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opherdonchin
05-06-2003, 07:52 AM
Jaime: it's hard for me to continue when you act as if the US has not been steadfastly railroading the peace process for at least the last 6 years. Please.Perhaps it is, Neil, but I'm certain that Jaime is expressing his honest and heartfelt view of the situation, as you are. If you feel his position is simply untenable, then there is probably something going on that you don't understand because he clearly holds it.
To me, your post sounds aggressive: it's time to take a breath, and take the PC-test.It didn't sound agressive to me, but if you felt that it was, then that's important. I, on the other hand, found this particular sentence condescending and annoying.

opherdonchin
05-06-2003, 08:07 AM
To address the issue more directly, I think I can sum up Neil's post by saying that he makes two main points (correct me if I'm wrong, Neil). First, it is only the Security Council that has the legitimate authority to interpret its own resolutions. This war is a violation of international law because the U.S. has used its own interpretations of resolutions that extended or, in some cases, contradicted the interpretation of the SC. I have a lot of sympathy for this point, personally, and I'm curious what Jaime thinks of it. There are places where I think Neil over-reaches the argument, but I'll leave them out for now in the interest of focus.

The second point Neil makes is that the U.S. historically violates international law. This point seems to me irrelevant. It's an important and fundamental point of law that having been accused or convicted of past crimes should not prejudice any subsequent cases. The logic that says, "the U.S. is a rogue state, therefore this is an illegal war" is simply fallacious.

Michael Neal
05-06-2003, 09:19 AM
How can the UN be taken seriously when one of the security council members does this

http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20030506-32981825.htm

Neil Mick
05-06-2003, 02:16 PM
I won't play your game either with this attempted jab at me being a blind PC (patrioticallly correct).
I, on the other hand, found this particular sentence condescending and annoying.
This is why I put the smiley next to my statement: it's meant to be amusing. You know: humor? A little levity is good for the soul.

No, Jaime: I don't think that your (current) discourse is "blindly" patriotic (in fact, I'm impressed with your positive change in tone). The link was meant as a playful nudge; not a "serious" atemi. :cool:

Neil Mick
05-06-2003, 02:41 PM
Michael,

I think it is starting to come out that France and other countries along with the UN are doing everything in their power to thwart US led efforts to find WMD and help rebuild Iraq.
One question (OK, several questions ;) ): do you think that the US, as the only world superpower, has a responsibility to act in accordance with world opinion? To whom does a superpower answer?

Certainly, the US is ignoring independent org's such as the IAEA, which is expressing concerns that the nuclear reactors in Iraq are being poorly monitored and guarded.

And: it may come as no surprise to you that I find your statement highly selective. We helped place Hussein in Iraq; we did business with him (24 US companies supplied wmd to Hussein: would you like the list, again?); our actions there now are not looking as if we really care, much, for the wishes of the Iraqi's...certainly, not for the wishes of the rest of the world.

Now that the US occupies Iraq, the whole function of the Sanctions has radically altered. The UN is already attempting to send relief, in spite of the obstructive attempts of the US. The UN does not want to support a (possibly) illegal occupation.

Regarding your call to abandon the UN: you like to ask this question, to Leftist post-ers...now it's your turn. What do you suggest, in its place? Sure, the UN is flawed, but if the invasion of Iraq (Afghanistan, et al) is any indicator, then the potential permissive environment of military adventurism the absence of the UN would cause is a chilling sentence to place upon the shoulders of Third World citizens.

Globalization tends to foster terrible working conditions and a loss of environmental controls (not to mention, an increasing monetary cycle of debt and extortion between the world bank, and the Third World).

opherdonchin
05-06-2003, 03:54 PM
Humour is a tricky thing given the history of this discussion. I had a feeling you meant it that way, but it still had me worried that things would spiral out of control.

Did I sum up the arguments of your last post correctly, Neil?

Neil Mick
05-06-2003, 05:40 PM
Did I sum up the arguments of your last post correctly, Neil?
Some yes, some no.
First, it is only the Security Council that has the legitimate authority to interpret its own resolutions.

I have a lot of sympathy for this point, personally, and I'm curious what Jaime thinks of it.
We're pretty much, on the same page, here.
There are places where I think Neil over-reaches the argument,
I don't see it: what "overreaching?"
The second point Neil makes is that the U.S. historically violates international law. This point seems to me irrelevant.
Now, here is where the misunderstanding occurs. And, I think that a little thought about political discussion, is germane here.

See, we are all taking sides in this situation that will largely occur out of our direct control (well, mostly. Apparently the Capitola-13 case has attracted the attention on the media, who now use it to razz the DA. Life goes on). We can talk about our opinions on the world, and we can talk about international law. They are two different things, however. International law can be verified for accuracy; our opinions are just that: subject to change, as we change.

The last point was my observation that the US is "acting" in a criminal manner. Isn't the very definition of crime--to act in violation of law(s)--precisely what the US has done to spur on this war? Also, when I was referring to international law, I was thinking about the violations of the Geneva Conventions, in consciously bombing the infrastructure ('91), and the Sanctions.

I have amply documented the US abuses. While historical criminal activity (and we're talking about activities within the last 6 years, maybe: only specifically relating to the US-Iraq relations, not the world) be "irrelevant" to an international court, it most certainly is relevant to the way I feel our country ought to behave, in the world.

Oh, Jaime: I had one other question. What is your opinion about actors using their celebrity status to make political opinions? Should a government be allowed to penalize an actor for expressing an "unpatriotic" view?

opherdonchin
05-06-2003, 06:27 PM
While historical criminal activity ... [may] be "irrelevant" to an international court, it most certainly is relevant to the way I feel our country ought to behave, in the world.Ok. I can see that. I was, like I said, narrowly focused on the question of whether the war is legal. We seem to be agreed, then, that whatever other illegal activities our country might have been involved with don't affect the question of the legality of the war.

So, strictly on the question of the legality of the war, the question for Jaime is whether he agrees with Neil that a war must be sanctioned by the Security Concil explicitly in order to be legal, and whether he agrees with Neil that the Security Council didn't explicitly sanction this war. I think that a case could be made against either claim.

Of course, what Jaime has been saying recently suggests that, while he may be willing to concede the question of the legality of the war, he will still say that the war was morally justified and that we should have undertaken it whether or not it was legal. So, here's a question for you, Neil: assuming that this war is illegal and assuming that this war is just, how do you feel this country should behave when morality and international law are in conflict?

Neil Mick
05-06-2003, 07:00 PM
assuming that this war is illegal and assuming that this war is just, how do you feel this country should behave when morality and international law are in conflict?
Assuming both, we need to work within the system, to adhere to international law. To do so is counterproductive. Did you ever see the movie "Bad Lieutenant?" Did Harvey Keitel keep the peace?

International law may be fractured, imperfect, and, at times: unjust. But the alternative--acting within a corporate-favored globalist framework in defiance of int'l law is a poor alternative. It creates messes that we may not be able to fix, and pushes the world into more violence.

opherdonchin
05-06-2003, 10:37 PM
Nicely put. I'm not sure the 'corporate-favored' was necessary (whether true or false), but the idea seems clear.

Jaime?

Abasan
05-07-2003, 09:30 PM
Umm, I just want to tell you guys that I`m still around, but in Japan. So i can` talk till i get back.. already two pages since i got here apparently.

Btw, anyone here know how i can get to Shin Shin Toitsu Hombu from Aikikai hombu in shinjuku?

Man..my body is aching!

Neil Mick
05-08-2003, 03:12 PM
Umm, I just want to tell you guys that I`m still around, but in Japan.

Man..my body is aching!
Oh, you lucky dog! :D

you side with France and Russia to prevent lifting these same sanctions?
Jaime, with respect: you have a tendency to try to box me into corners. I do not "side with Russia and France" for much of anything, except in some of their votes with the SC, and Iraq. Putin gassed the opera-house, and France bombed the Rainbow Warrior. I do not trust most any government, currently in power.
Why were you against sanctions when Hussein was in power but are now for them when The US and its allies are trying to help rebuild Iraq.
Because, I do not trust this Administration. This war was sold to the public on a lie, based upon the presumptions of a little known department in the Pentagon, the Office of Special Plans.

This department's findings can seem to overrule the opinions of the State Dept, and the CIA. And so far, their presumptions: that Hussein was involved in 9-11, that Hussein has wmd...are all false (barring, of course, some earth-shattering discovery, or earth-shattering lie).

The Pentagon seems to be running the White House, over the perspectives of either the CIA, or the State Dept. International policy seems to be run by a department that sees military operations as an acceptable form of diplomacy.

Occasionally, I might even agree...as a means of absolute last resort. Certainly, not as normal operations, however.

The only reason France and Russia are blocking lifting sanctions is because of the billions of dollars they and the UN get with the program.
I do not agree. I think that the US, OTOH, is attempting to lift the Sanctions for purely self-serving reasons, and the sole-source contractee's (Bechtel, DynCorp) waiting in the wings also smells. And it really reeks when Bush starts to talk about "humanitarian concerns."

Would you like a list of the humanitarian causes he's abandoned, the money's denied to critical aid programs, the treaties left unsigned? Forgive me if I pause, when this man speaks of humanitarian concerns.

"The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria was created by the United Nations and the G8 group of industrialized nations in 2001. AIDS, TB and malaria kill a total of 6 million people a year around the world. Over 5,000 people die of AIDS every day in Africa alone. 3,000 African children die every day of malaria.

The fund had asked for $3.5 billion a year from the United States. The US gave $200 million last year and Bush's plan would add $200 million a year."

I don't think that Bush cares a whit about humanitarian concerns; I think he wants an open hand to administer Iraqi oil.
From your article:
This reference is so old, I don't know which article you refer. No matter.
it is inhumane for the UN to try to hold onto this embargo for economic gains.
It's not simple black-and-white (http://www.boston.com/dailynews/127/world/U_S_to_urge_U_N_to_lift_sancti:.shtml).

" A senior Russian official said Wednesday that rather than lifting sanctions as sought by Washington, Moscow only wants a suspension of the embargoes on food and medicine suggesting that a new confrontation may be in the works.

But there were indications Germany might not be an obstacle this time, and many council members have said they really want to avoid another bruising battle and to try to find a consensus something Annan has also been pushing for."

Now while we are all free to voice these opinions, I do not think it is the governments place to put such people outside the law.
Fair enough. What about priviate individuals using their professional standings to limit or interfere with actor's with whom they disagree? What about corporations, doing this?

Henry Norr, for instance, was fired from SF Chronicle for going to an antiwar protest. He was a technology reporter, nothing to do with politics. What is your take on this?
Are you in favor of the "fairness in Broadcasting act?"
I'll forego this question, as there's so much else on the plate, right now.

Neil Mick
05-08-2003, 03:26 PM
Nicely put. I'm not sure the 'corporate-favored' was necessary (whether true or false), but the idea seems clear.
I think the "corporate-favored" element is VERY important (cf my points made about the sole-source contractors, above).

Also, understand that I am agreeing to the idea of a "morally just" war, as a hypothetical. In actuality, no war is (or was) purely, morally just.

In war, someone always suffers.

Neil Mick
05-12-2003, 12:04 PM
Hey Jaime: Hope you had a pleasant stay, in Houston, this weekend (can't imagine how, as I hate Houston, lol).

First Private individuals in private companies are free to do as they wish as long as it does not break any laws. You were not specific in this first part so I can only give you a general answer.
It was stated generically, to give you wide latititude for your answer.

I was thinking about Charlton "from my cold, dead fingers" Heston, and his using celebrity status to promote the NRA.

Also, I was thinking about the actions of the French gov't, against John Malkevich (who, even tho he lives in France, is notoriously anti-French-gov't). The gov't is taking action against him, merely because he is vocal in his dissent.

I think this issue crosses partisan lines, in its injustice to freedom of speech.
I think my question on the fairness in broadcasting act plays right into your questions about peoples rights to speak. So to continue this side conversation that I conitnue to address I would think it only fair that you respond to this question I posed above.
Not really sure to what you refer: do you mean the proposed changes from 35% allowed ownership of media, to 45%? Also, I'd be willing to table the side-conversation, as I am much more interested in the topic on the UN, than in celebrities speaking out.

opherdonchin
05-12-2003, 12:06 PM
Me too.

opherdonchin
05-12-2003, 01:43 PM
Jaime,

before we leave it aside, I haven't figured out what the issue is for you. That is, what about the 'fairness in broadcasting act' are you supporting or rejecting, and how does it tie into the war?

Neil Mick
05-14-2003, 01:51 AM
Also, a lot of the points I made in #809 were left aside. Anyone?

Neil Mick
05-14-2003, 03:56 AM
OK, the jury's still out, but..

WHERE'S THE BEEF?? (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40212-2003May10.html)

opherdonchin
05-14-2003, 08:38 AM
Either way it has been said by the left that sanctions were killing Iraqi's, if we go on that logic by the left then would it be fair to say that they still are? And if so who's fault is it?Well, the U.S. has done very little to meet the legal conditions for removal of sanctions. For instance, the U.S. position would be strengthened if the administration had agreed to the re-introduction of U.N. weapons inspectors and committed to assisting them in determining as quickly as possible that Iraq had no WMD capabilities. After all, a good faith effort by Iraq to cooperate with inspections was all that was needed, I think, to allow lifting of sanctions. This doesn't seem like much to ask of the U.S.

opherdonchin
05-14-2003, 03:57 PM
Again, the derogatory nicknames are disconcerting to me. I guess I find them especially disconcerting with repeated use.

I think that there is a two-fold idea going on here, Jaime. One is a legal point. The sanctions were imposed by the U.N. with certain conditions for lifting them, and a WMD-free Iraq was the condition. Legally, the U.N. should be satisfied of a WMD-free Iraq before lifting the sanctions. Given the recent behavior of the U.S. administration, apparently their say-so that this is what they are going to provide doesn't convince some people. The second point is an economic one. While many people would like to see economic growth for Iraq, many people are also concerned that America may use this opportunity to line its own pockets at the expense of the rest of the world and, to a certain extent, the Iraqis. Again, this is not an unreasonable fear given the behavior and rhetoric of the current administration. Lifting the sanctions seems to play into the hands of a very greedy America at this point.

Thus, the concerns of the world seem to me like they may be somewhat reasonable, even if they are also somewhat self-serving. I think the Bush administration plays into the hands of its detractors by, on the one hand, being unwilling to deal with the U.N. and, on the other hand, making demands of the U.N. An administration with a reasonable foreign policy and reasonable diplomatic sense would not have found itself in this predicament.

opherdonchin
05-15-2003, 10:33 AM
Jaime,

I understand what you are saying. The question is whether the questionable (but legal) behavior of France and Russia legalizes behavior on the part of the U.S. that strikes others as questionable. I would say it certainly doesn't legalize it, and the fact that there are so many countries so angry at us makes it hard for us to find way sto legalize it. When we compound this dilemma by refusing to take a conciliatory stance, we make our legal position even more difficult.

When I talk about the 'recent behavior of this administration,' I'm specifically talking about an approach to international diplomacy that created a lot of resentment. Whether the approach was morally justified or not, the resentment is something the U.S. still has to deal with.

I mean, at some level this goes to the heart of our discussion on the importance of international law. There may be times that international law isn't convenient for us, but when we want to convince other countries to follow our lead it is one of our strongest tools. It would be nice to have international law on our side with regards to lifting the sanctions as well as other issues. We are currently using it to try to force Europe to import genetically aletered foods, for isntance.

I'm not sure what the legal basis you have for claiming that a violent regime change in Iraq and occupation by another nation represent a legal basis for declaring an end to the sanctions. I can imagine that it does legally transfer responsibility for meeting the conditions to the occupying power, but that's a little different.

Neil Mick
05-15-2003, 06:19 PM
Opher,

he used the money to build his palaces and support his lavish lifestyle.
Wrong. I went into the Oil for Food Program, and Hussein's palaces, much earlier, here (post #471) (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2457&perpage=25&pagenumber=19)

Michael Neal
05-16-2003, 10:06 AM
Who cares about what the rest of the world thinks about anything. They care about their selfish interests and we care about ours.

Neil Mick
05-16-2003, 02:51 PM
Who cares about what the rest of the world thinks about anything. They care about their selfish interests and we care about ours.
Just when I think Michael hits the bedrock of irrationality, he amazes me with yet another bon mot. :freaky: Does he honestly believe this, or is he pulling my virtual leg?

(but, within his simple, illogical statement lay the essential fallacy of this form of "with us, or against us" thinking.

In Michael's--and other's--eyes, there's us (US), and there's the rest of the world. To believe that the interests of the world lay outside the interest of the US is, IMM, counter-intuitive. The US may be separated by an ocean, but we all live on the same planet).

Keep up the good work. :rolleyes:

opherdonchin
05-16-2003, 03:33 PM
Just when I think Michael hits the bedrock of irrationality, he amazes me with yet another bon mot.Neil! This is a long way from being respectful. Could you do me a favor and restate that post in a way that makes clear what you mean?

opherdonchin
05-16-2003, 03:50 PM
Who cares about what the rest of the world thinks about anything. They care about their selfish interests and we care about ours.Well, apparently we care. That is, we want the U.N. to life the sanctions on Iraq, for instance. We certainly don't seem to be excited about funding the reconstruction of Iraq by ourselves and selling Iraqi oil to pay for it seems to be a big part of the plan. If most of the world abides by the U.N. sanctions, this could be very difficult for us.

Another case where we seem to care what the rest of the world thinks regards North Korea. We are pushing pretty hard for multi-lateral talks. We want diplomatic and economic pressure from China, Japan, and South Korea to help impress upon North Korea the wisdom of changing its nuclear policy.

Another place we are looking for help from the rest of the world is the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. We are hoping that the Europeans and the Russians can pressure the Arab states who will in turn pressure the Palestinians. We are also hoping to use whatever influence we have with the Arab states to encourage them to pressure the Palestinians.

Neil Mick
05-16-2003, 05:24 PM
Neil! This is a long way from being respectful. Could you do me a favor and restate that post in a way that makes clear what you mean?
Certainly, and with my apologies about any inferred lack of respect.

Respectfully, Michael's two, simple sentences betray either a profound lack of concern with the place, and importance, of America within the rest of the world; or a subtle, ironic tone not usually found in Michael's posts (usually, he tends to reach for the one-sentence bombast, rather than the cutting irony of an Ambrose Bierce).

I went for the light, witty retort because Michael may WELL be pulling all of our legs: as he is so fond of also doing (it's so hard to tell tone of these posts, sometimes).

opherdonchin
05-16-2003, 08:36 PM
Still sounds to me like it's too much about Michael and not enough about what he actually said. I mean, if you have difficulty understanding what Michael means, maybe you could ask him what he means and wait to respond until you feel you understand. If you feel you understand what he means, but have a difficulty with his style, then it makes sense to mention your difficulty, but then to respond to what you heard him saying in the tone and style you'd like to see in the discussion.

So, to try to follow my own advice:

What I hear you saying, although I'm really not sure I've got this right is that you think there is something offensive about Michael asking why 'we' should care what the rest of the world thinks of 'us' (there are plenty of non-Americans on this forum). Do I have that right? If so, can you be clearer about what you think is offensive about it?

Neil Mick
05-16-2003, 09:55 PM
If I wait for Michael to respond, I'm going to be waiting for a long time: he has me on "ignore."

Also, you assume that merely because I fundamentally disagree with Michael, that the tone of my response was mostly negative.

Sometimes, my response to Michael's statements is 1/2 amazed disbelief, 1/2 awe.

I mean, looked at from a (positive) perspective of irony, he really hits it on the head, doesn't he? Isn't he stating the essence of the "US has its own set of rules; everyone else, another" argument?

In a sense, I find his statement profound. And, I thought I spelled it out, here:

To believe that the interests of the world lay outside the interest of the US is, IMM, counter-intuitive. The US may be separated by an ocean, but we all live on the same planet).


Viewed from a systemic model, Michael's statement is absurd. The US is interdependent upon many elements and exchanges with the rest of the world: commerce, education, international security, and the other points you mentioned. We cannot be an isolationist superpower: the idea is an oxymoron.

It's also dangerous. To ignore the demands of the Arab world is to invite more terrorist attacks, such as the latest in Saudi Arabia.

Neil Mick
05-16-2003, 10:00 PM
All Hussein had to do was comply. And again these sanctions that according to these very leftist sources that seem so horrible, Why then would you not be for the immediate lifting of these SAME sanctions now??
But, it's not so easy as all that.

Yes, I am all for the lifting of the Sanctions. But, if simply lifting the Sanctions means allowing the US to manage Iraq, or giving legitimacy to the illegal invasion, then some elements need to be worked out, first. I think Opher covered the necessity for the UN Inspections process, quite well.

Also, any plan involving using Iraqi oil to pay for damages caused by the war is, IMO, wrong. As illegal invaders who flouted the principles of the UN, we are liable for the costs of reconstruction.

And, as with all problems, there is often more than one solution.

Neil Mick
05-19-2003, 11:24 AM
But isn't it? I mean we are talking about lives here. Are you suggesting that we keep the sanctions until the UN gets what it wants at the expense of Iraqi civilians
No, it's not. And no: I'm not suggesting that the Sanctions stay exactly as they are; I'm sure that the UN can come up with a proposal to lessen most of the Sanctions to send in needed relief, while making sure that the US does not subvert Iraqi oil. Certainly, the UN needs to act, swiftly, on the Sanctions.

As I mentioned several times, there is usually more than one solution to a problem: as recent history has shown, the most obvious solution, is not always the best.

Its a win win situation for the Iraqis and a no win situation for the Russians and the French. But then again the gansters at the UN are willing to further Iraqi suffering for thier own profits
How is it a "win/win" situation for Iraqi's to pay for the damages WE caused? For damages that WE are liable, as illegal occupiers?
but never providing any realistic alternative or lasting solutions...
I'm laughing an awful lot, at this last statement. Solutions? Solutions?

Ask an Afghani, an Iraqi, or a Palestinian, about being provided with a "lasting" solution.

Oh, and speaking of "solutions:" we bombed Afghanistan and Iraq because of terrorism. Do you think the world is a safer place, now?

I don't.

I think that there are plenty of sound, alternative proposals offered by the Left, but you just don't think them viable. Nonetheless, they exist.

Neil Mick
05-19-2003, 02:09 PM
the gansters at the UN
Gangsters. Hmm. You mean, like, gov'ts who illegally bug the offices of other ambassadors; who censor Iraqi weapons reports; who bully other gov'ts to vote for them; who use int'l law when it suits them, and accuse others of violations, when it suits them; whose leaders are connected to shady corporations, and who refuse to reveal detailed meeting records? Gangsters who condone assassination, and torture in other lands, to acquire information?

Are those the gangsters, to which you refer?

Neil Mick
05-19-2003, 02:16 PM
Oh, this just in: Paul Bremer, the newly anointed US viceroy to Iraq, has announced that US and Britain shall remain in Iraq, indefinitely.

Let "freedom" ring! :rolleyes:

Neil Mick
05-20-2003, 07:21 PM
Such as..... I havent seen any....
With respect, I cannot accept that you mean this remark, with any seriousness. In aikidojournal, for instance, I mentioned pursuing terrorism within the confines of international law, instead of actively subverting it.

My biggest suggestion (and that of the Left), would be for an end to US-sponsored terrorism. THAT would go a long way toward ending world terror.

And, of course, an end to supporting regimes and gov'ts that engage in terrorist actions (Israel comes to mind).

opherdonchin
05-22-2003, 01:02 PM
That seems like a natural step for the United Nations, Jaime. What do you have against it?

opherdonchin
05-22-2003, 03:18 PM
Global taxation, Standing army, worldwide gun control, Regulating multinational corporations, confiscation of private property, for starters. Why would you be for something like this?Well, I'd say that my main conclusion from 9/11 regarded the need for effective international law enforcement and some sort of international control over the proliferation and sale of weapons. I'd also say that one of the main issues facing America moving forward is cheap international labor made possible by wildly disparate conditions of labor. I'd say that some sort of effective international policing of trade and labor regulations is a necessity in a 'global marketplace.'

Basically, this one seems like a sort of black and white issue: as the 'global economy' expands there will ultimately only be one center of control. It seems like that will either by the U.S. or the U.N. If you believe that democracy is important, it can't be the U.S. becaues that won't be democratic. That doesn't leave a lot of options.

Neil Mick
05-22-2003, 08:00 PM
Oh yeah....

Why We Fight — An Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto (http://catb.org/~esr/aim/index.html)

I just may frame this....
Perhaps, you should also hang this (http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2003/05/1611793.php) above it: you know, just to keep it all in perspective... :rolleyes:

Neil Mick
05-27-2003, 11:56 AM
Yes, I am surprised, that it makes no sense to you...it makes perfect sense to me.

Perhaps someone else (Opher?) might offer their viewpoint, on what the artist was trying to say.

opherdonchin
05-27-2003, 12:25 PM
I think the idea is that both Bush and the Ayatollah Khomeini are similar in advocating an understanding of justice that is fundamentally extra-legal. The artist is claiming that there is a basic fallacy in thinking that we 'know' who the criminals are and that all we have to do is find and punish them. This fallacy, the artist seems to claim, ulitmately leads to tyranny.

On a personal note, I think that the artists point is sobering, although it is made without tact, subtlety, or compassion. I've had many differences with the Bush administration, but none about which I felt so strongly as the arrest and incarceration without any due process of an American citizen on American soil. I honestly see this as grounds for impeachment, and any one who reads this thread knows that I'm not often passionate about political issues.

Neil Mick
05-27-2003, 04:43 PM
Wow! I'm impressed! Opher comes out of the political closet!! :)

Seriously, though: thanks for your input. I agree with your assessment (even the lack of tact).

Regarding compassion: certainly, the ppl indefinitely detained at Guantanamo, with no rights, have much to say, about compassion...

opherdonchin
05-28-2003, 11:05 AM
Neil,

you consistently claim that lack of compassion on one side of the political fence explains lack of compassion on the other. It seems to me that the compassion, or lack thereof, shown to the inmates at Guantanamo has absolutely no bearing on whether or not the artist in question was showing any compassion for his subjects. Your artist is vilifying specific people and hate-mongering, regardless of whether I have sympathy for his message.

Also, but beside the point: I'd like to think that my consternation over the executive branch's assault on due process would cross political lines. I have no idea whether it does or not.

Neil Mick
05-28-2003, 12:13 PM
Neil,

you consistently claim that lack of compassion on one side of the political fence explains lack of compassion on the other.
"Explains?" I don't think so; I was comparatively showing how little compassion there is, in the Bush camp, regarding its treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, for starters.

I think that it's funny that you find a "lack of compassion" in that cartoon, as the artist (and, FTM, so do I) certainly feels that a sense of justice is lacking. Justice is not hunting down and killing suspected accomplices of al Qaeda.

opherdonchin
05-28-2003, 12:18 PM
I agree that the artist is complaining about a lack of justice, and perhaps even a lack of compassion. I also think that his complaint lacks compassion. Both things can be possible. In fact, to me it is especially ironic when this sort of situation arises.

Neil Mick
05-29-2003, 09:10 PM
It's somewhat aside from the discussion, but please take a moment to express your dissent to the upcoming media deregulation by the FCC, in about 5 days.

This issue cuts across political lines: everyone from the NRA to Code Pink are against the deregulation.

You can send your comments to your rep's, and the FCC, here (http://www.moveon.org/stopthefcc/).

Neil Mick
06-01-2003, 10:53 PM
but none about which I felt so strongly as the arrest and incarceration without any due process of an American citizen on American soil. I honestly see this as grounds for impeachment, and any one who reads this thread knows that I'm not often passionate about political issues.
If that's the case, then this (http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=15630) might interest.

Hogan
06-03-2003, 10:59 AM
.... I've had many differences with the Bush administration, but none about which I felt so strongly as the arrest and incarceration without any due process of an American citizen on American soil. I honestly see this as grounds for impeachment, and any one who reads this thread knows that I'm not often passionate about political issues.
You must've HATED Abe Lincoln.

opherdonchin
06-03-2003, 12:06 PM
Never had strong feelings for him one way or another. In any case, a disagreement over policy wouldn't mean that I hated him or liked him, and it's not at all clear to me that the precedent is relevant for a number of reasons.

Neil Mick
06-04-2003, 03:18 AM
You must've HATED Abe Lincoln.
And, I honestly don't see, why one follows from the other.

Considering a person inept or criminally negligent at his job does not suggest contempt for that job. Nor, does it suggest "hatred" for all previous Presidents.

Hogan
06-04-2003, 07:52 AM
Neil and Opher -

Well, if you both are passionately against Bush for his actions, then it would follow that you would also be even more against good ol'e Abe (for suspending Habeus Corpus), or even FDR (for actually interning the Japanese) - both actions much more constitutionally serious than what Bush has done. [And I am sure one (Neil ?) of you would debate this last sentence and avoid the issue...].

It's called consistency in your beliefs....

opherdonchin
06-04-2003, 08:41 AM
I think you misunderstood me. I said that there were many issues on which I differ from the policies of this administration and am uncomfortable with its actions. However, chief among them is the efforts made by this administration to subvert the legal system. In a similar vein, there might be many ways in which I agree with the decisions made by Lincoln (although I honestly don't know), but still I might find the suspension of Habeus Corpus to have been a mistake. There are many important differences between Lincoln's actions and Bush's (see this article for what seems to me a balanced coverage of the issue (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33611-2003May23.html)), and in hindsight, of course, we can say that whatever Lincoln did didn't destroy American democracy. Still, I suspect that if I'd been alive at the time, I would have found it a very troubling step.

As far as FDR and the internment of the Japanese, I think the concensus today is that that was a stupid, racist, ugly and pointless decision. Again, whatever I may approve of or disapprove of in the actions of that adminsitration, I certainly do not support the internment of the Japanese.

opherdonchin
06-04-2003, 10:41 AM
Let me understand clearly. Are either John or Jaime supporting the internment of the Japanese during WWII? That is, I read your posts as saying that you see the current Bush policies as similar in some ways to that policy. I also read implied support for the Bush policies. Does it, then, follow that you support internment of foreign nationals and citizens of foreign descent arbitrarily during war time as was done with the Japanese?

Hogan
06-04-2003, 11:14 AM
Let me understand clearly. Are either John or Jaime supporting the internment of the Japanese during WWII? That is, I read your posts as saying that you see the current Bush policies as similar in some ways to that policy. I also read implied support for the Bush policies. Does it, then, follow that you support internment of foreign nationals and citizens of foreign descent arbitrarily during war time as was done with the Japanese?
Hahahah... sorry, I won't take the bait...

But nice try.

opherdonchin
06-04-2003, 11:22 AM
It's not bait. It's a question. I'm not trying to trap you or win any argument or make you look bad or anything. I'm honestly confused.

Here is my narrative of the discussion between us:

I said: the arrest of an American citizen on American soil without due process troubles me.

You said: it happened during the Civil War, too. Would that trouble you?

I said: I don't know for sure, it might well have.

You said: It not only happened during the Civil War, it also happened during World War II.

I said: Well, I'm not sure about the Civil War, but I'm certain that the events of WWII trouble me. Why? Don't they trouble you?

You said: Haha, you're not going to trap me that way.

As you can see, in my narrative, your last response seems a little strange. Maybe I've really misunderstood you all along the line and maybe you have been seeing this whole discussion differently. I'm open to trying to see things your way.

Hogan
06-04-2003, 11:39 AM
It's not bait. It's a question. I'm not trying to trap you or win any argument or make you look bad or anything. I'm honestly confused.

Here is my narrative of the discussion between us:

I said: the arrest of an American citizen on American soil without due process troubles me.

You said: it happened during the Civil War, too. Would that trouble you?

I said: I don't know for sure, it might well have.

You said: It not only happened during the Civil War, it also happened during World War II.

I said: Well, I'm not sure about the Civil War, but I'm certain that the events of WWII trouble me. Why? Don't they trouble you?

You said: Haha, you're not going to trap me that way.

As you can see, in my narrative, your last response seems a little strange. Maybe I've really misunderstood you all along the line and maybe you have been seeing this whole discussion differently. I'm open to trying to see things your way.
Well , OK, I'll answer - mainly because I like your concise summary....

Don't really know whether I would have supported either of the examples I provided, and here's why:

It is easy to say that no, we wouldn't have supported it back then, and it was stupid and racist, etc.... However, in giving that answer, we are answering with the mindset of someone living in 2003, with a different education, and access to sources that were not available back then. Who knows, back then, we might have been "uneducated" and believed some of the "tabloid" type of media that existed back then without question. I don't know if I would have supported it or not, frankly. Do I agree with it now ? Well, I UNDERSTAND it.... Do I agree with what Bush is doing ? It could be worse. What stops it from being worse ? People like you who continually question the gov't.

I originally brought this up because I see so many people get their panties in a bunch over stuff today that was NOTHING compared to those of yesteryear, and I just wanted to see how many people are / were consistent in their beliefs / criticisms.

And also, you really didn't ask me if they bother me, you made some assumptions that were not really there. That's why I didn't "take the bait".

JH

opherdonchin
06-04-2003, 12:22 PM
Do I agree with it now ? Well, I UNDERSTAND it.... Do I agree with what Bush is doing ? It could be worse. What stops it from being worse ? People like you who continually question the gov't.I basically agree with all of what you say. I wonder, for myself, what the 'red lines' are. That is, when does my ability to understand become overwhelmed by my concern about where this might lead. Of course, no one asks me so my opinion is not so important, but, you know, for myself ...

Sometimes, I think that the idea of an American citizen getting off an airplane in Chicago and being rushed into a jail and not allowed to speak to anybody with the government arguing that the legal system has no right to review its decision crosses that line for me. On the other hand, that's still a pretty long way from locking up your political adverseries.

I hadn't really thought about it until today, but the use of the Homeland Security Agency to track the private plane of one of the democratic legislators from Texas for political purposes, and the subsequent decision to shred the papers documenting what happened, might also qualify in this category. I don't know.

I honestly think these are really hard issues. Obviously, each persons view of it is colored by their tendency to trust the current people in the administration, and my view is certainly colored by that as well.

I appreciate your having taken me seriously, John. For me, it's much more interesting this way.

Neil Mick
06-04-2003, 05:23 PM
There is also the element of apology, to consider. When the gov't wants to usher in an old, repressive policy with a new focus, out come the apologists.

See, we have Congressman Coble (http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=31427), defending Roosevelt for Japanese internment camps. We have a comment from a Bush (http://www.freep.com/news/metro/civil20_20020720.htm) appointee on the Committee of Civil Rights suggested that Arab-American internment camps, may be necessary.

We have the INS systemitizing methods to locate Arabs in this country, via registration and fingerprinting.

We have the beginnings of a blacklisting of actors, based upon their beliefs (McCarthy, anyone?)

Often, the apologies for crimes in the past come before a whole new set of reprehensible acts occur, in the present: sort of "setting the stage" for what is to follow.

Neil Mick
06-05-2003, 01:41 PM
What is not mentioned in your post above is the distinction between citizens and non citizens......
No, there isn't. And, once upon a time (3+ years ago), we'd all be guffawing loudly, at the mere idea, that the US would ever advocate torture, or hand out indefinite prison sentences, for ANYONE.

This notion of non-citizens having no rights is another example of "moving the line" of the acceptability of what was formerly unacceptable, up a notch.

(And, IMA, there already ARE citizens being jailed with no charges, and no lawyers allowed to see them. Michael Hawash (http://www.freemikehawash.org/) is a case in point. 44 men are also held as material witnesses (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A31438-2002Nov23?language=printer) in maximum security conditions, but over half have yet to testify before a grand jury)

It won't be long before citizens will be stripped of their citizenship and rights and sent to Guantanamo indefinitely, with no trial, IMHO, if this keeps up.

Neil Mick
06-05-2003, 03:22 PM
But, why do you feel the need to pick at every single detail, singling out the flaws of eack individual leaf, without seeing the shape of the forest?

You criticize each detail, yet my original claim--that the atmosphere of repression creates a forgiving attitude, towards policies such as mass detention camps--still stands.

1000 (give or take, as the gov't won't tell us how many, exactly, there are) Arabs and Arab-Americans are still being indefinitely detained, OK?

Ashcroft has announced that he can lock up ANY immigrant he likes and detain them, indefinitely. "Give me your tired, your poor," so they can be jailed. :disgust:

Neil Mick
06-06-2003, 09:00 PM
Seems they live a better life then they had before all while being "proccessed"

detained and being proccessed.... Good....
A prisoner's life, is NEVER better, than a free man's.

Abasan
06-06-2003, 11:27 PM
Ermm... methinks an interlude to the above serious line of discussion is in order.

Didn't we say it was about WoMD just a few chapters ago? I like the 2nd last one and also about the east, west, south and north of somewhat.. that was very funny.

What a Tangled Web We Weave . . .
. . . when first we practice to deceive!

Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.
Dick Cheney
Speech to VFW National Convention
August 26, 2002

Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.
George W. Bush
Speech to UN General Assembly
September 12, 2002

If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world.
Ari Fleischer
Press Briefing
December 2, 2002

We know for a fact that there are weapons there.
Ari Fleischer
Press Briefing
January 9, 2003

Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.
George W. Bush
State of the Union Address
January 28, 2003

We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.
Colin Powell
Remarks to UN Security Council
February 5, 2003

We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have.
George W. Bush
Radio Address
February 8, 2003

If Iraq had disarmed itself, gotten rid of its weapons of mass destruction over the past 12 years, or over the last several months since (UN Resolution) 1441 was enacted, we would not be facing the crisis that we now have before us . . . But the suggestion that we are doing this because we want to go to every country in the Middle East and rearrange all of its pieces is not correct.
Colin Powell
Interview with Radio France International
February 28, 2003

So has the strategic decision been made to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction by the leadership in Baghdad? . . . I think our judgment has to be clearly not.
Colin Powell
Remarks to UN Security Council
March 7, 2003

Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.
George W. Bush
Address to the Nation
March 17, 2003

Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly . . . all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes.
Ari Fleisher
Press Briefing
March 21, 2003

There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. And . . . as this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them.
Gen. Tommy Franks
Press Conference
March 22, 2003

I have no doubt we're going to find big stores of weapons of mass destruction.
Defense Policy Board member Kenneth Adelman
Washington Post, p. A27
March 23, 2003

One of our top objectives is to find and destroy the WMD. There are a number of sites.
Pentagon Spokeswoman Victoria Clark
Press Briefing
March 22, 2003

We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.
Donald Rumsfeld
ABC Interview
March 30, 2003

Obviously the administration intends to publicize all the weapons of mass destruction U.S. forces find -- and there will be plenty.
Neocon scholar Robert Kagan
Washington Post op-ed
April 9, 2003

But make no mistake -- as I said earlier -- we have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about. And we have high confidence it will be found.
Ari Fleischer
Press Briefing
April 10, 2003

We are learning more as we interrogate or have discussions with Iraqi scientists and people within the Iraqi structure, that perhaps he destroyed some, perhaps he dispersed some. And so we will find them.
George W. Bush
NBC Interview
April 24, 2003

There are people who in large measure have information that we need . . . so that we can track down the weapons of mass destruction in that country.
Donald Rumsfeld
Press Briefing
April 25, 2003

We'll find them. It'll be a matter of time to do so.
George W. Bush
Remarks to Reporters
May 3, 2003

I'm absolutely sure that there are weapons of mass destruction there and the evidence will be forthcoming. We're just getting it just now.
Colin Powell
Remarks to Reporters
May 4, 2003

We never believed that we'd just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country.
Donald Rumsfeld
Fox News Interview
May 4, 2003

I'm not surprised if we begin to uncover the weapons program of Saddam Hussein -- because he had a weapons program.
George W. Bush
Remarks to Reporters
May 6, 2003

U.S. officials never expected that "we were going to open garages and find" weapons of mass destruction.
Condoleeza Rice
Reuters Interview
May 12, 2003

I just don't know whether it was all destroyed years ago -- I mean, there's no question that there were chemical weapons years ago -- whether they were destroyed right before the war, (or) whether they're still hidden.
Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, Commander 101st Airborne
Press Briefing
May 13, 2003

Before the war, there's no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical. I expected them to be found. I still expect them to be found.
Gen. Michael Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps
Interview with Reporters
May 21, 2003

Given time, given the number of prisoners now that we're interrogating, I'm confident that we're going to find weapons of mass destruction.
Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman Joint Chiefs of staff
NBC Today Show interview
May 26, 2003

They may have had time to destroy them, and I don't know the answer.
Donald Rumsfeld
Remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations
May 27, 2003

For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction (as justification for invading Iraq) because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.
Paul Wolfowitz
Vanity Fair interview
May 28, 2003

It was a surprise to me then — it remains a surprise to me now — that we have not uncovered weapons, as you say, in some of the forward dispersal sites. Believe me, it's not for lack of trying. We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there.
Lt. Gen. James Conway, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force
Press Interview
May 30, 2003

Do I think we're going to find something? Yeah, I kind of do, because I think there's a lot of information out there."
Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton, Defense Intelligence Agency
Press Conference
May 30, 2003

Neil Mick
06-07-2003, 10:41 PM
Let me try and break this down for you:

But first, a need to quietly ascertain (along with the rest of the world):

--WHERE'S THE BEEF???? (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2959026.stm)

The great, evil reason for attacking Iraq??

2 trailers (http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,973110,00.html), which they determine to be bioweapons factories, becuase they can't figure anything else?

--Are the Iraqi's any better? (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2972308.stm) No?

--Were we so "careful" (http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Observer/documents/2003/05/31/landmines2.pdf) in our "gentle invasion?"

--Has the invasion of Iraq made the world a safer place, safer from terror? I don't know: you decide (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29396-2003Jun7.html).

opherdonchin
06-08-2003, 02:53 PM
Wow, Neil, I couldn't make heads or tails of that without following the links. Should I just assume that you are saying the usual stuff or is there anything in those links that is new or interesting?

Neil Mick
06-08-2003, 03:10 PM
Lol, Opher: that was the point. My "usual stuff" was making all the headlines. The questions I pose, seem to be echoed in the mainstream press (most of which, I found on a generic news-search).

opherdonchin
06-08-2003, 03:17 PM
Ah, thanks. I'd also noticed that the issue of not finding weapons of mass destruction was making major headlines. It was the top story on the front page in the Baltimore Sun today. On the other hand, the Baltimore Sun is hardly a right-leaning newspaper.

I wonder what made this issue into mainstream news right now.

Neil Mick
06-08-2003, 03:46 PM
I don't think the issue ever quite left the mainstream; particularly from all the flack Blair is receiving about it.

Abasan
06-08-2003, 09:36 PM
The quotes I put up were not from anonymous sources... Its from the very mouths of the people who led your country into the invasion of Iraq. They themselves, are finding it hard to believe that they can't find those WoMD they were sure Iraq had all this time. (not really hard to believe, but nothing credible can be gained here if they don't come up with some proof)

It's so simple to say that we are going to invade Iraq because they had ties with Al Qaeda...(when they had none).

Because we need to strike at them first before they strike us... cause they have WoMD (when they don't have any).

The way the invasion took its priorities were also a big indication of what concerns the US most in Iraq. of the 17 places listed as most important to be preserved and protected by your own QUANGO body, only the ministry of oil was protected (the last on the list).

Face it, you are still looking for the WoMD because its no longer there. Whether they are depleted or sold off no one knows. But if they had it, and if they had ever an intention to use it on Americans... why didn't they use it during the invasion? The was wasn't over that quick that they couldnt have let loose some of those alleged WoMD.

And this thing here, its not about trying to tell the world (or aikiweb) that i was right all along or anything like that. Its about recording the true history and not just the one written by the victors. As we said before, already the spoils are going to your direction.

Neil Mick
06-09-2003, 02:21 AM
As we said before, already the spoils are going to your direction.
Exactly. That's what this war was really all about; the oil.

opherdonchin
06-09-2003, 09:48 AM
Let us suppose that the police are informed of this development by the man’s neighbors, family and friends.Of course, this gets back to the whole UN issue again. In your story, the U.S. are the police, but in Ahmad's view of the situation, the U.S. is just one of the neighbors. To me, it is precisely this analogy that makes the U.N. such an important player in this story.

I'm going to anticipate an argument you will raise, Jaime. I think you will say that the war was approved by the U.N., given the history of resolutions and sanctions. Like I've said before, I have some sympathy for this argument. Still, to continue the police analogy: let's the policeman next to the house (the U.S. in this case) calls back to base (the U.N.) to get authorization to break down the door. The authorization does not come and the policeman gets jittery and worried. Finally, although there is no explicit authorization, he decides that he can't wait any longer and rushes the house, killing the occupant. At this point, the policeman had better hope there really was a bomb in the house. It's true, even if there is no bomb, he may be ultimately exonerated for his actions, but it will only be after a lengthy and uncomfortable investigation.

Abasan
06-11-2003, 04:14 AM
Jaime- Actually yeah i know that anonymous thingey wasn't directed to me... i thought you directed it at the quotes... but as you can see the quotes were followed by the dates and the person to speak it. So i think that's not anonymous.

Ok... now you've got saddam out, who in the world would want him? but the article you mentioned and specifically the one about why US invaded Iraq: Because we don't know what this maniac would do should he lay his hands on some nukes, due to his very viscious and bad history ie gassing of the kurds and all.

Ermm. I frankly would believe that you are right here. My iraqi friend back in university told me that saddam here hates the kurds. But i believe that when he gassed the kurds, he was then still an ally of the US.

Remember that Iraq's Baath party was brought to power killing the democraticly elected leadership with the assistance of US. Then the young general saddam rose to power within the baath party and took over (through bloodshed as well).

I guess, it would have been much easier if the US didn't help the baath party in the first place. But since they did.. here we have the Saddam problem.

Side discussion: Afghanistan. Yes yes, we know that the media has portrayed the Talibans as the most evilest form of government ever. I believe that if you sift through all the embelishments and fiction, you are still right.. the taliban would be a ruthless government. (theres no smoke if theres no fire right?) But during their rule, opium production was dramaticly ruduced, crime was dramaticly reduced etc etc. I'm not going to justify right or wrong here; if you went in there to sincerely help the ppl in need then you have my prayers. But there are plenty of same evil governments elsewhere... why aren't you helping them also?

Ok back to Iraq and neighbours. neighbours in a country is one thing. But Iraq is a sovereign country for goodnessake. Or is it no longer and answerable to the US? even your no fly zones were illegal, by right. But whats 'right' now if not 'might'?

opherdonchin
06-11-2003, 10:03 AM
On your side discussion, You say the media "portrayed" the Taliban as the most evilist form of government as if you think it was Disneyland.I didn't read Ahmad that way. What I understood from what he wrote is that every regime has its beneficial side and its evil side. To me, that doesn't mean that they are all the same. The Taliban were probably less comfortable to live with than, say, King Abdullah of Jordan. It just means that when you find yourself painting a regime all black (or all white), you are probably misrepresenting it.

opherdonchin
06-11-2003, 10:53 AM
I would say that international law should be amended to sanction war in the case of 'Crimes Against Humanity.' Currently, it sort of does except that a UN security council resolution is required.

Of course, Germany in the 1940s was engaged in aggressive military actions and had triggered a mutual protectino pact that France and England had with Poland when it invaded Poland. This was after it had annexed all of Czechoslavakia in what was legally very questionable actions. Thus, while I would support military actions in cases of crimes against humanity, no such revision to international law would be necessary in the case of 1940s Germany.

Another point to consider is that at that time there was no body that had the role that the U.N. has today. The U.N. might not make such actions impossible, but it certainly makes them harder.

opherdonchin
06-11-2003, 01:01 PM
They might.

Neil Mick
06-11-2003, 04:42 PM
"America did, in an understandable strategic calculation, back Saddam in his war in the early 1980s with the Ayatollah's Iran, a regime that called the United States the "Great Satan," took hundreds of American hostages and practically invented contemporary Islamic terrorism.
This is NOT "understandable." I wasn't born yesterday...I understand that military leaders aren't saints...but when do you draw the line? Pol Pot?? Suharto? Amin? Hussein? Noriega? We supported them all.

You'd think that after 150 years of these continual "mistakes," that we'd at least develop a bottom-line for whom we WOULDN'T support.
If Saddam is our fault then wasn't it our duty to reconcile the issue? Either way our cause was/is noble.
Isn't it our duty to stop making continuing excuses for violently invading a country? Do you actually believe that every single invasion that the US has undertaken, since WWII (1 invasion, per year), was done in a "noble" cause? Come ON...!
Iraq is a soveriegn nation and annexation is not our goal. A stable free Iraq is.
Why then the limitation of free speech in Iraq? Why the jailing of three Iraqi reporters?

You don't know, because no one but the Occupying Army knows: and they aren't telling.
But to deny the soccer field killings, the women who were FORCED to cover head to toe, The ban on stupid things like Music all in favor of reducing opium is no way for people to live is it?
No one is denying this. The Taliban did terrible things. But once again: that is not why we invaded. We invaded to "get" OBL, just as we did Iraq. The crimes of the dictatorships we invade, the human rights violations, do not come forth, until its convenient.

We'll support (are supporting) the most terrible regimes until it becomes politically convient, not to.

Which country is our strongest ally? Whom do we give the most money? Which one has been involved in an illegal invasion (for 33 years!), which: in the midst of peace talks, is hunting down ppl with MISSILES fired from helicopters(!); and which one has the largest, most expansive political lobbying group, in Washington?

Shouldn't be hard to figure...begins with an "I"...ends in an "L"...
Just because the media blacks it out in favor of the current war does not mean that we abandoned it.
Define "abandon." Always, this express desire to "do" something.

Reminds me of a joke: the Egyptian ambassador met with the American ambassador, the other day. The American asked the Egyptian how his stay was going, in New York.

"Pretty good," said the Ambassador. "But, I was watching a rerun of one of your TV shows..."Star Trek." And, I noticed that there are no Arabian races protrayed in the show. Why is this?"

"Oh that's easy!" replied the American. "See, it takes place in the future."

If you can show me ONE country, post WW2, that benefitted from a US invasion, I'll be amazed. At this rate, our "help" has a decidedly lethal ring, to many nations.

opherdonchin
06-11-2003, 05:05 PM
Gosh, it had been a long and pleasant period since you last brought up Israel, Neil.

opherdonchin
06-11-2003, 05:20 PM
Both of you guys are getting a little bit 'hysterical'in tone, although I apprecaite that no one has said anything nasty, yet. Still, maybe you could each state the other persons perspective as fairly as you can before you respond to it. Currently, you each seem to exaggerate or distort the other persons position as far as possible before responding, so the situation looks more polarized than it needs to.

Neil Mick
06-11-2003, 06:17 PM
Gosh, it had been a long and pleasant period since you last brought up Israel, Neil.

As always, your humor is quite dry and a welcome note, Opher (lol). ;)

So again past actions require us to not act, ever?
Good, this gives me a chance to elaborate upon what I once said about a logically "extremist" argument...which is a misnomer, but bear with me, for a second.

Remember when your grade-school teacher said: you cannot do (fill in undesirable activity, here)? What would happen if everyone wanted to do that?

Arguing of course, that we should all be good sheep, and do what she wants.

As a teacher, I understand this tactic as a way to settle down the rowdier students. But as a logical argument, it fails.

Merely because I say: show me one country, which benefitted from a US invasion...you next ask: do past actions require us not to act, ever?

B, does not follow, from A. Question B presupposes a policy that I did not infer. This is why I called it extremist. With this logical query, you could prove that all laws require the death penalty, or that women should never leave the house.

You also turn the multiple possibilites of relating to a country into an either/or argument. Certainly not an aiki-way of doing things; and certainly not a method leaving open other options besides violence, in the end.

You say we shouldn't support Isreal, I agree but we should not support the PLO or the palestinians either. Let them duke it out once and for all. Is that your answer?
Why not? Let's pull back all aid from Israel, the PLO, and Palestine (as if)....sounds good to me.

Maybe if we suggested this at the "Roadmap" talks, maybe the IDF would stop hunting down ppl with gunships and missiles...what do you think?

Nah...I'm sure the IDF command is sitting in meetings right now, feverishly altering its policies, now that Bush is thunderously accusing Sharon of being "no help at all..." :rolleyes:

And, apologies to Opher. I hope that this post did not come off as hysterical...more amused, than anything else.

Neil Mick
06-11-2003, 10:36 PM
A has nothing to do with B... your post #895 asks:

1st paragraph: When do we draw the line in supporting these regiemes. And contains "what we do" statments.

2nd Paragraph builds on the first and makes the statment that "150 years of coninual mistakes" (side note: WWI, and WWII were mistakes? The Civil war was a mistake?). which are more "what we do" statments.

3rd: Builds on the second. (Yes our causes were noble, the outcome varies for reasons I am sure you and I would disagree). This is what you would label a loaded question.

4th & 5th: Asks about the Journalists (which I answered in my previous post) and makes a statment that I agree with.

6th: is a correct assesment up until the last sentence. which becomes a "what we do" statments

7th: Is more of "what we do" statments.
I've read this about 5 or 6 times, I simply don't know what you're talking about...sorry. I'm not following your logic. But, your referring to #895 REALLY threw me off.

But, from what I DO understand, I'll try to answer.

150 years of mistakes refers to invasions (http://www.info-ghana.com/facts_&_dates.htm) against other countries. No, I wasn't referring to the World Wars or the Civil War: those were all unique. But, I was certainly referring to the invasions of Amerindian nations, the Spanish-American, and the Philippine Wars.
And on and on of What we do. Why are we doing this, why then do we do that. We weren't in afghanastan because for liberation we were there to get Osama! Iraq was about WMD and not liberation!
Well, weren't they? Aren't all the invasions ex post facto about "liberation?"

If Iraq weren't about supposed wmd and the oil, do you think Bush would have made such noise as he did over it? There are many countries committing abuses today that we don't even lift a finger, to stop (E Timor, and Indonesia, etc).
You then go off on a tangent on Isreal defending itself after these moronic terrorists start with the bombs in the midst of peace talks! Yet you fail to mention this.
Sorry, but Israel IS an example of the US supporting a country committing atrocities. And, I resent your statement that Israel is "defending" itself, by firing 6 (!!) missiles to get one man.

But, please: tell me that his elite guard were in a fight with the IDF, or that he surrounded himself with the six victims of the attack, or some other apology...ANYTHING but acknowledge the injustice of the US-Israeli policy.

With regards to who started it: my teacher-hat comes into play. It's just like two kids fighting, with one declaring that the other started it, first.

The obvious response...? WHO CARES, WHO STARTED IT! Firing gunships to get one man, building 20' walls over Palestinian villages, shooting at kids who throw rocks, is NOT an appropriate response! Can we at LEAST agree on this (??)
So you see my question about "so then your answer is we should not do anything" is legit because you offer up no alternatives. You seem to have an uncanny ability to point out whats wrong with this or that. But you never offer up any concrete solutions. Any alternative policy. Any answers to current policies.
Do me a favor, please? Write down the next sentence:

NEIL'S GENERAL ALTERNATIVE TO A POLICY OF PRE-EMPTIVE INVASION IS TO GO THRUGH INTERNATIONAL CHANNELS, OR DIPLOMATIC METHODS (in the case of Iraq, inspections and monitering). VIOLENCE (in ANY form: I consider the Sanctions to have been violence) SHOULD ONLY BE USED WHEN ALL OTHER METHODS FAIL (and no: the Inspections didn't fail...sorry. Considering the lack of wmd's found, I'd say that they did an excellent job...CERTAINLY better than an invasion). ALL OTHER METHODS MIGHT EVEN INCLUDE RE-EVALUATING THE THREAT OF THE OFFENDING NATION (certainly, a cool consideration of Iraq would have been a better alternative than to be scared into it, IMHO).

So, the next time you wonder what my solutions are for international problems, you no longer need to ponder, what I'd say.

And, I hope: I no longer need to repeat it.
So there is nothing extreme about my inquiry because as we already know the US, President Bush, and our military can do no right in your eyes so I ask such things to bring us to the next level.
Can they do right? Hmm...good question. I'll have to consider that one. But, off the top of my head: they could strictly obey international law, for starters. And, they could stop training assassins (SOTA comes to mind).

And, they make cool boots and pants. :p
Your Joke in that post is in poor taste. Are you implying that the US's ultimate goal is genocidal eradication of every Arab on the planet? History shows this to be incorrect.
Not goal: by-product. And, I disagree: history amply proves the opposite.
So we pull out of Isreal and Palestine. How long before Isreal pushes every last Palestinian back into Jordan? 45 minutes? less?
You actually think that we're in Israel to protect the Palestinians??? No, I must be mistaken: I'm sure you meant something else...
You condem the Isrealies but have no comment on the latest homicide attacks... What should Isreal do follow suit? Again this is a comment by you on "what is wrong with this" without any solution to speak of.
What should they do? How about a ceasefire, for starters? Call me silly, call me naive: but you think a peace process would have more credibility, if one side stopped shooting missiles at select individuals, right?

And, you'd think that some distinction would be made between Palestinian extremists, and the general populace of Palestine, right? I mean, we're not judged by our madmen, are we (not even if they form into extremist groups)? Should Mexico attack us because of Timothy McVeigh?

And certainly, select Israeli settlers have inflicted their brand of justice upon the Palestinians. From my understanding, the PA seems to recognize that Israeli settlers are not representative of all Israeli's; why can't the same concessions be made, for Palestinians? Why must they be considered less than human?

It's very funny, in a sad way: a man in his own home, defending his house and family against invaders in an illegal occupation, is considered a terrorist.

On second thought: it's not very funny, at all. :(

Neil Mick
06-12-2003, 12:22 AM
I just listened to an interview with Robert Fisk, on DN! Incredible; I learned quite a bit, about the current situation. I highly recommend everyone look at the transcript (http://www.democracynow.org/transcripts/fisk2.shtml), or (better yet), listen to the broadcast (http://stream.realimpact.net/rihurl.ram?file=webactive/demnow/dn20030611.ra&start=1:11:43.0).

Some exerpts:

"One of the problems with the Americans I think is that the top people in the Pentagon always knew that this wasn't going to be ìhuman rights abuses ended,î flowers and music for the soldiers, and everyone lives happily every after and loves America. You may remember when Rumsfeld first came to Baghdad, something your president didn't dare to do in the end, he wanted to fly over in an airplane.

He made a speech which I thought was very interesting, rather sinister in the big hanger at Baghdad airport. He said we still have to fight the remnants of Saddam and the terrorists in Iraq, and I thought, hang on a minute, who are these people? And it took me a few minutes to realize I think what he was doing, he was laying the future narrative of the opposition to the Americans. I.E when the Americans get attacked, it could be first of all laid down to remnants of Saddam, as in remnants of the Taliban who seem to be moving around in Afghanistan now in battalion strength, but never mind. It could be blamed on Al Qaeda, so America was back fighting its old enemies again. This was familiar territory.

If you were to suggest that it was a resistance movement, harakat muqawama, resistance party in Arabic, that would suggest the people didn't believe they had been liberated, and of course, all good-natured peace loving people have to believe they were liberated by the Americans, not occupied by them. What you're finding for example is a whole series of blunders by Paul Bremer, the American head of the so-called coalition forces, at least coalition authority in Baghdad.

First of all, he dissolved the Iraqi Army. Well, I can't imagine an Army that better deserves to be dissolved. But that means that more than quarter of a million armed men overnight are deprived of their welfare and money. Now if you have quarter of a million armed Iraqis who suddenly don't get paid any more, and they all know each other, what are they going to do? They are going to form some kind of force which is secret, which is covered; then they will be called terrorists, but I guess they know that, and then of course they will be saying to people, why don't you come and join us."

and...

"But the problem is the wild stories appearing in the Iraqi press. Now, of course there's no tradition of western style journalism in Iraq. There are those that say it's a good idea, no tradition for example of letting the other side have a say, checking the story out, going back on the ground and asking the other side for their version of events. It doesn't exist. It's a little bit, but not much. What you get after saying that Americans are going with Iraqi prostitutes, American troops are chasing Iraqi women, that Muslim women are being invited to marry Christian foreigners, that this is worse than it was under Saddam. I'm actually quoting from one particular newspaper called The Witness, which is a Shiite Muslim paper, basically that had its first issue the other day. Other newspapers carry reports of American beatings; they also carry reports of ëI was Saddam's doubleí, and the opening of mass graves. They're not totally one sided against the Americans.

But you can see how the occupation forces, letís call them by their real name, are troubled by this kind of publication because it seems to them to provoke or incite animosity towards the liberators of Iraq, which it is not meant to do. But of course the problem is that the Imams in the mosques are saying the same thing about the Americans. Now, the last quote I read from American official said that it may be necessary to control what the Imams were saying in the mosques; well, this is preposterous. I sat on Rashid Street in Baghdad a few days ago and listened to the loud speaker carrying the sermon of the imam from within the mosque.

I think he was saying the Americans must leave immediately, now. Well, under the new rule presumably he's inciting the people to violence. What are we going to do? Arrest all the Imams in the mosques, arrest all the journalists who won't obey, close down the newspapers? I mean what Iraqi journalists need are courses in journalism from reporters who work in real democracies"

Powerful stuff.

DanielR
06-12-2003, 06:46 AM
Sigh.

Neil, love the dramatic effect of your post. Especially the part about kids getting shot - works like a charm, every time ;)

opherdonchin
06-12-2003, 08:55 AM
Hey, nice to seee that there is someone else reading along.

DanielR
06-12-2003, 09:05 AM
Hi Opher,

Oh yes, I'm following this thread closely. My hat's off to you guys for the will and determination.

opherdonchin
06-12-2003, 10:08 AM
Mine, too. I'm really impressed by the work and thought that Jaime and Neil put into this.

Neil Mick
06-12-2003, 04:15 PM
Sigh.

Neil, love the dramatic effect of your post. Especially the part about kids getting shot - works like a charm, every time ;)
Well, um, thanks,,,I think. But, I don't think of this as a device: it really bothers me, that kids are getting shot.

Recently, my girlfriend was sorting through old clothes, and she held up a Palestinian scarf (note that she's Jewish). She asked me if I wanted it. I said no: while I relate to the conflict as if it were Americans getting shot, and not Palestinians, I really don't feel "committed" to one side, or the other.

I'm sure that it's quite complicated, and literally a no-win situation, as you once mentioned, Daniel. I'm positive that the Israeli's have their side of it, their injustices.

But, American tax-dollars are going into one side of this conflict. And those dollars are fueling the imbalance: the injustice. To be blatantly honest, I wouldn't care as much, if the US didn't have its hands in the issue.

But, we ARE involved (have been, for a very long time), and we are now integral to the solution, of the problem.

But, apologies to all, if you feel that I overdramatize. IMM, this issue defies overdramatization, however.

And, my hat's off to Jaime, for putting up with my frequent rants. I really respect his patience, and his input.

DanielR
06-12-2003, 04:45 PM
Hi Neil,

Hope my sarcasm wasn't offensive.

It's hard to stay objective when, once again, the renewed hope of normalization is jeopardized by irresponsible (IMO) actions of both sides.

I asked a friend of mine in Israel, "Why the hell did they have to attempt the assassination a week after the summit?". He said, "I have another question: why the hell did they miss?". Funny, eh?..

Apologies for getting the thread off topic.

Neil Mick
06-12-2003, 05:44 PM
No problem, Daniel. But, you really don't consider this "roadmap" any kind of hope, do you?

IMHO, while any effort at peace is worth a try, the conditions of this roadmap are impossible to achieve, right from the start.

But, your point is well-taken: disreputable actions on both sides spoil any possibility that even a fractured peace may evolve.

P.S. Yeah, your friend's questions were pretty funny.

Neil Mick
06-16-2003, 02:02 PM
The activties of various Administration officials is also important in understanding what's going on. The marginalization of Powell and the weekly personal lunches Bush takes with Perle and Cheney give some indication of US trends and plans.

A name that I've noticed a few times in the media is Rand Beers. Beers, the former National Security Council's senior director for combating terrorism, just resigned.

"In brewing discontent at home against United States war on Iraq and President George W Bush's foreign policy, a handful of senior level officials have resigned (http://www.rediff.com/us/2003/mar/20iraq15.htm) after Washington went ahead with a military solution to disarm Baghdad."

NOW, apparently, he's Security Advisor (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=615&e=2&u=/nm/20030616/pl_nm/iraq_usa_bush_dc_3) for John Kerry(!) of all people.

Quite a horizontal career-shift (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A62941-2003Jun15.html), don't you think?

Perhaps, he knows something, that we only can glimpse (well, duh!)

Jim ashby
06-22-2003, 03:49 AM
I have stayed out of these discussions as they seemed to be seriously USA based. However, now there are US soldiers being shot, bombs going off and peacekeeping duties which involve fixed bayonets, perhaps it is time to rename Baghdad. I propose Belfast-on-the-Tigris. Perhaps now the fundraising for the Iraqui "freedom fighters against the occupying forces" could be carried out in the US, just like the collections for the IRA.

Neil Mick
06-25-2003, 09:10 PM
Actually, I was going to vote for "Jenin-on-the-Tigris," as a title. But they sure are mucking (http://electroniciraq.net/news/920.shtml) it up, aren't they?

Meanwhile, our leaders are hard at work, revisioning history (http://www.ocweekly.com/printme.php?&eid=44981).

Neil Mick
07-01-2003, 02:55 AM
Hello Jaime: welcome back. Actually, I think James was going for irony...but the situation in Iraq is rapidly deteriorating, by all acounts.

Neil Mick
07-01-2003, 12:00 PM
Nothing a little tactical nuke or two can't fix ;)
If that's supposed to be funny: the humor is lost on me.

Harry Nguyen
07-01-2003, 12:21 PM
To you all, what do you think of the Iraq war right now ? Another Viet Nam war ?

I think Sadam was smart enough to know that he could not face directly with American force in the battle field. To us the main war ended last month, to Sadam, his war just began. What Saddam wants is the situation the American have to deal right now. The war against Iraq people. It will never end unless American withdraw out of Iraq completely (maybe) or we have to put some nuke bombs to terminate Iraq people (not likely). To the eyes of Iraq people and the world, American are invaders. Did Saddam have Chemical weapons, I have no doubt about it. Why didn't he use it ? He wanted American fought the war with no good cause. He was prepared for his war.

deepsoup
07-01-2003, 04:39 PM
I find it quite amusing that you would feel the need to chime in and compare the liberation of Iraq with US Irish-American citizens contributions to the freedom for Northern Ireland. So who should we "Iraqi-American" citizens send the money to over in Iraq? The Ba'ath party?
I've mostly been ignoring this thread, but I have to ask:

Jaime, do you approve of American citizens making financial contributions to the IRA? I get the impression from this post that you do, but I just cant believe it somehow.

Sean.

Neil Mick
07-01-2003, 11:12 PM
And news on the Islamo-Fascist front

Death threat to Jews who buy Iraq land (http://sg.news.yahoo.com/030627/3/3c5s1.html)

Perhaps Robert Fisk can do a report on this....
You know, if you're attempting to spark another acrimonious exchange similar to our debates of a few months ago, I'll pass.

I thought we rose above such racist ad hominems such as "Islamo Fascist" (try putting that shoe on the other foot, to see how it sounds...how does "Christian terror-fascist" sound...? To me: either label sounds counter-productive to a fruitful debate.

And so I ask the same question I asked you many months ago: why do you post?)

Neil Mick
07-01-2003, 11:33 PM
To you all, what do you think of the Iraq war right now ? Another Viet Nam war ?

I think Sadam was smart enough to know that he could not face directly with American force in the battle field. To us the main war ended last month, to Sadam, his war just began. What Saddam wants is the situation the American have to deal right now. The war against Iraq people. It will never end unless American withdraw out of Iraq completely (maybe) or we have to put some nuke bombs to terminate Iraq people (not likely). To the eyes of Iraq people and the world, American are invaders. Did Saddam have Chemical weapons, I have no doubt about it. Why didn't he use it ? He wanted American fought the war with no good cause. He was prepared for his war.
Hello Harry, thanks for posting. IMHO, I agree, generally, with your impression of the events in Iraq; except, of course, the point about chemical weapons. If he had 'em, he'd have used them. OR: even if he wasn't able to use them (logistical problems, comm-breakdowns, etc), we'd have found some evidence of chemical weapons by now. Instead, the US finds zip.

I do not agree that he was "prepared" for the war, tho. Look at how fast Baghdad fell: some accounts I read suggest that Hussein spread his units out too thinly to mount a good defence.

Contrary to the opinions offered by the media, the latest attacks against the US and Britain are more than just "remnants" of Hussein's army: the Iraqi's are fighting the occupation on the political, as well as the military, front.

Dropping bombs on the Iraqi's certainly won't end the conflict (it didn't, when we "shocked and awed" Baghdad). History has shown that the British, French, and now the US, cannot hold an occupation in the Middle East, for very long.

For the US, the war is not over, even though the "President" (and the mainstream media)says it was. 1 American soldier is dying, per day, in Iraq. This doesn't sound like the Iraqi's cheering the US troops with "flowers and music," to me.

Harry Nguyen
07-02-2003, 09:14 AM
Neil,

You may be right about the wmd and about Sadam prepared for this kind of war or not. I lived and was born in a small country. We were constantly attack by our bigger and stronger neighbors. That was the tactic we used to fight against Mongolia and China for 4000 years. (Sorry I don't mean to start a flame here, just want to bring it in as history facts). 3 times we defeated Mongolia by just avoid the main force, lead them in and then defeat them (just like Iriminage :o)). Before the US-Iraq war, I already think that will be the strategy Saddam would use. I think if I can think of it, Saddam can think of it as well.

Saddam wouldn't use wmd on his land, he needed people to find for him and make US lost their good cause for the war.

opherdonchin
07-02-2003, 09:46 AM
So, just to stir up the pot a bit:

It is possible to interpret the recent progress in the Palestinian/Israeli peace process as a direct result of the Iraq war. A similar interpretation might apply to the surge in democratic protests in Iran. Of course, each of these recent developments has a history that is independent of the Iraq war, but still one could easily claim that the war seems to be having a positive influence on the political currents in the middle east.

Respond and discuss at will.

:)

opherdonchin
07-02-2003, 12:06 PM
As an American of Irish decent I know many many people who have contributed to Irish freedom causes. Do I approve of monatary contributions? That is a very difficult question to answer and one that I don't think this forum is the place for me to answer that question. I will say I am for Irish republican causes.Perhaps this really isn't the place for this, but I am curious:

I understand that you are much less supportive of the Palestinian cause than the Irish cause, Jaime. What are the important differences in the two situations, from your point of view, that make the one more justified than the other?

Neil Mick
07-02-2003, 12:25 PM
So, just to stir up the pot a bit:

It is possible to interpret the recent progress in the Palestinian/Israeli peace process as a direct result of the Iraq war. A similar interpretation might apply to the surge in democratic protests in Iran. Of course, each of these recent developments has a history that is independent of the Iraq war, but still one could easily claim that the war seems to be having a positive influence on the political currents in the middle east.

Respond and discuss at will.

:)
I could not disagree, more. Your statement totally ignores several issues:

1) The situation in Iraq is dire, and getting worse, daily, on a political, economic, environmental and medical footing. It's becoming obvious that the Iraqi's do not want to be led into a Western-style democracy with a US occupation. The electricity and water supply is not fully restored, and Paul Bremer has not been able to enact a stable political gov't. Certainly, he's not interested in an Iraqi democracy, by and for the Iraqi's.

2) The Iranian students are demonstrating for reforms, not for a US-style democracy. It's true that the situation is exacerbated by the US manipulating certain Iranian press, but the US has begun allying themselves with Iranian right-wing terrorist groups: hardly a clarion-call for freedom.

Also, the threatening noises the US is making is actually strengthening the conservative religious groups, in power. No one likes to be invaded, and when a foreign power threatens, a people will flock to whomever is in power.

3) It could be argued that the peace process in Palestine is a result of the Iraqi invasion; but it could also be argued that the peace process is a part of the Israeli occupation, or the suicide bombers, or the actions of George Bush. All, or none, may be the case.

Personally, I think the peace process is a long and grandiose end-run. The key to peace in Palestine is getting the settlements out--all of them. Also, the apartheid wall is still being built, and the IDF is still undertaking assassinations, even while the 3 major Palestinian guerrilla groups agree to a 3-month ceasefire. The few interviews I've heard with Palestinians suggest that they do not trust the peace process, either. Certainly, they have no confidence in either Sharon, or Abu-mazen. But, who knows: it may all turn around, peace declared, and two states set up, with an interim Palestinian state incorporated with the wall fully built, and settlements largely intact.

It might happen, but would it create a lasting peace? I doubt it.

Neil Mick
07-02-2003, 12:39 PM
What are the important differences in the two situations, from your point of view, that make the one more justified than the other?
Wow, Jaime: could have knocked ME over with a feather, on your support of Irish republicanism. I am interested to hear your response to Opher's question.
Saddam wouldn't use wmd on his land, he needed people to find for him and make US lost their good cause for the war.
I think that if Hussein had wmd, he'd have used them by the time the coalition forces arrived in Um Kasr.
ok Niel I will play nice.... I really was interested in your take on the above article...
The news of the article does not surprise me, at all. In any occupation (just as in a war), someone always gains, just as someone always loses. OTOH, the information was interesting: thanks for posting it.

Harry Nguyen
07-02-2003, 01:23 PM
Neil wrote:

I think that if Hussein had wmd, he'd have used them by the time the coalition forces arrived in Um Kasr.

Neil,

Would you tell me the reason why you think that would be the case? IMHO, if Saddam think he could use wmd to win the war in his land, he must be crazy.

deepsoup
07-02-2003, 02:03 PM
As an American of Irish decent I know many many people who have contributed to Irish freedom causes. Do I approve of monatary contributions? That is a very difficult question to answer and one that I don't think this forum is the place for me to answer that question. I will say I am for Irish republican causes.
Well I'm not talking about "Irish freedom causes", I'm talking about terrorism.

The "Irish republican causes" I'm talking about aren't a few Sinn Fein leaflets, they're taxi drivers being executed for being in the wrong part of town, they're the dozens of men, women and children killed in Omagh, they're Airey Neave and Lord Louis Mountbatten.

You haven't had a problem stating your opinions about all sorts of terrorists on this forum until now, so lets try it one more time.

Was it right for American citizens to help the IRA to buy the guns, bullets and bombs used to murder people in Eire, Northern Ireland and on the British mainland?

Sean

x

opherdonchin
07-02-2003, 02:33 PM
Thanks, Jaime, that makes sense (at least to me).

deepsoup
07-02-2003, 07:12 PM
Which specific terrorism are you speaking of.... I of course condem the targeting of innocent civillians wherever they may be. But the targeting of military and political targets to oust a colonial occupation now thats a different story. Let me give you an example.... The twin towers was an act of terrorism. The method used to attack the pentagon was terrosism. The actual attack on the pentagon was not. Does it make it less wrong, no. But the pentagon was a legitamate military target as Pearl Harbor was. We still should respond as we see fit but the pentagon was a whole different attack than the twin towers.
The specific terrorism I'm talking about is that perpetrated by the terrorist organisation known as the IRA. (The IRA of the 70's, 80's and 90's in particular.) The money (the people) you (know) contributed to the IRA was not ringfenced in some way to be used only against "legitimate military targets", it was used to buy the weapons used in all their activities. Activities including Omagh, Manchester and The Grand Hotel as well as 'conventional' criminal activities - extortion, prostitution, drugs, your run of the mill organised crime - the other primary source of funds.
Now you want to tell the Irish story of blood, bullets and American money. At the same time will you be talking about the British contribution to all the bloodshed?
I'm not talking about the "British contribution" to the bloodshed, because there is nobody here condoning it. I certainly do not. I would be every bit as appalled if you were trying to justify American contributions to, say, the LVF or the UDA as I am now.

Sean

x

Saku
07-03-2003, 12:56 AM
I of course condem the targeting of innocent civillians wherever they may be. But the targeting of military and political targets to oust a colonial occupation now thats a different story.
I really should not stick my spoon in this soup but I am quite interested on this Jaime's quote. So Jaime, you must approve the Iraqi's attacking american invading troops in Iraq then?

Harry Nguyen
07-03-2003, 04:46 PM
Jamie,

Sorry. I didn't mean to make anybody upset. I asked Neil out his opinion why Sadam Hussein did not use wmd because I respect him, and I believe there is a brain behind that thought. Whatever it is, US is my home and I am an American. But it doesn't mean that I can't not look at different angles and different view of what "we" see. I was growing up when US involved in VN war, and I can see some of the angles that the American can not see. When I raise the topic I expected to get the different point of view with the facts supporting that view.

If you think I am wrong and you think differently then tell me why. And no, you did not answer my question. Sorry.

Neil Mick
07-03-2003, 08:15 PM
It's great to see the widespread participation on this thread: diversity enriches an already lively discussion.
Would you tell me the reason why you think that would be the case? IMHO, if Saddam think he could use wmd to win the war in his land, he must be crazy.
I don't think that Hussein was crazy. Utterly lacking in humanitarian concerns, perhaps: but definitely not insane. No one could survive the political battlefield for that long as the leader of Iraq, and be insane, IMO.

But, I think that he'd have no compunctions to have used chemical weapons against the invading armies: maybe even nuclear. Understand, though: that each type of wmd carries its own risks and hazards of usage. IMO, it's even a misnomer to group chemical, biological and nuclear weapons together, as if they were equally bad. Nuclear weapons are far more dangerous than either of the others.

But, let's look at each type of weapon (and forgive any mistaken assumptions I make about these weapons: I am not a weapons expert. Please feel free to chime in if I err), and its usage, for a moment. Chemical weapons are unreliable, as they are subject to environmental conditions. You get the wind blowing in the wrong direction, and you may wind up with that sarin gas blowing in the face of your own troops. Certain other environmental conditions (rain, dust, etc) may render the gas totally ineffective.

Biological agents are slightly more effective, but they're problematic, as they have a limited shelf-life. The biological anthrax spores Saddam was reputed to have in '92 were totally useless by '95.

Nuclear weapons carry the most devastation and the most fear-value, but their very stigma is a good reason not to use them, especially against the #1 nuclear superpower, in the world.

But, would Saddam, if he were pushed to the wall (and actually had them, which I don't believe he did), use these weapons? Judging by his gassing of Kurds in the '80's, I'd say that he'd have no morale compunctions not to. Much of the style of his leadership was to seek the patronage of a strong, outside foreign power. But, if he thought he was "going down for the count," I imagine he might use those weapons for their fear-value ("You see how crazy I am: don't mess with me...I am REALLY crazy," etc).

Historically, he had no hesitation over setting fire to his oilwells in Gulf War 1, which caused major environmental damage as far as Uzbekistan.

Neil Mick
07-03-2003, 08:21 PM
Niel,

I don't quite get your meaning of your statment:

"The news of the article does not surprise me, at all. In any occupation (just as in a war), someone always gains, just as someone always loses. OTOH, the information was interesting: thanks for posting it."

Could you expound a bit?
I'm not really sure what you're asking--I find the threats against Jews in Iraq to be unsurprising. To me, its a manifestation of one of the more unpleasant aspects of human nature. There's a great deal of anger in Iraq right now, and I expect that a lot of minorities are taking the brunt of 115-degree-heat-inspired anger, with no electricity to cool it off.

Neil Mick
07-03-2003, 08:38 PM
My definition of a terrorist attack is one that IS NOT a military, or political target (white house, parliment building, in a stretch kinda grey area the foreign embassy) While purposefully targeting civillians is terrorism (twin towers)
So, if the planes were not targeted for the Twin Towers on 9-11, then the other 2 planes (aimed at the Pentagon, and the Capitol Bldg) would NOT be terrorist-attacks?

As you might imagine (considering the shady and widespread deals we broker, throughout the world), there is no clear-cut definition of terrorism. A quick search through the State Dept website found this:

"Definitions (http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/9040.pdf)

There is no universally accepted definition of international terrorism. One definition

widely used in U.S. government circles, and incorporated into law, defines international

terrorism as terrorism involving the citizens or property of more than one country. Terrorism is broadly defined as politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents. A terrorist group is defined as a group which practices or which has significant subgroups which practice terrorism (22 U.S.C. 2656f). One

shortfall of this traditional definition is its focus on groups and its exclusion of individual (“lone wolf”) terrorist activity which has recently risen in frequency and visibility."

opherdonchin
07-03-2003, 10:18 PM
I agree with what you are saying about definitions, Neil, although the one definition you quoted does seem to indicate that targetting the white house and pentagon would not count as terrorism ("politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets"). I guess I feel that there is a fundamental difference along the lines that Jaime is indicating.

Interestingly, according to this definition nothing the Israelis do to the Palestinians could ever be terrorism. I'm not sure I buy that.

Neil Mick
07-04-2003, 02:15 AM
Yes, I don't buy it either. I was just offering one definition (not really mine).

What's going on in Liberia, right now for example...with the pygmies getting killed and cannibalized...I think that that's definitely terror. Just as I think activities on both sides of the Palestinian conflict are terrorist. Ask me to nail down a definition, though: that's tough.

opherdonchin
07-04-2003, 08:22 AM
I would have thought: violence perpetrated against a civilian population with the intent to achieve political (or military?) ends by the demoralization or intimidation of the civilian population.

By my definition, the bombings of civilian centers by all sides during WWII culminating spectacularly in America's use of the atomic bomb would qualify as terror.

Neil Mick
07-04-2003, 09:31 PM
Happy 4th: as you might guess, this is not my favorite holiday.

Where did the holiday originate (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3044278.stm), you may ask? According to Noam Chomsky, the celebration of the 4th of July began during Woodrow Wilson's regime.

If I were Saddam, I'd call the White House and wish W a very happy 4th, and to tender my regrets that his $75B did not do the job and "get" him.

Perhaps, the next $75B will be more successful...

In other news, the world condemns the US terror-trials (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3044278.stm) at Guantanamo.

Let "freedom" ring!

opherdonchin
07-04-2003, 11:44 PM
It's never a good idea to take Noam Chomsky too seriously. According to PBS (http://www.pbs.org/capitolfourth/history.html), celebrations on the fourth of July began with an official recess of Congress in 1779 and grew steadily more popular. Apparently they became quite widespread after the war of 1812. It was made a national holiday in 1941 during FDR's presidency.

Neil Mick
07-05-2003, 11:38 AM
It's never a good idea to take Noam Chomsky too seriously. According to PBS
Riight. And, it isn't a good idea to take PBS that seriously, either. Hardly an unbiased (http://www.fair.org/press-releases/commanding-heights.html) source itself, PBS has, at times, apologized for corporate shenanigans, and provided happy-face generalizations of documentaries in lieu of coverage more critical of the Powers that Be.

Besides, as you often like to say: we could both be right on this one. The celebrations on the 4th could have been inaugurated according to the data provided by PBS, suffered a set-back over the years, and been re-instituted by Woodrow Wilson in a need to whip up jingoistic fervor (BTW: apologies for the misleading link. You can find the correct article about Chomsky, here (http://monkeyfist.com/ChomskyArchive/misc/id_html).

Regarding whether or not to take Chomsky seriously: I suspect that, in debate, you wouldn't last 1 minute against Dr. Chomsky, Opher. :p

opherdonchin
07-05-2003, 01:27 PM
I suspect that, in debate, you wouldn't last 1 minute against Dr. Chomsky, Opher.Quite right. I would treat him the same way I treat the ultimate and cage fighters: I wouldn't enter the ring.

You have to choose which games you are interested in playing. Chomsky is playing a game where one side wins and one side loses, and while those games can sometimes be fun, they hold no abiding interest for me.

Neil Mick
07-05-2003, 07:23 PM
Chomsky is playing a game where one side wins and one side loses, and while those games can sometimes be fun, they hold no abiding interest for me.
We'll just have to agre to diagree: I've heard Chomsky engage in debates with ppl and he tends to dish back, what he receives. Ppl that take a combative stance tend to get the same, and the same is true for "non-combatants."

Besides, Opher: you already have your biases well intact (as you have admitted, in the past), and I suspect you'd dislike Chomsky's approach, no matter what form it took (no offense meant: we all have our biases: self included).

But one issue you failed to elaborate is why not take Chomsky seriously. Love him, hate him: you have to admit, he has a point.

opherdonchin
07-05-2003, 07:32 PM
Chomsky has lots of points. Not taking him too seriously is not the same as ignoring him. I've heard Chomsky speak twice. I came away with a similar feeling both times: his presentation is thought-provoking and certainly opens up an interesting perspective on the world. However, his goal is to convince. In the service of this goal, he sacrifices other goals such as accuracy, balance and sincerity. As long as I kept this in mind -- and this is what I mean by 'not taking him too seriously' -- I felt there was a lot I could learn from him.

Neil Mick
07-06-2003, 01:09 AM
However, his goal is to convince. In the service of this goal, he sacrifices other goals such as accuracy, balance and sincerity. As long as I kept this in mind -- and this is what I mean by 'not taking him too seriously' -- I felt there was a lot I could learn from him.
Well, again: I have to disagree. I don't think he tries to "convince," at all: any more than any other scholar. He presents a point and he well-annotates his points...many times he offers the critics to come up with contrary evidence to his assertions.

I once heard him in discussion with Ted Sorenson (a member of Kennedy's administration), at the Kennedy Center, debating about the decisions made by Kennedy during Operation Anaconda. Sorenson was left sputtering in the dust.

Chomsky fully acknowledges that he has a biased opinion: personally, I sense an underlying disappointment (http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Arundhati_Roy/LonelinessChomsky_WT.html) in the way things are, in his words. But even so, he still remains an optimist.

suebailey
07-06-2003, 09:31 AM
Well i thought it was all settled down but as it turns out it obviously isn't!

A friend of mine Simon Miller a Red cap RMP (Royal Military Police) was killed a few days well last week ish in Iraq at the age of 21 it was a big blow he was a really nice lad and a really good freind wh would do any thing to help a friend and even a stranger if they needed it.

personnnaly i the way i feel at after hearing that news i would go over there and find the so called ppl that did it if they deserve to be called ppl more like beasts and kill them my self but as my boss told me that just lowering my self to their level and will prob just result in me getting shot myself.

sorry to hear about hte other RMP's that were with him and my deepest regards go out to all of their families.

love sue

Neil Mick
07-06-2003, 07:26 PM
Well i thought it was all settled down but as it turns out it obviously isn't!
Welcome back, Sue.

IMHO, it's not going to "settle down" for a long while. The US is not going to leave Iraq anytime soon, and the Iraqi's will never stop fighting for their liberation. History has shown this.
personnnaly i the way i feel at after hearing that news i would go over there and find the so called ppl that did it if they deserve to be called ppl more like beasts and kill them my self
There is much anger in the world. While your feelings are understandable, meeting hatred with hatred only brings grief for all, in the end.

My sympathies to you, for the loss of your friend.

Neil Mick
07-09-2003, 12:50 AM
And your still unsure why some may view you as anti-American? From going to Chomsky for American history to your "saddam shou" point... Which one of these are not anti-American?
Both. Chomsky is a scholar of American history. He fights the hypocracy of US-invasions committed in the name of "liberty," when actually the causes are less honorable. So, just because you and a few others find his points distasteful (never able to dispute, just distasteful, IMA) is hardly anti-American.

And, projecting what I'd do if I were Saddam is different than suggesting what Saddam "should" do. In fact, the US Army had one of its generals pretending to be Saddam in a mock-battle...is he anti-American?

No, what Saddam "should" do, is different than what I'd do, were I he. What he should do, is turn himself over to the ICC and face judgement.

Anti-Americanism is such a tidy, nebulous label to attach to someone with whom you disagree, isn't it? So vague, so filled with vitriol. Reminds me of the "Hour of Hate" in 1984. What's it mean, exactly? Anti-jazz? Anti-baseball? Anti Statue-of-Liberty?

Or: maybe it means someone who knowingly places Americans in danger (http://www.mfso.org/Gibbslet.html), without remorse, openly admitting to lying about the war's causes?

Abasan
07-09-2003, 02:16 AM
Sue,

Its too bad your young friend had to die in Iraq like that. But he had a job to do. It wasn't his decision to be there.

Just as I suppose, the people in Iraq has a job to do. But its not their decision that the brits are there as well.

So, I guess ultimately, the blame should lie on whose decision it was to have the brits there in Iraq. My guess would be Tony Blair.

opherdonchin
07-09-2003, 11:16 AM
So, Neil, if you are not anti-American, what about America do you like?

(Just to be clear: I don't consider this a hard or probing question. I'm just tossing you a softball for the fun of watching you give it a good hit.)

Neil Mick
07-09-2003, 12:17 PM
...batter up! :)

I like the fact that I can express my views, without fear of reprisal, both publicly and privately.

I like that I can peacefully assemble and protest against illegal wars and "un-" elected leaders.

I like the art, artists and culture, of America. I enjoy the musical styles invented in this country, from rock to (some forms of) jazz.

I am also proud of many of the social reform movements that were began, or adapted from other countries, such as the environmental movement, the feminist movement, the civil rights movement, etc. While several of these, and other, movements originated in other countries, I take pleasure in the forms these movements manifest in this country.

I appreciate the varied character of many of the cities in this country (I might equally like other cities, in other nations: but since I am an American, I shall always be a stranger, there. In any city I go in America, I am, in a sense, home).

I love the American landscape, and environment: its forests, etc (OK, I'll stop before I start singing "God Bless America").

I once liked the educational system here, before it was gutted, and look forward to the day when it retains its former glory.

While I consider the US Federal gov't ineffective and a poor representation of its people's: I thoroughly respect the smaller, communal aspects of government, such as Vermont-style "town-hall meetings," which I have had the opportunity to participate, in my college.

Neil Mick
07-10-2003, 02:19 PM
Haliburton is having quite a windfall, at taxpayer expense. There's a fascinating interactive world-map showing the lucrative contracts and offshore accounts that Haliburton enjoys. You can find it, here (http://www.motherjones.com/news/featurex/2003/28/we_455_01.html)

Neil Mick
07-10-2003, 05:31 PM
Wow: I listened to this audio report, and my jaw dropped--

2 Oakland High School students alleged to have said "Bush is whack" were interrogated by the Secret Service separately for over an hour on 23April03. The students, who are of South East Asian dissent, were questioned without the presence of a lawyer. Authorities at the school or the Secret Service did not notify their parents for nearly two weeks. The students claim that Secret Service threatened them and their entire families with deportation and prison time.

http://sf.indymedia.org/uploads/ss_oakland_high.mp3

On April 23rd, two Oakland High School students were interrogated by the Secret Service separately for over an hour. 10th grade English teacher Sandy Whitney called the Secret Service, after she heard the students saying what she interpreted to be remarks that threatened the life of President George Bush, during a classroom discussion about the war on Iraq. Students were alleged to have said "Bush is whack."

The students were interrogated without the presence of a lawyer. The school did not notify their parents for almost two weeks. When the parents, who are of South East Asian dissent, did meet with the school, language appropriate translators were not provided.

During the interrogation, the students, whose identities have not been disclosed to the press, claim that the Secret Service threatened them and their entire family with deportation.

While this specific incident happened two months ago, it is indicative of a larger trend in this country, and particularly when concerning youth activists. Throughout the country there have been reports of students being penalized for wearing certain tee-shirts, wanting to start or join particular clubs, distributing anti-war literature, or participating in various anti-war activities.

Harry Nguyen
07-11-2003, 08:16 AM
Niel,

In Austin, a UT student got a whack on the forehead by UT Police and needed 3 sticks to mend his eye brown because he wrote an anti-war words on the ground at UT campus.

In my former country. One of my friend saying something like "go ahead, uncle Ho" (Ho Chi Minh) when he playing foosball, he got 3 years in jail when he was 16. Talking about freedom of speech !!!! And when I was in jail because I tried to escape out of the country by boat, I met one 12 years old kid in the same cell with me. What he did is he tore a poster advertised the music band supported by the Communist goverment.

In US we still not have it completly, but it's a lot better than my former country.

Neil Mick
07-11-2003, 11:30 AM
In US we still not have it completly, but it's a lot better than my former country.
Thanks for sharing, Harry. Your attempt to get to the US is interesting: how did you finally manage to arrive into the US?

Yes, it IS better here than in many other parts of the world, but it's getting worse. I just heard about a court ruling stating that the US Atty. Gen'l. can legally strip a US-citizen of citizenship and indefinitely detain him if he's suspected of terrorist ties (not to mention the grim choices facing those in Guantanamo, approaching a trial-- either confess and face 20 years imprisonment, or undergo a military-trial without proper legal defense, and potentially face the death-penalty).

The trend in this country is not reassuring...

opherdonchin
07-11-2003, 01:30 PM
I'm interested in hearing someone from the right discuss their view regarding the possibility that the administration misled the country and the world in the lead up to the war.

Specifically, I'd like to know what sorts of evidence would make people feel that the Bush administration distorted evidence innapropriately. If such evidence were presented, are there situations where this distortion would undermine the legitimacy of the war? Do you distinguish between allegations that the administration was distorting evidence and allegations that it was operating on the basis of faulty intelligence?

I'm sure that there are other questions, but feel free to simply improvise on the theme. Please don't spend too much time on the idea that "the war is justified because of what it did for the Iraqi people." I don't have anything against that argument; I've just heard it and understood it already.

Harry Nguyen
07-11-2003, 04:24 PM
Neil,

After 5 years trying to escape by boat unsuccessful, my sister who is living in Minnesota sponsor my family. The communist allow only half of my family go to US, because we don't have enough money to bribe them. They ask around $4000 per person for the exit visa. Even that we still have to wait 4 years for the visa. I got to US in 1984.

BTW, the 12 years old kid I talked about, he was in jail since he was 9 for his "political crime", when I left the jail, he was 12 and still in there.

Half of my high school friend was dead when we reach 20 years old. Most of us at that time either in jail or in battle field. I myself was put the gun on my heads twice, but somehow they did not shoot. Not all generations like that, it's just my generation we were growing up in the transition time between two regimes. I heard the situation a lot better after 1996.

Neil Mick
07-11-2003, 05:15 PM
Wow, Harry: that was quite an experience you had, getting here. I am glad you made it: even if it took so long, and was so difficult. Thank you again, for sharing your experience.

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

I am also interested in hearing someone answer Opher's question:
I'm interested in hearing someone from the right discuss their view regarding the possibility that the administration misled the country and the world in the lead up to the war.
...any takers?

Abasan
07-14-2003, 01:34 AM
How about the speech made by Bush stating that Iraq was buying uranium from Africa, which later was ascertained to be untrue so much so that Bush later apologised.

The runoff was that Donald Rumsfield was miffed that Bush had to apologise even. Stating that at that point in time, they believe the fact to be true. (its not true btw).

Surely, when a country gathers its intelligence reports, it does so carefully sifts through it to fish out rumours and facts.

Lets not however get into the Intelligence Dossier prepared/doctored by the MI6 which Rumsfield praised as solid evidence work and later found out that part of it was a thesis gotten from the 1991 gulf war. That to me, is gross injustice at full hilt.

opherdonchin
07-14-2003, 07:30 AM
Damn, where's Jaime when you need him?

I'm certainly not going to be the apologist for the administration position on this issue, but I'd like it if someone was here to do that.

opherdonchin
07-14-2003, 12:23 PM
Hmmm ... I don't think that accusing the media of left-wing or right-wing bias goes very far on this issue. There is no question that each wing feels strongly that the bias is against them. I'm going to leave the 'media bias' issue at that, although there is much more to be said.

There are, I think, two key issues here: 1) did the Bush administration (advertantly or inadvertantly) oversell the point regarding WMD, and 2) was this an important part of the decision to go to war. Jaime, I don't think your article addresses point 1 very clearly. The focus is on one particular point where Bush has been attacked, but fails to put this point in the context of a larger message from the administration regarding the Iraqi WMD program.

I have to admit that I didn't have a strong tendency to believe Bush regarding WMD before the war, but I did get the strong impression that the administration was claiming that they had good intelligence that the program was there. I tended to believe the reports in Israeli newspapers claiming that Israeli intelligence also indicated the existence of an extensive WMD program in Iraq. Either way, I think that it is disingenuous of Bush (or right-leaning newspaper pundits) to pretend that they were not peddling this claim pretty hard.

So, it's possible that they had intelligence they believed, but that it turned out to be faulty. At this point, they should be forthcoming about this intelligence. If the Niger-uranium connection is all they had, then they were overselling their intelligence. If they have more, then I wonder why they don't come forward with it.

As far as the second point is concerned, I think you need to distinguish between the reasons that Bush went to war, the reasons the nation was willing to go to war, and the reasons that UN passed its resolution. In the case of the UN, there is no doubt that the argument was only about WMD. No other claim could have legitimized the war from a legal point of view. Colin Powell gave a speech at the UN that was basically about WMD, and it basically said, "trust us."

As far as the nation is concerned, I'm probably a poor judge. However, the case that America was motivated to go to war in Iraq primarily for humanitarian concerns is a hard one for me to believe in. My memory of that period (not too long ago) is that the potential for WMD played quite strongly into the rhetoric of the discussions. One can argue that the administration was only using this as a pretext to motivate the country towards a just war, but that leaves open the question of credibility.

I'm not sure I'm being either clear or eloquent (Neil will think I am, but that's just because he'll agree with me this time). Jaime, if there is stuff in here that seems poorly thought out or poorly articulated, let me know and I'll try to make myself clearer. Otherwise, I'm curious to know if you see my point of view.

opherdonchin
07-14-2003, 12:27 PM
I hadn't seen the second piece when I started responding.

My only response to the second piece is that there still has been no evidence presented that Hussein was being succesful in any way in his interest in building a WMD program. The 'policy of pre-emption' doesn't really apply to people having unpleasant intention, does it? I mean, they have to actually have some capability or a reasonable chance of becoming capable sometime in the foreseeable future, don't they?

Hogan
07-14-2003, 01:32 PM
.... The 'policy of pre-emption' doesn't really apply to people having unpleasant intention, does it? I mean, they have to actually have some capability or a reasonable chance of becoming capable sometime in the foreseeable future, don't they?
There was an interview, by a gentleman from ABC news (at least NOW from ABC news), with Bin Laden some time ago. In it he SAID that it is his purpose to kill americans, that every man, woman and child shall die. He wanted the USA to stop existing as we know it....

Oh I wish someone had the foresite to "pre-emptively" take that little bastard out then.... (And I don't think that the people back then thought he had the capability to carry out attacks against Americans in the US of A, either).

opherdonchin
07-14-2003, 01:56 PM
Are you seriously arguing for a policy of pre-emptive strikes against any leader that expresses a desire to destroy the United States? And anyway, what evidence is there that taking him out at that point would have prevented his dastardly plans from reaching fruition?

Hogan
07-14-2003, 02:20 PM
Are you seriously arguing for a policy of pre-emptive strikes against any leader that expresses a desire to destroy the United States? And anyway, what evidence is there that taking him out at that point would have prevented his dastardly plans from reaching fruition?
Uhhh, yeah... anytime Canada talks dirty, kill their leaders. C'mon, you know the difference. And besides, at the time of the interview (he was interviewed BECAUSE of his actions he had already taken), he HAD engaged in attacks against americans and american interests, albeit overseas, and those actions resulted in deaths of not only US nationals but nationals of other countries as well. AND, if you know your history, you would know that Bill Clinton had tried, but failed, to kill Bin Laden. So the policy of Mr. Bush is not new.

Evidence that if we had taken him out, 9/11 would not have happened ? Well, it wouldn't hurt to have tried, now would it. I am sure you are not suggesting that becuase there is NO EVIDENCE 9/11 would NOT have taken place had he been killed, we shouldn't have tried ? If so, then Bill Clinton was wrong.

opherdonchin
07-15-2003, 08:50 AM
And besides, at the time of the interview (he was interviewed BECAUSE of his actions he had already taken), he HAD engaged in attacks against americans and american interestsSo, if there was already a strong case for assassination on the basis of what he'd done, the pre-emptive policy becomes unnecessary, doesn't it? That means that this case isn't really relevant, I think.

The point about Iraq is that we invoked Bush's doctrine of striking pre-emptively when we have solid evidence of an imminent threat. We did not make the claim -- in the U.N. or to the American people -- that Saddam had to be toppled because of what he did to the Kurds or because of invading Afghanistan. The claim we made was that Saddam represented an imminent threat. This justified the war, but it also justified the haste and the pressure. It was, as far as I can tell, not true.

I don't know if anybody lied. I do think that a comparison of the pre-war rhetoric with the current statements from the administration raise important questions. As I've said in the past, I neither supported nor opposed the war. However, as things currently stand, I feel the president and his aides were either being disingenuous before the war or they are not being straight with me now.

The most disturbing part to me is that the administration doesn't seem willing to treat my concern seriously. Indeed, the responses on this forum have also been somewhat dismissive.
If Bush was wrong and "lied" (as the left chants in unison) then Bill Clinton lied, France lied, ... and even Saddam Hussein lied.Jaime, are you suggesting that Bush is made of the same moral fiber as Clinton, France and Saddam? Are you holding him to the same standards? I think that one of the most telling aspects of the media reporting is that they are calling the administration behavior surrounding this crisis "Clinton-esque." Surely you expected better than that from him?

opherdonchin
07-15-2003, 09:42 AM
I think you miss the point, Jaime. I also get tired of seeing negative monikers applied to people and institutions that you don't approve of. Please stop that.

The point I think you miss is that I (not 'the left') see a discrpancy between what Bush was saying before the war and what he is saying now. I see Bush being evasive about this discrepancy and, worse, making an effort to manipulate and intimidate the press into accepting this as a 'non-issue.'

I am claiming that either Bush should own up to the discrepancy ("the reasons we said we were going to war were not the real reasons that were motivating us. We misled the public and the world in order to achieve a just goal that we could not otherwise have achieved.") or else own up to a mistake ("Our administration was legitimately worried about the possibility of Iraqi nukes and other WMD. This caused us to over-interpret the evidence, to pressure intelligence agencies, and to reject other legitimate explanations. We made a grevious mistake that cost many American lives and many more Iraqi lives, but it was a mistake caused by an excess of caution and not be malign intent.")

I feel that the effort to pretend that there is nothing wrong insults my intelligence and the intelligence of the public. Ultimately, I predict that it will hurt Bush far more than if he were to come forward and own up to one of the two things I mentioned above.

Honestly, I don't think I'm coming from some far-left point of view on this.

DanielR
07-15-2003, 09:51 AM
the effort to pretend that there is nothing wrong ... will hurt Bush far more than if he were to come forward
Hi Opher,

Just curious - in what way do you think this will hurt Bush? It would seem that since very few democrats openly criticized the war, now they are not really in a position to capitalize on this.

opherdonchin
07-15-2003, 09:59 AM
I think, as I have heard and read in many news outlets, that this is not about the Iraq war, it is about the Bush administration's credibility. As the election comes nearer people are remembering that Bush campaigned basically on two main issues: integrity and bipartisan outreach. Clearly, he has not been very succesful in bipartisan outreach. There have been grumblings about his credibility, too, but none that haver really reached the level of national scandal. This issue has the potential to really hurt his image as what he likes to call a 'straight shooter.'

Like I said, I've always distrusted Bush and its rare that I hear him talk without feeling like I'm being manipulated and lied to. My objections to him began with this feeling and from there spread to his politics, not the other way around. On the other hand, there are many people who have exactly the opposite emotional reaction: they get a strong sense of honesty and openness when they listen to him. It is the people in the middle who are most important, and it is my suspicion that this issue could play a major role in their view of him.

DanielR
07-15-2003, 10:05 AM
Right, but how do you get from what could be interpreted as acting in good faith on bad intelligence to making it a credibility issue?

opherdonchin
07-15-2003, 10:43 AM
Because the Bush administration hasn't taken responsibility for using what they should have known was bad intelligence. They haven't admitted a mistake. They've blamed everyone and everything they could (the CIA, the British, the press), but they haven't made it clear how their decisions and their misguided judgement led to this mistake. They also have not made any indication that realizing this was mistake will influence their policy in any way.

Their credibility is at stake because they don't seem to be dealing with this scandal honestly and forthrightly.

DanielR
07-15-2003, 11:59 AM
I agree, Opher. I think however that the way this administration is avoding the responsibility is not uncharacteristic. I'd say it's rather predictable - to find someone else to take the fall. And it seems to me that lots of people, especially those that find the war morally justified, will let it slide exactly for that reason - this is how most politicians would handle this.

DanielR
07-15-2003, 12:09 PM
Ding ding ding... Give this man a prize... You hit it right on the head..
Heh... Jaime, I'm afraid I don't deserve the prize :( I'm not at all convinced that,in the context of this particular piece of intelligence, the Bush administration acted in good faith. But - innocent until proven guilty. And I do agree with Opher's point on handling the scandal honestly and forthrightly, but honesty is such a rare commodity in politics that I'm not sure many people actually expect that :)

DanielR
07-15-2003, 12:27 PM
WHat you believe is irrelevant as your post was right on the point and helps to expose the hypocrasy of the left.
Too bad you find my beliefs irrelevant, but I can live with that ;)

I'm not at all concerned about the "hypocrisy of the left", and I don't think it's the issue at hand, although you seem to be trying to make it one.

opherdonchin
07-15-2003, 12:45 PM
Yes, Jaime, I also think you are diverting the focus from the issue at hand. As I understand it, the issue at hand is whether Bush oversold the evidence on the WMD program and, if so, why. As I understand it, there is little question the evidence was oversold. Now, the question is why.

Hogan
07-15-2003, 01:04 PM
Yes, Jaime, I also think you are diverting the focus from the issue at hand. As I understand it, the issue at hand is whether Bush oversold the evidence on the WMD program and, if so, why. As I understand it, there is little question the evidence was oversold. Now, the question is why.
Diverting the issue at hand is exactly what people who have opposed this war are doing. If they can overplay any one thing that they think boosts their case, they will expolit it, such as this issue of Bush reporting what the british intelligence was reporting. Lets remember this was an item the British intelligence was reporting, and it has turned out to be suspect. This should not and does not negate the entirety of the reasons put forth by the US for going to war against Hussein.

Lets say, for example, I give 5 reasons for doing something, and each of those five reasons is further made up of, lets say, 10 reasons - you follow ? For example, I believe 'A' will happen becuase of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.....

So, do the non-supprters of the war believe that because ONE of the supporting pieces of evidence that make up reason 'A', the whole war and the reason for it is suspect ?

Why did he do it ? Well maybe he believed it because it was reported to approved for him by the CIA, as Rice and the head of the CIA have said.

opherdonchin
07-15-2003, 01:18 PM
Actually, as I understand the news, the report had already been discredited by the CIA and the Bush administration had been informed of this. There is reason to believe, reading Tenet's statement, that it was the Bush's idea to put the report of Nigerian uranium into the speech. Indeed, since the CIA had already revealed the forgery and worked to keep it out of other speaches, the issue of ascribing it to British intelligence just seems like a way of sidestepping the fact that we knew it was false.

Now, there may have been a number of reasons to go to war with Iraq, but, like I said, only one of them had a shred of international legitimacy without first getting UN approval and only one of them had any immediacy. Thus, the idea that Iraq was harboring a massive WMD program was key to justifying going to war and going to war in such a hasty fashion.
Why did he do it ? Well maybe he believed it because it was reported to approved for him by the CIA, as Rice and the head of the CIA have said.That doesn't explain the inclusion of the reference in the State of the Union address (like I explained above). More importantly, though, it doesn't explain the systematic and widespread administration effort to suggest that there was good credible evidence for a WMD program. Indeed, there were widespread reports before the war that the CIA was quite uncomfortable with the administrations allegations regarding WMD. Blaming the CIA for the administrations claims before the war just doesn't make sense to me.

opherdonchin
07-15-2003, 03:54 PM
The two most e-mailed articles from the New York times website today concern the issue of corrupted intelligence.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/15/opinion/15KRUG.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/15/opinion/15KRIS.html

I imagine, Jaime, that you consider both of these writers hopelessly biased because of their left-wing leaning. However, my point is that I don't think this issue is going to dissappear without the administration providing some real answers.

opherdonchin
07-16-2003, 10:02 AM
That would be cool. Then next time France pisses us off, we can go to war with them.

France and India have refused to participate in Iraqi peace keeping efforts unless it is under the auspices of the UN.

I'm sorry to reference another NY Times editorial, but I thought that you actually might like this one, Jaime. Thomas Friedman (the Cassandra of the Middle East) argues that the WMD controversy is a distraction, although he does seem to think that the administration was being deceptive. Thomas Friedman is always an interesting read, I find.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/16/opinion/16FRIE.html

Neil Mick
07-17-2003, 12:17 AM
That would be cool. Then next time France pisses us off, we can go to war with them.
Yeah, and with the cool new war-toy drones coming down the tubes (and the satellite eyes, from space), we could tell the whole world to piss off and zap anyone from afar, who pisses US off. We could make the whole US look like something out of "Escape from New York," erect giant sentry-walls along the borders and imprison immigrants forever, forcing them to work menial labour within their (Haliburton-built) jail cells (that is, if we don't decide to murder them under terror-charges, after a duly formed military tribunal).

Viva la "Full Spectrum Dominance!"

I've been enjoying reading these posts from the sidelines (for once :p ), but here's my 2 cents:

Much as I agree with you that the NY Times suffers from a severe credibility-gap, Jaime: they ARE the US standard for journalism in the US...which shows what a sorry state, that the US media is in.

And, Opher's right: slandering the critics of the President does not answer the question, about the the President's own credibility gap. I must also add that Tenet's taking the blame for the intelligence gaff is practically a part of his job-description. Also, 3 months previously he had expressed misgivings about the validity of the report and worked to exclude it from a Presidential speech, in October 2002.

If the President cannot even get the facts of this magnitude correct, then why should other countries believe what he says? Why should they believe it if he claims that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, for example?

This gap goes way beyond rising above his detractors. The leaders of other nations are swayed by more than money, and threats. Some of them even look to facts: something that W would rather forget.

P.S. SOO sorry to hear that your pet bill for withdrawal from the UN got shot down (by a mile), Jaime. Better "luck," next time. :cool:

Harry Nguyen
07-17-2003, 09:31 AM
That would be cool. Then next time France pisses us off, we can go to war with them.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/16/opinion/16FRIE.html
Cool! let me see!!! Now we know India has nuke, Pakistan has nuke, North Korea has nuke, China has nuke, Russia has nuke, Iran (may) has nuke, let take them down. Don't let their leaders escape like Iraq.

I know...I know....that's a bad joke. But I can't help...:D

opherdonchin
07-17-2003, 01:19 PM
Answer me this. Why does President Bush have to be "Right on the money" on every single point but former President Clinton was never challenged on his actions?I've been thinking about this one, Jaime. That is, I've been wondering how I would have responded if Clinton had been in office during this war rather than Bush.

It's certainly hard to imagine Clinton alienating the world the way Bush did, though. So, I have to imagine the war with a UN resolution behind it and a more representative multinational force involved. In that case, of course, the 'credibility gap' becomes a little less of an issue. In that case, also, the succesful prosecution of the war is followed by a very different post-war scenario which also means that the original reasons the president presented for going to war will be questioned too strongly. So, it's possible that Clinton would have 'gotten away' with lying to the world in a way that Bush isn't 'getting away' with it.

On the other hand, my experience of the last 6 years is that Bush 'gets away' with a lot more than Clinton ever did. Why don't we turn the question around. If Clinton had made false statements to support a foreign policy move that you didn't agree with -- say, full normalization of relations with China or something -- how would you have reacted?

Hogan
07-17-2003, 01:56 PM
... my experience of the last 6 years is that Bush 'gets away' with a lot more than Clinton ever did. ..
Huh ? Bush has been in office only 2 1/2 yrs.

opherdonchin
07-17-2003, 02:09 PM
Well, to make a comparison, I have to include some Clinton years as well.

We're getting into details, but it is interesting that the launch against the aspirin factory didn't provoke as much hostility among republicans as the affair with Monica. Still, there are important differences between that launch and the war in Iraq. Specific to this discussion is the fact that Clinton didn't try to sell the launch using information that he had been repeatedly warned was unreliable. Indeed, when it became clear that the intelligence had been faulty, my memory has it that Clinton took responsibility for the mistake. This is what makes the difference between what looks to me like an honest mistake and what looks fishy.

Most of the issues you mention I have little trouble with. They just don't seem to me to be deep issues of national policy. The pardons are one that I do have trouble with, and I have little to say that excuses Clinton on that score. The 'gutting' of the CIA I know nothing about.

And here's the point, Jaime: I'm willing to entertain the possibility that Clinton was flawed or made serious mistakes. I felt that he was a good president, but I recognize the difficulties people had with him both on the left and on the right and (on both the left and the right) with his personal conduct. I'm not sure that you are really entertaining the possibility that Bush and his administration may have made some serious mistakes. That's all I'm asking.

opherdonchin
07-18-2003, 01:36 PM
Now is it possible that President Bush made mistakes, Sure. Is it possible he "hyped" the war, sure. But to say right now right here that he did either of these things is not a search for the truth but rather a witch hunt to hang the first republican the Dems can get.Here is the heart of the matter, from my point of view.

I wonder, though, when and how you think the democrats (or the media) should raise these issues. Bush refused for days to treat the issue with any seriousness, and that infuriated a lot of people and encouraged the sense that he had something to hide. This is not an administration that is noted for openness and a real willingness to explain and share its motivations and workings. That leads the press (and also the democrats) to feel that if they want to find something out, they may have to hit it hard.

The question of whether Bush (or people in his administration) knowingly hyped the war seems like a reasonable question. I'm not sure how you could address it today in any other way than how it is being addressed.

Neil Mick
07-21-2003, 01:56 PM
The question of whether Bush (or people in his administration) knowingly hyped the war seems like a reasonable question. I'm not sure how you could address it today in any other way than how it is being addressed.
Bush & Co planned this war for years; Clinton was little better with his illegal "no-fly zones" and his little bombing escapades to divert attention from political snafu's (at least he played lip-service to international law, tho). I also have little faith in the tepid Democratic response to this wholesale and flagrant violation of international law: who voted the carte blanche for Bush to attack, when and how he pleased? A whole lotta Democrats. Sure, political expediency played a role, but why no subcommittees investigating the matter further, before Congress illegally abrogated its limiting power on the Executive Branch?

Plus, neither of you explore the incredible sleeze and ties of corruption between the Exrecutive and those corporations (Haliburton, et al) which most stand to profit. Cheney's still getting $$ from Haliburton fer pete's sake!

This last weekend I attended a gasshuku where Jack Wada Sensei mentioned offhandedly that the opposite of harmony is not violence: it is chaos. What state exists in Iraq, at the moment? Complete chaos. Funny, when you look back at previous posts in this thread that attempt to rationalize a pre-emptive strike, as some form of "atemi" before uke strikes (with phantom weapons, as we now know).

This statement also got me to thinking about a similar phrase: "the tyranny of structurelessness." When an organization operates under total anarchy, little gets accomplished. Everyone stepping over each other, working at cross-purposes--much like the government, today.

Tyrannical structures, promoting chaos around the world and at home, all for their own, self-centered purposes, leaving chaos in their wake.

Neil Mick
07-21-2003, 04:51 PM
I am also waiting to see thier opinion on the UN begging us to bail them out of Liberia.
Oh, I don't know: the only "begging" I seem to hear nowadays is Bush, begging other nations to bail him out of his snafu'd adventurism in Iraq, as the US soldier death-toll mounts...

Neil Mick
07-21-2003, 06:07 PM
...and, for those of you who are interested in the latest US-soldier casualty rate, there's this website (http://lunaville.org/warcasualties/Summary.aspx), which also does a pretty good job of documenting the causes, etc. Apparently, the US-media, and the military, are underreporting the figures.

opherdonchin
07-22-2003, 02:01 PM
Wouldn't it be cool if Neil or Jaime or both actually changed their minds about something in this thread?

Erik
07-22-2003, 03:40 PM
Wouldn't it be cool if Neil or Jaime or both actually changed their minds about something in this thread?
Ok, I have not posted in this thread for 600 posts, or thereabouts, but I can't resist this one. My fantasy debate is Neil Mick vs. Jaime McGrath. Neil must present the virtues of President Bush. Jaime must present the virtues of President Clinton. Whomever shows the most passion and enthusiasm for their guy wins. We'd probably have to put up some money but I think it would be worth it.

:D :D :D :D :D

opherdonchin
07-22-2003, 04:10 PM
How bout you what have you changed your mind about on this thread?Well, it's hard to know if the thread changed my mind or other things, but I've changed my mind about a few things since the time before the war started.

1) I thought that the WMD argument was a fairly convincing argument both for the legitimacy of the war (under international law) and for the possibility of an imminent threat. I felt that it was unlikely that Bush and his administration would lie about something like this and that they had some hidden cards that they had not yet played. I currently believe that their was no such card and that the war should have been delayed until a significant international coalition could be built.

2) I did not believe that the war could have a positive influence on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but I have changed my mind about this as well.

There are others, but I figured one from each 'direction' would serve as illustration.

So, what are the issues that either of you (Jaime or Neil or, really, anyone else) is most likely to change their mind about. That is, where do each of you feel, personally that you 'side' has the weakest arguments?

opherdonchin
07-23-2003, 08:58 AM
Sure thing.

It doesn't have to be a weak argument. Just the one that is weakest of all the excellent, strong and (to Neil, completely unconvincing) points that you make.

Neil Mick
07-23-2003, 03:45 PM
You seem so concerned for soldiers lives but didn't you tell me you were for the US bailing the UN out of Liberia? [/URL]
No, I am not for the US "bailing" anyone out: I am for the US participating in he UN, per their signatory obligations.

And, what does "concern for soldiers" have to do with Liberia?? Apples and oranges.
Wouldn't it be cool if Neil or Jaime or both actually changed their minds about something in this thread?
How bout you what have you changed your mind about on this thread?
The intention to these posts, from my perspective, is to develop a form of "aiki-discourse." In this light: do you wish to "prove" to uke how "right" you are? How wrong?

No: right, or wrong, is not my issue. I post to explore the way others think, and to deepen my own thinking, on issues. I doubt I'll ever convince Jaime (or, even Erik) of how "right" I am: I wish to explore why they think this way.
Neil must present the virtues of President Bush. Jaime must present the virtues of President Clinton. Whomever shows the most passion and enthusiasm for their guy wins. We'd probably have to put up some money but I think it would be worth it.
Hey Erik: long time no see. Welcome back.

But, I don't think Clinton was a very good President. I think he was a sellout to his causes, and his rush to the Right for political gain was disappoining, TSTL.

Now, if we're going to use Nader...

But, here's my opening praise for Bush: I like how he keeps inserting his foot deeper into his mouth, with nearly every speech...he's a good rallying-point, for the Left. :D
Weak arguments? This was addressed to Niel right? ;) Cause I sure don't have any.....

Life is a big game of poker my friend....
A self-deluding mind is a terrible thing...

No weaknesses, Jaime? Oh, really? Like: the continual claim of how dangerous Hussein was? The scary weapons of mass destruction he obviously has? The cheers, the flowers and music that would greet American troops, as they came into Iraq to liberate them? Remember those claims you made?

I say this gently (and, believe it or not: with regret), but let's face it: I was right. Almost every post I made claimed that there were NO wmd's. And, in spite of Fox, et al, full-color maps of "suspected" sites: there is no evidence to the contrary. I made claims that Bush lied, and guess what? He did.

The US occupation is far from the "celebration of freedom" for Iraq: it's more like a cynical photo-op. Even the staged yanking-down of Hussein's statue had only a few dozen Iraqi supporters. The Baghdad Museum looted, the Ministry of Education burned, the hospitals in Iraq looted and in permanent crisis-triage mode.

Most of my predictions were proven accurate, I'm sorry to say. I wish I were wrong, believe it or not. I'd MUCH rather that you were right Jaime--that the US invasion heralded a new age of freedom and liberation, for Iraq. I'd rather not have to think about 7000 Iraqi's dead, and 10's of thousands displaced, wounded or psychologically damaged, by US terror. I think that if I WERE wrong, the world would have been a much safer place.

But, I wasn't wrong. If anything, I overestimated the effect the war would have upon the movements of refugees. And I also claimed that the war would cost trillions of dollars, take 10 years to get out, and cost 44,000 lives. At this rate ($4B/month), it appears that I underestimated the cost. the way we're going, the US will be in Iraq, for much longer (look at similar military occupations in history, and they all follow a similar pattern. Barbara Tuchman's "From the Jaws of Victory" is a good examination of this phenomenon of self-deception, of the occupying army).

But, I arrived at this opinion by reading sources I trusted, and making summations from those sources. Jaime (and Opher, and Erik) did exactly the same. None of us has an "inside track" of intelligence-info.

But, the ONE thing I think that Jaime and I both worked toward, is to mutually increase our tone of respect, for each other. In this, I believe we have both improved, greatly.

opherdonchin
07-23-2003, 04:00 PM
But, the ONE thing I think that Jaime and I both worked toward, is to mutually increase our tone of respect, for each other. In this, I believe we have both improved, greatly.That's very true, Neil. I should have said a long time ago how impressive it's been to watch, but I was too busy enjoying it and kept forgetting to say so.

Still, is no one going to come forward and actually admit that some argument they made was slightly weaker than any other. Neither of you has had to rethink any of their positions since the build up to the war? That's wild!

Neil Mick
07-23-2003, 07:59 PM
Still, is no one going to come forward and actually admit that some argument they made was slightly weaker than any other. Neither of you has had to rethink any of their positions since the build up to the war? That's wild!
Well, I think you're asking a question slightly at odds with the way humans process, and reality-testing.

Let's say, for instance: that Hussein DID have wmd, and proof positive were found. I for one would quietly accept my mistaken presumptions, and internalize it into my worldview, witohut even realizing it (not that I'd be very forthright about my mistake, to be honest--no one likes to have their misconceptions rubbed in their faces). I'd find some facet of the American occupation that justified my precepts about how mistaken the invasion was (not perhaps, so strongly as I do, today, of course: as my preceptions were mostly correct, from my perspective). I'm sure that Jaime is undergoing a similar process.

Also, remember that were are living in the midst of an event that has yet to be resolved. It generally takes about 20 years for things to settle down and the historians to consider the wider implications of international events.

Personally, tho: I don't THINK my preconceptions were too far off, but if you can point out a fact or observation where I was wrong, I'm all ears.

Abasan
07-24-2003, 02:57 AM
"Also, remember that were are living in the midst of an event that has yet to be resolved. It generally takes about 20 years for things to settle down and the historians to consider the wider implications of international events. "

Actually, its the victor that writes history. As can be seen time and time again. Witness the birth of Isreal for one. Britain and America wrote the last 60 years of Middle East history with that one.

I wonder 60 years down the road from now, what sort of ripples made today that would turn to maelstorms.

"Update! We got Husseins 2 sons!"

Glad it finally happened, wished you got Saddam Snr as well. But truly wished that it didn't have to have the Invasion to realise this. Also, though you may feel they are the tyrants of the world, some thousands of Iraqis may well feel the same about Bush. Who knows... Update! We got Bush's son! might well be something they'd cheer for.

Neil Mick
07-24-2003, 03:12 AM
I couldn't have said it all better myself, Ahmad: I totally agree.

opherdonchin
07-24-2003, 06:17 AM
Neil, I really enjoyed that analysis of how human beings adjust their idea to accomodate new information. It really seemed right on the money and you described it very nicely. I have to admit that I am "asking a question alightly at odds with how human beings process." Still, I think my question is fair and interesting and there is no reason that you and Jaime can't take a fair stab at it.
I don't THINK my preconceptions were too far off, but if you can point out a fact or observation where I was wrong, I'm all ears.I don't particularly think your preconceptions were too far off, nor Jaime's for that matter. What I'm interested in knowing about is the places where you think they were MOST far off. For instance, looking at your post, perhaps you think the arguments being made about WMD and Bush's sincerity are weaker than other arguments (the deaths of Iraqi civilians) because the failure to find WMD could still be reversed tomorrow. I don't know.

It's a common strategy in planning a debate to look at your own position critically and be honest with yourself about its weaknesses. I actually suspet that both you and Jaime engage in that sort of self-analysis and strategising, or else you could not be such effective debaters. All I'm asking is for you and Jaime (and anyone else who wants to) to share those thoughts with us publicly.

opherdonchin
07-24-2003, 11:03 AM
some thousands of Iraqis may well feel the same about Bush. Who knowsAnd Niel agreeing with this makes it seem you believe the US and the Bush administration is more dangerous to civilization than Hussein was?I don't think that they're saying that, Jaime. They're just saying (accurately, I believe) that some Iraqis may feel this way. I certainly don't feel this way, but I bet there is a good number of Iraqis that do.

Neil Mick
07-25-2003, 06:40 AM
What I'm interested in knowing about is the places where you think they were MOST far off. For instance, looking at your post, perhaps you think the arguments being made about WMD and Bush's sincerity are weaker than other arguments (the deaths of Iraqi civilians) because the failure to find WMD could still be reversed tomorrow. I don't know.

It's a common strategy in planning a debate to look at your own position critically and be honest with yourself about its weaknesses. I actually suspet that both you and Jaime engage in that sort of self-analysis and strategising, or else you could not be such effective debaters. All I'm asking is for you and Jaime (and anyone else who wants to) to share those thoughts with us publicly.
I've been giving this comment a fair amount of thought, as you've made the point in the past and it's a good question, if not difficult to answer.

But first, I have to make the point that there's a difference between an observation, and a debate strategy. From my perspective, my observations have been spot-on, 85% of the time. Since Jaime and I are often on opposite sides of the observational fence, ONE of us has to be at least a little off, and I've already made my point about who's "right" already, so I won't belabour it.

Regarding my debate strategy, or style: I find that I tend to polarize my position, too early in a conversation. It happened last night as I was leaving the dojo, in fact: I was wearing a political T-shirt (which, I rarely do when I go to the dojo, believe it or not, as I feel the dojo is not the place for political debates. Last night I just forgot to remove it before going to train) and just as I left, someone read the message (which dealt with Muslim men being singled out for undue processing by the INS). THe woman who read it wasn't even aware of the existence of an Office for Homeland Security, and this immediately brought on a full-bore discussion between about 5 of us on the relationship between prejudice, racism, and official policies (as a side-note: have any of you noticed an increase of political discussion, of late? Everywhere I go, it seems, ppl are talking politics). Several of them initially felt it acceptable to earmark Arabs entering the country for fingerprinting,and undue processing.

Before I knew it, I was practically arguing that there's no difference between racism, and prejudice; but after a few second's consideration made me change my stance. I find that I get "pulled off my center" sometimes, when someone makes an opening statement that pushes my buttons, both here and in verbal conversation.
I don't think that they're saying that, Jaime. They're just saying (accurately, I believe) that some Iraqis may feel this way. I certainly don't feel this way, but I bet there is a good number of Iraqis that do.
I can't speak for Abasan, but yes: I think that Bush is more dangerous to civiliztion, than Hussien. Certainly, his doctrine of pre-emptive strike, and his wholesale abrogation of civil liberties, sets a dangerous tone for the world. Other world leaders (Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey, etc) have enaceted repressive laws that mimic the Patriot Act, so even on this basis alone, Bush is more dangerous.

Neil Mick
07-25-2003, 12:47 PM
You know what? I resent labels such as "Neil kooky" (note the correct spelling of my name). I could easily counter your argument, but when I see petty labels such as this one, I see little else. Please stop it.

opherdonchin
07-25-2003, 02:08 PM
I am against the ICC as it violates the 11th amendment of the constitution.

"The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state."I was interested in your statement of principles, Jaime, but I was confused about this one. I'm not sure how a constitutional limitation on U.S. judicial jurisdiction is relevant to the establishment of an international court. Indeed, this limitation on our own jurisdiction seems to say that we need an international court to settle such bi-national cases, doesn't it? Maybe I'm not understanding it right.

I also found the Sept. 11 insider trading thing sort of interesting (I agree with Neil, though. Please don't call him kooky.) I can't say that I'm convinced, but it would be interesting if charges were actually brought or terrorists actually tracked down using this information.

Neil Mick
07-25-2003, 10:23 PM
Neil, (<-correct?)

I was putting MORE stock into your "kooky" links than I was in the rest of that sites content. Dood in a round about way I was actually complimenting you..
Uh, thanks for the backhanded compliment. :freaky:

Actually, I distanced myself from the notion of any relationship between insider-trading and 9-11 because (believe it or not) I am allergic to conspiracy-theories. Some of them actually raise interesting questions, but I shy away from deterministic attempts to chart hidden, behind-the-scenes plots, as they also make the questioner sound a little "kooky" (to coin a phrase).

But, in my internet wanderings, I occasionally come across such info: if this is your flavor, perhaps these sites may interest:

Massive pre-attack 'insider trading' offer authorities hottest trail to accomplices (http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/HEN204B.html)

PROFITS OF DEATH -- INSIDER TRADING AND 9-11 (http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/12_06_01_death_profits_pt1.html)

Neil Mick
07-27-2003, 10:27 AM
Jaime: Thank you for the insightful links, old chap, they were quite insightful, and an interesting compliment to my ongoing research.

Neil: Think nothing of it, old friend. Anything for the cause.

SEE? That wasn't difficult, was it?? Sheesh.
I would stand next to you in protest arm in arm brother

Here lies all you have been protesting about, Here lies the TRUTH that NO ONE not even YOU apparently are seeking, This my leftist friend is the answer to the question you seek.... (I will no longer purposley help you with your cause)
I suspect that the only "truth" you'd accept is the truth that fits in with your own ideology. But, far be it from me to snuff out the genesis of a true-believer--here (http://www.unansweredquestions.org/images/Small%209-11%20Chart.pdf) ya go, with my compliments.

opherdonchin
07-28-2003, 01:36 PM
All right, all right ... we're getting personal again. The funny thing is that it's happening while you two are (as near as I can tell) agreeing. It used to happen when you were disagreeing. Funny world.

I, personally, am a huge fan of conspiracy theories. I don't read very much about them, though, because they make me feel paranoid and I hate feeling paranoid.

opherdonchin
07-28-2003, 01:54 PM
Um ... I guess the most interesting thing to me these days on Iraq is the best way to prevent the situation from devolving into what the press love calling a 'quagmire.' The claim in the press is that this will required international cooperation in Iraq, and that international cooperation will only come if we abdicate some control over Iraq to some international body. I wonder if people here agree with that analysis, and if they do what sort of framework they imagine being productive. Also, if a productive international framework were found and Iraq did get back on its feet, would that justify the war?

Neil Mick
07-28-2003, 03:07 PM
No. The war was illegal, undertaken because the US wanted the oil. Period. We need to own up to this, pony up the reconstruction costs, and get the heck out of Dodge.

I do agree, tho: that the US needs to abrogate control to the UN, as many Iraqi's are asking (when they're not being shot at, that is).

The sooner we get out of there, the better. This situation is echoing many long-term invasions that drag on for years and gets handed down from leader to leader.

opherdonchin
07-28-2003, 06:00 PM
Hold on, Neil, I'm not sure I'm following you.

If we abrogate control to the UN, a vast coalition of countries get involved and rebuild Iraq which becomes a vibrant democracy, the Iraqis are clearly better off than they were before and they are in control of their country (including its oil), and everyone (except Saddam) is happy, then what does it matter that the war was illegal? I mean, illegal or not, it made the world a better place (in my admittedly optimistic scenario).

Neil Mick
07-28-2003, 09:01 PM
what does it matter that the war was illegal? I mean, illegal or not, it made the world a better place (in my admittedly optimistic scenario).
Tell that to the 7000 Iraqi's now dead. Also, the actions of the US have destabilized international law and what's left of the world order. I sometimes feel as if I'm on a giant, rocking battleship, totally out of control in the midst of a great storm.

I suppose if we left right now, paid all of our dues to the UN and Iraq and rolled back the Patriot Act, then I might agree with you.

Fat chance of that happening. No, the war was initiated out of political expediency, and Bush will continue acting out of expedient. It would be bad for his political currency to pull out now: that would be admitting defeat.

No, he is acting exactly as all autocrats who sink into the quagmire of folly of this calibre: really, it will be up to Congress, or W's successor, to pull us out. Which is unlikely, and the cycle will continue.

opherdonchin
07-30-2003, 10:45 AM
Tell that to the 7000 Iraqi's now dead.That's a little bit of a funny comment in the face of the mass graves that have been uncovered. I think that those 7000 dead need to be seen in the context of the number of Iraqis whose lives were in danger under the regime.Also, the actions of the US have destabilized international law and what's left of the world order.This I have more sympathy with, although, like I've said, the recent (and limited) success of the Palestinian/Israeli peace process and a couple of other interesting developments seem to argue against that. Indeed, one could argue that Bush's refusal to work with the U.N. has highlighted its importance to many observers. If the world can ultimately influence U.S. policy and force Bush to deal with the U.N., that would be a substantial victory for the idea of international interdependence.

Neil Mick
07-30-2003, 12:44 PM
That's a little bit of a funny comment in the face of the mass graves that have been uncovered. I think that those 7000 dead need to be seen in the context of the number of Iraqis whose lives were in danger under the regime.
I'm willing to bet that the Iraqi's have a slightly different take on the picture. FWIH: many Iraqi's feel that they have only exchanged one tyranny, for another (I'm referring to the tyranny of chaos, lack of electricity, clean water and hospital facilities). The 7000 figure is only the tip of the iceberg, you also have to figure in the full costs of war, upon the living.

Also, you have to weigh in the fact that the Sanctions helped secure Hussein's power-base. For all, we know, he'd have been ousted years ago, without US interference.
Again: the ends, do not justify the means.

This I have more sympathy with, although, like I've said, the recent (and limited) success of the Palestinian/Israeli peace process and a couple of other interesting developments seem to argue against that. Indeed, one could argue that Bush's refusal to work with the U.N. has highlighted its importance to many observers.
Please, Opher: Bush's Oslo-style method of peacemaking is going to go the same "road" as Oslo...a dead end. The real issue is the settlements, and Bush (for all his delcarations) is not holding Sharon to the task of dismantling them.
If the world can ultimately influence U.S. policy and force Bush to deal with the U.N., that would be a substantial victory for the idea of international interdependence.
I shall be amazed if the world can influence Bush to do ANYTHING, much less influence US policy. No, actually: there is a suggestion in prevailing wisdom that Bush might actually start ANOTHER war in Iraq, before the election.

Just what Iraq needs: further chaos. We ought to call it the Bush "Afghanistization" Plan, for the Third World. :grr:

How can the UN (or anyone else) stop him, if this is in his agenda?

Abasan
07-31-2003, 03:25 AM
Jaime... sorry for the late reply. Everytime I visit this site, this thread moves another page forward!

Israels true history? I donno, what else could it have been? Still Palestine maybe...?

No WMDs in Middle East? No billions of USD flowing into Middle East Peace efforts? No suicide bombers? No 'Fence'? Maybe not even 9-11?

I wouldn't know truly. And its very subjective whatever the answer maybe. Maybe the Israelites have every right to their own state, whether that right allows them to invasion of anothers thats another thing. Certainly the Palestinians do have a right to their own state.

But I didn't really raise it up to discuss specifically on Isreal's history. It was just an example to illustrate what I meant as the victor writes the history in answer to your earlier statement. As can be seen, the historical implication is huge and all encompassing.

PeterR
07-31-2003, 02:25 PM
What I want to know is why the US forces were so quick to execute Saddam's sons.

The house was isolated, there were three or four people alive inside, no hostages, no pressure from outside hostiles, and the potential intelligence windfall was extreme. Whatever happened to tear gas or some other knock out gas.

opherdonchin
07-31-2003, 04:11 PM
What I want to know is why the US forces were so quick to execute Saddam's sons.I wondered about this as well.

Hogan
07-31-2003, 05:34 PM
I wondered about this as well.
What the HELL are the two of you talking about ? The "siege" lasted hrs, and the troops entered the house numerous times and were rebuffed. They retreated with injuries. His bastard sons died from the constant blasting - which lasted several hrs.

That was "quick" ? And since when does dying in battle equate with executions ? Executions mean one person killing an unarmed person not in battle - you know, like that famous Vietnam pic of that general killing that dude that had killed someone he knew ?

Ohhhhh I am sure someone will say, well, how do you NOT know the soldiers went in there and put a bullet through the head of his surrendering sons. If you believe that - that his sons would have surrendered, I have a bridge I need to unload. Interested ?

opherdonchin
07-31-2003, 08:15 PM
You're right, execute is the wrong word. The question, though, is as Peter put it:The house was isolated, there were three or four people alive inside, no hostages, no pressure from outside hostiles, and the potential intelligence windfall was extreme. Whatever happened to tear gas or some other knock out gas.It's not at all clear why the army had to bring in the heavy blasting it did in order to take out four guys with assault rifles when it seems (admittedly from the outside) that they probably could have been taken alive if that was a priority.

PeterR
08-01-2003, 12:42 AM
Joe and Jamie;

Chill a little - let's rephrase it a bit. Why were American soldiers put in a position where they had to take injuries and possibly fatalities when (and yes I am well aware I don't know everything but the cameras were rolling and the conditions I stated are pretty obvious) - they could have taken these guys alive.

Three men (albeit desparate hardasses) and a teenage boy against helicopter gunships and armoured personal carriers is the equivilent of taking out a fly with a Mac truck. For those that want to make heros out of the sons whoever made the decission handed them a gift.

I suppose it looked good on television - perhaps they needed another hospital rescue.

Neil Mick
08-01-2003, 12:25 PM
Still, it begs the question: why didn't they try a Noriega-style siege, and wait them out?

Assassinations are very much against UN resolutions (and, I think: the Geneva Convention). I've heard it argued that these weren't assassinations, and the military was acting in self-defence (but, this is not how the mainstream media is protraying it, with headlines like "2 down, 1 to go"). What do you think?

PeterR
08-01-2003, 02:19 PM
Still, it begs the question: why didn't they try a Noriega-style siege, and wait them out?
That was what I was trying to get at. The house was isolated - all they needed to do was turn on the Barnie Music.

"I love you, you love me, we're a happy ...."

Of course the Geneva Convention has something to say about torture.
And your suggestion of a media display shows a lack of depth of understanding of military planning. A high level soft target such as these they would not risk it for some media play.
Jamie - There was media play the moment they let in the news cameras - that fact also put the idea of operational security out the window. What you see is what you get. I really do think they put a bunch of people at risk because it would make good coverage and went for the blast the house to bits because it wasn't working. Call me jaded but the hospital fiasco does not give me a lot of confidence. You are right of course I don't have that much experience at the level the decisions were made - do you?

Joe - I understood only one of the four was killed by soldiers - the rest were killed in rocket strikes over a very short time period.

opherdonchin
08-01-2003, 03:49 PM
Is Mr. Hogan's name John or Joe?

Neil Mick
08-01-2003, 05:08 PM
That was what I was trying to get at. The house was isolated - all they needed to do was turn on the Barnie Music.

"I love you, you love me, we're a happy ...."

Of course the Geneva Convention has something to say about torture.
I know I'd surrenter immediately: and confess to anything they wanted (just, stop that damnable SINGING!)

opherdonchin
08-02-2003, 06:13 PM
Jaime, I get tired of being painted with either of the 'those opposed to the war' or 'those on the left' brushes. If I wondered about the choices that led to the deaths of the two brothers, I did on my own and with no help from any ideology. I'll be the first to admit that I have little experience with military strategy. On the other hand, the description I've heard of the situation made me wonder. It still makes me wonder, and your aspersions about my experience don't change that. You've said a couple of things about the considerations of the commanders in the field that I may or may not have considered -- most of them I did come up with myself -- but the whole picture feels to me, as you said, like it does not compute.

Now, if you want to help me understand, I'm actually very interested. I have no big problems with the two of them being killed, but from here it does look like keeping them alive was not a priority. And, as Peter says, it would seem, naively, that it should have been a priority from the point of view of military intelligence alone. That raises the suspicion that there were also good reasons for wanting them dead. It's not a strong suspicion, but it's there for me.

Any light you have to shed on that perspective -- especially if you can do it without abusing either the ignorance or political leanings of my position -- would be greatly appreciated.

Neil Mick
08-02-2003, 08:31 PM
Its come to a point that those opposed to this war seem to be grasping at straws in my opinion. People are making judgments on military operations who have had no experience in the military (I am not signleing anyone out). Day by day everytime something happens in this war there appears to be some "grand" problem with it.
Respectfully, the only "grasping at straws" seems to be those who said that this misadventure would be a walk in the park. Would you like me to pull predictions you (and others) made about this war?

The ppl who seem most accurate in how this war went are the NGO's: the humanitarian organizations.

As for me: I'm still waiting for that pretty picture of the "flowers and music" we were sold.

If there's any "grasping at straws" going on, it appears to be primarily from the Bush Administration, as their 28-pages of redactions and double-speak gets more thorny, by the day.

And, weren't the "major hostilities" supposed to be over? Isn't that what W said? Or: maybe he's going to "take responsoibility" for being wrong about that, too.

Neil Mick
08-02-2003, 10:00 PM
Would you like me to pull predictions you (and others) made about this war? :)

We both can do it (the word quaqmire, another vietnam, etc. comes to mind)
I wouldn't mind it, at all. Most of my predictions are (unfortunately) coming to fruition. I know EXACTLY how Cassandra felt. :(

And, regarding a quagmire: that is EXACTLY what is happening. The Iraqi scenario is showing the classic symptoms...right down to major denial by the invading leader.

The Saudi connection is, I admit: a new curl...but hardly surprising.

P.S. I'm pretty sure I did not use the Vietman metaphor too often. Not because it doesn't apply, but it has too much baggage attached. I prefer to think of the 100 Years' War, as a better metaphor, for the upcoming quagmire.

opherdonchin
08-02-2003, 10:46 PM
I understand that nearly 60,000 US soldiers died in Vietnam. The 100 Years War was, I suspect, much much bloodier. The war in Iraq has, to date, claimed around 200 US and British lives and (as Neil likes to remind us) less than 10,000 Iraqi lives. I don't think that any comparison to either of those wars is reasonable at this point.

On the other hand, speaking of things that I'd like the administration to explain: I'd like to know what the practical consequences are of Bush 'taking responsibility' for saying things in his State of the Union speech that.

AND I'm still waiting for Jaime (or anyone else who feels qualified) to try to explain, in a way that layman can understand, what factors in the situation made killing the Hussein brothers the most reasonable choice.

Neil Mick
08-02-2003, 11:45 PM
Oh, yes: the 100 Year's War was much bloodier. But, rather than end-results, I was referring to the actual PROCESS of folly, rather than the comparison to the other wars by casualties.

In the past, certain wars and military adventures follow a certain pattern (http://www.johnmnovak.com/2002/11/000008.php). Barbara Tuchman (one of my favorite historians) examines this pattern very well in "The March of Folly."

PeterR
08-02-2003, 11:58 PM
Barbara Tuchman (one of my favorite historians) examines this pattern very well in "The March of Folly."
I'm a great fan - A Distant Mirror is my all time favorite history book.

opherdonchin
08-03-2003, 03:12 PM
And, regarding a quagmire: that is EXACTLY what is happening. The Iraqi scenario is showing the classic symptoms...right down to major denial by the invading leader.
My opinion is Gulf war does not equal Vietnam. Any comparison is strictly for "shock and awe" politics... Get those dumbed down masses on your side....I'd be interested if each of you wanted to outline what you see as the important similarities and differences to the Vietnam war.

Right now there is a lot of shorthand going on that I don't really understand and it sounds a lot like 'yes it is' 'no it isn't' 'yes it is.'

Neil Mick
08-03-2003, 11:27 PM
***SIGH***

I guess if you keep throwing that democrat buzzword around you may get it to stick somewhere....

My opinion is Gulf war does not equal Vietnam. Any comparison is strictly for "shock and awe" politics... Get those dumbed down masses on your side....

I have always been for removing the house of saud and the islamo facist wahabs from power.

Ok if we are in Iraq for 100 years I will agree that it is a quaqmire:D
You just aren't "getting it."

During the build-up to the Iraqi war 2, you and members of the uber-Right were calling into question anyone's patriotism who cast aspersions upon the President's daily drumbeats to attack Iraq. Among other untruths, he claimed that Hussein had ties to 9-11 (a fact that you, as well as I, know to be wholly unverifiable; even tho most Americans STILL believe that there's a connection).

Well, guess what? He lied. He lied on several accounts. Now that American soldiers are dying daily in a war that he declared over (oh, sorry! I mean he said "the major fighting" is over: can't be having those POW's...I mean, those enemy combatants...that he wants to try without proper counsel in a kangeroo...I mean, military tribunal), and now that there are no, repeat, NO: wmd's found--all you can say is "the detractors are grasping at straws," "the witch-hunt continues (ha! Just imagine if Bill Clinton, or Jimmy Carter, said "bring 'em on," in the midst of an occupation where US soldiers are being picked off; instead of the corrupt multi-millionaire safely ensconsed in his white mansion :grr: )," and other "witticisms" that miss a central point (which, I think: is central to Opher's posts):

9-11 happened. Somebody f$%&'d up. Someone was responsible. Who was it? Why didn't the Congressional Intelligence Committee's who wrote the report list those ppl responsible (and no: I'm not talking about the President--I'm referring to those intelligence agents who knew of the terrorists, yet didn't share the info; and the ppl at the Pentagon who are supposed to watch out for attack. Where were they?)

Also: why isn't Bush being held responsible for the continual LIE he pushed, that Hussein was responsible in some way for

9-11? Why were the CIA and FBI told not to follow up on investigating the Bin Ladin family, and connections to Saudi Arabia? Why is the press falling down so badly, in asking the Administration the really hard questions? Why was the 9-11 report given less coverage in the mainstream than the death of Bob Hope (OK, I liked "Road to Morocco" as much as the next guy; but come ON)?
I'd be interested if each of you wanted to outline what you see as the important similarities and differences to the Vietnam war.
Militarily, there is very little difference. Both wars were begun on a lie (Vietnam--Gulf of Tonkin/ Iraq--phantom wmd's).

I was referring, however, to the continuation of a war begun upon a misunderstanding, pursued contrary to American interests, and pushed onward because the leader sees "no way out." In Johnson's case: he could not see retreat as an option because he didn't want to appear weak. In Bush's case (hazarding a guess): he is uncomfortable with the unjustified reasons for going to war. Effectively, he went to war for four reasons:

1) allegations of Hussein having wmd's

2) ties to al-Qaeda, and terrorists

3) allegations that Hussein broke UN resolutions

4) human rights violations

(of course, the real reason...the OIL...we won't mention, because Bush didn't).

The first two, being false, means that Bush very much needs to push #4 to the wall (#3 happened, of course: but this is not enough to justify an illegal invasion. Israel violated SC resolutions all the time). If he can FORCE the Iraqi's to comply with the occupation, he can justify it on the grounds that "democracy is happening, in Iraq."

But, he badly underestimated the Iraqi nationalist spirit, and he is caught with his ties to Saudi Arabia, and their connections to the terrorists (the very reason he invaded Iraq).

In short, Bush is in a real fix. Excellent. :cool:

Neil Mick
08-03-2003, 11:29 PM
I'm a great fan - A Distant Mirror is my all time favorite history book.
Thumbs up for Peter! I LOVED "A Distant Mirror:" read it 3x! :cool:

opherdonchin
08-04-2003, 08:25 AM
Militarily, there is very little difference. Both wars were begun on a lie (Vietnam--Gulf of Tonkin/ Iraq--phantom wmd's).The remainder of you discussion on this point seemed to have veered off the topic of similarities and refocused on demonstrating the claim that Bush was lying. So, if I were to sum up what you see as the similarities, it is that they were both justified with untruths and are being perpetuated because the leaders are uncomfortable with admitting a mistake.

I'd say that the latter doesn't jibe with my understanding of the attitudes of the Bush administration or of the American right. It may be a prediction about how they may come to feel, but it isn't how they currently feel about this war. They seem to believe that they are winning.

NPR has had a couple of pieces recently on the way that an American administration acquiesced to faulty British intelligence because it served the purpose of helping get us into another war. That was World War II.

Neil Mick
08-04-2003, 10:00 PM
The remainder of you discussion on this point seemed to have veered off the topic of similarities and refocused on demonstrating the claim that Bush was lying. So, if I were to sum up what you see as the similarities, it is that they were both justified with untruths and are being perpetuated because the leaders are uncomfortable with admitting a mistake.

NPR has had a couple of pieces recently on the way that an American administration acquiesced to faulty British intelligence because it served the purpose of helping get us into another war. That was World War II.
As I said: the Vietnam war has very little to do with the Iraqi war, militarily. In fact, I've said repeatedly that I tend to steer away from such comparisons because Vietnam is a loaded topic.

I was referring, in my last post, to the process of folly in both wars. The Iraqi war follows a similar pattern. The lies of Bush are just the initial gambit into the process of folly.

Your reply infers that its all about lies, and cover-up's, but there's a lot more to it; there's a process of folly, that is self-perpetuating. Again, I highly recommend Barbara Tuchman's book.

Regarding NPR: I put little stock in their soft-pedall'ed news analyses...but that's my slant.

opherdonchin
08-05-2003, 11:03 AM
Militarily, there is very little difference.As I said: the Vietnam war has very little to do with the Iraqi war, militarily.I'm guessing the first one was a typo and I was misled by that.

Neil Mick
08-05-2003, 11:03 AM
Yes, yes: please: apologize for the lie that was made in that "superbowl" of speeches--the State of the Union. Not in some after-press aside; not in one of his exceedingly few press conferences; the STATE of the UNION.

Your defence? "Well, Blair still continues to deny it's falsehood; so, there!" And: "well, CLinton made the same speech; so, there!" And my fave: "well, all the other nations said there were wmd's (with US prodding); so: there!"

Facts speak louder than words, my friend. Riddle me this, o defender a' freedom: where are those vaunted wmd's: that Bush thundered about and scared the US into 10,000 Iraqi's dead, 250 US soldiers also dead, and $4B/month spent? If Hussein were SOO dangerous...why not even ONE weapon found??

Umm...maybe our vaunted intelligence in which we spent so much of our valued tax $$ and sacrificed our civil liberties, is not so...vaunted?

opherdonchin
08-05-2003, 11:19 AM
You must realize by now that the whole "Bush Lied" mantra is a concetrated attack on the Bush administration.Actually, I don't see that at all. I do recognize that you see it that way, but whether it is a politically motivated attack is an issue that I don't see as particularly interesting to discuss. If the attack is politically motivated and justified, then it needs to be taken seriously. If it is politically motivated and unjustified, then it should be addressed on its merits and not for its political motivation.

The part that troubles me about your responses to my posts is that they skirt the issues that trouble me by blaming media bias for my concerns. My concerns are sincere, and they deserve to be addressed directly at the level of facts and issues and not at the level of supposed bias in my reading list.

So, the issue on the WMD claims of the administration, as I see it, is this: the administration certainly seems to have ignored and manipulated intelligence in order to make its case for war. It has never really denied this. Rather, it has claimed that whatever happened before the war, the war is justified by what is happening right now. You've also claimed this, more or less. I find that claim unsatisfying, even if it is true. That is, I want to know clearly how big a gap there was between the administration's presentation of the intelligence and a reasonable reading of the same intelligence. The administration has done very little to assuage my doubts in this regard; if anything, they have exacerbated them with a high-handed and evasive approach to the issue. If you have anything to say that would assuage my concerns, I'd love to hear it. Otherwise, I'd love to hear you say that you understand where I'm coming from and why this might be a concern to me.

I think the '16 word' reference actually came from an administration official (Rice? I can't remember) who was trying to minimize the importance of the issue. The administration official said something like "it's only 16 words in a 28 page speech." This displayed such a gross misrepresentation of the issue and lack of respect for the concern that it seems reasonable to me that they are now being hoisted by their own petard on that choice of words.

opherdonchin
08-05-2003, 12:00 PM
My question about Bush has to do with the intelligence that was available to him and the way he presented it. I admit that if WMD had been found, people wouldn't have raised this question, but the issue of his honesty would still have come up historically.

I think the issue of Clinton's speech (which I haven't read or heard and first heard about from you today) is completely irrelevant. Only if Clinton had available to him the same information that Bush had and was advocating moving American troops into war to pre-emptively address an imminent threat would the question become relevant. The standard of proof for going to war and for enforcing a no-fly zone or a continuation of sanctions is not the same.

Similarly regarding the informatoin from the other countries. For all we know, they also got their information from the British. The only question for me, like I've said, is whether Bush presented the intelligence that was available to him honestly. If he did not do so, and it appears he did not, then I want to know whether this was deliberate manipulation or a mistake.

opherdonchin
08-05-2003, 12:03 PM
The british intelligence (not just Blair) still maintains that this occurred. So where is the lie? What SPECIFIC sentence is a undeniable lie?I think that presenting British intelligence as credible when our own intelligence services have specifically warned the administration several times that they have serious doubts about it is quite dishonest. I think that there is a pattern of dishonesty regarding the administration portrayal of the WMD issue and that the 16 words are just the most obvious example of it.

Neil Mick
08-06-2003, 10:09 AM
I think that presenting British intelligence as credible when our own intelligence services have specifically warned the administration several times that they have serious doubts about it is quite dishonest. I think that there is a pattern of dishonesty regarding the administration portrayal of the WMD issue and that the 16 words are just the most obvious example of it.

Jaime: I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to agree with Opher, on this one. You are not answering the question that Bush lied, to go to war.

I could debate you on all of your questions: but what's the point? Several of them we have already discussed; and I agree with Opher that it is a dishonest approach to cast blame on all the other liars, when you are ducking the question of our very own, liar.

You also do not consider the major question I raised: who's to blame (within the intelligence community, and the Pentagon)
for the failures of 9-11? People seriously messed-up on 9-11: our country was left unguarded, and we knew in advance that it was happening. This is a serious failure people within the intelligence community, and the military. Who are the responsible parties? The 9-11 report also fails to investigate these parties responsible: something the committees who authored the report are tasked to do. They have also failed their tasks.

Regarding whether WMD will be found, and will I change me feelings about President Bush: the short answer is no. I fully expect that something will be found in Iraq--political expediency demands it. I also fully expect it to be forged, or planted, evidence. My only surprise is that the evidence wasn't planted sooner (it's already happened to George Gallaway, MP. Very anti-war, Gallaway came under suspician of taking bribes from Hussein when evidence "suddenly" was uncovered in Iraq, that he took bribes from Hussein. Very convenient...)

And when they DO present this doctored evidence: I fully expect the pro-war cheerleaders to jump up and say: "See? This is just what we've been saying, all along," without seriously evaluating the evidence for its validity.

opherdonchin
08-06-2003, 10:16 AM
Actually, there I think you are shifting too far in the other direciton, Neil. I mean, if you 'know' ahead of time that there are no WMD and you simply refuse to seriously consider evidence to the contrary then all you've done is divorce yourself from reality. In reality, neither you nor I nor Jaime know whether there are WMD in Iraq, and it's wise to stay in touch with this fact. A more productive approach might be to detail the sort of evidence you WOULD consider credible.

Neil Mick
08-06-2003, 10:27 AM
They have the head Iraqi scientist under Hussein at Baghdad airport; they've been investigating wmd's for 2 months; there's the report of Hamid Karzi (in '97, I think)--Hussein's brother-in-law--who testified that the inspectors got all the major programs, and there's not a single scientist or technician who has come forth and provided testimony of wmd's.

The empirical data pointing to the possibility of wmd's in Iraq is not looking too good. But, I suppose if the US "suddenly" found a James Bond-like facility buried deep under Baghdad, complete with tunnels, bad-guys with uzi's and warrens of store-rooms with VX-gas (along with full documentation in several other places that Dr. No's hideway has been a well-kept secret from the Iraqi's for years), then yes: I guess I'd eat humble pie and admit that I was wrong. Yet again, tho: the empirical evidence is not looking favorably toward this outcome. More likely, the wmd's will be planted there.

opherdonchin
08-06-2003, 11:52 AM
I love Thomas Friedman. He has a gift for sincere observation that goes beyond simple politics:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/06/opinion/06FRIE.html
Planting WMD, thats a new low even for you.No it's not. Neil has been claiming the administration will plant WMD since just after the war began.
[On the subject of whether Bush misled the public:] I answered it at least twice.Indulge me Jaime and answer it again, or link to your answers. All I remember you saying is that the State of the Union speech did not contain an outright lie. I think that can be disputed (I saw a nice counter-argument on the web that I can link to if you want), but it doesn't address a pattern of overplaying the intelligence. I feel like you've been consistently avoiding my questions on this subject, and if you feel you've answered them then I've missed it.

opherdonchin
08-06-2003, 01:30 PM
This page is just a list of quotations, some also from Democratic congressoinal sources. One staggering thing to notice is how long it actuallyis. It leaves me with the strong impression that the administration was claiming that they knew there were WMD in Iraq.

http://www.counterpunch.org/wmd05292003.html

Neil Mick
08-06-2003, 02:57 PM
That is not a question that is a Politically charged statment. I answered it at least twice. You have not presented any substanciated evicence just Kool-aid polotics.
WhatEVER, Jaime. Just look at Opher's link to quotes made by BushCo, and you see that they certainly set the climate of belief that Hussein was a threat to world peace. You can dance around this notion by claiming that "Clinton, et al" lied (so that makes it all OK); you can supply snappy comebacks till the cows come home; you can dissemble all you want, but you still have not acknowledged the glaring holes in BushCo's case for attacking Iraq, based upon an illegal doctrine, claiming that Hussein has phantom weapons.

I could argue (again! and again!) the points I've repeatedly made in the past--but what's the point? BushCo could come forth, claim that they lied for material and selfish gain, and the next day I suspect you'd be at the computer, explaining to all interested that it's all for US interests, that right equals wrong, etc.
911 failures? Thats easy.... Carter, Clinton, Reno, albright, BATF (hello echeolon!) and so on....I also blame leftists who can't read the constitution and prohibit law abiding citizens to be armed. I agree with you though on the report itself...
No, and no, and no. Again, you miss the mark by a mile. Did Carter, ClintonCo, et al: have anything to do with the failure to respond to 9-11? Did someone reinstate Albright as head of US security when I wasn't looking?

Let me break it down for you:

1. On 9-11, 2 planes crashed into the WTC; 1 plane crashed into the Pentagon; and one was downed (by the apparent intervention of passengers) before it reached its target (likely, the Capitol).

2. The Air Force (or whoever is responsible) did NOT just neglect to act in time: they neglected to act, PERIOD. There was no military response to the first major target-bombing on US shores. Zip. Nada.

Are you with me so far?

3. Now, I'm not a military authority or expert, but I'm positive someone, some person or group, is responsible for ensuring that this sort of thing does not happen. They failed in their job, of protecting the US boundaries. Totally failed. Not even a siren sounded. Nary a chartreuse alert-gong heard, from sea to shining sea.

4. These people need to answer some serious questions--like, where were they, on 9-11? Asleep? Reading "Playboy?" Why did they fail their duties?

5. Further: the CIA had prior information of an attack, and information of several sources involved, months in advance (if you like, I can provide links). And yet, this information was not shared inter- and intra-departmentally. Again, these people also failed in their duties. The questions of #4 need to be asked, of them too.

6. The 9-11 report by Intelligence Committee's WHOSE JOB IT IS to oversee the CIA and FBI neglected to mention specifics as to why (and who) failed in their responsibility, on 9-11. They too need to answer some hard questions--such as: why are they not providing specific oversight of intelligence personnel as they are supposedly mandated to do, instead of presenting a generalized, broad-brush whitewashing that slanders a whole organization, yet does not specifically detail the problems?

7. I have well-documented that BushCo has repeatedly (and inaccurately) tied 9-11 to Hussein. This is a bald-faced LIE. A fallacy. An untruth. He said it so many times that most Americans STILL believe in this lie. To date, he is STILL lying about Hussein "throwing out" the inspectors.
So there is no winning for you.
Where BushCo is concerned: no there isn't. I thought you'd figured that out by now. The evidence that his Administration is acting on motives of narrow self-interest is so overwhelming, I'd need a lot of evidence to believe the contrary (OK, I admit I was a little floored that he is considering limiting military aid to Israel in response to the apartheid Wall, but again: he can talk the talk, I'll be truly impressed when he walks the walk).
Missing Iraqi air force turns up

did we plant them? ANd why did it take us that "G-d awful amount of time (2 months)" two find this MASSIVE deposit of metal?
Because, my dissembling friend: we weren't specifically LOOKING for a "massive amount of metal:" it just turned up. We're not talking about a few tanks of poison gas here and there: we're talking thousands of tons of V-X gas, nuclear weapons facilities, productions plants, biological factories...just look at Powell's speech to get the scope of it.

Now OK: MAYBE Hussein gave it all away to his good bud's in the area, like Iran (ROFL :D :D); or maybe he buried them in the sand (on the verge of an invasion, Hussein buries these fearsome weapons...no doubt to spite Bush. A clever villain, that Hussein. Should have sent Bond in, earlier). Or: MAYBE he destroyed ALL traces of these plants, shot or silenced EVERYONE (and their relatives, and anyone they spoke to) who worked at these plants, buried their bodies in the sand, and killed the people who killed the wmd workers.

But, if you apply Occam's Razor: the simplest explanation of a phenomenon, is the likliest. Which is more likely: that Hussein gave his weapons to his enemies? That he managed to disappear, Houdini-like: all traces of weapons and people involved, before the encroaching invasion?

Or that a President, faced with limited intelligence (of Iraq), with a known record of lying: once again employed a proven formula of finding a (Arab) bad-guy and hyped the evident dangers to press his case for
war--a formula known to raise approval ratings in preparation for the next election?

Nah: it must have been Hussein's fearless ally: Dr. No.

P.S. to Opher: Thomas Friedman...brr. Back I say! Back, foul spawn! (*brandishing a book by Arundhai Roy*)

opherdonchin
08-06-2003, 04:15 PM
Hey Neil,

Your rhetoric feels like its getting out of hand, again. I understand that you're getting excited, but I don't think it's productive to accuse Jaime of dissembling, especially when done in an epithet. I could point out a lot of other stuff in that post that bugged me, but I think that you should at least apologize for that one because otherwise we're back to name calling.

Neil Mick
08-06-2003, 08:45 PM
I don't think it's productive to accuse Jaime of dissembling, especially when done in an epithet.
Well, I didn't think I called Jaime anything: dissembling--perhaps, but I could not locate anywhere in my post, where I called him anything. But, I apologize to you both if that's how you read it.

Yes, I am getting excited (more like: frustrated), but not angry. That's the problem with internet posting: you cannot see my face or hear my voice, and so you do not know my emotions behind my words.
What is funny you touch on so many things but you demonize oh so the wrong people (Who defanged the CIA? Whish they defanged the BATF (HELLO ESCHELON!) instead!)
I don't understand this reference: please explain.
Still when I ask for specifics to answer you and Ophers question you seem to be "sub-jabbing" or using minor personal attacks... No I really do not mind them but whenever I seem to be on a point or target you seem to escalate and accuse me of such banter..
Noo: from my end, I am experiencing frustration because you seem to be deflecting a question with a slightly unrelated question--thus the reason why I say you are "dissembling." However, I'm willing to take a back-step and assume that we are on slightly different wavelengths and chalk it up to the poor conveyance of the internet. Apologies.
Hey if we keep this up maybe the feds can develop an entitlement program for our "illness".
Lol!

opherdonchin
08-07-2003, 08:49 AM
A pattern? Show me. I will be happy to discuss.This page is just a list of quotations, some also from Democratic congressoinal sources. One staggering thing to notice is how long it actuallyis. It leaves me with the strong impression that the administration was claiming that they knew there were WMD in Iraq.

http://www.counterpunch.org/wmd05292003.html
I spent some time looking for a link that simply had the information with no (explicit) political spin (of course, the site is rabidly left, but I'm pretty sure there list of quotations is accurate). I'm still waiting to hear what you have to say, Jaime.

opherdonchin
08-07-2003, 02:42 PM
Omits the points I keep bringing up.. Ignores the full history of the situation for this whitch hunt of W.. Bush did not MAKE THIS ALL UP OUT OF THIN AIR!. There is a history that you are refusing to consider in this whole matterI don't know if I'm refusing to do anything. I think I've considered it, and maybe I'm questioning its relevance to my point.

In any case, what I understand you to be saying, Jaime, is that (A) it's true that the Bush administration said before the war that there were certainly WMD in Iraq, (B) you believe that they said this on the basis of credible intelligence, (C) you believe that they were right about this, and (D) WMD will eventually be found or else a convincing explanation of their absence. Is that right?

My point, in contrast, is two fold. First, that the Bush administration has yet to produce this credible intelligence mentioned in (B). It's true that a number of other countries also seemed to indicate they believed that the Iraqi's were developing WMD. However, it is specifically the Bush administration and their efforts to convince the U.S. and the world to go to war that concern me. They made claims that I believed and that influenced the American public and the U.N. Questioning those claims, especially in light of the failure to find WMD, seems reasonable. It would be best if the Bush administration explained the basis on which it made the claims mentioned in (A).

Second, the claims about WMD were supposed to be directly relevant to the argument for the war and for a pre-emptive strike. That is, it is implied that the WMD program in Iraq is an immediate threat to the U.S. Thus, it is not enough that some WMD program be found for the claims in (A) to be relevant to the question of going to war. The WMD program must also be sufficiently close to combat-ready that it represents a credible threat. This is not specifically claimed in (A), but since (A) was used to argue for war, it is strongly implied. While it's true that a WMD program might still be found, it seems fairly clear that it was a long way from being combat-ready. This means that the immediate justification for the war is significantly weakened. Thus, if the Bush administration believed that they were going to find a serious, combat-ready WMD program in Iraq, then, it seems, they were wrong and they should explain why. If they were not wrong, then I think they were being misleading, and I'd like them to admit that.

That's my effort to summarize your points and my points, as I see them. My direct questions to you are as follows:

1) Did I summarize your view correctly? If not, can you help me by giving me a clearer summary of how you see things?

2) Do you understand the two issues I'm raising? If there is something you don't understand about what I'm saying, can you point it out for me?

3) Do you see how someone might sincerely, and without political preconvictions, have the issues I'm raising? Can you sympathize with these issues even if you don't share them?

4) Do you agree that these are important issues? If not, and I assume you don't, can you help me understand where you feel that I've made some sort of mistake either through ignorance or through a failure of logic?

Clearly, since my questions develop in how much they ask you to step outside of your own point of view. That is, if I haven't understood you at all, there is not much point in you trying to understand me (although you are welcome to give it a stab :) ). Or, if you understand what I'm saying, but don't see how I got there at all, then, again, it'll be hard for you to explain what you think is wrong with how I go there. We'll just have to work with that understanding we can achieve and then build from there.

Neil Mick
08-08-2003, 12:46 PM
You might both want to consider the topic of a new book that's coming out-- "Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq," by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber. Since it's germane to the discussion, I'm posting (with link) (http://www.prwatch.org/books/wmd.html#contents) a description here.

"It was a day for the history books. On April 9th, 2003, millions of Americans sat glued to their television sets as U.S. soldiers and Iraqi citizens joined together to topple the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad’s Firdos Square. Like the fall of the Berlin wall, the fall of Saddam’s statue appeared to be one of those iconic moments that proved - spontaneously and undeniably - that democracy would always triumph over totalitarianism, that freedom was the great equalizer.

“If you don’t have goose bumps now,” said Fox News anchor David Asman as the extraordinary footage rolled, “you will never have them in your life.”

“Jubilant Iraqis Swarm the Streets of Capital,” read the New York Times headline.

Or did they?

In their eye-opening new exposé, Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush’s War on Iraq, Rampton and Stauber take no prisoners as they reveal - headline by headline, news show by news show, press conference by press conference - the deliberate, aggressive, and highly successful public relations campaign that sold the Iraqi war to the American public. April 9th seemed to confirm what Washington and pro-war pundits had been saying for months: that the Iraqi people would eventually come to see America as their liberator, not their enemy. Yet the American media chose to focus on headlines such as “Iraqis Celebrate in Baghdad” (Washington Post) rather than on a Reuters long-shot photo of Firdos Square showing it to be nearly empty, or the Muslim cleric who was assassinated by an angry crowd in Najaf for being too friendly to the Americans, or the 20,000 Iraqis in Nasiriyah rallying to oppose the U.S. military presence.

We’ve always known what good PR and advertising could do for a new line of sneakers, cosmetics, or weight-loss products. In Weapons of Mass Deception, Rampton and Stauber show us a brave new shocking world where savvy marketers, “information warriors,” and “perception managers” can sell an entire war to consumers. Indeed, Washington successfully brought together the world’s top ad agencies and media empires to create “Operation: Iraqi Freedom” - a product no decent, patriotic citizen could possibly object to. With meticulous research and documentation, Rampton and Stauber deconstruct this and other “true lies” behind the war:

-Top Bush officials advocated the invasion of Iraq even before he took office, but waited until September 2002 to inform the public, through what the White House termed a “product launch.”

-White House officials used repetition and misinformation - the “big lie” tactic - to create the false impression that Iraq was behind the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States, especially in the case of the alleged meeting in Prague five months earlier between 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and Iraqi intelligence officials.

-The “big lie” tactic was also employed in the first Iraq war when a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl named Nayirah told the horrific - but fabricated - story of Iraqi soldiers wrenching hundreds of premature Kuwaiti babies from their incubators and leaving them to die. Her testimony was printed in a press kit prepared by Citizens for a Free Kuwait, a PR front group created by Hill and Knowlton, then the world’s largest PR firm.

-In order to achieve “third party authenticity” in the Muslim world, a group called the Council of American Muslims for Understanding launched its own web site, called OpenDialogue.com. However, its chairman admitted that the idea began with the State Department, and that the group was funded by the U.S. government.

-Forged documents were used to “prove” that Iraq possessed huge stockpiles of banned weapons.

-A secretive PR firm working for the Pentagon helped create the Iraqi National Congress (INC), which became one of the driving forces behind the decision to go to war.

Weapons of Mass Deception is the first book to expose the aggressive public relations campaign used to sell the American public on the war with Iraq. It is a must-read for those who want to know how and why they bought this war"

opherdonchin
08-13-2003, 02:17 PM
I guess my point is they ALL specificallay said he had a WMD program... Furthermore you can not hold the President SOLEY responsible for faulty information if the WORLD was in aggreeance that he had WMD....I think that these are good and important points, Jaime. I also think that the amount of evidence needed to justify a suspicion of a WMD program is different than the amount of evidence needed to justify a pre-emptive strike. Certainly, the statements made by the Bush administration were stronger, more consistent, and more definitive than those made by any other administration. Really, it seems like the question between us is whether the rest of the world lacked the cojones or whether the rest of the world just didn't feel its evidence was strong enough to justify a war. Both are plausible interpretations. In fact, the could both be true simultaneously.

What would really help put my mind at rest would be for the evidence itself to be as clearly laid out as possible. Basically, it boils down to this: I believed the Bush administration when they said the KNEW that the WMD program in Iraq posed an imminent threat; this influenced my opinion about the war; it appears they were wrong about this; I'd like to know how that happened. Since, apparently, many in this country and around the world are in my position, it seems like the Bush administration might do well to be as forthcoming as possible. So far, I don't see this happening.

Neil Mick
08-15-2003, 02:55 PM
Why didn't you respond to Opher's post, Jaime?
Food for thought.....
It is neither food, nor is this piece of propaganda very thoughtful. Didn't you already post this piece of tripe already?

When, oh when, will you get tired of this "anti-American" moniker (it also runs counter to the spirit of our agreement, made on aikidojournal. Shall I begin to post, full-text, reports of American soldiers brutalizing and murdering Iraqi's and prisoners)? At the very least, this article eloquently displays why the term is so dangerous, and so misleading. The author equates all who resent the foreign policies of the US with anti-Americanism. Yet, even Thomas Friedman, hardly a Liberal himself (and far from my favorite author) acknowledges that most Arabs do not hate Americans, per se: they hate what the US gov't is doing, in the world. See, unlike this Islamophobic author, the Arabs understand that there is a difference.

Do you remember when I asked you how many Iraqi lives are worth an American life?


Remember the smiling face of that beautiful little girl who was on one of the planes with her mum.
So a few al-Qaeda tourists got locked without a trial in Camp X-ray? Pass the Kleenex.

So some Afghan wedding receptions were shot up after they merrily fired their semi-automatics in a sky full of American planes? A shame, but maybe next time they should stick to confetti.
Clearly, Mr. Parsons does not agree with your answer: he feels that we should all weep for the tragedy of 9-11, but has only sarcasm and rancor for possible innocents facing military death-trials at X-Ray, or little children shot and bombed at wedding parties. The difference? The color of their skin, and their religion, of course.
When the news of 9/11 broke on the West Bank, those freedom-loving Palestinians were dancing in the street.
Newsflash, Mr. Parsons: one tight-shot of Palestinians dancing on the streets (and played, over and over, on Fox and CNN) doth not a celebration of ALL Palestinians, make. There were also Iraqi's and Palestinians who ALSO wept, at 9-11...did we hear squat about them on CNN?
The fundamentalist dudes are talking about "opening the gates of hell", if America attacks Iraq. Well, America could have opened the gates of hell like you wouldn't believe.

The US is the most militarily powerful nation that ever strode the face of the earth.
Well, at LEAST he gets this right. And, it betrays the dating of this article. It's hardly party-time at Iraq, with Iraqi's enjoying their newly beloved fredom, is it? Maybe it's not "hell on earth" yet, but keep the water and electricity shut off long enough, and it will begin to look that way.

Take a piece of reality, magnify it to obsessive proportions, throw in a few demonizing hate-terms of the enemy, stir, bring to a boil, and viola! The propaganda is served. Propaganda is served best sans lies, chilled with a hearty dash of racism.

Neil Mick
08-17-2003, 02:56 PM
Neil,

I didn' mention the term. Shall I discuss the article or would you rather move on? I did not mean to bring up that whole anti- deal but thought his points on US restraint meritted discussion.

Let me know..

-JMc
Jaime:

Apologies if I came off sounding terse: my annoyance was more directed to the article, than at you. Still, please consider the points I made about the usage of calling ppl at odds with US policy, "anti-American."

Regarding restraint: sorry, but the US military will use restraint because they cannot get away with more. If they could, they would. As powerfully centralized as BushCo is, they are not all-powerful. The wide ranges if ppl simply opposed to the war alone (retired CIA, generals, military, State Dept officials, to name a few) show just how far out right field this whole stratagem is.

Not to mention, of course: the fuzziness of "retraint." Personally, I don't think that 600T of DU dust, cluster bombs on civilian targets and "Shock-and-Awe" were MY ideas of "restraint." Call me silly, but I tend to take international law, somewhat seriously.

Neil Mick
08-17-2003, 07:41 PM
To quote one Michael Neal: "It just gets worse and worse, for you guys," referring to the anti-war advocates, during March.

No Michael: it just gets worse, for us all (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=564&ncid=564&e=5&u=/nm/20030817/ts_nm/iraq_cameraman_dc_11).

Neil Mick
08-18-2003, 09:24 AM
May I ask how you can be so concerned with a "powerfully centralized" "BushCo" but not hold these same fears of a socialist global one world government a.k.a. international law a.k.a IHOD?
Sure, you can ask, but your ad hominem attack on the UN makes it difficult to respond. I'm not being flip, Jaime: I honestly do not see the comparison. If you can show me, for instance, where the UN sanctioned an attack upon the US, bsed upon faulty intelligence (or ANYONE, FTM); or if you can show me a case where an American citizen was stripped of his/her rights and thrown in jail on UN sanction, or show me a UN law that attacks my civil liberties; or EVEN show me how the UN uses its "socialist gov't" to push corporate avarice disguised as humanitarian concern (OK: you MIGHT be able to demonstrate this one, as the WHO and the World Bank have an uncomfortably cozy relationship with each other), THEN I could understand the comparison. As it is, I fail to see how the UN is directly affecting me, in the same manner as BushCo.
It seems a double standard to accuse "BushCo" but ignore the obvious inconsistancies of IHOD (Ignore Iraq but cry and whine for the U.S. to take a "lead role" in liberia).
This is easy: Iraqi's never asked for our help; Liberians did. But, I never "cried and whined" for the US to take a "lead role" at all: in fact, I waffle on my stand, for US intervention.
We the US are a humane bunch and will go in there and fix the mess that IHOD couldn't.
*must...control...gag...reflex...must...*

"...humane...??? Riight. But, to the central point, I'm betting that we'll sit back, let ECHOWASP do the dirty work, and then come in and "restore peace" (read: set up a new dictatorship, to our liking) when the US feels the time is right, or if they do not like the emerging gov't (they especially hate govt's that cater to the lower class).
ALthough personally I am starting to think let UN fight UN wars and we will fight ours. We get no support from them but they want our support?
Your disdain for the UN is well-documented. You'd rather they were abolished, to be replaced with a fanciful democratic "gentleman's club," with understood rules of conduct, or some other dimly envisioned alternative. As bad as the UN is, I'd take it any day, over a vaccuum, or some vague promise from some of the members of BushCo (Richard Perle comes to mind) that the world would be better off without them.
On restraint... Well "silly" ;) given the fact we could have rolled Iraq like a cigarette in two minutes with a 90% attrition rate shows "restraint" and by not bowing down and licking the boot heels of these Global Socialists we also re enforced our sovereignty.
Hindsight sure IS 20/20, isn't it? Truth is, Jaime: NO ONE knew how long it would take, to invade Iraq. Even Rumsfeld said this. But, at LEAST you admit that the invasion was instigated for the purposes of US sovereignty. Hallaleuiah!

Too bad you don't "get" the effect of the peace movement, and its relationship to that vaunted restraint. If there were no outcry to the war, BushCo WOULD have rolled Iraq "like a cigarette."
when the power goes out for 50 million of your brothers and sisters you can wonder if it was terrorism and hope and wait for 3 days for the power to come back on to find out (lovley realization just how much the world has changed since september 11th).
You know, I'm so glad you mentioned this fact. You eloquently show the terrorizing effect the media plays upon you.

When rolling blackouts hit California, did I sit there and wonder whether terrorists attacked? No! I sat there and knew that it was a. the sellout deregulatory policies of Pete Wilson; and b. PG&E taking advantage of same. I didn't think "terrorists" because the media didn't blare headlines like "NE massive blackouts; terrorism ruled out;" or "the expected terrorist attack was not a part of the massive blackouts: maybe it will happen on the anniversary of 9-11 (but, if they had: I might have--I am not immune to the effect of media, either)." Terrorism is the new bugaboo that replaces the eevil spector of communism, from the 50's.
Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger
Respectfully: you, and other pro-war advocates, are so hyped up on fears of terror, that you expect an attack to come along, any day. This, I expect is why you were so eager to hand over your civil liberties: small cost for security, isn't that what you used to say?

Well, I'm hazarding a guess that, by now: you're beginning to realize that the costs AREN'T so small, nor the security so completely assured.
These inconsistancies to me suggests that it has nothing to do with "peace" or lying (ignoring clintons numerous scandals) but has to do with other political ideologies that are furthered by using issues of the day to smear thier opposition in an attempt further thier cause.
But, again: that's not the point to Opher's question. Bush made a case to invade Iraq, based upon 4 points I made, in an earlier post. Two of those points were fallacious, one was questionable (as the welfare of the Iraqi's is hardly a concern, when they protest en masse over such things as the gov't we hand-pick for them, or the incredible lack of preparation BushCo made for a relief program, or why the damn lights aren't even back on (instead of worrying about terrorists causing your lights to go out, Jaime: you should have thanked your lucky stars that your country has a stable infrastructure to bring them back on, unlike in Iraq)), and one is specious--by your own logic: if Hussein was violating SC resolutions, then the US was hardly in a position to enforce those resolutions, either...for several reasons (one of which: they set up a unilateral "no-fly-zone" totally independent of the UN). The US was hardly the pure and innocent bringer of justice to the evil and duplicitous Iraqi gov't.

Bush made a case to attack, and he failed to deliver the required evidence justifying a pre-emptive attack (an illegal doctrine that is now shown to have no grounding in reality). The fact that you question the motives of those ppl who are asking the questions STILL does not diminish the fact that he FAILED to justify his case.

I suspect that you will NEVER acknowledge this failure. This is unfortunate.
he does not dance and decieve the American public like the previous administration who came out and LECTURED US on the very definition of "is". He will come out and say what he means all while the left uses their media power to try to paint W. as stupid and try to guide the average American opinion(like they did to Reagan, Quayle, and W.)which they did so well during the Clinton presidency but are actually failing now.
Oh, please! Get out the violins and play "my heart pities for thee," for pooor, picked-on BushCo! You pick on Clinton for lying about his extramarital affairs, but Bush is OK for lying, because everyone else did it, and the the motivations of the accusers are suspect? Does anyone ELSE see something wrong, with this picture??

Neil Mick
08-18-2003, 10:24 AM
We the US are a humane bunch
20,000 people (http://www.iraqbodycount.net/editorial_aug0703.htm), may well disagree. But, we'll proably never know--as a nation, we seem to care very little for the opinions of what, exactly: Iraqi's want (I'm guessing that it's not paralysis, missing eyes or severed limbs).

Saku
08-19-2003, 12:36 AM
Hi all,

There is news today in finnish media telling that US troops on the Iraqi borders do not let any other businessmen than from US or close allies of US to enter Iraq. This prohibits for example finnish companies to take part in rebuilding Iraq. Any thoughts on this?

Here is the link but unfortunately I could not find it in english, only in finnish.

http://www.helsinginsanomat.fi/tuoreet/artikkeli/1061211114257

Neil Mick
08-19-2003, 10:07 AM
a journalist cameraman is killed by accident because his camera looks like a [b]bazooka
"Luckily," he wasn't an Arab:

"US soldiers in Iraq shot dead Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana, 43, on Sunday August 17 while he filmed outside the Abu Ghraib prison in western Baghdad. Mazen was an award-winning journalist who covered the daily lives of Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank town of Hebron and had been covering events in Iraq since the US occupation in March 2003. He was a journalist of integrity and a valued friend and his death has touched us all. He leaves behind a wife and four children.

According to Mazin’s collegueNael al-Shyoukhi, US troops approached the team on Sunday while they were filming and opened without warning fire-hitting Mazen in the chest. Video footage captured by Mazen minutes before his death records the incident and shows that there were no disturbances in the area at that time. He bled to death on the scene.

Mazen worked for Reuters in the West Bank city of Hebron-a volatile region where hostility to journalists is standard practice. His work is chronicled in the PBS film “ In the Line of Fire,” a documentary about the working environment of Mazin and his colleagues. The film is a shocking testament to the deliberate harassment of Palestinian journalists by Israeli soldiers including beatings, tear-gassing and shootings. Mazen alone was shot over 20 times while carrying out his duties. Also testament to the dangers facing Palestinian journalists, Reuters had pulled Mazin out of Hebron in order to safeguard his life. Unfortunately, the US military would offer no better protection."

Neil Mick
08-19-2003, 10:45 AM
Media has nothing to do with my consideration of terrorism.
Respectfully, this idea borders nonsense. OF COURSE, your notions of terrorism are affected by the media. A person who refuses to acknowledge the effect of media upon their perceptions is the one living in a fantasy world, my friend.
Watching in REAL LIFE as friends and family were murdered by islamic-psycho-terrorists has alerted me to the ever present danger and the necessetie of preparedness.
Respectfully, I suggest that watching this horrible event has distorted your notions of the nature of terrorism.

How could the ppl of Hiroshima have "prepared" themselves for the bomb? Or the ppl of Baghdad? Short answer: nothing--just stay indoors, maybe; and wait. How many 9-11's have happened, since, in the US? Not a one. In Iraq, considering population percentages: every day of the war was a 9-11, to them. And, they had no infrastructure to rebuild; the war is still a reality, to them. In NY, ppl mourn; but the rubble is largely cleared away.
You are not worried about terrorizm because that champion of liberal causes Grey-out Davis warned you that it was going to happened for months all because of HIS mismanagment. (how large is the CA debt?) should we talk about your tax dollars going to tatto removal for crack-whores?
Judgemental, negative, and ridiculous. Sorry: but you weren't here--if you were, you'd see, plain as day the relationship between deregulation and the blackouts. It was like clockwork.

Also, to blame Davis (again, not a hero of mine) on the debt is absurd. How long was the guy in office? 6 months? Your very illogic of your post on Davis reveals the effect of media, upon your ideas of CA. Quit quoting from authors who know little more about CA, than you do.

Finally, I am not worried about terrorism because I see it from a distance, as does most of the US. Most of us weren't there, and ALL of us can see how silly multicolor alerts and duct tape are, when little happens in terrorist attacks here (knock wood). The US gov't's reaction to terrorism has been extreme, ineffective, distractionary and self-destructive.
The fact that you would even consider the influence for my readiness and concern for my family and friends is based on the media shows just how out of touch with reality you are on this....
Again, judgemental and negative. Hit a nerve?
I was there. Friends and family were victims.... This was not another Law and Order episode to discuss over a comfortable dinner.... 3,000 of my brothers and sister Americans were attacked and murdered that day (not on tv). So please consider this before you flippantly dismiss me as being sheepishly led around by the media because I hold a polar different opinion than you.
Again, my point exactly. You were there; this heightened your experience of terrorism. Your perspective upon the frequency of terrorist attack has been distorted by the media. Flip the subject and nationality around--consider the perspective from an Iraqi point of view. "You stupid posters who think that this is some kind of internet discussion. This was my home; my family are all dead, because of your country." I'd say that this Iraqi has a lot more to fear from US terror, than you, or I. The Iraqi's live with US terror DAILY, and yet you can count the number of major terrorist attacks in the past 10 years on the US, on two hands (and leave out the thumbs).

Also, you mistake me. I never suggested that you are "sheepishly" led by the media--we ALL are influenced by it. HOWEVER, you certainly WERE influenced by a network that regularly published misinformation.

I've noticed a similar tone from ppl who used Fox, or CNN, as their primary media source (just, as I noticed a certain tone from PBS-watchers, or Pacifica-watchers). We are ALL influenced by the media, and you are denying reality, by suggesting otherwise. I even did a term paper, once, studying the distorting effect of the media, upon ppl's perceptions of reality. It's not being "sheepish;" it's being affected by a technology...we all are.
BTW... How was your trip? Did you get to train with Opher?
Still haven't made it yet, to Baltimore. I'll arive there Wed-night.
Also you need to add one to your journalist count? Do cameramen count as journalist? Moral of the story... Make sure your camera does not look like a bazooka...
Yes, cameramen count. They ARE, after all: the media. And no--moral of the story: we all suffer, through colonial occupation...Iraqi's, innocent bystanders, even Americans. We suffer through needless waste, military measures to prop up a wasteful and environmentally damaging lifestyle, our global credibility, and ultimately, we shall repay our folly, with the lives of other Americans.

In short: as we sow, we shall reap.

opherdonchin
08-19-2003, 12:37 PM
Hmmm ... I was going to comment on the use of BushCo and IHOD, but I guess that got left in the past ...

I've gotten sort of lost in the long posts by Jaime and Neil. Maybe I'll just try summarizing what I understand each of you to be saying.

Jaime is saying that the threat of a repeat of 9-11 justifies quite a bit of 'pre-emptive' activity, even if the support for it is a little flimsy. If the support turns out to be wrong, he agrees that it's reasonable for people to expect an investigation, but he feels that Bush and his administration have provided enough details of what happened to make further investigation unnecessary. He suspects that claims to the contrary are generally politically motivated.

Jaime finds it hard to believe that any of the opposition the U.S. faces in Iraq is legitimate or justified.

Neil, on the other hand, feels that it would be very hard to find anything to justify the war in Iraq, and that the deaths of 9/11 pale in comparison to the destruction in Iraq. He rejects the argument that there is a difference between collateral damage and intentional targeting of civilians, and furthermore suggests, in the face of contrary evidence, that the U.S. actually does target civilians. He also implicitly rejects that argument, often made by Jaime, that there were more Iraqi deaths caused by the regime of Saddam Hussein than by the war itself.

Neil does not seem to think that there has been any improvement in the quality of life of Iraqi's since the war, and tends to dismiss any signs of support for American troops or cooperation with American troops on the part of Iraqis.

Do I have that right?

opherdonchin
08-19-2003, 12:41 PM
Jaime,

Please stop with the monikers: Gray-out Davis, Peoples whatever of Kalifornia, Kalifornia. It pisses me off. It makes it hard for me to read your posts. It's a sign that you are getting carried away with your own rhetoric instead of making your pooints clearly and precisely. I honestly care about what you have to say, and when you write this way, it makes me feel like YOU don't care about whether I manage to understand.

opherdonchin
08-19-2003, 02:18 PM
I don't think it's an issue of 'banned words,' Jaime. I think it's about using your words effectively and to the point. Like I've said a number of times -- and Neil and I had a 'fuss' about this way back in the early days of this thread -- the use of monikers and epithets is a way of scoring cheap rhetorical points and is used in place of, or distracts from, making ones that are cogent and reasoned.

As you say, I know your opinion of the U.N. as does anyone else who is reading this thread. Thus, it is not necessary to call it the IHOD. It neither educates nor informs; it just annoys. Similarly, I know that Neil thinks that Bush and his administration are in the pockets of corporate money. I don't need to be reminded of this every single post, but it is not unusual for Neil to remind me of it explicitly. Certainly, calling the administration BushCo does nothing to help me read and understand his post.

In the Palestinian (or Arab) / Israeli conflict the war over names is quite intense, and so I may have a particular sensitivity to it and disdain for it. By using names to rhetorically underline our positions in a discussion, we make ourselves seem inflexible and closed minded. It is also a cheap trick: either our discussion partner wastes time responding to the implied claims in the names we choose, or else they must implicitly accept these as legitimate usage. We are winning 'points,' but we are not furthering understanding.
Govenrment Schools for Public Schools.... Is this acceptable? ... What about entitlment program instead of welfare and prescription drugs plans for rich people. ... Where is this line I need to be wary of crossing.This is an excellent question. I would say that in a discussion where it is difficult to reach an agreement on names, it is best to be as considerate as possible and seek a neutral term that is comfortable for both sides. Thus, I can imagine having conversations with people who find 'Occupied Territories' to include unreasonable assumptions and with whom I may have to compromise on 'Territories' or 'West Bank and Gaza.' 'Judea and Samaria' would be going too far for me. Similarly, I can imagine conversations in which 'Palestinian terrorists' would make me seem unwilling to listen, and in that case I would be willing to use 'militants' but would be not be comfortable with 'freedom fighters.'

The goal is to find common ground from which discussion are likely to be fruitful. I feel that these terms do not contribute to that goal.

opherdonchin
08-19-2003, 02:44 PM
'Incorrect' is a strong word. The question I'm raising is whether it would useful. It's useful if it helps gets your points across without annoying your listeners. It isn't useful if it annoys your listeners so that it gets in the way of getting your points across or portraying yourself as open-minded and willing to talk and listen.

If you are looking for a rule of thumb, I'd tend to stay with the proper names of things. If you feel that the proper name includes too many loaded connotations for you, then go for a more neutral (rather than a more inflammatory) term. Thus, I can see where 'public school' might bother you. 'Government schools' strikes me as a reasonable compromise, but that's just me. GII (for 'Governmental Indoctrination Institutes') seems like it exacerbates the problem instead of solving it.

Remember, the goal is not to argue over names but to find the names we can reasonably use together to reach understanding. If you keep this goal in mind, I find that it is not usually too hard to find a way to express myself.

Neil Mick
08-19-2003, 03:40 PM
What next are you going to lecture me on Combat since you have less experience than me? Have you found the absurdity of your argument yet?
No lecture at all. I wasn't lecturing. But please: feel free to denigrate an honestly made point about the effect of media upon us all, by labelling my argument absurd. All the better than self-reflection, isn't it?

opherdonchin
08-19-2003, 03:44 PM
I think that homicide bomber is a silly and transparent propaganda effort, and that the suicide bombings targetted against civilians in Israel are so awful that this silliness belittles them. On the other hand calling them 'martyrs' or 'sacrifices,' as is common in the Arab press is worse.

As you can imagine, I think that Islamo-Fascist is pointless. I would reserve fascist for groups that identify themselves as fascists. Otherwise, I would say "I'd like to point out the fascist underpinnings of many of the Palestnian militant groups," but I wouldn't change the name I use for them. I might even remind people of it quite regularly: "As I've often said, a number of the Palestinian militants have an explicitly fascist agenda." Etc. Do you see the logic?

Neil Mick
08-19-2003, 04:01 PM
Saku Ohtonen (Saku) wrote:

<-SNIP->

Here! Here!.... You gotta pay to play my Finnish friend. I wonder what the Finnish definition of "businessmen" is...
For once, Jaime and I agree. For the US, it's ALL about "paying to play:" emphasis upon the word "play." The simplicity of this statement, again, eloquently displays what this war was about: showing the world that we're the "big, bad" superpower...you want in? You'd better play ball, with us.

Otherwise, piss off. The only thing that Jaime and I disagree upon, is whether this bully-boy aspect of foreign policy is a good thing, or bad.

Neil Mick
08-19-2003, 04:27 PM
Affected yes. but it is only information that I gather and assemble with other sources to come to my conclusion.
Riight. And I suppose: your earlier posts about posting to "defend liberty" and "being patriotic" were only because you feel the need to stand up and say the "Pledge of Allegiance" after each post??

Please, get real. The whole tone of conversation changed after the war ended. In fact, I hesitate to suggest that your tone would be COMPLETELY different, if the media were still engaged in this "yes-man" circus, the way it was during the war.
quote: Respectfully, I suggest that watching this horrible event has distorted your notions of the nature of terrorism.

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

Elitist, dismissive, and hyppocritical (see below)
You know: when you copy my style of writing, it lowers my respect. I'd actually prefer "IHOD" to parroting.
quote: How could the ppl of Hiroshima have "prepared" themselves for the bomb? Or the ppl of Baghdad? Short answer: nothing--just stay indoors, maybe; and wait. How many 9-11's have happened, since, in the US? Not a one. In Iraq, considering population percentages: every day of the war was a 9-11, to them. And, they had no infrastructure to rebuild; the war is still a reality, to them. In NY, ppl mourn; but the rubble is largely cleared away.

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

Tojo should have surrendured. Had we not dropped it the war would have continued and most likley hitler or tojo would have developed it and dropped it somewhere where the inhabitants were NOT trying to kill Americans. People of Baghdad or the Hussein regieme? Are you suggesting they would be better off under the Hussein regieme?
Neither you, nor I, know what would have happened, had the bomb not been dropped. I totally disagree with your assessment, but I'm not going to go there. It's not the point, and I fear you missed it.

My point is that the people HAVE no way to prepare for a terrorist attack, other than silliness like "duck and cover." Tom Ridge's home defence kit is little more than a band-aid to soothe the fear. You know it, and I know it (or, maybe you HAVE stocked up on duct tape and prepared a bomb selter for yourself, for all I know).
Dismissing 9-11 as you are doing continues to betray your ignorance on terrorism.
Jaime McGrath, "terrorist expert" :rolleyes:
Sure it has not happend since.. So are you suggesting we don't prepare, we don't fight those who are trying to kill us.. All is well all is fine... If you are not capable of seeing what the murder of 3000+ civilians fellow countrymen in an act of cowardice terrorism shows that quite possibly you have no concept of whats REALLY going on in this world but only you know the answer to this question.
OIC, and you do: Well, I like to look at results...can you please show me the results of this expensive "War on Terror?" Can you show me how bombing Afghanistan, or invading Iraq, made the US safer, please?
quote: Judgemental, negative, and ridiculous. Sorry: but you weren't here--if you were, you'd see, plain as day the relationship between deregulation and the blackouts. It was like clockwork.

Hypocritical point 1.

So I can not understand the polotiks of the Peoples Democratic Republic of Kalifornia because I was not there, But somehow I also can not understand Terrorism because I was here, All while YOU can understand terrorism because you WEREN'T there.
This is called putting words in my mouth. I never said I understood terror.
I can not understand how an instant blackout without warning should not concern me with terrorism because I was here and I should understand that a scheduled rolling blackouts would not have the enlighted Kalifornians concerned because I was not there?
More ppl die from car accidents than all the world wars, and the civil war, combined. Should I ascribe these deaths to terrorists?

Only if the media, and the President, keeps pounding it into my head, that this is not the case. "We have definitely established that the blackouts are NOT the cause of pink elephants. Remain calm; no pink elephants were involved, at all, or have any connection to the blackout."

Just try and not think of pink elephants, the next time the lights go out, if the President made this speech.
Was it deregulation of the fact that Kalifornia refused (by law) to open up additional power facilities (nuclear and otherwise) to meet demand and instead thought they could do it with solar and windmills? Or that Grey-out Davis actually COULD have prevented the blackouts with an executive order but chose not too. (he did not loose power I assume)
Again, you don't know jack-all about it: you take one aspect of the event, and ascribe it to Davis suggesting the use of solar. In fact, even DAVIS said that solar would make for only a small portion of the proposal. And, what's the point in going into this, anyway? What does the policies of Davis have to do with the role media plays upon fears of terror? I'm beginning to think that you're just bringing in your favorite bugaboo to argue with your favorite Californian (note spelling). :p
Again your "government knows best" stance is rather perplexing when they know best to keep the lights on but don't know whats best to keep Americans alive.
I never said either. They sure did a good job "keeping Americans alive" on 9-11, didn't they? Should have set up some landing-lights, for the terrorists, for all the response the military gave. :grr:
US terror? Maybe we should just pull out now and see what happens... I am sure it will be less terrifying than the US trying to bring peace and stability to a once terrorized people.
A capital idea. At last, we agree.

Neil Mick
08-21-2003, 11:35 AM
Jaime: I want to thank you for an interesting and engaging debate. I have to honestly say that I learned much, in discussing these issues with you.

However, I think it's best if we end this discussion. While I have learned a lot in discussing these points with you, I fear that this thread has turned into the "Jaime-and-Neil Hour," with Opher sometimes officiating. 1100 posts, and we still seem to re-hash the same issues. It gets tired, and even I'm getting tired, of exchanging rhetoric. I wish that others (especially ppl from other countries) would chime in with their views, but all too rarely, they don't. I would so love to hear from an Iraqi perspective, and I feel uneasy, speaking for Iraqi's (I feel even more uneasy, when you do it).

Clearly, we are not going to sway the other toward our own views, but I never considered this a goal. I wanted to exchange views and get a glimpse of how the "other side" thinks. I feel that I succeeded in this goal, and I have used this experience to debate some knee-jerk Leftists on talk-radio, when their rhetoric gets the better of them. I hope that my perspective has enabled you to do the same.

Again, thank you for an enlightening debate. I now cede the floor.

Abasan
10-12-2003, 11:11 PM
For all the talks and words, nothing really changes in the world and how US continues its domination. But to me, its worth it to know that not all and not everyone shares the same misguided views of America's much vaunted leader. It was an interesting debate much like nick has said, between two ppl of the same country with differing views discussing the fate of a foreign country. One not even participated by its home citizen. Perhaps those that can say something about it are already incarcerated somewhere.

Anyway, here's a follow up on the American Plunder of Iraqi Oil Issue for those who read this sort of stuff anyway:

COUNTERPUNCH

July 22, 2003

Corporate Slush Funds for Baghdad

Plugging Iraq into Globalization

By STEVE KRETZMANN and JIM VALLETTE

In early April, during the initial assault on Baghdad,

soldiers set up forward bases named Camp Shell

and Camp Exxon until Pentagon PR realized that

didn't look very good and ordered them renamed.

Those soldiers knew the score. Several months and

dozens of lives later, Bechtel, Halliburton, and a host

of oil companies are ensuring that the fledgling "free

market" in Iraq will be particularly free for US

corporations.

The ultimate prize in Iraq, of course, is oil, and the

Bush/Cheney gang has uncoiled a vastly

underreported legal and financial cord that plugs

U.S corporate control into these resources at least

through the year 2007. The basic wiring has two

prongs and is already complete. The first part,

created by the UN under US pressure is the

Development Fund for Iraq­ which is to be controlled

by the US and advised by the World Bank and the

International Monetary Fund (IMF). Unsurprisingly,

this is looking more and more like a slush fund for

corporate welfare. The second is a recent Bush

executive order that provides absolute legal

protection for U.S. interests in Iraqi oil. And a third

and final prong is being crafted to ground the whole

system and get as much profit as possible out of it.

The Corporate Slush Fund for Iraq

By promising the United Nations a threadbare role in

the reconstruction of Iraq, and giving the World

Bank and International Monetary Fund accounting

oversight, the U.S. managed to buy the world's

largest multilateral institutions into an incredible deal

for private U.S. interests.

On May 22, the UN Security Council unanimously

adopted Resolution 1483, which ended sanctions

and endorsed the creation of Development Fund for

Iraq, to be overseen by a board of accountants,

including UN, World Bank, and IMF representatives.

It endorsed the transfer of over $1 billion (of Iraqi oil

money) from the Oil-for-Food program into the

Development Fund. All proceeds from the sale of

Iraqi oil and natural gas are also to be placed into

the fund.

The fund, controlled by U.S. viceroy Paul Bremer,

has swelled to $7 billion, thanks to a $3.1 billion

contribution from the U.S. Congress, and billions of

dollars more in seized assets of the Iraqi

government.

And to who have the occupying powers pledged

these riches? The UN resolution states that the fund

"shall be used in a transparent manner to meet the

humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people." John

Negroponte, the U.S. representative at the United

Nations, told reporters after the vote, "the intent

is to use Iraq's resources and to dispose and

dispense Iraq's resources to the benefit of the

people of Iraq." That paternalism towards Iraq's

people is mighty white of Ambassador Negroponte.

This is the sound of the other shoe dropping in Iraq.

As soon as the Pentagon, acting as the armed wing

of the Washington consensus, clears the way, the

international financial institutions come running into

the power vacuum. In the creation and expected

implementation of the Development Fund for Iraq,

one finds the extension of global economic

restructuring as first envisioned by the Reagan

administration in the 1980s, and implemented en

masse through the 1990s. World Bank and IMF

programs, backed by the rigged rules of the World

Trade Organization, have imposed dramatic

financial restructuring upon much of the world.

Developing countries have amassed huge debts in

exchange for selling out their natural resources to

powerful Northern corporations. This paradigm

cloaks corporate welfare and neocolonialism in

terms of "poverty alleviation" and now in Iraq,

"humanitarian assistance".

The World Bank needs these cloaks to work,

because the dirty little secret here is that oil

extraction rarely alleviates poverty and inequities in

developing countries. In countries whose economies

are heavily dependent on oil exports ­ like

Iraq - drilling for development leads much more

commonly to increased poverty, civil war, and

totalitarian rule. Oil does generate a lot of cash ­ but

it rarely makes it beyond greedy oil companies,

crushing payments on debts to the international

financial institutions, and corrupt government

officials.

New debt will accrue through the very program that

Ambassador Negroponte said would "benefit the

people of Iraq." The Development Fund, derived

from actual and expected Iraqi oil and gas sales,

apparently will be used to leverage U.S.

government-backed loans, credit, and direct

financing for U.S. corporate forays into Iraq. Some

of the funds will finance reconstruction projects

approved by viceroy Bremer. But other funds will

also be used as collateral for projects approved by

the U.S. Export-Import Bank (ExIm), whose mission

is not development or poverty alleviation, but rather

the creation of US jobs and the promotion of

American business abroad.

On June 19, the U.S. ExIm announced that it was

open for business in Iraq and would begin

considering applications by subcontractors (that is,

companies hired by Bechtel and Halliburton) in Iraq

for working capital guarantees. Corporations have

found it impossible to obtain private bank credit for

work in Iraq, due to the ongoing insecure

environment. But ExIm has stepped in to take a lead

role in facilitating U.S. business in Iraq.

"The primary source of repayment," explained an

ExIm release, "is the Development Fund for Iraq, or

another entity established under the auspices of the

Coalition Provisional Authority with access to foreign

exchange and protection from claims of creditors of

the former regime." In other words, the US

government is happy to provide credit to any US

business wishing to do business in Iraq ­ especially

because the money comes from Iraq.

A corporate coalition, whose ranks include Bechtel

and Halliburton, welcomed the Bush/Cheney

administration's moves to use Iraqi oil to benefit its

membership. Edmund Rice, president of the

Coalition for Employment Through Exports, told

Reuters on June 25 that "we have received

strong support from the administration" for his

group's proposal to leverage oil sales as collateral

for bank loans.

Not surprisingly, Bo Ollison, an Exim spokesman,

called this "one proposal that a lot of people are

interested in and a main focus of the Bank."

Controlled by the Americans but funded by the Iraqis

­ how chillingly perfect.

Pushing oily immunity

Despite the promise of free public money, Iraq has

been a hard sell. Corporations have had two major

concerns, both of which the Bush administration has

obligingly dealt with. First, Iraq is quite obviously a

very dangerous place right now, and a lot can go

wrong (witness the ongoing sabotage of oil

installations). Second, there's the small legal matter

of who actually owns the oil ­ the Iraqi people, the

countries and corporations to whom Iraq owes

billions of dollars (read: Russia and France), or

Bremer and his Development Fund. The answer, of

course, is shaping up to be Bremer.

Hours after the UN endorsed the Development Fund

for Iraq, Bush signed an executive order that was

spun as implementing Resolution 1483, but in

reality, went much further towards attracting

investment and minimizing risk for US corporations

in Iraq.

In order to encourage the flow of oil revenues into

the Development Fund, the UN Security Council

declared that Iraqi oil and gas are immunized from

legal proceedings until Dec. 31, 2007. The intent

was to immunize the oil and gas only "until title

passes to the initial purchaser" and further does "not

apply to any legal proceeding... necessary to satisfy

liability to damages assessed in connection with an

ecological accident."

Bush went way beyond this language in Executive

Order 13303. With a stroke of his pen, he decreed

that "any attachment, judgment, decree, lien,

execution, garnishment, or other judicial process is

prohibited, and shall be deemed null and void", with

respect to the Development Fund for Iraq and "all

Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products, and

interests therein."

True to form, the Bush order makes no exemption

for ecological accidents. Further, while the UN

restricted the immunity to the point of initial sale,

Bush granted Iraqi oil a lifetime exemption provided

US companies are involved in the oil's production,

transport, or distribution. His order applies to Iraqi oil

products that are "in the United States, hereafter

come within the United States, or that are or

hereafter come within the possession or control of

United States persons." Under U.S. law,corporations

are "persons."

In other words, if ExxonMobil or ChevronTexaco

touch Iraqi oil, anything they or anyone else does

with it is immune from legal proceedings in the US.

Anything that has happened before with oil

companies around the world ­ a massive tanker

accident; an explosion at an oil refinery; the

employment of slave labor to build a pipeline;

murder of locals by corporate security; the release of

billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the

atmosphere; or lawsuits by Iraq's current creditors or

the next true Iraqi government demanding

compensation ­ anything at all, is immune from

judicial accountability.

Bush unilaterally declared Iraqi oil to be the

unassailable province of U.S. oil corporations. In the

short term, through the Development Fund and the

Export-Import Bank programs, the Iraqi peoples' oil

will finance U.S. corporate entrees into Iraq. In the

long term, Executive Order 13303 protects anything

U.S. corporations do to seize control of Iraq's oil,

from the point of production to the gas pump.

The third and final prong needed to plug Iraq fully

into the global economy is perhaps the most ironic

of all. While ensuring that the Development Fund

will be used to deepen Iraq's debt to the US, the

Bush administration is demanding that the Gulf

States, Russia, France, and the international

financial institutions forgive Iraq's existing $60

billion-plus debt. If it's done, we will surely hear the

pundits praising the lifting of this burden from the

backs of innocent Iraqis.

The debt burden is indeed crushing to ordinary

Iraqis, and to the formation of the next Iraqi

government. The irony is that this is the same

rationale used by groups like Jubilee 2000

who, for years, have been mostly unsuccessfully

calling for the alleviation of debt throughout the

developing world. The consensus among the

Washington elites was that prior debts would have

to be paid by people in post-apartheid South Africa,

and by the survivors of military regimes and

dictatorships in places like Argentina and the

Philippines. The difference is that in Iraq today, the

debt is also a burden for the US government and oil

companies.

Steve Kretzmann and Jim Vallette are analysts with

the Sustainable Energy & Economy Network of the

Institute for Policy Studies

Abasan
10-30-2003, 08:38 PM
Jaime, I wouldn't know the answer to that question. I can hazard a guess, but all i can see is that there might be a power vacuum created by US exodus of Iraq which might be filled by less favourable administration. Ie ppl with military might who would take it upon themselves to plunder the wealth of iraq, maybe. Or maybe the ppl of iraq can unite in creating a proper government of civil liberty like pre-saddam.

However, we have seen the end to the iraqi war but we have not seen the end of the root cause of it. Which if i understood correctly was the extermination of WMD in Iraq and killing the mad Saddam.

1st - no WMD was found or destroyed which to me seems was the major issue why US attacked Iraq.

2nd - well at least saddam's no longer in power eh.

Anyway... was it worth it? Spending all those billions of dollars of taxpayers money, losing the lives of american and iraqi soldiers, the death of countless iraqi civilian lives, destruction of the the cultural heritage of baghdad? The world at large saw a country acting unilaterally in the destruction of another country. It was prompted upon suspicion not conclusive proof. It was demented paranoia even. I don't think its worth it at all.

Of course now what we see are exclusive contracts being awarded to US companies to rebuild Iraq and pump its oil. US also controls the development fund that will pay the cost of rebuilding iraq from that said oil. the destruction that US wrought uninvited btw. And they are also to be used to pay back US its cost of the war.

Simply said... US attacks Iraq. US controls Iraq's assets. Use said assets to pay for rebuilding Iraqi stuff that US destroyed. Use said assets to pay US for attacking Iraq.

It does not seem fair to me at all.

What I would have wished was that it didn't happen at all. But now that it has happened, the least US could do is to leave them well alone with UN supervising their rebuilding and administration and security. It seems to easy for US to fall prey to greed and takeover Iraq for its own. So I suppose, there is the answer for you. US should allow a consensus rule over the rebuilding of Iraq administered by the UN without any direct intervention or veto by US to influence it. Unless of course, US wants to colonise Iraq. Then by all means do that, since you've conquered it well enough.

Neil Mick
10-31-2003, 12:13 PM
http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?itemid=15906

http://www.markfiore.com/animation/road.html

and

http://www.bushlies.com/topten.php

Abasan
11-01-2003, 09:11 AM
Yeah well. You and me, we can have a few laughs at the end of the day.

Neil Mick
11-01-2003, 11:01 AM
Yeah well. You and me, we can have a few laughs at the end of the day.
Sometimes laughing is the only way to cope with all the criminal acts that BushCo commits (and currently proceeds unharmed. I'm an optimist, though. One day I look forward to seeing the whole lot led away from the White House, shackled to each other).

Abasan
11-03-2003, 10:49 PM
You know Nick, I really don't know what is it you do for work. How come you are so knowledgeable in this Iraq war thingey?

Still... it doesn't matter too much if the general public doesn't change its opinion and this forum ain't the place to do it anyway.

If you are ever in the neighbourhood, drop in to train ok?

Neil Mick
11-04-2003, 12:08 PM
You know Nick, I really don't know what is it you do for work. How come you are so knowledgeable in this Iraq war thingey?

Still... it doesn't matter too much if the general public doesn't change its opinion and this forum ain't the place to do it anyway.

If you are ever in the neighbourhood, drop in to train ok?
Lol, thank you, Ahmad. I don't get out to Malaysia, much (actually, I've never been in Malaysia, lol), but if I'm in the neighborhood, I'll be sure to look you up. If you're ever in Santa Cruz, CA, you come on by and train, too.

My job (teacher) is not related to my interest in Iraq: all of my education is self-inflicted, lol. Mostly, I read a lot on the internet, in books, and newspapers. And you're right--it doesn't matter that this forum does not change opinion. But, I hope that some of these posts enlightened the readers in the issues.

I fear, however, that Iraq is going to be with the US for a very long time, and that many Americans are ill-informed about the issues (a recent poll found that 60% of Fox-TV viewers, for example, still believe that Hussein was involved in 9-11, etc).

Neil Mick
11-06-2003, 08:09 PM
And so: my congressmen fail me (and, many of you) once again: by caving into the President's extortionary demand for $87 billion, for Iraq.

But, I have a few questions--questions I fear will never be answered. Yet, they still remain:

1) Where will all that money be spent? Why is only $27 billion allocated for rebuilding Iraq, and the rest for military expenditures? Why has several millions of that money been earmarked for security at a WTO conference?

2) Why are many of the contracts issued to rebuilding Iraq being given primarily to corporations with direct (and indirect) ties to the Administration? I mean, hello! Conflict of interest? Cheney?

3) Why are police sent to Iraq (and trained in Jordan) being paid higher than any similar job, in this country? Why are the Iraqi laborers and workers not allowed to unionize?

4) If the President is so gung-ho and "supporting the troops," why has he not acknowledged the ultimate cost that several hundred Americans have paid (for his misinformed adventurism), and gone to their funerals? Why the ban on the media at these funerals? Why are National Guardsmen over in Iraq? And, why are they forced to stay past their tour (up to a year, or more)?

5) Why is the President stalling on investigations to the CIA-leak about Ambas. Wilson's wife? Why is he threatening to invoke Executive privilege to block the investigation? How can Ashcroft fairly investigate the Bush Administration (and his close friend, Carl Rove), when he is so closely tied, to it?



6) Why is the Democratic party so seemingly paralyzed and stymied in the face of all these onslaughts on civil liberties, and the Iraq scandal? I understand that the Republican party has "home court" advantage (and a majority), but must they show their opposition so well that they vote along with them? Why are so few of the Democratic Presidential contenders psoing more than surface questions about the scandal?

7) Why is the US setting itself up as an occupying power in Iraq, with no projected exit-strategy?

Neil Mick
11-13-2003, 12:11 PM
I just discovered this website (http://www.costofwar.com/), that calculates the exact cost of this war, on the US (or, even on many cities. The money this war cost my city--Santa Cruz--alone could have been spent to pay the salaries of 221 teachers. In a town this size, that is significant).

Abasan
11-14-2003, 01:33 AM
Jeez.

I guess the problem with modern warfare is that the person with the most to lose/gain is at home well away from the battlefield. The person with the least to lose(other then their lives of course)/gain is at the forefront of battle.

Things would be a whole lot different, if the same ppl who advocate war are the ones to fight em.

Neil Mick
11-14-2003, 03:23 PM
Jeez.

I guess the problem with modern warfare is that the person with the most to lose/gain is at home well away from the battlefield. The person with the least to lose(other then their lives of course)/gain is at the forefront of battle.
Everyone stands to lose, in modern war. The rich young scions of oil families aren't being sent to Iraq...only one Congressman even has a son, in the military. Most kids join the armed services to get out of poverty, or to get an education.

Why are they poor? They're poor because all the money otherwise spent upon infrastructure or jobs is being poured into foreign, adventurist wars. And so the cycle continues.
Things would be a whole lot different, if the same ppl who advocate war are the ones to fight em.
I'd settle for Hussein, Blair, Howard and Bush, et al, all meeting on the field of battle with a pistol and 6 bullets. Whomever comes out alive gets to say that they "won." (best of all, they'd be armed with bokkens, instead of bullets. Wouldn't THAT see a rise in martial arts disciplines ;) ).