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« Can I Call 'Em Or What? | Main | Gratitude »

Administration Split On Europe Invasion

April 3, 1944

WASHINGTON DC (Routers) Fissures are starting to appear in the formerly united front within the Roosevelt administration on the upcoming decision of whether, where and how to invade Europe. Some influential voices within both the Democrat and Republican parties are starting to question the wisdom of toppling Adolf Hitler's regime, and potentially destabilizing much of the region.

"It's one thing to liberate France and northwestern Europe, and teach the Germans a lesson, but invading a sovereign country and overthrowing its democratically-elected ruler would require a great deal more justification," said one well-connected former State Department official. "The President just hasn't made the case to the American people."

Indeed, some are querulous at the notion of invading France itself.

They argue, correctly, that the German-French Armistice of 1940 is a valid international treaty, and the Vichy government is widely recognized as the legitimate government of France, even by the US. (The British government doesn't recognize it, but much of that is a result of antipathy to the Germans from the Blitz.)

Under this reading, German forces are thus legally stationed in France, per the request of its government, and by all observable indications, the Vichy government is supported by the "French street." More Frenchmen serve voluntarily in the Vichy militias than join the "underground" organizations supported by foreign intelligence services like MI5 and OSS.

It was pointed out to this reporter by a prominent former US ambassador to France that, "President Pétain was legally appointed by the last freely elected government of the Third Republic, and therefore is the legitimate democratically-chosen head of state. He has been governing by emergency decree under the appropriate provisions of the Third Republic Constitution. Surely there are grave issues of international law in any aggressive act against France."

In addition, some have proposed that, once the Russians take back Poland, it might make sense for them to stop at the German border. They argue that much, if not most, of Hitler's war-making capacity has been destroyed by the Allied bombing, and after we've taken back the Benelux countries, he'll only be a threat to his own people, and the ethnic minorities within Germany itself.

Others, however, contend that as long as he remains in power, he will be a continual threat to the region, and perhaps even the world, as there are rumors that he's frantically developing weapons of mass destruction greater than any the world has previously seen, and is building rockets with which to deliver them.

"For God's sake, the man is gassing Jews by the millions!" said one exasperated presidential advisor. "Do you think that he's going to be content to simply murder his own people if we let him stay in power?"

Concern is great that, in a total German defeat, or regime change, the results could have unpredictable and far-reaching consequences. Germany consists of a large number of ethnic groups antipathetic to each other, including Germans, Jews, Bohemians, Slavs and Gypsies. In the power vacuum created by the absence of a strong and stable central government, there is concern that it could split up into a number of fractious, balkanized countries, with the potential for renewed war and strife on European soil.

There has been little public discussion of what kind of government would replace the present Nazi reich, and many believe that, in the absence of a plan, it would be foolish to simply go in and topple the dictator.

The Administration has reportedly been talking to German dissidents, but they're hardly united in anything other than a desire to see the end of the Hitler regime. Many who know them well feel that there's little prospect for them forming a post-war consensus German government.

Others say, however, that the German people are well educated, and that if the shackles of the brutal regime that currently oppresses them could be thrown off, there are excellent prospects for one that would be friendly to the US and western values in general. Such a government, in a region in which it is so dominant, could provide a healthy example for the populace in some of the other troubled regimes in the area.

But despite such optimism among some advisors, many, particularly in Congress, are also frustrated by an apparent lack of an exit strategy. There is a great deal of concern, both within and outside the Administration, that should the German government be replaced, US troops might have to be stationed in Europe for five to ten years. Some have even suggested, improbably, that they could end up being there for decades.

One Senator who has been deeply involved in the discussions within the Administration said, off the record, that "we can't risk the chaos that could result from Hitler's removal. He's the only thing holding Germany together."

"Once we get into Alsace, and the Russians cross the Vistula, what we need to do is to establish a truce with him, and set up an arms inspection regime, so that he will never again be able to threaten his neighbors."

"We'll let the new planned United Nations organization handle it."

(Copyright 2002 by Rand Simberg)

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 20, 2002 10:47 AM
TrackBack URL for this entry:
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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference this post from Transterrestrial Musings.
Administration Split On Invasion
Excerpt: Rand Simberg delivers some incisive satire of the knee-jerk passivists.
Weblog: Ipse Dixit
Tracked: August 20, 2002 11:03 AM
Administration Split On Europe Invasion
Excerpt: Washington, April 3, 1944 (Routers) Fissures are starting to appear in the formerly united front within the Roosevelt administration on
Weblog: shellshocking
Tracked: August 20, 2002 12:30 PM
Paging Mr. Santayana ...
Excerpt: Some interesting observations on the split within the Administration on an invasion. (via InstaPundit)
Weblog: ***Dave Does the Blog
Tracked: August 21, 2002 06:13 AM
Comments

You sir are a genius. As a person holding a history degree I enjoyed this very much and will be forwarding to the nay sayers I come across.

Posted by Joel M at August 20, 2002 11:17 AM

Should be required reading in schools -- especially for the University of North Carolina freshman class.

On second thought. . . .how many of the education crowd are even aware of topics like Nazism, World War II, the holocaust, and appeasement?

Posted by Ben Wilson at August 20, 2002 11:24 AM

Another tour de force sir. Of course the same could be said re the Japanes and their Emperor worship and suicide cults. Of course, the one that really gets me is Scowcroft et al claiming that Iraq would "distract" us from the war on terror in Afghanistan. What the hell would he call fighting Germany and Japan at the same time on opposite sides of the world and defeating and occupying them both?

Posted by Lloyd Albanol at August 20, 2002 11:41 AM

Brilliant!

Immediately saved for further distribution.

Posted by Rick at August 20, 2002 11:53 AM

Seeing how "Routers" is not an official news source, could you give us a proper site to this news article, perhaps where we could download it online? Or, am I completely insane, and missed the farcical nature of the article, seeing how you have your own copyright symbol attached afterward?

At any rate, true or not, it's a good read.

Posted by Mike at August 20, 2002 11:56 AM

That's excellent =) I'm going to link it tonight...it reminds me of this as well

http://rightwingnews.com/humor/ww2.php

Posted by John Hawkins at August 20, 2002 11:57 AM

Those arguing for total victory should remember that war only perpetuates the cycle of violence. If we defeat Germany and Japan now, surely we'll have to fight them again in another 20 years.

Posted by Joanne Jacobs at August 20, 2002 12:14 PM

Ah, how the world has changed since Vietnam. Whether that was baptism for anti-American self-doubt and self-flagellation, or simply it's coming out party, is up to debate.

Posted by Matthew Picioccio at August 20, 2002 12:33 PM

Too true, although I wish we had Roosevelt not 'Now watch my drive' W.

Of course to continue the analogy I hope you join me in urging that the United States and other western countries should pump tens of billions of dollars into Iraq, and maintain forces there for 45 years afterwards, turning it into as democratic, prosperous and peaceful country as the Federal Republic become.

Posted by James Ridley at August 20, 2002 12:39 PM

Great! Put it in the greatest hits sidebar. It is a fitting partner to Victor David Hanson' similar treatment of Pearl Harbor: http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson092701.shtml

As for the schoolkids not knowing about Nazis, of course they know! Nazis vote conservative, listen to talk radio, home school, are less than worshipful of positions taken by the NAACP, etc.

Posted by The Sanity Inspector at August 20, 2002 12:52 PM

Posts like this just piss me off. How the hell am I supposed to get my blog noticed when I can't write anything nearly this great?

When guys like this are around I have *no* hope of ever being a paid writer. None.

*sigh* was a great read though...

Posted by Duffy at August 20, 2002 01:31 PM

Duffy,

For one thing, put a link to your blog in your signature.

Posted by James at August 20, 2002 01:52 PM

Brilliant, Rand! And don't feel bad, Duffy... not sure I could write this well either.

This will get a lead mention in my Thursday Iraqi Round-Up... if I throw it in with today's, you won't get the traffic you deserve. Thursday will also have a Guest Blog from an international inspector just back from Sudan, so it should be a good traffic day. Thanks!

Posted by Joe Katzman at August 20, 2002 02:03 PM

LOL! BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Dr. Clausewitz at August 20, 2002 03:04 PM

Mr. Ridley states, "the United States and other western countries should pump tens of billions of dollars into Iraq, and maintain forces there for 45 years afterwards, turning it into as democratic, prosperous and peaceful country as the Federal Republic become."

Is he talking about the same Federal Republic that is objecting to the Czech Republic joining the EU because it maintains decrees relating to the post-WWII treatment of Sudeten Germans?

If we've been so successful in turning them into a peaceful country, why do we still have an expensive army of occupation in place nearly six decades later? To protect them from the warlike Czechs?

Mr. Ridley is 100% correct about the burden we should be prepared to assume should we attack. I hope we do better in Iraq, but I doubt we'll get better to work with than we did last time.

Posted by Richard A. Heddleson at August 20, 2002 03:13 PM

You should get this translated into French and posted to some european sites.

Posted by Shannon Love at August 20, 2002 03:42 PM

Oooohhh, good idea. I'll have to ask Emmanuelle Richards.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 20, 2002 03:53 PM

"...I wish we had Roosevelt not 'Now watch my drive' W."

Would that be the same Roosevelt who sold out the eastern Europeans to Stalin?

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 20, 2002 04:55 PM

As Bill Quick pointed out, an Iraqi occupation can pay for itself. If the US makes post-war Iraq its sole Mid-East oil supplier, the proceeds can pay for the occupation (and maybe then some).

This has the side effect of making Saudi Arabia and Iran much less of a US problem and much more of an EU/Japan problem. I'm looking forward to seeing such sophisticates in action.

It can be a trifecta for the US.

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 20, 2002 05:41 PM

I thought that US government had stopped recognising Vichy long before 44? Wasn't there all that fuss after Torch over who the Allies should get sneered at by?

Also, the allied forces were referred to as the United Nations from Jan 1 1942 onwards (see http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/wwii/washconf/washc016.htm ). This was long, long before San Francisco.

During Desert Storm, there were reports of Iraqi troops attempting to surrender to Naval UAVs. Are the French secretly planning to enter this war on the side of the Iraqi's so they can try this too?

Simon Spero // Approaching The 1st Ammendment

Posted by Simon Spero at August 20, 2002 06:40 PM

An Iraqi occupation could pay for itself. If US makes post-war Iraq its sole Mid-East oil supplier, the proceeds can pay for us in Iraq.

Saudi Arabia will shake in their boots. It solves any oil problem we have in the future. Maybe the political game in Washington can stop and we can get on with the real business.

Posted by Ross Bloom at August 20, 2002 07:18 PM

That has to be the best Fisking of Chomskyite / Euro small-sausage attitude I've ever read. Take a bow, Mr. Simberg!

How do critics respond to this, silence? I think that seals their fate, useless idiots.

Posted by Raj at August 20, 2002 07:41 PM

Brilliant!

The only caveat is that this reads more like the New York Times than Reuters.

Posted by David Nieporent at August 20, 2002 08:10 PM

Mr. Simberg,

I am sure Mr. Ridley had Theodore in mind.

Posted by Richard A. Heddleson at August 20, 2002 08:30 PM

>> Maybe the political game in Washington can stop and we can get on with the real business.

Umm, the real business in Washington IS the political game. Iraq is merely a battle in that war.

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 20, 2002 09:59 PM

I guess everything is sooooooooooooooooooo clear, simple and morally justified when you are a conservative hawk from the States, sigh.
---
Rand, please tell me if you would have advocated invading China when Chairman Mao acquired The Bomb? Do you guys really regard military invasion as the best strategy regardless of the circumstances, just because it's occasionally worked in the past? Sheesh -- at least those who are sceptical about Iraq don't wildly generalize like you just did (and BTW: much of the scepticism *is* well-intended/open minded, and comes from Republicans as well as "America's friends and allies" abroad).
---
Believe it or not, but we would actually be willing to listen if only the "Iraq Hawks" could be bothered to make a compelling case for a military invasion rather than resort to shallow emotional scaremongering. Read Fareed Zakaria's excellent column in NEWSWEEK ( http://www.msnbc.com/news/789679.asp?0dm=-223K ).
---
Rand -- I have always had a lot of respect for you due to your intelligent contributions in sci.space.policy and as a space entrepreneur, but this time you did not have anything intelligent to say.


Regards,

Marcus Lindroos
Liljendal, Finland

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 20, 2002 10:36 PM

That's a nice set of strawmen, Marcus.

Hollow, ephemeral, strawfilled...ummmmmmm...strawfilled...

[VOICE="Homer Simpson"]

gggghhhhhrrrrrhhhgggg...straw-filled...

[/VOICE]

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 20, 2002 10:41 PM

As much as I enjoyed above article, I just hope it doesn't eventually get exposed as a hoax in one of those myth/legend websites

Posted by Tom Garvey at August 20, 2002 11:37 PM

> That's a nice set of strawmen, Marcus

Why don't you write another satirical piece, set in the early 1960s?

"Administration Split On Vietnam Invasion"


Marcus

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 21, 2002 12:50 AM

As an American living permanantly in Finland, I feel that I am uniquely qualified to respond to Mr. Lindroos' post above.

The response to 9/11 and the following events has been a thundering silence. Except for the initial 'oh what a horibble tragedy' stock responses, there has been absolutely no public debate about what actions are required by the US and Europe to counter this threat. There is only the steady drip, drip, drip of anti-american and anti-isreali commentary from the media. When there is anything at all. All American actions, from Kyoto to the ICC to Iraq, are judged to be arrogant, ignorant, or outright malicous. Without even the slightest attempt to explain or understand the American position.

I have yet, after nearly a year, to have a single Finn express outrage at what happened nor support for our response. No doubt it exists, but no one dares express it. Only one of my American friends, who has lived here for twenty years, has had anyone call them to express their sympathy and support in the MONTHS following 9/11. That was the mother of one of her students, a women she barely knew, who called her WHILE IT WAS HAPPENING to offer her support. That mother was RUSSIAN. Russian, for god's sake.

My wife's great-uncle, who raised her, was a refugee from Viipuri. He fought in the Continuation War and had been to America as a merchant seaman. He liked me immediately for no other reason than I was an American. He thought that was a good thing. I thank God he is not alive today to see the country he fought for become incapable of discerning right from wrong. A country which cannot stand by a fellow liberal democracy which is defending itself, and others, from authoritarian, intolerant fanatics. A country which can even contemplate given safe haven to to the mass murderers of jewish women and children. You, and those who think like you, are not half the man he was.

When someone threatens harm to my children (Finnish citizens, by the way), I do not care WHY they do it. I will fight them. BEFORE they carry out their threat. Uncle Gunnar understood that simple moral calculation. Until you do, you have nothing to contribute. I would recommend a little less 'sophisticated' condenscension and a little more 'simple' self reflection.

P.S. - You should be careful about criticising another country's foreign policies when your own is run by a moral vacuam like Tuomioja.

Posted by Michael Cowell at August 21, 2002 01:55 AM

I agree it is funny, but it certainly isn't original. Almost every conflict since World War II has been couched in 'compare it to Hitler' terms.

Most famously (in the UK) when the British (and French and Israelis -- a coincidence, of course) attacked Egypt in the Suez crisis of 1956, the main rationale given was the British prime minister's obsession that Nasser (who was much more like Saddam than Saddam is like Hitler) was another Hitler. The US disagreed (or perhaps we would now say 'decided to appease dictators'?) and the rest is history.

The lessons of British/Western appeasement policy of the late 1930s continued to be used to justify Korea, Vietnam, the Falkands (Malvinas) and probably a hundred wars I have missed out. I'm not saying that these wars were all wrong, or all right.

What I am saying is that it is risky to invoke parallels between the world war between Hitler and the Allies and any other confict.

A simple example would be the atom bombs on Japan. As were are not allowing shades of gray into this discussion, we can surely make the argument: Saddam's Iraq is like Hirohito's Japan. It was the right thing to drop two atom bombs onto Japan. Therefore it is the right thing to drop two atom bombs onto Iraq. Any other policy is weak, appeasing and forgets the lessons of history.

Posted by Robert Jackson at August 21, 2002 01:56 AM

Mr. Lindroos...your post is hilarious, coming from a citizen of a nation that was an active ally of Nazi Germany during World War Two. Go find some moral high ground slightly higher than snail snot, please.

Posted by David Paglia at August 21, 2002 04:27 AM

Great, Rand -- but what does it have to do with space policy?

{ducking and running away}

Posted by Kevin McGehee at August 21, 2002 05:05 AM

I wish those who keep saying that we need to make a 'compelling case to invade Iraq' would just state what they feel would be a 'compelling case'. Please tell us where you've set the bar we are supposed to jump. Or is it just that you don't want to admit your real position? Say what you think. Quit hiding behind this facade. The United States will never be able to provide sufficient justification for your side to accept an invasion. That IS your real position, isn't it?

Posted by Shannon at August 21, 2002 05:45 AM

There are three reasons to ask the other side to make its argument.

(1) You don't want to take a position that might prove inconvenient later.

(2) You actively oppose their position. This is often combined with a bit of (1).

(3) You actually don't understand.

Wrt the war on Iraq, which of these positions is worth a proponent's time? If someone is truely in (3) now, what's the point?

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 21, 2002 07:16 AM

Invading Iraq is not an end in itself. Our president has correctly identified the spectre of stateless terrorism as the danger threatening the world. The terrorists are vicious, but even they must eat and sleep somewhere. Removing Iraq as a threat to ourselves and our allies is important in itself; we also remove a bastion of terror support that will reduce the terrorists ability to acquire WMD, money, and safe havens elsewhere.

We are committed to doing the ugly, unpleasant, expensive, and dangerous duty that becomes the burden of those who achieve greatness. Will we acquire lands? No. Will we create subjects? No. In the end, we will have freed entire nations and given them the right to decide for themselves how they will live - as long as we are given the same consideration in return.

Not much of an imperialist goal, is it? We fight only to live. To keep only what our enemy would take.

Posted by Andy Jones at August 21, 2002 07:50 AM

Actually, there is more truth in this post than most people realize. Churchill was cool, at best, to the idea of invading France. He preferred to concentrate on the Italian front, believing it would allow us to liberate the Balkan States instead of the Russians.

Riyadh delenda est!

Posted by Cato the Youngest at August 21, 2002 07:59 AM

Thought of this piece this morning when CNN had a piece on the threat of rising gas prices if Bush invades Iraq.

Can't imagine the allies saying, "But gas prices will go up! We can't invade!"

We've become a nation of wimps.

Bob


Posted by at August 21, 2002 08:18 AM

> Mr. Lindroos...your post is hilarious, coming
> from a citizen of a nation that was an active
> ally of Nazi Germany during World War

...for the same reason (or is that "excuse"?) why the U.S. apparently did not have too many qualms about supporting/collaborating with fascist regimes during the Cold War.

Marcus

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 21, 2002 08:27 AM

> I wish those who keep saying that we need to
> make a 'compelling case to invade Iraq' would
> just state what they feel would be
> a 'compelling case'. Please tell us where
> you've set the bar we are supposed to jump. Or
> is it just that you don't want to admit your
> real position? Say what you think.

1) If you blame September 11 or the Anthrax scare on Saddam, you need to provide more than the current (barely-) circumstantial evidence. However, I think the "let's oust Saddam!" crowd is making a mistake by linking him to the lone crime which he (most likely) did not commit. I think there are other, more compelling reasons (see points below).

2) Regarding alleged weapons of mass destruction, Saddam's continuing refusal to accept U.N. weapons inspectors would be a *very* good argument for Gulf War II. In that case, persuading the Security Council to authorize another invasion should not prove overly difficult.

3) The U.S. needs to convince Saddam's anxious neighbors that it is seriously committed to building a better, peaceful Iraqi nation after Saddam has been removed from power. This means the NATO countries have to support the new regime both economically and financially, e.g. to prevent the Kurdish problem to escalate out of hand (remember who used to provide military support to Afghan Islamists in the 1980s?). In return for political & military support from other Arab states, the U.S. should wage its war against Saddam in such a way that it minimizes anti-American feelings among ordinary Arabs. A strong American commitment to force both Palestinians *and* Israelis to make some painful concessions in return for peace would obviously help a lot.

4) [This point is none of my business, but I list it anyway]. Domestically, it would be highly desirable if the President forced Congress (and his likely opponents in 2004-) to debate and vote on the issue, and generally have their say before the body bags start arriving. As Vietnam showed, it is harder to win a war when the country does not stand united behind the effort. For this reason, the public also needs to be informed about the likely economic and human cost of attacking Iraq. As conservative columnist George Will recently wrote, "War of the sort being contemplated is not the sort of plunge into uncertainty that a prudent president wants to embark upon alone".

Note that the Bushes had little difficulty drumming up political support at home and tacit approval from other countries for their wars in 1991 and 2001. In fact, I actually *approved of* the Gulf War and Operation Enduring Freedom (didn't know that, did you?). I thought both operations were justified and largely executed with multilateral skill and finesse. The world probably would be a safer place without Saddam, but you need to dispose of him properly by once again showing "decent respect for the opinions of mankind" as Thomas Jefferson put it.

Marcus

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 21, 2002 09:32 AM

BRINGING BOGUS HISTORY To Transterrestrial Musings

Ain't it just like the night to play tricks when you're tryin' to be so quiet? Well Rand, you must have many contacts among the lumberjacks to get your facts when someone attacks your imagination. But not many people has any respect, anyway they already expect you to just give a check to tax-deductible charity organizations.

Maybe Rand, just maybe, you'll be taken seriously when you start publishing your bogus stuff in History Journals that are PEER-REVIEWED. The guy with the history degree who thinks you are a genious should do the same thing.

As for the American living permanently in Finland; I'm not impressed with your credentials and I would suggest that you LEARN the language before you are anywhere near being "uniquely" qualified in responding to Mr. Lindroos' post above. You say you have yet, after nearly a year, had a single Finn express outrage at what happened nor support for "your" response. First, one should differentiate between what happened on 911 and the "response". I believe most people around the world were shocked at what happened to the WTC. The enormity of the event probably left many people speechless. If you had been fluent in more than ONE language, you might have had a different sensation. But anyway, you walked into a room with your pencil in your hand, and saw somebody naked and said, "Who is that man?" You tried so hard, but you didn't understand. Just what you would say when you got home. But something was happening there and you didn't know what it was. Did you, Mister Cowell?

In the nearly 12 months that has passed since September 11, what is remarkable is how quickly the Bush administration has squandered the immense good will felt by the peoples of the world toward Americans in the immediate aftermath of the terror attacks. Famously, the day after the attacks, Le Monde, the influential Paris daily, carried the headline "We are all Americans." These days, anxiety about what the Bush administration will do next has replaced sympathy as the predominant emotion in most countries around the world.

Canute, Norway

Posted by Canute at August 21, 2002 09:41 AM

Lumberjacks?

Whence the lumberjacks?

How am I supposed to take anything *you* say seriously after that?

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 21, 2002 09:44 AM

>> 3) The U.S. needs to convince Saddam's anxious neighbors that it is seriously committed to building a better, peaceful Iraqi nation after Saddam has been removed from power.

Why? In some ways, it's enough for them to learn "if you piss off the US, you PERSONALLY will be toast".

The Euros may have other goals. AFTER they've demonstrated sucess, we'll listen to their advice. (There's no shortage of opportunities for them to show the US how it's done, yet they never seem to actually want to do anything. Instead, they sit on the side-lines and lecture.)

>> This means the NATO countries have to support the new regime both economically and financially

No, it doesn't. The NATO countries continue to be irrelevant. Moreover, they've never done this - the US has. And, the US efforts in this case can be self-supporting.

Also, the not-US/UK NATO countries will have their hands full with Saudi Arabia and Iran. (If the US makes Iraq its sole mid-east oil supplier during the occupation, SA/Iran become irrelevant to the US, and far more relevant to Europe and Japan.) It will be interesting to see how they fare.

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 21, 2002 09:47 AM

Lumberjacks? Yes, Lumberjacks. GO FIGURE

"There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief, "There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief. Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth, None of them along the line know what any of it is worth." (R.Z.)

Canute, Norway

Posted by Canute at August 21, 2002 10:05 AM

>> I believe most people around the world were shocked at what happened to the WTC.

Not being Scandahovian, I can't read minds. However, I saw what people SAID and DID after 9/11.

That's how I'm going to judge them.

I do like the notion that you get to interpret silence as consistent with something that support for your position. Why can't other people use the same reasoning?

>> In the nearly 12 months that has passed since September 11, what is remarkable is how quickly the Bush administration has squandered the immense good will felt by the peoples of the world toward Americans in the immediate aftermath of the terror attacks.

Ah yes. Good will. Precisely what could we have DONE that would have (1) actually addressed terrorism and (2) satisfied the "folks of good will"?

Note that (1) excludes sitting around and wondering why they hate us so much, which seems to be the ONLY thing satisfies (2).

The US has had to choose between (1) and (2). If you don't like our choice, well, (2) is under your control.

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 21, 2002 10:07 AM

>> 3) The U.S. needs to convince Saddam's anxious
>> neighbors that it is seriously committed to
>> building a better, peaceful Iraqi nation after
>> Saddam has been removed from power.

> Why? In some ways, it's enough for them to
> learn "if you piss off the US, you PERSONALLY
> will be toast".

The likely end result, if you continue doing this long enough, is a vast belt of solidly anti-American regimes that will become (or in some cases continue to be-) covert supporters of terrorism. Just because their military capabilities are far inferior to yours does not mean their more fanatical citizens will be deterred from launching their own personal jihads against the Great Satan. Even if their governments are powerless to oppose the U.S. government. So it is a bad idea to humiliate these people... Look at the history of post-WW I Germany vs. the post-Nazi era. You need to *discredit* Al Qaeda, much like the Nazis were discredited in the eyes of the German people following WW II. You also need to support the creation of tolerant, secular, peaceful capitalist democracies. Islamic demagogues thrive where there is poverty, ignorance, injustice, corruption and oppression.
---
BTW, note that both Timothy McVeight and Osama bin Laden apparently began to fervently hate the U.S. government as a direct result of the Gulf War! *Yes*, both are/were despicable men. *Yes*, I personally think the Americans did a good thing by liberating Kuwait in 1991. But it does show that wars sometimes have strange consequences...
---
There is another good reason for nation-building: leaving Iraq in ruins probably would cause a nasty civil war between Kurds, Turkmens and other nations. A power vacuum would also be excellent news to Al Qaeda and similar groups, who thrive in poor anarchies like Afghanistan and Somalia.

Marcus

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 21, 2002 10:25 AM

marcus,
If you were trying to respond to my question with your points, you must have misunderstood. You seem to be saying that you agree that Hussein should go, but you want us to pass an essay test before we get approval? That we should make a case to the Security Council, but that you feel it would just be a matter of form, and that they would certainly approve?

My question was, what specific proof is required from us? Not vague generalities. What items of proof would be considered sufficient? Because I somehow see that 'bar' of proof as being placed forever out of our reach, no matter what we come up with, it will never be enough.

Canute,
Lumberjacks? and song lyrics? Ooookay.

Posted by Shannon at August 21, 2002 10:28 AM

Marcus wrote:

"You need to *discredit* Al Qaeda, much like the Nazis were discredited in the eyes of the German people following WW II. You also need to support the creation of tolerant, secular, peaceful capitalist democracies. Islamic demagogues thrive where there is poverty, ignorance, injustice, corruption and oppression."

What makes you think that that's not exactly the plan?

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 21, 2002 10:43 AM

the idea that we need to convince Iraq's neighbors that invading Iraq will be a good thing is as hard as convincing crack dealers that shutting down one crack house doesn't threaten them. All the neighbors are authoritarian at best, and wahabi (sp?) mongers at worst. They should be afraid of us. Good signs though, Jordan is tacitly approving. If we install a Democratic regime in Iraq, Iran will fall and they will only be the first.

Posted by billhedrick at August 21, 2002 10:45 AM

>> because their military capabilities are far inferior to yours does not mean their more fanatical citizens will be deterred from launching their own personal jihads against the Great Satan. Even if their governments are powerless to oppose the U.S. government.

It's sufficient for US purposes that their governments to be able to control them. In SA's case, not funding them would go a long way towards that goal.

But, let's explore your theory.

You seem to think that there's something that the US can do that will make them happy.

What, EXACTLY, is that something? (We know that it's NOT wealth&education.)

They've said that "push the Jews into the sea" will make them happy.

Note that there's no reason to believe that "an independent Palestinian state" would make them happy.

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 21, 2002 10:49 AM

>>Not being Scandahovian, I can't read minds. However, I saw what people SAID and DID after 9/11.

So you're telling us is that you read Danish, Norwegian and Swedish newspapers post 911. You are fluent in more than ONE language?

Yes, Good Will - it's been squandered be the dumbya administration.Steps taken in the last few months by his administration reveal the extent to which unilateralism is in and allies are out in the White House. What has truly unnerved European governments is that the administration has twisted the right of nations to self-defence into the right of Washington to attack countries on the ground that they may pose a future threat to the United States. What the Europeans fear is that this "rogue" notion completely undermines international law, returning the world to the law of the jungle.

As for Iraq; it's been a leading, driving doctrine of U.S. foreign policy since the 1940s that the vast and unparalleled energy resources of the Gulf region will be effectively dominated by the United States and its clients, and, crucially, that no independent indigenous force will be permitted to have a substantial influence on the administration of oil production and price. During the Iran-Iraq war, Iraq received the lion's share of American support because at the time Iran was regarded as the greater threat to U.S. interests. Most Americans probably don't know that the United States supplied Iraq with much of the raw material for creating a chemical and biological warfare program. When Iraq engaged in chemical warfare in the 1980s, barely a peep of moral outrage could be heard from Washington, as it kept supplying Saddam with the materials he needed to build weapons.In 1982, the Reagan Administration took Iraq off its list of countries alleged to sponsor terrorism, making it eligible to receive high-tech items generally denied to those on the list. Conventional military sales began in December of that year. More information on this is now available to those of you who didn't know: http://www.msnbc.com/news/795649.asp

Ironically, Iraq did not use any chemical or biological weapons against U.S. forces in the Gulf War - Saddam is a "survivor" and knew of the consequences if he'd actually used them. But USAF and USNavy planes bombed chemical and biological weapons storage facilities with abandon, potentially dooming tens of thousands of American soldiers to lives of prolonged and permanent agony, and an unknown number of Iraqis to a similar fate. Among the symptoms reported by the affected soldiers are memory loss, scarred lungs, chronic fatigue, severe headache, raspy voice, and passing out.Apparently, the Pentagon estimates that nearly 100,000 American soldiers were exposed to sarin gas alone.

After the war, the Bush1 administration tried its best to deny that the "Gulf War Syndrome" had anything to do with the bombings. The suffering of soldiers was not their overriding concern. The top concerns of the administration and the Pentagon were to protect perceived U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East - not the interest of the regular GIs

Canute, Norway

Posted by Canute at August 21, 2002 11:15 AM

I think the piece is hilarious, but in an unintended way. Obviously, you seem to think that by proposing this satire you are showing us all that the dangers of appeasement or some such, and that in the 1940's America seemed to show much more resolve than it has now(and of course it's the fault of the liberals). Of course, there certainly WAS debate within the adminstration about a post-war policy. Obviously there was some debate about whether to bring down the Nazis completely or simply to free France. What you seem to miss is that up until late 1941, there wasn't much debate at all on the point: the public support for war against Germany or Japan was, to put it mildly, well short of overwhelming. You also forget the rather embarassing historical detail that we did not declare war on Germany and Italy until they in fact declared war on us.
Your satirical debate would likely have been a historical fact if they had not done so. At some point the president would have had to make a public case justifying an invasion of France and later Germany.

Posted by at August 21, 2002 11:16 AM

To Canute:

I've never defended our past Middle East policy. I think that much of it was wrongheaded (and continues to be today). That doesn't mean that we should be sitting around, wringing our hands, and asking why they hate us. It means that we need to fix it, which means no longer tolerating corruption, despotism, and the funding of anti-western terror with oil money.

To nameless: I'm not interested in alternate histories. The point was that in 1944, in the timeline in which we (or at least I) actually live, there was support for going after Hitler.

If you want to argue that there wouldn't have been if he hadn't declared war on us, perhaps, but it's possible to declare war without a formal declaration. Both Saddam and the Sauds did it years ago, but they're clever enough to not do it formally, and thus maintain the illusion, in the case of the latter, that they're our "allies." The American people have finally woken up to the reality.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 21, 2002 11:34 AM

Mr. Lindroos...your post is hilarious, coming
> from a citizen of a nation that was an active
> ally of Nazi Germany during World War

...for the same reason (or is that "excuse"?) why the U.S. apparently did not have too many qualms about supporting/collaborating with fascist regimes during the Cold War

Marcus...you mean, like Finland was a collaborator for the Soviets? Or do you mean that we provided a volunteer battalion for the SS in Rusia, like Finland did? Keep trying.

Posted by David Paglia at August 21, 2002 11:43 AM

Hmmmm....."Others say, however, that the German people are well educated, and that if the shackles of the brutal regime that currently oppresses them could be thrown off, there are excellent prospects for one that would be friendly to the US and western values in general. Such a government, in a region in which it is so dominant, could provide a healthy example for the populace in some of the other troubled regimes in the area."

Would this be true of Iraq??

Posted by Jack North at August 21, 2002 12:28 PM

"Would this be true of Iraq??"

Many knowledgable people believe that it in fact is. They are better educated than most Middle-eastern countries.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 21, 2002 12:32 PM

>>That doesn't mean that we should be sitting around, wringing our hands, and asking why they hate us. It means that we need to fix it,

Is that why the dumbya administration brought back into the US government some of the most fervent supporters of US-sponsored state-terrorism and Latin-American death squads from the Reagan years in Otto Reich, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, John Negroponte, Elliott Abrams, and Lino Guterriez; men who can now work in a more "killer- friendly" environment?

>>which means no longer tolerating corruption, despotism, and the funding of anti-western terror with oil money.

Is that why the dumbya administration has already leapt to the support of the military dictator of Pakistan and the ex-Stalinist boss of Uzbekistan? Of course, we shouldn't forget the "good" guys in the US-sponsored Northern Alliance, who BTW didn't bother checking out the articles of the Geneva Convention: http://www.msnbc.com/news/795153.asp

Isn't it clear that willingness to serve the "war on terrorism" will override any nasty political leadership qualities?

Isn't it obvious (since 911) that as with Sharon in his escalated crackdown on the West Bank, where it seems he has been given carte blanche by dumbya to smash the Palestinian civil society, and as with Putin's ongoing war in Chechnya, cooperation with the US will mean support for internal violence against dissidents and minorities, forms of state terrorism that will readily be interpreted as part of the "war on terrorism." Just as militarization and war do not conduce to democracy, the effects of mobilization of countries to support the administrations's "war" will damage democracy globally.

Isn't it obvious that the Bin Laden threat flows from U.S. actions, which played a crucial role in building up the Al-Qaeda network, and wrong-headed US-policies which have made an enormous "contribution" to the current state of affairs in the Middle East, and polarized incomes and wealth across the globe?

Isn't it obvious that the cycle of violence will only be broken if the current US government is defeated, removed from office, and replaced by a regime that aims to serve a broader constituency than Big Oil, the Military Industrial Complex and the Christian Right.

Canute, Norway

"We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment."

Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 17, 1961


Posted by Canute at August 21, 2002 01:08 PM

I must have missed the post in which I defended all of the Administration's actions. I in fact said that some wrongheaded policies continue today. Not to imply, of course, that I agree with all of Canute's nonsense. (e.g., there is no such thing as a "Palestinian civil society" to be crushed, and never will be as long as monsters like Arafat remain in charge.)

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 21, 2002 01:33 PM

I think Americans demanding the world's never-ending sympathy for September 11th is a little rich if you are British, given we've had around 3000 deaths from terrorism since 1960s, and much of that has been American funded.

Posted by George Stanley at August 21, 2002 02:27 PM

I, for one, am indifferent to the world's sympathy, or lack of it. But I'm also going to ignore them when they try to dissuade us from doing what we deem to be necessary to prevent an encore.

And unlike the EU, which continues to fund Arafat's continuing terror, I don't recall any US government funding of the IRA. (Other than perhaps Ted Kennedy's personal contributions...)

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 21, 2002 02:31 PM

Re: the post

I got news for you: this ain't 1944, Iraq ain't Germany and Saddam ain't Hitler. At the risk of pointing out the glaringly obvious, right now Saddam isn't even occupying 100% of his own country, much less anyone else's.

Posted by R. Mutt at August 21, 2002 03:02 PM

Why should that be a criterion? The issue is what he's capable of and willing to do, not how much territory he controls.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 21, 2002 03:24 PM

is Rand Simberg going to do a part 2?

you could have austria-hungry debating wether to invade Serbia in 1914 to clamp down on terrorist's like the black hand gang, and thugs like principe.

and even feature a debate how it will/will not destabalise Europe.

Posted by ltcaptain at August 21, 2002 03:48 PM

And then there's the reason he doesn't control 100% of his own country -- he seems to have a slight history of seeking to control "anyone else's" countries.

I can't say I'm moved one way or the other by the comments from Marcus and Canute. The snotty "you Americans don't know what you're doing" attitude certainly oesn't do anything to win me over. And if there's a long record of Finland or Norway having a constructive impact on world affairs, I'm unaware of it, so I don't see why Marcus and Canute's arguments merit attention.

Posted by Kevin McGehee at August 21, 2002 03:52 PM

>> In fact, I actually *approved of* the Gulf War and Operation Enduring Freedom (didn't know that, did you?). I thought both operations were justified and largely executed with multilateral skill and finesse.

Now I'm confused. If you supported those operations, did you also support getting rid of Saddam AT THAT TIME?

If you supported getting rid of Saddam then, what has changed?

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 21, 2002 05:06 PM

>> So you're telling us is that you read Danish, Norwegian and Swedish newspapers post 911. You are fluent in more than ONE language?

I'm fluent in "enough" languages, including silent, and there are translators for the rest.

Don't worry - you'll get plenty of chances to tell us how you feel. And we'll remember some of it, so be sure to say what you're happy with the consequences.

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 21, 2002 05:14 PM

>> Yes, Good Will - it's been squandered be the dumbya administration.Steps taken in the last few months by his administration reveal the extent to which unilateralism is in and allies are out in the White House.

Since the EU (apart from the UK) is incapable of military action, which potential partners were lost to the US?

I'm still waiting for an answer to what the US could have done that would have been acceptable to the advocates of multilaterism AND done something about terrorism.

>> What has truly unnerved European governments is that the administration has twisted the right of nations to self-defence into the right of Washington to attack countries on the ground that they may pose a future threat to the United States.

Is the US the only country that is obligated to wait until someone else strikes first?

>> What the Europeans fear is that this "rogue" notion completely undermines international law, returning the world to the law of the jungle.

Which international law is that? The international law of the UN?

It's rather embarrassing and unfortunate that certain US presidents have a nasty habit of signing treaties that won't ever be ratified and thus aren't worth the paper they're printed on. But, surely politically sophisticated Europeans could figure that out.


Posted by Andy Freeman at August 21, 2002 05:27 PM

Everyone who is against invasion is forgetting something - Bush declared war against terror and those who provide safe haven for terrorists. Ignoring the fact that it is now well established that Iraqi agents met Atta in the Czech Republic - thus demonstrating that Al Queda and Iraq were joined somehow - , Iraq harbors and aids terrorists as it is openly doing in the Palestinian/Israeli dispute. Hence it is on the radar screen.

Europeans who are so high and mighty can stuff the lectures. Europe has backed the PLO in the Israeli situation - economically as well - and have substantial muslum populations to deal with. They are fearful the US will succeed and establish a very strong pro USA sentiment in the middle east which will leave Europe a bit player in the region. This is all about politics. Once the US takes care of Saddam, Iran is probably going to fall on its own, that leaves the Saudis to fight their civil war without US protection for the House of Saud. The PLO will be completely marginalized and without any real benefactors in the region - the US wil dictate a peace. Arabs appreciate and respect power and force. The see the Europeans as weak and puny, and will see the US as strong and forceful.

Europe can't defend itself, can't protect itself (see Bosnia) and creates all sorts of silly treaties that most countries won't sign - yeah the biggies haven't signed the ICC either - or just ignore.

Grow a spine and do some of the heavy lifting for a change and maybe I'll have more than just nice manners compelling me to worry about what the Europeans think.

Europe - we saved the continent in WWII, protected you through the cold war, with the exception of Britain, did the heavy lifting in the first Desert War on our own, and will save you from terrorist regimes just off your shores who are looking for the nastiest weapons available just to prove a point.

We have compelling reason to change the entire dynamic in the middle east, too many people have been dying for no good reason for too long. The poverty in the region is caused by despotic governments who care nothing about their people. The Arab culture once the envy of the world and creater of vast knowledge has turned into a run down slum, which is their choice I guess, but now they want to kill us because they detest our lifestyle and the attraction it has on their people. It is time for their little temper tantrum to end.

Posted by Jim at August 21, 2002 09:11 PM

Hei Herra Canute:

Puhutko sinä Suomea? Tiedatko sinä mikä minä sanon? Ajatelletko koska minä olen Amerikalainen etta minä en oppi toinen kieli? Minun suomeni ei ole niin hyvä, mutta minä voin lue ja kuule. Ja kyllä, minä ymmärrän. Ehkä minä tarvitsen minun sanakirjani joskus mutta minä ymärrän vielä. Minä tiedän mitä ihmistä sanoivat. Ja eivat sanoi. Pehmäpää.

Pompous ass. Sure, everybody was shocked. But they seem to more shocked that the U.S. is doing something about it. The remarkable thing is not that Bush squndered European goodwill, it is how quickly European elites rushed to smother their citizens' natural sympathy with lies, innuendo and half-truths. But what truly appalls me is how hardly anyone will stand up against them. Your posts are riddled with baseless assumptions and prejudice (like all Americans only speak one language). Your history is very selective and heavily 'interpreted' ( I have been reading and studying history since, well, since I could read. I have forgotten more about it than you will ever even know.) Mr. Lindroos is at least trying to make some intelligent points, even if I disagree. You, on the other hand, do nothing but emit a semi-intellectual smog of half baked psuedo-fact. "Isn't it obvious?" Anyone who starts a sentence in that manner is shutting out all debate and counter argument. The premise is stated and not allowed to be questioned.

I have heard what you, and they, have said. I have understood it, weighed it in the balance, and found it wanting. America is acting unilaterally for the simple reason that our multilateral 'friends' are more eager to harm us than help us. If we become a 'rogue hyperpower', you can lay the blame on your own doorstep.

Posted by Michael Cowell at August 21, 2002 11:34 PM

Jim,

It's not well establised that Iraqi agents met with Atta in Prague. The last report I saw, on June 19th in the Washington Times (not known for its wishy-washy liberalism), said that the US intelligence community had seen 'no evidence' that such a meeting did not take place. This does not mean it did not take place, but it's certainly not 'well establised'.

Posted by MJ Turner at August 22, 2002 07:57 AM

There's no evidence that I can write in English either. In the post above, I meant 'no evidence that such a meeting did take place'.

Posted by MJ Turner at August 22, 2002 08:00 AM

>>Puhutko sinä Suomea?

I motsetning til deg herr Cowell, pretenderer ikke undertegnede av å kunne finsk. Hvorfor sa du ikke bare "Puhun vain vähän suomea"?

>>Tiedatko sinä mikä minä sanon? Ajatelletko koska minä olen Amerikalainen etta minä en oppi toinen kieli? Minun suomeni ei ole niin hyvä, mutta minä voin lue ja kuule. Ja kyllä, minä ymmärrän. Ehkä minä tarvitsen minun sanakirjani joskus mutta minä ymärrän vielä. Minä tiedän mitä ihmistä sanoivat. Ja eivat sanoi. Pehmäpää.

Well, what you are telling us is that you just understand and speak a BIT finnish and that you are not very good at it - how revealing. It's hard Mr. Cowell to understand the beliefs, attitudes, values, and world view of a people without understanding FULLY their language and the nuances of how that language is used.

Mr. Cowell, in your initial post you wrote: "I have yet, after nearly a year, to have a single Finn express outrage at what happened nor support for our response. No doubt it exists, but no one dares express it". Based on the assertion that your Finnish language skills are not very sophisticated, one can either conclude that you don't really know what's happening or that you're mostly interacting with similar minded american expatriotes who also share with you the joy of reading the National Review and watching the O'Reilly Factor on the FOX News Channel

>>Pompous ass.
Isn't it silly that a "uniquely qualified" man resorts to the A** word. Is that something you've learned from Bill O'Reilly?

>>Sure, everybody was shocked. But they seem to more shocked that the U.S. is doing something about it.

Yes, the shock of 911 was nearly universal. However, as I've said earlier, the administration has squandered the initial Good Will directed towards america from all over the world. Regardless of the spin that your right-wing cheerleaders are putting out, dumbya's foreign policy is dangerous and the rest of the world has caught on. This doesn't mean we're anti-American. we're just anti-Bush.(he he)

It's interesting to note that polling by your own Council on Foreign Relations is showing America's image problem is truly global - not just isolated to the Middle East. Negative attitudes about U.S. policy are also pervasive in front-line states in the phony "war" on terrorism and among your closest allies. The dumbya administration is using 911 and the "war on terrorism" to carry out its foreign and domestic agenda on a truly impressive scale, and so far without much impediment at home or abroad. What is notable about their agenda is that it flies in the face of all of the requirements for peace, global democracy, economic equity and justice, ecological and environmental protection, and global stability. It represents the choice of an overpowerful country's elite, determined to consolidate their economic and political advantage in the short run, at whatever cost to global society.

>>I have been reading and studying history since, well, since I could read. I have forgotten more about it than you will ever even know.)

So you are also telling us that you're not very good in history?

Posted by Canute at August 22, 2002 08:00 AM

>>>> So you're telling us is that you read Danish, Norwegian and Swedish newspapers post 911. You are fluent in more than ONE language?

>>I'm fluent in "enough" languages, including silent, and there are translators for the rest.

"Enough" you say, but does that mean you understand what's being said in the printed press in the above mentioned countries? A thorough knowledge of a language provides the real key to the understanding of any foreign culture. There is nothing wrong with using translation, provided you understand that you are not getting the whole thing.

Posted by Canute at August 22, 2002 08:13 AM

First lumberjacks, now O'Reilly. Sorry, Canute, but it's not worth wading through all the ad hominem attacks and non-sequiturs to see if you have anything intelligent to say.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 22, 2002 08:52 AM

MJ-

Yes, it has been recently established and the White House, which had really downplayed it - as you referenced in your post - has acknowledged it. I am trying to find the source, but it is recent - not loudly proclaimed because if the meeting in Prague is verified it takes away the argument that Iraq and Al Queda aren't linked and therefore Sadaam at least has clean hands on 9/11. The major print media which has decreed they don't like an Iraq invasion aren't going to proclaim it in their papers.

I will look for the place where I saw it and place the reference if I can. I don't believe it was the Washington Times, though it might have been. It may have also been NRO or DebkaFile. I am reading so much on what is going on that I sometimes fail to note where I am reading!

Posted by Jim at August 22, 2002 09:47 AM

>Why don't you write another satirical piece, set in the early 1960s?

>"Administration Split On Vietnam Invasion"

>Marcus

What invasion?! Marcus seems not have noticed:
the USA _never invaded_ North Vietnam - the aggressor country - during that war. Instead, we practiced gradual "escalation" - something maybe fit for diplomacy, but not a way to win wars.

The lesson of Vietnam - and of the first Gulf War - and of WWII and the preceding appeasement - is exactly the same: _there's no substitute for victory_.

It is very unwise to wound a ferocious beast and then step back. Do not *escalate*, do not *pressure*, do not *sanction*: go for the jugular, ASAP; eradicate the enemy before he even knows what hit him.
Create a clear precedent, it will save future fighting.

Accomplished facts speak louder than words. Whatever people say *now*, decisive victory will make us many friends later: one could hardly
find a pro-Nazi in Europe after May 8, 1945.

Posted by jjustwwondering at August 22, 2002 11:40 AM

"...one could hardly find a pro-Nazi in Europe after May 8, 1945."

And of course, the ranks of the French resistance swelled immeasurably in the summer of 1944...

There is one place that it's still possible to find lots of pro-Nazi types today, though--in the Middle East, where Mein Kampf has become a best seller.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 22, 2002 11:46 AM

>dumbya's foreign policy is dangerous and the >rest of the world has caught on. This doesn't >mean we're anti-American. we're just anti-Bush.
>(he he)
>Posted by Canute at August 22, 2002 08:00 AM

You, Canute, and whoever you call "we",
are not the world.

The Bush team's foreign policy since 9/11
has been a brilliant success.

The USA has (among other things)
# prevented, so far, new attacks;
# gained two major new allies - both nuclear powers - Russia and Pakistan (both of them more hostile than friendly before);
# made great progress in *rapprochement* with India (in spite of the renewed alliance with Pakistan!).
# improved relations with China;
# reinforced the special relationship with Britain;
# dumped the fetters of the ABM treaty without
any serious international friction;
# kept oil prices at an acceptable level
# established a new and far better new order
of things in the liberated Afghanistan.
# safeguarded Israel's right to self-defense while
still keeping the status of the only possible arbiter in Palestine.
And much more.

As for public opinion in France, Germany and
places like Finland, it has
apparently reverted, with the passage of time, to pre-9/11 level of anti-Amricanism. Couldn't be helped, but can be easily endured.


Posted by jjustwwondering at August 22, 2002 12:50 PM

>> A thorough knowledge of a language provides the real key to the understanding of any foreign culture.

(1) Yet one can understand enough without speaking a word of the language.

(2) I trust that Canute doesn't think that he understands US culture.

I note that there are fewer Finns than there are ex-cast members of Hee Haw. Why should I take the former more seriously than the latter?

Of course, I'm still waiting for what the US should have done. You're quite willing to complain that we're not listening, but you've yet to demonstrate that you have anything worth listening to.

Maybe someone would like to warm up with why ignoring the Euros hurt the US. (Yes, the UK was a great help. The rest of you couldn't have done anything if you'd wanted to, so your refusal has no consequence.)

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 22, 2002 02:23 PM

Canute, Marcus, ect: Here's a good one...name me ONE massacre or dictatorship that Europeans have ended UNAIDED BY THE US in this century. As I have said, y'all would do better at claiming the moral high ground if you had any high ground to claim. Until then, think of this: we'd probably care more about your opinions if European aid or assent was actually something we really NEEDED, or if knee-jerk anti-Americanism was something we haven't all grown to expect as ground-state from the Channel to the Urals. To paraphrase Noam Chomsky, maybe it's YOU who should be asking what you have done to make US angry...

Posted by David Paglia at August 22, 2002 02:30 PM

You probably mean in the last century. This one's not old enough to have had very many (though unfortunately, not zero).

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 22, 2002 03:01 PM

Absolutely BRILLIANT!!! You sir as they say today "are the man."

Posted by J Ratliff at August 22, 2002 07:19 PM

You're right, Rand. Sorry.

Posted by David Paglia at August 22, 2002 08:23 PM

This article by Kenneth Adelman:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,60906,00.html

makes, IMO, an excellent case for the impending
attack.

Posted by jjustwwondering at August 22, 2002 10:41 PM

>Mr. Lindroos...your post is hilarious, coming
>> from a citizen of a nation that was an active
>> ally of Nazi Germany during World War

> ...for the same reason (or is that "excuse"?)
> why the U.S. apparently did not have too many
> qualms about supporting/collaborating with
> fascist regimes during the Cold War

> Marcus...you mean, like Finland was a
> collaborator for the Soviets? Or do you mean
> that we provided a volunteer battalion for the
> SS in Rusia, like Finland did? Keep trying.


Provided a "volunteer battalion"? No problem, mate. There is no shortage of fascists in Latin America and elsewhere in the Third World who received lots of direct and indirect assistance from the good old U.S. of A. during the Cold War.
---
Mind you: my point is not that the United States itself is an evil, fascist country. But why are your dealings with totalitarian regimes any different from ours??


Marcus Lindroos
Liljendal, Finland

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 23, 2002 10:46 AM

> You seem to be saying that you agree that
> Hussein should go, but you want us to pass an
> essay test before we get approval? That we
> should make a case to the Security Council, but
> that you feel it would just be a matter of
> form, and that they would certainly approve?

> My question was, what specific proof is
> required from us?


You want specific proof? How about Saddam refusing to allow U.N. inspectors unimpeded access to weapons facilities in Iraq? Give him a final ultimatum and explain to him that another "no" means Gulf War II/certain personal destruction... Should be a total no-brainer, but if he somehow refuses, you have won the argument.
---
Let's talk about the U.S. home front. It seems you regard any debate about the wisdom (or cost-) of attacking Saddam as a waste of time?


Marcus

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 23, 2002 11:12 AM

>>First lumberjacks, now O'Reilly. Sorry, Canute, but it's not worth wading through all the ad hominem attacks and non-sequiturs to see if you have anything intelligent to say.

Regarding the lumberjacks: "Because something is happening here, but you don't know what it is"; do you Rand? I took the liberty to rearrange some of the lyrics from "Ballad of a Thin Man" in response to your incomplete reply to Mr. Lindroos' post (surely, you yourself set a high standard around here, don't you?):

>>>>That's a nice set of strawmen, Marcus.
>>>>Hollow, ephemeral, >>>>strawfilled...ummmmmmm...strawfilled...
>>>>[VOICE="Homer Simpson"]
>>>>gggghhhhhrrrrrhhhgggg...straw-filled...
>>>>[/VOICE]

---------------------------------
Well, you walk into the room
Like a camel and then you frown
You put your eyes in your pocket
And your nose on the ground
There ought to be a law
Against you comin' around
You should be made
To wear earphones
---------------------------------

>>What invasion?! Marcus seems not have noticed: the USA _never invaded_ North Vietnam - the agressor country - during that war. Instead, we practiced gradual "escalation" - something maybe fit for diplomacy, but not a way to win wars.

Yes, you didnt invade North Vietnam, but not content with the destruction being wrought upon Southeast Asia, the U.S. began a massive covert bombing campaign against Cambodia, resulting in famine, economic chaos, and a staggeringly high death toll. The direct American genocide of the Cambodian people lasted from 1969 to 1973. After that the Khmer Rouge, covertly supported by the U.S. government, continued the genocide. Estimated civilian deaths: 2,000,000/2,500,000 people from U.S. Air Force carpet-bombing and the Khmer Rouge combined. So, will Rand admit that this was a "wrongheaded" (to put it mildly) policy and that many (not few) US-wrongheaded policies continue today?

------------------------------------------------
"Until we go through it ourselves, until our people cower in the shelters of New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere while the buildings collapse overhead and burst into flames, and dead bodies hurtle about and, when it is over for the day or the night, emerge in the rubble to find some of their dear ones mangled, their homes gone, their hospitals, churches, schools demolished ? only after that gruesome experience will we realize what we are inflicting on the people of Indochina..."

William L. Shirer, author, 1973
------------------------------------------------

>>The snotty "you Americans don't know what you're doing" attitude certainly oesn't do anything to win me over.

There's no secret in Europe, that a swathe of the current political, policy and journalistic elite of America has conceived a severe dislike of Europe and Europeans. In the more extreme news outlets such as the National Review and the Rupert Murdoch controlled FOX News Channel, ANGRY Americans like Victor Hanson and Rand Simberg rants away about the "amoral" Europeans; the "euroweenies" - bla blah blah. Hey people; why all the anger, where's the humour?

The charming capability to laugh at themselves is a characteristic the British have and you the Americans seem to lack (You know, the guys whose language you speak and who according to the ill-informed neoconservatives in Washington supports your obsession with Saddam).

Just try to imagine anything like:

1. "Mad dogs and Americans go out in the midday sun"? or
2. "No sex, please, we're Americans" ? or
3. "Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the Streets of Los Angeles" ?

Substitute Englishmen for Americans in 1. and you have a song, written by Noel Coward.

Insert British instead of Americans in 2. and you have an English theatre play and film.

Change Los Angeles into London in 3. and you have a song, written by Ralph McTell and performed by Roger Whittaker.

Replace American arrogance with the courage to point humour at yourself, your national customs, even at your own country and you have a more likeable character trait.

Posted by Canute at August 23, 2002 11:15 AM

"How about Saddam refusing to allow U.N. inspectors unimpeded access to weapons facilities in Iraq?"

If that's all you need, we should have taken him out years ago. He's *never* allowed that.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 23, 2002 11:16 AM

> Now I'm confused. If you supported those
> operations, did you also support getting rid of
> Saddam AT THAT TIME?

> If you supported getting rid of Saddam then,
> what has changed?


Nothing (*now* you are confused:-). Actually, I agreed with the Bush Administration that Saddam must be forced to leave Iraq. I also agree with the assertion (by Powell, Schwarzkopf & co.) that removing Saddam from power was too dangerous in 1991. Saddam has been a nuisance ever since, but a relatively minor one. E.g. he has not attacked Kuwait, Iran or other countries.
---
Right *now*, I think a major war in the Persian Gulf probably would create more problems than solutions. But a lot depends on how it's done. From an American perspective, the cost in terms of U.S. casualties during and after the war as well as the political cost must be acceptable. But right now, the President seems to admit the U.S. is not ready yet.


Marcus

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 23, 2002 11:24 AM

>> It seems you regard any debate about the wisdom (or cost-) of attacking Saddam as a waste of time?

Yes, because the debate won't make any difference. It won't change anyone's position.

>> Nothing (*now* you are confused:-). Actually, I agreed with the Bush Administration that Saddam must be forced to leave Iraq.

Then why do you want a debate?

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 23, 2002 11:52 AM

>> The charming capability to laugh at themselves is a characteristic the British have and you the Americans seem to lack

Yet, for some reason all of the examples involve the English making fun of each other. Unless Canute wants to claim that Euros are Americans, those examples aren't particularly relevant. (Yes, I can say things about me and mine that you can't say without pissing me off.)

Moreover, we laugh at each other all the time.

Say something funny about us, and we'll laugh.

Say something stupid or insulting, and we won't.

As they say "why are you getting mad, it's just a joke" is the defense of someone who wasn't making a joke but is unwilling to take responsibility when called to task.

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 23, 2002 12:13 PM

The country who made Homer Simpson a national icon lacks the ability to laugh at itself?

B

Posted by Brian at August 23, 2002 01:23 PM

Canute,

RE your Cambodian claims, what are you quoting??

To begin w/, you might want to consider the North Vietnamese invasion (some would call it use) of Cambodia. Where do you think the Ho Chi Minh trail was? Hint: It WASN'T in South Vietnam.

So, Cambodia fails to stop the North Vietnamese from using its country as a means of fighting the war in South Vietnam. Sorta like, I dunno, the Germans using Poland to supply its forces in the Soviet Union. But a US effort to interdict that supply line, THAT's illegal.

Then, there's this claim that the US triggered the famine and economic chaos. Uhm, exactly, which famine is this? Remember, based on your own writings, this occurred BEFORE the KRs take over. So, when did this famine occur? Citation, please?

Then, there's this fascinating claim that we covertly supported the KRs DURING THEIR GENOCIDAL ACTIVITIES (presumably, you mean '74-'76 or so). Uhm, a little proof, please?

And, finally, the remarkably intellectually dishonest citation of a single figure w/ the amazing tag line: "2,000,000/2,500,000 people from U.S. Air Force carpet-bombing and the Khmer Rouge combined." Okay, put up or shut up: Which portion was which? What's the break-down? Who did what?

Suffice to say, you've certainly shot your credibility in the foot in MY book. Go back to Noam.

Posted by Dean at August 23, 2002 01:28 PM

>>Yet, for some reason all of the examples involve the English making fun of each other

Well, the simple reason being that the British and the Americans speak the same language. I didn't think of the posibility that you may understand post-modern Norwegian humour and that you are used to "translators" to "get the picture".

>>Unless Canute wants to claim that Euros are Americans those examples aren't particularly relevant.

Ooops, don't you reveal an embarrassing lack of insight; does such an entity exist, such as a "Euro-nation", and does an identical "Euro-humour" exist throughout Europe - you tell me!

>>Say something stupid or insulting, and we won't.

"....meaning any criticism from outside the US, directed against US-policies, domestic as well as foreign, and at our beloved POTUS who BTW is not a simple cheat, is an insult (Arrgh*#*%&)"

Posted by Canute at August 23, 2002 01:41 PM

>The direct American genocide of the Cambodian people lasted from 1969 to 1973. After that the Khmer Rouge, covertly supported by the U.S. government, continued the genocide.

This, Dr. Goebbels, is a perfect, undiluted,
unmitigated lie, not worth discussing - especially as it has nothing whatsoever to do with the topic...


Posted by jjustwwondering at August 23, 2002 02:11 PM

Actually, jjustwondering, I think it is remarkably appropriate. What we have here is the true face of at least some of the anti-war crowd. They claim that they are interested in honest debate, they claim that they are interested in "helping the US understand things." But scratch at least some of them, and what do you find underneath? The Cold War equivalent of the Holocaust denier.

By their actions shall ye know them. It gives me a pretty good idea of what at least one of the anti-war crowd is really about.

And, yes, that IS incredibly relevant.

Posted by Dean at August 23, 2002 02:22 PM

>> Well, the simple reason being that the British and the Americans speak the same language.

Most Canadians and Austrialians speak English too. Are they English, American, both? (They, and I, think that the answer is "neither".)

>> >>Unless Canute wants to claim that Euros are Americans those examples aren't particularly relevant.

>> Ooops, don't you reveal an embarrassing lack of insight; does such an entity exist, such as a "Euro-nation", and does an identical "Euro-humour" exist throughout Europe - you tell me!

When there are relevant differences, I'll distingush them. (Most Americans are members of multiple groups. Canute's Euro's are so limited - each is only associated with his fatherland.)

>> >>Say something stupid or insulting, and we won't.

>> "....meaning any criticism from outside the US

Not at all, but you can't know unless you try.

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 23, 2002 03:24 PM

>>So, Cambodia fails to stop the North Vietnamese from using its country as a means of fighting the war in South Vietnam. Sorta like, I dunno, the Germans using Poland to supply its forces in the Soviet Union. But a US effort to interdict that supply line, THAT's illegal

So you are saying the US presence in SEA from the 1950s to 1975 was legal?

>>Then, there's this claim that the US triggered the famine and economic chaos. Uhm, exactly, which famine is this? Remember, based on your own writings, this occurred BEFORE the KRs take over. So, when did this famine occur? Citation, please?

Here are just a few a few citations:
------------------------------------------------

"The bombing and flood of refugees led to the collapse of the agricultural system and induced a famine in which hundreds of thousands died from starvation. In fact, many of the deaths after 1975 that are attributed to the Khmer Rouge were actually caused by starvation from the famine induced by U.S. bombing before 1975."

from HOW U.S. SHAPED CAMBODIA
http://www.lightparty.com/Misc/Cambodia.html

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

"Sihanouk was overthrown with the connivance of the CIA, which had long resented his independent if quirky spirit. But as in Vietnam with the CIA coup against Ngo Dinh Diem, the U.S. could not come up with a viable Cambodian ruler to suit its purposes. Sihanouk was replaced by an inept Lon Nol, a U.S. puppet who could not hold power. The legacy of U.S. policy, including the 600,000 dead and many more maimed and homeless as a result of the bombing, created the conditions for the Khmer Rouge's seizure of power in 1975. Over the next four years, Pol Pot's leadership left one out of five Cambodians dead?

Cambodia's Anguish: Made in the USA
http://www.robertscheer.com/1_natcolumn/97_columns/070897.htm
------------------------------------------------

>>And, finally, the remarkably intellectually dishonest citation of a single figure w/ the amazing tag line: "2,000,000/2,500,000 people from U.S. Air Force carpet-bombing and the Khmer Rouge combined.? Okay, put up or shut up: Which portion was which? What's the break-down? Who did what?

Check out:

Democide in Cambodia
http://www.freedomsnest.com/rummel_cambodia.html

Statistics Of Cambodian Democide
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.CHAP4.HTM

Death By American Bombing And Other Democide
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.CHAP13.HTM

Cambodia - Crimes of war
http://www.crimesofwar.org/thebook/cambodia.html

Cambodia: Recommended Reading
http://www.mekong.net/cambodia/reading.htm

The numbers that I used are not unreasonable. It's quite clear that the US-air campaign in Cambodia was the main reason that the Khmer Rouge was able to seize absolute power in the mid 1970s. If you add the number of people killed directly by the B-52s and the KR, you'll get at least 2 000 000 dead. Even though the first number (let's be modest and say: not many more than about 100 000 deaths was directly caused by the US-bombing) is a relatively small fraction of the total number of people killed, it's still a substantial amount of killings - or perhaps it was only - using the standard DoD-term - Collateral damage?

Earlier, I did misspeak about US covert support of the Khmer Rouge in such a way as to indicate that the support was in the period that the KR was in control of Pnom Pen. What I meant to say was that by January 1980, the US was secretly funding Pol Pot's exiled forces on the Thai border. The extent of this support ($85 million from 1980 to 1986) was unintentionally revealed six years later by the US government. Although the Khmer Rouge government ceased to exist 1979, when the Viatnamese army drove it out, its representatives continued to occupy Camodia's UN seat. Their right to do so was defended and promoted by Washington as an extension of the cold war, as a mechanism for US revenge on Vietnam (?), and as part of its new alliance with China.

>>Suffice to say, you've certainly shot your credibility in the foot in my book.

Why should I care about who and what's in your "book"

"I will never apologize for the United States of America - I don't care what the facts are"

George H.W. Bush, 1988

Posted by Canute at August 23, 2002 05:43 PM

Dean: my general opinion of Cold War peaceniks
and appeaseniks is similar to yours; what's more,
I believe they came close to doing us all in.
Their modern counterparts are IMO less harmful; to the extent that they may be setting the tone, e.g., in parts of continental Europe, it merely makes those parts irrelevant. History
has sidelined them.

Be that as it may, I make a point of dealing with any posting, or any other text, on
its own merits - never mind what kind of
person may have generated it,
and with what intention. People are complicated, inconsistent, and capable of change. A person or an idea can't be usefully reduced to a party tag.

My interest is in the substance of the discussion,
not personalities of the participants.
In this case, the logical thread was defined by
Rand's witty spoof. Marcus has (quite reasonably
from his point of view) countered by offering a substitution: the Vietnam war for WWII; a botched
war for a victorious one. Would Rand's argument
still hold? This is a valid thought experiment.

But Marcus' implicit argument, however logical, was based on a faulty recollection of *facts*: the Vietnam war teaches the *same* lesson as WWII, or for that matter the Gulf War, or the recent Afghan war.

The invasion of Normandy has *worked*; the
*non-invasion* of North Vietnam has *failed*. Decisive action often wins wars, protracted escalation and sanctions almost never do.
This is the logic of that argument.

As for the out-of-the-blue accusation of the USA of "genocide" - it merely served to divert attention by an outrageous slander. Logically, it's irrelevant, a red herring.

Posted by jjustwwondering at August 23, 2002 07:11 PM

Canute has an interesting imagination. He seems to believe in many fictional concepts. Like "Gulf War Syndrome" and "Palestinian Civil Society." I don't think he's in a position to be calling anybody else dumb.

Posted by David Nieporent at August 24, 2002 03:18 AM

I don't have any problem accepting responsibility for what the US has done. Yes, there are times that we've done the wrong thing.

Of course, it's only fair for Canute to take responsibility for the consequences of inaction.

Maybe he'll try to shift the blame to some of his fellow Euros. Or, maybe he'll claim that incapacity excuses inaction.

Would it be impolite to point to the eggs that were broken when the Euros actually did things?

Note that I'm still waiting to hear what the Canutes or Euros have to say that is worth listening to. I'm also waiting to hear what they think that the US should have done.

I am, of course, still hopeful that Canute and the Euros will have their chance with Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 25, 2002 08:45 PM

> the logical thread was defined by
> Rand's witty spoof. Marcus has (quite reasonably
> from his point of view) countered by offering a
> substitution: the Vietnam war for WWII; a
> botched war for a victorious one. Would Rand's
> argument still hold? This is a valid thought
> experiment.

> But Marcus' implicit argument, however logical,
> was based on a faulty recollection of *facts*:
> the Vietnam war teaches the *same* lesson as
> WWII, or for that matter the Gulf War, or the
> recent Afghan war.

> The invasion of Normandy has *worked*; the
> *non-invasion* of North Vietnam has *failed*.
> Decisive action often wins wars, protracted
> escalation and sanctions almost never do.
> This is the logic of that argument.


"often..." Are you suggesting the United States would have won the Vietnam War (which involved guerillas receiving support from the USSR and China) if it had occupied the communist North?
Note that the USSR failed to defeat the Afghan rebels under largely comparable circumstances. Maybe the Vietcong could have been defeated in the North as well as South of Vietnam if the U.S. had attacked China and the U.S.S.R. as well... Aggression always works, right?? On the other hand, the alarmist "domino theory" predictions (=all of southeast Asia will turn red if we don't help Saigon) were subsequently proven wrong.
---
The key issue here is whether the *cost* of attacking this particular Arab dictator is too high or not. Note that Ronald Reagan apparently did not regard Muammar Khaddafi as a sufficiently large threat to remove him from power, despite the fact more than 300 U.S. soldiers and Western civilians were killed by Libyan-sponsored terrorists during the 1980s. Yet, it seems Khaddafi has been kept in check by other means.
---
The deadly thing about Saddam is supposed to be his biochemical arsenal, and other weapons of mass destruction. Yet, I note the U.S. did not automatically attack the People's Republic of China just because "the dangerously unstable" Chairman Mao acquired the Bomb.
---
Rand seems to suggest it is "self-evident" that attacking Saddam would be the best option, regardless of what the rest of the Arab world thinks or what the future status of (post-Saddam) Iraq might be. I don't think there is any conclusive historical evidence that invading foreign countries *always* ends up being the best strategy in the end.


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 26, 2002 05:47 AM

>> "You need to *discredit* Al Qaeda, much like
>> the Nazis were discredited in the eyes of the
>> German people following WW II. You also need
>> to support the creation of tolerant, secular,
>> peaceful capitalist democracies. Islamic
>> demagogues thrive where there is poverty,
>> ignorance, injustice, corruption and
>> oppression."

> What makes you think that that's not exactly
> the plan?


Historically, the U.S. has not been willing to hold on to long term interests in the Arab world. There was the 1982(?) terror bombing in Lebanon which prompted Reagan to withdraw U.S. forces. The U.S. also lost interest in Afghanistan after the Soviets withdrew all troops from the country.
---
The new policy would also represent a fairly dramatic departure from traditional U.S. Cold War/post Cold War policy, which is to back virtually _any_ Third World dictator as long as it serves American interests. The most recent example is Pervez Musharraf, whose Pakistan has been promoted back to the status of an allied nation following Sept.11. Now, I am not a moralist so I can understand the "realpolitik" reasons for it (note that [e.g.] the French have no qualms about this either). But as September 11 proved, the consequences of backing Islamic "freedom fighters" or Arab dictators during the Cold War may come back to haunt you later on. But I am also a realist: the oppressive regimes in Egypt, Algeria and Pakistan may well be preferable to the Islamic theocracies that might emerge if the West stopped backing these regimes. So what do you do?


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 26, 2002 06:50 AM

Marcus,

After the Tet Offensive, the Viet Cong WERE broken. The VC organization throughout South Vietnam was devastated by the combination of massive casualties and the number of units/agents in place who blew their covers to support what was expected to be a national uprising.

In the wake of the Tet Offensive, virtually all offensive actions were undertaken by North Vietnamese Main Force units, i.e., NVA forces that were dispatched southward. Note that, subsequently, the North Vietnamese went TO the negotiating table (and caved) precisely in reaction to the mining of Haiphong Harbor, the Xmas bombings of Hanoi (which, after the depletion of the NVA's SAM-2 stocks, were pretty much unopposed) and the destruction of many NVA units ('69 US attacks and the '72 Easter Offensive by the NVA).

As for the domino theory, you might want to take a look at what regional observer, Lee Kwan Yew, has had to say about the Vietnam War. In his opinon (as a nat'l leader in the region at the time), the Vietnam War bought time for local states to develop more robust polities, and provided the wherewithal (i.e., money) to establish firmer economies. Both were instrumental in denying the local Communist parties fertile soil to take root in.

Posted by Dean at August 26, 2002 06:58 AM

> As Bill Quick pointed out, an Iraqi occupation
> can pay for itself. If the US makes post-war
> Iraq its sole Mid-East oil supplier, the
> proceeds can pay for the occupation (and maybe
> then some).


So your plan is to turn Iraq into a U.S. colony then?


> This has the side effect of making Saudi Arabia
> and Iran much less of a US problem and much
> more of an EU/Japan problem. I'm looking
> forward to seeing such sophisticates in action.


The fact that we don't maintain troops near "the holy places" of Islam or condone every single policy pursued by Israel would seem to be points in our favor? Really, why mess around with the *ssholes in the Middle East? A bunch of fanatical, backward fundamentalists all.
---
Really, Iran and the Saudis will sell to anybody as long as the price is right. And fossil fuels will become gradually less important in the coming decades anyway.


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 26, 2002 06:59 AM

> It's sufficient for US purposes that their
> governments to be able to control them. In SA's
> case, not funding them would go a long way
> towards that goal.


I disagree. On our shores, ETA and IRA have existed for decades despite the preventive efforts of the Spanish and British governments, respectively. The French also failed to beat the Algerians into submission 40 years ago. I don't think the Russians will manage to defeat the Chechen rebels either.
---
The scary thing about September 11 was that it probably wasn't a very expensive operation at all. True -- you need skilled, ruthless and highly coordinated people to do it. But large-scale, expensive training camps etc. probably are not required.


> But, let's explore your theory.

> You seem to think that there's something that
> the US can do that will make them happy.

> What, EXACTLY, is that something? (We know that
> it's NOT wealth&education.)

> They've said that "push the Jews into the sea"
> will make them happy.

> Note that there's no reason to believe that "an
> independent Palestinian state" would make them
> happy.


In any case, there is near-universal agreement (even in Israel) that the current occupation will not be sustainable in the long run. If the Jews deserve their own nation, why not the Palestinians as well?
---
I think the Palestinians would listen to reason if a) they receive their own nation, b) the West provides peacekeeping forces as well as extensive financial support to rebuild the country & the local economy, c) the Yanks and EU withold all payments if the Palestinians don't do as they are told.
---
If you say this would never work, aren't the American "chicken hawks" proposing to do (b) and (c) in "liberated" Iraq?


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 26, 2002 07:59 AM

Marcus says:

"'often...' Are you suggesting the United States would have won the Vietnam War (which involved guerillas receiving support from the USSR and China) if it had occupied the communist North?
Note that the USSR failed to defeat the Afghan rebels under largely comparable circumstances. Maybe the Vietcong could have been defeated in the North as well as South of Vietnam if the U.S. had attacked China and the U.S.S.R. as well... Aggression always works, right??"

What we were doing in Vietnam was not "aggression," at least not in intent. We were fighting agression. And yes, the USSR failed in Afghanistan, but the circumstances were hardly "similar."

We are capable of making a distinction between imposing a totalitarian regime, and fighting to defeat one. Many Europeans, apparently, are not.

As to why we didn't go after Mao, I never claimed that having or acquiring weapons of mass destruction was a *sufficient* reason to go after a dictator. There are other factors in the calculus (e.g., what is his ultimate intent, and what are the prospects for success).

And no, the plan is not to turn Iraq, or any other Middle Eastern nation, into a "US colony." It is to turn it into a nation that can select its own leaders, and leaders that do things in the nation's interest, rather than their own. Such regimes are rare commodities in the Middle East right now. Hopefully, when all is done, they'll be the rule.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 26, 2002 08:04 AM

>> "'often...' Are you suggesting the United
>> States would have won the Vietnam War (which
>> involved guerillas receiving support from the
>> USSR and China) if it had occupied the
>> communist North?

> What we were doing in Vietnam was
> not "aggression," at least not in intent. We
> were fighting agression.
[...]
> We are capable of making a distinction between
> imposing a totalitarian regime, and fighting to
> defeat one. Many Europeans, apparently, are not.


I dunno. What about fighting to *preserve* a post-colonial totalitarian regime? Was South Vietnam really a democratic role model? It seems the South Vietnamese were fairly "divided" on the subject.


> And yes, the USSR failed in Afghanistan, but
> the circumstances were hardly "similar."


Indeed! A bit like France in'44 vs. Iraq in 2002 perhaps?


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 26, 2002 08:16 AM

South Vietnam was not a paragon of democracy, but it had the Stalinist regime to the north, supported by Mao's China and the Soviet Union, beat six ways from Sunday. To call it "totalitarian" is to render the word meaningless (which is perhaps your intent).

And there is indeed much more similarity between Iraq (and the Middle East in general) and 1944 Europe than the between American experience in Vietnam and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The only significant difference between the Nazis in Europe and the current sand Nazis (Mein Kampf is the new best seller over there...) is the level of competence of the former. Germany had an industrial base, and good generalship (when they weren't overruled by their madman of a leader). The Arabs have...oil. They both have a messianic ideology, they both would destroy the Jews if they could, and they both want to subjugate the world, and impose their beliefs on it.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 26, 2002 08:47 AM

>> It's sufficient for US purposes that their
>> governments to be able to control them. In
>> SA's case, not funding them would go a long
>> way towards that goal.

> I disagree. On our shores, ETA and IRA

Islamic terrorism isn't domestic in the US.

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 26, 2002 09:01 AM

>> In any case, there is near-universal agreement (even in Israel) that the current occupation will not be sustainable in the long run.

The end of the occupation merely means that Israel has figured out another way to survive. The new means need not have anything to do with Palestinian desires.

Note that the Israelis still have the "it's ours, we won it fair and square" option. (Other than the US, who has any leverage to stop that?)

>> the West provides peacekeeping forces

To stop whom? I note that the UN camps were hotbeds of Palestinian violence. That pretty much cured the Israelis of any notions that the west could be trusted to provide security for Israel.

"The west" has NEVER held the Palestinians to any condition. As long as that's true, why should the Israelis trust you?

>> as well as extensive financial support to rebuild the country & the local economy

Palestinians don't need money. They're smart and they're doing what they want to do.

>> If the Jews deserve their own nation, why not the Palestinians as well?

Because the latter would rather be murderous thugs.

They've HAD several opportunities to have a nation. They've even thrown AWAY a nation.

They'd rather kill Jews.


Posted by Andy Freeman at August 26, 2002 09:15 AM

>> It's sufficient for US purposes that their
>> governments to be able to control them. In
>> SA's case, not funding them would go a long
>> way towards that goal.

> I disagree. On our shores, ETA and IRA

: Islamic terrorism isn't domestic in the US


My point was that nobody can "control" terrorism. For example, the Irish actually collaborate with the British to combat the IRA. But an organization like that cannot be defeated by military force only. Most of the work involves preventive measures such as intelligence
, increased surveillance of airports etc..
---
Right now it seems Al Qaeda is operating in the border areas of Pakistan, and there is comparatively little general Musharraf can do about it.


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 26, 2002 09:28 AM

> Palestinians don't need money. They're smart
> and they're doing what they want to do.
[...]
> Because the latter would rather be murderous
> thugs.

> They've HAD several opportunities to have a
> nation. They've even thrown AWAY a nation.

> They'd rather kill Jews.


So what are you suggesting, then? Should Israel line them up against a wall (all 3(?) millions of them) and execute them on the spot? Or would Slobo-style "ethnic cleansing" be preferable?


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 26, 2002 09:34 AM

There are two solutions.

The short-term one is indeed "ethnic cleansing," (i.e., recognizing the reality that a people who cheer in the streets when a baby is deliberately perforated with poisoned nails in an ice-cream parlor are a people with whom one cannot coexist, and do not deserve a state of their own). They would have to go to Jordan, and Lebanon, and the other Arab states that have been using them as pawns in their war against the Jews, urging them on to destroy Israel over the past fifty plus years, to their continuing devastation.

The other, preferable one, but one which will take longer, is to defeat them and their sponsors utterly, and cut off the funding (including funding from the EU) that supports the terrorism. This includes funding to Madrassas that teach hatred of Jews, and the joy and glory of martyrdom, and rewards to the families of the baby perforators.

Thus, over a generation of two, the toxic ideas that drive the rage gradually will be removed from the populace, and they can get down to actually *building* a nation (as Germany and Japan did after their defeat), rather than simply attempting to destroy one, which is the current modus operandi.

In either case, the road to peace in the territories lies through Baghdad (and Riyadh), rather than the other way around.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 26, 2002 10:03 AM

Well, Marcus, you've been demanding that we listen to you. And, to your credit, you've made an attempt at:
(2) What will make the Palestinians happy?

However, you haven't bothered to show why the proposed measures will make THEM happy. (Yes, they might make you happy, but you're not the problem.) They've rejected those before - why will this time be different?

>> So what are you suggesting, then? Should Israel line them up against a wall (all 3(?) millions of them) and execute them on the spot? Or would Slobo-style "ethnic cleansing" be preferable?

I don't know - you tell me. However, the answer can't include Israeli suicide and it should have some connection to reality. In other words:

(3) What should the Israelis do?

Actually, there's a good argument that the EUs should be involved if euthanasia is required. Their words&actions have helped get us to that situation. (They've been encouraging the dreams of a Jew-free middle-east.) Plus, they have relevant experience.

We're still waiting for answers to:

(1) What should the US have done about 9/11?

>> My point was that nobody can "control" terrorism.

That's a claim, not an cogent argument. Moreover, a number of countries have won wars on terrorism, so it's a false claim. It's not pretty, but if that's the game, the US can easily play to win.

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 26, 2002 01:19 PM

One of the problems w/ Left citations of Vietnam is that the post-Vietnam situation is almost always ignored.

What happend to Vietnam SINCE April 1975?

First, we saw a fairly murderous regime expel tens of thousands of ethnic Chinese as "boat people." Hmmm. Sounds like ethnic cleansing, to me. Odd how that got more condemnation then than it does now.

Then, we saw them screw up the country that they had finally succeeded in taking over. Yet, if we look at their economy today, where does it function? In the South! Whether there were two Vietnams in 1954, there were certainly were by 1974. And it is the Southern portion, the one that Marcu$ happily labels as "post-colonialist toltalitarian" that will likely be the salvation of that country.

Why? Because between the anti-capitalist activities of 1954-1974 in the North, and the general dominance of the "dead hand", the North Vietnamese understood force, terror, and a command economy. The South, for all its failings and mistakes, was still far better versed in capitalism and, yes, even the concept of democracy.

One of the funniest things is that the same arguments were heard from the American Left about the virtues of North Korea over South Korea (arguments heard until the late 1980s) and of China over Taiwan (heard until the early 1990s).

The three Asian examples of divided development should give serious pause to those Leftists who somehow argue that development and democracy are better served by Left/Communist dominance. At the end of the day, it would seem, it was American-backed regimes who have fared far better.

That being said, the comparison of Iraq w/ Vietnam is simply bizarre. Vietnam (and Afghanistan) succeeded because of external support. No guerilla war (w/ the sole exception of the Chinese Communists against the Nationalists) ever succeeded w/o substantial external support. Even Tito received aid from the UK, the US, and the Soviets. Who is going to be supporting Saddam? If Saddam were truly such a nationalist figure, on the level of Ho Chi Minh, why is he constantly on the move, afraid of assassination?

Posted by Dean at August 26, 2002 02:17 PM

> South Vietnam was not a paragon of democracy,
> but it had the Stalinist regime to the north,
> supported by Mao's China and the Soviet Union,
> beat six ways from Sunday. To call
> it "totalitarian" is to render the word
> meaningless (which is perhaps your intent).


Isn't "totalitarian" synonymous with "dictatorship?" In that case, South Vietnam easily fits the description. We have the authoritarian Ngo Dinh Diem who ruled the country with an iron fist from 1955 onwards until the military coup d'etat of 1963. His successor, Nguyen Cao Ky, wasn't exactly a democrat either -- e.g. the largely peaceful anti-government demonstrations of March-May 1966 were violently crushed.


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 27, 2002 12:34 AM

> And it is the Southern portion, the one that
> Marcu$ happily labels as "post-colonialist
> toltalitarian" that will likely be the
> salvation of that country.


So your argument is that Third World dictators really don't have to be concerned about human rights as long as they are murdering, torturing etc. communists, "islamofascists" and other "evil" people? Maybe...but this sounds like moral relativism to me. Aren't American conservatives supposed to abhor such relativist thinking?
---
I actually accept and understand the reasons for "realpolitik" -- but I have to laugh at the conservatives' sorry grab for the moral high ground on this issue. After all, the U.S. government used to back Saddam as well as the Afghan Islamic "freedom fighters" in the 1980s. Why not just drop the silly pretensions that you are selflessly fighting for "freedom" or "values" in the Third World?


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 27, 2002 12:53 AM

>>> It seems you regard any debate about the
>>> wisdom (or cost-) of attacking Saddam as a
>>> waste of time?

> Yes, because the debate won't make any
> difference. It won't change anyone's position.


In that case, you have already lost and the U.S. will not attack Iraq. Colin Powell makes a convincing case that America must stand *united* between its armed forces, or else the military operation will fail.

http://www.msnbc.com/news/746662.asp?0dm=O12MO
[...]
With memories of those misconceived missions fresh and painful, then-Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger, and his then-chief military assistant, Gen. Colin Powell, drafted new criteria for overseas military involvement.
War, they agreed, should be a last resort. It should be undertaken only in the presence of precise political and military goals, with clear popular support from the American public and the Congress. There must be a clear exit strategy, and an unhesitating will to deploy overwhelming force.
?War should be the politics of last resort,? Powell re-asserted in his autobiography. ?And when we go to war, we should have a purpose that our people understand and support; we should mobilize the country?s resources to fulfill that mission and then go in to win. In Vietnam, we had entered into a halfhearted half-war, with much of the nation opposed or indifferent, while a small fraction carried the burden.?
Powell condemned the ambiguous mission objectives that led to the 1983 Lebanon fiasco that cost us the lives of so many young Marines:
?When the political objective is important, clearly defined and understood, when the risks are acceptable, and when the use of force can be effectively combined with diplomatic and economic policies, then clear and unambiguous objectives must be given to armed forces. These objectives must be firmly linked with the political objectives. We must not, for example, send military forces into a crisis with an unclear mission they cannot accomplish-such as we did when we sent the U.S. Marines into Lebanon in 1983. We inserted those proud warriors into the middle of a five-faction civil war complete with terrorists, hostage-takes and a dozen spies in every camp, and said, ?Gentlemen, be a buffer.? ... When we use (force), we should not be equivocal; we should win and win decisively.?

> Then why do you want a debate?


Do you really think the President will gamble on an attack if currently roughly 50% of Americans regard it as a bad idea? That is probably why Cheney and Condi Rice have been publicly advocating the idea of attacking Iraq.


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 27, 2002 03:22 AM

"Isn't 'totalitarian' synonymous with 'dictatorship'?"

No. It goes far beyond that. Stalin and Hitler were not mere dictators.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 27, 2002 07:44 AM

Marcu$ -

Condi and Dick are out because the Democrats felt they had a an opportunity to support the military action but question the President for political gain. So they have been touting the "questions need to be answered line" which receives great sympathy from the press - which is largley anti-war - and you will get some movement on public opinion for war support. But it is still in the 60% range and as Dick and Condi go out it will rise above 70% as before.

Most American support the idea for the same reason they support Israel. They have watched 50 years of bloodshed, they have seen numerous US Presidents and Israeli Prime Ministers come and go and they have seen the constant as the Arab dictators and Palestinian terrorists. (often times supported by the Europeans). The Americans intuitively understand that peace will only come about by changing the Arab equation. Saddam looks like a good place to start. The European view as articulated by you has become untenable if you care about human life. Talking and political posturing gets people killed, including now our own countrymen our own soil. Nothing you have offered changes this fact. It is time to fight. We probably would still stay out if we hadn't been attacked. But if the fascists in the Middle East don't like us coming they shouldn't have attacked us and they shouldn't have flouted the Oslo accords which they violated as soon as they signed them.

Talking peace is easy and allows the appearance of the high moral ground. But peace is often bloody to get and power is the price of its maintenance. That is why without the US, Europe would know neither.

Posted by Jim at August 27, 2002 07:53 AM

>> Yes, because the debate won't make any
>> difference. It won't change anyone's position.
>
> In that case, you have already lost and the U.S. will not attack Iraq.

The American people don't need the debate - they're already convinced at the 6-70% level. Actually launching a public attack will add another 5-10%. (There's a natural upper-bound somewhere around 8-85%.)

Yes, there's some quibbling about whether the attack should occur on a weekend, when it might upstage football, or on a weekday, when it will preempt soaps, but that's not a huge obstacle.

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 27, 2002 08:22 AM

> Most American support the idea for the same
> reason they support Israel. They have watched
> 50 years of bloodshed, they have seen numerous
> US Presidents and Israeli Prime Ministers come
> and go and they have seen the constant as the
> Arab dictators and Palestinian terrorists.


Why is Israel any of your (or our-) business anyway?
---
You can't deny a very, very significant reason why Arabs hate the U.S. is your support of Israel. What tangible geopolitical benefits do you get from it?
---
Maybe the best strategy would be to withdraw *all* military and economic support and then let these folks sort out their differences...


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 27, 2002 08:44 AM

> I can't say I'm moved one way or the other by
> the comments from Marcus and Canute. The
> snotty "you Americans don't know what you're
> doing" attitude certainly oesn't do anything to
> win me over.


Can't help it . It's just that conservative Americans tend to share some rather quaint "values" (e.g. religious faith, aggressive & bellicose nationalism, unilateralism) that once were common in Western Europe but -- fortunately -- have been out of fashion since the end of WW II. I expect you will grow out of it too, eventually.


> And if there's a long record of Finland or
> Norway having a constructive impact on world
> affairs, I'm unaware of it, so I don't see why
> Marcus and Canute's arguments merit attention.


Why not? Our predictions regarding (for example-) the likely political impact of an unprovoked U.S. attack on Iraq may eventually be proven right regardless of whether we are from the States or not.


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 27, 2002 09:10 AM

Unprovoked? Why do you continue to ignore the fact that Saddam has flouted all the agreements (agreements with the UN) that he signed at the end of the Gulf War? Hell, just the fact that he tried to assassinate former President Bush is provocation a plenty.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 27, 2002 10:27 AM

>> Why is Israel any of your (or our-) business anyway?

The US has significant trade with Israel. We also have a thing for democracies.

A better question would be why Eros care about Palestinians and prefer them to Israelis.

What do you like best about the Palestinians? Is it the suicide bombing, the women's (lack of) rights, the "tolerance", the the sexual assaults committed by Muslim immigrants to the "low countries"?

>> You can't deny a very, very significant reason why Arabs hate the U.S. is your support of Israel. What tangible geopolitical benefits do you get from it?

Well, there's the amusement value of being lectured by folks who think that supporting Palestinians gives them the high moral ground.

Of course, we do have a habit of doing the right thing even when it costs us. I guess that you wouldn't understand.

Hint - when your best argument is "Israel does the same bad things", you're conceding that your side is "not good", and when you have to lie to do so, well....

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 27, 2002 11:20 AM

>> It's just that conservative Americans

Who's a conservative and what definition are we using?

Simberg wants to legalize pot and abolish various US federal police forces.

If he stops there, I think that he's a weenie, but that sure doesn't make him conservative.

>> aggressive & bellicose nationalism

Not any more so than Euro countries when they get attacked, or there's even a hint of danger on their borders. (Bosnia....)

>> common in Western Europe but -- fortunately -- have been out of fashion since the end of WW II

Because the US occupied Europe after WWII. Once we leave, you'll be killing each other again within 30 years.

>> unilateralism

Well, it's hard to be multilateral when no one else has anything to offer. Yes, the UK does, but what, exactly, do you have to offer? Your kind words?

I sure hope that you get to demonstrate your skills in Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Oh - you're still pissed that we didn't put on the Kyoto handcuffs. I'd have thought that political sophisticates would have been pissed at how Clinton used them. (The US Senate's 95+-0 vote should have been a huge clue.)

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 27, 2002 11:32 AM

Marcu$,

One wonders that you deign to populate this part of cyberspace, given us barbaric Americans.

But one wonders, do you condemn the IRA, ETA, etc., for their "bellicose nationalism"? Is there a reason they haven't "grown out of it yet"?

Oh, and where did they slaughter Bosniacs? Was that in Asia? My geography is so poor (I'm an American, after all). And which countries put a stop to that? Wasn't it the Nordic brigade of the UN peacekeeping forces that finally put a stop to Milosevic? Especially after the heroic stand of the Dutch at, where was that, Srebenica? Yes, of course it was.

Perhaps it is because of our discomfort w/ this stellar lineage of EU success in guaranteeing that mass slaughter doesn't happen again that makes Americans more comfortable w/ unilateralism? Hmm?

And finally, just as you ask why Israel is of concern to us, I must ask, why is religious faith something to grow out of? (Asks someone who is not a member of any organized religion, but certainly feels folks should be free to worship IF and AS they choose.) Why should whether people choose to worship God/Gods/Allah/Shiva/YHWH/Buddha have the slightest effect on your perception of them?

Posted by Dean at August 27, 2002 11:54 AM

Marcus, not being from the states you may have never heard this before, but even a blind squirrel can pull a nut out of the mud every once in a while. If you wish to rely on luck, please feel free. But kindly don't do it while my life hangs in the balance. If we could ensure that the nuclear blast would only affect Nordic countries, we wouldn't worry too much. Until that day, you will have to deal with our 'unilateralism'.

But being from Europe, you have no excuse for not knowing Churchill's line about a man at 20 who is not a liberal having no heart and a man at 40 who is not a conservative having no brain.

You may take great pride in all the worthy liberal ideals the continent supports. We take great pride in the fact the taint of America, Mississippi, has a greater per capita income than Europe's shining star of socialism, Sweeden. You guys keep on worrying about the size of the chunks allowed in tomato sauce, who can dispose of old refrigerators and how much curve a banana can have. Let the grown-ups take care of the important things, o.k. Hell, we don't even ask that you thank us.

Posted by Joe at August 27, 2002 01:35 PM

> You may take great pride in all the worthy
> liberal ideals the continent supports. We take
> great pride in the fact the taint of America,
> Mississippi, has a greater per capita income
> than Europe's shining star of socialism,
> Sweeden.


I have actually read the Swedish survey you appear to be referring to, but I think it's misleading. They were only looking at gross per capita income, without considering the impact/value of Swedish "public commodities" such as universal health care, schools, public buildings etc.. Or government investments in high tech industry; I note Sweden and Finland -- along with the U.S. -- usually end up on top of the list of the world's most technologically advanced societies. Yes, salaries are lower on this side of the ocean but there is more to life than work...
---
I have never been to Mississippi but I visited Seattle a few years ago, and thought the city looked a bit like Curt Cobain. It's supposedly wealthy, but it somehow seemed "worn", dirty and scrappy by Scandinavian standards. D.C./Baltimore, on the other hand, was cool, well organized and the general standard of living appeared to be high...the place reminded me a lot of the Helsinki suburbs.


> But being from Europe, you have no excuse for
> not knowing Churchill's line about a man at 20
> who is not a liberal having no heart and a man
> at 40 who is not a conservative having no brain.


I disagree. "Conservatives" usually lose the fight against social progress sooner or later, e.g. Sir Winston's attitudes regarding people of color, homosexuals, capital punishment, modern art or women are no longer the norm in Britain.
---
The best thing about the so-called "War on Terrorism" is the U.S. public sector is going to continue growing bigger and bigger. I believe Newt Gingrich type libertarian conservatism will fade further into the background.


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 28, 2002 06:04 AM

Well, Marcu$, I'm glad to see you can cherry-pick what questions (or is it posters) you respond to as well as you cherry-pick images and data.

As a long-time resident of the DC/Baltimore area, suffice to say that your views of that area are about as accurate as your understanding of American politics. Out of curiosity: How long did you live here? Were you here during the infamous snowy winters of a years past, when the city couldn't dig itself out? Did you have the undercarriage of your car ripped out by the pot-holes that could literally fit mattresses in them? Did you ever visit Anacostia, or did you limit yourself to the diplomatic enclaves?

Puh-leeze.

Posted by Dean at August 28, 2002 06:12 AM

Um, Marcus. Do you ever think about the stuff you are writing before you post? Britain's fall from a great power to economic basketcase seemed to coincide with the era after Churchill. If you define winning as holding power, then you may be right. But if you define winning as implementing sound long-term policy that improves the countries position, then you could not be more wrong.

Sweeden's per capita figures did take into account the effects on government manipulation of markets, that's why they are lower. That is what government regulation does, act as a brake on economic activity because the government is never as efficient as the market. Mississippi isn't even close to Seattle in terms of economic vitality. Taint is slang for the region between the scrotum and anus, if that gives you any idea of the desirability of Mississippi. And it is still doing better than Sweeden.

Few over here think work is everything. It is a means to an end. A job allows you to gain independence and freedom, which are the most important goals of mankind. At least in the view of Americans. Better to die on your feet than live on your knees.

Posted by Joe at August 28, 2002 08:02 AM

"The best thing about the so-called "War on Terrorism" is the U.S. public sector is going to continue growing bigger and bigger. I believe Newt Gingrich type libertarian conservatism will fade further into the background."

Yes, Marcus, this was the fantasy of a lot of big-government socialists right after 911.

What's actually going to happen (and in fact is already starting to happen, e.g., the incipient revolt against mindless airline security policies) is that people are starting to realize that bigger government isn't better government, and that what we need instead is smarter government, focused on the things that governments are actually supposed to do (e.g., defending the nation against external enemies, rather than frisking grannies for tweezers).

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 28, 2002 08:24 AM

> Um, Marcus. Do you ever think about the stuff
> you are writing before you post? Britain's fall
> from a great power to economic basketcase
> seemed to coincide with the era after Churchill.


Well, by your logic, the U.S. ought to have been much more powerful in 1776 and immediately afterwards before the gradual growth of the welfare state, before the suffrage etc..
---
Progressive social policies and a cradle-to-grave welfare system naturally cost money, but it is not as if the United States and other Western countries have been bleeding to death during the last two centuries just because of the weed-like growth of the public sector.


> That is what government regulation does, act as
> a brake on economic activity because the
> government is never as efficient as the market.


It's not a black-&-white thing. High taxes have negative consequences, true, but you cannot deny the U.S. has different problems (e.g. homicide rates) because the gap between rich and poor is much greater than over here. I actually believe taxes are slightly too high in Finland and Sweden, but the United States certainly would not be a good role model to emulate.


> That is what government regulation does, act as
> a brake on economic activity because the
> government is never as efficient as the market.


Well, have you been to Sweden then? Maybe the place isn't as bad as you think, if you would try to actually live there...


> Few over here think work is everything. It is a
> means to an end. A job allows you to gain
> independence and freedom, which are the most
> important goals of mankind.


I think it is naive to believe that money (or material wealth) is the *only* thing that motivates people to work really hard. Yet social darwinists frequently argue this is the case, and consequently only far-right libertarian societies are desirable. Of course, without any economic incentives whatsoever, nothing much would get done. But people typically pick other objectives as well when picking a career, e.g. self-fulfillment, work environment, off-work related benefits (health care, maternity leave etc.).


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 28, 2002 09:56 AM

"you cannot deny the U.S. has different problems (e.g. homicide rates) because the gap between rich and poor is much greater than over here"

I don't know about him, but I can easily deny it. There's no data to indicate that our murder rate is caused by income gap. It has many complex factors (the War On (Some) Drugs) being a major one), but it's not clear that that's even one of them, let alone the driving one.

By the way, I've addressed your question about the difference between dictatorships and totalitarianism in a separate post yesterday, at http://www.interglobal.org/weblog/archives/001590.html#001590

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 28, 2002 10:11 AM

> One wonders that you deign to populate this
> part of cyberspace, given us barbaric Americans.


Missionary zeal, probably:-) BTW, I *am* trying to respond to everything but it's getting harder as the number of responses is growing.


> But one wonders, do you condemn the IRA, ETA,
> etc., for their "bellicose nationalism"? Is
> there a reason they haven't "grown out of it
> yet"?


The troubles in Northern Ireland (& Yugoslavia, which is not part of the EU by the way) are fundamentally caused by religion. ETA dates back to oppression by Franco...too bad that today's democratic Spanish government still has to pay for mistakes and short-sighted policies made 50 years ago. Fortunately, everybody is a "minority" in the European Union and conflicts between peoples that lasted for centuries have finally ended. Domestically at least, the EU is excellent proof that peaceful multilateralism works.


> Oh, and where did they slaughter Bosniacs? Was
> that in Asia? My geography is so poor (I'm an
> American, after all). And which countries put a
> stop to that? Wasn't it the Nordic brigade of
> the UN peacekeeping forces that finally put a
> stop to Milosevic? Especially after the heroic
> stand of the Dutch at, where was that,
> Srebenica? Yes, of course it was.


Actually, this was probably one of Bill Clinton's smartest moves. I thought the Americans clearly did the right thing there.


> Perhaps it is because of our discomfort w/ this
> stellar lineage of EU success in guaranteeing
> that mass slaughter doesn't happen again that
> makes Americans more comfortable w/
> unilateralism? Hmm?


You have to look at this on a case-by-case basis, though. Military intervention is sometimes the best option, sometimes it isn't.


> And finally, just as you ask why Israel is of
> concern to us, I must ask, why is religious
> faith something to grow out of?


Don't you think blind faith in things like (e.g.) God/Allah created women to be inferior/obedient to men, or homosexuality is evil, counts as a negative? Besides, religion has frequently clashed with science throughout the history of Western civilization -- from Giordano Bruno to today's "creation science" debate in American schools. I attribute the current "backwardness" of the Islamic world mostly to the stiffling role played by religion on those societies. Europe used to be very similar in this respect, 1000 or even 500 years ago.
---
Pat Robertson's and Osama bin Laden's worldview probably do not greatly differ from each other. They largely condemn the same phenomena in society, but the Robertsons of the world no longer think killing "infidels" would be appropriate...in most cases anyway. Bin Laden has no such qualms.


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 28, 2002 10:27 AM

> Unprovoked? Why do you continue to ignore the
> fact that Saddam has flouted all the agreements
> (agreements with the UN) that he signed at the
> end of the Gulf War?


Let's see if he is foolish enough to continue to do so.


> Hell, just the fact that he tried to
> assassinate former President Bush is
> provocation a plenty.

Quoting Pat Bahn:

"Um,

Let's see.

CIA attempts to Assasinate Castro.

CIA involvement in Lumumba death.

Several attempts to bomb Hussein during Gulf war and afterwards.
[...]
We aren't in a great moral position to point fingers. It's fairly common over there, it's not against our code over here."

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 28, 2002 10:34 AM

I claimed nothing about "moral position." I just said that it was a casus belli. If Cuba or any of those other countries want to go to war with us over those assassination attempts, they're welcome to try. We won't object on the basis that they're not justified. But they'll lose.

Oh, and by the say, I find it hilarious that you think that I will be convinced by a cite from Pat Bahn on the subject of foreign policy.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 28, 2002 11:18 AM

"Pat Robertson's and Osama bin Laden's worldview probably do not greatly differ from each other. They largely condemn the same phenomena in society, but the Robertsons of the world no longer think killing "infidels" would be appropriate...in most cases anyway. Bin Laden has no such qualms."

That doesn't seem like a big difference to you?


Posted by Rand Simberg at August 28, 2002 12:25 PM

>> you cannot deny the U.S. has different problems (e.g. homicide rates) because the gap between rich and poor is much greater than over here.

Hmm. Poor people kill other poor people because there are rich people in the next town.

How far does that effect extend? Does Bill Gates affect people in Montana, or just Idaho?

Of course, we could measure the murder rates in rich communities and notice that the relatively poor in those communities don't kill.

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 28, 2002 01:18 PM

"the stiffling role played by religion on those societies. Europe used to be very similar in this respect, 1000 or even 500 years ago." Today, the EU has replaced the Church. It is now Brussel's job to stifle creativity and innovation, not the Vatican's. 500 years ago, it was against the law to say the earth was not the center of the universe. Now you can't have really chunky sauces or bananas with too much/little curve. How is that an improvement? OBL blindly thinks he will prevail despite all evidence to the contrary. Europeans blindly believe the government can solve all their problems despite all evidence to the contrary. How does your blind faith trump his?

It is dangerous to discuss logic when you are not using any. We were not a strong nation in 1776 because we weren't even a nation then. That was when we declared independence (a hint is the phrase Declaration of Independence). Our Constitution didn't come into being until 1787. In the years between, we were a loose confederation that makes the UN seem unified. We became a world power in the early 1900's. So about 120 years to go from a new country to being one of the most powerful countries in the world. How long did it take for the Finnish to roll across the globe, crushing all that would dare oppose them, leaving all others cowering in their wake? It is because we stand on the shoulders of the men of 1776 that we are the strongest country in the world economically, militarily, culturally and any other way you want to talk about. The ideas and ideals that they proposed and implemented are the reason that our worst is better than your best. Ironically enough, it was inspiration from Europe that were the seeds for our experiment in goverance. Too bad you guys didn't follow the same path.

Us simplistic Americans know that when all you have is a hammer, all problems are a nail. When you don't have a military, all international disputes require diplomacy. It isn't that diplomacy is the best course of action, but the only way you guys can feel important. When you're talking about fruit, its acceptable. When lives are at stake, it is grotesque.

Posted by Joe at August 28, 2002 02:19 PM

>>>Pat Robertson's and Osama bin Laden's worldview probably do not greatly differ from each other. They largely condemn the same phenomena in society, but the Robertsons of the world no longer think killing "infidels" would be appropriate...in most cases anyway. Bin Laden has no such qualms."

>That doesn't seem like a big difference to you?

Why not read: "The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity" (by Tariq Ali). Interesting concept, isn't it; comparing Bin Laden with the likes of Jerry Falwell and friends??

Just a review (among many):
http://www.madison.com/captimes/books/topic/nonfiction/24133.php

"Oh my name it is nothin'
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I's taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that land that I live in
Has God on its side."

RZ

Posted by Canute at August 29, 2002 12:18 PM

I can't imagine how reading any book (let alone one recommended by the likes of you) would explain to me how there's no significant difference between a man who wants to murder the infidels, and one who doesn't.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 29, 2002 04:31 PM

The thesis of the book is that the US and its economic-military policies are the mother of all current fundamentalisms. You have spawned the groups which you now fight.

>>let alone one recommended by the likes of you

He he, still angry aren't you? Hmm, you're in your mid 40s? In this resonse you reveal a surprizingly low level of maturity. One would guess that any serious "player" - even among contributors to the FOX news network - would be curious to know about views diametrically opposed to their own.

-------------------------------------------------
"The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'"

Jerry Falwell

Posted by Canute at August 30, 2002 07:46 AM

Just for the record, I've never been angry.

I don't know how you would infer my lack of respect for your opinion as "anger," but then, I also don't see how you can equate an opinion that people are sinful, and will be punished by God, with a desire to do the job yourself.

I guess it's a peculiar kind of (il)logic that one has to be a Norwegian named Canute to get one's head around.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 30, 2002 07:53 AM

>>I don't know how you would infer my lack of respect for your opinion as "anger,"

You don't get it, do you? Your ANGER - as revealed in your writings on this website - is primarily directed towards Europe and the "euroweenies". I couldn't care less whether you've got any respact for my opinions.

>>I also don't see how you can equate an opinion that people are sinful, and will be punished by God, with a desire to do the job yourself.

Think before you write. I've never equated those opinions. You see, I didn't bother to engage you in this, and consequently I never actually answered the following question you posed (which was meant for Mr. Lindroos): "That doesn't seem like a big difference to you?" What I did say was: "Why not read the The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity"

>> guess it's a peculiar kind of (il)logic that one has to be a Norwegian named Canute to get one's head around.

Again, you write in a way that's similar to what one can expect to come from a minor - not from an individual who's 45+.

Posted by Canute at August 30, 2002 08:42 AM

Reviews of "Clash of Fundamentalisms":

From Library Journal
This is a work of truly monumental vacuity. On September 11, declares Ali (editor, New Left Review), the "subjects of the Empire had struck back." He depicts the United States as a nation bent on a "fundamentalist" foreign policy, impelled purely by economic self-interest, since its inception. The conflict now raging, then, has little to do with terrorism or with individual terrorist leaders. Rather, it is yet another in a series of struggles between the dispossessed and their imperial masters hence a clash of Islamic and American fundamentalisms. See? Well, no. The book has no bibliography and only a handful of footnotes, largely from secondary sources. Some undocumented howlers: FDR maneuvered Japan into war; the "massacre of civilian populations was always an integral part of US warmaking strategy" in Vietnam; and Harvard economists persuaded Boris Yeltsin, "an amoral and debauched clown," to adopt free-market policies that gave Russians "the most harrowing ordeal" of the postwar era presumably including the Stalin years. In short, this isn't a serious work. Libraries owning works by Edward Said (Orientalism) and Bernard Lewis (What Went Wrong?) can skip. Not recommended. James R. Holmes, Fletcher Sch. of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts Univ., Medford, MA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Vijay Prashad, ZNET
The "Ali left" attacks the troika of imperialism, the petro-Sheikhs and the dissident jihadis....it fights every kind of fundamentalism.

Washington Post Book Review, Fouad Ajami
There is no ambiguity in this man's world ... Ali belongs to the root-causes party.

Capital Times, John Nichols
[A] very nearly perfect book.

Book Description
The aerial attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, a global spectacle of unprecedented dimensions, generated an enormous volume of commentary. The inviolability of the American mainland, breached for the first time since 1812, led to extravagant proclamations by the pundits. It was a new world-historical turning point. The 21st century, once greeted triumphally as marking the dawn of a worldwide neo-liberal civilization, suddenly became menaced. The choice presented from the White House and its supporters was to stand shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism or be damned. Tariq Ali challenges these assumptions, arguing instead that what we have experienced is the return of History in a horrific form, with religious symbols playing a part on both sides: 'Allah's revenge,' 'God is on Our Side' and 'God Bless America.' The visible violence of September 11 was the response to the invisible violence that has been inflicted on countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Palestine and Chechnya. Some of this has been the direct responsibility of the United States and Russia. In this wide-ranging book that provides an explanation for both the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and new forms of Western colonialism, Tariq Ali argues that many of the values proclaimed by the Enlightenment retain their relevance, while portrayals of the American Empire as a new emancipatory project are misguided.

About the Author
Tariq Ali is a writer and filmmaker. He has written over a dozen books on world history and politics, five novels and scripts for both stage and screen. He is an editor of the New Left Review and lives in London.

The above is sufficient to tell me that this book and this author are not worth looking at. Another Arab with inferiority complex, obsessed with crusades and "Western colonialism" - never mind that Westerners killed far more each other in various religious crusades than they ever killed Moslems, and that Moslem decline began with Ottoman Empire long before Westerners had any foothold in Middle East.

Posted by Ilya at August 30, 2002 01:11 PM

Thanks, Ilya. Why am I not surprised?

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 30, 2002 03:31 PM

>> Hmm, you're in your mid 40s? In this resonse you reveal a surprizingly low level of maturity. One would guess that any serious "player" - even among contributors to the FOX news network - would be curious to know about views diametrically opposed to their own.

One thing that many people learn long before their 40s is that many things aren't worth their time.

>> Interesting concept, isn't it; comparing Bin Laden with the likes of Jerry Falwell and friends??

Not really. Bin Laden is a murderous thug. Falwell is a harmless blowhard who has less effect on US politics than Howard Stern.

We're "flattered" that you pay so much attention to the US (and no, we're not going to return the favor because, frankly, Iowa is more relevant), but don't expect to be taken seriously when you make such errors.

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 30, 2002 05:19 PM

> Today, the EU has replaced the Church. It is
> now Brussel's job to stifle creativity and
> innovation, not the Vatican's. 500 years ago,
> it was against the law to say the earth was not
> the center of the universe. Now you can't have
> really chunky sauces or bananas with too
> much/little curve. How is that an improvement?


However, big business tends to be very positive about the EU and standardization because they are necessary to allow a free flow of people and goods between countries. The local business lobby played a crucial role when Finland joined the EU eight years ago. Sure, there are some silly regulations, but you can't have a unified market unless all countries are playing by the same rules.


> It is because we stand on the shoulders of the
> men of 1776 that we are the strongest country
> in the world economically, militarily,
> culturally and any other way you want to talk
> about. The ideas and ideals that they proposed
> and implemented are the reason that our worst
> is better than your best. Ironically enough, it
> was inspiration from Europe that were the seeds
> for our experiment in goverance.


Ah, the myth of "American exceptionalism" again. The U.S. is powerful mainly because you are a unified nation of 280 million people. It is of course difficult for France or Britain to keep pace with you. But if you are talking about cultural "quality", technological innovation etc. I do not necessarily feel "inferior" as a European. You are better at some things whereas we have been able to hold our own in other areas, e.g. civil aerospace transportation and mobile communications.
---
To me, the U.S. is just another capitalist Western democracy. What *does* set you apart, is that you still continue to pursue inequal "retro" social policies such as capital punishment, a Third World type non-universal social policy that mainly focuses on the poor. Fortunately, the trend during the last 100 years or so has been towards bigger government. I fully expect the U.S to have the same social system as Scandinavia currently has, maybe a century from now.


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 31, 2002 10:23 AM

>> "Pat Robertson's and Osama bin Laden's
>> worldview probably do not greatly differ from
>> each other. They largely condemn the same
>> phenomena in society, but the Robertsons of the
>> world no longer think killing "infidels" would
>> be appropriate...in most cases anyway. Bin
>> Laden has no such qualms."

> That doesn't seem like a big difference to you?


The truly major difference is when somebody actually *EMBRACES* tolerance, secularization, equality for women (including the freedom to choose abortion) as opposed to abhorring them while stopping short of murdering the "pagans" who advocate such ideas. Bruno was burned alive; Darwin was merely ridiculed while religious people in the U.S. still continue their efforts to ban his theory from American classrooms.
---
Note that Republican conservatives seem to be quite good pals with Islamic theocracies when it comes to United Nations social programs such as abortion ... the new administration has frequently sided with such "progressive role models of democracy" as Iran and Saudi Arabia to block efforts by other Western nations.


MARCU$

Posted by Marcus Lindroos at August 31, 2002 10:36 AM

>> The truly major difference is when somebody actually *EMBRACES* tolerance, secularization, equality for women (including the freedom to choose abortion) as opposed to abhorring them while stopping short of murdering the "pagans" who advocate such ideas.

Ah, yes, thought-crime is as dangerous as action, if not more so. That's why leftists are so quick to kill as many people as they can yet expect to be excused by "he meant well".

Posted by Andy Freeman at August 31, 2002 11:52 AM

I still see no moral equivalence between someone who proclaims that God will punish people for their sins, and someone who's impatient, and decides to personally give God a hand.

Sorry, Marcus, it doesn't fly.

Posted by Rand Simberg at September 1, 2002 08:28 AM

>>.The above is sufficient to tell me that this book and this author are not worth looking at. Another Arab with inferiority complex, obsessed with crusades and "Western colonialism" - never mind that Westerners killed far more each other in various religious crusades than they ever killed Moslems, and that Moslem decline began with Ottoman Empire long before Westerners had any foothold in Middle East.

Haha, heading over to amazon.com you do a quick search on the name of the author and arrive here:

(link)

Then you copy the first editorial review from "Library Journal" and a few others. You do all this, but by failing to do some extra "research" to check if you got your facts strait; you fail in a dramatic way to grasp that the author is not just "another" Arab - how pathetic.

From the prologue of the book:

-------------------------------------------------
I was born a Muslim. A maternal uncle, who always believed (wrongly) that Islam was the main source of moral strength for the impoverished peasants on our family's feudal estates, muttered the sacred invocation in my right ear. The year was 1943. The venue was Lahore, then under British imperial rule. It was a cosmopolitan city: Muslims constituted a majority, with Sikhs a close second and the Hindus not far behind. Mosques, temples and gurdwaras dominated the skyline in the old city. A tragedy was about to take place, but nobody was aware of the fact. It came four years later in the shape of a monsoon with red rain.

I was not quite four that August, when the old British empire finally departed and India was partitioned. A religious state, Pakistan was conceded to the Muslims of India, even though most of them were either indifferent or had no idea of what it would mean. Pakistan literally means 'the land of the pure', something that became the cause of much mirth throughout the country, especially for the refugees who had come voluntarily. Personally, I have no childhood memories of Partition. None. The confessional cleansing which marked that year throughout northern and eastern India as the great sub-continent was divided along religious lines did not affect my childhood. Lahore changed completely. Many Sikhs and Hindus were massacred by their neighbours. The survivors fled to India. Muslims in North Indian cities suffered the same fate. Partitions are often like this, regardless of religion, though its presence brings an added fervour.

Later, many years later, my father's old wet-nurse, an extremely sweet and gentle, but deeply religious woman, who had supervised my childhood as well, would recall how she had taken me out on to the streets of Lahore to greet Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. She had bought me a little green and white crescent replica of the emblem of the new state and insisted that I had waved it enthusiastically and chanted 'Pakistan Zindabad' (Long Live Pakistan). If so it was not an experience that I ever had occasion to repeat. I have always been allergic to religious nationalism or its postmodern avatar, religious multiculturalism.
--------------------------------------------------

It might have served you well - that is; not to look like a fool - if you had taken a look at the Customer Reviews as well. Here's just one:

-------------------------------------------------
Had I read the scathing editorial review of James R. Holmes (posted on this site) I would not have bought or read this extremely valuable book. Mr. Holmes must after all be a person of some standing to occupy a position of such editorial eminence. I bought the book because excerpts of it had been floating round in cyberspace. What caught my attention was the fact that this was a very well informed Muslim writing freely, courageously and lucidly about Islamic fundamentalism. The author thus belongs to an extremely rare species of human beings and it is tragic that his significant contribution to our understanding of September 11, is dismissed so high handedly by Mr. Holmes. From his remarks Mr. Holmes seems to understand terrorism simply as a thing-in-itself totally disconnected from the aspirations, fears and fantasies of the people perpetuating such acts. If we are to understand such people we need to have an understanding of their belief systems and the place they occupy in their religio-political interpretations of history. This Tariq Ali attempts to do. To give us some sense of perspective, the author compresses an enormous amount of history into a few short pages. This is not meant to be a scholarly historical work but more a thumbnail sketch of the relevant history that most of us are at best only dimly aware of. I don't see how he or anyone can write about these matters without such a historical sketch and the demand that such a work have an extensive bibliography is uncalled for. One may not share some of the opinions of the author, but that does not for a moment detract from his penetrating insights into the people he was raised amongst (Muslim South Asian) or those that educated him (British-European). This is a rare individual with a wide perspective vehemently criticizing all forms of fundamentalism. If we seek to gag him we must be careful that we do not do so because he is attacking some very fundamental sacrosanct views in ourselves.
-------------------------------------------------

Since you didn't think much of "the Clash of Fundamentalisms" (Hmm - you did read it, didn't you?), may I suggest instead another book for you: "STUPID WHITE MEN ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation".

N.B. If you're a shallow flag-waving jingoist, the book isn't for you.

Posted by at September 2, 2002 09:28 AM

Ooops, I forgot to identify myself in the previous post.

Posted by Canute at September 2, 2002 09:31 AM

>>Thanks, Ilya. Why am I not surprised?

How funny, Angry Rand(y) saying thanks to Ilya - for a job well done?

Posted by Canute at September 2, 2002 09:36 AM

Hmmm, Library Journal?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is a work of truly monumental vacuity. On September 11, declares Ali (editor, New
Left Review), the "subjects of the Empire had struck back." He depicts the United States
as a nation bent on a "fundamentalist" foreign policy, impelled purely by economic
self-interest, since its inception. The conflict now raging, then, has little to do with
terrorism or with individual terrorist leaders. Rather, it is yet another in a series of
struggles between the dispossessed and their imperial masters hence a clash of Islamic
and American fundamentalisms. See? Well, no. The book has no bibliography and only
a handful of footnotes, largely from secondary sources. Some undocumented howlers:
FDR maneuvered Japan into war; the "massacre of civilian populations was always an
integral part of US warmaking strategy" in Vietnam; and Harvard economists
persuaded Boris Yeltsin, "an amoral and debauched clown," to adopt free-market
policies that gave Russians "the most harrowing ordeal" of the postwar era presumably
including the Stalin years. In short, this isn't a serious work. Libraries owning works by
Edward Said (Orientalism) and Bernard Lewis (What Went Wrong?) can skip.
Not recommended. James R. Holmes, Fletcher Sch. of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts Univ.,
Medford, MA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks for proving our point.

> Since you didn't think much of "the Clash of Fundamentalisms" (Hmm - you did read
> it, didn't you?), may I suggest instead another book for
> you: "STUPID WHITE MEN ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation".

Michael Moore? MICHAEL MOORE? The man so angry with the free market, he sells his
books bashing it for twenty dollars a copy? Nice try, better luck next time.

No, I haven't read "Clash" myself; I've also never eaten rat posion, or touched a live
wire, but I know they're bad for me.

>N.B. If you're a shallow flag-waving jingoist, the book isn't for you.

Yes, I wave the flag. I'm PROUD of my country. It has done, and countinues to do,
great things. Only one buzzword? Couln't work "Nazi", "conservative", or "bigot" in
there?

P.S. Angry Rand(y)? Now who's immature.

Posted by J.P. Gibb at September 2, 2002 10:23 AM

>>Hmmm, Library Journal?
>>----------------------
>>Editorial Reviews
>>From Library Journal
>>"Review" (once again)
>>----------------------

Why did you "re-print" the entire review from Library Journal that Ilya sent to this "thread" at 01:11 PM, August 30, 2002 ?

>>Thanks for proving our point.

Whose point?.

>>Michael Moore? MICHAEL MOORE? The man so angry with the free market, he sells his books bashing it for twenty dollars a copy? Nice try, better
luck next time.

Yes, Michael Moore. BTW, you didn't see "Bowling for Columbine", did you? Do you remember the final sequence, where he tracks down National Rifle Association president Charlton Heston in his Beverly Hills home and badgers the bewildered star until he throws up his hands and totters out of the room: The mighty Moses of the NRA turns out to be a courteous old fool who can hardly comprehend the accusations thrown at him, much less answer them. Mr Moore still pack a nasty punch when the time is right and the camera is pointed his way.


Posted by Canute at September 2, 2002 11:05 AM

>> Mr Moore still pack a nasty punch when the time is right and the camera is pointed his way.

Yes, Moore is a nasty jerk. However, as a source of useful information or thought, he leaves a lot to be desired.

What could Heston have done? Moore controlled both the camera and the editing, so if he wants Heston to look bad, and he does, Heston will look bad. And the only thing that that means is that control over the camera and editing swamps everything else.

Posted by Andy Freeman at September 2, 2002 12:03 PM

Someone in this list wrote: "I wish those who keep saying that we need to make a 'compelling case to invade Iraq' would just state what they feel would be a 'compelling case'. Please tell us where you've set the bar we are supposed to jump. "

Sorry but to me this sounds like someone is “itchin’ to go into to battle..:” – making it like some competition where if one gets enough points then it’s pack the bags and “Go, Go, Go!!”

So you want a compelling case about "not invading Iraq"?

How about this.

"It has the potential to develop into a third world war - AND unlike the previous world war, there won't just be one or two nuclear strikes - there will probably be dozens of incidents where Weapons Of Mass Destruction are used - because they're more easily available. It also has the potential to flow over into Western and Eastern Europe and into the Asian regions as well.

Yes it is only a risk - but it is a risk never the less.

Why is it a risk? In part it is a risk because the Arabic nations, whilst they may dislike each other to the point of killing each other, have one item that unites them very strongly and almost uniformly, and that is their hatred for the West and what it stands for - and unfortunately, the USA symbolizes that.

Try and see it from an Arabic point of view - again the USA (a country that already has a large amount of Weapons of Mass Destruction), is telling another nation (an Arabic nation) that they can't have them. In their eyes the USA is again showing a double standard.

Yes, of course this is not the only reason, but it is a big reason – just listen to them talk.

Whilst it is probably very true that Iraq has chemical weapons, and whilst it is also probably very true, according to evidence, that Iraq has used chemical weapons, the rest of the Islamic and Arabic nations are populated by peoples who are largely restricted in their view of world press coverage and will probably be unconditionally supportive of Iraq, if Iraq is attacked by the USA.

OK, so maybe I am wrong, maybe there is no risk of a thrid world war, but others tend to think so, so there must be something in it - so I think a compelling case is made that the USA shouldn't invade Iraq unless everyone is very, very, very sure that there is sufficient, irrefutable evidence of posession AND intent.

Sorry if that is not enough compelling enough case.

Posted by Willa at September 3, 2002 08:41 AM

Willa says that the US should not attack now because all/some of the Arab countries hate the US.

We've already seen that at least parts of the Arab world are quite willing to attack the US. Since Willa claims that they hate the US, "intent" isn't really at issue.

So, is Willa suggesting that the US wait until they become stronger or that we never do anything, no matter what attacks they launch?

If the former, how much stronger?

Posted by Andy Freeman at September 3, 2002 11:43 AM

For all you loyal Fox contributors/viewers/readers/followers around here whose lost your grip on reality:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,784623,00.html

-------------------------------------------------
Consider (for those who haven't caught up with it yet) America's most popular 24-hour news channel: not CNN or NBC, but Rupert Murdoch's Fox News. There, it sometimes seems, the secret briefings have turned, through repetition, into uncontested fact. Terrorists, going about their appalling business, lurk behind every door. Those who question a bit - such as the New York Times - are enemies of the people. And slowly, insidiously, you begin to lose your own grip on reality.

Is Fox, the fact channel, standing tall (as one contributor there put it last week) beside "ideological, partisan newspapers such as the Guardian or Le Monde"? Or is it Mr Murdoch's beloved Sun, cloned electronically and allowed to shine 24/7?

The point is how, after prolonged irradiation, fiction turns to assumed fact; how coincidences become plots; how fiascos become triumphs; how agendas rule.
-------------------------------------------------

Also, here's a nice analysis from a Canadian fellow; of Self-Absorbed Americans such as the ones to be found in and around the Fox News Network:

http://www.canoe.ca/Columnists/margolis_sep1.html

-------------------------------------------------
Europe isn't marching to U.S. drum
By ERIC MARGOLIS -- Contributing Foreign Editor

PARIS -- As America nears the anniversary of Sept. 11, it's worth recalling how Europe dealt with the problem of political terrorism - and won.

From the 1970s to the '90s, Europe was assailed by a variety of violent extremist groups - what the North American media call "terrorists." I try to avoid this pejorative term because it inhibits thoughtful analysis and has often been used as a propaganda weapon by the powerful against those resisting injustice.

For example, when I was covering South Africa in the '80s, Nelson Mandela's ANC bombed restaurants and buses packed with civilians. South Africa branded the ANC a "terrorist organization." Yet abroad, Mandela and his ANC were hailed as "freedom fighters." Former Afghan "freedom fighters," like Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar, are today scourged as "terrorists."

In Europe, during the '70s and '80s, Palestinian groups staged high-profile attacks to gain international attention for their then little-known cause. The Irish Republican Army, largely financed by Americans, waged a bloody campaign to unite Belfast with Ireland. In 1993, the IRA detonated a huge truck bomb in London, causing nearly $1 billion US in damage, the most costly terror attack until the 2001 World Trade Center outrage.

Italy was terrorized by gangs of murderous Marxists and fascists, culminating in the 1978 kidnapping and murder of Prime Minister Aldo Moro. West Germany battled for a decade against left-wing fanatics of the Baader Meinhof gang, Red Army Faction and other groups seeking to destroy democracy and capitalism. Spain continues be hit by bombings and assassinations by Basque ETA separatists.

Here in Paris, I vividly recall the massacre on the rue de Rennes, where shoppers were sliced into bloody ribbons by flying plate glass after Lebanese detonated bombs in one of the city's busiest shopping areas. France suffered two decades of agonizing attacks by assorted Mideasterners, North Africans, Corsican separatists, Abu Nidal's killers, Carlos the Jackal, and government assassins from Israel, Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Serbia.

Unlike post-9/11 America, Europe did not indulge in self-pity and nationalist frenzy. Europeans became hardened to random, bloody attacks. There were few calls in Europe, such as we now hear in the U.S., for vengeance attacks and extensive military operations against foreign nations. Europeans realized they faced a long, hard struggle in the shadows. After two decades of political violence in Europe, most of its perpetrators were defeated or rendered insignificant.

Self-absorbed Americans

By contrast, 9/11 was a titanic, single shock to generally unworldly, self-absorbed Americans, whose country had been untouched by war or terrorist attacks. Most Americans had little idea how deeply their government was involved in other nations' affairs, or how much the U.S. had come to be hated across the Mideast. This was the first time America would have to pay what the British Imperialists used to call "the price of empire."

Europeans understood three important things Americans have yet to grasp. First, police and intelligence forces must be the spearhead of a war against terrorism. Military forces are blunt instruments that should play only a minor role, defending borders and key installations. Better airport security - not a pre-emptive invasion of Afghanistan - would have spared the World Trade Center and Pentagon from attack.

Second, it was not necessary to curtail liberty and civil rights to wage a campaign against political violence. Better security co-ordination, not less freedom, is the answer. Fortunately for Europeans, there was no John Ashcroft to threaten their rules of law and common decency. Europe did have its share of closet proto-fascist politicians, and a few warmongering politicians who urged military crusades, but these mountebanks were largely sidelined or ignored.

Third, during the "terror years," Europe's media generally behaved in a more responsible, balanced, and critical manner than much of today's U.S. media, which, since 9/11, have too often promoted panic, fear and hatred of Muslims and Iraq. The European media had their share of "news" fabricators, but they were nowhere near as influential as the big guns of America's axe-grinding neo-conservative and right-wing media. Further, Europe's press, which is politically varied and avoids the growing uniformity of views one finds in the American media, did not rush to offer itself as a mouthpiece for government propaganda, as have some of the U.S. media.

The results of public manipulation and fear are painfully clear. The U.S. media have convinced a majority of Americans they are totally innocent victims of evil forces, and that Iraq was behind 9/11, though there exists not a shred of evidence. So Americans clamour for war against Saddam.

Over 75% of Europeans oppose attacking Iraq, in spite of efforts by right-wing British media to fan war fever. In fact, a common view here in Europe is that the Bush administration has run amok and is a greater threat than international terrorism, or Iraq.

American conservatives like to accuse Europeans of being wimps in the so-called war against terrorism. Europeans, who understand war and colonial conflicts far better than Americans, learned from 20 years of painful experience that patient police work and diplomacy, rather than flag-waving and military breast-beating, have been and will remain the way to overcome political violence.
-------------------------------------------------

I couldn't resist printing out the whole piece. My apologies go out to the Toronto Sun whose copyrights may have been infringed.

Posted by Canute at September 3, 2002 01:46 PM

The following piece demonstrates the difference between political terrorists of the 70's and 80's and the current Muslim fanatics, as well as the fallacy of applying the lessons of 1970's to today:

http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/50360.htm

BTW, the author does not mention Iraq at all, and as far as I know does not consider Saddam Hussein a big danger. Neither do I - on that particular issue I disagree with Rand Simberg.
--------------------------------------------

What the hell, I'll post the whole thing too. This column is so long already, it hardly makes a difference :)
--------------------------------------------

JUMP-STARTING ARMAGEDDON

By RALPH PETERS
---------------

June 16, 2002 -- ON Sept. 11, 2001, a different kind of terrorist appeared. Every commercial airline pilot who took off in those early morning hours believed that, in the unlikely event that his plane would be hijacked, the terrorists would hold the passengers and crew as political hostages. Based on the record, it was a logical assumption.

And it was utterly wrong.

Terrorists have been with humankind for thousands of years. In our time, most such attackers were practical terrorists, men and women with political goals. They wanted to overthrow governments or ruling classes and often resorted to savage tactics. But there always were limits to their brutality. They wanted to win the people for their cause, not merely to kill them. From czarist Russia to 20th century America, they set bombs and assassinated leaders to enforce their visions of a better world.

Last Sept. 11 another, far more dangerous breed of terrorists reappeared, crawling back from the deepest pits of the past: Apocalyptic terrorists.

PRACTICAL terrorists seek to change the world, for better or worse. Apocalyptic terrorists want to destroy it. We face enemies who are trying to jump-start Armageddon.

The practical terrorists to whom we became accustomed over the decades, whether IRA gunmen or earlier generations of Palestinian militants, believed themselves to be champions of their fellow human beings. They hoped to improve the conditions of their kind.

Rightly or wrongly, they saw governments as oppressors or occupiers. They committed their acts in the name of their own peculiar vision of freedom. They sought to rule populations, not merely to slaughter them. Nor did they wish to die, if they could help it. Practical terrorists want to rule on earth, not in heaven.

Apocalyptic terrorists, such as the core members of al Qaeda, have embraced a vision of sheer destruction. They may speak in political terms of driving U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia or creating a Palestinian state. But even if they reached the goals of which they speak, they would never be satisfied. In their tormented hearts, they are not political men at all. They have appointed themselves, blasphemously, as their god's representatives on earth.

They do not want to defeat America. They want to destroy it. They do not want to contain Israel. They want to kill every man, woman and child in the country.

Nor do they spare their own. These men possessed by a blood-soaked vision of a vengeful god think nothing of killing men and women of the same faith as their own, if that faith is not perfectly like their own, or if they are challenged, or if the deaths are convenient.

FOR all his violence, the practical, political terrorist is a man of hope. Even if willing to sacrifice his (or her) own life, the driving vision is of this earth. The religious, apocalyptic terrorist is a captive of his own rage and inner discontents. He believes that his god is whispering in his ear and telling him to kill, and no human argument will persuade him otherwise.

Practical terrorists certainly can be deadly, but, in the end, they can be controlled. Some will compromise or sell out. Others end up in prison or go early to their graves. A few mature, or change, or win, and end up in a statehouse or presidential palace.

Apocalyptic terrorists need to be killed.

History presents us with far more examples of practical terrorists, from Civil War bushwhackers to bomb-hurling anarchists. But the apocalyptic terrorists are always there, waiting, dormant. They come to life in times of tumult and sudden change.

When the old order collapses and traditional solutions no longer work, when the values of centuries are under assault, the apocalyptic terrorist reappears with his simple answer: God is unhappy, humankind is evil, and the earth must be cleansed with blood.

THIS is not peculiar to the Muslim faith. Every major faith has produced apocalyptic terrorists when its old order broke down. The most extreme Jewish Zealots certainly qualified, as did the nihilistic Protestants who followed the killer-saint Thomas Muentzer through Germany 500 years ago. In our own country, John Brown of Bloody Kansas and Harper's Ferry was an apocalyptic terrorist, captivated by a vision of divine vengeance. Had he possessed a nuclear device, John Brown would not have hesitated to wield it against the nearest city in the American South.

Today's terrorists are overwhelmingly Muslim because Islamic civilization is currently dysfunctional. The old order no longer works, with its rigid hierarchies and oppression of women, its rejection of open debate and restrictions on information and merit. Faced with the overwhelming, daunting power of Western civilization, much of the Islamic world cannot compete without making changes unacceptable to its cherished way of life. The heavens seem to be falling, and the earth is in an uproar.

The apocalyptic terrorist becomes the man of the hour.

NO matter what his claims, the apocalyptic terrorist has a vision - perhaps unintelligible even to himself - of a fiery absolution at the end of the world. Whether the term is "judgment day" or "the end of days" does not matter. His deep goal, perhaps deeper than he consciously understands, is to get god moving faster, to hurry himself to heaven and the rest of humankind to hell.

Doubtless, this sounds extreme to some readers. We have become conditioned to a secular approach to life, and many of us have lost our sense of the fanaticism that still haunts so much of the world. When we hear arguments about the sanity of a terrorist about to stand trial or the rights of would-be mass murderers to due process, we are trapped in an old vision of a safer world, in which terrorists can be bought off and all struggles are political.

We insist, against all evidence, that humans are rational. But, aside from the obvious fact that anyone who can plot the murder of thousands is sufficiently cognizant of his acts to face the full force of the law, we must get beyond even our old standards of sanity.

A man who celebrates the murder of as many innocent men, women and children as he can manage to kill is, unquestionably, mad by the standards we have built for our own society. But by the standards of his own kind, he may be not only sane, but admirable.

Above all, the apocalyptic terrorists we face today - from the Islamic world now, but perhaps, one day, from elsewhere - do not want to hear our reasoned arguments. They want to kill us. They need to hate us. Their hatred is the most satisfying thing in their lives. Were Israel to disappear and take the United States with it, these men would find others to hate.

They need someone to blame for the weakness of their societies, for their neglect by their god. When men or women smile, these men see sin.

Their faith is weak. A strong faith can accept doubts and questions. But the apocalyptic terrorist needs to believe with iron certainty. There is only one way, and it is his way. Anyway who will not follow that path is hateful in the eyes of god - and must be judged and killed. His violence is an attempt to prove the strength of his faith not only to his god, but to himself.

AS I write, our government and society are still trying to come to terms with the reappearance of this grim phenomenon. Mentally and legally, we remain configured to deal with old-fashioned terrorists, not with men of twisted faith for whom all means are justified to punish unbelievers.

We even confuse the sorts of terrorists we confront. Timothy McVeigh, for example, was only the most extreme, deluded form of practical terrorist, not an apocalyptic terrorist. He had no interest in religion. McVeigh believed that he could spark a revolution and draw "patriotic" Americans to his cause. He did not want to destroy America, only its government, and government employees seemed fair game to him. He was not a suicide bomber. He wanted to live to see his longed-for changes.

The apocalyptic terrorist has no abiding interest in a better world. In his heart and soul, he does not believe a better world is possible. He has many predictable characteristics, from a dread of female sexuality - just read the repugnant "testament" of Mohammed Atta, a 9/11 ringleader - to an insistence on the rigid outward signs of faith. But the most predictable thing about him is his belief that this world cannot be saved.

Above all, the apocalyptic terrorist is self-absorbed. He is so obsessed with saving his own soul through destruction that he barely sees the reality around him. He can live in America, interacting with Americans, and never recognize a fellow human being.

IF madness means living in a separate world, oblivious to any human sympathy, the apocalyptic terrorist is mad, indeed.

The enemy we face today is Cain, convinced that God has told him to kill Abel.

Ralph Peters is a retired Army intelligence officer who has traveled to more than 50 countries and observed the effects of extremism first-hand. Adapted from his latest book, "Beyond Terror, Strategy in a Changing World."

Posted by Ilya at September 3, 2002 04:50 PM

Marcu$,

I am truly startled by your claim that the US is powerful because of our population, or even the (implicit) idea that it is simply the size of our market.

The Soviet Union, of course, had a population that at least rivalled our own. China has a far larger population than either the US or the USSR at its height. By comparison, Japan had neither population, market-size, nor resources. Yet, one cannot doubt that Japan, even today after fifteen years of mismanagement, nonetheless is technologically superior to either, and probably has a larger GDP than China (and certainly is far larger than Russia OR the Soviet Union).

The reality is that economic advancement requires far more than simply a population OR a market of buyers per se. It requires both technological innovation and sophistication, as well as the means to expand the economy. Why has Japan done so much better than the USSR? Why is it that, in the case of each divided country (including North and South Vietnam), it was the more unfettered economy that, in the long-run, succeeded better?

You note that EUrope offers sophistication in civil aeronautics and telecommunications. But competitiveness (much less dominance) of one or two areas hardly makes you an economic power.

Where are the European chip manufacturers? Either the RAM chips or the main microprocessors (e.g., Intel)? Where are the latest fabs and their designs coming from?

Where are the EUropean programming powerhouses?

Are European automanufacturers competitive w/ the Japanese or even the US?

Is EUropean ship-building (leaving aside the Eastern Europeans) competitive w/ the Japanese and the South Koreans?

Whatever happened to the vaunted EUro-edge in HDTV?

Europe's competitive edge appears to be barely keeping up in a handful of areas (materials processing, pharma), leading in even fewer (possibly telecoms), and lagging in many key areas.

This has little to do w/ American exceptionalism, and everything to do w/ the mundane aspects of taxes, incentives, and the opportunity for entrepreneurs to make great gains, in exchange of willingness to take great risks.

Posted by Dean at September 3, 2002 11:39 PM

Hi Andy Freeman - Willa here - I actually said a little more than the US should wait and I also mentioned "why" which was that I believe the risk is too high.

Andy you also asked something about "How much stronger - (Presumably you mean "should we allow them to get").

Sorry, I don't know how to answer such a question - particularly as it was your "angle" and not the direction of my posting.

Andy, I don't mean to insinuate something, but it does seem to me that you are almost casually advocating war.

I, like many others, would have no problem with the USA defending against an attack from Iraq - what we have a problem with is the "Land of Truth, Justice and Freedom for All" - starting it first ... AND the potential risk.

Andy I hope you are not casually suggesting we go to war.

Posted by Willa at September 4, 2002 06:59 AM

I can say for myself that I don't casually advocate going to war. I don't think anyone here does. What we do is realize that when something must be done, you do it and worry about the coulda woulda shoulda at a time in the future when it is safe. Until that point, you remain focused on accomplishing your goals.

Is there risk in attacking Iraq? Yep. Is the risk higher in doing nothing? Yep. Iraq will only get stronger in relation to WMD, not weaker. Everyday that passes brings larger stockpiles and further research towards nuclear weapons. If the anti-war position is that it is risky, my response is no shit Sherlock. War is never without risk. The benefits in this case, removal of a source of state sponsored terrorism, retardation of the proliferation of WMD and bringing a semi-democratic form of government to the region are worth the risk of inflaming the 'Arab Street', the Eurupean Avenue or even the Asian Expressway.

On another point, maybe I didn't read the article close enough, but I didn't see the part about Europe's buying off terrorist with appeasment and money to avoid future attacks. If only we were to follow this shining example of courage and statecraft, we too could get back to those really pressing concerns like thwarting the election of facists. Especially those openly gay, pro-drug former college professors that deserve a good demonization by both the press and government. It must be so refreshing to be in a free society where you are free to do whatever you wish, so long as you confrom to what the elites want you to do. Must free up a lot of time that we on this side of the pond waste thinking for ourselves.

Posted by Joe at September 4, 2002 11:04 AM

>> I actually said a little more than the US should wait

Yes, but I was being nice.

>> Andy you also asked something about "How much stronger - (Presumably you mean "should we allow them to get").

>> Sorry, I don't know how to answer such a question - particularly as it was your "angle" and not the direction of my posting.

It is, however, the direction of reality. We either strike before they do or wait until they strike again. They're getting stronger. I'll repeat my questions.

So, is Willa suggesting that the US wait until they become stronger or that we never do anything, no matter what attacks they launch?

If the former, how much stronger?

>> Andy, I don't mean to insinuate something, but it does seem to me that you are almost casually advocating war.

Where did you get the impression that my advocacy was casual? (I am casual about my dismissal of folks who bring nothing to the intellectual discussion.)

But, what if I am? Is it the "casual" or the "advocacy" that bothers you? I note that one can be "casual" and correct. FWIW, I'm far more interested in the latter than the former, but feel free to take the opposite position.

Posted by Andy Freeman at September 4, 2002 01:57 PM

Well Andy Freeman and Joe - Now I see I can't take either of you seriously.

Andy seems to have no comprehension about what goes on in a war so he's either old and bored (and has forgotten) or he's youngish or at least young enough to be rude enough and imply that disagreement means stupidity - " ... my dismissal of folks who bring nothing to the intellectual discussion.)..."

Andy that's very sad. What is it? If I'm not with you, I'm against you? Is that it?

And Joe - really now. Demonize "...openly gay, pro-drug former college professors...."???

My goodness - what would you do to women like me???

What's next? Burn a few longshoremen for being in a union or just jail the leftists???

Guys, I would like to say it's been nice chatting with you, but I can't because it hasn't been nice.

It's clear neither of you have really thought of the implications that such an act would bring or if you have, then the consequences this might bring on the rest of the world as well as the USA.

Maybe I'm right - maybe you both are older, bitter men with not much time left and consequently can advocate, with alomost callous disregard, the sending of young women and men to their deaths - to think this this type of act will show "those pesky Arabs" just who they're dealin with!!

Alternately maybe you're young and really haven't a clue. Maybe read a few too many Tom Clancy books where the bad guys always get it in the end and there's a convenient omission of detail of any military action that involves mass death.

Eitherway it's clear that neither of you have the faintest clue (or maybe remembrance) of what a war means or looks like.

Guys I suggest you speak to some people who have been in these situations - who have REALLY been there.

No one who "thinks" or has "really" been in a very bad military situation casually advocates going to war.

Posted by Willa at September 5, 2002 02:49 AM

>> No one who "thinks" or has "really" been in a very bad military situation casually advocates going to war.

Actually, gallows humor is quite common among the relevant population.

As I suspected, Willa is more concerned with/disturbed by my tone than whether I'm correct. At best, she thinks that my tone is evidence that I'm incorrect.

The latter is wrong, and the former, well ....

>> Andy seems to have no comprehension about what goes on in a war

Based on what? The fact that I believe that this war is better than the alternatives? Or the fact that I believe that some wars that are better than the alternatives?

>> to be rude enough and imply that disagreement means stupidity

Except that I didn't imply that. That being said, certain disagreement IS stupidity. If being stupidity or its consequences are a problem....

>> If I'm not with you, I'm against you? Is that it?

Not at all. However, if you're against me, you're against me. Again, if that's a problem....

Willa continues to duck my "how much stronger should we let him get before ...?" question.

So, I'll rephrase. I note that there are a number of countries on the "evil list". What has Willa done about them? Apart, of course, from rant that the US hasn't given enough money to anti-American NGOs or murderous leftists, but I repeat myself.

Okay, so that's unfair - she can't change the past and how was she to know that things would work out the way they always have before. Well, it is too late for Willa to make up for lost opportunities in Iraq, but what about the other countries on the list?

I predict that we will find Willa standing in front of them when their time comes. Why? Because that's what she does.

It's easy to prove me wrong. You just have to walk the talk.

Posted by Andy Freeman at September 5, 2002 07:59 AM

Some folks just can't stand to consider that military action sometimes is the moral, ethical and correct thing to do, because to do otherwise -when you have the ability to take military action - is that of a coward and one who is more worried about their own life than the lives of their brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world.

To all the anti-US posters out there, I would like all of you to say when is it OK to fight? AL-Queda and the radical Islam Arabs have declared war on the west and have allied themselves with the brutal dictatorships of the middle east. Whatever intelligence the US is turning up just scared the hell out of Tony Blair because he is in and sending men and equipment. If not for American action in Afghanistan, we know the cities of Europe had "events" waiting for them as well.

Some of you have suggested that we Americans are thin skinned and should just learn to live with it. We are unsophisticated, unworldly adolescents who need to be educated by our old world masters. Excuse me, but appeasing and paying off terrorists, and then showing pictures of grieveing family members when the occasional attack occurs doesn't seem very "educated" to me. I realize every country has to make decisions they don't want for political reasons. But sometimes you just have to say NO and do something about. The US has the ability to DO something about it and we feel the time is sooner rather than later. I could accuse - as others have done - that the European peace at all cost contingent really is a front for Europeans embarrassed by the fact that nobody listens to them anymore because they are impotent militarily (Britain excepted). So, the question is asked again - to Willa, Marcu$, Canute, and all the rest - would you ever consider military action appropriate against Iraq and sooner or later?? No exposes on the rudeness of the question, or the uncouthness of Americans. Just an answer. We are waiting.

Posted by Jim at September 5, 2002 12:17 PM

Still waiting!

Oh and by the way, since this thread started (or even slightly prior to its beginning) the following has been reported:

Iraqi scientists in Syria doing joint nuclear weapons research.

Mobile chem/bio weapons labs in Iraq found by US satellite surveillance.

Iraq suspected of delivering mobile bio weapon delivery systems to PLO on West Bank.

Still waiting.

Posted by Jim at September 6, 2002 06:26 AM

More headlines:

Iraqi connections with Al-Queda both before and after 9/11.

I may have errored in my previous post, I am trying to confirm the nuclear research being in Libya, not Syria. Of course Libya is a very enlightened, benign and peaceful country so no worry, right. Syria only has a new military pact with Iraq that in the event Iraq is attacked, Syria will unleash Hezbollah (I know that is spelled wrong) on more Israeli civilians.

Still waiting.

Posted by Jim at September 6, 2002 08:52 AM

Willa, nice try at dismissal. I'm sad to say that you got nothing right. I'm in my thirties, I have a Master's degree, I have studied the Mid-East quite extensively, and my best friend in the world was one of the SEALs that almost died in the invasion of Panama. Not just in a bad spot, but shot through the chest almost died. I have other friends that have spent time in either the SEALs or Force Recon. All have seen the bad side of a bullet. In talking to them I have learned that it is better to start a fight at a time of your own choosing. Every single one of them supports going now, and not just to Iraq. I've read Clancy, but it's really just for comedic effect now. I prefer the books by Col. Beckwith, Capt. Marchinko and Ev Barrett. With your wealth of military knowledge, you must know those names as they are only the three most famous members of the American SpecWar community.

Since you didn't seem to get it the first time, I'll give you another chance. On which continent has an openly gay, pro-durg former college professor been demonized as a fascist?
A. North America
B. Europe
It was in all the papers. If you need a hint, the guy's first name was Pim. He was murdered a few months back. You should be able to find the answer using Google. You only need to be concerned for your safety if you are on the wrong continent(Hint: Choice B) and disagree with the dominant elite opinion, which seems to be anything to the right of socialism.

I can understand why you haven't enjoyed your time here. It isn't much fun to have a conversation that you can't keep up with, let alone make a coherent argument other than "It's risky to go to war" and "people die". My response is still no shit. In related news, water is wet, the Pope is Catholic and bears really do shit in the woods!!!

More people will die if we wait. Iraq will only grow stronger, not weaker. We have a very simple choice right now, live on our knees or die on our feet. I would much prefer to stand. It would be disrespectful to the men and women that built this great nation to capitulate to tyranny because it scares us to contemplate war.

Posted by Joe at September 6, 2002 09:10 AM

Joe, well said!

By the way, we have just had the weekend news shows and now the headlines regarding Iraq and WMD just keep coming.

We are still waiting - how much evidence is enough. Even Ritter who was apparently in Iraq recently, saying we shouldn't invade is asking for real inspections and Iraq is balking. Hmmmmmm. The UN is about to ask for real serious inspections, with an international armed force with the inspectors so they can go where they want and Iraq is balking. Hmmmmmmm.

Still waiting.

Posted by Jim at September 9, 2002 06:18 AM

I really don't have much to add to the discussion but a couple small things. Best not to put much weight on them.

First, I'm Canadian, born and raised. I have to say that both sides have good points, but as many analogies you make, none of them can perfectly describe a different situation, only generalize it. Despite the fact that Saddam has had hundreds of thousands of Kurds systematically 'purged', he isn't quite hitler. And the people of Iraq aren't exactly Germans. I'd think that weighing past failures and successes can only give a vague direction and outlook, and you can't approach every situation with the same attitude that you approached the previous in.

Secondly, I don't really put much weight on the opinions of European governments. I usually think of them like fairweather friends, who enjoy trade and good relations, and are nice enough on their own, but shy away in troubled times, and are more likely to point out flaws in others before looking at themselves.

So I may not agree with everything the US does, and often I don't, but I'm far happier that the US is our ally and would be willing to actually help us in a time of trouble, than Europe as our ally and have them stall until the trouble is at their doorstep.

Third, I'm glad I live in Canada, where our contagious, long-standing lack of initiative has weeded out most internal terrorism. The biggest dispute between French and English Canada resulted in one kidnapping, and that's about it. External terrorism hasn't reared it's ugly head on our soil either. Hopefully it stays this way, so we are free to continue our "we have no idea what we are doing" political philosophy, which skillfully avoids both the "Those who disagree are uneducated and wrong" yelling from Europe and the "Those who disagree are against us" ramblings from the US. Plus, we rule at hockey. Thank you!

Posted by spaanoft at October 20, 2002 09:18 PM

>

Only after Japan bombed America. Until 1942, America didn't give a toss.


Posted by Charles at October 22, 2002 01:37 AM

has been a brilliant success.
# prevented, so far, new attacks>>

Terrorist attacks on the level of the WTC attack take years of planning to pull off- of course there hasn't been a follow-up yet. Give it a few more years and then we'll see.

>

Speaking as a Brit, that is complete bollocks. The Prime Minister has undergone heavy criticism for a seemingly blind acceptence of America's policies, and has forbidden parliament to vote on whether to go to war with Iraq (because he knows his party would vote against him and he'd have to go to the Tories). Most of the British public and news media don't think much of the way the "War on Terror" is being carried out.
And we don't like it NOT because we're anti-American, but because from where we're standing it looks counterproductive.

of things in the liberated Afghanistan.>>

The new democratic government has virtually no money or power- the country is still full of vicious terrorist factions (including our allies the Northern Alliance, who are looters, murderers and rapists) and in a lot of the country women are still wearing burkas and Fundamentalist law is still in affect.

still keeping the status of the only possible arbiter in Palestine.>>

Hmmmm- is this another word for supporting Israel financially and w/ military equipment despite its habit of:
a) Building illegal settlements on Palestinian land.
b) Invading Palestine, oppressing & killing civilians (even forbidding ambulance crews to take injured people to hopsital), wrecking refugee camps and systematically vandalising the country's infrastructure.

Posted by Charles at October 22, 2002 04:00 AM

>

The lesson learnt from the Vietnam War was that America should be more careful with its foregn policy. It lost the war, but only after killing thousands of North and South Vietnamese civilians in bombing raids and some extremely nasty massacres (e.g. My Lai), all to stop Communists. Even though many S. Vietnamese peasents wanted a Communist government because of the oppressiveness of the Diem regime.
President Kennedy had the right idea- he saw the Vietnamese hated Diem, and so had him replaced, and also tried to support S. Vietnam peacefully. Johnson, however, used the Tonkin Incident to unleash a costly and wasteful war- and there is evidence to suggest that the Tonkin Incident was faked (N. Vietnamese torpedo boats would be near useless against an American destroyer).

Posted by Charles at October 22, 2002 04:15 AM

The US has significant trade with Israel. We also have a thing for democracies.

We care about the Palestinian CIVILIANS because they're getting shat on by both Israel and their own government. You seem to be of the opinion that we excuse suicide bombings because of what Israel does to Palestine- this is bullshit. We don't.
What we do think is that any society that thinks the only way to solve anything is to kill themselves blowing up a schoolbus obviously have some problems, and these need to be identified and solved.
Also, there is a BIG difference between getting pissed at Israel's attacks on Palestine and supporting Arafat and Hamas (who, for the record, are complete bastards).

Posted by Charles at October 22, 2002 04:36 AM

Whoops. My last post was meant to be directed at this quote:

>

Posted by Charles at October 22, 2002 04:38 AM

Dredging up old posts:
I have to disagree with Rand Simberg's post (8/20/02) comparing the situation between the U.S. and Iraq to the debate on entry into WW2. Strongly.
a) Saddam attacked another country in his region and was defeated. Over ten years ago. And has pretty well been held within his borders since.
b) Saddam has neither the power nor the control that Hitler had.
c) We didn't preempt Hitler's actions. We didn't even respond with immediacy. We waited to enter the war until Japan attacked us, and then we got our shit together - after the war had been raging for 3 years.
d)Location, location, location! Germany was not exactly in a hotbed of unrest and dispute and it was, in alliance with Italy and Japan, threatening the rest of the world. Iraq, however, is in the midst of one of the most tumultuous regions on the planet. Additionally, Iraq is not threatening the rest of the world. Repeat: Iraq is not threatening the rest of the world.

Open to debate.

Posted by at November 25, 2002 02:31 PM

False anaologies can work both ways...

NEVER AGAIN
A Fascist Fairy Tale, Circa 1938 by Ted Rall

SAN FRANCISCO--It's hard to believe now, but the Leader had been something of a national laughingstock. The kind of politician who attracted attention with speeches ridiculed for their extremism, hokey sentimentality and tortured syntax, he was ridiculed by the press and the intelligentsia as an idiot and a buffoon. They underestimated him.

The candidate was lucky when he presented himself for consideration. He faced a divided, disorganized opposition. Still, the apathy and confusion of the time wasn't quite severe enough to allow a small-time fellow like him to seize power. Converting his personality flaws into tactical advantages, however, he applied a sort of animal cunning to get what he craved.

Behind the scenes he promised future favors to rich businessmen in exchange for their support. Using the money he collected from these wealthy men, he went to a small cabal of shadowy power-brokers who controlled the political system and bullied them into giving him what the democratic process had denied him. "I'm going to win one way or the other," he growled. "Are you with me or against me?"

And so, despite carrying a plurality of the vote, he became the Leader.

Ruling his country wasn't enough for the Leader, though--not by a long shot. He and his close friends, the ones who had stuck by him even when everyone had made fun of him, had radical plans. They wanted to transform their country into a mighty empire the likes of which the world had never seen before.

The nation's previous governments had gone into debt building up an immense, technologically-sophisticated military, but those weapons had ostensibly been built to keep the peace. Now the Leader and his advisers schemed to use those defensive weapons, and to build new offensive ones, to force other nations to fear them. They plotted to exploit other countries for their natural resources and to press their peoples into slavery. They would invade and occupy the richest countries; other states, fearful of the same fate, would sign away their wealth and their workers through favorable trade agreements.

Although the Leader's country had a history of militarism, his people had always insisted on some pretext before they marched off to war. They considered themselves gentle and peaceful, but they were no cowards--they would defend themselves ferociously whenever they were attacked.

One day a great fire broke out in the country's largest city. One of the nation's most impressive buildings--an important symbol--burned to the ground. Many innocent people died.

Assuming a grave tone and mournful expression as the fires still raged, the Leader addressed his people: terrorists from overseas, he said, had attacked the country. "If anyone should think that through terrorism it can bend us, then he forgets our character," he told them. "He who raises himself against this life of the nation will meet our resolution." He asked the people for their help. These were especially difficult times, he said. Wouldn't they grant him special rights, extra powers, to ensure that he could defend the nation from future threats?

Everyone was frightened. More than anything else, they wanted to make sure that nothing as bad as that terrible fire ever happened to them again. The Leader, people said, had grown into his job. His words flowed smoothly and confidently through his lips. Even the journalists who used to insult him were impressed with his newfound self-assuredness. They called on the people to give the Leader the support that he requested. And they did.

The Leader moved swiftly to crush his potential opponents. Foreigners, men with beards and swarthy skin, were rounded up and sent to detention camps, never to be seen again. Those who worshipped religions incompatible with total devotion to the Leader were singled out for discrimination. Opposition politicians disappeared from public life. People who expressed dismay or who questioned the Leader's wisdom lost their jobs, friends and social standing. Going against the Leader, after all, meant opposing the man who was defending the nation against those who sought to destroy it. By definition, anyone who tried to stop the leader was unpatriotic, perhaps even in league with the terrorists.

The Leader centralized the federal bureaucracy in a way that concentrated power in his hands and those of his inner circle. He used the might of the state to spy on citizens, so that nobody could ever be certain that what they said was private. Soon no one dared say anything that could be interpreted as insulting the Leader or his policies.

To be sure, some journalists, being inquisitive by nature, tried to investigate the Leader and the effects of his policies. But their editors needed access to the Leader and his officials in order to collect the news, so they only published articles favorable to the Leader. The people, whose only knowledge of current events came from their newspapers, increasingly supported the Leader. And the parliament, which the framers of the old constitution had created as a check against executive power, was pressured by the voters to go along with everything that the Leader wanted. Soon even the leaders of the opposition party were pledging their unconditional loyalty to the Leader. The parliament still convened, but they had become a rubber-stamp body.

The Leader had successfully consolidated his power in a short time, but the economy he had inherited from his democratically-elected predecessor kept getting worse. As the fright of the fire began to fade from memory, workers began to grumble that they couldn't find good jobs. The Leader had to act quickly to prevent his popularity from slipping, so he launched his first war.

One morning the world awoke to news that the Leader's massive armies were laying waste to the ill-equipped militia of a small country in a remote region of the continent. Neighboring nations had long considered the backwards, culturally medieval, victim of the Leader's war to be something of a nuisance. Thus they were inclined to believe the Leader when he blamed their government for the terrorist fire. And while some of the rulers of other countries privately doubted that vengeance was the real reason for the war--everybody knew that the little nation being pulverized by bombs was on an important trade route--they chose not to speak up. The Leader's country was far too rich and powerful to fight and, in any case, they wouldn't mind if the war brought order to that savage and lawless land.

A few months later, the Leader announced the success of his blitzkrieg to his jubilant people. The attack against them had been avenged, he said. Although their worst enemies had escaped--only for now, he said--the world had been put on notice. No one would ever dare insult, much less murder, the Leader's people again.

For a few months the Leader reveled in the glory of his victory. People felt that the Leader was not only protecting them, but making them feel strong again. But one day his chief military adviser came to him with a warning. "People are beginning to forget about your victory," he said. "They're worried about their bellies. Their sons are stuck in the occupation force, fighting the remnants of the militia. They're afraid that another attack is coming. Why not start an even bigger war to distract them from these concerns?"

Rather than merely invade another country, however, the Leader hit upon a new strategy. He demanded that the world allow him to invade yet another nation, even though that land had caused no offense to its neighbors for many years. "I am a man of peace, but these evil ones are planning to kill my people," he roared. "I will invade them and stop them and I will consider anyone who doesn't agree to be our enemy." He ordered his armies to mass at the borders of his intended prize.

The world's rulers, terrified of the Leader's hubris and demonstrated willingness to throw his nation's armies into war, gathered to decide what to do. Everyone agreed that what the Leader intended to do was reckless, immoral and unjustified, but nobody wanted to stand alone and thus risk becoming his next target. Besides, they told themselves, he only wants one more country. It's worth voting for one small war now to prevent the whole world from being consumed by war, they agreed.

And so, after much discussion and debate, the world's rulers voted to appease the Leader.

Posted by John at December 1, 2002 03:14 AM

You've made Snopes.

Posted by HH at March 12, 2003 06:45 PM

Analysis
U.S. in a Tough Position As Isolation Increases
Setbacks Raise Stakes for Administration

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 6, 2003; Page A01

The Bush administration this week has become increasingly isolated in the world over its determination to topple the Iraqi government, leaving it in a diplomatically difficult position in advance of a critical U.N. Security Council meeting Friday.

By contrast, Iraq has made great headway in splintering the Security Council, making it less likely it will approve a U.S.-backed resolution authorizing military action. Iraq over the weekend began complying with a demand to destroy missiles that exceeded U.N. restrictions, provided unrestricted access to seven scientists and promised to answer inspectors' questions on its weapons programs.

The sense of U.S. isolation, which has been building for some time, culminated with a series of setbacks in the past week for the U.S. position. Turkey's parliament Saturday rejected a request to accept U.S. troops, which experts said emboldened smaller countries on the Security Council to consider defying the United States. Iraq's efforts to demonstrate cooperation strengthened the resolve of France and Russia -- two veto-wielding powers on the Security Council -- to say the inspections are working and a war is not necessary. Antiwar protests on college campuses yesterday and around the world in major cities last month have left the image of a policy out of sync with public opinion.

"Between Turkey and the German-French-Russian statements that hint at a veto, it doesn't look good," said Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter. "There are two dangers" that could result from the events of the past week, he said. "There is a mindless war conducted by us. And Saddam [Hussein] is encouraged not to give in."

The policy setbacks, Brzezinski said, have raised the ante for the administration's gamble. "At stake is not Iraq," he said. "At stake is our global role."

The administration's isolation appears to be a product of a number of factors. These include its hard-edged rhetoric, and what many say is a growing distrust of the administration's motives and its failure to make a case that Iraq poses an imminent danger.

The blunt talk often used by President Bush and other senior U.S. officials when referring to Iraq -- often effective among supporters at home -- has not translated well among foreign audiences. Bush has said more than once that he was tired of diplomatic delays, creating the impression he was eager for war and that he viewed the United Nations as a useless distraction. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld angered traditional allies in Europe, some said needlessly, by appearing to dismiss their concerns.

Although Bush initially won praise for bringing Iraq to the United Nations in September, eventually many countries began to feel that his efforts to solicit the backing of other countries were disingenuous. The administration won a number of votes for a U.N. resolution in November authorizing resumed weapons inspections in Iraq -- which passed unanimously -- by arguing that a tough resolution was the best way to avoid a war. But the Pentagon intensified its military buildup around Iraq even as the inspections got underway, signaling that the United States was prepared to go into battle regardless of what the United Nations decided.

A number of foreign diplomats said they were taken aback -- even betrayed -- by what they perceived as the administration's rush to war. They seized on any evidence of Iraqi cooperation to argue that the inspections were working and that imminent military action was not necessary. Positions were so hardened by early last month that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's extensive presentation of Iraqi misdeeds to the Security Council failed to sway many minds.

Most fundamentally, the administration has not been able to convince enough people around the world that Iraq posed enough of a threat to justify war. The message was confused as the administration first stressed "regime change" as a goal, and then switched to disarmament of the regime when it began negotiations at the United Nations.

Last week, Bush offered a new reason -- a war would so shake up the Middle East that it would spawn democracy and even help bring about peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

A failure to make the case for immediate action helped spur massive, coordinated protests around the globe, which further damaged the administration's position at home and abroad. Opinion polls of Americans frequently show that support for a war shrinks unless it is undertaken with international backing.

"None of these developments help the administration make its case," said Lee Hamilton, a former congressman who is president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. "I have been surprised. I thought there was a very good chance of getting a second resolution."

Indeed, the new Security Council resolution that the administration, along with Britain and Spain, would like the chamber to approve next week is a bare-bones document that mainly restates the language of the resolution adopted unanimously by the council in November. That would seem to make its approval easy. But in a sign of how low the U.S. position has sunk, it appears increasingly unlikely the administration will be able to achieve a majority.

The administration needs nine votes, and no vetoes, to prevail in the 15-member council. Only Bulgaria has signaled it would agree to the resolution, while six nations -- including France, Russia and China with veto power -- oppose it.

The administration has frequently threatened that the United Nations would become irrelevant if the United States is forced to wage war without U.N. backing. But that argument has been turned on its head. France and other nations increasingly appear to believe a rejection of the U.S. position would rein in an administration they feel has been consumed with hubris.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48303-2003Mar5.html

Posted by at March 13, 2003 11:53 AM

I can't believe how many people think this is "brilliant." The question with Iraq is whether to START a war, not how to END one. Morons.

Posted by at March 14, 2003 12:47 PM

>I can't believe how many people think this >is "brilliant." The question with Iraq is >whether to START a war, not how to END one. >Morons.

And the reason that a war had to be ended in 1944 is because something wasn't done earlier. Who is the moron now? Moron.

Posted by Billy at March 24, 2003 04:49 PM

Yes, and in fact we didn't start a war last week. We simply continued one that hadn't ended in 1991. Note that there was only a ceasefire contingent on Saddam getting rid of his WMD, not a peace agreement.

Posted by Rand Simberg at March 26, 2003 03:21 PM

This article is a hoax. check out www.snopes.com and type in ,1944 reuters, great site to check for true/false on these emails

Posted by at April 3, 2003 04:27 PM

Since you are now officially referenced by Urban Legends, I'd say you were a qualified success.

Posted by Robert S. at April 11, 2003 01:07 PM

Great article! So interesting! It really makes me think about the previously nonexistent parallels between World War 2 and Iraq. Too bad it isn't real. For a second it looked more than a fraud put out by a lying conservative spin doctor. How heartbroken I am.

Posted by Bob the Red at April 26, 2003 09:55 PM

Actually, the appearance of this item in Snopes is just an indication of how many people (mostly Americans) are gullible enough to believe this tripe.

Now that we are 'post-war', and Bush has revealed his true colours ('We're just here for the oil, which we will now control, and I will give all the professional looting - oops, rebuilding - contracts to my buddies who arranged to get me in to power despite the American people not really voting me in.'), we can look back and laugh. And, as the recent bombing in Ridyah shows, the only effect of the 'war on terrorism' - other than to give Bush's friends control of Iraqi oil - is to make terrorist attacks more likely.

Oops, it almost looks like I agree with the tried (in wimpy Europe) and true method of dealing with terrorism, rather than the jingoistic American version of 'any excuse to be a bully, and to hell with the consequences'.

Prediction - Dumbya will go down in history (the versions that aren't controlled by his friends) as the man who plunged the USA into their worst nightmare.

Posted by John at May 15, 2003 08:00 AM

"John," thanks to the web, your idiotic prediction will be recorded for posterity. I predict that you will never live it down.

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 5, 2003 10:27 PM

Thanks for that vote of confidence, Rand.

Fortunately, as you can see from the news, it looks as thought I won't have to 'live it down', as it is already coming true.

Not to worry, it was such an easy prediction that virtually anyone with access to uncensored news, a knowledge of history, and the intelligence to interpret the facts unemotionally could have made it (and many have).

A suggestion would be to try to get some news coverage that is much less censored and biased than the usual US government controlled sources. The CBC and BBC are usually good sources, and many thinking Americans turn to them more than to CNN, NBC, and so on.

"When truth isn't free, then freedom isn't true." Jacques Prevert

Or should I be careful not to quote someone with a French-sounding name?

Posted by John at July 3, 2003 08:01 AM

Fortunately, as you can see from the news, it looks as thought I won't have to 'live it down', as it is already coming true.

[laughing]

Enjoy your little BBC-induced fantasies. The Beeb's about to go the way of the New York Times in credibility.

Posted by Rand Simberg at July 3, 2003 01:04 PM

Do you really not see the news, or are you just ignoring it? I would have thought you might make the effort.

Oh, well, "None so blind as those that will not see." Matthew Henry.

Posted by John at July 4, 2003 01:39 PM

Thought you might like to read some real news (not what the government likes, but better for you).


U.S. changes reason for invading Iraq

By CHRISTINE BOYD
Toronto Globe and Mail - Thursday, July 10, 2003

The U.S. administration has abruptly revised its explanation for invading Iraq, as Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asserted that a changed perspective after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — not fresh evidence of banned weapons — provoked the war.

"The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic new evidence of Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass murder," Mr. Rumsfeld testified yesterday before the Senate armed services committee.

"We acted because we saw the evidence in a dramatic new light, through the prism of our experience on 9/11."

It was an about-face from a man who confidently proclaimed in January: "There's no doubt in my mind but that they [the Iraqi government] currently have chemical and biological weapons." (He was seconded in March by Vice-President Dick Cheney, who said of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein: "We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.")

And in London Thursday, the BBC reported senior British government sources saying that Whitehall had virtually ruled out finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which they now believe were destroyed or hidden permanently before the war began.

Mr. Rumsfeld's reversal came as the administration scrambled to defend itself from accusations that it deliberately used false or misleading information to bolster one of its primary justifications for the war.

On Monday, the White House acknowledged that U.S. President George W. Bush was wrong when he said in his State of the Union address in January that Iraq had recently tried to purchase large quantities of uranium from Africa to build nuclear weapons. He cited British intelligence reports of documents that purported to show an Iraqi attempt to buy a form of raw uranium known as yellowcake. The documents were later discredited as forgeries.

While the White House justified the invasion to topple Mr. Hussein on the ground that his biological, chemical and nuclear weapons posed a threat, no such arms have been uncovered in the 10 weeks since the war ended.

Mr. Bush unapologetically defended the war while in the middle of his five-day, visit to Africa.

"Saddam Hussein was a threat to world peace. And there's no doubt in my mind that the United States, along with allies and friends, did the right thing in removing him from power," he said yesterday at a joint news conference with South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Questioned for the first time about the uranium, he said: "There's going to be a lot of attempts to rewrite history. But I am absolutely confident in the decision I made."

White House officials said information that the documents may have been forged had not reached top-level policymakers before the public statements.

Mr. Rumsfeld said he found out "within recent days" that the information had been discredited, but he defended the U.S. intelligence throughout the Iraq conflict as "quite good" and said Iraq "had 12 years to conceal" weapons programs. "Uncovering those programs will take time," he said.

Several Democrats heightened calls for a full-scale investigation on whether intelligence was manipulated.

"It's bad enough that such a glaring blunder became part of the President's case for war," Senator Edward Kennedy said. "It's far worse if the case for war was made by deliberate deception. ... We cannot risk American lives based on shoddy intelligence or outright lies."

With U.S. and British forces facing almost daily assaults, he and other senators grilled Mr. Rumsfeld on whether more troops were needed in Iraq.

Mr. Rumsfeld told the committee that talks were under way to increase NATO involvement in Iraq peacekeeping efforts. He maintained that most of Iraq is safe after the war, with most of the recent attacks against U.S. and British forces concentrated in Baghdad and surrounding areas.

Mr. Kennedy expressed skepticism, saying he was "concerned that we have the world's best-trained soldiers serving as policemen in what seems to be a shooting gallery."

- 30 -

Sure sounds like they're lying hard to cover up their previous lies, doesn't it?

I particularly like 'Mr. Rumsfeld said he found out "within recent days" that the information had been discredited, but he defended the U.S. intelligence throughout the Iraq conflict as "quite good"'. This despite the fact that the documents were revealed as forgeries by the BBC months ago - 'quite good' intelligence indeed.

By the way, did you notice that, in deference to your paranoia, I didn't offer you a BBC article? But are you going to shoot this messenger too?

Posted by John at July 10, 2003 07:16 AM

Dear Sir: I read the piece about the circumstances of the occupation of Germany just after WW11 that was indicated to have been written on August 12 1944 and published by Reuters. In my investigation Reuters denies any such article. The article is said to have been written this year by Rand Simberg and found in Routers. Actually as an 83 year old veteran I don't recall some of those "facts". I do recall President Truman have trouble with some members of the congress.

Posted by Bill Minor at September 18, 2003 10:55 PM

i was looking for "why did the appeaseament between Hitler & Stalin fail before WW2" aand I didn't find what I was looking for.

Posted by at April 26, 2004 09:55 AM

The Roosevelt administration's concerns about removing Hitler's regime parallel the Iraqi situation before Bush invaded, except that there is no evidence Bush even considered post-Saddam complications and there was chance that Iraq would be able to take over a continent.

Visit http://popularsovranty.com/dyingroses.shtml for further discussion regarding Bush's invasion of Iraq.

Posted by Malcolm Kantzler at October 13, 2004 02:19 AM

NO chance Iraq could overrun a continent.

Posted by Malcolm Kantzler at October 13, 2004 02:21 AM

You know, the deathcamps weren't discovered until AFTER. There is no way you could possibly use them as a justification for war.

""For God's sake, the man is gassing Jews by the millions!" said one exasperated presidential advisor. "Do you think that he's going to be content to simply murder his own people if we let him stay in power?"

Concern is great that, in a total German defeat, or regime change, the results could have unpredictable and far-reaching consequences."

YES! Like the harsh and unjust treaty that Germany was forced to sign after WWI. Hitler used the great hatred the treaty created (by destroying the economy and humiliating Germany) to build his power base. The Allies who defeated Germany sought their revenge and they got it. Then Hitler came and killed millions of people, with his rise to power greased with that revenge.

A lesson was learned for WWI and WWII. I hope that it wasn't forgoten.

Posted by Cory Bloor at January 30, 2005 04:16 PM

Actually,Roosevelt made it plain to Churchill back in 1940 that it would be difficult to convince the American people to go to war against Hitler. "Most Americans west of the Appalachians have never seen the Atlantic Ocean, let alone care what happens on the other side of it." If Hitler had not declared war on the USA, American public opinion would have come down strongly for a "Japan First" strategy. It might have been years before we tackled Germany.

As for making our case against Iraq or any other country: we're the biggest and baddest boys in the neighborhood, and we don't answer to anyone. Anyone seen "Canadian Bacon"? If we had a reason (ie-- if they had something we wanted, or we needed a scapegoat) we'd invade Fiji.

Posted by capcartoonist at February 27, 2005 03:04 AM

Would be funny if this wasn't basically what happened. Every war is filled with these questions. As indicated above in the comments, Churchill was opposed to Overlord until it worked.

Of course the idiocy of the Right shows through on every comment on this blog: Take this one:
"As Bill Quick pointed out, an Iraqi occupation can pay for itself. If the US makes post-war Iraq its sole Mid-East oil supplier, the proceeds can pay for the occupation (and maybe then some).

This has the side effect of making Saudi Arabia and Iran much less of a US problem and much more of an EU/Japan problem. I'm looking forward to seeing such sophisticates in action.

It can be a trifecta for the US"

Ha ha ha. Sad.

Posted by Rob W at July 22, 2005 01:38 PM


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