent as was mentioned. Racism is an extremely impopular ideology in Sweden today.

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

exactly (none / 1) (#162)
by boxed on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 07:03:36 AM EST

He acted as a vent at a time when anti-immigration and rascism was at an all time high. The vent was also defused when they caught him and it turned out he was an immigrant himself and had been teased as a "svartskalle" (roughly translated as "black head", due to hair color) in his childhood. Had he been a blond white guy born in sweden things might have turned out quite differently.

[ Parent ]
Accepting Immigrants to one up Denmark (none / 0) (#150)
by nlscb on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 01:04:17 AM EST

is something you will probably begin to regret. It's not that it isn't a noble cause (I am adamantly pro-immigration ... it allows me to date lots of hot chicks from around the globe), it's just that you might find out a larger part of your population may not agree with this policy than you think. In America's defense, we are willing and able to use extreme violence and death to have realistic immigration and assimilation policies(see NhavY conscription riots, LA riots, MLK riots, the Civil War, the use of our armed forces to end segregation in the 50s and 60s) when people disagree. I hope for your country's sake that you are willing to do the same. Don't think you will be "different". Australia thought the same thing.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

Almost forgot (none / 1) (#151)
by nlscb on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 01:12:30 AM EST

One upping Denmark is always a noble cause ;)

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

I couldn't (none / 0) (#165)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 08:01:35 AM EST

even if I wanted to.

About the worst thing I can say about Sweden is that it's way too cold, and there aren't enough latin, asian and indian women there.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

wtf?!? (none / 1) (#105)
by debillitatus on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 10:37:40 AM EST

Only a few tenuous constitutional strands keep us from being another Iran in many parts of this country.

Please, for the love of Bob, let this be a troll. Please tell me that someone not so brain-damaged that they are able to navigate a web site could actually mouth these words with sincerity.

I suspect it's not a troll for two reasons, though: 1] I know a lot of people who would mouth such inanities (I live in Greenwich Village, that helps), and 2] it would be a pretty subtle troll.

Why a subtle troll? Because you sort of slip back and forth amongst a few contradictory viewpoints, but not blatantly. If a troll, it is quite well written.

First paragraph, it's a theocracy. We know this because there are so many Christians, and they are fucking with sixth grade education, which until now has been pristine!

Second, it's a police state. This is a priori true since the Patriot Act takez away all our rightz for warez!!!!11 But I guess it's still a theocracy too!

Third, we don't have the moral standing get rid of murderous totalitarian regimes while there are homeless people. This may be the stupidest paragraph I've ever seen written. At the very least, shouldn't we worry more about the theocratic police state we live in, before we're sweating universal health care?

Last paragraph, it was a bad idea to remove a given dictator, because our earlier policy of not removing him caused so much suffering. That's a well thought out argument, star.

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

Not Bob and no cookie for you (none / 1) (#163)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 07:49:12 AM EST

You can willfully ignore the attack on the constitution all you like - the fact is that it is constant and ongoing People unwilling to see it, like yourself, are to blame since you refuse to address it.

Your dismissive comments notwithstanding education has been attacked by the right (Christian or otherwise) for decades. To dismiss the might of fundies in this country is to be blind and stupid. ZOMG IT ONLY AFECTZ TEH CHILDRN is not an argument.

Yes because an authoritarian government *has* to be a police state. Of course the PATRIOT act only addresses warez. How silly of me to have missed that in the hundreds of pages. You are an idiot. Strike two.

No, we need to address the problems in our own political system and those of poverty at home first. It is convenient to ignore the fact that wars cause depression, and deprive the country of needed funds for social causes. If and when there is a surplus and U.N. sanction I'd consider it. We're a good few decades away from that in my estimation.

It was a bad idea to place an embargo. It was a bad idea to keep the Kurds dangling on a string. Many things were bad ideas. Fact is, it isn't our problem. It's the U.N.'s problem. After we finally began to alleviate ourselves of the national debt we're in so deep now my grandchildren will be paying. Paying for what will likely be a theocracy with no love towards its "savior". Taking the long view isn't typically a trait that is appreciated in this country. It's damn well time it was.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Hmmm... (none / 0) (#176)
by debillitatus on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 02:20:08 PM EST

ok, so I read this, and I'm finding myself thinking it's quite reasonable. So I had to go back to the original comment to see if I had misread something. But I hadn't; you are just the backtrackingest motherfucker EVAR.

Your dismissive comments notwithstanding education has been attacked by the right (Christian or otherwise) for decades.

True, I can agree with this statement. But it is a far cry from here to theocracy. It's a far fucking cry from this to Iran.

Oh, right, remember your original comment "Only a few tenuous constitutional strands keep us from being another Iran in many parts of this country"?

"Some Xians want to fuck with 6th grade education" is not even close.

Yes because an authoritarian government *has* to be a police state. Of course the PATRIOT act only addresses warez. How silly of me to have missed that in the hundreds of pages. You are an idiot.

O RLY? Ok, genius, would you be so kind as to tell me what exactly about the Patriot Act troubles you? More specifically, to parphrase you, how does it compromise our most precious constitutional rights?

Note that I ask not because I am a fan of the Patriot Act; I am not a fan of some of its provisions. But I ask because I think it will be amusing to see the depth your response won't have. My guess is it will boil down to "ACLU don't like so it tramples my ritez OMGWTF". This will probably amuse me.

No, we need to address the problems in our own political system and those of poverty at home first.

You say this with absolute conviction and without a shred of argument. But this is hardly a mainstream view in any country at any time, and this viewpoint certainly puts you in a small minority, say, in the US.

Now, let me stress that I'm not saying being in the minority makes someone wrong; however, when one is in a small minority, it's probably more necessary to give arguments for your positions. The null hypothesis goes with the mainstream, for the simple (and IMHO valid) reason that it's a lot easier for a small minority to be crazy than everyone.

Would it be fair to call you an "isolationist"?

If and when there is a surplus and U.N. sanction I'd consider it.

One notes in passing that the human rights abuses and human suffering of the people in the recently deposed regime does not enter your argument at all.

It was a bad idea to place an embargo. It was a bad idea to keep the Kurds dangling on a string. Many things were bad ideas. Fact is, it isn't our problem. It's the U.N.'s problem. After we finally began to alleviate ourselves of the national debt we're in so deep now my grandchildren will be paying.

Yeah, you are an isolationist. A remarkably self-centered one, at that. Human suffering doesn't matter at all then? Simply your cash.

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

YFI (none / 1) (#181)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 04:41:06 PM EST

The sixth grade analogy was yours. I attacked it on its face. If you don't want to acknowledge the power of fundies arm in arm with the present administration in areas ranging from birth control to education that's not my fault it's your intentional blindness to it. I doubt very much that you even have a concept of what Iran is like at the moment.

I'm not going to waste acres of space and time debating with someone that isn't even trying. If you don't value the Fourth Amendment you're an idiot.

Your claims of isolationism amuse me. As if every action at home doesn't have a ripple effect globally. If you want global respect instead of hatred you make sure the log is out of your eye before taking the sliver out of another's. I find it laughable that welfare of the citizenry at home means less to you than that of others (convienently sitting atop desirable oil reserves) somewhere else in the globe. When has this country *ever* invaded another sheerly for humanitarian reasons? That's right - never.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

No..... (none / 0) (#299)
by debillitatus on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 10:49:19 PM EST

If you don't want to acknowledge the power of fundies arm in arm with the present administration in areas ranging from birth control to education that's not my fault it's your intentional blindness to it.

I'll concede the point, or at least a restated version of it: This President is, at least on paper, more sympathetic to Christian fundamentalists than his predecessors have been. I'll even concede that this has led to some changes in policy, although they're actually pretty minor. (Let's be frank: birth control and education are not the main roles the executive branch is Constitutionally meant to have.)

But, holy shite, man, you said, and I quote: "Only a few tenuous constitutional strands keep us from being another Iran in many parts of this country". This statement is nuts, and it's at least good to see you're backing off of it.

I doubt very much that you even have a concept of what Iran is like at the moment.

You could doubt it all you'd like. You have any coherent reason for said doubts?

I'm not going to waste acres of space and time debating with someone that isn't even trying. If you don't value the Fourth Amendment you're an idiot.

Of course I value the Fourth Amendement. But you still haven't answered my earlier query as to how, specifically, anything this administration has done has limited the Fourth Amendment.

Not to put to fine a point on it, you need to realize that the rules for domestic law enforcement are quite different than those for international intelligence-gathering, and (IMHO) for good reason.

Your claims of isolationism amuse me. As if every action at home doesn't have a ripple effect globally. If you want global respect instead of hatred you make sure the log is out of your eye before taking the sliver out of another's. I find it laughable that welfare of the citizenry at home means less to you than that of others (convienently sitting atop desirable oil reserves) somewhere else in the globe.

I didn't say that I don't care about the welfare of people at home. FWIW, I happened to vote for Kerry in the last election, mostly because I have no use for most of the Republicans' current domestic policies. That being said, I think it is (at best) not-well-thought-out to make the assertion that things have to be perfect here before we can effect positive change anywhere. At worst it is just plain dumb. This country will always have internal flaws (as would any country) and, then, by your logic, anything we ever do militarily would be completely illegitimate.

I think it is pretty much a priori obvious that our actions in Iraq have led to a massive improvements in human rights for Iraqis. Now, I will concede that these actions have had costs, and a reasonable person could argue that the costs have been too much. But somehow, this heartless, selfish, money-grubbing, totalitarian country has (of course by accident) given scores of millions of people self-determination and freedom that they'd not have had otherwise. You know, FWIW....

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

It fucking well is your problem, mate. (none / 0) (#278)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 12:36:43 PM EST

Do you think the US can just wash its hands of the destruction, misery and death it's encouraged and perpetrated in the Middle East for all these years? You think you can just leave it for the UN to fix? Think again, mate.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

At what point do you put the welfare (none / 0) (#293)
by destroy all monsters on Sun Jan 01, 2006 at 07:19:24 AM EST

of your own citizens above adventurism? That's the crux of my argument.

There's no way to "fix" what has already happened. What's done is done. Best not to exacerbate the situation by doing those types of things in the future.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

WHY DO YOU HATE CHRISTMAS? (none / 0) (#113)
by LilDebbie on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 11:59:34 AM EST

The only reason it's a Federal holiday is because damn near everyone in this country celebrates Christmas, non-Christians included. Hell, Hanukkah only became a significant Jewish holiday because Jewish kids were feeling left out on Christmas; I doubt it was widely practiced before Santa Claus became mainstream.

I would add that the most important Christian holiday, Easter, is not a Federal holiday, and that I'm pretty sure Federal employees of different faiths get time off for important holidays, e.g. Passover (can't think of a Muslim holiday; are there any?).

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]

I don't hate Christmas (none / 0) (#164)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 07:59:01 AM EST

And as far as I know Easter is a holiday. It is at every government job I ever had including the military.

I can't state with authority whether or not most Jews used to celebrate Hanukkah but I suspect they did. Dredels aren't all that and a bag of chips though. I have to say that your response to the Hanukkah issue seems a bit kneejerk for you - something I'm not accustomed to seeing from you. Maybe I'm wrong (about my interpretation or otherwise).

In many places there are allowed floating holidays - or you can float your holiday to your religious or other preferred holiday. Regardless you don't get it off automatically like you would Christmas.

Ramadan recently ended and is to the best of my knowledge is the most holy time of the year for muslims.

To clarify - it isn't my problem with one holiday - or many of them. My problem with the system is that only christian holidays are actually given offtime automatically. There are at least 3 other major religions that should be addressed in some form if we're going to have any religious related holidays at all.

All my other holiday related issues are entirely local.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Better run, boy. (none / 0) (#275)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 12:14:07 PM EST

The mukhabarat are coming to get you.

Oh wait, no they're not, because you're in a liberal Western nation which doesn't care if you jokingly advocate the government's downfall!

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Not unique to western nations (none / 1) (#295)
by destroy all monsters on Sun Jan 01, 2006 at 07:26:19 AM EST

Even in Iran people talk like this without fear of reprisal. Yet Iran is high on this country's "to-do" list.

Saudi Arabia's another story. So is Kuwait. I don't see us invading them.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

I agree entirely. (none / 0) (#297)
by Russell Dovey on Sun Jan 01, 2006 at 11:29:30 PM EST

Although Kuwait is mellowing out.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Team America: World Police? (3.00 / 3) (#32)
by pwhysall on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:10:19 AM EST

To clarify - do you believe that the USA should invade North Korea, Myanmar and Zimbabwe on the basis of regime change?

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you if you do, but I fail to see the economic benefit of so doing; and if there's not a profit margin, I can't see the current administration (or, indeed any that could conceivably follow) going for it.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown

i'm arguing on the basis of liberal ideology (1.33 / 3) (#34)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:14:06 AM EST

not profit margin

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

[ Parent ]
But he's not arguing about it (3.00 / 3) (#37)
by mtrisk on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:27:38 AM EST

He's asking for the real world odds of such a move.

______
"If you don't like our country, why don't you get out?"
"What, and become a victim of your foreign policy?"
[ Parent ]
zero, squat (1.33 / 3) (#40)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:48:22 AM EST

suffering somewhere is suffering everywhere

undeniably true

but no one realizes this until they actually start suffering

thus the blindness of selfishness

9/11 demonstrated this to the american people: their happiness is tied to the hopelessness of nondemocratic regimes in the middle east. so the odds of invading iraq were zero on 9/10, but were much better than 0 on 9/12. the inevitable was demonstrated. it wasn't demonstrated to the danes, so they didn't invade iraq. but this doesn't make the danes smarter, just more inert. the moral authority always was, and always will be, with those who will fight to relieve the suffering of others. unfortunately, as you point out, it takes the collusion of your own selfish interests to bring that moral authority to bear. this is a shame then that no one except the usa and it's coalition acted. others who defied the usa in 2003 will act with usa, undeniably so, when their own suffeirng is increased greatly by suffering elsewhere in the world. they just don't have a 9/11 style event yet to demonstrate ot them how suffering in zimbabwe or myanmar or north korea relates to suffering in france or germany

i don't think anyone will act unless their immediate selfish interests can demonstrated

i'm just saying that their selfish interests are tied to suffering elsewhere, even very far away, whether they realize it or not

it is a shame that it takes something like 9/11 for people to realize this, but the fact that the necessity to act on iraq existed before 9/11 is indisputable

just like the need to act on zimbabwe, north korea, myanmar is indisputable right now, but won't happen, until the truly atrocious happens because of teh suffering there

welcome to human shortsightedness: problems don't get fixed until catalclysms occur, no matter how many warnings you get

misery breeds more misery, it grows and spreads. you will either fight it now, in its weaker state but when how it effects you is not clear, or fight it later, when it is stronger but how it effects you is clearer

wisdom, learning from history and not wanting to repeat our past mistakes, that is what motivates my liberal global notion to invade truly truly bottom-of-the-barrel basket case regimes where the chance for internal change is hopeless

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

[ Parent ]

I hate the way you write. (2.50 / 4) (#115)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 12:37:25 PM EST

It's very crappy and ugly.

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

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

Agreed (none / 1) (#196)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:00:40 PM EST

so why not fix the suffering and misery at home first? Is it too close to you? Is it like those that glom onto animals and their rights imbuing them with  a nobility they don't deserve and haven't earned? Or are the poor, the hungry, the homeless here too brown, too working class for your liking?

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
lower cost alternatives (none / 1) (#147)
by khallow on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 10:30:49 PM EST

I think assassination of heads of state and destruction of command staff and structures would be a lower cost alternative. The usual suspects have a very centralized control structure.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

tempting, but... (none / 0) (#217)
by Entendre Entendre on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 12:40:42 AM EST

It leaves no control over who fills the resulting power vacuum. As someone else wrote, "allende -> pinochet."

Taking out a series of oppressive regimes might steer things in a less oppressive direction, but I have doubts about the practicality of such an endeavour. Sounds splendid on paper though.

--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

no problem (none / 1) (#231)
by khallow on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 10:27:12 AM EST

Keep throwing the dice till something positive shows up. After all, the tyrant can temporarily postpone death if he can demonstrate substantial movement towards a democracy.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Slippery slope... (none / 0) (#248)
by Entendre Entendre on Sun Dec 25, 2005 at 03:08:55 PM EST

I like that idea too. Problem is, I wouldn't trust anyone in government to know when to pull the trigger and when to wait-and-see. If we got into a habit of using this tactic, I don't think it would take long before people started complaining (legitimately) that we were doing more harm than good.

--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

My insides, they spin... (2.75 / 8) (#35)
by mtrisk on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:22:18 AM EST

First of all, I agree that authoritarian governments such as Myanmar and North Korea have no business being in power. It's rather a terrible statement on the current condition of the world when the majority of the population has to live in squalid, decrepit, and generally inhumane conditions.

I also agree that any and all aid that can be given towards oppressed people should be given. We've got it pretty good here in the West, I understand that. In fact, I agree with virtually all of the article's points.

However, I have to vehemently disagree with the notion that we should wage war on every nondemocratic corrupt country in existence. Personally, I sympathize with those who suffer in their plight, wish evil upon their rulers, and would join the Army and fight a just war. When I look at the problem from a broader standpoint - perhaps that of a statesman's - there are just too many points that weigh heavily against the idea.

  • First, what about countries such as China or Iran? In the former, the population now is rather different from the one in 1989. China has enabled broad economic reforms, and is now poised to answer the question: does a complacent, happy consumer populace really care about their political freedoms? A war with China would also entail engaging the largest army on the planet, as well as a nuclear-armed country with missiles aimed at the west coast. Living in California, I don't find the idea of getting nuked pretty entertaining. An invasion of China would also significantly affect our own economy - it's why they have Most Favored Nation trade status, after all.

    In the latter country, Iran - well, it would appear that the voters themselves have installed a President with an authoritarian streak. Yeah, the election almost certainly was not up to snuff, but  how can you help a population that won't help themselves, even when they have the power? Look at what happened with the Weimar Republic. If the Nazis win the Parliament, what's failed? Democracy?

  • This brings me to my second point. One cannot simply install a liberal-minded government on a nation. Look at the great democracies of the West, for example. The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Germany, Spain; the people of these countries fought for democracy themselves. Even Spain had to wait for Franco to die. As for others? India is a democracy because Indians made it. Mexicans made the Mexican democracy. The Russians had to overthrow the Soviet Union - there could have been no other way.

    In short, I think an invasion by another country stirs up the emotional portion in human beings, a part of people that nearly always overrides more rational behavior. Even now, Iraqi nationalists continue to fight against the United States - while at the same time voting in elections that are only taking place because of the very country they are fighting. Democracy must come from within. You can't expect an outside force to prop it up. I oppose any sort of all out war, but if the CIA wants to aid a homegrown insurrection, why not? But that brings us to our next problem.

  • Speaking of installing governments, the United States certainly doesn't have history of ideologically-motivated government toppling. Throughout history, the United States has, rather unfortunately, chosen to support foreign rebellious forces for political ends. I don't really need to list the numerous examples, do I? I mean, opposing the Soviet Union by backing Osama bin Laden certainly isn't advancing the cause of freedom. Dictators in Latin America, Greece, Vietnam - I myself am skeptical of this newfound quest for freedom we have embraced, and I'm certainly not deluded about why we went into Iraq. Saddam Hussein was an oppressive dictator, and I'm glad he's gone, but he's not the reason we're in Iraq. North Korea and Sudan were (and still are) far worse off than Iraq ever was. (Hey, remember Darfur? It's still going on.) No, the reason s we're even bothering with Iraq are, again, political.

The struggle for freedom and democracy e'er rages on, and we should never stop. But invading other countries to make them conform? No, the political forces to sustain a democracy in any country must come from within. That's something Gandhi realized throughout his campaign for India's independence.

In the end, though, all this makes me want to just retire on some beach house in Hawaii and never think of politics again.

______
"If you don't like our country, why don't you get out?"
"What, and become a victim of your foreign policy?"

we're in agreement (1.33 / 3) (#38)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:35:29 AM EST

you miss the scope of my statement

However, I have to vehemently disagree with the notion that we should wage war on every nondemocratic corrupt country in existence.

so do i

myanmar, north korea, zimbabwe, iraq (pre-war): special cases where it is clearly demonstrable the people have no way of getting to democracy, the govt has been around for awhile, and atrocities are being committed

china? iran? change from within is clearly possible, therefore, no invasion is warranted

the 4 examples i mention are CLEARLY inside the bounds of hoplessness without external intervention

any other country you can think of are CLEARLY not hopeless of internal change

i'm talking about the truly most intransigent cases

you can apply a means test, a rules test for invasion or no invasion, it can be a very cautious test

i say these things in my story above

the problem is me saying: "invade truly horrible hopeless hoary regimes of longstanding"

and you hearing: "invade on the slightest of inclinations"

my real problem is people who say you can never invade

no, that is not true, and it mostly a liberal, global notion that says you should invade

because if you don't invade, all of the evil you worry about from invasion is already happening, in these truly bottom-of-the-barrel regimes, so what is the point of resisting their invasion? on the basis of the motivation of your own worries and concerns and cares invasion is warranted


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

[ Parent ]

On giving freedom (3.00 / 4) (#39)
by pwhysall on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:45:54 AM EST

I can't remember who said it, but it went something like "the only way to truly give freedom to Iraq is to airdrop a million M16s and ammo and let the people take it, the old-fashioned way".
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
different means, same ends (nt) (1.33 / 3) (#41)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:51:28 AM EST



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

[ Parent ]
Key difference (3.00 / 4) (#43)
by pwhysall on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:52:48 AM EST

That way, change comes from within.

Do you really believe that an externally-imposed system has any chance of long-term success, in, say, Afghanistan or Iraq?
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

if you airdrop ak47s (none / 1) (#44)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:53:59 AM EST

how the hell can you say change is coming from within?

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

[ Parent ]
Who'd you think is pulling the trigger? (3.00 / 4) (#47)
by pwhysall on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:04:15 AM EST


--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
let me introduce you to my weird world (1.00 / 3) (#48)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:14:30 AM EST

i believe that the solution to the world's problems lie in people's citizenship being to that of the world, not to a particular country. i am not an american citizen, i am a citizen of the world. therefore, I don't see it as Iraqis or Americans fighting tyranny, but human beings fighting tyranny.

If canada invaded new york state, and an army battalion from texas rushed to the aid of new york, would it matter that the army battalion came from texas instead of new york?

no

so why should it matter, if the world were a truly just place, whether or not those who aid iraqis fighting saddam are their fellow iraqis, or americans, or danes, or guatemalans, or anyone? it should make no difference. i know it does, in todays world, but i don't think you are going to tell me that today's world has no room for improvement

peace lies in more people thinking like me

for the only morally or intellectually defensible position, on any issue in the world, is a global one


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

[ Parent ]

Noble sentiments (3.00 / 3) (#54)
by pwhysall on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:31:24 AM EST

Unshared by pretty much the entire population of the world, I'm afraid.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
and that's the problem (nt) (1.33 / 3) (#60)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:01:47 AM EST



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

[ Parent ]
The world would be a better place (3.00 / 5) (#101)
by curien on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 09:22:28 AM EST

if everyone would just agree with you. You're right... you are a classic liberal.

If the Communists failed because they ignored the basic fact of human greed, you and others like you will fail because you ignore the basic fact of human xenophobia.

--
We are not the same. I'm an American, and you're a sick asshole.
[ Parent ]

Nice theory (none / 1) (#194)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 05:58:08 PM EST

Completely impossible in practice.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
Germany, Spain, and Russia?!? (none / 0) (#110)
by LilDebbie on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 11:41:35 AM EST

Germany - democracy imposed by Allies after VE day.

Spain - Spanish ex-pats filling in the power vacuum after Franco.

Russia - they needed some form of government after Communism failed, and the Americans seemed more willing to help if it was democratic.

None of these were home grown.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 1) (#138)
by mtrisk on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:07:04 PM EST

Germany had a democracy well before V-E day, it's how the Nazis came to power. So it was more of a return to pre-war democracy, organized into a federal republic.

Spain - no outside power filled the vacuum.

Russia - the Soviet Union was toppled by internal political forces, not an outside power.

Meh.

______
"If you don't like our country, why don't you get out?"
"What, and become a victim of your foreign policy?"
[ Parent ]

The Weimar Republic (none / 0) (#168)
by LilDebbie on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 11:20:33 AM EST

was imposed by the Allies after WWI, then the Nazis rose to power, then they got beat down, then the Allies imposed democracy again.

And the Soviet Union was toppled by the American Military-Industrial Complex. Credit where credit is due.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]

The reason the Weimar Republic (none / 1) (#185)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 05:10:15 PM EST

failed was precisely because it was imposed upon them without growing out of a popular movement alongside crippling debt imposed upon them by those same meddling nations. Japan and Germany have issues but those would be the closest to functional democracies imposed from without. However, those countries and their infrastructures were almost completely destroyed. They also started the wars we're discussing.

I think the answer to the  question "is it possible to impose a democracy and have it work" is yes but only under extremely narrow conditions.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

I regret that I only have 1 +1FP to give you. (2.60 / 5) (#50)
by Czyl on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:22:02 AM EST

Although you go off on a bit of a rant halfway through, you make a truly excellent point.

Taking an active effort in making lives better for people in the rest of the world is a liberal point of view. Historically, the conservative point of view has identified much more strongly with isolationism than with foreign activism, military or otherwise. Since Vietnam, liberal activism has been largely inseparable from a peace-and-only-peace position. Unfortunately, an unequivocal demand for constant peace is rather shortsighted -- military action is, on occasion, the only morally justifiable option, even at the cost of peace, when standing by and doing nothing would lead to a greater moral sin. The US didn't go to war in Darfur, and innocent people died. If you believe in negative responsibility, then this, too, is America's fault, along with every person who dies under the oppressive thumb of third-world dictators.

As such, the US and the rest of the just/free world have a deciding obligation to remove strongmen and tyrants wherever they are to be found. Of course, this has never been the American objective in waging war, merely a pretext.

Regardless, I can't agree with you that a piecemeal approach to 'liberation' can be justified. Either the US can commit itself honestly to a global battle for self-determination and against totalitarianism -- which is really the ultimate enemy here, not nebulous 'terrorists' --  or the country admits that it's only interested in itself, and acts accordingly. Since I don't see the US doing anything about sub-Saharan Africa anytime soon, we can't claim that the current style of US military action in the name of democracy is justifiable.

agreed 100% (1.33 / 3) (#55)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:37:03 AM EST

except that i don't give a fuck about the usa. people will only act on their selfish interests, whether americans or otherwise. maybe the west, american or otherwise, will finally see that their selfish interests ARE tied to the suffering in subsaharan africa. it takes 9/11 to teach you that suffering anywhere is suffering everywhere. unfortunately, 9/11 only taught the americans. and unfortunately, how much it actually taught them, remains to be seen


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

[ Parent ]
Sorry about Darfur (none / 0) (#120)
by LilDebbie on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 01:37:35 PM EST

but our expeditionary forces were kind of tied up. We were among the first to declare it genocide and we pestered the UN to do something (although knowing full well how little that'll help).

I guess what I'm saying is that we do not yet have the force projection ability to be everywhere all of the time. For that, I am sorry, but in the meantime, would it kill the UN to actually do something for once?

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]

Answer (none / 0) (#264)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Dec 27, 2005 at 10:47:15 AM EST

Yes, it actually would kill the UN to do anything.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Sigh. (3.00 / 8) (#57)
by Kasreyn on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:58:16 AM EST

You cannot give anyone freedom. Get that through your head if nothing else. It is won through struggle, and then maintained through vigilance. Unless people want it, they won't care if you "give" it to them, and their lack of vigilance will piss it away very rapidly. Iraq's "democracy" is so far just tribe against tribe in a new arena with no attempt at an inclusive debate. They're on the verge of voting in a pro-Iran, pro-theocracy regime whose attitude towards America and western democracy will only sour with time. Congratulations, America.

Handing out ballot boxes all over the world solves nothing. We replaced the Kaiser with the Weimar Republic and they elected Adolf Hitler. Unless you relieve a people's suffering, they will never be ready to advance to the point where they could give a shit about civil liberties. When you're starving and the former warlord promises you'll be fed, that's more important.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
P.S. (none / 0) (#59)
by Kasreyn on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:01:31 AM EST

"we" in the sentence re: the Weimar republic is referring to the western allies in general, prominently featuring Britain and France.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
you're a cynic (1.11 / 9) (#64)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:26:49 AM EST

therefore, you are invalid to what you talk about

only the positive actually make a difference in the world, the rest, like you, just bitch and moan, often loudly, but add nothing of value to the discussion at hand


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

[ Parent ]

P.S. (1.00 / 3) (#66)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:39:58 AM EST

being a cynic, you don't have any real liberal credentials

conservative propaganda however has successfully grouped useless cynics like yourself in with liberalism, unfortunately, hurting real liberal causes

grow a heart


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

[ Parent ]

There is action to take. (2.33 / 3) (#68)
by Kasreyn on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:00:26 AM EST

First you take action to lift people out of poverty and starvation. Then they'll have the energy and interest to demand freedom for themselves, which if you study history, is the only way any people has ever gained it.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
ok (1.33 / 3) (#71)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:06:44 AM EST

i agree

First you take action to lift people out of poverty and starvation

what's your first action point on myanmar/ zimbabwe/ north korea to do that?

be realistic now


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

[ Parent ]

I haven't studied those countries enough (2.50 / 4) (#74)
by Kasreyn on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:15:23 AM EST

to be able to make any sort of intelligent suggestions.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
here's an intelligent suggestion (none / 1) (#78)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:24:42 AM EST

these FOUR SPECIAL CASES ONLY, NO SLIPPERY SLOPE INDICATED, NO CHINA, NO IRAN, are run by governments of longstanding intransigence, clear majority of illegitimacy in the eyes of its people and the world, and wage regular horrible atrocities on their own citizens

in other words, to remove povery and starvation, YOUR STATED GOAL, you must remove the greatest contributor to that state of affairs: THE GOVERNMENT

and how do you do that without waging war?

or do you actually believe the continued suffering is of a lesser amount than the suffering imposed by invasion?


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

[ Parent ]

not so intelligent (2.83 / 6) (#124)
by bradasch on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:37:36 PM EST

"...you must remove the greatest contributor to that state of affairs: THE GOVERNMENT..."

and replace that by what?

This is the only argument I have against war in Iraq: replace Saddam with whom?

This is, for me the single point of failure of this kind of war: you remove a tyrant (which is what we want) and create another. Unfortunately, we still can't warrant the outcome of an action like the war in Iraq.

When I look at the "special case" of the war in Iraq (no slippery slope here too, please), and realize that clearly the US had not any plans on what should be done to prevent another Saddam (other than be there forever) after the invasion, I see failure. Iraq will not be better because of the war.

This is a post-fact opinion. I share your view of taking stands against what we think is wrong. But, today, I find myself dissociating this from left-and-right politics more and more, unfortunately. It seems that politics have become means-to-an-end to itself. We don't matter anymore.

Sorry about my pessimism.

[ Parent ]

you dont. (3.00 / 2) (#128)
by caridon20 on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:51:51 PM EST

simple you dont.  You releive the suffeeing and starvation in other countries where the task is easier. This increases the number of countries that are on the "Good" side.  In the end the goverments you have mentioned will colapse and then you can releive the populations suffering and help them build stable democracies.

It is harsh and will condemm probably several generations to suffering but is the overall best idea.  

Triage works.

/C
Dissent is NOT Treason Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
[ Parent ]

Realistic suggestion. (2.50 / 4) (#189)
by mr strange on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 05:24:32 PM EST

First, don't ever encourage the tyrants. Don't ever sell them weapons. Don't allow them to travel abroad to spend their ill-gotten loot. Second, work on the neighbouring countries. Trade with them. Encourage their freedom. Finally, work on subverting restrictions to free information flow. For example, invest heavily in objective local language radio and TV stations, so that the people of those oppressed countries can learn what's going on.

If you live in a shithole, but all your neighbours live in shitholes, then there's no motivation to start building sewers. If you're the only guy in the street who lives in a shithole, then you start wondering what you're doing wrong.

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]

tell that to Japan /nt (none / 0) (#158)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:42:03 AM EST


-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Also, it wasn't the Weimar Republic that gave rise (3.00 / 2) (#159)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:47:17 AM EST

... to Hitler. It was the non-defeat of the Germans during WWI. Sure, we defeated them in the sense that we got them to sign a paper but no tanks rolled through Berlin. To properly defeat a country you have to destroy their willingness for war and that remained intact. Hitler was only catalyst to a German mentality that had seen progress through war since before Bismark.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Oh my god! (none / 1) (#166)
by Grognard on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 08:19:08 AM EST

Someone has actually read and understood history.

You, sir, clearly have no business being on this forum. ;-)

[ Parent ]

You're right, of course. (3.00 / 2) (#170)
by Kasreyn on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 11:34:34 AM EST

The analogy to the Iraq War is that though the Kaiser, like Saddam Hussein, was deposed, no thought was given about how to secure the peace of the region in the future. The contemptuous treatment of Germany can be compared to the contemptuous treatment of Iraq (refusal to hire Iraqis in reconstruction, etc.).
"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
The two aren't really parallel (none / 1) (#205)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 08:43:19 PM EST

In the case of WWI, the people weren't defeated. As a result, giving them democracy doesn't really change the national character and the national agenda. Iraq, well, that's a different story. Democracy may work there; it may not (there's good reason to hope) . But if it fails, it will fail in its own unpredictably unique way and not in the way that gave rise to the dictator of WWII.

After all, Germany was unified while Iraqi's are disparate. Germans elected officials that would (in effect) eventually take revenge on the world that had mistreated them so; Iraqi politics will be largely dominated by Sunni who were disenfranchised under Hussein. They may seek revenge upon the Shi'a, but that will either be an internal affair or (and there's reason to believe this will be more likely) they were the one's defeated by Saddam and so will handle leadership more responsibly and with greater equinimity. There's also a lot more care and domestic considerations being put into the Iraqi constitution than there was in the Weimar Republic which was a hasty messy affair organized as a response to the conditions of surrender. More importantly, however, is this: Weimar had no guidance in being directed into democracy--no one showed them the ropes and few involved themselves in the creation of its constitution. In every other instance in which America has imposed a democracy, either in Germany after the next war or Japan, they learned the valuable lesson: be involved in creating the constitution so that the possibility of instability is minimized. So far, the U.S. track record is 100%. In Iraq, this is what is happening. Where are the calls by the Sunni to turn on the Shi'a or Kurds? While they may never all intermarry and the potential for in-fighting is great, the actual impact comes only from a shrinking minority run insurgency that is increasingly characterized as a foreign prescence (Time magazine estimates that 80% of active "insurgents"--those that are firing on coalition forces or use carbombs--are foreign). Meanwhile, tips have increased from 40 per week to 4000 per week and increasingly more leads are coming from the Shi'a. Also, the Shi'a turnout at the election is a very good development. All of this is a good sign that, if democracy takes hold, it will be able to withstand the social forces that drive civil governments to self-destruction.

No, I'm afraid that Weimar and Iraq are almost diametrically opposite if you want to draw parallels.

I should add in case I haven't made it clear, that I'm not certain that democracy must succeed in Iraq. There are reasons not to give up hope, though.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
err, (none / 0) (#224)
by Kasreyn on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 04:25:12 AM EST

I'm sure that was a typo; it was the Sunni minority who dominated the country under Saddam, and the Shi'a majority who will now rule it and take revenge on the Sunni. Or so NPR tells me daily.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
oops. you're correct. (none / 0) (#232)
by SocratesGhost on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 11:07:03 AM EST

for some reason, I always reverse Shi'a and Sunni in my head. One of those brain farts. My points stand nonetheless.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Indeed it does, (none / 0) (#238)
by Kasreyn on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 07:38:47 PM EST

with the reversal, your comment is 100% dead on. :)


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
I dispute the 80% statistic for foreign jihadis. (none / 0) (#280)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 01:14:28 PM EST

I think it's more like 10% Al-Qaeda fuckwits who drive carbombs into crowds, behead UN aid workers and so on, and 90% actual resistance fighters who explode IEDs under what, in the rules of war, are fair military targets - ie, Humvees and APCs full of US soldiers.

The distinction between terrorists (who attack and kill civilians to scare people into avoiding any contact with Westerners, because they want a Taliban-style xenophobia to spread) and resistance fighters (who use guerilla warfare against US soldiers who they see as ignorant, barbaric wankers who don't give a shit about Iraqis) is an important one. Bush would like us to think that it's all al-Qaeda, of course, because to give the resistance fighters any legitimacy would only make them bolder. We musn't be bamboozled by his tactics.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

"That will be an internal affair" (none / 1) (#279)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 01:01:42 PM EST

What, so we're going to throw yet another ethnic group to the dogs? It's okay for the Sunnis to be repressed and massacred because (some of them) did it to (some of) the Shia?

See, if Bush and his merry men were liberals like cts with nobility in their hearts and goodwill towards the downtrodden, they would have planned this shit out BEFORE the invasion. They wouldn't have destroyed the most advanced countrywide infrastructure in the Middle East. They wouldn't have given the jihadis an opening, and jihadi attacks on civilians would not have been tolerated by the Sunni insurgents.

They would have hired the Iraqi Army to help rebuild the nation, not fired them and left tens of thousands of trained fighters, resentful of the US, with nothing to do.

They would have carefully searched for and collated Baath party records in order to prosecute, in a court, the people who had tortured, raped and murdered for Saddam. Instead, they never bothered, leaving these psychopaths to pretend to be normal Iraqi citizens.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

No thought? (none / 0) (#225)
by emmons on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 04:28:17 AM EST

You mean, like we left Iraq right after the initial war and didn't even try to set up a government and stable democratic institutions?  We just said, "Ok, we got Saddam. Let's go home."

That's strange, because I thought we were still there working to stabilize the place and allow democratic institutions to grow.  Kinda like we did in postwar Germany and Japan.  I might be wrong though.. after all, if it's not published in The Nation then it's probably not true.

---
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 ]

On the validity of simple ideals (2.85 / 7) (#61)
by gdanjo on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:17:30 AM EST

As usual, you rant (way too long, BTW) from the heart with little consultation from the mind, but no matter - I think I understand your point.

War is peace, induced-pain is tough-love, near-death is new-life, white is the new black - I understand these skirtings around contradictions. I understand their power, especially in the mind unaccustomed to surface contradictions, and other similar complications.

But you, sir, are turning a complex problem into a simple (false) dichotomy - "fight or die." You're playing emotional games with those unaccustomed to the complexities of world politics, offering up a simple choice, inducing in the reader a simple model of the world. This is a decidedly rightist tactic.

Sure, we could grab every drug abuser and lock them up in a room and "force" them out of their habit (including all you K5 potheads out there). But is this the best strategy?

You allow "complexity" (ie: non-dichomatic views) in your dealings with drugs and abortion, but you deny this complexity when it comes to war - either we war, or we don't, no other questions asked ... except where complexity suits your needs, like where you allow for surface contradictions - fucking for virginity; war is peace; etc.

So let me tell you why I'm against the war in Iraq: sometimes, war is war. And war sucks. Just as, sometimes, kidnapping a drug abuser, locking him in a room for his own good to cure him of his illness, is still kidnapping. And kidnapping sucks.

And if we start to believe that war can solve all our ills, then we'll only ever use war to solve all our ills.

Your points on the impotence of the left is valid, but I don't see anything here except the natural pendulum of power distribution - not a fundamental disconnect from reality because we don't beat the drums of war, as you seem to think.

In conclusion, I empathise with your passion for spreading "good" in the world, I simply disagree with your conclusions about how to implement this. Sure, sometimes a spade is actually a small rectangular piece of paper with an "A" on it that gives your a royal flush - but usually, it's just an instrument that you dig with.

And assuming that a spade is a spade - that war is war, kidnapping is kidnapping, etc. - is, overall, a better strategy. IM'oh'so'HO.

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

simple ideas (1.33 / 3) (#63)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:25:31 AM EST

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."  Margaret Mead

http://www.hillwatch.com/PPRC/Quotes/Democracy.aspx

true of the 19 men on 9/11, true of gavrilo princip and his cohorts, true of people like me


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

[ Parent ]

simple ideas (3.00 / 3) (#69)
by gdanjo on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:00:46 AM EST

are comforting, like the Newtonian world-view vs. relativity. But sometimes - no, always - reality is more complicated than that we wish it to be.

true of the 19 men on 9/11, true of gavrilo princip and his cohorts, true of people like me
One must wonder, then, how a) one distinguishes between "19 men on 9/11", "Gavrilo Princip and his cohorts", and you, based on behaviour alone (sans bullshit cop-outs like "intent"), and b) how you reconcile this "few men influence the many" view against the principles of democracy - where the method of implementation is the antithesis of the very principle you wish to be spread. ("unilateral action is democracy", I suppose?)

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

read about fucking for virginity above (nt) (none / 1) (#73)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:10:01 AM EST



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

[ Parent ]
then I propose ... (3.00 / 3) (#79)
by gdanjo on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:25:29 AM EST

...we wage "peace for war." Hear me out: we stop all wars - "wage peace" so to speak - so that we can later go and invade any country we wish (a reversion back to "war is peace", you see - to keep the peace we need to wage war once more).

I love double-speek... and weasle-words. It's so rightist. It gets me all hot a sweaty.

You're the bestest right-leftist in the world!!!11!

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

except i'm not trying to be a demagogue (1.50 / 2) (#81)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:32:55 AM EST

nor an idealist

i honestly believe what i say, i am not trying to propagandize, and i am not just dreaming


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

[ Parent ]

your honesty (2.66 / 3) (#84)
by gdanjo on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 06:29:22 AM EST

isn't in question. Your strategies, however, are.

And strategies that depend on selective double-speak are bound to fail - not only because of their inherent unpredictable contradictions, but also because of their unnecessary simplicity.

Bottom line is this: what is it that makes someone "rightist" or "leftist"? Is it their opinion on any specific issue? Or is it the method they use to arrive at this opinion?

I think it's the later. And though you try to explain your view as a form of the later, I fear it reeks of the former - regardless of your contortions to make it look as though you arrived at your conclusions independently. It is here that I doubt your sincerity.

I wish you all the best in your attempt to make the world a better place - I'm simply (extremely) skeptical of your strategies, is all.

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

fair enough (none / 1) (#85)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 06:53:26 AM EST

but i hardly believe i am unique to your skepticism

i believe you are skeptical of anyone with any faith in any idea in this world

which, again, is fair enough, even valuable: only fools blindly trust what someone says

but skepticism is only valuable to a degree

past a certain threshold, your inability to trust the intent of others simply becomes an impediment to your own ability to make sense of the world and matter to it


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

[ Parent ]

If it was true of people like you (3.00 / 2) (#188)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 05:19:05 PM EST

You wouldn't be here posting something and ranting about it in comments. You'd be putting together your own Abraham Lincoln (or in your case CTS) Brigade.

You might be a warrior at the keyboard but you aren't a fighter without a rifle in your hand.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

besides my... (none / 0) (#209)
by gdanjo on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 11:50:09 PM EST

... failure to understand how anything you said applies to my post in its context, IAWTP.

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

my brain just failed (none / 1) (#210)
by gdanjo on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 11:52:51 PM EST

Indendation calculation and alcohol just don't mix, I guess.

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

spellingk too!!1!! % (none / 1) (#211)
by gdanjo on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 11:54:08 PM EST

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]
You're missing something. (none / 0) (#281)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 01:22:57 PM EST

cts stated quite clearly that he was only in favour of war when NOTHING else would work, and when it would cost LESS lives to invade the country than it would to leave the poor bastards alone.

Of course, two criticisms I can see you making right there are that we can almost always find an alternative to war; and that since human affairs are so complex, we can't be sure that we would kill less people than would otherwise die.

Iraq is a good example of this; we didn't look for alternatives to war, because we wanted war; we also never bothered to work out how many would die, how we would minimise the problems afterwards, etc.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Nice Iraq war troll! (2.90 / 10) (#70)
by driptray on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:06:22 AM EST

It's so good I can't help but bite!

Just for kicks I'm going to pretend that I agree with your moral position. I'll restrict my arguments to the purely practical.

Many people (myself included) predicted in advance that the US, even with its enormous power, would be unable (even if willing) to implement democracy in Iraq. This prediction has so far come true - the current Iraqi government lacks legitimacy and is involved in torture and oppression on a scale that matches Saddam, and the results of the recent Iraqi elections promise greater Islamic fundamentalism and sectarian division, with no end in sight. Civil war is still the most likely outcome, if not already a reality.

Similarly, the US would be unable to implement democracy in Zimbabwe or North Korea. There is no viable, popular, uncorrupted opposition in those countries that would be able to form a stable, democratically elected government. When a country lacks all the pre-requisites of a democracy (such as a functioning civil society), you can't just create one by sheer will-power. It takes decades and possibly longer, and a military occupation of that duration would be self-defeating as well as ridiculously expensive.

To me, the practical impossibility of implementing democracy by force are so obvious that the typical explanation of American "naivety" and "idealism" is not credible. Racism and geo-strategic objectives are the obvious drivers.

And if anybody wants to bring up Japan as a counter-example, I'm happy to explain how it supports my position.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating

i stopped reading here (1.33 / 3) (#72)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:09:20 AM EST

"This prediction has so far come true"

i'll grant you that you might be right

however, neither of us are in a position to say one way or another right now

beware anyone who says they do know: they can't possibly know, and so they are a demagogue, a propagandizer, a real troll

meanwhile, i have good intent

what intent do you have?

what else in a world of uncertainty can you have except good intent?

complex problems in this world are not math problems with a cut and dry solution

they actually depend upon the intentions of those involved


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

[ Parent ]

If you stopped reading there... (3.00 / 3) (#82)
by driptray on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 06:15:35 AM EST

...you'll have missed the meat of my argument.

Which is convenient if you don't wish to be challenged.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

okay, i read the rest (1.33 / 6) (#83)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 06:28:14 AM EST

you're obviously a cynic

therefore, you are invalid to what you talk about

only the positive actually make a difference in the world, the rest, like you, just bitch and moan, often loudly, but add nothing of value to the discussion at hand

additionally, being a cynic, you don't have any real liberal credentials

conservative propaganda and right wing demagogues have successfully grouped useless cynics like yourself in with liberalism, unfortunately, hurting real liberal causes

negativity about positive intent isn't helpful, alternative positive action is. this observation is neutral to ideological intent, right or left

so grow a heart, and make a difference

but all of your "the sky is falling" cynicism doesn't add, or subtract, from the topic at hand

what you say simply doesn't matter


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

[ Parent ]

hence my opposition to the iraq invasion (none / 1) (#215)
by Entendre Entendre on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 12:15:47 AM EST

We knocked over the government in Afghanistan, and we have yet to demonstrate that we can [help the people of that country] build a democracy to fill the vacuum that we created.

I agree with the general thrust of your article, but I really wish Bush had paused at least long enough to demonstrate that the US can build a democratic government. We were already in the middle of such an experiment as a result of the invasion of Afghanistan, we should have let it run a bit longer to see if there was any hope of success. There's still a pretty good chance that the next leader of Iraq will be no batter than any of the other regime changes we've facilitated, in which case the liberal justification for the war in Iraq disappears.

Even if we fail(ed) in Arghanistan, we might at least learn some things that would make us more likely to succeed in Iraq. But no, Bush wasn't content placing one bet at a time, he had to roll the dice again, with no better idea of the odds of success than when he rolled the dice in Afghanistan.

Spreading democracy sounds great in theory but I wish we'd finished testing that theory before we committed to starting a second war. Afghanistan gave us a chance to find out if this theory actually works. Even if we failed in Afghanstian we could at least have learned some lessons to improve the odds of success in Iraq, but no.

Not to mention the problems associated with running two wars at the same time.

I hope this ends will for the people of both countries, but I'm not convinced that it will. If it turns out that the US is incapable of installing a democracy, then the liberal justification for the war (which I agree sounds great in theory) will go away, with thousands of people dying for a well-intentioned experiment. I hope that won't be the case, but only time will tell.

--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

*Your* intent is irrelevant (2.50 / 2) (#219)
by kcbrown on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 01:10:50 AM EST

beware anyone who says they do know: they can't possibly know, and so they are a demagogue, a propagandizer, a real troll

meanwhile, i have good intent

Yes, you do.

But you are not in control. Your intent doesn't matter.

Only the intent of those who are in control matter. That's not you. That's not me. That's not any of us here.

You argue time and again that intent is what matters. I agree. Intent is what determines how decisions are made. While mistakes will surely be made, intent is what steers further decision, is what determines how (or even if) the mistakes are remedied.

The people who are in charge, who are making the decisions surrounding the war in Iraq, do not have the intent you have. Their goal is not to bring freedom and self-determination to the people of Iraq. Their goal is to set up a government that answers to the United States government. A puppet government, in other words. The methods they decide upon to deal with Iraq happen to involve setting up some sort of government that at least has the appearance of a democracy over there, but only because they must. If they directly set up a puppet dictatorship instead, they would not be allowed to complete the task. They're not yet in a position where they can successfully ignore the will of the people to that degree. Soon, yes. But not yet.

And that is why I disagree with you with respect to the Iraq war. Not because I disagree with your intent, but because I recognize, whereas you do not, that the intent of those who are actually making the decisions is what really matters.

And that's not you, nor is it anyone whose intent is the same as yours.

[ Parent ]

Lacks legitimacy? (1.50 / 2) (#114)
by LilDebbie on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 12:08:15 PM EST

It's nice to see you have so much contempt for the voices of 11 million Iraqis.

It's rule-by-bureaucracy assholes like you that make me glad the gun nuts are on my side.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]

Yeah, because those votes weren't rigged. (none / 0) (#282)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 01:27:54 PM EST

It's a shitty democracy. Better than none at all, I guess...

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

I would vote this up... (1.50 / 4) (#75)
by swifty on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:16:08 AM EST

..but it's obvious that the OP posted it only so that he could: satisfy some weird urge to go on a hyperactive comment frenzy totally devoid of punctuation like he's trying to win a race where the fastest comments win lolz

Freiheit ist immer auch die freiheit des anderen.
blahblahblahblah (2.00 / 3) (#76)
by circletimessquare on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:18:36 AM EST

i win!

lolz

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

[ Parent ]

omgz (2.25 / 4) (#77)
by swifty on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:19:38 AM EST

beepbeep

imajeep

omg kittens! mew mew mew!

no I win lolz :)

Freiheit ist immer auch die freiheit des anderen.
[ Parent ]

incorrect use of colon lolz (3.00 / 2) (#112)
by MMcP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 11:45:45 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Disagree, but +1FP anyway (1.75 / 4) (#98)
by Enlarged to Show Texture on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 08:56:01 AM EST

You make a strong case and I don't have to agree with you to see that. This should generate a lot of discussion, so let's get this thing to the front...


"Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do." -- Isaac Asimov
IAWTP (none / 0) (#107)
by daveybaby on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 10:40:47 AM EST

Some interesting stuff in here.

[ Parent ]
The biggest thing lacking on the anti-war left (2.20 / 5) (#99)
by minamikuni on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 09:10:17 AM EST

...is a sense of perspective. This comment from below caught my eye: "Only a few tenuous constitutional strands keep us from being another Iran in many parts of [the USA]."

Without making Iran out to be a hell-hole on a par with North Korea, that's such an absurd suggestion I can't believe anyone can take it seriously.

There was a report of Saddam Hussein during his trial: when he heard testimony from some Kurds who'd been tortured horrifically for years for crimes committed by their relative, he responded that the way he was being kept amounted to torture of him by the Americans. Both cases show an astonishing lack of objectivity in the comparisons.

I agree military intervention is in rare cases not just justifiable but morally required. I agree this is a true liberal viewpoint and I'm delighted to see someone saying so publicly. Pretty much any politician who endorsed the viewpoint and aims of this article would have my vote. Though I'd prefer it if the politician didn't get quite so ranty towards the end. :)

Iran !=Iraq (none / 1) (#190)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 05:31:17 PM EST

Iran also has a teeming population of teen to twentysomethings that have no interest in the religious views of those in power. Socially they become more open every day in turn putting pressure on the political system.

Juxtapose this with how the majority of the population here agrees with a woman's right to choose and government's constant attacks on it. Similarly, creationism is a laughingstock and so changed names in order to get around the stigma attached to it. That hasn't kept politicians from trying to impose it (or succeeding in some cases). School prayer. Separation of church and state issues. All basically the same situation.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

-1 THINK OF THE MARSH ARABS (2.71 / 7) (#103)
by A Bore on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 09:58:20 AM EST

The Marsh Arabs are a small community-within-a-group, based in a tiny region of a small part of Iraq, Middle East. For many years they were content with their lot, that of navigating the water channels and silted canals that originally formed the basis of the trade wealth of huge Iraq cities like the capital, Baghdad.

They suffered like anyone else under Saddam Hussein. They are suffering under the Coalition of the Willing. They will suffer under any future Iraqi government.

A Marsh Arab reading this will view the Playstation Doctrine like any other mealy mouthed words floating from the mouths of dictators and tyrants. It's never about what THEY want, it's always about YOU.

LOLZ, look at how compassionate you am! You am killing people for a GOOD REASON. You am bombing Marsh Arabs for their OWN GOOD! From their point of view, they may disagree. But you have the power here, and you might, somehow, somewhere eventually have something to point to and say "I was RIGHT". More likely you never will. But that is the danger when you take an action ostensibly for someone else's good, whether they like it or not.

It doesn't matter what they want, right? They want what you want, probably. You don't really know.

You don't know anything about Marsh Arabs, after all. They should just admire your good intentions and shut up.

Thanks for exposing the NeoCon agenda ... (2.55 / 9) (#104)
by Wise Cracker on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 10:34:44 AM EST

... as the big government welfare project that it is. And like every other welfare project, it takes from those who have earned and gives to those who have not. In this case, taking from the lives and wealth of Americans who have earned their freedom, and giving to Arabs who are either actively benefiting from the status quo, don't care enough to change it, or want to chuck all civilization out the window in the name of restoring some Pan-Arab socialized Caliphate.

Iraq is your shining example of liberal theosophy? Those thieves and liars in the Iraqi National Congress are your heroes whose "lives and sacred honor" will pave the way to Arab democracy? Is that embezzler Chalabi the new Jefferson? Is that Iranian shill Sistani the new Hamilton? What about Sadr's thugs? Are they just rabble rousers in the style of Paine?

If you were to replace 'freedom' in your Trotsky-esque rant with 'universal health-care' or 'saving the workers from oppression by the capitalists', then conservatives would be able to see it for the absolute immorality it is. But conservatives generally don't criticize the military, so you people hide behind it. The first thing soldiers have to defend is politicians from their political opponents.

You list Marx and Lenin and Guevara as your idols. You left out Stalin and Mao and Castro. You know, all those liberal dictators that wanted to 'free' their people from oppression by the Czars, the West, the millstone of history. There are a hundred million corpses in the ground, killed by men just like you. A hundred million lives ended by worshippers of your brand of continuous revolution.

You are a full-on Fukuyama fanboy. Tell me, Mr. Citizen-of-the-World, given that there are a billion Chinese who vote with their inertia for the continuation of their Western-financed totalitarian state every morning by not revolting, another billion Indians who sided with the Russians in the Cold War and whose policies have produced one of the poorest countries on Earth, and another one billion Muslims who want some level of Sharia-influenced legal system, what will you, personally, do when that three billion+ constitute the majority of your one world dystopia? Will you cheer as they launch a Great Leap Forward and burn down the libraries? Will you empty your wallet as they decide America must pay reparations to the rest of the world? Will you smile on the gallows before you hang for insulting Islam?
--
Caesars come, and Caesars go, but Newton lives forever

Talk (2.33 / 3) (#213)
by shash on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 12:07:43 AM EST

...another billion Indians who sided with the Russians in the Cold War and whose policies have produced one of the poorest countries on Earth,...
a) India was never allied to the USSR. India was a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, and not a member of either bloc for the entire cold war. Pakistan was, for a time, a member of CENTO, but that doesn't mean that India was in any way allied to the Warsaw Pact. b) India is far from one of the poorest countries in the world. At the very least, there's no starvation here. c) A billion Indians are free democratic voters, who have a history of throwing out bad rulers (over the last 50 years, at least). Your points about other places are similarly prejudiced by years of listening to doublespeak, but I'll stop here to let those who have the facts ready to catch you on those.

[ Parent ]
You're mistaken. (none / 0) (#291)
by Wise Cracker on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 10:13:30 PM EST

Firstly, you mistook my point. I do not share cts' belief in the desirability of one world soveriegnty. There are American values; there are Indian values; they are not the same values. There are Indians with American values; they come to America. There are Americans with Indian values; they go to India. If we bulldoze the cultural distinctions and create some ungodly cross between McDonald's and Bollywood, then there will be nowhere else to go. That would be a bad thing. I'm not criticizing India per se. Seems like a very beautiful country. But that does not mean I want to be part of that country. Point by point rebuttal follows.

a) Rebuttal link which completely contradicts your statement: from "Nuclear security and the Green revolution"

"India and the USSR had earlier signed the Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Cooperation, the resulting political and military support contributed substantially to India's victory in the 1971 war.

Further, the Non-Aligned Movement was never much of a movement. There was a very strong "with or against us" belief on both sides of the Iron Curtain, and India unfortunately sided with the Soviet Union. Even the link you gave listed Cuba and Yugoslavia as members. And Tito was the principle founder. He was very much aligned, notwithstanding propaganda to the contrary.

Frankly, the US rejection of India never made much sense to me. Near as I can tell the justification was something like:

  • They were in opposition to Pakistan; Pakistan *was* our ally. We had bases in Pakistan and flew reconnaissance aircraft out of there in the 1950's. Maybe the 1960's. We had no such bases in India.
  • India embarrassed England with that whole Ghandi incident. England *was* our ally, so we stood by her against India.
  • The early Indian prime ministers talked sporadically of wealth redistribution schemes, and the one thing you did *not* do in the Cold War was praise Robin Hood.
  • The other thing you did *not* do during the Cold War was accept military hardware, advisers, etc., from Russia, and India had an ongoing military relationship with Russia. Worse, they still do. Remember that the US rejection of Syria, which so shaped modern Middle East policy, was largely due to them accepting Russian tanks.
  • More recently, India advanced their nuclear weapons program, even after America told them not to.

b) According to the CIA, India has a per capita GDP of $3100. That's more than Haiti's $1500 ( and falling, wow! ) but less than even Guatemala's $4200 ( and that's pretty damn poor ). Now public relations may not be my forte, but it seems that "We're better than Haiti" is not something the Indian Chamber of Commerce would put on a bumper sticker. There is more to wealth than GDP, like per capita electrical power usage, televisions, and computers. India is near the bottom of those stats too.

c) I didn't bring up India's history of democracy. In fact, given their neighbors, it's quite impressive. But since you did bring it up, it bears remembering that Indira Ghandi held the country practically under martial law for years in the 1970's.

My points about other places stand. China is still a totalitarian surveillance state. And the burgeoning democracy of Egypt looks like it is about to elect significant representation from the Muslim Brotherhood. Iraq just elected a theocratic Shiite ticket, and the Iran's most recent election elected an antisemitic hardliner. I don't want to share soveriegnty with any of those countries, or, for that matter, with any of those people who have demonstrated through active support or passive acquiescence that they are happy with governments like that.
--
Caesars come, and Caesars go, but Newton lives forever
[ Parent ]

-1 I'm afraid (1.50 / 4) (#108)
by jubal3 on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 11:12:35 AM EST

First you go on way too long.
Second, you devolve into nothing more than a rant in many areas.

While I happen to be one of the supporters of the war in Iraq, for what I consider the "right" reasons, (which are similar to yours), Iraq is it's own animal. There isn't money, manpower or stomach for waging wars of liberation all over the world. -And tht's not going to change.

As for Korea, pull your head out of your ass, you CLEARLY have not the slightest fucking idea what you're talking about. -Sure, lets sacrifice 100k people in Seoul in the 1st five minutes of your war, yea, sure, thats a great idea.

Refine this, shorten it, do some realitic thinking about the cost of what you propose and resubmit.


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

Really, Paul, is the World Bank that boring? (3.00 / 4) (#109)
by LilDebbie on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 11:17:55 AM EST

There's a reason the Neocons went with the GOP when looking for a vehicle for their agenda, cts. The anti-war faction of the New Left is not going away any time soon.

And who you calling Neoisolationist? Would an isolationist support the invasion of two countries halfway around the world?

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

s/invasion/liberation (3.00 / 3) (#117)
by thekubrix on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 01:06:09 PM EST

This is your first warning. Don't make me take away your Neocon badge.

[ Parent ]
I can't remember (3.00 / 2) (#119)
by LilDebbie on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 01:28:43 PM EST

Didn't the Heritage Foundation set up workplace fines for mishaps like that?

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Well, in your case (3.00 / 5) (#121)
by thekubrix on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 01:45:42 PM EST

I would have to transfer the all the paperwork to the log cabin repubs.

[ Parent ]
NO YUO!1! $ (1.50 / 2) (#122)
by LilDebbie on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 01:53:51 PM EST



My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Do democratic outcomes justify undemocratic means? (3.00 / 3) (#111)
by alexboko on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 11:44:06 AM EST




Godwin's Law of video games: if a company is out of ideas for a long enough period, they will eventually publish another World War II shooter.
Don't get ahead of yourself (3.00 / 3) (#141)
by driptray on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 08:20:09 PM EST

There's little evidence the outcome will be democratic, a result that was blindingly obvious from the moment the idea of invading Iraq was first broached.

And that leads to the conclusion that there was little intention for a democratic outcome, although I'm sure the actual anti-democratic outcome differs from the intended anti-democratic outcome.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

war (3.00 / 3) (#116)
by ensign on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 01:01:18 PM EST

The war in Iraq is wrong for its unilateralism.  I know you say "Fuck the USA" and all that, and I agree with that sentiment, but what you don't seem to understand is that the blow this war has dealt to multilateralism is a far greater detriment to the world and the future than a single authoritarian regime.  

What I mean is that so long as we accept vigilantism out of a belief that the elimination of authoritarianism is so urgent, we will be fostering the conditions under which other and new authoritarian states grow and thrive.  What we need is a real UN, which is impossible while the United States continues to act with complete unilateral impunity.  To use a nerdy analogy, we need the police, not the Punisher.

I contend, and I don't mean this lightly, that the United States is the most guilty of unilateralism of all states.  The coalition is hogwash, a mockery of multilateralism designed to counter cursory arguments.  Yes, I know too that the US/UK went to the UN for approval.  Right.  It's clear they were taking that seriously.  

Actually, United States foreign policy has long reserved the right to flout international law and multilateralism whenever and wherever it so pleases; if you consider us to be citizens of the world rather than of countries, how can you not see the inherent danger of allowing a country to maintain that outlook?  For, make no mistake, by condoning the invasion of Iraq for any reason, you are allowing exactly that.

This seems to me, if I may be so bold, to be a problem that many forms of liberalism share with the religious right: both are not content to feel enlightened, but they feel they must "save" others.  Sounds nice, until you get to the "by any means necessary" part.  

What we need instead of faith, and what an international organization such as the UN could provide, is a system whereby a citizenry could request the help of outsiders, if its government is authoritarian (or not, although it's hard to imagine another circumstance for such a request).  Then the rest of the world could agree that something needs to be done, and the evidence would be the request.  
Find your friends online

The only thing I have against this war (none / 1) (#214)
by shash on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 12:10:37 AM EST

...is the lack of multilateralism and the total bypassing of the International Community. There's nothing else that is really WRONG with the premise of removing Saddam.

[ Parent ]
I voted this up (2.75 / 4) (#118)
by hatshepsut on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 01:12:13 PM EST

even if I disagree with the premise.

You made some good points (I agree with many posters above, however, that this was far longer than necessary to make your point). I simply cannot agree with the premise that we can decide, RIGHT NOW, that certain corrupt governments are simply never going to change and must therefore be removed for the good of the world. Just over 40 years ago, the world was on the brink of war because the US perceived the USSR as a global threat. Even 20 years ago, there were those who maintained that Red China was a global threat.

Now, the USSR is a bad memory (and some nasty problems to clean up), and it is pretty much generally agreed that China is moving in the "right" direction.

So, while I think your sentiment is laudable, I just don't think we could ever really predict which countries/governments are intractable enough to warrant sending in unwanted "saviours" to "liberate the people". Providing support/encouragement to opposition parties, participating in United Nations efforts to impose sanctions (and change), etc. are all non-violent ways to help the people help themselves. Even providing proof of the obvious benefits of working with global democracies (and, let's face it, there are some huge financial benefits to having the world's democracies as potential consumers of goods and services) show a non-violent path to improved conditions all over the world.

On a final note: Bush made it VERY clear that this war was about 9/11. When it was shown that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, he said it was about weapons of mass destruction. When no weapons were found, it suddenly became about regime change. Please pardon the rest of us for having scepticism about the motives of a leader (and, ultimately his country) when the reason for war ends up changing with the seasons. You will notice that many countries supported the war in Afghanistan, which had clear links to terrorists, Osama bin Laden, and 9/11. The Taliban was an oppressive regime with a terrible human rights record. Armed forces personnel from many countries are still in Afghanistan, trying to support the development of an emerging democracy there. The reasons for the invasion of Afghanistan were clear and concise, the general feeling in Afghanistan is relief that the Taliban are no longer in power. Compare and contrast that with Iraq, and you will see why support for the Iraqi invasion was very very thin. I do believe that while results are important, motives are also. Achieving a desirable end because of faulty (or ulterior) motives is not going be well looked-upon...the means do not justify the ends.

liberal democracies are cultural (3.00 / 5) (#125)
by minerboy on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 02:52:05 PM EST

Not propositional IMHO. While I agree that globalism is probably inevitable, I doubt we will see any global democracy like you mention. A global democracy will be much more like mob rule, since many important rights we enjoy are uniquely cultural. More likely we will end up with some type of corporate socialism/facism. Coming World government looks more like the WTO, and IMF, and less like the UN, or EU - not that the latter is that great compared to western democracy(at least not for westerners.)



You left some details aside (3.00 / 6) (#127)
by skewedtree on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 03:46:18 PM EST

Let me commend you by the way you put your ideas forward. You write with such enthusiasm and conviction that you almost claim your ideas to be an absolute truth. It's difficult to argue against this type of rhetoric.

You ignore the real issues behind the war in Iraq. You ignore the absence of evidence for most of the claims used as a justification for starting the war. You add 9/11 to the mix as if it has anything to do with Iraq. You assume that the new 'democratic' regime will be better than the old one, ignoring the fact that the economy has been put under multinational corporations' control during Bremen's period, and that it will be nearly impossible for the Iraqi people to take that control back, even with democratic institutions.

You're living in a dream, this war is not for the benefit of the Iraqi people. In the best possible scenario, that is no civil war and a democratic government in place, Iraqis will have little saying on their destiny.

I do agree with you, though, that action should be taken by the International community in cases like the ones you mention. However, the way of extending freedom and democracy should be considered carefully. There is a lot that can be done without war. For example, end agriculture subsidies and life will improve for millions of people in the developing world. In extreme cases, war could be an option, but never unilaterally and never under the control of strong private interest groups. Please also understand that democracy is not an end in itself, and a lot needs to be done in democratic countries to improve the living conditions of all people.

It seems to me that you are pissed off by the lack of action from liberals in the USA. I disagree with the liberal-conservative dualism; it's a poor characterization of the political spectrum and only serves as a polarization tool for some politicians. The true liberals, the Left, have no voice and no representation in the USA; don't confuse them with the Democrats.

A final note on liberalism. You claim that communism fails because it goes against a basic fact of human nature: greed. I'm not a communist, but I claim that capitalism fails because it goes against a basic fact of human nature: solidarity. I further claim that the need for a community, a social organization among equals, is higher than greed. This, I think, is the true liberal ideal.


simply view every single person you "meet" online as the comic book guy from the simpsons. it makes everything easier. - zenofchai


Dump (-1): (2.33 / 3) (#131)
by k31 on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:22:19 PM EST

This well formatted rant implies that certain concepts which were shown to be false, are true, in a nonchalant manner. There is no attempt to argue, only an exposition of opinion in the guise of fact. In the issue of war, there are always many factors and sides and opinions which should at least be refuted even if they are not seriously considered.

Your dollar is you only Word, the wrath of it your only fear. He who has an EAR to hear....
[ Parent ]
my take on that (1.75 / 4) (#145)
by khallow on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 10:16:14 PM EST

You ignore the real issues behind the war in Iraq. You ignore the absence of evidence for most of the claims used as a justification for starting the war. You add 9/11 to the mix as if it has anything to do with Iraq. You assume that the new 'democratic' regime will be better than the old one, ignoring the fact that the economy has been put under multinational corporations' control during Bremen's period, and that it will be nearly impossible for the Iraqi people to take that control back, even with democratic institutions.

You are, of course, ignoring that Saddam Hussein was pretty noteworthy even among dictators. First, he invaded without cause two neighbors (Kuwait and Iran) sparking each time a major war. Second, he was in control of the third largest oil reserves. That sort of economic power helped make him a real problem. Third, he is responsible over a thirty year period for at least a couple hundred thousand executions in Iraq. Finally, he aggressively researched nuclear weapons over the past few decades.

Further, I think the threat of multinational corporations has been overstated as usual. A corporation needs to make a profit (or perhaps more accurately generate cash flow) in order to exist. They have assets that can be taxed or seized. These are mighty strong levers. A government need not have either.

You're living in a dream, this war is not for the benefit of the Iraqi people. In the best possible scenario, that is no civil war and a democratic government in place, Iraqis will have little saying on their destiny.

By definition of "democracy", the Iraqi voter would have considerable say in their destiny under this scenario. The motives of parties like the US will usually be self-serving, but that doesn't mean that we can't get something useful out of the mess.

I do agree with you, though, that action should be taken by the International community in cases like the ones you mention. However, the way of extending freedom and democracy should be considered carefully. There is a lot that can be done without war. For example, end agriculture subsidies and life will improve for millions of people in the developing world. In extreme cases, war could be an option, but never unilaterally and never under the control of strong private interest groups. Please also understand that democracy is not an end in itself, and a lot needs to be done in democratic countries to improve the living conditions of all people.

We can glob virtually all of this stuff under "conflict of interest" and "rent-seeking". That has torpedoed a lot of the West's efforts to assist in making countries more democratic. For example, a key component of the failure of democracy in Russia was the selling of state assets to well-connected cronies.

I disagree with the claim that democracy isn't an end in itself.

It seems to me that you are pissed off by the lack of action from liberals in the USA. I disagree with the liberal-conservative dualism; it's a poor characterization of the political spectrum and only serves as a polarization tool for some politicians. The true liberals, the Left, have no voice and no representation in the USA; don't confuse them with the Democrats.

Agree here. One interesting point is that both democrats and republicans appear weak. They still have the massive advantage of their broad political infrastructure, but I see this threatened by third parties (eg, the Green party, social conservatives, etc).

A final note on liberalism. You claim that communism fails because it goes against a basic fact of human nature: greed. I'm not a communist, but I claim that capitalism fails because it goes against a basic fact of human nature: solidarity. I further claim that the need for a community, a social organization among equals, is higher than greed. This, I think, is the true liberal ideal.

"Solidarity" may or may not be a fundamental "fact" of human nature, but I'd say that capitalism does a fair job of encouraging it. After all, if you own, trade, or enter into contracts, typical capitalist activities, you need some sort of stable system in which that makes sense.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

This comment alone makes +1FP. (none / 0) (#283)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 01:37:22 PM EST

Thanks for talking a whole heapin' mess of truth.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

STFU (2.00 / 8) (#130)
by AlwaysAnonyminated on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:13:59 PM EST

you dirty hippie liberal.
---------------------------------------------
Posted from my Droid 2.
What? (3.00 / 8) (#132)
by CodeWright on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:47:27 PM EST

What about Uganda? Congo?

The fucking Congo where the indigenous pygmy people are being annihilated by the constant war... AS FOOD.

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

I think (2.33 / 3) (#133)
by richarj on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:09:49 PM EST

That assassination of the government instead of a full-scale invasion would be a better approach. Pity most western governments don't sanction assassination. Also unfortunately it is hard to tell if such regimes would fall if their rulers were replaced would they just get worse ones, of course that's the time to move in, after the assassination. Has any one read Ian M. Banks "The Player Of Games"?

"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
Allende --> Pinochet /nt (3.00 / 2) (#139)
by Ignore Amos on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 08:05:43 PM EST


And that explains why airplanes carry cargo on small boats floating in their cargo aquarium. - jmzero
[ Parent ]

Man did that work out better (none / 1) (#191)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 05:42:07 PM EST

for democracy or what?

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
Assassinate then move in. (none / 0) (#253)
by richarj on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 04:34:07 AM EST

Don't just let the hydra grow another head. And no stupid puppet governments either.

"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
[ Parent ]
repeat as necessary? (2.33 / 3) (#146)
by khallow on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 10:26:28 PM EST

Once you've established a pattern of deposing tyrants that don't move towards democracy, then the country will either become more democratic or more of an anarachy. IMHO, a place like Somalia is much less of a threat to itself or others than a place like North Korea.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

I've read it, and Use Of Weapons. (none / 0) (#284)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 01:45:34 PM EST

That bastard Banks ruined my vision of a totalitarian corparatist future, by the by, with his inspiring vision of a technological utopia ruled lightly by Minds wiser than gods. Where's the pessimism, eh?

If only we Westerners had the wisdom, intelligence, genetically-programmed compassion and sheer fucking power of the Culture. We've got a long way to go.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

+1FP, documented ctz use of proper punctuation (1.00 / 3) (#136)
by Patrick Chalmers on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 06:25:04 PM EST


Holy crap, working comment search!
excellent article - couple of nit-picks (3.00 / 3) (#137)
by ccdotnet on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 06:42:13 PM EST

From the issues you outline early in the piece (drugs, abortion, euthanasia), your politics match mine quite closely. But the Iraq justification is where we disagree, and strongly. Here's the first part that makes me uncomfortable:

When the will of one country, such as the USA, to act, goes against the conventional wisdom and inertia of others, it does not invalidate their right to act,

Which sounds a lot like "you're either with us, or against us". You're decrying 4 key "rogue" states which you consider ready for US-imposed regime change, precisely because these states are not part of a global community of nations and will not accept commonly agreed human rights. But somehow it's OK for the US to ignore the will of the global community and act unilaterally to impose its values on other states?

The rest of the world is simply not focused on what really matters.

Which means the US is right, and everyone else is wrong. Just doesn't wash with me.

As many others have pointed out, democracy needs to come from within. If the population doesn't "want it" badly enough to fight for it themselves, shedding their own blood along the way, then perhaps it's justified for the global community at large to intervene. But it's certainly not justified for 1 state (OK, 4 or 5) to step in. Especially when the leader of this Coalition of the Willing won't submit itself to the jurisdication of the ICC, nor adhere to other global initiatives like Kyoto.

Also, I feel your argument would be much stronger if you at least acknowledge somewhere that the US motivation for involvement in Iraq and the region, is not entirely humanitarian and democracy-building in nature. You should at least conceed the roles played by money and oil in this process.

with us, or not (none / 1) (#212)
by Entendre Entendre on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 11:54:56 PM EST

[...] the US is right, and everyone else is wrong. Just doesn't wash with me.

Hey, a broken clock can be right twice a day.

It's not a matter of "with us or against us" as Bush put it. That might be at least somewhat true for the war in Afghanstan (essentially a war on bin Laden, fought on someone else's turf), but Iraq is just a "with us or not" sort of thing.

The notion that democracy must come from within carries with it the implicit support for any regime sufficiently oppressive to render revolution impossible. If I may borrow your phrase, that "just doesn't wash with me."

I've got no doubt that there were other motivations for the war in Iraq, but I don't think there was any need to bring them up in an article on whether or not the war is consistent with liberal principles. It wouldn't be out of place in an article on whether the war is consistent with conservative principles, but that's a different article. :-)

--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

The problem with the broken clock. (none / 0) (#285)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 02:02:12 PM EST

The trap that cts and - it seems - you have fallen into here is thinking that because you want a war, and Bush wants a war, that Bush is unwittingly doing your liberal bidding. But that's not true when you consider that the war that you want and the war that Bush wants are not the same war.

You want to destroy Saddam's grip on power and establish a democratic government in Iraq, so that the Iraqi people have the same freedoms and rights as those elsewhere in the world. The Iraqis are your prime concern.

Bush wants to destroy Saddam's grip on power, appropriate Iraq's oil wealth for US companies, and install a government loyal to the USA so the oil wealth is protected. The oil wealth and the obedience of his puppet government are his prime concern. The Iraqis aren't even in the picture, except as handy propaganda. ("gassed his own people" "people that hunger for democracy" etc.)

Invading Iraq seemed like a great idea, because toppling Saddam was a noble goal. But that idea never entered into Bush's head. He had a totally different idea, and that makes his war completely useless (or worse) to you.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

+1FP, not because I agree... (1.77 / 9) (#140)
by localroger on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 08:08:28 PM EST

...but because it's well written and makes its case with eloquence and passion, and should provide plenty to discuss. If I'm feeling more energetic later I might get around to detailing my own disagreement, but I have a feeling many others will get there first.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
please use editorial comments (2.20 / 10) (#142)
by Jobst of Moravia on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 08:58:32 PM EST


---
              __
   .,-;-;-,. /'_\ ---Did this Negro say "Street Moor"?
 _/_/_/_|_\_\) /
'-<_><_><_><_>=\
 `/_/====/_/-'\_\
  ""     ""    ""

[ Parent ]

Wow that's a fine high horse you got there (3.00 / 3) (#143)
by localroger on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 10:00:42 PM EST

Especially considering it's only been growing since Halloween. I guess by Valentine's Day you'll be an old timer here.

Of course you're probably just another one of the many recycled old-timers who ran out of ideas or steam or actually got shitcanned when they started doing that up in the ivory tower, in which case you would know that zeroing a comment for this kind of thing is even more inappropriate than confusing topical with editorial on queue comments.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]

I generally zero misplaced editorials. (2.33 / 3) (#184)
by mr strange on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 05:05:02 PM EST

Guests to the site don't see editorial comments, and don't know anything about voting. I think it's rude to confuse them with arcane comments like "+1FP", so I zero them.

It's not a judgement on the comment, it's a service to the guests.

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]

Next time please read the directions (3.00 / 2) (#186)
by localroger on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 05:14:15 PM EST

While there are no controls to enforce this, the intent of the site clearly stated in the FAQ is that zero ratings are for spam and abuse, not protecting the delicate sensibilities of visitors from things they don't understand.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]
the directions also say to use editorial comments (2.50 / 4) (#195)
by Jobst of Moravia on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 05:58:26 PM EST


---
              __
   .,-;-;-,. /'_\ ---Did this Negro say "Street Moor"?
 _/_/_/_|_\_\) /
'-<_><_><_><_>=\
 `/_/====/_/-'\_\
  ""     ""    ""

[ Parent ]

I see your blunder and raise it by a fuckup. (none / 0) (#199)
by localroger on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:25:39 PM EST

What are the stakes in this game of "fucking for virginity" poker anyway?

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]
Now now, don't get testy. (2.00 / 1) (#197)
by mr strange on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:07:55 PM EST

I have read the directions. This is my interpretation.

I'm very sparing with my zeros. I'm often reluctant to use them in this way, but I feel it's for the best. You can always repost your comment as editorial.

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]

You know, this is great. (none / 0) (#229)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 09:34:54 AM EST

This is like watching a little kid lecture superman on how to fight crime. LR has been a fixture on this site a long time, Mr. Strange.

You might want to adopt a policy more like mine - I usually only rate up, the only time I ever rate down is when someone is deliberately spamming the site.

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]

Roger can stick up for himself. (none / 0) (#272)
by mr strange on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 08:20:40 AM EST

He doesn't need you yapping at his heels.

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]
screw that (2.00 / 3) (#218)
by Entendre Entendre on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 12:41:10 AM EST

Zeroes are for things I disagree with.

--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

I'm zeroing this (none / 1) (#228)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 09:32:50 AM EST

but only out of a sense of irony.

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Ooh, editorial/topical drama! (none / 0) (#208)
by pwhysall on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 11:49:26 PM EST

Hint: there are very few people who care.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Are you volunteering? (3.00 / 7) (#144)
by GreenYoda on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 10:09:05 PM EST

You wrote: And I believe that war should be waged on authoritarian states.

Note the passive voice: "should be waged." Well, war can't just be waged. Someone has to wage it.

So, are you volunteering to go to Myanmar and possibly die in an attempt to free its citizens from oppression, or do you think that someone else should be conscripted to give his life for this noble quest?

I just thought of an interesting idea... (3.00 / 6) (#148)
by mtrisk on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 10:33:39 PM EST

Why don't you post this as a diary on DailyKos? That would make for some rather great entertainment.

______
"If you don't like our country, why don't you get out?"
"What, and become a victim of your foreign policy?"
Feh (2.44 / 9) (#152)
by trhurler on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 01:46:54 AM EST

You're correct in your assertion that the left has nothing to offer, and that fighting is the only choice. You're mistaken in your belief that the left CAN have anything to offer in foriegn affairs. The left hasn't had any clue of how to improve the world in a hundred years now, and there's a reason.

Namely, this: neither conservatism nor liberalism is inherently evil. Sometimes the status quo is worth protecting and fighting for, and sometimes it is worth attacking and fighting against, and if you can't tell the difference, then you're an ideologue. If you CAN tell the difference, then your politics is shaped by the times you live in - you are not a liberal or a conservative universally, but rather because it is the right thing for the times.

Religious zealotry should not be confused with conservatism. It often aligns with conservatives, unfortunately, but that's because it IS part of the status quo. An undesirable part. But a part. The thing is, in the US and most of the west, the status quo includes other things. Things that were once "liberal." Things like that freedom you're so proud of. Sure, Bush is a chump. That's irrelevant. The fact is, he thinks he's fighting the good fight for a status quo that he believes in.

The reason liberalism is largely ineffectual in the US when foriegn affairs dominate and yet gains a bit of traction when domestic affairs are the cause of the day is simple. The US is not perfect. If we focus on it, we can find things to improve - and misguided or not, the left here tries to do that. Most of them still haven't gotten over the authoritarian streak that marked 1900s liberalism(in stark contrast to all previous liberalism, I should add,) but they do at least try to improve things.

But, when things turn to foriegn affairs, the liberals are not willing to admit that the whole world is NOT the United States. Measures that make no sense here(or in Europe, or Canada, and so on,) make perfect sense elsewhere simply because most of what we take for granted when we say "civilization" does not exist there. Liberals want us to "help" such places by opening glorified soup kitchens. Would we have a civilized nation today had we tried to win the West with soup kitchens? Of course not. But you are correct: our modern liberals are insulated from reality. They want the nice, touchy feely rules they grew up with to be applied everywhere, as if yelling at the wind would drive the storm away.

Being right-libertarian by proclivity(incidentally, if you look at principles rather than rhetoric, classical liberalism IS right libertarianism,) I must admit that an awful lot of what goes on in the name of progress troubles me. The Patriot Act is more or less a disgrace, as are most of its champions, lying through their teeth to justify absurdity. The whole military tribunals thing is a sick joke. And so on. BUT, excesses aside(and every conflict has excesses on all sides,) most libertarians still have a problem with the war itself.

Those people are misguided. Yes, ideally we would not be involved in solving the world's problems. However, the reality is that the world's problems affect us whether we like it or not, and ignoring them will not change that fact. Were the world a bunch of liberal(in the classical sense) democratic republics, war on them would indeed be a travesty. This is not the case. In reality, it doesn't take much history reading to see the situation we're in.

Specifically, we(and by we, I mean the west, not just the US,) are the power in the world right now. Throughout history, the rest of the world(those not in power,) have had three fates. One was simply to be pawns. We've seen plenty of that. Democrats in the US want to blame all of that on Republicans, but the truth is, most US pawn-playing has been carried on by Democrats throughout the 20th century, because most of the 20th century had Democrats in power in the US. Regardless, this is an unfortunate but obviously predictable outcome sometimes.

The second possible fate is to be ignored. History will show you that in this case, things simply get worse. The worst failings of the colonials in Africa were not the excesses at the time. What was worst was that they didn't build institutions that could survive their leaving. Africa does not want for resources or talent. What it lacks are the underlying institutions and attitudes of civilization, and that is almost purely the fault of those who imposed it from above without including the locals in the action and then left abruptly.

The third possible fate is to be helped, intentionally or otherwise. The British helped the US, even in its early days. Not intentionally - they deliberately tried to screw us every way they could, mostly out of arrogance and greed. BUT, they did help us. They built institutions which were manned by us, they groomed our leaders, and so on.

Think. Other than England, which took thousands of years to arrive at its present and obviously easily improvable situation of tenuous liberty, no nation on earth has spontaneously become a liberal democracy. There are those who have been helped(willingly or otherwise,) and those that are basically still authoritarian hellholes.

Right now, much of the world is politically about where England was in the middle ages. Unless you're prepared to wait hundreds or thousands of years for them to figure out how to be marginally civilized(don't kid yourself: the west is not more than marginally civilized even today,) we're going to have to help.

You might say, "why is it my problem?" This would be a bad thing for a leftist to say, since he also wants to condemn nationalism, racism, and so on - the two positions are completely contradictory - but it is a common attitude. Here's why it is your problem: because no matter what you do, as long as you are the haves and they are the have nots, they are going to hate you. Secular elements in the middle east don't hate the US. They love us. We buy their oil. We produce all sorts of things they want. We are the reason they're not purely tribal hellholes ekeing out subsistance existences.

The people who hate us are the religious nuts. They don't hate us because we impose ourselves on them or anything like that. They hate us because we have what they don't. They hate us because they believe we stand against their barbaric middle ages belief system(and they're right about that.) No, I'm not talking about moderate Islam. I'm talking about people who don't believe in secular government. Unfortunately, all of them are the enemy, whether you like it or not. The belief in theocracy, however well intentioned and however nice its holder may be, is the belief in barbarism. Period.

In all honesty, I don't see a place for liberalism in the struggle required here, except in one way. Liberalism has nothing to say about warfare - war is an ugly, unfortunate business in which you win by making the other guy die for his country, or his god, or whatever he holds dear. That's a fact. However, liberals, were they to make themselves credible, COULD have the important role of reminding us of something a certain German philosopher got right. To paraphrase: "If you stare too long into the abyss, the abyss also stares into you."

We need people who will not only oppose warrantless spying, but who will actively support measures to eliminate the perceived need for it - the principle needs to be that oversight can be limited or made retroactive to any extent necessary, people can be given immunity for doing things that in other circumstances might be punishable, and so on - as long as there IS oversight. We need people who will counter the Patriot act - not with an alternative of nothing, but with time limited proposals that will solve the problems the act is supposed to solve without turning the US into a police state. Democrats have offered no alternatives - they just complain and wait for their inevitable defeat. We need people who will fight to get terrorists into civilian courts, and who will allow for(hopefully temporary,) measures to accomodate the need for secrecy in some of those proceedings(not total secrecy, but the ability to allow evidence while keeping it from the public record for some number of years and so on.)

It is not enough to say "we demand perfection, and you are imperfect, therefore fuck you." That attitude loses every time, and it is why Democrats are losing almost every time these days. You need ideas on how to accomodate the ugly facts of the present while ensuring that we don't lose what makes the future worth fighting for. This will require compromises, temporary measures, and unfortunate limitations on our approximation of perfection in the present.

If you really can't handle that, there are still things you can do. You can fight on domestic issues. They're still important. But trying to apply domestic policy attitudes towards people who kidnap and behead innocent people just to win points in a global PR campaign just isn't going to work, no matter how much you wish it would.

Understand something: no, it isn't "just about oil." It never was. Oil happens to be the foundation of a lot of economies, and attacking it or trying to gain control of it may be important to a lot of people, but at the end of the day, religious fanatics do not really care about oil. They care about women not wearing headscarves or burkas. They care about preserving and creating theocracies and stamping out liberal democracies. They care about converting or slaughtering the infidels. You don't have to take my word for it; read their published statements, in which they openly brag about these things. You may find it trite and silly, but Bush is right: they DO hate our freedom. They DO think liberal democracy is evil, and that theocratic oppression of everyone everywhere is the proper future.

And of course, some on the left concede that point, but say "if you were them, oppressed as they are, you might think so too!" as though that somehow makes it all ok. It does not. It is hard to see how the multimillionare playboys who lead these movements(bin Laden's puritanical streak is a recent invention designed to give him authority among religious fanatics - his life has mostly been spent in adventuring and debauchery,) are "oppressed," but certainly many of the recruits are.

But so what? If we leave them alone in their oppression and poverty, do you think they'll suddenly abandon their nutty ideologies and become liberal democrats? Of course not. Instead, they'll prosper as what they already are, and when they've taken control of what we let them have, they'll move to take what is ours. Frankly, it doesn't matter where they came from anymore. What matters is where they're headed. You can damn the people who created the situation all you want; they're long gone, and the situation is what it is.

Bush, despite his shortcomings, is doing almost exactly the right thing in Iraq: he is building institutions, infrastructure, and so on, run by Iraqis. Most of them begrudgingly accept this and look forward to the day we leave, but would rather not have us leave right now if it means not getting what we have to offer. Some of them love us. Some of them hate us. This is really irrelevant. What matters is one thing: In Iraq, there is one road that leads to any reasonable hope of a positive outcome in the next thousand years, and that road is our assistance.

If you want to know the difference between Iraq and Vietnam, the difference is manifest. The enemy in Vietnam was backed by a superpower whom we could push only so far for fear of a nuclear war, and was itself an organized, well equipped military force; the enemy in Iraq is a bunch of losers with little backing at all, no substantial military power, and so little combat effectiveness that they've resorted to attacking soft targets to avoid annihilation. The enemy in Vietnam had massive popular support; the enemy in Iraq has support from elements of the populace, but that support dwindles as time goes on and as their tactics become ever more obviously un-Islamic(murdering women on television, etc.) Vietnam was fought by a bunch of dithering liberals who micromanaged it into the ground. Iraq is being fought by generals. Vietnam was a purely military operation. Iraq is a military operation only insofar as the military stabilizes the situation as much as possible while political and economic development moves forward; it is the latter which is most important. In Vietnam, the generals said "I can win if they let me, but we are losing." In Iraq, the generals are saying "we can win, we are progressing, and I am in control."

It is easy to say "in both conflicts, things drag on over time and the body count climbs." That's true of any sustained conflict; if you accept that as meaning we can't win, then we may as well give up on a military and just wait to be conquered by some foriegn band of fundies. Happily, you don't have to accept that. The fundamentals of the situation are completely different.

I do not agree with half of what I'm replying to. I'm no one worlder, because most of the world is not ready to accept and defend the sheer degree of liberty I enjoy, and I am not willing to give it up for their sake. That is irrelevant. What matters is, it IS in our interest not to have crazy religious fundies running theocracies preaching hatred of our way of life. These people have proven that they can wipe out more of us in a single day than we've lost fighting them in several years. They are weak when we act from a position of strength; our inaction makes them strong. When we wait for them to go on offense, they kill thousands of people at a loss of a handful of their own. When we go on offense, we nearly reverse that ratio while depriving them of any large scale ability to harm us. Sure, I hate seeing our soldiers hurt and killed. Who doesn't?

The question is, which do you prefer: that we lose some soldiers, who signed up to take that risk in our name, in a fight that we can win to make the world a better place and ourselves safer in the long term, or that we save those soldiers by giving people who preach the destruction of our entire civilization free reign?

And it must be understood that those are the only options. Many self described liberals want to have their Kate and Edith too. It won't happen. It simply is not true that we can remove ourselves from the middle east and "solve" our problems. If we do that, these maniacs will take over, and when they do, they will do all the things they say they're going to do. If you think they're such a terrible foe that they cannot be defeated and we should give up, imagine them running half the planet. These people ARE the Muslim equivalent of the Crusaders. There is a reason they call us Crusaders - it is because they see themselves as the Muslim counterpart to the Crusaders.

I should clarify a point a lot of people who've never met an extremist might not understand. Fundie "muslims" do not simply believe in Sharia for themselves. They believe that only by fighting to put the whole world under Sharia can they truly be worthy of Allah's blessings. They think it is a just and true cause to convert or slaughter all the infidels, whereever they live - including Europe, the United States, and so on.

Another objection(and one of the more laughable ones,) is the old line about imperialism. It is most laughable because various forms of leftism have been far more imperial than we ever will be, and because our enemy certainly is as well. Our enemy, as I note below, wants the whole world as his domain. And of course, who can forget the doctrine of communism? In reality, the cultural relativism that underlies the "what right do we have?" argument is simply wrong. Some ways ARE better than others. Some things ARE wrong, and others ARE right. We have to be very careful to make sure which side we're on, but that doesn't mean we should just sit around and do nothing while obvious evil prospers. If you are unwilling to take a stand, then you're part of the evil, no matter how noble your intentions(look up the phrase "the banality of evil" if you wonder what I mean.)

Some will say we're taking self determination away from the Iraqis. They're mistaken. Iraqis have never had self determination, except briefly during the immediate post-colonial times, before the weak institutions they were left with when they were abandoned collapsed in the face of tyrants and nutballs. If they're ever going to HAVE self determination, it won't be because we sat around and watched them live in oppression, free from any intervention. It simply is not true that we're as bad as what we fight - because at the end of the day, we DO mean what we say about helping the Iraqis and then getting out of their affairs. That's the difference between us and, say, Syria. That's the difference between us and the former USSR. That's the difference between us and the old school colonials. And so on. Liberals certainly can have a hand in guarding this moral high ground - but you cannot guard it by wrecking the entire enterprise.

Unfortunately, the battle I'm talking about doesn't end with Iraq, as the author of the story notes. However, I think Iraq will be the hardest part, because it is the first test and because if we win there, we demonstrate to the world, and especially to the moderate Muslim world, the benefits of our way. Already our actions are causing shifts towards democracy in the region, and we haven't even really won yet.

Summary of points: There is a conflict between modern civilization and people who believe in the "values" of the middle ages. The savages are very clear about this; for some reason, half of the civilized people are not. It does not matter whether you want that conflict. It does not matter whether you wish to avoid it. It is here. We do need people to guard against us becoming what we fight against, and liberals can do that. However, we need to be clear about one thing: this is not some pretext for war. This is not the brave new world. This is reality, and it is not going to change unless we change it. We face an enemy which believes that faith and force make them right and destine this enemy to rule us all. You may not take their rants seriously, but they do. We can fight these people while they're riffraff, or we can wait until they run the half of the world we don't. Those are the options. Period. War is a nasty, uncivilized business, but our choice is not between war and peace. It is between an eventual "peace" in which these fundie assholes have won, or a peace in which all the values you claim to champion have won. This isn't grade school. You can't just run from the bully. There's nowhere to run to. You can fight, or you can lose. You can fight AND lose. But you will not win if you will not fight.

Some people say they simply cannot abide Bush. That's fine. Bush is one man. He'll be gone in a few years, no matter what. The question is not whether you like George Bush, or think he's a good public speaker, or think he's smart, or think he knows what he's doing. The question is, what do you want in the longer term? There are many suboptimal outcomes here, and no optimal ones. The term realpolitik comes to mind. Much mockery is made among many of the liberal mouthpieces today of Rumsfeld's comment that "you go to war with the military you have, rather than the one you want." To some extent, it is deserved, being as it was mostly an ass covering comment to deflect criticism of a legitimate failing(which has since largely been corrected.) However, much more is made of it, and reference to it is made in many more situations, than can be justified by its legitimate failings. The truth is, many among the left, as the story author claims, legitimately do have a problem with the very idea of accepting reality and doing what is possible rather than clinging to some idealist fantasy that can't ever actually work. That's not the way to gain or keep the influence you guys keep losing and whining about losing. If you want a voice at the table and want to be able to guide things and keep us from abuses and excesses and so on, you have to be credible. As Barack Obama said the other day(criticizing dailykos,) when you exaggerate, overstate, and/or just outright fabricate, it is you who loses. A big part of this boils down to accepting reality and working within it rather than just plugging your ears and screaming about peace, love, and so on.

There's an old saying that's part of the real liberal tradition(ie, the one about fighting for liberty and rights and so on, rather than the one about fighting for collectivization, stripping away individual rights in favor of regulations on everybody, and so on.) That saying goes something like this:

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

And of course, there's another saying, and this is the one the modern liberal seems to have forgotten:

"The perfect is the enemy of the good."

Note to story author: if you look at history, liberals become conservatives and vice versa, precisely over issues such as this one. Bush shows some signs of this; other than his war and various sops to his base(which are decreasing now that he can't be elected again,) he really looks an awful lot like a rather nontraditional conservative: pro-minority in a huge way, all about liberty and democracy and saving the world. Sure, he's not the ideal warrior - but who is? On the other hand, who is defending what was the status quo now? Yup. Democrats. They'd deny it til they died from lack of breath, but by offering nothing but "this sucks," they're defending what was against what is.

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

Stopped reading here (2.50 / 4) (#157)
by marx on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:30:59 AM EST

people can be given immunity for doing things that in other circumstances might be punishable, and so on - as long as there IS oversight
What you're arguing for here is a "final solution". I.e. let's bypass humanity for a while so we can surgically rearrange the world to our design.

This is precisely what every megalomaniac dictator has wanted (and attempted, sometimes with reasonable success). Communism (temporary violent revolution, temporary dictatorship, executions/brainwashing of unwanted elements), Nazism (genocide of undesired parts of the population), etc. You want to add "Americanism" to this list.

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

Heh (none / 1) (#173)
by trhurler on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 12:34:24 PM EST

No, that's not what I'm arguing for. You're just too dense to realize it. What I'm saying is, in exchange for real oversight, admit that it isn't a lie to cover an atrocity: we really are at war with people who really do want to convert or slaughter each and every one of us and make us live in their theocratic masturbatory fantasyworld. As such, measures that ordinarily would not be acceptable ARE acceptable. Physically mutilating people is out. Scaring the living shit out of them, making them miserable, and so on is not. Summary executions are out of bounds. Executing people merely for their intentions AFTER trial probably shouldn't be, assuming their intentions were to commit any of a small set of acts.

The problem with trying to apply the norms of a western liberal democracy to fighting people who will gladly die as long as they take you with them is that you will lose.

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

[ Parent ]
You are defeating yourselves (none / 1) (#187)
by marx on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 05:18:16 PM EST

There has been essentially a single terrorist attack against America. And look at the consequences, America has started torturing people, started to spy on its own population, etc. Things which would have been unthinkable 10 years ago. It's basically a farce to see the Saddam Hussein trial now, because America has recently committed similar acts as Saddam is being accused of (not as severe in magnitude, but the principle is there).

If I was bin Laden, I would be so satisfied right now. America could not have responded in a more satisfactory way. He has basically transformed (destroyed possibly) America as we have known it by a single quite small attack.

Just look at you, you are talking about torturing people, dismantling human rights etc. There is no way back for you, bin Laden has changed your perspective on life permanently. The question is why you have allowed this. Surely you are not so weak, there must be some other explanation.

I used to admire America, even though I disliked the extreme capitalism. But now there's pity, barely.

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

Blah (none / 1) (#223)
by emmons on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 04:09:03 AM EST

Read a history book.  People's views of such things in this country swing wildly.  Hell, 80 years ago we had a law that said it was illegal to speak against the government.  It didn't last long.  60 years ago we had prison camps for people who looked japanese.  That didn't last long.  50 years ago we tried to ruin the lives of anyone that might be communist.  That didn't last long either.  40 years ago it Cuba was that pesky evil empire.  We got over that too.

So settle down.  We aren't permanently crazy, and we really do believe in this democracy stuff even though we fudge the rules a bit now and then.  Call us pragmatists.

---
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 ]

edit: "..it was cuba and that pesky.." $ (none / 0) (#234)
by emmons on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 02:38:30 PM EST



---
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 ]
Good points (none / 1) (#239)
by marx on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 09:26:23 PM EST

There's a contradiction in the image of America though. On the one hand many Americans give the image of America as the best democracy in the world, and a country which has remained stable because of an inviolable constitution. On the other hand (as you describe it), some Americans give the image of America as a country which violates its constitution and the principles of democracy when it seems advantageous and generally doesn't follow any principles at all except the quest for power (and compromises its principles due to fear).

Perhaps it's because I've never lived in America, but these two images don't go together for me. One explanation could be that in reality, America is version B, and then it only projects version A to the outside world because it's advantageous to be seen as a country with firm principles.

It doesn't really matter now though. The world has now been able to see this quite ugly part of America very clearly. And I'm sad to say it, but at least in my case it means that I will not invest my time and energy in trying to build a better future in or with America. Sure, I will probably work in America at some point in my life for a while, but then it will be like working in China or any other country with a questionable system of government. It will not feel like a place where I want to participate or contribute to the future of the country.

And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has shifted to this position. It's probably repairable, but I think you've lost one or two generations.

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

somewhat true (none / 1) (#240)
by emmons on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 10:49:41 PM EST

Yes, it's true that we sometimes fudge the rules.  It's not true that we're without principal though.  There's a reason we give the image of being a great democracy.. that's what we strive toward.  But we're pragmatists.  Human society isn't perfect and sometimes you have to be flexible.  My point is that we always get back on the right path because that's what we srive for.

---
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 ]
So what are you striving for? (none / 1) (#247)
by marx on Sun Dec 25, 2005 at 08:52:50 AM EST

You oppose the UN. You oppose the EU. You oppose international cooperation (on the environment for example). You oppose international justice. You oppose science. You oppose intellectualism.

As far as I can see, America strives for fundamentalist Christianity and warmongering. Is this what you mean by the "right path"?

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

ok now you're just being a troll. [nt] (none / 1) (#252)
by emmons on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 02:23:12 AM EST



---
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 ]
Here's the question: (2.33 / 3) (#242)
by trhurler on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 11:39:15 PM EST

Idealism being acknowledged as vital, are you so unwilling to engage in temporary bouts of pragmatism that you would prefer extinction or slavery at the hands of people who do not share your ideals? In the short term, that might not seem likely, but what do you think will happen if and when people who believe in theocracy at gunpoint run the half of the world you think isn't worth fighting for?

You can try, convict, and punish criminals. Criminals are people who are a part of your society but who break its rules. You cannot apply such a system to people who want nothing to do with your society, and who want to destroy it. They are not criminals. They are not a threat to individuals or corporations. They are a threat to civilization.

My hope is that we can find a middle road temporarily, on which we can maintain our tradition of liberty while still flexing enough to allow us to fight and win the battle for the future of liberal democracy. If we can't, it won't matter whether we are too rigid in our principles or too lax; either way, liberal democracy itself will ultimately disappear.

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

[ Parent ]
Your argument is not sustainable (none / 1) (#245)
by marx on Sun Dec 25, 2005 at 08:27:59 AM EST

To a Swede, Iraqi, Nicaraguan, Palestinian, Afghan etc., Americans are not part of society. And Americans don't want anything to do with these societies, they want to destroy them or manipulate them to their own ends.

So your conclusion is that the people of these societies should not treat Americans as criminals, but as a threat to civilization. And any and all means are allowable to destroy America, including terrorism.

You are arguing for anarchy, and that is a huge step backwards. I don't want to live in a stone age society again, I can't see the benefit of that. Either you have become apathetic and have given up trying to improve society, or you are just confused.

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

Hmm (none / 1) (#257)
by trhurler on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 10:41:30 PM EST

I wasn't aware that the United States was interfering in the affairs of Sweden. In fact, I don't believe you. I think you're making shit up. In any case, Nicaragua is apparently a peaceful country now with a growing tourism industry, and Afghans seem to like the US and the government we're helping them build a lot more than they liked the Taliban. In general I think you're ignoring as much context as necessary in order to make a questionable comparison.

Which, for you, is pretty much normal.

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

[ Parent ]
Also (none / 1) (#246)
by marx on Sun Dec 25, 2005 at 08:44:35 AM EST

I don't understand where you get the idea that I think half of the world isn't worth fighting for. Do you think that just because I oppose America's invasion of Iraq, that I think Iraq isn't worth fighting for? This is like saying you think rape is good unless you join me in the quest to exterminate all men from the world.

And stop claiming that America invaded Iraq to "fight for the Iraqi people". America invaded Iraq because of 9/11, because it felt castrated and needed to display strength to regain confidence in itself (which hasn't happened, you are now more lost than ever).

And I think it's tasteless that you use the description "theocracy at gunpoint". America is more of a theocracy than almost any western democracy in the world today, and currently it's doing most of its argumentation at gunpoint. The only way you are able to achieve anything today is through violence, which makes you very similar to the "thugs" you claim to oppose.

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

Hmm (3.00 / 2) (#258)
by trhurler on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 10:55:03 PM EST

Do you think that just because I oppose America's invasion of Iraq, that I think Iraq isn't worth fighting for?
So as I said before, you're all for building soup kitchens and hoping the gun toting theocrats will see the light over a bowl of chicken noodle. Gotcha. "Fighting" is ok as long as it doesn't involve any "mess." :)
And stop claiming that America invaded Iraq to "fight for the Iraqi people".
You're welcome to provide a realistic alternative motivation. The one you already attempted is ludicrous. Afghanistan was a show of force far more effective than anything we could hope to gain in Iraq. You WANT us to be in Iraq for some nefarious reason, because if we're not then your worldview is suspect. Well, guess what? Your worldview IS suspect.
And I think it's tasteless that you use the description "theocracy at gunpoint". America is more of a theocracy than almost any western democracy in the world today, and currently it's doing most of its argumentation at gunpoint.
The United States is not a theocracy, moron. That you could even say so in the context of a discussion of Islamic fundie theocrats who want to rule the world in the name of their deity is shameful. You look at them: they have no respect for any individual's rights whatsoever. They rape women and then "try" them for fornication. They kill people as criminal punishment for the acts of other people. They do not care what anyone else thinks at all. If you think there is any comparison between this and the way the United States behaves IN THE MAIN, then you're an idiot who can safely be ignored. Sure, there are always a few bad people doing bad things in any large organization, and the US government is no exception(neither is any other government,) but by and large the idea of comparing the US government's actions to those of, say, the Taliban or Zarqawi or similar is nothing but evidence that you lack critical thinking skills, perspective, judgement, and above all, credibility.

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

[ Parent ]
Heh (none / 1) (#241)
by trhurler on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 11:33:09 PM EST

America has started torturing people, started to spy on its own population, etc. Things which would have been unthinkable 10 years ago.
Nonsense. I'm quite certain those things have always gone on, right or wrong, in most countries, probably including most of the ones you assume would never do it. The trick is, it isn't usually front page news.
Just look at you, you are talking about torturing people, dismantling human rights etc. There is no way back for you, bin Laden has changed your perspective on life permanently.
I am not talking about dismantling human rights, and I'm not even remotely interested in the three card monte game you like to play with the definition of torture.
I used to admire America, even though I disliked the extreme capitalism.
As a radical capitalist, I cannot imagine how you can consider the US system to be "extreme capitalism." I wish it was, but that's not the case. The biggest economic problem in the US is all the anticapitalist behavior - "competing" by legislative fiat and government handouts and so on.

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

[ Parent ]
Finally something I can agree with (none / 1) (#193)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 05:52:52 PM EST

"The problem with trying to apply the norms of a western liberal democracy to fighting people who will gladly die as long as they take you with them is that you will lose."

I have no problem at all with the mass confinement, retraining and ,if need be, executions of fundamentalists.


"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

We don't need to execute people. (none / 0) (#286)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 02:19:49 PM EST

And certainly not for mere intent to commit mass murder. That's not necessary to fight the fundamentalist menace. How do you prove a thoughtcrime, anyway?

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

On the whole... (3.00 / 5) (#182)
by localroger on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 04:59:53 PM EST

...there is much more in this comment with which I agree than with which I disagree. That is probably because I too tend toward the right/libertarian = classical liberal viewpoint.

The exception I'd make, which I think calls your conclusion into question, is that while America might be "the power" right now America does not have infinite resources. There are many good things which probably should be done that we aren't in a position to do. It might even be that the failure to do some of those things will eventually doom our tenure as "the power," in which case it simply means that Fate never intended for us to be "the power" forever. In fact, it is the desire to be "the power" forever among neocons which seems to have gotten us into the current very dark mess we are in.

As soon as you begin to prioritize the other things we could have done instead of invading Iraq it becomes obvious that invading Iraq was an incredibly stupid waste of resources. As you yourself argue most of the world is on a rather medieval level compared to the US and Britain, but Iraq was a stable, secular-leaning medieval place. It was exactly the sort of place we could afford to ignore because other places, such as Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and half of Africa were much less stable, more nutbag-leaning, in some cases more amenable to successful manipulation, and more responsible for actual physical attacks against us.

This is not even to mention domestic areas where that money could have been spent better, such as disaster relief and levees for certain critical American port cities.

Iraq is the wrong war. Iraq did not attack us. Iraq was not full of people who wanted to attack us. Iraq is W's way of proving himself to his daddy and a long-standing hobbyhorse of the PNAC shitheads he surrounds himself with. It never had anything to do with 9/11, terror, or really even assuring our oil supply. It was a calculated move in the real-life game that inspired RISK, a massive blunder that has already destroyed the real aspirations of the idiots who planned it.

At this point we have squandered a fantastic sum of money, exhausted both our regular army and our national guard, and killed so many bona fide innocent bystanders as to ensure that we will be legitimately hated for centuries by people who would have otherwise probably become loyal Nike and Disney customers. OTOH Osama is still out there, Afghanistan and western Pakistan and half of Africa are still terrorist breeding grounds, Iraq has been turned into a new terrorist playground, and Saudi Arabia is still stirring the whole pot of shit with our money.

It's fine to say "we should help." There are lots of things I can think of that I should do. The problem is that if I did them all I'd be at the soup kitchen myself. Lots of things that should be done are never going to get done in this imperfect world. You have to pick the things that are within your capabilities and have the best effect. And sometimes the things you need to do that you can't do destroy you, and if that's the case using your last resources to piss everybody off and stir up hornets is not an altogether good idea either.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
[ Parent ]

wow (none / 1) (#216)
by gdanjo on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 12:34:33 AM EST

both your post and the parent make really good reading - better than the story that induced it, which makes me wish my +1SP was a +1FP now.

I summarised my view of the two Gulf wars in this diary, which still stands (to my own amazement!).

I think the question of whether Gulf War II is "correct" or "just" can be split into two questions:

"Do you agree that we should have invaded Iraq?" My answer is no.

"Do you agree that we should now pull out of Iraq?" My answer is, again, no.

So it's possible to be "against the war" while still (secretly?) wishing it success, without breaking any principles that you used to come to these conclusions. The momentum of time - "status quo" as trhurler puts it - has a feedback effect that can allow a seemingly contradictory point of view to hold and still be valid, IMHO.

Good stuff.

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

Hmm (none / 0) (#260)
by trhurler on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 11:03:57 PM EST

I see your point, but I really think maybe you're looking at it the wrong way. Trying to civilize Africa or Pakistan or whatever isn't just difficult - it is probably impossible right now. If we succeed in Iraq, maybe we really will spread democracy even farther; certainly there's been a lot of evidence that other countries in the region are holding fairer elections and making more of an effort, whether out of genuine desire or fear or both(I don't know.) The nice thing about doing this in a place like Iraq is that there is some chance of success. Also, I really do feel we owed the Iraqis, because we made them a lot of promises over the years that we didn't keep.

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

[ Parent ]
Is the US civilised? (none / 1) (#183)
by mr strange on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 05:01:40 PM EST

Would we have a civilized nation today had we tried to win the West with soup kitchens?

Yes, I think you would have been a civilised state. Today you still still live with the collective guilt of the monstrous crime that you called 'manifest destiny'.

Don't kid yourself. Liberals would never have countenanced such terrible, soul crushing cruelty. And don't make me laugh by trying to draw some artificial distinction between so-called 19th Century liberals, and 'modern' liberals. 19th Century liberals were as much against such idiocy as their intellectual heirs of today.

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]

Actually, (none / 0) (#259)
by trhurler on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 11:00:45 PM EST

I feel no guilt whatsoever, because I wasn't there. This is how everybody I associate with feels too. People who run around looking for things to feel guilty about aren't my kind of people.

In any case, there were certainly wrong things done in the old west, but you are simply ignorant of the history of the place if you think it was going to turn out well without some violence and messiness along the way.

By the way, it was the classical liberals who were the most ardent advocates of "taming the savages." I realize this may not sit well with you, but it is the truth. It sits less well with me, since I truly AM their intellectual heir. (The idea that modern nanny state liberals have anything to do with the old time champions of individual rights and human dignity is laughable. Ted Kennedy as heir to the legacy of Tom Paine? You cannot be serious.)

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

[ Parent ]
You need to read up on your history. (none / 0) (#263)
by mr strange on Tue Dec 27, 2005 at 10:43:33 AM EST

By the way, it was the classical liberals who were the most ardent advocates of "taming the savages.

That is untrue.

The idea that modern nanny state liberals have anything to do with the old time champions of individual rights and human dignity is laughable.

Here you seem to be making a weak attempt to attack me by pretending that I hold some irrelevant views, and then decrying me for it. If all you've got is weak logic and half remembered history, then I pity you.


intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]

I have read my history (none / 0) (#267)
by trhurler on Tue Dec 27, 2005 at 08:03:02 PM EST

Apparently yours is lacking. I recommend researching "the perfectibility of man." Chump.

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

[ Parent ]
Sorry, I thought you were being ironic, (none / 0) (#271)
by mr strange on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 05:32:27 AM EST

but you're just American!

We were talking about the mass slaughter of North America's indigenous population, and you said "taming the savage". Since I'm European, naturally I thought you were making an ironic juxtaposition between the high minded idealism of early nineteenth century liberals and the awful crimes that were committed by 'civilised' white settlers. But no, of course you were being serious.

In your mind, the North American 'savages' really were 'tamed' by Manifest Destiny. Their modern culture is a triumphal fusion of their proud heritage with the noblest enlightenment ideals.

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]

No, idiot (none / 1) (#273)
by trhurler on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 01:21:50 PM EST

You really do have a hard time saying anything that makes sense. In any case, there are three separate things here.

1) The violence in the old west was not only, nor even primarily, directed at natives. An awful lot of it was that all the criminals and other scum from the east moved out west where the law wouldn't go, and then people had to deal with that. This required a great deal of violence.

2) No, nobody "tamed the savages." That's way too crude; they certainly had civilizations. However, contrary to common myth today, they DID cause much(but I wouldn't say most) of their own trouble. They often made deals and then refused to honor them, often killing people in order to show their defiance. They frequently tried to claim that nobody could own the land, yet felt free to kill anyone but themselves who moved through it. In general, many(but not all,) of them behaved in a way that precluded any peaceful solution. Soup kitchens WOULD NOT have helped.

3) Whether you like it or not, tribal societies are not the future of mankind. At least, not if we want to have any future at all. The pathetic "tribes" we have today do nothing but complain about their poverty, which is entirely their own fault. Then when they build casinos on their land and make fortunes, they often proceed to hoard the proceeds "just in case" while their own people suffer, then turn around and complain about the suffering! What is the real root problem? They insist on "preserving their old ways," which is a joke anyway since none of them even KNOWS their old ways except in perverse distorted, watered down form, and refuse to admit that the whole world has moved on. Tribes are history. If you want prosperity, you do it the same way everyone else does, which is NOT by living in a rural area with several thousand of your relatives all collecting welfare checks. White people do that too - it is called "small town America." And guess what? Those white people are miserable!

In short, sure a lot of wrong was done to natives. A lot of wrong was done BY natives too, and guess what? There are lots of natives who are doing just fine these days - by living in the real world instead of a fantasy.

It is instructive that if you actually ask ordinary native Americans questions like "do you care that some sports team uses you as a mascot?" their answer is no. BUT if you ask their "activists" and "spokespeople," who are mostly about 1/1000th native and you'd never know if they didn't tell you, it is the most horrible crime in the world. You're getting the story of those activists, and not of real people. You're getting a story from people who make careers telling horror stories, AND YOU BUY IT!

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

[ Parent ]
ugh, like that ward churchill. = (none / 0) (#274)
by gzt on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 02:04:07 AM EST



[ Parent ]
collective guilt? (2.00 / 2) (#268)
by Battle Troll on Tue Dec 27, 2005 at 10:58:14 PM EST

If you'd read Eichmann in Jerusalem, you'd know what Hannah Arendt thought of hysterical guilt feelings among Germans too you to have had a hand in Nazism.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
'too you' = 'too young' = (none / 0) (#269)
by Battle Troll on Tue Dec 27, 2005 at 10:58:49 PM EST

But I'm still right.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Longer than the article (none / 1) (#192)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 05:50:32 PM EST

that was.

So I take it you agree with cts?

Who the fuck are Kate and Edith?

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Tell me my friend... (2.50 / 6) (#155)
by agreedymonkey on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:15:46 AM EST

if you value action so much, have you enlisted?

You know what? (2.50 / 4) (#174)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 12:35:38 PM EST

As someone who did enlist, I'm getting awfully tired of this chickenshit argument.

You don't have to be a woman to be pro-choice and you don't have to be gay to support gay marriage - so why do you have to be a soldier to believe that military intervention is sometimes justified?

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]

Well... (2.75 / 4) (#177)
by PhillipW on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 02:47:15 PM EST

I don't agree with the argument, but it's pretty easy to understand. It's a matter of telling people to put their money where their mouth is. The examples you gave are pretty absurd since, by nature, some people can't be women or gay. Anyone, however, can sign up to be in the military.

The argument does have it's good sides, though. It points out the hypocrisy of the crowd that are warmongers, yet would dodge a draft or have their children do the same. It's the same idea as pointing out a Socialist who evades his taxes.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
BZZZT Wrong answer (3.00 / 2) (#200)
by godix on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:47:45 PM EST

Anyone, however, can sign up to be in the military.

Last I checked Gimpy the wheelchair bound epileptic can't join the military. Neither can Jane the crack addict. Or Billy Bob the scitzophrenic. Or Janice the 75 year old living in a home. Or Richard the dragqueen homosexual. Or little tweleve year old johnny. In fact, there are a hell of a lot of people who for one reason or another would not be accepted into the military but still have opinions on foreign policy.

More CORN!

[ Parent ]
Once again... (none / 0) (#262)
by PhillipW on Tue Dec 27, 2005 at 04:01:23 AM EST

Okay, so not *everyone* can join the military, but what I said still stands.

These people you mention are all people who can't take part in the activity in question because of some condition that they can't help, the exception being the crack addict. 20 year old republican lawyers are certainly eligible to enlist, but they don't because to them the sacrifice is only worth it if it's not them making the sacrifice. For another example, our current president could have enlisted to be in the military during Vietnam, but didn't.

Neither of these are similar situations to a man who decides to be pro-choice. The man can not CHOOSE to be a woman, differing from our young pro-war republican lawyer.

Again, I still think it's a bad argument. Just because a lot of the people who clamor for a war are too cowardly to fight it doesn't mean the war is a bad idea... it just means those guys are cowards.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
It's about hypocrisy. (3.00 / 3) (#180)
by agreedymonkey on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 03:58:02 PM EST

CTS rails on about the left never taking action. He seems to value the willingness to act above everything else. It is awfully hypocritical if someone takes this viewpoint but does nothing to prove it. This holds true for a variety of situations:

If you wish to shelter the homeless, pledge your time to Habitat for Humanity and build houses. If you wish to feed the poor, work at a soup kitchen. If you want equal rights for gays, vote in such a manner. If you wish to see oppressive governments toppled and you believe military action is the only way, join the armed forces. Otherwise you are a hypocrite.

CTS is advocating regime change in three currently unoccupied nations, one of which that has 5.8 million potential soldiers at their disposal and a leader not afraid to use them; a hell of a lot of US/Western soldiers are going to die. I don't want to die in some god-forsaken third-world country for someone who may or may not appreciate my contribution.

If CTS is adamant about such actions, then I'm sure he is willing to be in the first wave into Zimbabwe or DPRK.

[ Parent ]

because (2.00 / 2) (#204)
by gdanjo on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 08:35:46 PM EST

"He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence." -William Blake.

And who says you have to go to the front-line and shoot bullets to help. You could, like el_guapo, support the team with your IT skills near the frontline, or help with some millitary project closer to home - or if you don't want to join the millitary at all, become a contractor or work for a millitary contractor.

Has cts made any personal changes to help with what he so passionately believes? (I don't know, I'm asking...)

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

But (none / 1) (#236)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 03:40:41 PM EST

I believe in gay marriage, but I don't think any one should be forced to gay marry.  And I don't think abortion should be forced on anyone.  While I believe the option should be open, I'm not upset if no one exercises it.

I believe that vehicles should be held to higher fuel effeciency standards, so I do not drive an SUV.

People who are in the military today have to go to Iraq.  Believing that the war should be fought means someone has to go fight it. Therefore, he should.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]

Where's your historical context? (3.00 / 14) (#161)
by Have A Nice Day on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:55:52 AM EST

(Reposted as topical)
Sorry but I stopped reading at this point:
But right now, the Germans and the French just don't have a 9/11 style event yet to demonstrate to them...
You're right in a way - they don't have a 9/11 style event. What they have (especially in Germany) is a country and populace still bearing deep scars from massive wars on their home turf. Sorry but if you're accusing the european anti-war crowd of being complacent because they haven't had their own suffering then back atcha: I accuse the USian pro-war crowd of being naive, never having seen the horror of war up close and on home turf, how can you possibly make a judgement about the phobia of armed conflict experienced by european nations?

We know what it's like, or at least the older ones do, and it is our solemn duty to remember what they did and to never repeat the horror and death of those days without the most compelling of reasons.

--------------
Have A Nice Day may have reentered the building.
hear hear. (3.00 / 3) (#179)
by caridon20 on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 03:22:13 PM EST

Well written and true.

/C
Dissent is NOT Treason Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
[ Parent ]

appeasement does not work (2.00 / 2) (#202)
by noseyscholar on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 07:31:01 PM EST

IIRC, it was Europeans' hesitation and refusal to act that allowed the WWII to become the big deal that it became.

Your statement sounds alot like what your countrymen were saying in the early 1930s. Of course, my countrymen were the aiding the Nazis at the time, so here's to collective guilt then~!

[ Parent ]

Who's appeasing what now? (2.33 / 3) (#227)
by Have A Nice Day on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 06:39:24 AM EST

So keeping no fly zones, embargos, sanctions and weapons inspection counts as appeasement does it?

I didn't see anyone handing over areas of land (or anything else) to saddam before the war. I fail to see where appeasement comes into this. Perhaps you could explain.

When you are explaining, please remember that containment and appeasement are entirely different things, and aggression is not the only alternative to just giving up on the situation.

--------------
Have A Nice Day may have reentered the building.
[ Parent ]
I agree mostly, (none / 1) (#233)
by noseyscholar on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 01:09:56 PM EST

except for the bit about Europe pretty much giving up on all those things you mentioned. The French gave up on the no-fly zones many years ago. Before the war, there was a large movement in Europe to end sanctions against Iraq. European politicians were taking money from oil-for-food and even direct payments from Hussein. European (and admittedly though to a lesser degree American) companies were doing business in Iraq in violations of the sanctions.

Most Europeans didn't seem to grasp the concept that it was Americans who were bearing most of the costs of containment. They acted like containment just happens. It was Americans who were getting shot at while Europeans called us assholes for doing it.

Sure, nobody wanted to hand over land to Iraq, but I sure remember quite a bit of resistance from Europe even over liberating Kuwait. It was the same things we hear today: "American Imperialists!" "No Blood for Oil!" "Crazy Cowboy Americans!" and so on.

So when some European says, "we've seen war and we'll only do it under the most extreme circumstances," it's only natural for an American to reply, "be careful how far you take that..."

[ Parent ]

compelling reasons (none / 1) (#207)
by Entendre Entendre on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 11:26:19 PM EST

[...] and it is our solemn duty to remember what they did and to never repeat the horror and death of those days without the most compelling of reasons.

How do you feel about the atrocities perpetrated by Saddam on the people of Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, and (by virtue of his payments to suicide bombers) Israel?

Are these things compelling, or not compelling?

If the latter, do you think they show a trend that would, if unchallenged, eventually lead to a sufficiently compelling atrocity?

--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

I'm not sure (3.00 / 2) (#226)
by Have A Nice Day on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 06:34:56 AM EST

I don't think so, and certainly these were not the reasons given for entering the war, it was all "imminent danger" and "WMD and other such shite that turned out to be untrue (and most of the populations of these european nations didn't believe at the time).

--------------
Have A Nice Day may have reentered the building.
[ Parent ]
How do you feel about America's atrocities? (none / 1) (#287)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 02:38:30 PM EST

How do you feel about the fact that the chemical weapons used to kill Iranians during the Iran-Iraq war, and the Kurds and Shia after Kuwait, were made by Americans and given to Saddam?

How do you feel about the smart-bombing of an air-raid shelter containing hundreds of men, women and children in Baghdad in the Gulf War?

How do you feel about the cluster-bombs, white phosphorus and depleted uranium weapons used by the US against Iraqi civilians?

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

This is not a Liberal POV (3.00 / 8) (#167)
by The Diary Section on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 08:47:30 AM EST

its a Trotskyite military internationalist POV "mugged by reality".
Ie. you are just a Neo-Con like the rest.
Spend 10 minutes in the company of an American and you end up feeling like a Keats or a Shelley: Thin, brilliant, suave, and desperate for industrial-scale quantities of opium.
i hate subjects (3.00 / 2) (#169)
by pankkake on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 11:34:00 AM EST

Sorry, but I don't think 1800s liberals were anti-capitalists. By the way, I am not a modern liberal but I am too against the war. Also, it seems you speak more about left vs. right than about the validity of war.

+1 FP, to expose slippery slope. (3.00 / 5) (#172)
by tetsuwan on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 12:06:11 PM EST


Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance

Front page (none / 1) (#175)
by SpaceMonkeyGrif on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 02:01:11 PM EST

ASAP.

Wow (2.85 / 7) (#178)
by PhillipW on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 02:50:32 PM EST

I've always viewed the war in Iraq in a positive, liberal light: the defeat of authoritarianism, the extension of democracy.

What makes you think a liberal Western style democracy would work or be beneficial to us in other parts of the world?

-Phil
I don't know about CTS (2.50 / 4) (#201)
by godix on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:50:14 PM EST

but it's a strong belief of mine that people in general are better off without being starved and murdered by their leader. Admittedly, this is an unproven belief. I'd be open to arguements on how living, and dying, under someone who will kill thousands of his citizens is a good thing for anyone.

More CORN!

[ Parent ]
It is sometimes a good thing. (3.00 / 2) (#255)
by RobRoy on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 06:39:46 PM EST

... people in general are better off without being starved and murdered by their leader. I think that it is self evident that it doesn't matter who is in control of the country, being starved and murdered is a bad thing (tm).

The question is, were more civilians killed in Iraq under Saddam, than currently under the Americans and the new American-backed government? The answer is an emphatic "NO"!

It follows that living and dying under someone who will kill thousands of his citizens is a good thing, since the alternative is living and dying under the Americans who have kill hundreds of thousands of citizens. (And who torture and rape many more.)



[ Parent ]
Try this... (none / 0) (#261)
by PhillipW on Tue Dec 27, 2005 at 03:52:03 AM EST

Ask the old Russian men who they would rather live under, Stalin or Yeltsin. Here's a hint: having more freedom isn't always the answer.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
How about common fucking sense? (none / 0) (#288)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 02:42:43 PM EST

Western liberal democracies are great places to live, and they never go to war with each other. There's two reasons they'd be beneficial to us.

As to whether they work, that's another matter...

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Not really (none / 1) (#290)
by PhillipW on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 06:59:35 PM EST

Western liberal democracies are great places to live

Western style democracies aren't always great places to live. Like I pointed out elsewhere, Russia is a good example of this. Life in Russia, while not fun and exciting, was better under Soviet rule than it currently is. They may not have had all the wonderous joy that a Liberal Democracy and Free Market Economy failed to deliver for them anyways, but at least there was order and crime was lower.

Democracy in the West isn't an idea that popped up over night, either. It's an idea that developed over time. The Magna Carta was extremely important in this process and was signed almost 800 years ago.

This doesn't matter, though. Our well-being as a nation isn't intrinsically linked with the well-being of the ordinary people of other nations. This only matters if the war were being waged because the other nation was a security risk. This was hardly the case in Iraq.

they never go to war with each other. There's two reasons they'd be beneficial to us.

This is certainly true, but a puppet dictator and turning the target nation into what is essentially a client state has the same effect, with the added benefit of probably giving us better basing rights and better contracts to our companies.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Russia is NOT a democracy. (none / 0) (#298)
by Russell Dovey on Sun Jan 01, 2006 at 11:31:47 PM EST

It never was. Witness the fact that the former head of a KGB division is running the bloody country! How obvious must this become?

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Sure... (none / 0) (#300)
by PhillipW on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 12:19:53 AM EST

It never was.

It was during the Yeltsin years, which also happens to be when all of the collapse happened.

Witness the fact that the former head of a KGB division is running the bloody country! How obvious must this become?

That's a good point. You go from some guy who believes in freedom and what have you, then replace him with an iron fisted former KGB colonel, and things start to improve. You're right, it is obvious, but you're clearly on the wrong side.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Colonel. Thankyou. (none / 0) (#304)
by Russell Dovey on Sun Jan 08, 2006 at 12:27:02 AM EST

Improve? How?

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

You're such a fucking hypocrite (2.00 / 3) (#198)
by rhiannon on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 06:10:09 PM EST

I don't see you joining any revolutions or any active military, so why don't you shut the fuck up already? I'm sick of hearing you praise the war and how it's such a noble cause, if it's so fucking cool, and you're so much fucking cooler than all of us, why don't you join up? What exactly is the difference between saying "Don't FIght" and then sitting on your ass and saying "Fight" and then sitting on your ass? I'm truly curious.

-----------------------------------------
I continued to rebuff the advances... so many advances... of so many attractive women. -MC
hypocrisy argument doesn't hold water (none / 0) (#244)
by chlorus on Sun Dec 25, 2005 at 02:05:53 AM EST

Bush is a war criminal - so why don't you go fucking arrest him you fucking pussy?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Maybe he can't fight, maybe he doesn't want to, or maybe he's honest with himself and knows he's not that good and should leave the job. The military is all-volunteer and funded by the taxpayers. If he is a law-abiding citizen then he is funding the war effort, and so are YOU (if you're in USA or Britain). So get the fuck over yourself, hypocrite, or stand up for what you believe and stop paying taxes.

Peahippo: Coked-up internet tough guy or creepy pedophile?
[ Parent ]

wtf? (3.00 / 2) (#250)
by rhiannon on Sun Dec 25, 2005 at 11:01:23 PM EST

You're an idiot, I don't believe bush is a criminal and I don't give a fuck what pathetic excuse for a war our military is wasting it's time with right now. I pay my taxes and I enjoy voting on the general guidelines of where my money is spent when I get the chance, at voting time. I think we should nuke and pave the entire fucking middle east if they can't get their shit together enough to leave the rest of the world out of their petty squabbling.

I don't give a shit, stop wasting my time trying to convince the world and me that this war is so cool, just go do it and leave the bullshit mind-games to advertising and politicians.

I think you are mixing me up with some anti-war hippie.

Do you support the war? Great, I don't give a shit, do something about it yourself stop trying to convince other people to help.

Are you against the war? Great, I don't give a shit, go join the resistance...

People make up the war, cts doesn't do shit for the war effort, neither do I. Money does not fight, in this world of distance you've been lied to and believe something that is not true.

-----------------------------------------
I continued to rebuff the advances... so many advances... of so many attractive women. -MC
[ Parent ]

one word: chickenhawk (enpty) (none / 0) (#251)
by mikelist on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 01:57:24 AM EST


haben sie eine sig?
[ Parent ]
There's no such thing as "liberal". (2.62 / 8) (#203)
by mcc on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 08:03:23 PM EST

Fascinating what tricks one can play with language if one tries. See, here: an article which begins with the title "On the Validity of War, from a Liberal POV"; and then proceeds to present an article on the validity of war, from a neoconservative POV.

Interesting, isn't it. Have you noticed? There's no such thing as "liberals". The word "liberal" exists not as a descriptive term, but only as one to manipulate emotions. Hannity & Colmes et al use "liberal" as a proxy for everything that is terrible and bad in the world, a brush with which to tar everything they hate, regardless of what it is. Bush administration lackeys like circletimessquare or Christopher Hitchens, on the other hand, use the word "liberal" as a shield, to hide behind.

You can't attack me, I'm one of you, I agree with you; I'm a "liberal". And you're a liberal too, aren't you? You must be, after all, Sean Hannity says you are. Don't you like this pretty little box we have made for you? The world looks so simple, from inside.


+3, CTS is now a Neo-Con. ¥ (3.00 / 2) (#221)
by mtrisk on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 02:44:24 AM EST



______
"If you don't like our country, why don't you get out?"
"What, and become a victim of your foreign policy?"
[ Parent ]
CTS was always a neocon (3.00 / 2) (#235)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 03:34:00 PM EST

The conservative branch of the party which is influenced by the DLC has always been a neoconservative organization.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
You and Christopher Hitchens (2.90 / 10) (#220)
by shinshin on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 01:24:21 AM EST

need to stop pretending that 9/11 was some kind of enabling event for the invasion of Iraq because it opened people's eyes to the importance of solving the problems of the Middle East. It wasn't, and it didn't. It was merely the "Pearl Harbor" attack that enabled us to achieve a pre-defined foreign policy goal by tricking Americans into believing that Iraq was somehow responsible, and that they were somehow an imminent threat to the United States. I'm sick to death of people like you trying to tie the two events together with some jingoistic and incomprehensible "Freedom is on the March" thread that doesn't pass the shallowest scrutiny. If you to be taken seriously when you discuss the invasion of Iraq, you wouldn't sprinkle thirteen irrelevant references to 9/11 in it.

A large part of my opposition to the invasion of Iraq were the bald-faced lies that the administration told to the people, and the universal parroting of them by the media, to such an extent that 69% percent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. Had there been a serious and informed debate about the merits of invading Iraq, then I might be less prone to condemn it. A true democracy does not undertake nationwide ventures based on deception and propaganda, and if we are not a true democracy, then we are hardy in a position to be preaching it to the rest of the world at the and of an M-16, no?

That being said, I am a liberal interventionist. I approve of Bush's intervention in Liberia, and I wish we would commit some forced to the Sudan. However, these need to have a low cost in terms of blood and treasure. The reason for this isn't that I am weak-willed or frightened, but because anything but the lowest-level conflict quickly balloons into a larger conflict. This is demonstrated by history time and time again.

And to head off your inevitable "but your side stands for nothing but inaction" screech that always makes up a large part of your ravings, my answer to Iraq, and to North Korea, and to Myanmar (and to the other unfortunates that you seem to not deem worthy of our help: Turkmenistan, Congo, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Chechnya etc): here's my solution: sanction them. Use soft power. Don't randomly escalate the situation into a bloodbath only to set yourself for unexpected blowback 20 years later (see Iran, see Lebanon, see Iraq). See, my liberalism is not the caricature you present of moping pierced teenagers bemoaning the state of the world. Mine is one of optimism: the world has been consistently getting better since the end of WWII, and with the fall of the USSR, we have entered into an unprecedented era of rapid improvement in peace and prosperity, and an avalanche of new democracies that have blossomed without the help of the US military. There is absolutely nothing to say that this trend was going to randomly reverse itself. It was only a matter of time before the Middle East fixed itself, and our invasion merely threatens the pace at which the situation can improve itself.

Having a bunch of Trotskyite University of Chicago graduates write some elegant prose about how Arabs would be absolutely thrilled if we march into their country to slaughter and torture a bunch of them would get an "F" in my class, but appears to have gained quite a bit of currency in the deranged minds of Hitchens wannabes like yourself.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003

So.. (2.33 / 3) (#222)
by emmons on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 03:33:03 AM EST

We should only help people if it's cheap?

---
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 ]
I think he was saying (1.50 / 1) (#230)
by procrasti on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 09:50:56 AM EST

That we shouldn't go to war based on false premises.

-------
if i ever see the nickname procrasti again on this site or anywhere in my life, i want it to be in an OBITUARY -- CTS
doing my best at licking arseholes - may 2015 -- mirko
-------
Winner of Kuro5hin: April 2015
[ Parent ]
Indeed. (2.00 / 2) (#249)
by Znork on Sun Dec 25, 2005 at 06:04:04 PM EST

The resources spent on something that all history has consistently pointed out is likely a bad idea could have been spent on far more constructive methods of interventionism. In the middle east, soft power might not even have been necessary; there were several nations moving along in the right direction already, the explicit support and favouritism of those countries might have been enough.

Witness the european union expansion; the carrot is remarkably efficient.

People like cts and similar neocons give interventionism a bad name. Having an idiot throw a tantrum in the sandbox and punch the other kids in the face just isnt particularly constructive.

[ Parent ]

Hmm, sanctions. (none / 0) (#289)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 02:47:18 PM EST

So, killing half a million children was worth it, Ms Albright?

Incidentally, I can think of a connection between Saddam and Osama. Osama hated the fuck out of Saddam, because he was a secular Sunni dictator like so many others all over the Middle East. So the US did Osama a big favour by getting rid of Saddam.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

I call fake! (none / 0) (#296)
by JohnLamar on Sun Jan 01, 2006 at 08:09:47 PM EST

You are right.

This article was written by Irving Kristol!

The worst thing you've ever seen
[ Parent ]

There's something very wrong about this article (none / 1) (#237)
by Anonymous Brave on Sat Dec 24, 2005 at 05:38:20 PM EST

Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 events. This sentence alone justifies why the invasion was such a terrible mistake and how such act can leave an entire country in caos, like Iraq is.

you couldn't even spell chaos correctly? (none / 0) (#243)
by chlorus on Sun Dec 25, 2005 at 01:54:32 AM EST

please, try a little harder

Peahippo: Coked-up internet tough guy or creepy pedophile?
[ Parent ]

Funny thing ... (none / 1) (#256)
by rpresser on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 07:24:25 PM EST

Wasn't it CTS who tried to convince us to vote for Kerry against Bush? That despite Kerry's failings is was all-important to defeate Bush? Now he's saying it's a good thing Bush was reelected anyway?

just don't throw away your vote. your thinking of your vote the wrong way. it is not the beginning and the end of your ideological voice. it is merely a proxy tool for you to use mindlessly to make sure the center doesn't slide leftward or rightward away from what you think is the rightful future.

------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
He also tried to convince us (none / 0) (#302)
by D Jade on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 01:53:39 AM EST

To vote for Bush over Kerry. So I think he trolled you good.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]
Am I missing something? (none / 1) (#265)
by extra dry on Tue Dec 27, 2005 at 04:07:25 PM EST

It wasn't demonstrated to the Danes, so the Danes didn't invade Iraq
Maybe replace Denmark with some country that really wasn't part of Operation Iraqi Freedom?
Those impostors then, whom they style Mathematicians, I consulted without scruple - St Augustine, Confessions
So when do you deploy? -nt (none / 1) (#266)
by Baldrson on Tue Dec 27, 2005 at 04:39:04 PM EST


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


Ummm... (2.50 / 4) (#270)
by jd on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 03:39:41 AM EST

First, name one violent revolution that has created a regime better than the one it deposed. In all of history, there hasn't been a single case. That includes the United States.

Second, in the same way that psychologists will tell you that you can't make a person change, they must want to change and they must change themselves, you cannot impose freedom on anyone.

Third, suggest you read various texts by Margret Mead and then tell me you understand when a culture needs changing. The fact is, outsiders are notoriously prone to deciding things when they know the least.

Fourth, bloodless change is always possible from within. It always has been. If the Orange Revolution and the Velvet Revolution, not to mention the Philipino Revolution, did not show you this, I do not know what will.

Fifth, you cannot be truly libertarian AND know what is right for others. A libertarian may know what is right for themselves, but liberty (by definition) involves the right to do what is wrong for oneself. If you cannot so choose, you have no liberty worthy of the name.

I call shenanigans on you (none / 1) (#305)
by MrPeach on Sat Jan 21, 2006 at 03:02:19 PM EST

"First, name one violent revolution that has created a regime better than the one it deposed. In all of history, there hasn't been a single case. That includes the United States." With only a couple of exceptions in known history, every revolution has been violent. So by your "logic" all the regimes in the world are worse than that which preceeded them. Well, I suppose from your perspective you could be right, if your measuring stick is sufficiently warped.

[ Parent ]
Fear and rationalisation of fear (3.00 / 4) (#292)
by echarp on Sat Dec 31, 2005 at 07:12:45 AM EST

Your own words:
  • "to stop" the process that create "bombers"
  • "should another 9/11 attack happen again"
  • "madness that the middle east spawns"
  • "the solution the problem that is september 11th is cleaning up the entire middle east"
  • "if not us, then al qaeda would have toppled saddam"
  • "evil does exist in this world"
From which you conclude:
  • "democratization of the entire middle east"
  • "iraq is but the first, and obvious beachhead"
  • "acting and making mistakes is far superior to not acting at all"
  • "if they don't agree for their own self-interest, then fine we'll do it alone"
This is pure fear lacking any sort of analysis. And this emotion drives you to rationalise "O.peration I.rak L.iberation", traps you into a dialectic where there are two choices only: inaction or preemptive war.

Did you know that not long ago, ten years ago, the USA encouraged an iraki rebellion, but then allowed saddam to bloodily repress it?

How many islamo integrists governments are our allies? Do you even remember that saddam was largely our own puppet?

In the last 50 years, how many governments were toppled by the US? How many democracies did that result into?

You want to draw your big gun and shoot at the first passer by to show your intent: you don't want to be a victim!

I love your logic CTS! (none / 0) (#301)
by D Jade on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 01:50:05 AM EST

Great article.

The great middle in other rich Western countries have not come to see the war on Iraq as valid, because they were not the direct targets of 9/11. They are targets of plenty of similar atrocities, but none so great and sudden, and so there is no momentum behind the desire and reason to fight for the extension of their democratic principles to places where such principles are not enjoyed.

I think a country like Denmark, or any other European nation would not support a war due to the fact that they have already suffered enough wars and see the damage it causes. Europe is full of craters and battle sites. Germany and its neighbours are a hole. Economic sanctions, political upheaval and the pain they caused to individuals are a strong deterrent and a good justification for not going to war.

I find it interesting that the US has also adopted the same stance as the European nations who have abstained from the Iraq invasion. World War Two was a great tool to end the economic depression in the US and they did very well for themselves by sitting on the fence for all of those years. Now of course, I'm not detracting from any of the deeds of the US in World War II, it's just ironic that the US leaders of today attacked other nations for doing exactly what their predecessors did sixty years ago.

The moral authority always was, and always will be, with those who will fight to relieve the suffering of others. The moral authority does not belong to the Americans, but simply to those who act. It has nothing to do with the United States. It is a global, moral, and liberal ideal in play here, not a geopolitical one.

I've always found the duality of this argument for war in Iraq so amusing.

Sure, fight to stop people from suffering, that's a very noble cause. But if the US government was actually concerned about preventing suffering, why start with Iraq and why use bombs? I'm really curious because there are so many other actions which could have prevented far more suffering in this world for the same cost of the war. A few billion dollars could provide clean drinking water to much of Africa. A few billion more would also provide electricity. Another billion here and there to provide education and such.

I don't really have an answer and I don't have an opinion as to whether the war in Iraq is right or wrong beyond my belief that I think war should be avoided at all costs. Given that the 100,000 plus casualties incurred by Iraqi civillians far outweighs those of the attrocities he "allegedly" committed (we all know he did), the logic is lost on me, and given that the occupying forces have been employing the same manner of torture on their prisoners and that terrorist attacks have increased since the occupation, it seems that there has been a wholesale increase in the suffering of all Iraqi people (instead of just one ethnic group).

I recall that one of the defense advisors to Bush Sr. said in the mid 90s that it would be foolish to topple the government in Iraq because that would mean decades of US occupation. I also recall a prominent British journalist who said that the war in Iraq would not solve any of their problems because revolutions can only succeed if carried out by the citizens within that society. Not sure of either of their names, but I'll find out and let you know.

It is a shame then that no one except the USA and its coalition acted.

I can't speak for the rest of the coalition. But here in Australia, one thing is clear. The Howard government wants a free trade agreement. GWB made it patently clear that there would be no free trade agreement without our "support". But at no stage in the decision to go to war was there ever a newspoll that showed a standing majority in favour of war. CTS, it's important to note that the average westerner outside of the US has a marked distrust and fear of the US Superpower. We've seen its abuse in the past and we've seen the duality of its ideologue all too often. Many of those who pledge support to the US do so out of fear. Yes, the US can offer its protection, but more to the point, it can also flatten a country from the other side of the globe.

Not saying that they would, but that they can.

Wisdom, learning from history and not wanting to repeat our past mistakes, that is what motivates my liberal global notion to invade truly bottom-of-the-barrel basket case regimes where the chance for internal change is hopeless (and ONLY those regimes).

So true CTS. But the US should have learnt from the Vietnam war that they totally suck ass when it comes to guerilla warfare. Vietnam ended in a Quagmire where they had to leave the region to the VC. Unfortunately though, there's no opposing force to leave Iraq to, and it's clear that the US forces cannot really fight their current enemy in Iraq. It seems that there's no real change in instances of terrorism and such.

It is not valid to wage war on China, for example, simply because the yardstick of great suffering, for a long time, unpopularity in the eyes of its people, etc., has not been met.

Well it's also not a valid action to take because if it is taken, your economy and my economy are screwed. They make pretty much every product we consume and there's no way we could afford to make those products ourselves and still reap the massive profits we do on said items. I mean, my girlfriend buys four point powerboards for her employer at a cost of 2 cents a unit - including transportation to points of sale - they are then sold in the stores for fifty dollars.

Yes, we are opposed to suffering. But the thousands of political prisoners working in the Chinese Lao Gi's and the children working for nothing in manufacturing plants are a much cheaper option than producing the goods ourselves. It's only if such a society has nothing to offer that we'll do anything about it. China's actually an interesting topic when talking about Iraq. One thing I find interesting about the war on oil theory (once again, I don't care either way) is that the momentum of the case for war gathered at the same time as China's need for crude exploded.

Because there is no such thing as a plan of action that is simple and hurts no one.

I suppose I agree. But one plan of action would be to go back to my initial thought that providing clean drinking water and electricity et cetera to the masses would be far more profitable than doing Iraq over with bombs and tanks.

Anyway, I gotta get to the pub. Great article.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive

The USA in WW2 has similarities (none / 0) (#303)
by betasam on Fri Jan 06, 2006 at 11:52:01 AM EST

Considering that suffering anywhere is akin to suffering to oneself and working against it was also P.B.Shelly's (a.k.a Mad Shelly) idea.

Here, the USA has admitted that they do not have "enough forces" to hold Iraq and ensure peace. Therein lies the problem. The USA intervened in WW2 after waiting all the while until Pearl Harbour. The USA intervened here after Sep-11, another date going to infamy.

In my belief the intervention was right, but the means weak. Hence the present casualities and inability to ensure a solution as was administered earlier in Japan during WW2. Strangely no neighbouring country thought it was their business to step in and stop innocents being slaughtered or a rising threat to their own existence before the first Gulf war and even after being victimised in the first, didn't quite take it on in the second.

However USA's international/foreign affairs have much to blame, appeasement of Iraq, Osama Bin Laden - the individual prior to declaring them state enemies. So either you are liberalist or your not, President Bush (all satire apart) is stuck inbetween and that's the wrong place to be. He either has to send reinforcements (not call more people back to ensure that disaster swells) or stop thinking about intervention in the future.



[ Parent ]
On the Validity of War, from a Liberal POV | 305 comments (280 topical, 25 editorial, 0 hidden)
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