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opherdonchin
10-01-2002, 03:06 PM
I'm going to swing in on some of the Israel stuff. Hope no one minds.
I just figured from your previous posts that you're a reasonable and thoughtful person, and as such, you might agree that the fact that some people in Israel discuss the transfer policy towards the Palestinians is not enough to reach the conclusion about Israel being a racist country. Desperate - maybe. Out of options - possibly. Racist - never. This problem is very far from being black-and-white, and in my view should be treated as such.Completely separate from questions of the right of return or transfer, it is silly to claim that Israel isn't racist. The most blatantly racist behavior of the Israeli governments through the years has been a consistent disparity in the funding provided to arab and jewish municipalities (within '48 Israel), the relative treatment by the government of arab and jewish business initiatives, and the treatment by the ministry of the interior of the issue of appropriate zoning for housing in arab and jewish communities.

I would probably also argue that Israelis are, on the whole, racist, but that's a separate (and unnecessary) argument. From any racist tendency in the culture (bolstered for many years, and perhaps to this day, by racist portrayals of stereotypes in textbooks and newspapers) to a claim that Israelis 'hate' Arabs or want to kill / transfer /exterminate them is a long way. The latter is almost certainly not true.
1. When Israelis talk about "transportation" (the word I've read in most stuff in English), do they usually mean movement of Arabs out of the Occupied Territories, or out of Israel proper, or both, or none of the above?Like Daniel said, transfer is only advocated by a very small minority of Israelis and considered unjust and inhumane by the vast majority. The majority of those who advocate transfer are talking about transfer of the of Arabs in the West Bank (and Gaza?). They point to a variety of historically 'succesful' examples of transfer that I don't currently recall but I believe includes the Turks and the Greeks among others.

There is also currently talk about a certain amount of 'population redistribution' (of both Arabs and Jews) to make a final border between Israel and a potential Palestinian state easier to draw. Indeed, even without actually moving people, Arabs within Israel are angry about the Israeli suggestion that some of the jewish settlements within the territories would be incorporated into Israel and in exchange certain Arab territories currently within Israel would be incorporated into the new Palestinian state. They consider this sort of 'removal' of Arabs from Israel to be a form of transfer, although there is plenty of historical precendent for such an arrangement.
2.Regarding right of return, a complex issue and no doubt. I've often wondered how an Israeli explains that to himself and to others. Now's my chance- can you take a swing at "why is it "democratic" that any Jew can come to Israel and be a citizen in a week, but no Arab who didn't or couldn't stay through the '48 war can do so?"Quota systems are in place in every democratic country and reflect the fact that all culture is racist and has racial preferences. Choosing who is and is not allowed to become a citizen is a perogative of each country and does not affect it's character as a 'democracy' (which has to do with rights being awarded to citizens without prejudice).

Most Israeli's feel that when there comes to be a Palestinian state one expects that it will offer Palestinians (or whoever it wants) a right of return. One also expects that it will frown on and actively discourage excessive jewish immigration.
3. As an afterthought to 1 above, I guess an obvious question becomes something like "if "transportation" is something that Israelis can contemplate, how would they explain that this would be different from the ethnic cleansing that Milosevic attempted in Kosovo in 1999?"
Well, I certainly don't want to get in the position of defending either transfer or its advocates. However, if I were to try to make sense of the different things I've heard people say, the argument would be that there is a difference betweeen 'ethnic cleansing' (which usually means massacre) and 'repatriation.' The policy of transfer that is publicly advocated (again, by a vanishingly small minority) would supposedly be a primarily voluntary transfer in which the Palestinians were offered 'just compensation' for the property and leand they left behind. It would be, supposedly, be coordinated with the host countries into which the Palestinians would be transported. Etc. It's almost always wrong to bring up parallels to Nazi Germany, but I think the appropriate parallel would be to the German policy of encouraging Jews to emigrate in the 30s before the war and the concentration camps. Simlar ideas of repatriation to Africa were, I believe, discussed for the blacks in the United States before and after the civil war. It's easy to trick yourself into believing something like that might be humane and generous, although I imagine that it would be hard to come up with a historical precedent in which it actually was that way.

Hope this helps. Daniel, if your answers are different, feel free to contradict me wholesale.

Paul Clark
10-01-2002, 03:46 PM
Opher,

Don't mind at all, good swing.
They consider this sort of 'removal' of Arabs from Israel to be a form of transfer, although there is plenty of historical precendent for such an arrangement.

Can you give some examples? None come immediately to mind for me.
Choosing who is and is not allowed to become a citizen is a perogative of each country and does not affect it's character as a 'democracy' (which has to do with rights being awarded to citizens without prejudice).

True, immigration policy is a sovereign perogative, but I'm not aware of other examples where quotas are set by religion. Are you? For all I know the US does it, too, but somehow I doubt it.

I've read a couple of studies out of Israeli universities that indicate Jews becoming a minority among citizens of Israel sometime before 2050, all because of natural birth rates etc. Of course, it's tough to say whether that projection will actually come true, but it makes for another interesting question. What will Israelis do, or more interesting, at what measures will they stop, in order to perpetuate Israel as a "Jewish state?" In the current climate, I'm sure it's tough to worry about something 50 years off, but one can't solve the ultimate problem without thinking about this one.

A new question, regarding the Occupied Territories. How do ordinary Israelis you know (I assume you know many?) feel about them? Part of Eretz Israel to be kept at all costs? An annoyance best got rid of as soon as a negotiated settlement can be reached? Annexation (refer to population above, it gets worse!)? Why not simply withdraw to the green line, build a really great wall, sign treaties with all the Arab countries who've said (Abdullah plan) they would do so with withdrawal to 67 borders, and have done?

One more while I'm at it, don't get much time lately. If we assume that Israel ultimately keeps sovereignty over the Haram as-Sharif/Temple Mount, what do Israelis plan to do with it? Does anyone actually think they can rebuilt the temple (or anything else) on the top without provoking WWIII? Is it just to guarantee access to the Western Wall? I suspect this is what worries Muslims most: if Israel wants to keep it that badly, they must plan to DO something with it, and all the possibilities that come immediately to mind are ugly.

Thoughts?

Paul

opherdonchin
10-01-2002, 04:46 PM
They consider this sort of 'removal' of Arabs from Israel to be a form of transfer, although there is plenty of historical precendent for such an arrangement.Can you give some examples? None come immediately to mind for me.Got me there. Nothing really specific. Obviously the UN '47 proposal for Israel would be an example, although it was not implemented. I believe that there was a post-WWI redrawing of borders for the Balkans. Wouldn't the Louisana Purchase and the purchase of Alaska count? I think, in principal, if two sovereign nations reach an agreement about a shift in borders then it is not required that they consult the affected people.
True, immigration policy is a sovereign perogative, but I'm not aware of other examples where quotas are set by religion. Are you? For all I know the US does it, too, but somehow I doubt it.Ah, but here they are not set by religion, either. Remember that Judaism is not a religion, for these purposes, but an ethnicity.

Of course, it's very complicated because people can qualify for the right of return by converting to Judaism, but, on the other hand, jews who have converted to Islam would be just as eligible (although likely to be viewed a little more suspiciously by the Ministry of the Interior). In any case, the idea is that Israel is a state for the Jewish Nation rather than a seat or a state for the religion of judaism.

Yup, it's even more complicated than that. We don't really want to get into the issue of the senses in which judaism defines a people or a religion, do we? Anyway, I'm not sure that I see why immigration quotas are more appropriate if they are ethnically or religiously based. A person can change their religion if they really want to live somewhere, but they certainly can't change their ethnicity.
I've read a couple of studies out of Israeli universities that indicate Jews becoming a minority among citizens of Israel sometime before 2050, all because of natural birth rates etc.Yes. This issue can be quite a pre-occupation for some

Israelis.What will Israelis do, or more interesting, at what measures will they stop, in order to perpetuate Israel as a "Jewish state?"I think that Israelis are divided and confused about this. Many Israelis feel that if Israel ultimately loses it's Jewish majority, that is just a natural progression of things. Many feel that reasonable and democratic measures -- encouraging immigration of jews, for instance -- are all that we can do. Of course, the attitude towards the Arab minority changes with the changing patterns of hostility between Israel and its neighbors, so it's conceivable that in a state of continuing and escalating hostilities, one would hear more and more from people who would deny Arab citizens their basic civil rights. In fact, as the years of hostility go on, their is a certain self-selection going on: people who are more comfortable living as an occupying power are the ones more likely to stay.

One can look at historical precedent, of course, and ask what the jews of Mandate Palestine were willing to do in order to assure a Jewish Majority, but I'm afraid we'd be opening a real ugly can of worms.
How do ordinary Israelis you know (I assume you know many?)I lived there for about 10 years. However, I'm not the only Israeli on this forum so maybe some others might see things differently.feel about them? Part of Eretz Israel to be kept at all costs? An annoyance best got rid of as soon as a negotiated settlement can be reached? Annexation (refer to population above, it gets worse!)? Why not simply withdraw to the green line, build a really great wall, sign treaties with all the Arab countries who've said (Abdullah plan) they would do so with withdrawal to 67 borders, and have done?I would say the majority of Israelis support a withdrawal form most of the West Bank and Gaza with territorial exchange to allow Israel to keep the more established settlements (which include hundreds of thousands of people in relatively concentrated areas close to the border). Many Israelis (I don't think this is a majority but we'll know in the next elections) support a unilateral withdrawal such as you mentioned. However, it is important to note that a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza would not bring the Arab countries to sign a peace treaty since there is still the issue of the Golan Heights and Syria. Some Israelis support annexation of at least large parts of the West Bank(it has been claimed that Sharon is interested in this), but they are certainly not interested in doing so until a sufficient proportion of the territory is Israeli owned and jewish. Thus, they feel that the ongoing hostility plays into their hands as they continue to expand the territory allocated to each settlement and to make small settlements more established and to make established settlements a more integrated part of Israel. Understandably, the Palestinian's are quite worried about this.If we assume that Israel ultimately keeps sovereignty over the Haram as-Sharif/Temple Mount, what do Israelis plan to do with it? Does anyone actually think they can rebuilt the temple (or anything else) on the top without provoking WWIII? Is it just to guarantee access to the Western Wall?I personally feel that Israel's handling of the delicate situation on the Temple Mount has been (uncharacteristically?) sensitive, in general. I think that it's hard for Israelis to imagine a split control in the old city of Jerusalem, generally. It's not a good place to be trying to have two separate armies. On top of that, the Temple Mount is not really a separate site from the Wailing Wall. People on the Temple Mount can drop (not throw, drop) stones on to worshippers at the wall, and they have done so. The issue is further complicated by questions of the archeology in and around the Mount as you may remember from the tunnel riots that happened when Netanyahu was prime minister. The idea of rebuilding the temple is even less popular than the idea of transfer in Israel. The vast majority of the population is secular, and even among the religious this idea has little serious adherents.

Hey Jun (if you are out there) maybe you should turn the stuff on Israel into a separate thread? I feel bad taking up all the Iraq/War bandwidth with out stuff, and if anyone is looking for it they wouldn't particularly know where to find it. (I can just imagine: "I think I'll go over to the AiKiDo Web Forums and see if there are any AiKi discussions on Israel I can participate in ....")

Paul Clark
10-01-2002, 05:11 PM
Opher,

Excellent post.
Some Israelis support annexation of at least large parts of the West Bank(it has been claimed that Sharon is interested in this), but they are certainly not interested in doing so until a sufficient proportion of the territory is Israeli owned and jewish. Thus, they feel that the ongoing hostility plays into their hands as they continue to expand the territory allocated to each settlement and to make small settlements more established and to make established settlements a more integrated part of Israel. Understandably, the Palestinian's are quite worried about this

Next question. How does "territory (become) Israeli owned and Jewish"? Does the Israeli government simply decide that this or that parcel in the WB will become a settlement, or "allocated" to a settlement, and "ownership" simply becomes Jewish? Or, does it get bought by someone from someone?

What does the Geneva Conventions (1949) say about settling one's own people on occupied territory? Sorry, that one was rhetorical. How do Israelis work around that?

Paul

opherdonchin
10-01-2002, 05:38 PM
All right. Now I'm doing the nono of posting here when I should be going to class. This will have to be short and then I can get back for more later if you like.
How does "territory (become) Israeli owned and Jewish"? Does the Israeli government simply decide that this or that parcel in the WB will become a settlement, or "allocated" to a settlement, and "ownership" simply becomes Jewish? Or, does it get bought by someone from someone?
A lot of creative stuff with lawyers goes on, I think. Currently, their is very little chance of buying land off of Palestinians (although this used to be part of the game earlier on). However, land which was owned by the Kingdom of Jordan is potentially fair game. Apparently, this is a fair fraction of the land of the West Bank. Then, at least as far as I can tell, they are doing a lot of encroachment on individually owned land using various 'eminent domain' type laws that give them the right to seize lands or buildings for military purposes.

There seems to be a report on this issue by a group called B'Tselem, a widely respected group in Israel that covers human rights violations in the territories. If you go to http://www.btselem.org/ and click on Publications, the second or third one is called The Land Grab. I should read it.
What does the Geneva Conventions (1949) say about settling one's own people on occupied territory? Sorry, that one was rhetorical. How do Israelis work around that?I've wondered about this, too. It's a little bit tricky because the language of the Geneva convention clearly allows a certain amount of resettlement in cases of 'military necessity' with the stipulation that the populations would be returned 'at the end of hostilities.' Some would argue that the hostilities have not yet ended. It's also not clear from the language of the convention how active a role the government has to play before it is thought of as 'resettling' people into the occupied territories.

However, these are niceties. I think the majority of the Israelis who claim that the settlements are legal make the claim because they do not see the territories as being occupied territories under international law. I believe they are, to their mind, land legitimately conquered by Israel in a defensive war and to which Jews have a legitimate historical claim. My problem with that explanation (beyond the question of whether international law has a clear position on conquest of territory) is that Israel has never annexed the West Bank (as it did the Golan Heights and Jerusalem) and has not extended citizenship to its inhabitants.

I wasn't sure I was representing the position properly, so I went to look for something from people who actually run these arguments. The simplest and most elegant statement of the position was here:

http://www.likud.nl/govern09.html

A more extensive (but perhaps not deeper) legal argument was here:

http://zionsake.tripod.com/Legal_Status.htm

And finally something official from the government is here:

http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0c0y0

Paul Clark
10-01-2002, 05:39 PM
Opher,

Sorry, it was dinner time.
It's not a good place to be trying to have two separate armies. On top of that, the Temple Mount is not really a separate site from the Wailing Wall. People on the Temple Mount can drop (not throw, drop) stones on to worshippers at the wall, and they have done so. The issue is further complicated by questions of the archeology in and around the Mount

What was the situation in divided Jerusalem before 1967 vis a vis armies or worshippers at the wall? Or better yet, what was the situation prior to 1948, or 1918? What I've read indicates that the Jews who wanted to pray at the Wall in Ottoman times were permitted to do so, and only in divided Jerusalem after 1948 were they prevented by stone throwers from the top of the Mount, at least on a pervasive level.

The archeology is an interesting question. So, do Israelis want to have sovereignty on the top of the mount and its environs so as to be freely able to tunnel under it to search for remnants of the temple, etc.? I guess this bothers Muslims who would worry that the tunneling might undermine the structures above and result in their collapse?

What do you make of Mr. Sharon's pilgrimage to the mount with 1000 police in Sept 2000? What was that designed to achieve, or to assert?

Paul

opherdonchin
10-01-2002, 06:34 PM
What was the situation in divided Jerusalem before 1967 vis a vis armies or worshippers at the wall? Or better yet, what was the situation prior to 1948, or 1918?I am under the (strong) impression that all jews who lived in the old city were evicted in 1948 and between 1948 and 1967 no jews prayed at the wailing wall. Before 1948, the British government (and before them the Turks) gave relative independence to the religious / political leaders in governing their religious sites.
So, do Israelis want to have sovereignty on the top of the mount and its environs so as to be freely able to tunnel under it to search for remnants of the temple, etc.? I guess this bothers Muslims who would worry that the tunneling might undermine the structures above and result in their collapse?I don't know about under it, but in the vicinity of. There was a lot of propaganda in the Arab press about either undermining the foundations of the mosques on the temple mount or laying the foundations for the next temple. After the tunnel riots, Israel left the offending tunnel opened but apparnetly stopped further archeological excavation in consideration of Arab sentiments on the matter.
What do you make of Mr. Sharon's pilgrimage to the mount with 1000 police in Sept 2000? What was that designed to achieve, or to assert?Most Israelis interpret it as a message to the voters of the likud party. Sharon had wrested control of the party after Netanyahu's defeat in 1999, but Netanyahu was staging a come back and Sharon needed to do something to impress the voters. Sharon probably did not expect this to lead to the second intifidah and it's hard to imagine why he should have thought that. Remember that Barak was prime minister at the time. According to Barak there was nothing he could do to prevent Sharon from going to the mount. All he tried to do was ensure that the visit would pass with the least possible friction and greatest possible safety for both sides. It seems he did not do too well.

The number of policeman is something which I've heard people make a big deal out of, but

never heard anyone on the Israeli side relate to too much. It's easy to imagine why the Israeli police might feel that a large force was appropriate in that situation. I've heard it said that the entourage was guarded by a much smaller force but that police were on standby nearby in case of an outbreak of violence. This makes sense to me. It certainly does not make sense that 2000 policeman walked into the temple mount with Sharon. The physical scale of the site and the numbers of people doesn't really make sense. The reports indicate that the stone throwing did not begin until Sharon was actually leaving the site.

Of course, it's important to remember that, in general, the temple mount has been open for non-muslims to visit and that, if it is truly a holy site for muslims, then the casting of stones from the site or at visitors to the site could be seen as a questionable way to behave.

Most Israelis believe that the second intifadah (or the al aksa uprising) was planned well ahead of Sharon's visit and that the visit represented a convenient excuse. There is even an AP quote from a Palestinian minister to that effect.

Paul Clark
10-01-2002, 07:39 PM
Opher,

Well, I read the three links. It seems to me that all three, ultimately rely fairly heavily on this notion of the ancestral home of the Jews etc. etc. To me, this is not a compelling argument on a number of counts.

1.The Hebrews were certainly not the first people to civilize what's now Palestine. Jerusalem is thought to date form around 3000 BC, 2000 years before the Jews took it. Up until 1000 BC when that happened, the Canaanites had been there an awful long time, often as vassals of Egypt but occasionally independent. The Hebrew kingdom then lasted from 1000 BC until 587 BC when Babylon conquered and took the Jews into exile. So ended the Hebrew reign over this homeland, a mere 413 years of 5000 years of recorded history (of course there was the Maccabean kingdom from 167-63BC, but that was it.) By the logic ultimately employed in the "historic homeland" argument, title would most reasonably be placed with Egypt if I read the history correctly. In any case, political arangements in the 20th century that are based on long-extinct Biblical empires don't seem to make much logical sense to me. Ultimately, it seems that the idea is that as long as a Jew lived in the holy land, or even if one just dreamed of returning to it, the Jewish claim was never relinquished. Romantic, yes; evidence of enduring faith, yes, legal? Not a lawyer, but it doesn't pass the common sense test for me.

2. The Balfour Declaration. When it was written in 1917, Britain did not actually have any right to dispose of Palestine as it wished. Further, even once it did with the end of Ottoman rule and WWI, the Balfour Declaration was simply a declaration of the policy of HM Government of the time and would not have carried much weight, I wouldn't think, as a matter of international law. It seems to me that the Mandate was championed by the then British Government based on the premise of their own declaration, and they then proceeded to administer it as they intended to do from the beginning. When they figured out that large scale Jewish immigration wasn't turning out to be that great an idea, they tried very hard to limit the damage. That the Zionists you mentioned in your first answer didn't agree with the limited ambitions that the British may have had for how to establish a Jewish home in Palestine does not mean that the Mandate "intended" any more than the Mandatory power saw fit to accomplish. I've read the Mandate stuff, and it does not say anything as specific about what land Jews would be "entitled" to in mandatory Palestine (certainly it does not mention Judea or Samaria, which were as archaic then as they are now) as the would be lawyer purports on his web entry.

3. Here's a quote from the text of the mandate:
Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country; and . . .


http://www.mideastweb.org/Mandate.htm


The problem on both sides seems to be that each plays pretty loose in citing the primary sources. Clearly the Mandate did not intend that Palestinians already living there would be displaced, religiously or politically, by the creation of a Jewish Homeland.

the following added in editing session:

Had to break for a commercial. Anyway, I asked for the Israelis' arguments to get around some of the issues, thanks for giving the examples. What I wonder at, though, is what Americans believe, and should believe, and whether the two are even close. Seems to me the "legal" arguments really boil down to the 1948 boundaries with which Israel was admitted to the UN, return of refugees which was a condition discussed at the time of admission, etc. 242, which is supposed to have the weight of international law (which the Israeli sites seem to be fond of citing to justify the settlement thing) clearly cites the "inadmissability of the acquistion of territory by war". Citing stories from the Bible, or the Torah, is nice as anthropology but largely, in my view, irrelevant except as a distraction from the real issues. I wonder if that latter piece is the point?


Paul

opherdonchin
10-01-2002, 11:27 PM
To me, this is not a compelling argument on a number of counts.Ok. If you really want a comprehensive critique of the Israeli government's position on settlements follow the B'Tselem link I posted. I read through it earlier and they really are good at giving clear, well articulated, comprehensive and strongly argued reports. If you are interested in someone who will do a more thorough job arguing FOR the Israeli government position on this, I'm not sure what exactly I can offer. I was only trying to give you the sense of the arguments, and I'm not sure I found links that the Israeli right would feel represented them at their best. They were just sort of the first things I found. I personally find arguments about the legality of the settlements, like the arguments about historical claims to the land on both sides, to be technically interesting but ultimately fruitless.
The problem on both sides seems to be that each plays pretty loose in citing the primary sources.Yes.
What I wonder at, though, is what Americans believe, and should believe, and whether the two are even close.I'm not sure that 'Americans' believe any one thing. Many of them are rabidly zionist -- more openly and agressively zionist than almost any Israeli I've met. Others are wildly hostile to Israel, with a hatred that borders on paranoid anti-semitism. I know that for me (although I am not an American) it is easier to focus on the simpler truths than to try to wrestle with the more complicated issues. For instance, I have mixed feelings (ie., both positive and negative) about those who have refused to serve in the territories recently; I have only admiration for friends of mine who were involved in smuggling food to Palestinian's during recent military operations. Or, for another instance, I get very confused when I try to understand the economics of suicide bombing -- the wealth that came to families until recently and the poverty inflicted by Israeli destruction of houses in reprisal. On the other hand, it is clear to me that the voices of moderation within the Arab world recently calling for an end to these attacks are voices of peace.

Like I have learned form AiKiDo so often: I make a choice to see a situation as a situation of conflict; I make a choice to perceive myself as vulnerable and threatened. These choices are not wrong, but they can often interfere with my ability to see more clearly into the reality of the situation.

Paul Clark
10-02-2002, 07:53 AM
Opher,

First, you're staying up way too late, but I appreciate it anyway.
. I personally find arguments about the legality of the settlements, like the arguments about historical claims to the land on both sides, to be technically interesting but ultimately fruitless

I agree wholehartedly, but both sides go there, the Israelis have to reach back farther, so one has to be prepared to discuss the history as it was when it inevetably comes up.

I also agree with your assessment regarding many Americans' being "rabidly Zionist". I was at school for a year with senior Air Force officers from all over the world, Israel and many Arab countries included, and the Arabs asked me why that is. Had to think about it for a long time, but here's my theory. Most of us were raised as Christians at least until we were old enough to convince our parents we could make our own choice (I'm still a practicing Catholic, but never mind). Anyway, I've noticed that when I hear the scripture readings every Sunday, the Hebrews, Israel, etc. get named between 10 and 30 times on average. I suspect this breeds a natural familiarity and comfort over the course of 10-20 years. Meanwhile, I recall that in my first 12 years of formal education, I probably got a single 1-hour class period each year in grades 8-12 on the Middle East history and Islam, and all of that was about the Crusades and their impact on Western development. At the same time, one sees the news, which only shows the bad stuff that happens, so that the only exposure most Americans get to Islam, Muslims, Palestinians, or Arabs is terrorism of one kind or another. So, quite naturally, and perhaps by benign neglect, we see Israel as a natural "good guy" and Palestinians and Arabs as natural "bad guys". A feeble theory, I know, but to friends I've explained it to, it makes sense, and they agree they have no real education on the subject, their opinions are wholly shaped by the "bad guy" image they see on the news.

So, I think better public policy is grounded in better education, but it'll be a long haul.

gotta go.

Paul

DanielR
10-02-2002, 09:05 AM
Opher,
Completely separate from questions of the right of return or transfer, it is silly to claim that Israel isn't racist.
Thanks for stopping by :) . I'm sure I wouldn't be able to provide such comprehensive responses as you did. The only thing I wanted to comment on is that my taking issue with the claim about the Israeli government being racist was in the context of the last intifadah. In my mind, the way Israel is handling the current situation has little to do with its discriminatory policy towards its arab population.

DanielR
10-02-2002, 09:39 AM
one has to be prepared to discuss the history as it was when it inevetably comes up.
Recently my wife took a course "History of the Arab-Israeli conflict" in the university. From what I could see, the professor was trying to be as objective as possible, given that his audience was almost equally divided between supporters of each side. As they went through all the history, there were countless examples of either side being a victim or a violator. I don't think that by the end of the semester there was anyone that switched sides...
So, quite naturally, and perhaps by benign neglect, we see Israel as a natural "good guy" and Palestinians and Arabs as natural "bad guys".
Well, I can only speak for myself here: being at the left side of the Israeli political spectrum, and being sympathetic to the suffering of Palestinian people, I still do believe that in the context of the last intifadah Israelis are the good guys. Let's say, "much better guys". I do believe that Israel acts in self-defence, and most of its actions are justified.

Actually, that's the scary thing - from what I can tell, the patience of the Israeli left is running out. The Palestinian side hasn't demonstratet its will or ability to stop this maddness. Calling for attacks to stop is one thing, making them stop is another.

opherdonchin
10-02-2002, 10:26 AM
I also agree with your assessment regarding many Americans' being "rabidly Zionist"Hey, no fair. My original statement was balanced, pointing out a tendency that I've seen in Americans to be extremist to both sides. You chose to pick up on one side of that statement and elaborate at length. No fair, but, of course, excellent rhetorical tactic. ;)

I think that the tendency towards extremism on this issue in Americans comes largely out of their cultural emphasis on the myth of the struggle between good and evil. Almost every issue Americans confront (he said with gross, racist, and ignorant generalization) is ultimately reduced to a view in which one side is cast in the role of 'the forces of good' and the other side is cast in the role of 'the forces of evil.' The same happens in this case. I do not see a fundamental difference between the knee-jerk support of Israel by the American right or the knee-jerk sympathy for the Palestinian's by the American left. Both are born from the same amount of knowledge (deep in the case of some individuals and shallow in the case of others) and the same deep inability to accept that an issue is morally hopelessly complex and that ultimately one's sympathies are determined more by subjective identification than by anything else.

At least that's my knee-jerk iconoclastic view of things.

Paul Clark
10-02-2002, 12:15 PM
Opher,

OK, foul. Didn't intend it that way, but I guess you could read it that way. My own experience is more with rabid Zionists than the other way around, so that's what I picked up on. Your formulation of our tendency to reduce everything to a simple conflict between "good" and "evil" is close to what I was getting at anyway--we do so much simplification that the average person never feels the need to know anything, they just form a strong opinion one way or the other.
being at the left side of the Israeli political spectrum, and being sympathetic to the suffering of Palestinian people, I still do believe that in the context of the last intifadah Israelis are the good guys.

Daniel-I understand where you're coming from, and whenever I talk to people about this I'm quick to point out that the Palestinians, in Thomas Friedman's words, "never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." I think that the PLO got in the terrorism business in the late 60s because they thought it was the best, quickest path to getting world attention and some resolution of their grievances; I think they've poisoned their own cause with that terrorism to the point that it's pretty tough to sort out legitimate issues from illegitimate means like suicide attacks on civilians. So we mostly agree.

However . . .I also like this comparison, if you'll allow me to be devil's advocate for a moment. During WWII, when Germany occupied all of Europe, were they the "good guys" when they hunted down French Resistance groups, or were the Resistance guys the good guys? In Afghanistan in the 80's, were the Soviets the good guys hunting mujahadeen in the Panjshir valley, or the other way round? For that matter, who were the good guys in Palestine in 1945-47--the Irgun, Shin Bet, and Haganah, or the legal Mandatory Power, the British, that they were blowing up on a regular basis?If we dispense with the niceties of how one or the other of us might interpret international law in the case of the territories, there seems to me little difference in the first 3, and the last is still similar, except the "occupier" was the legal sovereign at the time--territory occupied by a foreign power gives birth to a resistance movement that makes the occupier pretty miserable using whatever means are at their disposal. Not trying to legitmize tactics or means, just trying to point out that if one occupies someone else's land by force, one cannot reasonably expect "good men to do nothing", in a manner of speaking.

You mentioned this intefadeh. Who were the good guys in the first intefadeh in your opinion? If different than this one, why the difference?

That ought to stir the pot some.

Paul

DanielR
10-02-2002, 12:47 PM
However . . .I also like this comparison, if you'll allow me to be devil's advocate for a moment. During WWII, when Germany occupied all of Europe, were they the "good guys" when they hunted down French Resistance groups...
Well, yes, it's sort of that simple - if you're an occupant, expect a reaction. However, we could recall the circumstances that led to this particular occupation, which in my view make it somewhat different from your examples.
Not trying to legitmize tactics or means, just trying to point out that if one occupies someone else's land by force, one cannot reasonably expect "good men to do nothing", in a manner of speaking.
Absolutely. It does go both ways though. The moment one blows up a bus full of innocent civilians, one cannot expect absence of retaliation. Besides, there was a diplomatic process once, wasn't there? How incompetent one must be to assume that terrorism could be more efficient than a diplomatic solution in this particular case? I think it's a common knowledge that the majority of the Israelis was for giving up most of the occupied territories. Moreover, I believe this is still the case. However, the will to negotiate is seriously undermined.
You mentioned this intefadeh. Who were the good guys in the first intefadeh in your opinion? If different than this one, why the difference?
Well, I wasn't in Israel during that time, so I can't speak of from my personal experience about that. However, one of the differences that comes to mind is that the second intifadah ruined a very real chance of reaching a permanent solution, and this is an unforgivable mistake on the part of the Palestinians.

opherdonchin
10-02-2002, 12:56 PM
OK, foul. Didn't intend it that way, but I guess you could read it that way.
No harm done. Even if you had meant it that way, it was smoothly executed.

This has to be one of the most civilized and gentle discussions of this issue I have ever participated in. It's a really a pleasure to see that it can be done, although I suspet that that reflects a basic similarity in our points of view rather than a real ability (at least on my part) to maintain civility.
During WWII, when Germany occupied all of Europe, were they the "good guys" when they hunted down French Resistance groups, or were the Resistance guys the good guys? ...
These are good points, but you have to be a little careful with them. For instance, I believe that it is wise to differentiate between resistance/terrorist groups that do and don't target civilians. I think that even the early zionist resistance movements can be neatly divided into terrorist groups and resistance movements along these lines.

"Most Israelis" (I'm starting to really worry about my use of that phrase) would agree that the Palestinian's have a legitimate right to armed struggle as a tool in their effort to achieve recognition as a nation and the rights associated with a sovereign state. However, their right to have an armed conflict does not necessarily guarantee them a victory.

The question of the tools that are to be considered legitimate for each side in conducting the military aspects of this conflict is an important one. If you want to be 'fair,' then the more generous you are condoning different kinds of military action by one side, the more generous you should be condoning things done by the other side. For instance, it seems weird to me to accept suicide bombing (even of, say, uniformed personnel on a public bus) and to have difficulty with the destruction of homes. And, to keep up my pose of a balanced observer, it seems hypocritical to condone targeted killing of terrorist suspects and then act shocked when a team of Palestinians takes out a prominent right-wing Israeli politician.

opherdonchin
10-02-2002, 01:03 PM
However, one of the differences that comes to mind is that the second intifadah ruined a very real chance of reaching a permanent solution, and this is an unforgivable mistake on the part of the Palestinians.
Excellent references to read about the two sides of this particular argument at This American Life (http://www.thislife.org/pages/trax/photo_galleries/give_it_to_them.html), scroll down to the part that is headed On Camp David and read follow the links to very thoughtful arguments by people on both sides of the issue.

DanielR
10-02-2002, 01:10 PM
"Most Israelis" (I'm starting to really worry about my use of that phrase) would agree that the Palestinian's have a legitimate right to armed struggle as a tool in their effort to achieve recognition as a nation and the rights associated with a sovereign state.I'd have to disagree, simply due to the fact that for an Israeli to agree to that basically means to agree that his relative or friend serving in the army is a fair target for Palestinian militants. And, again, because there one was a pretty wide-spread belief that the diplomatic process was the way to go and it was actually working.
...it seems hypocritical to condone targeted killing of terrorist suspects and then act shocked when a team of Palestinians takes out a prominent right-wing Israeli politician. Again, I think there's a difference here. I don't believe I heard a Hamas representative saying "we have evidence proving that this Israeli politician was involved in planning terrorist attacks on Palestinians. Give him up for a fair trial or we'll come after him using our own means".

opherdonchin
10-02-2002, 01:29 PM
"Most Israelis" (I'm starting to really worry about my use of that phrase) would agree that the Palestinian's have a legitimate right to armed struggleI'd have to disagree, simply due to the fact that for an Israeli to agree to that basically means to agree that his relative or friend serving in the army is a fair target for Palestinian militants.Well, I probably don't know what the average Israeli feels on this one. It's probably easy to feel that the other side has no 'right' to hit you no matter what. Still, I tend to think the average Israeli accepts the idea of the use of military force as a tool in nationalistic aspirations. In general, I think, Israelis question the wisdom of the second intifidah and they point to its implications for an eventual compromise more than they argue against the 'right' of the Palestinians to resort to armed conflict if they aren't getting what they want.

In fact, I'll stick by what I said: the average Israeli supports the Palestinian's right to lose everything through armed conflict. "As long as the Palestinian's 'want' to keep on fighting," thinks Mr. Average Israeli, "I'm willing to keep on fighting them."
..it seems hypocritical to condone targeted killing of terrorist suspects and then act shocked when a team of Palestinians takes out a prominent right-wing Israeli politician.Again, I think there's a difference here.
Of course you do. That's because it's convenient for our side to make a big point of this difference. I have to admit that to me the difference seems more subtle than fundamental.

However, Daniel, I challenge you, just as I challenge Paul vis a vis the Israelis, to say what kinds of action you think is appropriate for the Palestinian's to use given their decision that there is more to gain through military struggle than they are likely to gain through diplomacy.

DanielR
10-02-2002, 01:44 PM
In fact, I'll stick by what I said: the average Israeli supports the Palestinian's right to lose everything through armed conflict. "As long as the Palestinian's 'want' to keep on fighting," thinks Mr. Average Israeli, "I'm willing to keep on fighting them."
How about a variation of this: as long as the Palestinians keep on fighting, I'm forced to keep on fighting them? I'm not sure many people would be willing to fight... I don't know, maybe it's just playing with words.
...it's convenient for our side to make a big point of this difference. I have to admit that to me the difference seems more subtle than fundamental. So what you're saying is that fundamentally there's no difference in targeted killing of, say, the terrorists that massacred the Israeli Olympic team in Munich - as a punishment for murder, and in killing a politician as a punishment for his political views?

Hmm... I just asked myself a question - is Sharon a fair target of a targeted killing by Palestinians because he ordered a strike on a terrorist, that also killed several children? Phew... Is Bush a fair target for ordering strikes on Afghanistan? It has to stop somewhere, doesn't it ?..
...what kinds of action you think is appropriate for the Palestinian's to use given their decision that there is more to gain through military struggle than they are likely to gain through diplomacy.
Oh, but it's not a fair challenge! I think the decision you're talking about is itself flawed, so I cannot recommend an action based on a wrong decision. I can recommend revising the decision though...

opherdonchin
10-02-2002, 01:55 PM
Hmm... I just asked myself a question - is Sharon a fair target of a targeted killing by Palestinians because he ordered a strike on a terrorist, that also killed several children? Phew... Is Bush a fair target for ordering strikes on Afghanistan? It has to stop somewhere, doesn't it ?..
I think this is exactly what I mean about subtleties. The important point about the targeted killings is that lack of due process means that there is absolutely no way of knowing how the punishment is fit to the crime. Once you let one side make up it's own extra-legal system of justice for punishing individuals on the other side, a reasonable sense of 'fairness' would extend the same rights to the other side.
Oh, but it's not a fair challenge! I think the decision you're talking about is itself flawed, so I cannot recommend an action based on a wrong decision.But Daniel, you can't legislate intelligence or wisdom. The Palestinians, if they believe that the Israelis are bargaining in bad faith (and this is what they believed) are free to leave the bargaining table. The question then becomes, and this is a fundamentally important question, what kind of fighting is within the realm of a 'clean fight' and when are they fighting 'dirty.' Most people believe that suicide bombings in discotheques or universities fall into the 'fighting dirty' category. That implies that some things would not fall into that category. What are those things?

DanielR
10-02-2002, 02:15 PM
The question then becomes, and this is a fundamentally important question, what kind of fighting is within the realm of a 'clean fight' and when are they fighting 'dirty.'
See, I'm not sure the Palestinians were that free to walk away from negotiations, no matter what they believed. We can argue until end of days whether Barak's offer was indeed as generous as he described it to be. There were, however, facts on the ground, that Israelis were prepared to certain concessions, and probably considerable ones.

I keep avoiding answering your question... Well, simply put, in my mind targeting civilians is definitely a dirty fight.

DanielR
10-02-2002, 02:32 PM
I keep avoiding answering your question... Well, simply put, in my mind targeting civilians is definitely a dirty fight.
... attacking military targets is a less dirty fight. But resorting to violence is the dirtiest of all.

Paul Clark
10-02-2002, 03:12 PM
Daniel/Opher,

I get busy for a few hours, and you guys have a lovely party without me. Doing very well, I might add; almost hate to jump back in.
For instance, I believe that it is wise to differentiate between resistance/terrorist groups that do and don't target civilians.

Wise, maybe. On the other hand, the Germans didn't "settle" France, nor did the Russians settle Afghanistan, hence their civilians in occupied territory never became targets for the resistance movements-they simply weren't there. A ways back I think it was you that mentioned the wiggle room in the Geneva Conventions that allowed some "settlement" if it was required as "militarily necessary." Well, if it's militarily necessary to introduce civilians into occupied territory, they must be performing some military function, hence, by the laws of war, I'd suggest they've become legitimate military targets, even if they themselves never intended to be!

Daniel:
Well, yes, it's sort of that simple - if you're an occupant, expect a reaction. However, we could recall the circumstances that led to this particular occupation, which in my view make it somewhat different from your examples

Ahh, "that's different." But, how? Surely not because Germany's attack into France was utterly unprovoked, while the 1967 war, although started by Israel, was "caused" by the mobilization of the bordering Arab states, therefore "self defense?"
How incompetent one must be to assume that terrorism could be more efficient than a diplomatic solution in this particular case? I think it's a common knowledge that the majority of the Israelis was for giving up most of the occupied territories.
You don't actually have to be incompetent at all. You go to war generally when you conclude you've exhausted all the other less costly options because none of them is working. For the Israelis, war ensued with the British after WW2 looked won, because the Ben Gurion et. al. concluded that the British were no longer disposed to meet all their aspirations for statehood. The Oslo accords of 1993 got off schedule by 1995, for the Palestinians, there is no reason to expect that Israel, after 35 years, is in any hurry to return to it's international boundaries, especially when the population in the territories has increased by over 100% since the "process" was put in place. I refer to one of Opher's earlier posts--there seem to be many Israelis in government who would like to see a longer, infinite, process since the amount of land they'll have to give back gets smaller every day. The Palestinians understand this, they are trying to force the issue.
I'd have to disagree, simply due to the fact that for an Israeli to agree to that basically means to agree that his relative or friend serving in the army is a fair target for Palestinian militants

Yup. But, serving in the army of your country when you occupy someone else's territory is a dangerous thing (a lesson some Americans learned in Vietnam). I'd contend that it is a risk the government of Israel understands, and has decided to assume, because your friend's life is worth less to them than the objective of holding onto the land. I don't believe your governments are dumb enough to believe that nobody in the territories is willing to fight for their homes; do you?

Ultimately it comes down to something Ho Chi Minh once said, I paraphrase: We will beat the Americans, because in the end, more Vietnamese than Americans are willing to die for Vietnam.

Gotta go to my last meeting of the day--hope to catch more of this later and fire another salvo.

Paul

opherdonchin
10-02-2002, 03:55 PM
On the other hand, the Germans didn't "settle" France, nor did the Russians settle Afghanistan, hence their civilians in occupied territory never became targets for the resistance movements- they simply weren't there.I think the point you make here, as well as the points about military necessity implying that the settlers are military targets are good points. There is much to say about this, and I think there are few resistance movements whose hands are truly clean. I believe it was common in occupied France to execute collaborators, an ugly crime now perpetrated by the Palestinians on their own people.

The truth is that, among those Palestinian's who argue for avoiding attacks on civilian targets, it is commonly assumed that settlers would be considered military targets. Israelis generally feel that this is not reasonable, and feel this more strongly when elderly people, children, or pregnant women are targetted. Israelis also feel that there is a difference between targetting soldiers on active duty and targetting soldiers riding home on a bus. These sorts of distinctions are important, and they are mirrored by similar subtle distinctions made on the Palestinian side in categorizing their own dead.

I'm not arguing for any specific and clear distinctions between freedom fighters and terrorists. I'm just arguing against the (straw man) claim that no such distinction can be made.
Surely not because Germany's attack into France was utterly unprovoked, while the 1967 war, although started by Israel, was "caused" by the mobilization of the bordering Arab states, therefore "self defense?"
Are we really sure we want to go there?
You don't actually have to be incompetent at all. You go to war generally when you conclude you've exhausted all the other less costly options because none of them is working.Yes, but what a tragic mistake it was for them to make this decision!
Ultimately it comes down to something Ho Chi Minh once said, I paraphrase: We will beat the Americans, because in the end, more Vietnamese than Americans are willing to die for Vietnam.And herein lies the heart of the Palestinian error in judgement in the fall and winter of 2000. They went to war because they thought they had nothing to lose, and yet it appears that there was much that they stood to lose. The went to war because they believed that Israelis would not be willing to die for the occupied territories. Unfortunately for both sides, the Israeli interpretation was that they went to war because they wanted more than the occupied territories and sought the destruction of Israel. For this, many Israelis were and still are willing to lay down their lives.

I recommend again following through the links on This American Life and reading about the Camp David process. It is a truly tragic dance of misunderstanding (justly deserved and amply delivered) by both sides.

DanielR
10-02-2002, 03:59 PM
if it's militarily necessary to introduce civilians into occupied territory, they must be performing some military function, hence, by the laws of war, I'd suggest they've become legitimate military targets, even if they themselves never intended to be! I'd admit that this is a valid point. My objectivity fails when it comes to the settlers - I feel that they endanger not only themselves (which they're free to do), but also the Israeli soldiers and the inside-green-line citizens.
Ahh, "that's different." But, how? Surely not because Germany's attack into France was utterly unprovoked, while the 1967 war, although started by Israel, was "caused" by the mobilization of the bordering Arab states, therefore "self defense?"Well, yes. Do you believe that occupation in self-defence is no different? How about Golan Heights?

Also, when put in the context of the failed peace process, it is also different in the fact that the occupant was ready to negotiate on return of most of the occupied territories.
You don't actually have to be incompetent at all. You go to war generally when you conclude you've exhausted all the other less costly options because none of them is working.
Right; but I'd argue that this intifadah is extremely costly to Palestinians. In human lives, destroyed economy, damaged image - what is more costly than these?

Besides, Palestinians didn't exhaust their options back then. One useful option was to demonstrate that they are able to provide security to Israel. Didn't happen.
...there seem to be many Israelis in government who would like to see a longer, infinite, process since the amount of land they'll have to give back gets smaller every day. The Palestinians understand this, they are trying to force the issue.As I mentioned earlier, so far the only thing they succeeded to force is to move the Israeli left to the right. I don't see how this helps the Palestinian cause.


...it is a risk the government of Israel understands, and has decided to assume, because your friend's life is worth less to them than the objective of holding onto the land. I don't believe your governments are dumb enough to believe that nobody in the territories is willing to fight for their homes; do you?Sure; I was talking more on a personal level, and when it comes to the people you love, objectivity disappears.
Ultimately it comes down to something Ho Chi Minh once said, I paraphrase: We will beat the Americans, because in the end, more Vietnamese than Americans are willing to die for Vietnam.As far as the settlements go, I'm sure there's not too many Israelis willing to die for two mobile homes in the middle of nowhere. But the Palestinians are taking their war to the streets of Tel-Aviv. Naturally, this backfires.

DanielR
10-02-2002, 04:13 PM
I recommend again following through the links on This American Life and reading about the Camp David process. It is a truly tragic dance of misunderstanding (justly deserved and amply delivered) by both sides.
Right, there were misunderstandings. That particular round of talks failed. You feel frustrated, you feel like you're getting nowhere. So what do you do? Let's see... How about blowing up some civilians? That will surely convince the other side...

Paul Clark
10-03-2002, 09:46 AM
Daniel/Opher,

I spent much of last evening reading the stuff fromt he This American Life website. Fascninating accounts by people who were actually present (Except Mr. Morris of course). I have a few observations:

1. The original article by Malley and Agha, as well as their replies and rebuttals, all seem to me to be richer in documentation, direct quotation, and critical analysis than any of the Morris/Barak pieces.

2. Malley and Agha appear more willing (and successful)to explore the plans and actions of all 3 parties than Morris, who simply provides Barak's post-mortem. The former approach to me conveys less emotional baggage, self interest, and ultimately a more objective account of events. This is of course my own subjective judgement.

3. the Malley/Agha assertion that "Israel never put a proposal on the table at Camp David" solves an ongoing problem for me. Ever since, in an effort to confirm and understand the "bantustan" accusation levelled at the offer, I've been looking without success for a map that would show what was offered. That condition is handily explained if there was never actually a map proffered. At least I can quit looking.

4. I think it's axiomatic that the first person to lose their temper in a debate loses. In my view there's a clear loser in this exchange of articles as evidenced by the language employed by both sides in the last piece.

I wrote a paper in 1991 which concluded that Israel would best serve its own interests, and the US its own (and those are certainly not congruent as many would have us believe)if they surrendered the territories as soon as possible. I'm encouraged by Barak's admission that in the aftermath of the 1967 war Ben Gurion himself, to the amazement of Barak and others, recommended an immediate withdrawal and a settlement of a permanent peace. I predicted in 1991 that both Arafat and Begin (then the premier) would have to go before this would be possible again. I was wrong (at least so far) about Arafat, but I may yet turn out to be correct, although I'm not real happy about that. I think a deal was and remains possible, and that much of the intervening 11 years to date has been wasted.

Independent of what may be best for Israel (as seen by Barak or any other Israeli), the United States ought to look after its own best interests. I think it's interesting that the President's speech in the UN two weeks ago emphasized that the UN must see that security council resolutions are enforced, or become irrelevant. That was either a brilliant strategic move or a really great blunder. If his plan is to first enforce resolutions on Iraq, and having done so, enforce the resolutions that mandate a settlement along the 1967 borders, it will be brilliant. Choosing to prove that in Iraq is a useful step to legitimize, in Israeli as well as US public and Congressional eyes, the enforcement of similar but more numerous resolutions requiring Israel to withdraw. On the other hand, if he does not see that he's made that commitment, and doesn't therefore intend to go to that second step, a use of force to topple the Saddam regime almost certainly WILL render the UN utterly irrelevant in the Arab world at least, if not also in Europe, China, and much of the third world. The implications for the usefulness of anything like international law, as opposed to pre-20th century balance of power relationships, is pretty discouraging.

more later.

Paul

Paul Clark
10-03-2002, 01:59 PM
Daniel/Opher

back with a few minutes to spare. To some of your earlier points:

Daniel:
Well, yes. Do you believe that occupation in self-defence is no different? How about Golan Heights?

I don't think they're different. The United States, after all, could still be occupying 1/4 of Germany and all of Japan if we wished, as well as most or all of the Pacific Islands. We don't. If we did, we'd be wrong, and if we were battling insurgents, we'd deserve it, just as the Russians did in Afghanistan (and I hope we don't sometime soon.) Mr. Barak recognizes that in hindsight, Ben Gurion was right in 1967, he's still right today (IMHO).

You do raise an interesting idea, perhaps un-intentionally, with "occupation in self-defence". Opher, no, we don't need to go there with who started the 67 war, and that's not really the point. A better question is how do you feel that occupation of the territories contributes to the defense of Israel? What are you defending against? As long as you're in the territories, you defend yourself against the population there, which is trying to get you to leave. But, if you weren't occupying that place, and imposing a military government on those people, what would you be defending against? Not Jordan, for God's sake. Not Egypt. Iraq cannot project power that far (we won't let them, even if you would), Syria you've already beaten twice, and that when they still had a superpower sponsor. Saudi Arabia, ditto. Lebanon? You have to be kidding, and anyway that has more or less proved that abandoning occupation works better than keeping it up, at least so far. Turkey you are friends with; the Gulf states are too far away. And let's not forget the Abdullah plan, aka UNSC 242, which gets you a full peace, diplomatic relations with everyone, everything that Israel wants . . . .except THE LAND?? oops.

I believe that it's ultimately in Israel's interests to comply with the UNSC resolutions to the letter. Why? Well, for one thing, of the many things Israel wants, it's to be fully accepted as a member of the family of nations. To be respected as a full member of the UN--but how can you do that while in violation of the terms of admission (right of return), Geneva Coventions (not my opinion, the violations are cited in numerous UNSC resolutions, all of which had the vote of the United States in order to pass), and the resolutions themselves? Can't have it both ways. (I've read Israeli government complaints about not being afforded full rights of UN membership, since it doesn't belong to any regional grouping and therefore cannot have a rotating seat on the security council. On the one hand, Israel thumbs its nose at the council and says it's "anti Israel", on the other, it demands to be a full partner without having to shoulder the responsibilities of membership. nuts?)

I think Israel's position on the Golan is even less tenable than in the WB and Gaza, at least from the legal interpretation provided earlier by Opher. That one contended that the WB and GAza are not the sovereign territory of any nation, therefore subject to appropriation by whomever can take them (more or less). It's not possible to make that case at all vis a vis the Golan--they're part of Syria. To deny that is to also allow that any part of 1948-1967 Israel is also up for grabs for anyone who can take it.
Also, when put in the context of the failed peace process, it is also different in the fact that the occupant was ready to negotiate on return of most of the occupied territories

Here's where you can really help me out, because I've never understood the thinking on this. Why is Israel's starting point, as it's put in the Malley article, that land may be "given" as opposed to "returned?" It goes to your assertion above that "most of the occupied territories" is a good thing, but why not "All"? The UN resolution says:

"withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;"

and in the preamble to 242,

"Emphasazing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war. . ."

It doesn't say "most", it doesn't say "to be negotiated". I've never understood why Barak's offer (or non-offer) at Camp David could be charactized as "generous" without crossed fingers and a big smirk. So, I don't agree that the offer to return "most" of the land in any way legitimizes the occupation as you suggest. I am very interested in the reasoning that gets you there, though.

'Nuff for now. I've been deliberately provocative for the sake of this still extraordinarily civil and intelligent debate. Look forward to your views.

Paul

DanielR
10-03-2002, 05:52 PM
The United States, after all, could still be occupying 1/4 of Germany and all of Japan if we wished
But why would you wish to? I don't see a reason for the US to be occupying Germany or Japan, since there's no threat coming from those countries. With Golan Heights, however, the issues of security matters, water sources, early warning systems etc. cannot be ignored and must be resolved to the satisfaction of both sides before the Golans are returned. I think battling insurgents in this case is better than having Syrian artillery overlooking Tiberias.

Most of the Israelis, and most of the Israeli politicians would have to be convinced that an arrangement with Syria would provide a safe border and uninterrupted flow of water. Not an easy case to make, considering the history, and what's happening today with the water sources in Lebanon...
A better question is how do you feel that occupation of the territories contributes to the defense of Israel? What are you defending against?
In case of the West Bank territories I cannot make a case in favor of holding on to them. The only thing I can think of is the "land for peace" principle. Bottom line, I'm all for returning the territories, but only after a significant period without terrorist attacks.
Here's where you can really help me out, because I've never understood the thinking on this. Why is Israel's starting point, as it's put in the Malley article, that land may be "given" as opposed to "returned?" It goes to your assertion above that "most of the occupied territories" is a good thing, but why not "All"?
I think, partly because there's no consensus in Israel as to how much of the territories to return. It's not only the world and the Palestinians that Israel has to please; the internal opposition will not surrender easily. The majority coalitions in Israel are so fragile, that even the smallest righ-wing party can destroy any attempt to reach some sort of compromise. Actually, it's the same on the other side.

Paul Clark
10-03-2002, 07:05 PM
Daniel,
But why would you wish to? I don't see a reason for the US to be occupying Germany or Japan, since there's no threat coming from those countries. With Golan Heights, however, the issues of security matters, water sources, early warning systems etc. cannot be ignored and must be resolved to the satisfaction of both sides before the Golans are returned. I think battling insurgents in this case is better than having Syrian artillery overlooking Tiberias.

and
Most of the Israelis, and most of the Israeli politicians would have to be convinced that an arrangement with Syria would provide a safe border and uninterrupted flow of water. Not an easy case to make, considering the history, and what's happening today with the water sources in Lebanon...

Why would we want to? Well, I'm told they have excellent coal and iron ore in the Ruhr, not to mention lots of heavy industrial facilities that would augment the US economy quite nicely. Also, they have lots of fresh water in freely flowing rivers, nice harbors, great wine growing regions and fertile farmland, not to mention beer. After WWII you would have been hard pressed to avoid being laughed at if you asserted there was no threat from either Germany or Japan. The point is that despite the fact that they have many things in both countries that others, including us, might covet and find useful, we made the decision that it was not ours to take. We further decided that a long term occupation would not serve US interests as well as the establishment of a prosperous and friendly nation in both instances, and we've been proven correct.

Again, I'm impressed by the assumption that somehow Israel has a right to determine what arrangements will be made, particularly with regard to water, but others as well. Your argument seems to hint that the '67 war was perhaps not all about defense, it was also an opportunity to seize resources that Israel coveted and still does.

How wide is the Golan from the cliffs to the furthest eastern line of Israeli control? 10 miles, 15, 20 perhaps? Maybe 40? Artillery can reach that far already; at least MLRS can and tubes as well with rocket assisted shells. A Syrian armored attack across the Golan, or an artillery barrage from the heights, is a myth. For early warning Israel has its own satellites, for air defense you have Patriot, and dear to my own heart, the F-15C Eagle, less dear, the F-16. You have the finest equipment that US tax dollars can buy. What does Syria have that threatens you?

Paul

DanielR
10-03-2002, 08:38 PM
We further decided that a long term occupation would not serve US interests as well as the establishment of a prosperous and friendly nation in both instances...after full capitulation of both those countries. It took quite a bit of force, including a couple of nukes, to bring those countries to the stage where it was possible to establish prosperity and friendliness there.
Your argument seems to hint that the '67 war was perhaps not all about defense, it was also an opportunity to seize resources that Israel coveted and still does.Could be. It's not important, however, in the discussion on how to resolve the Golan issue today. I'm saying that given the history of hostility between the two sides, it seems reasonable to require certain guarantees of safety as part of the agreement.
A Syrian armored attack across the Golan, or an artillery barrage from the heights, is a myth. For early warning Israel has its own satellites, for air defense you have Patriot, ... the F-15C Eagle, ... the F-16. You have the finest equipment that US tax dollars can buy. What does Syria have that threatens you? Define "threatens"? I'm sure Israel would crush Syria in case of a military conflict, but knowing of an attack sooner rather than later could translate into hundreds of lives. Anyway, I'm not a military expert, so I cannot really tell whether the Israeli demand for early warning systems is a reasonable demand or just a tactical trick.

Problem is, the argument "you are the mightiest military power in the region" doesn't really work for me. The US military might didn't prevent the 9-11. The Israeli military might doesn't preven terrorist attacks or Hesbollah's Katyushas. There has to be something more - like some good will on the other side. It's just so hard to believe that this good will will pop up as soon as they get their land back... The Lebanon example doesn't seem to be convincing so far. Israel got out - Hesbollah continues its attacks, the Lebanese are messing with the water sources. Not very cheering.

opherdonchin
10-03-2002, 10:59 PM
Here's where you can really help me out, because I've never understood the thinking on this. Why is Israel's starting point, as it's put in the Malley article, that land may be "given" as opposed to "returned?" It goes to your assertion above that "most of the occupied territories" is a good thing, but why not "All"? The UN resolution says:

"withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;"Always glad to help if I can ;)

Apparently, their were countries pushing in the security council for a resolution that would explicitly say 'all of the territories,' and both the U.S. and England felt that it would be a mistake to word the resolution this way. They, apparently, felt it was important that the extent of the withdrawal be a subject for negotiations in a future peace accord.

And I wonder whether the example of allied occupation of Germany after WWII is really as telling as you think, Paul. After all, the allied forces occupied Germany for 10 years, and they used some fairly heavy handed methods to deal with nazi terrorist cells that tried to develop in Germany during that period. It certainly helped them, in doing this, that they had bombed the living shit out of Germany so that the people were really tired of war and ready to put up with a certain amount of ocupation for peace. It is also key that the occupation ended only after it was clear that the situation had been peaceful for quite some time, and it ended through peaceful negotiation.

I'm going to leave most of the stuff both of you are saying untouched. When things get too polemical, I tend to feel I have little to add.

Paul Clark
10-04-2002, 09:01 AM
Opher,

Didn't mean to be polemic, but I was being deliberately provocative. Also, I was stealing time between meetings, so I didn't have as much opportunity to "smooth". Sorry if I gave the wrong impression.

The US occupation of Germany is not that great a comparison against Israeli occupation of the territories, I know. My points, which were intended to be subtle, were these.

First, to explore the comparison between Israel's desire to ensure water rights and some other desire by a victorious power to take some permanent, well, "booty". Maybe a better comparison would have been the Soviet occupation of much of Eastern Europe, but on the other hand their motives might not appear so similar to Israel's either. The bottom line is that Daniel tossed out the a priori premise that Israel assumes the right to dispose of water rights on conquered territory, I was seeking another example to compare that with, perhaps not real successfully.

Second, really goes to that last sentence. It's pretty tough to find another 20th century example of anything similar to the occupation of the WB, Gaza, and the Golan. Maybe China and Tibet? Perhaps the eventual conquest of South Vietnam by the North? Maybe Iraq taking Kuwait, which they claimed was a defensive measure against the Kuwaitis pumping oil from wrong hole? (of course they also claimed Kuwait as a lost province of Iraq, which may not be all that dissimilar from Israel claiming lost provinces of Samaria and Judea? provocative again, sorry) Not sure how applicable any of those are, and I'm out of ideas. Anyway, if you come up with a similar case, does Israel really want to be held up as an example with either of those I mentioned, or another you might? Seems to me to be opposed to the idea that Israel is a liberal, western democracy committed to being a member of the law abiding nations of the world. And if you're not one of those, are you not a bit of a "rogue state" as our state dept. used to label the Libya's, Iraq's, and Iran's of the world? What is it that Israel wants to BE, and what are they doing to help themselves become that? That's the question.

The first book I ever read on this subject was Tom Friedman's "From Beirut to Jerusalem". His most important premise, I believe, is the notion that Occupation has been more damaging to Israel than it has been even to the Palestinians. He says it corrodes the ideal that Israel originally stood for; corrupts its politics, ruins its legitimacy in the family of nations, and ultimately erodes the moral integrity of individual Israelis (I'm paraphrasing, and it's been a while; if I miss badly here, it's unintentional). This I think will do more to undermine Israel's survival as a viable state entity than anything any Arab state can or will ever be able to do.

It may be that Israel, for the moment, is content to be despised by everyone as long as it is loved by the only one that counts to them, namely the United States. I would agree that for the moment, that works. I don't believe, however, that it's in the long-term interests of the United States for us to alienate the rest of the world and have only one friend left, Israel. For the moment we can, but it will not always be so. We will likely have to begin to modify our support and become more "balanced" sooner rather than later (for example, if we want to "do" Iraq, which brings us back on topic, imagine that).

That's not to say we can't do Iraq alone, or that we won't. It does say, however, that it will cost us an awful lot to do it that way--in dollars, in prestige, in relationships, and in "soft power". I just wonder how long it will be before we ask ourselves if Israel is worth what it costs us, and I worry where Israel ends up when that question gets answered. Hence, I think sooner is better for Israel getting on the right side of history, for them and for us. If Israel is really an ally of the United States, I'd think they'd have that consideration high on their list of priorities.

Paul

DanielR
10-04-2002, 10:13 AM
The bottom line is that Daniel tossed out the a priori premise that Israel assumes the right to dispose of water rights on conquered territory
This is not exactly the message I was trying to convey (not the first time I fail to express my thoughts :) ). The water sources are located on Syria's territory, but what Syria does with them directly affects Israel. There has to be some sort of arrangement that guarantees fair sharing of this resource by the neighbours.
...of course (Iraq) also claimed Kuwait as a lost province of Iraq, which may not be all that dissimilar from Israel claiming lost provinces of Samaria and Judea? Nowadays I don't think Israel still claims that. Some right-wing parties, maybe, but certainly not the majority.
Seems to me to be opposed to the idea that Israel is a liberal, western democracy committed to being a member of the law abiding nations of the world. And if you're not one of those, are you not a bit of a "rogue state" Don't you feel that any state is a bit rogue when it needs to be? This is a whole different story, but the only states I could think of as law abiding are those that never had to deal with the kinds of problems Israel did.
Occupation has been more damaging to Israel than it has been even to the Palestinians.I think we, and most Israelis, will agree that the occupation doesn't bring much good to Israel. But, by the same token, neither does unilateral withdrawal without ensuring that the other side provides a stable border and end to terrorism.
It may be that Israel, for the moment, is content to be despised by everyone as long as it is loved by the only one that counts to them, namely the United States.
I think the attitude towards Israel's policy is determined not only by the continuing occupation, but mostly by the layout of forces in the world in general, as it's always been. Each country decides whether today it serves its interest to support or despise Israel. Countires with similar problems (like Russia, India, or the US) would probably refrain from one-sided criticism towards Israel.
I don't believe, however, that it's in the long-term interests of the United States for us to alienate the rest of the world and have only one friend left, Israel. I don't think that's going to happen. Most of Israeli actions during the history of the conflict were done after some sort of green light from the US. Once the US decides it's time for Israel to be nice, I think Israel will have no choice but to comply. I do believe however that it wouldn't be wise for the US to demand complete Israeli withdrawal before making sure the guarantees of the other side are real and implementable.

DanielR
10-04-2002, 10:29 AM
Occupation ...ruins (Israel's) legitimacy in the family of nations
Paul, do you honestly believe this family even exists? Up until 20 years ago all the conflicts between Israel and Palestinians were determined by the length of the leash the US and the USSR allowed to the sides they supported. Nowadays we have the only one superpower left, so whatever happens today is a result of the current balance of forces. Every serious player today basically does what it pleases as long as it doesn't irritate the others too much. Israel is under a hightened scrutiny, for all kinds of reasons, and I think it tries hard to maneuver between the internal public opinion, the local politicians and the global policy. In my opinion, today's "family of nations" itself doesn't have enough legitimacy to demand one from Israel.

opherdonchin
10-04-2002, 11:48 AM
Didn't mean to be polemic, but I was being deliberately provocative. Also, I was stealing time between meetings, so I didn't have as much opportunity to "smooth". Sorry if I gave the wrong impression.Nothing wrong with polemics. They have an important role in life. I think it's great that you and Daniel are trying to convince each other, and I'm learning a lot listening to both of you.
It's pretty tough to find another 20th century example of anything similar to the occupation of the WB, Gaza, and the Golan.Yeah, it's hard for a number of reasons. People often compare it to Algeria and the French, or to Ireland and the English. Another common comparison is Kashmir and India, or the Tamils in Sri Lanka. It's not hard to find 'peoples' in the world who are struggling for liberation. The problem is that each situation presents its own set of unique issues and it is very hard to generalize across situations. I'm not much of a historian, but I am starting to get the sense that a key element in the longevity of a resistance / liberation / terrorist movement is its funding. Motivation and justice seem to me to be weak secondary predictors of success.

Paul Clark
10-04-2002, 11:53 AM
Daniel,
Paul, do you honestly believe this family even exists?

Well, first law of political science: "It depends."

I think there is some value in having at least a minimal set of standards of international behavior, at least so you can tell if someone is breaking "the rules". Now, there are not in reality that many rules in existence, but there are some. To the extent that most countries follow the rules some or most or all of the time, I think there is to some degree a "family of nations" that's law abiding. The opposite premise, that of the "rogue state," you can therefore define as someone who rarely, never, or somewhat less frequently follows those minimal norms of behavior. This construct may not be useful for much beyond facilitating conversation, but there you have it.

Is it realistic to believe that such a community exists? Again, it depends. While it's not perfect, I think the "rules" embodied in the UN charter have and do channel or condition the behaviors of member states. It has also provided a mechanism for disciplining violators, although unevenly, and mostly since the demise of the Cold War allowed the Security Council to act without the competition that was part of it. I'd argue there's an effect there, it might be a long debate to settle on how large that effect is or isn't. I'm not sure I'm the right guy to argue either side of that question.

Still, it seems to me, on the face of it, to be a better idea than simple balance of power politics ala pre 1918 Europe etc. That amounts largely to either "the strong protect the weak" or "the strong eat the weak", and it's up to the strong to choose how it feels from day to day. I guess you could argue that a realist would say it's still that way, always has been that way, and always will be that way. I can buy that that's at least partially true, and still assert there's some limitation placed on it by the signatures on the UN charter and other agreements that constitute this amorphous thing we call "international law".
This is a whole different story, but the only states I could think of as law abiding are those that never had to deal with the kinds of problems Israel did.

Hmm. Israel has the unfortunate luck to have been the last (or can you think of one later?)European colony to have been created out of nothing and then made into an independent state. Let me explain before anyone thinks that's "polemic". I've struggled with how to pin this down. The sentiment seems to me to be that folks who are offended by this are offended because it feels like all that should have been over some time before the middle of the 20th century. Therefore Israel came into being by what was more or less an acceptable process in the 19th century but which by 1948 was somehow, well, Not acceptable. It was also a Western/European process exclusively, which opens a whole other forum for debate, but let's not digress. I have no idea why I or anyone else feels that way--perhaps we'd like to put our own past misbehaviors in a box that says "that was then" and leave them there, draw an arbitrary line, and say "if it happened before this, it's over and done; if it happened after this, that's a bad thing." Where in time that arbitrary line is or should be drawn is something I can't pin down, but I feel it's there or wants to be. Indeed, I think that's why the UN charter establishes the inviolability of the sovereign borders of member states: "all that stuff is over, we all agree that borders are frozen, no more taking by force." Kinda like the Concert of Europe after 1815, writ large.

Maybe the UN charter is where that line really got drawn? That'd be nice, because then we wouldn't have to go through the biblical arguments about who has a historic claim to Palestine; we could even blow off that Muslim sovereigns controlled it for 1400 years until 1918. That actually makes Israel's case easier within pre-67 Israel. However, it makes Israel "rogue" in the territories and anything else they've "annexed" since the 67 war. Israel's signatory to the UN charter, respect for territorial integrity is one of those provisos, etc. The charter also says UNSC resolutions are legally binding on member states. Isreal's in noncompliance with many more than Iraq is.
I do believe however that it wouldn't be wise for the US to demand complete Israeli withdrawal before making sure the guarantees of the other side are real and implementable.

Do you mean to imply some consequence with "it wouldn't be wise?" If so, what do you think those are?

Paul

DanielR
10-04-2002, 12:05 PM
...a key element in the longevity of a resistance / liberation / terrorist movement is its funding. Motivation and justice seem to me to be weak secondary predictors of success. I think another element would be the ability of the movement to achieve tangible results. I think Israel was successfull in proving to the Palestinians that the choice of violent resistance gets them nowhere, and makes things much worse. The opposition voices in the PA grow stronger, as Arafat proved incompetent in either forcing Israel to retreat or making lives of Palestinians better. Once the majority of Palestinians realises that the terrorism must be stopped, and there comes a Palestinian leader that is able to completely disengage from the fundamentalist organizations and disable them, resuming negotiations and reaching a compromise would seem possible again.

DanielR
10-04-2002, 12:58 PM
I think there is some value in having at least a minimal set of standards of international behavior
I agree wholeheartedly. It is important for the UN to at least try to enforce the international laws. We don't see many successful examples yet, but I hope the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be one of them some day.
I can buy that that's ("strong protects/eats the weak" principle) at least partially true, and still assert there's some limitation placed on it by the signatures on the UN charter and other agreements that constitute this amorphous thing we call "international law".
The fact that you can at least partially agree with that principle being alive and well today, leads me to believe that you can also agree with the claim that this principle plays an important role in the way modern conflicts are resolved. Israel (and most other countries) constantly seeks support and approval of the US sooner than it seeks support in the UN. Maybe it's an indication that the international law has only a secondary role. Actually, the US is proving this to be true with its "join us or step aside" behavior in the context of Iraq.

I do believe however that it wouldn't be wise for the US to demand complete Israeli withdrawal before making sure the guarantees of the other side are real and implementable.Do you mean to imply some consequence with "it wouldn't be wise?" If so, what do you think those are?I think it would have disastrous consequences for Israel, as it would loose the much needed support in proving that the Palestinian violence should not be rewarded. Moreover, the US would appear as the one who's rewarding the Palestinian terror, and it doesn't seem to be a very nice position for the US to be in, especially today.

On the other hand, I think that the US should continue demanding from both sides to end the violence and resume the negotiations, and be involved in the negotiations.

DanielR
10-04-2002, 01:27 PM
...it makes Israel "rogue" in the territories and anything else they've "annexed" since the 67 war. Israel's signatory to the UN charter, respect for territorial integrity is one of those provisos, etc. The charter also says UNSC resolutions are legally binding on member states. Isreal's in noncompliance with many more than Iraq is.
The UN charter, and one's image in the eyes of other countries, is only one of many things a government has to consider when deciding on a certain policy. You put everything on the scales and see what outweighs. Currently the attempts to stop the infiltrations and guarantee safe borders are more important, at least to the Israeli citizens, than what Belgium thinks of Israel.

Paul Clark
10-04-2002, 02:44 PM
Daniel.

Excellent.
The fact that you can at least partially agree with that principle being alive and well today, leads me to believe that you can also agree with the claim that this principle plays an important role in the way modern conflicts are resolved. Israel (and most other countries) constantly seeks support and approval of the US sooner than it seeks support in the UN. Maybe it's an indication that the international law has only a secondary role. Actually, the US is proving this to be true with its "join us or step aside" behavior in the context of Iraq.

Yes, it plays an important role. However, I'd argue that this isn't as bad as it might be, as the US has been more disposed to the basics of international law than, say the USSR might be if it were in our position. The US as global policeman isn't, at least as we'd like to see ourselves, the same as global bully. There will be many who say "no difference", maybe I'm a little biased.

On "join us or step aside", I have to tread a little lightly but will comment anyway. The danger here is one that Neil Mick and others many pages back would be sensitive to. The US finds itself at a crossroads of sorts, not entirely a creature of 9/11. With the end of the Cold War, we more or less inherited the trappings of global empire which we had never sought, except in the context of being able to trade and make money. That has become both political and military as well as economic, and we didn't ask for it. The risk is that we start acting as though we like it that way, and in the process, make ourselves as big a global bully as was Rome, or Persia, the Caliphate, Spain, Britain, or the USSR. That is not who we are, at least, not how I was raised to think of who we are, but we can become that rather quickly with a few unilateral steps.

That said, I don't think the objective in Iraq is all that much in question among this family of nations. The issue is "how" it gets done. Noone will mourn for Saddam when he's gone. What will get the mourning really going is if what's left isn't stable, if in turn it spreads more instability, and if a "Balkanized" Iraq produces the kind of suffering that the Balkans saw throughout the 90s and still feels today to some degree. I think that our government is concerned enough about Saddam that they want it done, I wonder if they think the best way to build a coalition is to threaten to go it alone. That may or may not be correct, but we would certainly prefere a coalition to not having one.

The building of the coalition is not a question of the objectives in my opinion as much as it is likely one of quid pro quos to the participants. For example, I know many Saudis. I think if they believed that their cooperation on Iraq would lead to immediate US insistence on a settlement in Palestine along the Green Line, some accomodation on right of return, and aid for the new Palestinian state, they'd be on board and leading the way downtown to Baghdad. I think that's likely true of all the worldly people in Arab states around the Gulf, plus Egypt and all North Africa, maybe not Syria, but maybe. That's because I think they value the Palestine issue much higher than Saddam or the principle that he ought not to be subject to removal. The road to Baghdad runs through Jerusalem, however, for them. Or, at least, the printed ticket must include Jerusalem as the next destination on a ticket that first stops in Baghdad, with a certainly defined date of arrival at the former.

Provisions for France, China and Russia are a little outside my area of expertise, but I'm certain that they are playing for something, or that they are willing to play for something if we offer the right inducements-access to post Saddam oil concessions, that kind of thing, or some other thing they want somewhere else on the planet. It's all about price, sort of like being in the carpet souk. I'm sure our guys know all this better than I do, they're playing for cooperation the way they think best gets them there. I don't think the fat lady's even warming up yet to be honest.
I think it would have disastrous consequences for Israel, as it would loose the much needed support in proving that the Palestinian violence should not be rewarded. Moreover, the US would appear as the one who's rewarding the Palestinian terror, and it doesn't seem to be a very nice position for the US to be in, especially today.

I'm not sure I understand or agree. If the US would or could drive Israel to withdrawal to, say, the Taba "offer" tomorrow, how would that be "disastrous for Israel?"

I'm not sure I understand the principle at play in "Palestinian violence should not be rewarded" either. Ours was when we won our war for independence; Israel's was when they won theirs. I'm not sure the Palestinian struggle is much different with the exception of tactics. I suspect you're worried that once the Palestinians get a state they will continue to pluck at Israel and be encouraged that they can drive the Jews into the sea. I don't think that's likely or even the objective; but it makes for good sound bites.

I don't agree with the assertion of equivalence between the Al-Qaeda campaign and the Palestinians', so I don't see any risk for us in what might appear to be a reward for Palestinian violence. In fact, we could bolster our own status among friends we need worse for quite some time by getting in line with existing resolutions. The Palestinians can be "given" a victory in fulfillment of international law in my view without making a concession to "terrorism". I'm wearing this out, but I'm again provocative, and certainly not many people now in the US government would agree with me. Returning to our mutual admission that there is some degree of "the strong eat the weak" or its adverse still in play, this would seem to be both a practical and attractive course on many levels for the US. Here, though, I suspect Israel would make a moral appeal to mitigate our balance of power calculation, and the hamster goes around the wheel again. . .
Currently the attempts to stop the infiltrations and guarantee safe borders are more important, at least to the Israeli citizens, than what Belgium thinks of Israel

I understand. But I'd add that while tactical considerations are important, without a strategy that solves the problem, you'll always be stuck at the tactical level, picking up mouse poop while getting stepped on by elephants, as we used to say.

Paul

DanielR
10-04-2002, 04:12 PM
I don't think the objective in Iraq is all that much in question among this family of nations. The issue is "how" it gets done.
Precisely. I'd argue that we have an identical issue with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The objective is to settle the dispute. The question is - how? If I'm not mistaken, you're advocating a solution in which Israel unilaterally withdraws to the borders of 1967, uprooting the settlements beyond the green line. I agree that it has to be done and see no point in holding on to that land. The problem I'm having is under what curcumstances this is done, and who represents the Palestinian side. A measure as drastic as this has to be "sold" to the Israeli voters, otherwise the government trying to implement this solution will simply crumble before it makes one step. There has to be a solid majority that supports this measure. Today, however, the Israelis, at least those I know, have lost any hope that the current Palestinian leadership is capable of stopping the terror, and the chances of getting to that majority are miniscule. I think the Palestinians realize this too.
If the US would or could drive Israel to withdrawal to, say, the Taba "offer" tomorrow, how would that be "disastrous for Israel?"I was thinking of a hypothetical situation where the US joins the Europe and the Arab states and demands immediate Israeli withdrawal, period. Sort of saying "ok, you're on your own, no more vetoes in the UN, let's see how you handle this one". I believe the position the US should maintain is, as always, a careful balancing act, between making sure the Israeli demands for security are satisfied and having it withdraw from the occupied territories.
I'm not sure I understand the principle at play in "Palestinian violence should not be rewarded" either. Ours was when we won our war for independence; Israel's was when they won theirs. I'm not sure the Palestinian struggle is much different with the exception of tactics. I suspect you're worried that once the Palestinians get a state they will continue to pluck at Israel and be encouraged that they can drive the Jews into the sea. No, I don't buy this "drive into the sea" hysteria. However, I refer to your theory about drawing the line between the less and more civilized worlds. I also want to believe it's somewhere in the past, and it goes both ways. Israelis should not be able to hold on to the occupied territores, and the Palestinians should get the territores as a result of peaceful negotiations, not as a result of a terrorist campaign.
I don't agree with the assertion of equivalence between the Al-Qaeda campaign and the Palestinians', so I don't see any risk for us in what might appear to be a reward for Palestinian violence.The equivalence is not in the goals of the campaigns, but in the methods. I'd make this analogy: a father, whose son was murdered, murders the killer. Both are criminals in the eyes of the law. This is very simplistic, but the point is, when I'm making my judgment regarding the Palestinian struggle, I cannot disregard the way this struggle is conducted. Personally, I'd have a hard time blaiming that father. I'm having an equally hard time condemning Israel for pursuing the terrorists and not giving up the territories under the current conditions.
Currently the attempts to stop the infiltrations and guarantee safe borders are more important, at least to the Israeli citizens, than what Belgium thinks of IsraelBut I'd add that while tactical considerations are important, without a strategy that solves the problem, you'll always be stuck at the tactical level, picking up mouse poop while getting stepped on by elephants, as we used to say.Again, the strategy has to be a result of negotiations and a mutual agreement on the resolution of the conflict. This cannot be reached in a day, and certainly not under fire. In my view, having the PA demonstrate that it is capable of a civilized conduct, capable to maintain order, should be a part of this strategy.

Neil Mick
10-04-2002, 07:16 PM
BTW, regarding attacking Iraq:

A little note: President Shrub and Tony Blair recently went on-record by saying that the IAEA gave a report that Iraq is manufacturing nuclear weapons, which will be ready in 6 months.

The IAEA denies that any such report exists, or that they EVER gave a time-frame for nuclear readiness to Iraq.

Shrub lied, on TV.

Even though I have a low opinion of the Shrub-ster, I am a little taken aback. It's weird to hear your President swearing up and down over a report that doesn't exist.

DanielR
10-04-2002, 10:22 PM
This is pretty amazing. I've searched the Net and all I found was references to the 9/27/02 Washington Times article reporting this, and references to a 1998 IAEA report which says Iraq "achieved many major steps on the way to a nuclear weapon" but there was no indication of final success. Is there any comment from the White House on this?

(Paul, we should probably take our discussion to another thread, shouldn't we?)

Jim ashby
10-05-2002, 06:40 AM
The dossier was published in the UK. It was as vague as a car salesman's guarantee. One part said that, given enough weapons grade fissile material, Iraq could make a usable nuclear weapon within two years. Allow me to be the first to say DUUUUH. Give anyone enough fissile material they could make a nuclear weapon in less than six months, in their back yard.

This is not news, nor is it enough reason to invade.

Have fun.

Paul Clark
10-05-2002, 09:08 AM
Daniel,

I've never started a thread, but if you prefer eithe of us can do it. Let me know here where to should go to continue . . .

A couple of parting comments for this forum, though, before we go:
I was thinking of a hypothetical situation where the US joins the Europe and the Arab states and demands immediate Israeli withdrawal, period. Sort of saying "ok, you're on your own, no more vetoes in the UN, let's see how you handle this one". I believe the position the US should maintain is, as always, a careful balancing act, between making sure the Israeli demands for security are satisfied and having it withdraw from the occupied territories.
As a pracitcal matter, I agree. However, as we agree there remains some amount of plain power relationships in international affairs, what is it about Israel that would constrain the US from making the above decision (OK, you're on your own) before first ensuring Israeli demands for security are satisfied? One of the things about this relationship that interests me greatly is the equivalence that many people give to the interests of the United States and Israel. We have never fought a war together, and there isn't any conceivable war (to my mind) in which such an arrangement would be useful. I don't know of any Arab spies in custody in the US, but we have Jonothan Pollard and there have been others over the last 55 years, most of whom have eventually been deported to Israel after doing significant damage to US national security. It's a fact that Israel is the biggest offender we have when it comes to illicit transfer of US technologies, mostly to China, which hurts US interests in an important way. In your view, why is it that what Israel feels it "must have" should also be what the United States "must have" vis a vis Israel?

Again, the strategy has to be a result of negotiations and a mutual agreement on the resolution of the conflict. This cannot be reached in a day, and certainly not under fire.

My favorite on strategy:

"The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, who's only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kindom. Sun Tzu

I wonder if Mr. Sharon has studied the old Chinese master?

Paul

DanielR
10-05-2002, 11:05 AM
Paul,

I've started a new thread "Israeli-Palestinian conflict". My comments to your last post are there.

opherdonchin
10-05-2002, 03:42 PM
The thread is here: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2700

Neil Mick
10-11-2002, 01:40 PM
The thread got a little off-track, with the comments on Palestine (but actually, the two subjects are closely related, because Sharon will use the war on Iraq as a media-screen for increased attacks on the Palestinians).

I thought I'd pose this question I posted on another Aikido website. Let's hope it receives a little more consideration and just plain courtesy, than it did over there.

With the recent beating of war-drums and war-rhetoric, America's President has us all set to go to war. Even if you do not agree with the direction this country is taking, with its increased secrecy and limitations on civil liberties, you implicitly play a (small) part of the overall problem. Your tax $$ serve to feed the war machine.

In a martial art advocating harmony and a vision of world peace, what is the role of Aikidoists in creating a better world?

How do we, as Aikidoists, help to foster a world with less violence (maybe a better question is: "How do you, as an Aikidoist, work to bring peace in a society bent upon war?" as it is a very individual question. There is no 1 answer for everyone).

opherdonchin
10-11-2002, 01:57 PM
So let me take a stab at this, although it will have to be a quick one. I'm not taking a side on the Iraq war thing, mind you. That's not relevant to the question. I guess the way I make sense of the question is 'how would an AiKiDo-trained opponent of the war behave differently than your average run-of-the-mill opponent of the war.'

The understanding implicit in the question is that simply opposing the war adds more conflict to a situation which is already, to your mind, overflowing with conflict. I think there is probably some wisdom in that, although I'm never quite sure. How do you "blend" with a governemtn that is supposed to represent you but whose policies you do not agree with? Reaching by reflex for my AiKiDoka book of well-used sayings, my first guess would be to try something like 'making sure you see and understand clearly what things look like from the other point of view.' The strategy of AiKiDo, as I understand it, is not to force people who don't agree with you to change their minds, but rather to open your own mind up to change and, by religiously keeping your balance, to focus on learning how their minds move and change.

I have to admit that I've achieved only a very limited understanding of the motivations spurring the politicians and the American populace towards this war. I've read a number of people trying to clearly elaborate those reasons (usually as a preliminary for undermining them as an argument in opposition to a war), but I'm always left feeling like I don't get the whole picture. Perhaps that would be the best first step, though, Neil: the more you can learn about why we are going to war and what the different players hope to gain, the more you will have a chance of influencing the process. The danger is always, though, in thinking that you already know or that you've already understood.

DanielR
10-11-2002, 02:27 PM
Neil,

Hoping that your question wasn't addressed only to those Aikidoka that oppose the war (I'm not saying I do or don't), let me comment on your question as follows.

It seems to me that the question contains an implicit assumption that a war with Iraq (or any war?) wouldn't be compatible with the definition of harmony, world peace and, in general, of a better world, and as such, isn't compatible with the principles of Aikido. Now, isn't Aikido, in some way, partly, about prevention? You're preventing the attacker from harming you by applying a technique suitable to the attack. Is this consistent with the "bringing peace" principle?

I guess my short answer to your question would be (and it probably doesn't have to do much with the fact that I practice Aikido) - I work to bring peace by not instigating a conflict, doing everything in my power to prevent the conflict or minimize the negative effect of the conflict. Very vague, because most of the key words here are subjective and their interpretation depends on the situation at hand.

Neil Mick
10-11-2002, 04:14 PM
Daniel and Opher: I congratulate you both. In each of your well-articulated posts you approached the question without resorting to personal attack: something that several of the ppl in the other post could not resist, it seems.

To add to the discussion, I might add that, yes: Aikido is about prevention, but I fail to see what it is that we are preventing, in attacking. No concrete evidence is forthcoming from any pro-war source, and the parties most vociferously advocating this war are resorting to attempted end-runs around the democratic process and lying about IAEA reports on Iraqi readiness...tactics that do not further my trust of the motivations toward attack.

Furthermore, I note that Iraq has some of the richest oil-fields in the world, and the Shrub has some past (10-year) grudge-matches to finish.

There are many countries with "weapons of mass destruction," and a few of those (Israel, for starters) have broken UN resolutions and flaunted international law.

But on a more general, and personal, issue: every year, we pay money into a violent, acquisitive government that shows little respect for the self-governance of other nations.

If I were to see a conflict on the street, where one person were punching out another, I would use my knowledge of Aikido to bring an end to the violence before me.

What should I do when I am an implicit part of the international violence that happens all around me, in the world?

I think Opher partly answers the question (educate yourself to all sides of the issue).

Any other perspectives?

P.S. Opher, I'll be the first to admit that I do not understand all sides in any conflict, national or international. But when repeated calls for some measure of "proof" are only met with buzz-words and rhetoric, you have to, as you say, explore all sides of the conflict and ferret out the REAL reasons for another war (conveniently coming on the heels of the President's slumping popularity).

opherdonchin
10-11-2002, 09:22 PM
Neil, it strikes me here (as it has struck me earlier) that your post has more to do with explaining and sharing your reasons for opposing the proposed war than it does with understanding your options in opposing it.

Further, I think that some of the ways that you've chosen to express yourself ('Shrub' is not an appropriate way to refer to a man that many people seriously respect and admire) may not be perceived as entirely respectful by many people. I would submit to you that this may have contributed to the way this thread and the one on the other forum became personal.

So, I think that before we go further with this discussion, I'd ask you to assess where it is that you are coming from. Are you primarily interested in expressing your opposition and frustration? If so (and I think that's very legitimate and in many ways I sympathize), there is no need to make a pretense of asking a question.

On the other hand, there may be a real question that you are bringing to us. If so, I feel that it gets a little bit lost in the rhetoric, and that I'm no longer exactly sure what it is that you are looking for.

Neil Mick
10-13-2002, 12:21 AM
What should I do when I am an implicit part of the international violence that happens all around me, in the world?
That's a simple as it comes, Opher. I ask myself this question, a lot. I have asked it to several other ppl, and they each have interesting, different responses. Unless they get personal and negative, I value them all.

Regarding whether I am more interested in expressing my opinions about the war? No: that just comes out. Part of the reason I write on forums is to share knowledge, learn to communicate differences better.

opherdonchin
10-13-2002, 09:49 AM
Regarding whether I am more interested in expressing my opinions about the war? No: that just comes out. Part of the reason I write on forums is to share knowledge, learn to communicate differences better.That makes sense. I guess it just felt to me like the two goals (collecting interesting and different responses and sharing knowledge) were getting in each others way just now. I don't have any problem with hearing your perspectives on Iraq -- although, as I said, I understand how some may see the way you express them as insensitive or disresepctful. On the other hand, I think the discussion of your personal question does not need to be bound up with someone accepting or agreeing with your politics. If you manage to separate your desire to share with your interest in learning (like taking turns at uke and nage, maybe), I think you may find that a larger number of people feel comfortable honestly considering your question and giving you feedback that you value.

Abasan
10-13-2002, 10:20 PM
"('Shrub' is not an appropriate way to refer to a man that many people seriously respect and admire) "

http://www.geocities.com/abas_san/funpic/book-bush.jpg

I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself opher! :D

Abasan
10-13-2002, 10:41 PM
Ok, I'm lousy at inserting html tags... and I finished my 15 mins editing time on the post above. So here's the link to the funny pic.

http://www.geocities.com/abas_san/funpic

opherdonchin
10-14-2002, 12:22 PM
:D

Have to admit that it's sometimes disheartening to me that the man I perceive as the largest threat to freedom and democracy is at the same time portrayed as such a simpleton and an oaf. It seems unfair, somehow, to be a victim of such a simple man. I'd almost rather my enemies be larger than life and easier to hate.

Aren't we getting off the question of Iraq again, though? I still think that Neil's question of AiKi responses when you disagree with your nation's politics is an interesting and relevant one. Is 'conflict' between you and your government the best way to effect change? Is their a way for people who have hestiations about the upcoming Iraq war to find a path that smoehow doesn't involve either winning or losing but rather sees the situation more creatively?

One thought I just had is that, like in AiKiDo, sometimes the wisdom is in knowing when you've lost. Apparently, we are going to war. Perhaps the best 'uke' a pacifist could have right now is to stop resisting the war, flow with the technique and look for more openeings.

Just a thought.

Abasan
10-15-2002, 01:30 AM
The one point I think we've been missing is, what is the war about?

It started as a preemptive strike against terrorism because of the Sept 11 attacks.

Its aims were to uproot terrorism or put an end to its breeding ground.

Is the US going to acheive that by attacking Iraq? and after Iraq? I bet, even if US nukes Iraq to kingdom come, there will be some other lone terrorists out there who would do their thing. In some other country too, not that I'm saying Iraq is a breeding ground for terrorism. I thought that there lots more saudi's in the Sept11 attacks then anybody else.

We have a saying, 'kerana nyamuk seekor, kelambu di bakar' its like burning your room down because of a single mosquito.

Sure, you might get the pest, but at the expense of...

I prefer we address the issues the 'terrorists' have brought up and see whether it makes sense or not. After all, we have not yet exhausted the peaceful solution, why take arms so easily?

Neil Mick
10-15-2002, 02:09 AM
I agree with everything you said, Abasan.

We have a saying here, too: "it is like finding a needle in a haystack," meaning something very difficult to find, with a lot of cover.

The bombing of Afghanistan was described by Noam Chomsky as burning down the haystack to find the needle (OBL), and still not finding it.

There has been no rationale to pick on Iraq, except some vague warnings that Hussein is a "threat." No proof, only lies (President Bush cited nonexistant IAEA documents as to Iraq's timetable of nuclear readiness).

Personally, I think it's all about asking the wrong questions. Instead of asking: "Who are the terrorists?" or "Where are the terrorists?" it should be "Who trained these terrorists?" and "Where did they get all of these weapons?"

Even American citizens polled mostly do not want to go to war alone, versus Iraq. Even Henry Kissinger, not the most dov-ish of men, is opposed to the US invasion.

It should be blatantly obvious that this whole invasion is a venture of political expediency for the Bush regime. Certainly, many ppl protesting in America and around the world see this fact. But: to listen to the US gov't and the mainstream media, you'd think that most of us are silent (actually, a few Senators have not capitulated the democratic process and are fighting this power-grab, such as Senator Robert Byrd, in his attempts to filibuster).

But: we'll go to war, because our Congressppl have let us down. Still: the fight is only beginning, and the protest response is heartening.

Neil Mick
10-15-2002, 02:18 AM
Have to admit that it's sometimes disheartening to me that the man I perceive as the largest threat to freedom and democracy is at the same time portrayed as such a simpleton and an oaf. It seems unfair, somehow, to be a victim of such a simple man. I'd almost rather my enemies be larger than life and easier to hate.
I've been thinking about you calling me on my usage of "Shrub," instead of Bush (actually, tho: he got this moniker from his gubernatorial days), Opher. On the one hand, he comes off as a simpleton, an embarrassment to the office of the Presidency, IMO (of course, so does Clinton, but not for his impecadillo's; more for his "selling out." Still, at least Clinton was smart).

On the other hand, as Michael Parenti recently said in a speech here in Santa Cruz: "You shouldn't pay attention to how 'stupid' this man is, but how vicious these men are."

I wonder if focusing overmuch on his inanities ("nucular??") detracts from his gov't's reprehensible activities (jailing Arabs w/ no trial, building concentration camps, etc).

Just a thought.

P.S. Nice re-wording of my question, Opher. It is giving me much food for thought (*mental chewing sounds*) :)

DanielR
10-15-2002, 09:25 AM
Is 'conflict' between you and your government the best way to effect change? Is there a way for people who have hestiations about the upcoming Iraq war to find a path that somehow doesn't involve either winning or losing but rather sees the situation more creatively?
I see these as two separate questions.

1. What's the best way to effect change (in society, one's government's policy) - this looks to me as a practical political question. I guess there isn't much to debate here; you can do whatever is allowed by law (vote, participate in demonstrations, publish protesting articles, buy TV time for your propaganda, get elected, ...). Whoever made Mr. Bush a president could probably give some pointers on this. ;)

2. Creative view of the situation. In my mind, this translates to a multifaceted view of the situation. I'd suggest asking oneself, how many people, besides the oil company executives, would see ousting Saddam, even by military force, as a good thing, and what would be their reasons? I'd say there are millions of such people in the world (including Iraqis), and the majority of them are neither related to the oil industry, nor are they simpletons ruling the world's only superpower that have an unfinished family business with Saddam. If done carefully and with appropriate diplomatic groundwork, this military operation could result in some things which could be commonly estimated as "good". I'm sure the Afghani women that walk the streets of Kabul without veil today would say that some "good" came out of the recent bombing.

As a side comment, I'm not sure Kissinger is opposed to the invasion. It was my impression that he was opposed to the US acting alone and relying mainly on military force.

Neil Mick
10-15-2002, 01:30 PM
I see these as two separate questions.

As a side comment, I'm not sure Kissinger is opposed to the invasion. It was my impression that he was opposed to the US acting alone and relying mainly on military force.
My mistake; you're right. Kissinger said:

"I am viscerally opposed to a prolonged occupation of a Muslim country at the heart of the Muslim world by Western nations who proclaim the right to re-educate that country."

But still: any US invasion of Iraq is going to end in a prolonged occupation, in order to clean up the mess we make (as well as manage all those nice, unguarded oil fields).

DanielR
10-15-2002, 03:33 PM
any US invasion of Iraq is going to end in a prolonged occupation, in order to clean up the mess we make Alternatively, the US could withdraw, leaving some military presense (hopefully as part of a UN-backed peace-keeping force), and turn the governing over to the Iraqis, providing the new government with financial assistance. A relevant discussion was on Talk of the Nation yesterday (http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/totn/20021014.totn.02.ram), where Judith Kipper, co-director of Middle East Program in Center for Strategic and International Studies and Director of Middle East Forum in Council on Foreign Relations, stated that if a good alternative to Saddam is presented, Iraqis are perfectly capable to rebuild; moreover, an occupation like that of Japan would be a huge mistake (for a number of reasons).

Neil Mick
10-15-2002, 08:57 PM
Yes, I'm listening to the program now, as I type. I think she presents a good point: however, I dislike the assumption of a US invasion as if its a foregone (and permissable) conclusion.

But I like the question she makes succinct, that the Shrub-bery (whoops...did it again :)) keeps evading: "How many Iraqi, British, and American lives is it worth to oust Saddam Hussein?"

But she's crazy if she really believes that we are going to replace Saddam with someone else who isn't friendly to US interests (I don't even think SHE believes it). We'll put in some interim Exxon-Mobil flack who will hand over Iraq's oil to Haliburton et al, or have an "accident"/coup/bullet-to-the-head/"regime change" if he tries to stand up to them, as Saddam did.

I think it's a fallacy to discuss "regime change" as if we're doing it to "aid" the Iraqi's, and not to get the almighty oil. The US couldn't care less about the Iraqi's, as is shown by the continuing embargo.

Neil Mick
10-15-2002, 09:15 PM
An excellent recounting of Hussein's rise to power, with the help of the CIA, is available on www.flashpoints.net (the Thursday, Oct. 15 audio link).

Neil Mick
10-19-2002, 09:00 PM
And so now N. Korea, a member of the "axis of evil," has announced that they have nuclear weapons, in violation of a 1994 agreement.

This brings on the question: if N. Korea has, by its own admission, "weapons-of-mass-destruction," why is it OK to attack Iraq, on the "suspicion" that they "might" have these same weapons?

Is it me, or is there something missing in the logic of our foreign policy?

Or: perhaps we only attack nations that haven't a prayer of successfully counterattacking, and we attack only when our "President" feels a political need (i.e., a slump in the polls) to do so.

Or: maybe it's just that Haliburton et al has a "jones" for Iraqi oil? Perhaps N. Korea would defend itself too well (IOW: might makes right, or at least a temporary stay of a US invasion, until the US feels that you have something they really want...)?

Just a few thoughts...

Brian H
10-19-2002, 10:52 PM
North Korea is a great example of how successful delay, dialogue and containment can be in controlling a wacko dictators drive to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

Neil Mick
10-20-2002, 03:42 AM
What does delay, dialogue and detainment have to do with N. Korea's sneaking around America's, and S. Korea's backs? I don't get it...

Unless, you mean that we shrewdly enter into negotiations with the militarily mighty N. Korea, while preparing to bomb and invade the harmless and sanction-wracked Iran.

Very clever, these generals...but that does seem to be our strategy, doesn't it? Leave the country's alone, that can counterattack, and pick on the little guy.

Trouble is: the 1000's of little people standing around him become so much collateral damage.

Brian H
10-20-2002, 11:00 AM
What does delay, dialogue and detainment have to do with N. Korea's sneaking around America's, and S. Korea's backs? I don't get it...
Everything

North Korea has never been shy about threatening to go to war (in this, they make Saddam look like a piker). We negotiate. Gain "concessions." We GAVE them nuclear power plants and oil (yes, OIL rears its ugly head). Then they continued to divert huge resources away from their poverty stricken people to develop nuclear weapons and long range weapons. Regime change time?
harmless and sanction-wracked Iran.
I think you mean Iraq, but no matter. One Question: Dude, what are you smoking in your pipe? ;)(professional question)
Very clever, these generals...but that does seem to be our strategy, doesn't it? Leave the country's alone, that can counterattack, and pick on the little guy.
Do I hear the sound of more black helicopters?
Trouble is: the 1000's of little people standing around him become so much collateral damage.
Are you impling that the defender of the Iraqi people would hold HOSTAGES? :eek:

Hypothetical question:

The CIA develops solid intelligence that Saddam and Kim Il will be alone in a shack in the middle of a desert in the immediate future. No allied assets are near enough to do anything, except COL. NEIL "BUDO MAN" MICK evileyes, his F-15E Strike Eagle and a full compliment of the best stuff the military industrial complex can muster.

Would you carry out your attack orders, if given, Colonel?

virginia_kyu
10-20-2002, 06:59 PM
I can't believe you guys are still talking about this. :)

Neil Mick
10-21-2002, 05:01 AM
Hypothetical question:

The CIA develops solid intelligence that Saddam and Kim Il will be alone in a shack in the middle of a desert in the immediate future. No allied assets are near enough to do anything, except COL. NEIL "BUDO MAN" MICK evileyes, his F-15E Strike Eagle and a full compliment of the best stuff the military industrial complex can muster.

Would you carry out your attack orders, if given, Colonel?

Well, Brian: when I am suddenly teleported into a Jerry Bruckheimer film, I'll let you know (via my interstellar communicator, of course :)

In the meantime: Beam me up, Scotty...)


Are you impling that the defender of the Iraqi people would hold HOSTAGES? :eek:
Don't get me wrong...Hussein is slime. But there's lot's of slimy dictators, out there. Why suddenly now, except for political expediency?

And: I was referring to civilian casualties (actually in the 100's of thousands, after all is said and done....their agricultural infrastructure is already toast...)
Do I hear the sound of more black helicopters?
Sheesh. Why is it so hard to see an invasion as a political expedient? You think we invaded Grenada simply for those poor American medical students?

Post World War II, the United States has assisted in over 20 different coups throughout the world, and the CIA was responsible for half a dozen assassinations of political heads of state.

See www.info-ghana.com/facts_&_dates.htm for more info.
I think you mean Iraq, but no matter. One Question: Dude, what are you smoking in your pipe? ;)(professional question)
Well, officer: can I see your internet badge? :) A little out of our jurisdiction, aren't we (unless you've signed on with the Office of Homeland Security...stay honest, Brian,,,don't give into the "Dark Side"

:D :D )

And yeah, harmless. Iraq (sorry, typo in the last post) has a crumbling infrastructure, a pitiful remains of an army; the only robust element is the Palace Guard, making for a tough urban invasion scenario.

Is it going to attack Kuwait in the near future? I'd be far more concerned with India and Pakistan: they both have nuclear weapons, and they are still close to the brink.
Regime change time?
There you go again, thinking the US is God-endowed with a "Divine Right" (remember this phrase?) to pop off heads of state like targets at a carnival, when they feel like it...uh, I mean: when the Shrub-ident decides there's a threat. Or, whatever. :rolleyes:

Brian H
10-22-2002, 07:35 PM
Back to "shrub" again. Can't we be nice (OK, maybe I didn't blink when you referred to "Sodom" Hussein as "slime" - color me a hypocrite)?

Neil,

It is an imperfect world. You and I would only differ on how to resolve these problems.

You are rather bitter about many policies of the US government (zero complaint from me - you are perfectly within your rights to form and express you own opinions). I submit to you that much of these policies can be "justified" (as in "nug-nug-wink-wink") by the activities of the likes of Saddam and Kim IL. The government acts to "protect national interests" and bad things happen in the "name off the people".

In "Aiki" terms we have been in a silly ass slap fight around the world for decades. I say it his high time we "irimi deeply with atemi" and put them down on the mat.

Without the "worst offending" leaders, the general "mood of the room" would improve. The smoke and mirrors that obscure many of the issues that you hold dear would be much less justified and would not be tolerated.

(re:questioning. I have had many occations to ask people "Are you carrying weapons of any kind?" (I am often inspired to be curious about such matters) I do fondly remember being once answered "No, but I have a big bag of Marijuana." Snicker, Snicker criminals can be STUPID. I had not reason to search him and but for his big mouth he would have be on his way with a ticket within five minutes.

Oh well, back to being sniper bait.

opherdonchin
10-23-2002, 08:45 AM
But Brian doesn't your metaphor paint things in a sort of good-guys-bad-guys sort of way that lets us off the hook a little bit too much? To stick with AiKiDo metaphors, it is sort of like saying to yourself, "well, I had to use pain there to bring him down because his ukemi was so terrible." Sometimes that can be true, but it's always a little bit of a dangerous way to think because it relieves us of the opportunity to examine our own behavior. I sort of assume that if I had to force or muscle a technique then it is, at least to some extent, a result of my limitations in AiKiDo, regardless of how bad or uncooperative or just plain obnoxious the uke is being.

What I'm saying doesn't necessarily argue for or against going to war. It's just meant to address the particular way that war is being argued for.

[The story with the marijuana is outstanding. It's the kind of thing that you wish you had on video tape because it would be priceless to put on TV or show friends.]

Brian H
10-23-2002, 08:35 PM
Opher, my example is, of course, a gross over simplification of the issue. I just think something has to be done decisively.

opherdonchin
10-23-2002, 11:11 PM
I can see the argument for doing something decisive, but I also see Neil's arguments. Surely there must be a way to combine both positions into a healthy approach?

Brian H
10-24-2002, 12:28 PM
I agree.

The days of two armies lining up across a field and hacking each other to bits are gone.

In Gulf War I, we got considerable advantage for cutting off enemy troops from each other by wrecking bridges and severing the lines of communications. We were so adept at knocking out tanks/bunkers that Iraqi soldiers slept in the open to save themselves, because they were not being targeted, their "gear" was. One of the most successful missions of the war was using "Daisy cutters," in the desert. Unless you were near the blast, you would be OK, but they made a nuclear bomb sized BANG visible for miles. The only REALLY heavy enemy casualties were when aircraft shot up the "highway of death." Since the road was clogged with vehicles, it was a valid target. Toe to toe fighting was the exception, not the rule. We broke more spirits than bodies.

War has become more chess like and more orient toward reducing capabilities, and less on killing troops. Anything we can do to accomplish that goal short of war has merit.

Still I would much rather Saddam choke to death on a pork sandwich, than go to war.

Neil Mick
10-24-2002, 03:13 PM
And, the inevitable killing of civilians. And what about the continued deaths from the usage of depleted uranium? The mines, and minefields still in place?

Your claim that war has become "chess-like" is very chilling. It reminds me of (then) Secty of State Madeleine Albright's claim that 1/2 million Iraqi deaths from economic sanctions is "worth the price."

Of course, we do not have to pay. They do.

And: what, exactly, have 10 years' worth of sanctions achieved?

Brian H
10-24-2002, 03:29 PM
And: what, exactly, have 10 years' worth of sanctions achieved?
Nothing but suffering.

You have pointed out the problem and protested greatly about most possible solutions.

What do we do?

Neil Mick
10-24-2002, 04:54 PM
My point is, the US is already doing it.

Sanctions are in place, no-fly zones are in place, the military build-up is increasing, and the President now has carte-blanche to attack whatever he likes in Iraq, whenever he likes.

These occurrances are indisputable, you agree? The US is already marching off to war, with very little debate from the American public, and Congress.

We could be talking about an act that takes 15 years of US military occupation, to maintain stability to Iraq.

Can you imagine what this will do to the region? To us? The billions in dollars, the lives lost?

What WE, the American people, need to do, is become informed, debate the issues, tell your Congress what you feel, protest a heedless, thoughtless rush to war. Fight this chilling of the democratic process, any way you can.

The best way to fight it, is to use it. Talk about these issues with your friends and associates. Start with this question, if you can't think of anything to say:

The President has lied to the American public before, to manipulate us into war. Why not again?

Brian H
10-25-2002, 07:23 AM
Neil, you miss my point entirely. WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IRAQ? You seem only to wish to stop the US. Your concern about US missteps may or may not be warranted, but the US military is not out to get You.

Iraq is, at least, a "concern" in the War on Terrorism. Methods of dealing with this issue can take many forms, but failure to act could be deadly.

Terrorists want to get the most bang for their terror buck, so they will tend to target densely populated areas. There has been much editorial chuckling about the fact that the liberal P.R.O.T.E.S.T.E.R.s are tend to live in those same densely populated urban areas. There have been many marches here in Washington, but they make little more than noise and never provide A.N.S.W.E.R.s

Timing is everything. I read this just now and am reminded once again of my deep respect for George Orwell:

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=4172

opherdonchin
10-25-2002, 11:21 PM
I'm with Brian on this one, Neil. Like I said a few posts ago in this thread: you are drawn to your rhetoric in a way that makes it hard to see past the rhetoric. If all you want me to walk away with is a sense that you have lots of good reasons why you think the U.S. shouldn't be going to war right now, you can stop now because I have noticed and seen this. If there is something else, though, I'm still not getting it and I really want to know.

Neil Mick
10-26-2002, 01:56 AM
I am sorry that you fail to see my points, beyond my "rhetoric," Opher. Is this my problem, or yours? I guess it's both.

Nor, is it (I feel) my responsibility to defend my rhetorical style, as (I think) neither do you. And yet: you have one, as well.

I happen to like to bring to the forefront issues that are not often discussed, because they need discussion, and very badly. Also: this site helps me to communiate these issues more clearly, and helps me to debate.

Several times, ppl have thanked me for my perspectives. So: there you are.

If, you find it offensive that I have a sarcastic tone, or, as Brian calls it, bitter: well, I find it offensive that 1000 Arabs are in jail with no charges and no release of their names. Why do people not discuss this one fact? Why do we let it fall away, merely because the media forgets?

Brian and Opher: I am not speaking from bitterness. I am speaking from outrage. Big difference.

(Recently: I just finished a conversation on Israeli Palestinian issues on http://65.119.177.201/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=17&t=000032&p=2 with a person with a hardline Zionist stance, to put it mildly. We never completely saw eye-to-eye, but we managed to attain a certain level of respect, and even saw agreement on a few points.)
Neil, you miss my point entirely. WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IRAQ? You seem only to wish to stop the US. Your concern about US missteps may or may not be warranted, but the US military is not out to get You.

Iraq is, at least, a "concern" in the War on Terrorism. Methods of dealing with this issue can take many forms, but failure to act could be deadly.

Terrorists want to get the most bang for their terror buck, so they will tend to target densely populated areas. There has been much editorial chuckling about the fact that the liberal P.R.O.T.E.S.T.E.R.s are tend to live in those same densely populated urban areas. There have been many marches here in Washington, but they make little more than noise and never provide A.N.S.W.E.R.s

Timing is everything.
Brian: I did not ignore your question. I (and many others) just think (part of) the answer's already there...you just don't believe it.

And yes, I agree: protestors ONLY provide NOISE and never provide ANSWERS. But that's the point: protestors are there to protest. You want answers (actually, I think you mean "alternatives"), then try reading more of the left journals...they give plenty of alternatives.

You know, this insistence of "WHAT MUST WE DO??" is kind of funny. It sounds to me like a person trying to convince himself that violence is the only way out.

But, there is certainly more than one way out....it's called weapons inspections.

But, I know: this crazy peacenik in Santa Cruz is incredibly naive if that's gonna fly, right?

So: listen to the words of a Republican, former Marine intelligence officer who was head of the inspection team in '94-'98:

http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/ritter.html

So many of the international concerns posed are misrepresented or distorted by the media. Iraq may be a threat, but why is it literally a treasonous act to simply question whether war is the best option?

Look, all due respect, and all: the President has LIED. He quoted a nonexistent report; both he and Tony Blair did, on TV, together.

No proof on Iraq's mass-destruction status; none. Zippo (I'm sorry, one and all, but I gotta say it: WHERE's THE BEEF??? whew: that felt better).

But you want an alternative? Fine: weapons inspection, with immediate military (coalition only, no unilateralism) threat for any decisive lapse. No (I mean absolutely: no) US meddling in the inspections process. Process Hussein as a war criminal for crimes already committed, and try him through the UN, as such. A full investigation of US/CIA involvement in providing chemical and bacteriological weapons to Hussein. A freeze on all weapons deals, for all countries. The US pays its debt to the UN, and changes its role in the UN (a topic for another thread).

If you can give me one verifiable reason why this approach won't work, then you're way ahead of the President.

P.S. Iraq is not out to get YOU, either: Brian. Nor: can it get to the US.

And: if you are concerned about the terrorist threat, we should look at the most likely, most dangerous, and least secure, targets: nuclear power plants.

All that radioactive material, poorly guarded...who needs a "weapon-o-mass-destruction," when you can simply fly a one-seater into a plant? Take out a whole city...?

Neil Mick
10-26-2002, 03:50 AM
When you practice Aikido, are you training to move yourself, or are you training to move uke?

opherdonchin
10-26-2002, 02:20 PM
But you want an alternative? Fine: weapons inspection, with immediate military (coalition only, no unilateralism) threat for any decisive lapse.I may not be following things as closely as I should, but I understand that this is what the U.S. is trying to pursue in the United Nations right now. As I understand it, France and Russia are unwilling to back this idea because of a basic objection to the idea that the military intervention would be 'immediate' or 'automatic' given a lapse.
(Recently: I just finished a conversation on Israeli Palestinian issues on http://65.119.177.201/cgi...17&t=000032&p=2 with a person with a hardline Zionist stance, to put it mildly. We never completely saw eye- to-eye, but we managed to attain a certain level of respect, and even saw agreement on a few points.)This was an interesting thread. It's nice to see two people who disagree focusing on finding their points of mutual understanding.When you practice Aikido, are you training to move yourself, or are you training to move uke?Ummm ... I train to move myself, I think. Maybe I train myself to notice the way that my movement and uke's movements are so intimately tied together. Why do you ask?

opherdonchin
10-26-2002, 04:42 PM
There has been much editorial chuckling about the fact that the liberal P.R.O.T.E.S.T.E.R.s are tend to live in those same densely populated urban areas. There have been many marches here in Washington, but they make little more than noise and never provide A.N.S.W.E.R.s

Timing is everything. I read this just now and am reminded once again of my deep respect for George Orwell:

http://www.frontpagemag.c...cle.asp?ID=4172
So, I read this and found it a little bit short-sighted. Of course (being somewhat poorly read), I haven't read the original Orwell. The key point, to me, is that just because anti-war protesters are sometimes wrong (for example, the anti-war movements in Britain and the U.S. before World War II are probably an example), they aren't always wrong (for example, 'history' has ruled in favor of the Vietnam anti-war movement just as it has ruled against the WWII anti-war movement. I think a better example of a useless and meaningless war is WWI. In fact, as I understand it, it was WWI and its memory that drove, to a large extent, the anti-war movement during WWII.)

On the whole, and speaking historically, an anti-war movement is more likely to be justified than unjustified. World War II is probably an exception. Perhaps the anti-war movement in the north before the Civil War would be another. I'm not sure.

Neil Mick
10-26-2002, 08:17 PM
I may not be following things as closely as I should, but I understand that this is what the U.S. is trying to pursue in the United Nations right now.
Actually, the official US policy is to oust Saddam Hussein. The UN prefers a weapons-inspection first approach. The US is merely softening its rhetoric to get political leverage later, in hopes that Hussein will "slip up," IMO.

The issue is further complicated because of US meddling with the inspections during the late '90's. Hussein (correctly) saw the inspections as an opportunity for the US intelligence to gather info on his movements, etc. preparatory to an assassination attempt, coup, etc.
Ummm ... I train to move myself, I think. Maybe I train myself to notice the way that my movement and uke's movements are so intimately tied together. Why do you ask?
Because, metaphorically: it fits with what I am asking Brian to view as the US's best course of action.

If the US stops seeing uke (Hussein) as some enemy to "push aside;" instead first examining how the US (nage) itself interacts with the world...how differently this whole outcome would be, don't you think? Instead of constantly yelling: "Aggressor! Evil man! Gotta take him out, now now now." (not that he ISN'T evil, mind; but I question that violent overthrow is the best way to deal with the situation).

P.S. Regarding pacifists: the European pacifists pre-WWI mostly joined the war-effort once it started. They saw themselves as patriots first, and social activists second, to paraphrase the words of one of them.

It is a mistake to paint pacifists with too broad a brush (BTW, I am definitely not a pacifist).

Brian H
10-27-2002, 07:04 AM
Analogy:

You live in Urban, USA. Two blocks from your home is a crack house. The street traffic around the crack house does not directly effect you because of the distance.

What does effect you are the number of muggers in your part of town.

Because of this high crime rate you get mugged once or twice a year. Hardly a week goes by that you don't here about someone in the neighborhood getting robbed. Several months ago, a woman was raped nearby and there have been a number of murders in the area in recent years.

The street crime in the neighborhood is nebulas. You never know if any route home is safe until you final make it in the door. That door is heavily re-enforced against the day that the robbers will run out of victim on the street and will come after you in your home.

The one thing you can count on is that darn crack house. It is always there. Twenty-four hours, seven days a week of "victimless crime." Not all of the criminals prowling your streets and alleys are crack heads, but many are. Not all of the crack heads by their dope at that crack house, but when you see them around, you blame the crack house.

Do you think that getting rid of the crack house would improve conditions in the neighborhood?

With a "crime landmark" so publicly removed, would the criminal element feel less comfortable plying their trade nearby (even if they never stepped foot into that crack house)?

Would the naked use of force by armed foreigners (the police) adversely effect the well-being of the area? (The last citizen who took on the dealers burned to death with their whole family in a fire bombing)

The fall of the Iron Curtain virtually eliminated "left wing" international terrorism and crippled it on a national level (it still struggles on in a few hot spots like Greece).

Would the fall of Iraq have an effect on international Islamist terrorism?

Opher,

Orwell is great political reading, those quotes were from his essays. "1984" is good, but "Animal Farm" is among my favorite books. If you want a interesting book with some very interesting political undertones, I suggest "Starship Troopers" by Robert Heinlien (do not hold the movie against the book, book=brilliant, movie=cartoonish) good sci-fi story with several cool subtexts to it.

Neil, if you were a Kurd or Marsh Arab, would you be "blaming America first?" The US/Allies failure to stop Nazi aggression earlier caused millions to die. When German troops occupied the Sudaten Land, they were under orders to retreat if the met resistance. The met none. Even during the invasion of France, the German Army was inferior in number of troops and tanks to the Allies. But action beats reaction. German war plans were for a start to hostilities in 1945, when the next generation of weapons and a world class navy would have been on line. It was the weakness and timidness of the world leaders at the time that emboldened Hitler’s monstrous ego.

Neil Mick
10-27-2002, 03:06 PM
Analogy:

The one thing you can count on is that darn crack house. It is always there. Twenty-four hours, seven days a week of "victimless crime." Not all of the criminals prowling your streets and alleys are crack heads, but many are. Not all of the crack heads by their dope at that crack house, but when you see them around, you blame the crack house.

Do you think that getting rid of the crack house would improve conditions in the neighborhood?

With a "crime landmark" so publicly removed, would the criminal element feel less comfortable plying their trade nearby (even if they never stepped foot into that crack house)?

Would the naked use of force by armed foreigners (the police) adversely effect the well-being of the area? (The last citizen who took on the dealers burned to death with their whole family in a fire bombing)

The fall of the Iron Curtain virtually eliminated "left wing" international terrorism and crippled it on a national level (it still struggles on in a few hot spots like Greece).

Would the fall of Iraq have an effect on international Islamist terrorism?

Neil, if you were a Kurd or Marsh Arab, would you be "blaming America first?" The US/Allies failure to stop Nazi aggression earlier caused millions to die. When German troops occupied the Sudaten Land, they were under orders to retreat if the met resistance. The met none. Even during the invasion of France, the German Army was inferior in number of troops and tanks to the Allies. But action beats reaction. German war plans were for a start to hostilities in 1945, when the next generation of weapons and a world class navy would have been on line. It was the weakness and timidness of the world leaders at the time that emboldened Hitler’s monstrous ego.
The Kurds trust the US about as much as they trust Iraq. Harldly "innocent" leadership themselves, the Kurds well understand what they are, in world affairs: political pawns. The Kurds well remember the US support of Hussein, as they were being gassed, FWIH.

I am always puzzled by conservatives' quick verbal "reach" to WWII, to justify this or that military move. Much as George Bush Sr. likened Hussein to Hitler, there are many differences (we did not help bring Hitler to power, AFAIK. We did not support Hitler's invasion of Poland, as we did with Hussein attacking Iran. We did not supply Hitler with chemical, and bacteriological, weapons).

Does it make any difference, the cost of human suffering, and the possible overreaching this action may spur (estimates of 15-20 YEARS of US occupation. Vietnam was about 12 years, give or take. How many future Presidencies will be spent to getting us "out of Iraq?") for this proposed action?

But, forget everything else in this post: let's go back to your crack house analogy. I think naked use of police force, with no concern with due process, DOES affect the area. Remember the bombing of MOVE?

Do you think that dropping a bomb on MOVE's house improved the crime-level in that neighborhood?

Remember Amadou Diallo? Exactly one week after Amadou Diallo was shot 42x for dropping his wallet, another black man was shot, within 1block of Diallo's death.

Do I think the overstepping of police procedure on a local level has a concurrent national ripple-effect? From my viewpoint, it seems to be.

If the police feel they can ignore due process, why should they let a little thing like admissable evidence stop them?

Hmm: maybe the neighbors of the crack house are guilty, too. Let's just pay them a visit, see what we find...

And what if the police chief was caught lying about the danger and relevance of this crack house, to the media? Do you think that it's a good idea to listen to his suggestions? Shouldn't a neighborhood citizen at least CONSIDER that the chief has other motives for ignoring due process, besides an honest concern for public safety?

BTW, did you listen to Ritter's speech? Does it make any difference to you, that the leaders so pushing for war are exaggerating (lying) about the clear and present danger?

And: since there has been no conclusive proof brought forward of any clear link between Iraq and international terrorism, I wouldn't know how it would affect world terrorism, if Iraq is bombed & invaded.

Connections between the US and international terror, well: that's another matter...

Brian H
10-27-2002, 04:40 PM
Neil,

I set up a simple case of neighborhood crime and you turn it into an elaborate conspiracy theory. The police serve a valuable roll in the community and pulling out a few tragedies to show why the police are to blame in all things mystifies me.

I.E. "Blame the police first"

You even hold the US responsible to Saddam's treatment of the Kurds!!

I am parachuting out of this black helicopter.

As to the Diallo shooting, Mas Ayoob did a great article laying out the incident in "American Handgunner" a while back.

Picture some officers stopping a rape suspect (believed to be armed), who has just run into a dark alcove upon seeing the officers. The suspect disobeys their commands to not move and reaches into his waist area and removes a dark object. One of Officers steps back and falls off the stoop breaking his pelvis, crying out in pain, and accidently discharging his pistol. The sound of the shot and the actual bullet ricochet back at the Officers. They are in total sensory overload and think the suspect just shot their partner. More shots are fired and more sound and bullets come back (they missed a lot and many of the bullets passed through the victim) at the officers. The suspect falls and is secured.

No gun is found.

Only a wallet.

The Officers begin frantic first aid, begging the victim to survive.

It was not to be.

Bad cops would have planted a gun. Good cops face the music.

Neil, can you put yourself in their shoes?

Or are you just in the band?

opherdonchin
10-28-2002, 08:34 AM
set up a simple case of neighborhood crime and you turn it into an elaborate conspiracy theory. The police serve a valuable roll in the community and pulling out a few tragedies to show why the police are to blame in all things mystifies me.

I.E. "Blame the police first"I think this is unfair, Brian. I mean, while you are right that any given situation is complicated and that the police do a very difficult job and we should not be quick to blame them, I think that that is not Neil's point. Neil is saying that the lack of 'due process' in the Iraq case is as troubling as the lack of due process would be in any criminal case. I can't help but agree with him that, as bad as the hypothetical crack house might be, it's important that police follow proper procedure in combatting it. Similarly, I think that one of the most troubling aspects of the Bush administrations approach to the Iraq issue is its failure to take the UN seriously or to accept the importance of multilateralism in international affairs.

On the other hand, Neil, I think that you didn't really address what I said about the administration going to the UN now. The fact that it was not their original intent does not mean that they aren't trying to do it now.

Brian H
10-28-2002, 09:08 AM
Life is not fair. People sometimes are.

Nothing in my hypothetical situation implied that the police would do anything unethical/illegal. Just that the crack house would be gone.

The scenario was from the prospective of someone two blocks from the crack house. Such a person would likely not be aware of the fate of the crack house until later. The crack house is a visible symbol of the greater disorder around them (and many would argue not a cause in itself)

The scenario could have just as easily been a tale of community activists who bought the building, drove the dealers out and turned the building into a (insert your preferred wholesome purpose).

My aim was to point out that removing one blight from the area ripples through the community with positive results. It was not meant to directly translate into a all encompassing model of world events.

Neil Mick
10-28-2002, 08:12 PM
Neil,

I set up a simple case of neighborhood crime and you turn it into an elaborate conspiracy theory.

You even hold the US responsible to Saddam's treatment of the Kurds!!

I am parachuting out of this black helicopter.
What is it with you and black helicopters, Brian? As Opher mentioned: I was talking about accountability and working within, rather than outside, the system, and you're spinning it as wacko conspiracy theory.

I agree with Opher: it's not a fair assessment. You didn't give it much thought, from my perspective.

But then again: you haven't even acknowledged reading any of my links. I read your's; are you giving me the same courtesy? Everyone has an opinion: if you won't at least read (or listen to) the opposing viewpoints, then I can see why you are so willing to follow a leader who lies to the American public.

And I did not hold the US responsible for attacking the Kurds; I said that Hussein had the support of the US. I was paraphrasing the words of a Middle Eastern policy expert, on the Kurds' opinion of the US.

But, you know what? I hope you're right. I hope that all the 10's of thousands ofd protestors in the US, and 500,000 in Italy, and the rest around the world, are wrong.

I hope that this is simply another "business as usual" attack upon another 3rd World country unable to defend itself, by the US. I hope that Hussein will be painlessly removed, and a better, more enlightened leader will be tapped, to take his place.

I can hope, but past precedent, and history, has suggested that I am misguided in this hope. Time wil tell...

BTW, Opher: yes, the US is going to the UN, but I see it as taking 1/2 step back, before taking the 200 steps forward to Iraq. It is official US policy to remove Hussein from power; this is not something that the President can simply back away from.

Regarding the police, etc: I am going to refrain from coment, because it was too far off-topic. I used the police as a metaphor for the rippling effect a policing agency has on a neighborhood when violence gets out of hand and the police use overt (often unnecessary, as in the MOVE bombing), rather than a critique upon the police (not that they are blameless; it's just the workings for another thread).

Brian H
10-29-2002, 06:03 AM
How can you use the MOVE incident as an example of "often" unnecessary force? I will give you that it was arguably the only aerial bombing in the history of American law enforcement, but the fire started out rather small. It only got out of control because the MOVE people kept shooting at the firemen (and had killed a policeman in an earlier incident) MOVE made their bed, they can lay in it.

Brian H
10-29-2002, 07:54 AM
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=4245

Brian H
10-29-2002, 08:09 AM
But then again: you haven't even acknowledged reading any of my links. I read your's; are you giving me the same courtesy?
yes
I hope that this is simply another "business as usual" attack upon another 3rd World country unable to defend itself, by the US. I hope that Hussein will be painlessly removed, and a better, more enlightened leader will be tapped, to take his place.

I can hope, but past precedent, and history, has suggested that I am misguided in this hope. Time wil tell...
That would, of course, be ideal. However, when I look out into the world and I do not use "ideal" as my measuring stick.

The US has, at times, used all of the tack of a horny teenager :freaky: in matters foreign and domestic.

Ideal?

No, but still better than any other game in town.

opherdonchin
10-29-2002, 09:14 AM
My aim was to point out that removing one blight from the area ripples through the community with positive results. It was not meant to directly translate into a all encompassing model of world events.Ok. Then I didn't understand the point, and now I see (and accept) the analogy. Of course, within this analogy the real issue becomes (as it is for many people) whether the U.S. is really committed to replacing Saddam with a 'more enlightened' alternative. Neil would probably be quick to point out that we don't have a strong history of this (although we have occasionally managed it). Certainly, it would be comforting if we were doing a better job in Afghanistan. I'm not sure I buy the 'anything is better than Saddam' argument in this context. After all, if you burned down the crack house with 10s of people inside in order to build a gambling den, I'm not sure I (as the neighbor) would really be so overjoyed.

Still, you point is taken. I also think the stuff that I (and Neil) was saying about the rule of law is relevant to this situation even if it doesn't address the stuff that you meant to highlight in bringing up the analogy.
You didn't give it much thought, from my perspective.

But then again: you haven't even acknowledged reading any of my links. I read your's; are you giving me the same courtesy? Everyone has an opinion: if you won't at least read (or listen to) the opposing viewpoints, then I can see why you are so willing to follow a leader who lies to the American public.I think this sort of veers off towards that ad hominems again. Neil, I'm asking you for my sake to please keep it REALLY civil because that's the only way the conversation stays interesting to me.

Neil Mick
10-29-2002, 06:23 PM
Fair enough, Opher. The jibe might have been taken as a snipe, for which I apologize.

No offense meant, Brian.

But: "better than any other game in town?" Not in this present, "New World Disorder," from my perspective.

opherdonchin
10-29-2002, 09:18 PM
Neil, where would you point to for a 'better game'? Europe is the only thing that comes to my mind, and I'm not sure if they are really as well behaved as they claim they are.

Neil Mick
10-30-2002, 02:16 AM
That wasn't the game I was referring to.

I was referring to globalization. In the end, the multinational's are running the show.

Brian H
10-30-2002, 08:24 AM
Of course, within this analogy the real issue becomes (as it is for many people) whether the U.S. is really committed to replacing Saddam with a 'more enlightened' alternative. Neil would probably be quick to point out that we don't have a strong history of this (although we have occasionally managed it).
Replacing Saddam with an "enlighten" Iraqi leader has two real stumbling blocks:

1) Saddam is not dumb and is rather ruthless. How likely is it that he would not have eliminated anyone with any leadership ability that he could not suck into his regime. Once in, any "rising stars" would also be constantly watched as well.

2) Any survivors, who say the righting on the wall, would have had no choice but to flee the country. I do not see much of a roll for a "loyal opposition" in the currant government. Those that remained might view those that fled as cowards or resent their good fortune.

So much for our "ideal candidate." A viper or a chicken.
That wasn't the game I was referring to.

I was referring to globalization. In the end, the multinational's are running the show.
The game analogy is not bad. Life has "rules," and some people cheat, some people are just lucky, some people just work harder and some people will just screw up given any opportunity.

However, "globalization" is an imperfect bogeyman.

I sit here at my computer and it took me about a minute to look at the "made in" tags on the items around me.

I found stuff from Mexico, Spain, Finland, Columbia, Korea, and Japan. Even my gun is "Made in Germany." The only US manufactured items were the White-out and my 32 oz coffee mug (in another life, I lived in Seattle).

All over the world there are people who have feed there kids and put roofs over their heads because I needed "stuff."

Because of the trade deficit, the US's number one export is wealth. Unlike "foreign aid," we are not just giving money away. These people are earning it and are building nations and communities around the world.

Multinational Corporations must answer to the market. They take to much and someone else will step in and offer to the same thing (or better) for less. Where "globalization" breaks down is when use the power of government to divert wealth for to enhance there own power and bypass the market. Monopolies only exist when governments enforce them and big companies use their money to get “big government” to use its coercive powers to exclude competition.

This is normal, every US election is touched by how the candidate plans to use the power of government. "If elected, I will use other peoples money to do things you like!" If you don't like what that person has to offer, you don't vote for them. Corporate money has a strong influence on elections, but only when people buy their BS.

There is no give in Iraq, just take.

Neil Mick
10-31-2002, 04:32 PM
Oh yes: people under multinationals are certainly earning their money: sometimes about $1.00 a day (or less), sometimes under oppressive working conditions, sometimes with under-age kids.

Sorry Brian: I don't buy the "market will right all wrongs" analogy. Your example misses an important, middle step: the policies of the corporations who helped to manufacture those products.

NAFTA and the other global agreements are doing much to erode the gains won by unions and environmental groups, not to mention the practice of multinational's to pick up stakes and move to another country, if the labor's cheaper.

Your other model of money in elections is missing a vital factor, as well. I have just moved from a city (San Francisco) that has effectively broken the law for almost 100 years, to SF's own detriment: the Raker Act. This act allowed SF to dam Hetch Hetchy, supplying electricity to its citizens. It also forbade the sale of electrical power generated from Hetch Hetchy "to any corporation or individual, except a municipality or a municipal water district or irrigation district..." such as a private utility.

PG & E has been selling this electricity, since 1915, to SF, in violation of this Act. How? They had many tools, but the most effective one's were soft-money into elections ($2M for the latest, versus $50k from the opposition, against a public power referendum).

"And: no give in Iraq, just take?" That news would be met with some surprise by the Iraqi oil companies, who are still selling oil to the US, even now (through French and Chinese middlemen).

Neil Mick
11-01-2002, 12:31 AM
I think that you didn't really address what I said about the administration going to the UN now. The fact that it was not their original intent does not mean that they aren't trying to do it now.
I'll tell you one thing, Opher: you'll know we're about to invade when you see happy Iraqi's on TV.

Brian H
11-01-2002, 07:34 AM
Neil, you and I are on the same page on this one (OK, I'm reading from the right side of the page, and you from the left)

The only reason companies can get away with that crap is government is in the habit of directing the smallest details of business practices. Minimum wages, worker safety, employment rules, and sexual harassment -- I can see a solid role for setting basic ground rules by society.

But while I am no fan of Microsoft, that whole lawsuit is a classic example one group of companies (Sun, Netscape etc) exerting influence on government to hurt their competition (Microsoft). It is absurd to me that a judge can tell someone they can make a good product, but not a great one (I would argue that they only have a "fair" one at best in reality). I.E. “You can not make a car with a stereo in it, because that would make it to good.”

The rules and regulations governing every sector of our society have become so complicated that you are virtually certain to be violating something at any given time. The only way you can get ahead is to hire lawyers and lobbyists and BS/influence your way to success. The costs are passed along to consumers and the lawyers, lobbyists and corporate fat cats get richer.

Neil, even though you and I are polar opposites in political world views, I think you would likely agree that this is hardly a good model for building a just and fair society.

As an example, the US tax code is bigger than a encyclopedia (and much of the space in an encyclopedia is taken up by pictures and maps), and contains all sorts of ridiculous exceptions and corporate welfare (inserted by lobbyists). How can anyone get ahead when the other guy has the government carving out hidden tax breaks for him! It might be nice to have a nice simple tax code that could fit into you back pocket. Then you could thumb through you tax guide and actually find stuff.

American workers have largely priced themselves out of the manufacturing sector, even high-tech/skilled stuff is going overseas. That sweat shop worker earning $1 an hour is going to want more someday soon. His government is likely at corporate friendly and at least some what repressive (traits that likely attract multinationals). When he yearns for more, he will have to organize and change is government to allow for expanding citizen rights. I see “globalization” as a force spreading democracy.

And “Big Oil?” The US is extremely unusual in that it’s oil resources are not “nationalized.” The vast majority of the oil resources in the world are owned by one government or another. Although even in the US, the government tightly controls oil/drilling/mineral etc. rights to vast tracts of federal/state land - which have been the source of a lot of monkey business over the years (your water example being a good example)

Brian H
11-01-2002, 07:39 AM
I'll tell you one thing, Opher: you'll know we're about to invade when you see happy Iraqi's on TV.
Neil, are you saying the Iraqi people will be happy when we invade? ;)

Since all of the foreign press is housed in and closely monitored by the Iraqi Ministry of Information, I don't think you see anything coming out of Iraq that Saddam does not want you to see. If the foreign media does not play along, they are expelled.

Neil Mick
11-01-2002, 12:00 PM
Neil, are you saying the Iraqi people will be happy when we invade? ;)
I'm saying that: shortly before we invade, our corporate media will oblige the war machine by showing Iraqi's happily welcoming an invasion.

A war machine needs propaganda, to fuel it, after all.

Neil Mick
11-01-2002, 12:44 PM
That sweat shop worker earning $1 an hour is going to want more someday soon. His government is likely at corporate friendly and at least some what repressive (traits that likely attract multinationals). When he yearns for more, he will have to organize and change is government to allow for expanding citizen rights. I see “globalization” as a force spreading democracy.

And “Big Oil?” The US is extremely unusual in that it’s oil resources are not “nationalized.” The vast majority of the oil resources in the world are owned by one government or another. Although even in the US, the government tightly controls oil/drilling/mineral etc. rights to vast tracts of federal/state land - which have been the source of a lot of monkey business over the years (your water example being a good example)
Wow. "Globilization as a force spreading democracy?" Not in anything I've seen, coming down the tubes, yet (or ever, if history serves as an example).

This whole approach to "the market solves all problems" reminds me of what my father used to say, about S. Africa. I'd argue that apartheid is a bad thing, and he'd say that the black S. African's should be left alone, in their ignorance. They'd be happier, if only the liberal's wouldn't go telling them how different their lives COULD be.

The similarity to your argument is twofold:

1) It assumes that the government will, in the end, alter its course from an oppressor to a benefactor;

2) (most importantly) It casts an image of happy, indigenous natives, well cared-for by their (white) overseers.

#2 is worst because it is the essence of racism; it assumes that black S. Africans are ignorant, backward, and unable to think for themselves. It casts a rosy picture on a dire situation where people are brutalized, often killed.

While not quite so egregious, your argument follows the same logic: it assumes that the locals will simply change their govenrment, when they need to change their conditions (which, in S. Africa, they eventually did, but at the cost of decades- centuries- of human suffering, imprisonment, and death).

Not so fast, though. NAFTA, and FTAA, are designed to go around governmental restrictions. They are, in effect, designed to subvert the democratic process (not suprising, what with the secrecy and the closed meetings). So: even if these ppl could change their gov't, it wouldn't make any difference.

Also, you ignore that the rights, equal pay, etc of workers never came about simply because the people ASKED for it. Mostly, they had to actively protest, strike, or otherwise resist the Powers That Be. Know why you have a pay scale, time-and-a-half, and medical coverage? Unions. Governments generally don't kick in with laws supporting worker rights until they HAVE to (or, sometimes they go against the workers, as in the Taft-Hartley Act).

Generally, when I hear of an unfair living condition occurring in another country, I assume that the ppl living in the area know more about it, than I do. If they're protesting, I assume that they probably have a pretty good reason (especially in some areas, where they could be jailed or shot for participating in the protest). I hear about the FTAA protest in Ecuador, and I expect that when they say things gotta change NOW, then they know more about their situation than I do. See http://www.amazonwatch.org/ for info on the Oct 31st Quito, Ecuador, protest and march.

And we don't need to nationalize "big oil," as it is so integrally tied to "national interest" that nationalizing it would be redundant, and cause too many flaps (too many regulatory hoops for oil execs to jump through). At the risk of redundancy, why is N. Korea practically ignored for possessing nuclear weapons, yet Iraq has the US and Israel breathing down its neck...?

The answer: oil. It certainly isn't about any HUMANITARIAN concerns...

Brian H
11-01-2002, 02:59 PM
Neil, I don't see how you equate my arguments with your fathers.

South Africa is a good example of how "markets" can change a government.

The white minority government ruled the black majority, even though they were out numbered 20 to 1. The minority had to be rock solid oppressive at all times. When the world condemnation and sanctions from without, and internal struggle finally cracked the surface, the whole evil mess of apartheid fell quickly. (Same thing happened more or less with the USSR)

Markets worked, no one would buy anything South Africa had to sell (except the rogue nation arms market). Unlike Iraq, South Africa at least had the slimmest of pretexts to being a democracy (much to the shame of the minority government).

If a government is shooting/jailing its citizens who care enough to strive for change, how long is that government going to last? A day, a month, a year, a generation? Ultimately, I believe the world is becoming a better place.

Nationalize oil!! Hell No! Slit the national companies into citizen owned public companies.

Neil Mick
11-01-2002, 06:54 PM
Brian:

We are starting to talk about two separate, but related, issues: the use of international boycotts to mandate social change; and the use of corporations passing fast-track-style laws in secrecy to mandate social repression.

In the case of S. African boycotts, the international community worked to push human rights conditions upon the S. African gov't. The process was not quick, and institutions that eventually boycotted S. Africa (colleges, gov't's and the like) only did so with much arm-twisting and protests from the students, and the public.

In the cases of GATT, NAFTA and FTAA, the corporations met in secret with little-to-no public input, voted upon with little governmental debate (remember fast-track? Congress voted on it, with no circulation of the full text, in NAFTA's case), and are not at all shy to use overt police and military force to quell popular protest.

I don't know about you, Brian: but when a bunch of guys in suits who share few of my values walk into a closed-session room, saying: don't worry, it'll all work out for you all, in the end...that's when I REALLY start to worry.

International boycotts, in short, are not the same thing, as globilization.

P.S. I compared your arguments to my father's because, IMO, you both project a rosy picture on a situation outside your immediate environment. In my father's case, he assumed that a minority government will take care of everything; in your case, you assume that a minority corporation will take care of its workers...properly reined in by a populace empowered by using its government.

What I am saying is that a corporate set of global trade laws won't take care of anyone, but themselves. And, if these corporate laws can overreach national laws, as can NAFTA and GATT, then those ppl are truly in trouble.

IC, I think the world is getting both better AND worse, as it has since the beginning of time. There are always ppl and organizations out there serving their own interests, masquerading as "New World Orders."

Neil Mick
11-02-2002, 06:33 PM
Nationalize oil!! Hell No! Slit the national companies into citizen owned public companies.
And we totally agree on this one; public power has a proven track record, while privately owned power results in corruption, catastrophically high bills and (in CA's case) rolling blackouts.

Brian H
11-03-2002, 09:04 AM
And we totally agree on this one; public power has a proven track record, while privately owned power results in corruption, catastrophically high bills and (in CA's case) rolling blackouts.
Some confusion here.

Publicly owned company: company owned by share holders who vote on a board of directors.

Privately owned company: owned by one or more individuals, who appoint a board of directors.

When the government owns something it is something else entirely. Call it a "quasi-governmental agency." The government appoints the board. The funny thing is since it is a "government" thing, they have a habit of exempting themselves from all sorts of government regulations, like EPA regs, labor practices etc. Since they make the rules, they change them to benifit themselves. Smoke filled rooms at there best.

When you want to see a government owned corporation at its best, go to the post office.

Brian H
11-03-2002, 05:05 PM
We have pretty close to "full employment" in the US. Any company that does not take care of its employees ends up spending lots of money finding new ones or incurring overtime to get the work done. A big company can lavish money on its employees and lose them just because the bosses are jack-asses.

The market will then cull the herd of the weak.

Government run agencies will just plow on and hall more tax money in to make up for inefficiency.

Don't like the service at the DMV? Try taking your business elsewhere.

Neil Mick
11-03-2002, 07:06 PM
Point of terminology, here:

from my experience, public power generally means power that is owned and managed by the local government. The managing entity, or MUD (municipal utility district), is selected by government officials, who ARE subject to EPA standards, and the like. In fact, if the city has a Sunshine Ordinance (as SF does), the meetings, or minutes of meetings, are supposed to be open to the public.

Trust me: the alternative is not run any better. I think (not completely sure) that Baltimore Gas & Electric is run by the City, and we had no problems getting them to come out if there was a problem. The utility bill was cheap, and brownouts rare.

After living with PG & E (a private utility) for about 10years, boasting the highest rates in the country, rolling blackouts (totally avoidable) and an era's wait for a maintenance man to come to my home, I would choose public power, every time.

Neil Mick
11-03-2002, 11:11 PM
We have pretty close to "full employment" in the US.

The market will then cull the herd of the weak.

Government run agencies will just plow on and hall more tax money in to make up for inefficiency.

Don't like the service at the DMV? Try taking your business elsewhere.
"Full employment?" Not in my reality. And as far as the "weak" are concerned, I don't find an unemployed person weak, simply in a process of change.

If the corporations had their way, we'd all be an underpaid, temporary workforce with no healthcare or benefits. Don't like someone? Fire em, and replace them with an unlimited supply of desperate "weaklings."

If you want to REALLY see the status of work for most of America, read "Nickle an Dimed: Getting By in America," by Barbara Ehrenreich.

As far as corporations being better than gov't's at running services: again, not in my reality. Just look at Edison Schools, a for-profit corporate venture that promised to run public schools better than local school districts.

So far, the results are less than optimum. The Edison school in SF had many complaints from parents and teachers of mismanagement and poorly equipped rooms.

Edison executives argued they could teach kids more effectively by extending the school day and year, and by implementing the "Edison Design" -- a standardized curriculum paired with rigidly structured classroom time. They also made much of the increasing proportion of school budgets going to administrative costs. The company, they said, could replace bloated school-district bureaucracies with the streamlined efficiency of the private sector and the economies of scale that would come with a nationwide public-school chain.

Skeptics said there were only two ways Edison could turn a profit: cut educational corners or milk school districts for more money. They predicted that Edison would hire less experienced, and therefore cheaper, teachers. They worried that the company would force a single pre-packaged academic program on all its schools without accounting for differences between communities or students. And they cautioned that a company bent on expansion would likely be fixated on test scores -- and would do basically anything to ensure that they increased. They warned that a for-profit venture would be less accountable, and with plenty of money to spend up front, might lure districts into agreements that would prove untenable or even harmful. And Edison's six-year history of running schools provides ample evidence that many of the concerns were warranted.

When it comes down to it, Brian: corporations are interested in one thing-- making profit. And when you have an organization putting profit ahead of personal safety, or standards of excellence, then you are asking for an "Edison debacle (I shudder to think of a privately run police force..."sorry, boys, but we had to cut costs and so we had to cut your pay and benefits AGAIN...")

Know how much the average income of an airline pilot is? $16,000.

Kind of makes you think, as you board your next plane. Do you REALLY want your flight crew worrying about their salaries, as they take off that runway?

Brian H
11-04-2002, 06:44 AM
1) we are waaaaay off topic

Profit is not evil. If you can make one and provide a useful product/service, you will prosper.

The concept of a "private police force" is not all that unusual. I attended a "private" (non-government owned) university. The University had its own sworn police force. They had the same policing authority as the local cops with in their jurisdiction (the University). Many corporations have similarly empowered security departments.

What keeps these "private armies" in check?

Massive civil liability! Americans hold little more dearly than their personal freedom. Lay hands (or baton etc.) on somebody under the wrong circumstances and you will find them living in your house.

So these Edison School guys failed. They did not make the mark and the market culled them (leaving aside the likelihood of sabotage from the Teachers Union).

Public Schools fail all the time. The only difference is they are given more tax money and the under educated kids are "graduated."

Neil Mick
11-04-2002, 12:28 PM
In a sense, we are off-topic. But, on closer reflection, we are not (BTW: public schools do NOT "fail all the time." Ever talk to a public school teacher about their job? Most of the failure occurs from poor funding, a lack of parental involvement, and a curriculum that has no bearing upon the contemorary circumstances of the students' lives).

Profit, in and of itself, is, of course, not evil. What is wrong, however, is when profit replaces standards of excellence, which is what occurs when the private sector takes over a public sector service that uniformly fails to generate income (such as schools. BTW, I didn't even go to the negative effects of corporations on public schools...the advertising in the hallways, "science" study lessons telling the students that nuclear power is safe, etc).

It's all about the profit, and corporate involvement...even in Iraq. Do you think that we are putting the screws to Hussein just because he's bad? Again, why not N. Korea? Why not Putin-- he just gassed 112 ppl, after all (oh sure, he was supposedly trying to rescue them, but he is receiving condemnation for the methods, from the int'l community...but the US is too busy threatening Iraq, to jump on the bandwagon. Or perhaps we are SO fixated on Iraq, that we need Putin's good-will for that all-important Sec. Council vote, hmm?)

Lot of parentheses, here...sorry, Brian. But after all, the "devil is in the details :D "

Brian H
11-05-2002, 06:55 AM
Neil, public schools fail to properly teach all the time. In the last forty years the basic standards have dropped in response to failing to keep up with them. Talk to anyone raised in Europe (I shudder to complement Europe for anything), they have ridged school standards. A highschool graduate outside the US is often better educated than an American college graduate. The answer to all US education problem is smaller class sizes, but if the teachers are substandard, what good is it. I deal with these kids all the time.

I was thinking the other day that many of the "heroes" dragged out by the left have killed people. Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot, Mao etc. The current crop of Korean, Cuban, Iraqi, and Serbian dictators are all worthy of strident defense. Cop killers (Peltier, Mumia, and assorted panthers) are "political prisoners." And people who viciously oppress women and push walls over on homosexuals are "struggling against racism." Communist dictator who can't feed his people? A blameless innocent!

Wouldn't Putin's use of gas make him a hero too? It worked for Saddam! Or does he need to take the next step and advocate the destruction of the western democracies?

Neil Mick
11-05-2002, 03:10 PM
I was thinking the other day that many of the "heroes" dragged out by the left have killed people. Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot, Mao etc. The current crop of Korean, Cuban, Iraqi, and Serbian dictators are all worthy of strident defense. Cop killers (Peltier, Mumia, and assorted panthers) are "political prisoners." And people who viciously oppress women and push walls over on homosexuals are "struggling against racism." Communist dictator who can't feed his people? A blameless innocent!

Wouldn't Putin's use of gas make him a hero too? It worked for Saddam! Or does he need to take the next step and advocate the destruction of the western democracies?
I'm not sure where you are going with this one, Brian. I do not consider Stalin or Pol Pot a "hero of the Left." Also, where's the relevance?

Technically, George W. ("I will not call him an ornamental plant...I will not call him...") is a murderer, too: his home-state of Texas executed 53 ppl in one YEAR, while he was in office.

As far as Mumia and Leonard are concerned: they are "heroes of the left" because of the particulars of their case. In both cases the judicial process was compromised, on various levels. It is possible that both were set up, and not guilty of murder at all.

You have a tendency to blanket all left-thinkers with a group-think mentality, which is about as far from reality as it could possibly be. Generally, the Left in the US comprises a broad spectrum of concerns. It's why the Left appears so chaotic and fractious to an outsider.

And sorry, Brian: but I'm a teacher, and I speak from 15 year's experience (on and off). I have also worked in varying functions in standardized testing for students, and I'm here to tell you that teachers would do worlds better, if they were properly funded for supplies, class sizes reduced, and offered a curriculum that had relevance (try to teach world history, for example, from a curriculum that's grounded in the heart of the Cold War.

European democracies spend a MUCH higher percentage on education, than the US. Coincidence with better test scores? I don't think so).

The biggest problem, as I see it, with schools is the noninvolvement of parents with student education.

Finally: most activists of the Left do not advocate a destruction of western democracies. If anything: we are its strongest proponents. What we want (among other things) is for the US to put its money where its mouth is: stop propping up murderous dictators in 3rd World nations just to further its own ends.

P.S. The US DOES have its concern for youth in one respect: it is one of five nations (Iraq is another) that allows for the death penalty to minors.

Brian H
11-05-2002, 09:54 PM
The biggest problem, as I see it, with schools is the noninvolvement of parents with student education.
Absolutely true, and extends beyond education into every corner of life. Bad parenting can result in a good kid, but the odds are against it. (MANY war stories of bad kids and idiot parents)
P.S. The US DOES have its concern for youth in one respect: it is one of five nations (Iraq is another) that allows for the death penalty to minors.
You might have a differant perspective if you had been watching for snipers last month.

Kevin Leavitt
11-05-2002, 09:55 PM
Well hell I swore I wouldn't post hear again, but here goes.

I have to agree with Neil on a couple of points.

1. Parental involvement is a big issue in schools.

2. Death penality is morally wrong.

But also, I think Brian makes a decent point that who is typically considered a hero and a villian is determined by who wins or loses the war.

Also, think Sadam Hussein is a bad, bad man. Must go, must go, must go. But if you think you can covert him over from the dark side, be my guest.

I think our strategy seems to be working fine right now....in recent days it appears that he is starting to cooperate on the surface. If he truly comes clean, I don't think we will attack.

Brian H
11-06-2002, 02:00 PM
Death penalty:

I am of two minds on this, so hear I go:

1) If you murder your fellow man then the value of your life decreases in my eyes. However, being ever distrustful of government, I am troubled by extending government the ability to decide to take the life of a human (a policeman, while an agent of the government, is only allowed to take a life to protect his own/others lives. Executions are in "cold blood")

2) Then there are those other cases, example: a man kidnaps a child and rapes him/her. Society views this as a very bad thing. "Life without parole" is usually the sentence of choice, since nobody wants that type of person on the street ever again. So this criminal knows he is facing life in prison, ... so why not kill the only witness? If the threat of the death penalty if "out there" it might save the victim, since the death penalty is only a option if the victim dies.

I am struggling with my feelings and find myself really stuck "between a rock and a hard place."

Neil Mick
11-06-2002, 04:19 PM
Well hell I swore I wouldn't post hear again, but here goes.

Also, think Sadam Hussein is a bad, bad man. Must go, must go, must go. But if you think you can covert him over from the dark side, be my guest.

I think our strategy seems to be working fine right now....in recent days it appears that he is starting to cooperate on the surface. If he truly comes clean, I don't think we will attack.
Welcome back, Kevin. Good to hear from you again.

I had not intended to veer off into "Death Penalty" country, but here's my 2cents.

I agree with Kevin: the death penalty is morally wrong. Worse, the State instituting the death penalty generally lowers the humanity of its citizens. The more ppl we sentence to death, the more acclimated we become to state-mandated death, the more the social glue that binds us begins to separate. Also, the death penalty results in too many innocents being sent to death row & does no good in averting crime. 'Nuff said.

Regarding our present course with Iraq, and Hussein: yeah, Saddam is a bad, bad man; but it is not up to us to get rid of him. There are many other "bad men" out there: already, Israel is naming Iran as the "next bad guys" for us to go after.

I don't know about you, but I am sick of this "bad man o the week" policy of regime change. We can do better.

Got to go teach class: see you.

suebailey
11-08-2002, 02:27 AM
hi all.

over here in engerland we have wat we call the TA the reserve army which im glad to say i have currently joined. :)

even though i have jopined the medics core field ambulence i joined during a recruitemnt drive in light of the up and coming war and they made no attempt to hide the fact once u signed the papers and were in hte office for ur 1st talk with the RSM that the recruiment drive was for the imanent war.

Now i for one cant wait to serve my country and all who serve along side us like America :cool:

Needles to say i have nothing against any iraqie just the ones causing trouble sum lads and lasses over here r from htere and r really nice.

I would love to be the one to cap sad'

but since im a medic it wont happen (pants)

cheers sue.

Neil Mick
11-08-2002, 12:21 PM
Now i for one cant wait to serve my country and all who serve along side us like America :cool:

Needles to say i have nothing against any iraqie just the ones causing trouble sum lads and lasses over here r from htere and r really nice.

I would love to be the one to cap sad'

but since im a medic it wont happen (pants)

cheers sue.
Dear Sue:

Thanks for your response. I, for one, do not view your involvement in the upcoming war as serving anything but big oil interests.

"...Taking out Saddam...?" Who are you, the American President, or ANYONE not Iraqi to be the one with the responsibility for "regime change (read: assassination)," except the Iraqi's? This war, and the latest capitulation by the UN Security Council, is merely the latest maneuver in the US attempt to control the region to get their almighty oil.

But, go ahead: dismiss my statements as leftist ravings. Just do two things for me, OK?

1) When you get to Iraq (and you will, no doubt about that), seek out some Iraqi's who are not involved with the military effort. Ordinary folks: ppl who run food stands, cabbie's, and other "average joe's." Ask them what 12 years of sanctions were like, and do they support betting bombed and invaded by foreign countries to change THEIR leader (would YOU support Iraq coming into your country to enact regime change, were the tables turned?).

2) If you DO get a chance to "cap Sad," be careful of the 1000's of otherwise innocent people, likely to be in the way of your shot.

If you do that, you'll be doing a lot better than the US...

Neil Mick
11-08-2002, 01:44 PM
You might have a differant perspective if you had been watching for snipers last month.
...and, at the risk of verring off-topic again: I doubt this very much, Brian (even though several of my relatives were "sniper-bait," for awhile, as you earlier put it).

Did the execution of Timothy McVeigh put an end to local terrorism? Can you show me even one state where the death penalty is in effect that has caused a reduction in murders? Probably not, because ppl engaging in murderous acts are so far off the scale of social considerations that they are not going to let the threat of death slow them down.

All the death penalty does is give politicians an easy issue to tout, and the prison-industrial complex more lucrative funding.

opherdonchin
11-08-2002, 04:45 PM
It's great to watch this discussion staying so basically straightforward and 'nice' for so long.

I haven't had a lot to contribute, so I've just been watching mostly, but felt like jumping in again. It seems to me like Neil and Brain are talking past each other somewhat. That is, both of you them have strong arguments that reinforce their positions and their views on the world, and they are both practiced at presenting those arguments in a way that convinces them (and probably others). Ultimately, that makes it easier for them not to be 'challenged' by the discussion. Every argument one of them brings up, the other has heard before and knows his answer. It becomes a funny dance which goes around but may not necessarily lead to real growth and change on either side.

So, if the two of you think there may be something to what I'm saying, I'd like to propse an exercise I personally would find very interesting: could each of you please highlight what you feel to be the weakest parts of your own positions? Could you tell me where you believe your thinking on this issue is most likely to be flexible? I think if I understood this, I would learn a lot more by 'listening.'

Anyway, it's just an idea.

Brian H
11-10-2002, 08:49 AM
As I said before, my opinion on the death penalty is unsettled.

The one issue that I am very settled on is that life is sacred. But if somebody takes a big dump on the alter of life by killing another, then they loose their spot at the debating table.

Neil and I can debate retribution v. moral decay etc. and how the taking of life by government effects the society at large.

Other than that, I am still working it out. One of my co-workers was murdered in the line of duty nine years ago next month. The prosecutor declined to go for the death penalty, but the guy is rotting in prison now with no possibility of parole. :) The guy SHOULD have just run away, it is a virtual certainty he would have escaped had he just run. Instead he shot a policeman dead. Would the possibility of the death penalty saved the cops life? I don’t know, but the murderer could have had he made a different choice. How do you get people to make those choices? If I knew, another of my co-workers would not have been murdered last year over $1.10.

Neil,

I meant to get this link to you before about the "actual innocense" of Mumia (snort, hack, cough). This is a police run site, but you will find the meat of the site (links to original sources/ side by side comparisons of the many "versions" of the incident/ crime scene diagrams) interesting.

www.danielfaulkner.com

Neil Mick
11-10-2002, 07:56 PM
It seems to me like Neil and Brain are talking past each other somewhat.

Every argument one of them brings up, the other has heard before and knows his answer. It becomes a funny dance which goes around but may not necessarily lead to real growth and change on either side.

could each of you please highlight what you feel to be the weakest parts of your own positions? Could you tell me where you believe your thinking on this issue is most likely to be flexible? I think if I understood this, I would learn a lot more by 'listening.'
I've been giving this one a lot of thought, Opher. I wish I could comply: it would be great if I could see my own inflexibility to my thinking, as I wrote it out. Unfortunately, I am too close to the "source," to see myself so objectively.

Also, you miss an important point: this is not a "discussion," per se; more like an online exchange of ideas. Brian can raise points which I may/may not agree, and I can choose either to take up these issues online, or mull them over, silently. He, and others, have raised several points that I do not take issue over, because I feel that there's little to be gained in a "pissing match," or I just don't think the other person is very open to my perspective (actually, one thing I've learned from these dialogues is that NO one ever completely changes their perspective, from an online debate).

I don't know from Brian's perspective, but much of his line of thinking IS new to me (as I live in an area with an abundance of progressives), and I welcome his input, even when I disagree.

I believe that all ppl are possessed with a "native intelligence" that has a measure of wisdom about their particular place and views of the world. Take the flack over the spotted owl, in Oregon, for example: environmentalists are concerned about the near extinction about the owl, as its habitat gets wiped out. They want to limit, or halt, clear-cutting practices in that region.

Loggers, OTOH, are concerned about their jobs and view the environmentalists as outsiders who care little for the fate of loggers and their families (ultimately, they BOTH have a perspective to offer, if only one side would bend a little, which they both have, to a degree).

The problem arises when ppl are fooled or misinformed of a given situation and assume that their opinion is a reflection of that "native intelligence," or when they develop inflexible attitudes about their opposition (you cannot believe how many times I've heard rebut's to my posts begin with: "... this is exactly like the kind of thinking I've heard from protestors from the '60's," as if I were suddenly transformed into a stoned, aging hippy because I disagree).

Actually, I welcome Brian's diversity of views because it teaches me to talk to someone who does not share my world-view (although, of course, I DO have perspectives about the shortcomings of some of Brian's points, and I'm sure the reverse is true).
Neil,

I meant to get this link to you before about the "actual innocense" of Mumia (snort, hack, cough). This is a police run site, but you will find the meat of the site (links to original sources/ side by side comparisons of the many "versions" of the incident/ crime scene diagrams) interesting.

www.danielfaulkner.com
Even though it's off-topic, I am going to give the link a good look, because I have not had a chance to review the opposing view. Thanks for the tip, Brian.

I'll respond when I get through it all, either here or via PM. Thx again.

Neil Mick
11-11-2002, 02:31 AM
I just heard an interview with Sen. McCain (remember him?) on a Pacifica station. He talked a bit about the Iraqi "situation."

It made me a little ill, his glib, sweeping generalization of the "will of the Iraqi ppl." How does he know what the Iraqi's want? He certainly hasn't been over there recently.

It would be very difficult to take an Iraqi poll right now, but from every source I've checked, the Iraqi's do not want a US invasion, and are rallying behind their leader...even if they otherwise detest him.

Just as some of us are doing: rallying behind our leader, in a time of war.

If I were OBL, I'd be a very happy man, right now. My worst two enemies, on a collision course. The likely death of one, who will be martyred for the cause of the "Jihad."

Oh, boy.

Brian H
11-11-2002, 07:26 AM
Neil,

I have enjoyed this discussion as well, for the same reason.

A friendly sparring match is a comfortable analogy for martial artists.

Like it or not, the "War in Iraq" has already begun. I would argue that has not really ended since the Gulf War.

We have been bombing Iraq on a semi-regular basis for over a decade (things got particularly dangerous in Iraq when Clinton was being impeached).

Saddam's power, as Mao said "flows from the barrel of a gun." I submit to you that if Iraq is further destabilized that Saddam will fall, with or without an invasion.

With an invasion:

Most of Iraq is empty desert. Saddam has firm control over Bagdad, but much less so the Kurdish north and Shi-ite south.

If I were running things (very scary thought), I would expect that the war plans would call for splitting these three parts up in an invasion. The areas involved would be easy to grab quickly with mobile forces. I would expect that the Iraqis in the north and south would welcome Allied occupation (being the target of much of Saddam's worst crimes) Maybe not, but they can't have much love for Saddam.

This would leave Saddam land locked in Bagdad and surrounded on three sides by Allied forces (All sides if Iran was on board).

This would leave Saddam trapped in his capital with all the people who would likely want to stage a coup and save their own hide. The oil fields would be gone and his army would be over run or in a defensive ring around Bagdad. How long would you hang out in the trenches under Allied planes if you were an Iraqi grunt?

Side benefits would be that Saddam's SCUDS would be out of range of their prime targets and few options for using them would remain (the areas that were used so successfully in the Gulf War to hide the SCUDS would be in Allied hands) Assuming Saddam managed to get SCUDS into Bagdad, the would be very difficult to move around in a city and if fired would be vulnerable in the boost phase (in the Gulf War we were only in control of the ground (for ground to air missiles) in the target areas, plus we have had ten years to come up with neat defensive toys)

How long could Saddam hold out? How quickly would his army give out in a siege? In the Gulf War the mines around Iraqi positions were as much to keep Saddam's army from surrendering as to defend them.

I would think that not pushing our forces into Bagdad would be the way to go. It invites the Iraqi Army to come out and fight. A very dangerous thing to do under Allied skies.

Air dropping food into civilian areas would serve the two fold goal of reducing civilian loses and weaken Saddam's hold on the civilian population. An independent source of food would give the Iraqis ... a measure of independence and would serve our ends much more than Saddam's.

Without an invasion:

I would suggest that a "food invasion" by the US/UN, during the current sanctions/inspections phase, would be a political/humanitarian bonanza- especially if UN security forces/peace keepers (blue hats/white tanks :) ) moved in too.

This aggressive use of humanitarian aid to destabilize a rogue leader would not be a bad precedent to set. All those protesters chanting "Drop food, not bombs would be happy."

The other thing I would do would attach a media element to all UN activities. The Media in Iraq is tightly controlled by the Iraqi government, and unregulated media access would serve to further the worlds understanding of the situation.

Nothing in my "without invasion" senario would prevent or detract from the "with invasion." It might even work by itself and preclude invasion.

Neil Mick
11-12-2002, 03:49 PM
Wow.

The Iraqi parliament rejecting the UN Resolution took me by surprise, but I suppose that I shouldn't have been. Interesting, that they view the Resolution as a challenge to Iraqi sovereignty, and that they take umbrage over the claim that Hussein kicked out the inspectors, when the US actually recalled them.

Interesting also that Hussein's son is calling for Arab weapons-inspectors, suggesting that the Iraqi leadership takes issue mostly over the duplicitous US usage of inspectors for spies.

Brian,

Being a strategist myself, I like a good war-scenario, too. I think that your ideas for how to implement an invasion are definitely feasible, but you neglect several important points.

1) The Shiites in the South hate the US. They have not forgotten how Schwartzkopf stood by and let them be slaughtered after George I called for a revolt, after the Gulf War. Also, the place is a highly militarized war-zone already. Bombings are commencing, and the mood there is gearing up for an invasion; the Basra region is seen as the "front-line."

2) The feeling among the other nations is not the same as it was, 10 years ago, even with the UN signing on for this charade. Saudi Arabia has refused to be a staging point for an Iraqi invasion: even with the UN approval, FWIH. This time, the invasion force will not be as multinational as it was, last time.

3) By some accounts, the US is not prepared for a war in the desert. The information of the US military's war preparedness in gereral is sketchy.

4) If/when we enact "regime change (read: assassinate)" in Iraq, the plan of the week is to install an American to oversee the resultant chaos in Iraq, over the next several months. I don't know about you, but this idea makes me very uneasy. Americans are already hated in Iraq; an American giving orders is supposed to instill a great love? I don't think so.

OTOH, I really like your "food invasion" scenario. While I have doubt about its ability to destabilize Hussein, I think that a humanitarian effort in Iraq would far more demonstrate American goodwill than an invasion following 12 years of sanctions.

I'm sure, though, that the geniuses thinking up invasion scenarios in DC could easily conjure up a creditable "humanitarian invasion," something along the lines of your idea.

Good post! We'll make a lefty of you yet! :D

Brian H
11-13-2002, 10:58 AM
Me, Lefty? Dude, that was a hard right turn you took back there :)

Do you really think that all that sound and fury coming from the "Iraqi Parliament" is anything but well organized theater? Unless democracy broke out while I was napping, it is still very much a dictatorship. Like everybody else, I am waiting to hear what Saddam has to say (because not much else matters in Iraq).

As to the Shiites in the south, we really did step on their crank ten years ago, but I would still count on the "the enemy of my enemy is my friend” factor to override much (not saying all) of these feelings. We DID wrong them, but Saddam has been killing them (man, woman and child alike).

Beyond that, we do have Muslim allies and many of them would probably not be opposed to acting as "peace keepers." Our troops would do most of the land taking/ass kicking, while Muslim troops would be free to handle civilian areas. This is not unrealistic, in that the troops we would be using would be the guys getting face time on CNN and their national governments could rightly claim many kudos for doing it.

As to the multinational nature of our last gulf war. Some of our "coalition partners" sent only token or combat ineffective troops. I mean like "The Nation of East Whatnot: 14 combat bicycle washers." The same thing happens with other "multinational missions" like Bosnia. I would be willing to bet lunch that half a dozen "partners" will pop up at the last minute and that they will total less than a thousand (useless) troops.

As to details of sketchy US war plans ... you may be familiar with the term "surprise attack" ;)

As to the "hatred" of the US in Iraq. (DANGER! DANGER! I AM ABOUT TO MENTION WWII) A no time in the century has the US made more hay about mutual national hatred than in WWII, including all sorts of nasty racist stuff. However, once the war ended, American GI were comfortable enough with our "enemies" to be bringing home the sisters and daughters of the men who had been trying to kill them as "war brides." I had more than a few friends growing up with moms/grand mothers with thick German, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese (etc.) accents that dad met in the military. For every nation we have ever been in conflict with, you will find a large immigrant population.

We must be doing something right.

And don't get me wrong, a "food invasion" would be a very dangerous game for the players and would go something like this:

The weapons inspectors are UN personal. It would not be a stretch to attach a contingent of experts to them detailed to access the effects of UN sanctions on the Iraqi people (not a bad idea regardless of the motives, mind you).

These experts report back about conditions in Iraq.

Saddam does not have a firm hold on many areas in Iraq and it would be likely that he is not very diligent in caring for people in these areas. UN experts find these areas. After all, if Saddam does not have a presence there, it is likely the CIA does. So "finding" these areas will not be hard.

The UN makes a big show about needing to make a humanitarian mission into these (and other areas). The UN "caused" this suffering, so they want to do something about it. (Saddam "caused" it, not the UN)

Saddam says "No you can't go there, there are BANDITS and TERRORISTS (IE "freedom fighters") there."

The UN says, "No problem, we will send in our handy Muslim peace keepers." Elements of various Muslim coalition partners will then put on blue hats and paint there tanks white and drive into Iraq. They will hug the local Imams, pray at the local mosque, and be all over CNN.

What makes this really dangerous is, that when none Iraqi troops show up to act as a buffer between the Iraqi people and the Iraqi military/secret police, that some Iraqis will feel free enough to mouth off about Saddam. (and that gosh durn CIA will make sure it gets beamed to every Iraqi home).

That sort of stuff would really piss Saddam off and the peace keepers/civilian aid workers might get hurt/killed if Saddam tried to re-exert control.

Double and triple the danger when you take into account the likelihood that for every blue hat in Iraq, several dozen Allied troops would be waiting in planes/tanks to come over the border in the event that the Iraqi tried to use open military action to expel the UN. I.E. some local commander in Iraqi puts down some "bandits" and UN troops get involved. By the time the shooting gets going in earnest, the sky would be full of gun ships and assault troops. A real invasion begins and it gets nasty.

I like a "food invasion" too, but it is not without dangers (and in its own way is a rather insidious power grab).

Neil Mick
11-14-2002, 01:39 PM
Me, Lefty? Dude, that was a hard right turn you took back there :)

Do you really think that all that sound and fury coming from the "Iraqi Parliament" is anything but well organized theater?
Maybe it was an iriminage :)

Yes, I know it's all "theatre," but it's important theatre. I figured Hussein to comply with the UN Resolution.
As to the Shiites in the south, we really did step on their crank ten years ago, but I would still count on the "the enemy of my enemy is my friend” factor to override much (not saying all) of these feelings. We DID wrong them, but Saddam has been killing them (man, woman and child alike).

Beyond that, we do have Muslim allies and many of them would probably not be opposed to acting as "peace keepers." Our troops would do most of the land taking/ass kicking, while Muslim troops would be free to handle civilian areas. This is not unrealistic, in that the troops we would be using would be the guys getting face time on CNN and their national governments could rightly claim many kudos for doing it.
All this planning and war-scenario-figuring is amusing, but the fact is that neither of us TRULY know. We don't know what the Shiites are planning to do, or who they side with (altho personally, I disagree with you. The Shiites aren't stupid; do you think that they're going to happily cheer when the US comes in and installs an American to head Iraq? And then, after 5-15 years of occupation, do you think they expect anything from the "bringers of freedom and democracy," other than what they've already received (nothing)?)

And "face time, on CNN?" they'd probably rather have the "face time" on Al Jazeera.

Even if you and I knew all the factors, Brian: we can't know the fallout of all this warplanning. Suppose Iran attacks as soon as Hussein falls? And, what if you and the US vastly unerestimate Hussein's support, and the combined might of Iraq fights the US war-effort?

I'll tell you what happens, in that case: "deep doo-doo," as Bush I termed it. A Vietnam scenario that just keeps drawing our resources and lives of US soldiers, getting harder and harder to remove ourselves.
As to details of sketchy US war plans ... you may be familiar with the term "surprise attack" ;)
"Surprise attack??" If we flew planes with banners announcing our intentions, we couldn't be more blatant. Doesn't matter which side we attack, Hussein knows we're coming.

The thing that bothers me most, is the apparent US unconcern with the aftereffect of this invasion upon the international and Arab community (not to mention the appalling cost of human lives).
As to the "hatred" of the US in Iraq. (DANGER! DANGER! I AM ABOUT TO MENTION WWII) A no time in the century has the US made more hay about mutual national hatred than in WWII, including all sorts of nasty racist stuff.

For every nation we have ever been in conflict with, you will find a large immigrant population.

We must be doing something right.
Sure, we're GREAT friends with Vietnam, who still has not recovered (and probably never will) from the effect of the Vietnam War, on them. This idea that "it will all work out, in the end," may be true (to a point, from the US perspective: as long as we're still the big, violent, aggressive Big Brother), but how many ppl have to die, to make it "all right?"

When the US attacks Iraq, you can also bet $$ that Israel will launch an offensive against Palestine, as a media-cover. And again, do you think that Iran, named as the "next" target by Israel, is going to meekly sit by and be next?

War is not a means to make peace, no matter how many WWII scenarios you pull out. The times are different now, and I can cite you many other historical scenarios to buttress this point (the Hundred Years' War, comes to mind).
The UN makes a big show about needing to make a humanitarian mission into these (and other areas). The UN "caused" this suffering, so they want to do something about it. (Saddam "caused" it, not the UN)

Saddam says "No you can't go there, there are BANDITS and TERRORISTS (IE "freedom fighters") there."

The UN says, "No problem, we will send in our handy Muslim peace keepers." Elements of various Muslim coalition partners will then put on blue hats and paint there tanks white and drive into Iraq. They will hug the local Imams, pray at the local mosque, and be all over CNN.

What makes this really dangerous is, that when none Iraqi troops show up to act as a buffer between the Iraqi people and the Iraqi military/secret police, that some Iraqis will feel free enough to mouth off about Saddam. (and that gosh durn CIA will make sure it gets beamed to every Iraqi home).

That sort of stuff would really piss Saddam off and the peace keepers/civilian aid workers might get hurt/killed if Saddam tried to re-exert control.
You forget something: Hussein's son, a member of Parliament, dissented from the vote. He wants the inspectors back in Iraq, except he wants ARAB inspectors. He does not trust the US hand-picked inspectors to come in (gee, I wonder why?).

Everyone knows that the US used the inspectors to spy on Hussein's activities.

Again, your ideas are good one's Brian: but you forget that war is an untidy business, and it only SEEMS organized and neat after the winners have put their spin on it. It makes the winners look good.

And in this scenario, there are too many unknown factors, too much at risk, to simply run this through as if it's a military training exercise in Vieqes.

Neil Mick
11-14-2002, 02:04 PM
Well, it certainly is not boring, over in Iraq. Now, they're unconditionally accepting the inspectors. FWIH, the feeling is one of anxious relief, but no one thinks that the war is averted.

Brian H
11-16-2002, 09:57 AM
The crap with Saddam's son cracks me up. It is nothing more than a coordinated play to enhance his personal power by "showing" that he convinced his father to accept the inspectors over the objection of the "parliament." It was meant to put Saddam and his son in the (rather bizarre) position of being able to cast themselves as "moderates."

Yes, it is a different world than during World War II, but there are many lesson there anyway. I do not expect that the Iraqis would whip out American flags and welcome invaders with hugs and kisses as the liberated countries did in World War II (or Kuwait in Gulf War I). The lesson I would draw from WWII would be how the Germans handled the invasion of the USSR.

When Germany went into the Ukraine (and other non-Russian parts of the USSR) than were sometimes greeted as liberators by the locals. Many Ukrainians willingly joined the German Army (the Waffen SS maintained large units formed exclusively from occupied countries). The Red Army quickly adopted a scorched earth policy in areas they retreated from partially in response to this “disloyalty.” (The Ukraine was brutally repressed after Stalin got it back) However, Hitler made a rather stupid decision to treat all occupied nations (particularly Slavic ones) ruthlessly and began a program of clearing out vast swaths of land for German use. This program was quickly stalled by Russian counter offensives, but the harm to the image of the German's as “liberators” was total.

I am not saying that things will be easy, just that with some hard work and some multinational help, in a decade or so, Iraqi will be a much better place for its people. And without the Iraqi threat, the middle east will be safer to (and many of the Israeli issues will be more approachable)

Vietnam,

The flood of Boat People came AFTER the war. Even with all the pain and suffering of the war, tens of thousands risked death on the open sea (many dying in the process) to get to the US. And Vietnam is opening back up to Americans. I know some people who have been there and they tell me that the Vietnamese are almost universally friendly to Americans. One guy I know spent a lot of time there and we talked about it. The people and business men he dealt with held the Russian in general contempt, but liked Americans. The Russians who came to Vietnam were unfriendly and only interested in what they could take. American were remembered as somewhat buffoonish, but extremely generous and friendly. He told me about a rather bizarre incident where he spent a week with a business friend traveling around making contacts. At one point they were in a village and visited a B-52 crash site. The wreckage had been lovingly maintained with fresh paint and the bushes groomed to show what was left of the plane to its full effect. The shot down plane was a point of pride to the villagers, but they also were pleased to find out that the Americans father had been a B-52 pilot. The conversation revolved around the general disconnect people had between "America, international boogeyman" and "Americans." It was pointed out that many people who are strident racists have friends/associates of offending race. They disconnect the persons race because it does not fit in with their world view ("He is not like other XXXXX people, he is OK")

Plotting and planning is, in itself interesting, besides when Big Brother reads all this, he might like our ideas and use them. ;)

suebailey
11-16-2002, 04:25 PM
hey all

one of the things i partisipate in is the TA and were trainning hard in the light of hte up and comeing war lots of running physical fittness and and wepon handling.

of cause i wont be sent to iraq unfortunatlly but the medic core im in will replace the regualrs in other war striken countries.

but i would love to be the one who puts the bulllit through Saddam u nver know i might just getthe chance.

I wish

i would do any thing to protect my contry not only cos its got my mam, dad, bro and most importantly my better half wayne in it but its got all my mates in it to including u lot i surpose

but seriously i would do any hting to protect this country.

and i bet most of u lot would to?

keep safe all of u

suebailey
11-16-2002, 04:32 PM
hey all

one of the things i partisipate in is the TA and were trainning hard in the light of hte up and comeing war lots of running physical fittness and and wepon handling.

of cause i wont be sent to iraq unfortunatlly but the medic core im in will replace the regualrs in other war striken countries.

but i would love to be the one who puts the bulllit through Saddam u nver know i might just getthe chance.

I wish

i would do any thing to protect my contry not only cos its got my mam, dad, bro and most importantly my better half wayne in it but its got all my mates in it to including u lot i surpose

but seriously i would do any hting to protect this country.

and i bet most of u lot would to?

keep safe all of u

Neil Mick
11-16-2002, 10:24 PM
The crap with Saddam's son cracks me up. It is nothing more than a coordinated play to enhance his personal power by "showing" that he convinced his father to accept the inspectors over the objection of the "parliament." It was meant to put Saddam and his son in the (rather bizarre) position of being able to cast themselves as "moderates."
I find this statement rather presumptive, Brian. Nor, do I see it this way.

No doubt, there is no democracy in Iraq. But one of the things that seem to gall the Iraqi's is this point over the "respect for the sovereignty of Iraq," and everyone knows the US used the previous inspectors to spy on Saddam.

Saddam does whatever he wants, and no one's fooled by sham elections. I doubt he'd waste the energy for a media spin, using his Parliament: I think that the whole thing represents more of the displeasure of the Iraqi's, over American hand-picked inspectors.

Anyway, this isn't about Iraq anymore; its about the US attempting a power-play. Even the head of the inspection team has stated that he doubts that Iraq can provide an unabridged list in the time that Resolution 1441 requires of Iraq (2 months, FWIH). The way the US wants this to go is something like this:

1) Iraq is given the 2 months to comply with providing the list of weapons for Res. 1441. Iraq either fails, or is caught trying to "fudge" the list

2) The US immediately invades, while the Sec Council debates their next action

3) Iraq falls; Hussein is killed; an American heads Iraq

4) An Arab puppet-leader is found. It does not matter who (or, his opinions on human rights), as long as he is willing to manage those oil-dields for the US

5) Iraq replaces Saudi Arabia as the major staging point for that region, from which the US re-draws the map, enacting regime change whenever a troubling element surfaces (Saudi Arabia's leaders are increasingly growing unable to manage the outrage of the people, for example. First Iraq, next Saudi Arabia, with Egypt as the "prize")

You think these ideas paranoid, crazy, conspiracy theories? There is a plan on the books, authored by Daniel Pearl, to engage in exactly this strategem (I even paraphrased the plan, in my last sentence).

So, it's not really what Iraq does, or doesn't, do. It's about the US attempting a power-grab, in the Middle East, and whether or not the international and local communities will let them get away with it.

So far, we were lucky, because we forced Bush & Co to go through the UN, instead of acting unilaterally.
Yes, it is a different world than during World War II, but there are many lesson there anyway.
Sigh.. :rolleyes: WWII again? OK, let's try on WWII, for a second. Japan unilaterally attacked the US, because it figured that the US was going to attack, first.

So, I guess then, that Japan was justified in attacking first...sort of, um, "pre-emptively," right?
And without the Iraqi threat, the middle east will be safer to (and many of the Israeli issues will be more approachable)
Once again, we are not going to Iraq for humanitarian purposes. If we cared a fig leaf for the plight of Iraqi's, we'd stop a 12-year embargo that has taken 100's of thousands of lives and caused 25% of Iraqi's to be born underweight (as opposed to 4%, before the embargo). The embargo causes ppl to flock to Saddam, and as you mentioned earlier, a flood of food and supplies could even weaken his grip on the people.

Does the US care about the Iraqi's? Only as a media spin, from my perspective.
Vietnam,

The flood of Boat People came AFTER the war.
Actually, I was referring to the destruction of Vietnames culture and its peoples, caused by the War. How many millions dead? How much damage to its temples, its art?

Sure, they forgive us, but that's not the point: by most accounts the war was avoidable.
Plotting and planning is, in itself interesting, besides when Big Brother reads all this, he might like our ideas and use them. ;)
Oh, jeez I hope not :)
of cause i wont be sent to iraq unfortunatlly but the medic core im in will replace the regualrs in other war striken countries.

but i would love to be the one who puts the bulllit through Saddam u nver know i might just getthe chance.

I wish

i would do any thing to protect my contry not only cos its got my mam, dad, bro and most importantly my better half wayne in it but its got all my mates in it to including u lot i surpose

but seriously i would do any hting to protect this country.

and i bet most of u lot would to?

keep safe all of u
Hmm. Welcome back, Sue. Wherever you're stationed, I'm sure that it will be a "learning experience;" I hope that it's not too harsh a one.

If you can show me how Hussein is a threat to ANYONE but his own people; again, you're doing a lot better than George W.

Let me spell it out: this war is nothing more than a power grab by the US. I'm sure the US gov't is thanking you for the support, but I, as one American Aikidoist, am sorry to see you, a fellow Aikidoka, taking part in it.

And no: I WOULDN"T want to put a bullet in Saddam. I'd want to see his posterior hauled up on the International Court, and sentenced to life imprisonment: preferably on a grave-digging detail. Or, better yet: a nurse in a terminal ward, forced to give comfort to the dying, or he's confined to Solitary for a week (call it the Calvinist in me).

Your last quote in your post was from O Sensei, I guess. O Sensei also said: "Aikido is love." Not much love comes from bullets; forgiveness, maybe (with time), but not love.

Stay safe, Sue.

Brian H
11-17-2002, 09:36 AM
You should be quicker to dismiss the Iraqi parliament. NOTHING happens in Iraqi without Saddam implementing it or punishing someone for doing it. For the Iraqi parliament to make such a "bold move" as to do something in "opposition" to Saddam there has to be a purpose. The alternative is a bunch of ministers getting shot. None of this is for our consumption (and was not covered on Iraqi TV- per CNN/Fox), but the French :grr: will likely swallow the hook to the gill.

But what are we concerned about, Iraq says it has NO weapons of mass destruction. It should not take Iraq two months to catalog nothing. ;)

Blix came out yesterday and said no spies and few Americans (something like 1 in 6). That show ease some of you concerns. I don't believe the part about spies, but ...

"Caring for the Iraqi people": Civilians are regrettably secondary in any war plan (the guys that would kill our guys come first). But I do not join you in dire predictions of the US crushing the Iraqi people and running Iraq like a nineteenth century colony. My proof is the nearest mirror to you. Go look into it and ask yourself, "Could I allow that to happen?" I think the answer would be the same as mine. I would guess that many in between us (call me "the anti-Neil") politically would give the same answer. That being said, we do live in a representative democracy, and our elected leaders would not stay elected if they strayed that far beyond the will of the people.

And "redrawing the map of Iraq," I will submit to you that this is a real possibility. The Kurds in the north might (should?) declare the creation of a Kurdish home land and secede from Iraq. The US would be immediately be put in the ugly position of putting down a revolt by people they just liberated. Therefore, if it happened, I think we would let it happen. (the Turks would not be pleased). If Iran got involved, what is to say they would not try and grab Southern Iraq (Iran-Iraq War II?). Can't say that would be good, but it could happen.

As we have discussed before, the oil industry is not a private sector concern. It is about oil producing GOVERNMENTS. The US actually gets a relatively small percentage of its oil from the gulf. Our main interest being the global price of oil, which impacts our economy. Europe and Asia DO get a lot more of their oil from the gulf (particularly Japan). I do not think they would stand by and let us get a strangle hold on their nations economies (even if we wanted to).

Neil Mick
11-17-2002, 01:30 PM
You should be quicker to dismiss the Iraqi parliament. NOTHING happens in Iraqi without Saddam implementing it or punishing someone for doing it. For the Iraqi parliament to make such a "bold move" as to do something in "opposition" to Saddam there has to be a purpose. The alternative is a bunch of ministers getting shot.
I'm not saying that the parliament's vote was a "bold" move, in opposition to Saddam, or even that Hussein didn't arrange it all for some purpose or another (besides spin). I'm saying that we should take the maneuver as a sign that the inspectors are a "sticking point" to the peace process.
the French :grr: will likely swallow the hook to the gill.
Yeah, those gullible French; imagine, you'd almost believe that they'd swallow ANYTHING, like a President laying out groundless charges of Iraq's possessing nuclear weapons, or even LYING about IAEA reports that do not exist. :freaky:
. But what are we concerned about, Iraq says it has NO weapons of mass destruction. It should not take Iraq two months to catalog nothing. ;)
Now, Brian: don't dissemble on me. You know as well as I, that the catalogue of weapons Iraq must submit has to be more involved than simply reporting "nothing," even if they actually have no weapons o mass destruction (which, I believe, they do not. Again, where's that beef...). I'm sure that they have to report on their missiles and missile technology and other conventional weapons, which, thanks to the US, is considerable.
I don't believe the part about spies, but ...
Well, at least we agree on ONE point :)
I do not join you in dire predictions of the US crushing the Iraqi people and running Iraq like a nineteenth century colony. My proof is the nearest mirror to you. Go look into it and ask yourself, "Could I allow that to happen?" I think the answer would be the same as mine. I would guess that many in between us (call me "the anti-Neil") politically would give the same answer. That being said, we do live in a representative democracy, and our elected leaders would not stay elected if they strayed that far beyond the will of the people.
Oh stop it. You dissemble again. Next you'll be saying that we'd NEVER just stand by and let 500,000 people die.

Except when you consider (then) Sec of State's Madeleine Albright's statement that killing 1/2 million Iraqi's was "worth the price" of ousting Hussein.

Of course, "we" didn't have to pay that price, and "we" didn't get what "we" wanted...except the 1/2 million (or so) dead (next you have to ask yourself: "worth the price to whom?" Certainly not me. Nor, I imagine, you.

But: did you hear sbout all those outraged Americans calling in, protesting the embargo in the 12 years that it has been around? Must have missed the 6 o'clock news, when I was watching).

Americans don't generally protest about any unfair practices by the US, unless it involves American lives. That's why the Vietnam War protests started so late in the war: the American casualties didn't roll in on the TV news till later. I daresay that if there were a news blackout, we'd STILL be in Vietnam as late as the 80's.

And, "a 19th C colony?" No, it would look more like Saudi Arabia today: puppet dictators kowtowing to US dictates until the people say "enough." If you deny that the US is not a neocolonial power, then you're ignoring a lot of the facts. Just because we do not have American dictators in all the countries where we enact "regime change," does not mean that they aren't literally subservient colonies.

Just look at Haiti: the poorest nation on the planet, also possessing the distinction of have the most US involvement and intervention in its local and foreign governance, in its history.

Coincidence? I don't think so.
And "redrawing the map of Iraq," I will submit to you that this is a real possibility. The Kurds in the north might (should?) declare the creation of a Kurdish home land and secede from Iraq. The US would be immediately be put in the ugly position of putting down a revolt by people they just liberated. Therefore, if it happened, I think we would let it happen. (the Turks would not be pleased). If Iran got involved, what is to say they would not try and grab Southern Iraq (Iran-Iraq War II?). Can't say that would be good, but it could happen.
If you can show me one instance where we allowed a revolt (not engineered by US) to proceed where the US MIGHT lose influence and the country was sitting on a valuable resource, I will be amazed. AFAIK, this instance does not exist.

Several times I asked you, why not N. Korea? They're a repressive regime (one of the "axis o evil"). They admitted to a nuclear weapons program.

Well, I'll tell you why: they are not sitting on any resources of note. So, they are not worth the bother.
As we have discussed before, the oil industry is not a private sector concern. It is about oil producing GOVERNMENTS. The US actually gets a relatively small percentage of its oil from the gulf. Our main interest being the global price of oil, which impacts our economy. Europe and Asia DO get a lot more of their oil from the gulf (particularly Japan). I do not think they would stand by and let us get a strangle hold on their nations economies (even if we wanted to).
Brian, this is all about oil. The ppl in power themselves have lucrative portfolios in oil. Their friends have stock in oil. Even their DADS sit on the boards of oil corporations. The public sector is being USED by wealthy elements of the private to line their pockets.

How much oil the US gets from Iraq is irrelevant; it's how much $$ the people running the gov't get from this charade. Remember Haliburton?

Remember Enron? Nearly right up until the collapse of Enron, who was the CinC's biggest advocate? Kenneth Lay. Didn't Lay even have his own office, in the White House?

Oil-producing governments: yeah, it's about them. But, it's also about who stands to make the most, and what is most politically expedient.

The primary rule of journalism is: "follow the money." Who is making the money, here? It certainly isn't the human rights organizations.

Brian H
11-17-2002, 03:18 PM
Brian: don't dissemble on me.
I am not dissembling. I am being a wise ass :)

The "peaceful" solution, meaning sanctions, has been a total flop. The Iraqi government remains strong/in power and the people suffer.

Plan "B" has to be a force option.

In law enforcement the "use of force continuum" always begins with "officer presence." The mere threat of forceful action being often all that is needed to avert further use of force.

Our current military build up in the Gulf will hopefully fall into this category in the fullness of time. Iraq has a limited ability to respond legitimately to UN actions. World opinion is generally against Saddam on substantive matters. It is just a matter of time.

My main fault with sanctions is that they are generally only followed by the US. The US and/or the UN has imposed sanctions on Iran/Libya/Cuba/ etc. however, only the US has stringently followed them. Many European nations have done a great deal of business in sanctioned countries (Russia has had BILLIONS in Iraq). Regrettably sanctions have just turned into a way to eliminate US competition from sanctioned markets and not into ways to make positive changes in rogue nations.

Going back to the police analogy, it is like dealing with a violent drunk who attack someone (Kuwait) was driven off. You have to do something about him, but your mere presence seems to not cow him in the least. You tried approaching him and applied a “non-resistive control hold” (sanctions) but the guy is still serious trouble.

There are points in this debate that remind me of someone jumping into a police incident screaming “DON”T YOU DARE SHOOT HIM IN COLD BLOOD!!!”

This is not an all encompassing analogy of the Iraq problem, but there are lots of options between “sanctions” and “total war.” As in a police incident, the Iraq conflict will be solved more with cunning and guile than force.

Revolt that we did not want: Cuba, all of the communist central America governments (OK they replaced scumbags, but at the time -I don't think we would today- we were supporting the scumbags) more recently Venezuela had a coup that would have made the US very happy (oil again) that failed miserably. The very anti-American government came in through democratic action and stayed in power through a revolt.

Example of the "new" thing in use of force. (Officer in middle and free to choose most most reasonable level of force)

Brian H
11-17-2002, 03:32 PM
Sigh.. :rolleyes: WWII again? OK, let's try on WWII, for a second. Japan unilaterally attacked the US, because it figured that the US was going to attack, first.

So, I guess then, that Japan was justified in attacking first...sort of, um, "pre-emptively," right?
Err.

Japan starts a war of aggression against its neighbor.

The US responds with sanctions that cause serious damage to Japanese economy.

And you think this justifies an attack by Iraq (I mean Japan) on Pearl Harbor?

Have you been reading Chomsky again?

Neil Mick
11-19-2002, 11:24 PM
I am not dissembling. I am being a wise ass :)

The "peaceful" solution, meaning sanctions, has been a total flop. The Iraqi government remains strong/in power and the people suffer.

Plan "B" has to be a force option.
You call a policy of genocide, exterminating 100's of thousands of Iraqi's a "peaceful" solution??"

I think we're definitely getting into Orwell country, here.

Also, it's a sad thing if we're reduced to either starvation, or invasion, as a means of resolving a problem.

As I mentioned in an earlier post: sometimes the WAY one approaches a situation, is the very nature of the problem.

Where's the beef, Brian? Over and over: I'm hearing from the mainstream media how "dangerous" Saddam is, how we must attack now now now! And yet, not a shred of evidence.

In fact, the US is NOW saying that Iraq attacking US planes in a no-fly zone (which is definitely NOT approved by the UN) constitutes a "material breech." So: a country that defends itself against a non-UN-sanctioned attack is in violation of UN Resolution.

Oh, boy.

And: black is white, war is peace, and Big Brother is your friend.
Iraq has a limited ability to respond legitimately to UN actions. World opinion is generally against Saddam on substantive matters. It is just a matter of time.
Again, this isn't about Iraq, anymore. It's about the US gov't's attempt to establish a power-play. Doesn't matter what Iraq does, the US will have Iraqi blood, I mean: oil.
Revolt that we did not want: Cuba, all of the communist central America governments (OK they replaced scumbags, but at the time -I don't think we would today- we were supporting the scumbags) more recently Venezuela had a coup that would have made the US very happy (oil again) that failed miserably. The very anti-American government came in through democratic action and stayed in power through a revolt.
Yes, but I was talking about US-backed coups that were purely for humanitarian reasons. In both your examples, the US gov't was quite surprised when those governments turned against the US. And: in the case of Venezuala, the US gov't is EVEN NOW talking about "getting" Lula later, when all the Iraqi fuss dies down (as if it ever will, at the rate we're going).
Going back to the police analogy, it is like dealing with a violent drunk who attack someone (Kuwait) was driven off. You have to do something about him, but your mere presence seems to not cow him in the least. You tried approaching him and applied a “non-resistive control hold” (sanctions) but the guy is still serious trouble.

There are points in this debate that remind me of someone jumping into a police incident screaming “DON”T YOU DARE SHOOT HIM IN COLD BLOOD!!!”
Yes, and there are points where I notice how callous little regard is given to ppl in other countries whose only crime was living on top of oil (not specifically referring to you, Brian).

In the other website where I discussed Aikido and war, I pointed out that Afghanistan was nearly bombed into the Stone Age, by the US. A conservative came back with: "Go cry me a river about Afghanistan: they were already close to the Stone Age, anyway. Besides, he quipped: the US will probably "kick" some bucks their way, at some point.

I told him that this was a sick thought. So, I said: killing 5000 people with US bombs deserves such scorn, while killing 2000 Americans with our own planes deserves a war against the world, forever, amen??

Are American lives so precious, and non-Americans worth so little?

All of your ideas are interesting, and definitely have merit, Brian: but let's face it...neither you, nor the US gov't has any proof of Iraqi war-readiness that belies their thinly veiled motives to grab the oil.

Who made US the great policeman who can say a country needs invading, when they haven't invaded another country in 10 years?? Who gave US the right to starve a people for 12 years?

Who ever said that our country was totally right, in all of our judgements, and whomever we feel is wrong, just..is, with no proof?
Japan starts a war of aggression against its neighbor.

The US responds with sanctions that cause serious damage to Japanese economy.

And you think this justifies an attack by Iraq (I mean Japan) on Pearl Harbor?

Have you been reading Chomsky again?
Yes, in fact, I do...a lot. I bet you read George Will, don't you :p

And no: I don't THINK this justifies an attack, I am outlining the US's logic, here. If the US can attack Iraq pre-emptively, then I guess Japan was justified in attacking Pearl Harbor.

Brian H
11-20-2002, 07:49 AM
PUT THE CHOMSKY DOWN AND BACK SLOWLY AWAY!!!

Every life cut short is its own unique tragedy.

The 5,000 figure is for "Afghani killed" and (my understanding) includes soldiers killed in battle. To me that is an astoundingly low number of casualties and I credit our military for that.

It is both easy and crass to say that an American soldier who stepped on a land mine or an Afghan girl hit by an errant bomb "gave their life for the Afghan people" (or any other slogan). But I do recognize that they were cut down in a larger process that will hopefully leave Afghanistan and the world a better place.

When the Russian went into Afghanistan, they quickly adopted a "kill them all and let Marx sort them out" policy. The Russians inflicted over a million casualties and drove a million more into exile. The Afghans fought them for ten bloody years. This has not happened with us(yet?).

The Afghans a very proud and independent people, however they have rarely had an effective central government. Instead they have always organized on tribal lines. They have also killed each other along tribal lines since the beginning of time. Only a fool would say that they will quickly form any kind of peacefully united government quickly.

The US "war" in Afghanistan was prosecuted more with bags of cash than with bombs/bullets. The local war lords are kept happy with a regular rub down with $$$. Ridiculous corruption to a westerner, but I would much rather spill money than blood. Food/wealth is flowing into Afghanistan (a uniquely American way to wage war) and the Afghan people grow stronger every day. Once this difficult process is complete, I do not think the US will/should have any role in the Afghan government. As we have discussed before, there are a lot of Afghan immigrates in my area, and the ones I have met are all exemplary Americans. I am proud of the efforts the US has made so far to make their native land whole.

In the long term the schools are back open and there is a massive influx of aid. Chomsky himself predicted 1-2 millions civilian deaths to starvation in Afghanistan last winter. The Taliban had forced out all of the relief workers, so Chomsky's predictions may have come true in whole or in part had the Taliban stayed in power. In the face of that civilian death toll, 5,000 pales in comparison.

Who made us the "cops of the world?"

Nobody, and I will be first in line to say that we should not be the "cops of the world." But I also wonder why every nation on Earth did not rise up and crush Saddam the first time he used poison gas against his own people. When he made war against his neighbors ...

What more would he need to do to require that he be stopped?

And about oil, the US is carrying the water for countries that do get all/most of their oil from the gulf. It is easy to heap scorn on those who act, but ignore those who hide in the shadows.

Brian H
11-20-2002, 09:07 AM
Check little this little nugget:

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/frankjgaffneyjr/fg20021119.shtml

Gold, pyrite, or something else?

Neil Mick
11-22-2002, 02:00 PM
PUT THE CHOMSKY DOWN AND BACK SLOWLY AWAY!!!
STAY BACK! I've got a CHOMSKY in my hands, and I'M NOT AFRAID TO QUOTE FROM IT!!
Every life cut short is its own unique tragedy.

The 5,000 figure is for "Afghani killed" and (my understanding) includes soldiers killed in battle. To me that is an astoundingly low number of casualties and I credit our military for that.

It is both easy and crass to say that an American soldier who stepped on a land mine or an Afghan girl hit by an errant bomb "gave their life for the Afghan people" (or any other slogan). But I do recognize that they were cut down in a larger process that will hopefully leave Afghanistan and the world a better place.
You're right; it IS an astoundingly low figure. That's because I didn't quote the statistics of starvation brought on by the cutting off of supplies in the region, the deaths brought on by landmines, the deaths caused from Afghani's made homeless, or the general lawlessness from all the post-war chaos. I didn't quote these figures because I can't, thanks to the US military's blackout of the media.

You can talk about all the "lives saved" by the US invasion, but neither you nor I know exactly what the cost is because, once again, we're not paying it, nor are we allowed to see what the cost is, to the Afgani's.

I remember in an earlier post, decrying about the news blackout, in Afghanistan; do you remember your response...? "No news is good news." A few days later, the Taliban attempted an assassination attempt upon Hamid Karzi.

You should have said: "No news and all war make the American public a clueless, blinded body."
Food/wealth is flowing into Afghanistan (a uniquely American way to wage war) and the Afghan people grow stronger every day.

In the long term the schools are back open and there is a massive influx of aid.
Massive aid? Again, not in my reality. $12B to bomb Afghanistan, and only $10M for aid?? You call this relief "flooding in??"

See http://www.independent.co.uk/story.jsp?story=352576
But I also wonder why every nation on Earth did not rise up and crush Saddam the first time he used poison gas against his own people. When he made war against his neighbors ...
Oh, you mean, when he had full US support to gas Kurds and even, according to the US Ambsddador to Iraq at the time, the freedom to do what he likes, to Kuwait?

Puzzling, isn't it, how important it is to "get" him now, when he did the bulk of his atrocities under the approving gaze of the US media and gov't.

Couldn't be that someone in the Bush House is worried about upcoming elections, could it,,,?

Much easier, after all, to engage in cowboy diplomacy and grandiose invasion strategems than to really tackle the problem of terrorism, to get to the "meat of the matter," isn't it?

Who transacts 60% of weapons sales in the world? Who gave the Taliban $3B and taught OBL all his dirty tricks? Who helped Hussein to power and gave him chemical and biological weapons, as well as military hardware and helped to improve his missile technology?

What country engages in the bulk of terrorism around the world?

You know who is responsible for these acts, Brian (and no: it isn't Andorra).
What more would he need to do to require that he be stopped?
What do you think would happen if Hussein announced that he had nuclear weapons and planned to use them, if invaded? Or, if he gassed more Kurds, as he did with US support? Or if he even tried to invade Kuwait again?

You know, as well as I: he'd be obliterated. The whole world would gladly fall behind the US invasion and vaporize Hussein and most of Iraq.

He knows it, too; and that's why he's not going to do anything.

Who are Iraq's neighbors most afraid of, right now? Not Iraq. (With the exception of Israel, which is literally a US military outpost, at this point), the neighbors of Iraq are mostly concerned about the US; they fear the US invasion.

In fact, if you compare the US involvement in human rights abuses for the past 12 years with Iraq's: we finish a poor second.
And about oil, the US is carrying the water for countries that do get all/most of their oil from the gulf. It is easy to heap scorn on those who act, but ignore those who hide in the shadows.
Gosh, we're such good Samaritans, aren't we? All that selfless warmongering, so all the First World countries can get their oil. Kind of makes me all misty.

You mentioned earlier that the US doesn't even get most of its oil from Iraq, so that oil is not the reason we're invading. I put to you that its not the oil FOR OURSELVES that we want: it's the control of the flow of oil. If we have an Iraqi puppet running things, we can call the shots for ppl trading with Iraq.

And once we (I mean, the US) has that, the the US dispension of power around the world is more secure.

You don't think that we're going to just invade, set up a puppet and leave the oil fields untouched, do you?

And regarding all those "hiding in the shadows:" maybe there'd be fewer hiding there, if we didn't provide so much training, weapons and support, in the first place.

Finally, it is blatantly obvious how uninterested the US is in implementing peaceful measures (inspectors) to resolve this problem. I am tickled by the US media's stance, right now: "We aren't advocating war, but here are some cool, nifty graphics showing you how the war will proceed.

After the weapons inspectors get their chance (and, likely, fail), we'll show you how ready the US is to go to war. Film at 11."

Again, this war is not about what Hussein will, or won't, do: it's about the US using strong-arm tactics and end-run's around the UN, and the world, to implement their imperialist agendas.

Hussein could convert to pacifistic Buddhism, and quit to a monestary, tomorrow, but it won't change a thing. The US wants its oil and its strategic deployment, and it wants it by the next (2004) election.

Oh, and the death of a man who made Daddy look bad is a nice topping on that cake, too.

Neil Mick
11-22-2002, 02:44 PM
For an analysis of the Iraqi War with respect to the US 2004 election, see http://argument.independent.co.uk/regular_columnists/fergal_keane/story.jsp?story=354875

Brian H
11-25-2002, 02:39 PM
What I said was "Good news is no news" (watch your local news and count the number of items in the first ten minutes that does not involve death and suffering)

Washington is a major media hub, so there are lots of reporters around (and lawyers :( ). One of the reporters I know has been to Afghanistan and a friend of a friend has been over there also.

Rest assured that any bad news that comes up will be quickly and throughly covered.

Brian H
11-26-2002, 07:58 AM
I have been not been seeing a lot about the Iraqi Kurds lately, but stumbled onto this.

http://www.defenddemocracy.org/templ/display.cfm?id=247&Sub=253

It is the most comprehensive information I have yet seen and it very hopeful (VERY unusual these days)

Neil Mick
11-26-2002, 09:49 PM
What I said was "Good news is no news" (watch your local news and count the number of items in the first ten minutes that does not involve death and suffering)

Rest assured that any bad news that comes up will be quickly and throughly covered.
:eek: I provide refutation (and documentation) of your last major post, and all you wish to add is a mild correction of your quote?

"Mother of mercy, is THIS the END of Brian the Uber-konservativ??" (extra points if you can name the movie where that quote is paraphrased from) :D

Bad news, "quickly and thoroughly covered??" Oh, Brian (*shakes head*).

Let's just go over today's news in 2 major papers, OK?

In the San Jose Merceury, there was a huge article on the hardship of a Jewish Russian immigrant having trouble, finding work, adapting to the difficulties of Israeli life, etc. The slant was a human-interest angle, written to garner our empathy.

Underneath this 1/4 page article was a very brief (maybe 4 paragraphs) piece on the 8-year-old boy shot by the IDF. No personal details given.

In the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the article was a bit longer and detailed the Israeli charges that the kids were throwing rocks and assumed to have grenades, but again: no personal information of the boy was given. Alongside this article was a PICTURE of an IDF procession of soldiers, carrying off a coffin of an IDF soldier killed in battle. The picture had nothing to do with the article.

Now, do you think that an 8-year-old getting shot, with no warning, is newsworthy? More newsworthy, perhaps, than the struggles of a 53-year-old immigrant, or a picture of a dead soldier (even more so, considering other news from Palestine of another child killed by an IDF sniper, or the recent death of a high-ranking British UN official)?

I sure do. I'd want to hear more about this tragedy, especially since Israel is asking for $14B for "emergency aid," when states all across the US are reporting tremendous deficits.

The news in Haiti, another example. The press has covered the anti-Aristide demonstrations quite well, but a virtual blackout on the 30,000 pro-Aristide march. Also, nothing about US military advisors being sent to the Dominican Republic.

Reuters, however, has reported that pro-OBL slogans were chanted in this march, but another reporter, Kevin Pina, reported no such chants at that march (in fact, Pina pointed out that the leftists in Haiti despise what OBL has done).

IAC, Brian: the only bad news you'll hear from the mainstream media is the news that they want you to hear.

I read your link; I'd hardly call this article "good news." If their past record is any indication, the Bush administration certainly won't want a democracy to flourish in Iraq.

The article also gets quite disturbing at the end, with its references to the US "protecting" Iraq:

"The Kurdish civil war was a perfect example of how Iraqis can still be manipulated, whether by Saddam or by their neighbours. Yet with Saddam gone and the protective shield of western military power covering the whole of Iraq, there will be less scope for the country's meddlesome neighbours to stir the pot.

Protecting Iraq from the rest of the Middle East so as to foster a fairer and more democratic system of government will not be cheap or easy, but it is a lesser burden than a full-scale and long-term occupation. Above all, having already invested so much in protecting the Kurds, it would be foolish not to build on the successes already achieved, both for the Kurds and for their fellow Iraqis."

"...Protecting Iraq from the rest of the Middle East??" "The protective shield of military power?" "INVESTING in the Kurds??" :rolleyes:

But, looking in on the biographies of the founders, I find such names as:

Hon. Jack F. Kemp, Chairman,
Sen. Frank Lautenberg,
Steve Forbes,
Dr. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick,
Newt Gingrich
Hon. James Woolsey,
Clifford D. May, President

Now, why do these names not surprise me?

Neil Mick
11-26-2002, 09:52 PM
Huzzah! This thread passed 400 posts, with over 4200 viewers served :D !!

*popping of champagne corks*

Brian H
11-27-2002, 08:24 AM
Neil,

I did not give you a lengthy response because I was short on time and we had covered much of the ground already.

As to "bad news:" I would classify every story you mentioned as bad news. I have no expectation of any balance in the news as a whole. The idea of an "unbiased" media is a fiction perpetuated by the media. They think they should be, so they tell everyone they are. The major network are hemorrhaging viewers, because many in the public view this as somewhat dishonest. I vastly prefer the Fox News format, where they put up hosts/guests who are openly biased and pit them against each other. If you do something like putting Newt Gingrich and Charles Rangel on together, you can bet that both sides of the issue will be covered. (It is like a "Jerry Springer Show" for people who speak in complete sentences)

It is not "just about oil." The US in not the majority customer of Middle Eastern oil. The fact that the UN unanimously signed off on the Iraq resolution speaks loudly to me. The US must have made some serious compromises to assure the European and Asian governments who do buy most of their oil from the Middle East that we would not just take over Iraq.

About the Kurd link, I read the speculation about the manipulation of the Kurds/Iraqis as a warning, not as a "woohoo, opportunity knocks!!" It was the report of a new and flourishing independent media in Iraq that caught my interest and makes me hopeful for a free and independent Iraq. The free flow of information is the cornerstone of democracy. So while they are no where near being out of the woods, they at least are taking a good step in the right direction.

On a side note, have you seen the Cinamax movie "Uncle Saddam"? I watched last night and it is amazing. While very "low budget," it is entirely made of live interviews of Iraqi officials (including Saddam himself) and archival news footage. It was amazing to see the level of self idolization Saddam has. The on camera interview with Saddam about how building palaces and monuments was more important to the Iraqi people than the production of food. The juxtaposing of Saddam's lifestyle with Saddam's Children’s Hospital is truly horrifying.

opherdonchin
11-27-2002, 09:28 AM
Hey Neil,

I haven't been following all of the stuff that you guys have been discussing, but the bit about the IDF and the 8 year old caught my eye. I think you'll find that coverage of child death on both sides of the conflict has seriously gone down over the last two years as it has stopped really being new. It's hard for people on this side of Atlantic to continue to care. On the other hand, there was extensive coverage a couple of years ago when the first boy was shot in the new intifadah (the famous picture of the father sheltering the boy), so certainly there are times when the newspapers feel that the death of a Palestinian child is news-worthy.

The 'news' that I've heard surrounding deaths of Palestinian children recently is that the army is claiming that children have been involved in hurling malotov cocktails. This is certainly new for the current intifadah and, if it is true, it raises serious questions about the use of children as combatants.

Neil Mick
11-27-2002, 12:49 PM
Opher,

Even though interest has gone down, in the US about Palestine (and this is my major beef with the Left), you still have to acknowledge a blatant media-bias against the Palestinians.

Also, I heard an eyewitness reporter present at the shooting. Obviously biased (he's Palestinian), he nonetheless said that there was no evidence of any weapons on the children at all: not even rocks. The soldiers just pulled up in a jeep, the children scattered, and the 8-y.o., not even near the crowd of scattering kids, was shot.

Now, you can dismiss this report as a bias to garner sympathy: whom do you believe?

You have to look at the emotional climate, and the actions of both sides. The IDF certainly HAS shot at unarmed Palestinians in the past, and is now shooting at peaceful internationals.

Kids, with molotov's? Maybe, but I think the onus of belief lay against the occupying army with all the guns, rather than a bunch of children trying to hurry home under a curfew.

Brian,

"Fox?" The producers are right-wing Christian fundamentalists...! Egad~!

And, I generally shy away from debates that descend into shouting matches (believe it or not). On Pacifica Radio, you rarely hear Jerry- Springer-style debates, even when they bring in rep's from the right-wing views.

Shouting only proves who has the biggest lungs.

And, once again, Brian: we'll just have to agree to disagree-- it is about oil, and US imperialism. Pres Bush recently stated that it doesn't matter what the inspectors find, or don't find: we will invade Iraq.

Regarding the Kurd link, I found some of the info on the Kurds interesting, but again: we'll have to agree to disagree. Considering the BoD's, I would suggest that this sort of US "protecting Iraq against the Middle East" is a precursor of more of the same language to come...a rationalization for an extended US presence in Iraq.

Regarding the Cinemax program: no, I didn't see it.

Off to enjoy T-giving with my partner's relatives: you all have a great Turkey-Day (my fave holiday, next to Hallowe'en. Mass marketing has corrupted it the least of all the other holidays).

Brian H
11-27-2002, 02:43 PM
In war (or any violence) there is not really any black and white, only shades of grey.

One of the things that really troubles me about the Palestinian/Israeli situation is that the barriers of decency keep moving back. Using kids, old people and woman as combatants, all old news. I strongly suspect that cruel men are constantly planning new atrocities in order to attract public attention and continue the conflict.

And Neil, don’t be so quick to dismiss the value of seeing someone yell in a debate. It is a VERY reliable way to determine that the person has no idea what they are talking about.

If you were to invent a cheap fusion power source today and eliminate the oil economy, people would just find new reasons to kill each other.

opherdonchin
11-27-2002, 10:55 PM
Even though interest has gone down, in the US about Palestine (and this is my major beef with the Left), you still have to acknowledge a blatant media-bias against the Palestinians.I certainly don't 'have to acknowledge' that. My understanding is that the more reliable news sources (NYT, NPR, Ha'aretz, CNN) feel that they are close to being objective when they hear about as many accusations from one side as they do from the other. Other reasonably reliable sources (The Guardian) admit to feeling greater sympathy for the Palestinians, but struggle for objectivity anyway.

I've never met anyone from either side of the conflict who felt the mainstream media wasn't biased toward the other sides point of view.
Also, I heard an eyewitness reporter present at the shooting. Obviously biased (he's Palestinian), he nonetheless said that there was no evidence of any weapons on the children at all: not even rocks. The soldiers just pulled up in a jeep, the children scattered, and the 8-y.o., not even near the crowd of scattering kids, was shot.

Now, you can dismiss this report as a bias to garner sympathy: whom do you believe?
Any report can be dismissed as biased and many should be. The reports of palestinian eye witnesses are notoriously unreliable. The reports of the army spokesman are barely better, but they are usually slightly better. Still, the thing that I said is new (and I was careful in my wording) was that this was the first time in this conflict that the army spokesman had claimed that any behavior of this sort was going on. Charting the progress of the accusations is interesting in its own right and is worth keeping track of even if you don't believe what either side is telling you.

Neil Mick
11-29-2002, 06:15 PM
I certainly don't 'have to acknowledge' that.

I've never met anyone from either side of the conflict who felt the mainstream media wasn't biased toward the other sides point of view.
Sad. It truly is. I pick up two local dailies and point out the biases on that day, and you don't see the bias? From the downplaying of personal interest to Palestinians, to a subtle re-wording of events (Palestine is "the Territories," while "Occupied" is used less and less), the major dailies routinely slant the stories. Victims shot by the IDF are "caught in a crossfire;" victims of Palestinian militants are "shot by Palestinian militants."

True: one day's worth of investigation of the dailies proves nothing. It could have been an unusually anti-Palestinian day.

Also true: pro-Zionists accusing the media of bias point to the fact that the US media calls the Palestinian gunmen "militants," instead of "terrorists," etc. Pro-Zionist accuse the US media of a distortion of the histories surrounding the "conflict."

http://www.factsofisrael.com/load.php?p=http://www.factsofisrael.com/blog/archives/000356.html

http://world.std.com/~camera/docs/alert/nytrev.html

You have a situation where 2 parties each accuse the other of being a victim of media bias: whom do you believe?

Luckily, as opposed to eyewitness reports, you can investigate the perceived bias for yourself.

Firstly, you can challenge obvious misconceptions put forth. For instance, the idea that this is a conflict between two, equally balanced sides, and Israel is "protecting" its statehood is utter nonsense.

Israel is now using attack helicopters and missiles to kill individuals. You contrast that with the "claim" that a Palestinian kid was shot for sporting a molotov cocktail, and you come up short of parity by a few Apache's; cocktail in hand, or not.

NO WAY is Israel "at risk." Even IF we didn't send them the most $$ for the military, we'd still come over there and support our ally in a NY minute, should they be invaded.

So, the argument that Israel is "protecting itself" is facetious at best, genocidal dissembling at worst.

But, this point only shows some of the disparity. What about media bias?

Truly, the only way to find out is to take a sample of the flagship standard of media: the NY Times, and count the number of pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian stances yourself, over a period of time. You read each article dealing with the issue and decide whether the articles dealt with the victims on a personal, or impersonal, level.

http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/00000006D8E7.htm

A pro-Palestine group did just that. They counted the NY Times articles over a 9-month period and found that the bias was significantly in favor of Israel (I wish I could give you an exact reference, but I found it in the book: "The New Intifada," if you're interested).

Probably the best study done of the anti-Palestinian bias is by the watchgroup FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in the Media):

http://www.fair.org/extra/0103/not-stones.html

http://fair.org/extra/0207/generous.html

Neil Mick
12-01-2002, 02:45 AM
In war (or any violence) there is not really any black and white, only shades of grey.

If you were to invent a cheap fusion power source today and eliminate the oil economy, people would just find new reasons to kill each other.
No. Way. We do not get off that easily.

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict may very well continue on without our aid, but we certainly don't help the issue by providing unmitigated, and apparently, unlimited, military aid, to the MidEast's "policemen."

Even assuming they were two opposing armies, arming one side and condemning the other, particularly if you keep rewarding the more violent side with more weaponry.

We could stop much of the violence between Israel and Palestine next week, if the US wanted.

I, for one, do not accept the "shrugging" stance that, oh well: war happens. The US certainly doesn't cause all the wars in the world (although that now appears to change, with our "War on Terror"), but it's obvious where most of their weapons come from.

More powerful weapons, means more atrocities, in the world.

Brian H
12-01-2002, 09:09 AM
I half agree with you on this

We COULD end the Arab/Israeli conflict quickly if we tossed a coin to pick a side, then embargoed one the loser and armed the winner.

Short of that, this one will be dragging its bloody foot for quite a while.

Brian H
12-01-2002, 11:08 AM
A few facts about Saddam

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=4820

opherdonchin
12-01-2002, 11:39 AM
Victims shot by the IDF are "caught in a crossfire;" victims of Palestinian militants are "shot by Palestinian militants."
This is a fairly accurate representation of the situation, actually. One of the big issues that supporters of Israel point to in terms of media bias is that this aspect of the conflict often gets lost.

I'm not going to enter into a discussion of which side the media is more supportive of. I've heard powerful arguments for both sides and have come away convinced only that each side seems to believe quite sincerely that the media is mistreating them. As an Israeli, I am therefore suspicious of my own conviction, based on my own experience, that all of the mainstream media is irresponsibly presenting a picture slanted in favor of the Palestinians. I recommend that you, given your own feelings on the issue, treat your own reading of the medai with a similarly suspicious attitude.

I will however point out that your post, which was ostensibly about media bias, really spent most of its time discussing what you call the 'inequality' of the conflict. I have issues about a lot of what you say regarding this inequality, but regardless the argument you are running is basically, "Israelis have attack helicopters so I tend to assume that the New York Times is biased towards Israel."

The fact that a pro-Palestinian group found a pro-Israeli bias in the New York Times, of course, is completely consistent with my claim that each side sincerely believes that the media is biased against them. There are a number of pro-Israeli media watchdog groups on the net (I can't remember the links, but they are very well known and should be easy to find) who see the opposite bias.

I think that the really interesting thing to think about regarding media bias is that both sides are treating the media as a battle ground where they are fighting just as seriously as on the physical battleground. Thus, whether there is an 'objective' media may really reflect which side is 'winning' more than it does any sort of intentional bias on the part of the reporters and editorial staff. Understanding the tactics each side is using to influence the coverage (from overt pressure to spin to choreography made for TV) is very important in understanding what you see.

Neil Mick
12-01-2002, 08:31 PM
This is a fairly accurate representation of the situation, actually. One of the big issues that supporters of Israel point to in terms of media bias is that this aspect of the conflict often gets lost.
Riight. I suppose that the Palestinian child shot while being held by his father, who was begging the IDF soldiers to spare his son (from a 4/02 broadcast, which I saw), was actually shot in a "crossfire," just as the IDF said (in the end, both father and son died)?

Or: the man in the wheelchair who died at Jenin when the IDF bulldozed his house gave him insufficient time to get out (their excuse? They were looking for militants), THAT was a "crossfire?"

Or: the account of the first international to view Jenin, who reported that every single house in a 6-block radius was subjected to vandalism and theft (the one's left standing, at least); I suppose the Palestinians engaged in a little vandalism and theft upon their own ppl, just to relieve a little tension, right?

We do agree on one thing (at least in part): the side you relate to colors your judgement on the issues. I'll be the first to admit that I relate to the underdog, especially when the overdog is so well armed. I'll believe a Palestinian testimony before I believe the IDF.

But: I don't swallow anything hook, line and sinker; no matter what side the reporter (BTW, did you read my links? I provided links from both sides of the conflict, to be balanced). Usually, I'll cross-check a source (if possible), to find a correlation.

You shouldn't be so ready to dismiss a study done by a group that has sympathies for one side (such as the Palestine Media Watch). In fact, I'm ready to put the NY Times to the "Pepsi Challenge" if you are.

Let's try this: we each review the articles of the NY Times for a week, counting the pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli slants. We can even agree upon the standards for bias, to try and gather an objective stance (relatively).

Are you ready to put your beliefs to the test, or do you prefer to rest upon your assumptions?

Finally (and probably most importantly): just because you are Jewish does not mean that you have to unquestioningly support the policies of the Israeli gov't. I (and a lot of other American Jews, and Israeli's) feel that this policy of violent aggression is, in the end, detrimental to state of Israel, and its peoples.

Neil Mick
12-01-2002, 08:51 PM
I half agree with you on this

We COULD end the Arab/Israeli conflict quickly if we tossed a coin to pick a side, then embargoed one the loser and armed the winner.

Short of that, this one will be dragging its bloody foot for quite a while.
Oh, please. Violence is not solved through more violence (if it were, there would be no more intifada's). The Palestinian economy is so tied to the Israeli economy that an embargo would almost be redundant. And, we already ARE arming one side with practically whatever they want.

A much better idea would be your "food invasion" idea that you submitted about Iraq, awhile back. The UN makes a presence in the West Bank to maintain order, and insure fewer "crossfires." At every currently operating checkpoint, a UN reporter could be stationed. The US (and UN) provide infrastructure aid (rebuilding roads, re-establishing schools: which, BTW, also gives a better perspective on the status of those fanatical "fundamentalist" schools the US media is so fond of reporting).

The US tells Israel that in no uncertain terms will future human rights abuses be tolerated; no more missiles to kill one man, no helicopters to strafe the house of Palestinian police chiefs, etc. Violations result in a slashing of US military aid.

But: we (I mean the US) won't do that, because the issue is not about human rights, it's about establishing military and political control of the oil-rich region.

And so, because the US is so addicted to their oil, more Israeli's and Palestinian's will needlessly die, over a long period of time.

Sad. :(

opherdonchin
12-02-2002, 12:38 AM
Riight. I suppose that the Palestinian child shot while being held by his father, who was begging the IDF soldiers to spare his son (from a 4/02 broadcast, which I saw), was actually shot in a "crossfire," just as the IDF said (in the end, both father and son died)?I didn't read your descriptions of the other cases and may or not remember the story surrounding each of them, but in this case I think there is absolutely no question that the father and son were caught in a cross-fire. There is even no question (that is, both sides agree) that this particular cross-fire began when Palestinian militants / gunmen/ innocent children (sorry) began firing on an Israeli position. The only question, and I admit that it's an important one, is whether the soldiers intentionally shot at people they knew were unarmed while they were busy returning fire. This question has to do with the relative angles from which the soldiers were being fired upon and the angle at which the father and child were.

There was also a claim, which I think has been largely shown to be untrue, that the child may have been killed by Palestinian fire in that particular case. I believe that it was shown to be untrue by an IDF investigation regarding the relative angles of the different shooters in the cross fire.

In any case, there is no question that there was a cross fire in that case. I suspect that if you go back to the newspaper reports you will find that the cases in which Palestinians claim otherwise are relatively rare (and very heavily covered by the media).

Look, Neil, I'm not at all interested in 'debating' the Palestinian / Israeli conflict with you. I find your style confrontational and your approach unproductive. I feel like I've heard the stuff you say many times before and don't feel like saying the stuff that I'm sure you've heard many times before. The conversations on this topic that I find interesting do not begin from a starting point where one person is trying to convince the other of something, but rather where both sides are starting from some common ground and trying to understand something together. I've been frustrated in trying to engage you in this style, and I accept that you find my style as empty and uninformative as I find yours. The only reason I chimed in was because I felt that your claim that the media is biased against Israel was made without regard for the fact that there are many people who don't see it this way. You followed it up by claiming that I "had to acknowledge a blatant pro-Israeli media bias." I still don't have to acknowledge that, and I still stand by my claim that many intelligent and sincere people feel that the media has an opposite bias. If you are willing to cede these two facts (that I didn't, in fact, acknowledge what you said, and that some people honestly believe after serious examination that the media is biased in favor of the Palestinians), then I'm happy to bow out of the conversation at this point.

Neil Mick
12-02-2002, 12:49 AM
If you are willing to cede these two facts (that I didn't, in fact, acknowledge what you said, and that some people honestly believe after serious examination that the media is biased in favor of the Palestinians), then I'm happy to bow out of the conversation at this point.
It's too bad, Opher. You're putting a great deal more emphasis in my words than I'm intending.

I have no problem ceding either point, but I was honestly hoping you'd take me up on my challenge. I offered you the chance to go over the NY Times for a week, see the same articles I do, and rate them on their bias.

An aiki, "bi-partisan" investigation of bias, in the NY Times.

But, unfortunately, I suspect you see little ground to be gained in such a venture. However, I think that it could be incredibly informative.

Since you'd prefer to bow out, farewell; I for one will miss your input.

opherdonchin
12-02-2002, 10:58 PM
But, unfortunately, I suspect you see little ground to be gained in such a venture. However, I think that it could be incredibly informative.It's true that I see little to be gained from doing that. Which of all the possible different outcomes would you feel would have informed you?

Perhaps you can engage in the following exercise, which may serve, for you, nearly the same purpose, and which I would find much more interesting. Try counting the pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian biases yourself, but count them twice in each paper. Once, count them as you would normally count them, and then count them as you imagine I would count them. I'm interested to see how large a discrepency between the two counts you can create.
Since you'd prefer to bow out, farewell; I for one will miss your inputI'm still around. Never shy about jumping in when I feel I have something to add.

Neil Mick
12-03-2002, 12:53 AM
Try counting the pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian biases yourself, but count them twice in each paper. Once, count them as you would normally count them, and then count them as you imagine I would count them.
Since I only know you through your posts, how do you expect me to know your perception of biases?

IAC, I feel that this detour has played itself out. Back to Iraq...

Any wagers on when the US government will declare the inspectors a failure (no matter what they find out), and invade?

I'm figuring it will happen sometime around next March? Anyone else want to hazard a guess?

Brian H
12-03-2002, 07:28 PM
Reading a news item and finding bias mainly depends on the reader and his biases.

Almost a decade ago I read a news story about a policeman who had been shot to death the day before. The news article reported that the officer had confronted a wanted subject. The subject then drew a stolen pistol and shot the officer and his partner. When the officer went down, the suspect then fired repeatedly into the fallen officers head, killing him. The partner was saved by her body armor.

Sounds very biased toward the police doesn't it?

Well, the article went on to cover (and not challenge or explore) the suspect's unsupported claim that the shooting was "in self defense."

One stupid little sentence resulted in me loosing all respect for the paper. To this day I rarely buy that paper.

The circumstances of the shooting were not really in dispute, but the paper did not even bother to look into do anything other than quote the suspect. (If true, the allegation that the Officers forced the suspect to use deadly force to defend himself would be/was VERY serious)

999 of 1000 reading the article saw fair and balanced journalism. I saw crap and it made me (and a lot of my peers) mad as hell.

Neil Mick
12-04-2002, 04:24 PM
Reading a news item and finding bias mainly depends on the reader and his biases.
Well, yes; and no. You have part of the story, but not all of it.

It's true, everyone has a personal bias, even reporters. A reporter who writes for The Village Voice, for example, probably has a different bias from someone who writes for the Wall Street Journal. Any given reader also has his biases, as you so well pointed out. A reader will lean toward a bias he agrees with and be angered by a bias she disagrees.

When bias becomes a pattern, this is a different matter; and can be investigated, no matter what your political stripe. You can, for example, investigate whether or not the NY Times has an anti-police bias by counting the number of stories involving policework and the degree of bias in a series of articles, over a period of time. You watch not only for "slanted" perspectives (as the one you pointred out), but you watch for the ways in which the journalist garners sympathy for one side, or the other.

For instance, there is (in the Left media) an assumption that African-Americans are unfairly biased in mainstream media, regarding crime. The Left claims that mainstream articles unduly focus upon African-Americans as perps, with fewer articles about Caucasians committing these crimes.

Well, this is easy to investigate. First, you find out the %'age of African Americans who commit these crimes in an area, then you count the # of articles of the same given area (local/national). Are the percentages similar? If not, you have a bias.

Also, you count the number of articles that pay less attention to the personal details focusing upon the personal elements of the perp, giving a more human face to the criminal.

African Americans are said to be given less personal details of their lives, with little more than info about their gang activities and past criminal history, according to the Left. White perps generally have family details and school history reported (as was done with Timothy McVeigh).

These things can be investigated with a fair degree of objectivity, no matter what your political stripe. This was why I offered Opher a chance to investigate his perception of bias. A bi-partisan investigation would be more objective, than just me (you'd take more credence in it, wouldn't you, Brian; if both of us reported a bias, rather than just me).

Finally, to obliquelly answer Opher's point as to my "spending 1/2 the post decrying the unfairness of the military situation;" I was pointing out how the media skews the conflict to seem as if it is two armies, fairly matched (note how, for example, the IDF changed its story 3x about the British UN worker shooting, firstly calling it a "crossfire." Did we hear about this waffling in the US media? Obviously not).

Then, of course, there's stories that are censured by the mainstream, but that's a topic for another post.

Neil Mick
12-11-2002, 02:35 AM
Wait a minute: the US SEIZED a copy of the (11k page) Iraqi report, held onto it for 18 hours, and finally offered an EDITED copy for the perusal of the UN??

Amazing. But, I did hear about some Canadian weapons inspectors who wish to examine the US WMD's (including the Presidential Palace, haha). I'm sure our President will rush to adhere to all the demands of the Canadian inspectors.

We are a democracy, after all, and we have nothing to hide, from the world.

Right?

one4k4
12-11-2002, 07:21 AM
I've been following this thread a bit, been reading it when I can. I've got a bit of work to finish today, but I'd like to post a link to a comment thread over on Slashdot that I started back on September 11th this year.

It started out being an article rebutting people who were saying we deserved what happened, because America is so evil, etc, but I think it turned into something relevant to this thread as well.

Basically I just wanted to rant about how childish all the worlds leaders are and about how much this planet has turned into a sandbox, run by neighborhood bullies. Good or bad, there is none of that. It's simply evil, or more evil..eviler.. whatever. ;)

So if you think it's a little ooc for this thread, don't worry bout it, and I apologize.

opherdonchin
12-11-2002, 07:37 AM
Where's the link?

one4k4
12-12-2002, 06:59 AM
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=39537&cid=4236730

My my. I must have forgotten breakfast that day. Thank you! :)

Neil Mick
12-14-2002, 03:21 AM
Thank you for that link, one4k4. I don't think it's ooc, at all.

1) Interesting how a sticking-point in this thread seems to be bias. There was little response to my proposal to investigate bias, in the paper one reads.

I'm sure that most of us read these posts and walk away from them with little changed, in terms of opinion. We all read the periodicals and newspapers that we either agree, or assume that they supply a somewhat accurate viewpoint.

But why not test that assumption? Why not conduct your own personal exploration of your paper's biases?

2) I don't know about you, but when a world leader threatens the use of nuclear weapons, then that leader no longer speaks for me.

3) In corresponding with an Iraqi Aikidoist over in aikidojounal.com, I had an idea. I thought about an American Aikido friendship seminar, to take place in Iraq. A group of American Aikidoists travelling to Iraq to show their support for peaceful coexistance: Americans and Iraqi's (and everyone else, in the world).

Any thoughts?

I'm off to vacation: away from the corrupting influences of the internet (lol). Talk to you all next week; hope you all enjoy your holidays.

opherdonchin
12-14-2002, 12:30 PM
Interesting how a sticking-point in this thread seems to be bias. There was little response to my proposal to investigate bias, in the paper one reads.
I didn't understand that to be a general invitation but rather one specifically extended to me. Perhaps the other readers of the thread didn't realize that you were speaking to them as well.
I'm sure that most of us read these posts and walk away from them with little changed, in terms of opinion. We all read the periodicals and newspapers that we either agree, or assume that they supply a somewhat accurate viewpoint.
I have difficulty interpreting this statement, Neil. I'm not sure if you mean it as a mea culpa or as an accusation. To be generous, I will treat it as an expression of your own limitations. I think it would be very interesting to have a discussion of how you could effectively expose yourself to more diverse viewpoints.

One way I may be able to help is in sharing some of my strategies. On issues where I belong in one of the polarized camps, I find it almost useless to try reading things written from the point of view of the other polarized camp. That's because, too often, their is no common ground for mutual understanding. The things they take as 'obvious' are things I think of as 'obviously wrong.' The problem is not finding other viewpoints to expose myself to, but of finding ways to respect and understand those viewpoints.

A better option for me has been to go more to the middle. The extreme moderates on either 'my' side or 'the other' side are often struggling to create a common framework for understanding. Often, in fact, just by noticing that it is possible to have a moderate position, my own understanding of the situation is changed.
But why not test that assumption? Why not conduct your own personal exploration of your paper's biases?
I'm still curious to see you try to read the New York times your way and how you think someone on the opposite side of the fence would read it. That would be something I'd really learn from.

Speaking of bias, I came across this site on the web (http://www.bitterlemons.org/). Each issue (I don't know how often the issues come out) has two articles by Palestinians and two articles by Israelis all on a central theme. I would say, from my reading of one issue, that both the Palestinians and the Israeli writers are doing a good job of presenting and then analyzing the concensus on their side of the fence.

Neil Mick
12-26-2002, 06:30 PM
I didn't understand that to be a general invitation but rather one specifically extended to me. Perhaps the other readers of the thread didn't realize that you were speaking to them as well.

I have difficulty interpreting this statement, Neil. I'm not sure if you mean it as a mea culpa or as an accusation. To be generous, I will treat it as an expression of your own limitations.
I like to think my posts are clear, at least, of whom I am addressing. If I make a comment intended for you, believe me when I say that you'll know it.

There have been 4700+ hits on this thread. Generalized comments are exactly that.

Also, I find your veiled remarks a tad insulting ("...an expression of my own limitations...??"). I have refrained from making any personal remarks about your character because, frankly, your personal and political views are so veiled, in your posts (not that this is a bad thing, necessarily).

Also, I have a basic rule: attack the opinion, not the person.

We all come to this website with a full set of opinions and assumptions, based upon personal experiences and what we read in the media.

In your first post I read, you described your experiences with Palestinian Arab and Israeli Aikidoists, practicing together. I read it with fascination, because you spoke from experience. I have since noticed your comments to be a form of "devil's advocate," which I find a positive contribution to most discussions.

Since you know nothing of me except from my posts here, I ask that you limit the assumptions of my motivations, since you only know me from these posts.

P.S. Thanks for the bitter lemons link. I have heard of it, but I never looked it up-- I will now.

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

It has been very hard for me to find much to celebrate, this Xmas. I have been listening to the situation in Iraq right now, and I find it difficult to celebrate when Iraqi children are suffering so, mostly at the hands of the US. Depleted uranium, the embargo (lack of decent hospitalization and medicine, water, food, etc), and now imminent war are making life difficult to the average Iraqi, to say the least.

Why do they deserve so much misery from us, simply because they live on an oil "hotspot?"

I think that it's appropriate for the Christmas tree to be unlit, in Bethlehem: a symbol of the "light" going out in the world.

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

This will likely be my last post here. I enjoyed the conversations from all, and these posts spurred me on to research my assumptions. I thank you all for that opportunity.

One last point: I started out by saying that war on Iraq is wrong, for a number of reasons. If anything, I feel stronger in this belief.

We CAN stop this war, if we continue to say no. I, for one, would welcome the opportunity to travel to Iraq and practice Aikido there.

Any takers? Any ideas to add to this one?

opherdonchin
12-27-2002, 12:44 PM
I like to think my posts are clear, at least, of whom I am addressing. If I make a comment intended for you, believe me when I say that you'll know itApparently not. As I said, I had honestly misunderstood you. I was suggesting that if I had misunderstood you, others may also have misunderstood. It was only after you said that it was a general 'challenge' that I realized I had misunderstood. In any case, no real harm done.
Also, I find your veiled remarks a tad insulting ("...an expression of my own limitations...??"). I have refrained from making any personal remarks about your character because, frankly, your personal and political views are so veiled, in your posts (not that this is a bad thing, necessarily).I am very, very sorry that you felt insulted. I had no intention, in any way, to impugn you, your character or your point of view. If that's how it came across, I must have really written my post badly.

I will try once more to make clear what I meant. When you said, "I'm sure that most of us read these posts and walk away from them with little changed, in terms of opinion," I could think of two ways to read that and I wasn't sure which you meant. I assumed, out of respect for you and a willingness to understand your post in the best light possible, that you were not in the business of accusing other people of not being willing to change their minds. While it's true that when you said 'most of us' that would necessarily include others, I still felt that it was more considerate to focus on the part of the statement that didn't sound like an accusation. That left me with the assumption that you were expressing regret that you, yourself, often 'walked away with little changed.'

As such, I wasn't saying that I thought you were limited in any way, but responding to a limitation that I heard you expressing and offering my own thoughts about how I deal with that sort of limitation in myself.

Obviously, I have no idea how frustrated you are by any inflexibility you might feel you suffer from, nor am I accusing you of any.
I have refrained from making any personal remarks about your character because, frankly, your personal and political views are so veiled, in your postsI found this very funny. It's probably not what you meant, but read literally, it says that the only reason you haven't been making attacks is that you couldn't figure out who to attack. :)

Michael Neal
12-30-2002, 08:28 AM
Hello guys, long time no see. I am really sorry that I ever started this thread, I can't believe it is still going.

suebailey
01-16-2003, 01:43 AM
well were all getting our kit now the only thing ive got against it is all the inisent ppl that r going to get hurt,

and the cost of it all; i dont think tony acctually thought of all that.

(Maggy thatcher would of though)

incase those dont know she was a femail priminister and a good one to never took any thing from teroist she'd kill them before they got a chance to blow any thing up.

Neil Mick
01-17-2003, 01:22 PM
well were all getting our kit now the only thing ive got against it is all the inisent ppl that r going to get hurt,

and the cost of it all; i dont think tony acctually thought of all that.
I'm in total agreement with you there, Sue. A LOT of ppl already have gotten hurt, and (if this war proceeds) a lot more will get hurt.

I am still pursuing this idea for an Aikido seminar in Iraq (or Jordan, with Iraqi participants). I have written to several American Sensei's, and some of their replies were encouraging. Please email me, if you have any ideas.

In the meantime, I'm off to San Francisco to the march this Saturday to express my opinion of this imminent war, with my feet (right after class, of course).

Kelly Allen
01-25-2003, 04:54 AM
For those who do not see the intended invation of Iraq is nothing more than an attempt to control the middle easts massive oil reserves, your nievness astounds and worries me. It astounds me that you could be so blind, and it worries me that there are so many of you that don't see it.

Weapons inspectors have been freely running around Iraq for a few months now with no proof that there is any weapons of mass destruction being developed or hidden. The only excuse Bush has to attack Iraq is that Saddam is a Dictator and a terrorist. I don't doubt that he is both of these. That is no excuse to initiate a war. In fact there is never, for any reason, a good excuse to initiate a war. The Uke always gets thrown! Saddams time will end. Untill that time we should be assisting the ppl he oppresses with food and medicine. Work harder at developing alternative means of energy so as to not be dependant on the countries with oil. This in turn will weaken the power of the countries with the oil.

These may seem like partial solutions, but in the long term they will work, and no one will need to die unnecessarily.

Also speak out publically and in numbers telling the world leaders that we know what their real adgendas are and watch how fast they back down. Especially the elected leaders.

Neil Mick
01-26-2003, 09:38 PM
Thank you! A voice of reason!

I was beginning to think I was alone (alone, in a crowd of about 125,000, in SF, that is).

Abasan
01-27-2003, 01:46 AM
Hi all, I've not posted in this thread for ages since most of the arguments needed to be said was already being spoken by ppl with more knowledge and experience then me.

But now, the latest news is that US has sanctioned the use of Nuclear weapons in their attack of Iraq.

Now, this being a point that truly affects me. US has been shouting out loud that Iraq has 'weapons of mass destruction' that 'could' be use to attack innocents such as 'themselves'.

One type of weapons of mass destruction is of course the nuclear warhead missles. The two used to attack Japan back in WW2 killed countless thousands of people. Now i hear, the ones they are going to use on Iraq is a hundred times more powerful. (what the heck is Iraq? a testing ground for military weapons?)

Conclusion - US will use its weapons of mass destruction (that is also a world destroying weapon) so that other countries will not use the said weapons of mass destruction.

2nd. The weapon inspectors went there already. Where is the proof of all these weapons of mass destruction (womd from now on)? conclusion- even though you are innocent until proven guilty is the maxim of democracy, since you are a foreign country who i cannot relate to, and besides you are full of muslims who i definitely cannot relate to (imagine iraq as a christian country), you are definitely guilty until proven innocent...even if.

3rd. Innocent US. how laughable. Absolute power corrupts, and powerful US is definitely corrupt.

4th. Iraq could attack US. How exactly can they do that? If you are talking about terrorist attacks, that would happen as long as terrorists exists. Terrorists are not defined or constrained to any country, race or religion. They are everywhere as long as they have some grievances or manic desire to destroy things. It not as if Iraq or Afghanistan has been using their army to attack US. Putting them all in one basket is just racist, narrow minded and a true example of ... i don't know what to call it. zealots? bigots? white supremacy? You know what I mean, destroy those that you don't know. Let exist what you understand.

I wrote this not to inflame things. And yes, i meant US as in the whole country. Because isn't it a democratic country where the majority elects the leader and affects its direction. Then for US to attack and kill millions of innocents in afghan, in iraq and later iran and korea, the whole country is culpable of murder. Just because Bush is there leading the way doesn't mean that everyone elses hands are free from blood.

If you can't understand that, then you don't understand the meaning of humanity. All you can see are just numbers when you hear of people dying, children starving, hospitals burning, houses burried. All you want to know is that US soldiers return unharmed. Of course they will, rest assured. Since your nuclear weapons will kill millions of people. And yes, some of your enemies will die among those, perhaps less then a thousand. But heck... as Allbright will say, collateral damage is worth it. all 19,999,000 of them.

Lastly, what effect do I hope to get from writing this? I hope to make you realise that around the world, people watch your actions. What you do affects not only your country and Iraq, Afghan etc, it affects everyone elses as well. If you can do this to a country that displeases you, you can do it to everyone of us. Until all that is left, will be US and US alone.

If the people are the government and the government are the people, can your people sue for peace and harmony instead of war and strife.

opherdonchin
01-27-2003, 02:15 AM
Ahmad,

I am sorry to 'hear' so much anger in your post. I hope that things don't turn out as badly as you fear they will, and the part of me that is American apologizes for any pain or hurt that you feel because of 'us.' I know that apologies often don't do much good, but it is all I really have to offer. I hope you find some use for it.

Michael Neal
01-27-2003, 07:27 AM
Where is the United States killing millions of people, this is news to me?

The following article sums up my feeling s pretty well

http://65.119.177.201/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=41&t=000030

Abasan
01-27-2003, 10:46 PM
No wonder you are the way you are, reading the above article the way you do.

That guy was writing a sentimental essay. Sure it will raise feelings of pride that US helped the world at the end of WW2. I watched Band of Brothers too and it was great that you helped ended the tyranny of Germany back then. Are those the same americans we are talking about today?

The guy was talking about palestinians in the streets cheering after 9/11 came about. dude, that's CNN's perverse idea of sensationalism. That footage was taken several years back. During the time of 9/11, palestinians were taking shellings from Israel. Go on, read the news about the world. It won't hurt you... much.

Anyway... its not about hating america or what. I don't, believe it or not. Its about wondering what has the world come to, when we can blind our eye in one direction and raise our fury to another. You talk about justice. Is it justice to kill through thousands of innocents (hundreds of thousands of afghans die and will continue to die because of US retaliation). Why US attacked Afghan when clearly it wasn't that country that attacked US? It was terrorists. Sure they may have been there. So? Lets say your house full of your family, kids and all has some terrorists lurking about in the basement. I have the right to bomb the hell out of your house to get those guys?

Am i justified that 5 innocents died, to get my my baddies? Or what about 2000, 5000 or maybe 300,000. is that still justifiable?

Hey, we've all been attacked one time or another. portugues, thailand, english and japanese all invaded my country in the last 2 centuries or so. they killed and plundered. they raped and they enslaved. Does that give us a right to slaughter them now? Just because you are japanese and your grandfather killed mine, i now have the right to kill you? or ask you for money like some countries do?

Americans are a diverse bunch. Some are truly heroes and some are the worst of villains. That's life. All i'm saying is, that america stands for democracy, and if that's true, what it does now is in fact the will of the majority. If then, the majority should decide on employing the use of nuclear arms, far more devastating then the one they used before on Japan, then the majority of americans must be villains. Because it is pure villainy and hatred to destroy part of the world, kill millions ... for plunder.

Opher, don't worry. My anger is expressed through my thoughts and my paltry excuse for writing. It won't interfere with my rationality and i hope it won't stop interesting discourse between you, me and everyone else. Because i think i have much to learn from you and everyone else here.

opherdonchin
01-28-2003, 01:54 AM
Ahmad,

I'm not worried, really. I've always enjoyed reading your posts (although these have been harder for me than others and that's fine). I just really felt a sincere need to express regret that so much bad feelings had arisen.

Anyway, there was one part of your post that caused me to wonder. I've wondered about this in other contexts, and I'm not asking for a general abstract answer but more for your (and others) gut feelings. You said:
Am i justified that 5 innocents died, to get my my baddies? Or what about 2000, 5000 or maybe 300,000. is that still justifiable?I wonder what sort of answer you feel is right?

I also wondered about the hundreds of thousands number regarding Afghan civilian deaths. It seems awfully high. I'm also pretty sure the evidence for Palestinian celebrations after 9/11 is sound. As far as I understand, though, there are arguments about how widespread they were. This is, in part, hard to tell because the Palestinian Authority was, at the time, quite swift in putting an end to them. I don't think it is true that Palestinians were being 'shelled' at that time. I'd have to check back through the newspaper reports, but my memory is that active shelling came later.

Still, all these last pseudo-factual questions are much less interesting to me than how you feel about 'inevitable civilian causalties.' Some would say that even 1 is too many, but I guess my gut finds this answer naive.

Abasan
01-28-2003, 02:28 AM
Opher,

I really don't know... if that one person that had to die as collateral damage was some stranger...maybe it would be easier to justify. The human conscience can be a fallacy sometimes. What if instead, that one person was your daugther, wife, father, son, whatever... Say you were the cop that killed my innocent son to get to some bad guys. How do you think I would feel? That is why vigilantes are outlawed. You must act according to rules. Rules that are agreed upon and applied to all. And the rules say... collateral damage is not allowed. Your police does not have the right to endanger civilians in the course of capturing a criminal. As it applies to people in your state, why doesn't it apply to people of other countries? Furthermore conduct of war... there are rules to abide by. And civilians, their buildings are not legitimate targets.

The thing is, tension has been created in the sense that Bush and his government has wantonly pursued an aggressive policy. His threatening anyone now. After Iraq, he wants Iran, Korea and god knows what next. He has carried through his threat on Afghanistan... that should have sated the desire for revenge from US by now... since hundreds of thousands died there compared to the 4-5 thousand lives taken in 9/11.

So how many more lives does he want to take? Korea has already answered that if US comes they would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons. Do you want a nuclear war? Bush apparently doesn't so it seem he has slowed down his tempo in this side of Asia recently.

But iraq hasn't made any counter threats yet. If I was a country being besieged by attacks (even now as we speak... although actual war hasn't really broken out yet) which destroys my hospitals, my roads, my airport, my powerstations, and I had nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, wouldn't i threaten to retaliate? How come Iraq hasn't? How come Iraq didn't use it the first time?

It doesn't make sense that Iraq would allow america to just bomb it senseless if it had weapons to defend itself.

I don't really consider this a war on iraq. I consider it as an Attack. USA is attacking a sovereign country because it can bully that country, because that country cannot fight back.

In all the years of the cold war with Soviet Union... was there ever a real war between US and USSR? No. because USSR could fight back.

As for the palestinian celebrations, the one i saw on CNN wasn't dated. And it happened so fast after the tragedy that they must all have sattelite tv. but if you could pass a link confirming it, i be happy to check it out.

Abasan
01-28-2003, 02:50 AM
This piece will at least show you the other side of the story...

This Looming War Isn't About Chemical Warheads or Human Rights: It's About Oil

Along with the concern for 'vital interests' in the Gulf, this war was concocted five years ago by oil men such as Dick Cheney

by Robert Fisk



I was sitting on the floor of an old concrete house in the suburbs of Amman this week, stuffing into my mouth vast heaps of lamb and boiled rice soaked in melted butter. The elderly, bearded, robed men from Maan the most Islamist and disobedient city in Jordan - sat around me, plunging their hands into the meat and soaked rice, urging me to eat more and more of the great pile until I felt constrained to point out that we Brits had eaten so much of the Middle East these past 100 years that we were no longer hungry. There was a muttering of prayers until an

old man replied. "The Americans eat us now," he said.



Through the open door, where rain splashed on the paving stones, a sharp east wind howled in from the east, from the Jordanian and Iraqi deserts. Every man in the room believed President Bush wanted Iraqi oil. Indeed,

every Arab I've met in the past six months believes that this - and this

alone - explains his enthusiasm for invading Iraq. Many Israelis think the same. So do I. Once an American regime is installed in Baghdad, our oil companies will have access to 112 billion barrels of oil. With unproven reserves, we might actually end up controlling almost a quarter of the world's total reserves. And this forthcoming war isn't about oil?

The US Department of Energy announced at the beginning of this month that by 2025, US oil imports will account for perhaps 70 per cent of total US domestic demand. (It was 55 per cent two years ago.) As Michael Renner of the Worldwatch Institute put it bleakly this week, "US oil deposits are increasingly depleted, and many other non-Opec fields are

beginning to run dry. The bulk of future supplies will have to come from the Gulf region." No wonder the whole Bush energy policy is based on the increasing consumption of oil. Some 70 per cent of the world's proven oil reserves are in the Middle East. And this forthcoming war isn't about oil?



Take a look at the statistics on the ratio of reserve to oil production the number of years that reserves of oil will last at current production rates - compiled by Jeremy Rifkin in Hydrogen Economy. In the

US, where more than 60 per cent of the recoverable oil has already been produced, the ratio is just 10 years, as it is in Norway. In Canada, it is 8:1. In Iran, it is 53:1, in Saudi Arabia 55:1, in the United Arab Emirates 75:1. In Kuwait, it's 116:1. But in Iraq, it's 526:1. And this forthcoming war isn't about oil?

Even if Donald Rumsfeld's hearty handshake with Saddam Hussein in 1983 - just after the Great Father Figure had started using gas against his opponents - didn't show how little the present master of the Pentagon

cares about human rights or crimes against humanity, along comes Joost Hilterman's analysis of what was really going on in the Pentagon back in the late 1980s.

Hilterman, who is preparing a devastating book on the US and Iraq, has dug through piles of declassified US government documents - only to discover that after Saddam gassed 6,800 Kurdish Iraqis at Halabja

(that's well over twice the total of the World Trade Center dead of 11 September 2001) the Pentagon set out to defend Saddam by partially blaming Iran for the atrocity.

A newly declassified State Department document proves that the idea was dreamed up by the Pentagon - who had all along backed Saddam - and states that US diplomats received instructions to push the line of

Iran's culpability, but not to discuss details. No details, of course, because the story was a lie. This, remember, followed five years after US National Security Decision Directive 114 - concluded in 1983, the same year as Rumsfeld's friendly visit to Baghdad - gave formal sanction to billions of dollars in loan guarantees and other credits to Baghdad. And this forthcoming war is about human rights?



Back in 1997, in the years of the Clinton administration, Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and a bunch of other right-wing men - most involved in the oil business - created the Project for the New American Century, a lobby group demanding "regime change" in Iraq. In a 1998 letter to President Clinton, they called for the removal of Saddam from power. In a letter

to Newt Gingrich, who was then Speaker of the House, they wrote that "we should establish and maintain a strong US military presence in the region, and be prepared to use that force to protect our vital interests [sic] in the Gulf - and, if necessary, to help remove Saddam from power".

The signatories of one or both letters included Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, now Rumsfeld's Pentagon deputy, John Bolton, now

under-secretary of state for arms control, and Richard Armitage, Colin Powell's under-secretary at the State Department - who called last year for America to take up its "blood debt" with the Lebanese Hizbollah.

They also included Richard Perle, a former assistant secretary of defense, currently chairman of the defense science board, and Zalmay Khalilzad, the former Unocal Corporation oil industry consultant who

became US special envoy to Afghanistan - where Unocal tried to cut a deal with the Taliban for a gas pipeline across Afghan territory - and who now, miracle of miracles, has been appointed a special Bush official

for - you guessed it - Iraq.



The signatories also included our old friend Elliott Abrams, one of the most pro-Sharon of pro-Israeli US officials, who was convicted for his part in the Iran-Contra scandal. Abrams it was who compared Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon - held "personally responsible" by an Israeli commission for the slaughter of 1,700 Palestinian civilians in

the 1982 Sabra and Chatila massacre - to (wait for it) Winston Churchill. So this forthcoming war - the whole shooting match, along with that concern for "vital interests" (i.e. oil) in the Gulf - was concocted five years ago, by men like Cheney and Khalilzad who were oil men to their manicured fingertips.

In fact, I'm getting heartily sick of hearing the Second World War being dug up yet again to justify another killing field. It's not long ago that Bush was happy to be portrayed as Churchill standing up to the appeasement of the no-war-in Iraq brigade. In fact, Bush's whole strategy with the odious and Stalinist-style Korea regime - the

"excellent" talks which US diplomats insist they are having with the Dear Leader's Korea which very definitely does have weapons of mass destruction - reeks of the worst kind of Chamberlain-like appeasement. Even though Saddam and Bush deserve each other, Saddam is not Hitler. And Bush is certainly no Churchill. But now we are told that the UN

inspectors have found what might be the vital evidence to go to war: 11 empty chemical warheads that just may be 20 years old.

The world went to war 88 years ago because an archduke was assassinated in Sarajevo. The world went to war 63 years ago because a Nazi dictator invaded Poland. But for 11 empty warheads? Give me oil any day. Even the

old men sitting around the feast of mutton and rice would agree with that.

(c) 2003 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

opherdonchin
01-28-2003, 05:46 AM
Hey Ahmad,

I read most of the story you copied in, but I'll read it in more depth later. I'll also try to find some references to the Palestinian celebration stuff. I'm working on my sense of what was going on reading various papers at the time and I have no specific claim regarding the CNN video. My claim is that pro-9/11 demonstrations did happen. Like I said, I'll see what I can dig up.

Anyway, my tendency is to believe that the war is about re-election more than it is about oil, but in some sense I think that's beside the point. I have a hard time deciding if I'm for or against the way, but Bush's motivations seem to me to have little to do with my decision on this matter. My own decision has more to do with the relative dangers or the war versus leaving Saddam in power / allowing him to develop WOMD. Clearly, as an Israeli, my sense of the 'danger' of Saddam with WOMD is a little different than someone elses might be. I thought that your point about who the civilians who die are is very important, and key to understanding the different sides that people take in this conflict. I'm very suspicious of people who identify with the whole world. I don't say that they are wrong or that they don't exist, I just question how much the understand the stuff you were talking abou tin your last post. Many criticize America for being so upset over losing a few thousand people in an isolated terrorist incident. I think they are being insensitive. Many Americans criticize the voices in the world the make little of the 9/11 loss. I think those Americans are failing to understand how it looks from the outside. To me, there is no reason that it should look the same from the outside and the inside. The point is to try to understand how it looks from the other side and to work within the context of that understanding. I don't care as much about a Palestinian death as an Israeli death, but I don't expect a Palestinian to feel the same way.

There was one other thing in your post that I wanted to talk about. That is, the question of the 'rule of law.' I feel that opponents to the war make little of the fact that Saddam has been in breach of UN resolutions since the last war, and that the actions of the United States (the so called murderous sanctions) have been sanctioned by the UN since that time. The quick retreat of war opponents in the face of this argument is to shift the debate over to Israel, and I'd prefer that we avoid that. Rather, my question is this: if Bush was serious about getting the UN resolutions in Iraq enforced, how else could he have gone about it? So far, he has not gone to war, he has only engaged in strong rhetoric. It seems to have had a powerful effect. Doesn't that count for something?

Like I said, my own mind about the war is not made up. I'm just responding to the points you made that struck chords with me one way or another.

Neil Mick
01-28-2003, 11:22 AM
This is a copy of my response to the post in Michael Neal's link. Since it's gername to the discussion, I post it here.

The article listed above was sentimental and more than a little myopic. Nowhere, does this article mention the 100's of thousands of Iraqi lives lost to the UN Sanctions and the increasing bombings.

Nowhere does it mention that the US, a country that has been at unceasing war since 1945, has toppled more world leaders than I can count, and has its official policy the assassination of a world leader.

Now, before you label me an insensitive "bleeding-heart" who does not consider the lives of those lost in 9/11 to have merit, consider: after 9/11, there were several memorials: pictures of the dead, and other momentoes out in a nearby park. It was another way of the NY residents to deal with their grief. What happened to these little momuments? The police swept them up, like so much garbage. They did not fit in with the plan of righteous outrage orchestrated by the media (and the administration).

Several family members of victims of 9/11 journeyed to Afghanistan to witness the aftermath of the bombing. They were horrified by the carnage; they asked for $20M in relief aid-- about a day's worth of bombing. The bill was turned down.

The same members tried to see President Bush, but they were also turned down. The reason? Other, similar groups are asking to see the President...other groups of family-members of 9/11, trying to avert war? Oh, please.

The media, the President, and those members of Congress willing to give up our freedoms don't want to let any other voice be heard except the drumbeat for war.

And, after Iraq, the next targets of opportunity are already being considered. Iran and Venezuala are just two of the countries on the "next bad-guy" list, for regime change. The only problem is that these "regime changes" causes many 9/11 incidents in other countries, all underreported by CNN.

And, just look around the world and view the countries with US military involvement scarring their past. Haiti, Vietnam, and Nicaragua come to mind. Is it any coincidence that the countries with the most US interference are also the poorest? And on that note, why does the US keep attacking the poorest nations (Afghanistan et al) of the world? Why focus upon these targets of opportunity, leaving countries that can bite back (such as N Korea) alone?

What message is this giving to the rest of the world...if you have nuclear weapons, you get the "kid gloves" treatment; while the other Arab and 3rd World nations are all choice targets?

If I were are President of a Third World nation, I could see no better justification to engage in a nuclear arms program.

This world policy is a policy of "restraint," bringing "peace to the world??"

As an American, I for one am sick of my tax dollars being used to kill, for the interests of the rich few. The notion that America is some kind of "bastion of light" bringing "democracy (which, rarely happens)" to the "savages" is racist and a revisionist spin on history.

To use the victims of 9/11 as a justification for war, by a President who went AWOL for a year while serving in the National Guard, who appoints convicted criminals to head important committees and has blurred the distinction between nuclear warfare and conventional battles, who now has the FBI questioning every single Iraqi in the US and has jailed 1000 Arabs and Arab-Americans with no trial, who to date has not one single shred of evidence to justify such genocide to Iraqi's except a handful of empty, 20-yr-old warheads, will certainly, in time, be viewed by our descendants as a dark time for America, in much the same way that WWII is for modern Germans.

How many more Hiroshima's must we inflict upon the people of the world?

Neil Mick
01-28-2003, 11:33 AM
But now, the latest news is that US has sanctioned the use of Nuclear weapons in their attack of Iraq.

Now, this being a point that truly affects me. US has been shouting out loud that Iraq has 'weapons of mass destruction' that 'could' be use to attack innocents such as 'themselves'.

One type of weapons of mass destruction is of course the nuclear warhead missles. The two used to attack Japan back in WW2 killed countless thousands of people. Now i hear, the ones they are going to use on Iraq is a hundred times more powerful. (what the heck is Iraq? a testing ground for military weapons?)

Conclusion - US will use its weapons of mass destruction (that is also a world destroying weapon) so that other countries will not use the said weapons of mass destruction.
I'm curious, Michael Neal and Opher (and anyone else who agress with the pro-war stance): what do you think of the US sanctioning the use of nuclear weapons in Iraq, when the very reason for attacking is the fear (not the actuality) that Iraq MAY have these very same weapons?

How do you justify this reverse logic, in your own beliefs?

Michael Neal
01-28-2003, 01:46 PM
I think it is very wise to leave open the possiblity of using tactical nuclear weapons as a way to deter Iraq from using chemical or biological weapons against our troops.

You know as well as I that it is very very unlikely that we will actually use them. But if we are faced with a situation where using them would save thousands of American lives from chemical/biological attack I would seriously consider it.

The difference is that we would use them only in an extreme situation of self defense and Iraq would likely use them (as he has with chemical weapons) as way to terrorize his enemies, blackmail, and help terrorists blow up US & Israeli cities.

There is no reverse logic here.

PS: Neil, I am very glad the the US has toppled all of those tyrants from power since WWII.

Neil Mick
01-28-2003, 05:09 PM
I think it is very wise to leave open the possiblity of using tactical nuclear weapons as a way to deter Iraq from using chemical or biological weapons against our troops.

You know as well as I that it is very very unlikely that we will actually use them. But if we are faced with a situation where using them would save thousands of American lives from chemical/biological attack I would seriously consider it.

The difference is that we would use them only in an extreme situation of self defense and Iraq would likely use them (as he has with chemical weapons) as way to terrorize his enemies, blackmail, and help terrorists blow up US & Israeli cities.
I appreciate your candor, even though your post's lack of the consequences of actions boggles the mind.

Let's just lay some facts on the table:

1) Nuclear weapons were designed as deterrents, not as weapons to be used. Ever. Their effects are far reaching, and cross national boundaries.

Even the use of radioactive material (DU) on the battlefield still has repercussions to the Iraqi civilians. The rate of cancer in Iraq has grown astronomically since the Gulf War.

A nuclear war would affect that area for generations. I'm sorry, Michael: but there is no cause or nation worth inflicting sickness and death to millions, for generations. I don't care how extreme or dire trouble our nation's in, nothing rationalizes such destruction.

To even suggest otherwise is to go down that slippery slope of rationalizing genocide, which is exactly what the UN Sanctions are.

I suggest you look at the writings of Dr. Helen Caldicott who describes in intimate detail the effect of a sudden, radioactive burst upon the human body, for more information.

2) A nuclear war would likely trigger other nuclear wars in countries facing each other down, at this moment. India and Pakistan come to mind.

You know what happens, when too many nuc's detonate? You guessed it: nuclear winter. That's it; game over, humanity.

Or, are you one of those who refuse to acknowledge that nuclear winter will occur, in spite of the fact that nearly every reputable scientist (not on the McDonnell Douglass payroll) concludes that this is a possibility?
But if we are faced with a situation where using them would save thousands of American lives from chemical/biological attack I would seriously consider it.
With all due respect, I doubt this very much, Michael. Going by your previous posts, I suspect that you will swallow whatever spin the Administration seems to spew.

Now, I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but you have said that the lives of "thousands of Americans" are worth considering the use of nuc's.

Then if you consider this, you are considering mass and instant genocide as a possible means to an end of foreign policy.

And, if the Administration seriously (and I do believe they are serious, Michael: Rumsfeld has upped the ante to include their use on the battlefield...this is not "deterrance," as there is no other superpower, to deter anymore) chooses to use nuclear weapons, they'll concoct some big spin, to lull John Q. Public into thinking "it was a terrible cost," and you, and others like you, will "consider," and nod your heads.

Abasan
01-29-2003, 02:34 AM
Opher,

The arguments you make about the 'rule of law' is sound. But can you actually list what exactly has Iraq done in breaking the sanctions that justifies war? The economic sanction of over 10 years could be seen as a means of crippling a country and with that country, millions of its citizens. Is that what humanity is about? Would you want to have a mother in Iraq right now?

The whole reason why I posted here is just to get back on track, but from this point of view. What is war about? Since after all we are in Aikiweb. And i'm really thinking about peace and unity... and yeah, i may have been influenced by star trek.

Enuff of that. Iraq has been in possession of WOMD for years, as claimed by the present Administration. I believe that that had never presented a problem with the US government back when Iraq were their friends and Iran the enemy. Nothing has changed except that Iraq is now a ghost of its former self and they are no longer friends of America. And now War is justified?

Just because country X is no longer a friend, i can then attack him with impunity. Now, Israel and US are friends. Maybe in the future, that may change... as they say, in politics there are no permanent friends and enemies. I guess its true. So, say Israel and US are no longer friends. Since Israel is already breaking UN conventions (but US keeps backing them), and since Isreal has WOMD (quite a large number in fact... to be in the honored top 10 list), and apparently Sharon has made it no secret that he has no qualms using the nukes... Would US be justified in bombing the hell out of Isreal?

This is of course just theoretical. Everyone knows its not going to happen. But then, if it did... US will also be under threat cause Isreal will retaliate and not only nukes will fly, but banks will fold and a whole lot of US jobs will be lost.

As you can see, a country with WOMD will not hesitate to use it if it was threaten to extinction. Iraq is now quibbled over by US, Britain, Germany and Russia over who gets what and when. Much like, africa was in those days. Its like conquering Iraq is a foregone conclusion you know. Surely Iraq would use their WOMD by now... if they had any that is.

Also, michael neals post...I think the only country that has been using radioactive and chemical weapons (i wonder about biological weapons too) actively and still using it

is US. This country is a very very dangerous country to the world. I pray that you don't ever elect a mad president or administration for that matter. As it is, US has never been shy about killing people as they see fit.

Frankly speaking. I doubt Iraq has WOMD. I doubt this war is about WOMD. I feel its about greed. Saddam has been in power for a long time. If he is that mad guy who will press that Red button, surely he would have done it before. Thus going to war to prevent Iraq from having WOMD is baseless. Other ways can be used.

Michael Neal
01-29-2003, 09:59 AM
I suspect that you will swallow whatever spin the Administration seems to spew.
No, and I will not swallow whatever spin that comes from you or others on the far left either.

I hardly ever watch TV and I didn't even watch the speech last night. My mind was made up a long time ago on this.

I support the war because I agree with it, not because Bush is for it. I support Bush because he, more often than not, reflects my viewpoint. I do not support him because of some kind of blind political loyalty.

So you are mistaken when you think that I listen to what Bush says and then take his viewpoint, I listen to Bush because we have the same viewpoint.

Neil Mick
01-29-2003, 10:03 AM
My mind was made up a long time ago on this.
On this point, I have no doubt.

An inflexible mind is a terrible thing.

Michael Neal
01-29-2003, 12:14 PM
Better to be inflexible than wrong :)

Neil Mick
01-29-2003, 12:44 PM
Look, Michael, I can banter with you all day, but this last statement borders absurdity. Do you really believe this?

Is this how you train? To be stiff and inflexible, rather than "wrong?" When you are uke and unsure of the appropriate attack, do you think: "Oh, I'd better be stiff and immovable, rather than show that I don't understand."

From my perspective, inflexibility IS "wrong." What separates the fanatic from anyone else is his steadfast adherance to doctrine. Any viewpoint opposing his own inflexibility is "wrong."

To take this analogy to the political spectrum: there are a number of conservatives with serious doubts about procceding against a war on Iraq. Norman Schwartzkopf, who led the last Gulf War, has recently stated that Bush has not given sufficient grounds to attack Iraq and has cast serious doubts that Rumsfeld and Ashcroft are operating in the best interests for all.

The chief weapons inspector from 1994-1998, Scott Ritter, has also stated his opposition (in many talks, a book and now a movie: "Shifting Sands"). He is a military man, pure and simple. He states that there is no evidence, and if Bush says that there is, then he's lying (a President, lie to start a war? How novel: unless you consider LBJ and the Gulf of Tonkin, in which the President fabricated a Vietnamese attack to start the Vietnam War).

Are these ppl all "wrong" for disagreeing with the notion that we should attack a country because we think that they MAY have nuclear weapons, by threatening the use nuclear strikes if the President feels like it?

Help me out here, Michael: I'm missing the distinctions between "wrong" and "inflexible."

P.S. A follow-up article to the change in doctrine on nuclear weapons, originally published in the "LA Times." You seem to like military strategy and theory, maybe it will get you to think more on the issue; unless, of course, you're too afraid of being "wrong" to change your "inflexible" stance...
http://commondreams.org/views03/0126-01.htm

Michael Neal
01-29-2003, 01:13 PM
Neil, really I was just making a joke.

I don't think I am being any more inflexible in my viewpoints than you or anyone else here.

Michael Neal
01-29-2003, 01:17 PM
Neil, Jim said he saw you recently when he was practicing out there. Hope you come to Virginia sometime in the future and drop by for a practice.

Neil Mick
01-29-2003, 01:17 PM
Ah. OK. But, what did you think of the article?

P.S. Yeah, Jim and I go way back (he was one of my uke's in my Shodan randori, when I was a student at Baltimore Aikikai).

I'd be delighted to stop by and train at your dojo.

But: don't believe Jim's lies when he talks about me...she was going to leave him, in any case... :D

Michael Neal
01-29-2003, 01:26 PM
It does concern me, I hope that we do not use nukes except for in the most dire of circumstances. However, I do see the strategic importance of leaving the threat of nuclear weapons as a deterrent. I am confident that this is the logic that Rumsfeld and Bush are using.

Neil Mick
02-06-2003, 03:03 AM
And so, the US gov't unveils its great "proof" of Saddam's weapons. Funny as to why they waited so long.

Hans Blix is not so impressed, however. He says he already followed up leads on several US tips to mobile labs, and they only proved to be food-testing trucks.

However, documentation is just that. It's now up to the inspectors to see if this "proof" goes anywhere.

Certainly, this new "evidence" is no sudden clarion-call to battle. If anything, the weapons inspections show that they deter Hussein's military aggression.

It frightens me, how greedy is the thirst for Iraqi blood, from the Powers That Be. What have they done to us, to deserve such ire?

Neil Mick
02-06-2003, 05:48 AM
Apologies for that last sentence, lol. I was quoting from a recent article by Edward Said, and I got cut off.

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2003/621/op2.htm

for an insightful Arab perspective, of the potential war.

Michael Neal
02-06-2003, 07:49 AM
Neil, what is your agenda?

Neil Mick
02-06-2003, 11:59 AM
My "agenda??"

You're going to need to explain that comment a wee bit, Michael.

What is anyone's agenda on this thread, except to discuss issues?

Abasan
02-07-2003, 12:10 PM
Interesting read, try the English angle...

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/page.cfm?objectid=12581179&method=full&siteid=50143

Neil Mick
02-08-2003, 01:02 AM
A good article, Abasan. At last, someone talks about the human casualty factor, instead of vague cartoon-references to the "liberated" Iraqi's.

opherdonchin
02-10-2003, 05:12 AM
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2003/621/op2.htm

for an insightful Arab perspective, of the potential war.
I found this article long on criticism and short on insight and positive suggestions. The thing about it that seemed interesting to me was its emphasis on the idea that an Arab / Muslim dialogue needs to emerge to address the problems of the Arab / Muslim world. This transition from a victim mentality (as expressed by most of the essay) to a mentality of self-reliance and responsiblity for onself (as expressed by the last paragraph) is increasingly characterizing the stuff I read in the Arab press and it is very encouraging.

When I say stuff like that I worry that I sound patronizing. If anyone understood me that way, they have my apologies. It is something I work on but not always with great success.

Neil Mick
02-10-2003, 12:50 PM
I found this article long on criticism and short on insight and positive suggestions.
Perhaps, Opher, you need to view this article from an Arab perspective, and tell us what you think of the article, from this perspective.

Hmm... :D

It's difficult to see how "insight and helpful suggestions" are of use at this point, regarding the war on Iraq...at least in terms of avoiding the war.

No matter what the Iraqi's do, at this point, the US Pres seems hell-bent on an invasion. I think a gesture of throwing up one's hands in exasperation is perfectly apropos.

The Iraqi invasion will profoundly alter the lives of millions of Arabs, for the worse. What else would you have them do?

But no: you did not sound patronizing. No offense, taken.

opherdonchin
02-10-2003, 03:15 PM
The Iraqi invasion will profoundly alter the lives of millions of Arabs, for the worse. What else would you have them do?For what its worth, I find very little to fault the behavior of most of the Arab world in the face of the threat of another Iraqi war (in this, I think, I differ from the author of the article). They are stuck between a rock and a hard place and their I, personally, hear sincerity both in their efforts to distance themselves from Saddam and in their expressions of fear regarding the potential of an upcoming war.

I certainly think that Saddam could do more to prevent a war. My reading of Hans Blick (is that the right spelling) is that he is basically a beauracrat trying to do a job, and therefore my interpretation of the Iraqi response to the UN resolution and the inspectors is the minimal compliance they think they can get away with, rather than maximum compliance to avoid the possibility of war. You've been claiming for months now, Neil, that nothing will stop the U.S. from going to war, but I think that Iraq could have stopped it and that they either do not realize that or have chosen not to. Maybe that's too strong. I guess I just mean that I don't think they've done the maximum they could have to prevent it. (I don't mean by that they necessarily should have; I'm just trying to analyze their options).

I think, in general, that the world (including the Arab world) has developed an ambivalent attitude towards the UN resolutions passed at the end of the last Iraq war and that this ambivalence would have led us, sooner or later, to the impasse we are in today. A lot of the claims out of the Bush administration may be exaggerated or false, but it is certainly true that Iraq has a consistent history of non-compliance with those resolutions that has been a consistent source of conflict with the U.S. under different administrations. I knew well before Bush came to power that eventually push was going to come to shove, and so did many other observers around the world. Again, I say this without prejudice to the right and wrong of the issue, just as an observation of historical development of the events.

I think that these points are often overlooked by the rhetoric of the left, and, for me, it undermines that rhetoric. Of course, there is a whole host of other concerns which, for me, undermine the rehtoric of the right.

Neil Mick
02-10-2003, 04:56 PM
They are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I certainly think that Saddam could do more to prevent a war. You've been claiming for months now, Neil, that nothing will stop the U.S. from going to war, but I think that Iraq could have stopped it and that they either do not realize that or have chosen not to. Maybe that's too strong.

I think that these points are often overlooked by the rhetoric of the left, and, for me, it undermines that rhetoric. Of course, there is a whole host of other concerns which, for me, undermine the rehtoric of the right.
A good post, Opher...nicely done.

I only have a few points to address:

Contrary to what you just posted, I do not think that nothing will stop the US from war. I think I said something like that once, months ago, but my position changes, on that front. I think the US CAN alter its course, but it is not inclined to do so, at this juncture. Only the actions of the American ppl can change this course, IMHO.

What Iraq can or cannot do to change a war is a topic for much debate. Personally, I think that they could put every square foot of Iraq for show to the world on webcams, and still Bush & Co will claim that there's "missing evidence," evidence that they only seem to possess.

That Hussein is guilty of foot-dragging, we both agree. That seems to be changing now, according to the latest from Blix (I think this is the proper spelling).

For me, it all comes down to what course of action ends up with the highest body count. You want to go to war, with the possibility of a nuclear incident, as Bush wants?

IMO, as with uke and attacking, you have already lost, before the first foot-soldier drops down on Iraq (which, I might add, they already have). Even if you win the war, you lose the moral high-ground.

Neil Mick
02-10-2003, 09:42 PM
And (if I may beg the reader's indulgence to continue), I'm starting to feel that we have constantly been at war with Iraq, since Gulf War I. The years of 1992-2002 just saw a lull in fighting, but UN Sanctions (engineered by Britain and the US) are definitely aggressive, warlike ations, IMO.

Also: regarding the "victim mentality" of the Arab world-- don't even go there, Opher. The US has used a victim mentality since 9/11 to justify bombing and invading the poorest country in the world. In a weird twist of reverse logic, we happily "mourn the loss" of the 2000 or so people who perished in the Twin Towers, and yet we hardly shed a tear for the damage we cause.

Oh sure: we'll kick some money back to Afghanistan...after they do what we tell them: but it amazes me how little compassion some Americans feel for other humans, whose suffering we cause.

As an example, I incluse a portion from an aikidojournal post, addressing this topic:

Go cry me a river that we bombed them back to the stone age, they didn't have far to go anyway. And look at the bright side. We'll probably pump a bunch of money in there to patch things up. Even the stuff the Russians blew up while they were there.
-David Rosenthal, from aikidojournal

Abasan
02-13-2003, 02:39 AM
Perhaps we shouldn't equate Iraq with Saddam and vice versa.

Maybe, the majority of Iraqians are lacking a voice. Certainly I have never disagreed that Saddam is a viscious killer/dictator that needs to be ousted. But a war on Iraq is not the same as ousting Saddam.

From the first gulfwar, we see has had little effect on Saddams power. Sure the country has diminished and suffered, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqians have died. Saddam is as fat/well fed as I remembered him on telly some 10 years ago.

Whilst I can understand the logic of US priming their weapons for a first strike initiative, I don't understand their choice for a target.

And from a quote in the other post, Bill Ross went on to say that he doesn't believe the terrorists will stop their attacks should US pulls out from war. Ironically, in a recent BBC interview, Blair was asked the same thing. "What exactly would happen to UK in terms of terrorists attacks should they engage in war with Iraq". Blair was at loss for words, and true enough, the only terrorism Britain has been suffering so far has been from IRA attacks. What's to say this thing won't changed now that Britain could be viewed as an accomplice to US's highhandedness in dealing out death and destruction.

Mayhaps that terrorism could be averted if US targets the guilty instead of blanket bombing everyone in the vicinity. As an alternative, perhaps if you want to oust Saddam, why not hold a democratic election with the UN military force providing security. Let the Iraqians decide the best leader of their country who could develop it using their massive oil reserves to restore their broken economy and relive the times when the pinaccle of education was centered in their city. Surely they would want that instead of Saddam spending whatever amount he's spending on the military. And surely they would want that instead of having the Americans grab the oil industry after the war is won.

Perhaps the worst thing I see here is the deliberate choice of words being used:

War instead of attack.

Collateral damage instead of civilians dying.

Pilot error instead of pass the buck to the lowest ranking soldier.

Freedom and democracy instead of My Way not Yours.

Terrorists with WoMD instead of everyone else with WoMD who are not us or our friends.

I think i went off tangent there for a bit...

ian
02-13-2003, 04:48 AM
Some points:

1. The UN have not sanctioned a war (their view seems to be that 8 weeks is insufficient time to assess the situation).

2. The U.S. and U.K. were geared up for war on Iraq directly after Afghanistan. The arguements they use to justify it are wide ranging and ever changing.

3. The U.S. is prepared to use trade sanctions against France and Germany to force them to fall into line.

4. The majority of U.S. and U.K. public do not want a war, yet in defending 'democracy' the governments of these two countries are trying to force a war by a massive build up of arms.

5. If the U.S. and U.K. were so worried about Saddam as a dictator, why was he supported by us so fervently during the Iran-Iraq war? Why now?

6. The anthrax which Saddam Hussien is known to possess was actually sold to him by the U.S.

7. It is likely that current actions. let alone future actions, will precipitate terrorist attacks.

8. 11 out of the 19 terrorists in 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia (none were Iraqis). Osoma Bin Laden funds his terorist activities from SAUDI oil money.

Unfortunately I think the public are being used as pawns by all factions. I do understand the will to depose Saddham. However I feel we are applying double standards internationally (North Korea may even be a bigger threat at the moment - in fact I feel they are capatilising on the current focus on Iraq). We ALL need to fall in line behind the UN and our agreements. Pre-emptive war is a dangerous path to go down; if the same was applied to the U.S. or U.K. we would be besieged by the many different countries whose politics we interfere with purely for economic reasons and feel that we use our military and political power purely for economic gain.

Neil Mick
02-13-2003, 02:08 PM
Perhaps we shouldn't equate Iraq with Saddam and vice versa.

Maybe, the majority of Iraqians are lacking a voice. But a war on Iraq is not the same as ousting Saddam.

Saddam is as fat/well fed as I remembered him on telly some 10 years ago.

Whilst I can understand the logic of US priming their weapons for a first strike initiative, I don't understand their choice for a target.

As an alternative, perhaps if you want to oust Saddam, why not hold a democratic election with the UN military force providing security. Let the Iraqians decide the best leader of their country who could develop it using their massive oil reserves to restore their broken economy and relive the times when the pinaccle of education was centered in their city.

I think i went off tangent there for a bit...
No, I don't think you went off tangent: a lot of the phrases used by the hawks "soften" the intent of genocidal war (notice, how American Presidents never use the word "genocide," when talking about Sanctions?)

But, I don't think going in and forcing the Iraqi's to re-elect an alternative to Saddam is a good idea, either. Good or bad, Hussein IS their leader and needs to be respected as such.

What needs to be done, IMO, is to ensure that Hussein does not invade, massacre, or purchase WoMD. For that, maybe the rumor of beefing up the inspections process (tripling the # of inspectors, having the "blue helmets" acompany the inspectors) isn't a bad idea.

They could also go around Iraq making sure that human rights aren't violated. In time, Iraqi's could elect someone else.
11 out of the 19 terrorists in 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia (none were Iraqis). Osoma Bin Laden funds his terorist activities from SAUDI oil money.
Also, OBL and Hussein are enemies. OBL views Hussein as the lapdog of the US, even if he is only Bush's "Great Satan," now. The idea of al Qaeda and Hussein working together is ludicrous, and the proof offered up is pretty sad.

Finally, another phrase for the "War on Terror" could be the "war on democracy:"

"Indian physicist and philosopher of science Vandana Shiva talk about how the response to terrorism erodes democracy.

Corporate-led globalization is another form of terrorism, and she calls for peace and justice movements around the world to unite."

http://www.webactive.com/pacifica/demnow/dn20030212.html

Neil Mick
02-14-2003, 12:11 AM
The news from Baghdad is very grim; from the radio broadcast I heard, ppl are taking an attitude of ironic hopelessness. One man interviewed as to whether or not he'd flee Baghdad put it sucinctly: "The city, the desert, Basra...what difference does it make? Just different places to go to die."

A few American groups are over there: Voices in the Wilderness most notably. They stood in vigil and protest, outside an electrical plant that was bombed (and never repaired) in

Gulf War I.

Erik
02-15-2003, 05:03 PM
A few American groups are over there: Voices in the Wilderness most notably. They stood in vigil and protest, outside an electrical plant that was bombed (and never repaired) in

Gulf War I.
Surely $2.2 billion could rebuild an electrical plant or two?

From:

http://slate.msn.com/id/2071905/

How Many Palaces Hath Saddam?

A 1999 State Department report estimated that Saddam had built 48 palaces since 1991, at a cost of approximately $2.2 billion. This was in addition to the 20 or so palaces he possessed prior to the Gulf War, some of which were destroyed or sustained heavy damage during the conflict. The State Department alleged that the money to finance the building spree came primarily from oil smuggling, as well as from the resale of such U.N.-supplied humanitarian commodities as baby formula.

Neil Mick
02-15-2003, 07:44 PM
Surely $2.2 billion could rebuild an electrical plant or two?

How Many Palaces Hath Saddam?

A 1999 State Department report estimated that Saddam had built 48 palaces since 1991, at a cost of approximately $2.2 billion.
Talk about misinformation...! :eek:

OK, let's nail this $2.2B "palace instead of food" thing, once and for all...

MYTH: Saddam Hussein is hoarding both food and medical supplies from his people to evoke Western sympathy (U.S. State Department, March 2000).

FACT: Allegations of the "warehousing" of food and medicine were put to rest by former UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Hans Van Sponeck; "It is not, I repeat not, and you can check this with my colleagues, a pre-meditated act of withholding medicines from those who should have it. It is much, much, more complex than that."

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/International_War_Crimes/IraqiSanctions_MythFact.html

"contrary to the Geneva Convention, the U.S. government intentionally used sanctions against Iraq to degrade the country's water supply after the Gulf War. The United States knew the cost that civilian Iraqis, mostly children, would pay, and it went ahead anyway"

http://www.counterpunch.org/gorman01092003.html

"Isn’t Saddam spending all the money on palaces and luxuries for his cronies?

Quick response: No. The money available to the Iraqi Government is that raised by smuggling. According to the British Government’s own figures, last year, if all of the illicit revenues available to the Iraqi Government had been channelled into the official humanitarian programme (‘ oil for food’) revenues would have been increased by less than 3%. (2) (See also 8 below)."

http://www.notinournames.org.uk/phonewave/quick.html#4

"The 1996 Food for Oil Program gives Saddam enough money to pay for all the food and medicine he needs for his people - he just spends the money on himself and for weapons." The reality: The money derived from the sale of oil goes into a bank account in New York, which is TOTALLY CONTROLLED by the UN. Iraq must then submit contracts to the UN 661 sanctions committee for review of what can be spent. The last two administrators (Dennis Halliday and Hons Von Sponeck) of the food for oil program have resigned in protest, each noting the program does not come close to supplying even the minimum basic needs of the people. "We are destroying an entire society. It is as simple and as terrifying as that," says Halliday"

http://www.ccmep.org/Newsletter/FeatureScoopSpring2001.html

Neil Mick
02-19-2003, 04:21 PM
In the news today: W refers to the marches and anti-war rallies as a "focus group," and he will not be "influenced" by a focus group.

Great. Our Fearless Leader does not consider the will of the people to be important, in his foreign (or domestic) policies.

Does this make you angry? It does, for me.

Check out the latest move by Ramsey Clark, former AG under President Johnson, to impeach the man who values his constituency so little:

http://votetoimpeach.org/

Judd
02-19-2003, 04:53 PM
I agree with you! This is supposed to be a democracy! We didn't elect a dictator to do what ever he wants. I'm not too worried about it though, I HIGHLY doubt he'll be re-elected. There have not been protests like this since Vietnam. If he goes to war, the protests will get stronger and stronger, ever weakening his support. And it's too late for him to back down now, he knows if he does, he'll be out for sure, so he's pretty much screwed either way. I would be glad, though I can't help wondering how many people will have to die to see it through.

Neil Mick
02-20-2003, 02:57 AM
Thanks for responding, Judd. I share your optimism, as well as a fear for all the victims this "war on terror" will engender.

I heard a speech by Helen Caldicott, today. She said: "We live in a dark time." Too true. Perhaps the protests are the first glimmers of light, in the darkness.

But, if we stop at simply protesting against war on Iraq, and the War on Terror, they'll just do it all over again, next chance they get.

IMO, Clinton wasn't much better. It's up to Americans to push for a change in the apathy of the murderous "business as usual."

Neil Mick
02-28-2003, 02:12 PM
"Although the Bush Administration claims that the anonymous "Coalition of the Willing" is the basis of genuine multilateralism, the report shows that most were recruited through coercion, bullying, and bribery.

The pursuit of access to U.S. export markets is a powerful lever for influence over many countries, including Chile and Costa Rica, both of which are close to concluding free trade deals with the United States; African nations that want to maintain U.S. trade preferences; and Mexico, which depends on the U.S. market for about 80 percent of its export sales.

The populations of the countries in the so-called "Coalition of the Willing" make up only about 10 percent of the world's population. Opponents of the U.S. position currently include the leading economies of four continents (Germany, Brazil, China, and South Africa).

President Bush could make or break the chances of Eastern European members of the "Coalition of the Willing" that are eager to become members of NATO. In order for these nations to join the military alliance, Bush must ask the Senate for approval. "

"It's hardly a new phenomenon for the U.S. to use bribes and threats to get its way in the UN. What's new this time around is the breathtaking scale of those pressures -- because this time around, global public opinion has weighed in, and every government leaning Washington's way faces massive opposition at home."

http://www.ips-dc.org/coalition.htm

Neil Mick
03-06-2003, 02:09 AM
Big break in the hype around Iraq's supposed WoMD...from Newsweek, of all places:

"In the transcript of the interview, Kamel states categorically:

'I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons - biological, chemical, missile, nuclear were destroyed' "

http://middleeastreference.org.uk/kamel.html

George S. Ledyard
03-07-2003, 01:56 PM
Would Collen please contact me at my regular e-mail at aikigeorge@aikieast.com

Thanks!

Erik
03-07-2003, 05:52 PM
Big break in the hype around Iraq's supposed WoMD...from Newsweek, of all places:

"In the transcript of the interview, Kamel states categorically:

'I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons - biological, chemical, missile, nuclear were destroyed' "

http://middleeastreference.org.uk/kamel.html
I don't want to debate this, we've seen how pointless that has become, but some facts are useful at times.

August 8, 1995

General Hussein Kamel, Minister of Industry and Minerals and former Director of Iraq's Military Industrialisation Corporation, with responsibility for all of Iraq's weapons programmes, leaves Iraq for Jordan. Iraq claims that Hussein Kamel had hidden from UNSCOM and the IAEA important information on the prohibited weapons programmes. Iraq withdraws its third biological Full, Final and Complete Disclosure and admits a far more extensive biological warfare programme than previously admitted, including weaponization. Iraq also admits having achieved greater progress in its efforts to indigenously produce long-range missiles than had previously been declared. Iraq provides UNSCOM and the IAEA with large amounts of documentation, hidden on a chicken farm ostensibly by Hussein Kamel, related to its prohibited weapons programmes which subsequently leads to further disclosures by Iraq concerning the production of the nerve agent VX and Iraq's development of a nuclear weapon. Iraq also informs UNSCOM that the deadline to halt its co-operation is withdrawn.

May-Jun 1996

UNSCOM supervises the destruction of Al-Hakam, Iraq's main facility for the production of biological warfare agents.

June 22, 1996

Iraq provides the fourth Full, Final and Complete Disclosure of its prohibited biological weapons programme.

September 1997

Iraq provides fifth Full, Final and Complete Disclosure for its prohibited biological weapons programme. An international panel of experts is convened in New York to discuss Iraq's declaration. The panel unanimously finds Iraq's declaration to be incomplete, inadequate and technically flawed.

April 8, 1998

The report of the biological weapons TEM is transmitted to the Council. As with the other TEMs, the experts unanimously conclude that Iraq's declaration on its biological weapons programme is incomplete and inadequate.

July 14, 1998

As a consequence of the high-level talks between the Deputy Prime Minister and the Executive Chairman in June 1998, a team of UNSCOM international biological experts is assembled in Baghdad to review, for the third time, Iraq's declaration on its biological weapons programme. The experts conclude that the declaration is not verifiable.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_102926,001300180003.htm

Kevin Leavitt
03-07-2003, 07:20 PM
gotta throw this in. 477 post and several months on this thread.....

Have we determined who is MORE RIGHT YET???

Mike or Neal???

Seriously, guys....I know I said I wouldn't post here anymore...but really does it make a difference watching a blow by blow play on this?

No one is right or wrong on the Iraq issue...it is what it is...a cancer.

Neal is correct on many issues. Yes, it is a tragedy and it should not happen and many innocent people will die. It is too bad that the world chose (yes CHOSE) to ignore this festering cancer for so long that it appears at this point to be irreversable.

Mike is right that we have a responsiblity to use force if necessary to resolve this situation if diplomacy fails (which all but seems likely now).

I pray daily that some miracle will occur that will keep us from escalating from war. (As do all soldiers) I pray that we are doing it for the right reasons. I pray for the Iraqi people that they will no longer continue to suffer and that we can put this behind us quickly and get on with the healing.

I think France and Germany are doing what they feel is right. (but I am a little disappointed that if they were so passionate about avoiding conflict why didn't they be more proactive over the years).

I think the US is doing what is both necessary and what they feel is right.

The UN as well.

I am hoping whatever the outcome that it serves to unify the world and not pull it apart.

None of us are smart enough or perceptive enough to guess which one of these will happen (pull apart or pull together)....only time will tell!

Neil Mick
03-07-2003, 08:09 PM
I don't want to debate this, we've seen how pointless that has become, but some facts are useful at times.
Welcome back, Eric. Gone so long? Nice of you to pop in.

Now, before you go running back to "ignore" me again, I repeat my often-held mantra:

OPEN the OTHER EYE

Once again, you post a half correct timeline from the Hindustimes (again), a secondary source.

Do you know what a secondary source is? It is a source that draws its information from another source, in this case-- the UN.

Had you clicked on my source and followed the link, you'd have seen the exact testimony of Kamal Hussein: a primary source.

All beef, straight from the horse's mouth.

Now, unless you have more information, other than the Hindustimes (other primary sources would be good), that half-baked tofu you're supplying, isn't beef. Sorry.

Neil Mick
03-07-2003, 09:10 PM
Have we determined who is MORE RIGHT YET???

Mike or Neal???
Really, Kevin: I couldn't care less if I'm more or less "right" or not. I present a viewpoint, provide facts to support it, and leave you, the reader, to make your assessments.

Mike seems to feel that baseless name-calling is a debate. I disagree. I take issue with this style of debate: if it's permissable for Mike to label me a fanatic, what's to stop me from doing the same?

Then, where would we be, debate-wise?

Nowhere. Just a silly name-calling match.
No one is right or wrong on the Iraq issue...it is what it is...a cancer.

Mike is right that we have a responsiblity to use force if necessary to resolve this situation if diplomacy fails (which all but seems likely now).

I think the US is doing what is both necessary and what they feel is right.
I find it interesting that many on the conservative side never seem to take into account the numbers of people suffering, due to this artifically manufactured crisis.

After the Gulf War, when Hussein was playing games with the UN, the UN playing games with Hussein, and the US playing spy with UNSCOMM, Hussein didn't invade another country, nor did he conduct atrocities on the scale he did in the '80's, with US acquiescence.

Funny you mentioned cancer, Kevin, because cancer plays a definite role in this conflict. Where DU-weapons were used, the rate of cancer went up 3x, among Iraqi's. The number of children deformities also went up, 3-6x.

The current situation in much of Iraq right now is edging toward medical disaster; humanitarian and UN groups express doubts that they can provide support, should the war commence. Rather than anxiously awaiting liberation, Iraqi's wait in fear of the imminent war. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/fromthefield/602269

The violence in Palestine is also exacerbated by the war in Iraq. Sharon has stated that no one can stop him, even though Israel is the #1 ally of the US.

You'd think that the leader of the free world

could take a moment from terrorizing a potential enemy who might kill his enemies, and rein in his ally, who IS killing his enemies. Or even, call to task the constellation of US allies who are in violation of UN mandates.

All the while, the UN Sanctions are still in place, causing no intended loss of power to Hussein; instead, the Iraqi's suffer. If we wanted to, we could lift the Sanctions tomorrow. We control the department that requlates Sanctions restrictions.

Even Eric H. admits to his lack of confidence in Bush's ability to nation-build. I have to agree: look at his appalling record...Afghanistan, et al. Our big plan to rebuild Iraq, after this is all over...? Install an American who will mysteriously "instill" confidence in a region with three (or more) ethnic groups, complicated power-structures and a collapsing infrastructure, shakily upheld by black and white markets. And, of course, there's the oil which we "really aren't invading Iraq" for. No, it's all about the WoMD that Hussein is hiding, which the US, with all its awesome military and investigative might, can't seem to prove.

"...Using force, if diplomacy fails?" Sure, let's use force. But, before we kill, displace, and maim 1.5million people, before we illegally attack Iraq, cost the world 10 trillion dollars and 10 years, potentially, of nation-building (more, if the US again leaves the job half-finished), and leave the world less safer, rather than more, with many refugee's turning to terror, that we exhaust every other means at our disposal, before we do this terrible thing. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0306-06.htm

And I'm sorry, but I can't see how the US is doing anything but pushing a transparently self-centered agenda against the will of the world, an agenda where every gov't in support of invasion has the majority of its population, opposing invasion.

Not to mention, of course, the blatantly racist undertones to this impending assault, and the mirroring of violence we see against Arabs in this country, and in Palestine. The moral decrepitude of this conflict can be easily seen in the cavalier way the media and gov't treat the dignity and human rights of Arabs. We now have over 1000 "disappeared" Arabs who are held with no trial, no publication of their whereabouts. The method of Arab-population data collection employed by the INS eerily mirrors the methods used to set up Japanese internment camps.

Recently, I saw a news article that headlined: "al Qaeda leader will probably not be subjected to torture, CIA sources say." Gosh, that's a relief. For a moment, I thought Hussein had shifted bodies with Bush, like an old Star Trek episode.

Or,,,has he?? The way things are going, it is getting harder and harder to tell.

Neil Mick
03-07-2003, 09:33 PM
I don't want to debate this, we've seen how pointless that has become, but some facts are useful at times.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_102926,001300180003.htm[/url]
BTW, Eric: speaking of primary sources, I checked the primary source from the Hindustimes...straight from the UN horse's mouth itself....here: http://www.un.org/Depts/unscom/Chronology/chronologyframe.htm

Look at the date at the top: December 1999. Same source, even the same wording.

Notice, OTOH, my source...March, 2003.

Beef that's old, tends to go sour.

Neil Mick
03-07-2003, 09:48 PM
For more on the impending humanitarian crisis:

"U.N. relief officials said Iraq distributes 450,000 tons of food every month and it would be quite impossible and very expensive to airlift food supplies in such quantities.

The rations include wheat, flour, sugar, rice, milk powder, tea, salt, detergents, soap, beans, lentils and cooking oil. The basket is 2,470 calories a day but does not include fruit, vegetables, or meat.

Due said a new war would result in infrastructure breakdowns, including water supplies and electricity, and the outbreak of disease. Malnourishment, already high among children under five, is also expected to increase.

"The situation today in Iraq is not like 13 years ago, the coping mechanism of the Iraqi people is much less than it was 13 years ago, therefore any interruption in this oil-for-food program will have a serious effect on the humanitarian situation."

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=1STEK0MS3Y0FGCRBAEOCFFA?type=worldNews&storyID=2283314

Neil Mick
03-13-2003, 04:49 PM
Does anyone now doubt that this war is all about the oil?

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?030317fa_fact

Erik
03-13-2003, 11:19 PM
Does anyone now doubt that this war is all about the oil?
I never doubted it for a second.

http://www.journalnow.com/wsj/opinion/columnists/MGBJHHDYUCD.html

Erik
03-13-2003, 11:36 PM
BTW, Eric: speaking of primary sources, I checked the primary source from the Hindustimes...straight from the UN horse's mouth itself....here: http://www.un.org/Depts/unscom/Chronology/chronologyframe.htm

Look at the date at the top: December 1999. Same source, even the same wording.

Notice, OTOH, my source...March, 2003.

Beef that's old, tends to go sour.
Did you have a point? Are you saying none of this happened? Wait, of course you are, it doesn't jive with your world view.

I must say however that I marvel at your efforts. You are completely incapable of looking at historical events for what they are. Five separate complete and final declarations on a biological program which didn't exist. The UN even states that the final one is incomplete. Yet, you deny all of that in your search and declare history invalid because you found a source with the date of 2003.

ROTFLMAO!

By the way, have you considered that ordering a program destroyed is not the same as it actually being destroyed? If it were destroyed, as Kamel ordered, then what were the UN inspectors doing in May-June 1996. Oh yeah, destroying that which had already been destroyed.

You are truly remarkable.

Neil Mick
03-14-2003, 12:39 PM
Cool your jets, Eric. If you'd looked at my comment a tad more objectively, you'd understand the comment: "Beef that's old, tends to go sour."

You seem to enjoy posting secondary sources with a 3-year old date, with only some of the incidents reported. Your chronology fails to report the actions of the US (such as bombings) or Britain, at the time.

Try to imagine studying the Revolutionary War, without paying any attention to the British Acts that caused such reactions as the Boston Tea Party.

Such a myopic approach would make them seem a little...confrontational, to say the least.

Also, my primary source of a more recent date directly contravenes your source. So, I understand your ire: it must be tough to have your preciously-held beliefs of Iraq crumble daily, before your eyes.

I'd be a little miffed too.

Oh, BTW: you should read my sources a tad more closely, before you rush off to counter them with your own...this, from your own source...

"Recently, Richard Perle - a Defense Department adviser accused a presidential candidate, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, of telling a lie when he said that Bush's chief interest in invading Iraq was oil."

Now, if you had read my New Yorker source, perhaps you'd have paused a little before posting.

And thank you for the compliment. Remarkable...? Oh, hardly. I'm just a concerned citizen, trying not to have my leaders indicted on charges of crimes against humanity and genocide, by the newly-formed ICC... :cool:

Erik
03-14-2003, 06:25 PM
You seem to enjoy posting secondary sources with a 3-year old date, with only some of the incidents reported.
Neil, cut the bullshit! It's history. It's fact. Period! You know what makes debating you distasteful? You spin everything, and I mean everything, then have the balls to sit there and accuse the rest of us of doing it.

It's 100% accurate, and identical to the UN pages, except that it's legible. Netscape 7.1 displayed it as one long sentence.

I know you do this in the hope of influencing others. Fine by me, but do you really think people are so stupid that they'll sit there and say, "gee, it is unreliable, he didn't link to the UN, and it's 3-years old. It's 100% accurate, but by god, we should discard it all."

And, you repeatedly use this sort of tactic when facts get in your way.

By the way, I do know who Pearle is, but, let me state it simply. This is only about oil insomuch as no one would ever have cared if they didn't have any oil. The world could safely have continued to look the other way like they did in Kosovo. Say, what worked there and what country led that effort?

The facts are:

* He's killed hundreds of thousands.

* He did invade Kuwait.

* The world cared.

* He did not withdraw from Kuwait.

* He lost in 1991.

* He made agreements to destroy his WOMD.

* He has not kept his agreements, and he has certainly not shown that he has destroyed his WOMD.

* He has continued to kill his people.

* Without military action he will kill a lot more.

* If he ever gets a nuke he will be just like North Korea which is going to be an absolute bitch to deal with.

Spin doctor all you want but these things are true.

Neil Mick
03-14-2003, 10:43 PM
History is not an object, fixed in stone. History, in fact, is determined by the victors.

Richard III is a good example. Shakespeare protrays him as hunchbacked and homicidal.

Recently sources suggest that, actually: Richard III was quite the ladies' man and loyal to his family. He did imprison his twin nephews in the Tower, but some historians contend that he did this out of a sense of attempting to remove them from the vagaries and shifting power-struggles of the Court.

Once the Tudor power came into play, Richard became the bugaboo he's known for, today.

My point to this is an incomplete history gives an incomplete perspective. Also, history can be revised, sometimes by the same ppl who stated facts totally differently, four years ago: http://www.fair.org/extra/0210/inspectors.html

(BTW, we're getting into a tone that is edging out of the bounds of etiquette, once again. Watch your sarcasm, Eric: disagree with me all you want, but I honestly do not seek to "spin," any more than I suspect that you attempt to lie.

I have my perspectives; you have yours. You find debating with me distasteful, then turn on the "ignore" feature again, and go your merry way...that is your right.

I, on the other hand, enjoy our discussions, as it gives me a reason to reasearch this this situation further. That is the essence of debate, after all: point/counter-point. Do not expect me to bow down to your one lonely, outdated (and countered) reference, just because YOU think it's bullshit).

Your listing of history was correct, right up until "his not keeping to his agreements." Sure, he has wavered and tried to do end-runs around UNSCOMM, but he is now keeping to his part of the bargain, according to Blix.

What I find amazing is your total denial of the Newsweek coverage of Kamal Hussein's true testimony: that UNSCOM had uncovered all the weapons.

Did you read the actual testimony? It's quite enlightening...and BTW, YES: in this case, his ordering the destruction of the weapons DID mean that they were destroyed,,,as his military aide verified.

Kamal Hussein, the cornerstone of your argument, blows your whole case out of the water, IMM (but, I will admit that until this revelation, I was a little unsure, myself. I felt the circumstantial evidence was there, but nothing firm to condradict your case was evident).

So go ahead, Eric: say it's all bullshit, rant and rave how Hussein has tunnels under Baghdad just loaded with VX delivery systems, talk about the model airplanes (made of balsa wood and duct tape), ready to take to the skies and drop deadly viruses upon the world, quote 1/2 done histories as if this were carved-in-stone dogma, call me a spin-doctoring liar, yada yada yada...(but, just as one example, your timeline misses a few subtle nuances if world events, such as those listed here: http://www.fair.org/activism/post-expulsions.html)

But for me, there are two very important points, only peripherally related to the inspections debacle (a debacle, IMM, messed up by the US, the UN, and Hussein):

1) This war sets a dangerous precedent for the rest of the world. We live in an international community governed by laws, not by men. The President is not always right, merely because he's the President, or that he's a Republican. He is subject to international law, and the laws of this country.

If it's OK for him to attack Iraq with no proof of intent for Iraq to attack us (and, even if you can prove that Iraq has WMD--which, if you could, you'd need access to intelligence unavailable either to the UN or the US), then it's OK for any country in the world to attack another, pre-emptively, with no evidence.

This means that it's OK for Pakistan to nuke India, and South Korea to invade North Korea. Where does it all end?

2) The US is in the verge of going around the UN and unilaterally striking. This means that the US administration is thumbing its nose at international law.

You know what that makes our leaders? International criminals. Sure, I've heard several members of the Right say: so what? The UN is an imperfect body, let's create a better (read: more compliant to our interests) int'l body.

I don't know about you, but this talk scares me. This arrogant attitude is exactly the same kick-it-around approach that the various nations did to the League of Nations, circa WWI.

But this time, several nations in the int'l arena have nuc's, to buttress their macho, cowboy diplomacy.

Imagine a WWI scenario, with all its horrors, but with nuc's and DU-weapons (and, IMA, "conventional" nuc's) added.

Frankly, Eric: I wish you were right, and I was just a spin-doctoring whacko. I wish all my ideas of Hussein and the world were wrong, and this was just another unfortunate case of the US using strong-arm tactics on a weakened military dictatorship. I wish that this situation hadn't gotten so far out of hand, the way it has.

At least, I'd get to sleep better at night.

Erik
03-14-2003, 10:48 PM
I should clarify my second to last point because it is inaccurate. There may be a heart attack, stroke or some other natural event which removes him from power.

deepsoup
03-15-2003, 03:09 AM
This means that it's OK for Pakistan to nuke India, and South Korea to invade North Korea. Where does it all end?
Dubya Dubya III

Sean

x

Neil Mick
03-15-2003, 03:31 AM
Dubya Dubya III

Sean

x
Ouch! Vewwy witty, Sean! ;)

Neil Mick
03-16-2003, 04:23 PM
And, one last point, Eric (although I fear that by now you've retreated to the comforting safety of the virtual "see-no-evil" of ignoring me):

I did not deny your historical points. Sure, Hussein has done all he could to avoid disarming. On his own, the man simply cannot be trusted. Yeah, 5 incomplete biological program reports are significant.

But, you have yet to produce anything that suggests the inspections aren't working.

Just because the guy lies, doesn't mean that he's not, simultaneously, complying, per Blix's reports.

It's so easy to castigate your opponents' beliefs, isn't it? So easy to resort to slander and hyperbole, instead of stepping up to the plate and debating my points.

Once again, no mention of the Newsweek story on Kamal Hussein: the cornerstone of your argument.

Go back to ignoring me again, Eric....far safer to assume you're right, and deny any concrete counter-arguments. So easy to ignore the obvious benefits that Perle, Cheney, et al, will receive from this war.

Much easier to look myopically at the lucrative deals to France and Germany, as if the 24 US companies that dealt with Iraq simply didn't exist.

All I ask is: when you cover your eyes,,,,just remember to cover them both (and not just the Left-one).

Erik
03-16-2003, 08:17 PM
And, one last point, Eric (although I fear that by now you've retreated to the comforting safety of the virtual "see-no-evil" of ignoring me):
Bite me!
I did not deny your historical points. Sure, Hussein has done all he could to avoid disarming. On his own, the man simply cannot be trusted. Yeah, 5 incomplete biological program reports are significant.

But, you have yet to produce anything that suggests the inspections aren't working.
Five incomplete biological reports. Several more chemical and other reports, redone. Now, he's offering us still another report on Anthrax, in theory. The only reason we have inspectors is 275,000 troops in the region. Everyone admits this, but you of course,
Just because the guy lies, doesn't mean that he's not, simultaneously, complying, per Blix's reports.
Neil, you are spinning his words, like always. Blix is very careful of how he speaks. You need to read him very carefully, as you suggest others do. He has not given such blind praise of inspections and has routinely criticized Iraq for non-cooperation.

I don't think you understand what an inspector does. I've audited before and while it's different the basic point is to verify things are being done correctly, not hunt down and pursue.

"Unlike South Africa, which decided on its own to eliminate its nuclear weapons and welcomed the inspection as a means of creating confidence in its disarmament, Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace.

"It is not enough to open doors. Inspection is not a game of catch as catch can. Rather, it is a process of verification for the purpose of building confidence."

http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/01/27/sprj.irq.excerpts/

Your entire argument rests precisely on using inspectors in ways they are not meant to be used.
It's so easy to castigate your opponents' beliefs, isn't it? So easy to resort to slander and hyperbole, instead of stepping up to the plate and debating my points.
You would know. You've done it a ton although I doubt you recognize it.
Once again, no mention of the Newsweek story on Kamal Hussein: the cornerstone of your argument.
See, even more spin. I did mention it but I'll provide more in a future post.
Go back to ignoring me again, Eric....far safer to assume you're right, and deny any concrete counter-arguments. So easy to ignore the obvious benefits that Perle, Cheney, et al, will receive from this war.
This is not fact, it is allegation, and I agree that maybe France is offering resistance for noble purposes. But if you want one you get the other.
Much easier to look myopically at the lucrative deals to France and Germany, as if the 24 US companies that dealt with Iraq simply didn't exist.
Of course they exist. I've never denied it. It's like your insightful claim that it's about oil. Hey, no kidding? Wow! Of course it's about oil, on some level. How Saddam chooses who he deals with in the oil-for-food program. The French agreements to explore for oil in Iraq, which by the way, were threatened at one point. Wonder why? But it's not about oil in the way you make your allegations. That's conjecture.

This possible war is clearly about a world-view and approach to dealing with a world where nearly 3,000 people died because of the actions of 20 people. It's not about enriching Cheney and Bush. That's at best disengenuous and at worst dishonest. It's why I brought the French into the way I did.

It's about oil because Iraq has oil. It's not about making Bush and Cheney rich.

Erik
03-16-2003, 08:49 PM
These are taken somewhat out of order for purposes of brevity. It is not done to spin anything.

From

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18467-2003Feb28.html

U.N. inspectors have challenged the veracity of Kamel's claims.

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

Ekeus and other former U.N. inspectors said this week that while Kamel provided valuable information, he frequently embellished and lied to enhance his reputation or to preserve illegal weapons programs. "He was a consummate liar," Ekeus said in a telephone interview. "He wanted to return [to Iraq] at some stage and make a political comeback when Saddam Hussein moved to the side. All the more reason to preserve some of the WMD [weapons of mass destruction] secrets."

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

Ekeus said Kamel's suggestions that Iraq had destroyed all of its chemical and biological weapons as early as 1991 were "absurd." The former U.N. Special Commission, which was responsible for destroying Iraq's weapons from 1991 to 1998, carried out the destruction of more chemical, biological weapons than occurred during the Persian Gulf War, Ekeus noted. He said also that the U.N. inspectors carried out the destruction of tons of chemical weapons and agents between 1992 and 1994.

That Iraqi compliance, once again demonstrated.

U.N. inspectors familiar with the Kamel meeting cautioned that the quotes from the interview, which were translated into English from Arabic and written down by a Russian weapons inspector, may contain some mistakes or misunderstandings. "You have to take what he says with a grain of salt," one U.N. inspector said.

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

Kamel said that Hussein had no intention of abandoning his pursuit of banned weapons once inspectors left. He said that Hussein's special guards had hidden two Russian Scud rocket launchers and a computer disk with information on Iraq's banned nuclear weapons program. Asked why Iraq would destroy its missiles and keep the launchers and missile molds, he said, "It is the first step to return to production. All blueprints for missiles are in a safe place."

One of my admitted problems with the Bush team is their method of making the case. What is relevant about Kamel is that Iraq pulled it's 3rd and final full and complete biological weapons disclosure upon his defecting and issued a much more far reaching one, including their attempts at weaponization which he'd denied.

Erik
03-16-2003, 09:02 PM
I should make one more point here. It's not that I don't believe inspections can work, precisely. I don't believe that the world has the will to implement them. I, in fact, think the only person with the will to make UN inspections happen is George Bush. I think that even with 1441 the inspection regime would be minimal at best.

The problem is that UN inspections have been off the table for 4 years and really longer than that. We can grouse all we want about 1998, and the US/Britain bombing efforts, but inspections had effectively stopped prior to that.

What brought them back to the table, and are giving them any teeth at all, are 275,000 troops. There's no other way to look at it.

Additionally, as I mentioned briefly in an earlier post, whether he has WMD or not, is really irrelevant to the discussion. What is relevant is proving that he doesn't have what we think he has. When I audited my manager used to say, "it's isn't that they are dishonest, we in fact think they are honest, it's just that we have to prove it every so often." Saddam has 100% proven that he's dishonest. I think that is a given. I guess it's sort of the reverse in this case. We have to prove he's dishonest?

This is a strange realm we have entered.

By the way, the "bite me" comment was an attempt at humor. :)

Neil Mick
03-17-2003, 04:24 PM
No offense taken, Eric (lol).

On the eve of war, we may actually be close to that rarest element of online debate topics: a meeting of minds.

It seems pointless to debate the value or worth of inspections at this juncture. The US is about to go to war, and the inspections are on the verge of shutting down, FWIH.

But first, before I express our commonality, let me talk about "spin."

This debate sometimes reminds me of the Cold War: both sides project their bugaboo onto the other, often with mistaken perceptions.

One example, for instance:

___________________________________________

ERIC:The only reason we have inspectors is 275,000 troops in the region. Everyone admits this, but you of course,

NEIL: Just because the guy lies, doesn't mean that he's not, simultaneously, complying, per Blix's reports.

_____________________________________________

Look at my statement carefully, Eric. My statement is not contrary to yours. As Opher often likes to point out, two sides in a debate are often not directly opposed, and that both sides have a point.

My point was that Blix is reporting progress in the inspections arena.

This, from the CNN site:

BLIX'S POINTS

No convincing evidence that Iraqis have known in advance of inspectors' plans

Iraq has accepted an offer to talk with South African experts on disarmament

U.N. weapons inspectors have found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but won't rule out the possibility that they exist

Iraq must account for status of anthrax, VX nerve agent and long-range missiles

Not clear that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell conclusively demonstrated illicit movement of arms

Private interviews with four Iraqi scientists were helpful



ELBARADEI'S POINTS

Inspectors have so far found no evidence of nuclear weapons but are still investigating

Iraq has provided immediate access to all inspection locations

International Atomic Energy Agency will increase inspectors and support staff

Iraq has provided documentation on several issues, but the documents did not fully clarify the matters

Iraqi cooperation "will speed up the process," though it is possible to complete inspections without cooperation

http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/02/14/sprj.irq.un/



Now "progress, but questions remain," means progress, to me.

To you, it means something different. Am I "spinning," just because we do not see eye-to-eye? I don't think so. But I guess you do, and so we must agree to disagree (mirroring, IMM, the debate on the Security Council).

That being said, I recently read an article by Molly Ivans on the military build-up, and how it's affecting the inspections. And it got me to thinking: yeah, maybe I was mistaken. Sure, the inspections are aided by the US aggression, but obviously not because this is a way to force Hussein to comply.

It should be blatantly obvious by now that Bush couldn't care an empty missile silo about what Hussein does (in fact, I heard a report on the radio say that a White House flack stating that "it's too late to do anything, in Iraq"). It's 5 minutes to midnight, and he's itching for Iraqi blood.

And so, here we are, on the eve of war, with the US poised to go at it, alone. Making us the "bad-guys," with no coherent plan as to what to do, to clear up the mess.

This chart: http://www.medact.org/tbx/docs/Medact%20Iraq%20report-spread.pdf is an interesting illustration of the p[ossible effects of war.

And so, many of your points I agree, but ironically, it doesn't matter anymore, now that the US is thumbing its nose at the UN.

After the (DU-)dust settles, it will be up to the ICC to decide who was. in the main, to blame.

Neil Mick
03-17-2003, 04:31 PM
With it being 5-minutes-to-midnight (and, concurrently, this post nearing its 500th entry...wow>>>sorry to take up so much space, Jun :) ), the time is nearing an end for debate.

The time for action is now.

To those of you who feel this war is justified, you have every right to your opinion. I respect that right, even if I do not agree.

To those of you who feel this war is insanity (or just plain wrong), the time to act is now. When war does break out (tomorrow?), take action. Engage in civil disobedience. Resist, nonviolently.

Stop this war machine, any (nonviolent) way you can. Write letters, block traffic, shut down "business-as-usual."

It's up to us now.

gambatte!

Michael Neal
03-17-2003, 07:39 PM
Go USA, lets ROLL!

Neil Mick
03-18-2003, 12:34 AM
"How does one live with the threat of annihilation -- daily fare to an Iraqi -- taken with the morning's first breath?"

http://electroniciraq.net/news/312.shtml