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End of American intervention?

Mark Mardell | 22:42 UK time, Wednesday, 18 August 2010

US_soldiersThe last US combat brigade has left Iraq. I am preparing a TV piece ahead of the formal end of the mission.

I think my focus is going to be on how it has, or hasn't, changed America's attitude to war, and how the rest of the world sees the US.

One big question it raises, which has long fascinated me, is the whole idea of liberal interventionism.

At a seminar this week organised by the Centre for a New American Security, I was struck by a remark by the current Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq Michael Corbin.

My notes are not verbatim but he said something along the lines that for 50 years Iraq had been a negative force in the region, a destructive role and now was in partnership with other countries, a model for laws on civil society, a democracy, decentralized, where not state planning but the private sector was in charge.

It struck me that this statement from an official in the Obama administration was rather close to the standard "neo con" justification for going to war in the first place, that Iraq would not only be a better place itself but a beacon for the region.

Tony Blair's free prime-time advertising campaign for his new book also reminded me of the former UK prime minister's commitment to the idea of liberal interventionism, as set out in his Chicago speech of 1999.

The matter of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction can hardly be put to one side, but I have little doubt he wanted regime change in Iraq for many other reasons.

Those who believe in what I am calling liberal interventionism think it is the duty of the strongest military powers to stop bad people doing bad things, even to their own people.

I once asked Condoleezza Rice if she would justify the invasion of China on similar grounds.

Her reply was on the lines of "what we can do, we do". Realistic but not exactly reassuring to those in the People's Republic who believe in an inviolable nation state.

I also recall asking Blair on the eve of his departure from office whether this philosophy was not just a thin veneer for old style imperialism, the West imposing its way on "lesser breeds without the law" (as Kipling put it).

Sitting in the garden of Number 10, perhaps I spoilt my point by adding that it might be more believable if Sweden had been in charge of the invasion. His reply was understandably dismissive. "They don't have the forces."

That is sort of the problem. Those who have the forces, have the history.

Has war weariness perhaps killed off the desire to make the world a better place through military might?

Perhaps, but the impulse is deep.

Listening to the radio news reports of the Taliban stoning a couple to death for adultery arouses the ire of my children. "Why can't we stop them?" they ask.

Seeing the cover of Time magazine depicting a young woman's brutal punishment at the Taliban's hands prompts similar feelings in me that it would be great to be able to stop the torture.

Of course, these two pieces of barbarity happened recently, nine years after the American invasion, so perhaps point to the limits of "shock and awe".

It is, I think, a moral muddle which isn't debated enough. If you will excuse a slight, but not flippant, digression I have long been fascinated that the fiction of the greatest living sci-fi writer, Iain M Banks, revolves around a morally superior society, The Culture, clandestinely undermining its militaristic, sexist, brutal enemies, delighting in secretly dealing with the torturers.

Yet he is also a leading anti-war activist.

I've long thought about this but only recently seen a rather good essay by Alan Jacobs worrying away at the same problem.

I guess part of Banks's theme is the moral ambiguity that sustains his utopia and that he would say that America's wars were really about scarce resources (I am not sure about this) and George W Bush isn't a Mind (I am sure about this: he is not a morally superior super computer).

The bottom line, I suppose, is that while the Chelgrians are vile, the Taliban are real.

Fictional and philosophical reflections aside, has America lost its taste for intervention and if so, is the world a better, or worse, place as a result?

Comments

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  • 1. At 03:12am on 19 Aug 2010, ib42 wrote:

    One can only hope!
    Whether or not America's taste for 'intervention' has waned temporarily depends on which party is in power. A 'mama grizzly' will surely be led by her pathetic mind and self image as a protector to rush into war, unleashing again a tired military a'la bush, cheney and blair, based on shameless lies, ignorance and hormones.
    Another Obama, however, would surely ponder deeply before issuing the order to invade another country.

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  • 2. At 03:15am on 19 Aug 2010, mabelwhite wrote:

    Maybe we are just bringing it closer to home, since we are militarizing our border at the bequest of AZ and CA, as Arnold Swartzenegger put it, 'to protect the safety of the American people'. Since that was the basis of our preemptive strike against Iraq, I suspect Mexico may be a little nervous at the moment. I hope these young men aren't too trigger happy.

    Canada, you're next

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  • 3. At 03:49am on 19 Aug 2010, mabelwhite wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 4. At 04:01am on 19 Aug 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    If the attacks on the West continue, we may, instead, grow weary of being attacked.

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  • 5. At 04:14am on 19 Aug 2010, skye_eg wrote:

    Although I am too young to confirm this myself: I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me that public discourse today (as reflected in this blog entry) sounds like an echo of public discourse from 1973 -when the US pulled out of Vietnam. The sad reality, however, is that Americans forget and don't learn. They forget that they have a government all too willing to drag them into phony wars, and they are easily duped into new ones. Especially post-Vietnam, when the government-military-industrial-media propaganda machine applied the lessons it had learned IN Vietnam: control the media and severely filter information about the war that's relayed to the American public, so Americans they don't see flag-draped coffins or Iraqi children that have lost their limbs, they only see toppled statues of Iraq and local interviewees that are support the invasion. Americans will forget this ten years on...I wouldn't be surprised if a new war of "intervention" is started again in the not-so-distant future, supposedly for a "war on terror", or for "human rights", or "democracy", or whatever will be the buzz word of the day that special interests pulling the strings in Washington will be all too keen to exploit.

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  • 6. At 04:17am on 19 Aug 2010, skye_eg wrote:

    At 04:01am on 19 Aug 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    "If the attacks on the West continue, we may, instead, grow weary of being attacked."

    Or maybe, it's the other way around. Others are weary of being attacked, bombed, and controlled. Maybe THAT'S why they're hostile towards the "West" (the US).

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  • 7. At 04:28am on 19 Aug 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    “My notes are not verbatim but he (Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq Michael Corbin) said something along the lines that for 50 years Iraq had been a negative force in the region, a destructive role and now was in partnership with other countries, a model for laws on civil society, a democracy, decentralized, where not state planning but the private sector was in charge.”

    And here we have another example of the hypocrisy of US foreign policy. 50 years of being a negative force? Really?

    Everybody knows Saddam was a monster. But what about when the Reagan Administration funded and supplied Saddam’s Iraq (not to mention Iran) during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s? Apparently the regime’s “negative” internal policies, though well known to the US government at the time, were not enough to deter them from extending amicable economic and military relations towards the country in order to wield it as a counter to Iran. The same thing is going on today regarding relations to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, and Pakistan.

    Then when their friendly dictator stepped out of line and became a national liability, he suddenly became the worst person who ever lived and the preemptive war against Iraq was defended in starkly moralistic terms to persuade the world that it was a “just” war (after the failed “weapons of mass destruction” campaign became stale). The events of the Iran-Iraq war were conveniently forgotten.

    This is not an attack on America. It is an attack on its governments’ tendencies to support the most repressive regimes in the world in one decade, then vilify them as dire threats against humanity the next, after their usefulness has expired (while simultaneously expecting the world to be grateful to them for their new found sense of “altruism”). US foreign policy is mostly comprised of an incredible jingoistic messiah complex knotted with hypocrisy and selective amnesia.

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  • 8. At 04:33am on 19 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Mark wrote:

    "Fictional and philosophical reflections aside, has America lost its taste for intervention and if so, is the world a better, or worse, place as a result?"
    ___________

    Assuming the answer to the first part of the question at least temporarily to be "Yes", is not the answer to the second part of the question the famous answer of Chou-en-Lai about whether the French revolution had been a success:

    "It's too soon to tell."

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  • 9. At 04:40am on 19 Aug 2010, Frank wrote:

    6. At 04:17am on 19 Aug 2010, skye_eg wrote:

    "Or maybe, it's the other way around. Others are weary of being attacked, bombed, and controlled. Maybe THAT'S why they're hostile towards the "West" (the US)."

    I find it kind of ironic that some one like you from Uzbekistan (a country that has an abysmal human rights record) finds it so easy to criticize the United States. Perhaps you should be concentrating your efforts inside your own borders. You don't even have basic civil liberties...

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  • 10. At 04:49am on 19 Aug 2010, spamandammo wrote:

    Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam were wars of choice, the latter two arguably unnecessary. In any event, they carried little military risk for the US or her allies. One wonders whether these regular Western interventions have an ulterior motive: to keep forces fighting fit for the day the dragon rising in the East finally breathes fire.

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  • 11. At 05:03am on 19 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 12. At 05:05am on 19 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "... has America lost its taste for intervention ..." (from Mardell)

    I distinguish between the American people and the American government. The American people have always had an isolationist bent, and have never had a "taste for intervention" without a clear purpose, in my opinion. The country was united in World War II because we were attacked. The Korean and Vietnam wars, being more political and unmotivated by a direct threat, never had much popular support.

    More recently, the war against Iraq in Kuwait had broad support because, although not an attack on the US, was clearly an attack on our interests. The war in Iraq never had the same level of support, especially after the rationale for it was determined to be false, because it was essentially political. The war in Afghanistan was different. It was seen as a direct and justified response to an attack on the US, and therefore widely supported. The problem there is that it has gone on much too long. Americans, I believe, are not much interested in nation-building in Afghanistan or anywhere else, and just want to eliminate, or at least minimize, threats to the United States.

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  • 13. At 05:16am on 19 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    Americans lost their taste for interventionism during the Vietnam war. The political powers that be, did not. After all, it isn't their children, for the most part, being sent off to die or be maimed for life.

    On the other hand, Americans have a love/hate relationship with war. We love military parades, music, bands, drill teams, etc. And yet we loathe the blood shed that naturally comes with war. I have no idea why this is so, but this has been my experience.

    Ultimately, I believe we will be pulling back from most of our overseas bases over the next decade or so. It's time the rest of the world stood up for itself and stopped depending on others to save them. If you haven't got the guts to fight for your freedom, you clearly don't deserve it.

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  • 14. At 05:30am on 19 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    7. At 04:28am on 19 Aug 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    US foreign policy is mostly comprised of an incredible jingoistic messiah complex knotted with hypocrisy and selective amnesia.

    Actually, America doesn't have a foreign policy as most understand it. It has, or had before the neo-cons, a national security policy that recognized that what's good for the economy, no matter how destructive it is to other nations, is good for American national security. If you haven't got the economy to support it, you can't afford an advanced military. Let alone the most powerful military in the world.

    The simple fact is, America acts in whatever way it feels is in its own best interest, regardless of whatever propaganda politicians spout. Just as we expect other nations to act in their own best interests. There is no such thing as an entirely altruistic nation. And to expect America to behave any differently than any other nation is to fall into the trap of Utopian idealism.

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  • 15. At 05:54am on 19 Aug 2010, BigBaBoo wrote:

    The intervention in Iraq was "the war to get George Bush re-elected" by generating a phony patriotism that "Dub-bu-yaa" could use to influence the voters and gaurentee his re-election. Afghanistan was simply a knee-jerk consevative after thought to 9/11. I don't see any change being made in the U.S. intervention record as long as the elitist big money Capitalists are in charge. Wars and "interventions" are profitable to them, both economically and politically...and as long as that fact remains...and big money Capitalists are in charge...U.S. men (and now women too) will be going to die in foriegn countries for them. No change.

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  • 16. At 06:04am on 19 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    I do not believe Americans attitude towards war has changed in the slightest. What might have changed is Americas propensity to stay and rebuild a nation after major combat has ended.

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  • 17. At 07:14am on 19 Aug 2010, ARMINIUS11 wrote:

    Democrat or Republican....same **** different toilet or is it different **** same toilet....hard to say!!!

    what is USA's legacy to the world?besides LCD tvs and ipods that is!

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  • 18. At 07:23am on 19 Aug 2010, 44md34 wrote:

    I hope the u.s stop getting into other countries affairs,Its time for the u.s start to worry about its own problems,Like the national debt.The iraq war was such a mistake and a waste of human life.

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  • 19. At 07:39am on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    MM: "Her [Condie Rice's] reply was on the lines of "what we can do, we do". Realistic but not exactly reassuring to those in the People's Republic who believe in an inviolable nation state."





    They [PRC Commie regime] weren't worrying about it too much during the Korean War, were they?

    [What goes around, comes around]

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  • 20. At 07:45am on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "This is not an attack on America. It is an attack on its governments’ tendencies to support the most repressive regimes in the world in one decade"






    such as PRC' Commie homicidal regime, Islamic Republic of Iran' homicidal regime, Soviet/Russian homicidal regime, etc.?


    "Oh, Canada" :(

    [[hiding under U.S.' military umbrella for 60 years]

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  • 21. At 07:52am on 19 Aug 2010, Sara wrote:

    @Interestedforeigner

    Your comment made my day. :D Hells yeah, Canada has a protected border. I remember...we were driving up from Montana, and they confiscated some apples we had (because they could be carrying WORMS! O SHI-). Apple-Terrorism doesn't stand a chance in Canada.

    ...

    As to interventionism...it's one of the few things both liberals and conservatives some-what agree on. So it'll stay around I'd bet. In my opinion it's like everything else: good if done with good intentions AND done well (so that the intervention doesn't fail), bad if done with bad intentions or done poorly.

    The only thing that should stop any country from attempting to help others is if it cannot trust itself to meet that standard. Have we met that standard in the past? Sometimes, but not all the time. Can we in the future? I don't know.

    Is the risk of error and corruption more than the chance to achieve whatever good would be gained? This is the case-by-case question that has to be asked before any intervention (by anyone) is attempted.

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  • 22. At 07:53am on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Since MM used to be a Brussels based EUSSR correpondent...


    I, and millions of other Americans, wish U.S. would withdraw its troops from Europe and itself from NATO and have you, superior Old European folks, defend themselves when push comes to shove.

    Using unified, integrated, combat-ready MIGHTY European force. ;-)))))))

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  • 23. At 07:53am on 19 Aug 2010, muscatel wrote:

    Banks' Culture "morally superior"? Than what? The thuggish societies against which his characters struggle? Easily. Than our own? A leading anti-war activist with the cynicism of Pink Floyd (e.g., "Us and Them") would think so. Than the human race is capable of someday? I certainly hope not!

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  • 24. At 08:00am on 19 Aug 2010, PaulC wrote:

    Extraordinary! Nobody notices the arrogance in believing that the values we hold are superior to everbody else's and we are doing the world a service by imposing them on other cultures.
    The Iraq and Afghan adventures are doomed because you cannot successfully take a political/moral system that has evolved from Hellenistic/Judaeo-Christian/liberal roots to fit societies in which religious, family and tribal loyalties have almost completely eroded and impose it on societies in which religious laws and family/tribal relationships trump everything.
    Voters in the Islamic world will overwhelmingly cast their ballots in favour of God and family, without regard for policy issues. That's why reactionary, fundamentalist, tribalist councils are the norm when reasonably free elections are held.
    It is arrogant to imagine that every aspect of Islamic or tyrannical rule is bad and every aspect of liberal democracy is good. Many in the East view Western values of free sex, drunkenness and tolerance of - or at least prevalence of - crime as utterly abhorrent.
    You cannot break down the deep religious and family bonds that will always defeat Western-style democracy with regiments of troops. You can only do it through education and encouraging an industrial society with mobility of labour.
    Even then, you must justify to your liberal conscience destroying the way of life that many of "them" like, in order to impose on them the way of life that your society has persuaded you is superior.

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  • 25. At 08:17am on 19 Aug 2010, henrydumor wrote:

    the end of the war?

    a few facts

    - there will remain ca 50 k usa soldiers ( so called advisors , this meaning usally they are special forces on hunt to kill missions

    - there will remain ca 50 to 70 k " contractors" many of these are also ex special forces

    - there is being build a " embassy" , the size and likes of that heve never yet been seen with ca 1k staff

    - there is more violence now than before the usa invaded , eg more civialian deaths / day

    - there is less water and electricity available than before the war

    - there is more interfaith hate than before the war

    - there were no bad mass destuction weapons - ever

    - one bad guy and his 2 lads were taken out

    - ca 1 trillon usd was spent to do this

    - the locals in battle zones breath air and drink water contaminated with uranium from the armour piercing shells
    consequently the rise in tumours and other nasty diseases is to be seen

    - saddam was a good friend and ally of the usa during the reagan era
    he was the bulwark against sic " the wicked mullahs " and fought a long proxy war on the behest of the usa to destabilise the neighbor

    - his usefullness came to an end when he bit his master :attacked kuwait ( despite the local us cia contact's tacit ok to do so )in order to refloat his balance sheet due to the war costs which his neighbors refused to co-op with despite earlier pledges to do so

    - quote of a earlier usa secretary of state
    being a friend of the usa can be a dangerous thing
    noriega can also attest to this

    - why did we go in and loose so many good boys?
    to please the son of an earlier president who was the target of a revenge plot and to obtain rights to natural rescources

    a certain mr margolis has more to say about that

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  • 26. At 08:45am on 19 Aug 2010, LevelHeadedBloke wrote:

    has America lost its taste for intervention and if so.....?

    hah, you wish!
    Considering the Americans still have the biggest, deadliest weapons of mass destruction pointging at all the rest of the world...? (and that includes you and me... if you dont get it)

    That aside, BBC could you please please send MM to China? Who really cares about the morally, politically and financially bankrupt US anymore, we'd much rather read something interesting and USEFUL from China!

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  • 27. At 09:05am on 19 Aug 2010, RandomVoice wrote:

    Well, many may not like it, but it is the thorough incompetence on part of the American leadership, the lack of a common national goal differing from one national party to another, the failing economy accompanied by frauds at top level(AIG/GM) that has brought down the american moral and confidence. Whereas its the armed forces, the technologuy, the strategical command that is still in place and functions well. But, thats not going to do it, is it?

    As far as Uncle Sams's poodle is considered, well it will do what the master says.

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  • 28. At 09:15am on 19 Aug 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    America's taste for interventionism will flare up again should they again be directly attacked.
    The difference now is that it will have precious few allies that will stand with it in future. The inclination for intervention elsewhere has very much disappeared.
    There are two consequenses for this. One limits any future American hawkish policies (Iran knows it can develop nuclear facilities solely at risk of bombing and not at risk of invasion). The other is that any regional wars where intervention is widely regarded as necessary (like Kosovo) may not be followed up.

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  • 29. At 10:05am on 19 Aug 2010, D Fear wrote:

    The dilemma mentioned by Mr Mardell is old. This was the problem in the 1930s, to some extent. One reason for a heightened readiness to 'intervene' (we could also say 'interfere') is the desire to avoid letting things get so far a second time. Ironically, this itself is purely a reaction. Until the West (and now, part of the East too!) wakes up to the fact that unequal standards of life mean unequal use of resources, and until a reasonably fair system of distribution is set up worldwide, there are going to be people who see their only way out - or their only means of expression - in the purely pragmatic use of some kind of aggression (call it terrorism, call it intervention, call it what you will). Of course, people are people, so I would not expect change for the better any time soon. There's always daily politics to muck things up, for one thing - and unavoidably; there is that supreme motivation of the human race, greed; there is ideological blindness (under that heading we can place religious extremism, I suppose); and there is muddled thinking and no thinking at all. If anyone doubts the above, then take a look at the history of what we call Iraq, as an example. The reaction to the isolationism and laissez-faire disaster that helped to lead to WWII has resulted in a very dangerous situation in Central Asia. (Funny how nobody seems to mention - ummm, was it 1953? - in Iran, for example.) We can only hope that some clear thought will help to alleviate the whole situation. As for the moral and ethical side of intervention vs. non-intervention, it might truly help if one were to understand how the other side works first, before debating whether to do something about it and, if so, going ahead (here's a little test question: why is it not possible for Western-style democracy to work in Afghanistan, at least the way it supposedly does in the West? Hint: the question is actually at least two questions).

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  • 30. At 10:06am on 19 Aug 2010, John wrote:

    If American (or anybody else's) intervention were entirely altruistic and done with infinite wisdom and understanding of other cultures, liberal interventions might be justified.

    But even approaching these standards is impossible for mere mortals and the Bush interventions failed to meet them by a country mile

    Whether this was because of gung ho generals and greedy defence contractors (as Eisenhower warned) or neocons dreaming of world wide domination, the historians will have to decide. For sure, though, they cost the USA a lot of blood, treasure and friends.

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  • 31. At 10:24am on 19 Aug 2010, Peter Steele wrote:

    No matter what we do or say, we must keep our moral compass clean and strive against stoning to death, against corruption, against terrorism of all types, against dictatorship, against racism, against religious tyranny etc etc. The challenge is to make sure our interventions are in support of the right objectives and do not get diverted.

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  • 32. At 10:35am on 19 Aug 2010, Fujikid wrote:

    25. At 08:17am on 19 Aug 2010, henrydumor wrote:

    - there were no bad mass destuction weapons - ever

    Not quite true there were of course the Chemical weapons that the US sold to Sadam for his war on Iran.

    The cold war enabled the US to build a huge export weapons industry based on generating "fear" of the Soviet Union and their Warsaw Pact allies. Since that ended the US has increased other avenues of intervention and global destabilisation in order to create enemies and maintain their weapons industry. With roughly 25% of the US budget spent on defence and with the US responsible for roughly 70% of global arms sales it is in the interests of the US to continue to stir up discord and fear between others. Global peace would be devastating for the US arms industry. Given the close ties between the US arms industry and the US government, it is highly unlikely that they will cease their interference and demonisation of other nations any time in the near future. Not really surprising that many in the world see them as "The Great Satan".

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  • 33. At 10:37am on 19 Aug 2010, lavan wrote:

    Love the mention of Iain M. Banks!!!!

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  • 34. At 10:53am on 19 Aug 2010, filthy macnasty wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 35. At 11:04am on 19 Aug 2010, Isenhorn wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 36. At 11:31am on 19 Aug 2010, PaulC wrote:

    Peter Steele wrote:
    "No matter what we do or say, we must keep our moral compass clean and strive against stoning to death, against corruption, against terrorism of all types, against dictatorship, against racism, against religious tyranny etc etc. The challenge is to make sure our interventions are in support of the right objectives and do not get diverted."

    Corruption in America and Pakistan? Dictatorship in Saudi and China? Terrorism by Israel and Islamists? Religious tyranny in Iran and Somalia and Afghanistan (and Alabama, for all I know)? Racism by Mugabe? Against executions by stoning, but what about by the sword or rope or by electric chairs - how does your moral compass swing on those? What about torture in secret jails? Are you going to "intervene" in every one of these cases with equal moral indignation and enthusiasm?

    Somehow, moral compasses always seem to point towards foreigners and enemies, never towards us and our friends. Or is it that we don't keep the glass clean enough and so can't see that the compass needle has actually has two ends?



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  • 37. At 12:06pm on 19 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    There's an old saying here that has it that you'd better be careful what you wish for, you never know when your wish may come true. Many Iraqis and Americans have said often and loudly that they wanted American troops to leave Iraq. Now that it has finally happened and those 50,000 remaining advisors will be gone by next year, we'll see the wisdom of their demand. If there is a civil war or a war from outside their cries of Yankee come back will fall on deaf ears. Unless they become perceived as a direct threat to the US again we will not be returning. They are on their own now. We'll see how they handle it on their own. Buyer's remorse may have a lot of people wishing we'd taken the advice of John McCain.

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  • 38. At 12:13pm on 19 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Isenidiotblowingahorn;

    " one would be well advised not to attach much importance to the wishes or beliefs of the US public."

    You forget that unlike Europeans who live in a collection of dictatorships under the thumb of a centeral tyranny, Americans based their beliefs choose their leaders democratically. Unlike Europeans, we get to elect people who respond to what we believe and want or they are out. Someone in America pulling a stunt like Merckel did bailing out Greece against the overwhelming opposition of her constituency would have their head already rolling off the political chopping block. President Obama and his Democrats in Congress may already have their heads on one ready for seperation. In less than three months a lot of them will likely roll freely off into the political eternal night from which they never come back.

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  • 39. At 12:28pm on 19 Aug 2010, HabitualHero wrote:

    Intervention? What kind of BS Orwellian doublespeak is that? America doesn't "intervene" - america invades. It invades, destroys, steals and controls.

    Are we supposed to believe that the likes of bush, cheney, rumsfield and their......sort, were lying awake at night, crying bitter tears into their pillows over the plight of Iraqis, Afghans and anyone else on their "to do" list?

    Are we to believe that america has spent a zillion dollars on invasions because they felt like helping some people out?

    OK.

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  • 40. At 12:29pm on 19 Aug 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 7, Bro Winky

    First of all, let's not forget that we still have 50,000 US troops in Iraq to provide training and logistics support to the Iraqi military, protect oleoducts, and to keep a close watch on Iran. The removal of combat troops is a welcomed programmatic decision, but it does not end our presence in Iraq.

    "Everybody knows Saddam was a monster. But what about when the Reagan Administration funded and supplied Saddam’s Iraq (not to mention Iran) during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s? Apparently the regime’s “negative” internal policies, though well known to the US government at the time, were not enough to deter them from extending amicable economic and military relations towards the country in order to wield it as a counter to Iran."

    Not only did we help Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, we helped Saddam Hussein since he assumed the reins of power. The relationship soured when he started giving lucrative contracts to French and Russian companies, including rejecting contract bids presented to him personally by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld on behalf of Halliburton and Bechtel. It went downhill when the world condemned Saddam's decision to invade Kuwait and we had no choice but to ask him to withdraw after ignoring the comunique he sent to Washington letting us know of his decision to invade his neighbor. Another factor in us turning against Saddam Hussein was pressure from Saudi Arabia, our closest economic partner in the Muslim world...and the homeland of most Al Qaida terrorists, including the ones that attacked us on 9/11.

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  • 41. At 12:40pm on 19 Aug 2010, Isenhorn wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 42. At 12:42pm on 19 Aug 2010, johnwilkes wrote:

    13. At 05:16am on 19 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:
    '...Ultimately, I believe we will be pulling back from most of our overseas bases over the next decade or so. It's time the rest of the world stood up for itself and stopped depending on others to save them. If you haven't got the guts to fight for your freedom, you clearly don't deserve it...'

    Correct me if I'm wrong but the US didn't have the guts to fight for anybodies freedom in the Pacific until they were first attacked by Japan, neither did they wish to involve themselves in fighting Nazi Germany until after Hitler had declared war on the US, forcing a retaliatory declaration by the US.

    The unpalatable truth to most Americans is that whilst Britain and France went to war to protect other peoples freedom, the US sat on it's hands. Left to it's own devices, the US would never have entered WW2, regardless of the number of smaller nations being overrun and enslaved by the Axis. The much vaunted, 'Arsenal of Democracy', was nothing more than US Industrialists making huge fortunes and creating jobs for US workers, without risking US lives.

    The wars of the US, against Mexico, Spain and her own indigenous peoples have only ever been for territorial expansion and, post WW2 for the possession of resources and the protection of markets against potential anti-capitalist regimes.

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  • 43. At 12:52pm on 19 Aug 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:

    38. At 12:13pm on 19 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Isenidiotblowingahorn;

    " one would be well advised not to attach much importance to the wishes or beliefs of the US public."

    You forget that unlike Europeans who live in a collection of dictatorships under the thumb of a centeral tyranny, Americans based their beliefs choose their leaders democratically. Unlike Europeans, we get to elect people who respond to what we believe and want or they are out. Someone in America pulling a stunt like Merckel did bailing out Greece against the overwhelming opposition of her constituency would have their head already rolling off the political chopping block. President Obama and his Democrats in Congress may already have their heads on one ready for seperation. In less than three months a lot of them will likely roll freely off into the political eternal night from which they never come back.

    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

    You obviously have no clue on what you are speaking about.

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  • 44. At 12:52pm on 19 Aug 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 26, LevelHeadedBloke

    "That aside, BBC could you please please send MM to China? Who really cares about the morally, politically and financially bankrupt US anymore, we'd much rather read something interesting and USEFUL from China!"

    You may want to postpone writing our epitaph a bit. The US economy, in spite of all its troubles, remains the most powerful in the world and our GDP is more than doubled that of China and Japan, and much larger than Germany's and France's.

    Our military remains the most powerful, best trained, best equipped, and most motivated in the world. The problems we are having in Iraq and Afghanistan are due to a decision not to use full force and the fact that we do not enjoy the support of the local population.

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  • 45. At 1:01pm on 19 Aug 2010, Dave Derrick wrote:

    It won't have curbed the US taste for foreign interventionism for long, next time they realise their oil reserves are running low, or their currency is threatened with devaluation, they will be looking for another country to destabalise.

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  • 46. At 1:44pm on 19 Aug 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    I'd like to believe that my country has lost its taste for intervention-by-war, and will have the wisdom to find means other than napalm, cluster bombs, cruise missiles and "shock and awe" to "win hearts and minds" -- which is what war these days seems always to come down to.

    I'd like to think the people of the Commonwealth have come to the same conclusion. Surely there's a way and a place for -constructive- intervention? How many of the world's people could have access to clean water and a survivable diet if we had spent our treasure on those things, rather than spending it on pretending to make Iraq a WMD-free "beacon" of something-or-other in the Middle East?

    And no: I don't believe that the world has been made a better place by the last sixty years of American interventionism-by-war. I don't believe America has been made a better place by it either. Time to withdraw for a decade or so and find a better way, IMHO. Intervention- by-war is a failure of imagination.






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  • 47. At 2:07pm on 19 Aug 2010, deryk houston wrote:

    I believe that Mark raises some good questions.
    The one point Mark misses is that many of us don't want "one" country deciding who the bad guys are.
    If there is an injustice happening in the world such as a government doing brutal attacks on it's people, then many of us want a "world body" to decide when and how to handle the situation. America invaded Iraq without the UN approval. It was only afterwards that the UN stepped in and tried to cobble something together as a group. This is the key to everything and it is often missed as Mark has done in his article. It has to be a world body that decides on what to do. Otherwise we have anarchy... like we have now.
    (I don't want a brute force country deciding who the bad guys are).
    The UN has to be totally dismantled. Votes on issues should be secret.....so that a country does not loose favours with other countries just because they vote one way or the other on any one issues. (For example:Yemen voted against sanctions on Iraq many years ago and the US told them that they would not get a crucial loan they had been seeking from the US).

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  • 48. At 2:25pm on 19 Aug 2010, DCHeretic wrote:

    I suspect that American willingness to intervene in the conflicts of the world is subsiding. While the HYS lefties will certainly be gleeful, there is a significant portion of the world the regards American engagement as essential to international security and peace. Just last week, Vietnam and the US conducted military drills. While the military exercises were officially to recognize fifteen years of renewed diplomatic relations, they were also a stern message to China. Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea are unwilling to cede power and the status quo to Beijing. All regard the US military presence in East Asia as a guarantor of their security.

    It won't belong before another despot terrorizes his people or conquers a neighboring country and people will be begging the US to intervene. Frankly, I'd like to see the Europeans, particularly the British and French, shoulder more of the burden of international security. Many of the the modern world's problems (India/Pakistan, Palestine, Syria/Lebanon, global poverty) are a product of European colonialism and it is only right that Europe fix what it has wrought. Instead of making the US the whipping boy for all of the excesses of the West, Europeans need to accept responsibility for their own actions.

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  • 49. At 2:26pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "what is USA's legacy to the world?besides LCD tvs and ipods that is!"

    Not much.

    Besides the refrigerator, the dishwasher, the microwve oven, air conditioning, jacuzzi, HDTV, 3D movies, blues, jazz, R&R and some such.

    Not to mention a nuclear reactor, computer, telecommunication satellite, and Internet which allows specimens like you to embarrass themselves in front of a global audinence.

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  • 50. At 2:28pm on 19 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    21. At 07:52am on 19 Aug 2010, Sara wrote:

    "@Interestedforeigner

    Your comment made my day. :D ...
    Apple-Terrorism doesn't stand a chance in Canada."

    ___________

    I gather you had the opportunity to read my post at # 11, written in response to Mabel's threat of invasion at # 2.

    The moderators have now removed # 11. I cannot imagine what they could possibly have found offensive in that post.

    Perhaps they were concerned that I was revealing state secrets vital to the defense of Canada against American invasion?

    Perhaps the national stereotype of excessive constitutional navel gazing over federal and provincial division of powers? Obsession with hockey? Rivalry between breweries, one that relies on hockey to sell beer, and the other that relies on baseball to sell beer?



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  • 51. At 2:32pm on 19 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    37. At 12:06pm on 19 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "There's an old saying here that has it that you'd better be careful what you wish for, you never know when your wish may come true."

    ____________

    Do I ever agree with this.

    For all its faults, errors, and mistakes, over the last 70 years America has got it right on the great majority of important foreign policy issues.

    When you start to consider the possible alternatives, America doesn't look so bad at all.

    Yes, indeed, be careful what you wish for.

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  • 52. At 2:32pm on 19 Aug 2010, Sat2121 wrote:

    Correct me if I'm wrong but the US didn't have the guts to fight for anybodies freedom in the Pacific until they were first attacked by Japan, neither did they wish to involve themselves in fighting Nazi Germany until after Hitler had declared war on the US, forcing a retaliatory declaration by the US.

    The unpalatable truth to most Americans is that whilst Britain and France went to war to protect other peoples freedom, the US sat on it's hands. Left to it's own devices, the US would never have entered WW2, regardless of the number of smaller nations being overrun and enslaved by the Axis. The much vaunted, 'Arsenal of Democracy', was nothing more than US Industrialists making huge fortunes and creating jobs for US workers, without risking US lives.

    The wars of the US, against Mexico, Spain and her own indigenous peoples have only ever been for territorial expansion and, post WW2 for the possession of resources and the protection of markets against potential anti-capitalist regimes.

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  • 53. At 2:32pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "The unpalatable truth to most Americans is that whilst Britain and France went to war to protect other peoples freedom, the US sat on it's hands"







    Any evidence of that, besides 'drole guerre'?

    [How Britain and France came to the aid of their ally, Poland, after it was invaded by both: Third Reich and USSR is a matter of a very well documented public record.

    The Incovenient Truth.

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  • 54. At 2:33pm on 19 Aug 2010, deryk houston wrote:

    I'd like to make one more point to help clarify what I said earlier.
    I believe the question should be.... "How should the world police itself?
    In America ........ in the community ......one person doesn't decide decide what the law is. It is decided by society.
    The world needs to think of world order in the same way. In America they would not want one citizen making the laws. For example.... They wouldn't want one person deciding that the man across the street should be shot or tortured for growing red roses.
    The world also needs to form a set of international laws and abide by them.
    Right now international law means nothing. It has been widely suggested that the sanctions on Iraq for were collective punishment against the citizens of Iraq in order to try to bring about regime change. If that were true then it would not have been allowed under international law and yet many western governments participated in that..... even when the knew that several hundred thousand Iraqi children were dying as a direct result of those sanctions. (2002 UNICEF report)
    It has been widely suggested that the Iraq invasion by America and Britain appears to also have been against international law and a world body should take a careful look at that and hold the leaders fully responsible if it is found that international law has been broken.
    I believe that we have anarchy right now........ which makes it a very dangerous world for our children.

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  • 55. At 2:39pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Not quite true there were of course the Chemical weapons that the US sold to Sadam for his war on Iran. "


    Not quite true, and anybody who claims that is a patent lier.


    Particulartly since most of components for chemical weapons and artillery shells capable of carrying them were supplied to Saddam by CHINA, GERMANY, FRANCE, NETHERLANDS and, last but not least, GREAT BRITAIN.


    [FACTS ARE STUBORN THINGS]

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  • 56. At 2:47pm on 19 Aug 2010, Sat2121 wrote:

    The Comment by "Johnwilkes" is interesting. Yes my country sat out the begining of WW2 and only entered after we were attacked by Japan. But there were a number of Americans who volunteered for the Raf to fight for Britain and there were the Flying Tigers an American air unit that fought to protect the Chinese from Japan before America's entry into the war. Incedently there were German Americans who fought for Germany as well.
    But with that said all of us WHO HAVE READ A HISTORY BOOK know full well that it was Britain and France that allowed Hitler to gobble up portions of Europe before the war, Austria and Czechoslovakia. And when the war began the Nazis invaded and raped Poland, the French sent there troops into a fortress on there frontier with Germany and Britain dropped leaftlets . Oh and Russia invaded Finland but no one noticed or cared. America did not want to get involved but was forced and when we invaded France and Germany we did not annexed them. When talking WW2 we should all get our facts staright, yes America was and isolationist nation and did want to join the war and Britain and France choose appeasement which lead to the death of millions. Plenty of guilt to go around!

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  • 57. At 2:47pm on 19 Aug 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    End of American intervention?

    or rather the realisation that the World's only super power isn't! (As I wrote well over a year ago.) But I am sure that the American military industrial complex will find every possible reason to wage war somewhere and will simply gloss over these present loses (in Iraq and Afghanistan) and pretend that their military-only wars can be won.

    There is absolutely no sign that the Americans yet understand that wars end and it is how you make peace that actually matters - those terrible incompetent words - 'We don't do Nation building' (Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a meeting at the Pentagon 17 Sep 2001.) should be engraved on the entrance of the Pentagon as a warning. I cannot imagine more appropriate epitaph signifying and predicting abject failure than this!

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  • 58. At 2:47pm on 19 Aug 2010, DCHeretic wrote:

    45. At 1:01pm on 19 Aug 2010, Dave Derrick wrote:
    It won't have curbed the US taste for foreign interventionism for long, next time they realise their oil reserves are running low, or their currency is threatened with devaluation, they will be looking for another country to destabalise.

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

    Ah yes, the myth of stolen or illegally procured oil once again raises its ugly head. I used to be puzzled why so many Europeans insist on repeating the rubbish notion that America steals oil. Do you really think OPEC would stand for such a thing? Then I realized that theft is a natural explanation for Europeans whose cities and museums are filled with the gold, silver, gems, and art of other nations.

    Europe, led by Britain and Spain in particular, plundered the globe for centuries leaving a lasting legacy of poverty in its wake. Next time you look upon a gilded dome or a silver chalice, take a moment to wonder where the precious raw materials came from and whether or not the indigenous owners were compensated for their commodities.




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  • 59. At 2:47pm on 19 Aug 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:

    49. At 2:26pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "what is USA's legacy to the world?besides LCD tvs and ipods that is!"

    Not much.

    Besides the refrigerator, the dishwasher, the microwve oven, air conditioning, jacuzzi, HDTV, 3D movies, blues, jazz, R&R and some such.

    Not to mention a nuclear reactor, computer, telecommunication satellite, and Internet which allows specimens like you to embarrass themselves in front of a global audinence.

    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

    Not quite true, but you seem to be of the opinion that only the US has such useful inventions which have changed the world. Might be worth thinking again.

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  • 60. At 2:51pm on 19 Aug 2010, DCHeretic wrote:

    47. At 2:07pm on 19 Aug 2010, deryk houston wrote:

    The UN has to be totally dismantled. Votes on issues should be secret.....so that a country does not loose favours with other countries just because they vote one way or the other on any one issues.

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

    I want to know how my country votes at the UN. Secret votes do not foster a knowledgeable electorate.

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  • 61. At 2:53pm on 19 Aug 2010, ryedunn wrote:

    "The unpalatable truth to most Americans is that whilst Britain and France went to war to protect other peoples freedom, the US sat on it's hands"

    So you complain when America does go to war and you complain when they dont.

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  • 62. At 2:57pm on 19 Aug 2010, 407 ETR wrote:

    Do not underestimate the Neo Con folks who came up with PNAC and its continuous war imperative - which became US foreign policy on 9/12/01!

    And Goldberg* this week in the Atlantic outlines the strategy for US military materiel company continued profits - they have already got $2 billion a day paid by the US taxpayer and the upcoming Iran conflict, courtesy Zionism, will only add to the-haul.

    Warmongering is profitable but only so because of a US Intervention Policy, easily facilitated by moving the hysterical US public behind the flavor of the month enemy. Orwell's 1984 was the blueprint for the strategy, embraced totally by the Republicans/Neo Cons.

    * "... Indeed, the likely political motivation for this unfolding campaign should not be underestimated. Just as much that the building blocks of the Iraq war were put into place under the Clinton years -- most importantly with the passage of the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 -- serious preparation for selling an Iran war to the American public under a Republican president (Palin?) in 2013 must be undertaken now, both to establish the narrative for that sell and to use the narrative to remove any obstacles in the White House along the way...."

    http://www.salon.com:80/news/politics/war_room/2010/08/13/trita_parsi_jeffrey_goldberg?source=newsletter&utm_source=contactology&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Salon_Daily%2520Newsletter%2520%2528Not%2520Premium%2529_7_30_110

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  • 63. At 3:02pm on 19 Aug 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    55. At 2:39pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Not quite true there were of course the Chemical weapons that the US sold to Sadam for his war on Iran. "


    Not quite true, and anybody who claims that is a patent lier.


    Particulartly since most of components for chemical weapons and artillery shells capable of carrying them were supplied to Saddam by CHINA, GERMANY, FRANCE, NETHERLANDS and, last but not least, GREAT BRITAIN.


    [FACTS ARE STUBORN THINGS]

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

    "Records provided by the supplier show that, from at least 1985 through 1989, the period for which records were available, the United States government approved for sale to Iraq quantities of potentially lethal biological agents that could have been cultured or grown in large volume in an Iraqi biological warfare program. These exported materials were not attenuated or weakened and were capable of reproduction."

    - An excerpt from The Riegle Report, by Senetor Donald Riegle et al, 1994.

    "U.N. inspectors had identified many United States manufactured items that had been exported from the United States to Iraq under licenses issued by the Department of Commerce, and [established] that these items were used to further Iraq's chemical and nuclear weapons development and its missile delivery system development programs. ... The executive branch of our government approved 771 different export licenses for sale of dual-use technology to Iraq. I think that is a devastating record."

    - Senetor Donald Riegle

    Fact.

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  • 64. At 3:02pm on 19 Aug 2010, ryedunn wrote:

    "Not to mention a nuclear reactor, computer, telecommunication satellite, and Internet which allows specimens like you to embarrass themselves in front of a global audience."

    best comment of the day!

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  • 65. At 3:06pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Not quite true, but you seem to be of the opinion that only the US has such useful inventions which have changed the world. Might be worth thinking again."






    If in doubt look at the list of holders of critically important patents, not to mention a list of Nobel laureats in science and medicine in the last 60 years.

    [ I know, I know I hurt our feelings (truth can be very offensive) but FACTS ARE STUBBORN THINGS.]

    Please, give us a call when you build your own space shuttle or land on the Moon. Then we'll talk. Like equals.


    BTRW. How is your GALILEO system doing? And Airbus A-350?

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  • 66. At 3:10pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:


    Re #63


    "German firms such as Karl Kobe helped build Iraqi chemical weapons [...]Other German firms sent 1,027 tons of precursors of mustard gas, sarin, tabun, and tear gasses in all. [...]

    Around 21% of Iraq’s international chemical weapon equipment was French. [...]

    75,000 shells and rockets designed for chemical weapon use also came from Italy.[...]

    About 100 tons of mustard gas also came from Brazil.

    The United Kingdom paid for a chlorine factory that was intended to be used for manufacturing mustard gas.[...]

    Singapore gave 4,515 tons of precursors for VX, sarin, tabun, and mustard gasses to Iraq.

    The Dutch gave 4,261 tons of precursors for sarin, tabun, mustard, and tear gasses to Iraq.

    Egypt gave 2,400 tons of tabun and sarin precursors to Iraq and 28,500 tons of weapons designed for carrying chemical munitions.

    India gave 2,343 tons of precursors to VX, tabun, Sarin, and mustard gasses.

    Luxembourg gave Iraq 650 tons of mustard gas precursors.

    Spain gave Iraq 57,500 munitions designed for carrying chemical weapons. In addition, they provided reactors, condensers, columns and tanks for Iraq’s chemical warfare program, 4.4% of the international sales.

    China provided 45,000 munitions designed for chemical warfare."

    And that's just Wikipedia (not the most extensive source on the subject).


    So where is U.S. in all this, you lying liers?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "LIE, LIE AND EVENTUALLY SOME OF IT WILL BE ACCEPTED AS TRUTH"
    (dr Joseph Goeebels)

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  • 67. At 3:21pm on 19 Aug 2010, Foma wrote:

    9. At 04:40am on 19 Aug 2010, Frank wrote:
    "I find it kind of ironic that some one like you from Uzbekistan (a country that
    has an abysmal human rights record) finds it so easy to criticize the United St
    ates. Perhaps you should be concentrating your efforts inside your own borders.
    You don't even have basic civil liberties.. "

    Really american superiority. Untill we have such americans we will have wars.

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  • 68. At 3:21pm on 19 Aug 2010, radiorat wrote:

    America is leaving Iraq because both Congress and the President's kept the military on a short leash. Had the military been allowed to fight a war this would have been over years ago.
    You can not fight the "war on terrorism" with rules. Terrorist have no rules and they do not wear combat uniforms. All America has done is made Bin Ladin a more powerful man--Bin Ladin became a hero when Russia left Afganistan. Now America has left Iraq. He has proven to be a great leader to his people.


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  • 69. At 3:33pm on 19 Aug 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    54. deryk houston:

    "I believe the question should be.... "How should the world police itself?"

    ******************
    It won't and, therefore, can't. Next question?

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  • 70. At 3:34pm on 19 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Intervention ended once in 1991, and now it again it has ended...Mission accomplished, the eastern border of israel secured...Iraq from the most secular islamic country has been turned into one of the most biased democratic country...delibrated attempt to destroy the country has been accomplished.

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  • 71. At 3:36pm on 19 Aug 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    Re #66

    None of the countries you cite (with the possible exception of GB) hypocritically threatened Iraq with invasion for possessing the very same weapons that they sold them in the past.

    "So where is U.S. in all this, you lying liers?"

    Oops, double negative.

    I have already provided the evidence (#63), cited from a report published by elements of your own government. Sounds like someone is starting to panic when confronted with facts that threaten their rose tined self image...

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  • 72. At 3:42pm on 19 Aug 2010, Michael Reeves wrote:

    65. At 3:06pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    "Not quite true, but you seem to be of the opinion that only the US has such useful inventions which have changed the world. Might be worth thinking again."






    If in doubt look at the list of holders of critically important patents, not to mention a list of Nobel laureats in science and medicine in the last 60 years.

    [ I know, I know I hurt our feelings (truth can be very offensive) but FACTS ARE STUBBORN THINGS.]

    Please, give us a call when you build your own space shuttle or land on the Moon. Then we'll talk. Like equals.


    BTRW. How is your GALILEO system doing? And Airbus A-350?

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

    And your "Dreamliner? More like a nightmare.

    Back to the subject, are you finally realizing not everyone appreciates forced democracy.

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  • 73. At 3:44pm on 19 Aug 2010, EvanAustinLee wrote:

    I very much hope U.S. Intervention is over. I'm tired of subsidizing other countries economies at the expense of our own. Bring the troops home. Start with Europe.

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  • 74. At 3:50pm on 19 Aug 2010, BigJim1 wrote:

    "Fictional and philosophical reflections aside, has America lost its taste for intervention and if so, is the world a better, or worse, place as a result?"

    Unfortunately the American Politicians are such a basically stupid genre, without the ability to learn, the taste probably has not been lost.The world is a far worse, and less safe, place due to their interventions and will continue, unfortunately, to be so.

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  • 75. At 3:54pm on 19 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    You can not fight the "war on terrorism" with rules. Terrorist have no rules and they do not wear combat uniforms. All America has done is made Bin Ladin a more powerful man--Bin Ladin became a hero when Russia left Afganistan. Now America has left Iraq. He has proven to be a great leader to his people.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You never understood the goals of this occupation...It was to stage a coup and bring in ruler that would cater to american interests..and isralian interests...Nothing more and nothing less...The civil war created after this invasion, wasnt allowed to be called a civil war in the west, instead, alqaida, sunni-shia concepts were introduced...Ben laden didnt become a hero after russians left, no one except handful of people, and all of the american government, CIA, and other intelligence agencies knew who he was...If USA had withdrawn its troops from saudiarabia, no one would have ever known who he was..

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  • 76. At 4:00pm on 19 Aug 2010, The Toothbrush Man wrote:

    65. At 3:06pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "If in doubt look at the list of holders of critically important patents, not to mention a list of Nobel laureats in science and medicine in the last 60 years."

    Have you any idea just how daft you sound pushing this nonsense ?

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  • 77. At 4:04pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Sounds like someone is starting to panic when confronted with facts"


    Sure, people who couldn't supply any evidence that United States ever sold/delivered any CHEMICAL weapons to Saddam's regime.

    And remember what happened to dr Goebbels.

    ["Lier, lier, pants on fire"]

    BTW. Those are the same folks who claim that Saddam didn't have any weapons of mass destruction.

    So, pray, what did he poisoned thousands of Iraqi Kurds (including women and childrem) with?

    Chanel No5 in aerosol?

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  • 78. At 4:04pm on 19 Aug 2010, The Toothbrush Man wrote:

    65. At 3:06pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "How is your GALILEO system doing ?"

    Not too well, bearing in mind the US has threatened to shoot down any rivals.


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  • 79. At 4:08pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "those demagogues will resort to any lie and distortion, support any thug, murderous dictator, homicidal regime or terrorist outfit as long as they think they can do harm, or at least cause problems for these United States."


    (powermeerkat in a similar context months ago)

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  • 80. At 4:10pm on 19 Aug 2010, MilwaukeeRay wrote:

    If Mr. Mardell was hoping to launch a discussion on his interesting philosophical concept of liberal interventionism and its limits, he was doomed to disappointment in this forum.

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  • 81. At 4:21pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    The Toothbrush Man wrote:
    65. At 3:06pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "If in doubt look at the list of holders of critically important patents, not to mention a list of Nobel laureats in science and medicine in the last 60 years."

    Have you any idea just how daft you sound pushing this nonsense ?




    PM: No I don't.

    Although I have a pretty good idea how daft are people who try to question an irrefutable record, just because their inferiority complex doesn't allow them to accept the "self-evident truth".

    Well, tough. :)


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  • 82. At 4:33pm on 19 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    42. At 12:42pm on 19 Aug 2010, johnwilkes wrote:

    Correct me if I'm wrong but the US didn't have the guts to fight for anybodies freedom in the Pacific until they were first attacked by Japan, neither did they wish to involve themselves in fighting Nazi Germany until after Hitler had declared war on the US, forcing a retaliatory declaration by the US.

    Yes, we weren't interested in laying down our lives for anybody else's freedom. We're still not - unless we believe it directly impacts ours. It isn't a question of guts, it's a question of need.

    The unpalatable truth to most Americans is that whilst Britain and France went to war to protect other peoples freedom, the US sat on it's hands. Left to it's own devices, the US would never have entered WW2, regardless of the number of smaller nations being overrun and enslaved by the Axis.

    Far from unpalatable. At the end of WWI your own advisers, like John Maynard Keynes, advised Britain, France and the US not to take too much in reparations, but rather to help rebuild Germany. We took that advice, your governments didn't - and subsequently brought about the rise of Adolph Hilter and the National Socialists by destroying whatever was left of the German economy. Your government signed mutual defense pacts with other nations in Europe, then turned their backs when those nations were overrun by German forces, allowing the situation to get out of control.

    On the other hand, the US did not have a mutual defense treaty with any nation in Europe, so insisting it was our "duty" to save you from your own governments' shortsightedness is revisionist history of the worst kind. Me and mine don't exist to die for you and yours.

    The much vaunted, 'Arsenal of Democracy', was nothing more than US Industrialists making huge fortunes and creating jobs for US workers, without risking US lives.

    Yes. And...? I think we should go back to doing that post haste. We did much better selling other nations all the weapons they wanted, so they could happily slaughter each other at their leisure. It was sound economic policy, really. As long as you destroyed yourselves every 20 years, no nation in Europe could ever hope to rival the US as an economic power.

    The wars of the US, against Mexico, Spain and her own indigenous peoples have only ever been for territorial expansion and, post WW2 for the possession of resources and the protection of markets against potential anti-capitalist regimes.

    Again, yes. Your point being...? We are naughty and evil? Maybe. Yes. Do I care? Not really. I'm an American. I want what is best for me and mine. I've done caring about the rest of the planet. Like I said, if you haven't got the guts to defend yourselves, and all those poor innocents you whine about, you don't deserve the peace and freedom the Pax Americana of the late 20th century brought you.

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  • 83. At 4:33pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    EvanAustinLee wrote:
    I very much hope U.S. Intervention is over. I'm tired of subsidizing other countries economies at the expense of our own. Bring the troops home. Start with Europe.






    Amen to that.

    It's about time mighty EUSSR and its equally mighty unified, combat-ready force took care of its own security.

    And that Germans, Italians, etc., created jobs for their citizens who've had them for so many decades thanks to U.S. military bases and their American personel.


    Let countries of 'Old Europe' sign mutual defense agreements with China and Russia or even Iran if they feel that'll make them more secure.

    Good luck!

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  • 84. At 4:44pm on 19 Aug 2010, alb1on wrote:

    It is many years since there was any moral ambiguity in US dealings overseas - they believe in realpolitik and have long done so. The latest example can be seen in the shameful interference in Scottish judicial practice in the Megrabhi affair. Whilst it is shameful that McCaskill finds it necessary to agree to meet a US Senator to discuss a purely domestic matter, it is far more shameful that he should meet Robert Menendez, a Senator whose links to the Provenzano mob family are well documented and who would not be allowed into this country if he was not an American politician. Do you need any further proof of the lack of morality in US politics than that this man has been elected to high office.

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  • 85. At 4:46pm on 19 Aug 2010, Kris_F wrote:

    Amongst other things this war been an appalling mess. Troops numbers and movements given to the entire world. Civilian politicians with absolutely no military experience calling all the shots in a real time day to day basis.

    Not to mention the pathetically small number of troops actually in Iraq. California has roughly the same size and population as Iraq. It also has over 90,000 police officers operating in a peaceful law-abiding area.

    Now Iraq does have only a 31M population vs California's 37M but it is also a hostile environment where enemy combatants might be hiding anywhere and troops do not speak the local language. But even at the peak of the surge there were only 1.8x times as many soldiers in Iraq as there are cops in California.

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  • 86. At 4:50pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    The Toothbrush Man wrote:
    65. At 3:06pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "How is your GALILEO system doing ?"

    Not too well, bearing in mind the US has threatened to shoot down any rivals.








    Oh, and Boeing's threatened to shoot down any non-existing A-350s as major competitors to B-787s?

    And Delta threatened to put BA out of business?

    And Intel threatened...

    And AMD threatened...

    And Cisco threatened...

    And Corning threatened...

    And HP threatened...

    And Microsoft threatened...

    And Apple threatened...

    And TI threatened...

    And Lockheed-Martin threatened...

    And Xerox threatened...

    And GE threatened...

    And Raytheon threatened...

    And Northrop threatened...

    And Harris threatened...

    And BF Goodrich threatened...

    And TRW threatened...



    P.S. I admit: recently we've felt threatened by BP.

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  • 87. At 4:55pm on 19 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    26 That aside, BBC could you please please send MM to China? Who really cares about the morally, politically and financially bankrupt US anymore, we'd much rather read something interesting and USEFUL from China!

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

    Have you ever tried watching the Chinese news?

    Try to get info out of that! Sometimes occasionally it is fun to watch the foreign news such as BBC (of course), France News, Euro News, RT, Israeli, Jazeera, Taiwan, India, etc. to learn more about what is going on in the other countries with a different perspective. But although China is rapidly advancing in certain ways, my opinion is that their news is extremely boring and disinteresting. I think its the Communism.

    Also, if BBC sends a reporter to China, they have to be awfully careful what they say or do. They do not have the free speech the way we do. If you critize the govt., Tianenemen Square, Burma, Darfur, talk about North Koreans fleeing to China to escape persecution and being sent back, scandals on baby milk, air quality, pollution, what is really in their products, etc., it is dangerous territory...I also find it incredibly sad that there are people there who legally cut off shark's fins and throw them back into the ocean, where they drown because they can no longer swim. I know that sharks are top predators, but they are a part of the food chain and all members in the food chain are important. It is so cruel to cut off their fins...

    There are good things about China, too, obviously, but overall, if you go over there, be cautious, be careful, because you do not have the same freedoms there are we have in the West.

    As MAII said, be careful what you wish for, cause' you might just get it...

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

    MM, do you mean simply military intervention or humanitarian intervention, as well? In the future, our military interventions will likely mostly be focused on keeping USA and our allies safe, just as we have done in the past. If there is a conflict where an ally is being very much threatened, I do not think we would hesitate to step in and help them, because thats just the kind of country that we are. If you see someone beating up your friend, you want to help them. As for humanitarian intervention, we still have many resources and wealth, although not nearly as much as we used to have before this war. We will still help humanitarian efforts, which is shown by how even right now, we are the top donator for Pakistan's flood victims. We were also the top donator for Haiti. It doesn't get more humanitarian than USA...

    Overall, is the world better off because our intervention in Iraq/Afghanistan? Well, in hind sight, it is easy to say lots of things. But overall, would things have been worse if we hadn't intervened? We really don't know and anyone's guess, educated or not, is simply that, a guess. We can say that maybe we would or wouldn't have been better off, but I do not believe that things would necessarily be better if we had done nothing, although I do think that this should not have lasted as long as did and everything done the way it was necessarily done. But it was the Bush Admin. and now it is Obama Admin. running the shows- the military is under their command. Our military is still elite and they have done everything we asked them to do. Although I do not agree with some of how the politicans have run things, I do love and support our military, because the people in it are the best in the world. They are there for us. And I love our allies militaries, as well, because they are fighting for their country, too. Like it or not, we are bonded together by common interest...self-preservation of our countries...

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  • 88. At 4:57pm on 19 Aug 2010, joan_of_arc wrote:

    Thank you Mark for my morning chuckle with coffee. On the contary, our next war will be in North Korea. Our country is the leader on Freedom and Liberty. We have the best military generals, soldiers, equipment to fight anyone. Maybe we are warmongers, but it helps the economy to produce more jobs. We are cowboys and cowgirls riding into the sunset with our guns.
    If any country needs help, call America, we will be there in a heart beat.

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  • 89. At 5:04pm on 19 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    If USA had withdrawn its troops from saudiarabia, no one would have ever known who he was..
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    USA does not take orders from terrorists.

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  • 90. At 5:16pm on 19 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Good job, Gavrielle (82). Brief and to the point, and I completely agree with your response. Haven't seen you here in awhile. Welcome back.

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  • 91. At 5:19pm on 19 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Sat2121 (52), you need to use quotation marks and attribute quoted remarks to the writer, referencing the original post, in order to avoid confusion.

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  • 92. At 5:27pm on 19 Aug 2010, Eat_The_Rich wrote:



    Something I haven't read. Do you suppose the US is getting it's forces together since China has just revealed it's military might and making the US do some serious thinking about the future?

    Also: Right on target: At 05:54am on 19 Aug 2010, BigBaBoo wrote:

    I don't see any change being made in the U.S. intervention record as long as the elitist big money Capitalists are in charge. Wars and "interventions" are profitable to them, both economically and politically...and as long as that fact remains...and big money Capitalists are in charge...U.S. men (and now women too) will be going to die in foreign countries for them. No change.

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  • 93. At 5:29pm on 19 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "What is USA's legacy to the world?" (from 17)

    The internet.

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  • 94. At 5:45pm on 19 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "Intervention? What kind of BS Orwellian doublespeak is that?"

    "Intervention" is a perfectly good standard English word, not doublespeak or even a euphemism. It is a broader term than "invasion." Say the US invaded Afghanistan if you like, but it intervened in Afghanistan long before the current war by supplying arms to forces opposing the Soviets. There are many instances of American intervention which were not invasions, such as occurred in Iran in 1953.

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  • 95. At 5:46pm on 19 Aug 2010, Englishmanininvegas wrote:

    "...has America lost its taste for intervention "

    I sincerely hope so....

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  • 96. At 5:55pm on 19 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    There have been a bunch of points raised here that might be tied together.

    Gavrielle makes the absolutely fundamental point that projection of diplomatic influence and military force ultimately rests on a strong economy. (Paul Kennedy, "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers", Random House, New York, 1987)

    The word "overstretch" comes to mind.

    Marcus makes the point that you should be careful what you wish for, with which I agree entirely, as noted above. We have a tendency to view history in far too short a time scale, and to give far too much weight to relatively temporary and relatively unimportant incidents. Sometimes it helps to step back and look at the whole picture.

    Henrydumour points out that the US paid a very high price merely for the privilege of removing Saddam Hussein and his two brutally sadistic sons (see the obituary in The Economist on the two sons - they were real sweethearts).

    St. D points our the two faced nature of US policy in Iraq with respect to Saddam Hussein.

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

    When people look back at this era, they will see not only the achievements of the United States, but also some of the tragically missed opportunities. Many events that are now seen as policy errors were driven by perceptions of the cold war.

    For example, the cold war explains why America supported the very wily Franscisco Franco; why it supported the very corrupt KMT in China; why Patrice Lumumba was murdered, seemingly by the French; why America and Britain overthrew the government of Iran in 1953; why America supported a very corrupt government in Korea for a very long time; why America got into trouble in Vietnam supporting an unpopular and terminally corrupt government; why America supported a hopelessly corrupt government in Indonesia; why it supported a hopelessly corrupt government in the Philippines, and on and on and on.

    (As an aside, on the "be careful what you wish for" theme, I wonder if anybody in the Philippines, (or Malaysia, or even Vietnam), still thinks it was a good idea to boot the Americans out of Subic Bay and Clark Field, now that China is asserting claims over, in essence, the entire South China Sea and everything in or under it.)

    -----------

    America usually does ok when America is true to herself, and is defending values or positions consistent with America's founding principles.

    By contrast, America has often ended up in the soup when it has done the bidding of various sectors of the American economy that are seeking economic advantage somewhere in the world. In the early days it was bananas and pineapple. Nowadays it is most often oil and gas. Consider America as the security bulwark of Saudi Arabia, for example.

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

    If you accept that it is in the interests of people who live in countries that have open markets and that protect civil rights to try to see those economic and political norms spread, then you arrive at a discussion of foreign intervention by American (or other) forces to put in place governments more to the liking of western nations.

    (As another aside, other countries have in the past made more isolationist choices: after a disastrous campaign in northern Italy, the Swiss Confederation decided that henceforth it would not try to gain territory by conquest, but rather would only accept new territories that joined the Confederation voluntarily)

    ----------

    Both wars in Iraq were badly handled.

    Bush, Senior, seems not to have understood that the American public wasn't interested in doing half a job.

    The Bush, Jr., administration seems not to have understood that just because somebody who has made a fool of your father does not mean there is an appropriate basis for committing armed forces to an open-ended war of choice. Nor did it seem that anybody grasped the idea that you couldn't just depose the guy and run, leaving a complete political vacuum. "The US doesn't do nation building."

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

    Part of the tragedy of Iraq is that it really is, and was, long past time to encourage the development of a stable, pluralistic democracy in the Gulf. Leaving aside the historically fraught relationship with Iran, the countries in which "regime change" is most needed are probably Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The problem is that they are, nominally, "allies", and unwinding those relationships, or putting them on a basis more consistent with even the most basic principles of justice and democracy is a lot tougher than kicking over a non-ally tyranny in Mesopotamia.

    If you accept that it is not illegitimate to try and encourage regime change, (a fairly big "if"), then trying to replace Saddam Hussein with something approaching a pluralistic democracy might not have been a bad idea as a first step. But that kind of policy required far more planning, and far, far more intelligent leadership than was ever going to be provided by the Bush Jr., administration.

    In short, the idea of causing regime change in Iraq was not necessarily a bad idea. But nobody was in favour of doing it incompetently.

    And because it was attempted by people who should not have been anywhere near it, it was botched, and it now discredits any future argument for removing vile regimes that are unjust in every way (pace Zimbabwe, Syria, Burma, North Korea, Sudan, Yemen), and ones that are unjust in many ways (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, and many others) where the principle beneficiaries or regime change would be the peoples of those countries themselves.

    The window of opportunity may have passed.

    And America is stuck backing two horses - Saudi Arabia and Egypt - where support of authoritarian regimes, and failure to find a way to nudge them toward international norms of democratic governance in any meaningful way is probably going to result in greater harm to America's interests in the long term. If you would have justice, you must do justice. Getting into bed with authoritarian regimes is therefore always going to be problematic.

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

    Finally, when people look back upon this era in 50 or 100 years time, or longer, they will wonder how or why the most powerful nation on earth, existing in North America, had such an enormous pre-occupation with a country of 6 million people located in a sliver of land of little or no genuine strategic value at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, a pre-occupation that has greatly increased the complexity and difficulty of America's relations with every other important country in the region.

    Over a period of 30 years, merely in foreign aid subsidies, America has spent well over $ 50,000 for every man, woman, and child in that country, on a dispute that is of little or no relevance to the well being of America's economy or people. America's military expenditures on that dispute would be at least as much again, probably several times as much, and far more than it would have cost to have settled the entire population of that country in Miami, Tampa-St.Petersburg, and Phoenix. And what does it get in return? Intransigence. Truculence. Policies that make life much more difficult for American policy in the region.

    In the future, people will wonder how a nation of 300m people could have spent such an enormous proportion of its time and its political capital on a dispute between two religious groups, one which accounts for 0.2% of world population, 1.8% of US population; and another religious group that accounts for an even smaller percentage of US population.

    They will wonder how this became America's problem.
    (It certainly hadn't been before December 7, 1941.)

    They will wonder what America could possibly have been thinking to squander so many of its resources on a dispute that is of such marginal, peripheral, importance to America's national interest.

    And they will shake their heads.

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  • 97. At 6:17pm on 19 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    52. At 2:32pm on 19 Aug 2010, Sat2121 wrote:

    Correct me if I'm wrong...
    [[Be glad to.]]

    ... but the US didn't have the guts to fight for anybodies freedom in the Pacific until they were first attacked by Japan, neither did they wish to involve themselves in fighting Nazi Germany until after Hitler had declared war on the US, forcing a retaliatory declaration by the US.

    The unpalatable truth to most Americans is that whilst Britain and France went to war to protect other peoples freedom, the US sat on it's hands. Left to it's own devices, the US would never have entered WW2, regardless of the number of smaller nations being overrun and enslaved by the Axis. The much vaunted, 'Arsenal of Democracy', was nothing more than US Industrialists making huge fortunes and creating jobs for US workers, without risking US lives.

    ______________

    What a load of nonsense.

    Why don't you Google "USS Ruben James"?

    America was at war with Germany in all but name well before Pearl Harbour. That's what Lend-Lease was about. America's "neutrality" prior to Pearl Harbour was a very one-sided neutrality that permitted it, for example, to undertake active convoy duty against U-boats half way across the Atlantic to Iceland. That's why Hitler didn't wait for the US to declare war on Germany after Pearl Harbour.

    As for the far East, America was one of the nations (the UK and the Netherlands being the others) that imposed economic sanctions on Japan to get Japan out of China. That is what led to Pearl Harbour. And no, with war looming in Europe, why would America have declared war any sooner than it absolutely needed to ?

    You also seem to forget that the naval rebuilding program that won the war in the pacific was authorized in 1938 - among other things, that authorized the design work for the USS Essex. That is what permitted America to commission 16 fleet and light carriers between December 21, 1942 and December 31, 1943. Those ships were the decisive factor in winning the war against Japan.

    America in the 1930's was very poorly prepared for war, and if FDR had taken matters in hand early on, things might have been very different.

    No, the US did not "sit on its hands" at all.

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  • 98. At 6:17pm on 19 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    90. At 5:16pm on 19 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Good job, Gavrielle (82). Brief and to the point, and I completely agree with your response. Haven't seen you here in awhile. Welcome back.

    Thanks. Good to be back. I had two pinched nerves. Neck and left shoulder. Nearly impossible to hold a sustained conversation via typing while out of your mind on pain killers and muscle relaxants. So I left it alone for a bit, though I did enjoy reading everyone's comments.

    On my way to the doctor for a followup in a few, so I'll be back later. Have a good one, all!

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  • 99. At 6:19pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Capitalists are in charge...U.S. men (and now women too) will be going to die in foreign countries for them. No change.""






    It's even worse than that.

    US men (and now women too) are not going to die to protect foreign lands from which you hail anymore.

    "And what now, my love?"

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  • 100. At 6:22pm on 19 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    56. At 2:47pm on 19 Aug 2010, Sat2121 wrote:

    "... But with that said all of us WHO HAVE READ A HISTORY BOOK know full well ..."

    __________

    That's just too funny.

    Here's a title you might try reading yourself: William Shirer, "The Collapse of the Third Republic", Simon & Schuster, 1969.

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  • 101. At 6:37pm on 19 Aug 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 88, Joan of Arc

    "If any country needs help, call America, we will be there in a heart beat."

    It almost sounds like soldiers for hire...mercenaries if you will...

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  • 102. At 6:40pm on 19 Aug 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    82. At 4:33pm on 19 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote her post.

    Wohey lass,say it as it is,BTW, you are quite exciting whilst riled...

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  • 103. At 7:01pm on 19 Aug 2010, skye_eg wrote:

    9. At 04:40am on 19 Aug 2010, Frank wrote:

    "I find it kind of ironic that some one like you from Uzbekistan (a country that has an abysmal human rights record) finds it so easy to criticize the United States. Perhaps you should be concentrating your efforts inside your own borders. You don't even have basic civil liberties..."

    ----

    A) Umm...I am not from Uzbekistan, nor from any country with an abysmal human rights record. I am a Westerner. You must be confusing me for someone else.

    B) The existence of human rights abuses in countries LIKE Uzbekistan is no excuse for the United States to march in and commit its own atrocities for its own geopolitical benefit, under the guise of "democracy". Americans always criticized the Soviet Union for doing so, but America has just as much blood on its hands. America CONTRIBUTES to the human rights abuses in many of these countries. In fact, Uzbekistan is a US ally. And so is Saudi Arabia, whose human rights are no better than America's sworn enemy Iran. So much for America "standing up for democracy and freedom"...it's all a bunch of baloney.

    C) many historical "interventions" have resulted in an undemocratic pro-US regime replacing the previous undemocratic anti-US regime. No difference beween the former and the latter, except for who their puppet masters are (Soviets, Saudis, Americans, etc).

    D) please get the propoganda hogwash out of your head that America is some "beacon of freedom" to the world. America is a superpower that addresses its own interests, whether that regards alliances with democratic goverments or support for dictatorial regimes and murderous paramilitaries

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  • 104. At 7:25pm on 19 Aug 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    The downfall of European colonialism after WWII left a vacumn that the Unites States, as the only victor to come through the war with it's industrial capacity unscathed, was uniquely positioned to fill. Having just won a world war Americans were brashly self confident in their aboilities and in the moral superiority of their version of democracy. It seemed our duty to take up the task of protecting western civilization from communism and other threats to peace, order and our economic interests.

    Now, 65 years later, we're tired of playing sheriff. Let someone else be the world's policeman and endure the scorn, envy, and criticism that go with the role. We still believe in the moral superiority of democracy but there is a growing awareness that democracy cannot be forced on people who don't want it. And we're tired of sending our sons and now daughters too off to fight and die in foreign lands for ungrateful people and regimes which we would probably despise if we were as familiar with them as our soldiers are.

    The question is, if America lays down the badge and rides into the sunset who, if anyone, will pick it up? The world may realize too late that we weren't as bad as they thought as they thought we were.

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  • 105. At 7:27pm on 19 Aug 2010, dceilar wrote:

    The end of American intervention? Not likely Mark. It's economic and strategic interests need protecting now more than ever.

    We can see the beginnings of a new intervention in South America, especially now that there appears to be an outbreak of peace between Venezuela, Ecuador, and Colombia. The jumped up charges against Venezuela by Ubribe have been shown to be the sham that they were - 'magical' laptops indeed! His desperate efforts to stir up conflict mirror the actions of powerful forces in Washington which have been vigorously lobbying to declare Venezuela a "state that sponsors terrorism" and "a narco-state."

    No-one seems to mention either of the US's intervention in Israel's bloody attack on Gaza. Not many realise that it was an US-Israeli act of terror inflicted on civilians trapped in that tiny cage with nowhere to run.

    US also recently awarded Israeli firms a total of $4 billion contracts in supplying parts to the new F-35. Israel can also purchase these new fighter jets that can go undetected by Iran's Russian weapons. The US's NATO ally Turkey was not so lucky - the US has refused to sell it radar aircraft.

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  • 106. At 8:12pm on 19 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "... the Unites States, as the only victor to come through the war with it's industrial capacity unscathed, ..." (from 104)

    Except for Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

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  • 107. At 8:41pm on 19 Aug 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    104. At 7:25pm on 19 Aug 2010, Scott0962 wrote:



    The question is, if America lays down the badge and rides into the sunset who, if anyone, will pick it up?

    China,will flex its muscles & say how its going to be, when its interests are threatened & when it can increase its wealth..
    -------------------
    The world may realize too late that we weren't as bad as they thought as they thought we were.

    You have that one absolutely right..

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  • 108. At 9:40pm on 19 Aug 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    End of American intervention? You must be kidding me!
    America needs war, must have war, both for economic purposes and employment. Without war, US unemployment rate would be out-of-site.
    The war in Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom, was launched on March 20, 2003; it was launched on a lie that Iraq maintained stockpiles of WMDs. It is also clear – and now fully recognized by the majority of European analysts - that the actual objective of the US offensive against Iraq was to gain control over the oil reserves.
    Former US President George Bush spoke a total of @ 300 lies, most of them concerning the existence of WMD, and Iraq's links to Al Qaeda.
    The cost:
    The Pentagon has been spending $5.5B/month on the war in Iraq.
    2010 alone is going to cost US taxpayers a handsome $66B.
    The trillion dollars poured into the Iraqi war would have been enough to pay the tuition for @ of 20,000,000 college students for 9 years.
    Obama promised the withdrawal from Iraq but did not promise anything to Iraqis. The plan is that after August 31 the US Army will maintain in Iraq 6 brigades with a total of 50,000 servicemen and God (and the Pentagon) knows how many contractors, like Xe (Blackwater).
    The country is divided: Baghdad, the Sunni Triangle, northern provinces, the Al-Anbar province in the west, the Shia-populated regions to the south of Baghdad, etc.
    Upon "leaving" Iraq, Washington will have every reason to conclude that the operation aimed at destroying Iraq's independence & statehood has been absolutely completed. On to Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan, how about Iran...

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  • 109. At 10:19pm on 19 Aug 2010, McJakome wrote:

    Mark Mardell, "Her reply was on the lines of 'what we can do, we do'. Realistic but not exactly reassuring to those in the People's Republic who believe in an inviolable nation state."

    The Chinese believe that their Han ruled empire is inviolable, but any neighboring nation state [Tibet, East Turkestan, Ladakh, Mongolia, Korea, and Vietnam] is not if the Han desire to violate it. This is classical imperialism, is it not?

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  • 110. At 10:28pm on 19 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Washington will have every reason to conclude that the operation aimed at destroying Iraq's independence & statehood has been absolutely completed. On to Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan, how about Iran...
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And in the South of pakistan, flood relief including health aid cannot be given to the millions of people in a city and surrounding areas, because the airbase was given to americans on lease by their favourite dictator general president of pakistan and from where they launch their drones..

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  • 111. At 10:46pm on 19 Aug 2010, Tim0thy wrote:

    #22 powermeerkat
    "I, and millions of other Americans, wish U.S. would withdraw its troops from Europe and itself from NATO and have you, superior Old European folks, defend themselves when push comes to shove."

    Oh yes please please please, do it tomorrow, or even better yesterday. It can't happen soon enough. Defend your own country at it's own borders not move your borders out and use others as a buffer.

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  • 112. At 10:48pm on 19 Aug 2010, McJakome wrote:

    52. At 2:32pm on 19 Aug 2010, Sat2121 wrote more tedious revisionism:
    "Correct me if I'm wrong but the US didn't have the guts to fight for anybodies freedom in the Pacific until they were first attacked by Japan, neither did they wish to involve themselves in fighting Nazi Germany until after Hitler had declared war on the US, forcing a retaliatory declaration by the US.

    The unpalatable truth to most Americans is that whilst Britain and France went to war to protect other peoples freedom, the US sat on it's hands."

    Did Britain and France go to war to protect Czechoslovakia? They went to war only when it was clear that the Nazis were coming for them next. Add they were unprepared as was the equally pacifistic and isolationist US.

    You and those like you denounce the US for being involved in wars with countries that are no threat to us, then denounce us for NOT going to war agasinst Japan before they attacked us. I would call you a hypocrite, but that does not exactly cover this issue; blatant propagandist is more like it.

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  • 113. At 10:58pm on 19 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    104. At 7:25pm on 19 Aug 2010, Scott0962 wrote:
    The downfall of European colonialism after WWII left a vacumn that the Unites States, as the only victor to come through the war with it's industrial capacity unscathed, was uniquely positioned to fill. Having just won a world war Americans were brashly self confident in their aboilities and in the moral superiority of their version of democracy. It seemed our duty to take up the task of protecting western civilization from communism and other threats to peace, order and our economic interests."
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Unfortunately that "duty" also saw the US supporting and helping some of the vilest dictators and mass murderers from Saddam Hussein to Pinochet.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Now, 65 years later, we're tired of playing sheriff. Let someone else be the world's policeman and endure the scorn, envy, and criticism that go with the role. We still believe in the moral superiority of democracy but there is a growing awareness that democracy cannot be forced on people who don't want it. And we're tired of sending our sons and now daughters too off to fight and die in foreign lands for ungrateful people and regimes which we would probably despise if we were as familiar with them as our soldiers are."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    People generally aren't gratefull to those who kill their families
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    The question is, if America lays down the badge and rides into the sunset who, if anyone, will pick it up? The world may realize too late that we weren't as bad as they thought as they thought we were."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Maybe the world isn't like the Wild West and is a shade more complicated?

    Perhaps a simplistic view of the world is part of the US' problem.

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  • 114. At 11:02pm on 19 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    109. At 10:19pm on 19 Aug 2010, JMM wrote:
    Mark Mardell, "Her reply was on the lines of 'what we can do, we do'. Realistic but not exactly reassuring to those in the People's Republic who believe in an inviolable nation state."

    The Chinese believe that their Han ruled empire is inviolable, but any neighboring nation state [Tibet, East Turkestan, Ladakh, Mongolia, Korea, and Vietnam] is not if the Han desire to violate it. This is classical imperialism, is it not?"
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    No because in the case of Tibet, Vietnam (not so much) etc the Chinese claim that these areas are Chinese and always have been Chinese.

    In fact China has not been a particularly imperial power. In fact the Chinese have not been a partcularly imperial people.

    If they had been, Taiwan, Japan and vast swathes of Asia etc would be Chinese.

    It is worth remembering that these people developed gun powder hundreds of years before anyone else.

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  • 115. At 11:04pm on 19 Aug 2010, eqJustice wrote:

    I love how history is thrown about helter skelter on this thread to make one's point. You may recall that Europe was quite a contentious place prior to 1945. However, from then to now, not so much. Maybe that would have been the case if the US completely disengaged from Europe after WWII, but history tells a different story.

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  • 116. At 11:11pm on 19 Aug 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    You have to realize that our current President is more concerned with what world oppinion than what is in the best interest of this country.

    The question is will Barack Obama disastorous moves be able to corrected when the American people throw him out on his ear in 2+ years.

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  • 117. At 11:15pm on 19 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    55. At 2:39pm on 19 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    "Not quite true there were of course the Chemical weapons that the US sold to Sadam for his war on Iran. "


    Not quite true, and anybody who claims that is a patent lier.


    Particulartly since most of components for chemical weapons and artillery shells capable of carrying them were supplied to Saddam by CHINA, GERMANY, FRANCE, NETHERLANDS and, last but not least, GREAT BRITAIN.


    [FACTS ARE STUBORN THINGS}

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

    Better learn some then.

    Like this one

    "A 1994 investigation by the Senate Banking Committee disclosed that dozens of biological agents were shipped to Iraq in the mid-1980s under licence from the US Commerce Department, including strains of anthrax. Anthrax has been identified by the Pentagon as a key component of Saddam’s biological weapons programme. "

    Oh dear :o

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  • 118. At 11:18pm on 19 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    38. At 12:13pm on 19 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    Isenidiotblowingahorn;

    " one would be well advised not to attach much importance to the wishes or beliefs of the US public."

    You forget that unlike Europeans who live in a collection of dictatorships under the thumb of a centeral tyranny, Americans based their beliefs choose their leaders democratically. Unlike Europeans, we get to elect people who respond to what we believe and want or they are out. Someone in America pulling a stunt like Merckel did bailing out Greece against the overwhelming opposition of her constituency would have their head already rolling off the political chopping block. President Obama and his Democrats in Congress may already have their heads on one ready for seperation. In less than three months a lot of them will likely roll freely off into the political eternal night from which they never come back. "
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hmmm but Europeans have not had thousands of their young men killed and wounded and billions spent on nothing.


    Have they?



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  • 119. At 11:24pm on 19 Aug 2010, McJakome wrote:

    96. At 5:55pm on 19 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    “There have been a bunch of points raised here that might be tied together.”
    [such as] “why America supported a very corrupt government in Korea for a very long time”

    I was working in South Korea during the 1972-1974 period. I quit after the dictatorial President [by usurpation] Park Chung Hee ordered the army to gun down students. Your criticism might be well deserved in some ways, but that same dictator promoted education and industrialization that took Korea from poor to G-20 in one generation.

    Now that South Korea has a vibrant democracy [they have jailed three former presidents for corruption] one would expect them to criticize Park. However, President Park is now, in a very nuanced way, praised as well. One is reminded of Napoleon’s remark about eggs and omelettes.

    This particular American intervention seems to have been extremely successful, especially compared to the parallel Sino-Russian intervention in North Korea. However, I hope that we go out of the intervention business, except if attacked. I want our bases in Europe closed [except, perhaps, if the Poles, who helped us in the War of Independence, want a smallish US base there].

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  • 120. At 11:52pm on 19 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    It appears that the moderators are not going to release posting No. 11.

    # 2 Mabel suggested that Canada was about to be invaded by America.

    The reply was that there was no need to worry, in view of our excellent defenses. To wit:

    First, Canada Customs would refuse to let firearms across the border until and unless the proper permits had been obtained. Failure to declare firearms is a serious offense, and were any American forces foolish enough to attempt to smuggle in firearms they would be liable to arrest. Whereupon the incoming visitors would be provided with a form to be filled out (in English or French) for processing within six months.

    Second, for those proceeding beyond customs, there would be the difficult task of explaining the nature of their business, and then determining whether the issue was federal or provincial under the division of powers in ss. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act. This could take years, or decades even. (By this point most of the invading forces' eyes have glazed over).

    For those who overcome this line of defense, there would be a discussion of the weather. These discussions usually involve a lot of coffee drinking, and donuts from a well known fast food chain. Hint: Roll-up-the-rim. Can you say "Double Double?" The donuts induce lethargy in the invaders.

    Discussion of the weather is followed by another installment of the never-ending debate of whether Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Maurice Richard, Howie Morenz or Cyclone Taylor was the best player who ever lived ... The invaders are now numb.

    The discussion lasts long into the evening, and changes venue to somewhere that serves one or both of Montreal Smoked Meat sandwiches and poutine, and turns to the question of the breweries, one of which has always understood the game, the other one having defected to an American game in which the local team has the bad fortune of being in the same division as the Yankees and the Red Sox. Inevitably there are ample servings of beverages from both breweries. Most of the invaders are now unconscious.

    Those invaders who are not unconscious are stopped at the RIDE program road block as they leave the parking lot. They fail the breathylzer test and are charged accordingly. Seeing that they are foreigners, the Police insist on driving the lot of them home to make sure they get there safely.

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  • 121. At 11:59pm on 19 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    119. At 11:24pm on 19 Aug 2010, JMM wrote:
    96. At 5:55pm on 19 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    “There have been a bunch of points raised here that might be tied together.”
    [such as] “why America supported a very corrupt government in Korea for a very long time”

    I was working in South Korea during the 1972-1974 period. I quit after the dictatorial President [by usurpation] Park Chung Hee ordered the army to gun down students. Your criticism might be well deserved in some ways, but that same dictator promoted education and industrialization that took Korea from poor to G-20 in one generation.

    Now that South Korea has a vibrant democracy [they have jailed three former presidents for corruption] one would expect them to criticize Park. However, President Park is now, in a very nuanced way, praised as well. One is reminded of Napoleon’s remark about eggs and omelettes.

    This particular American intervention seems to have been extremely successful, especially compared to the parallel Sino-Russian intervention in North Korea. However, I hope that we go out of the intervention business, except if attacked. I want our bases in Europe closed [except, perhaps, if the Poles, who helped us in the War of Independence, want a smallish US base there].

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

    I don't think the families of the Koreans butchered under the dictators would appreciate being compared to omlettes.

    And in less than 20 years Josef Stalin took Russia from a peasant society to an industrial one capable of defeating one of the most advanced nations in the world.

    Not sure if that means the great purges were justified.

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  • 122. At 00:03am on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    116. At 11:11pm on 19 Aug 2010, MagicKirin wrote:
    You have to realize that our current President is more concerned with what world oppinion than what is in the best interest of this country.

    The question is will Barack Obama disastorous moves be able to corrected when the American people throw him out on his ear in 2+ years."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not much chance of that I'm sorry to tell you. Baring the LHO solution or an unhinged Tea Party fanatic he will almost certainly win the next election.

    He is already laying the ground for that one. ANd Palin, the Tea Party hysterics etc are helping him by tearing the Republican Party apart.

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  • 123. At 00:13am on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    112. At 10:48pm on 19 Aug 2010, JMM wrote:
    52. At 2:32pm on 19 Aug 2010, Sat2121 wrote more tedious revisionism:
    "Correct me if I'm wrong but the US didn't have the guts to fight for anybodies freedom in the Pacific until they were first attacked by Japan, neither did they wish to involve themselves in fighting Nazi Germany until after Hitler had declared war on the US, forcing a retaliatory declaration by the US.

    The unpalatable truth to most Americans is that whilst Britain and France went to war to protect other peoples freedom, the US sat on it's hands."

    Did Britain and France go to war to protect Czechoslovakia? They went to war only when it was clear that the Nazis were coming for them next. Add they were unprepared as was the equally pacifistic and isolationist US."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Fact is they were fighting Germany for 2 years before this occurred to the US which continued to treat with the Nazis.

    Fact is that Joe Kennedy and Limberg et al were continually declaring that Hitler was not problem for the US.

    Oh and after Czechoslovakia Hitler went for Poland, not France (and after Poland he went for Norway, Holland, Denmark - do read up)
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You and those like you denounce the US for being involved in wars with countries that are no threat to us, then denounce us for NOT going to war agasinst Japan before they attacked us. I would call you a hypocrite, but that does not exactly cover this issue; blatant propagandist is more like it."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Get a grip. Yes the point is fight wars, but fight the right wars. Hitler declared war on the US and Japan attacked Pearl Harbour - and other countries had been fighting both long before the US.

    ANd comparing the murderous conflicts in Irq and Afghanistan to WWII is fatuous in the extreme - both conflicts were started for political reasons to boost a lame duck president and his administration.

    That is why they have been such failures.

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  • 124. At 00:20am on 20 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Here's a link to an article from the Voice of America which explains the current situation of the US military in Iraq in more detail:

    VOA News: US Combat Mission in Iraq ...

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  • 125. At 00:22am on 20 Aug 2010, Vermonter wrote:

    Wars have become crucial jobs program. A frightening percentage of our economy and employment depend on these "little" wars like Iraq and Afghanistan. The only metro area in the entire US to experience job growth last quarter was Washington, DC/Northern Virginia. Commercial and residential real estate prices/rents have also increased there....thanks again to the billions of dollars flowing to the defense establishment.
    After Viet Nam our military leaders realized that the greatest threat to the military-industrial complex was conscription. With the disappearance of the draft, the real human cost of these wars would be paid largely by lower middle class Americans with few other options. Furthermore, the creation of the "volunteer Army" conveniently kept sons and daughters of upper class Americans (most importantly, those of congress members) out of harm's way. We pay poor people relatively well to die. Those that survive, gain lifetime gold-plated benefits. If these profitable wars end, where will the hundreds of thousands of soldiers and millions of defense workers get jobs? This ugly reality is sold as patriotism or nation-building or "protecting America." Thus, 7 years of folly in Iraq are sort-of ending with the thousands and troops and billions of dollars now moving to to the next impossible to win war--Afghanistan.

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  • 126. At 00:25am on 20 Aug 2010, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    The cynicism and gloom displayed by so many here on this blog is breath-taking; it is completely at odds with the joy and happiness that so many Americans felt once the last combat convoy crossed the border into Kuwait. What so many here have plainly missed is that this organized departure from Iraq is honorable; do any of y'all recall the chaotic, demoralizing exit from Saigon? The American coalition in Iraq accomplished something grand that many, including the current President, said was impossible; let's leave it at that rather than turning this moment into something disgraceful.

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  • 127. At 00:33am on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    122. At 00:03am on 20 Aug 2010, you wrote:
    116. At 11:11pm on 19 Aug 2010, MagicKirin wrote:
    You have to realize that our current President is more concerned with what world oppinion than what is in the best interest of this country.

    The question is will Barack Obama disastorous moves be able to corrected when the American people throw him out on his ear in 2+ years."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not much chance of that I'm sorry to tell you. Baring the LHO solution or an unhinged Tea Party fanatic he will almost certainly win the next election.

    He is already laying the ground for that one. ANd Palin, the Tea Party hysterics etc are helping him by tearing the Republican Party apart.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    After due reflection I must revise this forecast.

    I think if Mit Romney and Newt Gringrich got together Obama would be in trouble.

    They would be Mit 'n Newt or Mit the Newt - sounding like an English late 60s rock band.

    I would certainly urge my rels to vote for them

    You have to hand it to the Americans - Bozell and Schrunk (my favourite firm of undertakers), Mit the Newt, - when it comes to interesting names for their leaders etc they win hands down.

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  • 128. At 00:36am on 20 Aug 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Mark:

    Compared to Vietnam, Iraq was a cake walk. Vietnam triggered the rise of a counter culture movement in the U.S. that at times bordered on political unrest, but even that didn't sour us on military adventure. Hard to see how Iraq could. Maybe if the military had resorted to the draft it would be different, but as it is, it hasn't affected the average American's life in any significant way.

    Indeed, it may have made intervention more likely.

    Such are the risks of having an all volunteer army. They fight. We watch... sometimes... if we feel like it.

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  • 129. At 00:44am on 20 Aug 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 122, Simon

    "Not much chance of that I'm sorry to tell you. Baring the LHO solution or an unhinged Tea Party fanatic he will almost certainly win the next election."

    I plan to vote for Barack Obama in 2012 because I support most of his policies (particularly his domestic policies), but I would not bet a dime on his chances to win re-election.

    Our economic woes will continue indefinitely as a result of chronic unemployment, the burden that our national debt places on our economy, and the resulting lack of consumer confidence. While it is true that he inherited a mess, not only from his predecessor but from almost every administration since the Nixon era, the fact remains that he is the President and that if he can not fix the mess we are in the American people will look from someone else to accomplish what he has been unable to do.

    Add to that the distinct possibility of the GOP controlling both the House and Senate a few months from now and our government is likely to come to a standstill...unless, of course, the GOP majority is enough to override Presidential vetoes.

    Part of the problem is that we - the American people - refuse to accept responsibility for the largesse and fiscal irresponsibility that has been the norm not only in government but in corporate America and most American households.

    Refusing to raise taxes has been a litmus test for anyone running for President or Congress the last several decades, and cutting popular social programs - or Defense which is the 800 pound gorilla when it comes to budget deficits - is taboo. Under these circumstances it would take a miracle to get us out of this mess, and I don't see that happening any time soon.


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  • 130. At 00:50am on 20 Aug 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 116, Magic

    "You have to realize that our current President is more concerned with what world oppinion than what is in the best interest of this country."

    You have to realize that our current President has not shown an awful lot of concern about world opinion. In fact, it wasn't too long ago that you were criticizing him because of the way he has treated our allies.

    He also doesn't seem to be too worried with polls. Judging by his resolve in pushing healthcare reform, equal pay for women, financial reform, energy reform and other legislation it is pretty clear that he stands for what he believes is best for our country, regardless of how the Limbaugh and FOX crowds say.

    His big mistake is that he assumes most voters are intellectuals and people inclined to research issues and reach conclusions based on fact. He is in for a rude awakening.

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  • 131. At 01:04am on 20 Aug 2010, Aaron Michael Long wrote:

    For 65 years, the American military has been a massive boondoggle operated at the expense of the American taxpayer, justifying its own existence by repeated military misadventures abroad. Why should the next 65 years be any different?

    So long as the xenophobic middle of our nation is under the sway of fear-mongering demagogues and our legislature is a pork-laden special interest buffet, we'll continue to squander our power, money and respect over the world on imperialistic adventures that stand no chance of actually enriching anyone except the military contractors and suppliers who lobby our government with the money they earn from our own taxpayers.

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  • 132. At 01:06am on 20 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    126. At 00:25am on 20 Aug 2010, BienvenueEnLouisiana made a good point.

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  • 133. At 01:40am on 20 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    131. At 01:04am on 20 Aug 2010, Aaron Michael Long wrote:

    "For 65 years, the American military has been a massive boondoggle operated at the expense of the American taxpayer, justifying its own existence by repeated military misadventures abroad. Why should the next 65 years be any different?"

    ____________

    A massive boondoggle in your view perhaps, but one that permitted America eventually to win the Cold War without another bloodbath in NW Europe, and without the "losing" side being humiliated, or even necessarily believing that it had lost a struggle. No, I wouldn't consider the defense of Western Europe (or Japan, or Korea) to have been a "misadventure".

    As military victories go, where your side prevails and everybody - including your former enemy - goes home (relatively) happy, things don't get much better. It certainly isn't anything to sneeze at.

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  • 134. At 01:42am on 20 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    130. At 00:50am on 20 Aug 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    "His big mistake is that he assumes most voters are intellectuals and people inclined to research issues and reach conclusions based on fact. He is in for a rude awakening."

    ____________

    Two years is a very long time in politics.

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  • 135. At 01:55am on 20 Aug 2010, USAjpk wrote:

    I can understand the world's outrage at us for bringing this war upon everyone but I please ask to look into the eye's of the American people in the early 2000's. At that point we had been spoiled by over a decade of splendid growth and security now that the Cold War was over, and one morning on the way to school the radio comes on saying we were under attack. America's culture isn't used to war on our own soil, its unimaginable for us because we are spoiled in a sense in a world of our own.
    When our government-that we were pleased with after Clinton working his magic and Bush helping our wallets out- says our way of life and interests could be in danger like 9/11, we jumped at the bit to destroy whoever they said were enemies. The American people now recognize that Iraq was a foolish war on every level imaginable, but Anti-Americanism pumps through many minds because they don't understand our arrogance. We grow up here learning of how we saved the world in WWII, protectors the free world, and are economically dominant of the world. Forgive us American citizens, we mean no harm. Our Government? Well.. Lets just all acknowledge they can be thugs for the voter's checkbook.

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  • 136. At 01:59am on 20 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    @ 96 Interestedforeigner

    I can't agree with you on what historians will write in fifty, one hundred, or even a thousand years time. As a student of history it has been my experience that most historians, even if they are unaware of it, have personal or social agendas that reflect the period of time in which they live and work. On occasion, one will write a (mostly) dispassionate account of events and try not to be judgmental. But those historians are rare indeed.

    In my own work, I try very hard not to indict historical figures for their personal or political failings. The question is not how they could fail to see an event coming in light of what we of later generations, in hindsight, now know, it is how would they have seen it if without knowing what we do?

    One must remember that most individuals act according to the times in which they live. They might be ahead of their times, but they cannot go beyond their times. It is simply not fair to expect that nations, led by fallible human beings, be greater than they can possibly be at the moment a choice is made. Too many variables enter into the equation and a well balanced account will show this.


    102. At 6:40pm on 19 Aug 2010, ukwales wrote:

    Wohey lass,say it as it is,BTW, you are quite exciting whilst riled...

    LOL! It is, I admit, a subject where I am easily riled. But it is my firm belief that Europe and the rest of the world have been using the willingness of America to defend them as a crutch to avoid taking on greater responsibility for their own actions. And, like most Americans, I think it's time Europe took charge of itself. There was no need for the US to become involved in Bosnia - except that Europe didn't want to handle the situation on its own. Which is why we never put a soldier on the ground until after the fighting was done. We will not tolerate large numbers of dead American soldiers on European soil when Europe is perfectly capable of looking after its own interests - as it tells us time and time again.

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  • 137. At 02:00am on 20 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    It is a wonderful feeling to have many of the Iraq soldiers fianally coming home to their loved ones. When our soldiers come home, we should treat them well, show them our love, appreciation and support. They were there for us and we should be there for them.

    Whether you agree with the political maneuvers of various parties or not, we should all agree that we love and support our soldiers because they are fighting for us, our allies, for freedom and democracy.

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  • 138. At 02:37am on 20 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    #126 BienvenueEnLouisiana,

    I agree with you. Although, I would point out that the fall of Saigon happened in 1975. All US troops had left the country in 1973 after the peace treaty was signed. We should probably wait and see what happens with Iraq before congratulating ourselves. A similar scenario to Saigon could still happen if we leave Iraq to twist in the wind like South Vietnam.

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  • 139. At 02:43am on 20 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    132. At 01:06am on 20 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    126. At 00:25am on 20 Aug 2010, BienvenueEnLouisiana made a good point.

    Yes, a very good point. And one that is being celebrated in my household this week by family and friends.

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  • 140. At 03:32am on 20 Aug 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    136. Gavrielle_LaPoste:

    We've seen our leaders face 2 extreme challenges in the last decade: 9/11 and the potential collapse of our financial system. In my view, both did what they thought was necessary and both are being beaten up for having done so.

    I often think about Bush and Cheney in the days after 9/11 believing another attack was imminent. As parties responsible for our nation's safety, theirs was a very tough position. A surprise attack, which meant war to them.

    As for Obama and his Wall Street financial advisors, I don't begrudge him the bailouts, I just wish the taxpayers had had their own investment banker looking out for their interests. One hundred cents on the dollar was too sweet a deal.

    I think Obama had the easier of the two but he may not agree.

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  • 141. At 03:35am on 20 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    96 IF,

    "Both wars in Iraq were badly handled."


    Nonsense. In Gulf War I, Iraq had a large military with half a million men, thousands of tanks and artillery guns, and was known to use biological warfare. The coalition forces were out numbered and not in agreement with the idea of going to Baghdad. Also, the UN resolution only authorized the removal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. America gave the troops a big parade and Bush saw his popularity go way up. That was a very successful and one sided conflict with very few casualties. How you can suggest it was conducted badly is beyond me.


    The Gulf War II was also not handled badly. If you remember, the Third ID was not allowed to cross Turkey and attack Iraq from the north. The decision was made by Franks to use a lightning campaign while the Third ID was in transit from Turkey to Kuwait. Both wars were text book examples of smaller forces using mobility to subdue a larger force. The failure in Iraq was not how the war was fought. It was in the expectations of the occupation and transitional government's performance. Had Bush recognized this failure sooner and conducted the surge a few years earlier, he would have watched the troops leaving Iraq rather than Obama. In the end, he did make the right call even though he was late in doing so. In regards to whether fighting Iraq was a choice, well, of course it was. The problem for Bush was what if he was right and did nothing. Using hind sight is always 20/20.




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  • 142. At 04:12am on 20 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    140. At 03:32am on 20 Aug 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    As for Obama and his Wall Street financial advisors, I don't begrudge him the bailouts, I just wish the taxpayers had had their own investment banker looking out for their interests. One hundred cents on the dollar was too sweet a deal.

    I absolutely agree. I detest little Timmy and wish he were gone, but then Obama had few choices. Most of the money people in politics are ALL tainted.

    Wall Street and the banksters are allied against him no matter what he does in their favor. Add in every other special interest group, including the hardcore liberals, and he can do no right. At least Bush wasn't fighting two wars he didn't start and an economic disaster of massive proportions. When Bush came in, we were in the black for the first time in decades. If he'd been smart, he'd have just bought off the Taliban, like Bin Laden did, and they'd have turned him over to us like we asked.

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  • 143. At 04:20am on 20 Aug 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    137. At 02:00am on 20 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:
    "[W]e should all agree that we love and support our soldiers because they are fighting for us, our allies, for freedom and democracy."

    ...and because they got our butt out of a sling.

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  • 144. At 06:43am on 20 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Simple Simon;

    "Hmmm but Europeans have not had thousands of their young men killed and wounded and billions spent on nothing.


    Have they?"

    No, you are right. When viewed from the perspective of history, the number of European casualties in useless wars were in the tens of millions and the wealth wasted on them completely bankrupted Europe more than once. Its only wealth today comes from what it stole during its imperial periods and what it gained from prior American generousity. Now that it must compete on a level playing field with the rest of the world it is a civilization in a state of terminal decline. A logical consequence of its history and culture.

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  • 145. At 09:12am on 20 Aug 2010, filthy macnasty wrote:

    (I'm going to try this again in hopes the Moderator will be happy with it this time around. I realize that not spewing anti-American propaganda isn't going to be looked at favorably and will probably not help the odds what the _HECK_, 'eh?)

    Try two:

    "Fictional and philosophical reflections aside, has America lost its taste for intervention and if so, is the world a better, or worse, place as a result?"

    As an American I think that I'm qualified to answer that.

    Q: Fictional and philosophical reflections aside, has America lost its taste for intervention.

    A: This one has.

    I'm done with being asked for help and then being _DARNED_ for providing it.

    Q: ...if so, is the world a better, or worse, place as a result?

    A: It doesn't matter either way. I know how it'll be presented;

    If it's better then it's despite those evil Americans, if it's worse then it's because of those evil Americans.

    The world can go to _HECK_.

    (There, Moderator, is that better now?)

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  • 146. At 10:05am on 20 Aug 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    136. At 01:59am on 20 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    LOL! It is, I admit, a subject where I am easily riled. But it is my firm belief that Europe and the rest of the world have been using the willingness of America to defend them as a crutch to avoid taking on greater responsibility for their own actions. And, like most Americans, I think it's time Europe took charge of itself. There was no need for the US to become involved in Bosnia - except that Europe didn't want to handle the situation on its own. Which is why we never put a soldier on the ground until after the fighting was done. We will not tolerate large numbers of dead American soldiers on European soil when Europe is perfectly capable of looking after its own interests - as it tells us time and time again.
    ----------------------
    But the UK is by & not totally integrated with Europe.Our thinking is
    more Atlantic than Continental Europe.We get sniped at from Europe for
    being pro US,& some times from the US for being part of Europe .Some
    times I feel we are as welcome as a Fart in a space suite with both
    camps.I can not argue with the logic of your post,we joined Nato as it
    was the only thing that stopped the USSR from expanding west.The magor
    cost was Bourne by the US,but as a player we took it seriously hence the cost effort & lives lost by us British in Iraq & Afghanistan.With the Teutonic shifts of power ie China India,may be Nato has run its course & the US will want to dismantle it.That will be a sad day as far as I am concerned because we will be uncoupled from those we trust & have to aline with those who never had our view or interests at heart...

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  • 147. At 1:42pm on 20 Aug 2010, Tinkersdamn wrote:

    End of American 'liberal interventionism'? -- I would hope so, but wouldn't guess.

    "It struck me [current Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Michael Corbin's] statement was rather close to the standard 'neo con' justification to going to war in the first place." -Yes, and as they say-"no matter who you vote for, the government gets in." Apart from the rhetoric used to justify a policy, the differences in party policies are often hard to distinguish.

    Before this war began, the BBC (prior to the Blair intervention), McClatchy News, and even the LA Times largely laid waste to administration claims of Iraq's WMD (television, not so much). While our under-secretaries would regularly retract their department's false assertions of 'proof' to limited coverage, new 'truth' not yet disproven would fill the airwaves -- and the cycle repeated over and over until they got their war.

    The idea that the Bush administration wasn't aware that their WMD argument was false is beyond credible. Still, they had their reasons, we simply don't know what they were, just as I doubt we really "know" the current objectives. We can speculate based on what has actually taken place as a result of our actions, but don't "know". We are "those wonderful people out there in the dark", and while in the dark on our government's recent past and present how can we intelligently forecast the future? As Jefferson doubted a democracy could exist among an uninformed public, I'm not entirely sure we really enjoy a full democracy today.

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  • 148. At 2:06pm on 20 Aug 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 116 MagicKirin wrote:

    "You have to realize that our current President is more concerned with what world oppinion (sic squared) than what is in the best interest (sic) of this country.

    The question is will Barack Obama (sic) disastorous (sic) moves be able to (sic) corrected when the American people throw him out on his ear in 2+ years."

    I have previously made the fairly obvious point that anyone who claims the power to foresee the future - eg who will win elections – is fairly obviously either deluded or mendacious. (MK is not the only poster here to whom this applies.)

    MK takes it a step further in that he knows what Obama thinks – obviously without evidence. Not surprising perhaps, in that he has previously informed us what JFK would think if he were alive. (Amazingly enough, according to MK, he would have agreed with MK, and not with his brother Ted….)

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  • 149. At 2:31pm on 20 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    141. At 03:35am on 20 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    96 IF,
    ""Both wars in Iraq were badly handled.""

    "Nonsense. In Gulf War I, Iraq had a large military with half a million men, thousands of tanks and artillery guns, and was known to use biological warfare. The coalition forces were out numbered and not in agreement with the idea of going to Baghdad."

    "Also, the UN resolution only authorized the removal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. America gave the troops a big parade and Bush saw his popularity go way up."

    [[True, temporarily - until the truth sank in.]]

    "That was a very successful and one sided conflict with very few casualties. How you can suggest it was conducted badly is beyond me."

    [[The military campaign was brilliantly conducted. But I agreed with Gen. Schwarzkopf at the time - I remember watching the interview, live on TV - that the decision to call a halt when they did would subsequently be considered "fateful". I.e., "fateful" being a euphemism for "incredibly, stupidly, wrong".

    You don't send half a million men and all their kit half way around the world to let Saddam Hussein fight another day, and I don't give a hoot what the UN agreed, or didn't agree.

    Even another six hours of pressure would have seen the back of the man, and would have saved the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis, ten years of American foreign policy and defense spending and effort. All George Bush senior had to do was dawdle on the way to the phone. Maybe dial the wrong number a few times. Maybe come down with laryngitis...

    Horrible, awful, stupid decision. One of the poorest decisions ever by an American Commander-in-Chief, in my opinion. "Fateful", indeed.

    And when the stupidity of that decision sank in, George Bush, senior, lost his job - and rightfully so.

    And, in my view, the realization of that error in the Bush family is what led to the second war, not any "weapons of mass destruction".]]

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

    [[As for the second Iraq war, again, I am not in any war criticizing the performance of the American military in the first month of the war. On the contrary.

    But I am criticizing the political decisions that were made. They were almost universally awful, before, during, and long after the initial fighting.

    The mission was poorly and hastily planned. It was poorly justified diplomatically. It took the focus off Afghanistan, where worked remained to be done. The timing appeared to have been geared to the US Congressional election timetable, rather than by military or diplomatic need. The advice of reasonable and moderate allies (Germany, France, Turkey and Canada among them) was not merely spurned but mocked and derided. Most of that advice - including some extremely wise quiet counsel from the Prime Minister of Canada - turned out to have been pretty well founded.

    There was no planning for the day after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The forces committed were too small for the subsequent occupation. The decision to disband the army and security services turned hundreds of thousands of unemployed young men out onto the streets. There was no adequate effort made to secure the arsenals of the Iraqi army prior to that decision. ...

    And then some prized ... politician, let's say, ... gets up on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln and proclaims "mission accomplished". I can't use strong enough language in this forum adequately to express my feelings when I saw the evening news report showing that piece of stupidity.

    It summed up the failure of that administration at its highest political levels to have any appreciation for the wider ramifications of what they had done. It laid bare the banality, the superficiality, of their thinking, out in public for everyone to see. It confirmed everything that had been suspected about the motivation for the exercise, and about the inadequacy of the thinking behind it.

    As far as I can see, completely leaving aside the effect that diversion had on matters in Afghanistan, over a hundred thousand additional, unnecessary deaths occurred in Iraq as a result of that stupidity.

    And all of those mistakes were made in just the first four months.

    Badly handled?

    That's an understatement.

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  • 150. At 3:24pm on 20 Aug 2010, Tinkersdamn wrote:

    Re: powermeerkat

    I noticed you recieved a load of flak some days ago after we agreed legalizing narcotics was bad policy (Wow!). My apologies for not chiming in at the time, but I sometimes have blocks of sixteen hour workdays and can't always keep up with these threads. I'm sure if those expressing disagreement had read the McClatchy news stories from Mexico that were at the base of our conversation, instead of being critical, they most likely would have shared our view.

    Also, regarding Samuel Adams- I surely don't think he invented psychological warfare; I'm sure it's as old as war, psyche, and man. I mentioned Zoebel's account only because I believe the more clearly we appreciate where we as a nation have been, the more easily we see where we are. And even if Adams had a dubious side, it's hard not to admire his skill and it's hard not to appreciate his contribution to the fact that we are not a colony.

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  • 151. At 3:39pm on 20 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #117


    It's hard to blame people who cannot tell a difference between biological weapons (which were never produced by Saddam's regime and CHEMICAL weapons (which were, from components supplied by France, Germany, Spain, China, etc.) for embarrassing themselves in public even more than they have so far.



    P.S. Any aborigine would know that there's no such place as Wommera.

    Although at least one meerkat would now where Woomera and Maralinga are for he's been to both of them. More than once. :)

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  • 152. At 3:58pm on 20 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:


    Re #111

    "don't use others as buffers"



    So West Germany was a buffer. :-)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))


    I thought that United States risked a nuclear confrontation with USSR to protect a territory (West Germany) in no way vital to its national security.

    I guess we should have allowed Red Army to liberate you all he way to Lisbon, Copenhaven and Athens.



    And 50 years later let you repeat that comment. In RUSSIAN.

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  • 153. At 4:00pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    1. At 3:39pm on 20 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    Re #117


    It's hard to blame people who cannot tell a difference between biological weapons (which were never produced by Saddam's regime and CHEMICAL weapons (which were, from components supplied by France, Germany, Spain, China, etc.) for embarrassing themselves in public even more than they have so far.



    P.S. Any aborigine would know that there's no such place as Wommera.

    Although at least one meerkat would now where Woomera and Maralinga are for he's been to both of them. More than once. :)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    No only those Koories in the area would know, as you would know if you knew anything about Koories :)

    So supplying biological weapons is OK?

    Split hairs or split mind?


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  • 154. At 4:08pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    149. At 2:31pm on 20 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:


    Badly handled?

    That's an understatement."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Well it implies there was some handling, and in fact there was none.

    But some of us anticipated disaster when a brain dead idiot attached to the US admin gave the opinion that as "liberators" US troops would be greeted by cheering crowds and flowers in Baghdad.

    That alterted one imminediately to the fact that, due doubtless to its feeble history education, many people planning (ha) the war thought history had stopped in 1944.

    Paul Wolfowitz's view that every dictator was Hitler and every war a WWII rerun beggared belief.

    To find Christopher Hitchens defending this contemptible and ignorant individual is depressing.

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  • 155. At 4:11pm on 20 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Nobody supplied any biological weapons to Saddam.

    Better get some education.

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  • 156. At 4:12pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    144. At 06:43am on 20 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    Simple Simon;

    "Hmmm but Europeans have not had thousands of their young men killed and wounded and billions spent on nothing.


    Have they?"

    No, you are right. When viewed from the perspective of history, the number of European casualties in useless wars were in the tens of millions and the wealth wasted on them completely bankrupted Europe more than once. Its only wealth today comes from what it stole during its imperial periods and what it gained from prior American generousity. Now that it must compete on a level playing field with the rest of the world it is a civilization in a state of terminal decline. A logical consequence of its history and culture.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    My old Roumanian mate, heard they are digging up Ceacescu?

    I thought you said the US has been in rerminal decline since it elected a black president?

    You had better make up your mind.

    But hey I am sure the Afghan warlords, Pakistani secret services etc love your money.

    The Europeans will keep theirs thanks


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  • 157. At 4:16pm on 20 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Before anybody alegergic to the word 'American' embarrass themselves here even more, let them check what arms Saddam's military was equipped with and weapons of which countries were discovered in Iraq. For everybody to see.

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  • 158. At 4:19pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    129. At 00:44am on 20 Aug 2010, SaintDominick wrote:
    Ref 122, Simon

    "Not much chance of that I'm sorry to tell you. Baring the LHO solution or an unhinged Tea Party fanatic he will almost certainly win the next election."

    I plan to vote for Barack Obama in 2012 because I support most of his policies (particularly his domestic policies), but I would not bet a dime on his chances to win re-election.

    Our economic woes will continue indefinitely as a result of chronic unemployment, the burden that our national debt places on our economy, and the resulting lack of consumer confidence. While it is true that he inherited a mess, not only from his predecessor but from almost every administration since the Nixon era, the fact remains that he is the President and that if he can not fix the mess we are in the American people will look from someone else to accomplish what he has been unable to do.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You are correct to say the economy will be crucial, and so it should be.

    However it is axiomatic that in order to win an election the opposition must have a competent leader and for over 2 years, despite all the shouting no credible opponent has emerged.

    And the emergence of the far right and its loud-mouthed supporters will solidfy his constituency and make it more dificult for Republicans to pose as the party of moderation.

    Roosevelt had to put up with a positive ragbag of extreme catholics (Coughlin), would be fascists, popular heros (Limbergh) etc etc in his second campaign.

    In the end all he had to do was say "I'm not them".

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  • 159. At 4:21pm on 20 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Pakistani secret services etc love your money.

    The Europeans will keep theirs thanks."






    What money? Most of it has been already transfered to Greece. :)

    [More will go to Spain and Portugal to save those 2 bankrupts]

    As for the rest.

    How often do you check an exchange rate of mighty euro to a weak US$? :)))

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  • 160. At 4:31pm on 20 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    146. At 10:05am on 20 Aug 2010, ukwales wrote:

    But the UK is by & not totally integrated with Europe.Our thinking is
    more Atlantic than Continental Europe.We get sniped at from Europe for
    being pro US,& some times from the US for being part of Europe .Some
    times I feel we are as welcome as a Fart in a space suite with both
    camps.I can not argue with the logic of your post,we joined Nato as it
    was the only thing that stopped the USSR from expanding west.The magor
    cost was Bourne by the US,but as a player we took it seriously hence the cost effort & lives lost by us British in Iraq & Afghanistan.With the Teutonic shifts of power ie China India,may be Nato has run its course & the US will want to dismantle it.That will be a sad day as far as I am concerned because we will be uncoupled from those we trust & have to aline with those who never had our view or interests at heart...


    Your point about the UK not being fully a part of Europe is well taken, but I do not think NATO will be dismantled any time soon. It is more likely that the US will create technology and restructure our armed forces so that they do not have to be based on anyone else's sovereign soil. Thus cutting down on security issues and bad feelings by the locals.

    That said, if NATO is dismantled and the UK, or any part thereof, decides it wants out of the EU and feels insecure about its proximity to a potentially hostile force, and if no mutual defense treaty is established between our two nations, I would recommend applying for Protectorate status. This would mean you'd get to keep whatever government you have, your monetary and health care systems, as well as your Royal family - without interference from us. You'd get automatic dual citizenship, the right to travel freely in the US, the right to representation in Congress, the right to vote for President of the United States, and as many American bases as it would take to defend your island in conjunction with your own military.

    Btw, protectorate status is not necessarily a prelude to statehood. Hawaii, with its Queen, wanted the full benefits of becoming a state for security and economic reasons. Their royals don't rule, but they still exist as households and maintain a line of succession. On the other hand, Puerto Rico seems content to remain somewhere in between. But then their leaders have always had a different agenda for their country.

    In any case, despite what I think are the high-handed actions of the EU in regards to British sovereignty, it is my belief that your islands are safe. Remember, we plan ahead for every major contingency and a hostile European Union is certainly one of them. It would not surprise me if much of western Europe was already mined with nuclear warheads in strategic locations. Our forces have spent enough time there, and with complete access, to have made certain that any future threats could be immediately and swiftly dealt with. At the very least, the possibility that such a threat might exist, ought to keep them from getting too cocky.

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  • 161. At 4:38pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    97. At 6:17pm on 19 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    52. At 2:32pm on 19 Aug 2010, Sat2121 wrote:
    "What a load of nonsense.

    Why don't you Google "USS Ruben James"?

    America was at war with Germany in all but name well before Pearl Harbour. That's what Lend-Lease was about. America's "neutrality" prior to Pearl Harbour was a very one-sided neutrality that permitted it, for example, to undertake active convoy duty against U-boats half way across the Atlantic to Iceland. That's why Hitler didn't wait for the US to declare war on Germany after Pearl Harbour. "
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That is clutching at straws. Lend Lease was another positive scheme. B ut Lend Lease etc did not amount to assisting in the war and had the US intervened militarily earlier then Hitler would not have secured so much of Western Europe and ultimately the Soviets would not have had the opportunity to extend their empire.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    As for the far East, America was one of the nations (the UK and the Netherlands being the others) that imposed economic sanctions on Japan to get Japan out of China. That is what led to Pearl Harbour. And no, with war looming in Europe, why would America have declared war any sooner than it absolutely needed to ?"
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well for one thing it would have put the country on a formal war footing and sent a powerful note of assurance to the other powers. A united front might have been effective. Coordinating the various armed forces could have been useful, the Japanese were outnumbered after all.

    And what are you saying? That the US was correct not to declare war until its Pacific fleet had been near wiped out?

    You forget Roosevlet knew very well that war was imminent, but as he explained to Chutchill he could not get his country to go with him.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    You also seem to forget that the naval rebuilding program that won the war in the pacific was authorized in 1938 - among other things, that authorized the design work for the USS Essex. That is what permitted America to commission 16 fleet and light carriers between December 21, 1942 and December 31, 1943. Those ships were the decisive factor in winning the war against Japan."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Irrelevant. Chamberlain authorised the expansion of the UK fighter fleet in the teeth of bitter opposition, that did not make him a prescient PM (though he was better than has been cast, he was for rearmament at a time when Churchill was against it).

    The US might not have needed all those ships if it had intervened earlier and made clear it was prepared to fight.

    Both the Japanese and Germans noted its indolence and felt reassured.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    America in the 1930's was very poorly prepared for war, and if FDR had taken matters in hand early on, things might have been very different.

    No, the US did not "sit on its hands" at all."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hardly, that is how the Axis saw it and the frantic efforts of Churchill etc to persuade the US to take Hitler seriously took years to bare fruit. By which tme the task had become that much harder and more were to die.

    Hence Churchill's ironic comment that the US always does the right thing - eventually

    There is no question, and no sensible historian has ever questioned it, that if the US had stood with Britain and France etc against the Axis then WWII would have been different and there is at least the chance that many millions of lives would have been saved.

    Many Poles, Czechs etc are especially bitter over this.

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  • 162. At 4:47pm on 20 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    The problem with going into details is that one finds out that no one is integrated with anyone else..And everyone wants every one else to be integrated with them..Next time, when you leaders prepare you for some adventure, telling you all sorts of lies, you should keep in mind to resonert everything they tell you in great details..Not touch the topic superficially..Because after and during the adventure, everyone would say, he or she was against this adventure..

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  • 163. At 4:49pm on 20 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    54 recruits killed in baghdad today, A fine farewell to the interventionists..

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  • 164. At 4:49pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    140. At 03:32am on 20 Aug 2010, AndreaNY wrote:
    136. Gavrielle_LaPoste:

    We've seen our leaders face 2 extreme challenges in the last decade: 9/11 and the potential collapse of our financial system. In my view, both did what they thought was necessary and both are being beaten up for having done so.

    I often think about Bush and Cheney in the days after 9/11 believing another attack was imminent. As parties responsible for our nation's safety, theirs was a very tough position. A surprise attack, which meant war to them."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well a real leader is not supposed to panic. This was not the first terrorist attack to occur in the world or even the US.

    Bush's use of puerile cowboy speak (for which he did have the decency to apologise, but only after thousands of his fellow citizens had been killed and wounded in his fruitless wars).

    When Lincoln was assassinated, Johnson did not immediately order the Union armies to break off surrender negotiations. Even after Pearl Harbour (a real war) Roosevelt's admin kept a relatively clear head.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



    As for Obama and his Wall Street financial advisors, I don't begrudge him the bailouts, I just wish the taxpayers had had their own investment banker looking out for their interests. One hundred cents on the dollar was too sweet a deal.

    I think Obama had the easier of the two but he may not agree."
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    A key difference being Bush started off with a full treasury and functioning economy and left his successor with a country facing economic meltdown (his own words) and two unwinable wars which have displayed the weaknesses of the US for all to see.

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  • 165. At 4:53pm on 20 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    The interventionists occupied the land in the name of WMD, and when they leave, iraq has no proper army or navy or airforce or police..For yrs they refused to withdraw troops from saudi arabia telling the world that the country needed the soldiers because of iraq and saddam, and now they leave iraq without any military power not even thinking that the country is next to iran...which if americans wanted could be a fine justification to keep their troops there..

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  • 166. At 4:56pm on 20 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    161. At 4:38pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    There is no question, and no sensible historian has ever questioned it, that if the US had stood with Britain and France etc against the Axis then WWII would have been different and there is at least the chance that many millions of lives would have been saved.

    Maybe so. But since there was no mutual defense pact, we were under no obligation, either militarily or morally, to defend any part of Europe for any reason, which makes the point moot. It is this one cold, hard fact that you seem to continue to ignore. And it is why NATO now exists, though we still have no mutual defense pacts with individual European nations.

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  • 167. At 4:56pm on 20 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    A key difference being Bush started off with a full treasury and functioning economy and left his successor with a country facing economic meltdown (his own words) and two unwinable wars which have displayed the weaknesses of the US for all to see.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The successor knew about all this, when he decided to run for the president..

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  • 168. At 5:28pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    166. At 4:56pm on 20 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:
    161. At 4:38pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    There is no question, and no sensible historian has ever questioned it, that if the US had stood with Britain and France etc against the Axis then WWII would have been different and there is at least the chance that many millions of lives would have been saved.

    Maybe so. But since there was no mutual defense pact, we were under no obligation, either militarily or morally, to defend any part of Europe for any reason, which makes the point moot. It is this one cold, hard fact that you seem to continue to ignore. And it is why NATO now exists, though we still have no mutual defense pacts with individual European nations. "
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Treaty or no treaty my point stands.

    If the US had wanted to conclude a firm treaty with the UK et al to oppose Hitler are you seriously suggesting Churchill would have opposed it?

    And surely there is a moral point to opposing Nazism. The US jewish community certainly thought so well before 1941

    Don't forget Joe Kennedy and FDRs own Sec of State were quite ready to see a German triumph

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  • 169. At 5:57pm on 20 Aug 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 165, colonelartist:

    "...which if americans wanted could be a fine justification to keep their troops there.. "

    We seem not to be looking for that justification. Isn't that in itself a surprise to you?

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  • 170. At 6:38pm on 20 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    168. At 5:28pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    Treaty or no treaty my point stands.

    If the US had wanted to conclude a firm treaty with the UK et al to oppose Hitler are you seriously suggesting Churchill would have opposed it?


    No, it does not stand. You are assuming that a government entity can be equated with its people in terms of Human sentiment. Governments are mere administrative bodies that act on laws, treaties and agreements, nothing more.

    And why should the US want to conclude a treaty with the UK? You had your own mutual defense treaties with each other and chose to ignore them. There was also a treaty that ostensibly prevented the Germans from rearming after WWI and your leaders ignored that too! If there are bitter Poles and Czechs, I'd say more than half that bitterness is due to being sold out by the British. Do you honestly think that in 1940 we'd honor a nation that refused to respect its own military obligations by proposing such a treaty? If we have trust issues with Europe, it's with good reason. NATO only works for us because it's all or none. Historically speaking, the US has never had a guarantee that any individual European nation would honor a mutual defense treaty and is unlikely to ever initiate one outside of NATO.

    And surely there is a moral point to opposing Nazism. The US jewish community certainly thought so well before 1941

    Morality is not the issue here. As I said, governments are not people. They are neither moral nor immoral. They are simply a collection of laws and regulations administered by individuals. And since there was no "Good Samaritan" law, whereby the government, without first debating the issue and declaring war, was required to go to war, the US had no choice but to stay out of the fight.

    As for the US Jewish community, prior to WWII it was not all that large. And it is still less than one percent of the total population. Their voices were meaningless, just as those of the immigrant Poles and Czechs would have been. The dominant population at the time was White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. They were in charge and they were notoriously racist and antisemitic. And quite a few of them were also anti-European and anti-British. You forget, Congress was mostly made up of old men who'd lived through WWI and despised European/British Imperialism.

    Don't forget Joe Kennedy and FDRs own Sec of State were quite ready to see a German triumph.

    I haven't forgotten that. And they were not the only ones whose voices were very loudly in favor of German victory. Not to mention the application of Nazi philosophies and fascism in America. Father Charles Coughlin, a Roman Catholic priest originally from Ontario, had a national radio show that espoused the most virulent antisemitism and pro-Hitler propaganda. As well, there were German patriot groups that closely allied themselves to the Nazi party, who gathered frequently and openly in every major city at the time. You might not be aware of this, but there are more Americans who claim German ethnic heritage in America than any other group in the country now. So you can imagine what the population numbers were back then. And being voters, they had a substantial amount of influence on their WASP senators and congressmen.

    My point is that you are not looking at the whole picture of America at the time just prior to WWII. Since you cannot seem to separate the will of the people from the right of the government to take action, perhaps understanding why there was no will to do so might help bring clarity.

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  • 171. At 7:10pm on 20 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Gavrielle, I completely support your analysis in 170.

    The US is often criticized when it chooses to intervene in foreign conflicts, and sometimes when it does not. It's easy to look back and conclude that it would have turned out better had the US become involved earlier (Europe at the start of WWII) or stayed out altogether (Vietnam), but not so easy to look into the future.

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  • 172. At 7:56pm on 20 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    171 GH1618

    Indeed. There's a reason the phrase "hindsight is 20/20" is a cliche.

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  • 173. At 8:02pm on 20 Aug 2010, crash wrote:

    Another smoke and mirror move from our administration,Trotsky would be proud of them.50000 advisors ?but,no more combat?It seems like had a lot of advisors in south east asia in the 60's

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  • 174. At 8:14pm on 20 Aug 2010, dceilar wrote:

    GH @171

    The US is often criticized when it chooses to intervene in foreign conflicts, and sometimes when it does not. It's easy to look back and conclude that it would have turned out better had the US become involved earlier (Europe at the start of WWII) or stayed out altogether (Vietnam), but not so easy to look into the future.

    What about the present tense? People at the time gave their concerns, but were marginalised.

    You also have to see through the language that is used. For example, Iran is engaged in destabilizing its neighbours. It's trying to increase its influence in surrounding countries, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. The West is, of course, involved in Iraq and Afghanistan but that is not destabilizing. That's stabilizing.

    False arguments are, more often than not, contradicting. I could carry on and say that theocratic Iran's potential ownership of nuclear weapons would destabilize the region while theocratic Israel's have not.

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  • 175. At 8:29pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    170. At 6:38pm on 20 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:
    168. At 5:28pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    Tre

    Tell you what I will being you a bit of clarity

    1. The Us government of FDR was not simply a cipher. And governments make treaties and laws. And government's levy wars.

    2. Why should the Us want to conclude a treaty with the UK? Because er a war was on and everyone knew one was likely - and millions of lives might have been saved.

    Your points about treaties are either complete red herrings or plain wrong. The treaty of versailles, signed by the US and then ignored is not relevant in this discussion as is the league of Nations, actually set up by the US and then ignored.

    There is no evidence whatsoever that the US was in the slightest interested in the fate of Czechoslovakia - if anything it urged greater appeasement.

    Britain and france went to war and WWII started because they honoured their treaty obligation to Poland. Perhaps you should listen to the ultimatum.

    Finally my point stands and you have not answered it. If the Us had in 1940 offered Churchill a strong treaty do you contend he would have turned it down.

    Answer no.





    3. Morality is not the issue here."


    oh yes it is it is very much the issue.

    "As I said, governments are not people. They are neither moral nor immoral. They are simply a collection of laws and regulations administered by individuals."

    So you are saying the Nazi "government" was not immoral? Is that what you are saying?

    I think you had better think about that one a little more. You seem to have national governments mixed up with the admin of your local cubs group.

    There is a strong difference.

    Incidently who drafts and passes these laws and ensures their enforcement? Pixies?

    5. And since there was no "Good Samaritan" law, whereby the government, without first debating the issue and declaring war, was required to go to war, the US had no choice but to stay out of the fight.

    This is bizzare. What are you talking about. Are you trying to say that US governemnt can't enter into mutual defence treaties with other countries? News to Japan, Israel, Taiwan, Australia etc.

    if any of these were attacked by an aggressor as Poland et al were, are you saying the US would hold a nation-wide debate before responding?

    You seem very confused the US Government certainly can sign and propose treaties and if it doesn't do so it chooses not to, not that it cannot.


    6.As for the US Jewish community, prior to WWII it was not all that large. And it is still less than one percent of the total population. Their voices were meaningless, just as those of the immigrant Poles and Czechs would have been. The dominant population at the time was White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. They were in charge and they were notoriously racist and antisemitic."


    Well this is all true but it is rather my point is it not?

    I am saying the US did not intervene before 1941 not because of some twaddle about treaties but because it chose not to and this was a disastorous decision brought about by a mixture of bigotry and ignorance. Ignorance because the implications of Hitler's victory were there for all to see.


    7.I haven't forgotten that. And they were not the only ones whose voices were very loudly in favor of German victory. Not to mention the application of Nazi philosophies and fascism in America. Father Charles Coughlin, a Roman Catholic priest originally from Ontario, had a national radio show that espoused the most virulent antisemitism and pro-Hitler propaganda. As well, there were German patriot groups that closely allied themselves to the Nazi party, who gathered frequently and openly in every major city at the time. You might not be aware of this, but there are more Americans who claim German ethnic heritage in America than any other group in the country now. So you can imagine what the population numbers were back then. And being voters, they had a substantial amount of influence on their WASP senators and congressmen."


    Yes members of my family heard the Coughlin broadcasts. Again this is all true, but it tends to make my point not yours.

    With the outbreak of war in 1939 no one with half a brain could claim that Hitler was not an aggressor and that letting him grow stronger was not a good thing.


    8. My point is that you are not looking at the whole picture of America at the time just prior to WWII. Since you cannot seem to separate the will of the people from the right of the government to take action, perhaps understanding why there was no will to do so might help bring clarity.

    No I know that the US didn't want to enter the war, that is the point at issue.

    As a matter of interest the UK and French populations were not keen on the idea and possibly the majority of Germans were also not in love with the notion (at least as regards conquests) - much less the people of Australia, Canada etc. But was plainly coming and the US did not elect to enter the conflict until such time as the Germans were immeasurably stronger and defeating them a much harder task - and one that in the event was handed largely to the Russians.

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  • 176. At 8:37pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    174. At 8:14pm on 20 Aug 2010, dceilar wrote:
    GH @171

    The US is often criticized when it chooses to intervene in foreign conflicts, and sometimes when it does not. It's easy to look back and conclude that it would have turned out better had the US become involved earlier (Europe at the start of WWII) or stayed out altogether (Vietnam), but not so easy to look into the future.

    What about the present tense? People at the time gave their concerns, but were marginalised.

    You also have to see through the language that is used. For example, Iran is engaged in destabilizing its neighbours. It's trying to increase its influence in surrounding countries, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. The West is, of course, involved in Iraq and Afghanistan but that is not destabilizing. That's stabilizing.

    False arguments are, more often than not, contradicting. I could carry on and say that theocratic Iran's potential ownership of nuclear weapons would destabilize the region while theocratic Israel's have not.2
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I have always thought stability to be a frightening word in the hands of Wester diplomats.

    When Bush called Musharaff a "stabilizing" influence I thought it was time to head for the door

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  • 177. At 8:37pm on 20 Aug 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    168. At 5:28pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    Treaty or no treaty my point stands....

    And surely there is a moral point to opposing Nazism. The US jewish community certainly thought so well before 1941

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

    Unfortunately, there was very little morality involved in the Second World War, and no major Allied participant fought for purely altruistic motivations.

    Britain and France appeased Germany and sacrificed Czechoslovakia to postpone war, then effectively abandoned Poland when if finally began.

    The Soviet Union only got involved after the Nazis directly attacked them, betraying their amicable non-aggression pact that allowed both parties to cannibalise Poland.

    America avoided fully entering a fight halfway around the globe that didn't seriously endanger their interests until war was eventually declared against them.

    Pretty much everybody had the same selfish motives; avoid the war at all costs until there was no choice but to fight.

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  • 178. At 8:52pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    177. At 8:37pm on 20 Aug 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:
    168. At 5:28pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    Treaty or no treaty my point stands....

    And surely there is a moral point to opposing Nazism. The US jewish community certainly thought so well before 1941

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

    Unfortunately, there was very little morality involved in the Second World War, and no major Allied participant fought for purely altruistic motivations.

    Britain and France appeased Germany and sacrificed Czechoslovakia to postpone war, then effectively abandoned Poland when if finally began."

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

    I would contest both countries "abandoned" Poland. The treaty was enforced as far as it could be.

    It was GBS who said in fact it was being exceeded - "you went to war to protect Poland - Poland is conquered so presumably the war stops."

    After the war yes Poland was tossed in the bin.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Soviet Union only got involved after the Nazis directly attacked them, betraying their amicable non-aggression pact that allowed both parties to cannibalise Poland.

    America avoided fully entering a fight halfway around the globe that didn't seriously endanger their interests until war was eventually declared against them.

    Pretty much everybody had the same selfish motives; avoid the war at all costs until there was no choice but to fight."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    It was not in US interests to risk the occupation of Western Europe by a resurgent Germany.

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  • 179. At 9:20pm on 20 Aug 2010, PaulC wrote:

    The absurd idea that the world - especially Europe - depends on the US to defend it because it won't take up the challenge needs exposing.

    Let us compare Russian military spending with, for example, British. How many times bigger is the old Evil Empire's spending on the military than Britain's? Any idea? Double? Five times? Ten times?

    As it happens, Britain outspends Russia. So the British military by themselves should be powerful enough to defend Europe.

    But what if the US AND Britain weren't there to save Europe? What could our old "surrender monkeys" do in the face of a Russian attack? Well, actually, France spends 10% more on its military than the Russians. So France alone should be able to defeat the threat.

    But it isn't France that is next to Russia, is it? What about Germany?

    Well, the Germans might have a problem, because they spend about 20% less than Russia.

    Collectively, the leading half-dozen European powers have a military budget about five times that of Russia. So where is this threat we are not defending ourselves from?

    NATO has had to try to reinvent itself because it no longer has a job, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, so it goes off on foreign adventures in defiance of the terms of its creation.

    If the US pulled out of NATO tomorrow it would not make Europe one iota less secure. However, it would have a negative effect on American operations in places like Afganistan.

    It isn't the American Sheriff who defends Europe, it is the European Deputies who give a helping hand to the Sheriff.

    For global arms spending: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

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  • 180. At 9:28pm on 20 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    What did the usa actually intervene? the wmd that werent there, or the non existent threat iraq posed to the world? Or the fantasy that iraq was about 45 minutes away from developing the mother of all guns? To call this adventure based on paranioa of minds an intervention is like calling the community center a mega mosque, calling the land where the financial building stood, a ground zero or hallowed ground, to call a genocide of gypies and jews a holocaust and to holocaust millions of japnese in a matter of few hours, and then call it human saving act. The don quixotes and his sancho panzas have returned home after their fight against windmills to save some imagined damsel in distress...Nothing more and nothing less.

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  • 181. At 9:58pm on 20 Aug 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:

    178. At 8:52pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    I would contest both countries "abandoned" Poland. The treaty was enforced as far as it could be.

    It was GBS who said in fact it was being exceeded - "you went to war to protect Poland - Poland is conquered so presumably the war stops."

    After the war yes Poland was tossed in the bin.

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



    According to the Anglo-Polish-British military alliance signed in August 1939, mutual military assistance was promised between the nations if either was ever attacked by another European country
    But, unbeknownst to the Poles, earlier in May 1939, Britain & France held a secret meeting in Paris, where both declared that Poland's fate would depend on the end result of the war based on Britain and France defeating Germany, not in direct aid. But direct aid was what was promised to the Poles a few months later. The British government also eventually learned the details of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact that stipulated the divide of Polish territory between Germany and the Soviet Union. The Polish government was not informed of any of these details. In effect, the Anglo-Polish agreement was an exaggeration made to calm a panicked Poland, and deter an aggressive Germany. It failed.

    The Poles also had a separate military agreement with the French, where France's military would come to her aid if attacked. At the time most of the Luftwaffe and all armoured units were still in Poland, and a French invasion of the Rhineland would have forced Germany to redirect forces out of Poland. This was what Poland expected, based on the agreement. However the assault was called off, and all French forces were withdrawn behind the Maginot Line. If only the offensive had been allowed to continue, the unfinished Siegfried Line might have been compromised to the Germans, forcing them to fight a costly two-front war that they were in no position to win.

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  • 182. At 10:57pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    181. At 9:58pm on 20 Aug 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:
    178. At 8:52pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    I would contest both countries "abandoned" Poland. The treaty was enforced as far as it could be.

    It was GBS who said in fact it was being exceeded - "you went to war to protect Poland - Poland is conquered so presumably the war stops."

    After the war yes Poland was tossed in the bin.

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



    According to the Anglo-Polish-British military alliance signed in August 1939, mutual military assistance was promised between the nations if either was ever attacked by another European country
    But, unbeknownst to the Poles, earlier in May 1939, Britain & France held a secret meeting in Paris, where both declared that Poland's fate would depend on the end result of the war based on Britain and France defeating Germany, not in direct aid. But direct aid was what was promised to the Poles a few months later. The British government also eventually learned the details of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact that stipulated the divide of Polish territory between Germany and the Soviet Union. The Polish government was not informed of any of these details. In effect, the Anglo-Polish agreement was an exaggeration made to calm a panicked Poland, and deter an aggressive Germany. It failed."

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

    There are several things to say to this. First the British French position was entirely sensible - how exactly was aid to go to Poland with Germany in the middle.

    Secondly the polish protocols of the Ribbentrop/Molotov pact were secret. There is no evidence France and the UK knew about them until after the war began. The Poles certainly didn't.

    And Britain and France did issue Germany with an ultimatum and followed it up with a declaration of war.

    Secondly

    What was this promise of "aid" A few month's later? What sort of aid was specified. Neither the UK or France had spare aircraft or ships. What was proposed?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Poles also had a separate military agreement with the French, where France's military would come to her aid if attacked. At the time most of the Luftwaffe and all armoured units were still in Poland, and a French invasion of the Rhineland would have forced Germany to redirect forces out of Poland."
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    That is not necessarily true. Germany was not completely undefended on its Western flank and France did not have the mechanisation and most importantly the tactics to do a Blitzkrieg (Germany barely had them). In any case France could not go ahead without the UK and the BEF had to be deployed. None of that could be done in a few weeks.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This was what Poland expected, based on the agreement. However the assault was called off, and all French forces were withdrawn behind the Maginot Line. If only the offensive had been allowed to continue, the unfinished Siegfried Line might have been compromised to the Germans, forcing them to fight a costly two-front war that they were in no position to win.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hardly. Poland was not expecting to be invaded by Soviet Russia was it, and neither France or the UK expected this. This meant that it was overrun far more quickly than anyone, including the Poles expected.

    And no army can simply launch assaults. The French and British forces expected to coordinate their attacks, whihc were hampered in this isnstance by Belgium refusing to declare war until the last moment.

    No one expected Poland would be overrun in weeks, they were expecting a struggle similar to 1914.

    Either way the fact remains France and GB did not abandon Poland but declared war as they agreed to do.

    They may not have fought it very well, palbably, but neither did the Poles and they did not declare war on Germany with the intention of losing.



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  • 183. At 11:31pm on 20 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Those who remember the oil crises of 1973, can connect the dots between 1973 and whatever is happening now..The next stop, Iran...europeans will again saddle the horse with usa and israel..Nato needs so called threats for its survival and so does israel..

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  • 184. At 11:56pm on 20 Aug 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #52. At 2:32pm on 19 Aug 2010, Sat2121 wrote:
    "Correct me if I'm wrong but the US didn't have the guts to fight for anybodies freedom in the Pacific until they were first attacked by Japan, neither did they wish to involve themselves in fighting Nazi Germany until after Hitler had declared war on the US, forcing a retaliatory declaration by the US."

    In the period between WWI and WWI the U.S. military was downsized to a peacetime force. Modernization proceeded slowly because the defense budget was kept low while FDR focused on his stimulus programs to try to bring us out of the Great Depression. We didn't have a military big enough to be a serious threat to anyone. FDR did try to deter Japanese militarism in China by imposing a trade embargo on Japan, it was what led the Japanases government to commit itself to war.


    "The unpalatable truth to most Americans is that whilst Britain and France went to war to protect other peoples freedom, the US sat on it's hands. Left to it's own devices, the US would never have entered WW2, regardless of the number of smaller nations being overrun and enslaved by the Axis. The much vaunted, 'Arsenal of Democracy', was nothing more than US Industrialists making huge fortunes and creating jobs for US workers, without risking US lives."

    And yet British trade represetnatives were lined up at American factories ordering aircraft, ammunition and other war materiel so there must havefor those supplies to the halfway point in the Altlantic in order to free up British forces. American air patrols regularly spotted and reported German submarine positions to the Royal Navy. The U.S. allowed the Chinese Air Force to recruit active duty American military pilots for service with the AVG prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. So while we weren't technically at war we weren't exactly neutral either.

    "The wars of the US, against Mexico, Spain and her own indigenous peoples have only ever been for territorial expansion and, post WW2 for the possession of resources and the protection of markets against potential anti-capitalist regimes."

    As opposed to the selfless wars of other nations? And what resources and markets were we protecting in Korea and Vietnam? They had no resources to speak of and they offered a very small market for our goods. If you're referring to the Gulf War then yes, we fought for oil; so did France, Britain, and a dozen other countries because like it or not the world's economy runs on oil and Saddam Hussein threatened a good chunk of the world's oil supplies. If you're referring to the invasion of Iraq then you're just flat wrong: Iraq was already selling oil under UN supervision and Iraq's production level hasn't improved much since before the invasion. If we were going to invade anyplace for oil there are closer countries with much smaller militaries than those of Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

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  • 185. At 00:30am on 21 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    #149. Interestedforeigner,


    [[True, temporarily - until the truth sank in.]]

    [[The military campaign was brilliantly conducted. But I agreed with Gen. Schwarzkopf at the time - I remember watching the interview, live on TV - that the decision to call a halt when they did would subsequently be considered "fateful". I.e., "fateful" being a euphemism for "incredibly, stupidly, wrong".

    Yes, I agree. We should have gone all the way, or at least continued longer. But that is not what happened because we did not have the authority or commitment from our allies to do so. That does not mean the war was fought badly, militarily or politicaly. Removing Saddam from power was never the objective even if it proved short sighted. Events should be taken in context.
    -------------

    "You don't send half a million men and all their kit half way around the world to let Saddam Hussein fight another day, and I don't give a hoot what the UN agreed, or didn't agree."

    "Even another six hours of pressure would have seen the back of the man, and would have saved the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis, ten years of American foreign policy and defense spending and effort. All George Bush senior had to do was dawdle on the way to the phone. Maybe dial the wrong number a few times. Maybe come down with laryngitis..."

    On what grounds do you believe six more months of war would have saved tens of thousands of Iraqi lives? Would we not have had a similar scenario, if not worse, going into Baghdad in 1990 as compared to 2003?
    ------------

    "Horrible, awful, stupid decision. One of the poorest decisions ever by an American Commander-in-Chief, in my opinion. "Fateful", indeed.


    "And when the stupidity of that decision sank in, George Bush, senior, lost his job - and rightfully so."


    I disagree and IMO, pulling out of Mogadishu proved more fateful. Bush lost his job because of the economy and because he reneged on "read my lips, no new taxes". I do not recall anyone suggesting at the time it was because of the gulf war.


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

    [[As for the second Iraq war, again, I am not in any war criticizing the performance of the American military in the first month of the war. On the contrary.

    But I am criticizing the political decisions that were made. They were almost universally awful, before, during, and long after the initial fighting.

    The mission was poorly and hastily planned. It was poorly justified diplomatically. It took the focus off Afghanistan, where worked remained to be done. The timing appeared to have been geared to the US Congressional election timetable, rather than by military or diplomatic need. The advice of reasonable and moderate allies (Germany, France, Turkey and Canada among them) was not merely spurned but mocked and derided. There was no planning for the day after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The forces committed were too small for the subsequent occupation..."

    At the time, there was not much left to do in Afgahnistan. All the bad guys pretty much high-tailed into Pakistan. Bush could have went to war with Pakistan by following them into the country. Another strike against him I suppose.

    In regards to Iraq, I seem to recall 17 months of attempted diplomacy at the UN and with Iraq in an attempt to avoid military action. Some of our allies (Germany & France) had lucrative contracts with Iraq and actively worked against the US at the UN. I seriously doubt their position had anything to do with WMD's or lack there of. I do agree that the plan for the transition proved short sighted, that does not mean there was no plan or that it was hastily put together.

    Since congressional elections occur every two years, and the war started a year and a half before the next election, I'm wondering what date should be used to ward off such comments. Any suggestions?

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


    "The decision to disband the army and security services turned hundreds of thousands of unemployed young men out onto the streets. There was no adequate effort made to secure the arsenals of the Iraqi army prior to that decision. ..."

    Oddly enough, the plan did call for the Iraqi army to be reconstituted with only the Republican Guard and some Baathists being disbanded. In any event, the Iraqi army and security services simply disappeared after the collapse of the regime, along with their weapons. With that said, I do agree with your point and believe this was the worst mistake in the planning process.
    ---------


    "And then some prized ... politician, let's say, ... gets up on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln and proclaims "mission accomplished". I can't use strong enough language in this forum adequately to express my feelings when I saw the evening news report showing that piece of stupidity."

    Bush never proclaimed "mission accomplished". That's a myth based on a banner put up up by the Abraham Lincoln to note their successful deployment. What he did say (proclaimed) was that major combat operations in Iraq had ended and that securing and reconstructing the country was beginning.


    To be clear, I'm not suggesting mistakes were not made, they were. I do agree in part with some of your points. I just think we need to have an honest assessment, in context, when probing both failure and success in both wars with Iraq.




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  • 186. At 03:16am on 21 Aug 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    142. Gavrielle_LaPoste:

    "Wall Street and the banksters are allied against him no matter what he does in their favor."

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

    Next time we bail out a financial institution, I'm getting my own lawyer.

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  • 187. At 07:45am on 21 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "in less than 20 years Josef Stalin took Russia from a peasant society to an industrial one capable of defeating one of the most advanced nations in the world."






    70 years later that country still cannot build an airlier which would not crash, a supercomputer capable of actual fast computing, a submarine which would not eventually sink (e.g. "Kursk") or an SLBM which could reach its target (cf. "Bulava).

    Let alone a HDTV set. Or a laptop. Or even an mp3 player. :(



    BTW. can anybody itemize Russian products available in Western stores?

    Besides vodka?

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  • 188. At 07:48am on 21 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Sara wrote:
    @Interestedforeigner

    Your comment made my day. :D Hells yeah, Canada has a protected border. I remember...we were driving up from Montana, and they confiscated some apples we had (because they could be carrying WORMS! O SHI-). Apple-Terrorism doesn't stand a chance in Canada.









    Elimination of NORAD aside, perhaps we should star confiscating maple syrup, one of few succesful Canadian products?

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  • 189. At 07:57am on 21 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Gavrielle wrote :"If there are bitter Poles and Czechs, I'd say more than half that bitterness is due to being sold out by the British. Do you honestly think that in 1940 we'd honor a nation that refused to respect its own military obligations by proposing such a treaty?"



    May I also mention Cossacks?

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  • 190. At 08:05am on 21 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #177

    "Britain and France appeased Germany and sacrificed Czechoslovakia to postpone war, then effectively abandoned Poland when if finally began."


    Look up 'drole de guerre.'

    And listen again to to the famous French cabaret artist Maurice Chevalier's song of 1939:

    "Who wants to die for Gdansk?"


    As it turned the French weren't willing to die even for Paris.

    With France becoming a R&R center for Wermacht.
    To put it euphemistically.


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  • 191. At 08:13am on 21 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:


    Sscott remarked:


    " If we were going to invade anyplace for oil there are closer countries with much smaller militaries than those of Iraq under Saddam Hussein."





    Canada and Mexico, two biggest exporters of oil to U.S. come to mind. :)

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  • 192. At 08:18am on 21 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "But I agreed with Gen. Schwarzkopf at the time - I remember watching the interview, live on TV - that the decision to call a halt when they did would subsequently be considered "fateful". I.e., "fateful" being a euphemism for "incredibly, stupidly, wrong"."






    Reportedly Stormy Normy was throwing desks and other furniture against walls when ordered by G.H.W. Bush to stop south of Basra.

    Before coming out and saying to the media that he "fully agree with the decision of president Bush:. ;)

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  • 193. At 09:10am on 21 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Nato needs so called threats for its survival and so does israel.."








    Pray, tell me colonel, what does underwater Pakistan needs these days to surive?

    Wouldn't that be be US/NATO helicopters? Coming to the rescue?

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  • 194. At 10:31am on 21 Aug 2010, Isenhorn wrote:

    To whoever complained about my comments 35 and 41:
    Grow up!

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  • 195. At 12:12pm on 21 Aug 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:

    Well, the US will probably want to go into Iran now that they have started fuelling up their nuclear power station. This is the excuse that the US has been waiting for to invade Iran, albeit a feeble excuse. By the way, it was the US that started the Iranian nuclear program.

    Or will it be North Korea......

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  • 196. At 12:20pm on 21 Aug 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 197. At 12:36pm on 21 Aug 2010, sayasay wrote:

    #184, Scott0962
    “If we were going to invade anyplace for oil there are closer countries with much smaller militaries than those of Iraq under Saddam Hussein.”
    Is this just being rhetorical? Or is it a real validation of altruism? I thought that the Iraqi invasion was to safeguard oil supplies from Saudi and the other “closer countries”. After seeing that a majority of 911 hijackers were Saudis and the ineptitude of Saudi Intelligence in preventing 911, USA was petrified that AQ might topple the Saudi royal regime. But, AQ, no friend of the Saudi royalty, had already declared that Islam forbid the presence of infidel soldiers in the land of the Holy Sites of Mecca and Medina. Hence, USA could not increase its troop deployment in Saudi Arabia without incurring the wrath of Muslims worldwide. In the meanwhile, Iraq is lurking in the back-ground ready to take advantage of any upheaval in Saudi Arabia. USA, to achieve a more secure region for the oil supply, had no option but the take out Saddam and install a less belligerent regime in Iraq,
    Furthermore, Iran, another potential headache, would have been flanked in the west by a subdued Iraq and in the east by an already occupied Afghanistan. And the Saudis will take care of Iran’s southern flank. I guess Rumsfeld was right, nothing to do with nation building, always about keeping the oil customers happy.

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  • 198. At 1:29pm on 21 Aug 2010, Galahad wrote:

    #49 - Powermeerkat says:
    ......................................................
    "what is USA's legacy to the world?besides LCD tvs and ipods that is!"
    Not much.

    Besides the refrigerator, the dishwasher, the microwve oven, air conditioning, jacuzzi, HDTV, 3D movies, blues, jazz, R&R and some such.
    Not to mention a nuclear reactor, computer, telecommunication satellite, and Internet which allows specimens like you to embarrass themselves in front of a global audinence.
    ......................................................

    Although several of the inventions Powermeerkat lists do originate in the USA, there are some that don't:

    Refridgerator: Carl von Linde 1876 (German)
    3D movies: a number of versions have been developed. Perhaps
    the first was William Friese-Greene's stereoscopic
    projection system 1890 (British)
    Nuclear reactor: Enrico Fermi 1934 (Italian)
    Computer: a number of versions have been developed...
    Antikythera mechanism (Ancient Greece)
    Difference Engine Charles Babbage 1822 (British)
    First programmable electronic computer Konrad Zuse
    1936 (German)
    Telecommunications
    satellite: The first satellite was Sputnik 1957 (Russian)
    The first 'proper' communications satellite was
    Telstar 1962 (a joint US, British and French venture)
    LCD TV: again, its hard to say when this technology 'began',
    but Marconi held the first relevant liquid crystal
    patent in 1936 (British)
    Internet: Vincent Cerf (American) certainly developed the
    Internet protocols in 1973, but I'd argue that Tim
    Berners-Lee's invention of the World Wide Web in
    1989 (British) was also vital for developing the
    modern Internet.

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  • 199. At 1:33pm on 21 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    175. At 8:29pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    The Us government of FDR was not simply a cipher. And governments make treaties and laws. And government's levy wars.

    I think you are confusing what a White House administration is capable of doing in terms of governance, and within the framework of our constitutionally mandated systems of government, with some idealized version of how things ought to work. And at this point I'm thinking that in certain circumstances you'd be fine with an absolute monarchy or fascist dictatorship with a rubberstamping legislative body at its beck and call. One without a pesky little thing called a loyal opposition to ruin its day. Or maybe you are simply unaware that FDR had even less power to intervene in foreign conflicts than later presidents did and do. Or that a treaty negotiated isn't the same as a treaty ratified into law by Congress.

    The treaty of versailles, signed by the US and then ignored is not relevant in this discussion as is the league of Nations, actually set up by the US and then ignored.

    Allowing the Germans to rearm after WWI in violation of that treaty is irrelevant? Given the size and scope of their Blitzkriegs, I think not.

    As for the League of Nations, what a President suggests and encourages, does not a binding obligation make on this nation. Perhaps you missed the bit where Wilson laid the groundwork for the Covenant in secret, then sprang the idea on Congress without any warning. Never a good idea, as George Washington himself found out when he negotiated a treaty with several indigenous tribes then told Congress they just needed to ratify it for him and all would be well.

    Congress, despite some evidence to the contrary, is generally made up of sane, educated individuals who, not surprisingly, have opinions of their own. That Congress didn't ratify the League of Nations Covenant, aka the treaty that would have allowed the US to join it, is what kept us out of the League. What Wilson wanted and what Wilson could make happen, like FDR wanting to enter the war earlier, are two different things.

    There is no evidence whatsoever that the US was in the slightest interested in the fate of Czechoslovakia - if anything it urged greater appeasement.

    Why would we be interested in the fate of Czechoslovakia in 1939? What strategic or economic value did that country have for us? And of course greater appeasement was urged in certain quarters. Did I not say that there were many men in government at the time who wanted Hitler to win?

    Britain and france went to war and WWII started because they honoured their treaty obligation to Poland. Perhaps you should listen to the ultimatum.

    I've heard it. Too little, too late. Your honor was already besmirched.

    Finally my point stands and you have not answered it. If the Us had in 1940 offered Churchill a strong treaty do you contend he would have turned it down.

    Answer no.


    I did answer you. You just didn't like the response. No treaty would have been forthcoming for the above stated reasons, so speculating on what shoulda, coulda, woulda been is pointless.

    So you are saying the Nazi "government" was not immoral? Is that what you are saying?
    I think you had better think about that one a little more. You seem to have national governments mixed up with the admin of your local cubs group.
    There is a strong difference.
    Incidently who drafts and passes these laws and ensures their enforcement? Pixies?


    And I think you need to take a step back and rethink the fact that you are comparing a sociopathic military dictatorship to a functioning democracy. Which definitely falls under the heading of apples and oranges.

    5. And since there was no "Good Samaritan" law, whereby the government, without first debating the issue and declaring war, was required to go to war, the US had no choice but to stay out of the fight.

    This is bizzare. What are you talking about. Are you trying to say that US governemnt can't enter into mutual defence treaties with other countries? News to Japan, Israel, Taiwan, Australia etc.


    No, I am saying the law was the law. And there was no law in the US that said Congress, the President, the military, or Joe who owned the soda shop on the corner, had to lift one finger to help anyone in Europe at the time. I also didn't say that the US couldn't enter into mutual defense treaties ever. What I said was that the US didn't do mutual defense treaties with Europe, or anyone in those days. And why should they have? The US was fairly well isolated, and the technology to easily attack your enemies across oceans did not exist.

    Look, if you want to study history, you have to study it in context. You are applying late 20th century, post WWII sensibilities to a period of time where those sensibilities didn't exist. You are imagining that the world and its people were identical to the one we have now. They weren't and they aren't. And quite frankly, I'm growing tired of debating history with someone who has no sense of perspective on that history. All the rest of your comment was simply more of the same, wherein you conflated what should have been with what could have been based on modern ideals. So I'm just going to leave it here, with one final comment: Stop assuming the US government functions like a monolithic entity. There is no Ring of Power the President wears. One party does not rule it all. The several branches of government work independently of each other. And everything gets debated and subjected to a vote.

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  • 200. At 1:40pm on 21 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    189. At 07:57am on 21 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    May I also mention Cossacks?

    Feel free.

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  • 201. At 3:23pm on 21 Aug 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 197, sayasay

    "I guess Rumsfeld was right, nothing to do with nation building, always about keeping the oil customers happy."

    Transforming a pathetic President into a "war President" to guarantee his re-election, and giving the American people the illusion that we were retaliating against those responsible for 9/11 were major considerations as well.

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  • 202. At 3:44pm on 21 Aug 2010, McJakome wrote:

    199. At 1:33pm on 21 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote
    RE 175:

    True words and well spoken. However, having tried myself to get through to such people I am not really confident that they will pay any attention to anything that punctures their out-of-phase-with-reality world view.

    Thanks for trying.

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  • 203. At 4:58pm on 21 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    At the time, there was not much left to do in Afgahnistan. All the bad guys pretty much high-tailed into Pakistan. Bush could have went to war with Pakistan by following them into the country. Another strike against him I suppose.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And that reminds me when wmd in iraq not located, the americans pathetically floated the beautiful idea that saddam shifted them to syria and even iran....Not alqaida bad guys found dead or alive in afghanistan, you generally assumed they crossed the border...The mountains in afghanistan bombed were just bombed because "yes, we can"?? You think the border between afghanistan and pakistan is as open as texas mexcio or arizona mexico border? usa could have attacked pakistan but it didnt, if he did, afghan/pak would have been worse than 2 vietnams taken together and mulitiplied by two...As far as iraq is concerned, consider it a diversion, the americans needed sometime, to involve pakistan and then wait out so that it wouldnt have to attack it by the soldiers, who love to serve their countries, but hate to die for it..

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  • 204. At 5:15pm on 21 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Canada and Mexico, two biggest exporters of oil to U.S. come to mind. :)
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And create havoc and unstablity in its own backyard?...which genius in usa, mexico and canada would even think about such a thing...

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  • 205. At 6:47pm on 21 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re#198 Nuclear reactor:

    1st nuclear reactor has been built in the U.S. That Fermi was an immigrant is irrelevant since America is a country of immigrants.


    [BTW. You are not suggesting that the thermonuclear bomb has been invented by Hungary and Poland, because Edward Teller was Hungarian and Stanisław Ulam -Polish?)

    Or a rocket which took Americans to the Moon (Saturn V) was designed by Germans because certain Wernher von Braun...;)]





    Internet in its basic concept and design was invented and created in PENTAGON (by ARPA and USAF scientists), with www. being merely a small, although best known part of the Net.[please, read on it]

    BTW Internet II - has also been designed with a significant DARPA input.

    Just as GPS II.

    Nota bene my original post was not inteded to claim that everything or even most of critical importance in realms of modern science and technology (e.g., particle accelerator, transistor, IC , etc.) has been invented/created by the U.S.


    Merely to point out Americans have contributed a little more besides jazz and Coca-Cola...

    Rock&roll and Pepsi as well.



    [I'm sure somebody will mention ICBM, stealth bomber and UAV sooner or later anyway.]





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  • 206. At 6:50pm on 21 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    203 CA,

    "Not alqaida bad guys found dead or alive in afghanistan, you generally assumed they crossed the border...The mountains in afghanistan bombed were just bombed because "yes, we can"?"

    Plenty of bad guy's were found dead in Afghanistan with the trail leading into the mountains of Pakistan. Some were taken alive. I know you think little of the fighting abilities of American solders, so it must cut against the grain for you to realize those strapping lads of jihad tucked tail and ran. IMO, it was the one sensible and rational thing they did.

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  • 207. At 7:07pm on 21 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #204

    Co how is an invasion of US Army transport helicopters (Chinooks and some such) proceeding in Pakistan?

    Would you like to see more of them, or should we move them to Mexico to help in dusting certain local crops?

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  • 208. At 7:28pm on 21 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Plenty of bad guy's were found dead in Afghanistan with the trail leading into the mountains of Pakistan. Some were taken alive. I know you think little of the fighting abilities of American solders, so it must cut against the grain for you to realize those strapping lads of jihad tucked tail and ran. IMO, it was the one sensible and rational thing they did.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Allow me to enlighten you, or remind you, those alqauida guys arent stupid, would you get escape from lions den to find refuge among the hyneas? Its an argument of convience and to unstable pakistan that everyone just starts believing what your leaders believe in..Allow me to also inform you, that right after 9th of 11th of your lord's year 2001, the border was sealed...the people from afghanistan who tried to again flee to pakistan to escape bombing of usa, were all blocked on afghan side of the border..You should have been there to witness the ruthlessness of your leaders and their favourite president general of pakistan..The non pathans from all over the world, excpet the white europeans, were whisked off...The somalians, and the chechens and many many more, who had been living there after end of ussr/afghan war, were suddenly delcared terrorists, The evilness that was created in those areas in the name of 9/11 still screams in those areas...

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  • 209. At 7:36pm on 21 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    I know you think little of the fighting abilities of American solders,
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I dont think little of the fighting abilities of american soldiers, I see no ablities, because they dont fight...In iraq they relied first on mercernieris the private soldiers around the world, and then local militias, in afghanistan, they used northern alliance as infantry, when ground was secure by the infantry, the american soldiers landed in their camps, and hardly venture out...to have some skirmish...And in Pakistan, they rely on pakistani military....And this is how it has kept the casuality down, and not let these wars become vietnams..Your soldiers cannot even take up taliban and you want me to believe in their abilities...

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  • 210. At 7:39pm on 21 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Co how is an invasion of US Army transport helicopters (Chinooks and some such) proceeding in Pakistan?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tell them also to open the airforce base in the south of pakistan so that pakistan can fly its own helicopters in the south of the country...If americans wouldnt come from afghanistan to drop the aid, pakistani military will have to do itself, and if it did it and enganged its helicopters, who will fight for you up in the north?

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  • 211. At 7:55pm on 21 Aug 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    So you think that the US has left Iraq?
    Give up that idea!
    The United States' military is leaving (or will leave) Iraq in the foreseeable future. The last Iraq-based US combat brigade, the 4th Stryker Brigade, quit Iraq this week, but this leaves some 56,000 stationed across Iraq - 6,000 of whom are scheduled to leave Sept. 1, 2010.
    The remaining 50,000 troops are going to be there for a very long time. The Americans have put a lot of money and are continuing to put a lot of money into building a number of bases - at least one very large airbase, several bases around the immediate vicinity of Baghdad and of course, an extremely large embassy.
    These 50,000 are supposed to lead a PERMANENT mission. They are serving open-ended active duty in the Balad and al-Asad airbases to the north and west of Baghdad respectively, the Victoria base in the capital, as well as the Nasiriyah base south of the country.
    In addition, the White House has announced plans to increase the number of the American security CONTRACTORS to 7,000. So, now we have 57,000 Americans that are intended to form a "rapid reaction force for rescue operations”. (Whatever happened to Secretary of Defense Gates' intention to draw down the reliance on contractors?)
    The State Department plans to open 4 diplomatic offices outside Baghdad by the end of 2011; this is supposedly after all US military troops have left Iraq. Three of the offices will be in the north to deal with tensions between Arabs and Kurds over oil and territory.
    Permanent consulates will be established in the southern city of Basra and in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan in the north - cost @ $1.5B. The Basra office is near southern Iraq's oil fields and the country's only port, Umm Qasr. It will focus on helping US companies begin operations. Diplomats in Erbil will work on managing Arab-Kurdish tensions that threaten the long-term stability of Iraq, as well as on Turkish-Kurdish relations. Embassy branch offices will be built in the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk and in Mosul. The temporary offices will be open for three to five years and will focus on Arab-Kurd relations.
    Bigger than the Vatican and 10 times larger than any other U.S. embassy, the diplomatic compound spreads across 104 acres and 21 buildings and includes a movie theater, retail shops, restaurants, schools and a fire station. Iraqis still struggle with constant blackouts but inside the embassy compound power, water treatment, sewage treatment and telecommunications facilities offer self-sufficiency for the American diplomats.
    To pay for the increased presence in Iraq, the State Department will need to convince Congress that spending more money on diplomacy is cheap compared to military operations.
    In concvlision, Volker has predicted that the US Embassy in Kabul may someday surpass the one in Baghdad.
    End of American intervention?
    Give up that idea!

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  • 212. At 8:02pm on 21 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    US drones kill 6 in northwest Pakistan

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/as_pakistan

    Bombs, bombs, food packet, bomb, food packet.......That was usa's strategy when it started its bombing attack 9 yrs ago..Nine yrs later, same thing....

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  • 213. At 8:11pm on 21 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    208 CA,

    " Allow me to enlighten you, or remind you, those alqauida guys arent stupid, would you get escape from lions den to find refuge among the hyneas?"

    So where did they go hide for the next few years to lick their wounds? Whatever cave it was makes no difference to me. The point is they were beaten and forced to run.


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  • 214. At 8:38pm on 21 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    So where did they go hide for the next few years to lick their wounds? Whatever cave it was makes no difference to me. The point is they were beaten and forced to run.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And I bet that makes you proud....Heehaw! If the goal was to force them to run, that could have been acheived with much lesser finacial cost, but I guess, the americans had to expearnce the "heehaw" feelings and a false sense of victory by fighting the world's worst combat equipped people...Fighting real armies can kill your soldiers......

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  • 215. At 9:14pm on 21 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    209 CA,

    "I dont think little of the fighting abilities of american soldiers, I see no ablities, because they dont fight...In iraq they relied first on mercernieris the private soldiers around the world, and then local militias..."

    Yes, I'm sure the Iraqi army and Republican guard would agree with you that American soldiers don't fight. This probably explains why the insurgents had to turn to killing innocent civilians instead.


    "in afghanistan, they used northern alliance as infantry, when ground was secure by the infantry, the american soldiers landed in their camps, and hardly venture out...to have some skirmish."

    It only took a few americans along with their allies to see your brave lads run for the hill's. It must be galling.


    "And in Pakistan, they rely on pakistani military."

    And your point?

    "And this is how it has kept the casuality down, and not let these wars become vietnams."

    The difference is the Vietnamese were better fighters and had more guts.


    "Your soldiers cannot even take up taliban and you want me to believe in their abilities."

    Please keep telling yourselves Americans soldiers are inferior, American soldiers are inferior, that kind of thinking leads to paradise.

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  • 216. At 9:24pm on 21 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    214 CA,

    " And I bet that makes you proud....Heehaw! If the goal was to force them to run, that could have been acheived with much lesser finacial cost, but I guess, the americans had to expearnce the "heehaw" feelings and a false sense of victory by fighting the world's worst combat equipped people...Fighting real armies can kill your soldiers."

    I beleive you said American soldiers don't fight and used the northern alliance to do it's fighting for them. Please, make up your mind!

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  • 217. At 9:50pm on 21 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 218. At 10:06pm on 21 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    rodidog, . this post was my reply....Now, think a bit harder, and you will come to the answer which I gave, yourself...My mind is made up, the northern alliance is your infantry...and if the aim was to force the alqaida to run it would have been acheived at a very low cost, without a war..


    217 At 9:50pm on 21 Aug 2010, you wrote:
    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

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  • 219. At 10:09pm on 21 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    The difference is the Vietnamese were better fighters and had more guts.


    "Your soldiers cannot even take up taliban and you want me to believe in their abilities."

    Please keep telling yourselves Americans soldiers are inferior, American soldiers are inferior, that kind of thinking leads to paradise.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    the vietnamese had more guts, and more weapons, more countries supporting them, and they made the americans soldiers run for their lives from the roof top...taliban have less guts, much less weapons, and they have put up a 9 yr fight with american soldiers...

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  • 220. At 10:55pm on 21 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    207. At 7:07pm on 21 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    Re #204

    Co how is an invasion of US Army transport helicopters (Chinooks and some such) proceeding in Pakistan?

    Would you like to see more of them, or should we move them to Mexico to help in dusting certain local crops?"
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not a good idea US soldiers and certain "substances", not a good mix.

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  • 221. At 11:41pm on 21 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    199. At 1:33pm on 21 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:
    175. At 8:29pm on 20 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    The Us government of FDR was not simply a cipher. And governments make treaties and laws. And government's levy wars.

    I think you are confusing what a White House administration is capable of doing in terms of governance, and within the framework of our constitutionally mandated systems of government, with some idealized version of how things ought to work."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I think you are fairly desperately trying to find some spurious disenagement where none exists

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    " And at this point I'm thinking that in certain circumstances you'd be fine with an absolute monarchy or fascist dictatorship with a rubberstamping legislative body at its beck and call."
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    I see so you are saying the UK, Australia, Canada etc were all fascist dictatorships because their governments were able to see the problem of Hitler a lot earlier than the US

    Very Bizzare.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    One without a pesky little thing called a loyal opposition to ruin its day. Or maybe you are simply unaware that FDR had even less power to intervene in foreign conflicts than later presidents did and do. Or that a treaty negotiated isn't the same as a treaty ratified into law by Congress."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    News to Teddy Roosevelt, Lincoln and all the presidents who sent troops into practically every Latin American country. I suspect you do not know much about Government.

    Incidently a president's ability to initiate military action has been limited in modern times, not extended - in light of Cambodia.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    The treaty of versailles, signed by the US and then ignored is not relevant in this discussion as is the league of Nations, actually set up by the US and then ignored."

    Allowing the Germans to rearm after WWI in violation of that treaty is irrelevant? Given the size and scope of their Blitzkriegs, I think not. "
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Totally irrelelvant in that after 1936 no one even cited Versailles and few the League of Nations. These were not the issues when it became clear Germany, as you say, was rearming.

    The first thing British PM CHamberlain did on achieving office was try to drive through a radical rearmament programme (contrary to Churchillian propaganda). He didn't sit around whining about Versailles
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As for the League of Nations, what a President suggests and encourages, does not a binding obligation make on this nation. Perhaps you missed the bit where Wilson laid the groundwork for the Covenant in secret, then sprang the idea on Congress without any warning. Never a good idea, as George Washington himself found out when he negotiated a treaty with several indigenous tribes then told Congress they just needed to ratify it for him and all would be well."
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Irrelevant. Wilson spoke for the US and made the setting up of the League one of his 14 points whihc he revealed to Congress in Jan 1918 - 10 months before the war ended.

    Quite how this equates to "springing" it on them is anyone's guess.

    Oh and the 14 points were more than mere suggestions or talking points.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Congress, despite some evidence to the contrary, is generally made up of sane, educated individuals who, not surprisingly, have opinions of their own. That Congress didn't ratify the League of Nations Covenant, aka the treaty that would have allowed the US to join it, is what kept us out of the League. What Wilson wanted and what Wilson could make happen, like FDR wanting to enter the war earlier, are two different things."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well it wasn't very sane to set up and organisation and then do nothing to support it was it?

    This was also the congress that helped push prohibition - again not exactly a sane measure in a country which had seen alcohol bought and drunk for all of its existence.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There is no evidence whatsoever that the US was in the slightest interested in the fate of Czechoslovakia - if anything it urged greater appeasement.

    Why would we be interested in the fate of Czechoslovakia in 1939? What strategic or economic value did that country have for us? And of course greater appeasement was urged in certain quarters. Did I not say that there were many men in government at the time who wanted Hitler to win?"
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    But your point seemed to be that the US could not trust the UK because of Munich.

    I point out this can hardly be the case since the US felt the same way.

    But my point is that after Munich it was clear to anyone in the US, as it was to Australians 10,000 miles away, that Hitler was danger that needed to be stopped.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Britain and france went to war and WWII started because they honoured their treaty obligation to Poland. Perhaps you should listen to the ultimatum.

    I've heard it. Too little, too late. Your honor was already besmirched."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well, at least we had some honor. The US had none. And if declaring war is "too little" what would you suggest - a Southern Baptist prayer fest?

    Britain and France declared war. The US practically (not completely)sat on its hands. And later thousands of its young men died and were wounded who could have been spared.

    Not much honor there.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Finally my point stands and you have not answered it. If the Us had in 1940 offered Churchill a strong treaty do you contend he would have turned it down.

    Answer no.

    I did answer you. You just didn't like the response. No treaty would have been forthcoming for the above stated reasons, so speculating on what shoulda, coulda, woulda been is pointless."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    We are discussing and you just avoid the issue because you know the answer

    And we already know no treaty or agreement was forthcoming - tha is er my point. Do keep up

    Your only point seems to be that the US Government is mysteriously powerless in foreign affairs and this is why it ignored a threat which could, potentially have lead ultimately to its own desruction, or at leat diminishment.

    That does not make sense.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So you are saying the Nazi "government" was not immoral? Is that what you are saying?
    I think you had better think about that one a little more. You seem to have national governments mixed up with the admin of your local cubs group.
    There is a strong difference.
    Incidently who drafts and passes these laws and ensures their enforcement? Pixies?

    And I think you need to take a step back and rethink the fact that you are comparing a sociopathic military dictatorship to a functioning democracy. Which definitely falls under the heading of apples and oranges."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Nazis were not a military dictatorship - did you not know even this?

    ANd you made the point about governments being "amoral" - something that I think most of those involved in the current US government, much less the one in 1939 - would come as a surprise.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------


    This is bizzare. What are you talking about. Are you trying to say that US governemnt can't enter into mutual defence treaties with other countries? News to Japan, Israel, Taiwan, Australia etc.

    No, I am saying the law was the law. And there was no law in the US that said Congress, the President, the military, or Joe who owned the soda shop on the corner, had to lift one finger to help anyone in Europe at the time. I also didn't say that the US couldn't enter into mutual defense treaties ever. What I said was that the US didn't do mutual defense treaties with Europe, or anyone in those days. And why should they have? The US was fairly well isolated, and the technology to easily attack your enemies across oceans did not exist."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ridiculous. We know the US did not enter or offer any treaties, that is the point at issue!

    What am I saying is that it could have and it should have done for the simple reason that the triumph of Nazism would hardly have been in the US best interest in any objective observation.

    And it was up to the US government, with its duty to protect its people to make this clear.

    No country, as I have said before, be it Britain, France etc population actually wanted war. But they realised, as the US should have realised that such was inevitable.

    Unless you are saying, grotesquely that the thousands of US servicemen who died battling from France to the Elbe and airmen washed ashore in the North Sea or torn apart by German guns were in some myserious and weird way a "price worth paying" for earlier indifference.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Look, if you want to study history, you have to study it in context. You are applying late 20th century, post WWII sensibilities to a period of time where those sensibilities didn't exist."
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well I am now teaching it. Hopefully some facts will sink in.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    You are imagining that the world and its people were identical to the one we have now. They weren't and they aren't. And quite frankly, I'm growing tired of debating history with someone who has no sense of perspective on that history."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    And you are just imagining. Someone who babbles about "bismirched honor" should not try to lecture anyone on history - it is not an honor game.

    Just accept your points are incongrous and you view on the US Government's authority is frankly naive in the extreme.

    And try to follow an argument.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    All the rest of your comment was simply more of the same, wherein you conflated what should have been with what could have been based on modern ideals. So I'm just going to leave it here, with one final comment: Stop assuming the US government functions like a monolithic entity. There is no Ring of Power the President wears. One party does not rule it all. The several branches of government work independently of each other. And everything gets debated and subjected to a vote."
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Perhaps you could read a few books and stop tying yourself in knots trying to justify a position you patently do not understand.

    Your view of government is well nigh farcical. Maybe a good basic history of the US armed forces operations might help?

    You are going to be astonished at their range of operations - many without a formal vote.

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  • 222. At 11:44pm on 21 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:


    189. At 07:57am on 21 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    Gavrielle wrote :"If there are bitter Poles and Czechs, I'd say more than half that bitterness is due to being sold out by the British. Do you honestly think that in 1940 we'd honor a nation that refused to respect its own military obligations by proposing such a treaty?"



    May I also mention Cossacks?"
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The US or the Russian kind?

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  • 223. At 11:54pm on 21 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    184. At 11:56pm on 20 Aug 2010, Scott0962 wrote:
    re. #52. At 2:32pm on 19 Aug 2010, Sat2121 wrote:
    "Correct me if I'm wrong but the US didn't have the guts to fight for anybodies freedom in the Pacific until they were first attacked by Japan, neither did they wish to involve themselves in fighting Nazi Germany until after Hitler had declared war on the US, forcing a retaliatory declaration by the US."

    In the period between WWI and WWI the U.S. military was downsized to a peacetime force. Modernization proceeded slowly because the defense budget was kept low while FDR focused on his stimulus programs to try to bring us out of the Great Depression. We didn't have a military big enough to be a serious threat to anyone. FDR did try to deter Japanese militarism in China by imposing a trade embargo on Japan, it was what led the Japanases government to commit itself to war."
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well neither did anyone, save perhaps the Soviets. The Germans were trying but they were suffering the effects of a lack of production
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    nd yet British trade represetnatives were lined up at American factories ordering aircraft, ammunition and other war materiel so there must havefor those supplies to the halfway point in the Altlantic in order to free up British forces."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    ANd all of these had to be paid for, they were not given freely. This by a country whose citizens were dying in war the US could have helped diminish if not prevent.

    Oh and when war was declared Canada delayed by a week.

    This is becasue the US still had a nifty little idea of not shippin weapons to belligerents and neutral Canada could therefore take delivery as a neutral before shipping them on to Britain.

    A complete farce.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    American air patrols regularly spotted and reported German submarine positions to the Royal Navy. The U.S. allowed the Chinese Air Force to recruit active duty American military pilots for service with the AVG prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. So while we weren't technically at war we weren't exactly neutral either."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    No neither was Ireland but as help it wasn't much and it gave the Axis great confidence.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As opposed to the selfless wars of other nations? And what resources and markets were we protecting in Korea and Vietnam? They had no resources to speak of and they offered a very small market for our goods. If you're referring to the Gulf War then yes, we fought for oil; so did France, Britain, and a dozen other countries because like it or not the world's economy runs on oil and Saddam Hussein threatened a good chunk of the world's oil supplies. If you're referring to the invasion of Iraq then you're just flat wrong: Iraq was already selling oil under UN supervision and Iraq's production level hasn't improved much since before the invasion. If we were going to invade anyplace for oil there are closer countries with much smaller militaries than those of Iraq under Saddam Hussein."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Iraq has huge oil supplies and the US invasion put these under US control (not ownership - control) The fact that the invasion turned out to be a fiasco for the US was not predicted. It was supposed to be a "glorious little war".

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  • 224. At 00:00am on 22 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    190. At 08:05am on 21 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    Re #177

    "Britain and France appeased Germany and sacrificed Czechoslovakia to postpone war, then effectively abandoned Poland when if finally began."


    Look up 'drole de guerre.'

    And listen again to to the famous French cabaret artist Maurice Chevalier's song of 1939:

    "Who wants to die for Gdansk?"


    As it turned the French weren't willing to die even for Paris.

    With France becoming a R&R center for Wermacht.
    To put it euphemistically."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Who wants to die for Georgia eh? Not even one US policeman.

    And yes the occupation of France was a disgrace.

    What a pity the US still could not bring itself to declare war on that nice Mr Hitler.


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  • 225. At 00:03am on 22 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    202. At 3:44pm on 21 Aug 2010, JMM wrote:
    199. At 1:33pm on 21 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote
    RE 175:

    True words and well spoken. However, having tried myself to get through to such people I am not really confident that they will pay any attention to anything that punctures their out-of-phase-with-reality world view.

    Thanks for trying.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That depends on the world you are living in doesn' it.

    And as I proved (because my opponent had no facts) the US in 1939 was in cloud cuckoo land and remained there to its great cost, for two more years.

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  • 226. At 02:03am on 22 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    185. At 00:30am on 21 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    "Removing Saddam from power was never the objective even if it proved short sighted. Events should be taken in context."

    "On what grounds do you believe six more months of war would have saved tens of thousands of Iraqi lives? Would we not have had a similar scenario, if not worse, going into Baghdad in 1990 as compared to 2003?"

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

    "I disagree and IMO, pulling out of Mogadishu proved more fateful. Bush lost his job because of the economy and because he reneged on "read my lips, no new taxes". I do not recall anyone suggesting at the time it was because of the gulf war."

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

    Removing Saddam Hussein was never the stated objective, but everybody hoped it would happen nonetheless.

    I believe that six more hours would have been enough. The French were within sight of the outskirts of Baghdad - and there were no Iraqi forces between them and the city. If allied forces had entered Baghdad, in my view it is highly probable that Saddam Hussein would have fallen. Dissenting military units were already blaming him for the defeat - to the extent that tank crews were firing at the huge murals of Saddam in Basra(?).

    The Allied force at the time was much bigger (3 times the size, or more) and had a much broader base of international support and participation, and it was genuinely welcomed in various parts of Iraq, both in the South, and, later, in terms of American involvement to support the quasi-independent Kurdish enclaves in the north.

    The first war raised the hopes of many in Iraq that they were about to be liberated from Saddam Hussein. When the allies failed to do this, and when he held onto power, the retribution was merciless, and the disappointment among the populace correspondingly bitter.

    So yes, I do believe the conditions in 1990 were much better than in 2003.

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

    In 1984 we had a provincial election. The only real issue was the very unwise decision to extend public funding of a sectarian school system. The press resolutely refused to cover the story, yet that was why the government was thrown out (it had been in power for 43 years).

    Much the same thing happened in the 2006 provincial election. The big issue was the very unwise campaign promise of the leader of that same party (then in opposition) to extend public funding to other schools of other religious groups, largely in response to pressure from various Jewish and Evangelical Christian groups who felt it was unfair to fund one religious school system, but not theirs.

    However, what voters envisioned was some future "Osama bin Ladin High School-and-Madrassa". The election was a landslide defeat. The leader of the Official Opposition did not even win his own seat.

    Only one news outlet was brave enough to put its finger on the real reason for the defeat: The Rick Mercer Report on CBC.

    Similarly, I remember the US Presidential election of 1992, and all the things you say are true. Clinton's campaign line "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" was devastating. Fair enough.

    But nonetheless, the days of George Bush, Sr., were numbered as soon as he made that awful, fateful decision to halt. America loves Presidents who win wars. But if you are perceived as having lost a war that you should have won - and in this case through unforgivable stupidity, well, it's much different. It marked him. From then on everything stuck to him (contrast his predecessor: the Teflon(t.m.) President).

    And the news services refused to cover it, just as the news services here didn't want to cover the religious school funding issue in this province.

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  • 227. At 04:57am on 22 Aug 2010, sayasay wrote:

    #185 rodidog
    I thought President Bush, Snr’s decision not to pursue the war into Iraq was a good one. Remember the old adage about keeping your enemy closer to you. What Bush was a twist to this old saying, if you want to keep your friends close to you, make sure they and you have a common enemy. I am referring to the Saudis and the rest of the Arabs in the allied contingent. At that time, as long as there is Sadam, there is dependency on USA’s security arrangement. This reminds us somewhat of the UK-USA special relations.
    And if this lot had toppled Sadam, well, you could just imagine the ensuing melee and acrimony among the governments of conquering allied troops, as they divide Iraq into ‘this one for you, that one for him and so on’. Whereas in the current Iraqi invasion, it was ‘all for me, USA’ and the rest of you ‘take care of this, and take care of that’. President Bush, Snr like all the USA presidents can always be relied on to do the ‘real-time manipulative cartography’. As for the future, when we get there, then, “what we can do, we do”.

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  • 228. At 05:59am on 22 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    226 IF,

    "I believe that six more hours would have been enough. The French were within sight of the outskirts of Baghdad - and there were no Iraqi forces between them and the city. If allied forces had entered Baghdad, in my view it is highly probable that Saddam Hussein would have fallen"

    You could be right. However, the Republican Guard "Baghdad" Division was stationed in Baghdad throughout the Gulf War. They certainly would have put up a fight for the city which makes me somewhat doubtful about your conclusion.
    ----------------

    "The first war raised the hopes of many in Iraq that they were about to be liberated from Saddam Hussein. When the allies failed to do this, and when he held onto power, the retribution was merciless, and the disappointment among the populace correspondingly bitter."

    A very good point. While I disagree with you on the ease in which Baghdad could be taken, I have to agree that the transition most likely would have ran smoother for the reasons you stated. A question that just came to me is if Iraq would have remained one country in 1990 as opposed to now. Assuming that matters.

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  • 229. At 06:10am on 22 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    226 IF,

    "But nonetheless, the days of George Bush, Sr., were numbered as soon as he made that awful, fateful decision to halt. America loves Presidents who win wars. But if you are perceived as having lost a war that you should have won - and in this case through unforgivable stupidity, well, it's much different. It marked him. From then on everything stuck to him (contrast his predecessor: the Teflon(t.m.) President)."

    I understand your point and in hind sight I might agree. But, I really do not remember this as an issue that caused Bush his job. IMO, the reason he lost was because of the economy and Ross Perot splitting the republican vote.

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  • 230. At 06:35am on 22 Aug 2010, sayasay wrote:

    #199, Gavrielle_Laposte
    I agree with “you want to study history, you have to study it in context… You are imagining that the world and its people were identical to the one we have now. They weren't and they aren't”.
    Maybe it’s because I was raised in an extended family where all my uncles fought as guerrilla fighters in the Indonesian War of Independence while my own father preferred the no-less patriotic but more safe duty of being a smuggler-trader for the insurgents, all this happening about 20 or more years before I was born.
    One thing I learn when these older folks reminisced about their ‘great war’: in very military undertaking no matter whether executed in haste or after some deliberate time delay, there are underlying cold-blooded narratives ranging from cost-benefit analysis for a measured response to passive intentional procrastination just on the hope that everything ‘bad’ will go away.
    It surprised me that some posters expect urgent and immediate response like an emergency Ambulance service; only a phone-call away and in-keeping with some key-performance-indicators of efficiency and efficacy in life-or-death situations. Or that some posters think that if the soldiers do not do their ‘gung-ho and ra-ra bit with machine gun blazing’ are simply skiving and lack fortitude.
    This is the 21st century, there is, perhaps, a requirement for the military of only measured responses, which are made suitable for the cameras and worldwide TV audience. Take the Bosnian War, the NATO did well delaying entry into the conflict. If they had come in sooner, they had to take on the still very energetic Serbs, which could prove too costly for NATO. Go in later, the Serbs would have been spent and easily subdued, whilst the Bosnians who were near exhaustion would have been eternally grateful, and both are now more malleable for compromised solutions. This life-and-death situation with grave humanitarian undertones did not warrant urgency… only measured responses. Welcome to the new century of warfare.

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  • 231. At 06:39am on 22 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    227 Sayasay,

    "And if this lot had toppled Sadam, well, you could just imagine the ensuing melee and acrimony among the governments of conquering allied troops, as they divide Iraq into ‘this one for you, that one for him and so on’."

    An interesting point.

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  • 232. At 06:45am on 22 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    218 CA,

    I did not get to read your post at 217. What you wrote in 218 is similar to 214, so...see my post at 216. My response there works for both.

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  • 233. At 06:57am on 22 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    219 CA,

    "the vietnamese had more guts, and more weapons, more countries supporting them, and they made the americans soldiers run for their lives from the roof top...taliban have less guts, much less weapons, and they have put up a 9 yr fight with american soldiers..."

    Yes, the Vietnamese were braver (more guts) and better fighters than the Taliban. As for the Taliban lasting for 9 years, well, that happens when you run away and hide in caves.

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  • 234. At 11:59am on 22 Aug 2010, Three Million Posse On Employed In A Dub wrote:

    US Poll: Many Still See Obama As Muslim
    ----------------------------------------------
    But it’s okay to be Muslim anyway ..

    Confucius* say:

    Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star.


    (Chinese thinker and social philosopher.)
    (✱)= Confucius ✰ Zion Bound. ✡

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  • 235. At 4:45pm on 22 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "Take the Bosnian War, the NATO did well delaying entry into the conflict. If they had come in sooner, they had to take on the still very energetic Serbs, which could prove too costly for NATO. Go in later, the Serbs would have been spent and easily subdued, whilst the Bosnians who were near exhaustion would have been eternally grateful, and both are now more malleable for compromised solutions."

    ____________

    Wow, do I ever disagree with this.

    Something like 300,000 people lost their lives in that war while the pusillanimous European members of NATO "gravely deplored" Serbian actions, and then played a game of "After you Alphonse. No, after you Gaston."

    The Serbian army was not in any way "exhausted" by the time American air strikes started. There is no evidence to would have been either more or less costly, but, having dealt with bullies more than once in my life, generally speaking if you fail to stand up to them early on, their behaviour simply gets worse and worse. I believe that failure to do so eventually led to the massacres at Srebrenica and elsewhere. It seems far more likely to me that much earlier action by the major European NATO powers would have prevented many, many deaths.

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  • 236. At 4:49pm on 22 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    229. At 06:10am on 22 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    "But, I really do not remember this as an issue that caused Bush his job."

    [[Because nobody in the press was interested in covering it. The official line was that the war was a brilliant victory.]]


    "IMO, the reason he lost was because of the economy and Ross Perot splitting the republican vote."

    [[I agree with this, too, but go back a bit further. What made the ground so fertile for Perot to run?]]

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  • 237. At 6:01pm on 22 Aug 2010, Tinkersdamn wrote:

    The George H.W. Bush administration recieved UN approval for the 1990 Persian Gulf War to remove Iraq from Kuwait on the condition it not invade Iraq. This condition was critical for the support of many nations, especially the Soviet Union. At that time the Soviet Union was in the process of dissolving, becoming essentially Russia once again, and cooperative contact was important. They were also a significant arms supplier to Iraq and surely had useful intelligence.

    Secretary of State James Baker and National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft also publicly cautioned against those arguing to proceed to Baghdad, that Saddam, for all his faults, was able to hold the nation together unlike anyone else they could identify, was a check against Iranian influence in Iraq, and was fighting against the Kurds in the north as were the Turks who we were supporting with military aid. Baker and Scowcroft would go on to make many of these same arguments in an effort to dissuade George W. Bush against proceeding with an occupation of Iraq to no avail.

    George H.W. Bush suffered in his reelection bid largely due to a softening economy. As the recession began to impact his polling numbers, he put forward a proposal to curb the rate of interest credit card companies could charge- noting when adjusting for the lack of inflation that rates were out of historic proportions, and that the economy needed the stimulus. The Wall Street Journal launched a series of editorials describing the "end of capitalism" with virtually all "responsible" media following. Bush retracted his proposal, apologized, and in general media coverage from that moment forward he was portrayed as someone who could do nothing right.

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  • 238. At 6:06pm on 22 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    233. At 06:57am on 22 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:
    219 CA,

    "the vietnamese had more guts, and more weapons, more countries supporting them, and they made the americans soldiers run for their lives from the roof top...taliban have less guts, much less weapons, and they have put up a 9 yr fight with american soldiers..."

    Yes, the Vietnamese were braver (more guts) and better fighters than the Taliban. As for the Taliban lasting for 9 years, well, that happens when you run away and hide in caves.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well General Custer the days when an enemy used to line up neatly ended about 1900, how come you missed that?

    The Taliban have lasted longer than the Imperial Japanese army and the German. And this despite all the assurances this would be a brief war.

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  • 239. At 6:13pm on 22 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    m on 22 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    "Take the Bosnian War, the NATO did well delaying entry into the conflict. If they had come in sooner, they had to take on the still very energetic Serbs, which could prove too costly for NATO. Go in later, the Serbs would have been spent and easily subdued, whilst the Bosnians who were near exhaustion would have been eternally grateful, and both are now more malleable for compromised solutions."

    ____________

    Wow, do I ever disagree with this."

    I agree. This is the first time I have ever heard it a good idea to wait until a potential enemy has won before attacking them.

    Can't think of any strategist who has thought that a good notion

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  • 240. At 6:51pm on 22 Aug 2010, Three Million Posse On Employed In A Dub wrote:

    I am the Magnificent
    Double Barrell

    The Weaponry Industry has been blooming boy
    Gunzalis says Price of Guns, Gone Up, Gone Up

    Guns:

    Shotgun 01: ︻┳═一

    ...
    Shotgun 02: ︻╦̵̵͇̿̿̿̿╤──


    Gun Design 1
    .....____________________ , ,__
    ....../ `---___________----_____] - - - - - - - - ░ ▒▓▓█D
    ...../_==o;;;;;;;;_______.:/
    .....), ---.(_(__) /
    ....// (..) ), ----"
    ...//___//
    ..//___//
    .//___//

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  • 241. At 6:56pm on 22 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    237. At 6:01pm on 22 Aug 2010, Tinkersdamn wrote:
    The George H.W. Bush administration recieved UN approval for the 1990 Persian Gulf War to remove Iraq from Kuwait on the condition it not invade Iraq.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I am glad someone at long last the most important fact...the posts of some who after almost 20 yrs believe that the goal of first gulf war was to somehow to overthrow saddam hussain, neither the world nor the UN nor saudi arabia, jordan egypt had signed on saddam's removal pact with usa..Not even american congress or sentate had passed such a law, that law came years after during Clinton yrs..


    As far as guts of vietnmese vs taliban, well, the thing is, the vietnamese forced the americans troops up the roof to withdraw was that americans had to fight their own war, that war started 20 yrs after 2nd world war, ergo, even usa had difficulty hiring criminals to act as their militias, ussr had gone mad...Afghanistan happened 60 yrs later, the memories of 2 ww have fizzeled out, except for holocaust and celebrating one or two days, ussr is gone, the criminals can be hired to protect american soldiers...And so, when american soldiers fight their own war is the day I am even going to start thinking about their abilities...

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  • 242. At 7:00pm on 22 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    236. At 4:49pm on 22 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    229. At 06:10am on 22 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    "But, I really do not remember this as an issue that caused Bush his job."

    [[Because nobody in the press was interested in covering it. The official line was that the war was a brilliant victory.]]

    But if no one covered it, and everyone was saying what a brilliant job it was, how could it be construed as a reason for Bush losing the election? While I agree some folks were starting to call into question the wisdom of leaving Saddam in power, I just do not believe it resonated with the electorate in 1992.
    ----------


    "IMO, the reason he lost was because of the economy and Ross Perot splitting the republican vote."

    [[I agree with this, too, but go back a bit further. What made the ground so fertile for Perot to run?]]

    The poor economy and deficit spending. Remember all those charts Perot would use to describe out of control spending? I really enjoyed his presentations even though I voted for the other guy. As an aside, Clinton, Bush, and Perot made for some of the funniest SNL shows IMO.

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  • 243. At 7:01pm on 22 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    @Simon21

    You know, I love a good alternative universe "what if" story that re-imagines history as much as the next scifi fan. But if this is how you are teaching history, I can now see why many young Britons come out of university with a skewered view of US history and international relations. Magical thinking and promoting personal/political agendas is hardly appropriate behavior for an educator. Just as mincing words over whether or not the Brown Shirts were part of the government or a paramilitary group that acted on behalf of the governing party as enforcers, while receiving government funds, makes that government less of a military dictatorship - even if that government came into power via an electoral process.

    Facts are facts, whether you like them or not. Or whether or not they fit into your narrow belief system and world view. And since several other Americans posting here have agreed with my analysis, perhaps you should consider the "bizarre" possibility that there is another point of view on the subject. That of the people you insist ought to have been looking after your nation's interests when they had their own, which were just as valid and equally important at the time. Though I doubt you would think so.

    But this is nothing new. I've heard this "America ought to be Europe's slavish lackey" nonsense for years. That our purpose in existing is to live meanly, so Europeans can have the best health care and public services. That we have a duty to invent or advance technology we don't deserve to have for ourselves, so that the rest of the world may benefit. Or that we are uneducated, provincial fools, who should vote the way Europe wants, because Europe is older and knows best and its interests should come first. After all, it's only fair, since we "owe so much" to Europe. Never mind that much of our population's ancestors were driven out of their European homelands at the point of a sword or musket because they practiced the "wrong" religion, held an unpopular political belief, didn't have the right ethnicity, or because some English/Scottish/Irish lord decided that clearing the land of people and replacing them with sheep was a more productive use of their property.

    This is the view that you are essentially espousing, and it is based on a false premise: the one that says your needs count and ours don't. It is not the duty of American citizens to sacrifice for the world's benefit. And it is American blood that you are so self-righteously insisting ought to have been spilled for Europe's sake, long before (as others have pointed out) America was either ready or willing.

    It is you who are living in Cloud Cuckoo Land if you imagine that your revisionist history will somehow convince Americans that they should have entered the war long before Germany declared war on us. And that we should be willing to treat with nations who are given to secretly carving up their allies' territory to insure their own security. If we hadn't known in 1939-40 what the British and French had done to the Poles, we certainly know now. Calling it "irrelevant" is simply your way of avoiding the issue. And unlike some, Americans as a whole, do not suffer from short-term memory loss when it comes to how other nations honor their contractual obligations. It is why we have never, and will never, default on our public debts. And why we do not enter into formal treaties we are not prepared to honor in full - without resorting to the qualifying statement "as best we can". Which is why Europe is now loaded with unnecessary and unprofitable (to us) costly American bases. As per NATO requirements.

    Btw, you need to check your facts. Wilson did not speak for the United States, he spoke for his administration. Congress speaks for the United States as the representatives of the people in General Assembly. And Congress was neither advised nor consulted on the Covenant until Wilson informed them of it in a State of the Union address. He then spent the next six months attempting to gin up support for the idea by traveling around the country giving even more speeches. But the Republicans and Conservative Democrats of the time weren't having any of it. And in July of that year, they voted down the proposal. Those are the facts.

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  • 244. At 7:40pm on 22 Aug 2010, Tinkersdamn wrote:

    Re: 241 colonelartist:

    It's also worth noting the Iraq Liberation Act,signed 10/31/98, long supported by the more 'neo con' Republican crowd, had been resisted by Clinton, until he faced impeachment for an act of consensual sex. When he agreed to ILA, the steam suddenly left the 'morally outraged' Republicans, and the senate voted not to proceed with Clinton's removal from office. Ahhh!- the purity of our policies origins.

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  • 245. At 8:22pm on 22 Aug 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:

    187. At 07:45am on 21 Aug 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "in less than 20 years Josef Stalin took Russia from a peasant society to an industrial one capable of defeating one of the most advanced nations in the world."






    70 years later that country still cannot build an airlier which would not crash, a supercomputer capable of actual fast computing, a submarine which would not eventually sink (e.g. "Kursk") or an SLBM which could reach its target (cf. "Bulava).

    Let alone a HDTV set. Or a laptop. Or even an mp3 player. :(



    BTW. can anybody itemize Russian products available in Western stores?

    Besides vodka?


    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

    I believe you totally underestimate the Russians. The US hasn't exactly built an aircraft that won't crash, a submarine that won't sink. If it wasn't for the Russians the International Space Station would still be only a 1/4 built as they have had more success in getting equipment, supplies etc up there then the US.
    My suggestion to you is instead of sitting there watching your US propaganda tv, you get off your a*** and travel a bit and learn that the US is not the only country in the world that invents and builds things.

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  • 246. At 8:30pm on 22 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    243. At 7:01pm on 22 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    Your fundamental inability to grasp a basic argument is reinforced by this latest.

    But I will persist.

    History is important and were it discussed more often fewer blunders in Foreign and Economic policies would result.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    @Simon21

    You know, I love a good alternative universe "what if" story that re-imagines history as much as the next scifi fan. But if this is how you are teaching history, I can now see why many young Britons come out of university with a skewered view of US history and international relations. Magical thinking and promoting personal/political agendas is hardly appropriate behavior for an educator. Just as mincing words over whether or not the Brown Shirts were part of the government or a paramilitary group that acted on behalf of the governing party as enforcers, while receiving government funds, makes that government less of a military dictatorship - even if that government came into power via an electoral process."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    I am not certain there is a single fact in this. I will give you some however.

    First Nazi Germany was not a miliary dictatorship. The fact that Hitler was a civilian as were all his close advisers Goering, Goebbels, Himmler etc, the fact he executed Generals (Schliecher et al)are slight giveaways.

    And the Brownshirts were not the military - they wanted to be hence the Night of the Long Knives -

    This is important because Hitler did not trust the military - slightly odd if they were doing the ruling - which is one reason Germany lost.

    This is basic stuff - I suggest you read any history of the Third Reich.

    Oh and Soviet Russia was not a military dictatorship either.

    Australia, Canada in 1938 were democracies. I don't know if you think the UK was ruled by Brownshirts - possibly you do.

    In neither of these countries was there a fiendish desire for war - fact deal with it or provide contrary evidence

    In the UK war was so unpopular Churchill feared Chamberlain would call a snap election which he would win hands down - evidence Harold Macmillan's memoirs.

    Again fact - deal with it.

    Noneheless the governments (call them administrations, what you will) of these countries knew war was coming and prepared (inadequately) to meet it.

    The US on the other hand save for a few did nothing. It has been argued that the US was hoping Russia and Germany would destroy each other - but even that no longer applied after the Molotov pact and no I am not going to explain this to you.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Facts are facts, whether you like them or not."

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

    Well that implies you even know them. Your unique view of Nazi Germany is shall we say light in the fact department.

    But hey I will be forebearing. Please cite a prominent and credible historian who says Nazi Germany was a military dictatorship.

    I cite Ian Kershaw.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Or whether or not they fit into your narrow belief system and world view. And since several other Americans posting here have agreed with my analysis, perhaps you should consider the "bizarre" possibility that there is another point of view on the subject. That of the people you insist ought to have been looking after your nation's interests when they had their own, which were just as valid and equally important at the time. Though I doubt you would think so."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You see things in rather shall we say a playround way do you not.

    I have mentioned this three times but I am in generous mood so I will try again.

    Helping the US and France in 1939 was in the US's interest. As I have explained repeatedly

    It has nothing to do wih generosity and full hearts but simple self interest. Nothing to do with liking Mr Churchill's cocktail recipes or liking Clemmies dresses - US self interest.

    The UK and France did not help each other because Winnie fancied the French PM's wife or car.

    Try to follow.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------




    But this is nothing new. I've heard this "America ought to be Europe's slavish lackey" nonsense for years. That our purpose in existing is to live meanly, so Europeans can have the best health care and public services. That we have a duty to invent or advance technology we don't deserve to have for ourselves, so that the rest of the world may benefit. Or that we are uneducated, provincial fools, who should vote the way Europe wants, because Europe is older and knows best and its interests should come first."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This seems to be utterely irrelevant and just a 21st century rant (what were you saying about context?). Lackey, is that a historical word.

    Look get over the chip on your shoulder and try to follow.

    Thousands of young US men latter died (I contend) bacause of this decision not to actively declare aggainst Hitler at an earlier stage.

    I cannot frankly make out whether you think that this loss of life was a good or bad thing.

    Having visited US war cemetries and read numerous epitaphs I think the evidence must be that this delay was generally bad.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

    After all, it's only fair, since we "owe so much" to Europe. Never mind that much of our population's ancestors were driven out of their European homelands at the point of a sword or musket because they practiced the "wrong" religion, held an unpopular political belief, didn't have the right ethnicity, or because some English/Scottish/Irish lord decided that clearing the land of people and replacing them with sheep was a more productive use of their property."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    What has this go to do with WWII?

    Oh and spare me your whinning. Australians started of as virtual slaves and the country was founded to be a punishment just "short of death". That didn't mean that in 1939 its government had to be convinced that Nazi Germany needed to be beaten.

    Oh and to quote Robert Hughes - "The US was founded as a paradise on Earth, but there is no such thing so there is always an element of dissapointment. Australia was founded as a hell on earth - and from there the only way is up."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This is the view that you are essentially espousing, and it is based on a false premise: the one that says your needs count and ours don't. It is not the duty of American citizens to sacrifice for the world's benefit. And it is American blood that you are so self-righteously insisting ought to have been spilled for Europe's sake, long before (as others have pointed out) America was either ready or willing."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Do not try to force your confused views on me I will speak for myself, and far more coherently.

    You take the weird view that anything the US does is right and if it didn't intervene until 1941 then this was right.

    It must be right because the US did it, even if it seems wrong.

    I have however clearly shown and you have not conradicted, that is was in the US' best interests to have preserved more of its citizens lives by intervening earlier.

    And I am willing to bet that if they had the choice the families of these casualties would take a similar view.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It is you who are living in Cloud Cuckoo Land if you imagine that your revisionist history will somehow convince Americans that they should have entered the war long before Germany declared war on us. And that we should be willing to treat with nations who are given to secretly carving up their allies' territory to insure their own security. If we hadn't known in 1939-40 what the British and French had done to the Poles, we certainly know now.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Blather. The US did nothing for the Poles, even when Polish jews were being rounded up. Nothing, zilch.

    No I have got that wrong. Years later after the final pitiful victims were freed by the Russians (Russians!) a lot of nice memorials were erected in US cities. Very helpfull.

    Britain and France declared war - the US er didn't even send a nasty letter.

    So spare me your contrived indignation and sympathy for Hitler's early victims.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Calling it "irrelevant" is simply your way of avoiding the issue. And unlike some, Americans as a whole, do not suffer from short-term memory loss when it comes to how other nations honor their contractual obligations. It is why we have never, and will never, default on our public debts. And why we do not enter into formal treaties we are not prepared to honor in full - without resorting to the qualifying statement "as best we can". Which is why Europe is now loaded with unnecessary and unprofitable (to us) costly American bases. As per NATO requirements. "
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Really well "we" did not honour The Versailles treaty did "we" as you admitted (forgotten that one?). And "we" did not bother to join our organisation when "we" demanded it be set up.

    And let us not go into the numerous broken treaties with the Native Americans, the Mexicans etc. I understand the native people of the Dakota's are still trying to get a treaty enforced.

    So "we" are hardly in a position to lecture others are "we".
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Btw, you need to check your facts. Wilson did not speak for the United States, he spoke for his administration. Congress speaks for the United States as the representatives of the people in General Assembly."
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes we have heard yur curious view before. And your comment that a US overment does not speak for the US is ridiculous.

    Do you honestly claim the Hilary Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Dulles etc did not claim the right to speak for the US. That they are not its acredited representatives, that they were simply mouthpieces?

    Does Kissinger strike you that way. Have you read his memoirs?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    And Congress was neither advised nor consulted on the Covenant until Wilson informed them of it in a State of the Union address. He then spent the next six months attempting to gin up support for the idea by traveling around the country giving even more speeches. But the Republicans and Conservative Democrats of the time weren't having any of it. And in July of that year, they voted down the proposal. Those are the facts."

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

    And the fact is that Wilson's 14 points mentioned clearly and without dispute the League of Nations.

    And these were revealed in January 1918.

    Do you dispute this - would you like the quote if you do no beleive me?

    As for the wrangls over the Covenant they are neither here nor there, the next president could have got hem through if he had in the slightest interest.

    It is a chance many lives (some of them US) would have been saved.

    Now either prove me wrong or concede the point.

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  • 247. At 9:12pm on 22 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    244. At 7:40pm on 22 Aug 2010, Tinkersdamn wrote:
    Re: 241 colonelartist:

    It's also worth noting the Iraq Liberation Act,signed 10/31/98, long supported by the more 'neo con' Republican crowd, had been resisted by Clinton, until he faced impeachment for an act of consensual sex. When he agreed to ILA, the steam suddenly left the 'morally outraged' Republicans, and the senate voted not to proceed with Clinton's removal from office. Ahhh!- the purity of our policies origins.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I noted it the day it was passed. And I have been posting it from time to time, but majority of liberals here, would rather discuss first world war and 2nd world war, and then generously blame bush sr for not going all the way to baghdad and topple saddam hussian in 1991...But, I am glad that atleast you know why bush couldnt topple saddam hussian..and why clinton made it a law...Without that law in place, bush junior would have never been able to wage this war..

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  • 248. At 9:57pm on 22 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    @Simon21

    Saving lives in hindsight is easy. I never said the US shouldn't have entered the war earlier. I merely said it didn't and stated the reasons for it. I never said we aided the Poles, or any other group being slaughtered by the Nazis, which, btw, included almost ALL of my European relatives. But I accept the fact that it happened - though for reasons I may certainly disagree with - and try not to let my personal feelings cloud my analysis of history. I am neither an apologist for my country, nor a gung-ho supporter of all things American, as many who post on this blog will attest. But apparently, taking a dispassionate view of historical events makes me a jingoistic, flag waving patriot.

    So be it.

    Now, I will agree with you that those who do not study history are condemned to repeat it. But cherry-picking facts and attempting to create a scenario whereby one nation is obliged to act against what it believed were its own best interests at a given point in time, is not constructive. Whether or not those interests were really for the best or no. It is more fictional speculation than actual historical commentary. So my advice to you would be to write your alternative history and get it published, so that we can all enjoy reading how Britain saves the day by convincing America to enter a war based on moral persuasion and hysterical predictions of how many lives might be lost if she doesn't. Failing that, you could write about what the world might have looked like today if Alexander the Great had lived long enough to consolidate his empire and annex parts of Arabia and Italy. Or if Julius Caesar had lived long enough to institute the reforms he had planned, like declaring a moratorium on slavery in Rome. Or maybe how Napoleon might have beaten the Russians, if only...

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

    Now, if you will all excuse me, I will be fairly busy for the next several days, but I will try and check back in if I can. My sister is going in for surgery and I will be looking after ::gulp!:: 27 cats and 2 small children in a one bedroom efficiency while she's recovering. I might debate the wisdom of agreeing to that, but needs must as they say.


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  • 249. At 10:21pm on 22 Aug 2010, Three Million Posse On Employed In A Dub wrote:

    Mad Cobra - Price Of Gun

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  • 250. At 10:24pm on 22 Aug 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 247, colonel

    "...but majority of liberals here, would rather discuss first world war and 2nd world war, and then generously blame bush sr for not going all the way to baghdad and topple saddam hussian in 1991"

    You are going to be hard pressed finding any "liberals" in the USA that were upset because Bush I did not go all the way to Baghdad and removed Saddam Hussein from power. Most liberals oppose wars, particularly unprovoked wars. The decision to invade and destroy Iraq was made long before Saddam invaded Kuwait, he simply made it easier to pursue a long term goal with a semblance of righteousness.

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  • 251. At 10:55pm on 22 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    248. At 9:57pm on 22 Aug 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:
    @Simon21

    Saving lives in hindsight is easy. I never said the US shouldn't have entered the war earlier. I merely said it didn't and stated the reasons for it. I never said we aided the Poles, or any other group being slaughtered by the Nazis, which, btw, included almost ALL of my European relatives."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well that is terrible, however some of my relatives spent a fair bit of their youth opposing the Nazis and their asian allies from 1939, and saw comrades and families killed and wounded.

    So I look in askance when I am seriously told that Britain and France somehow let the Poles down when compared to others. They fought incompetently (at first), but they did fight.

    After the war no question, nothing was done.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



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

    But I accept the fact that it happened - though for reasons I may certainly disagree with - and try not to let my personal feelings cloud my analysis of history. I am neither an apologist for my country, nor a gung-ho supporter of all things American, as many who post on this blog will attest. But apparently, taking a dispassionate view of historical events makes me a jingoistic, flag waving patriot."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I am second to none in my patriotism but if anyone tells me the Koories were not slaughtered by white settlers or that the Irish were treated fairly by their British masters, I will need some strong convincing.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    So be it.

    Now, I will agree with you that those who do not study history are condemned to repeat it. But cherry-picking facts and attempting to create a scenario whereby one nation is obliged to act against what it believed were its own best interests at a given point in time, is not constructive. Whether or not those interests were really for the best or no. It is more fictional speculation than actual historical commentary. So my advice to you would be to write your alternative history and get it published, so that we can all enjoy reading how Britain saves the day by convincing America to enter a war based on moral persuasion and hysterical predictions of how many lives might be lost if she doesn't. Failing that, you could write about what the world might have looked like today if Alexander the Great had lived long enough to consolidate his empire and annex parts of Arabia and Italy. Or if Julius Caesar had lived long enough to institute the reforms he had planned, like declaring a moratorium on slavery in Rome. Or maybe how Napoleon might have beaten the Russians, if only..."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    But this is the waft and web of history. Interpretation, arguing of views based on known facts. Should Harold have sent his brothers to fight at Hastings? Was Lincoln wise to provoke the South into war?
    etc etc And the issue - if Hitler was confronted by a united front would he have hesitated, is a relatively hot one.

    Of course it speculation but it serves a useful purpose.

    One could for example argue that even if the US had tried to adopt a firmer attitude sooner the Nazis might simply have chosen not to invade Russia and the US would not have been able to do much.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Now, if you will all excuse me, I will be fairly busy for the next several days, but I will try and check back in if I can. My sister is going in for surgery and I will be looking after ::gulp!:: 27 cats and 2 small children in a one bedroom efficiency while she's recovering. I might debate the wisdom of agreeing to that, but needs must as they say.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well good luck to your sister. I cannot abide cats - hay fever.

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  • 252. At 11:03pm on 22 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    You are going to be hard pressed finding any "liberals" in the USA that were upset because Bush I did not go all the way to Baghdad and removed Saddam Hussein from power. Most liberals oppose wars, particularly unprovoked wars. The decision to invade and destroy Iraq was made long before Saddam invaded Kuwait, he simply made it easier to pursue a long term goal with a semblance of righteousness.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sure, it was saddam's fault that he made it so easy...He didnt make it easy, the americans made it look so easy, ignoring the facts on the grounds, and deciding to believe in the believes of your leaders..That which bush sr couldnt acheive because he had neither the world or his congress or senate on his side, clinton and his liberal made sure that atleast congress and senate would have the law to attack iraq...Then the liberals like clinton supported bush' jr's attack, and ordinary liberals decided to support their brave soldiers in iraq...ergo supported war..You know as well as the rest of the world, how saddam was treated as usa prepared for war..if liberals had spent less time making fun of him, they would have been able to ie if they wanted to, convince that iraq posed no threat to the world in that first day of spring in 2003..And no liberal oppose war, its a myth the liberals believe in...from your civil war to every wars liberals take turns with conservatives in wars...Your liberal president will the only person who spoke of waging wars as he received nobel peace price, even henry kessigner didnt do a war supporting PR when he received it...Even arafat and rabin spoke just of peace when they got theirs, but this liberal president of your took the cake...

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  • 253. At 11:09pm on 22 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    242. At 7:00pm on 22 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    But if no one covered it, and everyone was saying what a brilliant job it was, how could it be construed as a reason for Bush losing the election?

    [[No, that's the whole point. The press echoed the official government line, but that wasn't what I was hearing from my American friends at the time. Not at all.

    You'd sit down and have lunch, and every time the subject came up somebody would say something like, "I don't understand why they didn't finish the job while they were there." And people would grumble about it, and then the conversation would move on. But that underlying dissatisfaction was always there. I never heard anybody who was happy about it.

    People can say what they like, but my feeling at the time was that it was the end of the first Bush Presidency. From then he was done like dinner.

    And, judging by the subsequent behaviour of the son, my guess is that the Bush family eventually made the same assessment.

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  • 254. At 11:12pm on 22 Aug 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    Now, if you will all excuse me, I will be fairly busy for the next several days, but I will try and check back in if I can. My sister is going in for surgery and I will be looking after ::gulp!:: 27 cats and 2 small children in a one bedroom efficiency while she's recovering. I might debate the wisdom of agreeing to that, but needs must as they say.
    ------------------------
    Very best wishes from Wales...

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  • 255. At 11:14pm on 22 Aug 2010, sayasay wrote:

    #235, Interestedforeigner

    Your idea of “pusillanimous European members of NATO” is not that far away from my “passive intentional procrastination”. At least we agree on something.
    As for your insistence on “evidence” and (I assume) your victories over bullies could be done and were done at lower personal cost to you than it would be if someone else fought on your behalf or with you. Well, may I congratulate you on your inborn cost effectiveness instead of outsourcing.



    #238, Simon21
    I like your writing style, your “I agree” to someone else’s “Wow, do I ever disagree with this”. Talk of power like electricity flow from positive to negative.
    But if this is your “first time...” please don’t blame me for your lack of experience and insight. It is too presumptuous of me to teach you “to think of any strategist who has thought that a good notion”. Perhaps, this is just a suggestion; now don’t get offended, more reading and less hasty debating could help.

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  • 256. At 00:24am on 23 Aug 2010, Three Million Posse On Employed In A Dub wrote:

    War done
    -----------
    The bulk of Anti-USA sentiments across the globe are due to the Bush instigated Wars.

    The USA that the world loves is the one from the 60's love and peace hippy rock era ☮.

    Hippy Hooray !

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  • 257. At 01:01am on 23 Aug 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 254, UKWales

    Good luck with the cat litter, hopefully this experience does not include diapers!

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  • 258. At 01:10am on 23 Aug 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 252, colonel

    "Then the liberals like clinton supported bush' jr's attack, and ordinary liberals decided to support their brave soldiers in iraq."

    Most liberals consider the Clintons centrist. Yes, Democrats did support Bush's foreign policy and when they did so they became part of the scheme that led to one of the most shameful episodes in our history.

    It is true, however, that once war is declared and American troops are deployed we all unite behind our troops and support them regardless of how shallow the people that sent them to war were.

    Bear in mind that the ruse crafted by the neocons to sell the idea of invading Iraq 0 including the insinuation that Saddam was somehow behind 9/11 - was so powerful that most Americans believed it, and many still do.

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  • 259. At 02:56am on 23 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    238 Simon21,

    "Well General Custer the days when an enemy used to line up neatly ended about 1900, how come you missed that?"

    "The Taliban have lasted longer than the Imperial Japanese army and the German. And this despite all the assurances this would be a brief war."

    Golly gee, I had no idea! I take it all back. Your right, when discussing an opponents fighting abilities, one should always consider the benefits of hiding in caves. It certainly keeps moral up and extends the conflict. Good point. Of course, the colonel and I were discussing the fighting ability, or lack there of according to him, of American soldiers. So I find your comment irrelevant considering our topic.

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  • 260. At 04:09am on 23 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    259. At 02:56am on 23 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:


    "The Taliban have lasted longer than the Imperial Japanese army and the German. And this despite all the assurances this would be a brief war."

    "So I find your comment irrelevant considering our topic."

    ____________

    Irrelevant, perhaps, but that never stopped us here before from going off on obscure tangents.

    I was just thinking about this, and really, it depends on how you count. What is the starting point? Pearl Harbour? Nanking? Or the invasion of Manchuria in 1931? Or how about the invasion of Korea?

    And then there was the comment about hiding in caves.
    That reminded me of when, every few years they would find some Japanese soldier hiding in the jungles in the Philippines, unaware that the war had ended?

    Seems like so long ago, and so far away.

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  • 261. At 05:38am on 23 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:

    260 IF,

    "I was just thinking about this, and really, it depends on how you count. What is the starting point? Pearl Harbour? Nanking? Or the invasion of Manchuria in 1931? Or how about the invasion of Korea?"

    To be fair, I think he was just talking about America. So I would guess Pearl Harbor. But that brings up an interesting point. Should we start counting the conflict from when the US invaded Afghanistan or from the first WTC attack in 1993?
    ---------------------

    "And then there was the comment about hiding in caves.
    That reminded me of when, every few years they would find some Japanese soldier hiding in the jungles in the Philippines, unaware that the war had ended."

    I think the last Japanese solider surrendered thirty years after WWII ended. But who knows? Perhaps some hardy souls are still holding out in old age somewhere. Depending on how you count, WWII ended in 1975? Or has it? :)

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  • 262. At 5:02pm on 23 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    It is true, however, that once war is declared and American troops are deployed we all unite behind our troops and support them regardless of how shallow the people that sent them to war were.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    So, you would rather deliberately give a false impression to the soldiers that whatever war they have been ordered to fight is for the just cause? Thats not supporing the soldiers, thats writing their death warrents..The extreme of this kind of mentality is lynching, where one or two people lynch and the rest by not saying anything to them, support their actions..the liberals, the conservatives and the supporters of soldiers all have equal part in this mess..No one is innocent.the supporters of soldiers are the worst, because they knew that the war was injust and their soldiers will kill civilians and destroy a country without any reason..the liberal leaders and the conservatives believed in their lies, so compared to the supporters of soldiers, they would not have any problems with their conscience....how would the supporters of soldiers going to live their conscience...to misquote a dialogue from one of films made in west when the supporters will end up in hell for not following their consceince, will they expect, those who believed that saddam was dangeours, evil threat, to enter hell for them?

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  • 263. At 5:19pm on 23 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    And then there was the comment about hiding in caves.
    That reminded me of when, every few years they would find some Japanese soldier hiding in the jungles in the Philippines, unaware that the war had ended?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I dont know why this comment reminded you of when Japanese soldiers hid in the jungles in philippines, because the situastions are so different...Genious, in the jungles of phillipines, the japanese soldiers had to hide, however in their own country, the native doesnt have to hide when war ends...Your post and the answer to your post, deserve a proper guard of honour cermony.

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  • 264. At 9:28pm on 23 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    259. At 02:56am on 23 Aug 2010, rodidog wrote:
    238 Simon21,

    "Well General Custer the days when an enemy used to line up neatly ended about 1900, how come you missed that?"

    "The Taliban have lasted longer than the Imperial Japanese army and the German. And this despite all the assurances this would be a brief war."

    Golly gee, I had no idea! I take it all back. Your right, when discussing an opponents fighting abilities, one should always consider the benefits of hiding in caves. It certainly keeps moral up and extends the conflict. Good point. Of course, the colonel and I were discussing the fighting ability, or lack there of according to him, of American soldiers. So I find your comment irrelevant considering our topic."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hardly I find you comments on hiding in caves as if somehow that implied military incompetence laughable.

    You sound like General Buller et al complaining that the enemy "hide" and don't fight like gentlemen!

    If you have cover you use it. Brave charges at the enemy bellowing war cries died off a long time ago.

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  • 265. At 10:45pm on 23 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    You sound like General Buller et al complaining that the enemy "hide" and don't fight like gentlemen!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And the enemy wonders why the gentlemen travel in their bomb proved vehicles if and when they venture out of their reacreational looking bases..Its the we kill by sophisticated weapons, ergo we are civilized, they use IED ergo savages, argument...

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  • 266. At 11:08pm on 23 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    262,
    i support our soldiers all the way and I will tell you right now my conscious is clear, I believe in our soldiers, I believe in what we are fighting for and I believe this all happened for a reason, perhaps some reasons unknown by us and only known by God, who works in mysterious ways. You focus on everything bad in USA and if you do focus on such, you will find plenty. If you focus on good in USA, you will find plenty.

    What your comment says reveals more about you and the way you feel about America than it does about the real America...

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  • 267. At 00:53am on 24 Aug 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    Yeah, global hegemony ain't no cake walk. So what. Get over it.

    There is a grain of truth to the notion that the American Empire is something of an accidental Empire. Though as those of us in the Western hemisphere can attest (e.g., remember 54-40 or fight, my fellow Canucks?), the proclivity has always been extant.

    The notion that 'liberal interventionism' is dead is a silly one. The Empire, or the 'global economy,' if you prefer, runs on hydrocarbons. The Imperium will strike to protect this vital commodity. It will also, and rightfully so, strike when it is attacked.

    What is at issue, I think, is how it intervenes: under what circumstances, using what means, and to what ends. What was most remarkable about the Bush Jr. Administration was its professed naivete: the notion that 'evil doers' could somehow be punished by a righteous America. Unfortunately, the creation of a mythology of American 'righteousness' is a prime directive of the deep neo-con thinkers. So the clarity of the message that needed to be sent after 9/11 (i.e., don't eff with the Empire) was muddled by the attempt to create a sense of American righteouness.

    The point being that 'liberal interventionism' should be based in a fairly narrow definition of enlightened national interest. While not amoral, it should not be excessively burdened with the baggage of 'universal' values. What is needed is good Imperial management, not pie in the sky notions of 'freedom' and 'democracy' for all.

    Now, should this sound too cynical, I would admit that it is -- a bit. There is a balance that needs to be struck in US foreign policy, between cynical self interest and righteous idealism. To my mind, this Administration is doing a far better job in finding this balance than its predecessor.

    Cheers to all,
    Canadian Pinko

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  • 268. At 04:08am on 24 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    267 Pinko.

    Glad you're back.

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  • 269. At 07:34am on 24 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    All right then. Since this thread is still alive, and in honor of Pinko's return, here is the Reader's Digest version of my week-long thoughts.

    Every living thing struggles to improve its living conditions. All societies and cultures do as well, and this leads to competition, sometimes war, and cooperation, e.g. trade. Primarily it produces change. No culture is static, and although in some times and places it seems to come about very slowly, the Darwinists among us insist that this is how we bacame what we are, whether you like us or not.

    Mr. Mardell's reference to the science-fiction tale, in which a society has learned to meet every need and want for its citizens, indicates that even when people are perfectly contented they still seem to want to go out and meet strangers, and share what they have to offer whether it is wanted or not.

    In that universe and in this one we are left to consider whether a culture itself has intrinsic value, and whether the people of that culture have a right to be left alone, to work out their destiny in their own way without interference from the 'outside'.

    This summer I read a fascinating history called "The Empire of the Summer Moon", about the Comanche nation, their rise to rule over a vast territory in the American Great Plains, and their last great war chief, one Quanah Parker. They appear to have been one of the least culturally developed nations in the continent, living in the mountains of what is now Wyoming, until the horse appeared in the 16th century. They bonded with this new creature with extraordinary success and devotion, and quickly used this new mobility to terrorize all the inhabitants of the plains region - from jackrabbits to buffalo, to all other human tribes.

    They took slaves for labor, concubinage, trade and ransom from everyone, normally tortured captured warriors and sometimes women and children in horrible ways, and held back the encroachments of Europeans for 300 years. Until the invention of the fast action revolver just before the Civil War, they were far more powerful in battle than any dragoon.

    Two points:

    Should they have remained a very simple and poor mountain people, or was the arrival of the horse and all it brought as good a thing as it was a natural fit for them?

    Considering their outstanding success, the wealth they acquired according to their standards, and the terrible mayhem they wrought on all and sundry for centuries, as well as the almost complete destruction of their way of life and of them as a people, is this a success story or merely a tragic one? After all, they achieved all they could imagine.

    Sometimes I think Liberals are simply godless evangelicals.

    KScurmudgeon
    student

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  • 270. At 09:17am on 24 Aug 2010, d_m wrote:

    269. At 07:34am on 24 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    I don't think your first statement is necessarily true. Most living things just deal with the world as it is presented to them because that's all they can do. Many human societies struggle for improvement, but many live pretty much unchanged lives for thosands of years.

    Do cultures have intrinsic value. I wonder. I want to say yes, But I think the answer is no. To say that a thing has intrinsic value is to say that it has value in independently of other things, value in its own right. Without people, however, culture has no value, itrinsic or extrinsic.

    Perhaps in the best of all possible worlds cultures would be left to work out their destiny in their own way. However, some cultures fail to work out their destiny (Easter Island for example) and others lose the opportunity through competition or disaster. I guess that's the Darwinian part.

    In the end, the comanche failed to survive because their environment changed and they were unable to adapt fast enough survive the changes. There was no malice, G-d or nature, if you prefer, wasn't against them, but circumstances didn't work in their favor.

    I'm curious, what do you mean by Liberals (with a capital L) are godless evangelicals?

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  • 271. At 5:57pm on 24 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    KsCurmudgeon (269): "... is this a success story or merely a tragic one?"

    Neither. Merely an example of the adage "every dog has its day."

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  • 272. At 7:52pm on 24 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    269 KS opened a new and reflective topic.

    There is some coincidental irony that the BBC posted this piece today (which is all the more interesting given that several people who post here have expertise in this field):

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11066461





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  • 273. At 8:55pm on 24 Aug 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:

    272. At 7:52pm on 24 Aug 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:


    There is some coincidental irony that the BBC posted this piece today (which is all the more interesting given that several people who post here have expertise in this field):

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11066461

    ++++++

    Though not an empire anymore [and never ever an empire like, say, the British Empire or the American Empire was/is an empire, i.e. evil & inhumane, with a body count in the hundreds of millions, with a particular taste for slavery, opium wars, occupation of holy Muslim places, worldwide oppression and subjugation etc., etc.], Russia is the only successor of the Roman empire -- it got its main (for there are 4 of them there) religion directly from the Eastern Roman Empire and the czars were related to the last Easter Roman Emperor.

    As the saying goes, Moscow is the third Rome and there shall be no fourth.

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  • 274. At 9:18pm on 24 Aug 2010, McJakome wrote:

    269. At 07:34am on 24 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote profoundly: “Sometimes I think Liberals are simply godless evangelicals.”

    KScurmudgeon

    I realy love your posts! I am trying, so far in vein, to come op with a corollary.

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  • 275. At 00:13am on 25 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    269. At 07:34am on 24 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:
    All right then. Since this thread is still alive, and in honor of Pinko's return, here is the Reader's Digest version of my week-long thoughts.

    Every living thing struggles to improve its living conditions. All societies and cultures do as well, and this leads to competition, sometimes war, and cooperation, e.g. trade. Primarily it produces change. No culture is static, and although in some times and places it seems to come about very slowly, the Darwinists among us insist that this is how we bacame what we are, whether you like us or not.

    Mr. Mardell's reference to the science-fiction tale, in which a society has learned to meet every need and want for its citizens, indicates that even when people are perfectly contented they still seem to want to go out and meet strangers, and share what they have to offer whether it is wanted or not.

    In that universe and in this one we are left to consider whether a culture itself has intrinsic value, and whether the people of that culture have a right to be left alone, to work out their destiny in their own way without interference from the 'outside'.

    This summer I read a fascinating history called "The Empire of the Summer Moon", about the Comanche nation, their rise to rule over a vast territory in the American Great Plains, and their last great war chief, one Quanah Parker. They appear to have been one of the least culturally developed nations in the continent, living in the mountains of what is now Wyoming, until the horse appeared in the 16th century. They bonded with this new creature with extraordinary success and devotion, and quickly used this new mobility to terrorize all the inhabitants of the plains region - from jackrabbits to buffalo, to all other human tribes.

    They took slaves for labor, concubinage, trade and ransom from everyone, normally tortured captured warriors and sometimes women and children in horrible ways, and held back the encroachments of Europeans for 300 years. Until the invention of the fast action revolver just before the Civil War, they were far more powerful in battle than any dragoon.

    Two points:

    Should they have remained a very simple and poor mountain people, or was the arrival of the horse and all it brought as good a thing as it was a natural fit for them?

    Considering their outstanding success, the wealth they acquired according to their standards, and the terrible mayhem they wrought on all and sundry for centuries, as well as the almost complete destruction of their way of life and of them as a people, is this a success story or merely a tragic one? After all, they achieved all they could imagine.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This is conflating various different things. FOr a start the concept of the "Comanches" like many native American, (or African or Australian) peoples is largely a western European one.

    Nomadic hunter gatherers do not form large centrally organised "tribes" this is a concept the Europeans took from their Roman forebears (much of which is now considered to be exagerated. When Caesar wrote of the power of the Gallic "tribes" he was trying to get himself a good parade).

    They simply did not have the resources to do so. They cannot feed vast imperial armies. That is why Custer was so surprised at the Big Horn and that is why the "Big Village" melted away so quickly.

    Native Americans did gather in numbers for ritual and feasting, but only for a very short time. There was no concept of going "on campaign" capturing and holding territory - how could there be?

    Ditto physical genocide - simply beyond a nomadic group's powers unless one is talking about an extremely small and concentrated group - and these did not gnerally exist in the American plains, or mountains or coasts.

    Nomadic hunters only generally move in small bands, usually about a 100 strong (and have always done so, that is why the average human can remember and generally has a group of about 100 friends, family and acquaintances).

    Linguistically certain mass concentrations are identified, but that is largely an anthropological conceit. It is not even likely that all of whom we call Comanche (or Sioux etc) saw themselves as one people.

    AS for cultural differences arguments still rage. Certainly some diferences did prevail, but exactly how rigid these were is open to question. Archaeologically the picture is quite mixed with supposed Siuox artifacts turning up at supposed Arapaho sites etc etc.

    It is therefore likely that as in Post Roman Britain certain warriors or young men simply attached themselves to whomsoever seemed the best leader and precise issues of cultural identity (save in terms of the pronounced difference between agriculturists and nomadic hunters)did not gnerally arise.

    Native American nomad society was or seems to have been very fluid. It had to be - if a group disagreed with a leader, there was no secret police force or military.

    As regards slaves, torture etc. he picture is again not simple. Unlike the Western settlers native American slavery was not racial in nature. Captives taken in battle could be treated horrifically, but members of the superior group experienced no contamination or shame in having relations with slaves and their children were full members of the group - Quannah Parker being a prime example - his "white" mother became one of the group.

    There was no concept of "contaminated blood" going through the generations as in the US South with its black slaves or Australians with the Koories. This is generally a western European concept.

    The concept of torture is very involved. In some of the eastern bands a captive was supposed to show great resolve in torture and the more he could stand the more he was remembered. A leader of one group who had captured a Seneca speaker was heard to apologise (in French) because he had no time to have him ransomed, but would have to have him tortured to death by the women. The Seneca apaprently understood this and accepted the apology and the men parted respectfully.

    It is perhaps worth remembering that nomads live very tough lives. They have no prisons (and no concept of one) and few painkillers. Injuries, childbirth etc simply had to be endured. If you wanted to inflict pain then you obviously wanted it to be slightly beyond what a person already knew.

    AS to the question of cultural and physical annihlation by the white settlers. Well let us turn it around. The Nazis claimed jewsish culture was no longer needed, Stalin claimed practically everyone's culture except his weird "modernism" were not needed, Pol Pot felt traditional Khmer culture was outmoded.

    And if might simply means right, then of course the above are correct.

    But we regard ourseleves as "civilised" and surely part of this concept is respect for other cultures (respect not blind adulation).

    Was Comanche culture (such as it was) perfect, of course not, nothing constructed by humans is, but did that justify its near annihlation for racial and venal reasons, no.

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  • 276. At 00:26am on 25 Aug 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    271. At 5:57pm on 24 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:
    KsCurmudgeon (269): "... is this a success story or merely a tragic one?"

    Neither. Merely an example of the adage "every dog has its day."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    The cry of every genocidal dictator. Doubtless the Burmese Slork will use this motto if they manage to annihlate the Karens,

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  • 277. At 02:16am on 25 Aug 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    Hiya IF, good to be back.

    And thanks to the Kansas Curmudgeon for that interesting post -- in response to which two things come to mind.

    First, the Hobbesian response: in a state of nature, life is nasty, brutish, and short. So that while you may be the baddest tribe in the neighborhood today, it is almost certain that somebody badder, bigger, and stronger is going to come along and destroy you. The stories of your culture end, and you become a chapter in some other culture's tale of conquest: 'see how we overcame these mighty barbarians,' etc., etc. Seen in this way, history is but a slaughter bench, a tale of sound and fury told by an idiot (with apologies to the bard for mangling his impeccable syntax).

    The only problem with this is that if it were true, somebody like the Mongols should rule the world. How then do we account for those groups, tribes, civilizations, driven not merely by the lust for conquest, but by some notion of a higher purpose? In religious cultures we find eschatologies of various kinds, and in our Enlightenment culture we find Progress. Are these narratives mere cover stories for bloody minded agression? Does history have any meaning?

    Which brings me to the second thing your post brought to mind. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is a book I find myself returning to again and again. I am particularly fond of the opening, where Marlow begins his story by relating Rome's conquest of Britain (which, as Marlow says, was merely 'robbery with violence') to modern day colonialism. What sets 'us' apart from the Romans, he muses, is merely an 'idea.' A belief in progress, a genuine commitment to a higher purpose that some how redeems the avarice and violence that are required to achieve it. But of course by the time we have heard Kurtz' terrible tale, any easy acceptance of the 'idea' has long gone.

    I retain this skepticism of the idea, but I do not dismiss it. Many of the actions undertaken in the name of progress (or Yaweh, or Christ, or Allah, or ... ) are barbaric and indefensible. And yet, progress occurs. Great cities and civilizations are built. Philosophy, music, literature, art, architecture, science flourish. Great things happen that could not happen without various kinds of exploitation. And the nature of the exploitation changes for the better as well: I would rather be a unionized worker than a slave, for e.g.

    So does history have meaning? I think it does, if we act, as far as is possible, to realize the ideals that distinguish progress from mere conquest. And in this acting, always be aware that the means are as important as the end.

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  • 278. At 05:15am on 25 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    270. At 09:17am on 24 Aug 2010, d_m wrote:

    269. At 07:34am on 24 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    "I don't think your first statement is necessarily true. Most living things just deal with the world as it is presented to them because that's all they can do. Many human societies struggle for improvement, but many live pretty much unchanged lives for thosands of years."

    Of course I used 'struggle' in the most elementary sense. Carl Rogers said he got his whole psychology from watching a potato vine struggle from the bin up toward the basement window - in a failed attempt to fulfill its type.
    -------------------------------

    "Do cultures have intrinsic value. I wonder. I want to say yes, But I think the answer is no. To say that a thing has intrinsic value is to say that it has value in independently of other things, value in its own right. Without people, however, culture has no value, itrinsic or extrinsic."

    It seem to me that there is no value without people. Except in the mechanical or scientific sense of a quantum of information, but even then we put the value on it. So to the people of the culture, the culture must have some value - do the unique characteristics of one culture have value outside mere utility? Should they be respected or preserved as a way of life, of experience, or as an artifact?
    ------------------------------

    "Perhaps in the best of all possible worlds cultures would be left to work out their destiny in their own way. However, some cultures fail to work out their destiny (Easter Island for example) and others lose the opportunity through competition or disaster. I guess that's the Darwinian part."

    The human way has always been one of cross-fertilization between groups, both of genes and of ideas. If they decimate you with a bow and arrow, you want one! If they have seeds, maybe they'll share. Everyone I know still shares plants, seedlings, and kittens today. The isolated cultures don't seem to be the real winners.
    ---------------------------

    "In the end, the comanche failed to survive because their environment changed and they were unable to adapt fast enough survive the changes. There was no malice, G-d or nature, if you prefer, wasn't against them, but circumstances didn't work in their favor."

    Yes. But is it a tragedy that their way of life is gone?
    ------------------------------

    "I'm curious, what do you mean by Liberals (with a capital L) are godless evangelicals?"

    Perhaps the "L" is an error. I meant the same group MM was talking about - the Western liberal movement.

    By 'godless' - I mean that they are self-justified. They are answerable to no one but themselves, and make their own rules. Sooner or later having a God will make you accountable.

    By 'evangelicals'- I mean spreaders of the good news (copyrighted to their own culture, of course). Committed to MM's intervention for the good of the recipient. In their zeal and commitment and as I said, self-righteousness, their conduct is difficult to distinguish from religious zeal. They will not tolerate intolerance, for example.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 279. At 05:21am on 25 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    271. At 5:57pm on 24 Aug 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    KsCurmudgeon (269): "... is this a success story or merely a tragic one?"

    Neither. Merely an example of the adage "every dog has its day."

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

    Then we should see culture as only a medium for change, and not romanticize it? Strict constructionists of the Constitution stand in the way of progress. -?

    KSc

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  • 280. At 05:32am on 25 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    274. At 9:18pm on 24 Aug 2010, JMM wrote:

    269. At 07:34am on 24 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote profoundly: “Sometimes I think Liberals are simply godless evangelicals.”

    KScurmudgeon

    I realy love your posts! I am trying, so far in vein, to come op with a corollary.
    ------------------------------

    Something about the best of intentions.....

    Be careful when choosing your enemy - that may be whom you become. ?

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  • 281. At 05:51am on 25 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    Simon -

    Much of what you write is in full agreement with S.C. Gwynne's book - I have not assumed that the Comanche had any central organization, or were more than a linguistically and culturally linked assortment of wandering bands, just as you say. A 'war' chief was a warrior who had a reputation for success, and could persuade a few, or many, that it would be a good idea to go try something he had in mind. They often accepted groups from other tribes to join them in these parties, and camped, traded, and lived in mixed groups in the most casual way.

    The lack of central organization is described as one of their great strengths. They couldn't be caught - they were never in one place. With the white man they made a great game of signing treaties and agreeing to terms, as long as there were presents to be had. No chief had authority to speak for 'the Comanche', so nothing came of any of it.

    This, however, was part of their culture. Parker was the first, last, and only 'great Chief', and then only because the Federal Agent called him that. No other band was obligated to recognize that.

    Part of my question is, 'does might make right?' Do the winners, by their success, demonstrate the greater value of their culture? I am thinking specifically about the contest between the West and Islam.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 282. At 07:33am on 25 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    Chronophobe - you got it.

    We are bloody, violent, selfish, conniving, lying, stupid - and you can apply that to about any society or group you like, or to humanity at large.

    But if stuff is what it is all about, shelter, plenty to eat, amusement, meaningful work, and some assurance it will all be ours through the next day, conditions have improved - more of us have more of this - there are more of us, than ever before. Darwin didn't say that living would reduce life to a raw minimal struggle, he saw it getting more complex, more adaptable, more diverse, more successful.

    So I am encouraged, in spite of the calculus of doomsday.

    We want better, and work for it. We do better according to our desires, and we have come to understand more. Where does personal freedom of thought and action factor into this? When should we expect cooperation, and when should we allow that we will not get what we want from 'them'?


    You can communicate with me from all over the world. Now what do we do?

    KScurmudgeon, in Kansas

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  • 283. At 07:34am on 25 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    Chronophobe - you got it.

    We are bloody, violent, selfish, conniving, lying, stupid - and you can apply that to about any society or group you like, or to humanity at large.

    But if stuff is what it is all about, shelter, plenty to eat, amusement, meaningful work, and some assurance it will all be ours through the next day, conditions have improved - more of us have more of this - there are more of us, than ever before. Darwin didn't say that living would reduce life to a raw minimal struggle, he saw it getting more complex, more adaptable, more diverse, more successful.

    So I am encouraged, in spite of the calculus of doomsday.

    We want better, and work for it. We do better according to our desires, and we have come to understand more. Where does personal freedom of thought and action factor into this? When should we expect cooperation, and when should we allow that we will not get what we want from 'them'?


    You can communicate with me from all over the world. Now what do we do?

    KScurmudgeon, in Kansas

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  • 284. At 08:18am on 25 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    My apologies for that last post appearing twice. When the blog came up again from 'maintenance', each time I posted it what appeared was comment number 1, from August 19th.

    .... note to the Mods...

    KSc

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  • 285. At 01:18am on 26 Aug 2010, McJakome wrote:

    280. At 05:32am on 25 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:
    274. At 9:18pm on 24 Aug 2010, JMM wrote:

    "269. At 07:34am on 24 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote profoundly: “Sometimes I think Liberals are simply godless evangelicals.”
    ...

    Something about the best of intentions.....

    Be careful when choosing your enemy - that may be whom you become. ?"

    Both are good, but I was thinking along the lines of, "Sometimes I think right-wing conservatives are God besotted Liberals." That is not very nice and not up to your level.

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  • 286. At 02:05am on 28 Aug 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 283 Kansas Curmudgeon Where does personal freedom of thought and action factor into this? When should we expect cooperation, and when should we allow that we will not get what we want from 'them'?

    Sorry for the pokey reply, but I've been thinking about this a bit. I hope you see it.

    I'm always wary of abstractions when it comes to questions like this. It's too easy to come up with meaningless formulae. But here's a concrete case study, of sorts.

    Gulf War 1 was a classic 'realist's' war. The US and it's allies moved, under the sanction of international law, to counter an act of aggression against a vital regional ally.

    Moral justifications (liberating the freedom loving people of Kuwait from the predations of the vicious dictator Saddam, etc., etc.) were of course invoked as a means of galvanizing popular support for the war (many people consistently under estimate the deeply moralistic bent of US public opinion). But it was, all in all, a war fought to defend national interest: Saddam was an evident and active threat to the stability of a region of vital strategic importance.

    In the end, it was successful in achieving its limited objectives. The threat was 'neutralized,' a rough sort of regional stability and, most importantly from the US point of view, the security of the oil supply was thereby maintained.

    And yet it is often seen c.f. IF and others above) in a negative light: The failure to remove Saddam from power, the failure to support popular uprisings against Saddam, the failure to improve the pre-war regional status quo, for examples. A successful but morally unsatisfactory war.

    I, on the other hand, have come to see it in an increasingly favourable light. Not because it was a 'good war' in the sense of WWII, but because it didn't purport to be (much) more than what it was: the administration of Empire.

    This may sound dreadfully cynical -- but: measure the human costs of Imperial collapse (death, suffering, loss of knowledge and human accomplishment) against the human costs of the war, and the price of maintaining Empire seems cheap by comparison. Which is not to say that Saddam presented an immediate threat of Imperial collapse. But he certainly was a threat that, if left unchecked, could have led to serious problems in the future. Problems that could have caused many more deaths and much more suffering.

    Such a calculus of misery may seem like a dreary and dreadful way to approach your problem, and I would be grateful of any suggestion of alternatives.

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  • 287. At 06:37am on 28 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    286. At 02:05am on 28 Aug 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    "I'm always wary of abstractions when it comes to questions like this. It's too easy to come up with meaningless formulae. But here's a concrete case study, of sorts."

    And I always seek out the abstractions first, hoping they will show the meaning of the case at hand.

    It's fine to set this problem as a matter of intervention to preserve the imperial status quo - and as long as we identify with our material culture that is probably what is most important (since ours is first an economic empire), just as you have described it.

    I suppose it doesn't much matter what we call it then - a war of liberation for the Iraqis from a cruel tyrant, a war of self protection and vengeance against the terrorists who attacked us, or a war to preserve our economic stability, security, comfort, etc. Or a war to enhance our economy through no-bid contracts to high paying industries. I conflate the intrusions into Afghanistan and Iraq in my mind - I think they are one-two punches anyway. My point would be that the real objective has been met.

    By your discussion of the Gulf war, the later attack on Iraq will have been brought to an honorable outcome, because we have more or less achieved our goal and withdrawn, albeit rather later than we intended. The war in Afghanistan, on the other hand, although it began with an international consensus, is going badly because we have neither defended our interests (removed Al Quaeda and created a friendly state), nor withdrawn ourselves according to plan.

    My question is, are Saddam' regime, Al Quaeda and the Taliban our moral equivalents - are their motives equivalent to ours, or is this another kind of asymmetrical warfare between our cultures? Are their core interests by resisting or attacking us and our interests primarily the pursuit of wealth and power, control of (protection of) territory and influence in the world, or something else?

    Like you, I don't think the motive of the USSR, or of China, was or is mainly the advancement of their ideology. It was raw military and economic power, influence and prestige. We may be a more benevolent
    empire (maybe not), and we may be more civilized in our methods (harder to be sure, now), but the contest was simple to understand, and the presumed outcome was 'winner take all', or at least 'you get to join us now'.

    Although that element may be present in the Moslem world and in those nations that have set themselves against us, I have some doubts that is their primary motivation. Hence the labors spent on understanding the value that should be given to culture.

    This matter of national, cultural identity is also at the bottom of the illegal immigration debate, and some of the opposition to President Obama, I believe. The same concerns are being fought out right now in Western Europe. It is about identity more than economics.

    One thing more. Making things better may be an invisible or even unconscious sub-plot in all this. but to avoid that dreadful and dreary calculus of misery entirely, we should insist that 'making things better' is always a fundamental goal in what we do.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 288. At 4:21pm on 28 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    we should insist that 'making things better' is always a fundamental goal in what we do.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And sometimes the chips fall where they lay.

    When Mt. St. Helens blew, it destroyed the grass, wildlife habitat, they thought it would take a long, long time for it to get better. But then eventually it did...grass and flowers grew back sooner than expected and it was discovered there were small rodents who had survived underground somehow.

    Sometimes you think things will never get better and you wonder if its even possible. But in the direst of times, nature can surprise you with its durability and sustainablity. We should take our cues from nature and not give up...ever...

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  • 289. At 08:09am on 29 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    288. At 4:21pm on 28 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    "And sometimes the chips fall where they lay. ...

    The chips will lay where they fall.

    Intent does influence how they fall, however, and intent is what we as humans can contribute.
    --------------------------------

    "Sometimes you think things will never get better and you wonder if its even possible. But in the direst of times, nature can surprise you with its durability and sustainablity. We should take our cues from nature and not give up...ever..."

    As I said, I am optimistic.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 290. At 02:25am on 30 Aug 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    On a mobile. Excuse the brevity.

    Bush jr's Iraq adventure is an example of a very bad war, I think. Justified by the willful lie of WMD's, unsanctioned by international law, carried out in the initial phases with no regard for how to actually administer the country after Saddam ... just for starters. And it is far from a mission accomplished. Expect to be pouring human lives and money into the place for years and years to come, with the probable results far from satisfying for Iraqis or the national interest of the US.

    This war cautions against a surefit of righteousness and meddling in the domestic affairs of even the most reprehensible regimes-- even with the noblest of intentions (and noble intentions in this case I don't see).

    Perhaps the rule of acting to interfere in otter cultures with good intentions should be something like the Hippocratic oath: at least, be sure to cause no harm ... .

    This isa

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  • 291. At 07:05am on 30 Aug 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    290. At 02:25am on 30 Aug 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    On a mobile. Excuse the brevity.

    Bush jr's Iraq adventure is an example of a very bad war, ...
    Perhaps the rule of acting to interfere in otter cultures with good intentions should be something like the Hippocratic oath: at least, be sure to cause no harm ... .
    ------------------------------------

    I allowed it was successful only in the context of your list of goals - financial benefit here at home.

    Oh Hippocrates - what is meant there by 'do no harm'? We practice surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, abortion, and in some places euthanasia (that word ought to mean something else than it does).

    War is always about doing harm. But what about the ultimate outcome?

    We are back to the value of a culture once again, my friend.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 292. At 7:22pm on 31 Aug 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    I allowed it was successful only in the context of your list of goals - financial benefit here at home.

    Gulf War 1 was about regional stability -- this did benefit some (big oil, e.g.) more directly than others. But there was a net benefit to US National Interest. Though I would admit that here you point out a weakness in the Realist paradigm: 'national interest' is far from the monolithic self evident entity some analysts seem to portray it as. How it is defined at any given moment is a complex struggle between social classes, professional groups, industry sectors, regional interests, ideologies, and on and on and on.

    Still, I'd stick to my guns re: the National (and International) interest being served by that Gulf War. Had Saddam not been checked, he would likely have become a very dangerous threat -- and thus likely to cause more human suffering and damage to the US National Interest, most any way you'd care to define it.

    As to the 'do no harm' business: just as it behooves the physician to make an honest and 'best practice' calculation of the seriousness of the disease or injury v. the predictable effects and side effects of the cure, so the Statesman should do likewise when s/he wishes to intervene in another state or culture 'to make it better.'

    In the case of Bush Jr. and Iraq, I think we could all agree that the subject was not doing well: a poorly run country suffering under some very nasty international sanctions. But the Bush Administration's idea of a cure was to rip out the patient's lungs, liver, guts, and heart -- seemingly expecting him to grow new organs spontaneously.

    It took no great genius to predict the kind of social, sectarian, and ethnic violence that came out of the post Saddam power vacuum (and in the midst of an obliterated infrastructure). The Administration seemed genuinely surprised, or were at least genuinely unprepared. A shameful debacle, and one that is far from over (and I don't say this with any sense of schadenfreude -- I really hope I am wrong).

    Saddam before 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' was a spent force, no threat to regional stability or to US interests. It was an ugly thing, seeing the population suffering under the double indignity of his terrible leadership and international sanctions. But the war was far worse, both in terms of (on going) human suffering, and regional stability (Iran has been the net beneficiary, I would argue).

    Primum non nocere

    So I think I'm still dodging your culture value question.



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  • 293. At 06:08am on 01 Sep 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    " ..the Realist paradigm: 'national interest' is far from the monolithic self evident entity some analysts seem to portray it as. How it is defined at any given moment is a complex struggle between social classes, professional groups, industry sectors, regional interests, ideologies, and on and on and on."

    I have a simple understanding of national interest - 'a rising tide lifts all boats'. This need not be an absolute standard - there came a time when buggy whips just have no future. But although many people saw great gains on their financial statements in the early part of the century, most of them and the majority of others took a great hit as a result of high risk poker in the money market. The general 'prosperity' was undone. I count that experience a net loss.

    Re the value of culture, let me set a suggestive question or two.

    Is the great part of the Middle East ready for democracy?



    Is the EU, or for that matter the Eurozone, ready to admit Turkey?

    Would it be wise in either case to 'force' the issue?

    Yes, that is three questions, but really not.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 294. At 4:37pm on 06 Sep 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    Hello again -- happy labour day!

    Ready for democracy, you ask?

    There are a myriad of ways to approach this question, but sometimes ancient wisdom is best: "Great then is the good fortune of a state in which the citizens have a moderate and sufficient property; for where some possess much, and the others nothing, there may arise an extreme democracy, or a pure oligarchy; or a tyranny may grow out of either extreme--either out of the most rampant democracy, or out of an oligarchy; but it is not so likely to arise out of the middle constitutions and those akin to them." (Aristotle, The Politics)

    Which is why I think many states in the Mideast show great promise. Even Iraq and Afghanistan, given basic levels of security of person and property, a rising tide of economic prosperity, and something like a competent administration, may yet take a positive turn.

    It is unlikely that many Mideast states will, short to medium term at least, become democracies identical to our own. But I am not one of those who sees 'Arab' or 'Islamic' culture as being in any way fundamentally antithetical to the development of 'middle constitutions.'

    So as far as 'forcing' the issue: force is an expensive and counterproductive tool. What is wanted is 'encouragement,' as is happening with Turkey.

    Moreover, before we try to export it abroad, shouldn't we look to the health our own democracies? I see some disturbing signs. The democratic process has always had an element of the theatrical about it, but it seems to me that the gestures of the performers are becoming disturbingly frantic of late. A question of the falling tide widening that gap between the high and the low, perhaps?

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